A few contradictions
The subject of firearms and gun laws tends for some reason to infect certain persons with a form of dementia -- they discard all their values without seeming to notice it. The liberal wing of the Supreme Court suddenly agitates against judicial activism, wants to constrain rights as tightly as possible. People who would oppose government databases in any other context decide they're a good idea. People who would condemn law enforcement abuse instead strongly defend it (e.g., Waco). Figures who think incarceration is a bad and expensive way to deal with street criminals argue that gun owners rather than criminals should be prosecuted.
The latest, from a blog that calls itself "Think Progressive." This article argues that women who experience domestic violence shouldn't have guns, because they're so weak or inept that anyone can overpower them and take the gun away:
"“I was shot with my own gun. Just putting a weapon in the woman’s hand is not going to reduce the number of fatalities or gunshot victims that we have,” Christy pointed out. “Too many times, their male counterpart or spouse will be able to overpower them and take that gun away.”"
Well, if that's true, then presumably women shouldn't be allowed to be police officers -- why, even if they go for their gun, the criminal will just get it away. They probably shouldn't be allowed in the military, and if they are, certainly not in combat roles. This is "Think Progress"????
Judicial Watch sues MAIG and Bloomberg
Story here. It's a suit under the NY freedom of info law, filed in the Supreme Court (which in NY is not the supreme court, it gets complicated in some places). It sounds like one heck of a lawsuit, looking for documents reflecting ties between MAIG, NYC government, and MAIG's lobbyists, or to Joe Biden. Normally, a nonprofit is entitled to keep its records secret, but I suspect given the close ties between MAIG and NYC government (which we know pays for MAIG's webpage, for example), MAIG may be vulnerable here. JW does careful legal work, so I suspect they have that angle nailed down.
Another Bloomberg mayor bites the dust
Kwame Kilpatrick, former Detroit mayor and member of MAIG, just was sentenced to 28 years in prison for corruption.
"Kilpatrick spent $800,000 more than he earned. He billed his city credit card for trips to Las Vegas, and bought concert tickets and football tickets along with an $850.00 steak dinner. He leased two Lincoln Navigators for his wife with public money.
"Managing a city with no money is hard every single day," Kilpatrick told the court. "I can't stand here and say I didn't work my butt off. I did every single day.""
UPDATE: just got thru deleting and despamming about 200 spam comments, most of them like this one. I'll leave that one up, just hoping it's not saying something in Japanese that the NSA doesn't like...
"How to Ban Guns: A step by step, long term process"
From the Daily Kos, last December. Very instructive, a longer version of what Pete Shields, founder of what is now the Brady Campaign, told the New Yorker back in 1976.
The author starts by conceding that the gun laws being discussed will be useless: "Only about 5% of people killed by guns are killed by guns which would be banned in any foreseeable AWB." Magazine bans? "But it only takes one bullet out of one gun to kill a person. Remember the beltway sniper back in 2002? The one who killed a dozen odd people? Even though he used a bushmaster assault rifle, he only fired one round at a time before moving. He could have used literally any rifle sold in the US for his attacks."
He argues the solution is "to ban civilian ownership of all guns. That means everything. No pistols, no revolvers, no semiautomatic or automatic rifles. No bolt action. No breaking actions or falling blocks. Nothing." But, he agrees, this is not politically feasible, and would lead to mass disobedience. The solution is to go step by step.
"The very first thing we need is national registry. We need to know where the guns are, and who has them. " "Along with this, make private sales illegal." Next...
"Now that the vast majority are registered, we can do what we will. One good first step would be to close the registry to new registrations. This would, in effect, prevent new guns from being made or imported. This would put the murder machine corporations out of business for good, and cut the money supply to the NRA/GOA. As money dries up, the political capital needed for new controls will be greatly reduced."
Then ban concealed carry, try to make firearms and ammo hard to get. mandatory gun safes with police inspection to make sure. A national PR campaign against gun ownership, and restrictions on hunting.
By these incremental measures, "we can make the transition to a gun free society much less of a headache for us."
The mentality we have to deal with
For some time, Pierce College (a Los Angeles community college) had offered firearm safety courses. Now, the trustees of the college have have ended the course by banning all guns, including unloaded ones, from all campuses. The explanations given:
""The one thing we wanted to prevent was Pierce College being the Wild Wild West,” said Scott Svonkin, a trustee with the Los Angeles Community College District, author of the anti-gun resolution passed this month.
“By preventing guns on campus, I wanted to prevent people who took the class from shooting a horse or cow on campus.”
"Proponents of the ban emphasized they weren’t against guns or gun ownership. They said it was simply unsafe to have guns in the presence of thousands of students on college campuses, adding that even an unloaded weapon seen from outside a classroom could spark panic, a 911 call or a police SWAT response."
"The district’s new policy permits only fake weapons used during a theatrical performance or real cops with guns."
Sauce for the goose...
The Boulder Co Interfaith Council announced a gun "buyback."
Only to be forced to cancel due to Colorado's new gun laws. They'd have to run each purchase through an FFL, "which would be too expensive and too difficult."
Another oops moment for Bloomberg
His mayors group just held a rally in New Hampshire, and in reading off the names of victims of gun violence, included the name of Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Well, he did die from gun violence (and being run over by his brother), as often happens to people who engage in a shootout with police.
UPDATE: three more people killed in gunfights with police are on the list, one being a mass murderer.
Actress calls for gun safety (real gun safety), loses followers
I don't twitter, and don't know who this is, but actress Katee Sackhoff lost 100,000 Twitter followers after she urged people to practice gun safety>
“Please practice gun safety. This is horrible!”
Soon after, Sackhoff’s Twitter feed blew up with followers advocating gun control instead of gun safety.
“Here's a radical idea folks. How about NO gun?” one wrote.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/06/11/actress-katee-sackoff-urges-gun-safety-on-twitter-loses-half-her-followers/#ixzz2W2GtimPg
Another Bloomberg mayor.....
Jersey City mayor Jerramiah Healy is proud of his membership in Mayors Against Illegal Guns. At least he's escaped indictment so far (he's only been convicted of a misdemeanor after brawling with police), but there has been a ... little flap.
A while back, he was photographed sitting naked on his porch. Pressed to explain, he said he was drunk. (On 6-8 beers, and he's an attorney... such a lightweight). Now he's advancing a different claim. In it, he claims that he came to the door in a towel, and three young ladies, apparently bent upon taking advantage of him, snatched away the towel. He defended his virtue by repelling their "filthy" advances and driving them off, and while stopping to rest on his porch, was photographed.
You can't make this stuff up...
Politicians' problem with a hot mike...
is that they might get caught telling the truth. (Youtube audio).
Sandy Hook parent Neil Heslin reportedly spent April 15 in Washington, DC, lobbying for background checks. He's now facing failure to appear charges, because on that day he was supposed to be in court in his own criminal cases. He is accused of passing bad checks, larceny, and two counts of driving on a license suspended for drunk driving, which is probably a felony.
Maybe the White House needs to do its own background checks. Here's a picture of Heslin in the Rose Garden, about five feet from the Vice President.
Gun control advocate gets mugged by reality
Story here. The author wanted to buy a BB gun for his 9 year old nephew. Finds out that in NJ, he has to have a firearm purchaser ID card just to handle it in the store. And then be finds out all that he has to do to get that card.
Mayor Against Illegal Guns sets a new record
Mayor James Schiliro, of Marcus Hook, PA, a member of Bloomberg's group, has been busted after demanding that a guy give him oral sex, and, upon being refused, flourishing three loaded guns, pointing one to his head, and finally shooting it into the floor.
Sure beats the previous feats by members of the mayors....
Change in antigun tactics
Politico is reporting a change in tactics. The White House is essentially asking antigun groups to take a lower profile and unite behind whatever the Administration is pushing -- and don't push anything beyond it.
"In exchange: a voice in the discussions, a role in whatever final agreement is made and weekly meetings at the White House with Biden’s chief of staff, Bruce Reed — provided they don’t discuss what happens there.
. . . . . .
In past fights, gun control groups sparred with each other and got used to dictating the agenda to allies in Congress.
Now they’re just happy to be included in the discussion, and still holding out hope that something might happen."
Viva Ted Cruz!!!
Here's his letter to gun manufacturers and their banks. Rahm Emanuel had urged banks to refuse to fund firearms manufacturers, and Cruz suggests that if the banks don't like being pushed around by government they can always relocate to business-friendly Texas, or contact Texas-based financial institutions.
Fellow asks Bloomberg to disarm his team of bodyguards...
Citizen journalist asks Bloomberg the question the mass media won't -- if he's so in favor of gun control, will be disarm his bodyguard team? Instead of an answer, he gets blocked off by the team, and questioned and followed by NYPD.
Gun laws are for the little people....
Ray Nagin indicted
He certainly didn't do things in a small way.... he took in money, granite for his business, airplane trips, whatever was available, for everything from government contracts to "fixing" delinquent taxes.
Well, at least he's honest
From the Huffington Post: "The National Rifle Association Is Correct: I Do Want Your Guns."
SAF taking on Bloomberg Mayors
The Washington Times has the story.
It's time for Gun Owners Against Illegal Mayors to join the fight!
The Illegal Mayors show their criminal tendencies again
Former Baltimore Mayor ( and member of Bloomberg's group) Sheila Dixon has been charged with violating probation. She was originally charged with perjury and with stealing gift cards meant for indigent families!!! She somehow was given probation before judgment -- here called diversion -- keep your nose clean for a year or so, and in this pay pay restitution, and we drop charges. Well, she stopped paying restitution ....
Bloomberg seems to be losing it
"Looting has also become an issue in parts of the city. Police say 15 people in Queens are accused of ransacking various businesses in the Rockaways. ... In Brooklyn, police say more than a dozen people were arrested in Coney Island alone for looting."
Bloomberg's response: "the NYPD is the only people we want on the streets with guns."
We'd expect that'd be his response to self-defense, but he was talking about the National Guard.
UPDATE: HotAir wonders: "I’m not sure, but I think we’re witnessing the complete implosion of somebody who was once considered a pretty influential politician on the rise. Yes, Bloomberg doesn’t much care for the Second Amendment and doesn’t want people to have guns. We get it. But we’re talking about the National Guard here. Has this guy completely lost his mind?"
ANOTHER UPDATE: Bloomberg canceled (after receiving much public pressure, and making apologies) the NY Marathon, with its press center powered by four large generators. But, the NY Post is reporting,
"The city left more than a dozen generators desperately needed by cold and hungry New Yorkers who lost their homes to Hurricane Sandy still stranded in Central Park yesterday.
And that’s not all — stashed near the finish line of the canceled marathon were 20 heaters, tens of thousands of Mylar “space” blankets, jackets, 106 crates of apples and peanuts, at least 14 pallets of bottled water and 22 five-gallon jugs of water.
This while people who lost their homes in the Rockaways, Coney Island and Staten Island were freezing and going hungry."
St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner under attack
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Joyce Foundation) is trying to silence Kurt Hofman, who blogs as the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Their knowledge of the First Amendment is right up there with their knowledge of the Second.
Related to my post on Brady Campaign's collapsing finances, Bitter at Shall Not Be Questioned points out that Dennis Henigan has left Brady Campaign. I'd add that in previous IRS Form 990s Sarah Brady was listed in the top five staffers receiving salaries, and she now has vanished, either going unpaid or at least with greatly reduced salary. Between those moves and borrowing a quarter of its budget, it has all the marks of an organization on the verge of going under.
Bitter also notes that it's strange the way Henigan has been "airbrushed" off the Brady homepage. I find it strange that the guy who really put the organization on the map -- "Pete" Shields -- has gotten the same treatment, given scant mention in its material. Way back, 30+years ago, I debated Pete. He took them from a tiny organization into a fairly big one, recruited the Bradys, handed it over to them, and today is barely acknowledged. A personal beef -- we may have been on different sides, but I found him rather likable.
Bloomberg & Joyce Fdn behind Media Matters?
The left-liberal media blog Media Matters has had what seemed to be an obsessive grudge with NRA (and also with anyone who dared to criticize Fast and Furious, where MM was sending its posts to DoJ for review).
The trend really begins in 2010. If we take posts that headline "NRA", there was one in 2007, none in 2008, four in 2009 ... and then twelve in May 2010 alone. Between then and now it's had about 5-10 NRA pieces a month, with titles like "Rachel Maddow Highlights NRA And Fox Extremism," "Chris Matthews Calls Out NRA Leader LaPierre's "Crazy" Obama Conspiracy Theory," "NRA Fundraises Off 9-11," "Gun Blogger Ignores NRA Undermining Gun Law Enforcement Measures," (Sebastian was the feature of that one), and "NRA News Downplays Loophole That Helps Arm Criminals."
I was just looking at the 2010 IRS Form 990 for the mega-rich Joyce Foundation. Understand, one tactic for using nonprofits is, if you want to dump money on a cause but for some reason don't want it to be obvious, give it to a nonprofit, and tell them where you want it spent. Then their name rather than yours will show up as supporting the causes. That way, you can claim to be moderate, while laundering money to radical causes, or pay for attacking someone by proxy.
In 2010, Joyce Foundation spent about three million on antigun causes ... after receiving a donation of two million from "Bloomberg Philanthropies" of New York City. Yep, that Bloomberg. $400 K to attack NRA via blog posts... and 1.6 million left over for radical antigun groups (Joyce only gave $20,000 to Brady Campaign, apparently thinking it too moderate for its tastes).
[UPDATE: if your comment is blocked, try deleting your email address. I had to block some, gmail, yahoo, due to incredible waves of spam comments, but set it so you can comment while leaving no email address at all].
It must suck to be on the other side, part 3,560
The first page of Brady Campaign's latest IRS Form 990, for 2010. By way of comparison:
Revenue Expenses Assets minus liabilities
2004 7.4 million 7.8 million 197,000
2008 4.1 million 4.2 million -838,000 (yes, a negative)
2009 3.4 million 3.6 million -564,000
2010 2.8 million 3.1 million -768,000
Their donor base is spiraling down, they haven't been able to cut expenses that far, and I assume are covering the gap by continual borrowing -- most recently, of 25% of their budget.
In 2010, salary expenses were $1.25 million and professional fundraising $228,000, meaning that over half their revenue went to those two purposes. If we take total salary expense (1.25 million) and deduct the salary for their seven best paid people ($992 K), We're left with about $258,000 payroll for anyone else. In DC, government secretaries draw $27 - 37,000, so that's probably not enough to pay a receptionist and give each of the seven a secretary. I'd guess total headquarters staffing as a dozen people or so. Salary expenses dropped by $100K between 2009 and 2010, so they probably let several people go.
Elsewhere on the form they report counting as "members" anyone who had donated $15 or more in the last two years.
Demo platform on firearms
Guns and Money is reporting the 2012 Demo platform on guns:
"We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation. We understand the terrible consequences of gun violence; it serves as a reminder that life is fragile, and our time here is limited and precious. We believe in an honest, open national conversation about firearms. We can focus on effective enforcement of existing laws, especially strengthening our background check system, and we can work together to enact commonsense improvements – like reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole – so that guns do not fall into the hands of those irresponsible, law-breaking few."
Not Bloomberg's best day
First, in the midst of an antigun event, a reporter asks why NYPD just sold 28,000 pounds of spent cartridge to an ammo reloader, and he rather loses it, and tells the reporter if she keeps at it she'll have to stand in the back of the room at all future press conferences. (That, BTW, illustrates why the press often hesitates to criticize government officials, or at least Democratic ones. The official has what the reporters want, access -- you can have interviews, invitations to press conferences, "unnamed officials" who leak things to you, or you can be cut off while your competitors get all that).
Then, word that San Francisco has declined to adopt the NYC policy of vigorous stop and frisk, because more than 80% of those stopped and frisked are black or hispanic, and 90% of frisks found nothing.
(Instead, SF will rely upon "a zero-tolerance approach for violations of probation, parole or the city's gang injunction." I guess actually enforcing those is a new idea to the city).
Lott's response to Bloomberg's idea
John Lott points out that police aren't about to go on strike for gun control, as Bloomberg suggested, because they of all people know gun control doesn't work.
To former Brady head: wake up and smell the coffee...
Richard Aborn, former Brady Center president, has an op=ed in my local paper, and likely elsewhere.
Hmmm.... pro-gun groups outspent antigun ones by 11 to 1 (not sure where he gets those figures--the pro gun one is way too low). NRA has succeeded in arguing that any gun control is a step toward prohibition, and rallying members in a way the antigun movement has not. The antigun movement must forge links with gun owners by arguing that "the movement behind gun control does not seek to limit a law-abiding person's ability to get a gun."
Richard, there is one small difficulty with that plan.
Nobody believes you. To be more precise, nobody has any reason to believe you. For starters, in DC v, Heller, your group filed an amicus brief in support of DC's position -- that complete prohibition of handgun ownership was justifiable -- and that argued "I. THE SECOND AMENDMENT GUARANTEES NO RIGHT TO POSSESS FIREARMS UNLESS IN CONNECTION WITH SERVICE IN A STATE-REGULATED MILITIA." In McDonald v. Chicago, it filed an amicus that argued
"gun possession poses grave risks to the gun’s possessor, his or her family, and the public. A handgun kept in the home for self-defense is all too often used by a child to shoot himself or another child unintentionally, turned against a partner in a domestic dispute, used to end the life of a depressed teenager or adult with (often fleeting) suicidal thoughts, or obtained by criminals."
In other words, Brady was arguing that guns are a public menace even in the hands of the law abiding, since they might commit suicide, have an accident, or have their gun stolen by a criminal.
And then there's Brady's support for lawsuits aimed at bankrupting gun manufacturers, its name change from "Handgun Control, Inc." after it discovered a new issue of "assault rifles," etc.. The purpose was there from the beginning. Back in the 1970s, Pete Shields (for all practical purposes, the founder of the organization) told the New Yorker that he would not be content until all guns were prohibited, even for law enforcement use, but in the meantime he'd have to take half a loaf rather than none.
Aborn's statement hints at a world where, if a company wants to get people to believe their detergent or auto or insurance is better than others, they just spend on advertising in the confidence people can be convinced of that non-fact. He doesn't realize he's dealing with a far more serious subject -- and with far more experienced people.
