VA-ALERT: VCDL Update 2/4/13

1. VCDL Supper Meeting in Salem on February 19th 
2. VCDL Supper Meeting in Fredericksburg on February 24th 
3. Lobby Day observations 
4. Va. Senate panel kills gun show loophole bill 
5. Feinstein falsely politicizes Virginia Tech massacre 
6. Antigun Virginia lawmaker who brandished AK-47 during legislative session was disbarred following assault, death threat 
7. Virginia gun laws debated [Video] 
8. D.C. man who shot dogs biting boy could face charges 
9. Student uses AR-15 to stop home invasion robbery [Video] 
10. Feinstein, self-defense, and armed home invasions 
11. States' crime rates show scant linkage to gun laws 
12. Guns stop three home invasions, store robbery 
13. How to stop mass shootings? [Video] 
14. The school shooting the media won't report 
15. GEICO Insurance cancels gun manufacturer's policy because he is in firearm business 
16. 2A Supporters: Punching back twice as hard [Video] 
17. Fox News poll: Twice as many favor more guns over banning guns to reduce crime 
18. "Active shooter" training 
19. Senator Feinstein declares war on pistol grips 
20. Holder begins gun-control push 
21. The stale claim that 40 percent of gun sales lack background checks 
22. RTD LTE: Provide trained teachers the option to carry 
23. Why young women want AR-15's 
24. Gender gap on most gun issues is massive, polls suggest 
25. Ending gun violence requires commitment, not all of it voluntary 
26. Two-thirds of U.S. gun owners would 'defy' a federal gun ban 
27. Oak Harbor City, WA Mayor defends 2nd Amendment in council meeting [Video] 
28. Does UN arms trade treaty figure in Obama administration's gun control plans? 
29. CNN: Red states and guns [Audio] 
30. Boycott: Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, PA 
31. Groupon stops gun-related deals, sparking outrage on social media 
32. Democratic senators face "roused" gun owners at home 
33. Let the Democrats shoot themselves in the foot 
34. Journalists, politicians refuse to post lawn sign saying "Home is proudly gun free" [Video] 
35. Expert gun advice from the Vice President 
36. Maze of gun laws in US hurts gun control efforts 
37. Guns and the President 
38. Thanks to members of the VCDL, from the WVCDL 

1. VCDL Supper Meeting in Salem on February 19th 

VCDL will have a supper meeting in Southwest Virginia at: 

315 8TH ST (Corner of 8th and Tennessee) 
Salem Virginia 

Date: February 19, 2013 

Seating IS LIMITED TO 62 MEMBERS OR GUESTS, so RSVP is requested to reserve a seat! 

Menu is a BUFFET, chicken OR pepper steak, with corn, mashed potato, green beans, drinks, desert. 

COST will be $10.99 not including TAX and TIP. 

Fellowship starts at 6:30 PM--meals to be served at 7 PM. 

Speaker to be announced. We hope to have a special presentation to VCDL from the members here in SW VA. 


2. VCDL Supper Meeting in Fredericksburg on February 24th 


VCDL will have a supper meeting in the Fredericksburg area on February 24 at 5 PM. 


Vinnys Italian Grill 
397 Garrisonville Road 
Stafford, VA 22554 

Thanks to Donald Balsavich for making the arrangements. 

3. Lobby Day observations 

Bob Theis emailed me this: 

Although I'm a VCDL member, I was there Monday just to visit a delegate from the 99th, Margaret Ransone, who is a friend and have lunch. 

Orange stickers were everywhere! 

While visiting my delegate friend, I saw many VCDL groups in the general assembly building and a group came to talk with her although she was in session. 

Later when she came back, several tea party folks from Northumberland county were there to see her and they both had VCDL stickers on. 

Out at lunch several blocks away there were VCDL stickers and folks eating at the same restaurant as us. 

When I left to return home around 2 PM, there was a very large VCDL group getting off the elevator as I was getting on. 

So, as a "civilian" that day, VCDL certainly made it's presence known... great job! 

4. Va. Senate panel kills gun show loophole bill 

Bill Hine emailed me this: 


From WTOP: 

By Larry O'Dell 
January 24, 2013 

RICHMOND, Va. - Legislation to close Virginia's so-called "gun show loophole" was sent to its annual death Wednesday after a state senator who assumed a key role in this year's debate pledged to vigorously pursue a compromise between gun control advocates and opponents before the 2014 legislative session. 

The Courts of Justice Committee voted 8-7 to kill the legislation, which has suffered the same fate several years in a row. Several other gun control proposals _ including bills mandating universal background checks and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines _ also have been rejected during the first two weeks of the 46-day legislative session. 

In Virginia, only licensed gun dealers are required to run criminal background checks on buyers at gun shows. The courts committee last week endorsed a bill to allow only licensed dealers to operate as vendors at gun shows, but allow private sellers to place their wares on consignment with those dealers _ thus subjecting all customers to the background checks. 

But Republican Sen. Bill Stanley of Franklin County, who voted for the bill, had second thoughts and persuaded the committee to reconsider. He said Wednesday that he had been working with activists on both sides of the issue and was close to reaching a compromise, but there were too many details to work out to get it done in this session. He offered the motion to kill Democratic Sen. Henry Marsh's bill, but vowed to continue to work for a solution. 

"I commit to you, Sen. Marsh, there will be legislation next session," Stanley said. "I'm not doing this to kill your bill for the sake of killing your bill." 

Marsh, D-Richmond, and his allies on the committee opposed shelving the bill. 

"It's untenable, it's unconscionable and delaying another year makes absolutely no sense at all," said Sen. Janet Howell, D-Fairfax. 

The debate comes more than a month after a gunman fatally shot his mother at their home and then killed 26 children and adults at a Connecticut school before killing himself. 

Stanley said the compromise that he and others will be working on in the coming year would require gun show promoters to create a kiosk where buyers could voluntarily submit to a background check to purchase from individuals who want to sell only to customers who are legally entitled to own a gun. Details, including how the kiosk would be staffed, have yet to be determined. 

Gun control advocate Lori Haas, whose daughter Emily was wounded in the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, said she believes Stanley is sincere about wanting to find a solution agreeable to both sides. She said citizens, including gun owners, are demanding background checks. 

"That's clearly the direction the country is heading," she said. 

Philip Van Cleave, president of the pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League, said he is open to the concept being discussed as long as it is workable. 

"We think options are good as long as they are voluntary," he said. [PVC: This is a tricky issue as we don't want go down a slippery slope.] 

5. Feinstein falsely politicizes Virginia Tech massacre 

James Durso emailed me this: 



By Justin Higgins 
January 24, 2013 

About a year ago, I moved to Blacksburg, Virginia, home of Virginia Tech. Having not been here (or even in Southwest Virginia) when the Virginia Tech massacre occurred in 2007, I'm always a bit uncomfortable talking about the tragedy. What I've learned, over this year, however, is that most in this community hate the politicization of the massacre, by both gun control advocates and gun rights enthusiasts. That's why it upsets me when I see someone like Senator Diane Feinstein using the event as political fodder:

"These massacres don't seem to stop," the California Democrat lamented, listing notorious rampages of past years known by the lone name of their locations - Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson and Oak Creek. 
"We should be outraged at how easy it is" for attackers to get hold of the semi-automatic weapons or large-capacity magazines used in those slaughters, Feinstein told the event at the U.S. Capitol that she organized. 

Given that she cited Virginia Tech, it's worth asking whether or not Feinstein's proposed legislation could've changed the outcome of the event. Her bill targets high-capacity magazines (those with 10 or more rounds of ammunition), as well as a number of "assault weapons" she wants banned. The Daily Caller revealed Feinstein's list of proposed weapons: 

So what did Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech gunman, use to kill 32 of his fellow classmates? He used two sidearms, a .22 caliber Walther P22 and a 9mm Glock 19. You'll notice that neither of these semi-automatic weapons are on the list above. Cho also used a number of 10 and 15 round magazines. Theoretically, Feinstein's bill may have limited Cho to smaller magazines (8 or 9 rounds each). Would this have made a difference? 

It's hard to argue that a high-capacity magazine ban would have made a difference. 203 rounds of ammunition were found to have been used in Norris Hall, where a majority of the violence occurred. That means that Cho reloaded well over a dozen times, between the two weapons. Assuming that he was limited to 8-round magazines, he would have needed to reload a minimum of 25 times to dispense over 200 rounds of ammunition. What's the difference between reloading 17 times and 25 times? Not much. 

This goes to show how tragedies are used for political purposes, even when it is illogical. The Virginia Tech massacre was a terrible incident, and we need to take every step necessary to prevent further damage, but the assault weapons ban proposed would have done nothing. Feinstein should be ashamed of her politicization. 

6. Antigun Virginia lawmaker who brandished AK-47 during legislative session was disbarred following assault, death threat 

James Durso emailed me this: 


From The Daily Caller: 

By David Martosko 
January 20, 2013 

A Virginia lawmaker who drew gasps from his colleagues when he brandished a borrowed AK-47 during an anti-gun speech Thursday was found guilty in 2002 of committing a vicious 1999 assault, was sanctioned for legal misconduct while prosecuting a rape case, spent six months in jail for contempt of a federal court, and saw his law license revoked in 2003. 

Democratic Delegate Joseph Morrissey brought the rifle to the floor of the House of Delegates to demonstrate how easy it is to carry firearms in Virginia. Republican Delegate Todd Gilbert interrupted Morrissey's speech to ask him to remove his finger from inside the gun's trigger-guard - a basic gun-safety practice. 

"I don't think you should be able to possess an assault rifle," Morrissey told ABC News on Friday. 

But while Morrissey introduced a gun-control bill Thursday aimed at reducing criminal violence in Virginia, he has a history that involves physical violence of another kind. (RELATED: Politician responsible for brutal assault may run for Va. attorney general) 

Morrissey paid a man $500,000 in 2007 to settle a 2002 court judgment against him, related to a 1999 physical assault. 

According to legal brief filed by the victim's attorneys, Morrissey shouted, "I'm going to kill you. I'm going to beat your head in," before beating the victim and "smash[ing] his head into the corner of a brick wall." 

The 2003 revocation of Morrissey's law license followed that courtroom reckoning, but by then his disciplinary record in the legal profession was already a lengthy one. 

After he applied for the reinstatement of his law license, the Virginia State Bar listed a litany of Morrissey's misdeeds when it published his petition. 
That list included the December 1993 suspension of Morrissey's law license for six months following a complaint from a rape victim in a case he prosecuted. Morrissey, she said, allowed her rapist to plea-bargain his case down to a misdemeanor after his father paid $50,000 - half to the victim and the other half to charities Morrissey chose. She also testified that Morrissey hid the details of the plea-bargain from her. 

The bar had already sanctioned Morrissey in June of that year when it learned of his misconduct in a felony drunk-driving case. Without asking the court's permission, Morrissey issued a new arrest warrant with a reduced charge of misdemeanor reckless driving. He was required to write a formal letter of apology to the judge. 

By that time, the bar was accustomed to hearing about Morrissey. 
It forced him to attend legal ethics training after he represented a criminal defendant in the same case in which he had previously prosecuted him. Another reprimand came for engaging in a fist fight with a defense attorney whose client he was prosecuting. 

In 1999, the bar suspended Morrissey's law license again, this time for three years, after he made "public statements about the identity, testimony or credibility of prospective witnesses" in a federal court case. 

Morrissey was convicted on two counts of contempt of court in that case, and sentenced to 90 days in jail plus three years of probation. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia also disbarred him, effectively denying him future access to plead cases in federal court. 

In a separate case that contributed to that suspension of his law license, Morrissey was cited for contempt in Chesterfield County, Va. after he directed an angry outburst at a judge during a sentencing hearing. 

After he was released from jail, Morrissey violated the terms of his probation by "attempting to circumvent the conditions of probation and lying to [his] probation officer," according to the Virginia State Bar. As a result, he spent an additional 90 days in jail and his law license was formally revoked. 

The bar issued a recommendation to the Supreme Court of Virginia in May 2011, arguing that Morrissey's petition for reinstatement should be denied. The court disagreed, ruling in December 2011 that he could have his law license back after ten years of disbarment. 

Morrissey's AK-47 stunt on Thursday likely pleased at least one man. 
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported in 2010 that one witness in his license reinstatement hearing was longtime gay-rights activist Guy Kinman, who said he missed Morrissey's headline-grabbing antics. 

"When I pick up the Times-Dispatch, generally his name is not there" anymore, Kinman explained. 

"Some of the drama is gone. Where are you Joe? Any drama freaks among us would wish the old Joe were here." 

7. Virginia gun laws debated [Video] 

From NBC Washington: 

By Julie Carey 
January 18, 2013 

Lawmakers in Virginia discussed several gun control regulations but at the end of the day, voted against most of them. Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports 

8. D.C. man who shot dogs biting boy could face charges 

This is what happens when the government is all powerful and you have no right to self-defense. 

Walter Jackson emailed me this: 


From The Washington Times: 

By Andrea Noble 
January 23, 2013 

D.C. police are investigating whether a man will face criminal charges for shooting a pit bull that was attacking a child in his neighborhood. 

The incident unfolded Sunday afternoon, after three pit bulls attacked an 11-year-old boy as he rode his bicycle through the Brightwood neighborhood of Northwest, according to a police report. 

