Will Justice Breyer's property be taken from him in New Hampshire?

Critics of a U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that governments may seize private property for economic development want to use the process to seize a justice's vacation home and turn it into a park.

The New Hampshire Libertarian Party is collecting signatures for a petition to ask the town to use Justice Stephen G. Breyer's 167-acre Plainfield property to create a "Constitution Park," with stone monuments to commemorate the U.S and New Hampshire constitutions, said party Vice Chairman Mike Lorrey.

"The point is: What goes around comes around," Lorrey said. "This is a way of saying, 'You're going to be held to your own standard.'"

Lorrey said the Libertarian petition would place the land-taking request before a town meeting next spring. But Plainfield Town Administrator Steve Halleran said Friday that he didn't expect voters to support the effort.

NOW: Women can determine what to do with their bodies for abortions but not breast implants

I am having a hard time having these two positions make sense. On the one had the National Organization for Women is a staunch defender of letting women have unfettered ability to determine what to do with their own bodies on abortion ("Overturning Roe v. Wade"), but at the same time they don't think women should have the choice of using breast implants ("FDA Endangers Women's Health With Silicone Breast Implant Decision").


Senate passes bill to rein in suits against gun makers

"Resident With Concealed Gun Scares Away Robber"

Latest on bill to rein in lawsuits against gun makers

While the bill to rein in the suits against the gun makers is going forward, an amendment mandating gun locks was passed (Senate OKs safety locks with gun purchases). The vote on the overall bill should be held tomorrow.

The rush is on to sue gun makers


Jack Hirshleifer dies

Jack Hirshleifer was one of my professors in graduate school at UCLA and he had a big impact on my formation as an economist. Jack was also a great person. Always generous and kind, always available to talk to people. His work gave me the ideas for several papers and a good part of one of my books. The UCLA economics department notes his passing. Jack died on Tuesday morning from cancer and his funeral was today in Los Angeles. It is a real loss.

How much will gun companies benefit from the legislation to rein in suits against gun makers


Things look good on bill to limit suits against gun makers


More Knife control needed in the UK!

Knife law farce as boy buys weapons
Marc Horne

A SUNDAY TIMES investigation has revealed the lack of regulation that allows knife crime to flourish in the west of Scotland.

A 15-year-old boy was illegally sold more than 20 dangerous weapons in shops — including several high street chains — with no attempt made to check his identity.

Calum Duke, a schoolboy from Glasgow working undercover, was able to buy a potentially lethal haul of blades including kitchen knives, daggers, dirks, hunting knives, craft knives and even an axe.

In some cases, shopkeepers offered to wrap the weapons, warning that he could find himself in trouble with the police if he was found with them in his possession.

The findings follow a warning by police this week that the west of Scotland is in the grip of a “knife pandemic”. The number of murders involving a blade in the Strathclyde area is three times higher than anywhere else in Britain.

Every week for the past six months, there have been 25 serious assaults with a knife and 13 of the 30 murders in the west of Scotland this year were committed with a blade.

The level of knife crime in Glasgow is similar to that in the most violent eastern European cities. The worst offenders are male and between 15 and 25. . . .

Thanks very much to Dan Gifford for sending this to me.

Mark Steyn on the Dems Opposition Research


Revisiting John Donohue's cancelling of our gun debate last fall

1) It was very disappointing that John Donohue backed out of our debate on guns last December with just two days to go. I had looked forward to the debate, and obviously had my plane tickets well in advance. It was a date that Donohue had picked (I had said that I could do all but one day over the end of November through December and I would have gone beyond December if necessary), and the first email that I had confirming the event was received in September. I ended up speaking at Chicago on another topic so that a later debate could be attempted to be set up again with Donohue.

2) Unfortunately, the second planned debate was also cancelled. The debate was rescheduled for April 13th this year, and I made sure to reconfirm it because of the previous cancelation. The student at Chicago who set up the debate said that even though he had confirmed the debate with me multiple times and even though we had taken a date that I was told that Donohue wanted, the claim is that the debate somehow hadn't been completely confirmed with Donohue. (You would think that if the previous cancelation was an accident, Donohue would have been careful to double check this time just in case there had been any possible misunderstandings, but no one is claiming that he checked anything.) Attempts were made to get Donohue's coauthor Steve Levitt to substitute for Donohue and debate either guns or abortion claims were unsuccessful. From an email that the organizer sent me after the second debate was cancelled: "You have been the most patient and flexible speaker I could imagine . . . ."

