OCTOBER
NEWSLETTER
Orange County Shooters
News from the Orange County NY, NY State and the Nation of interest to gun owners and sportsmen
NOVEMBER 2002 Newsletter
DECEMBER
NEWSLETTER
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NEWSLETTER MAIN INDEX
SPECIAL EVENTS
ORANGE COUNTY & LOCAL NEWS
COURT SLAPS INJUNCTION ON DRURY LANE/I-84 INTERCHANGE PROJECT SPARC GETS INJUNCTION ON DRURY LANE/I-84 INTERCHANGE PROJECT
T H-R does it again. Editorial Cartoon anti-white middle age male
Times Herald-Record endorses Carl DuBois Times Herald-Record endorses Carl DuBois
MPRA highlighted in David Dirks' T H-R article MPRA highlighted in David Dirks' T H-R article

NY STATE NEWS

Golisano to push initiative and referendum in NY State Golisano to push initiative and referendum in NY State
DEC, sporting community at odds, Conservation Fund remains major cause for concer DEC, sporting community at odds, Conservation Fund remains major cause for concern
A.11232 would prohibit counties and other local municipalities from regulating hunting, fishing and trapping A.11232 would prohibit counties and other local municipalities from regulating hunting, fishing and trapping
RPA-PAC candidate donations RPA-PAC candidate donations.
NY City Council Panel OKs Tougher Gun Measure NY City Council Panel OKs Tougher Gun Measure

NATIONAL NEWS

NJ Assembly approves smart gun measure NJ Assembly approves smart gun measure
Bill calls for technology that doesn't exist yet
Supreme Court to Hear Appeal on Gun Record Release Supreme Court to Hear Appeal on Gun Record Release
GUN DNA/COBIS trap
NY Times OP-ED November 11, 2002, Rethinking Ballistic Fingerprints
Columbia University might reconsider to rescind the Bancroft Prize from "Arming America" author.Columbia University might reconsider to rescind the Bancroft Prize from "Arming America" author
LINKS ONLY
NY City Carry Permits, only connected need apply Sen. Schumer Caught in Anti-gun Lie, (again)
Try this GREAT FLASH game http://doody36.home.attbi.com/liberty.htm  
FINAL NUMBERS FOR THE ELECTION WILL NOT BE POSTED UNTILL AFTER THE OFFICAL COUNT IS RELEASED ON DECEMBER 13TH

ELECTION 2002 REPORT
A report on all of the elections in Orange County including NRA-NYSRPA-SCOPE ratings.  New district maps show who you are voting for.
NOTE: this section was deleated

HCI/BRADY CAMPAIN'S Dangerous Dozen, 8 LOSSES - 4 WINS
AND DISHONORABLE MENTION, 0 FOR 6


ORANGE COUNTY RESULTS
NTS Election Night Reporting System Accumulated Race results

Second Wins and Losses, How the Second Amendment made out
David Kopel, November 6, 2002

Freedom First: America Votes Pro-Gun Rights

GOSHEN LIBRARY REMOVES Michael Bellesiles' book "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture" FROM SHELF   GOSHEN LIBRARY REMOVES Michael Bellesiles' book "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture" FROM SHELF   GOSHEN LIBRARY REMOVES Michael Bellesiles' book "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture" FROM SHELF
GOSHEN LIBRARY REMOVES
Michael Bellesiles' book
"Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture"
FROM SHELF
CLICK HERE FOR A FULL REPORT

     In April I started to think about trying to have Bellesiles' book removed from the library system. The Director at Goshen agreed to consider my request and after the final report was issued by Emory U. she made her decision and removed the book and sent me and other libraries an e-mail stating her reasons. After I got my e-mail I contacted several local radio stations and news organizations to get the word out. The story was picked up by AP and I even had one person report that the story was on NPR on 11/21.

