Wednesday, May 9, 2012

VA-ALERT: VCDL Update 5/8/12

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

1. VCDL Richmond area membership meeting on May 24 - firearms attorney to speak!
2. 2nd Amendment Day celebration at shooting complex in Wirtz, Virginia on June 23rd
3. F3 Tactical in Chantilly offering VCDL discount
4. VCDL/Righthaven story
5. Roanoke County's preempted parks ordinance
6. Who needs a gun at a woman's retail store? [VIDEO]
7. One-gun-a-month was obsolete in Virginia (Lingamfelter)
8. Sending kids to school . . . to be slaughtered
9. Who needs a gun at McDonalds?
10. Who needs a gun when hiking?
11. Gun safety class ends with couple wounded
12. Maryland permit tracking
13. Bill S.1813 - (MAP-21 Agenda)
14. Media: "Trayvon Martin's killer raises more than $200,000 for defense"
15. Reuters article on George Zimmerman
16. Kentucky Supreme Court says universities can't ban guns in staff, student vehicles on campuses
17. Suspect in stabbing at Smith's has long criminal history
19. Open carry debate goes national
19. Anti-gun advocates reveal stunning level of hate
20. 25 years murder free - Kennesaw, GA
21. Granny thwarts 2 robbers
22. Give them what they want and still get shot [VIDEO]
23. Chicago antis addressing school kids [VIDEO]
24. Stand your ground makes sense
25. Stand, move, or seek cover . . . What works in a gunfight
26. Guns, everywhere
27. Gun industry's economic impact skyrockets during Obama years
28. New Brady Campaign chief calls for more gun control (surprise!) [VIDEO]
29. Video: I shot myself! [VIDEO]
30. Ah, fashion statement and concealed carry
31. Concealed carry clothing, cont.

1. VCDL Richmond area membership meeting on May 24 - firearms attorney to speak!

Richmond Area Membership Meeting
May 24, 2012
7:00 p.m.
Tuckahoe Library
1901 Starling Drive
Henrico, VA 23229

Last year we had a meeting in Charlottesville discussing how a person goes about getting a record expunged, when a record can be expunged, and what to say if arrested...or rather what NOT to say.

This meeting proved to be an invaluable wealth of information and we are grateful that EM Mark Matthews has again offered his time and legal expertise for a similar meeting in the Richmond area. He has also promised to discuss NFA trusts (to own silencers and automatic firearms) and to allow time for what he calls "Poke the Lawyer," where he answers questions about other firearms related legal matters.

Please mark your calendar and plan to attend this meeting. Fellowship begins at 6:30 PM and the meeting will start at 7:00 PM. We will adjourn to a local restaurant afterwards for continued fellowship.

2. 2nd Amendment Day celebration at shooting complex in Wirtz, Virginia on June 23rd

On Saturday, June 23rd, a "2nd Amendment Day" event will be held at the John G. Rocovich, Jr. Sports Shooting Complex at the 4-H Conference Center in Wirtz, Virginia!

The shooting range will be open to attendees to shoot and a dinner will be served.

VCDL member and Second Amendment author Alan Korwin ("Virginia Gun Owners Guide" and "After You Shoot - Your Gun Is Hot. The Perp's Not. Now What?") will be speaking and doing a book signing. Alan is a gifted speaker and this should be excellent and very informative.

THREE guns will be raffled off (Henry Gold Boy, Ruger SP101, and a Walther P22 - all in .22 caliber). There will also be door prizes.


4-6 PM - Open range; bring your own handgun and ammunition; targets furnished. Range time may be limited depending on numbers wanting to shoot

5-7 PM - BBQ supper

7-9 PM - Alan Korwin

COST: Adults $15; Children under 18, $10. Covers all events.

Tickets for the event are pre-sold. To get your tickets, send your check to:

SMLPSA - 2nd Amendment Day
13010 B.T. Washington Highway
Suite 204
Hardy, VA 24101
Ph: 540-400-1070

(This is not an official VCDL event, but VCDL will have a table there.)

3. F3 Tactical in Chantilly offering VCDL discount

Tactical Gear and Clothing/Firearms Accessories

F3 Tactical, Inc.
13914 Metrotech Drive
Chantilly, VA 20151
Telephone: (703) 378-3685
Discount Offered: 10% off total purchase
Contact Name: Jimmy Smith
Notes: All VCDL members with current and valid membership card will receive 10% off their total purchase (limitations apply to Law Enforcement and Military only, restricted items.)

4. VCDL/Righthaven story


Nonprofit seeks donations to cover Righthaven copyright lawsuit costs
By Steve Green
April 26, 2012

A Virginia nonprofit is asking for donations to cover the $30,000 it spent successfully fighting a Righthaven LLC copyright infringement lawsuit.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League Inc. (VCDL), a gun rights group in Newington, Va., was sued by Las Vegas-based Righthaven in September 2010.

VCDL was targeted in one of 275 no-warning lawsuits filed around the country by Righthaven since March 2010, a litigation campaign that ground to a halt early this year because of rulings finding Righthaven lacked standing to sue or that defendants were protected by fair use.

Righthaven, the copyright enforcement partner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and formerly of the Denver Post, claimed the VCDL and two officials there infringed on a copyright when it posted on its website without authorization an R-J story about police shooting and killing Erik Scott at a Costco store in Las Vegas.

Righthaven said it had obtained the copyright to the story for lawsuit purposes -- but most of the judges handling Righthaven cases have now invalidated what defense attorneys called the company's sham copyright assignments.

Despite Righthaven's claims of ownership, the R-J and the Post maintained control of the material Righthaven was suing over, the judges ruled.

Unlike many defendants that settled with Righthaven, the VCDL fought back and ultimately prevailed in its lawsuit on March 30 when Righthaven gave up and stopped prosecuting the case.

In a statement posted on its website Wednesday, VCDL said that Righthaven's suit against it "was a form of legal extortion" in which VCDL suggested that Righthaven early on offered to settle in hopes of making a quick profit at the expense of VCDL.

"If Righthaven didn't want a fight, then they picked the wrong organization to sue. The (VCDL) board simply would not tolerate the idea of caving in to Righthaven and voted unanimously to fight the case to completion. When we stood to fight them, Righthaven's attorneys then hinted to our attorneys that they might consider a smaller out-of-court settlement from us. Settlement was simply out of the question for two reasons: we had done nothing wrong and it would also encourage Righthaven to continue these illegitimate and unfair practices against other companies, groups and individuals," the VCDL statement said.

Righthaven and the owner of the Review-Journal have denied the suits involved extortion. They say the suits were needed to crack down on rampant online theft of newspaper content.

While VDCL believed it would have been cleared on fair use grounds if the case would have continued, it's now unable to recover its legal fees because Righthaven is "financially defunct," the VCDL statement said.

Righthaven says it has no cash and some of its last key assets -- federal copyright registrations and copyright assignments from newspapers that its suits were based on -- have been seized by a receiver.

Nevertheless, the company has managed to hire a new attorney to represent it in one of its appeals.

Attorney Erik Syverson, a partner at the Los Angeles-area law firm Miller Barondess LLP, made an appearance April 16 for Righthaven in a case pending before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

That case involves Wayne Hoehn, a Kentucky man who not only won dismissal of the Righthaven suit against him, but then won an award of $34,045 in attorney's fees against Righthaven.

Details of Righthaven's financial arrangement with Syverson have not been made public and, so far, Syverson has not taken any action in the Hoehn appeal.

Separately, a new round of criticism erupted of Righthaven CEO and Las Vegas attorney Steven Gibson after Gibson was quoted in an ABA (American Bar Association) Journal story asking, "Why is it so difficult for copyright owners to hire competent copyright litigation counsel?"

Online commentators noted that Gibson's Righthaven lawsuits were thrown out in part because they didn't comply with 9th Circuit law about who has standing to sue and they didn't take into account the precedent of fair use.

Gibson and Righthaven have also been criticized for demanding in the lawsuits that defendants forfeit their website domain names to Righthaven, a demand widely seen as a tool to coerce settlements from defendants.

That's because Congress never authorized such a seizure in the federal Copyright Act and, ultimately, Righthaven's domain-name seizure demand was struck down by one of the Nevada federal judges.

"I can show him a couple of competent copyright lawyers," Las Vegas attorney Marc John Randazza wrote in a Facebook post in response to Gibson's question.

Randazza's firm, which represents Hoehn, along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital rights group in San Francisco, and EFF-affiliated attorneys are most responsible for the downfall of Righthaven.

That's because they represented defendants in key cases in which Righthaven lost on standing and fair use grounds and in which Righthaven assets were seized -- or threatened with seizure -- for nonpayment of defendants' attorney's fees.

5. Roanoke County's preempted parks ordinance


Roanoke County's preempted parks ordinance is prompting calls for legal action
By John Pierce
April 23, 2012

I recently wrote about a Roanoke County ordinance which seemingly imposes a complete ban on the possession and carrying of firearms inside county parks. As I pointed out in the original article, such an ordinance would be void due to Virginia's preemption statute.

However, Roanoke County claims that their ordinance was brought into compliance with the preemption statute by the addition of a clumsily-worded clause in March of 2008. Let's look at how the evolution of such an ordinance would occur according to Roanoke County ...

Clearly Preempted Ordinance Banning all Carry and Possession in County Parks

Sec. 15-8. - Prohibited uses of parks.

(6) ... No person shall within a park use, carry or possess firearms, ammunition or combinations thereof, or air rifles, spring guns, pellet guns, paintball guns, bow and arrows, slings or any other forms of weapons potentially dangerous to wildlife and to human safety ... The director may permit authorization for the use of a firearm or other potentially dangerous instrument, to be used in a park for a special event or county managed activity.

Roanoke County's Corrected Ordinance

Sec. 15-8. - Prohibited uses of parks.

(6) ... No person shall within a park use, carry or possess firearms, ammunition or combinations thereof, as expressly prohibited by statute, or air rifles, spring guns, pellet guns, paintball guns, bow and arrows, slings or any other forms of weapons potentially dangerous to wildlife and to human safety ... The director may permit authorization for the use of a firearm or other potentially dangerous instrument, to be used in a park for a special event or county managed activity.

Well that clears it right up doesn't it? After that change, any citizen could easily read that ordinance and understand that it is now perfectly legal to carry in County parks. Of course not! And the same is true of a law enforcement officer or a magistrate who is perhaps unfamiliar with the history of the ordinance and the scope of Virginia's preemption statute. Sooner or later, someone is going to be deprived of their liberty because of this ordinance.

When you look at it from the viewpoint of an outside observer, it is really hard to imagine any reason that Roanoke would choose to use such a misleading tactic unless they had an invidious purpose such as chilling the rights of gun owners. And many residents of Roanoke County seem to agree with that assessment. Since my original article, numerous parties have expressed interest in mounting a legal challenge to the ordinance.

In anticipation of such an eventuality, let's see what we can discover about how the county made the decision that this particular language was the absolute best way to address the fact that their ban was completely voided by the preemption statute. Guided by Roanoke County Attorney Paul M. Mahoney's defense of the ordinance from my original article, I surfed over the the Roanoke County Board of Supervisor's official website which I must congratulate them on. They have on-line access to meeting minutes going back all the way to 1973.

But I was interested in the March 2008 meetings referenced by Mr. Mahoney. Where the parks ordinance amendments are concerned, there were three distinct events that occurred that March. The first reading of the ordinance occurred at the March 11th meeting. And then at the March 25th meeting, there was a work session concerning the proposed changes followed by a second reading and passage. The relevant sections of the minutes are below:

As you will have no doubt noticed by the time that you finish scanning all three of these, there is no substantive discussion of how they came to develop that particular wording. They simply state that the Assistant Director of Parks Mark Courtright, in consultation with the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, the County Attorney's Office and the Roanoke County Police Department undertook the task of reviewing and updating the ordinance.

