Wednesday, March 21, 2012

VA-ALERT: VCDL Update 3/20/12

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

1. VCDL meeting March 21 at Mason District Govt Center
2. VCDL booth at Richmond Tea Party - help needed!
3. House GOP kills 'Castle Doctrine' bill at sponsor's request
4. 'Castle doctrine' bill fails with help from Va. gun-rights group
5. General Assembly votes to seal GPS search warrants, but keeps concealed permits open
6. Colleges find ways to foil pro-gun rulings
7. Who needs a gun at George Mason University?
8. VCU police hand out safety devices to students
9. Who needs a gun on VCU campus?
10. Oregon bans guns on state campuses
11. Why you need a gun in Maryland
12. Lawyers say gun ruling likely to withstand appeal
13. Fatal D.C. stabbing makes a case for handguns
14. Report: Crime down despite overturn of city gun bans [Video]
15. 12 states on path to guns with no permits
16. Police: "Swift response" to 20 minute long shooting
17. Armed and dangerous?
18. Who needs a gun in a parking lot?
19. RT LTE Pick of the day: Now, how to arm more Virginians
20. State Fair of Virginia to shut down after declaring bankruptcy
21. RTD LTE: Gun trafficking remains a problem on East Coast
22. There's gambling, floor shows ... and 'full auto' in Las Vegas

1. VCDL meeting March 21 at Mason District Govt Center

VCDL will be having a membership meeting on Wednesday, March 21st at 8 PM at the Mason Government Center. Fellowship starts at 7:30 PM.

As with all VCDL membership meetings, it is open to the public, so bring a friend!

Afterwards, we will go to a local restaurant for continued fellowship.


2. VCDL booth at Richmond Tea Party - help needed!

The Richmond Tea Party is having a "Celebrate Liberty" rally at the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds on Saturday, April 14th, from noon until 8:00 p.m!

We need volunteers for the booth from 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., and from 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Anyone wanting to help should email Bob Sadtler at

3. House GOP kills 'Castle Doctrine' bill at sponsor's request

** VCDL Quoted **

From Richmond Times-Dispatch:

By Wesley P. Hester
March 7, 2012

In an unexpected turnabout, Republicans in the House of Delegates today killed legislation that would allow home occupants to use lethal force against intruders without threat of criminal charges.

The so-called "Castle Doctrine" legislation appeared poised to become law after clearing both chambers despite lively debate in each, with Democrats and some Republicans arguing that it could be used to justify wrongful killings.

But in an unusually forthright floor speech, Del. Richard P. "Dickie" Bell, R-Staunton, who sponsored the House version of the legislation (House Bill 48), asked his colleagues to assist him in killing it.

"I promised my constituents when I came here that I would present responsible legislation, I would represent their interests and I would do my best to get it right," Bell said.

"All of us have been accused on a number of occasions this year of rushing to judgment, of moving too quickly through some important, sometimes controversial legislation," he said. "At the risk of having that said about this bill, about something as important as this, then I think we need to stop, pause, and get it right."

Shortly after, the House re-referred the Senate's version, sponsored by Sen. Richard H. Stuart, R-Stafford, to committee, effectively killing it for the year.

Bell said that he and others will work on the legislation over the course of the year to improve it.

Momentum for killing the Castle Doctrine bills came from an unlikely source -- the pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League.

VCDL president Philip Van Cleave alerted members that the bills were up for consideration in the General Assembly Wednesday and urged them to contact lawmakers to express the group's opposition.

In an email alert to supporters Van Cleave said the bills could "unintentionally weaken the excellent common-law self-defense laws we enjoy in Virginia."

VCDL also said the bills provided civil immunity only to a person's house and would only extend the protection in situations where the self-defense action is prompted by an illegal entry.

"What if they are invited in and suddenly attack you?" Van Cleave said. "We don't know of any civil suits that have been filed, much less won, against someone who otherwise lawfully defended themselves -- there is no need to rush such a critical change to the law."

4. 'Castle doctrine' bill fails with help from Va. gun-rights group

** VCDL Quoted **

From The Washington Post:

By Laura Vozzella
March 7, 2012

At the urging of a gun-rights group, Virginia's House and Senate on Wednesday rejected the so-called castle doctrine bill, which was intended to protect someone from being sued for fatally shooting an intruder.

"We kind of led the effort on terminating the bill," said league President Philip Van Cleave. "It might have been a step backward."

The measure sought to provide civil immunity to anyone who fatally shoots an intruder in his home. The person would need to feel he was at immediate risk of serious injury or death before shooting, and the bill said the intruder would have to take an "overt act" to justify that feeling.

"Common law doesn't spell out the need for an overt act," Van Cleave said.

The National Rifle Association has supported castle doctrine bills in other parts of the country, Van Cleave said. But he said the legislation would not bolster rights in Virginia because state common law is already strong on that point.

"We've got something far better," he said. "We're not Florida. We're not Massachusetts."

Gun-rights advocates have had several victories in Richmond this year, including repeal of a 19-year-old law that capped handgun purchases at one per month. They successfully pushed a bill that strips localities of the right to require fingerprints from people applying for concealed handgun permits.

The fate of one last gun-rights bill remains uncertain as the General Assembly session draws to a close this week. A bill that would allow public employees to keep firearms in vehicles parked at work has passed both chambers and is in a conference committee, where legislators are trying to work out differences in the House and Senate version.

But gun-rights activists were unable to convince the General Assembly to lift a ban on guns in unsecured areas of airports, or to prevent public colleges from banning weapons on campus.

5. General Assembly votes to seal GPS search warrants, but keeps concealed permits open

** VCDL Quoted **

William Goodman emailed me this:


From The Daily Press:

By Peter Dujardin
March 11, 2012


There's no exemption under the state's open records laws to keep the names and addresses of those with concealed handgun permits from being made public.

The Roanoke Times ignited a firestorm in 2007 when it got a hold of and posted on its website a Virginia State Police list of 135,000 concealed-carry permit holders statewide. The paper was bombarded with angry calls and emails, and it promptly took the list down.

The State Police now won't provide a comprehensive list, but the media and public can still get the information from Circuit Courts around the state.

In each of the last four years, there have been pushes in the General Assembly to exempt concealed carry permits from public release. The Virginia Citizens Defense League, a pro-gun rights group based in Fairfax, has come out strongly for shielding the information.

"There are people there whose lives are at risk," said Philip Van Cleave, the group's president. "We had a lady that had to move when the Roanoke Times pulled their little thing, because there's no doubt that if the husband ever gets out of prison, he'd kill her."

