Orange County Shooters
News from the Orange County NY, NY State and the Nation of interest to gun owners and sportsmen
MAY 2002 Newsletter
New York State Rifle & Pistol Association
Legislative Report by
Jacob J. Rieper, Legislative Director
SCOPE provides Current Firearms News, Updated Daily!
Plattsburgh Rod & Gun

Keep and Bear Arms Homepage

Oct/Nov., DEC,
2002 FEB. 

May 6, 2002

Draft Louis WEIN for Governor Rally!
May 18th, 2002, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm, On the steps of the Capitol Building in Albany, NY.
Rain location, in the Concourse of the Convention Center.
Following the rally there will be a Reception at 12:00 pm,
Meeting Room #7 in the Concourse near the Convention Hall.
All are welcome to attend.
Governor George E. Pataki will be making his "Official Election Announcement"
On Saturday, May 11th on the steps of Peekskill's City Hall.
The Orange County Republican Committee will be hosting a bus, to leave from Republican HQ (1 Winkler Pl, Chester) promptly at 8:30 am. Please email or call (469-5200) Kellie to confirm your attendance as soon as possible.
(I know that this is over but I am leaving it in just so people can see what it looks like and I can not be charged with hiding something or changing something.)
 T H-R Attacks Ascroft's view of the 2nd Amendment
New Local chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation
Louis Wein is back and running against Pataki in the Republican Primary
Audio-NPR- Arming America, gun book challenged as inaccurate Reasonable Gun Control?
If this is "reasonable," what is unreasonable?
4/24-28/02 Zogby Poll  
by Jacob J. Rieper, Legislative Director New York State Rifle & Pistol Association
In Assembly Codes Committee:
A-6351A, provides for discharge of guns submitted to criminal gun clearinghouse to obtain ballistic identification data for such guns and for the submission of suspicious projectiles and shell casings to an accredited crime laboratory. Previously amended on 5/7.
(Still) starred on Assembly calendar:
A-46, authorizes the suspension or revocation of a license to carry, possess, repair or dispose of a firearm in matrimonial actions where a temporary order of protection or an order of protection has been issued.
On Senate calendar:     S-3746, limits a licensing officer's discretion in imposing additional licensing restrictions on a firearm's licensee not otherwise provided in the penal law.
S-4048A, redefines elements of the crimes of criminal possession of a weapon in various degrees, and criminal sale of a firearm in various degrees.

T H-R Attacks Ascroft's view of the 2nd Amendment

     Like Gomer Pile would say , "Surprise, Surprise!",  the Times Herald-Record attacked Ashcroft's position on the 2nd Amendment in an editorial titled: Ashcroft's new Second Amendment, The attorney general's broad view of the right to bear arms represents a threat to law enforcement. Opening with; "Now John Ashcroft is rewriting the U.S. Constitution.  The U.S. attorney general, who has been quick, even eager, to trample on the rights and civil liberties of individual Americans in the name of national security and the war on terrorism, has found one unassailable right he can stand up for: "the right of individuals to keep and bear firearms."   In a rambling manner, the editorial brings up some of the same old arguments and charges and closes with the following:
An interesting aspect of Olson's briefs is that, while he is stating a new government position on protecting the right to bear arms, he is also encouraging the Supreme Court not to accept the appeals in the two cases involved. That could be because the cases involve men using Ashcroft's broad Second Amendment "right" to bear arms to challenge the constitutionality of federal laws that:
* forbid people under restraining orders for domestic violence from carrying guns.
* forbid individuals to own machine guns.
These are clearly reasonable restrictions on gun ownership that have nothing to do with detracting from the effectiveness of a militia. They also are laws that resonate positively with most Americans.
But if Ashcroft's view were to prevail, these and other gun laws could be in jeopardy as criminals challenged their constitutionality. That makes it an extraordinarily explosive threat to law enforcement, certainly one too dangerous to be buried in a couple of legal footnotes.

     They leave open how law abiding citizens owning firearms can be a threat to law enforcement.  I hope that everyone is planning to send in a letter.

 New Local chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation

     Folks from the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) are forming a new local Chapter that will be based in the Walden (Orange County) and the Wallkill area (Ulster County). They will be known as the “Shawangunk Ridge Longbeards.” For those of us who enjoy observing, hunting and just knowing that this magnificent wild bird has returned in the numbers that we have today is a tribute to the years and hard work of the folks from the NWTF and conservation departments around the country. And for those folks who haven’t observed a wild turkey up close, the male or “Tom” is the one that has the long “beard” on his chest. Hence the name “Shawangunk Ridge Longbeards.” Occasionally a female or “hen” turkey normally doesn't have a beard but every once in awhile she will grow a beard similar to a “tom” but perhaps not as full.
     The Spring Turkey Hunting Season has been underway since May 1st and will end on May 31st. Hunting is allowed only for the first half of the day and must stop at noon. Only bearded turkeys are allowed to be taken by the hunter.
     The local chapter of the NWTF will be holding their Super Fund Dinner on May 31st, 6 PM, at the Wallkill Fire House in Wallkill, NY (Ulster County). They will have raffles and conduct both live and silent auctions and there will be door prizes, 5 firearms, sculptures, framed prints, hunting supplies, jewelry, etc. The price of a ticket is $35.00. This includes the dinner, beverages and a one year membership with the NWTF.
Call or email Joseph Locicero (President) 845-778-9096, email clocicero@hvc.rr.comor Paul Vegliando, 845-895-2235, email Thevegs544@aol.com for tickets and more information. And yes it will be a Turkey Dinner.


