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Kris
August 23rd, 2003, 06:26 AM
August 23, 2003

Council Seeks to Toughen Gun Controls

By WINNIE HU

In the aftermath of the shooting last month of Councilman James E. Davis, the City Council is pushing ahead with several changes in New York City's gun-control laws that would make the laws, already among the toughest in the nation, more restrictive.

The Council will hold a committee hearing on Sept. 12 on at least half a dozen bills that, if approved, would seek not only to restrict how gun makers and dealers conduct business in New York City but also to counter a growing movement across the nation to roll back gun-control measures.

The proposals include holding gun makers, dealers and importers liable for damages if their weapons are used to kill or injure people in the city, as well as prohibiting gun dealers from selling more than one firearm to the same person within 90 days. Another proposal would require gun owners in the city to obtain liability insurance.

While these gun-control proposals are not new, many Council members say they have taken on new urgency since nearly all 51 members witnessed the shooting of one of their own at City Hall on July 23. Mr. Davis, 41, of Brooklyn, was gunned down by a political rival, Othniel Boaz Askew, in the Council chamber after Mr. Davis escorted him past City Hall metal detectors.

"There was no urgency prior to the shooting," said Peter Vallone Jr., chairman of the Public Safety Committee, which is holding next month's hearing.

"But now there is a sense that we all want to move as quickly as possible on these bills in his memory."

The city's renewed focus on gun control is also expected to open the door for broader state legislation, in much the same way that the city's ban on smoking in restaurants and other public places did.

"I think it would be a good thing if the city did it, and showed the state the way," said the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, who represents the Lower East Side.

In 2000, spurred partly by the Columbine school shootings, Gov. George E. Pataki and the state legislators passed a broad package of gun-control laws that included raising the minimum age for obtaining a handgun permit to 21, requiring trigger locks on new handguns and establishing a statewide "ballistic fingerprinting" database, among other things. But that was an unusual moment of consensus.

Assembly Democrats have tended to propose sweeping gun-control measures. Senate Republicans have criticized the measures as overly broad and unfair to hunters and others who use guns legally, preferring instead to increase penalties for those who use guns in crimes.

"We support the federal Constitution in terms of the right to bear arms, but we have taken action to pass reasonable laws," said John McArdle, a spokesman for the Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno.

New York City's gun-control measures have long been more restrictive than those in the rest of the state. For instance, the city requires people to obtain a permit to possess a shotgun or rifle, whereas the state requires a license only for handguns, not for long guns.

In addition, the city sued various gun makers in 2000, claiming that illegally obtained firearms that wound up in New York City were a public nuisance and that the manufacturers contributed to the nuisance with their marketing practices. The case is pending in federal court, city officials say.

Patrick Brophy, a director of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, said the city's seeming intolerance for firearms reflected the social and political culture in Manhattan and other parts of the city where relatively few residents hunted, shot or owned guns.

"They don't have a day-to-day familiarity with guns anymore like they have with, say, cars," he said. "Guns are a useful tool, but many people have no understanding of that tool anymore, and what they don't know, they fear."

Mr. Brophy said the group was closely watching the progress of the proposals in the Council.

Increasingly, the city's gun-control efforts have contrasted with those by other states and by federal officials. Congress is divided over renewing a 1994 law that bans the manufacture of assault weapons. The House of Representatives has also passed a bill that would block states and cities from suing gun makers for misuse of their weapons by others, and the Senate is considering the proposal.

The City Council, however, has shown little hesitation in siding against gun enthusiasts. For instance, in 2000, when the National Rifle Association proposed building a theme restaurant and game arcade in Times Square, the Council passed a resolution urging the group not to come.

The Council speaker, Gifford Miller, said that next month's hearing would address various security issues involving guns. "My hope is that out of the hearing process the Council will put forward gun-control measures that limit as much as possible the number of guns on the streets," he said.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, too, has been described by his aides as "pro-gun control." In response to a question at a news conference, the mayor said, "I don't know why people carry guns. Guns kill people."

Even if New York City adopted even stricter gun-control laws, advocates on both sides of the issue question whether that would reduce violent crimes because so many guns are brought in from other states.

Last year, the New York Police Department seized 4,065 guns from people who had obtained them illegally or used them in crimes. More than half of those were subsequently traced to out-of-state sales, according to police records. The .40-caliber handgun that Mr. Askew used to shoot Mr. Davis was legally bought out of state, police officials said.

"New York City is really at the mercy of other states' weak gun laws," said Jim Kessler, policy and research director for Americans for Gun Safety, a nonprofit advocacy group in Washington. "It's difficult to pass a stricter law that would have an effect because the guns are being smuggled in from other states."

Councilman Vallone acknowledged the problem of illegal guns from out of state but said he believed that tightening the city's gun-control laws would make a difference.

"People all over the country watch what New York City does, and we intend to show leadership on this issue," he said.

Councilman David Yassky, who has lobbied for more gun-control measures, said that before the shooting, it had been "an uphill battle" to make gun control a legislative priority because the city's budget crisis was all many council members could focus on.

But he added that "certainly the shooting at City Hall opened their eyes to the gun problem in a very dramatic way."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Kris
September 13th, 2003, 01:17 AM
September 13, 2003

Differing Views Are Voiced by City on Gun Lawsuits

By MIKE McINTIRE

The complexities of curbing gun violence were vividly apparent yesterday at City Hall. At the same time Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was denouncing efforts in Congress to shield firearms makers from lawsuits, his criminal justice coordinator was criticizing a City Council initiative to make such suits easier.

Mr. Bloomberg, who joined the mayors of Chicago and Los Angeles in sending a letter yesterday asking United States senators to oppose the federal legislation, said in his weekly radio address that gun manufacturers should be held accountable for the damage their products cause under certain circumstances.

"Nobody's suggesting that they are guilty, but you should be able to sue them and prove to a jury that they acted negligently or recklessly," the mayor said.

"Everybody wants the murder rate to come down," he added. "The only way you are going to get the murder rate down is to get the guns off the street."

At roughly the same moment, John Feinblatt, the city's criminal justice coordinator, was telling the Council's Public Safety Committee that while the Bloomberg administration agreed in principle with proposals to stem gun violence, it opposed allowing victims broad latitude to sue manufacturers.

"As a practical matter," Mr. Feinblatt said, "the threat of unlimited liability without fault will effectively prevent gun manufacturers from selling weapons to anyone in New York City, including the Police Department."

The nuances of the administration's position reflect the difficulties that lie ahead as city officials, spurred by the shooting death of Councilman James E. Davis in July, try to navigate the political, cultural and legal thickets on the path to a workable gun-control law. The memory of Mr. Davis was invoked repeatedly at yesterday's hearing, which was attended by his mother, Thelma Davis.

In addition to fielding comments on a raft of proposed changes to city laws, the committee adopted two resolutions calling on the state and federal governments to do their part to make it harder for criminals to obtain firearms.

Council members acknowledged that their appeals could be largely futile. "This is a problem that is grossly ignored by the state and federal governments," said Councilman James Sanders Jr.

Other bills being considered would require rifle and shotgun owners in the city to buy liability insurance, prohibit sales of rifles or shotguns to anyone under 21, require dealers to obtain information on buyers of ammunition and limit the purchase of rifles or shotguns to one every 90 days. The city's regulatory authority extends only to long-barrel weapons; handguns are governed by New York State law.

Generating major disagreement among the 11 gun-control bills was a proposal to apply to gun makers the legal concept of strict liability essentially a no-fault application of blame against a manufacturer for injuries caused by its product. Randall Casseday, a spokesman for Kahr Arms, which sells guns to the New York City Police Department, said holding the firearms industry to such a standard would be unfair.

"I can't see how Kahr Arms can be responsible for criminal misuse of its product," Mr. Casseday said. "I don't see how you can do that. One lawsuit would put us out of business."

Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, the prime backer of the strict-liability legislation, defended the concept as an innovative legal approach that has been successful in other realms, such as disposal of toxic waste. She had a sharp exchange with Mr. Feinblatt, pressing him for evidence that her bill would prevent legal gun sales and saying that his comments merely provided ammunition for opponents of gun control.

"I'm sure this will appear in a National Rifle Association pamphlet, that Mr. Feinblatt, the New York City criminal justice coordinator, said that this will effectively prevent gun manufacturers from selling weapons," Ms. Moskowitz said. "I don't think there is a shred of evidence for that."

Mr. Feinblatt said later that the point he had been trying to make was that the city should avoid gun-control initiatives that are so far-reaching they risk being struck down in court. Legal action, he said, should be reserved for gun makers that are negligent or reckless in their business practices. Such suits would be impossible under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a bill before the Senate that would immunize firearms manufacturers.

Edward Skyler, a spokesman for the mayor, said Mr. Feinblatt had echoed the administration's belief that the city should adopt gun-control legislation that would withstand legal challenges.

The city has a lawsuit pending against more than 30 gun makers, contending that their negligence allowed weapons to find their way into the illegal firearms market.

"I think the Senate bill that is trying to establish blanket immunity, and the Council bill that is trying to hold gun manufacturers strictly liable, are really the two extremes in this arena," Mr. Feinblatt said. "The Senate bill essentially says that the gun manufacturers can do no wrong, and the Council bill would essentially say that gun manufacturers can do no right."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Kris
February 24th, 2004, 05:59 PM
February 24, 2004

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Lawyers, Guns and Mayors

By MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG, RICHARD M. DALEY, JAMES K. HAHN and SCOTT L. KING

Few problems facing American cities are more serious than gun violence. Guns destroy thousands of lives every year and spread fear in our neighborhoods. It is much too easy for criminals to get firearms. And when a handgun is readily available, a minor argument or domestic dispute can quickly escalate into a homicide.

We've worked hard to get illegal guns off the streets, through tough law enforcement, by supporting reasonable gun laws and by suing gun manufacturers and dealers to get them to take responsibility for their actions. Some two dozen American cities and counties have filed similar lawsuits.

But Congress is on the verge of passing legislation that would undercut the ability of local governments to hold the gun industry accountable for its role in flooding our cities with guns. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act would shield irresponsible firearms manufacturers, wholesalers, dealers and trade associations from any form of civil liability in cases in which they recklessly or negligently supply firearms to criminals. The bill, which was approved by the House last April, is now being considered in the Senate.