UPDATE: reader Jim D. emails:
Richard Aborn, in the Huffington Post while running for Manhattan DA penned a blog entry titled "An Anti-Endorsement I'm Thrilled to Have":
"Our campaign for Manhattan DA has received many endorsements -- like Congressman Jerry Nadler, the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, to name a few -- but today it's an anti-endorsement I'm particularly proud to receive. Specifically, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, the official NRA-affiliated State Association in New York, urged its members yesterday to vote against me in the race for DA. And I couldn't be prouder."
It's going to take a lot more sucking up than he can get through propaganda to change people's minds after "proudly" accepting rejections like this.
Bloomberg gang breaking law again?
Have they no shame? They give a grant to Orlando, which hires a person (adding on lots of taxpayer money to the effort) who will serve as MAIG's regional coordinator while working for the city.
I don't know Florida law on the subject (Arizona's constitution forbids government units making gifts to private entities), but at the very least the taxpayer money used to sweeten the deal would constitute a reportable donation to MAIG.
Yet another Bloomberg Mayor is busted on felony charges.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence isn't always against gun violence
When gun violence is perpetrated by a government agency, then the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence thinks it's OK, or at least not very bad.
No more Coke
Bloomberg looking for unemployed attorneys, paying $20/hr
"Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the gun-control group co-chaired by Mayor Bloomberg, is looking for out-of-work lawyers to research doctrine related to the Trayvon Martin case.
Laurin Grollman, the mayor's senior counsel for firearms policy, sent out the following email, forwarded by a reader:
From: Grollman, Laurin
Looking for lawyers who are out of work who might want to do paid work for mayors against illegal guns (www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org) for the next few days/week or so, starting ASAP (today if possible, and working over the weekend if possible). $20/hour. Work is doing a 50-state survey of castle doctrine expansion laws, in light of Trayvon Martin shooting. Interesting and timely stuff, but somewhat complicated.
Senior Counsel for Firearms Policy
Office of the Mayor of New York City"
Now, THAT is a tightwad!
This is pitiful, part 26....
A couple of weeks ago, I posted on how Coalition to Stop Gun Violence was vigorously denying that gun sales were up.
Now comes word that Ruger has had to stop taking orders thru May, due to already having received over a million orders in 2012, far exceeding their capacity to produce.
The result is that, while the S&P fell 3% over the last five years, Ruger stock is up 571%....
This is pitiful, part 25....
Josh Horowitz, of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, assures his Huffington Post readers that reports of increasing gun sales are a gun lobby fabrication. Background checks are WAY up, but, he argues, background checks do not correlate 100% to sale of new firearms. NRA responds, and he charges they are "angered over being exposed as peddlers of bogus data."
In the meantime, SIG Sauer is expanding its factory to meet demand: "Shawver said the expansion to Pease has become necessary due to rapid growth over the past several years. "We've tripled in size over the last five years, which is what has been driving our need for additional space," he said." Ruger reports: "Our earnings increased 42% in 2011, driven by the 29% growth in sales and our ongoing focus on continuous improvement in our operations."
Some place called the National Gun Victims Action Council (probably three people with a big Joyce Foundation grant) is calling for a boycott of Starbucks coffee on February 14.
They say Starbucks "allows guns and assault weapons to be openly carried in its stores (in 43 states) and concealed and carried in its stores (in 49 states). Starbucks' compliance with the National Rifle Association's Pro-Gun Agenda was exposed in 2010 when members of the "open carry" movement began meeting in popular chains, such as California Pizza Kitchen, Peets, IKEA, Disney and Starbucks openly carrying their handguns and assault rifles. To protect their customers and employees, all of the retail chains—except for Starbucks— banned guns from being carried in their stores."
I generally brew my own, but think I'll have a cup of their fanciest on that day.
UPDATE: the PA Gunblog is pushing for it to be Starbucks Appreciation Day.
Embarrassment for Bloomburg group?
One of its members draws a concealed pistol on a burglar -- and seems rather reticent to discuss whether he has a CCW permit.
The logic is lacking
Look at this story. Theme: woman is going to prison for running guns to the Zeta Cartel. After twice serving time for burglary and people smuggling. This is tragic, since her mother says she was trying to be nice. The solution: we need more gun laws.
At the bottom: "(Editor’s note: This aticle was written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the US media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.)"
From this and other events, it's apparent that in the last month, Media Matters' paymaster has indicated they should turn to the gun issue. It's also apparent one tactic is to hire writers, via these fellowships, to publish articles. A newspaper would never accept an outside group paying their reporters to write on a particular theme, but apparently they'll go along with people holding fellowships, with the same result.
Brady Campaign worries about Rick Perry
That's understandable. and Denis Henigan's piece adds to their ideas of "reasonable regulation":
" the case against legalizing guns in public places."
"the presence of guns, even carried by well-meaning, law-abiding citizens, increases the risk that arguments and conflicts will escalate to lethal violence. "
Another Bloomberg Mayor is indicted
Snowflakes in Hell reports that Mayor RIchard Corkery, one of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, was arrested for 28 counts of possession of child porn. Reports he was singing "thank heaven, for little boys," are, however, unconfirmed. As Snowflakes in Hell observes, the record of CCW holders compares quite favorably to that of Bloomberg's gang, 12 or 13 of whose members have taken the dive on felonies in the last couple of years. Extortion, bribery, embezzling gift cards meant for the poor, covering up a murder, committing a violent offense while armed, nothing is beyond these sociopaths.
Helmke leaving Brady Center
"The Brady Campaign, in announcing Helmke's departure, noted many accomplishments of his tenure." Must not have been a long ceremony... Heller, McDonald, passage of "shall issue" permit laws, concealed carry in national parks, expiration of the "assault weapon" law....
UPDATE: some signs of discord:
"Even after deciding to leave his role as president, Helmke said he still wanted to stay with the Brady Campaign . He said that he and the organization could not agree on a suitable role, however, so the two sides mutually decided to part ways."
Brady Campaign grades are out
Press release here, with Brady giving zero to Alaska, Utah, and Arizona for not having "a single common sense gun law on their books," and giving its highest marks to California, which is a "model of sensible gun laws."
And looking at 2009 homicide rates, per 100,000 population, we find:
Nat'l average 5.0
Brady Campaign has trouble thinking thru its position
Paul Helmke has a post at HuffingtonPost. Quite interesting. On the one hand, he criticizes NRA for arguing the "slippery slope" to more and more gun controls. On the other, he claims that the number of households with guns is declining, and that
"This is very good news for public health and safety. Research shows that a high rate of household gun ownership is associated with higher rates of accidental gun deaths, higher rates of suicide and gun suicide, and higher rates of homicide and gun homicide. The continuing national decline in gun ownership is unquestionably a lifesaving trend."
Without bothering to debate the accuracy of those claims -- if Brady's position is that fewer guns means fewer homicide and suicides, how can it take a principled position that "we want modest controls, and not to confiscate guns or make gun ownership difficult for the sake of making it difficult"? It can be consistent only by arguing "we want to reduce gun ownership as far as we can, and if we stop it's only because more burdens are not feasible just now."
Brady Center increases prescription for anti-depressants
The WashPo has an article on the fellow it describes as Obama's gun policy advisor. From what they say, he's actually an advisor on regulatory policy and law in general, and thus gets stuck with gun issues. Sounds like he'd like to see private sales run thru FFLs, isn't hot for magazine bans, and could give a hoot about the rest. "When Paul Helmke, director of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, broached the subject [of large magazine bans] during the March 15 gathering with Croley, officials promptly adjourned the meeting."
Via Instapundit and Reason Hit and Run...
Obama statement on gun control
Brady Campaign must be dosing up on antidepressants again. His proposals are essentially ... make background checks better and faster. Topped with:
"Now, like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. And the courts have settled that as the law of the land. In this country, we have a strong tradition of gun ownership that's handed from generation to generation. Hunting and shooting are part of our national heritage. And, in fact, my administration has not curtailed the rights of gun owners - it has expanded them, including allowing people to carry their guns in national parks and wildlife refuges."
The most comfort they can take is a careful hint at requiring background checks on private sales -- but even there you have to read very, very, carefully to see the hint. Or try this:
"Some will say that anything short of the most sweeping anti-gun legislation is a capitulation to the gun lobby. Others will predictably cast any discussion as the opening salvo in a wild-eyed scheme to take away everybody's guns."
I wouldn't take any of this as genuine, but I doubt Brady Campaign had this result in mind when it endorsed the Obama/Biden ticket!
Brady Campaign must be gobbling antidepressants like jelly beans
President Obama says he believes in the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms for self-protection. I doubt he believes a word of it, but it must be pretty discouraging to a group that endorsed him for President:
"Along with Sarah and Jim, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters strongly endorses the Obama-Biden ticket and encourages our supporters to vote for them on November 4, 2008."
Yet another "Mayor" bites the dust
Snowflakes in Hell has the story. Mayor Gordon Jenkins, of Monticello NY, has been charged with possessing counterfeit-trademarked goods, fraudulent sales tax returns, and possession of pot.
Another "this is pitiful" moment
Brady Campaign issues candidate endorsements, State and Federal.
In 21 States, they cannot find a single candidate, at either level, that they endorse. For the remainder, they have States like Texas, North Carolina, Alabama, Missouri, Louisiana, Georgia, Colorado, Maine and Tennessee, with one US House endorsement each.
Brady Campaign can't make up its mind
At the Huffington Post, Dennis Hennigan complains of an "insurrectionist view of the Second Amendment." He is appalled that the Solicitor General's brief in Heller argued that "an armed citizenry as a deterrent to abusive behavior by the federal government itself."
Yes, that does sound like what more than a few of the Framers -- including James Madison in Federalist 46 -- wrote. What's interesting is that the Heller dissent argues that the Second Amendment had nothing to do with a right of self defense, it was all concerned with enabling States to resist a Federal tyranny. So the Heller dissent itself took an insurrectionist view.
Other side's assessment of things
The Legal Community Against VIolence [a handful of attorneys and a big Joyce Foundation grant] has posted its annual report in pdf.
It starts with, well, that little setback in McDonald v. Chicago and Heller v. DC. (p.8 8-9), predicting it will unleash a flood of litigation from the progun side.
Their explanation of legislation they'd like to see (their hopes, not their successes) occupies 3 1/2 pages, pp. 10-14.
Their explanation of where they were defeated recently (guns in parks, guns on Amtrack, Tiahrt Amendment, DC statehood defeated over an amendment cutting back DC gun laws, State legislation including Firearm Freedom Acts ("Regrettably, many state legislatures are running amok") and expanded "shall issue" CCW permits, runs seven pages.
Antigun fanaticism in Australia
Gun Control Australia is upset that the Liberal Party (which is actually the more conservative of the major parties) isn't sufficiently antigun. Bear in mind the Liberal Party saw to the banning of semiautos and pump-action long arms....
Morale not high at Brady Center
Dennis Henigan is seems to be getting depressed, and understandably so.
LCAV dinner tonight in San Francisco
Legal Community Against Violence, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Joyce Foundation, is having a fancy dinner tonight, and CalGuns is planning some mischief. Read about 2/3 of the way down to see the plans beginning.
Bellesiles writes again ... and gets pounded again
He publishes a story in the Chronicles of Higher Education about a student of his in Central Connecticut State University, whose brother enlisted in the Army, served in Iraq and was fatally shot in the head. He was too badly injured to be evacuated from Iraq, and he died weeks later. The event is described as occurring "this semester," and the student as being in his military history class.
The only Connecticut fatality in 2010 was a Marine. He died of an IED blast. In April. A person with brain injuries who cannot be evacuated, yet takes weeks to die seems a bit questionable, as well. And there seems little indication that Bellesiles taught military history at that university.
It's puzzling why Chronicles of Higher Ed wouldn't have done at least a little verification of the story. Of course they may have figured the author won the Bancroft Prize.
Brady Campaign selling its mailing lists
Joe Huffman makes an interesting discovery on the web: Brady Campaign is selling its mailing list. And it's only got 50,000 names (only 28,000 of whom have donated or otherwise responded in the last year, if I read it correctly), rather than the 500,000 to which Brady has laid claim.
Icing on the cake: Kurt Hoffman points out that on its webpage, Brady Campaign promised donors and activists that "the Brady Campaign and the Brady Center will not sell your name or e-mail address to spammers or share it with unaffiliated groups."
UPDATE: the same seller has a progun email list for sale, source(s) unspecified. It's 250% the size of Brady's, has a higher percentage of people who have donated in the last year, and the price (per M = per 1,000 names) is appreciably steeper.
Hat tip to reader J. R. Whitelock...
GREAT video, watch it while you can
I had a previous post about Brady Campaign giving Helen Thomas its award for vision, and a commenter noted that Brady has pulled that page. But they forgot to take down this embarassing clip, where Paul Helmcke reads a long stream of letters from big names, kissing up to her, followed by Sarah Brady brown-nosing her at length."Finest journalist of our generation," " a great honor to meet," etc., followed by the Brady diners' applause.
There is other footage up, but in that you have actually to see her speak, and keep wondering when she's going to break into "I'll get you, and your little dog, too!!"
Brady Campaign and Helen Thomas
Displaying a perfect sense of timing, Brady Campaign recently proclaimed Helen Thomas a "visionary."
What's the line from The Princess Bride? "I don't tink dat word means what you tink it means, boss," something like that.
Hat tip to Sixgun Sarah...
This is REALLY pitiful
Brady Campaign sets up an online fundraiser, raising bucks to oppose open carry and its squabble with Starbucks: "is this the America you really want to live in?"
And raises a a whopping $20.
Giving up hope
On the Brady Campaign grading system, Arizona scores two points out of 100. That means we're beating Florida (six points) Texas (nine points), and many others. I checked out the details of their grading system, hoping that we could get down to zero, but it's going to be hard. We got two points for not having required universities to allow handgun carry on campus. I don't know if we're going to be able to override that in the near future. I suppose we could appeal to Brady to deduct five points since soon a person will be able to CCW without a permit, which would move our score to a negative three.
Brady Campaign's quest for relevance
After flip-flopping on health care, Michigan congressman Bart Stupak has decided not to run for re-election. Whereupon Brady Campaign gives him rather belated praise for having, ten years ago, cosponsored its failed proposal for background checks on private sales. And has to admit he didn't cosponsor their proposal since, but they hope he would have done so had he not stepped down.
Egad. Not so long ago, Brady was pushing background checks, "assault gun" bans, checks for private sales, and whatnot. Today they're hassling Starbucks (without result) and seeking publicity for praising a political has-been for something he did ten years ago. Which failed.
Does anyone sell relevance on Ebay?
Gun Owners Against Illegal Mayors
Bloomberg should be quaking in his boots ... or loafers. Gun Owners Against Illegal Mayors lists the rap sheets of his gang, and calls for their prosecution under the Racketeer Influences and Corrupt Organizations statutes. Do it for the children!
Brady releases its annual report card
One story here:
"The Brady Campaign's report uses five categories to score states: how well they curb firearm trafficking, whether they perform background checks, how effectively they keep guns from children, whether they ban military-style weapons and how they regulate guns in public places.
Massachusetts scored 54 out of 100 points. No. 1-ranked California scored 79. Utah scored zero."
And their 2008 [lastest available] homicide rates, per 100,000 population:
California 5.8 Massachusetts 2.5 Utah 1.5
A good correlation: the worse your Brady grade, the lower your homicide rate. Here's another story:
"Gun control laws in northern New England are being given low marks in the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence's annual survey of state gun laws. The survey gave Maine a score of 11 out of 100 for its laws, while New Hampshire was given a 9 and Vermont was given an 8. The Brady Campaign says laws in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont allow the sale of guns without background checks, put children at risk and help feed the illegal gun market."
Homicide rates: Maine 2.35 New Hampshire 0.9 Vermont 2.74
NH is the second-lowest in the entire country. All the other States Brady complains of are in a quick count of the 15 States with the lowest homicide rates. If we look just at firearm homicides, you'd think Brady would have a chance, but it does lousy there, too. In California, it's #1 pick, firearm homicides are 69% of the total. In New Hampshire, they're 16%, Maine 35%, Vermont 47%, Utah 46%.
Oh, as Don Surber points out, the only State with a lower homicide rate than New Hampshire is North Dakota, whose three murders gave it a rate of 0.47 and a firearm homcide rate of zero -- and Brady Campaign gave it an F and 4 points out of 100,
NRA and Brady Center finally have something to agree on
"Obama got an "F" on every issue the Brady Campaign scored, according to its report card."
UPDATE: from New West:
"all of the above makes me more comfortable that I made the right bet when I said the NRA has won the war for the Second Amendment and Democrats have given up on the gun issue."
Snowflakes in Hell has a copy. It's a list of 40 recommendations sent to the White House, aimed at making gun ownership more burdensome and costly.
A letter to the editor from a Boston teacher, regarding school shootings. He argues that speedy evacuation of an attacked school is just unfair, because it "unfairly rewards resourceful children who move to safety off-site more shrewdly and efficiently than others. Schools should level playing fields, not intrinsically reward those more resourceful. A level barrel is fair to all fish."
As far as self-defense, "I would sooner lay my child to rest than succumb to the belief that the use of a gun for self-defense is somehow not in itself a gun crime."
UPDATE: I am relieved to see, as illustrated by the comments, that this fellow's writings are probably satire. I must admit I wonder if the newspaper realized that!
Hat tip to reader David McCleary...
The world turned upside down....
Chuck Schumer goes hunting.
And then the Fourth Seal is opened...
Joyce Fdn's Second Amendment Research Center
A comment here noted that Ohio St. University's Second Amendment Research Center (funded by Joyce Foundation, to attack the Second Amendment) appears to have vanished. Looks like Joyce invested over $600,000 in it, but stopped funding after Heller, the Center closed, and Prof. Cornell moved on to a position with Fordham (It's an endowed chair, meaning better pay and prestige). Prof. Joe Olson verified that the Center had vanished, and Prof. Randy Barnett noted it at the Volokh Conspiracy.
Olson thereafter got this email:
11/25/2009 4:25 PM >>>
Dear Prof. Olsen,
I've just come across your crowing obituary for Saul Cornell's 2nd ammendment center. It did indeed serve its purposes - among which was to expose the intellectually flaccid historical work done by so-called legal historians working in law schools. It is easy to achieve a "consensus" around the 2nd ammendment if the those who form it exist entirely in an intellectual echo chamber. I sure wish I got to publish without any peer review process!
