Sunday, April 22, 2012

VA-ALERT: VCDL Update 4/22/12

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1. LTE on stand your ground
2. A good discussion on Florida killing
3. A nation arms itself - For what?
4. JMU students protest gun policy
5. Who needs a gun on a college campus... Again?
6. Maryland to appeal the ruling in Woollard v. Sheridan
7. MILLER: Transporting guns in Maryland
8. Concealed carry saves church from shotgun intruder
9. Video: Veteran defends home - shoots intruder
10. Howell: Virginians want responsible gun laws
11. FOPA Reform bill introduced in Congress
12. MILLER: D.C. resists correcting gun laws
13. Cuomo whacks Pataki gun law
14. Bloomberg attacks "Stand Your Ground" laws

1. LTE on stand your ground

VCDL member David Swain had a LTE published recently:

From The Virginian-Pilot:

April 3, 2012

Standing up for the facts Re 'The death of Trayvon Martin' (editorial, March 31): You beseeched all to not judge "without knowing the facts." This is laudable advice that you unfortunately did not follow. There are many aspects of this case that have been poorly reported in the media.

The editorial states that a police dispatcher told George Zimmerman "not to follow Martin." That did not happen. On the audiotape, the dispatcher is clearly heard to say, "Are you following him? ... OK, we don't need you to do that." The dispatcher made a suggestion to Zimmerman that he was not to follow Martin. As the Sanford police have since stated, this was not a legal order, and it was lawful for Zimmerman to follow Martin. Moreover, after the dispatcher's comment, Zimmerman responded, 'OK,' and claims he was returning to his vehicle when the altercation occurred.

The editorial also states that Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law "lowers the threshold for the use of deadly force." The law changes the location for applying Stand Your Ground but does not change the threshold for using deadly force. That threshold in Florida states that "a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another." Virginia's law has nearly identical wording.

The only change in Florida law is the removal of the duty to retreat when in a public location, rather than only in your home. That part of the Florida law states that "a person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat." Previously, if you were walking down the street in Florida and a man approached you holding an axe over your head and screaming that he would kill you, you were required to look around and decide if you could safely run away before defending yourself. Now, that absurd requirement has been removed.

Zimmerman claims that Martin attacked him as he was returning to his vehicle. He claims he was being pummeled on the ground and was in reasonable fear of "death or great bodily harm." His injuries and eyewitness testimony lend support to his statements. However, we don't know how the fight started. We may never know.

Without evidence countering Zimmerman's claim, the police were unable to charge him.

I agree that we should withhold judgment until we know the facts. Moreover, the media need to properly report the facts we do have.

David Swain

2. A good discussion on Florida killing

Roy Scherer emailed me this:


3. A nation arms itself - For what?

James Corbett emailed me this:


A good Pat Buchanan editorial on guns in America.


By Patrick J. Buchanan

With the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch volunteer who was legally carrying a 9-millimeter handgun, the familiar wail has arisen from our cultural and media elite:

America has too many guns!

"Open carry" and "concealed carry" laws should be repealed.

Florida's "Stand-your-ground" law, replicated in two dozen states, threatens to turn America into the Tombstone of Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp. This is insane!

The United Nations agrees. This year, the world body takes up the global control of firearms, including small arms in the hands of citizens.

According to Sen. Rand Paul, the U.N. "Small Arms Treaty" will almost surely mandate tougher licensing requirements to own a gun, require the confiscation and destruction of unauthorized civilian firearms, call for a ban on the trade, sale and private ownership of semi-automatic weapons, and create an international gun registry.

No more Colt .45s in the top drawer or M-1 rifles in the closet.

Memo to the U.N.: Lots of luck.

Forty-five Republican and 12 Democratic senators have declared their opposition to any such U.N. treaty, which means it is dead in the water the moment it is launched from Turtle Bay.

For when it comes to Second Amendment rights, Middle America has spoken - at the ballot box and the gun store. And Congress, most state legislatures and the federal courts have all come down on the side of the Silent Majority.

In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court struck down one of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, assuring district citizens of their right to keep a gun in the home.

U.S. Judge Benson E. Legg just struck down the section of Maryland's gun law that left it to local authorities to decide if a citizen could carry a gun outside his house.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, mentioned as a running mate for Mitt Romney, just signed a law striking down a 20-year ban that kept residents from buying more than one pistol per month. In Virginia's legislature in 1993, McDonnell had voted in favor of the one-gun-per-month rule.

