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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



JPFO and SAF

Monday, August 25th, 2014 by Mas | 24 Comments »

Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) approached Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) with a view toward SAF taking over the financially foundering JPFO. Many in JPFO were not pleased. There has been some badmouthing of the Second Amendment Foundation and its leader Alan Gottlieb lately.  Having known Alan for decades and having served for many years on SAF’s board of trustees, I feel compelled to offer a word or two.

It was Gottlieb’s vision decades ago which, through SAF, funded much of the scholarly legal research published in respected law journals which today is recognized as authoritatively repudiating many “gun control” arguments. It was SAF that gave impetus to the two greatest US Supreme Court precedents supporting individual rights under the Second Amendment, Heller v. District of Columbia and McDonald, et al v. City of Chicago. And SAF is extremely active at the grassroots level as well, as seen here on Fox News.

One commentator said the late founder of JPFO, Aaron Zelman, did not respect Alan Gottlieb and the Second Amendment Foundation. Excuse me? I knew Aaron Zelman, and recall seeing him attending and speaking at the SAF-sponsored Gun Rights Policy Conference.  Aaron was no two-faced hypocrite; I’m sure he would not have supported with his attendance an organization of which he disapproved.

I’ve heard Alan and SAF criticized for their choice of lawyers. Um, excuse me? Are they talking about Alan Gura, the brilliant lawyer who won those great victories for the Second Amendment in the Supreme Court of the United States? Both Alans are Jewish, Gura presently in Tel Aviv I’m told; are there members of Jews For Preservation of Firearms Ownership who bash two of the strongest fighters for the Second Amendment who are Jews themselves? What?

Speaking only for myself, it appears to me that SAF is the ship willing to pick up the survivors of the sinking JPFO, and to get them back sailing again on the course that Aaron Zelman founded for his great organization.  If members of JPFO are able to keep the original organization afloat, more power to them.  If not, I would much rather see SAF take the helm and keep JPFO on course instead of watching JPFO and its accomplishments sink beneath the waves.

All who read this are invited to attend the GRPC. There is no fee, and attendees receive a substantial amount of research materials. Over two days, they’ll hear from the best and the brightest in the pro-gun movement, encompassing national and grassroots organizations alike. Information is available here. Come and talk with Alan Gottlieb and others from SAF, and judge for yourself.

 

 

RUSH TO JUDGMENT?

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 by Mas | 70 Comments »

Today, supposedly, a grand jury convenes in Missouri to examine the facts surrounding the death of Michael Brown at the hands of FPD officer Darren Wilson, to determine if an indictable crime has been committed.  One talking head on TV even said that hearsay would be permitted there, which if true is nothing less than a travesty.

The grand jury review itself, it would seem, is coming awfully early.  The general public does not realize how long it takes to complete a homicide investigation. The toxicology screen on the deceased, which can be a critical factor, may or may not have been completed yet, but to the best of my knowledge such results have not yet been released to the public.

Members of the grand jury will be under tremendous social and political pressure to indict.  The state’s own governor has, incredibly, called for “vigorous prosecution.”   Damn shame he didn’t have the integrity to call for “vigorous investigation” instead.  One should not be convicted before trial in the Governor’s Mansion instead of in a courtroom.

The smell of mob rule is growing stronger, and more fetid.

Also today, Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to be on the ground in Ferguson for investigative purposes.  Many pundits expect him to visit with the family of the deceased; certainly, there’s nothing wrong with that.

But I sincerely hope that the AG, our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, will visit the family of the injured officer as well.

DÉJÀ VU IN MISSOURI

Sunday, August 17th, 2014 by Mas | 53 Comments »

          The meme started out as sweet, tender 18-year-old Michael Brown about to enter college, murdered by police in front of many witnesses despite no discernible motive.  National uproar and civil disturbance ensues.

            The family of the deceased hires Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for Trayvon Martin’s family who engaged a high powered, well connected PR firm to turn that shooting into a national cause celebre, which they did with enormous success.  By the time the truth came out, most of America seemed to still believe that the deceased was a harmless, innocent victim of racism murdered by a monster who deserved to be lynched. That meme seems to be getting a repeat in Missouri.

