Sunday, March 24, 2013

VA-ALERT: VCDL Update 3/24/13

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Abbreviations used in VA-ALERT:

Thought for the day: "I am a gun. I can be used for both good and evil. I can take a life. I can be used to save them." From "I am a gun" by R.G. Yoho.

1. The gun debate: General Assembly passes seven gun bills
2. Aggravated assault on VCU's main academic campus
3. LTE: Carrying a gun on school property
4. The wrong answer on gun control
5. Gun owner unfriendly business
6. Opinion: Gun control could prevent lawful self-defense
7. GOP lawmaker: Obama using fake twitter messages in fight over gun control
8. Miller: Guns on the Hill
9. Joe Biden shotgun response [VIDEO]
10. Humorous: Women take Joe Biden's 'buy a shotgun!' advice [VIDEO]
11. Palin: Feds 'stockpiling bullets' in case of riots after default
12. NRA, Bloomberg PAC spending on Congress hints gun debate far from over
13. Cuomo announces plans to modify gun control law to exempt film industry
14. City wants power to "disarm individuals" during crisis [VIDEO]
15. Star Parker: Preserve gun rights, save black lives
16. Second American Revolution on the horizon?
17. Guns for neighbors: the ultimate neighborhood watch program
18. Firearm facts - the AR-15
19. Why does anyone need an assault rifle? [VIDEO]
20. Ammo shortage hits shooters, retailers
21. Rampant Injustice [VIDEO]
22. One activist pushes for gun control in gun loving ND
23. Magazine ban [VIDEO]
24. Catastrophe when America's twin gave up guns

1. The gun debate: General Assembly passes seven gun bills

Reader Bill Watkins sent me this:



The Gun Debate: General Assembly Passes Seven Gun Bills
by Gregory Connolly
February 28, 2013

The General Assembly passed seven bills related to firearms before they adjourned Feb. 23. (Photo by Gregory Connolly/WYDaily)
This article is Part One of a series. Check out our full coverage on The Gun Debate here.

The Virginia General Assembly called it quits Saturday, ending a session that passed seven bills relating to firearms out of the 37 introduced.

A group of 35 people marched to the General Assembly on Saturday, many of whom protested the continued legality of high-capacity magazines and assault weapons. Many also called for the closure of the gun-show loophole, which allows private sales of firearms without background checks. Counter-protesters also appeared at the capitol to advocate maintaining the current legal situation for guns, including one man who wore an unloaded AR-15 rifle on his chest.

Some of the protesters criticized the General Assembly for not passing stricter gun laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December that left 27 dead. That shooting brought firearms back into the national debate with lawmakers proposing a variety of new laws to cut down on gun-related violence.

"[The Newtown shooting] has shaken things up a little bit, but if you look at the legislation across the board, it's not like Virginia suddenly became the spearhead of regulating access to firearms," said Quentin Kidd, the department chair and director of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. "I think what happened is people started looking around and saying what makes sense in the context of a White House that's going to pound people for not doing things."

Many of the national proposals had counterparts introduced in the Virginia statehouse, though most failed to make it out of committee.

"The [House] Committee for Militia, Police and Public Safety is the graveyard for any kind of legislation designed to increasingly regulate firearms," Kidd said of the house committee where many of the bills pertaining to firearms this session went.

The bills that did pass varied in their scope and objectives. They now make their way to the desk of Gov. Bob McDonnell (R). If signed, the bills will become law.

Kidd said polling in Virginia, which he conducted, and across the nation indicates a majority of American citizens are in favor of implementing more regulations of firearms. That viewpoint does not translate to the statehouse, however.

"Nothing is going to get through the [House] committee, so it really doesn't matter what the Senate does, and that's in keeping with the kind of role that the House and Senate have played historically," Kidd said.

What Passed: Tougher Sentences for 'Straw Purchases,' Armed School Guards

Earlier this month, McDonnell advocated several pieces of legislation based on recommendations from the School and Campus Safety Task Force he created following the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

Sen. Tom Garrett (R-Lynchburg) introduced a bill, which passed both houses, based on the task force's work that would increase the penalty for buying a gun for someone who is ineligible to buy one from a dealer, also known as a straw purchase. The bill calls for tougher sentences for people who buy firearms for those ineligible to buy one from a dealer. It also imposes a harsher sentence on someone who transports a firearm out of state to sell to someone who is ineligible. If multiple firearms are sold or transferred in one of those ways, the guilty party would face a mandatory minimum prison term of 10 years.

The governor will also consider a bill from Garrett that recognizes the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredricksburg) introduced a bill with support from Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas) that allows any armed and licensed security officer to carry firearms onto school property if the officer was hired to protect students. The bill also prohibits the Board of Social Services from implementing any regulations that prohibit child day care centers from hiring armed guards. The bill passed both houses and will go McDonnell's desk.

Kidd asked about arming school officials in his Virginia poll. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they did not agree with arming them, while 77 percent said stationing an armed police officer in every school is a good idea.

A bill from Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Woodbridge) that ups the penalties for using, displaying or discharging a firearm during the commission of a number of felonies will go to McDonnell. The bill raises the mandatory minimum sentence from three years to five years for a first offense, five years to eight for the second or subsequent offense. Following the completion of that sentence, a consecutive three year sentence would be served by someone found guilty of the crime.

Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) introduced a bill that stops circuit court clerks from disclosing information about concealed handgun permits if the permit holder is under a protective order. The permit holder must request this confidentiality in writing. That bill passed both the house and senate and now goes to McDonnell.

A bill from Del. Rich Anderson (R-Woodbridge) that allows members of the armed force who go to purchase firearms in Virginia to have residency both here and in the nearby state where that member resides and commutes to the permanent duty post. An identical bill, which also passed, was introduced in the Senate by Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Winchester).

What Didn't Pass: Background Checks and the Gun-Show Loophole

Sen. Henry L. Marsh III (D-Richmond) proposed a bill that would have required all vendors at gun shows to conduct background checks. The Committee for Courts of Justice passed over it indefinitely, effectively leaving it dead in the water.

A bill introduced in the House by Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) that would have mandated a background check for any firearm purchase — including private sales — was left in the Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety.

Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke) introduced a bill with support from Sen. Tommy Norment (R-Williamsburg), Sen. Don McEachin (D-Richmond) and Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Moneta) that would allow for background checks for non-dealer gun sales if one of the parties involved in the sale wants one. The bill was defeated in the Courts of Justice committee in the Senate.

Kidd said public opinion in Virginia tells a different story than what came out of the legislature.

"The public was strongly in support of closing the gun show loophole," he said. "Seventy-eight percent of people said it should be closed. The Virginia public is in a different place on some of this stuff than the legislature."

Kidd said the legislature doesn't move more on gun regulations since it is not an issue the public tends to take with them to the voting booth. He conducted a poll in January of 1,015 registered Virginia voters.

"Many legislators who might be willing to feel the pressure to change the law don't feel the pressure of the voters," Kidd said. "Those legislators do feel the pressure from gun rights groups not to change the law."

Duplicate bills were introduced in the House and the Senate that would prohibit firearms from being sold to people who are found legally incompetent or mentally incapacitated, as well as people who had involuntarily received mental health treatments. One of the bills was left in the Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety in the House and the other was passed by indefinitely in the Senate Finance Committee.

What Didn't Pass: Assault Weapons and Magazine Size

Bills that sought to limit magazine size and assault weapons did not fare well this session.

Del. Joe Morrissey (D-Highland Springs) introduced a bill in the House that would have made it a felony to import, sell or transfer an assault weapon. That bill also would make it a misdemeanor to import, sell or transfer a magazine that can hold more than 20 bullets, with exceptions for law-enforcement and military for both penalties.

That bill defined assault firearm as "any semi-automatic center-fire rifle or pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material and is equipped at the time of the offense with a magazine that will hold more than 20 rounds of ammunition or designed by the manufacturer to accommodate a silencer or equipped with a folding stock." The bill failed.

A bill introduced by Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) would allow the state to fine anyone who imports, possesses, purchases, sells or transfers any large capacity magazine. An exception would be granted for up to three magazines per person for those who register them with the State Police following a background check.

A Senate bill from Sen. Don McEachin (D-Richmond) that did not pass would have prohibited magazines from holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. An exception would have been made for law-enforcement officers.

*Other bills that didn't pass:
-A bill that would make it illegal for any state employee or agency to assist the Federal Government in the investigation, prosecution, detention, arrest, search or seizure that is the result of new restrictions that infringe upon the individual right to keep and bear arms.
-Two bills each — click here and here — that would have encoded the "castle doctrine," which allows the use of physical force — including deadly force — by a person in their dwelling against an intruder who has committed an overt act against the occupant.
-A bill that would create a $250 civil penalty for failure to report a lost or stolen firearm passed the Senate but failed in the House.
-A bill that would make it illegal to have an unloaded firearm on a school campus that is in a closed container in a vehicle.
-A bill that would limit people to buying one handgun per 30-day period didn't make it out of the House's Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety.
The assembly did not pass legislation that would end the "gun-show loophole." As it stands now, only those who are licensed firearms dealers must conduct background checks to sell a firearm.

2. Aggravated assault on VCU's main academic campus

Board Member Dale Welch sent me this:


Police are investigating an aggravated assault that occurred Sunday morning on Virginia Commonwealth University's main academic campus in downtown Richmond.


Aggravated assault on VCU's main academic campus
by Times-Dispatch Staff Reports
February 25, 2013

RICHMOND -- Police are investigating an aggravated assault that occurred Sunday morning on Virginia Commonwealth University's main academic campus in downtown Richmond.

