Archive for October 9th, 2006

Vitter Amendment Becomes Law, McCarthy Gun Grab Is Dead

October 9, 2006

Vitter Amendment Becomes Law, McCarthy Gun Grab Is Dead
— Thanks for all your hard work!

Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
http://www.gunowners.org

Freedom and Liberty solve problems. Authoritarianism cause them.

“Oh s—! We got a lot of postcards and e-mails from GOA members.”
— As stated by a Congressional office to GOA

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Thanks to your hard work, gun rights have taken two steps forward in
recent days.

The quote above shows the reaction from one Congressional office in
response to the number of postcards and e-mails that GOA members sent
in response to the McCarthy gun grab (HR 1415).

GOA members let their Representatives know they didn’t want an
expansion of the Brady Law, and the activism paid off handsomely.
The bill is dead for now.

But first, there is the Vitter-Jindal Emergency Protection
legislation that we asked you to support in July.

EMERGENCY PROTECTION MEANS NO MORE GUN CONFISCATION

You will remember that in the wake of Hurricane Katrina last year,
federal and local police stole firearms from New Orleans residents in
the name of “keeping the people safe.” To combat this, GOA has
worked this year in several states (including Louisiana) to
specifically outlaw this type of activity.

GOA also worked for the enactment of this legislation at the federal
level, and in July, the Emergency Protection language overwhelmingly
passed both houses of Congress.

After the Senate vote, one office told GOA: “They [the Senators]
obviously got your message loud and clear. It was the most lopsided
gun vote I have ever seen.”

The vote was lopsided… and it was significant as well. The
Emergency Protection language makes it illegal for federal agents to
confiscate firearms during an emergency or major disaster.

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) thanked GOA for its efforts in pushing
his amendment. The GOA effort “was a huge help, and it was very
effective,” Vitter said. “I look forward to working on many other
issues with GOA.”

The Vitter-Jindal amendment is now on the President’s desk — as part
of the Homeland Security appropriations bill — where it awaits his
almost certain signature.

BRADY EXPANSION IS DEAD

Then there was the defeat of the McCarthy gun grab. This was an
uphill task, as early on, the bill was expected to easily pass the
House of Representatives.

But GOA members and activists overwhelmingly responded to our
internet and postal alerts over the August recess, resulting in
untold thousands of postcards and e-mails being dumped on
legislators’ desks.

The resulting tidal wave of grassroots opposition has buried this
bill as legislative offices on Capitol Hill have told GOA, “We’ve
heard your postcards and e-mails loud and clear!”

It’s a good thing those postcards and e-mails were sent by you, too,
because GOA was the only Second Amendment group in Washington
opposing McCarthy’s attack.

The House Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote on HR 1415
earlier last month. At that time, the committee reported two
firearms-related bills to the floor of the House — but they
specifically passed over the McCarthy bill (even though it was
scheduled to come up for a vote).

Gun Owners of America opposed the McCarthy bill, as it would spend
nearly $1 billion dollars to further prop up the unconstitutional
Brady Law. Of the 35 cosponsors, 34 are rated “F” on GOA’s
scorecard… the remaining one is rated “D.”

What has been surprising is how close this bill has come to being
passed under congressional leadership that claims to be pro-gun. It
already passed the House once, in October of 2002, but was killed in
the senate when GOA teamed up with former Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) to
block the bill.

Thanks again for all your hard work. You have reminded the
Congressional leadership that they should leave the McCarthy gun ban
alone and that it’s “good politics” to pass pro-gun amendments like
the Vitter-Jindal bill.

Thank you!

****************************

GOA IN THE MEDIA

GOA spokesmen have already started addressing the recent school
shootings in the media. GOA also encourages its members to write
letters to the editor making the following points:

1. No amount of gun control would have stopped Charles Carl Roberts
from acquiring guns to commit his atrocity. Roberts had a clean
record and would have passed any and every background check.

