The Bloody Shirt

January 16, 2013

By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold –

When reports of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut reached the public on Dec. 14, many Americans broke down and wept at the thought of a monster shooting helpless children like they were rats in a garbage dump. Even after a month it is still seems unthinkable. We are want to reflect that hideous act whenever children are seen with their parents, or we interact with our own children and grandchildren, many of whom are old enough to understand that tragedy, wondering how it might affect them?

As time progressed, we observed how others wasted no time weeping, but rushed to take advantage of the grief that swept the nation for their own political ends. “Let’s take away the guns that caused this tragedy,” became the battle cry of the Left. Like spiders ready to pounce at the first vibration in their web, these zealots had their bloody shirts in hand, waiting for the next crisis as an excuse to wave them in front of the public.

The phrase comes from the elections of 1872 and 1876, when reconstruction politicians literally waved bloody relics from the Civil War in their assault on Southern leaders. “Waving the bloody shirt’ has been used to define someone who brings up a past injustice or mistreatment in history to justify or cover up an injustice being committed in the present.

The similar refrain was heard after each gun-related tragedy as in 1968 (Kennedy and King); 1986 (Reagan and Brady) and in1994 (Westfield High School Massacre). Sometimes we’ve listened, but over time the mantra lost its effectiveness because the “solutions” had no effect on the problem. Weapons were in the hands of madmen who were unopposed when they chose to act.

The Westfield High School massacre of 1994 did prompt the passage, spear-headed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), of a federal assault-weapons ban in 1994 that lasted 10 years. But the decade-long gun ban didn’t stop the Columbine High School massacre from occurring on April 20,1999 in Colorado, where two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered a total of 12 students and one teachers, after which the pair committed suicide.

Experts who have studied the law tend to agree that it was rife with loopholes and generally ineffective at curbing gun violence. The primary “loophole” being that not all of the guns were banned and collected, which is impossible on practical and Constitutional grounds.

Just as well, too. Consider Great Britain, which was successful collecting nearly all guns from citizens by 2008, with a history of repression long before the American Revolution, before even the Tudors and Plantagenet. Their first response was always to disarm the populace. Gun crimes, never common, decreased for a while, but are now beginning to rise. Violent crimes of other sorts have skyrocketed, mainly because citizens cannot defend themselves. The answer is not stronger laws and fewer guns in the hands of good citizens, but fewer guns in the hands of criminals and the realization that defense against crime begins at home.

Nonplussed by history, anti-gun zealots realize that to be effective, a campaign against guns has to take place quickly before passions cool. They best take place in the dark of night, out of public view, as in the the legislatures of New York and Illinois.

Yesterday Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and New York lawmakers, in an attempt to set the tone for the nation, agreed to a broad package of changes to gun laws that would expand the state’s ban on “assault” weapons and include new measures to keep gun away from people with mental illnesses. A legislative trick was employed to forego normal readings, debate and public comment, enabling the legislation to pass a bill in the middle of the night for a final vote the next day in the Assembly. What is so strange is that the NY Senate is controlled by Republicans!!-new-york-second-amendment-and-legislative-process-assaulted-in-albany-late-last-night.aspx

According to Gov. Cuomo, the legislative package will be “the most comprehensive package in the nation,” would ban any gun magazine that can hold over 7 rounds of ammunition — comprising most of the firearms used by citizens for self defense — and would require background checks of ammunition buyers and automated alerts to law enforcement of high-volume purchases. Although part of the 1968 Federal gun law, the controls on ammunition purchases were abandoned after a few years due to cost and ineffectiveness.

Rather than intercept the few, they trample on millions, in the vain attempt to disarm a relatively few bad guys. That may have worked for Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, who smashed their opposition in pursuit of a few traitors, but it will not work in this nation where many Americans value their freedom and hold sacred the Second Amendment.

Illinois inherited Chicago police commissioner Garry McCarthy from New York, who shares most of the views of the state he left. In a radio interview, he stated that Chicago police are prepared to shoot any citizen observed holding a firearm, as a warning in the event that Illinois allows private citizens to carry concealed weapons. New York loses an off-duty policeman from time to time in just this way – shot by police while holding their weapon in an act of self defense.

