Ol' Buffalo Soapbox

As long as man's beliefs, or any part of them, are based on error, he is not completely free, for the chains of error bind his mind. — Bruce R. McConkie
You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. — Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent. — Napoleon Bonaparte
Error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it. — Thomas Jefferson
Tell a lie loud enough and long enough and the people will believe it. — Adolf Hitler
Either you oppose a lie, or you become a liar. — Franklin Sanders
A lie left unchallenged becomes the truth. — Tom Gresham
Hoplophobia Kills. Support your local radical gun rights extremist! — Jeff Knox

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Gun Control

The US State Department announced a policy reversal yesterday, saying the Obama administration supports launching talks on a treaty to regulate arms sales. The decision overturns the position of the Bush administration, which had opposed such a treaty on the grounds that national controls were better. And the Bush administration had at least some fear of the Second Amendment voters. I will always admire and respect Ambassador John Bolton for his courageous fight against such a treaty in the UN. During the confirmation hearing for Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, I wrote to warn my senators that her confirmation would lead to such treaty negotiations to infringe on our Second Amendment rights. I warned my senators that I would consider a vote for her confirmation the same as a vote against the Second Amendment. Clearly, I was more prescient than the self-proclaimed pro-gun Senators who voted for her confirmation. As I recall, only two senators had the courage to vote against her. The US Constitution established the Senate confirmation process for presidential appointees to protect and preserve the Constitution and the limits it places on the central government. Instead, the Senate is largely a rubber stamp (except when it rejects appointees who understand and respect the Constitution such as Judge Bork and Ambassador Bolton). The nation and its citizens are the losers. Now that the Obama administration has announced its intent to negotiate a multi-lateral treaty as well as a possible treaty with Mexico that will affect US gun rights, I urge every senator to fight any such treaty or international agreement with all the power they can possibly muster. Their oath of office demands it. All agreements, treaties, and legislation which diminish our rights in any way or which increase international influence over US interests must be killed immediately! There is no room for compromise on this or any other protection guaranteed by the US Constitution. (15 Oct 2009)

Epidemiologists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine claim that, on average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. The study was based on data carefully selected to dramatically skew the results toward a perceived need for gun control and away from truth. In concert with other anti-gun studies, this study carefully cherry-picked the study and control samples, rejecting majority populations that contradict their goal of denigrating guns and gun owners. When a study population consists of gang-bangers, at this one did, the results are very predictable. But, the study infers that all gun owners have the same risk of violent injury as do the criminals in the study. News reporters and editors around the world gleefully regurgitated everything the "researchers" said in their press release word-for-word as if it were entirely truthful without taking even a second to read the study, examine its egregious flaws, and question its methods. This parrot-style reporting is another example of the profoundly lazy, biased, and dangerous reporting in today's news media. The news media's repetition of this article (anti-gun propaganda) would make any legitimate researcher, statistician, news reporter, or editor blush with shame. Instead of recycling propaganda as news simply because it feels good, I expect news reporters and editors to do thorough research before going to press. (9 Oct 2009)

In 2005, Congress passed the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" to protect the firearms industry from stupid litigation. Now, some parents want to sue Berretta (the world's oldest firearm manufacturer) for a shooting wherein a 13-year-old shot another 13-year-old while they were handling a pistol with no adult supervision. This is just one more example of where we have gone wrong as a society -- nobody wants to be responsible. In this case, parents don't want to be responsible for the safety and behavior of their children. They don't want to be responsible for teaching their children how to be safe around guns. They don't want their children to be responsible for their own actions. The firearms industry is the most heavily-regulated business in the nation. Thanks to the safety and education programs developed and offered by the NRA, the shooting sports are among the safest of sports (safer than soccer). Sure, any child's death is a tragedy, but it's time for the parents in this case to grow up a little bit and accept responsibility for that boy's death and the court must tell them exactly that. (1 Sep 2009)

The local paper published an editorial about a recent child-shooting tragedy. I believe all schools should include a few hours of age-appropriate firearm safety training K-12 every year. I have made that suggestion to our state legislators -- without result so far. Hunter education saves perhaps dozens of lives every year in Utah alone. But we can do more. A universal firearm safety program in school would save even more lives. As mentioned in this editorial, the NRA already has excellent safety training programs in place. All we need is the legislative will to put them before our children. While on the subject of firearm safety, why can't the TV and movie industry clean up their act regarding the portrayal of horrible gun-handling? Showing an actor portraying irresponsibility of crooks is one thing, but movies often show the good guys (cops and GIs) with unsafe gun-handling techniques. The entertainment industry must compensate by funding frequent one-minute TV spots to teach their audience about gun safety. (26 Jun 2007)

Customs and Border Protection has proposed redefining banned knives. I own folding knives and even a simple box cutter which would appear to be covered under the proposal and use them daily. The definition of what is a switchblade has been clear and settled since the Federal Switchblade Act was passed in 1958. The new position is particularly questionable and irreconcilable because it flies in the face of virtually unanimous recent state court rulings (including several cases in California, Texas, Illinois and Michigan) where the issue of assisted-opening knives has already been decided in favor of the existing clear interpretation, that they are not a switchblade. The reasoning for expanding this definition doesn't pass the common sense test, nor is it in line with current judicial rulings. Even worse, it appears the proposal redefines gravity and inertia knives so broadly that many, if not most pocketknives will fall under its sweep. I and millions of knife owners will be affected. The US Constitution guarantees the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. That includes knives. I believe this protection also includes the already-banned switchblades. We already have more than sufficient laws and rules to punish criminal behavior. It is time for all politicians and bureaucrats to stop criminalizing inanimate objects such as guns and knives! Congress must immediately ensure Customs and Border Protection abandons this egregious proposal. (13 Jun 2009)

A Louisville-area church having an "Open Carry Church Service" and is inviting people to bring unloaded guns in holsters that Saturday. My question is this: Why insist the guns be unloaded? What good is an unloaded gun? What does anyone expect to accomplish by having a church full of people who, although they have guns, are still effectively unarmed? I am amazed that there are actually people in this world who are gullible enough to believe that banning guns in churches or schools or anywhere else will somehow stop bad guys from bringing in guns to do harm to whomever they please. Those people seem to be unaware of the simple fact that people with criminal intent, by definition, don't obey laws or respect gun-free zones. Gun-free zones such as churches, schools, and posted businesses are killing zones where evil people can kill at will knowing they will be unopposed for the several minutes it takes for police to finally show up -- just in time to take pictures of the crime scene. (6 Jun 2009)

The State of Montana has defied the federal government and their gun laws. If guns and ammunition are manufactured inside the State of Montana for sale and use inside that state then the federal firearms laws have no applicability since the federal government only has the power to control commerce across state lines. Some Utah legislators are considering similar legislation. The problem with this legislation is that only liberates guns and ammunition made in one state for gun-buyers in that state. I would have done this a bit differently. My logic follows: Congress controls guns by abusing the "commerce clause" of the US Constitution (The "commerce clause" is one of a few enumerated powers listed in the US Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3). The clause states that Congress has the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the states, and with the Indian tribes.). To justify gun control, Congress argues that since, during the process of commerce, guns usually cross state and, for imported guns, international boundaries, it can do whatever it wants to control guns. (I challenge anyone to name one item related to a constitutionally enumerated right that is so heavily and hysterically controlled as a gun -- a simple, inanimate tool of self-protection and sport.) Montana argues that the guns made and sold in Montana don't cross these borders and are therefore are not subject to the whims of the federal government. My argument is that although most guns cross borders in traveling from the place of manufacture through distributors to the store where it finally reaches the consumer (and therefore subject to congressional regulation during that process), all transactions between a local gun store and its customers are local transactions -- not interstate or international transactions. Because they are local transactions, they are subject only to state and local regulation and, according to the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution, Congress has no business interfering whatsoever. So, what the Montana legislature should have done is to simply declare all consumer gun, ammunition, and accessory purchases to be exactly what they really are: local transactions over which Congress has no authority. This would also fix the problem where Congress wants to usurp control over gun shows which also are local gatherings -- not interstate or international trade shows. If Congress would stop trying to control local gun transactions and gun owners over which it has no authority (and is even specifically commanded by the US Constitution to butt-out), it would have a lot more time to read the stupid legislation that it keeps puking out. Nevertheless, I am heartened by the fact that a few states are finally telling the federal government that it has overstepped the boundaries established by the US Constitution. We often hear about the separation of powers between the three branches of the federal government. But another, perhaps more important, control over power is the power given by the Constitution to the states and to the people to reign in federal power. After all, it was the people and the states that created the federal government and delegated specific, limited power to it. The states and the people have allowed (and even accepted and encouraged) excessive power to be concentrated in the federal government and its bureaucrats. (9 Mar 2009)

HR-1684 and S-816 (the Preservation of the Second Amendment in National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges Act) would to legislatively enact a regulation adopted by the Department of the Interior last year, allowing the carrying of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges by people who have been issued permits to carry firearms after passing criminal background checks and meeting other state requirements. The bills became necessary after a federal district court in Washington, DC, on March 19, granted a preliminary injunction against the regulation, which had been in effect without incident for over two months. This legislation simply provides that "a person may possess, carry, and transport concealed, loaded, and operable firearms within a national park area or national wildlife refuge area in accordance with the laws of the state in which the national park area or national wildlife refuge area, or that portion thereof, is located." It leaves in place the federal law that prohibits carrying a firearm into a "building or part thereof owned or leased by the federal government, where federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties" unless "incident to hunting or other lawful purposes." Unfortunately, the bill as presently written, continues to deny the right of self-protection for non-permit-holders. I find this unacceptable, unconscionable, and unconstitutional. I strongly support this legislation but also urge that it be amended to restore the right of all law-abiding citizens, including non-permit-holders to openly carry a firearm where in addition to concealed carry by permit holders. (27 May 2009)

Federal lands managed by the National Park Service (NPS) are so dangerous that even NPS employees wear guns and body armor. Nevertheless anti-gun forces insist that the common citizenry go unarmed in NPS lands. In addition, many roads, highways, and trails cross NPS lands and an otherwise legally-armed citizen my unwittingly violate NPS gun restrictions by simply crossing an un-marked boundary. To resolve this issue, Department of the Interior (DOI) regulations were amended in 2008 to allow law-abiding citizens to defend themselves by carrying a concealed firearm in national parks and wildlife refuges if licensed to do so by the applicable state. However, early this year, a federal district court in Washington, DC granted anti-gun plaintiffs an injunction against implementation of the new rule. S-816 and HR-1684 will restore the Second Amendment rights of visitors in national parks and wildlife refuges. This bill would provide uniformity across our nation's federal lands and put an end to the patchwork of regulations that governs different lands managed by different federal agencies. This move will restore the rights of law-abiding gun owners who wish to transport and carry firearms for lawful purposes on most DOI lands, and will make federal law consistent with the state law in which these lands are located. While I'd prefer that the President, Congress, Court, and all federal agencies simply respect and follow the boundaries set by the US Constitution, I urge Congress and the President to immediately implement S-816 and HR-1684. (8 Apr 2009)

Recent changes made by the Interior Department only allow persons with a concealed firearm permit to possess a self-defense firearm on NPS (National Park Service) land. Non-permit holders are still prohibited from carrying a firearm for their protection. A supposedly pro-gun amendment to "fix" was included in the Omnibus Public Land Act of 2009. However, that language only modestly protects hunting and recreational shooting. While protecting the rights of sportsmen is important, the Second Amendment is not only about hunting rights! I am more concerned about my ability to defend my life, and the lives of my loved ones, than I am about plinking cans on NPS lands. If NPS employees are sufficiently worried about their safety on NPS lands that they carry arms and even wear body armor, then we law-abiding commoners also have a need -- and right -- for a self-protection firearm, even if we don't have a concealed firearm permit. Congressional leaders have been ambiguous about how this legislation will come to the floor, but my message to Congress and the Whitehouse is clear: protect all of my Second Amendment rights! Congress must reject this bill if, as expected, the leadership does not allow an amendment to repeal all anti-gun regulations of the National Park Service. (17 Mar 2009)

The National Park Service (NPS) administers over 20 million acres of land, including National Preserves, National Recreation Areas and National Rivers, which is open to hunting and fishing. The NPS plans to stop the use lead ammunition and fishing tackle on these lands. Acting NPS Director Dan Wenk stated that the NPS goal is to eliminate all lead in ammunition and tackle by the end of 2010. This move would impose a severe and unnecessary adverse impact hunting and fishing -- sports which are essential tool for proper management of wildlife. I see this decision as a blatant anti-hunting and anti-fishing move. It is clearly designed to limit hunting and fishing by imposing high priced alternative products like tungsten, copper, and steel. This ban would make it legally impossible to use traditional projectiles in muzzleloading firearms. It will reduce available conservation dollars as sportsmen reduce purchases of hunting and angling gear. Lead is a naturally occurring element in the Earth. To assume that environmental harm is caused by the relatively miniscule amount of lead that is redistributed by fishermen and hunters is preposterous and scientifically unsound. As far as I've been able to determine, the NPS is imposing this extreme restriction without even allowing a public comment period. I urge Congress to apply all possible pressure (to include legislation) to the National Park Service, the Secretary of Interior, and President Obama to abandon this plan to ban lead on NPS and other public lands. (16 Mar 2009)

A year ago today, Kristy Ragsdale was shot in the back and head by a coward -- her estranged husband. She and those around her knew she was in grave danger. But, in part, because of certain policies and probably because of a feeling of "It can't happen to me", she was defenseless and had no ability to fight back. She should have had a gun on 6 Jan 2008. Her mother, who was with her, should have had a gun. She should have been escorted by a couple of big, burly church members with guns. Then, Kristy would have had a chance to see her children grow to adulthood. Her cowardly attacker knew, that because of church policy, she, and everyone around her, would be defenseless. No matter how well-intentioned they think they are, it is unconscionable for anyone to deprive another person of the right and ability of self-defense. Evil, in the person of people like David Ragsdale, exists everywhere -- even in our churches. We must always be willing and able to fight evil. Somehow, these policy-makers seem to think that establishing a gun-free zone is effective in controlling the behavior of evil people. Here's a news flash: people with criminal intent, by definition, disobey the law! That includes gun-free churches! I demand that the legislature of every state hold criminally and civilly accountable every government, church, business, and private entity that establishes a gun-free zone without also establishing absolute safety and security therein. (6 Jan 2009)

It seems that Barack Obama (BO) is the number one salesman for the firearms industry. Gun sales are through the roof (one report I saw said 49% above this time last year). Gun stores across the nation are sold out of many items. I think it's hilarious -- except what I want to buy is out of stock. I think BO's selection of Hillary Clinton is a part of the gun-control plan. As Secretary of State, she'll be in a position to include the US in the UN's agreement to ban civilian ownership of small arms -- something Ambassador John Bolton heroically fought against a couple of years ago. Our political "leaders" (of both major political parties) have done serious damage to this nation and its constitution over the past several decades. But, it's nothing compared to what we'll see in the next 4-8 years. Barring extreme circumstances, I doubt it'll be possible to undo the damage. (22 Nov 2008)

