When “Shall Issue” Really Isn’t

Jeff Soyer bring us this bit on Colorado, where some Democratic legislators want to make it more difficult to obtain licenses for concealed carry. I don’t have much to add to what Jeff said except to make a point about something he mentioned in his post:

Colorado is NOT a “shall issue” state. As the FAQ says:

Regardless of whether the applicant meets the criteria specified, if the sheriff has reasonable belief that documented previous behavior by the applicant makes it likely the applicant will present a danger to self or others, the sheriff may deny the permit…

Meaning that if the Sheriff doesn’t like you, you’re fucked. Unspoken is the fact that if you voted the wrong way or are black or gay, you might not get your permit. I’m not saying they actually discriminate, simply that your permit approval is at the mercy of someone else’s subjective opinion.

Pennsylvania is also a shall issue state that isn’t really shall issue, since we have the same clause in our law that gives local sheriffs some discrescion over license issue. This was intended for people who might have a string of offenses, that would indicate they may not be entirely responsible individuals, but was not any of the enumerated offenses that would cause you to be denied by the statute. Most Sheriff’s within the Commonwealth do not abuse this discrescion, but the City of Philadelphia routinely does, and the appeals process in the City is stacked against the appelant, and my understanding is they routinely uphold denials by the Philadelphia Police for LTCs.

Fortunatly, for many Philadelphians who have a difficult time getting licenses, Florida is a true shall-issue state, and their license is recognized by Pennsylvania. There were more than a few people in my training class for the Florida CWL who had been denied by the city for minor infarctions. I suspsect what this politician wants to do is close that “loophole”, so that Denver’s abuse of the same clause will hold, and those denied won’t have recourse to seek licenses in true shall-issue states.

Pro-Gun Activists Need Women on Their Side

Today The View from North Central Idaho points us to a story in the media that’s decidedly not flattering to gun owners, but I put this in the category of “they gave us enough rope, and we didn’t disappoint”:

Wives were threats. Girlfriends were threats. They are the new scourges of secular life, hunting down unsuspecting men to get bucks and tear out their hearts. Women who talked too much were threats. And women who held public office and wouldn’t shut up were the scourge of the land. I also have picked up bumper stickers at gun shows that said: “I just got a gun for my wife. It’s the best trade I ever made.” Or handouts detailing the “Top 10 Reasons Handguns Are Better than Women,” ending with the No. 1 reason, “You can buy a silencer for a handgun.” I also had seen some pretty vicious materials on Hillary Clinton and Janet Reno. A new fear floated above some of the gun exhibits: judges, lawyers and voters were giving women too much power, and the women were using that power to take guns away from their husbands, their boyfriends and their constituents. A gun-grabber lurked in the heart of the liberated woman.

Women are the fastest growing segment of the shooting community.  Saying and doing things that alienate them, and make them feel unwelcome, is a great way to put our right to bear arms in jeaopardy over the long run. This is bad press, I agree with Joe on that, but it’s bad press that we deserved. Maybe the reporter came to that gun show with a pre-existing bias, but maybe she didn’t and we created an enemy where none had previously existed.

I don’t agree with many of the things this reporter says, and the article is definitely overtly hostile, but it should serve as a lesson to gun folks out there that you have to treat noobs with kid gloves, and not to just assume that anyone you talk to is a fellow gun enthusiast, and has already drank the kool-aid. Getting into the our community can be an intimidating experience for nephytes, and that might mean setting aside a lot of the politics and rhetoric we use with each other, and just try to get the person excited about the sport. We can work on all the other prejudices, stereotypes, and preconceived notions later.

How Not to Win

I’m going to start a category of gun related posts entitled “How Not to Win”.  My intention is to point out issues within the pro-gun movement that I don’t think do us any favors politically, that don’t help win others over to our cause, and create barriers toward introducing new people to the shooting sports.  These three things are critical, because most statistics are showing the traditional hunting culture is contracting, and if all of us want to keep our boomsticks, we need to work at replacing them with different kinds of shooters.  As a community we certainly do a lot of squabbling among ourselves, , which is fine, even healthy, but at the end of the day, to quote Ben Franklin, we must hang together, or surely we will all hang seperately.