Saul also published a major book (Oxford University Press) whose findings, while they have generated a great deal of nasty invective, have stood up as accurate. We all eagerly await your next publication of any consequence. And you will also note that Saul has left OSU to fill a endowed chair at Fordham. Perhaps someday you too will get an offer which will allow you to leave Hamlin College.
Professor and Director, Public History
Ohio State University"
To which Joe responded, "That's zero for one.
The obit. on VC is by Professor Randy BARNETT, not me. BTW, you misspelled my name too. Perhaps, peer review is required?"
The Pocono Record rises to defend Mayor Charlie Baughman's membership in the Bloomberg group, arguing it is only about stopping illegal gun use:
"he nationwide coalition of mayors works with police departments and advocacy groups to fight criminals who use or traffic in guns. That is a commendable mission. But it's not commendable enough to hold legitimacy in the eyes of people who feel that even efforts that distinguish between legal and illegal guns threaten the constitutional rights of legal, law-abiding gun owners."
That's strange, since the group has issued a private 51 page report referring to "criminal activity endemic to some gun shows." calling for a special BATF unit aimed at gun shows, etc. (The report does reveal that, where persons fail the background check, "In 2005, the FBI referred 67,713 cases to the ATF, but federal prosecutors pursued only 135 of those cases.").
Hat tios to Snowflakes in Hell...
Embarassment for Bloomberg mayor's group
Some mayors are protesting that the group lists their names when they've never joined.
The Senate passes a provision that will let Amtrak passengers have firearms in checked baggage.... just as airline passengers can. Mayor Bloomberg's reaction:
"This has nothing to do with the right to bear arms, and everything to do with keeping our country safe from terrorists."
??? Prohibiting guns in checked train baggage keeps the country safe from terrorists? Is Amtrak hiring terrorists to handle baggage?
Hat tip to Carl in Chicago...
Brady's Richard Aborne loses election in Manhattan
CCRKBA release here. Aborne, a former board member of what became the Brady Campaign, ran for DA with stress on his gun control advocacy, and the endorsement of many such groups. He got only 26% of the vote. In Manhattan, no less.
A pleasing read
Dennis Henigan, of Brady Campaign, in the Huffington Post. Why is it pleasing? Well, the title is "Obama and the Gun Lobby: A Policy of Appeasement?" Oh, and the content consists of things like
"Is it a stretch to envision President Obama as the Neville Chamberlain of the gun issue? Consider the record so far. The President broke his campaign pledge to seek repeal of a set of Bush-supported appropriations riders (the "Tiahrt Amendments") that have weakened the Brady Act and other federal gun laws. Despite his personal commitment to voting rights for District of Columbia residents, Obama was silent as the NRA held the voting rights bill hostage to its vision of the District with virtually no gun laws. With not a syllable uttered in protest, the President signed credit card reform legislation laden with Senator Coburn's ridiculous amendment to allow loaded guns in national parks. When Attorney General Holder and Secretary of State Clinton suggested that strengthening U.S. gun laws may well help to reduce the arming of Mexican drug cartels with American guns, they were silenced. Then, in surely the most bizarre example, when protesters started showing up near the President's speeches with loaded guns, instead of condemning the practice, the White House responded that it had no problem with it as long as local laws were not being violated."
Hat tip to reader Carl in Chicago...
It must really suck to be on the other side, part 352
Kurt Hoffman has thoughts. He notes the changes in the Brady rhetoric (using that term in its proper sense, persuasive expression). Right after the election: we kicked butt! We rule! Let's get moving! Today: slowly awakening to "we wuz screwed."
Mayor Bloomberg pays for Virginia campaign ads
Story here. He's attacking pro-gun gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell, who as Attorney General dared write Bloomberg a letter notifying him that if he tried to set up Virginia FFLs in the future he'd face criminal charges.
I suppose it's hard to be a millionaire, or a politician, let alone both, without becoming a narcissist, but to write someone "But all is forgiven if you do what’s right. I understand people say things, and as they mature and get more information, hopefully they’re intelligent enough to assess that information, include it in decisions," is, well, rather self-betraying. Anyone who dares criticize the one speaking is doing wrong, immature, and unintelligent. It's not possible the critic has a difference of opinion. He has offended the almighty.
It must really suck to be on the other side....
Scripps News: Prospects dim for new restrictions on gun ownership.
"The White House Web site's description of the administration's agenda calls for a variety of gun-control measures, .... But the Democratic majority at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue has shown no appetite to act on any of those proposals."
Democratic Underground: Feinstein: Not The Time For Gun Control.
"The California senator who authored the nation's now-lapsed 1994 ban on assault weapons says she will hold off trying to renew that ban. "
Eric Holder, to CBS: "I understand the second amendment... I look forward to working with the NRA."
Via CNN: " 54 percent favored stricter laws in 2001, compared with 50 percent in 2007, according to Gallup polling. Now, a recent poll reveals a sudden drop -- only 39 percent of Americans now favor stricter gun laws...".
And, best of all... Brady Campaign flips out over Gallup polling. "Today's Gallup news release, "Support for Gun-Control Laws at All-Time Lows", is one of the most misleading I've seen in a long time."
UPDATE: SayUncle notes a posting by Tom Diaz, of Violence Policy Center, that, well, suggests he is profoundly depressed. I mean, to the point of throwing in the towel, saying that Chuck Shumer and Hilary Clinton are selling them out, etc..
AHSA post election
I vote for Willing Shills.
Bloomberg's Mayors Group loses yet another
It's becoming a tidal wave! Now Racine Mayor Gary Becker is booked for attempted child molestation and other offenses. Is getting arrested on felony raps a fad in Mayors Against Illegal Guns? This makes two in a single week.
ANOTHER Bloomberg mayor goes down
Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon is on the receiving end of a 12 count felony indictment relating to receiving tens of thousands in "gifts" from a land developer and ripping off donations meant to help the homeless.
UPDATE: The two comments in Russian were spam. The website given (not in the body of the comment) were to a Russian porn site.
Brady grades get an F again
The Brady Campaign ranks North Dakota 44th out of 50 States, with only 4 of 100 possible points.
Just in time for the North Dakota Attorney General to announce that in 2008 the State had ZERO gun homicides. And only two homicides at all, both stabbings.
Hat tip to reader Dan Mason....
The antigun "gun guys" blog blows its cover
Freedom States Alliance is an antigun organization heavily funded by the Joyce Foundation. And in press release today it states:
"First, the Freedom States Alliance, which oversees our daily news blog, GunGuys.com, does not endorse political candidates."
Press releases certain groups wish they could take back
First, from Violence Policy Center:
"VPC Lauds Introduction of Blagojevich Bill to Ban "Pocket Rockets""
Next, from the Brady Campaign:
"Brady Campaign Praises Governor Blagojevich for Standing Up To Special Interests and Protecting the People of Illinois"
And they'd probably like to bury the image in the left margin of this article, too.
Corruption and antigun track record
An interesting thought, from Days of our Trailers:
"he anti's are the ones that claim they're 'honest'.
Is this what they mean?
Blago is the second Brady Campaign endorsed state governor to take a fall for corruption this year. We all remember NY Gov. Elliot Spitzer, right?
Almost half-a-dozen MAIG Mayors have fallen (Daley, we're looking at you next).
Several prominent Million Mommy March leaders have gone down for gun crimes nevermind the fact that their organization folded as an independent group while they were being investigated for tax fraud." etc...
Another Bloomberg Mayor goes down
Birmingham mayor Larry Langford is the first one listed on open letter from Bloomberg's Mayors group.
And he just got arrested on federal felony charges.
I've lost count, but I think that the fourth member of Bloomberg's organization to wind up in the clink.
Brady Center on AW bans
They didn't waste much time. (pdf)
Brady Campaign celebrating
Pdf here. Of course they have reason to do so, but their claims do involve quite a bit of "creative writing." As I see it, it proves an "F" who pretends to be an "A" can beat a "C." The question then becomes... does the "F" then act like an "F," or does he figure that having won as a fake "A" he'd better act like one if he wants to get re-elected as one? Time will tell.
petition against pellet guns JROTC courses
From Freedom States Alliance (creators of the Gun Guys, and beneficiary of Joyce Foundation) comes this petition to ban use of pellet guns in high school Junior ROTC.
"Children who are taught to use weapons and violence to solve problems will not always enter the military. Some will make violence their civilian career and they may not remain in San Diego -- they could settle anywhere in the world "
Yup, give a kid a pellet gun and you'll turn him into a violent offender. I think Alan Korwin's proposal to classify gun phobia as a form of emotional illness makes sense in this setting.
AHSA: just Brady Campaign in a flannel shirt?
An interesting concept. Sensible Progressive lists the positions of American Hunters & Shooters Assn and Brady Campaign on gun control issues and demonstrates, surprise, that they are identical.
False flag operations enter the election
The antigun false flag American Hunters and Shooters Association is stumping for Obama in Ohio.
Obama, the Joyce Foundation, and the Heller case
I have a Pajamas Media article up exploring the connection between the three.
UPDATE: the comments to the story have several commenters saying that their Dish Network suddenly began defaulting to the Obama Channel. I had someone say that to me this morning, too. Unless the campaign is paying for the privilege, I'd think that's a thing of value (you'd pay good money for it), and thus an illegal corporate campaign contribution.
Chicago antigunners trying to win friends and influence people
If they can't get their way, they'll block access to State buildings until Mommy Gives In.
Somebody oughta write the Curia about "Father" Pfleger. I think Benedict would take a dim view of such things, even if the guy's bishop apparently doesn't (unless he touts a presidential candidate, which can put the tax exemption at issue).
AHSA tries to defend itself
A puff piece in the
The NRA leadership knows we are right and that is why their attacks are based upon half-truths, innuendo and character assassination. That being said, let’s look at some hard facts.
Ray Schoenke, AHSA president, has been a gun owner and avid hunter all his life. He has been fortunate enough to have hunted all over the world. He owns a 300-acre hunting farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and is an outspoken advocate for preserving and protecting our precious wild resources. His notable professional football career with the Washington Redskins in the 1960s and 1970s as well as his success in building a multi-million dollar insurance business opened doors for Ray in the powerful world of Washington DC politics. Washington DC policy makers, including two presidents, have sought Ray’s counsel on conservation and business issues.
OK, he'd like you to know that he's richer than Midas. Not quite sure what that has to do with the gun issue.
Critics say that Ray is anti-gun because he has made campaign contributions to some high profile Senate Democrats who are not considered pro-gun.
A search for his contributions on Open Secrets.com turns up totals of:
$5,000 to Brady Campaign (then HCI, I assume their PAC);
$2,000 to Barbara Boxer;
$2,000 to Ted Kennedy;
$1,000 to Bill Clinton.
Yep, some could say they were "not considered" particularly "pro-gun."
What the critics don’t mention is that Ray has spent millions of his own dollars supporting pro-gun candidates like Congressman John Dingell, challenging Maryland’s notorious anti-gun governor Paris Glendenning, answering the call to serve on the governing board of the Civilian Marksmanship Program, serving on the transition team of Republican pro-gun Maryland governor Bob Ehrlich and, covering much of the start-up costs of AHSA..
Can't find any trace of a contribution to John Dingell; the Open Secrets database goes back to 2002 for candidates and 1990 for soft money.
Ray’s wife Nancy is also connected politically. Like many wives of gun owners she is an independent thinker and does not like guns. She took a seat on the board of the Brady Campaign but soon became frustrated with the group’s lack of progress.
Not frustrated with their agenda. Frustrated that they didn't win at it.
Ray told her that progress would not be made until gun owners were allowed to bring their common sense perspective to the table.
Translation: Brady Campaign won't be successful until I can hornswaggle some gun owners into backing its agenda. We need to create a false-flag operation that will operate in tandem with it.
As a result, Nancy closed the family checkbook, resigned from the Brady board, and encouraged Ray to start AHSA.
I suppose it would have been too obvious to remain on its board while forming the false-flag operation. As far as her closing the checkbook, Open Secrets says the Brady/HCI contribution came from HIS checkbook, not hers.
Bob Ricker, AHSA executive director, is a recognized expert on gun policy issues and the gun rights movement. He has served as a former assistant general counsel for NRA and top lobbyist for the firearm industry.
Before he got unceremoniously released from that job. When the gun manufacturers' attorneys questioned him about what he had said in that job on behalf of the firearms industry, he responded "“I was paid to put forth that position.". Yep, sure sounds like he was being pro-gun.
From the nation’s capital to the west coast, Bob spent more than twenty years successfully representing gun makers and leading gun rights organizations before the United States Congress and various state legislatures.
Following in the traditions of the National Alliance of Stocking Gun Dealers (NASGD) Executive Director Bill Bridgewater and former Smith & Wesson CEO Ed Shultz, Ricker believes that the greatest threat to gun rights could be found in the reluctance of the gun industry to clean up its own act. Ricker’s courage in speaking out for change led some extremists to attempt to intentionally distort his motives.
'Nuff said. He thought (or could be paid to say) that the gun industry is corrupt. What he earlier said in its support was a matter of drawing his paycheck.
When many of the nation’s largest cities started suing the gun industry, Bob’s expertise was called upon to defend the industry
Let's see. Hiring out at $225/hour to testify for the people suing them. That doesn't exactly sound like defending the industry.
despite the fact that he no longer worked for the gun-makers. As we all know, witnesses can face perjury charges if they do not tell the truth, and Bob’s testimony cut both ways. In some cases it helped the firearm industry; in some it hurt. Critics have tried to allege that Ricker’s testimony meant he was a turncoat.
In other words, he was hired to attack them, but their attorneys pinned him on things in cross exam.
The fact remains Ricker took an oath to tell the truth and some bad actors within the gun industry got hurt.
Strange that they don't name these "bad actors" who got "hurt".
That does not mean he’s anti-gun; it means he’s honest. Some also criticize the fact that like most expert witnesses involved in litigation he was paid a reasonable rate for his time spent on the case. What the critics won’t say is that Bob was paid the same rate by both the industry and the city plaintiffs for the time he spent in court."
Facts: (1) Nobody has to volunteer as an expert witness. Actually, he didn't quite volunteer: he was paid $225-250 an hour by the groups suing the gun manufacturers. (2) As far as being paid by the industry, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that you pay an expert witness on the other side if you want to take his testimony via deposition.
On the side he consults for the "Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence," (see the same link), which is an arm of what used to be named the National Coalition to Ban Handguns.
Many of AHSA’s critics like to mention that John Rosenthal an AHSA founding board member was also the founder of Boston based Stop Handgun Violence, a gun violence prevention group that has advocated some of the nation’s strictest gun laws.
False-flag ops have a problem because they don't know how to fake the lingo. A profoundly anti-gun group is here described as "a gun violence prevention" group. Sorry, that's anti-gunner lingo. Take a look at their webpage, and tell me if this founder of AHSA, is pro-gun.
John, an avid skeet shooter, came to the shooting world in an unusual way. He’s a very successful urban real estate developer and saw first-hand how gun crime was not only destroying his city but also his business investments. Like Nancy Schoenke, he too served on the Brady board until frustration set in.
Frustration, like hers, that they weren't winning. By the way, a check at Open Secrets shows Rosenthal's political contributions:
$10,000 to Brady Campaign (then HCI);
$2,000 to Ted Kennedy;
$500 to Hillary Clinton;
$250 to Carolyn McCarthy;
John quit Brady and helped finance and build AHSA. In the spring of 2007, John resigned from the AHSA board over some fundamental policy issue differences and is now devoting his efforts to Stop Handgun Violence.
Wonder what the fundamental policy differences were? A more likely cause is that the group was starting to take criticism because his position made the false-flag pretty obvious. So he left the false-flag and went back to being overtly anti-gun.
Critics also like to dredge up the old John Lott, a conservative pro-gun lecturer and author, allegation that AHSA is merely front group for the Democratic Leadership Council. Lott, ever the conspiracy theorist, reasoned that because the AHSA’s internet technology consultant, DCS Congressional, was located in the same large Washington DC office building as the DLC that AHSA was just a front group.
Interesting that, if you check Schoenke's contributions via the , you find he's contributed $25,000 to "DNC SERVICES CORPORATION/DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE."
If anything, I'm shocked at how obvious these clowns are. A false-flag operation should be subtle. Here's a supposedly pro-gun group that was founded by two Brady Campaign directors and well-paid expert witness for the groups suing gun manufacturers. They endorsed Obama's candidacy, saying he had a "fundamental understanding of the meaning of the 2nd Amendment."
Brady fundraising insight
The Chronicle of Philanthropy notes:
"Other charities that have changed their names have faced trouble.
Gifts to Handgun Control, the advocacy organization, dropped after it changed its name to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in 2001.
“Seven years later, we still use the old name on the outer envelope of our mailings because responses drop when we don’t,” said Mary Ester, the Brady Campaign’s director of development."
Another Bloomberg Mayor becomes a prohibited person
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleads to two felonies. He'll resign, turn over his pension to the city as restitution, serve 120 days.
The charges are based on perjury during a civil police whistleblower trial, and in denying that he tried to fire a police official who was investigating corruption committed by his inner circle.
He still faces felony assault charges relating to another incident.
New trouble for Detroit mayor
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, one of Bloomberg's mayors, gets out of jail for violating conditions of release, on a perjury charge, and is promptly charged with two felony counts of assault on an officer.
Downfall of another "Mayor Against Illegal Guns"
Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is prominent in Bloomberg's group. It's amusing to read this report, which ends with "The mayor's chief of staff, Kandia Milton, will run the city while Kilpatrick is in jail, mayoral spokeswoman Denise Tolliver said."
Mothers Against Guns violated tax code?
Snowflakes in Hell asks the question. MAG is a Pennsylvania entity that appears to be violation the restrictions on what a 501(c)(3) can legally do.
Reporters accidentally shot at anti-gun event
OK, it's in China, but it's still ironic. The press conference's purpose was to alert reporters to the dangers of illegal guns. It was a success.
Hat tip to reader the Mechanic. Sounds like it was homemade shotgun loaded with pebbles.
Anti-gun movement seeking new angle?
At Snowflakes in Hell, Sebastian has a thought about the antigun group's apparent increase in references to suicide rather than homicide. He suggests they're angling for recruits among the families of suicides. It's unlikely that they are aiming to find a winning argument for the general population; suicide is the ultimate in "if he can't get a gun, he'll use something else" situation.
He has, I think, a good point. When impacted by a tragedy like that, a person often has a drive to feel that they are doing something about it, thus striking back at the tragedy itself. (That's why Pete Shields essentially founded what is today the Brady Campaign -- before his time it was a tiny group, but as a former Dupont VP he had the skill to make it a big one. His son was murdered by the Zebra Killers, and he was off to do something).