President-elect Barack Obama (BO) has called for a "civilian national security force" as powerful as the US military. His suggestion was ignored by the vast majority of the main-stream press but compared by critics to the "Nazi Hitler Youth." The force that BO envisions would be nothing but a national political-correctness police force to enforce compliance with his socialist agenda. The core of BO's force will surely be an anti-American entity such as ACORN. It will likely employ mostly layabouts who are motivationally incapable of doing productive work (similar to TSA's airport security screeners). I predict it will be rife with far more corruption and civil-rights abuses than any other police or military force in history. It may come as a surprise to many that a "civilian national security force" already exists. The founders, as well as 10 USC Sec. 311 of the US Code refer to this force as the "unorganized militia" and it currently costs the taxpayer nothing. BO would do well to push for substantial cuts in the nation's police-state establishment (beginning with BATFE) and eliminate federal subsidies for police-state efforts at state and local levels. The states then need to fill this gap by recognizing the militia, providing opportunities for standardized militia training (without the socialist indoctrination that would surely be a part of BO's police force), and eliminating the controls on firearms that presently emasculate the effectiveness of the militia. (9 Nov 2008)

A study from researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland has found "no evidence that gun shows lead to substantial increases in either gun homicides or suicides. In addition, tighter regulation of gun shows does not appear to reduce the number of firearm-related deaths." The study, "The Effect of Gun Shows on Gun-Related Deaths: Evidence from California and Texas" compared gun deaths between 1994-2004 in two states with large numbers of gun shows annually: California, which has the greatest restrictions on gun shows, and Texas, which has none. These results confirm those in a similar a study for Utah done by Dr. JK Lyon several years ago. Gun shows are innocuous since potential criminals can acquire guns quite easily through other black market sales or theft. I oppose any effort to impose background checks on private firearms transactions simply because they happen to occur at gun shows. Gun dealers are already required to conduct background checks on buyers, whether at his store or in a gun show. One gun-control organization falsely claims that "25-50 percent of the vendors at most gun shows are unlicensed dealers." This statistic is true only if one counts vendors who aren't selling guns (e.g., vendors who are selling books, clothing, or accessories) as "unlicensed dealers." Gun-control advocates claim there is a gun-show loophole which allegedly allows criminals to buy guns at gun shows. Congresswoman Diana DeGette dishonestly says that 70% of crime guns come from gun shows. However, multiple government studies prove gun shows are not a source of "crime guns" -- that less than 2% of criminal guns came from gun shows. The fact is that it already is unlawful to transfer a firearm to prohibited persons such as criminals and the mentally-ill. Any new laws that would impose background checks on private sales, whether at a gun show or anywhere else will increase the already bloated bureaucracy and will create new prohibitions that will result in ever more innocent persons inadvertently violating these new laws! There are few places on earth that are safer than a gun show attended by hundreds or thousands of gun owners and gun venders. Since gun shows take place entirely within the boundaries of a single state, Congress has no legitimate constitutional basis (including its "interstate commerce" power) to attempt to control gun shows. We already have over 22,000 local, state and federal gun-control laws in this nation. None of them have been shown to be effective in controlling violent crime to any extent whatsoever. Enough is enough! All politicians must oppose any attempt to regulate private transfers of firearms between law-abiding persons. (10 Oct 2008)

The root of bigotry is ignorance. Most bigots choose to purge or avoid any and all information which conflicts with their bigotry. That bigotry is fostered by an anti-gun, self-righteous news media, anti-gun politicians and bureaucrats, anti-gun educators, and anti-gun physicians. The TV program "30 Days" recently aired an episode wherein a Pia Lalli, a Brockton, Massachusetts gun-control activist spent 30 days living in the gun culture. People like Pia are victims of the dishonest and myopic propaganda emanating from these sources and, rather than learn the facts, choose to similarly victimize those around them. It is clear that this self-righteous anti-gun ignorance was the mindset with which Pia entered this 30-day episode of her life and she struggled to maintain that ignorance. It took time and patience, but it appears that she eventually gained a bit of appreciation for the fact that gun crimes are committed by criminals -- not law-abiding and trained gun owners, and that a gun is a valid, often essential, tool for recreation and protection. I'm not convinced that her conversion is complete. I hope she continues to participate in the shooting sports and that she fully comes to realize that many lives have been saved by guns in the hands of good people. (28 Aug 2008)

School officials in Harrold, Texas have decided to allow school staff to pack heat while at work. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has decided to fight that move. (Hey, Sarah, wasn't your husband shot in a gun-free city?) I have an above average IQ, but I'm simply not smart enough to understand why the Brady Bunch opposes law-abiding parents and school staff having a gun in or around a school for personal protection. With a few exceptions (ie Utah) , the only people (other than cops) carrying guns onto school grounds are people with criminal intent. It is a fact that the police rarely are able to respond to a 911 call in time to prevent a violent crime. Even if a cop is in the immediate area, a crime can be over in seconds -- before the officer can run down the hall of an elementary school. All that's left for the police is to draw chalk lines around the bodies, file some reports, and post wanted posters to hunt down the perpetrator. (20 Aug 2008)

The Atlanta airport administration has decided to spit on Georgia state law and ban guns in the public, non-sterile areas of its airport. Big city officials from Atlanta and elements of the anti-gun movement are moving to misuse federal power to accomplish what they cannot do in state capitols -- criminalize gun carry in the public and non-sterile areas in and around all the nation's airports. They are trying to find a solution for a problem which does not exist! The vast majority of state legislatures support the right of law-abiding citizens to carry handguns in public, including the non-sterile areas of airports. Any effort to reverse these state law decisions by way of the federal bureaucracy insults federalism and the constitutionally-protected individual right to bear arms. Please ensure the TSA stays out of gun-ban politics in Atlanta and across the Unites States! (13 Aug 2008)

For some time, I have been deeply concerned about the security and safety of my family while attending church meetings and activities. The LDS church has banned firearms in houses of worship in Utah. Yet, it seems that every month there is news of another attack on church-goers somewhere in the nation. The bad guys know that they have easy victims in churches and other gun-free zones. We even had a horrible church shooting right here in Utah (Lehi) a few months ago. It is obvious that banning law-abiding church members from possessing a firearm has no effect on the behavior of a person with criminal intent. It only leaves us defenseless. Certain church leaders enjoy the protection of bodyguards. This practice in the restored church goes all the way back to Joseph Smith. Even Jesus had bodyguards and instructed his disciples to buy swords for protection. Yet, when I look around a typical ward meeting (my own included), I see hundreds of people who are completely vulnerable to an attack. My training as a Utah Concealed Firearms Permit holder has taught me good awareness skills and how to safely and effectively use my gun. Yet, while I leave my gun at home, the greeters and leaders who shake my hand every Sunday morning have absolutely no training in watching for, or responding to trouble. Our naive innocence, and that of our leaders, leave us entirely unprepared. We have no oil in our lamps. (31 Jul 2008)

In reading a blog recently I was disappointed to see a mother's pride over her children's response to a harmless starting gun (the barrel is blocked and cannot fire real ammunition) is "A killing gun Mom, a killing gun!" That comment tells me that her children getting some ill-informed, biased information about a simple piece of steel and plastic (or wood) -- most likely from Mom and/or Dad. I suspect that she and/or her husband were raised in a home where guns were feared out of ignorance -- just like her own home today. I urge her, and all parents, to get some sound information about firearms and firearm safety. They should take a good gun safety class. I guarantee they'll have fun, learn to respect -- not fear guns, and they'll come away knowing that gun owners, for the most part, are the good guys. Thanks to safety training, firearm accidents have plunged even though firearm ownership continues to grow. Safety training is for kids, too! The NRA's Eddie Eagle program teaches kids a healthy respect for guns. Statistics show that children who have been given Eddie Eagle training (which does not include exposure to actual guns during the training) are significantly less likely to suffer or cause a gun shot injury than children who are taught that guns are taboo, evil, or "killing" machines. (I consider my TV far more dangerous to my grandchildren that my guns.) Does that mother know that her children are more likely to suffer a fatal accident in almost any other sport than in the shooting sports? Does she know that children who participate in the shooting sports are more disciplined and drug-free than children in most other sports? Does she know that there are absolutely no bad adult role models in the shooting sports? (Can't say that about baseball/t-ball, can you?) Does she know that children are more likely to be seriously or fatally injured while playing soccer or while swimming? They are even more likely to die while showering or bathing after a t-ball game! There are over 90 million of us gun owners in the US. Forty-eight percent of homes have at least one gun -- and those guns very rarely hurt (even kill) anyone. Firearms are used defensively (usually without even firing a shot) about 2.5 million times a year in the US. While the NRA and other pro-gun organizations rely on reliable statistics from the FBI, CDC (Centers for Disease Control), and NIH (National Institute for Health), anti-gun activists like to push distorted statistics to show how dangerous "killing guns" and their owners are. For example, they claim that 13 children are killed by gunfire every day. The fact is that nearly all those 13 children are gang members killed in gang warfare -- and they count a 23-year-old gang member as a child! Children in homes with guns where gun safety is honored are almost never hurt by a gun. Why do parents teach their children to swim? Could it be because parents are concerned about their children's safety? Could it be because swimming is a fun and healthy activity (if proper safety measures are taken)? Could it be because swimming competence opens up competitive and scholarship opportunities? Well, all those reasons also apply to the shooting sports. Please, parents, get some competent education about guns before you teach your children about guns. (30 Jun 2008)

In spite of over 20,000 local, state and federal gun-control laws, there are no viable restrictions on criminal carry and use of firearms. Common sense and reality indicate that laws only affect the behavior of those who are inclined to obey the law. Yet, anti-gun activists such as Steven Gunn (ironic name) of the anti-liberty Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah attack law-abiding gun owners because that's the only place they can effectively impose their will. So, West Valley City police, Gunn, and Salt Lake Tribune reporter Rebecca Walsh pounce on law-abiding citizens who lawfully carry lawful firearms because that's the only group of people they know they can control. Openly carrying a gun is legal, and perhaps a bit silly. Getting in a panic over open carry of a gun is even more silly. Do Walsh, Gunn, and West Valley City cops really believe that criminals would openly carry and aren't the criminals with hidden guns the ones they should really worry about? (22 Jun 2008)

New York Governor Paterson has proposed legislation requiring wannabe gun buyers take an NRA firearms safety class before they can buy a gun (California already has a similar requirement). Instead of singling out law-abiding gun-buyers for gun-safety training, I'd rather see age-appropriate un-biased universal gun-safety training in the schools K-12 coupled with some un-biased educational public service spots on TV and radio to foster gun safety. Everyone should know proper safety procedures should they ever come across a gun -- not just those who are gun buyers. A bit of knowledge would go a long way to dispel the deep, unfounded fear many have of guns (mere inanimate metal and plastic tools) that is based on nothing more than simple ignorance. Gov. Paterson is wise in pointing to the NRA as a source for that education. Contrary to the myths spread by anti-gun zealots, gun safety training and responsible gun ownership have been the primary focus of the NRA since its founding in 1871. (20 Jun 2008)

Does the Second Amendment guarantee the right of individuals to bear arms? According to a recent Harris poll, a majority of US adults think so. Oddly, however, of the respondents in this survey, 49 percent favor stricter gun control and 54 percent favor stricter laws relating to the control of handguns. Obviously they don't know about the 20,000 gun-control laws already on the books! They don't seem to know that all non-criminal gun buyers endure paperwork and background checks, and, in some cases, waiting periods. The don't know that criminals are not required to undergo the same scrutiny. In fact the courts have ruled that criminals have a 5th-amendment right to not incriminate themselves by filling out gun-purchase and gun-registration paperwork! Proponents of increased gun-control also are oblivious to the reality that no gun-control law has any effect whatsoever on criminals since criminals, by definition, do not obey laws. (3 Jun 2008)

The Brady background check is an effective and quick method of screening gun buyers to prevent sales to restricted persons. This effectiveness makes certain aspects of current gun-control legislation obsolete including inter-state transactions. I urge the immediate introduction and enactment of legislation that will modernize federal gun control laws to take advantage of current background check technology. As an example, as a Utah citizen, I should be able to walk into a gun store or gun show in any other state in the Union, show appropriate ID, complete the appropriate form(s), submit to the Brady background check in that state, and buy any gun that is legal in that state and bring it home (provided that gun is also legal in Utah). I should even be able to conduct the same inter-state transaction from home via mail or fax. All we need is for Congress and the president to remove this obsolete infringement of our Second Amendment right. (3 Jun 2008)

Anti-gun legislation continues to appear in Congress. For example, at least three bills (HR-96, S-2577, S-1807) are designed to impose background checks on private firearms transactions simply because they happen to occur at gun shows. Gun dealers are already required to conduct background checks on buyers, whether at his store or in a gun show. One gun-control organization falsely claims that "25-50 percent of the vendors at most gun shows are unlicensed dealers." This statistic is true only if one counts vendors who aren't selling guns (e.g., vendors who are selling books, clothing, or accessories) as "unlicensed dealers." Gun-control advocates claim there is a gun-show loophole which allegedly allows criminals to buy guns at gun shows. Congresswoman Diana DeGette dishonestly says that 70% of crime guns come from gun shows. However, multiple government studies prove gun shows are not a source of "crime guns" -- that less than 2% of criminal guns came from gun shows. The fact is that it already is unlawful to transfer a firearm to prohibited persons such as criminals and the mentally-ill. These bills will increase the already bloated federal bureaucracy and will create new prohibitions that will result in innocent persons inadvertently violating these new laws! There are few places on earth that are safer than a gun show attended by hundreds or thousands of gun owners and gun venders. Since gun shows take place entirely within the boundaries of a single state, Congress has no legitimate constitutional basis (including its "interstate commerce" power) to attempt to control gun shows. We already have over 20,000 local, state and federal gun-control laws in this nation. None of them have been shown to be effective in controlling violent crime to any extent whatsoever. Enough is enough! Vote no on any attempt to regulate private transfers of firearms between law-abiding persons! (19 May 2008)

Wal-Mart recently struck a deal with New York Mayor and Bully Michael Bloomberg on irrational and excessive standards for gun sales. Wal-Mart has the nation's largest seller of firearms, but I predict that is about to change because gun buyers will simply shop elsewhere. Wal-Mart will now keep certain records, including videotapes of all gun transaction, far beyond those required by law. WalMart is cooperating with Bloomberg's goal to run all gun dealers out of business! WalMart needs to take a close look at what happened to KMart when that retailer cooperated with that other anti-gun bully, Rosie O'Donnell. They also need to understand that criminals cannot and do not buy guns from licensed gun dealers such as WalMart! I run a 4-H Shooting Sports Club. I have an annual budget of about $4,000 to $5,000. I will no longer spend any of that money at WalMart. In fact, I'm buying 3 shotguns, 4 bows, 4 bow sights, several dozen arrows, 2 cases of shotgun shells, and other shooting supplies from Ace Hardware on Tuesday. Sam Walton and his favorite bird dog, Ol' Roy, are surely rolling over in their graves. (10 May 2008)

