Category Archives: Jeff’s Blog

Jeff's Blog

Hello Gun Lobby!

Much of what you see here you might later see as a the core of a full column in The Knox Report which is a regular feature of Shotgun News and many club and organization newsletters, or featured in our own newsletter, The Hard Corps Report. This area will serve as my notes and brain-storming zone for other writing so you'll see it here first.

Please let me know what you think of the information you find here and the work that we are doing.

Yours for the Second Amendment,

Jeff Knox


My Greatest Fear

    For years we’ve been alerting readers to the problems of militarized police and “No-Knock” raids.  Having my home invaded by a group of heavily armed marauders – who later turn out to be police – has been a personal phobia for years.  My fear is clearly justified as demonstrated by over 300 examples of botched, unjustified, or mistaken assaults resulting in the senseless deaths and serious injuries of police, innocents, unarmed residents, and terrified folks trying to protect their homes.

    Just recently the home of the mayor of a small town in suburban DC was raided by officers who breached the front door without announcing themselves, shot two harmless Labrador Retrievers, and left the mayor and his mother-in-law handcuffed on the floor for some two hours.  

    Turns out a drug distribution ring, which included a delivery driver, was sending packages of marijuana to addresses on the driver’s route.  The driver or an accomplice would divert the package or retrieve it from the home’s doorstep.  The mayor, his wife, mother-in-law, and dogs were completely innocent of any wrongdoing.

    Had this been my home, I’m afraid I would have been likely to have shot the first unidentified intruder to crash through the front door.  Of course everything would immediately go downhill from there. 

Continue reading My Greatest Fear

“Allow” Me Not!

    Last year I wrote a Knox Report column decrying the use of the word "allow."  Since then we have won the Heller case and reestablished the individual nature of the Second Amendmenet's protections, but we continue to use the word "allow" in ways that are detrimental to our cause and we let the media get away with it too.

    Rather than write the same column again, I am re-publishing the heart of that article and asking that gun rights activists take it to heart and take immediate action.  

    Copy this short article and paste it into every firearms related forum and every blog you can find!

    Watch the media – both the gun media and the LameStream media – and pound them every time they use the word "allow" or other language that turns your rights into privileges.  The word "allow" is the most obvious offence, but any language which requests permission rather than demanding that infringements be stopped, is part of the problem.

    Every day that we allow the media and pundits to minimize the Heller decision by making it about something which is "allowed," rather than the rights we possess, we are losing ground and making the job of regaining rights more difficult.

    Here is the pertinent section of the original article:

   What really bothers me about the word ‘allow’ is the way it is so commonly used in the fight for gun rights; a CCW allows one to carry a gun, we should be allowed to carry in National Parks, the Post Office does not allow guns in their buildings, etc.  The problem with these statements and their use of the word ‘allow’ is that they imply authority and privilege and shift the burden of proof in the debate.

            The burden of proof in any argument which contains the word ‘allow’ falls on the side of the one seeking the allowance.  If a group seeks to ban guns in libraries, the burden of proof is on those seeking the ban; it is incumbent upon them to prove that guns should be banned.  Opponents of the ban retain the position of strength defending the status quo.

If the opponents of the ban make the mistake of arguing that guns should be allowed in libraries, they lose the advantage and the burden of proof immediately shifts to their side of the scales, requiring them to justify the presence of firearms in libraries. 

Instead of defending an existing right, the word ‘allow’ places rights advocates in the position of requesting a special privilege.  It is impossible to effectively demand to be allowed to exercise a right.  The demand must be that rights be unimpaired or that existing restrictions or impingements on rights be removed.

The Second Amendment does not allow citizens to own guns.  The government does not allow me to worship as I please.  The President does not allow me to own property…

The Second Amendment expresses my right to own guns.  The government recognizes my right to worship.  And the President may not unduly restrict my right to property.

Rights can never be allowed and anything that is allowed is not a right.

Why is this important?  Because through use of the word allow, gun rights advocates have allowed themselves to become supplicants seeking favors rather than holding the high ground as the guardians of liberty that they should be.  This one word devolves a right into a privilege, a citizen to a supplicant, and shifts the burden of proof from those seeking to restrict rights to those trying to expand privileges.  What’s worse, it becomes an invisible trap that makes us believe that we’re moving forward when we’re actually just positioning ourselves for a rapid decent down a slippery slope of our own making.

