Dave Kopel’s Testimony At Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing

Dave Kopel replaced Fordham Prof. Nick Johnson at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence (sic) yesterday. Below is his prepared testimony before the committee. It also includes Dave answering questions from some senators.

While not as dramatic as the “testimony” that former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords gave, it is a lot more instructive on the issue. Unfortunately, the national media will concentrate on the former and ignore this.

Ted Cruz At The Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is the junior senator from Texas and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In his comments and questions today at the Judiciary Committee’s hearing on gun violence (sic) he brought out that the bill proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is concerned with cosmetics and not functionality. It is a message that most Americans are not getting. I think Cruz is correct when he asserts the average American thinks of full-auto firearms when the term “assault weapon” is used.

Wayne LaPierre’s Prepared Testimony In Today’s Gun Control Hearing

The NRA-ILA has published Wayne LaPierre’s prepared testimony given before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. It was for their hearing on “What Should America Do About Gun Violence (sic)?”

JANUARY 30, 2013

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

It’s an honor to be here today on behalf of more than 4.5 million moms and dads and sons and daughters, in every state across our nation, who make up the National Rifle Association of America. Those 4.5 million active members are joined by tens of millions of NRA supporters.

And it’s on behalf of those millions of decent, hardworking, law-abiding citizens … to give voice to their concerns … that I’m here today.

The title of today’s hearing is “What should America do about gun violence?”

We believe the answer to that question is to be honest about what works – and what doesn’t work.

Teaching safe and responsible gun ownership works – and the NRA has a long and proud history of teaching it.

Our “Eddie Eagle” children’s safety program has taught over 25 million young children that if they see a gun, they should do four things: “Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.” As a result of this and other private sector programs, fatal firearm accidents are at the lowest levels in more than 100 years.[1]

The NRA has over 80,000 certified instructors who teach our military personnel, law enforcement officers and hundreds of thousands of other American men and women how to safely use firearms. We do more – and spend more – than anyone else on teaching safe and responsible gun ownership.

We joined the nation in sorrow over the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. There is nothing more precious than our children. We have no more sacred duty than to protect our children and keep them safe. That’s why we asked former Congressman and Undersecretary of Homeland Security, Asa Hutchison, to bring in every expert available to develop a model School Shield Program – one that can be individually tailored to make our schools as safe as possible.

It’s time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children. About a third of our schools have armed security already – because it works.[2] And that number is growing. Right now, state officials, local authorities and school districts in all 50 states are considering their own plans to protect children in their schools.

In addition, we need to enforce the thousands of gun laws that are currently on the books. Prosecuting criminals who misuse firearms works. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a dramatic collapse in federal gun prosecutions in recent years. Overall in 2011, federal weapons prosecutions per capita were down 35 percent from their peak in the previous administration.[3] That means violent felons, gang members and the mentally ill who possess firearms are not being prosecuted. And that’s unacceptable.

And out of more than 76,000 firearms purchases denied by the federal instant check system, only 62 were referred for prosecution and only 44 were actually prosecuted.[4] Proposing more gun control laws – while failing to enforce the thousands we already have – is not a serious solution to reducing crime.

I think we can also agree that our mental health system is broken. We need to look at the full range of mental health issues, from early detection and treatment, to civil commitment laws, to privacy laws that needlessly prevent mental health records from being included in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

While we’re ready to participate in a meaningful effort to solve these pressing problems, we must respectfully – but honestly and firmly – disagree with some members of this committee, many in the media, and all of the gun control groups on what will keep our kids and our streets safe.

Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals. Nor do we believe the government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families.

As I said earlier, we need to be honest about what works and what does not work. Proposals that would only serve to burden the law-abiding have failed in the past and will fail in the future.

Semi-automatic firearms have been around for over 100 years. They are among the most popular guns made for hunting, target shooting and self-defense. Despite this fact, Congress banned the manufacture and sale of hundreds of semi-automatic firearms and magazines from 1994 to 2004. Independent studies, including a study from the Clinton Justice Department, proved that ban had no impact on lowering crime.[5]

And when it comes to the issue of background checks, let’s be honest – background checks will never be “universal” – because criminals will never submit to them.

But there are things that can be done and we ask you to join with us. The NRA is made up of millions of Americans who support what works … the immediate protection for all – not just some – of our school children; swift, certain prosecution of criminals with guns; and fixing our broken mental health system.

We love our families and our country. We believe in our freedom. We’re the millions of Americans from all walks of life who take responsibility for our own safety and protection as a God-given, fundamental right.

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I thank you for your time and consideration.

[1] Pre-1981 data from National Safety Council, Accident Facts (annual); 1981 forward from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, available at http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/fatal_injury_reports.html.

