Wednesday, January 11, 2012

VA-ALERT: VCDL Update 1/11/12

Not yet a VCDL member? Join VCDL at:
VCDL's meeting schedule:
Abbreviations used in VA-ALERT:

1. Reminder: Lobby Day is almost here!
2. VCDL meeting in Richmond January 12th
3. 26 LU students request permits to carry guns on campus
4. RT Editorial: Handgun restrictions may top GOP hit list
5. Just give the criminal what he wants?
6. The police have no obligation to protect you. Yes, really.
7. NYT: Guns in public, and out of sight
8 NYT's anti-concealed carry report actually proves that No. Carolina and its permit holders are safer
9. Tourist arrested after trying to check in gun at WTC site
10. New York lawmakers reportedly ask for mercy for tourist arrested with gun at 9/11 memorial
11. RT LTE: It's uncivilized to pack in public
12. Pistol packin' mama kills son's robber
13. Police: Homeowner shoots teen intruder
14. Chief: D.C. homicides down but some other crimes up
15. Obama says he won't be bound by gun-control ban in omnibus
16. Gun sales at record levels, according to FBI background checks
17. H.R. 1865: Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act of 2011
18. Pro-hunting op-ed in New York Times

1. Reminder: Lobby Day is almost here!

Lobby Day is coming up soon! It is Monday, January 16th - be sure to get the day off so you can help us pack the General Assembly. This could be a good year for gun owners and we need to start that year off right with a strong presence at Lobby Day.

We plan on starting around 8:30 AM to 9:00 AM, with a rally at 11 AM. More details on this to follow.


To make Lobby Day successful, we need volunteers to lead teams on Lobby Day. If you have attended Lobby Day in the past, or, better yet, if you were a team leader, we need you!

To volunteer to be a team leader, please contact Bob Sadtler at:

** Let Bob know who your Senator and Delegate are. If you have already volunteered, let Bob know who your legislators are.


The Roanoke Tea Party has chartered a bus to Lobby Day. The price is $30 per seat and that will cover your trip up and back and the tip for the driver. The bus will leave Tanglewood Mall at 5:30 AM. and may make a stop in the Charlottesville area for a pick up. Arrival in Richmond should be before 9AM., and the bus will leave for the return trip to Roanoke around 2:00 p.m.

You can sign up here:


EM Ed Levine has set up a Facebook page for those with Facebook:


Michael Burnham is coordinating some carpooling on

2. VCDL meeting in Richmond January 12th

There will be a pre-Lobby Day meeting in Richmond on Thursday, January 12, from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at:

Glen Allen Library
10501 Staples Mill road
Glen Allen, VA 23060

Fellowship will start at 6:15 PM.

We will be discussing the January 16 Lobby Day agenda, and the bills VCDL is working on for the upcoming legislative session.

The meeting is open to the public, so bring friends, family, and co-workers.

Afterward we will adjourn to a local restaurant for continued fellowship.

3. 26 LU students request permits to carry guns on campus

Stephen P. Wenger emailed me this:


From The News & Advance:

By Liz Barry
December 29, 2011

When Liberty University senior Craig Storrs returns from Christmas break, he plans to apply for permission to carry on campus his Bersa .380, a small handgun he owns for self-defense.

If Storrs' application is approved, he will join the first wave of students packing heat at Liberty.

Since LU announced the new firearms policy in late November, 64 students, faculty and staff have applied for permission to carry guns on campus, according to university officials. Liberty officials would not disclose how many applications had been approved, but said they received requests from 26 students and 38 faculty and staff members by semester's end.

Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said the new policy has garnered widespread support on campus.

"The complaints have been almost non-existent," Falwell said. "There were many, many thank-yous from students, faculty and staff ... It was an outpouring of gratitude."

The policy, approved in November by Liberty's Board of Trustees, replaced a total ban of firearms on university grounds.

Visitors are now permitted to store their weapons in locked cars, while students can apply for permission from campus police to carry a gun on the outdoor grounds or in a locked car. Both groups must have concealed-weapons permits and are prohibited from bringing firearms into any campus building, including dormitories, stadiums and academic halls.

The policy also permits some faculty and staff to carry weapons inside buildings, with permission granted on a case-by-case basis by campus police.

For Storrs, the desire to carry his handgun on campus boils down to personal protection.

"I have the highest respect for LUPD and their officers, but they can't be everywhere at every time," said Storrs, who led the student effort to end Liberty's firearms ban. "Carrying a concealed weapon is a preventative measure and it's a deterrent."

David Corry, Liberty's general counsel, said the university's new position on guns aligns with its conservative identity.

"There were a lot of folks who were pleased to see that our weapons policy was consistent with our stance on the Second Amendment," said Corry, who wrote the policy.

Col. Richard Hinkley, Liberty's longtime chief of police, was not made available for comment after repeated inquiries for this story; however he voiced some safety concerns about the policy when it was announced in November.

Hinkley said some officers feared allowing more guns on campus could make it more difficult to identify the "bad guy" in a high stakes situation, such as an attack by an armed gunman. He said the policy could increase the risk of gun-related accidents.

Falwell said the administration has addressed those concerns and added Liberty's law enforcement officers are now in full support of the policy.

Falwell said the fatal shooting of a Virginia Tech police officer on Dec. 8 reinforced Liberty's decision to loosen its gun policy.

"I just saw that as an affirmation that the policy needed to be changed," Falwell said. "I think our policy will help prevent similar incidents at Liberty University."

4. RT Editorial: Handgun restrictions may top GOP hit list

From The Roanoke Times:

December 26, 2011

Partisans of both major parties are fond of saying elections have consequences, and they're right. Come January, gun-control and gun-rights advocates alike expect a gun-friendlier legislature as a consequence of this November's General Assembly election.

They're probably right, too, hard as that is to imagine in a state where legislators allow visitors to the Capitol to come bearing firearms. Shoot, some of the lawmakers are packing, too.

Though rural Democrats will match any Republican's zeal for gun rights, the GOP's success in taking effective control of the tied Virginia Senate ˘ and thus the statehouse, where it added to a solid majority in the House of Delegates ˘ might be prelude to passing pro-gun rights bills that, in previous years, opponents have been able to pick off in the upper chamber.

