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Next step? No guns allowed for... 'extremists'

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Reposted from:

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=97491

 

HOMELAND INSECURITY
Next step? No guns allowed for right-wing 'extremists'
Bill empowers attorney general to forbid firearms for those 'suspected dangerous'


Posted: May 09, 2009
12:10 am Eastern

By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

 


Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.

A new gun law being considered in Congress, if aligned with Department of Homeland Security memos labeling everyday Americans as potential "threats," could potentially deny firearms to pro-lifers, gun-rights advocates, tax protesters, animal rights activists, and a host of others – any already on the expansive DHS watch list for potential "extremism."

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., has sponsored H.R. 2159, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009, which permits the attorney general to deny transfer of a firearm to any "known or suspected dangerous terrorist." The bill requires only that the potential firearm transferee is "appropriately suspected" of preparing for a terrorist act and that the attorney general "has a reasonable belief" that the gun might be used in connection with terrorism.

Gun rights advocates, however, object to the bill's language, arguing that it enables the federal government to suspend a person's Second Amendment rights without any trial or legal proof and only upon suspicion of being "dangerous."

"[Rep. King] would deny citizens their civil liberties based on no due process," objected Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America. "A 'known terrorist?' Look, if the guy has committed an act of terrorism, we shouldn't have to worry about him being able to buy a gun; he should be in jail!"

Pratt further warned WND of the potential overlap of H.R. 2159 and a recent DHS memo that warned against potential violence from "right-wing extremists," such as those concerned about illegal immigration, increasing federal power, restrictions on firearms, abortion and the loss of U.S. sovereignty.

"By those standards, I'm one of [DHS Secretary] Janet Napolitano's terrorists," Pratt said. "This bill would enable the attorney general to put all of the people who voted against Obama on no-gun lists, because according to the DHS, they're all potential terrorists. Actually, we could rename this bill the Janet Napolitano Frenzied Fantasy Implementation Act of 2009."

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Pratt's biggest concern, however, is the sidestepping of the Constitution and due process that the nebulous language of this bill could permit.

"Unbeknownst to us, some bureaucrat in the bowels of democracy can put your name on a list, and your Second Amendment rights are toast," Pratt told WND. "This is such an anti-American bill, this is something King George III would have done."

As WND reported, right-wing "extremists" aren't the only Americans on the DHS watch list.

Two weeks before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security penned its now notorious warning against "right-wing extremists" in the United States, it generated a memo defining dozens of additional groups as potential "threats."

That memo, the "Domestic Extremism Lexicon" expanded the list from typical "right-wing" causes to include left-wing extremism, animal rights activists, black separatists, anarchists, Cuban independence advocates, environmental extremists, the anti-war movement and more. It even insisted some of these groups were prone to violence.

For example, the lexicon defined the "tax resistance movement" – also referred to in the report as the tax protest movement or the tax freedom movement – as "groups or individuals who vehemently believe taxes violate their constitutional rights. Among their beliefs are that wages are not income, that paying income taxes is voluntary, and that the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allowed Congress to levy taxes on income, was not properly ratified."

It further states that tax protesters "have been known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence and terrorism in an attempt to advance their extremist goals."

The DHS memos were meant for distribution to law enforcement officials around the country, prompting some to worry the definitions might be used to classify Americans who simply disagree with government policies as being dangerous.

As WND reported, the relative of a Louisiana driver claims her brother-in-law has already been unfairly targeted by police simply for having a supposedly subversive, "Don't Tread on Me" bumper sticker on his car.

According to the relative, it happened this way: Her brother-in-law was driving home from work through Ball, La., which has a local reputation for enhancing its budget by ticketing speeders. He was pulled over by police officers who told him "he had a subversive survivalist bumper sticker on his car."

"They proceeded to keep him there on the side of the road while they ran whatever they do to see if you have a record, keeping him standing by the side of the road for 30 minutes," she told WND.

Finding no record and no reason to keep him, they warned him and eventually let him go, she said.

WND has withheld the driver's name and the relative's name at their request.

