Turnpike Toll Takers in Massachusetts Have Been Carrying Guns For Decades with No Training and No Problems

Even though there appears to have been no problems over decades, you can't risk a "wild west" shootout:

Gun-toting toll collectors have been stripped of their sidearms by Mass Pike brass after secretly carrying them for decades without formal training, the Herald has learned.

“I didn’t want to have a wild west show out there,” said Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Executive Director Alan LeBovidge, who ordered the practice stopped. “I could find nothing to show that the employees had state police training that would make them qualified to carry guns.”

But union officials said they are going to fight to allow the toll collectors to keep their weapons, even though a Pike review found the guns were not being properly maintained, with firing pins misaligned and other problems. . . .

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Sienna Miller "Loves" Guns

OK, the fact that Sienna Miller "loves" guns may do more to make gun ownership "cool" than any thousand columns that I could write. Sienna says: "But the best bit is that I'm doing that gun-twisting stuff. I'm learning how to shoot properly, and it's all cool and a lot of fun."



Clinton has election eve conversion on hunting

WIth elections near so many politicians start to come out in favor of hunting, even in Democratic primaries. Now it is Hillary Clinton's turn:

WAUSAU, WIS. -- At a campaign stop this afternoon, Hillary Clinton’s focus was on the economy and health care but some in the crowd had other things on their minds. Clinton was asked to discuss gun control which prompted Clinton to talk about her days holding a rifle in the cold, shallow waters in backwoods Arkansas.

“I’ve hunted. My father taught me how to hunt. I went duck hunting in Arkansas. I remember standing in that cold water, so cold, at first light. I was with a bunch of my friends, all men. The sun’s up, the ducks are flying and they are playing a trick on me. They said, ‘we’re not going to shoot, you shoot.’ They wanted to embarrass me. The pressure was on. So I shot, and I shot a banded duck and they were surprised as I was,” Clinton said drawing laughter from the crowd. . . .

Emphasis added by me to the word "rifle" in the text. Does Hillary know the difference between a shotgun and a rifle? Does she realize how hard it is to shot a duck with a rifle and to even do it on one's first shot? I doubt it.

Thanks to Ben Zycker for the link.

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Space Station Crew has access to a gun

The discussion is here:

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station apparently have access to a gun.
Russian Cosmonauts carry a gun on their Soyuz space capsule, which is attached to the space station. . . .



Now we can add dog leashes to the list of items that take more young lives than guns

To the list of plastic water buckets and bathtubs, now we can add dog leashes. A new CDC report notes how dangerous leashes and bungee cords are:

At least 82 youths have died from the so-called "choking game," according to the first government count of fatalities from the tragic fad.

In the game, children use dog leashes, bungee cords wrapped around their necks or other means to temporarily cut blood flow to their head. The goal is a dreamlike, floating-in-space feeling when blood rushes back into the brain. . . .

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What is an all too common reaction to gun ownership

I was pointed to this blog posting by Amanda Nalley, someone who I don't know, but her discussion was interesting because of the reactions that she faced from getting a concealed handgun permit are so similar to what I am sure that many face. It is also clear that there continue to be so many misconceptions about the risks of having guns.

I know owning a gun is dangerous, but so is getting in a car, or sharpening kitchen knives.

What bothers me the most about my choice is talking to non-gun owners.

I keep hearing the same things over and over and over again. They don't want to sound prudish by saying guns are bad but they want to know why you are doing it and have dozens of reasons as to why you shouldn't.

"Why? I mean, I don't mind guns and I don't mind people owning them. My grandfather even owned one. I just don't get it though. What are you trying to accomplish? What about kids? Will they be safe? Why would you ever want to carry one on you? Wouldn't it just incite a situation?"

Most gun owners know there are safety issues in owning a gun. A responsible owner, like a responsible driver, will obey rules and store their guns safely. But there are those who don't obey the rules just like there are drivers who run red lights.

Guns, like cars, are everywhere. They are like the dirty little secret we pretend isn't all around us. And they are one of the few things that EVERYONE has formed an opinion on (other topics would include tipping and abortion).

The four gun classes that were held this weekend were some of the largest in the state. And the variety of people there was awe inspiring. . . .

The problem of course is that these safety rules come at a real cost for people's safety. Locking up guns make it much harder for people to use guns defensively.

In 2004, there were 649 accidental gun deaths, 76 of those deaths involved women. I just did a really quick search on this.

Unintentional poisoning 20,950, women 7,016
Unintentional Falls 18,807, women 8,951
Suffocation 5,891, women 2,671
Fires 3,322, women 1,368
Unintentional bicycle deaths 843, women 111
Unintentional Motor Vehicles 44,933, women 14,096
Drowning 3,308, women 714



Government not to successful in keeping this well-known convicted killer from getting guns

The link to this story is here:

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- A federal jury convicted a 23-year-old man on an obscure weapons charge Tuesday, apparently unaware that 10 years ago he and another boy killed four classmates and a teacher in a schoolyard ambush.
Mitchell Johnson faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced in the next 45 days on a count of possessing a firearm while being a drug user. Through his attorney, Johnson declined to comment Tuesday.
Johnson was arrested on New Year's Day 2007 after police stopped his van and said they found a bag of marijuana in his pocket and a 9 mm pistol and a 20-gauge shotgun in two bags. Police said they stopped the van after getting an anonymous tip about drugs in the vehicle.
In 1998, Johnson, then 13, and 11-year-old schoolmate Andrew Golden opened fire as students and teachers left Jonesboro Westside Middle School after Golden pulled the fire alarm. The boys killed English teacher Shannon Wright and four students ages 11 and 12. They wounded 10 other people. . . .

Thanks to Rich for sending this link.

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NORC Survey data on Gun Ownership and Support for Gun Control is at Odds with Other Survey data

For a critical discussion on a recent Reuters story on gun ownership see here.

Thanks to Jack Anderson for sending this link to me.




It is difficult for me to understand what the "business" reason would be for this. I guess that I have never heard of the company that processes credit card transactions facing liability so that also seem out of the question. Not processing non-firearm transactions for companies involved with firearms? This seems a bridge too far. So is it just political?


National Shooting Sports Foundation

January 7, 2008

REFUSES TO PROCESS TRANSACTIONS . . . Citi Merchant Services and First Data Corp. are refusing to process any credit card transactions between federally licensed firearms retailers, distributors and manufacturers -- a move which will severely limit available inventory of firearms and ammunition to military, law enforcement and law-abiding Americans.

The first company to be affected by this decision appears to be firearms
distributor CDNN Sports Inc.
"We were contacted recently by First Data/Citi Merchant Services by a June Rivera-Mantilla stating that we were terminated and funds were being seized for selling firearms in a non-face-to-face transaction," said Charlie Crawford, president of CDNN Sports Inc. "Although perfectly legal, we were also informed that no transactions would be processed in the future, even for non-firearms. I find this very frightening."

To voice your concern to Citi Merchant Services and First Data Corp., please contact June Rivera-Mantilla at 631-683-7734 or her supervisor Robert Tenenbaum at 631-683-6570.

To change to an NSSF-affiliated credit card processing program, contact
Payment Alliance International at 1-866-371-2273 (ext. 1131).

Thanks to Dan Gifford for this information.

UPDATE: At least one person is dropping his Citi bank card.



UK Government: Let boys play with guns in nurseries

Disarming police in Mexico

The Mexican army has confiscated guns from the entire police force of the town of Rosarito, near the Mexican border with the US.

