Thursday, February 07, 2008

John McCain on the Second Amendment

The John McCain 2008 Website on the 2nd Amendment

Rivrdog notes that McCain's webpage on the Second Amendment is 'blacked out'. I assume this is a browser incompatibility; I was able to view the entire page using FireFox. For the benefit of those who can't view that page, I'll present the content here.

McCain is the last 'major' Republican candidate for President (I know I'm offending some Ron Paul and Huckleberry supporters here) so perhaps it's worth the time and effort to see what he says about Gun Control ... or Gun Ownership, or Right to Personal Defense.

Overview:
John McCain believes that the right of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is a fundamental, individual Constitutional right that we have a sacred duty to protect. We have a responsibility to ensure that criminals who violate the law are prosecuted to the fullest, rather than restricting the rights of law abiding citizens. Gun control is a proven failure in fighting crime. Law abiding citizens should not be asked to give up their rights because of criminals - criminals who ignore gun control laws anyway.
Gun Manufacturer Liability:
John McCain opposes backdoor attempts to restrict Second Amendment rights by holding gun manufacturers liable for crimes committed by third parties using a firearm, and has voted to protect gun manufacturers from such inappropriate liability aimed at bankrupting the entire gun industry.
(ED: well, that's already a federal law. Not impressively aggressive.)

Assault Weapons:
John McCain opposes restrictions on so-called "assault rifles" and voted consistently against such bans. Most recently he opposed an amendment to extend a ban on 19 specific firearms, and others with similar characteristics.
(ED: The "Assault Weapons Ban" sunset a few years ago, so this is not particularly impressive except that he apparently didn't vote to extend it ... unlike Kerry, Kennedy, and various radical Democrats. That's a plus, but not amazing for a Senator from Arizona.)

Importation of High Capacity Magazines:

John McCain opposes bans on the importation of certain types of ammunition magazines and has voted against such limitations.
(ED: Again, part of the Assault Weapons Ban ... see above.)

Gun Locks:
John McCain believes that every firearms owner has a responsibility to learn how to safely use and store the firearm they have chosen, whether for target shooting, hunting, or personal protection. He has supported legislation requiring gun manufacturers to include gun safety devices such as trigger locks in product packaging.
(ED: Again, better than the RadicLib party, but real 2nd Amendment supporters have issues with the 'mandatory gun-lock' legislation. Requiring manufacturers to include them 'in product packaging' doesn't necessarily improve gun safety, although it does add to the price of purchasing firearms. This is 'feel-good' legislation, with no positive benefit to the purchaser, and as such is a transparent ploy which appeals only to the anti-self defense crowd. )

Banning Ammunition:
John McCain believes that banning ammunition is just another way to undermine Second Amendment rights. He voted against an amendment that would have banned many of the most commonly used hunting cartridges on the spurious grounds that they were "armor-piercing."
(ED: The predicate is a null-value statement, although true. The recent trend toward states attempts to enforce 'Encoded Ammunition' is a truer test of the "another way to undermine Second Amendment rights", it's too early to use this trend as a test of 2nd Amendment protections.)

DC Personal Protection:
As part of John McCain's defense of Second Amendment rights, he cosponsored legislation to lift a ban on the law abiding citizens of the District of Columbia from exercising their Constitutional right to bear arms.

(ED: I'm not aware of this legislation. I know about Parker vs DC, and Heller vs DC, but I didn't know that the U.S. Senate had weighed in on the issue. I would be grateful if anyone could point me toward to Senatorial legislation (isn't the House required to introduce this kind of legislation?) so I ... and you ... could evaluate the claim.)

Criminal Background Checks:
John McCain supports instant criminal background checks to help prohibit criminals from buying firearms and has voted to ensure they are conducted thoroughly, efficiently, and without infringing on the rights of law abiding citizens.

(ED: Isn't this 20-year old legislation?)

Background Checks at Gun Shows:
At a time when some were trying to shut down gun shows in the name of fighting crime, John McCain tried to preserve gun shows by standardizing sales procedures. Federal law requires licensed firearm sellers at gun shows to do an instant criminal background check on purchasers while private firearm sellers at gun shows do not have to conduct such a check. John McCain introduced legislation that would require an instant criminal background check for all sales at gun shows and believes that such checks must be conducted quickly to ensure that unnecessary delays do not effectively block transactions.

(ED: This measure [emphasis added] infringes on the 2nd amendment right of private firearms transfers. Many, if not most gun shows have added this 'instant check' measure to their policy in an effort to establish 'self-policing'. But it's a 'slippery-slope' treatment when the Federal Government gets involved. The 'Next Step' would be Federal control over Estate transfers (parent to child in a will), personal sales (friend-to-friend sales), and even loans (including a parent allowing a spouse or child to temporarily use a firearm). The Gun Control Lobbyists dismissively denigrate such concerns as facetious or extreme arguments; however, in their drive to outlaw non-regulated private transfer of firearms, they have never defined any firearms transfer ... familial, estate or temporary ... as exempt from their arbitrary restrictions. That McCain supports the first step of this Federal restriction does not absolve him from responsibility for further infringements on the Second Amendment.)


