Canadian Liberals cynically play gun issue

While my research indicates that it is much more effective to increase the penalty for the crime you want stopped rather than imposing a penalty for how it is stopped, it is interesting to see how the Liberals have a difficult time even imposing a stiffer penalty on gun crime. They want to ban guns (which is basically obeyed by law abiding citizens), but Liberals don't want to impose a greater penalty on criminals who use guns in crime. Might it be because they want to keep the issues alive so that they can argue for more restrictions on law-abiding citizens?

Yesterday, in the dying hours of Parliament just before an election is forced on them Monday, they tabled a bill to, wait for it, get tough on gun crime.

Of course, it will die on the order paper as soon as Parliament is dissolved -- two days from now.

Among other things, the bill proposes increased mandatory minimum sentences for some gun crimes, an idea Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, who introduced the legislation, opposed until just a few weeks ago. Even so, this Liberal bill falls far short of much tougher sentencing provisions proposed by the Conservatives.

Besides, everyone knows the Liberals aren't serious about this. They just want to have something to wave at voters when they're accused on the campaign trail of being soft on crime -- particularly violent urban gun crime of the type that has plagued Toronto since the summer.

New Push for Expanding Gun Control

Another push to expand the background database for gun purchases. The three cases noted in this article are over multiple years and the question is rarely asked about whether it is likely that these killers would have gotten weapons elsewhere. For example, there are no studies that I know of that find that background checks generally reduce violent crime rates. We all want to keep guns away from those who would do harm, but just because a person had a problem at one time doesn't mean that will be so forever and there are obvious costs and benefits to these restrictions. In any case, there are a lot of privacy opponents to having a central database on mental illness records.

In Alabama, a man with a history of mental illness killed two police officers with a rifle he bought on Christmas Eve.

In suburban New York, a schizophrenic walked into a church during Mass and shot to death a priest and a parishioner.

In Texas, a woman taking anti-psychotic medication used a shotgun to kill herself.

Not one of their names was in a database that licensed gun dealers must check before making sales _ even though federal law prohibits the mentally ill from purchasing guns.

Most states have privacy laws barring such information from being shared with law enforcement. Legislation pending in Congress that has bipartisan support seeks to get more of the disqualifying records in the database.

In addition to mandating the sharing of mental health records, the legislation would require that states improve their computerized record-keeping for felony records and domestic violence restraining orders and convictions, which also are supposed to bar people from purchasing guns.

Similar measures, opposed by some advocates for the mentally ill and gun-rights groups, did not pass Congress in 2002 and 2004.

The FBI, which maintains the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, has not taken a position on the bill, but the bureau is blunt about what adding names to its database would do. . . .

Thanks to Andrew Breitbart for sending this.


Scalia on Bush v. Gore

Justice Scalia says that because of Gore the issue wasn't whether courts would step into the election, but which court would make the final decision.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says the high court did not inject itself into the 2000 presidential election.

Speaking at the Time Warner Center last night, Scalia said: "The election was dragged into the courts by the Gore people. We did not go looking for trouble."

But he said the court had to take the case.

"The issue was whether Florida's Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court [would decide the election.] What did you expect us to do? Turn the case down because it wasn't important enough?"

The conservative justice, who grew up in Queens, contended there would have been a difficult transition had the court not stepped in.

He also pointed out that studies by news organizations after the election showed Bush still would have won a Florida recount.

Doctors inconsistently evaluating different types of activities?


Workplace shooting stopped by armed business owner

Happy Thanksgiving

I have a lot to be thankful for. I wish everyone a happy and enjoyable Thanksgiving today.

Gun Ownership Rates set to Plummet in South Africa

According to the Central Firearms Register, those failing to comply with firearms control legislation would be arrested, have their weapons confiscated and would have to appear in court.

The latest figures indicated that more than 500 000 firearms licences still had to be renewed before December 31.

Abe van Tonder, an accredited firearms trainer in Cape Town, doubted whether this target would be reached.

“There is a small increase in people turning up for training but it isn’t nearly as many as I expected. I ordered more manuals because I expected hundreds of gun owners to come to me for training during the next month of two,” he said.

“This is not happening. I suspect the red tape with paperwork puts people off. Gun owners hand in their firearms at police stations instead of going for training.”


Letter that I have in today's Washington Times

BBC: Police shootings out of control in Brazil?

new evidence suggests that many of the shootings are cold-blooded executions conducted by the police.

Former police ombudsman Professor Julita Lemgruber has told BBC World Service's Assignment programme that, in the state of Rio alone, the police killed 983 people last year. The figure is similar for Sao Paulo.

"The federal government should be challenging the various state governments in Brazil about the hundreds of people that the police kill in this country," she says.


As a former ombudsman, Professor Lemgruber was responsible for investigating the police as part of a previous crack down on corruption.

In the past five years, the number of fatal police shootings has more than doubled. Based on her experience as a government official, Professor Lemgruber says she believes the police are free to act with impunity.

Thanks to JM for sending this to me. As he noted to me, "If the government were wanting the people completely disarmed, one wonders if this is why, were some of the people having the pluck to fight back?"

Handgun are banned in Britian, but police more concerned than ever

Concealed Carry May have saved lives in the Tacoma Mall shooting

This surely hasn't gotten much coverage. I did a fast search and couldn't find any other stories that mentioning concealed handguns.