[2] Gary Fields et al., NRA Calls for Arms in School, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 22, 2012, available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324461604578193364201364432.html.

[3] Calculated from U.S. Department of Justice data available through Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, http://tracfed.syr.edu.

[4] Ronald J. Frandsen, Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2010: Federal and State Investigations and Prosecutions of Firearm Applicants Denied by a NICS Check in 2010 , available at https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/bjs/grants/239272.pdf.

[5] Jeffrey A. Roth & Christopher S. Koper, “Impact Evaluation of the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994, (1997), available at http://www.sas.upenn.edu/jerrylee/research/aw_ban.htm.

Firearms Legislation Introduced This Week In Congress

Three more bills affecting gun rights and shooting opportunities have been introduced since Monday. Two are anti-gun and come from well-known gun prohibitionists and the third is a bill that would protect hunting, shooting, and fishing on public lands. It is interesting to note that on Carolyn McCarthy’s HR 437 that 70% of the co-sponsors come from states that severely restrict gun rights.

HR.437 – Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)
Rep Bishop, Timothy H. [DNY-1] – 1/29/2013
Rep Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3] – 1/29/2013
Rep Brady, Robert A. [D-PA-1] – 1/29/2013
Rep Carney, John C., Jr. [D-DE] – 1/29/2013
Rep Cartwright, Matt [D-PA-17] – 1/29/2013
Rep Cicilline, David N. [D-RI-1] – 1/29/2013
Rep Cohen, Steve [D-TN-9] – 1/29/2013
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [D-MI-13] – 1/29/2013
Rep DeGette, Diana [D-CO-1] – 1/29/2013
Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. [D-CT-3] – 1/29/2013
Rep Deutch, Theodore E. [D-FL-21] – 1/29/2013
Rep Eshoo, Anna G. [D-CA-18] – 1/29/2013
Rep Esty, Elizabeth H. [D-CT-5] – 1/29/2013
Rep Frankel, Lois [D-FL-22] – 1/29/2013
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [D-AZ-3] – 1/29/2013
Rep Hahn, Janice [D-CA-44] – 1/29/2013
Rep Himes, James A. [D-CT-4] – 1/29/2013
Rep Holt, Rush [D-NJ-12] – 1/29/2013
Rep Huffman, Jared [D-CA-2] – 1/29/2013
Rep Jackson Lee, Sheila [D-TX-18] – 1/29/2013
Rep Larson, John B. [D-CT-1] – 1/29/2013
Rep Levin, Sander M. [D-MI-9] – 1/29/2013
Rep Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA-19] – 1/29/2013
Rep Lowenthal, Alan S. [D-CA-47] – 1/29/2013
Rep Lowey, Nita M. [D-NY-17] – 1/29/2013
Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [D-NY-12] – 1/29/2013
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [D-CA-6] – 1/29/2013
Rep McCollum, Betty [D-MN-4] – 1/29/2013
Rep McGovern, James P. [D-MA-2] – 1/29/2013
Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [D-NY-5] – 1/29/2013
Rep Meng, Grace [D-NY-6] – 1/29/2013
Rep Miller, George [D-CA-11] – 1/29/2013
Rep Moran, James P. [D-VA-8] – 1/29/2013
Rep Nadler, Jerrold [D-NY-10] – 1/29/2013
Rep Pallone, Frank, Jr. [D-NJ-6] – 1/29/2013
Rep Pascrell, Bill, Jr. [D-NJ-9] – 1/29/2013
Rep Perlmutter, Ed [D-CO-7] – 1/29/2013
Rep Quigley, Mike [D-IL-5] – 1/29/2013
Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [D-IL-9] – 1/29/2013
Rep Schiff, Adam B. [D-CA-28] – 1/29/2013
Rep Scott, Robert C. “Bobby” [D-VA-3] – 1/29/2013
Rep Serrano, Jose E. [D-NY-15] – 1/29/2013
Rep Sherman, Brad [D-CA-30] – 1/29/2013
Rep Sires, Albio [D-NJ-8] – 1/29/2013
Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [D-NY-25] – 1/29/2013
Rep Speier, Jackie [D-CA-14] – 1/29/2013
Rep Swalwell, Eric [D-CA-15] – 1/29/2013
Rep Takano, Mark [D-CA-41] – 1/29/2013
Rep Tierney, John F. [D-MA-6] – 1/29/2013
Rep Tsongas, Niki [D-MA-3] – 1/29/2013
Rep Van Hollen, Chris [D-MD-8] – 1/29/2013
To regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited, and for other purposes.
Referred to the House Judiciary Committee
(Since the text hasn’t been received yet, I am presuming that this bill is the House version of Feinstein’s S.150 – Assault Weapons Ban of 2013)

S.170 – Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
– 1/29/2013
A bill to recognize the heritage of recreational fishing, hunting, and
recreational shooting on Federal public land and ensure continued
opportunities for those activities. 

Referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

S.174 – Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Sen Lautenberg, Frank R. [D-NJ] – 1/29/2013
Sen Murphy, Christopher S. [D-CT] – 1/29/2013
A bill to appropriately restrict sales of ammunition. 
 Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bitter’s Live Blog Of The Senate Hearing

I have been occupied with other things today so I haven’t been able to watch the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “What Should America Do About Gun Violence?

Fortunately, Bitter at Shall Not Be Questioned has been live blogging this hearing. I suggest going there to read it.

UPDATE: Links for the prepared testimony of the participants in the hearing (other than Wayne LaPierre) are below:

 Mark Kelly

Chief James Johnson

David Kopel

Gayle Trotter

We Need To Clone Jessie Duff

Champion shooter Jessie Duff appeared on Fox New’s Justice with Judge Jeanine speaking about firearms and the Second Amendment. She was poised, she was confident, she knew her stuff, and she looked fantastic. It is an image that needs to repeated over and over to break the barely articulate, old overweight white guy in camo stereotype that the media and the enemies of gun rights wishes to perpetuate.

Judge Jeanine Pirro served first as a county judge and then as the District Attorney of Westchester County, NY for 12 years. She lost the race for Attorney General of NY to current Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2006.

Paul Erhardt, writing in today’s The Shooting Wire, points out the value of a Jessie Duff and how well she had done.

One bright spot in recent days has been by Jessie Duff, the Taurus sponsored national champion shooter who hosts her own show (along with husband Matt) on the Outdoor Channel. She appeared on Fox News Channel three times in the last week to 10 days and has done an excellent job.

Putting Jessie out front on the gun issue is a great move and there are a few more women from the competition world that could, and should be, utilized the same way.

However, imagine how much more effective Jessie and other women shooters would be if the industry invested in them well before all this with media training and messaging – assuming there was an actual message. We might be in a slightly better position.

 Erhardt is right. We need to be better at getting our message out and we need to be better prepared.

Shall Issue Concealed Carry Bill Introduced In Illinois

Illinois State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) introduced HB997 – the Family and Personal Protection Act – yesterday. This bill would, if passed, would bring shall-issue concealed carry to Illinois.

From the bill’s synopsis:

Creates the Family and Personal Protection Act.
Provides that the Department of State Police shall issue a license to a
person to: (1) carry a loaded or unloaded handgun on or about his or her
person, concealed or otherwise; (2) keep or carry a loaded or unloaded
handgun on or about his or her person when in a vehicle; and (3) keep a
loaded or unloaded handgun openly or concealed in a vehicle. Prohibits
the carrying of the handgun in certain locations. Provides that the
license shall be issued by the Department of State Police within 30 days
of receipt of a completed application and shall be valid throughout the
State for a period of 5 years from the date of issuance. Provides for
renewal of licenses. Establishes qualifications for licensees, certified
firearms instructors, and instructor trainers. Provides for home rule
preemption. Provides that the provisions of the Act are severable.
Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Prohibits from inspection and
copying information about applications for licenses to carry a handgun
and about license holders contained in the database created by the
Family and Personal Protection Act, except as authorized by that Act.
Amends the State Finance Act and the Criminal Code of 2012 to make
conforming changes. Effective immediately.

Having read the bill in its entirety, let me highlight key components of the bill.

First and foremost, this bill provides for Shall-Issue concealed carry permits. The permit would allowed a permit holder to (a) carry a firearm, loaded or unloaded, “concealed or otherwise”, on his or her person; (b) on his or her person in a motor vehicle; or (c) in a vehicle either openly or concealed while not on the person. Concealed is defined by the law to mean “completely or mostly concealed”. This should take care of the issue of incidental exposure or printing. Moreover, as I read “concealed or otherwise”, I think a strong argument could be made that this would make open carry permissible with a CCW.

The Illinois State Police will be in charge of issuing the permit. The fee is $25 to apply with a 30-day turnaround time. As I noted above, the permit is shall-issue. However, a sheriff or municipal chief law enforcement officer can object in writing to the issuance of a permit to an individual especially if they feel the person would be a danger to him or herself or others. The burden of proof is upon the state to prove this and the applicant has a right to know. Applicants consent to a complete background check including psych records and juvenile court records. Applicants “may” be requested to provide fingerprints with the cost to the applicant of no more than $15.

Illinois residents with a current out-of-state carry permit would be allowed to carry concealed for up to 180 days after enactment. After that, they would be required to have an Illinois CCW.

