Friday, January 04, 2008

DC: The 2nd Amendment Does Not Apply ...

Interesting constitutional argument proposed by the DC Attorneys in their Weasel-worded attempt to squirm out from under the SCOTUS ruling on Municipal Gun Control:
WASHINGTON — The Second Amendment's provisions protecting the right to keep and bear arms apply only to the federal government, not the 50 states and the District of Columbia, lawyers for the nation's capital argued Friday in a written brief to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Pay careful attention here, because this sentence is subject to mis-reading:
The district argues that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms only in the context of an organized militia. In the brief, the district makes an additional argument: That the founding fathers' concern in drafting the Second Amendment was to protect states from an overbearing federal government that might restrict access to firearms as a means of crippling state militias.
When I first read this, I understood it to say that the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution only applied to Federal legislation, and that States were not bound by the terms of the Constitution.

This would imply that the Federal government was bound by constitutional restrictions, but States (and the District of Columbia) could impose laws which were Unconstitutional if the Federal Government had imposed them.

The next two sentences seemed to support that argument:
As such, the Second Amendment only restricts Congress, they argue.
"The primary goal of those who demanded (the Bill of Rights) as a condition of ratification to the Constitution was to control the federal government," the lawyers wrote. "That is especially true with respect to the inclusion of the Second Amendment."
You may think: "Oh damn, they got us there!". But the Constitutional restrictions are binding upon the States, under Article IV of the Constitution of the United States:
Article. IV.

Section. 1.

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section. 2.

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

But D.C. erred in that it not only applied its argument solely to the 2nd Amendment, but also argued that the District of Columbia was not a "State", and as a 'special case' it was accorded 'special status'.

The district argues that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms only in the context of an organized militia.

In the brief, the district makes an additional argument: That the founding fathers' concern in drafting the Second Amendment was to protect states from an overbearing federal government that might restrict access to firearms as a means of crippling state militias.

As such, the Second Amendment only restricts Congress, they argue.

"The primary goal of those who demanded (the Bill of Rights) as a condition of ratification to the Constitution was to control the federal government," the lawyers wrote. "That is especially true with respect to the inclusion of the Second Amendment."
This interpretation has been described as "... very creative but wrong."

How likely is this argument to be taken seriously?
Because the case addresses not only the Second Amendment but also the peculiar status of the District of Columbia as a federal enclave, it is unclear whether the Supreme Court ruling will have a direct impact on the national gun-control issue.
In other words ... nice legal position, Washington Weasels; but ultimately indefensible.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Clear Case for Bone Control

I wonder where the Brady Bunch was on this one?

Take a gentle, caring, inclusive milieu of "Animal House".
(Zit Joke / Food Fight!)

Add the gritty realism of "2001: A Space Odyssey".
(The Dawn of Man)

What do you get?

Man stabs another man with pork chop bone
ARDMORE -- An Oklahoma man was arrested after police say he stabbed another man in the neck with a pork chop bone during a food fight.

Police in Ardmore, Oklahoma responded to call of a fight outside a local business New Year's day. When they arrived, they found the victim covered in blood with a puncture wound to his neck.

Police arrested the suspect, 38-year-old Tony Willis a few block from the crime scene. According to authorities, Willis had blood on his clothes and they found the bone used in the attack.

The victim was treated at a local hospital and released.
Obviously the time has come for Bone Control.

(H/T: David Codrea, The War on Guns: "When Pork Chop Bones Are Outlawed ...")

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Concealed Carry, Done Right

Last week I commented on an incident where a man who just wanted to carry a weapon for self-defense in a supermarket met ignoble failure because he couldn't keep his pistol in his pocket.

This week I draw your attention to a man with the same goal, who did everything right.

From the IndyStar, I give you Charlie Merrell:
A 51-year-old man stopped a masked man from robbing a Southside grocery store and held him at gunpoint until police arrived.

Charlie Merrell was in checkout line at Bucks IGA Supermarket, 3015 S. Meridian St., when a masked man jumped a nearby counter and held a gun on a store employee at 5:17 p.m. Monday, according to a police report made public today.

While the suspect was demanding cash from the workers, the police report states that Merrell pulled his own handgun, pointed it at the robber and ordered him to put down his weapon.