3) In conversations with Joe Cascio (the speaker coordinator for the UC Fed Soc Chapter), I had said several times if we were going to schedule a third try at a debate, we should do it on the abortion and crime claims, especially given the amount of attention that this poorly done empirical claim had gotten. Despite Donohue claiming that the debate would actually take place this time, he was unwilling to debate this hot topic. Steve Levitt was unable to debate (he was debating the topic but only with people who didn't seem to know much about the issue) and Dubner, Levitt's coauthor, was unwilling to debate the abortion claims. The University of Chicago Federalist Society was again willing to have me give another talk that wasn't in a debate format, but they insisted that I remove the statements regarding the canceled debates from my website. (They simply viewed my posts about the April 13th event being critical of the Federalist Society (I disagree), and the earlier post that they wanted removed because they didn't want to be involved in a debate about a debate.) I told them that I would correct anything that they told me was wrong, but I wasn't going to remove the postings. If people set up debates and back out at the last moment, they should be held accountable.

On the substance of Donohue's work on guns, I would direct people to this paper by Plassmann and Whitley. There are two straightforward points that they make. 1) That the graphs at the beginning of the Ayres and Donohue work are very misleading because they don't make it clear that the sample of states is changing. The crime rates clear fall for a decade and a half and the sudden increase isn't real for the remaining states. It just looks like an increase because the couple of rural states that remain did not experience the decline in murder rates that more urban states experienced after right-to-carry laws were passed. 2) The second claim has to do with them fitting an intercept and line to the data and then limiting their reported impact on crime to only five years. Often there is no problem with this, but as Plassmann and Whitley clearly show it doesn't fit in this case. The Ayres and Donohue approach implies that crime initially increase (despite the fact that the year by year data discussed in point (1) doesn't, and it is just an artifact of their estimates over predicting in the early years because they are fitting this straight line with an intercept shift to crime that is falling at an increasing rate. But to compound the problem, they only discuss what the estimates mean for the first five years. Even with this approach if they had picked the sixth year it would have reversed their claims.

I also think that it is pretty clear why they find it difficult to debate either guns or abortion. Steve Landsburg was very nice to suggest in April that Levitt and I have a discussion at Rochester this fall, but I haven't heard anything back. I immediately wrote back saying that I was interested. Landsburg wrote in April that:
"Our department would like to arrange, sometime in the fall, to have you and Levitt visit simultaneously and give back-to-back workshops on guns, abortion or both. We want to hear your criticisms of each others' work and your responses to those criticisms. We *don't* want this to turn into a debate; we want it to be an academic seminar with all the usual rules of logic and evidence. The presenter is presumed to have the floor; there is an expectation of periodic interruptions from the audience; but there's also someone in charge to cut off questioning if it starts to take over the seminar. We would most assuredly *not* advertise this event to the general public, because we don't want an audience of advocates for any point of view. Ideally, we'd have you both here for two days, with you presenting on one day and Levitt presenting on the other. We are open to alternative suggestions. We'd pay you both an honorarium of some size to be determined, though surely far less than you deserve. We'll do what we can to make it attractive, though."

I am posting this because of an email that I received asking questions about Donohue's cancelation last fall.

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Audio of John G. Roberts, Jr.'s arguments before Supreme Court

Audio recordings of John G. Roberts, Jr.'s arguments before Supreme Court
Case Participation:
First Options v. Kaplan (March 22, 1995) argued the cause for the respondents (audio not included here)
Adams v. Robertson (January 14, 1997) argued the cause for the respondents
Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government (December 10, 1997) argued the cause for the petitioner
Feltner v. Columbia Pictures Television, Inc. (January 21, 1998) argued the cause for the petitioner
NCAA v. Smith (January 20, 1999) argued the cause for the petitioner
Rice v. Cayetano (October 6, 1999) argued the cause for the respondent
Eastern Associated Coal Corp. v. Mine Workers (October 2, 2000) argued the cause for petitioner
TrafFix Devices Inc. v. Marketing Displays Inc. (November 29, 2000) argued the cause for the petitioner
Toyota Motor Mfg v. Williams (November 7, 2001) argued the cause for the petitioner
Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (January 7, 2002) argued the cause for the respondents

Thanks to Stuart Miller for sending me these links.

