The Sad History of Gun Control

Posted in politics on February 27th, 2013 by sysadmin

The Sad History of Gun Control

Commentary by Rick Ainsworth
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”…
George Santayana
Let’s explore a little history of gun control.
  • In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1953, about 20 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • In 1938, Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945 a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
  • In 1935, China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • In 1964, Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • In 1970, Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • In 1975, Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
A total of 56 million people were killed in the 20th century as a direct result of gun confiscation. Can history be more clear?
Does gun confiscation work? It does if you’re a despot (Ed. or a government). If you want to control a populace, gun confiscation (Ed. and education) would seem to be like, dictator 101.
The goal of the Obama Administration, make no mistake about it, is to confiscate all guns from law abiding citizens, leaving us vulnerable to criminals who have guns. But more importantly, confiscating our guns makes us vulnerable to an out of control central government whose only purpose for existence is to run our lives for us… We must always remember that someone with a gun is a citizen, someone whose gun has been taken away from him is a subject.
(ed. Something to consider is: What do you think protects the 1st amendment? Answer: The 2nd amendment)
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

9 Things To Know About The 2nd Amendment

Posted in politics on February 27th, 2013 by sysadmin

9 things you don’t know about the Second Amendment

by Matt MacBradaigh Policymic.com February 8, 2013

1. The Second Amendment codifies a pre-existing right The Constitution doesn’t grant or create rights; it recognizes and protects rights that inherently exist. This is why the Founders used the word “inalienable;” these rights cannot be created or taken away. In D.C. vs. Heller, the Supreme Court said the Second Amendment “codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed … this is not a right granted by the Constitution” (p. 19).
2. The Second Amendment protects individual, not collective rights The use of the word “militia” has created some confusion in modern times, because we don’t understand the language as it was used at the time the Constitution was written. However, the Supreme Court states in context, “it was clearly an individual right” (p. 20). The operative clause of the Second Amendment is “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” which is used three times in the Bill of Rights. The Court explains that “All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not ‘collective’ rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body” (p. 5), adding “nowhere else in the Constitution does a ‘right’ attributed to “the people” refer to anything other than an individual right” (p. 6).
3. Every citizen is the militia To further clarify regarding the use of the word “militia,” the court states “the ordinary definition of the militia as all able-bodied men” (p. 23). Today we would say it is all citizens, not necessarily just men. The Court explains: “’Keep arms’ was simply a common way of referring to possessing arms, for militiamen and everyone else” (p. 9). Since the militia is all of us, it doesn’t mean “only carrying a weapon in an organized military unit” (p. 11-12). “It was clearly an individual right, having nothing whatever to do with service in a militia” (p. 20).
4. Personal self-defense is the primary purpose of the Second Amendment We often hear politicians talk about their strong commitment to the Second Amendment while simultaneously mentioning hunting. Although hunting is a legitimate purpose for firearms, it isn’t the primary purpose for the Second Amendment. The Court states “the core lawful purpose [is] self-defense” (p. 58), explaining the Founders“understood the right to enable individuals to defend themselves … the ‘right of self-preservation’ as permitting a citizen to ‘repe[l] force by force’ when ‘the intervention of society in his behalf, may be too late to prevent an injury’ (p.21). They conclude “the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right” (p.56).
5. There is no interest-balancing approach to the Second Amendment Interest-balancing means we balance a right with other interests. The court notes that we don’t interpret rights this way, stating “we know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding“interest-balancing” approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all” (p.62-63). This doesn’t mean that it is unlimited, the same as all rights (more on that below). However, the court states that even though gun violence is a problem to be taken seriously, “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table” (p.64).
6. The Second Amendment exists to prevent tyranny You’ve probably heard this. It’s listed because this is one of those things about the Second Amendment that many people think is made up. In truth, this is not made up. The Court explains that in order to keep the nation free (“security of a free state”), then the people need arms: “When the able-bodied men of a nation are trained in arms and organized, they are better able to resist tyranny” (p.24-25). The Court states that the Founders noted “that history showed that the way tyrants had eliminated a militia consisting of all the able bodied men was not by banning the militia but simply by taking away the people’s arms, enabling a select militia or standing army to suppress political opponents” (p. 25). At the time of ratification, there was real fear that government could become oppressive: “during the 1788 ratification debates, the fear that the federal government would disarm the people in order to impose rule through a standing army or select militia was pervasive” (p.25). The response to that concern was to codify the citizens’ militia right to arms in the Constitution (p. 26).
7. The Second Amendment was also meant as a provision to repel a foreign army invasion You may find this one comical, but it’s in there. The court notes one of many reasons for the militia to ensure a free state was “it is useful in repelling invasions” (p.24). This provision, like tyranny, isn’t an everyday occurring use of the right; more like a once-in-a-century (if that) kind of provision. A popular myth from World War II holds Isoroku Yamamoto, commander-in-chief of the Imperial Japanese navy allegedly said “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”Although there is no evidence of him saying this, there was concern that Japan might invade during WWII. Japan did invade Alaska, which was a U.S. territory at the time, and even today on the West Coast there are still gun embankments from the era (now mostly parks). The fact is that there are over 310 million firearms in the United States as of 2009, making a foreign invasion success less likely (that and fact that the U.S. military is arguably the strongest in the world).
8. The Second Amendment protects weapons “in common use at the time” The right to keep and bear arms isn’t unlimited:“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited” (p. 54). The Court upheld restrictions like the prohibition of arms by felons and the mentally ill, and carrying in certain prohibited places like schools and courthouses. What is protected are weapons “in common use of the time” (p.55). This doesn’t mean weapons in common use “at that time,” meaning the 18th Century. The Court said the idea that it would is “frivolous” and that “the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding” (p.8). The Court’s criteria include weapons in popular widespread use “that [are] overwhelmingly chosen by American society” (p. 56), and “the most popular weapons chosen by Americans” (p. 58).
9. The Second Amendment might require full-blown military arms to fulfill the original intent The Court didn’t rule specifically on this in D.C. vs. Heller, but noting that weapon technology has drastically changed (mentioning modern day bombers and tanks), they stated “the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large” (p. 55).
They further added that “the fact that modern developments [in modern weaponry] have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right”
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Send this letter to…