Where the firearms regulation in particular is discussed, it is simply noted that it was updated to "reflect the state statute." We can only assume they are referring to the preemption statute. During the March 25th Work Session, the minutes reflect specific questions and points of debate concerning many of the changes being made to the ordinance but the firearms section contains no discussion at all.

At this point, the next step is to submit FOIA requests for all memos, emails, and working papers that any of the involved parties might have concerning the development of the "corrected" wording. Stay tuned . . .

6. Who needs a gun at a woman's retail store? [VIDEO]

Bill Hine emailed me this:



Another women's retail store robbed at gunpoint
By Ashley Monfort
April 26, 2012

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - It's happened again in Henrico, another women's clothing store has been robbed at gunpoint.

Cato Fashion store at Oak Hill Plaza has security cameras and is located in a pretty busy shopping center.

But just before closing on Monday, a man in a mask walked in and robbed the store at gunpoint.

"It's scary when it's close to home," says Onika Williams, a shopper. "I mean you hear about it a lot, but never so close to home."

Williams doesn't know why anyone would steal from this shop.

It has happened before. In February, a man wearing a mask robbed Dot's Clothing store also located in Henrico. There were hold ups that month for a Cato's in Richmond and the Dress Barns in Henrico and Hanover.

All women's retail stores -- all robbed at gunpoint.

Police are still looking into if the robberies are connected.

Some shoppers say they see police patrolling regularly, but Williams says this robbery has made her more aware.

"I'm like oh my God maybe I need to watch, you know, look around me a little bit more as I come out here," she said.

Nobody was injured in any of the robberies. In this most recent case, the suspect got away with cash and has not been caught.

7. One-gun-a-month was obsolete in Virginia (Lingamfelter)

From the Washington Post:

One-gun-a-month was obsolete in Virginia
By L. Scott Lingamfelter
April 20, 2012

This month, Virginia Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) suggested on this page that the so-called (and recently repealed) one-gun-a-month law was an effective tool in stopping crime in the commonwealth and elsewhere ["Responsible gun laws in Virginia? Yes, it could happen," April 1]. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are the facts that led to the repeal of this law.

First of all, one-gun-a-month only addressed handguns, not rifles or shotguns, both of which can also be used in crimes. Additionally, when the law was passed, our current system for catching felons attempting to buy handguns wasn't in place. But today all handgun purchases are subject to the National Instant Check System. Moreover, purchasers of any kind of firearm -- handgun or otherwise -- here in Virginia must undergo a criminal background check administered by the state police. These requirements have been very effective in stopping prohibited people from buying firearms.

On top of that, Virginia firearms dealers -- who must have a federal firearms license to operate -- are required to report anyone who buys more than one handgun in five days to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Virginia State Police. Even without a one-gun-a-month law, a person who purchases multiple handguns will be reported. Howell did not mention that important point.

It is also important to note that, in recent years, the General Assembly has exempted large numbers of people from this ineffective law, calling its central purpose into question. Here's a list of these exemptions:

*Law enforcement and corrections officers.

*Licensed private security companies.

*Anyone who had a weapon stolen or lost within 30 days of its purchase.

*Anyone making a one-for-one gun trade.

*Anyone with a concealed-carry permit (about 278,000 people).

*Anyone granted an exemption by the State Police following an enhanced background check.

*Antique firearms sales, and sales by a collector of curios and relics.

All told, that amounts to hundreds of thousands of Virginians (and, in some instances, theoretically includes most adults). How can anyone say with a straight face that this was a serious law when so many people had been exempted?

Finally, some say that our action in repealing this law will make it easier to sell handguns across state lines. But it's already against the law to sell handguns across state lines.

Well intended as it may have been in 1993, one-gun-a-month had become obsolete in Virginia.

Here is the sad truth about gun crime. Those determined to secure a gun illegally weren't deterred by one-gun-a-month. Criminals don't acquire their guns from gun stores in broad daylight, often under a watchful security camera, where they must present their driver's licenses, fill out forms and stand patiently while the lawful dealer calls the State Police to see whether they're a felon. Criminals acquire firearms through theft or back-alley exchanges, often in drug deals. Criminals who are inclined to break the law don't buy guns legally. It's flatly naive to think otherwise.

So what should we do to stop gun crime? First and foremost, we must severely punish those who bring violence on our communities. Next year, I will introduce legislation to do just that. Then we'll see where Howell and others stand when they have a chance to vote on enhanced penalties for people who actually use guns in the commission of a felony. But don't be surprised when liberals oppose these bills as excessive punishment.

The writer, a Republican representing Prince William and Fauquier counties, is the chairman of the Virginia House of Delegates Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee.

8. Sending kids to school . . . to be slaughtered


Jeff Knox allows Virginia Tech victim's mom to explain our foolish, fatal laws

By Jeff Knox
April 19, 2012

Earlier this week was the fifth anniversary of the tragic rampage shooting at Virginia Tech that took the lives of 32, wounded 17 more and impacted all of us.

In the years since that horrific event, there has been much said about the availability of guns, particularly on the campuses of America's educational institutions. Among the loudest voices have been some of the family members and victims of the Virginia Tech massacre. Their personal tragedies and struggles make their feelings on the matter particularly relevant and moving.

Unfortunately, while some of these folks and their views have been embraced by the media and certain special interest groups, others have been muffled and not heard at all.

One voice is that of Holly Adams. Her daughter, Leslie Sherman, was murdered that day. Unlike others who have focused on the tools the murderer used that day in the commission of his crime - what they were, how he got them, and what laws might have prevented him from acquiring them, and thus, in their minds, would have prevented the tragedy - Ms. Adams points to the possibility that someone might have been able to stop the murderer before he hurt so many people.

Those Virginia Tech survivors and families who misguidedly call for constraints on the law-abiding as a means of controlling criminals have been promoted as speaking on behalf of all of the families directly impacted by the tragedy. That is a misrepresentation that Holly Adams would like to set straight. On the anniversary of her daughter's murder, she sent a letter to Philip Van Cleave, President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, or VCDL, a grass roots pro-rights organization. That letter is reprinted below.

[Note: Since fame is one of the motivators of cowardly murderers who commit atrocities like this, we have a policy at The Firearms Coalition of never mentioning their names in any of our writing. In line with that policy, the letter has been slightly edited to remove any mention of the killer's name. Edits are designated by brackets.]

On April 16, 2007, my child, Leslie Sherman, was killed [...] during the Virginia Tech massacre. Today is the fifth anniversary of her death. Always in my memories, every day I wish that this tragedy was a nightmare and I could wake up to hold my daughter, even if it is just one more time. That opportunity might have been possible if someone been able to defend and protect my daughter in her classroom before [the killer] took 30 precious lives.

There is an unfortunate drive for more gun control and the continuation of preventing guns on campus by parents whose children lived or survived during that fatal day. Several family members of those victims have actively voiced their support for increased gun-control measures. As result, it has been assumed that they speak for all families of the Virginia Tech victims. I am writing this to make it clear that this is not the case. They do not represent me and my views.

Speaking for myself, I would give anything if someone on campus - a professor, one of the trained military or guardsman taking classes or another student - could have saved my daughter by shooting [the killer] before he killed our loved ones. Because professors, staff and students are precluded from protecting themselves on campus, [the murderer], a student at Virginia Tech himself, was able to simply walk on campus and go on a killing rampage with no worry that anyone would stop him.

I ask a simple question: Would the other parents of victims be forever thankful if a professor or student was allowed to carry a firearm and could have stopped [the murderer] before their loved one was injured or killed? I would be. I also suspect that the tragedy may not have occurred at all if he knew that either faculty members or students were permitted to carry their own weapons on campus. [The killer] took his own life before campus police were able to reach him and put a stop to his killing spree.

A sad testament to this anniversary date is the number of similar killings in schools and public places that have taken place afterwards as if nothing has changed to help prevent such needless and heartbreaking events. That is why I fully support the VCDL in their outstanding efforts to help prevent this type of tragedy and loss from occurring in the future.

Holly Adams

Those who argue against lawful firearms carry on campus tend to argue to the absurd. They paint a picture of irresponsible kids waving guns and shooting teachers and each other over bad grades, lovers spats and during drunken frat-house parties. Their reality doesn't match up with what we see elsewhere. Some campuses, such as the University of Arizona in Tucson (which also has a gun ban) have off-campus housing where students are free to own guns. We know from personal experience that they do. There is no crime wave in the apartment complexes and rental housing that caters to students.

Supporters of lifting campus gun bans understand that such bans only impact the law-abiding. The campus gun ban was in place at Virginia Tech at the time of the massacre, yet the cowardly murderer was able to go into a dormitory and kill two unarmed people and then hours later go into an education building and kill 30 more.

Those who advocate repeal of campus bans do not propose arming every student and teacher, but rather oppose the disarming of those who already carry guns in other settings.

VCDL had been working for years to repeal arbitrary campus disarmament laws, only to be stymied by administrators and concerned parents who hold a mythical belief that such policies somehow keep armed criminals off of campuses. Had VCDL's efforts been successful, there might have been an older student or a member of the faculty prepared to stop the tragedy in its early stages. As it was, the criminal, defined as one who breaks laws, broke the rule against bringing guns onto campus. The victims, all of whom complied with the rule, were helpless.

There is no guarantee that someone lawfully carrying a gun would have been in a position to stop the tragedy at Virginia Tech, but the school's ban on lawful carry guaranteed that there was not. At the same time, the policy clearly had no deterrent effect on the murderer.

As to the idea that lawfully armed individuals might turn their guns on the innocent: there is ample evidence to show that those who lawfully carry concealed weapons almost never engage in any sort of criminal activity. The most common crime of lawful weapons carriers is either inadvertently or intentionally violating a "No Guns" rule.

Other common objections to repealing campus gun bans are suggestions that in a crisis like the Virginia tech massacre, an armed student with limited training would be unlikely to be able to stop the assailant, might inadvertently shoot the wrong person or be mistakenly shot by police. That is a specious argument. Armed citizens use guns to prevent assaults and other crimes some 2.5 million times every year in this country, and they do so without killing innocents or being killed by police. Incidents of incompetence and error are so rare as to be virtually non-existent. Every day there are millions of Americans going about their business with a firearm concealed upon their person - again with such a low rate of mishap as to be statistically negligible.

Certainly there is the possibility of a criminally inclined or mentally unstable person obtaining a permit and then committing some crime or atrocity, but this almost never happens, because such people rarely bother to obey the law as a precursor to violent crime. Even if they do, it is not the legality of being armed which empowers their crime; they could just as easily carry illegally. That is one of the advantages criminals have.

During the Virginia Tech massacre, students huddled behind flimsy desks as they waited and listened to the gunfire getting closer. Several had the time and presence of mind to pull out their cell phones and place calls to the police. Is it really so far-fetched to think that one of them, perhaps a veteran of Iraq or a competitive shooter, might have been able to position themselves in such a way as to take out the murderer when he entered the room? Or to think, as Holly Adams suggests, that perhaps the cowardly murderer might have hesitated to even attempt his heinous crime if there was a chance that one of his victim might have been able to shoot back? That idea is supported by the fact that most of these types of atrocities occur in so-called "Gun Free Zones," and that most of these cowards surrender or kill themselves at the first sign of armed resistance.

