Friday, January 18, 2008

DC, ATF, 2nd, SCOTUS, Heller and Shepherd

Confusing title, ain't it?

Five days ago I added my comments to Syd's (1911) in respect to the ATF/Solicitor General's Amicus Curia brief on DC vs HELLER as presented to the Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS).

Syd said it was outrageous. I agreed, but suggested that the Feds (in all their many bureaucratic manifestations) could hardly allow the question to be decided by the Supremes without dropping a couple of pennies in the pot.

As I was reading my email today, I was struck by one analysis I found in a subscription email. Not surprisingly, it was Jim Shepherd's comments in The Shooting Wire.

Shepherd states his opinion so nicely, and is so clear in his thoughts, I cannot in good conscience voice an opinion on this subject (or most subjects) without providing you with the same Shepherd perspective from which I benefit.

Since Shepherd's daily comments are the only part of that website's posts which is NOT perma-linked, I reluctantly publish the most significant portion of that article rather than to provide a link for your convenience:

Spin aside, there are a few irrefutable truths coming from the Solicitor General asking the Supreme Court to send D.C versus Heller back to trial court for a "reconsideration."

First, politicians and bureaucrats both believe you can tell average voters anything you please and they'll forget it before you come back up for reelection.

Second, gun owners are not "average voters." Gun owners have memories like an elephant's and carry great big chips on their shoulders from the other "fibs" you've told them in the past.

Third, and maybe most importantly, you can say you are whatever you want, but what you do will eventually show you for what you really are.

This wasn't a sellout by the Bush administration.

The Bush administration is already history.

This was the bureaucratic machine pronouncing the time of death of the "W" presidency while simultaneously covering its own posterior at the expense of the Second Amendment. The amicus filing said - up front - that the Second Amendment was, really, about individual rights. But, a more contemporary reading of the Amendment might suggest that the bans on some guns in some areas by some groups was really OK.

It might not make sense to us, but it makes perfect sense to a bureaucrat. They survive via obfuscation - deliberate, willful actions are taken daily by bureaucrats to make the laws completely contradictory. After all, in an absolute world, there's very little room for "a more contemporary reading" of anything. It either is; or it isn't.

Bureaucrats don't like that environment any more than bad breath likes Listerine.

And bureaucrats, like the monuments across the city, aren't going anywhere. Politicians are a dime a dozen and are changed like sweaty sheets, something politicians are often familiar with. Bureaucrats, however, simply nod at their new "bosses" agreeing to whatever makes the latest crop of dunderheads happy. After all, they know that the politician is helpless without them and their seniority trumps the newest politician to hold down what they really consider "part time positions" inside THEIR government.

And why shouldn't they feel that way? The politicians stop making genuine efforts to change Washington about 30 minutes into their new jobs. They're blinded by their yes-men (and women), indebted to their contributors, and focused on raising more money from more contributors so they can stay around to enjoy more of the perks that come along with having jobs the founding fathers always intended to be short-term.

Jaded? Maybe. Cynical? Probably. But I have a surprise for the bureaucrats and the politicians… they're fooling with a different group of voters when they screw gun owners just like they do everyone else.

We might not always be the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, but neither are all gun owners lacking prehensile digits and the ability to reason. In fact, we gun owners have a deep-seated value system, the ability (generally) to believe that "yes" or "no" or "wrong" or "right" aren't variables depending on the political circumstance…and we can give a terrier a lesson in stubbornness.

We've always managed to keep our heads when everyone around us loses theirs. That's why gun owners are always called upon when times get tough and sacrifices, sometimes ultimate ones, are needed.

The same politically correct weasels who vilify us in the good times come to us hat in hand when things get tough and rough measures are called for.

To our simultaneous credit and detriment, we keep bailing them out.

We can -- temporarily -- accept that there are political realities that require a level of compromise that we're…uncomfortable…with, but that isn't the be-all and end-all for us. Remember that value system I mentioned? We don't just think guns are fun, or, as William Jefferson Clinton once noted, for duck hunting. At our core, we believe that guns are a necessity for the Republic -- and we act accordingly.

