Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Michigan Man Tracks Down Father’s Korean War Garand

Talking about an amazing birthday present! According to this story on Yahoo Jim Richardson has managed to track down the M1 Garand his father used in the Korean War. Not just any Garand, but the actual one that his father used in that conflict.

Virgil Richardson, who turns 79 on October 26, served from 1951 to 1953 in the 25th Infantry Division as a Radio Operator. The 25th Infantry Division fought with distinction for a total of 37 months in Korea receiving two South Korean Presidential Unit Citations.

According to the article, Richardson “fondly remembered the… M1 Garand” and he even retained his rifle’s serial number. Given that over 7 million M1 Garand rifles were produced in total by four manufacturers, and that many still remain in Korea, Asia, and Europe in the arsenals of nations who received the rifles as surplus, finding any one particular rifle is tantamount to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Jim managed to track down the rifle through a Kentucky gun broker, who didn’t even believe that the numbers actually matched. The price of the rifle hasn’t been disclosed. The article mentions that Garands frequently bring up to $3000 – but such specimens are rare. The Civilian Marksmanship Program has examples starting at $600 and lower.

Needless to say, the elder Richardson was stunned by the gift:

"I couldn't even talk when he gave it to me," Virgil Richardson told The Flint Journal. "It didn't even have to be the same gun to be important to me."

He goes on to state:

"What shocked me the most is how very heavy it is. I have trouble now holding it up and aiming it. I guess they were made for 20- and 21-year-olds."

Just an amazing story and an amazing bit of detective work. To Virgil Richardson – Happy Birthday, and thank you for your service to your country. To Jim Richardson, great job – you are truly a man of class and honor!

Until next time!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Congress to Vote on DC Gun Ban Repeal!

If you’ve been following the post Heller aftermath, then you’re aware that it’s “business as usual” in DC. While their ban was struck down, the District’s “interpretation” of that ruling is such that for all intents and purposes, the ban remains in effect. Both the Mayor’s office and the Police Department are in clear collusion to deny the citizens their rights affirmed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

Gun Owners of America sums up the situation:

“…the city council has thumbed its nose at the Court's ruling and has redrafted its registration law to impose a burdensome 12-step process that, as summarized in one legislative report, involves "multiple trips to gun dealers and government offices, fingerprinting, a written exam, and ballistic testing."

“At a minimum, some officers believe this process will take 14 days. But a more realistic assessment was offered by DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier who said the process "could take months."”

While previous reports indicate that the District is being taken back to court, but now comes information that there may be a legislative solution. According to a recent email alert, the House of Representatives is set to vote on HR 6691 – which would effectively repeal the DC gun ban. The bill was introduced by Travis Childers (D-MS) and it would remove the semi-automatic pistol and rifle ban and registration requirements. It would also remove the mandatory trigger lock provision.

According to The Washington Post:

"Although the bill is expected to pass in the House, possibly as soon as this week, its fate is less clear in the Senate. It has won the backing of 48 [House] Democrats, many facing reelection in strongly pro-gun areas, and is expected to pick up broad support among Republicans."

And therein lays the rub. This bill will allow the pro-gun Democrats in the House to vote for a pro-Second Amendment bill in this important election year but the Democratic leadership can potentially kill the bill in the Senate to appease those that take a view more in line with the official anti-Second Amendment party platform (detailed in a previous blog).

There’s an easy way to make this tactic backfire on the anti-Civil Rights factions in the Democratic Party – urge your senator to vote YES on the Senate version of this bill. Contact information is available on the Gun Owners of America activism website. I urge everyone to contact their Senators on this vitally important bill!

Until next time!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ohio Gets Castle Doctrine and CCW Reform Today!!!

On September 9, 2008, SB 184 goes into effect in the state of Ohio which updates CCW and brings the Castle Doctrine to Ohio. As an Ohio State University alumni married to a transplanted Ohioan, I have a lot of ties to the state, and I’m glad to see the citizens of Ohio getting this drastic improvement to the law. If you want to read the full text of the law, it is available on the Ohio State Legislature website. Ohioans for Concealed Carry has a full discussion of the changes on their website as well. The Ohio CCW site is written in non-legalese (i.e. “plain English”). Some of the highlights from the new law are below in italics with my comments in plain text:

Tort Reform

"Bars criminal offenders or their attorneys from recovering damages for injuries they receive while engaged in specified criminal acts even if not charged."

This is an important common sense law – if someone breaks into your home, and breaks their neck, they don’t get to sue. Similarly if someone breaks into your home, and you shoot them, they can’t charge you with assault or civil action.

Castle Doctrine

"Removes the duty to retreat from a criminal attack before using force to defend yourself or another if you are lawfully in a residence or vehicle (vehicle must be your own or that of an immediate family member). In such situations, the burden of proof that an act was not self defense falls on the prosecution provided the defender was lawfully in the residence or vehicle and the attacker was not."