The new law ignited New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who calls Virginia "the No. 1 out-of-state source of crime guns in New York and one of the top suppliers of crime guns nationally."

Two New York cops have been shot this year, one fatally, with guns from Virginia.

But there is another side to the gun story, and University of Houston Professor Larry Bell relates it:

"Law-abiding citizens in America used guns in self-defense 2.5 million times in 1993 (about 6,825 times per day), and actually shot and killed two and a half times as many criminals as police did (1,527 to 606). These self-defense shootings resulted in less than one-fifth as many incidents as police where an innocent person was mistakenly identified as a criminal (2 percent versus 11 percent)."

The figures tell the story. Along with rising incarceration rates, the proliferation of guns in the hands of the law-abiding has been a factor in the nation's falling crime rate.

And that proliferation has accelerated under President Obama.

According to, tax revenues from the sale of firearms and ammunition have gone up 48 percent since 2008, with Iowa, North Carolina and Utah registering revenue gains of over 100 percent.

On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, there were 129,666 background checks of individuals seeking to buy a gun, the highest one-day search in history This exceeded by 32,000 the number of background checks by gun dealers on Black Friday 2010.

Background searches in December broke the all-time monthly record set in November, as 1,534,414 inquiries were made to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System about prospective gun-buyers.

Half a million inquiries came in the six days before Christmas.

Why are Americans arming themselves?

More and more citizens, says the National Rifle Association, fear that if or when they confront a threat to their family, lives or property, the police will not be there.

Reports of home invasions and flash mobs have firmed up the market for firearms. After the 1992 Los Angeles riot, when Californians found themselves defenseless in homes and shops, gun sales soared.

Others argue that a fear of new laws in an Obama second term, or even the possible confiscation of handguns, is driving sales.

Gun-control organizations claim that gun ownership is actually declining, that fewer and fewer people are buying more and more of these guns.

But the numbers seem to contradict the gun-controllers.

A 2005 Gallup survey found that three in 10 Americans own a gun, that 40 percent had a gun in the house, that nearly half of all men own a gun, as do one in seven women. Two-thirds of all gun-owners gave as a reason they own a gun: protection against crime.

America is an armed camp, with the South and Midwest the most heavily armed. Yet, still, Americans buy guns in the millions every year.

Why? Whatever the answer, it is our business, not the U.N.'s.

4. JMU students protest gun policy

Board member Bruce Jackson emailed me this:


From WHSV:

By Ryan Tice
April 2, 2012

This week students across the country are strapping on holsters and going to campus.

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus organized empty holster protests at many colleges.

Students at James Madison University joined the protest.

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus wanted to protest current college policies. JMU's policy prevents students from carrying firearms on campus.

Students with SCCC wanted everyone to see that they have no way to protect themselves.

"It helps people visualize what we are dealing with," said President of the JMU chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus Chris Kichinko. "JMU's weapons policy, and most of Virginia's public universities, completely disarm you. The only that we can have in the way of self defense is a knife less than three inches."

The empty holster protest isn't the only activity happening this week.

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is hosting speakers from the National Rifle Association and the Virginia Citizens Defense League.

5. Who needs a gun on a college campus... Again?

Charlie Whiting emailed me this:

From The State:

By R. Darren Price
April 5, 2012

Campus robberies give students pause

Three people have been robbed at gunpoint around the USC campus in the past six weeks, and it has some students worrying about safety.

"It's definitely a concern," said Maurice Lanier, a senior. "Especially for some of the freshmen and female students."

Late Saturday, two men pointed a gun at man walking by the Swearingen Engineering Building in the 300 block of Main Street. The men hit him in the head, took his iPod and left in a red Honda Accord.

Maggie Gladstone, a freshman, was out walking with friends that night when the university sent out a text message on the Carolina Alert notification system warning students of the robbery. She and her friends don't like walking at night to begin with, and knowing a crime had just occurred nearby spooked them.

"We were running behind trees every time cars passed by," she said.

And on March 15, a student was also robbed at gunpoint in the 1900 block of Pendleton Street, just east of Capstone and Columbia halls. In that incident, men in a black car pulled up next to the student and asked for change for a $10 bill. When the student said no, the passenger pulled out a gun and the man took his iPod.

