June 10, 2005


Cross-posted at Stop the Bleating!, as always. I have a couple of small formatting errors that I can't seem to work out. Deal with it.

Vote Bolling for lieutenant governor in the upcoming Virginia primaries.  (Link.)

So what's the problem?  Columnist Helen Ubina of the Hartford Courant has a complaint:

Somewhere between designating a state airplane and naming a building after an ex-senator, cleaning up grammar in the statutes and dedicating a Mansfield highway to the Huskies, you'd think the legislature could have found time to do a little something about guns on city streets.

What would she like them to have done?

The key provision was pretty simple: It would have required gun owners to report the loss or theft of firearms to police within 72 hours. It was aimed at deterring gun peddlers who buy guns legally, then sell them on the streets. When the serial number of a gun used in a crime is traced back to them, they just shrug and tell the cops it was stolen.

So what's the problem?  Isn't it obvious?

Could you imagine, said Gregory Costa, some poor guy who keeps his gun in a drawer somewhere getting a knock on the door from police? It puts these crime victims in the position of being compelled to prove a negative in order to avoid prosecution themselves: How do you prove you didn't know your gun was stolen?

Meanwhile, the law wouldn't stop illicit sales of guns, he said. Instead of playing dumb when police trace the gun back, the criminal could just report it stolen right after he sold it.

Right.  (Although, to be fair, I'll add this: With respect to professional straw purchasers who buy make these sorts of illegal sales on a regular basis, the repeated reports of gun thefts might become rather suspicious after a while.)

"That owner can make a belated and false report of the theft. And it sort of dead-ends our investigation," James Strillacci, West Hartford's police chief and president of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, told a legislative committee earlier this year. "We don't have any leverage over that person to make him tell us who the recipient of the gun was. This bill will give us that leverage."

Perhaps.  But what Chief Strillacci seems not to realize is that many of the people they'll be gaining "leverage" over are apt to be law-abiding citizens who've been victimized unknowingly.  That's Costa's point, and Strillacci's failure to acknowledge it doesn't improve his credibility in my eyes. (Link.)

It does kinda seem like cheatin'.  Pennsylvania moves to ban Internet hunting. (Link.)

More evidence that the Brits are running out of things to ban.  A Brit MP is planning to "ntroduce tough new rules on the purchase and ownership of air weapons."  Some interesting stuff there, too -- which, frankly, I don't fully understand -- about the distribution of power between the governments of the U.K. and Scotland.  (Link)

Self-defense chronicles

Pistol-packing resident captures teen burglars.  Star-Beacon, Ashtabula, Ohio, 6/1/05. 

A 69-year-old man, alerted by a barking dog and a neighbor's frantic telephone call, got the drop on the young thieves around 5:22 a.m., police said.  Armed with a pistol, the resident caught the suspects - ages 16 and 17 - in his garage, officers said.

The youths immediately surrendered, and police found them sprawled on the garage floor, guarded by the homeowner, officers said.  The teens were taken to the youth detention center in Ashtabula Township, police said.(Link.)

Robbery victim shot, shoots suspect.  WKRC, Cincinnati, OH, 6/1/05.  (I mentioned this story in last week's edition of the GNRKBARU.  This version contains more details.)

When Ohio's law allowing residents to carry a concealed weapon went into effect last year, a number of people rushed to get permits so they could legally carry a firearm. The right to do that may have saved a man in Westwood early Wednesday morning. Cincinnati Police say he opened fire on three men who shot him after trying to rob him outside his girlfriend's home. Local 12 Reporter Larry Davis explains what went down. (Link.)

Bizarre burglar disrupts pastor's lunch.  The Wichita Eagle, Wichita, Kansas, 6/7/05. 

Most Sundays for Pastor Steven Moler are routine: Following his sermon, he goes to his home, located just behind Berean Baptist Church, for brunch.  But Sunday he came home to find his wife hysterical, someone shouting, "He's got a gun!" and a burglar wearing Moler's own sweatpants, moving in and out of the house stealing rifles. Moler kicked into protection mode: He grabbed a pistol from his safe and confronted the wild-eyed 26-year-old in the front yard.  "He was jumping around, acting like he was kickboxing," Moler said. "I walked out and went straight to him. I said: 'Get on the ground. Now. Get on your face. Now.' "  Still, he didn't.  Moler's son, 27, and another church member, who happens to be a former sheriff for Sumner County, surrounded the suspected burglar.  But the man bolted into a field across from the house. Moler's son tackled him and the three held him there until police arrived.  (Link.) 

