Thursday, January 19, 2012

VA-ALERT: VCDL Update 1/18/12

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

1. An open letter to Virginia Tech - donations
2. LTE on campus carry
3. Dave Knight's LTE to RT
4. McDonnell on campus carry
5. LTE: Guns have a place in Christian society
6. McDonnell targets Virginia background checks for guns
7. General Assembly returns Wednesday to tackle budget, other key issues
8. McDonnell and gun control
9. Allen on 2A, Marshall considering entering race
10. Richmond City Council learns panic buttons don't work
11. Gun sales in Virginia, U.S., surge to record high in 2011
12. RTD: Your 2 Cents
13. President Obama's anti-gun agenda shows no sign of stopping
14. Two "anti" editorials from our friends at WaPo and NYT
15. White House mum on Giffords anniversary
16. Virginia Beach 7-11 clerk shoots would-be robber
17. Police investigate reported armed robbery at Fairfield Inn & Suites (Dulles)
18. News of home invasions increases local gun sales
19. Emily gets her gun (maybe)
20. Teen mom kills intruder after 911 call
21. More than 20 minutes -- when seconds are counting
22. Powerline blog self-defense stories
23. Navy SEAL shoots self with gun believed unloaded
24. Mount Rainier reopens after fatal ranger shooting
25. Gun rights, parks gun law blamed for Mt. Rainier slaying
26. Gun ban wouldn't have prevented shooting at park
27. TIME: Why guns and national parks don't mix
28. Owners argue merits of firearms on airplanes
29. Marine faces 15 years behind bars for unknowingly violating gun law
30. Who needs a gun (or carry permit) in Chicago?
31. RITTGERS: Pistol packin' mamas
32. Our misfiring gun laws
33. NY lawmaker to look at gun law in response to woman from Tennessee arrested for possession
34. Handgun saves three kids
35. The attacks shall continue until the students are armed
36. Cloudy with a chance of weapons and gold
37. Jobless rate up, but crime down: What gives?

1. An open letter to Virginia Tech - donations

Ken Stanton sent me this note from his facebook page:



An Open Letter to Virginia Tech - donations
by Ken Kaiketsu Stanton
January 3, 2012

This email was just sent to the Giving office, and cc'd to Pres. Steger, Provost McNamee, and Larry Hincker.


Greetings of the new year.

I feel it important to share with you the reason I will not be donating to Virginia Tech, at least in the foreseeable future. Ever since my friend Jeremy was killed in the shootings back in 2007, I (like many others) woke up to the reality that campus is not a guaranteed safe place. No police force, no rule book, and no empty promises from admins can promise such an environment. As such, I campaigned for almost 4 years to allow valid concealed carry permit holders - 21 year old, trained, crime-free individuals - to carry on campus for self-defense. However, despite the rash of violent crime, the university has STILL NOT LEARNED THE LESSON. It's embarrassing now to be associated with VT; we're lucky we have a football team to offset what happens on the campus in a given year. For a school that survives from its research, it sure is hypocritical to ignore the massive research that shows concealed carry on campus 1) causes no problems, 2) decreases crime, and 3) is recognition of a RIGHT.

I have since moved to Colorado to work at their land grant institution - Colorado State - where concealed carry has been allowed for years, with zero problems. We even enjoy a lower crime rate than neighboring Univ. of N. Colorado, that does not allow carry. At least here, I know that if some psycho walks into my classroom trying to make a name for himself on the nightly news, he won't succeed without a fight.

So, I join with the VCDL, who protested on campus just a few weeks ago at a football game, in not donating to the university until the policy is changed.

I'm also cc'ing this message to Pres. Steger, Provost McNamee, and Larry Hincker, all of whom know me from my time at VT and work with gun rights. They will recall that I was always as respectful as possible when campaigning for gun rights, but the gloves are off now. It's time for the university to make the right decision.

Ken Stanton, PhD
Engineering Education, 2011

2. LTE on campus carry

EM Dave Hicks emailed me this:


From The Roanoke Times:

Pick of the day: More guns equal more danger
January 06, 2012

It was great to read your story about Gov. Bob McDonnell not supporting allowing firearms on college campuses ("McDonnell cautious on campus firearm ban," Jan. 4). It is about time that people realize that the more guns there are available in any public gathering, the greater the chance is that someone will be shot. [PVC: That's why gun sales are way up and crime is way down?]

The argument that having trained and armed people in a gathering will protect us all simply isn't accurate. Was not the Virginia Tech policeman who was shot and killed recently on Tech's campus a trained gun carrier who was armed? He never had a chance to protect himself, let alone others on campus. [PVC: So police can't protect us and we are on our own? Sounds like we need a gun! Or is Dr. Cogswell suggesting police don't need guns?]

The more access dangerous people have to guns, the more danger we all will be in. In looking for guidance on this issue, countries such as England and Canada would serve as good models. If we have to have a television approach to the use of guns, let's move from the "Gunsmoke" approach to a "Star Trek" one. [PVC: Yeah, Mr. Cogswell is certainly "Lost in Space."]


3. Dave Knight's LTE to RT

From The Roanoke Times:

Self-protection is a person's duty

Re: Kenneth Sewell's letter "It's uncivilized to pack in public" (Dec.28):

Sewell's operative delusion is: "We are supposed to be a civilized society that depends on law enforcement to keep law and order."

Only a starry-eyed, holier-than-thou liberal could be so ignorant of the ubiquitous criminal element that he could so arrogantly assert such a naA've position.

It is the responsibility, even duty, of every person to protect himself and his family from predation as much as possible.

To depend on law enforcement to do so is to abdicate that responsibility, and to be AWOL from one's duty. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.


4. McDonnell on campus carry

From The Roanoke Times:

McDonnell cautious on campus firearm ban
The governor said there's legitimate debate about whether armed people can "stop problems."
By Michael Sluss
January 04, 2012

RICHMOND -- Gov. Bob McDonnell would "not be inclined" to sign legislation preventing state colleges from banning concealed firearms in campus facilities, he said Tuesday. [PVC: The Governor doesn't have to sign a bill for it to become law as long as he doesn't veto it.]

"I think it's unlikely a bill like that would pass and I think at this point I would probably be unlikely to sign it," McDonnell said during an interview in his office.

Some gun rights advocates argue that gun owners with proper permits should not be barred from having concealed handguns on college campuses. The pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League has staged demonstrations at Virginia Tech, Radford University and other state colleges in recent months to protest campus gun restrictions. Activists are pushing for legislation in the upcoming General Assembly session to prevent college governing boards from prohibiting concealed carry on campus.

"There is some legitimate debate about whether an armed citizenry can stop problems, whether it's on a college campus or any other venue, but I'd have to see what the law looks like," McDonnell said.

"I would not be inclined to support that kind of legislation."

McDonnell noted that, while serving as the state's attorney general from 2006 to 2009, he issued opinions that college boards of visitors had "implied powers in various campus security matters to limit access to firearms in certain places on campus."

"That was my opinion under the law and they've chosen to exercise that, and most of them chose to ban firearms in virtually all venues on campus," McDonnell said. "I think, under the law, they're empowered to do that."

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued an opinion last year concluding that college governing boards must adopt regulations to restrict firearms on campus -- opining that mere policies are insufficient.

Philip Van Cleave, the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said he was disappointed by McDonnell's comments.

"But regardless, we're going to move forward with our agenda because we have to," Van Cleave said. "This is something that we feel will save lives, make universities and colleges safer."

The debate over allowing guns on college campuses has been heated in Virginia since the April 16, 2007, mass shootings at Virginia Tech that left 33 people dead. Last month, a part-time Radford student shot and killed a Tech police officer on the Blacksburg campus and then took his own life.

Andrew Goddard, a gun control activist whose son was wounded in the 2007 Tech shootings, welcomed McDonnell's remarks.

"There are a lot of bad bills coming down this year," Goddard said. "Obviously if he said something like that, that's one that I'm less concerned about."

Van Cleave said the Dec. 8 shooting death of Tech police Officer Deriek Crouse should not weaken his group's cause.

"If anything, from my point of view, it emphasizes that there are dangerous, dangerous people out there and a person needs to be able to protect themselves."

A Senate committee last year derailed legislation that would prohibit state agencies from adopting or enforcing firearms regulations or policies unless authorized by law. Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William County, has filed legislation for the upcoming session that would allow college faculty members with concealed carry permits to have concealed handguns on campus. Similar measures have failed to reach the House of Delegates floor in previous sessions.

McDonnell said Tuesday that he remains supportive of another gun rights priority. The governor said he would sign a bill to repeal the state's one-gun-per-month limit on handgun purchases if lawmakers send it to him. McDonnell voted for the restriction as a legislator two decades ago because of concerns about "guns-for-drugs traffic" between Virginia and the Northeast.

But McDonnell said the state has since enacted additional measures to address those concerns "without having an arbitrary volume restriction on firearms."

5. LTE: Guns have a place in Christian society

A letter to the editor by VCDL Board member Dennis O'Connor.

Roy Scherer emailed me this:


From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Guns have a place in Christian society

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In the wake of Liberty University's decision to allow firearms on campus, some gun-phobes are questioning how a Christian school could allow guns, since Jesus admonished Peter for using his sword in Gethsemane and encourages us to "turn the other cheek."

In both cases, Jesus was submitting to lawful authority, as Scripture requires. Also, turning the other cheek discourages revenge, not self-defense. Christianity does not require us to irresponsibly allow criminal attacks upon us or our families, and in fact expects us to protect and defend innocent life.

An inconvenient truth for some is that as Jesus and his disciples traveled the byways of Judea, they carried the military weapons of the day among them. And commanding Peter to put his sword back into its place after Peter struck the servant is a powerful endorsement of the premise that a weapon of self-defense has a place in Christian society.

Dennis J. O'Connor
Prince George

6. McDonnell targets Virginia background checks for guns


McDonnell targets Virginia background checks for guns
By Julian Walker
The Virginian-Pilot
January 2, 2012


Gov. Bob McDonnell said if it's legally feasible, he'd support doing away with Virginia's 22-year-old criminal background check program for firearms purchases in favor of a federal system that also screens prospective gun buyers for eligibility to obtain weapons.

Gun rights groups have pressed the McDonnell administration on the issue, calling for an end to the Virginia Firearms Transaction Program, a state police-administered system for checking the criminal history of potential purchasers. Supporters of the state program say it's an additional safeguard to ensure state gun laws are upheld and attempts to illegally purchase weapons are investigated by local authorities.

Among those lobbying the governor is the National Rifle Association.

Officials with the gun lobby consider the state system unnecessary because of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which was established in 1998.

They note that dozens of states rely solely on the federal system and point to Delaware's recent decision to end its state background checks.

Under the current process in Virginia, potential gun buyers are run through state and federal checks. The scans look for records that would prohibit a purchase - things such as a criminal history, residency status in the country, drug offenses, a dishonorable military discharge, and mental health adjudications.

While there is much overlap between the two programs, state police officials have cautioned that current gun restrictions unique to Virginia might not block a sale if the federal system were the only screening method in place.

That's one reason gun control advocates oppose efforts to undo the Virginia program.

In a recent interview, McDonnell said his administration continues to evaluate whether there's a way to ensure that all of the state restrictions could be included in a national check.

The governor said if that can be done, "then we ought to get rid of it and only have one. I fully subscribe to that." McDonnell didn't say how soon that could be achieved or when his staff will conclude its review.