National Park rangers do a commendable job in protecting park property and the safety of employees and visitors over vast stretches of land. Nevertheless, because rangers cannot be everywhere at all times, serious criminal behavior (including murder and rape) still exists in parks and refuges just as it does elsewhere in society. According to National Park Service data, between 2002 and 2007, there were 63 homicides in national parks, 240 rapes or attempted rapes, 309 robberies, 37 kidnappings and 1,277 aggravated assaults. Laws and regulations which prevent law-abiding citizens from having the best means of self-protection -- a gun -- are immoral and unwise and have been proven to be ineffective in controlling criminal behavior. (Criminals by definition, do not obey the law.) The park service has deemed that national parks and refuges are so dangerous that its rangers are armed and even wear body armor. Law-abiding visitors and non-ranger employees are entitled to the same right of self-protection. Therefore, I am concerned that the wording of the new rule continues to be too restrictive. The rule must be amended as necessary to fully comply with the wording and intent of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. If the National Park Service does not choose to fully comply with the US Constitution, as amended, the wording of the proposed rule must at least be changed to also allow open carry, without or without a permit, if the host state allows for such carry in a state park or refuge area; to clarify and specify that the new rule includes buildings and other structures on that federal property if the host state allows for such carry in buildings and other structures; and to guarantee the right of open or concealed carry to park/refuge employees and contractors, in addition to rangers, if the host state allows for such carry in a state park or refuge area. I therefore recommend that the wording to the proposed rule for firearms in national parks be changed to: "A person may possess, carry, and transport loaded, and operable firearms or other weapons within a national park area in the same manner, and to the same extent, that a person may lawfully possess, carry, and transport loaded and operable firearms or other weapons in the state in which the federal park, or that portion thereof, is located, provided that such possession, carrying and transporting otherwise complies with applicable federal and state law." And for National Wildlife Refuges: "A person may possess, carry, and transport loaded, and operable firearms or other weapons within a national wildlife refuge area in the same manner, and to the same extent, that a person may lawfully possess, carry, and transport loaded and operable firearms or other weapons in the state in which the federal wildlife refuge, or that portion thereof, is located, provided that such possession, carrying and transporting otherwise complies with applicable federal and state law." Anything less is unsatisfactory and an insult to the integrity of law-abiding park visitors. (7 May 2008)

The Preserving Records of Terrorist & Criminal Transactions (PROTECT) Act of 2008 (S.2935) would require the FBI to preserve data generated from background checks for all gun purchases for 180 days. A perfectly satisfactory and effective process already exists for tracing guns used in crimes by using manufacturer, importer, and dealer records. There is absolutely no reason for any federal, state, or local government agency to maintain records on the purchasing habits of law-abiding citizens -- including the lawful purchase of firearms. S.2935 is merely a transparent effort to create a government database of gun owners to facilitate gun confiscation under future tyrannical governments such as occurred in the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and King George's assault on militia armories in Colonial America. Congress and the Whitehouse must reject S.2935. (1 May 2008)

I am profoundly disappointed to learn that Wal-Mart has caved in to the demands of New York City Mayor and anti-liberty bully Michael Bloomberg regarding legal gun sales. I am an NRA firearms instructor, Utah Concealed Firearms Permit instructor, and Utah Hunter Education Instructor. As such, I make gun purchase recommendations to my students. Unless Wal-Mart rescinds its agreement with Mayor Bloomberg, I will now recommend to my students that they avoid Wal-Mart for all their shopping, including gun-related purchases. Also, as a 4-H Shooting Sports club manager, I have a budget of over $4,000 for this year for shooting sports equipment. Unless Wal-Mart rescinds its agreement with Mayor Bloomberg, I will not spend any of this money at Wal-Mart. I urge Wal-Mart to immediately rescinded any and all agreements they have made with any opponent of gun rights, including and especially Mayor Bloomberg. (19 Apr 1008)

There is a mounting call for restricting privately-owned firearms to only those arms with a "sporting purpose". Gun-grabbers argue that firearms with a military appearance or with a caliber larger than some arbitrary number have no "sporting purpose". Now, even gun manufacturer advertising is careful to note the "sporting purpose" of the firearms they make. This superfluous standard runs contrary to the intent of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. When working out the wording of the Second Amendment, the nation's founders were not thinking about duck hunting or any other "sporting purpose". They wanted to ensure that everyone understands that the Constitution guarantees (not grants) the individual and personal God-given right to own and use firearms. It is clear that they intended for us to have arms comparable to those commonly used by any armed force employed against the citizens by a tyrannical government or enemy nation. (Some of the artillery used by George Washington's army was reportedly on loan from, purchased from, or donated by, private citizens! In fact, until the Gun Control Act of 1968, a US citizen could buy surplus military cannons -- by mail!) The authors of the Bill of Rights saw gun rights as essential to our ability to protect ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our communities, our states, and our nation from criminal attack, tyranny, and terrorism. The Second Amendment is the nation's original "Homeland Security". (24 Mar 2008)

Somebody heard a gunshot near an Anchorage Alaska school yesterday, so school officials called for a lockdown. Gunfire in a school zone? How can that be?! It's generally unlawful to have a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. Surely all criminals obey those gun-free-zone laws, don't they? So, we have a congress-mandated gun-free zone (school full of un-armed potential victims) and somebody shoots a gun. The school's response is to confine those potential victims in their classrooms so they'll be easier targets with no way to escape? What "Einstein" came up with that idea? We gotta start letting school staff carry guns in schools. They've all passed background checks, so we already know they're certified law-abiding citizens. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. But an armed teacher or janitor is there right now! (26 Feb 2008)

Senator Edward Kennedy (the official poster child for term limits) has introduced S-2605, a bill that seeks to ban the manufacture, importation, and transfer (sale, gift, inheritance, etc.) of any semi-automatic pistol that does not possess "a microscopic array of characters that identify the make, model, and serial number of the pistol...etched into the breech face and firing pin of the pistol," and stamp both sets of characters into the cartridge case of a round of ammunition when the round is fired. Representative Xavier Becerra has introduced an identical bill, HR-5266 in the House. Micro-stamping has repeatedly failed in scientific tests. Micro-stampings are easily removed and, with use, will eventually wear off the gun. Most gun crimes cannot be solved by micro-stamping, or do not require micro-stamping to be solved. Most criminals who use guns get them through unregulated channels, thus micro-stamping may increase gun thefts, home invasions and other burglaries, and expand the black market in guns. We already have over 20,000 federal, state and local gun-control laws in this nation -- none of which has stopped a criminal from committing a criminal act. If congress is to do anything at all about guns, put all those existing gun laws in full compliance with the US Constitution as intended by our nation's founders. Congress and the President aggressively oppose any effort to require micro-stamping, serial numbering of ammunition, or any other scheme which attempts to control guns simply by unnecessarily increasing production costs. (22 Feb 2008)

Senator and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wants a gun summit. We currently have over 20,000 gun-control laws in this nation (none of which have any effect whatsoever on the behavior of criminals). I wonder how many more would finally  meet the desires of Senator Clinton and the gun-control crowd. As a life member of the NRA, I'm willing to compromise on gun control. Here's my compromise: We cut those 20,000 laws down to 10,000 gun-control laws this year. I get half of what I want, the gun-grabbers get half of what they want. 50-50. What could be more fair? Next year, we can compromise the remaining 10,000 gun-control laws down to 5,000. Again, 50-50. Repeat until we have only one gun law left -- the Second Amendment. (19 Feb 2008)

A friend in Virginia recently tried to donate blood at a Red Cross donation center, but was refused because, as a concealed firearms permit holder, he was legally carrying a concealed firearm. Permit holders undergo appropriate firearm safety training and a full FBI background check to ensure their fitness to carry a gun. Statistics show that permit holders are more law-abiding than the general public. If involved in a gun fight, they are less likely to shoot an innocent bystander than a police officer. In fact, they are more likely end a confrontation without shooting an attacker than is a police officer. For the Red Cross to deny a law-abiding citizen the opportunity to donate blood simply because he is exercising a Constitutionally-guaranteed right is infantile and short-sighted. The Red Cross is doing nothing more than creating another un-armed victim zone where criminals (who by definition do not obey the rules) are free to reign unopposed. If the Red Cross is going to prohibit donors from having the most effective means of self-protection (a gun) the Red Cross must immediately put in place an armed security force that will ensure the safety of all patrons or accept full liability for any injury sustained in their gun-free zones. (12 Feb 2008)

Fifty-five senators and 250 representatives have signed onto a brief that urges the justices to strike down the ban and assert that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to own guns for their protection. I am disgusted by the fact that Congress has the power and responsibility to terminate the DC gun ban, thereby putting DC in compliance with the Constitution and making the Heller case moot. Instead, Congress chooses to pass the buck to the Supreme Court. This is but one more example of Congress' failure to do its job by allowing presidents, judges, and even un-accountable bureaucrats to do the job of the legislative branch. Every congressman must work for immediate legislation that places all federal and DC laws in strict compliance with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (including the Second Amendment). Stop allowing other entities to infringe on gun rights! (8 Feb 2008)

Under current federal law, firearm possession and transportation in our National Parks is severely regulated. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma plans on offering an amendment to a broader bill on public lands issues in a move toward restoring the right of law-abiding Americans to possess the most effective means of self-protection -- a gun -- on federal lands. I urge Congress and the President to work aggressively for any and all legislation that will restore our Second Amendment rights as intended by the nation's founders. (7 Feb 2008)

Utah SB-67, "Protection of Constitutionally Guaranteed Activities" (aka Parking Lot Preemption) will prevent most employers from banning lawfully possessed firearms in private cars parked in employee parking lots. This bill is an extremely important step toward restoring our right of self-protection. Under current law, a woman who is employed by AOL, Phillips Petroleum, or any other anti-gun company and who is in danger of harm from an estranged boyfriend or husband cannot carry the necessary and most effective means of self-protection while she commutes to and from work. History shows that these gun-free zones can be extremely dangerous places for law-abiding persons, since those with criminal intent ignore the gun restriction. Unfortunately, SB-67 makes exceptions for parking on school premises, state and local government entities, and religious organizations. I believe the bill must be amended to remove these exceptions. The fact that a law-abiding person works for a government entity, a school, or a church cannot possibly justify any infringement of their right to self-protection. (A recent fatal shooting in a Lehi church parking lot makes this painfully and abundantly clear.) I urge the Utah Legislature and the Governor to take every possible step to ensure this bill, SB-67, becomes law immediately with the above amendment. If this bill is not passed, the state must require that all anti-gun employers provide armed bodyguards for all employees who request them from home, to work, and back home. (30 Jan 2008)

I oppose Senator Lautenberg's legislation to close the supposed gun show "loophole".  Statistics clearly show that criminals do not buy guns at gun shows. They steal them or buy them on the black market. (No legislation, not even Senator Lautenberg's misguided bill, will keep criminals from breaking the law.) As anyone with an IQ above room temperature surely must know, all gun sales by gun dealers must include a background check -- even at gun shows. There is NO loophole for gun dealers. Hysterical anti-gun activists such as Frank Lautenberg and Sarah Brady are trying to regulate "unlicensed seller" transactions (those by private individuals). However, these radicals ignore the fact that it is already unlawful for any person (dealer or not) to transfer a firearm to a restricted person. Therefore, there is already an implicit background check requirement for non-dealers. If I were to sell a gun in a private sale to another person, I'd hate to later have the police knock on my door because that gun was used in a crime. I'm sure that any private person selling a gun at a gun show feels the same and is careful about to whom he sells. All that aside, Congress has no constitutional authority to regulate in-state transactions of any kind between private individuals -- even at a gun show. (Who cares about the Constitution anyway?) I urge Congress to reject Senator Lautenberg's legislation to close the supposed gun show "loophole". (29 Jan 2008)

Many law-abiding Louisiana citizens had their firearms unlawfully confiscated at gunpoint in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit that city. Of course, this egregious government action had no effect on criminals -- only on honest people. Most will never see their confiscated property again nor will they ever be compensated for the government-sanctioned theft. Utah SB-157, "Rights of Citizens to Carry Firearms in Declared Emergency" (aka "Katrina RKBA") will provide additional safeguards to prevent the government from banning the possession of firearms during declared emergencies. This legislation makes it clear to state and local governments that the right to possess and use the most effective means of self-protection is sacred and must not be infringed -- especially in times of chaos. This bill must become law immediately! (28 Jan 2008)

The Justice Department has filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief defending the 1976 DC gun ban in the DC v. Heller case currently before the Supreme Court. The DOJ claims that since the government bans machine guns (Wrong! The federal government has never banned machine guns in private law-abiding hands!), it should also be able to ban handguns. What kind of logic it that? Where is the DOJ going to draw the next line? The Justice Department also seems to believe that trigger locks are not really that much of a burden, and that the locks "can properly be interpreted" as not interfering with using guns for self-protection. Yet, academic research on the impact of trigger locks on crime finds that states that require guns be locked up and unloaded face a five-percent increase in murder and a 12 percent increase in rape. Since the potential of armed victims deters criminals, storing a gun locked and unloaded actually encourages crime. The Justice Department calls on the Court to acknowledge the Second Amendment as an individual right, yet asks that the Circuit Court's decision in the case be reversed and remanded (thrown out and sent back to the Circuit Court) with instructions to determine whether DC's laws unreasonably restrict resident's ability to exercise their rights. The DOJ is asking that a different, much weaker standard be used for the Second Amendment than the courts demand for other "individual rights" such as speech, unreasonable searches and seizures, imprisonment without trial, and drawing and quartering people. It appears that the "pro-gun," Republican Department of Justice fears that any decision from the Supreme Court which might determine that banning any class of weapons is an infringement of the Second Amendment, might open the door to challenges against other gun-control legislation. If one accepts the notion that gun ownership is an individual right, what does "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" mean? What would the drafters of the Bill of Rights have had to write if they really meant the right "shall not be infringed"? Does the phrase "the right of the people" provide a different level of protection in the Second Amendment than in the First and Fourth? The US Constitution demands that the DC gun ban be immediately be eliminated in its entirety. Anyone who disagrees should seek to amend the Constitution -- not pass unconstitutional gun regulation! President Bush has the power to fix this by immediately ordering that the solicitor general's brief be immediately withdrawn or significantly amended. The President, Congress, and the NRA must apply all possible and necessary pressure to the Justice Department to require them to withdraw their "friend of the court" brief or amend it to fully recognize and respect the Constitution as intended, written, and amended by our nation's founders. Our politicians and the Department of Justice must fight vigorously for all our rights, including gun rights, guaranteed by the Constitution as clearly intended by our nation's founders -- not as modified by the state and federal governments over the past 75 years. (21 Jan 2007)