Three men and one juvenile have been charged in that incident, and were both linked to an armed robbery March 24 in nearby Five Points. Columbia Police are still looking for a fifth suspect in both incidents, department spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said.

Another female student walking at Whaley and Pickens streets was robbed at gunpoint Feb. 29. A man stole her iPad before running away. There were two other armed robberies on campus during the fall semester.

Because of the incidents, USC Police have dispatched extra officers to patrol the campus, according to a statement released this week. The university will continue to provide information to the community, the statement said, and will continue to assist in looking for suspects in the three robberies.

In each incident, students could have done things to help protect themselves from becoming victims, according to Columbia Police crime prevention officer Scott Stover. He said that students should avoid walking alone at night. If students have to walk alone after dark, they should stay alert by ditching the ear buds.

"Criminals look for an easy target," he said. "You're not going to be as alert as you could be with headphones on."

Students make for easy targets for would-be criminals, he said, because they usually aren't paying attention and might be carrying nice phones, electronics, jewelry or bags that they could sell. Students can protect themselves by making common-sense judgments and staying alert.

"Don't get that false sense of security even though USC PD and CPD do a great job patrolling around the area," he said.

Amelia Lewis, a junior, and Liz Kenney, a sophomore, both said that the recent robberies haven't changed the way they get around after dark. But that's probably because they've always stayed alert.

"It's the same as everywhere else," Lewis said. "But you have to be aware."

They both learned about campus safety in their semester-long freshman orientation class, University 101, and try to make sure they don't go out at night alone. They said the university does a fair amount to make sure they don't have to walk home alone, providing shuttles and late-night buses, and giving them plenty of ways to get help if they are ever victims in crime by using the dozens of call boxes around campus.

Lanier's iPhone has been buzzing with text message alerts from the university's Carolina Alert system since late January, when police were investigating firebombings around campus. He said he's gotten alerts for crime on campus before, but he can't remember a semester where more alerts had to be sent out.

"I'm a senior, and it's the first year I've been texted this much," he said.

Carolina Alert blasts out emails, texts, tweets and Facebook posts whenever there is an emergency on campus, according to the university website. Typically, the university will send out alerts when there is an immediate threat or risk on campus or if there is need to notify the public of an incident that has already been contained. This year, there have been nine Carolina Alerts listed for crimes, five of which relate to the robberies the last few months.

Lanier said he doesn't feel unsafe on campus, and appreciates that the university gets information out quickly when incidents occur. But he said he'd like to see more done to prevent crimes from happening.

"I like that we're being informed," he said. "But I don't hear a lot about getting the crimes solved."

6. Maryland to appeal the ruling in Woollard v. Sheridan

From Monachus Lex:

By John Pierce
April 4, 2012

As expected, the Maryland Attorney General's office has filed a timely notice of appeal in the case of Woollard v Sheridan.

The state had signalled their intention to appeal in a Motion For Immediate Stay Pending Appeal which they filed on March 7th, only days after Judge Legg's ruling came down.

On March 30th, Judge Legg granted a temporary stay of the ruling in order for both parties to submit briefs regarding the request for a permanent stay. The temporary stay order requires the state to file their first brief by April 19th. The plaintiffs will have until May 9th to respond and the state will then have until May 23rd to submit their final brief. I will share these briefs with you and comment upon the arguments made therein as they are filed with the court.

After May 23rd, Judge Legg will rule on whether or not a permanent stay is appropriate. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62(c), a court "may suspend, modify, restore, or grant an injunction on ... terms that secure the opposing party's rights." In their motion, the state cites Goldstein v. Miller1 for the proposition that a stay should be granted pending an appeal "when the equities of the case suggest that the status quo should be maintained."

In support of their argument that the status quo should be maintained in regards to Maryland's draconian discretionary permitting scheme, the state cites to the dicta by Judges Wilkinson and Duffy from the 2011 4th Circuit case United States v. Masciandaro.2

In Masciandaro, the majority held that "the general preexisting right to keep and bear arms for participation in militias, for self-defense, and for hunting is thus not strictly limited to the home environment but extends in some form to wherever those activities or needs occur." However, Judges Wilkinson and Duffy, while concurring in the holding, dissented on this point, stating "[w]e do not wish to be even minutely responsible for some unspeakably tragic act of mayhem because in the peace of our judicial chambers we miscalculated as to Second Amendment rights."