2. So-called “gun free zones” (such as school zones) never stop bad
guys from taking guns into a restricted area. In fact, statistics
show that the jurisdictions that ban guns tend to be the same areas
with the highest murder or crime rates (Washington, D.C., England,
etc.).

3. The only school shootings that have been stopped prematurely were
ended because law-abiding citizens had guns — such as in Pearl
Mississippi (1997) and at the Appalachian School of Law (2002), where
faculty and students were able to bring their own defensive firearms
to bear. For this reason, 85% of the American public find it
appropriate for a principal or teacher to use “a gun at school to
defend the lives of students” to stop a school massacre (Research
2000 Poll).

****************************

If You’re Not Yet A GOA Member, Is It Time You Became One?

The ability of GOA to continue putting pressure on politicians
depends on loyal activists like yourself. We want to keep sending you
these e-mails for free, but it does cost us to continue providing
them.

Are you unsure if you’re a member? If you’re not getting our
newsletter, The Gun Owners, then that’s a good sign that you’re not a
member.

Consider the benefits that paid-up GOA members get:

* A no-compromise voice in Washington, D.C.

* A Congressional rating — mailed before the election — listing the
grade of every major candidate for the U.S. Senate and House of
Representatives

* Pre-written letters and postcards to help you lobby your
Congressmen

* Experienced spokesmen to defend your rights in the media

* In-depth research and analysis

* Valuable discounts which are only presented to GOA members

So, please become a GOA member today! Join GOA today online at
http://www.gunowners.org/ordergoamem.htm or call 703-321-8585.

U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas says, “Your membership in Gun
Owners makes a difference on Capitol Hill every single day…. I know
that GOA will continue to be the ‘no compromise’ leader in defending
America’s gun rights and personal freedoms.”

When you join forces with GOA, you will become part of the toughest,
no-compromise group in the nation’s capital. Just ask Rep. John
Hostettler, Republican Congressman from Indiana:

“Gun Owners of America is the pit bull of the Second Amendment. They
are relentless and never give any ground whatsoever to the gun
grabbers.”

More on the drug war

October 9, 2006

QUESTION: Wouldn’t ending the War on Drugs increase drug abuse, create more
addicts who would raise the crime rates, and basically turn every city in
America into modern-day Sodoms and Gomorrahs?

MY SHORT ANSWER: Although that could happen in theory, it has not been seen in
real life. When small amounts of marijuana were decriminalized in 11 states,
consumption did not increase significantly.(1)

In Amsterdam, marijuana coffeehouses openly sell different varieties of the
plant. With marijuana, a so-called gateway drug, freely available we might
expect the Netherlands to be a nation of addicts. However, heroin addiction is
half that of the U.S. rate, and crack is not widely available.(2)

Addiction rates for native Hollanders are probably quite low, because almost
40% of Dutch addicts are refugees of the War on Drugs.(3) The Dutch treat
addicts as patients needing treatment rather than criminals deserving prison.

Pushers have virtually abandoned the Dutch schools. Teenage consumption of
alcohol and tobacco is similar in the Netherlands and the United States, but
use of marijuana and cocaine in the Netherlands is only 10-40% of U.S. rates,
depending upon the age group compared.(4) The age of the average Dutch addict
is rising, as fewer youngsters become involved with drugs.(5) Clearly, the
Dutch are protecting their children from drugs by using less aggression and
more compassion. The best way to get the pushers out of schools is to take the
profit out of drugs by ending prohibition!

Many people find it difficult to believe that re-legalizing drugs will actually
decrease consumption. However, in the early 1900s, when even children could buy
alcohol or medicinal heroin in any drugstore,(6) addiction was less of a
problem than it is today. Even in our prisons, drugs are readily available,
which should alert us to the impossibility of forcing people to stop taking
them.

Like alcoholism, dependence on drugs is a medical problem. People who are
willing to sacrifice their health, wealth, families, and friends for chemical
highs require our help, not our condemnation.

(Sources:
1. C.F. Thies and C.A. Register, “Decriminalization of Marijuana and the Demand
for Alcohol, Marijuana, and Cocaine,” Social Science Journal 30: 385-399,
1993.

