Thursday, January 31, 2013

Anti-protest law a threat to First Amendment?

This bill pretty much slipped through under the radar.  It was signed by our Pres. in spite of some very serious First Amendment concerns. Looks like Second Amendment rights may not be the only ones in danger.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A New Gun Rights Issue

FWIW: I don't see this as a crucial issue or even one that will get to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Gun Control Debate: Let's get focused

In a highly polarized political environment, hot button issues like gun control generate lots of heat, but little light.  If we assume that crime control is the rationale for new gun controls, then the 3 crucial issues for rational policy making and intelligent analysis and discussion (in addition to $) are:
1. What does the Second Amendmnet protect, andwhich controls are/are not consistent with the Second Amendment?
2.  is there any serious reason to believe that these controls can work?
3.  Which controls might significantly interfere with people's ability to defend themselves against crime?
Of course, research on these issues is always relevant.

The NRA is not the issue.  This is sort of like an organizational ad hominem issue.  The emotional propaganda put out by both sides is not the issue.  Emotion should be minimized for rational policy-making.  Although I have great admiration and sympathy for Ms. Giffords, trotting her out to become the emotional propaganda poster girl for gun control is the kind of thing that needs to be avoided.  What expertise do gun crime victims and Hollywood celbrities have?  Of course, many people like the soap opera approach to issues, and can't get enough of emotion and celebrities.  Le'ts get rational, let's get real!  Let's get focused. 

TIH: 1972 "Bloody Sunday"

There seems to be a delusion out there among many that democracies cannot be repressive.  "Democratic socialism" was supposed to take the repressive edge off Soviet-style socialism. America has been a "democracy," but there is not shortage of atrocities.  Another delusion is that Western Europe is some kind of Eden that we all need to be working to transform ourselves into.

"Bloody Sunday (Irish: Domhnach na Fola)[1][2]—sometimes called the Bogside Massacre[3]—was an incident on 30 January 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland, in which 26 unarmed civil-rights protesters and bystanders were shot by soldiers of the British Army. Thirteen males, seven of whom were teenagers, died immediately or soon after, while the death of another man four-and-a-half months later was attributed to the injuries he received on that day. Two protesters were also injured when they were run down by army vehicles.[4] Five of those wounded were shot in the back.[5] The incident occurred during a Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association march; the soldiers involved were members of the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment (1 Para).

Two investigations have been held by the British government. The Widgery Tribunal, held in the immediate aftermath of the event, largely cleared the soldiers and British authorities of blame—Widgery described the soldiers' shooting as "bordering on the reckless"—but was widely criticised as a "whitewash".[7][8][9] The Saville Inquiry, chaired by Lord Saville of Newdigate, was established in 1998 to reinvestigate the events. Following a 12-year inquiry, Saville's report was made public on 15 June 2010, and contained findings of fault that could re-open the controversy, and potentially lead to criminal investigations for some soldiers involved in the killings.[10] The report found that all of those shot were unarmed, and that the killings were both "unjustified and unjustifiable." On the publication of the Saville report the British prime minister, David Cameron, made a formal apology on behalf of the United Kingdom.[11]"

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

America could be disarmed within a generation?

An example of the problem noted in the post below is this police chief who says that with the right measures, Americans could be disarmed "within a generation."  I guess these measures include repealing the Fourth and Second Amendments--and who knows what else. Where did the city find this guy?  Oh--it's California--never mind!  Other law enforcement chiefs are saying they would not cooperate with the feds on strict gun control. Looks like everybody, including law enforcement, is polarized on this.  However, based on my limited contacts, it seems to me that most rank-and-file officers oppose stricter gun contol.  However, I do know a Sheriff and a police chief who do not favor more controls. The few old surveys I have seen show that controls are favored among the brass (who frequently have to brown-nose mayors and politicians) and disfavored among the rank-and file.  What are your police friends and contacts saying?

The Next American Civil War?

Very provocative article.  I hate to say it, but he could be right.  If the ideologues on the far Left push gun control too far, there could be a push-back, a violent one.  Don't be so sure that it will be easily crushed by  American military and police forces. As has happened in many revolutions over the years, including recent ones in the middle east, portions of the military and police come over the the rebels side with their weapons.  Rebel forces capture armies and military bases.  Let's hope the extremists on both sides don't force us into these situatons.  Syrian rebels forces started mostly with hunting rifles.  Americans are a lot better armed than  Libyans, Egyptians and Syrians. Keep your fingers crossed for our country. Thanks to Dale Christopherson for the link.

Martin Luther King, Jr. on Guns for Defensive Purposes

According to UCLA Law Prof. Adam Winkler:
"Civil-rights activists, even those committed to nonviolent resistance, had long appreciated the value of guns for self-protection. Martin Luther King Jr. applied for a permit to carry a concealed firearm in 1956, after his house was bombed. His application was denied, but from then on, armed supporters guarded his home. One adviser, Glenn Smiley, described the King home as “an arsenal.” William Worthy, a black reporter who covered the civil-rights movement, almost sat on a loaded gun in a living-room armchair during a visit to King’s parsonage."