We do not advocate suing manufacturers in all instances when an incident involving a gun causes harm or injury. But shouldn't we be able to sue manufacturers and suppliers when they act with wanton disregard for the safety of our neighborhoods?

By immunizing gun manufacturers against civil liability, the bill would remove much of their legal incentive to behave responsibly. It would encourage bad manufacturers to remain bad and good manufacturers to become lax.

Most firearms dealers are responsible business people selling to law-abiding customers. But a small minority are not, and their unlawful actions are largely responsible for the gun violence on our cities' streets. According to federal data from 2000, 1.2 percent of dealers account for 57 percent of all guns recovered in criminal investigations. Many of these guns were illegal "straw purchases," a common street-gang tactic in which someone with a valid state firearms card buys large quantities of guns for resale to people with criminal records.

And yet the gun industry refuses to police itself. Gun manufacturers and wholesalers know who the problem dealers are, because when guns are recovered at crime scenes, they receive firearms tracing reports that show them which dealers sell disproportionately to criminals.

The gun industry claims it's merely seeking protection from frivolous lawsuits. But federal and state courts are recognizing the legal validity of many of these cases. Courts in several states have upheld the legal merits of these suits, and a case involving Chicago is before Illinois's highest court.

Almost 7,200 people were murdered with handguns in the United States in 2002, the most recent year for which figures are available. It is obvious that something needs to be done at the federal level. But rather than pass gun legislation that would make our streets safer, Congress proposes basically to immunize the gun industry from efforts to make it act responsibly.

All senators should oppose this bill. If they don't, they ought to explain why the one industry deserving of this extraordinary protection should be the one that makes a product that kills thousands of Americans each year.

Some of our senators and representatives might also consider serving as a big-city mayor for a day or two. They could talk, as we do, to law-abiding, hard-working mothers and fathers who are desperate to get guns off the streets so they can walk to the store without fear or let their children play in their front yards. These citizens deserve a Congress that will work to make their lives safer.

Michael R. Bloomberg is the mayor of New York. Richard M. Daley is the mayor of Chicago. James K. Hahn is the mayor of Los Angeles. Scott L. King is the mayor of Gary, Ind.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Kris
March 19th, 2004, 06:22 AM
March 19, 2004

Bloomberg Urges Stiffer Law Against Sales of Illegal Guns

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday sent a letter to legislative leaders in Albany urging them to pass legislation that would strengthen New York State's law against illegal gun sales.

Mr. Bloomberg is seeking to close a loophole in state laws that keep some sellers of illegal guns from receiving felony convictions. Specifically, he wants to see the state lower the threshold number of guns required for felony convictions and permit prosecutors to aggregate the number of illegal guns sold in multiple transactions in a one-year period.

Mr. Bloomberg distributed copies of his letter to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the State Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno, during a ceremony to dedicate a plaque in honor of Detectives Rodney J. Andrews and James V. Nemorin, who were shot to death last March during an undercover operation to buy illegal guns on Staten Island.

Mr. Bloomberg said yesterday that the detectives lost their lives because they were forced to repeat purchases of guns to increase the possible penalty for illegal sellers.

"Guns kill people, and they were trying to save the rest of us," he said of the two detectives at a ceremony at the 77th Precinct station house in Brooklyn. "Their valor and dedication contributed immeasurably to making New York City the safest large city in the United States."

Among the other speakers, including Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, was Robert Tracy, the captain and commander of the firearms investigation unit, whose son, born a few days after the detectives died, was named after Detective Andrews. The child cooed from the front row of spectators.

Under current law, a defendant cannot be charged with a C felony unless he sells 10 guns; a B felony charge, which carries a harsher penalty, has a threshold of 20 guns.

Both the Assembly and Senate have versions of bills that would increase punishments for gun offenders, but neither bill is precisely on track with the mayor's request.

This week, Mr. Bruno accused Mr. Silver of holding up anticrime bills, including those that could increase gun penalties. "They have a concern about increasing penalties for almost any crime," Mr. Bruno said. "They will tell you that most of the people that are in prison are black or Hispanic, and consequently, when you increase the penalties, you are increasing the likelihood that blacks or Hispanics are going to be incarcerated." Mr. Silver expressed outrage and demanded an apology.

Yesterday, Charles Carrier, a spokesman for Mr. Silver, said about the mayor's request: "The bill we passed on Monday in this house contains a lot of the penalty provisions that are being sought. We agree with the mayor that we need to address it, but our bill goes beyond it."

Mr. Bloomberg has made prosecuting gun crimes one of the centerpieces of his law enforcement agenda. His administration, in conjunction with district attorneys, has created three special courts that are used to prosecute gun crimes, and a program to remove more guns from high-crime neighborhoods. Earlier this week, the city announced that it was cracking down on stores that sell illegal, realistic looking fake guns, fining one such store $50,000.

Gov. George E. Pataki yesterday praised Mr. Bloomberg for supporting a change in the gun laws. "I urge the Legislature to act on this legislation that gives law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on gun traffickers, as well as help protect them while they are working to ensure our safety,'' Mr. Pataki said in an e-mail statement.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Kris
April 17th, 2004, 07:25 AM
April 17, 2004

New York Loses a Top Legal Ally in Suit Over Guns

By WILLIAM GLABERSON

New York City is preparing for the first trial of a civil suit by an American city claiming that the gun industry fosters an illegal market in the firearms criminals use to deliver death to the city's doorsteps.

Gun industry representatives say the case is crucial, and the companies have some of the country's top law firms defending them. Until a few weeks ago, the city had a powerful legal weapon, too: another of the country's top law firms, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, had agreed more than two years ago to work on the case for free.

But now the law firm is withdrawing from the case, acknowledging that at least one of its corporate clients had complained about its role. In a statement, the firm said that "certain potential `positional conflicts' " had been "brought to our attention." Some industry critics say the disruption in the city's legal team may have been intended to weaken the city's chances in what is certain to be a bitterly fought trial.

According to lawyers who have been involved in the case or have been briefed on it, Weil, Gotshal's withdrawal followed a rapid sequence of events out of the public eye.

The firm's lawyers appeared formally for the first time in court on Jan. 30. In February, the lawyers said, Alan E. Mansfield, a New York lawyer for Smith & Wesson, called at least one company he represents that is also a client of Weil, Gotshal. Smith & Wesson is one of the 40 gun makers and distributors sued by the city.

After the call by the Smith & Wesson lawyer, people at the corporate client of Weil, Gotshal raised questions with Weil, Gotshal lawyers about whether the gun case might lead to precedents that could later be used against them, lawyers involved in the case say.

With the gun case heating up in late March, the Weil, Gotshal lawyers privately told the city's lawyers that they could no longer continue to work on the case.

"The city has just lost an invaluable resource," said Elisa Barnes, a Manhattan lawyer who has handled other cases against the gun industry. "You've got to get King Kong to fight Godzilla."

The suit, which is likely to go to trial this fall, seeks an injunction stopping the industry from sales and distribution practices that the plaintiffs claim amount to a public nuisance. Critics have long accused the gun companies of closing their eyes to illicit distribution pathways. They say certain dealers, for example, are routinely tied to the sale of guns to criminals.

Almost no one is saying anything publicly about the behind-the-scenes events. Mr. Mansfield said he would not "talk about what I do or don't do on behalf of my clients." Lawyers for the city have not made a public assertion of any betrayal. Instead, after a request for a comment, the city's corporation counsel, Michael A. Cardozo, issued a statement praising Weil, Gotshal for its generosity in volunteering in the first place.

The battle over the role of Weil, Gotshal is the latest display of the hardball struggles over more than 35 similar suits that were filed by cities from coast to coast against the firearms industry beginning in 1998.

That struggle has included an effort by the gun industry and its supporters that failed in Congress last month to get immunity for the industry from such suits, and stark claims by the gunmakers in the city's case that the Brooklyn federal judge handling it, Jack B. Weinstein, is biased against the firearms industry.

The damage to the city by the firm's withdrawal is far from symbolic. It deprives the city not only of the skills of the two accomplished Weil, Gotshal lawyers handling the case, Richard J. Davis and Steven A. Reiss, but also of the vast resources of the firm, which has its headquarters at the General Motors building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and more than 1,100 lawyers worldwide.

"The gun industry and its lawyers will stop at nothing to prevent the plaintiffs from having their day in court," said Mathew S. Nosanchuk, a lawyer on the city's side of the case who is the litigation director for the Violence Policy Center, a gun-control group.

Lawyers at the city's Law Department, who have been working with Weil, Gotshal, are continuing to prepare for the trial. The department has scarce resources and few lawyers with the credentials to match those of Mr. Davis, 58, a former assistant secretary of the treasury for enforcement; and Mr. Reiss, 52, a former tenured professor at New York University Law School.

In his statement praising Weil, Gotshal, Mr. Cardozo, acknowledged that he regretted that the firm "needed to withdraw as co-counsel." He said the city would "continue prosecuting this case vigorously."

Lawrence G. Keane, the general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade group, said he knew of no role any lawyer for the companies had played in Weil, Gotshal's withdrawal. Smith & Wesson declined to comment.

Weil, Gotshal's statement described the issues brought to the firm's attention as "certain potential `positional conflicts' involving the position of long-term existing clients and those being advanced in the gun case."

By referring to potential conflicts, the statement suggested that legal ethics rules had influenced its decision. The rules bar lawyers from handling cases in which there are actual conflicts of interest among clients.

"We withdrew," Mr. Davis said this week, "when we determined that the client's concerns about potential conflicts had some validity, not simply because the client objected."

Mr. Reiss added that Weil, Gotshal wanted to avoid any appearance that it might have weakened its arguments on behalf of the city because of its other allegiances, adding that such appearances are "what the conflict rules seek to avoid."

But some legal ethics experts said it was far from clear that ethics rules required the firm to drop the city as a client. Instead, some of them said, the firm may have made what amounted to a business decision to bow to the wishes of long-term clients.

Several experts said they had reached that conclusion in part because a firm of Weil, Gotshal's sophistication would have taken on the city's case only after determining that it would not pose any conflict with its many other clients. The firm has represented scores of companies, including Texaco, Lorillard Tobacco Company, Enron, Johns-Manville and General Motors.

