Beginning July 1,2013 Eagle Peak Shooting range will increase the range entrance fee to $15.00 and the range card fee to $15.00. All terms will remain the same…
Secure Firearms Act to Reduce Gun Violence introduced by Carter, Cuellar
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Keeping more firearms away from unauthorized users would prevent many cases of gun violence with no threat to the 2nd Amendment Rights of law-abiding citizens, and that could be rapidly achieved through bi-partisan legislation introduced today in the House by Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Carter (R-TX31) and fellow Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Member Henry Cuellar (D-TX28).
“The most common factor in the mass shootings over the past years is that people who should not have had access to firearms managed to acquire them anyway,” said Carter, a former Texas district judge. “We don’t attempt to address all the reasons for that in this bill, but specifically target better security of firearms by law-abiding citizens through incentives, not mandates.”
“While nationally there has been much discussion over how to prevent mass shootings, there is no debate over the need to promote responsible firearm ownership,” said Cuellar. “As a concealed handgun license holder and strong supporter of 2nd amendment rights, this is a common sense first step towards increasing access for Americans to purchase devices that will prevent the misuse of firearms. While this legislation is not meant to be a ‘fix-all’, this is a bipartisan idea that Congress should immediately act on. I’m proud to join my fellow Texan and friend, Chairman Carter on this important legislation.”
Mass shootings at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, and Newtown all involved people who should not have had access to firearms. The most recent Newtown tragedy revealed the shooter’s mother passed the federal background check, legally acquired weapons, and bought a safe, but apparently left the safe unlocked and the weapons exposed to her mentally unstable son.
“As responsible gun owners, let’s make sure our weapons are more secure in the future,” says Carter. “We can use this legislation to kick off a nationwide push to put gun safes or security devices in every home with unattended firearms by the close of 2014, and then let’s push for everyone to use them,” Carter says. “That’s a specific goal that will reduce gun violence by a date certain, and a goal that Congress, the President, and the firearms community can unite behind.”
The Secure Firearms Act includes:
- Up to a $1,200 tax deduction to purchase a gun safe and/or security devices through December 31, 2014.
- A prohibition on the IRS use of tax deduction claims to produce any form of gun owner registration.
The White House officially called for improving safe gun storage on January 16, as part of President Obama’s initiative to reduce gun violence, writing “The President believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms . … .But this right comes with a responsibility to safely store guns to prevent them from accidentally or intentionally being used to harm others. To that end, the President will launch a national responsible gun ownership campaign.”
In addition to the President’s call for safe gun storage, the Secure Firearms Act is endorsed by the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of American, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“The NRA is the national leader in teaching firearms safety, and we support the Secure Firearms Act of 2013 which encourages the safe storage of firearms in the home,” said James Baker, director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action Federal Affair Division. “Rep. John Carter is a leader on this issue, and we look forward to working with Members of Congress to pass this sensible legislation and provide a much-deserved tax credit to responsible firearm owners.”
“This proposal encourages improved firearms storage security with no threat to the right to keep and bear arms,” said Gun Owners of America President Larry Pratt. “The bill provides a solid benefit to law-abiding gun owners nationwide, and will increase public safety in the process. We need more well-conceived bipartisan legislation like this in Congress.”
“Members of America’s firearms industry thank Rep. Carter for his leadership in offering a real, bi-partisan solution that will help to make our families safer by helping gun owners to responsibly and safely store their firearms when not in use so that they are inaccessible to unauthorized and at-risk individuals,” said Lawrence G. Keane, National Shooting Sports Foundation senior vice president and general counsel.
“The issue of firearms is emotionally-charged, over which it is sometimes difficult to find common ground for many Americans,” says Carter. “But this is one bill that will reduce illegal firearms use, is constitutionally-sound, paid for with appropriate corresponding budget cuts, and should be supported by all sides on this debate. I encourage the President to immediately endorse this legislation, and for our House and Senate leaders to rapidly move this bill to his desk. If we succeed, we will show the American people we can work together on tough issues to do what is right for the country.”