The Firearm Purchase Waiting Period:
John McCain has opposed "waiting periods" for law abiding citizen's purchase of firearms.

(ED: This is at least a positive policy. I know, however, of no recent Federal bills which would establish this restriction, and McCain's website does not identify the bill against which he voted.)

The Confiscation of Firearms after an Emergency:
John McCain opposes the confiscation of firearms from private citizens, particularly during times of crisis or emergency. He voted in favor of an amendment sponsored by Senator David Vitter prohibiting such confiscation.

(ED: We presume that this is in reference to the notorious New Orleans confiscation of firearms after Hurricane Katrina. There are many outstanding suits against the actions of National Guard, and N.O.P.D. as well as other supporting L.E.O.'s who resorted to confiscation during this period. While laudatory, there is nothing particularly daring about opposing this policy.)

Stiffer Penalties for Criminals who use a firearm in the commission of a crime:

John McCain believes in strict, mandatory penalties for criminals who use a firearm in the commission of a crime or illegally possess a firearm. Enforcing the current laws on the books is the best way to deter crime.
(ED: This is 100% aligned with the NRA position; it adds penalties {an extra 5 or 10 years imprisonment} for using a firearm during the commission of a crime. This is an example of legislation which Gun Rights Advocates consider "common-sense gun control measures". It is also an example of what Anti-Gun Extremists, ever-critical of any measure supported by the NRA, consider to be "questionable" .. which means they are not inclined to support it for fear that it will suggest that they agree with the NRA in ANYTHING relating to gun control. As such, this is the boldest Second Amendment stance espoused by John McCain.)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Buttoned Down Mind of your Anti-Gun Friends

Raging Against Self Defense: A Psychiatrist Examines The Anti-Gun Mentality, By Sarah Thompson, M.D.

I had discovered, and read, this article a couple of years ago, but I lost track of it and never gave myself a chance to recommend it. Thanks to a link in the Comments section of an article by "Geek With A .45", I've found it again. I've reread it, and I can recommend it to you.

Taken by itself, it's a powerful insight into the reasons why some people unthinkingly assume that anyone who owns a gun is a danger to society. Words like 'rage', 'Projection' and 'Denial' are key to the understanding. Dr. Thompson also includes suggestions about how to present yourself as a sane, responsible member of society even though you do own a gun. The goal seems to be to convince anti-gun friends that people who own and shoot firearms aren't necessarily dangerous; by extension, guns aren't inherently evil.

I admit to some reserve in embracing the interpersonal techniques she suggests. I'm sure they can work, but I'm not convinced that 'just everyone' can use these conversational techniques in a successful attempt to diffuse the firm convictions of my friends.

Among my co-workers, I have one who is interested in shooting, and I took him to the range one weekend where he had a great time burning up a lot of ammunition. He wasn't someone who needs to be convinced; I was able to show him how to safely handle firearms, but mostly it was just a nice day at the range which we both enjoyed.

Another co-worker (and I'm sure I've mentioned this story before, too), wandered by my desk at the end of the day when I was discussing shooting with the fellow I just described. This second co-worker mentioned "I've never seen any reason for anyone to own a gun. I've never even seen one, let alone shot one." I didn't try to convince him of anything, although I did say that this was his choice, but I enjoy shooting and I've been competing at shooting matches for decades. Since I've never shot anybody in my office, I figured that was about all I needed to say. The implication was that some people do have a reason to own a gun, and it's one which he might accept. I haven't said another word about shooting guns to him, and we remain friendly.

Still another co-worker knows that I compete in shooting matches most weekends. I've described the experience in casual conversation, noted that it's a fun activity which both I and SWMBO enjoy as much for the company of good people as for the excuse to go to the range. Most Friday afternoons she asks me if I'm going to a match this weekend, or on Monday she asks if I HAVE gone to a match. The resulting conversation is much like that between colleagues who say to each other "so, did you go see that movie you were talking about?"

I consider that a healthy collegial relationship. She spends her weekends picking up trash from the Oregon beaches or working in her garden; I spend my weekends blasting holes in cardboard targets. Everybody had a good time, either enjoyed or suffered inclement weather, and we're all just good people.

The most significant story about "convincing an anti-gunner that guns and gunners aren't evil" is, probably the "How My Sweetie Learned To Love Shooting."