Posted in politics on February 27th, 2013 by sysadmin
I am sending this letter to you to express my position on the current spate of legislation that you will be facing regarding firearms and ammunition.
The Nevada Firearms Coalition is the grassroots firearms organization for the State of Nevada. The Nevada Firearms Coalition replaced the former Nevada State Rifle and Pistol Association and is the state association for the National Rifle Association, and a member of the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Civilian Marksmanship Program.  I am a member of the Nevada Firearms Coalition.
Needless to say, we are concerned about the rush to place the blame and the cure for firearms violence on the backs of legal gun owners. We are also concerned about the blatant attack on the rights of all law-abiding Americans. Both of these are extremely serious issues and will determine the future of the freedom of this country and its citizens.
We strongly urge you to support legislation that is directed at the root of the violence issues in this country. Marketing of violence to children through the entertainment industry, violent video games and the decline of morality based parent influence, as well as a very broken mental health system, are all major factors that need serious consideration. We also urge you to resist and deny attacks on our liberties that are being expressed in the rush for gun and magazine control that the data shows has no effect on reducing crime.
9 things you don’t know about the Second Amendment
by Matt MacBradaigh Policymic.com February 8, 2013
  1. The Second Amendment codifies a pre-existing right The Constitution doesn’t grant or create rights; it recognizes and protects rights that inherently exist. This is why the Founders used the word “inalienable;” these rights cannot be created or taken away. In D.C. vs. Heller, the Supreme Court said the Second Amendment “codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed … this is not a right granted by the Constitution” (p. 19).
  2. The Second Amendment protects individual, not collective rights The use of the word “militia” has created some confusion in modern times, because we don’t understand the language as it was used at the time the Constitution was written. However, the Supreme Court states in context, “it was clearly an individual right” (p. 20). The operative clause of the Second Amendment is “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” which is used three times in the Bill of Rights. The Court explains that “All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not ‘collective’ rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body” (p. 5), adding “nowhere else in the Constitution does a ‘right’ attributed to “the people” refer to anything other than an individual right” (p. 6).
  3. Every citizen is the militia To further clarify regarding the use of the word “militia,” the court states “the ordinary definition of the militia as all able-bodied men” (p. 23). Today we would say it is all citizens, not necessarily just men. The Court explains: “’Keep arms’ was simply a common way of referring to possessing arms, for militiamen and everyone else” (p. 9). Since the militia is all of us, it doesn’t mean “only carrying a weapon in an organized military unit” (p. 11-12). “It was clearly an individual right, having nothing whatever to do with service in a militia” (p. 20).
  4. Personal self-defense is the primary purpose of the Second Amendment We often hear politicians talk about their strong commitment to the Second Amendment while simultaneously mentioning hunting. Although hunting is a legitimate purpose for firearms, it isn’t the primary purpose for the Second Amendment. The Court states “the core lawful purpose [is] self-defense” (p. 58), explaining the Founders“understood the right to enable individuals to defend themselves … the ‘right of self-preservation’ as permitting a citizen to ‘repe[l] force by force’ when ‘the intervention of society in his behalf, may be too late to prevent an injury’ (p.21). They conclude “the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right” (p.56).