ORANGE COUNTY NEWS

COURT SLAPS INJUNCTION ON DRURY LANE/I-84 INTERCHANGE PROJECT SPARK GETS INJUNCTION ON DRURY LANE/I-84 INTERCHANGE PROJECT
November 21, 2002

      The United States Magistrate Judge Randolph F. Treece, Federal District Court, Northern District, has ordered a stay and an injunction against proceeding forward with the I-84/Drury Lane highway project. In response to a motion filed by SPARC and co-plaintiffs Orange County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, and the Sierra Club, Judge Treece has "Ordered that Plaintiffs' [SPARC, et al] motion for a stay of the Court's September 30, 2002 judgment and for an injunction pending an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is GRANTED"
Judge Treece continued, "Defendants [NYS DOT, et al] are enjoined from proceeding with construction, destruction or any further development regarding the I-84 and I-87 interchanges and Stewart Airport pending a decision on the appeal".
      The Judge also ruled against the defendants' assertion that a bond must be posted, and their argument that delaying construction could cause the lowest bidder to withdraw his bid, and result in loss of savings to the State of up to $15 million. The judge pointed out that NYS Dept. of Transportation advertised for bids last August 2002 and held the bid opening on September 12, 2002, prior to the Court decision on September 30, 2002. Judge Treece concluded, "Since Defendants began the bidding process while litigation was ongoing, any injury incurred by the State was at its own doing. Thus, any injury to Defendants will not result from a stay, but from the State's hastiness."
    SPARC President Sandra Kissam, reacting to the court's decision, said, "We are thrilled that Judge Treece has stopped construction pending our appeal, to be handled by Orange County attorney Michael Sussman. The Interchange project would have serious negative impacts since it would spur the development of countless acres of precious open space enjoyed by thousands of citizens. SPARC and Co-Plaintiffs want these irreplaceable lands to remain untouched as we go for a 'second opinion'. We applaud the judge for protecting the land as we do this",
      SPARC, a coalition of environmental, sportsmen's and civic organizations, has been working to protect the Stewart Buffer Lands since 1987. These lands were taken under eminent domain in 1971. They should be used for public benefit, not for private profit. To do otherwise would be immoral.
      Contact: Sandra Kissam, SPARC   845-564-3018
(end of press release)
      As you see, the judge has 'grounded' the project to the great discomfiture of the agencies---NYS DOT, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the Thruway. What is extraordinary is that Judge Treece, who had ruled against SPARC and co-plaintiffs Sierra Club and O.C. Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, has himself granted us an injunction pending our appeal and a decision on our appeal. In one part of his 7-page decision, he even says that the Appellate Court may reach a decision "vastly different" from his own!
      We now have the gift of time to be able to bring the facts to greater numbers of people, and to try to influence decision makers to save the lands west of Drury Lane, even as we submit our appeal to the Appellate Court in Foley Square in Manhattan. Orange County attorney MIchael Sussman has taken over for John Caffry and will handle our appeal.
STEWART AIRPORT COMMISSION (SAC) MEETS TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26TH
Many of us are attending this meeting (which only meets bi-monthly) next Tuesday morning, November 26, 2002. It might be the time for pointed comments and questions to this advisory body, which has been trying to brush aside open space issues we have been raising for fifteen years! We need to have more of you there to make it clear that we want the lands saved and we are not going away.
The meeting starts at 8:00 AM and generally ends by 10:00. There is time for public comment at the start and again at the end of the agenda. It would be great if you can come. Let's be a presence.
Directions: Enter Stewart Airport at the main entrance off Rt. 207, and turn into Breunig Rd., the main entrance leading to the terminal. Drive past the front of the terminal and take a quick right onto First Street. Proceed down the street, and the Airport Administration Building is on your right, just past a couple of old hangar buildings. It is a World War II era one-story brick structure. The meeting is public, just walk in (at the door on the right side of the front of the building) and come into the conference room.

T H-R does it again. Editorial Cartoon anti-white middle age male

     The T H-R published a cartoon on 11/15/02 that blamed the Republican win on stupid middle age white males who have a home, SUV, relies mostly on TV news, finds politics boring, shuns details, is not an issue oriented kind of guy, hardly ever votes, "What really screws things up..., ...is when he does"
     I was really mad for a few moments then I realized how upset they must be that they lost.  Yes, middle age middle class white males made the difference except they do have issues they support, they vote and they are pro-gun. The cartoon should have been of a black rapper and added to the captions; uses drugs, most can not vote because of a criminal record and "but what really screws things up ..., ... is when he does not show up and vote 90% for Democrats no matter who is running or their position on the issues."