With suicide right now, those impacted can volunteer for suicide hotlines, join local suicide prevention groups with their educational campaigns... in short, do things which are productive but seem small scale. They might be likely recruits for campaigns that can claim a broad national agenda in exchange for donations and volunteers. Add to that the factor that families of the average suicide victim are probably better off financially, and better able to donate, than families of the average murder victim (esp. now that gang killings have become a large picture of that), and that there are more of them.
member of Bloomberg's group under indictment
Jackson, MS mayor Frank Melton, a member of Bloomberg's Mayors' group, is in hot water again. This time he's under indictment for federal civil rights violations.
Hat tip to reader Jim Kindred....
Brady: A permit holder is just someone who hasn't committed a crime, YET
Video debate over Georgia's (error corrected) statute allowing CCW in parking lots, mass transit and airports here.
The Brady Campaign spokesman says "We've gotta be reasonable here .... getting a concealed weapons permit just means you haven't committed a crime, yet." An interesting attitude for a group that claims to only want "commonsense" restrictions.
UPDATE: no idea where he got that figure. If you have a large enough group of people, somebody's going to get arrested for something. For example, there are about 1.5 million arrests nationwide for DUI annually, and that's just one misdemeanor. Works out to about half a percent of the population. Texas has around 268,000 pistol permit holders, so if they're at the same rate as the general population, that'd mean 1,368 DUI arrests or 3.6 per day, just for DUI. Total arrest rate for the US in 2005 was 4,761.6 per 100,000, or nearly 5% of the population. For 268,000 people, that'd mean 13,400 arrests, or about 37 per day.
If he's claiming the arrest rate for Texas permit holders is 2.5 per day, it'd mean permit holders are doing much better (as in 12 times better) than the general population.
Brady's grading system and "sensible gun laws"
Howard Nemerov's analysis is here. Brady Campaign grades States A-F on how their gun laws match Brady's ideal. Nemerov's statistical work suggests that (1) high Brady grades correlate to low gun ownership -- restrictive laws reduce the number of persons who can own guns and (2) they also correlate to higher violent crime and homicide rates. The highest rough quartile (averaging B+) had a violent crime rate of 610 and a homicide rate of 7.6 . The lowest quartile, average grade D-, had a violent crime rate of 320 and a homcide rate of 4.2.
So Brady's "commonsense" gun laws are associated with inhibited gun ownership and higher violent crime and murder rates.
Curse of the gunnies, pt. 203...
February 2008: Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon hosts the regional meeting of Bloomberg's Mayors' group, where "mayors discussed the escalating crime trends."
June 2008: Baltimore mayor Sheila Dickson is the subject of a search warrant and grand jury probe into corruption. Thousands of dollars in unreported gifts from a developer who got city contracts, zoning changes, and tax breaks.
Didn't take long....
Brady Campaign not satisifed with California
Brady Campaign apparently considers California's many gun laws as just too lax: ""We make it too easy for dangerous people to obtain dangerous weapons,” said Kay Holmen, President of the CA Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence."
Of course they're hard put to find something CA hasn't already enacted, so they propose (1) ammunition registration and (2) a requirement that guns be personalized so only their owner can use them. As I recall, the latter technology doesn't exist, but that's no bar to their making it a requirement.
Hmmm-- here's a PDF of the latter bill. I don't know how much of this is current law, but it has not only personalization but design requirements such as loaded chamber indicator, magazine disconnect, a feature to imprint serial no. on each fired cartridge.
Ah--and an exemption for guns used as movie props! These are supposed to be safety measures, yet movie sets get an exemption.
VPC and a Joyce clone attacking Justice Alito
Right here. I like the way they style his dissent in a 2-1 Circuit ruling as "the lone dissenter." On a three judge panel, that's the only way you can be a dissenter. Page is sponsored by Freedom States Alliance (and in contradiction to that name, complains of his "extremely restrictive view of Congressional regulatory power."), which is a Joyce Foundation clone, and cites Violence Policy Center (another Joyce clone).
Hat tip to reader Jim Kindred....
Sheriff protests Jesse Jackson protest at DS Arms
Brady Campaign--more on Heller
Check out the Brady Campaign Blog. It's a generic discussion of their top dog, Paul Helmke's surrender in Heller.
It sounds a little bit embarassed.
That would be understandable. After all, earlier this year Helmke posted of the "the long-standing view of virtually every Federal court – that the Second Amendment has an obvious militia purpose, and is no barrier to the adoption of gun control laws by legislative bodies..." They've long argued that view. In fact their main webpage still has Helmke saying he's confident they will win. And of course they fundraised off Heller.
And now he's announced they are totally hosed. They're going to lose in the Court, and they've already lost in the minds of Americans, by a 75% vote.
I can't help but wonder -- what Justice is going to want to sign onto an opinion going his way, now? The Court has to be deeply concerned about its reputation. It's got no appropriations power, no police, no miltiary. It depends on respect in a way the other two branches do not. Who would want to sign on to an opinion taking a position, where its chief advocate just publicly confessed that it's a loser, not only in the courts, but in minds of 3/4 of Americans?
UPDATE: I think SCOTUSBlog's statpack reflects, for cases not yet decided, a "best guess" as to who writes the opinion, based on which side they think will win and who, on the likely majority, is about due to be assigned an opinion. The latest is the June 9 edition, and I looked up some June 12 opinions. Two out of three had authors other than the ones listed in the statpack. I think the real assignments are kept as quiet as the opinions, since often, as in this case, if you know the assignment you know the outcome.
Brady Campaign hoists the white flag on 2A?
From ABC News comes one of the most remarkable political concessions I've heard in my life, and a statement I'd never expected to see in three decades of Second Amendment work:
GUN CONTROL GROUP BRACES FOR COURT LOSS
The nation's leading gun control group filed a "friend of the court" brief back in January defending the gun ban in Washington, DC. But with the Supreme Court posed to hand down a potentially landmark decision in the case, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Vioence fully expects to lose.
We've lost the battle on what the Second Amendment means," campaign president Paul Helmke told ABC News. "Seventy-five percent of the public thinks it's an individual right. Why are we arguing a theory anymore? We are concerned about what we can do practically."
"We're expecting D.C. to lose the case," Helmke said. "But this could be good from the standpoint of the political-legislative side." If the Supreme Court strikes down the D.C. gun ban, the Brady Campaign is hoping that it will reorient gun control groups around more limited measures that will be harder to cast as infringements of the Second Amendment. "The NRA [National Rifle Association] won't have this fear factor," Helmke said.
Brady Campaign goes on to cite what they could push for, and could hope to pass constitutional muster: universal (i.e., private sale) background checks, AW bans, "curbing large volume sales," i.e., one gun a month.
Leaving aside whether those would pass muster ... how does the Brady Campaign hope to survive on them? I'd wager that a LOT of its contributors give only because they believe those are stepping stones to things more significant, a "good start" rather than an end. If they faced a reality in which everything would stop with background checks, an AW ban, and one gun a month -- that they'd never get beyond that -- they might well bail out.
The (anti)Gun Guys at it again
To properly terrorize their audience, they post video of A Magpul Industries guy demonstrating an invention, a prototype. It looks like a large billfold, but unfolds into a shoulder-stocked full auto Glock.
They add "all the company would have to do to legally sell the weapon is convert it from a fully automatic machine gun into a semi-automatic assault rifle..." No mention that it would then be a short-barreled rifle, within the scope of the National Firearms Act, meaning to buy one you have to secure BATF approval, after submission of photo, fingerprints, the tax, and an endorsement from the chief of your local law enforcement agency or chief prosecutor.
Hat tip to reader Josh Berger...
Brady Campaign fundraising pitch
Rev. Pfleger ordered to take leave of absense from chuch
An amusing world view
"What gets me is that if you allow people to carry weapons into our national treasures, what is to stop the bad guy from doing the same; and then the escalation starts...."
I can't say much for the logic there....
Taking down an editorial praising AHSA
SayUncle does the job nicely.
Pro-gun control forces not optimistic
Story in The Hill.
"“It’s a pro-gun House, a pro-gun Senate and [Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) or Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)] won’t want to deal with it,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy stressed that she is not giving up on reauthorizing the weapons ban that sunsetted in 2004, but also made clear she is not holding her breath."
Alderman lets gun registration expire
From SayUncle comes this amusing and appalling story.
Essentially, Chicago imposed handgun registration, a requirement to re-register annually, and a ban on all new registrations. Over the years, a number of people have forgotten to renew their registration, and been informed that they cannot reinstate it due to the handgun registration ban, and thus lost their guns.
Now, a Chicago Alderman who voted for those rules let HIS OWN handgun registration expire. So he's quietly introduced a proposal to create a 30 day amnesty during which handguns can be registered, but only if (1) they were previously registered and (2) the registration expired during a certain time period, which strangely spans when his registration expired.
Brady Campaign campaigning
Against the Ill. Firearm Owner ID card. They want background checks in addition to the firearm permit, because the permit spans ten years. (I think there is a requirement, for a gun permit system to exempt the holder from background checks, that the permits not go beyond a certain time, or have a way to revoke if the holder is convicted of something disabling).
UPDATE: see comments. Carl in Chicago, who oughta know, says the ID cards are updated if convictions occur, and background checks are run for each sale atop them. If that's so, then Brady is campaigning only because they don't understand the law.
Snowflakes in Hell has an interesting post regarding the pro and antigun PACs this election cycle. Brady Campaign's PAC has under $50,000, and has so far raised... $73. NRA's PAC has over six million, and has raised eight million, of which about 3/4 came from donors of under $200.
His guess that perhaps Brady has been forced to cross off PAC fundraising in an effort to keep its regular operations bankrolled does seem a likely explanation. But $73?
Hat tip to Instapundit, whose referrals are keeping Snowflakes in Hell swamped for the moment...
Professor reports on empty holder protest day
Criminology Prof. Mike Adams writes in Townhall about experiences on empty holster day at UNC. The University's PR department issued a statement opposing the principle of the protest. A poly sci professor came to the table to berate a student who was in favor, ranting, calling them ignorant and crazy, and calling Adams an unqualified right wing nut job. Adams shows up and summarizes the criminological studies on CCW, the other prof admits he is unfamiliar with any of it. Adams gets him calmed down and he finally apologizes.
tell me it ain't so!
NSSF is pointing out that the mayors who filed suit against gunmakers, or their close associates, have a few skeletons in the closet. As in indictments, racketeering convictions, fraud and extortion raps, etc..
Joyce, Obama, and the Heller case
I've mentioned below the Politico article on how, during Obama's time as a Director of the Joyce Foundation, it pumped millions into anti-individual rights scholarship. It also goes into Joyce's essentially "buying up" law reviews to run exclusively anti-individual rights article, and the effect on the Heller case (i.e., groups filing amici in support of DC had been recipients of millions from the Foundation).
Now, Obama's campaign has had to respond. It's really a nonresponse, more like "well, the Joyce Foundation also gave money to other things, and Obama says he's really not against the Second Amendment, believe him." That and Joyce Foundation has some (minor) ties to Bill Clinton. The last point is downright pitiful.
Over at Democratic Underground, things are getting out of hand. Hundreds of posts. Hillary supporters, I'd guess, are posting it, and Obama supporters are outraged -- except for the ones who think banning guns is a great idea. One commenter makes a good point: "THIS IS WHAT IS COSTING US ELECTIONS! Saying that "well, most pro-gun people are Rethug anyway" is EXACTLY why we lose elections! Giving the issue to them means that the Thug leadership has a stick to beat their base with. And as HALF of the DU membership owns guns and as 39% of the gun owners in this country are Dems (source: Gallup), we CANNOT afford to give in to the toxic thinking that "well, guns are a Thug issue." Anyone who promotes this view is at best incompetent and at worst a deliberate plant."
Here's some of my past posts on Joyce Foundation:
Its financing of the "GunGuys" antigun web page.
Its buying up an issue of the Stanford Law and Policy Review, and doing the same at Fordham Urban Law Journal and Chicago-Kent Law Review (frequently cited in briefs by DC and its amici).
Joyce Foundation, Heller case, and Obama
I've mentioned the Joyce Foundation, and its devotion of millions to funding anti-second amendment scholarship.
Yesterday, Politico.com ran an interesting story, noting that Joyce's efforts date to when a lawyer named Barack Obama sat on its Board. Joyce's protests that they really aren't antigun, just funding legal research, is shot down with the note that all the groups they sent money to filed amicus briefs supporting DC in the Heler case.
UPDATE: here's HotAir's take on it.
"Lately, the political world has buzzed about Barack Obama’s tenure with the Woods Foundation, where he worked with domestic terrorist William Ayers and which issued a $75,000 grant to Yasser Arafat toady Rashid Khalidi. However, Politico has found another paid foundation gig which may raise even more questions about Obama’s positions and honesty. While working as a director at the Joyce Foundation, the organization funneled almost $3 million in grants to political groups opposing gun rights ...."
American Shooters & Hunters Ass'n ... backs Obama
I've mentioned ASHA before, as a "false flag" group, bankrolled by lord knows who to serve as a supposedly pro-gun group, but staffed by antigunners. ASHA nicely shows its true colors by endorsing Obama. I guess Hillary was just too pro-gun for them.
How is ASHA getting its money? Well, I found this $65,000 grant from a foundation with no connection to shooting or to hunting.
Solution to Brady foulup: they'll just crash the memorial service
As mentioned a few days ago, Brady Campaign wanted to have a PR event, on Virginia Tech, on the anniversary of the shootings. Then they found out it required a permit, which they didn't have, and the time and location of their PR event conflicted with the University's own memorial service.
Solution: go ahead anyway. Brady Campaign don' need no steenking permit! We already notified the press, dammit!
"The Brady Campaign sent out a media advisory last Thursday announcing the event, planned in conjunction with the gun control group ProtestEasyGuns.com. Hamm said the gun-control groups had not discussed the event with the university, but he was initially discouraged by what he saw as a hard-line stance by the university against issuing a permit. He said this morning that the event would go ahead as scheduled — permit or no permit. But by this afternoon, he was optimistic that Tech students involved in the protest would be able to reach a compromise with the administration. He said the goal of the protesters was never to interfere with memorial events."
Brady Campaign planned to kick off nationwide protests, a week from today, with one at Virginia Tech. Unfortunately for them, they forgot to get a permit. On top of that, the University only issues assembly permits to student groups, and the time/place designated by Brady, noon on the drillfield, conflicts with a memorial service already scheduled.
"Tech's position threw the Brady Campaign's plans into disarray yesterday: The noon demonstration at Tech was supposed to be the centerpiece of a nationwide series of events on April 16 in more than 70 cities and towns."
Mayor Daley speaks for stiffer gun control and public honesty
Video here. All right, I was kidding about the public honesty. Did the governor ever get flamed in the first comment, tho!
"You're among friends, say what you really mean"
"The Bloomberg Collection?"
Bloomberg is described as "outraged," but I suppose they could respond, "so sue us."
New VPC blog
Never knew Violence Policy Center to have a sense of humor like this.
Hat tip to reader Bill Bailey...
UPDATE: It really is a gag site, a parody of VPC's positions.
FEC rejects Brady allegations
The FEC just rejected allegations against NRA and GOA, filed by the Brady Campaign.
New VPC demand
Continuing in its quest for relevancy, or at least media coverage, the Violence Policy Center proposes to require FFLs to notify universities if a student buys a firearm.
Hat tip to Joshua Berger...
Update: SayUncle points out that VPC swiped the idea from Brady Campaign.
Violence Policy Center -- interesting study
Reader Howard Nemerov has written an interesting study of VPC, its structure, and funding (pdf, not large).
UPDATE: Howard will be on NRANews.com about it, at about 10:20 PM EST.
Let's help VPC
Now that we know, thanks to Matt Carmel's research and tip, that Violence Policy Center has a firearm dealer's license for their DC headquarters, I think we owe it to them to come up with an advertising campaign! Look at their opportunities. A city of 500,000 or so, they've got one of only a dozen licenses to sell guns, and the handgun ban may be struck down. VPC has always staked out the most extreme positions, so if the Supreme Court goes against them, they are ruined economically. Maybe they got the gun dealer's license as a hedge. Win in the Supreme Court, we make money pushing for more gun laws. Lose, and we make money selling handguns!
VPC should be ready with TV, radio, and billboards:
[Image of DC office building]
"While we wait for the Supreme Court to free the citizens of DC from their incompetent and corrupt government, now is the time to order your handguns from Josh's Handgun Haven, "It don't mean a thang if it can't go bang!"
[image of rows of firearms]
Drop on over to 1730 Rhode Island NW and take a look at our inventory! Glocks, 1911s, Berettas!
Earnest money only, all orders contingent on the court's ruling - get in line for something fine!"
[Pretty girl appears] "Violence Policy Center, it's your hometown gun shop."
Subtitle: The Joyce Foundation did not approve the content of this advertisment.
The quintessence of hypocrisy?
Josh Sugarmann, head of Violence Policy Center, has a Federal Firearm Dealer's license. The business address is VPC's headquarters in D.C.. Which, if I recollect DC law correctly, means VPC is exempt from the handgun ban they defend.
Thanks for the find to reader Matt Carmel...
Brady Campaign grades the States again
It's their annual publicity event. The Rapid City Journal, for instance, runs the story S.D. GETS LOW MARKS FOR GUN RESTRICTIONS. Yup, a dismal F, 6 points out of 100 possible.
Strange that in 2006, the State, whose population is 150% that of the District of Columbia, had a whole 9 homicides. Homicide rate of 1.2, about 25% the national rate.
A few embarassing moments...
And former Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne was sentenced to a year in the slammer , and now has lost his pension,for tax evasion ... specifically, not paying taxes on bribes. Quite a downfall for a Brady Campaign stalwart. Hat tip to Eric Schultz...
"Gun Guys" and Joyce Foundation
Some research at Armed and Safe.
Violence Policy Center starts losing it on NICS bill
Josh Sugarman, head of VPC, posts under the title of Trojan Horse Gun Control: The NRA Wins on the NICS Bill:
"Much has been made of the bill's bi-partisan, triangulating support: Democrats! Republicans! The National Rifle Association! The Brady Campaign! Beyond this cheery bon temps, little public attention has been paid to what the bill actually does beyond its title. And that's because if you start looking at the details of the bill--especially after NRA-backed changes made by Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn--it becomes clear that the measure is nothing less than a pro-gun Trojan Horse. That's why my organization, the Violence Policy Center, and other national gun control groups, have voiced their strong concerns about the version of the bill that was passed by Congress."