The victim was treated at Retreat Hospital after the 1:20 a.m. attack, which occurred in the 200 block of North Laurel Street, just north of Monroe Park.

Police said the victim was asked for a cigarette by a group of four males, two of whom punched and kicked him when he did not respond. The suspects were last seen running east on Franklin Street.

No weapons were displayed in the attack.

The victim, who told police all four suspects were black, described one as having a beard and wearing a black jacket, black hat and blue jeans. Detailed descriptions of the other three suspects were not offered.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at (804) 780-1000, VCU police at (804) 828-1234 or text VCUTIP to 274637, also anonymously.

3. LTE: Carrying a gun on school property

Clayton Rhoades sent me this:


A rebuttal letter I had published.


Carrying a gun on school property

I find it amusing that those in the anti-gun crowd often claim a sanctimonious monopoly on having the only common-sense approach to stopping gun violence, and then they offer the same tired opinions that demonstrate a lack of common sense.

An example of such thinking was on display in Stephanie Porter's letter titled "Keep guns out of schools" (Feb. 6) that disagreed with my notion that teachers and visitors should have the right to defend themselves and others by being armed on school property.

For years the anti-gun crowd has had their way, with schools being declared gun-free zones. The result? Criminals purposely target these areas to attack people.

Here, the criminal is the one displaying common sense by attacking those who have been disarmed while no common sense is displayed by the individuals hiding behind anti-gun slogans to feel safe. We have tried their way, and it has failed miserably with fatal results.

Porter then posits that if guns are permitted, a disgruntled parent could enter a school to make a "teacher's life miserable." Does Porter realize this can happen today. It is called breaking the law and criminals are doing it all the time.

The school at Sandy Hook was already a declared a gun-free zone and nothing prevented the shooting from happening, and no one could stop the attack in progress. Why? Because they had been disarmed.

Porter says we must remember that it's not the guns that are doing the killing but rather the mentally ill people behind those guns. Why does she then treat all gun owners the same way?

The mentally ill intent on committing a crime with a gun will do it notwithstanding the no-guns-allowed signs. Porter offers no solutions but rather clings to her so-called gun-free cocoon while acting like a deranged parent will suddenly stop upon encountering a no-guns-allowed sign posted on the door. Is this what passes for common-sense thinking?

Porter says we should not allow weapons around our children so as to protect them from violence. Regrettably, Porter and her ilk continue to invite more violence by keeping schools as defense-free zones. Using her logic, we should demand that police officers carry no weapons, and we should also eliminate our military's nuclear bombs. After all, who needs all these weapons around inciting violence?

Oh, you mean some weapons are for prevention and self-defense? Exactly. Perhaps Porter and others could apply some real common-sense thinking and a fresh approach instead of falling back on their same failed policies and arguments.

Clayton Rhoades

4. The wrong answer on gun control

EM Dave Hicks sent this to me:



The wrong answer on gun control
by John L. Cahoon
March 1, 2013

Andy Schmookler's recent article on gun control is flat out wrong ("Draw the line on weapons of war," Feb. 21). I am not sure which history he has been reading, but events over the last 400 years do not support his conclusions. His position would be amusing if it were not for the dangerously unworkable solutions to end mass murders that he, President Obama and other liberals propose.

The Second Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with hunting and target-shooting and everything to do with the right and duty of individual citizens to be armed so they may defend themselves, their community and their country. This right to bear arms was demanded from the newly formed central government in 1791 by "We the People" because we had just previously rebelled against a tyrannical government that, among other things, had tried to disarm us.

The argument that the Second Amendment right is predicated on 1780s weapon technology is invalid because the development of cased cartridges, the revolver and repeating rifles in the 1800s brought no such outcry for control of those advanced technologies.

The right in the Second Amendment for a militia is not negated by our current National Guard, which may be federally controlled if desired. The militia right the people were demanding was one in which all men, and now women, were armed and could defend themselves and the community from outside threats such as Indian raids. Today, our communities are threatened by drug gangs and criminals that our overstretched police forces are hard-pressed to protect against.

The conclusions Schmookler draws regarding the impotence of an armed civilian insurgency defending against tyrannical conventional forces falls apart with a study of our own revolution. Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion, Thomas "The Gamecock" Sumter and the Overmountain Men bled Gen. Charles Cornwallis' conventional army.

The Irish Republican Army, Viet Cong and Taliban have demonstrated the ability of grassroots insurgencies to gain concessions, political rights and finally to cause conventional armies to withdraw.

Schmookler's comment, "The people of other democracies enjoy liberties like ours," is particularly insulting to the thousands of armed Americans who fought and died to liberate and secure freedom for most of those very same people who now boast of an unarmed population. Armed citizen resistance fighters in France, Holland and Russia contributed to their own liberation. Perhaps if the rest of their citizens had been better armed, they would not have been conquered.

Before anyone joins the cultural attack on the National Rifle Association, they should read former Sen. James Webb's book "Born Fighting," to understand the values and determination of we the people that built and have defended America. This same passionate love of liberty resides today within a much ignored and oft maligned segment of our people.

For almost 250 years, Americans have realized that the problems lay with controlling human behavior and the solutions to crime were not to be found in attempting to control the implements used.

We are a sick, degenerate culture, desensitized to the horrors and suffering caused by the killing and dismembering of other humans. Hollywood is selling blood and guts that poison the minds of anyone who watches. While nudity is censored, carnage is a First Amendment right.

Thanks to federal overregulation of privacy, health care professionals, educators and law enforcement officers are impaired from identifying and restraining individuals who later commit mass murder. That, my friends, is the crux of the problem and nothing will change until it is resolved.

Guns are everywhere worldwide and cannot be controlled. The sadness is that the feel-good solutions being proposed today, even if enacted, will not stop the killing. Mentally ill people who have witnessed enough carnage in the entertainment world and have overcome their natural revulsion to massacres will kill again.

This is why Schmookler has the wrong answer.

5. Gun owner unfriendly business

My wife & I are in the market for a new car, and yesterday went to Safford Dodge in Winchester. They have three additional dealerships in Virginia, also. When we reached the front door there was a sign that read "No Weapons Allowed." My wife dragged me in anyway even after I said I will not spend a dime here. The salesman, Jerry, was very friendly and after my wife found a vehicle she liked, Jerry went to get the keys. I again told my wife that she was wasting his time, and she left the building. When Jerry returned, I told him we will not be buying a vehicle from him due to their weapons policy. I gave him a "No guns, No $$" card and hoped that we will pass it up the line to his bosses. He said he was a NRA member and understood and I told him he just lost a $25,000 sale.

Thought you might like to know, and pass on to other members.

Robert Kann

6. Opinion: Gun control could prevent lawful self-defense

EM Dave Hicks sent me this:



Opinion: Gun control could prevent lawful self-defense
Gun control could prevent lawful self-defense
February 26, 2013

By now there must be a special command bunker ready for the White House communications team to man when Joe Biden decides to hold a press conference. If it exists, it certainly would have been used last week. Responding to Kate Ernest, who asked how a law-abiding citizen should best protect themselves if they have no access to firearms, the Vice President exclaimed, "Buy a shotgun! Buy a shotgun!" As the words rolled off of Veep's tongue, communications staffers were likely sent into a panic mode that has become all too familiar.

"I said, 'Jill, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out and put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house,'" Biden said.

Why a shotgun? Because "you don't need an AR-15. It's harder to aim, it's harder to use." Biden's advice is not only strategically poor (firing two rounds into the air from a two-round shotgun leaves you effectively unarmed), but it also leaves one vulnerable to the very real possibility of negligent homicide, as bullets that are fired up eventually do come down, many times with deadly consequences.

Biden's remarks exemplify just how disconnected many ideologues are on the issue of gun control and use. Carrying a gun allows one to defend oneself in times of personal danger.

Additionally, research suggests that stricter gun laws correlate to increased rates in violent crime. Harvard criminologists Don Kates and Gary Mauser authored a study examining American and European gun laws and violence rates in exhaustive detail. According to Mauser and Kates, nations with stringent anti-gun laws generally have substantially higher murder rates than those that do not. In 2006, John Moorhouse and Brent Wanner studied how crime rates responded to gun control laws. The findings showed that gun control laws do not affect crime rates, and that a ban instituted post-shooting does not affect the crime rate itself, but that the use of the specific weapon is sometimes altered.

"Republican obstructionism!" or "Tea-Partyers!" are frequent phrases thrown around in any argument in order to delegitimize the possible validity of a dissenting opinion. Such is the case with the recent discourse on gun control measures. Increased background check measures poll favorably across the political spectrum. And while polls suggest that both Republicans and Democrats favor increased background checks, the NRA does not, and with good reason.

The NICS background check system works. Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter, stole his guns — he did not buy them. To cite the NICS in any Newtown-related discussion should include that Lanza acquired his firearms through theft, not a faulty NICS system. When someone cites the statistic that 40 percent of firearms aren't checked with NICS, that is because those firearms were purchased over 20 years ago and are no longer sold at licensed firearms vendors.

As Vice President Biden said earlier this month, there are too many gun control laws on the books to be able to enforce them all properly, especially when it comes to background checks.

The real issue when it comes to gun control discourse is that individuals should have the right to protect themselves in times of perceived danger.

Tragedies certainly put the debate into perspective. But tragedies do not change the following realities: our society is plagued by violent crime, and responsible gun ownership is an effective means of self-defense.