Lou Wein is doing the grassroots work and attend as many meetings and other functions of local sportspeople in the state as he can.  He supports the rights of the Sports community and he needs your support to force a primary with Pataki.



Louis Wein is back and running against Pataki in the Republican Primary

     Lou Wein has run for office several times, the last time he ran against Rick Lazio and H****** R**** C****** on the Constitution Party's line.  Lou is looking for support to get on the ballot to run against Gov. Mario Pataki in the Sept. 10th Republican Primary.  It would seem like a hopeless case except it will only take about 250,000 votes for him to win the primary.  Many people will vote for him only because they are sick and tired of the way the gun owners are being treated and ignored by Gov. Mario Pataki and the NY State GOP.  Gov. Mario Pataki has ignored the gun owners and sportsmen in the state, has passed new gun control laws *, attended the last Million Mom March and is the highest ranking Republican to attend a march and give a speech, has failed to support or propose any new gun laws supported by sportsmen.  When I  talked to him, he promised that he would have someone get back to me and guess what, no one ever did.
     Louis Wein already has the support of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Gun Owners of America, SCOPE and other groups.  Even if Louis does not win, at least a vote for him will show Gov. Mario Pataki and everyone else that we are not happy with what is going on and that we will not blindly support someone who is a RINO, Republican In Name Only.  Gov. Mario Pataki with his handpicked state GOP Chairman Treadwell are not trying to have the state party be the party of smaller government and promoting respect by the government of the rights of the citizens and trust of the citizens but instead is trying to have the Republican party pander to each group in order to get more votes so that Gov. Mario Pataki can be in the running to be the VP in the next President race and then run for President.  As a recent story about GOP Chairman Tredwell said, "And like Pataki, he said he would look to Roosevelt’s progressive policies for guidance. New York’s Republican Party would be the party for minorities, the labor unions and the gay and lesbian community, he said.  "There are communities across the state with emerging minority populations," Treadwell said recently. "Our core philosophy really fits with these groups.""
     We are not upset with Gov. Mario Pataki because he wants be elected to higher office or even that he seeks support from all groups.  We are upset because it has become oblivious that Gov. Mario Pataki wants to do it without even doing something to try to seek our support, indeed we are the ones who he chooses to make suffer when he passes laws that takes away our rights and punishes us for no reason just so Gov. Mario Pataki can pander to another group who will never support him, example the Million Mom March crowd.  (Does anyone ever think that the MMM organizers who are all hard-core Democrats would ever support a Republican unless the Republican supported a total ban of all firearms and was more liberal than the Democratic candidate on all other issues?)  What ever happened to "All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, That among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness--..."  Not "All people are created unequal and that in order for some to have the guarantee of life, liberty, and happiness we will take from those who work the hardest and give it to the government to distribute it to those who's vote the elected officials decide can be bought. Any group of people that the government defines as a "minority" shall have extra rights and privileges and no matter how hard a person works or how honest and trustworthy the citizen is, unless they are in an approved "minority," their rights can be taken away at any point in time and for any reason."
(* I agree that they could have been worse but they could have been much better if he had only consulted with anyone who had any idea of what the gun laws would do.  Even the CoBIS program and the Assault Weapons Ban would have been OK, (other than they are both stupid ideas,) if the law would have allowed people other than the FFL to take a gun for the required CoBIS police inspection or the AWB ban would have been tied to the Federal AWB so that if the Federal AWB ended the NY State AWB would end also.)


Gov. Mario Pataki is running again

     "Today New York is prouder, stronger and better than it was when we began our work seven-and-a-half years ago," he said. "With a firm commitment to working together we will create more jobs and opportunity, provide the best education in the best schools for our children, ensure every New Yorker - our children, our seniors - has the best health care in America."
      Pataki said he would continue "vigilance in keeping our streets and neighborhood safe," continue to clean and protect drinking water, air and open spaces and parks. And, he pledged, "We will rebuild Lower Manhattan into a 21st century community that is even better than it was before."