When the suspect hesitated, Merrell racked the slide on his gun to load a round in the chamber, Officer Jason Bockting wrote in the report.
The suspect placed his gun and a bag of cash on the counter, dropping some of the money, police said. The suspect removed his mask and lay on the floor. Merrell held the suspect at gunpoint until officers arrived and took him away in handcuffs.
In the 252 comments (still counting), there is some discussion about the sentence:
"When the suspect hesitated, Merrell racked the slide on his gun to load a round in the chamber ..."

In the story, it's not clear why Merrell racked his slide. Some people thought he engaged an armed robber with a pistol which was in Condition 3 (The chamber is empty and hammer is down with a charged magazine in the gun.)

I'm sure it's possible that Merrell was in Condition 3, but it's just as possible that he was in Condition 1 (Also known as "cocked and locked," means a round is in the chamber, the hammer is cocked, and the manual thumb safety on the side of the frame is applied) and merely racked the slide to take psychological advantage of the "Ka-CHUNK!" factor.

For that matter, it's just as possible that Merrell presented his pistol in Condition 0 (A round is in the chamber, hammer is cocked, and the safety is off.)

The 'Ka-CHUNK!" factor is here defined as the terrifying effect on a predator when he hears a defender either rack the pump on a 12-guage shotgun, or rack the slide on a pistol.


Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

The movies and television make much of a cop with a pointed gun shouting such cogent phrases as "Freeze, Dog-Breath!" and "Stop or I'll shoot!". In real life, there's no reason for such histrionics. Think of it as a 'talk to the hand' moment.

Step 1: Get the predator's attention.
Step 2: Ka-CHUNK!
Step 3: pick up the predator's weapon and the bag-o-loot while the police are taking their time riding to the scene of the (failed) crime.

This is a much nicer resolution that that which we have recently seen in "Gun Free Zones", don't you think?

So do I.

Hope and Glory in Iraq

I've been aware of Bill Wittle at Eject! Eject! Eject! for a couple of years, but I have not been a regular reader.

My loss.

Thanks to Geek with a .45, I've been directed to Wittle's latest (as of this date) two-part oddyssey into the attitudes of Americans and analysis of what it takes to win a war ... or more precisely, what it takes to make a peace.

I'm humbled, and encouraged. Wittle is an inspired journal writer whose theme here is not 'how to win a war through superior firepower', but 'how to win a peace by showing that we are a people who love and desire peace'. This is badly expressed, and I apologize for my meager word-smithing skills. The clumsy phrases do, however, serve to give you the general idea of Wittle's message.

Part 1: Glory ... which has absolutely nothing at all to do with Glory as it is usually defined.

Part 2: Hope ... which has something to do with war, and everything to do with achieving a peace for a beautiful people who deserve nothing less.

Not us for us, but for them.

Peace in the Middle East is possible. This has been a dream, but now we may see that it is not an unobtainable goal when two peace-loving cultures share that dream. We do not strive to trade "Blood for Oil". We only hope to bring peace to a troubled land.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


As I did in the beginning of 2007, now that it's 2008 it's time to thank the readers of this IPSC USPSA shooting blog.

Note the strike-out; one of the most significant issues (for readers of this blog) introduced in January: the process which eventually resulted in the 2008 USPSA Rule Book (see 1/16/07 "USPSA Rules Changes: 2008"). This is significant because for the first time in my 23+ years of Practical Shooting Competition (aka "Action Shooting") the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) now has its own book of rules which has absolutely no reference to International rules as established and maintained by the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC). You'll see references to IPSC from time to time, but from this day forward when I talk about "Practical Shooting" in the United States of America, I'll be using USPSA rather than IPSC.

Kind of a shame, really. After all of these years, the expression IPSC (IP-SICK) just sort of rolls off the tongue. As SWMBO and I discussed today, it's difficult to communicate with the term "YUSP'SAH" (USPSA).

As an illustration, we also offered (1/14/07) "Winter IPSC Is Cool".

In February, we talked (2/12/07) about USPSA's unprecedented "four consecative years of sustained growth". We also mentioned (2/20/07) the ZUMBO meltdown, and (2/23/07) more about the USPSA New Rule Book.

