Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Rebuttal to the Bob Ray Sanders Column

In comments to my "We are Scaring the Columnist'" post, a reader mentioned that:

One of my co-workers sent a reply letter to the Startelegram. They posted most of it online. They deleted the 1st two paragraphs. The substance still remains though.
The Star Telegram published this letter under:


It is an excellent letter, and a good example for how to respond to anti gun editorials in the local paper. As the Star Telegram had shortened the letter for space, I offered to post the whole thing here.

The original letter:

I really don’t want to start a reply with something like “Bob Ray Sanders is the reason I don’t subscribe to the Star Telegram.” However, I can’t help myself. Nevertheless, occasionally someone will say “Did you read what BRS wrote in the FWST?” and I will go online and read it. So I did Sunday and I wanted to present another side to your editorial issue; not as a raving right-wing nut job (which unbeknownst to me, my son has become as a member of the US Army serving in Iraq), but as one who enjoys guns (but not an NRA member), is concerned about self-defense, a rational conservative, a Texan and one of “those people” who is a gun-totin’ advocate. However, I am rarely armed in public and can not imagine ever actually being forced to fire a gun in self-defense. I would respectfully submit, based on my informal surveys among friends and others, that I represent more than 80% of “those people” you reference in your editorial.

Mr. Sanders, you submit that the one thing working for the gun manufacturers is fear and that fright is paying off big-time for gun manufacturers in America. Thus, my initial angst in reading your article is that I think I agree with you as to the “fear” aspect, scary thought, but I think that word is toxic to the discussion and full of emotion. Frankly, it is inaccurate. Thus, I am left with a question to pose to you and a pretty fundamental, though respectful, disagreement.

The question is who, if anyone, is creating that “fear?” If, in fact, that is what is motivating these gun and ammo sales. You don’t really delve into that, or at least give the other side’s point, so I thought I would give it a shot. Further, is that “fear” being created, artificially as you may be inclined to think, by the gun manufacturers, by the NRA, Republicans, by the “right wing,” whoever that might be? If it is, then I will be the first to say that they should stop. “Fear-mongering,” no matter who is behind it, is wrong. Conversely, is this “fear” created by the Obama administration itself? You cite several reasons why this could be true and then go on to question the rationality of that fear. Will get there in a minute.

The fundamental disagreement I have is whether or not you give “these people” or “some folks” the right to apply for concealed gun permits, buy more ammo or even be fearful at all. The problem I have at the end of the day with your article is whether or not you intend to label as “crazy” or “nut jobs” or whatever those who sincerely and honestly feel warranted in getting a handgun or stocking up on ammo. I do appreciate the fact you don’t use those labels in your piece (other than the innocuous “Second Amendment gun-totin’ advocates”); in fact, you seldom do use labels. Kudos for that. However, I don’t think it is “fear” as we have come to use that word in a post-9/11 world and, thus, I don’t think “these people” are crazy, nut jobs or gun-totin’ hillbillies.

Let me address my question first. I guess I am a gun-totin’ advocate. I have a concealed carry permit, but rarely carry a gun on my person; mostly it is kept in a car or perhaps my wife’s purse (she is also licensed) if she is going to the mall at night alone. However, I am a staunch advocate of individual liberties, which I assume you are, including those found in the First and Second Amendments.

Yes, I am concerned that Obama will live up to his campaign promises of renewing the ban on assault-style weapons, or he may limit the ability to purchase handguns, or impose taxes on ammo, or “fingerprint” ammo with id numbers, etc. I have absolutely no doubt that his future judicial appointments will be unfavorably disposed to gun owners and that disturbs me because those justices historically are also not favorably disposed on other issues which I am concerned about, i.e., right to life, religious freedoms, etc. Remember, it was Obama, not me, not the NRA or other right-wingers that said people in Pennsylvania were “bitter” and retreated to their Bibles and their guns. Those were his words.

However, and here is my biggest problem of all - you suggest that my concerns rise to the level of “fear.” It not that I fear what Obama may do, I don’t trust him, I don’t agree with him, I don’t believe he shares my values. But I would strongly argue that it is not fear that is then the result of the foregoing opinions I have formed about him. It always seems that if there is a disagreement by the “left” with the “right,” that somehow the “right” is either afraid or creating fear. Al Gore’s famous tantrum, which was scary, contained the screech that “George Bush preyed on our fears!” Well, George Bush was acting out of concern for our country, whether you agreed with his methods or not, and I did not agree with all of them. However, our country was afraid as a consequence of 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, bombings in London and Spain. But that is not the “fear” to which the gun-totin’ advocates are responding in buying guns and ammo.

Quite simply, I have bought a couple of handguns in the last year and as much ammo as I can, not because I am afraid of Obama, but (a) both of the foregoing items are going to be in shorter and shorter supply (thanks to market forces and Obama) and (b) because of a rather widely held belief that socially and culturally we are headed for a collapse. Now that sounds like a “nut job” but let me explain. And I don’t lay the collapse at Obama’s feet, though I think he is more ambivalent towards the risk than say a John McCain, George Bush or other conservative leaders would be. But, given the increasing lean of our country towards a “nanny-state,” a mushrooming government, total failure in border control, the dramatic reduction in the stability and numbers of supportive, nurturing families, then there is a plausible reason to have concerns that the unthinkable could happen. Does that sound like “fear” to you? It doesn’t to me. Fear is an irrational response to threats created by factors beyond your control. Thus, I think many are responding in a rational fashion, i.e., be prepared, be cautious, be diligent and be smart. Are these “threats” that are beyond our control? Yes and no. I can “control” (don’t tell my kids or wife) my family, i.e., create barriers to harm, instill values, prepare them spiritually. Thus, I don’t fear the threats on my family. Their future and safety ultimately are in God’s hands. I can’t control what goes on across the street, across town, or across the country. But I don’t fear those things because I will do the best I can here, where I stand, and trust other forces and factors to deal with those things (and I will gladly pay taxes for those forces and factors). I will speak up and/or contribute, however, when necessary so that those people on those front lines will have the capacity to deal with those issues in those areas.

