Kaine and Abel

The latest VCDL alert reveals that Governor Tim Kaine…the guy who virtually got on his knees and begged gun owners in Virginia to support him for election…has come out against the General Assembly’s “affection for firearms” and has bemoaned the inability of the stormtroopers to “monitor” everyone’s “cache” of ammunition.

The alert conveniently provided a link to Governor Kaine’s web feedback tool.

Here’s the message I sent:

“Tim Kaine said Tuesday he is hopeful the General Assembly will overcome its affection for firearms “

Wow. You attitude sure has changed since the election campaign now hasn’t it? What happened to your ire at people using the VT tragedy for political purposes? That was pretty short lived too.

The General Assembly has “an affection” for firearms? What BS. If their constituents weren’t supporters of freedom and the natural right to keep and bear arms that is protected by both the US and State Constitutiions, don’t you think that their view might be a little different? The General Assembly reflects the “affections” and desires of the people whom they represent.

When you were running for governor, you actively sought the vote of Virginia Gun Owners. Now that you are in office, are you that quick to renege on the issue?

So are you an honorable man or just an opportunist? Think about that long and hard before you seek any legislation regarding this issue because if you have aspirations for a further career in politics you can rest assured that we take such matters seriously and WE WILL NOT FORGET.

I am especially concerned about your statements regarding ammunition. How are you going to enforce limits? Have police “spot check” gun owners homes? Restrict the sale of ammunition? Require registration? Many people (myself included) purchase ammunition in bulk and through mail order to save money. People who reload ammunition themselves may have several thousand rounds in various calibers made up at any given time.

How, exactly, would ammunition restrictions be enacted and how, exactly would it have stopped the perpetrator at VT from doing what he did? He broke federal laws when he attempted to remove the serial numbers from his firearms. He broke school regulations when he took his guns on campus. He broke moral, religious, state, federal and every other law when he killed innocent people with his guns. Do you really believe that he would have said to himself “Oh, I can’t carry that much ammo, it’s against the law”?

What planet do you live on?

So far, as far as I can tell, this panel has been nothing more than a political dog and pony show designed to lend legitimacy to the forwarding of a political (anti-gun) agenda. If it is truly a panel in search of truth, perhaps some supporters of gun rights (Criminologist Dr. Gary Kleck or maybe Professor Don Kates for example) should be consulted. Perhaps the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League, the NRA, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation should be allowed to testify. Limiting testimony to only one side of an argument is not “seeking truth”, it is seeking an echo chamber and avoiding truth for political purposes.

As I said before, we are watching. And we will not forget.

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Letter to my Delegate

I mentioned a couple of days ago that MY delegate was the swing vote that killed the bill that would have enabled Virginia Tech Students to carry lawful weapons on campus.

Her name is Paula Miller. I know that there has been a lot of talk about HB1572…that was actually the bill from the session before last. It was killed by the same committee with the same vote in 2006. The virtually identical bill that was killed in committee in 2007 was HB2300.

Now that I’ve clarified that, here’s the letter I sent to my delegate:

Ms. Miller,

Are you yet satisfied that college and university administrators have definitively demonstrated that they are not up to the task which they have arrogantly taken upon themselves?

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/V/VIRGINIA_TECH_SHOOTING?SITE=VANOV&SECTION=STATE

That task, of course, is assuming responsibility for the personal defense of each one of their students.

How many times must they demonstrate that they CANNOT protect their students from someone who, through criminal intent or psychosis, is determined to do them harm?

I must admit that I am VERY upset about this and the first draft of this letter was not nearly as…um…civil. As the father of a former Virginia Tech student and the father and father-in-law of two current students in Virginia universities, I am deeply disturbed by the callous disregard that Virginia college and university administrators have thus far displayed for their students and am equally disturbed by my elected representative’s complicity in the situation.

How many students must be injured or killed before the current status of college campuses as “target rich environments:” for criminals and the mentally unbalanced is alleviated?

I wonder, if HB2300…you know, the bill that would have allowed adult college students who have undergone the requisite background checks and training to obtain a Virginia Concealed Handgun permit to carry their defensive arms on campus…the one that came before your subcommittee…the one that you were the swing vote on…the one that I wrote to you about back in January…the one that you decided to kill…would you still vote the same way today?

