New Colorado gun laws prevent gun buy-back program

Try this one on for size: organizers for a planned gun buy-back program in Boulder, Colorado were forced to cancel the event at the request of Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle because new state laws would have made it nearly impossible for the event to be lawful.

Strict new Colorado gun laws passed earlier in the year require all gun transfers to go through an FFL-licensed gun dealer.  Since Colorado’s FFL licensing system is not portable and cannot be used at this event, the transfer of weapons at the buy-back program would, therefore, be against this new law.

“The idea was to collect guns and then immediately hand them over to the Sheriff’s Office for destruction,” wrote a local NBC news affiliate, seemingly unaware that violent criminals intent on committing a crime with a firearm generally do not voluntarily give up their weapons for a small value gift card.  According to NBC, students involved with the event raised nearly $8,000 to fund the gift cards.

The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

“Stand Your Ground” is as American as apple pie

Motherhood_and_apple_pieIn the aftermath of the not guilty verdict in the second degree murder case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, the Stand Your Ground law has come into focus as setting a dangerous precedent for America’s armed citizenry.  Dubbed by critics as the “Shoot First Law”, many are using the Zimmerman case as an opportunity to make it tougher for Americans to legally defend themselves with deadly force.

More than 30 states support the concept of the “Castle Doctrine“, which gives citizens the right to protect themselves with deadly force in their own homes without first retreating.  “Stand Your Ground” laws essentially extend the Castle Doctrine to anywhere one happens to be.  Under “Stand Your Ground”, you have no duty to retreat first when attacked on property that you have a legal right to occupy.  22 states have specifically affirmed some form of the “Stand Your Ground” human right as state law, although many others have legislatively supported a victim’s right to stand their ground absent of official law.

The people’s ability to protect themselves without running away is a fundamental American concept cherished since our revolutionaries fought for independence – and re-affirmed by the Supreme Court more than a hundred years ago in Beard v. United States.  Ingrained and guaranteed inalienable in the American culture and human condition is a spirit of safety and independence, one that defines our nation and people as a formidable force ready and willing to defend itself when necessary.

Contrary to popular dogma, “Stand Your Ground” laws DO NOT give people the right to indiscriminately use deadly force or excuse “Wild West” behavior.  Further, there is no “immunity from prosecution” as commonly believed.  In “Stand Your Ground” cases in Florida, a judge and/or jury of your peers must still find that:

  • the defendant had the right to be there, and
  • the defendant was not engaging in criminal activity, and
  • the defendant used reasonable force in response to the threat

This law removes the additional burden on crime victims of retreating first, a potentially more deadly response to a deadly crime.

Ignoring the actual facts in the Zimmerman case, Arizona Senator John McCain has said that his own state’s “Stand Your Ground” law should be reviewed after the “Not Guilty” Zimmerman verdict.  President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have expressed a desire to modify or eliminate similar laws around the country.  Evidently, they believe the law provides Americans with too much freedom.

Critics of the law point out that justifiable homicides have increased since states have enacted “Stand Your Ground” laws, which is a misleading way of implying that more people are getting killed.  In truth, it is the number of deaths that are justified that have increased, not the raw number of deaths, because of this law.  Judges and juries of everyday people – you and me – found such force was reasonable and warranted.

Further, critics often cite cases where the use of deadly force is questionable and the ability to retreat was possible, but “Stand Your Ground” laws allowed the defendant to go free.  Deadly force may have been questionable to critics, but a jury thought differently.  Perhaps their aggression would be better suited for the prosecution, which failed to meet their burden of proof in the case.  The law still requires that deadly force be reasonable to an objective third party.  In this – or any other – cited case, the jury found deadly force to be reasonable.  Critics blame the law, but the easy answer is not always the right one.

Imagine this – Your state does not recognize “Stand Your Ground” and you finish withdrawing a fist full of cash at an ATM.  A gun-wielding man approaches you and demands your money at gun-point.  You, the conscientious and law-abiding citizen who carries a firearm for protection, draw your gun and shoot the perpetrator in the stomach, who then flees the scene, only to be caught minutes later by a nearby police officer.

The criminal sues you for medical expenses and emotional distress to the tune of $2 million.  His defense?  You did not attempt to retreat from the situation.  Instead of giving up your money and letting the criminal go, or running away from the scene and risking a shot in the back or a severe beating, you chose to shoot the criminal and immediately stop the crime in progress.  Under the law, the criminal wins.  In your state, you are required to run and hide rather than use deadly force against a deadly attack.  Congratulations, you spend the rest of your life making payments to this criminal because you did not retreat (notwithstanding an expensive lawyer to defeat those charges, which becomes your burden).

