Sunday, October 7, 2012

VA-ALERT: VCDL Update 10/7/12

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

1. Blacksburg library playing games with "no guns" rule
2. Buy from this link and VCDL gets donations
3. More on anti-gun propaganda in a college textbook
4. VCDL mentioned in letter to editor
5. Va moves to allow ambulance crews to carry guns
6. WTVR story about online CHP course
7. Rabid beaver chases children in Fairfax; 2nd attack in a week
8. RU Board of Visitors approves concealed carry ban on 9-5 vote
9. Gun sales surge: An Obama bounce?
10. Long-awaited 'Furious' report places blame on ATF, Department of Justice
11. Just a few comments can be ammo for the anti's
12. Gun crimes don't happen because of 'weak' laws
13. Hollywood's evolving take on gun rights
14. A lesson in gun shot wounds [VIDEO]
15. Criminals and the guns they carry
16. Taking Aim
17. Widow turns tragedy into a cause for gun rights
18. Brave officer engaging mass killer
19. NAACP fights for self defense rights
20. Florida investigation into SYG law reaches no conclusions
21. Will Cinemark now wise up?
22. Mayo Clinic suicide prevention expert outlines new steps to tackle military suicide
23. VCDL Executive member recovering from surgery

1. Blacksburg library playing games with "no guns" rule

Blacksburg libraries are playing the same game as the Richmond libraries: saying that guns are not allowed in the libraries, "except as permitted by law." The law does not permit libraries to ban guns. LIbrary carry is not specifically "permitted," that's not how American law works.

This rule in Blacksburg libraries is meant to discourage people from exercising their right to self-defense, plain and simple. Yes, VCDL members know the gun laws and know that the library cannot stop them from carrying. But such rules confuse everyone else, INCLUDING the police and library staff!

Why doesn't their list of rules show ALL the other things that you can't do unless it's legal? You know, drive a car, possess a camera, wear a hearing aid, wear a green shirt, walk backwards into the library, carry a briefcase...

A few of our EMs open carried in the library last week to make sure the library staff and police know that such carry is legal. No one noticed - I'm not surprised. Perhaps we need a bigger crowd next time?

2. Buy from this link and VCDL gets donations

An link that provides money to VCDL if you purchase items with that link:

3. More on anti-gun propaganda in a college textbook

A VCDL member notes this about the Update on 9/13/12, item #6 regarding propaganda in our colleges:

"This is what the VCCS teaches to all college faculty and staff at all 23 Virginia community colleges in their required violence prevention training. It is disgusting."

4. VCDL mentioned in letter to editor

Wow - VCDL has now extended the reach of its power to the subject of egg-laying chickens! ;-)

Member Theron Keller emailed this to me:



Let cocks crow in already-awake Spotsylvania
September 12, 2012

I will not rouse the self-righteous wrath of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, not will I trample on the divine rights of the Second Amendment as interpreted by the NRA. Rather, permit me an old observation about chickens and the laying of eggs, handed down decades ago by my grandmother.

5. Va moves to allow ambulance crews to carry guns

EM Mike Stollenwerk shared this:



Virginia moves to allow ambulance crews to carry guns
by Mike Stollenwerk
September 12, 2012

Virginia moves to allow ambulance crews to carry guns

Continuing the general regulatory trend started by Governor Mark Warner (D), and continued by Governor Bob McDonnell (R), Virginia is continuing to strike more state regulations banning gun carry. This time it's Old Domination ambulance crews who will regain their right to bear arms.

And gun owners are weighing in. Responding to the call for comment in this notice and comment rulemaking process, Virginia citizen Alan Rose posted the following:

"I support the removal of the "no weapons" regulation. Thank you for removing the regulation that prohibits weapons in ambulances. Most EMS providers routinely carry a knife, many carry pepper gas or mace, and the decision to bar firearms should rest with the EMS Agency Director/employer, not unelected state workers."

This Virginia Emergency Medical Services (EMS) gun ban repeal follows repeals of regulations banning gun carry in state parks and state forests. Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave supports the regulation change.

"Ambulance crews often arrive at crime scenes before the police have things in hand," says Van Cleave. "They are truly first responders, so why disarm them?," he adds.

6. WTVR story about online CHP course

More whining about on-line firearm training courses. As long as Virginia *requires* training to get a CHP, the bar should be kept low. Does VCDL recommended that CHP holders, and gun owners in general, get hands-on firearms training? You bet! And many do. But a government mandate to do so? NO! A mandate on training can soon expand to where most people can no longer "qualify." We need to keep the requirement for training on a very short leash.

Jay Minsky emailed me this:



HOLMBERG: Online concealed-carry classes just too easy
by Mark Holmberg
September 11, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–This afternoon, in just a little over 20 minutes –and a few cents under $40 – I received the instruction and passed a 20-question, true-false test that enabled me to get a Virginia concealed-carry permit.

There are several firms that do this instruction online and issue certifications that you can take to your local courthouse to get your permit.

This will allow me – if I wish – to carry a handgun, concealed, in the Old Dominion and the other states in the union with reciprocity, which is most of them.

Three years ago, the General Assembly added specific language to the state's concealed carry law verifying the acceptability of online training. (You can read Virginia's concealed-carry law here:

Historically, conceal-carry classes take hours and include hands-on classroom instruction and then training and testing on the firing line. Even strong gun-rights states like Texas take this training very seriously.

Which is why many out-of-staters are taking advantage of Virginia's quickie, hands-off online classes. [PVC: This is all very misleading. Historically, until a few years back Virginia did NOT require training to get a permit, but simply allowed local jurisdictions to do, which some did. It was (and is) a non-issue because there is no statistical difference in gun accidents between states requiring training and those that don't - gun owners are responsible people. The change to require a low, non-burdensome level of training was instituted solely to facilitate expanded recognition of Virginia permits by those states that DID require training, so Virginians could carry their firearms in more states with a Virginia permit.]

I was in Alabama this past weekend, and a friend there told me was going to get the Virginia permit because it was so much easier. I thought he was kidding.

Then I see the news that the Virginia State Police have reported they've issued more than 1,600 of these permits to nonresidents in just the first half of this year. That's 300 more than they issued during all of last year.

I googled "online concealed carry" and clicked on one of several sites for Virginia.

It took me 20 minutes to skim the very basic instruction about different types of handguns, how they work, how to disassemble them, hold, aim, shoot and store them safely.

Most of the 20 true-false questions were ridiculously easy, including (and I'm paraphrasing):

-The owner of a firearm is never responsible if his weapon is used improperly.
-If a bullet becomes lodged in the barrel you should keep on shooting.
-The best way to familiarize yourself with your handgun is when it is disassembled for cleaning.
-Children should be taught that when they encounter a firearm they should move away from it and notify and adult.

Of course, I got all the answers right, which is pretty much guaranteed by the folks who run these sites.

I printed out my official-looking certificate for my "successful completion of the Firearm Safety Course. " It did note that "This is not an NRA approved class" but it was signed by an "NRA Certified Instructor" (all that's required in the law) and included his NRA instructor ID number.

Gun control supporters say these quickie online classes make a mockery out of the intent of the concealed carry law – to make sure those who are carrying handguns in public have some semblance of training. [PVC - nice try, but training was never the "intent" of concealed carry laws. The intent was to provide a mechanism for regulated concealment, but anyone can open carry "their handguns in public" as a matter of a constitutional right without permission OR training.]

And a fair number of firearms enthusiasts agree with them.

But some gun rights supporters say the more permit holders there are, the safer we all are. Besides, some of them argue, gun owners should be able to pack their pistols without any permit, like they can in Vermont, which has the 49th lowest crime rate in the nation.

Of course, we wouldn't let someone get a driver's license through a quickie online testing service, would we? [PVC: Apples and oranges. Actively maneuvering a vehicle down a crowded street is very different than having a holstered sidearm.]

But Vermont style conceal-carry supporters argue driving is a privilege while gun ownership is a Constitutional right.

Anyone who has followed my journalistic career should know that I am a firm believer in the Second Amendment to the Constitution; that a well-armed and well-trained populace is not only our best protection against outside invaders, but also from threats among us.

And, as the old saying goes, where the people fear the government you have tyranny and where the government fears the people you have liberty. Thomas Jefferson said, "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

That said, I am also a firm believer in firearms safety.

And while these online safety courses surely pass Constitutional muster, they certainly fail when it comes promoting firearms safety.

I've spent a good bit of my career in some of the roughest neighborhoods in the Richmond area, but I've never carried a gun. I just didn't think I had the skills or the time for the consistent and deliberate practice that it takes to be able to produce a pistol and use it accurately and safely in a crisis situation.

I totally respect those who do.

But you just can't get that online, in an hour or less.

7. Rabid beaver chases children in Fairfax; 2nd attack in a week

When I go for extended walks in my community, I'm very much aware that if I have to use my handgun in self-defense, there's a very real chance it could be used to stop an attack by a rabid animal. Rabid beavers seem to be in the news lately. Like a surprise criminal attack, when a rabid animal charges you, you are either armed and ready or you are not.