"So why's the NRA so in thrall with an alleged gun control bill? Here are some of the reasons why.
"The bill would resuscitate a failed government program that spent millions of dollars annually to allow persons prohibited from buying guns to regain the ability to legally acquire firearms. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would be required to establish a "relief from disability" program to allow persons now prohibited from possessing a firearm because they have "been adjudicated as a mental defective" or "committed to a mental institution" to apply to have their bar on firearms possession removed. As a result of the bill, more than 116,000 individuals would be eligible to apply. States would also be required to establish such "relief" programs to restore the gun privileges of those with mental health disabilities in order to be eligible for potential grant money to upgrade records submitted to the NICS."
"Once a solution, the bill--hijacked by the gun lobby--is now part of the problem. Intended as Congress' response to the mass shooting at Virginia Tech by focusing on improving the current laws prohibiting people with certain mental health disabilities from buying guns, the bill is now nothing more than a gun lobby wish list. It will waste millions of taxpayer dollars restoring the gun privileges of persons previously determined to present a danger to themselves or others."
And of course, the obligatory hit at those who... shudder... have served their country:
"The concerns over these aspects of the bill are not abstract. According to research published earlier this year, male U.S. veterans are twice as likely to commit suicide as men with no military service and are more likely to kill themselves with a gun than others who commit suicide. .... Veterans with mental health problems may present special risks for gun violence. In 2000, the New York Times examined 100 rampage shootings and found that the majority (52 percent) of such killers had been in the military."
Hmm... Cho, the Columbine killers, others ... I can't recall a vet among them. Discipline and duty are not things that a violent narcissist seeks out.
Brady Campaign getting a bit antisemitic?
Go to their webpage and look at the animation of Judge Silberman (author of the Circuit opinion that struck down the handgun ban).
Not so long ago, NRA took heat for using an image of an octopus which, the media assured all, was a symbol used by the Nazis. I rather doubt the media have the same interest in Brady using a caricature that Goebbels would have had autographed and framed.
Gun Guys gaffe
The Gun Guys (which is actually an antigun page) has a posting proclaiming how a mentally-disturbed fellow was shot by police after he got a " .50 caliber rifle with a scope on it and pointed it at officers. "
They use this as a opportunity to go with their .50 spiel:
"t's terrifying to think what might have happened if an officer was shot with such a devastating weapon. It's ours, and certainly every officer's worst nightmare. A weapon designed to shoot down civilian aircraft during takeoff and landing would devastate and rip apart a person's body if shot by one of these powerful weapon." Can shoot down an airliner, etc., etc.
But if you check out the story you find:
"Jessica says they told police Casey had no black powder for the muzzle loader, but police say they can't take that chance."
Hat tip to Joshua Berger...
The sound of silence...
A gunman goes on rampage, kills six.
We hear from the Brady Campaign, which might be expect to cite the case, or at least post a press release expressing their condolences... the sound of silence. Their lead item is still a posting about "God Not Guns Sabbath," held over a week ago. Strange, when there were far smaller shootings in Philadephia and Salt Lake City months ago, they were quick to proclaim "What a disturbed teenager in Utah and a tormented businessman in Pennsylvania have in common is that they had access to guns....We join with our Brady members and Million Mom March Chapters in Utah and Pennsylvania and across America in offering our heartfelt condolences to the families of those that have been lost." When two men were killed in Greenwich Village, they announced "Our hearts and condolences go out to the families of the victims of the terrible shooting in Greenwich Village."
Of course, in the case they ignore the shooter was a law enforcement officer, so his victims wouldn't serve their policy agenda. But we'd have to be awfully cynical to believe that advancing a political agenda has anything to do expression of condolence, I suppose.
Brady Campaign leaps aboard IACP (and Joyce) bandwagon
I posted with regard the International Assn of Chiefs of Police report, which was funded (and apparently written) by the Joyce Foundation. Today, Brady Campaign climbed aboard that bandwagon, meaning that their idea of "moderate, common-sense gun control" now includes, at a minimum:
Outlawing all private (non-dealer) gun transfers;
"Assault weapon" bans;
.50 caliber ban;
bans on handgun cartridges that can penetrate body armor (i.e., magnum chamberings, and probably a lot else -- the commonest form of body armor is meant to stand up to .38/9mm and nothing more potent -- not to mention that if a ban is written broadly it will include almost all rifle rounds, since pistols are available in .30-30, .35 Remington, etc.);
"health and safety" regulation of firearms design;
"one gun a month;"
repeal the Tiahrt Amendment to facilitate lawsuits against dealers and manufacturers;
and probably a lot else....
Joyce Foundation buys the International Assn of Chiefs of Police
They started by buying law reviews: now they're buying organizations, or at least their reports.
A while back, the antigun Joyce Foundation made a hefty grant to fund a gun summit meeting by some members of the International Assn of Chiefs of Police. Here's the pdf file.
Surprise! It concludes we need lots and lots of gun control. Ban "assault weapons," repeal the Tihart Amendment, ban .50 BMG, outlaw possession by anyone with a violent misdemeanor record, ban armor piercing using a standard of actual ability to penetrate body armor (which would encompass virtually any rifle round), outlaw private gun transfers, increase ATF's budget, etc., etc.
But the interesting part is that the International apparently let Joyce staffers write the report:
"We are grateful to several key staff at the Joyce Foundation; President Ellen Alberding for her leadership, passionate concern for quality of life in our communities, and particularly for her interest in partnering with the IACP to address gun violence, Program Officer Roseanna Ander for her dedication to reducing gun violence in the Great Lake States and the nation, and her relentless enthusiasm as she worked with IACP staff to make the summit a reality and Communications Director Mary O’Connell, who has aided in highlighting and supporting the vision of our summit participants through her editing, writing and consistent work to produce this report. "
Anti gun legislator arrested for DUI, flight & damaging squad car
I can't beat Instapundit's summary: more support for the theory that antigunners assume we have their lack of self control. And that certain legislators think they are above the law. DUI and leaving the scene would be pretty bad -- but finishing the drink in front of the officer? [Corrected to delete the mention of pulling a gun: the report above apparently got that wrong]
Gad--even more. He was totally crocked, rear-ended a car, led police on a 100 mph chase, kicked out the window of a patrol car while under arrest, and he's chairman of judiciary committee! The officers didn't give a sobriety test because he was so unsteady they feared he'd fall and injure himself. Story here.
Violence Policy Center takes aim at veterans
VPC takes aim at veterans. It's upset that the proposed NICS changes might be too liberal toward vets who have at some point been diagnosed as having mental illness.
" Under the new standard, federal departments or agencies would be prohibited from providing certain mental health records (including mental health records of veterans) to the NICS if the records fell into any of several newly defined categories. For example, if a mental health patient has been "fully released or discharged from all mandatory treatment, supervision, or monitoring," the record of his treatment or hospitalization could not be submitted to the NICS and the individual would be permitted to possess firearms."
"The bill would re-establish a federal "relief" mechanism for persons prohibited from possessing guns because of a mental health disability and would also require states to establish similar state-based "relief from disability" systems in order to be eligible for the grants the bill makes available to improve mental health records."
"This change to the original bill comes in the wake of recent government and private studies revealing that the number of veterans dealing with mental illness is at an all-time high, with many receiving inadequate care. A recent Department of Defense task force study found that the military mental health system lacks providers and is "woefully inadequate" to deal with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Moreover, a new study reports that male U.S. veterans are not only twice as likely to commit suicide as men with no military service, but are also 58 percent more likely to kill themselves with a gun than others who commit suicide. A 2000 analysis by the New York Times of 100 "rampage killers" found that the majority (52 percent) had a military background and 47 percent of the killers had a history of mental health problems."
"Culture of corruption" in Bloomberg's mayors' group?
Third Power reports that Mayor Samuel Rivera of Passiac NJ, a member of Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has been arrested on federal corruption charges.
He joins Frank Melton, of Jackson MS, another of the Mayor's group, who plead to weapons infractions after he and his bodyguards broke into a house.
Has Bloomberg's mayors group created a culture of corruption? Perhaps someone should demand their resignations!
Add to that a plea to tax evasion and mail fraud by a Brady Campaign LEO, with another such LEO in in hot water over accepting gifts, and certainly sounds as if that's occurring. All this is in the last twelve months, too.
Another Brady Campaign LEO spokesman bites the dust
From a Brady Campaign press release attacking Florida's expansion of self defense: "Police chiefs who opposed the new Florida law include ... Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne, (954) 831- 8900."
From their Shoot First website: "The Florida statute was passed over the strong objections of law enforcement officials and prosecutors. Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne opposed the law because "it's easy to say after the fact, I felt threatened." "
From today's Sun-Sentinel: "Federal prosecutors: Jenne agrees to plead guilty to tax evasion, mail fraud"
He's apparently looking at 1.5 - 2 years behind bars.
[UPDATE: I invented "the curse of the gunnies," think it was in a humorous piece for Gun Week back in the late 70s, a tale in which the bill of rights is protected by a curse -- some say carved inside Madison's casket. I noted that the prime mover behind the National Firearms Act died of a heart attack on the Senate floor, while his NRA opponents lived to 96 and 112, that Sen. Dodd's career ended in censure and disgrace, etc., etc.]
Round up of yesterday's pitiful protests
Alphecca has a roundup. And they do appear to have been pitiful. In Seattle, two people who lay on the ground for 32 seconds before furling their banner and leaving. "About 40" in New York. Outside DC, a few dozen demonstrate, and can't even get a favorable story in the Washington Post.
Update: and on the same day, VCDL turns out over 100 in Norfolk, to protest an illegal arrest for open carry.
Jesse Jackson: ATF is underfunded
Church of the Duke reports a Jackson speech claiming ATF is underfunded. (The example he cites is inspections: it would take 22 years to inspect all FFLs. Yet he also claims that 1% of FFLs account for 57% of traces. So why inspect all 100% if this is true?).
Third Power fires back an email, citing matters such as the ATF Director's posh suite, the Inspector General's report on his use of agents, etc.
A bit of hypocrisy...
Sylvester Stallone, a Brady Campaign stalwart, who's said ""until America, door to door, takes every handgun, this is what you're gonna have... It really is pathetic... We're livin' in the Dark Ages over there," turns out to have a CCW permit, issued by the celebrity-loving LA County Sheriff.
Oh, and listing four handguns that he will be packing.
And, interesting -- he answers question 9, has he been convicted of any offense in this or any other country, with "no." That was apparently true when he wrote it (2004) but a few months ago he plead to a charge in Australia that would qualify as a felony. The Supreme Court has ruled that foreign felonies don't count, California law may vary, but I'd assume this would be cause to re-examine his permit. Oh, I forgot, he's a celebrity.
Hat tip to Joe Olson...
Antigun official in hot water
Miami police chief John Timoney is in hot water. Again. The latest allegations are that he accepted free use of a luxury vehicle from a car dealership, while also drawing an allowance from the city for use of a personal car. The FOP, which doesn't care much for him, is calling for a vote of no confidence. (One of the things that may have them upset is that he reportedly fired a female officer for being married to a convicted felon, conflict of interest and all that, while he keeps his own job despite his son being a convicted felon).
He was pretty much a Brady Campaign poster boy. He endorsed Brady Campaign's opposition to liberalizing self-defense, calling it "unnecessary and dangerous", proclaimed that if the assault weapon ban expired, "We will see a return to the horrific violence that plagued our streets during the late 1980s and early 1990s.”", etc. (last file is a small pdf).
Brady Center on Parker Circuit ruling
They've posted their response here.
Hat tip to Joe Olson.
Brady Campaign & Jesse Jackson to protest
They're protesting something or other on August 28.
An interesting perspective
Imprisoning gun-using offenders is the price of compromise to the Brady Campaign. At least it's good to know they don't actively oppose the idea:
"Gun control advocates have largely supported longer sentences as compromises in order to win support for gun control laws. Chad Ramsey, field director for the anti-gun Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, says his organization believes such "after-the-fact" laws can be helpful for that reason.
"As part of a broader package, we're not going to oppose things like that," Ramsey said. He added, however, "I don't think criminals go out there and don't commit crimes because they're going to get a slightly longer sentence.""
The view from the other side...
Carolyn McCarthy explains to antigunners why she got into bed with NRA in regard to the recent House bill on mental records and disabilities.
Must be a REALLY slow news day
Stop Handgun Violence has stopped making strawman buys long enough to issue a press release that reveals (gasp!) NRA doesn't endorse background checks for private sales. And they even have a list of persons and groups that have antigun positions. Those are real shockers!
Antigun leader makes strawman buy
Gun Owners' Action League has the story. John Rosenthal, of Stop Handgun Violence and American Hunters and Shooters Association, went on a radio show to discuss his latest anti-NRA billboard, and in the process explained how he'd made a straw man purchase at an out of state gun show, after licensed dealers refuse to sell to him.
Not that he'd have to worry about prosecution, of course. Which is why he felt free to confess to a federal felony over the radio. Oh, and the Boston Globe paid for the buy.
[UPDATE: the theory of a strawman sale is (1) if the ultimate recipient is not able to buy (here, he's a nonresident), then he has made an illegal purchase through the use of a third party and (2) whether he's an illegal buyer or not, he's a party to making a false record in connection with a firearms purchase (getting the straw man to fill out the 4473 claiming that he is the purchaser), which is likewise a felony. (2) is even clearer today, when, as I recall, the 4473 form has a clause specifically asking if you are buying for someone else.]
Resignation from Bloomburg mayors' group
Mayor Harry Moore, of Oldmans Twnsp, NJ, has resigned. Here's his resignation letter.
"I joined your coalition because of its purported purpose to combat the criminal acquisition and misuse of guns, which is a goal shared by all Americans. Regrettably, it has become abundantly clear to me that you are using this coalition of mayors to advance a hidden agenda of bringing lawsuits against members of the firearms industry and spreading anti-gun propaganda.
According to ATF and the Department of Justice, your actions in having civilian private investigators conduct clandestine sting operations against federally licensed firearms dealers, without the knowledge of ATF or your own police department, actually interfered with ongoing criminal investigations, putting the lives of law enforcement officers and others at risk. The Department of Justice warned you to refrain from these actions because such efforts could "interrupt or jeopardize ongoing investigations." In response, your Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler stated that the operations would not necessarily stop. I do not want the blood of a police officer on my hands so that you can advance your anti-gun litigation campaign. I prefer instead to support the Fraternal Order of Police, a group that opposes your coalition's efforts to gain access to gun trace data for use in civil lawsuits."
More Joyce Foundation "astroturf"
According to its website, WAVE, or the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (which strangely only seems interested in firearms violence), is "Wisconsin's only statewide grassroots organization solely dedicated to reducing gun violence, injuries and deaths."
It goes on to list its accomplishments:
"A fully functional professional organization has been created essentially from scratch and is now up and running with a solid infrastructure.
An active coalition of partner groups is in place, drawn from sectors including public health, violence prevention, law enforcement, families and children, education, faith, grassroots, community and neighborhood-based, and others."
Curiously, it doesn't seem to have any true members, just contributors. The only staffer identified is an excutive director who is mentioned in press releases. And its newsletters only go back to 2006. This "grassroots" group seems to have appeared out of nowhere in the last year. How did they muster public support?
They didn't. Bouncing over to the Joyce Foundation's lists of antigun grants, we find:
"Thursday, November 30, 2006 Printable version
WAVE Educational Fund
Jesse Jackson plans to expand gun shop protests
Maybe he's desperate for cash this month. But it's so undignified, like Al Capone collecting protection money from lemonade stands.
Jesse Jackson plans protests for Aug. 28
From the "Rainbow Coalition" website: "Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of Rainbow PUSH Coalition, announced today he will organize a national day of protest in 25 cities on Aug. 28, 2007, to rally support for legislation to restrict gun sales."
I did get a chuckle from this. I suppose it would help if he knew something about the subject:
"The National Rifle Association, a powerful special-interest lobbying organization and chief proponent of lax rules for gun ownership, is promoting a federal bill that would, among other things, eliminate any limits on the quantities of guns an individual may purchase."
Another illustration of how far things have come
Over at the Huffington Post, the head of Brady Campaign is rejoicing in a survey that finds a whole 30% thought that stricter gun laws (the term being left undefined) might have helped a lot at Va Tech, and that on the question of whether allowing lawful carrying of guns on campus would help or hurt, 23% thought it would help and 26% thought it would hurt.
To think that today, their side of the movement has to regard those figures as good news.
The survey is here, in pdf... gun questions are after #60. And that was about the closest thing to good news for Brady.
The survey is of 17-29 year olds (with some questions matched with recent data for all adults), so you'd expect this to be favorable to Brady's cause. (Asked which primary election they'd vote in, Demos outnumbered Repubs almost 2-1). And many questions are "stacked" ("How big of a problem is..." starts you thinking that this is a problem). But...
How big of a problem are guns in schools? Choices are not serious or serious. Serious stacking here, but 70% said not serious.
Would stricter gun control have helped at Va Tech? 42% said no effect, 30% "a little."
And going back to questions No. 1 and No. 6, asked (without prompting) to say what was the most serious question facing people of your generation, and the country ... crime got one response and gun control got zero.
How things have changed...
When I started studying this issue in the 1970s, the big pushes were for, oh, national registration of all firearms, national permit systems for purchasing and carrying handguns, bans on civilian ownership of short-barreled handguns, and I forget what else. (Those were just the major issues: on the side bills were introduced to ban civilian use of soft-point projectiles in handguns, ban telescopic sights for rifles -- too useful for snipers, etc., etc.). Understand that in 1968, some antigun groups (in particular the predecessor of Brady Campaign) had come out AGAINST national registration, because they thought they could get more than that and were worried that Congress might pass registration, escape the media heat, and stop there.
Today, Brady Campaign issues a press release announcing its hopes for success, entitled "Connecticut, Many Other States Strengthening Gun Laws."
The specifics: one state passed a law to require reporting of stolen guns and another will give more mental health records to the NICS system.
Two more (Mass. & NJ, what a surprise!) are at least thinking about one gun a month.
Bitter's on a roll!
Bitter has a series of posts that chronicle the financial woes of the Brady Campaign. As in income drop of nearly a third in two years, operating on a loss of over $300,000 the first year, fundraising costs going up from 24% to 32% of budget.