7. GOP lawmaker: Obama using fake twitter messages in fight over gun control

Reader William Goodman sent me this:



GOP lawmaker: Obama using fake Twitter messages in fight over gun control
By Pete Kasperowicz
February 25, 2013

A Texas Republican on Monday said President Obama's gun control campaign is a fraud based on fake messages over Twitter.

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) accused Obama of trying to make support for his position look stronger than it really is by flooding Twitter with messages from people who don't exist.

"Obama's anti-gun campaign is a fraud," Stockman said. "Obama's supporters are panicking and willing to do anything to create the appearance of popular support, even if it means trying to defraud Congress," he added. "I call upon the president to denounce this phony spam campaign."
Stockman said that in response to Obama's call for people to tweet their congressman in support of gun control legislation, he received just 16 tweets. But he said all of these messages were identical, and that a closer look at them revealed that only six were from real people.

"The other 10 are fake, computer-generated spambots," his office said in a press release. As evidence, he said these 10 tweets use default graphics and names, and have not engaged in any interaction with other people. Two of the tweets were sent at nearly the same time, and both follow just one person: Brad Schenck, Obama's former digital strategist.

Stockman also added that only one of the six tweets from real people is a constituent of his in Texas.

"If you are a real person who contacted us about your support for the president's anti-gun campaign, we are listening," Stockman said. "We do not agree with you, but we appreciate your sincere opinions and encourage you to continue to contact us.

"But the vast majority of the president's supporters have no feelings because they fake profiles from spammers."

Stockman said Obama's anti-gun activists "are trying to defraud Congress using the same scam that sells 'male enhancement pills.'"

8. Miller: Guns on the Hill


MILLER: Guns on the Hill
Democrats rush to accommodate the Obama whims
by Emily Miller-The Washington Times
February 28, 2013

Democrats on Capitol Hill are sprinting to give President Obama a quick victory in his gun-control crusade. Sloth won't cut it. Energized senators have sped from bad idea to full committee vote in less than two months. That sounds like sloth in the world where the rest of us live, but in the Senate, that's warp speed.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, plans to bring four gun-control bills to a markup on Thursday. One of the bills, mandating a background check for private gun sales, was proposed by Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, and it's on the schedule even though it hasn't been written yet.

Republicans on the committee may try to delay for a week to read the proposals, but it won't make much difference. The bills will satisfy the committee, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will bring them to a floor vote.

David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association, says the Senate isn't acting like the world's greatest deliberative body (that it imagines itself to be).

"The apparent willingness of some in the Senate to push forward with constitutionally questionable legislation without a real debate is astounding, but perhaps understandable when you realize that neither they nor their president have much regard for the Constitution as a whole," he tells The Washington Times.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California held the first and only public hearing Wednesday on her "assault weapons" ban, which is part of the group of bills headed to a vote. Her proposal would bar the manufacture, import or sale of 157 specifically named firearms, along with semiautomatic guns with cosmetic features like a pistol grip or a barrel shroud.

She says these cosmetics, which might look scary to the easily frightened, make the guns "more efficient for killing people." Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the Judiciary's top Republican, says banning guns based on appearance is irrational, and results in outlawing guns that are "less powerful, [less] dangerous, and that inflict less severe wounds than other [more powerful guns] it exempts."

"This is an important issue of public policy," Mrs. Feinstein told the hearing. Since her last assault weapon ban expired in 2004, she says, more than 350 people have been killed by rifles with scary cosmetic features. According to the most recent FBI data, rifles were used in 2.5 percent of all murders, which means a person is twice as likely to be beaten to death by a killer's hands or feet.

The House, where Republicans rule, is preparing to work at a more deliberate, thoughtful pace. Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says he'll look at whatever the Senate sends over, but he's working on improving the FBI background check to further prevent criminals and those with serious mental illness from obtaining guns. He rules out accommodating Mr. Obama's insistence on background checks on private gun sales.

The House is right to take its time. Emotionalism shouldn't infringe the Second Amendment, particularly with no benefit to public safety.

9. Joe Biden shotgun response [VIDEO]

ROFL! Joe Biden as Elmer Fudd ;-)

Louis Klampfe shared this video on facebook:



10. Humorous: Women take Joe Biden's 'buy a shotgun!' advice [VIDEO]


Humorous: Women Take Joe Biden's 'Buy a Shotgun!' Advice
by Kyle Becker
February 26, 2013

A parody video showing women taking Joe Biden's "buy a shotgun!" advice illustrates the difference between shooting a shotgun and an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle.

11. Palin: Feds 'stockpiling bullets' in case of riots after default

There is a lot of discomfort lately with the government ordering large quantities of ammunition. Training purposes or something sinister? Courts still out, but here Sarah Palin's take on the issue.

Member Walter Jackson sent me this:


February 28, 2013

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin claimed the federal government is "stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest." Palin believes such calamity may result from the country defaulting on its obligations.

She claimed the threat of default exists because Washington politicians are not serious about reducing the country's debt, as evidenced by the drama over the sequester.

"If we are going to wet our proverbial pants over 0.3% in annual spending cuts when we're running up trillion dollar annual deficits, then we're done," Palin wrote of the sequester set to hit on Friday. "Put a fork in us. We're finished. We're going to default eventually and that's why the feds are stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest."

In a Facebook note on Tuesday in which she blistered D.C. politicians for yet another "ginned-up" crisis, Palin wrote that the "real economic Armageddon looming before us is our runaway debt, not the sequester, which the President advocated for and signed into law and is now running around denouncing because he never had any genuine intention of reining in his reckless spending."

Palin said the world knows that if Washington politicians cannot even deal with a modest 0.3% per year cut in the federal budget, then the country is heading straight for default.

"If we can't stomach modest cuts that would lower federal spending by a mere 0.3% per year out of a current federal budget of $3.6 trillion, then we might as well signal to the whole world that we have no serious intention of dealing with our debt problem," Palin continued.

12. NRA, Bloomberg PAC spending on Congress hints gun debate far from over

Reader Walter Jackson sent me this:



New NRA, Bloomberg PAC spending on Congress races hints gun debate far from over
by Joseph Weber
February 24, 2013

The Washington gun-control debate in which President Obama and fellow Democrats are trying to promptly tighten firearms laws is emerging as a longer effort with both sides spending millions on congressional candidates who will help or hurt their cause.

The National Rifle Association spending on new ads this week was no surprise, considering the powerful and well-funded gun lobby spent roughly $18 million through its political arms in the last election cycle. And the group remains committed to protecting gun makers and the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.

However, the emergence of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his super PAC spending roughly $2 million this year on a special House race in Illinois suggests both sides are looking to bolster their positions in Congress through the 2014 races and perhaps beyond.

Bloomberg, a vocal advocate of strict gun control, through his super PAC Independence USA, paid for TV ads and mailers attacking two Illinois Democrats -- former Rep. Debbie Halvorson and state Sen. Toi Hutchinson -- who were running for Jessie Jackson Jr.'s open seat and have had high NRA ratings. The primary is Tuesday and considered too close to call.

Halvorson doesn't support a ban and has accused Bloomberg of trying to "buy an election."

Hutchinson, the early leader, has quit the race and put her support behind fellow Democrat and former state Rep. Robin Kelly, who like President Obama and other Washington Democrats supports an assault-weapons ban.

Their efforts follow a series of mass shootings including the Dec. 14, 2012, incident in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 first-graders and six adults were killed.

Two days later, Obama ordered a task force to come up with a set of proposals no later than January and called for "real reform right now."

Independence PAC spokesman Stefan Friedman pointed out that Bloomberg has spent money in previous races in which his topics of concern have been involved and suggested the mayor would continue with such efforts.

"The mayor has been clear, no matter where it may be, with issues like gun safety and the environment, he's going to be there to educate voters," Friedman told "The mayor's never been shy about spending what it takes."

He disagreed with the notion that backers of tighter gun laws are looking at future elections because they do not expect this Congress to pass bans on assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines. Friedman said the country "fully supports" Obama's reform package, which he expects to "pass immediately."

This week, the NRA ran full-page newspaper ads primarily targeting three Senate Democrats up for election in Republican-leaning states: Sens. Mark Pryor, Arkansas; Mary Landrieu, Louisiana; and Kay Hagan, North Carolina.

The group also purportedly ran in ad in West Virginia where Democrats hope to retain the seat of retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller and in at least 10 swing states.

The NRA could not be reached for comment, but group Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre has argued the president had gun control as a second-term agenda before the Connecticut shootings.

"It's not about keeping our kids safe at school," he said after the president's State on the Union speech this month. "That wasn't even mentioned in the president's speech. They only care about their decades-old gun control agenda

Bloomberg launched his super PAC weeks before the November election and spent more than $12 million to back seven candidates nationwide. Guns were an issue in the election of newly-elected Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, a California Democrat who ousted incumbent Democrat Rep. Joe Baca with Bloomberg's help.

However, Bloomberg's backing hasn't always equaled success. His super PAC supported former Rep. Robert Dold, R-Ill., who lost to a Democratic businessman, Rep. Brad Schneider.

Ben Tulchin, president of the San Francisco-based polling firm Tulchin Research, argues Bloomberg has been very strategic about where he spends such money and that he perhaps single-handedly changed the Illinois race.

"Without Bloomberg's money, it would have been almost impossible to have what happened," he said Wednesday. "He basically flipped that seat. … The two Democrats fell, but it was Bloomberg who knocked down the first domino."