N.Y. Attorney General Urges Panel to Reinstate Gun Suit
Tom Perrotta, New York Law Journal, May 13, 2002
CLICK HERE FOR THE WHOLE ARTICLE and other related articles

     Arguing his first case since being elected New York attorney general in 1998, Eliot L. Spitzer last week urged a panel of appellate judges to reinstate a novel lawsuit against the gun industry. The suit alleges that gun manufacturers and wholesalers are liable for contributing to a public nuisance -- namely, handguns that are illegally possessed and used -- because of the way they market and sell their products. ... he wants the manufacturers and wholesalers to abate the nuisance by monitoring which retailers sell a disproportionate number of guns used in crimes and imposing strict standards on those retailers. ... those restrictions could include preventing retailers from selling more than one gun per customer a day and implementing longer waiting periods before customers can purchase weapons.
      Spitzer, ... stressed that the suit does not seek money damages, just changes to the business practices of the defendants. ... Last summer, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Louis B. York summarily dismissed the suit, saying that the connection between the marketing of guns and more than 1,000 accidental and crime-related deaths involving guns in New York each year was tenuous. York said that given the remote connection between crimes and the marketing of guns, approving the nuisance theory would have the unwanted effect of preventing gun manufacturers and wholesalers "from engaging in activities ... that they are permitted to engage in by law."
  DISCOVERY SOUGHT But on Friday Spitzer argued that York's reasoning on remoteness was incorrect. He stressed that the judge had found the existence of a public nuisance, and that the state is entitled to discovery to prove the gun industry caused the nuisance. "The single question which the court must answer is whether the state is entitled to discovery to overcome the burden that the People have to meet at trial," Spitzer said.
      Spitzer's opponent, Lawrence S. Greenwald ... repeatedly hit on the remoteness cited by Justice York, describing the gun manufacturers as at the "North Pole," while the true nuisance -- "the illegal acquisition and use of firearms" -- was at the South Pole.
      Many of the arguments put forth by Spitzer and Greenwald centered on Hamilton v. Beretta U.S.A. Corp., 96 NY2d 222, a 2001 Court of Appeals decision rejecting a negligent marketing theory that sought to impose industrywide liability on gun manufacturers. Greenwald argued that "there is no discovery in the world" that would allow the state to change the "calculus" in Hamilton. He also argued that Hamilton makes clear that the remedy sought by the state is not a reasonable or appropriate burden to place upon the manufacturers.
      Spitzer countered that the Court of Appeals had explicitly left room for the type of suit the state wished to bring, noting that Hamilton was decided after a full trial, including a full evidentiary record, and was about negligence, not nuisance.
      At least two judges, Justices Israel Rubin and Ernst S. Rosenberger, seemed to entertain Spitzer's theory on the propriety of the lawsuit. Responding to Greenwald's remarks on the remoteness of the manufacturers relative to the nuisance, Rubin said, "We don't know that at this point -- that's what bothers me." The judge soon added, "I don't know what their [the state's] proof is going to be." Rosenberger gave credence to another point stressed by Spitzer: that the state had pleaded sufficient facts for a nuisance action and might be able to show that the manufacturers were causing the nuisance. "Causation does not require any violation of the law," Rosenberger said when Greenwald emphasized that the state had not alleged that the gun manufacturers and wholesalers violated any laws.
      TOUGH QUESTIONS  But overall, Spitzer's arguments were hardly given a warm welcome by a panel that repeatedly engaged both sides with sharp questions. Justice Alfred T. Lerner peppered Spitzer about his choice of defendants, wondering why the state had chosen to go after the manufacturers and wholesalers rather than the retailers, who are closer to the crime. After asking Spitzer why he had not sued the retailers, Lerner later pointed out that drunk drivers could be considered a nuisance. When Spitzer responded that the state had closed down pubs that continued to serve alcohol to drunk clients, Lerner shot back, "You went after the retailer." Spitzer responded that in this case, discovery was necessary to establish problems with retailers and to determine proper abatement.
      "Is there an issue of federalism here?" Justice John T. Buckley asked Spitzer. The attorney general said that there was no issue strong enough to prevent the state from bringing the suit. At another juncture, Justice George D. Marlow asked the attorney general why the courts were better equipped than the Legislature to address this nuisance. Spitzer replied that the courts were not necessarily better, but had established many precedents in nuisance theory cases.
      During his arguments, Greenwald portrayed the state's suit as a roundabout and baseless way of addressing legal practices of the gun industry that the state dislikes. He said the state does not like the number of guns the industry manufactures, the features of those guns and the people to whom those guns are sold. But, he argued, those legal practices are "too remote, too distant, too far away" from the actual nuisance for the manufacturers and wholesalers to be held liable. His clients, he said, were not realistically in a position to address the problem. In his brief rebuttal, Spitzer agreed that the state objects to features of the manufacturers' weapons, noting that a gun made by one of the defendants has been advertised as being resistant to fingerprints. "That is a nuisance," Spitzer said.

