Monday, January 14, 2013

VA-ALERT: VCDL Update 1/14/13

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

1. VCDL protests at Colonial Heights Autozone
2. Park signs at Richmond National Battlefield
3. Richmond fatal shooting likely a justified self-defense
4. Letters: the gun debate
5. The right limits on gun rights
6. Gun sales surge in VA after Newtown
7. Schapiro: New Year's wish list for the VA Capitol crowd
8. Maryland, Virginia lawmakers to go different ways on guns
9. Obama wants gun violence measures passed in 2013
10. White House talks don't include NRA
11. Newtown Task Force returns Biden to Gun Control Arena
12. On first day, democrats propose eight anti-gun bills
13. Sen Feinstein: 'America has to bite the bullet' on gun control [VIDEO]
14. Dianne Feinstein says her goal is to disarm all americans [VIDEO]
15. A marine's incredible letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein
16. Gun groups to congress: members won't register
17. 'Assault Weapon' is just a pr stunt meant to fool the gullible
18. Miller: If you're not David Gregory...
19. Miller: Two systems of justice
20. 'Gun control' doesn't survive Christmas
21. Jesse Ventura debates Piers Morgan on gun control [VIDEO]
22. Law abiding citizen
23. Demand a plan [VIDEO] - shows Hollywood gun hypocrisy
24. Ogden police apologize for raid on wrong house
25. Guns Save Lives: Woman hiding with kids shoots intruder

1. VCDL protests at Colonial Heights Autozone

Brian Tyler sent me this:


Citizens Defense League of Virginia protests at Colonial Heights AutoZone
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
December 17, 2012

Protesters bearing signs reading "Honk for Liberty" and "Fire a Hero?" were also bearing arms as they lined the Boulevard in Colonial Heights on Saturday morning.

The guns some of the people assembled outside the AutoZone wore on their hips were complemented by the bright orange stickers reading "Guns Saves Lives" many of the protesters wore on their chests.

The protest was organized by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, and was planned in reaction to AutoZone's recent decision to fire an employee the protestors say is a hero.

"We're here because a few weeks ago, an AutoZone employee saved his manager's life during an armed robbery," Philip Van Cleave, President of VCDL said. "An armed robber came into the store, was holding a gun to the other manager and was trying to get him to open the safe and so forth...this guy managed to sneak out the back, run to his car, grab his Glock .40-caliber hand gun and brought it back into the store and stopped the robbery."

Devin McLean, the former employee, was fired from the store in York County, Virginia, shortly after the Nov. 16 robbery due to AutoZone's zero tolerance policy against employees bringing their own weapons into the workplace. The story garnered widespread attention.

Van Cleave said firing McLean was "totally uncalled for" and said McLean did not have to do what he did, which Van Cleave said was saving the lives of people in the store

"They claim they have a zero tolerance policy and we call that a zero intelligence policy," Van Cleave said. "Zero tolerance just doesn't work. Situations happen sometimes and you have to look at the situation and make an exception for it."

In a statement, Ray Pohlman, media contact for AutoZone, said that the decision to fire McLean was the result of a long-standing policy aimed at ensuring safety in the chain's stores.

"The safety of our AutoZoners and our customers is AutoZone's first concern. That is why AutoZone, like most national retailers, forbids employees from bringing weapons into the workplace.

You may have heard about a recent incident in one of our stores where an AutoZoner was terminated for violating our company's long-standing weapons policy. The outcome in this incident did not result in harm to either AutoZoners or customers. Unfortunately, there have been similar situations where employees have introduced weapons in the workplace and somebody was injured."

Van Cleave argued that McLean did not try to play police officer and did not run after the robber. He said that McLean simply showed his handgun to deter the robber from potentially harming those in the store.

"This [protest] brings awareness that AutoZone did the wrong thing," Van Cleave said. "And it's really pointing the finger at AutoZone, the company and their policies. In America, we cherish our heroes. We don't fire them."

Brian Tyler, of Hanover, was amongst those standing on the Boulevard to show support of McLean on Saturday morning. Tyler wanted the protest to bring awareness to the general public that guns are not the issue.

"I am a firm believer in the Second Amendment and I am a firm believer that it is my God given right to be able to defend myself," Tyler said. "I just want the general public to realize that carrying a gun isn't a bad thing; used in the right person's hand, it can be a very useful tool."

Tyler said the holstered gun on his hip represented another lesson.

"I don't want everyone to see a gun as a bad thing," Tyler said. "They see us out here, they see we're not causing problems. We're out here for a good cause."

The statement from AutoZone said that a weapon should never be taken out during a robbery, telling employees that all confrontation should be left up to law enforcement.

"That is why most law enforcement officials and safety experts agree that confrontation of criminal suspects increases the risk of harm to employees and customers. There is no amount of money in the cash register or merchandise in our stores that is worth more than your safety and the safety of our customers. You have been trained on how to react should you find yourself in a robbery situation. Give the robbers what they want. Stay calm. Be observant of physical appearance, distinguishing marks and clothing – anything that can help police identify and apprehend the suspect."

Van Cleave said that his view of such situations is different.

"See our view is very simple, you have a right to defend yourself," Van Cleave said. "You get one life, and again, what this person did was end [the attempted robbery] perfectly. People say you need to leave that stuff to the police. Well see there were no police there when he did it."

As drivers passed the AutoZone, some honked their horns and waved, Van Cleave acknowledged the tragedy the had occurred just 24 hours before, when Adam Lanza opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, killing 20 children, six adults and then himself.

Van Cleave said Saturday's protests, which took place at AutoZone stores in both Colonial Heights and Hopewell, were planned prior to the Connecticut shooting, but said he thought that tragedy tied in with the concept of self-defense, the message behind the protest on Saturday.

"Unfortunately for those poor little children, the children couldn't have done anything about that, but the adults could have," Van Cleave said. "The schools are gun free zones. The same thing that happened in the mall in Oregon, that was a gun free zone, the theatre in Colorado, that was a gun free zone. All these gun free zones is where these massacres happen with these big body counts. So our organization is all about people having the means to protect themselves wherever they are."

Van Cleave said the situation might have unfolded differently had the teachers been able to carry guns.

"If some of those teachers had been armed, maybe just maybe, those children would've never been killed," he said.

The protesters all wore black arm bands in memory of the lives lost the day before in Newton, Conn. One protestor, Stan Bailey, of Petersburg, held up a big poster for VCDL and said he was there for McLean.

He said that if he had been a customer at the time of the robbery, he would've been appreciative of McLean for potentially saving his life.

"When you have a robber that comes in with a loaded handgun, you are at his mercy," Bailey said. "You're at his will."

Even though many of the other protesters around Bailey were sporting handguns, and one protestor even had a rifle in a backpack, Bailey said that he didn't particularly like firearms, but sees them as a necessity.

"He never used it," Bailey said of McLean's gun. He just went in with a firearm and the criminal element retreated, he left. A mere show of force that will deter that kind of crime. Do I like guns? not really, but it's a necessity. There is a necessity."

2. Park signs at Richmond National Battlefield

VCDL member activism in action.

Michael M. Nelson emailed me this in response to "no guns" signs at the Richmond National Battlefield:


The park superintendent, Mr. Ruth did in fact call me today. He said that he was not aware that the wording on the boundary signs still contained a prohibition against possessing weapons. He had a ranger check and sure enough - all of the boundary signs in the Richmond National Battlefield system are the old type with that wording. He told me that the day before Christmas they changed the main sign at the information Kiosk at Malvern Hill after receiving my email, and that the main, full-color signage at the other parks will be changed within the week.

I drove by there today on my way home from work and that sign was changed to say "metal detecting, looting and hunting are prohibited". However the boundary signs are not in the budget to replace for this year (2013), however now that he is aware of the signage he will put it in next year's budget request. These signs are posted every 500 to 1000' around all NPS parks, and the number of signs to be changed is very large indeed. However, in addition to changing the main information signs at visitor parking locations so quickly, he also assured me that the NPS LE rangers would not enforce firearm prohibition in any case, and have not since 2010. The fact that he did change the main large sign so quickly leads me to believe he is sincere.

3. Richmond fatal shooting likely a justified self-defense

Paul Burgener sent me this:



Richmond fatal shooting likely a justified self-defense
by Alix Bryan and Jon Burkett
December 20, 2012

Richmond, Va. (WTVR)–A deadly shooting started off as a robbery.

Police sources tell CBS 6 that the resident at the Jefferson Trace apartments on the city's Southside was just taking his trash out.

He walked up to the dumpster and a man approached him with a shotgun.

A shooting broke out, that ended in front of Clarissa Harvey's front door.

"They [police] rolled him over and pulled it out on the ground, I saw the shotgun."

Police sources told CBS 6 that the robber was toting a shotgun and demanded money.

Sources said things didn't end well for the robber. The man carrying his trash out pulled out his own weapon and fired a deadly shot

Mike Herring, the Commonwealth's Attorney, said his office has been briefed

"It's very early but our preliminary findings suggests that it is a justified self-defense at this point," Herring said. "There does not appear to be a criminal case, but police are still looking into the matter."

The day after, Harvey said things look like they're getting back to normal

There's an additional police presence, but she said it's a welcomed sight and she prays nothing like this happens again.

"Especially this time of year–people are so crazy." They try to get something for nothing you know," Harvey said. "If you want something, go work for it, don't take what someone else has–especially by force."

Police cruisers have been circling this Southside neighborhood all morning.Police sources say they are now looking into whether if the man that was shot to death was involved in other recent robberies.

4. Letters: the gun debate

Grayson Jennings shared this on facebook:


January 5, 2013

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I am an elementary teacher in Richmond and the father of two kids, ages 7 and 5, who are both in elementary school. The horrid, unthinkable events in Connecticut have affected me deeply as both a parent and a teacher.