Rules dealing with actual conflicts of interest require a firm to decline a case, such as when a law firm is asked to handle a suit against an existing client. But, in contrast, several legal ethics experts said, a positional conflict often does not require a law firm to step down. A positional conflict occurs when a lawyer takes a position in one case while making a contrary argument in another.

Some legal ethics specialists said too little was known about the circumstances to determine what ethical rules applied. But others said that a "potential positional conflict" would rarely require a law firm to resign from a case.

"Positional conflicts arise every day," said Roy D. Simon Jr., a legal ethics professor at Hofstra University School of Law. He said a law firm would not usually be required to take any action at all.

Geoffrey C. Hazard Jr., a legal ethics professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, agreed. He said Weil, Gotshal appeared not to have confronted an ethical problem so much as what lawyers call a "client relationship problem."

"The law firm is being put in a squeeze," he said, adding, "Lawyers in private practice have to have a stream of income."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Kris
May 21st, 2004, 05:48 AM
May 21, 2004

City Wins Right to U.S. Data on Firearms

By WILLIAM GLABERSON

New York City won a significant victory this week in its civil suit against the firearms industry, winning the right to information that could help prove its claim that the industry closes its eyes to the way guns get into the hands of criminals.

On Wednesday, a federal magistrate ruled that the city was entitled to federal data that traces the path of guns used in crimes, overruling objections by the Justice Department. Lawyers say that without the data the city would have difficulty proving its claim that the gun industry's marketing and distribution practices amount to a public nuisance.

The ruling by Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak, in Federal Court in Brooklyn, waded into a contentious legal and political issue over the Bush administration's reluctance to release the tracing data, which is likely to be helpful to civil suits against the industry around the country. Access to the data has provoked battles in Congress and in the United States Supreme Court, with the gun industry and its opponents squaring off over whether it should be released.

In 2003 and again this year, the Republican-controlled Congress enacted appropriations measures saying that no funds could be used to release the tracing data. Some supporters said the information could undermine police investigations, while industry opponents said groups like the National Rifle Association had slipped the measure in, to hobble the civil suits against the gun industry.

A Justice Department lawyer suggested during arguments in the city's case that the department, under Attorney General John Ashcroft, had changed a government policy that permitted the limited release of the information in an earlier lawsuit.

The lead lawyer on the case at the city's Law Department, Eric Proshansky, said yesterday that the data would enable the city to prove that gun makers have failed to protect the public.

Judge Pollak's decision, Mr. Proshansky said, "is important to the city because the proof in these suits is developed by demonstrating through these databases that the gun industry knows about problems in the distribution networks" that end in sales of guns to criminals.

A similar battle over a demand for the same information from the City of Chicago is being fought in the courts.

The data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms includes the sales history of guns that law enforcement agencies seek to trace. Many of those tracing requests are begun after guns are found in crime investigations. Taken together, the traces can provide a roadmap showing, for example, that some dealers can be identified as tied more often to guns used in crime than others.

Sheree Mixell, the spokeswoman for the bureau, which fought the release of the information, said lawyers were reviewing the decision but the agency would not comment on pending litigation. But other lawyers said they thought it likely that the bureau would appeal, first to the United States district judge handling the city's case, Jack B. Weinstein, and then possibly to an appeals court.

In a lawsuit by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoplethat raised claims similar to those in the city's suit, the bureau agreed to release some of the information in 2002. Under that agreement, the access to the information was strictly limited and the information could not be used in any other suit.

The N.A.A.C.P. suit failed. But in a decision last year Judge Weinstein seemed to indicate that the city's suit might have a better chance at success.

Some law enforcement officials have been highly critical of the release of the gun-tracing information, saying it is intended for law enforcement purposes and that its release could compromise investigations by showing which cases police agencies are pursuing.

In a letter to Mr. Ashcroft in 2002, the New York police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, took a position that undercut the argument of the city's civil lawyers in the case against the gun industry. Mr. Kelly said release of the information would "compromise critical law enforcement investigations and endanger the lives of police officers and members of the public.''

Backed by the gun industry, the bureau's lawyers argued in the city's case that the appropriations measures barred the bureau from releasing the information.

In her decision Judge Pollak disagreed, saying that the bureau was required to turn over the data under a city subpoena. The city had agreed that the data would not be distributed outside the case. "Congress,'' she wrote, "did not intend to restrict civil litigants from receiving firearms data pursuant to judicial subpoena.''

In a filing in the case, Mr. Proshansky cited remarks made by a federal lawyer at a hearing last month suggesting that the government's policy had changed under Mr. Ashcroft.

The lawyer, Barry Orlow, deputy associate chief counsel of the bureau, had noted that the firearms bureau was transferred from the Treasury Department to the Justice Department during the government's Homeland Security reorganization in 2003.

"We don't work for the secretary of the Treasury anymore, we work for the attorney general,'' Mr. Orlow said, adding that "policy considerations have changed.''

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Kris
May 27th, 2004, 12:55 AM
May 27, 2004

Police Back Gun Lawsuit

To the Editor:

I take issue with a statement in a May 21 news article that the police commissioner "took a position that undercut the argument of the city's civil lawyers" in New York City's case against gun makers and distributors. In fact, the Police Department supports the lawsuit and has been working with the Law Department on this case since its inception.

The police commissioner's letter in 2002 to Attorney General John Ashcroft, which you mention, addressed a ruling of a federal court in Chicago that would have permitted unrestricted release to the public of the firearms trace database maintained by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. New York City has sought access to that same information under the very different, guarded conditions of a judicial protective order.

Throughout the case, the Police Department and city lawyers have worked together to assure achievement of two goals: requiring gun makers and distributors to adopt responsible marketing and distribution practices, while maintaining the confidentiality of law enforcement information.

STEPHEN L. HAMMERMAN
Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters
New York Police Dept.
New York, May 21, 2004

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Kris
April 3rd, 2006, 05:06 AM
April 3, 2006
News Analysis
In His War on Illegal Guns, Bloomberg Is Facing Uphill
By SEWELL CHAN

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's war against the gun industry went into overdrive last week, with an appearance on Capitol Hill on Tuesday and a speech two days later, at a fund-raising dinner for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, in which he assailed illegal guns as "scourges to our society." And his campaign will only intensify in the next few months, as Mr. Bloomberg intends to announce the city's first lawsuits against rogue gun dealers and to press Albany to toughen the penalties for criminal gun possession.

The mayor has made fighting illegal guns a signature of his second-term agenda and vowed to use "every means at our disposal," from legislation to litigation, to curb the influx of out-of-state weapons, which the city says account for 82 percent of guns used in crimes.

But his high-profile quest to curb guns seems to hit mostly roadblocks once he leaves the five boroughs. A lawsuit the city filed against gun manufacturers in 2000 drags on in the courts. Albany has shown only a modest appetite for revisiting gun laws, while leaders in Washington have virtually ignored Mr. Bloomberg's views on guns. Indeed, it remains to be seen whether any mayor can make headway on gun policy, which is largely the province of the federal government.

"Bloomberg is swimming upstream against the national political tides on this issue," said Robert J. Spitzer, a political scientist at the State University of New York at Cortland, who has written extensively on gun-policy debates.

With limited success, big-city mayors past and present, from Tom Bradley of Los Angeles to Richard M. Daley of Chicago, have railed against guns, Professor Spitzer said, adding that Mr. Bloomberg has given new prominence to the issue.

"Bloomberg's problem is trying to build a coalition that will actually have a measurable effect on illicit gun trafficking," he said. "The likelihood of success for him is slim. The officials who have the greatest potential ability to influence this the governors of Southern states are unlikely to be sympathetic to him. The federal administration and Republican leaders in Washington have no interest in his agenda."

Mr. Bloomberg's aides do not deny that he faces an uphill battle but note that several key initiatives under way fall under state or local control.

Gun courts, where a designated judge handles most cases involving illegal gun possession, have been set up since 2003 in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. In those three boroughs, jail sentences for gun possession are now one year or longer in 79 percent to 90 percent of cases, up from 45 percent to 51 percent in 2001.

Since 2003, a Police Department program, Operation Impact, has dispatched newly graduated officers to patrol areas that have the highest numbers of shootings. The program, the police say, has resulted in a major drop in felony crime and modest increases in gun arrests and gun seizures.

Two other police programs, which pay $1,000 to informers who identify owners of illegal handguns and $100 to people who voluntarily surrender their firearms, have removed more than 5,000 guns from the streets since 2002.

But the city's boldest effort at curbing illegal guns a 2000 lawsuit against gun manufacturers, brought under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and vigorously pursued by the Bloomberg administration has so far yielded little. The suit asserts that the gun makers have created a public nuisance by knowingly selling guns to a small number of reckless dealers.

Far from effecting tighter federal gun policies, the city's suit along with 32 others filed by cities and counties nationwide prompted a federal law, passed and signed last year, that gives gun makers broad exemption from liability in civil suits.

Mr. Bloomberg appears undeterred. In January, he announced that his Law Department was preparing a fresh batch of suits, this time concentrating on dealers who sell to "straw purchasers" middlemen who, using their clean records, obtain guns on behalf of criminals.

The mayor also is pressing Albany to close what city officials view as a loophole in the state's gun laws that allows judges to avoid giving jail time for possession of a loaded handgun. State Senator Martin J. Golden, a Brooklyn Republican, has introduced a bill to eliminate that provision, on the books since 1978, but the Legislature has not acted.

Much of Mr. Bloomberg's effort in recent weeks has been to chastise his opponents on gun issues. Last week, for instance, he called "unconscionable" a House bill that would block cities from getting access to federal gun-trace data, which includes information on the sales histories of guns, many of them used in crimes.

"It's safe to say that Mayor Bloomberg is our hero," said Dennis A. Henigan, legal director of the Brady Center, the legal arm of the Brady Campaign. "He has emerged as a national leader on this issue."

John Feinblatt, the mayor's criminal justice coordinator, said that Mr. Bloomberg had tried to avoid the ideological morass of gun debates by focusing more narrowly on illegal guns used in crimes. "This isn't about gun control, this is about crime control," Mr. Feinblatt said. "This is not a referendum on the Second Amendment."