See also Winkler's excellent book, Gunfight at p. 235.  This is a very well-researched, scholarly book that is very readable.  It is a history of guns and gun control in the U.S. and the S.Ct. decision in U.S. v. Heller.


Thanks to CD Michel and

Thanks to CD Michel at Cal (a valuable site for those interested in gun control) for reprinting one of my posts!

"The latest data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report on weapons used in homicide (2011) do not support the need for new gun control laws. The data shows that both the number and rate of gun homicides have decreased since at least 2007. This includes handguns, rifle and shotguns. “Assault weapons,” which are the prime targets, are included in the “rifles” count. Use of rifles has declined, and in 2011 stood at 323 homicides. Unfortunately, there is no good data available on Assault Wepons alone. (The UCR data on homicides is probably the UCR’s best crime data) Whatever “causes” firearms homicides, or prevents it, is causing a decrease. It is fairly obvious that gun control laws are not causing it. In fact, the number of guns in society and the number of people license to carry have increased markedly in recent years. Further, there is no credible evidence that guns cause crime or that gun control works. A series of tragic mass murders with guns has fueled an emotional cry for more gun control. Emotion is not a good basis for policy. Why don’t people take a look at the data and the research? However, emotion is a good basis for propaganda. Politicans of all-stripes are always looking for emotional ammunition to support their views. The propaganda campaign for and against new gun controls is well underway. I’m sick of it already.

Written by: Professor Raymond Kessler"

Social Security is not a binding contract, etc.

No one seems to want to tackle the problem of the ultimate bankruptcy of social security given our current demographics.  More failures of leadership from our government leaders. I agree that we need to consider means tests for benefits as per this article.  It's not fair to the upcoming generations of workers to continue with the reckless status quo.

The case for armed guards at schools

Let's do something that might work NOW to protect school kids.  Gun controls will not work.  Stephen Halbrook makes the case for armed guards at school. Of course, these guards need to be screened, trained, etc.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hitler and gun control for Jews?

There have been a lot of claims lately that Hitler never tried to disarm or keep firearms away from the Jews.  This claim is a crock.   See the Halbrook article,  the best, full scholarly discussion of the issue. See also the material at the webiste of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.

Readable Review of Research on Gun Laws

There are a few people out there in the gun control debate who do care about the research and the real world.  See this article if you are one of those.  However, no matter what the research says, always be skeptical about generalzing from limited sample and drawing causal connections.

TIH: 1916, Justice Brandeis

Jan. 28, 1916:
Louis D. Brandeis was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to the Supreme Court, becoming its first Jewish member.

Chicago's Deadly Day: the Mayor Responds

Seven wounded, six killed in one day in gun violence.  The city is in the midst of  what is  perhaps and unprecdedented murder epidemic.   This despite having some of the country's strictest gun laws. Never one to miss a propaganda opportunity Mayor Rahm Emmanuel (Obama's former chief of staff) has issued a new proposal.  More police patrols in high crime areas?  A new push against domestic violence? No, asking people and governments to divest themselves of their stock in companies that manufacture assault weapons and sell them.  How about doing something that might help NOW!

Taking a step backward on domestic violence

In contrast to Dallas'  praiseworthy attempt to move on domestic violence (below), consider this shameful scenario from Topeka, Kansas. I never ceased to be appalled at the quality of leadership in many places in this country.

Dallas moves on domestic violence

Hit by an epidemic of domestic violence and killings, the City of Dallas and its PD are taking steps to improve their handling and prevention of these crimes.  Kudos to them!

Let's do something NOW to protect shool kids!

In the rush to profit from a tragedy, many misguided people and left-wing ideologues have become obessessed with passing new gun control laws that will impact law-abiding citizens.  Of course, in the hysteria to enact legislation which will not work and may infringe on Second Amendment rights, they seem to have lost sight of what can we do SHORT-TERM to protect students. Proposals which might work are lost in the shuffle.  The NRA suggested armed police officers in all schools. The ideologues didn't like it crying that "gun don't belong in schools "  It's viewed as "too expensive"  by others.   Of course, many school districts have had such officers for years.  Apparently it is more important to do something in the future which will not work than to do something NOW which might help.  I  guess some people only care about protecting kids when it can be used as a leg-up for new gun controls.  Shameful!

In Texas and some other states, there is talk of allowing teachers and adminsitrators who have concealed carry permits to carry in schools.  This might be worth a try if these teachers get extra screening, continuous monitoring and extra training.

Let's do something NOW that will protect kids.  Metal detectors, cameras, sensors and tightened security might also  help.  At least doing something NOW may help students and parents feel more comfortable having their kids in public schools.

A gun control proposal I can support!

The proposed "assault weaons" and large capacity magazine proposals will not prevent gun crime and may infringe on Second Amendment rights. However, here's a sensble gun control measure that will not intrude on anyone's Second Amendment rights (unless it becomes a cover for "fishing expeditions" and privacy violations), and might help (unless it becomes another BATF fiasco like Operation Fast and Furious) keep guns out of the hands of those not legally qualified to have them.   (This is where the emphasis SHOULD BE in gun control proposals.)  Anyway, Sen. Patrick Leagy (D-Vt.) has introduced a bill which should give law enforcement more tools to investiage "straw purchases" of guns.  Believe it or not, there are Dems who haven't joined the lemmings.   Thanks to Sen. Leahy for introducing sensible bill.  Of course, being sensible is usually a kiss of death in Washington.  Good luck Senator!

