Thursday, May 29, 2008

Akins files 2nd case against BATFE

Bill Akins recently posted an update on Gunsnet detailing his current legal efforts. If you’re unaware of the issue in question – Mr. Akins is the inventor of the Akins Accelerator. Basically the Accelerator is a replacement stock for a Ruger 10/22 that permits controlled bump firing. This design was initially approved by the BATFE for sale. Akins went ahead with production plans, but then the BATFE reversed its decision claiming that the Akins Accelerator turned the Ruger 10/22 into a machine gun. Unfortunately, the BATFE has a history of this sort of arbitrary and capricious decision making – which can turn a law-abiding citizen into a “felon” overnight. In response Akins has now filed a second suit against the BATFE. The first in DC and the second in Florida Federal Court.

Bill states:

“In addition to the case I have filed in the Federal court of claims in Wash D.C., my attorney has now filed another case in Florida federal district court. Same issue. BATFE arbitrarily declaring the Akins Accelerator rifle stock to be a machine gun. My attorney has now filed two pending federal court cases filed at the same time against the BATFE regarding this issue.

“This is to inform the public and former customers that as a private individual and successor in interest to Akins Group Inc., I am still fighting for their rights to own a fully functioning Akins Accelerator.

“I cannot elaborate on the particulars of either of the cases on advice of my attorney.”

Bill also included a link to the complaint – here’s the summary

“This action seeks a declaratory judgment that a certain decision of the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“BATFE”), was arbitrary, capricious, without factual support and contrary to law, together with an appropriate injunction. In the alternative, Plaintiff seeks a declaration that 26 U.S.C.§ 5845(b) is unconstitutional on its face and as applied to Plaintiff, with an appropriate injunction.”

Here’s the demand for relief:

1. A declaration that the Akins Accelerator is not a machine gun.
2. An injunction prohibiting Defendant from treating the Akins Accelerator as a machine gun for any purpose.
3. In the alternative, a declaration that 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b) is unconstitutionally vague on its face and as applied to Plaintiff.
4. In the alternative, an injunction prohibiting Defendant from applying 26 U.S.C. 5845(b) so as to treat the Akins Accelerator as a machine gun.
5. Costs of bringing and maintaining this action, including attorney’s fees.
6. Any other relief the Court deems proper.

I wish him the best of luck, and will continue to update you on the case as I get more information.

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why We Need the Second Amendment

A lot of people these days seem to support only part of the Bill of Rights – thinking that the Second Amendment is an outdated chestnut of a bygone era. Nothing could be further from the truth. The 20th and 21st Centuries have shown us time and again that a populace unable to defend itself from a tyrannical government is doomed to remain under its control. One of the clearest examples today is the situation in Myanmar, where the house arrest of the leading pro-democracy advocate in the country has been extended yet again. A recent article on CNN online summarizes the plight of Suu Kyi and Myanmar quite well:

"Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has become the face of the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar and the focus of a global campaign to free her.

"The country last held multiparty elections in 1990, but the regime ignored the results. Tuesday is the anniversary of that landslide victory by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, Win said.

"Last year, the government came under intense international pressure after using force to suppress a pro-democracy movement.

"On Monday, Myanmar state media said that voters had overwhelmingly approved a draft constitution that strengthens the junta's rule."

Myanmar (Burma) last held free elections in 1990 after years of a military dictatorship. The pro-democracy party won roughly 80% of the seats, but the military regime annulled the results and has held power ever since... and if you believe the results of the latest "election" I've got a bridge to sell you.

This is yet another shining example of a strong central authority with a standing military using that military to tyrannically oppress a disarmed populace. Almost 20 years of peaceful protest have both domestically and abroad have accomplished nothing, zilch, zero. This is exactly the scenario the Framers feared, and that’s easily backed up with quotes from the Framers.

So the next time someone says the 2nd Amendment is for hunting, or "you don’t need a gun", or advocates stronger gun control because "we have an army and police to protect us" - educate them.

Until next time!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Car with Cup Holders and Handgun!

Here’s one you don’t see every day. Most car dealerships will offer custom options packages, maintenance contracts, extended warranties, low-APR financing, and even free gas – but here’s a new twist – a free handgun!?!? Sedan and semi-auto anyone? Hatchback with a Hi-point?

According to this story on Fox Max Motors in Butler, Mo is offering a free handgun with every purchase. The actual fine print indicates that $250 will be applied to either a handgun or gasoline, but according to general manager Walter Moore:

"Most buyers have chosen the gun, adding that he suggests they opt for a semiautomatic model 'because it holds more rounds.'"