Mexican authorities suspect that the town's police have been colluding with drug trafficking gangs.

Mexican troops carried out a similar crackdown in January on Tijuana police.

This is what happened after the Mexican government disarmed the Tijuana police the end of last year:

Police in the northern Mexican border city of Tijuana have had their guns returned, three weeks after they were all ordered to hand them in.

Mexican federal authorities confiscated the guns to check whether any had been used in drug crimes.

Some officers refused to go on patrol without their weapons, while others carried plastic catapults and marbles to protect themselves.

An official said it was not clear if any officers would face drugs charges.

The authorities' move was part of efforts to crack down on drug traffickers and suspected police collaboration.

Officers attacked

The operation is part of tough measures introduced by new Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

The government has sent more than 3,000 soldiers and federal police to the Tijuana area to help fight drug trafficking and gang violence.

They confiscated the local force's weapons during investigations into allegations that some local officers had been involved in drug smuggling.

But Tijuana Public Safety Secretary Luis Javier Algorri said the move had endangered the city's police and residents. . . .

See my recent post here for what also was claimed to have happened when fewer police carried guns in England

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Fewer Armed Police, More Violent Crime


Some detective work pays off for the NRA

It is interesting how the government can take people's guns and people don't feel that it is worth the hassle to go through the process to get them back.

NEW ORLEANS — The National Rifle Association has hired private investigators to find hundreds of people whose firearms were seized by city police in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to court papers filed this week.

The NRA is trying to locate gun owners for a federal lawsuit that the lobbying group filed against Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley over the city's seizure of firearms after the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane.

In the lawsuit, the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation claim the city violated gun owners' constitutional right to bear arms and left them "at the mercy of roving gangs, home invaders, and other criminals" after Katrina.

The NRA says the city seized more than 1,000 guns that weren't part of any criminal investigation after the hurricane. Police have said they took only guns that had been stolen or found in abandoned homes.

NRA lawyer Daniel Holliday said investigators have identified about 300 of the gun owners and located about 75 of them. Some of them could be called to testify during a trial, he added. . . .



News Items from the UK

Having guns makes a teacher unfit to teach in England:

A TEACHER police feared could become "the next Thomas Hamilton" has been banned from the profession. Firearms enthusiast Stewart Nicoll, 56, is to be struck off by the General Teaching Council for Scotland after being found guilty of professional misconduct at Grantown Grammar in the Highlands.

He had previously been suspended by the local authority on full pay after his civil case against the police to win back his guns hit the headlines. . . . .

It appears that someone as young as eight years of age has been allowed to fire a shotgun in England:

Children as young as eight are being issued gun licences by the police, figures showed yesterday. # Have your say: Is eight too young for a gun?

Forces granted 1,291 shotgun certificates to those aged 16 and under in England and Wales during the 12 months to October.

Police said that there was no minimum age requirement for a holding licence and that a certificate would be issued to anyone who was not banned under the Firearms Act or did not pose a risk to public safety.

Campiagners expressed shock last night that those so young were being given licences. However, police said that children were not allowed to own a gun unless they were over 16 and licences were not issued until they were satisfied that security measures were in place and that adults were supervising correctly. . . . .

Thanks to Bruce Mills for these links.

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Mitt Romney inaccurately claiming that he had the NRA endorsement when he ran for governor

John Fund at OpinionJournal's Political Diary writes:

"Last Sunday, Mr. Romney appeared on NBC's 'Meet the Press' and twice claimed he had won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association in his 2002 race for governor of Massachusetts. Wrong. While Mr. Romney got a respectable 'B' rating from the NRA, it was his Democratic opponent, Shannon O'Brien, who actually got an 'A' grade from the gun-rights group, which ultimately made no endorsement in the race. Ouch."

My guess is that Shannon O'Brien didn't want the endorsement because it would have hurt more than helped in Massachusetts.

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Police hit rates on shootings as low as 17.4 percent

New York City police statistics show that simply hitting a target, let alone hitting it in a specific spot, is a difficult challenge. In 2006, in cases where police officers intentionally fired a gun at a person, they discharged 364 bullets and hit their target 103 times, for a hit rate of 28.3 percent, according to the department’s Firearms Discharge Report. The police shot and killed 13 people last year.
In 2005, officers fired 472 times in the same circumstances, hitting their mark 82 times, for a 17.4 percent hit rate. They shot and killed nine people that year.
In all shootings — including those against people, animals and in suicides and other situations — New York City officers achieved a 34 percent accuracy rate (182 out of 540), and a 43 percent accuracy rate when the target ranged from zero to six feet away. Nearly half the shots they fired last year were within that distance.
In Los Angeles, where there are far fewer shots discharged, the police fired 67 times in 2006 and had 27 hits, a 40 percent hit rate, which, while better than New York’s, still shows that they miss targets more often they hit them. . . .

The one important piece of information that is missing here is the number of people that the police shot at. If you take the estimate that I have that only about 5 percent of confrontations between armed victims and criminals result in the victim firing a gun, a 17.4 percent hit rate would imply that fewer than one percent of criminals would be shot. It would be interesting for someone to explain how this hit rate varies across cities.

Thanks very much to Rich for sending me this link.

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A first hand account of how the Colorado Church attack was stopped


Open Carry at the University of Utah?

The U and gun rights activists appear to be headed for another legal clash.

The debate: whether or not concealed weapons permit holders can openly display their firearms on campus.

Students and staff with permits have been allowed to carry guns on campus since last fall when the Utah State Supreme Court struck down the U's gun ban. After battling the state for nearly five years, administrators said they were happy to put the issue behind them when they dropped a federal lawsuit against the state last spring. . . .

While I understand the push for this from a desire to get people to accept gun ownership, the benefits regarding stopping multiple victim public shootings are much bigger for concealed carry because the criminals won't know until they attack which potential victims will be able to fight back.

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USA Today Online Poll on Second Amendment

A USA Today poll asking whether the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to bear arms can be found here.

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A fast look at the media coverage on the Omaha Westroad Mall Shooting

There were 2,674 news stories according to Google News search by about 4 AM EST today. Of course, these are news stories worldwide.

But I can find any of these stories that mention that the attack occurred in a gun free zone. Why?

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Why Athletes need guns

A few years ago I wrote an op-ed on Athletes and Guns. It is hard for some to understand why athletes, people who are so big and strong, would want to have a gun for self protection. Take the case this week of Sean Taylor:

Washington Redskins star safety Sean Taylor was in critical condition Monday after surgery for a gunshot wound to his leg during what police are investigating as a possible armed robbery at his home.

Athletes are attractive targets because they are wealthy and so high profile.

Here is another recent robbery of another professional football player's home involving Houston Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson.

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Something worth listening to on who are these gun owners

For many anti-gun people this will be educational. It is something that I posted to years ago when it came out. I guess the fourth picture and discussion is my favorite one.



More on Romney and guns

This is from someone who I am confident knows the facts here:

This isn't the first time we've attempted to deal with Mr. Romney on Second-Amendment issues. In 2001, the Utah Legislature passed a special bill designating the 2002 Winter Olympic venues as temporary secure areas, making it illegal to bring firearms into those venues during the Olympics. As with all secure areas designated by state law here, two requirements were attached. The first was a security perimeter around the entire venue, with metal detectors at all entrances. This, of course, was put in place at all Olympic venues. The second requirement was that gun-storage lockers be provided outside the security perimeter, where legally-carried self-defense weapons could be safely deposited.