Defensive Gun Use Stories from the last week

1) Saginaw Township, Michigan: "Homeowner: Illegal entry was more than that"

A Saginaw Township man says police let him down when they refused to arrest an 18-year-old man who broke into his house by smashing a sun room window after midnight Thursday.

Jerry Persons, 65, who had open heart surgery in May, said a state police detective told him the intruder wasn't arrested because he needed 60 stitches and officers couldn't wait at the hospital.

"I indicated I didn't think that was fair," said Persons, 4785 Clunie. "(The detective) called it an illegal entry --that's what he'll be charged with -- not a breaking and entering. I said, 'Well, he broke and he entered.' " . . .

2) GRETNA, La.: "Jewler gets best of robbers in gun fight"

. . . The shootout occurred at Breaux's Jewelers in Jefferson Parish Tuesday after one of the suspects, dressed as an old woman with a walker and straw purse, was buzzed into the store.

Store owner Mike Breaux quickly saw through the disguise and had pulled his own handgun by the time the suspect — identified as Kevin Knight — had pulled a .40 caliber handgun from the purse and started to leap over the counter.

3) White River Township, Indiana: "Prowler prompts man to fire gun"

A White River Township man shot at a prowler who attacked him at his home early Wednesday, according to police reports.

4) JACKSONVILLE, Fla.: "Fatal double shooting in Jacksonville ruled justifiable homicide"

The fatal shooting of two Jacksonville cousins by a tenant they were trying to evict was ruled self-defense because one of them was brandishing a gun and a chain, State Attorney Harry Shorstein said Wednesday. . . .

5) Wacco, Texas: "Gun shop owner apprehends suspect during armed robbery"

A juvenile is in jail charged with holding up a local gun store. Three other suspects remain on the run.

6) Anchorage, Alaska: "SHOT TWICE: Neighbor saw burglar break, enter window"

An intruder was shot twice after he climbed through a window in a mobile home and was met by an angry resident early Wednesday morning, Anchorage police said.

Shane Crousser, 20, whom police have charged with first-degree burglary and third-degree assault, was recovering from his bullet wounds at the Anchorage jail on Wednesday evening.

Shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday, police said, an intruder entered a window of a trailer home at the Manoog's Isle Mobile Home Park on Lake Otis Parkway north of East Dowling Road. A neighbor heard glass shattering and saw the break-in occurring, police spokesman Ron McGee said. The neighbor called 911.

While on the phone with the police, the neighbor saw the resident get into a fight with the burglar. Then he heard shots, McGee said.

The burglar got into a dark-colored Ford Explorer and drove away.

A short time later, police say, Crousser showed up at an emergency room with gunshot wounds to his upper left thigh and lower right calf. They said they don't know what was behind the break-in and fight. . . .

7) Santa Monica, Ca.: "Drive-Through Shooting Leaves Suspect Dead"

A gunman who allegedly tried to rob two men in the drive-thru area of a fast-food restaurant in Santa Monica Thursday was shot and killed during a confrontation with his intended victims, police said.

The violence occurred about 4:45 a.m. outside a 24-hour Jack in the Box at Lincoln Boulevard and Grant Street, said Santa Monica police Lt. Frank Fabrega.

The man, who was about 25, died at the scene. Authorities withheld his name pending notification of relatives.

"The victims ... said they were in the drive-thru area when a masked suspect approached their vehicle and displayed a knife and a handgun," Fabrega said.
. . .

These are just some of the stories that Nicki was nice enough to send me.

First Registration, then a ban


Useless searches (the problems of Political Correctness)

Commissioner Kelly stressed that officers posted at subway entrances would not engage in racial profiling, and that passengers are free to "turn around and leave." he also downplayed the possibility of bottlenecks at subway entrances. . . .

1) No profiling (it would be nice if they were to at least using profiling by behavior) so they slow people down with a very small chance of catching the bad guys.
2) You can't be searched if you don't want to, thus letting the intended bombers just walk away if they do draw the wrong number to get searched.