To make it happen, several differences between the two background check systems would need to be reconciled.

State police officials say Virginia rules for protective orders apply to more family situations than federal standards. They note that Virginia's drug policy disqualifies buyers for longer periods of time, and that rules also differ on foreign-born purchasers.

Virginia law blocks people with juvenile felony convictions from obtaining a weapon, but the state severely limits access to state juvenile criminal records, so information about youthful felonies doesn't appear in federal background checks.

A possible solution to that has been offered by Chesapeake Del. John Cosgrove, a Republican who previously filed legislation to allow juvenile records to be shared with the U.S. attorney general.

Although his bill failed, Cosgrove said he plans to reintroduce it in the legislative session that begins Jan. 11 as a vehicle to create uniformity between that aspect of state policy and the federal background check system.

Like McDonnell, Cosgrove supports the idea of exclusively using the federal background check program if a firm link between Virginia gun laws and the federal system can be established.

Other differences between the state and federal systems involve how they view mental health treatment. Both bar those who have been involuntarily committed from purchasing guns.

Virginia law also specifies that someone evaluated under a temporary detention order who then enters voluntary treatment would be barred from purchasing a weapon - a nod to Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho's history with the mental health system.

In addition, the federal system doesn't limit handgun purchases to one a month, as Virginia law does.

Virginia's background check system is the first of its type in the nation, but in recent years it has been ridiculed by gun buyers who complain about the slow processing times and the $2 fee they are charged.

State Police attribute any delays to a growing number of requests for checks as staff assigned to the task has shrunk.

7. General Assembly returns Wednesday to tackle budget, other key issues

Roy Scherer emailed me this:


From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

General Assembly returns Wednesday to tackle budget, other key issues
January 08, 2012

The Virginia General Assembly convenes its 2012 session Wednesday amid a turbulent political climate.



Republican control of the Senate and its committees could break a long-standing logjam of legislation seeking to undo a number of Virginia's gun-control laws.

In recent years, many bills went to defeat in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, where Democrats led by Sen. Henry L. Marsh III, D-Richmond, tabled or voted down gun bills that easily passed the Republican-dominated House.

This year, with Sen. Thomas K. Norment, R-James City, the likely Courts committee chairman and Bolling holding a tie-breaking vote, gun-rights advocates are looking to roll back several state laws and regulations. Among them: the state law restricting Virginians to purchasing one handgun a month, restrictions against allowing concealed-permit holders to carry guns on college campuses, and the requirement that everyone purchasing guns from licensed firearms dealers submit to a state background check.

Some rural Democrats have been supportive of reduced gun-control regulations, and McDonnell has signaled his support for scrapping the one-gun-a-month rule and streamlining the firearms background check system as long as the required federal background check incorporates the safeguards currently part of Virginia's system.

"I'm not going to advocate anything that reduces the scrutiny on doing the background checks," McDonnell said in a recent interview. "If we can have one check instead of two and if we can cut down the timeframe, then we shouldn't erect impediments to people legally buying firearms."

8. McDonnell and gun control

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Schapiro: The beginning of the end for McDonnell
January 08, 2012

Bob McDonnell can soon get down to the really serious business of his governorship: explaining why -- when more state workers could lose their jobs -- he gave one to Bill Janis, the delegate-turned-defeated-prosecutor-candidate, that pays $100,000 a year.

Wednesday's opening of the 2012 General Assembly marks the beginning of the end for McDonnell, the point in his four-year term at which there are more yesterdays than tomorrows.

It's a perilous time for McDonnell to become a lame duck. Because of the calendar, his influence is starting to fade. Worse, the GOP is showing signs of stress.

In politics and in policy, Republicans need someone to protect them from themselves. But is McDonnell the man to do it? He is weakened by time, hamstrung by his aversion to confrontation and outnumbered by those who thrive on it.

In the House of Delegates, Republicans have a better than 2-to-1 advantage over Democrats. That means even easier sledding for hot-button legislation that usually flames out in the Virginia Senate, where Democrats are no longer in charge and, possibly, not even relevant.

With GOP Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling casting the tie-breaking vote, Republicans are claiming working control of the evenly split Senate, potentially auguring passage of measures McDonnell, a practitioner of happy-face conservativism, would be pleased to ignore.

This doesn't include repeal of the one-handgun-a-month law, which McDonnell backed as a legislator and now says he'd scuttle. He'll likely get the chance because gun-rights Democrats would vote with Republicans on a rollback.

McDonnell would have to answer to the godfather of handgun restrictions, former Gov. Doug Wilder. But a fusillade of criticism from Wilder would pale in comparison to the grief McDonnell might take on other firearms issues.

Making it easier to carry guns on college campuses could, post-Virginia Tech, put McDonnell in the crosshairs of election-deciding suburban voters.

But because McDonnell won't be on the ballot in 2013 -- Virginia governors are banned from running for consecutive terms -- the electorate would take it out on the Republican nominee, perhaps McDonnell's heir apparent, Bolling.

Despite McDonnell's endorsement, Bolling's nomination is not assured. He is running on his loyalty to McDonnell, whose time has come and soon will be gone. Bolling's opponent, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, is running on his loyalty to a timeless conservative manifesto.

It's egos versus ideas -- a dynamic that will play out during the two months legislators are in Richmond. Republicans will be mindful, focusing less on McDonnell and more on whether they'll be on a ticket they can run with or must run from.

9. Allen on 2A, Marshall considering entering race

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Allen touts support from outdoorsmen and gun-lovers
January 06, 2012

Amid a sea of pickup trucks and a crowd spotted with camouflage and blaze orange, Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen on Thursday announced "Sportsmen for Allen," a coalition of outdoorsmen from across the commonwealth.

"Welcome to God's country," declared Del. John A. Cox, R-Hanover, kicking off the event at Green Top Sporting Goods on U.S. 1 in Hanover County. Del. Charles D. Poindexter, R-Franklin County, and state Sen. Ryan T. McDougle, R-Hanover, were also on hand.

Outside the gun shop, Allen, the current GOP front-runner in the race who is seeking to reclaim the Senate seat he lost to Democrat Jim Webb in 2006, was lauded for his long support of Second Amendment rights and conservation efforts.

He was introduced by H. Kirby Burch, a state Department of Conservation and Recreation director when Allen was governor.

"No governor since John Dalton has been able to wear the mantra of the sportsmen's governor like George Allen," Burch said, adding that Allen "understands that Virginians must guard against a government that would lock sportsmen out of public lands and give access only to hikers, to birdwatchers and bicyclists."

Burch, who is now with the Commonwealth Sportsmen Alliance, took heat in 1995 for jumping from the lead car in a state caravan at False Cape State Park in Virginia Beach and shooting two wild pigs with a pistol for a barbecue luncheon. Allen reprimanded Burch, but the shootings were ultimately deemed legal.

As Allen took the stage in front of the shop to applause, a sports car screamed down the highway, causing Allen to quip: "He's all fired up. Doesn't know gas prices are going up again."

Allen stressed the impact that hunting, fishing and boating have on the economy, noting that gun shops are some of the only businesses he has heard from that are doing well.

"It's about the only sector of the economy that's really done well with the Obama administration," Allen said. "After he came in, there was actually hoarding of ammunition."

Allen also touted the abolition of parole during his tenure as governor, noting the decline in violent crime and the passage of the state's concealed-carry law.

Allen said that as a U.S. senator, he "voted against the renewal of the toothless imagery of the so-called assault weapons ban" and fought "frivolous lawsuits" against gun manufacturers.

Asked after the event if he supported the potential repeal of the state's one-handgun-a-month law, enacted by then-Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, Allen said he did.

"I'm not in favor of gun rationing," he said. "I wasn't for it when it passed, and I see no need for it."

Allen had little to say about Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, who this week said he is "seriously considering" entering the U.S. Senate race, challenging Allen for the GOP nomination. The nominee could face former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the Democratic front-runner.

"We're running on our ideas and issues," Allen said. "We're going forward, and our focus is Tim Kaine."

Marshall, who nearly wrested the Republican nomination for the 2008 U.S. Senate race from former Gov. Jim Gilmore, would be Allen's first GOP opponent with wide name recognition and political experience.

10. Richmond City Council learns panic buttons don't work

I'm thinking it may be time for VCDL to visit City Hall and let the Mayor know that his participation in Mayors Against Illegal Guns continues to be an embarrassment.

From [video]

Panic button fixed after City Council death threat
By Lorenzo Hall
December 30, 2011

The panic button at City Hall has been repaired and now functions properly, said Council President Kathy Graziano.

The Richmond city leaders were forced to rethink security at City Hall after 46-year old, Leroy Taylor was accused of threatening to kill all nine council members.

Council woman, Reva Trammell said she's been questioning the lack of security in the building for years.

At present, there are no metal detectors or security screenings for visitors.

According to internal memos obtained by CBS 6, Taylor has threatened council members in the past.

He was taken to jail, treated for schizophrenia and then released. With the latest threat, he was simply escorted out of the building.

Trammell told CBS 6 that she wants this latest threat to be taken seriously. "Anybody can do anything and a bullet doesn't have a name on it," she said.

CBS 6 also learned that panic buttons designed to alert building security weren't working properly when Taylor was allegedly making the threats.

11. Gun sales in Virginia, U.S., surge to record high in 2011

Roy Scherer emailed me this:


From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Gun sales in Virginia, U.S., surge to record high in 2011
January 08, 2012

Virginia gun sales surged to a record high in 2011, fueled in part by holiday shoppers buying more firearms in December than ever before.

Gun transactions in Virginia totaled 321,166 last year, with a single-month record of 41,957 in December, according to the latest Virginia State Police figures of mandatory criminal-background checks of gun buyers.

Virginia gun transactions rose 16 percent from 2010 to 2011 -- the second-largest percentage increase in a decade and the most since Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. That year, Virginia recorded 268,136 gun transactions.

Neither the FBI nor state police would offer a theory on the spike in gun sales. But those involved in the firearms industry attributed the increase to a fear of crime during a bad economy, expanded concealed-carry rights, increased supply and affordability of guns, and perceptions of possible federal intervention under Obama. Meanwhile, gun-control advocates question whether the federal numbers present a misleading, if not distorted view of booming gun sales.

The state's soaring gun sales in 2011 seem to mirror the nation as whole: A record 16.4 million firearms background checks were conducted in the U.S. last year through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, up from 14.4 million in 2010.

And like Virginia, gun transactions across the country set a national record in December, with 1.8 million gun checks.

There is not a one-to-one correlation between background checks and the number of guns sold because some customers buy multiple firearms, and some of the checks involve people reclaiming a firearm they previously had pawned. Exact sales of firearms in Virginia are neither reported nor recorded.

And although the large majority of prospective gun buyers pass the background checks, about 1 percent of the searches in Virginia typically result in people being denied permission to buy a weapon. Nationally, the rejection rate is about 1.3 percent.

Unlike Virginia, the overall federal background check numbers are partially skewed by some states using the NICS system to run checks on concealed-carry permit holders. That includes states like Utah and Kentucky, the latter of which runs a background check each month on every gun owner with a concealed-carry permit.

Federal authorities couldn't immediately say what percentage of the 16.4 million background checks processed nationally in 2011 involved checks of concealed-carry holders. A chart on the FBI's website that shows each state's cumulative firearm background checks from 1998 through 2011 indicates that 23 percent of the checks were for concealed-carry permits.