U.S. Representative John R. Carter
Chairman, House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee
409 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
From NRA-ILA 5/7/2013
Gun owners’ patience and persistence was rewarded on Saturday and yesterday, as the Texas House of Representatives led by Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) gave approval to a wide range of pro-gun legislation while the NRA Annual Meeting was underway in Houston. Most of these bills passed overwhelmingly, in spite of repeated attempts by anti-gun members of the minority party to kill some of these measures by raising parliamentary “points of order” against them for alleged violations of House rules. Many violations are procedural in nature, involving the committee process and committee reports. Thanks to the meticulous work of House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee Chairman Joe Pickett (D-El Paso) and his staff, none of the points were sustained, and debate and votes on the bills were allowed to proceed on the House floor.
Thank you to the hard-working sponsors of these measures and their dedicated staff for getting them passed in the state House of Representatives
Senate Bill 299 / House Bill 1304 by state Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) and state Representative Kenneth Sheets (R-Dallas) protects against charges of unlawful carry for the inadvertent or accidental display of a handgun by a Concealed Handgun Licensee. SB 299 was taken up in lieu of HB 1304 on the House floor and will be the bill that goes to Governor Perry for his signature.
Senate Bill 864 / House Bill 47 by state Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) and state Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van) reduces the minimum number of required classroom training hours for original and renewal Concealed Handgun Licenses from 10-15 to 4-6. This change would make it far more convenient for CHL applicants to obtain a license to carry and exercise their right to self-defense. SB 864 was taken up in lieu of HB 47 on the House floor and will be the bill that goes to Governor Rick Perry for his signature.
House Bill 508 by state Representative Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City) imposes civil fines on state agencies, cities or counties which improperly post 30.06 signs prohibiting Concealed Handgun Licensees from property which is not off-limits to them under the Texas Penal Code. It also gives the Texas Attorney General or local district attorney the ability to sue to collect the civil penalties if the offending agency or political subdivision fails to remove the sign after having been notified of a violation. This bill now moves to the Senate for consideration – please contact your state Senator and urge him or her to support HB 508! Contact information can be found by clicking here.
House Bill 972 by state Representative Allen Fletcher (R-Cypress) and state Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) eliminates the criminal prohibition on the possession of firearms on public and private college campuses for Texas Concealed Handgun Licensees. As passed in the House, schools may adopt administrative rules and regulations restricting licensees in campus buildings, but only after consulting annually with campus law enforcement, faculty, staff and students. HB 972 also now contains language from SB 1907 by Senator Glenn Hegar prohibiting public and private institutions of higher education from adopting or enforcing policies banning students who are CHLs from transporting and storing handguns and ammunition in their privately-owned motor vehicles while driving through or parking on campus. This bill now moves to the Senate for consideration – please contact your state Senator and urge him or her to support HB 972! Contact information can be found by clicking here.
The following pro-Second Amendment bills were also passed in the Texas House and now go to the state Senate:
House Bill 48 by state Representative Dan Flynn (R-Canton) and Senator Donna Campbell (R-San Antonio) streamlines the process for renewal of a Concealed Handgun License by eliminating the continuing education course and handgun proficiency demonstration requirements. Applicants would still be required to renew their licenses every five years, but they would be provided with an informational form regarding pertinent firearms and deadly force laws, which would have to be signed and turned in with the CHL renewal application.
House Bill 485 by state Representative Sarah Davis (R-Houston) reduces the fees for original or renewal Concealed Handgun Licenses charged to veterans who are honorably discharged after at least one year of military service, as well as reserve and part-time peace officers, to $25 – from $70 to $35, respectively. A House floor amendment was adopted which included two new categories of individuals to whom this new discount would apply: TDCJ correctional officers and members of the Texas Military Forces.
House Bill 698 by state Representative Drew Springer (R-Muenster) and state Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) requires DPS to establish procedures for the submission of fingerprints by CHL applicants who live in counties with populations of less than 46,000 and do not live within 25 miles of a designated facility capable of processing them digitally or electronically. Availability of such services continues to be a problem in rural areas, as the state only contracts with one company.
House Bill 1076 by state Representative Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) would prohibit any state agency or agency employee from enforcing a federal statute or regulation on firearms or firearm accessories that does not exist under Texas state law. Any agency that violated this prohibition would not be allowed to receive state grant funds for the fiscal year in which a violation occurred.
