A few weeks ago the DC government implemented it’s procedure to “allow” DC residents to register handguns, an implementation required by DC’s loss in the Supreme Court case DC v Heller. On the day they began the process, WTOP News’ Mark Segraves wrote in his blog about his journey through the byzantine rules and the keystone cops routine DC’s officials were making of it. I wrote about that blog entry and the wider topic of DC’s rules in this post where I quoted some of Mark’s prose. The last update to his blog post at the time I wrote my entry on the matter was that Mark was awaiting a phone call from the head of the gun registration unit to clarify a conflict between officers at the registration office and Police Chief Lanier. That call apparently came the following afternoon:
Lt. Jon Shelton called me Thursday night to walk me through the process and clarify everything.
According to Shelton, the application has to be filled out by the licensed dealer in D.C. where the gun I bought in Maryland will be shipped. Since I had the application filled out by the dealer in Maryland, it was improper and the police were unable to process it. Since the only licensed dealer who will transfer guns in D.C. is still waiting on his permit, I can’t get him to fill out the application.
Catch-22, redux. Shelton told Segraves that he could go ahead with the written test (something the officers at the registration unit had earlier said he couldn’t do) and get his background check performed while that 1 FFL dealer, Charles Sykes, got his permit worked out. According to that same update (from Friday, 18 July), Sykes had been forced to move his office since losing his lease and had been awaiting DC to issue him a certificate of occupancy at the new place. Ahead of the Heller decision, you get the impression that DC was in no hurry to allow him to restart his business. The blog update says Sykes managed to get his certificate the week before DC started this registration nightmare but that the delay had pushed back his address-change notification to the ATF. (Can’t send that notifaction without being officially able to occupy the address, you know.) The ATF says that processing that notification can take 30 days.
Last week, on the July 24th, Mark wrote an update which he titled, “A Work in Progress.” As of last week, his gun that he purchased at a gun store in Maryland is still sitting at the gun store in Maryland.
There doesn’t seem to be a mad rush for guns in the District.
That’s probably a good thing, since it’s still virtually impossible to get one. As of late Wednesday night, only 11 people had started the process of registering a handgun and 164 people had picked up application packets. Only 1 handgun has been completely registered.
I believe that 1 handgun is Dick Heller’s .22-caliber revolver. I would also propose that the reason there’s only been 11 people that have started the process is that the onerous registration process is having the desired effect: it’s driving people away. Even if that weren’t true, the fact that DC is adamantly resisting any establishment of new gun stores means that there’s still only 1 guy who can handle the transfer. I’m not sure how long that process takes but he’s still only 1 guy. He’s also not selling the firearms directly, he’s transferring them. That means a prospective gun owner must still travel over to Maryland or Virginia to do the business deal there. Crazy. Unless, of course, you’re trying to keep people from owning guns.
Segraves reported that a meeting in DC between gun dealers from Maryland and Virgina and the ATF was to have taken place “in a few days” so they could get some questions answered about how to sell to a DC resident and, possibly, open a store in DC. No word yet on how that went.
The DC laws leave a lot of issues unresolved. According to the laws, you can’t transport the weapon outside of your home, which makes taking it to the range for training purposes a bit difficult. Then there’s the other obvious problems that I’ve mentioned in earlier posts and for which a new lawsuit by Heller and others has already been filed.
Segraves mentions something that could make all of this a moot point, however. A bill has been introduced in the House that would repeal DC’s continued banning-type actions. HR 1399, would repeal the laws that remain in violation of the Heller ruling and amend DC’s code to remove the DC government’s ability to do this again. It would also return the definition of a “machine gun” to that which is recognized by every other rational person on the planet except DC government types. The bill is in committee at the moment and Discharge Petition has been filed for it to get it to the floor. It’s got a lot of signatures but it needs more, so if you see your Rep hasn’t signed it, send them a note. (I’ll be sending mine to Frank Wolf right after this post.)
More to come!
Last night’s meeting of the LCRC saw 2 guest speakers, Grace Marie Turner of the Galen Institute and Joe McCain, brother of Senator John McCain. I made another attempt at using Twitter to report on the event as it happened but 1) I keep forgetting to type as I listen and 2) my thumbs just can’t achieve the speed, even with this full-keyboard Motorla Q I’m using to twitter. I guess I just have to be the dinosaur and blog this the “old fashioned way.”
The meeting itself was very well attended (for the obvious reason) and everyone was pretty enthusiastic about hearing Joe McCain speak. As I mentioned on the twitter, Grace Marie Turner spoke first. She’s a volunteer adviser for the McCain Campaign on the subject of healthcare reform and took a few moments to relate McCain’s vision for healthcare for the future. The big message is the McCain philosophy of putting the patients and doctors back in charge of the healthcare decisions and doing what’s necessary to lower the cost of healthcare. This is a fairly deep concept and the McCain approach is worth a post of its own, so I’ll deal with that later.
