Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tabuk Status Update

It’s been a while since I wrote on the status of the Tabuk project. Honestly the project was on hold pending the arrival of parts and engraving. The economy being what it is I also had to make some decisions about how to proceed on the project. As it stands I have enough parts for one rifle, and nearly enough parts for a second. I’ve therefore decided to build just one rifle, and sell the remaining parts as a kit on Gunbroker. The auction is up now – just search for “tabuk” and you can’t miss it. Okay, end shameless plug, let’s get on to the GOOD stuff. I now have the stock and the engraved parts in my grubby little hands!

First the stock. Ironwood Designs makes a Tabuk stock, and the ones online looked amazing. They look even better up close! The stock arrived a couple of weeks ago. Here’s a picture of it “in the raw”:

Given that this is a hardwood stock, I’m able to use a BLO / Tung Oil finish on it. I start with a few layers of BLO and Japan Drier. Eventually I get to a point where it won’t dry well, and then I go with a couple of layers of Tung Oil. I steel wool the stock between layers of Tung Oil. The end result is absolutely amazing. Right now I’ve just started the Tung Oil, so I’ll post pictures of the completed stock in the next installment.

I’d also sent off all of the parts to be engraved. As with the stock, the work done by Engraving By Angela looks great online, and it looks even better when it’s in your hands. The depth of the engraving and attention to detail is just amazing. Starting with the receiver, the existing markings on the NDS-9 had to be tig welded and the new markings engraved. The end result is amazing though.

I decided on a serial number for mine, 42341970, and based on examples of the real thing online the block would most likely have been produced in 2002. Note, of course, that this is not the actual serial number of the firearm as the NDS-9 receiver has a serial number. Therefore these serial numbers are purely cosmetic. The front trunnion looks great, Angela has matched the font for the numbers almost perfectly!

The serial number also carries over to the top cover:

As well as the bolt carrier and bolt (based on my research, last five digits only):

Perhaps the masterpiece of the whole project is the rear sight block with the “Tabuk” marking on one side and the Lion of Babylon marking on the other:

So at this point I’m only missing a few parts, the buttpad and screws being the primary ones. I also don’t have a front sight detent and spring, but I do have a spare AMD-65 front sight I’m going to try to cannibalize. If that doesn’t work, I’ll still be in the market. I’ve found good instructions online on how to get the near virgin barrel assembled and head spaced properly. It’s going to be a challenge! My only open question at this point deals with the scope rail which has to be spot welded to the receiver – when is the right time to do that? Before attaching everything else? Anyway, I’m going to be hitting up a few people who have built one of these before to get a few final tips before I dive in. The next update will actually include in progress pictures of the build!

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Indoctrinate the Young Through Dance

Season Three of the ITV program Britain’s Got Talent has received worldwide media attention, largely because of the popularity of singer Susan Boyle. However there are many more acts on the show covering the gamut from amazing to pathetic. One act that made it through to the semi-final rounds was called “MD Showgroup” sponsored by MD Productions. The group is a large dance troupe consisting of kids aged 9-17 from the Liverpool area. Unlike many acts on the show, this group has a “mission” – namely to “show that all the gun/knife crime, abuse, bullying and racism needs to stop and promote peace and equality.” The dancers in this group have graffiti laden signs and t-shirts with a variety of slogans including “get guns off the streets” and “stop knife crime.”

The combination of arts and politics has strengthened over the years, and frequently seems more indulgent than anything else. In this case, the MD Production group has married violent crime committed with weapons to racism, bullying, poverty, and a general “save the world” message. The answer to them, of course, is to get those weapons “off the street”, and they’re recruiting an army of talented youngsters to be their banner bearers. Never mind the fact that since more stringent bans on firearms and knives have passed in Britain, the violent crime rate has skyrocketed – with Liverpool seeing increases on the order of 25% or more.

While I agree that violent crime is a serious problem, and one that must be addressed strongly, why do groups like this feel obligated to continue the lie that gun and weapon “control” laws actually work? The increase in crime they’re currently suffering is due in no small part to the fact that criminals in Britain know that their victims will be unarmed. Why lie to these kids and use them to push a failed agenda? Honestly, it makes me sad for the kids and angry at the production company more than anything else. The kids are talented, but they’re being used in this case. Most likely so they’ll continue to accept the party line as adults.