House Bill 1349 by state Representative Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) prohibits DPS from requesting or requiring that an applicant’s social security number be disclosed during the process of obtaining an original or renewal Concealed Handgun License.
House Bill 1421 by state Representative Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) and SenatorCraig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) would allow firearms seized by law enforcement in connection with a crime, and not returnable to a rightful owner, to be sold at a public sale to federal firearms licensed dealers rather than be destroyed.
From NRA-ILA, 5/1/2013
As NRA members begin to gather in Houston for the 2013 Annual Meeting, action is heating up in Austin on Second Amendment-related measures. Yesterday, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 1907, sponsored by state Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy), a measure that prohibits public and private colleges and universities from adopting or enforcing policies banning students who are Concealed Handgun Licensees (CHLs) from transporting and storing handguns and ammunition in their privately-owned motor vehicles while driving through or parking on campus. SB 1907 now goes to the Texas House for consideration. Additionally, the state House is scheduled to consider a full calendar of firearm-related bills this Saturday, May 4, including the NRA-backed measures listed below. Please contact your state Representative and urge him or her to support these bills: House Bill 47 by state Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van) and Senate Bill 864 by state Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) reduces the minimum number of required classroom training hours for an original Concealed Handgun License from 10-15 to 6. This change would make it far more convenient for CHL applicants to obtain a license to carry and exercise their right to self-defense. House Bill 508 by state Representative Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City) imposes civil fines on state agencies, cities or counties which improperly post 30.06 signs prohibiting Concealed Handgun Licensees from property which is not off-limits to them under the Texas Penal Code. It also gives the Texas Attorney General the ability to sue to collect the civil penalties if the offending agency or political subdivision fails to remove the sign after having been notified of a violation. House Bill 972 by state Representative Allen Fletcher (R-Cypress) has undergone significant revisions since being filed as the comprehensive campus carry bill this session. As introduced, it would have removed the statutory prohibition in Section 46.03 of the Penal Code on Concealed Handgun Licensees carrying handguns into buildings or portions of buildings on the campuses of public and private institutions of higher education. Additionally, it would have prohibited public colleges and universities from adopting administrative rules or regulations restricting CHLs’ ability to carry on campus. Private institutions could elect to “opt-out” and adopt such rules or regulations after consulting with faculty, staff and students. Please contact your state Representative and urge him or her to back amendments supported by the sponsor to return HB 972 to a form closer to its original intent. House Bill 1009 by state Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) creates a new category of law enforcement called a “school marshal.” In order to become a school marshal, applicants would have to complete an intensive training program developed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE). However, this program would also be open to any employee of a school district or open-enrollment charter school who has a CHL. The governing bodies of the institutions would decide whether to appoint marshals to certain schools. House Bill 1304 by state Representative Kenneth Sheets (R-Dallas) and Senate Bill 299 by state Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) protect against charges of unlawful carry for the inadvertent or accidental display of a handgun by a Concealed Handgun Licensee. Please call and e-mail your state Representative and urge him or her to support these important NRA-backed bills. Contact information for your state House member can be found by clicking here. For a comprehensive list of all measures being considered by the state House this Saturday, please click here.
By Greg Richter and Paul Scicchitano
An angry President Barack Obama denounced Senate Republicans on Wednesday for failing to pass stricter background checks on gun purchases, calling it a “pretty shameful day” for Washington.
Speaking in the Rose Garden as the families of some of the victims of the Newtown, Conn., shootings looked on, Obama vowed to press on in the fight for tougher gun laws.
“Families that know unspeakable grief summoned the courage to petition their elected leaders,” he said, standing alongside former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who left Congress after suffering a life-threatening gunshot wound to the head. “A few minutes ago a minority in the United States Senate decided it wasn’t worth it. They blocked common-sense gun reforms even when these families looked on from the gallery.”
Earlier, Senate Republicans, backed by rural-state Democrats, blocked legislation to tighten restrictions on the sale of firearms.
In recent weeks, the families of some of the victims of the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School pressed lawmakers with stories of personal loss, as Second Amendment advocates countered that none of the proposed changes would have stopped the grisly tragedy.
Attempts to ban assault-style rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines also faced certain defeat in a series of showdown votes.
