“Acres of Guns = Acres of Death”

So screams the headline of a flyer put out to promote a protest march against the NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh. According to a background memo (see below) put out on the march, they hope to get 300 people to attend including at least “5 spirtual leaders”. My guess is if they even have 30 people attending, the local media will probably give them at least as much press as the 65,000 estimated attendees at the Annual Meeting.

Still, as a blogger, I have to say the picture taking opportunities of this protest march undoubtedly will be superb. I still remember some of the pictures from Charlotte featuring Breda and the gun prohibitionists.

Heck, I might invite one of them in to see the Acres of Death and to touch a gun. Maybe the fact that their hands won’t be instantly destroyed when they touch the gun will change their minds. On second thought, it probably won’t as their minds are not open.

Rally and March to keep illegal guns off the street
When: Saturday, April 30, 2011

Time: Meet at 11:30 a.m. — Rally and March at 12:00 Noon

Where: Freedom Corner (Centre Ave & Crawford St.) 1506 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 – Across the street from St. Benedict the Moor Church March: From Freedom Corner to the Convention Center

Why: To counter the the NRA’s presence in Pittsburgh with our own message to the NRA and to the politicians and public officials that cow to their pressure: that we, the people, demand that illegal guns be kept out of our communities. And this can be done with our state and federal governments taking two steps that over 80% of Americans overwhelmingly support:

Submit the names of all individuals who should be prohibited from buying guns into the national background check system, especially criminals, drug abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill; and
Require a background check for every gun sale in America.

Background of the Event / Specifics / Message / Purpose

The NRA leadership and their lobbyists stand adamantly opposed to measures that would keep illegal guns off the street and out of our communities and ultimately save lives. In other words, they champion lax gun laws that result in the killings of our loved ones, friends, community members, etc. It makes me angry just to write that knowing that it’s true. This is the organization that’s coming to town claiming they support freedom and so-called American values. Well, all I can say is that they don’t share my values and I’d go as far as to say they probably don’t share your values either. But who am I to say.

We have seen people gathering en mass to act on their values in a show of power all across the world in the past four months, from the Middle East to our Midwestern state neighbors. It’s our turn to stand up for our values and show our state and federal officials that we are serious about keeping illegal guns off the street. They need to see us, the people, take action. They need to hear the people’s voice.

We will begin a Freedom Corner by voicing our message loud and clear and explain why this issue is important to us. We will have several people directly affected by gun violence give their testimony as to the effect gun violence has had on their lives and the lives of their family. We will then drive home the need for our state and federal officials to take action and call upon them to listen to the voice of the people and do so. We will then march to the convention center while the churches in the downtown area toll their bells 600 times – once for each person killed in PA last year by an illegal gun. We will then gather in front of the convention center (the site of the NRA convention) and read aloud the names of those in Allegheny County who have died as a result of gun violence.

*The memory of those lost to gun violence leads us to action.
*Keep illegal guns off the street and reduce access to them.
*Never touch a gun!
*Fight for a fair economy — Gun violence is often the end product of the convergence of a laundry list of problems, ones that could be remedied if our governments (state & federal) weren’t considering slashing the programs and services that help sustain our communities all because large corporations aren’t paying their fair share in taxes. We need our economy to grow (as well as good-paying jobs) and to invest in our communities and the future not solve the so-called budget crises on the backs of those who can least afford it.
*Holy Ground Campaign — We are all holy… the land we walk, live, and recreate on is holy and as stewards of our communities the responsibility is on us to take action to make sure that it is treated as such and that we are treated as such.


The plan is set and it’s now time to make sure the rally and march are well attended. Our goal is to have at least 300 people there, which would mean if the 10 or so active members of the task force were working on turnout, each person would need to be responsible for having 30 people there. That’s not all that many when you think about that number including congregants, colleagues, friends, family, acquaintances, other people with whom you’re in a relationship, and anybody those people bring.