At the top of gun enthusiasts' wish list is undoing the 1993 state law limiting handgun purchases to one per person per month ˘ passed by a coalition of Democrats and suburban Republicans, including a young Del. Bob McDonnell, over the opposition of other Republicans and rural Democrats.

Bipartisanship was not unheard of back then. Still, the National Rifle Association was so formidable a lobby that the outcome astounded friend and foe alike.

With talk now of eliminating the limit on handgun sales, it would be useful to recall the public outrage that made it possible.

Virginia's lax gun laws had made the commonwealth an exporter of handguns to Washington, D.C., New York and other points north. Often, guns were taken in trade for drugs that could be sold on the streets down here for a nice markup, private entrepreneurship attended on both ends by a not surprising level of violent crime.

The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot's esteemed statehouse reporter at the time, Margaret Edds, wrote of Gov. Doug Wilder's newly appointed gubernatorial task force on violent crime and one member, newly appointed Republican U.S. attorney for eastern Virginia, Richard Cullen, who had "identified gun-trafficking and gun violence as his top priorities."

Among his office's high-profile cases, Edds reported, "were charges against a United Parcel Service driver accused of stealing 850 guns from a Northern Virginia firearms importer, a New Jersey-to-Richmond drug gang accused of 11 murders in 45 days, a suburban Richmond gun dealer charged with selling hundreds of weapons to East Coast gun runners and a New York-to-Richmond gang the dealer helped supply with almost 300 illegal guns."

Throw in a nascent Virginians Against Handgun Violence, a grassroots group formed in 1992, and the political pressure was on for change.

How times have changed. Now Gov. McDonnell says he'd support ending the handgun restriction ˘ that technological advances in computerized background checks make it unnecessary.

Perhaps. Virginians might soon find out if that is so.

5. Just give the criminal what he wants?

From Richmond Times-Dispatch:

December 28, 2011

Man shot after attempted robbery in Chesterfield

Chesterfield Police are searching for a gunman who shot a man after attempting to rob him near the intersection of Meadowdale Boulevard and Dalebrook Drive on Tuesday.

Police said the victim was walking home from Food Lion around 6:30 p.m. when the suspect approached him, displayed a gun and demanded his property.

The victim showed him he had nothing the robber wanted and as the victim walked away, the suspect fired several shots. One shot struck the victim in the leg. He was transported to VCU Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

The suspect is described as a black male, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 150 pounds with a thin or slender build and light complexion. He was wearing blue jeans and a black hooded sweatshirt.

Anyone with information should contact the Chesterfield County Police Department at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660 or text the code tip699 with the tip and send to 274637 (CRIMES).

6. The police have no obligation to protect you. Yes, really.

From PJ Media:

By Mike McDaniel
December 25, 2011

It's a holiday. You're at the beach with your family when you notice a man standing neck deep in the water. Something tells you he may be trying to commit suicide. Firemen and police officers soon arrive, but to your amazement, they do nothing, watching for an hour until the man finally succeeds. Then they refuse to collect his body. Disgusted, you swim out and pull the unfortunate man to shore.

Fanciful fiction? Unfortunately, no. On Memorial Day, 2011, a suicidal man stood in San Francisco Bay near Alameda in neck deep water for about an hour as many people watched. The man's mother called 911 and police and firefighters responded but did nothing, and when the man finally drowned, they refused to enter the water to bring his body to shore. A bystander had to do it.

Firefighters blamed budget cuts, which did not allow them to properly train for cold-water rescues. The police said they didn't know if the man was dangerous and therefore could not risk the safety of their officers. The bystander was apparently unencumbered by a lack of specific training and the fear that paralyzed the police.

Americans have come to believe that first responders, particularly the police, not only will protect them but have a duty to protect them. It is this belief that underpins arguments about gun control and every other nanny state social policy. Don't worry, be happy for the benevolent state will provide for and protect you. Leave it to the experts.

In truth, the state can't protect anyone and has no such legal obligation. As the citizens of Alameda discovered, the state has no conscience and can decide - on the spot - which services it will provide. A little-known yet vital Supreme Court case explains why.

June 22, 1999, 5:00 p.m., in Castle Rock, Colorado: Jessica Gonzalez's three daughters, 7, 9, and 10, were playing in her yard. Without her knowledge or permission and against the conditions of a custody agreement and a restraining order, her estranged husband took the girls. Jessica called the police at 7:30 p.m., and two officers came to her home. She showed them copies of the custody agreement and the restraining order and begged them to enforce it and to return her daughters, but they told her they could do nothing and to call at 10:00 p.m. if the girls weren't home.

Many police departments schedule shift change at 10 p.m. The officers were likely trying to put the call off on the following shift, a common practice for officers that don't want to handle an annoying or potentially unproductive call.

Jessica spoke with Gonzalez by cell phone at about 8:30, and again called the police, who again refused to act. She called the police at 10:00, and they put her off until midnight. She called at midnight and again, the police did nothing.

Jessica drove to Gonzalez's apartment, but finding no one home, called the police at 1:10 a.m. They promised to send an officer, but no one came. At 1:50 a.m. she again went to the police station and begged them to make an incident report. The officer taking her complaint actually did something: he went to dinner.

At about 3:20 a.m., Gonzalez arrived at the police station, determined to commit suicide by cop. With a handgun he bought hours earlier, he opened fire on the station. The police finally did their duties and granted Gonzalez his wish by returning fire and killing him.

But, due to the laziness of the Castle Rock Police, Gonzalez was able to realize an additional desire. Inside his pickup truck, parked nearby, police found the bodies of his daughters. Gonzalez shot them hours earlier.

Jessica sued the police, and the case wound its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court's decision affirmed decades of precedent in the lower courts: The police have no duty to protect any individual from harm. Their duty extends only to preventing crime and providing police services to an abstract public-at-large. This might seem absolutely outrageous, but it is logical, rational, and unquestionably necessary.