Another victim of gun-free zones! A woman was shot to death by her estranged husband yesterday in a Utah church parking lot. Utah law allows businesses and churches to ban firearms on their property. The LDS church has chosen to take advantage of that law as have several businesses. (Remember last year's shootings in Salt Lake's "gun-free" Trolley Square Mall?) In light of several recent shootings at churches and businesses around the nation, I believe it is time for all businesses and churches to reconsider their bans. While legal, it is myopic and morally wrong for any church or business to ban the best means of self-protection (a gun) while failing to provide an alternate form of adequate security and protection for visitors and customers. This is especially true in cases of women with dangerous husbands and boyfriends such as yesterday's tragic case. Do these churches and businesses really believe that people with evil intent will obey any gun ban? Do they really believe that persons who have taken appropriate firearms training and who have undergone a background check to certify their status as persons of sound judgment as conditions to possess and carry a concealed firearm are dangerous? (Utah updates this background check on every Utah concealed firearm permit holder every day.) I urge the Utah legislature to immediately pass legislation that will hold government entities, churches, and businesses liable for injuries resulting from their failure to provide adequate security for visitors in any gun-free zone they create -- including parking lots. (7 Jan 2007)

Congressmen Zack Space (D-Ohio) and Steve King (R-Iowa) have introduced the "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2007" (HR-4900). This legislation is needed to protect the rights of firearms dealers, bring consistency to ATF enforcement actions and provide ATF with additional compliance tools long sought by the bureau. HR-4900 will overhaul many of the administrative penalties for licensed firearms dealers, manufacturers and importers of firearms that currently treat simple innocent paperwork mistakes as purposeful and willful violations of the law. The legislation will also provide more flexibility in punishing those who violate gun sales laws, establish a solid legal requirement for determining the willful violation of the law, set limitations on the availability of electronic gun owner information to protect the privacy of law-abiding citizens, and ban the federal background check tax. I urge Congress to immediately pass HR-4900. (2 Jan 2007)

I don't think Governor Romney has any grasp of how badly he's blowing it with gun owners. If there is one issue that puts Governor Huckabee ahead of Governor Romney, this is it. Simply shucking out a few bucks for an NRA membership does not fool any of us. Governor Romney is following the same transparent path that made Senator Kerry a joke among us gun owners. Governor Romney's fiasco with being a "life-long hunter" won absolutely no points. Many of the candidates, including Governor Romney, are profoundly ignorant on the subject of firearms and gun rights. (For example, it's painful to watch Governor Romney's tortuous handling of the issue.) I strongly urge Governor Romney and his wife spend a couple of days at FrontSight with no news media present or even an announcement until after the visit. Heck, make it a family affair and take the boys, too! I just can't think of a better place than FrontSight for the Governor to get some solid exposure to guns and what the Second Amendment is really about. I can't think of a better person to talk about gun rights than Dr. Piazza and his staff at FrontSight. I guarantee this experience will make Governor Romney a more credible candidate and a better president. However, the governor must not make this a political stunt like Senator Kerry's goose hunt! (1 Jan 2008)

I thank Idaho Senator Mike Crapo for his 14 Dec letter (endorsed by 46 other senators, including my own) requesting the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service remove prohibitions on law-abiding citizens from transporting and carrying firearms on lands managed by these agencies. As the letter contends, these regulations infringe on our God-given and Constitutionally guaranteed right to possess adequate tools for self-protection. However, I am deeply disappointed and appalled that this letter does nothing more than ask a couple of political appointees and bureaucrats to change the rules. Congress has the long-forgotten power to require -- not merely ask -- that these agencies honor the Constitution and the Second Amendment. Indeed, Congress, itself, can change these regulations without seeking the permission of any bureaucrat! As a voter I expect my congressmen to introduce and support legislation to immediately change 36 CFR 2.4 and 50 CFR 27.42 and all other federal laws and rules to fully comply with the US Constitution and the Second Amendment. (17 Dec 2007)

According to many experts, "gun-free zones" are a fraud, because no alternate means of security is provided other than calling for the police. (When seconds matter, the police are only minutes away.) Even FBI-certified concealed firearm permit holders cannot enter. This leaves only the criminal element (who by definition don't obey laws) armed, and free to wreak havoc without a meaningful deterrent. Concealed-weapon laws enacted in most states, including Utah, were designed to counteract random shootings, but are defeated by the recklessly created gun-free zones that are anything but gun free. We desperately need a tool to get the attention of those who would disarm law-abiding citizens by creating gun-free zones. In the wake of recent public shootings in so-called gun-free zones such as Salt Lake's Trolley Square Mall, at least one state (Arizona) will introduce a bill that says if you create a so-called "gun-free zone" you are liable for any harm it causes. Arizona's Gun-Free-Zone Liability Act of 2008 does not prevent public places from banning the civil right to keep and bear arms. Arizona's proposed law only addresses the negligent nature of such zones, making those responsible for disarming innocent bystanders liable for damages. It does not affect secure locations such as airports and courts where armed security personnel provide protection. I am very pleased that the Utah Legislature chose to provide a means for law-abiding citizens to carry firearms in school zones which would otherwise be federal gun-free zones (unarmed victim zones). But, Utah, like all other states, still has many gun-free zones with no provision for protection of customers and church-goers. These zones are proven to be dangerous, as recent shootings at Virginia Tech and other schools, Salt Lake and Omaha shopping malls and even churches have demonstrated. The states must stop this gun-free-zone madness, perpetrated by anti-self-defense zealots who would rather see innocent people die than risk harm to a criminal. I urge legislators in every state to introduce and pass similar gun-free-zone liability legislation. (11 Dec 2007)

Michael Sullivan is the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). Unfortunately, President Bush has nominated Sullivan to permanently take over the BATFE. The House Commerce & Justice Committee issued a stinging rebuke to the BATFE because the Bureau has a long and egregious history of extreme hostility toward law-abiding gun owners and honest gun dealers. An example of this hostility is their history of attacking dealers for nothing more than because customers often enter "Y" or "N" abbreviations on 4473 forms (Firearms Transaction Record) instead of spelling out the words "Yes" or "No". The Bureau has a history of confiscating legal firearms from law-abiding citizens, then extensively modifying those firearms to full-automatic (often with unsafe results), then accusing the owners of possessing fully-automatic arms! BATFE videos show this incompetent "testing" conducted without standards! A top BATFE executive openly admitted, on tape, to a policy of lying to the public. The BATFE is out of control and must immediately be brought under control or disbanded. Michael Sullivan is NOT the person to accomplish this goal. He does not respect the Constitutionally-guaranteed right to bear arms. He does not have the will nor integrity needed to bring the BATFE under control. He must immediately be replaced by someone who does. (4 Dec 2007)

The NICS Improvement Amendments Act (HR-2640/S-2084) would require federal agencies to provide relevant records for use in NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System). It would also provide financial incentives to states to do the same, by rewarding states that provide records to NICS and penalizing those that refuse to do so over an extended period of time.
Unlike most congressmen who have (and will) voted on this bill, I have actually read it! I am deeply concerned about this legislation for the following reasons:
• The accuracy of the list of up to 21 million people Congress may soon add to the NICS list is unknown, controversial and being ignored by power brokers pushing for quick adoption of this dubious bill.
• People might avoid seeking medical attention if it means they might lose their rights.
• Prior legal acts, medications, treatments and therapies might lead to inclusion in the NICS list without notice.
• Inclusion in the NICS database might, in the future, justify a loss of employment, security clearance, passport access, voting rights, teaching license and more.
• A person unknowingly added to the list might be committing a felony by applying for a gun at retail, with no practical mechanism for advice or redress.
• Federal prosecutors in Project Safe Neighborhoods (formerly Project Exile) may be poised to prosecute "crimes" like a denied attempt to purchase firearms at retail.
• The idea of the mental health community issuing gun passes to people it formerly categorized as unfit would seem like a joke if it wasn't so serious.
• The remedies some lobbyists seem so hopeful about strike me as window dressing that will not see the light of day, if the authorities in charge have anything to do with it, aside from the fact that the whole scheme rests on a process that has been dead for 15 years because it hasn't been funded since 1992.
NICS clearly does not have adequate protection for the gun rights of law-abiding citizens who have been and who might be wrongly denied the Constitutionally-guaranteed right to own and use firearms. HR-2640/S-2084 fails to fix the most serious NICS problems. As a minimum, HR-2640 must be amended:
• To guarantee full funding for immediately, fairly, and correctly processing applicants for removal from the NICS list. Certain anti-gun congressmen have blocked funding necessary to process these applications. This denial of funding must be prohibited.
• To accurately identify and include only persons who are dangerous to themselves or others.
• To require and fund a full and immediate initial audit of NICS and remove, at no charge, the records of all persons who have not been clearly and correctly identified as prohibited persons. This initial audit must be followed by mandatory annual audits with the same purpose, also at no cost to the individual.
• To immediately remove the names of some 83,000 veterans (there may be up to 140,000!) that the Veterans Administration entered into the system seven years ago, for what the media have identified as ‘alleged mental health reasons.’ Soldiers should not have to petition or pay for that.
• To immediately rescind Title 18 USC § 922(g)(9) (the so-called Lautenberg Amendment) which ex post facto denies gun rights to persons with nothing more than misdemeanor domestic violence convictions. If a crime is not serious enough to warrant a felony conviction, it is not serious enough to warrant denial of a Constitutionally-enumerated right! Then, immediately purge the records of all affected persons from NICS.
Former NRA president once said, "Judge a law by the worst reading, and in the hands of the worst enemies of the Second Amendment."
HR-2640/S-2084 must be amended to guarantee that NICS will never be abused by anti-gun legislators, judges, presidents, and bureaucrats and that all past abuses and errors are fully and immediately rectified. (1 Nov 2007)

I applaud Representative Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida for her 26 October comments regarding the Second Amendment. Ironically, this comes at a time when certain anti-gun presidential candidates are giving transparent, lip-service support to the Second Amendment with the assumption that gun-rights supporters are too stupid to see through their deceitful statements. Since "We the People of the United States" established the US Constitution and its authority as well as the authority of the US government, the Constitution belongs to us -- not judges, lawyers, bureaucrats, the ACLU or the mayor of Washington DC. "We the People of the United States" elect legislators as our representatives -- not judges, lawyers, bureaucrats, the ACLU or the mayor of Washington DC. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft said, "Just as the First and Fourth Amendments secure individual rights of speech and security, respectively, the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms." That is a plain, simple, common sense description of the Second Amendment. But, Ashcroft was not a representative of the people when he made that statement -- he was merely one of the President's advisors. What we desperately need is for the representatives of the people -- Congress -- to immediately pass legislation confirming the founders' intent that all of the Bill of Rights guarantee individual rights, that they shall not be abridged, and that all laws and regulations that have abridged these rights are null and void. Congress must cease to stand idly by while judges, lawyers, bureaucrats, the ACLU, the mayor of Washington DC, the several states, local governments, and Congress itself abridge our individual civil liberties! The President must demand and sign such legislation. (29 Oct 2007)

In his editorial today, Jay Evensen, editor of the Deseret News, let us know how seriously he takes the First Amendment and the freedom from government meddling needed for a free press. Unfortunately, past Deseret News editorials regarding firearms indicate that the freedom-loving editor has a far lower regard for the Second Amendment than he does for the First. He clearly believes a right considered so important that the founders deemed it important to specifically prohibit government infringement is not so important after all. Remember, Jay, it is the Second Amendment that guarantees all other freedoms -- it is not about hunting or any other sporting use of firearms. Jay, unless you take the Second Amendment as literally and seriously as you do the First, one day you will truly miss it. (28 Oct 2007)

I applaud the stand that Barrett Rifles has taken with regard to gun control. Barrett refuses to sell its products to government agencies in California so long as California has its .50-caliber ban in place. California has now banned ammunition containing lead for hunting in much of the state. California has also mandated "microstamping" which will likely raise the price of handguns out of the reach of ordinary law-abiding citizens. These egregious attacks on the civil rights of Californians must be met with firm resolve by the entire gun industry. I urge the entire firearms industry to unite in an immediate and complete embargo on sale of arms, firearm parts, firearm servicing, firearms training, ammunition, and ammunition components to any government agency in California and in any other state which imposes legislation similar to that which has been thrust upon California citizens. (25 Oct 2007)

I recently wrote to several presidential candidates about gun rights. I wrote because I'm not confident I can trust most of them to protect my gun rights. I specifically asked what gun-control laws each would fight to have removed from the books. (The Centers For Disease Control found no evidence that any of the over 20,000 gun-control laws on the books in the US, including those Romney signed in Massachusetts, have stopped bad guys from committing gun crimes.) The Mitt Romney campaign responded to me via email on 23 October, but did not fully answer my questions or concerns. In part, they said, "I firmly believe in the importance of responsible gun ownership and sales. As a member of the National Rifle Association, I do not believe that we need any more federal gun control laws. I also recognize that some types of extreme weapons, those which were not meant for hunting, sport, or self-defense, have no business being on the streets." The letter said we don't "need any more federal gun control laws." Again, what will Romney do about the 20,000 gun-control laws that infringe on my Constitutionally guaranteed rights, yet have no effect whatsoever on criminal behavior? The Romney campaign said "some types of extreme weapons, those which were not meant for hunting, sport, or self-defense, have no business being on the streets." As an attorney, Romney must surely know that the Second Amendment is NOT about hunting or protecting a hunting rifle with a finely-checkered walnut stock. Instead, it was the intent of the founders for us to have the tools needed to defend individual liberty from a tyrannical government. Therefore, I ask that Romney explain what he means by "extreme weapons". Is he referring to the guns he banned as governor, simply because they don't meet a cosmetic test? These ugly guns are, in fact, the very guns the founders tried to protect for the militia (Title 10, Chapter 13, Section 311 of the U.S. Code defines the militia as consisting of all able-bodied males 17 years of age and under 45 years of age who are or wish to become citizens plus others -- ie "the people".). (23 Oct 2007)

It is generally unlawful for 14-year-olds to possess handguns and handgun ammunition. A 14-year-old shooter in Cleveland had both this week when he shot 2 schoolmates, 2 teachers, and himself. It is generally unlawful to possess a firearm within 1000 feet of a school zone. The 14-year-old shooter in Cleveland did. It is unlawful to commit murder. The 14-year-old shooter in Cleveland did. It may come as a surprise to some (ie Sarah Brady, Chuck Schumer, Diane Feinstein, Adrian Fenty, etc.), but those with criminal intent, by definition, do not obey laws -- including gun laws! The Brady Bunch and their allies have the odd idea that disarming law-abiding citizens (including school employees) and background checks for gun purchasers will somehow cause persons with criminal intentions to stop committing gun crimes. It is time for Sarah Brady and her ilk to grow up and work with the NRA to put a proven gun safety program, Eddie-Eagle, into every grade level every school in the nation. And, all laws against guns in school zones must be immediately rescinded law-abiding adults can carry arms for personal protection in public schools and colleges nationwide. (12 Oct 2007)