Inquiring voters want to know.

She replied:

Mr. Stone:

Thank you for your email.
I am equally disturbed by the tragic events at Virginia Tech today.
I share your concern with campus security. But before we can assess blame for this situation we need to have a full investigation.

The facts are not in.
The only thing I want to do right now is to keep those students and families in my prayers.

Del. Paula Miller

P.S. That bill you refer to-HB 2300: The Republican Leadership decided on Feb. 6th not to bring the bill back for a vote.

The first part looks like a canned response. She didn’t even mention my point, it seemed to be addressing what she EXPECTED any letters she got to be addressing…poor campus security and assigning blame for it.

The P.S., however, was aimed directly at my point.

My response to her:

Ms. Miller,

Thank you for your response.

I absolutely agree that there are things that need to be investigated. For instance: Why was the campus not shut down after the first reported shooting? With the gunman still on the loose, why were the faculty and staff not notified about the danger and why was the campus not saturated with police officers searching for the killer? Where were those administrators who assure us that the forcibly disarmed students are safe and secure? It’s easy to mutter meaningless platitudes and issue empty assurances when it is not YOUR butt on the line and when you know that you will not be held accountable when your empty promises are demonstrated to have been just that.

The point, and the issue that you so deftly evaded is this: When are we going to recognize the fact that we CANNOT prevent evil people from performing evil deeds. That person was able to go from room to room, slaughtering innocents at his leisure with NO CONCERN that he would be opposed. No student or faculty member was capable of mounting any type of credible defense. WHY?

While watching the news coverage this morning I heard a common theme: one of the college students on the campus said something to the effect of “I didn’t think anything like this would ever happen here.”

How many mass killings have you heard about in this country over the past 20 years? Granted, it is a rare occurrence, but it does happen does it not? Even disregarding this particular type of incident, how many violent crimes are reported EACH and EVERY day on the news?

How many times in the past 20 years have you heard about a citizen licensed to carry a concealed weapon commit violent crimes? Once, twice maybe?

Yet, those of us who take the security of ourselves and our families seriously are considered “paranoid”. Tell me: who is more paranoid, the person who believes that law abiding citizens should have the means to defend themselves against incidents that occur every day, or the person who fears something that rarely, if ever, occurs…namely a law abiding, armed citizen spontaneously becoming a raving murderer?

Furthermore, where does this particular type of incident ALWAYS occur? In areas where carrying of defensive arms by private citizens is prohibited. Coincidence? I think not. How many of these types of incidents would have been prevented had the perpetrator believed that he might be resisted by armed citizens? How many would have been stopped after the first few casualties had someone…ANYONE been armed and prepared to resist?

Even in maximum security prisons, evil people somehow seem to be able to procure weapons. There is NO level of security that can EVER guarantee safety. Especially not on an open environment like a college campus. Have you ever visited Virginia Tech? My daughter attended there, I’ve been there many times. It is wide open. Please explain to me how that campus could ever be made impregnable to invasion by persons intent on terror and murder? It is ridiculous to even imagine that the students there are “safe and secure” as the administrators assure us.

I could go on and on about this; but someone once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Tell me, when are we going to end this insanity? Rendering law abiding citizens defenseless and trusting in fate, God and the goodwill of humanity to protect them is insanity. I can think of no other way to describe it.

As far as your deflection of responsibility for your vote. I agree that the Republicans in Richmond bear much responsibility for letting that bill die; but YOU are my delegate, not them. I cannot hold someone who does not represent me, and for whom I cannot and did not vote, responsible for their actions…I can only hold YOU responsible. I am not a single issue voter by any means, but believe me, I take this issue seriously because it directly impacts the safety and well being of two beloved family members who are placed in jeopardy every time they are required to go to school as defenseless as sheep.

