Patterico's Pontifications


Depressing Real Life Heroism

Filed under: General,Second Amendment — Aaron Worthing @ 4:54 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing]

From a game called Medal of Honor, to real life heroes, DRJ directs us to some of the testimony in the Ft. Hood shooting case where we see some of the heroism that emerged that day.  I dare say that at least some of these acts might qualify for a medal of honor.  The money quote:

Amid the carnage described Friday were moments of heroism. Spc. Logan Burnett said he saw Capt. John Gaffaney try to attack Hasan with a chair before he was shot and killed. Burnett said he also tried to throw a folding table at Hasan, but was shot in the hip before he could throw it. Burnett was shot another two times as he crawled to safety.

CW2 Christopher Royal testified that he saw Hasan chase another soldier, Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, out of the building and shoot him before going back inside. Royal said that Hasan left the building again shortly after and began shooting at him, hitting him in the back. Royal said he saw Hasan move toward a crowded theater hosting a graduation ceremony.

“I ran to try to get there before he got there,” he said. Royal was able to tell soldiers at the theater to lock up the building.

There is plenty more coverage of the trial, here.  But the depressing thing in reading all of that is it also makes it clear how unnecessary these deaths were.  Reading of these soldiers having to hide behind locked doors, having to resort to throwing chairs in the hope of stopping him, it reminds you of an absolutely insane fact: this military base was a gun-free zone.  It illustrates exactly how easily this whole thing would have been stopped if only everyone was allowed to carry a gun.  And no, I am not the first person to notice.

From the missed warning signs to this gun-free idiocy, it is clear that our military bureaucracy failed those soldiers in Ft. Hood, not only failing to protect them but positively impairing their ability to protect themselves.  Their heroism is an indictment on that bureaucracy.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]


Will the NRA Endorse Harry Reid?

Filed under: Politics,Second Amendment — DRJ @ 12:49 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Politico reports “the conservative Netroots are abuzz over the possibility” the NRA may endorse Harry Reid:

“The conservative Netroots are abuzz over the possibility that the NRA may endorse Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). This would be the second major slight by the NRA for political conservatives — the gun group also just negotiated a big exemption on a campaign finance bill loathed by the right.”

This strikes me as a PR and political miscalculation but bloated organizations, like arrogant people, can easily become drunk with a little success.



Chicago Mayor Announces New Handgun Law

Filed under: Second Amendment — DRJ @ 11:21 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Following the Supreme Court decision in McDonald, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced plans to issue strict new handgun laws:

“The measure, which draws from ordinances across the country, would ban gun shops in Chicago and prohibit gun owners from stepping outside their homes, even onto their porches or garages, with a handgun.”

Technically, it seems Daley has refused to give up on trying to keep legal guns out of lawful users’ hands.



Elena Kagan on Law and History

Filed under: Judiciary,Second Amendment — DRJ @ 12:43 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

CBS News reports on Day 2 of the Elena Kagan hearings regarding Senator Grassley’s questions about the Second Amendment. Kagan pointed out the McDonald decision was “based so much on history” and stated the Court has decided gun ownership is a fundamental right that is “good precedent going forward.”

All case law is precedent but that won’t stop the Court from changing it if the Justices think it’s wrong. That’s especially true here, where Kagan characterizes the decision as “based so much on history” — presumably as opposed to the law. Kagan reinforces the idea that the decision isn’t based on law when she adds the italicized qualifier: “The [McDonald] case is based so much on history, which I’ve never had the occasion to look at.”

Kagan is a lawyer, a law professor and a former Law School Dean. If she’s never looked at the history of gun rights and the Second Amendment, it’s either because she has no interest in the subject or it’s because she thinks history is not required to decide a Second Amendment legal question. I think the latter is more likely.

Thus, this may be what Kagan is really saying: A judge is not required to know about history to decide a legal question, and a legal decision based on history instead of law can be wrong.



Supreme Court Extends Gun Rights to States

Filed under: Judiciary,Second Amendment — DRJ @ 2:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In McDonald vs City of Chicago (opinion here; oral argument transcript here), the U.S. Supreme Court today extended the Heller 2nd Amendment protections to states but allowed some restrictions on gun ownership. Chicago’s Mayor Daley plans to find the limit of those restrictions.

After Heller, will this 5-4 decision end the 2nd Amendment debate or is it just beginning? It’s clearly just beginning at the state and local levels, where governments will be asked to craft standards that satisfy the courts and citizens.



Concealed Carry on Colorado Campus

Filed under: Education,Second Amendment — DRJ @ 12:48 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In a 5-4 vote, the Board of Regents at the University of Colorado voted to appeal a court decision allowing permit holders to carry concealed weapons on campus. Faculty members and students have also expressed support for the ban. Frankly, though, it sounds to me like the Regents should be unhappy with the Colorado legislature because it has not included college campuses in the list of places excluded from the Concealed Carry law.