It was this dicta from Masciandaro that the state quoted in their motion, implying that there would be "significant adverse consequences for public safety" if the stay were not granted. The state is effectively arguing that citizens of Maryland, who are not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm and who are capable of passing a background check in order to receive a permit to carry a handgun for self defense purposes, are somehow far more likely to commit "unspeakably tragic act[s] of mayhem" than the citizens of the 42 states which do not have such restrictions on permit issuance.

For those who are unfamiliar with the holding in Woollard, it was a challenge to Maryland's requirement that an applicant for a handgun [carry] permit demonstrate a subjective "good and substantial reason." Judge Legg's resulting opinion contained several important holdings.

Perhaps most portentous, Judge Legg joined with the majority in Masciandaro in holding that "the right to bear arms is not limited to the home."

Secondly, Judge Legg held that, while permit requirements to carry firearms outside the home are 'presumptively lawful' as noted in Heller, such presumptions are challengeable under "a heightened standard of review."

In reviewing (and ultimately striking down portions of) Maryland's discretionary scheme under such a standard, he cited the 1995 4th Circuit case of Chesapeake B & M, Inc. v. Harford Cnty3.

A licensing or permitting scheme is unconstitutional when characterized by "unbridled discretion" of a government official or agency, which exists "when a licensing scheme does not impose adequate standards to guide the licensor's discretion."

As Woollard moves through the appeals process, I would like to believe that we will soon see an end to the "unbridled discretion" that is may-issue across the country.

7. MILLER: Transporting guns in Maryland

From The Washington Times:

By Emily Miller
March 29, 2012

D.C. gun transport laws are not nearly as stringent as city officials tell the public. But the Washington Metropolitan Police Department has refused for two weeks to remove false information about the laws from its forms and website.

While D.C.'s transport laws turn out to be similar to the standard state law and the federal law, its neighbor Maryland has many more restrictions.

I grew up in Baltimore and all my oldest and closest friends still live there. My girlfriends have grown interested in shooting from watching me go through the process and buying a gun and training with it. Recently I offered to take a couple of them to a shooting range for their first time.

I wasn't familiar with Maryland's laws or ranges. Except for one time shooting at On Target in Severn as part of D.C.'s required ownership gun class, I'd so far done all my target practice in Virginia at Sharpshooters in Lorton and the NRA range.

Knowing all the state firearm rules are different, I Googled Maryland's laws and chose the only link that took me to a government agency.

The office that handles guns within the Maryland State Police is oddly called "Firearms Registration", even though the state does not require guns to be registered. The only places in the country where the government tracks guns through registration are D.C. and Hawaii.

The website does not have a breakdown of the laws, but rather a link to frequently asked questions. There I found the very narrow question: "Can I legally transport my regulated firearm to the range?"

The answers was yes, "provided the handgun is unloaded and carried in an enclosed case or an enclosed holster, and you are transporting the handgun to or from the places listed in section 4-203 of the Criminal Law Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland."

So what are the places listed in the law?

Maryland officials don't make it easy for people to know. I tried to click through every link on the site to find "section 4-203" , but there was no direction for further information.

I called the number for the state police office on the website to make sure I was taking my gun legally in Maryland.

One positive thing about the D.C. firearm registry office -- and there is only one -- is that if you call from 9am-5pm on weekdays, someone always answers the phone and gives out information on gun laws and registration procedures.

Unfortunately, the information given out is often wrong and the registration procedures are always frustrating. But at least they answer questions by phone, unlike the neighbors in Maryland.

When you call the Maryland state police firearm office, you get put into a voice mail system which very slowly offers seven options. None were related to transport laws, so I chose the one for handguns.

I then got eight more options, none were what I needed. I selected one option, only to find out that no matter what number you choose, it's an automated voice giving information.

I hung up and called back to the main system and listened to all the prompts again. Finally, after a long pause, the automated voice added that, "for all other inquiries or to speak to a command administrator, press seven." I pushed the button and the phone rang.

Good, no more voice mail, I thought. The phone rang some more. And rang. And rang. No one ever picked up the phone. And there was no option for going back to the main menu.

I figured the only way to know what was in mystery Section 4-203 was to Google. I don't like using random website to find firearms law because they are not dependable enough to avoid inadvertently committing a crime that carries a heavy penalty. Also, if the police give out the wrong laws, like in Washington, at least if you are arrested for it, your attorney might have a good case.