“Stand Your Ground” laws symbolize the spirit of American culture and enjoy a deep-seeded place in our nation’s history.  No American should be forced to retreat when threatened.  The ability to confront a situation, with deadly force if warranted, is a basic human right that should be protected for every person in every state.

How many victims of crime and senseless lawsuits will it take before every state begins protecting the people’s innate and inalienable right to self defense without running away – the very concept our nation was built upon?   Ask yourself a simple question: should YOU have the right to stand your ground if you are attacked, or should your state require you to run away and hope the assailant does not follow?

For the record, George Zimmerman did not use “Stand Your Ground” as his defense in his well-publicized case.  Zimmerman only used “Self Defense”.

Illinois passes concealed carry law for state residents

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn

Yesterday, Illinois stood as the only state left in our Republic to forbid the concealed carrying of firearms.  Today, sanity prevailed as the Illinois state House and Senate approved an override to changes made by activist and civilian disarmament supporter Governor Pat Quinn to a bill that authorizes residents to carry [mostly concealed] firearms.

According to the new law, residents of the state may carry weapons with a concealed carry license, which requires a $150 processing fee and 16 hours of firearms training (the highest hours requirement in the nation).  The bill gives state police 6-months to setup a system to process license requests.  Hundreds of thousands of applications are expected in the first year alone.

This bill came as the result of a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Illinois’ ban on concealed carry is unconstitutional.  The court gave the state until June 9th (today) to correct the situation.  The bill sat on Governor Quinn’s desk for as long as he could before taking action, and Quinn attempted to gut the legislation this week in an effort to stall its passage even further.

Quinn was unsuccessful.  Quinn, of course, is the Governor of a state that contains a city with one of the highest murder rates in the United States (Chicago).  Before the law, residents could not legally transport weapons without the weapon being unloaded and enclosed in a case.  The state did not issue concealed carry licenses, nor did it honor licenses from other states.  Open carry was also prohibited in most areas (except when hunting or at home).  In other words, state residents were sitting ducks for criminals who do not follow the law and enjoyed a nearly constant advantage over law-abiding citizens in their ability to inflict harm.

Fear: The most powerful weapon at our government’s disposal

When it comes to government and their expanding powers to rule, regulate and fight, a very clever tactic is employed to win the approval of large populations.  Never mind our vast quantities of weapons like missiles and ammunition.   The government has something far more powerful at its disposal, more potent than biological warfare and more devastating than the billions of rounds of ammunition that our government has recently stockpiled.  What our government uses to usurp liberties and freedoms from the American people, under the guise of security, is far more sinister.

It’s fear.

After the attacks on 9/11, we were told that unless we fight our enemies on their territory, we will be forced to fight them on ours.  And so we fought, sparing no expense.  We went to war and destroyed other nations on the taxpayer’s dime.  We also helped them to re-build, again, on the taxpayer’s dime.  We did this to supposedly eliminate a threat to the American people.

Well-publicized mass tragedies like Sandy Hook, Columbine or the Aurora, CO theater shootings have the same effect.  Emotions run hot and the environment becomes ripe for the government to strip Americans of their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.  Because once again, if the government does not get involved, more Americans will die at the barrel of a gun.

The impact that fear has over large populations cannot be ignored.  It is a powerful and brutally effective weapon to remove freedoms and liberties from the people, and cleverly enables government to consolidate more and more power into the hands of largely unaccountable politicians.  When the people are afraid, liberties are voluntarily given up.  A population scared for their lives will give up almost anything for protection.

If it saves just one child’s life, right?  Because if the government does not get involved, more people will certainly die.  If our government had not blown communities in Afghanistan and Iraq to smithereens, our nation would be at war with our enemies here at home…in our own backyard.  Scary, isn’t it?

Never mind the fact that our government is arming Syrian rebels that have vowed to destroy the United States and our interests.  Let’s forget about Benghazi, gun-running or the IRS scandal for a minute.  Americans are willing to forgive and forget, so long as they don’t have to worry about their livelihoods every night.

After all, who wants to live in fear?

Firearm manufacturer Kahr plans escape from New York

kahr-logoPopular manufacturer of firearms, Kahr, has released plans to escape from the state of New York and their increasingly draconian gun laws and relocate to nearby Pennsylvania, the latest company from around the nation to announce major relocations in response to strict new gun laws.  Kahr plans to purchase 620 acres of land in Blooming Grove Township, a small community in the northeast part of the state.