Today at 11:45 a.m., President Obama will stand before television cameras, attended by Mayors Against Illegal Guns and members of Congress active in efforts to impose new restrictions on guns, to offer his “comprehensive” proposal for unilateral action to combat gun violence? Obama will be surrounded by children used as pawns who supposedly wrote letters decrying gun violence (at the urging of their teachers?), perhaps symbolic of the bloody shirts of the last century, in order to make the point.

What was done at Sandy Hook School is history. Now it’s time to weep for the Republic, and for the Constitution on which it was built. For if our leaders continue to dismantle the foundation of our Republic, who needs to worry about enemies from abroad?

Initially published at Illinois Review on Wednesday, January 16.

Emotions vs. facts

December 21, 2012

The following is a “truism” if there ever were one. Bad things do happen, they have in the past, and they always will.

Too often, as in the hideous situation that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT., emotions rule over facts and demand that a feel good solution must quickly follow to counter the uneasiness and the impact of an evil deed imposed upon society as a whole. As such, the Newtown elementary school mass murder has predictably brought to the fore the ignorance of gun control advocates who perceive the situation as a crisis that must not go to waste.

Thomas Sowell had this to say in his commentary, Invincible Ignorance, on December 18:

The key fallacy of so-called gun control laws is that such laws do not in fact control guns. They simply disarm law-abiding citizens, while people bent on violence find firearms readily available. If gun control zealots had any respect for facts, they would have discovered this long ago, because there have been too many factual studies over the years to leave any serious doubt about gun control laws being not merely futile but counterproductive.

Places and times with the strongest gun control laws have often been places and times with high murder rates. Washington, D.C., is a classic example, but just one among many. When it comes to the rate of gun ownership, that is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, but the murder rate is higher in urban areas. The rate of gun ownership is higher among whites than among blacks, but the murder rate is higher among blacks. For the country as a whole, hand gun ownership doubled in the late 20th century, while the murder rate went down.

In the wake of the Newtown shooting, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a leading gun control advocate in Congress, is planning to introduce a bill re-instating the federal ban on “assault weapons” on the first day of the new Congress in January. An assault ban was enacted under President Bill Clinton in 1994, but it was allowed to lapse a decade later when determined ineffective.

As it turns out Harry Reid (D-NV), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — hypocrites all! — have carried guns for their protection. This is amazing as Feinstein is leading the charge on tougher gun laws, while Harry Reid will bring up her bill for a vote at some point. Feinstein justified her need to carry a gun for protection to take out a target before it could take her out! Not only does Schumer carry a handgun, the NYC Police Department provides armed escorts for him.,

Many individuals believe that fast legislative action is called for to prevent another Newtown horrific shooting spree, not understanding that firearms are the safest, most effective way to protect oneself against criminal activity, which is why American police officers carry guns rather than going unarmed or merely carrying knives. While mass shooting rose between the 19960’s and the 1990’s, they actually dropped in the 2000’s. Mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929.

Accordingly, many individual likewise believe the media spin that assault weapon must be banned because they are well suited and purchased for mass killing, although none of the guns used by the Adam Lanza under Connecticut law was an assault weapon. (If truth be told, an assault weapons can be any object that is used to cause harm, even a spoon).

Assault weapons bans are useless because they concentrate on the cosmetics of a gun (how it looks). What many call an “assault weapon” functions like every other normal firearm — they fire only one bullet each time the trigger is pressed. Today most hand guns are semi-automatic, as are many long guns, including the best-selling rifle today, the AR-15, the model used in the Newtown shooting.

The witch hunt against law-abiding and peaceful gun owners is neither noble or effective. It’s insane! Famed author Joyce Carol Oates, took to Twitter to blame the entire membership of the NRA for one evil-doer’s massacre. She then accused any politician who supported the NRA of “felony homicide.”

By Edward Ingold and Nancy Thorner –

A few days ago on MSNBC Chris Matthews cited statistics that 40% of gun sales were made via the internet without any background checks. I can’t confirm or deny the 40% figure, but the internet is the main way to trade used firearms via an auction site like Many retailers also sell firearms via the internet. Matthews’ statement regarding the lack of safeguards is completely false however.