  5. There is no interest-balancing approach to the Second Amendment Interest-balancing means we balance a right with other interests. The court notes that we don’t interpret rights this way, stating “we know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding“interest-balancing” approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all” (p.62-63). This doesn’t mean that it is unlimited, the same as all rights (more on that below). However, the court states that even though gun violence is a problem to be taken seriously, “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table” (p.64).
  6. The Second Amendment exists to prevent tyranny You’ve probably heard this. It’s listed because this is one of those things about the Second Amendment that many people think is made up. In truth, this is not made up. The Court explains that in order to keep the nation free (“security of a free state”), then the people need arms: “When the able-bodied men of a nation are trained in arms and organized, they are better able to resist tyranny” (p.24-25). The Court states that the Founders noted “that history showed that the way tyrants had eliminated a militia consisting of all the able bodied men was not by banning the militia but simply by taking away the people’s arms, enabling a select militia or standing army to suppress political opponents” (p. 25). At the time of ratification, there was real fear that government could become oppressive: “during the 1788 ratification debates, the fear that the federal government would disarm the people in order to impose rule through a standing army or select militia was pervasive” (p.25). The response to that concern was to codify the citizens’ militia right to arms in the Constitution (p. 26).
  7. The Second Amendment was also meant as a provision to repel a foreign army invasion You may find this one comical, but it’s in there. The court notes one of many reasons for the militia to ensure a free state was “it is useful in repelling invasions” (p.24). This provision, like tyranny, isn’t an everyday occurring use of the right; more like a once-in-a-century (if that) kind of provision. A popular myth from World War II holds Isoroku Yamamoto, commander-in-chief of the Imperial Japanese navy allegedly said “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”Although there is no evidence of him saying this, there was concern that Japan might invade during WWII. Japan did invade Alaska, which was a U.S. territory at the time, and even today on the West Coast there are still gun embankments from the era (now mostly parks). The fact is that there are over 310 million firearms in the United States as of 2009, making a foreign invasion success less likely (that and fact that the U.S. military is arguably the strongest in the world).
  8. The Second Amendment protects weapons “in common use at the time” The right to keep and bear arms isn’t unlimited:“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited” (p. 54). The Court upheld restrictions like the prohibition of arms by felons and the mentally ill, and carrying in certain prohibited places like schools and courthouses. What is protected are weapons “in common use of the time” (p.55). This doesn’t mean weapons in common use “at that time,” meaning the 18th Century. The Court said the idea that it would is “frivolous” and that “the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding” (p.8). The Court’s criteria include weapons in popular widespread use “that [are] overwhelmingly chosen by American society” (p. 56), and “the most popular weapons chosen by Americans” (p. 58).
  9. The Second Amendment might require full-blown military arms to fulfill the original intent The Court didn’t rule specifically on this in D.C. vs. Heller, but noting that weapon technology has drastically changed (mentioning modern day bombers and tanks), they stated “the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large” (p. 55).
They further added that “the fact that modern developments [in modern weaponry] have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right”
We could present massive documentation demonstrating our position, but at this time it is sufficient to ask you to resist the implementation of laws that will destroy our property, limit our freedoms and make criminals out of good citizens.
Sincerely,
Your Name
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Who Owns Guns In Congress

