Chicago Screwing Around with SAF Case

There has been some Shenanigans happening in the case of Ezell v. Chicago. Ezell is the case that challenges Chicago’s prohibition on shooting ranges on both First and Second Amendment grounds.

Alan Gura is the attorney in this case, and I’m fortunate to have seem seen some of the transcripts from this case so far. In short, here’s what’s going on. Everyone was playing nice with each other until Chicago filed a Motion to Reassign for Relatedness, suggesting that Ezell is close enough to Benson (NRA funded case) they ought to be heard by the same judge. Gura perceived this as a delaying tactic, and retaliated by filing for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), asking the court to stop the city from enforcing the range ban until the preliminary injunction is ruled on. The standard for this would seem to be irreparable harm.

Short of it is that the judge denied to TRO, using an intermediate scrutiny standard. I should note that from the transcripts, he denied without prejudice, which means the plaintiff is still free to raise the argument that strict scrutiny ought to be the standard later in the case. The judge seems to have an open mind, and a desire to take the issue seriously, which is why I would imagine Chicago would like to get this case reassigned.

I would be bad if Ezell were eventually consolidated with Benson. They are very different cases, Ezell is narrow, and the other very broad. I don’t think it would be wise to put all our eggs in one very broad basket, with lots of issues for the Court to consider.

Alert: Female Soldiers are “Not as Straight as Men are”

If you think this post is about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and lesbians in the U.S. Army, you would be wrong.

Actually, the powers that be at PEO Soldier, the Army unit tasked with uniforms and other personal gear for soldiers, have just noticed that women have curves. From a story on new female-specific uniforms in the KitUp blog on

As the Army wrestles with the frontline demand for OCP uniforms, the service has just announced plans for a female-only version of their ACUs.

This from the official release: “Changes being evaluated in PEO’s re-designed uniform include 13 sizes in both the jacket and trousers, an elastic waistband, a more spacious hip area, a shortened crotch length, a more tailored jacket, and re-positioned rank and name tapes.”

“Women have so many different shapes and sizes, we’re as not as ‘straight’ as men are,” said Maj. Sequana Robinson, assistant product manager for uniforms at PEO Soldier, who is currently testing one of the female-only ACUs.

Olympic Laser Tag

It was announced last week that the 2012 London Olympics will feature laser guns instead of an air pistol for the shooting portion of Modern Pentathlon. The announcement was made at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore by Union International de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) President Klaus Schormann.

Modern Pentathlon requires competitors to compete in running, fencing, shooting, swimming, and horse riding. The event was introduced to the Olympics by Baron Pierre de Coubertin to simulate the experience of a cavalry soldier behind enemy lines – riding a horse, fighting with sword and pistol, swimming, and running. One famous pentathlete from the past was General George S. Patton who competed in the event for the United States in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. He finished fifth overall in the event.

Over the years, the shooting portion of Modern Pentathlon has evolved from 25 meter ISSF rapid fire to 10 meter ISSF air pistol to combining shooting with running (like a biathlon).

In announcing the change, Schormann said:

Based on this new technology, all countries in the world can compete in our sport.

We can hold competitions in parks and even shopping malls. Safety issues will no longer be a big concern

Jim Shepherd of The Shooting Wire interviewed people with the US Shooting and the International Shooting Sports Federation abou these changes. They dislike the changes saying that it will take the external element out of the shooting competition as the pistol, pellet accuracy, and wind conditions will now be irrelevant. One went so far as to characterize it as “turning shooting into an arcade game.” They also view it as a threat to the shooting sports.

If safety is such a parmount concern for the UIPM, then I would suggest in addition to the laser guns that they hold the running event on treadmills so that competitors won’t breathe in polluted air, use a Wii for the horse riding and fencing competitions because horses are unpredicatable and can be dangerous, and finally use an endless pool to minimize the risk of drowning.

Who gets to vote?

My last post, I noted that (anecdotally)  the majority of parents in the Camden City school district were ineligible to vote for being immigrants or felons. Should this be?

I know a bunch of you out there are in favor of restoral of rights for felons after leaving the pen, because if they were too dangerous to have a gun, they shouldn’t have been let out. I agree with that.  If we allow them to have guns, why stop them from voting? “Because they’ll vote for the other side” isn’t a valid argument here. They’re out, they’re paying their taxes (even if they’re under the income tax limit, they pay property tax and sales tax, which are local taxes). Shouldn’t they get some input into the political process,once they’ve served their time?

How about for legal aliens? (If you’re here illegally, get your butt home and jump though the proper hoops. I have too many friends who have gone through the tortuous procedure to become a resident alien legally to feel any sympathy for the queue-jumpers). At least for local (city/county level) elections?  There’s too many potential policy implications for state-level voting for me to feel comfortable letting non-citizens vote at the state level, and, of course, input into national decisions is a privilege of citizenship. At the local level, though?

The floor is open for discussion.

Another problem with “Vote the Bums out”

A friend of mine teaches in the Camden City NJ school district, and pointed out one interesting factoid: the majority of parents in his district can’t vote in school board elections, either because they are immigrants or because they are felons. That makes it rather hard for them to “vote the parasites out” if they are so inclined. And if you can’t threaten to throw the bums out, the bums don’t have to listen to you.

“Race to the Top” round 2 winners

The winners of the second round of the Federal “Race to the Top” contest turned out to be:

  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island

New Jersey missed out on Ohio’s slot by 3 points of 500.

