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The PJ Tatler

Howard Nemerov

Former civilian disarmament supporter and medical researcher Howard Nemerov investigates the civil liberty of self-defense and examines the issue of gun control, resulting in his book Four Hundred Years of Gun Control: Why Isn’t It Working? He appears frequently on NRA News as their “unofficial” analyst and was published in the Texas Review of Law and Politics with David Kopel and Carlisle Moody.
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Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Wins Primary

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 - by Howard Nemerov

With his opponent conceding, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is a likely shoo-in for reelection in November. This apparently local race has national repercussions.

Anti-rights billionaire Michael Bloomberg spent $150,000 to beat Clarke, more than the two candidates spent together. During the last presidential election, Bloomberg spent as much as the firearms industry and the NRA combined. He’s committed $50 million—twice as much as before—to support candidates this fall who will work for him to destroy your civil right of self-defense.

Milwaukee taught us that even when he spends more money than the candidates, he still can’t buy an election…if you get involved.

More importantly, David Clarke is an American of African descent. Most blacks support gun control, a fancy way of saying “civilian disarmament.” For example, the National Black Police Association wants to ban civilian ownership of handguns.

This is curious, because the history of American gun control is the history of racist oppression by white European settlers, slave masters, politicians, and black Uncle Toms. Sheriff Clarke gets this, which is why he’s been openly pro-Second Amendment.

It’s also curious how history repeats itself: One of the world’s wealthiest individuals committed a relative fortune to support an agenda which falls hardest on America’s black population: States with the most gun control have the highest black homicide rates and the lowest gun ownership.

As more black Americans look to Sheriff Clarke as an example, this growing diversity among gun owners will help protect the Second Amendment in the future.

On this high note, I’d like to thank you for reading my columns over the years. I almost lost an important business contact over my Second Amendment writing. Due to many business factors, I’m discontinuing my journalistic endeavors. I don’t like the political aspect of this decision, but it’s clear that writing isn’t going to provide the income stream I need to secure our finances, though it risks thwarting that goal. Perhaps somebody else can step in and do research like I did. It’s a fairly straightforward process:

  • Here’s what they said.
  • Here’s what the data says, provided by the same government we’re told will protect us if we disarm.
  • If they continue pushing their agenda despite the overwhelming evidence that they’re…uh, mistaken…can we trust they’re telling the truth that we’ll be safer?

I began over a decade ago because I was one of those well-meaning liberals who believed the propaganda that we’d be safer in a disarmed society. I believed that gun owners were the problem. I believed that the Brady Campaign were the good guys.

Then, at the behest of a law enforcement client, I set out on my own research journey. I learned that gun control is both racist and sexist in its impact on the real people who have to live in disarmed societies. That offended my liberal sensitivities: I was outraged. So I began to write, first for small local sites, and then for progressively large sites. PJ Media was kind enough to hire me to write features in 2010, and it’s been a good run.

Thanks for reading.

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Legal Carry in DC Until Further Notice

Monday, July 28th, 2014 - by Howard Nemerov

The Washington Post reports that Washington, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier ordered her offices to not arrest any citizen carrying a gun in public.

In an order approved by Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, police were told that District residents are permitted to carry pistols if the weapons are registered. Those who had not registered their handguns could be charged on that ground, the instruction said…

Lanier’s instructions to police also said that residents of other jurisdictions without felony records would not be charged under the ban on carrying pistols.

The D.C. attorney general plans to seek a stay of this court order, pending appeal. They’ll have to hurry before crime data show a drop in violent crimes, as thugs become afraid of attacking people who refuse to be a victim.

One council member Mary M. Cheh, claims that the carry ban is important to protect.

“We’re just full of places where guns would be not only inappropriate but highly dangerous,” Cheh said.

Being WaPo, the reporters didn’t follow up with sensible questions like:

  • “Why would somebody planning to shoot up a government office—a federal felony at the very least—worry about avoiding a maximum sentence of 5 years for carrying a concealed weapon?” [D.C. Code § 22-4504  (2014)]
  • Why hasn’t there been a rash of shootings in government offices of states with liberalized concealed carry laws?

As researcher John Lott noted recently:

Between 2007 and the preliminary estimates for 2013, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.4 per 100,000 – a 22 percent drop in the murder rate at the same time that the percentage of the adult population with permits soared by 130 percent. Overall violent crime also fell by 22 percent over that period of time.

Considering that more gun control correlates with increased black homicide rates, and D.C. is primarily black, city officials should welcome this newfound freedom for people to practice their civil right of self-defense.

So when D.C. officials say they need to ban concealed carry — for law-abiding citizens only — they’re being disingenuous at best.

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Good News on Pennsylvania Hospital Shooting

Saturday, July 26th, 2014 - by Howard Nemerov

Yesterday, the Tatler posted about Dr. Lee Silverman, the psychiatrist at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pennsylvania, who was forced to defend himself against an armed attacker. The outstanding issue was the defender violating hospital policy that required anybody but law enforcement to be disarmed on premises. This is a reasonable concern, considering incidents like the Walgreens pharmacist who likely saved lives by shooting at two armed robbers, and was then fired for violating company policy.

Today, Associated Press reports that the hospital stands behind their heroic doctor:

The hospital said Friday it was thankful for the “brave and difficult action” taken by Silverman and his colleagues. It said he remains a full member of the medical staff and “we look forward to Dr. Silverman’s return to serving patients at our hospital.”

There’s more back story about the attacker, too. He has a “lengthy history of gun arrests, violence and mental health problems.”

[The attacker] also had at least four gun arrests, along with assault and drug charges, according to police and court records. And he has been barred from at least one residential shelter because of his violent history, Upper Darby police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.

He had 39 more rounds of ammunition on him when stopped by Dr. Silverman. The attacker had just killed Silverman’s associate and wounded Dr. Silverman, such a clear case of self-defense that local law enforcement was quick to support Silverman’s actions.

“If the doctor did not have a firearm, (and) the doctor did not utilize the firearm, he’d be dead today, and I believe that other people in that facility would also be dead,” [Delaware County District Attorney Jack] Whelan said.

Whelan also stated it was Silverman who was the intended target.

Dr. Silverman deserves our good wishes for a speedy and complete recovery, and hopes that Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital amends its firearms policy to include people like Dr. Silverman, responsible armed citizens who can stop mass murderers before authorities arrive to stabilize the situation.

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Self-Defense Story With a Twist

Friday, July 25th, 2014 - by Howard Nemerov

ABC reported:

A psychiatric outpatient opened fire Thursday inside a psychiatrist’s office at a hospital near Philadelphia, killing his caseworker and slightly wounding the doctor, who shot the gunman with his personal firearm, authorities said.

However, what should be a clear-cut case of self-defense may run afoul of that well-meaning but dangerous myth: The Gun-Free Zone.

The hospital has a sign at the entrance to check weapons when entering. ABC says their official policy is that only on-duty law enforcement can carry on the premises.

Here are the problems with pretend-gun-free zones.

Another staff person heard arguing and saw the attacker with a gun. They closed their office door and called 911. This is reasonable. However, it took many minutes until SWAT arrived, and the first thing they did was to evacuate the area and lock it down to make sure there wasn’t another gunman. Fine, they don’t want to be shot, and that’s well and good. I don’t want cops getting shot, either. But the minutes needed to secure the area equate to many shooting victims when an active shooter is present.

The Supreme Court case Castle Rock v. Gonzales proves that police have no duty to protect you, and like any reasoning human being, police entering a danger zone may be inclined to protect themselves first. This is reasonable, because a dead cop can’t protect you.

What ABC conveniently left out was this gem provided by the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Donald Molineux, chief of the Yeadon Police Department, said that if Silverman returned fire and wounded Plotts, he “without a doubt saved lives.”

But the Inquirer also reported that it’s against hospital policy for “anyone other than security guards to carry weapons.”

So, now what happens to the man who risked everything to stop a potential mass murder?

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Dallas County Has Its Priorities Right Wrong

Friday, July 25th, 2014 - by Howard Nemerov

Fellow Tattler Bryan Preston reported that Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price was arrested by the FBI on numerous counts of using his position for personal gain. Another news item puts Dallas County in even better perspective.

According to Dallas Morning News, Dallas County fails “to enforce laws that forbid certain domestic abusers to have guns.” State and federal laws allow the disarming of certain persons adjudged to have committed, or to be a threat of, domestic violence. Some application of these laws are suspect, but that’s for another column. It’s true that some people are a danger to spouses and family members, and the law should allow some due process for rendering them less of a threat.

As the gun banners will tell you: If it saves a life, it’s worth it. On that note, let’s look closer at Commissioner Price. He’s reported to have called one person a “fat boy” in public, and told white people to all go to hell.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice:

We define domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.  Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone…

Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children. [Emphasis added]

Price is documented to use his position as a county commissioner to threaten, name-call, and psychologically intimidate people who disagree with him. He does this in order to gain or maintain power and control over his alleged constituents. Now, the FBI agrees that he has also used his power to enrich himself at the People’s expense.

Politicians offer a clear and present threat of domestic violence, and should be licensed and registered. After all, if it saves one life…

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A Tale of Two Victims

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by Howard Nemerov

In San Bernardino, CA, two armed thugs attacked a 78-year-old great-grandfather gassing up his truck. Video shows one attacker walking up and blind-siding him as he tries to negotiate, knocking him out. Then they robbed him while he’s on the ground.

After the attack, he spent four days in the hospital and was treated for a broken nose, concussion and bleeding on the brain.

“It’s the lowest of low,” said Lt. Rich Lawhead of the San Bernardino Police Department, which released the surveillance video in hopes of identifying the robbers. “They didn’t appear to be nervous in any way, shape or form. And they’re only going to get more and more brazen. [Emphasis added]

“Eventually, somebody’s going to get killed,” he added.

Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, WI:

A Milwaukee nurse who shot an attempted carjacker likely helped break up a criminal ring that police believe has been involved in a string of robberies and carjackings as well as a recent shooting.

Two teenagers threatened to shoot her if she didn’t comply. They didn’t expect their victim to be a concealed carry licensee. She shot one attacker, and the other ran off. According to police, the wounded attacker “allegedly shot a 43-year-old man in the face as the man drove away in his Land Rover following another attempted carjacking.”

Had this woman not been armed…

Detroit Police Chief James Craig doesn’t mince words about the differences between armed law-abiding citizens and disarmed law-abiding prey.

Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. “I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed.

In California, though theoretically possible, a regular person can’t get a concealed carry license in many counties, especially those most heavily populated, where violence is more common. So California criminals needn’t be “nervous in any way, shape or form.” This civil rights violation is so egregious that the Ninth Circuit Court struck down California’s law.

As an ex-California resident, I love living in Texas, where you’re treated more like a citizen, and the gangbangers drive more politely.

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Fox News Clueless About Guns

Monday, July 14th, 2014 - by Howard Nemerov

When you can’t trust an allegedly conservative media outlet to properly cover firearms, it’s time to realize that the entire Second Amendment fight is completely up to you.

Starting out innocuously, Fox News reported the Army’s plans to update their pistol arsenal because their current side-arms are obsolete:

Army officials say their inventory of more than 200,000 semi-automatic Beretta M9 and Sig Sauer M11 pistols has become outdated, worn out and needs to be replaced with an updated model that also offers more reliability and durability.

True. Modern designs based upon Glock’s hammerless, striker-fire system offer many benefits. Springfield and Smith & Wesson also offer full-sized, striker-fire pistols that qualify for consideration, too. Since the striker pin is entirely internal, there’s no hammer to catch on holsters and clothing while drawing. Replacing the old Beretta safety lever design with trigger and grip safeties, depending on the model, addresses the Army’s complaint that the “safety device [lever] too often locks inadvertently.”

This could also refer to Sig’s de-cock lever, which drops the hammer while deactivating the firing mechanism. Sig pistols can then be carried more safely with a chambered round, but this requires the first shot be double action, leading to one of the problems with the Beretta and Sig: the double action/single action design. As noted by Shooting Illustrated:

The first round is fired via a long, hammer-cocking, double-action trigger press. Successive rounds are fired with a hammer-releasing, single-action press.

This means that shooters must develop two unique motor programs: one for a 12-pound, long trigger pull, and one for the shorter, lighter pull. Modern striker fire handguns require learning one relatively light trigger pull, cutting down time spent on attaining trigger control. One way to get around the double action is to carry the pistol with an empty chamber, draw and rack the slide, and then acquire your target. Another way for Beretta carriers is to chamber a round by racking the slide, thumb the safety lever up to lock the trigger, and holster the pistol, also called “cocked and locked.” This means you must take time to thumb the safety lever into the fire position while drawing, complicating the process from draw to target acquisition.

Extra time and effort could mean the difference between life and death. Modern striker fire pistols come as close to point-and-shoot as possible, cutting the time to being on-target. The Army is right in considering a new pistol.

Next, it appears the editors haven’t woken up yet. In describing a problem with the Army’s current pistols, the author wrote: “its open-slide bullet chamber allows in too much dirty, which results in jamming.” [Emphasis added]

Too Much Dirty

Oops! Perhaps he was reading a Chinese-to-English firearm manual?

What’s an “open slide bullet chamber”? The author may mean the chamber where the firing pin strikes the cartridge’s primer, causing a controlled explosion forcing the bullet to exit the barrel at high speed. Most modern semi-automatic pistols lock the slide back after the last shot from a now-empty magazine. At this point, the slide is open and you can see the firing chamber. The author also confused “bullets” with cartridges, one part of which is the bullet. Writing “open slide bullet chamber” screams “I’m clueless about guns.”

(For a more detailed tutorial on handgun anatomy, see this article by the University of Utah Health Science.)

Then there’s this:

The argument against the .40 caliber round is that its heavier weight and stronger recoil causes excessive wear on a 9 mm pistol.

Excessive Wear 40

A truer statement has never been printed…no doubt you can figure out why. (For those who haven’t yet had their morning java, imagine swallowing one baseball whole.)

Unfortunately, one of the reasons given for the pistol upgrade is to “provide soldiers with more ‘knock-down’ power.” This myth continues to rear its ugly head, especially among the “only buy a pistol if its caliber begins with 4” crowd. As Karl Rehn, owner of the KR Training firearms academy, notes:

There’s no such thing as “knockdown” power with a handgun. Every expert that’s looked at the issue with any depth comes back and says that bullet placement, not caliber, is the key, and that proficiency occurs more quickly with 9mm than with .40 and .45 or certainly .357 SIG which is a flinch-inducing, gun-breaking caliber.

He referred me to the Military.com article covering the same Army procurement story. They interviewed instructor and competitive shooter Ernest Langdon, who served in the Marines as chief instructor of Second Marine Division Scout Sniper School and the High Risk Personnel Course.

“I don’t think anybody would argue that shot placement is the most important for terminal ballistics,” Langdon said. “Even though you say a .45 is better than a 9mm, it’s still a pistol caliber. Chances are if it is a determined adversary, they are going to have to be shot multiple times regardless of the caliber.”

In other words, if you want knockdown power, a rifle’s larger and faster bullet translates into greater kinetic energy, i.e. knockdown power. Otherwise, practice so you can hit moving targets shooting back at you. In this case, modern 9mm handguns like the Springfield XDm and Smith & Wesson M&P normally carry 19 and 17 rounds per magazine, respectively, giving you more ammunition for trying to stop multiple attackers.

The article contained a good lesson on spending other people’s money:

There have been no reports on how much the new weapons will cost, amid budget concerns. However, in September 2012, Beretta received a 5-year, $64 million firm-fixed-price contract for up to 100,000 of its M9 9mm pistols, according to Defense Industry Daily.

This calculates out to $640 per pistol. Gun Broker had two new-in-box (NIB) Beretta 92—the civilian name for M9—the same pistol pistols for $600 or less. Hell, it’s only $4-6 million, or more for volume pricing; chump change. Researchers aren’t sure if Everett Dirksen said this, but politicians everywhere believe: “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

A misquote here, a misnomer there, and pretty soon you’re talking real gun control.

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New Orleans Ex-Mayor Nagin Sentenced to Prison

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 - by Howard Nemerov

USA Today reports that Ray Nagin, mayor of New Orleans during the Hurricane Katrina disaster, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “fraud, bribery and related charges involving crimes that took place before and after Katrina devastated the city in August 2005.”

Nagin and his police mouthpiece P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police, led the civilian disarmament campaign against law-abiding New Orleans residents after Katrina. From the New York Times:

Waters were receding across this flood-beaten city today as police officers began confiscating weapons, including legally registered firearms, from civilians in preparation for a mass forced evacuation of the residents still living here.

Notice the link between civilian disarmament and “forced evacuation”? Curiously, the United States did the exact same thing to Japanese Americans during World War II. American colonists made sure American Indians were disarmed in order to commit “forced evacuation” from traditional lands. Whites in both the North and South committed the exact same crime against blacks before and after the Civil War, using Black Codes to make it easier to force blacks to stay where they were, serving as sharecroppers to white landowners, or leave their land as white authorities saw fit.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, New Orleans is 60% black.

See a pattern here? The history of American gun control is the history of racist oppression. And criminals love it when their victims are disarmed.

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How Much Worse Off are Blacks Under Obama?

Sunday, July 6th, 2014 - by Howard Nemerov

I was reading some story recently about some politicized topic. Of course, campaigners know that politicizing everything is a great way to separate the People from their money, Constitutional rights, and power. So the particular topic of that discussion wasn’t as important as the rhetoric espoused by a die-hard Obama supporter that “blacks are better off under Obama.”

Superficially, makes sense, right? America’s first black president is taking care of what his Attorney General would call “his people.” But when politics gets involved, truth is often somewhat different.

One way to determine if blacks are better off is to examine employment rates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has tracked unemployment rates since 1954, but for today’s discussion 1990 offers a reasonable starting point. How have blacks have fared in the recent employment market, and has it improved compared to the Bush years? As the following graph shows, the answer is “no.” Blacks consistently trail whites in employment. (While this excludes those able to work who’ve dropped out of the labor force, at least it provides consistent criteria to compare black and white unemployment. Participation rates are a topic for another column.)

One key takeaway here is the green data series—showing the difference between white and black unemployment—showing a flat trend: through the last three administrations, blacks averaged 5.8% higher unemployment than whites, neither improving nor worsening over time. Under Clinton, that average was 5.5%; under Bush, 5.0%; under Obama, 6.9%. Despite the fact that whites also experienced relatively high unemployment under Obama, blacks have suffered higher unemployment relative to whites, and are experiencing the highest unemployment rates since Clinton took office. By this metric, blacks are worse off under Obama.

1-02What’s wrong with the ‘blame Bush’ gambit

Some may claim the consequences of Bush’s economic policies have finally manifested, and that the recent 3-year decline in black unemployment rates shows that Obama’s policies are fixing Bush’s mess. Superficially, this is a plausible argument. The economy is more similar to a supertanker than a speed boat, the former requiring miles to turn around: Policy consequences may not manifest immediately.

But if that’s true, one could use the same logic to blame Clinton. The graph below shows that unemployment increased the year Bush took office (2001). It rose during Bush’s last year (2008), but increased more dramatically during Obama’s first year in office (2009). If unemployment rose after the new president took office, why not apply this simplistic logic to blame the current president rather than the last?

1-7Why not praise Bush, because unemployment rose for three years after 9/11 damaged our economy, and then declined his next three years? And let’s remember that there was a Democrat Congress during Bush’s last two years, when unemployment began to rise. Since the House is responsible for the budget—with its considerable economic impact—we might spread the blame around. On that note, why not credit the Republican Congress during Clinton for the consistent unemployment decline?

For those wanting to blame the previous president for today’s economy, at some point, especially during a president’s second term, it’s reasonable to stop blaming their predecessor and start taking responsibility.

And if you insist on making employment another in a long line of alleged racist issues, the White House’s current resident provides a lesson in watching the results rather than the teleprompter.

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Foreign Governments Believe Some American Cities Are Too Dangerous to Visit

Friday, November 15th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

The Washington Post published a list of 16 American cities that foreign governments have warned travelers as being too dangerous to venture about in. Here are a few highlights.

Los Angeles California: France warns tourists to stay away from Hollywood. This makes total sense: Their movies are enough to make anyone terminally ill. Regarding California in general, if you stay too long, you’ll be robbed by state and local governments.

Detroit and New Orleans: Anybody who’s surprised about these two cities being included needs therapy, or perhaps different medication.