Walter Jackson emailed me this:



Rabid beaver chases children in Fairfax; 2nd attack in a week
By Meredith Somers
September 12, 2012

A rabid beaver leaped from a pond and chased a group of children who had gathered for a fishing competition in a Fairfax County park on Saturday — the second beaver attack in the county in a week.

Judy Pedersen, spokeswoman for the Fairfax County Park Authority, said the beaver attacked the children around 11:30 a.m. at the Hidden Pond Nature Center in Springfield.

According to a staff member on duty during the competition, part of the park's Safari Saturday program, the beaver swam over to a dock where about four or five children were standing with two parents.

"There was a 4-year-old girl a little bit on one side by herself," Ms. Pedersen said. "The beaver got up on the dock, staggering, and jumped toward the young girl."

The beaver didn't touch the girl, and the parents grabbed the children and ran, she said.

Ms. Pedersen said the beaver wandered into the nearby woods during the 15 minutes or so it took for an animal control officer to arrive.

When people went back down to the pond, the beaver reappeared, Ms. Pedersen said.

"I think it was more frightening than dangerous," Ms. Pedersen said. "The kids were startled. The young lady in particular was probably the most startled, and after she and her parents reconciled, they left there saying, 'Boy, have we got a fishing tale to tell.' "

An animal control officer cleared the area and shot the beaver.

It was tested for rabies over the weekend, and doctors on Tuesday confirmed it had the disease.

The park is nestled in a neighborhood off Old Keene Mill Road. There are four marked trails at the park, as well as the pond, a playground and a picnic area that Johanna Tschebull said is popular with fellow Fairfax County mothers and children.

"I'm not worried. I heard it's quite unusual," Ms. Tschebull said Wednesday afternoon as her 3-year-old daughter scampered up the path that rings the pond.

"I know other moms are concerned, but I'm not going to stay away from the pond unless they tell us to. Just use common sense."

The pond where the beaver emerged is small, with a heavy coat of algae covering its surface and scattered tree branches poking through the water.

Besides the low water level, the pond didn't appear different to Laurie Hochman and her husband Bob, two West Springfield residents out walking their 16-year-old poodle Zachary on Wednesday, though the idea of a rabid beaver is "really creepy," she said.

"That is very strange," Ms. Hochman said. "It makes me wonder if there are other animals or rodents running around [with rabies]."

Last week, an 83-year-old woman was bitten by another beaver while swimming in Lake Barcroft, about 11 miles away. That animal also tested positive for rabies.

Farther away, two girls — ages 11 and 8 — were bitten by a rabid beaver while swimming in Spotsylvania County's Lake Anna in July. The beaver was killed by someone at the lake.

County spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said that prior to this month, it had been 12 years since the last report of beaver bites in Fairfax County.

Ms. Pedersen said animal control officials have not seen an increase in the number of confirmed rabies cases, which usually measure between 50 and 60 each year.

"It's too early to make an assessment of what exactly is going on," Ms. Pedersen said. "It's very unusual, but the real meaning is still to be uncovered."

Lee Walker, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said unlike a fox or a raccoon that can be easily spotted on land, a rabid beaver is harder to avoid.

"A beaver pops up out of its hut and — boom — you're in the water, he's there sitting and staring eyeball to eyeball with you, and you never really had a chance," Mr. Walker said.

8. RU Board of Visitors approves concealed carry ban on 9-5 vote

Politics and political correctness win over safety and liberty at Radford University.

EM Dave Hicks emailed me this:



RU Board of Visitors approves concealed carry ban on 9-5 vote
by Tonia Moxley
September 14, 2012

The Radford University Board of Visitors voted Friday to join Virginia Tech and Old Dominion University in barring concealed carry of firearms in campus buildings.

The board approved the ban on a 9-5 vote. Voting in favor were: Rector Linda K. Whitley-Taylor, Nancy Artis, Brandon Bell, Mary Waugh Campbell, Sandra Davis, Kevin Dye, Darius Johnson, Ruby Rogers, and Georgia Ann Snyder-Falkinham. The five who voted against were Vice Rector Milton C. Johns, Anthony Bedell, Matthew Crisp, Wendy Tepper and Michael Wray. Stephan Cassaday was absent.

Members of the general public may still carry firearms on the grounds. But guns are banned at university outdoor events.

Several Virginia public colleges and universities have passed regulations similar to Radford's since last year when state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli opined that to restrict concealed firearms carry by legal permit holders, institutions must pass a regulation. A simple policy, which has been in effect at some universities for years, was not sufficient, Cuccinelli wrote.

The Radford board also approved the university's $183.8 million operating budget, and heard a historic enrollment report from staff. According to student census information, Radford's total enrollment of 9,573 is the largest in the university's 100-year history. The entering class is also the largest ever, at 2,856.

More than 90 percent of Radford's students come from in-state, one of the highest resident student populations in the commonwealth.

"We serve Virginia," university Chief Financial Officer Richard Alvarez said this week.

The university also saw gains in first-generation college students. About 34 percent of this year's freshmen are the first in their families to attend college - up 5 percent from last year.

The university has also made strides in diversity. Twenty-five percent of the entering class belongs to ethnic or other minorities. [PVC: So is disarming minorities the true reason that the university put the gun ban in place?)

9. Gun sales surge: An Obama bounce?

Walter Jackson emailed me this:



Gun Sales Surge: An Obama Bounce?
by Allen Wastler
September 8, 2012

The gun business is booming. The question is, why?

Smith & Wesson stock Friday was zooming, thanks to a stellar earnings report. The firearms maker also boosted its outlook for the rest of the year. Because of the strong business, its backlog of orders more than doubled from the same quarter last year, the company is concentrating on boosting production and building inventory.

"We are underserving the market at this moment, we all know that, and that's a great opportunity going forward for us," CEO James Debney said in a conference call with analysts.

And another gun maker, Sturm, Ruger & Co., also hit a milestone of sorts in terms of meeting consumer demand. It produced its one-millionth gun of the year…well ahead of last year's pace.

"It took us nearly all of 2011 to build one million firearms, but in 2012 we accomplished it on August 15th," said Ruger President and CEO Mike Fifer in a statement.

What's driving the demand that has gun makers cranking up production?

Speculation has focused on fears of a coming regulatory crackdown on gun ownership. Liberal administrations tend to be anti-gun and so, the thinking goes, an Obama re-election would set the stage for stricter gun purchasing requirements. Hence, people are buying now in anticipation of difficulty later.

Indeed, looking at background checks for gun sales (a metric commonly used to gauge general industry performance) 2009 showed a measureable increase that many attributed to Obama's election.

Is it the same this year? Some anecdotal evidence tends to bear that out.

"I should put Obama's picture on the wall up there," said one New Jersey gun salesman, asking not to be identified. "I'd name him salesman of the month!"

But it's not universal. Some suggest it may be less about regulatory worries and more about the immediate economy. (Related: Are You Better Off?)

"Sure, about a third of it is politics," said a Maryland salesman, who also didn't want to be named. "But the majority are people concerned about safety. They are worried about crime and looking at the economy and no one having jobs. They want to be protected now. So they're buying."

"The biggest new group of buyers now are senior citizens," Larry Hyatt, owner of a North Carolina gun shop, said on CNBC's "Closing Bell." "Ten thousand Baby Boomers a day are turning 65; they can't run, they can't fight, they got to shoot."

The motivation behind the rush could be key to how long the gun makers enjoy the surge in business. Fears of overregulation could dissipate rapidly after the current election season is over, since there was no major change to gun regulations after Obama was elected the first time. Indeed, one analyst downgraded Smith & Wesson [SWHC 10.87 0.32 (+3.03%)] and Ruger [RGR 50.57 1.85 (+3.8%)] stock last month, citing fears that their torrid sales pace this year is unsustainable.

Not all analysts agree, however.

"We think there is broader drivers, broader acceptance of the use of guns and more target shooting," said Cai Von Rumohr, an analyst with Cowen & Co., also appearing on CNBC. "So we think it's more than just safety and more than just fear of not being able to buy guns."

10. Long-awaited 'Furious' report places blame on ATF, Department of Justice

Looks to me that the report lops the rope off too low to the ground. Something of this scale had to have gone much higher.

Bill Hine emailed me this:



EXCLUSIVE: Long-awaited 'Furious' report places blame on ATF, Justice
By William La Jeunesse
September 11, 2012

Dozens of senior-level U.S. government officials turned a blind eye to public safety as they pursued an ill-conceived and poorly managed investigation into gun trafficking in Mexico, according to a long-awaited inspector general's report on Operation Fast and Furious.

Portions of the Justice Department IG report, which has not been made public, were obtained exclusively by Fox News Channel.

The report and accompanying accounts cite a failure in leadership and a lack of accountability and oversight up and down the chain of command at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Justice Department itself and other offices. It says many senior executives knew the U.S. was helping traffic guns to Mexico that killed people but did nothing to stop it.

"We found no evidence in Operation Fast and Furious that the ATF or the (U.S. attorney's office) attempted at any point during the investigation to balance the risks to the public safety against the long-term benefits of identifying trafficking networks and participants," the draft report says.