Until next time!!!

Sotomayor Update – Anti-Second Too

I guess it comes as no real surprise, but Fox is reporting that Sotomayer has an anti-Second Amendment streak. Since the landmark Heller decision, there have been few Second Amendment cases. However it appears as if Sotomayor has ruled on one of them, Maloney v. Cuomo, and her ruling was that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states. The Fox blog interprets her decision to mean:

“That means if Chicago, or even the state of Illinois or New York, wants to ban you from owning any guns at all, even in your own house, that’s okay with her. According to Judge Sotomayor, if your state or city bans all guns the way Washington, D.C. did, that’s okay under the Constitution.”

However, Sotomayor’s decision came before the Nordyke v. King decision which declared that the 14th Amendment covered the 2nd Amendment as well. Could she rule the same way today?

The Sotomayor nomination is now shaping up to be an interesting battle. Conservative Democrats are going to be hard pressed to support a nominee that is opposed to the Second Amendment and retain their seats. Get the popcorn and write your Senator asking them to oppose the Sotomayor nomination!

Until next time!!!

Obama’s Justice Pick: Sonia Sotomayor

Nominating an individual to serve on the Supreme Court represents a huge decision. Obama’s first pick, Sonia Sotomayor, is a bit of an enigma at this point. I haven’t been able to find any real Second Amendment case law that she has ruled upon (I have now, and it isn't good news, see above!). However, the consensus is that she is a moderate to liberal judge.

The Political Debris blog indicates there is a video of Sotomayor where she states:

“. . .[a] court of appeals is where policy is made.”

Immediately adding:

“And I know — I know this is on tape, and I should never say that because we don’t make law. I know. O.K. I know. I’m not promoting it. I’m not advocating it. I’m — you know.”

Sounds like she’s not sure whether she’s an activist judge or not – or maybe she is sure, but doesn’t want people to know. Or maybe she’s sure and she only wants certain people in the know to know. Oh, and she seems articulate too!

Jeffrey Rosen over at The New Republic questions her judicial competency whereas Glenn Greenwald blasts Rosen’s assessment. It’s interesting to see that there is already political infighting on the left regarding this particular nomination.

Any justice sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States should be an ace – they need a breadth of experience on important cases and a strong commitment to rule of law and willingness to support the Constitution. My assessment is that Obama has nominated a candidate who is a great personal success story, but of questionable judicial strength. In other words, he’s nominated a story over substance. It will be interesting to see how the confirmation process proceeds.

Until next time!!!

National Park Law Takes Effect in February 2010

President Obama has signed the credit card legislation bill with the Coburn Amendment to allow loaded firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. Unfortunately there has been additional legal trickery from the Interior Department. As the credit card law doesn’t take effect until late February 2010, the Interior Department has indicated that the Coburn Amendment won’t take effect until then either. In the meantime Senator Coburn intends to introduce the Amendment in other bills that will take effect before the current 2010 date as the intent was for the measure to take effect immediately.

The article from the Denver Post (linked above) is clearly written by a typical anti-Second Amendment journalist, starting out with the statement “Not so fast, gun owners” and ending with this “gem” from Bryan Faehner, associate director of the National Parks Conservation Association:

"We are pleased because that provides more time that our parks will remain safe and free from shotguns, rifles and semiautomatic weapons."

It is clear that the self-righteous and self-serving individuals hostile to our Second Amendment rights continue to have no respect for the Constitution and rule of law. It is also clear that they expect the public to continue to buy their “big lie” that the prohibition of firearms will keep people “safe” when reams of data proves otherwise.

At this point, everyone should take this opportunity to thank Senator Coburn and the other legislators who pushed this amendment through. We should also encourage them to find a way to push this measure through so it takes effect immediately. Though I think the effort would fall on deaf ears, we should also contact the Obama administration and request he clamp down on the Interior Department.

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

National Park Ban Abolished!

For once the political system seems to be working in our favor. Gun Owners of America is reporting that both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate have now both passed versions of the credit card industry reform bill containing an Amendment that abolishes the gun ban on National Park Service land as well as wildlife refuges. The Interior Department had abolished this ban near the end of Bush’s term in December. Unfortunately the Brady Campaign sued and a shopped the case to an activist judge who struck down the Interior Department’s regulation. The Interior Department, now under the Obama administration, declined to appeal the decision.