When the man, a neighbor, saw the boy being mauled by the dogs, he went inside his home and got a gun. The man killed one of the dogs. The gunfire attracted the attention of a police officer in the area near Eighth and Sheridan streets, where the attack occurred. The officer responded and shot the other two pit bulls as they continued to attack the boy. 

The police report, which did not identify any of the people involved, said the boy suffered severe lacerations. The Washington Post, which first reported the details of the shooting, quoted the boy's uncle as saying the boy was also shot in the foot. 

Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said Wednesday that the entire case, including whether the man legally owned the gun he used to kill the dog, is under investigation. 

While public opinion might be supportive of the man's actions, he could still face significant charges depending on the outcome of the investigation, criminal defense attorney Daniel Gross said. 

"I've seen cases where people used weapons in defense of others, but the U.S. attorney's office is not always so understanding," said Mr. Gross, who represents many clients charged with firearms-related crimes in the District. "There are certain defenses one could try, like self-defense or defense of others, but that wouldn't really go to whether they charge you." 

The man could face a host of charges depending on the specifics of the case, including whether the gun used is a registered firearm that the man was legally permitted to own, Mr. Gross said. Possession of an unregistered firearm or ammunition is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine, and determining whether the man legally possessed the gun used will likely have greater bearing on the way the case is handled, Mr. Gross said. 

Low-level unregistered firearms and ammunitions charges generally are prosecuted by the D.C. office of the attorney general, but additional charges could mean the case is bumped up to the U.S. attorney's office. 

"In this case, it would likely be the U.S. attorney's office, and their discretion is sometimes less than local prosecutors," Mr. Gross said. 

Also to be taken into consideration is whether the man was within his property line when he fired the weapon ˘ a small but significant distinction. Mr. Gross said it could mean the difference in whether he could be charged with carrying a pistol without a license. 

9. Student uses AR-15 to stop home invasion robbery [Video] 

Louis JK sent me this: 


From Youtube: 

10. Feinstein, self-defense, and armed home invasions 

Charles Winkler emailed me this: 



By Andrew Dalton 
January 3, 2013 

Just before 3 a.m. Thursday morning, five armed men broke in and raided a home in the quiet Outer Richmond District. The residence on 40th Avenue near Geary Boulevard was apparently home to five college-aged kids and their three visitors, KTVU reports. The suspects entered the home brandishing handguns and started knocking down doors before assaulting residents and dragging them out into the living room. 

According to the residents, the suspects were five black men in their twenties all wearing baggy clothing and hoods, although their faces weren't concealed. Residents believe they were looking for weed, but the suspects made off with several iPhones, iPads, an Xbox console, laptops and some photography equipment instead. One suspect grabbed a knife from the kitchen, which was later recovered in front of the apartment building. Two of the burglars reportedly carried handguns, but none of the residents reported any major injuries. 

All five suspects took off on foot and had not been arrested as of this morning. No word yet on whether police believe the home was targeted, but the residents have only lived in the home for less than a year and believe it may have been a grow house in the past. According to KTVU's crime scene report this morning, residents also said they occasionally leave the front door open and the lock on the security gate "tends to stick." So, let this be a good reason to double check your locks, folks. 

11. States' crime rates show scant linkage to gun laws 

Monty Oakes emailed me this: 


From The Washington Times: 

By David Sherfinski 
January 24, 2013 

President Obama has called for stricter federal gun laws to combat recent shooting rampages, but a review of recent state laws by The Washington Times shows no discernible correlation between stricter rules and lower gun-crime rates in the states. 

States that ranked high in terms of making records available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System also tended to have tighter gun laws ˘ but their gun-crime rates ranged widely. The same was true for states that ranked poorly on disclosure and were deemed to have much less stringent gun-possession laws. 

For example, New York, even before it approved the strictest gun-control measures in the country last week, was ranked fourth among the states in strength of gun laws by the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, but was also in the top 10 in firearm homicide rates in 2011, according to the FBI. 

Meanwhile, North Dakota was near the bottom in its firearm homicide, firearm robbery and firearm assault rates, but also had some of the loosest gun laws and worst compliance with turning over mental health records to the background check system. 

Analysts said the data underscore that there are no simple or easy broad answers to combating gun violence, which is a complex equation involving gun-ownership rates, how ready authorities are to prosecute gun crimes and how widely they ban ownership. 

Gary Kleck, a criminology professor at Florida State University, said in an email that a simple comparison between states' strength of gun laws and gun-crime rates doesn't say much about the effects of the laws because the exercise fails to control for other factors such as gun-ownership rates. 

In an exhaustive analysis with data from 170 U.S. cities that did control for such factors, Mr. Kleck and fellow researcher E. Britt Patterson concluded that there was no general impact of gun-control laws on crime rates ˘ with a few notable exceptions. 

"There do appear to be some gun controls which work, all of them relatively moderate, popular and inexpensive," the researchers wrote. "Thus, there is support for a gun-control policy organized around gun-owner licensing or purchase permits (or some other form of gun-buyer screening); stricter local dealer licensing; bans on possession of guns by criminals and mentally ill people; stronger controls over illegal carrying; and possibly discretionary add-on penalties for committing felonies with a gun. 

"On the other hand, popular favorites such as waiting periods and gun registration do not appear to affect violence rates," he said. 

No state patterns 

The Times analysis looked at the Brady Campaign's rankings for strength of each state's gun laws and at Mayors Against Illegal Guns' rankings for how states perform in disclosing mental health data to the background check system. That information was then matched against the FBI's 2011 gun-crime rankings for homicides, robberies and assaults. 

The results showed no correlation among the strength of laws and disclosure and the crime rates. 

For example, Maryland and New Jersey ˘ both of them populous states with large metropolitan areas ˘ have tight gun laws but poor mental health disclosure. But New Jersey's gun-crime rate was in the middle of the pack, while Maryland ranked sixth-highest in homicides involving guns and second-highest in robberies with guns. 

Delaware and Virginia, which both ranked high in mental health disclosure and ranked 18th and 19th in the Brady tally of tough gun laws, also had divergent crime rates. 

Delaware ranked among the top 10 in number of gun robberies and gun assaults, while Virginia was in the middle of the pack on its measures. 

Statistical anomalies were found between rural states such as Louisiana and Vermont. The former state has lax gun laws and has high gun-crime rates on all three measures. Although Vermont also is a rural state with a strong tradition of gun ownership ˘ the Brady Campaign ranks it 26th in terms of strength of gun laws ˘ it has low gun-crime rates. For further head-scratching, Vermont ranks among the nation's worst in turning over mental health records to the background check system. 

State law details 

John Lott, who has conducted extensive research on the link between gun laws and crime rates, said he has examined 13 kinds of gun-control laws, but one that stands out as reducing crime is concealed-carry. 

"What you see is the states that issue the most [concealed-carry] permits have the most drops in violent crime," he said. "When states pass carry laws, some criminals stop committing crimes, some criminals switch to other types of crimes and some criminals move out of the area." 

He said that a deep dive into data is essential to understanding why different regions of the country see different results. Mr. Lott pointed to Texas and Pennsylvania, both of which are right-to-carry states, but he explained that the permitting process is much more expensive in Texas. 

"If I have a $140 fee versus a $20 fee, I'm more likely to get suburban white males," he said. However, he noted, "poor blacks in high-crime areas benefit the most from carrying a gun." 

"Those differences make a huge difference in how many people go through the process to get the permit," he concluded. 

Still, the two large states had mixed results in crime rates in 2011. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Pennsylvania had higher rates of robberies and homicides committed with firearms than Texas, while the Lone Star State had nearly half again as many gun assaults per 100,000 population. 

Changing patterns 

The Brady Campaign declined a request for comment, but David Chipman, a former agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who now works with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said that linking gun laws and background check compliance with crime rates is risky ˘ particularly since 40 percent of gun transactions are private sales that don't require background checks. 

"Requiring a criminal background check for every gun in every circumstance is something not yet tried," he said. "How do you measure prevention? It's tough to do a double-blind test." 

Mr. Chipman also pointed to Virginia's first-of-its-kind 1989 law creating an instant check system ˘ the Virginia Firearms Transaction Program ˘ as an example of a law that had a tangible effect on criminal behavior and the gun market. 

"When Virginia passed that law, all of the New Yorkers who used to come down ˘ they never came back and tried to buy the guns themselves in the store," he said. "They were forced to use straw purchasers, and many of them went to other states. 

"Did it immediately prevent all gun trafficking? Of course not. But it sure changed it," he said. 

In 1991, the ATF reported that 40 percent of more than 1,200 guns recovered at crime scenes in New York were traced to Virginia, though gun rights advocates dispute the data. In 2011, 407 guns out of almost 9,000 guns recovered and traced in New York came from Virginia, according to the agency ˘ about 5 percent. 

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, co-chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, also argues that some specific changes can lower crime rates. He told the U.S. Conference of Mayors last week that after Colorado closed its loophole allowing private dealers to sell guns without conducting background checks, fewer Colorado-sold guns turned up at crime scenes. 

He also said that in states that require background checks on all sales, 38 percent less women are fatally shot by their boyfriends and husbands. 

He also cited a recent Duke University study that showed once a severely mentally ill person's records are turned over to the background check system, that person is 31 percent less likely to be convicted of a violent crime. 

12. Guns stop three home invasions, store robbery 

Walter Jackson emailed me this: 



By Mary Chastain 
January 22, 2013 

Guns came to the rescue of three homeowners and a business this weekend. 

Five people tried to break into a home in Oklahoma City, OK. The woman homeowner and her friend shot two of them with her gun. The other burglars fled to another house to escape the gunfire. The shooting victims are in serious to critical condition, but the woman and her friend were unharmed. 

Without warning, a man tried to kick-in the door of a home in San Antonio, TX. The mother quickly called 911 while her son shot at the man through the door. The man shot his gun before he fled. The mother and son were unharmed and police are still looking for the suspect. 

Two men in San Antonio, TX tried to steal some beer from a store, but were stopped because a customer had his concealed weapon. The suspects left with nothing and the police will not charge the customer. 

In Canyon Lake, TX, a man used his shotgun to defend his neighbor against her ex-boyfriend, who was carrying a baseball bat. He heard the sound of breaking glass and decided to investigate. He found a man trying to break into his neighbor's trailer and confronted him. The suspect walked towards him with the baseball bat despite being told numerous times to stop. The man had no choice but to shoot the suspect in self-defense. 

The homeowner threw her ex-boyfriend out in November, but he kept harassing her. He showed up several times and last week he broke in and pulled a gun on her. After that, she left her trailer and was not there the night he appeared with the baseball bat. The owner of the trailer park, Walter Chapman, is glad she was not there and her neighbor was armed. 

"It's good that he had it," Chapman said. "There's no telling what could have happened had he not had a gun." 

It is a very good thing all these people had guns. Everyday ordinary people prove why the Framers gave America the 2nd Amendment. 

Please follow Mary Chastain on Twitter @maryclimer and send her any recent armed citizen stories. 

13. How to stop mass shootings? [Video] 

James Durso emailed me this: 



14. The school shooting the media won't report 

An armed guard stops a school shooting and the main-stream-media yawns. 

Bill Hine emailed me this: 


From The Daily Witness: 

By Claire Galafaro & Daniel Gilbert 
January 11, 2013 

On Monday morning, Thomas Richard Cowan loaded 13 bullets into two handguns, left his German shepherd chained to the fence and drove eight miles from his home in Kingsport to Sullivan Central High School. Whatever his mission, it was the 62-year-old Vietnam veteran's final drive. 

For about an hour, Cowan's armed invasion spread panic throughout the school before a burst of officers' gunfire brought him down. No others were injured. 
No one knows why Cowan pointed his Honda in the direction of the Blountville, Tenn., high school, where his brother is a janitor. He is described - in court records and interviews - as a peculiar man with a history of erratic, sometimes criminal, behavior and a deep suspicion of the government. 

He parked his car Monday morning in a handicapped space just in front of the school's main entrance. Second period was just getting under way at 9:10 a.m. when Ashley Thacker, a junior, arrived at the main entrance of her high school. Thacker, 16, had been at a doctor's appointment and was on her way to a music theory class as she approached the locked doors. 

She noticed a man standing in the 10-foot waiting area between the two sets of doors, waiting to be buzzed in. His bald crown was framed with brown hair. He had a mustache, she remembered, and he was holding a cane. 

He told her to go on ahead of him. But she never made it through the doors. 
Instead, Melanie Riden, principal of Sullivan Central, came striding through the locked doors. 

"He pulled out his gun and started pointing it at people," Thacker said. 
Cowan trained a .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol at Riden's face, said Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson. Carolyn Gudger, the school resource officer, drew her gun, then shielded the principal's body with her own. 

Thacker remembers Cowan shouting something - possibly including the words "10 years" - but she isn't sure. She turned and ran out the set of public doors to the mulch pile in the front of the school, and hid behind bushes. 
"He might shoot someone," Thacker remembered thinking. "I just wanted to get out of there." 

Riden fled and Gudger inched back into the school, leading Cowan through the scattered pastel chairs in the empty cafeteria. It was a tactical move, meant to lure the gunman into a more contained place, Anderson said. 