Fast and Furious was the anti-gunrunning sting that helped send some 2,000 assault weapons to Mexico under the guise of stopping illegal trafficking. The operation ended only after the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry -- two of the weapons associated with the investigation were found at his murder scene.

Much of the blame in the report is directed at three ATF managers: Phoenix Agent in Charge Bill Newell, Supervisor Dave Voth and Case Agent Hope MacAllister.

Their attorneys claim they've been scapegoated. Debra Roth, an attorney for MacAllister, wrote to Inspector General Michael Horowitz that the report "fails to account for the abdication of oversight, guidance and responsibility by ATF headquarters and Main Department of Justice regarding the implementation of what is in essence a strategy to combat an international criminal enterprise."

The documents obtained by Fox News, while incomplete, provide an early glimpse into the finger-pointing that will follow the expected release later this week or early next week of the complete IG report. Attorney General Eric Holder has said the report, which will be scrutinized on Capitol Hill, will provide him the basis to discipline or fire those found most culpable.

While the report blames Newell and Voth for poor judgment, attorneys for the two say higher-ups and the entire ATF chain of command were aware of everything they did.

Both men recall a detailed briefing Voth delivered to senior ATF and DOJ staff in Washington on March 5, 2010. In a Power Point presentation, attended by at least two deputy attorneys general, Voth explained how the operation was run and how almost two-dozen largely unemployed men bought 1,026 assault weapons with $650,000 in just over four months, then smuggled the guns to Mexico while under surveillance.

"Following the briefing ... Mr. Voth received accolades from his superiors. No one in ATF leadership or at Main Justice raised any concerns with Mr. Voth about the direction of the investigation. If anything, they were encouraging him," Voth attorney Joshua Levy said.

Attorneys for the three contend that the report's conclusion that the strategy for Fast and Furious was hatched in Phoenix is not true. MacAllister's attorney claims that it was "part of the overall ATF Southwest Border strategy to deal with an international criminal enterprise engaged in firearms trafficking."

Horowitz said late last week that he expects the full report to be released later this week or early next. He is currently scheduled to testify in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next Wednesday.

11. Just a few comments can be ammo for the anti's

It's always better to take the high road when dealing with the antis. In the posting below there is a pity party because someone called an anti a bad name. Never mind that the antis do the same thing to pro-gun people all the time - from questioning someone's manhood to questioning their intelligence.

I attempted to post something to that effect on the blog site below, but it never saw the light of day. Not surprising - the antis only like free speech if it is theirs and not ours.

Board Member Bruce Jackson emailed me this:



Pro-Gun Activist to Virginia Mom: "Just checking in on my favorite c---t."
September 5, 2012

It's common knowledge that pro-gun activists love to harass, intimidate and threaten Americans who care about gun violence. [PVC: Oh, baloney.] And women have always borne the most significant brunt of those attacks.

On two previous occasions, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) has posted misogynistic comments directed at Virginia mother Abby Spangler, the founder of the Protest Easy Guns movement. Abby described her entrance into the gun violence prevention movement as follows: "I'd been thinking, 'Is this what we've come to in America? But when Virginia Tech happened, I said, 'I've had enough.' Then when I found out the Virginia Tech shooter got his gun in a matter of minutes, I was outraged. I decided that someone had to speak out and say this is unacceptable. We're not just going to light candles to mourn the victims. We're going to protest for change."

To date, Abby has led—or helped to organize—more than 110 "Lie-In" protests in 30+ states across the country. [PVC: Yes, emphasis on "lie."] These protests have called for common-sense gun laws to prevent individuals who are clearly violent and/or deranged from easily obtaining firearms.

Her good works continue to provoke the animosity of pro-gun activists. Abby has shared with us a sampling of comments she has received since our last blog about her (just click on any comment to enlarge it).

12. Gun crimes don't happen because of 'weak' laws

This hits the nail on the head.

Board Member Bruce Jackson emailed me this:



SCOTT: Gun crimes don't happen because of 'weak' laws
Gun control targets the wrong people
by Kyle Scott
September 13, 2012

Like clockwork, it has happened. Anytime there is a shooting, there is a call for stricter gun control laws. But in the aftermath of the recent shootings in New Jersey and New York, the calls for more stringent laws ring hollow. New York and New Jersey have laws that are among the strictest in the nation. This highlights an important point in the battle against all violence, including gun violence: We should be more concerned about the cultivation of character than the crafting of laws.

Most people would refrain from shooting someone whether there was a law in place or not. It is the rare person who would say, "The only thing keeping me from opening fire on innocent people is the law." No, most of us don't murder because we know murder is wrong — not because the law tells us it is, but because our moral compass does.

By combining data from the Census Bureau and the FBI, we see that in states with the death penalty for murder, the murder rate in 2010 was 25 percent higher than in non-death-penalty states. According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, California, where in April a man in Oakland shot 10 innocent people in a college classroom, ranks among the states with the strictest gun laws. Likewise, New York and New Jersey have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation but have a higher murder rate than Ohio and Virginia, where gun laws are among the weakest. The states with the lowest murder rates are Vermont and New Hampshire. Those two states rank among the ones with the weakest gun laws.

Of course, these statistics don't prove laws are worthless. What they do show is the limited capability of laws to determine outcomes in individual cases or to shape behavior in general. The strength or weakness of gun laws is not to blame; the persons who commit crimes are. What we need to understand is what leads these people to commit such horrific acts of violence.

No law can make people feel connected or empathetic, improve their view of humanity or make them moral.

Laws are insufficient correctives for the depraved soul or mind. Rather, laws punish misdeeds, remind us of what society expects from us and, in some instances, provide a deterrent for those less determined to harm others.

Laws are not useless, but to think of them as the only answer or the best answer is wrongheaded. A new emphasis should be placed on cultivating character, not crafting laws. Such an endeavor does not follow a clear course of action, nor does it satisfy our needs for clarity and immediacy, but it does provide a more productive path forward.

13. Hollywood's evolving take on gun rights

EM John Pierce emailed me this:



Hollywood's evolving take on gun rights
by John Pierce
September 11, 2012

In 1999, back when the Brady Campaign was upfront about their goals and called themselves Handgun Control, Inc., they ran a full page ad in USA Today entitled "Open Letter to the National Rifle Association."

The letter called for a nationwide "one handgun a month" rule, waiting periods for handgun purchases, an end to private sales, and a complete and permanent ban on so-called "assault weapons" as well as normal capacity magazines.

Signing this "open letter" were dozens of Hollywood stars and media personalities. The list included many names that you would expect to see promoting gun control. Alec Baldwin was a signer, as was Candice Bergen. Other names included Cher, Kevin Costner, Phil Donahue, Richard Dryfus, and Spike Lee.

But there are other signers who might surprise you and even more surprising celebrities who have supported gun-control during their careers. In the case of these stars, the hypocrisy is almost palpable. These are actors who make a great deal of money starring in movies that glorify gunplay but who wish to disarm law-abiding citizens.

So why talk about this now? Well … the impetus for this article is the recent release of the movie Expendables 2. This movie is the perfect microcosm of the divide on gun rights in Hollywood. The movie stars some of the most pro-gun stars in Hollywood while simultaneously featuring some of the most anti-gun. And which stars are in which category might just amaze you.

On the pro-gun side we will start with Chuck Norris. Where gun rights are concerned, you can't say enough about Chuck Norris. He is a truly dedicated supporter of gun rights, a celebrity spokesperson for the NRA, and the honorary chairman of the NRA's "Trigger The Vote" campaign.

The next pro-gun star from the Expendables is Bruce Willis. In a 2006 interview, Willis made it clear that he supports the Second Amendment and considers gun-control bad public policy.

"If you take guns away from legal gun owners then the only people who would have guns would be the bad guys."

But now we must turn to the anti-gun stars. I will start with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Like many politicians before him, Arnold's run for the governorship of California featured a promise that he "supports the Second Amendment" followed by a list of "responsibilities that gun owners must follow in owning a firearm".

From Arnold's perspective, those responsibilities included supporting the Brady Bill, submitting to the arbitrary ban on popular sporting firearms, giving up private sales, and complying with storage requirements that make self-defense virtually impossible. When pushed on the issue by reporters, he stated "I'm for gun control. I'm a peace-loving guy."

And finally we turn to Sylvester Stallone. Stallone, living in the UK, was asked about US gun culture and made it very clear that he is no friend of gun owners, calling for door-to-door confiscation of all handguns.

"Until America, door to door, takes every handgun, this is what you're gonna have. It's pathetic. It really is pathetic. It's sad. We're living in the Dark Ages."

But a new era appears to be dawning in Hollywood, with many stars voicing their support for gun rights. Recently, in an interview with the BBC, Ice T was asked about gun rights in the US and deftly defended the right to keep and bear arms in the face of hard questioning by the interviewer. I salute Ice T for his position and his debating skills.

And finally, the dynamic duo of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are apparently living the gun owners dream. Brad recently bought Angelina a private shooting range at their home in France valued at over $400,000. And why wouldn't he? After all, Angelina is quoted as saying that shooting guns is a bit of an "aphrodisiac."