Teachers carry guns in classroom in part of India


An op-ed on the Columbus, Ohio Assault Weapons Ban

While only the last third of this piece contains new points for those who regularly read my pieces, I thought that it was still useful to point them out here for the people in Columbus, which just adopted its own assault weapons ban.


Supreme Court Confirmation Op-ed

My newest op-ed is out at National Review Online and it deals with the "silly" Democratic consultations over the Supreme Court nominations.

Scare tactics over 50 caliber guns

Karl Rove is a hunter

Howard Fineman hardly sympathetic to Rove, but I found one point interesting.

"Karl Rove is a hunter. His favorite quarry in Texas is quail."


Ten years of polling on Canada's Gun Registration Program

This is not quite going the way gun controllers would have predicted.

• 47% OPPOSED BECAUSE: “It was an expensive election gimmick that didn’t keep guns from criminals but harmed farmers, who need guns to protect their livestock.”
• 37% OPPOSED BECAUSE: “It was a good idea at the time but it didn’t bring enough benefits to justify its billion dollar cost.”
Note: 1,579 telephone interviews. Accurate within 3% 19 times out of 20.

JMCK – APRIL 2004: 76.7% OPPOSED. Respondents agreed: “The government could better fight violent crime by scrapping the $1 billion gun registry and redirecting the money to other law enforcement priorities.”
Note: 1,586 telephone interviews. Accurate within 2.5% 19 times out of 20.

IPSOS-REID – FEBRUARY 2004: 52% OPPOSED. Respondents agreed: “that Paul Martin should get rid of Canada’s federal gun registry.”
Note: 1,055 telephone interviews. Accurate within 3.1% 19 times out of 20

JMCK – OCTOBER 2003: 52.7% OPPOSED. Respondents agreed: “The gun registry is badly organized and should be scrapped.”
Note: 1,018 telephone interviews. Accurate within 3.1% 19 times out of 20.

GALLUP – OCTOBER 2000: 26% OPPOSED: “the requirement that by law all firearms in Canada need to be registered with the federal government.”
Note: 1,011 telephone interviews. Accurate within 3.1% 19 times out of 20.

GALLUP – NOVEMBER 1994: 14% OPPOSED: “the requirement that by law all firearms in Canada need to be registered with the federal government.”

The Difficulty in Getting a Permit to Own a Gun in Massachusetts

In the two years since he's been in the military reserves, the United States Army has trusted David Bardfield to carry and fire a weapon.

But the town of Brookline doesn't seem to have the same faith in the 28-year-old Army specialist.

Bardfield recently completed military police investigator course work at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Since 2003, he has been issued a military firearm on various occasions, including a handgun at Fort Devens in Ayer, where he worked on patrol. He also patrolled an Army base in Italy, where he was authorized to carry a pistol when he made his rounds.

But Bardfield has been waiting nearly four months for the town to grant him a license to participate in target practice to help sharpen his skills.

"It's very frustrating," said Bardfield. "I just want my license."


St. Louis to finally start issuing concealed handgun permits

"Kiddies With Carbines"

Only in America: a high-caliber training camp for the whole family.

Samantha Tibbetts, 5, wears a pink T shirt with a lady on it carrying a sparkly purse. She squirms in her chair. Tibbetts, with big blue eyes and long blonde hair, is sitting in a classroom. But it's a classroom whose walls are cinder block, and her teacher, Paul, has a rifle cradled in his lap. Paul asks the nine kids, ages 5 to 16, to name the parts of the gun. "Can you say ‘trigger'?"

They can. But they'd rather pull one. These kids are at Front Sight Firearms Training Institute near Las Vegas--one of several family-friendly firing ranges springing up around the U.S. Kids learn nomenclature and safety while Mom and Dad take higher caliber instruction--"Handgun Combat Master," for example, or "Uzi Submachine Gun at Night."

Thanks to Jason Morin for sending me this link.

If the French Embassy isn't careful, this could result in a protest

Party poopers: An 80th-birthday party at the French Embassy for syndicated columnist Art Buchwald has a group of women up in arms.