It makes me embarrassed to be a Virginian to know that Gov. Bob McDonnell's answer to violence in our schools is to suggest arming school personnel. The answer to gun violence is . . . more guns? We should be exploring mental illness, school preparedness and gun control first.

That the home the allegedly mentally ill gunman and his slain mother shared contained semi-automatic assault weapons is just nauseating. I don't like guns, but I understand the right to bear them, sensibly — and I don't believe an assault weapon that holds 50 rounds is useful or sensible. I know addressing and correcting these issues take time and money. So, in the meantime, instead of turning school personnel into armed vigilantes, maybe we can start by offering a "hello" and "how are you?" to random passers-by on the street. [PVC: Egads. And this is a teacher being so very naive.]

Curtis Mills.


[PVC: Short, sweet, and to the point LTE by VCDL Board member Dennis O'Connor]

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I am horrified by the senseless and brutal murder of adults and young children in Connecticut, and I applaud Gov. Bob McDonnell's willingness to think outside the failed box of gun control by discussing armed employees in schools. The lie of "gun-free zones" has only resulted in even more massacres in such venues, while consistently ensuring the highest of body counts as gun bans only create victim-rich environments. Gun control is an invitation to shoot fish in a barrel unchallenged. Al-Qaida has surely taken notice.

Other countries (Thailand and Israel immediately come to mind) have successfully employed armed citizens in classrooms to save lives.

Virginia school employees, vendors, contractors and parents in whom the commonwealth has already conferred its confidence and trust by issuance of concealed handgun permits should not be required to disarm just to enter schools. Their lives are not less valuable on these properties, and children's lives are worth protecting, too.

While an armed resource officer is easily identified and targeted as the first victim, trained school employees and other citizens already trusted and permitted by the state and carrying discreetly on premises offer a real deterrent and invisible threat to vicious murderers.

Dennis J. O'Connor.


Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Much has been written and more will be written about the senseless shooting in Newtown and what can be done to prevent such actions from recurring.

Many have harped on gun control. Few have mentioned the fact that schools are soft targets.

Schools are widely known to be "gun free" zones, so when some demented person decides it is time for that 15 minutes of fame, what better target is there than a defenseless school?

Arming teachers could be an answer, but a better move would be to fortify the entrances to schools and hire armed security guards to control access to the building. No one should be allowed inside during school hours unless he or she is employed by the school division or is on a pre-approved visitors' list.

There are many security companies with state-certified armed guards who could perform this task.

John H. Hammell.


Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The shooter in the Sandy Hook tragedy broke dozens of laws already on the books. The solution posed by many is to pass more laws. Whether someone is mentally deranged or simply evil, another law is not going to deter him from acting illegally.

It was against the law for Adam Lanza to shoot his mother. It was against the law for him to steal her guns. It was against the law for him to come onto school property with a firearm. It was against the law for him to murder those he killed. I could go on and on.

Does anyone honestly think that more laws could have stopped this killer that fateful day? Will more laws stop anyone like him in the future? Really?

Stephen Armstrong.

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

It is no surprise that the NRA's answer to the Connecticut tragedy is not to attempt better management of assault weapon purchases but to add more guns to the equation. Nothing in Wayne LaPierre's rant addressed what is lacking to help deter the recent killings at Sandy Hook Elementary, the Oregon mall, the movie theater in Colorado, the political rally in Arizona or several recent church shootings.

More armed personnel in the schools will do nothing to save lives once a child or adult is on the way home, walking in the park or just performing everyday activities.

It's time to do something substantial. [PVC: Like letter gun owners carry everywhere they go. Period.]

Badger Garner.


Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Why does the NRA's Wayne LaPierre tell us that more guns are the solution? What were we expecting? He is the lobbyist for guns. He profits from gun sales. Of course he says put security guards in schools. He wants more guns! It increases his power.

Isn't prevention a better answer? If we want to lose weight, do we buy more chocolate? Sometimes more is not better.

We, the people, have more sense than LaPierre. Listen to us. I don't want more guns. I want no guns. Limiting guns like Australia has done has been proven to be effective — so why buy more guns? Removing guns, limiting clip size, creating thorough background checks, eliminating assault weapons altogether — any of these is better than putting more guns out there.

There are so many of us who want to simply limit assault weapons. Why isn't this, at least, being done? [PVC: Because it is a pointless exercise that only makes the situation worse and is going after a constitutionally protected right.]

Christine Lucas.


Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The other day I stood with a Presbyterian minister as part of a group of approximately 100 in downtown Washington. Our group was peacefully attempting to deliver 220,000 signatures to the National Rifle Association stating that we wanted an end to assault rifles in civilian hands.

The NRA refused our offer and turned us away, as expected.

Last Sunday an Episcopal priest in Washington delivered a sermon in which he stated, "The Cross Lobby can defeat the Gun Lobby." The Catholics, Episcopalians, Baptists, Evangelicals, the Sikh council and the Jewish and Muslim communities have all spoken out condemning our gun culture. The silence from the Methodist Church is puzzling. I believe Christ would understand that the issue of gun violence needs to be addressed now.

As a lifelong Methodist I have seen the population of the U.S. double and the membership of the United Methodist Church decline. Why is that? Our founder, John Wesley, was a strong social activist who looked out for the poor and downtrodden. We have a church Discipline, from which I quote: "Gun Violence: Violence and, more particularly, violence to children and youth, is a primary concern for United Methodists." Very good words — however, the average Methodist rarely reads the Discipline and the world outside our membership has no idea that such a document exists.

We stand a better than 30 times chance of being murdered in the United States than if we were to live in the U.K. or France. Last year we murdered far more people with guns in our country than the number of troops we lost during the entire conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Where is the voice of the Methodist Church in this madness? [PVC: Hopefully encouraging the protection of innocent life by encouraging firearms ownership and carry.]

Earle Mitchell.


Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The senseless tragedy in Newtown, Conn., has shaken this nation and touched every one of us. Yet the outpouring of concern, compassion and caring still clearly indicates that there is far more good in this country than evil and that hope and love will prevail.

Whether you are a believer or not, why not take a moment to reflect on what type of society you want for yourself, your family and your friends? After reflecting, ask yourself: "What can I do to make my life, my community, my country more of the kind of place that I want to live in and that I want our children and generations to come to live in?" Then, make a heartfelt and concerted effort to make this happen.

Each one of us, every one, has something to offer to help make this world a better place. If you think you don't, think again — because you do. Each one of us, every one, has the ability (and perhaps now more than ever, the responsibility) to make this happen.

If each one of us, every one, could offer up just one random act of kindness this year that would be over 300 million random acts of kindness. It won't cure all the country's ills, but it would certainly have a positive effect on millions of people. The smallest act of kindness oftentimes makes a huge impact in another's life and can cause a ripple effect that you may not have even thought possible.

I realize there are many Americans who already practice random acts of kindness — and certainly more than once a year — and to those people I say "Thank you" as you truly make a difference. Let the rest of us, every one, take a lesson from these kind-hearted and gracious people and perform our own acts of kindness so that in time they may not be just random but continual and in turn make this country free of this and other senseless tragedies. [PVC: Nothing wrong with random acts of kindness. But, I'll be carrying a gun while I do them just in case.]

Ken Essigman.

5. The right limits on gun rights

EM Dave Hicks sent me this:



Editorial: The right limits on gun rights
The deaths of 20 children and their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School clarifies the stakes in the gun control debate.
December 30, 2012

Newtown, Conn., was still burying its dead children when the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre admonished America it must turn its schools into armed fortresses to stop the senseless slaughter of innocents.

The gun lobby's proposed solution to every large-scale, lethal attack is to meet firepower with firepower; flood a gun-saturated society with more guns and ammo, so no one is defenseless against the threat, which only grows as fear of it feeds on itself. It is a mad cycle.

Yet all the mass shootings that have come before, including the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech, have shocked, grieved and moved the public to engage in much hand-wringing -- and then to do nothing about the ease with which mass murderers are able to acquire arsenals.

The carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary School has touched the nation in a different way. A lone man armed with a semiautomatic rifle mindlessly mowing down first-graders and their teachers as they try in vain to shield their little ones from bullets: this is a horror that clarifies the stakes as nothing else has in the gun control debate.

LaPierre spoke for some, but not all, members and friends of the NRA last week when he insisted the clear message is: "What if, when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, he had been confronted by qualified, armed security?"

The lobby that acts as apologist for a gun industry that contributes heavily to America's culture of real, not imaginary, violence offers as solution "the National School Shield program, which would rely on local police forces," LaPierre announced. To be funded, of course, by taxpayers increasingly loath to pay for public school buildings and teachers, much less an armed protective force to guard against gunmen bent on mindless murder.

"Will you at least admit it's possible that 26 innocent lives might have been spared?" LaPierre asked.

Yes. But it is at least as easy to imagine a firefight through school halls, an armed guard shot and killed, and an even higher death toll.

But that is not the conversation the nation wants or needs to have.

LaPierre's vision of a National School Shield goes beyond new spending on policing schools "to building design and access control to information technology to student and teacher training."

Americans do not want to send their children into militarized war zones to be educated, nor should they have to as the price of people's right to bear arms.

Rights have limits. Responsible gun owners -- we would like to think the majority of gun owners -- do understand this. It is time to sit down together and reason. [PVC: Uh, as soon as "reason" is used, the conversation is over for the gun-grabbers.]

6. Gun sales surge in VA after Newtown

Walter Jackson sent me this:



Gun sales surge in Virginia after Newtown
by Justin Jouvenal
December 28, 2012

Gun sales have surged in the region and across the nation in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre as enthusiasts rush to buy firearms they fear will be outlawed by a fresh push for gun control.