The Amendment, originally offered by Senator Coburn of Oklahoma is quite simple. According the GOA press release:

“GOA worked with Coburn on an amendment that simply allows for state and local laws -- instead of unelected bureaucrats and anti gun activist judges -- to govern firearm possession on these lands.”

This is not a radical concept – it is, in fact a true “common sense” firearm regulation. It prevents individuals from accidentally breaking the law as the boundaries between state and local land (and regulations) and Federal land (and its own set of regulations) are frequently indistinct. The Bill now goes to President Obama for signature, and he’ll undoubtedly sign as the credit card bill is a centerpiece of his domestic economic agenda.

This bill represents a victory for supporters of the Bill of Rights, but it also represents yet another blow to those opposed to the Second Amendment. Representative McCarthy was upset that this bill had been “hijacked.” To his credit, Representative Rob Bishop responded out that “gun control is the policy of tyrants, as evidenced by the British attempt to confiscate firearms at Lexington and Concord in 1775.”

The bottom line is that even in this hostile political climate, we as gun owners, Second Amendment supporters, and patriots are making a positive impact on national policy. We continue to win in the courts, and we’re starting to gain a steady stream of victories in the various legislatures as well. Support for the Second Amendment continues to become more bi-partisan. The key is keeping up the good work. Those opposed to our Rights are well-funded, entrenched, and will not remain idle.

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

San Francisco’s Unconstitutional Laws Targeted

The NRA has sued the city of San Francisco targeting three provisions of city law based on the Heller decision. The Heller decision hinged on whether or not a provision interfered with individual’s ability to defend himself or herself with a firearm. San Francisco’s code has several analogous provisions including:

“A requirement that handguns in San Francisco homes be kept in a locked cabinet or disabled with a trigger lock.”

“A ban on the sale of fragmenting bullets.”

“A city ordinance that prohibits the discharge of firearms within city limits.”

The city, of course, is up in arms (figuratively of course, as they believe guns are “bad”). According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Matt Dorsey believes the “NRA's real goal is not to strike down the specific city laws but to win court rulings that expand the reach of the Second Amendment.” I guess fighting to preserve liberty is frowned upon in San Francisco.

The trigger lock / disassembly ordinance is the same as was struck down by the Heller decision. The suit contends that this provision when coupled with ammunition restrictions "makes it impossible for city residents to use their handguns for the core lawful purpose of self-defense, particularly in urgent, life-threatening situations."

Quite frankly I hope the city of San Francisco gets its head handed to it on a plate in this case. Their provisions are clearly unconstitutional, and given the strong parallels with the DC case, no reasonable Court could see otherwise. Unfortunately there are a lot of unreasonable courts out there.

It’s unfortunate that for years those seeking to preserve their Civil Rights have had to resort to the courts. However, it is heartening to have the NRA, the Second Amendment Foundation, and a host of others helping in that legal struggle. Support for our Second Amendment rights seems to be growing across the nation, and I expect there will be many more legal battles moving forward. Hopefully the momentum will continue in our favor!

Until next time!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

McCarthy to Push for New Assault Weapon Ban

Defying logic, common sense, and political realities, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) has pledged to reinstate the so-called “assault weapon ban.” Ignoring the facts that semi-automatic rifles labeled “assault weapons” are done so for purely cosmetic reasons, ignoring the fact that semi-automatic rifles are used in a tiny minority of crimes, ignoring the fact that literally all of the propaganda leveled against these firearms is patently false, the Democratic self-appointed “elite” seems to believe they know better than the rest of us. McCarthy’s own comments are predictably holier than thou:

"Our gangs are getting assault weapons, our police officers are being killed, and my voice will not be shut until we have a law here that will protect the average citizen. . ."

If gangs are getting “assault weapons,” then chances are they’re already breaking one or more existing laws. Why haven’t these existing laws protected the “average citizen”? How many of these so-called “assault weapons” are in the hands of “average citizens” and are used by “average citizens” for hunting, practical shooting, and self-defense? I guarantee you more than are in the hands of criminals by a nearly 100% margin. All McCarthy’s proposed “feel good” legislation would accomplish is to persecute the “average citizens” that her bill allegedly is there to “protect.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein does not believe that there are enough votes in the Senate to pass the measure. I’d also contend that there are not enough votes in the House either, and McCarthy knows this. I, and many others strongly believe that this measure is to provide a political “test” for Senator Gillibrand. While arriving with an “A” rating from the NRA, Gillibrand has been a disappointment, and I strongly expect that rating will drop precipitously during the next election cycle. McCarthy, quite frankly, wants Gillibrand’s job and is using the House of Representatives as her personal bully pulpit to highlight issues that she believes will gain her political capital going into the 2010 election.