This is a HUGE one because it covers not only the home but your vehicle as well. Because of the Castle Doctrine, people are able to once again actually defend themselves in their own homes.

Picking Up or Dropping Off at School

"Decriminalized ccw in a school safety zone while immediately in the process of picking up or dropping off kids at school provided the CHL holder remains in the vehicle."

This is another important one as it rules that a CCW holder can carry on school grounds in a vehicle. Unfortunately it doesn’t permit CCW in schools and retains schools as a “disarmed victim zone”, errrr, a “gun-free” zone.

Homeowner's Rights

"You are not required to have a CHL to lawfully carry concealed in your own home."

Again, this should be a no-brainer, but I’m glad to see that its explicitly written into the law.

Tenant's Rights

"Landlords cannot deny or restrict tenants who have a CHL, or guests with a CHL while the tenant is present, their right to keep and bear arms."

This one is HUGE as it allows those who rent, rather than own, their home to retain their Second Amendment Rights.

Motor Vehicle Transport

"Unloaded firearms at least twenty-four inches in overall length as measured from the muzzle to the part of the stock furthest from the muzzle with a barrel at least eighteen inches in length do not need to be transported in a closed case or secured in a rack provided they are in plain sight with the action open or the weapon stripped (if both as possible). CHL holders can transport a loaded handgun in an unlocked (but closed) glove compartment or vehicle console."

Okay – so you can have your rifle in your car with fewer restrictions than before, but it still seems a bit convolved to me.

Unloaded Defined

"An unloaded firearm is defined as having no ammunition in the firearm and no ammunition loaded into a magazine or speed loader that may be used with the firearm in question and that is located anywhere within the vehicle in question, without regard to where ammunition otherwise is located within the vehicle. What this means is don’t have any magazines or speed loaders loaded in the vehicle ."

The requirements here appear to be fairly onerous to me – looks like there is still work to do in this area.

Firearms Confiscations and Surrenders

"If a firearm is confiscated or surrendered to police, they must take steps to track ownership so it can be returned in the same condition it was in when taken into custody. If a firearm is not returned and a court orders the return, the law enforcement agency is responsible for all legal fees."

Honestly this shouldn’t have had to be legislated, but in light of some recent debacles – it’s clear it did. Glad Ohio passed this one.

Overall it looks like a strong victory for Ohioans as many of their rights to carry and self defense have been restored by this legislation. Many states still have a long way to go, however, and now is not the time to become complacent.

Until next time!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Even a Hand-Picked Crowd Doesn’t Believe Obama on Guns

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire Blog recently related an incident on the Obama trail that underscores the credibility gap that the Senator has on the Second Amendment. Senator Obama was addressing a hand-picked crowd at a glass factory in Duryea, Pa. The article states:

A woman in the crowd told Obama she had “heard a rumor” that he might be planning some sort of gun ban upon being elected president. Obama trotted out his standard policy stance, that he had a deep respect for the “traditions of gun ownership” but favored measures in big cities to keep guns out of the hands of “gang bangers and drug dealers’’ in big cities “who already have them and are shooting people.”

“If you’ve got a gun in your house, I’m not taking it,’’ Obama said. But the Illinois senator could still see skeptics in the crowd, particularly on the faces of several men at the back of the room.

So he tried again. “Even if I want to take them away, I don’t have the votes in Congress,’’ he said. “This can’t be the reason not to vote for me. Can everyone hear me in the back? I see a couple of sportsmen back there. I’m not going to take away your guns.’’

So lets look at what he said in light of the party platform. Obama claims he’s not “taking” anyone’s guns, yet he has proposed numerous weapon bans in the past (handgun ban, semi-auto ban, etc.) and one ban (the deceptively named “assault weapon” ban) is an official part of the Democratic Platform. In politician double speak, not “taking” one’s guns simply means he’ll work to pass the ban with at best a grandfather clause or at worst a registration scheme. Then he can claim he didn’t actually “take away” anyone’s firearms.

His follow-up statement was even more damning than the first statement. Simply posing the allegedly hypothetical “even if…” question implies that it is exactly what he would do if he had his way. The Democrats believe that they are going to make strong gains in Congress this year, so his comments that he doesn’t have “the votes” is more than a little disingenuous and frightening at the same time.

Again, Obama proves yet again that he just doesn’t get it on the Second Amendment. If the Second Amendment isn’t safe in cities, it’s not safe in rural Pennsylvania either. The tone of his comments is also insulting, and I’m sure that fact was not lost on the “sportsmen” in the back. The bottom line is yes, Mr. Obama, this CAN be the reason NOT to vote for you. It’s certainly at the top of my list (though with this particular candidate the list is somewhat lengthy based on his policies across the board).