Consider the following statement: Citizens should be allowed to carry concealed handguns without having to get a permit.

What that functionally says is that the government should grant citizens the privilege of carrying concealed handguns without a documentation process.  Is it a privilege or a right?

What that statement should say is: Government requiring a permit for concealed carry is a violation of rights and a waste of resources.

In the mid 1970’s Howard K. Smith presented an editorial on the 60 Minutes television show pointing out the mistake of journalists using the word ‘credit’ when referring to terrorists claiming responsibility for their acts.  Smith rightly pointed out that ‘credit’ implies value and journalists should never give any such suggestion of value to the actions of terrorists.  From the date of that broadcast to the present, the word ‘credit’ has almost completely disappeared from reports on terrorism.

Let us similarly remove the word ‘allow’ from the vocabulary of the gun rights movement except where it is used to question why we allow government to infringe on our God given and constitutional rights.

The first step toward that goal is to educate each other by widely reposting this article! 

The Free State?

(August 11, 2008) Maryland has been in the news a lot recently and it's worth recapping:

    A young man, 18 years old, was found to have several firearms – including a shotgun, 3 or 4 "assault rifles," and a handgun – along with "chemicals commonly used in bomb making" and names and addresses of teachers at his former school (where he served in JROTC and was on the Rifle Team) along with a map purported to be President Bush's route to Camp David.  The kid also had a couple of fake ID's, one for the CIA and one similar to those carried by US contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.  While all of this could be just kids playing spy and mercenary, the press treated it like the kid was caught with a thermo-nuclear device and an autographed picture of Osama ben Laden. 

    Lucky for that kid he didn't live in Prince George County.  The PG County police were tracking a package that they knew contained 35 pounds of marijuana.  They let it be delivered to an address in a quiet suburban neighborhood where it was left on the doorstep.  When the homeowner arrived a while later, he picked up the package which was addressed to his wife and went inside.  A few minutes later, as he was about to get in the shower, he heard his mother-in-law let out a startled yell.  A moment later the front door was smashed in and the place was swarming with SWAT forces – guns drawn.  Two Labrador Retrievers in the yard were shot and killed (one while running away) and the man was hand-cuffed in his boxer shorts along with his mother-in-law for about two hours while police ransacked the home.  Through it all he repeatedly informed the SWAT officers that he was the Mayor of the small town and begged them to call the local city police department to confirm his identity.  His social worker wife was provided with no more courtesy when she came home in the middle of the invasion.

    It turns out that the pot belonged to a ring of smugglers which included an employee of the delivery company.  He apparently provided names and addresses from his regular route and drug deliveries addressed to those homes would be intercepted before being delivered.  

    Police have refused to apologize for their treatment of the Mayor and his family or for killing the friendly Labs.  They say they were justified in breaking down the door because when the mother-in-law yelled, that could have tipped someone inside to get a gun or destroy evidence.  Twenty five pounds of pot… that would take a lot of flushing.

    Now we have learned of a Maryland gunowner and licensed Curios & Relics collector who was awakened a little after midnight by his wife who announced that a platoon of cops in tactical gear was running up the driveway.  She met them at the door and for some reason invited them in.  The officers were there because they had received information from a gun dealer that the man had bought a bunch of ammunition – ammunition in a caliber that the Maryland State Police records did not indicate this man had a gun to shoot it in.

What?!?!

    The Maryland State Police compared a record of ammunition purchase with their list of firearms registered to this guy and since they didn't have a record of him owning a gun in a particular caliber and he had bought ammunition in that particular caliber, he must be engaging in some nefarious activity.  This even though Maryland only registers guns when they are purchased from dealers in the state and does not require registration of firearms owned at the time a person moves into the state or firearms purchased in private transactions between friends.  Neither do they register firearms purchased by those licensed as collectors of Curios and Relics.  This story is not only bizarre, it's downright scary.

    In the midst of this flurry of activity from "The Free State," I got a note from Henry Heymering, President of Maryland Shall Issue, Inc., the state's leading advocate for more reasonable concealed carry laws.  Henry is facing some health, business, and family issues and says he is unable to continue his work with MSI.  He's looking for a successor to take over all of the good work he was doing.  Let's hope someone with similar skills and commitment can be found because this state clearly needs all the help it can get.