This same understanding applies equally to all publicly supported first responders. When the firefighters and police stood by for an hour watching a man drown in San Francisco Bay, they were acting in accordance with the law, and by their own admission, their internal policies. One would surely be justified in questioning the ethics and courage of such "public servants," but they stood on firm legal ground as they watched the poor wretch work up the nerve to end his life. Their behavior was anything but admirable. When I served as a police officer, anyone behaving as those officers did would have been scorned as a coward and almost certainly punished for neglecting their duty. Apparently things are done differently these days.

The actual number of police officers patrolling the streets of any community available to answer emergency calls at any hour of the day or night is shockingly small. Even in Washington, D.C., the federally funded police force's average emergency response time is about eight and a half minutes. For most Americans, response time is no better, and is often worse - far worse. People living in rural areas or in small towns measure police response time in hours, not minutes. As bad as the situation is, response time is meaningless if the police - as in the case of Jessica Gonzalez - simply won't respond.

Without a doubt, the police love to catch bad guys in the act. They love to catch violent criminals, taking special delight in catching those that hurt women and children. But the truth is they rarely catch criminals in the act. The police are very effective at deterring crime by their presence, but there are so few of them relative to the number of criminals and potential victims that it is easy for smart criminals to avoid detection, and the odds favor even dumb crooks.

Consider the consequences if citizens could successfully sue the police for failing to protect them. Could any city afford a police force? Who would become a police officer knowing that lawsuits would be filed against them daily? As outrageous as the Court's decision might seem, it is eminently practical, for without it, there would be no police forces or fire departments. The bystander forced to retrieve the body of the unfortunate man that committed suicide might cynically ask what the difference would be, but police and fire departments do provide vital services. The nature of those services is in large part up to the political whims of local politicians.

The state will provide for your needs? The state will, without exception, protect you? Not now, not ever.

Not only does the state have no conscience, it is politically driven to reward those that nurture it and - at best - ignore those who do not. Yet the state will try to prevent you from obtaining the means to provide for and protect yourself - firearms - and politicians will demagogue the issue for political advantage, in essence threatening to withhold the protection they know they don't have to provide.

It's tempting to believe that police failure to answer calls or to assist those in need is rare. Any honest police officer can tell you it is far more common than most imagine, and that the old aphorism - "when seconds count, the police are minutes away" - is painfully accurate.

Strong, self-reliant people built America. They did not expect others to support and protect them. Despite our contemporary material plenty and comfort, certain fundamental realities of human existence have not changed and never will change. Spartanburg County, South Carolina Sheriff Chuck Wright had it right when he addressed the attempted rape of a local woman: "It just struck me wrong that we keep telling everyone 'trust us, trust us, trust us,' but in reality, you need to protect yourself."

When it comes to protecting our lives and the lives of our families, as Jessica Gonzalez surely knows, we can rely only upon ourselves.

7. NYT: Guns in public, and out of sight

Michael Rutkaus emailed me this anti-gun article:

From The New York Times:

By Michael Luo
December 26, 2011

Alan Simons was enjoying a Sunday morning bicycle ride with his family in Asheville, N.C., two years ago when a man in a sport utility vehicle suddenly pulled alongside him and started berating him for riding on the highway.

Mr. Simons, his 4-year-old son strapped in behind him, slowed to a halt. The driver, Charles Diez, an Asheville firefighter, stopped as well. When Mr. Simons walked over, he found himself staring down the barrel of a gun.

"Go ahead, I'll shoot you," Mr. Diez said, according to Mr. Simons. "I'll kill you."

Mr. Simons turned to leave but heard a deafening bang. A bullet had passed through his bike helmet just above his left ear, barely missing him.

Mr. Diez, as it turned out, was one of more than 240,000 people in North Carolina with a permit to carry a concealed handgun. If not for that gun, Mr. Simons is convinced, the confrontation would have ended harmlessly. "I bet it would have been a bunch of mouthing," he said.

Mr. Diez, then 42, eventually pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

Across the country, it is easier than ever to carry a handgun in public. Prodded by the gun lobby, most states, including North Carolina, now require only a basic background check, and perhaps a safety class, to obtain a permit.

In state after state, guns are being allowed in places once off-limits, like bars, college campuses and houses of worship. And gun rights advocates are seeking to expand the map still further, pushing federal legislation that would require states to honor other states' concealed weapons permits. The House approved the bill last month; the Senate is expected to take it up next year.

The bedrock argument for this movement is that permit holders are law-abiding citizens who should be able to carry guns in public to protect themselves. "These are people who have proven themselves to be among the most responsible and safe members of our community," the federal legislation's author, Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, said on the House floor.

To assess that claim, The New York Times examined the permit program in North Carolina, one of a dwindling number of states where the identities of permit holders remain public. The review, encompassing the last five years, offers a rare, detailed look at how a liberalized concealed weapons law has played out in one state. And while it does not provide answers, it does raise questions.

More than 2,400 permit holders were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, excluding traffic-related crimes, over the five-year period, The Times found when it compared databases of recent criminal court cases and licensees. While the figure represents a small percentage of those with permits, more than 200 were convicted of felonies, including at least 10 who committed murder or manslaughter. All but two of the killers used a gun.

Among them was Bobby Ray Bordeaux Jr., who had a concealed handgun permit despite a history of alcoholism, major depression and suicide attempts. In 2008, he shot two men with a .22-caliber revolver, killing one of them, during a fight outside a bar.

More than 200 permit holders were also convicted of gun- or weapon-related felonies or misdemeanors, including roughly 60 who committed weapon-related assaults.

In addition, nearly 900 permit holders were convicted of drunken driving, a potentially volatile circumstance given the link between drinking and violence.

The review also raises concerns about how well government officials police the permit process. In about half of the felony convictions, the authorities failed to revoke or suspend the holder's permit, including for cases of murder, rape and kidnapping. The apparent oversights are especially worrisome in North Carolina, one of about 20 states where anyone with a valid concealed handgun permit can buy firearms without the federally mandated criminal background check. (Under federal law, felons lose the right to own guns.)