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CARTOON FROM THE Palm Beach Post, 11/10/02 by Don Wright

Times Herald-Record endorses Carl DuBois for Orange County Sheriff, October 29, 2002
UPDATE: CARL DUBOIS WON BY ALMOST 70%

      When Carl DuBois and John Whiffen debated before this newspaper's editorial board earlier this month, they were asked how responsible a sheriff is for what happens on his watch.   "Totally responsible," they answered in harmonic unison that would have made the Everly Brothers proud.   It was, in our view, the only right answer and, in fact, both men had already made it clear in previous public comments that their view of the sheriff's accountability differed markedly from that of the man who currently holds the title, Frank Bigger. That's a welcome change.  Bigger's relentless unwillingness to shoulder responsibility for a series of problems that occurred in his office led to a rare challenge by DuBois in the Republican Party primary, a race DuBois won by a surprisingly large margin.
     The tough primary campaign against Bigger was good for DuBois, a former Middletown police lieutenant and current Mount Hope town justice.  It sharpened his message and raised his energy level considerably.  He may have started his campaign with an anti-Bigger message, but he has turned it into a pro-DuBois one.
     Whiffen, a Democrat, was faced with the same challenge. He lost to Bigger four years ago in the sheriff's race and had launched his campaign this year with the same message as DuBois: Bigger has to go.
     Well, Bigger's gone as of Jan. 1, and both remaining candidates promise to run an office that is more open and accountable and less influenced by politics.  We believe them.  We also believe that DuBois has a firmer grasp of what needs to be done to restore the integrity of the office and lift the morale of its employees. He also seems to want the job more than Whiffen does.
     The Town of Highlands police chief recently said he was running for the job as a prelude to eliminating it, a reference to a suggestion made by consultants that Orange County transfer operation of the county jail from the sheriff to an appointed corrections commissioner and/or appoint a public safety commissioner. County Executive Edward Diana has supported transfer of jail duties away from the sheriff, as has this newspaper.  But the sheriff, of course, has no power to change his own duties and the idea that someone would run for the job and, if he won, spend his time trying to get rid of it, is a little disconcerting, even if you agree with the goal.  The County Legislature, which does have the authority to officially propose such a change, has been cool to it.  Perhaps recognizing the governmental awkwardness of his earlier position, Whiffen modified it.  He now says he would have an open mind to studying the possibility of taking the jail away from the sheriff if it is economically feasible.  Somehow we prefer his earlier view, if just for its decisiveness.
     Beyond this, DuBois has offered a detailed plan for restructuring the office, for working with local police and other emergency services agencies, for upgrading training and for being a truly hands-on sheriff.  He says he'd patrol the Heritage Trail himself.
     Whiffen, who points to 24 years of experience as an administrator dealing with security in public and private positions, disagrees with DuBois on restructuring the office's chain of command.  Whiffen says he'll wait until he's in office to see what needs changing.
     Our sense is the office needs someone to come in and open the windows and shake things up right away. DuBois sounds like that man.

MPRA highlighted in David Dirks' T H-R article

Middletown Pistol and Rifle Junior team lead by Carmine Montalbano.
CLICK HERE FOR THE MPRA WEB SITE
To find out more about the club and the Junior Program

Montalbano helps develop straight-shooters
By David Dirks, For the Times Herald-Record, October 29, 2002


     Carmine Montalbano is a rare breed these days. For more than 38 years, Montalbano has devoted much of his outdoor life to teaching kids how to safely use firearms and become better competition shooters.
     Through his activities with scouting and working with the Middletown Pistol & Rifle Association, he and his fellow outdoorsmen have touched the lives of literally hundreds of young adults. There's no doubt that it's a labor of love for him and the many others who give their time to these types of programs.
     Since its inception in 1995, this Middletown club has distinguished itself from the crowd by fostering some exceptional shooters. For one thing, the club has five expert shooters in the four-position National Rifle Association small-bore .22-caliber rifle. Young adults like Patrick Murray, Mike Ieradi, Matt Van Vorst, Crystal Comfort and Paul Gallo are great role models for other kids today.
     There are several former members of the Middletown Pistol & Rifle Association who have gone on to even greater national achievements. Todd Moisett, formerly with the team, joined the U.S. Navy and is currently shooting for the Navy team. According to Montalbano, on his first outing, Moisett won the coveted Admirals Cup and also has won several interservice competitions. He will compete in the U.S. championship later this year.
     The team currently has 13 young members and always has room for more. For information, call Montalbano at 845-355-2102.