Asked whether the mayor risked spending his political capital for naught, Edward Skyler, the deputy mayor for administration, said: "It's not about spending political capital. It's an investment in public safety."

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said that the bully pulpit might be the mayor's strongest weapon on gun control. "It's perhaps not as big an issue in other parts of the country, but we need their help," he said. "It is a national issue, and the mayor is in a unique position to get that message out nationally."

For now, there seems to be little downside to the mayor's advocacy, given the wide support gun control enjoys in the city.

Chris McNickle, author of "To Be Mayor of New York," a history of the role of ethnicity in the city's mayoral elections, likened Mr. Bloomberg's campaign against guns to the positions of several of his predecessors on issues of national significance that were outside their formal purview. For example, Fiorello H. La Guardia was a staunch defender of civil liberties, Robert F. Wagner fought against housing discrimination, John V. Lindsay opposed the Vietnam War and Edward I. Koch championed the death penalty.

"Mayors have often taken positions on issues of national significance that are beyond their ability to control, and that has typically happened when the position is one that's popular with the people of the city and personally important to the mayor," he said, adding of the gun issue, "There is a moral high ground, a logic, that resonates with the mayor and his constituents."

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Kris
May 16th, 2006, 03:30 AM
May 16, 2006
New York City Sues 15 Gun Dealers in 5 States, Charging Illegal Sales
By DIANE CARDWELL

Testing a novel strategy in its aggressive campaign against illegal firearms, New York City sent teams of private investigators posing as gun buyers to stores in 5 states, catching 15 dealers making illegal sales, officials said yesterday.

In the two-month sting operation, which city officials and gun control advocates said was the first of such wide scope, teams of operatives wearing hidden cameras traveled to Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia to make what are known as straw purchases, a violation of federal law in which one individual submits to the required federal background check for a gun that is clearly to be used by someone else.

All 15 dealers, whose guns have been linked to more than 500 crimes in New York City from 1994 to 2001, improperly sold a gun to the private investigators, officials said. The evidence is to be used in a lawsuit against the dealers filed yesterday in Federal District Court in Brooklyn and is being shared with federal law enforcement agencies.

"Our suit offers clear and compelling evidence that guns sold by these dealers are used in crimes by people ineligible to own a gun far more frequently than guns from other dealers," Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said at a City Hall news conference announcing the operation. "In other words, these dealers are the worst of the worst."

In January 2001, a 12-year-old boy playing with a semiautomatic handgun from Mickalis Pawn Shop in Summerville, S.C., accidentally shot someone in the chest, officials said. It was one of 49 guns from the store linked to crimes in New York City. That year, one of 42 such guns sold by A-1 Jewelry & Pawn in Augusta, Ga., was used in the attempted murder of uniformed police officers.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages from the 15 dealers and the appointment of a special master to monitor their sales closely. City officials said they might also ask the court to shut the gun businesses down.

The evidence collected is being shared with the Justice Department, including the United States attorneys with jurisdiction over the dealers, and with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, an agency that Mr. Bloomberg has said has been "asleep at the switch" in policing gun sales.

The operation is one of the steps the Bloomberg administration has adopted after seeing some of its efforts against the gun trade sputter. Since his second term started this year, Mr. Bloomberg has been outspoken on gun trafficking and has tried to focus national attention on the issue, coordinating with other mayors, pursuing lawsuits against gun manufacturers and lobbying Congress not to pass what he calls "godawful bills."

For instance, Congress has already limited the city's ability to obtain new data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tracing the origin of guns used in crimes and is considering bills that would essentially make those limits permanent.

The new sting operation, which Mr. Bloomberg plans to discuss with lawmakers in Washington today, is in part a response to a law passed last year that protects gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits unless they are engaged in illegal activity.

"Our opponents never tire of telling us that we ought to be going after the people who break the law with guns," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Well, O.K. You asked for something; you got it."

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said he had not seen the lawsuit yet and declined to comment on it, but he added that his organization was opposed to straw purchases. "They're against the law," he said.

Gun-control advocates praised the sting operation and the lawsuit. "The City of New York is disproportionately affected by rogue gun dealers who play a key role in this system, since the vast majority of crime guns used in the city come from other states with lax gun laws," said Jackie Kuhls, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. "The legal action New York City is taking against these dealers sends a message that not all government officials are willing to look the other way."

Other cities, including Gary, Ind., Chicago and Detroit, have taken similar approaches in their own jurisdictions, sometimes using local law enforcement officials, said Elizabeth Haile, a staff lawyer at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. "This would be the first time that they looked at sources all over the country no matter what state it was," she said.

To build its case, the city chose roughly 60 gun dealers to investigate based on data it had received earlier from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Investigators from the James Mintz Group, a private investigation outfit, worked in pairs, with one looking at the merchandise, talking with the salesman and handling the weapon in making a decision to purchase while the other wandered the store, seemingly uninterested.

When it came time to buy the gun and fill out the forms for a background check, the first operative, often a man, would call in his partner, frequently a woman, who had not been part of the discussion of the weapon, officials said. The second investigator would fill out the background paperwork, and the first one would pay for the gun in cash.

In several instances, the gun dealer followed the law and refused the sale, but the 15 named in the lawsuit ultimately sold a weapon to one of the investigators, Mr. Bloomberg said,

One of the 15 outlets was Woody's Pawn Shop in Orangeburg, S.C., where officials have traced 98 guns connected to crimes in the city, including the death of a 31-year-old man in Brooklyn in 2001.

Chan Holman, the owner, said he would not jeopardize his business selling 100 to 150 guns a month by breaking the law.

"We do sell an awful lot of handguns, and I can't control what hands they end up in," he said in a telephone interview. "We just do the best we can to make sure they get into the right hands."

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Kris
May 17th, 2006, 03:49 AM
May 17, 2006
Bloomberg Joins Schumer in Seeking Access to Gun Sales Data
By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ

WASHINGTON, May 16 Pressing ahead with his campaign against illegal firearms, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York here on Tuesday as the senator proposed legislation to curb the problem.

The bill would give state and local law enforcement agencies access to federal data, including sales history, that traces the path of guns used in crimes.

Mr. Bloomberg's appearance came a day after his administration announced that New York City had caught 15 gun dealers making illegal sales after sending teams of private investigators posing as gun buyers to about 60 stores in 5 states.

In a two-month sting operation, operatives wearing hidden cameras traveled to Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia to make what are known as straw purchases, a violation of federal law in which one person submits to the required federal background check for a gun that is clearly to be used by someone else.

The city said that all 15 dealers, whose guns have been linked to more than 500 crimes in New York City from 1994 to 2001, improperly sold guns to the private investigators. Evidence from the sting operation is to be used in a lawsuit that the city has filed against the dealers. The suit seeks monetary damages from the dealers and the appointment of a special master to monitor their sales. City officials said they might also ask the court to shut the dealers down.

The gun-tracing data addressed in the Schumer bill is collected by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. It can help identify dealers who are tied more often than others to the sale of guns used in crimes.

The data has provoked a fierce debate in Congress, with the gun industry and its opponents at odds over whether it should be released. The data is likely to help civil suits against the gun industry around the country. In recent years, Congress has enacted measures essentially blocking the release of the tracing data, citing privacy concerns.

Mr. Schumer said that Mr. Bloomberg's efforts to draw attention to illegal firearms would help provide the momentum needed to force Congress to act.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Kris
May 27th, 2006, 03:34 AM
May 27, 2006
U.S. Will Help New York City Pursue Cases Against Gun Dealers
By AL BAKER

Casework supporting the city's federal lawsuit against 15 gun dealers in five states will be funneled to federal law enforcement agents around the country for possible criminal investigations and prosecutions, officials said yesterday.

The New York office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will collect and evaluate the evidence on illegal purchases of guns that has been gathered by the Bloomberg administration and send it to offices with jurisdiction over those dealers, officials said.

In all, five federal judicial districts could wind up pursuing criminal cases, since the city conducted its two-month sting in Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. The city used federal trace data to pinpoint shops that sold guns used in city crimes and then videotaped undercover operatives making what are known as straw purchases, in which a person buys a gun meant for someone else.

The city's stepping into an arena traditionally dominated by federal law enforcement sent ripples through criminal justice circles, but hewed closely to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's pledge to reduce gun trafficking and focus national attention on the issue. He has invited other mayors to Gracie Mansion and lobbied Congress against federal restrictions on trace data.

The mayor has also directly criticized the A.T.F., saying that the agency has been "asleep at the switch" in policing gun sales.

The new arrangement with the A.T.F. was struck after William G. McMahon, the special agent in charge of the agency's New York field division, met Tuesday with John Feinblatt, the city's criminal justice coordinator. "An agreement was reached where the city would work closely with A.T.F.," Mr. McMahon said, "and provide us with the information gathered."

Mr. McMahon has been designated the point man in the federal government's response to city efforts to stem the flow of illegal firearms. Of all the guns used in crimes in the city, 82 percent are brought in illegally from other states, officials said.

"We are encouraged by the recent communications with the Justice Department about our efforts to stop the flow of illegal guns into our city," said Edward Skyler, the deputy mayor for administration, who is coordinating the mayor's initiatives against illegal guns.

Last week, the Bloomberg administration announced that it had filed a federal lawsuit against the dealers.

On Thursday, the police arrested two federally licensed firearms dealers in New York City after their shops, which were identified as part of the same undercover operation, were accused of selling weapons without requiring buyers to produce valid pistol licenses, authorities said. The city revoked the dealers' licenses to sell guns in New York City.

The mayor has also railed against legislation that bars the A.T.F. from publicly disclosing the sources of guns used in crimes. The agency can still provide law enforcement officials with data about guns for specific prosecutions in their jurisdictions, including information about the state where the gun was bought and the identification of the buyer.

But legislation now under consideration in Congress that would make permanent the broad limits on what the agency can release has angered the mayor.

Mr. Bloomberg's pressure on the issue has caused some movement from the federal government. Indeed, the agency made its statement yesterday, in part, to dispel any notion that it wanted to interfere with the city's investigation of out-of-state gun dealers or was critical of that effort.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, whose detectives have worked with the agency on gun investigations since 1990, said he believed that Washington was bound to respond.