OK, to be honest, the presence of the gun in that situation apparently didn't make any real difference.  I just like this anecdote for its description of the burglar's activities:

In the nearly two hours he was in the house, Moler said, the man got in the hot tub, watched the movie "Karate Kid II" and tried on several of the couple's outfits, settling on the sweatpants.  Even after Moler's wife saw the man and ran to call the police, he continued to rummage around.  A dozen or more people who had arrived for brunch watched his movements, Moler said.  "He was just waiting around for the police to show up," Moler said, amazed.

A clue to the burglar's bizarre behavior: He was booked on possession of methamphetamine, among other things.

Beaumont Man Fires Shot at Intruder.  KBTV, Beaumont, Texas, 6/2/05. 

A 63-year-old Beaumont man fired 2 gunshots through his bedroom window early Thursday morning to fend off a burglar. James Hodges says he pulled the .25 caliber pistol from his bedside table when he heard someone break his window then put their arm through it, holding a flashlight.  The intruder fled on foot but a bullet hole on a nearby tree marked the scene of the crime.  Beaumont Police say Hodges` actions were legal, citing that a person has a right to use deadly force if they reasonably fear their life is in danger.  (Link.)

Officials identify man shot to death after shooting two people.  AP, Reeds Springs, Missouri, 6/1/05. 

A man shot to death during an incident in which two other people were shot outside a mobile home near Reeds Spring during the weekend has been identified as Icie E. Endsley, 68.

Deputies who arrived at the home Saturday night found Endsley, who lived there, dead in the front yard. Stone County Sheriff Richard Hill said Endsley was killed after he came out of the mobile home with a .22-caliber rifle and shot Tracie E. Bewley, 43, and Eddie Lee Pipes, 48, both of Reeds Spring. They were treated at a Springfield hospital and released.

According to the account given to investigators, a woman went into the home after Endsley started shooting, got a handgun and shot him. The Sheriff's Department said Endsley had wounds to the upper back, left wrist and left arm. Deputies were told the incident stemmed from Endsley's dog having been shot several months ago.

The department said its investigation is continuing.(Link.)

Likely result but for the defensive gun use?  Endsley keeps shooting, and one or both of the victims die.  The diminutive .22 may not be a very powerful round, but it's still one of the cartridges most commonly used in homicide. 

Suspect wounded in armed robbery attempt.  Savannah Morning News, Savannah, Georgia, 5/31/05. 

Just before 1 p.m., three black males walked into Top of the Line Fashions and Accessories at 2903 W. Bay St., Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police spokesman Bucky Burnsed said.  The men ordered the cashier to the ground and stole his wallet, according to Joseph W. Woods, who owns Lil Chick at 2901 W. Bay St. . . . The cashier got up and one of the robbers started shooting, Woods said. Then the cashier fired back . . . Burnsed said he was unsure if the suspects fired at the cashier, but said that one of the three men did have a weapon.  "The clerk apparently fired at the suspects and one was wounded," Burnsed said . . . The cashier was not injured, police said.  The three suspects ran out of the store and down Albion Street. They climbed into a rust-colored car and drove off, Burnsed said. Burnsed said he was unsure if the suspects took anything.  A short time later, a rust-colored car pulled up in front of Memorial Health University Medical Center's emergency room and dropped off a man suffering from a gunshot wound, Burnsed said.  (Link.)  Results of DGU: Good guys 1; bad guys, 0; robbery thwarted; bad guys driven off; one suspect in custody; solid lead on the other two.  Not bad for a few seconds' work.

Man Found Dead After Domestic Violence Call, KOAT, Albuquerque, NM, 6/2/05.

Police said a man was found shot to death inside his southwest Albuquerque home after officers responded to a domestic violence call.  Police were called to the home on 75th Street near Central just after 8 p.m. Wednesday.  Police said they questioned three children and a woman who live in the home.  (Link.)

The follow-up:

Police have released the identity of a man who officers say was killed during a dispute with his wife at their home on Albuquerque's west side.  Albuquerque police officer Trish Hoffman says Frank Cervantes, 37, fired gunshots at the back door of the family home as he tried to enter it Wednesday night.  Hoffman also said Cervantes fired shots at his wife, who called police. He said when officers arrived at the home, they found Cervantes dead and his wife and their three children inside. The woman and children were not injured.  (Link.)

Got that?  Cervantes . . . fired gunshots at the back door of the family home as he tried to enter it . ..   Is there any real doubt about the outcome of this situation, had Mrs. Cervantes not been armed and willing to use her weapon?  Knee-jerk leftist feminists who buy into gun control propaganda should really rethink the issue; they probably stand to benefit more from guns for self-defense than do men, on average.  See here.