13. Cuomo announces plans to modify gun control law to exempt film industry

Reader Walter Jackson sent me this:



Cuomo Announces Plans To Modify Gun Control Law To Exempt Film Industry
To Also Fix Error In Legislation Featuring Cops And High-Capacity Magazines
February 27, 2013

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Just a month after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the strictest gun control law in the country, state officials plan to make some exemptions.

The law toughened restrictions on military-style rifles and high-capacity semiautomatic handguns, but those restrictions will be changed so those types of weapons can be used on the sets of television shows and movies being shot in New York.

"We spend a lot of money in the state bringing movie production here, post production here. So obviously we would want to facilitate that," Cuomo said.

Cuomo said the prop firearms used in films would probably not be classified as an assault weapon.

"But people want certainty and there's no reason not to make a change like that," the governor added. "Apparently, they have blanks or they have phony magazines or something."

Cuomo and lawmakers announced on Wednesday that they'll also fix an error that made its way into the law.

The measure passed so quickly that as it reads now, police officers carrying high-capacity magazines could be in violation of the law, Diamond reported.

The need for a "clean-up" bill means the fight over the law may not be over after all.

An estimated 10,000 opponents of the new restrictions will descend on Albany Thursday as legislators consider additional amendments.

The New York State legislature quickly passed the gun control measure in the wake of the Dec. 14 Newtown, Conn. school massacre. Gunman Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .223 semiautomatic in his rampage that left 20 first graders and six educators dead.

14. City wants power to "disarm individuals" during crisis [VIDEO]

The second video in this story is a *powerful* reminder of the thuggish actions of police in Louisiana immediately following Katrina. Police should never be given the power to disarm the general public in any situation, but *especially* in an emergency! We have some protections in Virginia against police disarming us in an emergency, but if you have to stay in a K-12 school shelter, you will be disarmed. We've tried to fix that, but the Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly have been weak-kneed, leaving us vulnerable as a result.


City Wants Power to "Disarm Individuals" During Crisis
Guntersville authorities would confiscate guns of "unruly" individuals during disasters
by Paul Joseph Watson,
February 26, 2013

Guntersville (Ala.) Mayor Leigh Dollar is working with city officials to pass an ordinance that would give police the power to "disarm individuals" during a disaster, a chilling example of how the second amendment is being assaulted via the back door.

The new rule would allow authorities to confiscate guns of "unruly" people during an extreme weather event such as the April 2011 tornadoes or any other emergency.

"The ordinance states officers could disarm individuals, if necessary, reports ABC 31. "Dollar says the proposal is just way to give officers more authority to protect themselves."

Dollar denied that the ordinance would be used to take away constitutional rights, but residents questioned why authorities would need to pass a new ordinance given that police already have the power to arrest citizens who are being "unruly," whether armed or not.

"Well, it seems like an infringement on the 2nd Amendment and that's the biggest problem I have with it," said Guntersville Music Academy teacher Paul Landry.

Authorities are seemingly attempting to mirror unconstitutional gun grab powers that were enacted in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

In the aftermath of Katrina, the New Orleans Police, National Guard troops, and U.S. Marshals confiscated firearms. "Guns will be taken. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns," New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass declared as he prepared to violate the Second Amendment.

The National Guard conducted warrantless house-to-house searches, targeting not just Hurricane-hit areas under the pretext of stopping violent looters, but also high and dry homes that were not even affected by the storm.

Authorities even confiscated pistols from old ladies, as documented in the video below.

The Guntersville gun grab ordinance will be on the city council agenda at their meeting on March 4th.

15. Star Parker: Preserve gun rights, save black lives

VCDL vp Jim Snyder sent me this:



Star Parker: Preserve gun rights, save black lives
by Star Parker
February 23, 2013

On Friday, my organization, CURE, sponsored a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington to bring attention to the importance of rigorously defending the right of all Americans, guaranteed under the Second Amendment of our Constitution, to own a gun.

Our event provided a forum for black leaders from the world of politics and public policy in Washington, from the business community, from academia and from the clergy, to express their deep concern about efforts currently underway to limit our God-given and constitutional individual right of self-defense.

Why would an organization like CURE, whose mission focuses on the relevance of American values of faith and freedom to minorities, be so concerned about guns? Because, as conservative black Americans, we know that the soul of America is kept alive with the free flow of the oxygen of freedom. And we know that when that flow is interrupted in any way, the people that suffer first and most are blacks.

New gun control initiatives coming from our president and from Democrats in Congress are an attempt to expand the power of government and limit the freedom of citizens in response to a highly publicized tragedy. This is not surprising. There is no problem facing America today that liberals do not believe should be solved by more government and less freedom. And liberals are consistent and predictable in their indifference to facts and experience that show whenever they do succeed in growing government and limiting freedom, they make matters worse, not better.

A substantial body of research already shows that gun controls empower criminals and weaken law-abiding citizens.

As John Lott, former chief economist of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "With just a single exception, the attack in Tucson last year, every public shooting in the U.S. in which three or more people have been killed since at least 1950 have occurred in a place where people are not allowed to carry their own firearms."

Regarding black reality, blacks are the least armed, least protected and defended and the most assaulted citizens in our country.

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 42 percent of whites and 16 percent of blacks say they have a pistol or rifle at home. And according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, for the period between 1980 and 2008, "Blacks were six times more likely than whites to be homicide victims and eight times more likely to commit a homicide."

Law-abiding black citizens live under siege in crime-ridden urban centers. Somehow, they are supposed to buy the logic that stripping down the freedoms of those who do obey the law, and giving more power to those in law enforcement -- who are already charged with maintaining order but don't -- will make them better off.

In a Pew Research Center survey in 2009, 46 percent of whites compared with 24 percent of blacks said they have a "great deal" of confidence in the local police to enforce the law.

Can anyone whom God has blessed with a brain actually think that universal background checks will keep guns out of the hands of gang thugs? Or that these same checks, in which some past legal infraction might nullify a gun application, will not result in even fewer urban law-abiding blacks obtaining a weapon for protection?

Gun control initiates are just another pretend big government "answer" that will not only fail to solve the problem, but will actually make it worse. They will only mask the issues that really need attention: a culture that devalues personal responsibility, that fosters government dependence, that trashes traditional understanding of sex, marriage and family, and that bans traditional values from our public schools and our public life.

Americans of all backgrounds must fight yet another misguided liberal attempt to undermine our personal freedom and sap the vitality of our nation.

16. Second American Revolution on the horizon? [VIDEO]

More and more law enforcement officials are concerned about some of the unconstitutional gun control being pushed in Congress.


Second American Revolution on the horizon?
Sheriff David Clarke JR. reacts to gun control push
February 24, 2013

17. Guns for neighbors: the ultimate neighborhood watch program

EM Dave Knight sent me this:



Guns for Neighbors: The Ultimate Neighborhood Watch Program
by Eric Rauch
February 28, 2013

In a short essay written by former Navy SEAL and apocalyptic novelist Matthew Bracken entitled "Arm Thy Neighbor," it is recommended that homeowners concerned about self-defense and a potential collapsing economy consider buying a few extra guns and ammunition to pass around the neighborhood when the time comes. Bracken openly admits that his advice may not be appreciated by all: "I can hear you saying, 'What is Bracken talking about? If that foolish grasshopper of a neighbor didn't bother about his security when guns were readily available, why should I worry about him now? Besides, he may even be an anti-gun liberal, so the hell with him!'" Despite negative comments and naysayers, Bracken makes some good points that should be diligently thought over.

First, Bracken says, former anti-gun liberals will quickly change their tune when the war for survival comes to their doorstep.

When violence explodes during an economic collapse, millions of new conservatives will be created from former left-wingers. And besides philosophically anti-gun liberals, many folks simply grow up in families where guns are not present and reach adulthood having never touched a firearm. But no matter why they don't own firearms, when the ultra-violence breaks out your neighbors down the street will deserve a way to defend themselves from criminal predation. Simple charity, Christian or otherwise, suggests that we should not leave the elderly couple, the widow or the single mom with young children defenseless against evildoers bent on rape, robbery or murder.

Second, Bracken makes the practical point that a gun and some ammo given out in advance with a sufficient amount of training will make you appear as a trusted leader when and if things get bad. He writes: "Training a non-shooter in the safe operation of firearms also shows your own overall knowledge of security issues. This demonstrated firearms proficiency will stand you in good stead when your leadership skills and tactical knowledge may benefit your overall neighborhood security posture."

Third, more guns mean multiple fields of fire. Once looters and thieves realize that many homes in a neighborhood are in possession of firearms, ammo, and the willingness to use them, the word will get around. Bracken says: "Consider why tiny Switzerland has never been invaded by its much more powerful and often bellicose neighbors. It's not because of the Alps. It's because the Swiss have a strong tradition of armed self-defense at every level."

Finally, arming your neighbors can help to "provide you with a critical early warning of imminent danger when [a neighbor] fires it in self-defense." This is a key tactical point that should not be taken lightly. "Forewarned is forearmed," Bracken says, "even if the warning is a rapid series of pistol shots heard from up the street at oh-dark-thirty." Either way, he says, it would obviously be preferable "to hear defiant shots than helpless screams."

Bracken's advice is certainly not without its critics, many of which seem to think that his essay is naïve. Perhaps, but what he says makes good sense and should certainly be thought over before being completely dismissed. If the bottom falls out and mass chaos ensues, it will definitely be better to be armed with your neighbors than to be armed without them.

