One of these just came over the transom. It's an interesting invention for those who live in or visit cities that essentially forbid you to carry anything like a weapon (Boston, as I recall, forbids even pepper spray, unless you have a carry permit). It's a lanyard for your key ring that, if you have a heavy enough ring, coincidentally turns it into a weapon. Just coincidence, understand. Just like the auto theft device known as "The Club" just coincidentally makes a good club. A .45 would beat either, but in some high-crime jurisdictions that's not an option, a legal option anyway.
DC moves for a stay of the injunction. It asks either for a stay pending appeal (which would last until any appeal is decided) or for one of 180 days, to give it time to draft a permit system. I guess the City Council is a little slow-moving.
UPDATE: the judge granted a 90 day stay. He also clarified that the only issue raised was carrying of handguns, so his ruling is confined to that.
Alan Gura's blog post links to a pdf of a DC Police memo giving its reaction. Essentially:
1. DC residents who carry an unregistered gun can be charged with failure to register it, but not for carrying it. (By implication, those with registered guns can carry them).
2. Nonresidents who carry should not be arrested (but take note of their ID in case that changes).
3. Registrations cannot be denied because the owner is a nonresident.
Blog post and link to opinion here. District Court of DC rules that DC's requirement for a permit to carry, combined with its refusal to issue such permits, is unconstitutional, and (2) so is its ban on issuing permits to nonresidents.
A major advance that finally expands judicial recognition to "bear arms." And a success based on narrow targeting of the issues.
UPDATE: the opinion's signature reflecting Syracuse appears to be due to the fact that the judge is a Senior (entitled to retire, but choosing to stay on the bench) District Judge from the Northern District of NY. I assume DC is like Arizona; we often have visiting judges (esp. in the winter!) I wouldn't be surprised if he came to DC over the winter, and has now returned home.
Looking at his bio -- I've often felt that the 2A gets a fair shake, provided the judge is at least comfortable with firearms. The problem is that many judges have spent their life at driving ranges, not shooting ranges. In this case, the judge served as an Army officer, trained as a ranger and paratrooper, and commanded in Vietnam. He's not likely to get jittery over the concept of good people carrying guns for protection against bad ones.
Story here It now appears that:
1) the murderer had a pocketful of ammunition, suggesting that, but for the psychiatrist shooting him and other staff jumping him, he would have gone on a killing spree. "We believe that Mr. Plotts, if it wasn't for the heroic action of the doctor and the caseworker, we believe he was there and was going to reload that revolver and continue to fire and continue to kill."
2) The killer had been committed before, and his "records indicate has an extensive criminal past including a 1996 conviction for robbery, is prohibited from carrying a weapon."
Story here. The killer murdered a psychiatric case worker, and then was shot and seriously wounded by a doctor who was carrying a gun. The doctor was nicked by a shot from the killer, it's not yet reported whether that came before or after he hit the killer.
This may illustrate what others have noted: the other side can claim that mass shootings have not been stopped by self-defenders, because mass killings are arbitrarily defined to involve four or more dead, and when a self-defender is present he or she stops the attack before it can reach that number.
UPDATE: the doctor got three hits on the murderer. I'd say the good guy was no amateur.
A bit of background: the good professor is a CCW instructor and author of "The Ten Commandments of Propaganda," "The National Rifle Association and the Media: The Motivating Force of Negative Coverage," and "Rise of the Anti-Media: In-Forming America's Concealed Weapon Carry Movement." His speciality is speech communication.
"Zombology: Zombies and the Decline of the West (and Guns)" argues that the recent zombie craze, while meant in fun, has roots in the unconscious -- roots which are favorable to our cause. Zombies represent fear of the way things are tending: they are brainless, dehumanized, collectivized creatures driven only to satisfy their own needs. (I won't be so crass as to carry the political comparison further). In the typical movie, the zombies are in fact created by government mistake, or spread by its incompetent response. Salvation comes from small units of individuals organizing on their own, and usually turning to firearms as their tool.
Among other things, he discusses a form of "sting" which has become very popular, and given rise to the concept of "sentencing entrapment." It goes like this: Federal agents recruit an informant and send him out. He tells others that he knows where there is a drug stash house, and he wants to form a gang to rip it off. The house and drugs actually exist only in his imagination. Others agree to join him. He specifies that one or more of them must bring a gun.
Then they charge everyone except the informant with conspiracy -- not to rob, but to possess the drugs for sale (since in any noteworthy quantity, possession for sale carries higher penalties than armed robbery). Since a gun was involved, the charges tack on penalties for that -- 5-10 years consecutive, without probation. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines for drug offenses go up steeply with the quantities involved, and since the drug stash house exists only in the informant's imagination, he is free to invent any amount supposedly to be found that, and thus increase the sentences as far as he desires.
One judge (I think it was Posner) has pointed out that the effect of these stings is to protect drug stash houses, which seems a bit paradoxical.