My Beloved SWMBO grew up in a gun-free zone. Her father, a lay preacher, never allowed (or had reason to) a gun in the house. She, too, grew up with the understanding that "there is never any reason for a person to own a gun." It wasn't something that was discussed; it was just understood.

After we met, and began dating, we soon spent every weekend together. We lived in different towns, so I would spend Friday night driving to her home ... bringing my range gear with me.

On Saturday Morning I would be found hauling my range gear out her door to the car, on my way to the match. We would say goodbye at the door, and I would say "you know, you're invited." She would always say "yeah, right" and I would be off to spend 8 or 10 hours at the range, or in travel. She would spend most of the day doing whatever she had planned.

After a bit over a year, she said: "I'm getting sick of this. We're together because we like being together, but it's only a couple of days each week and I'm tired of being left alone half of my weekend. Let's go to the match together."

Her perception of "people-who-shoot" was (predictably) a bunch of red-necked yahoos who spent the day at the range shooting at everything, and then sat on the pickup tailgate for a couple of hours drinking beer and shooting casually at random targets while cursing volubly.

She was surprised when she met a lot of clean-cut guys, and a few women, who treated each other with respect and treated Range Safety and Gun Handling as Gospel. More, the treated her and each other with respect ... modified by good-natured kidding. It was like being a golf match, except for picking up expended brass.

She came to know the competitors socially, and learned that she liked them. Except for the picking-up-the-brass thing.

After another year of going to matches, and picking up a lot of brass, she finally announced to me "Hey! I'm tired of picking up everybody's brass. Get me a gun, show me how to do this thing. I want to see these guys pick up MY brass!"

SWMBO has been much more comfortable at matches as a competitor than as a hanger-on.

For a while, she worried about people who may expect her to 'do well'. She didn't want them to think she was competitive, she just wanted to go shooting for the fun of it.l

Then, for a while, she was worried about people who had stared shooting after she did, but they were scoring higher in the order-of-finish than she did. So we got her better guns, spent some time training her until, for example, she realized that "Steel Is My Friend" ... and I stepped quietly out of the way and let other people take charge of her training.

Now she trains other ladies, in her spare time.)(

Then she got competitive. She would shoot a stage, then I would shoot it differently and do better, and she would say "Hey! Why didn't you tell me that was a better way to shoot the stage?!!" We went through iterations where I would coach her, and she would seem to take offense. Then I didn't coach her, and she would take offense. Eventually, she started doping the stages on her own, trying to find the best approach which made the best use of her own personal skills set, and she started moving up the 'order of finish' score sheet.

I would like to say that today SWMBO is entirely independent, dopes the stages to her personal best advantage, and regularly kicks my butt. Can't do that; she frequently beats me on the individual stage, she enjoys what she is doing, and she likes the people we shoot with. That she is unwilling to invest in practice time to the point where she regularly beats me is a personal decision, and I can't fault her for it.

I can only say ... she enjoys shooting, she performs to her expectations usually ( as I do, usually) and she had met new friends At The Range who are as important to her as they are to me.


The point is, this lady who "never knew a reason why anyone would want to own a gun" now loves to shoot, has her own guns (and is better trained in gun-handling techniques than 99.99% of everyone in the world) , has expanded her personal horizons, and looks forward to weekends when she can spend at least one day in a gravel pit with her friends.

Me?

I'm ecstatic. I don't really enjoy going to a match without her, even though I did so for 15 years in competition. It's just not as much fun without my sweetie, my lover, my very best friend. Our relationship is much stronger for our shared interest, and I thank God for the day when she decided that she decided that she didn't want to be left behind any more.

Here's the bottom line:
(1): Just because someone "doesn't know why someone would want to own a gun" doesn't mean that they can't enjoy the experience.
(2): ... uhhhh .. see (1).

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Campus Carry in The Washington Gulag

The War On Guns has an information-rich article on two bills being considered by the Washington (the state, not the district) legislature.

SB6841 (click here for full text), introduced January 28, 2008 by Senators Murray, Jacobsen, Kline, Shin, Kohl-Welles, is scheduled for a Public Hearing on February 7.

The bill makes it unlawful to carry a firearm (including a spring-loaded BB gun) onto the grounds or facilities of a "institution of higher education". That would be a college, University ... no word yet whether it includes a trade school.

Violation of this law would be treated as a "Gross Misdemeanor". Okay, it's not a felony; it's just a way of creating a Gun Free Zone, with some teeth in it.

Well, imprisonment for a "Gross Misdemeanor", whatever the term of incarceration, isn't the only penalty. They've added some frills.

They can kick you out of school (if you're a student). Don't expect to be reimbursed for your tuition, and/or say sayonara to any scholarships you may have.