Now, assuming that for the sake of discussion we can use the words “concern” or “fear” or “anxiety” as the emotion sparking the sales in guns and ammo and the issuance of permits, who is creating that? Well, in reality the NRA and other gun advocate groups have for years sounded warnings about infringements on the Second Amendment rights of Americans. I don’t agree with all of their policies and “warnings,” but they are not saying anything different today than they have since Jimmy Carter. Thus, it seems there must be a new factor at play in this debate. It must be the “Obama” factor, that is, the creation of a “nanny-state” (pardon my label), his promised restriction of gun rights (to most campaign audiences, but not some ironically), his promise to further open our borders and/or liberalize immigration opportunities, the further stratification or classification of society through flawed tax policy and entitlements, and the mushrooming federal deficit. Not all his fault, admittedly, but it is his watch.

Thus, while I remain at odds with you over whether all of this gun activity is a result of “fear,” even assuming some kind of reactionary motivation for this phenomenon, it is your guy in the White House who has set this in motion, not the “advocates” or “them people.”

As to my fundamental disagreement – it concerns your take on this country’s “obsession” with guns or “this craziness” and the fact that, in your words, you “simply don’t get it.” My first response is that likewise, I simply don’t get hip-hop music. I’ve tried, often. But I don’t get it. But I don’t feel fear from those who are obsessed with it nor do I view them as crazy. It’s a taste matter. (Interestingly, studies have shown far more violence arises out of the mere culture of hip-hop and rap than out of the culture of gun-ownership, hunting, target shooting, etc.).

Similarly, I also don’t get your obsession with the First Amendment right of a free press. I value it, I intellectually know it has had an incredible impact on our country, positive and negative. But I don’t get it at the gut level, that raw emotional level, that you do and for obvious reasons. My First Amendment rights as to the press have never been threatened, or if they had, I didn’t know it. Some one else was dealing with this threat. I just don’t have my antenna up for freedom of the press issues. But I respect and even appreciate the fact that you are passionate about a free press. While I disagree with almost every editorial you right, I am glad not only that you have the right to write them, but that you will fight and perhaps die for the right to exercise them. I don’t get it, but I’m glad that you do. Likewise, I would respectfully suggest that while you don’t get the obsession many have with their Second Amendment rights, I would hope that you would be at least get the fact and appreciate it that someone does get it and is passionate. Otherwise, if the Second Amendment goes (or any other fundamental right), then they are all at risk.

As to your being scared because you hear of people arming for war against their own government. Come on, that’s crazy. The rhetoric from the Black Panthers, Louis Farrakhan, the Weathermen, the Klan, etc. is far more vitriolic and threatening than 99.9% of what you hear out of the gun-owners, even the NRA. We can be fearful of the foregoing list because they have all acted out on their threats. To lump all gun owners then together as potential anarchists or secessionists is not really logical.

You also state that “this has long been a country with too many guns.” Respectfully, on what do you base that statement? Because too many people run up their credit cards buying guns and ammo (i.e., like alcohol or lottery tickets)? Because too many people miss church because they are out shooting? Or is it because you connect gun ownership to the crime rate, because you, inaccurately I might add, suggest that because people are killed by guns that there are simply too many guns. Too many people die in car accidents, but no one suggests we should have fewer cars. Too many people die from airplane travel, cigarettes, skydiving, skiing, etc., but no one has ever suggested doing away with any of the foregoing. We can clearly agree that there are too many illegal gun sales, too many guns in the hands of irresponsible people, too many guns trading in the underground or whatever, but none of those reasons have to do with the ownership, manufacture or sheer number of guns themselves. It has to do with poor enforcement of existing laws and a cultural drift towards violence and crime.

Finally, you say you are afraid of “them.” “Them” evidently being those people who are afraid of the president, a change in gun laws or a government that is becoming more “socialist.” Well “them” is me. While I am not afraid of the president, I do see that restricting gun laws and a more socialist government is not good for our society. Just like you, I have not bought and would not buy a gun solely out of my response to those concerns. You say “buying a gun wouldn’t do anything to ease my fears” and I completely agree. Why? For two reasons: one, I don’t have “fear” as you use the word and second, it is not the gun ownership that eases the fears, its knowing that our rights, whether found in the First, Second or any other amendment are not be infringed upon. Now that is something we can be fearful of.
Now, if you want the Star Telegram to publish more pro-gun editorials similar to this one, head on over and offer up a comment supporting the author of this one.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TSRA Legislative Alert

The most recent TSRA Legislative Alert is worth posting as written:


TSRA Members, Friends and Family

This session of the Texas Legislature is a critical one for gun owners and sportsmen! TSRA is working hard to pass landmark legislation protecting our right to self-defense.

Senate Bill 730 by State Senator Glenn Hegar & State Representative Stephen Frost would allow employees to transport and store lawfully-owned firearms secured in their locked, private motor vehicles while parked at work. Many employer policies - often handed down from headquarters located outside of Texas - prohibit the possession of firearms in employees' cars and trucks on company-owned parking areas. These bills would permit Concealed Handgun Licensees (CHLs) to protect themselves during their commutes and would enable sportsmen and competitive shooters to go straight to their hunting leases or shooting ranges from work.