All shipments and sales of firearms via the Internet must go through intermediaries who hold a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Individuals cannot legally ship firearms to anyone other than an FFL holder, and in most cases, an FFL will only accept shipments from another FFL. If you buy a firearm over the Internet, it is shipped to an FFL, and you are required to pick it up in person. At that time the FFL will have you fill out a Federal form called a 4473, in which you answer a list of questions, and swear under oath that you are qualified to receive the firearm.

The FFL checks this information against your personal identification, and calls NICS (National Instant Background Check System), which approves or disapproves the sale. NICS is a national database which lists any convictions or other information which would disqualify you. The FFL also checks for any state or local requirements, like a FOID card (Firearms Owner Identification) in Illinois, and holds the firearm for the mandated waiting period, if any. In Illinois, you must wait 3 days (72 hours) for a handgun or 1 day (24 hours) for a rifle or shotgun.

People use the Internet to buy and sell firearms because it is a much larger market than available locally. The seller usually gets more than he would selling or consigning the firearm to a local dealer. The buyer usually pays less than he would at a dealer, and has a much wider variety to choose from.

The Internet also minimizes security concerns. In a face-to-face (FTF) sale, the buyer must trust the seller to turn over the weapon after receiving payment, particularly if there is a waiting period. The seller must trust that the prospective buyer is not coming to rob him (and vice versa).

Sales between non-licensed individuals can be made face-to-face (FTF) between residents of that state, consistent with state law. Illinois requires both parties to have an FOID card, and the seller must keep a record of the transaction for 10 years. Other states vary.

The so-called “Gun Show Loophole” is really a sub-set of FTF sales. At present, it is not necessary to complete a 4473 form (unless the seller holds an FFL, even selling a private firearm), nor is there a reasonable way to do this at present. One possible solution would be to require all transactions to proceed through an FFL, complete with all the paperwork. A gun show could have a booth with one or more FFLs and a telephone for this service. The typical fee for this service is $25 to $35, including the background check, so it wouldn’t be hard to find FFLs willing to participate. A private individual can easily find a local FFL by searching the Internet for a directory.

Most of the complaints about internet and gun show sales come from cities and organizations that object to private citizens from owning firearms of any sort.

Any Illinois resident with a FOID card can buy a firearm from any legal seller in the state, even if the buyer is from Chicago. The courts have found these sales to be legal, and that cities can’t control sales outside of their boundaries. Chicago can only regulate sale and possession of firearms in the city itself.

The organization, “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” headed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC, take particular umbrage with this situation. The conundrum is that their efforts to control illegal guns consist largely of making legal sales and possession difficult or impossible. That, of course, is Bloomberg’s real goal – to make all guns illegal (except his). Some of the barriers erected by anti-gun politicians can be very frustrating to law-abiding citizens (but apparently not to criminals).

When forced to allow handgun possession by the Heller decision, Washington DC required all sales be conducted through an FFL in the city. At that time, there was only one FFL, and he left town when the city required he move operations from his residence to a store front (but refused to issue a zoning permit for that business).

Chicago has a proficiency requirement for firearm possession, but does not have any facilities for that purpose in the City. Under HR 218, the so-called Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act ( LEOSA), retired police officers are allowed to carry concealed weapons anywhere in the United States. Chicago requires these officers to undergo annual proficiency qualification, but no such qualification is available. New York City simply ignores the existence of LEOSA altogether.

The conversation is going to get much more heated in the ensuing months.The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Illinois’ ban on carrying concealed weapons, and gives the state six months to come up with an acceptable (to the court) statute. It comes at a time when Americans on both sides of the gun control issues are debating how best to prevent another mass shooting from taking place again.

Chicago has one of the most violent crime rates in the U.S, yet remains firmly opposed to citizens arming themselves in self defense. The usual argument is that shootings will become commonplace, like the “OK Corral,” or some other wild west scenario. This ignores the fact that crime has actually decreased in these states. The violent crime rate in the most permissive states, like Utah and Arizona, is half that of New York City, where virtually nobody can legally own a gun, and one-third that of Chicago. The rates of aggravated assault (i.e., weapons involved) and armed robbery have decreased 50% faster in Florida than in the country as a whole since concealed carry was instituted Florida.

Facts cannot be denied, yet they are conveniently overlooked in Chicago, because the facts do not advance the long-sought political agenda of the ruling Left where a crisis is being used to advance its political agenda to target and ban guns.

First posted at IL Review on Friday, December 21, 2013