New York: France warns against visiting Times Square and the Statue of Liberty, which was built by a Frenchman. France also recommends not to visit Harlem, the Bronx, or Central Park at night. The last two locations were added because the French want to avoid being accused by our president of being racist. Also, if you see any soon-to-be unemployed politicians, run and hide. And avoid any sugary drinks over 12 ounces in size, lest you be terrorized by the Carbohydrate Police.

Miami, Florida: Canada’s foreign ministry warns that “Canadians have been the victims of crime such as break-ins, assaults and pickpocketing in the Miami area, sometimes during daylight hours.” Florida’s criminals know Canadians don’t carry concealed handguns, so they know Canucks are high-priority/low-risk targets. If you’re in Miami, don’t talk about the weather or hockey, and you’ll be fine.

Washington: France warns tourists against going to the Northeast or Southeast sectors; don’t go to Anacostia day or night; Union Station is dangerous at night. And don’t go near Congress or the White House. You’ll get mugged and robbed, and then they’ll steal your health insurance.

Brits warn El Paso, Texas visitors about violence at Mexican border, particularly at the crossing to Ciudad Juarez. But Mexico has draconian gun control just like Britain, which enacted their gun ban to address violence! (Failed.) I’m sure this is a Foreign Office typo. Just keep a stiff upper lip, and if that fails, act peeved.

France warns Houston, Texas tourists: “Be vigilant if traveling through Downtown, south and east Houston at night.” A smarter idea is to avoid trouble spots; second best is concealed carry. Predators hate prey that can fight back. (See above reference to Britain and Mexico.)

Meanwhile, the Germans have warned their travelers to avoid running afoul of indecent exposure laws and not go nude in public, though these laws are “rarely asserted and punished” as proven by Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus.

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Gonzaga University Punishes Students for Defensive Gun Use

Monday, November 11th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

Erik Fagan and Dan McIntosh were at home in their apartment on October 24, when “a felon with an extensive criminal history” knocked on their door demanding money. When Fagan decline to contribute, the felon, tried to break in. McIntosh brandished his pistol, at which point the attacker ran away. Police later took him into custody, because he’s wanted on an outstanding warrant.

McIntosh has a concealed weapons permit. While this is irrelevant when discussing home defense, it shows that the gun owner is a law-abiding citizen known to law enforcement, which ran his background check and approved his permit.

It’s also good to note that this defensive gun use succeeded without firing a shot. Most researchers agree that the vast majority of defensive gun uses don’t require shooting. They also rarely get reported by media.

The reason such a benign defensive gun use made headlines is because there’s a wrinkle in this story, courtesy of Gonzaga University.

Fagan and McIntosh are students there, and the school owns their apartment. Gonzaga’s student handbook bans gun possession on any school property. As a result, police confiscated McIntosh’s gun and the university is in the process of disciplining both students, which may include expulsion.

Gonzaga claims their anti-gun policy is “in place to reduce threats to the school.” Apparently, as long as the threats are only to students and not the school itself, law-abiding armed students are the threat.

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Lessons from the Krick’s Korner Robbery

Thursday, November 7th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

When two armed robbers attacked Krick’s Korner in Reading, Pennsylvania, they were perhaps congratulating themselves as they exited the front door with “money, cigarettes, and lottery tickets.” But a neighbor, alerted after seeing the clerk being held at gunpoint, told them to stop and that he was calling the police. All witness accounts and store video seem to concur that the robbers aimed their pistols at the man, who drew his own pistol and shot them both in the chest, killing them.

Based on the evidence, Berks County District Attorney John Adams declined to press charges against the defender. Moreover, the driver of the getaway car has been charged with conspiracy and second degree murder, because people died during the commission of his accomplices’ criminal action.

Alleged robbers’ family members claimed “it’s not fair” that the two were shot while exiting the store with stolen property, and then aiming their guns at the defender. They claimed the defender “took the law into his own hands and walked away scot-free.”

Within states’ self-defense laws are codes for the protection of third parties, as well as authorizing deadly force for defense when confronted with the threat of deadly force. For example, Texas Penal Code specifically states when you can use deadly force to stop a robbery (Title 2, Chapter 9, Subchapter C, Sections 9.31, 9.32, 9.42.)

Since all reports agree that both suspects aimed their pistols at the defender, self-defense was justified. Therefore, rather than “taking the law into his own hands” the defender simply acted within the law.

In truth, the robbers took the law into their own hands, declaring by their actions that the store owner’s property really belonged to them. If they wanted to operate within the law like the defender, they should have filed a civil action against the store owner, or perhaps campaigned at city hall to explain why they deserve the store owner’s property. (Not that they had just cause for doing so.)

Psychologists call this denial, enabling, and projection, when family members defend unsupportable behavior and instead blame the victim for the consequences of their relative’s criminal actions.

Of course, there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation why surviving family members want the defender prosecuted. Under Pennsylvania’s Castle Doctrine law, he has civil protection against suits filed by survivors. Should he be prosecuted, the family can rob him, too.

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Obamascare: A Halloween Horror Story

Thursday, October 31st, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

With all the horror stories of millions of people losing the insurance they were promised they could keep, and people paying many times more than they used to pay for premiums, it seems that a few scary truths remain unexamined.

Gun control isn’t about banning guns, but raising the bar to legal ownership until the ranks of law-abiding gun owners wither away. The Orwellian-named “Affordable Care Act” qualifies as part of the gun control formula, by drying up your discretionary income. How many more gun owners won’t be able to afford guns and ammunition once their new insurance premiums are due?

I remember receiving one annual premium-increase letter. The insurer blamed it on “cost shifting,” which is a euphemism for people using private hospital services without paying. Since hospitals couldn’t recoup these expenses, they raised prices on private payers and insurance companies to remain profitable. Thus, the law-abiding citizen who loyally paid their monthly insurance premium was already paying more to cover those who couldn’t afford it.

The same demographic also had access to our county general hospitals. In order to keep their doors open, municipal governments would raise taxes to pay for the increased cost of unreimbursed health care. Once again, the law-abiding taxpayer paid for those who didn’t pay their own way.

The same dynamic remains in play today under Obamascare, which requires another transfer of wealth from those who use less health care to pay for those who use the most.

Fox News wrote that in order for Obamascare to work, “private insurance companies… are relying on a major influx of new and healthy customers to make the system hum.” (Emphasis added.)

Even big-government, socialist media outlets can acknowledge this truth now that Obamascare is the law of the land.

CNN admitted that in order to succeed, Obamascare needs “young people, and people who are less expensive to insure, to sign up so insurers can offer affordable plans in markets that include older and people who are more expensive to cover.” (Emphasis added.)

The L.A. Times wrote:

Older and sicker Californians are likely to be first in line for guaranteed health coverage as the state’s new insurance market opens Tuesday as part of the landmark healthcare law.

Like shoppers queuing up for bargains on Black Friday, people such as 52-year-old James Craig, an uninsured day laborer, say they can’t wait to get their insurance cards.

“I think Obamacare is the greatest thing ever,” said the Los Angeles resident, who said he suffers from high blood pressure and hasn’t seen a doctor in years.

However, the program’s long-term success will largely depend not on those who need healthcare the most, but on those who need it the least: young people. (Emphasis added.)

So now law-abiding, working Americans must pay more for their own healthcare, and they still must pay more taxes to keep county general hospitals open, and their new insurance premiums will still increase because of all the unhealthy and uninsured people still using our healthcare system.

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The Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party Takes Texas

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

Texas has Proposition 6 on this year’s ballot, which is the current battle in our water war. Yes,  it’s rather boring to watch as the have-nots in the rural counties slowly waste away while deep-pocket developers and their urban government supporters drain our water table to support those taxpayer-funded, multi-billion dollar projects that line their pockets so handsomely. Who cares to watch rural communities wither and die, like our agriculture will after our water table is drained?

According to proponents, Proposition 6 will “help protect public health and our economy from the impacts of drought,” by making $2B from our rainy day fund available to municipalities for capital improvements in water infrastructure. If you look at who’s supporting, you’ll see bipartisan support, including our own state senator Kirk Watson, and pro-abortion gubernatorial  candidate Wendy Davis. They supported this in exchange for the Republicans putting a couple billion more into schools. Isn’t it fun how prostiticians scratch each others’ backs on our dime?

Here’s a few concerns, which are relevant to anybody living where there’s a limited supply of fresh water.

Is transporting one county’s water to another county like paying not only our county taxes, but the other county’s as well? Our water rates include building and supporting infrastructure. Then somebody else comes along and ties into our infrastructure to make money on our water by selling it to people living elsewhere. We pay for their profit.

A quote often attributed to Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”

Good laws follow two basic principles:

  • Do all you say you’re going to do.
  • Don’t infringe on other persons or their property.

What happens if your neighbor drains your shared water table? Most likely, your property value declines. Would you want to live next to a toxic chemical factory? If your water’s poisoned, it surely devalues your property, as threatening your health.

So is it reasonable that a shared resource like a water table needs to be locally managed by the community that relies on it? And how is this balanced with private property rights so that the landowner isn’t deprived? What’s fair? Watering crops seems reasonable, but what about exporting one’s water elsewhere, knowing that it depletes the entire water table, not just the water under your land?

This isn’t to say some government bureaucracy like the EPA is the answer. That’s like saying people in our county don’t have the foresight and intelligence to solve our own problems and determine our own future. The less locally controlled a project gets, the more complicated, the more unintended negative consequences, and the more it costs taxpayers. Look at Obamacare, for example. At least we have a chance to improve local oversight if it becomes corrupted by special interests.

Speaking of special interests, here’s where Proposition 6 gets…well…interesting. The Equal Access to Justice Act, enacted under Jimmy Carter, was touted as helping the “little guy” stand up to unfair treatment by government agencies: plaintiffs had to have a maximum net worth of $7M or less. But it contained a curious loophole, also allowing 501(c)(3) nonprofits to sue the fed, and this included environmental groups like the Sierra Club, which has teamed with our state Republican government to endorse Proposition 6.

According to Linda Curtis of Independent Texans, most environmental groups support Prop 6 because Democrats joined with Republicans to promote it, and environmentalists are Democrat. The deal was that the GOP would increase educational funding if Democrats supported Prop 6. Being perfect Pavlovian products as are most partisan organizations, environmentalists decided if the Democrat leadership supports it, they must, too.