House Bill 1893 by State Representative Joe Driver would allow Concealed Handgun Licensees to protect themselves on the campuses of public colleges and universities. Private postsecondary schools would have to affirmatively "opt-out" of the law, as private businesses are permitted to do.

These bills are under attack by powerful business interests and the anti-gun elite of higher education. They embrace corporate policies that render hard-working Texans defenseless on their drives to and from work. Or they theorize that law-abiding CHLs would suddenly transform into irresponsible criminals if legally allowed to enter a college or university setting. These measures need to pass this year, before the anti-gun extremists in Washington gain momentum that filters down to the state level.

Here's what YOU can do to help pass these important bills this session:

● Contact the members of the House Calendars Committee listed on the attached page and urge them to work to set SB 730 & HB 1893 for a vote by the full House of Representatives. This committee decides if and when the bills get to the House floor for consideration.

● Call and email your State Representative and urge him or her to SUPPORT SB 730 & HB 1893 on the House floor and to OPPOSE any amendments not supported by the sponsors of the bills.

Click to see list that will tell you whether your House member has signed on as a joint- or co-author. Be sure to thank them if they have and urge them to stay the course and pass this landmark pro-self defense legislation.

037
058

Texas House Calendars Committee Members

Texas State Senators
Texas State Representatives

Sincerely,

Alice Tripp
Texas State Rifle Association
Legislative Director

Quite a few bills died in Calendars during the last legislative session. These bills have to make it through Calendars in order to get an open debate on the House Floor.

Oh, and for those of you who have never met her, Alice Tripp is a Texas Treasure who is on the front lines defending our right to keep and bear arms every single day. We are blessed to have her dedication working for us.

Arlen Specter Changes Parties and...

...the only measurable effect on the nation is the decrease in the use of the term "RINO".

Monday, April 27, 2009

We are Scaring the Columnist'

A Star Telegram Columnist, Bob Ray Sandars, used his weekend column to talk about the increased sales in firearms and ammunition.

The title pretty much lets you know what direction he is headed with this column:


So who is it that is really afraid? Firearm owning Texans, or Bob Ray Sanders? After commenting on the increased sales, and spitting out a couple derogatory comments about gun owners in general, Bob Ray states:

...This news is disturbing to me, for I’ve never understood this country’s obsession with guns long after we supposedly conquered the great frontier.

This craziness to own not one gun but many, to have an arsenal instead of a single squirrel- or deer-hunting rifle, to store up years’ worth of ammunition, I simply don’t get.

I must admit this scares me, especially when I hear that some of these people are preparing for war against their own government just in case it gets out of control and someone even thinks about trying to take their guns.

The real scary part came when I checked with the Texas DPS and found there has been a huge spike in applications for licenses to carry a concealed handgun. This news is doubly upsetting when you think that there is a movement in the state to allow concealed weapons on college campuses.
I guess I could have titled this post "Fear and Loathing in Fort Worth Texas".

In trying to make his point, and get one more dig in at gun owners, Bob Ray posts some very encouraging statistics:

In 2008, a total of 104,938 applications were submitted for original and renewed licenses to carry concealed handguns, with the major spike coming after the November election. This year, just through March 13, there have been 31,741 requests for permits to carry, DPS records show.

More than 13,200 applications were received in January, compared with 7,720 in January 2008. And in the first 13 days of March, there were 5,923 requests for licenses.
Almost doubling the number of CHL applications year over year, that is great news.

After that one bright note, he is back to the fear and loathing talk. Maybe not fear, just loathing.

This has long been a country with too many guns, and this latest trend in sales and licenses to carry is disturbing indeed.

It is hard for me to believe that people are that afraid of this president, a possible change in gun laws or a government they argue is becoming more "socialist."

I’m certainly more afraid — of them.
I am fairly certain that Bob Ray does not fear CHL holders in any physical sense. He knows about the federal, state and local background checks all CHL holders have to pass prior to being issued a license. He is also aware of the lack of crime being perpetrated by CHL holders, as he would be the first to comment on it where it to be happening.

I think what Bob Ray might be afraid of is the fact that CHL holders make one heck of a voting block, and we are not going to be voting for the leftist candidates and programs that he supports.

As for the real reasons why more and more folks are getting CHL's and learning how to protect themselves, maybe Bob Ray should read the paper that he writes for. Our justice system is releasing just as many violent goblins as it incarcerates. Violent criminals are walking our streets. A free man or woman does what they can to protect themselves and those they love from violence. A firearm just happens to be the most efficient tool for that particular job.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Throwing Ink Against a Brick Wall (or not)

I often ask those of you who read this blog to contact your representatives and ask them to support or oppose important legislation that has been introduced at either the state or federal level. Please rest assured that I am not asking you to do anything that I am not already doing myself. I have an online fax account (MyFax) that makes faxing personalized letters to my representatives relatively easy. On important issues, my rep's get an email, a phone call and a fax. On issues that are not as important to me, I just go with the email.

I mention all this just to let you know that I do understand that there are times when you feel like you are just throwing ink against a brick wall.

When I contacted Representative Diane Patrick concerning the Employer Parking Lot bill, this was her written response:
Dear Mr. JR:

As your state representative, I appreciate your taking the time to contact my office and voice your concern and support regarding HB 1301 related to an employee's transportation and storage of firearms while on property controlled by an employer.