Good Appointments by Obama re Wall Street

Pres. Obama appointed two former prosecutors to positions as top financial regulators.  Hopefully this indicates that we are going to get tough on Wall Street criminals.   Good Call! 

Two New Movies Previewed

If Roger Ebert can come out in favor of gun control and the argument that the Second Amendment was ratified to protect slavery (see  my blog below on this ludicrous argument), I can comment on films--even though I haven't seen them.  This is roughly equivalent to Roger Ebert commenting on gun control and the Second Amendment.

First, for the "Is this a great country or what?" file consider "Warm Bodies."  Zombie movies have been a staple of the horror scence since George A. Rombero's 1968 "Night of the Living Dead."  A number of cities have had Zombie pub-crawls. Given the popularity of teen vampire romance movies, it was only a matter of time till we get the "teen Zombie" romance film.  Here it is, in all its glory "Warm Bodies."  I like "good" zombie films.  However, this one will probably not qualify, and I really don't want to be in a movie theater with hundreds of screaming pre-teen and teenage girls.  What's next? I don't even want to think about it.

Second, for those interested in crime law and justice, consider "West of Memphis" a documentary about the wrongul conviction of the "West Memphis Three" who were convicted of murdering three Cub Scouts. A 1988 documentary about a wrongful conviction in Texas  for murdering a police officer is "The Thin Blue Line."

Anyone know of any other good documentaries on wrongful convictions/convictions of the innocent?

Anti-gun ralllies threaten Second Amendment rights

Both sides on this issue use emotionalism and propaganda to fire up the troops.  What is disturbing about the recent gun control rallies is that they threaten Second Amendment rights.  I can't recall such demonstrations against a constitutional rights since Roe v. Wade and its anniversaries.  Both the Left and Right are equally guilty.  Welcome to what used to be "the land of the free and the home of the brave."  People rallying to encourage the government to infringe on constitutional rights!! How sad.  With the re-election of Obama Left Wing political correctness, and the related stupidity and bigotry have reached new hights. The ideologues are really fired up!  I'm sure many of these marchers do not understand the Second Amendment."  Some marchers carried signs urging "Repeal of the Second Amendment."  One interesting sign queried "What would Jesus Pack."  You figure than one out.  Stay tuned.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Kudos for those who sponsored and attended Second Amendment rallies

I am grateful and proud that thousands of Americans turned out in rallies and other activities to show support for the Second Amendment.  This is the largest national show of support for civil liberties in a number of years. Keep up the good work!  I hope this show of support will carry over to the potential violations of other rights when the need arises.  I would love to see more people on both the Left and Right showing broad-based support for the Bill of Rights, not just a few provisions.

New gun control proposals

The first new federal proposals for gun controls since the public school massacre have been introduced.  The supporters continue to labor under the delusions that guns cause crime and gun control can work to reduce crime.  There is no credible evidence that the last "asault weapons" ban reduced gun crime. Introduction of the legislation will, as usual, casue both law-abiding citizens and criminals to make runs on gun stores for "assault weapons," and high capacity magazines.  Not only will the legislation have no effect on crime, it will backfire on supporters who want fewer guns and large cap. magazines in the country.  The same cottage industries that turned out high cap. magazines during the last ban will be operating at full capacity if the bill passes.   More emotonalism fed by propaganda.  Once again, the irrational triumphs.  Let's hope the House will dispatch this nonsense.  Fortunately, for the Second Amendment, the bill appears to have little chance of passing.  More grandstanding by the delusional.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Good WSJ artice on assault weapons Ban

It didn't work then, it won't work now.   It appears that some folks in Congress need mental health background checks.  Thinking disorders seem to abound there.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Latest on 2nd Amend & Slavery

Another law prof. weighs in against the claim that the 2nd Amend was ratified to protect slavery.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Obama's Exec. Orders on Gun Control

The Pres. issued 23 executive orders regarding gun control. No glaring threats yet, but #8 involving the Consumer Products Safety Commission will need to be watched.  Some privacy issues raised, but lets hope that people's privacy rights will be adequately accommodated.  Remember, "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" no matter what right is involved.  Thanks to Bennett Jones for the link. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Critique of 2nd Amend Ratified to Protect Slavery

David Kopel’s 1998 article, “The Second Amendment in the Nineteenth Century,” in 1998 B.Y.U. L. Rev. 1359 is an excellent rebuttal to Bogus’ theory that the Second Amendment was ratified to protect slavery. The article is a long and thorough historical review. The material on Bogus’ theory starts at p. 1515 (fn. 647).

Bogus’ piece is at 31 U.C. Davis Law Review 309 (1998).  It turns a relatively obscure, constitutionally incorrect,  and unimportant point in the debate into the centerpiece of the amendment.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2 Amend ratified to Preserve Slavery?????