Shooter strikes law's gray area. The News-Press, Fort Myers, Florida, 6/1/05.

Authorities still don't know whether they will charge a Fort Myers man for shooting his gun in public Sunday to stop a suspected shoplifter who was driving recklessly.

Off-duty security guard Donald Biggs, a congenial man with gun training and concealed weapons permits, said he fired his 9 mm handgun at the suspect's tires after the man hit a parked car, ran over a store employee's foot and was turning in circles with another employee hanging out of the vehicle. At least 30 bystanders stood gaping nearby.

"It was bedlam," said Biggs, 69, of Fort Myers. "I stood there for a minute and I thought, this guy's going to hurt somebody bad. This guy's got a truck and he's running into people. That's his weapon. I was going to take out both rear tires."  (Link.)

I really don't see the conundrum, here."A person is justified in the use of . . . deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony."  Compare that with: "I thought, this guy's going to hurt somebody bad.  This guy's got a truck and he's running into people.  That's his weapon."  Is there any reason to disbelieve Mr. Biggs?  I certainly don't see any, given the facts as reported.  Is there any reason to believe that he was wrong to be worried, under the circumstances?  Not that I can see.  That's especially true considering that the driver of the vehicle was charged with a felony, and there seems to have been good reason to believe that he was about to commit another felony(ies).  It seems pretty clear to me that Biggs was justified.  He may have over overestimated his abilities -- and those of his handgun -- and he may be a bit of a yahoo, but he's no criminal.  If he'd hurt someone, he probably would've been civilly liable for negligent rescue.  That's good enough for me. 

UPDATE: After a bit of reflection, I decided I should research this a bit more.  It turns out that the question of whether a person who injures an innocent third-party while employing lawful self-defense isn't such a simple question, as cases like this one (defendant criminally liable for injury to third-party while apparently acting in self-defense) and this one (.wp5 file) (defendant not criminally liable for injury to third-party while acting in self-defense) indicate.    So, apparently, it really is fair to call this a gray area in the law.  Now, one could make various efficiency arguments here; surely there are times when, from a social utility point of view, self-defense or defense of others is inefficient.  That said, I think I prefer the Pennsylvania rule -- although I could perhaps see different rules for self-defense and defense of others.

Alarmed by Killings, Filipino Journalists Aim for Self-Defense.  Washington Post, 6/3/05. 

MANILA -- Pablo Hernandez held a 9mm handgun with his right hand, steadied it with his left, sighted on a target 30 feet away and fired. Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Spent shells dropped away, and the acrid smell of gunpowder filled the air.  The target was cardboard, but one day it could be a real person. Hernandez, a columnist for a Philippines tabloid, evaded an assassin's bullets last month. He is among a group of reporters, columnists and broadcasters who are campaigning to arm journalists in response to violence against them.  Since 2000, more than 20 journalists have been killed in connection with their work, making the Philippines the deadliest country in the world for the profession, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.  The killings have all taken place in rural provinces, where corrupt officials, including police, compound the problem. Many of the victims have been radio broadcasters who voiced their opinions on the air. In response to the attacks, some reporters last month formed the Association of Responsible Media, or ARMED.  "We're not waiting for the policemen. We ourselves can now shoot back," said Joel Syegco, a police reporter for the Manila Standard Today newspaper and the group's founder. He wore a black T-shirt with the message: "Stop Killing Journalists."(Link.)

People who haven't led the pampered existence of most Americans, and thus aren't as susceptible to "it can't happen to me" fantasies, often have much more realistic views about guns, violence, and government than Americans.  That said, even in the Philippines there are gun control ninnies:

"Guns and journalists are a pretty deadly mix," said Inday Espina-Varona, chairwoman of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. "We live in a pressure-cooker world, always tense, always on the run, terribly overworked and terribly underpaid, especially in the Philippines. When you're hot, in a temper, a weapon of self-defense can inadvertently be turned into a weapon against innocent people."

Oh, shut up!

The cycle goes something like this: Broadcasters or columnists condemn the corruption, the targets retaliate with threats or assassination attempts, and the local police are either unable or unwilling to protect the accusers.

Sounds quite similar to the American civil rights movement.  Guns were pretty helpful in that case, too.

Waaah  (Link.)

Gun Enthusiasts Get Ugly in California Legislative Push, Lock State Agents Out of Training Facility. 

SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A shooting range here has announced a ban on use of its shooting facilities by employees of the California Department of Justice because the Department is supporting two bills in the State legislature that the club opposes."  (Link.)   

