Sunday, April 1, 2012

VA-ALERT: VCDL Update 4/1/12

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

1. A NEW Protest at JMU on April 2nd!
2. VCDL booth at Richmond Tea Party - help needed!
3. New NoVA gun stores
4. Message from Bob Sadtler
5. LTE: One-handgun-a-month law didn't prevent VT shooting
6. Battle over public access to gun permits
7. National right to carry - contact senators
8. Eric Holder "brainwashing" tape on gun-control from 1995 [VIDEO]
9. MIssouri House votes to add gun owners to state's protected groups
10. Greater Lynchburg Transit Company removes "No guns" signs
11. What not to say after shooting an intruder
12. Battle of Athens, TN, Aug 1-2, 1946 [VIDEO]
13. Victim disarmament and gun laws that kill [VIDEO]
14. Gun nation: Inside America's gun-carry culture
15. More women choosing to arm themselves for protection, sport
16. What's next for gun rights?
17. Prepare for a home invasion [VIDEO]
18. Your 2A cartoon of the day
19. CMP Shooters News March 12, 2012
20. BREAKING: Anti-gunners work secret deal to eliminate carry in restaurants in Virginia!

1. A NEW Protest at JMU on April 2nd!

Now that the legislative season is almost wound down, it's time to cast our eyes back at universities and colleges.

Announcing "JMU SCCC and VCDL: Operation Campus Safety II"

JMU Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) in conjunction with VCDL, will have an information table in the JMU Commons area supporting the right of students, faculty, staff, and guests with Concealed Handgun Permits to be able to carry on campus, including the buildings. We will also continue to press "No guns? No funds!" to the alumni and other donors.

We will need volunteers for the table and to generally talk to students and hand out literature on Monday, April 2, from 2 PM to 5 PM. Visitors should go to the Champions Drive parking lot and speak with Parking Services to get a parking pass.

Later in the day I will be an invited speaker. The title of the talk is "Lives at stake - the importance of concealed carry on campus." The talk will also consider the recent court decision holding VT liable for 8 million dollars for the Cho massacre and Colorado universities now being required to honor CHPs.

The event, which will be open to the public, will be from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM in ISAT 159, on the east side of campus. It's the large building with the tall James Madison statue out front. Enter the front doors and take a right at the first large hallway and the room will be on the right.

VCDL: it's time to push for liberty at a school named for James Madison! Let's do this in his honor. As James Madison would acknowledge, lives are indeed in the balance.

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. New NoVA gun stores

Michael Burnham emailed me this:



There are two new gun stores in the Northern Virginia (NOVA)/Woodbridge area. I figured you could put them in the alert to let everyone know. This is good news because there are very few gun shops in the heart of NOVA.

All Shooters Tactical Inc.
3310 Noble Pond Way Ste 105
Woodbridge, VA 22193

Cameron Firearms
1549 Old Bridge Road Ste 204
Woodbridge, VA 22192

This store will not be open until MARCH 20th.

4. Message from Bob Sadtler

As you might recall from a previous alert item, Bob Sadlter was with me when a teenager pulled out in front of my car and we wrecked.

From Bob Sadtler to all of you:

I wish to extend my gratitude to all those who have packed my inbox with good wishes. I can honestly say that I would rather have a bum knee than be looking for a new car, like Philip. We are in 100% agreement on this event...we each think that the other got the short end of the stick!

I'm fine. Sore as #@!! and mighty clumsy, but so what. Let's focus on Matt Kish and those he leaves behind. My kneecap will heal in no time...if I behave. Matt's death leaves a hole that can't be closed. Between my gun show coordinating, lobbying, and certainly from the crush of well wishes, one thing is patently obvious...VCDL members are a special breed. All of us are irreplaceable. I'm good. Let's all get behind Matt's family and friends. They need it most.

Thanks again. For the wishes, and the enormous honor of serving a great cause.


5. LTE: One-handgun-a-month law didn't prevent VT shooting

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

One-handgun-a-month law didn't prevent VT shooting
March 12, 2012

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

As I expected, the recent bill to repeal the law banning multiple handgun purchases in a month drew many letters and opinion columns. Some have claimed they cannot believe Gov. McDonnell would sign this repeal when we had the worst school shooting in U.S. history take place in our state.

These people, despite their good intentions, have missed one critical fact. Seung-Hui Cho, the shooter from the Virginia Tech massacre, waited the 30 days previously required by law to purchase the second handgun. The VT massacre obviously was not prevented by this law. The only failure of the legal system here is that an individual with known major psychological issues was able to buy a gun. If anyone wants to prevent another such tragedy, they first need to acknowledge what actually allowed the first to occur.

Chris Henley


6. Battle over public access to gun permits

William Goodman emailed me this:



Battle over public access centered on GPS search warrants, gun permits
Lawmakers voted to seal some search warrants in perpetuity, while keep gun permits open records

By Peter Dujardin
March 11, 2012

Each year in the General Assembly, there's a tug-of-war over the state's "sunshine laws."

The recent legislative session has been no exception. It wasn't the most eventful term in recent memory pertaining to open records and open meetings, but there were significant battles.

Among them: Should warrants used to track vehicles by GPS technology become public like most any other warrants are -- or put in a special category and be sealed forever?

Should public boards be able to hold more "electronic meetings," whereby members are not sitting in the same place? Should the names and addresses of those who hold state permits to carry concealed handguns be shielded from public view?

Being that this is "Sunshine Week" -- a nationwide event sponsored by newspaper editors to tout the merits of government transparency -- the Daily Press is sharing some of the recent key developments.

GPS search warrants

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was improper to place a global positioning system (GPS) tracking device on a car without a warrant. The court ruled that placing such a tracker on a car is a "physical intrusion," and a "search" under the U.S. Constitution.

Police can follow someone's car all day long by driving behind them, the court ruled, but they need to prove probable cause if they want to surreptitiously attach a GPS device to your car.

Following that decision, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police asked Gov. Bob McDonnell to push for emergency legislation spelling out a new mechanism for law enforcement agencies to get warrants for GPS tracking investigations.

Under the bill, the warrant is to be served within 10 days of the search on the person whose car was tracked. Both prosecutors and defendants can ask the court to unseal the warrant and related documents.

But unlike most other search warrants -- which under law typically become public records within days of the search -- there's no mechanism in the bill requiring the GPS warrants to ever see the light of day.

Kent Willis, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, said his group lobbied hard for a warrant system after learning that police agencies -- including in Fairfax County -- were conducting warrantless tracking.

So Willis said he is glad the state has instituted a warrant system in line with the Supreme Court's recent ruling. "But in this otherwise good bill, we want these things unsealed," Willis said. "These warrants should be unsealed just as most other warrants are."

The Fourth Amendment's language barring unreasonable searches and seizures, combined with the practice of keeping warrants for searches open, "is a principle way we keep our criminal justice system fair and just," Willis said.

He argued that some warrants, such as some pertaining to national security, might be justified in becoming sealed, but most other warrants shouldn't be. "When the press is curious and has access to the warrants, we know what our law enforcement officers are doing," Willis said. "Anything that closes off this information concerns us."

Dana Schrad, the executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, said the GPS warrants often comes early on in an investigation, as opposed to a search warrant later in the investigation when detectives have already done much of their investigative work.

She said that such a time frame creates a greater likelihood that the person being searched may be innocent, and that it would be improper to have their movements revealed.

"We have to be sure to protect the privacy rights of the innocent," Schrad said. "I think we need to be very cautious under what conditions we (unseal them). There may be situations where they may need to be sealed indefinitely."

Lynchburg Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Doucette, the first vice chairman of the state's Commonwealth's Attorneys' Services Council, said many of the GPS warrants will eventually become public because prosecutors must get the documents unsealed before using the evidence in court.

"Any case in which a criminal charge is placed as a result of a GPS search warrant will be tried in open court before the public," he said.

But Doucette said he views GPS tracking as more akin to wiretapping and gathering certain phone call information than physically searching someone's house or car, which are more intrusive and more likely to be noticed by the target of the search. Wiretapping and phone record gathering, he pointed out, are typically approved using sealed court orders rather than traditional warrants.