Gun dealers requested nearly 5,150 background checks on purchasers in Virginia eight days after the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn. — the largest number ever in a single day, Virginia State Police said. And in the days since, the daily number of background checks has regularly doubled corresponding totals from the previous year.

In Maryland, state police pro­ject that they will receive 8,200 gun permit applications in December, more than in any other month this year and double the number received in June.

The area's surge in gun sales is playing out in a year during which the FBI reported a record 16.8 million in background checks for guns.

It's not the first time gun sales have surged after a mass shooting. Sales rose in some places after the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in 2011 in Tucson and the shooting that killed 12 in a movie theater in Auroa, Colo., in July.

"I've never seen shelves so bare in stores that weren't going out of business," said John Pierce, co-founder of, a Virginia-based gun rights networking hub. "It's really shocking."

The Nation's Gun Show at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly on Friday was ground zero for the boom. Organizers expected twice as many attendees as came to a similar event last November. One dealer canceled because he ran out of ammunition to sell.

A line already snaked around the building shortly after the three-day event began at 3 p.m., and the parking lot was jammed. People heading into the gun show were met by protesters from the activist group CodePink, who held up a large pink cutout of a gun that read "assault weapons."

With an AK-47 slung over one shoulder, Marco Hernandez offered one word when asked why he was in the overflow crowd at the gun show, billed as the largest east of the Mississippi.

"Obama," he said, standing in front of the Expo Center. "I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the possible gun ban."

Like others, the 29-year-old Wheaton resident was in the market for an accessory some lawmakers and anti-gun advocates want to restrict: a high-capacity magazine.

Inside, gun dealers said they were doing an amount of business they had not seen in years — or ever. The dozens of stalls in the cavernous hall were swamped with customers, picking over every­thing from vintage rifles to camouflage handguns.

Vendors said the hottest items were such weapons as the AR-15, a semiautomatic rifle that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has proposed banning as part of a package of gun regulations.

Attendees and vendors at the gun show said some firearms and ammunition were selling at prices two or three times what they were a month ago. "In 34 years, it's never been like this," said Jerry Cochran, the owner of Trader Jerry's, a gun store with two locations in Virginia. "Each day, business escalates to a new level."

Attendees said an anger was behind their burst of buying: They felt guns had been unfairly identified as the cause of the shooting that took the lives of 20 children and six staff members at the Connecticut school.

Some said they felt their rights were under siege and that the federal government should be directing efforts elsewhere rather than restricting the sales of some firearms and accessories.

"Restrictions won't solve anything — they miss the point," said David Grantham of Springfield, who was shopping for a handgun with his wife. "The point is identifying people that need help and who should not have guns."'s Pierce said gun owners worried about new restrictions are just one part of the boom in gun demand. He said Sandy Hook also has produced a crop of first-time gun buyers interested in arming themselves against a similar attack.

He pointed to a friend's posting on Facebook in the wake of the shooting: "I will own a gun soon enough. Weird I don't already. I dare someone to come shoot my kindergartner."

Many at the gun show echoed a line uttered by National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre at a recent news conference: "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

Experts say other factors are driving the uptick as well. Before Sandy Hook, the reelection of President Obama had stoked worries among gun enthusiasts about new restrictions. The end of the year is also a popular period to buy guns for the holidays and for the start of hunting season.

The boom has left some firearms companies shorthanded. The large ammunition supplier Brownells announced that it sold 31 / 2 years' worth of magazine clips in just 36 hours soon after the Newtown masscre. Its Web site advises customers of delays in shipping because of the volume of sales.

Some of those shopping for guns Friday came away frustrated.

"My dad was looking for an AR-15 rifle, but there were few, if any, left," Patrick Roberts, 21, said after fighting the crowds inside the Expo Center. "They were going for $980 — now I'm seeing them on sale for $1,700 or $1,800."

The surge in sales troubles some who advocate stricter gun regulations. They said an increase in firearms won't make people safer; in fact, they said, owning a firearm places a person in greater danger.

"The mind-set is, 'If only I had a gun, I would be safer,' " said Andy Goddard, president of the Virginia Center for Public Safety. "It's a gut instinct, but it's not based on what the data we have available tells us."

7. Schapiro: New Year's wish list for the VA Capitol crowd

Yours truly is mentioned in this tongue-in-cheek article ;-) Nothing wrong with a nice air rifle!

Bill Watkins sent me this:



Schapiro: New Year's wish list for the Va. Capitol crowd
by Jeff E. Schapiro
December 30, 2012

A New Year's wish list for the famous and infamous of Virginia politics:
• Gov. Bob McDonnell: A legacy.
• Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling: A job — and comfort food.
• Former Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe, the presumed Democratic nominee for governor: The right stuff.
• Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the presumed Republican nominee for governor: The left stuff.
• House Speaker Bill Howell, R-Stafford: Having put his political manhood in a blind trust, that, at least, it's interest-bearing.
• House Republican Leader Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights: Bill Howell's retirement, making official who's really House Speaker.
• Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw of Fairfax: Silent heel taps — to match his wind chimes.
• Senate Republican Leader Tommy Norment of James City: Dominion over his caucus.
• House Democratic Leader David Toscano of Charlottesville: Relevance.
• Twice-defeated U.S. Sen. George Allen, R-Va.: A job as quarterback coach — at the University of Virginia.
• U.S. Sen.-elect Tim Kaine, D-Va.: Sainthood.
• Retiring U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.: Nothing. (What do you give the guy who's done everything?)
• U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.: To be loved — by everyone.
• U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-7th: To be loved — by anyone.
• Doug Wilder, the former governor and former Richmond mayor: Who?
• Senate Finance Committee Chairman Walter Stosch, R-Henrico: To do the budget — Gangnam-style.
• U.Va. Rector Helen Dragas: Safe conduct from Charlottesville.
• U.Va. President Teresa Sullivan: The good sense to sit with her back to the wall.
• McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin: A boss who doesn't shoot his mouth off.
• Family Foundation head Victoria Cobb: Emergency contraception for lousy legislation.
• The seven candidates for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor: The nicknames Grumpy, Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Bashful, Doc and Dopey.
• Attorney General candidates Mark Obenshain and Rob Bell, both Republicans, and Democrat Mark Herring: Personality transplants.
• Tareq Salahi, White House crasher and announced Republican candidate for governor: An invitation to the party.
• Former Del. Phil Hamilton, R-Newport News, serving 9½ years in prison for bribery and extortion: Work release — in the General Assembly.
***• Gun-rights lobbyist Phil van Cleave: An Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.***
• Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William: A megaphone.
• House Republican Caucus: Earplugs for Bob Marshall.
• Del. Joe Morrissey, D-Henrico: A megaphone.
• House Democratic Caucus: Earplugs for Joe Morrissey.
• Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Donald McEachin of Henrico: That Saslaw remembers who his friends are.
• House Commerce and Labor Committee Chairman Terry Kilgore, R-Scott: Cash-and-carry express lane in the committee room for big business.
• Former Gov. Linwood Holton, Virginia's first Republican chief executive: An excuse to finally vote Republican.
• Anti-tax hawk Grover Norquist: A less taxing job.
• Richmond Councilman-elect Jon Baliles: A landslide.
• Defeated Richmond Councilman Bruce Tyler: 21 votes.
• State marketing program: A slogan that reflects our political competitiveness — "Virginia is for Swingers."
• State employees: A government that works in their behalf rather than works them over.
• Proposed uranium mining in Pittsylvania County: Glowing recommendation from Bob McDonnell.
• Capitol lobbying corps: More bad bills to generate more business.
• Dominion chief Tom Farrell: To run the General Assembly as the wholly owned Dominion subsidiary it is rather than the charity it's become.

8. Maryland, Virginia lawmakers to go different ways on guns

"To many Marylanders, Virginia sounds like the Wild West." That's odd, because Virginia has a significantly lower crime-rate than Maryland. Tell me again which state sounds like the Wild West?

Stephen Wenger sent me this:



Maryland, Virginia lawmakers to go different ways on guns
by Steve Contorno
January 2, 2013

Maryland and Virginia have vowed to tackle the issue of guns when their state legislatures convene this month in the wake a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, but the neighboring states are taking drastically different approaches.

In Maryland, Democrats running the General Assembly have called for a crackdown on the kinds of powerful firearms and high-capacity magazines used last month by the Newtown, Conn., shooter to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Republicans who control Virginia's General Assembly, however, not only dismissed the need for new gun restrictions but expressed interest in arming teachers.

The divergent reactions to the second-deadliest shooting in U.S. history highlight the cultural differences between the two states. In Virginia, gun ownership is considered sacrosanct and hunting a treasured pastime. Virginia is so protective of Second Amendment rights that even some Democrats support a National Rifle Association proposal to place an armed police officer in every school.

To many Marylanders, Virginia sounds like the Wild West.

"That is the starkest differences between the two jurisdictions," said Sen. Brian Frosh, D-Bethesda. "I just can't believe Maryland would ever endorse policies that say we will turn our schools into armed camps."

Frosh and a handful of Democrats want Maryland to restrict ammunition clips to 10 rounds -- instead of the current 20-to-30-round clips now available -- and to ban assault weapons. A 1994 federal ban on such weapons expired in 2004, though President Obama called for its renewal.

Gun supporters say banning assault rifles would do little to reduce violence because most gun-related murders involve handguns. All but 10 of Maryland's 272 homicides in 2010 were committed with a gun, but only two involved a rifle, according to the FBI. Virginia had 208 gun-related homicides in 2011, including 10 committed with a rifle.

"We do have a violence problem in the United States, but it's by no means only a firearms problem," said Matt Daley of the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association. "If the data were otherwise, and 95 percent of the homicides involved assault rifles, I would come to a different analysis."