"We're doing our part, here in New York," Mr. Kelly said after a promotion ceremony yesterday.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Kris
June 5th, 2006, 08:58 AM
June 5, 2006
More Mayors Join New York City Antigun Effort
By SEWELL CHAN

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced yesterday that the mayors of 37 cities including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego and San Francisco have joined his effort to fight the trafficking in illegal guns. Mr. Bloomberg and 14 other mayors held a summit at Gracie Mansion on April 25 and signed a six-point statement vowing to pursue gun dealers who knowingly sell guns to criminals through intermediaries and to oppose federal bills that would restrict cities' access to gun-tracing data.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

MikeW
June 5th, 2006, 06:07 PM
New York lost it's fight for gun control a hundred year ago, when it was first imposed. It's time for NY to realize it lost, realize the rest of the country is not going to tow NYC line, realize that criminals can get guns whenever they want, and let law abiding citizens have them.

lofter1
June 5th, 2006, 08:23 PM
Yeah -- let's just shoot it out all over the place.

Maybe if you first form a "well regulated militia" then I'd go along with your argument ...

MikeW
June 5th, 2006, 10:16 PM
So you're saying that gun control in NY had been a success? The only people who abide by it are the ones you don't have to worry about anyway.


Yeah -- let's just shoot it out all over the place.

Maybe if you first form a "well regulated militia" then I'd go along with your argument ...

lofter1
June 5th, 2006, 11:49 PM
So you're saying that gun control in NY had been a success?
Don't put words in my mouth. Where did I say that?

Kris
June 6th, 2006, 04:21 AM
June 6, 2006
Bloomberg Spells Out Plan for Gun-Sale Restrictions
By DIANE CARDWELL

New York is poised to strengthen controls on gun sales in the city, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday, by limiting handgun purchases, requiring dealers to report inventory more frequently and creating a registry of gun offenders. The city also plans to ban the use and sale of paint kits used to make guns look like toys.

"We're not going to interfere with a lawful right to own or sell guns," Mr. Bloomberg said in announcing the planned legislation, which has the support of Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. The proposed laws, he added, "will close loopholes in the law and help us catch and punish gun traffickers and gun criminals."

Mr. Bloomberg has made the fight against illegal guns a central part of his second-term agenda, and he has worked to make the issue a national priority. But this most recent announcement, made with the City Council leaders who will ultimately be responsible for passing the new laws, focuses on local enforcement.

Violation of any of the four laws announced by the mayor yesterday would carry a penalty of up to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine or both. The laws would either be the first of their kind or substantially tougher than others in the country, Mr. Bloomberg said. They are scheduled to be introduced before the City Council on June 13.

Ms. Quinn said: "We're going to do everything we can to circle the wagons around the problem of guns in our city. I hope that after we pass these bills and we continue over the next three and a half years to do even more to protect New Yorkers from gun violence, other cities look to us and say, 'We're following New York.' "

One of the proposed laws would require people convicted of third-degree criminal weapon possession to register their addresses with the Police Department and report to the police in person every six months. Officials said that roughly 750 people are convicted of that sort of offense each year and that they are more likely than other felons to be rearrested and to be charged with homicide.

Another proposal would limit buyers to one new handgun every three months, a measure intended to make straw purchases, in which one person buys a gun to be used by someone else, more difficult.

There is no current limit on handgun purchases, officials said, although the law regulates the number of handguns people can possess at any one time and does not allow people to buy more than one shotgun or rifle at a time.

The third of the four proposed laws would require gun dealers to send inventory reports to the Police Department twice a year, rather than once, while the final law would stop the sale of paint that can be used to change the color of handguns.

Local laws already require that toy guns be certain pastel or fluorescent colors to distinguish them from real ones. Although no painted guns have been recovered in connection with crimes, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said, the proposed law is a pre-emptive move, intended to stop criminals from potentially tricking police officers with candy-colored weapons.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

MikeW
June 6th, 2006, 10:08 AM
Don't put words in my mouth. Where did I say that?

You didn't. I said it was a failure, and the we need to recognize and deal with that.

Then again, what were you trying to say?

MrSpice
June 6th, 2006, 10:51 AM
So you're saying that gun control in NY had been a success? The only people who abide by it are the ones you don't have to worry about anyway.

We also don't have to worry about mentally unstable people and children having easy access to guns (at least, legal guns). Most of the guns we have problem with come from out of state - predictable from the states that have very lenient gun laws.

MikeW
June 6th, 2006, 01:10 PM
We also don't have to worry about mentally unstable people and children having easy access to guns (at least, legal guns).

Your qualification there is exactly the point. The crooks and the nuts either have guns or can get them easily on the black market. If you want to follow the law, you're unarmed, and at their mercy.


Most of the guns we have problem with come from out of state - predictable from the states that have very lenient gun laws.

Yes, and those states like their lack of gun laws, and are not going to impose laws for NY's sake. And from a congressional standpoint, they are the majority, so Washington isn't going to do anything. So we deny law abiding New Yorkers the ability to protect themselves, for the theoretical, unrealized promise of gun control.

lofter1
June 6th, 2006, 01:32 PM
If you want to follow the law, you're unarmed, and at their mercy....we deny law abiding New Yorkers the ability to protect themselves, for the theoretical, unrealized promise of gun control.
That is BS.

If you follow the law you can buy a gun in NYS.

MikeW
June 6th, 2006, 01:42 PM
I noticed you said NYS, not NYC. Out of the city, you can buy a rifle pretty easily, but that's the least useful type of gun for self defense.

Just to try and get a premises or target permit for a handgun can take 18 months or more, if you're approved, which isn't a given even if you have no problems. Getting a carry permit in NYS, or any permit in NYC takes longer cost more money, and is even likelier to get turned down. Last I looked, the application fee was pushing $200, and if you wanted to actually get approved, you needed to hire an "expediter", to walk your paperwork through (another few hundred bucks).

If don't have a problem with someone wanting a gun to have to get a permit. However, I think the process needs to be reasonable, ie limits to how long it can take and how much it would cost (like 20 business days and $50, to throw out numbers). Also the onus should be on the permitting agency to show that their is a legitimate reason for turning down an applicant (like a criminal conviction).


That is BS.

If you follow the law you can buy a gun in NYS.

ryan
June 6th, 2006, 02:06 PM
I cannot except the idea of a nyc-dwelling gun nut. There is no sane reason to have a gun in NYC.

MikeW
June 6th, 2006, 03:54 PM
I bet the employees of the Wendy's where the massacre occurred would have like to have had guns themselves (instead of just their murderers having them).

I bet Nicole Dufresne or her friends would have liked to have had one (and she sounds like she would use it, too).

I can think of lots of situations where it would have been very handy for the victims to be armed.


I cannot except the idea of a nyc-dwelling gun nut. There is no sane reason to have a gun in NYC.

lofter1
June 6th, 2006, 04:04 PM
MikeW: Do you have any personal stories -- involving yourself -- where you were compelled to use a gun to keep away a gun-toting criminal?

Ninjahedge
June 6th, 2006, 04:21 PM
There will always be isolated incidents of people that are struck down by gun toting individuals in teh city, the question is, would a relaxation of any gun law prevent this?

Mike, to turn your own question back on you, did any of these people want a gun before they were attacked? Would making the gun laws more lenient have somehow encouraged them to get one? Would even posessing them have changed the outcome?

I hate to say it, but a person who gets a gun and is confronted in the incidents you have mentioned sometimes stands a greater chance of being killed. The stakes have gone lethal. Not only that, most people are not Quick-Draw McGraw here. Having a gun while being held by a person at gunpoint does not make the stakes even.


So how is making the gun regulations in NYC a bad thing? If criminals can get them anywhere, and most law abiders have no real problem with it, and MOST do not even WANT a gun in NYC, there is no real arguement here.

You are allowed to bark up whatever tree you want Mike. Just make sure it is a tree and not lamp post. ;)

MikeW
June 6th, 2006, 05:08 PM
I live in NYC, so I don't have one. If the process were made reasonable, I'd get one. Lots of years ago I lived in Jersey, back then I did, and lived with several guys who did (although no one had carry permits, which are also very difficult to get in Jersey). We never had incidents where a gunn would have been necessary.


MikeW: Do you have any personal stories -- involving yourself -- where you were compelled to use a gun to keep away a gun-toting criminal?

ZippyTheChimp
June 6th, 2006, 05:09 PM
So you're saying that gun control in NY had been a success? The only people who abide by it are the ones you don't have to worry about anyway. Are you saying arming law-abiding citizens has been a success?

If so, why has crime in New York dropped at a faster rate than in places without the same level of gun control?

MikeW
June 6th, 2006, 05:15 PM
There will always be isolated incidents of people that are struck down by gun toting individuals in teh city, the question is, would a relaxation of any gun law prevent this?

Mike, to turn your own question back on you, did any of these people want a gun before they were attacked? Would making the gun laws more lenient have somehow encouraged them to get one?

We can't very well ask them, can we, because they're dead.



Would even posessing them have changed the outcome?


Couldn't have made it worse, could it?



I hate to say it, but a person who gets a gun and is confronted in the incidents you have mentioned sometimes stands a greater chance of being killed.



I categorically reject that. There are too many incidents from around the country where a gun in the hands of a potential victim has stopped a crime. I know damn well if I did end up in a violent confrontation, I'd want to have a gun handy.



The stakes have gone lethal. Not only that, most people are not Quick-Draw McGraw here. Having a gun while being held by a person at gunpoint does not make the stakes even.



This is true. But owning and carrying a gun brings with it some responsibilities. Avoiding confrontational situations is one. Maintaining situational awareness is another.




So how is making the gun regulations in NYC a bad thing? If criminals can get them anywhere, and most law abiders have no real problem with it, and MOST do not even WANT a gun in NYC, there is no real arguement here.



You're appointing yourself spokesmen for a lot of people who didn't elect you. No one would have to own or carry a gun. I would just give them the choice.



You are allowed to bark up whatever tree you want Mike. Just make sure it is a tree and not lamp post. ;)

MikeW
June 6th, 2006, 05:20 PM
It had higher to drop from. Also aggressive law enforcement (which I have no problem with). The cops have been very good in dealing with criminals lately, especially implementing the "broken window" style of law enforcement, where small time criminals are dealt with before they get a chance to commit bigger crimes.