But there’s much more beneath the surface, which returns us to what PJ Media’s Michael Walsh calls the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party. Like any political operative, the Sierra Club is a stakeholder in big government. Since 2009, they have sued the fed – usually EPA – dozens of times in an action called “Sue and Settle” which creates new environmental regulations while avoiding the normal governmental oversight and open comment period where taxpayers can weigh in on proposed regulations. Instead, the federal agency settles with the plaintiff/Sierra Club, creating an agreement over new regulation, which is then enforced by court order. This avoids all the checks and balances built into our original system of governance.

According to Forbes, between 1998 and 2010, these cases cost taxpayers $43M in legal expenses. During 2003-2010, taxpayers coughed up another $16M to reimburse attorney fees and expenses. Putting this in perspective, how many people would feel a vested interest in a business that brings in $2M/year?

The curious thing is that I reached out to three different pro-Prop 6 entities, none of which would provide any details as to exactly how Prop 6 would benefit taxpayers. Also, they were much more interested in canvassing urban centers than visiting our rural county. According to Linda Curtis and Environmental Stewardship’s Steve Box, that’s because Prop 6 will provide money for urban municipalities to build the pipelines necessary to steal water from rural Texas in order to sustain urban sprawl.

Steve Box reported that according to law enacted by Texas legislature and court precedents, the water under your land is purportedly yours, and local water districts have local control over who gets to drill into the aquifer. However, loopholes warn that water should be distributed in a “fair” manner, affording rich developers the opportunity to sue water districts—and their taxpayer/rate payers—in hopes of finding a judge who decides that denying growing urban centers water from rural aquifers isn’t “fair.”

Another curious factoid is that Prop 6’s two biggest campaign contributors are the Associated General Contractors of Texas ($375,000) and Dow Chemical ($250,000). Even though many Democrat operatives support Prop 6, the Koch Brothers—the anti-Tea Party Pavlovians’ bugaboo—invested $20,000. It’s also endorsed by the Texas Association of Realtors and a number of regional real estate councils. (Curiously, Texas Tea Party Republicans voted against this bond measure.)

Texas, a Flyover State, is willing to sacrifice its own flyovers. Big Business, Big Government aka Dem/Rep Big Fusion Party, Big Opportunity, and the taxpayers get to pay for it.

One last question: What are you going to eat?

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Is the Republican Party Committing Suicide?

Saturday, October 12th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

The best fiction writer couldn’t have come up with a better story line.

Now that the Republican Party plans to “compromise” on Obamacare and the budget, the end is near for the pretense that we have a two-party system.

The “compromise” includes funding Obamacare, raising the debt ceiling, and reversing some sequester cuts.

This means the GOP has capitulated to Obama’s demands. This, in itself, may not be a death blow, but you must understand the underlying consequences.

The GOP’s actions demonstrate that they accept total blame for the government shutdown, and that what they did was wrong. Three weeks ago, they said it was more important to defund Obamacare than to create a budget resolution. Today, they say that action was wrong, and that all of Obama’s demands were right.

The GOP has acknowledged that slimming down government spending, either through sequester cuts or by the government shutdown, was the wrong thing to do. They acknowledge by their actions that increased government spending and unrestricted government growth are the correct actions, which Obama and the Democrats have declared to be the right path for America.

The GOP’s actions declare to America that anybody who still believes in smaller, more fiscally accountable government has no place in America’s political landscape.

The GOP ostensibly claims support for the Second Amendment, as well as the rest of the Bill of Rights and Constitution. After Obamacare, what new “taxes” will they help dream up? As your tax load increases, do you think there will be money left for guns and ammo?

So instead of the wannabe-Democrat Party controlling the House, next year will see a true Democrat landslide across the board. They planned this; they executed it; the deal’s done.

Further reading: The Turning Point by Michael Walsh

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Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Keeping It Touchy-Feely

Friday, July 26th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns. He’s also the first Democrat mayor of San Diego in the last 20 years. But the San Diego Democrat Party Central Committee is now calling for his resignation after four women have accused Filner of “unwanted sexual advances.”

Yawn. Another Democrat against civilian gun ownership, from the party of slavery and gun control.

Meanwhile, New York City is deciding if they want to elect another Democrat sexual predator to replace MAIG’s founder, Mayor Bloomberg, when he graciously retires after forcing a special exception to term limits so that he could rule NYC a third time.

What better way to keep women helpless against unwanted sexual advances than taking away her great equalizer, the firearm?

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Maryland’s Highest Court Promotes Anti-Gun, Pro-Criminal Agenda

Saturday, July 13th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

In 2010, Maryland’s Court of Appeals ruled that residents need a state permit to take a gun outside the home, upholding the conviction of a man who committed no other “crime” than publicly possessing a firearm.

This week, the same court voided a five-year mandatory, no-parole sentence for gun possession by a convicted felon. When the defendant was convicted of “drug distribution,” the same jury also found him guilty of being a felon in possession, and the judge added the five-year sentence. Maryland’s Court of Appeals voided the felon-in-possession enhancement and ordered re-sentencing because, according to Maryland law, the defendant’s non-violent earlier conviction enabled him to qualify for a more lenient ruling.

The felon in possession was arrested for crimes committed in Baltimore. This ruling means a lighter sentence for a drug dealer who has no problem breaking federal law against felons owning guns. Drug dealers often use guns to further their “business.”

City officials decried the ruling, which comes as Baltimore is grappling with a flare-up of gun violence that has left dozens wounded and 23 dead in the past three weeks.

The state of Maryland thinks the law-abiding gun owner is a greater threat than a convicted drug dealer with a firearm.

The potential for enhanced violence aside, what about the racist outcome of gun control? States with the most gun control, like Maryland, have the highest black homicide rates.

Baltimore is no exception. According to FBI Supplementary Homicide data, between the years of 2000 and 2011, black victims accounted for 92% of Baltimore’s murder victims. Worse, this percentage has held steady and appears to be increasing in recent years.

Balt graph 1

Jesse Jackson has time to travel to Baltimore to rail against a youth detention center, but he apparently hasn’t held rallies over Baltimore’s high incidence of black homicide. Baltimore is 64% black, and between 2000-2011, 94% of all murder offenders were black, and that portion may be increasing over time.

Balt graph 2

But that leaves Jackson plenty of time fly to Florida to protest against white Hispanics.

More: Arkansas Town Arming Teachers

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Arkansas Town Arming Teachers

Saturday, July 13th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

Clarksville is a small rural city of around 10,000 population. Its location along the I-40 Corridor places it in what the DOJ calls “Corridor A,” one of the main distribution arteries used by drug traffickers. This makes Clarksville’s children vulnerable to all the violence associated with drug trafficking.

Clarksville School District Superintendent David Hopkins recently announced that their “Emergency Response Team” (ERT) will go live this August. Since the school board approved ERT in May, volunteer staff has begun preparing.

[Clarksville school secretary Debbie James] says several teachers, custodians and other school employees are learning tactics similar to those used by law enforcement, like defensive techniques, legal use of force and shooting, all with an emphasis on safety and accuracy.

According to Dr. Hopkins, staff will undergo 53 hours of special training. They must also complete a refresher course each summer.

Dr. Hopkins says students will not know which teachers are armed, but parents can be assured the Emergency Response team will be ready in a moment’s notice.

“They’re not gonna be in a uniform, and they’re not gonna be wagging their gun on their side,” explains the superintendent.  “We’re going to be very discrete about it, but yet we’re going to be trained professionals, and we’re going to be able to provide security for our kids in a matter of seconds instead of minutes.”

James added: “The ERT will be able to respond to any dangerous situations within seconds, while police officers are still en route to the school.”

Now this is a sensible gun law.

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New Phone App Allows People to Publicly Map Gun Owners

Thursday, July 11th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

Gun Geo Marker” released a new Android app that allows anybody to report the location of a gun owner “about which you have a gun related concern.” Their excuse?

Electronically marking these locations (geolocation) can help others in the area learn about their geography of risk from gun accidents or violence.

This is the brainchild of Brett Stalbaum, who lectures at the University of California, San Diego. He calls himself a “gun owner” representing “the will of 90 percent of the American people who want common sense, constitutional measures to improve gun safety.”

This is curious, because after Sandy Hook, Gallup found that 38% “want stricter gun laws.”

Stalbaum also believes that “the second amendment and Constitution of the United States does not protect anonymous gun ownership, nor does the first amendment allow for gun owners to stop others from speaking freely about guns they know of in their neighborhood.”

Stalbaum used his First Amendment right to publicly express his bigotry against gun owners:

“The gun rights community has been busy making personal threats (we remain unconcerned), as well as spamming the Gun Geo Marker database with false markers,” he exclusively told FoxNews.com. “Though these fake markers are not useful for identifying dangerous guns and owners, they are certainly representative of the highly paranoid reaction we have come to expect from any attempt to improve gun safety in the United States.

Fox didn’t mention that he offered evidence of these “threats,” or that they came from members of the “gun rights community.”

Mr. Stalbaum has disabled comments on his site, and his FAQs don’t ask some questions that he should be concerned about:

  • How will he determine that the subject in question is “unsafe”?
  • How does he know the person reporting the “unsafe gun owner” doesn’t have a vendetta against the victim?
  • How does he know the “unsafe gun owner” isn’t a victim of a prankster or liar?
  • Will he act like the federal government’s no-fly list, requiring victims to spend time and money to get off this list…should they even find out they’re on it?
  • How is he going to vet that the subject in question even owns a gun?
  • If people get attacked by burglars as the result of appearing on his map, is he ready for a class action suit to pay for damages?
  • What’s his plan to deal with libel suits by victims placed on his map?
  • If gun owners are further victimized—e.g social ostracism, public derogation—as the result of being on this list, is Stalbaum prepare to defend his actions in court?

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Basic Requirements of New Illinois Carry Law

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

On July 9, 2013, the Illinois Assembly, in the spirit of the great emancipator and favorite son Abraham Lincoln, produced another form of liberation, with HB0183 enrolled as the “Firearm Concealed Carry Act.” This is a shall-issue concealed carry license for whomever meets training requirements (16 hours for new licensee, 3 hours for renewal), correctly fills out their application, submits proper fees, and “does not pose a danger to himself, herself, or others, or a threat to public safety…”

Beginning within six months of the effective date, this process must be made available to the public. The state must issue or deny a license within 90 days of receiving the application. Those rejected can file an appeal. Arrest records and gang-related activity are grounds for denial. This is all standard procedure for a shall-issue concealed carry law.