Once again, a child has died of a gunshot. Children are almost always shot for one of only three reasons:
1 - The child is a member of a gang
3 - A family member has gone wacko, or
2 - The child, or someone around him, does not have adequate gun safety training.
Of course, all three causes of death are tragic and a horrible waste of a young life. The third is clearly the easiest to fix. To do so, we need to get politicians, educators, and parents to pull their heads out of the sand (or wherever they have their head) on the gun issue. Prohibition has been proven to be the wrong answer. (Gun crime is always highest where guns are banned.) Making guns a taboo only entices children to explore them without adequate supervision. It's time for universal, age-appropriate firearms training at every age level in our schools. Politicians, educators, and parents must work to immediately get the NRA's Eddie-Eagle program into every elementary school in the nation and more advanced training by NRA-certified instructors or certified police instructors for the older students including actual handling and firing of firearms. If we, as a state and as a nation do that, gun-related deaths and injuries will plummet. (24 Sep 2007)

The Lautenberg Amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968 became effective 30 September 1996. It violates Article 1, Section 9 of the US Constitution ("No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.") in that it retroactively punishes non-felons for relatively minor crimes committed prior to enactment of the Lautenberg bill. (This is one of countless examples of the profound lack of understanding of, and respect for, the US Constitution in Congress. Due to their gross ignorance and/or negligence, nearly every US Senator voted for this bill!) The Lautenberg Amendment potentially affects any soldier, police officer or any other person who has been convicted of domestic violence by voiding their right to possess a firearm. Obviously, no one defends the behavior of wife beaters and child abusers. But, the argument is about the punishment fitting the crime. If the penalty for a crime is a $50 and no jail time, permanent revocation of an enumerated Constitutional right is clearly excessive. If the crime is deserving of revocation of rights, it is deserving of a punishment of more than a year in prison. The gun rights of all non-felons must be restored by immediately repealing the Lautenberg Amendment. This is bad law! (23 Sep 2007)

The Brady Bill of 1993 (HR-1025) established a waiting period and an instant check system. The US Constitution specifically prohibits Congress from regulating the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Therefore, this legislation is unconstitutional. Additionally, this legislation has had no effect whatsoever on the behavior of violent criminals. Dr. Ron Paul has introduced HR-1096 (Second Amendment Protection Act of 2007) to repeal the 1993 Brady Bill. HR-1096 would also remove the "sporting purpose" distinction that is used to ban certain types of guns. This vague term is used to ban guns arbitrarily deemed too ugly to be a sporting gun. The intent of the Second Amendment is far more than the sporting use of firearms such as duck hunting. Since all gun-control laws have been 100% ineffective in keeping guns out of criminal hands, Congress work vigorously for the immediate implementation of HR-1096. Then, Congress must work to eliminate all other laws which are contrary to the original intent of the Second Amendment. (18 Sep 2007)

Section 215 of the S-456, the Feinstein "gang" bill is likely (and probably intended) to place innocent persons at considerable risk of being treated as gangsters. In essence, families, gun shop employees, and even members of a church bowling league would be considered an organized "gang" and subjected to draconian prison sentences if a person in that group did any of a number of things, such as:
• having a gun (loaded or unloaded) in their glove box as they -- inevitably -- drive within 1,000 feet of a school, even if they don't know the school is there;
• selling a gun out of their store while being entrapped in a Bloomberg-style "sting" operation;
• teaching their son to shoot without giving him a written letter of permission (which must be on his actual person), even if they are standing right behind him at the range the whole time; or,
• simply being one the 83,000 veterans whose names were illegally added to the Brady system by President Clinton (or, presumably, one of the thousands more who will be on the list if the current Veterans Disarmament bill, HR-2640, passes), if they continued to possess a firearm.
Section 215 must immediately be purged from S-456. (18 Sep 2007)

As a military veteran and life member of the NRA, I am opposed so-called School Safety Act, sponsored by Patrick Leahy in the Senate and Carolyn McCarthy in the House (HR 2640). This bill would be better named the Veterans Disarmament Act. The Military Order of the Purple Heart states that "For the first time the legislation, if enacted, would statutorily impose a lifetime gun ban on battle-scarred veterans." It is simply un-American to penalize individuals (especially combat veterans) with no due process by assuming they are guilty until proven innocent. Anti-gun zealots such as Leahy and McCarthy are always looking to expand the number of citizens who are prohibited from exercising their Second Amendment rights. I don't believe that this bill will provide the relief that supporters are promising. The McClure-Volkmer of 1986 supposedly created a path for restoring the Second Amendment rights of prohibited persons. However, anti-gun zealot Chuck Schumer has successfully pushed appropriations language which has defunded this procedure since the 1990s (without significant opposition from the many cowards who claim to support gun rights). It is therefore not too difficult for some anti-gun congressman like Schumer to bar the funding of any new procedure for relief that follows from the McCarthy-Leahy bill. The McCarthy-Leahy bill is gun control, pure and simple, and voting for it would tell me you don't care about trivial things such as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And, everyone who is even moderately informed (including anti-gun bigots) knows that criminals, by definition, don't obey laws -- including the 20,000 anti-gun laws already on the books. There is no Constitutional authority for this bill nor for any other form of gun control. In fact, the Constitution specifically prohibits any form of gun control! Just as there is no background check required to exercise any other Constitutionally-guaranteed right (yet), there must be none for Second Amendment rights! We lawful gun owners don't want Congress to expand the Brady Instant Check, we want Congress to repeal it! Now! (5 Sep 2007)

I am deeply disappointed to learn that eBay has chosen to further restrict the listing of firearms-related items because, like hammers, kitchen knives, automobiles and baseball bats, they might be used to cause harm. This policy change, in my opinion, is extremely myopic. There are over 20,000 laws regulating firearms in the United States -- most of which are rooted in ignorance-based paranoia and bigotry. I hate to see a great institution such as eBay fall prey to the hysteria of ill-informed policymakers and the anti-gun crowd. I suggest the policymakers learn a bit about firearms and how safe they are in the hands of normal people with a bit of training. Statistically, the shooting sports are among the safest of sports -- even safer than the soccer games American moms take their eight-year-olds to every day. I believe that a couple of hours on the shooting range with a firearms instructor will change eBay's mind. There is no reasonable reason why eBay can't continue to profit as the medium for trade in any firearms-related item not requiring the handling of a licensed firearms dealer. I urge eBay to reconsider the planned changes. (7 Aug 2007)

Congressman Ron Paul's bill HR-1897 will allow law-abiding gun owners to be able to carry a handgun for self-defense in a National Park. The US Constitution is very clear that the federal government (including bureaucrats and politicians) has no authority to deprive Americans of the right to keep and bear arms -- even in National Parks. The bureaucracy of the Department of the Interior has arrogantly refused to seriously consider changing their current regulations to allow citizens the right to self-defense, even though crime is on the rise in National Parks. There is substantial evidence that criminals do not respect fun-free zones such as National Parks and school zones. There are sufficient other laws to punish those who commit a crime with a gun in National parks. So, there is no need to criminalize the possession of a self-defense tool in these locations. Congress and the president must act immediately allow innocent persons to protect their own lives, and those of other innocent persons, in National Parks. (5 Aug 2007)

On 29 June, I learned of the issue of OSHA's move to establish extreme rules regarding ammunition and ammunition components. I immediately contacted the NRA, CCRKBA, SAF, GOA, NSSF, Utah State Rifle & Pistol Assn, my congressmen, and several major retailers in the firearms industry. On 3 July, I got a single response that seemed to indicate that everyone, including the NRA was completely unaware of this OSHA rule change proposal! Later that afternoon, the NRA issued their press release. I never got a response from any other organization, although CCRKBA and SAF issued press releases about the same time as the NRA. I'd say two things were a factor in almost losing this one:
1 - OSHA tried to sneak this change through under the cover of
darkness, probably at the prodding of someone very powerful, very smart, and very evil.
2 - The NRA bureaucracy apparently was caught with its pants down as were all other major gun-rights organizations.
There is no excuse for any organization with such an expensive budget as the NRA getting blindsided by something like this. Wayne LaPierre's primary focus on fund-raising rather than on saving our gun rights must change immediately or he must be replaced with someone who will. SAF, CCRKBA, and other gun rights organizations likewise must shift their focus from fund-raising to gun rights. My guess is that 99% of American gun owners still do not know about this very serious issue. I am mad as hell about the failure of the firearms industry and of the gun-rights movement to catch this earlier and to adequately spread the news! This must never happen again! (10 Jul 2007)

Several paragraphs of proposed rule changes in OSHA-2007-0032 will have a severe and unwarranted adverse impact on firearms retailers that also sell ammunition and reloading components. Examples of extreme changes include: Paragraph (c)(3)(iii)(C) would effectively prohibit any gun shop or retailer from selling ammunition or reloading components, destroying much their business. Gunsmiths would be unable to do their job correctly because their facility requires test firing firearms yet would be unable to have the ammunition in their facility. Paragraph (e)(1)(iii) would require a customer who bought reloading components or ammunition have to inform the local fire and police departments to transfer their purchases to their homes. Paragraph (h)(3)(i)(B) imposes an unreasonable twenty-pound limit on displayed smokeless propellants. There are scores of variations and brands of powder available on the market. Limiting what can be displayed will have a severe impact on sales. Furthermore, eight-pound containers are necessary and reasonable to competitive shooters. Paragraph (h)(4)(i)(C) limits primer quantities to 10,000. To the knowledgeable person, this is a very small amount, considering that there are nine basic types of primers (large pistol, small small pistol, large rifle, small rifle, large magnum pistol, small magnum small pistol, large magnum rifle, small magnum rifle, and shotgun) in each brand, typically sold in quantities of 1,000. That means a retailer could only display one box of each type and only one brand! The proposed changes of OSHA-2007-0032 attempt to fix a problem that history and experience demonstrate does not exist. The changes appear to be generated from a paranoid, misinformed source which is totally ignorant of, or hostile to, the shooting sports and the firearms industry. They are another example of an out-of-control, over-reaching federal government. They must be rejected. (29 Jun 2007)

The Tiahrt amendment keeps the ATF from requiring firearms dealers to conduct physical inventories of guns, from denying licenses to low-volume gun dealers, and from demanding that some dealers document all used guns sold in a specific period. Contrary to the lies and distortions coming from anti-gun prevaricators such as Sarah Brady and New York's Mayor Bloomberg, the Tiahrt Amendment does not prohibit law enforcement from accessing or sharing firearm trace data as needed to solve crimes and catch criminals. Congress must make permanent the Tiahrt restrictions on ATF's ability intrude into lawful trade in, and ownership of, legal firearms. (26 Jun 2007)

In a recent interview, musician and NRA board member Ted Nugent discussed his view of gun rights. Ted Nugent gets it. Few people understand that the Second Amendment does not grant any rights -- it guarantees a right. None of the amendments in the Bill of Rights grant any rights -- they guarantee them. Unlike governments of most other nations, our founders believed that rights come from the Creator -- that our rights exist because we exist. Other nations (ie England from which our founding fathers or their ancestors came) believe that rights come only from the king. The king's idea of commoners having a right means that one is allowed or has permission to do something. (I have a couple of licenses which means I am allowed carry a gun I pay for while I drive a car I pay for, on roads I pay for, patrolled by cops I pay for, using gasoline I pay for, to attend a city council meeting I pay for, where they discuss the imposition and spending of taxes I pay for, to pay for government projects I don't want to pay for.) The Constitution was written to delegate certain specific authorities to the federal government and it was presumed that the federal government would never exceed those restrictions. Only when several of the founding fathers expressed distrust in the government did they write the Bill of Rights to clarify the rights of the peoples and the states. After the Supreme Court issued its decision in the Heller case last year, the Chicago Tribune called for the repeal of the Second Amendment. In my opinion (and the opinion of the founders), such a repeal would have no effect because the Second Amendment merely speaks of a natural right that has always existed (albeit ignored by tyrants who fear that right). Ted Nugent agrees. (30 May 2007)

Senator Frank Lautenberg has introduced S-683 that would require child-proof handguns. This absurd legislation would unnecessarily complicate firearms. Increased complexity invariably leads to increased chances of failure. This legislation clearly is a wrong-headed way to improve safety. Every year, there are too many tragedies because a child gets a hold of a gun and then unintentionally shoots someone, frequently another child and sometimes a sibling or a friend. This can best be resolved through better education of both parents and children. I Congress and the Whitehouse to oppose S-683. Instead, Congress must work with the NRA to get quality gun education programs such as the NRA's Eddie Eagle Course and the NRA's Home Firearm Safety Course into homes and schools. (23 May 2007)

The advocates of harsh gun control have invented the term "gun show loophole" to restrict private individuals who are not gun dealers from buying and selling firearms. They want to impose criminal background checks on these non-commercial transactions. As reasonably informed people know, it already is unlawful for any person (private or businessman) to transfer a firearm to a restricted person. Closing the alleged "gun show loophole" will not augment that law in anyway. Additionally, federal studies show that criminals almost never obtain their firearms at gun shows. The "gun show loophole" is merely a scam it further infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens. Furthermore, the US Congress does not have authority to regulate private transactions at gun shows since they are not interstate in nature. Congress and the Whitehouse must reject legislation that would require criminal background checks on private gun sales at gun shows or in any other venue. (23 May 2007)

The so-called "Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2007", HR-96 is an effort to fix a problem that doesn't exist. Everything about this bill is dishonest and preys on the ignorance and/or bigotry of certain segments of our nation. Since every gun show takes place entirely within the boundaries of a single state, Congress has no legitimate constitutional basis, under its "interstate commerce" power, to attempt to control gun shows. The US Department of Justice conducted a survey of prison inmates and determined that criminals do not go to gun stores or gun shows to buy their guns. Surprise! Criminals get their guns illegally! Additionally, all gun show transactions between buyers and dealers already undergo a background check in accordance with the law. Firearms are the most severely regulated consumer product in the United States -- the only product for which FBI permission is required for every single sale a dealer makes, even at gun shows. A few gun owners do take advantage of a gun show to sell a privately-owned firearm, but the vast majority of gun show venders who are not licensed gun dealers do not sell guns at gun shows -- they sell other products such as used books, jewelry and camping equipment. In reality, the goal of this bill is to harass gun show promoters and force them to stop producing gun shows. It is a blatant effort to limit our Constitutionally-protected right of freedom of assembly and freedom of association. Personally, I do not feel safer anywhere than in a gun show surrounded by hundreds of law-abiding gun-owners. I urge Congress and the president to defend my rights as a gun owner by opposing any and all efforts to pass gun-control legislation of any kind. If Congress really wants to do something about gun crime, pass legislation funding and mandating that positive gun-safety training, such as NRA's "Eddie Eagle" education program, be taught annually in all schools nationwide. Congress and the president must reject HR-96. (8 May 2007)