And this single quality may be the downfall of the bureaucrat. After all, they know they can outlast their normal adversary- the politico. They also believe, wrongfully so, that they can simply wear down gun owners to the point we'll eventually just give up, give in, and surrender our guns.

Here's a classic American response to someone else who thought average Americans lacked the grit to, well, stick to their guns when it looked hopeless:


--Jim Shepherd
It's not so confusing after all, is it.

Or maybe, it's more confusing once you start to think upon it.

Comment: Shepherd dismisses Bush's lack of leadership (if that's what it is) in allowing this Amicus Curia brief to be filed, assuming that it is a Bureaucratic CYA move. His position seems to be that Bush's part in the action is one of the following;

(a) Bush agreed completely with the brief, and allowed both the ATF and the Solicitor General to conspire in formulating an official position with which reflects the President's opinion.

(b) Bush assumes no leadership position in this issue at all. The bureaucrats are acting independent of the Executive Branch, either with Bush's tacit acceptance or ignoring any input which Bush may or may not have offered.

(c) Bush was completely blindsided by this action. He was not consulted by the bureaucrats, and The Executive was ignorant of the brief. This raises the question -- why has Bush not responded? After four days of national debate (albeit perhaps not prominent debate ... the president probably doesn't spent much time reading public debate which is not reflected in the MSM), the president has had ample opportunity to react to what might be considered a unilateral attack on the constitution by rogue departments of The Executive Branch. Doesn't he realize that this is an issue of significant importance in the minds of a significant portion of his constituency?

(d) Bush is too witless to recognize an attack on the Constitution by his bureaucracy. Either that, or he considers this an 'administrative' attempt to maintain some control on what could evolve into a volatile National issue, if SCOTUS entirely overturns gun-control laws such as are exemplified by the D.C. gun ban. That is to say, Bush believes that it is the place of the administrative infrastructure to address these issues.

(e) Similar to the last, but allowing the benefit of the doubt to his political sagacity; Bush is wisely allowing his underlings to lead the attack. As he watches to see which way it goes, the President is unwilling to impose the powerful influence of his office to find a resolution of the issues at this early date. Later, depending upon the public reaction to this move, he may disavow it.

Personally, I'm now leaning toward the last interpretation. It doesn't reflect well on Bush's intention to take an early political stand in favor of the Second Amendment, but it does demonstrate that he is a politician of not inconsiderable political skill. On the other hand, perhaps I'm giving Mr. Bush too much credit.

What do you think?

These comments, especially the last, have taken me a bit beyond Shepherd's. His article provided more grist for the mill of political thought, and encouraged me to seek deeper understanding of the President's motivation in allowing this bureaucratic move without current reaction.

As always, YMMV. I'd really like to see some independent thinking in the Comments.

If you haven't yet subscribed to The Shooting Wire, I again encourage you to do so. Today.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Alphecca: Wolves in Sheeps’ Clothing

Alphecca: Wolves in Sheeps’ Clothing

HT: Michael Bane Blog

Alphecca has a nice(?) summary of the Democratic Primary Candidate responses to questions about 2nd Amendment issues..

Essentially, they're willing to pay lip service to the second amendment, but in the final analysis they have no ... NO! ... comprehension of what it's all about.

They're willing to make lip music about 2nd Amendment rights, but at best it's couched in terms of hunting rights.

Has nobody ever expressed to them that the Second Amendment is not about the Right to Hunt?

Those of you who visit here are probably .. oh, I'm going to guess 90% competition shooters. You may be 50% competition shooters, but I expect that is the low-end of the range. It would be easy to typify you as people who shoot semi-automatic pistols in USPSA competition, perhaps even semi-automatic rifles (and some Practical Shotgun) in Multigun competition. It's impossible to even guess your primary concerns vis-a-vis firearms usage.