Also, they can revoke your Concealed Carry permit (if you have one) for 3 years. Having been incarcerated for a weapons violation, you can kiss goodbye any chances that the local sheriff will look kindly on you re-application after the 3 years are up.

One of the most shameful of penalties is that you are reduced to an object; They can and will require that you be examined by a 'mental health professional', perhaps also by a 'chemical dependency specialist'. This is not a legalistic process, where you are reliably protected by your own lawyer. This is a 'medical procedure' (comparable to a hysterectomy) during which the 'professionals' and the 'specialists' can operate on you as they will, with no legal recourse and no defense against their predations. They're doing whatever they choose with your mind and your body, because it is 'for your own good'.

The Gods Must Be Crazy. And So Must You.

Sounds a lot like a Soviet Gulag, or more appropriately like the Soviet practice of incarcerating political prisoners in a mental institution, under the principle that if you protest against the state you must be crazy.

Adding insult to injury, the bill also encourages the posting of "Gun Free Zone" signs all over the place.
__________________________

SB6860 (click here for full text) was first read on January 29, 2008; it is also scheduled for a public hearing on February 7,2008. In a surprising contrast, this bill "[Prohibits] institutions of higher education from adopting rules concerning the possession of firearms".

Presented by Senators Roach, Delvin, Stevens, This bill is much more elegant. The basic premise is that "... The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the
8 entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state." It further states that "... Cities, towns, and counties or 13 other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to firearms that are specifically authorized by state law ..." and "... Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted ..."

There are a few more word in the bill than are quoted here, but that's the gist of it.

The first bill says "the individual has no rights, and we will stomp you into the dirt if you insist upon them". The second bill says "the suits have no right".

I know which one I would support.

Live, work or go to school in Washington? Write your congress critter. And show up for the Public Hearings on February 7. Take a day off work, or school. There's nothing you can do on campus that day which is more important, more rewarding, or more meaningful in the evolution of a Free Citizen than to be there.

(Read the original article, link at the top, for place and time.)

And thank you, David, for bringing this to our attention.

Monday, February 04, 2008

2008 Geek Guide to "State Encoded Ammunition" Bills

Given the plethora of "Encoded Ammunition" bills introduced into various State legislatures in January, 2008 (five so far; there may be more, I'm still researching), it occurred to me that it would be handy to have some kind of 'tracking document'.

Accordingly, I spent a couple of hours building an Excel Spreadsheet listing the salient characteristics of all the bills I have so far discovered. You can download the "2008 Geek Guide ..."( etc.) here.

Note that the file, 2008_Encoded_Ammunition.xls, will require that you have Microsoft EXCEL loaded on your computer. You can download it, but you can't read it without the software.

Here's a list of the states reported to date: Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Hawaii, Tennessee.

And here is a list of the data items found there, along with a short (?) description of the data points:

  • State: The name of the state in which the bill is introduced.
  • Bill #: The designation of the bill(s). Note that in at least one state (Tennessee), the identical bill was simultaneously introduced in both houses.
  • Link to Text: A "Tiny URL" code. Copy and past it into your web browser, and the original URL will be generated to take you to the document which contains the full text of the bill. Note that I neglected to include this link in at least one of my original articles. I hope I've corrected those articles, but ALL are referenced here.
  • Sponsor: The name of the state legislature(s) who sponsored and/or introduced the bill. This allows you, if you are a resident of that state, to follow him/her back to his/her personal website and send him/her emails appropriate to the amount of outrage you feel about his/her disenfranchisement of honest shooters.
  • Justification for bill?: A simple YES/NO, if the text of the bill includes verbiage which attempts to justify the introduction of this disgusting piece of .... legislation. (Sorry, I can't help editorializing, even when I know I shouldn't. I'm just that irritated.)
  • Date Bill Introduced: The date the bill was first read into the record in the state house, assembly or senate.
  • Bill Status: The current status of the bill, usually, "referred to Committee" or similar verbiage. Bills so designated sometimes STAY in committee until the end of the legislative session (January 1 of the following year), after which they will die. At least one bill has a "bill expiration date" built into it, which I presume refers to the legislative guidelines for that state.
  • Type of Ammo: The limitations on the kind of ammunition which is subject to these restrictions. ALWAYS "Handgun", but may also include "Assault Weapon" or "Assault Pistol". Some states include a list of "Designated Weapons" in the bill, which usually refer to what is essentially an "Assault Weapons" list established by existing state laws.
  • Sell Only By Date: The date upon which vendors (retailers, etc.) may offer for sale 'only' ammunition ... or bullets (some states mention both) which has been "encoded".
  • Own Only By Date: The date upon which all vendors and private citizens may not possess ammunition (or bullets? .. not always clear) which has not been "encoded". Possession may or may not involve specific penalties; see below.
  • Per-Round Tax/Fee?: ALL states have, as far as I know and of this date, imposed some kind of tax or fee per bullet; this is most commonly five cents, although one state sets the fee at ".005 cents" which works out at five cents per thousand rounds or bullets. As noted, this last may be a typographical error. It's difficult to imagine politicians setting the fee so low, as long as the bill is obviously designed as an ipso facto impediment to free exercise of the second amendment. (There I go again!) Mississippi politicians aren't even honest enough to set the fee as part of the bill. They merely stipulate that a "End User Fee" will be established. Don't expect a "five cents per thousand rounds" fee from these boys. They ALL have to finance a database system, enforcement, and undefined other expenses needed to administer this bogus bill. (Oops! Sorry.)
  • Fee Retained by Retailer: A couple of states provide that the vendor may retain a portion of the fees they collect, presumably to encourage the vendors to support the bill. Fat chance, ammunition sales will be so undercut by this oinker that the resulting market won't support any retail sales of ammunition or other firearms-related business in these states. (Dammit! Stop that, Geek!)
  • Owner Penalties: This identifies the fines or penalties which may be imposed on 'anyone' who attempts to defile, obscure or obliterate the serial numbers on a bullet or round of ammunition. Usually a misdemeanor ... but we're usually talking about a year in the pokey and/or a fine of $1,000.
  • Merchant Tax Penalty: One state (Illinois) imposes a penalty on a vendor who fails to accurately report tax revenues (the "per-round tax/fee"). This is a Class 4 Felony in Illinois. As may be presumed, the bureaucrats don't like it if you file the serial numbers off bullets but they take it seriously when you don't pay them their Dane Geld, hence the Felony vs the Misdemeanor. (That was okay, wasn't it? Not 'editorializing'?) The rest don't mention it ... to date. Apparently, that is covered in another section of the Code.
  • Merchants Adherence Fine: I THINK this is the fine for selling non-encoded ammunition after the cutoff date. Your guess is as good as mine. Universally, it's $1,000.
  • Buyer Data Collected: The information that the vendor is required to collect to define the retail buyer. Always Name, Date of Birth, Driver's License Number, and "any other information which the (governing agency) may define/require". More weasel words; they can ask for the serial number of the firearm in which you choose to shoot the ammunition, if they want to, and if there are not state laws forbidding this ... it's okay!
  • Retailer Reporting: The vendor must report the information recorded on each ammunition sale periodically. This is either Monthly or Quarterly, if it is included in the Bill. Presumably, when you report the information, you must also remit the 'End User Fee' collected at the time of sale.
  • Enforcement: For the Average Joe, this is one of the most important facets of the bills. In Illinois, the 'administrative authority' (usually the DOJ) can make it up as they go. Excuse, I mean the "any reasonable rules" may be imposed. That's an administrative decision, not subject to normal Congressional Oversight. Not encouraging. In Tennessee, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is the administrative authority. Isn't it nice when the police get to make the rules?
  • Exceptions: Who do these bills, if they become laws, NOT apply to? In those states in which the legislators actually spent more than ten minutes writing the bill, the "Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement Organizations" are exempt. No word yet on whether the National Guard and the U.S. Military are exempt; but since they are not LEOs, and they are not specifically exempt ... hey, they might grab a few bucks from the Feds! (Must ... Control ... The ... Fist ... Of ... Death!)
  • Bill Expiration Date: As mentioned above, one state included and expiration date for the bill if it is not enacted into law. Probably an administrative requirement, but I include it just for ... well, actually, no reason at all.
  • Notes: Miscellaneous notes included only to show that not all states just stuck to boilerplate. The general text is obviously taken from a template ... source not yet identified ... but some states legislatures seemed to feel that they needed to assert their individuality. Indiana declared an emergency; Hawaii and Mississippi granted an 'income tax credit' for in-state bullet/ammunition manufacturers to purchase, install and use bullet-encoding machinery; Tennessee included a really onerous records-keeping requirement for both vendors and manufacturers.
  • Text for Justification of Bill, if present: For states which included a justification of this bill (a minority, only Hawaii and Tennessee), the full text of their 'justification' is included just so you don't have to read the actual bills. I found it interesting that (so far) the majority of states which accepted this bill-template didn't feel it necessary to explain WHY this bill was necessary. I interpret this to mean that they don't care enough about the citizens who have to live under these egregious rules; they just entered the bill because they can. I'm guessing that they're Liberal Democrats who are just looking for a real good rating from The Brady Campaign, and don't expect the bills to get out of committee, let alone actually pass, so why bother? This may be "a good sign" that the authors aren't serious about the bill(s).
I'll be updating this document, if and as more states are found to have proposed similar bills. (What am I saying? These are all the same bill, with minor variations.) If you find an error in the document .. and I do strongly encourage you to view this document critically with the goal of correcting errors and providing more information ... please let me know.

