Texas

Texans will be quick to tell you that their state is one of the most armed in the country.  Tales of rifles on gun racks in trucks abound.  This might be because civilians helped overwhelm a murderous sniper when the local police weren’t quite equipped to deal with the tactical problem.

Some fifty years ago (August 1, 1966) an engineering student named Charles Whitman climbed the 307 foot tall limestone landmark on the University of Texas grounds and began shooting innocent wanderers.  Firearms that local police carried at the time weren’t able to respond at that distance… local civilians were enlisted to bring the man down.  Before the incident was concluded, 17 people were killed and over 30 were wounded.

According to the Washington Post , 25 mass public killings happened in the fifty years before UT… 149 have happened since.  Of course, on 9-10 November 1938 ninety one people were killed in Germany (Kristalnacht).  Although accounts differ, Hitler went on to kill 20 million.  Stalin also killed between 2 and 3 million of his own.  In Ukraine on June 23, 1919 alone, 45 people were killed, countless raped, though estimates of fatalities due to pogroms in Ukraine in the few years after 1919 range in the multiple tens of thousands.  Ten years later, more than 3 million died in Ukraine due to forced starvation (Holodimir) thanks to Soviet Russia.  Would an armed populace helped prevent these mass killings?

Mao Tse Tung managed to kill between 20 and 45 million of his citizens due to agricultural reforms initiated during the 1958-1961 Cultural Revolution.  Would Chinese citizens have prevented these policies under a Chinese “2d Amendment?”

In any event, you can find a pretty detailed overview of Texas and 2d Amendment dynamics here:  https://www.tribtalk.org/2016/01/08/how-obamas-executive-actions-affect-texas-gun-politics/

Washington state

According to www.smartgunlaws.org, the state of Washington requires a background check prior to any transfer of firearms, requires issue of a concealed carry permit if one is requested, but does not require a license to own a firearm.  Washington allows prohibition of firearms purchase, in the event a person is found guilty of a domestic violence misdemeanor, similar to the charge 20-year-old Arcan Cetin faced in 2015 when he assaulted his step-father and (according to some reports) incidents with an ex-girlfriend.

Last December a judge told Cetin that he wasn’t allowed to have possession of a firearm, although there have been no reports regarding whether his name is on a “do-not-purchase” list.  Cetin shot five people (including a high school sophomore who had survived cancer as a child) at several locations in a department store in a Cascade Mall, then left the rifle on a countertop before departing the mall.  Cetin stole the Ruger 10/22 from his step father before committing the shootings.

Amar Cetin  is an immigrant from Turkey who has blogged ISIS related material but hasn’t declared radical Muslim justification for his shootings.  Cetin confessed to the killings and faces multiple charges for his crimes.

You can find 2d Amendment positions of various Washington office holders here:  http://www.ontheissues.org/states/WA_Gun_Control.htm

 

 

Connecticut

The home of the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012, Connecticut continues to be one of the most restrictive states in the country for gun ownership.  Wikipedia has a pretty good summary chart here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_Connecticut

Dan Malloy (D), Connecticut’s 2d term governor, supports rigorous gun control, including legislation that allows law enforcement to confiscate guns of anyone accused of domestic abuse and anyone on a terrorist “watch” list.  Neither of these proposals include due process prior to revoking the accused’s 2d Amendment right.

The Democrat incumbent John Larson is running for the state’s 1st Congressional District after a number of “safe elections,” and supports a number of initiatives to enable civil lawsuits against gun manufacturers and further restrict the types of firearms (and size magazines) Americans may own. His Republican opponent, Matt Corey, will be challenged to improve upon his 37% showing against Larson in 2014.  Corey is a lifetime member of the NRA and asserts he will protect 2d Amendment rights in  DC.

The NRA gives “F” ratings to all three state senators (Gerratana District 6, Moore District 22, Gomes District 23) running for reelection next month.

Travel

While driving back from the Outer Banks recently, I stopped in a military surplus store so my daughter might use the bathroom.  Although the bathroom wasn’t publicly available, the proprietor and I struck up a conversation about firearms, the 2nd Amendment and transporting firearms when traveling.

After a quick google search, I found the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) has a great summary of the law and advice if you are transporting your firearm from one legal area to another (even when passing thru states that may have highly restrictive laws).  Find this summary here:  https://www.nraila.org/articles/20150101/guide-to-the-interstate-transportation

Bottom line:  the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, or FOPA, protects those who are transporting firearms from local restrictions.  Maintain your firearm unloaded in a locked, hard sided, case, with ammunition locked in a separate container.  You may want to carry the FOPA legislation with you in the event you are stopped.

There are some nuances (and specific guidance if you are traveling via aircraft): for more information, read the NRAILA article at the link above.  You will also be required to be in compliance with all state/local legislation if you carry the firearm on your person.

The NRA-ILA article also states:  In the United States you have constitutional protections both against unreasonable searches and seizures and against compelled self-incrimination. Although the authorities may search anywhere within your reach without a search warrant after a valid stop, they may not open and search closed luggage without probable cause to believe evidence of a crime will be found, particularly when it is in a locked storage area or trunk of a vehicle, unless you consent. You have a right not to consent. Furthermore, although you may be required to identify yourself and produce a driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of automobile insurance, you have a right to remain silent.”

Virginia

While understanding the views of presidential candidates can be a challenge, at lower levels, pinning candidates to views can be impossible (unless you attend an event where your candidate is speaking).