The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Bryce E. Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, in the Senate and Del. David Albo, R-Fairfax, in the House. Their bills sailed through, carrying unanimously in both houses.

Willis said the emergency bill "had legs from the beginning" and took many people by surprise."I would not be surprised if this is revisited" in upcoming sessions, Willis said.

Gun permits

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 (sic), 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 it is government that 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."

Electronic meetings

A bill by Del. Thomas A. Greason, R-Lansdowne, would have allowed state public bodies a greater ability to conduct "electronic meetings" by videocasting.

A separate bill by Del. L. Mark Dudenhefer, R-Stafford, would have allowed local boards and commissions to conduct such meetings.

Better technology is increasingly making teleconferencing easier, and more of a push to allow such meetings is expected, in part as a way to cut travel costs for board members.

Under Greason's bill, only one member of the public would have needed to be at the location publicly announced as the meeting site, and there can be remote locations set up for board members and the public.

The Virginia Coalition for Open Government strongly opposed the legislation.

Rhyne said the group deems it OK to have some members check in remotely if need be, but the bulk of the board's members should be gathered in the same place.

"Our big issue on electronic meetings is that we believe a quorum should be present at the location that the public can go to," she said.

"There's something about being able to see the interaction among members, and to see and meet other members of the public that are interested in the topic the same way you are."

In the end, a subcommittee tabled the legislation for the year and sent it to the Freedom of Information Advisory Council for further study.

It could be submitted again in the coming years.

"We support studying it," Rhyne said. "It's a good conversation to be having."

Sunshine at work

The Daily Press frequently uses laws providing public access to records and meetings as part of our effort to gather the news:

Schools: We file freedom of information requests for salary data, superintendent contracts, School Board emails and bills for outside attorneys. We've used numbers in stories to show how much officials get paid, and how much cities spend on lawsuits.

City government: We've used public records to investigate the expenditures on thousands of city-issued credit cards issued by the City of Newport News. The investigation led to a comprehensive story early last year about the employee expenditures.

Business: We have used federal public records laws to get the U.S. Navy's contracts with Newport News Shipbuilding to build submarines and aircraft carriers. This information can be used to help determine costs, and cost overruns, in building the ships.

Courts: We used a public records request filed with the state senate to gather subpoenas and emails that arose during a recent federal grand jury investigation into a tax break for a company doing business at the Newport News airport. The grand jury appears to have been looking into whether Sen. John Miller, D-Newport News, acted appropriately when he went to work for Orion Air Group five months after he co-sponsored the legislation.

*We used the federal FOIA for our coverage of the then little-used federal courthouse in Newport News, getting copies of the rental contract between the General Services Administration and the courthouse's owner, Scannell Properties. Our coverage showed that the building sat empty most of the time, while the government was paying $165,000 a month to rent the building.

7. National right to carry - contact senators

This is an issue on which the VCDL Board is torn. We like the idea of CHP holders being able to carry in all 50 states, but we hate it anytime the Federal Government tries to extend its power over the states. Consequently, I am passing the following information on to you for you to decide if you wish to support the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2012 or not.


"National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act of 2012" introduced in U.S. Senate
March 13, 2012

Today, March 13, U.S. Senators Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) introduced S. 2188, the "National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2012." The bill is the Senate companion to H. R. 822, which was approved by the U. S. House last November by a vote of 272-154.

S. 2188, like H.R. 822, would allow any person with a valid state-issued concealed firearm permit to carry a concealed handgun in any other state that issues concealed firearm permits, or that does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms for lawful purposes. A state's laws governing where concealed handguns may be carried would apply within its borders.

Today 49 states either issue carry permits or otherwise authorize law-abiding people to carry firearms outside the home for self-defense. 41 states have fair "shall issue" permit systems that allow any law-abiding person to get a permit.

In contrast to dire predictions from anti-gun groups, Right-to-Carry laws have been enormously successful. Interstate reciprocity will serve as a fundamental protection of the right to self-defense by providing people with the ability to protect themselves not only in their home states, but anywhere they travel where carry concealed carry is legal.

Contrary to the false claims of some, these bills would not create federal gun registration or gun owner licensing, nor would they allow any federal agency to establish a federal standard for a carry permit or impose gun control restrictions of any kind.

These bills would have no effect on permitless carry laws, currently on the books in Arizona, Alaska, Wyoming and Vermont, that allow concealed carry without a permit. In addition, Vermont residents would be able to take advantage of S. 2188 and H.R. 822 by obtaining a permit from one of the many states that offer non-resident permits.

Please contact your U.S. Senators today and urge them to cosponsor S. 2188. You can call your U.S. Senators at 202-224-3121 or send them an email by clicking here.

8. Eric Holder "brainwashing" tape on gun-control from 1995 [VIDEO]


By JOEL B. POLLAK has uncovered video from 1995 of then-U.S. Attorney Eric Holder announcing a public campaign to "really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way."

Holder was addressing the Woman's National Democratic Club. In his remarks, broadcast by CSPAN 2, he explained that he intended to use anti-smoking campaigns as his model to "change the hearts and minds of people in Washington, DC" about guns.

"What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that's not cool, that it's not acceptable, it's not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we changed our attitudes about cigarettes."

Holder added that he had asked advertising agencies in the nation's capital to assist by making anti-gun ads rather than commercials "that make me buy things that I don't really need." He had also approached local newspapers and television stations, he said, asking them to devote prime space and time, respectively, to his anti-gun campaign.

Local political leaders and celebrities, Holder said, including Mayor Marion Barry and Jesse Jackson, had been asked to help. In addition, he reported, he had asked the local school board to make the anti-gun message a part of "every day, every school, and every level."

Despite strict gun control efforts, Washington, DC was and remains one of the nation's most dangerous cities for gun violence, though crime has abated somewhat since the 1990s.

Holder went on to become Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration, and currently serves as Attorney General in the Obama Administration.

The video of Holder's remarks was uncovered by contributor Charles C. Johnson.

9. MIssouri House votes to add gun owners to state's protected groups

Support for giving out CHP holder information cost ex-Senator Hauck his seat in the last election. Perhaps some more Senators will have to lose their seats so that we can protect CHP holder information in Virginia once and for all.

John Wilburn emailed me this:



Mo. House votes to add gun owners to state's protected groups
By Marshall Griffin
March 8, 2012

Legislation that would add gun owners to the state's list of protected minority groups has passed the Missouri House.

Under the bill, gun owners who carry their firearms with them in a lawful manner (i.e. possess a concealed-carry permit) cannot be fired, denied benefits, or otherwise discriminated against. It was sponsored by State Rep. Wanda Brown (R, Cole Camp).

"There was a meat-packing plant in northern Kansas City, it was in a bad neighborhood," Brown said. "The owner would carry his gun to work, and he was told that if he didn't quit carrying his gun, the USDA would not come and inspect his product, therefore he couldn't sell his product."

Democrats argued that the bill was being used to increase political pressure on their candidates during an election year. However, about 20 Democrats joined the GOP majority in voting "yes." In addition, Mike Colona (D, St. Louis), an openly gay lawmaker, expressed outrage that Missouri would protect gun owners from discrimination but not protect people based on sexual orientation.

"I can be fired because of my sexual orientation, my constituents can be fired because of their sexual orientation," Colona said. "What this body has done is put protecting gun ownership above discriminating against somebody because of their sexual orientation, and I just don't think that's right."

The bill now goes to the Missouri Senate.

10. Greater Lynchburg Transit Company removes "No guns" signs

A member contacted us about GLTC "No guns" signs, printed material, and PA announcements. EM Ed Levine volunteered to take on the assignment of fixing this problem. In short order Michael J. Carroll, the GLTC General Manager responded that after conferring with their attorneys the signs, materials and PA announcements would be changed to remove the gun ban language.

Just a reminder that one person can get a lot done in this arena. Of course VCDL stands ready in the wings in case the game turns to hardball...

Thanks to GLTC for their professional and timely handling of this matter.