Posted in politics on February 16th, 2013 by sysadmin

Who Owns Guns In Congress

By Paul Singer and Gregory Korte, USA TODAY,

Republicans in Congress are much better armed than their Democratic counterparts — a fact that helps explain the deep partisan divide as Congress gears up for its first major votes on gun control in a decade.

One hundred nineteen Republicans and 46 Democrats declared themselves as gun owners in a USA TODAY survey of lawmakers.

There is no uniform public record of gun ownership by members of Congress, and it is not part of the information lawmakers are required to reveal in their annual financial disclosure forms. So USA TODAY and the Gannett Washington Bureau contacted every congressional office to ask: Does the lawmaker own a gun?

The results show a partisan — and regional — divide. Only 10% of Republicans who responded said they do not own a gun, while 66% of Democrats said they are not gun owners.

Michael Hammond, legislative counsel of Gun Owners of America, said he’s not surprised. In Republican districts, a gun “is a campaign accoutrement,” he said.

Plotted on a map, the survey results speak to the cultural chasm between those districts where guns are a talisman of individualism and those where guns are viewed more as a criminal tool. Only 12 lawmakers from the Northeast, including Pennsylvania, said they own firearms, while 77 Southerners said they do.

Congress’ gun gap suggests that cultural factors are at least as important as the influence of the gun lobby in determining where members stand on President Obama’s package of gun control proposals.

THE GUN GAP

Some members were more than willing to give an inventory of their gun lockers. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., owns three shotguns, three rifles and two pistols, press secretary Sara Lasure said.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, owns a dozen, but her favorite is a 20-gauge Ruger, communications director Matthew Felling said.

Others — overwhelmingly Southern Republicans — declined to answer, even suggesting it was “irresponsible” for reporters to ask the question.

Again there is a partisan split: 36 Republicans in the House refused to say whether they own guns; 11 Democrats refused to say. Across both the House and Senate, an additional 161 lawmakers did not return repeated phone calls, e-mails and requests for comment — 97 of those were Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he owns guns, though he wouldn’t say what kind. His Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, declined to say whether he does. In the House, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she does not own a gun, and Speaker John Boehner’s office did not respond to multiple requests.

The White House has released photos of President Obama shooting skeet but asked by reporters Monday whether Obama owns a gun, spokesman Jay Carney said “not that I am aware of.”

Obama is pushing Congress to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, expand background checks for gun purchases and adopt other measures aimed at curbing gun violence. Any new gun legislation in Congress would have to pass through the Judiciary Committee in each chamber. Eight of 23 Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee confirmed they are gun owners, but only one of the panel’s 17 Democrats admitted having a gun — Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee.

On the Senate committee — which is drafting gun legislation — Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island were the only two Democrats who said they own firearms, while six of the eight Republicans on the committee said they do.

Gun ownership is clearly correlated with members’ political positions. Over the past two years, the National Rifle Association’s political action committee gave 10 times more contributions to House members who own guns than to those who don’t, according to an analysis of campaign finance reports filed last week. And members who owned guns were eight times more likely to get an “A” rating from the NRA than those who did not.

YOU DON’T SAY

For some members, their gun ownership is a point of pride. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., provided a list of weapons he owns, and his spokeswoman followed up a few days later to note the congressman had also just bought “a third-generation Glock G27″ handgun.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who famously used a rifle to shoot a copy of an environmental bill in a 2010 campaign ad, seemed surprised by the question about his gun ownership, pointing out that he is from West Virginia. “Why would anybody not own a gun?” he asked.

At least a dozen members spoke of heirloom weapons, inherited from fathers, grandfathers and mothers, that are as much a part of the family as their name.

Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., in a television ad, proudly brandishes the Smith & Wesson his grandfather used to stop a lynching — but his office did not return phone calls to confirm his gun ownership. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., keeps a pistol and two rifles as mementos of his late father.

Asked about his gun ownership, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, tells of his great-grandfather, a Swiss immigrant who, at age 80, “went out into a duck blind on a frozen lake and he never came back.

“And they went out to find him at the end of the day, and he had died of a heart attack in the duck blind with his gun over his lap and with a smile on his face, which is part of the Portman family lore because he loved to hunt,” Portman said. “I have that gun. And my kids have shot that gun, so it’s a tradition in our family.”

Portman said he’s mostly concerned about the views of his constituents on gun rights — but said he couldn’t deny that his own experience influences his votes.

For others, the question itself was an intrusion.

Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., said, “Given the security concerns for members of Congress and their families after the shooting of (former Arizona congresswoman) Gabrielle Giffords, it is irresponsible for members of the media to publish how members and their families protect themselves in public and at home.”

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., through spokeswoman Sarah Wolf, provided a more succinct response: “None of your damn business.”

Some lawmakers declined to respond to the survey even though they have already made public statements declaring themselves to be gun owners. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., would not respond to the survey, but his website says, “I am a gun owner and avid hunter, and have consistently fought to protect the right to keep and bear arms.”

Rep. Sam Graves, a Missouri Republican who appears to be the only licensed gun dealer in the House, also declined to respond. Graves holds an active license for the Rockin H Gun Shop, which apparently has been in his family for some time, though there is no longer a shop affiliated with the name.

Hammond, the gun owner’s group lobbyist, said he was surprised by the number of lawmakers who declined to talk about their guns. It suggests “they feel that gun ownership is more sensitive than some of the other things they have to reveal,” he said.

Members are allowed a few secrets. Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer, who previously served as chief of the Capitol Police, said lawmakers are “permitted to have guns in their offices” and would not have to tell anybody they had a gun.

“We discourage them,” he said. “I personally don’t know of any member who is packing,” he said.

In the public hallways of the Capitol, a lawmaker can carry a weapon only if it is “unloaded and securely wrapped,” Gainer said.

Outside the Capitol, members are governed by the gun laws of their states. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., “travels with firearms while on official business in (his) district,” press secretary Doug Coutts said.

REFLECTING THE CONSTITUENTS

The responses suggest that gun ownership among lawmakers is on par with gun ownership nationwide.

In a December 2012 USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, 43% of respondents said they have a gun at home. In USA TODAY’s lawmakers survey, 43% who responded said they owned guns.

Hammond argued that gun ownership does not determine a lawmakers’ vote on gun control. More likely, he said, the culture of the district they represent shapes their view of gun control and their decision to own a gun.

“Lots of Democrats live in urban areas like Chicago and New York where guns are all but banned,” said Hammond, whose Gun Owners of America bills itself as “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington.”

Those lawmakers “don’t have a lot of constituents who place a high value on the Second Amendment,” and also “don’t have the personal experiences with guns that would lead them to see them as anything other than a dangerous nasty object,” Hammond said.

Some gun owners in Congress support gun control. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat from a Minnesota district where four people were killed in a sign-shop shooting last fall, said, “I am a gun owner, and I believe in common-sense gun safety rules. Sensible gun violence prevention will help our communities to avoid devastating tragedies. We must work together to prevent gun violence.”

But gun-control advocates say the USA TODAY survey shows how difficult it is for Republicans to endorse gun measures or to even publicly declare that they don’t own guns. “This has become a political totem — a badge of honor for many politicians,” said Ladd Everitt, spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

Gun ownership and the Second Amendment have become “a symbol of a political identity: a rugged individualist who is willing to lay down the law when the government oversteps its bounds,” with an emphasis on small government and personal freedom, Everitt said.

For Republicans in conservative, rural districts, he said, “the reality of whether they own a gun may be butting up against the image they want to project.”

DEMOCRATS

46

REPUBLICANS

119

Members of Congress who say they own a gun

(c) Copyright 2013 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,