But the fact of the matter is that the cops can't be everywhere, and the crooks generally try to avoid committing crimes right in front of them (not always successfully). But chances are, if you victimized, you're on your own till after the fact. You're better off being prepared.


Are you saying arming law-abiding citizens has been a success?

If so, why has crime in New York dropped at a faster rate than in places without the same level of gun control?

ZippyTheChimp
June 6th, 2006, 05:33 PM
^
They have agressive law-enforcement in Texas. No matter how you slice it, you can't explain it away anymore.

Your argument is out-of-date. It was used by the NRA twenty years ago to validate arming civilians. This was supposed to reduce crime.

It was hard to argue at the time, given the statistics, but in reality, the big cities in the 80s were just ahead of the curve. Within a few years, crime escalated in these "safe" places.

Today, even the NRA has abandoned that line of reasoning, and gone back to the Second Amendment.

Ninjahedge
June 7th, 2006, 08:38 AM
I live in NYC, so I don't have one. If the process were made reasonable, I'd get one. Lots of years ago I lived in Jersey, back then I did, and lived with several guys who did (although no one had carry permits, which are also very difficult to get in Jersey). We never had incidents where a gunn would have been necessary.

So you are saying that you would get one if it were easier, and that when you were in Jersey your friends had them but you didn't.

Mike, you are stretching the arguement again.

You did not get one then, you did not get one now. If you REALLY wanted or needed one, you would have gotten one by now. Making it more difficult for people to get them prevents people like yourself from getting guns that they have no real purpose for.

You realize also that a sizable percentage of the shootings in NYC and other areas are ACCIDENTAL, right? Mostly from people who got a gun for no other reason than to shoot inanimate objects at a target range, impress their friends, "protect" themselves or "hunt".

Odd that they are responsible for a larger number of lives taken than lives saved, isn't it?

Ninjahedge
June 7th, 2006, 08:50 AM
We can't very well ask them, can we, because they're dead.

I was asking you, not them. Did any of them apply for a permit? If YOU could not ask them, then using them as an example for validation of making the obtaining of a gun is also invalid.

IOW, you just proved my point. If I can't ask them if they wanted a gun or not, neither can you and your argument about the possibility of them getting one and not being killed if gun control laws were more lenient is invalid.


Couldn't have made it worse, could it?

Yes it could have. With a gun one of that persons family members could have been killed by them, or another family member. Whether by accident or in a fit of rage it does not matter.

Saying that it could not get worse does NOT invalidate my question of it not getting better.


I categorically reject that. There are too many incidents from around the country where a gun in the hands of a potential victim has stopped a crime. I know damn well if I did end up in a violent confrontation, I'd want to have a gun handy.

Bull. I ask you to provide information on this. You are quoting here-say. Having a pistol in your pocket while you are being mugged does not turn you into Clint Eastwood. The guy has his gun drawn and on you.


AAMOF, learning martial arts probably has a better chance of being able to disarm and incapacitate a mugger (especially at close quarters) than a pistol in your pocket.

And again, if you want to have a gun handy, why have you not tried? It seems like you just want the easy way out for something you want and you are trying to site inconclusive nonexistent evidence and unconvincing motivations and the like as a reason for you to be able to get a gun more easily.

Either that or you are over-personifying the argument by saying "I would get one" a little too often. (As if your wanting one makes your arguments more cogent).


This is true. But owning and carrying a gun brings with it some responsibilities. Avoiding confrontational situations is one. Maintaining situational awareness is another.

And you are going to somehow give people magical guns that would make them somehow more responsible with them? If you could, maybe you can get them in the hands of the criminals too! :p


You're appointing yourself spokesmen for a lot of people who didn't elect you. No one would have to own or carry a gun. I would just give them the choice.

What the hell are you smoking? What does having to be elected have ANYTHING to do with talking about an issue on a bulletin board? And since when does speaking out against an issue that WOULD DIRECTLY EFFECT ME, such as the sale and licensing of weapons in an area where I live and work, since when does saying anything about that require I be "elected" to do so?

Your arguments are getting weaker and weaker. Please stop the flames before they start. Your straw men would not stand a chance!

lofter1
June 13th, 2006, 10:00 AM
Judge overturns San Francisco weapons ban (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/n/a/2006/06/12/state/n154229D74.DTL)

By DAVID KRAVETS
AP Legal Affairs Writer
June 12, 2006

A state trial judge on Monday overturned a voter-approved city ordinance that banned handgun possession and firearm sales in San Francisco, siding with gun owners who said the city did not have the authority to prohibit the weapons.

Measure H was placed on the November ballot by the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors, who were frustrated by a rising number of gun-related homicides in the city of 750,000. San Francisco recorded at least 94 murders last year, a 10-year high.

The National Rifle Association sued a day after 58 percent of voters approved the law.

In siding with the gun owners, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge James Warren said a local government cannot ban weapons because the California Legislature allows their sale and possession.

"My clients are thrilled that the court recognized that law-abiding firearms owners who choose to own a gun to defend themselves or their families are part of the solution and not part of the problem," NRA attorney Chuck Michel said. "Hopefully, the city will recognize that gun owners can contribute to the effort to fight the criminal misuse of firearms, a goal that we all share."

The ordinance targeted only city residents, meaning nonresidents in the city or even tourists were not banned from possessing or selling guns here.

Warren's decision was not unexpected. In 1982, a California appeals court nullified an almost identical San Francisco gun ban largely on grounds that the city cannot enact an ordinance that conflicts with state law.

But years later, in 1998, a state appeals court upheld West Hollywood's ban on the sale of so-called Saturday night specials, small and cheap handguns that city leaders said contributed to violent crime. And three years ago, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of Los Angeles and Alameda counties, saying local governments could ban the possession and sale of weapons on government property, such as fairgrounds.

That decision, however, did not address the issue of private property sales and possession, as outlined in the San Francisco law.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit also is considering a challenge to a similar handgun ban in the District of Columbia that alleges the law violates a Second Amendment right of individuals to bear arms.

The NRA lawsuit here avoided those allegations.

Matt Dorsey, a spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera, whose office unsuccessfully defended the law before Warren, said the city was mulling whether it was going to appeal.

"We're disappointed that the court has denied the right of voters to enact a reasonable, narrowly tailored restriction on handgun possession," Dorsey said. "San Francisco voters spoke loud and clear on the issue of gun violence."

The case is Fiscal v. San Francisco 05-505960.

2006 Associated Press

brianac
January 24th, 2011, 05:45 AM
January 23, 2011, 11:00 am

100 Years Ago, the Shot That Spurred New York’s Gun-Control Law

By PETER DUFFY (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/author/peter-duffy/)


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2011/01/21/nyregion/21sullivan-cityroom/21sullivan-cityroom-blog480.jpg The New York Times, May 11, 1911.
Nothing spurs talk of gun-control legislation quite like a highly publicized crime committed with the aid of a handgun.

Such was the case 100 years ago this month, when a brazen murder committed near Gramercy Park (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/books/review/Duffy-t.html) led to the enactment a few months later of New York State’s landmark Sullivan Law, which required police-issued licenses for those wishing to possess concealable firearms and made carrying an unlicensed concealed weapon a felony (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/nyregion/2011/bar-hidden-weapons.pdf) (pdf).

The Sullivan Law, still on the books as section 400.00 of the New York Penal Law (http://law.onecle.com/new-york/penal/PEN0400.00_400.00.html), became a model for gun-control legislation enacted throughout the country (https://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-284.html#FOOTNOTE_7).
On Jan. 23, 1911, a novelist, David Graham Phillips, was shot by Fitzhugh Coyle Goldsborough in a brazen early afternoon attack on East 21st Street (or, as it is known today, Gramercy Park North). After firing six shots, Goldsborough put the gun to his temple, killing himself. Phillips survived until the next evening.

George Petit le Brun, who worked in the city’s coroner’s office, was moved to act. “I reasoned that the time had come to have legislation passed that would prevent the sale of pistols to irresponsible persons,” he wrote in his 1960 autobiography (http://books.google.com/books?id=er-rHAAACAAJ&dq=it's+time+to+tell,+george+petit+le+brun&hl=en&ei=4Fw4TYnLJIKClAfyhPCMBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAA). “In the vernacular of the day, ‘There oughta be a law.’ ”

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/09/30/nyregion/bigtim-190.jpgUnderwood & Underwood
Timothy D. Sullivan in 1913.

He sent letters to prominent New Yorkers urging their support for “a law, whereby a person having a revolver in his possession, either concealed or displayed, unless for some legitimate purpose, could be punished by a severe prison sentence,” as he told The New York Times less than a week after the killing (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/nyregion/2011/revolver-kills-fast-increasing.pdf) (pdf). He drew up a list of recommendations for the State Legislature and delivered them to State Senator Timothy D. Sullivan, a Tammany Hall boss better known as “Big Tim” Sullivan (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/big-tim-sullivan-tammany-kingmaker/).

Sullivan was already on record as pledging to introduce legislation that placed restrictions on guns. “The gun toter and the tough man – I don’t want his vote,” he said during his 1910 campaign (http://books.google.com/books?id=2nLW0Ext6RUC&pg=PA145&dq=the+gun+toter+and+the+tough+man+--+i+don%27t+want+his+vote&hl=en&ei=iEs4TZ7UNoG0lQeT9eXlBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=the%20gun%20toter&f=false%20and%20the%20tough%20man%20--%20i%20don%27t%20want%20his%20vote&f=false). “There are a lot of good, law-abiding people in the Lower East Side. They do not like to have the red badge of shame waved over that part of the city. They have no sympathy with the tough men, the men who tote guns and use them far too frequently.”

The Sullivan bill was opposed by the state’s gun manufacturers and, most prominently, State Senator Timothy Ferris (http://home.comcast.net/~richardson156/wagerf.html) of Oneida County. “Your bill won’t stop murders,” Ferris saidduring the legislative debate (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/nyregion/2011/bar-hidden-weapons.pdf) (pdf). “You can’t force a burglar to get a license to use a gun. He’ll get one from another state.” The issue of whether the law violated the United States Constitution was raised. In a letter to The Times (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/nyregion/2011/senator-sullivans-firearms-bill.pdf) (pdf), a “law-abiding citizen” wrote that he objected to the “automatic establishment of a presumption of felonious intent by the proposed law on the part of a citizen possessed of arms for home defense. Hence the unconstitutionality of the proposed law.”