11. What not to say after shooting an intruder


After the Shooting
By Tupreco
Mar 13, 2012

Your bedside clock says 3:40 a.m. You have just awakened to a sound like breaking glass. You pick up the phone to call 911 but the line is dead. It's dark in the house and you ease out of bed to retrieve your handgun from the closet safe just as you have practiced dozens of times. You wait inside your bedroom door with your ear straining to hear. Someone is down the hall sliding something on the tile. At that instant, the 30-second delay on your security system expires and the alarm begins to peal. Another crash in the living room and you are now standing in the hall - gun drawn. A person you have never seen before senses your presence and turns toward you while reaching for his belt. He is close and coming toward you and has ignored your command to stop. You don't specifically remember firing but he goes down after two hollow points catch him in the chest. The knife he was reaching for drops to the floor next to him as he falls. Time seems to stand still. Your cell phone rings and you jump - your security company is on the line about the alarm trip. You tell them to call the police. You hang up and call 911 and check his vitals - no pulse or breathing. Now what?

You just shot an armed intruder in self-defense. You have also just stepped into the middle of a legal minefield. This instance is a clear case of self-defense. Will it be seen that way? The widely-held belief that you are innocent until proven guilty cannot be presumed. The new world you have just entered is far from ideal and the burden of proving your innocence will be on you. What happens next? You will be anxious to talk to the first responders who just arrived, probably police and paramedics. You will also have to overcome an overwhelming and immediate desire to begin justifying your actions to anyone who will listen to you. But for now, saying as little as possible will be the best decision of your life. However, you will only restrain yourself if you know why it is so critical. And you know this because it is one of the key parts of your overall preparedness strategy.

And So It Begins...

Who among us hasn't considered the likelihood that we may be called upon use lethal force in self-defense or to protect innocent life? We pray it never happens but if we are prepared to shoot someone, however justified, then we must be equally prepared to deal with the consequences. I am constantly trying to improve the resources and skills I need to protect my family just like you. Yet a critical part of that preparation includes knowing what will happen and what to do after you shoot. Do you have a clue about the unbelievable complexities that will occur after using deadly force? Do you know what resources exist to help you deal with them? If not, then this article is your wake-up call. It is time to act - now - so that you will be ready in such a situation.

Enter "the system"

I am not a lawyer. I am not a law enforcement officer. But I do have a some key friends in law enforcement and in state and federal courts. Realize that what is written here is not to be construed as legal advice in any way. It is an exhortation to do your homework, make a plan, and assemble a small team - a lawyer and a few key friends - who agree to be available at a moment's notice as you will be for them.

The daily world my friends inhabit is a legal procedural system that is designed to establish whether a crime was committed and to identify possible suspects with all haste and diligence. These are the people who just showed up at your home in response to your frantic call. And there you stand with a gun and a body at your feet. The police are amazing at empathizing while getting the info from you that they know you are dying to unburden yourself with. All of this will happen before your attorney arrives. Getting as much information from you as soon as possible is their goal and it is a certainty that what you say will be used against you if needed. Talking without counsel will almost invariably hurt you. Even if the shoot is clearly justified, they will still be trying to get all the details from you. They will tell you they are trying to help and need your cooperation in order to clear you. But helping you is not their priority. That's your lawyer's job. What are they trying to do? They are gathering information to feed to the system. Realize that your innocence is just one of many outcomes available once the information is gathered and analyzed. The legal system is judged successful when cases are closed and convictions are handed down. That's their true goal - it's not to help you get cleared of wrongdoing. They don't work to answer to you. They may be sympathetic but their job is to feed the system as it is currently designed. Justice may be the stated goal in broad terms but closing the case is the real objective. Getting you justice is your lawyer's job. Are you getting the idea?

Do Your Research and Plan Ahead

There is good news though. Numerous good books and resources are available to help you and several are listed at the end of this article. My goal is to raise your awareness of this issue to a level where you realize you need to act today. Without a plan you will be at the mercy of events out of your control.

Start by thinking about how all of your past and present decisions and life choices will appear in the harsh light of the legal investigation you may face tomorrow. Which choices? All of them. You will be amazed as I was about the dozens of things you do innocently every day that will be portrayed negatively by an unsympathetic legal system. How your friends and neighbors describe what you say and do will get put on display. Will your personality and the gun-related details of your life make you look like Joe Regular Citizen or a crazed vigilante in the hands of skilled prosecutor? Don't think it can happen? It's all about the spin. Here are a few examples:

"You own an excessive number of guns and shoot frequently Mr. Smith...looks like you finally got your chance to use one."

"Your honor, the bumper stickers and rifle rack on Mr. Smith's truck demonstrate a strong mistrust of government and establish a vigilante mindset."

"The range master at your gun club has testified that you always use representations of people as targets instead of a simple bullseye Mr. Smith. I think the jury would like to know why?"

"So you have testified that the man you shot was someone who was known to you and in fact owed you money. Can you explain why he was in your house that afternoon?"

These examples demonstrate how quickly any simple innocent act can be spun negatively and strung together to make you look like the criminal and portray the person who broke into your house and attacked you as the victim. The recommended books and links will be great resources to open your eyes. Use them and start today to assemble a plan. You will want to assemble a small team who can mutually agree to be available should the need arise. Meanwhile, here are some things to get you started.

Key Areas to Consider

When is lethal force legally justified? Case law justifying lethal force throughout the U.S. is generally consistent and of necessity is severely limited. The only time lethal force is justified is when someone reasonably believes that their life or the life of someone else is in immediate jeopardy. The justification only exists while the threat is present (or perceived to be present). In the opening scenario, you pointed your gun at a knife-wielding attacker who was ignoring your commands to stop. But the moment he drops the knife or turns and retreats does he cease to be an immediate threat? If a reasonable man would conclude yes, then the justification for lethal force ceases as well. Someone stealing your stuff? Nope. Breaking into your house? Not unless you truly believed (and can justify by the circumstances over and over later) that you believed your life was in danger.

"I did everything in my power!" You will be asked what you did to address the threat prior to shooting. In escalating order these things include fleeing, a verbal command, physical restraint, use of pepper spray or some other object, and finally your firearm. If any of these things are available you will be asked why you did not or could not use them before resorting to lethal force.

"I was in fear for my life!" There are many ways to express this but the reality is that you must genuinely believe that you were in fear for your life or that of another and saw no other way of escape before you will be cleared for using lethal force. Repeat it early and often. Expressions of remorse are normal and can be helpful or may be construed as guilt. That is why you should say very little and insist on speaking to your lawyer before making a statement or agreeing to be questioned.

"I had no choice but to shoot!" If the attacker continues to advance and can't be deterred any other way, the last resort may be to fire your weapon. Self-defense doctrine suggests you should keep firing until the threat ceases. Next, any secondary threats (such as an accomplice) should be dealt with. Once the threat ceases then contact the authorities as quickly as possible, usually via 911.

What you will do after the shooting is over? You will now be in a highly agitated state and are capable (likely) to do and say things you will regret later. These are normal tendencies but with some forethought and planning, the damage to you can be minimized. If you do not call 911 right away it will go poorly for you. This is the conventional wisdom and it makes some sense. Calling quickly and rendering aid will support the fact that you are the victim here and did not want to kill anyone. Say as little as possible because EVERYTHING you say from here on out will be used against you if it can be. The minimum suggested is something like. "This is John Smith of 123 Main Street. I was just attacked in my home and was afraid for my life. Please send an ambulance because someone has been shot."

After calling 911

After you call 911, you lose control of events almost immediately. For starters, the phone you just used to call 911 on is usually 'locked' so you cannot make any other calls on it. Calling your lawyer or a support team member as soon as possible is advisable (on another phone) and say little except that you want to help and will make a statement after speaking to your lawyer. If your lawyer is not available, call a prearranged friend (you have a team, right?). Have them make all necessary calls for you (lawyer, family, pastor, etc.) as you may be unable to do so. They will be questioned later about why they got a call from you so quickly so their response needs to be solid as well.