When Mr. Romney took charge of the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee, we politely asked him whether lockers would be put in place as required by law. He curtly informed us that no lockers would be provided. The absolute disdain with which he treated us left a bad taste that still lingers in the gun-rights community in Utah.

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Columbus, Georgia sees big increase in gun ownership with rise in crime


Even with gun ownership, you make something more costly people do less of it


UK Gun Crime Soaring, Labor Government Accused of Cooking the Books

THE government was accused yesterday of covering up the full extent of the gun crime epidemic sweeping Britain, after official figures showed that gun-related killings and injuries had risen more than fourfold since 1998.

The Home Office figures - which exclude crimes involving air weapons - show the number of deaths and injuries caused by gun attacks in England and Wales soared from 864 in 1998-99 to 3,821 in 2005-06. That means that more than 10 people are injured or killed in a gun attack every day.

This weekend the Tories said the figures challenged claims by Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, that gun crime was falling. David Davis, the shadow home secretary, tells her in a letter today that the “staggering findings” show her claims that gun crime has fallen are “inaccurate and misleading”. . . .

Thanks very much to Will Brink for bringing this to my attention.

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Jodie Foster's New Movie "The Brave One" Looks to be Very Disappointing

"The Brave One" looked like a revival of the old "Death Wish" movies, or at least that was what I thought at first. Warner Brothers describes the movie as follows:

The first time she shoots someone, it is kill or be killed. The second time is also in self-defense . . . or did she make a choice not to take herself out of harm's way? The fear that once paralyzed her has been replaced by something else . . .

I have posted positive notes on this movie earlier, but this summary and Jodie Foster's discussion here are very disappointing:

''Here's my commentary: I don't believe that any gun should be in the hand of a thinking, feeling, breathing human being. Americans are by nature filled with rage-slash-fear. And guns are a huge part of our culture. I know I'm crazy because I'm only supposed to say that in Europe. But violence corrupts absolutely. By the end of this, her transformation is complete. ''F--- all of you, now I'm just going to kill people with my bare hands.''' . . .

Does this mean that Switzerland isn't part of Europe? In any case, the synopsis of the movie stating she "has been replaced by something else" with Foster's own views is not very promising. It appears to give this movie a decidedly anti-self defense twist.

Well, at least some of the recent reviews have picked up on this heavily anti-self defense sentiment that seems apparent in the movie:

an impeccable dissection of gun control, as well as a wicked mockery of NRA mentality. . . .

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Percentage of Americans who are Hunters Plummets

New figures from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show that the number of hunters 16 and older declined by 10 percent between 1996 and 2006 - from 14 million to about 12.5 million. The drop was most acute in New England, the Rocky Mountains, and the Pacific states, which lost 400,000 hunters in that span.

The primary reasons, experts say, are the loss of hunting land to urbanization plus a perception by many families that they can't afford the time or costs that hunting entails.

"To recruit new hunters, it takes hunting families," said Gregg Patterson of Ducks Unlimited. "I was introduced to it by my father, he was introduced to it by his father. When you have boys and girls without a hunter in the household, it's tough to give them the experience."

Some animal-welfare activists welcome the trend, noting that it coincides with a 13 percent increase in wildlife watching since 1996. But hunters and state wildlife agencies, as they prepare for the fall hunting season, say the drop is worrisome. . . .

There are a lot of economics reasons for this. Fewer people have grown up in rural areas raising the costs of them learning how to hunt, possibly more alternative activities raising their opportunity costs, increased licensing requirements raising the costs of getting started, and having to travel farther to go hunting.

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Arizona School Suspends 13-Year-Old for Doodle showing a Gun

MESA, Arizona — Officials at an Arizona school suspended a 13-year-old boy for sketching what looked like a gun, saying the action posed a threat to his classmates.

The boy's parents said the drawing was a harmless doodle and school officials overreacted.

"The school made him feel like he committed a crime. They are doing more damage than good," said the boy's mother, Paula Mosteller.

The drawing did not show blood, bullets, injuries or target any human, the parents said. And the East Valley Tribune reported that the boy said he did not intend for the picture to be a threat.

Administrators of Payne Junior High in nearby Chandler suspended the boy on Monday for five days but later reduced it to three days. . . . .

If you follow the above link, you will see a copy of the picture that this 13-year-old drew. This doodle doesn't seem very threatening to me.

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An update on British crime rates

An update on British crime rates can be seen here.

Thanks to Brian O'Connor for sending me this link.

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Michael Medved nails another myth: The Truth about Internet Hunting

Who says politicians can’t move swiftly and decisively to block an imminent threat to public decency?

Consider the courageous work of most of our state legislatures and, potentially, the Congress of the United States, to put an end to the shameful scourge of internet hunting.

Since 2005, 33 states have outlawed the cruel, unsportsmanlike practice, and when the governor signs an Illinois bill that’s already passed both houses that will make 34 states that have taken action to put an end to the slaughter. As the Humane Society of the United States declared in a mailing that went out in 2006 to 50,000 households: “Such horrific cruelty must stop and stop now!”

As recently as last week, sportswriter and novelist Frank Deford delivered a scathing commentary on NPR decrying the hordes of knuckle-dragging internet hunters and comparing their viciousness to the alleged dog-fighting abuses of football star Michael Vick. Even the United States House of Representatives has taken up the cause, with one of the senior Republicans in Congress, the usually level-headed Tom Davis of Virginia, introducing HR 2711, The Computer Assisted Remote Hunting Act. “You just wonder,” he declared, “who would do something like this?”

The answer is no one, actually.

Despite the nationwide hysteria (deliberately fanned by the Humane Society and other animal welfare groups) there’s no evidence anywhere, that anyone has blown away herds of unsuspecting wildlife through an internet connection. . . .

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President Signs Executive Order on Hunting

Washington, D.C. - An Executive Order issued by the President of the United States will spell more hunting opportunities and enhanced conservation efforts, according to the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, the nation's premier sportsmen's rights advocacy organization.

Today, President George W. Bush released the order, entitled "Facilitation of Hunting and Wildlife Conservation." It directs all relevant federal agencies to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities, wildlife management and habitat.

"The Executive Order is a great milestone for sportsmen and wildlife conservation," said Bud Pidgeon, president and CEO of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance. "It clearly demonstrates that the President understands the unbreakable bond between successful wildlife conservation and hunting - that sportsmen are the key to abundant wildlife and habitat." . . .

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Fred Thompson and Giuliani Tangle on Gun Issue

Fred Thompson made a blog posting on the gun issue yesterday:

There are lots of things about [New York] I like, but New York gun laws don’t fall in that category. Anybody who knows me knows I’ve always cared deeply about the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. So I’ve always felt sort of relieved when I flew back home to where that particular civil liberty gets as much respect as the rest of the Bill of Rights. . . .

The lawsuit has been a lesson in out-of-control government from the get-go. Mayor Bloomberg sent private investigators to make “straw” purchases – illegally buying guns for somebody else. According to the ATF, NY’s illegal “stings” interfered with ongoing investigations of real gun traffickers. . . .

Guliani, who has claimed in the past that gun control was an important reason for crime falling in New York City in the 1990s, responded:

In his comments, Mr. Thompson went on to suggest that high gun ownership rates may be related to the nation’s low violent crime rates.