The background check measure commanded a majority of senators, 54-46, but that was well short of the 60 votes needed to advance. A total of 41 Republicans and five Democrats pulled together to scuttle the plan.
“The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill,” Obama said, referring to fears by some that the law would allow for creation of a federal gun registry.
The president alluded to polls that peaked at 90 percent of Americans supporting expanded background checks for convicted criminals and the severely mentally ill. He said “90 percent” of Democrats supported the bill, but “90 percent” of Republicans opposed it.
“There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this,” Obama said. “It came down to politics.”
The National Rifle Association issued a statement shortly after Wednesday’s vote calling the Manchin-Toomey-Schumer proposal “misguided” and saying that the measure would have criminalized “certain private transfers” of guns between honest citizens.
“As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools,” said the statement issued by Chris W. Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist.
“The NRA will continue to work with Republicans and Democrats who are committed to protecting our children in schools, prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law, and fixing our broken mental health system,” according to the statement. “We are grateful for the hard work and leadership of those senators who chose to pursue meaningful solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems.”
Obama said that most Americans think that the tougher background checks are already required by law.
While Wednesday’s bill would not have prevented the Sandy Hook tragedy, and would not prevent all future gun deaths, he said it should have been passed to save lives.
“This legislation met that test. And too many senators failed theirs,” Obama said.
The president vowed to work without Congress if necessary to do more in his effort to cut gun violence. He said the White House will address barriers to states participating in the existing background check system, give law enforcement more information about lost and stolen guns, and help put emergency plans for schools in place.
“What happened in Newtown can happen anywhere,” Mark Barden, the father of murdered 7-year-old Daniel, said before the president’s remarks. “Any dad in America can be in my shoes.”
Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid also blasted Republicans for the vote.
“I want everyone to understand this is just the beginning. This is not the end,” he told reporters after the vote. “Ninety percent of Democrats here on the floor stood with 90 percent of the American people for expanding background checks. I appreciate very much a handful of Republicans that crossed the aisle to stand with us on this common-sense issue.”
He promised to keep up the fight for background checks. “The fight has just begun. It’s not going away,” said Reid.
“We will win this fight,” added Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York. “We will not rest until we win.”
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From NRA-ILA 4/5/2013
This week, the Texas Senate passed two NRA-backed measures: Senate Bill 299 by state Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls), which protects Texas Concealed Handgun Licensees against charges of unlawful carrying of a handgun if they accidentally or inadvertently display their firearm; and Senate Bill 987 by state Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy), which allows the Texas Attorney General to seek a temporary or permanent injunction against a city or county that adopts a regulation in violation of the state firearms preemption law. Firearms preemption protects law-abiding gun owners against a patchwork of confusing and conflicting local gun control ordinances across the state. You may recall that the City of Austin and Travis County both recently considered — and pulled back from — adopting and imposing restrictions on gun shows which would have likely been outside the scope of their authority to enact, as pointed out by Attorney General Greg Abbott (R). SB 987 would give that office statutory authority to legally intervene in these situations in the future. SB 299 and SB 987 both will now go to the Texas House of Representatives for consideration.
Also, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 864 by state Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), another NRA-supported bill which reduces the number of classroom hours required for an initial Concealed Handgun License from 10-15 hours to 4-6 hours. This change would make it far more convenient for CHL applicants to obtain a license to carry and exercise their right to self-defense. SB 864 has been placed on the Senate Local & Uncontested calendar, and final action could be taken on the Senate floor next week.
Note: House Bill 47 by state Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van), the House companion bill to SB 864, was reported by the House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety this week with a change to set the minimum number of classroom hours for an original CHL at six. This bill has been sent to the House Calendars Committee, which decides if and when measures are placed on the agenda for consideration on the House floor. That chamber has yet to vote on any pro-Second Amendment legislation this session.
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From NRA-ILA – 3/12/2013
The Texas House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety will hold public hearings on the NRA-supported measures listed below this Thursday, March 14, in Room E2.010 of the Capitol Extension in Austin. This committee normally meets at 8:00 am, but with their full agenda, it is the intention of the chairman to take testimony on the firearm-related measures after the House adjourns from its floor session early in the afternoon. Please contact committee members and urge them to support these important pro-Second Amendment bills.