State attorney general appeals dismissal of lawsuit against gun makers
By DIEGO IBARGUEN, Associated Press Writer, May 10, 2002, 2:54 PM EDT

      NEW YORK -- State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer took the highly unusual step on Friday of making his own arguments before an appeals panel in an effort to have a case against gun makers reinstated. "The single question which the court must answer is whether the state is entitled to discovery to overcome the burdens that the people have to meet at trial," Spitzer told a five-judge state appellate panel in Manhattan.
      In August 2001, acting State Supreme Court Justice Louis York dismissed the case, finding insufficient evidence to support Spitzer's claims that nine gun manufacturers, 12 wholesalers and three importers violated the state's public-nuisance law by knowingly contributing to a "flood of illegal guns" in New York that results in injuries or death. Spitzer said the case, filed in 2000, was dismissed before the suit reached the discovery phase, when his office expected to uncover evidence supporting the claims.
      Including Friday, New York state attorneys general have made their own oral arguments in court on just three occasions over the past 23 years, according to Spitzer's office.
      The state has argued that gun manufacturers know that a significant portion of their guns end up being used in crime, "but turn a blind eye so as to increase their profits, at the cost of many human lives and much human suffering." York disagreed, writing: "It is obvious that the parties most directly responsible for the unlawful use of handguns are the individuals who unlawfully use them."
      On Friday, Spitzer stressed that the suit does not seek compensatory damages, but rather seeks changes in the sale of guns. He said the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms notifies gun manufacturers when weapons they produce are involved in crimes, meaning they are already receiving information about how their weapons, though not necessarily manufactured or sold in other states, are being used in New York. "Manufacturers and wholesalers are in a unique position to curtail the flow of guns," Spitzer said. The complaint calls for the industry to create and adopt a code of conduct and change certain practices in selling guns. Among the manufacturers named in Spitzer's suit were Glock, Beretta U.S.A., Colt's Manufacturing Co., Taurus, Ruger & Co. and Intratec.
      The defendants have contended that they "do not owe a duty to members of the public to protect them from the criminal acquisition and misuse of their handguns," according to their court papers. Also, the gun manufacturers said they are already subject to comprehensive laws and any regulatory changes should be imposed legislatively. There is no timetable for the appellate panel to issue its decision.

April 29, 2002 Press Release
Issues Call for Assembly to Act After Critical Reform Clears First Major Hurdle, S 7306

     Governor George E. Pataki today congratulated the State Senate for voting to approve his proposed amendment to the State Constitution that would empower voters to enact and amend laws through the initiative and referendum process.  The proposal - along with campaign finance reform, an overhaul of the state's school aid formula, criminal justice reforms and Rockefeller drug law reform ? is part of the sweeping reform agenda the Governor unveiled in his 2002 State of the State address.
      "By approving my Initiative and Referendum proposal today, the Senate has taken a bold step forward in the effort to bring about the sweeping changes we need in Albany," Governor Pataki said. "This fundamental reform will empower millions of New Yorkers by giving them a critical role in the lawmaking process, and I urge the Assembly Majority to take action on it without further delay.   "We must challenge the status quo and pass the reforms we need to ensure that the voices of all New Yorkers are heard in the political process." 
      An initiative is a proposed statutory or constitutional change that is placed on the ballot for the approval of the people; referendum refers to the power of the people to place on the ballot laws that already have been enacted by the Legislature and either accept or reject them in whole or in part.  The Governor's proposal would allow for direct initiative and referendum, whereby measures are placed on the ballot for a popular vote. Signatures from five percent of the total voters statewide in the last gubernatorial election (approximately 250,000) would be required. To ensure that a measure has broad support, these signatures would be required to include at least 5,000 residents from at least three-fifths of the State's congressional districts. Once on the ballot, an initiative or referendum would become law if it gets a majority of votes cast. A measure could not be repealed or amended for at least two years, and any changes after that period could only be made with voter approval.  Measures could be amended or repealed by voters at any time. Any amendment to the Constitution, such as the one approved today, must be approved by two separately elected Legislatures and thereafter by a majority of the State's voters.

    The Governor's bill also allows for initiative and referendum at the county, city, town or village level. To propose any measure at the local level, signatures from at least five percent of the residents in the municipality who voted in the last gubernatorial election would be required. A measure would become law if it receives the approval of the majority of voters within the municipality.  Any amendment to the State Constitution must be approved by two separately elected Legislatures and thereafter by a majority of the voters of the State and will take at least 3 years.  This is a change in the State Constitution so the Governor can not veto it.
     When we had a meeting with all of the politicos in Albany at the annual March on Albany, we were told that the bill had no chance of passing.
      I am opposed to this proposal because in NY State this law will be used to take away our rights on a state and county level as has happened in other states where referendums have been passed that banned trapping, banned hunting of specific animals and increased sales taxes for gun and ammo among other laws.  It is easy to expect that we will face referendums to ban all handguns, semi-automatic longuns, trapping, hunting and fishing as soon as this law is passed while we do not think that referendums that we would support - like adding the 2nd Amendment to the state constitution, removing restriction on handgun licenses, or making NY licenses valid in NYC - would pass.
     The I&R proposal still faces a very long road and many op