* * * * *

There are many reasons behind the surge in gun transactions, Richmond-area firearms dealers and gun-rights organizations said.

"I think it's a multifaceted answer," said Stephanie Samford, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association. "Part of it is certainly that people are placing a high premium on personal safety. We're reminded on TV and in the news that with the economic downturn, criminals are being furloughed and police officers are being laid off."

Aside from self-defense, the NRA believes more people are buying guns for recreational purposes and shooting sports, including a growing number of women, Samford said.

"We've seen a large increase specifically with women signing up to take classes over the past couple of years, compared to what our numbers were a decade ago," Samford added. "But that increase has also been across the board, both men and women."

J.D. McEwan, who manages the firearms department at Southern Police Equipment in Chesterfield County, said his sales for 2011 were up in the midteens over the previous year, which tracks closely to Virginia's 16 percent rise in gun transactions.

"I think finally the supply chain has caught up with demand; we've seen prices come down to general retail pricing," McEwan said. "Availability has been as good as it has been in the last five years for us, as far as new gun models."

With more people getting concealed-carry permits, new gun models -- such as compact 9 mm pistols -- have become available to accommodate that demand, McEwan said. "And all of that has helped bolster sales," he said.

Dave Hancock, a manager of Bob Moates Sports Shop in Chesterfield, said sales over the holidays were up 40 percent over 2010 and customers were primarily buying handguns.

"Some were for collection purposes, some for target shooting and more were for self-defense than any other single factor," Hancock said.

"With the economy the way it is, and unemployment the way it is ... people just feel more of a need to protect themselves," said Hancock, who added some people also fear that anti-gun legislation will be proposed this year if Obama is elected to a second term.

Neil Atkinson, co-owner of DeGoff's Firearms in Mechanicsville, said he has seen a rise in people buying guns for self-protection, and many of them are first-time buyers.

"We do have repeat business, but I've had an increase in new people coming into the store," Atkinson said. Although some people are acquiring guns for recreation use, most are "buying for self-protection."

* * * * *

Josh Horowitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a gun-control organization, said it's crucial to examine the overall federal background-check number to understand what, aside from gun purchases, it includes.

That number in recent years has been inflated by a number of states that now use the system to run checks on concealed-carry permit holders, he said. He believes 5 million of the 16.4 million checks processed nationally last year were concealed-carry checks.

Horowitz said states like Utah submitted about 1 million inquiries in 2011 but only about 70,000 were for gun purchases. People who pawned and then later reclaimed their firearms also have inflated the numbers, he said.

Horowitz said the background-check numbers also have to be adjusted for U.S. population increases, which when correlated show a more modest rise in gun sales. The numbers rose from 2.8 background checks for every 100 people in 1999 to 3.2 checks in 2011, he said.

"So yes, 2011 is going to be a big year, but it's not a giant year," Horowitz said. "The story (line) that we're awash in guns and this is an unprecedented high level" is not accurate on a national level. "The reality is there's been a modest uptick in gun sales over the last decade."

Horowitz cited a recent general statistical survey conducted by the National Research Center at the University of Chicago that concluded that the number of households with firearms has actually declined since 1972 as a percentage of the population.

Caroline Brewer, a spokeswoman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, recently told CNN that repeat gun buyers are likely responsible for the recent uptick in gun sales. She suggested that those who already own weapons were simply hoarding more of them because of "fear-mongering" by the NRA that Obama and the Democrats will restrict their gun rights.

Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun-rights organization, scoffed at the notion that fewer Americans are buying or own guns.

"The Brady Campaign is trying to marginalize all this, because they are really trying to build a foundation that gun owners are outside the mainstream and not a big part of the population, and that legislators should not be listening to these people because they don't represent America. And the truth is just the opposite of that."

Van Cleave contends that interest in firearms has been on the upswing for more than a decade.

"I think you will continue to see that rise down the road," Van Cleave said. "So it is by no means a peak. There have been a lot of articles on guns in the press, which in turn has been, I think, sort of tweaking interest in it."

In addition, Internet discussion groups about guns have helped fuel "an awareness of self-defense and firearms," he said.

More people are buying firearms for self-defense, including a growing number of women, Van Cleave said.

"You can see this with manufacturers," Van Cleave said. "More and more are coming out with guns tailored toward the more feminine perspective -- basically in colors and maybe in size. That's a (segment) of the population that's largely been untapped in the past."

12. RTD: Your 2 Cents

Roy Scherer emailed me this:


From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Recent reports: "Law OK'ing firearms in parks decried," and "Benjamin Barnes is said to have shot up a party, then fled to Mount Rainier National Park and killed a park ranger." Does anyone really believe that a law banning weapons from a National Park would have stopped Barnes? Get real!

Tony Trexler,

13. President Obama's anti-gun agenda shows no sign of stopping

Attorney General Eric Holder seems unwilling to recognize the genuine outrages the Obama administration's gun-control agenda has produced.

- vernon


President Obama's Anti-Gun Agenda Shows No Sign of Stopping
By John Lott
December 28, 2011

President Obama keeps pushing for gun control. "I just want you to know that we are working on [gun control]. We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar," President Obama told Sarah Brady, the former president of the Brady Campaign, this past spring.

His push as been quiet but relentless.

Just this past week Obama signaled that he was going to just ignore two new parts of the 2012 Omnibus Spending bill. Although he signed the spending bill into law, he simultaneously issued a so-called "signing statement," a note that presidents have started attaching to legislation stating how they interpret the law they are signing or whether they believe part of it is unconstitutional.

Obama's statement claimed that Congress couldn't put restrictions on how he wanted to spend to fund lobbying for gun control and the National Institute of Health studies of gun control.

But why should the federal government use taxpayer dollars to pay for lobbying?

Obama has had numerous false starts on gun control. Just in November, his administration moved to ban target practice on public lands, but the opposition was so swift and strong they immediately backtracked.

A couple of weeks ago the Obama administration suffered another embarrassment. It was discovered that the Obama administration oversaw the sale of guns to Mexican drug gangs in its Fast & Furious program to bolster statistics of guns crossing over to the border to these very drug gangs.

This scandal is quite incredible as the Obama administration ordered gun dealers to make sales to Mexican drug gangs against their wishes to help the administration's push for more gun control. And this follows the revelation in July that the Obama administration had pushed federal agents involved in the Fast & Furious scandal to support gun control regulations during their congressional testimony.

It doesn't help that the Obama administration started pushing these sales at the same time they wanted to bolster their case that America was supply illegal guns to Mexico backfired. All this undercut any justification for new regulations and destroyed any support that they might have had.

With 90 congressmen signing a "no confidence" resolution in Attorney General Eric Holder's handling of "Fast & Furious," last week Holder lashed out against his critics. "This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we're both African-American," Holder told the New York Times. Holder seems unwilling to recognize the genuine outrages the administration's gun-control agenda has produced.

Still the administration has successfully manage to push through gun control regulations in many, less visible ways: -- The Obama administration instituted a ban on importing "historic" semi-automatic rifles into the US. -- In sharp contrast to the Bush administration, President Obama strongly supports the UN Arms Trade Treaty even though he knows that any such treaty are unlikely to obtain the two-thirds vote in the Senate needed for ratification. What the regulations will do is lead to severe restrictions on private gun ownership around the world.

The administration instituted new rules on selling "high-powered rifles," defined as a caliber of greater than .22. -- The administration nominated Andrew Traver, someone who supports gun bans, as the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Obama has stuck by Traver despite his nomination being stalled in the Senate for a year and the fierce opposition it has generated.

Obama's most lasting impact on gun control is likely to be through the federal court judges he appoints. His most visible appointments have been the gun-control advocates he has made to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan headed up President Clinton's push for gun control when she worked for his White House during the 1990s. And Justice Sonia Sotomayor has signed on to a Supreme Court opinion stating that there is no individual right to "private self-defense" with guns.

The pro-gun control views of Obama's nominees have played a role the Senate filibustering of two Appeals Court nominees. Caitlin Joan Halligan was particularly controversial when nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit because she opposes an individual's right to self defense and - even more damning -- she was one of the trial lawyers who had sued gun makers. Thus in New York v. Sturm & Ruger, she argued that gun makers should be liable for the criminal acts of third parties but not given any credit for the benefits from self-defense.

If elected to a second term, Obama will end up appointing over half the federal judges. That sure can make a big difference.

Most importantly, the Supreme Court is only one vote away from reversing the 5 to 4 decisions that so narrowly struck down the handgun bans in Chicago and the District of Columbia.

Two of the Justices who voted to strike down the bans, conservative Antonin Scalia and moderate Anthony Kennedy, will be well into their 80s during the next administration.

While a couple of Justices have made it to 90 while serving on the court, remember the rare glimpse into Obama's views during the 2008 campaign when he referred to those "bitter" Americans who "cling to their guns, cling to their religion."

It surely fits his earlier statement: "I don't believe that people should be able to own guns."

Yet, despite all this evidence of an anti-gun agenda, recent articles by the Associated Press and other news media paint Obama as a moderate on guns and as somebody who wants to "protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens" and merely support so-called "gun safety" measures.

Of course, they are wrong. Unfortunately, Obama's patient "under the radar" campaign seems to be working. He is fundamentally changing the courts and leaving them much more hostile to gun ownership. If Americans catch on, this could still be a major issue in the 2012.

14. Two "anti" editorials from our friends at WaPo and NYT

Death of a Park Ranger gives the Washington Post and New York Times an excuse to blame the rest of us for a criminal action. A "no guns" in parks policy would not have changed anything.

Joe Gherlone emailed me these:


From the Washington Post:

Tragedy at Mount Rainier
By Editorial Board

PARK RANGER MARGARET ANDERSON was operating a roadblock in Mount Rainier National Park on New Year's Day to prevent cars without snow chains from proceeding up the mountain. What should have been a routine assignment turned deadly, authorities say, when Benjamin Colton Barnes tried to evade a stop by shooting repeatedly into the side of Ms. Anderson's patrol car. The barrage killed the 34-year-old mother of two little girls.

This was not the first violent incident of the day involving Mr. Barnes, officials said. In the first few hours of 2012, Mr. Barnes and a group of friends were playing "show and tell" with their guns when a fight broke out and Mr. Barnes and another individual are believed to have shot four people. Mr. Barnes then traveled to Mount Rainier to hide from authorities. After shooting the park ranger, Mr. Barnes escaped into the woods; he was found hours later frozen to death, wearing only a T-shirt and jeans, with a knife, ammunition and at least two firearms, including an assault-style weapon.

Mr. Barnes apparently was an emotionally plagued young man. He served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2007 but was discharged from the military some two years later after a drunk driving incident and improper transport of a private weapon, according to The Seattle Times. An ex-girlfriend, with whom he has an infant daughter, filed for a restraining order over the summer after describing Mr. Barnes as erratic and possibly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She noted that Mr. Barnes owned a small arsenal. One photograph released by Washington state law enforcement officials show a bare-chested Mr. Barnes brandishing two assault-style weapons. Did officials follow-up on the ex-girlfriend's complaint or ask whether someone as apparently unstable as Mr. Barnes should be permitted to own and keep guns?

It is unclear when and how Mr. Barnes obtained the weapons, but it probably was not difficult to do so. Washington has among the most lax gun laws in the country, requiring neither training nor permits before a purchase. The state does not compel registration and allows individuals without a serious criminal record or history of mental illness to obtain permits to carry a concealed weapon.