And a good discussion of the NICS bill that's moving thru Congress. I haven't seen the wording and can't vouch for the content, but if it gives mental-committment prohibited persons the ability to regain firearms rights, it will be a big step forward. I know two persons, upstanding types, who right now are barred for life because years ago they had a mental committment.
Priest who called for "snuffing out" dealer equivocal now
The Chicago Tribune blog has the story. Apparently the Cardinal and he had a talk. Now he says he meant it more like "sniff out," and claims he didn't know that "snuff out" had homicidal implications. Hmmm... "Secondly, John Riggio. He’s the owner of Chucks. John Riggio R-I-G-G-I-O. We’re gonna find you and snuff you out. You can’t keep hiding ‘cause you’re afraid." "Whatever it takes to shut this gun store down. And shut down this legislation. We’re gonna snuff out John Riggio. We’re gonna snuff out legislators against our gun laws. And we’re coming for you because we’re not going to sit idly."
The mystery to me is the story's mention of his foster son. Guess he could be widowed.
Chaska, Minn. Chief of Police signs on with Mayors
Police Chief Scott Knight, of Chaska Minn., has signed on to do a TV commercial for Bloomberg's Mayors group.
The story also notes that FOP opposes the Bloomberg position, and that two stations refused to run the ad.
Yet another "this is pitiful" moment
A few years back, Los Angeles gave 1.5 million in grants to a group known as "No Guns."
ATF just arrested its founder for sale of a machine gun, two silencers, and other toys.
Note to LA government: be cautious about trusting a million bucks to a guy who goes by "Big Weasel."
UPDATE: LA Weekly has more detail. He already had one gun charge against him, his son, "Little Weasel," had been indicted for robbery, and his daughter's boyfriend, present in the house when he was arrested, fled but was caught and is charged with felon-in-possession. Oh, and he and relatives were making $200,000 a year each off Los Angeles.
Brady Campaign and allowing CCW holders to carry on campus
Brady Campaign has released a paper (pdf) arguing that universities should allow neither faculty nor student holders of CCW permits to carry arguing, among other things, that universities might increase legal liability. The paper got some traction in the Chronicle of Higher Education today.
Reminds me a little of Prof. Reynold's comment, in my documentary, that gun control is a litmus test for how a person views their fellow citizens. A few choice quotes:
"A binge drinking, drug using student is dangerous enough; let's not give him or her a gun" (p.8)
" had there been a number of people who had been in that classroom with guns, [there could have been] additional persons killed just as a result of poor judgment calls."
On allowing teachers to arm: "As a society, do we really want our teachers to be prepared to shoot children, perhaps killing them? ... what about the student that merely flashes a gun threateningly?... In how many of those instances would an armed teacher have been tempted to shoot the student because of a perception of danger?"
ATFE sets record straight
Bloomberg and his "mayors" have been claiming that the present ATFE budget rider somehow restricts ATFE from releasing trace data to local police (in fact, they're upset because it restricts releasing the data for purposes of their filing of civil suits against gunmakers, but they claim it impairs law enforcement use. Here's one example: "Dozens of mayors from around the country gathered Tuesday to urge the new Democratic Congress to fight crime by allowing wider tracking of illegal guns." Here's another: "When handguns with bullets that can pierce body armor showed up on the streets of New Jersey, Sen. Frank Lautenberg asked federal regulators to share data that could help local police figure out where the weapons were coming from. That information, the New Jersey Democrat was told, is off-limits....Insisting that gun trace data is an essential crimefighting tool for cities, Bloomberg used his own funds as seed money, formed Mayors Against Illegal Guns and made repealing Tiahrt's amendment its number one issue this year."
ATF director Michael Sullivan has released an Op-Ed setting the record straight:
"During the past several weeks, numerous questions and articles have arisen in the media, regarding the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to share firearms trace data among members of the law-enforcement community. With the recent tragic events surrounding the senseless criminal use of firearms; I felt the need to clarify this important issue.
Our agency routinely shares trace data with state and local law-enforcement agencies in support of investigations within their respective jurisdictions. Once a requesting agency receives law-enforcement-sensitive trace data from ATF, it becomes the agency's data to disseminate and share with other law-enforcement entities as it deems appropriate.
Let me be clear: neither the congressional language nor ATF rules prohibit the sharing of trace data with law enforcement conducting criminal investigations, or place any restrictions on the sharing of trace data with other jurisdictions once it is in the hands of state or local law enforcement. In fact, multi-jurisdictional trace data is also utilized by ATF and shared with fellow law-enforcement agencies to identify firearm-trafficking trends and leads. Additionally, nothing prohibits ATF from releasing our own reports that analyze trace-data trends that could be used by law enforcement."
[Hat tip to SAF email alerts]
Brady Campaign on what it wants (for now)
Here's their press release:
"Pass the NICS Improvement Act, introduced by Representative Carolyn McCarthy. This legislation provides funding incentives for states to provide appropriate records to strengthen the information in NICS. --
Require background checks for all gun sales, not just those from federally licensed dealers. --
Rescind the requirement requiring that records of Brady background checks be destroyed within 24 hours of purchase approval. --
Impose a waiting period under the Brady Law, to allow time to do accurate and complete review of appropriate records. --
Reinstate the Federal ban on ammunition magazines of larger than 10 rounds that expired along with the Federal assault weapons ban in 2004, and pass a ban on military-style assault weapons. --
Repeal the so-called "Tiahrt Amendment," which as an annual appropriations rider bars the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from sharing data on the sources of guns used in crimes. --
Require that new semi-automatic handguns be equipped with technology to allow police to quickly match shell casings found at a crime scene to the handgun from which they were fired. This technology, known as"microstamping," would enhance law enforcement's ability to rapidly solve gun crimes."
A bit ghoulish....
Antigunners object to memorial statute
Antigunners in the most literal sense. Michelle Malkin has the story. Navy SEAL Danny P. Dietz won a posthumous Navy Cross for a gun battle against the Taliban. The city of Littleton proposed a statue in his memory -- and people objected because it showed him holding ... a rifle.
"They should be putting up a peace dove instead."
Hat tip to The Bitchgirls.
Story about Kennedy bodyguard arrest in 1986
Story here. I was in DC when it happened. The fellow walked into a Senate building with two subguns, a pistol, and sufficient ammo. Oops!
Feinstein has a MAJOR conflict of interest
Story here. Wonder why the MSM has carried nothing on it?
Mystery -- Amer for Gun Safety website down
The website of Americans for Gun Safety (the antigun group founded by Monster.com millionaire Andrew McKelvey) shows only "Account for domain www.americansforgunsafety.com has been suspended." It's reportedly been like that for days. Anyone have any idea why?
Update in light of comments: www.third-way.com, set up by the Third Way Institute, is underwritten by the Tides Center. Here's the webpage on the support. Tides is famous for pumping money to left causes, and also for serving as a nonprofit money laundering outfit. If a person or group wants to finance a cause, but might be embarassed by that being known, they give to the Tides Center with a stipulation that it go to the cause. It appears that AGS's supporters really like to keep things secret, since these funds go from Tides to Third Way to AGS.
Brady Campaign and Parker v. DC
Brady has long been claiming it only backs "reasonable" gun laws. In Parker v. DC, the DC Circuit indicated that maybe handgun registration might be OK, but total prohibition (and requiirement that guns be kept disassembled so as to be useless in self-defense) was not.
“The 2-1 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Parker v. District of Columbia striking down the District of Columbia’s handgun law is judicial activism at its worst. By disregarding nearly seventy years of U.S. Supreme Court precedent, two Federal judges have negated the democratically-expressed will of the people of the District of Columbia and deprived this community of a gun law it enacted thirty years ago and still strongly supports.
“This ruling represents the first time in American history that a Federal appeals court has struck down a gun law on Second Amendment grounds. While acknowledging that ‘reasonable restrictions’ to promote ‘the government’s interest in public safety’ are permitted by the Second Amendment, the two-judge majority substituted its policy preferences for those of the elected representatives of the District of Columbia. ”
Falling for false flag operations
I've mentioned (as has practically every gun blogger) the Jim Zumbo controversy. I haven't gone into it too much, since (1) I've never heard his name before (I'm a shooter, but have little time to hunt and less to read hunting writers) and (2) while I disagreed with what he said, he already was taking a ton of flak over it and didn't need more.
But I'd like to deal with a related issue. Bill Schneider, at New West, has an article, "NRA Destroys Longtime Friend. Full of terms such as "gun rights zealots" and a statement that Zumbo's comment "makes sense to most Americans," and "To me, it seems like outdoor writers are giving the black rifle Gestapo their victory with their silence. And not just writers. Where is the outrage from millions of hunters who agree with every word Zumbo posted on his blog? "
So I looked up Schneider's previous writings. What they illustrate is how the opposition can use this fault line to divide and conquer, and also how easily the hunter-only side of it can be led to fall for "false-flag" operations (Supposedly pro-gun groups actually set up and controlled by antigun organizations).
In "Saving hunters from the NRA" he endorsed the American Shooters & Hunters' Assoc., which is a prominent "false flag" operation. The group "had almost no members and a mere half-million in the bank, but planned on an aggressive membership drive. And aggressive it must be to make any dent in the NRA's body armor. " (Hmm--no members, yet half a million in the bank? Might that lead one to wonder where it came from?) "Hardcore gun owners will remain skeptical, but many hunters who feel burned by the NRA will probably be hopeful this is reality instead of hype."
In "NRA Doesn’t Represent Both Hunters and Gun Owners" he responded to readers who'd said he'd been duped by the group... "I really don't know if the AHSA truly represents the rights of gun owners, but that wasn't the point of the article. The point was: Imagine a little group like this trying to take on the goliath of politics. To this, I say dream on!... In looking at today's political landscape, it seems like we might need another group to step up and save hunting before the NRA destroys it." Then he quotes the "GunGuys" blog, which is another antigun "false-flag" operation. "In response to Wray's original articles, the Gun Guys website where "everybody is a straight shooter," agreed: "One of the reasons we exist is simply to set the record straight on gun issues. For years the NRA has fed lies to the American people because it advances their agenda."
The controversy underscores something for me. I can understand there are sometimes conflicts between hunting-only and gun rights, if only because a pro-gun rights legislator may be anti-conservation, or putting resources into one means you can't put resources into the other. (There can even be conflicts within hunting-only: increasing hunting license fees makes hunting more costly, but increases funding for game conservation, restricting off road vehicles may make hunting areas more pristine but makes hunting unavailable to those who can't hike for miles).
Yes, I can appreciate the virtues of a traditional rifle and those who value them. I love the US Krag, and have some interesting 1930s conversions of them into deer rifles. The ingenuity of some of the work is astonishing -- mounting an adjustable peep sight on the cocking knob, for instance. I also happen to like my AR-15 -- the challenge of making a really accurate semi-auto is interesting. The problem here is that folks who like the first may assume (as traditionalists) that traditional values apply. People may be taken at their word. The other side is not obsessive, but has rational limits. If they say they only dislike AR-15s and certain handguns, they must mean it. There are no "false flag" operations. A group with shooters and hunters in their name is a group of shooters and hunters, and a blog named "The Gun Guys" must be run by gunnies.
Post on Brady Campaign
The Free Market News Network has a fine post on Brady's tactics.
Brady Campaign and scope sights
Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell has the story.
Via The Bitchgirls.
This is the best they can do?
California proposes requiring barrels to be microstamped, or should I say microstampers, so as to engrave their gun's serial number on a bullet.
California Brady Campaign "strongly" endorses it. While acknowledging it may not lead to catching a criminal shooter, who "could have gotten that gun illegally," but "if we can go back to the original purchaser or the original dealer of that gun then we can stop some further trafficking of guns to prohibited purchasers."
So in most cases, they'll be able to find the dealer who sold to the person from whom it was stolen. That will be valuable, I'm sure.
Brady gets stung
Snowflakes in Hell has the story. Brady Campaign releases a report naming alleged criminal, or at least suspicious, gun dealers ... and it turns out that a dealer listed was operating a sting in cooperation with BATFE.
Third mayor leaves Bloomberg group
Mayor Kevin Jackson has become third mayor to quit the Bloomberg group.
US Attorneys slap down Bloomberg
VCDL has the report.The Exec Office of US Attorneys informs the mayor that they will not prosecute any of the dealers he targeted, and warns that his engaging in "stings" without law enforcement authorization could jeopardize real operations and expose him and the city to liability.
The latter is pretty apparent. The dealers would have the defense that they didn't realize that the gun was going to the person who didn't sign the forms, but the buyers have no such defense -- they knew exactly that that was the plan. So there's no doubt that the buyers broke the Gun Control Act, and that those who set them to it were liable as aiders and abettors, not to mention on a conspiracy theory. I'd assume that Bloomberg and company (1) figured it was worth it for the publicity and (2) figured that the laws don't apply to the rich and powerful. They may just have been right on both.
Update: here's the NY Daily News story.
Another mayor withdraws from Bloomberg group
"I do support the efforts to strengthen laws and prosecute individuals who dispense or use illegal guns, and getting them out of the hands of criminals. However, upon further review of the coalition, it appears they may have a different agenda than I anticipated.
I am concerned the coalition is working on issues that conflict with the beliefs we share in Alaska about legal gun ownership, and I'm also concerned gun ownership advocates are not part of the full discussion within the coalition. We cannot afford to risk protecting our Bill of Rights and the rights of legal gun owners."
A hard hit at Philadelpha mayor
In the Philadelphia Bulletin. An excerpt:
"The mayor noted the additional "problems" more police would bring to the city. More police, for instance, would mean more arrests for an already grievously overcrowded prison system. This is already burdening the city with costs it can't afford in addition to more court costs for prosecuting the criminals.
Which means the mayor is not against crime or criminals. He does not want a safer city. He wants to save money. The easy way to do that is with another gun law-- which he will not enforce."
Here's a bit of detail: Daniel Enchautegui was an NYPD officer who was awakened by sounds of a break-in next door. He called 911, was told backup was coming. It wasn't. The 911 operator apparently did nothing.
He went to the scene, was fatally shot by the burglars, but managed to wound them both. His family is now suing the city, and the city is stonewalling attempts to get at the 911 tapes.
Brady equivocates on self-defense
In the Gainesville Times:
"Incidents like last week's shooting "are definitely being played up to justify this slew of fake self-defense laws," said Zach Ragbourn, a spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "I know if this (incident) happened two years ago, the result would have been the same. Police and prosecutors are not evil people bent on trying to put citizens away. A righteous shooting is a righteous shooting."
Ragbourn believes the new laws could serve to provide a defense for a criminal who kills someone in a shootout by claiming he feared for his safety. He said the Brady Campaign has never been opposed to the use of firearms for legitimate self-defense purposes.
"There are absolutely times when you have to defend yourself," Ragbourn said. "We do say that while there is legitimate value to gun ownership, the value doesn't always outweigh the risks."
Guns in homes are 22 times more likely to cause harm to the residents than to be used in defense of those homes, Ragbourn said."
American Shooters & Hunters Assn and the media
I've mentioned American Shooters & Hunters Association -- which is basically an antigun group flying false colors, here and here and here. For Pete's sake, it's not even a good "false colors" operation: it was founded by a Brady Campaign director, with Brady's agenda.
ABC News just ran a piece on Bloomberg's mayors' group, claiming that it's a "gun rights group":
"The head of the American Hunters and Shooters Association, Ray Schoenke, said that gun rights "extremists," including the National Rifle Association, have taken positions that have "tarnished" the reputations of hunters and shooters... He is the first gun rights advocate to join the mayors in their cause."
Welcome fellow Instapunditers! Take a look at the main blog, and if you're a voting NRA member, my board elections roundup of all relevant blogs and webpages. If you're into the Second Amendment, you might take a look at my new documentary film on it.
Bloomberg group speaks with forked tongue
The NY Times doesn't note, of course, the two quotes in its puff-piece story:
"Members of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns insisted that they respected the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Mr. Bloomberg said he was not trying to curb existing gun rights. “That’s ideological nonsense and we’ve just got to move past it,” he said.
and later, after saying the Mayors announced a legislative task force....
"The task force says it will also “work to enact common sense measures” to stem the flow of illegal guns, officials said."
Brady Campaign going after Firearm Owners Protection Act
From the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center and former mayor of Fort Wayne, Ind., said the ATF had been greatly weakened by pro-dealer legislation Congress passed, including some laws dating to 1986. For example, if ATF agents make a surprise visit to a gun shop suspected of breaking the law, they are not allowed to make another surprise visit for 12 months, Helmke said. During that period, the ATF must warn the dealer in advance that they are coming."
Bullpucky. I'll put the real law in extended remarks below. Essentially:
1. ATF can inspect records anytime it traces a gun to the dealer.
2. It can inspect records anytime it has suspicion a third party (the shooter, or anyone who transferred to him) broke the law.
3. What's left is records where ATF has NO reason to believe the gun sold is linked to a crime. The reason for inspecting those is just to ensure the dealer is keeping his books correctly. That they can do, but no more than once a year.
Brady Campaign and cooking the books
The Conservative Voice fisks the Brady Campaign's statistics.
Brady chapter head: too many gun shows
From a letter to the editor:
" am concerned about the alarming number of gun shows scheduled for Solano County in 2007.
I'm sure we are all aware of the rising level of senseless gun violence in America. I understand that many citizens feel the need to own guns for protection. However, scheduling gun shows for March, June, September, October and November is a bit excessive. ....I have recently become involved with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence by starting a chapter in West Contra Costa County. I believe there should be a Solano County chapter."
Joyce Foundation, once again
Alphecca has a great post on how the Joyce Foundation is financing anti-gun studies at the Harvard School of Public Health.
I've discussed the $700 million Joyce Foundation before. They're using their millions to create fake grassroots groups, generate studies, stir up campaigns, you name it. They're financing Bloomberg's mayors group, putting $380,000 into the "Legal Community Against Gun Violence", funding "Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence", essentially buying issues of the Stanford Law & Policy Review and other law reviews.
[Welcome, Instanpundit readers. I might suggest you take a look at my documentary film on the right to arms (there's a link in the left margin), which stars Prof. Reynolds, not to mention Gene Volkh, Randy Barnett, and many others. It has a Wikipedia page here that sums up the content.
Update--link fixed. Thanks.
Taking Brady to task
Ohioans for Concealed Carry does a good job of it.