Good for them.  Politics is a rough game, ladies.  You want to take away our rights -- and the range owner's livelihood -- and you expect no repercussions?  You can't have your cake and eat it, too.   (The laws in question are the nonsensical proposals to serialize bullets and require handguns in California to have devices that stamp identifying markings on every bullet they fire.  See Jeff Soyer's criticisms, here.)  Since these bills are part of a larger campaign to strangle lawful shooting -- and thus lawful shooting ranges -- in California, why not give the DoJ folks a taste of how wonderful that will be?

Let D.C. make its own mistakes.  The Examiner, Washington, D.C., 6/8/05.  Here's a fairly thoughtful editorial from the Examiner:

Freedom doesn't guarantee that people always make good choices. It often results in quite the opposite. But living in a government-run day care system where bureaucratic nannies make all the decisions for you is even worse.

Which is why we have to agree with D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams' assertion that the recent revival of legislation in Congress to repeal the District's 1976 gun ban is a "vicious attack on representative democracy" - even while pointing out that the gun ban itself is a colossal failure that should be repealed.

I'm sympathetic to that argument.  I really am.  I'm a big fan of federalism.  Unfortunately: (1) D.C. isn't a state, so it has more limited rights of self-determination than the states do (few as those may be these days); and (2) there's this little thing called the Fourteenth Amendment, which radically altered the federalist sytem in this country.  So I'm afraid this argument doesn't really persuade me.

I've got more to add, but it's late and I'm tired.  More, later this weekend.

UPDATE:  I promised more.  Here it is.

Not that it seems to make any difference. 

"When the federal assault-weapons ban expired last September, its fans claimed that gun crimes and police killings would surge. Sarah Brady, one of the nation's leading gun-control advocates, warned, 'Our streets are going to be filled with AK-47s and Uzis.'

"Well, over eight months have gone by, and the only casualty has been gun-controllers' credibility. Letting the law expire only showed its uselessness. ...

"The irrelevance of the assault-weapons bans to crime rates was to be expected. Not a single published academic study has ever shown that these bans have reduced any type of violent crime. ...

"Why? Simple: There's nothing unique about the guns that these laws ban. The phrase 'assault weapon' conjures up images of the rapid-fire machine guns used by the military, but the weapons in the ban actually function the same as any semiautomatic hunting rifle. They fire the exact same bullets with the exact same rapidity and produce the exact same damage. ... (Link.)

That's all true.  But it hasn't stopped states like New York from moving to enact SCAW (So-Called Assault Weapon) bans that would make the authors of the defunct federal statute blush.  (To anyone who knows anything about firearms, the potential sweep of the New York bill should be pretty breathtaking.)

Sexperts, porn and guns, oh my!  A Townhall.com column by Mike S. Adams. (Link.)  Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what I think of Adams -- but I enjoy his columns anyway.

Clinics offered for shotgun-shooting women. 

Girls with guns have more fun. That is the theme of two women's shotgun clinics to be held this month.

The goal of the clinics is to introduce women to shooting sports through women-only clinics sponsored by organizations like National Wild Turkey Federation, Sportsman For Fish & Wildlife and state wildlife agencies.

A women-only skeet clinic will be at the Provo Gun Club on Saturday at 9 a.m. This clinic is geared toward women who have had some prior shotgun experience.

A women-only beginning shotgun clinic will be at the Heber Valley Gun Club on June 18 at 9 a.m. This clinic is for brand new shooters and beginning shotgunners.

Basic shotgun anatomy, safety and shooting fundamentals will be covered in this class, along with actual shooting practice under direct supervision of expert and longtime BOW volunteer instructors, Louise and John Bradshaw and Gene Ekenstam.

These clinics are sponsored by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources' "Becoming an Outdoors Woman," the National Rifle Association's "Women on Target," and Sportsman's Warehouse.

Space is limited and preregistration is required. For more information or to register, contact Wendy Mair at 377-3350 or hebervalleygunclub@earthlink.net.  (Link.)

Trap and skeet are lots of fun, and fairly easy to pick up.  They're also sports in which women can compete on pretty much equal footing with men.  That makes them ideal "gateway" sports to other kinds of shooting.  (They're not bad training for self-defense, either.  A woman who can hit a moving clay pigeon with her trusty scattergun, at 15-25 yards, in the space of a couple of seconds, max, is pretty well prepared to face bipedal predators in her house with the same scattergun.)  We need more women involved in the RKBA fight, and getting them involved in shooting is a great start. 

Talk about touchy-feely bull****.  Here's an opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun by an anti-gunner who admits his cause is futile, and that gun buybacks are pointless, but still tries to justify Baltimore's.