I appreciate your input and the information you provided on this subject. I will continue to monitor this issue as session progresses. Please feel free to contact me or my office with additional questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Diane Patrick, Ph.D.
Arlington, Pantego, Dalworthington Gardens
Talking with her staffers on the phone was not much better. Don't get me wrong, she has a good team and they are pleasant to talk with, but if she is not going to get into details of how she is leaning on a bill, neither are they.

Here is her response to my communications on the Campus Carry Bill:
Dear Mr. JR,

As your state representative, I appreciate your taking the time to contact my office voicing your support for House Bill 1893, relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses of institutions of higher education. Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention, and I will continue to monitor this issue as session progresses. Please contact our office again in the future if we can be of assistance to you.

Sincerely,

Diane Patrick
As you can see, same letter with the same lack of commitment.

These canned responses are no reason to get discouraged. I know for a fact that Dr. Patrick did change her mind on an important piece of legislation during the last session, and that it was our persistence that helped her to do so. So I am going to keep at it, as are quite a few folks from UTA, the TSRA and others who support these bills.

Not all representatives are as reticent to show their support or opposition to a bill.

In the post "Concealed Carry on College Campus - Texas House Bill Update", I mentioned that Representative Fred Brown from Bryan and College Station (District 14) and Representative Ismael 'Kino' Flores the Mission, Hidalgo and Pharr area (District 36) are no longer supporting campus carry. I asked anyone that were in their districts to contact them and urge them to support campus carry.

At least one of you did, with great results.

TXGunGeek contacted Representative Brown and after receiving a "canned" response, persisted until he had the opportunity to speak with Rep. Brown. You are going to have to go read "Texas Campus Carry Part DUEX" for the "rest of the story".

The Lautenberg Anti Gun Show Bill Text...

...has finally been published.

Head on over and read S 843 for yourself. It is not a very large bill (yet), and reading it will only take a moment or two.

After reading it, ask yourself this: Just how many gun show promoters will be willing to jump through those hoops to put on a gun show? How many folks will be willing to stand in those lines to attend a gun show?

Legislation such as this has nothing to do with closing any mythical "Gun Show Loophole", and everything to do with closing gun shows, period.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Public Hearing on Licensed Concealed Carry on Texas College Campuses

The Senate State Affairs Committee will be holding a public hearing on SB 1164, a bill relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses of institutions of higher education, this coming Monday (April 27).

SB 1164 is the Senate companion to House Bill 1893. If you have been following the campus carry legislation here in Texas, you know that HB 1893 has made it through the Public Safety Committee with a couple of modifications to the "as introduced" bill. HB 1893 is now in the Calendars Committee.

Back to the Senate Bill. It is important that we contact the Senators on the State Affairs Committee and ask them to support SB 1164. The anti's are working hard to defeat these bills, we have to work harder to see them through.

Committee Members are:

Senator Robert Duncan (Chair)

Senator Bob Deuell (Vice Chair)

Senator John Carona

Senator Rodney Ellis

Senator Troy Fraser

Senator Chris Harris

Senator Mike Jackson

Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr

Senator Leticia Van de Putte

Take a few moments, write up a basic fax supporting campus carry, and send it off to these Senators.

Here is the rough draft of what I am sending the Republican members of the committee:

Dear Senator Duncan:

I am writing you today to ask for your support of SB 1164, a bill “Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses of institutions of higher education”.

The concept of “Gun Free School Zones” is a failure. It is time we put this experiment in futility aside and allowed the responsible adults who have obtained a Texas Concealed Handgun License the opportunity to efficiently and effectively defend themselves, even on college campuses. The invisible line that prohibits the responsible CHL holder from carrying a firearm on campus does nothing to deter those with an evil intent from doing so.

Your Republican constituents (along with many Democrats) want you to support this legislation. Passing a campus carry bill is so important that mention of it is made in the Texas Republican Party Platform:

“We believe the Legislature should enact legislation: allowing: Concealed Handgun License holders to carry concealed weapons on publicly owned institutions of learning…”

Please support SB 1164

Sincerely,

JR
Quick, simple and to the point.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Update on the Lautenberg Anti Gun Show Bill

The text of the bill is not yet posted, but we do have a bill number to identify it. S. 843 is "A bill to establish background check procedures for gun shows."

S. 843 was introduced with 11 Cosponsors:

Sen Cardin, Benjamin L.

Sen Durbin, Richard

Sen Feinstein, Dianne

Sen Gillibrand, Kirsten E. (isn't this the same Kirsten Gillibrand everyone was sending money to because she was such a pro-gun Democrat?)

Sen Kennedy, Edward M.

Sen Kerry, John F.

Sen Levin, Carl

Sen Menendez, Robert

Sen Reed, Jack

Sen Schumer, Charles E.

Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon

This is going to be tough. For the past year or so the media has been spewing forth the lie that American Gun Shows are helping arm Mexican Drug Gangs. The Republican candidate for president in the last election won the Republican Primaries as an unrepentant supporter of legislation such as this. Well, not just a supporter, but an advocate who had introduced a similar bill not that very long ago.

More as I get it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The First Serious...

...piece of Federal anti-gun legislation for this session has been introduced in the United States Senate.

Senator Frank Lautenberg has introduced the "Gun Show Background Check Act of 2009".

Thomas does not have it listed yet, but from the presser it sounds as bad as can be expected.

H/T to Say Uncle

Monday, April 20, 2009

Concealed Carry on College Campus - Texas House Bill Update

When I reported that we were One Step Closer to Campus Carry, the committee substitute for the bill that had been sent on to the Calendars Committee had not yet been published. That was taken care of last week.