 One of the most outrageous and inaccurate columns I've seen recently is this one:  "The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery." I have been researching this topic for 30 years, and there is no historical support for it. I have extensively perused the materials from that time. There is no credible historian anywhere that I know of that has made this assertion.   The Second Amendment was not needed to protect gun-toting slave owners and slave patrols.  Slaves could not lawfully possess firearms. Some of the states had constitutional protections for arms, but these did not apply to slaves.  There is nothing substantial  to support this author's contentions.  Yes, militias in the South were used to control slaves.  This connection, however, cannot be stretched to rationally support the thesis in the presence of an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary. Further, states with few slaves and no slave rebellion problem also had militias and supported the Second Amendment. I can't recall evidence of  any abotionist or slave-owner arguing this point .

Gun homicide data does not support more gun control.

The latest data from the FBI's Uniform Crime Report on weapons used in homicide (2011) do not support the need for new gun control laws.  The data shows that both the number and rate of gun homicides have decreased since at least 2007.  This includes handguns, rifle and shotguns.  "Assault weapons," which are the prime targets, are included in the "rifles" count.  Use of rifles has declined, and in 2011 stood at 323 homicides.  Unfortunately, there is no good data available on Assault Wepons alone.  (The UCR data on homicides is probably the UCR's best crime data) Whatever "causes" firearms homicides, or prevents it,  is causing a decrease.  It is fairly obvious that gun control laws are not causing it.  In fact, the number of guns in society and the number of people license to carry have increased markedly in recent years. Further, there is no credible evidence that guns cause crime or that gun control works.  A series of tragic mass murders with guns has fueled an emotional cry for more gun control.  Emotion is not a good basis for policy. Why don't people take a look at the data and the research?  However, emotion is a good basis for propaganda. Politicans of all-stripes are always looking for emotional ammunition to support their views. The propaganda campaign for and against new gun controls is well underway.  I'm sick of it already.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Effectiveness of the federal assault wepon ban.

There is no credible evidence that the federal 1994-2004 ban on  assault weapons (FAWB 1994 assault weapons) had any effect on crime. For insance:
according to Wikipedia:

"Expiration and effect on crime

Opponents of the ban claimed that its expiration has seen little if any increase in crime, while Senator Diane Feinstein claimed the ban was effective because "It was drying up supply and driving up prices."[6][She cited no credible source for her claim]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied the "assault weapon" ban and other gun control attempts, and found "insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence," noting "that insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness should not be interpreted as evidence of ineffectiveness."[7] A 2004 critical review of research on firearms by a National Research Council panel also noted that academic studies of the assault weapon ban "did not reveal any clear impacts on gun violence" and noted "due to the fact that the relative rarity with which the banned guns were used in crime before the ban ... the maximum potential effect of the ban on gun violence outcomes would be very small...."[8]

In 2004, a research report submitted to the United States Department of Justice and the National Institute of Justice found that should the ban be renewed, its effects on gun violence would likely be small, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement, because rifles in general, including rifles referred to as "assault rifles" or "assault weapons", are rarely used in gun crimes.[9] That study by Christopher S. Koper, Daniel J. Woods, and Jeffrey A. Roth of the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania found no statistically significant evidence that either the assault weapons ban or the ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds had reduced gun murders. However, they concluded that it was "premature to make definitive assessments of the ban's impact on gun crime," and argue that if the ban had been in effect for more than nine years, benefits might have begun to appear.[10]

Research by John Lott in the 2000 second edition of More Guns, Less Crime provided the first research on state and the Federal Assault Weapon Bans.[11] The 2010 third edition provided the first empirical research on the 2004 sunset of the Federal Assault Weapon Ban.[12] Generally, the research found no impact of these bans on violent crime rates, though the third edition provided some evidence that Assault Weapon Bans slightly increased murder rates. Lott's book The Bias Against Guns provided evidence that the bans reduced the number of gun shows by over 20 percent.[13] Koper, Woods, and Roth studies focus on gun murders, while Lott's looks at murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assaults. Unlike their work, Lott's research accounted for state Assault Weapon Bans and 12 other different types of gun control laws.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence examined the impact of the Assault Weapons Ban in its 2004 report, On Target: The Impact of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapon Act. Examining 1.4 million guns involved in crime, "in the five-year period before enactment of the Federal Assault Weapons Act (1990-1994), assault weapons named in the Act constituted 4.82% of the crime gun traces ATF conducted nationwide. Since the law’s enactment, however, these assault weapons have made up only 1.61% of the guns ATF has traced to crime."[14] A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) stated that he "can in no way vouch for the validity" of the report.[15]"

I'm as guilty as many others in sloppy use of the terms "assault rifle, "assault weapon" etc. We need to tighten up our discussion.  At the current time, one of hotly debated issues is re-instatement of the 1994 federal ban on "assault weapons."