NEW YORK STATE NEWS

Golisano to push initiative and referendum in NY State Golisano to push initiative and referendum in NY State
- NY Sportsmen Alert -11/23/02

      B. Thomas Golisano said he plans to start a campaign early next year for an initiative and referendum process in New York, which would allow citizens to petition to get an issue on the ballot for a statewide vote. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, who has the power to kill the plan, said he opposes the idea. The Senate approved Pataki’s bill on the plan, but it has stalled in the Democratic-led Assembly.
      Do we need or want the citizens of New York to vote on hunting and firearm laws?
      New York sportsmen should oppose this initiative as it will place to much power into the hands of the citizens of big cities, such as New York City, Albany, and Buffalo. The overall population of these cities are anti-gun and anti-hunting and they would only support measures to take away or limit your rights as a sportsmen.
      Do we want or need the citizens of big cities deciding if hunting would be legal in your community or voting on future firearm and ammunition laws?
Joe Potosky, New York Sportsmen Alert

MY 2¢s We should wait to see what the plan proposes. If it requires a large number of signatures from 75% of the counties in the state so that just the votes of the NY City and a few other major cities would not put something on the ballot, that might be something that we could support. It has to be very hard to get something on the ballot and it has to be controlled so that those posing the question get to control the wording. However, I see very little chance that the proposals would end up being something that sportsmen could support.

 

DEC, sporting community at odds, Conservation Fund remains major cause for concer DEC, sporting community at odds,
Conservation Fund remains major cause for concern

By Bill Conners, For the Poughkeepsie Journal
      The relationship between the state's sporting community and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Bureau of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources seems to have a natural tension that usually simmers beneath the surface -- most of the time. Lately, sportsmen and outdoor writers from across the state are starting to talk more openly about the things they see as problems within the DEC. The last several years most of the tension was generated by problems with the Conservation Fund. The issue on that front was the lack of money, followed by the age-old argument that the money in the fund was not being used judiciously. Now, there are several new sticking points that are going to have to be addressed if we want to help keep things from getting out of hand.
      The Ten Mile River Cooperative Hunting Area in Sullivan County was recently closed down. That decision cost hunters 15,000 acres of prime hunting land. Unfortunately, this came on the heels of the loss of another hunting cooperative in the same general area. Orange and Rockland Utilities took back 5,000 acres after the DEC's Bureau of Wildlife declined to maintain a check station there.
Loss of hunting acreage
      The loss of 20,000 acres of hunting land outside of the Adirondack and Catskill State Parks is not to be taken lightly. Sportsmen complain that the DEC let these properties go without much, if any, consultation with them at all. What makes this situation particularly annoying is that there have been repeated calls for the development of more liberal access for hunters in state parks and other state properties. The proposals put forth so far have not evoked much enthusiasm at DEC. In fact, at least one attempt at generating some interest was greeted with open animosity.
      Another hot button causing problems lately is the content of a video the DEC produced to promote the state's recreational resources. There are charges that the video is blatantly anti-hunting.
      I'm not sure that that is a fair assessment. I have to concede however that hunting definitely was an afterthought by whomever produced the video. One would think that activities which contribute billions of dollars to the state's economy would achieve showcase status in a production designed to promote the state's recreational and other outdoor resources. Communications in general have always been a sore point. Lately, nearly every request for information resulted in the caller being referred to this press office or that press office. That problem should start to improve now that the election is behind us.
Staffing issues at DEC
      What may not improve is the staffing problem with in DEC. There are numerous vacancies which have come as the result of normal attrition, not layoffs. But there is a reluctance to use the funds that are available to fill the vacancies. The explanation for that will probably surface in the coming months as the state's budget problems come to light. We already know that the Conservation Fund was going bust, at times, actually operating in the red. But the problem is resolved now, or at least any rational person would think that it is. However, I'm going to make a prediction: The state's budget woes will wipe out any gains that came as a result of the fee increase. There will be at least some attempt to shift programs historically supported by general fund over to the Conservation Fund. I don't mean to suggest that the fund will be again operating in the red. But we are not going to make many gains in spite of the fact that reports generated from DECALS, the state's new license sales system, show that sales are strong. If this were a perfect world, the Conservation Fund would start developing a reserve for the out years. In view of the condition of the economy right now, everyone will feel the pinch one way or another. But sportsmen will still view any new costs shifted to the Conservation Fund as a back-door raid against the fund and tensions will be wound as tight as a clock spring. If the folks at DEC are smart, they will open a dialogue with the sportsmen early and get all of the 2003-2004 budget problems on the table now. It could save a lot of heartbreak later on. It would also help if the commissioner will start taking a hard look at the DEC's staffing problems and the DEC's lack of attention to the continual loss of hunting lands. It would also help if they would revisit the ''Empire State Outdoors'' promotional video and stop acting embarrassed to have to admit that there are more than one million hunters in the state.