According to the company, Kahr’s move will be performed in phases – starting late this year.  The initial phase is to build new corporate offices and move their business operations to their new headquarters.  The second phase includes the relocation of their manufacturing facilities for all of their product lines (Kahr, Thompson, Auto-Ordnance, and Magnum Research).

“We anticipate generating significant numbers of revenue and jobs for the local Northeastern Pennsylvania economy with the construction of facilities, expansion of manufacturing, and need for local vendors,” the company said.

Note:  Revenue and jobs in Pennsylvania will come as New York loses at least as many due to the state of New York’s hard-line stance on civilian disarmament through arbitrary gun laws, registrations and stiff licensing requirements.

Obama’s own gun control study destroys his entire argument

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre last December, President Obama issued an Executive Order to the CDC to study and research the effect of gun violence on American society, clearly an effort to use those findings, and the heightened emotional state of millions of Americans, to push for further controls on guns.

What a mistake that was.  The Obama-ordered study effectively destroys the president’s own gun control push.  It found:

Gun violence is on the decline

2-Pack_FDEDespite highly publicized gun-related crimes pushed by our media, numbers show that gun violence is on the decline over the past 5 years: “Overall crime rates have declined in the past decade, and violent crimes, including homicides specifically, have declined in the past 5 years,” the report said.  Not only that, but gun accidents are down as well.  “Unintentional firearm-related deaths have steadily declined during the past century. The number of unintentional deaths due to firearm-related incidents accounted for less than 1 percent of all unintentional fatalities in 2010.”

Defensive gun use is a “common occurrence”

Guns are used more often by law-abiding citizens in defense of their lives and property rather than in the commission of a crime.  “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals,” said the report.  It also found that those who used guns to defend themselves suffered far fewer injuries than those who attempted to defend themselves with objects or fists.  “Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”

Hand guns are used in crimes far more than “assault weapons”

Although so-called “assault weapons” are generally the target of the typical gun control advocate (that’s you, Diane Feinstein), the report found that hand guns are used in far more crimes than assault weapons.  Among violent crimes, hand guns are used in nearly 90% of them.  Why?  Because they are easily concealable, of course.  Thus, even if you do buy into so-called gun control and weapon bans, the majority of the weapon bans in effect today do not effect the type of guns that are used in the large majority of violent crime.

Suicides account for the majority of gun-related deaths

Despite the rhetoric of politicians, guns are more likely to be used in suicides than in the commission of a crime.  Firearm-related suicides “significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearm-related violence in the United States,” the study found.  Gun control proponents rarely point out that the so-called “gun violence” statistics used in the formulation of disarmament legislation includes suicides, which is not considered offensive gun use.

More guns do not lead to more crime

Contrary to a common argument from gun control advocates, more guns on the street do not lead to an increase in crime.  FBI reports have proven this for years, and the CDC study is no exception.  Although gun sales have increased over the past 5 years, “overall crime rates have declined in the past decade, and violent crimes, including homicides specifically, have declined in the past five years.”

Guns used in crimes come from family, friends and the underground

The report found that 70% of guns used in the commission of a crime came from “family or friends, drug dealers, street purchases, or the underground market.”  A very small percentage of guns were stolen before the crime.  This means guns used in crimes were very likely to have been legally obtained, reinforcing how little gun controls effect our nation’s violent crime.

What does all this mean?

The study suggests that mental health is the true problem and a significant cause of gun violence – and often inflicted on one’s self.  Similar to the arguments made by Obama’s opposition, it is not the availability of guns, the so-called “gun show loophole”, dangerous assault weapons or magazine capacities that is the problem.  These are nothing but easy-to-argue (but hard to prove) talking points designed to put together an easily-digestible gun control package for Americans to swallow.

Do not expect Obama to make light of this study.  It helps to prove that the majority of gun control laws in this nation are entirely meaningless, but does reinforce the importance of improving our mental health facilities.

On gun control, “common sense” is anything but common

Common sense is a wonderful thing.  The implication of “common” sense reforms implies that we’re discussing regulations so proper and so basic that people as a whole – the population – can easily see its virtues and support it.  In theory, these “common sense gun reforms” represent the most fundamental level of protection against another attack, and what American would oppose laws that are designed to prevent another attack?