I’m quite frankly disgusted, and I hope not only that Gillibrand will return to her principles and oppose McCarthy’s agenda of disarmament and gutting of our Bill of Rights, but that McCarthy fails in her bid for the Senate and gives the House a much needed respite from her deluded agenda.

Until next time!!!

Senate Democrats Divided on Firearms Laws

Though the Democrats hold a nearly filibuster proof majority in the Senate, NPR is reporting that Senate Democrats remain sharply divided on Second Amendment issues. As reported in an earlier blog entry, the Senate voted to sharply limit the DC council’s ability to pass gun laws, largely as most of their laws are Unconstitutional. In that vote, 22 Democrats joined the majority of Republicans in supporting the Amendment.

Another amendment which allows individuals with a concealed firearms license to carry national parks also had strong Democratic support, with 27 Democratic members of the Senate supporting it. Predictably, the article spends a lot of time quoting McCarthy, Feinstein, Durbin and others, with a couple of obligatory rebuttals from the NRA and Senator Cornyn of Texas.

According to the article, Feinstein and others bemoan the fact that there is no support in their own party for a so-called “assault weapons” ban. Clearly they want to make firearms an issue in the 2010 mid-terms, but don’t even have unity within their own party. Hopefully respect for the Second Amendment will continue to grow on both sides of the aisle, as the article closes with one statement I actually agree with:

“Judging by the votes taken so far, easing restrictions on guns may be one of the few issues in Congress this year with truly bipartisan backing.”

Unfortunately the Democratic leadership does not share that view and continues to push their own twisted agenda down America’s throat. We can’t let them succeed – keep up the pressure on your representatives!

Until next time!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Most Pointless AR Accessory Ever!

I’m a huge fan of the AR-15 platform. Good ergonomics, modularity, and accuracy are only a few of the traits that make the weapon a winner in my book. Throw into the mix some match-grade components, and you have a true masterpiece. I’m also a big fan of bows, crossbows and other medieval weapons. In the right hands, these can still be weapons of deadly precision. What do the two have to do with each other? I had thought nothing until I read the May 10, 2009 issue of Shotgun News and saw a full-page advertisement for, you guessed it, a crossbow upper for your AR-15. WTF???

While I’m sure the upper is well made (it’s a composite crossbow with a weaver mount for a scope), I can’t help thinking that the effort was entirely misplaced. It would have been just as easy to integrate a weaver mount into a integrated crossbow structure (that could be compatible with AR trigger groups and stocks if so desired) and not require a “firearm” to use your crossbow. It’s certainly imaginative, but seems equally pointless.

You can find the fact sheet on PSE archery's homepage. Right now it's available for pre-order at the low-low price of $1299. Once again I'm forced to question someone's sanity.

Until next time!!!

House Version of BATFE Reform Bill Introduced!

As reported last week, the BATFE Reform bill is currently under debate in the Senate. Now a bi-partisan bill has been introduced in the House by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Rep. Space (D-OH). The bill, H.R. 2296, is entitled “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2009.” According to Representative King’s website, the bill is essentially identical to H.R. 4900 which had 224 bi-partisan co-sponsors, but Speaker Pelosi refused to allow a vote on.

On the bill, Representative King states:

“These reforms will allow the BATFE to perform focused and reasonable approaches to many of the civil enforcement issues it deals with, while encouraging responsible gun ownership. Congress should protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners. I am a stalwart defender of our Second Amendment freedoms. They are guaranteed to us by the Constitution, and I oppose any attempt to water down the principles embodied in the Second Amendment.”

This bill represents a huge leap forward for our Second Amendment rights. It reins in many of the abuses of the BATFE and requires a standard for investigation be set. Now that there are bills in both the House and Senate, several things need to happen. First and foremost, write your senator and representative and urge them to co-sponsor this badly needed legislation. Second, write to Nancy Pelosi, Robert Byrd, and Harry Reid and demand that this legislation comes up for a straight vote.

