Way back in Y2K the city of New York pressed a lawsuit against gun manufacturers for crimes committed using their products. It was bogus lawsuits like this that led to the passage of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005, a component of which specifically directed any pending lawsuits of this nature to be dropped. Faced with that explicit language, Brooklyn federal district Judge Weinstein ruled that the Act did not require the dismissal of the suit and allowed the suit to continue. The manufacturers appealed the ruling to the Second Circuit. That appeal has been ruled upon and, once again, Judge Weinstein is overturned:
The crux of the suit, which dates back to 2000: The city of New York sued the gun industry — including Beretta, Browning, Colt, Glock Inc. and a bunch of others — for facilitating “the movement of legally distributed handguns into illegal markets” by, among other things, facilitating “straw purchases” in which those qualified to purchase guns from the manufacturer, such as retailers, make purchases on behalf of those who aren’t qualified.
Back in 2005, Weinstein denied the manufacturers’ 12(b)(6) motion, holding that the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, did not require dismissal of the city’s case, which was brought under a New York criminal nuisance statute. In a 2-1 decision, a Second Circuit panel reversed, finding that the claim restrictions of the PLCAA did apply and barred the suit.
I’m glad to see there are more logical (and literate, apparently) judges in the Second Circuit although one wonders about the 1 panel member who voted against overturning the decision. The ruling, if you’d like to see it, is here. Hopefully, this will serve as precedent to remove any other such suits in progress and keep any other judges more interested in enacting their social policy than in application of the duly-enacted law from making the mistake Weinstein did.
(Hat tip: Instapundit.)
The latest round of ads from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) are causing quite the stir among people paying attention. Drawing the most ire is an ad that blatantly misrepresents McCain’s position on the Iraq campaign and makes use of footage of a couple of US soldiers coming under an IED attack. You can see this ad and another I’m going to get to in a moment at FactCheck.org. (Hat tip to Ed Morrissey of Hot Air.)
First, it’s appalling that a group so adamant against showing any footage of the 9/11 attacks as being “gratuitous” and “irrelevant” would then make use of footage of attacks against our soldiers and marines. If it’s just fine to show our military coming under attack then it’s equally fine to show images to remind people why we’re there in the first place. That the footage they ran leaves the viewer unsure if he’s just watched 2 of our fellow Americans die only makes it worse.
The lie comes when the DNC decides to take comments out of context – in the true sense of that word, as opposed to the completely in-context comments of Obama’s lead spiritual advisor – and paint John McCain as perfectly happy to see active warfare continue for another hundred years. The complete comment from McCain makes it clear that he was talking about a peaceful troop presence, much as we have in Germany today. He explicitly said in the comment being cherry-picked for this ad that he was “fine with” such a presence “as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.” That’s a long way from being OK with our military getting shot at for the next century. The DNC knows full well that they’re taking a few words in a comment and distorting McCain’s message 180°. As FactCheck.org says:
Anyone who didn’t already know the fuller version of McCain’s answer could easily be fooled into thinking that McCain would be perfectly happy to see the war continue. McCain has said quite clearly that he considers Democratic proposals for a quick withdrawal from Iraq to be “surrender,” and so deadly fighting could well continue longer under a President McCain than under either a President Hillary Clinton or a President Obama. But what the DNC ad conveys is the opposite of what McCain said.
So why lie? They clearly think Americans are too dumb to notice. What’s also clear is that they’re desperate about their chances, the drumbeat of their media allies notwithstanding.
The second ad shown there regards McCain’s position on the economy. In that ad, McCain is quoted as saying that “a lot of jobs have been created,” a claim the ad scoffs at while showing signs of gas prices and graphics of foreclosures. Again from FactCheck:
While McCain says “a lot of jobs have been created,” the ad shows a graphic that states, “1.8 million jobs lost.” McCain is correct and the ad is wrong. Total nonfarm employment was nearly 5.4 million higher last month than it was when President Bush took office in January 2001, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s the standard measure of jobs, and it means 5.4 million have been created.