The anti-gun crowd in Congress is exploiting the tragedy at Virginia Tech to renew their cry call for "reasonable" gun-control laws. Apparently, they seem to think that none of the more than 20,000 gun-control laws in this nation are "reasonable". I suppose I agree, since the last truly "reasonable" federal gun law was ratified in December, 1791. We call it the Second Amendment to the US Constitution and many consider it the original (and most effective) Homeland Security legislation. Of course, what the gun-control crowd really means by "reasonable" is a complete ban on guns and ammunition for all law-abiding citizens or to make their purchase so cumbersome as to effectively prohibit their purchase. Is there anyone in the gun-control crowd who understands that criminals by definition are people who disobey laws? One of their "reasonable" bills is HR-297 (S-1706 if the Senate companion bill), the NICS Improvement Act. This bill would only worsen an already bad jumble of gun-control laws. Bureaucrats have already used the Brady Law to illegitimately deny the Second Amendment rights of innocent Americans. Americans have been prevented from buying guns because of outstanding traffic tickets, because of database errors, because the NICS computer system has crashed, etc. I fear even our loyal combat veterans will be denied their gun rights because of combat-related stress. Our veterans, although mentally stable may be wrongly and unfairly denied their gun rights because of this "mental illness". I understand that some in the Senate may try to push HR-297 (S-1706)through by Unanimous Consent in the Senate, which basically means that the bill would get passed without a vote. I urge every congressman to aggressively oppose this bill and urge their party leadership to either kill it outright or amend it with pro-gun amendments such as,
• An immediate repeal of the DC gun ban,
• Full interstate reciprocity for concealed-firearm permit holders,
• Elimination of all restrictions on the interstate transfer of firearms (NICS makes this law obsolete.),
• Full restoration of gun rights to non-violent felons upon completion of their probation,
• Elimination of laws which deny gun rights to persons convicted of certain misdemeanors (If a crime is serious enough to warrant voiding a person's Constitutionally enumerated right, it's serious enough to be a felony!),
• A congressional acknowledgement that the Second Amendment guarantees individual gun rights,
• Elimination of so-called gun-free (disarmed victim) zones in and around schools,
• Federal funding for Eddie-Eagle gun-safety classes in all public and private schools and mandatory annual gun-safety training, by an NRA-certified instructor or law-enforcement officer, in all schools receiving federal funding in any form, and
• A 90-day sunset on all current and future federal gun-control laws.
In its current form, HR-297 (S-1706) is completely unacceptable, not to mention that Congress is specifically prohibited by the US Constitutional from deciding who can possess firearms! Finally, all the background checks and other gun restrictions in the world will not stop bad guys from getting firearms or devising their own tools of death. Again, is there anyone in the gun-control crowd who understands that criminals by definition are people who disobey laws? Every Constitution-respecting congressman must do everything he or she can to oppose HR-297 (S-1706) until it is amended to ensure it does not adversely affect any military veteran and is amended to enhance gun rights as suggested above. (26 Apr 2007)

About a year ago, I wrote to my Congressmen, the Whitehouse, and to members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees about a very serious civil-rights issue affecting soldiers in the US Army stationed in Alaska. My letters were never answered, apparently ignored. This comment is related to that same issue. In November, 2005 Major General Charles H. Jacoby Jr., the Commanding General of US Army Alaska, issued a three-page policy outlining the most draconian firearms registration, storage, and transportation rules imaginable. These restrictions apply to all personnel living on post, including service members, their families, and civilians living in base housing and carry serious penalties for failure to comply. Later, General Jacoby took his gun control scheme a step farther by releasing a policy statement forbidding any US Army Alaska personnel to carry a concealed weapon any time, anywhere, on post or off post regardless of Alaska law to the contrary. The right of self-protection, including the right to posses firearms is one of our basic, God-given rights. General Jacoby has gone far beyond reason and his authority in depriving his soldiers of that right. As anyone who has a modicum of knowledge of history knows that gun-control laws do not affect criminal behavior. They only deprive law-abiding citizens of a basic human right. If General Jacoby were to have any soldiers in his command who are prone to crime, his gun-control policies would not alter that behavior. They would continue to get into trouble. A true leader would deal with that bad behavior rather than punish all his good soldiers. Now, General Jacoby has been nominated for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant General and for the post of Commander of Fort Lewis and I Corp. I understand that his nomination is on hold in the Armed Services Committee pending answers to some serious, unrelated leadership failures in General Jacoby's past. Instead of a promotion, or even retention in the Army, General Jacoby must immediately be removed from command and punished for abuse of his authority. His gun-control policies must be immediately reversed. (17 Apr 2007)

Salt Lake City's Trolley Square Mall was posted as a gun-free zone, yet was was the site of some horrible murders a few weeks ago. Today, over 50 innocent persons were shot (32 fatally) in cold blood at Virginia Tech. The shooter also committed suicide at the scene. This happened in spite of a university policy that states that nearly everyone is " prohibited from carrying, maintaining, or storing a firearm or weapon on any university facility, even if the owner has a valid permit, when it is not required by the individual's job...." Surely in the wake of this, and several other school shootings, even the most ardent gun-control advocates see the folly of gun-free zones. Obviously, the police cannot reasonably respond in time to stop tragedy before it begins. In fact, when asked what could be done to avert a tragedy like this, the president of the Virginia Tech responded, "We obviously can't have an armed guard in front of every classroom every day." Since the university president admits that he can't protect people on his campus, why does he insist on taking away people's ability to protect themselves? Many judges understand the foolishness of gun-free zones and chose to carry a gun in their own gun-free courtrooms - even though they have an armed bailiff standing by! This year's Utah's legislature was wise in not giving Utah's colleges and universities authority to increase the number or size of gun-free zones (i.e. unarmed victim zones). The legislature now must take steps to either reduce the number of gun-free zones in this state or establish civil liabilities for business and other entities who establish gun-free zones without substituting adequate protection for visitors. It's only a matter of time before such a shooting happens in one of Utah's gun-free churches. Innocent people need, and have the inherent, Constitutionally-protected right, to protect themselves. It's past time for the government and gun-control advocates to respect the US and Utah Constitutions and end their unlawful assault on that right. (16 Apr 2007)

While the news media has been silent of the matter, I have learned that the Trolley Square Mall was posted as a gun-free zone when the recent shootings occurred. Surely in the wake of this, and several school shootings, even the most ardent gun-control advocates see the folly of gun-free zones. It's only a matter of time before such a shooting happens in one of Utah's gun-free churches. Many judges understand the foolishness of gun-free zones and chose to carry a gun in their own gun-free courtrooms - even though they have an armed bailiff standing by. Instead of increasing the number or size of gun-free zones (i.e. giving colleges and universities that power), the legislature must take immediate steps to either reduce the number of gun-free zones in this state or establish civil liabilities for business and other entities who establish gun-free zones without substituting adequate protection for visitors. Why has the news media, especially in Salt Lake City, been silent on the fact that the Trolley Square Mall was posted as a gun-free zone when several innocent people were shot? Why have there been no editorials pointing out the folly of gun-free (unarmed-victim) zones? (20 Feb 2007)

SB-251 would authorize state colleges and universities to designate any staff or faculty office as a gun-free zone if the person inhabiting that office has submitted a request in writing to the university administration and has placed some sort of "no guns" sign near the entrance to his office. Not only does this bill violate a vital individual liberty specifically protected by the US and Utah constitutions, it is a poorly-worded compromise with the law-breakers (administration) who run the University of Utah. Here are some of the serious flaws in this bill: SB-251 mandates that a state college or university enact a policy requiring a gun locker to be placed in reasonable proximity to every "gun-free" office. Yet, the bill does not actually require the installation of such lockers. A university would merely have to have a locker policy. SB-251 contains no requirement for metal detectors to be placed at the entrances to gun-free offices. Consequently, such an office would not be a secure area. The state and/or university/college could be subject to civil action should anyone be harmed or killed by an attacker simply because the state and/or university/college did not take adequate steps to ensure that gun-free zones are, indeed, gun-free. SB-251 does address how to deal with offices occupied by more than one person, including offices divided into cubicles. What if two people are sharing an office and one of them wants it to be "gun-free" and the other does not? SB-251 would "authorize a higher education institution to make a rule that allows a resident of a dormitory located at the institution to have only roommates who are not licensed to carry a concealed firearm." That provision makes absolutely no sense. SB-251 provides no provision for an alternative for of protection of a person whose safety is known to be threatened by a stalker or ex spouse, etc. More than anyone, these people need 24-hour immediate protection which and only be provided by a personal weapon or by a university-paid 24-hour bodyguard. In the case of University of Utah v. Shurtleff (handed down on Sept. 8, 2006) the Utah Supreme Court ruled: "We accordingly conclude that the University is subject to Utah law prohibiting it from enacting or enforcing any policy restricting the possession or use of firearms." Nevertheless, the University continues to have at least three policies restricting firearms. The state must immediately enforce this Utah Supreme Court ruling. The legislature and the governor must not compromise with university officials (especially those at the U of U who are in clear violation of the law) in any way with regard to the lawful possession of firearms on the campus of any state college or university. Instead, the governor and the legislature must immediately terminate or demand the immediate resignation of the arrogant university officials responsible for the anti-gun policies. (7 Feb 2007)

The Utah legislature wisely retained control over all laws and regulations with regard to firearms in Utah. That process ensures consistent treatment of firearms and firearm owners throughout the state. The administration of the University of Utah has arrogantly defied the legislature and Utah's attorney general by unlawfully restricting legal firearms in the hands of law-abiding, trained citizens. The University of Utah has contrived a gun problem where none exists. Concealed-firearm permit holders have caused absolutely no gun-related incidents on or around college or other school campuses in Utah. Yet, U of U leaders are terrified of 21-year-old coeds having the option to carry an effective tool for their own protection against assault. The Utah legislature put in place a process that ensures those who chose to carry a gun for self-protection have the training to do so safely. That process is working exceedingly well in Utah and, similarly, in most other states. SB-251 is in the works as a compromise to allow university officials to restrict lawful firearms. My question to the universities and to the legislature is, "Where do we draw the line in keeping guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens?" I say the line has already been drawn: Both the US and Utah Constitutions clearly say that the right of the people to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed." Arrogant disregard of the law must not be tolerated -- especially if that behavior is from university academics. The legislature and the governor must not compromise with any university administration with regard to firearms and the right of self-protection. SB-251 must be rejected in its entirety. Instead, the legislature must pass, at a minimum, a resolution denouncing and reprimanding the U of U administration for its actions in this issue and call for the immediate resignation of all university officials who instituted and who perpetuate this shameful infringement of individual rights. (5 Feb 2007)

I am deeply disappointed to see Salt Lake's Mayor Rocky Anderson included in the list of mayors who have joined New York Mayor Bloomberg's assault on lawful firearms. Anyone with the slightest amount of common sense can see that Bloomberg's agenda will gave no effect on criminal behavior. His sole goal is to disarm law-abiding citizens, even if he must violate the law himself to do so. I expect Mayor Anderson to immediately and publicly disassociate himself entirely from Mayor Bloomberg and his anti-gun agenda. (2 Feb 2007)

The Utah legislature is considering some gun-rights-related bills this year:
HB354 would clarify the law allowing a person with a concealed weapons permit to bring guns on a bus. The training and screening required of these persons is adequate to ensure the safety of bus drivers and passengers.
HB355 would allow hotel guests to bring legal weapons into their rooms. Currently, hotels can deny guests the right to bring in any "firearms or explosives." Consequently, hunters and others might have to leave their legal firearms in their vehicles, making them vulnerable to theft. It also leaves guests vulnerable to attack in what is essentially their home for the night.
SB201 would allow Utahns to carry concealed weapons without permits in the event of a declared emergency. The lawless aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 emphasizes the need for restoring the right of Utahns to carry guns in a state of emergency even without a permit. People must be allowed to fend for themselves in the event of a breakdown in police services.
SB-251 would allow the University of Utah to restrict lawful firearms on campus. Any such restriction on gun rights must be rejected.
The legislature and the governor must ensure the pro-gun-rights provisions these bills become law immediately. (30 Jan 2007)

The unconstitutional Lautenberg misdemeanor gun ban [922 (g)(9)] was passed as an amendment snuck into the 1996 omnibus spending bill and signed into law by President Clinton. It was was originally introduced by leading anti-gun Senators Frank Lautenberg, Dianne Feinstein, and Edward Kennedy. Under the Lautenberg ban, people who have been convicted of very minor misdemeanor offenses that include pushing, shoving or, in some cases, merely yelling at a family member are prohibited from owning a firearm for self-defense. If a crime is severe enough to warrant removal of a Constitutionally-guaranteed right, it is severe enough to warrant a felony conviction. If it is not severe enough to warrant a felony conviction, it should not void the person's Constitutional rights in any way. Every congressman and the president must support and defend the US Constitution by working aggressively for the immediate repeal of the Lautenberg gun ban. (23 Jan 2007)

The poorly-named Gun Show Loophole Closing Act, associated with Sen. John McCain, was designed to close down gun shows completely. Under wording I just read, currently legal gun shows are outlawed without prior federal permission. Gun show promoters must agree to warrantless searches in order to operate They may be arrested if private citizens talk at the show about gun sales they wish to complete away from the show. The right to assemble peaceably at a gun show, or even plan for one, carries stiff prison terms unless federal licenses are issued in advance. Massive new bureaucracy is created because all shows and their exhibitors must be registered 30 days before the show, then again 72 hours before the show, and again five days after the show. That's in addition to registering anyone who walks in, plus "any other information" the Secretary of the Treasury decides, by regulation, is necessary on vendors, attendees, and the show itself. Like most anti-gun legislation, none of this bill deals with criminals (except to criminalize harmless, lawful behavior), and the rest of that bill just gets worse. Any gun-related legislation, including this, which carries John McCain’s name, must be opposed at all costs. He cannot be trusted with any of our Constitutionally-guaranteed rights. (20 Jan 2007)

The leadership of the University of Utah as well as the editors of the major Utah newspapers have contrived a gun problem where none exists. Concealed-firearm permit holders have caused absolutely no gun-related incidents on or around college or other school campuses in Utah. The university leadership and Utah's news editors seem oblivious to the fact that federal laws prohibiting guns in or around any school from kindergarten to college has failed to keep campuses safe. Why, then, are U of U leaders and newspaper editors so terrified of allowing 21-year-old coeds the option to carry an effective tool for their own protection against assault? Meanwhile, the Utah legislature put in place a process that ensures those who chose to carry a gun for self-protection have the training to do so safely. That process is working exceedingly well in Utah and in some 38 other states. My question to the universities, editors and to the legislature is, "Where do we draw the line in keeping guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens?" I say the line has already been drawn: Both the US and Utah Constitutions clearly say that the right of the people to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed." The legislature and the governor must stand firm on that standard. (8 Jan 2007)