Until next time!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Overwhelming Majority of Americans Disagree With Obama

Here’s one that the media outlets pretty much made sure was filed in the circular bin. According to a recent ATI-News / Zogby poll released by the Associated Press when asked various firearm and Second Amendment questions, a strong majority of Americans disagree with Obama’s positions. Some examples from the poll:

“In 2005, Senator Barack Obama voted in favor of legislation sponsored by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) that would have banned nearly all rifle ammunition used for hunting and sport shooting.”

The poll results:

“Seventy-seven percent of likely voters said they oppose legislation to ban such commonly used ammunition, while only nine percent said they would support such a ban. A strong majority of Democrats (58 percent), Republicans (92 percent) and Independents (84 percent) all oppose the ammunition ban that Obama supported -- as do 79 percent of military families. (This nationwide poll of 3,825 likely voters was conducted August 27-29 and has a margin of error +/- 1.6 percentage points.)”

It’s bad when Obama doesn’t even score a majority with his own party. It’s not surprising that Republicans disagreed with him, but the all-important independent vote squarely disagreed with him on this one.

Another good one, self-defense:

"As an Illinois State Senator in 2004, Barack Obama voted against legislation that protects citizens, who use firearms in self-defense in their home or business in spite of local gun bans, from prosecution."

The poll asked likely voters: "Do you agree or disagree that you have the right to use deadly force as a means of self-defense in your home, without having to retreat?"

"Eighty-eight percent of likely voters agree that they should have this basic right to self-defense, while only eight percent disagreed. An overwhelming majority of Democrats (83 percent), Republicans (90 percent) and Independents (91 percent) all agree. (This nationwide poll of 974 likely voters was conducted August 15-18 and has a margin of error +/- 3.2 percentage points.)"

Granted, the connection here is a little more tenuous. The Obama vote wasn’t specifically on castle doctrine, but rather on castle doctrine where there are gun bans in effect. However, because Obama voted against the legislation, it strongly implies that he believes that individuals who DO use deadly force to defend themselves in areas with a gun ban SHOULD be prosecuted. That’s unconscionable in my opinion.

The article also includes a link to a poll that lets you compare your responses to Obama’s positions across the board. Honestly, the poll has some flaws. First it’s a push poll in a lot of areas, and over-simplifies a few issues, but it’s an interesting mental exercise. Check it out at http://www.barackobamatest.com/. I disagreed with Obama about 81% of the time, which sounds about right. I tend to be more moderate on abortion rights and a few other areas.

Until next time!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The 2008 Republican Party Platform on the Second Amendment

Given I detailed the Democratic Party platform on “Firearms” for 2008, I thought it reasonable to compare the Republican Party Platform this time around. The differences are quite striking, starting with the title. In the Republican Platform the section is entitled “Upholding the Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms” rather than “Firearms”. That should tell you something right off the bat. Here’s the actual text:

“We uphold the right of individual Americans to own firearms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment. We applaud the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller affirming that right, and we assert the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. We call on the next president to appoint judges who will similarly respect the Constitution. Gun ownership is responsible citizenship, enabling Americans to defend themselves, their property, and communities.

“We call for education in constitutional rights in schools, and we support the option of firearms training in federal programs serving senior citizens and women. We urge immediate action to review the automatic denial of gun ownership to returning members of the Armed Forces who have suffered trauma during service to their country. We condemn frivolous lawsuits against firearms manufacturers, which are transparent attempts to deprive citizens of their rights. We oppose federal licensing of law-abiding gun owners and national gun registration as violations of the Second Amendment. We recognize that gun control only affects and penalizes law-abiding citizens, and that such proposals are ineffective at reducing violent crime.”

Well now that’s a striking difference! They pretty much get full marks for understanding that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms PREDATED the Second Amendment and that said right is affirmed (in their words, “confirmed”) by the Bill of Rights, not granted by it. I particularly like the focus on education as well. The “zero tolerance” position of most school districts on anything relating to firearms is teaching our children that the gun itself is evil, not their Constitutional Rights. Such a major distortion in the curriculum cannot be allowed to continue.

Again, if the Second Amendment is one of your major concerns this election cycle (and it should be!), then the choice is clear between the parties. At this point the Democrats are trying to play both sides of the fence while in reality coming down firmly on the anti-Second Amendment side of the equation. The Republicans, for their other faults, seem to have a clear understanding of the Second and stand up strongly for our right to self-defense.

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The 2008 Democratic Platform on Firearms

Warning – those offended by political double-speak, please stop reading now. Still with me? Okay, so here’s the official 2008 Democratic Party Platform on “Firearms”:

“We recognize that the right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation, but we know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact and enforce commonsense laws and improvements – like closing the gun show loophole, improving our background check system, and reinstating the assault weapons ban, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals. Acting responsibly and with respect for differing views on this issue, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe.”

