8/02/2008

Some coverage of the Students for Concealed Carry on Campus Convention

Some news coverage for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus:

Austin American-Statesman (Austin, Texas)

WASHINGTON — Should college students have the right to carry concealed guns on campus?

Yes, say members of the group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Men and women from colleges across the country attended the group's first national conference in Washington on Friday.

The movement was galvanized by the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech that left 32 students and faculty members dead, said Michael Guzman, president of the group. Officials say an emotionally troubled student opened fire with two automatic pistols in an academic building on a campus where guns were banned.

"We were formed the day after Virginia Tech," said Guzman, 21, a senior at Texas State University in San Marcos.

The issue is not keeping guns out of the hands of college students, he said. College students have the same rights to carry concealed weapons as anyone else, subject to the laws of their state, he said. The issue is whether properly licensed students should be able to take concealed weapons on campus the way they can take them nearly everywhere else.

"There shouldn't be an imaginary boundary beyond which you can't defend yourself," said Matt Mesang, 21, a senior at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla.

Guzman said the movement is growing. He said the group has members on 500 college campuses and chapters at 300. The group has about 31,000 members on Facebook.

Guzman said 11 colleges already allow students and faculty to carry concealed weapons on campus.


CNSNews had an article here that focused on my debate with Paul Helmke.

Some blog discussions here and here.

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Video on demand available for Gun Control Debate between Paul Helmke and Myself

CSPAN has video of the debate and panels available here. If you have trouble with that link, you can go here and scroll down to where it says "Students for Concealed Carry on Campus First National Conference."

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Morton Grove ends 27-year-old handgun ban, Chicago may also give in too

The Chicago Tribune has this story:

Morton Grove's landmark handgun ban, imposed 27 years ago, died quietly Monday night, as the suburb's Village Board bowed to a new legal reality and repealed the ordinance.

The board's 5-1 vote came in response to last month's ruling by a divided U.S. Supreme Court that struck down a similar ban. The high court ruled that the 2nd Amendment protects a person's right to own a firearm for self-defense.

Fighting in court to try to keep the law would cost money the village does not have, officials said.

"I appreciate the courage the board [showed] in 1981 in a noble experiment," Trustee Dan Staackmann said. "[But] we don't have the resources to fight this all the way."

Trustee Georgianne Brunner cast the lone vote against the repeal. "We may be acting a little bit in haste," she said. "I'm just grateful for what they did in 1981, and I wish we could just take a step back and wait it out."

Morton Grove adopted the nation's first ordinance banning the possession of handguns in 1981, triggering a storm of publicity and a nationwide debate over the merits of using local ordinances to control gun ownership. The ordinance was upheld in 1984 by the Illinois Supreme Court. . . .


Even more amazing is this story here:

Mayor Daley on Friday cracked the door open to abandoning the costly fight to uphold Chicago's 1982 handgun freeze -- if he can fashion a replacement ordinance that protects the safety of first-responders.

Until now, Daley had promised to defend Chicago's ordinance all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, despite what he called the dangerous precedent set by the court. . . .

Now that both suburbs have thrown in the towel, and newspaper editorials have urged Daley to do the same to save millions in legal costs on a fight he can't win, he appears to be having second thoughts. . . .

"We don't know yet. ... We're not gonna run away. We're gonna try to figure this out," he said.

Under further questioning, the mayor said city attorneys would simultaneously contest the law and work on a possible replacement.

Chicagoans with guns in their homes might be required to have insurance to protect taxpayers from frivolous lawsuits, he said.

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How will the Olympics effect China regarding pollution

I have read numerous articles where Chinese citizens on the street have been saying that the smog in Beijing was not due to pollution. Yet, with the air beginning to clear with all the anti pollution efforts going on there, it will be hard for people to deny the role of pollution in their incredibly bleak skies.

BEIJING (Reuters) - Normally smog-plagued Beijing bathed in blue skies and sunshine on Saturday in just the sort of weather the Chinese pray will grace their Olympics and banish athletes' health fears six days before the big start.

Experts attributed a rare day of fine weather in the Chinese capital to overnight rain and -- finally -- the impact of strict anti-pollution measures such as ordering half the cars off the road and closing smoke-belching factories.

