Thursday, January 13, 2011

Unintentional Felons

"Crooks and Liars" (obviously not a foe of Gun Control) has posted a very nice blog article titled" Has Rep. Peter King actually come up with a decent idea on gun control?
(Hat Tip to Random Nuclear Strikes!)

Our answer is --- NOT!

The Huffington Post article describes King's proposal as:

Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York, is planning to introduce legislation that would make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official [emphasis added], according to a person familiar with the congressman's intentions.

King is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. The proposed law follows the Saturday shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and a federal judge that left six dead, including the judge, and 14 wounded.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the nation's most outspoken gun-control advocates, is backing King's measure and is expected to put the weight of his pro-gun-control organization behind it.

The Gun-control folks are all over this ... they apparently think this is a good idea on toast, with gravy on it.


Because it would make it impossible for anyone with a legally carried firearm to know if/when he or she is breaking the law.

It's not like the laws which once made it illegal to possess a firearm within 1000' of a school ... in my small town, it's really, really difficult to NOT be within that distance of a school. But it's theoretically possible for me to find a route from my home to the the range, or to any exit from town, without 'encroaching' upon that limit.

"Government Officials", though, are a different beast. I'm not sure what constitutes a "Government Official". Is it my congressman? Is it the mayor? A City Councilman? (Mine lives within a few blocks of my home ... I couldn't leave my house without breaking the law.) And how do you know if you break the limit? These are people, they move around.

This proposed law would be impossible to enforce, impossible to avoid becoming an Unintentional Felon. If stopped, searched and arrested, I might be charged and convicted of this 'crime' without even knowing that I had broken the law. Hmm ... somehow, this doesn't seem fair to me, let alone reasonable. Heck, I actually like my congressman. Don't agree with his politics, of course, but I certainly wish him no ill.

The otherwise sane, reasonable people (okay, I'm giving them all the credit I can) don't think about that stuff. They don't own firearms, they don't care to consider the petty details. They think it's a good idea, so they are all for it.

If that law was in effect last Saturday when Gabrielle Giffords was holding a "meet and greet" at the local Safeway Store, any firearms owner on his way to the range who drove into the parking lot to pick up snacks and a bag of ice not knowing she was there ... would have been in violation. No intent to do harm would be necessary.


In the interest of brevity, I encourage you to go to the "Crooks and Liars" post and read what is there.

Most emphatically, watch the 8 minute interview between PS_MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell ("The Last Word"; "Tucson Tragedy and Gun Control") where he interviews Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy.

O'Donnell's rhetoric is far removed from "Journalism". It is an opinion piece, blatantly illustrating his anti-gun bias. During his interview with Congresswoman McCarthy (who lost her husband during a 1993 assault on the Long Island RailRoad) he asks her, for example, whether " ... we are going to lose focus on what killed these people; a gun legally sold to a manman in a country that is intent on preserving the madman's right to obtain firearms and shoot people ...".

This question is actually, of course, a statement. Entered into the conversation for shock effect, and entirely without justification.

He also mentioned that the lunatic went to a store to buy ammunition, and was turned away. Actually, according to the store (a WalMart) he was not turned away. He merely "failed to complete the transaction". He later went to another WalMart and obtained ammunition there.

McCarthy plans to introduce (on January 18, 2011) a bill which is eerily similar to measures found in the failed Assault Weapons Ban:

On Tuesday, January 18, I will introduce legislation to restore the prohibition on large capacity ammunition feeding devices in the United States.

The United States Constitution guarantees to our citizens the right to keep and bear arms. At the same time that we can all acknowledge this basic right, I believe that we should also be able to come together to develop reasonable laws designed to ensure that the right to bear arms is exercised safely and responsibly. Just as we all celebrate and defend the first amendment but also understand that practical limits must be in place, such as not shouting, “Fire” in a crowded theater, so too should we be able to respect the second amendment while at thesame time supporting commonsense regulations.

Her statement fails to define the term "large capacity" although according to the Arizona Daily Star this is assumed to define magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

The failed 1994 Assault Weapons ban was part of HR3355, which was an omnibus bill addressing so many issues that the "Assault Weapons Ban" (Section 110101) was only a very minor part.

But at the very beginning of the bill (probably not a 'good link') was a very clear notice that the bill would be repealed after ten years:


    This subtitle and the amendments made by this subtitle--

      (1) shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act; and

      (2) are repealed effective as of the date that is 10 years after that date.

    When you read all of the pMS_NBC rhetoric, especially the parts where "it's all George W. Bush's Fault" (because he didn't take steps to "repeal the repeal") ... remember that this was the law. Bush merely declined to complicate the already failed issue. The crime statistics after ten years of onerous imposition on the rights of honest citizens to possess, for example, "magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition" resulted in NO positive effects on crime rates. It was essentially all smoke and mirrors. You and I went for ten years abiding by laws (which were surely not observed by criminals) and these laws failed to serve the stated purpose of reducing crime, violence, gun violence or any other goal for which this bill was purportedly established.

    Why? How?

    A report from the National Institute of Criminal Justice (U.S. Department of Justice / Office of Justice Programs) reviewed the results of the AWB, and among their results were the following statements:

    • The ban has failed to reduce the average number of victims per gun murder incident or multiple gunshot victims.
    • Target audience: Congressional representatives and staff; State and local legislators; Federal, State, and local law enforcement officials; criminal justice practitioners and researchers; advocacy groups; State and local government officials.
    Rep. McCarthy's urge to revisit this failed attempt to control large-scale murder by reducing the legal capacity of "large capacity" magazines is understandable, and absent the egregious imposition on LEGAL and LAW ABIDING citizens, we are emotionally inclined to support any effort, no matter how futile and ineffective, to reach this goal.

    However, we have already spent ten years valiantly attempting to determine whether her "new" efforts might have the effect she so obviously desires; the numbers just do not support her thesis.

    We are so sorry, Representative McCarthy, but your proposal affects only those of us who are law-abiding citizens. Madmen, terrorists and criminals are not at ALL affected. You have proposed a bill which is a disservice not only to your constituents, but to those of us across thsi nation who would otherwise wish to accept any workable legislation.

    A workable defense against Madness is not something that cannot be legislated, further than we have already done. At this point, our only proven solution is to arm our law-abiding citizens for the defense of themselves, and others.

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