Ashcroft supports 2nd Amendment

Press Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 8, 2002

Schumer: Ashcroft Decision Betrays Promise "To Follow Letter of the Law" Made During His Controversial Confirmation Hearings Changing Definition of 2nd Amendment Could Undermine State, Local Gun Laws, End Vital Legal Protections That Reduced Gun Violence, Crime

     US Senator Chuck Schumer today criticized the Justice Department's sudden change of interpretation of the Second Amendment, after decades of long-held policy. For over sixty years, the Justice Department has interpreted the Second Amendment as applying to those with a reasonable relationship to a well regulated militia. Now, in a stunning reversal of long-held policy, the Justice Department has argued before the Supreme Court that the Constitution broadly protects the rights of individuals to own firearms. Schumer made the following statement at a press conference today:

     "Yesterday, the Justice Department used footnotes in two Supreme Court briefs to announce a massive change of course in our nation's gun control policy. For the first time in 60 years, the federal government is saying that the right to bear arms is an individual right.
     "This decision wasn't made after discussion, debate, and open dialogue. It wasn't made in consultation with Congress and the states. And it wasn't put forward with the kind of detail and analysis that such a significant policy shift would usually come with. Instead, it was done undercover, buried in footnotes.
     "The broad principle that there is an individual right to bear arms is shared by many Americans, including myself. I'm of the view that you can't take a broad approach to other rights, such as First Amendment rights, and then interpret the Second Amendment so narrowly that it could fit in a thimble.
     "But I'm also of the view that there are limits on those rights. Just as you can't falsely shout fire in a crowded movie theater, you can put restrictions on who can own guns and how, when, and where they may be possessed.
     "At his confirmation hearings, Attorney General Ashcroft swore to enforce and defend all existing federal gun laws. He said, ‘I understand that being Attorney General means enforcing the law as they are written, not enforcing my personal preferences.'
     "He also said, ‘I believe that there are constitutional inhibitions on the rights of citizens to bear certain kinds of arms, and some of those I would think good judgment -- some of those I would think bad judgment. But as attorney general it is not my judgment to make that kind of call. My judgment, my responsibility, is to uphold the acts of the legislative branch of this government in that arena, and I would do so and continue to do so in regard to the cases that now exist, and further enactments of the Congress.'
     "The case that now exists is the United States v. Miller from 1939. In that case, the Supreme Court said that the Second Amendment protects only those rights that have some reasonable relationship to the preservation of efficiency of a well regulated militia.
     "During his confirmation hearings, John Ashcroft made it abundantly clear that he would enforce the law as it is written, not as he'd like it to be. What happened to that pledge? It's hard to look his actions and not question whether he's going back on his word.
     "The vote to confirm John Ashcroft's nomination was close, both in committee and in the Senate. Many members of my party who voted to confirm him based their decision on his commitment to follow the letter of the law. I wonder how they feel right now. I wonder if this is what they had in mind.
     "The Justice Department is saying that the right to bear arms is subject to "reasonable restrictions." But the devil, as always, is in the details.
     "Is the federal ban on assault weapons a reasonable restriction? Is the federal ban on felons owning firearms a reasonable restriction?
     "We should know where Attorney General Ashcroft is on these questions but we don't. And we don't know precisely because this was done undercover of darkness, and not through an open process.
     "The impact of this policy change is startling. Has the Justice Department considered how state laws will be impacted? Is Maryland's 7-day waiting period unconstitutional? How about California's ban on Saturday night specials?
     "The District of Columbia, a city that was once not only the nation's capital, but the nation's murder capital, has one of the strictest gun laws in the country. DOJ's reversal raises questions about how federal prosecutors operating in the District will use this interpretation in prosecuting gun crimes."
     "As for New York, we require strict licensing and registration of handguns. And for good reason. States and local communities need to be able to pass gun laws that deal with their own particular issues. What works in one part of the country isn't going to work in another."
     "Even within New York State we have different laws because what works in Onondaga County won't necessarily fly in Brooklyn.
     "Not to put too fine a point on it, but if New York City had Arizona's gun laws, Times Square would look like the OK Corral. And that's not OK.
     "So I'm calling on the Department of Justice to fill in the details on this proposal. I am sending a letter today to Attorney General Ashcroft, asking him to explain the rationale for this policy change and the reasons it was not publicly vetted and discussed with Congress.
     "I am also asking him to provide an analysis of the federal, state, and local gun laws that DOJ believes will be affected by this new interpretation of the Second Amendment.
     "When it comes to guns, this is the biggest shift in policy we've seen in decades. It could undermine hundreds of state and local laws that have drastically reduced gun violence and saved countless lives. This is an underhanded way to avoid debate and it is a clear departure from what John Ashcroft promised to do during his confirmation hearings. To say it's a disappointment would be an understatement. It's a problem, and it's one we're going to deal with, aggressively, starting right now."