Gun sales in both states continue to rise. The day after the Sandy Hook massacre, Virginia gun dealers reported the highest daily sales in state history. In Maryland, the total number of applications filed by all would-be gun buyers jumped from 46,000 in 2011 to about 62,000 last year.

The fight in Virginia is likely to center on whether the state should further loosen gun laws. Republicans last year successfully ended the state's long-standing one-handgun-per-month limit, the only major restriction on gun ownership to pass the state legislature in decades.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, both Republicans, have said allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom could prevent future school shootings.

Democrats and even some Republicans will push back against those measures, but lawmakers said it's unlikely the General Assembly will add any restrictions for gun buyers this year.

"As much as our constituents in Northern Virginia would approve of us passing assault weapons bans and limits on magazine capacities, those are impossible to pass in Virginia," said Del. Mark Sickles, D-Franconia. "But arming our school staff is a pretty ludicrous proposal."

9. Obama wants gun violence measures passed in 2013

Board Member Dennis O'Connor emailed me this:



Obama wants gun violence measures passed in 2013
by Jim Kuhnhenn
December 30, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Recalling the shooting rampage that killed 20 first graders as the worst day of his presidency, President Barack Obama pledged to put his "full weight" behind legislation aimed at preventing gun violence.

Obama voiced skepticism about the National Rifle Association's proposal to put armed guards in schools following the Dec. 14 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The president made his comments Saturday in an interview that aired Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Instead, the president vowed to rally the American people around an agenda to limit gun violence, adding that he still supports increased background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity bullet magazines. He left no doubt it will be one of his top priorities next year.

"It is not enough for us to say, 'This is too hard so we're not going to try,'" Obama said.

"I think there are a vast majority of responsible gun owners out there who recognize that we can't have a situation in which somebody with severe psychological problems is able to get the kind of high capacity weapons that this individual in Newtown obtained and gun down our kids," he added. "And, yes, it's going to be hard."

The president added that he's ready to meet with Republicans and Democrats, anyone with a stake in the issue.

The schoolhouse shootings, coming as families prepared for the holidays, have elevated the issue of gun violence to the forefront of public attention. Six adult staff members were also killed at the elementary school. Shooter Adam Lanza committed suicide, apparently as police closed in. Earlier, he had killed his mother at the home they shared.

The tragedy immediately prompted calls for greater gun controls. But the NRA is strongly resisting those efforts, arguing instead that schools should have armed guards for protection. Some gun enthusiasts have rushed to buy semiautomatic rifles of the type used by Lanza, fearing sales may soon be restricted.

Obama seemed unimpressed by the NRA proposal. "I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools," he said. "And I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem."

The president said he intends to press the issue with the public.

"The question then becomes whether we are actually shook up enough by what happened here that it does not just become another one of these routine episodes where it gets a lot of attention for a couple of weeks and then it drifts away," Obama said. "It certainly won't feel like that to me. This is something that - you know, that was the worst day of my presidency. And it's not something that I want to see repeated."

Separately, a member of the president's cabinet said Sunday that rural America may be ready to join a national conversation about gun control. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the debate has to start with respect for the Second Amendment right to bear arms and recognition that hunting is a way of life for millions of Americans.

But Vilsack said Newtown has changed the way people see the issue. "I really believe that this is a different circumstance and a different situation," Vilsack said on CNN.

Vilsack said he thinks it's possible for Americans to come together. "It's potentially a unifying conversation," he said. "The problem is that these conversations are always couched in the terms of dividing us. This could be a unifying conversation, and Lord knows we need to be unified."

Besides passing gun violence legislation, Obama also listed deficit reduction and immigration as top priorities for 2013. A big deficit reduction deal with Republicans proved elusive this month, and Obama is now hoping Senate Democratic and Republican leaders salvage a scaled-back plan that avoids tax increases for virtually all Americans.

In addition, he issued a defense of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who has been mentioned as one of the leading candidates to replace Leon Panetta as defense secretary.

Hagel supported the 2002 resolution approving U.S. military action in Iraq, but later became a critic of the war. He has been denounced by some conservatives for not being a strong enough ally of Israel. Also, many liberals and gay activists have banded against him for comments he made in 1998 about an openly gay nominee for an ambassadorship.

Obama, who briefly served with Hagel in the Senate, stressed that he had yet to make a decision but called Hagel a "patriot."

Hagel "served this country with valor in Vietnam," the president said. "And (he) is somebody who's currently serving on my intelligence advisory board and doing an outstanding job."

Obama noted that Hagel had apologized for his 14-year-old remark on gays.

10. White House talks don't include NRA

NRA finally did get included, but as I predicted to a reporter before the talks, they would be a sham "for appearances sake. " NRA confirmed that in an email to their members after the talks concluded.

Walter Jackson emailed me this:



NRA President Keene: Biden's Snubbing Us in Gun Talks
December 28, 2012 10:24 PM

An effort led by Vice President Joe Biden to find ways to reduce gun violence after the Connecticut school massacre so far has not included talking to the National Rifle Association, the president of the gun rights group said on Friday.

NRA President David Keene said neither Biden nor his staff has contacted the organization since President Barack Obama unveiled the effort on Dec. 19.

Keene said he was not surprised, given Biden's past support for new gun control laws. "He's not even a friendly antagonist," Keene told Reuters in an interview.

The lack of communication between the White House and the largest U.S. lobbying group for gun owners is a sign that the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, has so far failed to change long-held stances on gun politics. In that tragedy, a young man shot his mother with her own gun before killing 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Biden and up to four Cabinet officers are holding a series of meetings with outside groups to discuss possible gun legislation. The first was with law enforcement officials, another with mayors.

The White House has said other meetings will take place with gun safety groups and gun owners, among others, but it has not said whether the NRA will be invited. The White House had no comment on Friday.

Asked about the organization's influence, Obama struck an optimistic note on Dec 19. "The NRA is an organization that has members who are mothers and fathers," he said. "I would expect that they've been impacted by this as well, and hopefully, they'll do some self-reflection."

Two days later, NRA executive Wayne LaPierre said at a press conference that new gun laws were not the answer, calling instead for some form of armed guards in every school.

Keene told Reuters: "I'm willing to talk to anybody. I'm willing to sit down with anybody up there." He added, though, that he would not agree to "gut" gun rights.

"I'm going to want to have a conversation about how we protect our children," he said. "That's a serious conversation. Offering sort of feel-good bills doesn't strike me as serious."

Biden's group is due to offer its recommendations in January.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Thursday found that support remains high for preserving specific gun ownership privileges, such as concealed-weapon permits, as well as for some restrictions, such as background checks for every purchase.

11. Newtown Task Force returns Biden to Gun Control Arena

The Vice President's inept leadership might actually help us.

Walter Jackson sent me this:



Biden Is Back for a 2nd Run at Gun Limits
by Peter Baker
December 29, 2012

WASHINGTON — Never much known for restraint, Joseph R. Biden Jr. did not hold back during a presidential primary debate in 2007 when a voter asking about gun rights in a recorded video displayed a fearsome-looking semiautomatic rifle and declared, "This is my baby."
Enlarge This Image

Luke Sharrett for The New York Times
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. meeting with law enforcement officials in Washington a week after the Connecticut massacre.
Mr. Biden, then a Delaware senator in a dark-horse bid for the White House, shook his head. "I tell you what, if that's his baby, he needs help," he said. "I think he just made an admission against self-interest. I don't know if he's mentally qualified to own that gun."

The candidate's blunt, dismissive remark cheered one side of America's long-polarized debate about guns and alienated the other. But it overlooked the salient reality that the rifle-toting voter was able to buy it legally even under a law that theoretically banned assault weapons and was co-written by Mr. Biden.

Five years later, that same type of weapon, a Bushmaster AR-15, is at the heart of a renewed national conversation about gun laws because it was used this month by the mass killer in Newtown, Conn. For Mr. Biden, now the vice president, the moment offers a second chance as he drafts a legislative response for President Obama that would reinstate his expired assault weapons ban, while also applying lessons from the last time around to make it more effective.

A president intent on pressing Congress to restrict access to high-powered guns could hardly find a more seasoned figure to take charge of the effort. Mr. Biden, who owns two shotguns, brings decades of experience and plenty of scar tissue from past battles with the National Rifle Association to frame recommendations that Mr. Obama wants ready by next month.

"He's basically been doing this for a little over 30 years," said former Senator Ted Kaufman of Delaware, a longtime Biden adviser who was appointed to fill out his term. "I really do believe there isn't anybody in America who has a better chance of getting this done by Jan. 15 than he does, not just because of his background in guns but because he's not politically intimidated by the N.R.A., to put it mildly."

As far as the N.R.A. is concerned, Mr. Biden is an ideologue whose mind is already made up about the "conversation" he is now supposed to lead.

"This is somebody who's bombastic and really does think that anybody who disagrees with him is not only wrong but crazy," David Keene, the N.R.A. president, said in an interview. "That's his style."

Mr. Biden, he added, has not reached out to his group and has shown contempt for gun owners who value their Second Amendment rights. "His debate response and how he's acted as a legislator indicates that he not only doesn't understand it but doesn't have any desire to understand it," Mr. Keene said. "Joe is not a nuance character. He knows what he knows, and he doesn't need to be told that other people think differently than he does."

What Mr. Biden knows is that gun control is not only a fiercely emotional topic for many Americans but also a tricky area for legislation. The assault weapons ban he helped pass in 1994 was written narrowly enough that it allowed plenty of guns to still be sold. Moreover, a 10-year expiration clause was added as a compromise. Democrats went on to lose control of Congress that fall, a defeat that many attributed to the gun law, leaving the party skittish ever since.