The "As Introduced" version of HB 1893 can be found here. The "Committee Substitute" that has been sent on to Calendars can be found here. (both files are .pdf).

The changes to the bill basically accomplish two things.

First, the changed bill allows private or independent institution of higher education to set their own policies concerning allowing CHL holders to carry firearms on campus.

Second, the changes grant certain immunities against liability for campuses that do allow licensed concealed carry.

I am going to cover the first change, allowing private or independent institution of higher education to set their own policies concerning allowing CHL holders to carry firearms on campus.

Here is the text from the bill:

(e) A private or independent institution of higher education in this state may, after consulting with students, staff, and faculty of the institution, establish rules, regulations, or other provisions prohibiting license holders from carrying handguns on premises that are owned or operated by the institution and located on the campus of the institution. For purposes of this subsection, "premises" has the meaning assigned by Section 46.035,Penal Code.
I understand that this verbiage was inserted to satisfy the private property rights crowd. This change is not as it appears at first glance. Basically it puts private or independent institutions of higher education on the same footing as private businesses, with a couple of very important differences.

Most noticeable is the fact that a private business does not have to consult with its employees before establishing rule and regulations that prohibit license holders from carrying handguns on company property.

The next difference between a private or independent institution of higher education, and a private business, can be determined from an earlier paragraph in the bill:

(c) Except as provided by Subsection (e), an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in this state may not adopt any rule, regulation, or other provision prohibiting license holders from carrying handguns on the campus of the institution.
Okay now, this is a test of your Texas CHL law legalese. Do you see where a CHL holding employee of a private or independent college will be treated different than an employee of a private business under current law?

I'll let you think about it for awhile before I post the answer in the comments.

Note: PC 30.06 was brought up in comments to an earlier post. If a college decides to prohibit CHL holders from carrying firearms in the buildings of that facility, that college would still be required to inform CHL holders of that fact via PC 30.06.

Note #2: Two co-sponsors of HB 1893 have changed their minds and have dropped off of the bill.

Representative Fred Brown from Bryan and College Station (District 14) and Representative Ismael 'Kino' Flores the Mission, Hidalgo and Pharr area (District 36) are no longer supporting campus carry. If you are in their districts, you just might want to give them a call and let them know your thoughts on this issue. Remember to be polite, professional and stead fast in your communications.

I Have a...

...bit of a lung issue that makes getting a chest cold an event. Thursday evening I could feel a cold getting it's claws into my lungs and have been down for the count since. I was able to get a couple of hours in at work this morning, but that was it. I posted payroll for my guys and replaced contacts in a 150hp motor starter before I ran out of gas.

It really is not big deal, just a cold, but man I sure hate colds.

On a positive note it is a beautiful day, I have finches playing around in the vines outside the office window, and I do feel better than I have in days.

Friday, April 17, 2009

As Promised...

...some gun related images from the Tea Party Rally:









Go here to view all the images I took at this rally.

In comments to an earlier post on the Arlington Tea Party, Paul had a couple important observations that are worth sharing now:

I went to the tea party and was impressed by the crowd. I observed for the first time in history, normal people who work for a living actually demonstrate.

After my return to this country from Vietnam, I saw the great unwashed demonstrators of the Vietnam era, the unemployed, and so called students doing their thing just because they had free time and nothing better to do or because of personal cowardice.

I also noted when people left they did not leave all their trash cluttering the grounds. These are the type of people that made America great and will keep America great. Sory I missed you, keep up the good work
The people who showed up to the Tea Parties are just folk. No one was bussed in from homeless shelters to boost attendance. The people at these rallies either had to take time off from work, or wait until they got off of work to attend. The Arlington rally started at 4:30, people were still showing up in droves at 5:45. The fire engine did not have to flake out any fire hose to keep the crowds in check. No riot gear was required by the police. When the rally was over, the grounds were clean. We may be upset with the way things are going, but we are still good and decent folk who just want our voices heard.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Arlington Tea Party AAR

Here it is, the after action report on the Arlington Tea Party.

We have all seen and heard of the negative, sloppy and piss poor coverage of the Tea Party Rallies by some news stations and reporters. We expected as much and hopefully this expectation did not become a self fulfilling prophesy in some instances. With this in mind, V and I were standing near CBS 11 reporter Steve Pickett (hey Steve, your profile needs updating) as he covered the Tea Party in Arlington. Here is what he had to say:

video

As you can see, Steve Pickett and CBS 11 did a pretty good job of covering the Tea Parties during the 5:00 edition of the news.

One thing I noticed when we arrived at the park was the large police presence. They had set up a loose perimeter around the pavilion where the speakers were set to pontificate. I'm not sure what they were expecting, but the folks who showed up for this rally were not there to cause any trouble.

Now for some images from the rally.

This first image is from after the speakers while folks were walking to Green Oaks to draw attention to the the rally. I am putting this image first because I promised these young ladies that I would post it on the blog.

Click on any image for a larger version.

Now for some pictures of the crowd at the pavilion:



A diverse group of people here to let our politicians know just how we feel about the way things are going.

Here are some of the signs:





In this last image you can see the lone Obama supporter at the rally. One thing you can say about him is that he is a true believer. He honestly believes that the $10 Trillion in proposed deficit spending will improve the economy and that our taxes have not been, nor will not be, increased. I spoke with him for a bit and ended up thanking him for showing up for the crowd pictures. Reader Bob S. spent a bit more time with him to no avail. You can not change the mind of a true believer.

I have a couple of good images of Governor Perry and Representative Joe Barton that I should share:


And one that I am going to throw in just for the heck of it:

Take a guess at who she is, go on, guess.