And it's also misleading to do so.

Chances are, people who shoot competitively against cardboard/steel targets also have other interests. I expect many of you have Concealed Carry licenses, whether you carry daily or not. You probably shoot in other competitive disciplines, such as Trap, Skeet, IDPA, IROC, etc.

But those are most likely your secondary interests, and to argue that 'exotic' firearms (such as an STI Grand Master) are worth protecting because they have a legitimate 'competitive' use is to beg the question.

The facts are, there are a tempting number of reasoned arguments which may be used to justify possession of any kind of 'exotic' firearm, but there is only one justification for owning any single weapon:

It is a God-given right to own weapons, and man's attempt to restrict or regulate this ownership is a denigration of our rights.

Maybe it's not that easy.

Sure, somewhere there's a line between 'reasonable' and 'unreasonable' weapons. I'm thinking crew-served weapons, and I'm not certain that even this raw minimal definition is any better than an arbitrary measure which is not supportable by the Second Amendment. Is a 155MM Howitzer a legitimate weapon for personal ownership? How about an 80MM Mortar ... at least it's man-portable, and it would be an excellent weapon for a Militia force. Isn't that the measure of the 2nd Amendment?

This is obviously a question which is ripe with gray areas, and if we look at the actual text of the 2nd Amendment as a test, it requires a stretch of the imagination to define:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
If we define 'arms' as any firearm, and we define 'keep and bear arms' as meaning that the cited arms must be man-portable, it may be that you are justified in owning any arms which you can 'bear', which is to say 'carry'. Thus, a mortar may be a legitimate arm while a 105MM howitzer may not be a legitimate arm.

On the other hand, if I were engaged in 'militia' operations, a 105mm howitzer may be a handy tool.

I only offer this example to illustrate that the question is not a simple conundrum.

The answers are not easy to come by. In point of fact, the questions are not easy to define.

All I know is that the politicians have neither the questions, nor the answers. And if we depend upon them to defend our God-given rights, we're in deep doo-doo.

The only answers that Politician have is to enact laws. When is the last time you saw a law which acknowledged your rights?

When is the last time you saw a law which deprived you of your rights?

Right, what I thought.

Put not your faith in the politician, my son. They're a bunch of self-serving liars. All of them. Think of your favorite politician, and imagine that he/she is a liar.

You've got the picture now.

Some things are just meant to happen

Some days things happen that aren't likely, but they happen anyway. Some meetings are either the result of random chance, or serendipity. Or maybe the Hand of God, if that's not too strong an assertion. I never understood those moments, but I've certainly experienced them.

Today, I experienced another of those moments.

I was at my desk this afternoon, trying to modify a computer program that the users said they wanted changed, but they hadn't given me detailed specifications about how they wanted it changed. This is like trying to write a book with no idea what it's about. Frustrating, aggravating, probably resulting in a product which has no use without extensive modification. But you have to do it anyway.

I got up from my desk and wondered the halls. Looking out the windows, I saw that the day was uncharacteristically sunny and dry, and there were two parking spaces only a few feet from the door to my office building.

Quick to jump on the opportunity I grabbed my coat and headed to the parking lot a half-mile away, where I had parked my car this morning. I knew I wouldn't finish my work day until well after dark, and I relished the opportunity to move the car closer so I wouldn't have to walk a long distance in the rainy conditions which were likely after dusk.

I hadn't got 20 feet from the door when I noticed a man with a briefcase standing on the sidewalk, looking around himself with obvious confusion. He was my age or older, but he hadn't aged well. The first clue was his full beard, at least a foot long in any direction, such a light grey that it might as well be white. He had on a cheap blue blazer, blue-and-white plaid trousers, and a white shirt without a tie. To top it off he had a blue baseball cap. At least he was color coordinated.

I walked up to him thinking that he was obviously lost in this canyon of brick buildings and trees and sidewalks going every direction, and as I approached he turned and focused on me.

"Excuse me" he said. "Is this the campus library building?"