The criminal law section says that no one can wear, carry or transport a gun in Maryland - concealed or open- in a car or on their person except in certain circumstances. The only time a gun can be taken out of the home is if you are law enforcement, military, police, or have a concealed carry permit.

The only exceptions for the rest of us is if you are going to "a target shoot, formal or informal target practice, sport shooting event, hunting, a Department of Natural Resources-sponsored firearms and hunter safety class, trapping, or a dog obedience training class or show."

A dog show? I wonder if the ASPCA knows about that exception.

The law is specific that transporting the firearm in these cases can only be done, "while the person is engaged in, on the way to, or returning from that activity."

This law reminded me of the false one described by the firearm experts at the D.C. registry office. Did it mean I couldn't stop for gas? What about going to dinner with my family while I was in Baltimore?

I called On Target range to ask for help. The salesman said that Maryland, "doesn't want you driving around here and there with the gun in your car." So that meant that legally, I could only drive the hour to the range and turn around and come back to D.C.

Federal law states that you can transport a gun anywhere as long as you are going from one state where the firearm is legal (D.C. is considered a state in this law and my gun is registered) to another state where the firearm is legal (my gun is not on the banned list in Maryland) for any lawful purpose (like a shooting range).

So if I stopped for lunch or gas and left my locked gun in the far back of my SUV, it should be legal under federal law, but which law applies? Firearms attorney Richard Gardiner said that, "The federal law trumps inconsistent state law."

In the end, I met my friends Freestate shooting range in White Marsh, which I chose because it's nearest to where my friends live in Baltimore. My girlfriends were excited by the challenge and, as I still am, a little afraid of the action and noise in the range. Kim had never shot a handgun before and got every round of the rented 22 into the bullseye.

Melissa has a revolver at home in South Carolina, but had only shot outside. Once she got more used to the loud bangs from the rifle in the next lane, she shot my 9mm Sig and hit the center of the target. Both Kim and Melissa said they wanted to shoot again soon. Watch out men, the girls are going to take over the ranges soon.

8. Concealed carry saves church from shotgun intruder

Rafael Pabon emailed me this:

From American Vision News:

By Joel McDurmon
April 4, 2012

A South Carolina sheriff is praising a man with a concealed weapons permit who helped disarm someone who kicked in the door of a church armed with a shotgun.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright made national news last year when he urged all women in his county to get a permit to carry a gun after a woman was raped in a park. He said Sunday's incident shows how citizens carrying a legal weapon can stop crimes and prevent bloodshed.

Jesse Gates had already been to the Southside Freewill Baptist Church in Boiling Springs once Sunday morning, so the pastor's grandson was keeping his eye on the parking lot when he saw Gates come back, this time taking a shotgun out of his trunk, Wright said.

"They locked the door and they were calling 911 at the time. He didn't draw his weapon or make any move or action toward this gentleman until he kicked the door open and forced the issue," Wright said.

After Gates kicked in the door, the pistol pointed at him distracted him enough that the pastor was able to grab the shotgun. Members of the church kept him down until deputies arrived, Wright said.

9. Video: Veteran defends home - shoots intruder

From Youtube:

10. Howell: Virginians want responsible gun laws

Joseph Brenchick emailed me this:



I saw this article about how State Senator Janet Howell (D-32nd District) say Virginian's want responsible gun control. [PVC: The only sensible gun control is no gun control.]

Naturally, I felt compelled to submit my two cents. However, I did want to pass this on in the hopes that maybe we can bombard her article with facts versus emotion.

From Oakton Patch:

By Nicole Trifone
April 2, 2012

Virginians want politicians who support strong gun laws, state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd District) wrote in an opinion for The Washington Post.

"Citizens across the commonwealth want responsible gun laws and will support, not punish, politicians who work to reduce trafficking," she wrote.

Howell writes about how the General Assembly may have repealed the one-gun-a-month law during this year's legislative session, but it does not mean advocates of stricter gun laws should lose all optimism.

"First, while plenty of pundits thought that the gun lobby would have carte blanche in Virginia this session, there was a remarkable level of pushback from both sides of the aisle," she wrote, noting bills that would have allowed guns on college campuses and repealed background checks, among others, did not pass.

