Tuesday, July 28, 2009

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Defeated

Been away from posting for a while. In case you missed it, the attempt to add nationwide concealed carry reciprocity as an amendment to the defense authorization bill failed. Sebastian has the whole story.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thune Amendment Wednesday Morning

So, I'm all settled in to watch debate on the national concealed carry reciprocity amendment, wishing I had a bag of microwave popcorn, when Harry Reid pushes consideration of Senator Thune's amendment back to 9:30 Wednesday morning, debate ending at 12:00. 60 votes required to pass it.

Thought you might like to know.

Harold Fish Will Not Face a New Trial

David Hardy at Of Arms & The Law has the story. My previous post on Fish's case here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lead Dispenser

A stakeout in New Jersey turned into a two-way live fire reenactment of the bank robbery scene from Heat. One of the now-deceased badguys used a Mossberg pump shotgun to wound several officers, a couple severely. The Jersey City police chief has some *insightful* commentary:

"We need help to stop these weapons from hitting the street," said Police Chief
Thomas Comey. "This weapon is manufactured for nothing other than to hunt man."
Come on, now. This is the darling of gun controllers everywhere. After all, if you have a pump shotgun, the sine qua non of self-defense firearms according to self-identified gun haters who don't know anything about guns and don't care to learn, you don't need that evil handgun.

This was an argument advanced by the District of Columbia in the Heller case, and one rightly rejected because you can do one critical thing with a handgun that you can't with a shotgun - hold a home invader at gunpoint with one hand and dial 911 with the other.

David Codrea has some related commentary here. Along with a photo of a Mossberg pump shotgun equipped with an ACOG scope meant for engagements beyond 200 meters. Not a setup I use or endorse, but it looks really cool.

The bottom line is that with the right training, any firearm can be an effective tool. Even one with a manually operated action. A lead dispenser is a lead dispenser is a lead dispenser. Allow me to illustrate.

Here's video of Xe's shotgun course and some dude slinging a pump like nobody's business:

Army Marksmanship Unit shooters demonstrating speed reloads:

Practice makes perfect, as the titular competition shooter demonstrates. If you compete in cowboy action shooting, you take a stage name. I present the aptly-named "Lead Dispenser."


Shooting a Stage

Playing Music With Steel

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Interstate Carry and "Travelling" Mode

Caleb has a good post up on the differences between Indiana and Michigan concealed carry statutes. Bottom line: don't drink while you're packing in Michigan.

As reciprocity grows, concealed carry requires taking the law of other states into consideration. As a minimum, I consider the following questions before taking a road trip through another state:

1. Is my permit reciprocal/honored? If no, don't carry. Comply with 18 USC 926A. Also, is there a state AWB magazine or ammunition problem with my carry gun?
2. As a fallback, is there an allowance for a gun in the glovebox without a permit?
3. Can I carry into a restaurant that serves alcohol?
4. What is the law on open carry? I say this last one reluctantly - while OC is legal in Virginia and required in restaurants, it is legal but unexercised in other states and will get you a whole lot of unwanted attention.

Part of carrying interstate is also having an idea of what a default set of defensive force laws looks like across the US. I teach this in my concealed carry classes - Virginia law versus what most everyone else does for self-defense. Other states might look to the Model Penal Code for guidance, but not Virginia; we're still living in the year 1620.

On a related note, I am putting on a legal seminar on Saturday, August 22. More information here.

DC Handgun Purchase Info

I received a question from a District of Columbia resident about purchasing a firearm. Here is the skinny.

There is one FFL in DC, Charles Sykes. He is available at 301-577-1427. He does not have a storefront yet and runs his business by appointment only.

Someone more knowledgeable with the process described it as such:

1. Go to DC Metro Police Department (MPD) on Indiana Avenue and pick up a gun registration form.
2. Go shopping for a handgun wherever you'd like to buy one, e.g. gun store in MD or VA. The gun store should be able and willing to send the gun to Sykes.
3. Make an appointment with Sykes, who looks at the gun, takes $$$ from your friend, and autographs/fills out the form.
4. Go back to DC MPD with the executed form. They approve it, and you go back to Sykes and pick up the gun.
5. Take the gun to MPD, they shoot some rounds out of it, and give it back to you.