2-5. J. Ostrowski, Thinking About Drug Legalization (Washington, DC: Cato
Institute, 1989) p. 49.

6. H. Browne, The Great Libertarian Offer (Great Falls, MT: LiamWorks, 2000),
p. 89.)

* * *

QUESTION: Wouldn’t ending the Drug War mean many more deaths, because it would
make so many dangerous drugs freely available?

MY SHORT ANSWER: Actually, the reverse is true. The biggest reason to end drug
prohibition is this: Since 1989, the War on Drugs has killed 10-14 times as
many people each year as the drugs themselves. These deaths include AIDS spread
by contaminated needles, overdose deaths caused by black-market side effects,
and homicides resulting from turf fighting and other drug-related murders.(1)

Like alcohol Prohibition in the early 20th century, drug prohibition is a cure
much worse than the disease. Even if everyone in the country took drugs
regularly, instead of the one in ten who do so now,(2) the death toll from
overdose would still be lower than the deaths caused by today’s drug
prohibition.

In chapter 15 of my 2003 book, Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression —
available from the Advocates for Self-Government — you’ll find additional
reasons why the War on Drugs is even a greater failure than our disastrous
experiment with alcohol Prohibition.

(Sources:
(1) J. Ostrowski, Thinking About Drug Legalization (Washington, DC: Cato
Institute, 1989) Ostrowski (pp. 14-15) finds that the War on Drugs kills about
8,250 people per year (from drug-related AIDS, overdose due to black-market
side effects, homicide), whereas cocaine- and heroin-related deaths would be
about 600 people per year in the absence of drug prohibition. The ratio of
deaths caused by the War on Drugs vs. deaths due to drugs is 13.75:1.

(2) In 1999, U.S. drug users were estimated to be 14.8 million (“Drug Use in
the United States,” U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement
Administration, 2000, http://www.ericcass.uncg.
edu/virtuallib/subabuse/1010.html, accessed October 27, 2002). Adjusting this
number for an average underreporting rate of 36% (A.R. Morral, D. McCaffrey,
and M.Y. Iguchi, “Hardcore Drug Users Claim to Be Occasional Users: Drug Use
Frequency Underreporting,” Drug and Alcohol Dependence 57: 2000), brings users
to 20.1 million. In 1999, the U.S. population over 13 years of age was 218.3
million (Statistical Abstract of the United States (Washington, DC: U.S. Census
Bureau, 2000). Drug users constitute about 9.3% of teenagers and adults.)

* * * * * * * *
Source:  http://www.TheAdvocates.org/ruwart/categories_list.php

Government Thievery

October 9, 2006

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS, UNBELIEVABLE NEWS

by James W. Harris

Robbery With A Badge

America’s insane drug laws have turned cops into robbers.

Last week Davidson County, North Carolina sheriff’s deputies pulled over a car
traveling on Interstate 85, southwest of Lexington. The officers said the car
was following too closely to another vehicle.

While searching the car, the officers found $88,000 in cash. The driver and
passenger insisted the money was to buy a house in Atlanta.

The officers didn’t believe them. So they called in a drug-sniffing dog.

According to the Davidson County newspaper The Dispatch, the dog “found a
strong odor of narcotics inside the car.”

But no drugs were found. Nor any evidence of wrong-doing. So the two men
weren’t charged with any crime and were free to leave.

But not with their $88,000. The sheriffs kept that.

Incredibly, thanks to federal and state civil asset forfeiture laws, police can
seize property and cash on the mere suspicion that they may be connected with
drugs. The lack of proof of a crime is no protection. The sheriff’s department
called in federal investigators, and they are now preparing to argue in federal
court that the government should be able to keep the money.

If they win — and the government does win the vast majority of asset
forfeiture cases — the local sheriff’s office cut will be 75 percent ($66,000)
of the confiscated money.