Read Howell's full opinion on

11. FOPA Reform bill introduced in Congress

Jim Mullins emailed me this:


BTW, there is one other amendment this bill may need: language clarifying that the opening of a cased firearm for presentment & inspection at an airport check-in is also protected. Overall, it's a very good bill that greatly improves existing law.

Last week, (VIrginia) Congressman Morgan Griffith introduced H.R. 4269, which would make several, long-overdue reforms to the Firearm Owner Protection Act's protection of interstate firearm transportation under 18 U.S.C. 926A. Among other things, H.R. 4269 would improve federal law by:

1. Protecting the transportation of a firearm regardless of mode of travel. The current law has been narrowly construed by the courts to apply only to motor vehicles, which makes air, rail, or foot travel a potential nightmare.

2. Protecting ammunition as well as firearms, which will protect traveling gun owners from New Jersey's hollow-point ammo ban.

3. Expanding the definition of "transport" to include "staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, and any other activity incidental to the transport[.]"

4. Requiring the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person claiming a FOPA defense did not fall within FOPA's protections.

5. Requiring an award of attorney's fees to any defendant in a criminal case who prevails under a FOPA defense.

6. Prohibiting and providing for an award of damages and attorney's fees in a civil action for the violation of a person's interstate transportation rights under FOPA.

The only addition I would suggest for this bill (given its scope) would be some language specifically addressing magazines and other firearm components or accessories, as those states that have magazine capacity limits will use the current omission as their loophole to persecute us when possible.

Right now. H.R. 4269 has only 2 cosponsors: Reps. Bill Owens (D-NY) and Ted Poe (R-TX). VCDL should endorse this bill and urge everyone to call, write or e-mail their congressman to urge them to cosponsor H.R. 4269 (or, in the case of Rep. Griffith's constituents in SW VA, thank him for sponsoring it).

12. MILLER: D.C. resists correcting gun laws

Ed Levine emailed me this:


From The Washington Times:

By Emily Miller
April 2, 2012

Washington's Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has had two weeks to remove false information about the city's gun transport laws from its forms and website. It has no interest in doing so.

flashMPD officials refuse to admit that they have been giving out incorrect information over the past four years, much less fix the problems. With the D.C primary election taking place on Tuesday, it's important to know if the city council will use its oversight powers to force a correction.

The man who wrote the gun law, D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson, was made aware of the errors uncovered by my series. He's determined to get them fixed.

As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, the at-large Democrat has oversight of the firearms office in the police department, and his office said that he will be asking MPD to ensure that the proper facts about taking a firearm through the nation's capital are provided to the public.

MPD's firearms registry has at least six full-time staff who answer questions about gun laws and regulations asked over the phone or in person. Unfortunately, the police officers do not appear to understand the legal code they are in charge of interpreting, which means gun owners are being given bad advice regarding activities that could result in a felony arrest.

The registry's website is not user friendly and totally out of date. The first page is about the "recent regulatory changes," which refers to the list of handguns allowed in the District after the Supreme Court overturned the 30-year ban in 2008. Next on the site is the section for "legislative changes," which then lists links to the full text of the legislation passed in 2009 in the wake of the court's decision.

The site then gives office hours - weekdays from 9am to 5pm, meaning you have to take off work to register a gun so that the police don't have to work on weekends. You'll have to scroll down a full page to find the red text with the gun laws.

Since the registry office won't accept anything on the page is wrong, I'll point out the mistakes:

Registry office information: "No person shall carry or possess a firearm on public space in the District of Columbia unless traveling directly to or from a lawful firearm-related activity (registration, hunting, shooting at a practice range, etc.)."

False. You are allowed to transport your gun for any lawful purpose. You do not have to be coming or going to a firearm-related activity.

Sec. 22-4504.02. of D.C. code: "Any person who is not otherwise prohibited by the law from transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm shall be permitted to transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where he may lawfully possess and carry the firearm to any other place where he may lawfully possess and carry the firearm if the firearm is transported in accordance with this section."'

This applies to both residents with legally registered firearms and to citizens of other states who are passing through the nation's capital.

This mistake seems to be made by applying another law on the books for nonresidents (Section 7) to D.C. residents, which is explained below in the third bullet point.

Located online: In the section "Additional Resources"

Note: The link on the website for "Firearms Registration: General Requirements and Study Guide" is the PDF of the registration packet. The link will need to be updated with the updated guide.