Sullivan County dispatch sent out a chilling alert: "Man with a gun at Central High School." 

Riden, reached by phone Monday night, said she could not comment without permission from Sullivan County Director of Schools Jubal Yennie. 
Gudger told him to drop his weapon; he demanded she drop hers. Once, he tried, unsuccessfully, to lunge for her gun. 

Cowan repeated one thing only, Anderson said. That he wanted to pull the fire alarms. 

"I don't know why, we can only speculate about that and I think everyone will speculate why he wanted to pull a fire alarm," Anderson said. "Either to get the kids out of class or, I don't know. We don't know." 

Flattened against the bushes, Ashley Thacker waited two minutes, she thinks. "I didn't hear anything else, so I thought Officer Gudger had arrested him." 
She was wrong. As she approached the school, two assistant principals opened a window and yelled at her to run away. Crying and shaking, Thacker ran to her car and drove a half-mile to her parents' business. 

The view from the classroom 

At about 9:15 a.m., a shaken voice came over the intercom. 
"Code red. Lockdown." 

There was profanity in the background. This was no drill, students realized. 
With the announcement, teachers sprang into action - locking doors and papering over windows, turning off the lights and closing window blinds. Students huddled in the corners of classrooms, sitting in the darkness and searching for information with a storm of text messages. 

Casey Deel, a 17-year-old senior, was on his way to a doctor's office when his girlfriend, Alicia Edwards, sent him a text at 9:15 a.m.

"There's a code red lock down. im scared," the 16-year-old junior texted from her government class. 

"r u serious?" Deel texted back. He skipped his appointment. 

In Kayla Nichols' cosmetology class, students squeezed into a storage room the size of a parking space, and locked the door, the 17-year-old said. 
Ryan Kendrick was in algebra class, just off the main office. The 17-year-old senior thought he heard the gunman making threats - about not leaving the building alive and taking others with him - and Gudger urging him to calm down. 
Then he heard a volley of gunshots. 


Kendrick and his friend, Andrew Ray, began to pray. 

Landon Sillyman was in his honors biology class, where the teacher had instructed students to put their heads on their desks in the darkened classroom. The 14-year-old freshman estimated the suspense lasted about an hour. 

But it was all over in minutes, Anderson estimated. One hundred and twenty seconds after Cowan drew his gun, two deputies, Lt. Steve Williams and Sam Matney, arrived. They entered through separate doors and met Cowan and Gudger - still in a moving standoff - as they reached a science pod behind the cafeteria. Cowan wavered; he jerked his gun from Gudger to the other deputies then back again. The three officers told him, again, to drop his weapon. He wouldn't. 
So they opened fire. Some students counted five shots, others counted six. Anderson would not say how many rounds hit the gunman. 

Cowan fell to the ground, his shoes just feet from door to the library full of teenagers. The pistol in his hand had seven bullets in the magazine and another in the chamber. He had a second handgun in his back pocket, loaded with five rounds. 

"That's how close he was," Anderson said. "We all know this could have been much more dangerous." 

A troubled history 

In a file at the Kingsport General Sessions courthouse, there is a handwritten note by a police detective: 

"This is the fellow we discussed," it reads. "He needs a mental eval." 
The note was written in 2001, after Cowan was charged with stalking. According to court records, a newspaper carrier said that twice he followed her as she drove her route. 

When she turned, he turned. When she stopped, he stopped. 

"At one point, he followed [her] into a driveway and would not let her pull out," the affidavit reads. "Both instances put [the carrier] in fear as she does not know the defendant." 

The case was later dismissed because a witness did not show up at court. 
The same affidavit also recites an incident from the previous year, when Cowan produced a gun at the Kingsport Police Department. 

According to court documents, he arrived at the police station in February 2000 to talk with officers about "a problem that has been discussed with him several times in the past." 

Cowan confessed that tucked in the waistband of his blue jeans, he had a loaded .380-caliber Jennings handgun - the same type of gun used in Monday's standoff. He was convicted of unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon, sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to seek a mental evaluation and counseling. 

He did not do either, court records show. 

His brother, Rodney Cowan, a janitor at the high school, declined to elaborate Monday evening on his brother's history or character.

"Right now, I haven't got a comment," he said. "We're just trying to get everything figured out." 

A "textbook" response? 

At a Monday afternoon news conference at the Board of Education building in Blountville, Yennie, the director of schools, read from a prepared statement that lauded police, staff and students for following their emergency protocol. 
"The students were never in any danger," he said. "And Carolyn Gudger performed her job admirably to ensure the safety of students and staff." 

Anderson, too, said the school's protocol worked perfectly. He hailed it "textbook" and "perfect." 

"These officers saved children's lives today," Anderson said. 
But some students were not reassured. 

Camry Collins, a 17-year-old senior, wonders about the effectiveness of the second set of locked doors. She said she does not feel safer despite the outcome of Monday's intrusion. 

"Tomorrow, the same thing could happen again," she said. 
And tomorrow, Carolyn Gudger, Monday's uncontested hero, won't be there. 
"Gudger is the "bomb-diggity," Collins said. "She goes out of her way to protect us." 

Gudger and the other two deputies involved in the shooting are on administrative leave as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation concludes its investigation. 
Anderson said they are doing well, considering. Cowan was taken to the hospital by helicopter, where he was pronounced dead at 10:15 a.m. 

"This is not TV; you don't shoot somebody then go to the local bar and have a drink and talk about it and laugh and go on and do something else," Anderson said to dozens of teachers, school administrators and students packed into the news conference. "This is very, very - I can see by your faces how traumatic it is for you. You can imagine being that officer in that spot." 

An unusual man 

Thomas Cowan's house, on Mountain View Avenue in Kingsport, is hung with a brand-new American flag and an empty hummingbird feeder. His lived alone with his dog, Radar. 

Cowan's next-door neighbor, Jessica Strom, had heard of a gunman at Sullivan Central on the news, but she never connected it to Cowan. 

"Not Tom. No way," she said in an interview. 

When showed a photograph of Cowan released Monday by law enforcement, Strom clutched her head in both hands and said, "Holy crap." She sank to the ground and discussed what she knew of her "unusual" neighbor. 

Cowan often talked about government conspiracy theories, Strom said. He believed the government used electro-magnetic waves to make his dog bark. He only used disposable cell phones because he believed the government was listening in on his conversations, she said. 

"He didn't seem to be crazy," Strom said. She and her husband "just kind of ignored him," when he spouted his conspiracy theories. "We let him say his piece and go on." 

Last week, he went to the Dollar General store where Strom works and purchased the American flag, and some household goods. 

"Why Central, though?" Strom wondered. She had no answer. 

In his newspaper box was an old, yellowed newspaper from Jan. 4, 2007, still wrapped in plastic. The lead story that day was about a fugitive wanted in Pennsylvania who drew a gun on Johnson City police officers. 

The headline read, "JC police kill gunman in shootout." 

15. GEICO Insurance cancels gun manufacturer's policy because he is in firearm business 

C.S. Miller sent me this via Facebook: 



January 23, 2013 


Because he makes gun parts for a living this policy holder received a letter from GEICO cancelling his auto insurance. The letter says his auto insurance is being cancelled because he owns a company that manufactures parts for firearms: 

(fyi, to insure the authenticity I have submitted a copy along with a request for verification to GEICO via email we'll see their response) 

16. 2A Supporters: Punching back twice as hard [Video] 

James Durso emailed me this: 



January 19, 2013 


Thousands of 2nd Amendment Supporters Rally in Albany (Updated with Videos from Across the Nation) 

Gun rights rallies took place all across the nation, today, as Americans from New York to Washington rallied to show their support for the 2nd Amendment. Albany New York, where some of the strictest gun laws in the nation were recently passed, saw thousands of patriots come out to protest the new laws. 
YNN reported: 

ALBANY, N.Y. - Thousands of pro gun rights activists are rallying at the state Capitol today. The rally is being held in conjunction with the group Guns Across America, a national series of rallies supporting the Second Amendment. 

Many at today's rally are pushing to repeal the newly enacted SAFE Act. 
The Democrat and Chronicle reported: 

Chanting "Freedom," "U.S.A." and "Cuomo's Gotta Go," several thousand people expressed opposition to the new law championed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

The measure is the first and toughest law in the nation since the Newtown. Conn, school shootings last month. Cuomo and supporters have hailed the law as a critical step toward curbing gun violence in the state and nation. 
Gun owners, however, said they are being unfairly targeted by the new law and were dismayed by the quick passage of it by lawmakers. The bill was adopted hours after it was printed. 

Rallies that took place in other State capitols, today.... 


Pictures from the 2nd Amendment rally at New York State Capitol 

Bill Max sent me this: 


Update: Pictures from around the country 

And here's a report from Boston. 

17. Fox News poll: Twice as many favor more guns over banning guns to reduce crime 

Jack Doyle emailed me this: 


From FOX News: 

By Dana Blanton 
January 18, 2013 

Nearly twice as many voters say there would be less violent crime if more law-abiding Americans owned guns, than if guns were banned. 

In addition, while American voters generally favor strengthening gun laws, 71 percent do not think tougher laws can stop shootings like the one last month in Newtown, Connecticut. Some 22 percent say new laws can prevent the next Sandy Hook. 

These are just some of the findings from a Fox News poll released Friday. 
Click here for full poll results. 

Majorities of gun owners (81 percent), non-gun owners (58 percent), Democrats (58 percent), independents (72 percent) and Republicans (85 percent) say the people who do these kinds of things "will always find the guns" to commit violent acts. 

The Fox News poll asked a similar question after previous shootings and the one-in-five believing that tougher laws could make a difference has mostly held steady. 

After the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, 19 percent of voters felt stricter laws could help. That went to 21 percent after the Tucson shooting involving Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (2011) and 22 percent in the new poll. 

Twenty children and six adults were killed in the December mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown. Police identified two of the guns the shooter used as semiautomatic weapons, including one commercial model of the military M-16 rifle. 

On Wednesday President Obama announced several gun-control proposals. Among them: requiring background checks for all gun buyers and banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. 

The poll asked about these as well as other possible ways to reduce gun violence. (A portion of the interviews were conducted before Obama's formal announcement.) 

The most popular suggestions are requiring criminal background checks on all gun buyers (with 91 percent favoring this proposal), providing services for mentally ill people who "show violent tendencies" (89 percent) and improving enforcement of existing laws (86 percent) 

Large majorities also favor mandating mental-health checks on gun buyers (83 percent) and requiring criminal background checks on anyone buying ammunition (80 percent). 

Smaller majorities favor putting armed guards in schools (60 percent), banning high-capacity clips (56 percent), banning assault weapons (54 percent), and reducing "access to violent movies and video games" (52 percent). 

The least popular suggestion tested -- and the only one a majority opposes -- is allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns on school grounds (42 percent favor, 52 percent oppose). 

While large majorities of all demographic groups favor universal background checks, there are wide differences on other proposals. For example, on the bid to ban assault weapons, women favor it by a margin of 26 percentage points, while men oppose it by 4 points. 

Democrats favor banning assault weapons by a 49-point margin, while Republicans oppose it by a 32-point margin. Gun owners oppose banning assault weapons by a 14-point margin, while non-gun owners favor it by 44 points. It is worth noting Republicans (65 percent) are much more likely than Democrats (38 percent) to be gun owners. 

Most voters believe action will be taken on gun laws this year. They think gun legislation is much more likely to get passed (77 percent) than, for instance, immigration reform (48 percent), which is something Obama has said is a second-term priority. 

Overall, voters are about twice as likely to say there would be less violent crime in the U.S. if more law-abiding people had guns, than if guns were banned (58 percent to 28 percent). 

And by an 11 percentage-point margin, voters consider protecting the constitutional right to own a gun more important than protecting citizens from gun violence (51-40 percent). 

Meanwhile, by an extremely wide 50-point margin, voters think gun permit holders have the right to keep that information private. A New York newspaper, not far from where the Newtown shooting took place, published the names and addresses of individuals with gun permits in its area. Voters have mixed feelings over who was more at risk after the information was published -- those living in homes listed as having a gun (35 percent) or those not having a gun (45 percent). Another 12 percent said both were equally at risk. 

In response to the post-Newtown push for new gun restrictions, the National Rifle Association suggested putting armed guards in schools and rejected most other proposals. 

A 56-percent majority of voters have a favorable opinion of the NRA, up significantly from 43 percent in March 2000. The number having a positive opinion of the group roughly matches the number of voters who have a gun in their home. 

The NRA's favorable rating among gun-owning households is 71 percent, while among non-gun households it is 38 percent. 

Finally, the 52 percent of voters saying someone in their household owns a gun is up from 45 percent in January 2011, and is the highest level of stated gun ownership in a Fox poll. Interviews conducted from 1999 through 2011 found between 42 and 50 percent of voters reported having a gun in their home. 

If guns were outlawed, nearly two-thirds of gun-owners say they would defy the government and keep their guns (65 percent). 

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,008 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from January 15 to January 17. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. 

18. "Active shooter" training 

Roy Scherer emailed me this: 


The Chesterfield County police presented a training/awareness seminar in Chesterfild the other day, about what to do if you suddenly find that you're confronted with a maniac trying to kill people. They say, "Run. Hide. Attack." 

This is notable, I think, because most of the time the last option is not even mentioned in these "citizen training" presentations. Chesterfield at least mentions it. 