There is no way to know whether tougher gun restrictions would have prevented Mr. Barnes from obtaining his weapons. But it is beyond dispute that easy access to firearms can quickly turn a simple argument or difficult situation into a deadly confrontation. And this violence is not limited to the proverbial mean streets. That terrible lesson was again imparted on New Year's Day when the life of a young woman was cut short in one of the country's most tranquil and majestic sites.


From the New York Times:

Reckless Disregard for Safety
January 3, 2012

The House showed its utter disregard for public safety in November when it approved the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, which would take away the authority of states to decide who is allowed to carry a concealed and loaded handgun within their borders.

For example, New York, New Jersey and other states that bar individuals under 21 from obtaining a concealed carry permit would have to honor permits from states with no age requirement. The measure would also hamper efforts to combat illegal gun trafficking. An individual with a concealed carry permit from Florida -- which allows the holder to carry unlimited numbers of concealed weapons -- could drive a stash of weapons into New York and would have to be caught selling the guns on the street to get arrested.

Proponents contend the measure will make it easier for law-abiding Americans to protect themselves, no matter where they travel. But a recent report in The Times by Michael Luo shows what has happened in North Carolina, one of dozens of states where a concealed carry permit can be easily obtained after a basic background check and perhaps a required safety class.

A review of state databases of criminal court cases and concealed carry licensees found more than 2,400 permit holders with felony or misdemeanor convictions over the past five years, excluding traffic-related offenses. At least 60 of the roughly 200 permit holders convicted of a weapon-related crime committed some sort of assault; 10 permit holders were convicted of murder or manslaughter, 8 of them using a gun. The Times also cited chilling examples where the presence of a loaded concealed weapon helped escalate an angry encounter into tragedy.

Two years ago, when he was facing a tough re-election campaign, Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, supported a similar concealed-carry measure. This time he needs to block it. President Obama has been silent on the issue. He should make clear that, for the sake of public safety, he will veto the bill.

15. White House mum on Giffords anniversary


White House mum about guns on Giffords anniversary
By Neil Munro

Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head last Jan. 8, but the White House is downplaying the likelihood of any White House campaign-trail effort to restrict gun ownership.

"I don't have anything new for you," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday when asked about the anniversary. "It's a solemn occasion. ... It's a remarkable recovery that Congresswoman Giffords has made, but we can never forget the lives lost on that day," he added.

President Barack Obama's poll ratings are low, especially in swing-states, and he's shown no willingness to publicly challenge or antagonize gun-owners or other critical swing-voting blocs.

For more than a decade, Democratic officials have sidelined numerous calls by allied activist groups for new curbs on guns. The shift followed the Democrats' defeat in the 2000 presidential election, when gun-rights activists helped Vice-President Al Gore lose his home state of Tennessee to then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

In the days after Giffords shooting, numerous Democratic activists tried to pin the blame on Republicans, including former Gov. Sarah Palin, and also demanded new curbs on gun ownership.

The gunman was eventually identified as Jared Lee Loughner, and his friends later described him as a drug-using conspiracy theorist who also hated former President George W. Bush.

Loughner killed six people and wounded thirteen, including Giffords when he shot her in the head at close range.

Since then, Giffords has made a remarkable recovery, but is not fully healed.

Following the shooting, White House officials hinted they would revive a gun-control effort.

In March 2011, Obama published a token statement on gun-curbs in the Arizona Daily Star, saying "our focus right now should be on sound and effective steps that will actually keep those irresponsible, law-breaking few from getting their hands on a gun in the first place."

He called for stronger legislation to require more careful background checks of prospective gun-owners, develop a new high-tech network to speed background checks, and called for federal incentives for states to collect data about their residents' gun-ownership.

But he also hedged his support for gun-curbs. "I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. And the courts have settled that as the law of the land ... [and] the fact is, almost all gun owners in America are highly responsible."

Asked by a reporter about the Arizona op-ed, Carney replied Dec. 5 that "I think we have put forward some positions on this, and I don't have anything new for you on it."

In July, Carney told reporters that "the president directed the Attorney General to form working groups with key stakeholders to identify common sense measures that would improve American safety and security while fully respecting Second Amendment rights. ... We expect to have more specific announcements in the near future."

No subsequent announcements have yet been made.

16. Virginia Beach 7-11 clerk shoots would-be robber

Board member Bruce Jackson emailed me this:



Virginia Beach 7-11 clerk shoots man in robbery case
By Kathy Adams
The Virginian-Pilot
January 3, 2012


Twice in the past week, victims have defended themselves during attempted crimes with gunfire.

In the latest incident, a masked man walked into an Oceanfront 7-Eleven early Tuesday morning, flashed a gun and demanded money, according to a police news release. The clerk, who was working with his son, responded by walking to the register and pulling out his own gun.

When the would-be robber made an aggressive gesture, the clerk fired, striking the man, who fled from the store at 3908 Atlantic Ave., according to the release.

About a half-hour later, around 1:30 a.m., a man suffering from a gunshot wound reported to a local emergency room, and officers linked him to the attempted robbery, police said.

Police charged Blake Christian Richardson, 18, of the 1100 block of Bay Colony Drive, with attempted armed robbery, abduction, wearing a mask in public and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony. He remained Tuesday without bond in the Virginia Beach Correctional Center, according to the Sheriff's Office website.

On Thursday, a College Park man shot a teen he confronted wandering uninvited in his home after hearing glass break.

Medics took the injured teen to a hospital, and officers later charged him with breaking and entering and destruction of property.

Police did not release his name.

Neither the homeowner nor the clerk is facing criminal charges, an outcome which, according to a Virginian-Pilot review early last year of such cases, is typical in self-defense situations.

7-Eleven prohibits carrying firearms into its stores and instructs employees against confronting robbers, company spokeswoman Margaret Chabris said. However, owners of franchises, such as the store held up Tuesday, are free to set their own rules, she said.

"We've talked about safety and that there shouldn't be a weapon in the store because you never know what could happen," Chabris said. "Thank God it turned out well. The employee was OK, and the robber was arrested."

Police also have said they discourage residents from confronting armed individuals, instructing them to leave if possible or to comply with their demands and then call 911. [PVC: Let the criminals rape your daughter if that is their demand? Oh, I don't think so.]

17. Police investigate reported armed robbery at Fairfield Inn & Suites (Dulles)

EM Pete Clark emailed me this:


Why would you need a gun at hotel?

-------- Original Message --------
From: "Loudoun Sheriff"
Date: Sat, December 31, 2011 10:12 am
To: "RSAN" <>

LCSO Investigates Reported Armed Robbery at Fairfield Inn & Suites
(Dulles) @2am Saturday

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office is investigating a reported armed
robbery that occurred at a hotel in the 23000 block of Indian Creek
Drive in Dulles, Virginia on Saturday, December 31, 2011.

Around 2 a.m. two unknown subjects entered the lobby of the Fairfield
Inn and Suites. One of the subjects brandished a firearm and demanded
cash from a hotel employee.

The first suspect was described as a White male, short in stature and a
thin build, with a small tattoo near his left eye. He was wearing a blue
jacket and jeans at the time of the incident.

The second suspect was described as a Hispanic male, wearing all black
clothes and a black hat.

If you have any information regarding this case you are asked to contact
Investigator M. Halley of the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office Criminal
Investigations Division at 703-777-0475. If the caller wishes to remain
anonymous, they are asked to contact Loudoun Crime Solvers at
703-777-1919. If the information leads to an arrest and indictment, the
caller could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1000.

18. News of home invasions increases local gun sales

From [video]

News of home invasions increases local gun sales
December 30, 2011

After hearing the news about home invasions in Hampton Roads, more people have been purchasing guns to protect themselves.

"When I was young, somebody broke into our house and my dad didn't have a gun. All he had was a lamp, so he had to chase him off with that," says Gavin Galbraith.

Galbraith says he doesn't ever want to be in that position, so he bought a gun to protect himself.

"You think if somebody were to mug you, they're going to do it at gunpoint. That's what you read about in the papers, so you might as well have what they have and level the playing field," says Galbraith.

He is not alone. Robert Marcus, owner of Bob's Gun Shop in Norfolk, says more people are buying guns for self-defense.

"People are realizing that they are ultimately responsible for their own safety," says Marcus.

That is what police say a Virginia Beach man did yesterday. Investigators say he shot a teen in the leg after he caught him breaking into his Bucknell Circle home. The teen has been arrested and charged with breaking and entering and destruction of property.

"Some of our customers feel concerned that things aren't good and they are more fearful of more crime," says Marcus.

He also says it's that need for an extra layer of protection that helped boost sales at the shop. This year, Marcus says he did 30 percent better than last year.

"The police do a wonderful job, but they can't be everywhere all the time," says Marcus.

Something Galbraith says he's not worried about, now that he has a gun.

19. Emily gets her gun (maybe)

Jeffry Smith emailed me this:


Alan Gura has a job for life, it seems.

From the Washington Times:

MILLER: Emily gets her gun, Part 2
D.C. residents can't obtain gun certification in the District
By Emily Miller
January 6, 2012

Over the past couple months, I've been trying to get a legal gun in the District. I always knew this would be a challenge, but I had no idea how time-consuming it would be to complete all 17 steps the city requires. I'm not even halfway done.

My quest started in October at the D.C. Gun Registry at the police department. I met with Officer Brown, who put piles of paper on the desk between us. "Here's everything you need to know," she said, pointing to a stack about a quarter-inch thick.

I asked where I could buy the gun. "You can go to any licensed dealer in another state - or on the Internet," she said. "Then give this form to Charles Sykes downstairs, and he'll go pick it up for you and transfer it." I glanced through the registration packet and saw no reference to Mr. Sykes or transferring a gun. So I figured while I was there, I should track down this man, who seemed to play a key role.

By luck, Mr. Sykes was in the office, where he works about four hours a day, by appointment, as Washington's only legal gun broker. While gun sales have been skyrocketing in the rest of the country, D.C. residents have been buying at a rate of about 250 a year, so Mr. Sykes isn't getting rich. He charges $125 to pick up the gun and do the transfer.

I told Mr. Sykes that I'd recently asked D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown whether he supported the Second Amendment. "I don't support having more guns in the District of Columbia," Mr. Brown had replied, "I don't think we need more guns in our streets."

Mr. Sykes shook his head when he heard this. "In all other cities, you can have guns. Why do they say, 'We don't want guns in the nation's capital?' They are here. And you can go a lot of different places and get them just like that," he said, snapping his fingers.

That day, I went home and started poring through the 22-page registration packet. Overwhelmed by the confusing forms and instructions, I started with the eligibility form. After answering the nine questions and feeling that I'd accomplished something, I noticed that it required a signature by a notary public. At this rate, I would be an owner of a legal handgun about the same time I'd be eligible for Social Security.

Next, I read the section about the requirement to take a gun-safety class from a D.C.-certified instructor. Whether you have owned your guns in one of the states for 20 years or never touched one before (like me), you still have to take four hours of classroom instruction and one hour at the shooting range to register a gun.

To help me find a certified instructor, the city provided two pages listing 47 random names and phone numbers. The list did not give an instructor's address, background information, website or certification.

I decided to call all of them.