Anti-Bloomberg rally in DC 1/23/07
Countertop describes the VCDL rally planned for January 23, at the DC Capitol Hilton. Bloomberg and his mayors will be meeting at the hotel, and VCDL plans a protest calling for BATF prosecution of Bloomberg for setting up alleged "straw man" sales. My recommendations for travel are in extended remarks.
NRA "Calling out" the Brady Campaign
"Get a load of what the president of the Brady Campaign recently said while he was in Maine. Paul Helmke let loose with this: "I absolutely don't want to do anything to make it harder for the legitimate hunters or gun collectors or anybody who even wants it for personal protection."
Oh really? Mr. Helmke, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you're not opposed to people having guns for self-defense, then I've got an offer for you. Let's make history together. When Congress convenes next year, let's both push for passage of the D.C. Personal Protection Act. This bill would restore the Second Amendment to our nation's capitol, something that I'm sure you support. After all, you don't want to make it harder for people who want a firearm for personal protection, right?
And let's push to end those stupid "one-gun-a-month" laws. Like you said, you don't want to do anything to make it harder for gun collectors, right? Ever try to buy a matching set of pistols in a state with a "one-gun-a-month" law? Good luck. "
Brady Center on "crime surge"
FBI reports that, after many years of declines, violent crime went up 5%. The Brady Center promptly issued this press release proclaiming it a "a surge in violent crime" and attributing it to guns and less federal money for police.
As to the first: hmmm... funny how crime rates declined for years, as Americans bought more guns.
As to the second: why are cities so dependent on federal funds, for their most basic task of policing their communities?
Brady Center "grades"
Here's another critique of Brady's grades, noting that states that got a D grade had a larger drop in violent crime than those that got higher grades.
Brady Campaign on Huffington Post
The head of Brady Campaign has a post at the Huffington Post about its plans & hopes.
One new one: "restricting sales of military style weapons and the ammunition that's used in those weapons."
More on Bloomberg group mayor pleading to gun charges
I'd earlier blogged how mayor Frank Melton, of Jackson MS, a member of Bloomberg's mayors' group, had plead guilty to illegal gun carry.
Just found this on the FULL set of charges against him. Frankly, the mayor sounds like a mental case, and rather on the dangerous side.
"The most serious of the charges facing the mayor and his bodyguards involve the damage of the duplex on Ridgeway Street in Virden Addition last month. Neighbors allege Melton and unnamed minor boys in his company used sledgehammers to break open the front of the home rented by Evans Welch....Melton and Wright are charged with burglary for allegedly entering the house armed with deadly weapons with the intent to commit a crime."
And that's just the short version. Read the whole thing...
[Udate: abbreviation corrected, thanks...]
Mayor Against Illegal Guns pleads guilty to illegal gun carry
Perhaps the ultimate case of "rights for me but not for thee..."
Mayor Frank Melton, of Jackson MI, is a member of Bloomberg's mayors group, and just plead guilty to illegally carrying a handgun onto school, and church, property.
The story also notes that he really, really, really, likes to carry. As in he's tried to pack on airplanes and in the US Capitol. Not that I'd complain ... but that's a little hard to reconcile with being a charter member of an antigun organization!
Hat tip to Dan Gifford.
"Why all the lies?"
A blog asks a very good question.
Brady grades and crime rates
Here's a paper by Denton Bramwell, studying the relationship between the Brady Campaign's grading of state gun laws, and the homicide rates and total violent crime rates, of those states. (pdf file, but small).
If Brady's report cards made any sense (that is, if the legal measures it wants enacted, the type of thing that earns an A grade), then there should be some correlation between grades and violent crime and murder rates. The paper concludes that there is no such correlation at all. At each grade level, states' homicide/violence rates range from low to high, and there is no evidence of any correlation between grades and homicide rates at all. A regression analysis indicated that the relation between Brady grade and crime rate was no better than you would get by running random pairs of data, plucking grades and crime rates out of the air.
Logical conclusion: Enactment or failure to enact Brady's legislative priorities had no correlation to murder rates. If a state were to go from F to A, from virtually no gun control to everything on Brady's agenda, the only result would be a joyful press release from Brady.
It is quite interesting to see an advocacy group impeached by its own grading system.
[Welcome Instanpundit readers! Take a look at the blog in general, or check out my documentary film on the 2nd Amendment, released last week and starring Prof. Reynolds, Gene Volokh, Dave Kopel, and quite a few others.
Alas, poor Utah
A Utah antigun group sponors a day of rememberance. "in 2005 Utah received a grade of D- for its laws shielding families from gun violence, from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Utah has no child access prevention laws, no gun safety lock or safety design standard laws, no limitation on assault weapons and magazines or “junk” handguns, no requirement for a license to purchase a gun, no requirement to maintain gun sales records or to register the ownership of a gun, no requirement for background checks on “private” gun sales, and no required safety training for handgun buyers."
Hmm, so let's look at the crime picture in this D- state. Uh -- in that year it had a homicide rate of 2.3, the 42nd lowest in the country (the absolute lowest rate was Vermont, which allows concealed carry without a permit, and the highest rate, 35, was the District of Columbia). In total violence crime it was 47th -- only Vermont, New Hampshire and South Dakota had less violence.
Edward Welles, early Brady director, dies
Edward Welles, a former OSS/CIA officer who became first Executive Director of what is now the Brady Campaign, has died at age 85.
Brady started out as ... if I remember correctly, the National Council to Control Handguns. It was a very small group until Welles landed Pete Shields, a DuPont vice president, as his replacement. Shields knew organization and PR and put it on the map. In the process, its name changed to Handgun Control Incorporated (because its previous name, and acronym, was too easily confused with National Coalition to Ban Handguns, the other large antigun group). Later Shields recruited the Bradys, after his retirement they named it after themselves.
One of my beefs, BTW, is that the Brady Campaign's website and literature barely acknowledges that Shields existed -- before Brady, there was nothing -- when actually he was the creator of the group as it is today. His counterpart would be Harlon Carter, who largely created the NRA as it is today, and NRA has no trouble remembering him -- he's an honorary life member, the HQ building is named for him, his bronze bust in the its hall, his memory is invoked at every annual meeting. I have trouble understanding why Brady doesn't honor the fellow who put it on the map.
Joyce Foundation underwriting Bloomberg, too?
Georgiapacking has an interesting page tying together all the links between antigun groups and their financing. From them I got an interesting tip. Joyce Foundation's latest report on their funding of antigun efforts includes a grant of $175,000 to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, "To organize a coalition of mayors from around the country to promote national, state, and local policies, litigation, and law enforcement strategies aimed at reducing the flow of illegal guns into cities."
The Mayor's Fund webpage describes it as the "umbrella not-for-profit corporation of the City of New York," and a 501(c)(3). So now Joyce is not only buying law reviews, and creating "astroturf" grassroots groups, but also funding public officials in their projects.
UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! Take a look at the main blog, where I've blogged the recent George Mason Univ. symposium on the second amendment, and put up a trailer for an upcoming documentary film on the right to arms.
PA march for more gun control
In Pennsylvania, some organizations have announced a march from Philadelphia to Harrisburg to ask the legislature to enact one-gun-a-month and to create jobs in Philie.
Well, actually, no one is going to walk that distance. They'll walk in relays, so nobody gets too tired. But they hope it gets publicity.
What's strangest to me is the call for the state government to create more jobs. The solution to unemployment in one area is either to lure employers in, or to move out. My father, a construction guy, did the latter quite often. No work in Tucson, but a big project in Yuma, move to Yuma. If you want work in a blighted area, the best solution is probably less government there, not more. Say you lift the sale tax there for a guaranteed number of years. Lift the tax on new improvements (while keeping the tax on land), so that improvements don't up the realty tax, while empty land is still taxed. Allow improvements that raise buildings closer to the modern building code, even if they don't meet it entirely (one barrier to restoring buildings is that any improvement must come up to the present code, which is cost-prohibitive in many older structures. So the owner just lets the old building, which is grandfathered, sit as it is, rather than improving it up to the limit of his budget).
Brady reacts to House Judiciary action
I gather that House Judiciary reported out the various firearm bills, because Brady Center is criticizing the action.
Tempest in a teapot
CeaseFire Maryland has issued a press release claiming that one assault rifle is traced every 48 hours in Maryland, proving they need more laws against that manner of thing.
OK, that's 180 guns a year for the entire state. As I've noted earlier, upwards of 90% of ATFE traces aren't in relation to use in crime. (ATFE encourages local police to trace any guns that come into their hands, so they trace recovered stolen and lost guns, guns seized pursuant to a domestic violence restraining order, etc.). So now we're down to under 18 guns a year, for a populous state. Big woof.
"American Shooters & Hunters Ass'n"
Cam Edwards has a Townhall column up on the subject of this group.
Joyce Foundation wikipedia page
Wikipedia has an entry dealing with the Joyce Foundation. Hat tip to Kevin Pinto, who came up with the concept.
Another "grassroots" surrogate of Joyce Foundation
So... I come across a press release today from the Legal Community Against Violence, which claims it was founded by attorneys in response to gun violence, etc., etc., and has created a "a first-of-its-kind publication designed for public officials and advocates working to reduce gun violence across the country."
My first thought: one more Joyce Foundation clone, a supposed "grassroots" organization in fact created by Joyce's millions, and with a membership at best in the dozens. But perhaps I'm too cynical.
Nope. Hop over to Joyce Foundation's webpage and we find among its grants:
"Legal Community Against Violence
San Francisco, CA $380,000
For general support. (2 yrs.)"
And, as might be expected, a search of Legal Comm. Against Violence's own website reveals... not one mention of who are their officers, directors, or how many members they have. In fact, no names at all. One more plywood cutout, backed by Joyce's money.
Jim Dewey, of Dewey Ex Machina sent the following, which for no reason I can understand got stopped by my spam filter:
LCAV appears to be part of Firearms Law Center [also funded by Joyce]
FIREARMS LAW CENTER
SUE ANN L. SCHIFF, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, &
SAYRE WEAVER, LEGAL DIRECTOR
268 BUSH STREET #555
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA 94104
Brady Campaign and criminal case
Cokehead and his dealer are alone in a room, fight breaks out, cokehead fatally beats dealer with a metal lamp. Prosecutors charge murder and, during trial, plead it to manslaughter.
According to Brady Campaign, it was due to the new castle doctrine law: "The reason: Kentucky's new "shoot first" law, pushed by the National Rifle Association in multiple states this year after passing it in Florida last year. "It has created some problems," the prosecutor, Ray Larsen, told the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader. "This case is a prime example.""
News reports suggest a slightly different story: "Last week, Circuit Judge Sheila Isaac rejected a defense motion to dismiss Clem's murder charges because of a recently enacted "home-intruder" law that grants immunity to somebody who uses deadly force against a robber or attacker."
Joyce Foundation at it again -- Stanford Law Review
I've posted before on how the antigun Joyce Foundation was using its millions to, essentially, rent law reviews as fora for second amendment attacks. It'd invested in symposium issues of the Chicago-Kent Law Review and Fordham Law Review, getting them to bring in outsiders as symposium editors, inviting only anti-second amendment articles, and then paying for copies to distribute to judges and legislators. Understand, most law reviews run on a shoestring. Authors are unpaid, editors get a pittance ($600 a year when I did it). Some tax-exempt place comes in and offers tens of thousands, it's unprecedented.
The spring issue of the Stanford Law and Policy Review is coming out with a symposium issue on, you guessed it, gun laws and the second amendment. So I did a bit of research and found this note on Joyce Foundation's homepage, under its 2004 grants:
"Ohio State University Foundation
John Glenn Institute for Public Service & Public Policy
Columbus, OH $125,000
To host a symposium at Stanford Law School on the connections between the Second Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment, to publish papers in a major law review, and disseminate findings via the Web. (2 yrs.)"
Article on American Shooter & Hunter Assn
Here's a column in the Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette touting the American SHA. As I've noted previously (see archives under antigun groups), the group was set up by antigunners to pose as a pro-gun group. As might be expected, the column here furthers that, insisting that it's formed as a moderate group standing between NRA and Brady Campaign.
Wonder where their startup money came from? Read somewhere they started with half a million in the bank. Pretty hard to find that, when you have no members at the outset.
Anyway, the column notes correctly that one founder of the group "co-founded Stop Handgun Violence and is a former board member with the Brady Campaign. " It claims of the other, "Ricker, a former chief lobbyist for the NRA, who in recent years has testified in lawsuits by the NAACP and cities against the gun industry" who "parted company with the NRA because of its all-or-nothing mentality."
Might as well set the record straight. I knew Bob Ricker when he worked for NRA. He wasn't the "chief lobbyist." He was an attorney working under the General Counsel for some short period (maybe a year, my memory is imperfect here). Then he and Richard Feldman formed a group established by the gun manufacturers, and were with that for some years.
You've got to understand that the manufacturers and NRA rarely see eye-to-eye. The Mfrs see things as a business. If a gun law doesn't hurt your profits, no problem. Even a complete ban is OK, so long as it affects someone else's guns (Assault weapons bans are perfectly OK, unless you're Colt ... and even then it just means taking the flash suppressor off, in exchange for your prices skyrocketing). And don't look at the long run! The fiscal year is the question. So the manufacturers' group signed on with a variety of gun legislation and were actively promoting it.
Eventually, NRA brought the mfrs to their senses. I forget whether the group was dissolved, or its leaders fired, but it was one or the other. Ricker was out of a job. He found one testifying as an expert witness for the cities suing the gun manufacturers. And now he's heading up this group. But to describe him as a former chief NRA lobbyist, who parted company over its positions, is creative writing.
[Update: I got an email from someone mentioned here -- unfortunately, I get tons of spam and had their email sender, usa.com or something like that, blocked. The blocked msgs get deleted automatically, so I have no idea of its content. If you'll resend, I've taken that url off the block list).
Michael Moore is sued by disabled vet
The NY Post reports that Michael Moore has been sued for $85 million by Sgt. Peter Damon. Damon was seriously injured in Iraq and wound up with both hands amputated. Moore (without Damon's consent) incorporated footage of an interview Damon gave NBC.
I don't do Intellectual Property law, but sounds like he has a case -- unless NBC got him to sign a wide-open release allowing them to do anything with the footage. From what I understand, that's rare. NBC is going to look after covering themselves -- if someone later buys rights to the footage, they have to look up the person filmed and get his permission for their use.
Moore has more than just that one suit coming. He also used footage (obtained under unknown conditions) of a funeral at Arlington with grieving wife. Not to mention that he took a newspaper's letter to the editor (Google for Moore and Pantograph, the name of the paper) and re-typeset it as a headline story.
Brady hires former Tucsonan as Calif. leader
Brady Campaign has hired Ellyne Bell as California Field DIrector. The press release describes her as "an experienced and creative progressive grassroots organizer and coalition builder."
She used to work here in Tucson as head of the Brewster Center for battered women, and "coalition builder" was not a term that comes to mind.
Here's another article: "Ellyne Bell abruptly resigned from the Brewster Center last week, just before City Councilmember Steve Leal did the right thing with a community sit-down that resulted in restoration of domestic violence services at El Pueblo Neighborhood Center... The Brewster crew has a long way to go to repair the damage done by the union-busting tactics they've happily practiced. .... Brewster, sadly, is typical of many in the non-profit Mafia that soak up dollars for big salaries, toot their own horns and then don't deliver."
Brady v. NRA annual meetings
This weekend is the annual NRA meeting, and by coincidence also the Brady Campaign annual get-togther. The contrast between the two meetings is, I think, rather interesting.
The NRA meeting is usually attended by 20-30-40,000 people. It rotates around the country -- last year at Houston, this year Milwaukee. The meeting itself is free. The banquet is attended by several thousand and costs $75.
The Brady gathering is attended by a few hundred, located in D.C., and costs $250 per plate.
The Million Moms March traditionally rallied on Mother's Day. This Mother's Day, apparently their only event involved handful of people in Eugene, OR.
The article notes " A year later, the group merged with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, advocating for tougher gun laws..."
Of course, there might be another reason for the merger...
Bloomsburg's mayors' conference
New chairman at Brady
The Brady Campaign has announced that Paul Helmke will take over as their president. He replaces former Congressman Michael Barnes. Helmke was mayor of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and lost in the congressional primary against Rep. Souter. Basically, their leadership is changing from an antigun Democrat to an antigun Republican.
I can remember back to when it was the National Council to Control Handguns. Then (because the name was too close to the National Coalition to Ban Handguns) it became Handgun Control Inc., and then the Brady Campaign. In its first incarnation, curiously, it argued that gun registration, permits, etc. are useless against crime -- back then it had hopes of a handgun ban, and feared that these would be used to head off that move.
"License to murder"
Here's a new antigun (anti-self-defense) webpage entitled License To Murder, claiming that "Castle Doctrine" laws allow people to " kill another person just because they look "suspicious,"" and "allow people to open fire without consequence."
I would think that a law creating a presumption of self-defense where an aggressor has violently and illegally entered a home requires a bit more than his "looking suspicious"...
It is supposedly posted by Freedom States Alliance. Here's their "about" webpage. FSA claims to be a "grassroots" organization, yet nowhere on its pages can you find one human name. Looking up the domain name on whois.com indicates it is registered anonymously via Domains by Proxy. So this supposedly grassroots group is going to unusual efforts to hide who or what is behind it.
Hmmm... the organizations that receive its money are mostly antigun groups that have been receiving Joyce Foundation funds. The links to other gun issues are to issues that Violence Policy Center, another Joyce-bankrolled group, have been pushing. I smell another Joyce front, a fake grassroots organization created by the Foundation's millions.
The Boston Globe reports on the Mayors' summit. It can be summed up as "more of the same."
UPDATE: Bloomberg's press release is in the extended entry below. It's interesting in that just about every discussion of "this is what some city has done, and it worked" comes under the heading of enforcing an existing law -- crackdowns on felons, illegal traffickers, intense patroling of high-crime areas, etc.
Brady Campaign e-fundraising
An interesting article on Brady Campaign's e-fundraising.
[Update--link repaired, thanks for the tip]
Marion Barry takes the dive again
Gun Week also reports that former DC mayor Marion Barry has taken a second felony dive (the first being for cocaine in the 1990s). This time he plead out to income tax evasion .... he failed to file returns for five years during which his income was estimated at over half a million, and the amount he stiffed IRS was estimated at around $195,000.