Addressing your valid point about Republican cowardice: this issue is a controversial one and the Republican leadership would like nothing more each year than for it, and others like it, to just go away rather than being forced to go on record on it. Congratulations on being culpable in allowing them to avoid their responsibilities. Do you think it a coincidence that, in a majority Republican legislature, there are committees that are majority Democrat? Do you think it a coincidence that the most controversial bills…the ones that cowardly Republicans would like to avoid addressing on the record…end up on those committees’ dockets? How convenient for them that these controversial bills are killed in committee and they are not forced to go on record in reference to them. The bottom line is that they were allowed to skirt this issue because YOUR vote in committee allowed them to. Good job.

I’m going to end this now because my emotions are getting a bit heated again.

As angry as I am about this, I would like to say that I have nothing against you personally. I am sure that you were voting your conscience when you voted the way you did on HB 2300. I am convinced that you are a good person and I’m sure that you truly do have the best interests of your constituents and Virginia’s students at heart. I simply believe, at the most basic and fundamental levels of my being, that you are simply wrong about this. I urge you….I BEG you, to reconsider your position on this issue. Study the facts. Study the history. Check your emotions at the door. Forget the “conventional wisdom” that leads you to conclusions that the facts and the history DO NOT SUPPORT. Law abiding ADULT college students are no less deserving of their God given right to self defense than any other citizen of the state of Virginia.

She has, to date, declined to continue the conversation.

I can only say that the Republican Party in Virgina is incompetent beyond belief. In a state as conservative as this, they cannot consistently produce candidates at even the LOCAL level that are capable of running a credible campaign. We’ve had two consecutive Democrat Governors because the Republican candidates were utterly incompetent in running their campaigns. With that said, if the Republican (or Libertarian for that matter) party ever fields a candidate that isn’t an utter boor to run against Delegate Miller, I will vote for them in a heartbeat. Until that day, however, I’m stuck with the competent representative with whom’s positions I disagree on a regular basis. The Irony.

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Legislative letter tool

I signed up for Brady Campaign alerts a while back in order to keep up with what is going on on the Dark Side.

They thoughtfully provided a handy tool to email President Bush, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and your own Senators and Representative.

I wasn’t too enamored with the suggested letter that they provided:

I am outraged by this week’s tragedy at Virginia Tech. It is much too easy for the wrong people to get deadly weapons in this country.

It is time for you to take steps to end gun violence to prevent tragedies like the one at Virginia Tech.

I support strong gun laws such as banning military style assault weapons with high capacity ammunitions clips, requiring Brady background checks on all gun sales, and stopping large-volume guns sales that supply gun traffikers. So should you.

What are you going to do to stop gun violence in America?

So I took the liberty of editing it somewhat before sending it off:



Click to Super-Size

I thought it was quite thoughtful of them to provide such an easy tool with which to contact our legislators. What do you think?

Update:

I was a little concerned that the “edit your letter before you send it” was just a ruse and that the letter sent would be the Brady’s version no matter what I typed in there.

My fears have been laid to rest: I’ve already received a canned “thank you for your correspondence” reply from my Representative which included the text of my original letter.

It was exactly what I typed into the form. I can now confidently recommend that we gunnies can use Brady’s “email our government officials” tool…as long as you remember to appropriately edit the text of the email to be sent.

I still think it was very considerate of them to spend their money providing such a useful tool for us. Thanks Sarah and Paul.

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Virginia Tech

My daughter attended VA Tech when she was a college student.

My Son and Daughter in Law are both students attending Virginia Colleges, both of which prohibit firearms even to permit holders.

The VCDL tried to get these policies overturned as a couple of bloggers have noted.

It just so happens that MY representative was the swing vote on the committee that killed the bills that would have enabled these Tech students to defend themselves.

I know that Saltatus Cruoris is a tactic in which the Dark Side engages, but in this particular case, I have a vested interest.

I conversed with my delegate about the issue back in January before the bills were killed in her committee and I expressed my displeasure to her at the time.

This morning, as soon as I heard the news, I sent her a polite (under the circumstances) email about it. After I see where this conversation goes, I plan to post the letter and any subsequent correspondence.

In a nutshell: I’m pissed.

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Ever wonder

why the general public doesn’t know the difference between a semi-auto and an automatic weapon?

I was watching Court TV last night and “Under Fire: Deadliest Police Shootouts” was on.

