Shooting at gun-free, campus-carry-free UCLA

What appears to have been a tragic murder-suicide took place yesterday at UCLA.  Terrible. I can particularly relate, as I myself am involved in academia, am a father, and am only a few years younger than the victim.

As you likely know, California has some of the strictest gun control in the nation, concealed carry permits are rarely issued in Los Angeles, campus carry is strictly forbidden, and UCLA is a gun-free zone. Once again, it turns out that declaring a place to be “gun-free” doesn’t accomplish anything, since bad people doing bad things will simply ignore those policies. Big surprise.

Instead, the whole campus goes into lockdown only to discover that many of the doors don’t actually lock from the inside. Worse, many of the doors open outwards, making it difficult for the students to barricade them: several news reports show students using electrical cords to tie doors to chairs and tables that are bolted to the floor, using belts to secure hydraulic door closers, etc.

While I applaud the ingenuity of the students solving a problem under pressure, the fact that the doors can’t be locked from the inside is absurd.

Next, some minor criticism of the cops and their response. I don’t mean to armchair quarterback, but, to use a biology reference, the response of the cops seems more along the lines of an allergic reaction rather than a beneficial immune system response. Tons of local and federal (federal agents as first responders at a state university? That seems a bit odd to me.) SWATed-up cops swarmed the campus. They did door-to-door checks of rooms on campus to ensure they were secure, but it seems that they failed to announce themselves as police first, to the terror of students and staff in the rooms who only saw unknown heavily-armed men jiggling door handles trying to get into room. When you have overwhelming force, it can’t hurt to be polite and at least announce yourself as police.

When the police make students line up on their knees with their hands on their heads before being searched and allowed to leave may be practical from a safety standpoint, but it presents a chilling, disturbing image that sits very poorly with me.

Anti-gun folks are already using this incident as an example of the risks of campus carry. On the contrary, this is an example of the folly of gun-free zones and the benefits of campus carry.

One of the commonly-expressed concerns about campus carry is that a student upset about a particular topic or grade will threaten or shoot a professor: it’s clear that this can happen regardless of state, local, or campus rules prohibiting guns on campus or in certain areas, let alone laws against assault, threats, murder, etc. It should be evident that such policies serve only to leave ordinary, non-criminal people defenseless in the face of violent criminals.

Still, carrying is not a panacea: it’s certainly possible for a bad guy with the element of surprise to get the drop on someone, but after that things become much harder for the bad guy if they are intent on causing mass casualties  — instead of potential victims hiding helplessly in rooms, they can arm themselves and present a much more effective defense in the event they’re attacked. Why anyone would be opposed to this is beyond me.

Lastly, anti-gun folks often say that “guns don’t belong on campus”, that somehow the presence of concealed firearms carried by “good guys with guns” will upset some campus-specific qi and make the campus more hostile, and that guns won’t solve anything. If guns in the hands of good guys aren’t a good thing or if guns don’t solve anything, why call for armed police in such a situation? Guns are already present on campus — whether lawfully carried by campus police officers for purposes of good, illegally carried by criminals for nefarious purposes, or by honest-but-technically-law-breaking people unwilling to risk their safety by going unarmed — and barring the occasional act of criminal violence, the academic environment seems to handle it just fine.

This incident should be a call for action in support of campus carry and the removal of useless, dangerous gun-free zones. Call your legislator today.

Great news from California!

As the Washington Post reports,

A divided federal appeals court on Thursday struck down California?s concealed-weapons rules, saying they violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
By a vote of 2 to 1, the three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said California was wrong to require applicants to show good cause to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Outstanding. I was born and raised in California and the restrictive gun laws there always chafed a bit (though I later moved to Arizona, where things were better). Although the gun laws in CA have ratcheted ever-more-restrictive over the years (“assault weapons” ban, .50 BMG ban, etc.) it’s nice to see a combo-breaker in the form of this case.
Honestly, this decision (and the recent one out of Illinois that struck down the prohibition on carry) is something I did not expect: I’ve been so used to states like California having increasingly restrictive gun laws, even in the wake of Heller and McDonald, that I more or less gave up hope for those states. I am pleasantly surprised and, to paraphrase Sebastian, I hope this is a step in bringing certain states back to America.
I will also join in with everyone else congratulating Clayton Cramer for having two of his law review articles cited by the court.
Although court decisions like this one are baby steps, they’re steps in the right direction and lay down a good legal precedent for the future.
Update 1: Bob Owens has some choice quotes from the decision here.
Naturally, the Brady Campaign is not happy. They statement claims that, “Neither history or precedent supports this aberrant, split decision that concocts a dangerous right of people to carry hidden handguns in public places to people whom law enforcement has determined that they have no good cause or qualifications to do so.”, which is somewhat strange since the court has, in support of its decision, cited numerous historical and legal precedents. Do the Brady’s offer any sort of citations to legal precedent, court decisions, or historical claims in support of their position? No, they go straight to emotional arguments: “The parents of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, whose children were killed by licensed concealed-carry holders, could educate the Court about the real dangers posed by this legal error.” That’s pretty weaksauce, even for the Brady’s.

Detroit police chief reiterates pro-CCW stance

From The Detroit News:

Police Chief James Craig responded Thursday to a citizen who criticized his pro-gun stance by reiterating his opinion that ?good citizens? who legally carry firearms could help deter violent crime.

Craig stressed that he doesn?t support vigilantism.

?This is not often talked about: responsibility,? he said. ?I do not condone vigilantism. I don?t support individuals arming themselves and doing the work of police officers. Police officers are trained to enforce the law. I think you put people at risk when you have people that are out playing police. I do see that a concealed weapon is an opportunity for self-protection only; not to go out and enforce the law.?