Need I say more? Well played Mr. Pitt. Well played indeed.

But Brad's love of guns doesn't end there. In a recent interview with British magazine Live, he waxed somewhat poetic about his childhood with guns.

"I got my first BB (air) gun when I was in nursery school. I got my first shotgun by first grade. I had shot a handgun by third grade and I grew up in a pretty sane environment."

Talking about the Aurora Colorado shooting, he went on to defend gun ownership by law abiding citizens as a bulwark against criminals.

"I absolutely don't believe you can put sanctions or shackles on what is made. Nor do I want to pretend the world is different than what we witnessed that night.

America is a country founded on guns. It's in our DNA. It's very strange but I feel better having a gun. I really do. I don't feel safe, I don't feel the house is completely safe, if I don't have one hidden somewhere."

He ended the interview with a slap at those who would use such tragedies to promote their anti-gun agendas.

"To turn around and ask us to give up our guns … we're going to give up ours and the bad guys are still going to get theirs. It's just in our thinking. I'm telling you, we don't know America without guns."

14. A lesson in gun shot wounds [VIDEO]

Caution - this video is graphic.

Rich Norwood emailed this to me:


This is much more informative than a bunch of people arguing the 9mm vs. .45acp debate on their computers with ballistic tables in hand.
This should be a "must watch" video.


15. Criminals and the guns they carry

Rich Norwood emailed me this:



Criminals and the Guns They Carry
by Greg Ellifritz

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss." Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu said this over 2000 years ago in his book The Art of War. It's hardly new advice. Yet it is just as useful now as it was so many centuries ago.

Armed citizens spend countless hours trying to find the perfect weapon system, combining the best size, accuracy, reliability, and stopping power into one easy-to-carry package. They try friends' guns. They read gun magazines. They study every gun website on the internet. They are truly taking Sun Tzu's advice above as they attempt to "know themselves".

But how much time does the average CCW permit holder spend on the other portion of that quote? How many of you spend an equal amount of time studying criminal behavior in order to "know your enemy?" Most of my students don't study criminal behavior nearly as much as they should.

There are several reasons for this phenomenon. The primary reason is that most honest citizens don't come into contact with hardened criminals on a daily basis. They don't personally know any criminals and have no direct experience dealing with them. Without having regular contact with criminals, honest citizens are forced to rely on research done by others. Most criminological research isn't all that interesting or relevant for the law-abiding citizen. The available academic research simply doesn't answer many of the questions the average person cares about.

Armed citizens want to understand commonly used criminal ruses and attacks. They want to know how likely they are to be victimized. They want to know potential characteristics of their attackers and their attackers' weapons. They want to know when and where crimes occur. Unfortunately, most criminological researchers aren't interested in the same topics. It's tough finding useful research.

The lack of available research leads to real preparation problems for the armed citizen. How does a person choose what type of weapon to carry when he doesn't have a good idea of the threat he faces? Wouldn't knowing the types of weapons criminals carry be important information to have before deciding what type of weapon you should carry? Remember Sun Tzu's quote above; we need to know both ourselves AND our enemies.

There hasn't been a whole lot of published research on the subject of criminal weapons. There are numerous studies from the FBI and US DOJ about weapons used in crimes, but they don't go into great detail. Most only identify if the weapon used by the criminal was a firearms, edged weapon, or impact weapon. If the reports supply additional information about firearms, they seldom track individual weapon types, calibers, and ammunition. Most papers only classify the weapons used in crimes as "handguns", "rifles", and "shotguns". That's not enough information for the armed citizen. He or she needs to know more details about the threats they face.

In my full-time job as a police training officer, I have much better access to criminal weapon information than the average citizen has. In fact, all the guns my department seizes from criminals end up in my office after the cases have been adjudicated. I get regular packages containing a crime report, a gun, and the ammunition loaded in it crossing my desk. I then test fire all of these weapons with the exact ammunition they were loaded with during the time of the crime.

Over the past several years, I have been collecting information about these weapons to share with my officers and the students in my classes. Please keep in mind that this is a very small sample of weapons and depending on your locale, it may not reflect the threats that YOU face. My police agency is relatively small and patrols a very affluent suburban community in the Midwest. The crime rate in our city is very low. It certainly isn't Miami or Los Angeles, but over time, I've amassed quite a database of criminal weapons and ammunition.

A few of the handguns seized from criminals

That data I will report below comes from the details of the last 85 weapons that my agency has seized from criminals. Each of these weapons was seized from the criminal contemporaneous with the crime he committed. Some were taken from the criminal's body, some from the criminal's house, and some from the criminal's car. I did not include guns that were donated to the department or guns used in suicides here. The majority of the weapons detailed here were taken from armed robbers and other types of criminals who were carrying guns in the commission of their crimes.

The Basics
As I stated above, this study contains the details the most recent 85 firearms taken from criminals by my agency. Of those 85 guns:

- 67 were handguns

13 revolvers
52 semi –automatic pistols
1 Derringer
1 illegally-converted fully automatic machine pistol

- 11 were rifles

4 Bolt Actions
7 semi –automatic rifles

- 7 were shotguns

4 Pump Actions
3 single shots or double barrels

We had a wide variety of firearms manufacturers included in the database. Companies that represented the most seized guns were:

- Ruger-9
- Smith and Wesson- 6
- Glock-5
- Hi Point- 5
- Beretta- 4
- Lorcin- 4
- Remington- 4
- Raven- 3
- Jennings- 3
- IntraTec- 3
- Norinco- 3

Nine of the 85 weapons were completely broken and unable to function. 17 more of the guns had limited functionality because of frequent (at least 1 in the first 3 rounds I fired) malfunctions, lack of magazines (5 guns), and other problems like incorrect magazines, and internal parts breakage that lead to inconsistent firing ability.

Test firing a WWII-era 1911

Caliber and Ammunition
It was quite shocking to me to note that many of the guns we seized were unloaded! Here's the breakdown:

- Unloaded- 24 (28%)
- Less than fully-loaded- 4 (5%)
- Loaded with the wrong caliber ammunition- 2 (2%)
- Loading status unknown- 6 (7%)
- Fully Loaded- 49 (57%)

The handguns we seized were of the following calibers:

- .22 Short, Long Rifle, and Magnum- 9
- .25 ACP- 3
- .32 ACP, Short or Long- 5
- .380 ACP- 5
- .38 SPL or S&W- 4
- 9mm- 26
- .357 Mag, or Sig- 5
- .40 S&W- 4
- .45 ACP- 5
- .50 AE- 1

All the shotguns except one were 12 gauges. The rifles were split between .22 Long Rifle, .223, and 7.62x39mm.

When the guns were loaded, they contained a strange mix of ammunition. Of the loaded handguns:

- 26 were loaded with FMJ or RNL ammunition- (51%)
- 14 contained Jacketed Hollowpoint ammunition- (27%)
- 9 contained some mix of several different ammunition types (18%)
- 2 were loaded with handgun shotshells- (4%)

A couple of other interesting notes on ammunition:

- All of the .22 weapons had RNL ammo or shotshells. Not a single hollowpoint round was loaded into any of the .22s.
- All of the .357 magnum revolvers were loaded with premium hollowpoint ammunition
- Roughly 75% of the .40S&W and .45ACP pistols were loaded with hollowpoint ammunition
- More than 80% of the 9mm pistols were loaded with FMJ ammunition

The most likely firearm threat a citizen in my community is likely to face is from a handgun. Roughly 79% of the weapons we take from criminals are revolvers or pistols. This echoes the statistics gathered by the US Department of Justice on crime-related firearms injuries. Their research states that 82% of crime victims that received gunshot wounds were shot by handguns.

Those handguns are not always the cheap and easily concealed "Saturday Night Specials" that criminals stereotypically carry. Dr. James Wright, in his book "Armed and Considered Dangerous" found that the criminals he studied preferred larger, more powerful, and more reliable handguns over smaller, cheaper, and more easily concealed ones.

My data bears this out. Of the 67 handguns carried by criminals in this study, only 17 of them (25%) were below .35 caliber. The vast majority were medium to larger caliber weapons.

The guns were not all cheaply made either. The three most commonly represented handgun manufacturers in this study (Ruger, Smith and Wesson, and Glock) are generally known to make quality, reliable handguns. Only about 23% of the guns we took from criminals could be considered "Saturday Night Specials".

Previous research conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics tells us that in all criminal victimizations with firearms; only 11% of the victims were shot or shot at. When criminal attacks with all weapons (knives, clubs, etc.) are included, less than 1% of armed criminal victimizations resulted in a gunshot wound. These statistics have always been puzzling to me. Why aren't more people getting shot by criminals?

Now I know the answer. The criminals' weapons won't fire! Let's break down the numbers again:

Out of 85 weapons seized:

- 24 are not loaded
- 2 are not loaded with the correct ammunition
- 9 are completely broken

Combine those facts and you will see that 41% of the weapons we seize from criminals are completely non-functional!