Well, at least they are paying lip service to the individual right affirmed in the Second Amendment, but that’s honestly the only positive thing I can say about their platform as the remainder of the text demonstrates conclusively that they will most assuredly NOT “preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms.”

The key is in what you define as “reasonable regulation”. In the mind of the Democrats (especially in Chicago) it is okay to ban handguns and so-called ‘assault weapons’. That’s like saying you believe in the right of freedom of religion, as long as you’re not Catholic or Jewish. The Heller decision ruled that arbitrary bans of entire classes of firearms are Unconstitutional.

Furthermore what works in Cheyenne honestly hasn’t been tried in Chicago. I bet it would work better than the bans they have now. No one on the Democratic platform committee seems to have “done the math” and realized that the municipalities with the highest crime rates are the ones with the most restrictive gun laws. I know, I know, correlation doesn’t always indicate causality, but I firmly believe in this case it truly does.

The Democrats are promising to reinstate the so-called “assault weapon ban”, even though the first ban was completely ineffective represented restrictions on a class of weapons used in the overwhelming MINORITY of crimes. Quite frankly, I firmly believe that any “assault weapon ban” plays only to the ignorant who believe that because the 1994 ban subsided you can suddenly buy a fully automatic weapon at your local gun store. The anti-Second politicos know better, but that’s not the story they’re going to try to sell to the masses.

In short, the Democrats are making (yet another) promise they simply can’t deliver on. They can’t simultaneously promise gun bans left and right and preserve the Second Amendment at the same time. If they push a hard anti-Second agenda, they’re going to face defections from their own party (or a hammering in 2010). Any pro-gun Democrat should be sharply questioned on his or her party platform to understand where they truly stand on the issues, and if they’ll stand up to their party masters when and if Second Amendment related legislation reaches the floor.

Until next time!

Sarah Palin and Class III

Last week I was cautiously optimistic about McCain’s pick of Palin as his running mate. This week brings a revelation that begins to flash out her views on the 2nd Amendment. Michael Dukes shares his thoughts courtesy of The War on Guns blog:

"Let me say right up front that my opinion here will be biased because Sarah is a friend. I met her for the first time about six years ago when she was running for Lt. Governor of Alaska. She's been on my radio show many times and with the help of listeners here in our home town she was elected to office by an overwhelming margin.

"With that out of the way I'll tell you this.

"Sarah is real.

"She is an honest genuine person. She truly cares about Alaskans and the people of her community. She dared to take on the Republican party here, and took that fight straight to the people. She's called for the resignation of the Head of the Alaskan Republicans and forced the former Attorney General to resign by bringing his corrupt actions to light. She has been a crusader for eliminating the 'Good Ol'Boy' politics.

"And as far as the 2nd Amendment goes, let me tell you a little story.

"About a year ago a friend of mine, who is a local Class III Dealer, called me complaining about how our local Trooper detachment was delaying or just outright refusing to sign several Form 1 transfers that had been submitted to them. These transfers were from a couple of Class III Dealers and other Class III holders.

"I started to make some calls and after getting nowhere with the Troopers, I finally called Sarah. Although she was extremely busy she told me that she would look into it and get back to me. I thought 'well that'll take some time', but it was only 2 or 3 days later that right in the middle of my talk show I get this call out of the blue from the Commissioner of Public Safety! He tells us that the Governor had spoken to him and made if very clear that the Troopers should be doing what they are legally obligated to do, and that he apologized personally for the locals not doing it.

"Long and the short, no more problems with transfers.

"We're gonna hate to lose Sarah, we need her to help get us back on track to prosperity. But I think the country needs her more.

"Now I can vote for McCain, without having to hold my nose so hard.

"Go Sarah!!


For those of you who don’t know, a Class III firearm is generally a fully-automatic or select fire weapon. These weapons are only legal to own if they are transferable (i.e. pre-86) and the applicable tax stamps have been applied for and received. Unfortunately even in Class III legal (and gun friendly) states, the paperwork has a tendency to get “lost”, “misplaced”, or “otherwise delayed” by the local law enforcement officers who signature is required before the ATF can process the tax stamp.

For Sarah Palin to go out of her way to stand up for the 2nd Amendment rights of those seeking to purchase a Class III weapon answers many of my previous questions about her overall view on the right to keep and bear arms. This goes way beyond so-called “assault weapons” and actually covers the real thing. From a Second Amendment standpoint, McCain couldn’t have done better based on what I’ve seen so far from Palin.

It’ll be interesting to see where the race goes from here, but if the 2nd Amendment is an issue, McCain-Palin win hands down.

Until next time!