"No", I said. "But if you follow this path between the buildings about a hundred yards, you'll find yourself at the north door of the Library. You have to cross the quad, but there are no turns."

"I see", he said. "Thank you. Can you tell me where the Martin Luther King Day lecture will be held?"

"I'm sorry, I have no knowledge of that lecture. I'm afraid I can't help you there."

"Never mind, I can find it from the Library."

As we talked, I focused on his blue baseball cap. It said VIETNAM VETERAN and it had little flag-shaped images representing Vietnam War Campaign and Service medals.

"Excuse me, but what unit were you in, in Vietnam?" I asked him.

He straightened up. Not quite a military bearing, but one less reminiscent of a grandfather, more like a soldier as he proudly said:

"Twenty Fifth Infantry, a Mech unit. Cu Chi".

"Tropical Lightening!", I said. "You're a long ways from Schofield Barracks. I was an Infantry Platoon Sergeant operating out of Dian in the Big Red One until they rotated back home, and then I was a REMF in the 25th Admin. Company in Cu Chi during the last half of my tour, in 1970."

He looked me straight in the eye, put his hand out for a shake. As he took my hand, he said "Welcome Home".

Welcome home, Brother" I said as I shook his hand. "Be well."

No other words were spoken, nor needed. We turned, parted, on our way to our respective destinations.

I've finally processed out of The Nam.

"Freedom has a taste, and for those who have fought for it, the taste is so sweet the protected will never know it."

-- General George S. Patton

Hot Gun! WOOOOOO-EEEeeeeeeee! Hot Gun!

DOWN RANGE TELEVISION with Michael Bane - Show #1: 1-ON-1 with Todd Jarrett

Michael Bane and Todd Jarrett met at Blackwater in North Carolina today to determine just how fast the World Champion IPSC shooter (Todd, not Michael) can shoot 1,000 rounds of .45acp through a box-stock Para USA PXT 1911 SSP.

[Note that the link listed above is for a stainless pistol. The pistol used in the video was not stainless, but rather a blued finish steel pistol. And it didn't appear to have a fiber optic front sight. Not that it mattered because most of the rounds were fired without using the front sight.]

Not surprising, you get to see a World Record on DRTV!

(Click on the title bar to watch the 24-minute four-part video.)

Actually, the video takes more time to watch than Jarrett took to shoot the 1,000 rounds. I personally find this a fascinating test of both man and machine.

The video was "obviously ... played ... for laughs", and Jarrett was having fun with it. For a while.

Starting in a standard 2-handed shooting position, within 100 rounds he switched to an unconventional 'shoot from the waist' style. As the gun heated up (and the strain on his trigger finger became painful), Jarrett was trying other styles: pulling the trigger with his middle finger, then holding the gun in his right hand as he used the 'simulated full-auto' technique of bouncing the trigger with fingers on his left hand.

After 200 rounds Jarrett began shouting "Hot Gun! Hot Gun!" and, in a manner reminiscent of Howard Dean, shouting "WOOOO-EEEeeeeee! Hot Gun! Hot Gun!"

The test started out with 20 single-stack 10-round magazines (ten Para mags, ten Chip McCormick mats). Dan Arnold was picking up the discarded magazines, and there were three people reloading the 230-grain ball .45acp ammo into the magazines as quickly as they could.

By about 800 rounds, Jarrett was pounding the butt of the pistol on the bench, shouting "More Ammo! More Ammo!"

What with some magazines being short-loaded (well, one of them anyway), the magazine contained 2 rounds that were fired with the left hand.

Time? 10 minutes, 40+ seconds.

I've seen some fast shooting of a lot of rounds in my time, mostly in the Dundee Croc Match, but that was not a valid comparison. Never have I seen 1,000 rounds fired through a pistol in that short a time. (Heck, never in a single day!)