Others were skeptical of the motives of Sullivan, notorious for his association with the underworld. “Cynics suggested that Big Tim pushed through his law so Tammany could keep their gangster allies under control,” wrote Richard F. Welch in his 2009 biography, “King of the Bowery: Big Tim Sullivan, Tammany Hall, and New York City from the Gilded Age to the Progressive Era (http://books.google.com/books?id=ipaBEsujrsEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=big+tim+sullivan&hl=en&ei=u0w4TaXgN8T7lwfYicXLBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=gun%20control&f=false).”

“Hoodlums who forgot who really ran things in the city could be easily arrested if found with a gun – or if one was slipped into their pocket,” Mr. Welch wrote. “The Big Feller surely heard the charges and likely shrugged them off. If there were political benefits from doing the right thing, what was the problem? But all the available evidence indicates that Tim’s fight to bring firearms under control sprang from heartfelt conviction.”

He certainly sounded sincere.

“I don’t know anything about the Bible except what I’ve heard from Senator Brackett and others here, where quotations are continually made,” Sullivan said during the Senate debate. “It seems to me, though, that this bill, if passed, will help along obedience to the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ I think so much of this measure that if you pass it I believe it will save more souls than all the preachers in the city talking for the next 10 years.”

The Sullivan Law, which sailed through both houses of the Legislature, went into effect as the clock struck midnight on Aug. 31, 1911 (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/nyregion/2011/bar-hidden-weapons.pdf) (pdf).

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/100-years-ago-the-shot-that-spurred-new-yorks-gun-control-law/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Ninjahedge
January 24th, 2011, 08:30 AM
“Your bill won’t stop murders,” Ferris saidduring the legislative debate (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/nyregion/2011/bar-hidden-weapons.pdf) (pdf). “You can’t force a burglar to get a license to use a gun. He’ll get one from another state.”


Hmmmm, where have I heard that before...

brianac
January 26th, 2011, 04:13 AM
Bloomberg’s Gun-Limits Coalition Grows, but Finds a Hard Sell in Washington

By ELIZABETH A. HARRIS

Published: January 25, 2011

In the spring of 2006, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/michael_r_bloomberg/index.html?inline=nyt-per) and 14 other mayors from across the country stood at Gracie Mansion and announced that they would take up the fight for stricter gun regulation, vowing to raise the pressure on a volatile national issue.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2011/01/26/nyregion/ARMS/ARMS-popup.jpgOzier Muhammad/The New York Times
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg invited 34 people to City Hall on Monday to talk about how gun violence had affected their lives. In 2006, Mr. Bloomberg co-founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

“If the leadership won’t come from Congress or come from the White House,” Mr. Bloomberg said, “then it has to come from us.”

Nearly five years later, Mr. Bloomberg has used his political bully pulpit and personal wealth to promote and expand his coalition, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (http://www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org/html/home/home.shtml), which now claims more than 550 members. And the issue of gun control has helped elevate his national profile.

But despite the coalition’s size, its deep pockets and its muscular public relations operation, Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign has failed to force major strengthening of federal gun control laws.

“You’ve got an alternative voice to the dominant N.R.A. (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/national_rifle_association/index.html?inline=nyt-org) voice, and that adds to the dialogue,” said Douglas Muzzio, a professor at the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/b/baruch_college/index.html?inline=nyt-org). “The question then becomes: Does the dialogue lead to effective action? And that’s more of an unknown. I have not seen a direct connection between what they’re standing for and any substantive policy change.”

In 2009, Mr. Bloomberg’s group gave the Obama administration a report listing 40 ways it could strengthen federal gun rules without any Congressional action, from increasing enforcement of existing laws to tightening background checks. Only one proposal has been taken up by the White House, a rule, not yet in force, requiring dealers to report to federal officials when they make a sale involving multiple rifles or other long guns.

Opponents of gun control have largely succeeded in blocking Congress from restricting the availability of guns, even after high-profile mass killings, from Columbine to Virginia Tech (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/v/virginia_polytechnic_institute_and_state_universit y/index.html?inline=nyt-org) to Tucson. A national database that is supposed to prevent certain classes of people, including those with a record of mental illness or domestic violence, from having guns is woefully incomplete, gun control advocates say.

After Senator John Kerry (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/john_kerry/index.html?inline=nyt-per) of Massachusetts was defeated in the 2004 presidential election — in which gun control was a pivotal issue in several states that the Democrats lost — many Democratic politicians decided that pushing for gun restriction was not worth the political price.

Still, advocates for gun owners do not take Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign lightly. “We have billions of reasons to make sure we take him seriously, looking at the dollars,” said Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association.

As part of its campaign, Mr. Bloomberg’s coalition lobbies Congress and pays for political advertisements. The coalition, which was co-founded by Mayor Thomas M. Menino (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/thomas_m_menino/index.html?inline=nyt-per) of Boston, has a full-time staff of about 15 in mayors’ offices around the country and an annual budget of about $6 million in 2011. Mr. Bloomberg has given his own money to the organization and has traveled repeatedly to Washington to lobby lawmakers.

Mr. Bloomberg has also taken the fight to the public, in sometimes dramatic fashion. On Monday, he marched 34 friends and relatives of victims of gun violence across a stage in City Hall to express their pain and anger over the easy availability of guns.

“Any mayor of a big city, and particularly the mayor of one of largest media markets in the country, can have a big influence,” said Richard M. Aborn, who led Handgun Control, a lobbying group that is now called the Brady Campaign (http://www.bradycampaign.org/). “He or she can be helpful in building coalitions we need to bring pressure on Washington.”

Despite the frosty climate in Washington to stricter gun regulations, the mayors’ group has had some success, and some say that even incremental change on a difficult issue is noteworthy.

“When I was a legislator, I once put in a bill 13 years before I got it passed,” said Daniel L. Feldman, an associate professor of public management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/j/john_jay_college_of_criminal_justice/index.html?inline=nyt-org) and a former New York State assemblyman, who supports tighter gun laws.

“There is a Talmudic line this calls to mind: it is not yours to complete the task, but neither may you desist from it.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s group was part of a successful campaign to defeat an amendment that would have allowed gun owners with a valid concealed-weapon permit from one state to carry a concealed firearm in other states. And the mayors pressured Congress to change federal rules to make it easier for law enforcement agencies to obtain data that allows them to trace guns.

The killing of six people and the wounding of Representative Gabrielle Giffords (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/g/gabrielle_giffords/index.html?inline=nyt-per) outside a Tucson supermarket this month have renewed the push for stricter gun control laws, including measures that would limit the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines and that would require background checks of people who buy guns at gun shows.

Mr. Bloomberg and his mayoral allies have been at the forefront of efforts to turn the Tucson shootings into a major shift in the debate on gun control. But as Mr. Bloomberg himself has acknowledged, his group’s power in Washington only goes so far.

“Did Gabrielle Giffords change things?” Mr. Feldman said. “I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/nyregion/26arms.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

BBMW
January 26th, 2011, 05:18 PM
I love how the media thinks that the NRA is such an omnipotent entity that it can directly control congress against what the MSM thinks is the "will of the people"

The problem is that they have the will of the people backwards. The reason that gun control doesn't go anywhere at the national level is that there are millions, if not tens of millions of gun owners out there who are very dedicated and driven to prevent gun control from taking hold. There may be an equal number of those who might want gun control, but they're not nearly as active, vocal, and organized. Also the basic organization of goverment tends to give more influence to the areas that have strong support for gun rights, than to those those areas with more gun control advocates.

And let's not forget that the Supreme Court has now ruled that individuals now have a basic constitutional right to own and, as I likely think will get fleshed out, carry guns.

Ninjahedge
January 28th, 2011, 07:53 AM
Um, if there are 311M (http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html) people in the states, and ~10M that want no gun control, how is it that they seem to have so much sway over our governmental legislation?

You say it is not the NRA, but you then say:


gun owners out there who are very dedicated and driven to prevent gun control from taking hold. There may be an equal number of those who might want gun control, but they're not nearly as active, vocal, and organized

That "organization" IS the NRA (among others).

And the Supreme Court only rules on what laws are present. If presented with the question of people being shot by those same guns, they might have a differing opinion.

So, just because the 2nd amendment leaves us with an enigmatic, outdated term like "right to bear arms", does that mean we give sociopaths the right to have them?

No?

Why?

Because they have a higher chance of hurting someone.

OK, so if the 2nd is not absolute, then you CAN start limiting the posession of guns if they pose a more significant risk to others than your "safe" and "responsible" user in a controlled situation.

I am 100% for Arizona allowing guns everywhere. I am just waiting for data on their crime rates (specifically any shifts in severity of some) and with things such as illegal sale and trafficing across their state lines. Let them go 5 years and see what happens on a relatively small isolated state (population-wise).

The only thing to keep in mind, however, is that NYC is not AZ. Anyone that somehow thinks so really needs to study up on social engineering.

BBMW
January 28th, 2011, 12:45 PM
Um, if there are 311M (http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html) people in the states, and ~10M that want no gun control, how is it that they seem to have so much sway over our governmental legislation?

You say it is not the NRA, but you then say:



That "organization" IS the NRA (among others).



If you think that there are tens of millions of gun owners just sitting around waiting for the NRA to say go before they go after their various gov't representitives every time some gun control proposal comes along, you're mistaken.

This is especially true with the internet. It's become a really grass roots thing. I watch a couple gun forums (and there are A LOT of them.) Any time there's a new item about anyone proposing any new gun control measure pretty much anywhere, it pops up on the radar and there's s flurry of activity as one poster pushes the the others to contact their representitives to squash it. Any time there's a media poll about gun control, they're all over it. None of this has anything to do with the NRA.




And the Supreme Court only rules on what laws are present. If presented with the question of people being shot by those same guns, they might have a differing opinion.