A.11232 would prohibit counties and other local municipalities from regulating hunting, fishing and trapping A.11232 would prohibit counties and other local municipalities from regulating hunting, fishing and trapping

[NCNF Note: A note from NYS Assemblyman Richard Smith. Please read and pass-a-long. Assem. Smith will also be re-introducing the Junior Pistol Lic Bill, so hopefully, our juniors can participate in the 2012 Olympics in the "Land of No," I mean New York. N.N.]

November 13, 2002
Dear Fellow Sportsmen,

     In the NYS Assembly I have sponsored bill A.11232 and it would prohibit counties and other local municipalities from regulating hunting, fishing and trapping and essentially protect your rights as sportsmen.
      I am asking that you review the legislation and seek your support for this important bill by writing to the Chairman of the Environmental Conservation committees in both the NYS Assembly and the NYS Senate.
      Correspondence should be address to:

Hon. Thomas P. DiNapoli
Chairman, Environmental Conservation Committee
New York State Assembly
837 Legislative Office Bldg.
Albany, NY 12248

Hon. Carl L. Marcellino
Chairman, Environmental Conservation Committee
New York State Senate
812 Legislative Office Bldg.
Albany, NY 12248

I appreciate your continued support and want to take this opportunity to remind you that the exchange of information is vital to the legislative process. If I may be of any further assistance to you in regard to this or any other state issue, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Sincerely,
Richard A. Smith
ASSEMBLY MEMBER

RPA-PAC candidate donations RPA-PAC candidate donations.
UPDATE SEE CHART FOR FINAL RESULTS

Dear New York Gun Owners and Second Amendment Defenders,
RPA-PAC is proud to be supporting the following candidates for public office on November 5, 2002. These s have truly distinguished themselves by their commitment to your rights, and deserve your wholehearted support.

Amount Office                               Candidate
FINAL RESULTS

$250
$1,000
$250
$250
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$250
$1,000

98th Assembly District, Assemblyman Jacob Gunther (D)
108th Assembly District, Assemblyman Pat Casale (R)
111th Assembly District, Assemblyman Bill Magee (D)
117th Assembly District, Assemblyman Marc Butler (R)
118th Assembly District, Darrel Aubertine (D)
127th Assembly District, Dan Hooker (R)
129th Assembly District, Assemblyman Brian Kolb (R)
135th Assembly District, Clyde Benoy (R)
138th Assembly District, Assemblywoman Francine Delmonte (D)
146th Assembly District, Assemblyman Richard Smith (D)
49th Senate District, Senator Nancy Larraine Hoffman (R)
Monroe County Judge, Alex Renzi (R) got 129,727 against retiring anti-gun Dem. NY Senator Dollinger 88,628.
WIN
WIN
WIN
WIN
WIN
WIN
WIN
LOSS
WIN
WIN
WIN
WIN
     If any of these candidates are running for office in your district, please vote for those candidates, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Support them every way you can.
     In addition, please check http://www.nysrpa.org/2002elections.pdf for informed ratings of other candidates in New York elections. There are some outstanding candidates in addition to those we were able to financially support.
      Do your part on Election Day this year. Volunteer if you can and by all means, VOTE.
With best regards,
Patrick W. Brophy
Treasurer, RPA-PAC
http://www.rpa-pac.org

NY City Council Panel OKs Tougher Gun Measure NY City Council Panel OKs Tougher Gun Measure
By Curtis L. Taylor, STAFF WRITER - NEWSDAY
- NY Sportsmen Alert -