Registry office information: "If you are stopped by any police agency in the District of Columbia with a firearm in your possession, you must immediately produce the registration certificate and substantiate your lawful reason for transporting the weapon."

False. You do not need to give a reason for transporting a gun. This is nowhere in D.C. code. If you are stopped by the police, you do not have to offer up that you have a firearm. There's no reason in a normal traffic stop for the police to ask if you are transporting a firearm. But if they do, you have the constitutional right to stay silent.

To lawfully transport (22-4504.02), you only need to properly stow the gun and not be using it to commit a crime.

If you have an interaction with police while transporting, and they are made aware that you have a firearm, then a D.C. residents needs to show the registration certificate of each gun.

Sec. 22-4504.01: "Notwithstanding any other law, a person holding a valid registration for a firearm may carry the firearm....While it is being transported for a lawful purpose as expressly authorized by District or federal statute and in accordance with the requirements of that statute."

Located online: MPD's firearm registry website is This citation is in the the section, "Important Things To Remember."

Located in print: In the registry packet that is distributed to potential and current gun owners, this citation is on page 4.

While these first two items are incorrect and misleading, they can be easily changed by the registry office. But much of the confusion is coming from a bad law on the books that only the city council can change.

Outdated law: "Any nonresident of the District participating in any lawful recreational firearm-related activity in the District, or on his way to or from such activity in another jurisdiction; provided, that such person, whenever in possession of a firearm, shall upon demand of any member of the Metropolitan Police Department, or other bona fide law enforcement officer, exhibit proof that he is on his way to or from such activity, and that his possession or control of such firearm is lawful in the jurisdiction in which he resides..." Sec. 7-2502.01(b)(3)

True and False.

This law is technically trumped by both the federal law and the 2009 D.C. law which allow nonresidents to transport firearms through D.C. for any lawful purpose. Under those statutes, firearms owners from other states going through Washington do not have to be going to or from firearm-related activity and do not need to provide proof that the gun is legal at home.

(Of course, since only D.C. and five states in the U.S. require guns to be registered, it would be virtually impossible for someone without a concealed carry permit from another state to prove it is legal at home.)

Mr. Mendelson's office interprets the broader Sec. 22 law to be the one that police should enforce.

Even so, this law is still on the books and nothing in the 2009 law corrects it. Clearly this law is well-known by the police, who used this exact language to create the misinformation distributed to the public.

Mr. Mendelson could remove this obsolete statute with a clarification in the pending bill that will be voted on by the council in April. His office said he has not yet determined if this will be done.

It is important to note that these mistakes create a dangerous gray area. Acting in accordance with the law could result in arrest, but unlikely a conviction. The federal firearm transport statute trumps any law from a state or municipality. But who wants to spend a night in D.C. jail before a lawyer teaches the cops the difference?

Until Police Chief Cathy Lanier removes the incorrect laws from the city's website and documents from her office and then instructs officers both in the registry office and on the streets about the correct firearms laws, the potential for false arrests remains unacceptably high.

13. Cuomo whacks Pataki gun law

Yet another useless gun control law dies.

Jay Minsky emailed me this:


From New York Post:

By Fredric U. Dicker
April 2, 2012

With virtually no public notice or legislative debate, a centerpiece of ex-Gov. George Pataki's controversial multimillion-dollar anti-gun-crime program was shot dead Friday by Gov. Cuomo's new state budget.

The budget killed off the so-called CoBis, or Combined Ballistics Identification System, which was rolled out with much fanfare by Pataki in 2000 in what was widely seen as an attempt by the politically ambitious Republican "moderate'' to appeal to anti-gun Democrats nationally, possibly for a future presidential run.

Pataki claimed CoBis would use state-of-the-art technology to establish a "DNA database for handguns'' by requiring manufacturers of new semiautomatic pistols to file spent cartridge shells with the State Police, so that their markings could be kept in a traceable registry and compared to any found at crime scenes.

Many Democrats praised the program, and even then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, running for the US Senate in New York, praised Pataki for showing "real leadership in proposing a state-based ballistics program . . . something that needs to be done on a national level.''

Trouble is, the Pataki program NEVER worked. Despite the hundreds of thousands of spent shells submitted, not one criminal was ever captured using the extensive and costly-to-maintain database, state officials concede.

"We are ending a program that doesn't solve crimes or make our streets safe,'' said Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto.