The Giuliani campaign responded. “Those who live in New York in the real world — not on TV — know that Rudy Giuliani’s record of making the city safe for families speaks for itself,” said Katie Levinson, the Giuliani campaign’s communications director. “No amount of political theater will change that.” . . .

For those who want to see some of my past postings on Giuliania and guns see here, here, and here.

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Norway: Schooling and Guns

Schooling in Norway is apparently not a gun free zone:

Students on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard aren't allowed to leave their village without a shotgun and ammunition. That's because hungry polar bears can be behind every swing on the island.

Although no one wants to shoot a polar bear, and they're indeed protected by national law, the huge white animals can quickly outrun a human. And humans don't have a chance if confronted by an aggressive bear.

So everyone on Svalbard needs to be able defend him- or herself, and students undergo weapons training every year.

"We feel more secure and look forward to learn a lot more," said Helga Therese Tilley Tajet of Moelv. She's studying meteorology at the University of Oslo and will concentrate on the Arctic marine climate for the next six months at the university on Svalbard, UNIS. . . .

I wonder if there are any students who have been wounded with accidental gun shoots. For some reason despite all these students having guns I bet that there haven't been any problems.

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Some shows on gun crime

John Stossel has a nice show after the Virginia Tech shooting here.

The 1/2 hour News Hour has a more humorous take here.

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The Slippery slope: Banning Twisting Balloons into the Shape of Guns


Gun ownership drops further in Massachusetts

Well, the gun control laws accomplished exactly what they were supposed to do: reduce legal gun ownership.

According to the Boston Globe, the number of legal gun owners has declined by more than 25 percent in the past six years . . . .

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"11-Year-Old Arrested For Using Rubber Band Gun"

How can someone really honestly confuse a rubberband gun with a real gun?

OCOEE (Florida), June 7: An 11-year-old Ocoee boy was arrested for playing with a toy gun. Police said the arrest was necessary, because it was a safety issue.

The boy was using a rubber band gun and his father said the kid did nothing wrong, but police said they take it as a serious threat and the 11-year-old is facing felony charges.

The crime isn't very common, but Ocoee police said it is serious. It centers on an 11-year0old boy and his toy short-barreled shotgun.

The incident started Sunday afternoon, when the 11-year-old was riding in his dad's pickup near Clarke Road and White Road in Ocoee. Someone driving nearby called police after they said the boy pointed what looked like a real gun out the window. The victim told police she was afraid for her life. . . . .

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Rosie O'Donnell Posts Pictures of 4-year-Old Daughter Dressed as Guerrilla Fighter Complete with Bullets and Guns

Unemployed gabfest queen Rosie O'Donnell, who last went to war with Elizabeth Hasselbeck only to retreat from her position on "The View," appears to have drafted a reinforcement in the form of waify 4-year-old Vivian Rose, better known as "Vivi."

Rosie posted a video and photo of her little soldier on her Web site Rosie.com on Tuesday, which drew immediate reaction -- some not so kind -- about the media transformation of her daughter from little princess to bullet-toting guerrilla fighter.

"That is a horrible picture of VIvi!!" one viewer wrote to her blog. Other comments included:


"wow Ro that photo of Vivi with the bullets made me cry-it’s scary to think that there are precious little ones really walking around like that in our world “for real”. Come on people! Help our babies"

"what’s with the new pic? it’s rather disturbing!" . . . .

I assume that the obvious answer is that this is just a PR ploy.

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"'You're fired,' man hears after saving a woman's life"

When a neighbor screamed she'd been shot, Colin Bruley grabbed his shotgun, found the victim and began treating her bloodied right leg.

Tonnetta Lee survived Tuesday's pre-dawn shooting at her Jacksonville apartment, and her sister and a neighbor praised Bruley's actions. But his employers, the same people who own the Arlington complex where Bruley lives, reacted differently. They fired him.

Bruley, a leasing agent at the Oaks at Mill Creek, said he lost his job after being told that brandishing the weapon was a workplace violation, as was failing to notify supervisors after the incident occurred. He'd worked at the Monument Road complex since December and for the owner, Village Green Cos., since 2005. . . .

Some other members of the media are starting to pick up on this story.

Yes, Bruley may have deviated from protocol -- but he did so in an emergency situation. He put the life of his neighbor -- who was also his client -- ahead of his own safety. Which raises the question: Isn't this the kind of person any company would want as an employee?

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Bizarre Zero Tolerance on Guns

According to public school teachers at this Rancho Palos Verdes, California school, tiny plastic toy soldiers apparently represent a real threat to public safety.

Who knew a 2-inch toy army man could cause such a stir?

A fifth-grade promotion ceremony in Rancho Palos Verdes turned into a free-speech battleground Thursday, when students were asked to remove weapons from toys that had been placed on mortarboard caps because of the school's zero-tolerance policy for weapons on campus.

Each year, students decorate wide caps with princesses, football goal posts, zebras, guitars and other items to express their personalities and career goals. Cornerstone at Pedregal School is the only Palos Verdes Peninsula public school to practice the tradition.

On Thursday, before the ceremony, one boy was told he couldn't participate unless he agreed to clip off the tips of the plastic guns carried by the minuscule GIs on his cap. Ten others complied with the order before the event.

Parents reacted angrily, calling Principal Denise Leonard's decision censorship, but the Palos Verdes Peninsula School District defended her.

Cole McNamara and Austin Nakata, 11-year-old buddies who share an interest in all things military, said they put the toys on their hats to support American troops in Iraq.

"I was kind of mad because they just went over and clipped them off and didn't say anything about it," Austin said.

His father, Glen Nakata, said he was disappointed that parents were not approached or consulted on elimination of the "firearms."

"I felt they were keeping the boys from expressing their patriotism, their strong beliefs toward the military," he said. . . . .

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Ben Wittes on Ditching the Second Amendment

I think that this is a great piece. I think that Ben is exactly right that the debate should be about whether to repeal the amendment. Ben and I will disagree over whether there should be a repeal, but that is the right debate.

The New York Times editorial page accused the appeals court panel that on March 9 struck down portions of Washington, D.C.'s ultra-strict gun-control law of storming "blithely past a longstanding Supreme Court precedent, the language of the Constitution and the pressing needs of public safety." My former colleagues at the Washington Post described the decision as a "radical ruling" that "will inevitably mean more people killed and wounded as keeping guns out of the city becomes harder."

It's not hard to see where the anger comes from. The two-to-one decision by the famously conservative Judge Laurence Silberman is, indeed, radical. Consider the following:

• The "central object" of the Second Amendment "is to arm 'We the People' so that ordinary citizens can participate in the collective defense of their community and their state. ... [T]he amendment achieves its central purpose by assuring that the federal government may not disarm individual citizens without some unusually strong justification. ... That assurance in turn is provided through recognizing a right ... on the part of individuals to possess and use firearms in defense of themselves and their homes."

• "For too long, most members of the legal academy have treated the Second Amendment as the equivalent of an embarrassing relative, whose mention brings a quick change of subject to other, more respectable, family members. That will no longer do. It is time for the Second Amendment to enter full scale into the consciousness of the legal academy."

• While at the Founding, the Second Amendment may have embodied a "collective" right, after the Civil War amendments, the constitutional landscape changed dramatically, and "gun-toting was individualistic, accentuating not group rights of the citizenry but self-regarding 'privileges' of discrete 'citizens' to individual self-protection."