A few words of wisdom which we don't hear all that often in these sorts of training situations are: 

'One's last option is to "fight," according to the video. One should "act with aggression" and "commit" to whatever violent course of action one's decided to do to eliminate the shooter.' 


"Do the best with what you got." 


By Shelton Bumgarner 
January 23, 2013 

CHESTERFIELD - It is the nightmare scenario that has played out too often in our nation and has been most recently seen at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. What do you if you are in a public place and someone starts shooting? 

About 90 volunteers from various local organizations recently took a closer look at what to do in a situation where fractions of a second can mean the difference between life and death when there is an "active shooter" in a public place. 

Organized by the Chesterfield Emergency Planning Committee in cooperation with the Chesterfield County Police Department and Chesterfield County Emergency Management, the video presentation was shown to members of Chesterfield Neighborhood Watch, Community Response Team and the Citizen Corps. 

The video and presentation were given by Chesterfield police Cpl. Catron, a crime prevention specialist. The short video titled "Run. Hide. Fight." is a product of the Department of Homeland Security and available both on YouTube and the Chesterfield County government website, Catron said. 

"Once you have an individual in a confined space, things have gotten about as bad as they can get," he said, speaking of an "active shooter" who was on the rampage. 

According to the video, the first thing to attempt to do in the event of an "active shooter" situation is simply to run. Additionally, the video said, encourage others to leave "but don't let them slow you down with their indecision." 

If you find yourself in an "active shooter" situation and can't run, your next option is to "hide," the video said. "Turn out lights and lock doors," the narrator said. 

One's last option is to "fight," according to the video. One should "act with aggression" and "commit" to whatever violent course of action one's decided to do to eliminate the shooter. 

"Kind of scary stuff," Catron said once the video ended. 

According to Catron, the usual "active shooter" situation lasts between 10 about 15 minutes. "That 10 to 15 minutes will seem like an eternity to the victims," Catron said. 

Catron said once an "active shooter" event has begun, one should quickly decide which of the three options described in the video is the best solution. He did note, however, that even the most basic aspects of an "active shooter" event may elude the normal citizen. "Do you know what gunshots sound like?" he asked rhetorically. 

Be sure to know where the shots are coming from, Catron said. "You don't want to run into the situation." 

If your best option is to hide, Catron said, get behind something or get into a closet. 

"An active shooter is moving systematically from room to room," he said. "You should find as much protection as you can possibly can get." 

Catron noted that one should always be aware of one's environment and be "running scenarios" in your head as to what you'd do in the event of an "active shooter" incident. "Train your brain," he said. He told the audience that one should ask themselves, "'If I heard someone firing a gun, where would I go?'" 

If you are hiding, you need to remember to turn off your cellphone, Catron said. "If your cellphone goes off, you just got exposed," he said. 

Only as a last resort should someone confronted by an "active shooter" fight the individual, Catron said. 

"Limit yourself to one thing," he said. "Do the best with what you got." 

Once the police arrive, be sure to follow their commands and not do anything that could make them perceive you as a threat. No matter what, he said, remain calm. 

"There's a gun in your face, remain calm," Catron said with a chuckle. "Most people will not be able to remain calm." 

Catron said some basic things for interacting with the police are "don't rush towards them" when they get there and "don't ask the officer questions." 

He stressed that if you're a witness to an "active shooter" incident, do not leave the scene until the police tell you can do so. "It may seem funny. It's not." 

Catron also said if you call 911 for any reason, "Never ever ever hang up, whatever you do." 

Catron said that the police department had refurbished phones available that only had the ability to call 911. 

"If you can keep your cool and your composure," Catron said in conclusion, "you're most likely to survive." 

Audience members appreciated what they heard. 

"It was phenomenal," said Pamela McCartt of Chesterfield. "It was very informative. It was very basic. I feel much more informed. I will go home and tell my family and friends about this." 

Enid Virago of Chesterfield County echoed those sentiments. 

"I think this is really helpful," she said. "I liked how it was very specific about what actions you can take." 

19. Senator Feinstein declares war on pistol grips 


By Mike Stollenwerk 
January 25, 2013 


Yesterday in a dramatic ceremony on Capitol Hill, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D - California), amidst a backdrop of normal garden variety one-shot-per-trigger-pull firearms, declared war on pistol grips. Feinstein stated that because "[o]ur weak gun laws allow . . . mass killings to be carried out again, and again, and again in our country . . . the bill she and her colleagues are introducing would bar the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation" of . . . rifles [with] pistol grip[s]." 

Senator Feinstein's office did not return phone calls from the But the Christian Science Monitor reported that Feinstein's' bill would not affect "[t]rue military rifles, such as the M16A2, [which] are automatic, capable of firing multiple bullets with one pull of the trigger [which have been] been tightly controlled in the US since the 1930s." 

Senator Ted Cruz (R - Texas) declared that Feinstein's proposal would have done "nothing" to prevent the Newtown tragedy and vowed to fight to defeat the bill. co-founder John Pierce agrees with Senator Cruz, but went further, calling Feinstein's legislation "ludicrous and laughable" considering that "nobody has ever been killed by a pistol grip." 

Philip Van Cleave, President of Virginia's largest gun rights group, the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said that Feinstein's approach to public safety "is cosmetic, just a gimmick. If a pistol grip on a rifle is a threat to public safety, then why should we allow pistol grips on pistols?," asked Van Cleave. 

20. Holder begins gun-control push 

From The Hill: 

By Megan R. Wilson 
January 25, 2013 

The Justice Department is taking the first steps toward carrying out President Obama's executive actions on gun control. 

Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday released three proposals to strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which was one of the 23 actions ordered by Obama last week to tackle gun violence. 

The proposed regulations would give local law-enforcement agencies access to the gun-sale database that is maintained by the FBI. The rules would also preserve records of denied weapons sales indefinitely. 

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act already requires federal background checks for gun purchases, but not every firearm sale is covered under the law. 

Currently, law enforcement agencies cannot perform a NICS check when transferring, returning or selling weapons that have been confiscated, seized or recovered. The new rules would change that, allowing officials to perform a background check on people who receive those weapons to ensure that they are permitted to own a gun. 

Obama ordered the rule change in a Jan. 16 memo that called for "rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun." 

Holder is also proposing that the NICS hold on to records of denied weapon sales that are more than 10 years old. When the NICS was established, the Justice Department ordered that the records be moved to a storage facility after 10 years, which Holder says is no longer necessary. 

"The FBI has therefore determined that for NICS' own internal business operations, litigation and prosecution purposes, and proper administration of the system, NICS shall retain denied transaction records on site," Holder wrote in a notice to be published in Monday's Federal Register. "The retention of denied transaction information ... will enhance the efficiency and operational capability of the NICS." 

The proposed rules would also give Native American tribes access to NICS. Currently, only federal, state, or local agencies can perform the checks, which leaves out "domestic dependent nations" recognized by the United States. 

The Justice Department isn't the only part of the administration that has been asked to take action in response to last month's school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The president has also ordered the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to get involved. 

One of Obama's directives was to ensure coverage of mental health treatment in Medicaid and under the healthcare reform law. He also ordered increased training of school staff to help them recognize signs of mental illness. 

The CDC, meanwhile, was directed to study the causes of gun violence. The president urged Congress to approve $10 million for the agency to examine whether there are links between shooting sprees and violent entertainment. 

Comments on the Justice Department proposals are due by March 28. 

21. The stale claim that 40 percent of gun sales lack background checks 

John Sabol emailed me this: 


From The Washington Post: 

By Glenn Kessler 
January 21, 2013 

"The law already requires licensed gun dealers to run background checks, and over the last 14 years that's kept 1.5 million of the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun. But it's hard to enforce that law when as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check." 
--President Obama, remarks on gun violence, Jan. 16, 2013 

"Studies estimate that nearly 40 percent of all gun sales are made by private sellers who are exempt from this requirement." 

--"Now Is the Time: The president's plan to protect our children and our communities by reducing gun violence," released Jan. 16 

"That's why we need, and I've recommended to the president, universal background checks. Studies show that up to 40 percent of the people -- and there's no -- let me be honest with you again, which I'll get to in a moment. Because of the lack of the ability of federal agencies to be able to even keep records, we can't say with absolute certainty what I'm about to say is correct. But the consensus is about 40 percent of the people who buy guns today do so outside the NICS [National Instant Criminal Background Check] system, outside the background check system." 

--Vice President Biden, remarks to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Jan. 17 
Regular readers of this column know that we are often suspicious when politicians inject the phrase "up to" before citing a statistic. That's because it often suggests the politician is picking the upper value in a range of possibilities. 
A reader expressed deep skepticism of this 40-percent figure when Obama used it. We were further struck by Biden's admission he could not say with "absolute certainty" that it was correct. So let's investigate. 

The Facts 

The White House says the figure comes from a 1997 Institute of Justice report, written by Philip Cook of Duke University and Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago. This study is based on data collected from a survey in 1994, just the Brady law requirements for background checks was coming into effect. (In fact, the questions concerned purchases in 1993 and 1994, while Brady law went into effect in early 1994.) In other words, this is a really old figure. 

The data is available for researchers to explore at the Interuniversity consortium on political and social research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan. Digging deeper, we find that the survey sample was just 251 people. (The survey was done by telephone, using a random-digit-dial method, with a response rate of 50 percent.) With this sample size, the 95 percent confidence interval will be plus or minus 6 percentage points. 

Moreover, when asked if he or she bought from a licensed firearms dealer, the possible answers included "probably was/think so" and "probably not," leaving open the possibility the purchaser was mistaken. (The "probably not" answers were counted as "no.") 

When all of the "yes" and "probably was" answers were added together, that left 35.7 percent of respondents indicating they did not receive the gun from a licensed firearms dealer. Rounding up gets you to 40 percent, though as we noted the survey sample is so small it could also be rounded down to 30 percent. 
Moreover, when gifts, inheritances and prizes are added in, then the number shrinks to 26.4 percent. (The survey showed that nearly 23.8 percent of the people surveyed obtained their gun either as a gift or inherited it, and about half of them believed a licensed firearms dealer was the source.) 

Cook and Ludwig, in a lengthier 1996 study of the data for the Police Foundation, acknowledge the ambiguity in the answers, but gave their best estimate as a range of 30 to 40 percent for transactions in the "off-the-books" secondary market. (The shorter 1997 study cited by the White House does not give a range, but instead says "approximately 60 percent of gun acquisitions" involved a licensed dealer.) 

Interestingly, while people often speak of the "gun show loophole," the data in this 1994 survey shows that only 3.9 percent of firearm purchases were made at gun shows. 

Ludwig acknowledged that "our estimate is clearly not perfect." He said that a larger sample size would have provided a more precise estimate of off-the-books transactions, but he and Cook were not involved in the design stage of the survey. He added that one reason why the data is so old is because the federal government has generally stopped funding such research. 

"While there is no perfect estimate in social science, we'd have a better estimate for this proportion had the federal government not decided to get out of the business of supporting research on guns and gun violence several years ago," he said. 

Ludwig and Cook were among the social scientists who signed a letter to Biden earlier this month calling on ending barriers to firearms research. The letter includes an interesting figure, comparing how many National Institute of Health awards have been given for firearms research versus infectious diseases. 
Major NIH research awards and cumulative morbidity for select conditions in the US, 1973-2012 

Condition Total cases NIH research awards 

Cholera 400 212 
Diphtheria 1337 56 
Polio 266 129 
Rabies 65 89 
Total of four diseases 2068 486 
Firearm injuries >4,000,000 3 

One of the executive orders signed by Obama on Jan. 16 directed the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence, based on a legal analysis that congressional restrictions on spending money to advocate for gun control does not apply to such inquiries. 

There is a bit of irony here. While the 40-percent figure appears overstated and out of date, it remains the most cited statistic on the secondary market because foes of gun control have thwarted extensive research on guns. Advocates of gun controls thus continue to rely on a flawed statistic nearly two decades old. 

Cook and Ludwig, in a paper that released this month at a gun-violence conference hosted by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that there appears to be little or no impact from the Brady law in reducing the homicide rate, even though government officials (such as Obama) routinely tout the number of people prevented from buying guns because of background checks. 

"One explanation is that the type of person who is disqualified from legally buying a gun but shops at FFL [dealer with a federal firearms license] anyway tends to be at relatively low risk for misusing a gun," Cook and Ludwig write in "The Limited Impact of the Brady Act: Evaluation and Implications." 

So is there any other, recent data that might provide some insight into the impact of the off-the-books gun market? 

Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, will report data from a 2004 survey of inmates in state prisons in a chapter in a book titled "Reducing Gun Violence in America," to be published Jan. 28 by Johns Hopkins Press. 

The offenders were incarcerated from crimes committed with handguns, and this is how they reported how they obtained the guns: 

Licensed gun dealer: 11 percent 
Friends or family: 39.5 percent 
"The street:" 37.5 percent 
Stolen gun: 9.9 percent 
Gun show/Flea market: 1.7 percent 

In other words, only a relatively small percentage was purchased from licensed dealers. Obama's proposal on universal background checks, however, allows for "limited, common-sense exceptions for cases like certain transfers between family members and temporary transfers for hunting and sporting purposes." 