House Bill 972 , House Bill 1313, and House Bill 706 by Rep. Allen Fletcher (R-Cypress), Rep. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) & Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake), respectively, would allow adult Concealed Handgun Licensees to protect themselves in buildings and facilities located on the campus of a public college or university.
HB 1077 by Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt (R-Lexington) would prohibit institutions of higher education from enforcing policies preventing students from lawfully transporting and storing legally owned firearms in their locked private motor vehicles parked on campus.
HB 1078 also by Rep. Kleinschmidt eliminates the criminal penalty against Concealed Handgun Licensees carrying for personal protection on the premises of an institution of higher education.
HB 700 and HB 1194 by Rep. George Lavender (R-Texarkana) and Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall), respectively, would allow a person with a Texas Concealed Handgun License to have the option of carrying concealed or openly holstered.
House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee:
Representative Joe Pickett – Chairman
Representative Allen Fletcher – Vice Chairman
Representative Philip Cortez
Representative Tony Dale
Representative Dan Flynn
Representative Tim Kleinschmidt
Representative George Lavender
Representative Kenneth Sheets
Representative Ron Simmons
From NRA-ILA – Posted on March 1, 2013
On Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has been advocating banning one sort of gun or another for over 30 years, held Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on her new gun and magazine ban legislation, S. 150, the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013.”
Among those testifying in support of the bill were John Walsh, the U.S. Attorney for Colorado, representing the Obama Department of Justice, Milwaukee police chief Edward Flynn, and Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter. Testifying against the bill were former U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Fla.), Fordham University law professor and longtime Second Amendment scholar Nicholas Johnson, and attorney and constitutional scholar David Hardy.
Feinstein insisted on holding her own hearings because hearings held a month ago by Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) didn’t produce enough support for her bill. In the earlier hearings, NRA Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, University of Denver law professor David Kopel, and attorney Gayle Trotter spoke against banning “assault weapons” and magazines that hold 11 or more rounds, and also against criminalizing private sales, gifts and trades of firearms. Sen. Feinstein and most of her supporters at this hearing demonstrated ignorance, hypocrisy, and bad behavior from start to finish, and never offered evidence to support the restrictions they advocated.
Incredibly, Sen. Feinstein began the hearings with a video showing an after-market device that helps a person pull a semi-automatic rifle trigger faster, citing the existence of the contraption as a reason to ban the rifles themselves. That would be akin to banning automobiles because someone might soup them up to make them go faster. Tellingly, Feinstein proposes to ban the guns themselves, as well as the device.
After Walsh and Flynn advocated the gun and magazine bans, and “universal” background checks, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked both of them if they knew how many murders are committed with rifles of any type, and how many prosecutions they had undertaken of criminals who failed background checks when illegally trying to buy guns from dealers.
Easy questions, one would think, but Walsh fumbled his answers like a third-string running back playing his first game of the season in an ice storm, saying that he didn’t know for sure about rifle murders and that his prosecutions had numbered zero.
Flynn then interrupted Sen. Graham to say that prosecuting criminals who illegally try to buy guns was irrelevant. The chief’s attempts to cut Sen. Graham off were so disrespectful that Sen. Feinstein herself intervened, banging the gavel and insisting on civility during the proceedings. By stark contrast, Sen. Graham did the people of South Carolina proud, by distinguishing himself with truly remarkable restraint. And for the record, Sen. Graham noted, rifles of any type are used in only about 2.5 percent of murders, half the percentage accounted for by murders with bare hands.
Prosecutor Walsh may not have had much to say about prosecutions, but he had quite a bit to say about banning guns, and it didn’t help Feinstein’s cause. Asked by the committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), whether S. 150 would be constitutional, Walsh said that it would be constitutional only if the guns that are banned are not common, are “dangerous and unusual,” and are not relevant to the right of self-defense. Of course, the firearms that would be banned by S. 150 are common, and are not “dangerous and unusual” in the sense in which that term has been used historically in the law. And it should go without saying that magazines that hold 11 or more rounds and firearms designed to use them are certainly relevant to self-defense.