On the bottom of the police phone list, it says, "Revised on September 9, 2009." This two-year lag was apparent when seven of the 47 numbers I called were out of service. More than half of my calls - 27 - went straight to voicemail. From all this effort, I quickly learned that the instructors were not allowed to teach the course in the District. How can it be constitutional for D.C. residents to be forced to go outside city limits to exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms?

Finally, I found four instructors - all in Maryland - willing and able to teach the class. I would have to drive 30 minutes to an hour each way to take the class, as none was near a Metro stop. I don't know what a D.C. resident without a car would do. The cost ranged from $130 to $250.

All the instructors teach out of their own homes or, more specifically, as one said, "in my basement." The police do a criminal-background check on each of them, but I still didn't feel safe going alone to an armed stranger's basement.

It seemed to me the D.C. politicians who came up with this requirement never considered the impact this would have on a woman trying to register a gun. Forcing us to go to a strange man's house in another state to take a gun-safety class is not something the police should do. I called the National Rifle Association to see if I could take the class at its headquarters, but it didn't have any D.C.-certified instructors.

On a tip from a local gun store, I called Donna Worthy in Millersville, Md., who wasn't on the city's official list. When I went to her business, Worth-A-Shot, to take the course, she told me the police at the registry office had promised to add her. "That was last year," she said. She has called repeatedly to ask to be included, to no avail.

A retired Baltimore police firearms trainer, Mrs. Worthy spent the required four hours going through the gun-ownership rules, restrictions and laws from the registry packet. This was nothing I couldn't have read myself, but this is what the city required. As my eyes glazed over at the end, it was time for the shooting range.

The District tells instructors they need to verify that the resident can safely handle a gun. "That means you can basically hit the paper," Mrs. Worthy told me, "but I want more for the people I teach. I want you hitting bull's-eyes."

Training certificate in hand, my preliminary tasks are completed. Now I must decide which handgun to buy. I've narrowed it down to four full-sized 9 mm semiautomatics that I've been able to handle well and shoot accurately. Once I complete this purchase, I will have 13 more steps to go before the city will allow me to protect myself.

20. Teen mom kills intruder after 911 call

Ben Piper emailed me this:


From [video]

Okla. Woman Shoots, Kills Intruder: 911 Operators Say It's OK to Shoot
Jan. 4, 2011

A young Oklahoma mother shot and killed an intruder to protect her 3-month-old baby on New Year's Eve, less than a week after the baby's father died of cancer.

Sarah McKinley says that a week earlier a man named Justin Martin dropped by on the day of her husband's funeral, claiming that he was a neighbor who wanted to say hello. The 18-year-old Oklahoma City area woman did not let him into her home that day.

On New Year's Eve Martin returned with another man, Dustin Stewart, and this time was armed with a 12-inch hunting knife. The two soon began trying to break into McKinley's home.

As one of the men was going from door to door outside her home trying to gain entry, McKinley called 911 and grabbed her 12-gauge shotgun.

McKinley told ABC News Oklahoma City affiliate KOCO that she quickly got her 12 gauge, went into her bedroom and got a pistol, put the bottle in the baby's mouth and called 911.

"I've got two guns in my hand -- is it okay to shoot him if he comes in this door?" the young mother asked the 911 dispatcher. "I'm here by myself with my infant baby, can I please get a dispatcher out here immediately?"

The 911 dispatcher confirmed with McKinley that the doors to her home were locked as she asked again if it was okay to shoot the intruder if he were to come through her door.

"I can't tell you that you can do that but you do what you have to do to protect your baby," the dispatcher told her. McKinley was on the phone with 911 for a total of 21 minutes.

When Martin kicked in the door and came after her with the knife, the teen mom shot and killed the 24-year-old. Police are calling the shooting justified.

"You're allowed to shoot an unauthorized person that is in your home. The law provides you the remedy, and sanctions the use of deadly force," Det. Dan Huff of the Blanchard police said.

Stewart soon turned himself in to police.

McKinley said that she was at home alone with her newborn that night because her husband just died of cancer on Christmas Day.

"I wouldn't have done it, but it was my son," McKinley told ABC News Oklahoma City affiliate KOCO. "It's not an easy decision to make, but it was either going to be him or my son. And it wasn't going to be my son. There's nothing more dangerous than a woman with a child."


Ian Branson emailed me this:


From [video #2]

21. More than 20 minutes -- when seconds are counting

From [video]

Blanchard Mother Who Shot, Killed Intruder Recalls Home Invasion Terror
Chris McKinnon, News 9
Jan 01, 2012

BLANCHARD, Oklahoma -- A young mother shot and killed an intruder at her home Saturday. Eighteen-year old Sarah McKinley said the suspects terrorized her for more than 20 minutes as they tried to break into the house.

McKinley said she was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher who told her she could fire her shotgun if the man entered the house.

When 24-year old Justin Shane Martin broke through the front door with a hunting knife in his hand, McKinley pulled the trigger, striking him in the upper torso. Martin was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities found him slumped over a couch McKinley had used to barricade her front door.

"You have a choice, you or him," explained McKinley. "I chose my son over him."

McKinley recalled the 21 minutes, which she said seemed like hours as Martin went around the house trying to find a way in.

"He was from door to door trying to bust in," said McKinley. "I don't know what he had in his hand besides the knife. I believe he actually had a hammer in his hand at some point because he was hitting that back door with it."

"It's one of those things you never think is going to happen to you. That's something you hear about. It can't really happen, but I guess it can," McKinley said.

A second suspect, 29-year old Dustin Louis Stewart, ran away from the scene. Police said he then called his parents who took him in to the Blanchard Police station. Authorities said Sunday that Stewart was in the Grady County jail awaiting an arraignment on Monday.

Police said this incident did not look like a random crime.

"Obviously a home invasion is not something you would just do on a spur of the moment," explained Detective Dan Huff with the Blanchard Police Department. "I would assume that there was some type of forethought into it."

McKinley has gone through a lot recently. Her husband passed away on Christmas Day. A week later she hoped for a fresh start.

"Maybe a new start. Maybe something a little better than last year," McKinley said.

Still in shock on Sunday, McKinley said she used everything she had to pay for her husband's funeral, which was on Thursday. She made money breeding German Shepherds, but recently lost her adult dogs. Blanchard police are looking at those deaths as well, as they could be related to this incident.

Police also said their investigation up to this point showed McKinley did everything right.

22. Powerline blog self-defense stories


JANUARY 5, 2012

It's been a big week for self-defense, especially of the juvenile variety. The most famous case is that of Sarah McKinley, the 18-year-old widow in rural Oklahoma who was home alone with her infant son when two men tried to break into her house. One of the men had been stalking her and apparently had killed her two dogs. McKinley was remarkably calm, and had the presence of mind to ask the 911 dispatcher for legal advice:

DISPATCHER: What's going on?

SARAH MCKINLEY: There's a guy at my door. I've got some dogs that keep coming up missing. This guy's up to no good. My husband just passed away. I'm here by myself with my infant baby. Can I please get a dispatch out here immediately?

DISPATCHER: Hang with me a second. Are your doors locked?

SARAH MCKINLEY: Yes, I've got two guns in my hands. Is it okay to shoot him if he comes in this door?

DISPATCHER: Well, you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself. I can't tell you that you can do that, but you do what you have to do to protect your baby. Is he trying to get in the door?

SARAH MCKINLEY: He just keeps knocking.

DISPATCHER: Okay. Alright. Do you have like an alarm on your car that you can set off with your remote control that might scare him and get him away?


DISPATCHER: Alright, that's okay.

When one of the men broke in, armed with a 12-inch hunting knife, McKinley killed him with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Local authorities indicated that a policeman was en route to McKinley's rural home within seven minutes after her call came in, which reminds us once again of the adage that when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. McKinley won't be charged, but the dead burglar's accomplice-who may or may not have entered the house-is being charged with murder. That may seem surprising, but it is the traditional felony murder rule: if you are committing a felony, and anyone dies in the course of it, including your accomplice, you are guilty of murder. It's just one more inducement to avoid felonious behavior. In the end, the accomplice will no doubt plead to some much lesser charge.

Just two days earlier, there had been another case of juvenile self-defense, this time in North Carolina. A 14-year-old boy and his 17-year-old sister were home alone in rural Henderson when a gang of four men began to break into their home. This the house:

This is the gang:

While his sister hid in a closet, the 14-year-old grabbed the family shotgun. Moments later he called 911; he, too, was astonishingly calm:

In the call, the teen, says: 'I just shot the man. He came around the corner. I shot him. He broke the whole glass out (of the back door).'

He continues: 'I don't know how many it was (who broke in). Just one came around the corner. I got one more in the chamber. I'm going to shoot again,' the boy said.

'Do not, while I'm on the phone, do not fire that firearm, OK?' the dispatcher says. 'What if another one comes in the house, ma'am?' he asked.

I love that "ma'am."

'Let me know, OK, if you see anybody. I will let you know (when a deputy gets to the house),' the dispatcher responded.

As the boy and his sister waited for deputies to arrive, he told the dispatcher that he was 'perfectly fine', but his sister was 'really shaken up'.

The other three intruders fled; two have been caught. That's the thing about a shotgun: there is almost always another barrel. No one waits around for the second blast. Valuable as handguns may be, when it comes to self-defense, there is much to be said for a shotgun.

We're still not done: this one didn't happen this week, but it was just in the news. A 14-year-old boy in Naples, Florida was being bullied by an older boy. The victim got off a bus and tried to escape, but the bigger boy chased him:

In a nine-page written judgment Judge Brodie concluded that Saavedra was being bullied and had attempted to avoid a fight with the older boy who also attended Palmetto Ridge High in Naples. He said the 14-year-old had got off the school bus a few stops before the location where he was expected to fight Nuno.

Witnesses said Saavedra tried to run away, but ended up fighting with Nuno and used his knife in the brawl that was witnessed by other students.

Nuno died after being stabbed 12 times in the chest and abdomen. One of the blows pierced the teenager's heart. In her decision, signed December 30, 2011, the judge said Saavedra had 'no duty to retreat' and was 'legally entitled to meet force with force, even deadly force'.

She stated: 'The defendant was in a place where he had a right to be and was not acting unlawfully. 'He had more than enough reason to believe he was in danger of death or great bodily harm ... (He) was under attack from the first punch to the back of his head until he stabbed Dylan Nuno.'

These cases remind us of a significant feature of American culture, which is reflected in our law. Americans believe deeply in the right of self-defense. Not only that, a remarkable number of us are more adept at self-defense than one might expect. There are many countries where the heroes of stories like these would be likely to find themselves in jail, facing murder charges. It is, I think, another instance of American exceptionalism.

23. Navy SEAL shoots self with gun believed unloaded

Every gun safety rule was broken and with tragic, but preventable results.


Navy SEAL shoots self with gun believed unloaded
January 6, 2012

(CBS/AP) PACIFIC BEACH, Calif. - Police said a Navy SEAL is on life support after accidentally shooting himself in the head with what he thought was an unloaded gun.

CBS Affiliate KFMB reports that the unnamed 22-year-old was gravely wounded early Thursday at his Pacific Beach home while trying to convince a female companion that the pistol he was showing off was safe to handle.

The shooting left the sailor on life support at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, according to San Diego police. Authorities initially reported that the man had died.

The serviceman, who had been drinking with a woman at a bar before they returned to his residence, was showing her his 9mm handgun when the accident occurred, San Diego Police Officer Frank Cali told KFMB.