Asset forfeiture has been quite lucrative for the Davidson County Sheriff’s
Office: $1.6 million in 2005 and $1.4 million in 2004.

“It allows us to buy equipment without using taxpayers’ money,” said Sheriff
Grice.

Police departments across the country report similar windfalls.

This practice, common for many years, was given a strong boost in August. The
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that if a motorist is
carrying a large sum of cash, that money is automatically subject to
confiscation. “Possession of a large sum of cash is ‘strong evidence’ of a
connection to drug activity,” the court ruled.

In other words, for all practical purposes, driving with a lot of cash is now a
crime in the United States of America.

(See links below for an article on the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
case, and the full text of that court’s ruling.)

(Sources: http://www.the-
dispatch.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060927/NEWS/609270339/1005/news
* Article on Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals case:
http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/12/1296.asp
* Text of U.S. v. $124,700 (U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, 8/19/2006):
http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2006/moneyseize.pdf )

Yet another example of why the drug war is a total and complete failure.

Cheap Cigars

October 9, 2006

Soldier died protecting others

Private, 19, recalled for humor, brains and smoking cheap cigars

Ahmad Terry © News

The Kevlar helmet of Pfc. Nicholas Madaras, rests on top of a rifle at Fort Carson’s Soldiers’ Memorial Chapel during his memorial service Wednesday. Madaras, 19, was killed last month in Iraq.

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COLORADO SPRINGS – Fellow soldiers remembered 19-year-old Nicholas Madaras as a bright young man with a sense of humor who kept their spirits high amid the carnage and chaos of Iraq.His sergeant, Brenden McCullagh, recalled smoking cigars with his young driver outside their barracks at the end of a hard day, ribbing other soldiers in their platoon.

“And they were particularly cheap cigars,” said Maj. Daniel Holland, remembering the young private first class with a smile.

Holland spoke to about 400 soldiers who gathered at Fort Carson’s Soldiers’ Memorial Chapel Wednesday to remember Madaras, who was killed Sept. 3 when his squadron was struck by an ambush of multiple roadside bombs. His unit was part of Fort Carson’s 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.

It was Madaras’ intelligence and abilities that caught the eye of Army brass, and they selected him for the security detail for his unit’s command staff, Holland said.

“Members of the command group’s personal security detachment are hand-picked for their intelligence, reliability and loyalty, and they receive special training,” Holland said. “Nick definitely was in that top tier of elite young guys that Army recruiters find out there in society. It is hard to find guys like that.”

Madaras’ patrol was attacked as it carried three wounded soldiers from another unit to the hospital from an earlier attack in Baghdad, recalled Lt. Col. Thomas Fisher in a letter that was read to the congregation Wednesday.

Two IEDs exploded within Madaras’ convoy line, striking near Fisher’s Humvee and another one farther forward. Madaras maneuvered his Humvee into position behind Fisher’s vehicle to protect the convoy. As he stepped out of his vehicle, a third IED exploded next to him, striking him with shrapnel.

“Doc worked on him for about 10 minutes but there was nothing he could do,” Fisher recalled.

“Having just driven through a firestorm of IEDs, Nick must have known the odds were against him that day, yet he still immediately dismounted from the safety of his vehicle, placing himself at risk, to protect his commander and his buddies and the wounded Delta Company soldiers they were trying to evacuate,” Holland told the congregation.

It was the same soldier Sgt. McCullagh recalled: a funny, smart, selfless young man, “a soldier’s soldier, who when it came game time, was all business.”

Friends in Madaras’ hometown of Wilton, Conn., remembered similar traits. They saw in him a young man engaged in his community, an avid soccer player who took time to become a coach and teach the game to youngsters.

The children he coached had continued to send him e-mails in Iraq, and he answered each and every one, said Holland.

Madaras had hoped to return to school and become a doctor or nurse, friends recalled.

“He was a bright young man in the prime of his life, who had dreams and aspirations and so much to offer not only the Army but society,” said Holland. “It’s tragic that we had to lose him so young.”

Godspeed… Rest well Soldier


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