Being well connected politically must be nice. Even tho he had a prior, he was allowed to plead to misdemeanor, and he got probation, no jail, and no fine.
Here's a WashPo article on it, noting that his salary as a city councilman is being garnished to pay a judgment awarded to a woman who said he assaulted and exposed himself to her.
Washington DC: too small for a state, too big for an asylum.
Gateway Pundit has a post on it -- "And Barry Makes Six." Actually, Florida state Senator Gary Siplin, NRA F-rated, makes seven. Hmm.. and Robert C. Janiszewski, the NJ state chairman for Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign, makes eight.
Brady Campaign survey
Pretty funny... go to the Brady Campaign's latest online survey, and click in whatever answers you want.
On the next page, click on the hypertext for see how other viewers answered the questions. On the next page, note that 77% gave "other" for what is of most concern to them, then click on the link for "view all responses," and go down to, oh, late March.
One more "this is pitiful" moment
This one from Canada:
Anti-gun activist's son arrested
Police find two guns hidden in man's pants
Joyce Foundation analogy
I've posted before on the Joyce Foundation, which was started by a timber company family, originally to provide benefits to lumberjacks, and now is pumping millions into antigun causes.
How did it get that way? Here's an article on the Ford Foundation, which started out as a family foundation directed at Detroit-area charitable causes, such as a hospital. Today it has billions in assets, hands out half a billion a year, and virtually none of that goes to Detroit causes. The last family member resigned from the board decades ago in disgust, and it's now run out of headquarters in New York City by what can be described as professional foundation administrators.
Problems for a Brady stalwart
Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who draws a 92% agreement rating from Brady Campaign and an F from NRA, has a bit of a problem. As in Capitol Hill Police seeking an arrest warrant in the wake of her assault on an officer.
[Answer to Gully's comment: national legislators are privileged against arrest, while travelling to or attending Congress, except for "treason, felony, and breach of the peace." The last exception would cover assault on an officer. Basically, they're protected against arrest for nondisruptive misdemeanors. Once read of one squeaking out of a DUI arrest on it.]
Brady Campaign--fall of Berlin Wall will live in infamy?
It leads off with a bit of a slip. At least, I think it was a bit of a slip. When asked about Reagan's legacy, the Bradys reply: "I think the coming down of the Berlin Wall will always live in infamy." (I am not kidding, that's what it says).
Some interesting quotes:
"We do not support gun bans unless a locality has voted it in themselves." (Hmm... I guess that means they don't support one city trying to ban guns in a different city. That excludes a lot).
In answer to a question about why then they supported a *Federal ban* on "assault weapons: "I was speaking of bans on all firearms."
To a question about states liberalizing CCW: "We believe that permits for carrying concealed weapons should be issued only if the local law enforcement or courts approve."
Brady Campaign is marking the 25th anniversary of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan with an announcement of their new legislative agenda. Which is their old legislative agenda. Use mayors as PR tools, make the gun issue a political consideration, enact laws restricting gun dealers, one gun a month and background checks at gun shows.
In sum: more PR and the same bills they've been unable to get enacted over the last ten years.
Rave shooting and "American Shooters & Hunters Assn"
In the wake of the Washington "Rave" shootings, the local media has (rather slowly, compared to past years) gone into customary mode. They are somewhat inconvenienced by the fact that the killer used a shotgun (but can at least take comfort in the fact that it had a pistol grip type stock), is not reported to have bought it at a gun show, had owned it for years, it wasn't an assault rifle nor a handgun, etc.
Still, the Seattle Post article above makes a game try, arguing that the killer *owned* other guns.
It also plugs the American Hunters and Shooters Ass'n, telling us that it's composed of shooters who want "commonsense" gun laws.
In fact, it was founded by John Rosenthal, who was on the Brady Center's board of directors. (He claims he left it in 2004 because he was frustrated by its support for the DC handgun ban. If so, he must have a high tolerance for frustration, since he was on the board for six years. A more likely explanation is that he was designated to found the new group, in an effort to split the shooting community). And it's run by a Demo consulting from, the DCS Group. Here's more from Countertop and from The Bitch Girls.
Its agenda is the same as Brady's. Looks like a proposal to extent Massachusetts' laws nationwide.
Here's Gunlawnews' great investigation of the group. The url was initially registered by DCS, which represents John Conyers, Nancy Pelosi, etc. The president of AHSA is a donor to Bill Clinton, the Brady Campaign, Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy, Diane Feinstein, etc.
But according to the Seattle newspaper, it's a bunch of shooters and hunters. Who says you can't trust the mainstream media?
Another "This is pitiful moment"
Brady Campaign tactics
From the Wellstone Institute comes an interesting article on Brady's tactics. An interesting one is to call members, pep them up, then patch them thru to a legislator.
Drop in licensed gun dealers
The antigun Violence Policy Center is rejoicing that the number of licensed firearms dealers has fallen from 245,000 to 54,000 since 1994.
In the original Gun Control Act of 1968, getting a license was made easy, for the simple reason that dealers have to record sales (and today do background checks), etc., so why not encourage licensing? A fair number of people got licenses just to buy for themselves or a few friends. Then in 1994 Congress (now figuring that TOO MANY people were complying with these standards) made it considerably more difficult -- among other things, requiring compliance with local zoning codes (which usually forbid businesses from operating in residential areas).
So just what problem does VPC have with small-time licensees? They call them "illegitimate "kitchen-table" dealers who operated out of their homes or offices," adding "an unknown percentage of which were actively involved in criminal gun trafficking." Unknown of course = none that we know of. I suspect the bottom line is -- it was a good publicity angle.
China cites Brady Campaign
China's State Council has released a report attacking American's human rights record, and it cites the Brady Campaign.
UPDATE: the People's Daily is, surprise, carrying the story. With the note that 10% of the US population has been shot. Now, maybe my experience is unusual pacific, but 10% of the people I know have not been shot. In fact, I have some experience via studies and the criminal justice system, and 10% of the people shot at have not been shot.
As far as the homcide rate in China -- I have no idea, but any figures are purely what the government is willing to admit. Until the fall of the Soviet Union, its reported homcide rates were quite low. Today we know that most of the formerly Soviet republics in fact have rates much higher than those of the US. MUCH higher.
Brady Campaign grades the states
The Brady Campaign has issued its annual press releases announcing the grades it gives different states. So just as an experiment I checked out the States with the *lowest* homicide rates.
Maine, with the lowest rates in the country, draws a D-.
South Dakota, with the second-lowest homicide rate, draws a D.
New Hampshire, the third lowest, gets a D-
The Brady grading criteria give an interesting insight into the question "what do these folks want in the way of laws" (or perhaps more precisely, what are they willing to say they want). Included are, oh, one handgun a month, attorney general able to regulate guns, ballistic fingerprinting, parents punishable for gun access by children, cities able to sue gun mfrs, registration of all guns and permit requirements for handguns, bans on "saturday night specials," backround checks on private sales, bans on assault rifles and large magazines, waiting period for any gun sale, etc.. Oh, and no pre-emption law, so localities can impose regulations beyond this.
Even Massachusetts is regarded as imperfect: it gets an A-, getting dinged for (apparently) no rifle registration, and allowing CCW permits at police discretion.
Timing is important
The WashPo reports that Brady Campaign had ordered a bunch of blaze orange t-shirts marked "Innocent Bystander," and had them in hand just before the Cheney hunting accident. They figured it was a good time to send them to the White House (after, of course, tipping the press), but after the guy on the receiving end of the shot experienced a heart attack, reconsidered, and finally sent a few to the press secretary (after, presumably, tipping only the Post).
I suppose we should be grateful for their (almost, anyway) showing of good taste. The explanation that "The message of gun safety was lost in this story," would be more understandable if Brady had, oh, a single hunting safety or gun safety instructor.
Brady Campaign getting ever more desperate
Wyoming is proposing a no-retreat law similar to that of Florida, and the Brady Campaign press release sounds rather desperate. Now it describes the Florida law: "alternatively as the "Shoot First law," "Wild, Wild West law," or "Make my Day" law" (make up your mind!) and says it "made Florida a virtual laughingstock." Then it cites to the duty to retreat, from "AmJur." AmJur is an ancient legal encyclopia--I assume they meant AmJur 2d.
Yet another this is pitiful moment
Illinois governor Blagojevich has sent a press release announcing a push for a .50 caliber rifle ban and a state ban on "assault rifles." It's full of bombast and mis-statements, but I found some humor in the Brady spokesman quotation:
"We are grateful for their efforts to keep us safe from the threat posed by weapons with a high capacity magazine, silencer, automatic trigger with a pistol grip and the other dangerous features of such insidious weapons,” said Jennifer Bishop of the Brady Campaign To Prevent Handgun Violence."
Automatic trigger ... a dangerous pistol grip ... silencer ... gad, you'd expect their designated spokesman to know a *little* about what they want to outlaw. But then, apparently neither does the governor, who quotes her.
Another "this is pitiful moment"
In New Jersey, the Million Moms March and Brady Campaign cancelled a protest because the weather was too cold.
Oh--and the story notes the organizer is a convicted sex offender. Here's another story on his background. And another, where he complains of the injustice of it all.
Joyce-sponsored antigun group in Ohio
Chad Baus of the Buckeye Firearms Ass'n has a detailed discussion of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence and how it works to create a "phantom public." Very interesting set of tactics. Apparently it's a tiny organization, a fistful of staffers supported by grants from Joyce Foundation. But the media promotes it as if it were a large public body. Then each of the staffers, when testifying, will identify themselves, not as its staff, but as representing some other segment of the public (doctors, church organizations, whatever is applicable to their general line of work). In the end, three or four people can make themselves sound like a large segment of the public (it helps, of course, that the media plays along with the game).
Gun Control -- thinking small
An op-ed in WashPo, by a supporter of gun control, raises the point I've made earlier: "But what troubles me most is that the gun control lobby is pouring its resources into battles that probably won't save many lives -- and we're losing even those. ..." The author (who favors handgun prohibition) points out that waiting periods, suits against gun manufacturers, etc. are (even if you assume gun control works) not going to change things measurably.
Every Christmas, back at least to 1975, John Snyder of Citizens' Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, has sent out a card along these lines, and every year for 30 years now it's gotten press.
And Brady weighs in...
The Brady Campaign has predictably endorsed proposals to make the N.Y. gun laws even stricter.
So let's see... they just want moderate, sensible laws, but support the DC near-total ban, and think New York's laws are too loose.
Actually, take a look at their mission statement. They are "are dedicated to creating an America free from gun violence" and "believe" that this can be "achieved without banning all guns." The only limit they put on seeking zero gun violence is that it may not require a total ban on all firearms. But even that is expressed as a belief that they could achieve the goal short of that, not as a committment to refrain from pushing that far.
Bad week for animal rights extremists
Cam Edwards reports that four animal rights types were arrested for hunter harrassment in New Jersey. Added to the six federal arrests for eco-terrorism in the Northwest, it makes it a bad week for animal rights extremists.
A friend of mine had the best response to hunter harrassment. The friend pointed out the harrassers rarely know much about the outdoors, and often wear shorts, short-sleeve shirts, etc. So as they follow you you cut through the worst brambles you can find. After they are quite lacerated, you take them back into the most isolated, confusing terrain around. Then you lose them. They haven't mapped the course or scouted it in advance: they were counting on you to lead them back. With any luck, they'll have an authentic overnight wilderness experience, without sleeping bags, food, or water.
Kopel on anniversary of Brady
Over at Volokh Conspiracy, Dave Kopel has a posting on the 12th anniversary of the Brady Act, and some interesting comments on a story that Bill Clinton told to illustrate its importance. (He claimed that a firearms dealer friend of his had inadvertently sold a gun to an escaped mental patient, who used it in crime, and the friend was not over it to this day. Investigation indicated that the killer was not an escaped mental patient, did not buy the guns, and the dealer, supposedly not over it to this day, had died years before. Other than that, we may suppose, the story was true).
Brady Campaign on San Fran gun ban
The Brady Campaign has issued a press release proclaiming triumph: "The San Francisco referendum, Sarah Brady said this morning, "sends a very loud message from American urban voters. They are saying the gun violence problem is not going to go away if we don't do something about it. The extreme gun lobby worked very hard to try to defeat the measure, and they got trounced."
Uh... Brady's been trying to portray itself as a supporter of reasonable, moderate, gun laws. But it apparently regards a measure to confiscate all handguns, and forbid future transfers (purchases, inheritance, whatever) of rifles and shotguns as something only "the extreme gun lobby" would oppose... That seems a rather strange definition of "extreme" and "moderate." Unless... no, it couldn't be. I was about to say they were lying.
Yet another "this is pitiful" moment
A glance at the Million Moms March webpage shows three campaigns:
1) They urge you to contact your Congressman to oppose the manufacturers' liability protection bill: "Together we can make a difference -- we can beat this legislation and Stop the NRA in its tracks." (Given that the bill passed the House by a nearly 2:1 vote last week, it may be a little late for that ... but not too late to take the embarassment off their webpage!)
2) a pitch against .50 rifles and
3) a pitch against that FNH 5.7 mm pistol,
Both of which are distinguished by one thing: neither has ever been used in a crime. Oh, and the 5.7 is supposedly a cop killer, but the manufacturer's web page notes: "All 5.7 x 28 mm restricted ammunition (armor piercing) is sold only to law enforcement and military agencies. This ammunition is only released and shipped from a U.S. Customs controlled custom bonded warehouse (CBW) upon BATFE and U.S. Customs approval. " Without AP, the cartridge is just an underpowered .22 (the .22 Hornet, which came out in the early 1900s, runs rings around it).
CEO of Brady Campaign resigns, citing stress of losses
ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU QUIT? For Gun Control Advocates, a Losing Streak in Congress
By Daphne Retter, Congressional Quarterly Staff
October 19, 2005
Congress may decide in conference to ease District of Columbia gun restrictions (H.R. 3058). The House will vote Wednesday on shielding gunmakers from liability suits (S. 397). And last year, Congress let the assault weapons ban (P.L. 103-322) expire.
It's enough to make a gun-control advocate quit.
"It's not an easy job to get up every day and duke it out with the gun lobby," Michael Barnes, president and CEO of the Brady Campaign and Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said Tuesday, "but it's very important."
Barnes resigned this week.
He conceded that his side of the gun debate is faring poorly on Capitol Hill, but said that's not the whole lobbying picture. "In many states throughout the country, things are moving in our direction," he said.
Another "this is pitiful" moment
The antigun Violence Policy Center has two themes this month: (1) getting the Washington Redskins to withdraw from an NRA shooting event and (b) the terrible security threat posed by .50 caliber rifles (which have never yet been used in a single offense; the article of course being illustrated by an arabic-looking fellow with a Soviet .51 caliber machine gun.
Ah, for the days when the gun control debate was over halfway serious issues!
Great response to Brady's PR campaign in Florida
Patrick Semmens has come up with a great response to Brady's PR campaign, where they are trying to scare tourists away from Florida by claiming that its liberalized self-defense rules make things dangerous.
Patrick's response: he's created leaflets warning Washington DC tourists of how dangerous DC's gun laws have made the place. He says he may upgrade them. I'd suggest a quick reference to DC's murder, rape, and robbery rates, compared to some other jurisdiction (they're probably pretty bad even with regard to NY City, but it might be esp. fitting to compare them to those of the state of Florida).
Thought on Brady Campaign, etc.
Thought: faced with years of defeat, and no end in sight, the Brady Campaign has morphed (as it did once before, ranging out as Handgun Control Inc. into "assault rifle control" when the media began to drive that issue). Now it's becoming anti-self-defense, with its opposition to the Florida statutes liberalizing defense of the home (which statutes make no mention of handguns, guns, or any other implement).
What if the tide had gone the other way, and Brady had essentially gotten all that it claimed it was driving for? Oh, Brady Act, restrictions on gunshows, assault weapons ban renewed or even broadened. Would it have declared its objectives met, or moved on to national registration and permit systems (that it defends the DC handgun ban suggests not, and that an outright ban on handguns, at least, is seen as something praiseworthy). What then?
FoxNews has an interesting report on an organization faced with just that question. Mothers Against Drunk Driving succeeded in what seemed to be its ultimate goal: nationwide lowering of DUI levels from .15 to .12 to .08 (as the article notes, the average alcohol-related accident occurs at .17, and there's no credible evidence that lowering from .12 to .08 affects levels of those accidents). Plus, of course, stiff penalties -- here, mandatory jail, a thousand or so in fines, 90 days' suspension of license, for first offense, and much worse for second). As the article notes, MADD has moved on to pushing proposals to penalize driving after having consumed anyalcohol, if there is a child in the car -- penalties to include loss of custody or even termination of parental rights (i.e., you're legally no longer parent). Even its founder, the story notes, says it is becoming neo-prohibitionist.
Brady Ad Campaign
Another contender for the "Pitiful" award...
Brady Campaign is beginning a billboard campaign attacking Florida, as a tourist destination. The claim is that its recent expansion of legal self-defense will make it more dangerous to tourists (or at least those who break into houses, not a common vacation pursuit).
The billboards will go up at various Florida locations, thus reaching only.... people who have already come there as tourists.
This raises a very interesting question -- just what IS Brady's agenda, other than (a) a generalized desire for fewer guns and things associated with them, and (b) fundraising. The FLA law doesn't single out guns -- it's about self-defense. We might ask the same question in the context of Brady's objections to liberalized issuance of CCW permits. What's its objection to people passing a criminal background check, taking training, getting a permit, and then carrying? I thought Brady liked background checkis and permits. Whether a person carries openly or concealed surely can't matter much to Brady's organizational purpose.
The only sense I can see to this is (a) Brady long ago got all it could get in the way of laws; (b) it sure as heck isn't going to get any more within the foreseeable future (between solid GOP control of Congress and the White House, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina); (c) but they can't just lay everyone off and file for corporate dissolution, so they have to come up with billboards against liberalizing self-defense.
The ability of political organizations to survive their purposes is an interesting topic. Might just write about it someday. Planned Parenthood, as I recall, has a budget of hundreds of millions, in a time when you can get condoms in any drugstore. Mothers Against Drunk Driving still holds forth, in a time when the DUI limit is .08 (not too many years ago it was .15), and punishments are about a strict as could be desired (first offence: day in jail, about a thousand in fines, 90 days suspension of license, loss of insurance; refuse the breathalyzer and license is suspended for a year and prosecution can comment on refusal as proof of guilt).