This time, Mr. Biden wants to tighten the strictures, but to succeed he needs to get legislation through a Republican-controlled House. And even if he and Mr. Obama can persuade Congress to ban the sale of new semiautomatic rifles, more than three million AR-15 rifles are already in private hands, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

First elected to the Senate in 1972, Mr. Biden had a long interest in passing crime legislation, and gun control eventually became part of his proposals. An assault weapons ban he wrote in the 1980s failed in Congress, but by 1994, as he put together a comprehensive crime package, a new Democratic senator, Dianne Feinstein of California, wanted to try again. Burned after so many failures, Mr. Biden was skeptical.

"When I told Joe Biden, who was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, that I was going to move this as an amendment on the crime bill, he laughed at me," Ms. Feinstein recalled this month on the NBC program "Meet the Press." "He said, 'You're new here. Wait till you learn.' "

President Bill Clinton's White House and House Democrats worried that the gun ban would end up taking down the entire crime bill, which authorized 100,000 more police officers, expanded the death penalty, built more prisons, cracked down on hate crimes and violence against women, and financed prevention programs.

In the end, it passed, in significant part because of Mr. Biden. "I think there were days the chairman didn't sleep," said Karen Robb, who worked for the committee at the time. "It never would have made it out of the Senate without his help, period. It never would have made it out of conference without him."

To get it through required a compromise. The bill defined an assault weapon as a gun that was able to accept a detachable magazine and that included two or more other combat-type accessories, like a pistol grip, a flash suppressor or a grenade launcher; those with just one accessory were still legal.

The upheaval brought about by the midterm election later that year soured Democrats on gun control, although Mr. Biden survived efforts to defeat him two years later. A Republican-led Congress let the assault weapons ban expire in 2004 amid debate about the effectiveness of the original legislation.

By the time Jered Townsend, the Bushmaster owner from Michigan, recorded his question for the 2007 primary debate, Mr. Biden was one of the few outspoken voices on gun control left among Democratic leaders.

Mr. Obama, running against him, offered a modulated position. He agreed with conservatives that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms — a view later upheld by the Supreme Court — but he supported gun control measures like a ban on assault rifles that he considered constitutional.

Mr. Townsend, now 36 years old and a contract writer at a construction company, said he bought the Bushmaster he displayed on television legally during the period that Mr. Biden's ban was in place. "We don't need politicians writing gun laws because they don't know what they're doing," he said in a recent interview.

Mr. Townsend said he owned 13 guns and that he liked the Bushmaster's accuracy when he goes target shooting with his father and friends. "There's somebody on the end of every gun pulling the trigger," he said. "We need to treat that person. The gun's not the problem."

Mr. Biden was at the White House when the Newtown massacre occurred. With the shootings coming just days before the 40th anniversary of the car accident that killed his first wife and baby daughter, an aide said, "all he could think about was those parents getting the same devastating phone call" that he once did.

After Mr. Obama assigned him to develop a response, Mr. Biden followed his 1990s script, inviting law enforcement leaders to the White House to harness their ideas and public credibility. "I've been in Washington over 20 years, and this was unique," said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. "There is a sense of importance and urgency to this issue."

Ms. Feinstein plans to reintroduce the assault weapons bill with a more inclusive definition, banning even those with just "one or more military characteristics." It identifies 120 guns by name whose manufacture and sale would be banned, and it would outlaw certain modifications used to bypass the last law.

Mr. Kaufman acknowledged that actually banning guns was difficult. As soon as one gun is outlawed, another pops up. But he argued that symbolism itself was important. "You send a message," he said, "when you don't do anything."

12. On first day, democrats propose eight anti-gun bills

And it has gone up. Lobby Day is January 21st.

Walter Jackson sent me this:



by Ben Shapiro
January 4, 2013

With the left looking for its next big cause, Congressional Democrats have latched onto the Sandy Hook massacre as an opportunity to push gun control. Yesterday alone, eight new bills were introduced relating to gun control. Two conservative bills were introduced relating to ending "gun free zones" under federal law.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) led the way with four bills introduced. Her husband was shot to death in 1993 and her son was severely injured when Colin Ferguson, a mentally unstable black militant (he spent time in his apartment chanting, "all the black people killing all the white people"), shot up a Long Island commuter train.

She has been a longtime gun control advocate. In 1997, she tried to push a federal law that would have mandated trigger locks on all firearms. She introduced legislation that would have forced gun companies to produce firearms that were "child-resistant." In 2007, she tried an "assault weapons" ban that would have targeted some 65 types of firearms.

The measures McCarthy introduced include:

Significant restrictions on gun show transactions, which would in effect end gun shows;

No online purchases of ammunition, and licensing of ammunition dealers, as well as reporting to the federal government all bulk ammunition purchases;

Prohibition on the transfer, sale, or possession of ammunition clips beyond a certain size.

But McCarthy wasn't alone. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), apparently ignoring the fact that his heavily gun-controlled home city of Chicago is the nation's leader in murder with guns, introduced legislation that would create more stringent licensing for gunowners. So did Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ).

And Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) proposed a bill that would prevent anyone under age 21 from carrying a handgun – even though people of 18 can vote and serve in the military.

But wait – there's more! Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) pushed forward a bill requiring background checks on all gun sales, which would essentially prevent non-gun-shop transfers of weapons.

Two conservatives, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) pressed forward legislation that would prevent implementation of gun free zones around schools. "In the 22 years since enactment of 'gun free schools' there have been 10 mass school shootings," said Stockman. "Not only has the bill utterly failed to protect our children it appears to have placed them in danger."

This is just the House. Wait until the Democrat-led Senate gets going. Democrats are coming for guns, and they're exploiting the tragedy in Sandy Hook to do it, without regard for the best policies to keep children safe while preserving Americans' rights.

13. Sen Feinstein: 'America has to bite the bullet' on gun control [VIDEO]

The only one that should be doing any "biting" is Senator Feinstein.


December 30, 2012

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace discussing gun control in light of the Newtown massacre...

14. Dianne Feinstein says her goal is to disarm all americans [VIDEO]

Tommy Carroll sent me this:


I thought it was just an outrageous lead-in. I was wrong. I don't remember to much about the 95 ban - but I'm glad someone captured this for posterity...


Video: Dianne Feinstein Says Her Goal Is To Disarm All Americans
December 31, 2012

Dianne Feinstein: "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States, for an outright ban, picking up [every gun]… Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in."

Senator Dianne Feinstein's ultimate plan has always been to have Mr. and Mrs. America turn in their guns to the government, period. Feinstein has admitted that the bill is about gun confiscation.

She tells us a gun ban is about saving the children and reducing crime, but her comments on 60 Minutes in 1995 reveal her true plan is to disarm the American people.

On Thursday, Feinstein will introduced her dream bill to disarm the American people. The legislation is open-ended and includes provisions to re-register firearms and submit the fingerprints of law-abiding Americans as if they're sex offenders.

Feinstein's bill will also include a buy-back provision that will allow the government to confiscate all firearms. Both Feinstein and New York governor Andrew Cuomo have said that is their plan.

It is a gun confiscation bill.

15. A marine's incredible letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein

Ouch! Diane Feinstein gets put in her place quite nicely.


A Marine's Incredible Letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein
Posted on January 2, 2013

This is an incredible letter from Joshua Boston, Corporal United States Marine Corps, to gun grabber extraordinaire and political oligarch Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Senator Dianne Feinstein,

I will not register my weapons should this bill be passed, as I do not believe it is the government's right to know what I own. Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me by a group of people who enjoy armed protection yet decry me having the same a crime. You ma'am have overstepped a line that is not your domain. I am a Marine Corps Veteran of 8 years, and I will not have some woman who proclaims the evil of an inanimate object, yet carries one, tell me I may not have one.

I am not your subject. I am the man who keeps you free. I am not your servant. I am the person whom you serve. I am not your peasant. I am the flesh and blood of America. I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned. I am an American. You will not tell me that I must register my semi-automatic AR-15 because of the actions of some evil man.

I will not be disarmed to suit the fear that has been established by the media and your misinformation campaign against the American public.

We, the people, deserve better than you.

Respectfully Submitted,
Joshua Boston
Cpl, United States Marine Corps

16. Gun groups to congress: members won't register

Sean Caranna sent me this:



Congressional scheme 'will make felons of otherwise law-abiding citizens'
by Bob Unruh

Banning guns increases violence, a coalition of dozens of gun organizations have said in an open letter to Congress opposing the myriad plans to restrict firearms, their ownership and access.

"Between the first significant school shooting, in 1966, and enactment of the 1996 (Gun Free School Zones Act], media summaries reveal eight shootings with 134 victims killed or wounded – a rate of 4.3 victims per year," said the letter to members of Congress and other leaders.

"Between 1996 and 2012, the review finds 62 shootings and 367 victims – a fivefold increase to 23 victims per year. Yet, during the same period, FBI Uniform Crime Reports indicate homicide nationwide dropped by 14 percent," the letter explains.

The point?

"Members of the National Coalition to Stop the Gun Ban demand that Congress refuse to use lawful gun owners as political scapegoats and instead reduce school violence by …. Defeating any attempt to pass gun control including, but not limited to, banning semi-automatic firearms or magazines, or requiring private gun transfers to be registered through the National Instant Check System; and repealing the Gun Free School Zones Act of 1996."

The letter is signed by leaders of the Firearms Coalition, Gun Owners of America, Rights Watch International, Second Amendment Sisters and and dozens of state groups.

"Researchers John Lott and William Landes, then at Yale and the University of Chicago, respectively, studied multiple victim public shootings. Said Lott, 'Gun prohibitionists concede that banning guns around schools has not quite worked as intended – but their response has been to call for more regulation of guns. Yet what might appear to be the most obvious policy may actually cost lives. When gun-control laws are passed, it is law-abiding citizens, not would-be criminals, who adhere to them," the letter explains.