That's not really relevent to what gets to there level. The questions that get there are petitions from individuals who feel their rights have been trampled. And the other side is usually some government body. If someone gets shot, who are they going to sue? And is there anyone other than the person that shot them that is liable? They tried the gun manufacturers, but that largely failed. There's really not counterparty to go after. You can't sue a gun.




So, just because the 2nd amendment leaves us with an enigmatic, outdated term like "right to bear arms", does that mean we give sociopaths the right to have them?

No?

Why?

Because they have a higher chance of hurting someone.


Define a sociopath legally? Actually it can be done. But only after they've been judged legally insane. Generally that only happens after they've done something sigificant.



OK, so if the 2nd is not absolute, then you CAN start limiting the posession of guns if they pose a more significant risk to others than your "safe" and "responsible" user in a controlled situation.



The constitution does not appear to allow that. But I'm sure that's going to be run up the flagpole and decided explicitly, because I'm sure that some of the state level "assault" rifle bans will be challenged.




I am 100% for Arizona allowing guns everywhere. I am just waiting for data on their crime rates (specifically any shifts in severity of some) and with things such as illegal sale and trafficing across their state lines. Let them go 5 years and see what happens on a relatively small isolated state (population-wise).


I think at some point, the state line thing is going to become irrelevent. I think the states ability to prevent people from crossing borders with guns is one of the earlier sets of laws that are going to go down when these decisions start getting traction.



The only thing to keep in mind, however, is that NYC is not AZ. Anyone that somehow thinks so really needs to study up on social engineering.

In the end, were all the same country. Since the constitution is national, and these rulings apply nationwide, NY is going to have to deal with their impact.

lofter1
January 28th, 2011, 01:07 PM
Based on your line of thinking the government has no right to control the use or possession of any Arms by a US Citizen whatsoever.

Conversely, should it be agreed that the government does have the right, if not the obligation, to do so then the door is open and it becomes a matter of degrees by which the right to keep and bear arms, guns, bombs, ammunition, etc. is protected and / or allowed.

BBMW
January 28th, 2011, 01:30 PM
^
Not so much based on my thinking, but the thinking of the writers of tbe Bill of Rights. Remember they explicitly wanted the people of the United State to have the capability of overthrowing the goverment if they felt the government was trampling their rights. So what your saying is completely consistant with their thinking.

lofter1
January 28th, 2011, 01:48 PM
One man's "overthrowing the government" for trampling on rights (perceived or otherwise) is another man's insurrection.

The Constitution also explicitly states that the Legislature has the right "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions."

If the 2nd Amendment fully disallows any governmental control regarding use & possession of Arms then the government's use of a Militia for the suppression of those who opt for an armed overthrow (supposedly in order to protect their perceived rights) would lead to a situation where such suppression ends in armed battle between the two sides.

If that is the inevitable end point then Civil War would seem unavoidable.

Is it not in the general interest of the United States, through age-old compromise, that such a situation be avoided?

Another option for "overthrowing the government" is at the ballot box.

BBMW
January 28th, 2011, 02:34 PM
Remember, the people who wrote the constitution took part in an armed insurrection against what they considered a tyrannical government. That concept was not foreign to them.

You may think the 2nd amendment is anachronistic and dangerous. However, whether or not that's the case, it's in there and, as such, must be enforced.

The only other option is to remove it. Maybe you should write Chuck Shumer and ask him to introduce a repeal amendment?

Ninjahedge
January 28th, 2011, 02:38 PM
BTW BBMW, they DO make it illegal for criminals to own guns, whether or not they are deemed insane.

Why? Because they pose a risk to those around them. By your reasoning, all criminals short of crazy should be allowed to get guns. That, as was said, is not the law and has never been contested.

The question then becomes, where do these intermediary lines get drawn and why.

The original intent of the 2nd can no longer be met with our current international situation, so continuously bringing it up as an incontestable LITERAL proclamation of the law in the country is not a fair assessment.

What needs to be defines is its original intent. Gun ownership or national defense? Personal protection or "freedom insurance" against despotism? Most of its original intent, such as a part time style "national guard" or town militia no longer applies and should not hold any weight in decisions concerning it now.

Personal protection is debatable, but is also EASILY argued in relation to what is needed. Pump shottie or double barrel, 6 shooter fine, but 31 round semi-auto pistol?

When are you going to be attacked by 12 people and need to have 2-3 shots per person?

And that is not even getting into what other "enthusiasts" would like to see opened up, from modern automatic rifles, to 50 caliber sniper rifles.

In order to get this cleared up, new "base" laws need to be drawn up to re-establish our position on gun ownership. From there, specific dictates and doctrines can be adopted, but if we stay with this enigmatic declaration of "right" as an absolute and incontestable idiom then we ignore the reason thatit was WRITTEN as a non-absolute document.

So it can be changed with the times and the needs of the people.

Ninjahedge
January 28th, 2011, 02:40 PM
Remember, the people who wrote the constitution took part in an armed insurrection against what they considered a tyrannical government. That concept was not foreign to them.

You may think the 2nd amendment is anachronistic and dangerous. However, whether or not that's the case, it's in there and, as such, must be enforced.

The only other option is to remove it. Maybe you should write Chuck Shumer and ask him to introduce a repeal amendment?

Don't play absolutes.

And don't think inclusion in the constitution makes a dictate untouchable.

As was brought up in the past, blacks were property back then and, although they had no vote, gave 3/5 of a vote to their owner in the eye of the nation. Was this right? Did it fit the time? Did it change as time changed?

Don't even get me started on Prohibition!

lofter1
January 28th, 2011, 03:28 PM
Remember, the people who wrote the constitution took part in an armed insurrection against what they considered a tyrannical government. That concept was not foreign to them.


Neither was the concept & reality of overreachers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shays_Rebellion) who put themselves above the General Welfare of the Union. Hence the Insurrection clause and subsequent Act.

A tyrannical government, or control thereof, is nowhere mentioned in the US Constitution (http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html).

However, Tyranny is noted in the Declaration of Independence (http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/), but in reference to the King who ruled the colonial revolutionaries:



The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

There is a second mention of Tyranny in regard to the King:



He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny ...

Hard to argue that either apply to our current situation.





You may think the 2nd amendment is anachronistic and dangerous. However, whether or not that's the case, it's in there and, as such, must be enforced.

The enforcement depends upon the interpretation of the Amendment and how it fits into the Constitution as a whole -- which, as history shows, is moveable and shifting.




The only other option is to remove it.


Or to see it from a reasonable viewpoint and understand that there are often better ways to solve problems than at the end of a gun. Especially if said weapon can fire 30 rounds per minute.

Or a million RPM (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/002/893foort.asp).

I guess an absolutist view of Number 2 would declare such Arms allowable.

BBMW
January 28th, 2011, 04:59 PM
I was going to reply to each point but don't have the patience.

But to the final point, you've been declared incorrect by the supreme court. They have declared, to date, there is an individual right to keep and bear arms and that this right is binding to all governmental levels in the US. This is now settled. Short of constitutional amendment it is unchangable. Learn to live with it, because you have no choice.

The exact perimeters of this right will be fleshed out in future cases. But extrapolating from what has been decided to date, if you looking for sweeping curbs on what types of weapons individuals can 'keep and bear', I think you're going to be very disappointed.



<snip>

So it can be changed with the times and the needs of the people.

BBMW
January 28th, 2011, 05:01 PM
You're correct on slavery and prohabition. And how were both eliminated (and for prohabition instituted)? Constitutional amendment. If the right to keep and bear arms in eliminated, that will be the only way it goes.


Don't play absolutes.

And don't think inclusion in the constitution makes a dictate untouchable.

As was brought up in the past, blacks were property back then and, although they had no vote, gave 3/5 of a vote to their owner in the eye of the nation. Was this right? Did it fit the time? Did it change as time changed?

Don't even get me started on Prohibition!

BBMW
January 28th, 2011, 05:07 PM
The enforcement depends upon the interpretation of the Amendment and how it fits into the Constitution as a whole -- which, as history shows, is moveable and shifting.



Not really.

As far as the 2nd goes, for centuries it was essentially uninterpreted. There was a fuzzy, indirect precident from the Miller case that really didn't settle anything. But now with Heller and McDonald, we have two very firm, declarative precidents. There not a complete interpretation to the detail level, but they set important boundaries. These are not going to change.

Look how long the conservatives tried to get Row v Wade overturned. But the couldn't, it was too direct and decisive.




Or to see it from a reasonable viewpoint and understand that there are often better ways to solve problems than at the end of a gun. Especially if said weapon can fire 30 rounds per minute.

Or a million RPM (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/002/893foort.asp).

I guess an absolutist view of Number 2 would declare such Arms allowable.

They may very well be. The amendment says "arms" not "guns". It may very well cover any weapon of war.

lofter1
January 28th, 2011, 05:08 PM
I was going to reply to each point but don't have the patience.

... you've been declared incorrect by the supreme court. They have declared, to date, there is an individual right to keep and bear arms and that this right is binding to all governmental levels in the US. This is now settled. Short of constitutional amendment it is unchangable.

You're just wrong there. A future decision by SCOTUS could go against the recent precedent and declare otherwise. Look what SCOTUS did in regard to Plessy v. Ferguson and more recently with Citizens United.

Patience and Prudence are exactly what are needed when deciding matters of import.

lofter1
January 28th, 2011, 05:10 PM
It may very well cover any weapon of war.

To an absolutist, yes. But to reasonable people, who understand the probable repercussions, such a position makes little sense.

That would mean that anyone can, if they think it necessary, possess and use a nuke to protect their supposed individual rights.

We're called the United States of America for a reason. Otherwise the founders might have declared us the Land of Individuals, Unity and States be Damned.

BBMW
January 28th, 2011, 05:20 PM
We can argue this back and forth, and, most likely no one is changing positions.

There are more cases coming down the pipeline. Some of these are from, and directly affecting NY. By way of prediction, I'm going to say they're going be decided in ways that expand 2nd Amendment protections rather than diminish them.

We can put this to sleep until one of these case comes in, and see what happens.

ZippyTheChimp
January 28th, 2011, 06:10 PM
Define a sociopath legally? Actually it can be done. But only after they've been judged legally insane. Generally that only happens after they've done something sigificant.At odds with your often cited phrase law-abiding citizen.