They were portraying a California incident in which a man called 911 from outside a liquor store in an effort to lure the police into an ambush. The narrator identified the firearm used as an SKS, a Police representative was shown in an interview opining that “these weapons are only good for killing people”.

Then they started the video, apparently from a parking lot security camera, with the sound of automatic weapons fire dubbed in.

Here is the letter I sent to Court TV regarding the show, I’ll update if I get a reply.

I used to enjoy the shows on Court TV. In last night’s episode (April 5, 2007, 8:30 pm) of Under Fire, however, your credibility was stretched to the limit and I’m unsure whether I can depend upon your reality based shows to provide factual information.

The problem lies in the audio track that was dubbed over the segment regarding the California incident in which a man “ambushed” the police outside a liquor store.

The narrator breathlessly describes the “assault weapon” used and identifies it as an SKS; however, the audio dubbed over the incident is of sustained, fully automatic “machine gun” fire.

Anyone who knows anything about firearms knows that the SKS was never produced in a form capable of fully automatic fire and that the vast majority of them have an ammunition capacity limited to 10 rounds in a fixed box magazine. Sustained, fully automatic fire, as your audio track implied, is impossible with this firearm.

I realize that the audio tracks are dubbed over silent video to add excitement to the viewing experience, but some people may not understand that. The fact that the scenes are portrayed as actual, at no point is it indicated that the audio is not original, may lead some uneducated viewers to assume that the portrayal is accurate.

This type of egregiously misleading portrayal is nothing more than propaganda. It is used to dupe the public into thinking that semi-automatic civilian firearms are equivalent to fully automatic modern, military arms. It is nothing more than a lie.

Is your network in the business of entertainment and information, or propaganda?

Furthermore, one Police Officer involved in the incident made the comment that these types of weapons are “made to kill people” and are good for nothing else.

During the segment, however, it was portrayed that the police involved had AR-15 rifles. If these types of weapons are “made for killing people” then why do the police need them? Is the sole purpose of the Police to kill people?

If not, then why do they need weapons whose only purpose is to kill people?

Firearms are nothing more than tools. In the right hands, the most dangerous tool can be used effectively and safely for good purposes. In the wrong hands, even something as basic as a baseball bat can kill people.

The criminal in this story was the perpetrator, not the tool he used to fulfill his nefarious purposes.

Absent a convincing argument to the contrary, I am forced to believe that your inaccurate portrayal of this incident was intentional; the only other possible explanation is egregiously incompetent editors. Either way, it demonstrates that the credibility of your network is highly suspect and may have more to do with a political agenda than a truthful rendering of the incidents that you portray.

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Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (R-VA Occupied Territories)

I know I’m a little late on this and John Lott has thoroughly refuted the “facts” in this case, but I delayed my post to give Ms. Devolites Davis more time to respond. I think she’s had ample time now.

As most of you know, a Republican state representative from Northern Virginia introduced a bill in the VA State Legislature to close the imaginary “gun show loophole”. The VCDL fought against it and even had a delegation attend her press conference regarding the bill. She was a bit nonplussed when the press realized that the VCDL members there knew more about the bill and its ramifications than she did and got more press attention after the conference.

Anyway, the bill was shot down in committee (as well it should have been) which prompted the Washington Times to run a propaganda piece as “news” regurgitating Ms. Devolitas Davis’ bogus statistics in support of her bill.

I wrote to the editors of the paper as well as the author of the piece and posted it here. I also sent a letter to Ms. Devolites Davis requesting the source of her assertion that gun shows are the “second leading source of guns used in crimes”.

She verified that her statement came from a 2000 ATF report entitled “Following the Guns”.

After reviewing the report, I replied to her with the following letter:

Ms. Devolites Davis,

Thank you for your reply.

Upon a cursory review of your source, four things stood out immediately:

First, this report only dealt with investigations into firearms trafficking, not in the procurement of firearms directly by criminals who subsequently used the guns in crime. It may seem to be a distinction without a difference but the two categories are completely different with vastly differing statistics.

Secondly, the ATF report to which you referred states: “Gun shows were a major trafficking channel, involving the second highest number of trafficked guns per investigation…” [emphasis added]

In other words, gun shows are not second highest overall source, only the second highest source per investigation.