Buying Guns on the Internet

Up until now I’ve been pretty much an Evil Black Rifle guy, but lately I’ve been wanting to collect older stuff, since surplus is cheap, and I’m currently dumping a lot of money into remodeling a house. To that end, a few months ago, I obtained a C&R Federal Firearms License (FFL) from the ATF. I don’t notice too many gun bloggers blogging about C&R issues, so I figure I’d post some things about the subject from time to time.

The C&R license basically allows you to recieve and send firearms on the ATF C&R list, or any firearm over 50 years old in interstate commerce, from other licensed dealers, importers and wholesalers. Last night I completed my first purchase under the license; a Mosin-Nagant M91/30 from Century International Arms. I have to admit that it’s pretty cool to order a rifle off the Internet as if you were ordering a DVD on Amazon. It’ll be well worth the 30 dollars the license costs, since I intend to collect a few pieces. Needless to say, prices are lower when you can bypass your local dealer FFL and just order directly.

Reading Experiences Sharp Drop in Violent Crime

I came across this article in The Reading Eagle today:

Following a record number of murders in 2005, Reading ended 2006 with the fewest slayings in a decade.

Eight murders were known to have occurred in the city last year, the fewest since 1995, when there also were eight.

In 2005, a record 24 murders were committed in Reading.

Overall in Berks County, 2006 had 12 murders, including the eight city slayings. Three of those slain outside the city were victims of murder-suicides.

This of course, begs the question to the politicians in Philadelphia, how Reading, which is subject to the same gun laws that they claim are woefully inadequate to stop the rising tide of violence in Philadelphia, has managed such a sharp drop in murders and other crimes? Maybe it’s time Mayor Street calls up Mayor McMahon for some advise on how to deal with crime, rather than begging the politicians in Harrisburg for assault weapons bans and other such nonsense that won’t actually fix the problem.

Virginia and Pennsylvania Establish Reciprocity

This is good news for both PA LTC and VA CHL holders. Reciprocity with Virginia has been a long time coming. I’ve heard various reasons on why it hasn’t happened sooner, from our lack of training requirement, to Pennsylvania having no easy method for license verification. I’m glad to see if finally happening though.

More PA Preemption Issues

From Gun Law News, we hear that the NRA warns us that the York, PA City Council is considering banning concealed carry on municipal property (sorry about the registration requirement, but here’s the gist):

“It’s important to pass this ordinance,” said Police Chief Don Klug. “First of all, there’s the issue of the safety of citizens using local facilities. And there’s the issue of the safety of city employees, who are sometimes not confronted by people who are not pleased with certain situations. There can be confrontations. It seems clear that the city facilities are not a place for firearms. They’re excluded from schools, and the park system is a natural extension of that. I encourage you to pass the resolution.”

Hey, Chief Klug, if you can give me any evidence that a PA LTC holders has ever been involved in the type of incident you mention, I’ll shut the hell up, but I suspect that you don’t have any. I think it’s likely that you just don’t like the idea of anyone having guns but you and your fellow police officers. I expect nonsense like this to come out of Philadelphia, but I thought officials in York were smarter than that. Apparently not. But before you get too excited about this pet project you have going here, might I point you to the PA Consolidate Statutes § 6120 (a):

General rule.–No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of this Commonwealth.

So go ahead and pass your little ordnance, and if I ever have an occasion to visit municipal property in York, I’ll gladly ignore it, since the ordinance is void according to the law.

That Uneasy Feeling

I had to pick up a friend at the airport tonight. The flight was late, so I went up to where the secure area empties out into the rest of the airport. There were the usual TSA critters hanging about. I always get a little uneasy walking about armed in close proximity to borders that if I were step over, would instantly make me a criminal. Does anyone else who carries get that uneasy feeling sometimes that the only thing separating you from getting a close up view of the tile floor is a thin layer of cotton? It’s not illegal to carry outside the sterile area in an airport in Pennsylvania with the proper licenses, but I’m not sure that matters a whole lot to the Philadelphia Police.