The man (who mistakenly believed the gun was unloaded) offered to let his friend hold the weapon, according to Cali. When she declined, he tried to demonstrate how safe it was by putting it to his head and pulling the trigger.

The sailor, whose name was not released, had recently graduated from the Navy's Sea, Air and Land Teams program, which trains elite special-operations tactical units.

In a statement, Commodore Collin Green said the Naval Special Warfare community is saddened by the incident and extends "our hearts and prayers" to the family in this difficult time.

24. Mount Rainier reopens after fatal ranger shooting

David Custer emailed me this:


Didn't take long for an anti to jump in (see end of article).

What makes them think a law would have stopped this? If anything it proves that national parks can be dangerous and individuals should be able to protect themselves.


Mount Rainier reopens after fatal ranger shooting
Associated Press

MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) - Rangers and volunteers somberly embraced as Mount Rainier National Park reopened to the public Saturday for the first time since an Iraq War veteran shot and killed a park ranger there on New Year's Day.

"We're here to take back the mountain today," park spokeswoman Lee Snook said.

Margaret Anderson, who had worked as a ranger with her husband at the park for three years, was shot dead by 24-year-old Benjamin Colton Barnes after he busted through a snow tire checkpoint.

Authorities say Barnes, who showed signs of erratic behavior since returning from war, had fled to the mountain hours after a house party shooting in the Seattle suburb of Skyway that left four injured.

After killing Anderson and shooting at another ranger, Barnes fled for the woods, triggering a massive manhunt in the rugged terrain. He was found dead in a creek the following day. An autopsy showed he drowned.

On Saturday, small groups of visitors headed to the mountain's freshly powdered trails to snow shoe and cross-country ski. The flag at the ranger's kiosk remained at half-staff, and uniformed rangers wore black bands across their badges.

"This is a place to come to be happy," Allan Evans, a park volunteer from Graham, Wash., said after hugging a ranger who was on duty when Anderson was killed. "This is what this park is about. This is the first stop to trying to get everything as whole as can be."

"We need to celebrate Margaret, of course, but I'm pretty sure she wouldn't want everybody just sitting around mopey," Evans added.

A small memorial for Anderson, decorated with flowers and candles, has been placed next to the ranger kiosk.

Entry to the park was free Saturday. But the snow play area _ a section popular with families _ remained closed.

A candlelight vigil will be held Sunday in nearby Eatonville for Anderson, who left behind her husband and two children. A memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday in Tacoma.

The park, which offers miles of wooded trails and spectacular vistas from which to see 14,410-foot Mount Rainier, draws between 1.5 million and 2 million visitors each year.

25. Gun rights, parks gun law blamed for Mt. Rainier slaying

Bruce Jackson emailed me this:

Found dead Monday lying face down in a snowy forest, Benjamin Carlton Barnes is sharing blame for his actions on New Year's Day that left four people in a Seattle hospital with gunshot wounds and a Mount Rainier National Park ranger dead.

Anti-gunners are also blaming the 2010 law signed by President Barack Obama, and the firearms rights community that had lobbied for it. One spoke to Fox News:

26. Gun ban wouldn't have prevented shooting at park


Gun ban wouldn't have prevented shooting at park
Jan. 3, 2012

The Jan. 3 article, "Shooting renews debate about guns in parks: Ranger's death could have been avoided," suggests that allowing guns in parks caused this fine ranger's death.

Let me get this straight. If the law said "No guns in park," the nuts of this world would not bring a gun into the park. The nuts of the world don't follow the law; they only follow what their warped minds tell them to do.

The law allowing guns in parks did not cause this tragedy.

-- George Karakey, Salem

27. TIME: Why guns and national parks don't mix

Any excuse, no matter how stupid, to call for gun control. Nobody is buying this foolishness any more.


Mt. Rainier Shooting: Why Guns and National Parks Don't Mix

National Parks are havens for nature-lovers and those seeking some peace. But after the tragic shooting death of a Mt. Rainier ranger, many continue to question whether guns belong in the parks

By BONNIE ROCHMAN | @brochman | January 5, 2012

If I had to draw a picture of heaven, it would look like Mt. Rainier. On the rare and treasured clear days that puncture the Pacific Northwest gloom, I can see its lofty peak from the top floor of my house. It stands sentinel over the city of Seattle, snow frosting its 14,410-foot peak and cascading down its sides.

When my family moved here a year ago, my three kids and I spent the better part of two hours driving around town, asking people where the best vantage point was. Nearly 18 months later, we are still adding to our list of favorite spots to ogle the snowy summit.

All that is a long way of saying that if you had to work on New Year's Day, I could think of no better place to while away eight hours on the job than Mt. Rainier National Park. Except that's not how it turned out at all. Tragically, on Jan. 1, a park ranger -- a 34-year-old mother of 1- and 3-year-old girls who was married to another Rainier ranger -- was gunned down inside the park. She had blocked a road with her patrol vehicle, trying to stop a visitor who'd evaded a traffic checkpoint designed to make sure that drivers had snow chains to stay safe on the park's wintry roads.

Benjamin Colton Barnes, a 24-year-old Iraq war veteran and the alleged gunman, didn't have anything personal against Margaret Anderson. He'd headed to Mt. Rainier, where he'd often camped and fished, after apparently shooting four people at a New Year's Eve party outside Seattle. He was seeking an escape route; Anderson simply stood in his way. He had a gun, so he won their face-off, then fled. On Monday, he was found dead in a creek, a victim of drowning and hypothermia. A handgun and rifle lay nearby.

Much has been written in recent days about the pros and cons of allowing people to pack heat in national parks. Critics charge that a 2010 law that overturned a prohibition on loaded weapons in national parks was to blame for Sunday's tragedy. It must be said, of course, that the law probably didn't influence Barnes; it's likely he didn't even know about it and wouldn't have cared if he had.

But the debate raises a valid issue: why do we need guns in national parks in the first place? Our 392 national parks are supposed to be a sanctuary for the nation, a place to forget cell phones and emails and the mortgage check that has to be written. They're oases of serenity where Americans can unwind. Guns do not beget serenity; they beget violence and they have no place in national parks.

Breathtaking as it may be, many dangers lurk in Mt. Rainier National Park. The Seattle Times routinely carries stories about people who've died on a summit attempt. The weather is unpredictable and can turn stormy at a moment's notice. And there's no shortage of wild animals.

Last summer, my family and I asked a ranger -- might it have been Anderson? -- for advice on which trails to hike. We were told that there had been a rash of bear sightings on one particular wildflower route, down to a lake. A little warily, we set off. We saw that bear, and it saw us, an exhilarating and scary moment that resulted in a speedy retreat and some inadvertent cursing on my part that my kids still haven't forgotten.

But as it turns out, bears are not the greatest danger at Mt. Rainier. Rangers told us they largely ignore humans unless they're provoked. It's unfortunate that the same can't be said for some people.

28. Owners argue merits of firearms on airplanes

Bruce Jackson emailed me this:



Owners Argue Merits of Firearms on Airplanes
January 2, 2012

AT a big gun show here a couple of weeks ago, J. D. Schechter was busy signing up new members for the Arizona Citizens Defense League.

"We apply pressure on our hired hands in the state legislature in Phoenix to expand the rights of Arizonans to carry guns," explained the elaborately mustachioed Mr. Schechter, who was wearing a park ranger-style hat and a khaki uniform. Next to his table in the sprawling exhibition hall, hundreds of people browsed through booths that offered a vast array of handguns, rifles and shotguns, hunting knives and survival gear, military memorabilia -- and handmade jewelry.

Lately, I've been thinking more about firearms after strong reaction I had to a recent column about travelers who were stopped at airport security checkpoints for trying to carry guns onboard planes. I even heard from a few readers who believe that the relaxation of so-called right-to-carry gun laws in many states ought to expand federally to allow responsible, legal permit-holders to carry firearms on airplanes.

No one I know believes this will actually happen. On the other hand, statistics show that more and more people are carrying guns to airports. As I noted in the column, the Transportation Security Administration director, John S. Pistole, said recently that screeners now find on average four or five guns each day in carry-on bags. Eighteen months ago, the T.S.A. was finding only about two guns a day.

Consider the week of Dec. 19 through Dec. 25, a period when the T.S.A. found 31 guns in carry-on bags, many of them loaded, with a round in their chambers.

Meanwhile, gun sales are booming. The F.B.I. says that the number of criminal background-check applications for purchases of guns set a record in December for the second consecutive month.

The subject of guns is complex and emotional. Just this past week, several fatal shootings made the news, including an off-duty federal agent who was killed on Long Island while trying to stop a robbery and a park ranger in Washington killed in Mount Rainier National Park while making a routine traffic stop.

And, I'm well aware of the irony of writing about a gun show in Tucson, where one year ago this Sunday, a gunman opened fire during a political event outside a supermarket, killing six and wounding 13 others, including my own congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. The next big gun show scheduled for Tucson, incidentally, is this weekend, at the Pima County Fairgrounds.

But let's simply address the subject of firearms and air travel. As a tiny percentage of overall travelers, most of the people carrying guns to airports do not have terrorist intentions.

Ron Paul, a Republican presidential candidate, suggested in a statement last year that prohibiting legal gun owners from carrying weapons on airplanes had "set the stage for 9/11." Others point to reports of federal "red team" security inspectors routinely finding in random tests that firearms readily get through security checkpoints undetected.

"Look at how many guns already get through," said Kurt Amesbury, a director of a gun owners group called Keep and Bear Arms. Mr. Amesbury was one of the activists who objected to my column about more guns turning up at airport checkpoints. (Guns can be legally transported in checked bags after a passenger declares them.)

Mr. Amesbury and some other gun rights supporters I spoke with say they believe that airline security can be enhanced if more passengers were armed. I don't agree, but their positions deserve to be understood.

In essence, they say that gun owners with appropriate licenses should be able to carry weapons after making themselves known to security officials and the captain. Federal air marshals on board would also know which passengers are armed. "I present my permit and say that I'm carrying," Mr. Amesbury said. "Why wouldn't that work?"

Of course, there are other implications, including dangerous felons circumventing permit procedures and legally carrying weapons.

Still, I'm happy to say that even as I was being denounced on gun rights Web sites as participating in a "jihad" against the Second Amendment, at least some agreement was achieved on the subject of "knuckleheads," which is how I referred to those who claim they simply forgot they had a gun in their bags. Some supporters of gun rights who objected generally to the column did agree that a right to carry arms probably also includes a responsibility to remember where your gun is.

Asked about this at the gun show, Mr. Schechter handed me a Citizens Defense League refrigerator magnet and pointed to rule No. 5, which stated: "Always maintain control of your defensive tools."

29. Marine faces 15 years behind bars for unknowingly violating gun law


Marine faces 15 years behind bars for unknowingly violating gun law
By Steven Nelson

Ryan Jerome was enjoying his first trip to New York City on business when the former Marine Corps gunner walked up to a security officer at the Empire State Building and asked where he should check his gun.

That was when Jerome's nightmare began. The security officer called police and Jerome spent the next two days in jail.

The 28-year-old with no criminal history now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of three and a half years in prison. If convicted, his sentence could be as high as fifteen years.

Jerome has a valid concealed carry permit in Indiana and visited New York believing that it was legal to bring his firearm. He was traveling with $15,000 worth of jewelry that he planned to sell.

