Friday, August 27, 2010

If You Can Ban The Guns, Ban The Ammo

Unbelievably the Obama EPA is actually considering a ban on ALL LEAD BULLETS. Not only is there absolutely no science behind it, existing law forbids the EPA from regulating ammo. They are considering doing it anyway. When one considers that in pistol calibers, and many rifle calibers, local and state governments ban alternative bullets as a armor piercing - if the EPA passes this regulation there will be no legal pistol ammo in California and much of the rest of the US. After recent Supreme Court Rulings, they can't ban the guns, so they will ban the ammo.

Not only is there no science indicating that lead bullets (as opposed to lead shot) pose any environmental risk in the vast majority of situations, the only possible exception being risk to California Condors who feed on parts of animals killed with lead bullets. This very limited risk has already been addressed with a ban on lead ammo use for hunting in the condor range. The EPA is considering a lead ammo ban for all purposes.

Unlike lead in paint or batteries, the in ammunition is stable and poses no more risk in the environment than it does where it occurs naturally. In addition, lead in firing ranges (where it is most often found in large amounts) is already recycled because it is just too valuable to leave in the dirt berms or bullet traps that catch it. In reality, shooters are some of the most environmentally conscious people in the world. Not only do they recycle the lead from their bullets, they reuse the empty cartridge cases as well.

To make maters worse, 90% of fund for wildlife conservation in the US comes from the sale of the very ammo and ammunition components the EPA is considering banning. Who do you think will have to make up that shortfall?

With the economy in shambles, the Obama Administration has better things to do than this!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The "Ground Zero" Mosque Controversy

I just finished a chain email on the "Ground Zero Mosque". I have been following the issue closely - and I must say that while most conservatives have been thoughtful in there analysis, some have not.

First, let me say that I think that the actions of those behind this mosque reveal that they have absolutely no understanding of how to reach Americans with their message. So far they have done nothing but insult the very people they say they want to reach out to. If they actually build this facility, they will do even more to set back their cause.

Second, as Americans we have every right to speak out against this insult. We can and should ask where they money is coming from. We should point out that there is no religious freedom in most of the Muslim world. We should ask why those who convert from Islam to Christianity or Judaism are subject to the death penalty. We should ask those behind the Mosque to prove they are really interested in interfaith outreach by seeking another site. We can and should shine the light of truth on Islam in America.

That said, what we cannot do in response to this move is to deprive Muslims living in America of their right to freely exercise their religion - even when we find how they do so offensive.

It does not matter that no churches are allow in Saudi Arabia, or that Christians are otherwise persecuted in Muslim nations around the world. It does not even matter that the religious rights of Christians who want to rebuild a church near ground zero have been clearly violated. The constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights, First Amendment, protects the religious rights of all of live in the U.S.

The danger here is great. If we restrict the rights of Muslims because we find how and where they choose to worship offensive - mark my words: Evangelicals and other conservative Christians will be next. Just ask the pastor in Canada who was jailed because he spoke from the Bible on homosexuality. He has now been forbidden by the government from preaching on the subject. Many, many people find what we have to say just as offensive as the building of a Mosque near Ground Zero. Quite a few of them would not think twice about amending or "reinterpreting" the First Amendment to allow "offensive" religious speech and practice to be banned.

Lest you think this is not possible, remember that in June four members of the Supreme Court had no trouble voting that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" meant absolutely nothing and that government at any level could ban any and all kinds of arms. Fortunately, we currently have five members of the court who have integrity, and they ruled just the opposite. Change one vote and an entire provision of the Bill of Rights would have been neutralized as effectively as if it had been repealed. Do you really think the largely secular left in this country would not like to restrict the largely conservative Christian community? You bet they would. Let's not be dumb enough to give them the ammunition they need to do it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Why Meg Whitman May Lose The Election

The short answer is: She is a liberal Republican (many would say Republican In Name Only or RINO) and her opponent (Jerry Brown) may very well get the majority of votes from a traditionally conservative group, namely gun owners.

Whitman's positions on many issues (gay rights, abortion, the environment) are in tune with more conservative Democrats. Even when she expresses support of conservative causes, many conservatives find it hard to trust her. Her association with Barbra Boxer - and the $4,000.00 she gave her campaign - do not help her win the trust of the Republican base.

California's gun owners are probably at the top of the list of people who do not trust the Republican candidate for Governor. While she headed eBay, she instituted a policy that went much farther than forbidding gun sales - it banned the sale of most gun parts and many gun accessories - ALL OF WHICH WERE PERFECTLY LEGAL TO SELL VIA MAIL IN ALL 50 STATES. For those gun related items that still are permitted (i.e. holsters) not even a picture of a gun is permitted. Paypal (an eBay company) began suspending accounts if funds were used to purchase any "gun related" items. As one might expect, "gun rights friendly" replacements have since opened shop on the internet - but to this day, many gun owners refuse to do any business with eBay. Although now that she is running for governor, she says she doesn't think any new gun laws are needed "at this time", she has snubbed several gun rights groups by refusing to meet with them.