Ricky Wills, 59, kept his permit after recently spending several months behind bars for terrorizing his estranged wife and their daughter with a pair of guns and then shooting at their house while they, along with a sheriff's deputy who had responded to a 911 call, were inside. "That's crazy, absolutely crazy," his wife, Debra Wills, said in an interview when told that her husband could most likely still buy a gun at any store in the state.

Mr. Wills's permit was revoked this month, after The Times informed the local sheriff's office.

Growing National Trend

Gun laws vary across the country, but in most states, people do not need a license to keep firearms at home. Although some states allow guns to be carried in public in plain sight, gun rights advocates have mostly focused their efforts on expanding the right to carry concealed handguns.

The national movement toward more expansive concealed handgun laws began in earnest in 1987, when Florida instituted a "shall issue" permit process, in which law enforcement officials are required to grant the permits as long as applicants satisfy certain basic legal requirements.

The authorities in shall-issue states deny permits to certain applicants, like convicted felons and people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health institution, unless their gun rights have been restored. North Carolina, which enacted its shall-issue law in 1995, also bars applicants who have committed violent misdemeanors and has a variety of other disqualifiers; it also requires enrollment in a gun safety class.

Today, 39 states either have a shall-issue permit process or do not require a permit at all to carry a concealed handgun. Ten others are "may issue," meaning law enforcement agencies have discretion to conduct more in-depth investigations and exercise their judgment. For example, the authorities might turn down someone who has no criminal record but appears to pose a risk or does not make a convincing case about needing to carry a gun. Gun rights advocates argue, however, that such processes are rife with the potential for abuse.

For now, the permits are good only in the holder's home state, as well as others that recognize them. The bill under consideration in Congress would require that permits be recognized everywhere, even in jurisdictions that might bar the holder from owning a gun in the first place.

In recent years, a succession of state legislatures have also struck down restrictions on carrying concealed weapons in all sorts of public places. North Carolina this year began allowing concealed handguns in local parks, and next year the legislature is expected to consider permitting guns in restaurants.

Efforts to evaluate the impact of concealed carry laws on crime rates have produced contradictory results.

Researchers acknowledge that those who fit the demographic profile of a typical permit holder - middle-age white men - are not usually major drivers of violent crime. At the same time, several states have produced statistical reports showing, as in North Carolina, that a small segment does end up on the wrong side of the law. As a result, the question becomes whether allowing more people to carry guns actually deters crime, as gun rights advocates contend, and whether that outweighs the risks posed by the minority who commit crimes.

Gun rights advocates invariably point to the work of John R. Lott, an economist who concluded in the late 1990s that the laws had substantially reduced violent crime. Subsequent studies, however, have found serious flaws in his data and methodology.

A few independent researchers using different data have come to similar conclusions, but many other studies have found no net effect of concealed carry laws or have come to the opposite conclusion. Most notably, Ian Ayres and John J. Donohue, economists and law professors, concluded that the best available data and modeling showed that permissive right-to-carry laws, at a minimum, increased aggravated assaults. Their data also showed that robberies and homicides went up, but the findings were not statistically significant.

In the end, most researchers say the scattershot results are not unexpected, because the laws, in all likelihood, have not significantly increased the number of people carrying concealed weapons among those most likely to commit crimes or to be victimized.

Crimes by Permit Holders

Gun advocates are quick to cite anecdotes of permit holders who stopped crimes with their guns. It is virtually impossible, however, to track these episodes in a systematic way. By contrast, crimes committed by permit holders can be.

The shooting at the Hogs Pen Pub in Macclesfield, N.C., in August 2008 took place after two men, Cliff Jackson and Eddie Bordeaux, got into a scuffle outside the bar. John Warlick, who was there with his wife, helped separate them, only to see Eddie's brother, Bobby Ray, fatally shoot Mr. Jackson in the back of the head. Mr. Bordeaux then shot Mr. Warlick in the upper torso, wounding him.

Bobby Ray Bordeaux had obtained a concealed carry permit in 2004 and used to take a handgun everywhere. He was also an alcoholic and heavy user of marijuana with a long history of depression, according to court records. He had been hospitalized repeatedly for episodes related to his drinking, including about a year before, when he shot himself in the chest with a pistol while drunk in an apparent suicide attempt. Mr. Bordeaux, then 48, started drinking heavily at age 13. He had been taking medication for depression but had not taken it the day of the shooting, he later told the police. He also said he had 15 beers and smoked marijuana that night and claimed to have no memory of what occurred. He was eventually convicted of first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

John K. Gallaher III, a permit holder since 2006, was also an alcoholic with serious mental health issues, said David Hall, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted him for murder. In May 2008, Mr. Gallaher, then 24, shot and killed a friend, Sean Gallagher, and a woman, Lori Fioravanti, with a .25-caliber Beretta after an argument at his grandfather's home. The police found 22 guns, including an assault rifle, at his home. Mr. Gallaher pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder last year.

Among the other killings: three months after receiving his permit in July 2006, Mark Stephen Thomas killed Christopher Brynarsky with a handgun after an argument at Mr. Brynarsky's custom detail shop. In 2007, Jamez Mellion, a permit holder since 2004, killed Capt. Paul Burton Miner III of the Army by shooting him 10 times with two handguns after finding him with his estranged wife. William Littleton, who obtained a permit in 1998 and was well known to the police because of complaints about him, shot his neighbor to death with a rifle in 2008 over a legal dispute.

More common were less serious gun-related episodes like these: in July 2008, Scotty L. Durham, who got his permit in 2006, confronted his soon-to-be ex-wife and another man in the parking lot of Coffee World in Durham and fired two shots in the air with a .45-caliber Glock. Antoine Cornelius Whitted, a permit holder since 2009, discharged his semiautomatic handgun during a street fight in Durham last year. Jerry Maurice Thomas, a permit holder since 2009 whose drinking problems were well known to the authorities, held a gun to his girlfriend's head at his house in Asheville last year, prompting a standoff with the police.

Falling Through the Cracks

Gun rights advocates in North Carolina, as well as elsewhere, often point to the low numbers of permit revocations as evidence of how few permit holders break the law. Yet permits were often not suspended or revoked in North Carolina when they should have been.