The “headline act” of the night, however, was Joe McCain. I was initially surprised by how much he looks like Senator McCain but as I managed to get a closer look at him, I realized he’s got the usual family resemblance most brothers have. He began by talking about Senator McCain’s experience over in Viet Nam and he brought with him a poignant reminder to sharpen his point: Senator McCain’s Naval flight jacket. As do all naval aviators, John McCain hung his leather flight jacket up in the ready room of the carrier he flew from and replaced it with all of the necessary gear to fly fighter jets into combat. It might not look like it but the cockpits of modern fighters are tight-fitting deals, the A-4 Skyhawk (a.k.a. the “Scooter”) being no exception. There’s just no room for a bulky jacket so they get left behind to be picked up by the pilot on his return. Joe McCain said his brother hung his up and then didn’t see it again for 5½ years. During his ordeal as a POW John showed the character of a man who wouldn’t do the easy thing by refusing to take an early release. Joe McCain spoke of things that most people don’t think of when they imagine his brother’s time in the POW camps. There was the overt torture – the real kind, not the kind the ACLU whines about these days – including the beatings and the broken teeth. But there was also the stone-age medical facilities, practices, and supplies they had to deal with. What you and I would shrug off as an inconsequential cut or scrape, easily handled with soapy water and a bandaid , was literally life-threatening in the jungle camps. The things that cross a man’s mind in that kind of environment, Joe said, were easily understood once you thought about them. Faced with the medical problems, large and small, a man starts to wonder and worry about how permanently debilitating they’ll be. Spending a weekend or even a week “roughing it” without sanitation might be no big deal to some. Spending years fighting off infections in literally every cut and bump and knowing that your captors are going to intentionally inflict many more preys on a man’s mind.
When someone comes up to you and says they’ll let you out of there, that they’ll allow you to return to your home where the finest medical facilites abound, it takes a particular fortitude to look them in the eye and say, “Not until it’s my turn.” Joe related what happened after Senator McCain refused the early release, denying the North Viet Namese the PR prize they wanted. One of the guards came back in to his cell and said “I think it’s going to be very hard on you, now, McCain.” The guard wasn’t lying.
John McCain understands the necessity and the terrible realities of war from a 1st-person perspective. His opponent does not and has only platitudes to offer. McCain has the courage to endure that which he must and to act in the face of emergencies even when it’s not popular with his own people. His opponent changes with the wind and then denys doing so. McCain can make the hard choices to do what’s right and proper thinking about all of us. His opponent can lay claim to no event showing his capacity in this regard.
John McCain is a proven leader with proven character. He’s a known quantity in terms of the leadership we need in the years to come. The top office in our country is not the place to flip a coin and hope the change works out.
Thank you, Joe McCain, for sharing your insights with us.
Joe McCain, John McCain’s brother, will speak at the Loudoun County Republican Committee this evening. I will attempt, yet again, to Twitter the event. The link to my Twitter site is over there on the right.
The Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, Jeff Frederick, is calling voter fraud a “widespread problem” and asking for the Governor and state Attorney General to investigate state-wide.
Jeff Frederick decried a “widespread problem across the commonwealth” after the arrests in Hampton on election fraud charges of three people last week. He urged Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell to begin a statewide investigation.
The three were arrested on felony charges, and Frederick noted that the arrests triggered investigations in several other localities, including Richmond, Newport News and Norfolk.
To those who say that “individual” voter fraud of this type doesn’t happen, I remind them that the arrests weren’t fictional or estimated. Still, I don’t know how much of a “widespread” problem this is. Chairman Frederick is going to need to offer more than he has to justify his assessment.
Looks like it was strong but no widespread damage.
As I mentioned in my post on the subject when the DC government’s plans for how to address the striking down of their handgun ban became publicly known, it seemed that DC was intent on heading back to court. Their process for allowing citizens living in DC to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights amounted to bureaucratic hazing. A local news reporter’s efforts to buy and register a gun was detailed over at WTOP News and showed the keystone cops-ish handling of the issue but DC’s finest.
My issues with DC’s laws – at the very least – involve the explicitly banned requirement that guns be kept disassembled and locked in a resident’s home and the blanket prohibition on a class of weapons very commonly used in personal defense. Both issues are explicitly mentioned in the Heller ruling and there’s no way DC should be allowed to get away with it.
The plaintiff in the original case, Dick Heller, has now filed another federal lawsuit against DC over these very items and, it appears, DC is prepared to fight a losing battle rather than abide by the Constitution. I certainly hope that the judges assigned to the case make it a speedy one given the Supreme Court’s ruling. I also hope they make it expensive for DC. More to come as this case moves forward, folks.