The online gun-law information Jerome read was inaccurate, however, and his late September arrest initiated what may become a protracted criminal saga. He hasn't yet been indicted by a grand jury, but there may be little legal wiggle-room if he is.

"If he does get indicted, and they want to give him something less, then the legal minimum would be two years," noted Mark Bederow, Jerome's attorney. "They couldn't even offer less if they wanted to." (RELATED: The Daily Caller's Guns and Gear section)

Jerome isn't the first out-of-state visitor to volunteer that they had a gun, only to be put through the wringer. In December, Tennessee nurse Meredith Graves noticed a "no guns" sign at the World Trade Center site and asked where she could leave her weapon, only to face similar charges.

Also in December, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler was arrested after attempting to check a pistol -- for which he has a California concealed carry permit -- at a New York airport.

The law in New York has the potential to wreak havoc on the lives of unwitting and otherwise law-abiding visitors, Bederow explained to The Daily Caller.

"The law itself is clear," he said, "if you knowingly possess a loaded firearm in New York, then you are technically guilty of a serious crime. The fact that somebody in another state has a valid concealed carry permit is, legally speaking, irrelevant in New York."

But the recent spate of tourist arrests wasn't what was intended when the law was passed, said Bederow. "Subjecting the toughest gun laws in the country -- here in New York -- to subject these people to them is just not a good use of discretion."

"The law is not equipped to deal with these situations, and they happen all the time," he added. "Here are people trying to be responsible."

There is a significant degree of uncertainty regarding how the case will proceed. Right now, Bederow said he's hoping that the district attorney will use discretion and recognize that his client "is not a criminal."

"I've been a law-abiding citizen my entire life, and for something like this to come down, it rips me apart," Jerome told the New York Post. "It's like taking a good dog and scolding him for something he didn't do."

30. Who needs a gun (or carry permit) in Chicago?

John Treaster emailed me this:



Chicago Jogger Critically Injured by Pit Bulls
January 02, 2012

CHICAGO - A Chicago man was left in critical condition after two pit bull terriers attacked him as he jogged along the city's lakefront Monday morning.

The 62-year-old man was running in the city's South Shore neighborhood at approximately 6 a.m. when the mauling occurred. He sustained bites all over his body, including on his face.

"They were just going after the man like he was a piece of steak," Stanley Lee, who swung a baseball bat at the dogs in hopes to free the jogger, told He went on to say the dogs went for the jogger's throat, face and arms, and called the attack the worst thing he has ever seen.

Police officers found the dogs a short distance away from the site of the attack and fatally shot the animals as they attempted to attack them, department spokesman Officer Robert Perez said.

Neither officer was injured, he said.

Perez said the attack happened on a path in Rainbow Beach Park on the city's far South Side.

Another area resident said she ran outside, as another resident called 911 to help the man after hearing and seeing the attack from their window.

"He was yelling, `Somebody help me, please help me," said Debra Plummer.

"One had the man by his arm and the other had him by his leg and they just had a lock on him (and) they wouldn't let him go," she said. "I couldn't believe what I was looking at."

Ultimately, she said, police pulled their guns and shot the dogs multiple times.

"They had to open fire," she said.

She said one indication of how powerful the dogs were was what happened after they were shot: One ran across a path before it fell and another ran in circles for what seemed like minutes before it, too, finally fell to the ground.

The man was rushed to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, where a hospital spokeswoman said late Monday morning he remained in critical condition. Police have not released his name.

Perez said officers had not identified the owner or owners of the animals, saying that while the dogs both had collars, neither had tags. He said animal control officers were dispatched to the scene to take the carcasses away.

The dogs were large, heavily muscled male pit bulls. Neither had identification microchips embedded in them and neither had been neutered, according to Cheri Travis, executive director of the city's department of animal care and control. She said the dogs wore identical collars, suggesting they could be owned by the same person.

She said her employees were scouring records to see if there have been any complaints about dogs or reports of any strays in the area.

Perez said officers were canvassing the area in the search of the owners. And Travis said her office was assisting with the search. She said that the owner or owners may face criminal charges, explaining that while the fine for not keeping a dog in a fenced in area or allowing it to run outside without a leash is $300, the owner of an animal that causes serious injury to a person can be fined as much as $10,000 and locked up for as long as six months.

Travis also said part of her office's investigation will be to determine how the dogs were cared for, explaining that dogs do not typically attack people, and when they do it is often after they have been mistreated.

"Dogs don't just attack," she said.

31. RITTGERS: Pistol packin' mamas

From the Washington Times:

RITTGERS: Pistol packin' mamas
Women need national concealed-carry reciprocity
By Anna Rittgers
January 3, 2012

Some states would like to remove the words "bear arms" from the right to "keep and bear arms," but the plain fact is that self-defense - and the right to have access to an effective means of self-defense - is protected by the Constitution, and that protection does not end at your front door. The good news is that the House recently passed a bill, H.R. 822, that would require the 49 states that issue concealed-carry permits to honor all state permits. If this bill becomes law, it would be an important step in the right direction and would help women protect themselves against violence while traveling.

What exactly does a concealed-carry permit allow? It merely gives permission to the permit holder to carry a firearm concealed on his person. That's it. It means that a mom can carry a handgun in her purse when she goes shopping, a family can travel with a firearm in the glove compartment of the car (instead of the trunk, which hinders access in an emergency), and a hiker can wear a handgun under her jacket during a hiking trip.

Though the precise application procedure is different in each state, those states issuing permits generally require at a minimum a background check, review by a judge or law enforcement official and payment of a fee. Many states also require a firearms training course.

Unfortunately, states do not uniformly recognize permits issued by other states, and the decisions regarding reciprocity rarely have any rational explanation. This is especially problematic in certain areas of the country, such as the Washington metropolitan area, where the holder of a lawful Virginia concealed-carry permit with a firearm in her purse can become a criminal merely by taking a wrong turn into Maryland.

The website provides up-to-date information about the nation's gun laws and ever-changing concealed-carry reciprocity. Michigan and Arkansas permits have the largest reciprocity and are recognized in 39 states. However, Maine's permit is honored in just eight. Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Dakota and Utah honor any valid concealed-carry permit. But California, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and Rhode Island do not honor any other state's permit. Illinois and the District of Columbia stand alone in barring all residents from carrying concealed firearms.

Congress has solid constitutional authority to mandate reciprocity among states with concealed-carry laws, which does not rely on a strained interpretation of the commerce clause. The Supreme Court held in District of Columbia v. Heller that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right protected by the Constitution, and in McDonald v. Chicago, it held that the 14th Amendment prevents states from infringing upon that right. Article IV's privileges and immunities clause protects the rights of interstate travel by granting people who are visiting another state the same rights and privileges granted to that state's residents, and the full faith and credit clause gives Congress the ability to compel states to recognize certain decisions made by other states. Therefore, if a state issues permits that grant its own residents the ability to carry concealed firearms while in that state, Congress clearly has the power to mandate that that state extend that same privilege to residents of other states.

As a matter of policy, citizens who pass a background check and a training class should not be barred from bearing arms outside of their homes or home jurisdictions. The ability to carry a weapon can be even more important when traveling, especially for women.

In many cases, women lack the physical ability to defend themselves against or outrun would-be assailants. Intangible factors that make women vulnerable are heightened when traveling because of a tourist's lack of familiarity with her surroundings and local trends in crime.

Taking away a woman's access to effective means of self-defense makes her an even more attractive target. As a woman and a concealed-carry permit holder, I should not have my right and my ability to protect myself and my family depend on what state issues my permit.

Anna Rittgers is a Virginia attorney and senior fellow at the Independent Women's Forum.

32. Our misfiring gun laws

Could New York actually be on the cusp of coming around on gun laws for out-of-state travelers?

James D. Durso emailed me this:


From The New York Post:

Our misfiring gun laws
Ending nightmares for travelers
January 3, 2012

The City Council's Public Safety Committee, and then the full council, are set to vote today to denounce a bill just passed by the US House of Representatives that would force every state to honor gun-carry permits issued by other states. The House is indeed off-base here -- but New York City still needs to get its act together.

After all, Meredith Graves has become the poster child for the House bill. She, of course, is the Tenneseean who brought her gun along on a visit here, never thinking to check whether her carry permit was good in New York -- then, while visiting the 9/11 Memorial, asked where she could check her firearm.

But it's not just knuckleheads like Graves who could get caught up by our gun laws. Imagine an upstanding citizen who's gone through the background check etc. to get a carry permit in another state and is flying with the gun safely checked in his luggage -- until the plane is forced to land at JFK because of mechanical problems, obliging the traveler to spend the night here. He asks where to check his weapon and is immediately arrested. Then he spends 24 hours in jail awaiting arraignment, where he's released on bail to later return to New York one day and face a mandatory minimum of 3 1/2 years in state prison.

That's not a nightmare, it's the existing law in New York state. Reform is needed, now.

Don't get me wrong: I've written and helped pass many strict gun-control laws to prevent the flow of illegal weapons into New York, and prevent their possession here. But legal guns, with permits granted here or elsewhere, are not the ones being used to commit crimes, and they aren't the problem our strict gun laws were enacted to combat.

So how did we get here? Well, back when I was an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, the law provided for a mandatory minimum of one year in jail for illegal gun possession, but gave judges discretion under "extraordinary circumstances." As is often the case, that discretion was abused: I asked for the mandatory minimum in the vast majority of the hundreds of gun cases I was involved in -- and can count the number of thugs with guns who went to jail on one hand.

So the law was changed, for good reason, in 2006 (at Mayor Bloomberg's request) and is now the toughest in the country.

But that leaves us with the unintended circumstances in the case of the laid-over traveler. Even in the Meredith Graves case, the right punishment (for being careless enough not to check gun laws in the state she was traveling to) is some large fine; putting her in state prison is not justice.

What Albany needs to do (and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has indicated a willingness to consider) is to carve out a very narrowly tailored exception in the law to cover people who have gone through background checks and have carry permits from other states who don't intentionally violate our gun laws.

But Albany must not use this valid need for reform to completely gut our tough laws, as lawmakers did with the Rockefeller Drug laws.

The "Rocky laws" were put in place for the same reason our gun laws were changed: Judges had abused their discretion to let drug dealers back onto the streets in such alarming rates that the term "turnstile justice" was coined -- and crime spiked. Yes, parts of these laws were too harsh -- but the 2003 reforms took care of the worst excesses, while 2009 changes completely gutted the laws, returning all discretion to the judges. As I warned at the time, this is one reason crime is heading back up.

Yet we still need to fix our gun laws, both for the sake of fairness and to head off that bill in Washington. While our carry laws are too strict (only a few thousand people in New York City have carry permits), New York should set its own standards, and not be bound by the actions of states like Florida, which recently gave 1,700 permits to felons (in violation of federal law).

But with cases like Meredith Graves', we're giving the rest of the country ammunition to force passage of the House bill. If that happens, we'll have truly shot ourselves in the foot.

Peter F. Vallone Jr. (D-Queens) serves as chairman of the City Council's Public Safety Committee.

33. NY lawmaker to look at gun law in response to woman from Tennessee arrested for possession

Steve Brown emailed me this:


From the New York Post:

Assembly speaker to examine gun-possession law after GZ bust
December 31, 2011

Now she's got Albany's attention.

The Tennessee tourist arrested for bringing her home-state-registered handgun to the 9/11 Memorial has picked up some powerful allies in the capital -- who plan to reassess the state's stringent gun-possession laws.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), the state's second-most powerful Democrat, said yesterday that he will have "a committee hold a hearing on this question, to see how exactly the law is being enforced and to look at the possibility that there should be changes in the law.''