Charles Dowdle of Franklin was convicted of multiple felonies in 2006 for threatening to kill his girlfriend and chasing her to her sister's house, where he fired a shotgun round through a closed door. He then pointed the gun at the sister, who knocked it away, causing it to fire again. Mr. Dowdle was sentenced to probation, but his concealed handgun permit remained active until it expired in 2009.

Mr. Dowdle, 63, said in a telephone interview that although he gave away his guns after his conviction, no one had ever done anything about his permit. He said he "could probably have purchased" a gun with it but had not done so because federal law forbade it.

Besides felons like Mr. Dowdle, The Times also found scores of people who kept their permits after convictions for violent misdemeanors. They included more than half of the roughly 40 permit holders convicted in the last five years of assault by pointing gun and nearly two-thirds of the more than 70 convicted of a common domestic violence charge, assault on a female.

Precisely how these failures of oversight occurred is not clear. The normal protocol would be for the local sheriff's office to suspend and eventually revoke a permit after a holder is arrested and convicted of a disqualifying crime, the authorities said. The State Bureau of Investigation, which maintains a computerized database of permits, also tries to notify individual sheriffs when it discovers that a holder has been arrested for a serious crime, according to a spokeswoman, but the process is not formalized.

In Ricky Wills's case, he not only threatened his wife and daughter last May with a handgun and a rifle, but he shot at their house while a Union County sheriff's deputy was inside. It led to convictions on two charges: assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and assault on a police officer.

Soon after the shooting, Mr. Wills's wife obtained a restraining order, which also should have led to his permit being suspended.

Sgt. Lori Pierce, who handles concealed handgun permits in Union County, said no one ever notified her about Mr. Wills, who was released from prison in November. And as the sole person handling permits in her county, she said, she does not have time to conduct regular criminal checks on permit holders, unless they are up for a five-year renewal.

As it is, she said, she can barely keep up with issuing permits. She has granted about 1,300 this year.

8. NYT's anti-concealed carry report actually proves that No. Carolina and its permit holders are safer

Monty Oakes emailed me this:


From Newsbusters:

By Tom Blumer
December 28, 2011

It seems that if you're a New York Times reporter on a mission to prove something you think must be obvious and your research leads to the exact opposite result from what you smugly expected, you forge ahead and try to pretend that you proved your point anyway.

At least that how it seems to have worked out for Times reporter Michael Luo in a report appearing in Tuesday's print edition which tried to show readers how one state which allows residents to carry concealed weapons with a permit is allegedly allowing large numbers of dangerous people to possess them. But the way the math works out, North Carolina, the state which the Times investigated, is far safer than many jurisdictions without such laws, even given the problems cited with pulling permits from those who have committed crimes and should not still be holding them. Additionally, the murder rate among North Carolinians who don't have permits or associate with those who do is higher than it is among permit holders. Here is Luo's pathetic attempt to make a case which can't be made:

The bedrock argument for this movement is that permit holders are law-abiding citizens who should be able to carry guns in public to protect themselves. "These are people who have proven themselves to be among the most responsible and safe members of our community," the federal legislation's author, Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, said on the House floor.

To assess that claim, The New York Times examined the permit program in North Carolina, one of a dwindling number of states where the identities of permit holders remain public. The review, encompassing the last five years, offers a rare, detailed look at how a liberalized concealed weapons law has played out in one state. And while it does not provide answers, it does raise questions.

More than 2,400 permit holders were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, excluding traffic-related crimes, over the five-year period, The Times found when it compared databases of recent criminal court cases and licensees. While the figure represents a small percentage of those with permits, more than 200 were convicted of felonies, including at least 10 who committed murder or manslaughter. All but two of the killers used a gun.

So what obvious piece of information is missing? That would be the number of permit holders in the Tar Heel State. Luo never gives us that all-important number because it makes a mockery of his pathetic journalistic attempt to smear gun owners.

The state's Department of Justice tells us that 228,072 concealed handgun permits (HT Robert VerBruggen at the Corner) have been issued during the past 16-1/2 years. Conservatively rounding that number down to 200,000 to allow for possible deaths (of non-murderous causes, Mr. Luo) and those moving out of the state, this would mean that in the five years studied:

* There were two murders per year (forget the "at least" which precedes the 10 murders/manslaughters above; that appears to be an attempt by Luo to dress up a very small number, or to pretend that he couldn't find something which wasn't there to be found).

* That's one murder per 100,000 permit holders -- really a lot less than one considering permit holders' family members.

* North Carolina's statewide murder rate in 2010 was 3.34 per 100,000 (319 murders in a state with 9.54 million people -- over three times higher than the rate among permit holders, even before adding in their family members.

* The nationwide murder rate in 2010 was 4.8 per 100,000 -- almost five times higher than that among North Carolina permit holders (before considering family members) and about 45% higher than the rate for North Carolina as a whole.

* To name just one dangerous U.S. city, the 2010 murder rate in Chicago, a city which is especially hostile to citizen gun ownership, was about 16 per 100,000 (435 murders in a population of 2.7 million.

The felony and misdemeanor stats among the North Carolina permit holders also seem extraordinarily small for a five-year period involving 200,000 or more people.

One thing which may be skewing North Carolina's results to the dangerous detriment of non-permit holders is the fact that it does allow the identities of holders to be found. That would seem to be a bad mistake, because criminals can then target people who don't have permits and avoid those who do. It would seem to be much better for criminals to never know for sure if their intended victim is armed, and it would be interesting (though apparently impossible, without violating privacy) to see if non-holders in states which don't disclose holders' names are statistically safer.

Though it took extra work, we should thank Mr. Luo for proving the opposite point of what he tried to make. Maybe next time he'll tell us what he actually found instead of playing a game of misdirection. Better yet, he'll just stay home and not bother reporting anything at all.

9. Tourist arrested after trying to check in gun at WTC site

Mike G. emailed me this:


She must have thought NY was part of the United States...


NEW YORK - A tourist from Tennessee reportedly thought she could check her loaded gun at New York City's Sept. 11 memorial.