October 30, 2002
      The Council's Public Safety committee passed historic legislation yesterday that will outlaw people convicted of misdemeanor assault or domestic violence abuse from purchasing rifles and shotguns in New York City, officials said. "Domestic violence and guns are a lethal combination," said Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn), co-sponsor of the bill. "Giving a gun to someone with a history of domestic violence is just asking for tragedy."
      Currently, gun permits are issued at the discretion of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, council officials said. The bill, which passed 7-0, with one abstention, would remove that power, said Public Safety Chairman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), co-sponsor of the bill. Intro 211-A would prohibit gun permits for anyone convicted of an assault within the last 10 years, anyone with three misdemeanor convictions, and anyone convicted of domestic violence.
      The bill is believed to be the first in the nation to ban someone with a misdemeanor conviction from purchasing a firearm, Vallone said. "Our goal is to help establish strong guidelines for police officers to follow ... " Vallone said. "We have confidence in Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly ... but this law will remove any discretion."
      Newsday recently reported that the police commissioner's discretion to issue gun permits has resulted in a number of celebrities and former Giuliani administration officials obtaining permits.
      Critics of the legislation say it duplicates existing local and federal gun laws that already make the state and city the toughest in the nation. City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona) - a Public Safety Committee member, former NYPD officer and staunch supporter of domestic violence prevention - abstained from the vote, openly questioning whether it would help combat domestic violence. Police officials testified yesterday that a random survey showed that one out of every 500 registered gun owners would lose their gun permit under the proposed legislation.
      The bill now goes to the full Council, where it is expected to pass. Copyright © 2002, Newsday, Inc.


NATIONAL
NJ Assembly approves smart gun measure NJ Assembly approves smart gun measure
Bill calls for technology that doesn't exist yet

From The Star-Ledger, 11/19/02, BY JEFF WHELAN, Star-Ledger Staff
      After some behind-the-scenes debate and arm-twisting, the Democrat-controlled Assembly yesterday approved a bill that eventually would require that all handguns sold in New Jersey be equipped with technology allowing only their owners to fire them. Passage of the so-called "smart gun" bill was hailed yesterday as a major victory by gun control activists. But critics derided the measure as "silly" and premature because the technology has not yet been developed. The National Rifle Association vowed to retaliate by campaigning against Democrats in next year's legislative elections.
    Gov. James E. McGreevey, who took heat last month from gun control advocates for negotiating in secret on the issue with the NRA, praised the vote and urged the Senate to take "quick and immediate action" to approve the measure and send it to his desk. "This administration remains committed to keeping dangerous weapons off of our streets and keeping our communities safe for our children," McGreevey said in a prepared statement. "To that end, we will continue to support strong, sensible gun laws. I look forward to signing the smart gun legislation into law."
      McGreevey had worked behind the scenes to prevent the measure from coming to his desk, according to administration officials, lobbyists and Democratic lawmakers. Those sources, who requested anonymity, say he reversed course only after gun control activists lashed out at Democrats when the bill failed to clear an Assembly committee. Under the measure, the technology would be required on all guns sold in New Jersey three years after it is developed and approved by the state attorney general. Republicans yesterday seized on the fact that the technology doesn't exist. Assemblyman Michael Carroll (R-Morris) called it "silly." Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Morris) said Democrats were pushing the measure because the Governor "got caught double-dealing" with gun control activists and gun rights groups. "We are here today for an act of political damage control," he said.
      Before yesterday's vote, Assembly Minority Leader Paul DiGaetano (R-Passaic) said Democrats would have to provide the 41 votes necessary for passage before any Republicans would vote for the measure. DiGaetano said the Democrats had used the gun control issue to hammer Republicans in past campaigns, and that it was now their turn to back up the talk with action. "It's time for a gut check in the Democratic caucus," DiGaetano said. The issue put three Democrats from South Jersey, where the NRA is particularly strong, on the spot. They initially voted in favor of the bill but then switched their votes to "Abstain" when Republicans began voting yes. Two of them, Assemblymen John Burzichelli of Gloucester County and Douglas Fisher of Cumberland County, said their first vote was an accident. But the third, Robert Smith of Gloucester County, said the switched votes by some Democrats from "Yea" to "Abstain" was intended by the Democratic leadership to draw out GOP votes for the bill. "There was a lot of pressure within the caucus to see it passed. In order to get the Republicans to move, our caucus had to demonstrate that if push comes to shove, we could pass the bill," Smith said. The Assembly eventually approved the measure 47-11 with 19 abstentions. Thirty-eight Democrats and nine Republicans voted for the bill; five Democrats and 14 Republicans abstained. No Democrats voted against the measure; 11 Republicans voted no.
      The vote followed a heated debate behind the closed doors of the Assembly Democratic caucus, where some lawmakers argued that it could hurt Democrats politically by raising the ire of the NRA. As the debate moved onto the Assembly floor, one Democrat, Assemblyman Neil Cohen of Union County, could be heard to say in an aside: "It's suicide. It's suicide." Even Democrats who voted for the measure expressed reservations. "It's a hard decision. It's tough to legislate something that doesn't exist," said Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-Middlesex). Assemblywoman Lorretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), who has been pushing for the legislation for years, scoffed at suggestions that the measure would hurt Democrats. She said proponents "stood up to the NRA, and it's about time."
      Greg Costa, the lobbyist for the NRA, said yesterday that Democrats would be held accountable at the polls. "This was a cynical attempt of Democratic grandstanding. But they succeeded in pushing through the McGreevey gun ban. Lorretta Weinberg used the Governor's office as if it was her own," Costa.
      Bryan Miller, executive director of New Jersey Ceasefire, a gun control advocacy group, said he expected the Senate, which has approved the measure in the past, would do so again. "The Assembly was the hurdle. This has always been the place we couldn't win," he said.
      The Assembly also approved another gun control measure to establish a program for registering so-called ballistic identifiers left by guns on bullets to help police track handguns and rifles. The measure passed 48-18. Proponents liken the ballistic identifiers to fingerprints, saying no two guns leave exactly the same mark on a fired bullet. The bill would require ballistic registration for both new and used handguns sold commercially and privately, and for rifles sold at the retail level. The information would be kept in a database by law enforcement authorities. The measure now heads to the Senate.