Radical stuff, indeed. But there's a big problem with blasting Silberman for entertaining the notion that the people's right to "keep and bear arms" may actually include an individual right to, well, keep or bear a gun in the District of Columbia: None of these words actually come from his opinion. All, in fact, were written by esteemed liberal law professors. . . . . .

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Repeal the Second Amendment?

I respect Ben Wittes and this argument is surely the right argument to make for those who don't believe that there should be an individual right to own a gun. While I didn't attend the discussion because I was not invited until the middle of last week, I thought that Randy Barnett's response that repealing the second amendment would open up to question all other constitutional rights was pretty weak (though possibly the reporter just doesn't correctly describe his argument). It is very hard to repeal parts of the constitution and I don't see what harm that it would do to interpret these rights correctly and then have people realize that the only way that they can be changed is through a constitutional amendment.

"The Second Amendment is one of the clearest statements of right in the Constitution," Benjamin Wittes, a guest scholar at the center-left Brookings Institution, acknowledged in a discussion Monday. "We've had decades of sort of intellectual gymnastics to try to make those words not mean what they say."

Wittes, who said he has "no particular enthusiasm for the idea of a gun culture," said that rather than try to limit gun ownership through regulation that potentially violates the Second Amendment, opponents of gun ownership should set their sights on repealing the amendment altogether.

"Rather than debating the meaning of the Second Amendment, I think the appropriate debate is whether we want a Second Amendment," Wittes said. He conceded, however, that the political likelihood of getting the amendment repealed is "pretty limited."

Wittes said the Second Amendment guarantee of the right to bear arms meant more when it was crafted more than 200 years ago than it does today. Modern society is "much more ambivalent than they [the founders] were about whether gun ownership really is fundamental to liberty," he said. . . . . .

UPDATE: Ben Wittes was nice enough to write me and point out that this was indeed not Randy's argument. Ben writes me that "His comments about the dangers of the intellectual arguments against the Second Amendment came not in response to my arguments about repeal but in response to the idea of judicial interpretation that renders the amendment a nullity. His point was that the same intellectual and doctrinal strategies used by gun control supporters in arguing against the individual rights view of the amendment could easily be deployed against any other provision of individual right in the Constitution. While I assume he disagreed with my call for a repeal, I don't believe he addressed the merits of it at all."

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Funny letter in the LA Times

I recently came across this amusing letter that was published in the LA Times. While it was published a few years ago, I still think that the letter is worth pointing to.

Los Angeles Times

July 16, 2004 Friday
Home Edition

SECTION: CALIFORNIA; Metro; Editorial Pages Desk; Part B; Pg. 10

LENGTH: 199 words

HEADLINE: Ban on Assault Guns Misses the Target


If you must resort to such hyperbole as dubbing common, semiautomatic firearms "weapons of mass destruction," then the least you could do is run that editorial on a different day from the one that claims Saddam Hussein didn't haveany.

Jeff Bishop

Rancho Santa Margarita

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More bad advice on gun safety

A Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center survey claims that 70 percent of gun owners do not store their firearms "safely." A doctor associated with the study claims: "This concerns us a great deal because having guns in the home increases the likelihood that they will be used in a suicide or unintentional injury.” Of course, there is no discussion about who accidentally fires these guns (hint not law-abiding citizens and not children in those homes) and no mention of the fact that locked guns lead to even more deaths because people are unable to use guns to defend themselves. I don't even see a discussion of how rare accidental gun deaths are or that with suicide there are so many other methods available.

Thanks to Sonya Jones for sending me this link.

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More on Parker Case

David Hardy gives his legal insights on the DC Parker gun control case here.

David makes many good legal points in the interview, though I do disagree with him on the costs of losing the case at the Supreme Court. I do think that it would have a devastating effect on those who support the right to protection to have the Supreme Court say that the 2nd Amendment does not protect an individual right. Right now the vast majority of people believe that there is an individual right to gun ownership and I think that would change with such a ruling. My guess is that there is a somewhat better than a 50 percent chance that won't happen, but if it did, it would be a big cost.

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Boy stops wild hog as big as buffalo

This is one scary animal. It weighs as much as some buffalo and appears to be longer than most. I am no expert on this this, but one sad thing about this boy shooting the wild hog is that possibly it could have been caputred and used bred to produce larger pigs for sale for food.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Hogzilla is being made into a horror movie. But the sequel may be even bigger: Meet Monster Pig. An 11-year-old Alabama boy used a pistol to kill a wild hog his father says weighed a staggering 1,051 pounds and measured 9-feet-4 from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail. Think hams as big as car tires.

If the claims are accurate, Jamison Stone's trophy boar would be bigger than Hogzilla, the famed wild hog that grew to seemingly mythical proportions after being killed in south Georgia in 2004. . . . .

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Are Gun Owners Planning on Voting Differently Than Non-gun Owners?


"Idaho Teens Tote Loaded Guns Around Town Legally"

When I was a kid I remember seeing teenage boys walking down our street carrying guns. No one said anything about it. It was no big deal. It is too bad that even in Idaho this is not possible without someone calling the police.

POST FALLS, Idaho — Two home-schooled teenagers in this northern Idaho town say they are carrying loaded guns to the library, grocery store and other public areas for self-defense, as a crime deterrent, and to educate others about their rights.

Zach Doty, 18, carries a loaded Glock handgun on his hip. His 15-year-old brother, Steven, carries a .22-caliber rifle in a sling on his back.

Police have been called on several occasions to question the teens but have not found the teens to be in violation of the law.

In Idaho, residents 18 and older can openly carry a firearm in public. And those ages 13 to 17 who have parental permission can carry a rifle in public.

"I certainly don't anticipate that I'll need to use it, but I'd rather have it and not need it than to not have it and need it," Zach told the Coeur d'Alene Press. "There's no reason for me to hide a weapon."

Zach was stopped April 17 on his way to Bible study. On Friday, police again responded when someone reported the brothers with guns in a park. But police left after confirming it was the Doty's. . . .,

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Fox News Poll On Gun Ownership and Gun Control


Privatizing Law Enforcement in Southern Oregon

Replacing local law enforcement with private gun owners. It is completely unreasonable to completely eliminate police protection. That said, it has long been true in a large number of rural counties that there is not 24 hour police protection, and even when there is protection it can take very long periods of time before police are able to arrive at the crime scene. Still, citizens shouldn't be expected to have to provide their entire police services themselves.

Brian O'Connor wrote me that:

Interesting things happening here in Josephine County in lovely southern Oregon. It looks like the county budget's going to take a huge hit because federal funds are drying up. In particular, the Sheriff is saying he's going to have to eliminate all patrols for the county -- which is pretty big -- unless voters vote in favor of a levy to support law enforcement. It's highly unlikely that the levy will pass, and everyone knows it.

The upshot is that handguns are flying off the shelves of the local gun shops (I confirmed this with the people at Bradbury's Gun-N-Tackle Thursday) and the Sheriff has scheduled 4 seminars to teach people how to fend for themselves. (We have a fairly large Meth problem in the county.)

I've included a clipping from today's Grants Pass Courier, 4/28/07. (The paper is not available online.)

UPDATE: A lot of counties are apparently facing the same problems.