Now include the four guns that weren't fully loaded and the 17 with extremely limited function (no magazines, malfunctioned within 1st 3 rounds, etc.) and take a look at the results. In total, 66% of the guns we took from criminals were unable to be fired or could be fired for fewer than three rounds before being empty or experiencing a malfunction!

I believe that's a major factor in why victims of firearms crimes are so unlikely to be shot!

In their paper Firearm Injury and Death from Crime, The U.S. Department of Justice states that there are 3.3 nonfatal firearms wounds for every fatal one. In addition to highlighting the effectiveness of our medical system, that statistic can also show that the criminals who do have functioning weapons aren't very accurate or aren't using the most effective bullets available.

My study bears this statistic out as well. Only 27% of the loaded handguns we seized were loaded with quality Jacketed Hollowpoint ammunition. The rest were loaded with far less effective FMJ, RNL, or Shotshell ammunition.

Lessons to Learn

To ensure victory against criminals, armed citizens and police officers need to be better equipped and better prepared than the attackers they face. What does this research suggest as far as preparations?

1) If the armed citizen is going to face a criminal attacker, the criminal is likely to be armed with a medium to large caliber handgun, most likely a 9mm auto pistol. That tells me that I may not feel comfortable carrying a little pocket gun. I really don't want to be carrying a small .32 automatic when my attacker is likely to be armed with a full sized Ruger, S&W, or Glock pistol! Carry enough gun!

I love my .38 snub, but it's not the gun I want if I'm facing a bad guy with a 9mm Glock!

On the other hand, you are quite unlikely to encounter criminals with military-style semi-automatic rifles. Maybe it's safe to leave the long guns and plate body armor at home on your next trip to the grocery store.

2) Criminals often carry unloaded or poorly functioning weapons. Make sure your weapon is loaded and functional! Don't carry with the chamber empty (that's almost the same as being unloaded), buy a quality handgun and keep it both clean and well-lubricated.

You must also understand the true danger you face when confronting an armed criminal. Many victims comply with an armed criminal's demands during the crime because they assume that the criminal's gun is fully functional and loaded. This study shows that more likely than not, that's a false assumption. While I'm not advocating resistance in every instance of criminal violence, that course of action is likely to be more successful than the average person realizes.

3) Criminals usually carry cheap and less effective FMJ and RNL ammunition in their guns. The guns may have a mix of several ammunition types (each likely shooting to a different point of aim), or be only partially loaded.

Make sure your weapon is fully loaded with high quality ammunition. Any of the major brand jacketed hollowpoint bullets is likely to be fine. Ensure the gun cycles reliably with your chosen ammunition.


Now that you know a little bit more about your enemy, you can better prepare yourself. Carry a quality weapon. Keep it clean and lubricated. Load it with good ammunition. Train until you can't fail.

If Sun Tzu had guns back in his day, I bet he'd tell you the same thing.

This article originally appeared in Concealed Carry Magazine

16. Taking Aim

EM Dave Hicks emailed me this:



Taking Aim
by Dave Kopel
August 30, 2012

What I would like to talk about today is two themes that come together. The first is what is wrong with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the second is what's wrong with Independence Institute President Jon Caldara.

Michael Bloomberg has created a faux grassroots organization called "Mayors Against Illegal Guns." Financially, it is by far the economic center of the gun prohibition movement in this country today. It is very wealthy and employs lots and lots of lobbyists in DC and in state capitals around the country. George Soros put some money in it as well; they've got some bucks.

But it's not exactly what it seems. There are 12 people who got their names off this list of supposedly "Mayors against illegal guns." These mayors said, "I never signed up for this; you just put my name on this without asking me. Or you told me his group is against illegal guns. Well, there are not too many people for illegal guns, so I signed up. It turns out you're just against guns in general."

There are another 19 mayors, actual members of "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" who now have left office because of felony convictions or because they are under indictment or because charges are pending or because they had to resign and the prosecutor was nice and didn't bring a case. With 19 identified criminals in "Mayors Against Illegal Guns," Michael Bloomberg's organization has a much higher crime rate then do people who have permits to carry handguns for their own protection.

In the interest of truth and advertising, the proper way to refer to this group is "Illegal Mayors Against Guns."

But I would say they have done one important service. There are a lot of people who wonder if there is an afterlife or not. How could you ever know for sure? Well, one mayor who was in this group and genuinely signed up for it passed away, and yet afterwards "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" was distributing letters from him lobbying on the gun issue — anti-gun letters signed by this deceased mayor. So if there any doubt, well, doesn't that prove there is an afterlife?

I'm not sure if writing anti-gun letters is the ideal way to spend it. Probably this mayor enjoyed it.

What we consistently see out of Michael Bloomberg and his crowd, including in their attempts to exploit the recent murders in Aurora and Wisconsin, and really every day, is undifferentiated hostility towards gun ownership and especially toward people who own firearms for protection.

This is rather hypocritical because when Michael Bloomberg says people shouldn't have guns for protection, he must have his fingers crossed or he has a mental reservation. Apparently if you can get an entire New York police security detail carrying machine guns to accompany you every second, that's OK. Because after all, he isn't personally owning a gun for protection. So maybe he feels there is some kind of difference there.

And they put out these terrible malicious, libels against people — like when they say the only reason the person would own an AR-15 rifle is because they want to be a mass murderer.

What a horrible thing to say about the literally millions of Americans who have made the AR-15 the most popular, best-selling rifle in the United States of America, and what a malicious falsehood to say about our police who frequently carry an AR-15 in their squad cars for those circumstances where they might need a rifle for backup.

Neither the Americans who use their AR-15 for target shooting, for home defense, for hunting game up to the size of deer (it's not powerful enough for anything larger than that), nor the police who use AR-15s, want to harm a lot of people. They have these firearms for legitimate purposes and especially for protecting themselves and other people.

At the Independence Institute, in our legal work on the gun issue, we almost always file joint amicus briefs with police organizations. We represented a huge coalition of police organizations in the Supreme Court amicus briefs we filed in Heller and McDonald.

Just last week in Woollard v.Gallagher, in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, our amicus brief was filed not only for the Independence Institute but also for the two major organizations which train law enforcement in firearms use. These are the policemen who are the trainers for all the rest of the police: the International Law Enforcement Educators & Trainers Association and the International Association Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors.

What we consistently say with the police is that there is one key principle which has two manifestations. One is that guns in the wrong hands are very dangerous, and so we need strong laws to try to keep guns out from the wrong hands; and if they get in the wrong hands we need strong laws to punish misuse and to put misusers away so they can no longer endanger innocents.

The second part of the principle is that guns in the right hands protect public safety. They help the police to protect people; they help civilians protect each other; they sometimes civilians help protect the police. So we are also in need of strong laws to make sure there are guns in the right hands, to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to purchase, own, use, and carry firearms.

Forty years ago there were virtually no gun laws of any sort in Colorado or in most of the United States. The reason the gun debate in this country has finally settled down after four decades, as it also has in Colorado, especially after Columbine, is that we've come to a Colorado consensus and a national consensus based on a common sense. We have added a lot of laws to keep guns out of the wrong hands and we have added a lot of laws to protect the rights of law-abiding people.

The most important of these laws in Colorado, which is the same thing we are supporting in the Woollard case in Maryland (Maryland being one of the nine holdout states on this issue), is the right to carry. Colorado's right to carry law was written by the County Sheriffs of Colorado. It insures that a law-abiding adult who passes a fingerprint-based background check and a safety training class can obtain a permit to carry a handgun for lawful protection.

That's our single most important post-Columbine reform. At the Independence Institute we worked on this issue for a decade to make it become law, and what a difference it's already made.

You know what happened in December 2007 when an evildoer went into the sanctuary of the New Life megachurch in Colorado Springs. Seven thousand people were there. He had already murdered four people, two in Denver, two people in a parking lot, and he went in there intent on mass murder. Because of the County Sheriffs of Colorado, because of the right to carry law, Jeannie Assam, a church volunteer, was lawfully carrying a handgun. She stopped the killer. Pastor Brady Boyd said she saved over a hundred lives that day.

We want laws like that everywhere in the country. We have them in 41 states. Maryland is coming soon. It is essential that the right to bear arms be protected nationally, as all national civil rights should be.

Another thing we are going to be promoting very much at the Independence Institute is stronger laws on mental health. There are lots of ways government spending can be cut, starting with corporate welfare, which is illegal by four different clauses of Colorado constitution. We should cut every penny that goes toward corporate welfare and spend it on proper government services.

At the next session of the legislature we are going to explain the importance of better funding for mental health services — not only because of sensational crimes like in Aurora, but also because of the many homicides that happen and that never get camera crews from other continents out here. In Colorado and around the country there are so many murders perpetrated by people who are seriously mentally ill — people who 30 years ago or 50 years ago would have properly been institutionalized, but today there are no beds for them and no support system. We want to change that. We want to take money out of the hands of corporate welfare, away from special interests and put the money into the community interest of a better, stronger system of mental health in Colorado.