The University of Utah continues its goal of disarming law-abiding students and employees. This time, instead of simply defying the law, the university is talking to the legislature in order to impose its gun control agenda. The university leadership seems oblivious to the fact that prohibiting guns in or around any school from kindergarten to college has failed to keep campuses safe. My question to the university and to the legislature is, "Where do we draw the line in keeping guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens?" I say the line has already been drawn: Both the US and Utah Constitutions clearly say that the right of the people to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed." 'Nuff said! (3 Jan 2007)

Today's Spectrum editorial (Ban guns from all schools, 18 Dec 2006) seems to imply that only "school resource officers" are competent to intervene in a situation such as a school shooting. That implication is myopic and naive. It assumes that the police, including "school resource officers," will always be in place to stop violence before it begins. The sad, but realistic, fact is that police cannot be everywhere at all times. They usually arrive just in time to draw chalk lines around the bodies. We can't afford the level of police protection the editors presume and we certainly shouldn't want such a police state anyway. As everyone who is moderately aware of the law knows, it is unlawful for anyone (with certain specifically described exceptions) to have a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. Recent events surely have suggested to The Spectrum editorial staff that criminals do not respect these gun-free (unarmed victim) zones -- or any other law, for that matter. Fortunately, Utah's lawmakers have seen the need and right of Utahns (including school employees) to defend themselves from violence. And that should be the sole purpose of a teacher carrying a gun -- to defend themselves. If, in that process, they also save the lives of our children, so much the better. That said, I don't support the proposal which would permit teachers with the appropriate gun training to become "special function officers" because of the precedent it might set. No one, including a teacher, should ever need to have such a title to exercise his or her God-given right to self-defense. I see no need for requiring school employees to undergo training above and beyond (ie POST) what is already required by the state's concealed firearm permit laws. I am quite satisfied that the current standards for training for the Utah Concealed Firearm Permit are adequate. Candidates are not only taught firearm handling, but safety, situational awareness (including the presence of innocent bystanders), firearm concealment and retention, the laws regarding the use of deadly force, and how to act once the police arrive at the scene so officers can more easily sort out the bad guys. In fact, statistics show that citizens with concealed firearm permits are less likely than police to err in that "split-second when the decision must be made to shoot or not" and more likely to hit the bad guy instead of a bystander. As for a teacher going "off the deep end and has immediate access to a gun," that is a management problem -- not a gun problem. Any teacher who is not "level-headed, rational, [and] stable" should be, and is, removed from the classroom. Nevertheless, all school employees undergo a background check and get another one before they are issued a concealed firearm permit. They are constantly observed by principals and other school staff for both professional and mental competence. We therefore trust them with 20-30 children. Why not trust them with an effective means of self-protection? Or, does The Spectrum believe a yardstick is sufficient? The Spectrum editors should never need a permit or special training to exercise their right to express their opinions. The same standard should apply to a law-abiding citizen's right of self-protection -- including school staff. Working in or near a school should never deprive a teacher or an editor of their rights. (18 Dec 2006)

Childish stereotyping of male home-ec teachers (Teachers and guns? What fun, Dec 10, 2006) who allegedly carry a gun only to prove their masculinity has no place in a newspaper. Likewise, trivializing the very real threat to children and school employees by criminals who shoot up schools is no laughing matter. As everyone who is moderately aware of the law knows, it is unlawful for anyone (with certain specifically described exceptions) to have a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. Recent events surely have suggested to the Salt Lake Tribune editorial staff and columnist Holly Mullen that criminals, by definition, do not respect these gun-free (unarmed victim) zones. Fortunately, Utah's lawmakers have seen the need and right of Utahans (including male home-ec teachers) to defend themselves from violence. I support the right of our school employees to defend themselves. If, in that process, they also save the lives of our children, so much the better. I am quite satisfied that the current standards for training and screening for the Utah Concealed Firearms Permit are adequate to weed out renegade home-ec teachers and even renegade newspaper columnists. Candidates are not only taught firearms handling, but safety, situational awareness (including the presence of innocent bystanders), the laws regarding the use of deadly force, and how to act once the police arrive at the scene so officers can more easily sort out the bad guys. Mullen's patronizing column regarding guns in school shows an egregious lack of understanding of, or a blatant disregard, for both the US and Utah Constitutions which guarantee our right of self-protection. If only more of our state and federal politicians as well as newspaper columnists and editors gave due respect to the entirety of those two documents -- and not just to the portions that fit their agendas. (10 Dec 2006)

Today's Deseret News editorial (Guns don't belong in school, 10 Dec 2006) begins by implying that only the "very best marksmen [who] are assigned to SWAT teams" are competent to intervene in a situation such as a school shooting. That implication is myopic and naive. It assumes that those "very best marksmen" will always be in place to stop violence before it begins. The sad, but realistic, fact is that police cannot be everywhere at all times. They usually arrive just in time to draw chalk lines around the bodies. We can't afford the level of police protection the editors presume and we certainly shouldn't want such a police state anyway. As everyone who is moderately aware of the law knows, it is unlawful for anyone (with certain specifically described exceptions) to have a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. Recent events surely have suggested to the Deseret Morning News editorial staff that criminals do not respect these gun-free (unarmed victim) zones. Fortunately, Utah's lawmakers have seen the need and right of Utahans (including school employees) to defend themselves from violence. I support the right of our school employees to defend themselves. If, in that process, they also save the lives of our children, so much the better. I do not support the proposal which would permit teachers with the appropriate gun training to become "special function officers" because of the precedent it might set. No one, including a teacher, should ever need to have such a title to exercise his or her God-given right to self-defense. I see no need for requiring teachers to "undergo training above and beyond what is required by the state's concealed weapons permit laws." I am quite satisfied that the current standards for training for the Utah Concealed Firearms Permit are adequate. Candidates are not only taught firearms handling, but safety, situational awareness (including the presence of innocent bystanders), the laws regarding the use of deadly force, and how to act once the police arrive at the scene so officers can more easily sort out the bad guys. Today's editorial regarding guns in school alleged that "some state lawmakers are in lock-step with the gun rights lobby..." In fact, they actually are in "lock-step" with both the US and Utah Constitutions. I hardly consider that a reason for criticism. If only more of our state and federal politicians as well as news editors gave due respect (in lock-step) to the entirety of those two documents -- not just to the portions that fit their selfish agendas. (10 Dec 2006)

The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which control large tracts of federal land nationwide and especially in the Western US, defer to state and federal laws governing the possession, transportation, and carrying of firearms. The National Park Service, by contrast, has a policy that effectively prohibits private citizens from bringing firearms into any national park, regardless of the laws of the state in which a park is located (with certain exceptions being made for Alaska). Although this policy is not federal law, Title 16 Section 462(k) of the US Code grants broad rulemaking authority to the Park Service and authorizes the Park Service to impose fines of up to $500 for violations of any rules it creates. Congress must immediately amend that law to require the Park Service to defer to the laws governing the possession, transportation, and carrying of firearms in the jurisdiction where a park is located, as well as the self-defense laws in that jurisdiction, while at the same time leaving the Park Service free to regulate, restrict, or prohibit the use of firearms for purposes other than lawful self-defense (ie, hunting). In other words, for example, an individual carrying or transporting a firearm in a manner compliant with both Utah law for example and federal law would be allowed to bring his firearm into Zion National Park, although Park Service policy could prohibit him from using his gun inside the park for any purpose other than legally-sanctioned self-defense (as defined in the Utah Code). (4 Nov 2006)

The passenger terminals at the Salt Lake International Airport have signage on their entry doors which do not correctly identify restricted areas with regard to firearms and other weapons. As defined by state and federal law, the airport’s restricted area is that area where all persons must be screened for unauthorized items prior to entry (UCS 76-10-529). The signage incorrectly seem to indicate that areas outside the restricted area such as ticket counters and baggage claim are also restricted. Additionally, the signage indicates that the airport is affected by a Salt Lake City ordinance which appears to violate Utah State law (UCS 63-98-102) as well as the Utah State Constitution (Article I, Section 6). The ordinance in question is SLC Code 16.12.260 which states, “No person, except authorized peace officers, post office, customs, express and air carrier employees, members of the Armed Forces of the United States or members of the National Guard, on official duty, shall carry any loaded or unloaded firearm, explosive, ammunition or other dangerous weapon or device except an unloaded firearm being transported in a private aircraft in a manner that complies with law, or being delivered for shipment by an air carrier directly to the air freight office or the airline ticket counter in compliance with law.” Salt Lake City must immediately relocate incorrectly placed restricted-area signage and rescind its unlawful and redundant ordinance which addresses issues already covered by state and federal law. (31 Oct 2006)

Utah and Oregon are the only states that allow school teachers to carry a gun for self-protection in the classroom. Most states do not. Their legislators and governors, apparently, don't trust the judgment of these well-educated people. Current events clearly demonstrate that federal, state, and local gun-free schools zones have done nothing but create unarmed-victim zones and safe working conditions for criminals and the insane. Unless there is a cop in every classroom, our teachers and children are defenseless. When there is a school shooting, the police usually arrive in time only to do the investigation. Fortunately, the Utah and Oregon legislatures have seen the poor judgment in disarming potential victims and has had the foresight to allow law-abiding citizens to obtain the means to protect themselves -- which includes training in the safe and competent use of a gun. I applauded those school employees in Utah and Oregon who are aware enough of the threat to take the training. Even without a gun, that training may very well save lives. As for government, school, and teachers' union officials who are afraid of guns in the classroom, I suggest they sign up for a concealed firearms class so that their arguments will be based on knowledge -- not prejudice. The right to self-defense, even for school teachers, must be restored and preserved. I suggest all other states immediately follow the lead of Utah and Oregon in this regard before more innocent lives are lost to this ignorant anti-gun madness. (13 Oct 2006)

For the second time in less than a week, Meadow Lakes Elementary School in Wasilla, Alaska went into lockdown after school personnel heard gunshots in the distance -- probably duck hunters. In response, MatSu Borough Manager John Duffy says he wants an ordinance creating a "safe zone around schools". He obviously is oblivious to the fact that Federal law already bans firearms within 1,000 feet of any school. Additionally Alaska law says the unlawful discharge of firearms at or in the direction of a building (ie school) is a felony offense. In other words, his "safe zone around schools" already exists! The unacknowledged truth is that every school shooting has involved multiple violations of various laws. More limits on the lawful use of guns by panicky government officials such as Mr. Duffy will never change the behavior of criminals nor will they make schools any safer. (12 Oct 2006)

Ron and Norma Molen of Salt Lake wrote to the Salt Lake Tribune to place misplaced blame for the violent and undeserved death of their son some 14 years ago, There is no question that Steven Molen's death was an unnecessary tragedy. Likewise, for his friend, Susan. But, for Steve's parents to blame the NRA, Republicans, or any other organization of law-abiding citizens for that tragedy is wrong, too. And they know it. Violent crime, such as this, cannot be stopped by disarming potential victims. The fact is that more violent crimes are prevented or stopped by the presence of a gun in the hands of a potential victim than are committed by a gun. Had Steven or Susan been armed and trained with a gun, they very well could be alive today. Crimes are committed by criminals -- not by inanimate objects such as a gun, knife, bat, or ashtray (other objects the killer might have used on Steve and Susan). The killer was NOT "cursed by coming to the United States where he could buy a handgun and become a murderer." He was cursed by his inability to control his emotions and by the notion taken by gun-control advocates such as the Molens that he was not responsible for his actions. As for "the deaths of 14 children every day," the Molens might take a look at the validity of that number. The fact is a typical "child" killed by gunfire is a 19-year-old gang member -- not an innocent 8-year-old. As for the concealed firearm permit, permit holders are NOT "taught to be willing to shoot to kill, and to shoot first and ask questions later." They are taught the principles of safe gun handling and they are taught the laws regarding lethal force. The permit is NOT a license to kill and does NOT, in any way, alter the permit holder's responsibility to obey the same lethal-force laws applicable to non-permit-holders. It merely gives them a tool to fight for their lives if necessary -- a tool which Steve and Susan lacked when they needed it most. (30 Sep 2006)

Two recent high profile murders in schools in Canada and rural Colorado prove that “gun free school” laws are a delusional scheme to make hoplophobes feel good but do not deter criminal attackers. Instead they seem to lure psychopathic killers seeking to harm others, while minimizing the risk that they may encounter an armed victim. Canada spent more than $2 billion dollars on an utterly worthless scheme to register all guns and gun owners, including all long arms. The Columbine shootings happened despite numerous state and federal laws being violated by the killers. In response, Colorado added more gun ban laws. The federal government then enacted “gun free schools” laws. This weeks killing show that they did no good. We should no longer tolerate any attempts to disarm law abiding citizens with silly schemes that criminals will never obey. Tragically, there will be school shootings again, but they will happen with, or without any gun laws anyone can think of. Disarming victims is not the solution! -- Utah Shooting Sports Council Information Alert (28 Sep 2006)

Edward L. Lalone, Candidate for Utah House (Guns decrease campus safety, Deseret News, 23 Sep), seems to believe that banning guns on college campuses will, indeed keep guns off the campus. If a disgruntled student or teacher chooses to shoot up the campus he or she does not care whether guns (or any other weapon) are banned or whether he or she has a concealed firearms permit. If Mr. Lalone is competent to serve in the legislature, he certainly should be smart enough to know that guns do not cause crime, nor does even their presence. Crimes and upset students are a behavior problem -- not a gun problem. Statistically, more crimes are averted or stopped by the mere presence of a gun than are committed by a gun -- even on college campuses. Statistically, per capita violent crime is highest in those cities and states that have banned guns. Guns are generally banned in all school zones nationwide, yet school shootings still happen. Why? Bad guys don't obey laws -- even gun laws! (Even in Great Britain and Australia, where handguns are completely banned, the criminals still manage to get them.) Imagine the difference if the bad guys knew that there was even a 1% chance of encountering a teacher or other adult trained in the use of a gun and carried it. Utah law allows for that added level of security, even at the University of Utah. It is a good law and must stand. The Utah Concealed Firearms Permit process entails training in gun safety and handling and in the law regarding use of deadly force. Throughout the training, instructors constantly evaluate their students' attitude and are highly unlikely to certify anyone deemed to be a hazard. Then, each permit candidate undergoes a background check to eliminate anyone with a record of violence. The system works. The University of Utah should trust it and is required by law to accept it. (24 Sep 2006)