NOBODY IN the Baltimore Police Department thinks he can buy his way out of the city's continuing gun violence. These are not naive people. They're heard the public ridicule, and they know the murderous history of the past 35 years, as well as the history of gun buybacks, which are seen as exercises in noble futility. But maybe the police have a point . . .

But those of us who have argued for controlling the proliferation of street weaponry also miss the point: That battle has been lost. There are too many guns out there to buy back, and too many just waiting in stores for the next round of criminals, or for those innocents who traffic in the delusion that they're protecting their families.

The police understand this, as they dole out the last of their [$141,000]. They are not naive. They insist, with reason, that the buyback is a tiny part of their fight against crime. But the buyback also restates a psychological cry that needs to be sounded from time to time. Lots of police don't like guns in the hands of citizens. They don't think it's healthy for any community. It is harder for them to protect us when we insist on arming ourselves, and this is their small, hopeful gesture to make us understand. (Link.)

Assuming this really is all about sending a message to the citizens of Baltimore, isn't it likely that, for $141,000, there are more effective and explicit ways of sending that message?  Ones that don't help criminals?

What Should we Tell our Patients About Guns?
A psychiatric Examination of Medical Decision Making.  This is a very interesting, pretty objective article by a psychiatrist, posted on the Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws website, that discusses the medical literature on guns and what doctors should tell their patients about them.  An excerpt:

Members of the medical profession are appropriately interested in what they can do to help reduce injuries caused by the illegal or accidental discharge of a firearm. Every physician educated in the United States has served time in the emergency room of an urban hospital. There is not a physician practicing in the entire country that has not seen only too vividly the kind of damage caused when a bullet bursts through human flesh.

A review of the medical literature produces peer reviewed journal articles by Kellerman and Reay in the NEJM in 1986 [5] (with a reprisal by Kellerman, Rivara, and Rushforth in the NEJM in 1993 [6]) and Koop and Lundberg in JAMA in 1992 [7] offering data and analyses in support of an idea which was eventually seized upon by the Centers for Disease Control in an effort to define firearms violence as a public health problem and the presence of firearms in the United States as a vector for the problem.

This model is a very familiar one to physicians.  A problem is remedied by removing the vector.  Want to stop the plague?   Get rid of the rats.  Want to stop gun violence?   Get rid of the guns.

In the spirit of K-I-S-S (keep it simple, stupid), organized medicine has announced loudly and publicly that the uncontrolled, private ownership of firearms must be curtailed if the "epidemic" of firearms related violence is to be contained.

But, there is a problem in this politically active paradise. Not all physicians agree with the proposal for a solution, and they certainly don't agree with the science (or what is purported to be science) in the early and subsequent research published in many of the mainstream medical journals. These concerned physicians, who also worked in those inner-city emergency rooms and who would also like to help curtail the morbidity and mortality of gunshot wounds just as much as their brothers in the "guns as public health menace" camp, have produced a body of literature with a plethora of data taken mostly from the disciplines of sociology and criminology. As this "counter movement" gained momentum, highly credentialed researchers among the criminologists and sociologists joined forces with the physicians in a scientific endeavor to examine the role of the presence of firearms as a "cause" for firearms injuries. The research wasn't politically correct, and it got very little mainstream media attention or funding, but it did proceed, and gradually the body of literature has grown and been published in books, law reviews, sociological journals, and selected medical journals. Several highly respected scientists from the non-medical fields started the work with admissions of personal biases against the uncontrolled presence of firearms in our society. These men were strong enough in their pursuits of pure science to change their views as the research continued and the literature matured and the data proved their initial biases to be incorrect and non-defendable. [8] These physicians and criminologists and sociologists are now not only convinced that firearms in and of themselves are not harmful, but that the presence of firearms may well produce a stabilizing effect on many of the communities they have studied. [9] (Link.)

More opinions on the change in Florida self-defense law. 

Opinions Mixed on Gun LawThe Bradenton Herald, 6/5/05.  (Link.)

Gun Owners Laud Deadly Force LawTampa Tribune, 6/6/05.  (Link.)

Domestic-Violence Gun Laws Get State Senate Green Light. 

PROVIDENCE - Two companion bills strongly supported by local law enforcement have cleared another hurdle after gaining overwhelmingly approval in the state Senate Thursday .

The bills that would require persons named in permanent restraining orders to relinquish their guns.

The legislation - fiercely sought by victims of domestic violence - would require people named in permanent restraining orders to give up their guns to local or state police departments within 24-to-48 hours of being served with the orders. They could also sell the firearms to a licensed gun dealer.  (Link.) 

Seems kinda pointless, for reasons I dicussed in this edition of the GNRKBARU.

Posted by Matt Rustler at June 10, 2005 10:54 PM
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