The problem starts from ground zero – common sense is not pulled out of a hat.  Common sense is never the result of emotions.  Common sense results from experience and research, but unfortunately, neither of these two traits are present in these so-called common sense gun control laws floating around Congress.  How much confidence in these laws can the American people have when our elected leaders admit that their most recent failure – a bill requiring universal background checks - will not stop the next massacre, nor would it have prevented Sandy Hook, Columbine, or Virginia Tech?

To rely on background checks, one needs to assume two different things: First, we need to assume that criminals in our society would voluntarily submit to background checks.  Second, we need to necessarily assume that if a person were to fail a background check, they immediately stop trying to obtain a firearm.  Once they fail, that is it.  They go on about their lives as productive members of our society and simply forget about the cause of their aggression.  They instantly reform themselves, as if touched by an angel, and become law-abiding citizens of our great nation.

I do not know in what world that would be considered “common sense”, but it is not in this one.  Even our political class knows that universal background checks, while fed to the American people in an easily digestible “common sense” package, would do nothing to prevent the next attack.

It does not stop there.  Nobody wants to take away your guns, they say.  The problem?  They do.  Diane Feinstein, mother of the so-called assault weapons ban – a ban on the very type of weapons that are used in an extremely tiny fraction of crime in America – admitted in 1995 that if the votes were there, she would support a full and outright ban on weapons in this country, disarming the American people and keeping guns only in the hands of our trustworthy and sensible government.  What could go wrong?

So, let’s take a look at what one of the more prominent gun control activists in Congress supports.  At the very least, Feinstein wants a ban on weapons that are not used in the large majority of crime in America.  But truthfully, the goal is an outright ban on all weapons, essentially destroying the second amendment and leaving Americans, quite literally, as sitting ducks to those who would do us harm – including (and especially?) the government.

To believe in a gun ban, you must willingly forget the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775 that kicked off the Revolutionary War, when British “Red Coat” soldiers attempted to seize a large collection of arms from the colonists.  The alarm was sounded and the colonial militiamen quickly formed their armed resistance and pushed the British army back into retreat.  The moral of this story?  Disarmament was tried before, and the second amendment does not only exist to protect skeet shooting and hunting, as many would have you believe.  This is about freedom from tyranny.

Even more nonsensical are limits to magazines – and New York (7-round max) currently leads the way in this truly reckless control mechanism.  10-rounds seem to be the most popular number to limit magazine capacities at, but only the most uninformed gun control proponent could possibly support such a limit given that the gunmen in one of the worst school tragedies in recent history, Columbine, used 10-round magazines.  Thirteen different 10-round magazines, in fact.  The Virginia Tech shooter used several 10-round magazines, along with some 15-round mags.  The point?  Magazine limits cannot prevent a crazy gunman from opening up a torrent of gun fire, and even the most rudimentary research effort would uncover this fact.

Tell me, ladies and gentlemen – what is common sense about any of this?  Is the destruction of the second amendment somehow “common”?  If so, we have a much larger problem on our hands.  Is passing a universal background check system, a proposition that our own government admits will not stop the next attack, common?  How can limiting magazine capacities to the precise number that gunmen in many of our school tragedies use be at all connected to “common” … or “sense”, for that matter?

The truth of the matter is violent crime in the United States of America is at an all time low according to recent statistics.  Why, then, do the majority of Americans believe that crime is on the rise?  The answer lies in our media’s attempt at creating a life-and-death situation out of thin air, exploiting tragedies like Sandy Hook and virtually every accidental shooting as grounds to prop up the fraud.  Sadly, our government could not be happier about it because it gives them an opportunity to further their own political agendas and strengthen our society of dependence on the federal government.  Worse, it reinforces in a largely uninformed population the notion that America has a “gun problem”, and that the government needs to fix it.

It is well known that in the immediate aftermath of well-publicized national tragedies, the American people tear down their defenses and let the government encroach into their lives in ways they probably never dreamed of (think TSA).  This time, our government narrowly missed the window of opportunity to cash in on the heightened emotional level of Americans and push through a piece of meaningless legislation that would treat every American as a potential criminal.

This media-concocted fraud plays an integral part in creating the illusion that gun control laws in Congress are “common sense”.  If Americans are scared for their lives, they are more likely to give up their freedom in order to obtain perceived safety.  Of course, it is only those who do not own guns, nor have much knowledge about them, that are most willing to give up their right to them.  You want an example of being selfish?  This is it.

There is nothing “common sense” about that.