March brought a lot of discussion about the differences between the then-current IPSC/USPSA rulebook and the proposed 2008 USPSA New Rule Book. I started with an extensive exhaustive compare/contrast exercise titled (3/1/07) "USPSA New Rule Book Resources", and included several specific illustrations of 'current' rules which were subject to improvement OR, rules which had (to my mind) been improved. Specifically, (3/3/07) 1.2.1 "General Courses of Fire", (3/5/07) 2.2.1 "Extend Rearward to Infinity" (See also a follow-up on 3/24/07, "Extend Into Infinity", with videos),

We also talked a couple of times about the Oregon "Range Nazi" bill, SB1012, once March 15 and again on March 21.

We also introduced the first Guest Blog by Stan Penkala(3/19), and discussed the overthrow of (3/20) the DC Gun Ban and , on March 27, introduced the "Evil 'Texas Star'", about which we were bound to learn more.

April was a month of extremes. I was elated that I took a co-worker to the range, and he had a great time. Then Remington was sold (see also here and here )to the international consortium Cereberus, followed immediately by a Los Angeles "Shooting Bill of Rights" which incorporated egregious municipal measures which would have made it difficult, if not impossible to exercise RKBA rights there.

Then on April 16, the massacre at Virginia Tech led to reactions on April 17.

"Buy a Gun Day" may have been ill-timed in this context, but some of us refused to allow the societal misanthrope of a madman compromise our own second amendment rights.

And if to underscore the difference between true evil and virtual evil, on April 29 I introduced Evil Bill and the Evil Oregon Star.

On May 1, 2007, I wrote a long post ("Target Control") about the Secretary of IPSC and his unilateral sanctions about the use of the Texas Star target in IPSC matches. This earned me (on May 15), the honor of being #2 on his personal "2006 Hostility to IPSC Award". I remain humbled by the honor, which as of this date remains available here. My only regret is that I am unable to achieve the coveted #1 spot, but I continue to strive for excellence.

I also mentioned the Pistol Caliber Carbine match on May 6, and included another Guest Article on the "CX4 Storm (Beretta) Magazine Adaption".

And finally, I was able to provide video footage of the Evil Bill's Evil Oregon Star Version 1.1.

June was, surprisingly (to me) the beginning of a long period when local 'club matches' were interrupted by Major Matches. I didn't spend as much time (for the next 7 months) shooting as much as I would prefer, but I still found subjects for commentary.

I got to shoot IPSC Steel for the first time at the COSSA range in Bend, and when ARPC presented a 'preview' of stages slated for the Nationals, I found some potential stage design problems in both "Home Run" and "Go Sit In The Corner". We also highlighted problems with BATFE procedures when reviewing firearms dealer records, as reported by Gun Owners of America.

July started out with the USPSA Area 1 Multigun Tournament (see also here and here and here .. and others) and was almost immediately followed by the R&R Racing Multigun Match. (Note: the R&R match included the exciting "Doors" stage, where so many match-nerves events caused personal meltdowns. A series of photographs where B. Grams paster-blasted an IPSC target with a .223 at close range ended up as a short photo opportunity in "The Front Sight" magazine.)

We also had the Columbia Cascade Section Tournament, and a follow-up on California Gun-Banner articles with this one which essentially trashed the gun-shop business in San Francisco. No wonder I moved out of there in 1976!~

August ... I met Ryan "Red" Horsley (not personally, only via email) of Red's Gun Shop in Idaho. This is a relationship which has continued as I have received links to every post he has written since then in his continuing battle against the predations of ATF agents. Someone needs to keep a finger on those ho-dads, and Red is there for us.

Also, my computer got friend by the Blue Bird of Happiness, and I had to buy a new one; I enjoyed an extended dialogue (kind of) with with a Brit who signs himself "The ASBO-monger" and who believes that Gun Control Works; ARPC hosted the 2007 Single Action Society (SAS) "Shootout at Saddle Butte"; the USPSA Elections were heating up; we had some more discussion about the 2008 USPSA Rule Book; and there was a description about an Open Carry issue in Virginia.