"You see, we have done it! You can even see the mountains," enthused one Chinese student volunteer near the magnificent, newly built "Bird's Nest" stadium that is the main venue. . . .


The question is the long run impact. Presumably this change and the change back to pollution after the games will make the role of pollution in causing the smog hard to deny.

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Pictures from the Students for Concealed Carry on Campus Conference

Joyce Lee Malcolm
Bob Cottrol
Alan Gura
John Lott and Paul Helmke

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8/01/2008

Debate on Gun Free Zones on College Campuses: Rebroadcast on CSPAN1 from 9 to 10 PM EDT

I think that the debate went well with Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign, on whether permitted concealed handguns should be allowed on colleges and universities. It was nice of him to participate. The link for CSPAN1 on the internet is available here.

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New McCain ad on Obama being "The One"

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Debate on Gun Free Zones on College Campuses: CSPAN3 from 1 to 2 PM EDT

For those interested, I will be debating Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign, on whether permitted concealed handguns should be allowed on colleges and universities. CSPAN3 will be covering the event live from 1 to 2 PM. After that, the rest of the conference will also be shown on CSPAN3. Presumably parts of the conference will be rebroadcast after that. The live link for CSPAN3 is available here.

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7/31/2008

Lars Larson Show at 7:20 PM EDT

I will be on Lars' show again this evening to talk about the Students for Concealed Carry on Campus convention tomorrow.

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Scandal over NY State Using Eminent Domain for Columbia University

The NY Times has this:

The Empire State Development Corporation today declared blighted a 17-acre swath of Manhattanville where Columbia University is seeking to expand, a major step toward allowing the state to use eminent domain to acquire the property of two businesses that have declined to sell their land to the university.

Opponents of the $6 billion expansion plan said the results of the study that found the area to be blighted were a foregone conclusion, because AKRF Inc., the firm hired by the state to conduct the report, known as a blight study, had also performed an environmental analysis of the same site for Columbia University. (Two courts have questioned whether it was appropriate for the state to have used the same consultant that Columbia did.)

The report by AKRF found that the area mostly comprised “aging, poorly maintained and functionally obsolete industrial buildings with little indication of recent reinvestment to revive their generally deteriorated condition.” . . .

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Movie: Swing Vote

I got to see a preview of the new movie Swing Vote last night. Grover Norquist put on the event. It was fun. Got to meet Tom DeLay for the first time and a few other interesting people. In any case, the movie was just OK. Some funny lines and some attempt at balance, but there was just too much: people need help and the government has to help them. Whether the issue was health care or something else, the answer always seemed to be the same, more government. The first 10 to 15 minutes of the movie was pretty biased, but it leveled off for a while after that. Overall, though, the message of government just came through much too much for me. The person whom I went with to the movie liked it more than I did, but when I explained my objection they agreed with me. The movie's notion of balance at one point was to have My advice is not to go. Possibly catch it when it comes out on DVD.

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Why campaign finance regulations are going to make it very hard for McCain to win

If the campaign finance laws mean that Obama will be able to outspend McCain by 5-to-1, this story will be repeated many times. From WSJ's Political Diary today:

Paging Charlie Crist

Up until last month, John McCain led Barack Obama in every poll taken in Florida this year -- eleven in all. Since the middle of June, Mr. Obama has moved ahead in three of the last four surveys in the Sunshine State. The RealClearPolitics Average for Florida yesterday showed Messrs. McCain and Obama tied at 45.8% each, although a new poll today moves the average in Mr. McCain's favor by a slim 46% to 45.5%.

Mr. Obama's surge in Florida is explained by an analysis of advertising spending released yesterday by the University of Wisconsin. Between June 3 (the effective end of the Democratic primary) and July 26, Team Obama spent a whopping $5,028,000 on television ads in Florida -- at least $1 million more than Team Obama spent in any other state. Mr. McCain's spending during that same period? Zero.