Other counties in Southern Oregon would fare even worse than Jackson County, which closed all of its 15 library branches April 6 and laid off the equivalent of 80 full-time workers. Curry County officials have spoken of declaring bankruptcy, and Josephine County, which also intends to close its libraries, plans to cut back on law enforcement, making arrests only for major crimes.

If a one-year extension is ultimately approved, Walker said it makes no sense to talk about reopening libraries, only to shut them down again.

“One year would not change anything,” he said.

Besides the library layoffs, Jackson County’s budget for next year calls for eliminating an additional 92 positions in public safety, roads, law enforcement and community justice. . . .

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Five of Eight Democratic Presidential Candidates Admit to Having Owned Guns

Five of the eight - Gravel, Biden, Dodd, Kucinich and Richardson - raised their hands when moderator Brian Williams of NBC News asked whether they had ever had a gun in their home.

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Some multiple victim public shootings around the world

This is list not complete. It misses out on the attacks in France as well a s Switzerland. For example, September 27, 2001 — a lone gunman shot and killed 14 people in the Swiss cantonal parliament in Zug, near Zurich. Note that all of these are in gun free zones. I also wish that the listing had made it clear that the Tasmania attack had 35 deaths. The 20 deaths and then reference to 15 might be missed by casual readers as having a greater total.

Deadly Mass Shootings Around the World

Apr 26 02:23 PM US/Eastern
By The Associated Press
Some of world's worst mass shootings:

_ April 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, kills 32 people and himself on Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va.

—Nov. 20, 2006: Sebastian Bosse, 18, opens fire at former school in Emsdetten, Germany, before killing self. Five people are wounded and dozens hospitalized for smoke inhalation after he sets off smoke bombs.

—Sept. 13, 2006: Kimveer Gill, 25, opens fire in cafeteria at Dawson College in Montreal, slaying one student and wounding 19 before killing self.

—April 26, 2002: Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, who had been expelled from school in Erfurt, Germany, kills 13 teachers, two former classmates and policeman, before committing suicide.

—April 28, 1996: Martin Bryant, 29, bursts into cafeteria in seaside resort of Port Arthur in Tasmania, Australia, shooting 20 people to death. Driving away, he kills 15 others. He was captured and imprisoned.

—March 13, 1996: Thomas Hamilton, 43, kills 16 kindergarten children and their teacher in elementary school in Dunblane, Scotland, and then kills himself.

—Dec. 6, 1989: Marc Lepine, 25, bursts into Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique college, shooting at women he encounters, killing nine and then himself.

—Aug. 19, 1987: Michael Ryan, 27, kills 16 people in small market town of Hungerford, England, and then shoots himself dead after being cornered by police.

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Fred Thompson on Guns


Comments on Gun Free Zones

Some useful editorials on the horrible Virginia attack can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. In 1998, only one or two people would have been making this argument.

Holman W. Jenkins Jr. at the WSJ makes the point pretty clear: "After all, some people are prepared, at their own expense, to obtain a gun, training and a concealed-carry permit. This is likely to include people who wouldn't have thought of arming themselves except when daily activity throws them unavoidably into proximity to somebody who makes them rationally afraid. If society can't process and react to warning signs given off by such people collectively, an alternative is to expand the opportunity for individuals to process and react to them personally."

UPI notes: "The Virginia Tech massacre is already igniting a new debate on whether the United States has too little gun control, or too much. Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, a national movement dedicated to maintaining gun ownership rights, said Monday, "All the school shootings that have ended abruptly in the last 10 years were stopped because a law-abiding citizen -- a potential victim -- had a gun."

Ann Coulter's piece here is quite amusing:

From the attacks of 9/11 to Monday's school shooting, after every mass murder there is an overwhelming urge to "do something" to prevent a similar attack.

But since Adam ate the apple and let evil into the world, deranged individuals have existed.

Most of the time they can't be locked up until it's too late. It's not against the law to be crazy -- in some jurisdictions it actually makes you more viable as a candidate for public office.

It's certainly not against the law to be an unsociable loner. If it were, Ralph Nader would be behind bars right now, where he belongs. Mass murder is often the first serious crime unbalanced individuals are caught committing -- as appears to be in the case of the Virginia Tech shooter. . . .

Another interesting news article can be found here. See also this here.

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Another gun free zone: "1 Person Dead; Gunman on the Loose at Virginia Tech University"

All the public universities in Virginia have rules banning guns on campus.

BLACKSBURG, Va. — A gunman was loose on the Virginia Tech University campus in Blacksburg, Va., Monday, and officials were warning everyone to stay away from all building windows.

A state government official told The Associated Press said that at least one person was killed and another was injured in a shooting incident at the West Ambler Johnston residence hall early Monday morning. FOX News has not yet confirmed that report. . . .

UPDATE: Paul Huebl sent around a link confirming what I had already put up about Virginia Tech being a gun free zone.

Last spring a Virginia Tech student was disciplined for bringing a handgun to class, despite having a concealed handgun permit. Some gun owners questioned the university's authority, while the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police came out against the presence of guns on campus.

In June, Tech's governing board approved a violence prevention policy reiterating its ban on students or employees carrying guns and prohibiting visitors from bringing them into campus facilities. . . .

UPDATE: Obviously, this has turned into a much more horrible situation than was originally reported. I will wait to post more until more is understood about what happened.

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Some progress regarding people keeping guns in the home

With all the garbage put out in the media, it is amazing to me that people's perception of the benefits of having guns in the home have been increasing. Going from 35 percent in 2000 to 47 percent in 2006 is a real change, though I feel sure that if this poll had been done in the 1950s it would have been in the 70 or 80 percent range.

When asked whether a gun in the house makes the house safer or more dangerous, 47% said safer in October 2006 - up from 35% in August 2000 and 42% in October 2004.


Opposition to statue honoring fallen Navy Seal

Here is an amazing story of anti-gun people oppose a statute to honor a Navy Seal who won the Navy Cross saving the lives of three of this fellow soldiers shot in a firefight. The anti-gun people are upset that this Navy Seal is being depicted with a gun.


New Op-ed on What Should We Advise Women who are being Stalked?

Sonya Jones and I have a new op-ed on the recent failure of restraining orders in protecting women: Flawed Laws Help Stalkers Victimize Women.

What do you do when the police can’t protect you?

Police may be the single most important factor for reducing crime, but there is something the police themselves understand: They almost always arrive at the crime scene after the crime has occurred.

Expecting people to trust the police to protect them and to behave passively is a recipe for disaster.

The last couple of weeks have seen a couple prominent murders where restraining orders did women little good. Numerous news organizations, such as ABC News, have run headlines asking "How Do You Stop a Stalker From Killing You?"

Unfortunately, despite acknowledging that "many women find themselves on their own," the media are drawing the wrong lessons. To simply advise that women "Get the hell away from him" often doesn't go anywhere near far enough. . . .

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Romney could use some new advisers on guns

I have commented on this before, but the people advising Romney on guns seem to be the same people who advised Kerry. Going shooting or becoming a lifetime NRA member are nice, but they aren't what matters to most of the people who care about the gun issue. What matters is that the candidate understands the issues. Romney is such a smart guy. I have been impressed by so many of his answers on many questions, but on the gun issue there are just a few minor things that he could do to convince people that he understands the issue. For example, when he starts talking about "assault weapons" I am sure that many gun owners instantly know that he doesn't have a clue about guns.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was wrong to suggest he was a lifelong hunter even though he never took out a license, campaign rival Mike Huckabee said Sunday.