The New York Post says 39-year-old Meredith Graves was visiting the memorial at the World Trade Center site on Dec. 22 and noticed a sign that said "No guns allowed." The Post reports that Graves asked police where she could check her loaded pistol. She was arrested on a gun-possession charge.

Graves has a legal permit to carry a weapon in Tennessee, but New York's gun laws are stricter.

The Post says Graves posted bond and is due back in court March 19. She faces 31/2 years in prison if convicted.

"You'd think states would reciprocate with the Second Amendment. She has a license to carry in Tennessee," her mother-in-law told the Post.

The newspaper says her attorney at Legal Aid did not return phone calls.

10. New York lawmakers reportedly ask for mercy for tourist arrested with gun at 9/11 memorial

Some New York leaders know that New York has overstepped on gun control and are reconsidering. Recent arrests of otherwise law-abiding citizens simply for possessing firearms is causing an uproar in some circles.

Maybe we will be able to carry in NY someday after all.

Robert Risacher emailed me this:


From FOX News:

December 30, 2011

New York lawmakers are reportedly asking the Manhattan District Attorney's Office to show mercy to a Tennessee tourist who was arrested for bringing a gun to the 9/11 Memorial.

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., D-Queens, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, personally asked Cyrus Vance Jr.'s office not to push for the 3 1/2-year minimum sentence for Meredith Graves, 39, the New York Post reports.

"By prosecuting this woman and seeking 3 1/2 years of jail, we are shooting our own [gun-control] efforts in the foot and giving the rest of the country ammunition," Vallone said. [PVC: "giving the rest of the country ammunition" - an admission that New York is way out of the mainstream with its onerous gun control laws.]

Graves had a .32-caliber Kel-Tec handgun in her purse when she went to the memorial on Dec. 22 and tried to check it with a cop after she saw a sign reading "No Guns."

Vallone cited a recently passed House bill that would allow people to carry registered guns between all states regardless of local laws.

"Clearly, the laws are too strict here, but that's something we need to work out for ourselves without honoring licenses to carry guns in states where felons can carry them," he said.

After Graves was arrested, police found a white substance in her purse. The Manhattan District Attorney's Office is awaiting test results before considering charges, the Post reports.

Councilman Vincent Ignizio, R-Staten Island, said he fears that cops and prosecutors are trying to make an example of Graves.

"It seems like this is more about making an example of her than it is punitive measures for her offense," Ignizio said. "And I just think a judge will take that into consideration when handing down her sentence."

11. RT LTE: It's uncivilized to pack in public

EM Dave Hicks emailed me this:


From The Roanoke Times:

December 26, 2011

It's uncivilized to pack in public

Aaron Beavers hit the nail on the head about legal guns ("Legal guns are a part of the problem," Dec. 22).

I have posted on Facebook many times that it should be against the law to carry a firearm in public.

We are supposed to be a civilized nation that depends on law enforcement to keep law and order. Allowing the public to be armed even on university campuses defeats the purpose of law and order.

We must be very selective in hiring law enforcement. We should hire people who want to protect citizens and not be dominating and bullying.


12. Pistol packin' mama kills son's robber

Josh Kellogg emailed me this:


NEVER would have thought that MSNBC would run this story.


By Teresa Masterson

A Philadelphia man was shot dead Tuesday night after he made the mistake of trying to rob a man who had a pistol packin' mama nearby, police say.

A 23-year-old man was in the stairwell of his East Oak Lane apartment building with his girlfriend at about 9 p.m. when a 19-year-old man walked up to them, pistol-whipped the man and shot him in the leg while trying to rob him, according to police.

The victim's 46-year-old mother heard the commotion from her upstairs apartment, grabbed her legally registered gun, went into the stairwell and shot the suspect, police say.

The 19-year-old robbery suspect died at the scene with one gunshot wound to the chest, according to authorities.

The 23-year-old man was taken to Einstein Medical Center where he was in stable condition Tuesday night.

"Upon police arrival, [the woman] gave police her weapon and she told us she was intervening in a robbery and she was protecting her son," Philadelphia Chief Inspector Scott Small tells NBC Philadelphia.

The 46-year-old mother has not been arrested, but she is being interviewed, police say.

13. Police: Homeowner shoots teen intruder

Ken Richards emailed me this:



You might have already gotten this. Homeowner in Hampton Roads shot a teen intruder in is house, wounding him.

Police are investigating charges for both the homeowner and intruder. Anchor made a comment that she "hoped he had all his permits."

From WAVY TV-10:

By Jason Marks
December 30, 2011

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Virginia Beach police say a homeowner in College Park shot a juvenile intruder he caught sneaking into his home.

"This street is quiet," neighbor Louise Sibly said. "It's a very quiet circle."

But on Dec. 29, there was a whole lot of chaos on Bucknell Circle.

"There was a butt load of police cars," Sibly added. "I mean a butt load. There was like forensics. There was everybody."

"When you see that, my first reaction is I hope my neighbors are ok," neighbor Karen Tucker said. "I hope no one was hurt"

Virginia Beach police say the teenager broke into a home, but what he didn't know was the resident was home. And the homeowner was packing heat.

According to Virginia Beach Master Police Officer Tonya Borman, the homeowner heard glass break around 12:30 p.m. When he went to investigate the noise, he found the intruder going up the stairs to the second floor.

"Apparently, the owner of the house got the best of him and put him in the hospital," Tucker said.

Police say the teenager ran off after he was shot in the leg. He was found a couple blocks over on Duquesne Place.

"If I would have been in my house and they did that, I would have shot him," Sibly added. "Lord forgive me, but I would have."

Sibly knows what it feels like to be a victim. Her home was broken into and her jewelry taken in Oct.

"I'm really afraid to leave the house," Sibly said. "I don't know who it. You don't know if it's the person who lives down the street. You don't know if it's the next door neighbor. You just don't know, because you didn't see them."

Neighbors hope the teen learned a lesson and hope anyone else who is thinking of breaking into a home takes note.

"Thank God the guy was not killed," Tucker added. "He was hurt enough to be caught and that's all you want, justice in the end."

Medics were called and the accused intruder was taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries and then later released.