Note: the District requires a safety course as well. Minimum requirement is 4 hours classroom and 1 hour range time. I recommend Piedmont NRA Instructors' NRA Basic Pistol Class.

The DC MPD website on gun registration is available here. Thanks to the litigation efforts of Alan Gura, District residents are now able to purchase pistols on the California, Maryland, and Massachusetts handgun lists.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Calling 911 in the Woods

That would be nice. Thing is, if you need them right now it's too late for a phone call. Brigid has a post up on her walkabout carry rig, a Sig P220 in a Blackhawk SERPA holster.

Some trainers don't allow you to use a SERPA holster in their courses. The theory is that the trigger-finger release lever translates into trigger-finger on the trigger. Which translates into accidental discharge.

I don't have a problem with the SERPA, and use it for open carry. As I've said earlier, I prefer a hybrid holster for concealed carry. Any thoughts on the SERPA? Anybody else see a safety issue with it?

Open Carrier Plugs Robber/Spree Shooter

Robbery halted by an armed citizen in Richmond. It seems the robber shot the shopkeeper and threw hellfire and brimstone at some customers for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A friend of the shopkeeper was open carrying a single-action cowboy gun and fired once, dropping the armed robber. While this does fulfill some of the imagery of the "Wild West" gun control propaganda, it's hard to disagree with the result.

VCDL Blog has the inside story:
On Saturday, a violent criminal shot a store clerk, had the customers in the store lined up, and while reloading his revolver told the customers that he was going to kill them all.
Then a person open carrying a single-action Colt .45 came in and shot the criminal in the stomach, saving at least six or seven lives. I received a detailed account from a VCDL member who was at the scene (but not the person with the .45).
One of the things I was told is how some of the customers were telling the police that the open-carrier was a hero and how he saved their lives.
If that's not being a first-responder when no one else was there to help, I don't know what is.

It appears that the would-be bandit will be charged with attempted robbery, use of a firearm, and (predictably) possession of a firearm by a felon.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

America Going Green

Well, on this map anyway. Uncle reports that the Arizona governor has signed into law a repeal of their restaurant carry ban. Arizona goes green on September 30, Tennessee just went green, and hopefully Virginia will follow suit by this time next year.

41 states allow restaurant carry of some kind; this will make it 42. Kind of puts into perspective that whole "guns in restaurants = booze-fueled mayhem" claim that gun controllers keep pushing.

Legal Seminar August 22nd

I have scheduled a legal seminar on Saturday, 22 August, from 10am to 1pm. The seminar will be held at the Marriott Courtyard near Dulles Airport. Location information is available here.

Cost is $75, $65 for members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL). Please contact me to reserve a spot; this class will be limited to 20 people. Email me for reservations and billing information. Bring pen and paper to take notes.

For the cost of 200 rounds of .45 ACP (if you can find it) you will get a much deeper understanding of self-defense in the Commonwealth of Virginia from an attorney. Plenty of shooters are willing to invest in their shooting skills but not many invest in their understanding of the legal boundaries of self-defense.

The seminar covers the following topics:
  • Purchase and possession of arms in the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • General legal guidelines for the use of force
  • Justification versus Excuse
  • Self-defense
  • Virginia's lack of a "castle doctrine" - and why it (mostly) doesn't matter
  • Defense of Others
  • Defense of Property
  • What is "open carry" and what is "concealed carry" in Virginia? Not quite what you think.
  • Interacting with Law Enforcement Officers
  • Travelling armed: planes, trains, and automobiles
  • What to do when in other jurisdictions: a practical "travelling" mode for reciprocal states
The travelling part is not just one subject; it is covered throughout the brief so that students have an idea how to deal with the laws governing self-defense in other states. The important part is knowing how they generally differ from Virginia (and they differ a lot).

A legal seminar is not a concealed handgun course - it is a legal class on the statutes and case law governing the open or concealed carry of a handgun. This DOES NOT meet the Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) requirements. Rather, this is intended for people who already have a CHP but are not versed in the law. If you received your CHP after a basic concealed handgun course with no discussion of the legal implications of using a handgun in self-defense, this is for you.