I wonder if they do internet sales. The fine print also includes that a background check is required and the dealership provides a check written toward purchase – so that no straw purchases are occurring.

It’s nice to see a dealership that’s not afraid to support the Second Amendment for a change. I wish more businesses were similarly supportive of our basic Civil Rights, but I see this as a firm step in the right direction.

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wrap Up of Glenn Beck’s Gun Week Part 2

As I reported earlier this week, the Glenn Beck show had a week-long focus on the 2nd Amendment. Any fan of the 2nd Amendment knows Ted Nugent, and his inputs are always a fun read. Some highlights from “I am the NRA” by Ted Nugent:

"I like guns. I cherish freedom. That is why I am a proud life member and on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association (NRA)."

That’s another thing I like about Ted – he’s straight to the point and doesn’t mince words. Quite frankly I think most people who truly understand the Second Amendment would agree with Ted.

"The NRA stands with all freedom-loving Americans. Indeed, our focus is on the 2nd Amendment, but the NRA members realize that the other freedoms contained in our sacred US Constitution and Bill of Rights are also worthy of our watchful eye and protection. Just like the NRA will not support gun-control, we also won't support freedom-control.

"The NRA understands the toll of freedom is responsibility, which is why we adamantly support mandatory sentences for those individuals who violate the freedoms of others with a gun. The NRA has always advocated tougher sentences for criminals. Interestingly, our most vehement adversaries are typically those individuals and organizations who advocate lighter sentences for criminals and other policies that weaken the fabric of our criminal justice system, thereby putting you and me at risk.

"Not only does the NRA believe you have a Constitutional right to own and posses a gun, but we also believe you have God-given right and duty to defend yourselves and your loved ones. A cursory review of the statements of our founding fathers regarding why the 2nd Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights will indicate that they believed this too. The 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with duck hunting."

While he’s not quoting what the Framers wrote about the possession and use of firearms – he’s paraphrasing it well – and in his own words clearly from the heart. What Ted states above truly covers all aspects of the 2nd Amendment including the fact that responsibility goes hand in hand with freedom. Too often today people seem more than willing to abrogate basic responsibility for the daily conduct of their lives to an outside entity. They expect the government or some other agency to take care of them, to protect them, to tell them what’s good for them and what’s bad for them. Such a mentality is incompatible with individual rights and freedoms.

Ted also attacks the notion that the Second Amendment is about “hunting” or “sporting purposes”. Those opposed to the right to keep and bear arms have been trying to make this myth stick for 70 years with varying degrees of success, but the corner does finally seem to be turning with fewer people looking for more gun laws, and a majority looking for enforcement of existing laws.

"Law-abiding citizens with guns thwart criminals well over a million times a year. While our brave men and women of law enforcement do their best, they can't be everywhere to protect you and me. The protection of our loved ones is ultimately our individual responsibility. Without a gun, those Americans who otherwise thwart crime with a gun each year almost certainly would have been a victim of a crime. Instead, they prevented crime. More than likely you didn't know that because our media hasn't been honest with us. The number of anti-gun news stories dwarfs the amount of pro-gun stories covered by American media."

Ted also highlights this very real problem, but the problem goes beyond media coverage to record keeping as well. Any time a person defends himself or herself with a gun – if the assailant is killed the statistics record a “homicide”. That’s right – these “homicide” statistics the anti-Second Amendment crowds waves around like a banner include assailants killed. Quite frankly that’s dishonest record keeping, and it’s time the numbers were scrutinized with an honest eye.

If you ever get a chance to see Ted speak – go see him. He’s an amazing and flamboyant character with a truly solid grasp on the Second Amendment.

Until next time!!!

Philadelphia’s Unconstitutional Laws Headed to Court!

Just in from the front lines, according to Philadelphia’s Fox affiliate:

This coming Monday, May 26, the NRA’s attorneys will be formally asking the judiciary to strike down the unconstitutional laws quickly passed and signed by the Philadelphia city council and Mayor Michael Nutter. These laws have been blocked since April 17th when Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan prevented enforcement of these edicts.

In this case:

“The NRA argues that state law prevents Pennsylvania municipalities from regulating guns, a view that even Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham shares.”

Clearly rule of law means nothing to the people of Philadelphia and their crusade to deny Americans their most basic Civil Right – the right of self defense. This author will be following the progress of this case very closely.