Enter Jerry Brown, arch liberal and current Attorney General. In this office he is charged with enforcement of California's many firearms laws. One would expect that he would have been a thorn in the side of California's gun owners - but nothing could be further from the truth. When he took office "Office of Firearms" was hostile to gun rights - even going so far as to issue regulations with no support in law. One of the first things he did was to knock the firearms department down to a bureau from an office. Shortly thereafter several of the employees responsible for worst of the abuses no longer worked there. Brown then set the new "bureau" to work tracking down convicted felons and domestic abusers who failed to dispose of their firearms after their convictions. Trust me, this is the kind of enforcement law abiding gun owners like. Brown won more points with California gun owners by writing a brief to the Supreme Court supporting the application of the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms against the states. In it Brown stated that such application (called incorporation) was necessary because the California's constitution provided no such protection. It would seem that, like Howard Dean, Jerry Brown believes in the entire Bill of Rights.

Add to all of the above the fact that our current Republican Governor has angered gun owners by signing a controversial ammunition law, and it is very doubtful that Whitman will get many votes from gun owners. In fact the NRA, which cares about only one issue - gun rights - may very well endorse Brown, just has they have done with in the past with Howard Dean and Harry Read. If Brown does win the NRA endorsement, it could mean a swing of as much as 5% of the vote - and that is more than enough to swing any election that is even remotely close.

Yes, Virgina politics does indeed make for very strange bedfellows.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Phony Gun Free Zones Are Deadly

Yesterday there was yet another "mass shooting" - this one in a beer and wine distribution center. Sadly, the shooter claimed 8 lives before killing himself. It's time we faced up to one critical fact: Virtually all of these incidents happen in what I will call PHONY GUN FREE ZONES.

What is a PHONY GUN FREE ZONE? It is a place where guns are prohibited, but there is no enforcement, no security. Everything is on the honor system. The law abiding comply. Even those with concealed carry permits leave their guns in their cars or at home. Ditto off duty cops. Those bent on mass murder (and usually suicide) seem to have no problem violating a rule against guns. As a result, these zones are the most common location for mass shootings.

Contrast this with a REAL GUN FREE ZONE, such as the "sterile" area of an airport, or a typical courthouse. Here there is more than a rule - there is enforcement. People are screened as they enter the zone. How many mass shootings have happened in airport "sterile" areas or secured court houses? Very few, if any.

There is a third zone that I will call SELF DEFENSE PERMITTED ZONE. Forty states now issue concealed carry permits to anyone who passes the background check and successfully completes firearm training. Statistically permit holders are at least 5 times less likely to commit crime than the general public. A study of Texas permit holders revealed police offers were twice as likely to be arrested as carry permit holders! Permit holders are law abiding people.

They are also very good at staying out of trouble. Much like those trained in other martial arts - yes shooting is a martial art - they try to do everything the can to avoid using force of any kind, especially deadly force. They are far from being "Rambo want to be's". The greatest testimony to their restraint and judgment is the fact that in 20 plus years of experience not one state has repealed their concealed carry law.

What effect do concealed carry permit holders have in mass shooting situations? In December 2009 a shooter entered New Life Church in Denver. After shooting 2 people in the parking lot he was shot dead by a female permit holder who was part of a volunteer security detail. She may have saved as many as 50 people. In at least three cases teachers with permits have used their guns to end school shootings in spite of the fact that they had to retrieve their weapons from their cars which had to be parked at least 500 feet away to comply with federal law. Permit holders may not be able to save everyone when a crazed individual decides to kill as many people as they can - but they can, and often do, reduce the death toll. In my book, that is a very good thing. Even more important is the fact that the possibility of armed opposition may cause the shooter to pick a less populated place to attack their primary target. The can make the difference between a tragic murder-suicide and an even more tragic mass killing.

It's time to do away with PHONY GUN FREE ZONES. Most of these zones are located on private property. Those who operate these businesses need to fish or cut bait. Either make their businesses are REAL GUN FREE ZONES, or SELF DEFENSE PERMITTED ZONES. Hats off to Starbucks - a liberal leaning corporation - who recently resisted pressure to turn their stores into PHONY GUN FREE ZONES. They opted instead to allow legally carried firearms, effectively making their stores SELF DEFENSE PERMITTED ZONES.
REAL GUN FREE ZONES and SELF DEFENSE PERMITTED ZONES both save lives. All PHONY GUN FREE ZONES do is reassure the mass shooter that no one will be able to shoot back.