Disclaimer: The information provided in the seminar is not intended as individualized legal advice. I am not your lawyer. You are not my client. Participation in this seminar is expressly intended NOT to create an attorney-client relationship. Students will sign a waiver and agree to hold harmless Defensive Force Instructors, LLC before class starts.

Powerful Stupid

Robb links to an Examiner column on the Second Amendment, by some guy in New York who claims that the Second Amendment never intended to protect an individual right to keep and bear arms. More nonsense in his earlier article.

Totally ridiculous. He engages in an ahistorical history lesson to tell us that the Founders meant arms for military service only when they clearly didn't, cites one retired justice for the proposition that the Second Amendment doesn't protect an individual liberty, and parses the words of the Second Amendment to say that they have a clearly military meaning.

Heller put all of these kooky revisionist history theories out to pasture. This is flat Earth theory at its finest.

Had he been present at the Constitutional Convention and pushed this viewpoint, one of the Founders would have hauled off and shot him.

Related: I previously wrote on how a militia-centric view of the Second Amendment would not have the effect that gun control proponents think it would.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Don't Try This At Home. Please.

Brillianter has a video up of someone using a Glock 18 (the full-auto machine pistol) with a foregrip on it. He loses control and shoots himself in the hand.

I'm pretty sure the foregrip makes it an AOW (Any Other Weapon) and requires ATF paperwork. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong in the comments.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Amendment to Allow Guns in Public Housing

A House panel voted to add an amendment allowing guns in public housing. This is a huge policy shift - the Clinton administration made a big deal out of barring guns for Section 8 residents, along with requiring them to submit to warrantless searches and such. It's enough to make you think that the gun control was somehow linked to people control generally...

Money quote:

Carolyn McCarthy , D-N.Y., a longtime gun control advocate, said opponents of the Price amendment would try to remove the language from the bill at a later point
in the legislative process, without subjecting the issue to a recorded vote.

“What we’re trying to do will not involve votes,” McCarthy said.
Wow. Democrats are crossing the aisle to vote for this, and all she can do is hope to kill it procedurally.

Not only are we winning, we are crushing them.

Link Rodeo 7/10/09

Claire Wolfe's thoughts on civil unrest

Alphecca on the claim that only cops should have guns; Michigan AG defends joining the amicus brief at the Supreme Court supporting incorporation of the Second Amendment

Sebastian on the AHSA false flag endorsement of Sotomayor

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Retired Marine Thwarts Robbery; Felony Murder is a Harsh Mistress

Old news story (2007) with a legal twist to it.

So this 71-year-old former Marine named James Lovell is at a Subway restaurant in Florida when a significant emotional event transpires:
While John Lovell was finishing up his sandwich around 11:15 p.m. last
Wednesday, two masked men armed with guns barged into the restaurant, according
to a statement from the Plantation police. After taking money from the register,
the two men turned to Lovell and demanded his wallet, police said.

As the two tried to force Lovell into the ladies’ room where he thought
he would be killed, the former Marine reached behind his back to grab his
.45-caliber handgun, which he fired seven times at the two men, according to the
police statement.

Donicio Arrendell, 22, of North Lauderdale, was fatally shot in the head
and chest. Frederick Gadson, 21, of Fort Lauderdale, ran from the store after he
was shot in the chest, according to the police statement. A police canine unit
found him hiding next to a nearby bank. He was sent to Broward General Hospital
and was listed in stable condition.
The only reason I can think of to take a stickup customer to the bathroom is an execution. The authorities did not charge Lovell with any crime. In fact, the law swings the other direction here:
Gadson was charged with felony murder and armed robbery. According to Florida
law, a person charged with a felony, such as armed robbery, resulting in death
can also be charged with murder.
This is the Felony Murder Rule. Under this merger theory, the getaway driver is culpable for the dead clerk as if he were the trigger man who dropped the hammer. Florida is one of several states that extends liability for the death of one your co-conspirators. So trigger man #1 is liable for the self-defense shooting of trigger man #2.

Result: Gadson gets 12 years. Will be released in 2019.

Pretty good shooting, too. The would-be victim gets the drop on two men who have him at gunpoint and hits both center-mass and one of them in the head.