To qualify for a license, applicants:

  • Must be at least 21 years old.
  • Possess a Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID). [Illinois residents must register in order to legally own a handgun.)
  • Aren’t convicted of certain crimes within the last five years.
  • Aren’t the subject of a pending arrest warrant.
  • Haven’t been in residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism or drug dependency.
  • Must complete required firearms training.

Illinois applicants must pay $150 for a new or renewal license. Non-residents pay $300.

There are a number of carry-restricted zones:

  • Property “under the control” of public or private elementary or secondary schools.
  • Property “under the control” of pre-school or child care facilities.
  • Buildings “under the control of an officer of the executive or legislative branch of government.” Exceptions exist for certain property “regulated by the Department of Natural Resources or any other designated public hunting area or building where firearm possession is permitted…”
  • Property designated for courts.
  • Property “under the control” of local government.
  • Detention or correction facilities.
  • Property “under the control” of hospitals, mental health facilities, and nursing homes.
  • Buses, trains and other public transports “paid for in whole or in part with public funds.”
  • Any establishment that derives more than 50% of their gross income from liquor sales.
  • Public gatherings requiring a permit from local government.
  • Liquor stores.
  • Public playgrounds.
  • Public parks or athletic facilities and grounds “under the control of a municipality or park district.”
  • Property “under the control of the Cook County Forest Preserve District.” (Special dispensation to Chicago area to get this bill passed.)
  • Property “under the control” of colleges and universities.
  • Licensed gaming facilities.
  • Property “under the control” of airports, public libraries, amusement parks, zoos, or museums.
  • Any property having anything to do with nuclear energy.
  • Wherever firearms are prohibited by federal law.

Approved firearms training courses must cover:

  • Firearm safety.
  • Basic principles of marksmanship.
  • Caring for and making a handgun safe.
  • “All applicable state and federal laws relating to the ownership, storage, carry, and transportation of a firearm…”
  • How to interact with law enforcement while carrying.

Applicants must pass a 30-round live-fire test with a score of 70% or better. Applicants must attend a total of 16 hours of training, though the instructor can recognize up to 8 hours of prior training, if appropriate. Law enforcement and certified instructors are exempt from this training requirement.

Welcome, Illinois: Let the civil right of self-defense begin!

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Illinois Legislature Overrides Quinn’s Concealed Carry Veto

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

(Follow-up to previous post on Senate Hearing.)

The House voted 102-13 (89% yea) to override Governor Quinn’s veto of House Bill 183. The Senate voted 45-12 (79%). Overrides need 60%. Quinn must certify this bill now.

This is a shall-issue bill, with certain restrictions on where licensees can carry. Like Wisconsin in 2011, Illinois went from no carry to shall-issue in one step. This is good news for Illinois’ law-abiding mothers who want to take another step to keep their children safe. It’s a step forward for elderly and those with physical incapacitation who want to protect their own safety when out in public.

(More to follow)

Update: In my book “Four Hundred Years of Gun Control” I wrote about why—if party rhetoric is true—Democrats should be the party supporting the civil right of self-defense. Today, it was Representative Brandon W. Phelps (D-118th District) and Senator Gary Forby (D-59th District) who filed the motions to override Governor Quinn’s veto.

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Latest from Illinois Legislature on Concealed Carry

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

In case you need to come up to speed, Illinois Governor Quinn vetoed legislation passed earlier that enabled concealed carry to finally come to this last holdout state. His main issues were:

  • State pre-emption. Quinn said: This bill strips the authority of Illinois home rule governments to enact future laws on assault weapons to protect their local communities.” He derided the legislature for failing to enact a statewide ban, conveniently ignoring the will of the People’s representatives on this issue. What he really wanted was each city to make its own rules, so that licensees would be arrested for committing special crimes while traveling the state.
  • Alcohol. House Bill 183 differentiated between bars (earning 51% or more of income from liquor sales) and restaurants serving alcohol. Here in Texas, bars must post “51%” signs because it’s the only way citizens know the business makes most of its income from liquor sales. The only other option is to not carry for fear of violating the law. Of course, that’s what Quinn wants: carry restricted as much as possible.
  • Limiting guns and ammunition. Quinn wanted to limit licensees to one gun, carrying no more than 10 rounds.

Essentially, Quinn used his amendatory veto power to enact the Clinton gun ban in Illinois.

As I tuned in to today’s Senate executive committee hearing, a representative from the Illinois State Police (ISP) was explaining their support of Governor Quinn’s veto to restrict carry anyplace serving alcohol, as opposed to the current bill which bans carry in bars. It seemed that ISP, like Quinn, doesn’t trust law-abiding citizens will follow the law against mixing guns and booze, as was written into House Bill 183, making it a crime to drink while carrying (DWC). They believe in passing a second law making the same behavior illegal, as if double-banning DWC will alter licensee behavior.

A representative from “moms against guns” (didn’t get the name, but the intent is clear) don’t trust citizens, either. She said: “Most people support common sense” laws like those in Quinn’s veto. But why then did the legislature pass this bill in the first place? This is a favorite anti-gun refrain: “Most people” support bans and restrictions, but the NRA terrorizes legislators into passing laws so a minority of “gun nuts” can terrorize the general population.

The phrase “mostly concealed” was also discussed. The ISP representative cited Texas law as his model for requiring guns to be “completely invisible.” He conveniently ignored that Texas passed SB 299 this year, authored by State Senator Estes and signed by Governor Perry. According to Estes’ office, this law explicitly and narrowly differentiates between inadvertent and intentional exposure. For example, if a gust of wind blows your coat open and your waistband carry is momentarily exposed, you’re more protected against charges. It narrowly clarified intent, so that CHL’s aren’t falsely accused of failure to conceal, without making it so broad that somebody brandishing unnecessarily could hide behind the new law. Illinois’ HB 183 seems modeled after the updated Texas law.

Jay Keller of the Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association testified that all these issues had been discussed, debated, and voted on over a period of six months. He noted that HB 183 bans carrying under the influence, and that restaurants can post no carry if they choose.

Quinn also argued against the signage requirement in HB 183:

Under this bill, loaded guns would be allowed in stores, restaurants, churches, children’s entertainment venues, movie theaters and other private properties, unless the owner visibly displays a sign prohibiting guns. As written, this provision would lead to the unfair and unduly burdensome presumption that—without private property owners’ specific actions to the contrary—guns are welcome.

As a matter of property rights, the legal presumption should always be that a person is not allowed to carry a concealed, loaded gun onto private property unless given express permission.

Echoing the moms against guns bias, he assumes that most people are against guns, and used autocratic fiat to enforce his bias. However, this hasn’t been true in the other 49 carry states. Even in California, where I’ve travelled to counties with pro-issue sheriffs, I saw no “no guns” signs. In Texas, the few places in town with legal “no guns” signs have taken them down, finally realizing that:

  1. People in the habit of violating laws don’t care about laws.
  2. If they’re planning on committing a capital crime like murder, they wouldn’t care about perpetrating the relatively minor crime of unauthorized carry.
  3. Businesses were losing revenue from law-abiding licensees who were unwilling to submit themselves to the risk of fake gun-free zones.

The Illinois statute requires 16 hours of training, including “all applicable State and federal laws relating to the ownership, storage, carry, and transportation of a firearm.” In Texas, we’re responsible for knowing law and respecting that some places remain off limits. If we fail to follow the law, that behavior gets punished. Is Quinn saying the people of Illinois are somehow especially stupid and incompetent, unable to follow the laws they’ll learn during concealed carry training?

The NRA representative (sorry, didn’t get his name) mentioned that government officials have bodyguards with multiple guns and magazines, and no limits. He also noted that the size and weight of carry guns places a reasonable limit on how much a person can carry. He suggested they punish behavior when somebody is DWC, rather than penalizing every licensee because of behavior that might happen. He also noted that during the 6-month long legislative negotiations, businesses agreed to parking lot storage language when offered the alternative of accepting liability for banning a worker’s right of personal protection to and from work. He explained that signage was important because universities and churches may own property that isn’t necessarily posted as belonging to them.

Senate president John Cullerton tried to imply that the NRA “misled” him about their level of prior involvement in the legislative process, but the NRA repeatedly said they weren’t at the negotiating table, and officially remained neutral on bill. Legislators would come to them for consultation on portions of the bill. While repeating his “surprise” at how he was “misled,” Cullerton offered no evidence that any legislators were somehow in cahoots or conspiring with the NRA to taint or deflect the legislature from its obligation to represent constituents.

The Senate Executive Committed adjourned, in order for both chambers to go into session.

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Bloomberg’s Real Agenda: Self-Defense is ‘Gun Violence’

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

Yesterday, a small group of supporters congregated in Concord, New Hampshire to support Mayor Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns. They read off a list of people “killed by guns” while standing before their “No More Names” bus.

In the rush to demonize gun owners, the New Hampshire Union Leader chose to focus on one “gun rights supporter” arrested when he “placed his hand on an officer.” If this man indeed assaulted somebody, that’s a criminal act, and all reasonable people will condemn it. However, a much more interesting assault occurred that received no coverage: the Mayors Against Illegal Guns consider self-defense to be “gun violence.”

While mourning the names of “gun violence victims,” organizers read off the name “Tamerlan Tsarnaev,” one of the two brothers who committed the mass bombing at this year’s Boston Marathon. He and his brother “carjacked a man in a Mercedes-Benz, keeping him with them in the car for half an hour before releasing him at a gas station in Cambridge.” They were fleeing when police chased them down, and engaged in a “gun battle” with police, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed.

This is curious. Does Mayor Bloomberg—one of the richest men in the world who receives 24/7 police protection—expect his police bodyguards to simply die so he may live? If they shoot an attacker, will he destroy their career because they committed “gun violence”?

You could counter that this is just an indication of the type of useful tools supporting Bloomberg’s agenda. But Bloomberg wants the world to see him as a leader, and he’s spent more money on his anti-rights agenda than the NRA and firearms manufacturers together, including the millions Bloomberg has donated to Mayors Against Illegal Guns. So it’s reasonable to conclude that his minions promote his beliefs.

This is an assault not only on the Second Amendment, but on your right to life: If you defend yourself against a violent attacker, you’re committing gun violence!

  • When 52-year-old Susan Pohl was stabbed by her attacker, she wasn’t defending herself with the best tool to even the playing field, she committed gun violence.
  • When Clarence Wesley killed the robber who had just shot her own son, she wasn’t following the legal principle that you have the right to use deadly force when another person’s at risk of grievous bodily harm, she added to the gun violence.