The DNC defends its claim of “jobs lost” by pointing to the total number of persons who were without jobs in March. That figure is 1.8 million higher than it was when Bush was sworn in. But it doesn’t mean that many jobs were lost, it means that the job gain didn’t keep pace with the number of persons who are seeking work. The ad would have been correct to say that there are “1.8 million more unemployed.” That stark statistic doesn’t contradict McCain’s statement that lots of jobs were created, however. It means not enough were created to satisfy the need.
Precisely true. The fact of the matter is that the US population has grown in the last 7 years. The population has aged, meaning that people too young to work jobs in 2001 are well into the workforce now. Again, it’s a sleight-of-hand the DNC is hoping you don’t notice. Oh, but there’s more. From the Hot Air post by Ed Morrissey:
The ads contain even more deception, although milder. It claims that gas prices have gone up 200% since Bush took office. That would only be true if Bush took office in December 2001, when gas prices dropped to $1.11 per gallon. The price in January 2001 was $1.47 per gallon, which makes the increase 139%. And one has to ask why the price went up. The war certainly had something to do with it, but most of that increase came years after the invasion of Iraq. Congress has blocked new drilling and has not expedited the building of new refineries in the US, which Bush has advocated during his entire presidency — so whose fault are higher gas prices?
They also complain that unemployment is “up”. Unemployment has risen to 5.1%, but that hardly qualifies as high. It beats the average American unemployment since 1948, which is 5.6%. Coincidentally, that was the same unemployment level in the US in 1996, when Democrats described it as “low” during Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign.
The President is powerful, yes, but he can’t pass legislation to enact policies and enable business. That’s Congress’ job. They’re the ones with the ability to actually do something to alleviate the supply squeeze that’s driving the prices. They aren’t. As Morrissey asks: whose fault is that?
This tendency by the DNC to remove context and outright lie about the position of the GOP’s candidates is only going to get worse. In a society such as ours, it is imperative that our citizens have as much of the actual facts as possible. My fellow Republicans and other people interested in making decisions based on real information need to remain vigilant in this regard, stay educated on the real positions of the candidates, and be ready to challenge distortions and lies when they come up. Do yourselves a favor and read those posts I’ve linked.
I just got done reading the 8 pages of 60 Minutes’ report on the interview with Justice Scalia. If you’ve not seen it yet, you should do yourself a huge favor and go read it. Scalia is, frankly, the kind of Justice we need 9 of on the Supreme Court. Reading about the interview only makes my conviction on that matter even stronger. Go have a look, you won’t be disappointed.
In writing that previous post on the Supreme Court ruling on voter ID laws, I had to shake my head again over the blatant bias present in the story I read. Mark Sherman, the AP reporter who wrote this thing, ought to be ashamed. Given that we’re talking about 1) a member of the journalistic profession and, especially, 2) an employee of the Associated Press, that ain’t gonna happen. It begins in paragraph 2. Check out the loaded phraseology:
In a splintered 6-3 ruling, the court upheld Indiana’s strict photo ID requirement, which…
A “splintered” ruling? The ruling passed by a factor of 2-to-1. Since when is a vote carried by a 2-to-1 margin considered “splintered”? The impression such a term gives is that the Court just went all to pieces. Even rulings that pass 5-to-4 (which is a real splintering of the Court) are, at best, referred to as a “split” ruling. It’s not that the ruling was split that’s the issue. It’s that Sherman just had to find some term with emotive baggage to really play up the disagreement. Was this done so as to call the ruling into question?
Then there’s this sentence which, for the life of me, makes no damned sense at all:
It was the most important voting rights case since the Bush v. Gore dispute that sealed the 2000 election for George W. Bush mirrored.
Sorry, I don’t get what he’s saying with the “mirrored” word. I would hasten to point out that what “sealed the 2000 election” for George Bush was the fact that he won the vote for President in accordance with our laws, not that the Supreme Court ruled on anything in particular. But the AP is so invested in continuing that little lie, it’s never going to change until it gets knocked out of the business.