He termed it "unconscionable" that the information is accessible.

Critics of the bill argued that most permits are open records, and there's no reason to treat this one differently. The Virginia Press Association said it was important to be able to determine if the system is working properly and to look into whether those who commit crimes are permitted or not.

"This is an area that the government has chosen to license and regulate, and when its government is making the decisions on how to administer the program, then that program should have some measure of accountability," said Megan Rhyne, executive director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government.

Del. Mark L. Cole, R-Fredericksburg, submitted the legislation this year. "The clerk of court shall withhold from public disclosure the name and any other information contained in a permit application," the bill reads in part.

The bill sailed through the House of Delegates, 81-17, but was killed off by a narrow 8-7 vote in the Senate's Courts of Justice Committee.

That committee's chairman and the Senate's majority leader, Sen. Thomas K. Norment, R-James City, was instrumental in killing it. He crossed party lines and voted with the committee's Democrats on what was otherwise a party line vote.

If Norment had voted with his fellow Republicans, the bill would have gone to the Senate floor, where it stood a good chance.

Jeff Ryer, a spokesman for Norment, said the senator "does pay attention to the Virginia Press Association" on issues pertaining to open records. "After being contacted by a member of the media, he determined that he would not support the bill at this time," Ryer said.

"We're really glad the bill to close off the concealed weapons permits was defeated," Rhyne said.

"We'll be back," Van Cleave vowed. "We are going to get this shut off."

6. Colleges find ways to foil pro-gun rulings

Government's job is NOT to find ways to trick us out of our rights, including our right to self-defense. Yet, as this article points out, universities and colleges have stooped that low.

From The Washington Times:

By Valerie Richardson
March 8, 2012

DENVER Courts are ruling in favor of allowing those with concealed-carry permits to bring their handguns on campus, but universities are figuring out ways to keep the guns out.

Gun rights advocates recently notched major legal victories in Colorado and Oregon, with courts in both states agreeing that university policies banning firearms on campus must defer to state laws allowing permit holders to carry concealed handguns.

In response, however, university officials in Oregon and Virginia have enacted policies allowing concealed carry on campus but not in buildings, including classrooms, dormitories, event centers and dining halls.

The result is that permit holders may do little more than walk across campus with their handguns, an outcome that circumvents the intent of the court decisions, critics say.

Kurt Mueller, chief liaison for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus [PVC: and VCDL member], said the organization is considering whether to challenge the university policies in court.

"We have enormous practical concerns about this," Mr. Mueller said. "If you're a student, as a practical matter, what this means is you have to leave your handgun in your car. And a lot of states say you can't leave a handgun in your car, which means you have to leave it at home."

The Oregon Board of Higher Education lost the battle to keep its firearms ban in September, when the state Court of Appeals ruled that the state's Concealed Carry Act took precedence over the university's ban on firearms.

At the same time, the court ruled that the board has broad control over its property. At its March 2 meeting, the board voted to enact an Internal Policy on Firearms, which prohibits handguns in university buildings as well as at sports and entertainment events.

What's more, the policy prevents anyone who enters into a business relationship with the state universities from carrying guns on campus property. That would include students, employees, contractors and visitors who buy tickets to university-sponsored events.

That leaves almost nobody eligible, except visitors with no financial connection to the system's seven state universities. The board agreed to make exceptions for campus police, students in military programs such as the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, residents in non-campus housing, and those in hunting or shooting clubs.

"This new policy recognizes the need to maintain this conducive environment for students and the campus community, while recognizing legal and other requirements at the same time," the board said in a statement.

While the strategy appears to violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the concealed-carry rulings, at least one court has upheld the approach.

In January, the Virginia Supreme Court upheld George Mason University's ban on handguns in buildings and events. However, a Virginia state law, not a university policy, prohibits the concealed carrying on campus.

Under Wisconsin's 2011 law allowing concealed carry, universities may prohibit permit holders from bringing firearms into campus buildings or events.

The next front in the battle over concealed carry on campus is Colorado, where the state Supreme Court ruled Monday that the University of Colorado's policy banning guns on its four campuses violated state law.

The university's Board of Regents is expected to discuss the ruling at its meeting next week.

"This is one of the discussions that I think they would have," university spokesman Ken McConnellogue said. "We have a ruling, now what does this mean for our campuses?"

7. Who needs a gun at George Mason University?

T.J. Parmele emailed me this:



This happened across the street from GMU. Home invasion. Students were lucky.


By Colleen Kelleher
March 7, 2012

Masked gunmen rob George Mason students at home

FAIRFAX, Va. - Two masked gunmen held up five George Mason University sophomores in a townhome across from the university Tuesday night, taking thousands of dollars of electronic equipment in what one of the victims describes as a "scary" scenario.

"I've never been in an armed-like robbery kind of situation in my life. It was definitely a little scary," Pat Evans, 20, tells WTOP.

"At first you think a friend is joking, then all of the sudden, things get serious. You're like, 'I don't know these people. Why are their faces painted, and why do they have ski masks on with guns in my house?' It was a little scary."

The gunmen, who entered the Carriagepark Road home through an unlocked, sliding glass door, startled the five young men and threatened to kill them.

Evans, who had been studying for mid-term exams and getting ready to go to a basketball game, was in an upstairs hallway when he saw one of the intruders. It was about 10:30 p.m., and Evans heard someone say, "Get down!"

"When I finally turned my head, there was a gun in my face," he said.

The gunman turned to look in Evans' room. That's when Evans managed to get into the bathroom.

"I was able to lock the door and call 911," he said.

Police arrived within minutes of the phone call about the home invasion.

As Evans waited for the police, the Alexandria native said he heard the gunmen shouting commands to his three roommates and one visiting friend.

He heard the gunmen say, "Get on the floor. Get on your knees. Turn around."

Evans said the others, also sophomores, were put up against the wall or in a corner.

The gunmen threatened to kill them.

"They just grabbed what they wanted and left," Evans said.

The thieves made off with cellphones, laptops, iPods and music equipment valued at $2,000 to $3,000, Evans said.

Nobody was hurt. Evans said he thought he saw the color orange on one person's gun, indicating it may not have been real.

A crime like this is uncommon for the neighborhood off Braddock Road.

"A lot of families live here. People like to think it's a safe place," Evans said.

Normally, Evans said he and his roommates lock the back door, but this time didn't.

Evans describes what happened as "surreal," something he never wants anyone to have to experience.

"I just feel bad. I would never want anyone to have to go through that. The fact that they had to go through that in my home, it hurts, because that was supposed to be my home, that was supposed to be a safe place for me and my friends."