The murders at Virginia Tech were indeed a national tragedy as well as a personal tragedy for the survivors and the families of the victims like Holly Adams. Preventing such tragedies should be a concern for all of us, but responding to the actions of a criminal psychopath by restricting the ability of the law-abiding to protect themselves from such criminal psychopaths is irrational, ineffective and simply wrong.

9. Who needs a gun at McDonalds?

"'It just goes to show the inherent dangers that exist out there at certain times,' Officer Chris Amos, a spokesman for Norfolk police, said of the Monday night incident."

Yes, it does. This incident would have been equally dangerous for both regular citizens and plain clothes police officers on duty. It is another example of why I carry a gun everywhere I legally can do so.

Will Aygarn emailed me this:


They were plainclothes cops, but the thugs didn't know it.

Will A.


Officers fire at would-be robbers in Norfolk; 4 arrested
By Patrick Wilson
The Virginian-Pilot
April 25, 2012


The two men parked at McDonald's must have looked like good targets for a stickup.

It was 10:53 p.m. Both vehicles were backed into parking spaces at the restaurant on Campostella Road near its intersection with Indian River Road.

Armed with handguns and with their faces covered, two men approached the cars and pointed their weapons at the drivers in an attempt to rob them.

"Give it up," one of the men said.

But then the intended victims drew weapons and began firing. The robbers ran from who they would later learn were officers with the Norfolk Police Vice and Narcotics Unit, who were in plainclothes and working a drug case with other officers.

"It just goes to show the inherent dangers that exist out there at certain times," Officer Chris Amos, a spokesman for Norfolk police, said of the Monday night incident.

Three suspects were arrested nearby and a fourth was taken into custody at Sentara Leigh Hospital, where he showed up to be treated for a bullet wound to his arm.

Police arrested Alfredo Rocco Calogero, 19, of Virginia Beach; Devonte Marquis Davis, 19, of the 1000 block of Coach Circle, Norfolk; Walter O. Martin, 19, of the 5500 block of Campus Drive, Virginia Beach; and Jordan Ceprece Anderson, 19, of Virginia Beach. Street addresses could not be confirmed for Calogero and Anderson.

Each was charged with two counts of attempted robbery and two counts of felonious use of a firearm.

The department would not name the officers and would not release photos of the suspects because detectives were conducting photo lineups, and release would compromise those investigations.

Martin was in court last week on a gun charge.

He was charged in March with carrying a concealed weapon at the Greyhound bus terminal downtown. General District Judge Gwendolyn J. Jackson found sufficient evidence to find Martin guilty at a hearing, but deferred a judgment on the misdemeanor case until July. Jackson ordered Martin to be on good behavior and to take a gun safety class, court records state. Records state the gun was forfeited to Norfolk police.

Davis was on probation following a credit card fraud conviction in July; he and another person stole a woman's check card and used it at Walmart, Sports Authority and Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control stores, according to court records.

Detectives are trying to determine whether the suspects are connected to other robberies.

10. Who needs a gun when hiking?

Ben Piper emailed me this:



$10K reward offered in Amherst County hiker homicide case
April 23, 2012

Hoping to generate new leads, investigators looking into the death last year of an Appalachian Trail hiker inAmherstCountyoffered a $10,000 reward for information Monday.

Along with the announcement came several new details about how the body was discovered and a plea from the man's sister.

The body of Scott Lilly, 30, of South Bend, Ind., was found Aug. 12 near the Cow Camp Gap shelter, about four miles north of where the trail intersects with U.S. 60 between the Blue Ridge Parkway and Amherst.

FBI Agent Steven Duenas said Lilly is believed to have last been seen alive at the shelter on July 31. The body, he said, was found partially buried -- not by natural forces, but that someone had tried to conceal it.

An autopsy report released in January concluded Lilly had been suffocated by his killer.

Michael Morehart, the special agent in charge of the FBI'sRichmondoffice, described several items of gear Lilly was carrying, including a blue or purple pack, a propane camp stove and a hand-held Nintendo game. Morehart said investigators have not recovered most of the gear and are interested in speaking to anyone who may have found the items in the trail.

Of particular interest are Lilly's size 10 Walmart-brand brown and orange Ozark Trail hiking shoes, Duenas said, which also are missing. The shoes would have been atypical for anyone making a long-distance trek because of their low price.

"One of the main problems Scott was having is that his shoes were worn out," he said.

Other items laid out for display at the press conference included purchases Lilly made at Walmart before his death to sustain him on the hike: fruit snacks, dried soups, canned sausage, powdered drink mixes and sleeping pills.

In the family's first public comments about the case, sister Alysen Lilly traveled from her home in Indiana to attend the press conference. Putting a human face on the case, she described her brother's love for the outdoors and history.

"He was a brother, son, nephew and un cle to the members of his family," she said. "He was living out a dream traveling the Appalachian Trail and visiting Civil War battlefields."

She pleaded for anyone with information to help bring closure to her family.

The 5-foot, 8-inch, 150-pound Lilly set off southbound on the trail fromMarylandin late June, authorities said. Known by the trail name "Stonewall," he is pictured as having dark-rimmed glasses and a beard.

Duenas said trail names like Lilly's are more common than given names on the trail, a factor that has hampered the investigation.

Shortly after the body was found, investigators released about half a dozen trail names of people believed to have had contact with Lilly. Duenas said those people all have been identified and interviewed, but he refused to say whether they had been excluded as suspects in the homicide. An FBI spokeswoman earlier said those listed were not suspects or persons of interest, but Duenas said it was possible new information could be developed that would lead investigators back to them.

Morehart said investigators collected more than 100 items of evidence and covered more than 270 miles of trails. They have conducted 83 interviews, including two in foreign countries.

As for the timing of Monday's press conference, investigators said they initially withheld information they felt would hurt their efforts if made public. Monday's release was timed to generate publicity as hikers take to the trails again in hopes of generating new leads, they said.

Morehart said he hoped the reward would entice those with information to come forward if they were holding back out of fear or loyalty to the perpetrator.

Anyone who has information about the case, found any of Lilly's gear, or came into contact with him is asked to call (804) 261-1044, no matter how insignificant the information may seem.

"It could be the piece of the puzzle that ties it all together," Amherst County Sheriff Jimmy Ayers said.

11. Gun safety class ends with couple wounded

This is a reminder that all guns being used in a safety class should all be verified to be unloaded by the instructor.

R.J. Schmidt emailed me this:



Wrong lesson: Gun safety class ends with couple wounded

By Duncan Adams
The Roanoke Times
April 23, 2012

A firearms safety course went awry in Bedford County Saturday when a man shot himself in the hand with a .45-caliber handgun and the bullet passed through his hand and struck his wife, seated nearby, in the leg.

Shot were Michael L. Deel, 54, and Michelle K. Deel, 49, both of Roanoke. Emergency dispatchers in Bedford County received a call at 12:25 p.m. reporting a shooting on Chapel Woods Drive. The Bedford County Sheriff's Office said county rescue units and deputies responded.

The Deels were attending a firearms safety class being taught and hosted by Thomas F. Starke, 57, according to the department.

The sheriff's office said Starke told deputies that he had left the room, heard a shot and returned to find the Deels had been shot.

The couple was taken by ambulance to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

The shooting remains under investigation.

12. Maryland permit tracking

Our counterparts in Maryland are keeping a log of permit approval and denial in Maryland since it's "may issue" permitting requirement was overturned by a judge. Knowing that some of you have applied for a Maryland permit recently, I am passing this on.

Rafael Pabon emailed me this:


1) Woollard Permit Log

As the Woollard case makes its way to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Second Amendment Foundation may be interested in the number of applications, and the dispositions of those applications, made since the initial ruling.

MSI has published a form to allow submission and recording of this data. We are asking everyone who has applied for a permit to fill out this form. No personal data will be sent to the SAF without your consent, which can be provided at the completion of the form. We will not share personal data without your consent. Please provide accurate contact information in the event we need to follow up with you (should you authorize us to).

Maryland Shall Issue Permit Tracking Log (

This data may be used in either/both the permanent stay request with Judge Legg or the appeal to the 4th Circuit. We ask that you complete the form as soon as possible. If you have questions, please reply to this e-mail.

13. Bill S.1813 - (MAP-21 Agenda)


MAP-21 Targets Gun Rights and More
April 25, 2012

S.1813, also known as the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act" (MAP-21), has been approved by the U.S. Senate and is now enroute to the House for a vote. The 1,676-page measure has been considered controversial for a variety of its provisions, including some that impact Second Amendment rights.

The first of two specific attacks on gun ownership, on page 1323, states:

The Secretary [of Transportation] may modify, suspend, or terminate a special permit or approval if the Secretary determines that -- (1) the person who was granted the special permit or approval has violated the special permit or approval or the regulations issued under this chapter in a manner that demonstrates that the person is not fit to conduct the activity authorized by the special permit or approval; or (2) the special permit or approval is unsafe.

The broad language found within this provision has raised concerns among those who believe the Secretary could use the interpretive powers defined here to revoke permits to transport guns and ammunition in all realms of transportation.

MAP-21's second attack on gun rights is subtle and involves several steps. It begins with a provision permitting the IRS to confiscate the passports of any persons believed to owe more than $50,000 in taxes. In order for the government to enforce that mandate, those citizens would be placed in a national database as "prohibited persons," who would then be automatically flagged if they applied for a passport.

As noted by The Examiner:

This is the thing that has citizens' rights groups up in arms. The government already has "no fly" lists that prohibit certain persons from air travel. Critics say that the government could easily use such lists to deny Second Amendment rights to those who find themselves on the lists.

For example, those who are placed on the "no-fly list" are also added to another list, as potential domestic terrorists. Once on that list, those individuals are no longer allowed to have any guns. President Obama's former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, admitted as much when he stated, "If you are known as may be a possible terrorist, you cannot buy a handgun in America."

Defenders of the Constitution and the rights it protects are wary of the unnatural progression that can cause a tax delinquent individual to be added to databases created to monitor terrorists and then having this categorization be used as a pretext for infringing upon these persons' right the keep and bear arms -- and all without due process.

It's worth noting that this has become a routine occurrence.

Sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and David Vitter (R-La), MAP-21 includes a variety of other provisions that inspire fear in liberty-minded individuals.

Section 31406 of S. 1813 calls for "Mandatory Event Data Recorders" (or so-called black boxes) to be installed in new vehicles and mandates penalties for individuals who fail to comply.

"Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to require, beginning with model year 2015, that new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with an event data recorder that meets the requirements under that part," states the bill.

But some contend that the presence of the presence of the black boxes can be a slippery slope, permitting the government to have total access to one's transportation habits and whereabouts. The National Motorists Association asserts that "there is no rational or scientific need nor justification to equip tens of millions of vehicles on a perpetual basis with black boxes."

The company states:

While denials abound there is good reason to believe that the promotion of universal black box installation in new vehicles has more to do with regulatory, enforcement, judicial, and corporate economic interests; all at the expense of vehicle owners who are forced to pay for and retain this form of self-surveillance.

The NMA does not object to safety research that involves the use of black boxes, as long as the participants are informed and willing and they are allowed to opt out of research project without negative consequences. As noted, such research can be reliably conducted with thousands of willing participants, versus millions of uninformed conscripts.

In an April 19 interview on Fox News, Judge Andrew Napolitano addressed the unconstitutionality of the black box provision.

"Well it's interesting that congress would try to do this because the police in the District of Columbia and Maryland did this not too long ago, where they put GPS devices in peoples cars without search warrants and the Supreme Court invalidated it," explained Napolitano.

He continued, " Saying it was an unlawful search, that quite frankly, it's none of the governments business where the car is going and if the police want to know where the car is going, there has to be some evidence of criminality and they have to get a search warrant. And the Supreme Court didn't make this up out of thin air, it's in the constitution."

