Blackwater Endorses Gun Control

David Codrea mentions this story:

Blackwater Worldwide announced its support of AB2498, proposed legislation that would prevent prohibited persons from unlawful access to and possession of firearms.
This legislation would serve to hold all responsible firearms training facilities to a common standard, allow training of responsible citizens, and, hopefully, reduce firearms capabilities of dangerous criminals.

AB2498 basically requires any firearms training facility with a written contract with the federal government to provide training services to require background checks on those seeking training there, unless the individuals are members of the police or military.
Somehow, I suspect that the criminals aren’t going to bother spending thousands of dollars at training facilities. Once again, a useless law that does nothing but inconvienience the law-abiding.
Update: Sebastian pointed out that this law would only apply to facilities with written contracts with the federal government to provide training services. I’ve updated the original post with italicized text.

Heller sues DC

Story here. Note that it’s “Heller v. DC”, not “DC v. Heller”. Heller’s the plaintiff this time. 🙂
The article’s a bit short, but my understanding is that DC has done everything possible to not change anything, including bans on semi-automatic pistols, insisting that people keep their guns locked up and disabled (defeating the whole point of having a gun ready for self-defense), having obnoxious registration, licensing and ballistic fingerprinting requirements, and so forth.
Best of luck to Mr. Heller. More as I get it.
(Hat tip to Sebastian.)

I guess “gun free” zones don’t work…

A 22-year-old Phoenix man shot three people yesterday. Fortunately, nobody was killed and the three victims were hospitalized with non-life-threatening wounds.
The incident took place at the South Mountain Community College, a “gun free zone”.
When will people wake up and realize that laws, rules, and regulations proclaiming an area to be a “gun free zone” are barely worth the paper they’re printed on?
The only people guaranteed to be at the scene of a violent crime are the perpetrator(s) and the victim(s). Since the criminals seem to have no qualms with breaking various serious laws (for example, attempted murder) and surely would have no problem with violating a relatively minor law (for example, a prohibition against possessing guns in a certain place), it only makes sense that potential victims of crime should be allowed to possess the means to effectively defend themselves.
Of course, society should seek out and address the root causes of violent crime and work to rectify them, but that’s a long-term, utopian goal that provides little comfort or relief to someone being confronted by a violent criminal right now.
As they say, “when seconds count, the police are only minutes away”.
Hat tip to the AZCDL.

A Minor Detail

If we have the determination to reduce the roughly 30,000 people in this country who are shot each year by firearms, to reduce that to zero, we can do it…it is within our ability to do that. We just have to adopt the registration requirement that has been so successful in Canada.
Buford Scott.

I’m not going to address the ludicrous claim that we can reduce gun violence by any significant amount (let alone to zero) by registration. That’s just absurd.
Rather, I’m going to focus on part of his first sentence:

…people in this country who are shot by firearms…

Maybe I’m just being pedantic, but I’ve never heard of anyone being shot by a firearm. Rather, I’ve heard of people being shot by other people with firearms.
The Brady Campaign has a flyer along these lines where they state that “In 2004, guns murdered…11,344 [people] in the United States.” For the sake of the exercise, I’m not going to dispute the numbers, but I suspect that the guns alone didn’t do the murdering…rather, a person used a gun as a means of murdering someone else.
Last time I checked, guns are inanimate objects without any will of their own.
Indeed, Assault Weapon Watch has been closely monitoring an AR-15 for over four years, and it has yet to move, speak, dance, or commit acts of violent crime. It’s just quietly sat there for four years in the corner.
Perhaps it’s a clever ruse on the rifle’s part? Is it behaving as such simply to serve as a decoy, so we won’t pay attention to other guns going out and committing crimes on their own? Who knows?

Heller Affirmed!

From the opinion:

The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
[…]
The Amendment?s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause?s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Woot. This is Big News(tm). Big enough, in fact, for CNN to run a front-page story on their website. The BBC has the story front-page on their international news page.
The Brady Campaign site is amusing yet sad…the decision is reached, and they immediately start begging for money. The NRA, on the other hand, is business as usual, and has a one-line mention of the ruling in the “NRA Top News Stories” category on their home page.
I’m still reading the opinion, so I’ll post more later when I’ve read it. Other blogs I read (see the blogroll on the right) have a considerable amount of material on the subject, so check them out!
I’d have a celebratory day at the range, but I’m in San Francisco after a multi-week vacation to Europe so all my guns are in the safe in Arizona. I may have to talk to some of my California friends to see about celebrating.