Fairfax County Police deployed a K9 dog and a helicopter to find the suspects but made no arrests.

Police describe the suspects as black, about 20 and 6 feet tall. In addition to masks, they wore dark clothing.

8. VCU police hand out safety devices to students

How cute - a battery operated alarm! If this device is so great at saving lives, then perhaps VCU police should give up their guns and carry them instead.

Maybe it's just me, but I prefer a handgun - it makes plenty of noise and is easier to deploy.

And the truth be told, if such devices work at all it's because the criminal fears they will attract the attention of a good guy with a gun. Why not just carry that gun yourself?

Such "feel good" devices serve to endanger more lives than they save, as it can give a person a very false sense of security.

Judy Waters emailed me this:



By Allison Landry & Audra Shreve
March 7, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. - VCU Police are taking new steps to increase safety around the university's two campuses.

More than 1,000 new safety devices, donated by the VCU and MCV Alumni Associations, will now be freely distributed by police to students and staff.

With the portable battery-operated audio and light device, students can sound a loud alarm, if they are hurt, uncomfortable in their surroundings, or are suspiciously approached around campus.

Police hope the blaring sound and flashing strobe light will deter any crime and bring in help to any possible victims around campus.

"An audible deterrent is an excellent way to deter and interrupt the chance of someone being victimized by a person who's intending to commit a crime," said VCU Police Chief John Venuti. [PVC: No one pays attention to car alarms, would this really be that much different?"]

Sgt. Jonathan Siok, the police officer who spearheads this new safety initiative, said the device was ideal to distribute, because it's relatively easy to assemble and use.

"The device can be easier deployed than mace," Siok said. "You can clip one end onto your belt or book bag, and clip the other end to either a belt loop or even your shirt, and if an emergency arrives you can just pull the pin and activate the device."

Only a few devices have been handed out so far, but VCU Police plan to raffle off five to 10 devices during upcoming safety presentations and new student orientations.

During these presentations police also plan to inform and engage students, staff, and concerned members of neighboring communities about safety prevention and education.

"Safety here at VCU is everyone's responsibility," Venuti said. "We have been really aggressive this year with keeping students informed of the things that are happening mostly around VCU, because we want students to be aware of those situations that happened, and we want students to have that information so they can use it to safeguard themselves."

During the 2010-2011 academic year (August - May), VCU Police responded to 37 robberies between the Monroe Park and MCV campuses.

So far this academic year, there have only been 15 robberies reported to the police.

In addition, larceny, the most common crime on campus, has decreased by 24% this academic year.

VCU sophomore Alex Waller said he tends to walk in groups to stay safe anyway, but he thinks it's smart to use any provided resource that may protect him.

He believes the new safety devices are ideal because they can't physically hurt anyone.

"I've seen someone in the library one time playing with their mace and spraying themselves," Waller said. The safety device "is something that's not going to harm you, but at the same time, would deter someone coming at you," he added.

Other students agreed the new devices have advantages over other safety tools.

"I think it would be easier to pull out a pin then getting out pepper spray and spraying it in someone's face," said VCU freshman Ally Palmer. "It would take less of a reaction time to pull it out."

"It could be beneficial," VCU freshman Jane Taylor said. "It's like a blinding device, so they couldn't see, which would make it easier to get away."

But VCU sophomore Katrina Khalil said alternatives such as mace or a small weapon are more effective when facing a real threat.

"I'd use this device because it's effective and it would scare them away," she said. "But I would still use my mace, because I think it would be more effective and actually hurt the person, so they don't hurt me."

The 1,040 donated devices are a start, but not enough for all VCU students and staff.

In the next few weeks, VCU Police will work with the Barnes & Noble bookstore at VCU to stock safety devices. According to Barnes & Noble General Manager Amy Randolph, the devices are expected to be available at the beginning of April for around $10.

9. Who needs a gun on VCU campus?

Darn - I guess the victim didn't have her nifty little battery-operated alarm with her that VCU PD is pushing. Like I said, let the VCU PD replace their guns for buzzers and show everybody how good an idea it is.

EM Robert Sadtler emailed me this:


VCU, the gun-free zone. Must be nice to live in Utopia. BS

From VCU Alert
March 7, 2012

Date: 03/07/2012 02:56 PM
Subject: Crime Alert

In compliance with the provisions of the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus crime Statistics Act of 1988 Virginia Commonwealth University is giving notice of a robbery at approximately 2 p.m. today on the 400 block of Gilmer Street.

The suspect was slumped down beside a car when a female student approached. He said "Yo, give me that," while lifting his shirt and displaying a firearm tucked into his waistband. He was last seen fleeing north on Gilmer.

The suspect is described as a black male, 26 to 29 years old, wearing a tan jacket and black cap and carrying a bookbag. He took the student's purse, which contained her ID, cell phone and credit card. The student was not injured. Richmond Police are investigating.

It can be assumed that conditions continue to exist that may pose a threat to members and guests of the community. Students are advised to be aware of their surroundings, and to use the VCU Security Service if needed. Richmond Police and VCU Police are conducting extra patrols of the area.

10. Oregon bans guns on state campuses

The Oregon Board of Higher Education should be fired and replaced with people who understand freedom.

Scott Kreidler emailed me this:


From The Chronicle of Higher Education:

March 3, 2012

Oregon's State Board of Higher Education voted unanimously on Friday to ban guns on the system's seven campuses, The Oregonian reports. The ban, which takes effect immediately, requires people to agree not to carry guns if they want to do business on university property. It contains some exceptions, including for police officers and military programs. The policy also allows people with concealed-weapon permits to walk across a campus with a gun as long as they do not enter any building or arena.

The ban replaces an administrative rule that was struck down last year by the Oregon Court of Appeals, which said only the Legislature could regulate guns. The court added in its ruling that the board had the authority to control its property.

11. Why you need a gun in Maryland

Geoff Bricker emailed me this:


Mr. Van Cleave,

I was ecstatic when I read the VCDL news today about Maryland finally coming to their senses, and I wanted to share a story with you and your readers that I experienced this past Saturday (3/3/12).

If you are driving (with or without anyone), you need to be cautious as to your actions with complete strangers. Case in point:

I just helped a couple who was at a red light in Baltimore and was asked for directions by a pedestrian. The gentlemen who was driving rolled down his window and was immediately pepper-sprayed as well as his wife. He got the full brunt of the spray which rendered him blind, but not instantly. We'll get to that. The guy got out of his car in a fit of rage and caution, wondering "WTH?" DO NOT DO THIS! Immediately after he got out, 15 "thugs" came running at him and tried breaking the windows and overcoming their car (and possibly killing them if they would have succeeded). The victim got back in his car and drove off. The husband and wife switched sides (The woman was able to see a bit better than the man).