Earlier this week the Obama campaign announced an unprecedented $20 million push for Latino voters that will focus on Florida and three other states. That effort, coupled with an expected surge in African-American turnout and an aggressive outreach to Jewish voters, has the Obama camp believing they have a legitimate shot at winning Florida in November.

Six weeks ago, with Mr. McCain leading in all the Florida polls, it looked as if adding Governor Charlie Crist to the ticket was not only unnecessary but might further alienate some conservatives. Today, with Mr. Obama pouring resources into Florida, things look considerably different. Speculation about a McCain VP selection lately has raged around Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, but Mr. McCain may want to give Mr. Crist another look -- because it's impossible to see how Mr. McCain wins the White House without Florida's 27 electoral votes.

-- Tom Bevan, executive editor of RealClearPolitics.com

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The Nanny State Versus Individual Choice Laid Bare

The Examiner has the debate in Congress this week over who should make decisions for us.

Big government versus big tobacco took a personal twist on the House floor in debate Wednesday afternoon as one powerful member called out another for his smoking habit.

Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, took to the floor to oppose legislation that would place tobacco under FDA control. One of the most notable smokers in Congress, Boehner assailed the bill as too much regulation, calling it a "bone-headed idea."

Then it was Rep. John Dingell's, D-Mich., turn. The House Commerce Commmittee Chairman and the longest-serving member of the House warned Boehner that "this legislation's on the floor because people are killing themselves smoking these evil cigarettes, and the distinguished gentleman, the minority leader, is going to be among the next to die. He is commmitting suicide every time he puffs on one of those."

Reached for comment, Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel said the minority leader "feels great and -- obviously -- hopes Chairman Dingell is wrong."

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Obama accusing McCain of Racist Campaign

ABC has this (emphasis added):

Obama said that "John McCain and the Republicans, they don’t have any new ideas, that’s why they’re spending all their time talking about me. I mean, you haven’t heard a positive thing out of that campaign in ... in a month. All they do is try to run me down and you know, you know this in your own life. If somebody doesn’t have anything nice to say about anybody, that means they’ve got some problems of their own. So they know they’ve got no new ideas, they know they’re dredging up all the stale old stuff they’ve been peddling for the last eight, 10 years.

"But, since they don’t have any new ideas the only strategy they’ve got in this election is to try to scare you about me. They’re going to try to say that I’m a risky guy, they’re going to try to say, 'Well, you know, he’s got a funny name and he doesn’t look like all the presidents on the dollar bills and the five dollar bills and, and they’re going to send out nasty emails."


The bizarre thing is that Obama had made similar charges earlier in the day and had been called on them, but he claimed that it was due to other unnamed sources. You would think that he would have been more careful later in the day. Now he is saying McCain and Republican, so McCain is definitely implicated even if there are other unnamed Republicans.

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7/30/2008

Comedian Jerry Lewis cited for carrying unloaded gun in a airplane carryon bag

Does anyone believe that Jerry Lewis represents a threat to anyone? From Fox News:

LAS VEGAS — Police say they have confiscated a gun belonging to Jerry Lewis that was found in the 82-year-old entertainer's carryon bag as he prepared to fly to Detroit from Las Vegas.

Las Vegas policeman Bill Cassell said Tuesday that the actor was cited Friday for carrying an unloaded concealed weapon at the Las Vegas airport.

Lewis' manager, Claudia Marghilano, says the handgun is a hollowed-out prop gun that Lewis sometimes twirls during his show. She tells The Associated Press that the gun couldn't fire.

Marghilano says Lewis didn't know the gun was in the bag along with other props.

Cassell says if the gun were merely a prop "it wouldn't be a weapon and we couldn't cite him for carrying a weapon." . . .

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More on the difference between likely and registered voters in polls

From Gallup:

The July 25-27 USA Today/Gallup poll shows Barack Obama leading John McCain by a 47% to 44% margin among all registered voters but McCain leading Obama among likely voters by a 49% to 45% margin. This difference between registered and likely voters indicates that now McCain voters are disproportionately represented among the estimate of those most likely to vote if the election were held today. This difference (in which Republicans gain among likely voters compared to registered voters) appears for the first time in USA Today/Gallup polls this year. In earlier 2008 polls, more Democrats than Republicans were engaged in the campaign and considered likely voters. This is generally a rare occurrence given that Republicans have historically been more likely to qualify as likely voters under Gallup's model (a fact that has been borne out in the real world as Republicans are able to win elections despite facing deficits in party identification or pre-election standing among all national adults). . . .