In more casual usage, the term "assault weapon" is sometimes conflated with the term "assault rifle". An assault rifle is a military rifle that utilizes an intermediate-power cartridge, and that generally is capable of full-automatic fire, where multiple rounds are fired continuously when the trigger is pulled one time — that is, a machine gun — or burst capable, where a burst of several rounds is fired when the trigger is pulled one time.[6] In the United States, full-automatic firearms are heavily restricted, and regulated by federal laws such as the National Firearms Act of 1934, as well as some state and local laws.

The use of the term "assault weapon" is also highly controversial, as critics assert that the term is a media invention,[7] or a term that is intended to cause confusion among the public by intentionally misleading the public to believe that assault weapons (as defined in legislation) are full automatic firearms when they are not.[8]

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), or Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, was a subtitle of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a federal law in the United States that included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms, so called "assault weapons". The 10-year ban was passed by Congress on September 13, 1994, and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton the same day. The ban only applied to weapons manufactured after the date of the ban's enactment.Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired on September 13, 2004, as part of the law's sunset provision. There have been multiple attempts to renew the ban, but no bill has reached the House floor for a vote.
The term, assault weapon, when used in the context of assault weapon laws refers primarily (but not exclusively) to semi-automatic firearms that possess the cosmetic features of an assault rifle that is fully automatic. Actually possessing the operational features, such as 'full-auto', changes the classification from assault weapons to Title II weapons. Merely the possession of cosmetic features is enough to warrant classification as an assault weapon. Semi-automatic firearms, when fired, automatically extract the spent cartridge casing and load the next cartridge into the chamber, ready to fire again. They do not fire automatically like a machine gun. Rather, only one round is fired with each trigger pull.[2]

In the former U.S. law, the legal term assault weapon included certain specific semi-automatic firearm models by name (e.g., Colt AR-15, TEC-9, non-select-fire AK-47s produced by three manufacturers, and Uzis) and other semi-automatic firearms because they possess a minimum set of cosmetic features from the following list of features:

Folding or telescoping stock

Pistol grip

Bayonet mount

Flash suppressor, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate one

Grenade launcher (more precisely, a muzzle device that enables launching or firing rifle grenades, though this applies only to muzzle mounted grenade launchers and not those mounted externally).

Semi-automatic pistols with detachable magazines and two or more of the following:

Magazine that attaches outside the pistol grip

Threaded barrel to attach barrel extender, flash suppressor, handgrip, or suppressor

Barrel shroud that can be used as a hand-hold

Unloaded weight of 50 oz (1.4 kg) or more

A semi-automatic version of a fully automatic firearm.

Semi-automatic shotguns with two or more of the following:

Folding or telescoping stock

Pistol grip

Fixed capacity of more than 5 rounds

Detachable magazine."

[In essence, it is a semi-automatic rifle with a detatchable magazine with  certain cosmetic features. Semi-automatic rifles with detatchable magazines without these features were not affected]
The National Rifle Association has referred to the features affected by the ban as cosmetic,[3] as has the gun-hating Violence Policy Center.[4]

In addition, in March 2004, Kristen Rand, the legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, criticized the soon-to-expire ban by stating, "The 1994 law in theory banned AK-47s, MAC-10s, Uzis, AR-15s and other 'assault weapons'. Yet the gun industry easily found ways around the law and most of these weapons are now sold in post-ban models virtually identical to the guns Congress sought to ban in 1994."[5]

Bottom-line: It was a symbolic gesture.

The specific sections were in Title XI, subtitle A, formally known as the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, but commonly known as the Federal Assault Weapons Ban or Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban.  I will try to consistently refer to such weapons as "FAWB 1994" assault weapons.    If anyone knows of a better, widely used term, please share.

Source Wikipedia, various articles, incl.(some editing by blogger.)

Self-defense, large capacity magazines, Second Amendment

Gun crimes make big headlines.  However, when someone uses a gun to successfully defend themselves, it barely makes a media ripple. See this example.  It also makes the point that large-capacity magazines should not be banned as they assist with self-defense.  This intruder was shot five times and stilll got away (temporarily)  What if the victim is so scared they have trouble-shooting straight and/or there are numberous intruders?  A large capacity magazine may mean the difference between life and death for the homeowner. In full-size large-bore semi-automatics the stock double-stack magazines typically hold around 15-17 at most.  Given that the attacker probably has such a handgun with such a magazine, the law should not require the defender to be outmatched. I'm not advocating 100 round pistol magazines.  They would be too unwieldy and the user would shortly  be unable to control the weapon after firing a lot of shots.  Because of the dangerous muzzle climb of AR-15 bump-fire stocks, a good case could be made that they are unsafe and not suited for home defense and can be banned.  I'm not advocating that everyone keep a gun for self-defense. I'm not advocating that everyone keep a large-capacity semi-automatic pistol for defense.  I'm not advocating that people keep weapons they cannot safely handle. I'm advocating a realisitc approach that respects constitutional rights.
The essence of the Second Amendment is to allow people to have commonly used firearms for self-defense.  The right  is not absolute, but  government should not have unlimited power to control the instrument of exercising Second Amendment rights.