Here is what you should take away from the story:

While being a good person, is, well, good, you must be cautious as to when/where/etc because things like this can and DO happen.

If you are ever sprayed by a foreign substance (such as pepper spray) do NOT rub your eyes! It will not only make it burn more (mixed with your sweat) it can also cause damage to your eyes! Permanent damage!

Do NOT get out of the car in a fit of rage or total confusion. Stay as calm as possible and get out of the situation as best you can. Call paramedics or poison control and call the police. Visit your local emergency room if you must. If you are not close to one, or are awaiting paramedics, FLUSH your eyes with water for at least 15 minutes. DO NOT RUB! Let the air blow on them as well (don't stick your head under a blow dryer, but if outside, the air can help soothe some of the pain).

Also, don't let the few bad apples ruin your experience or lesson your feelings of our fellow humans. Yes, while this is tragic and ruined their first night out in over a year (They were married a year and a half ago) they have now said they will never help another stranger and will never go out of again. Of course a lot of this is in the heated moment, but they are definitely scared for life because of a few bad apples. Not everyone in the world is bad and we cannot let the bad ones ruin the rest of the bunch!

As most of you know, and whether you agree or not, I am an avid and proud gun owner. If you do not wish to carry a firearm (or cannot!) at least carry some sort of weapon, (for instance, I keep a knife in my truck at all times when I'm not carrying) or at the minimum carry a bottle of pepper-spray and a very bright light (pulsating keychain lights can disorient an attack temporarily).

Please stay safe everyone!

12. Lawyers say gun ruling likely to withstand appeal

Let's hope that the Maryland ruling knocking down their "may issue" law as unconstitutional does stand!

Jay Minsky emailed me this:

From The Baltimore Sun:

By Tricia Bishop
March 6, 2012

Constitutional lawyers said Tuesday that a recent federal court decision overturning a portion of Maryland's gun-control law will likely be upheld on appeal and called the ruling groundbreaking given the liberalism of the state from which it came.

The decision, made public Monday, relaxed state requirements for carrying a gun and broadly interpreted the Second Amendment's "right to bear arms" as extending beyond the home. The analysis surprised some, who were used to seeing states like Maryland, which has a restrictive approach to gun rights, limit firearm use and possession.

"The cases that have dealt with this question in the recent years have almost all come out of the high-regulation states," said Eugene Volokh, a professor at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law. Those states "also tend to have high-control judges ... [who] have said it doesn't extend outside the home."

The Maryland attorney general's office has said it will appeal the decision, but a spokesman declined to outline the potential grounds or provide a timeline for next steps. Some attorneys who study constitutional law said any challenge to the ruling would face an uphill battle.

"The idea here is that if this is a constitutional right, like all the other constitutional rights, then you shouldn't need the government's permission to exercise it," said Randy E. Barrett, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington. "I think that the basic theory ... is an extremely powerful one, that would give it a good shot at any court of appeals."

Before the ruling, Maryland was among a handful of states that follow a "may issue" policy for gun-carry permits, leaving the distribution of such licenses up to the discretion of local authorities after basic criteria are met. In addition to proving that they weren't dangerous felons or addicts, Maryland applicants were required to show that they had a "good and substantial reason" for carrying a gun, and it was up to the superintendent of Maryland's state police to determine if an applicant's rationale passed muster.

Last year, the state police received 5,216 applications for carry permits, and denied about 5 percent of them, most 179 out of 251 because officials rejected the "good and substantial" reasoning, according to a spokesman.

The federal decision, signed Friday by U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg, struck down that requirement and effectively shifted Maryland to a "shall issue" policy, like a majority of states, which automatically issue gun-carry permits once basic safety conditions are met.

"The reason there are very few rulings like this is because there are very few states like Maryland ... that would ever impose a rule like" the "good and substantial reason," said Michael I. Krauss, a professor at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Va.

Maryland wasn't so alone a couple of decades ago. But over the past 10 to 15 years, states have moved to the "shall issue" system, leaving fewer than a dozen states with discretionary restrictions. Other "may issue" states include Alabama, which still approves most applications; California; Connecticut; Delaware; and New York, according to gun rights groups.

The recent federal ruling grew from a Baltimore County man's lawsuit, claiming the state inappropriately denied a renewal to his carry permit. Raymond Woollard's son-in-law broke into his home one Christmas Eve and terrorized the family, according to court records, leading Woollard to apply for a gun-carry permit in 2003 and to renew the license in 2006. But a 2009 renewal was denied, because Woollard couldn't show a continuing threat.

Woollard filed a lawsuit in federal court, and won when Legg, who was nominated to his position by Republican President George H.W. Bush, found in his favor.

"I don't think it's going to go down as either the greatest bit of judicial wisdom or the worst," said Mark Graber, a professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in Baltimore.

Graber found at least one flaw in the ruling that could provide grounds for appeal, but he doesn't expect the decision to be overturned. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 2010 ruling that the Second Amendment likely extends outside the home, he said, and the U.S. Supreme Court may not be ready to take on the issue.

"The [high] court doesn't usually take the first case that comes along," Graber said. "The court likes to see a number of these cases bubble up ... to get a sense of the full range."

Still, Graber expects the state's attorney general's office to claim Legg erred in his opinion by asserting that the "good and substantial" requirement was no more restrictive than randomly excluding some applicants, and therefore didn't help the state achieve a goal of reducing illegal gun use.

"That's not quite right," said Graber, who admits he's anti-gun. "What the law tries to do is create the best ratio possible between legitimate use of guns and illegitimate use."

Others suggested that appeal grounds may include arguments that the right to bear arms in fact is limited to the home by definition and that the government's interest in preventing gun violence outweighs the entitlement.

"The appeal is obviously that the judge got the laws wrong," George Mason's Krauss said. "But I believe he got it right."

13. Fatal D.C. stabbing makes a case for handguns

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN - THIS IS FROM THE **WASHINGTON POST** !!!! The Brady's are probably crying in their beer.

Bill Rogers emailed me this:


From The Washington Post:

By Courtland Milloy
March 6, 2012

Robert Leroy Wright, 37, was walking his dog Sunday morning in Southeast Washington when police say he was confronted by a knife-wielding neighbor about "allowing the dog near his yard." A dispute ensued, and the neighbor, Ellsworth Colbert, 56, stabbed Wright to death, according to D.C. police.