For those interested, the post also has the list of questions used to determine if someone is likely to vote.

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Possibly the government could just check whether people are poor before they let them enter a restaurant

From the AP:

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles City Council has approved a one-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in a low-income area of the city.
The moratorium unanimously approved Tuesday is a bid to attract restaurants that offer healthier food choices to residents in a 32-square-mile area of South Los Angeles.
Councilwoman Jan Perry says residents at five public meetings expressed concern with the proliferation of fast-food outlets in the community plagued by above-average rates of obesity.
Nearly three-quarters of the restaurants in South L.A. are fast-food outlets. That's a higher percentage than other parts of the city but the restaurant industry says the moratorium won't help bring in alternatives.

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Glenn Beck: "Global Warming Alarmists Dislike CO2 Scrubbers"



I have no desire to take CO2 out of the air, but it is strange to see environmentalists opposing this CO2 scrubber.

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Students for Concealed Carry having first National Convention on August 1st

Here is the schedule for this Friday, August 1st. The event will be in the National Press Club Ballroom on the 13th floor.

1 PM

Michael Guzman, President of SCCC, 5 minute introductory remarks

Discussion on Campus Gun Free Zones Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign, and John Lott, Senior Research Scientist, University of Maryland -- 55 minutes, Moderator Michael Guzman (2 minute intro, 15 to 20 minute statements, 2 minute rebuttal, remaining time questions)

2 PM

Academic Panel Professor David Mustard (Economics, University of Georgia), Professor Bob Cottrol (Law and History, George Washington University), and Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm (Law, George Mason University) -- 40 minutes, student Moderator (3 minute intro, 10 to 12 minute statements)

2:40 PM

State legislators who have sponsored legislation to let permitted concealed handguns on campuses -- W. Clark Aposhian, Chairman State of Utah Concealed Weapon Hearing/Licensure Board; State Representative Ernest Wooton, Louisiana; State Representative Jason Murphy, Oklahoma -- 40 minutes, Moderator Alan Gottlieb (3 minute intro, 8 to 10 minute statements, if time, allow Alan to ask questions of the panelists)

3:20 PM

Alan Gura, Lawyer who presented the recent arguments to the Supreme Court on the DC gun ban case -- 15 minutes

3:35 PM

Media Bias on Guns on Campus -- Ted Gest, President, Criminal Justice Journalists, affiliated with University of Pennsylvania and John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Joe Tartaro, Executive Editor Gun week and Prsident SAF -- 25 minutes

4 PM

Student Panel -- Jeremy Schwab, University of Texas Dallas; Ken Stanton, Virginia Tech; Andrew Dysart, GMU -- 30 minutes, student Moderator (2 minute intro, 8 minute statements)

4:30 PM

Student Award Presentation -- 20 minutes

4:50 PM

Gordon Liddy -- 15 minutes

5:05 PM

Thank you and mention of evening get together by Michael Guzman, President of SCCC -- 3 minutes

National Press Club
529 14th St NW # 1300
Washington, DC 20045

The entrance is on 14th street near 14th and F Streets.

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"Barack Obama's Stealth Socialism"

Investor's Business Daily had a very useful editorial about Obama's socialist views:

During his NAACP speech earlier this month, Sen. Obama repeated the term at least four times. "I've been working my entire adult life to help build an America where economic justice is being served," he said at the group's 99th annual convention in Cincinnati.

And as president, "we'll ensure that economic justice is served," he asserted. "That's what this election is about." Obama never spelled out the meaning of the term, but he didn't have to. His audience knew what he meant, judging from its thumping approval.

It's the rest of the public that remains in the dark, which is why we're launching this special educational series.
"Economic justice" simply means punishing the successful and redistributing their wealth by government fiat. It's a euphemism for socialism.

In the past, such rhetoric was just that — rhetoric. But Obama's positioning himself with alarming stealth to put that rhetoric into action on a scale not seen since the birth of the welfare state. . . .