The point of the exercise was to demonstrate that heat build-up is the most torturous test of reliability in any gun, let along a pistol. I believe that entirely. In USPSA matches conducted during the summer months, when it can take an hour to complete one stage and start again on the next stage, I've been known to pack my pistol in the ice chest between stages just to cool it down so I could hold and fire it. Note that this experience involved shooting something like 60 rounds a stage.

Shooting 1,000 rounds in 10+ minutes? I wouldn't want to do it not matter what the weather. Although it was cold in North Carolina during this January test, I doubt it significantly affected the heat build-up of the pistol.

Note that the three reloaders couldn't keep up with the shooter. It's entirely possible that the newly established Ten Minute standard could be beaten, with another reloader or two.

But I don't know how many shooters would / could stay with the gun under those conditions. And no gun that I own is likely to function with 100% reliability. That's right, as nearly as I could tell there were zero malfunctions. There were some breaks in the continuity, if malfs did occur I didn't see them (and Bane mentioned that there no were feeding failures; see quote below).

Doesn't matter, really. That's the kind of reliability which will make or break the gun you choose for competition, or for personal defense.

As Michael Bane says:

"What will really cause a gun to fail, is HEAT! Heat is the enemy of guns. How do you generate heat, all of the little explosions going on in the chamber there -- when you put a thousand rounds going through a gun that quickly, you are generating a huge amount of heat. If the gun is going to fail in use, it's going to fail there.

Now take a look here. [close-up of the gun barrel.] Barrel's changed color. Heat's changed the color of the barrel. A little finish wear on the end of the slide.

But you saw it. A thousand rounds went through the gun as fast as Todd Jarrett could pull the trigger, and Todd Jarrett can pull the trigger faster probably than any other living human being. The gun never malfunctioned, the gun never failed to fire, the gun never ... stopped ... functioning. It always went bang, and that is what you want from a handgun.

So, the next time you see some guys in lab coats, and they actually have a big bowl of soup where they have like potatoes and carrots and leeks and onions, and they're boiling up guns in it? Remember, that's not a test. That's not a torture test.

A thousand rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger, that's a torture test. "

Update: 18-JAN-2008

The Shooting Wire has the story here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Is This For Real?

Found while idly surfing the net:

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Camilla Blands scored 15 points on
5-of-7 shooting and Alabama opened Southeastern Conference play
with a 65-54 win over South Carolina Thursday night after going
winless in the league last season.
The Crimson Tide (8-8) shot 56 percent from the floor, while
holding the Gamecocks to 36 percent shooting.

Gun's link to Police Department Raises Concerns

Kimber America has come out with a 'hot new' SIS pistol (for LAPD's Special Investigation Section, see pistol video download here).

The Baltimore Sun cites concerns that selling a gun named for "an elite group of plainclothes detectives with a history of fatally shooting suspects" might in itself be problematic for LAPD and the city of Las Angeles, California.

"It is very disturbing," said [City of Las Angeles] Councilman Jack Weiss. "If any member of the public is shot with one of these guns, or heaven forbid a cop is shot with one of these guns, what would be the explanation?"
I don't know. How about "I told him to stop, and he started shooting at me, so I shot him!" Or "He was in the wrong place and wasn't prepared for trouble."

As if the LAPD isn't capable of getting into trouble all by itself, now they think they could 'get into trouble' if someone is shot by one of these handguns.

The name, and association, is actually a unilateral marketing ploy by Kimber. They have pledged $15 to a charitable institution associated with the LAPD.

LAPD officials said the department does not endorse the gun and has no control over how the gun maker markets the weapon. Police Chief William J. Bratton dismissed questions about the LAPD's role in the sale of the weapons as a "nonissue," calling it "foolish."

Capt. Kyle Jackson, head of the Robbery Homicide Division, who oversees SIS, said the department did not request that the SIS initials be placed on the guns. And, he said, Kimber did not need the department's permission to sell the weapons.

"It isn't trademarked," Jackson said. "No one at the LAPD is profiting from this. This is not an endorsement."