Furthermore, "The police just can't investigate whoever they want to on a whim, or follow whoever they want to because they like following the person, there has to be some evidence of wrong doing on the part of the person they're following."

The bill also includes a provision to develop technology to "detect drug-impaired" drivers and the development of testing for similar devices that measure alcohol concentration in the body while in the vehicle.

Critics point to the passport provision of the bill as entirely un-American. In an editorial, the writer notes, "It is hard to imagine any law more reminiscent of the Soviet Union that America toppled, or its Eastern Bloc slave satellites."

But according to Timothy Meyer, a constitutional law professor at the University of Georgia, such a provision would likely be upheld in court.

"Courts have upheld statutes calling for the revocation and denial of passports to those in arrears of child support payments," he explains. "In part, because the child support payments can be contested."

Because there are already laws in place that limit a person's right to travel, Meyer contends that the bill is legal. The State Department screens passport applications for those who owe child support of more than $2500. And the IRS will be holding some Americans tax refund checks if they have defaulted on their student loans, owe state or local taxes, or have unpaid child support.

Constitutional attorney Angel Reyes disagrees and believes the passport provision is an unconstitutional one.

"It takes away your right to enter or exit the country based upon a non-judicial IRS determination that you owe taxes," Reyes told FOX Business. "It's a scary thought that our congressional representatives want to give the IRS the power to detain US citizens over taxes, which could very well be in dispute."

14. Media: "Trayvon Martin's killer raises more than $200,000 for defense"

James Dinger emailed me this:


It's not what you say. It's how you say it. The biased anti-gun mainstream media is wrecking this guy's life. The title should read, "George Zimmerman raises more than $200,000 for defense against attacker Trayvon Martin". If I was a journalist and wrote that title, the anti-gun crowd would cry foul, you can't say that!


Florida judge rejects bail hike for Trayvon Martin's killer
By Barbara Liston
April 27, 2012

SANFORD, Florida (Reuters) - A Florida judge rejected a prosecution request to raise the bond for George Zimmerman on Friday, after it was disclosed that the man charged with murdering unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin had received about $200,000 from anonymous donors to fund his defense.

"I'm not going to make a snap decision," Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. said during a hearing in Sanford, the central Florida town where 17-year-old Martin was shot dead by Zimmerman in February.

He spoke after Prosecutor Bernardo de la Rionda said the disclosure by Zimmerman's lawyer on Thursday that donors had contributed "just over $200,000" to his defense meant that the amount of his bond should be reconsidered.

Lester said he needed more information about Zimmerman's fund-raising before he could agree to any request for reconsideration of the bond.

Zimmerman was released this week on $150,000 bail and has been moved to an undisclosed location. He had surrendered to police earlier this month after prosecutors charged him with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin.

Ben Crump, an attorney for Martin's family, had expressed outrage over the money raised for Zimmerman's defense, saying it was not disclosed before his bond hearing and that the $150,000 bond should now be revoked since defense lawyer Mark O'Mara had previously described Zimmerman as penniless.

"The court was led to believe that he (Zimmerman) had no money and was indigent. He either did not tell his lawyer or if he did tell his lawyer he did not discuss it with the judge. What George Zimmerman did was deceive the court," Crump said.

No formal motion for revoking Zimmerman's bail was filed with Lester before Friday's hearing, however.

The prosecution did request an order that would bar lawyers from making public comments about the case. But Lester rejected the call for a gag order out of hand, saying attorneys on both sides of the case had done a good job dealing with the media spotlight surrounding it.

Nothing that prosecutors or O'Mara have said publicly about the case had "startled the court or shocked the court" so far, Lester said.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and says he killed Martin in self defense. But the Martin shooting triggered civil rights protests, and a national debate over guns, self-defense laws, and race relations in America, because police initially failed to arrest Zimmerman or charge his with any crime.

15. Reuters article on George Zimmerman

Ben Piper emailed me this:


Wow. Amazing the human propensity to take little snippets of
information and then fill in the blanks with one's own
bigotry, prejudice, and preconceptions. Reuters, to their enormous credit,
took the time to report on some of the missing information. It paints a
very different picture of George Zimmerman.


George Zimmerman: Prelude to a shooting
By Chris Francescani
April 25, 2012

(Reuters) - A pit bull named Big Boi began menacing George and Shellie Zimmerman in the fall of 2009.

The first time the dog ran free and cornered Shellie in their gated community in Sanford, Florida, George called the owner to complain. The second time, Big Boi frightened his mother-in-law's dog. Zimmerman called Seminole County Animal Services and bought pepper spray. The third time he saw the dog on the loose, he called again. An officer came to the house, county records show.

"Don't use pepper spray," he told the Zimmermans, according to a friend. "It'll take two or three seconds to take effect, but a quarter second for the dog to jump you," he said.

"Get a gun."

That November, the Zimmermans completed firearms training at a local lodge and received concealed-weapons gun permits. In early December, another source close to them told Reuters, the couple bought a pair of guns. George picked a Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm handgun, a popular, lightweight weapon.

By June 2011, Zimmerman's attention had shifted from a loose pit bull to a wave of robberies that rattled the community, called the Retreat at Twin Lakes. The homeowners association asked him to launch a neighborhood watch, and Zimmerman would begin to carry the Kel-Tec on his regular, dog-walking patrol - a violation of neighborhood watch guidelines but not a crime.

Few of his closest neighbors knew he carried a gun - until two months ago.

On February 26, George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in what Zimmerman says was self-defense. The furor that ensued has consumed the country and prompted a re-examination of guns, race and self-defense laws enacted in nearly half the United States.

During the time Zimmerman was in hiding, his detractors defined him as a vigilante who had decided Martin was suspicious merely because he was black. After Zimmerman was finally arrested on a charge of second-degree murder more than six weeks after the shooting, prosecutors portrayed him as a violent and angry man who disregarded authority by pursuing the 17-year-old.

But a more nuanced portrait of Zimmerman has emerged from a Reuters investigation into Zimmerman's past and a series of incidents in the community in the months preceding the Martin shooting.

Based on extensive interviews with relatives, friends, neighbors, schoolmates and co-workers of Zimmerman in two states, law enforcement officials, and reviews of court documents and police reports, the story sheds new light on the man at the center of one of the most controversial homicide cases in America.

The 28-year-old insurance-fraud investigator comes from a deeply Catholic background and was taught in his early years to do right by those less fortunate. He was raised in a racially integrated household and himself has black roots through an Afro-Peruvian great-grandfather - the father of the maternal grandmother who helped raise him.

A criminal justice student who aspired to become a judge, Zimmerman also concerned himself with the safety of his neighbors after a series of break-ins committed by young African-American men.

Though civil rights demonstrators have argued Zimmerman should not have prejudged Martin, one black neighbor of the Zimmermans said recent history should be taken into account.

"Let's talk about the elephant in the room. I'm black, OK?" the woman said, declining to be identified because she anticipated backlash due to her race. She leaned in to look a reporter directly in the eyes. "There were black boys robbing houses in this neighborhood," she said. "That's why George was suspicious of Trayvon Martin."


George Michael Zimmerman was born in 1983 to Robert and Gladys Zimmerman, the third of four children. Robert Zimmerman Sr. was a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam in 1970, and was stationed at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, in 1975 with Gladys Mesa's brother George. Zimmerman Sr. also served two tours in Korea, and spent the final 10 years of his 22-year military career in the Pentagon, working for the Department of Defense, a family member said.

In his final years in Virginia before retiring to Florida, Robert Zimmerman served as a magistrate in Fairfax County's 19th Judicial District.

Robert and Gladys met in January 1975, when George Mesa brought along his army buddy to his sister's birthday party. She was visiting from Peru, on vacation from her job there as a physical education teacher. Robert was a Baptist, Gladys was Catholic. They soon married, in a Catholic ceremony in Alexandria, and moved to nearby Manassas.

Gladys came to lead a small but growing Catholic Hispanic enclave within the All Saints Catholic Church parish in the late 1970s, where she was involved in the church's outreach programs. Gladys would bring young George along with her on "home visits" to poor families, said a family friend, Teresa Post.

"It was part of their upbringing to know that there are people in need, people more in need than themselves," said Post, a Peruvian immigrant who lived with the Zimmermans for a time.

Post recalls evening prayers before dinner in the ethnically diverse Zimmerman household, which included siblings Robert Jr., Grace, and Dawn. "It wasn't only white or only Hispanic or only black - it was mixed," she said.

Zimmerman's maternal grandmother, Cristina, who had lived with the Zimmermans since 1978, worked as a babysitter for years during Zimmerman's childhood. For several years she cared for two African-American girls who ate their meals at the Zimmerman house and went back and forth to school each day with the Zimmerman children.

"They were part of the household for years, until they were old enough to be on their own," Post said.

Zimmerman served as an altar boy at All Saints from age 7 to 17, church members said.

"He wasn't the type where, you know, 'I'm being forced to do this,' and a dragging-his-feet Catholic," said Sandra Vega, who went to high school with George and his siblings. "He was an altar boy for years, and then worked in the rectory too. He has a really good heart."

George grew up bilingual, and by age 10 he was often called to the Haydon Elementary School principal's office to act as a translator between administrators and immigrant parents. At 14 he became obsessed with becoming a Marine, a relative said, joining the after-school ROTC program at Grace E. Metz Middle School and polishing his boots by night. At 15, he worked three part-time jobs - in a Mexican restaurant, for the rectory, and washing cars - on nights and weekends, to save up for a car.

After graduating from Osbourn High School in 2001, Zimmerman moved to Lake Mary, Florida, a town neighboring Sanford. His parents purchased a retirement home there in 2002, in part to bring Cristina, who suffers from arthritis, to a warmer climate.


On his own at 18, George got a job at an insurance agency and began to take classes at night to earn a license to sell insurance. He grew friendly with a real estate agent named Lee Ann Benjamin, who shared office space in the building, and later her husband, John Donnelly, a Sanford attorney.

"George impressed me right off the bat as just a real go-getter," Donnelly said. "He was working days and taking all these classes at night, passing all the insurance classes, not just for home insurance, but auto insurance and everything. He wanted to open his own office - and he did."

In 2004, Zimmerman partnered with an African-American friend and opened up an Allstate insurance satellite office, Donnelly said.

Then came 2005, and a series of troubles. Zimmerman's business failed, he was arrested, and he broke off an engagement with a woman who filed a restraining order against him.

That July, Zimmerman was charged with resisting arrest, violence, and battery of an officer after shoving an undercover alcohol-control agent who was arresting an under-age friend of Zimmerman's at a bar. He avoided conviction by agreeing to participate in a pre-trial diversion program that included anger-management classes.

In August, Zimmerman's fiancee at the time, Veronica Zuazo, filed a civil motion for a restraining order alleging domestic violence. Zimmerman reciprocated with his own order on the same grounds, and both orders were granted. The relationship ended.

In 2007 he married Shellie Dean, a licensed cosmetologist, and in 2009 the couple rented a townhouse in the Retreat at Twin Lakes. Zimmerman had bounced from job to job for a couple of years, working at a car dealership and a mortgage company. At times, according to testimony from Shellie at a bond hearing for Zimmerman last week, the couple filed for unemployment benefits.

Zimmerman enrolled in Seminole State College in 2009, and in December 2011 he was permitted to participate in a school graduation ceremony, despite being a course credit shy of his associate's degree in criminal justice. Zimmerman was completing that course credit when the shooting occurred.

