Monday, 19 January 2009

Blair Holt, Other Gun-control Efforts, on Horizon

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firearmsNo sane person wants innocent people victimized, maimed, or murdered, nor to see the perpetrators escape justice. This is true, whether the perpetrators use their hands or objects — like baseball bats, rocks, knives, vehicles, or a host of other readily available inanimate objects of endless variety — or a firearm. It is the intent and the will of the criminals, and not the inanimate objects they use, that are responsible for the criminal acts and the harm done to victims.

From the dawn of man, violent acts have been a sad aspect of life in nearly every civilization and culture. The violence in prisons shows how ineffective even close confinement, total control, and total surveillance can be in preventing this.

Many heavily restrictive governments have failed to prevent violence. In fact, history has shown that powerful, unrestrained governments commit murder and other acts of violence against their own citizens. According to careful statistical analysis by Professor R. J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii, in his detailed work Death By Government, "The more power a government has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, and the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects." On the other hand, "The more constrained the power of governments, the more power is diffused, checked, and balanced, the less it will aggress on others."

Regardless of who commits the crimes, brutality and murder are moral issues, and the means or equipment used is really immaterial to the root problem, which is the condition of the human heart and mind. In our system of government, an important check against immoral acts of violence — whether committed by individuals acting alone, gangs, or unrestrained government — is the Second Amendment, which guarantees "the right of the people to keep and bear arms."

Yet today in America, the proponents of civilian disarmament often insist that inflicting a grievous wrong on all citizens — removing their most effective means of defense against the violence, in contradiction of the Second Amendment — will somehow correct the underlying moral problem.

Many Americans fear that despite the evidence, we are about to witness a broad array of gun-control efforts to limit or completely disenfranchise Americans' right to keep and bear arms.

After last November's elections changed the political climate at the national level and in a number of states, a huge surge in gun sales has been reported among retailers and dealers. FOX News' Catherine Herridge reported that the month Barack Obama was elected, the number of background checks was 42 percent greater than in November 2007. "It's not a hard tea leaf to read," said Jim Shepherd, publisher of the news service Outdoor Wire, which claims Obama's election has "frightened consumers into action."

Obama has repeatedly stated that he supports Second Amendment rights and will not crack down on gun owners, and in June he said he agreed with the Supreme Court when it overturned the District of Columbia handgun ban. But gun owners are not convinced. Obama's legislative record in support of gun control, and his offhand remark during the primaries that small-town Americans are "bitter" and "cling to their guns," suggest a very different approach to firearms regulation during his presidency. A December poll from Southwick Associates found that 80 percent of hunters and shooters expect the new administration and a Democratic Congress will make purchasing firearms more difficult.

An electronic news service that covers outdoor news has even named Obama its "Gun Salesman of the Year." "It's clear that gun owners and prospective gun owners are concerned about the incoming Obama administration and Congress," said Ted Novin, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

As a sentaor, incoming Vice President Joe Biden was a strong supporter of the assault-weapons ban, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1994. As a state legislator in Illinois, Barack Obama backed a ban on semiautomatic weapons.

Obama will likely use the heavily liberal legislative bodies in Washington and in statehouses across the nation to help them accomplish this disenfranchisement of Americans piecemeal over the next few years. Unwittingly, or intentionally, many of our elected leaders are working hard to remove the ability of Americans to effectively defend themselves corporately — as our forefathers did — or individually against crime.

Touted as measures to prevent crime or capture criminals, they completely ignore the concept of individual rights on several levels. Nearly all will insert state or federal government very powerfully and dangerously deep into the personal and property rights and daily activities of law-abiding American people. 

Nearly every one of these efforts will instead either disarm or make criminals of a wide spectrum of law-abiding citizens by means of a dizzying array of new regulations, laws, taxes, and rules.

The Obama administration will almost certainly lead the charge. A federal bill, H.R. 45, also known as "Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009," is a good example of an Obama-endorsed bill that threatens all of the ill effects mentioned above.

This bill was named after teenaged Blair Holt, a Julian High School student killed on a city bus in Chicago.

The bill requires a "Blair Holt" license, involving a detailed application including photo, thumb print, written test, release of mental health records, and new fees. Firearms owners would also be required to report all gun transfers (even those to other family members) to the attorney general's database. It would also be illegal for a licensed gun owner to fail to record a gun loss or theft within 72 hours or fail to report a change of address within 60 days. H.R. 45 is a relaunch of H.R. 2666 in 2007, co-sponsored by 15 other representatives including Barack Obama's new chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel.

The Northeast, a major battleground in this fight over the right to keep and bear arms, is home to monuments dedicated to men who two centuries ago fought and died to keep British soldiers from removing cannon, powder, and shot from storehouses in Lexington and Concord. They knew tyranny would follow disarmament.

As a nation our elected leaders and many in law enforcement have lost sight of the significance of that series of events and their purpose and the importance of arms to preserving liberty. In efforts supposedly intended to stem the moral problems that spawn the violence, they have turned to restricting liberty and denying law-abiding Americans a means of self-defense.

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