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John Stossel on how the media treats polygamists

John Stossel has a useful piece on how the media treats polygamists here.

"It's female-centered. The women are the ones who are benefiting. ..."

Wouldn't most people say it's about the men getting more sex with more women?

"It's not about another notch on your belt or anything like that. It really is the women who really promote this idea."


Polygamy increases the overall demand for women in marriage and reduces it for men. The value of women on average will rise and fall for men.

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7/29/2008

Americans more concerned about Speculators than Drilling

Rasmussen has a new poll showing.

Voters are nearly evenly divided on which is more important– cracking down on speculators or lifting the ban on offshore drilling -- as the debate comes to a head in Congress this week over how to fight rising gas and oil prices. As far as public opinion is concerned, the best answer would be to do both.

A new Rasmussen Reports national survey, taken last night (Monday), finds that 45% think placing more restrictions on energy speculators is more important , while 42% take the opposite view that allowing offshore oil drilling is more important. . . .


This is very disappointing, but not surprising. It is hard to think of any major politician who is trying to educate people on this issue.

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New info on Heller 2

Stephen Halbrook on the new case that he filed for Dick Heller in DC. In the Washington Times, Halbrook was quoted as saying:

"D.C. has stuck to its position that semi-automatic guns are machine guns. It's a crazy definition of machine gun."



In the Washington Post, Halbrook was quoted as saying:

"Under the D.C. [law], a robber has to make an appointment with you so you can get your gun ready for him."

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Polls with Likely Voters versus Registered Voters

If you look at the six polls up at Real Clear Politics, there is a huge difference between polls looking at likely voters and those that look at registered voters. For likely voters, Obama is ahead by 1.3 percentage points. For registered voters, Obama is ahead by 5 percentage points.

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Some stars who enjoy shooting guns

Fox News had this:

LOS ANGELES — "That '70s Show" hottie Mila Kunis has quite a sinister side.

After passing the SWAT test in preparation for her upcoming flick “Max Payne," the real-life girlfriend of Macaulay Culkin used her gun skills against co-star Mark Wahlberg.

“I can shoot pretty well,” Kunis told Pop Tarts at last week’s Comic-Con convention San Diego. “I got to beat Mark up with my little gun, which was fun — he cried a little bit. I’m sure I saw a few tears.”

Wahlberg didn’t issue a denial, jokingly telling us later that Kunis “isn’t as nice as you would think; she likes to beat up on people.” . . .

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Did the Obama campaign leak Obama's Prayer to the Press

Powerline has this amazing info here:

Ma'ariv, the paper that published the prayer, says that "Barack Obama's note was approved for publication in the international media even before he put in the Kotel, a short time after he wrote it at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem." Ma'ariv's claim may have been backed up by Israel's most popular daily paper, Yediot Aharonot, which says that it too had a copy of the note but decided not to print it. It isn't clear, though, whether Yediot Aharonot got the note from the Obama campaign or after the fact, from the student who apparently removed it from the Wall.

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7/28/2008

Billionaire Capitalists out to save the World

May be all media coverage doesn't make wealthy capitalists look bad. This comparison of Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Bruce Wayne (Batman) reminded me of two capitalist heroes.

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Heller 2

Today's Washington Post Online has this: "Lawsuit Claims Gun Rules Violate Supreme Court Ruling"

The man who successfully challenged the D.C. handgun ban before the Supreme Court filed a new federal lawsuit this morning, alleging that the District's new gun-registration system is unreasonably burdensome and improperly outlaws most semiautomatic pistols. . . .

he 5-to-4 ruling concluded that the Second Amendment grants individuals the right to possess guns for self-defense, but said that governments may impose reasonable restrictions. The lawsuit filed today alleges that the District's restrictions are not reasonable.

The city's handgun-registration process is limited almost entirely to revolvers because a D.C. law that bans machine guns includes a broad definition of such weapons, encompassing most semiautomatic pistols. That law has been in place for decades and was not a focus of the Supreme Court case.