Gun Bloggers Gathering

       Blogging about guns and gun rights is a popular pastime with dozens of people participating on a regular basis.  But the blogosphere has its limitations and the lack of human contact is one of them.  A group of Gun Bloggers are trying to rectify that by getting together face to face once a year.  They call it the Gun Blogger's Rendezvoues.  As this year's rendezvous is the third such event, it is being called GBR-III.

        I am looking at my busy schedule and my dwindling finances and trying to figure out a way to attend.  The event is being staged in Reno, Nevada on October 9 – 12 which actually works well into my plans.  I'll be in Phoenix with most of the rest of the family for the Gun Rights Policy Conference September 26 – 28, then Chris and I are spending 4 days at Front Sight Firearms Training Institute the following weekend for a handgun course.  With GBR-III being the following weekend in Reno, it's hard to pass up.  Contributions to my travel fund are gladly accepted.

        GBR-III is an open event for anyone with firearms interests.  For more information, take a look at:

http://gunbloggers.blogspot.com/

Gun & Ammo & Bombs, Oh My!

A Bethesda, Maryland teen has been making a lot of news in the past week or so and his story is worth watching closely.  Colin McKenzie-Gude, is an 18-year old graduate of St. John's College High School in Washington, D.C., an up-scale prep-school.  He was a member of the JROTC program and the school air rifle team.  McKenzie-Gude was arrested at the end of July for having a “stockpile of weapons and bomb-making materials.”  He was later charged with setting off home-made bombs in a remote field in Gaithersburg, Maryland and also charged with an attempted strong-arm carjacking at a local shopping mall.  Along with the guns – several “assault rifles,” a shotgun, and a handgun – police found a fake CIA identification card and a “Geneva Convention badge” similar to ID’s issued to US contractors in Iraq.  They also found a list of several faculty members of St. John’s with home addresses and a map purported to be a motorcade map to Camp David.  The kid’s father was also arrested for “buying him the guns.”

All of this has the media, the public, and even conservative and gun rights blogs, convicting this kid of plotting to blow up his school, murder a bunch of teachers, and attempting to kill the President – all based on nothing more than the fact that there were guns and stuff in his home.

We all need to be really careful about buying into media hype based on skimpy evidence and scary pictures.  The gun owning public should be particularly skeptical about media reports of “stockpiles” and “caches” of weapons and “bomb-making materials.  Most of us could easily be accused of having weapons and ammunition “stockpiles” and I can find bomb-making chemicals in virtually any home in America.

Maybe this kid is a wack-o who needs to be locked up, but so far there has been little released in this case that suggests anything truly nefarious to me.  The car-jacking charge is the only real crime I see and I haven’t seen the evidence on which that was based.  As to the firearms, explosives, and other things; there is nothing that this kid had or did that I did not have, try to have, or attempt to do when I was a teenager.

There were always numerous guns in my bedroom along with a variety of ammunition.  We didn’t have the internet when I was a kid so I got my hands on a copy of “The Anarchist’s Cook-Book” and experimented with all sorts of home-made loud-n-boomers.  At 16 I had a doctored military ID that wouldn’t have fooled Mr. Magoo and an out-of-state driver’s license that was passable at the local beer stores (though I was too afraid to actually use it – my Mom would have killed me.)

I always worry when I see the press and public rushing to judgment based on evidence which in and of itself is not, or should not be, a crime.  Guns – even a lot of guns – are not an indication of criminal intent.  Nor are “bomb-making materials” since common household items can be considered such.

As I say, maybe this kid really is dangerous and was planning something really bad, but maybe he was just a kid playing spy and experimenting with things that go boom.  I did a lot of that when I was a kid and so did my boys.  It looks like this kid was probably taking things too far, but nothing released to this point remotely suggests that he should be considered a dangerous criminal.  It also looks like his father wasn’t supervising his activities closely enough, but again, bringing criminal charges because he let his son have access to his firearms?  That’s a bad precedent to be setting.