Brady Campaign Newsletter

I got an email from the Brady Campaign containing the following bit of news:

Representative Mike Castle (R-DE) has introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 96) that will require Brady background checks at gun shows, and stop criminals and other dangerous people from exploiting these events to buy and sell guns.

Guess who they consider “other dangerous people” to be? Probably folks like you and me — ordinary people who own guns.
FFL holders (e.g. gun dealers) need to conduct the NICS check and have purchasers fill out a Form 4473 regardless of where the transaction takes place. The rules for dealers are no different at gun shows than they are at their own property — this law would only affect private citizens wishing to buy or sell guns at gun shows by requiring that they transfer their guns through an FFL holder.
The law would even effect private sales not occurring at gun shows — it would require that any private sale occur at the seller’s private residence, rather than at the buyer’s residence or any other location.
Also, the bill would make it illegal to hold gun shows (“special firearms events”) without notifying the US Attorney General, in writing, at least 30 days ahead of time “of the date, time, duration, and location of the special firearms event, and the special firearms event vendors planning to participate”.
Like the Brady Campaign, I urge you to contact your legislators…except that I urge you to oppose this bill.
See GovTrack or THOMAS for more details on the bill.

NRA and Brady Finances

Sebastian analyzes the difference in donations and spending between the NRA Political Victory Fund and Brady Campaign “Voter Education Fund”.
Here’s a brief summary:
Total Receipts
Brady: $73
NRA: $8.4 million
Total Spent
Brady: $3,000
NRA: $3.7 million
Total Contributed to Federal Candidates
Brady: $500
NRA: $413,000
Total Received From Individual Donors >$200
Brady: $0
NRA: $205,000
It sure looks like the pro-rights side is actually composed of real people.
And people why the NRA (and by extension the pro-rights side) has so much clout with legislators…

PA Gov. Rendell Stays Classy

From KYW Radio:

Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell made another pitch for gun control legislation outside the state capitol on Monday, during the annual ceremony honoring falling police officers.
Rendell says the gun that cut down Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski (see related story) was a Chinese assault weapon, and he says that there used to be a ban on importing assault weapons:
?And yet in 2004, the Congress of the United States — often some of the very same congressmen who would come and attend ceremonies like this — let the assault weapons ban lapse.?

The governor acknowledged that the gun that killed Liczbinski was brought into the country ?well before that action,? but says it?s symptomatic of the refusal of lawmakers to provide ?maximum protection? to law enforcement:

Emphasis mine. Basically, he’s saying that the 1994-2004 “assault weapons ban” would have had no effect whatsoever on this particular incident.

?If we really want to pay honor and tribute to the memory of those 703 police officers who have given their lives, we will suck it in, do the right thing, and pass laws that would give our police officers out on the street, protecting us every day, the maximum amount of protection we can.?

I know several police officers, and have nothing but the highest respect for officers who risk their lives each day to keep the peace and maintain public order.
I want them to to have the resources they need to stay safe and be able to do their job, and for the most part, the public has agreed: modern police have high-quality firearms and ammunition, body armor, tasers, batons, pepper spray, radios, in-car wireless data terminals, and a whole host of other equipment, training, and resources to help them be safer and more effective.
Even so, police work is not risk-free. When your job requires that you interact with the scum of the earth on a daily basis, there’s a not-insignificant probability that you will be involved in a violent confrontation. It’s just part of the job — no amount of laws or equipment can remove that risk entirely.
So-called “assault weapons” are common firearms that have simple cosmetic differences from more “traditional” looking, non-banned firearms. They are identical in nearly all functional aspects, and differ only in appearance. Many features on such guns exist for ergonomics and safety, but have no effect on lethality. Restricting guns with such features from ownership by lawful citizenry from 1994-2004 had essentially no effect on crime or their use in police shootings. Their use in crime is statistically insignificant.
Renewing an ineffective law is foolish. Doing so when it significantly restricts the rights of law-abiding, honest folks is malicious. Dancing in the blood of a murdered cop to push for such a renewal is abhorrent.
Hat tip to Sebastian for the link to the news article.