So that's what's wrong with Michael Bloomberg on the gun issue, but let me tell you what's wrong with Jon Caldara, our president at the Independence Institute. In his opening remarks today he referred to the alcohol, tobacco, and firearms we're celebrating at this party as the "perks of adulthood." That's fine to characterize alcohol and tobacco in those terms, but it's not right on the firearms side.

Let me tell you about two different places in the world. One is Western Australia. There was a study done of aborigines in Western Australia who were in prison for felonies. One group of the imprisoned criminals had misused guns in a crime. The second group also had guns; but they had never misused a gun against a human being.

What was the difference between the two groups? The criminals who never misused a gun against a person had been taught about guns by an older authority figure such as father or an uncle. They had learned about shooting sports and acquired an attitude of treating guns with responsibility. They saw guns as something you use to shoot some game but not something you use to try to harm an innocent person.

Another study comes from Rochester, New York, on the other side of the world. They did a longitudinal study to try to find the 16-year-olds who are the most likely to become juvenile delinquents and then criminals. This means they didn't study girls at all. If you want to study crime, and you have only so many people you can study, you focus on the males; that's just a sociological fact. They tracked these young people over the years.

The youths who at 16 illegally owned a gun (maybe they bought a handgun from somebody on the street) had in future years a very high rate of being arrested for serious crimes, including gun crimes. The youths who at 16 legally owned a gun (say they had a shotgun that their parents given them, or went hunting with their dads or rifle shooting with their uncles), they had essentially no crime of any type. So how young people are socialized about guns is hugely important in future outcomes.

Now contrary to this socialization that some of the young people in Western Australia and in Rochester had is the desensitization that comes through too much of our media, particularly television entertainment and movies. The people who produce these horrible grotesque pornographic celebrations of violence, like Quentin Tarantino's movies, will tell you, "Oh, it doesn't affect people; movies and TV have no influence on people."

I'm sure that's true for the large majority of folks. But if you say that what is on television has no effect on what people do, isn't it kind of odd that they sell advertising? What a waste of money that must be, because apparently what you see never affects what you do.

How strange it is that these movies and TV shows have sold product placements. Where they say "Oh, if Coca-Cola pays us some money, we will have a character drinking a Coca-Cola." But apparently on the other hand what the people see on TV and the movies never has any effect on them.

Likewise, in the ongoing culture war against smoking, you're not supposed to show characters smoking in a movie that young people are going to see. So the producers do think that what people see does have an effect.

So now Hollywood says "We are going to make sure that when a 15 year old goes to a movie he is never going to see somebody lighting up a cigarette, but he is going to see mass violence and gun misuse."

We're not for censorship at the Independence Institute. But we are for counter-programming and that's part of what the ATF Party is about. It is about introducing some of you to shooting sports, giving others the opportunity to participate more often, and hoping that all of you go out and introduce your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors and especially some young people you know to responsible shooting. Which is, as you know, a culture of safety, responsibility, self-control, self-discipline — of so many things that exemplify exactly what's right about America.

Some of the things that we are handing out today come from our friends at the NRA. Founded in 1871, the NRA is America's oldest civil rights organization, and one of America's oldest mass educational organizations as well. They've been teaching people about shooting safety and responsibility, with a special focus on young people, ever since 1871. So there are lots of materials you can take with you.

One of those I especially recommended is the NRA Qualification Program. It's about the size of a magazine and it shows how you can practice and improve your gun proficiency on your own, whether you like air guns or sporting clays or .22 caliber rifles or revolvers or whatever. The Qualification Program has courses of target shooting you can go through and earn yourself these cool little patches and medals as you work your way up in proficiency. It's a self-paced thing, so everybody can do it and we encourage you to do it yourself and hope you introduce as many people to it as possible.

On the gun issue we are not only on the pro-choice side; we are on the pro-life side as well. What we are doing on ATF day and what we do every day at the Independence Institute is to fight for those life-saving values of safety, responsibility and American constitutional rights.

We are not just protecting rights in Colorado; in the long term, we are making sure that those rights are protected nationally, as we did in the McDonald case.

We look forward to the day when even the people in the most oppressed parts of the United States — under the sweltering heel of Michael Bloomberg — will regain their rights to smoke a cigarette or a cigar, to drink a Big Gulp soda, and to own and carry a handgun for lawful protection, because it is a civil right of every American.

Thank you.

17. Widow turns tragedy into a cause for gun rights

We were going to have Nikki speak at our "No guns, no funds!" rally at Virginia Tech last year, but it didn't work out.

Sean Caranna shared this:



Widow turns tragedy into a cause for gun rights
By Bobby Allyn, The (Nashville) Tennessean
September 8, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Clutching a .38-caliber revolver stashed in her sparkly blue purse makes 36-year-old Nikki Goeser feel more secure when walking to her car at night.

Goeser, who says she feared guns as a child growing up in Western Kentucky, does not take safety for granted.

"I thought they'd jump right up from the table and shoot me," said Goeser, whose father collected guns.

But her life changed after watching a man walk into a bar in April 2009 on a rain-soaked night here and shoot her husband in the head with a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol. The shooter then stood over him and continued to fire rounds into his body.

Goeser's embrace of gun rights after witnessing to her husband's murder became so feverish that her story has been turned into a visceral symbol of how gun restrictions harm society.

Even though most criminologists find little to no connection between gun control laws and crime rates — much to the chagrin of both sides of the gun rights debate — Goeser firmly believes that her husband, Ben Goeser, might still be alive if someone else in that bar had been armed.

Her testimony in front of the state legislature helped drum up support for a law passed in 2010 allowing permit-holders to carry loaded guns into bars unless the owner expressly bans them. The retelling of her husband's murder also served as a case-in-point for letting guns in bars in Ohio, where its legislature last summer passed a similar rule.

"You don't ever imagine it'll happen to you," Goeser said recently. "Crimes often happen in gun-free zones because criminals know there will be no defense. Guns are the great equalizer, putting us on equal footing with criminals."

Since her husband's death, she has not had to pull her gun out for protection. Yet she can't help but dwell on what could happen. If she had to, Goeser's specially made purse lets her fire her gun from the bag's pocket.

"Permit holders are not the people you need to fear," she said, leaning in closer to underscore her conviction. "Do guns make it easier for bad guys to do things? Sure. But do they make it easier for law-abiding people to defend themselves? Yes, they do."

Goeser works as an assistant to state Rep. Curtis Halford, a Republican from Dyer, Tenn., and she is facing an uphill battle in convincing voters that the 339,000 Tennesseans who have permits to carry handguns are promoting safety by bringing firearms into restaurants and bars.

Polls have revealed that the majority of voters object to letting permit-holders carry firearms into other public places, such as parks and schools.

Tennessee lawmakers are preparing to introduce a so-called guns-in-trunks bill next session aimed at letting gun owners keep permitted firearms locked in their cars — even at work. A similar bill was blocked earlier this year.

Goeser plans to advocate for the bill. She keeps her gun in her car in the legislative parking lot, which the state allows.

"Think about all the places people stop to and from their house," she said. "You very well may need to protect yourself."

However, confusion persists about Tennessee's existing gun laws, including the guns in bars law, now more than 2 years old. This complicates Goeser's mission of making the state's eating and drinking establishments more gun friendly, she said.

From a private property rights perspective, Goeser says she respects establishments that post no-gun signs. Still, she won't hesitate to hand business owners a card that reads, "No Guns (EQUALS) No Money" above a sentence that states she and other armed customers "will spend our money with your competitors."

Tennessee's guns-in-bars law allows permit holders to carry their firearms into any place that serves alcohol though people carrying are not allowed to drink. A provision of the law allows business owners to post signs banning guns, which is legally enforceable.

Businesses without signs allow guns by default.

Most restaurants want the issue to disappear, according to Ray Friedman, who runs the Gun Free Dining Tennessee website. It lets customers look up the gun policy of some 700 businesses around the state.

Although nearly two-thirds of businesses his group has surveyed are opposed to allowing guns, some are skittish about posting a sign, afraid it will jeopardize business from the gun-owning set.

"Most businesses we call have no clue that guns are allowed in restaurants," Friedman said. "Some of them say, 'Oh no, we don't allow guns' but have not posted a sign. I have to explain that without the sign at your door, you're letting gun-carriers walk in."

A 2010 poll from Mason-Dixon Polling and Research found that the vast majority — 70% — of Tennessee voters think mixing guns with alcohol is too dangerous. Past studies on the subject have yielded similar results.

Author Paul Barrett, who this year published, Glock: The Rise of America's Gun, said that despite the wide slate of research dedicated to the subject, criminologists still are stumped about whether permissive gun-carry laws have any effect on crime rates.

"The prevalence of guns in American society most certainly makes violent crimes more lethal," Barrett said. "But you cannot draw a neat, causal connection between policies that encourage people to walk around armed and higher or lower crime rates."

Restaurant owner Randy Rayburn said he has had death threats sent to him since he banned guns from his eateries. But his businesses have not suffered.

"I've had hundreds upon hundreds of people thanking me for the stand I have taken," Rayburn said.

Hank Wise, the shooter who killed Goeser's husband, was sentenced last month to 23 years in prison, two years short of the maximum sentence.