Set for Sept. 28, the black-tie dinner (tickets are $250) will double as a fundraiser for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, an organization Buchwald supports. The Second Amendment Sisters, whose motto is "Self Defense Is a Basic Human Right," got wind of the party and sent a letter of protest to the embassy.

Art Buchwald's birthday party at the French Embassy -- which doubles as a fundraiser for a gun control organization -- came under fire from the Second Amendment Sisters. (By Michael Lutzky -- The Washington Post) "It's a slap in the face to each and every gun-holding American that the French ambassador would do this," Sisters co-founder Mari Thompson told The Post yesterday. She said her group is "outraged" that the French Embassy would host a party for an organization "whose main purpose is to disarm American citizens."

Brady Campaign spokesman Peter Hamm countered: "It seems to me that these people have too much time on their hands to complain about a venue where folks are getting together to celebrate a birthday party."

He added, "It's not something that we should increase global tensions over." Cake, anyone?"

"The Right to Self-Defense"


More judges carrying guns II

More on the UN, Gun Control, and Soros

Alphecca has an interesting link to the UN gun control effort and George Soros' effort to push it. This talking points memo is particularly interesting, and it shows that at least Soros can afford the best PR people to advise him.

Another interesting article is the vain effort by Canadian gun owners to seek help from the UN regarding Canada's new gun control laws. This article is more interesting for the news of yet more regulations than it is regarding the UN.

Two things that go well together: Texans and Guns


Were the Democrat's suggestions on Supreme Court Nominees serious?

Democrats were said by two officials familiar with what took place to have broached the names of at least three judges of Hispanic background who they believed had a strong chance of being approved without a tumultuous confirmation fight: Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Judge Edward Prado of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa of Federal District Court in Texas. Mr. Leahy would not confirm that those names were mentioned, but said he saw them as strong candidates. These particular judges have not been among the top possible nominees mentioned by Republican allies of the White House. . . .

This is what I sent to the Times:

Dear Letters Editor:

Your article makes the Democrats' suggestions on whom Bush should nominate for the Supreme Court look more serious than they actually are (Bush Says He Might Consider Judicial Newcomers for High Court, July 13). For example, the piece ignores that Judge Sonia Sotomayor was nominated for the circuit court by President Clinton. The Almanac of the Federal Judiciary surveys lawyers who practice before judges on the judges political views and rates Sotomayor as either a moderate or neutral politically and Ricardo Hinojosa as a moderate. Only Edward Prado is viewed by any of the practicing lawyers as conservative, and the views of him are evenly split between viewing him as conservative and neutral.

Compare this with Senator Orin Hatch’s suggestions to President Clinton of Stephen Breyer and Ruth Ginsberg. Both were strong liberals, with Breyer having served as Senator Kennedy's Special Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee and Ginsberg having been the general counsel for the ACLU.


John R. Lott, Jr.


What am I missing here? A foreign embassy being used to sponsor a dinner for an American anti-gun organization

Putting the risk of guns in the home in some perspective

Movement to open up Federal Parks for public access to federal shooting ranges

Alan Korwin, Author
Gun Laws of America
July 11, 2005

Activists around the country are beginning to probe federal shooting ranges, seeking public access, if my inbound emails are any measure. This follows release of news from Bloomfield Press that federal law specifically allows such use (linked at end). So far, authorities have reportedly been resisting the public's interest in following the law, and that's putting it nicely.

No one appears to be surprised by the stonewalling. Some of these target shooters have actually been motivated by the resistance they have encountered, saying it is a good arena for "shoe-leather activism." The reward of having a lot of cool new places to go shooting has also encouraged people to act.

One leverage point was brought up by an attorney. The law specifically says that range fees, which may be charged in some cases, "shall be credited to the appropriation available for the operation and maintenance of that rifle range and shall be available for the operation and maintenance of that rifle range." In plain English, that means the range keeps the money.

Normally, fees are taken away from the unit that collects them, and put in a general fund for all government offices to spend. Money staying at the range is a strong incentive to range operators who might otherwise be reluctant to comply with the federal law.