Then the police will arrive and they won't know who the good guy is. Their first priority is officer safety followed by bystander safety, securing the scene, and then determining what just happened. Make sure they know it's you that called. Having a just-fired gun in your hand is not the best way to greet them. Make sure your weapon is secured and safe. It will be confiscated by law enforcement immediately and this is routine. Your hands may be bagged to preserve evidence of gunshot residue (GSR). Permission to search the rest of your house will be requested (or may just be done if there are exigent circumstances). The stated explanation will be to secure everyone's safety but equally important will be to examine what role you played in the events. Avoid this if you can. Hopefully your other firearms are locked up and secure and not all in one place should the decision be made to confiscate them. Do not appear to be a threat in any way.

Stop Talking!

When they start pressing you with questions, it will get tricky. There is surprisingly little consensus on what or how much to say. The rule here is "Less is better". I should point out that an officer involved in a shooting is presumed innocent pending an inquiry and is treated very differently than a citizen. He is given representation immediately and is not required to say anything until the rep or lawyer can meet with them and they have a chance to calm down. They are usually placed on paid administrative leave for several weeks. You and I will have to try to go to work in the morning. Yet if we try to take the same approach by wanting to confer with counsel before giving a statement, it is presumed we are trying to hide something. Doesn't seem fair but it is true. The standards are very different. I believe by now you are getting the idea.

Some expert suggestions

Massad Ayoob, noted expert in the self-defense use of firearms suggests that people memorize these five steps and use them immediately and nothing more.

1. "This person attacked me." - establishes you are the victim.

2. "I will sign a complaint." - further confirmation you are the victim

3. Point out evidence that supports you before it disappears.

4. Point out witnesses before they disappear.

5. "Officer, you will have my full cooperation after I have spoken with my attorney."

His further suggestion is request medical attention for yourself as you may be unknowingly injured, in shock, or something similar. It will also get time for you to regroup your thoughts to avoid saying incriminating or conflicting things.

Alan Korwin is a widely-read 2nd Amendment rights author from Phoenix. Here are his new Safety Rules for Self Defense from his book After You Shoot

1. If you shoot in self defense you must then defend yourself against execution for murder

2. When you drop the hammer plan to cash in your life savings for your lawyer's retainer. Avoid this unless your life depends on it.

3. Sometimes the innocent get decent treatment and sometimes they don't

4. It's always better to avoid a gunfight than to win one.

5. If innocent life doesn't depend on it, don't shoot. And if it does, don't miss.

Expect unbelievable levels of scrutiny

Every decision you have made in your life up to this point will come into question at some point. You will have to justify the pertinent ones....Here are a few ways you will be challenged for starters:

1. Why did you shoot? Why did you feel threatened?

2. What did you do/say prior to shooting that could have prevented this?

3. Why that choice of pistol...shotgun...type of ammo?

4. How long or why did you wait to call 911?

5. Who else have you contacted? Why?

6. Did you know the victim? (Notice that now he is the victim and not you?)

Remember that the job of the police and prosecutor is to get you to tell them as much as they can get from you before your lawyer arrives. By the way, the time to establish a relationship with an attorney is before all this happens as part of your team. Don't ask for an attorney - you must request to speak with YOUR attorney. Make sure you have one. Korwin's After You Shoot has some great suggestions about how to put a team together.

Self-Defense Resources


In the Gravest Extreme by Massad Ayoob

Self Defense Laws of All 50 States by Mitch Vilos

After You Shoot by Alan Korwin


"Don't Talk to the Police" video - Professor James Duane

"Don't Talk to the Police - a Police Officer Responds" video -Virginia Beach Officer George Bruch

Web Sites

US Concealed Carry Association Supports ways to be a responsible CCW holder Web site of firearms author Alan Korwin Web site of attorney and author Mitch Vilos

Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network An education and legal defense organization

Massad Ayoob Group - Training and education on personal protection and self defense

My Simple Plan

Our Plan is very simple so it is also easy to remember. I am fortunate that I know a lawyer who is also a prepper, a sport shooter, and a friend. Two like-minded friends have agreed to be the team and we do this for each other. If any of us is involved in a self-defense shoot, we place what we call a Tiger Call to as many of the others as we can reach. We all have a second small disposable cell phone for this purpose. I carry both phones at all times. If one of us were to be involved in an incident these are the steps we have agreed to once the incident is contained and both 911 and the authorities alerted. The plan goes into effect when the Tiger Call is made.

Phase 1 - Immediate actions

* Call the lawyer immediately. Our code phrase within the group is "This is a Tiger Call on behalf of Joe Smith." If unable to reach the lawyer, someone goes to his office or house as appropriate. Our lawyer has also given us a backup lawyer if he is unavailable or if he is the one involved in the shoot.

* Contact all other team members. Decide who will coordinate.

* Meet near the scene and attempt to observe and video events.

* Do not interfere or identify your presence and do not attempt to contact Joe

Phase 2 - Follow-up

* Contact pre-planned individuals so rides, child care, bail, moral support, etc. is available.

* Contact employers as planned to arrange for time-off without arousing alarm.

* Consolidate all notes and observations in writing. Sign, date, and photocopy them. Make duplicate copies of all recordings. These will all be given to the lawyer.

* Joe will contact the Tiger group as soon as possible.

Phase 3 - Family support

* The family will be in disarray and will need immediate support. Call secondary support friends and implement help as needed.

* The Coordinator will facilitate assistance and keep tabs for coordinating follow-up.

An occasional drill can be very helpful. Our first practice run helped us realize that we needed small kit like a B.O.B. just for Tiger Calls. Mine has bottled water, snacks, pencils, paper, mini binocs, and a cheapie video cam.

Now You Have Your Wakeup Call

A TEOTWAWAWKI scenario may not come in a broad encompassing sweep or last indefinitely. To the victims of the recent localized tornados it was more like the end of my world - a sort of personal micro-burst if you will. If you use lethal force without being suitably prepared you will experience a SHTF event all your own.

The thugs who show up to steal, kill, and destroy give neither warning nor thought to their actions apart from what they can score from you. However, the aftermath of a self-defense shooting will be life-changing for you. We all think about how to best prepare for numerous possible scenarios yet will completely overlook this area. I avoided this for years for the same reason I avoided preparing a will. I didn't have the experience to know where to begin. It's uncomfortable to think about dying. It's equally uncomfortable to think about what to do if you shoot someone. Being responsible means doing your research and making a plan. So now I have both the will and plan for after a shooting. Do your research and make your plan. And by God's grace you will never need to use it.

12. Battle of Athens, TN, Aug 1-2, 1946 [VIDEO]

Rafael Pabon emailed me this:


This is a film production, but the incident really did happen. Athens is about 20 or 25 miles north Cleaveland, Tenn.
Please watch this to the end. This is the real reason why we have the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
A couple of years ago someone I know from Tennessee recounted a conversation with an old man who had been a boy at the time of the Battle of Athens. His father had taken a part in it. The man remembered how his mother had been up all night worrying about her husband. In the morning the man said that his father came home, put his shotgun behind the kitchen door and sat down to his breakfast, and no one in the family ever said another word about that night.


13. Victim disarmament and gun laws that kill [VIDEO]

Kenny Hall emailed me this:



14. Gun nation: Inside America's gun-carry culture

Here's a hit piece that is just dripping with anti-gun bias.

Dave Aronson emailed me this:



Gun nation: Inside America's gun-carry culture
Why Americans now carry handguns in so many public places, from parks to college campuses. Is it making the country safer or more dangerous?

By Patrik Jonsson
March 11, 2012

Garner, NC.

Leaning against a scrub pine as preschoolers scurry about at his feet, Shane Gazda, father of 3-year-old twins, recalls a conundrum he faced earlier that morning: whether to take his Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun to a Groundhog Day celebration in this town's White Deer Park.

After all, what was once against the law in North Carolina - carrying a concealed gun in a town park, square, or greenway - is now, as of Dec. 1, 2011, very much allowed. To Mr. Gazda, who likes to shoot targets in his backyard, an event as innocent as paying homage to a rodent could turn dangerous if the wrong person shows up.

"Part of it is being ready for cataclysm every day," says Gazda, a hospital maintenance engineer. "And to be honest, I started carrying precisely to protect not just myself, but my family, and anyone around me who needs help."