In its editorial today ("Find a sensible gun policy") the Deseret News suggested Utah craft "common-sense restrictions on carrying concealed weapons in certain places." I'd say we already have more than enough "common-sense" gun laws. (The most recently enacted common-sense gun laws are the Second Amendment to the US Constitution and similar provisions in the various state constitutions.) Some of the more recent "common-sense" laws have made inadvertent felons of virtually every gun owner in this nation (i.e., guns within 1,000' of a school zone, teaching a teen-age son or daughter to safely handle a handgun) and left millions of law-abiding citizens defenseless! It's time to start purging many of our "common-sense" victim-disarmament laws, particularly in certain other states and at the federal level. We need to stop blaming guns for crime and, instead, return to blaming bad people for their bad behavior. As for restrictions on concealed carry, Utah law regarding concealed firearms already prohibits firearms in secure areas such as courthouses and airports. Utah law allows for a respect of property rights -- one may not carry a firearm into a place where the property owner does not want a gun. This includes homes, businesses and churches. If the Deseret News really wants to add "common-sense restrictions," require those who ban firearms on their property, whether private, business, or religious, to provide bodyguards for their disarmed visitors and employees who feel a need for personal protection. The same should apply if the Deseret News' suggestion is extended to government-owned schools such as the University of Utah or the local elementary school. If you are going to provide a publicized unarmed-victim zone, you better provide personal bodyguards, too. Because the bad guys, by definition, simply don't obey laws -- even gun laws. "Common sense" says the best and most cost-effective control on violent crime, whether at home, the workplace, school, or church, is the presence of law-abiding, trained citizens as provided by the Utah concealed permit process. The cops invariably arrive just in time to do nothing more that conduct an investigation. I do, however, agree with the Deseret News' opinion that the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification needs to be given adequate resources to do the job it has been given. (22 Sep 2006)

A 6th grade kid in our school district was just suspended for the entire year for having a clear plastic "airsoft" gun in his backpack "so he could take it home from his grandparent's house." Somebody on the bus saw it and the whole world fell apart. The best solution to this kind of situation is to get all school administrators and teachers into an NRA firearms class or a concealed firearms class, then onto the range. Teach those socialists about safety and common sense. Life on the schoolyard was a lot safer back in the late 50s and early 60's when I was growing up. We took toy guns to school with us to play "cops and robbers" and "cowboys and Indians". We took our new official Roy Rogers cap guns to show-and-tell after the Christmas break. Nobody ever got hurt. Nobody's PC (politically-cleansed) sensitivities were ever hurt. And kids had respect for guns. Nowadays, the know-nothings who run and teach our schools have screwed it all up. And, I'm ashamed to say that it is my generation, the baby-boomers, who screwed it all up. Another example of "zero tolerance" (zero common sense) gone awry: A while back a high school senior was recruited into the Army with her induction delayed 'til after graduation. For her senior yearbook picture she chose a picture of herself sitting on the fender of the old WWII tank in the city park. The school said, "No, that tank has a gun, and no guns in school -- even a photo!" Much of the problems comes from who votes in this country -- we've made it to darned easy to register to vote and to vote. One-third of voters get their news and information through careful study of issues and political candidates through newspapers, radio and TV news, non-fiction radio and TV programs, books and magazines and discussions with other voters (including persons with opposing viewpoints) on a variety of issues. One-third of voters get their news and information from Jay Leno and David Letterman monologues, Hollywood sages (ie Barbara Streisand, Sean Penn, Pamela Anderson, Al Franken and Michael Moore), professional racists (ie Kweisi Mfume, Louis Farakhan, Al Sharpton, Cynthia McKinney, Ray Nagan and Jesse Jackson) and Marxist anti-American college professors and government school teachers. Finally, one-third of voters don't get any news or information at all! So, two thirds of voters, with no basis for sound voting are outvoting the rest of us. To solve the problems in this country, such as socialist and anti-family indoctrination in "zero-tolerance" [for common sense] schools we need a voter's test. Each voter should be able to correctly answer a random question from a pool of questions such as, "What is the name of your mayor?", "What are the three branches of government?", "Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?", etc. If you're not informed enough to correctly answer such basic civics questions, you're not smart enough to vote. (16 Sep 2006)

Utah state law restricts to the state legislature sole authority to make laws and regulations regarding firearms. The administration of the University of Utah has violated that law by prohibiting students and employees from possessing firearms on campus -- even when they have completed the steps required to obtain a concealed firearms permit. The Utah Supreme Court has now ruled that the university does not have authority to establish that restriction on the right to keep and bear arms. The administration of the university apparently intends to pursue the matter in the federal courts. If the university administration feels compelled to further pursue this issue, the funds for that pursuit should come out of their personal pockets -- not mine. I have no desire for my tax money to be used to pay for their attempt to justify violating the law. The Utah Legislature and the Utah Board of Regents must take all necessary steps to restrict the University of Utah from using public funds to appeal the recent Utah Supreme Court ruling. (9 Sep 2006)

I believe that convicted felons who have never been convicted of a violent crime or who have repented of violent behavior should have the right to defend themselves with firearms. I believe they should have the right to hunt. I believe they should be allowed to collect firearms. I believe they should be permitted to use firearms in their occupation as police officers and soldiers. I urge Congress to pass legislation that would automatically restore full rights, including gun rights, to former criminals (including those affected by the Lautenberg amendment regarding domestic violence) who have served their time, who have paid their debt to society, and who have satisfactorily demonstrated repentance for a reasonable period (such as 5 years) after serving their time. This should especially apply to those who were never charged or convicted of a violent crime. (29 Aug 2006)

Although these bills, in my opinion, are not strong enough, I urge Congress to work aggressively to ensure that S-1488 and HR-3436 (Second Amendment Protection Act) are enacted immediately. These bills express the sense of Congress that the United States should not provide financial support to international entities that abridge the constitutionally protected rights of law-abiding US citizens to keep and bear arms. They prohibit US funding to the United Nations for a fiscal year unless the President certifies to Congress that the United Nations has not taken action to restrict or otherwise adversely infringe upon the rights of US individuals to possess a firearm or ammunition, including the imposition of a tax that will interfere with the right to own a firearm or ammunition. Congress, the President, and the US Supreme Court must never allow our individual and national sovereignty to be diminished in any way. (2 Jul 2006)

An overlay map showing the extent of school-zone gun-free zones in a city shows how the law places anyone carrying or transporting a gun at high risk of continually committing a federal felony. Yet, this prohibition does nothing to stop crime of any kind, especially in school zones. What the law does do is provide a safe work environment for criminals bent on harming school teachers and their students. It also gives police and prosecutors unparalleled opportunity to destroy the lives of otherwise law-abiding citizens who wander into this twilight zone. Congress must stop assuming that criminals will obey gun laws. Congress must stop infringing on gun rights based on that flawed assumption. The "Gun Free School Zones Act" must be immediately repealed in its entirety. (21 Jun 2006)

The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution states, in part, that "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States....The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article." What has Congress done to enforce this article with regard to the oppressive gun control laws enacted by many states? What is Congress doing to restore the right to arms for law-abiding citizens of states such as California, New York, and Rhode Island? Why? (12 Jun 2006)

It is often said that the US Constitution grants the right of the law abiding citizen to personally own a firearm. Wrong! It doesn't "grant" any rights to individuals whatsoever. Instead, it guarantees inherent, God-given rights which existed before the Constitution by restricting the government. There's a huge difference between "grant" and "guarantee." As indicated in the Preamble to the Constitution, the government, and its constitution were created by "we the people." Through the Constitution, we delegated to the government limited powers and responsibilities while retaining all our pre-existing rights. The Constitution need not specify or list any right (including the right to keep and bear arms) to be "granted" or "guaranteed" because it is implied that we already have our rights. (11 Jun 2006)

The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Bill, HR-4547 and S-3275 would allow any person with a valid concealed firearm carrying permit or license, issued by a state, to carry a concealed firearm in any other state, as follows: In states that issue concealed firearm permits, a state's laws governing where concealed firearms may be carried would apply within its own borders. In states that do not issue carry permits, a federal "bright-line" standard would permit carrying in places other than police stations; courthouses; public polling places; meetings of state, county, or municipal governing bodies; schools; passenger areas of airports; and certain other locations. HR-4547 would also apply to the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and US territories. The bill would not create a federal licensing system. Instead, it would require the states to recognize each others' carry permits, just as they recognize drivers' licenses and carry permits held by armored car guards. According to the the S-3275 sponsor, Senator George Allen, the murder rate has plunged 40 percent since a right-to-carry law took effect in 1995 in Virginia. All other states with right-to-carry laws have had similar effects upon restoring the people's inherent right to carry arms. No US citizen should be required to give up an inalienable, inherent, Constitutionally-guaranteed right simply because he crossed a political border. Congress and the President must enact this bill immediately and ensure that it it is worded to protect the right to carry in sub-jurisdictions within states (ie cities and counties). (6 Jun 2006)

Currently, if a grandfather gives a gun, even a family heirloom, to a grandchild who lives in a different state, that firearm must be shipped to the grandchild, passing through the hands of two Federally licensed firearms dealers -- one in Grandpa's state, the other in the grandchild's state. This is true even if the recipient is an adult and is visiting Grandpa or if ownership is transferred through a will after Grandpa's death and the grandchild is allowed to possess that firearm in both states! This is clear evidence that gun control is out of control. We have over 20,000 laws in this nation regulating firearms -- none of which have any effect whatsoever on criminal behavior. (Criminals, by definition are people who disobey laws -- including gun laws. Duh!) The last time a reasonable, common-sense Federal gun law was passed in the US was when the Second Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified. (25 May 2006)

Most Congressmen consistently claim they support the Second Amendment. Nevertheless, in 1996, 97 Senators voted in favor of the egregious Lautenberg Gun Ban as an amendment to the Treasury Postal appropriations bill (HR3756). This law disarms gun owners for minor (misdemeanor) offenses in the home – “offenses” as slight as spanking a child or grabbing a spouse. This lifetime ban, in certain cases, can even be imposed without a trial by jury! It is also retroactive, so it does not matter if the offense occurred 20 years before Congress enacted this law! Because of this law, a woman who slapped her abusive husband 40 years ago, and who subsequently pled guilty to a misdemeanor under pressure from her husband, is now permanently and automatically prohibited from even touching a firearm even to protect herself from that same abusive husband! This law has unfairly and adversely affected untold numbers police officers and military servicemen and women. If someone commits a crime that is serious enough to justify depriving him or her of a right specifically listed in the US and most state Constitutions, it surely is serious enough to warrant a felony conviction – not a mere misdemeanor! Congress must act immediately to remove this harsh penalty for misdemeanor convictions. (21 May 2006)

We need legislation that would improve availability of criminal history and other records for conducting background checks on firearm buyers. At the same time, we need legislation that will resolve the problem where inaccurate or incomplete records delay lawful firearm purchases and result in wrongful denials of law-abiding buyers. Congress needs to update certain procedures applicable to commerce in firearms and remove certain Federal restrictions on interstate firearms transactions. A licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer, or collector should be able to: (1) sell or deliver a firearm (currently, a rifle or shotgun) to a resident of a State other than a State in which the licensee's place of business is located or temporarily located if the transferee meets in person with the transferor to accomplish the transfer; and (2) conduct business temporarily at any gun show or event sponsored by any national, State, or local organization, or any affiliate devoted to the collection, competitive use, or other sporting use of firearms (currently, only at such a location in the State specified on the person's license). With the successful establishment of instant background checks for gun buyers, such legislation would make good sense. (17 May 2006)

Over the past several decades, Congress has needlessly passed seemingly countless laws restricting firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Over the past few years, Congress has made a feeble attempt to restore Second Amendment rights to its constituents. Specifically, over the past six years, Congress passed legislation protecting the firearms industry from frivolous and harassing prosecution for the criminal acts of others and allowed the misnamed Assault Weapons Ban to expire. Other than these two issues, Congress has done virtually nothing to redeem itself with regard to firearms rights for law-abiding citizens. Congress must act aggressively to fully restore the Second Amendment, as intended by our founding fathers, to all law-abiding citizens. For example, with “instant background check” in place, there is no longer a reasonable need to restrict interstate firearms sales. Congress must immediately amend GCA-68 accordingly. (11 May 2006)

Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah is being considered for change of status to a National Park. My feelings on that change are neutral. However, I do support the immediate restoration of the right of a law-abiding citizen to possess a firearm within a National Park. Currently, gun possession is prohibited in most cases. I urge you to support legislation which would allow any law-abiding citizen who legally carries a firearm (including handguns) in accordance with state law to also carry that firearm for self-defense in any National Park in that state. This gun-right-restoration legislation must be passed before, or included within, any legislation establishing any new National Park, including Cedar Breaks. (20 Mar 2006)

In November, 2005 Major General Charles H. Jacoby Jr., the Commanding General of US Army Alaska, put out a three-page policy statement outlining the most draconian firearms registration, storage, and transportation rules imaginable. These restrictions apply to all personnel living on post, including service members, their families, and civilians living in base housing and carry serious penalties for failure to comply. Recently General Jacoby took his gun control scheme a step farther by releasing a policy statement forbidding any US Army Alaska personnel to carry a concealed weapon any time, anywhere, on post or off post regardless of Alaska law to the contrary. The right of self-protection, including the right to posses firearms is one of our basic, God-given rights. General Jacoby has gone far beyond reason and his authority in depriving his soldiers of that right. As anyone who has a modicum of knowledge of history knows that gun-control laws do not affect criminal behavior. They only deprive law-abiding citizens of a basic human right. If General Jacoby has any soldiers in his command who are prone to crime, his new gun-control policies will not alter that behavior. They will continue to get into trouble. General Jacoby must immediately be removed from command for abuse of his authority and his gun-control policies must be immediately reversed. (20 Mar 2006)

The Lautenberg Amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968 became effective 30 September 1996. It potentially affects any soldier, police officer or any other person who has been convicted of domestic violence by voiding their right to possess a firearm. Obviously, no one defends the behavior of wife beaters and child abusers. But, the argument is about the punishment fitting the crime. If the penalty for a crime is a $50 and no jail time, permanent revocation of an enumerated Constitutional right is excessive. If the crime is deserving of revocation of rights, it is deserving of a punishment of more than a year in prison. The gun rights of all non-felons must be restored by immediately repealing the Lautenberg Amendment. This is bad law! (25 Mar 2006)

It is time for local, state, and federal governments to use some common sense with regard to firearms. Surely anyone can see that more antigun laws have not affected the behavior of outlaws, nor do they even necessarily affect the behavior of law-abiding citizens. What we need is education. We start sex education in grade schools with the idea that this will contribute to the health and safety of our children. Likewise, our governments and educators need to start working with (not against) the NRA to provide safety instruction in schools. The NRA has had such a safety training program in place for many years. It has been proven to contribute to responsible behavior among children with regard to firearms. In addition, television and movie producers must be held accountable for programming which teaches and even glamorizes irresponsible firearm use. Surely, they too could create entertainment which fosters responsible handling of firearms. (29 Feb 2000)

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