Thirdly, according to the report, an investigation does not necessarily refer to a gun or guns that has or have been “used in crimes”. In fact, the report stipulates that half of the investigations did not involve guns recovered in crimes and that in half of the investigations that did involve recovered guns, the only associated crime was illegal possession. Therefore, three quarters of the investigations to which the report refers did not involve “guns used in crimes” as most people would interpret such a statement.

Finally, and probably the most telling, the very same paragraph that identifies Gun shows as the second highest number of trafficked guns per investigation also states clearly: “The investigations involved both licensed and unlicensed sellers at gun shows.” [emphasis added]

That means that the proposed law that you were attempting to justify with your statement would only involve unlicensed sellers which renders the data from the report you cited moot.

Thank you again for your response and the information. I personally believe that your position on this issue is misguided. I have never heard a convincing argument based upon compelling evidence to support the type of legislation that you proposed. Your statement piqued my interest because it was quite at odds with information I had seen in the past regarding criminals obtaining firearms at gun shows. Upon viewing the source data, my opinion has not changed. Your statement, in my opinion, was misleading and misrepresented the source data and is, therefore, not a compelling argument. I appreciate the opportunity to verify this for myself.

Sincerely,

I didn’t post this right away to give her time to respond and defend her position. To date, she has declined to do so.

As a side note: many have expressed surprise that a Republican from a Red state like Virginia would support such a bill. It must be noted that Ms. Devolites Davis is a representative from Northern Virginia, which I like to refer to as the “Occupied Territories”. Northern Virginia right around DC has the same ailment as many Red state areas that border communist countries: Many escapees from the repressive regimes in DC and Maryland settle in Northern Virginia after escaping their opressors. But, after escaping, they immediately begin attempting to institute in their new home, the exact same repressive government that they just fled. Perhaps it is a version of Stockholm syndrome. Maybe it is nothing more than the leftist bent to refuse to see or acknowledge that their policies don’t work…even for them. But for whatever the reason, Northern Virginia is not exempt from the malady and suffers from it greatly. Pretty much any time you hear of socialistic, repressive bills being introduced in the Virginia Legislature, they come from either Northern Virginia or Richmond itself. If we could excise those two cankers from the Ass of the state, we would have a pretty good place to live and we freedom lovers could relax a little bit in stead of having to engage the battle year after year.

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Unlicensed Dealer?

Is anyone else getting tired of the whole “Unlicensed Dealer” canard or is it just me?

Almost every day I see a press release, column or “news” article that makes reference to “Unlicensed Dealers”.

Here is a letter I sent in response to this article. I’m thinking about generalizing it and making it a canned letter to send any time I see the term “Unlicensed Dealer” in the media:

“The term ‘dealer’ means (A) any person engaged in the business of selling firearms at wholesale or retail, (B) any person engaged in the business of repairing firearms or of making or fitting special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms, or (C) any person who is a pawnbroker. The term “licensed dealer” means any dealer who is licensed under the provisions of this chapter” Title 18, US Code, Chapter 44, Section 921(a)(11) [emphasis added]

“It shall be unlawful (1) for any person (A) except a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer, to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms…” Title 18, US Code, Chapter 44, Section 922

“‘Dealer in firearms’ means (i) any person, firm partnership, or corporation engaged in the business of selling, trading or transferring firearms at wholesale or retail; (ii) any person, firm, partnership, or corporation engaged in the business of making or fitting special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms; or (iii) any person, firm, partnership, or corporation that is a pawnbroker.” Code of Virginia, Title 54.1, Chapter 42, Section 54.1-4200 [emphasis added]

What exactly is an “unlicensed dealer?”

Under the law, a “dealer” is defined as someone “engaged in the business” of selling firearms. It is only lawful for LICENSED dealers to engage in “dealing in firearms”. Therefore, an unlicensed dealer is, by definition, already breaking the law. Why is another law required? Is it more illegal if they are breaking TWO laws?