Guns are Not the Problem

More wisdom from Walter Williams.  However, liberals/progressives aren't the only ones to blame.  Lots of conservatives make $ marketing video games, movies,  and other materials that contribute to the problem.  Some day I'm going to write something on capitalism and social change.

NYC Mayor Bloomerg's Pros and Cons

I'm a frequent critic of Nanny York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. This article catalogs some of the good and bad.  Unfortuanately, as regard NYPD, most of it is bad.  Something about Mike reminds me of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Perhaps it's the ego, self-righteousness, or getting the law changed so he doesn't have to face the old term limits.

NYPD Confidential

Good watchdog website on NYPD. Check it out

Massive Civil Disobedience on the Way?

Whether strict new gun controls come from Obama's executive orders or Congress, it could trigger massive civil disobedience and, perhaps ultimately, active resistance based on perceived government violation of the Second Amendment.   Civil disobedience has a long history in the U.S., and around the world (e.g. India, China) For instance, it was used before to the American Revolution (Boston Tea Party) and  was used by Dr. Martin Luther King during the 1960's to secure equal rights for black people.  This is just an example. See also for another perspective.  If the Left pushes through strict new gun controls, this could be the beginning of serious, violent  challenges to government authority.  The Second Amendment is not an absolute right so let's hope sanity prevails and there are no extreme measures (e.g. banning possession and sale of "assault rifles." )Let's hope government respects the Second Amendment and we  don't start down that road.  Stay tuned!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Homicide epidemic in Chicago despite of Draconian Gun laws

The Black and Hispanic communities suffer the most from the homicide epidemic in Chicago.  The nation's strictest gun laws are not working.  Most of the weapons are obtained illegally.

British military moving to Glock 17 (9 mm)

The old Browning is history.  The Glock 17 will be the new standard sidearm.  Welcome to the 21st Century!

TIH: 2004, 2005


Former Enron finance chief Andrew Fastow pleaded guilty to conspiracy as he accepted a 10-year prison sentence.


Army Specialist Charles Graner Jr., the reputed ringleader of a band of rogue guards at the Abu Ghraib prison, was convicted at Fort Hood, Texas, of abusing Iraqi detainees. (He was later sentenced to 10 years in prison.)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

First Amend & gov't enforced political correctness

This is a great, short collection of First Amendment U.S. Supreme Court quotes on government attempts to restrict First Amendment rights.

1963: A Year of Tumult

The 1963 was a transformative year in America.  Pres. Kennedy assassinated, civil rights demanded, feminism, and youth rebellion, etc.  Some of us still remember the '60's.  Those who were not there have difficulty understanding how it was a transformative decade.

Civilians Arm to Protect 2 Mexican towns

When government is unable to provide protection to the people, some arm and  take action.  An example of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms at work in another country (Mexico).  The term "vigilante" has negative connotations, and abuses are inevitable, but they are also inevitable when government is in charge.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

New international study on homicide

New study from the UN on worldwide homicide.  Chapter 3 deals with firearms. First, if you expect an objective assessment from the UN, forget it.  They are obsessed with arms contol and don't believe there is a human right to self-defense.  The chapter on firearms shows a naivete about inferring causation from correlation.  (Naivete or propaganda--you  be the judge) None of the data it cites meets serious scientific standards about showing causation.  For more on this see Wikipedia.
Thanks to Bennet Jones for the link

Ending the Debate on Gun Control?

very good and thought-provoking article  from the UK.  I esp. like the call to get serious about the real casues and get organized to deal with those.  However, finding and getting after the "real causes," is not any easy task.  Further, designing reasonably effective programs to deal with these that we can afford and that respect constitutional rights is not easy. The divisiveness and distraction of the debate over gun control only gets in the way of doing what really needs to be done.  In countries that already have millions of guns and a respect for constitutional rights, gun control cannot possible work.  There is no credible evidence to support the gun control case.  Of course, at bottom, the gun control crusade in the U.S.  is not really about crime.  Perhaps if we addressed that issue, it might be anoter way to end the debate.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Expansion of GPS monitoring


First used in U.S. courts in 1983 electronic monitoring is currently going viral in the criminal justice system. While in the early days, radio frequency technology dominated, most current systems are GPS-based, allowing near real time tracking. [Early electronic monitoring only indicated if the person went out of range of their electronic box, usually connected to their telephone. Use of these systems is rare today. GPS is the current norm]

Originally what practitioners often call “EM” applied primarily to people guilty of petty crimes or those` with sex offenses. But today prison overcrowding and state budget crises have made electronic monitoring an alternative of choice. On a normal day some 200,000 people wake up with a black plastic box strapped to their leg and the number is growing. In the past week alone, San Francisco County announced plans to triple the number of people on EM while legislators in Louisiana, which has the nation’s highest per capita incarceration rate, considered initiatives to put legions of people onto the streets using the electronic tether.