Whether or not this story proves to be as insane as it sounds, the incident as reported does provide a textbook case for legalizing handguns in the District, as well as buttress a ruling Monday by a federal judge that declared significant parts of Maryland's gun-control law unconstitutional.

To get a permit to carry a gun in Maryland, residents must prove that they have "good and substantial reason" to do so. Hogwash, says the judge. He might have noted that someone like Wright would never have been able to prove that he needed a gun to walk his dog - until Sunday, that is. By then, of course, it would have been too late.

To better understand the benefits of a "concealed carry" firearm, consider how the encounter between Wright and Colbert might have unfolded if Wright had been armed and followed a basic self-defense protocol:

According to police reports, Colbert comes out of his house with a knife in one hand and a stick in the other. Being alert to the approaching threat, an armed Wright would now have several options. He could pull his gun, say, a .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic, which speaks volumes without firing a shot: "Never bring a knife to a gunfight, pal."

Or he could just wait until the assailant gets close enough to meet the legal definition of justifiable homicide.

In January, two men were pumping gas at a Sunoco station in Prince George's County when a would-be robber approached with a knife and a can of Mace. Well, wouldn't you know that the two men turned out to be off-duty D.C. police officers. And out came the Glocks.

Never bring a knife to a gunfight, pal.

On the other hand, never underestimate the knife.

In some places, such as the District, the knife now surpasses the gun as the weapon most commonly used in reported assaults. In the past six months, from September to Feb. 26, there were 397 reported assaults with knives, compared with 278 with guns. This year, there have been more than 110 reported knife assaults and 73 with guns.

There's a service station at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Sheriff Road, at the District and Prince George's line, that sells assault knives for about $10. The most popular is a spring-loaded Army-style tactical knife with a nasty, three-inch serrated blade curved like a raptor's claw.

In a kind of "West Side Story"-style gang fight, a large group of youngsters from two rival neighborhoods met up last month for a showdown in Southwest Washington. When D.C. police arrived on the scene, the brawlers ran off - leaving behind a girl bleeding on the sidewalk.

The fight had apparently been arranged on Facebook, according to police. And the knives used were comparably high-tech. But the business end is still just a blade - as convenient in a kitchen as it is deadly in the streets.

Even nice, quiet streets in middle-class neighborhoods like Penn Branch.

Why Wright allowed Colbert to walk right up to him, allegedly with a knife, we may never know. Rule No. 1: If you see someone coming at you with a knife, run the other way. Forget macho. Scream, too.

Wright broke off the encounter and headed home with his dog. But Colbert followed, police said.

Now, if an armed Wright had not already shot Colbert, that would have been the time to do it. A man with a knife following you home? To your wife and children?

Instead, Colbert caught up to him, police said, and a "verbal altercation" ensued - then turned violent. The knife slashed at Wright, cutting his arm then opening up what witnesses described as a "large bleeding gash" on his neck. Apparently in shock, Wright went home and returned to confront Colbert with a shovel.

"You going to stab me?" Wright asked, according to police.

He was stabbed multiple times and died an hour later.

Say what you will about the perils of gun ownership, but nobody can doubt that Wright would be alive today if he'd had one.

14. Report: Crime down despite overturn of city gun bans [Video]

Bad news for the Bradys: More guns DO equal less crime

EM John Pierce sent me this video:

From FOX News:

15. 12 states on path to guns with no permits

Michael Burnham emailed me this:


Check out this article from USA TODAY:

12 states on path to guns with no permits [and we're one of them]

From USA Today:

By Jonathan Ellis
March 7, 2012

Legislatures in a dozen states are considering laws that would eliminate requirements that residents obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.

Gun-control advocates view the efforts as part of a long-range strategy to eventually weaken gun laws across the country. But supporters say armed, law-abiding citizens prevent crime.

Andrew Arulanandam, policy director for the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, which supports these legislative efforts, argues that crime rates are low in four states Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming that already allow residents to carry without a permit. "Our viewpoint is, a good person will always be a good person," he said. "They don't need a license to be a good person."

Brian Malte, the director of state legislation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence argues the permitless systems put law enforcement officers in a bad situation when they encounter someone with a weapon, and he's critical of efforts that would allow people who have never even shot a firearm to carry one in public.

"They want a gun in every nook and cranny in society with no permission needed and no background check," Malte said, adding, "This is just a recipe for disaster."

States that have been or are considering bills in current legislative sessions include Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota and Virgina, according to the NRA.

South Dakota could be the fifth state to join the ranks of permit-less carry states. Lawmakers last week passed a measure allowing anyone 18 and older with a valid state driver's license to carry a concealed weapon, as long as they don't have a background that would otherwise prohibit them from getting a permit. The bill awaits action from Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

Mike Milstead, the sheriff of Minnehaha County, the state's largest, says his office processes about 2,000 permits a year, of which 30 to 40 are rejected because applicants have something in their backgrounds.

"The tough part will be on the small number of people that think they should have a permit that shouldn't," he said.

Wyoming's law went into effect in July. The state continues to issue permits for people who want to travel out of state, said Christopher Lynch, the project manager for the state's concealed firearms program.

In New Hampshire, Republican Rep. J.R. Hoell's bill has cleared the House. Hoell points to the recent school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, as a failure of gun control. "Gun-free zones kill people," he said.

16. Police: "Swift response" to 20 minute long shooting

Board member Dennis O'Connor emailed me this:


What's wrong with this picture? There were already "security guards" there, the SWAT team was quickly on the scene of the shooting and "the area was thronged with police." The mayor says "their swift response saved lives." Yet for those innocents crouched in a corner waiting to be executed, the duck shoot continued for 20 minutes. It must have seemed an eternity to them.

From MyEarthlink:

By Joe Mandak (AP)
March 8, 2012

Gunman opens fire at Pitt psych clinic; 2 dead

PITTSBURGH (AP) ˘ A man armed with two semiautomatic handguns entered the lobby of a psychiatric clinic at the University of Pittsburgh on Thursday and opened fire, killing one person and wounding several others before he was shot dead, apparently by campus police, the mayor said.

Six people were wounded by the man's gunfire, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said. A seventh suffered unspecified injuries but wasn't shot, officials said.

The mayor stopped short of confirming the gunman was fatally shot by at least one University of Pittsburgh police officer who responded. But he confirmed "police acted admirably and did engage in gunfire."

"There's no doubt that their swift response saved lives today," Ravenstahl said.