My dinner is ready so the Second Amendment related images from the rally will have to wait.

If you want to watch Governor Perry's or Representative Barton's speeches, you can view them at the official Arlington Tea Party web site.

Edit: Go here to see all the images I took at the rally. If one of these images is of you, and you want a copy of the hi-rez version of the image, shoot me an email.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We Have Just...

...gotten home from dinner with friends following the Arlington Tax Day Tea Party.

It is time for bed. I have lots of images of the folks at the Tea Party and a few thoughts on the event. Just don't have time to post them tonight.

So, until tomorrow, good eve.

The #2 Google Hit...

...for the search terms:


I hope that what they found is what they were looking for.

From the Mail Bag

Received a good question in this morning's email:

"Whats the ruling on CHL's at political protests? Do you know?"
The short answer to the first question is that there is no ruling on CHL's at political protests here in Texas.

The longer answer can be found in the Texas Penal Code, the appropriate sections are:

Penal Code Section 46.02 - Unlawful Carrying Weapons

Penal Code Section 46.03 - Places Weapons Prohibited

Penal Code Section 46.035 - Unlawful Carrying of Handgun by License Holder

In PC 46.03 we can find the list of general prohibited places:

46.03 (a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses or goes with a firearm, illegal knife, club, or prohibited weapon listed in Section 46.05(a):

(1) on the physical premises of a school or educational institution, any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted, or a passenger transportation vehicle of a school or educational institution, whether the school or educational institution is public or private, unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the institution;

(2) on the premises of a polling place on the day of an election or while early voting is in progress;

(3) on the premises of any government court or offices utilized by the court, unless pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the court;

(4) on the premises of a racetrack;

(5) in or into a secured area of an airport; or

(6) within 1,000 feet of premises the location of which is designated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as a place of execution under Article 43.19, Code of Criminal Procedure, on a day that a sentence of death is set to be imposed on the designated premises...
PC 46.035 relates specifically to CHL holders:

46.035 a) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder carries a handgun on or about the license holder's person under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, and intentionally fails to conceal the handgun.

(b) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed, on or about the license holder's person:

(1) on the premises of a business that has a permit or license issued under Chapter 25, 28, 32, 69, or 74, Alcoholic Beverage Code, if the business derives 51 percent or more of its income from the sale or service of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, as determined by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission under Section 104.06, Alcoholic Beverage Code;

(2) on the premises where a high school, collegiate, or professional sporting event or interscholastic event is taking place, unless the license holder is a participant in the event and a handgun is used in the event;

(3) on the premises of a correctional facility;

(4) on the premises of a hospital licensed under Chapter 241, Health and Safety Code, or on the premises of a nursing home licensed under Chapter 242, Health and Safety Code, unless the license holder has written authorization of the hospital or nursing home administration, as appropriate;

(5) in an amusement park; or

(6) on the premises of a church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship.

(c) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed, at any meeting of a governmental entity.

(d) A license holder commits an offense if, while intoxicated, the license holder carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed.
Of course, every time we talk about PC 46.035, we have to include 46.035(i):

(i) Subsections (b)(4), (b)(5), (b)(6), and (c) do not apply if the actor was not given effective notice under Section 30.06.
46.035(i) states that hospitals, churches, amusement parks and .gov meetings have to be properly posted IAW 30.06 to prohibit CHL holders access.

So yes, you can carry under authority of your CHL so long as the protest is not taking place in a location that is otherwise prohibited.

Here is the quick reference for Texas Concealed Handgun Laws and Selected Statutes (.pdf)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Last Week I...

...reported that we were One Step Closer to Campus Carry. HB 1893, a bill "Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses of institutions of higher education", had made it through the House Public Safety Committee.

What I did not know at the time was that the bill did not get through the committee as introduced, there was a committee substitute. Here we are seven days later and the committee substitute has not been posted on the Texas Legislature Online website. The minutes of the committee meeting have been posted, so we can see how the voting went:
HB 1893

The chair laid out HB 1893 as pending business.

The chair recognized Representative Driver to explain the measure.

Representative Driver offered a complete committee substitute.

The committee substitute was adopted without objection.

Representative Burnam offered an amendment to the committee substitute.

The amendment was withdrawn without objection.

(Representative Mallory Caraway now present.)

Representative King, Phil moved that HB 1893, as substituted, be reported favorably to the full house with the recommendation that it do pass and be printed. The motion prevailed by the following record vote:

Ayes: Representatives Merritt; Frost; Driver; King, Phil; Lewis (5).

Nays: Representatives Burnam; Mallory Caraway; Rodriguez (3).

Present, Not Voting: None (0).

Absent: Representative Vo (1).
Note that Representative Hubert Vo was absent for this vote. Rep. Vo (from Houston) left the meeting before his vote could be tallied.

The fact that Representative Joe Driver did not object to the committee substitute indicates that the changes did not adversely affect the bill to any major extent.

The TSRA reports that the substitute:

The committee substitute for HB 1893 contains language de-criminalizing the carrying of a handgun by a CHL on the campus of either a public or private institution of higher education. It also prevents public or private colleges and universities from adopting and enforcing administrative sanctions against faculty, employees and students who are CHLs that carry on campus -- except that the governing bodies of private institutions may adopt administrative rules and regulations affecting carrying by CHLs in buildings only (not parking lots or grounds) after consulting with faculty, staff and students.
The exemption for private universities is disappointing. The fact that a hearing must be held prior to that exemption is a plus. That is our opportunity to make the university state, on the record, their obligation to protect the lives and well being of each and every individual on campus property. Their lawyers are not going to like that one bit.