In the end, Gazda left the gun at home. But his internal debate is emblematic of one a growing number of Americans are having almost daily. Thirty years after a powerful gun-control movement swept the country, Americans are embracing the idea of owning and carrying firearms with a zeal rarely seen since the days of muskets and militias.

A combination of favorable court rulings, grass-roots activism, traditional fears of crime, and modern anxieties about government has led to what may be a tipping point on an issue that just a few years ago was one of America's most contentious. Gun rights have now expanded to the point where the fundamental question seems not to be "should we be able to carry guns," but instead is "where can't we carry them?"

The answer: not very many places. [PVC: In NORTH CAROLINA?! It is extremely restrictive down there. No carrying in restaurants that serve alcohol, anywhere they sell a ticket, government buildings, banks (if carrying concealed), etc.]

The new North Carolina statute, in fact, is one of hundreds of new gun-friendly laws enacted by states and localities in the past few years alone. Mississippi lawmakers, for instance, recently voted to allow gun owners who take an extra safety class to carry hidden weapons on college campuses and in courthouses. Ohio has granted people with permits the right to bring concealed weapons into restaurants, bars, and sports arenas. A 2010 Indiana law stipulates that private business owners let employees keep guns in their cars when parked on company property. And New Hampshire, along with several other states, has removed restrictions on bearing arms in the ultimate politically symbolic place - the State House.

In 2009, three times as many pro-gun laws were passed in the United States as antigun measures - a trend that experts say has only accelerated since then. Fully 40 states now mandate that anyone who asks for a concealed-carry permit and meets the qualifications must be issued one. One result: The number of concealed-weapon license holders in the US has gone from a few hundred thousand 10 years ago to more than 6 million today. In some parts of Tennessee, 1 out of every 11 people on the street is either carrying a weapon or has a license to do so.

"It's a huge sea change, and one lesson to take out of all of this is that it's amazing how fast attitudes on constitutional issues can change," says Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and the author of "An Army of Davids." "The thinking has turned in a way that many thought to be impossible only 15 years ago."

Resistance to the ubiquity of guns remains, of course, mainly in the urban North. It is perhaps telling that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is prohibited from seeking another term and who has millions of his own money to spend, has become the preeminent gun-control spokesman in the country. Freshman Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is worried about an overly armed populace, too: Last month, he proposed a statewide registry for handgun owners.

But the vast majority of the momentum on guns is on the side of people who want a .30-30 rifle in their cabinet at home and the right to carry a Ruger in their coat pocket - anywhere. It is being driven, in part, by what could be called a "militia of one" mentality. While 20 years ago many people were arming themselves as part of a nostalgic identification with citizen armies, many today see carrying a gun in public as an essential right and a legitimate, even necessary, tool to ease peculiar and particular American fears about personal protection.

"People are buying guns to deal with their anxiety of feeling they have no safety or they have this need for their political sense of freedom, but not everybody shares that level of personal threat," says Joan Burbick, author of "Gun Show Nation," a critique of American gun culture. "And when you're going to insist upon this in public spaces or shared spaces like a basketball game or a park, then you're really intruding into where other people get their personal sense of safety."

How did embracing guns become so pervasive, and is the country safer or more dangerous as a result?

* * *

Garner is typical of the towns in America's new "Gun Belt." The community of 26,000 people in the piney woods of North Carolina is decidedly not Northern, but neither is it completely Southern. It is a hamlet of conservative-leaning Democrats, 70 percent of whom are transplanted Yankees.

It marries rural roots with a suburban mind-set, all in a tableau of minivans and Easter egg hunts. Last year, the national Pony League softball tournament (for girls under 12 years of age) was held in White Deer Park. The town abuts more urban Raleigh, which perennially is listed as one of America's "best places to live."

It is here along the edges of America's urban renaissance that the right-to-carry movement is burgeoning, with women, young professionals, and college students among those leading what some call a "new social formation" of heat-packers. On this day, two moms, Barbara Frickman and Angela Reeves, are arriving with their strollers and toddlers to see Mortimer, Garner's famed groundhog. Both question North Carolina's new guns-in-parks law, but then acknowledge that they, too, have concealed-weapons permits.

"Around kids, guns are scary, but jogging on the greenway at night? That's a different story," says Ms. Frickman.

In that way, the two women represent a new, largely pro-gun demographic. A majority of married women support the right to carry a concealed weapon in America, while single women, on the whole, do not. Overall, 85 percent of Americans support the right to keep and bear arms, according to a survey by Angus Reid Public Opinion. A 1991 poll by the Los Angeles Times put that number at 68 percent.

Yet Americans are hardly monolithic in their views. In a Monitor/TIPP poll conducted in February, a majority of those surveyed said they supported more restrictive gun rights. Southerners, people between the ages of 18 and 24, and those earning between $50,000 and $75,000 a year made up the only major demographic groups where the majority favored less restrictive gun laws. Not surprisingly, gun rights are more broadly supported in factory towns and rural areas than in suburban and downtown zones.

Some of that ambivalence is reflected in Garner, where views on guns don't always fall along predictable lines. Ronnie Williams, for instance, is the town mayor and, as a born and bred North Carolinian, someone you'd expect to be a committed gun rights enthusiast. He isn't.

Mr. Williams, in fact, is proud that he's never owned a gun. Since the state's passage of the more expansive concealed weapons law, he has worked with the town council to designate places where guns remain forbidden.

"On one hand, you have grandpas and grandmas who don't feel that a local basketball game or baseball game is the right place for guns because emotions can get so heated," says the affable mayor who, as any self-respecting local dignitary, is dressed for the Groundhog Day celebration in a tuxedo and top hat. "The other side of the message is, if I'm walking down the greenway and bad guys try to rape my wife or girlfriend, I want to carry my gun so I can kill ... them."

Gazda, on the other hand, probably shouldn't be a gun proponent. He is a refugee from gun-wary New York who grew up in a household of women, which included his mother, grandmother, aunt - and no firearms.

Yet, like many transplanted Northerners, he journeyed south partly to avoid what he considers overbearing government edicts. Gazda lives in an edge-of-suburbia home with a sign at the end of the driveway that warns of "vicious dogs." It refers to two golden retrievers who greet visitors with slobbering affection.

In his backyard, he has a playground set built out of scrap wood. It is here he also likes to practice shooting his guns. He takes out his Smith & Wesson and fires off a round. The sound crackles through the woods. The pistol is large, but, because of its high-tech composite frame, surprisingly light.

"I see it as a tool granted me by the Constitution, plain and simple," says Gazda. "And [the government's] always going to be trying to take that tool away from me."

Gazda bought his first gun five years ago when he got his concealed-carry permit but admits buying several more when Barack Obama was elected president, out of concern that the administration would try to limit gun rights.

He points out that the general decline in the violent crime rate doesn't mean the country isn't dangerous. One day when he left the gun behind, he was accosted, he says, by a convenience store owner who refused to let his two children use the bathroom. "I felt threatened, and since then I always take it with me on trips with the family," he says.

Fear for personal safety is a major reason many people want to be able to own and carry a gun. Some see themselves as a sort of self-appointed family constable.

* * *

"There's a kind of Second Amendment reconstructionism going on which has to do with Western individuality, freedom from coercion ... moving about and not having to explain your business to people," says Brian Anse Patrick, a University of Toledo professor and author of "Rise of the Anti-Media," which documents the gun rights movement's underground presses. "They may not think Washington is their friend, and they're certain that bureaucrats are working against their right to own guns. But it has less to do with resisting government authority and more about family: 'I want to be able to defend myself, I want the right to travel and refrain from fear, and this little .38 special here helps me achieve that.' "

Yet a little defiance of government authority is mixed in there as well. "The Democratic Party in many ways overinvested in symbolic legislation on gun control, which explains the backlash from hunters or people who have a legitimate reason to feel unsafe and want a gun by their bedside," says Sanford Levinson, a University of Texas constitutional law professor and expert on the Second Amendment. "But the more important thing is what the Republican Party has done over 25 years, which is to really delegitimize national government and make people feel that the national government is not merely incompetent, but also likely to be antagonistic and maybe even tyrannical."