America's gun culture - fading slowly? Bernd Debusmann | Reuters

America's gun culture - fading slowly?

One of my favorite leisure time activities is Fisking Reuters. In case you are an American and you are not familiar with Reuters, be advised that they are Not From Around These Parts. In fact, they may be reliably considered to be antagonistic to American values.

In case you are dubious about my last statement, let's take a look at what this fellow with the excess of consonants in his name has to say about the state of firearms ownership in America ... a continent with which he doesn't appear to have a personal familiarity:

Is America, land of shooting massacres in schools and public places, slowly falling out of love with guns?

The answer is yes, and it runs counter to popular perceptions of the United States as a country where most citizens are armed to the teeth and believe it is every American's inalienable right to buy an AK 47-style assault rifle with the minimum of bureaucratic paperwork.

But in fact, gun ownership in the United States has been declining steadily over more than three decades, relegating gun owners to minority status.

At the same time, support for stricter gun controls has been growing steadily and those in favor make up a majority.

You will note that no source for these opinions are ever cited in this article. It is characteristic of Reuters that 'Opinion Pieces' are never identified as such; rather, they are comfortable with presenting the rankest assertions without citing sources for their conclusions. The article mentions "...University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center (NORC), which has been tracking gun ownership and attitudes on firearms since 1972, the longest-running survey on the subject in the United States ...", but we are given no link to any definable study. In fact, searching that title we find no project which addresses the subject at all.

The number of households with guns dropped from a high of 54 percent in 1977 to 34.5 percent in 2006, according to NORC, and the percentage of Americans who reported personally owning a gun has shrunk to just under 22 percent.

So, by the rules of democratic play, one might assume that the majority would have major influence on legislation. But that's not how it works, thanks to the enormous influence of the gun lobby.

The long-term decline monitored by the Chicago survey has buoyed proponents of tighter gun controls. "America's gun culture is fading," says Josh Sugarmann, who heads the Washington-based Violence Policy Center.

Not only do the cited statistics not render themselves immediately obvious, but the cited cross-reference ... the Violence Police Center ... is notorious for its agenda-driven anti-gun policy.

Note the difference in the way the two opposing organizations are referenced:

  • Gun Rights organizations = "The Gun Lobby"
  • Anti-Gun Rights Organizations = "Proponents of Tighter Gun Controls"
Lobbyists vs organizations. No 'yellow journalism' here, folks.

According to Sugarmann, those keeping the culture alive and those most vocal in resisting tighter regulations are white, middle-aged men whose enthusiasm for firearms, hunting and shooting is not shared by younger Americans.


To what extent gun ownership will continue to shrink depends, at least in part, on a decision by the U.S. Supreme court expected this summer. The court will rule on one of the most acrimonious disputes in the United States: do Americans have the constitutional right to own and bear arms?

Here, the attempt to demonize firearms ownership is reinforced by an oblique attack on the two most obvious groups in American society today: "Baby Boomers" and "WASPs" ("white, middle-aged men"). If this article targets, for example, "young black men" or "Aged Asian Men" or "middle-aged Muslim Men", the outcry would be enormous. But to target "... white, middle-aged men whose enthusiasm for firearms, hunting and shooting is not shared by younger Americans ..." is societally acceptable. At least, acceptable by the people who read Reuters. (Note that the sub-division of "... men whose enthusiasm for firearms, hunting and shooting is not shared by younger Americans ..." apparently makes this bias definition acceptable, even if it is not supported by any source reference.).

Virginia Tech was the worst school shooting in U.S. history and rekindled the debate over the easy availability of guns in America. There are more private firearms in the United States than anywhere else in the world -- at least 200 million.

While that arsenal has been growing every year, the proportion of U.S. households where guns are held has been shrinking. In other words: Fewer people have more guns.

One estimate, by the National Police Foundation, says that 10 percent of the country's adults own roughly three quarters of all firearms.

It may be significant that an Internet Search on the phrase "National Police Foundation" returned only references to "Islamabad" and "Pakistan".