September ... the 2007 Croc Match invited a lot of controversy, as did California AB1417 ('microstamping of ammunition') for entirely different reasons; Oregon faced the question of whether a school teacher should be allowed to arm herself with a gun ... and Oregon flinched. This blue state hasn't enough guts to recognize the Constitution in the face of the "if it saves just one child ..." context. More on the DC Gun Ban legislation; Albany Rifle & Pistol Club presents back to back matches -- the 11th annual Single Stack Tournament, and the Third Annual Oregon Glock Championship (also here); I trash the NRA leadership (see December for a follow-up); more discussion on the Texas Star (with video, of course).

October ... "Gun Free Zones": school shooting in Cleveland High School (prophetic? See below); "Gun Control Doctors": a 3-part commentary (see also here) on physicians who lobby for gun-control issues to their patients during routine examinations; a premature list of the 'most popular articles of 2007'; Not Dead Yet - Gary, Indiana sues S&W et al ... a one-hour video showing how the municipality may actually be allowed to continue its 1999 suit against firearms manufacturers despite recent SCOTUS rulings; USPSA Election Results; (California governor) "Schwarzenegger signs handgun microstamp bill"; Concealed Carry on Campus (see also Empty Holster Week); another "Gun Free Zone" parody (see below.)

November ... Measure 50 in Oregon (union support of a state constitutional amendment); STI refuses to accept California Microstamping Restrictions; USPSA Level II Certification class (Albany Rifle & Pistol Club) emphasizes USPSA rules, not IPSC rules!;

December ...


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Gun Range Owner Says He's Unfairly Targeted

The Galveston County Daily News

It's an old, yet sadly familiar story:
LEAGUE CITY (Texas) — Records show that top city officials spent at least seven months discussing how to shut down a gun range, a move range owner Ernest Randall says is aimed at helping a developer build homes in the area.

City Attorney Dick Gregg’s billing records show he participated in a series of meetings about how to “characterize a gun range as a nuisance and ultimately have it removed.” The legal fees cost taxpayers more than $6,000 from May to November.

Involved in the planning were Mayor Jerry Shults, City Administrator Chris Reed, other senior staff members and developer Sam Boyd, who gave $4,000 to Shults’ campaign in August 2005.

The records show Gregg billed the city for gun range discussions with the mayor at least seven times and for conversations with Boyd at least five times.
In NW Oregon, of the six outdoor ranges within 100 miles of my home, two of them are under repeated attack by private individuals (or companies) who want long-established gun clubs to shut down their range.

Shooting ranges take up a lot of land, not only because the 'old established' ranges started when rural property was relatively inexpensive; not only because they need room for future expansion (including parking and new bays to accommodate new Competitive Shooting Sports); but also because as long as a box of .22 rimfire ammunition is marked "Range: 1-1/2 miles Be Careful", a shooting range needs to control access to its downrange area.

But as towns and cities grow their populations, the suburbs spread out to where they often infringe closely on the land owned by gun clubs, and the residents in these new developments are not happy with the sound of gunshots on a Saturday Morning as they mow their lawns and watch their children play in the back yard.

More frequently, the source of litigation isn't from established residences. It's from land developers who buy property immediately adjacent to shooting ranges with the expectation that,
by complaining to EPA and otherwise bringing governmental pressure to bear against long-established shooting ranges, they can drive the gun clubs out of business and realize a substantial increase in the value of their property AFTER they build new residences there.

Their investment in these civil actions is not often as high as what it costs gun clubs to defend against them, or to modify their shooting ranges to accommodate new environmental or residential situations. Many ranges have been closed in recent years, not because they actually constitute a hazard to their surroundings, but because they don't have the 'deep pockets' necessary to defend themselves against nuisance lawsuits or civil actions.

More, with increasing awareness of (for example) polution of waterways by lead deposits, and potential disruption of wildlife movement, the Environmental Protection Agency is sometimes called in to add more pressure against gun clubs who have their own outdoor shooting range.