When one of the wealthiest men in the world, surrounded by his personal armed bodyguards, tells you to do as he says but not as he does, perhaps it becomes a little more understandable that law-abiding citizens might become a little agitated: It’s King George trying to disarm us all over again.

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Reflections on Juneteenth: Texas Emancipation Day

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

Our city just held its annual Juneteenth, which celebrates the abolition of slavery in Texas. It’s a perfect time to reflect on how far so many Americans of African descent haven’t come, courtesy of the human foibles that plague us all.

First, a history lesson is in order. After Emancipation, freed slaves referred to Republican President Abraham Lincoln as “Father Abraham.” One of the founding principles of the Republican party was abolishing slavery in America. Democrats controlled the South, but even Democrats in non-slave states fought to preserve slavery. The only reason the 13th and 14th Amendments passed Congress was because of the Republican majority.

During Reconstruction, blacks naturally looked to the Republican party as their own. All early black congressional representatives from the formerly slave states were Republicans. But southern Democrats never admitted defeat. By encouraging and protecting terrorist organizations—White League, Ku Klux Klan, and others—Democrats successfully intimidated blacks into either not voting, or voting Democrat, enabling them to regain control over state legislatures and congressional delegations.

As southern Democrat opposition against Reconstruction policies mounted, the Republican party cut and ran, leaving the Democrat party free to consolidate power. Thus began the long-celebrated Republican tradition of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Slavery didn’t disappear, but labels changed to protect the guilty. Southern slave masters soon learned that not having to pay for housing, food, clothing and healthcare presented a unique business opportunity. These masters still owned much of the arable farm land. This resulted in sharecropping, where black farmers paid rent by giving a large portion of their production to the white landowners. Black farmers often incurred more debt to their white masters—excuse my Freudian slip, I meant land owners—than they could repay. This, along with Black Codes restricting blacks’ ability to travel and relocate, continued the plantation system where poor blacks were again tied to the land they worked.

Many blacks expected reparations from the federal government in the form of free land and farm animals. This created an opportunity for the Democrat party to experiment in social engineering without having to worry about an election backlash. By using carrot/stick methods, Democrats gradually conditioned blacks to accept their new servitude. One method used to control blacks was through patronage and punishment, which had its roots in the old paternalism promoted by antebellum slave masters. They were shepherds exercising “responsible dominion over a less fortunate, less evolved people.”

Punishment for straying off the plantation, combined with reward-based entitlements, has grown more sophisticated over time. Today, all the “free” incentives allow many blacks to survive in relative comfort, but these golden chains thwart their progress towards true freedom.

Those who become fully-actualized individuals, making their own decisions and finding success in life, have strayed off the plantation, and get ostracized by the “entitled.” White masters can stay safely in the background; they have enough trained black race-baiters to declare mainstream, successful blacks as traitors to “true” black culture. As educator and civil rights activist Booker T. Washington said:

“There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”

You think I’m being harsh about today’s picture? Well riddle me this: Part of the old Black Codes—promoted by Democrat state governments—was a ban on black gun ownership. The goal was to make whites safer as they terrorized blacks, resulting in higher black homicide rates and lower white homicide rates.

Today’s Democrat party is still the party of gun control. And today’s gun control still correlates with the same outcomes: States with the most gun control have the highest black homicide rates and the lowest white homicide rates, just like in the Old South.

Yet, blacks vote predominantly Democrat. Blacks voted overwhelmingly for Democrat Barack Obama: men 87%; women 96%. According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News survey, 78% of blacks support stricter gun control laws in this country. The Congressional Black Caucus is 100% Democrat, averages a NRA grade of “F” and has only one each of “A” and “B” grades, while 30 of 38 received an “F.” The Democrats’ century-plus social engineering program has been a resounding success.

But there’s plenty of shared responsibility. The Real Clear Politics Congressional Approval rate has remained around 15-20% the last two years, and never topped 37% since 2009. Sure, it’s fun to hate “those bums” in Congress. But when election time comes around, people think their guy or gal is okay: Incumbents consistently win reelection about 90% of the time. We get the government we elect.

The questions we all desperately need to answer are:

  • Are you better off now than you were ten or 20 years ago?
  • Considering Obamacare, government overreach, the IRS political witch hunt, the Benghazi cover-up, and the ATF’s Fast and Furious gun running for the Mexican drug cartels, do you think you’ll be better or worse off in the future?
  • Why do both parties only vote benefits for party elites and their corporate sponsors?
  • Why do we consider excuses and blaming the other party a form of acceptable, responsible representation?

Try making an honest attempt to cut out partisan rhetoric from your diet for one month, and seriously reach out to people as if your life depended on it—as indeed it does—and simply communicate what’s important to you. You’ll find many people responding in kind, because we have far more in common than not.

Benjamin Franklin said: “We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Every despot throughout history knew that divide and conquer works. These days, we don’t even have talking points anymore, we have screaming points. And while we’re busy screaming, those in power obtain more of our personal sovereignty each day; a little more of our wealth; a little more of our self-respect; a little more of our freedom; a little more of our children’s future.

What kind of country do you want to pass forward? There’s three options:

  1. We can stop relying on divisive rhetoric and work together to restore the basic freedoms most of us hold dear.
  2. We can decide that there’s no hope for a peaceful resolution.
  3. We can give up, and let our children grow up slaves to the state.

 

References cited here:

Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War by Harvard Professor David Herbert Donald

Lincoln by David Herbert Donald

The Abolitionist Legacy by Princeton University Professor James M. McPherson

 

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Chimpanzee Attack Victim Denied Suit Against State

Saturday, June 15th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

Associated Press reports:

A Connecticut woman disfigured by a friend’s pet chimpanzee was denied permission Friday to sue the state for $150 million because at the time of the attack, the law allowed private ownership of the animals.

The plaintiff reportedly went over to the owner’s house to help get the chimpanzee back in the house, when the chimp “went berserk and ripped off [the victim’s] nose, lips, eyelids and hands before being shot to death by a police officer.”

This particular chimpanzee had a history of violent attacks, having bitten two other people in 1996 and 1998. Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, while arguing that the state should not be held liable, also admitted that a state biologist warned this animal was an “accident waiting to happen.” After this most recent attack, Connecticut banned private ownership of chimpanzees.

Obviously, any decent person finds this story tragic. The victim is now blind, has endured numerous operations, received a face transplant, currently lives in a nursing home, and will be receiving hand transplants.

On the other hand, is it fair to hold the state accountable for the pain and suffering experienced by the actions of private parties? The victim received a $4M settlement with the estate of the owner, who died in 2010. The courts obviously believe in personal accountability between private individuals.

However, higher courts have consistently found that government agencies aren’t accountable when their actions or inactions contribute to private tragedies. (See DeShaney v. Winnebago and Castle Rock v. Gonzales.)

This story serves as a reminder that the state doesn’t hold itself responsible for your safety. Tell people this story when they say you should give up your guns and just call the police.

When somebody sues the state, they’re suing us: Our taxes pay the settlement. This means that all of us are personally responsible for the actions of private individuals. That’s bad law.

Large settlements like this proposed $150M suit represent massive transfers of our wealth into attorneys’ pockets. In my book 400 Years of Gun Control, I chronicle the story of the tobacco settlement. What was sold to us as a “public safety” issue—remember all the gun control rhetoric? Sound familiar?—was really a scam to steal money from your pockets, whether you smoked or not. After the settlement, attorneys received billions in contingency fees, and curiously enough, attorney campaign contributions tripled in the next election cycle. Transfer of wealth; transfer of power.

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NSA Leak/Gun Control Link?

Monday, June 10th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

After the revelations by Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency can “intercept almost everything…once you go on the network,” Congressman Peter King, chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterintelligence and Terrorism and a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, declared:

“If Edward Snowden did in fact leak the NSA data as he claims, the United States government must prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law and begin extradition proceedings at the earliest date. The United States must make it clear that no country should be granting this individual asylum. This is a matter of extraordinary consequence to American intelligence.”

In 2012, Peter King (NY-2) received a “D” grade from the NRA, which means:

An anti-gun candidate who usually supports restrictive gun control legislation and opposes pro-gun reforms. Regardless of public statements, can usually be counted on to vote wrong on key issues.

What’s remarkable is that of all Republican representatives elected last November, King’s NRA grade was dead last. Chris Smith earned a “C+,” but he’s from New Jersey, another anti-rights state. Every other Republican earned “B” or better, with 204 solid “A” candidates elected.

Gun control equals more government control. More government surveillance equals more government control. Curious coincidence?

More on NSA reaction: John Bolton: Snowden is Guilty of Treason

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Open Letter to Republican National Committee

Saturday, June 8th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

Dear Republican National Committee:

You sent me a survey, apparently indicating interest in my feedback. The survey’s format didn’t work for what I want to say; this letter will serve.

Abortion Plank

Let’s get the tough issue over with first. Last November’s election is the final proof I need that the America rejects the anti-abortion plank. This isn’t to say I support abortion, but I do support Constitutional values.

From the First Amendment perspective, I find it curious that self-proclaimed conservatives claim to support the Constitution, yet have no trouble infringing on people who believe that life begins with the first breath, or those who believe nothing at all. As long as the Republican Party continues to insist that it’s okay to infringe on women who believe otherwise, you’ll lose support among people who share many other values in common, but cannot stomach this high-handed approach towards abortion.

Along the lines of alleged conservative values is the belief in smaller, fiscally responsible government. How can this value jibe with banning abortion? You’ll need enforcement, which means more bureaucrats to run the system, buildings to house them, funds for computers and utilities, and hiring lawyers and law enforcement to enforce the law. It’s a whole new government department! Perhaps the true value here is: “We believe in smaller government, unless it’s one of our sacred cows. Then no expenditure is too much!”

Conservatives also claim to support free-market solutions, instead of building more oppressive government. If abortion is so terrible—and it is, make no mistake—then why can’t you win people over in the realm of ideas, using free market principles? Why insist on taking the statist approach, increasing government power to justify using force to get what you want?

The solution is to replace the anti-abortion plank with one that will be more popular among those who almost agree on this issue: Government should get out of the abortion business. Period. No exceptions. This means that no government entity or representative can tell anybody what to support. This offers a free market solution. If John the pharmacist doesn’t want to stock birth control, government has no right to tell him otherwise. More importantly, if a private business doesn’t want their insurance plan to cover abortion, government can’t make them.