"Examining data from 1976 to 1995, they discovered that mass homicides in states adopting concealed handgun laws declined by 84 percent, deaths plummeted by 90 percent and injuries by 82.5 percent. Crediting the reductions to deterrence (even suicidal maniacs avoid armed victims), Lott and Landes called their findings 'dramatic,' concluding: '[T]he only policy factor to have a consistently significant influence on multiple victim public shootings is the passage of concealed handgun laws,'" the report said.

Meanwhile, one Marine is warning Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that he won't allow her gun control proposal to disarm him.

The gun groups' letter is just one response Americans are delivering to plans in Congress to tax, register and ban weapons in reaction to the massacre at the Newtown, Conn., school that left 20 children and six adults dead.

Investigators have not determined why a suspected gunman shot and killed his mother, then went to a nearby school and killed children and administrators.

Feinstein's proposal would ban 120 specific weapons and would impose background checks on owners that would include registration of a firearm serial number and positive identification of the owner, including a photograph and fingerprints.

The American public already has made a statement on guns. The FBI says the number of background checks for Americans buying guns set a record in December.

The FBI recorded 2.8 million background checks during the month, beating November's record of 2 million. December 2011 saw 1.9 million checks. In Colorado, there was a backlog of tens of thousands of gun owners waiting to pick up weapons they had purchased. State agency officials asked for an extra $500,000 to make sure the work, which was behind by about 10 days, got done.

In the Illinois state legislature, meanwhile, Democrats advanced plans to restrict semiautomatic weapons with "no exemptions and no grandfathering."

Feinstein has admitted that she, herself, once held a concealed carry permit.

In a U.S. Senate hearing on terrorism after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, she told "a little anecdote" of how she carried concealed to protect herself after two assassination attempts by the New World Liberation Front, the NWLF.

She explained: "I know the sense of helplessness that people feel. I know the urge to arm yourself because that's what I did. I was trained in firearms. I walked to the hospital when my husband was sick. I carried a concealed weapon and I made the determination if somebody was going to try and take me out, I was going to take them with me."

Feinstein championed her private firearm ownership the same year that she called for banning "all" firearm ownership.

In an interview with "60 Minutes" in 1995 she said, "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States, for an outright ban, picking up every one of them. Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in, I would have done it."

The open letter from gun advocates notes that the rifles Feinstein, "by her own admission, waited decades to ban" differ from others mostly in cosmetics, such as barrel shrouds.

"The notion being promulgated by gun control advocates that such features increase lethality by allowing guns to be 'fired from the hip' is absurd: Any firearms expert will attest that rifles can only be effectively utilized from the shoulder," the letter said.

"And when you hear how 'high capacity' magazines increase mortality in mass shootings, understand that Seung-Hui Cho carried no fewer than 19 magazines for the Virginia Tech rampage, and that nearly all mass murderers who use guns carry multiple firearms, rendering magazine capacity moot," the letter said. "Like the misnomer 'assault weapon,' the 'high capacity' designation of more than 10 rounds for magazines represents nothing more than an arbitrary limit set on devices which have been in common possession since the early Twentieth Century."

The letter said Feinstein's proposal to regulate "grandfathered" weapons would be the fastest way to expand the population of felons in America logarithmically.

"Because a large percentage will refuse to comply, the scheme, if implemented, will make felons of otherwise law-abiding citizens," the letter warns.

And the gun advocates noted that when there was a ban on semiautomatic firearms, shootings increased, but since it expired, the shootings have decreased.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, the letter notes, between expiration of the ban in 2004 and 2011, the most recent date for which data is available, violent crime dropped by 17 percent and homicide by 15 percent.

Also signing were state-level organizations such as the Arizona Citizens Defense League, Arkansas Carry, Florida Carry Inc., Grass Roots North Carolina, Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance Minnesota, Gun Owners of California, Gun Owners of Maine, Gun Owners of Utah, and Gun Owners of Vermont, Michigan Gun Owners, Montana Shooting Sports Association, Nebraska Firearms Owners Association, New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, New Jersey 2nd Amendment Society, Oregon Firearms Federation, Peaceable Texans for Firearms Rights, Shootings Committee on Political Education New York, Utah Shooting Sports Council, Virginia Citizens Defense League, West Virginia Citizens Defense League, Western Missouri Shooters Alliance and Wisconsin Carry.

17. 'Assault Weapon' is just a pr stunt meant to fool the gullible


'Assault Weapon' Is Just A PR Stunt Meant To Fool The Gullible
by Peter Ferrara
December 28, 2012

Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has announced that she will be introducing legislation to reenact the ban on so-called assault weapons that she authored in 1994. The evidence is in on the effect of her previous assault weapons ban: zero, zilch, nada, as the saying goes. The ban made no perceptible difference in the gun violence statistics when it went into effect, and no perceptible difference when it was allowed to expire 10 years later, in 2003.

That is because the term "assault weapon" is just a PR stunt that fools the gullible and easily deluded. It is defined in legislation by cosmetic features that frighten white bread suburbanites, but do not involve any functionality of any gun. We tried it, conservatives said it wouldn't work, and it didn't work. Yet, it is the liberal answer to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn.

Why do the hard work of actually making a difference, when with no work at all you can perform a meaningless and irrelevant gesture that won't make any difference? A Connecticut state law already banned assault weapons. The difference that made in stopping the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary: zero, zilch, nada, as the saying goes.

The sharpest analyst in America, and probably the whole world, on the issue of guns and crime is economist John Lott, the author of the classic book, More Guns, Less Crime. Early in his career, Lott served as an economist for the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which adopted uniform, mandatory, criminal sentencing guidelines for the federal courts. That led to his subsequent career as the world's foremost expert on statistics relating to violent crime and guns.

Now in its Third Edition, Lott's book is neither an opinion piece nor a lawyer's brief. What it does is present highly sophisticated regression analysis of copious data relating to violent crime and guns city by city, county by county, and state by state, for several recent decades. Lott's regression equations,

"account for not only all the law enforcement variables (arrest, execution, and imprisonment rates), income and poverty measures, (poverty and unemployment rates, per capita real income, as well as income maintenance, retirement and unemployment payments), the thirty-six measures of demographic changes, and the national average changes in crime rates from year-to-year and average differences across states …. In addition, the [regressions] account for the difference in various concealed handgun laws and other types of gun control laws."

In short, this is the most sophisticated and comprehensive presentation of the data relating to violent crime and guns in the world.

This and similar work relating to other countries worldwide shows that where the local population owns more guns, there is less crime. That it is because criminals avoid victims who are or might be armed, and prefer to prey on the defenseless and unarmed, such as in "gun-free" zones. And because the presence of guns that can be used in self defense stops the commission of the more violent crimes, such as murder.

This unparalleled scholarship has swept the states with newly enacted "concealed carry" laws. These laws require local authorities to issue permits to carry concealed handguns to those who meet the specified qualifications, known as "shall issue" laws. Alternative state laws authorize local authorities with the discretion to issue such concealed carry permits, known as "may issue' laws. In the early 1980s, just 8 states had any such right to carry laws. Today, 39 states have shall issue laws and 9 more have may issue laws. That leaves just two states, Illinois and Wisconsin, that completely ban citizens from carrying concealed handguns, and the Seventh Circuit just ruled the Illinois ban to be unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

As a result, by 2007 about 5 million Americans held permits to carry concealed handguns. Lott' s Third Edition published in 2010 includes regressions that show these concealed carry laws result in:

"large drops in overall violent crime, murder, rape, and aggravated assault that begin right after the right to carry laws have gone into effect. In all those crime categories, the crime rates consistently stay much lower than they were before the law. The murder rate for these right to carry states fell consistently every year relative to non-right-to-carry states."

Lott summarizes,

"All the results indicate that violent crime falls after right-to-carry laws are passed …. There is a large, statistically significant drop in murder rates across all specifications. The before-and-after average comparison implies that right-to-carry laws reduce murder by roughly 20 percent. In all cases, right-to-carry laws cause the trends in murder, rape, and robbery rates to fall."

As David Kopel explained in the Wall Street Journal on December 17, armed permit holders often serve as the first line of defense against mass murderers:

"The media rarely mentions the mass murders that were thwarted by armed citizens at the Shoney Restaurant in Anniston, Ala (1991 ), the high school in Pearl, Miss. ( 1997), the middle school dance in Edinboro, Penn. ( 1998), and the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. (2007), among others. At the Clackamas Mall in Oregon last week, an active shooter murdered two people and then saw that a shopper, who had a handgun carry permit, had drawn a gun and was aiming at him. The murderer's next shot was to kill himself."

Israel, which can't afford the weak minded irrationality of American liberals, has learned from all this and its own experience to stop terrorist attacks in its schools by arming its teachers. That has worked spectacularly to shut down terrorist attacks in Isreali schools, without a single accident or misuse of guns.

But CNN anchor Piers Morgan showed recently that he does not learn from experience when he unprofessionally attacked Gun Owners of America President Larry Pratt on the air as "an incredibly stupid man" because Pratt was aware of the above evidence, while Morgan was not. Morgan, who demonstrates on air every day why people have said that America and Britain are two nations separated by a common language, ignorantly insisted that America adopt the benighted gun control laws of his formerly great country of Britain.

George Mason Law School Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm, author of Guns and Violence: The English Experience (Harvard, 2002), explained why Morgan's position was so silly in Thursday's Wall Street Journal. In March, 1996, Thomas Hamilton, known to suffer mental illness, shot and killed 16 young children and their teacher in a primary school in the Scottish town of Dunblane, wounding 10 other children and 3 more teachers before killing himself. That resulted in the Firearms Act of 1998, "which instituted a nearly complete ban on handguns. Owners of pistols were required to turn them in. The penalty for illegal possession of a pistol is up to 10 years in prison."