The juvenile suspect was charged with one count each of breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony and destruction of property. He was transported to the Virginia Beach Juvenile Detention Center where is is being held pending a court hearing.

The case remains under investigation.

14. Chief: D.C. homicides down but some other crimes up

David Custer emailed me this:


And since allowed, albeit with severe restrictions, murders have gone down. Imagine if the 2nd amendment really applied in dc - I expect even less murders!

From WTOP:

By Eric Tucker
December 30, 2011

WASHINGTON - D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier says that even though homicides are at their lowest level in nearly 50 years, other crimes including theft remain alarmingly high.

Lanier said Friday that the 108 homicides recorded in 2011 are the lowest since 1963.

She says 33 of the slayings were solved within a week, and that the overall closure rate for the District of Columbia was 94 percent this year.

The chief said that while the declining homicide rate is good news, thefts and thefts from automobiles had gone up this year.

The chief also said that the seven police districts would be realigned to more evenly spread calls for service. And a new initiative will allow victims of non-violent crimes, including theft, to report them online at their convenience.

15. Obama says he won't be bound by gun-control ban in omnibus

EM Matt Gottshalk emailed me this:


I'm Shocked.

From The Hill:

By Julian Pecquet
December 23, 2011

The Obama administration won't be bound by a gun-control ban in the $1 trillion spending bill for 2012, the president said Friday.

The funding provision for the federal Health agency says that "none of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control." The language aims to ban taxpayer dollars from supporting gun-safety research.

"I have advised the Congress that I will not construe these provisions as preventing me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibility to recommend to the Congress's consideration such measures as I shall judge necessary and expedient," Obama said in a statement as he signed the bill into law.

The president's signing statement also says he could end up ignoring a provision that bars taxpayer funds for paying for the "salaries and expenses" of so-called White House czars, including the director of the White House Office of Health Reform. The office was abolished earlier this year.

That provision "could prevent me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibilities, by denying me the assistance of senior advisers and by obstructing my supervision of executive branch officials in the execution of their statutory responsibilities," Obama said. "I have informed the Congress that I will interpret these provisions consistent with my constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

16. Gun sales at record levels, according to FBI background checks

Board member Dale Welch emailed me this:


From CNN:

By Carol Cratty
December 27, 2011

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- December holiday shoppers were not just interested in buying the hottest electronics and toys -- they also were purchasing record numbers of guns, according to the latest FBI figures on background checks required to buy firearms.

With a few days left in December, the FBI reports the number of background checks has already topped the previous one-month record -- set only in November -- of 1,534,414 inquiries by gun dealers to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System also known as NICS. Almost half a million checks were done in just the last six days before Christmas.

Two days before Christmas, NICS ran 102,222 background checks, which was the second-busiest day in history. The one-day record was set this year on Black Friday, the big shopping day following Thanksgiving, with 129,166 searches. By comparison, the previous one-day high was set November 28, 2008, when gun dealers made slightly less than 98,000 requests for background searches.

It's not possible to tell exactly how many guns have been purchased because buyers often take home more than one gun. But most people pass the background checks. Only 1.3% of the searches result in people being denied permission to buy a weapon, said FBI spokesman Steve Fischer.

FBI officials did not offer a theory on the spike in gun sales. It's also not clear how many of the background checks were for people who never had owned guns before and how many were for gunowners adding to their collections.

The National Rifle Association says the figures indicate more people feel they need guns for self defense.

"I think there's an increased realization that when something bad occurs, it's going to be between them and the criminal," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told CNN. Arulandandum said Americans realize police cannot be everywhere there's trouble and also that some officers are being laid off due to budget cutting.

The NRA spokesman also said an increased number of Americans are participating in skeet shooting and other gun sports.

A leading gun-control organization says repeat buyers most likely are responsible for the holiday surge in guns sales.

"The research we've seen indicates fewer and fewer people are owning more and more guns," said Caroline Brewer of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "All the trends indicate the number of Americans who own guns has declined."

"It would appear because of fear-mongering by the NRA since (President Barack) Obama's election that people are adding more guns to their arsenals out of fear Obama and the Democrats will take away their guns, which is absurd," said Brewer.

17. H.R. 1865: Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act of 2011

Robert Risacher emailed me this:


Here's an opportunity to be counted on behalf or HR 1865


H.R. 1865: Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act of 2011

Summary: To protect the right of individuals to bear arms at water resources development projects administered by the Secretary of the Army, and for other purposes.

More info:

Endorsing Organizations
National Rifle Association, Institute for Legislative Action

In recent years, one of gun owners top priorities has been to remove restrictions on where law-abiding persons may legally carry a firearm for self-defense. The removal of the restriction on carry in national parks and national wildlife refuges was a major step forward in the effort to remove unneeded restrictions on the fundamental right to self-defense.

However, there are still millions of acres of land owned or managed by the federal government that are still restricted. The Army Corps of Engineers in particular continues to inappropriately restrict carrying of firearms on recreational land it manages. After passage of the change in carry regulations for National Parks, the Army Corps released a statement that read: "Public Law 111-024 does not apply to Corps projects of facilities . . . It [the Army Corps] will continue to prohibit loaded concealed weapons on Corps properties regardless of the new law and notwithstanding any contrary provisions of state law."

This is a significant infringement on the rights of Americans as the Corps owns or manages over 11.7 million acres of recreational land, including 400 lakes and river projects, 90,000 campsites and 4,000 miles of trails.

To remedy this situation, Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) and Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) have introduced H.R. 1865, the Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act.

H.R. 1865 will reverse the Army Corps policy and specifically prohibit the Secretary of the Army from enforcing any regulation that prohibits gun possession in compliance with state law on Corps projects and lands. The legislation would continue to allow prohibitions on firearms in federal facilities such as Army Corps headquarters, Corps research facilities or lock and dam buildings.

"According to some estimates, the federal government owns 30 percent of all land across this country," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. "This bill will take us one step closer toward having a consistent firearms policy across all federal lands. The members of the NRA along with tens of millions of other gun owners would like to thank Congressmen Gibbs and Altmire for their leadership in seeking a common-sense bipartisan remedy to this problem."