Shooting witness Gregory Brant said he was in a waiting room on the first floor of the clinic building when pandemonium broke out Thursday afternoon.

"We heard a bunch of yelling, some shooting, people yelling, 'Hide! Hide!" he said. "Everyone's yelling, 'Stay down!'"

Brant, 53, and six other people, including a young girl and her parents, barricaded themselves inside the waiting room. But he said they did not feel safe because there were doors with windows along adjacent walls.

"The way the room was arranged, if he (the gunman) had gone to either window and would have seen us in there, he could have done whatever he wanted," Brant said.

The group crouched in a corner, hoping the gunman wouldn't see them as he went past, Brant said. The men in the group decided on the spot that if the gunman entered the room, they would rush him.

"We were kind of sitting ducks," Brant said. "Luckily, he didn't see us in there, and we didn't make eye contact with him."

Brant estimated the ordeal lasted 15 or 20 minutes.

One of the injured was a police officer who the mayor said was grazed by a bullet. Officials didn't say if that officer shot the gunman, whose identity and relationship to the clinic, if any, weren't disclosed. The injured people included employees and a visitor, said Dr. Donald Yealy, chair of emergency medicine at the university's medical school.

A SWAT team was on the scene shortly after the shooting. A street was blocked off, and the area thronged with police. Most students are on spring break, though offices and buildings have been open.

Neighboring buildings were placed on lockdown for hours after the shooting, police said.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center spokesman Paul Wood said initial reports about a possible second gunman and a hostage situation at the clinic or at nearby UPMC Presbyterian hospital were unfounded.

UPMC and law enforcement officials declined to speculate on a motive for the shooting and said authorities were still sorting out which bullets from which guns inflicted which wounds.

The medical center said it was treating five patients, including two who had undergone surgery. Two others were treated and released. All were expected to survive.

The clinic, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, is located in the city's Oakland neighborhood, a couple of miles east of downtown, and is affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and one of several affiliated hospitals adjacent to the university campus. Other schools are nearby, including Carnegie Mellon, Carlow and Chatham universities.

Pete Finelli, who lives two blocks from the clinic and once worked there as a student nursing assistant, said security guards are always at the part of the building where it the shooting is believed to have occurred, on the ground floor.

Patient rooms are on the upper floors, he said, but anyone on the first floor would have to be someone being either admitted or discharged.

"The only place a person would be on the first floor is the emergency room," he said.

Pitt sent out email and text alerts shortly after 2 p.m. to warn people of the shooting.

"An active shooter has been identified at Western Psychiatric Institute. Several injured," the alert said. "Possible second actor in Western Psych. Lockdown recommended until further notice. If safe to do so, tell others of this message."

Lawton Snyder, executive director of Pitt's Eye and Ear Foundation, said he and two other staffers were locked down about a block away, in a building that connects to the clinic. He said it was unnerving.

"Obviously I'm terribly sad for those injured. We're just hoping everybody's OK and things are resolved quickly and that they can apprehend those who are responsible," he said.

Patient Kevin Bonner, who was staying on the building's ninth floor, several floors above the shooting scene, said there was a normal atmosphere there, with patients in the common room listening to music, watching TV, drinking and eating snacks. Bonner said no one at the hospital had told them what was going on.

He said he had been napping and awoke to hear an announcement on the intercom: "Bronze Alert on the first floor."

"I didn't think I was hearing my ears right until I looked out the window" and saw police cars and a sniper, he said.

The alert and lockdown ended Thursday evening, but the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center asked that people avoid the clinic while the investigation into the shooting continued. People were free to go when and where they pleased at the two network hospitals nearest the clinic, UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC Shadyside, which also had been locked down earlier in the day.

UPMC chief executive Jeffrey Romoff said the health network was "deeply, deeply saddened by today's events" and expressed "deepest sympathy to the victims and their families."

17. Armed and dangerous?

An off-duty police officer, who was involved in a car crash, violently attacked EMS personnel who came to help him. They now think it was medications that the officer was taking that sent him off the deep end.

Regardless of why he attacked his rescuers, EMs personnel need to be allowed to carry concealed handguns with a CHP while on duty to protect themselves. Their lives are as valuable as anyone else's life.

Board member Dale Welch emailed me this:

From The Virginian-Pilot:

By Elisabeth Hulette
March 6, 2012

ACCOMACK COUNTY - It's unusual for a car crash victim to assault the paramedics trying to help him.

It's even more unusual for that violent victim to be a police officer.

Yet, according to Virginia State Police, that's what happened Sunday on the Eastern Shore. A spokeswoman said troopers arrested and charged a man who survived a car crash only to stab two volunteer firefighters who were trying to treat him, and then shoot at them when they fought back. The accused is a first-year Virginia Beach policeman.

"It doesn't happen very often at all," David Grant, chief of the Atlantic Volunteer Fire and Rescue Co., said of the assault. The two injured firefighters have been treated and released - one was taken to a hospital - but the department is still a bit shaken, he said.

"It has opened our eyes to the possibilities that can happen," Grant said. "We did everything we could do. Everything was done properly. You just never know what can happen."

According to Sgt. Michelle Anaya, a state police spokeswoman, the incident began before 7 a.m. Sunday. A man in a 1999 Honda ran off Lankford Highway in Hallwood and struck a tree.

Fire and rescue workers responded, but as they treated his injuries, the driver became irritated and combative, according to a state police news release. Then he stabbed two firefighters, according to the release.

The firefighters fought back, striking him in the head. The man then pulled out a gun and began shooting at the firefighters, the release said.

The man was walking away from the scene, holding a firearm, when arriving state troopers stopped him, according to the release. He was taken to Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital in Nassawadox, where he remained in custody Monday afternoon, Anaya said.

Virginia State Police took out warrants charging Bradley Colas, 23, of Virginia Beach, with two counts of malicious wounding of an emergency medical care provider, Anaya said.

Police are still investigating, Anaya said, and it's unknown whether they will file further charges.

Officer Grazia Moyers, a spokeswoman for Virginia Beach police, said Colas was a member of the city police academy class that began in August.

He completed the academy and became a probationary officer, she said. It usually takes 18 months for a recruit to go through the academy, serve as a probationary officer and finally become a full officer, she said.

Colas has been working in the 3rd Precinct, Moyers said. The Virginia Beach Police Department is declining to comment further because state police are still investigating, she said.

Neighbors said Monday that Colas is nice and always says hello when they see him. One said he seems "pretty straight and narrow," and another said he once baked brownies for her.

"He seems like a cool guy," William Gilbert said. "He seems easygoing."