Wiggle room has been found by some ranges claiming they are pistol ranges, and not rifle ranges. The law is limited to rifle ranges, an undefined term. If rifles are or have ever been used on the range, the authorities would be hard pressed to claim it is not a rifle range. Carbines are rifles. The Uzi carbine popular with some federal officials is technically a rifle, since it is designed to be fired from the shoulder, even though it shoots a 9mm cartridge. The official definition of a rifle is in 18 USC 921:

"(7) The term 'rifle' means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of an explosive to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger." . . .


UN meets this week to discuss banning guns

UN to Chart Progress Suppressing Small Arms Trade
Monday, 11 July 2005, 9:51 am
Press Release: United Nations
UN Meets Next Week to Chart Progress on Suppressing Illicit Trade in Small Arms
New York, Jul 8 2005 6:00PM

Calling small arms the real weapons of mass destruction because of their daily toll on human life, the heads of a conference next week to review how United Nations Member States have implemented a programme to eliminate the trade in illicit weapons today said that despite some progress, much more needed to be done.

The Chairman of the Biennial Meeting of States on the illicit small arms trade, Pasi Patokallio of Finland, said the welcome news included the entry into force a few days ago of a legally binding UN protocol against illicit firearms trafficking which sought to fight criminality by using the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

Two weeks ago, he added, another politically binding UN instrument was negotiated to identify and trace small arms, both in crime and in conflict situations.

On the other hand, the annual "Small Arms Survey" estimated that about 100,000 people per year died in direct conflict and small arms were responsible for up to 90 per cent of those deaths. In addition, a recent study by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue called "No Relief" showed that small arms violence played a major role in preventing the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance, Mr. Patokallio said.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Nobuyasu Abe said people were now realizing that the "culprits" in the spread of small arms were international arms brokers, not necessarily Governments.

Brokers bought the arms legitimately, but then diverted them into underground markets, a practice which had saturated African countries and fuelled conflicts elsewhere, he said.

With the conclusion of the negotiations on tracing small arms, attention was now moving to controlling the brokers and that topic would also be discussed next week, Mr. Abe said.


Campaign finance regulations continue becoming more extreme

From John Fund at OpinionJournal's Political Diary

First, the McCain-Feingold bill placed restrictions on ads run by advocacy groups within 60 days of an election. Then the Federal Election Commission staff proposed regulating the activities of Internet bloggers if they promote a candidate. Now a Washington state judge has ruled that two Seattle talk show hosts will have to place a monetary value on "campaign contributions" they make when they argue in favor of a proposed ballot measure.

Angry motorists in the state have collected signatures to put Initiative 912 on the ballot, which would repeal a three-cent increase in the state's gas tax. But city attorneys in several Washington counties took I-912's backers to court because some of the donors giving money to the effort through the Internet payment service PayPal weren't revealing personal information as required by the state's campaign disclosure laws.

Judge Chris Wickham, a superior court judge in the state capital of Olympia, not only found in favor of the opponents but went further to argue that Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson, two hosts at Seattle news/talk station KVI, were required to determine and report a monetary value for their pro-I-912 commentary. . . .

What is next? A judge ordering one of Seattle's newspapers to determine a monetary value for an editorial that praises one candidate while disparaging another? . . .


NRA armed citizen column for 2005


Rumors on Supreme Court Vacancies


This is a familiar story

Canada's National Post: Gun registry is no lifesaver

The gun controls implemented by the federal Liberal government in 1995 appear to have had little if any effect on gun-related deaths, despite a $1.3-billion price tag and the government's extravagant claims that the measures would produce "a culture of safety" and dramatically reduce crime.

Last fall, Statistics Canada declared that "the specific impact of the firearms program or the firearms registry" on Canada's declining homicide rate could not "be isolated from that of other factors." On Tuesday, following the release of her paper, Deaths Involving Firearms: 1979 to 2002, StatsCan researcher Kathryn Wilkins explained, "there have been gun-control laws for most of this last century, of one sort or another," so it is difficult to identify a single cause of Canada's shrinking rate of firearms deaths (a category that includes murders, suicides and accidents).


Dan Walters: Rights of individuals were the Declaration's core values

Dan Walters has a very interesting and powerful piece. The entire piece is worth reading.