And that’s what we should be focusing on — having passionate and motivated people who care about reducing gun violence bring people they know. All of the leaders who have worked on turnout for Holy Ground actions or other events know that making an announcement about it, having a blurb about it in the bulletin, and/or putting a flyer in their hand, while all helpful, by themselves they won’t ensure that people show up. We need to literally ask them to come and get a commitment from them to be there.

We would also like to ask you to reach out specifically to at least 5 spiritual leaders you know to come stand with us, literally, that afternoon. We want them to stand along side of us at the action and march.

Attached is the flyer. Also please keep a list of the people you know that are coming. This is also great to have people go around either at services or meeting, etc. and take names of those who commit to coming. It’s a great way to keep track of how many people are coming but also a great way to get their information so we can get in touch with them when we again need their support.

Next Steps

For these sorts of events, turnout is crucial. But this is what we do best: move people of faith into action. Spread the word far and wide, talk it up and get commitments to come. A Facebook event page will be made for the march. When it’s sent out, please RSVP to come and invite everyone of your friends/contacts you have in Pittsburgh to join us. Get it to the younger generation and tell them to run with it.

Fort Pitt Museum: The American Frontier Rifleman

Just in time for the NRA Annual Meeting this week, the Fort Pitt Museum will open an exhibit entitled The American Frontier Rifleman: Tall Tales and Truth. Opening Wednesday, the exhibit will run until October 30th. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

The exhibit will include more than 50 objects, some on loan from institutions, many culled from private collections.

In addition to about a dozen rifles, the museum will showcase gear essential to the true rifleman. Powder horns — cow horns used to carry gunpowder — make an appearance, including an 18th century example engraved with patriotic sayings: “LIBERTY OR DEATH,” “KILL OR be KILLD.”

An original 18th century hunting shirt, a dusty-looking but well-tailored garment, also will be displayed. Owned by a collector, the shirt will be shown to the public for the first time this week, Mr. Gutchess said.

“There were thousands of these garments in existence in the period, and now there’s only four believed to be from the 18th century,” he said.

Admission to the museum is normally $5 but NRA members will only have to pay $2.50 with their membership card through May 1st. I was pleased to see that the Fort Pitt Museum in just a few blocks away from the David Lawrence Convention Center where the Annual Meeting will be held.

For a student of early American history, this sounds like a great exhibit. It is hard to believe now but Pittsburgh at one time was definitely considered the frontier.

Originally built as a British fort at the Forks of the Ohio River in 1754, Fort Pitt served as the western headquarters for the Continental Army during the American Revolution. The fort had many names over the years including Trent’s Fort, Fort Duquense, Fort Mercer, Fort Dunmore, and, more than once, Fort Pitt.


April 25th is ANZAC Day. The day is a national day of rememberance in both Australia and New Zealand. It commemorates the sacrifice of the Australia New Zealand Army Corps in the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I. The date of April 25th stems from the day the battle began in 1915.

ANZAC Day is considered the most important national occasion in both countries. It is like Memorial Day and Veterans Days rolled into one and celebrated with greater reverence than either is in the United States.

The day starts with a Dawn Service to mark the time of day that the Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed on Gallipoli. A Day Ceremony is held with marches, laying of wreathes, prayers, and a bugler play The Last Post (similar in composition to Taps). Families then traditionally put red poppies on the graves of those lost in battle.

Comparison Of Them And Us

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence lives for hyperbole. This afternoon they posted the following:

PHOTOS of large Heeding God’s Call protest in front of Mike & Kate Sport’s Shop in Philly. #PA #politics #faith #peace http://fb.me/MdC2SsLF

Being the skeptical sort, I looked up the “large Heeding God’s Call protest” from yesterday. By my count, they have about 35 people standing out in front of Mike & Kate’s Sports Shop blocking the entrance.The rest of the pictures can be found here.