The 9/11 attacks reinforced the view among many Americans that dark forces lurk in society that people need to defend themselves against. While the overall violent crime rate is down, a recent poll by Rasmussen Reports showed that 72 percent of Americans feel that local crime will increase in the near term. Some experts say this generalized anxiety is reflected in the popularity of movies and TV shows about zombies and similar topics. The grim mood hasn't gone unnoticed by ammo manufacturers, one of which is trying to capitalize on the zeitgeist by selling a line of Zombie Max cartridges and shells.

Paul Valone is another reason America is more heavily armed today. One day in 1994, Mr. Valone, an airline pilot, was watching lawmakers on C-SPAN press their case for an assault weapons ban in Congress. Outraged, he called around to various gun rights groups to find out what he could do. Frustrated with their response, he eventually launched his own group, Grass Roots North Carolina, which has evolved into a potent lobbying force in the state.

While many people automatically assume the expansion of gun rights is linked to the power of the National Rifle Association (NRA) - which does remain a magnum political force in Washington and across much of the country - others say it is the effectiveness of smaller, and often more uncompromising, groups like Valone's that are shifting the debate. Many of them are run by just a handful of committed activists who spread their frequently tart messages through pamphlets, blogs, and massive e-mail lists.

It was Valone's group, for instance, that largely wrote the state's recently passed park carry law and a more general concealed weapons statute before that. When a bill mandating stricter storage for guns at home was introduced in the state legislature in 2001, Grass Roots North Carolina helped defeat it by branding the measure as "the rapist protection act."

Currently, the group is pushing to expand the concealed carry law so people can bring guns into restaurants. It is also in court trying to thwart the ability of authorities to suspend concealed-carry permits during declared emergencies. The lawsuit stems from an incident a few years ago in King, N.C., where a looming snowstorm sparked a temporary weapons ban out of concern that people in the middle of a crisis may be too quick to solve problems with the barrel of a gun.

Similarly, in 2010, Gov. Bev Perdue (D) prohibited carrying guns in public in anticipation of the arrival of hurricane Earl, which coincided with hunting season. Grass Roots North Carolina argues she turned 11,000 dove hunters into criminals.

"People like to explain all of this away as the gun lobby doing its work, but it's really peasants with pitchforks," says Valone. "We were the tea party before the tea party was cool."

While Valone and other gun rights advocates talk of an army of "peaceable citizens," a term coined by Sam Adams, critics see this as a romanticized view of an armed populace - and a dangerous one. They believe Americans should be able to solve problems without resorting to a cocked pistol.

"You go from self-defense to political freedom. And every step along the way you get to expand gun rights, you have a victory for political freedom. That's a heady equation," says Ms. Burbick, who studies culture and politics at Washington State University in Pullman. "It's simple, it's straightforward, but nobody seems to be able to test if it's accurate. So instead of funding town parks at a level where you can manage the environment and the people in the environment, you come up with this very shortsighted but direct solution, which is carry a gun."

* * *

Actually, it isn't necessarily a simple or direct solution. In Garner, you almost need a surveyor's transit to be able to figure out where you can and can't go with a weapon. Once the state law allowing carrying a concealed gun was passed, local officials began carving out places where they didn't want people bringing pistols.

In White Deer Park, for instance, permit holders are allowed to carry concealed weapons in almost all areas, with the exception of a little nature center and the playground, which is marked by a (somewhat) clearly defined bed of mulch. Elsewhere across Garner, the town council has decreed gyms, ball fields, and other public zones off limits to gun carriers, most marked by signs and all delineated, in painstaking detail, in a municipal ordinance.

Other cities across North Carolina, including Raleigh and Winston-Salem, have exempted areas in more general language - banning guns from all playgrounds and sports facilities, for instance - which Valone's group is planning to challenge.

This patchwork of firearm-carry and firearm-free zones is a metaphor for where gun laws have evolved in many states - from a concerted move by opponents to keep them out of people's hands as a matter of principle to the view that, OK, you can carry them, including in public, just not in these specific areas. It's a long way from where much of the country was 40 years ago.

Back in the 1960s and '70s, a formidable gun control movement formed out of concern about urban crime. Widespread riots and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy and, later, the wounding of President Reagan added to concerns about the prevalence of guns. Other high-profile shootings, including the killing of five children in Stockton, Calif., in 1989 and the slaying of four federal agents during a siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, in 1993, focused attention on assault weapons in particular.

A bevy of national laws followed - restrictions on mail-order rifle sales in 1968, the outlawing of "cop killer" bullets in 1984, the establishment of "drug-free school zones" in 1990 that included stiff penalties for anyone carrying guns in those areas, an assault weapons ban in 1994. By most accounts, the assault weapons ban, which tellingly expired in 2004, marked the end of the gun control arc.

The urban unrest and assassinations of the '60s and '70s "inspired a magical thinking where guns symbolized evil, and to ban guns was to ban evil," says Mr. Reynolds of the University of Tennessee. "But as those psychological traumas receded, replaced by a fresh batch of psychological traumas, we kind of fell back into the normal and ... traditional."

The pro-gun movement has been expanding ever since, aided in part by favorable legal rulings and writings. In 1989, Mr. Levinson, the Texas law professor, wrote a notable essay in the Yale Law Review in which he suggested that citizen participation in government might extend to the Second Amendment.

Levinson looked specifically at whether "ordinary citizens [should] participate in the process of law enforcement and defense of liberty rather than rely on professionalized peacekeepers, whether we call them standing armies or police." Gun rights activists consider it a hinge moment in the gun debate, since it marked one of the first such dissections of the Second Amendment by a liberal legal scholar.

More recently, two US Supreme Court decisions - District of Columbia v. Heller (in 2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (in 2010) - have buttressed the constitutional right of Americans to own weapons for self-defense.

While all this was going on, pro-gun laws were gathering momentum in statehouses. In 1987, Florida passed the nation's first "shall-issue" concealed-carry weapons law. It meant that the state was required to issue a permit to anyone who wanted to carry a concealed gun in public places, provided the applicant met a set of requirements.

These vary from state to state but include such things as paying a license fee, taking a safety training class or exam, submitting to fingerprinting, and having a criminal-free record. Today all but 10 states have shall-issue carry laws, four of which (Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, Wyoming) require no permit at all to harbor a hidden weapon.

Other laws passed in various states range from an expansion of the "castle doctrine" - broadening the right to use a gun to defend your home to include your front yard, boat, or workplace - to returning gun rights to nonviolent felons.

Even President Obama, long considered by the NRA as an enemy of the Second Amendment, has acquiesced on the issue. He signed legislation in 2009 - which admittedly was part of a compromise budget bill - that for the first time allowed people to carry concealed guns in national parks. It coincided with concerns about crime in the nation's premier outdoor playgrounds.

Not all laws, of course, have been so gun-friendly. Mayor Bloomberg, for one, is trying to make it harder for people to buy weapons at gun shows, which he says contribute to violent crime in America's cities. Other urban areas, including Washington, D.C., and Chicago, have tried to skirt the recent Supreme Court rulings by essentially banning guns in other ways, such as through zoning or onerous licensing laws.

* * *

Behind the proliferation of less-restrictive laws - and guns themselves - looms a question as old as the flintlock: Does having more weapons in people's hands make society more, or less, safe?

Partisans on both sides marshal their numbers. Gun critics have long been concerned that concealed carry laws will lead to more routine disputes being settled with a bullet, especially if the weapons end up on the wrong hips.

In December, The New York Times examined how many concealed-weapon permit holders in North Carolina had committed past crimes. Out of 260,000 licensees, it found that roughly 2,600 had committed at least a nontraffic-related misdemeanor, and 200 had committed felonies; 10 of those were manslaughter or murder convictions.

That amounts to about 1 percent of the total permit holders, but, to critics, the point was clear: It's not only "peaceable citizens" who are granted the right to carry concealed weapons in public, and it's far from certain whether the state is effective in revoking licenses when a carrier commits a crime.