After Thursday?s meeting, Police Commissioner Lisa Carter and her husband, Tyrone Carter ? both former police officers ? said they agreed with Craig.

?There are a lot of seniors in Detroit who are victims,? Tyrone Carter said. ?It?s not vigilantism for people to protect themselves.?

Added Lisa Carter: ?That?s all we?re talking about: The right for people to be able to protect themselves.?



I’m a big fan of BJ’s Brewhouse, a restaurant chain with tasty food and delicious beer (( Try their red. It’s outstanding. )).
There’s now two in Tucson. The first one, which is on the north side of town, used to have a “gun busters” (warning: PDF) sign, but after some polite prodding by the citizenry, they took it down — permit-holders are not forbidden from carrying there, so long as they don’t drink. There’s been no incidents of violence, gun-related or not, at the restaurant that I’m aware of.
However, the newly-built BJ’s on Broadway has a “gun busters” sign. A polite letter asking the management to remove the sign, like the other restaurant, has been dispatched to the management. I urge others to do the same.

Reminder About Permitless Concealed Carry

Just a reminder to fellow Arizonans: the new law that removes the permit requirement for concealed carry goes into effect on July 29th. Please wait until then before carrying concealed without a permit.
Also, please note that there are some perks to having a permit, such as discounts at the occasional pro-gun-rights eatery, as well as bypassing NICS checks on new gun purchases, and interstate reciprocity.

IWB Holsters

Today I acquired a shiny BLACKHAWK! (( That’s a rather silly name, honestly. )) IWB holster for my Glock 19.
Holy crap, this holster makes the gun disappear. As I’m left-handed, I carry around 8:00pm on the clock-style of angular measure, and it’s essentially invisible. Comfy too. The holster is leather (( Made in Italy, too. Somewhat odd. )) and has enough flex to fit comfortably without any uncomfortable edges. Super comfy at the desk, in the car, and walking around.
I’m a bit skeptical of the velcro angle adjustment (though one needs to loosen a screw before adjusting the angle), but we’ll see how it holds up.
On a different note, there’s entirely too much Shiny! at the shop, and not enough money in my wallet. I’d like to see this reversed, at least for a short while.
Oh yeah, the FTC can bite my shiny, slightly radioactive ass (( Probably not, but if I get ass cancer for sitting next to all that purportedly low-level radioactive stuff in the lab, I’ll get annoyed. )) if they think that companies actually want to give me shiny things and have me pimp them out. I wish I was that awesome.

Running Interference

One nice thing about the recent Arizona immigration law is that it’s running remarkably good interference for the permitless carry law in Arizona.
Sure, the permitless carry law isn’t really a big deal in Arizona, but what little drama that could be stirred up against it has been replaced with ire for the immigration law and I haven’t heard a peep against the carry law in any media recently.


I’ve been following the comments on several local news websites regarding the passage of permitless carry in Arizona.
A common theme among opponents, other than the normal “blood in the streets” comments, is that they discuss various bad guys (either criminals, drunks, “rednecks”, and so on) now being able to arm themselves and committing various crimes of opportunity (road rage is commonly mentioned) against the innocent citizenry.
While no credence is given to the fact that such actions are already illegal, such a reaction (or lack thereof) is common.
I did, however, note that none of the people opposing the measure ever considered taking measures — whether carrying a firearm or not — to protect themselves. The law is designed to ease the ability of law-abiding people defend themselves, yet the thought of availing themselves of the new law didn’t occur to them.
I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective; if one believes that guns belong only in the hands of criminals and police, the thought of owning or carrying a gun for their own protection never occurs, yet if one believes that guns belongs in the hands of the law-abiding, good people that make up the majority of the population, such a thought is not difficult to envision at all.

Interesting Quirk of Permitless Carry

According to an email I received from a state legislator, the permitless concealed carry law doesn’t apply to…get this, people who have a permit to carry a concealed firearm.
Basically, if you have a CCW permit in Arizona, you must continue to have the permit on you while carrying, as the new law does not affect or supersede the existing one regarding permits. If you don’t have a permit, you can — once the law comes into effect — carry concealed without a permit.
Go figure.
As always, open carry remains unaffected.

AZ Constitutional Carry Passes

From the AzCDL:

YOU did it!? Today, April 16, 2010, Governor Brewer signed SB 1108, the AzCDL-requested Constitutional Carry bill, into law.? Arizona now becomes the third state to not require written permission from the government for law-abiding citizens to exercise their right to bear arms discretely.? Because Arizona is the first state in the U.S. with a large urban population to take this significant step, this is a watershed moment for the entire country.
If you don’t have a permit, don’t start carrying concealed just yet.? The law won’t become effective until 90 days after “Sine Die” when the Legislature officially adjourns.? Since they are still working through a slew of bills, we don’t expect Sine Die anytime soon.? In past years, the effective date of bills has been around September.
CCW permits still have a purpose.? You’ll need one to streamline gun purchases, to carry in states that honor Arizona permits and for carrying concealed in establishments that serve alcohol.? And, the training you receive to obtain a permit is an added bonus.? Along with restoring your right to bear arms, SB 1108 added additional training opportunities for obtaining a permit.? NRA classes and training from places like Front Sight and Gunsite will be able to qualify as permit training.
If you decide not to obtain a CCW permit, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train.? The heaviest thing about wearing a firearm is the responsibility that comes with it.? Take that money that you save on permit and renewal fees and spend it on quality training as often as you can.? Lead by example ? the world is watching.

Outstanding news.