Finally, I find it fascinating that this paragraph ends the story:
There is little history in Indiana of either in-person voter fraud _ of the sort the law was designed to thwart _ or voters being inconvenienced by the law’s requirements
First off, let’s correct this little mistaken impression. There’s no history of voters being inconvenienced by this kind of law because they aren’t inconvenienced. We have ample proof of this since these laws have been in effect in a variety of locations for a few years now and the reports show there’s no such inconvenience. We know this because we looked for it and it’s not there. There’s “little history” of this kind of fraud occurring because we haven’t been able to look for it. Now we can, so it’ll be interesting to see if anyone’s dumb enough to try it.
More to my point, however, is the implication that these laws just aren’t necessary because there’s “little evidence” of fraud. Well, there’s “little evidence” that crooks are buying guns at gun shows but that’s not stopping the AP from shilling for laws regulating such purchases. I’ve never seen them go out of their way to speak of the lack of any history of people committing crimes with guns they bought in this fashion, either. But that’s because they like gun regulation. (Hell, they’d like to have a gun ban but they’ll settle for regulating it to death.) And, good little Democrats that they are, they don’t like voter ID so they speak of the lack of history when it suits them.
The Supreme Court has upheld an Indiana law requiring people to show photo ID’s before being allowed to cast a vote in an election. In a 6-3 ruling, the Justices have backed the law as a valid protection against fraud:
The law “is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting ‘the integrity and reliability of the electoral process,’” Justice John Paul Stevens said in an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy.
Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas also agreed with the outcome, but wrote separately.
Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter dissented.
Several states, including Virginia have such laws. Courts have upheld some of them (AZ, GA, MI) but have also struck down at least one (MO). This ruling removes the Constitutional argument from the debate and might permit other states which have been considering such a law to proceed with passage. We already know from experience that these laws do not, as some have claimed, present a barrier to the elderly or poor in exercising their votes. With this ruling, perhaps we can get on with determining the best way to secure the process now that the concept has been ruled permissible.
They’re doing everything in their power to get the message across that they’re not suggesting what they’re suggesting, but the truth of the matter is that the Virginia State Crime Commission’s decision to take a “limited look” at private gun sales that happen to occur at gun shows is an opening move toward requiring background checks to be run by private citizens on private citizens.
Meeting last week, the commission agreed to study state and federal firearms laws so the General Assembly will have a clear understanding of the gun show law in any future legislative debates.
The commission, however, decided it will not recommend any proposed laws of its own because of the political divisiveness of the issue.
Only licensed firearms dealers are now required to conduct criminal-background checks of buyers at gun shows in Virginia.
The pressure to even start down this road is the so-called “gun show loophole” myth, wherein a person who would be subject to a background check in a gun shop would be free to buy all the firepower his little heart desired at a gun show because, so goes the myth, background checks aren’t required. The truth of the matter – an undeniable and documented fact – is that gun dealers are required to run those checks on anyone attempting to purchase a gun from them, whether that person is at their store, at a gun show, or showing up at the tailgate of the dealer’s pickup truck. What the people repeating this fairy tale as gospel truth are so concerned about is the fact that a private citizen can show up at one of these shows and sell his privately-owned firearm to another private citizen and not have to abide by the same rules as federally-licensed dealers. This is the “loophole” they speak of.
The recent remembrance of the Virginia Tech killings raised this issue again, with people citing that incident as proof that background checks should be required for anyone buying at a gun show, regardless of whether he’s buying from a private citizen or a dealer. The fact they’d prefer not to recall is that the Virginia Tech killer did not buy his guns at a gun show. He bought them at gun shops and underwent the required background check. Twice. The process being touted by these people did not stop him from buying a gun legally and at a licensed shop. It would have had no additional effect had it been done at a gun show. The problems that lead to his being allowed to buy a gun have been well researched and steps have been taken to correct the process so it shouldn’t happen again. But the mere fact that he did not buy his gun at a gun show makes any attempt to use that situation to press for more gun show laws a non-sequitur.