H.R. 2159 has six co-sponsors, from both parties, and has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

WND contacted Rep. King's office for comment on the bill, but received no response.

 

 

Libertarian views on gay marriage

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Put simply: Government legislation of marriage is NOT separation of church and state.

 

 

 

Freedomain Radio on Naughty Libertarianism

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 April 2009 18:47
 

A Jewish perspective on the Virginia Tech massacre and guns

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Reposted from:
http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/508130/jewish/Of-Weapons-and-Wickedness.htm

Of Weapons and Wickedness

Examining the gun control debate from the perspective of classic Judaic sources


The terrible events of last week at Virginia Tech invite profound soul-searching as to what went wrong and how to prevent similar events from happening again.

We are all devastated by the horror and senselessness of it all. As a rabbi who engages in pastoral work, I--like most of my colleagues--know that the wounds will persist in families and friends and teachers for many years to come; in fact, for lifetimes.

One of the things we have seen is an intensifying of the gun control debate by well-meaning citizens on both sides of the issue. Frankly this creates a debate within ourselves as well. Many of us appreciate and are torn between both approaches to this vexing issue.

As Jews, our teachings tell us that preserving human life is the greatest human calling, and murder the most depraved attack on man and G‑d there can be.

The question is: What does Jewish tradition and law tell us about the best way to preserve human life?

I think if we honestly look at matters we can see that, on one hand,

  1. The murderer could not have killed anywhere near the number killed had he had a weapon other than a firearm. He was outnumbered by his victims 20, 30 and 40 to 1. Only a semiautomatic weapon gave him the ability to kill so many without hindrance.

  2. If there were stricter background checks and other encumbrances in place, he may have been prevented from acquiring a handgun legally.

  3. If no one but the police and military had weapons, it would be very difficult to acquire a gun, even illegally (as is the case in Japan and the UK).

On the other hand,

  1. If weapons had been permitted on the VT campus, a student or professor may have stopped the killer before so many were killed. As it was, only a person breaking the law had a weapon available to him--the murderer.

  2. The murderer "flew beneath the radar." It is possible that no system of flagging suspicious individuals could have helped in this case, or would help in similar cases in the future.

  3. It is rarer by far, but determined criminals even in Japan and the UK can get illegal guns. Just the other day the mayor of Nagasaki in Japan was killed by a firearm wielded by a gang member. And with 200 million guns in this country, it may not be possible to remove every one from circulation--even if as society we wanted to. Hence maybe law-abiding citizens should have the ability to defend themselves.

  4. Even if only the police and military have weapons –what if a policeman goes on a rampage against unarmed and defenseless citizens? Indeed, in 1982 South Korean policeman Woo Bum-Kon killed 57 people, then himself, in rural South Korea using a high-powered rifle and grenades.

These are all arguments wielded by reasonable, good and caring people –who exist in large numbers on both sides of the societal divide this issue creates in our nation.

So where does Judaism stand on the issue?

I believe the issue can be argued on both sides from a Judaic point of view.

I. On one hand:

1) Talmud, Shabbat 63a:

One must not go out [on Shabbat] with a sword, nor with a bow, nor with a triangular shield, nor with a round one, nor with a spear; if he does so he is liable for a sin-offering. R. Eliezer says they are ornaments to him [and thus permitted to be worn on Shabbat], but the sages say they are nothing but a stigma, for it is written [Isaiah 2:4]: "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning-knives; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Weapons and their possession are a reproach to mankind –and not anything desirable.

2) Talmud, Bava Kama 46a:

R. Nathan says: From where is it derived that one should not breed a bad dog in his house, or keep an impaired ladder in his house? From the text [Deuteronomy 24:8], "You shall bring not blood upon your house."

I.e., it is forbidden to have anything likely to cause damage about one's domicile.

Rabbi Shlomo Luria ("Maharshal") points out that many authorities forbid raising a dangerous dog even if it is kept chained. This would indicate that a dangerous object--such as a gun--is forbidden, even if it is supposedly safeguarded. However he points out elsewhere in the tractate (fol 83) that in a "dangerous area" one may keep a bad tempered dog that one chains by day and allows to patrol one's property by night.