On March 22, nearly a month after the shooting and with the controversy by then swirling nationwide, the school issued a press release saying it was taking the "unusual, but necessary" step of withdrawing Zimmerman's enrollment, citing "the safety of our students on campus as well as for Mr. Zimmerman."


By the summer of 2011, Twin Lakes was experiencing a rash of burglaries and break-ins. Previously a family-friendly, first-time homeowner community, it was devastated by the recession that hit the Florida housing market, and transient renters began to occupy some of the 263 town houses in the complex. Vandalism and occasional drug activity were reported, and home values plunged. One resident who bought his home in 2006 for $250,000 said it was worth $80,000 today.

At least eight burglaries were reported within Twin Lakes in the 14 months prior to the Trayvon Martin shooting, according to the Sanford Police Department. Yet in a series of interviews, Twin Lakes residents said dozens of reports of attempted break-ins and would-be burglars casing homes had created an atmosphere of growing fear in the neighborhood.

In several of the incidents, witnesses identified the suspects to police as young black men. Twin Lakes is about 50 percent white, with an African-American and Hispanic population of about 20 percent each, roughly similar to the surrounding city of Sanford, according to U.S. Census data.

One morning in July 2011, a black teenager walked up to Zimmerman's front porch and stole a bicycle, neighbors told Reuters. A police report was taken, though the bicycle was not recovered.

But it was the August incursion into the home of Olivia Bertalan that really troubled the neighborhood, particularly Zimmerman. Shellie was home most days, taking online courses towards certification as a registered nurse.

On August 3, Bertalan was at home with her infant son while her husband, Michael, was at work. She watched from a downstairs window, she said, as two black men repeatedly rang her doorbell and then entered through a sliding door at the back of the house. She ran upstairs, locked herself inside the boy's bedroom, and called a police dispatcher, whispering frantically.

"I said, 'What am I supposed to do? I hear them coming up the stairs!'" she told Reuters. Bertalan tried to coo her crying child into silence and armed herself with a pair of rusty scissors.

Police arrived just as the burglars - who had been trying to disconnect the couple's television - fled out a back door. Shellie Zimmerman saw a black male teen running through her backyard and reported it to police.

After police left Bertalan, George Zimmerman arrived at the front door in a shirt and tie, she said. He gave her his contact numbers on an index card and invited her to visit his wife if she ever felt unsafe. He returned later and gave her a stronger lock to bolster the sliding door that had been forced open.

"He was so mellow and calm, very helpful and very, very sweet," she said last week. "We didn't really know George at first, but after the break-in we talked to him on a daily basis. People were freaked out. It wasn't just George calling police ... we were calling police at least once a week."

In September, a group of neighbors including Zimmerman approached the homeowners association with their concerns, she said. Zimmerman was asked to head up a new neighborhood watch. He agreed.


Police had advised Bertalan to get a dog. She and her husband decided to move out instead, and left two days before the shooting. Zimmerman took the advice.

"He'd already had a mutt that he walked around the neighborhood every night - man, he loved that dog - but after that home invasion he also got a Rottweiler," said Jorge Rodriguez, a friend and neighbor of the Zimmermans.

Around the same time, Zimmerman also gave Rodriguez and his wife, Audria, his contact information, so they could reach him day or night. Rodriguez showed the index card to Reuters. In neat cursive was a list of George and Shellie's home number and cell phones, as well as their emails.

Less than two weeks later, another Twin Lakes home was burglarized, police reports show. Two weeks after that, a home under construction was vandalized.

The Retreat at Twin Lakes e-newsletter for February 2012 noted: "The Sanford PD has announced an increased patrol within our neighborhood ... during peak crime hours.

"If you've been a victim of a crime in the community, after calling police, please contact our captain, George Zimmerman."


On February 2, 2012, Zimmerman placed a call to Sanford police after spotting a young black man he recognized peering into the windows of a neighbor's empty home, according to several friends and neighbors.

"I don't know what he's doing. I don't want to approach him, personally," Zimmerman said in the call, which was recorded. The dispatcher advised him that a patrol car was on the way. By the time police arrived, according to the dispatch report, the suspect had fled.

On February 6, the home of another Twin Lakes resident, Tatiana Demeacis, was burglarized. Two roofers working directly across the street said they saw two African-American men lingering in the yard at the time of the break-in. A new laptop and some gold jewelry were stolen. One of the roofers called police the next day after spotting one of the suspects among a group of male teenagers, three black and one white, on bicycles.

Police found Demeacis's laptop in the backpack of 18-year-old Emmanuel Burgess, police reports show, and charged him with dealing in stolen property. Burgess was the same man Zimmerman had spotted on February 2.

Burgess had committed a series of burglaries on the other side of town in 2008 and 2009, pleaded guilty to several, and spent all of 2010 incarcerated in a juvenile facility, his attorney said. He is now in jail on parole violations.

Three days after Burgess was arrested, Zimmerman's grandmother was hospitalized for an infection, and the following week his father was also admitted for a heart condition. Zimmerman spent a number of those nights on a hospital room couch.

Ten days after his father was hospitalized, Zimmerman noticed another young man in the neighborhood, acting in a way he found familiar, so he made another call to police.

"We've had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there's a real suspicious guy," Zimmerman said, as Trayvon Martin returned home from the store.

The last time Zimmerman had called police, to report Burgess, he followed protocol and waited for police to arrive. They were too late, and Burgess got away.

This time, Zimmerman was not so patient, and he disregarded police advice against pursuing Martin.

"These assholes," he muttered in an aside, "they always get away."

After the phone call ended, several minutes passed when the movements of Zimmerman and Martin remain a mystery.

Moments later, Martin lay dead with a bullet in his chest.

16. Kentucky Supreme Court says universities can't ban guns in staff, student vehicles on campuses

Progress is being made around the country on gun rights at universities. Our fight in VIrginia will continue.

Jay Minsky emailed me this:


Kentucky Supreme Court says universities can't ban guns in staff, student vehicles on campuses
Ky. Supreme Court rules against university ban

By Andrew Wolfson
April 27, 2012

The Kentucky Supreme Court held Thursday that universities may not prohibit employees or students from storing firearms in vehicles parked on campuses because it is "contrary to a fundamental policy, the right to bear arms."

The National Rifle Association hailed the ruling as an important victory for gun owners, while the chief of the University of Kentucky police department said it it was "very disappointing" because it potentially limits the school's options in safeguarding the campus.

The court said UK improperly fired a graduate student who also worked as an anesthesia technician at Chandler Medical Center after a semi-automatic pistol was found in the glove compartment of his car parked on university property.

The court held that state laws barring organizations from prohibiting gun owners from carrying firearms in their vehicles trumps another statute that gave universities the right to "control the possession of deadly weapons on any property owned by them."

The court ruled the law protecting gun owners should prevail because the General Assembly specifically said it should be "liberally construed to carry out the constitutional right to be bear arms for self-defense."

But universities may still ban anyone from carrying a gun on their person on campus property.

An attorney for Michael Mitchell said he was pleased by the ruling, which will allow him to pursue damages for wrongful discharge.

Seven state universities, including University of Louisville, filed briefs siding with UK, arguing schools must be able to ban guns from vehicles to keep campuses safe.

"In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy, I think all universities are very conscious of trying to make their campuses as safe as possible, and the preference would be that there are no guns allowed on campus, period," said Gregory Stivers, who represented the universities and the Council on Postsecondary Education.

But David H. Thompson, a Washington-based lawyer who represented the NRA, said it is important that the court made it clear that "law-abiding citizens have a right to carry a firearm in their vehicles" because "for many people, a ban on keeping a firearm in a car amounts to a ban" on carrying a weapon at all.

Writing for the court, Justice Wil Schroder said it "harmonized" the conflicting laws by protecting the right of concealed carry permit-holders to store guns in their vehicles, while preserving the right of universities to regulate or ban them in all other places.

The decision was unanimous, but Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson and Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. said in a separate opinion that the court went too far by allowing deadly weapons to be stored anywhere in the vehicle, rather than just the glove compartment.

"Are we to understand that the university is now powerless to keep its students and employees from stashing loaded guns in ... unlocked vehicles ... ?" Abramson asked. "That result strikes me, as I'm sure it will strike many parents, as an affront to common sense."

Mitchell was pursuing a graduate degree in epidemiology and working at the medical center when employees reported that he might have a firearm in his locker.

He denied that, and university police found no weapon there. But Mitchell admitted he had a gun in his vehicle and was eventually fired for violating a policy prohibiting possession of a deadly weapon on university property.

The court said the state law giving universities and colleges the right to regulate and ban firearms conflicted with two other laws.

* One says that "no person or organization, public or private, shall prohibit a person from keeping a firearm, or ammunition, or both in a glove compartment of a vehicle."

* The other statute similarly prohibits public or private organizations from restricting the right of concealed-carry permit holders from carrying firearms or ammunition anywhere in a vehicle. Mitchell has a permit.

Hunt said Mitchell is not a gun-rights activist but is a "firm believer in the Second Amendment right to self-defense."

State Rep. Robert Damron, D-Nicholasville, who was a sponsor of Kentucky's concealed-carry law, disputed that the ruling would make campuses more dangerous.

"I think gun violence on campus is perpetuated by them being gun-free zones," he said. "You are only disarming law-abiding citizens. Criminals go where they know there is nobody with a gun."

But in a statement, UK's police chief, Joe Monroe, said: "Our top priority is to protect the safety of students, faculty and staff at UK. We are concerned about anything that potentially limits the options police have in safeguarding the campus."

He said the university will be reviewing the ruling in greater detail to to see if has any "legal and policy options ... in addressing this serious issue."

Mark Hebert, a spokesman for U of L, also said it will be examining the ruling.

17. Suspect in stabbing at Smith's has long criminal history

A follow up on the story about a Utah CHP holder stopping a stabbing attack.


Suspect in stabbing at Smith's has long criminal history
By Pat Reavy
Deseret News
April 27, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY -- A man accused of stabbing people at random at a downtown Smith's Marketplace Thursday has a long criminal history.

Kiet Thanh Ly, 34, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of attempted murder and aggravated assault. Two victims remained in very critical but stable condition Friday at a local hospital, according to Salt Lake police.

But investigators said Friday they still don't know what caused Ly -- a South Vietnam national -- to "snap" Thursday afternoon.

Just before 5:30 p.m., police say Ly purchased a knife at Smith's Marketplace, 455 S. 500 East. He then walked into the parking lot and stabbed a 30-year-old man several times in the abdomen, according to a police report. He then attempted to stab several other people who were able to get away.

A second victim, a 45-year-old man, was cut several times on his arm and received a stab wound to his head, said Salt Lake Police Lt. Brian Purvis.

That's when a 47-year-old man, who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, took action.

"(The bystander) was suspicious of what might be going on, and when he saw the stabbing, he just drew his pistol and challenged the individual," Purvis said.

Ly was held on the ground until police arrived.

Utah court records show Ly has had many run-ins with police dating back to 1997, and his behavior seemed to be more erratic and violent in recent years.

On Monday, he was convicted of joyriding and possessing another person's identification. He is scheduled to be sentenced on those charges in June. He was also convicted in March of misdemeanor theft and placed on probation.

Ly was charged in March in a separate case with sexual battery and two counts of lewdness stemming from incidents that allegedly occurred while he was a patient at St. Mark's Hospital, according to court records. On April 16, Ly submitted a letter to Judge Judith Atherton without advising his own attorneys about it. In the letter, Ly questions why actions he's charged with committing were such a big deal. That case was still pending as of Friday.