Of course, I’m being facetious, It is clear that the term “unlicensed dealer” is a propaganda term coined by the anti-gun lobby to lend false credibility to their argument that private citizens should not be permitted to sell their private property. The positions of the anti-gun lobby are unpopular with freedom loving Americans so they are reduced to using misleading terminology to mask their true agenda. This technique has been used for years. Just ask The National Council to Control Handguns…er…Handgun Control Incorporated…er…The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

This is not surprising from groups that prefer subjects who cannot defend themselves over free citizens who may effectively resist tyranny…but why is an ostensibly responsible, purportedly unbiased news outlet engaging in the spread of such propaganda? Is your organization a willing accomplice in this baldfaced attempt to mislead the public or are journalists just dupes who have become so professionally bankrupt that they cannot even bother themselves to read the law that is the basis of their “journalism”? I’m no professional journalist, but it seems to me that opinion pieces belong on the editorial page, not in the News section.

prop·a·gan·da [prop-uhgan-duh] –noun

1. information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.
2. the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

I even got a reply:

TWhitley@timesdispatch.com wrote:

Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

To which I responded:

My Pleasure.

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Wow

I’m sure most of my readers are already well familiar with Kevin at the Smallest Minority but just in case I want to point out this letter he wrote in rebuttal to an anti-gun doctor in PA.

If you’ve never read his stuff, please click the link and read it.

I wish I possessed one tenth of Kevin’s eloquence and clarity of thought. I don’t know how many times I’ve raised these points poorly in two or three pages. He has hit most of the pertinent and important facts perfectly in about a page.

Kudos to Kevin and I’m going to save this one for later reference.

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Taking the Challenge

OK. I decided to take Bitter up on her challenge. She got me the email addresses of the local personalites for the major print and television news outlets. I edited her letter somewhat and then sent it on with my contact information. I’ll post any results I get and I’ll keep my eye on the media to see if any of them run with this.

Here is the letter that I sent:

I would like to point you in the direction of a possible story that you might find interesting. The mayor of New York City is currently suing gun dealers around the country. However, it appears that the investigations he ordered into these shops may have involved illegal gun sales.

Mr. Bloomberg’s contention is that he hired private investigators to simulate “straw purchases”.

As you may know, a “straw purchase” occurs when someone who is not prohibited by law to purchase a firearm does so as a proxy for a prohibited person.

Most (all that I know of) gun dealers are very careful and conscientious about abiding by all applicable federal and local laws. If they were not, not only could they lose their license to do business, but they could be charged with federal crimes and jailed. With that said, federal law requires for the dealer to “know, or reasonably should have known” that a straw purchase was occurring and that the purchaser was not only not purchasing the weapon for themselves, but was purchasing it for a prohibited person (it is perfectly legal to purchase a firearm to present as a gift to someone who is not a prohibited person).

This means one of two things: Either Mr. Bloomberg’s “simulated” straw purchases actually violated no laws in that neither the purchaser nor the person for whom the purchaser was ostensibly acting as a proxy were prohibited persons; or the purchaser and/or other person broke one or more federal laws on Mr. Bloomberg’s behalf.

If the first scenario is true, then none of the targeted gun dealers broke any laws and the lawsuits are, therefore, groundless, how can a dealer be said to “know or reasonably should have known” something which is not true? A proxy sale is only illegal if the person for whom the firearm is being purchased is a prohibited person.

If the second scenario is the case, then the dealers MAY have violated the law depending upon one’s definition of “know or should have known”…but Mr. Bloomberg’s hirelings definitely violated at least one Federal gun law and probably several state laws as well. This means that Mayor Bloomberg could also be charged with conspiracy to commit these crimes.

As this boondoggle has effected several Virginia gun dealers, I am extremely interested in seeing this investigated thoroughly and any wrong-doing on anyone’s part…the Gun Dealers, the Investigators or Mr. Bloomberg…addressed adequately. I personally disagree with most if not all of the Federal Gun laws on the books, but whether I agree with them or not, they would be enforced against me were I to break them. Is this a country, as I was taught as a youth, where the law applies equally to all, or is there truly an “elite” class of citizens to whom the law doesn’t apply?