18. Firearm facts - the AR-15

Reader Mark Colleluori sent me this:



Special Report: Firearm Facts -- the AR-15
by Bob Wilson
February 19, 2013

(WTNH) -- Since the shootings at Sandy Hook, the debate over gun control has been raging -- with much of the focus on the AR-15. But what exactly is an AR-15?

News 8 asked the CEO of Colt Manufacturing, which is based in Connecticut, to show us the AR-15 design and we asked them to stick to just the facts.

The most common mistake is the name. What does the AR stand for?

"Assault rifle," said one man.

"Automatic rifle," said another.

"First off, it's not an assault rifle. It's the AR, means armalite. We call it the modern sporting rifle because these guns are all used legitimately every day for sporting purposes," said Michael Guerra of Colt Firearms.

The armalight platform was designed back in the Vietnam era as the M-16, which is a true assault rifle, a military grade machine gun that is fully automatic. It is not legal in the United State without a federal permit.

The state police had to show News 8 how fast a fully automatic military rifle can fire.

The AR-15 for sale to the public may have the military look but Colt says it shoots the same as a hunting rifle look.

"This is a Remington 742. It is a semi automatic which means every time you want a shot you must pull the trigger. It has a hand guard and a pistol grip," said Guerra. "What we have here is one of our competition rifles. It is also semi automatic. It has a detached box machine, a hand guard and a pistol grip."

When you break the rifles down to their basic parts, you have what looks like a pistol that would fit under your arm.

One of the myths is that the modern sporting rifle can shoot faster than even a hand gun. They are both semi automatics. One pull of the trigger, one bullet so News 8 put it to the test and fired 3 rounds through each gun and timed it to see.

"I am going to take out the chamber flag. I'm gonna ask you to put the magazine into the well. Alright," said Guerra. "Send the bolt forward. You now have the fire arm loaded."

Bang, Bang, Bang. That was 3 rounds in 1.53 seconds.

Now to the hand gun.

"We are going to drop this down forward," said Guerra. "Release the safety down and you are hot, ready to go whenever you are ready."

"Okay so this will be the 3 fast rounds. You ready," asked News 8's Bob Wilson.

Bang, Bang, Bang. That was 3 rounds in 1.46 seconds.

Now look again at the fully automatic military assault rifle. That fires 30 rounds in 1.56 seconds.

"You hear various things about how they can be used to fire fully automatic and they are not fully automatic firearms. These are replicas or copies of the military grade which are fully automatic and those are actually what a true assault weapon is," said Jake McGuigan, National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Colt says what makes the AR-15 so scary looking to some people are the cosmetics and there is a reason the military style is so popular. The AR platform makes up more than 20 percent of the firearms across the United States including hand guns. It's because many of our servicemen and women as well as ex law enforcement are buying the rifle.

"They like to hunt and shoot. Their first choice is going to be what they are most familiar with, what they are most comfortable with. It's a large part of why this rifle has become more and more popular," said Dennis Veilleux, CEO of Colt Manufacturing.

19. Why does anyone need an assault rifle? [VIDEO]

Reader Fred Tippett sent me this:


WHY does anyone NEED an ASSAULT RIFLE? This guy is makes a clear case. You decide


20. Ammo shortage hits shooters, retailers


Ammo shortage hits shooters, retailers
Hoarders and online sellers are driving prices up as availability shrinks
February 26, 2013

SULLIVAN – It's the form of gun control that few people saw coming. No ammo. At least, certain types of ammunition has become extremely hard to find and very expensive when it surfaces. The hunt for 9mm, .22-caliber, .380 and a few other popular bullets intensified after the Obama administration resurrected the gun control debate following the November election and Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in December.

The shortage has become so pronounced that many retailers are limiting per-customer sales because of hoarding. Local Wal-Mart stores – including store #65 in Sullivan – limit sales to three boxes per person. Ditto that policy at Dick's Sporting Goods in West County Center. Workers at both say that people are constantly calling or cruising the ammunition shelves in desperate search for product. It's not all types of ammo that's in short supply – shotgun shells and some calibers are readily available.

"We can't keep certain ammo stocked and we don't get as much delivered as we normally do," said an employee at Orscheln's in Sullivan. It's the same situation for gun dealers, gun ranges, and people that normally have wholesale or inside access to ammo. Last week at Ruby's Guns in Ellisville – formerly of Sullivan – a revolving door of customers inquired about ammo. Owner Steve Walsh could only shake his head – like everyone else in the business – and wait it out.

Besides retailers, gun-range businesses, law enforcement agencies/police departments, conceal-and-carry instructors and others are feeling the pinch of ammo shortages. Large gun-range operations in the St. Louis area have reportedly curtailed ammo sales to range customers. Some municipal police agencies have voiced concerns about ammo for training and practice. It's an issue that is even changing buying habits for those outside of the gun world.

Sales associates at area Wal-Mart stores have plenty of stories about the shortage. Shoppers that don't own or shoot guns are hoarding the hot commodity, turning a profit by selling ammo online. A common box of .22 shells will sell for two to three times the normal retail price. And for the person holding a supply of 9mm – name the price. More than a few area shooting enthusiasts say some privately owned ammo retailers are pulling product off the shelves for the lucrative online market.

Employees at large ammo retailers – such as Bass Pro Shops, Wal-Mart, Dick's, etc. – report that demand is increasing as supplies tighten. Ammo manufacturers contend that their facilities are cranking out record numbers of ammunition and supplies geared towards do-it-yourself reloaders (which is an extremely fast-growing business). In the meantime, people are spending countless hours looking for product.

Rollanet, Craigslist, and other free online classifieds sites are posting offers that would have been unheard of just a few months ago. Although not the first ammo shortage to hit the U.S. in modern times, it is believed to be one of the toughest. But what is really driving the shortage?

The facts are few, but conspiracy theories abound. According to ammunition manufacturers, expanding production facilities is unlikely in a politically hostile environment. Clayton, Mo.-based Olin, which manufactures the popular Winchester ammo brand, reported that its January 2013 commercial/retail ammo backlog was $280 million, compared to $29 million the previous year. The manufacturer stated that the extreme surge in sales is directly attributable to the Obama administration's desire to get tough with gun and ammo sales. In a January 2013 company report, Olin noted that retail ammo sales were beating military and law enforcement ammo sales. Also, the company expected the ammo demand to remain high (at least) into the summer.

Similar to past ammo shortages (Obama 2009 and several during the Clinton administration), the ammo dry spells have been in response to proposed or threatened federal gun/ammo legislation. However, past legislation has been weak and/or nonexistent. But today, gun enthusiasts and gun-rights groups view the Obama administration as an extreme threat towards gun and ammo ownership. This is where facts and conspiracy theories begin to collide – causing much of the panic buying and hoarding that has led to the current shortage.

A popular theory is that non-military federal agencies are buying massive quantities of ammo. It seems that this is both true and false. Media sources have reported that on (a business to government e-commerce site), several federal agencies have placed massive ammo orders - including the Department of Homeland Security. Orders as large as 10 million rounds of .40-caliber and 10 million 9mm rounds are just part of the reported 1.625 billion rounds of ammo secured by the DHS agency in just 10 months.

While it appears that the feds are buying an unusual amount of ammo, the reality may be that the feds are simply locking in contracts for future supply. According to several recent fed agency reports available online – including Immigration and Customs Enforcement – the federal government is concerned about ammo shortages and the ability to protect against a massive influx of immigrants (especially with a pending amnesty bill). It's no secret that DHS chief Janet Napolitano has voiced concern about domestic terrorism and unrest – another reason to buy ammo.

Many experts agree that the U.S. ammo manufacturing capacity is too small for a demand that will likely remain strong. As noted previously, manufacturers are reluctant to expand operations until gun-control legislation is more defined. Ammo companies contend that their plants are cranking out product in record amounts, but falling short of the demand.

Whether those seeking ammunition are shooters, hunters, or speculative hoarders of high demand/low supply commodities, the reality is that the supply of popular ammo is critically short – or often nonexistent. Even those with the ability to load their own ammo, primers are also becoming impossible to find.

"There's a quick and easy way to get gun control," said a local gun expert, who asked to remain unnamed. "Take away the ammo."

21. Rampant Injustice [VIDEO]

Another warning about the dangers of militarization of police in the U.S. What happened at this American company when the police showed up is unsettling, to say the least.

Reader Mike Carwile sent me this:


22. One activist pushes for gun control in gun loving ND

A gun-grabber in North Dakota wants to bring gun control there. Lots of luck, lady.

Member Deborah Anderson sent me this:



In gun-loving North Dakota, one activist pushes for gun control
by Stephanie McCrummen
February 21, 2013

In Fargo, N.D. — One recent afternoon, Susan Beehler, who may be the only gun-control advocate in all of North Dakota, walked into VFW Post 762, a dimly lit, wood-paneled bar in downtown Fargo.

It was, perhaps, the gun-friendliest place in one of the gun-friendliest states in the nation, a state where gun rights are so sacred that violent felons can have them restored, where firearms are so ordinary that a hand­written flier for high-capacity ammunition clips was recently posted on a grocery store bulletin board, next to one for a pinochle tournament.

Still, Beehler was optimistic. She headed for a table in the corner, where two men wearing flannel buffalo plaid were sipping drinks.

"Hello there!" she said. "I'm with the Million Moms for Gun Control group, and we're looking for responsible gun owners."

Dick Coleman, who owns 15 guns, and Pete Schlenk­er, who owns 33, nodded.