Walsh had even more to say about banning guns when Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) asked him to explain what makes a gun an “assault weapon.” According to Walsh, any rifle that has a “very high” rate of fire and that uses a “very high-capacity” magazine is an “assault weapon.” Assuming that Walsh thinks semi-automatic rifles have “very high” rates of fire, and that any magazine that holds 11 or more rounds is “very high-capacity,” his description might fit with S. 150’s ban on detachable magazine semi-automatic rifles that have any “characteristic that can function as a grip”–in other words, all of them. It wouldn’t, however, explain S. 150’s proposed ban on almost every semi-automatic shotgun, some handguns, and various fixed-magazine rifles.
Sen. Cornyn expressed doubt that S. 150 would reduce crime, for at least two reasons. First, as he pointed out, the congressionally mandated study of Feinstein’s 1994 ban determined that “The evidence is not strong enough for us to conclude that there was any meaningful effect [of the ban on crime]; i.e., that the effect was different from zero.” Second, he noted that “out of 76,000 denied background checks, the FBI referred to the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco, Firearms, a verdict or plea was reached in 13 cases,” a track record he described as “abysmal.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) disputed Walsh’s claim that Feinstein’s 1994 ban had not been sufficiently evaluated–a claim that put Walsh at odds with Feinstein, who claims that studies show that the 1994 ban reduced crime. Sen. Cruz said, “The Department of Justice has funded at least three studies, on whether that bill had any positive effect. In 1999, the DOJ had concluded that the Assault Weapons Ban, quote, ‘Failed to reduce the average number of victims-per-gun incident, or multiple gunshot wound victims.’ In 2004, the [National] Institute for Justice concluded that the Assault Weapons Ban produced, quote, ‘No discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence.’ And then, in 1997, the [congressionally mandated study by the Urban Institute] likewise concluded that there was no evidence to say any meaningful effect different from zero.’ Are you aware of any empirical data to the contrary? We have three studies concluded from the Department of Justice that the prior ban had no effect.”
Smart enough to realize that he had been cornered, Walsh simply contradicted the clear evidence, claiming “there’s certainly enough evidence that assault weapons are used disproportionately in attacks with multiple victims and victims with multiple wounds.” In fact, however, the Urban Institute study stated just the opposite–that under the ban, researchers “were unable to detect any reduction to date in two types of gun murders that are thought to be closely associated with assault weapons, those with multiple victims in a single incident and those producing multiple bullet wounds per victim.”
Prof. Johnson explained in considerable detail why S. 150’s definitions of “assault weapon” are “unsustainable under the lowest level of constitutional review [and] fail even to meet the rudimentary, rational basis requirement.” Attorney David Hardy focused on explaining the difference between fully automatic rifles used by the military and semi-automatic rifles that S. 150 would ban, explained that rifles like the AR-15 are not particularly powerful, and showed how S. 150 would ban guns that are functionally identical to guns that would not be banned.
Former Rep. Adams summarized the findings of the congressionally mandated study of Feinstein’s 1994 ban, saying that “the banned weapons, and magazines were never involved in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders” and summarized a follow up study’s conclusions, saying that “assault weapons were used in a particularly small percentage of gun crimes, and that assailants fired less than four shots on average, a number well within the 10 round magazine limit imposed by the ban.” She also cited the success of measures she had sponsored in the Florida Legislature to prevent the purchase of firearms by those whose mental illness might create a risk of violence, and concluded “It is not time for feel-good legislation, so you can say you did something, but it is time for a true discussion on the culture of violence, and how to prevent more violent crime.”
Then, to the regret of every civil human being in the room, came Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Durbin began with a disrespectful attack on Prof. Johnson. After calling the Second Amendment “a suicide pact,” and saying–with apparent reference to commonly owned firearms like the AR-15–that “what has become common in America is unacceptable in a civilized country,” Durbin repeatedly refused to let Professor Johnson answer the questions thrown at him, and then falsely claimed that AR-15s and similar firearms had been “excluded by [the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v.] Heller.”
Eventually, Durbin allowed Professor Johnson to respond, at which point Johnson politely and articulately handed Durbin his hat, concluding, “If you go before the Supreme Court with what is ultimately a piece of legislation that really just generates more demand for the very type of gun that you’re trying to ban, ultimately you’re going to have the same failure that you had [with the 1994 ban].”