The Pinocchio Test 

We are faced with a conundrum here. We generally believe politicians should use the most up-to-date and relevant information available, but congressional foes of gun control have made it difficult to improve on obviously stale information. 
The small sample size is also a serious problem, but again, roadblocks have made it difficult to do a more comprehensive survey. 

At the same time, President Obama and the White House gun-violence plan act as if the information is fresh and relevant; it has also been repeated as current information by the news media. The Obama gun-violence plan cites "studies," but in fact these all are merely riffs on the same, relatively small survey taken nearly two decades ago. Generally, we would rule such claims are deserving of a 

Pinocchio or two. 

Vice President Biden, meanwhile, deserves kudos for acknowledging that the information is suspect and may not be entirely accurate. He at least frames it with some caveats, which is proper. 

So, we are going to take a wait-and-see approach with this statistic. Going forward, gun-control advocates should be much more upfront about its problems, especially the fact that it is old information. The 30-to-40 percent range that Cook and Ludwig first deduced should be the norm, not the "up to 40 percent" claim. Moreover, advocates should routinely acknowledge this is stale information-which they are certainly free to blame on gun-industry lobbying. 

We will be watching, and urge readers to keep track as well. 

22. RTD LTE: Provide trained teachers the option to carry 

Clayton Rhoades emailed me this: 


From Richmond Times-Dispatch: 

January 24, 2013 

Provide trained teachers the option to carry 

Editor, Times-Dispatch: 

Adam Lanza shot 26 people in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut. James Holmes is charged with shooting 70 people in a movie theater in Colorado. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot 34 people at Columbine High School. Jared Loughner shot 19 people including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. And Seung-Hui Cho shot 49 people at Virginia Tech. 

During 2012, there were more than 2,600 shootings in Chicago (where handguns are mostly banned). It is safe to say that most, if not all, of these killers did not attend gun-safety courses or were otherwise trained professionals. Yet, they all successfully shot lots of people. 

Nevertheless, a common argument from those opposed to arming teachers or letting the general public carry firearms is that they are not trained and may miss their target during a defensive shooting. 

How is it that thugs, gang members, individuals high on drugs and those with mental illnesses all manage to shoot their victims but responsible gun-owners who undergo criminal background checks, attend gun-safety courses, obtain concealed handgun permits, and commonly practice at shooting ranges are expected to have a zero-accuracy rate? Why are those who take seriously their own self-defense treated as if they are incapable of actually hitting a target while lunatics have no problem shooting their victims? 

We must recognize that murderers are targeting victims where guns are banned. During the Sandy Hook Elementary murders, it took police 20 minutes to arrive at the school after the first calls for help. It is time we provide the option for those individuals holding a Virginia concealed handgun permit (employees and visitors) to carry firearms onto school grounds to help defend themselves and our children. To do otherwise is unconscionable. 

Clayton W. Rhoades. Midlothian. 

23. Why young women want AR-15's 

James Durso emailed me this: 


From National Review: 

By Celia Bigelow & Aubrey Blankenship 
January 23, 2013 

Sorry, President Obama. As young women, we prefer an AR-15 "assault" rifle with a 30-round magazine for self-defense. 

In fact, we wouldn't want to be stuck at home without one. In the wake of mass murders like Sandy Hook and the horrific rapes and murders of thousands of women each year, pepper spray, mace, or five-round handheld pistols aren't going to cut it. 

So what's a girl to do? When choosing our tool for home defense, we want the best - in accuracy, handling, and aesthetics. The best choice by all three criteria is - hands down - the AR-15. 

AR-15s are the most popular rifle in the U.S.; more than 3 million Americans own one. And its popularity isn't with criminals - assault rifles account for only 0.6 percent of murders every year. Rather, the semi-automatic AR-15 is the gun of choice for many hunters, target shooters, and home defenders. 

Critics pin the allure of AR-15 on Hollywood (think Angelina Jolie's "Wait, why do I get the girl gun?" in Mr. and Mrs. Smith), video games, and the military, but women especially haven't chosen this weapon on a whim. 

Our goal when defending against a home invader is simple: to hit where we aim. One shouldn't underestimate the value of target practice, but using an accurate weapon is the key to hitting a target with ease and confidence. 

The AR-15 is lightweight and practical. As light as five pounds, it produces low levels of recoil, and it's easy to shoot. It also looks intimidating, which is what you want when facing an assailant or intruder. But don't let its appearance intimidate you. Assault rifles such as the AR-15 aren't more "dangerous," as liberals claim. They don't fire faster than other rifles, and don't normally contain more powerful ammunition. 

Accuracy? Check. Ease in handling? Check. Intimidation factor? Check. An AR-15 might be a woman's best friend. 

We are rational women who, as law-abiding citizens, understand the need - and the right - to defend ourselves. We don't want to be caught underprepared in the kind of desperate situation that happens too frequently to people across America. 
This past week in Georgia, an intruder entered the home of a mother and two children. The mother grabbed her two children and her gun, and proceeded to hide in a crawlspace in the attic. When the intruder entered the attic, the mother fired and hit him with five out of six shots (he still lived). 

Imagining ourselves in a high-stress, violent situation, we want a gun with enough ammo, and more, to get the job done. Sometimes, you only get one shot. At other times, you may need more. When you don't have time to reload in the heat of a home invasion, the AR-15's 30-round magazine gives you the flexibility and security a handgun will not. 

High-capacity magazines serve as a life-saving insurance mechanism, a self-defense back-up if something doesn't go according to plan. Yet you would never think of these guns in this sense by listening to anti-gun zealots and their allies in media. 

Assault rifles and high-capacity magazines have been under fire from our nation's legislators since the Newtown massacre. It only took Senator Dianne Feinstein two days to announce her intention to reinstate the Clinton-era assault-weapons ban to get "these dangerous weapons of war off our streets." New York governor Andrew Cuomo took it upon himself to make his state the first to tighten gun laws post-Newtown, proudly outlawing magazines over seven rounds because "no one needs ten bullets to kill a deer." 

Senator Feinstein and Governor Cuomo: We may not need ten bullets to kill a deer, but we sure need them in our own defense. Criminals rarely use assault rifles. Nearly ten times as many murders are committed with hammers and clubs, and 35 times as many with knives. Does that mean we need to ban those too, Senator Feinstein? Banning assault weapons will only take weapons away from my house - not from criminals on the street. 

Criminals with the intent to harm or kill will always find ways to do so. If they want to kill with an assault rifle or using high-capacity magazines, they will also find a way to do so, regardless of the law. As young, responsible women, we want the ability to defend ourselves against these criminals, and we should be able to do so with weapons of equal or greater power. 

Violence is always going to exist. As women, we should possess the right to best defend ourselves against it, whether with a handgun or our much preferred AR-15. So, Mr. President, use the First Amendment as much as you like to rail against our AR-15s, but hands off our Second Amendment right to use them. 

24. Gender gap on most gun issues is massive, polls suggest 


By The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 
January 21, 2013 

When Wisconsinites were polled last year about a new state law allowing possession of concealed weapons, most men supported it. 

But women were overwhelmingly opposed. 

In fact, no other issue in Marquette Law School's broad and frequent polling of Wisconsin voters last year so divided the sexes -- not Medicare, "Obamacare," gay marriage, taxes, school funding, collective bargaining, recalls, mining, military spending, abortion or immigration. 

In one January 2012 poll, the gender gap on "concealed carry" was a massive 27 points -- 59% approval among men, 32% among women. 

This is a look at two key fault lines in public opinion about guns. Gender is one. Partisanship is the other. 

Democrats and Republicans have drifted far apart on guns, as they have on so many issues. That poses a huge obstacle to getting legislation passed in a period of divided government, because there is so little common ground between the parties. 

The gender gap on guns also has big political implications. Just as the Democratic Party may have been hurt with male voters in the past by supporting gun control, the Republican Party risks compounding its problems with female voters in taking a hard line against gun restrictions. 

Overall, national polls point to a public shift in favor of stricter gun laws since the school massacre last month in Newtown, Conn. 

But while there's broad support for some changes in the gun laws, the public is divided over others -- by region, age, type of community (urban, suburban, rural), and especially gender and party. 

Gender gap on guns 

As a simple yardstick of opinion on the issue, the nonpartisan Pew poll asks whether it's more important to "protect the right of Americans to own guns" or to "control gun ownership." 

Pew has consistently found big differences between men and women on this question over the past 20 years. 

In Pew's latest national poll (Jan. 9-13), 51% of men but only 38% of women said it was more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns; 57% of women but only 44% of men said it was more important to control gun ownership. 

The gender gap was modest among the most partisan voters. But it was massive among political independents. 

Among independents, 58% of men said it was more important to protect gun rights, compared with 36% of women; 60% of women said it was more important to control gun ownership, compared with 38% of men. 

The gender gap is much bigger on some gun issues than on others, polls indicate. 

There are huge differences between men and women on banning semiautomatic weapons, a step favored by 67% of women but only 48% of men in Pew's most recent national survey. 

There's also a big gender gap over arming teachers and school officials, an idea backed by 47% of men but only 32% of women. 

The gender gap is smaller on two proposals seen as having a better chance at passage: banning high-capacity ammunition clips, supported by 57% of women and 50% of men, and background checks for private gun sales and gun shows, backed by 88% of women and 83% of men. 

The "concealed carry" issue cited is not part of the national post-Newtown gun debate. But it does illustrate how divided men and women can be on gun issues in a swing state with lots of gun owners -- about half the voters in Wisconsin on Nov. 6 said they had a gun in their household, according to the exit poll done here. 

Marquette Law School polled on the legalization of concealed weapons three times last year, and each time there was a huge difference -- 23, 25 and 27 points -- in the percentage of men and women who supported the law. No other issue Marquette polled on during the year produced such a large gender gap. 

"You're seeing the potential for women reacting to an issue quite differently than men," says political scientist Charles Franklin, who conducted the Marquette polls. "And it has a partisan impact, reinforcing women's support for Democrats and reinforcing men's support for Republicans." 

Partisan gap on guns 

The partisan gap on guns is bigger than the gender gap and has been growing over time. 

On Pew's basic yardstick of gun rights vs. gun control, there is a chasm between the parties: 70% of Republicans say it's more important to protect gun rights compared with 22% of Democrats; 73% of Democrats say it's more important to control gun ownership compared with 27% of Republicans. Independents were almost evenly divided on the question. 

Other polls indicate a similar pattern. In a survey this month by Gallup, 64% of Democrats wanted stricter gun laws, but only 18% of Republicans did. 

Gap has grown over years 

These differences are much bigger today than they were 10 or 20 years ago, according to Pew's polling. 

In 1993, 45% of Republicans and 25% of Democrats said protecting gun rights was more important than controlling gun ownership. 

In 2007, 50% of Republicans and 19% of Democrats said protecting gun rights was more important. 

But during Barack Obama's presidency, that gap has grown much wider -- not because Democratic attitudes have changed, but because Republicans have become that much more in favor of gun rights. 

"This issue has become a much more partisan issue, even (more) than it was a decade ago," says Scott Keeter of the Pew Research Center. "The Republican Party has more clearly become an anti-gun control party and the Democratic Party, while it still may have a fair amount of diversity on the issue, has become more pro-gun control." 

Because the distance between the parties is even bigger among members of Congress than it is among voters, the partisan gap over guns is now a huge obstacle to legislative action on the issue. 

The shift in public opinion toward gun restrictions since the Newtown school shooting could prompt Congress to act on the most popular and least divisive proposals, such as expanding background checks. 

But polls also say that overall public support for stricter gun laws, while rising since Newtown, is still lower than it was during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. 

25. Ending gun violence requires commitment, not all of it voluntary 

From Human Events: 

By Ann Coulter 
January 23, 2013 

The good news is: Obama and the Senate Democrats have no intention of passing more idiotic gun legislation in response to the Newtown massacre. The bad news is that they also have no intention of passing any legislation about the mentally ill, which would actually do something to reduce these mass shootings. 

Instead, the Democrats will jawbone about "assault weapons" and other meaningless gun laws for the sole purpose of scaring soccer moms into hating the National Rifle Association. Expect to hear a lot about Republicans preferring "the gun lobby" to "children." (Which is evidently not at all like preferring the teachers lobby to children.) 

Democrats are hoping to pick up another dozen congressional seats in 2014, so they need terrified women. 

Just don't expect a vote. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid cannot afford a vote on any of these nonsense gun laws because he needs to protect the seats of Democrats who have to get re-elected in districts where voters know something about guns. 

Even the stupidest politician has to know how utterly meaningless "assault weapon" bans are. (In fairness, New York's Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and Gov. Andrew Cuomo may not know.) But Democrats need to gin up the most easily fooled voters. 

"Assault weapons" are defined as "whatever politicians say they are." The guns that are banned and the ones that aren't are functionally identical. They're all semi-automatics. 

Semi-automatics shoot one bullet per trigger pull - that's the definition. Any handgun manufactured since the Civil War is a "semi-automatic." The most basic self-defense revolver for women is a "semi-automatic." 

An example of a gun that is not a semi-automatic is a musket. Also those guns where a "BANG!" flag pops out when the clown pulls the trigger. 

An automatic firearm - what militaries and drug cartels have - continuously fires when the trigger is pulled. They have been subject to a near-total federal ban in this country since the 1930s, so they're irrelevant to the discussion. 