In 2011, Ly was convicted on an amended charge of attempted assault on a police officer. In that incident, Ly refused to leave an acquaintance's house, claiming he was homeless, according to court records. When police arrived, Ly took a stance as if he was going to throw punches, charging documents state. He then damaged a police car while being transported to jail.

Also in 2011, Ly was convicted on an amended charge of attempted aggravated assault for threatening a Department of Workforce Services employee with a knife, according to court records.

18. Open carry debate goes national

Dave Workman emailed me this:


From the Gun Rights Examiner:

A bristling debate has erupted on the U.S. News & World Report Debate Club website over Open Carry, and the Seattle Gun Rights Examiner, joined by Minneapolis Gun Rights Examiner John Pierce, is right in the middle of it.

This column has frequently discussed Open Carry, and now the issue appears to be garnering national attention.

Gun prohibitionists have chimed in with the typical objections. For example, Josh Sugarmann with the Violence Policy Center, has this to say: .....

19. Anti-gun advocates reveal stunning level of hate

Board member Bruce Jackson emailed me this:



Anti-Gun Advocates Reveal Stunning Level of Hate
Submitted by NRA
April 19, 2012

Last week, NRA held its annual convention in St. Louis, Mo. More than a dozen of the nation's most prominent political leaders spoke at our Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum, including Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich. As if on cue, our opponents hit the internet with a degree of venom that surprised even those of us who have tracked their most outlandish comments over the years.

While 73,740 NRA members--an all-time record--gathered in St. Louis, the Brady Campaign's chairwoman, Sarah Brady, was busy on the Twitter social media service, attacking Republicans, NRA, and the self-defense laws NRA has worked for over the last quarter-century.

It's been a while, but we remember when Mrs. Brady used to portray her group's agenda as non-partisan, often reminding people that her husband served in the Reagan administration. And not long ago, the Brady Campaign continued the charade when it gave Democrat President Obama an "F" on gun control.

Apparently, the time for such pretenses has passed. Now, while her allies falsely characterize the truly non-partisan NRA in partisan terms, Brady describes herself as a "proud liberal" and "Democrat." And in a seemingly endless series of tweets and re-tweets, Mrs. Brady urges her followers to vote for Obama, rejoices in outdated polls that showed Obama ahead of potential Republican challengers, and attacks prominent Republicans and the party itself with shocking crassness and vulgarity.

As examples, Brady agrees that because Gov. Romney is anti-abortion and pro-gun, he is "pro-death," and she agrees with Brady Campaign president Dan Gross' statement that "Mitt Romney . . . is going too far. He is proudly aligning himself with a lobby that is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans every year, a lobby that uses a mentality of fear and paranoia, tinged with just the right amount of racism, to promote its sole agenda of selling more guns, with no concern for who buys those or how they are used. . . . I could not think of anything less 'American' than appearing at the convention of a lobby that is responsible for killing so many of our citizens."

Even worse--and those who object to impolite language should skip the rest of this paragraph--Brady refers to Virginia's Republican governor Bob McDonnell, who recently signed a law repealing the state's one-handgun-a-month limit, with an adjective meant to indicate a private part of the female anatomy, while referring to former Vice President Dick Cheney in terms of the corresponding part of the male anatomy. And apparently as envious of Sarah Palin's attractiveness as she is angry about the former governor's 100 percent support for the Second Amendment, Mrs. Brady thinks Palin is a "preening a--hole."

Gov. McDonnell, Brady adds, has "cooties." And with obvious reference to Cheney's recent heart transplant, Brady says "Dick Cheney just can't get a good heart no matter how many times he tries." As for former Sen. Rick Santorum buying an NRA life membership for his young daughter, who has recently had serious medical troubles, Brady says it is "disgusting and pathetic."

We discovered that Mrs. Brady hates more than just guns. She says, disapprovingly, that Republicans believe global warming is a hoax, drive SUVs and pickup trucks, think God should be in the classroom, are pro-life, oppose the Obama health care law and--well, the list goes on.

But most of Mrs. Brady's ire is directed at the NRA. She calls us a "hate group" and rants about people who "fear of a future where white, N. European folks are no longer in power." She says NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre is "a horse's rear end" and agrees that NRA members are "misguided f---ers" and "fascist pigs" who "make it more easy for U.S. citizens to kill one another." Politicians who support NRA-backed self-defense laws, she believes, should be "arrested."

Mrs. Brady isn't alone in spewing this hatred. Also on Twitter, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence says the NRA is "morally bankrupt," a "thug org[anization]," a "white supremacist organization," and a "radical org[anization] fighting a White Culture War." This is much the same nonsense the group's leader, Josh Horwitz, often promotes in his Huffington Post articles.

We suppose we might take comfort in all this; you know you are winning when your opponents' attacks become more desperate. Still, it's sad to think that grown adults could be so bitter about life that they have to resort to blind hate just to get through the day. Though we oppose these people politically, we can all hope and pray that they find a better way of viewing the world and their place in it.

20. 25 years murder free - Kennesaw, GA

More anti-gun baloney put to rest.

Board member Dale Welch emailed me this:



Crime rate plummeted after law required firearms for residents
April 19, 2007

As the nation debates whether more guns or fewer can prevent tragedies like the Virginia Tech Massacre, a notable anniversary passed last month in a Georgia town that witnessed a dramatic plunge in crime and violence after mandating residents to own firearms.

In March 1982, 25 years ago, the small town of Kennesaw - responding to a handgun ban in Morton Grove, Ill. - unanimously passed an ordinance requiring each head of household to own and maintain a gun. Since then, despite dire predictions of "Wild West" showdowns and increased violence and accidents, not a single resident has been involved in a fatal shooting - as a victim, attacker or defender.

The crime rate initially plummeted for several years after the passage of the ordinance, with the 2005 per capita crime rate actually significantly lower than it was in 1981, the year before passage of the law.

Prior to enactment of the law, Kennesaw had a population of just 5,242 but a crime rate significantly higher (4,332 per 100,000) than the national average (3,899 per 100,000). The latest statistics available - for the year 2005 - show the rate at 2,027 per 100,000. Meanwhile, the population has skyrocketed to 28,189.

By comparison, the population of Morton Grove, the first city in Illinois to adopt a gun ban for anyone other than police officers, has actually dropped slightly and stands at 22,202, according to 2005 statistics. More significantly, perhaps, the city's crime rate increased by 15.7 percent immediately after the gun ban, even though the overall crime rate in Cook County rose only 3 percent. Today, by comparison, the township's crime rate stands at 2,268 per 100,000.

This was not what some predicted.

In a column titled "Gun Town USA," Art Buchwald suggested Kennesaw would soon become a place where routine disagreements between neighbors would be settled in shootouts. The Washington Post mocked Kennesaw as "the brave little city ... soon to be pistol-packing capital of the world." Phil Donahue invited the mayor on his show.

Reuters, the European news service, today revisited the Kennesaw controversy following the Virginia Tech Massacre.

Police Lt. Craig Graydon said: "When the Kennesaw law was passed in 1982 there was a substantial drop in crime ... and we have maintained a really low crime rate since then. We are sure it is one of the lowest (crime) towns in the metro area." Kennesaw is just north of Atlanta.

The Reuters story went on to report: "Since the Virginia Tech shootings, some conservative U.S. talk show hosts have rejected attempts to link the massacre to the availability of guns, arguing that had students been allowed to carry weapons on campus someone might have been able to shoot the killer."

Virginia Tech, like many of the nation's schools and college campuses, is a so-called "gun-free zone," which Second Amendment supporters say invites gun violence - especially from disturbed individuals seeking to kill as many victims as possible.

Cho Seung-Hui murdered 32 and wounded another 15 before turning his gun on himself.

21. Granny thwarts 2 robbers

Tom Pike emailed me this:



Georgia granny thwarts 2 would-be robbers in shootout
Associated Press
April 24, 2012

Authorities in Georgia say a grandmother foiled a robbery attempt by two armed men by getting into a shootout with them, injuring one man.

Police told The Telegraph that Lulu Campbell just dropped off her grandson at her daughter's house early Saturday morning when someone demanded money outside her car, threatening to shoot her.

Campbell says the man fired at her, missing. The 57-year-old fired back, striking him in the chest. Her truck sustained eight bullet holes in the hood, one in the grill. Both front side windows were destroyed. The second man fled after she shot at him.

Campbell, who owns convenience stores and gas stations, always is armed.

Police say 32-year-old Brenton Lance Spencer has been hospitalized and was charged with aggravated assault and attempted armed robbery.

22. Give them what they want and still get shot [VIDEO]

Mark Williamson emailed me this:



As a member I look forward to the alerts. I'm not sure how you receive all your information, however I presume people send some to you. [PVC: They do]

Below is a link to a video of a convenience store robbery on April 9th of this year. It has no audio but clearly shows the clerk handing over the cash drawer and keeping his hands up in a no-resist pose. What did that get him? Shot two times.


23. Chicago antis addressing school kids [VIDEO]

And now for some anti-gun brainwashing and intimidation by teachers in a Chicago school. These teachers should be fired.


24. Stand your ground makes sense

Dean Marky emailed me this:



Stand Your Ground makes sense
April 25, 2012

Call them what you will: "Stand Your Ground" or "Castle Doctrine" laws. Mayor Bloomberg and members of Congress, speaking on the House floor, go so far as to label them "shoot first" laws.

This is a gross exaggeration -- a slander, in fact, against legislation designed to reform a flaw in our treatment of self-defense. Earlier statutes affirmatively required potential victims to retreat as much as possible before using deadly force to protect themselves, sometimes putting their lives in jeopardy.

The supposedly infamous laws passed in Florida and elsewhere, in contrast, use a "reasonable person" standard for determining when it is proper to defend oneself -- requiring that a reasonable person would believe that another individual intends to inflict serious bodily harm or death on them.

Pundits who've had a field day ripping apart Stand Your Ground laws repeatedly fail to mention that crucial "reasonable person" standard.

The wild speculation that the laws give broad license for vigilantes to go around recklessly shooting people are a totally irresponsible caricature. Ultimately, it is judges or jurors who determine what constitutes a reasonable fear under such a law, not the person who fires the gun.

A few examples: Under a Stand Your Ground law, you can't shoot a fleeing criminal in the back. You can't provoke an attack. You can't use unnecessary force to stop an attack. Anyone who thinks that the law lets them "shoot first, ask questions later" will end up jail.

And no, I'm not going to get into the twisted case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, the facts of which are still not fully understood. But, whether Zimmerman acted in self-defense with Trayvon on top of him and no place to retreat -- or whether, in the other version of events, Zimmerman initiated the attack -- the Stand Your Ground law isn't relevant.

The media have also been busy painting a picture that an epidemic of justifiable homicides has erupted since these laws have passed. The Wall Street Journal ran a story suggesting that an increase in justifiable homicides nationwide from 176 in 2000 to 326 in 2010 arose from a "shoot first" mentality.

But part of that increase is just a trick of numbers; it occurs because the laws have reclassified what is considered "self-defense," not because more people are being shot.

In addition, the numbers for 2000 (and 2005) are artificially low compared with other years because relatively few states actually reported justifiable homicides. Using the FBI Uniform Crime Report in 2000, justifiable homicides were counted by the FBI for 30 states. In 2010, the number of states counted was 35. And which states reported the numbers also changed.

Curiously, though, this went unnoticed: Over the same period of time, there has been an increase in justifiable killings by police. And there are no similar data problems here, no changing definitions or large changes in jurisdictions reporting. Between 2000 and 2010, the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports show that justifiable police killings rose by 25%, rising to 387 from 309, suggesting that something else is occurring.