A confrontation between Dominick S. Maldonado, the Tacoma Mall shooting suspect, and the most severely injured victim, Brendan “Dan” McKown, 38, may have stopped Maldonado’s shooting spree Sunday.

McKown, an assistant manager at Excalibur Cutlery and Gifts, pulled a gun on Maldonado outside of the Kits Camera outlet, according to his mother, Patricia Schuman, who said police told her what happened.

Police are unsure whether McKown fired at Maldonado.

McKown almost always carried a gun, his family said, in case he needed to come to someone's aid.

He had been walking through the mall to make a deposit when he met Maldonado.

Maldonado shot McKown probably three times in the side from a distance of 20 feet, severing his bowel and injuring his spinal cord. McKown, who's also a stand-up comic, might never walk again.

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Guns in the workplace myths

The Buckeye Firearms Association has a useful discussion about some recent claims repeated on NPR here.


If the government can't protect you on the border . . .

I assume that this is a civilian version of an AK47 (in other words it is not a machine gun and no different than other similar caliber rifles), but it is likely to get readers attention better by writing the story this way:

. . . Welcome to the Wild West 2005, where modern-day cowboys still guard their land from interlopers - but using AK47s and four-wheel drives instead of Winchester rifles and horses.

Mr McCaslin's small mine sits on a knoll of red earth and scrub near the Mexican border. Like his 19th-century predecessors, he is sure there is money in "them thar hills" after a geological survey indicated there may be rich veins of silver.

Today, however, he has other priorities. For the mine also sits in the middle of a network of trails used by heavily-armed Mexican trafficking gangs to smuggle people and drugs into America.

Notoriously porous, the border has reached new levels of lawlessness this year as smugglers, known as "coyotes", have become increasingly brazen, willing to fire on anyone - from border patrols to the likes of Mr McCaslin - who gets in their way. . . .


Biden on Alito and one-man one-vote

I was just listening to Fox News Sunday where Chris Wallace was interviewing Senator Joe Biden. Biden was outraged: "The part that jeopardizes it (Alito's nomination) more is his quotes in there saying that he had strong disagreement with the Warren Court particularly on reapportionment - one man, one vote." This is going to be some what amusing to see US Senators go after Alito on this given that Senators are elected to represent such differently sized states. The original Supreme Court decision dealt with the issue of state Senates, but it was never clear to me what US Senators could represent different size constituencies, but state Senators could not.

Does Age Regression Reform Criminals?

More on 85 year old WWII vet whose property is being taken away to give to other private individuals

Johnnie Stevens is an 85 year old WWII veteran. His doctor has told him he has lung cancer and about 2 years left to live. Now officials in New Jersey want to take his home away.

This man fought in a war where Black men like him were sent to separate facilities for most everything. He fought in the war where groups like The Tuskegee Airmen had to be created, just so Black men could actually see flight time in combat! But amidst all this he fought for his country and proudly wears military garb. Because despite all adversity he believed in America. He believed in the dream. We have seen those old days of segregation pass and the opportunities he believed would come have now been realized. What a testament to the greatness of a nation, that so much could change in one man’s lifetime! With little life left, he was planning to live his last days in his home and tend to his garden. This dying veteran’s final dream is being taking away from him, by the power that is found in the abuse of eminent domain!

See my original post: John Lott's Website: An outrageous eminent domain case

Another Adscam Scandal for Canada's Liberal Party?

Canada's gun registery may end gun control in Canada.

DOUG BEAZLEY, "GUN REGISTRY COSTS THE NEXT ADSCAM," The Edmonton Sun, 11/19/2005, p.11

. . . And there's one scandal festering in the halls of power that needs another year to ripen.

I'm talking about the $500 million-plus the Liberals have spent on computer systems for the federal gun registry, the $2 billion white elephant that makes Adscam look like an expense-account pack of chewing gum.

That's over half a billion dollars, folks - more money than anyone I've talked to can recall anyone ever spending on a computer system since the damn things were invented. Wasting that kind of money takes something more than mere incompetence. Call it wilful stupidity, corruption, greed - all the ingredients that went into Adscam, with deeper pockets.

Days ago, Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz released a spreadsheet listing 24 separate contracts for "information technology" associated with the Canadian Firearms Centre. The sheet lists only contract sums - ranging from $318 million down to a piddling $19,650 - and the names of the companies involved.

There is no breakdown of how much was spent on hardware, software and staff time - this, despite months of requests from Breitkreuz's office. How much do computer systems cost? A Cray supercomputer capable of making a trillion calculations in a second will set you back about $10 million.

Nav Canada, the national agency that runs air traffic control systems, has spent about $1 billion since 1996 on upgrading systems at most of Canada's 108 federal airports.

Toronto's Pearson airport sees 400,000 flights a year; Nav Canada spent $17 million seven years ago building Pearson a brand new control tower, complete with systems and software.

The CFC system is nothing more than a database - it only needs to keep track of about eight million firearms. And yet, the feds managed to spend enough on this one database to provide computing power for a manned mission to Mars.

Something is very, very wrong here. This stinks of graft, Adscam writ twice as large. Breitkreuz thinks the feds blew a lot of money replacing earlier database systems, after it became clear they weren't capable of handling the work. But that still can't explain the whopping price tag. . . .