If you want to write your representative, please follow this link.

To write your senator, click this link and enter your state.

We can’t let back-room politics and legal trickery derail this legislation this time around. If we stay active, our voices will be heard!

Until next time!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Showdown over "Made in Montana" Law Expected

Montana has passed legislation detailed in a January blog entry exempting firearms made and sold in Montana to Montana residents from most Federal Firearms regulations. The key legal reasoning behind the state law is the fact that Federal Firearms law is based on the “interstate commerce” powers of the Federal government.

“...the state is asserting that guns manufactured in Montana and sold in Montana to people who intend to keep their weapons in Montana are exempt from federal gun registration, background check and dealer-licensing rules because no state lines are crossed.”

In many ways, this legislation is as much about states rights under the 10th Amendment as it is about the 2nd Amendment rights of citizens of Montana. Montana has a long history of being very independent. According to the article above the goal is to either set a strong legal precedent or force the BATFE to take the issue to Court:

“Under the new law, guns intended only for Montana would be stamped "Made in Montana." The drafters of the law hope to set off a legal battle with a simple Montana-made youth-model single-shot, bolt-action .22 rifle. They plan to find a "squeaky clean" Montanan who wants to send a note to the ATF threatening to build and sell about 20 such rifles without federal dealership licensing.

“If the ATF tells them it's illegal, they will sue and take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if they can.”

The article also indicates that similar measures have also been introduced in Texas and Alaska.

In an era where the Federal government has become a monolith that seems to be intruding into every aspect of the lives of the average citizen, it is refreshing to see some states attempting to reassert their rights under the Constitution. The pendulum may finally be shifting back the other direction, and I hope in the not so distant future we’ll see a less intrusive Federal Government that sees its primary mission as protecting the rights and liberties of its citizens.

Until next time!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

California Law Challenged

California, DC, and others are attempting to circumvent the Heller decision by ever more “creative” ways. At this point, California is attempting to limit handgun sales to those “certified” firearms approved by the State. The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a lawsuit challenging the regulatory scheme that mirrors the Hanson v. District of Columbia case.

According to the Second Amendment Foundation:

“California uses this list despite a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court last summer that protects handguns that ordinary people traditionally use for self-defense, and a recent ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments. The California scheme will eventually ban the purchase of almost all new handguns.”

This is a blatant attempt to abuse “public safety” provisions to limit firearm ownership. If allowed to continue unchecked, these sorts of abuses would ultimately ban firearm ownership based on arbitrary standards or who pays protection money (aka a “government fee”) to the State government.

Some of the more flagrant examples of abuse:

“The Para Ordnance P-13 was once approved for sale in California,” Peña noted, “but now that a manufacturer didn’t pay a yearly fee, California claims the gun I want to own has somehow become ‘unsafe’.”

Another outrageous example from plaintiff Roy Vargas:

“The Glock-21 is the handgun I would choose for home defense, but California has decided the version I need is unacceptable. I was born without a right arm below my elbow and therefore the new ambidextrous version of the Glock-21 is the safest one for me. The identical model designed for right hand use is available in California, but I can’t use it.”

It is clear that the State of California only has the blind restriction of firearms and denial of Second Amendment Rights on its mind. It is impossible that either of these examples could be justified through “public safety” considerations. Unfortunately these sorts of abuses of power seem to be increasingly common as anti-civil rights administrations desperately seek ways to circumvent our right to keep and bear arms. We continue to win key victories in these sorts of court cases, hopefully this one will also be settled within the manifest tenor of law.

Until next time!!!

BATFE Reform Bill Introduced!

There have been several attempts in the House of Representatives to reform the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE). The Bureau has a long track-record of abuses and questionable interpretations of law that effectively represent legislating by Bureau. The Bureau’s operations are also in need of modernization to make it easier for law-abiding gun owners and FFL holders to comply with actual Federal regulations. The most recent attempt in the House, H.R, 4900 in the 110th Congress, had 244 cosponsors. A similar bill in the 109th Congress (H.R. 5092) passed by a 2-1 majority. Unfortunately the issue has never been taken up by the Senate, until now!