Predictably, not everyone was happy with the outcome. The mother of the deceased criminal said that Lovell shouldn't have pulled the trigger.

I'm not sure what kind of course of action she is prescribing besides "die." Lovell had already given them his wallet. She asks that he give up his life.

Gun Nuts Radio

Caleb and Breda discuss some politics and my post on the Harold Fish case over at Gun Nuts Radio.

Link Rodeo 7/8/09

Frank James makes some good points about planning for self-defense while staying at a motel.

We're winning on "assault weapon" bans when the Sacramento Bee points out how stupid they are.

Tips from a lawyer on dealing with a visit from the ATF.

Majority of state attorneys general sign an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to incorporate the Second Amendment against the states. Here's the ones that didn't.

Gun control group goes Tango Uniform in Iowa.

Lawsuit against Bushmaster over the DC Snipers' rifle has been dismissed.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Reasonable Fear, Self-Defense, and Carrying 10mm Handguns

David Hardy over at Of Arms & The Law has a post up on the Harold Fish case. I'll give you his summary:
Fish was hiking, saw another guy, waved, other guy's dogs charged him, he fired a warning shot. Then the other guy charged him, crazed look in eyes, windmilling arms and shouting threats. Fish shouted to halt and, that having no effect, shot him fatally.
Fish was prosecuted for shooting the man. The Arizona legislature tried to help him out by passing a law shifting the burden in self-defense cases, but didn't make their retroactive intent clear. They just passed a new law making it retroactive to address the Fish case, but he has already had his conviction reversed. The law will impose the burden of disproving self-defense on the prosecution (instead of putting it on the defendant to prove it) in a new trial if the governor signs it into law.

Hardy highlights the odd nature of self-defense as a legal defense:

It's rather strange, I can't offhand think of another defense where what matters is what you *think*, but not how things *are*. To prove self-defense you must prove a reasonable fear that the other guy was going to inflict death or serious bodily harm.
This is not unique to Arizona, the jurisdiction where Fish prosecuted and sentenced to ten years in prison. Virginia has a parallel requirement. This is a judgment of what you knew at the time of the use of defensive force, not what may become available for presentation at trial. So when Fish shot Grant Kuenzli, he couldn't justify his actions on the screwdriver in Kuenzli's back pocket. All he had to go on was Kuenzli's verbal threats and that Kuenzli was charging him while whirling his arms in a windmill fashion.

It turns out that Fish had good reason to be afraid. As his defense counsel points out:

Witness after witness, in pretrial motions, and under oath, provided this Court with "specific act" evidence about the character for violence of Grant Kuenzli. The decedent raped and kidnapped [Rape Victim], then threatened her son with death as well as her mother and sister while hold [Rape Victim] and her son hostage in their home. The decedent, without any warning, assaulted and strangled [strangulation victim] without provocation and without warning. [strangulation victim]'s offense was simply delivering self help materials to [Rape Victim]. The decedent was involved in numerous violent or aggressive encounters with former police officers Steve Corich, John Boylan, and Lynn Bray at Mesa Community College. They were so troubled by these actions that they contacted defense counsel after reading news accounts of Kuenzli's death. The decedent had two aggressive confrontations with Placido Garcia who, through affidavit, described his fears to the court. Stephanie Quincy was so terrified of the defendant because of bizarre and threatening behavior over the telephone that she would not meet with him face to face unless he had cleared court security. Judge Clayton Hamblin had a twenty minute encounter in his courtroom that so terrified him that he warned court staff to be beware of Kuenzli and to be cautious of him. The judge feared that the decedent might shoot him through a window connected to his courtroom. Ernie Encinas terminated the decedent from employment at the Gilbert Fire Marshall's office because of repeated violent outbursts with Mr. Encinas, with fellow employees, and with customers of the town. The fear of Kuenzli was so prevalent that the Fire Marshall changed all of their locks at all locations at the request of Kuenzli’s fellow employees because of fears that Mr. Kuenzli would return and inflict harm. A mere two weeks before his death, decedent charged Steve James with James observing the same spastic arm movements, the terrifying anger and verbiage, and the irrational behavior that was seen on May 11, 2004. These specific acts were critical to show, on occasion after occasion, that rational people could not reason with Grant Kuenzli, that he had character patterns of uncontrolled violent behavior, and that Kuenzli inflicted terror in the minds and hearts of each of these witnesses because of his unpredictable volatility and patterns of violence and aggression.
Even though Fish didn't know any of the above when the shooting took place, it appears that Kuenzli probably conveyed an earnest (and unnerving) intent to kill Fish. Problem is that none of it was admitted at trial.