And Ken Salazar isn’t having much luck in court these days.



The NRA Responds (Updated)

Filed under: Second Amendment — DRJ @ 7:19 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A few days ago, I posted on a special exemption to the DISCLOSE Act for the NRA. Friend and commenter AD – RtR/OS! sent me a link to the NRA’s response. Here is the main point of the response:

“There are those who say the NRA should put the Second Amendment at risk over a First Amendment principle. That’s easy to say—unless you have a sworn duty to protect the Second Amendment above all else, as we do.

The NRA is a non-partisan, single-issue organization made up of millions of individual members dedicated to the protection of the Second Amendment. We do not represent the interests of other organizations. That’s their responsibility. Our responsibility is to protect and defend the interests of our members. And that we do without apology.”

Ironically, the NRA says the fate of the bill is in doubt because of the NRA exemption:

“Today, the fate of the bill remains in doubt. The House floor debate has repeatedly been postponed. Lawmakers and outside groups who once supported the bill, or took no position—including the Brady Campaign—have now come out against it because of the announcement regarding NRA. The outcome in the Senate is even murkier, as anti-gun Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has announced her strong opposition to the proposed change.”



UPDATE: AD sends a link to a good discussion here.


The NRA Cuts a Deal

Filed under: Second Amendment — DRJ @ 6:24 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Owen at Boots and Sabers likes the NRA’s training and education programs but isn’t impressed with its politics:

“I am not a member of the NRA. While I am a strong advocate for our 2nd Amendment rights, I have always been a bit skittish with the NRA. As a large, powerful lobbying organization, they are susceptible to corruption and acting to maintain their own power despite their stated principles.

Case in point:

Just as opposition was building in the House to the unconstitutional and burdensome DISCLOSE Act, which is intended to help Democrats in the November election by stifling the political speech of corporations and many non-profit advocacy organizations (but not unions), the NRA has apparently sold out.

Politico and others are reporting that the NRA has reached a deal to withdraw its opposition to the bill in exchange for an exemption for the NRA from its disclosure provisions. “

Maybe it was going to pass anyway and the NRA wanted to shield itself from adverse consequences. Then again, some say the “NRA’s support has been deemed necessary to pass the bill.”


MORE: Thanks to jdm in the comments for a link to this rebuttal, a sentiment echoed by other NRA commenters.


Colorado Court Revives Campus Concealed Carry Lawsuit

Filed under: Second Amendment — DRJ @ 9:44 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Colorado appeals court has opened the door to allowing concealed carry on the University of Colorado campus:

“The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in favor of a group seeking to allow students with concealed gun permits to carry their weapons on campus. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus had argued that a 1994 University of Colorado policy banning concealed weapons violated state gun laws, particularly the Concealed Carry Act of 2003.

The ruling revives a lawsuit that a judge dismissed last year and could affect other Colorado campuses. Colorado State University approved a campus weapons ban similar to CU’s in February.

CU is considering an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court, university spokesman Ken McConnellogue said. CSU spokeswoman Michele McKinney said the university is reviewing the court decision, too. “

To obtain a Colorado concealed carry permit, applicants must be 21 and undergo a background check. The plaintiffs claimed the Colorado Concealed Carry Act prohibits local governments from restricting concealed carry rights and say the court’s decision “vindicated a constitutional right to bear arms.” If the decision is sustained on appeal, I think it means Colorado would join Utah as the only states that allow concealed carry on college campuses.



School District Authorizes Armed Teachers

Filed under: Education,Second Amendment — DRJ @ 7:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Harrold school district, 150 miles NW of Fort Worth on the Texas-Oklahoma border, has decided to let teachers who hold concealed carry permits bring their weapons to class:

“Superintendent David Thweatt said a main concern was that the small community is a 30-minute drive from the sheriff’s office, leaving students and teachers without protection.

The district’s lone campus sits 500 feet from heavily trafficked U.S. 287, which could make it a target, Thweatt said.

Other security measures are in place, including one-way access to enter the school, state-of-the-art surveillance cameras and electric locks on doors. But after the Virginia Tech massacre and the Amish school shooting in Pennsylvania, Thweatt felt he had to take further action, he said.

“When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that’s when all of these shootings started,” Thweatt said. “Why would you put it out there that a group of people can’t defend themselves? That’s like saying ‘sic ’em’ to a dog.”

In addition to a valid concealed carry permit, teachers must also have permission from the school district.

School starts August 25.

UPDATE 8/20/2008: The El Paso Times reports that Texas Governor Rick Perry thinks it’s fine for teachers to carry guns on campus if they are appropriately trained and licensed. It also had more information on Harrold ISD regulations:

The [Harrold] teachers must be licensed and take crisis management training and must use bullets designed to minimize ricocheting.”


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