18. Who needs a gun in a parking lot?

The valiant CHP holder in the story below did get formal recognition for saving lives. That article will be in next week's update.

Deborah Anderson emailed me this:


Who needs a gun in a parking lot? In this story from Royal Oak, MI (a Detroit suburb), at least 3 people did, but none of them were armed. Thankfully, however. one CCW holder who happened to witness the threatening events, rose up defend the others who didn't have a way to defend themselves. The bad guy should consider himself very fortunate that the CCW holder exercised great restraint in dealing with him, too, or he'd have his name in an obituary column now, instead of on a jail roster.

Deborah Jane Anderson

From Click-On Detroit:

March 8, 2012

ROYAL OAK, Mich. - Royal Oak police said a 43-year-old man was threatening people with a knife Monday at the Holiday Market parking lot on South Main Street.

Police said David Shuten, of Madison Heights, prompted several 911 calls as he attempted to break the driver's side window of a vehicle being driven by a 49-year-old man. Shuten was wielding a knife at the time, too.

The driver got away from Shuten without being injured.

Two customers in the parking lot witness the attack and started yelling at Shuten to drop the knife, police said. He turned his attention toward the couple and their infant son who were just two parking spaces away. He approached them with the knife drawn.

Another customer, a certified CCW (carrying a concealed weapon) license holder, noticed Shuten moving toward the couple. He drew his gun and ordered Shuten to drop the knife.

After several commands to drop the knife, Shuten finally sat on the ground. Royal Oak police officers arrived and arrested him without further incident.

Police said thanks to the quick actions of the citizens in the parking lot, no one was injured.

Shuten faces two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and received a $10,000 cash bond.

Police already had a warrant for Shuten. He was wanted for violation of probation for resisting and obstructing a police officer in Oakland County.

19. RT LTE Pick of the day: Now, how to arm more Virginians

Dave Hicks emailed me this:


From The Roanoke Times: ( for the blog)

March 5, 2012

Now that our leaders in Richmond have passed virtually everything on the wish lists of our gun lobbies, it's time to think ahead. What now? [PVC: I wish he was right - I guess he didn't see VCDL's full wish list.]

Gun lending libraries, open 24/7 and located throughout the commonwealth, should be our next priority.

We're assured that the more guns there are in citizens' hands, the safer Virginia is. But it remains a melancholy fact that there are still numbers of our fellow citizens who don't have weapons. Or don't have enough weapons. Or don't yet carry them. How is the Second Amendment going to protect us if we're not armed? [PVC: This is why you should be sober when you write an LTE! ;-) ]

Gun lending libraries, open 24/7, could immediately raise the number of Virginians carrying weapons as we drive, go to school, shop, relax and work. This will make our communities a lot safer. Right? Especially if these gun libraries follow our Virginia gun show rules: No questions asked. None.

Many of our public services are being cut, but few of these services have been addressing our gun deficit, anyway. With part of what we're saving, surely we can afford gun lending libraries, operating 24/7.

Write to your legislator and to Gov. Bob McDonnell. They seem to agree to even the most far-fetched pro-gun proposals. [PVC: Such a typical anti-gunner - seething with rage.]


20. State Fair of Virginia to shut down after declaring bankruptcy

I feel sorry for the employees who are out of a job, but I feel no sorrow for this anti-gun business closing its doors forever.

EM Leonard Harris emailed me this:


Looks like the folks who threw the knife dealer out of the Fair some years ago because of a shooting blocks away are going bankrupt and out of business.

From State Fair of Virginia:

March 7, 2012


March 7, 2012 (Doswell, VA) - SFVA Inc., the not-for-profit organization that produces the State Fair of Virginia, today converted its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in Richmond District Court. As a proposed resolution to emerge from the Chapter 11 process, SFVA offered to buy the 360-acre Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Virginia from the lender group of secured creditors (made up of lead lender Arbor One, 13 farm credits and the USDA). On March 5, the lender group rejected the offer and refused requests to produce a counter-offer. Because of the secured creditors' decision not to accept the offer, SFVA Inc. was forced into bankruptcy.

As a result of this action, there will be no further events produced by SFVA Inc., including the Strawberry Hill Races, the State Fair of Virginia and the Meadow Highland Games & Celtic Festival. Additionally the privately scheduled events at The Meadow Event Park will not be able to take place.

"As chairman of SFVA, I am deeply saddened and disappointed by the lenders' decision. We worked diligently with multiple parties to present the secured creditors with a reasonable offer to purchase The Meadow, and thus allow the 156-year-old tradition of the State Fair of Virginia to continue. Unfortunately, that offer was rejected. Apparently, the secured creditors have other unknown plans for the property," said G. William Beale, SFVA Board of Directors Chairman and CEO - Union First Market Bank.

Since 1989, the State Fair of Virginia Scholarship Program has awarded 2,439 scholarships and has dedicated over $1.8 million to youth education. It is SFVA's understanding that these funds will, under the guidance of a bankruptcy court-appointed trustee, be sent to Virginia Tech's foundation for administration and distribution. SFVA's scholarship funds were managed separately from the investment portfolio used as collateral to secure the loan to develop The Meadow Event Park.

"While the outcome of this very difficult situation is extremely disappointing, I am heartened by the support we have received from thousands of well-wishers, Caroline and Hanover County officials, the dedication of our staff, and the partners who have stood by SFVA. We worked hard to create a positive outcome in spite of trying economic times and a uniquely complex situation," said Curry Roberts, President of SFVA Inc.

21. RTD LTE: Gun trafficking remains a problem on East Coast

No, Terry, the problem with crime in New York isn't our liberty here in Virginia. It is because New York coddles its drug dealers and violent criminals instead of locking them up.

From Richmond Times-Dispatch:

March 4, 2012

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

It is most regrettable that Gov. Bob McDonnell has approved legislation repealing Virginia's landmark one-handgun-a-month law, which, as you write, was "put on the books in the early 1990s when gun trafficking was seen as a problem along the East Coast." Anyone who thinks that interstate gun trafficking is not still a dangerous problem is seriously misinformed. Interstate 95 is still "the iron river."

In 1993, I worked for New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who met that year with Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder to sign an interstate compact pledging full investigative cooperation between Virginia and New York law enforcement in tracing the source of crime guns bought in Virginia and used in New York. At the time, I spoke to Carl Baker, then of the Virginia State Police, an old friend of mine from his time with the New York State Troopers. He told me that it was an embarrassment that someone from Washington could come to Virginia, buy a gun and commit a crime in the commonwealth on his way back to the District.