If Jane the gynecologist wants to run a free clinic on Saturdays to provide abortions to poor women, government can’t tell her otherwise. One the other hand, if people want to protest the abortion clinic across the street on public land, government cannot nay-say them. If the protesters violate private property rights or commit violence, we already have enough laws to deal with it.

Patriot Act

Recent news has proven this was a bad idea. When first passed under the Bush administration, I told people that it’s based on a good concept, but once the right—or wrong, depending on your viewpoint—administration takes over, they will use the Patriot Act to justify infringing on our Constitutional rights. And so it is.

Repeal the Patriot Act. Examination of Supreme Court decisions like Deshaney v. Winnebago and Castle Rock v. Gonzales results in only one reasonable conclusion: Government has no obligation to protect us, though we have the obligation to pay taxes for these mythical security services.

From the conservative perspective, we need only remember Benjamin Franklin’s prescient words: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” We’re spending billions of dollars to feel safer…until the next Boston bomber appears, while diving ever deeper into debt.

Fiscal Responsibility

Speaking of debt, here’s another conflict between smaller-government rhetoric and reality. Analysis of the federal budget shows that Bush and a Republican congress grew the federal budget at an annual rate of over 2.5 times inflation plus population growth. As a result, the federal budget ran a deficit the last seven years of Bush’s term (out of 8 total!).

This doesn’t excuse the Obama administration and Democratic congress from growing the budget at an annual rate of 12 times inflation and population growth, and running up a debt of over one trillion annually. However, there is some truth that the Republican party played fast and loose with their alleged values, and then had to remain relatively quiet while the Democrats showed us how it’s really done. In other words, there is some truth to the claim that it’s Bush’s fault. He set the dynamics in motion, and you can’t tell others to do as you say when you won’t do it yourself.

Party Versus the People

Remember the story of King Solomon and the two women who both claimed one child? When Solomon said to cut the baby in half so each woman could have part, the real mother told him to give the baby to the other women. Solomon knew this was the true mother, because she would sacrifice her own happiness to see the child live.

That child is Liberty, Justice, and the Pursuit of Happiness, among other values the Founders sacrificed their lives and fortunes to pass along to us.

Today, we have two parties once again; mothers, if you will, who gave birth to differing views on how to preserve Liberty, etc. But each party is so focused on gathering power that they have taken up the sword themselves and willingly cleave the baby apart, rather than sacrifice their chance at power. Political parties gather power for themselves to serve the party; any benefit derived for the People is coincidental. No matter who resides in the White House, Americans have seen a gradual erosion of Quality of Life, Liberty, and Justice. Our opportunity to Pursue Happiness has likewise been curtailed. The Democratic Congress/Bush bailout sent hundreds of billions of our tax dollars into the coffers of companies and executives who supposedly were experts in finance and investing. They failed to do their job, and our taxes, representing the production and effort we invested in our daily work, was bled off to keep these losers in caviar and Mercedes sedans.

There’s plenty of blame to spread around Washington on this one. Analysis of both Democrats and Republicans reveals y’all have investments in the banks and companies you voted to bail out. Moreover, the securities and investment industry invested over $158 million in federal campaign contributions during the 2008 election cycle, then received $700 billion in bailout money. I guess they do know how to invest their money after all. On the other hand, taxpayers still had mortgages after you bailed out our note holders. That’s a travesty of justice.

So there you have my thoughts on the matter. If you truly support your advertised values, then do something right and decent for a change. My doubts are such that I left the Republican Party after last November’s election. I mentioned conservative values, but there’s no proof that the Republican party is conservative. Results indicate that we have two statist parties, one delivering us into feudalism faster, but the destination is the same.

This letter represents true value to me, far more than the few dollars I have left after you’ve squeezed my production to pay back your corporate sponsors.

The next move is yours.

Sincerely,

Howard Nemerov

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Illinois Legislature Set to End Concealed Carry Ban

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

The Illinois legislature has complied with an appeals court ruling that their concealed carry ban was unconstitutional. Governor Quinn hasn’t said whether he’ll sign the bill or not, but the bill had enough votes to override a veto.

The new law instructs the Illinois State Police to issue a carry permit to law-abiding Illinois residents who pass the required 16-hour training and pay a $150 fee (shall-issue law). Gun owner must also have a state-issued Firearms Owner Identification card (FOID) to buy a gun in Illinois. Recently, there have been a record number FOID applications each month, leading to a backlog as police try to process them all. Meanwhile, the University of Chicago ignores their own back yard and continues insisting that gun ownership is declining.

Adding up the expense of buying a carry gun, $10 FOID fee, training class, and $150 application fee, Valinda Rowe, of the group Illinois Carry, expressed concern that this law will deprive poor people from the ability to partake of their civil right of self-defense.

It’s this latter group of people who may need concealed carry the most. Despite inclement weather, Chicago gangs shot eight more people between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. According to BET:

Chicago’s murder rate is widely considered to be fueled by the drug wars that are fought between the city’s network of gangs. The homicide rate has been largely confined to the city’s south and west areas, African-American bastions of Chicago.

The new carry law is a step forward, but it nevertheless is a gun control law, controlling how and where law-abiding citizens can legally carry. It contains a clause saving Chicago’s “assault weapons” ban. It raises the financial bar for those who want to carry legally, maintaining the imbalance of power in favor of those who ignore laws.

Once again, gun control is shown to be racist. These gangsters didn’t wait for a law to be passed before carrying concealed firearms. Blood’s already running in the streets of Chicago, despite it having the strictest gun control laws in the country. Those suffering the most, poorer American’s of African descent living in Chicago, risk being barred once again from their right to keep and bear arms.

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DC Appeals Court: ATF Can Demand Sales Records from Border States

Friday, May 31st, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

Reuters reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) can obtain sales data when people buy multiple rifles. This ruling is from the challenge by gun shops in the southern border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

This means the Obama administration can end-run around Congress and make rules like this, which applies to semi-automatic rifles using detachable magazines.

Firearms retailers, along with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, sued to block this rule. The DC court ruled that the Gun Control Act of 1968 “unambiguously authorizes” this rule, and it’s therefore not “too burdensome” for retailers. Though Congress unambiguously passed legislation that the ATF cannot create a firearms registry, this Obama rule violates that law.

In an email interview, the National Shooting Sports Foundation said they’re currently reviewing their options. They also noted: “There are two similar cases still pending in the 5th and 10th circuits.”

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My Day at the NRA Annual Meeting

Saturday, May 4th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

On Thursday, a friend mentioned they were driving down to Houston on Friday, to take in the NRA Annual Meeting in Houston. We got invited along, so suddenly I found myself at the registration desk. What a pleasant surprise to find out that our NRA life memberships got us free admission to the expo at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

What was even more pleasurable was finding out that the convention center allows concealed handguns for “individuals licensed by the State of Texas.” This policy was affirmed and supported by the NRA, so I got to walk around like a citizen. After registering, we just entered the expo: no security checkpoint, no law enforcement looking us over. There were lots of Houston PD and Harris County deputies, but I saw officers shopping, too.

I even got to say hi to my friends at NRA News, who had a booth in the expo floor.

I get this curious reaction from some of my California clients about living in Texas, the alleged home of rednecks. These clients are intolerant of differing views, often reacting with anger because they feel you’re crossing them for disagreeing. If you haven’t ever done so, I encourage you to discuss the civil right of self-defense with a California liberal.

“Redneck” is synonymous for “narrow-minded, racist Caucasian.” This is a very interesting reaction from well-meaning people, but let’s remember that Marin County, where we moved from, quietly settled with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for failing “to attract more low-income people and ethnic minorities to the affluent county.” I experienced this closet bigotry after renting to a hard-working Hispanic American lady who pursued the American dream by working three jobs and investing in real estate.

Corporate media encamped across the street from the convention center, apparently looking for a story. One person finally got out of bed to make an appearance, and the news vultures were on it. Contrary to media propaganda, the violent people — that could exercise themselves enough to make it downtown by 11:30 AM — were outside protesting against the NRA’s promoting the civil right of self-defense. States with the most gun control have higher black homicide rates, and higher overall violent crime rates.

A crew from Australia videotaped the Bushmaster sign for a while, as if a longer video would make some point, a la Andy Warhol’s Sleep. I wanted to ask the woman reporter if she felt safer now, since female rape skyrocketed after their 1997 gun ban.

But today’s corporate media operates on this maxim: “Don’t let a truth get in the way of a good story.”

I operate on this maxim: “The truth shall set you free.” Slaves don’t own the means whereby they can defend themselves against predators…high or low.

Also read:

Evolving on Guns: Considering the Morality of Gun Ownership Now That I Refuse to Be a Victim

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Does DHS Buy Too Much Ammunition?

Friday, April 26th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

Department of Homeland Security ammunition buying is back in the news. Republican House members questioned the amount of ammo being bought, alleging DHS agents use more than Army personnel.

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz said Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security is using roughly 1,000 rounds of ammunition more per person than the U.S. Army, as he and other lawmakers sharply questioned DHS officials on their “massive” bullet buys.

Democrats called this allegation “conspiracy theories.” Which brings us to today’s lesson on politics and reality, usually two different animals.

According to Rep. Chaffetz, “the DHS is churning through between 1,300 and 1,600 rounds per officer” on an annual basis. This translates into between 108 and 133 rounds per month for their 70,000 agents. We’ve easily shot 200-300 rounds during a one-day tactical training, topping 500 rounds in a weekend. Others report shooting even more. Since shooting skills are perishable, 108-133 rounds per month for professionals isn’t unreasonable.

Nevertheless, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK 3) have introduced legislation banning federal agencies from “stockpiling.” They allege that massive ammunition purchases by federal agencies contribute to what’s become an effective gun ban: Working firearms need live ammunition to be functional, and manufacturers haven’t been able to adequately supply the civilian market for months, leading to sharp price increases.

The DHS “categorically” denied it’s buying ammo targeted for American citizens. But “categorically” is a new-speak term, the verbal equivalent of crossing one’s fingers behind one’s back. Which category does this denial exist within? Is it DHS’s interpretation of reality on the day it made the denial, which can shift as soon as somebody rationalizes reality into another form?

But comparing the historical trend towards less liberty versus political rhetoric exposes more important considerations than whether you can buy ammunition today.