Until next time!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wrap Up of Glenn Beck’s Gun Week Part 1

The Glenn Beck show had a week-long focus on the 2nd Amendment. This election is incredibly important for the preservation of not only the Second Amendment, but any favorable Heller decision as well. A lot of good points came out, and I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight a few from the recap:

The week started out with Wayne Lapierre discussing the Heller case and the fundamentals of the 2nd Amendment. The focus here was on the right of self-defense and self-preservation.

“Warren v. District of Columbia. The d.c. Superior Court ruled, ’... a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen."

This is a key point – it underscores the fact that the police and other authorities are not there to protect the public and have no obligation to do so. Therefore anyone who tells you to “call the police” if you’re in danger is blindly ignorant to this truth. Mr. Lapierre continues:

“It begs the basic question: If the police have no duty to protect individuals in their homes, who does? The individual does. You and I do. Average citizens. That is why the Second Amendment has such deep relevance in modern times. There is nothing archaic and outmoded in the notion that people must have the means to defend themselves against violent criminal predators. Self-defense is a basic human right. It is the fundamental reason that countless tens of millions of Americans own firearms.”

Quite well said. These statements go to the core of the meaning of the 2nd Amendment. A meaning lost on much of modern America laboring under the delusion that someone else, some other agency, is responsible for their safety.

Another key point:

“Whatever its outcome, American gun owners need to keep in mind that when we elect the next president, we will be shaping a Supreme Court that could reach 50 years into the future, and in that future hangs all the freedoms we hold dear.”

This more than anything should be a key message of the upcoming campaign. Regardless of what is won with Heller – the Heller decision will stand only as long as there are strict constructionists in the judiciary. Both Clinton and Obama would certainly appoint the type activist judges and other mental gymnasts who try to explain away the words “the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. Ostensibly this would be done in the name of public “safety”, yet the cynic in me wonders if they’re just demagogues or have a more sinister agenda...

Next time – the NUGE speaks...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bloomberg’s Disarmament Program Rebuffed!

Bloomberg’s strong-arm crusade to disarm the American populace has run into a major snag. With the passing of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) of 2005, the firearms industry and retailers were supposed to be protected from suits designed to unfairly drive them out of business. Undeterred, Bloomberg went on to sue several retailers and somehow managed to get the case into the court of Jack Weinstein. Using an arcane interpretation of public nuisance laws, Weinstein ruled against the retailers in August, 2007 in a lengthy decision replete with self-citation and anti-Second Amendment rhetoric (sounds like Bloomberg stacked the deck with the venue, no?). The case was appealed, and the Second Circuit Court has struck down Weinstein’s decision (this apparently happens – A LOT!).

NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox had this to say:

“The blocking of this bogus lawsuit against America’s firearm industry is an important victory. New York City’s lawsuit was a politically motivated attack by an anti-gun mayor to bankrupt a lawful industry.”

In the decision, Judge Robert J. Miner wrote:

“We think Congress clearly intended to protect from vicarious liability members of the firearms industry who engage in the ‘lawful design, manufacture, marketing, distribution, importation, or sale’ of firearms.”

Unlike Judge Weinstein, at least the appellate court justices are literate! This latest round of the ongoing battle over the Second Amendment begs several questions:

1) Why the myopic focus on firearms? If someone is killed by a drunk driver or in an auto accident – no one tries to sue Ford or Toyota – or the local auto dealership. Yet that seems to be the tactic used when someone is killed or injured by an individual using a firearm, and a LOT more people are killed in motor vehicle accidents than are killed with firearms in this country.

2) When is Bloomberg going to get off of his self indulgent and self appointed high horse? Guns aren’t the problem – the gangs and cycle of poverty ARE the problem. Unfortunately dealing with drugs, gangs, and lack of economic opportunity actually takes real leadership. Scapegoating guns – and therefore people outside the city – is easy.

3) How the heck did Weinstein get to be a judge? Why is he still a judge? It seems to me that the number of cases he has had overturned is matched only by the size of his ego. Neither trait seems optimal for a judge, and his overturn rate is exhibit one for tort reform.

The individual right to keep and bear arms represents an “inconvenient truth” for people interested in finding a scapegoat to expand their power base. It also represents a “clear and present danger” for people who want to rule without the consent of the governed. Bloomberg fits the bill of the first handily, and may even fit the second. As such he shows a clear disrespect of the basic Civil Rights of American citizens and is only concerned about leaving his mark on America – a mark that, if successful, would take decades to correct.

Until next time!