RNC convention co-chair Barbara Comstock enters the stage during the second session of the 2012 Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Tuesday, August 28, 2012. (Harry E. Walker/MCT via Getty Images)

You can find your national candidate’s views at ontheissues.org.  Here, for example, is the link to Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (Virginia’s 10th Congressional District) and links for other people elected to the United States Congress in 2015:

http://www.ontheissues.org/VA/Barbara_Comstock_Gun_Control.htm

Since Hillary Clinton proposes a focus on state level legislation, you need information regarding state-level office holders and candidates.  ontheissues.org shows information regarding Virginia’s governor here:

http://www.ontheissues.org/Terry_McAuliffe.htm

But you can see, this information isn’t comprehensive.  You need to resort to a google search to learn more about other statewide candidates.  For example, a few months ago, Virginia severed concealed carry reciprocity ties with 25 states, alleging they had weaker gun laws.  Mark Herring, Virginia’s Attorney General is quoted in “The Hill,” saying:  “I have recommended the state police terminate the reciprocity agreements Herringwith 25 states whose laws are not adequate to prevent issuance of a concealed handgun permit to individuals that Virginia would disqualify.”  This action was later overturned.

State Senators and Representatives do not receive comprehensive coverage.  For example, Jennifer Wexton, state senator from Virginia’s 33rd District, doesn’t appear in the NRA site or ontheissues.org, but says on her website “I will support reasonable regulations that promote firearm safety and responsible gun ownership, including universal background checks. I will also fight to improve our mental health system here in the Commonwealth. We need to make it easier for people in our communities with mental illness to get help through treatment, not weapons to harm themselves or others.”

Wexton and Herring

Automatic revocation of 2d Amendment rights without due process has been recommended for those on terror watch lists or under FBI investigation.  At present, there is no mechanism for a psychologist to submit a patient for consideration to be added to a background check listing.

US Presidential Candidates

Some politicians have long-held political positions regarding the 2d Amendment.  Others have revised opinions as events have shaped public opinion.

Donald Trump (R)

Trump has been a mogul, an entrepreneur, and an American icon for decades, so he’s had a lot of time to change his position on every issue including gun control.  In 2000, Trump said: “I generally oppose gun control, but … I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record,”

Trump said in a 2011 speech at CPAC that he opposes gun control, although he conceded concerns after the Orlando attacks, reaffirming issues with “assault-style” (i.e. 5.56 or 7.62 caliber gas operated semi automatic, magazine fed, rail mounting style “long gun”) weapons.

In late September 2016, Trump published a comprehensive agenda for the 2d Amendment.  Read about it here: http://worldofguns.info/2016/09/26/trump-releases-his-plan-for-2nd-amendment-leaves-millions-furious/

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D)

Clinton is hard to classify because she has changed her position often depending on the decade and election — she prefers not to do battle with the NRA on Capitol Hill.  In a recent interview with the Las Vegas Sun’s Jon Ralston, Clinton stressed the need to promote gun control on the state level rather than the federal level.

According to John Heilemann of Bloomberg Politics, Clinton has learned from the gun lobby’s victories over Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as well its sinking of the presidential campaign of Al Gore.  In 2000, she supported a national gun registry, but backed off that position in 2008. She supported greater background checks to prevent school shootings like Columbine and Virginia Tech.

Read more at http://redalertpolitics.com/2015/06/22/good-bad-ugly-2016-candidates-stand-gun-rights/#X4y9Xtoxc37DpEsP.99

Gary Johnson (Libertarian)

The popular former Governor of New Mexico handily won the Libertarian Party nomination recently with 49.51% of the convention vote.  In 2000, Johnson told Playboy magazine, “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. The first people who are going to be in line to turn in their guns are law-abiding citizens. Criminals are going to be left with guns. I believe that concealed carry is a way of reducing gun violence.

The NRA provides grades for candidates standing for state-wide election here:  https://www.nrapvf.org/grades/

Orlando

For almost a year I have unabashedly decried US focus on radical Muslim terrorists. I have also advocated for the 2d Amendment of the United States Constitution. About a month ago Omar Mateen, a domestic radical Muslim, (who has travelled to Saudi Arabia on several occasions) massacred almost 50 members of the LGBT community in an Orlando club, with over 50 others wounded.

Mateen’s travels to Saudi Arabia were for religious reasons, not for terrorist training. The man received his weapons training in connection with employment as a security officer. The FBI interviewed him in 2013 due to hateful statements predicting violence, assessing he wasn’t a threat.

Sig MCX

On the day of the rampage, Omar Mateen declared allegiance to ISIS and praised the Boston Marathon bombers, highlighting that guns aren’t the only weapons available to inflict substantial casualties upon an unsuspecting crowd. But the Sig Saur MCX, firing 5.56mm projectiles, is hard to justify. We don’t know whether he shot everyone (about a third of the people in the club) with the MCX, or whether he used the Glock pistol he carried (purchased, like the MCX, several days before the shooting) for some of the shootings.

Omar’s second wife apparently drove him to reconnoiter the club and was aware that he was planning a rampage.

Every time an incident like this happens, one side cries for disarming the population, while the other side calls for action against radical (even all) Muslims. Even though these domestic attackers show more similarity to unstable mass murderers than Hamas or ISIS terrorists, and do not have legitimate ties to such terror groups, the connection is used to justify US investment in combating terrorist “safe havens” over seas.

Presumably, if weapons were harder to acquire in the US, these self appointed terrorists would need to build actual ties to sources of weapons. They might have an easier time targeting us, but I won’t spend a lot of time arguing that point.

Protecting Democracy and your Family