"That's what we said would happen from the start,'' crowed Tom King, president of the New York Rifle and Pistol Association and a National Rifle Association board member. "I think Andrew Cuomo is a very intelligent guy who didn't want to waste money, and this wasn't working."

Vlasto said CoBis cost about $1.2 million a year, but King said it was more like $40 million because of equipment, staff and related expenditures to get the system up and running.

Vlasto said the state would shift at least some of its CoBis spending to the federal National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, which tracks spent shells from guns used in crimes and not simply from those that were legally sold.

Ending CoBis is expected to strengthen the argument against another controversial anti-gun- crime technology, microstamping, which requires gun makers to install a device to put ID marks on spent cartridge shells.

Cuomo backs microstamping, but didn't fight to put it in the budget. It was backed by the Democratic-controlled Assembly but blocked by the GOP-led Senate.

King and other foes contend that, like CoBis, it won't work because the technology targets legal gun owners, who are rarely involved in crimes, and is unproven, easily circumvented and worthless for revolvers (which don't eject spent shells).


Bitter state Senate Democrats, split for years by racial, regional and personal divisions, engaged in a new round of political fratricide Friday over whether to vote for Cuomo's new budget.

"The opponents were saying it's a bad budget because it doesn't include enough spending, a New York Dream Act [aid for illegal aliens], microstamping or a [gas-drilling] hydrofracking health study, and they said Democrats shouldn't vote for it along with the Senate's majority Republicans,'' said a Senate source.

While the Democrats eventually decided overwhelmingly to back the spending plan, there was a bigger issue involved - continuing fury over Cuomo's decision to sign the controversial legislative-redistricting plan that gerrymandered Senate lines heavily in the GOP's favor.

"Our leadership doesn't see the governor as part of the team. They don't trust him, and they don't have good feelings about him,'' said a prominent Democratic senator who demanded anonymity.

14. Bloomberg attacks "Stand Your Ground" laws

Control-freak and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to go after "Stand Your Ground" laws in various states:


The so-called Stand Your Ground self-defense laws in Florida and some other states amount to "a license to murder" and an excuse for "vigilante justice," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg charged Wednesday.

"The laws are not the kind of laws a civilized society should have and the [National Rifle Association] should be ashamed of themselves," Bloomberg, a leading gun-control advocate, said at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. "This has nothing to do with gun-owners' rights. This has nothing to do with the Second Amendment."

"Plain and simple, this is just trying to give people a license to murder," he added of the Stand Your Ground laws.

The laws are enacted in roughly two-dozen states but have been under intense scrutiny since the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black Florida teen, whose shooter, neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, claimed self-defense.

(Also on POLITICO: Holder discusses Trayvon killing)

Florida's 2005 Stand Your Ground law protects shooters who claim self-defense in a wide range of places, including on the street or in a bar. According to the law, a person who believes their life is danger or could be seriously injured in any place they have a right to be "has no duty to retreat" and "has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force."

But Bloomberg blasted the Stand Your Ground laws as "Shoot First" laws.

"The fact is, all Americans already have a right to defend themselves with commensurate force," he said, "but these Shoot First laws have nothing to do with that or with the exercise of Second Amendment rights, instead they justify civilian gunplay and invite vigilante justice and retribution with disastrous results.

The self-defense laws have sown confusion in police departments about when to make arrests and for prosecutors to bring charges against a shooter, Bloomberg said. He also said they put undercover police officers in greater danger.

Bloomberg also addressed the $10,000 bounty the New Black Panther Party have a bounty for the capture of Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman - but he was pretty pissed to even hear the question.

"Anybody that puts a bounty on somebody else's life is acting totally inappropriately. I'm sure it's illegal, it must be illegal," he said in response to a reporter from the Daily Caller.

"What an outrage to even ask the question. What do you think?!" Bloomberg snapped. "I didn't even know about it until you just told me. ... Now I've said my peace, okay. It is an outrage and it's against the law."

Speaking at the National Press Club, Bloomberg was headlining an event launching a national "Second Chance on Shoot First" campaign, which aims to block or repeal Stand Your Ground laws around the country in the wake of the Martin shooting. He was joined by Democratic Florida state Sen. Chris Smith, the NAACP's Hilary Shelton and Urban League President Mark Moriel.

Bloomberg said the effort would be a grassroots campaign that would include lawmaker outreach in all 50 states and designing model legislation.

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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