The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre has asked the ATF to investigate these potentially illegal sales. (See: http://nranews.com/blogarticle.aspx?blogPostId=98) It could make for an interesting story on who is held accountable and who gets off with a slap on the wrist or less. As a local media consumer, I hope you’ll consider investigating this or contacting the ATF to help citizens find out what’s going on with both Mayor Bloomberg and these targeted gun stores.

Thank you for your consideration.

OK. Time to get on the bandwagon. Contact Bitter, get the email addresses for your local media outlets and get those letters out. We need to stir the pot if we want these types of egregous assaults on the Second Amendment to end.

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Response to Dennis Prager’s Response

I guess you could call this the “dialogue” that Mr. Prager mentioned in his “Response to my critics – and a solution” which was his reply to critics of his original column “Multiculturalism run amok” wherein he charged that Congressman-elect Keith Ellison should “not be allowed” to proffer his oath of office over the religious text of his choice.

I sent the following email to Mr. Prager in order to encourage the dialogue of which he spoke. I invited him to either email back or respond in comments. If he emails, I’ll post his response here as well.

Mr. Prager

There are many things about your initial article with which I take issue and many things about your “response to your critics” with which I take issue, but the thing that stood out most clearly in my mind was this apparent contradiction:

In your first article, Regarding Mr. Ellison’s desire to use the Quran for his ceremonial “swearing in”, you stated unequivocally in paragraph two “He should not be allowed to do so”.

In paragraph 7 you state “So why are we allowing Keith Ellison to do what no other member of Congress has ever done…”

However, in your “response to critics” you say: “I am for no law to be passed to prevent Keith Ellison or anyone else from bringing any book he wants to his swearing-in, whether actual or ceremonial.”

I’m a little confused. How exactly do you propose that we “not allow” Keith Ellison to do this without a “law to be passed”? We should somehow just arbitrarily forbid the lawful actions of a free American through force or coercion for no other reason than because you say so? It seems to me that you are contradicting yourself here.

Mr. Ellison was duly elected by his constituents. If they do not support the decision to honor his chosen religion, they can express that by conducting a recall vote (if his state has provisions for such) or simply decline to re-elect him next time.

That was the main problem I had with your first column. You weren’t merely saying that you disagree with his actions, you were advocating that he be prevented from performing said actions. I have no problem with you holding or expressing the opinion that Mr. Ellison should VOLUNTARILY opt to follow tradition and use the Bible in his ceremonial swearing in, but you went a step beyond that and urged some undefined action to physically prevent him from exercising his religious freedom. That, I have a big problem with.

I am a Conservative Christian who spent 21 years in the US Navy. I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and dedicated a large portion of my life in the endeavor of upholding that oath. I never rescinded that oath, even when I “retired” (more accurately, transferred to the fleet reserve). I would, if necessary, give my life to defend the right of Mr. Ellison to practice the religion of his choice…especially when taking an oath of office. How you can seriously suggest that swearing an oath of office on a religious text to which one does not ascribe is NOT a “religious test” is a bit beyond me. Do you get equally worked up when congresspeople forgo said religious text altogether? Do you get offended when people refuse to add “so help me God” at the end of the oath?

Swearing the oath of office to God or on the bible is not the American tradition at all. Swearing (or affirming) the oath of office in accordance with one’s own moral and religious conscience is the American tradition…as it should be in a country that espouses religious freedom.

I will be posting this letter and any response I receive on my blog or you can simply go there and post a reply in the comments if you so desire. I eagerly await your “dialogue”.

Update: Apparently, I am not alone in my sentiment…even amongst Conservative Christians. Doctor Mike Adams of UNC-W agrees with me on this issue.

Update 2:I got an automated email response from Mr. Prager’s system telling me that he will “probably” read my email but most likely won’t respond because if he wrote a personal response to every email he receives, he wouldn’t have time to do anything else.

I am not holding my breath awaiting a response from him. I will just have to resign myself to the fact that Mr. Prager is simply wrong on this point. I seriously doubt that he could adequately address my concerns with his position. I believe his position to be untenable from both a legal (Constitutional) and moral standpoint…but I don’t expect he will ever acknowledge that.

Update 3: Looks like Law Dog is on my page too. I’m in very good company.

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