If that is large, what would they consider the picture below from ISRA’s IGOLD Day.

Courtesy of Days of our Trailers.

95 Years Ago Today

95 years ago today, in what has become known as the Easter Rising, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Irish Citizens Army, and the Irish Volunteers occupied key buildings and locations in Dublin. These included the GPO (General Post Office), the Four Courts, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin City Hall, and other locations. However, they failed to capture the center of British rule, Dublin Castle, despite an attack on it.

While the British were caught by surprise by the Easter Rising, they regrouped and crushed it over the next few days. Patrick Pearse, who was acting commander at the GPO, ordered a surrender on Saturday, April 29th. The remaining rebel held locations surrendered as well.

Between May 3rd and May 12th, the seven men who had signed the proclamation of the Irish Republic were executed by British firing squads along with another 8 Irish republicans. Another 1480 men were interned in England and Wales until December 1916. These internment camps became known as the University of Revolution as many of those interned would later become leading figures in the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921).

The Easter Rising was a premature act met with ambivalence – and even hostility – by many Irishmen. The over-reaction of the British government after the rebellion was crushed helped to swing the public mood in Ireland from ambivalence and hostility towards the Easter Rising to increased support for Irish Nationalism. The Irish Free State came into existence in 1922 after the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed to end the hostilities of the Irish War of Independence. Thus, the proclamation of an Irish Republic in the Easter Rising did lead to the establishment of an independent Ireland.

Quote Of The Day

Wildfires have raged around the state of Texas for weeks now. It is estimated that these fires have burned over 1.8 million acres of land.

One of the hardest hit spots in terms of homes lost is the weekend and resort community of Possum Kingdom Lake west of Forth Worth. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that 159 house and 2 churches have burned in this fire. Residents have been told during the last week to pack those things they want to save in their cars because of the speed with which the fire has moved.

From this order to pack what you want to save comes the quote of the day.

“We’re in Texas, so we pack guns and knives,” said Ted Lewellen, a real-estate agent.

God Bless Texas!

NSSF On Threat Of Mexican Lawsuit

The National Shooting Sports Foundation responded to reports that the Mexican government will seek to sue American gun manufacturers for the violence in Mexico. The NSSF says, in essence, not so fast amigo – but politely. They remind President Calderon that the overwhelming majority of the firearms seized in Mexico do not come from the United States.

This week a Mexican official confirmed that President Felipe Calderon’s government has hired U.S. trial lawyers to investigate possible litigation against U.S. gun manufacturers and firearms retailers, seeking to hold these lawful companies responsible for the criminal misuse of firearms in Mexico. Though the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, signed into law in 2005 by then President George W. Bush, prevents such frivolous lawsuits, the mere threat demands a response.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, respects the work of President Calderon to willingly take on his country’s powerful drug cartels; however, we are disappointed that he would seek to hold law-abiding American companies responsible for crime in Mexico. This is especially troubling given investigative reports that show more than 80 percent of the firearms recovered in Mexico do not come from the United States. The most recent of these reports, from the independent research group STRATFOR, determined that less than 12 percent of the guns Mexico seized in 2008 came from the United States.

Furthermore, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), firearms traced in Mexico were originally sold at retail not recently, but, on average, 14 years earlier. This is completely inconsistent with any notion that a flood of newly purchased firearms are being illegally smuggled over the border. And let’s not forget that no retail firearm sale can be made in the U.S. until after an FBI criminal background check of the purchaser has been completed.

Exacerbating misconceptions about the firearms used by Mexican drug cartels, even mainstream publications such as the Washington Post, repeat erroneous information. For example, in today’s editorial the paper stated that Mexican drug cartels are “snapping up the military-style machine guns available in U.S. gun shops.” The fact is that machine guns are heavily regulated and virtually never sold at retail in the United States.