I'm tempted to dismiss these bills as bogus, not likely to pass; nothing to see here folks, move along. But since the Microstamping Bill (not the same thing) was passed in California last year, it is demonstrably NOT SAFE to expect that any gun-control bill, no matter how unreasonable or how irresponsibly enacted or how badly worded, cannot be passed by any given legislature. EVERY TIME a bogus gun-control bill is passed by a state, it sets a precedent for other states which are controlled by liberal gun-grabber politicians who just want to get their names on the roster of 'people who are trying to accomplish something about crime!'

No more editorializing. Every time I write one of these articles, it makes my guts ache for the rest of the night. I find it hard to believe that these weasels are stomping on the rights of their constituents for their own career advancement.

But then, if they weren't rats and weasels, they would find honest work.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Encoded Ammunition: Tennessee

NRA-ILA :: Legislation

FINALLY we see the NRA reacting to the plethora of "Encoded Ammunition" bills being presented to state legislatures across the land.

But do they recognize that this is NOT just an isolated incident?

No, the NRA does not.

Instead, they present their usual Alerts with just a single notification in the case of Tennessee, without mentioning that similar bills have been presented in Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Maryland and Hawaii.

That's SEVEN out of FIFTY states which have presented bills with essentially the same text.

(The Tennessee text is available here for your comparison.)

The National Rifle Association, which has for the past 20 years presented itself as the nation's premier resource for defending your 2nd amendment rights, has completely missed the larger issue: that the same bill (which would perform an 'end run' around the 2nd amendment) has been proposed in SIX states (Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Hawaii, and now Tennessee) within a 30-day period.

Rather than being recognized as a trend; rather that noting that this represents a concerted and highly organized attack on the 2nd Amendment; the NRA has decided to report this as an isolated incident.

Is it possible that the NRA is unaware that similar bills have been presented in (at least) five other states?

(Note: Other states may be, and probably are, subject to the same or similar bills. I'm just one man, it's impossible for me to track the bills introduced to ALL state legislatures. Is the NRA capable of identifying only ONE attack on the 2nd Amendment, while I, a lone and independent blogger have so far identified SIX similar assaults? We who are members of the NRA ... however reluctantly ... are capable of independent internet searches. Hey, NRA! For Minimum Wages, I will be happy to find and identify states which have presented similar bills, which you with your multi-million dollar annual budget seem unable to find or address.)

WTF is WRONG with the NRA, your First Line of Defense?

My guess: if it doesn't directly support an established Fund-Raising Activity, they really don't give a shit.
_______________________________________-
Back to the issue at hand: the Tennessee bill on "Encoded Ammunition:"

Referring to the links supplied by the NRA:

Tennessee Bill SB3395:
  • Is essentially the same (see the text) as the Mississippi bill referenced in a previous post, with minor differences in detail:
  • The bill is known as the "Ammunition Accountability Act";
  • There is a minimal attempt to justify the bill in terms of ".. quickly [identifying] persons of interest in gun crime investigations" ... which is a refreshing change from the majority of bills of this type, which typically don't even make this cursory effort to justify the unreasonable and unsupportable reason for presenting such legislation;
  • The deadline for Encoded Ammunition being presented for sale is ONE YEAR (January 1, 2009);
  • The deadline for "non-coded" (as opposed to "noncoded" [sic] as proposed in the Mississippi bill) is January 1, 2010;
  • The data to be recorded is similar to the Mississippi bill ... almost word-for-word;
  • Rather than penalties for non-compliance for "manufacturers" to be $1000 for the first offense, $5000 for the second offense, and %10,000 for the third offense, the penalties for non-compliance for "manufacturers" will be $1000 for the first offense and $5000 for the second and subsequent offenses.
  • ____________________________
(Here's the House Bill ...unique to this state: Tennessee, in that it is presented to both the Senate and the House. A cursory comparison reveals NO differences between the Senate and the House versions of the Bill. (Curious, no? Unless both houses received the same bill from the same external source.)

What is the NRA doing about this?

Nothing.


According to their last emailed member notification, this is the extent of their concerns:

___________________________________________________

ILLINOIS: Gun Rights Under Assault in Cook County! As we reported previously, Cook County is currently considering two anti-gun proposals that must be defeated! First, the Safe Streets/Weapons Registration Ordinance requires the registration of all firearms and firearm owners in the county. As written, it is an outright gun ban and prohibits the transport of a firearm in your vehicle unless the firearm is "broken down in a nonfunctioning state." The other proposed ordinance would amend the county's "Deadly Weapon Dealers Ordinance" to completely ban all gun shows within the county, and prohibits federally licensed dealers from operating within 10 miles of one another. Please contact the Cook County Board of Commissioners today and respectfully urge them to oppose these ordinances. Contact information for the Board can be found by clicking here.