The issue of DHS shooting jacketed hollow-point during training is a red herring. Many agencies train with the ammunition they use on the job. The only issue here is that they are buying more expensive training ammo because they’re not paying for it, we are. Then we have to spend more discretionary after-higher-taxes income for our own ammunition that cost half as much a year ago.

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Governor Christie Wants More Gun Control

Friday, April 19th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced his intention to expand his state’s gun control laws. But there’s some flaws to his logic.

Christie acknowledges there is no way to prevent all violence in our society, but he says it is the job of government to question, to scrutinize and to demand more in an attempt to address the problem.

Christie believes the government has the right to “demand more” from law-abiding citizens, but acknowledges it can’t do the same to criminals. This is standard gun control fare. One of the main features of gun control is making it harder for the law-abiding to defend themselves, while making it easier for violent predators to succeed.

The plan calls for expanding New Jersey’s already strict gun control laws, expanding government-funded mental health treatment, making it more difficult for kids buy or rent violent video games, requiring that would-be gun owners show government-issued IDs and bolstering penalties for gun-related crimes.

According to the Brady Campaign, New Jersey already has the second-most extensive set of gun control laws, after California. Christie shows his big-government mindset: While expanding mental health treatment may offer benefits to society, expanding government programs means higher taxes. According to the Tax Foundation, New Jersey had the second-highest state tax rate in 2010, and the 49th worst business tax climate. Looks like Christie’s going for the big 5-0.

New Jersey already requires gun buyers to have a permit to purchase. To obtain one, prospective buyers must visit the local police station. To buy a long gun, buyers need this state-issued permit plus “one additional form of photo identification.” Purchasing a handgun requires a special purchasing permit plus another form of identification. Each handgun purchase permit is valid for only one firearm. Applicants get fingerprinted and pay a $57.50 fee for the privilege of letting the state decide whether or not to grant the permit.

Christie also wants to ban “future purchases of the Barrett .50 Caliber” rifle. These rifles cost thousands of dollars, and weigh 30 pounds: Not exactly useful to criminals, which is why it’s rarely used in crime.

When running for governor, the NRA graded Christie “?” This grade is for candidates without voting records, who refused to answer the NRA questionnaire. Over the last two election cycles, “?” candidates ended up averaging “C-” after real voting records revealed their beliefs. A few ended up being “A” legislators, but more revealed their hatred of the civil right of self-defense. Christie’s trending towards the latter.

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Background Checks Failed to Pass Senate

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

The Senate failed to pass a bill to expand background checks today.

The Senate delivered a devastating blow to President Obama’s agenda to regulate guns Wednesday by defeating a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks.

It failed by a vote of 54 to 46, with five Democrats voting against it. Only four Republicans supported it.

Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Max Baucus (Mont.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) voted against it. Reid supported the measure but voted against it to preserve his ability to bring the measure up again.

GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) voted “yes.”

Not surprisingly, three Republicans voting “yes” have less than stellar NRA grades:

  • McCain – B+
  • Collins – C+
  • Kirk – F

Toomey was graded “A” but got on the bandwagon to expand background checks, offering his own “compromise” with some Trojan Horses. The last senator to abandon their NRA “A” grade was Kristen Gillebrand, who was A-graded while in the House, but became F-graded after attaining the Senate.

Democrats voting “no” were a mixed lot, too:

  • Pryor – C-
  • Baucus – A+
  • Heitkamp – AQ (new candidate who filled out NRA questionnaire correctly)
  • Begich – AQ
  • Reid – B

Those voting for expanded background checks averaged an NRA grade of D, while those voting against averaged “A-”.

It was a good day for Liberty, but Obama said, this fight is only beginning.

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The Whimpering of the Lambs

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

There were two tragedies at the Boston Marathon. The first was obvious: One or more cowards planted bombs at the finish line in a terrorist attack. The second was not so obvious, but was more terrifying.

Patriots Day in Boston (April 15) is a celebration of the beginning of our War for Independence. Britain’s King George ordered his troops to disarm the colonists, but without waiting for “professionals” to take action, real people gathered together with their arms and said “no more” in the only way that works against those bent on using force to strip them of Liberty. Curiously, these firearms would have been called “assault weapons” by anti-freedom propagandists of the time, since they were functionally more similar to military arms than the cosmetically enhanced rifles trying to be banned by today’s feudalists.

Our boy king spluttered that those who did this dreadful act will “feel the full weight of justice.” It reminded me of a scared and angry child screaming at a bully’s back, after gaining a safe distance, “my mommy’s going to get you.” But Obama’s our president, and as such represents the group gestalt of our country, which has become a nation of sheep. Now, instead of grabbing a gun and fighting back, we have people grabbing their ankles and scurrying home to hide.

“They can give me a cavity search right now and I’d be perfectly happy,” said Daniel Wood, a video producer from New York City who was waiting for a train.

These days, we’re supposed to dial 911 and wait like a shelf fungus for help to arrive. After all, Homer Simpson, barely more sentient than a fungus, got elected Sanitation Commissioner on the slogan “Can’t someone else do it?” These days, it’s cool to be a Homer Sapiens.

We send our real men (and women) off to Afghanistan to fight for a corrupt despot who wants to benefit from the opium trade and oppress the masses, defending him against the Taliban pretenders who want to be Afghanistan’s preeminent thugs running the opium trade and oppressing the masses.

Senator Obama wanted to end the war and bring our troops home. President Obama knows that the best way to cull the sheepdogs from the herd is to appeal to their patriotism and banishing them to meaningless meat grinders to allegedly promote democracy to those with even less interest in personal Liberty that our own leaders. This way, they can’t come home and infect people with the concepts of individual liberty and initiative that once created America; real men and women who know that there are better things than living and worse things than dying.

What happened to One Nation Under God? When did it become politically incorrect to praise Godly attributes like courage, personal responsibility, and creativity? Nowadays, we celebrate victimhood, because we’re told we haven’t the aptitude to provide for our own survival. Children are supposedly wiser than adults, because ignorance has been transmuted into glorious innocence, so the ultimate goal of modern enlightenment is to remain infantile. Education has become indoctrination, because we needn’t know more than how to obtain a free Obamaphone and apply for food stamps. We’ve become One Nation Under Government.

Returning veterans have understandably been called terrorists by our own Department of Homeland Security: They threaten those whose goal in life is to grab onto and expand power for themselves.

Clearly, mass murderers prefer bombs to guns. Bombs are far more efficient, and safer for the attacker. They can be made with materials easily obtained from home, hardware store, or, for the truly lazy terrorist, the internet. There’s no background checks, no black market risks. Bombs can be deployed without running afoul of a sheepdog offering armed resistance. Instead of wasting time shooting one person at a time, one bomb can kill and wound dozens or even hundreds in moments.

Boston’s Mayor Tom Menino is co-chair of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns. After Newtown, this group wasted no time manipulating a grieving public into supporting their not-so-clandestine agenda of disarming Americans, all in the name of safety.

Where’s their call to ban assault pressure cookers? Where’s Senator Dianne Feinstein’s demand that we limit package sizes on nails and ball bearings? What about Senator Chuck Schumer demanding an end to unlicensed transfers of these deadly materials?

After all, we don’t really need these things. Steamer inserts and boiling water suffice for vegetables and beans. We should leave dangerous materials in the hands of the professionals: manufacturers, contractors and chefs who can be registered, and must fill out ATF forms for each purchase in order to track how the products get used.

Obviously, our leaders aren’t concerned about your safety. Only power, and their own security during its attainment, matters to them. They have their own armed protection; they’re safe from attacks. It’s you who are the threat. Criminals on the street, or residing in Washington, want the sheepdogs’ canines extracted so they are safe to go about their nefarious business.

George Santayana said: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” But history is no longer taught in school, except to help people identify which victim class they belong to, in order to justify organizing into a special interest group to successfully fight other special interest groups to gain another crumb falling off the overlords’ table.

But while the sheep bleat for attention, the country we fought and died for whimpers slowly into the dark.

When will we stand and say: “No more”?

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What is the Manchin-Toomey Background Check Amendment? (Update: CCKRBA Pulls Endorsement)

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

The pro-rights Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has endorsed the Manchin-Toomey bill, believing it’s a step toward restoring the Second Amendment. It certainly has some interesting features:

  • Section 112 improves state-level NICS record keeping.
  • Section 115 provides additional veterans’ protection against being found incompetent and losing Second Amendment rights.
  • Section 122 expands NICS checks to all gun show sales, but prohibits the FBI from charging user fee for these checks. A state-issued carry permit is a valid substitute for NICS. Perhaps most important, this section prohibits creating a national registry, and includes a prison term for law enforcement involved in trafficking (e.g. Fast & Furious).
  • Section 128  may broaden interstate transportation of unloaded, secured firearms, but it doesn’t go far enough (see discussion below).

Sections 142-7 could be labeled the Bureaucrat Employment Act. It creates a “National Commission on Mass Violence.” Some commission members will be appointed from senators and representatives. But there will be openings for experts in the fields of firearms, mental health, school safety, and mass media. Section 144 provides for witness expenses for those called to testify. Section 145 discusses compensation for non-elected members, including travel expenses. There’s no way to legislate that this commission’s findings won’t be biased from the start.

The NRA doesn’t support the Manchin-Toomey proposal because it does nothing to stop states from enforcing their own laws regarding interstate travel. They cited Torraco v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where interstate travelers were arrested by police while transporting unloaded firearms in check baggage through airports. Airlines have specific rules about safe firearms transport. These conditions were met and the firearms were safe and not intended to be used in crime. But the travelers violated state laws because they didn’t have a state firearms owners license. The Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, found for the defendents. Under Manchin-Toomey, such Second Amendment violations will continue.

Manchin-Toomey has some good ideas, but it supports and reinforces the concept that states can continue to violate your Second Amendment rights just because you simply changed planes at an airport in their state. While it’s better than Senator Schumer’s proposal, it still institutionalizes the state’s right to ruin citizens’ lives by turning them into accidental criminals.

Update (Bryan): Howard emails to tell me that he just spoke with the CCKRBA, which had endorsed the Manchin-Toomey bill. They have withdrawn their endorsement.

Update (Howard): This morning, CCRKBA pulled their endorsement of Manchin-Toomey after a key provision failed to appear addressing rights restoration. For example, somebody convicted of a non-violent crime could petition to have rights restored, and the ATF would then investigate and report their findings to the court. Congress hasn’t budget for the ATF to do these investigations: No funding, no restorations, no CCRKBA support.

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