The Senate version of the Campus Carry bill remains unchanged. We still have a slim chance of getting the introduced version of this bill to a vote. The Senate version is in the State Affairs Committee.

Yet Another Right Wing Extremist

I heard this on the radio during lunch today and was hoping I could find it when I got home. Thanks to SondraK, I did.

Governor Rick Perry of Texas has joined with state legislators to push for a resolution confirming the 10th Amendment rights of states such as Texas against the encroachment of federal government power.

According to Newsroom America:

"'Millions of Texans are tired of Washington, D.C. trying to come down here to tell us how to run Texas,' Perry said in a speech supporting House Concurrent Resolution 50.

"'I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion inton the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state,' he continued. 'That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm states' rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

"'I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union,' he said."

That's my Governor. Now that he has dropped the Trans Texas Corridor crud, he is high on my list of favorite politicians.

Rumor has it that he will be at the Arlington Tea Party at 5:30 to follow Representative Joe Barton on the pavilion stage.

Edit to add the video of Rick Perry:

Video thanks to Jason

Tea Party Poster Bleg

This is my idea for a Tea Party Poster.


Now how do I make it large enough to put on a poster, and keep the image sharp enough to look good?

Edit: Robb has a great "Maximize Your Freedom" bumper sticker here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

We Have Lost Another Good Man


From From Today’s Outdoor Wire:

On a completely unrelated note, the shooting world lost one of its best-known names last week. Former Los Angeles County Deputy Jack Weaver, 80, died Tuesday in Carson City. Weaver, for those of you not familiar with the name, is the man for whom the Weaver Shooting Stance is named.
H/T to Sebastian. The above image is from The Weaver Stance.

Gun control and saving Captain Phillips (Part 1)

By Howard Nemerov, the Austin Gun Rights Examiner:

On Wednesday, April 8, 2009, Somalian pirates attempted to hijack the merchant ship Maersk Alabama. Its crew repelled the invaders, but their captain was captured and held hostage until rescued yesterday by the U.S. Navy. These are the basic facts of the story. But as usual, there were many facts lurking beneath the surface which were ignored by Old Media in their rush to titillate us with drama on the high seas. These missing facts teach an extremely important truth.
Head on over and give this article a read, you will be looking forward to Part 2.

Right Wing Fringe Kooks


Got this one in the email from Fred. It goes hand in hand with what the Star Telegram columnist called us folks who were planning on attending Tea Parties this Wednesday.

Quite a few of my circle of friends are attending Tea Parties this week. Each and every one of these folks have a job, most have either raised families or are in the process of raising a family. Many have CHL's and none of them have ever gone out and actively protested a thing in their lives.

Getting marginalized and called names by the Media is not going over very well with them, not well at all.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

How the Star-Telegram Sees the Tax Day Tea Parties

Bud Kennedy of the Star-Telegram has plenty to say about the upcoming Tea Parties:


...From its beginnings as an anti-tax protest for people who don’t understand how much of our North Texas economy depends on federal spending, the April 15 event has evolved into a festival for the fringe.
Well Bud, I wonder if you understand just how the cost of the stimulus package, the bailout packages, the omnibus spending bills and the Administrations 10 year, $10 trillion in new debt plan will bankrupt our children and grandchildren?

Hey Bud... don't you understand that much of the federal spending here in North Texas is on advanced weapons projects such as the F-22 Raptor, a project that is on the block to be canceled by this Administration?

Here is a homework lesson for you Bud. Do a bit of actual research and try to come up with one instance where a nation has taxed it's citizens into prosperity. Just one instance Bud, think you can do it?

If opposing a proven failed system makes me a member of "the fringe", then so be it.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Tax Day Tea Party Update

V and I had planned on attending the Dallas Tax Day Tea Party. At the time when we were deciding on which tea party to attend, there was no tea party planned locally. That has changed.

There is now an Arlington Tax Day Tea Party. That is super cool.

Arlington TEA Party Date and Location
DATE: April 15, 2009
TIME: 4:30 to 7:30 pm
LOCATION:
River Legacy Park
Main Pavilion
701 NW Green Oaks Bl at Cooper
Arlington, TX 76006
What makes it even better is that Congressman Joe Barton will be speaking at the Arlington Tea Party!

Go here for more information.

Join us won't ya?

Torrance asks...

...freeman or slave?

Head on over and give it a read.

One Step Closer to Campus Carry

Today is a keynote day in our efforts to expand our right to keep and bear arms in Texas. HB 1893, a bill "Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns on the campuses of institutions of higher education", has made it through the House Public Safety Committee.

From the TSRA:


TSRA members, family and friends, you made it happen!

On Wednesday afternoon, April 8th, the House Committee on Public Safety voted out HB 1893, TSRA-backed legislation sponsored by Rep. Joe Driver (R) Garland that would allow Concealed Handgun Licensees to protect themselves on college and university campuses, by a 5-3 vote.

The committee agreed that adult students, faculty and staff who are 21 or older, who have passed extensive background checks, who have completed firearms training courses and who have been issued a concealed handgun license by the State of Texas should be able to protect themselves in campus settings just like they are legally able to do almost anywhere else in the state. The right to personal protection should not be denied to a licensee just because he or she studies, works or lives on a college or university campus.

HB 1893 next moves to House Calendars Committee to be set for debate on the House floor.

Please go to TSRA.com and click on the HB 1893 line. If your State Representative is a committee member and/or a co-author on HB 1893, take a minute and call or send email to thank them for supporting this important legislation.