Supreme Court to Hear Appeal on Gun Record Release Supreme Court to Hear Appeal on Gun Record Release
CLICK HERE FOR THE WHOLE ARTICLE

      Chicago is suing the gun industry and it wants the BATF to turn over records of multiple sales of handguns and the tracing of firearms involved in crimes.  A Federal judge and a U.S. appeals court has ruled that the records should be turned over to Chicago.  The U.S. Supreme Court said that it would hear a Justice Department appeal arguing the records in two computer databases should not be released under the freedom of information law. The National Rifle Association supported the appeal.
.

GUN DNA/COBIS trap

     One thing that the Anti-gunners would like to have is a record that they could use to bring lawsuits against gun makers and distributors.  If they are able to trace a shell case left at a crime back to a gun maker, distributor, guns sellers, even though they do not have the gun or the criminal, they still have someone to sue. That is why Sen. UpChuck Schumer is so committed to starting the program no matter what it cost. Just think how happy the lawyers will be.

NY Times OP-ED November 11, 2002
Rethinking Ballistic Fingerprints

Forensic scientists are all the rage on television these days. In real life, too, ballistics experts have become crime-fighting stars in the Beltway sniper case, where they linked most of the bullets to a single gun — the rifle later seized from John Muhammad — through their distinctive markings. But the frustrations encountered in trying to find the sniper have sparked calls, by this page among others, for a computerized national database of bullet and cartridge-case markings for all guns sold in the United States. Such a tool could help police track down a criminal more quickly.

The potential for solving crimes through such databases seems breathtaking. But another look at the science involved has convinced us that first, the government must get an authoritative judgment on how feasible the project really is. There is no point in setting up a system that might fail.

Right now, the nation has a network of smaller databases that are limited to evidence gathered by police in criminal investigations. That includes the bullets and cartridge cases found at crime scenes and those fired in tests of guns seized from criminals. This system has already helped solve a number of crimes and has wide support on all sides of the gun control debate.

The big question now is whether the nation should scale up this system to include the markings made by virtually all new handguns and rifles. Manufacturers could test fire the guns before shipping them to dealers, and submit the bullets and shell casings for inclusion in the database. Later, when a bullet or cartridge case is recovered from a crime scene, its markings could be compared with those in the database. If a match was found, police would know what gun was responsible and could try to trace its ownership.

The gun lobbies have adamantly opposed such a system, mostly for reasons that seem unpersuasive, such as their fear that the database could turn into a national gun registry. They also claim the markings made by guns change with repeated firing, something that seems to be a problem only with lead bullets, not the more common jacketed ones or the cartridge cases. While it is true that criminals could alter a gun to change its markings, experts say that in real life lawbreakers rarely do this, just as they rarely wear gloves to hide their fingerprints.