The results of that law, which would be unconstitutional in the U.S. no matter how many guests Piers Morgan calls stupid on his show, were:

"Within a decade of the handgun ban and the confiscation of handguns from registered owners, crime with handguns had doubled according to British government crime reports. Gun crime, not a serious problem in the past, now is. Armed street gangs have some British police carrying guns for the first time."

Lott adds, "The evidence should make gun control advocates pause, as all the gun bans that I have studied show that murder rates increase after the ban is enacted."

The draconian British law nullifying self defense in that country did not end mass shootings there. In June 2010, "Derrick Bird, a taxi driver in Cumbria, shot his brother and a colleague then drove off through rural villages killing 12 people and injuring 11 more before killing himself."

Based on all the evidence and experience above, what would work to stop tragedies like Sandy Hook Elementary is to offer a bonus of $2,500 a year to all teachers who obtain a conceal and carry permit, which requires training in every state, and who bring their gun to school every day, where it would be available in case of emergency. That would deter even mentally ill people from even trying mass murders at schools.

Lott explains that mass murderers choose so-called gun free zones such as schools or movie theaters or shopping malls where guns are prohibited because they know they can carry out their plan for mass murder there without being stopped. All gun free zone signs should be required to include a skull and crossbones with the admonition to the innocent "Enter at your own risk."

Lott adds that these mass murderers are consciously choosing to commit suicide in carrying out their crimes. But they don't want to go out quietly. They want to go out with a big bang to draw national and even worldwide attention to their pain and their plight. This is all a reflection of their mental illness.

Only the above policy of arming the teachers can stop such crazed madmen. The government does not even have the power to take away guns from dangerous criminals and insane mass murderers. We can't even stop drugs and illegal aliens from crossing the border, and drugs and illegal guns even show up in prisons. Guns will always be available to those who want to obtain them. Legally mandated helplessness by the victims and those who could protect them only results in maximum vulnerability, as at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Moreover, Kopel also reports in Monday's Journal, "A 2011 paper by Steven P. Segal at the University of California, Berkeley, Civil Commitment Law, Mental Health Services, and U.S. Homicide Rates, 'found that a third of the state-to-state variation in homicide rates was attributable to the strength or weakness of involuntary civil commitment laws." Wednesday's Journal notes that a Hartford, Connecticut Judge Robert K. Killian, Jr. has been arguing for Connecticut to adopt stronger civil commitment laws, based on his own experience with repeat offenders. But the ACLU

was focused on protecting Adam Lanza's civil liberties to mow down kindergarten students at Sandy Hook Elementary, so the Connecticut legislature never acted.

The same paper editorializes that a better solution would be mandatory outpatient treatment laws for the mentally ill who are a danger to others without taking their medication, which has "shown results in limiting violence among the mentally ill."

These policies would constitute a complete and effective program to prevent the next Sandy Hook Elementary atrocity. But they are based on evidence and reason, not mindless emotion, so don't expect any "liberal" support.

Correction: 2011 Wisconsin Act 35 authorized eligible residents, effective November 1, 2011, to be licensed to carry a concealed weapon such as a handgun in Wisconsin.

18. Miller: If you're not David Gregory...

Craig Smith sent me this:



MILLER: If you're not David Gregory …
D.C. prosecutes ordinary Americans for 'high-capacity' magazines
by Emily Miller -The Washington Times
January 4, 2013

The Washington Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) inquiry into whether NBC's David Gregory broke the law by possessing a 30-round "high-capacity" magazine on national TV has been ongoing for three weeks. Meanwhile, U.S. Army veteran James Brinkley is still grappling with the fallout from his arrest last year on the same charge.

Mr. Brinkley's story is just one example of at least 105 individuals who, unlike Mr. Gregory, were arrested in 2012 for having a magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds.

On Sept. 8, Mr. Brinkley says he intended to drop his wife and young children at the White House for a tour and then head to a shooting range to practice for the U.S. Marshals Service test. Just like Mr. Gregory, Mr. Brinkley called MPD in advance for guidance on how he could do this legally. Mr. Brinkley was told that the gun had to be unloaded and locked in the trunk, and he couldn't park the car and walk around.

Unlike Mr. Gregory, Mr. Brinkley followed the police orders by placing his Glock 22 in a box with a big padlock in the trunk of his Dodge Charger. The two ordinary, 15-round magazines were not in the gun, and he did not have any ammunition with him.

As he was dropping off his family at 11 a.m. on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Brinkley stopped to ask a Secret Service officer whether his wife could take the baby's car seat into the White House. The officer saw Mr. Brinkley had an empty holster, which kicked off a traffic stop that ended in a search of the Charger's trunk. Mr. Brinkley was booked on two counts of "high capacity" magazine possession (these are ordinary magazines nearly everywhere else in the country) and one count of possessing an unregistered gun.

Despite the evidence Mr. Brinkley had been legally transporting the gun, his attorney Richard Gardiner said the D.C. Office of the Attorney General "wouldn't drop it." This is the same office now showing apparent reluctance to charge Mr. Gregory.

Mr. Brinkley refused to take a plea bargain and admit guilt, so the matter went to trial Dec. 4. The judge sided with Mr. Brinkley, saying he had met the burden of proof that he was legally transporting. Mr. Brinkley was found not guilty on all firearms-related charges, including for the "high-capacity" magazines, and he was left with a $50 traffic ticket.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told The Washington Times, "We feel it was a valid arrest, and the appropriate charges were brought." Moments later, a spokesman for the D.C. attorney general's office, Ted Gest, called and provided the exact same quote. Mr. Gest added that, despite Mr. Brinkley's acquittal, the ruling "doesn't mean the judge is right, and we're wrong."

Mr. Brinkley believes the "Meet the Press" anchor is receiving special treatment because of his high-profile job. "I'm an average person," Mr. Brinkley said in an exclusive interview with The Washington Times. "There seems to be a law for us and a law for the upper echelon."

Mr. Brinkley was publicly humiliated, thrown in jail and forced to spend money to defend himself for violating a law that millions of viewers watched the NBC anchor violate. If D.C. is going to have this pointless law, it should at least be enforced fairly.

19. Miller: Two systems of justice

John Treaster sent me this:



MILLER: Two systems of justice
David Gregory walks free while Iraq vet was jailed
by Emily Miller - The Washington Times
January 1, 2013

It's been more than a week since police in Washington, D.C., opened an investigation into NBC's David Gregory's possession of a "high-capacity magazine" that's prohibited in the District on on national TV. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier's spokesman refused Monday to respond to whether Mr. Gregory had even been interviewed yet. This is a rather curious departure for a city that has been ruthless in enforcing this particular firearms statute against law-abiding citizens who made an honest mistake.

In July, The Washington Times highlighted the plight of former Army Spc. Adam Meckler, who was arrested and jailed for having a few long-forgotten rounds of ordinary ammunition — but no gun — in his backpack in Washington. Mr. Meckler, a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, says he had no idea it was illegal to possess unregistered ammunition in the city. He violated the same section of D.C. law as Mr. Gregory allegedly did, and both offenses carry the same maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

Mr. Meckler was charged with the crime and was forced to accept a plea deal to avoid the cost and time of a protracted legal fight. The indefensible nature of Mr. Meckler's case led directly to a new law passed by the D.C. Council in December that allows prosecutors to file civil instead of criminal charges, but only if the accused was unaware of the city's laws.

That exemption probably wouldn't apply to Mr. Gregory, who held up a 30-round rifle magazine on his show on Dec. 23 to make his point about the need to ban them. NBC asked the police in advance for permission to bring the contraband into Washington for the interview with National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre, but it was not granted.

"I unknowingly broke the law," Mr. Meckler told The Washington Times. "Mr. Gregory knowingly broke the law. While both are seemingly harmless, both acts were deemed illegal under the District's obscure firearms laws." Mr. Meckler said he would never have intentionally left the rounds in his bag.

The former Army medic is still upset about being left with a criminal record and being enrolled on the police list of firearms-related criminals. "I think if you had to measure the criminality of the two instances, his should be interpreted as more severe. At the very least, he should be put on probation, pay a fine and be added to the District's Gun Offender Registry, as I was ordered to do," Mr. Meckler said.

The administration wasn't concerned that it had invited a potential gun criminal to the White House Saturday for an exclusive interview with President Obama. The president used this platform to call for enactment of a new ban within a year on what he called "assault rifles" and "high-capacity clips."

The District came up with its overly restrictive laws in response to the Supreme Court overturning the capital city's 30-year gun ban. The statutes shouldn't apply just to regular people but to the rich and powerful as well. The District should either repeal its over-the-top restrictions or send a squad car to take David Gregory into custody.

20. 'Gun control' doesn't survive Christmas

James Durso sent me this:



'Gun control' doesn't survive Christmas
by Dylan Byers
January 2, 2013

Number of mentions of the term "gun control" in the news, according to Nexis.

On the day of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., we published a chart showing the Sisyphean nature of the national gun control discussion. In the immediate aftermath of a shooting, such as the one that took place in Aurora, Colo., mentions of the term "gun control" spike in the news media. In a matter of days, that discussion all but disappears.

This time was supposed to be different. "It is hard to believe this will not be a watershed moment when we start to talk about, deal with and even perhaps legislate on guns," ABC News's Z. Byron Wolf wrote. He was one among many in the media who believed the momentum for gun control legislation was strong enough to turn the tide on a familiar pattern.

Blame it on the fiscal cliff, blame it on Christmas, blame it on our ability to forget, but the national discussion about gun control has once again ebbed. Mentions of the term "gun control" on television, in newspapers, and in online media are down to pre-Sandy Hook levels, according to the Nexis database.