The only differences in the semi-automatics the Democrats want to ban and the ones they don't are purely cosmetic details, such as bayonet mounts or pistol grips. 

When is the last time anyone was killed with a bayonet in this country? Bayonets were rarely used even during the Civil War. Obama mocked the idea of bayonets during one of his debates with Romney. Now he's terrified of them! 

Semi-automatics with bayonets are some of the guns Democrats call "assault weapons." It would be like defining 12-inch hunting knives with camouflage-colored handles - but not those with black handles - as "assault knives." Assault weapons are the semi-automatics that look scary to soccer moms. 

An example of the intentional obfuscation about semi-automatics (or "guns") is the "Violence Policy Center" webpage, which states: "Semiautomatic assault weapons are civilian versions of automatic military assault rifles (like the AK-47 and the M-16) and automatic military assault pistols (like the UZI)." 

This would be like saying: "Little girls' pink bedrooms are civilian versions of military prisons (like Guantanamo) and terrorist rendition prisons (like CIA Black Sites)." 

Yes, exactly alike, except the "prison" part. 

Since not all Democrats get to run for office in New York, congressional Democrats can't risk taking votes on such silly laws. Your guns will be safe, but your children won't, because we'll still have the mentally ill showing up at movie theaters, subway stations, shopping malls and schools. 

If soccer moms want to worry about something, they should worry more about schizophrenics than guns. 

In the late 1980s, New York City Mayor Ed Koch tried to institutionalize Joyce Brown, a mentally ill heroin addict living on the street who went by the name "Billie Boggs" (after local television host Bill Boggs). Brown was defecating on herself, removing all her clothes, burning money, running into traffic and shouting obscenities at passers-by. In other words, she was a prototype for Occupy Wall Street. 

Brown's family desperately wanted to have Brown committed to Bellevue Hospital. A Columbia psychiatrist argued for her institutionalization. The neighbors supported her commitment. 

But the New York Civil Liberties Union wanted Brown back on the street. Her NYCLU attorney, Robert Levy, boasted that "Billie Boggs" was as sane as "a member of the board of the Civil Liberties Union." 

A New York judge, Robert Lippman, agreed -- but not the way I do. Instead of ordering the entire NYCLU board institutionalized, he ordered the release of this poor, mentally disturbed woman. She promptly spoke at Harvard. (Princeton already had Peter Singer.) Then she was back on the street, taking heroin and getting into fights with other homeless people. 

Schizophrenics are generally incapable of knowing they need help. Without involuntary commitment, they are abandoned to the streets, getting beaten up, sexually abused, stolen from and set on fire. They also sometimes push people onto subway tracks, murder grandmothers, slaughter firemen and enter "gun-free zones" to commit mass murder. 

But the Democrats won't do anything about it. Even if you do not hear voices that tell you to kill strangers, liberals say: "Either we are all mad or none of us is mad." Then they get mouthy about banning guns with bayonets. On which they will not vote. Montana's Sen. Max Baucus has to get re-elected. 

26. Two-thirds of U.S. gun owners would 'defy' a federal gun ban 

From The Washington Times: 

By Jennifer Harper 
January 20, 2013 

An interesting little factoid has emerged from a new Fox News poll of U.S. voters: Personal sentiments are strong and defiant among many U.S. gun owners. 

Question 46 in the wide-ranging survey of more than 1,000 registered voters asks if there is a gun in the household. Overall, 52 percent of the respondents said yes, someone in their home owned a gun. That number included 65 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of conservatives, 38 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of liberals. 

But on to Question 47, addressed to those with a gun in their home: "If the government passed a law to take your guns, would you give up your guns or defy the law and keep your guns?" 

The response: 65 percent reported they would "defy the law." That incudes 70 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of conservatives, 52 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of liberals. 

Click here to see the complete findings. 

The poll of 1,008 registered U.S. voters was conducted Jan. 15-17. 

27. Oak Harbor City, WA Mayor defends 2nd Amendment in council meeting [Video] 

Joel Michello emailed me this. You've got to love how this Mayor protects the right to keep and bear arms against attack by a city council member. The city council member walked out of the meeting because a gun owner had the audacity to come to the meeting armed. 

Thankfully, we, like Washington State, have preemption to keep the tyrants at bay. 


From Youtube: 

28. Does UN arms trade treaty figure in Obama administration's gun control plans? 

Bill Hine emailed me this: 


From FOX News: 

By George Russell 
January 23, 2013 

One day after President Barack Obama won re-election, his Administration agreed to a new round of international negotiations to revive a United Nations-sponsored treaty regulating the international sale of conventional arms, which critics fear could affect the Constitutionally protected right of U.S. citizens to purchase and bear firearms. 

Now, in the wake of the Newtown school massacre and the President's January 16 promise to "put everything I've got" into a sweeping new series of gun control initiatives, the fate of that treaty, which enters a "final" round of negotiations this March, may loom as more important than ever, according to critics, some of whom argue that the U.S. should never have entered the talks in the first place. 

Their concerns remain, despite the fact that President Obama repeated his support for the Second Amendment and "our strong tradition of gun ownership and the rights of hunters and sportsmen" on January 16. (The subject never came up in his second inaugural address.) 

U.S. diplomats have declined a Fox News request to discuss, among other things, the direction of the talks, and whether the other 192 countries involved respect that U.S. "red lines" in the negotiations-including the Administration's assertion that "the Second Amendment to the Constitution must be upheld"-are truly inviolate. 

The Administration first agreed to take part in the U.N. arms treaty negotiations in 2009-the same year in which it launched the now-notorious Fast and Furious operation, which provided weapons to illicit gun traders, ostensibly to track gun-running operations to Mexican drug cartels. Those negotiations proceeded irregularly, but seemed to founder last July. 

But then, the U.S. joined a 157-0 vote, with 18 abstentions, of a U.N. General Assembly disarmament committee, on November 7, 2012, -the day after President Barack Obama won his second-term victory--to create the March round of talks. (A State Department official insisted to Fox News that the vote only came after the U.S. elections due to the disruption caused by Hurricane Sandy; otherwise, it would have taken place earlier.) 

Amid the fog surrounding the treaty process, however, one thing seemed clear: an issue that deeply involves American rights and freedoms is back on the table, linked to the lingering problem of how to keep conventional military weapons out of the hands of terrorists and extremists. The State Department itself, on a web page that also lists its "red line" reservations in the negotiations, calls it a "complex but critical issue." 

For many critics, however, the draft version of the treaty is also a mine field of clauses and propositions that mandate a much greater federal role in U.S. gun sales, and potentially tie the U.S. to the gun control agenda of other governments or regimes. 

"The treaty is drafted as if every nation in the world has centralized control of the arms industry and arms sales, which is not the case here," said Ted Bromund, a security policy expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation who has followed the arms trade treaty process closely, and who believes the U.S. should bail out of the March treaty talks. 

"We've already got an enormous body of statutes and practice on the import, manufacture and export of firearms, the most elaborate in the world," Bromund told Fox News. "How would we use a treaty that gives enormous discretion to the Administration on the import and export of arms? Essentially, it would give the Administration much more control than it already has." 

Moreover, the treaty is unlikely to change any behavior on the part of lawbreaking regimes and dictatorships around the world whose handing on of weapons to terrorists or criminal enterprises is supposedly one of the activities the treaty will curb. 

On the surface, the treaty, which aims to regulate the sale and resale of weapons ranging from tanks to missiles to rifles and pistols, is aimed at creating a more manageable environment for the international arms trade. 

The multi-billion-dollar market in illicit weapons sales, according to a report by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, leads to "armed violence, conflict and civil unrest involving violations of international law, abuses of the rights of children, civilian casualties, humanitarian crises and missed social and economic opportunities." 

Critics of the treaty effort, however, see something equally bad: a nebulous international agreement that does nothing to improve U.S. security but opens the way to "damage by a thousand cuts," as one critic put it, to the U.S. civilian right to bear arms and also to American foreign policy interests, no matter what the State Department may currently say about defending both. 

For one thing, notes Bromund, most nations negotiating the treaty-which include Russia, China and Iran-"do not recognize the human right of self-defense" against tyrannical or murderous regimes-the essential basis of the Second Amendment. 
Instead, a draft version of the treaty prepared in advance of the November vote emphasizes the "the inherent right of all States to individual or collective self-defense," and leaves it up to individual nation states themselves to police such issues as whether their arms sales will "be used to commit or facilitate a serious violation of international humanitarian law." 

Whether some of the world's worst human rights violators, who are also arms exporters to even more murderous regimes, would spend much time worrying about such niceties, Bromund indicated, is unlikely. 

"All these other nations are free to improve their export policies without any kind of treaty at all," Bromund argues. "They choose not to. What does that tell you about their intentions? 

"It is profoundly unlikely to restrain really bad actors, or make the less bad improve. It is basically pernicious. Relying on a treaty to stop irresponsible nations from acting irresponsibly is about as sensible as seeking to solve the problem of crime by outlawing it. If the arms trade treaty could work, it would not be necessary." 

Moreover, critics point out that the draft version of the treaty contains a number of provisions that would make a bad situation from the U.S. point of view even worse. Among them: 

--various clauses in the treaty mandate domestic gun control as part of an ostensibly international obligation to end illegal "end use," creating the possibility of a broad expansion of national regulatory powers. 

--terms such as the "transfer" of arms under the treaty are undefined, again leading the possibility of broad regulatory expansion-and not merely to adhere to the arms treaty. According to one clause, for example, signatories "shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms within the scope of this Treaty if the transfer would violate its relevant international obligations, under international agreements to which it is a Party"-a clearly open-ended commitment. 
--another clause bans the transfer of arms to "facilitate" among other things "crimes against humanity"-a phrase now often used, in the highly-charged U.N. environment, for allegations against Israel. The same vagueness applies to terms like "serious violations to international humanitarian law"-a fuzzy body of assertions that no single nation may endorse. 

--as currently written, the treaty allows its subsequent amendment by a majority of the original parties, meaning that the U.S. could later find it was bound by provisions it had not agreed to. 

A more subtle flaw, notes Bromund, is that any badly designed treaty that the U.S. agrees to at the negotiations, and that the President signs, can have an effect on U.S. laws and regulations even though it would still need to be ratified by the Senate, which must approve international agreements by a two-thirds majority. 

The reason: once a treaty is signed, the parties must respect its "object and purpose" even before ratification-or if ratification does not occur-which is "completely in the eye of the beholder," Bromund says. 

Case in point: the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, which was signed by President Bill Clinton but never ratified by the U.S. Senate. Nonetheless, the U.S. participates in Kyoto Protocol meetings, observes greenhouse gas limits of its own, and operates as if conforming U.S. legislation may pass in the future. 
Thus even agreements that are not ratified by the U.S. can become what Bromund calls "zombie treaties" - feeding on internal issues that radically define and distort U.S. political and regulatory behavior for decades. 

John Bolton, a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and Fox News contributor, notes that the already controversial treaty could get worse, from a U.S. point of view, before it reaches its final form in March. 

"My experience is that a lot of the worst provisions in these agreements come in at the last minute," Bolton says. He added: "It's unbelievable that the issue is still kicking around." 

In 2001, as U.S. assistant secretary of state for arms control and international security during the first George W. Bush Administration, Bolton voiced similar concerns about aspects of an earlier U.N. effort to install a "Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects." 

The Program of Action is far foggier than the proposed new treaty. Among other things, it advocates "mobilizing the political will throughout the international community to prevent and combat illicit transfers and manufacturing of small arms and light weapons in all their aspects," and to "raise awareness of the character and seriousness of the interrelated problems associated with the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in these weapons." 

In other words, it promotes lobbying and advocacy, often by non-governmental organizations with political agendas of their own, on behalf of the arms sales goals. 

The Program of Action, which followed a previous attempt to get a formal international arms sale treaty passed in the 1990s, is still in existence, under the aegis of the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs. 
It holds periodic conferences and demands that adherents provide reports on their progress toward Program goals. 

For example, Iran-which funnels arms to terrorist groups in Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere, as well as to the Assad regime in Syria-noted this year that it in 2011 it had created a "special judicial authority" to investigate and punish violators of a new law "on the punishment or trafficking in arms and ammunitions and possessors of illicit arms and ammunitions." 

The penalties under the law, and the nature of the new "judicial authority," were not outlined. 

"Iran is well respected at the U.N.," notes Wayne LaPierre, executive director of the National Rifle Association (NRA), who calls the radical Islamic republic a member in good standing of the "club of governments" who pursue international gun control law for their own ends. 

And most of the killing of civilians in the developing world, he adds, "is done by governments in that club." 

29. CNN: Red states and guns [Audio] 

Dave Hicks emailed me this: 


From CNN: 

30. Boycott: Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, PA 

Update: the outcry over this show's anti-liberty policies cause the show to be cancelled. 

Michael Irvin emailed me this: 


I have been attending the annual Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, held in Harrisburg, PA, for well over 15 years now, as it is the largest outdoor (hunting and fishing) show on the east coast. People from many states attend this weeklong show. 

However, the promoters, Reed Exhibitions, has decided that they only partially support the 2nd Amendment. Reed Exhibitions has informed some exhibitors that AR-style rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines capable of holding 30 rounds or more may not be sold or even displayed at the show scheduled for Feb. 2-10 at the State Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA. 