The new lawsuit said that defining a semiautomatic pistol as a machine gun "is contrary to the ordinary usage of those terms in the English language and in the laws of the United States."

"As a result of the District's extraordinary definition," the complaint says, "ordinary handguns and other firearms which are semiautomatic are considered to be 'machine guns' and may not be registered. The overwhelming majority of handguns possessed in the United States are semiautomatic handguns, and the Supreme Court . . . held that handguns as a class are constitutionally protected."

Magazine-loaded semiautomatic pistols -- the kind of weapon commonly carried by police officers -- are the most popular type of handgun on the market. . . .


Ilya Somin has this piece in today's Legal Times"

The Supreme Court may have endorsed an individual right under the Second Amendment to bear arms. But the District of Columbia certainly isn’t leaping to implement that right.

After its defeat in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the D.C. Council responded by adopting new gun-control regulations that are only marginally less restrictive than the ones invalidated in Heller. Undoubtedly, the new regulations—and similar ones in other jurisdictions—will be challenged in court. It is the outcome of these future cases that will determine whether Heller has any truly significant impact.

History shows that mere judicial recognition of a right doesn’t guarantee that the right will get meaningful protection. It is especially unlikely if the right is supported by jurists on only one side of the political spectrum. Judicially recognized rights also can get short shrift if the Supreme Court defines their scope narrowly.

To the delight of some and the distress of others, both these factors may limit the impact of the newly recognized individual right to bear arms.


Thanks to Ronald Oglesby and Ilya Somin for these links.

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Do high permit fees "infringe" on people's ability to own guns for protection?

A tax specifically on newspapers would be viewed as a violation of the First Amendment. Are these high fees effectively a ban on ownership, particularly for poor people who live in higher crime areas?

On the 10th anniversary of a sweeping state gun control law, patrons at James Dooley’s Middleboro Gun Shop are up in arms over what they see as a further assault on their rights: A proposed doubling of gun license fees.

“Why pick on us?” Dooley asked. “It’s a hidden tax to reduce the number of gun owners.”

Last week, Gov. Deval Patrick proposed doubling fees for gun permits, from $100 to $200. Firearms dealers could be hit with an even steeper hike: their three-year licenses would increase from $100 to $250, with two $100 inspection fees tacked on, bringing the total cost to $450. . . .

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South Florida law enforcement agencies start providing courses for retired officers to qualify for national permit

It is about time. This is from the Miami Herald:

The 20 men -- retirees from 37 to 72 -- came out to the shooting range in Sunrise's Markham Park on Saturday to qualify to carry a handgun almost anywhere in the country.

The federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 allows current and retired law enforcement officers to do so as long as they remain proficient in using their weapon.

This is the first time BSO has offered a course allowing retirees to qualify.

Another class is planned for August, with additional courses expected in the future depending on demand, said BSO spokesman Jim Leljedal.

Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties offer similar programs.

In Broward, a $75 fee covers the cost of ammunition, targets, safety equipment and instructors. BSO provides the bullets to make sure no one uses old ammo.

To pass the course, participants had to hit the target 32 of 40 times, which Leljedal said is the standard for all current Florida law enforcement officers.

On Saturday, the retired officers shot at distances of five, seven and 15 yards under the supervision of BSO instructors. . . .


Amazingly to me, however, there is still opposition to retired police officers carrying guns. One example is from the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale:

You're either a cop or you're not. If you retired, or found some other line of work, you're not a badge-carrying law enforcement officer anymore.

Unfortunately, Congress has approved a national program to allow retired law enforcement officers to complete a shooting course for a concealed weapons permit that is recognized nationwide. Doubly unfortunate, Florida has signed on by offering a course for ex-officers to take and receive the permit. . . .

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Many women getting concealed handgun permits in North Carolina

See this here:

FAYETTEVILLE -- The recent murders of two Fort Bragg soldiers and a Cary woman have caught the attention of many people across North Carolina.

And in particular, it seems they've caught the interest of women who fear for their own safety.

Xochitl Skora, who recently signed up for a self-defense class, said it's something she’s planned on doing for a while. After hearing about the murders, she decided now was the time.