Only time and more information will sort this whole thing out, but unfortunately, if there really wasn’t something more sinister than possession of weapons and a vivid imagination, we’ll probably never know about it because the kid and his dad will be forced to cop a plea to some lesser charge and the assumption of guilt on all of the charges will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

NRA Making Deals Again

   [Note: After seeing the actual language of the bill and speaking with key players, I am much more comfortable with this deal.  While I still have some concerns and mixed feelings about how this could impact Heller's new lawsuit and the way the Supreme Court's decision in Heller might be interpreted, there is absolutely nothing in this bill that could be considered a sell-out or give-away.  It's a very good bill which I can't help but support. -JAK]

    Acording to The Hill newspaper, the NRA has mad a deal with House Democrats on a "compromise" DC gun law bill. 

    The burning question now is, "Why?". 

    If the report is accurate, NRA has agreed to support a compromise bill that would force DC to minimally comply with the Supreme Court's June ruling in the Heller case.  The city has so far enacted emergency legislation which makes it very difficult for a DC resident to legally own a handgun or have it available for self-defense in the home.  Republicans have introduced a sweeping firearms reform bill for the District, but it has been bottled up by the Democrat leadership.  Republicans were trying to get pro-gun Democrats to join them in a petition to force the bill onto the House floor for a vote.  Democrats don't want to debate and vote on anything as contentious as a serious DC gun bill so pro-gun Democrats led by John Dingell (D-Michigan), Mike Ross (D-Arkansas), and Mike Tanner (D-Tennessee) reached out to NRA for a deal.

    Republicans are rightously furious over the deal as they were hoping to use the discharge petition as a wedge issue in the coming elections.  

    Again, the burning question is "Why?".  Why would NRA make this deal at this time?  What advantage does such a deal give them or the gun rights movement? 

    We are heading into an election in which many experts are predicting major Democrat gains.  The Presidential candidates are both unappealing to GunVoters and have been somewhat lulled into a sense of security by the Heller victory.  And there have been no contentious, gun-related bills debated in Congress to fire voters up and separate the sheep from the goats in a long, long time.  Now would be an excellent time to have a loud debate about gun control and DC's outrageous response to the Heller decision is an excellent topic for such a debate.  GunVoters are all very aware of the Heller decision and DC's continuing refusal to comply with the clear intent of that decision.  Pro-gun members of Congress are pushing a discharge petition that would force the fight to the floor.  Even without this NRA deal, it is very unlikely that the 218 signatures needed on the discharge petition could be garnered, but the petition itself would be a good barometer for judging a politician's commitment to gun rights.  The fight and the grading would be over the discharge petition rather than the actual bill.  With Heller and others having filed lawsuits to force DC to comply with the ruling, action by Congress is not really desirable as it would nullify those lawsuits, but that shouldn't really be a concern as long as the core bill is strong enought in its support of gun rights to be thoroughly unpalatable to the Democrat leadership.  Nancy Pelosi is never going to allow a sweeping gun rights statement to come out of "her House."

    So that brings us back to this agreement and the question, "Why?".  With this agreement a compromise bill which very narrowly addresses the DC issues wuold be brought forward with NRA support.  This bill (which should be introduced later today) is expected to be narrow and limited enough to be acceptable to Pelosi and company.  That means it can easily pass through the House – where pro-gun members would have little choice but to vote for it – and into the Senate where, again, it ahould face little opposition.  This strategy kills the lawsuits while shielding the anti-gun and faux-pro-gun mambers of Congress thereby effectively removing the only issue around which GunVoters could have been effectively rallied…

     I recently wrote a piece for The Knox Report that described how a future "assault weapons" ban might be passed with NRA support.  The article was intended to be a warning to NRA members to keep a close eye on their organization because there is a history of the group making seriously bad compromises that they call victories.  While not as dramatic as an assault weapons ban, this appears to be another one of those mistakes.

Morton Grove Repeals Ban

    The town of Morton Grove, Illinois has decided to repeal its longstanding handgun ban.  The AP reports that, in a 5-1 decision, town fathers saw the writing on the wall and decided that taking the fight to court would not be a worthwhile use of the taxpayers' money.  The town is one of the named municipalities named in a lawsuit from SAF and NRA.  Repeal of the handgun ban does not get the town off the hok though.  The town still has some confusing restrictions on shotguns that need to be resolved. 

    The one member of the Town Council who voted to keep the handgun ban was a member of the original council that passed and defended the ban back in the late '70's.  He wanted the council to wait and see how the issue plays out in court before making a decision.  Other council members  suggested that the ban was always mostly symbolic and that the symbolism wasn't worth the anticipated cost.