I later learned that it was the success of this initiative that created the momentum for getting the one-handgun bill through the Legislature. Baker told me that this was the first piece of rational gun-control legislation to go on the books in living memory.

Guns bought legally in Southern states are still a big problem in my state. The governor's assertion that improvements in record-keeping and background checks have solved the problem is small comfort to the families of the Virginia Tech tragedy and to the families of victims of gun violence in other states. Allowing unlimited purchases of multiple handguns in Virginia increases the problem exponentially.

Terry O'Neill.

22. There's gambling, floor shows ... and 'full auto' in Las Vegas

James Durso emailed me this:


From The New York Times:

By Adam Nagourney
March 5, 2012

LAS VEGAS - For Vegas die-hards bored with the $750 tasting menu at Guy Savoy, the $250 Elton John tickets at Caesars or the $200,000 baccarat bet at the Bellagio, this city is serving up a new way to find high-priced thrills.

Machine Guns Vegas - an upscale indoor shooting range complete with skimpily dressed gun-toting hostesses - opened last week a half-mile from the Strip with an armory of weapons and a promise to fulfill the desires of anyone wanting to fire off an Uzi or a vintage Thompson submachine gun. With its provocative mix of violent fantasy (think blowing holes through an Osama bin Laden target with an AK-47) and sexual allure, it is the latest example of how the extravagances and excesses that have defined Las Vegas are moving beyond the gambling table.

"O.K., the Uzi is down right now - sorry!" Melissa Krause, a hostess dressed in a skin-tight black outfit and black boots, with a fake pistol attached to her hip, told a father and son who had driven three hours from Victorville, Calif. "Is there something else you wanted to choose?"

No matter. Before long, the son, Chris Neveu, 20, was standing between two range masters, a man and a woman, feet planted to the ground, eyes protected by goggles and ears by headphones. Hot shells clattered around his feet as his father, Paul, took pictures.

"They have a lot of weapons you wouldn't be able to find back where I'm from," Chris said as he repaired to the V.I.P. lounge, where the walls are adorned with machine guns. "Such as the - well, you can see them all around the room: the M-4, the M-16, the M-249 - a lot of exotic weapons."

In the main lounge, Barry Burmaster, 54, of Williamsburg, Md., was giddy after he and three friends, in town for a convention, compared a stack of bullet-riddled targets.

"Twenty years ago, I'd spend $400 at the strip clubs," he said. "Now, I just come here to shoot."

This latest addition to Las Vegas entertainment is in a low-slung building, set among dusty fields and next to an Adult Superstore. Marked off by a few small signs, and with the main entrance at back, it recalls an after-hours club in Lower Manhattan. It has views of two towering buildings whose outsize names - Wynn and Trump - suggest a Las Vegas extravagance that by comparison seems almost quaintly outdated.

Las Vegas in general, and the Strip in particular, is no stranger to violence: Last year, there was a series of stabbings on the street, most of them involving people moving from casino to casino. But the owners of Machine Guns Vegas said that they would carefully screen customers and that their clientele would be made up of people who enjoy the sport of shooting.

This is certainly not the first shooting range here. Interest in guns is high in Nevada, particularly among tourists from countries that ban weapons. "From England, from Japan," said Jasmine King, a former go-go dancer who now works as a hostess at Machine Guns Vegas. The Gun Store, another local destination for weapons enthusiasts, was teeming with customers the other day.

But unlike Machine Guns Vegas, the Gun Store is as much about selling guns and weapons paraphernalia as it is a shooting range. It is out of the way, more than three miles from the Strip, past the city's airport, with a check-in counter more reminiscent of the rental concession at a roller-skating rink than a swank nightclub. There are no hostesses in black.

The aspirations of Machine Guns Vegas are, well, different.

"We want it to have a Melrose boutique feel to it," said Genghis Cohen, referring to the upscale stretch of quirky shops along Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Mr. Cohen, a nightclub impresario, is a managing partner of Machine Guns Vegas. "It would be like a boutique style of guns," he said as he led a tour of his latest venture. "We will have artwork on the walls."

"This is our V.I.P. area," he said. "Look - a cappuccino machine, nice big leather couches. Let's say you're the vice president of the Palazzo or the Wynn," he continued, referring to two of the city's fanciest resorts. "You're like, 'Oh, it's lunch break. I'm going to grab a sandwich and go shoot my gun for half an hour.' "

There is not much to eat, though the club plans to sell prepackaged food eventually. But one can spend a lot of money here at a club that - and thank goodness for this - does not serve alcohol. (Not that you need to be Lewis and Clark, exactly, to find yourself a drink in Las Vegas.) For $699, the top-of-the-line package, a client gets an array of 16 firearms, 1,550 rounds of ammunition and a pass to the V.I.P. lounge.

Mr. Burmaster's group opted for a slightly less costly Full Auto package: $399 for 10 machine guns. "We went macho," said Wilbur Willis, 61, a printer from Chattanooga, Tenn. "We did the fully automatic. It was awesome: some older guns, some newer guns."

Machine Guns Vegas seems so far to be drawing equal numbers of tourists and locals, some of them curiosity-seekers who saw its advertisements on the sides of buses or on its provocative come-hither Web site.

Behind two closed doors, Gricelda Fernandez, 22, who lives in Las Vegas, fired off a semiautomatic pistol under the watchful eye of a ranger. "I've never done this before," said Ms. Fernandez, who works as a go-go dancer. "It's really exciting - it's really easy."

Charles McElhinney, a construction supervisor from Texas, brought his son, Brian, to the range for his 29th birthday.

"I shoot a lot at home," he said. "But this is something I'll never get a chance to do anywhere else: full auto."

"Yeah," said Brian, a limousine driver in Las Vegas. "That is pretty great - full auto."

Mr. Cohen, the managing partner, emphasized that all the range masters were military veterans with experience in weapons. "We have girls who work for us who are veterans, and have very successful modeling careers," he said. "But they are also ex-veterans.

"The reason we did that is we didn't want someone to say, 'Ah, you just went to a strip club and got a bunch of strippers and gave them guns,' " he said. "That's not what we did. We have veterans that are officially trained in the military in the use of firearms."

Still, a big part of the club's cachet are the hostesses. There are no military requirements for the women who greet customers at the door, holding iPads and wearing identical black outfits. "It's called liquid leggings," said Ms. Krause. "It's supposed to look like leather. It's very light and stretchy."

Thad Beavers, 33, a designer from Charlotte, N.C., eyed the hostesses as he prepared to head back to his convention. "I definitely like the business plan," he said. "It combines everything; it is one of those things I wish I had thought of."

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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