"We're just moms interested in reasonable controls that people can live with," she continued, trying to sound non-threatening. "Like limiting the number of bullets in magazines? Or universal background checks? That kind of thing — "

"Yep," Schlenker said. Coleman just sipped his drink. Beehl­er, a little nervous, kept on with her pitch, unsure where it was going.

President Obama, speaking after the Connecticut school shootings that left 20 children and six adults dead, said he is sure that "the vast majority of responsible, law-abiding gun owners" would support gun-control measures such as universal background checks or a ban on assault rifles. He appealed to the grass roots: Passing the new laws would require "a wave of Americans . . . standing up and saying 'enough' on behalf of our kids."

The White House strategy is all the more critical in states such as North Dakota, where Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat with an A rating from the National Rifle Association, was elected in November. Winning over Heitkamp and other Democrats from gun-friendly states such as New Mexico, Indiana and West Virginia is the least of what the White House must accomplish to change gun laws, to say nothing of securing the necessary Republican votes.

At the moment, though, there is virtually no ground game toward that end in North Dakota. Democrats are lying low on the issue. Obama's vaunted campaign machine, now called Organizing for Action, has not organized any action.

One Washington-based group, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, did try running full-page ads blasting Heitkamp — "Shame on you," they read — after she described the president's proposals as "way in the extreme of what I think is necessary or should even be talked about." But that did not seem to have much effect.

And so for now, the cause of gun control in North Dakota is in the hands of Susan Beehler­, 54, a mother of five and occasional civic gadfly whose past causes have included dairy farmers, baby seals, arthritis and abolishing property taxes, none of which affected her like the Sandy Hook shootings.

She had sat for hours watching the news from Newtown unfold in her living room and vowed to do something. A few weeks later, she started a North Dakota chapter of a group called One Million Moms for Gun Control and started studying up on assault rifles and statistics on gun deaths.

She more or less agreed with what Obama had said about gun owners. As a North Dakotan who grew up around guns and once sold them at Woolco in the 1980s, she felt qualified to take on the cause. She would canvass for support. She would venture into bars and have reasoned conversations.

"I'm the lone ranger!" she said as she went public with her Million Moms Facebook page. (The organization has since changed its name to Moms Demand Action.)

A few hours later, came the first two responses: One was a photo of a man shooting a rifle along with a suggestion that she learn how to use one. The other read "Shame on you."

Beehler, who does not own a gun, joked that her life insurance policy was up to date. "Hopefully I can find a few other brave souls," she said.

Starting a conversation

A couple of days later, Beehl­er noted 19 "likes" on her Facebook page. Roughly half were from out of state. Someone from New Orleans had sent her a rap video about gun control that stuck in her head. An old colleague expressed support, though she was unwilling to "go public," as she put it. Beehl­er had met two other women in Fargo who were willing to help.

Now she was pulling into the snow-packed parking lot of Scheel's, a sporting goods chain that gained national attention recently for helping the West Fargo Hockey Association with a 200-gun raffle of Remingtons and Glocks.

Beehler figured it was a good place to canvass gun owners, and she had prepared a stack of fliers with her group's Facebook address and logos of little hearts.

It was 1 degree outside, which made her artificial hips ache. She zeroed in on a man in camouflage across the parking lot, applied lipstick and climbed out of the car.

"Hi there!" yelled Beehler, a solitary figure with blazing red hair shuffling across the snow. "I'm starting a group called a Million Moms for Gun Control, and I was wondering about your feelings on reforming gun laws?"

"As long as you don't want to take my guns away," the man said, taking a flier and hurrying along.

Beehler trotted over to a man in a shearling jacket — "I'm busy," he said — and then stopped a woman with two boys wearing camouflage jackets.

"No, thank you," she said after Beehl­er made her pitch.

A man with a thick mustache and cowboy hat was heading in her direction.

"Excuse me," Beehler said, introducing herself. "What we'd like the discussion to be about is responsible gun ownership, not 'guns or no guns.' So I was wondering, do you think I'm a crazy lady?"

"No," said the man, smiling.

"What's your idea of gun control?" she asked, deciding that she should be solicitous rather than argumentative.

"I think there should be better background checks," he said.

"I see. And what about assault weapons, do you think people need those?"

"No one needs those," he said and took one of the fliers in a gloved hand.

It was snowing, and Beehler was emboldened. She decided to try an indoor venue, and headed over to the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall.

Stances in the state

Although roughly half of all North Dakotans own guns, what people here as a whole think about the gun-control proposals in play is something of a mystery.

There are no recent state polls on the issue. A recent gun rights rally outside the state Capitol in Bismarck drew about 100 people on a 5-degree day. Newspapers have published letters on both sides of the issue. In January, state legislators introduced bills to allow people with permits to carry concealed guns in schools and churches, and another that would punish police who enforce any future federal gun law changes.

Only one person testified against the latter idea: ­Beehler.

The state Democratic Party has not taken a position on the bills, and a spokeswoman said they are not likely to champion the issue of gun control.

"From a party perspective, there is so much happening right now as far as funding milk for elementary-age kids, tax breaks for oil companies," said Rania Batrice, a spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party. "To be completely honest, we're very focused on that." Heitkamp declined a request for an interview.

North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Sam Stein said that assuming North Dakotans oppose changes to gun laws would be "a little bit simplistic." But if politicians want to be reelected, he said, "they definitely know what side to be on."

At the same time, he and others said that North Dakotans prize their political independence.

"I don't think North Dakotans wake up in the morning and worry what the NRA thinks," said Jim Fuglie, a former director of the state Democratic Party and ex-NRA member. "We are a moderate people in North Dakota."

Talking about guns

Beehler drove through the snow over to the VFW post, a beery place with poker machines and a banner for a chili cook-off over the bar. After getting nowhere with a group of card-carrying NRA members, she walked over to the table where Dick Coleman, Pete Schlenk­er and Schlenk­er's wife were drinking.

She started talking about reasonable gun control and limiting bullets in magazines and universal background checks. Then she pulled out her fliers with the little hearts and put them on their table, over the Budweiser logo.

"The other thing is on assault weapons — we do support banning them," Beehl­er said, almost apologetically, explaining that she had gone online and watched a video of a man shooting one. "I mean, they are not used for hunting."

"No," said Schlenker, a Korean War veteran whose collection of 33 guns includes two recently purchased assault rifles.

"I was like, 'Holy cow!' " said Beehl­er, sensing an opening. "We're not talking about the guns of our heritage."

"Yep," Schlenk­er said.

Beehler moved on to the subject of 30-round ammunition clips. Coleman made the point that ­rapid-firing guns are useful for hunting quick-moving coyotes, a real nuisance during calving season. He said his son had 30-round clips.

"He likes to go to the shooting range," said Coleman, a Vietnam veteran. "He's an avid hunter. I have no problem with the 30-round clip, but I agree they should do more extensive background checks. It's not the gun that kills, it's the nut behind the gun."

Beehler started to feel more comfortable. She pulled up a chair, sat down and ordered a cocktail.

"To get back to assault rifles," said Schlenk­er, and the four went on talking about whether an assault-weapons ban would make some of their own arsenal illegal, about mental health, about whether, say, a 9mm Smith & Wesson with a 15-round staggered-
column magazine would become illegal if high-capacity clips were banned.

They talked about the gun culture of North Dakota and the ritual of hunting with their sons on snowy mornings.

It was the sort of conversation that Beehl­er had hoped to have. After a while, she put the fliers back in her sequined purse and thanked Coleman, Schlenker and his wife.

When she got home, Beehl­er checked her Facebook page.

She had 22 "likes," a few messages ridiculing her efforts and a couple of promising messages from some students in the town of Bottineau. She wondered what Heitkamp was hearing from voters.

"It probably won't make a difference," she said of her efforts. "But at least she might see there are some people out here with a different view."

23. Magazine ban [VIDEO]


Magazine Ban
February 23, 2013

The demonstrations offered in this video were devised by trainers involved in the instruction of law enforcement officers to educate people who may not know a great deal about firearms and their use. The drills are meant to address the ideas put forth by legislators and pundits who are perhaps well intended but who lack knowledge of the field.

The exercises in part are meant to represent the type of shooting professionals expect from a deranged active shooter who, historically, is likely to be a late teenage to young adult male who spends an inordinate amount of time playing video games ( we are not implying that video games are evil here). First person Shooter video games (which closely mimic Video Simulators used on Police and Military Training) develop an increased degree of hand-eye coordination and dexterity plus a heightened awareness of the use of the speed reload (reloading before the weapon runs dry).

Points which were exhibited:
1. Active shooters typically transition from target to target
2. Active shooters typically reload frequently (see reports on VA Tech).
3. Active shooters are more dexterous than the typical citizen, including most typical Law Enforcement Officers.
4. Target Transitions and movement are more time consuming than reloads.
5. It is the person who is defending rather than on the attack who suffers more from a magazine capacity restriction.
6. The Fastest Reload has long been the "New York Reload"; dropping the empty gun and pulling another.

Other points of interest;
1. As the Glock heated up the magazines stuck (they were factory drop free magazines) giving the disadvantage of longer reloads
2. The tests were performed a week earlier using "slide lock" reloads and magazines carried in pouches or stuck in the belt -- the times were not noticeably different. (the weapon was different however).
3. This is the first time that Christy has ever fired a Glock (she is not a trained shooter but is not totally unfamiliar with firearms).
4. There were no "practice" runs. One reason that the shooting speed increased is that the exercise is heuristic in nature. Another reason is most likely the subconscious knowledge that the clock is running. The bottom line is that shooting / Target Transition speed are the most relevant aspects of multiple target shooting and they are not something legislation can effect.