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MARYLAND: De Facto Gun Registration Scheme Proposed! On Tuesday, February 26, the House Judiciary Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee have scheduled a hearing to consider House Bill 517. HB517 would require ammunition manufacturers to encode a serial number on all ammunition for regulated firearms (handguns and "assault weapons") sold in the state. Shotgun ammunition is exempted. The bill would also create an intrusive database of ammunition purchasers, including the name, date of birth, driver's license number, serial number of ammunition purchased, and "any other information the Secretary (of State Police) considers necessary" would be compiled. Please contact the members of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee and respectfully urge them to oppose this onerous attack on our privacy and Second Amendment rights. Contact information can be found by clicking here.

MISSISSIPPI: Two Bills Introduced to Protect Ranges! Earlier this week, two bills were proposed in the Mississippi Legislature that would expand the scope of protection for shooting ranges and gun club facilities within the state. Senate Bill 2466 and House Bill 346 would prohibit local governments from placing restrictions on existing shooting ranges by prohibiting any new laws or ordinances from being enacted. Please contact your State Legislators and respectfully urge them to support both SB 2466 and HB 346 once they are assigned hearing dates within their referred committees. Contact information can be found here.

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TENNESSEE: Ammo Serialization Bill Filed in House and Senate! On Thursday, January 17, legislation was filed in both the Tennessee House and Senate that would requires all handgun ammunition manufactured or sold in Tennessee to be coded with a serial number, and entered into a statewide database at the time of sale. Encoded ammunition would be registered to the purchaser and would include the date of transaction, the purchaser's name, date of birth, driver's license number, and the serial number of the ammunition. SB3395, sponsored by State Senator Reginald Tate (District 33) and HB3245, sponsored by State Representative Larry Miller (District 88) pose a serious threat to our Right to Keep and Bear Arms and need to be stopped immediately. Please contact your State Legislators and respectfully urge them to protect the Second Amendment rights of Tennessee's law-abiding gun owners by opposing SB3395 and HB3245. Please visit http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/senate/members/smembers.htm#Find for contact information for your State Senator, and http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/house/members/hmembers.htm#Find for contact information for your State Representative.

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That's right. Similar bills have been introduced in (to my personal knowledge) Maryland, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi and Tennessee within the past 30 days, and the text of the bills have been essentially identical. Yet although the NRA has specifically addressed "New Legislation in half of these states in their recent Alerts, only in Tennessee have they noticed that the "Encoded Ammunition" bills have been introduced in January, 2008. They seem not to have noticed that this is a recurring theme, nor have the noticed that it is evidence (six states out of 50, in one month, with boiler-plate text modified only by 'local' concerns) text.

Again, I do NOT have the resources to track legislation in all 50 states, but I have incidentally identified bills in six of 50 states, without even trying.

What has the NRA done for you here?

Please discontinue your NRA membership, and sign on to my personal "I Will Tell You What Crap The Anti-gunners Are Visiting Upon You" website. Send me whatever the NRA has charged you for annual membership.

I will do a better job of identifying 2nd Amendment threats than the NRA. I will tell you first, I will give you the details, and I will not confuse you with secondary issues such as "Let's Force Your Boss to Let You Carry A Gun In Your Car In The Company Parking Lot" issues.

Oh, by the way: I won't mount a national campaign to proselytize issues which you don't care about. But I WILL do a much better job of keeping you informed about bullshit national campaigns by the anti-gun forces to undermine your 2nd Amendment rights.

Encoded Ammunition: Hawaii

According to an article in Knowledge Is Power, Hawaii has also introduced a bill requiring "Encoded Ammunition". (The link takes you to the "Hawaii Reporter", which cites the NRA as the original source and encourages readers to "... [p]lease contact the members of the House Judiciary Committee and respectfully urge them to protect the Second Amendment rights of Hawaii’s law-abiding gun owners by opposing HB2392."
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This represents the fifth state bill pertaining to "encoding ammunition" presented to a state legislature within the month of January, 2008.

The text of the bill is, in most respects, almost identical to that presented in the Mississippi state legislature during this time period.

A personal note: even before I had become aware that this bill had been proposed in Hawaii, I had begun to suspect that these bills were not being independently proposed. That is, the verbiage included in the bills includes so many similarities that it is beyond reason to presume that legislators in each of the FIVE states (Maryland, Indiana Illinois, Mississippi, and now Hawaii) woke up one morning and were struck with the thought that "Hey, I think I'll introduce a bill requiring that my state should allow only 'encoded ammunition' to be sold!"