In conclusion, we are commanded to avoid all danger to our lives. There is no question that a gun is fundamentally a dangerous object, designed to kill.

II. On the other hand...

In Exodus 22:1 we read:

If, while breaking in, the thief is discovered, and he is struck and dies, [it is as if] he has no blood.

Rashi, the greatest commentator on the Tanach (the original, Jewish name for the 24 books of the Bible) who gathers together millennia of interpretation, comments:

"He has no blood. [This signifies that] this is not [considered] murder. It is as though he [the thief] is [considered] dead from the start. Here the Torah teaches you: If someone comes to kill you, kill him first. And this one [the thief] has come to kill you, because he knows that a person will not hold himself back and remain silent when he sees people taking his money. Therefore, he [the thief] has come with the acknowledgement that if the owner of the property were to stand up against him, he [thief] would kill him [the owner]. - [From Talmud Sanhedrin. 72a]".

Here we clearly see the rule, "If someone comes to kill you, kill him first." If we are told by the Almighty to defend ourselves, clearly we may possess the wherewithal to do so. In today's world there is no better tool--if G‑d forbid it comes to this--than a firearm. Only with a firearm is the proverbial little old lady living alone a match for the hulking thug. A baseball bat won't give her much of a chance. And law enforcement officials rarely have a chance to intervene to save a victim at the moment of the crime.

We indeed yearn for the time of the Final Redemption when "They shall beat their swords into plowshares" but it is a very poor idea to do this unilaterally before that point in history!

We believe the teachings of the Torah--including the obligation we have to ourselves to guard our own lives--to be eternal; but the technology to carry them out should be the best available in our era.

This obligation is codified in Jewish law as part of a range of obligations centered on preserving our health and well being, as well as the obligation to defend ourselves or a third party against aggression.

Under Jewish Law there is an obligation for a private citizen to assist another in trouble: "You shall not stand by [the shedding of] your fellow's blood. I am the Lord (Leviticus 19:16)" and as Rashi comments, quoting the legal texts of the Talmud:

"You shall not stand by [the shedding of] your fellow's blood. [I.e., do not stand by,] watching your fellow's death, when you are able to save him; for example, if he is drowning in the river or if a wild beast or robbers come upon him. — [Torath Kohanim 19:41; Talmud, Sanhedrin 73a]"

We cannot exempt ourselves of this obligation – even though in this country we have a wonderful and dedicated corps of law enforcement officers and other emergency personnel. We should respect them and support them in every way possible, as they have devoted their lives to the rescue of their fellows –but our obligation to our fellow remains: if we see someone in trouble we cannot absolve ourselves of our obligation by the fact that "professionals" exist somewhere.

One can therefore make the argument that it would be wrong to deprive citizens of the "tools" most suited to this task, e.g. firearms. Our Sages have a saying "A broken wall calls out to the thief [to come in]." If the law dictates that a citizen may not be armed –the criminals will arm themselves and be unafraid of opposition –as those who abide by the law will be defenseless.

Jewish law forbids the sale of arms to people who are suspect of criminal intentions by personal history or otherwise. From this it is understood that the sale of arms to the law abiding is something entirely acceptable.

What of the dangers inherent in improperly stored and handled firearms? We are taught,

"When you build a new house, you shall make a guard rail for your roof, so that you shall not cause blood [to be spilled] in your house, that the one who falls should fall from it [the roof]" (Deuteronomy 22:8)

The Rabbis derive from this that we must create "fences" in all dangerous situations to prevent "blood spilled" in your house. However the Torah did not forbid flat roofs –it mandates fences. We need to be responsible with things that may be dangerous, not prevented from having them.

In conclusion I leave to you, my dear reader, to judge, based on these sources, where Judaism stands on gun control.

