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The Libertarian

Vin Suprynowicz

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The Second Amendment Foundation, headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, announced in mid-April that they have finally prevailed upon New Orleans authorities to start returning some of the firearms confiscated from law-abiding citizens there in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“More than seven months have passed since New Orleans residents were forcibly and illegally disarmed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina,” the SAF announced, “and starting Monday, April 17, the City of New Orleans will be returning seized firearms to their rightful owners, thanks to legal action by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and National Rifle Association (NRA).

“The city had been denying for more than five months that these guns were in possession,” said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. “Only when SAF and the NRA filed a motion to have Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley held in contempt of court did city officials miraculously discover that more than a thousand seized firearms were being stored. ...

“Gun owners will have to provide proof of ownership, which could include a bill of sale, a description of the firearm including brand and model and the serial number or a notarized affidavit that describes the firearm,” the SAF announced. “Before firearms are returned, New Orleans police will conduct a background check.”

“Our victory in court should send a clear signal that no mayor or police chief can suspend the Constitution on a whim, or seize private property, including firearms, from private citizens without due process,” Mr. Gottlieb preened. “Public officials better remember that if they ever try another arbitrary seizure of firearms from their law-abiding owners, SAF will be there to stop them.”

This lawsuit took time and money. I’m glad it was filed; I’m glad for its partial success.

But if this is what now passes for a mighty “victory” in defense of our gun rights, how far have our expectations fallen? What “clear signals,” precisely, have been sent? What price have Messrs. Nagin and Riley paid for their repulsive crimes against our Constitution and our freedoms?

Care to guess how many firearms will never be successfully reclaimed? How many will have been damaged sufficiently to suffer a (presumably uncompensated) 50 percent reduction in value? (I’ve seen the care with which many young officers throw around confiscated “weapons.”)

Mayor Nagin and Police Superintendent Riley and all their minions deprived the law-abiding citizens of New Orleans of their God-given and constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms at precisely that time of unrest and disorder when those arms were most likely to be needed to defend themselves and to help maintain public order.

These uniformed or elected traitors to the Constitution should at the very least be out of work, while a more satisfactory result would see them currently facing federal jail time on charges of massively violating the Civil Rights of people whose rights they were charged with protecting -- plus conspiracy felony indictments as accessories after the fact to any robbery, burglary, assault or murder suffered by any of their disarmed victims in the interim.

Further, police should be required to fully reimburse citizens for any weapons they bought over the past seven months to replace those seized without reason. Has New Orleans no honest judges?

Wait; strike that.

Having to undergo a background check to get your own firearms back? At whose cost? I don’t know about anyone else, but I no longer have “bills of sale” for most of my pieces. As far as I’m concerned, any list of serial numbers might as well be titled “Make Sure You Seize All These.” Wasn’t it the responsibility of the cops to keep careful track of which tools of freedom they were seizing from whom?



But if you think that’s bad, have you seen the video of the federal DEA agent shooting himself in the foot with a Glock .40 while showing it off to a classroom full of kids? (View it at http://media.putfile.com/03084899.)

Now, at http://nalert.blogspot.com/2006/04/dea-agent-who-shot-self-in-foot-sues.html, we learn that “A Drug Enforcement Administration agent who stars in a popular online video that shows him shooting himself in the foot during a weapons demonstration for Florida children is suing over the tape’s release, claiming that his career has been crippled and he’s become a laughingstock due to the embarrassing clip’s distribution.”

Yeah, that’s why he’s a laughing stock.

“Lee Paige, 45, blames the video’s release on DEA officials in an April 7 federal lawsuit filed against the U.S. government. ... According to the lawsuit, Paige was making a ‘drug education presentation’ in April 2004” -- (I’m sure he has degrees in comparative pharmacology and ethnobotany based on his studies at the Harvard Botanical Museum, aren’t you?) -- to a Florida youth group when his firearm (a Glock .40) accidentally discharged.

“The shooting occurred moments after Paige told the children that he was the only person in the room professional enough to carry the weapon. The accident was filmed by an audience member, and the tape, Paige claims, was turned over to the DEA.

“The drug agency subsequently ‘improperly, illegally, willfully and/or intentionally’ allowed the tape to be disseminated. As a result, Paige ... has been the ‘target of jokes, derision, ridicule, and disparaging comments’ directed at him in restaurants, grocery stores, and airports.