News 14 Carolina's Conan Gasque has more on the increased demand for firearms and other self-defense methods across the state.

"I thought this would be a good way to help me take care of myself instead of relying on someone else to defend me," she said.

And many other women are now making the same choice.

Weapons instructor Geary Chlebus used to teach a self-defense class at Jim's Pawn Shop once a month, but he said now it's in much higher demand. . . .

Cumberland County officials recently said that the number of women applying for gun permits is up 30 percent this year, compared with last year.

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New Op-ed at Fox News: The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Mess

My new piece on Fox News starts off with this:

Should the government cover a private company’s losses during bad times, but let it keep their profits during good ones? It doesn’t sound like a very good deal for taxpayers. But that is how we treat Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two big corporations that make loans and loan guarantees as well as handle the secondary mortgage market in the US.

As most probably suspect, this whole approach is pretty dubious. If you subsidize risk, you get more of it. If you don’t have to bear the cost of the risk, why not shoot for the moon? Economists believe that the federal government subsidizing risk is what caused the whole saving and loan meltdowns during the 1980s.

On Saturday, the Senate followed the House and overwhelmingly passed a massive “housing bill” that promises an unlimited line of credit to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Of course, these two companies already get all sorts of preferential treatment. For example, they are exempt from all state and local income taxes. . . .

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How US Rep Carolyn McCarthy handles argumentative constituents

The NY Post reports:

The flap arose on March 19, when Razzano visited McCarthy's Garden City office to discuss an article about an illegal immigrant who was deported but was later nabbed in Freeport for the attempted murder of a cop.
"The office staff felt that Razzano's behavior was disruptive and threatening," said Lt. Kevin Smith, a police spokesman.


As a consequence of his visit to her office, the constituent had this happen:

An outspoken Long Island gun owner's home was raided by Nassau County detectives, who seized two dozen weapons he lawfully owns just one day after Rep. Carolyn McCarthy's office made a 911 call about him. . . .

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7/27/2008

A survey by Medpage Today indicates that few think guns are a public health issue

The claim is that their survey shows that 80 percent of Americans don't think that guns are a public health issue, and that even among doctors the question is closely divided about 50 to 50 percent. The comments by one nurse were these:

A nurse with 40 years of experience countered, saying that the medical community needs to stay out of areas it has no business in -- and guns is one of them. "If you're taking care of a hole in the abdomen, do your job, take care of the medical issue before you, don't take your emotions into the home, street, farm, ballot box, legislature. Medical knowledge and experience is not a license to drive social and moral culture."


My take is that the nurse is right. Doctors see the bad things that happen and it motivates them to do what they think is good. Take away the guns and those bad things won't happen. However, what the doctors don't see is the acts by guns that keep others from showing up in their emergency rooms. They are well motivated, but seeing only part of the picture causes them to misdiagnose the cure.

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Wilmette repeals its handgun ban, Morton Grove to do the same this week

The Chicago Tribune reported this on Friday:

Wilmette may be the first, but it's unlikely to be the last Chicago suburb to repeal its handgun ban in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision last month to declare a similar measure unconstitutional.

Morton Grove, which approved the nation's first handgun ban in 1981, is set to repeal its anti-gun ordinance next week after the high court's June 26 ruling that the 2nd Amendment guarantees a person's right to possess a handgun in one's home for self-defense.

The National Rifle Association filed lawsuits against Morton Grove, Evanston, Oak Park and Chicago immediately after the high court's ruling, seeking repeal of the decades-old gun-ban ordinances.. . . .

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Obama Dishonest on the Surge?

January 2007 -- that the surge will make things worse
Obama: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse. I think it takes pressure off the Iraqis to arrive at the sort of political accommodation that every observer believes is the ultimate solution to the problems we face there. So I am going to actively oppose the president's proposal."


July 2007 -- Obama: "My assessment is that the surge has not worked and we will not see a different report eight weeks from now."


Yet, this last Thursday, Obama told NBC's Brian WIlliams that (at 3:10 into the interview):

"What I said even at the time of the debate of the surge was that when you put 30,000 American troops on the ground, of course it's going to have an impact. There's no doubt about that." (emphasis added)

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