One more quote: There is a fascinating commentary by Nachmanides (13th Century) on Genesis 4:20-24. The verses read:

Now Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle.
And his brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all who grasp a lyre and a flute.
And Zillah she too bore Tubal Cain, who sharpened all tools that cut copper and iron, and Tubal Cain's sister was Na'amah.
Now Lemech said to his wives, "Adah and Zillah, hearken to my voice; wives of Lemech, incline your ears to my words; for have I slain a man by wounding (him)? A child by bruising (him)?
If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, then for Lemech it shall be seventy-seven fold."

What is going on over here? What is this marital spat between Lemech and his two wives all about?

Nachmanides explains: Lemech was very wise and taught one son herding, the other music, and the third metallurgy. His wives remonstrated with him that the introduction of ironworking would enable the production of weapons and bring murder to the world. Lemech responds to them: "Have I killed a man, as great-grandpa Cain has done seven generations ago? It is not the sword that kills, but the bad choice by a man. Without a sword, too, a man could kill another by wounding and battering as did Cain..."

Swords do kill – but only if they have evil intent behind them

So who was right in this debate – Lemech or his wives?

It is my prayer, which I am certain all our readers share, that we shall very soon enter that era in which we shall no longer need to think of defense as it is written: "And a wolf shall live with a lamb….They shall neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mount, for the land shall be full of knowledge of the Lord as water covers the sea" (Isaiah 11:6-9).


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Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, spiritual leader of Congregation Agudas Achim of West Hartford, Connecticut, is on the editorial staff of Chabad.o

 

 

The Myth of 90 Percent: Only a Small Fraction of Guns in Mexico Come From U.S.

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http://www.foxnews.com/politics/elections/2009/04/02/myth-percent-guns-mexico-fraction-number-claimed/

 

EXCLUSIVE: You've heard this shocking "fact" before -- on TV and radio, in newspapers, on the Internet and from the highest politicians in the land: 90 percent of the weapons used to commit crimes in Mexico come from the United States.

-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it to reporters on a flight to Mexico City.

-- CBS newsman Bob Schieffer referred to it while interviewing President Obama.

-- California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said at a Senate hearing: "It is unacceptable to have 90 percent of the guns that are picked up in Mexico and used to shoot judges, police officers and mayors ... come from the United States."

-- William Hoover, assistant director for field operations at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, testified in the House of Representatives that "there is more than enough evidence to indicate that over 90 percent of the firearms that have either been recovered in, or interdicted in transport to Mexico, originated from various sources within the United States."

There's just one problem with the 90 percent "statistic" and it's a big one:

It's just not true.

In fact, it's not even close. The fact is, only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the U.S.

What's true, an ATF spokeswoman told FOXNews.com, in a clarification of the statistic used by her own agency's assistant director, "is that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S."

But a large percentage of the guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing, because it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the U.S.

"Not every weapon seized in Mexico has a serial number on it that would make it traceable, and the U.S. effort to trace weapons really only extends to weapons that have been in the U.S. market," Matt Allen, special agent of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told FOX News.

Video:Click here to watch more.

A Look at the Numbers

In 2007-2008, according to ATF Special Agent William Newell, Mexico submitted 11,000 guns to the ATF for tracing. Close to 6,000 were successfully traced -- and of those, 90 percent -- 5,114 to be exact, according to testimony in Congress by William Hoover -- were found to have come from the U.S.

But in those same two years, according to the Mexican government, 29,000 guns were recovered at crime scenes.

In other words, 68 percent of the guns that were recovered were never submitted for tracing. And when you weed out the roughly 6,000 guns that could not be traced from the remaining 32 percent, it means 83 percent of the guns found at crime scenes in Mexico could not be traced to the U.S.

So, if not from the U.S., where do they come from? There are a variety of sources:

-- The Black Market. Mexico is a virtual arms bazaar, with fragmentation grenades from South Korea, AK-47s from China, and shoulder-fired rocket launchers from Spain, Israel and former Soviet bloc manufacturers.

-- Russian crime organizations. Interpol says Russian Mafia groups such as Poldolskaya and Moscow-based Solntsevskaya are actively trafficking drugs and arms in Mexico.

- South America. During the late 1990s, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) established a clandestine arms smuggling and drug trafficking partnership with the Tijuana cartel, according to the Federal Research Division report from the Library of Congress.