If your State Representative isn't on the list, contact and urge that person to support HB 1893 when it comes to the floor of the Texas House.

CHLs need your help!
This is awesome news, a major hurdle has been crossed.

The minutes of the meeting have not yet been posted. When they do I'll be sure to post just exactly who voted how. I am sure that I can guess how the vote went, but will verify before posting.

It is time to contact your Texas House Representative and ask them to support HB 1893. While you are at it, you may want to contact the members of the Calendars Committee and let them know that you want this bill to see the house floor soon.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Botched SWAT and Paramilitary Police Raids

We hear about these raids more and more often. A SWAT team raids the wrong house, someone is killed or seriously injured. Does it just seem to happen fairly often, or are these botched raids a reality.

Here is an interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko.

The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night.

But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map below aims to refute that notion.
An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

Botched Paramilitary Police Raids


Key

An executive summery of the book "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America".

Americans have long maintained that a man’s home is his castle and that he has the right to defend it from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, that right may be disappearing. Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.

These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects.

This paper presents a history and overview of the issue of paramilitary drug raids, provides an extensive catalogue of abuses and mistaken raids, and offers recommendations for reform.
Click here for more information.

H/T to Fits for the idea.

Steve Has...

...done a excellent job of filtering out the facts of the Gunz in Mexico issue.


Head on over and give it a read. Maybe now that a blogger has done the digging, the MSM can report the facts?

Nah...

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Fox News is Catching up With Bloggers on the American Gunz in Mexico Farce

And it is about time.

From Fox News:

By William La Jeunesse and Maxim Lott


EXCLUSIVE: You've heard this shocking "fact" before -- on TV and radio, in newspapers, on the Internet and from the highest politicians in the land: 90 percent of the weapons used to commit crimes in Mexico come from the United States.

-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it to reporters on a flight to Mexico City.

-- CBS newsman Bob Schieffer referred to it while interviewing President Obama.

-- California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said at a Senate hearing: "It is unacceptable to have 90 percent of the guns that are picked up in Mexico and used to shoot judges, police officers and mayors ... come from the United States."

-- William Hoover, assistant director for field operations at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, testified in the House of Representatives that "there is more than enough evidence to indicate that over 90 percent of the firearms that have either been recovered in, or interdicted in transport to Mexico, originated from various sources within the United States."

There's just one problem with the 90 percent "statistic" and it's a big one:

It's just not true.

In fact, it's not even close. The fact is, only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the U.S....
Only 17% traced to the United States. I wonder how many of those 17% went South across the border illegally, and how many were legally sold by American companies to the Mexican military and various police forces?

So where are the guns used by the cartels coming from?

So, if not from the U.S., where do they come from? There are a variety of sources:

-- The Black Market. Mexico is a virtual arms bazaar, with fragmentation grenades from South Korea, AK-47s from China, and shoulder-fired rocket launchers from Spain, Israel and former Soviet bloc manufacturers.

-- Russian crime organizations. Interpol says Russian Mafia groups such as Poldolskaya and Moscow-based Solntsevskaya are actively trafficking drugs and arms in Mexico.

- South America. During the late 1990s, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) established a clandestine arms smuggling and drug trafficking partnership with the Tijuana cartel, according to the Federal Research Division report from the Library of Congress.

-- Asia. According to a 2006 Amnesty International Report, China has provided arms to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Chinese assault weapons and Korean explosives have been recovered in Mexico.

-- The Mexican Army. More than 150,000 soldiers deserted in the last six years, according to Mexican Congressman Robert Badillo. Many took their weapons with them, including the standard issue M-16 assault rifle made in Belgium.

-- Guatemala. U.S. intelligence agencies say traffickers move immigrants, stolen cars, guns and drugs, including most of America's cocaine, along the porous Mexican-Guatemalan border. On March 27, La Hora, a Guatemalan newspaper, reported that police seized 500 grenades and a load of AK-47s on the border. Police say the cache was transported by a Mexican drug cartel operating out of Ixcan, a border town.
It is nice to see a major news network finally shining a light on the facts about the firearms in use by the Mexican Drug Gangs. Gun bloggers have been on the case for quite awhile, my first post in the issue was last June.

Read the whole article, it is well worth your while.

H/T to Fred, who sent me an email linking to this article and his comments earlier today.

Also commenting on this news article are:

FireHand with The Mexican Gun Lie is finally being talked about as such.

Syd has Your Nose Is Growing: The 90% Myth.

Sebastian chims in with Media Gets it Right.

Thirdpower notes that Fox News calls out the Mexico Gun Myth.

45superman headlines Mexico: the big lie.

David has a must read article, Do U.S. government arms exports play a part in arming Mexican cartels?, that I believe hit the press near the same time as the Fox News one did.

Uncle notes that the 90% Myth Makes News.

David notices that Yesterday it was a Priority. Today it's a Red Herring.

Rustmeister goes long with The US, Mexico, and Guns - Updated by Fox News, another good read you should check out.

So why the near year long media blitz on the whole "Americans are supplying guns to the Mexican Drug Gangs" meme? The media blitz over all the supposed American guns making their way into Mexican Gangbanger hands has been a well orchestrated publicity stunt. The purpose behind all this media coverage that plays fast and loose with the facts is to soften up the public and garner acceptance to more restrictive gun control laws that include an AWB and an end to private sales of firearms.

Note that this push to blame the violence and deaths South of our border on American guns started well before the elections. The ATF has been leading the charge on this misinformation campaign that remains in force through a leadership change. Maximum Mike got it started, Eric Holder continues the ruse.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009