            Only days later, do we learn how savagely the officer was beaten by the physically huge man he shot.  And that very shortly before the incident, the innocent college boy had performed a strong-arm robbery at a convenience store, caught on surveillance video. (This, of course, would not do, so last night looters ravaged that particular convenience store.)  It has been reported that that Facebook images of Brown exist, flashing gang signs indicating membership in one of the nation’s most feared street gang, the Bloods.

            Countless people already invested in the police brutality meme cry that this late news must be a cover-up.  They do not realize the long-standing ethos of law enforcement that says, “We don’t try our cases in the press.”

            There is still much for us to learn about what happened in Ferguson, Missouri that day. Results of the autopsy and toxicology screen have not yet been released. Location of entry wounds and trajectory of the bullets through the body will tell us things, and it would be interesting to know what if anything was in Michael Brown’s system when he turned from the “gentle giant” his family described him as, into the hulking monster throwing the store clerk around in the surveillance film shortly before he was shot by police.  I suspect there are dashcam images or i-phone video that the public has not yet seen.

            One lesson that has clearly emerged so far: the longer the accused wait to put forth their side of the story, the more damage will be done to their cause.  An accusation unanswered is seen by the general public as a plea of nolo contendre. 

            And this morning, CNN reports that storeowners, feeling that police aren’t protecting them from looters, are standing outside their shops in Ferguson with “machine guns.”

            Another lesson of déjà vu, I suppose…

A RENAISSANCE MAN

Monday, August 11th, 2014 by Mas | 6 Comments »

The shooting world has lost another stalwart.  A skilled shooting competitor back when he had time for it, John LeVick could have made a good living as a gunsmith if he had not devoted himself to the practice of law in Lubbock, Texas. LeVick He passed suddenly last week, altogether too soon at 59.  A mutual friend, gun collector Chuck MacDonald, eulogized John as a Renaissance man I think he nailed it.

His obituary is here.

I first took note of Brother LeVick with his posts on smith-wessonforum.com, where his screen name was 38/44HD45.  We found ourselves corresponding frequently on a private forum; John had significant experience in gun- and shooting-related cases.  I finally got to meet him last year at the Texas Bar Association’s annual Firearms Law Symposium.  As expected, he was as insightful in person as he was in print.

Like so many in the pro-gun movement, John LeVick was motivated by love of family, love of justice and fairness, and love of life.  True to form, he left instructions that when he passed, in lieu of flowers, contributions should be made to the Second Amendment Foundation
.

Vaya con Dios, John LeVick.  You are missed.

MALUM PROHIBITUM

Friday, August 8th, 2014 by Mas | 36 Comments »

In legal theory, crimes are divided between malum prohibitum and malum in se.  Translated from Latin, malum in se means that the thing being described is evil in and of itself, and is probably so in every civilized society.  Malum prohibitum essentially says “It’s bad because we prohibited it.”

Case in point: you are a responsible young single mom, gainfully employed in the medical profession to support your two little kids.  Becoming the victim of a couple of crimes has caused you to arm yourself, go through training, and get a permit to carry a gun where you live, in Philadelphia.

After crossing a state line, you are pulled over in a routine traffic stop.  You do what you think is the responsible thing: you advise the police officer that you are licensed to carry a gun and do have it with you.

You are then placed under arrest, and find yourself facing a MANDATORY penalty of three years in prison and becoming a convicted felon for life, because the state you’re now in is New Jersey, and they do not reciprocate with Pennsylvania or any other state on concealed carry permits.

We gun folks know that the fifty states are a patchwork quilt with fifty different sets of laws. This young woman is not a gun person.  She apparently didn’t know that a state that would recognize her driver’s license wouldn’t recognize her carry license.  Read about it here: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/07/16/honest-mistake-leads-to-philly-mother-facing-three-years-on-gun-charge/ .

She’s not the first to make this honest mistake, and won’t be the last.  (And, before anyone questions that it was an honest mistake, why would someone who knew they were breaking the law spontaneously tell the first cop they encountered that they were doing so?)  This case is the very definition of malum prohibitum.

It’s also why I and so many others have been calling for national reciprocity for decades.

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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