Add to that the fact that there is no evidence – none – that any such purchases at gun shows have been responsible for increased criminal activity. (Yes, I know that the lack of evidence isn’t strictly conclusive, but there have been enough such sales and enough crime statistics that were such evidence in existence, it’s far more than likely that we would have seen the correlation by now. We haven’t.)
Like the “assault weapon ban” that essentially banned guns that looked scary, pushing for private sales at gun shows to be held to the same requirements as federally-licensed dealers is just “feel good” and “sound good” legislation designed to create the illusion of doing something useful. Getting around it is as simple as leaving the gun show to drive to a parking lot down the street to complete the transaction. It would be every bit as legal and completely untouched by any law governing a gun show. This, my friends, is exactly what I said it was when Kaine suggested it back in January. It’s a solution in search of a problem, and a thick-headed, graceless solution at that.
It was 1 year and 6 days ago that the last batch of “angry truckers” made a call to come into the DC area and screw up the morning rush hour to protest something. Tomorrow, they’re supposedly returning to protest high gas prices:
A group of truck drivers is planning to caravan past the White House and the Capitol before a rally to protest high gas prices.
The group Truckers and Citizens Unite says it has organized hundreds of truckers to participate in the event on Monday. The activities are expected to start about 9 a.m.
No street closures are planned, but the influx of trucks could cause traffic disruptions during the morning rush hour.
Hey, we’re all steamed about the price of gas. (Well, all of us except the gas companies, I’d imagine.) The impact of higher fuel prices directly affects truckers but it does reach us all in one manner or another. My mother’s on a fixed income – she has very little capability to increase her income so higher gas prices force her to cut other spending, not raise her rates. All of us get dinged for the cost of gas in higher prices of virtually everything we consume. I understand fully the frustration of it all and I certainly do not suggest that the truckers shouldn’t speak their minds.
But speaking is what I’m talking about, not purposely snarling up rush hour traffic in the city with the second-worst traffic in the nation. As I mentioned in last year’s post, any action deliberately taken to cause innocent fellow citizens inconvenience and worse will backfire.
Mark my words. This will backfire and you will never, ever be able to say “we’re sorry” enough. Those people will never trust you or any of your ilk for the remainder of their lives and they will positively never look with an ounce of sympathy on you and your situation for the rest of your days. There are ways to get the message across that generate interest and positive action. This so ain’t it.
Now, I’ve got no information that says, as last year’s anticipated protest did, that there’s any intention to bring the traffic to a standstill. Playing with the ability of vehicles to move in as free a fashion as would be normally allowed does nothing but increase the chance that some desperately needed assistance will be late in coming or come not at all. I applaud the truckers’ desire to get a message across. They need to take care that the recipient of the message is who they intend and try to keep the collateral damage to a minimum.
Update: Well, it looks like the truckers managed to have their protest without significantly affecting traffic. Nicely done, folks. I’m still not sure a mandated gas price cap is the way to go but you’ve gotten your message out there. That’s the important thing.
It was 6 years ago that John Allen Muhammad and his teen sidekick Lee Boyd Malvo roamed the streets in their rolling sniper blind and picked off random innocents at long range. It was just over 4 years ago that a Virginia jury convicted Muhammad of capital murder and sentenced him to death. Two years ago, he claimed in a Maryland court that his actions should be excused because he was a “distraught father.” (They didn’t buy the argument, by the way.) And now, his lawyers are trying to get the death penalty removed because now they claim Muhammad was beaten as a kid.
Convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad was regularly whipped with hose pipes and electrical cords and beaten with hammers and sticks by family members during a brutal childhood, according to lawyers trying to save Muhammad from the death penalty.
The lawyers argued in a federal court petition filed this week that the jurors who sent Muhammad to death row for the 2002 sniper spree were improperly barred from hearing most of the evidence of the harsh life Muhammad faced as a child.