As we celebrate the birth of the nation, we should not forget that the essential purpose of those who signed the Declaration of Independence 229 years ago was not merely to create a new nation, but to create one that would protect the "inalienable rights" of human beings to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Those rights were spelled out in more detail in the Constitution's Bill of Rights, but their essential message remained intact and remains valid today: Live and let live.

Ironically, as the concept of individual rights continues to spread across the globe, even into such unlikely locales as the Middle East, we Americans seem to be increasingly willing to trade individual rights away for other values, such as security - however we may define it - political correctness or economic gains.. . .

We see it in the proliferation of bills in the Legislature that harass law-abiding firearms owners, supposedly in the name of battling crime but really just because some folks have a cultural aversion to guns and their owners. . .

A free press may be intrusive and even irresponsible, but it also is a check on official malfeasance and is a civic educator. Strangely, however, many newspaper editorialists who cherish their First Amendment rights also advocate abridging the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. . . .

Thanks very much to Bob Harding for sending this to me.


Federal Gun Ranges Protected

Alan Korwin writes in a new email that: "A ten-year review of national gun laws reveals that public access to federal shooting ranges has been preserved. A little-known law states that any rifle range built at least partially by federal money may be used by the military and the public. . . .

Other features of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) were abandoned, such as free .22 and .30 caliber ammunition for the public and youth groups. The rewrite of these laws are included in the completely updated 5th edition of 'Gun Laws of America,' to be released this month. Details are posted at gunlaws.com."

Virginia allows limited carry on school ground

until Friday, Virginia law had prohibited anyone other than law-enforcement officials from possessing loaded guns on school property. Individuals with concealed-weapon permits could have an unloaded gun with them in their vehicle, but it had to be in a case or on a gun rack.

So when Webb had to pick her daughter up from school unexpectedly, she would stop down the road from the school, pull her gun from its concealed holster, unload it and secure the gun and the ammunition before proceeding on to the school.

She won't have to go through that routine any more.

A state law that took effect Friday allows people with concealed-weapon permits to have a loaded, concealed gun in their cars on school property, as long as the person carrying the gun doesn't leave the vehicle.

Virginia is now added to other states such as Oregon, New Hampshire, and Utah that allow privately owned guns on school property.

Virginia allows limited carry on school ground

until Friday, Virginia law had prohibited anyone other than law-enforcement officials from possessing loaded guns on school property. Individuals with concealed-weapon permits could have an unloaded gun with them in their vehicle, but it had to be in a case or on a gun rack.

So when Webb had to pick her daughter up from school unexpectedly, she would stop down the road from the school, pull her gun from its concealed holster, unload it and secure the gun and the ammunition before proceeding on to the school.

She won't have to go through that routine any more.

A state law that took effect Friday allows people with concealed-weapon permits to have a loaded, concealed gun in their cars on school property, as long as the person carrying the gun doesn't leave the vehicle.

Virginia is now added to other states such as Oregon, New Hampshire, and Utah.


Repealing Part of DC's Gun Ban

The current rules that allow you to keep a registered rifle or shotgun in your home if the are disassembled and locked makes them worth little more than a club for self-defense. While it would be even better if handguns were covered in the same way, it will be educational to have all the horror stories of gun control advocates disproved once again if this is passed.

The vote of 259 to 161 marked the third time since 1999 that the House has targeted the city's gun laws, which are among the most stringent in the nation. . . . Gun rights groups said this measure's chances of clearing the Senate are greater because it is attached to a spending bill that Congress must pass to avoid a government shutdown. . . .

Rep. Mark Edward Souder (R-Ind.), the measure's sponsor, said it marked "an extremely simple, common-sense . . . first step" toward freer gun ownership, allowing residents to keep loaded, assembled and unlocked weapons in their homes, just as D.C. business owners are allowed to do at workplaces.

Under D.C. law, residents can keep rifles and shotguns in their homes, as well as handguns owned and registered by Feb. 22, 1977, but only if they are stored in a nonoperating condition. The House amendment would prevent the city from enforcing that restriction. Unlike the bill passed by the House last year, it would not alter the city's ban on handguns, Souder said.

"This amendment does not legalize anything that can't be legally owned now. No machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, AK-47s or Uzis," he said. "All it does is . . . [it] gives D.C. citizens the same rights at home that they have at work."


New op-ed on Firework Safety