According to the National Association of Shooting Ranges (NASR), in a 1996 article titled "Case Studies: How Ranges Manage to Stay Open or Re-Open",
EPA is not out inspecting on their own. They go out because an angry neighbor called, and the neighbor is angry about an entirely different issue such as sound or club members' bad attitudes.
NASR, in the same article, offers a 'bad' case study, and also a number of suggested guidelines to follow in operating a shooting range:

- Conduct yourself in a professional manner.

- Be a responsible member of your community and operate your club with professionalism.

- Get proactive.

- Establish your club as an asset to the community.

- Support youth activities and offer your range or clubhouse as a meeting place. Boy Scouts, 4-H, American Legion all have shooting programs for kids.

- Schedule hunter education classes through your state's hunter education coordinator. Many classes have live fire as part of the course. Offer your range and clubhouse.

- Consider having a ladies shooting activity. Call NRA Women's Issues or the Training Department for information on Refuse to Be A Victim or a personal protection course, taught by women for women. Do not be disappointed if the first try does not yield the expected results. Keep trying. Call NRA at 703-267-1414.

- Get to know your neighbors.

- Invite them to club functions.

- Be prepared to discuss any issues they may have concerning safety or operations.

- Always try to resolve their concerns in a respectful manner.

- Advertise your presence.

- Billboards or signs let people driving by know you are there. (Could be the couple buying the lot next door.)

- Keep projectiles on your property.

- If you are shooting lead shot into water-STOP! Change direction, change to steel or Bismuth, but change. You are headed for a predicable result that will not be pleasant.

In the meantime, the Main Steam Media (here, the International Herald Tribune) equates going to a shooting range with "... 'car bowling', in which low-flying pilots drop bowling balls on cars parked on the runways of (hopefully) little-used private airstrips."

Message delivered: You're a shooter? You're a vandal.

No wonder we can't get a fair shake in our own community.

Blogmeat: Live Leak Video Theme

Test-firing the gun from an F35 Lightning

850-round M60 MG test (Remember Basic training back in the '60s, when they showed us the barrel-meltdown on an M60 which fired more than 350 rounds without a stop? No more ... New and Improved!)

Area Denial Weapons System (ADWS)
- Australia, 2005

Redneck Picnic: Kids at Camp ... with machine guns and having fun.

America has 90 guns for each 100 people

Video: CH-46E livefire exercise

Video: Chinook helicopter self-destruct

Video: Iraqi insurgents attacked by air support

Also here and here ...

Air strike bombing test up close

F16 Taliban truck strike

AF airstrike on multiple Taliban positions in support of British forces

Winnepeg/BC Project E-Portal gun seizure

Immigration By The Numbers

The clock is ticking down to the end of 2007, and I'm looking for a summary of the most important issues in America. This would be subjective in almost any analysis, which you can read as saying it's all opinion.

I like opinion. On occasion I even indulge in stating opinions of my own. But as I surf the net it occurs to me that what's missing on almost everybody's List of the 2007 Most Important Issues in America is ... Legal Immigration.

Nope, I'm not even talking about Illegal Immigration. I'm talking about LEGAL immigration ... the 1,000,000 people a year who are authorized by the United States Government to immigrate to America.

Nobody is looking at this.

Well, that's wrong too. Someone is looking at this: Numbers, USA.

NumbersUSA describes itself thus:
NumbersUSA Action is a non-profit, non-partisan, public policy organization that favors an environmentally sustainable and economically just America. It opposes efforts to use federal immigration policies to force mass U.S. population growth and to depress wages of vulnerable workers. NumbersUSA Action is pro-environment, pro-worker, pro-liberty and pro-immigrant. Activists in the NumbersUSA Action network are Americans of all races and include many immigrants and the spouses, children and parents of immigrants. Those who need to refer to NumbersUSA Action with a short, descriptive modifier should call it an "immigration-reduction organization."

Perhaps their most powerful statement is this 2007 video by NumbersUSA Executive Director Roy Beck, who uses effective graphics to demonstrate the impact on American resources of excessive LEGAL immigration quotas.

You may have already seen these videos; but if not, you might take a minute (well, over 13 minutes for the combined viewing time) to acquaint yourself with the issues.

Part 1: 6:47 minutes

Part 2: 6:53 minutes

(NB: you may also be interested in an October 2006 debate on "Money and Politics", a 9:25 minute video available at YouTube.)