If I’d been on that jury and had the chance to hear all of this evidence these lawyers are spouting on about, I’m reasonably sure my reaction would have been, “Yeah? Well, apparently it wasn’t hard enough.” The fact that some people shouldn’t be parents is painfully obvious to anyone looking around a shopping mall these days. That some people are abusively harsh on their kids is equally plain. That doesn’t excuse in the least the murderous, cowardly killing spree these 2 went on, and as the adult, Muhammad has more culpability in this. His actions were under his control. He just decided to be what he is. Enough with the court theater. Send this guy to the gurney and brighten the world. It’s past time.
Thanks to a reference on The Loudoun Scoop, I found this little gem over at LoudounExtra.com: The Guide 2008: Where We Live. There are stories about local flavor, guides to all manner of community services, and explanations about how some processes work. Case in point is this story on “Deciphering the Code for Land Development in Loudoun. I’ll be looking through all the parts of the Guide myself over the next several days and I’ll let you know if there’s anything particularly interesting. (Or even just plain old-fashioned cool.)
Bob Owens over at Confederate Yankee has a long history of pointing out 1) misinformation regarding firearms and 2) media incompetence or deception. He hits a two-fer in this story about a recent ABC news article on guns in use by Mexican drug cartels. He highlights the deceptions, both visual and textual, in the story starting with the opening picture in use in the article:
The focus of the story, according to ABC News, is that U.S. dealers of civilian firearms are to blame for Mexico’s drug cartels and their violence problems… so why do they highlight an M60 general purpose machine gun, a weapons still in use in Mexico’s military, but impossible to find in the open U.S. civilian market?
You definitely want to see his post for the pictures alone. However, the pictures aren’t the only problem. ABC continues our media’s long effort at misrepresenting the law, misrepresenting actions of Congress, and – of course – blaming the Bush administration for whatever problem they’ve decided to air. After quoting the ABC story where it claims that weapons styled after the AK-47 “have become widely available” after the 1994 “assault weapons” ban was allowed to expire (with the special assistance of the Bush administration), C.F. lands a telling hit:
AK-pattern rifles were legal to own or import during the entire life of the 1994-2004 “Crime Bill,” something that Ross knows for a fact… or should. This claim is a blatant falsehood.
The only effect of the law was to outlaw the importation or manufacture of certain specific firearms by name, and cosmetic features found on other firearms, without banning their manufacture, important, or purchase once these features were removed or replaced. The result was that the same functioning firearms were imported the day after the “ban” went into effect without a bayonet lug or flashhider, and with a thumbhole stock instead of a pistol grip. Functionally, the weapons were identical, with no reduction in firepower, magazine capacity, controlability, or or lethality. The “Crime Bill” outlawed virtually nothing, and was merely a fig-leaf for anti-gun politicians.
As for Bush, he was in favor of extending the ban. ABC News failed to get that fact correct, either, even though checking it would have taken less than ten seconds on Google.
Read the whole thing. Trust me, it’s worth it.
What bothers me so much about this kind of stuff is that media agencies get to just out-and-out lie to the American people about such matters and then try to close down the avenues where the real story can get some air. The average joe in the U.S. has likely never even held a rifle, let alone become familiar enough with them to recognize what Owens saw in this article. It’s the equivalent of malpractice for them to do this kind of stuff and they know they’ll never be held to account. Once upon a time, journalists considered themselves the People’s eyes and ears. It was important for them to get the actual facts, the so-called “real story,” into the hands of the American public. Make no mistake, such information is vital to a nation such as ours where every citizen gets a hand in how the country is governed. But that information must be factual and verifiable, as free of observer bias as possible or the decisions made using that information will be equally flawed.
ABC ought to be ashamed of their performance in this matter. That they won’t be doesn’t surprise me in the least. Thankfully, we live in an information age where individual subject experts like Bob Owens – an “Army of Davids“, if you will – can get their word out. Hopefully, enough people will hear that word to pass along the real story in this situation. It’s not that Mexican drug cartels are using guns they buy in other countries to commit crimes. It’s that our media is so anxious to move their own agenda that they’ll lie to our faces to get it done.
Caveat emptor, folks.