The real obstacle confronting a large-scale system is whether the computer programs can find the proverbial needles in a very big haystack. The automated searches do not conclusively identify a culprit weapon; they simply try to narrow the field to a small number of suspect bullets or shell casings that can be examined under the microscope to clinch the identification. Many experts worry that the automated searches wouldn't be discriminating enough to work with a huge database. In tests carried out by the state of California, the automated searches had an alarming failure rate — as high as 62.5 percent.

Federal experts believe the California tests were flawed and say their own tests show much higher accuracy. That technical dispute needs careful evaluation. So does the issue of costs and practicality. Some examiners fear a large system might gobble up manpower and resources with little to show for it, whereas other enthusiasts believe that as the system grows it could become as valuable as existing fingerprint databases.

Gun control advocates worry that studying the issue will inevitably mean delaying the proposal to death. That need not be the case. The study could be given a short deadline and entrusted to a respected organization like the National Academy of Sciences. The benefits of a successful system would be immense, but the backlash from a large, messy failure would be a terrible setback for the entire effort to control the misuse of firearms.

Columbia University might reconsider to rescind the Bancroft Prize from "Arming America" author.Columbia University might reconsider to rescind the Bancroft Prize from "Arming America" author.

Gun-rights groups are calling for it gave last year to a historian after an investigation found he "willingly misrepresented the evidence" in his award-winning work. Michael Bellesiles last week announced his resignation from Emory University in Atlanta after an academic panel said his book, "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture," showed "evidence of falsification," "egregious misrepresentation" and "exaggeration of data."
"Along with the prize, [Mr.] Bellesiles should be required to return the $4,000 cash award that came with it," said Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), based in Bellevue, Wash.
Calling the Bellesiles book "a monumental fraud," Mr. Gottlieb said failure to revoke the award would "tarnish Columbia and the Bancroft Award."
One scholar who investigated "Arming America" said Columbia officials have followed the debate surrounding Mr. Bellesiles' book closely. The university confirmed yesterday it might reconsider the award.
"The university is looking into this issue," said Columbia University spokeswoman Lauren Marshall.
Published in October 2000, the Bellesiles book was awarded the Bancroft Prize, considered the most prestigious award for history writing, in April 2001. Yet the book's reputation was diminished as scholars began exposing problems in Mr. Bellesiles' research methods.
"Arming America" claimed gun ownership was rare and militias were ineffective in early America. The book was praised by gun-control advocates, who said it debunked historical arguments for an individual's right to possess firearms.
"It is remarkable how silent those same people are, now that the book's serious flaws have been revealed," said Dave LaCourse, public affairs director for the SAF. He said that "Bellesiles' bogus research" was used last year in legal briefs against rights to private gun ownership in the Texas case of U.S. v. Emerson.
"This book was trying to claim that the Second Amendment couldn't have been about people owning guns as individuals," Mr. Gottlieb said.
Jews for the Protection of Firearms Ownership also called for Columbia to rescind its award to Mr. Bellesiles.
"I would think if Columbia University itself doesn't revoke the award, then they are raising a big red flag that they support fraud and intellectual dishonesty," said Aaron Zelman, executive director of JPFO. "What kind of a message does this send if they don't revoke the award?"
However, the nation's largest organization of gun owners has not joined the demand that Columbia rescind its Bancroft award to Mr. Bellesiles.
"We think certainly the work has been judged by a jury of professor Bellesiles' peers," said Bill Parkerson, spokesman for the 4-million-member National Rifle Association. "We would expect the Bancroft people to read that report, but any decision they make is up to them."
Mr. Parkerson said he expected Columbia University to act independently of outside pressure.
Emory University announced Mr. Bellesiles' resignation Friday, eight months after the university began an investigation of the accusations of research misconduct against him. A committee of three scholars — from Princeton, Harvard and the University of Chicago — was appointed to investigate.
The inquiry focused on Mr. Bellesiles' use of probate records — colonial court records of wills that he claimed showed low levels of gun ownership in early America.
"Every aspect of his work in the probate records is deeply flawed," the committee concluded in its report, which Emory made public Friday.
The committee found Mr. Bellesiles, a tenured professor with 14 years at Emory, was "guilty of unprofessional and misleading work."

 

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