The prosecution also made hay about Fish carrying a 10mm handgun loaded with hollowpoint ammunition. In an urban area, that may not be your preferred carry gun. But on a hiking trail that is probably the caliber of choice. It's enough bullet to drop most any four-legged predators you may encounter, and the hollowpoint round is a good choice both for stopping power and to prevent overpenetration. As Massad Ayoob has said at length, overpenetration and hitting an innocent on the other side can bring a lot of liability. Let's be honest, 10mm FMJ is a hot round that makes Rule Four (be sure of your target and what lies beyond it) a serious consideration. There's a good faith argument that not using hollowpoints in a 10mm is reckless. But be prepared to make that argument in court.

All of this goes to show that even when you use force in what you believe to be justified self-defense, the justice system may see things differently.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

California-Legal AR-15

The Firearm Blog highlights a new California-legal AR-15 made by Daniel Defense. It has a magazine release that can only be triggered by a bullet tip or similarly-shaped tool so that it does not violate California's "assault weapon" ban.

While it's easy to make fun of re-engineering rifles to meet goofy legal standards, Daniel Defense deserves credit for supporting the gun culture in California. It's an uphill battle.

This interview with Alan Gura highlights the other front in the war on California gun laws: the District Court for the District of Columbia.

D.C. copied California's gun laws and pasted them into their own firearm regulations. This includes the roster of "safe" handguns that California maintains. Their definition of "safe" is pretty nonsensical; a gun that is perfectly "safe" in an all-black finish is "unsafe" in a two-tone finish. The District just relented and decided that they will expand the list to all guns similar to the ones on California's list as well as the guns on Maryland and Massachusetts lists and all guns made prior to 1985.

The Human Side of Self-Defense

The Austin Gun Rights Examiner has a post up on the human side of self-defense. Read the whole thing.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day

Here's hoping that you have a happy 4th. Say a prayer for all the men and women overseas who are serving the world's oldest constitutional republic.

Interview with Alan Gura

As a follow-up to my last post on the post-Heller world we are living in, here's a link to an interview at Reason with Alan Gura, the attorney who argued Heller at the Supreme Court.

California gun laws figure heavily in the push to drag Second Amendment jurisprudence into the modern age. Because the three-judge panel in Nordyke v. King held that the Second Amendment was incorporated against the states, California's list of "safe" weapons is being challenged as well as their "may-issue" concealed carry practices.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Volokh Article on the Second Amendment

Lawprof Eugene Volokh has an excellent article posted at his blog, The Volokh Conspiracy. In Implementing the Right To Keep and Bear Arms for Self-Defense: An Analytical Framework and a Research Agenda, Prof. Volokh lays out a framework for thinking about the Second Amendment now that courts can no longer ignore it.

Volokh makes the point that the traditional framework used for judicial scrutiny in other instances may not be appropriate for firearms. We use strict scrutiny for race, intermediate scrutiny for gender, and rational basis for other issues. This may not carry over well to firearm regulations, and Volokh does a good job of parsing out the kinds of constitutional standards that may develop.

Sebastian over at Snowflakes in Hell takes issue with the article's discussion of assault weapon bans. I will just note that the Heller case was a watershed event. We are no longer discussing lightweight "collective rights" arguments that write the Second Amendment out of the Constitution. We are having an honest discussion about the contours of a recognized individual liberty. After the Court gets around to incorporating the Second Amendment against the states we will see an even more rational public discourse on guns.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

ATF going door-to-door

In case you haven't seen this yet, the Houston Chronicle is reporting that ATF agents are going door to door to investigate guns bought near the border.

I expect this Mexican drug war thing to be the rationale for the next big gun control push.