Barring a post-holidy resurgence -- which is certainly possible -- the gun control discussion has once again gone the way of... the gun control discussion.

UPDATE: A colleague wonders:

...and how many of those gun control clips mentioned david gregory........even smaller when you factor that out.

That goes for Piers Morgan as well.

21. Jesse Ventura debates Piers Morgan on gun control [VIDEO]

Board Member Dennis O'Connor sent me this:


Jesse Ventura turns to Piers Morgan's audience and asks how many believe in his argument against gun control; pretty risky on that show, but he gets away with it and wins!


Jesse Ventura Debates Piers Morgan on Gun Control
by FrontSightMovies
December 23, 2012

If you want to see what Americans really feel about gun grabbers like Piers Morgan, watch this interview Piers had with Jesse Ventura. The audience at the end of the interview tells the real story of how Americans feel about gun control, no matter who the gun grabbing TV stooge may be that is trying to persuade us to give up our ability to defend ourselves again all enemies.

22. Law abiding citizen

Sue Ward emailed me this:



Law abiding citizen
by Joshua Bennett
December 29, 2012

I am sick of the term "law abiding citizen" and I am especially sick of it when used in reference to gun rights and gun control.

What does having the Right to defend yourself have to do with some State deciding whether or not you deserve that right based on how law abiding you are to it's edicts and proclamations?

If the State says that guns are now illegal, and to own one would be to break the law, are you going to be a law abiding citizen then? What if the State, which is nothing more than a gang of thieves, is unethical, am I still suppose to be a law abiding citizen?

My Right to defend myself, my family, and my property predates the State. The 2nd amendment didn't invent the Right to be armed, it was already known that one had the Right to be armed.

What gives an illegitimate State the Right to say that only "law abiding citizens" can be armed? Abiding by what laws? Who's laws? The States arbitrary law that merely is intended to enslave us?

Quit using that term. It's another way of saying law abiding serfs.

Boot licking slaves.

You think when the colonist revolted against the King he thought that they were law abiding citizens? Should they have been disarmed because of it? Should they ever have been allowed to be armed?

Following the regulations,statutes and political laws of a State have nothing to do with the Right to be Armed.

Our Right to be armed is specifically to resist an over powering and corrupt State. Secondly for personal self defense, and lastly to be able to feed ourselves by hunting.

We know why Patrick Henry cherished the rifle.

An armed people.

Not a "Law abiding citizen".

23. Demand a plan [VIDEO] - shows Hollywood gun hypocrisy

**Warning: This video has the "F" word in the title, but it is well-done and shows the massive hypocrisy of Hollywood.

John Murphy shared this:



*GRAPHIC* Demand A Plan - Demand Celebrities Go !@#$A Themselves!
by ma5one
December 25, 2012

Hypocrite celebrities and their anti gun agenda, all credits to this video go to

***Warning*** content is graphic/explicit. I am not the original creator of this video. Credit is given to the original creator. I just agree with the message. Don't say, "Demand a plan for gun violence", when Hollywood glorifies gun violence. It is hypocritical. Thanks for watching. Note: The song at the end is not to be taken literal, as I stated before, I did not create this video. I do believe in freedom of speech, however, that is why I did not alter the video.

24. Ogden police apologize for raid on wrong house

If this person had used a gun to protect his family instead of a baseball bat: "We would have wasted you, " say the police, who endangered an innocent man.


Ogden Police apologize for raid on wrong house
by Tim Gurrister - Standard-Examiner staff
January 1, 2013

OGDEN — Police Chief Mike Ashment has apologized for six armed officers serving a warrant on the wrong house and traumatizing two young girls who still won't sleep in their own beds.

But the chief is not ready to concede five of the officers carried assault rifles and shotguns in the 2 a.m. entry Dec. 20 at the home of Eric and Melanie Hill.

A departmental investigation is ongoing in the serving of a warrant on the Hills for a military man charged with desertion, Ashment said Monday, and could be finished within a week. Derek Billmire was arrested later the same morning at a Harrisville residence on the desertion warrant, he said.

The Hills have been meeting with media regularly since the story broke over the weekend.

They counted two shotguns and three assault rifles among the officers who crowded into their modest home in the 1000 block of Harrop Street.

"They were huge rifles, huge," said Melanie Hill. They described the long guns as equipped with LED lights and carried by men dressed all in black, one wearing a helmet.

"They kept yelling at me that I was Derek," said Eric Hill.

His daughters, ages 4 and 10, had just awakened him in his bed to say someone was pounding on the front door. He left them and wife Melanie there while he went to answer the door with the baseball bat he keeps by his bed.

By his account, the pounding was very loud as he peered through the kitchen window blinds, seeing nothing, before approaching the door asking who was there. A voice said Ogden police.

He opened the door and someone said drop the bat, which he did, he said, seeing the array of gun barrels. He was then immediately taken out of the house and handcuffed, three of the officers staying with him while the other three went in.

Then he was brought inside, one of the officers keeping a gun on him while he was placed on his living room couch, handcuffed in his pajamas. The others peppered him with questions as to who else was in the house and did he have guns.

"I was downstars cuddling with my kids crying," Melanie said. Hearing the shouting officers, she went to the bottom of the stairs and found one of them approaching, demanding she bring her husband's ID upstairs.

Which she did, and the officers relented. "Then they started shuffling out," Eric said. The ordeal lasted about 20 minutes, he said.

"I can certainly understand him being alarmed," Ashment said. "I'm not saying he did anything wrong … It's unfortunate that Mr. Hill and his family had to endure this."

Ashment stressed that his officers had no intention of kicking Hill's door in, which is legally allowed for a search warrant. But the officers had an arrest warrant they had received an hour earlier from Weber Consolidated Dispatch, he said.

"They had no intention of forcing their way in," the chief said. "It wasn't a search warrant. It was an arrest warrant for desertion."

Preliminary reports say only one officer had anything resembling a rifle, he said, declining to comment any further on the investigation under way by one of his lieutenants.

He declined to speculate on any potential discipline of the officers.

"The prudent thing to do is let the investigation take its course," he said.

The Hills said the officers made no apologies as they left, nor any acknowledgement of their crying children.

But Ashment said, "When they found out he wasn't the person they were looking for, according to the officers, they apologized and offered handshakes."

The Hills recall the apparent officer in charge making reference to the deer rifle and shotgun Eric owns, and which were in the house. Hill said he didn't want to frighten his wife and daughters further by getting a gun out.

As he left, the senior officer advised him that would have been fatal.

In his parting remarks, Eric remembers him saying, "We would have wasted you."

"I thought he said, 'We would have blown you away,'" said Melanie.

Ashment said he can't imagine "my guys" saying anything like that.

"If our officers do something inappropriate, I want to address it," he said.

The department has no policy or protocol on warrants served on the wrong person, as it's such a rarity.

"Nothing beyond do the right thing, apologize, explain why you were there … we don't want people afraid of the police," Ashment said.

Ashment has telephoned Eric Hill to apologize and asked him to meet with his lieutenant as part of the investigation. Hill has declined, doubting the department's investigation of itself as useful.

"I understand police officers have a difficult job, I really do," he said. "They don't know who's on the other side of the door. But this is asinine."

He argues that police could have avoided putting everyone in danger with a minimum of research, such as checking the license plate on his vehicles that night, talking to neighbors, or checking county records on the home, which he owns.

Billmire, Hill said, is 6 inches taller than he, from checking his booking mug, and has red hair and a beard.

"This year we've had over 105,000 police incidents as of today, the last day of the year," Ashment said, referring to activity with enough police response to require assigning of an incident number. "When you deal with that many dynamic sets of circumstances, not everything is going to go seamlessly."

25. Guns Save Lives: Woman hiding with kids shoots intruder


Woman hiding with kids shoots intruder
by Kerry Kavanaugh
January 4, 2013

LOGANVILLE, Ga. — A woman hiding in her attic with children shot an intruder multiple times before fleeing to safety Friday.

The incident happened at a home on Henderson Ridge Lane in Loganville around 1 p.m. The woman was working in an upstairs office when she spotted a strange man outside a window, according to Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman. He said she took her 9-year-old twins to a crawlspace before the man broke in using a crowbar.

But the man eventually found the family.

"The perpetrator opens that door. Of course, at that time he's staring at her, her two children and a .38 revolver," Chapman told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh.

The woman then shot him five times, but he survived, Chapman said. He said the woman ran out of bullets but threatened to shoot the intruder if he moved.

"She's standing over him, and she realizes she's fired all six rounds. And the guy's telling her to quit shooting," Chapman said.

The woman ran to a neighbor's home with her children. The intruder attempted to flee in his car but crashed into a wooded area and collapsed in a nearby driveway, Chapman said.

Deputies arrested 32-year-old Atlanta resident Paul Slater in connection with the crime. Chapman said they found him on the ground saying, "Help me. I'm close to dying." Slater was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center for treatment. Chapman said Slater was shot in the face and neck.

In February, Slater was arrested on simple battery charges, according to the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office. He has been arrested six other times in the county since 2008.

Kavanaugh was the first reporter at the scene as deputies investigated. The victim's husband told Kavanaugh he's proud of his wife. He was on the phone with her as the intruder broke in.

"My wife is a hero. She protected her kids. She did what she was supposed to do as responsible, prepared gun owner," Donnie Herman said.

He said he's thankful for his family's safety.

"Her life is saved, and her kids' life is saved, and that's all I'd like to say," Herman said.

Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri learned from Chapman late Friday night that slater has been placed on a ventilator and suffers from punctured lungs, a punctured liver and a punctured stomach.

He said if Slater survives the night, doctors will try to operate in the morning to repair the damage.

Chapman said Slater has four exit wounds.

Slater is currently being charged with burglary.

VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
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