It's not clear what American organization may exist by this name. Perhaps Reuters does not intend to mislead the reader.


That is the hard core, which counts on the gun lobby, chief of all the National Rifle Association (NRA), to throttle attempts to impose restrictions on the sale of firearms.

The NRA, a group that claims some 3 million members, calls itself "America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights" and backs candidates for political office on their stand on one issue -- gun ownership -- regardless of party affiliation.

This is not to be compared to, for example, NEA (the National Education Association), which backs candidates according to their stand on one issue -- higher wages for teachers.

Or AARP ... The American Association of Retired Persons ... which backs candidates according to ther stand on one issue -- support for special governmental considerations for retired people.

Or NARAL ("National Abortion Rights Action League", which on its website is so shy about what it actually stands for that on all of its websites only identifies itself as (for example) "Pro-Choice America".
(Apparently, NARAL is too embarrassed by their societal stance to actually SAY what they stand for. How many articles, we wonder, have we read this year in Reuters about killing unborn children? Google it yourself.)

While Reuters obviously feels confident in demonizing the NRA for it's "one-issue" agenda, one wonders whether they intend to similarly attack other "one-issue" organizations.

Politicians tend to pander to the NRA, some more shamelessly than others. One of the Republican candidates for the 2008 presidential race, Mitt Romney, went so far as to falsely claim that he was a lifelong hunter and had received an official NRA endorsement in 2002.

Politician lie ... and it's the fault of the NRA.

Small wonder, then, that the debates following every shooting massacre tend to focus not on the easy availability of guns but on preventive security measures.

The "easy availability of guns" is a given. Criminals will have them, law-abiding citizens may or may not have them, but will be less likely to carry them. This tends to put law-abiding citizens into a category which we may call "TARGETS" or "VICTIMS", and criminals find them more easy to predate "TARGETS" or "VICTIMS" than to attack armed citizens. In fact, if more law-abiding citizens were legally authorized to arm themselves in the areas where "shooting massacres" occurred, fewer law-abiding citizens may find themselves to be "TARGETS" or "VICTIMS".

Just a thought. I could be wrong. However, 99.9% of perpetrators of 'shooting massacres' seem to find it obvious that the best place to find "TARGETS" or "VICTIMS" is a public place where the public is not allowed to carry a weapon. I'm sure that Reuters finds this to be a non-sequitor. But just to carry the thought process to its logical conclusion, when was the last time you read about a predator who successfully shot up a shooting range, a gun store, or a police station (outside of "The Terminator" movie)?

Reuters does, however, find one or two American innovations encouraging:

Metal detectors at the entrances of shopping malls, for example. Or bullet-proof backpacks. They were developed in the wake of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School, where two teenagers killed 12 students and teachers and then themselves.

The Columbine-inspired backpacks went on sale in August and have sold briskly. "Sales picked up considerably in the Christmas period," said Mike Pelonzi, one of the two men -- both fathers -- who designed and market them. "Our market is expanding."

Great. As long as you are running away, and the predator is a good enough shot to hit you in your backpack, and you are wearing a bullet-proof backpack ... chances are that you may live through the experience.

Or, you could just shoot the bastard and stop him from shooting the poor schmucks whose parents can't afford to buy you a bullet-proof backpack.

Here's the fall-out from another of author BBernd Debusmann's articles.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Syd, on the Washington, D.C. Handgun Ban

Syd, at "The Snubnose Files" (was "Front Sight, Press"; was "News from The Sight 1911") offers this commentary on the U.S. Government reaction to the Supreme Court's evaluation of the Washington D.C. "Heller" gun ban case:

Volume 279, 1/12/08

While I try to avoid doing too much direct politics in this newsletter, except as it relates to gun rights and law, I feel compelled to express my utter outrage at the Bush administration’s filing of an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court in support of the Washington DC handgun ban. According to the Washington Post, the government’s brief includes the following, “The court’s decision could be read to hold that the Second Amendment categorically precludes any ban on a category of ‘Arms’ that can be traced back to the Founding era,” the government argued. “If adopted by this court, such an analysis could cast doubt on the constitutionality of existing federal legislation prohibiting the possession of certain firearms, including machineguns.” Sorry guys, but it’s the Second Amendment itself that “casts doubt on the constitutionality of existing federal legislation,” and not any decision by a court.