S. 941 has been introduced by Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The bill, entitled “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act” will:

“...roll back unnecessary restrictions, correct errors, and codify longstanding congressional policies in the firearms arena. This bipartisan bill is a vital step to modernize and improve BATFE operations.”

Some of the other provisions include:

“Clarify the standard for “willful” violations—allowing penalties for intentional, purposeful violations of the law, but not for simple paperwork mistakes.”

This provision is extremely important as virtually all violations at this point are treated as willful, when in the majority of cases, they aren’t.

“Allow a grace period for people taking over an existing firearms business to correct problems in the business’s records—so if a person inherited a family gun store (for example), the new owner couldn’t be punished for the previous owner’s recordkeeping violations.”

Again, this is a very important provision which is closely tied to the above. Currently FFL holders can be punished for someone else’s mistake, and those mistakes are treated as “willful.”

“Require BATFE to establish clear investigative guidelines.”

This is a very key provision as the Bureau is notorious for “making it up as they go along.” That includes investigative methods and the “standards” used for determining if a firearm is a regulated “machine gun” or not.

“Permanently ban creation of a centralized electronic index of out of business dealers’ records—a threat to gun owners’ privacy that Congress has barred through appropriations riders for more than a decade.”

Again, this is a very important provision. Allowing the BATFE to create an electronic database is a big step toward creating a “virtual registration system.”

“Restore a policy that allowed importation of barrels, frames and receivers for non-importable firearms, when they can be used as repair or replacement parts.”

As a hobbyist, the “barrel ban” has made it difficult to maintain several of my legal semi-autos. I’ll be glad to see this one go the way of the do-do as it was effectively the BATFE passing a new “law” by “interpretation”.

The first step for this bill is the Senate Judiciary committee, chaired by co-sponsor Leahy. Given that the co-chair is a sponsor, one has to think that this bill has a good chance of getting to the Senate floor for a vote. Please write your Senators and urge them to support this vital piece of legislation. Also, give your Congressional Representative the heads up and ensure they’re ready to co-sponsor the House version of the bill!

Until next time!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

New Romanian AK Build – Ready for Finishing!

Spent part of the weekend putting together the last of my Romanian “G” kits. This one was a bit rusty (still is in spots), so I’m going to have to send it off to get it cleaned up and refinished. I built this one on a NoDak spud receiver. I’m using the original wood furniture, except for the lower hand guard. I’ve never liked the wooden forward grips you get on the Romanian “G” kits. I substituted it with a Romanian standard lower handguard, but it seems to narrow. I may end up replacing it later.

I refinished the buttstock and the upper handguard from the kit. I stripped the original finish, then hit them with a little rosewood oil/stain followed by a tung oil finish. Overall the color looks pretty good when compared to the originals (which have darkened over time).

I still need to pick up a US slant break for this rifle (I have one on order, but it hasn’t arrived yet). I think my riveting skills have gotten to the point where I’m ready to tackle the Tabuks (once the parts come back from engraving). Once again, can’t wait to get this one out and test fire it. The fit and function seems very solid.

Until next time!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Castle Doctrine Protects Florida Homeowner

CNN is reporting that the new “no retreat” law protects a Florida orange grove owner, Ladon "Jamie" Jones, who used deadly force in self-defense during an attempted robbery. According to the article:

“According to the affidavit, Jones heard his Toyota Land Cruiser, parked in the barn at his orange grove, start up before daylight Tuesday. Jones told police he grabbed his gun, a 9mm that he keeps with him while working at the grove. He said he could see two people in the SUV as it backed out of the barn, according to the affidavit. He said he saw the passenger's arm reach outside the vehicle, and believed that person might be holding a gun.

“The Land Cruiser stopped directly in front of him, Jones said in the affidavit. He said he raised his gun and pointed it at the occupants, shouting "Stop," but the vehicle appeared to be moving directly toward him.

“’Fearing for his life, he then fired what he thought to be six to eight rounds into the front windshield of the vehicle,’ the affidavit stated.”

Shots killed Nikki McCormick in the front passenger seat while Tony Curtis Phillips fled the scene not know McCormick had been killed. Because of the castle doctrine law, Jones is not facing any charges. However, the poetic justice here is that because McCormick was killed during the commission of a felony, Phillips will also be charged with Second Degree Murder in McCormick’s death.