24. Catastrophe when America's twin gave up guns

Member Deborah Anderson sent me this:


Very real and tragic results occurred in Australia when they went off the deep end with gun control measures, but didn't realize all the history behind the issue, nor was I aware of many of the ridiculous gun laws there, until I read this article on WorldNetDaily.


Tragic tale of frontier nation's abandonment of firearms, freedom
by Nick Adams
February 24, 2013

SYDNEY, Australia – In the country that has some of the most restrictive firearms legislation in the world, law-abiding citizens must obtain police permission before purchasing a gun and subject themselves to public ridicule, surprise searches without warrants, arbitrary confiscation and burdensome government regulations.

It's a fate that could befall America, some warn, if citizens willingly surrender their firearms – and with those guns, an entire nation's hard-won freedom.

Australian Josh Coughran, who was forced to turn over his pistols and license when increased work commitments prevented him from completing burdensome gun-range attendance requirements, cautioned that gun "reform" is a slippery slope.

"It's a viral epidemic that starts small and eventually envelops its host, often resulting in death," he said. "The devil is in the details, and our story bears true to that old adage. What started as a small attack by a minority on semi-automatic rifles is now what it is today."

His message to Americans?

"Do not surrender a single one of those rights that have been purchased at such great cost in blood," he warned. "I still wonder how the country my forefathers fought and died to defend became the instrument which took away my rights."

Why do good people need guns? In "Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self-Defense," Charl Van Wyk makes a biblical, Christian case for individuals arming themselves with guns.

When Australia enacted some of the world's strongest gun-control measures in 1996, it was never anticipated that the following headlines would be splashed across the nation's major newspapers in just the last month: "Sydney is a city under fire," "Fists give way to firearms," "Customs failing to stop the entry of illegal guns into Australia," "Aussies own as many guns as before 1996," "Firearms control thrown in spotlight as gun numbers rise" and "Middle East squad to work on gun crime."

These media stories reflect the complex and sobering tale of Australian gun-control efforts, a journey that travels from the vast borders of the Australian coast to the suburban streets of its most populous city and documents the failings of seemingly unrelated matters of immigration and multiculturalism.

With this coinciding with the renewed gun debate in America in the wake of Sandy Hook, Australian gun control advocates, far from undeterred, are energized and appear determined to revisit the past. One headline on the nation's most popular news website declared, "New gun buy-back scheme needed: Gun-control advocates."

Despite mushrooming gun crime and gun numbers in Australia, there remains little appetite in the nation's populace – or political will for law repeal in the parliaments – for a return to the days prior to 1996.

Firearms today have no part in Australian culture, with an entire generation of citizens having never held one.

But it wasn't always this way.

Australia's transformation from gun nation to gun-hating country is a tragic tale, often misrepresented or inaccurately told. It is a story of treachery, timing and constant political cunning – one that has moved the agenda of gun control away from guns and ammunition to mandatory attendance and gun ranges. And those organizations best placed to campaign for gun rights have been bought into silence.

1942: Australia's own 'Pearl Harbor'

Few Americans remember that in February 1942, Australia had its own "Pearl Harbor," with the bombing of the city of Darwin. In fact, while far less significant as a military target, a greater number of bombs was dropped in this raid than in the Pearl Harbor attack. In its immediate aftermath, civilians of all ages collected their guns, assumed their posts and waited. Even the civilians of the indigenous population, the Aboriginals, assisted, using guns to kill or capture Japanese prisoners of war.

Three months later, the Japanese attacked the harbor of Sydney. Full-scale invasion appeared inevitable. The people of Sydney immediately grabbed their firearms, met with their neighbors and took to the streets. Thankfully, despite the Japanese having printed currency specifically prepared for use in Australia, the invasion never eventuated.

This was a time when Australia was well armed. Almost everyone had a gun, and almost everyone knew how to use them.

Gun ownership was an integral part of the culture, and through an individual's experience of shooting at or after school, in the military, or cadets, they were adept at their usage. An equivalent of the American Second Amendment – a luxury never afforded to the Australian population – appeared entirely unnecessary. Even national cinematic efforts reflected the deep gun culture of Australia, where even children learned gun safety and operation.

Australia, through its history, was a gun nation, and it would always stay that way.

Or so it was thought.

1996: Exploiting tragic gun rampages

Six weeks after the deadly Dunblane school massacre in Britain on April 28, 1996, in Port Arthur, Tasmania, a 29-year-old mentally ill man used his Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to conduct one of the most murderous rampages of the 20th century, leaving 35 dead and 21 injured.

With the election of a new conservative federal government just a month earlier after some 13 years of Labor Party (Democratic) rule came substantial political capital. Newly elected Australian Prime Minister John Howard seized this and moved almost immediately to enact some of the strictest gun laws in the world, known as the National Firearms Agreement, or NFA. It banned civilians from owning self-loading (i.e. semi-automatic) rifles and shotguns, as well as pump-action shotguns.

Additional legislation introduced concurrently across Australia as part of the NFA tightened the criteria for "genuine need" and purpose of use, enforced safe storage of firearms and ammunition and mandated training and reporting.

Notably, self-defense was outlawed as a "genuine" reason to possess a firearm.

This required the cooperation of all of states and territories, as Australia's Constitution does not permit the federal government to enact gun laws. The states in Australia are financially dependent on grants from the Commonwealth (the federal government), so the federal government gets its way with the states much more than in the U.S.

To force the hand of the states, Howard threatened to take the matter to a national referendum to change the Constitution should the states refuse his laws. He was successful.

In doing so, at an enormous financial cost totaling more than half-a-billion dollars, Howard implemented a generous gun-buyback scheme, which resulted in Australians visiting their local police station and turning in their weapons. And they did it in droves. Hundreds of thousands of firearms were handed in voluntarily.

The public relations campaign of the government, riding on the emotion of the massacre, captured not just the weapons of the citizenry but also their hearts. Most were convinced that by turning in their weapons they were acting in the best interests of safety and the nation, and they did it without a heavy heart.

There was some opposition to the reforms, primarily from people living in non-urban areas, but it was little match for the powerful sentiment at the time.

In January 2013, Howard wrote a New York Times opinion piece titled, "I went after guns; Obama can, too," recounting the Australian experience.

What happened to 'Come and take it'?

Many in the United States wonder: How could law-abiding people simply submit to government demands on such a fundamental matter of individual freedom?

What cultural influences could be sufficiently powerful to witness citizens voluntarily entering their local police station to turn in their firearms, instead of crying, "Come and take it"?

Americans have been conditioned to instinctively think and act as individual. The Australian's equivalent conditioning, while significantly less than the European, is nevertheless more toward the collective. Contrary to the outdated worldwide perception of the Australian stereotype as a fiercely rugged individualist, the average Australian almost always leans to compliance over prospective conflict.

In addition to this, at the time of the proposed gun laws, shooting groups were reportedly threatened that noncompliance would culminate in eviction from government land ranges.

Despite their compliance, civilian shooters would later be locked out of ranges, and their right to shoot alongside the military was revoked and rendered illegal.

'Divide and conquer' gun groups

With the 1996 reforms, Australia introduced some of the strictest and most cumbersome gun laws in the world, born largely from emotion, rather than rational, evidence-based policymaking.

But aside from civilian compliance for the buyback, the story of how Prime Minister Howard and his government were able to effectively silence and garner the support of the reasonably entrenched gun organizations at the time is a fascinating study in human behavior and psychology.

Many shooters suggest within this study that there is a lesson to be learned in the form of a warning for American gun owners.

Faced with multiple associations representing a particular section of shooting (such as the Rifle Association, Pistol Association, Hunters etc.), and having indicated his desire to legislate with the support of gun industry and shooting associations, Howard met with each association separately.

Keen to ensure their membership and association would not be affected, each group pledged support for all of Howard's initiatives, provided that he left their "gun type" alone in the new legislation. Manipulating each group's self-interest, Howard employed a "divide and conquer" tactic, which led to the complete implosion of the various associations.

Despite this, there remained some stubborn opposition. Aware of the historical nature of the reforms, Howard had to sweeten the deal. To do so, he and his government looked at how they could win the support of the remaining associations, clubs and ranges. They devised attendance requirements and compulsory club ownership, whereby shooters, depending on the firearm, were obligated to attend their local club and range a certain number of times in the year.

Associations – which were battling declining memberships and had begun struggling financially a decade earlier in the mid-1980s when the sport of shooting in Australia had become extremely expensive – suddenly had great reason to support the gun-control measures that were being proposed.

At the time of the gun-reform proposals, fearing the fix was in, shooters and gun-rights advocates began joining (the closest equivalent in the U.S. would be registering political affiliation) their state division of the Liberal Party of Australia (the mainstream conservative party and that of the Howard government; the equivalent of the GOP) in an effort to influence opinion through the party.

However, the Liberal Party rejected their memberships and refused to allow them to join. In one state, court action involving several hundred shooters insisting their membership be accepted made it to the Supreme Court, but it was unsuccessful.

Cultural realities today

Any interest in, or support of, firearms in Australia today is considered suspect and unusual by the general population.

As one popular Australian website explained, "[I]t's unlikely they've ever seen a gun, much less held or shot one. Most Aussies would be surprised to know that there are gun ranges in Australia."