“Paige, who writes that he was ‘once regarded as one of the best undercover agents, if not the best, in the DEA,’ points to the clip’s recent airing on popular television shows and via the Internet as the reason he can no longer work undercover. He also notes that he is no longer “permitted or able to give educational motivational speeches and presentations.’ ”

Hey, at least they got SOMETHING right.

Meantime, it’s nice to know the incident has taught Agent Paige some humility. There were several other adults in the room at the time Mr. Paige managed to release the slide of his weapon at the same time he pulled the trigger, yet this modest soul bragged he was “the only person in the room” capable of handling this complex piece of machinery.

Now we learn he was “one of the DEA’s best undercover agents, if not the best.”

And we wondered why they were losing the War on Drugs.

A tip of the hat to David Codrea, contributing editor at Guns magazine, who has based an entire “I’m the Only One (blank) Enough” series on his Web site on the fine work of Agent Paige. (See http://waronguns.blogspot.com/2006/04/im-only-one-litigious-enough.html.)


A group of outdoorsmen within the Democratic Party attended the Elko County (Nevada) Democratic Convention in February and managed to wrangle an 11-6 vote to carry the following resolution to the subsequent state party convention for consideration:

“We Democrats resolve to support no proposed legislation, State or Federal, that will impose further restrictions on gun shows and/or gun transfers between Nevada adults beyond such laws as already apply and will not support proposed legislation that is directed at the operating system or caliber of a firearm.”

In an accompanying e-mail, the sponsors explained, “We believe it urgent to dump gun control if we are to survive as a national party and to elect anyone in Nevada. A majority of Nevada voters believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms, and believe that ‘gun control’ as advocated in the past 15 years causes rather than reduces crime.

“Since the 1990s Democrats have been losing elections that should have been Dem wins, based on registration. Many traditional Democrat voters are also gun owners, yet in campaign after campaign anti-gun positions have sent Dem gun owners to the polls to vote Republican.

“The 2004 Democratic platform called for ‘reauthorizing the assault weapons ban, and closing the gun show loophole,’ encapsulating two positions that probably cost Democrats 7 percent of the Nevada vote in the 2004 presidential election. We can win back gun owner Democrats by making a clear policy statement that welcomes those alienated Democrats back to their traditional party. ...”

I checked with some reporters who cover Democratic party politics in the Silver State, asking about the likelihood this pragmatic resolution will be adopted by the state Democratic party as a whole.

They laughed.


Fran from Utah spent an hour in front of the TV recently, and sent in the following report:

“I rarely watch TV. Tonight, I forced myself to suffer through my first NBC brainwashing session. It was pathetic. I have seen high school plays that were better, and seen cartoons that were more realistic.

“It was an episode of ‘Law and Order’ on NBC. It crammed so much absurdity into one hour, it must have set a new record. It included a school shooting; an assault weapon used in a school shooting; DNA from sweat on the scope of the assault weapon led them to the shooter;

“The weapon was traced to a gun store who didn’t complete the gun registration properly -- a gun store with a 16-year-old there alone at night ... that turned out to be a front for a neo-Nazi group that had a Web site ...

“The 16-year-old shoots a witness and a cop in the courtroom; the neo-Nazis were infiltrated by a female FBI agent ... who revealed herself in court when she shot the 16-year-old boy after he shot and killed the other two. ...

“It really would have been intolerable if it weren’t so comical. If you could think of an absurd, negative stereotype regarding constitutionalists, it was in this episode, and presented as though it were real. ...

“Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more unrealistic, the same FBI agent found all the components of a bomb, and evidence that the jailer whose child was killed turns out to have been complicit in the murder of his own child (his adopted daughter) in the school shooting.

“Many insinuations that the law was hamstrung by the Constitution -- that it only afforded protection to these despicable criminals -- which was only made more ridiculous because the police, lawyers and judge completed ignored it.

“By far the worst, most offensive program I have ever watched. If this is any indication of a typical prime time show, is it any wonder people don’t understand their rights, the Constitution, or the law? It was pure crap. Maybe this is where Chuck Schumer has been getting his information.

“To steal a phrase from Jeff Foxworthy: ‘If you know anyone who enjoys this program regularly, they might be a moron. If they’re not yet, keep watching ... they will be.’ ”