Then, in the most despicable comment of the day, low even by anti-gun zealots’ often subterranean standards, Durbin went after Rep. Adams.
After Rep. Adams acknowledged that her husband–a fellow law enforcement officer–had died in the line of duty, Durbin sarcastically said, “I’m sure you’ll now support the universal background check to keep the guns out of the hands of criminals, won’t you?”
In days gone by, such a heartless attack wouldn’t have been tolerated by fellow senators. But Rep. Adams displayed the cool head that served her well both in law enforcement and in politics, looking Durbin straight in the eyes and saying, “No, sir.”
Some comic relief would have been welcome at that point, but Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), the comedian-turned-politician, instead made a few comments pretending to respect Minnesota’s firearm traditions, then listed several shootings in which semi-automatic rifles or magazines larger than 10 rounds were used, and said he doubted that anyone needed the same kinds of firearms and magazines for self-defense. Franken had apparently missed the comments of Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) earlier in day; Sen. Lee had cited statistics showing that in nearly half of defensive firearm uses, there are two or more attackers, and in nearly 25 percent, there are three or more attackers.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) challenged Professor Johnson’s assessment of S. 150’s constitutionality, saying that legal challenges to the 1994 “assault weapons” ban had been unsuccessful and that “the courts have a responsibility to deem constitutional, to presume constitutional, valid acts of the legislature.”
Professor Johnson disagreed, pointing out that under the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller, declaring the Second Amendment to protect a fundamental, individual right to keep and bear all bearable arms for defensive purposes, for gun-ban legislation to survive “requires something far more than simply rational basis. That is, it’s not an automatic deference to whatever the legislature does, because now, what we’re talking about is a constitutional right.”
The next attack on that right at the federal level is scheduled for next week, when the Senate Judiciary Committee will meet again–this time to mark up several pieces of gun-related legislation including S. 150 and a bill criminalizing private firearm transfers.
Take action now to block those bills. Please contact your elected officials, and respectfully urge them to protect our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. To identify and contact your legislators in Washington, D.C., you can use the “Write Your Reps” feature at www.NRAILA.org, or you can reach your member of Congress by phone at 202-224-3121.
From CCRKBA 2/27/2013
Make sure to play the youtube video at the end…
The startling video demonstration, conducted under the supervision of Boone County, Ind. Sheriff Ken Campbell and funded by ArmaLite, “throws cold water on anti-gunners who argue that magazine limitations are necessary to prevent mass shootings,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan M. Gottlieb. “We are all indebted to ArmaLite for this informative effort.”
“Under Sheriff Campbell’s supervision,” he explained, “two shooters – an experienced man and a novice female – are able to repeatedly fire 30-round shot strings at three targets, using 15-, ten- and six-round magazines, all in under 30 seconds.”
The male demonstrator fired 30 rounds from a pistol, first with two 15-round magazines, in 20.64 seconds, then with three ten-rounders in 18.05 seconds and finally with five six-round magazines in 21.45 seconds. The woman fired the same magazine sequence, with two 15-round magazines in 22.9 seconds, three ten-rounders in 25.51 seconds and the final five six-round magazines in 26.93 seconds.
In addition, the man then fires 20 rounds from an AR-15 rifle using a single magazine, in 12.16 seconds. He then fired 20 rounds using two ten-round magazines in less time, 10.73 seconds!
“Imposing magazine capacity limits creates a horribly false sense of security,” Gottlieb observed. “This video puts the lie to this politically-motivated disarmament strategy.”
Sheriff Campbell notes in the video that, “One of the reasons that the magazine restrictions are being proposed is the perception that if the active shooter has fewer bullets in magazines he will have to reload sooner and this will create an opportunity for someone to tackle him during the reload.”
In a demonstration, that notion is also proven false.
“Magazine capacity limits offer no panacea to the rare mass shootings that have alarmed the country,” Gottlieb said. “It is time to stop this nonsense and expose magazine limits as the monumental fraud they are.”
Gottlieb urged firearms owners to share this important video demonstration with state and federal lawmakers. The video can be found at YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?