"I just read your 'If a black man is armed, is he a criminal?' (Review-Journal, Dec. 4.) I found it interesting and timely. On the news tonight Shell oil had a forecourt service guy describe how he had watched a security guard receive a good kicking and then handed over the night's takings -- otherwise the bad guy would have stuck him with a knife.
"The police said he did a perfect job they can now get on with investigating the robbery. A double barrel shotgun under the counter would have allowed a much simpler police investigation. ...
"In New Zealand we have to have a 10-year renewable firearms license that is required for everything except air rifles and air pistols. ... A 'B' category license covers pistols which you must use on a approved range at least 12 times per year (no shooting off range and no hunting) and they are registered with about a 20 percent error rate in rego details.
"An 'E' category license is for 'military style' assaults rifles," Mr. Vincent reports. "Semi-auto only and all are registered. If you have an E-cat ALL your firearms are registered. Here comes the confiscation :-( even if the police won't admit it.
"Of course when you apply for your license you must sign a declaration that you will never use a firearm in defense of self or property.
"Richard Hilliard, mentioned in your earlier article ('Familiar anti-capitalist sound bytes,' Review-Journal Nov. 6,) obviously lives in a fairyland where pigs can and do fly to say that firearms could never be banned in the USA.
"There have been some defensive shootings that the police did not manage to prosecute here. A farmer lost his farm in legal fees but was found not guilty after shooting a thief in the process of steeling his 4-wheeler farm bike. The thief has sworn off theft. ... Maybe having a 12-gauge slug enter your back just below rib height and exit out the side of his throat gave him a new outook on his ways. ..."
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I wrote last week that "A decade ago, when former state Sen. Sue Lowden tried to make the shots optional for Nevada public-school kids -- allowing Nevada parents to make their own informed decisions on the matter -- the Culinary Union successfully campaigned to unseat her, contending such a proposal meant she 'favored contagious diseases' among children."
A Utah reader writes to insist childhood vaccinations "are optional in all states -- They want you to believe they are mandatory; they are not. You can exempt your children in every state ... so far."
I plead guilty to oversimplifying in my recap of those decade-old events.
Yes, childhood inoculations are optional everywhere, in that they're required only for admission to the government schools -- and no one is really required to send his or her kids there.
More specifically, Nevada has long afforded a "religious exemption." The problem is that people who object for other reasons felt they were being required to perjure themselves and swear "I belong to a church that forbids me from getting my kids these shots as a matter of doctrine" if they wanted their kids to attend a government school without being vaccinated.
What Ms. Lowden's proposal actually did (It was briefly passed into law, then reversed in a new vote a few days later when the braying chorus set in) was expand the conscientious exemption, so that you didn't have to claim membership in some specific church which bars the practice.
But I can assure you the Culinary Union did target Sen. Lowden with a campaign that claimed she was in favor of infectious diseases among children -- one of the more cynical assaults on medical freedom I've seen here in the past 15 years, which is saying a bit.
For those interested in this issue, I recommend "Vaccines: Are They Really Safe and Effective? A Parent's Guide" and "Vaccines, Autism and Childhood Disorders," both by Neil Z. Miller, $12.95 each plus $3.50 shipping from New Atlantean Press, P.O. Box 9638-925, Santa Fe, NM 87504; tel. 505-983-1856, or Online at http://thinktwice.com/vaccine.htm .
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Back on Nov. 8, some 58 percent of San Francisco voters who went to the polls opted to ban the future sale and possession of handguns in that city, giving residents who had previously believed themselves protected by the Bill of Rights until April 1 to get rid of these tools of self-defense.
"Proposition H" is so restrictive it would prevent police officers from carrying firearms while off duty; it doesn't even grant a police exemption for the ban on firearms "transfers," making it unclear how a cop could turn in his weapon in to an armorer for repair, or how the department could even issue pistols or ammunition to its officers -- since both of those actions would seem to qualify under the legal lingo as "transfers."
No wonder even the city police union opposed this measure.
The NRA, which will challenge this supposed law in court, agreed not to seek an immediate restraining order, in exchange for a concession from the city that the effective date of the ban on handgun sales will be delayed from Jan. 1 to March 1.
Historian Clayton Cramer analyzes the chances this law will be overturned in the Jan. 1 (newsstand edition of Jan. 16) "Shotgun News," concluding it directly violates California Government Code B 53071, which pre-empts local jurisdictions from infringing this right any further than state law already manages to accomplish.
"If not for the rather bizarre nature of the California judiciary, this would be slam dunk," he writes, quoting even San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who supported the rape facilitation measure, as saying "It clearly will be thrown out. ... It's so overtly pre-empted. ... It's really a public opinion poll at the end of the day."
Which is bad enough, when you think about it. Fifty-eight percent of voting San Franciscans want to see to it that small, weak people stand disarmed when larger, violent people decide to rape or rob them.
Given all the case histories now on file -- Detroit, Washington, New York City, Australia, England -- do we really need to note that violent crime goes up under any such ordinance, since armed thugs hardly ever obey such laws, whereas law-abiding citizens would thus be stripped of any credible deterrent?
It was Richard Henry Lee, drafter of the Second Amendment as well as the rest of the Bill of Rights, who advised us, "To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."