"I think it was a major mistake," said Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor. "It would be like me saying I've been a lifelong golfer because I played putt-putt when I was 9 years old and I rode in a golf cart a couple of times."

"I think American people are looking for authenticity," Huckabee added. "Match their record with their rhetoric." . .

While I was traveling last week through Texas, I heard Huckabee on the radio. No one is going to be to his right on the gun issue. He could have given you an hour discussion on why the guns covered by the so-called assault weapon ban were not machine guns and why statements that no one would ever using these so-called assault weapons for hunting show that the people who make them don't know guns. Fred Thompson and Huckabee (and even Ron Paul) will be dividing some of the same vote, but in the Republican primary it is a bigger vote than what is being divided by McCain, Giuliani, and to some extent Romney.

If Romney wants to put his Massachusetts gun record behind him, one big thing that he could do is change his position on assault weapon bans. There is an easy way to do it: point to the fact that the claims about crime going up after the ban was sunset didn't occur. I have tried offering other simpler advice to Romney people, but I have found a completely unreceptive audience.

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Shooting at the University of Washington: Another Gun Free Zone, Woman asking for Police Protection

There was a shooting at the University of Washington. A former boyfriend of the woman killed her, but according to Michael Medved, the woman had been asking for police protection for weeks to no avail. Possibly the police should have advised the woman to quickly get a concealed handgun permit.

While the media concentrated on the fact that it was illlegal for the killer to have a handgun on school property, it would have been nice if they had mentioned that ban applied to the victim as well.

Wittmier said campus police were not aware of the restraining order against Rowan. He also said he did not believe Rowan had permission to carry a handgun on campus, where firearms are generally banned.

Thanks to Ben Zycher for the link.

Here is a copy of the University of Washington code of conduct regulations (2)(e):

Conduct on campus code — Prohibited conduct.

(2) In order to assure those rights to all members of the university community and to maintain a peaceful atmosphere in which the university may continue to make its special contribution to society, the following types of conduct are hereby prohibited on or in property either owned, controlled or operated by the university which is used or set aside for university purposes, hereinafter referred to as the university campus:

(e) Possession or use of firearms, explosives, dangerous chemicals or other dangerous weapons or instrumentalities on the university campus, except for authorized university purposes, unless prior written approval has been obtained from the university chief of police, or any other person designated by the president of the university;

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Is the fact that more women are living without men in the house increasing gun ownership?

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO - KIMBERLY SHRUM grips a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver and aims at a target 25 yards away. Bang.

A hot shell casing hits the floor, joining hundreds of others littering the concrete at Jackson Arms Indoor Shooting Range in South San Francisco.

Shrum centers herself and aims again. Bang.

After two days using her new revolver, Shrum's hands are sore from the recoil of every shot.

"I get that rush and power from a Magnum," said the 36-year-old Millbrae resident. "I've taken archery and thrown darts, but shooting is another way to hurl something through the air. But this is just like shooting a paper ball into the trash can. TwoPoints. Air ball."

She is among a growing number of women who are showing up at shooting ranges across the country. Many women who visit the Jackson Arms shooting gallery do it because they love the power of guns and want to learn how to protect themselves.

While there are no hard figures on the number of women who own guns, it's estimated that nationwide 11 million to 17 million women wield firearms, said Laura Browder, author of "Her Best Shot: Women and Guns in America." The National Rifle Association doesn't keep figures by gender.

Browder said the gun industry is just as focused on females as it has been over the last 200 years, but the marketing strategy now taps into their fears.

"The gun industry is saying, 'Look, the state is not here to protect you, the cops are
not here, no one is looking out for you,'" said Browder, who is assistant professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University. "There's a lot of single mothers, and there's a lot of suggestion there is no man in the house, and the woman has got to take care of herself." . . .

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NJ Appeals Court says Disabled Person Should Get Gun Permit

A state appeals court got it right on Thursday when it prohibited East Brunswick from denying a gun-purchase permit to a handicapped township resident. As a result of its decision, the appellate court delivered a victory for disabled outdoorsmen in particular and handicapped citizens in general.

The East Brunswick Police Department denied the permit on the false and prejudiced notion that Charles Breitweiser, partially blind and partially paralyzed, was automatically a danger with a gun. Not so.

In Breitweiser's case, he wanted the permit to buy a rifle for hunting. By doing so, he would join the thousands of other physically disabled citizens across the United States — many with disabilities more serious than Breitweiser's — who participate without mishap in the sport of hunting every year, so long as certain precautions are followed. . . .

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Breaking News: Senator Jim Webb Staffer Arrested for Carrying Webb's Gun, Webb Carries Gun With Him All The Time

Virginia Senator Webb carries the gun on his waist all the time. A senate staffer informs me that police arrested a Webb staffer for gun possession. He was carrying a bag with the loaded gun for the Senator. Quote: "The [Webb's] staffer had the gun by himself...Webb was in car!!"

I have written op-eds on this before regarding the special rules governing Senators and Congressmen. Regular people or even staffers aren't allowed to carry a gun, but politicians are. Reminds me of Mayor Daily in Chicago, who has armed body guards but won't let other in the city legally own handguns.

But possibly this case will get people to think. Here is a Senate aide, a former Marine, who is arrested and jailed. Does anyone really believe that he is a threat to anyone? Does anyone really believe that it makes sense to lock this guy in jail and charge him with a felony and destroy his life?

UPDATE: The senator staffer was arrested by Capitol Hill police while he tried to take the gun through security at a Senate Office Building.

UPDATE 2: I am a little skeptical that this is completely correct, but I wanted to post this while I checked. In any case, the staffer was apparently arrested for carrying a loaded gun in a bag.

Roll Call

May 23, 2005 Monday
Correction Appended

LENGTH: 779 words

HEADLINE: Law Lets Members Keep Firearms in Hill Offices


. . .

Although the D.C. prohibition against firearms was put into place in 1975, under a provision in federal law, Members of Congress and their staffs are in essence given the right to bear arms on Capitol grounds.

According to Capitol Police Board regulations established in 1967, Members and their aides are allowed to transport firearms on the Capitol grounds in the course of carrying out their official duties provided the weapons are "unloaded and securely wrapped." (Directives published in recent years also state that staff must be verified by Capitol Police.)

Although the regulations expressly prohibit weapons on the floor of either chamber, as well as in the adjacent lobbies, cloakrooms and galleries, individual Members are allowed to "maintain firearms within the confines of [their] office." . . .

Similar story in the September 25, 2000 issue of Roll Call.

UPDATE 3: Fox News has a nice discussion of the case here. Fox News also quotes an interview that Webb had with the Richmond Times Dispatch saying that Webb claims he does not carry a gun to work.

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Review of Clayton Cramer’s terrific new book, "Armed America"

Here is a new book review that I have in Sunday's New York Post.

Did you know that in New York City, through 1969 virtually all the public high schools had riflery teams?

Thousands of students carried their rifles on subways, buses and streets on their way to school, when they went to practice in the afternoon and on their way home. And until 1963, all commercial pilots were required to carry guns and were allowed to carry guns until 1987.

Gun laws have certainly changed over time.

Today towns such as Kennesaw, Ga., Greenfeld, Idaho and Geuda Springs, Kan., which all require residents to own guns, are considered the oddity. But Clayton Cramer’s terrific new book, "Armed America," shows that, in fact, gun ownership has been deeply woven into this country’s since the colonial period. . . .