Still, in response to concerns over the violence in Mexico, ATF conducted more than 2,000 inspections of firearms dealers along the border. The result? Not a single dealer was charged with committing any crime and only two (or 0.01%) had their licenses revoked for unknown reasons that could have nothing to do with the cartels illegally obtaining firearms from retailers in the United States.

While these ATF inspections were clearing the law-abiding retailers’ good names, which were being smeared by many in the mainstream press and anti-gun officials in both the United States and Mexico, as many as 150,000 Mexican soldiers defected to work for the drug cartels, bringing their American-made service-issued firearms with them.

Perhaps the Mexican government should seek to file suit against their military personnel actively engaged in such illegal conduct.

Members of the firearms industry take seriously the criminal acquisition and misuse of their products. This is why our industry has for more than a decade partnered with the ATF in a national campaign to make the public aware that it is a serious crime to straw purchase a firearm. The program, called Don’t Lie for the Other Guy, is now funded completely by members of the firearms industry and also helps ATF to educate firearms retailers – whom ATF considers the first line of defense – to better detect and prevent illegal straw purchases.

The firearms industry is one of America’s oldest and most-storied entities. We played a prominent role in America’s westward expansion, continue to serve as the Arsenal for Democracy and support the conservation of America’s wildlife and great outdoors. We are also one of the most regulated industries in the world. From production to distribution, distribution to sale, everything we as an industry do is overseen by the United States government.

Again, we applaud President Calderon for taking steps to stop the cartels when past Mexican administrations paid only lip service and allowed rampant corruption to fester. Still, it is wrong for anyone to blame America’s firearms industry for the problems Mexico is currently facing.

Crossbow Permit Repeal Passes NC General Assembly

Senate Bill 406 which repeals the requirement to get a permit from your local sheriff’s office to purchase a crossbow passed the North Carolina House on Wednesday and was presented to the Governor yesterday.

The North Carolina Senate had passed the repeal bill on March 30th with a 50-0 vote.

It ran into some trouble in the State House. According to a newsletter sent out this morning by Rep. Ray Rapp (D-Madison), Rep. Frank McGuirt led the opposition to the bill. McGuirt, who was formerly the Sheriff of Union County, opposed the bill because a criminal in Union County used a crossbow to murder someone when he was “unable to obtain a license to purchase a gun.” Supposedly that led to the addition of crossbows to the pistol purchase law. The only problem with that story is that North Carolina only requires a license (or more properly, a permit) for purchases of handguns.

Nonetheless, SB 406 passed the State House 69-48 on Wednesday. It has now been sent to the Governor for her signature.

The bill as ratified can be found here.

Provided Bev Perdue signs the bill, this will open up crossbow sales significantly. You will now be able to purchase them locally, on-line, or by mail order. I think we will be seeing a growth in their sales here in NC due to the repeal of the permit requirement combined with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission’s approval of crossbows for big game hunting for everyone. Prior to this past season, you had to be disabled and have a special permit in order to use a crossbow for big game hunting.

“It Was Disturbing”

“It was disturbing” was one of the comments regarding a group of Open Carry proponents in Pasadena protesting attempts to ban open carry in California.

A Brady Campaign spokeswoman agreed.

“I believe the open carry movement is very intimidating,” said Suzanne Verge of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “I think as a citizen I should be able to go along Colorado Boulevard and shop where I want to shop and not have to worry about running into somebody with a loaded weapon.”

Substitute “Negro” for “loaded weapon” and I’m sure that either of those comments could have been also said by certain white people in Birmingham about seeing Rosa Parks sitting in the front – as opposed to the back – of the bus.

One of the major reasons Judge Irma Gonzalez gave for dismissing the challenge to California’s requirement to show good cause for a concealed carry permit was that California allowed unloaded open carry along with loaded open carry in certain rural areas. Because the state did provide that alternative, the good cause requirement passed constitutional muster.

You have to wonder which the gun prohibitionists fear most: unloaded open carry or shall issue concealed carry.

H/T Brandon Combs