"While we had originally planned to use the Tennessee facility for new equipment and for production of new product lines only, we have decided that it is more prudent from the point of view of our future welfare to move the Maryland production lines in their entirety to the new Tennessee facility."
I hope there will be a lot more such relocations, considering that the center of American gun manufacturing was historically Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Joshua Prince announces that a class action brought by himself and two other attorneys has settled. It challenged Philadelphia's disclosure of private carry permit information. Philadelphia disclosed information regarding appeals from initial denials or revocations online, despite a State law provision making it confidential.
The settlement terms include the city paying $1.45 million, agreeing never to disclose again, scrapping information requirements that exceed those embodied in statute, and instituting a lot of other reforms.
Right here. Not that I know much about apps -- I'm happy with a smartphone that will take calls, check email, and once in a great while call up a browser. I'd settle for the first two.
Rep. Robin Kelly (bought, or at least leased, by Mayor Bloomberg) proposes a ban on firearm advertising directly at children or their parents, such as prohibitions on brand name t-shirts and caps "marketed for children," and a ban on firearms in colors appealing to young shooters.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney calls for Capitol Hill Police to investigate Larry Pratt of GOA, since he dared to say that the Second Amendment is aimed at preventing tyrannical government. ( here's Larry's reply).
I guess if they can't get at the Second Amendment, they have to try to strike at the First.
Background: of course felons are generally forbidden to possess firearms. But if put in reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury, they have the same right to self defense as has anyone else.
Then there comes the rare case where a convicted felon is not in possession of a firearm at the outset, someone puts (or allegedly puts) him in reasonable fear of death, the felon manages to obtain a firearm that he did not previously possess, and defends himself. Did he become a "felon in possession" in that instant? The cases of this are rare, I can recall 2-3 at the Federal level, with splits resulting.
In looking at this issue we must also bear in mind that (1) defendants may argue it when it is bunkum and (2) prosecutors anxious to win may respond in kind and push the envelope of reason.
Florida has a "no retreat" law, which provides that a person put in reasonable fear of death need not retreat before responding with deadly force. There are exceptions, one of which is that the defender was "engaged in unlawful activity" at the time. Some imaginative Florida prosecutors have taken to arguing that, in the case of a felon who argues self-defense, this does not apply, since by taking possession of a firearm he "engaged in unlawful activity" and is outside the statute. (I believe Florida was "no retreat" even before the statute, so I'm not sure this makes a lot of difference anyway). The lower Florida courts have split on whether this argument flies, and its Supreme Court has accepted the question in order to resolve this split.
Jersey City, NJ. Man wanted for murder ambushes and murders officer. His wife responds with ""He should've taken more [officers] with him," and ""Sorry for the officer's family. That's, you know, whatever."
They even built a memorial for the killer, complete with empty liquor bottles and a "thugs in peace" message. They should add an epitaph, with the words of Lord Byron
"In all of antiquity you'll ne'er survey
A site more dignified than this
Here lie the bones of Castlereigh;
Stop, traveller, and p__s."
Video here. California already had, if I recall correctly, handgun registration (in effect), State as well as Federal background checks, a 15-day waiting period, one gun a month rationing, no carry (open or concealed) without a "may issue" permit, and an "assault weapon ban." Not to mention expensive "safety tests" that have nothing to do with safety (witness the fact that police and prosecutors' guns are exempt from them).
But the low-info people interviewed want "stricter" controls without apparently having any idea what those might be. Presumably, the fact that crime continues proves that the gun laws aren't strict enough.
The legislature responds by making the "safety" requirements applicable to single-shot handguns, claiming that people are buying single shots and making them into repeaters.
I don't know what to file this under -- an example of where the other side wants to go, or an example of how newspaper stories are written by cut and paste of slogans that have been used and re-used for decades.
Massachusetts of course is about as restrictive as can be, but the legislature felt the need to "respond" to something by enacting something more. So it passed a bill with sundry additional restrictions, but declined one: rifle and shotgun possession requires a permit, but it's a "shall issue" one, and the legislature declined to make that "may issue."
So the cut and paste story is headlined "Massachusetts Senate approves sweeping gun bill, but strips key measure."
Here's a quote, emphasis added:
""Gun safety advocates said the change guts the bill.
John Rosenthal of the group Stop Handgun Violence, said giving police chiefs added discretion over the issuing of FID cards was the single most important aspect of the bill.
"Without it, it's not worth the paper it's written on," Rosenthal said. "Shame on the Massachusetts Senate. Sadly they voted against police chiefs and against public safety and for the special interest gun lobby and people will die as a result.""
Here's an interesting article on its brief, filed by John Frazer of Virginia.
"Our brief in the ACLU matter argued that the government's broad interpretation of its authority to collect information from private entities could effectively override legislative protections for privacy, such as provisions intended to block gun registration. Our lawyer, John Frazer of Virginia, also referred to potential abuse of data mining. Aggregating forms of data to perform inference analysis about individuals and portray their connections and networks could allow the easy identification of our members and other gun owners for unlawful purposes."