Government is jealous of its power and it seems that parties and promises get thrown under the bus when the rubber meets the road. I am truly and profoundly disappointed.

While I don't disagree in principle (or in detail, for all that) with anything that Syd says, and while I am equally outraged, I don't share his sense of outrage.

Perhaps I'm more cynical, or more pessimistic, but I'm not at all surprised at this federal response.

I expected it, and maybe you did, too.

Think about it.

If the Supremes entirely throw out the D.C. handgun laws (which actually affect possession of all firearms, including 'long guns' ... although they are not specifically addressed in "Heller"), then the United States Government must revisit all federal firearms laws, and justify them under this 'new' interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Historically, we have often cited the "twenty thousand firearms laws in America" when stating the case that these x-number of laws have not proven effective in reducing the number of crimes committed with firearms in the various municipalities, counties, states, etc. which constitute the United States of America.

On the other hand, there are some laws which many of us, perhaps even most of us, consider to be 'acceptable'. Among these are laws which restrict firearms possession by felons and insane persons ... those who have been shown to constitute a threat to public safety. Yes, there are a lot of grey areas in that broad definition. Let us assume that we all recognize that some people just shouldn't have guns, and admit to the common "YMMV" ("Your Mileage May Vary") rhetorical devise which acknowledges that each individual may have different definitions of the terminology "some people".

All of that having been acknowledged, and either accepted or rejected as your personal beliefs may accommodate ...

... if the D.C. Gun Laws are rejected without demure by the Supreme Court, ALL GUN LAWS may be contradicted, and ALL GUN Laws musts be revisited in either the Legislature or the Federal Courts.

If you think that's not such a bad idea, I agree with you. But in the interim, it may not be entirely acceptable. Consider the situation where there are no restrictions on firearms ownership. This might allow Felons and other people who demonstrably should not have guns to legally acquire them.

Until a much more reasonable set of firearms ownership laws can be established, it MAY not be universally acceptable that 'everyone' be able to buy a firearms.

It MAY not be universally unacceptable for some firearms restrictions to remain in place, until they have been individually addressed and either accepted or modified to meet the strict accordance with the Second Amendment ... hopefully, one which meets a practical test of the Second Amendment rather than a 'political' test.

Personally, I would have been not only surprised, but appalled, if the Federal Government didn't enter into this controversy.

This is probably a case where the old rules are notionally thrown out, but held in abeyance while all parties avail themselves of the opportunity to re-negotiate new, more reasonable restrictions on firearms ownership/possession.

I don't think it's unreasonable for the Feds to say "Wait A Minute! Let's Talk This Over!"

I only think it's unreasonable if either party insists that a 'compromise' means that we give them everything, and they give us nothing.

Let us see what comes of the dialogue. After all, it's the first opportunity we've had for a real dialogue since 1934.

Ohio Classifier Calculator

UPDATE: 14 April, 2008
This link is obsolete. see here for the current link.

The Ohio Percentage Calculator is down. Please see here (Georgetown Classmates site) for the the same functionality.

No telling how long this link works, but I'll try to follow the threads (thanx to the Brian Enos Forum) to keep this valuable tool available.

In the meantime, I've changed sidebar link, which once was "Ohio Classification Percentage Calculator", to "Classification Percentage Calculator".

If this (or any other link) dies, please let me know by sending an email to the email at the bottom of the page.

And if you can spare a few bucks, please click on the "Make A Donation" button on this webpage.

Remember our mantra:

"Classifiers are Boring!
"They get much more interesting when you screw up."