According to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, a proposed ammunition tax (five cents per bullet, and one cent on smaller rounds, such as .22) likely has enough votes to move forward. This would be the second such tax levied against Chicago area gun owners in recent years: In 2013—on April Fools Day, no less—a $25 tax on gun purchases went into effect. (A similar ammunition tax was originally part of that package, but was later dropped.)
Between the $25 gun tax, the $150 concealed-carry permit fee (plus hundreds more for the required training), and the cost of obtaining and renewing the FOID—required for owning ANY firearm—the price Chicagoans pay to exercise their constitutional rights is already much too high. Further attempting to restrict the number of people who can afford to own guns—while crime rates continue to rise and gun-crime prosecution rates remain pitifully low—isn’t only unfair. It’s dangerous.
A Gross Deception
Brady Campaign President Dan Gross is making the rounds, telling anybody who will listen that “90 percent of crime guns can be traced to 5 percent of dealers.” Gross is insinuating that a few “bad apple” dealers are causing rampant violent crime in places like Chicago and Baltimore.
Gross took the figure from a 15-year-old ATF report titled “Commerce in Firearms in the United States, February 2000.” Incredibly, a caution within that report (obviously ignored by Gross) actually stated, “ATF emphasizes that the appearance of a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) or a first unlicensed purchaser of record in association with a crime gun [i.e. traced gun] or in association with multiple crime guns [i.e. traced guns] in no way suggests that either the FFL or the first purchaser has committed criminal acts.”
It’s easy to understand why: The most successful retailers have the highest volume of sales to eligible buyers, hence more guns sold legally by those dealers could be stolen and later used in crime. Moving forward, we’ll just call this 90 percent/5 percent lie a “Gross Deception.”
MoveOn Has Moved In
Gun registration proponent and would-be constitutional revisionist Mark Carman has gotten a lot of attention with an amateurish YouTube video that shows his ignorance about the intent of the Second Amendment.
In response, a press release claimed “a diverse group of volunteers brainstormed a name,” a logo and a five-point mission statement for a new gun-control group with Carman at the head—the American Coalition for Responsible Gun Ownership (ACRGO). However, this spontaneous group is none other than MoveOn Civic Action—a part of MoveOn.org, which supports all manner of restrictive gun control. MoveOn’s resources also launched a Facebook page, applied to the state of Virginia for LLC status, wrote and circulated a petition to the White House, and even got Carman invited to the White House to present his ideas to Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama.
The press release claiming that the video has “gone viral” also seems inflated. MoveOn’s release says the video has been viewed by “millions,” but at the time of this writing his YouTube link only had 122,000 views.
Mark Kelly’s Twisted Background Check Logic
Mark Kelly, husband of Gabby Giffords, appeared on “The National Lead” on Wednesday to push for expanded background checks. As Kelly is a gun-control proponent, this news by itself is hardly surprising given that’s an oft-repeated mantra of the anti-gun crowd. But his reasoning leaves a little to be desired.
Kelly cites Noah Harpham as a good example of why more background checks are needed. In 2009, with a clean criminal record—save for a 2003 speeding ticket—Harpham purchased three guns. The 33-year-old, who had an ongoing struggle with alcohol addiction, would go on to randomly kill three people in broad daylight on Halloween before being fatally shot by police in Colorado Springs.
So how could Harpham provide any justification for background checks when he passed a background check? Unfortunately, it seems that facts and rationale factor very little into arguments presented by anti-gunners.
Dallas Arboretum Takes Down “No Guns” Signs
In another victory for Texans’ right to protect themselves, the Dallas Arboretum has removed signs wrongfully prohibiting Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders from bringing firearms onto the property, joining the Houston Zoo and Austin City Hall in doing so after complaints by the public.
A 2003 law allows Texas CHL holders to bring firearms onto most taxpayer-owned public properties (except schools, courts and a few other places), but some public institutions retained their “No Guns” signs and policies. A law passed this year puts teeth into the 2003 law by giving citizens legal recourse with the attorney general, who can impose fines of up to $10,500 per day upon entities that refuse to comply.
About 20 complaints have been filed so far. As Alice Tripp, a lobbyist for the Texas State Rifle Association, put it, “Public property—property that is owned by the taxpayers—shouldn’t be closed off.”
California City Weighs “Safe Storage” Law
Councilwoman Richelle Noroyan has introduced a proposal to the Santa Cruz, Calif., city council making it a crime to have a handgun that is not locked away, disabled with a trigger guard or on the owner’s person. In this manner, Santa Cruz is following the example of Los Angeles, which recently enacted a so-called “safe storage” law. The legislation proposed in Santa Cruz would also require gun owners to report missing firearms within five days.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports Noroyan’s motivation for the proposal: “After I saw Obama give his comments about the community college shooting in Oregon … it just hit me kind of in an emotional way to want to do something to address this.” While this may grant her emotional satisfaction, empirical evidence suggests that such a measure would curtail the freedom and safety of gun owners without cutting crime or accidents.
13-Year-Old Kills Armed Home Invader
A teenage boy was at home alone in Ladson, S.C., when he saw a suspicious vehicle pull up behind his house. When he then saw a man trying to break into the back door, he retrieved his mother’s gun and shot at the suspect, who returned fire. The man and an accomplice then fled in their vehicle.
The Post and Courier reports that one of the suspects was dropped off at the hospital and later succumbed to his wounds, while his accomplice was arrested. Both suspects were found to have extensive criminal histories. The boy who defended himself with the gun was unharmed.
His mother said, “I tell my kids that if anything ever happens to call 911, but I also tell them to protect themselves if they have to.”