More broadly, the Violence Policy Center, a gun control group, found that between 2007 and 2009 concealed-carry permit holders killed 117 people in the US, including nine law enforcement officers. But other surveys have found that guns are used defensively to stop a crime - from simple assault to rape and burglary - without death or injury as many as 2.5 million times a year, according to research done by Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Moreover, the number of deaths caused by a gun in the US has been declining even though the number of guns carried in public has been growing. Federal statistics show that between 2005 and 2009, the number of annual murders committed with a gun dropped from 10,158 to 9,146. During the same period, the number of justifiable, or defensive, homicides rose from 196 to 261.

After looking at the plethora of research on the topic, the Chronicle of Higher Education recently concluded: "No scholars now claim that legalizing concealed weapons causes a major increase in crime."

What some criminologist says about the impact of more people carrying guns, however, doesn't really matter to many people in Garner, or beyond. Most don't look to sterile statistics to validate whether they should tote a sidearm or not. It's about what makes them feel safe.

* * *

For Joe Binns, that means no Colt .45 under his coat. A retired coal miner from Pennsylvania who spends his winters in Garner, Mr. Binns believes all guns - even hunting rifles - should be locked in the local police station. If someone wants to shoot a deer or turkey, they can go down to the station house and check out their Browning or Springfield.

"Guns everywhere, it's ridiculous," he says. "If you're in trouble, call the cops."

Many others here clearly disagree, including Gazda, even if not all of them are willing to say so vocally.

At the Personal Defense & Handgun Safety Center, a gun shop and shooting range in Raleigh that offers certification courses, owner Mike Tilley notes how concealed carry classes have gotten so big that his staff has had to move them to a nearby conference center.

He says that many of the attendees come from surrounding communities, including liberal Chapel Hill. When he asks them why they don't take classes in their own area, the answer is revealing.

"They don't want their family or neighbors to know," he says. "There's still an uneasiness about gun carry, this persistent and collective idea that guns are bad."

15. More women choosing to arm themselves for protection, sport

Deborah Anderson emailed me this:


I definitely totally can relate to the all stories in this article. Like the first lady, I grew up around guns but never saw the need to own one myself until an incident occurred. Unfortunately, I couldn't own a gun even after that incident occurred, because I was living in the District of Columbia at the time.

But, the article also talks about guns being a bonding experience between men and women. That was so true in my own life. Not only did using guns for hunting help to bond me with my dad and brother, but it was in learning how to use a handgun with my then boyfriend (now, my husband), Mark, that I came to appreciate the defense perks of owning a gun. I loved shooting, and so wanted to be able to own one for self-defense back then, but I couldn't own one till we got married and I moved to Virginia. Now, I own several.

My familiarity with guns (long guns, to be more specific) started in childhood. My dad, uncles, brother and cousins were hunters. I became one, too -- taking a hunter safety course at the age of 11 or 12, and then going hunting afterward.

But, my introduction to handguns and self-defense all started when Mark took me to the range on one of our earliest dates. After firing off a couple hundred rounds, I was hooked! I wanted to shoot again, and so we went back to the range many more times. Mark also introduced me to VCDL and many of our dates were attending VCDL meetings and going out for the fellowship with other gun owners afterward.

From those first experiences with Mark, my association with handguns and defense has really blossomed. Fast forward less than 5 years later, and now I'm even a certified firearms instructor and helping to run a part-time training business with my husband! I'd say that's about as full-circle as anyone could travel when it comes to firearms. All I can say is "Wow!" when I think about how my life has changed for the better!


Deborah Jane Anderson


More women choosing to arm themselves for protection, sport
By Taya Flores
March 10, 2012

Marge Bunting grew up in a household where her father owned guns, but she never felt the need to own one herself until one troubling day.

May 24, 2011, will forever be etched in Bunting's memory. She thought surviving her dentist appointment was going to be the most difficult part of her day, but she was wrong. During a routine bank stop at Purdue Federal Credit Union in Lafayette, Bunting witnessed an armed robbery.

"They didn't see us as people," said Bunting, 62, of Lafayette. "I ran through the bushes and flowers in front of the bank, just terrified. I was never so scared in my life."

After the robbery, she armed herself, becoming the proud owner of two guns -- a large Taurus Judge revolver and a smaller Smith & Wesson .22 caliber pistol.

Bunting is one of the many women who are taking up arms as gun owners. Although gun ownership still is more prevalent among men, the percentage of women who own guns has increased since 2005. However, among men, it has slightly decreased. For instance, in 2005, 13 percent of women owned guns but by 2011 the percentage increased to 23 percent of women, according to Gallup polls. In 2011, 46 percent of men own a gun compared to 47 percent in 2005.

Both polls are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of about 1,000 Americans age 18 and older.

Multiple factors contribute to this trend. The current hunting and shooting environment is friendlier to female gun owners. Gun manufacturers are targeting women with guns and merchandise sold in stereotypically feminine colors. Also, men are sharing their gun interests with the women in their lives, whether it be their sisters, friends or girlfriends.

Reasons for gun ownership or interest among women vary. Similar to Bunting, some local women own guns for an added sense of protection. Others view them as a means for sport. But some are simply fascinated by the weapons.

Rosy artillery

An online student at Indiana State University, Junia Degracia of Lafayette said she's always been interested in guns. "I had to take a couple of classes that went over gunshot wounds, ballistics," said Degracia, who is studying criminology. "I like them. They are fun to shoot; personal protection is a big deal when you are a little small girl like me."

The 24-year-old is planning on buying a gun. She recently applied for a permit.

"I'm trying to figure out what handgun I want to carry," she said. "I really have to find something that I'm comfortable with. I'm tempted to buy a rifle just because I like to shoot them. They are fun."

Although gun manufacturers have started targeting women with pink merchandise and pink guns, Degracia isn't biting.

"(They are) not my cup of tea," she said. "I don't really like pink. I'm not girly, which is why I (intern) at a shooting range."

Dan Quesenbery, manager at Applied Ballistics Systems in Lafayette, said many women actually prefer traditional guns.

"(But) every once in a while a customer will see a pink gun and love it," he said.

Gun owner and hunter Megan Benage of Lafayette falls into that category. While she doesn't believe a pink gun would be suitable for hunting turkeys, she likes the idea that manufacturers are noticing female gun owners. "It makes me feel like I'm owning it," she said. "It makes me feel unique and special, like I am a woman. I don't wear extra, extra, extra large hunting bibs. It's nice to go out there and have things made for me."

Something to share

Shooting guns also can be a bonding experience between men and women.

Quesenbery said the shooting range is actually a popular date destination for young Purdue University couples.

Ben Warman of Lafayette even brought his sister, Victoria Bettin, to the indoor shooting range at Applied Ballistics Systems while she was in town visiting.

"She's never been to a gun range before, and she was interested," he said.

Bettin said she wants to own a gun, "just for protection," but she wanted to make sure she enjoyed shooting it first.

"I was kind of nervous, but it was kind of a rush," said Bettin, 35, of Niles, Mich.

One with nature

Benage owns a Remington 870 shotgun. "I hunt with it," said the 29-year-old. "I do both deer and turkey but mostly turkey."

When turkey season comes around during spring, Benage tries to get out "any time I can get away," she said. "There's no sleep."

To her, a gun doesn't represent power but more of a tool she needs to enjoy a favored hobby.

As a rural conservationist, her training put her in the midst of male hunters. She'd often hear her male peers talk about how exciting it was to hunt.

"Hunting for me in general is less about the kill and more about the experience," she said. "When you are sitting out there all by yourself and you are just waiting, you're aware of everything around you. You see birds chirping, caterpillars walking up your leg and there's always a squirrel crawling up your tree."

When it comes to owning a gun or shooting, Benage believes the stigma against women is fading.

"There's still some of that good 'ol boy flavor that happens, too, where people are like 'Oh, you're going to kill a turkey, oh yeah, why don't you just go buy one?' " she said.

But overall, she believes men, especially those in conservation groups, are eager to help women learn to hunt, shoot and take care of their guns.

"It's still a weapon at the end of the day," she said. "So there's a lot of gun safety that goes with owning a gun."