The breathless coverage of Stand Your Ground completely ignores the most important issue: Have these laws increased total deaths? And if more criminals are killed in justifiable self-defense -- but the number of innocent lives lost falls by more than the deaths of criminals rise -- is that really a bad thing?

The third edition of my book "More Guns, Less Crime" provides the only published, refereed academic study on these laws. I found that deterrence works. In states adopting Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine laws from 1977 to 2005, murder rates fell by 9% and overall violent crime by 11%. This would mean an annual drop in murders that is about 10 times more than the entire flawed, measured increase in civilian justifiable homicides from 2000 to 2010.

The push to undo these state laws never discusses why they were adopted in the first place. Forcing victims to take time to retreat can put their lives in jeopardy, and a prosecutor might draw the line differently on whether a victim had retreated sufficiently.

Law-abiding citizens are hardly the trigger-happy individuals the media paint them to be. With national surveys showing about 2 million defensive gun uses a year, the number of justifiable homicides is amazingly small.

With 41 states having either Stand Your Ground- or Castle Doctrine-type laws -- and an additional six having common-law versions of these rules -- the amazing fact is that literally only a few questionable cases over the past decade can be pointed to by the media, and even those cases are debatable.

Lott is a former chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission and the author of the third edition of "More Guns, Less Crime."

25. Stand, move, or seek cover . . . What works in a gunfight



This article has been out floating around for a while but the topic came up recently and was a good time to bring this back into circulation.

By Greg Elefritz
March 22, 2012

As the full-time training officer and firearms instructor for my police department, I often have the opportunity to attend firearms training sessions from some of the best trainers in the world. I have noticed that most of these trainers teach students to shoot their firearms while moving, with the premise being that a student is less likely to be struck by incoming fire if he/she is a moving target. In addition to "shooting on the move", almost all trainers advocate moving to cover in a gunfight, if said cover is nearby. These two techniques make seem to be very logical. Most people would agree that making yourself a moving target and seeking bullet-resistant cover could only help one's chances of winning a gunfight. Having an inquisitive mind, however, I've always wondered exactly how much of an advantage one could expect to gain over his opponent through the use of movement and cover.

To answer this question, I began an exhaustive search of hundreds of firearm tactics books and countless accounts of police-involved shootings looking for examples where utilizing movement or cover saved a person's life during a gunfight. During my search I found many instances where officers and civilians reported that they used cover and/or movement to help them win a firefight. I also found quite a few articles and books extolling the perceived benefits of cover and movement. I did not, however, find any concrete scientific evidence describing any quantifiable advantages of using movement or cover in a gunfight. The question remained: Which is the best tactic to use in a gunfight...remain stationary, move, or seek cover?

Because I couldn't find the type of information I wanted, I designed a scientific experiment to get my own data. Besides training law enforcement officers, I also teach firearms skills at the Tactical Defense Institute (TDI), a shooting school in southern Ohio. John Benner, the owner and chief instructor at TDI was very supportive of the idea of my experiment and was curious what the data might show. He suggested that the ideal test subjects would be in his soon-to-be-held "final intensive scenario training" (FIST) class. The students enrolled in this class were highly trained, all having graduated at least six levels (ten days) of TDI's handgun curriculum. Most had additional training from other shooting schools as well. John graciously allowed me to perform my experiment during a segment of the two-day FIST course.


The test I conducted was loosely based on some training drills created by Sam Faulkner, an innovative trainer recently retired from the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy. The experiment had three phases. During each phase, one student faced another with a distance of fifteen feet separating them. Each student was outfitted with safety gear and armed with a .38 caliber revolver loaded with two "Code Eagle" brand marking cartridges. For those of you unfamiliar with this technology, the marking cartridge is a .38 paintball powered by a special primed plastic case. It chambers in any .38 revolver without modification and shoots the paint ball at approximately 300 feet per second. The rounds produce a sharp stinging sensation and a bright smear of red paint on the bodies of the people who are hit. Obviously it is necessary to wear protective face shields when using these rounds in order to prevent eye injuries. In prior training exercises I've found the Code Eagle rounds to be very valuable in gunfight simulations. They are reasonably accurate, and produce quite a "pain penalty" to the person who is struck. Anticipation of even the small amount of pain these projectiles generate causes considerable anxiety for most people. This anxiety at least partially duplicates the stress reaction one is likely to experience in a gunfight.

In the first phase of the experiment, shooters were given orders to fire their two rounds at each other as quickly as possible after a surprise start signal was given. I instructed the students to remain stationary during the simulated gunfight. Absolutely no movement of the feet was allowed. Phase two was identical to the first phase, except that students were allowed free movement (forward, backward, or lateral) after I gave the surprise start signal. In phase three, students started a step away from one of two fifty-five gallon steel drums. These drums were to simulate cover. On the start command, students were instructed to move to their steel drum and use it for cover while engaging their respective adversaries.


A total of nineteen students participated in the experiment. One hundred fourteen rounds were fired, with thirty-eight rounds fired per phase. I tracked and compared hit percentages during all three phases, differentiating between hits on the torso and the more peripheral hits on the arms and legs. The data are as follows:

#1-STANDING 85% 51%
#2- MOVING 47% 11%
#3- USING COVER 26% 6%


The students who participated in my study were as surprised by the results as I was. We all expected that movement and the use of cover would reduce the hit rates of the rounds fired. We were astonished, however, at how much difference moving and seeking cover made. The difference in hit rates between standing and moving cannot be explained away by a lack of skills by the shooters. Each shooter had extensively practiced shooting on the move, with most being able to hit a twelve-inch steel plate on demand any distance inside of fifty feet while moving. Similarly, these students are adept at hitting a moving target while standing still. The critical factor seemed to be the difficulty the shooter experienced in hitting a moving target while moving his own body at the same time. This clearly identifies a need for additional training and highlights the critical importance of making yourself a moving target during a gunfight. If highly trained shooters hit their opponents' torsos with only eleven percent of rounds fired, imagine how much worse the average street thug with no training and minimal experience will perform under similar conditions!

It is also clear that when students used cover they fared even better than they did while moving. The hit rates would be far less than reported if several students didn't break cover and retreat after running out of ammunition during the drill. Most of the hits occurred when this happened. Proper use of cover almost eliminated the chance of being hit.

One other critical statistic needs to be noted. Thirteen percent of the hits across all phases of the experiment struck the hands or guns of the person at which they were fired. This indicates a strong focus on the threat being directed against the shooter and a lack of attention to the front sight, creating some implications for future training. These shooters are strongly indoctrinated in the use of their weapon sights for most shooting situations. Even when shooting fast, they generally utilize a "flash" sight picture when shooting on targets. Even with extensive practice, very few students reported seeing their sights in this experiment. Not wanting to bring up the dreaded "point shooting versus sighted fire" debate in this forum, I'll simply say that we as trainers need to do some more work. We need to find a better solution to allow our students to hit their targets with a greater percentage of rounds during the stressful, fast-evolving nature of a gunfight. Whatever that solution is, be it training in point shooting techniques, an enhanced sighted shooting curriculum, or stress-inoculating scenario-based training, it is our collective responsibility as trainers to find it.

It was interesting to note that some of the shooters in the above experiment shot with only one hand despite doing the majority of their training from a two-handed platform. When asked why they had done this, most were unaware that they had fired one-handed. Their bodies seemed to be on autopilot, self-selecting what was perceived to be the fastest way to get their guns on target. This fact, combined with the prevalence of hits on the hands or guns of the shooters indicates that we should focus much more of our time training one-hand shooting, hand transitions, and support-hand shooting techniques. We should also emphasize the importance of carrying secondary weapons in case our primary gun becomes inoperative after taking a bullet.

Overall, this experiment generates more questions than it does answers. I set two very critical limits in this experiment...a fifteen-foot separation distance and the firing of two rounds per shooter. I chose the distance because a large percentage of law enforcement officers are killed while facing gunmen at this range or even closer. For this study, it seemed an appropriate balance between a range that was so close that hits were virtually guaranteed and one that was too far for the Code Eagle projectiles to be effective. It is likely that the results would be somewhat different if the ranges were altered. Similarly, firing more or fewer rounds will probably change the results. Who knows what to expect when variables such as multiple attackers are injected into the equation. The true value of this experiment may not be the data obtained, but the experience given to the students. They received a chance to see for themselves what techniques worked and which were not as successful. I do not expect anyone to alter their tactical doctrines or teaching styles as a result of this article. I only encourage all trainers to examine the tactics they present to their students and be willing to put them to the test in a somewhat more chaotic environment than the traditional "square range". It is only this type of thorough examination that will promote a greater understanding of tactical issues and, in the process, save our students' lives.

26. Guns, everywhere


By Susannah Griffee
April 21, 2012

The United States has the highest rate of gun ownership by civilians in the world. Depending on the state, guns may be allowed in churches, on college campuses, and even in bars. In this week's New Yorker, Jill Lepore writes about the powerful gun lobby [PVC: Hey, VCDL - that's YOU! ;-) ] and the consequences of America's attachment to deadly weapons. Below, a look at some of the more unusual--and, arguably, more dangerous--gun laws passed in recent years, and the states that passed them first:

Guns in bars

*First state to allow, and when: Tennessee, in 2009.
*Other states that now allow: Arizona, Georgia, Virginia, and Ohio have laws specifically allowing guns in bars. Twenty states, including New York and New Jersey, do not address the question at all, conceivably allowing people to carry guns into bars by default.
*Fun fact: Tennessee State Representative Curry Todd, the sponsor of the guns-in-bars law, was arrested in October, 2011, on charges of possessing a handgun while driving under the influence of alcohol.

Guns in churches

*First state to allow, and when: Not totally clear. (See below.)
*Other states that now allow: Guns are allowed in churches in twenty states as part of their "Right to Carry" laws. These laws--versions of them have been enacted in more than forty states--allow people to carry a handgun in public in a concealed manner. These laws typically start from a baseline of applying to all public spaces, but states can, and do, add restrictions for places such as houses of worship, government buildings, and educational institutions. Historically, people were allowed to carry weapons in many states. In the nineteen-twenties and thirties, many states adopted laws that prohibited the unlicensed concealed carrying of a gun. Vermont is the only state that did not adopt any statutes prohibiting or regulating the concealed carry of guns, and has no specific prohibition against carrying guns in churches, so it is, perhaps unintentionally, the first state to allow guns in churches.
*Fun fact: Virginia law states that weapons are allowed in churches unless a service is taking place, in which case they are only allowed if there is "good and sufficient reason." The law does not go on to list possible reasons a gun might be needed during a church service.

Guns on college campuses

*First state to allow, and when: Utah, in 2004.
*Other states that now allow: As of now, only Utah and Mississippi explicitly allow guns on college campuses. However, in March of this year, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the state's concealed-carry law applies to the University of Colorado, and struck down the state university's ban on guns. Twenty-five states prohibit guns on campuses; twenty-three let the individual schools decide.
*Recent developments: Arizona's legislature had been considering a bill that would have allowed people with concealed-carry permits to bring their guns onto college campuses; however, the bill's sponsor recently declared it "dead."

Guns at work

*First state to allow, and when: Oklahoma, in 2004.
*Other states that now allow: More than a dozen states now allow people to bring their gun to work, typically on the condition that the weapon remains stored in their vehicle.
*Fun fact: The Governor of Indiana signed a law that bans employers from telling their employees they can't have guns in their cars on the job only two weeks after an Indiana employee was given fifteen years in prison for attempting (and failing) to shoot his boss after a meeting concerning his subpar performance.