Goeser has been working on a book about the experience and her gun advocacy with economist John Lott. He is much admired in pro-gun circles for research in the 1990s that concluded that as gun ownership rises, crime drops — a finding other researchers have challenged.

Rain sometimes jolts Goeser back to the events that unfolded the night of the shooting. She and her husband ran a mobile karaoke business, and on the eve of his death Nikki wanted to cancel the event, worried the soggy weather would damage the equipment. But Ben Goeser insisted they had an obligation.

For Nikki Goeser, the decision would reroute the course of her life.

"If the law would have been different, and if the killer knew we could carry, that might have been a deterrent, knowing someone might just shoot him if he tries this."

Since the law took effect, Jonny's Sports Bar, where Ben Goeser was killed, has posted a sign barring guns.

Josh Clinton, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, said highly charged stories like Goeser's are effective in galvanizing the public and lawmakers around an issue. But often, the emotion of the story dwarfs the complexity of public policy.

"For every Nikki Goeser, there's an incident of someone shooting off a gun accidentally," he said. "There are powerful anecdotes on both sides, and they are usually picked up by people who have a pre-existing stance."

Goeser sees it differently. Her own life story convinces her that more people carrying guns make potential victims safer.

"All of this fear people have is unwarranted," she said. "Bad guys are always going to carry. Don't you want to have law-abiding, trained people around that can stop them from taking an innocent life?"

18. Brave officer engaging mass killer


'It was time to use deadly force:' Officer describes taking down temple gunman
By PoliceOne Staff
September 11, 2012

OAK CREEK, Wis. — The officer who took down a gunman who killed six people and ambushed an officer outside a Sikh temple in August has spoken for the first time about the incident.

Oak Creek Police Officer Sam Lenda discussed the dash cam video of the August incident during a news conference Monday.

Lenda praised the work of other officers involved in the response, and said he was just doing his job when he took down shooter Wade Page.

"Hero is heavy. I'm just an officer who did my job," Lenda told reporters.

He said the first thing he did when Page marched toward him was grab his assault rifle and give orders to drop the weapon.

"I saw the individual coming at me and it's just something that I had a sense that this was not right," Lenda said.

As Page continued to approach and began firing at him, Lenda said he took cover behind the door of the squad. Bullets landed just above Lenda's steering wheel and into his headrest.

After running through what he described as a "checklist" that was drilled in through years of training, Lenda returned fire.

"No other things would work," he said. "It wouldn't be advisable for me to use a taser or to try to OC this gentleman, it was time to use deadly force, which I was privileged to do at that time."

"We know that he was on a mission to cause havoc. He had to be stopped and that's why I decided to shoot at that time."

Lenda fired at Page six times, striking him one time and effectively ending the shootout. Page then shot himself fatally in the head.

Before Lenda arrived, Page had fired 15 rounds into Oak Creek officer Brian Murphy. Six people died when Page opened fire inside the temple.

"He was coming at me, and the way he was marching at me was in an aggressive manner."

19. NAACP fights for self defense rights

NAACP defending a black man's right to defend himself with a gun? Satan just got hit in the face with a snow ball. ;-)

William Barratt emailed me this:



Can a Black Man Defend Himself at Home?
The NAACP and activists fight for the release of a black Georgia man who shot a man on his lawn.
by Aisha I. Jefferson
September 12, 2012

(The Root) -- Members of the NAACP -- including its president and CEO, Benjamin Todd Jealous -- along with local politicians and other activists, addressed a small crowd of journalists in Atlanta on Monday in an effort to bring attention to the case of a black Georgia man serving a life sentence for killing a white man who was trespassing on his property.

Despite Kennesaw, Ga., police detectives declaring in 2005 that John McNeil, 46, acted in self-defense, Cobb County District Attorney Pat Head decided a year later to try the case. McNeil was sentenced in November 2006.

"If this can happen to John McNeil, then it can happen to [Georgia NAACP President] Ed DuBose, it can happen to William Barber, it can happen to Ben Jealous. It can happen to any black man standing out here or standing anywhere in America, no matter how much good you've done or how right you are," the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, told the crowd in front of the Georgia State Capitol. Barber, a longtime friend of McNeil's, along with Jealous and other NAACP members, went to see him in prison before the press conference.

The "it" relates to events that took place Dec. 6, 2005, when McNeil arrived home after his teenage son called him about an unfamiliar man lurking about their property. According to testimony, the man, Brian Epp, a hired contractor with whom McNeil had past difficulties, had already pulled a knife on the teenager.

Epp refused to leave, and McNeil, who had called 911, fired a warning shot into the ground. Epp then charged toward McNeil while reaching into his pocket. McNeil fatally shot him in the head at close range. Court documents state that a pocketknife was clipped inside Epp's pants pocket. McNeil's neighbors who witnessed the incident backed his story.

Kennesaw police detectives investigated the case, decided that McNeil had acted in self-defense and didn't charge him. McNeil's self-defense claim is supported by Georgia's "castle doctrine" law, which allows an individual to use deadly force to protect his or her home, or anyone inside it, from a violent trespasser.

McNeil and his family thought the worst was over, until Pat Head decided nearly a year later to pursue prosecution. Although the Kennesaw Police Department refused to arrest McNeil, the Cobb County Sheriff's Office did, under Head's advisement, according to NAACP members.

During the trial, McNeil's neighbors, the two senior detectives investigating the case and a couple who said that they felt threatened by Epp when they hired him to do work all testified in McNeil's defense. All of those individuals are white.

Despite their testimony, McNeil was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. An appeal motion was filed, and in 2008, six of the seven justices of the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the conviction. The sole dissenting voice was then-Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, who found the case problematic.

The irony is that Kennesaw -- a predominantly white, conservative suburb 26 miles northwest of Atlanta where McNeil and his family lived -- has a 30-year-old mandatory law requiring heads of households to own at least one firearm.

"As long as John McNeil is behind bars, it is not safe for a black person to defend their family and their home in the state of Georgia," Jealous told The Root.

Race has been mentioned as a factor in this case, but Jealous points out that throughout the case, there were white law-enforcement officials who sided with McNeil.

"Yes, this is about a white DA who did the wrong thing. But he overrode two white detectives who did the right thing," Jealous says. The speakers, who expressed their condolences for Epp's death, also compared McNeil's treatment to something that would have happened in the Jim Crow South.

The McNeil case may immediately remind people of Florida's 2005 "Stand your ground" self-defense law that allowed George Zimmerman, 28, a white Hispanic, to avoid arrest for more than a month after shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last February.

But Jealous, sharing that the NAACP has "grave concerns about 'Stand your ground,' " was quick to draw the line between the castle doctrine and "Stand your ground" laws.

" 'Stand your ground' laws are so broad that they allow people to racially profile with deadly force anywhere. The basic difference is that [the castle-doctrine law] allows you to protect your home. ['Stand your ground'] allows you to appoint yourself vigilante-in-chief. And that's what Zimmerman did," Jealous explained, saying that the NAACP is fine with self-defense.

He continued, adding that "self-defense would apply here, too. [It] is a lighter standard than either one of those [and] says if someone threatens you with lethal force and you try to get away and you can't get away, you can use lethal force to defend yourself.

"And what you heard them describe today is classic self-defense," Jealous said.

The first priority on the NAACP's list is to reunite McNeil with his wife, Anita, who has cancer. The illness, deemed terminal, has prevented her from seeing her husband for the last two years.

"It is very possible that John McNeil's wife could die while he's still trying to clear his name. She will now be flying down here with her mayor, who has arranged special transportation so that she could see her husband for what may be one last time," Jealous says. Anita McNeil lives in Wilson, N.C. McNeil's mother died less than a month ago.

Throughout the address, speakers portrayed McNeil as a family man and pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps businessman who did everything right: He didn't have a criminal record, he volunteered in the community, he graduated from college and he took care of his family.

Jealous remains hopeful, believing that before this is over, they will have the support of prominent conservatives -- including the National Rifle Association, or NRA, which the NAACP has reached out to, along with other gun-rights organizations -- and that Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal will grant McNeil clemency.

"The heartbreaking thing is, here we are in the 21st century on the eve of the 150th-anniversary celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation," Jealous says, "and we still find ourselves defending black men [and] black people's most basic rights to protect their own lives."

Editor's note: The original article stated that Leah Ward Sears was the only African-American member of the Georgia Supreme Court when it upheld McNeil's conviction. In fact, there were two other black members of the court.

20. Florida investigation into SYG law reaches no conclusions


'Stand Your Ground' law's impact murky, task force told
by Toluse Olorunnipa
September 13, 2012

TALLAHASSEE -- Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll has repeatedly said that the task force commissioned to look into Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law will make its decision based on facts, not emotions.

But Carroll and 18 other task force members learned Wednesday that those facts -- like many Stand Your Ground cases -- can be difficult to pin down.

A University of Florida professor presented a slew of data tracking trends in crime, gun ownership and tourism since the 2005, but ultimately concluded that no definitive connections could be made yet to the Stand Your Ground law.