I will not be attending the show this year. Many vendors and celebrities are boycotting the show as well. 

Ironically, Reed Exhibitions is the promoter of the SHOT Show. 

Michael Irvin 


From Lancaster Online: 

By P.J. Reilly 
January 15, 2013 


The organizer of the annual Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg apparently is banning so-called assault weapons from this year's show. 

Reed Exhibitions has informed some exhibitors including Kinsey's Outdoors in Mount Joy and The Sportsman's Shop in New Holland, representatives of both stores said that AR-style rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines capable of holding 30 rounds or more may not be sold or even displayed at the show scheduled for Feb. 2-10 at the State Farm Show Complex on Cameron Street. 

Two Reed Exhibitions officials confirmed the ban this week, but both declined to elaborate. 

A reporter's calls to a company office in Connecticut were not returned Tuesday. 

Alex Cameron, general manager of Kinsey's, said he was told the ban was due to the "current political climate." 

Gun control particularly as it pertains to so-called assault weapons has been a hot-button issue across the country ever since 20 children and six adults were shot and killed Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., by a man wielding an AR-15, semiautomatic rifle, fitted with a high-capacity magazine. 

Joe Keffer, owner of The Sportsman's Shop, said he and others in the firearms industry are in "ongoing negotiations" with Reed Exhibitions to try to reverse the ban planned for the Harrisburg show. 

31. Groupon stops gun-related deals, sparking outrage on social media 

Mickey Mixon emailed me this: 


Poll about Groupon's decision to drop all gun-related promotions. 

And a new facebook page to boycott them: 

From Bay News9: 

By Christine Webb 
January 23, 2013 

ORLANDO -- Groupon is under fire after the popular "deal of the day" website announced it was halting all promotions related to guns. 

Known for its popular perks of offering discounts on things like restaurants and massages, Groupon users could also find gun-related discounts -- until now. 

Groupon provided no further explanation for its decision, except for the following statement from spokeswoman Julie Mossler to Daily Finance: 

"All scheduled and current gun-related deals featured on Groupon North America, including shooting ranges, conceal-and-carry and clay shooting, have been placed on hiatus while we review internal standards that shape the deal inventory we feature" 

The category is under review following recent consumer and merchant feedback." 

The move has sparked outcry in some social media circles, especially amid the recent debate on gun control. 

Some experts speculate Groupon's decision may have been in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Twenty-six people, including 20 children, were killed. 

Darien Hill is a social media expert and said he is not surprised by this move. 

"My reaction is businesses have a social responsibility and it's not surprising Groupon would make this move to look at its policies and really protect its consumers," Hill said. 

Hill said there are two other prominent Internet companies that you may use every day who have taken a stance against ammunition and firearms. Do you know who they are? Click on the video to see our interview with Hill. 

32. Democratic senators face "roused" gun owners at home 

James Durso emailed me this: 


From The New York Times: 

By Jeremy W. Peters 
January 23, 2013 

BECKLEY, W.Va. - Talk of stricter gun control has stirred up a lot of unease here, a place where hunters vie for top prize (a 26-inch LED television) in the Big Buck Photo Contest, and ads for a gun-simulator game ask, "Feel like shooting something today?" 

But before Senator Joe Manchin III invited a group of 15 businessmen and community leaders to lunch last week to discuss the topic, he had only a vague idea of how anxious many of his supporters were. 

"How many of you all believe that there is a movement to take away the Second Amendment?" he asked. 

About half the hands in the room went up. 

Despite his best attempts to reassure them - "I see no movement, no talk, no bills, no nothing" - they remained skeptical. "We give up our rights one piece at a time," a banker named Charlie Houck told the senator. 

If there is a path to new gun laws, it has to come through West Virginia and a dozen other states with Democratic senators like Mr. Manchin who are confronting galvanized constituencies that view any effort to tighten gun laws as an infringement. 

As Congress considers what, if any, laws to change, Mr. Manchin has become a barometer among his colleagues, testing just how far they might be able to go without angering voters. 

On Thursday a group of Democratic senators led by Dianne Feinstein of California plans to introduce a bill that would outlaw more than 100 different assault weapons, setting up what promises to be a fraught and divisive debate over gun control in Congress in the coming weeks. But a number of centrist lawmakers like Mr. Manchin have already thrown the measure's fate into question, saying that all they are willing to support for now is a stronger background check system. 

As a hunter with an A rating from the National Rifle Association, Mr. Manchin gave advocates for new weapons laws reason for optimism after he said last month that gun firepower and magazine capacity might need to be limited. 

But now, Mr. Manchin, who affirmed his support for gun rights by running a campaign commercial in 2010 showing him firing a rifle into an environmental bill, says he is not so sure. One of his local offices has been picketed, and even some of his most thoughtful supporters are cautioning him that stronger background checks are about all the gun control they can stomach. 

And on the afternoon the 15 residents met with Mr. Manchin in the conference room of a local arts center, they told him that going after guns and ammunition capacity would be much like banning box cutters after the Sept. 11 attacks, or limiting whiskey and six-pack sales to cure alcoholism. 

"It takes about a second and a half to change a clip," said Frank Jezioro, a former special agent with the Office of Naval Intelligence and now director of the state Division of Natural Resources. 

Mr. Jezioro likened gunmen in mass shootings to suicide bombers: they will always find a way. "A guy can walk through this door right here with your Beretta five-shot automatic, and cut the barrel off at 16 inches, and put five double-ought buckshots in there and kill everybody in here in a matter of seconds," he said. "And you don't have to aim it." 

As it happened, there were at least two guns in the room. One was on the hip of a Beckley police detective who was invited to the lunch, the other at the side of the West Virginia state trooper who stood guard at the door. 

Others at the lunch said that laws did little to help even the most violent societies. "Mexico, for instance, has got some of the strictest gun control laws in North America," said Rick Johnson, the owner of a river expedition company. "They'll put you in jail for a bullet in Mexico. And look how well it's worked." 
"I can take my A.R.," Mr. Johnson said, referring to his assault rifle, "load it, put one in the chamber and throw it up on this table, and the only way it's going to hurt anybody is if I miss and hit someone in the head. The gun doesn't hurt anybody. It's the person pulling the trigger." 

After talking with the group for nearly two hours, Mr. Manchin left the meeting saying he was not at all comfortable with supporting the assault weapons ban favored by many of his colleagues in Congress. 

"I'm not there," he said, adding that he was leaning toward strengthening screening gun purchases instead. "I'm definitely more inclined to be very supportive of background checks." 

Mr. Manchin is just the beginning of gun control advocates' worries. Of far greater concern are Democrats who are up for re-election in 2014. Those include senators like Max Baucus of Montana, who was awarded an A+ rating from the N.R.A. Mr. Baucus has worded his comments on the subject carefully, bracketing them with gun rights-friendly language, like saying the "culture of violence" needs to be seriously examined along with any changes to the law. 

There is Senator Mark Begich of Alaska, who has said flatly that he would not support a new assault weapons ban, and Senator Mark Udall of Colorado, who initially came out in support of the ban but has been more circumspect recently, saying in an interview last week that he would want to see the language of any such legislation first. 

"I think for some of my colleagues, that's a tougher debate," Mr. Udall said of outlawing any individual weapons. 

Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, one of the Senate's most reliable liberals, has not said definitively whether he would vote for the ban, instead signaling only his support for "the principle" of one. 

For some, there is something else to consider in addition to voters who are fervently supportive of Second Amendment rights: jobs. North Carolina is where the rifle-maker Remington has its headquarters. One of the state's senators, Kay Hagan, is a Democrat also up for re-election next year. 

Another is Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, who said she had been hearing from all corners of the state on the issue, including police chiefs, mothers with young children and people whose jobs are tied to local gunmakers like Sturm, Ruger & Company and Sig Sauer. 

"Clearly they're going to be concerned about restrictions, because it's going to affect the sales they do," Ms. Shaheen said. "But it seems to me there are places where we can come to an agreement." 

Those areas of agreement, she said, are the need for stronger background checks and better mental health care, not weapons bans. 

Even before people on opposite sides of the gun control question start debating the merits of new laws, there are vast cultural divides that threaten to stand in the way of any compromise. In West Virginia, Mr. Manchin's constituents shook their heads at the mere mention of the term assault weapon, which they consider pejorative. 

"Do you know where that phrase came from?" said Roger Wilson, a river tour operator and an amateur gun historian. Its origin, he said, came from Hitler, who named a new German weapon Sturmgewehr, literally "storm rifle," which in English became "assault rifle." 

During the lunch, Mr. Manchin shared a recent conversation he had with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Obama administration's point person on gun control. 

"I said, 'Mr. Vice President, with all due respect, I don't know how many people who truly believe that you would fight to protect their rights.' " 
The senator added, "That's what we're dealing with." 

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: 

Correction: January 24, 2013 

An earlier version of this article misspelled the given name of a New Hampshire senator who said she had been hearing from all corners of the state on the gun issue. She is Jeanne Shaheen, not Jean. 

33. Let the Democrats shoot themselves in the foot 

James Durso emailed me this: 



By Kurt Schlichter 
January 23, 2013 

For the liberal establishment, "political courage" means a politician spitting in the face of his conservative constituents. The President's gun proposals demand such political courage, and we conservatives ought to be all for it. 

There are people who really believe President Barack Obama is some sort of cunning political grand-master, plotting out the checkmate ten moves ahead of his plodding opponents. Nonsense. He's actually President Peter Principle, failing ever upward thanks to the disarray of his opponents. 

Just when you think he might be clever enough to score his cheap points off of Newtown and turn back to beating the hapless House GOP over taxes he doubles down on guns. This guy probably hits on a 19 with the dealer's 6 showing. 

He made the big announcement of his 23 executive orders and his gun-grabbing legislative wish list in a ceremony so packed with kids that it's surprising the Wiggles didn't show up to sing along. They would have had more policy credibility than Biden. The executive orders were astonishingly lightweight - most of them were along the lines of directing Bureaucrat A to talk to Bureaucrat B about synergizing the synchronization of their coordination. He also clarified that Obamacare doesn't prevent doctors from adding your guns to your weight and your blood pressure on the list of things to pester you about. 

On Capitol Hill, the half-dozen or so Democrat senators who somehow nabbed seats from red states back in 2008 reacted to the President's promise to pursue ban on useful weapons and standard magazines with about the same level of enthusiasm displayed by critics greeting the release of a new Nickelback album. "Political courage" is easy when you've run your last campaign or when you're writing editorials for the New York Times. It can be downright dangerous to your career when you're facing the voters in Arkansas and have to explain why you decided that because some Yankee psycho shot up a school they need to disarm themselves to please that guy in the White House and the gang at the New York Times. 

The House Republicans, astonishingly, played it well, withholding comment until they see what Harry Reid gets passed out of the Senate. This is as it should be - making this the Democrats' problem. 

Fact is that this is a great opportunity for the Republicans to really get to work for the sake of the country. No, not by passing laws - there are too many laws already. The work they can do that will truly help this country during this Congress is handing embarrassing defeats to Barack Obama, making him expend his political capital for nothing, and damaging the electoral prospects of his enablers in the Senate. Liberals are the problem; the GOP needs to solve that. 
Yes, gun control legislation is vital for our country, but not substantively, as nothing being proposed would have made the slightest difference in what happened at Newtown. It's vital because it's a chance to defeat the liberals in clear and meaningful way. 

Now, we need to give the Republicans some credit - we cannot underestimate their ability to blow a winning hand. In the Senate, a lot depends on the whether the squish caucus in the World Greatest Deliberative Body can resist boot-licking the liberal establishment and providing bipartisan cover for the red state Democrats. It's easy to imagine Lindsay Graham or one of the other Senate pseudo-cons scoring themselves a handful of cocktail party invitations by stroking his chin on "Meet the Press" and explaining that, of course, no one would need a semi-automatic rifle for hunting. 

But then maybe Harry Reid's obnoxious behavior of late will inspire the GOP Senators to put schadenfreude above sycophancy. It's got to be a temptation to watch Nevada's Pride trying to thread the needle on his own "A" rating on guns while dealing with blue state liberals insisting on starting the march to confiscation, red state Democrats freaking out about 2014, and a President whose every utterance gets the NRA 10,000 new members. 

Senators, for once, control your urge to blow an opportunity in exchange for a kind word from the WaPo. Don't throw this guy a life preserver. Watch him tread water as you giggle and point. 

The House is the place to really start dealing the pain. Wait until something crawls out of the Senate over the mangled careers of a bunch of red state Democrats - hopefully with zero GOP votes - and then shift the paradigm. 

Give the President some of the dough he wanted as part of his 180 degree shift on the "crazy", "insane", "evil" idea of actually protecting kids with armed security. Just make sure everyone knows how you'll back the President on his backing of the NRA's common sense proposal. 

And no, the federal government has no legitimate business involving itself in school security, but this is not the time to rediscover federalism. Peggy Noonan may cluck like a schoolmarm about you playing hardball, but saving this country requires this guy in the White House be a lame duck starting now. 