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Two Concealed Handgun Permit Holders Stop Public Shooting

Memphis, Tennessee 3/8/07

Police in Memphis say a gunman firing a pistol beside a busy city street was subdued by two passers-by who were also armed.

No one was hurt during the incident that apparently began with a minor traffic accident, but one passing car was believed hit by a bullet.

Brothers William Webber and Paul Webber told police they stopped their car and pulled their own pistols when they saw a man firing a handgun yesterday.

The brothers said they ordered the man to drop his weapon and then held him at gunpoint until police arrived a few minutes later. Police say the Webbers did not fire their pistols.

Police arrested Dementrius Roberson and charged him with reckless endangerment. Police say the Webber brothers and Roberson have licenses to carry firearms.

Paul Webber says Roberson was firing across traffic and they couldn't tell why he was shooting. . . . .

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Defensive gun use caught on Cell Phone Video

March 8, 2007
PHILADELPHIA -- The owner of a small breakfast restaurant who has been robbed in the past killed one alleged robber and injured another during a robbery gone bad in Philadelphia Thursday morning, police said. After several rounds were fired, a witness captured the aftermath on his daughter's cell phone video recorded.

Authorities said two people tried to hold up Sunrise Breakfast, a small corner joint on the 1900 block of East Washington Lane around 6 a.m., but the owner shot them before they got away.

Police and witnesses said one of the thieves fired at the owner first.

The store owner, 45-year-old Jason Lee -- who had a permit for his gun -- killed Cornell Toombs, 20, and shot Gary Williams, 24, in the face. Williams was listed in critical but stable condition on Friday.

Lee said he did what he had to do when the gunmen entered his store.

"I'm just lucky," he said. "I'm not a hero. It's my security. I had to do what I had to do."

Lee was behind the counter as workers cleaned up the plate-glass window that had been shattered by bullets. Lee, his wife and a female employee had opened the restaurant early Thursday morning before the two gunmen walked in, held a gun to the female cashier and demanded money.

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Dramatic Defensive Gun Use Saves Woman's Life

Jackson, Mississippi (March 5, 2007)
As customers watched in horror Sunday afternoon, a man stabbed a woman and attempted to set her on fire in the parking lot of a Jackson store, witnesses said.

The attack was stopped by a passer-by, who held the man at gunpoint until police arrived, witnesses said.

The suspect, Henry Watson, 42, was arrested and is expected to face aggravated assault charges, Jackson Police Department Cmdr. Lee Vance said. Watson's wife, Gracie Watson, 42, was transported to the University of Mississippi Medical center, where she was listed in good condition.

"It wasn't five minutes from when she had left my line when I heard a scream outside," said Theresa Stuckey, a cashier at the Family Dollar at 516 Nakoma Drive in Jackson. "I looked out, and (the attacker) was on top of her stabbing her, and stabbing her and stabbing her.

"She was screaming, 'Help, he's trying to kill me!' She was rolling on the ground, trying to get out of the way, but he kept stabbing her. He stabbed her about 20 times in the neck, back and arms."

As the attack continued, people were yelling at the man to stop and honking their horns, Stuckey said. She said she called 911.

"He was just standing over her hacking away," said Dolly Baker, who had just left the Save-A-Lot store next door when she saw the attack.

Baker said she watched the man pour gasoline on the victim then try to strike a match.

"He was literally trying to kill that lady in broad daylight," she said.

Baker said a passer-by stopped the attack.

"He told the man, 'Stop, or I'm going to shoot. And if you run, I'm going to kill you,' " Baker said. . . .

Thanks to Tom for sending this to me.

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Some cities that require people own guns

Most are probably familiar with Kennesaw, Georgia or Love, Utah's requirements that citizens own guns. But there are a few others that people might not know about: Greenleaf, Idaho; Geuda Springs, Kansas; Virgin, Utah; and Cherry Tree, Pennsylvania.

UPDATE: N. W. Clayton informs me that "the Utah courts struck down the Town of Virgin's ordinance requiring residents to own guns shortly after it was enacted, due to the ordinance's violation of Utah's pre-emption law, which prohibits state and local government entities from enacting any firearms regulations without explicit authorization from the State Legislature. Ironically, this law was passed in the 1990s to prevent local governments from creating a checkerboard of gun-control statutes, but it applies to all firearms regulations, including regulations that require residents to own firearms."

He also pointed out: "On another matter, you may be interested to know that the Utah Legislature defeated a bill last week that would have prohibited firearms in faculty and staff offices at state-run colleges and universities. The University of Utah (also known as "the U", where I went to graduate school), after having seen the Utah Supreme Court declare the U's campus-wide gun ban to be illegal, begged the Legislature to grant individual faculty and staff members the authority to declare their offices "gun free". Under the proposal, if a concealed-weapon permit holder wanted to enter a "gun free" office, he would have to remove his weapon first. The bill required the university to install a storage locker somewhere in the vicinity of a "gun free" office, though this requirement had no enforcement clause and would likely have been ignored. A permit holder who entered a "gun free" office with his weapon would have been guilty of a criminal offense. If this bill had passed and I had gone to the U to speak with a professor who had a "gun free" office, and if no lockers were provided, I would have simply unholstered my loaded weapon and set it on the floor outside the office.

The bill did not address the issue of shared offices or office spaces with cubicles, both of which are common at universities. Also, even if lockers had been installed, I can imagine people freaking out when they saw someone unholstering and unloading a firearm in broad daylight. Furthermore, this would have defeated one of the purposes of concealed carry, which is to keep people from knowing who's armed and who isn't. The list of concealed-weapon permit holders is supposed to be kept confidential under state law, but this bill would have been a de facto way of forcing permit holders to declare themselves in public.

The substitute version of the bill that passed merely allows students in campus housing at state colleges and universities to request assignment to a roommate who does not have a CCW permit, though there is no requirement that that such a roommate assignment be guaranteed. Given that the list of permit holders is secret, and given that the U is prohibited from requiring students to declare whether they have a permit, I'm not sure how this will work out."

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Hysterical police and fire department reaction to guns and ammunition held by collector

It would be nice if you actually had to violate some law before the police would confiscate the guns and ammunition that someone held. So police found "large amounts of guns, large amounts of ammunition"? "Each rifle was loaded"? Again, so what? I am willing to guess that there "could be a million bullets here" is an extreme exaggeraged guess. The reporter trying to scare the neighbors is just amazing. People living in LA might consider contacting KTLA.

Some commentary here.
The KTLA film can be seen here.

Thanks to Jason Mullner for alerting me to this.

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"Cash-Strapped Michigan Sheriff's Department Auctioning Machine Gun"

Given that machine guns are legal and given that there are zero crimes committed with these registered machine guns, this seems like a rational policy to me, but I am sure that this Sheriff's office will be given all sorts of grief.

"For sale: Collector quality, fully automatic M-16 [by the Lapeer County Sheriff's Department] in excellent condition. Never fired outside shooting range."

UPDATE: Sayuncle writes me that:

"Given that machine guns are legal and given that there are zero crimes committed with these registered machine guns,"

There have been two murders committed with lawfully owned MGs. One case was a cop used a Mac 10 to murder an informant. In another, a wealthy doctor killed his assistant whom he'd been stalking with a Mac-10.

UPDATE: Sayuncle was nice enough to inform me that the case involving a police officer did not involve a privately owned machine gun. He pointed to the details are available here.

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