Another Qantas flight had a problem in the air this month. Last night a Qantas 737-800 had to make a return to the origin airport after a bit more than a half-hour in the air because “[p]assengers said a door opened mid-flight, causing ‘chaos’ in the cabin.” Officials at Adelaide airport are saying that it wasn’t an emergency landing, per se, and that the door didn’t actually come open in flight. They’re saying the wheel covering doors – the doors that close over the landing gear when the gear retracts for flight – never actually closed. Here’s a picture of the aircraft type:
The main landing gear opens under the wing which actually makes it impossible to view by most of the plane’s passengers. If you’re seated in the rear quarter to third of the plane, you might be able to see the doors to the gear, but why would those doors coming open in flight – something they’re designed to do – cause chaos in the cabin?
I think there’s something more to this one. If I hear more I’ll pass it along.
This story about a new piece of military/emergency/camping gear wins the “neato” award of the month! The Lifesaver bottle is a water filtration device designed to allow an individual to scoop up 750ml of water from any source that’s available. The filtration system removes all manner of contaminants including bacteria and viruses normally left behind with other systems and each bottle can purify 4000 or 6000 liters before the filter needs replacement.
The military applications of this are obvious. Special forces units are generally dropped in well ahead of any supply chain and having to carry water with them or rely on chemical tablets, iodine or chlorine, creates problems for whatever mission they’re one. The bottle is lightweight and allows them to use whatever water source is nearby without risking disease exposure or contaminant poisoning. By getting pure water out of the device, they can also use those water sources for cleaning wounds or other uses that the addition of chemicals might impair.
Emergency workers can really use these things. In the aftermath of nearly every natural disaster the water supply is usually compromised. After hurricane and floods, particularly, there’s the paradoxical situation of being waist deep in water and not having anything to drink. Prior to devices like this, it’s usually a matter of aid agencies trucking in bottled water by the ton. Being able to hand a few of these out to each family affected, you can put them in charge of their own water supplies and free up both cargo space and responder effort to perform other tasks.
The common consumer can also make use of the Lifesaver for camping and get the same benefits out of it that the military would: they don’t have to carry in water supplies on their backs, they can purify the water available on site as they need it. You don’t even have to leave home to find a use for it. One of these can handle the next “boil water” problem that comes up after a water main break or a failure at the water company’s plant.
All in all, a pretty cool gizmo. I’m going to give some serious thought to getting one.
(* Yes, the number in the title is sarcasm. I have no way of knowing just how low my estimate of the actual number is.)
In today’s Washington Post, there’s a column in the A Section called “Around the Nation” that gives little ¼-column briefs on various news items that don’t warrant stories of their own. The 1st such in today’s column would warrant it’s own coverage about how unbelievably slanted the Post’s coverage of the latest Senate actions are, assuming the Post would ever get serious about their journalism and do the topic justice. Titled, “GOP Blocks Measure On Utility Aid for Poor,” you can almost see the cackling Republican thugs in their Senate suits poking poor people with pitchforks just for entertainment. After introducing the topic (that Senate Republicans “blocked the Senate from considering” the bill to offer support for poor people to pay for heating and air-conditioning), they serve up this bit of Democratic Party Talking Points™:
Although a dozen Senate Republicans support the meaAlthough a dozen Senate Republicans support the measure, most voted with GOP leaders who would rather spend the time trumpeting their call to expand offshore oil drilling before Congress takes six weeks off for vacation and the presidential nominating conventions.
Emphasis mine. Way to flip the issue around, there, WaPo! And, for added measure, they purport to be mind-readers, telling you what the inner thoughts of the GOP Senators are with that “would rather spend the time trumpeting” crack. The fact of the matter is that it’s not the Senate GOP that’s blocking anything. It’s the Senate Democrats, particularly Harry Reid, who are doing the blocking. Senate Republicans want to have a vote on whether to life the Congressional ban on the offshore drilling that the Senate Democrats would prefer to ignore. Harry Reid is refusing to allow the issue to even come up, let alone come to a vote. The GOP Senators consider our energy situation to be one of the more important topics of the day and want that issue dealt with. It’s the Dems that are blocking things. If they’ll allow the debate and vote, you’ll see the Senate Republicans moving right along with the rest of the agenda. But to simply ignore it and allow the Dems to hide from the issue isn’t the GOP’s idea of good governance. It shouldn’t be ours, either.
But that’s no impediment to the Washington Post’s continued slanting of the news. Editorials of late in the Post had given me some hope that they were going to finally start giving full consideration to both sides of this debate, but their actions in this issue, which is supposed to be a news item, show me they’ve lost the ability to actually report the news in a clear and factual manner.
This is the kind of misdirection you expect out of teenagers trying to deceive their parents into giving them permission to do something they want to do but suspect the adults wouldn’t approve of. Disappointing, to say the least.
Author Michael Waldman is with the Brennan Center for Justice and is a former speehwriter for Bill Clinton. So what’s he doing on my reading list? Unlike my colleagues on the Left, I do actually try to read the opinions and suggestions of members of the opposite side of the political spectrum. I don’t always find much to agree with but it does happen. Waldman’s politics might be brackish water to me, but he might still have some ideas worth debating. I’ll let you know.