The individual right to bear arms
The Washington Times, EDITORIAL • May 10, 2002

     This week, Solicitor General Theordore B. Olson went before the U.S. Supreme Court and began making the federal government's case that the Second Amendment does, in fact, protect an individual right to keep and bear arms. "The current position of the United States," Mr. Olson wrote in briefs filed with the court, "is that the Second Amendment more broadly protects the rights of individuals, including persons who are not members of any state militia or engaged in active military service or training, to possess and bear their own firearms." (Italics added.)
     Many people likely do not realize that the linchpin of gun-control efforts for decades has been the exact opposite of Mr. Olson's position — that the Second Amendment guarantees only the corporate right of "the militia," not private individuals unconnected to the armed forces, to keep and bear arms. Indeed, the government itself has taken that very position for years as well.
     It is a patently ridiculous argument, however, that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right to keep and bear arms. To accept it, one must take the position that the Founding Fathers, who led a war against an oppressive government, endorsed disarming every citizen who wasn't somehow connected to "the militia," or another branch of the armed services — obvious historical evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Most colonial Americans, as any school child knows, possessed firearms openly, even though most had little or nothing to do with any formal branch of the armed services or "militia." And why bother writing a Second Amendment guarantee to protect a government right?
     In point of fact, the Bill of Rights was written explicity to protect individual rights against government encroachment. It is a near-certainty that the Constitution — which spells out the authority of the federal government in relation to the states and to individuals — would never have been ratified absent the Bill of Rights. And had the Founding Fathers attempted to disarm the average citizen, it is equally certain there would have been another revolution in short order.
     Those familiar with the colonial era know, furthermore, that "the militia" was synonymous with what we might today call a "citizen's army" — that is, a potential force comprised of every able-bodied man who might be called upon to defend the fledgling nation in the event of an outside threat. It did not mean a formal "army" as we understand the concept today. Finally and most telling of all as regards the "intent" of the Founders, there is abundant, highly specific written evidence that they sought to guarantee the average person's right to keep and bear arms as a means of keeping the government itself in check. The security of a "free state" depended upon an armed citizenry, they said. So it does.
Mr. Olson's — the federal government's — refreshing return to an honest reading of the Second Amendment is to be cheered.

Individual gun rights get administration's support
05/07/2002 By Joan Biskupic, USA TODAY

     WASHINGTON — The Bush administration has told the Supreme Court that it believes that the right to bear arms applies to individuals, not just to state militias, a significant change in firearms policy that legal analysts say eventually could help form the basis for overturning some restrictions on guns.  The move reverses the U.S. government's long-standing view of the Second Amendment, voiced consistently since the Nixon administration, that the Constitution protects only the rights of state-sponsored militias, such as today's National Guard. It also bolsters efforts by Attorney General John Ashcroft, the National Rifle Association and other gun-control foes who have sought a broader reading of the Second Amendment and opposed many gun restrictions.
      The government's new legal position could entice the Supreme Court, which last ruled on the right to bear arms in 1939, to again weigh in on the issue. The court said then that the right to bear arms belongs to the "well regulated militia" referred to in the Second Amendment. In recent years, some justices, most notably Clarence Thomas, have suggested that the court re-examine whether individuals are covered.
    The administration's shift was asserted in briefs concerning two cases the high court received late Monday for possible review. Solicitor General Theodore Olson wrote that the government had changed its stance on the Second Amendment since the cases, from Texas and Oklahoma, were heard in lower courts.  "The current position of the United States," Olson wrote, "is that the Second Amendment more broadly protects the rights of individuals ... to possess and bear their own firearms, subject to reasonable restrictions designed to prevent possession by unfit persons or to restrict the possession of types of firearms that are particularly suited to criminal misuse." He also suggested that gun restrictions be subject to the toughest constitutional test, called "strict scrutiny."
      Harvard University law professor Laurence Tribe said that such a heightened standard ultimately could jeopardize some gun restrictions. Tribe added support to gun owners' rights two years ago, when he wrote that he had come to believe that the Second Amendment protects individuals, with certain limits. Tribe said the administration's new position goes further because its legal test "would severely restrict reasonable regulations of firearms. That is a rather frightening reading of the Second Amendment."