The changes could include tweaking the law to allow leniency for people with guns registered in other states who mistakenly bring their weapons to New York.

Meredith Graves, 39, tried to check in her loaded .32-caliber Kel-Tec firearm with a cop at the memorial after noticing a "No Guns" sign on Dec. 22. She has a permit in Tennessee for the pistol.

She's now facing a felony gun-possession charge that carries at least 3 1/2 years in prison. She was originally suspected of having drugs on her, but NYPD cops confirmed yesterday that a white powder found in her purse was nothing illegal.

"Her actions show a clear indication that she didn't know she was breaking the law, and when she saw the sign, she said, 'OK, I do have a gun. Take it from me,' " said Silver, whose district includes Ground Zero. "There was no criminal intent."

Silver noted that under the current law, the Manhattan DA and a judge can show her leniency only before she is indicted by a grand jury. After that, they are bound by minimum-sentence guidelines.

"The judge can show flexibility, and I think it should be done here," Silver said.

State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) also backed leniency for Graves, a married medical student who drove to New York with her husband to look for work as a nurse on Long Island.

"That is so ridiculous," Kolb said. "She had a legitimate permit for the gun in Tennessee. I just think that's the wrong message to send to a law-abiding citizen."

Kolb said he supports a federal effort to allow registered gun owners to take their weapons to other states.

For Graves, he suggested a small fine and a slap on the wrist.

"But to make her hire an attorney and threaten her with jail time is overkill," he said.

34. Handgun saves three kids


Passer-by shoots out window to help rescue children from icy river crash

Rescuer told himself 'You're going to see some dead kids, get ready' but two lifeless kids were revived on river bank to cheers, clapping

Former police officer Chris Willden didn't hesitate when he realized children were trapped in an upside down car in an icy Utah river. He pulled his handgun, pushed it up against the submerged windows and shot out the glass.

Then he reached inside.

"I was trying to grab arms, but I couldn't feel anything," Willden said. "I'm thinking ... what are we going to do?'"

But he turned to see up to eight other passers-by had scrambled down the embankment to help after coming upon the accident along U.S. 89 in Logan Canyon on Saturday afternoon.

Highway Patrol Lt. Steve Winward said that after shooting out a window, Willden cut a seatbelt to free one child.

He said the rescuers then helped turn the Honda Accord upright in the Logan River, and lifted it enough to free all three trapped children.

The driver of the Honda Accord had lost control of the car as he tried to brake while heading northbound in slippery conditions.

The Herald Journal News named the driver as Roger Andersen, 46, of Logan, and the trapped occupants as his children Mia, 9, and Baylor, 4. The other occupant, 9-year-old Kenya Wildman, is a family friend.

The group was driving to Beaver Mountain for a day of skiing, it reported.

"(The driver) was panicked, doing everything he could to get in through the doors, but they wouldn't budge," said Willden, who had jumped into the water with his own father.

"I remember thinking to myself, 'You're going to see some dead kids, get ready.' I've got three of my own and it was going to be (an awful) start to the New Year," he added.

Willden said he tried unsuccessfully to open windows and doors. He then used his firearm just as he had done in training for his current job as a bodyguard and Department of Defense contractor

One of the girls had found an air pocket and was breathing fine, but was trapped in her seat belt. Willden cut it with a pocket knife and pulled her from the rear passenger window.

He said the other two children were lifeless, the boy upside down in his car seat and the second girl floating in the front passenger compartment. Both were pulled from the vehicle.

'Started to breathe'

"Emotions started taking over when he started to breathe. Everybody started to cheer. Lots of tears and clapping," said Mullahkel, a father of a 4-year-old.

Willden, 35, of Ogden, was wrapping up his bleeding forearms cut by the broken window when he heard cheers.

"That was awesome," he said. "I knew that's where the little boy was."

He would later learn both the boy and his sister, who were flown by air ambulance to Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, had survived.

Bonnie Midget, a hospital spokeswoman, said Sunday both are doing well after spending the night in intensive care.

They were taken out of intensive care Sunday but still in the hospital, listed in fair condition as they recover from hypothermia. Winward said the father and the second girl escaped injury.

Willden noted that both he and his father are both former military/civilian police officers, while his sister and mother are emergency medical technicians.

"It's in our family to go out and help others," he said.

35. The attacks shall continue until the students are armed


The attacks shall continue until the students are armed
By Neal Boortz
Jan. 5, 2012

Just in case you're a parent out there thinking of sending your child to Georgia Tech, you may want to absorb some additional information. Will your child get a great education? Absolutely. Pricey one too. But you need to know that Georgia Tech is smack on the border of one of Atlanta's neighborhood where the culture of violence - especially predatory violence - is alive and well.

Ever heard of renowned architect John Portman? Well his grandson and a lady friend were returning to the apartments near Georgia Tech this past Tuesday night. A car followed them into the parking lot ... a black male wearing a mask stepped out and demanded they hand over all their possessions .. which they did. Portman is a computer science major at Georgia Tech.

This isn't the first attack on a Tech student. Here's a cut-and-paste job from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Showing some of the reported attacks over the two and one-half years or so:

* March 22, 2009 - A Georgia tech student was robbed near 10th Street and Williams Street while walking back to campus from a MARTA station.

* March 28, 2009 - A female Georgia Tech student was carjacked at gunpoint on Home Park Avenue near the Family Apartment/Graduate Living Center.

* March 30, 2009 - A Georgia Tech student was robbed at gunpoint on Mechanical Engineering Drive.

* May 4, 2009 - Georgia Tech student Patrick Whaley was shot in the chest during a robbery in the parking deck of the off-campus Tenside Apartments on Northside Drive.

* May 25, 2009 - Three Georgia Tech students were robbed at gunpoint while sitting on the front porch of a home on Hemphill Avenue in the Home Park neighborhood.

* June 21, 2009 - Two Georgia Tech students were robbed on Hampton Street.

* July 14, 2009 - A Georgia Tech employee, on his way home from work, was sideswiped by another vehicle on the west side of campus, then robbed at gunpoint by a passenger in the second vehicle.

* Oct. 2, 2009 - Three Georgia Tech students were robbed at gunpoint after leaving a pizza restaurant on nearby Hemphill Avenue.

* Oct. 10, 2009 - Two Georgia Tech students were robbed at gunpoint as they walked along Ethel Street in the Home Park neighborhood just north of campus.

* Dec. 1, 2009 - Several Georgia Tech students were robbed at gunpoint at a home on Ethel Street.

* Dec. 5, 2009 - Two students were robbed at gunpoint while walking along North Avenue near Spring Street.

* April 20, 2010 - A female walking from the library to her car was robbed of cash by a man who demanded her belongings.

* Nov. 15, 2010 - Two Georgia Tech students were tied up and robbed at their home on Ethel Street.

* Oct. 1, 2011 - A female Georgia Tech student was walking near Fourth and Fowler streets when an unknown man approached her from behind and pushed her up against a wall near the Wesley Foundation. The woman received minor injuries.

* Oct. 1, 2011 - A female student was on Tech Walkway when an unknown man approached her from behind and grabbed her thigh in a bear hug.

* Oct. 4, 2011 - A female Georgia Tech student was grabbed from behind while walking on McMillan Street near Turner Place on campus.

* Oct. 29, 2011 - A Georgia Tech student was robbed while walking on Fifth Street near campus by a suspect who put him in a headlock and took his wallet.

* Nov. 10, 2011 - A female student reported that she was raped by an unknown male behind the Sigma Nu fraternity house on Fowler Street.

* Dec. 5, 2011 - A student was walking on Tumlin Street in the Home Park neighborhood just north of campus when he was robbed at gunpoint, forced to the ground and kicked in the head.

* Dec. 9, 2011 - A female student parked her vehicle on Ferst Drive near the Student Center and began walking to the Student Center. She returned to her car to get something and when she got into her car, an unknown male was in the back seat. The man hit her in the head and tried to choke her with a lanyard she had around her neck. The student pepper-sprayed the man, who then got out and left with some of the student's property.

* Dec. 10, 2011 - A male student was walking on Sixth Street between Ferst Street and McMillan Street when another person approached him from behind and tried to take his backpack. The student resisted and ran to his residence hall.

* Jan. 3, 2012 - A male student and another person were robbed in the parking garage at the off-campus Tenside Apartments on Northside Drive.

How do you stop this? Well I'm guessing that if about one student pulled out a gun and sent the thug to his eternal celestial dirt nap the predators would have some second thoughts. There are some folks in the Georgia General Assembly who would like a lay securing these student's right to keep and bear arms, even on campus. The president of Georgia Tech, of course, is steadfastly opposed. So ... the attacks shall continue until further notice.

36. Cloudy with a chance of weapons and gold

This article is from the Dec 2011-Jan. 2012 issue of The American Spectator.



37. Jobless rate up, but crime down: What gives?

David Custer emailed me this:


Could it be the number of states that moved to "shall issue" and increase in private citizens owning firearms to defend themselves during the same period?


Jobless rate up, but crime down: What gives?
By James Eng,

Americans, take solace: While your chances of landing a job these days might not be great, you're also less likely to be murdered, or robbed or to have your car stolen.

The rate of major crimes in the U.S. continues to drop - even during the recent recession and its aftermath - and crime experts aren't sure why.

"I am surprised by the overall decline in both violent and property crime during and since the recent recession. I've studied crime trends in relation to economic conditions for some time, and the 2008-09 recession is the first time since WW II that crime rates have not risen during a substantial downturn in the economy," says Richard Rosenfeld, a professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and past president of the American Society of Criminology.

"What's pushing it down is the mystery meat in the recipe of recent years," says Franklin Zimring, a criminologist and UC Berkeley law professor who has written several books on crime-related topics.

According to recently released FBI crime statistics, the number of violent crimes -- murder and non-negligent homicide, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- reported in the first six months of 2011 declined 6.4 percent compared with the first six months of 2010. The number of property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft) decreased 3.7 percent for the same time frame.

The report is based on information from more than 12,500 law enforcement agencies and shows the continuation of a downward trend in crime that began in 2008.

It's also part of a broader, longer-term trend: Between 1991 and 2010, the homicide rate fell 51 percent and property crimes dropped 64 percent. Crime rates decreased significantly during the 1990s before flattening out at the start of the new century.

The statistical trend is puzzling and not easily explained.

More offenders were being put behind bars and the U.S. economy boomed in the 1990s, so maybe that had something to do with the decline, Zimring notes. But then, how do you explain the decline in the past three or so years, when incarceration rates have flattened out and the economy has gone to hell?

"By both the left- and right-wing leading indicators we should be in a lot of trouble - except (we're) not," Zimring says. "Everything we thought we knew are deeply challenged by events by the last three years."

Rosenfeld thinks smarter policing has contributed in many places (including New York and Los Angeles). But he says it cannot explain the entire decline, since in most places policing is much the same as it was 10 years ago.

And tougher sentencing isn't the answer either, since national imprisonment rates are also on the decline, albeit modestly.

"One overlooked economic factor is inflation, or rather the very low levels of inflation during the past few years," Rosenfeld wrote in an email to "High rates of inflation are connected with high crime rates, so when inflation drops we should expect corresponding declines in crime, in the first instance property crime."

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

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