Naturally, out must go anything like an assault weapon or standard magazine ban. He gets nothing in the win column. What's important is what the House puts into the bill. Start with a clear and unequivocal statement of the right to keep and bear arms as an individual right by statute, as well as by Constitution, and direct that all laws must be interpreted in that light. Make sure you cite both the Commerce Clause and Militia Clauses (Article I, Section 8, Clause 15-16)! 

Gee, reaffirming the fundamental individual right kind of puts the screws to folks who keep lying about how they don't want to take our guns in kind of a pickle. It would force some welcome honesty. A statute like this would also provide a backstop against the next time the Supreme Court has five liberals and decides that the Constitution's clear statement of the people's right to keep and bear arms means nothing of the sort. It would also undercut the various state laws that infringe upon the right. Oh, and best of all, no rational red state Democrats could ever consider voting against it. But if one does, even better! 

And when rolling this out, send Boehner to the bar for the afternoon and put some of the GOP women out on the steps surrounded by moms and kids who protected themselves from scumbag criminals through the magic of firearms. Ask why the liberals are willing to sacrifice women to be raped, gays to be bashed, and minorities to be intimidated, all in order to disarm law-abiding citizens. Maybe some of the kids can even read their letters talking about how thankful they are that Mommy was able to use her Glock to keep her family from being murdered by that thug the liberal judge released on a technicality. 

Yes, time for some political courage. After all, it's for the children. 

34. Journalists, politicians refuse to post lawn sign saying "Home is proudly gun free" [Video] 

From Youtube: 

35. Expert gun advice from the Vice President 

Biden can't do math either… 

Board member Dennis O'Connor emailed me this: 


From CNN: 

By Ashley Killough 
January 24, 2013 

(CNN) Assault weapons aren't needed, period. Not even in earthquakes. At least, that's what Vice President Joe Biden says. 
Answering critics who say assault weapons would be useful as a last line of defense should a natural disaster result in chaos, Biden gave some advice Thursday in a discussion about gun control during a Google+ Hangout. 

The vice president, known for his colorful, off-the-cuff remarks, said a double-barrel shotgun would be more practical in such a scenario, adding assault weapons are harder to handle for people unfamiliar with the firearms. 

"It's harder to use an assault weapon to hit something than it is a shotgun, OK?" he said, as he mimicked holding a gun with both arms. "So if you want to keep people away in an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells." 

Biden's comments came the same day Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced her assault weapons ban bill, a piece of legislation with strong support from President Barack Obama. The president and vice president rolled out their own proposals to curb gun violence last week, and Biden will hit the road Friday to take the administration's case before the public in Richmond, Virginia. 

Feinstein's measure would stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of more than 100 specialty firearms and certain semi-automatic rifles. 

Along with banning assault weapons, the administration and Feinstein also want to install a 10-round limit for magazines. 

"I'm much less concerned quite frankly about what you'd call an assault weapon than I am about magazines and the number of rounds that can be held," Biden said. 

One participant in the web discussion who had initially asked the question about earthquakes also followed up by asking whether a magazine cap would actually have an impact in a scenario such as the mass shooting at the Connecticut elementary school that left 26 dead, including 20 children. 

Biden said that gunman, who had 30-round magazines, had to swap out "four or five times." If limited to 10 rounds, however, the vice president argued the gunman would have had to swap out 25 or 30 times. [PVC: 5 x 30 = 150 = 15 10-round magazine swaps, not 25 or 30. So typical of our erudite Vice President of the United States to exaggerate.] 

"And so what would happen is the response time, in fact, may have saved one kid's life. Maybe if it took longer, maybe one more kid would be alive," Biden said. 

He also pointed to the gunmen in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting and the Tucson, Arizona shooting, both of whom had to pause because their magazines either ran out or jammed. 

When pressed on whether he expects an assault weapons ban or magazine limit to actually reduce crime, Biden said he's "not making the argument that this will end crime." 

"I'm making the argument this way: There's no sporting need that I'm aware of that has a magazine that holds 50 rounds. None that I'm aware of. And I'm a sportsman." 

36. Maze of gun laws in US hurts gun control efforts 

Yeah - we need to get rid of all those state laws and just have an all-powerful federal government regulating guns. 

From NBC12: 

By Eileen Sullivan 
January 25, 2013 

WASHINGTON (AP) - Military-style assault weapons, gangster-style Tommy guns, World War II-era bazookas and even sawed-off shotguns - somewhere in the U.S., there is a legal avenue to get each of those firearms and more. 

This is thanks to the maze of gun statutes around the country and the lack of a minimum federal standard to raise the bar for gun control in states with weak laws. 

An Associated Press analysis found that there are thousands of laws, rules and regulations at the local, county, state and federal levels. The laws and rules vary by state, and even within states, according to a 2011 compilation of state gun laws by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 

These laws and regulations govern who can carry a firearm, what kind of firearm is legal, the size of ammunition magazines and more. In some places, a person can buy as many guns as desired. 

This maze of laws undermines gun-control efforts in communities with tougher gun laws - and pushes advocates of tighter controls to seek a federal standard. Gun rights proponents say enforcing all existing laws makes more sense than passing new ones. 

"If you regulate something on the local or state level, you are still a victim to guns coming into other localities or states," said Laura Cutilletta, a senior staff attorney at the California-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 

In California, most guns come from Nevada, where there is almost no regulation of firearms, Cutilletta said, and in Arizona, gun owners don't need a permit. 

President Barack Obama earlier this month announced a $500 million plan to tighten federal gun laws. The December shooting massacre in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and six adults at an elementary school launched the issue of gun control policy to a national focus not seen in decades. 

Obama is urging Congress to pass new laws, some of which would set a minimum standard for the types of firearms and ammunition that are commercially available. Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Dianne Feinstein of California introduced new proposals this week to increase penalties for firearms trafficking and impose a new assault weapons ban. 

The powerful gun lobby says the problem lies in enforcement of existing laws. 

"Which begs the question: Why are we putting more laws on the books if we're not enforcing the laws we already have on the books?" said Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the National Rifle Association. 

New gun laws will face tough opposition in Congress, particularly from members who rely on the NRA during election campaigns. The NRA contributed more than $700,000 to members of Congress during the 2012 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 

Recognizing the opposition in Congress, states already are passing their own new gun laws while officials from some states are promising to ignore any new federal mandates. As the national debate on gun control and Second Amendment rights escalates, the terms being used won't mean the same thing everywhere, due to the thousands of laws, rules and regulations across the country. 

"The patchwork of laws in many ways means that the laws are only as effective as the weakest law there is," said Gene Voegtlin of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. "Those that are trying to acquire firearms and may not be able to do that by walking into their local gun shop will try to find a way to do that. This patchwork of laws allows them to seek out the weak links and acquire weapons." 

Obama wants to address this, in part, by passing federal gun-trafficking laws that carry heavy penalties. It's difficult to crack down on trafficking because the penalties are too low to serve as a deterrent, and federal prosecutors decline many cases because of a lack of evidence. For instance, in order to charge someone with willfully participating in a business of selling firearms without a license, the ATF needs to prove that the guns were not sold out of the suspect's private collection, the Justice Department inspector general has said. 

Obama has also called for a new federal law banning magazines that carry more than 10 rounds of ammunition - a measure that was in effect during the previous assault weapons ban, between 1994 and 2004. High-capacity magazines have been used in recent deadly mass shootings, including those in Newtown, and in the suburban Denver movie theater attack last summer. 

But like many terms in the firearm lexicon, a high-capacity ammunition magazine means different things in different places. 

In California, considered by many to have some of the strongest gun laws in the country, a large-capacity magazine is one that holds more than 10 rounds. In Illinois there is no state law regarding magazines. Yet, there are laws regarding magazines in Chicago where the threshold is more than 12 rounds. But about 40 miles away in Aurora, Ill., this type of magazine is called a large-capacity ammunition feeding device and means anything more than 15 rounds. 

In 44 states, including Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Texas and Virginia where these magazines have been used in deadly mass shootings, there are no laws against using them, according to a 2012 analysis by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. If a federal law banned magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, it would become the minimum standard. 

The definition of "assault weapon" also varies. There is no federal definition of an assault weapon, and the meaning of the term is inconsistent even within the gun industry. California defines an assault weapon as a "firearm (that) has such a high rate of fire and capacity for fire-power that its function as a legitimate sports or recreational firearm is substantially outweighed by the danger that it can be used to kill and injure human beings." The law specifically lists 60 rifles, 14 pistols and five shotguns. Neighboring states Nevada and Arizona have no assault weapon restrictions. 

Federal law does not prohibit the ownership of any weapon, said Ginger Colbrun, an ATF spokeswoman in Washington. In order to buy or own certain firearms, including automatic weapons, machine guns and bazookas, people do have to apply for permission from the federal government. But as long as the application for a restricted firearm is approved, and there is no state law barring ownership of that type of gun, it's legal. 

"There is such a variation in the number of laws that regulate the distribution of guns that there is no adequate minimum standard," said Richard Aborn, president of the New York-based Citizens Crime Commission. "The federal government has an obligation to establish at least minimum standards that have to be complied with before a gun can be sold anywhere in America." 

37. Guns and the President 

Bill Watkins emailed me this: 


From FOX News: 

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano 
January 24, 2013 

Here is an uncomfortable pop quiz: Who has killed more children, Adam Lanza or Barack Obama? We'll hold off on the answer for a few paragraphs while we look at the state of governmental excess -- including killing -- in America. But you can probably guess the correct answer from the manner in which I have posed the question. 

We all know that the sheet anchor of our liberties is the Declaration of Independence. The president himself quoted Thomas Jefferson's most famous line in his inaugural address earlier this week. He recognized that all men and women are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

The president would no doubt like to modify the word "created" to read "shall be maintained," since his presidency seems dedicated to keeping us equal, not in terms of equality of rights and opportunity but of outcome. He has dedicated himself to using the coercive power of the federal government to take from those who have and give to those who don't. Under the Constitution, charity is a decision for individuals to make, not the government. 

This forced egalitarianism was never the purpose of government in America. When the people in the original 13 states gave up some of their personal liberties to create their state governments so they could perform the services that governments in the West do, and when the states themselves gave up some of their liberties to create the federal government of limited powers to address the issues of nationhood, they never authorized government to impose taxes to transfer wealth to those who lack it or need it. 

This may sound harsh, but there is simply no authority in the Constitution for the feds to tax Americans or to borrow money in their names to rebuild private homes in New Orleans or at the Jersey Shore. And there is no moral authority for that, either. If folks want to give money to those whose properties were damaged by natural disasters and lacked adequate insurance coverage, they are free to do so, but nowhere does government have the authority to compel us to do so. 

This shows how far we have come from the Constitution the Founders gave us. They "constituted" a government of limited powers, and they did so because they wanted the government to protect our freedoms, since they understood that personal responsibility and freedom -- not government handouts -- are the soundest routes to prosperity. Hence, they limited the government because they knew the lessons of history. And those lessons informed them that often it is the government itself that is the greatest threat to personal freedom. 

One hundred years ago, during the Progressive Era, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson turned the concept of limited government on its head. They argued that the Constitution could be disregarded because the federal government possesses unlimited powers to address the people's needs. Barack Obama is their ideological heir. As their heir, he is not only the head of the executive branch of the federal government, but he is also the head of one of the two dominant political parties. 

That political party has dedicated itself to making certain killing legal. The Democrats have continually celebrated the abominable decision of the Supreme Court in Roe vs. Wade, issued 40 years ago this week. They have championed abortion for the past 40 years. They have assaulted the greatest and most fundamental of human rights: the right to live. In doing so, they have succeeded in causing the government to permit the killing of more than 50 million American babies in their mothers' wombs in the past 40 years -- for the sake of convenience and sexual activity without consequence, in a manner that is antiseptic and lawful. And no one hears the babies' cries of pain or anguish. 

The president himself has more directly killed about 176 children in Pakistan by the use of CIA drones. These drones have been dispatched by him alone -- not pursuant to any congressional declaration of war. At least two of these murdered children were Americans. But since the cameras were kept away, since all of this takes place 10,000 miles from America, and since the survivors are legally and politically helpless, no one here hears the Pakistani children's cries of pain and anguish. 

One of the reasons we have the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms is to enable us to resist a drone sent to the path of our children by shooting it down, no matter who sent it. But you can't stop a drone with a BB gun. Hence the need for serious firepower in the hands of ordinary Americans -- to give tyrants pause and to stop tyrants when they don't pause. The president wants to use Lanza's horrific slaughter of 20 babies in a public school in Connecticut with a stolen gun as an excuse to restrict the freedoms of all law-abiding gun-owning Americans, any one of whom would have stopped Lanza in a heartbeat with a lawful gun, before the police could, had they been in that school. 

Now back to our pop quiz: Who has killed more children, Lanza or Obama? Does a president with blood on his hands have any moral standing to infringe upon the natural right to self-defense of those whose hands are clean? Would you sacrifice your liberty to defend yourself and your children so that the government can kill whom it pleases? 

The answers are obvious. 

38. Thanks to members of the VCDL, from the WVCDL 

Keith Morgan, the President of the West Virginia Citizens Defense League, emailed me this: 


I bumped into folks from the VCDL at our Martinsburg event this weekend. It was outstanding to see our brothers to the south standing in support of our rights. If you would, please pass on my, and our deepest gratitude for the cross-border support. And please bring to my attention any VCDL events where we can be of assistance.