(As you can guess this is driving the anti-gun groups nuts)
Brady Center Blasts Ashcroft's Official Reversal of the Justice
Department's Longstanding Position on the Second Amendment
7 May, To: National Desk, Contact: Amy Stilwell of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun, Violence, 202-898-0792

WASHINGTON, May 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Michael D. Barnes, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, today blasted U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft's official reversal of the United State's long-standing position on the Second Amendment. The new position -- which was included as a footnote in two U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) briefs that were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, May 6 -- reflects Ashcroft's personal view that the Second Amendment "broadly protects the rights of individuals" to possess firearms. This directly contradicts the Justice Department's position of more than 40 years that the Second Amendment confers a collective right to bear arms in the context of a state-sponsored militia.  "This action is proof positive that the worst fears about Attorney General Ashcroft have come true: his extreme ideology on guns has now become government policy," said Barnes. "His new position represents a radical departure from the Justice Department's unwavering interpretation of the Second Amendment spanning at least four decades, an interpretation that has prevailed in the U.S. Supreme Court and every federal appeals court, with the sole exception of the renegade decision in U.S. v. Emerson.


About-Face On Guns
WASHINGTON, May 8, 2002, (AP / CBS)

"This action is proof positive that the worst fears about Attorney General Ashcroft have come true."
Michael Barnes, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence

     (CBS) Reversing decades of Justice Department policy, the Bush administration has told the Supreme Court it believes the Constitution protects an individual's right to possess firearms. At the same time, the administration's top Supreme Court lawyer said the high court need not test that principle now.  The administration's view represents a reversal of government interpretations of the Second Amendment going back some 40 years, through four Democratic and five Republican administrations.
     "The coalition is very disappointed that [Attorney General] John Ashcroft's personal politics and debt to the NRA have climbed into the official position of the Justice Department," Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told CBS Radio News. Laws like "the Brady Bill, like the assault weapons ban have met constitutional muster."   New York Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat, said that during his confirmation hearing Ashcroft promised to uphold the laws as they exist and not to promote is own agenda.  "What happened to that pledge?" he asked reporters. "It's hard to look at his actions and not question whether he is going back on his word."  "Somehow the gun movement in this country has been captured by people who are extreme and believe in no restrictions at all and that seems to be the direction Attorney General Ashcroft is moving in," he added.


    That "going back some 40 years"?  Does that mean that up to 40 years ago, or for 186 years the government interpretation was that the individual did have the right to possess firearms.  What a bias article!

Eugene Volokh

UCLA School of Law

VIEDO REPORT- NRA annual meeting
NRA Live -April 28

     For several years the NRA has produced a daily TV report on a wide range of topics related to its mission.  Every year they cover the speeches from the Annual NRA Meeting held this year in Reno, NV. 

"I'll Fight For Freedom" Wayne LaPierre's Speech
"I'll Fight For Freedom" Kayne Robinson
'It's Time To Finish The Job' Jim Baker
NRA Names New Chief Lobbyist
May 1, 2002 

     Washington, DC -- The National Rifle Association's (NRA) Executive Vice-president, Wayne LaPierre, has named Chris Cox as the organization's new Executive Director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). Cox replaces James Jay Baker. LaPierre made the announcement Monday in Reno, NV at the meeting of the NRA's board of directors.  A decade long veteran of Capitol Hill, Cox is well regarded on Capitol Hill by Republicans and Democrats. He is an avid hunter and shooting sports enthusiast.  Prior to joining in the NRA, Chris worked as a legislative aide to Congressman John Tanner of Tennessee. The appointment takes effect immediately.
      "Jim (Baker,) will be changing his relationship with the NRA and returning to private practice. I will miss Jim's leadership, tough legislative skills and most of all, the partnership we have enjoyed for these many years working together," LaPierre said.  Baker will continue to work with the NRA as a consultant. He will also help coordinate a two-week transition period.

Legislation Could Arm Commercial Pilots
The Hartford Courant, May 1, 2002,By PAUL MARKS, Courant Staff Writer 