18. Pro-hunting op-ed in New York Times

James Ellison emailed me this:


I cannot recall ever seeing a pro-hunting or pro-firearm article in the New York Times before. I suppose there may have been one half a century or a century ago, but that's just a guess. Which makes this one kind of a historic event. They even printed it in the New York edition. Apparently the Times is now more or less ok with flintlocks, a mainstay of hunters and armies from the mid-1600's to the early 1800's. It may be a few more decades before the Times' staff catch up to the 1890's with that newfangled smokeless powder and Mauser-type actions, and from there to our modern self-loaders. But as they say, a journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step. I wish them bon voyage.

James Ellison, VCDL Blacksburg

From The New York Times:

By Seamus McGraw
December 25, 2011

SHE took me by surprise. Though I had been stalking her through the dense undergrowth for about 40 minutes, I had lost sight of her as the afternoon light began to fade. It was getting late and I was about ready to call it a day when, just as I hit the crest of a shadowy depression in the mountainside, I caught a glimpse of her, a beautiful doe, the matriarch of a small clan that foraged behind her.

She saw me, too.

She stepped out from behind a shagbark. Even in the spreading dusk I could see her eyes as she glared at me. She stomped out a warning on the rocky ground.

I had to admire her guts. I dropped to one knee, fumbled in my pocket for my old brass powder charger, freshened the powder in my frizzen, and pulled back the hammer on my .50-caliber flintlock. I took a deep breath and then I drew a bead on her.

An instant that felt like an hour passed before I squeezed the trigger. The hammer fell, the powder in the frizzen flashed, startling me even though I was prepared for it, and a heartbeat later, the whole world exploded with the thunder of 90 grains of black powder erupting in fire and blinding acrid smoke from the barrel of my gun, sending a lead miniÈ ball rocketing toward the doe at a lethal 1,400 feet per second.

In the smoke and the confusion I couldn't tell if I had hit her. And then I saw that I had. The impact of the bullet had knocked her to the ground, and as the rest of the herd high-tailed it over the ridge, she struggled to stand, staggered a few yards and then collapsed again. I had hoped for a clean kill. But I had failed. I knew what had happened - I had flinched when the powder in the pan went off. Instead of hitting her in the heart or lungs, which would have killed her instantly, I had mortally wounded her. Now I would have to finish the job.

I hate to kill.

I know that must sound like an odd confession coming from an avid deer hunter, a guy who, like thousands of others in my home state of Pennsylvania, spends the better part of the year looking forward to those few short weeks in October and November, and especially to the special flintlock season that begins the day after Christmas, when I can load up my rifle and get lost in the mountains behind my home all alone. But I suspect that if you could wade through their boot-top-deep braggadocio and really talk to hunters, many of them would tell you the same thing.

For me, and I suspect for many others like me, the art of hunting is far more profound than taking trophies. It's about taking responsibility. For my needs. For my family. For the delicate environmental balance of this wounded but recovering part of the country. There is something sobering about hunting for your food. Meat tastes different, more precious, when you've not only watched it die, but killed it yourself. There is no seasoning in the world that can compare with moral ambiguity.

Biologists estimate there are now 1.6 million deer in Pennsylvania's woods, far more than when white men first set foot there. I took up deer hunting a decade ago when I realized that this staggeringly large population was decimating many of our forests, forests that after hundreds of years of clear-cutting were at last poised to recover. With no predators to speak of - the wolves were wiped out centuries ago and the last mountain lion in the state was killed more than 70 years ago - the responsibility for trying to restore a part of that balance fell to me. And to all the other hunters.

Maybe it's because I grew up in a family that always did things the hard way, or maybe it's because I'm basically a Luddite, but when I took up hunting, I eschewed all the technological gadgets designed to give modern hunters an extra edge over their prey. I like to believe that there's something primitive and existential about the art of hunting, and that somehow, stripping the act of hunting to its basics makes it purer.

I wanted a weapon that required more of me, one that demanded all the skill and all the planning that I could muster, a weapon that gave me just one chance to get it right. I made the decision to hunt only with the most basic firearm there is, a muzzle-loading black-powder rifle, fired by a piece of flint striking cold steel. I often tell my more conservative friends that I carry the gun the Second Amendment explicitly guarantees me the right to carry.

There are hundreds of us in the state. Some are history buffs, guys who believe in the sanctity of some imagined past. Some, like me, are purists. In late December we wander into the woods, usually alone, with our antique weapons and our obsolete notions of what a hunt should be.

But those antique weapons also carry with them an antique sense of responsibility. To kill with a flintlock, you must get close. And because these ancient guns are notoriously balky and inaccurate, there is a very good chance that you'll miss your target altogether or, worse, that you'll simply wound the creature and in so doing, inflict greater suffering than is necessary. And so you take every precaution to make sure that your one shot is clean, that it kills quickly and mercifully. And still, sometimes you fail, just as I did that late afternoon in midwinter when I flinched as my gun went off.

I followed the blood trail a few yards and found her. She was still alive. I could see her breath. It was ragged. She looked at me. I loaded my gun, charged the frizzen, and pulled the trigger. There was a flash in the pan - that is where the expression comes from - and then nothing. I tried again. Still nothing.

The sun was sinking behind the ridge. I didn't have the time or the tools with me to fix the gun - I had carelessly left them behind - and so I laid my rifle down on the ground, pulled my knife from its sheath, wrapped my arms around the wounded and frightened doe, and ...

I hate to kill.

But if I'm going to profit by death, and to some degree we all do - even those who find the very act of eating flesh to be offensive still benefit from the restorative act of responsible hunting in the nation's wild places - then I believe I also have an obligation to do it in the most honest way possible. It has to cost me something. And it does. I would not be so presumptuous as to suggest that the obligation extends beyond me. But speaking only for myself, it is compelling. It's a debt I owe the place I've chosen to live. And it's why, if you're looking for me on the day after Christmas, you'll find me in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania with a flintlock rifle in my hand, and a few gnawing regrets in my heart.

VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
(VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization
dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to
Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right.

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