    Meanwhile, the cities of Chicago  and San Francisco are both vowing to stick to their guns all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary… We can only hope that they do.

Thoughts on War

    One of our regular readers sent me a note that got me going and I would like to share it with all of you.

    He was referencing a recent column in which I did some prognosticating about what might happen in the future if gun rights advocates fail to hold the line and keep a close eye on NRA to make sure they do the same.  Some have accused me of NRA bashing with that piece (which can be read in its entirity by clicking here ) but I was merely pointing out how gun control has come about in the past and how it might get passed in the future if we're not very careful and vigilant.

    Here is my response to that letter.  I hope you'll find it worthwhile.

Russ,

    Anything is possible, but a revolution over firearms restrictions – especially incremental, one sub-group at a time restrictions – is highly unlikely.  It didn't happen in 1994 with the Clinton AW Ban or in 1986 with the LaPierre MG Ban, or in 1976 with the DC Gun Ban…
    What did happen in 1994 was a revolution at the polls resulting in a huge shift in Congress.  Unfortunately, the lesson learned in that revolution was only learned by the losing side.  The Democrats backed away from gun control rhetoric and have given lip-service to the Second Amendment ever since, while the Republicans failed to take any action to restore rights lost or distinguish themselves from the mealy-mouthed Democrats.  Too many Republicans who supported the ban were allowed to retain their seats and NRA was not nearly demanding enough when Republicans held control. Continue reading Thoughts on War

DC’s New Rules

    As expected, the District of Columbia has decided to obey the Supreme Court's orders in the narrowest fashion possible.  Under the new rules, all semi-auto pistols remain illegal (because according to the District, they are machineguns) as do sawed off shotguns and real machineguns.  Acquiring and registering a gun is a big line of hoops which must be jumpped through in precise order and at the gun purchaser's expense.  All guns registered must be submitted for ballistic testing and only one gun may be registered by any one owner – at least for the first 90 days of registration.  Expect to see that limitation extended indefinitely. There will be an amnesty period for residents who already own a handgun and wish to register it.  The requirement that all firearms be maintained unloaded and either disassembled or locked up, remains in effect with the additional "clarification" that this requirement does not apply when there is an actual perceived threat to someone within the home. 

    It is to be hoped that the Supreme Court or the lower court administering all of this will take these new rules from the District and slap the Mayor, City Council, City Attorney, and Police Chief up-side the head with them since they almost follow the letter of the Supreme Court's order, but are at complete odds with the spirit and intent.

    Another interesting question is the specific order as it relates to Dick Heller.  The Court ordered that the District must allow Heller to register his gun and issue him a license to carry it in his own home.  As I recall, the specific gun Heller attempted to register and was denied – thus laying the foundation for the case – was a Beretta 92.  Under the new rules, DC still considers a Beretta 92 a machinegun and bans their possession.  But the Court did not order that Heller be allowed to register "a" handgun, they ordered that he be allowed to register "his" handgun.  I sincerely hope that Alan Gura and Robert Levy are preparing all sorts of legal actions to slap DC with contempt of court and personal civil rights violations.

    ** Note: It turns out that the specific gun Heller attempted to register was actually a .22 revolver.  Too bad… It would have made forcing repeal of DC's "machinegun" ban much easier if Heller had tried to register a semi-auto.  Even so, DC's new regulations will be challenged in court and taken apart piece by piece.

     Here is a description of DC's new rules from DC itself:

 

Continue reading DC’s New Rules

DC Gets 500 AR-15’s

    The District of Columbia Metropolitain Police, complaining that they are outgunned by criminals in their "Gun Free" community, has added 500 AR-15 rifles to their arsenal.  Chief Cathy Lanier says that only senior officers who complete 40 hours of specialized training will be issued the rifles.  Those officers will be required to requalify with the rifles twice each year.

    While the police with their Glock pistols and AR-15 rifles complain of being outgunned by criminals, the city is working on their new handgun registration rules in response to the Supreme Court's decision in the Heller case.  Early indications are that the District will limit legal private handguns to revolvers only, restricted to the home only, and further limited to only one handgun per person.

Welcome to the capitol of the free world.