     Fear of death won't deter suicidal terrorists, but a nationwide coalition of commercial pilots is seeking authority to carry handguns in the cockpit in the belief that the fear of failure will.  On Tuesday, the pilots' campaign got a boost from Congress, as the House chairmen of committees on transportation and aviation announced they will co-sponsor legislation letting airline pilots carry guns.
      The measure, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Don Young, R-Alaska, and John L. Mica, R-Fla., would require the new Transportation Security Administration to deputize pilots as "federal flight deck officers" authorized to be armed. Within four months of passage, at least 500 pilots would be sworn in. Within two years, any pilot who volunteers would be deputized.  Such pilots would get 48 hours of special training in defending the cockpit, where currently their only available weapon is an ax designed for cutting through the fuselage in the event of fire.
      "Pilots are the last line of defense against any terrorist hijacking," said Mica, whose aviation subcommittee has scheduled a hearing Thursday on the proposed bill. "To date, we have failed to provide them with the tools they need to defend themselves, their crew and the public. Fortifying the cockpit doors was an important step, but ... given enough time, any door will eventually fail. Arming the pilots is the necessary next layer of security."
      "We have offered [terrorists] a virtual guarantee that if you get on a plane with a weapon, you'll be the only one aboard that's armed," said Price. By discouraging hijackers, he said, guns in the cockpit would help safeguard every U.S. airliner. "Terrorists do not fear death; they fear failure, so you have to convince them that they will not succeed."
      During a comment period earlier this year on whether to arm pilots, a Federal Aviation Administration website received more than 10,000 responses, mainly in favor.  Opposition has come from major airlines, which worry about the liability of allowing guns aboard flights. They argue that cockpit doors have been reinforced since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and are being strengthened further. United Airlines, the largest U.S. carrier, has begun training pilots to use Taser stun guns, which can subdue attackers temporarily.  A key provision in the legislation proposed by Young and Mica would free airlines and the pilots who volunteer to carry guns from liability for any injuries resulting from a shooting incident.
      The stance taken by the two committee chairmen contrasts sharply with views expressed in recent weeks by the Bush administration. U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge are both opposed to arming pilots. Mineta contends newly reinforced cockpit doors would block terrorists from taking over an airplane.  However, the final word must come from John Magaw, head of the Transportation Security Administration. A spokesman for the agency said Tuesday that the issue still is being studied.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE NRA LIVE VIEDO REPORT, "Armed Pilots: Surest Route To Safer Skies"
NRA LIVE VIEDO REPORT "Armed Pilots: More Debate, No Decision"

Democrat Miller wins over NRA crowd

The Washington Times, April 29, 2002
      RENO, Nev. (AP)  RENO, Nev. (AP) — Only about half the crowd at the NRA's 131st annual meeting at the Reno Hilton hotel-casino stood when Mr. Miller was introduced as the first Democrat to give a keynote address to the gun rights group in more than a decade.
But nearly all rose to give a 30-second standing ovation by the time the popular former two-term Georgia governor finished his speech touting the NRA's 4.2 million members as the epitome of "mainstream America."
     "Like many of you, I've got more guns than I need, but not as many as I want," Mr. Miller said.   "Now that may sound a bit confusing to some — a Democrat wanting more guns," he said, explaining he is a life member of the NRA with an A-plus voting record from the group, "and I'm darned proud of it."
     Mr. Miller said Mr. Gore lost partly because Democratic strategists listened to bad advice from pollsters who claimed voters favored gun control. He said Mr. Gore's stands on gun rights cost the vice president key Southern states, including Arkansas, West Virginia and Tennessee.  "I recall the surprise of national Democratic leaders at losing those states in the presidential election," Mr. Miller said.  "All their expert pollsters said voters favored some kind of gun control. Well, I stand with heartfelt conviction over a political wind gauge any day.
"What many do not understand is that the gun issue is not just about guns. It's about values. It's about setting priorities. It's about personal freedom. It's about trust," he said.
     Mr. Miller said 73 percent of the Georgians he surveyed in a poll for his 1994 gubernatorial re-election bid agreed with the statement: "Whenever I hear politicians talking about gun control, it makes me wonder if they understand my values or my way of life."


UPDATE: Gov. Miller's speech is driving the HCI crowd crazy!
Make sure that you call Zell's office, 1-800-839-5276

B.E.A.R., Brady E-Action Response Network, in part
Issue: 49 - Friday, May 03, 2002

     Last week, Senator Zell Miller (D-GA) was the keynote speaker at the NRA's annual convention held in Reno, Nevada.  In his address, Senator Miller hopped on the gun lobby bandwagon, spouting the usual rhetoric claiming that the NRA – an extreme special interest group that is systematically working to dismantle sensible gun laws --represents “mainstream America”.
     He’s dead wrong. And we need you to tell him so! Call Senator Miller at (202) 224-3643 and tell him that he is out of step with the majority of Americans who believe in sensible gun laws. Tell him to stop putting your family and fellow Americans at risk! Tell him you don’t agree that supporting sensible gun laws loses elections, and you’ll be proving it with your vote in 2002!
      The NRA leadership does NOT represent the views of mainstream Americans. Rather than working to prevent gun violence, the NRA fights to keep military-style assault weapons - high-powered weapons with no civilian purpose - easily available and on our streets. NRA leaders repeatedly demonize America's law enforcement officers, most infamously calling federal agents 'jack-booted thugs' for enforcing our nation's gun laws. Are these the so-called 'values' our lawmakers want to espouse?
      Tell Miller that he and the NRA do NOT represent the views of mainstream America!


      David O. Boehm of Rochester, N.Y., a retired appellate judge, said in recent years "it seems most Democrats nationally have opposed instead of supported the right to possess firearms."   But Miller "has grown up with firearms. He understands there's nothing sinister about it," Boehm said. "I thought he beautifully, articulately and eloquently expressed the feelings of so many of us here."

Times Herald-Record
O C Shooters