-- Asia. According to a 2006 Amnesty International Report, China has provided arms to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Chinese assault weapons and Korean explosives have been recovered in Mexico.

-- The Mexican Army. More than 150,000 soldiers deserted in the last six years, according to Mexican Congressman Robert Badillo. Many took their weapons with them, including the standard issue M-16 assault rifle made in Belgium.

-- Guatemala. U.S. intelligence agencies say traffickers move immigrants, stolen cars, guns and drugs, including most of America's cocaine, along the porous Mexican-Guatemalan border. On March 27, La Hora, a Guatemalan newspaper, reported that police seized 500 grenades and a load of AK-47s on the border. Police say the cache was transported by a Mexican drug cartel operating out of Ixcan, a border town.

'These Don't Come From El Paso'

Ed Head, a firearms instructor in Arizona who spent 24 years with the U.S. Border Patrol, recently displayed an array of weapons considered "assault rifles" that are similar to those recovered in Mexico, but are unavailable for sale in the U.S.

"These kinds of guns -- the auto versions of these guns -- they are not coming from El Paso," he said. "They are coming from other sources. They are brought in from Guatemala. They are brought in from places like China. They are being diverted from the military. But you don't get these guns from the U.S."

Some guns, he said, "are legitimately shipped to the government of Mexico, by Colt, for example, in the United States. They are approved by the U.S. government for use by the Mexican military service. The guns end up in Mexico that way -- the fully auto versions -- they are not smuggled in across the river."

Many of the fully automatic weapons that have been seized in Mexico cannot be found in the U.S., but they are not uncommon in the Third World.

The Mexican government said it has seized 2,239 grenades in the last two years -- but those grenades and the rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) are unavailable in U.S. gun shops. The ones used in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey in October and a TV station in January were made in South Korea. Almost 70 similar grenades were seized in February in the bottom of a truck entering Mexico from Guatemala.

"Most of these weapons are being smuggled from Central American countries or by sea, eluding U.S. and Mexican monitors who are focused on the smuggling of semi-automatic and conventional weapons purchased from dealers in the U.S. border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California," according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

Boatloads of Weapons

So why would the Mexican drug cartels, which last year grossed between $17 billion and $38 billion, bother buying single-shot rifles, and force thousands of unknown "straw" buyers in the U.S. through a government background check, when they can buy boatloads of fully automatic M-16s and assault rifles from China, Israel or South Africa?

Alberto Islas, a security consultant who advises the Mexican government, says the drug cartels are using the Guatemalan border to move black market weapons. Some are left over from the Central American wars the United States helped fight; others, like the grenades and launchers, are South Korean, Israeli and Spanish. Some were legally supplied to the Mexican government; others were sold by corrupt military officers or officials.

The exaggeration of United States "responsibility" for the lawlessness in Mexico extends even beyond the "90-percent" falsehood -- and some Second Amendment activists believe it's designed to promote more restrictive gun-control laws in the U.S.

In a remarkable claim, Auturo Sarukhan, the Mexican ambassador to the U.S., said Mexico seizes 2,000 guns a day from the United States -- 730,000 a year. That's a far cry from the official statistic from the Mexican attorney general's office, which says Mexico seized 29,000 weapons in all of 2007 and 2008.

Chris Cox, spokesman for the National Rifle Association, blames the media and anti-gun politicians in the U.S. for misrepresenting where Mexican weapons come from.

"Reporter after politician after news anchor just disregards the truth on this," Cox said. "The numbers are intentionally used to weaken the Second Amendment."

"The predominant source of guns in Mexico is Central and South America. You also have Russian, Chinese and Israeli guns. It's estimated that over 100,000 soldiers deserted the army to work for the drug cartels, and that ignores all the police. How many of them took their weapons with them?"

But Tom Diaz, senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, called the "90 percent" issue a red herring and said that it should not detract from the effort to stop gun trafficking into Mexico.

"Let's do what we can with what we know," he said. "We know that one hell of a lot of firearms come from the United States because our gun market is wide open."

 


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