I had expected to find some reference to this ex parte proposal on the websites of The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (HCI), the Violence Policy Center, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, or the Americans for Gun Safety (a broken link ... have they FINALLY 'gone under'?). Not entirely surprisingly, I found no NGO websites openly taking credit for, or acknowledging the accomplishment of a similar 'sister organization' which may have organized this assault of American 2nd Amendment Rights.

Just because you're paranoid, that doesn't mean they aren't out to get you!
Not only is the verbiage an indication of collusion, but the timing is also suspect. Every bill was introduced within a 3-week period.

This leads me to believe that a 'central source' is providing a package of gun control verbiage to state legislators across the nation. This include the text of a basic law, with hints about how it could be tailored to fit the cultural context unique to each state ... while still following the basic construct of a law which would make it financially difficult for any honest citizen to conform to the onerous requirements of the law.

Common threads to these bills [which generally reflect the stated purpose of the "Microcoding of Ammunition" law enacted in California in 2007 (October 15, 2007: Schwartzenegger signs handgun microstamp bill) ... note that this California law requires handguns to 'microstamp' information onto the base of cartridges, NOT that the ammunition must include an 'encoded' serial number on the bullet!] include:
  • A short time span during which the law is to be enacted ... typically within 6 months to one year of introduction of the bill;
  • Only "Encoded Ammunition" may be sold in the state within 6 months of introduction of the bill;
  • Only "Encoded Ammunition" may be OWNED in the state within 12 months of introduction of the bill;
  • Penalties for ownership of "noncoded" [sic] ammunition to be $1000 fine for vendors (or private citizens") after stated deadlines;
  • Penalties for manufacture of "noncoded" [sic] ammunition to be $1000 fine for "manufacturers" of ammunition after stated deadlines for the first offense, $5000 for the second offense, $10,000 for the third offense;
  • No definition of "Manufacturer", no provision to protect those who "hand load" or "reload" their own ammunition, no reason why private citizens who reload their own ammunition should not be considered as a "Manufacturer" of ammunition within this law;
  • No provision for delay of enaction of the law, or for delays of penalties under the law, if circumstances preclude development of technology which would definitively support this law, or if problems developed in finding a vendor which can reliably or accurately (or economically!) perform the "encoding" of ammunition;
  • Imposition of a tax (from 5 cents to 0.005 cents per round) imposed on purchase of "encoded ammunition", purported to support the infrastructure necessary to fund a 'database' or 'tracking system' to be developed by the state to record ammunition transfers;
  • No provision to fund, or establish, a method of Enforcement of this law or, otherwise a process to restrict draconian measures to enforce the law.
There are a plethora of other failures of these bills to adequately (1) address potential unreasonable impositions upon legal owners of firearms, or (2) provide for Second Amendment rights which are supposedly protected from unreasonable search or seizure, or imposition of unrealistic fines or penalties, or (3) address obvious potential problems which may make this bills an unreasonable burden of citizens who may reasonably expect that their state legislatures might otherwise have the best interests of their otherwise law-abiding citizens as a primary concern.

To my surprise, Hawaii has protested against this bill in a "Testimony" (February 1, 2008) authored by "Mark J. Bennett, Attorney General or Lance M. Goto, Deputy Attorney General"

In this Testimony, the following comments are significant:

The Department of the Attorney General respectfully opposes this measure.

The purpose of this bill is to require all ammunition of specified caliber manufactured or sold in Hawaii that is capable of use in handguns, including assault pistols, to be coded to assist law enforcement in identifying and prosecuting offenders who use firearms in the commission of crimes. The bill also requires the Department of the Attorney General to establish a statewide database to track coded ammunition.

While the concept of maintaining a database to enable law enforcement to trace ammunition used in the commission of heinous crimes back to a certain criminal is a commendable one, we believe there are legal and practical problems presented by this bill that prevent the workable implementation of such a concept. This bill may be an instance where a firearm measure is unduly burdensome.
The concept of a bill which is "... unduly burdensome ..." may be foreign to some state legislators, but apparently it is not inconceivable to the Attorney General of Hawaii. Although the firearms ownership restrictions in Hawaii are often more strict ... or restrictive ... than those which are prevalent in other states, the Hawaiian Attorney General's Office seems to know a Bad Bill when he sees one. We applaud both gentlemen for their reluctance to impose a Bad Bill upon their fellow citizens, and note that the bill has been 'deferred', which is the bureaucratic equivalent of saying "Talk To The Hand!"

For details of the bill, go here. The discerning reader will note similarities to the Mississippi bill (full-text version), except that some lip-service has been paid in Hawaii to tax relief which the sponsors apparently felt were necessary to protect retailers in Hawaii.

UPDATE: February 3, 2008:
In case I neglected to mention it, Maryland introduced a similar bill.