Of course, the Brady Campaign is upset, but really fails to make a strong case against the Castle Doctrine or “shoot-first” laws as they attempt to label them:

"The shoot-first law is not needed," said Brian Malte of the Brady Campaign. "This person, regardless of the situation, may have done the right thing, but he cannot be prosecuted for doing something wrong if he hit an innocent bystander."

Is it just me or did a member of the Brady Campaign just tacitly acknowledge that an individual used a handgun justifiably in their own defense? As to not being able to be prosecuted if an innocent is injured, that doesn’t pass the sniff test.

Andrew Arulanandam of the National Rifle Association takes a more rational view:

“At the moment a crime occurs, victims don't have the luxury of time. They have seconds to decide on a course of action to protect their lives and their families. This law provides law-abiding people with options.”

I’m sorry that Mr. Jones was forced to use deadly force in defense of his life, but I am certainly glad that the castle doctrine law in Florida gives him that option. The right to self-defense is a fundamental human right. Previous statutes had legislated that right away, and it is only now with their repeal that people can once again stand up for themselves without fear of prosecution. Clearly a step in the right direction!

Until next time!!!

Pew Research Survey Shows Increasing Support for Gun Rights

Pew Research has released a new survey that clearly shows support for our Second Amendment rights is growing. While the Pew Research Survey doesn’t show exactly the same long-term time trends as the recent Gallup Poll I covered in April, it shows similar demographic patterns. The article covers both gun control and abortion, and in my opinion misleadingly indicates that both have moved in a “more conservative direction over the past year.” While abortion is an issue that breaks down readily along liberal/conservative lines, support for the Second Amendment isn’t monopolized by the political right. Social libertarians are also strong proponents of Second Amendment rights, and quite frankly I’d like to see the issue become non-partisan as the Constitution only empirically supports one interpretation.

The Pew Research survey noted the following:

“For the first time in a Pew Research survey, nearly as many people believe it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns (45%) than to control gun ownership (49%). As recently as a year ago, 58% said it was more important to control gun ownership while 37% said it was more important to protect the right to own guns.”

That we could have such a large swing in one year leads me to wonder how representative Pew’s sample was last year. Their current numbers tally fairly well with the Gallup Poll, but last years would mark an outlier. While Second Amendment supporters don’t yet represent a majority in this poll, these are the best numbers ever reported on this particular survey. The previous best showing was in 2003 when 54% supporting more gun control with 42% supporting individual rights.

Several key demographic trends were highlighted in the Pew Research Survey. While more men and more women support protection of firearm rights, the gap is widening. Last year’s poll had 30% of women responding that it was more important to protect gun rights, whereas this year that number has increased to 33%. Last year, 46% of men indicated that it was more important to protect gun rights whereas this year 57% indicated it was more important to protect gun rights.

The political trends are interesting with a mix of expected and unexpected results. Leaving out the “no opinions,” Republicans support gun rights by a 65% to 31% margin, a 6% improvement from last year. Democrats still respond poorly with only 26% supporting our rights, though that is a 3% improvement from last year. The major surprise is the change in the minds of the independent voter. In 2008, gun control was favored with 56% believing it was more important to control gun ownership as compared to 39% supporting gun rights. That has flipped by a staggering 9% in 2009 with a clear plurality supporting the Second Amendment (48% to 45% margin).

Support among African-Americans for firearm ownership remains weak with only 20% supporting gun rights. Individuals with a less than high school education also respond in favor of additional gun control with only 32% supporting firearm rights. However, support among high school graduates, individuals with some college, and college graduates is growing at a strong pace (+10%, +7%, and +5% respectively). Support for our Second amendment rights is also growing in most geographies except the “East.”

While these results are certainly encouraging, we have to keep these trends moving in the right direction. The Pew survey has been notoriously noisy over the years and any gains could evaporate next year. The survey also underscores where we, as Second Amendment supporters, have been successful in convincing the public that our liberties must be preserved and where we have not been successful. We have made great strides among independent voters and people with a high school or college education. Unfortunately we are not reaching women or minorities well at this point. We must break through in these areas and understand why gun control legislation still looks attractive to these groups, even with all of the data against it. Outreach and taking people shooting are effective tactics, but I believe we need a more far-reaching strategic approach to ensure our liberties are secured for future generations.

Until next time!!!