27. Gun industry's economic impact skyrockets during Obama years

From the Washington Times:

Gun industry's economic impact skyrockets during Obama years
By Tim Devaney
April 19, 2012

The economic impact of the firearms industry is up 66 percent since the beginning of the Great Recession, providing an unexpected shot in the arm for the economy, according to a new study.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation says the economic impact of firearm sales -- a figure that includes jobs. taxes and sales -- hit $31 billion in 2011, up from $19 billion in 2008.

Jobs in the firearms business jumped 30 percent from 2008 to 2011, when the industry employed 98,750.

The industry paid $2.5 billion in federal taxes in 2011, up 66 percent in three years.

"Ours is an industry with a rich history and heritage that remains vital and important to the American economy today," NSSF Senior Vice President Lawrence G. Keane said in a statement. "To millions of Americans our industry's products represent liberty, security and recreation."

Some in the industry attribute the jump in sales to fears the Obama administration will tighten gun control laws in a possible second term.

"There's a concern that in the second term the Obama administration would lead an attempt to restrict gun ownership," Mr. Keane said.

That concern, known in the industry as "the Obama factor," has led many gun owners to purchase now in hopes of avoiding more restrictions and regulations later.

"Some people jokingly refer to [President Obama] as the salesman of the year for the industry," Mr. Keane said.

Mr. Keane said the president doesn't deserve all the credit for the sales growth.

He said more young people and women are getting into gun ownership.

"You cannot attribute all the increase simply to the Obama factor," he said. "It's a factor, it's an important factor, but it's not the only reason."

Although there is no single indicator that tracks the number of firearms sold in the country, the FBI reported that a record 14.4 million criminal background checks were requested for gun purchases in 2010, and that preliminary numbers project the figure to be above 16 million for 2011.

According to the NSSF's numbers, requests for gun-related background checks was up some 17.3 percent for the month of January 2012 compared to the same period a year earlier -- the 20th straight monthly increase in background check requests.

FBI officials say that just over 1 percent of such background checks result in denials, and not every background check results in a final gun purchase. But the numbers are widely considered a reliable proxy for gun sales trends generally.

28. New Brady Campaign chief calls for more gun control (surprise!) [VIDEO]

The new President of the Brady Campaign is jumping in with both feet. For an organization which has almost no members and only a few big donors, like Soros, they sure try to sound like they are significant.

Don Irvine emailed me this:



29. Video: I shot myself! [VIDEO]

Caution - this video has some "language" in it (and when you watch it, you'll soon understand why).

Ben Piper emailed me this:


Hopefully, most people have seen this by now. If not, watching it
might help the rest of us not make the same mistake this person
did. The video contains some language. It shows a person shooting
himself in the leg while drawing a 1911 from a SERPA holster at a
gun range. The backstory given in the video by the person who shot
himself is that he had previously been practicing that day with a
*different* retention holster that required *thumb* pressure to
release the firearm. He later switched to the SERPA holster, which
requires *trigger finger* pressure on the outside of the holster to
release the firearm. He says in the video that when he went to draw
from the SERPA, he instinctively pushed down with this thumb (as if
he was still using the *thumb* activated holster). This took the
safety *off* his holstered 1911. He then tried to pull the firearm
up out of the SERPA, but it wouldn't budge since he was pushing
with his thumb, not his trigger finger on the outside of the
holster. Instinctively, he curled his trigger finger inward toward
the trigger guard to try and get more leverage on the SERPA
release, activated the release, and as he drew the now *off-safe*
1911 out of the holster, his trigger finger naturally went into the
trigger guard and pulled the relatively light 3-4 lb. trigger.

The second video struck me as a good explanation of how the SERPA
holster contributed to this negligent discharge (although using
multiple holsters on the same training day with different retention
release mechanisms seems to have also been a major contributing


From YouTube:

From YouTube:

30. Ah, fashion statement and concealed carry

From the New York Times:

New Fashion Wrinkle: Stylishly Hiding the Gun
April 23, 2012

Woolrich, a 182-year-old clothing company, describes its new chino pants as an elegant and sturdy fashion statement, with a clean profile and fabric that provides comfort and flexibility.

And they are great for hiding a handgun.

The company has added a second pocket behind the traditional front pocket for a weapon. Or, for those who prefer to pack their gun in a holster, it can be tucked inside the stretchable waistband. The back pockets are also designed to help hide accessories, like a knife and a flashlight.

The chinos, which cost $65, are not for commandos, but rather, the company says, for the fashion-aware gun owner. And Woolrich has competition. Several clothing companies are following suit, building businesses around the sharp rise in people with permits to carry concealed weapons.

Their ranks swelled to around seven million last year from five million in 2008, partly because of changes to state laws on concealed handguns.

Shawn Thompson, 35, who works at an auto dealership in eastern Kentucky, bought two shirts last month from the Woolrich Elite Concealed Carry line. Both, he wrote on his blog, are a step up from more rugged gear.

"Most of the clothes I used in the past to hide my sidearm looked pretty sloppy and had my girlfriend complaining about my looks," he wrote, adding in an interview, "I'm not James Bond or nothing, but these look pretty nice."

The shirt has a barely discernible side slit with Velcro through which, he said, he can yank his Colt 1911 from his waistband holster. Depending on circumstances and mood, he might also carry a folding knife and, at night, a flashlight in a pair of Woolrich chinos his girlfriend bought for him.

Carriers of concealed guns say the new options are a departure from the law enforcement and military look, known as "tactical," long favored by gun owners.

The latest styles, by contrast, are called "concealed carry" or "covert fashion."

"What we've tried to do is create a collection of garments that allows the end user to have stylish lifestyle apparel but have features in the garment that enable them to carry a weapon and draw the weapon quickly," said David Hagler, a vice president at 5.11 Tactical, who was lured from Nike to work at 5.11, one of the biggest makers of clothing for soldiers and police officers.

The company's growing concealed-carry line includes a lightweight water-resistant vest coming this fall -- the sort of vest that is standard and trendy at any mainstream outdoor shop but has strategic pockets for guns. It also includes a stealth compartment in front so the wearer can appear to be warming his hands while actually gripping a pistol in a waistband holster.

Other companies are rushing to meet the demand for concealed-carry clothing. Under Armour, best known for its sports and action gear, will be adding a jacket and a plaid shirt with Velcro pockets for easy gun access.

Kevin Eskridge, senior director for outdoor product and design at the company, said the company had seen demand double in the last year for such clothing from traditional outdoor and sporting goods stores, like Dick's Sporting Goods and Cabela's.

Mr. Eskridge said the Under Armour apparel was catching on because of fashion but also because of its features, including moisture-wicking fabric.

"Others are making shirts with gun access but using regular cotton," he said. With his company's fabrics, "there's no stink factor," he said. And if gun owners do not use fabrics that wick away moisture, "You'll literally rust out," he added.

Gun experts suggest that there are many reasons for the growth in the number of people with concealed-carry permits. They say it is partly due to a changing political and economic climate -- gun owners are professing to want a feeling of control -- and state laws certainly have made a difference.

After a campaign by gun rights advocates, 37 states now have "shall issue" statutes that require them to provide concealed-carry permits if an applicant meets legal requirements, like not being a felon. (A handful of other states allow the concealed carrying of handguns without a permit). By contrast, in 1984 only 8 states had such statutes, and 15 did not allow handgun carrying at all, said John Lott, a researcher of gun culture who has held teaching or research posts at a number of universities, including the University of Chicago.

Only one state, Illinois, now forbids handgun carrying in any form, but the legislature is considering a change.

A majority of states have long allowed the open carrying of handguns, said Mr. Lott, who also provided the data on gun permits. But the reality, said Mr. Lott and other gun experts, is that people do not want to show others that they are carrying a weapon or invite sharp questioning from the police.

The clothing lines address a perceived need in the concealed-carry subculture. Gun owners say they want to practice "maximum uncertainty," meaning that if a gun is sufficiently concealed, a potential criminal will be unsure whether to attack. Gun experts say the research is inconclusive about whether such tactics reduce crime. Regardless, the clothing makers are jumping on the line of thinking.

"When someone walks down the street in a button-down and khakis, the bad guy gets a glimmer of fear, wondering: are they packing or not?" said Allen Forkner, a spokesman for Woolrich, which started its concealed-carry line in 2010 with three shirts.

The company has since added new patterns for shirts, pants and the Elite Discreet Carry Twill jacket, in dark shale gray and dark wheat tan. In addition to its gun-friendly pockets, the jacket has a channel cut through the back that the company says can be used to store plastic handcuffs.

Not everyone who carries a concealed gun is a fan of the new fashion. Howard Walter, 61, a salesman at Wade's Eastside Guns in Bellevue, Wash., said he preferred to carry his Colt -- and a couple of knives and two extra magazines -- in a durable pair of work pants.

"They don't shout 'gun,' they shout 'average guy in the street,' " said Mr. Walter, who years ago worked in sales at Nordstrom. But really, he said, the most important thing in picking clothing is to choose something that works for the weapon. "They should dress for the gun," he said he advised his customers. "Not for the fashion."

31. Concealed carry clothing, cont.

Marc Montoni emailed me this:



Concealed carry... chinos? The $65 pants that promise to hide your sidearm in style
April 26, 2012

Slouchy in the hip, slim through the leg... and perfect for concealing your Colt.

Designers are catering to a growing number of gun owners who want to carry their sidearms in style, according to a new report.

Now 'covert fashion' pioneers at Woolrich are expanding their range, with a new Elite Concealed Carry clothing line that features $65 chinos with additional pockets and a stretch waistband to stash firearms.

The New York Times reports the 182-year-old heritage brand took recommendations from law enforcement and military officials to design the collection as a departure from 'tactical' fashion.

The 'concealed carry' or 'covert fashion' collection, as the brand defines it, features cotton/twill blend slacks, a jacket and short sleeve button-down shirts with strategically placed pockets for weapons and tools.

The chinos are designed to have the same clean silhouette as a standard pair of pants with no external cargo or utility pocketing, making them 'ideal for situations where discretion is important,' according to the company website.

A hidden chamber, located behind a conventional pocket, is accessible through an invisible zipper and allows for placement of a concealed weapon while reducing printing.

A casual plaid shirt completes the look in offers of olive, navy and shale, designed with Velcro slits, 'breakaway' side vents and a false bottom button for 'easy rapid access to essential gear on the waist'.

The Elite Discreet Carry Twill jacket, in dark shale gray and dark wheat tan, also has discreet carry options and a channel cut through the back that can be used to store plastic handcuffs, the Times reports.

Woolrich, which pioneered 'concealed carry' in 2010 with a line of three T-shirts, says it is targeting the 'fashion-aware gun owner' with the expanded selection. The company is also jumping on gun owners' desires to practice 'maximum uncertainty', following logic that if potential criminals are unsure a target is carrying because the weapon is sufficiently concealed, they could be less likely to attack.

Company spokesman Allen Forkner explained: 'When someone walks down the street in a button-down and khakis, the bad guy gets a glimmer of fear, wondering: are they packing or not?'

But Woolrich isn't the only clothing brand targeting gun owners with concealed weapon permits.

Athletic label Under Armour plans to debut a jacket and a plaid shirt with Velcro pockets made from its famous moisture-wicking fabric to prevent weapons from 'rusting-out' in sweat.

Law enforcement clothing supplier 5.11 Tactical also has plans to expand its collection this fall, with a lightweight water-resistant vest featuring strategic pockets for guns.

The collections are expanding on the heels of rising numbers of gun-carrying Americans.

Last year, there were approximately seven million Americans with permits to carry - up five million from 2008.

The Times report attributed the increased to relaxed gun laws.

Forty-nine states allow people to carry concealed firearms, barring Illinois - a sharp drop from 15 states that banned the practice in 1984.

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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