Governor Christie’s pretty bad week

Governor Chris Christie, the wunderkind of the New Jersey GOP, hit a major pothole this past week. New Jersey’s application for the Race to the Top federal education money failed by a handful of points to get NJ into the program. The proximate cause – as trumpeted by his political opponents – was a “clerical error” that had wrong numbers in a critical part of the application. The end result – New Jersey failed to make the minimum number of point to qualify by 3 points out of 500 or so. At first, the governor blamed Washington and the Dept of Education. The DoE then turned around and released a video of the NJ team’s conference that contradicted Governor Christie’s version of events. Claiming that the NJ Education Secretary had mislead him, the Governor then sacked Secretary Bret Schundler. Bret Schundler is now claiming that he told Governor Christie the truth and that he had the emails to prove it. In the meantime, the NJ Democratically-controlled legislature is making political hay after having been battered and bruised by Gov. Christie for most of the year. And the story’s not over yet…

Will this matter in the long run, though? The governor’s lost a major fight already; the property tax cap battle ended with his desired goal, a referendum on a hard 2.5% cap placed in the NJ Constitution, unattained. Instead, a loophole-riddled compromise law was enacted (municipalities may not increase property taxes more than 2.0%, save in “emergencies”, which include servicing debt…) On the other hand, one of the reasons that former-Governor John Corzine lost was that he was widely viewed as indecisive and unable to stand up to the Trenton special interest mobs. Governor Christie has famously claimed he’s governing as though he’s going to be a one-term governor, and has yet to flinch from a conflict. I doubt he’s going to back down from this one, either. In the end, New Jersey’s schools are a local concern, not a statewide concern. The NJEA may have made Chris Christie their #1 enemy, but they’re only one of his many targets. And by sacking Schundler, Gov. Christie is demonstrating he’s not going to put up with incompetence on his own team. Finally, he can come out fighting against the NJEA. Their intransigence on reform cost many more points on the application than the “clerical error” cost.

Plus, Gov. Christie’s team has demonstrated a command of new media usually found on the other side. In NJ, it’s the Democrats that are the dinosaurs. Christie is an amazing spontaneous speaker, and his powerful speeches, statements, and events pop up on Youtube almost before he’s done speaking. He has a knack for making his opponents looks like whiners. His opponents depend on control of the legacy media, and Christie is bypassing the gatekeepers (which is another reason they hate him).

Normally, New Jersey politics is, at best, a spectator sport for the parts of NY and PA that have TV and radio stations that serve NJ as well. But in this case, Governor Christie’s name has been brought up as a potential presidential contender in 2012. So, for those of you out there in the Lands of the More Free, what do you think? Is this playing in Peoria, and if so, how’s it being spun?

Edit:  This was for the second round of funding, and the actual winners can be found here

Meet a guest-blogger

Hello out there in internet land. I’m Ian Argent, and I’ve been asked to guest-blog here while Sebastian and Bitter are enjoying some fun in the sun. First, some True Facts:

I was born below the Mason-Dixon line and lived in various exotic locales, being raised by globe-trotting, gun-owning hippies on an literary diet mostly composed of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, WWII history books, and NOW propaganda. I’ll leave y’all to guess which had the most influence on me… I’m now an armed and conservative resident of The Great Garden State of New Jersey, and can be found arguing for the fun of it on message boards and comment sections across the internet.

In the next couple of weeks, I hope to entertain, inform, and find some sacred cows and try my hand at cow-tipping…

On the Harry Reid Non-Endorsement

By now, I think you’ve all heard the news that Harry Reid will not be getting an endorsement from NRA this election cycle. They didn’t come straight out and say it, but it appears the Sotomayor and Kagan votes are being graded heavily.

It would have been hard to defend an endorsement after the Kagan vote. NRA detractors certainly would have made that argument and they would have had a good point.

No NRA Endorsement for Harry Reid

There was this somewhat stunning announcement from Chris Cox on the NRA’s Political Victory Fund site this afternoon:

Friday, August 27, 2010 In the coming days and weeks, the NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) will be announcing endorsements and candidate ratings in hundreds of federal races, as well as thousands of state legislative races. Unless these announcements are required by the timing of primary or special elections, the NRA-PVF generally does not issue endorsements while important legislative business is pending. The NRA-PVF also operates under a long-standing policy that gives preference to incumbent candidates who have voted with the NRA on key issues, which is explained in more detail here.The U.S. Senate recently considered a number of issues important to NRA members, including the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Out of respect for the confirmation process, the NRA did not announce its position on Ms. Kagan’s confirmation until the conclusion of her testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee. Her evasive testimony exacerbated grave concerns we had about her long-standing hostility towards the Second Amendment. As a result, the NRA strongly opposed her confirmation and made it clear at the time that we would be scoring this important vote.

The vote on Elena Kagan’s confirmation to the Court, along with the previous year’s confirmation vote on Sonia Sotomayor, are critical for the future of the Second Amendment. After careful consideration, the NRA-PVF announced today that it will not be endorsing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for re-election in the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Nevada.

NRA members and other interested parties are encouraged to visit for more information as Election Day draws near.

Given that the NRA’s Chris Cox and Wayne LaPierre are about as Washington Insider as it comes, the non-endorsement of Reid is recognition of two things in my opinion. First, the membership would rise up in protest if Harry Reid were to be endorsed. Second, the tide against the status quo is so strong that those who get in its way will be wiped out. Just ask Republican incumbents like Sen. Robert Bennett of Utah, Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina, and quite probably after all is said and done, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

PS: While Bitter and Sebastian are on vacation in Hawaii, I will be one of the guest bloggers in their absence. As my blog, No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money is quite new, I feel truly honored to be asked. I will do my best to keep up the standards that they have established.