Contrary to international perception, Australia is one of the most urbanized countries in the world, with almost 90 percent of its population living in cities. With this concentration, as well as substantial Asian and Middle Eastern immigration, traditional Australian sympathies and cultural appreciation of responsible firearm ownership have been diluted to the point of virtual nonexistence.

In today's Australia, a reference to a "weapon" among law-abiding men is far more likely to involve an attractive female than a firearm.

For public officials or prominent individuals, just being photographed in the presence of a firearm is considered scandalous.

No politician of a major political party would dare, particularly after the example of Sen. Ross Lightfoot in 2005, and no senior government official after the examples of former Australian Wheat Board chairman Trevor Flugge and sales chief Michael Long. However, elite sportspeople are as subject to this unwritten rule as politicians, bureaucrats and their staffers.

In June 2012, two young Olympic athletes from the Australian swim team sparked national outrage when one posted to his Facebook profile a personal photograph of the two posing with guns in a California gun store at the conclusion of an official pre-Olympics training trip to the U.S. In response, the Australian Olympic Committee ruled that the swimmers had brought the entire Olympic team, themselves and their sport into disrepute. The AOC settled on the athletes being forced to immediately leave the Olympic Games in London at the conclusion of their event and banned them from social media until the games were over.

Even the leading Australian winemaker, Yalumba, found on the shelves of American supermarkets, removed itself from the NRA wine list, withdrawing its stock and refusing to service the account, citing philosophical differences toward guns.

The gun paradigm in Australia

With some of the strictest and deliberately cumbersome gun laws in the world, Australia today is the envy of gun-control advocates worldwide and held as the model to which all nations must aspire.

Gun-rights advocates in Australia are on the political outside, considered to be "the cultural fringe."

While considerably more may harbor pro-gun sentiments, exceedingly few of these are prepared to publicly voice their opinion. Mainstream media coverage and editorials concerning guns in the country are almost exclusively supportive of strict gun control, as evidenced here, with any dissent usually calling for even tighter controls. As it is in Europe, discussion of gun control in Australia is considered "apolitical," unframed by support of the "left" or the opposition of the "right." As a result of this, divided opinion is scarce: Most of those who identify as either liberal or conservative in Australia are united in their view of guns.

All gun-control measures in state and federal politics have been bipartisan, although the more cynical suggest in a political culture where voting is compulsory, gun-control reform was embraced and continues to be led by conservatives seeking to take ownership of the issue and negate the country's left from making it political.

The failure of Australian conservatives, even those purportedly pro-American, to associate gun control with individual liberty or political correctness or the feminization of culture reflects the nature of the Australian political system: It is largely absent of ideology and philosophy, with the voting public favoring the transactional to the transformational.

Samara McPhedran and Jeanine Baker, who had their 2006 study published in the British Journal of Criminology, concluded that the Australian experience of reducing gun ownership, banning certain firearms and imposing onerous regulations hasn't resulted in a safer society.

Based on the paper, the head of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Don Weatherburn, said, "I too strongly supported the introduction of tougher gun laws after the Port Arthur massacre. The fact is, however, that the introduction of those laws did not result in any acceleration of the downward trend in gun homicide. They may have reduced the risk of mass shootings, but we cannot be sure because no one has done the rigorous statistical work required to verify this possibility. It is always unpleasant to acknowledge facts that are inconsistent with your own point of view. But I thought that was what distinguished science from popular prejudice."

An Australian Institute of Criminology graph produced for the 10-year anniversary of the gun reforms in 2006 suggests the buyback and subsequent reforms had little to no effect on the murder rate, leading to a spike in knife-related homicide. Although last month, the AIC distanced itself from this graph and claimed gun reform had been successful.

Setting aside these statistics, it remains clear from the revelation that there are more guns in Australia today than there were in 1996, and the festering undercurrent of drug gang-related killings in Sydney and Melbourne since the early 2000s, as well as the almost daily reports of neighborhood shootings, that the criminal element remains armed, despite the reforms.

A shocking list of strict regulations

Despite assertions to the contrary at the time, the NFA and its additional legislation did not end gun reform in Australia. Subsequent legislation by each of Australia's five states and two territories has created even stricter gun control.

As a result of this, never before in Australian history has gun ownership been so low among law-abiding citizens. Many Australians are forced to surrender their firearms through the burden of compliance regulations and cost, unable to meet the requirements for family, work or medical reasons.

"The current firearms licensing legislation and system are not evidenced-based. … [I]t is misdirected, unwieldy, costly, error-ridden and it is rapidly becoming unworkable," said Geoff Jones of the Sporting Shooters Association of Queensland.

Gun owners point to increasing delays for approval, longer waits for permits and the increasing difficulty to comply with ever-swelling regulations.

Such regulations are wide-ranging and govern the transportation, use, purchase and storage of firearms, as well as gun-club membership and gun-range attendance requirements, all based on the class of firearm.

The following are some basic Australian regulations:

To own a firearm, you are required to have a license (an application for such will usually take at least three month for all processes to occur, e.g. criminal checks, safety courses, etc.).

All firearms are to be registered with police.

Self-defense is not a valid reason but a prohibited reason. (While you may own a long-arm for various reasons, there is only one reason permitted for a handgun license, and that is competition target shooting.)

Every firearm holder must be a financial member of a registered gun club at all times. (More than this, it must be an association approved by the commissioner, who may at any time dismiss the association, leaving all members of that organization in breach of the law.)

Every time you wish to purchase a firearm, you must apply to the police for a permit to purchase that particular gun, which may be denied at their discretion without any reason provided.

Every firearm must be stored in a safe that is "secured to structure," and the installation of the safe must be viewed and approved by police before use (with strict rules down to the number of bolts outlined in the Police Registry Guide irrespective of the weight of the safe).

Transportation of firearms may only occur between storage location and gunsmith, or storage location and shooting location. (Any breach will result in instant confiscation and arrest.)

In addition to these, the Australian gun owner is subjected to the following realities in 2013, courtesy of ongoing regulations:

Mandatory attendance requirements for those who own handguns include a minimum of six target shooting visits to the pistol club per year for the first firearm and two additional visits per additional handgun, where competition scores from "approved matches" must be recorded each time.

Mandatory attendance requirements for those who own rifles or long-arms include either a minimum of four visits to the rifle-range per year (if target shooting is declared as the reason on the license) or a minimum of two visits to the rifle range per year (if hunting is declared).

Pistol clubs and rifle ranges are legally required to inform police if a member has not met the required competition shoots, and they are not permitted to admit a member if the member hasn't met these requirements.

Firearms collectors must belong to an approved collectors club and attend at least two meetings a year.

If a citizen has firearms on his property, the police have a right to search the property without a warrant any time they wish. They're not legally required to advise the citizen of a visit in advance. (In the last 18 months, one general constable as well as a firearms licensing officer in full combat gear attends.)

In the event that any party involved in a personal complaint owns firearms (whether the complaint was instigated on his behalf or otherwise), prior to investigation, the police confiscate the firearms for an indefinite period of time.

It would also surprise Americans to learn that Airsoft or BB guns are prohibited and categorized as Category A weapons, the same class as shotguns and rifles (and subject to the same regulations). Anyone found in Australia possessing an unlicensed Airsoft pistol or BB gun faces the same charge as a person who unlawfully possesses an actual firearm.

Entire disciplines of sport shooting in Australia have been abandoned or restructured, as a further consequence of the changes in legislation.

Another avenue of attack: the gun range

With ongoing regulations and gun owners' fear of losing their firearms due to a minor technicality at any time, governmental gun control targeted at individuals, guns and ammunition is slowly exhausting. In addition to this, from the buybacks to enforcement, such a path is costly. Yet the government's gun-control agenda includes another avenue of attack: the gun range.

Gun ranges and clubs are now the target of random audits, safety, health and building inspections. Any plans for new ranges are met with powerful opposition.

In late 2011, it was proposed that several gun clubs be closed in Tasmania due to their proximity to a newly built illegal immigrant detention center. The federal government, in concert with local councils, has begun focusing on range compliance in a bid to shut down various ranges.

Unlike many other countries, public lands in Australia belong to the Commonwealth or the federal government. Most ranges are on federal land and have been targeted by the government.

In the most prominent case to date, the famous Anzac Rifle Range at Malabar – where Australian soldiers trained for both world wars – was evicted by the federal government. The reason given was asbestos buried by the government in the 1940s, with Minister Penny Wong declaring the site a "health hazard," despite protestations to the contrary and the matter never having been raised previously. In addition to this, the sale of such sizable land, as gun ranges are by nature, is lucrative for government.

Disarming the citizen and empowering the criminal

Now, 17 years after gun-control measures were introduced, more guns are in Australia than ever before, AR-15s are being manufactured in Melbourne, firearms are flowing into Australia at more than double the rate of five years ago, police have launched Operation Apollo in a bid to regain control of gun crime at the hands of Middle Eastern crime gangs and politicians fight over border protection flaws that see illegal guns on Australian streets.

In the light of this, it is difficult to contest the assertions of law-abiding gun owners that the gun-control measures of 1996 were ineffective, imposed a great cultural and economic cost and succeeded only in disarming the good and empowering the criminal.

To understand and appreciate the climate within which the gun owner or sporting shooter of Australia resides, one need only read this speech.

Given the cultural attitude toward guns in Australia, many of Australia's leading gun owners groups and individuals were reluctant to be interviewed for this story.

VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
(VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization
dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to
Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right.

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