Bunting doesn't believe a stigma exists either. She said there are people of all walks of life and ages who are gun owners.

"There are a lot more women packing heat now, too," she said.

16. What's next for gun rights?

Charlie Whiting emailed me this:


What's Next for Gun Rights?
By Robert VerBruggen
March 13, 2012

To gun-rights supporters, the Supreme Court's District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago decisions may have felt like a dream come true -- the Court recognized an individual right to keep and bear arms, and applied that right to state and local governments. Going forward, handgun bans are off the table in the U.S.

But judging by a conference hosted by the Fordham Urban Law Journal last Friday, the two sides of the gun-control debate have simply regrouped, recalibrated their expectations, and lined up for battle once again. As definitive as Heller and McDonald may seem, they offer little guidance to lawmakers and lower courts as to what kinds of gun control are still permissible.

For the pro-gun folks, Priority No. 1 is to make sure that Heller and McDonald have some practical effect. Despite the adverse court rulings, Washington, D.C., and Chicago have replaced their handgun bans with onerous requirements -- such as registration and training -- designed to discourage citizens from owning guns. A bill before the D.C. council would eliminate some requirements, as would a court case filed by Dick Heller (the plaintiff from the original decision). Numerous lawsuits have also been filed against Chicago's post-ban regulations. While New York City has never banned guns outright, it too makes it difficult and expensive for residents to own guns and is facing court challenges.

But anyone who's been paying attention to the Supreme Court knows that once the litigation ball starts rolling, it doesn't magically stop when all the obvious abuses have ended. At the Fordham conference, UCLA law professor Adam Winkler estimated that 300 gun-rights suits have been filed. Many of these are frivolous, last-ditch appeals by criminals accused of misusing guns, and fewer than half a dozen laws have been invalidated.

Another panelist, the Independence Institute's David Kopel, offered a rundown of court rulings that gun-rights supporters -- or at least those who want the courts to micromanage state and local lawmaking -- might hope for as the courts work out a system for balancing the public-safety aims of gun controllers against the Second Amendment rights of citizens. Bans on so-called "assault weapons" could be struck down because they do nothing to prevent crime. Courts could declare self-defense and the defense of others to be Second Amendment rights. They could even forbid public schools to punish students who fight back against bullies.

And while the Heller decision specifically noted that bans on concealed carry have a long history in America and have typically been upheld by the courts, several lawsuits seek to apply the right to bear arms outside of the home. Basically, the argument is that while bans on concealed carry are consistent with the Second Amendment, some rulings upholding such bans have noted that the jurisdictions in question allowed the open carrying of weapons. This suggests that states and cities may discriminate between open and concealed carry, but may not ban both. This is a questionable argument -- as Winkler pointed out at the Fordham conference, through the course of American history, some states have banned open carry as well as concealed.

Also, Kopel claimed that Heller's protection of bans on carrying in "sensitive places" is an "exception that proves the rule" (in the traditional sense of that idiom), but this is even more of a reach. The list he was referring to is non-exclusive -- a footnote says it offers some "presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples" -- and therefore the inclusion of a narrow regulation does not imply the exclusion of a broader one.

As for the gun-control movement, it appears to have disabused itself of the notion that gun bans are the way forward. "I have never supported a ban, I do not support a ban, and I can't imagine that I ever would," said Richard Aborn, who has been a Manhattan district attorney and a president of Handgun Control Inc. (now the Brady Campaign), at the Fordham conference. Later in the day, Michael Pastor, the acting first deputy criminal-justice coordinator in the notoriously anti-gun administration of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, added: "Believe me, we do not sit in our office debating whether people have an individual right to own guns. We just don't."

But that's not to say we won't see new gun regulations in the coming years. No fewer than three panelists -- Aborn, Pastor, and Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck -- suggested that we require private gun sellers (as opposed to licensed dealers) to conduct background checks on buyers. Aborn and Pastor also endorsed efforts to combat gun trafficking from states with loose gun laws to states with stricter ones -- such as limits on how many guns one can purchase at once, and better enforcement of laws against straw purchasing.

Other ideas from Aborn included "microstamping" of guns and ammunition to make them easier to trace, and a nationwide gun registry. Kleck -- whose research has typically shown gun control to be ineffective -- suggested focusing on the people most likely to misuse guns, such as by improving the registry of people too mentally ill to own a gun, prosecuting felons who try to buy guns but are denied by background checks, and making more of an effort to arrest people who are wrongfully carrying concealed weapons.

Thus far, all the Supreme Court has done is to rule out the most extreme forms of gun control. Going forward, we'll see how willing it is to be involved in day-to-day policymaking -- and how effective the gun-control movement can be when its options are limited.

17. Prepare for a home invasion [VIDEO]

Clark Welsh emailed me this:


Philip, et. al;

I've come to the conclusion that Popular Mechanics is a gun-friendly magazine.

I have seen at least one article in there about preparing for disaster; and unlike many other magazines that aren't focused on guns, they've recommended that people own one, AND learn to store, handle and use it properly. For instance, while generally favoring gun safes, they recommend against the biometric types, because sweaty or bloody hands can obscure fingerprints, and the safe may not unlock when you need it to most.

Now comes this, a short video on being prepared for a home invasion. A PM reporter takes force-on-force training. We see some of his actions, right and wrong, and get comments from the trainers concerning those actions. The video doesn't present any solid conclusions, but the message conveyed is that a lot of things can happen in a home invasion that can have consequences later, even if no innocents are harmed. One needs to think and plan and prepare before a home invasion ever takes place so that one can control the situation if it happens, and not make mistakes that can be very costly either immediately, or later on. Times of high stress and high stakes are NOT the times to be making critical on-the-spot decisions you could have planned for, or simply not know what to do next.

Some basics (there's a LOT to think about): Keep your doors and widows locked; if someone's at the door and you don't know who it is, don't open it; Have a gun safely at hand every moment you're at home; if invaded, escape quickly if you can; call 911 immediately if you have time and can do so without compromising yourself; if you can't escape, stay as calm as possible and get positive control of the situation immediately; remember the 21-foot rule, and if you can't keep that distance from the intruder, use an obstacle to make it harder for him to get to you and give you more time to react to a sudden attack; try to assess whether or not he is alone, don't be surprised by his buddies; whether you have shot him or not, you need to get the intuder face down on the floor, arms and legs spread; call 911 as soon as possible; tactically, YOU or a trusted individual must be the first one to make that call, or you will be at a disadvantage when the cops arrive, and afterward during any investigation; if you have fired (and especially if you have hit the intruder), be sure to tell the 911 operator that there are shots fired, the intruder is down, YOU are the resident, YOU are holding the gun, and describe yourself to the operator; get your ID out and visible; if you have a carry permit, have it out and visible before the cops arrive; have no conversation with the intruder except to tell him to stay down, don't move, help is on the way, and stay away from him physically for your own safety; even if he appears unconscious, he could be playing possum; if it's just you and the intruder, try to position yourself so that the cops reach you first when they arrive, and immediately yield control to them; obey their commands fully and instantly; be prepared for the possibility that the intruder may try to confuse things and lie to the cops as they try to assess and control the situation; be prepared for the possibility that the cops may put YOU on the floor in cuffs while they straighten stuff out; if they do, LET them, don't argue or resist, but do keep telling them you are the resident until they get it.


18. Your 2A cartoon of the day

"Warning: Some sitting ducks might shoot back!"

Jay Britt emailed me this:



19. CMP Shooters News March 12, 2012

Michael Irvin emailed me this:


March edition of "The First Shot" CMP On-line Magazine.


20. BREAKING: Anti-gunners work secret deal to eliminate carry in restaurants in Virginia!

The end of restaurant carry in Virginia as we know it could be coming next year based on a secret deal between the Brady Campaign and the Governor that I just learned about. :-(

In exchange for 20-year-old CHP holders being able to carry guns in university buildings during total solar eclipses, gun owners would be banned from all restaurants permanently, even if not carrying!

My source says a formal announcement from the Brady Campaign is coming later today, April 1st...

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