GPS monitoring as a condition of parole or probation is becoming more common, especially for high-risk clients. Currently, there are nearly five million people in the U.S. under some form of post-conviction supervision. Less than 50,000 are on electronic monitoring, but the number is growing rapidly

On one level all this EM is a good thing. For more than three decades we’ve been locking people up at a furious rate. Our prison and jail population has quintupled since 1980, now standing around 2.3 million. Electronic monitoring does offer opportunities for people other than the rich and famous to avoid being behind bars. Currently, the most common application of electronic monitoring is pre-trial release. Every day individuals awaiting judgment on relatively minor offenses go about their daily business on an ankle bracelet as a condition of bail. Cook County in Illinois has already run 250,000 people through electronic monitoring regimes, 85% of them pre-trial. This is a step in the right direction-trying to ensure that a minor brush with the law doesn’t cost a person their job, their housing, or access to medical treatment and education. But at the same time, there are concerns about how the use of this technology will evolve. It all gets a little more complicated when we move beyond probationers, parolees and people out on bail.

At the root of the complexity is the reality that electronic monitoring is not only a policy device, but an industry. Not surprisingly the biggest force in the world of EM is also one of the giants of the private prisons sector, the GEO Group. This Florida-based firm pulled in earnings of just over $1.6 billion in 2011. Early last year GEO took over the EM sector’s largest player, BI Incorporated of Colorado. BI is both a producer of the devices and a provider of backup services, including direct monitoring of individuals on ankle bracelets through a network of community-based offices. BI controls some 30% of the U.S. EM market.

GEO’s investment in BI dovetails neatly with the company’s most rapidly expanding market niche: immigration detention. While private providers only hold 8% of prison beds nationwide, in immigration the figure is 49%. The advent of harsher immigration laws and the increasing implementation of Secure Communities promises even bigger profits for private sector liberty deprivers. For those captured by the immigration dragnet but not put behind bars, BI has the perfect solution- intensive supervision. In a $372 million contract signed with ICE in 2009, BI agreed to “intensively supervise” 27,000 people awaiting litigation for deportation or political asylum. For most of these 27,000 that intensive supervision will include a BI ankle bracelet.

The introduction of this technology into the immigration sphere raises questions of who’s next. If the GEO Group and other major players in the electronic monitoring sector such as Omnilink, iSecure Trac, Secure Alert, and Pro Tech are to maintain their bottom lines, they need to expand their revenue either by tethering more ankles, lobbying for longer terms for those who are under EM, or increasing service charges. A second untapped market niche is school pupils. In Texas a number of high schools with primarily African American and Latino student bodies are placing pupils with records of excessive truancy on ankle bracelets. In Dallas’ Bryan Adams High School, local EM provider iISecureTrac kicked in $26,000 to fund a pilot program. The principal was a former employee of the Bureau of Prisons.

While there is little evidence that EM reduces recidivism, expect the private providers, led by BI, to use an army of lobbyists to pitch their product with a heavy dose of the gospel of ensuring public safety and the need for tighter restrictions for those on GPS systems.

In terms of service charges, many existing EM programs have already initiated user fees on bracelet wearers of $5 to $15 a day plus startup charges which run as high as $200. Denver even has a website where people can pay their EM user fees online. Such miniscule tariffs don’t pose a problem for the Martha Stewarts and Paris Hiltons of the EM realm, but for the generally impoverished population that ends up in jail relatively small amounts can break the bank.

Slate reporter William Saletan:

“As GPS gets cheaper, politicians will be tempted to order it not just for people who would otherwise be jailed, but for those who wouldn’t.” “No matter which of these voices you’re listening to, if your history includes mental health problems, receiving state assistance, seriously overdue student loan repayments or getting caught smoking in the high school bathroom-watch your ankle. {“Widening the Net”:Big brother keeps getting more powerful with the new technology]

SOURCE (some editing):

Using services or technology on people who, without the technology or service, wouldn’t have become clients in the first place is called “widening the net”


Within . . . criminology this term is used to describe the effects of providing alternatives to incarceration or diversion programs to direct offenders away from court. While all of these programs developed since the late 1960's were intended to reduce the numbers of offenders in prison or reduce the numbers going to court, it has been found that what has happened instead is that the total numbers of offenders under the control of the state have increased while the population targeted for reduction has not been reduced. In short, the net of social control has been thrown more widely (or some might say the mesh has been made smaller)."

SOURCE (some editing)

Perhaps gun owners and/or those with concealed carry will be next. It used to be said that "the only things you can be sure of in life are death and taxes." I thkink we can add the disturbing and dangerous growth of "Big Brother" to that list.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Obama & Biden Want More Gun Control

As most everyone is well aware, the elementary school killings have spawned numerous calls for more gun control. Here's a short piece on what we can expect from the Obama adminstration.  It will be interesting to see what Obama will attempt to do by executive order and thus bypass Congress.  Stay tuned!

Judge Halts NYC stop-and-frisk Program

Not only does Nanny York City want to protect your health and help you control your weight, they will also deprive you of your 4th Amendment protections.  Thanks to Bennett Jones for the link. 