"The data that we collected in response to the task force request is insufficient to provide a conclusion on this issue," said Professor Monique Haughton Worrell, of UF's law school. "It's a complex issue, requiring complex analysis."

Worrell told task force members meeting in West Palm Beach that a more in-depth study would be needed before the university could determine a connection between Stand Your Ground and crime rates, gun ownership or tourism in Florida.

Gov. Rick Scott commissioned the task force in the wake of the February shooting death of Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin, which thrust the state's controversial gun laws into a national spotlight. The task force will meet in Cutler Bay on Thursday.

Trayvon, 17, was shot by a Sanford neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, who claims that he was acting in self-defense. Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder several weeks after the shooting, after nationwide protests and the appointment of a special prosecutor.

The 2005 law allows anyone to use deadly force if they feel in danger of great harm. The UF preliminary report found that in the seven years since the law passed:

- Homicides have increased.

- Violent crime has continued to decrease.

- Tourism gains saw no significant change.

- So-called "justifiable homicides" have more than doubled.

- Applications for concealed weapons permits have tripled.

But Worrell cautioned strongly against reading too much into those raw numbers. For example, violent crime had already been on the decline nationwide prior to 2005, and several other factors impact the crime and homicide rates, other than Stand Your Ground.

Gun control advocates immediately criticized the report as "disappointing," saying it did not go far enough to determine the true impact of the Stand Your Ground law.

"If the state wanted to work with a real data analysis, then fund it. It became pretty clear that they are going to fail to do that," said Ginny Simmons, director of the Second Chance on Shoot First campaign.

The author of the law, Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said the data proved wrong those who predicted the law would harm tourism and lead to a spike in crime.

As the task force -- which has been meeting across the state since May -- held its first meeting Wednesday in South Florida, the public testimony was generally in opposition to the law.

Only a handful of public testifiers spoke during the meeting, with most saying the self-defense law had led to tragic miscarriages of justice.

Members of the task force debated several options for amending the law, and will continue that effort on Thursday when it meets at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center.

21. Will Cinemark now wise up?

I'm not holding my breath.

Daniel Kohler emailed me this:



Did Colorado shooter single out Cinemark theater because it banned guns?
By John Lott
September 10, 2012

With 12 dead and 58 wounded, the July 20th shooting at the Cinemark Century 16 Theater in Aurora, Colorado was sure to result in a lawsuit. On Friday, the first suit was announced, claiming Cinemark has "primary responsibility." The theater did have responsibility for the attack, but not for the reasons that the lawyers bringing the case think.

The lawyer bringing the suit, Attorney Marc Bern, with the New York city law firm of Napoli, Bern, Ripka and Scholonik, suggested the theater should have had security guards the night of the attack. Yet, checking bags or metal detectors at the front of the theater that night wouldn't have prevented the attack. The killer brought his guns in through an emergency backdoor.

Armed security guards at movie theaters are rare in low crime areas, such as Aurora, especially on less crowded weeknights. And, with an audience fleeing the theater, armed guards may have experienced difficulty getting quickly inside.

So why did the killer pick the Cinemark theater? You might think that it was the one closest to the killer's apartment. Or, that it was the one with the largest audience.

Yet, neither explanation is right. Instead, out of all the movie theaters within 20 minutes of his apartment showing the new Batman movie that night, it was the only one where guns were banned. In Colorado, individuals with permits can carry concealed handgun in most malls, stores, movie theaters, and restaurants. But private businesses can determine whether permit holders can carry guns on their private property.

Most movie theaters allow permit holders carrying guns. But the Cinemark movie theater was the only one with a sign posted at the theater's entrance.

A simple web search and some telephone calls reveal how easily one can find out how Cinemark compared to other movie theaters. According to and, there were seven movie theaters showing "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20th within 20 minutes of the killer's apartment at 1690 Paris St, Aurora, Colorado. At 4 miles and an 8-minute car ride, the Cinemark's Century Theater wasn't the closest. Another theater was only 1.2 miles (3 minutes) away.

There was also a theater just slightly further away, 10 minutes. It is the "home of Colorado's largest auditorium," according to their movie hotline greeting message. The potentially huge audience ought to have been attractive to someone trying to kill as many people as possible. Four other theaters were 18 minutes, two at 19 minutes, and 20 minutes away. But all of those theaters allowed permitted concealed handguns.

So why would a mass shooter pick a place that bans guns? The answer should be obvious, though it apparently is not clear to the media – disarming law-abiding citizens leaves them as sitting ducks.

Concealed carry is much more frequent than many people believe. With over 4 percent of the adult population in Colorado having concealed handgun permits, a couple hundred adults in Cinemark's movie theater #9 means that there is an extremely high probability that at least one adult would have a permit.

Unfortunately, some have still not figured this out. A manager at the Harkins Northfield 18 five miles from the killer's apartment told me, the theater changed its policy and started banning concealed handguns following the Cinemark attack.

The recent Colorado and Sikh Temple shootings are by no means the first times that killers targeted gun-free zones. We have witnessed mass public shootings in such places as the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska and the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah. In both cases, guns were banned at those particular malls, but not at other similar venues that allowed guns and were spared. With just one single exception, the attack in Tucson last year, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.

And remember the 1999 Columbine attack in Colorado. Few appreciate that Dylan Klebold, one of the two Columbine killers, was following Colorado legislation that would have let citizens carry a concealed handgun. Presumably, he feared being stopped during his attack by someone with a weapon. In fact, the Columbine attack occurred the very day that final passage was scheduled.

Gun-free zones are a magnet for those who want to kill many people quickly. Even the most ardent gun control advocate would never put "Gun-Free Zone" signs on their home. Let's stop finally putting them elsewhere.

22. Mayo Clinic suicide prevention expert outlines new steps to tackle military suicide

Part of the push to get government to regulate guns as either a "health hazard" or a "product safety" issue.

Board Member Bruce Jackson emailed me this:


Key snip -- Nearly 70 percent of veterans who commit suicide use a gun to do it.


Mayo Clinic Suicide Prevention Expert Outlines New Steps to Tackle Military Suicide
by Mayo Clinic
Released: 9/10/2012 1:00 PM EDT

Newswise — ROCHESTER, Minn. -- The suicide rate in the U.S. Army now exceeds the rate in the general population, and psychiatric admission is now the most common reason for hospitalization in the Army. These concerning trends are described by Timothy Lineberry, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and suicide expert for the Army, in the September edition of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. In the article, he also outlines steps to assess and address military suicide -- an issue he calls a major public health concern. Dr. Lineberry proposes greater use of gun locks, improving primary care for depression, and better monitoring for sleep disturbances, among other steps.

"Despite the anticipated end of large-scale military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the effects on the mental health of active-duty service members, reservists, and veterans is only just beginning to be felt," Dr. Lineberry says. "Moreover, the potential effect on service members of their war experiences may manifest indefinitely into the future in the form of emerging psychiatric illnesses."

In the article, Dr. Lineberry integrates published research on increased rates of psychiatric illness in the military during the past decade and highlights the need for ongoing resources for prevention, diagnosis and treatment. While the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense have already invested millions of dollars into military suicide prevention and research, some key clinical steps can also be taken to tackle the problem.

Dr. Lineberry outlines four steps based on past research and emerging evidence that he believes could help begin curbing military suicide:

* Reduce access to guns and other means of suicide. Nearly 70 percent of veterans who commit suicide use a gun to do it. Veterans are more likely to own firearms. All veterans with psychiatric illness should be asked about their access to firearms and encouraged to lock up guns, giving someone else the key, or remove them from the home altogether. Just slowing down gun access by a few minutes may be enough to stop the impulse.

* Watch for sleep disturbances. Complaints of insomnia or other sleep disturbances in otherwise healthy soldiers, reservists, or veterans may signal the need for taking a careful history and screening for depression, substance misuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. Sleep disturbances have been previously identified as a risk factor for suicide. These complaints may also serve as opportunities for referring those potentially needing more intensive treatment.

* Prescribe opioid medications carefully and monitor. Unintentional overdose deaths, primarily with opioids, now outnumber traffic fatalities in many states. Individuals with psychiatric illness are overrepresented among those receiving prescriptions for opioids and those taking overdoses. This same trend has been seen in former military personnel. A recent study found that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder who were prescribed opioids were significantly more likely to have opioid-related accidents and overdoses, alcohol and non-opioid drug-related accidents and overdoses, and self-inflicted and violence-related injuries.

* Improve primary care treatment for depression. Research suggests that patients who die by suicide are more likely to have visited a primary care physician than mental health specialist in the previous month. Programs developed to improve primary care physicians' recognition and treatment of depression could help lower suicide rates.

23. VCDL Executive member recovering from surgery

VCDL Executive member Ron Lilly, our Hampton gun show coordinator, is recovering from a burst appendix.

Ron has been working gun shows for VCDL for 15 years! He also arranges the picnics that we have every year in Newport News and has always been an aggressive activist for gun rights
within VCDL.

Ron's efforts has been a major help in growing VCDL's membership in southeast Virginia.

We pray that Ron will have a speedy and an uneventful recovery.

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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