Jury Awards $850,000 against Chicago PD

This is a somewhat unusual case involving the department's code of silence and use of force.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Walter Williams on Educational Fraud

Another great article on the bankruptcy and corruption in American education.  Black students are the long-term victims. He did not even mention the scandal in El Paso, TX which resulted in a prison sentence for a school administrator

Another bad S.Ct. CJ decision

The Supreme Court unanimously overturned the lower courts whom, IMHO got it right.  An incompetent defendant cannot aid his lawyer in habeas corpus proceedings. The chances of winning are undermined unfairly if hte defendant is incompetent.  These were both death-row cases. It looks like criminal defendants can not rely on the Court's liberals.  The case is Ryan v. Gonzalez.

"This decision, in plain English:

An individual who is convicted of a crime in state court has a number of opportunities to challenge the conviction and the sentence, first in state court and, if that is unsuccessful, in a federal court. In federal court, that right is found in the ancient promise that a person being held in captivity by the government has a right to compel the government to justify that detention. That is called the right to a “writ of habeas corpus” — a Latin phrase that generally translates as “you have the body” and must justify holding it.

If lawyers for a state prisoner have taken the case into federal court, the case plays out there under a series of legal rules. Sometimes, those rules are not entirely clear, and courts have to clarify them. In two cases decided on Tuesday, the Supreme Court was asked to clarify those rules when the state prisoner involved in the case is found to have become mentally incompetent, and thus is unable to help his lawyer pursue the legal challenge to his conviction and sentence. Two federal appeals courts had ruled that, if the prisoner has in fact become incompetent, the federal case should simply be put on hold until that individual regains mental competence. Without the capacity to aid his lawyer, the prisoner’s challenge is essentially undermined, and so is his right to a lawyer, those lower courts ruled.

The Supreme Court decided unanimously that the lower courts were wrong. There is no constitutional right to have a lawyer at all during federal court review of state convictions, so any right to a lawyer, and the consequences of having access to a lawyer, must depend upon whether there is a federal law that promises legal assistance while an individual is mentally incompetent. There is no such law, the Court ruled, that assures that an individual has a right to aid his lawyer during the federal proceeding when the individual is incompetent, so there is no right to have the case put on hold until the individual might regain the mental capacity to participate.

In reaching its decision, the Court noted that it had once put a Virginia state prisoner’s case on hold for twenty-eight years, because the man was incompetent. But it concluded that the actions it took in that case did not set a precedent for delaying a federal case involving a state prisoner who had become incompetent"

Basics of National Security Letters (NSL's)

One of the investigative tools in the federal governments anti-terrorism toolbox is the National Security Letter (NSL). Many are concerned that these letters endanger Fourth Amendment and privacy rights. This short, readable article from the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin provides the basics.  Stay tuned!

Monday, January 07, 2013

"Flipping Off" Police Alone does not warrant a Traffic Stop

Giving police "the bird" does not create reasonable suspicion justifying a traffic stop.  This is just a common sense application of existing law.  Obviously some officers lack this.

Child Porn Victims Rescued

Congrats to the diligent law enforcment personnel of Operation Sunflower for rescuing children forced into kiddie porn and arresting their exploiters.
Shame on our sick society and the sick individuals in this buiness as both producers and consumers!  This stuff is not protected by the First Amendment.  (For those of you who think it's shameful to let people have guns, that's protected by the Second Amendment)

Gay Marriage Marches On! (Maryland approves it)

A number of states have approved gay marriage.  Approval in Maryland is especially noteworthy as it it is the first state south of the Mason-Dixon line to approve.   The U.S. Supreme Court may make it nation-wide when it decides it decides it's gay marriage cases this term.

Sppeedy trial error may set "criminal" free

When the cj system messes up, it frequently means unjustified punishment for innocent people.  Sometimes, however, it means that a guilty person may go free, as in this case.  Most constitutional errors at trial  only result in a new trial.*  However,  6th Amendment speedy trial and5th Amendment double jeopardy violations frequently mean that the defendant is freed, never to be tried or tried again.

*Not all constitutional errors even result in a new trial. If the reviewing court finds that the error was "harmless," the conviction will be upheld.  "Harmless" basically means that the error most likely did not contribute to the conviction in light of the strength of the evidence of guilt.

"Wilmington 10" Pardoned

Some of you may remember this controversial case from the 1970's.  It  became a cause celebre.  The convictions were arguably tainted by racism, politics, and prosecutorial misconduct.

Personal names and the Nanny State (e.g, Iceland)

Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland, among others, have offical rules about what one can name their child.  This mother in Iceland gave her newborn daughter a name that the government says is a masculine one and she cannot use it.  She is listed as "girl" on official documents.  The rationale is to protect children from the embarrassment of having an unuusal name.  Welcome to the Nanny State mentality.   Many on the left look to Europe as the model for government.  Anyone who loves liberty would find this outrageous.  Maybe they need to re-think this if they really care about human autonomy in personal matters that really harm no one.

Inmate Languishes in Prison for 30 yrs. after conviction overturned

Someone dropped the ball somewhere, and this inmate spent 3 decades in prison without getting his new trial.  Shameful!

Interesting new study on gun control

Best wishes for the New Year!  Lots of bad news and more gun control and crime control controversy.  Let's start off with this.
FWIW:  Not a very sophisitcated study, but makes some good points.