Section 25 of the bill sets the qualifications:

  • Age 21 or more
  • Valid FOID card if a resident
  • Not prohibited by either state or Federal law from possessing a firearm
  • Not under pending arrest warrant that would be a disqualifying offense
  • Not a chronic abuser of alcohol in prior 3 years as evidence by either (a) residential or court-ordered detox or treatment for alcohol abuse or (b) 2 or more DUIs.
  • Has completed approved training and education component

The state – and only the state – will keep a database of all permit holders. No local law enforcement agency or local government may keep their own database. Violations of this incur a $5,000 per record punitive fine. The state database would be available to all law enforcement agencies but individual records would not be subject to freedom of information requests. The only public data provided from this database would be statistics showing permits by county, age, gender, or race.

Permit renewals would cost $25 and require a shooting requalification. This could be satisfied by either shooting in a competition such as IDPA or USPSA within six months of renewal or by showing evidence of a range exercise with a certified instructor.

The bill does provide for non-resident permits and waives the FOID card requirement. It would require a notarized statement from the home state that the person is eligible under state and Federal law to possess a firearm. More importantly, the bill provides for reciprocity with other states that recognize the Illinois permit and that have substantially similar requirements to that of Illinois.

The bill does have a substantial list of restricted areas which would apply to where a permit holder could carry concealed. There are exceptions in some of these areas if consent is given or if the holder is a judge or a State’s Attorney.

  • Any building under control of the Illinois General Assembly including district offices. Members could carry concealed in their district offices.
  • Courthouses
  • Meeting places of local governments
  • Bars but not restaurants that merely serve alcohol
  • Airport secure areas
  • Area prohibited by Federal law
  • K-12 schools without consent
  • Child care facilities without consent
  • Casino
  • Gated areas of amusement parks
  • Stadiums and other sports venues
  • Colleges and universities without consent
  • Public libraries without consent
  • Police stations and sheriff’s offices without consent
  • Prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities

Businesses would be allowed to post against concealed carry and the bill does specify the posting requirements. Local governments and school boards may prohibit by a majority vote concealed carry in any building controlled by them. However, they cannot prohibit carry in public housing, rest stops, public right of ways, or parking facilities. State buildings under the control of the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller, or Treasures would be allowed to be posted against concealed carry.

Permit holders would be required to disclose if carrying as soon as possible if stopped by law enforcement officers. The bill prohibits carrying under the influence which is defined as 0.08 blood alcohol or higher.

The training requirements can be fulfilled by passing the NRA Basic Pistol course, the NRA Personal Protection in the Home course, the NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home course, or another 4 hour course approved by the State Police. In addition, there is a live fire component that also must be passed. A person must fire at least 30 rounds with a 70% hit score of a B-21 silhouette or similar. Of these 30 rounds, the bill specifies 20 rounds at 7 yards and 10 rounds at 15 yards. The fees for training are allowed to be set by the instructor. Instructors can be anyone who is an NRA certified instructor, a retired law enforcement officer who has passed the qualifications to carry, an active or retired military member with a combat MOS, or a person certified by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training State Board.

Finally, and second only in importance to the bill mandating Shall-Issue carry permits, the bill contains a very strong state preemption clause. It prohibits any home rule unit from regulating the possession, carrying, or transportion of firearms. The only exception is that local governments can post buildings owned by them against carry. In addition, no home rule unit can regulate the number of handguns owned or require the registration possessed by a person under the act. Violation of Section 95 brings a $10,000 per day per individual affected punitive fine.

This is a very strong shall-issue law with reasonable costs and reasonable training requirements. The prohibited areas are similar to many other shall-issue states. The preemption clause is a critical component of this bill as it prevents the City of Chicago from setting their own draconian regulations. You can expect that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago legislators under his sway will fight this part of the bill tooth and nail. In conclusion, I think Rep. Brandon Phelps – a Democrat, mind you – should be congratulated for drafting and introducing a good bill. For the sake of the people of the State of Illinois, I hope it passes.

Steyr L-Series Pistol

I have always been intrigued by the Steyr pistols due to their low bore axis as well as their fairly smooth – for a striker-fired pistol – triggers. They have now launched the new L Series which is a full size service pistol available in 9mm and .40 S&W.

In the video below from Tactical Life, you can see some of the details of this new pistol. The only thing that I object to is the keyed lock on the slide. Checking the M and S Series, I see they both have it. It seems to me to be superfluous and just one more thing to break.

STEYR PISTOL L-A1 Technical Data

Technical Data STEYR PISTOL L-A1
Length x Height x Width
188 mm x 136 mm x 30 mm
Weight (without ammunition)
appr. 810g
Barrel length
102 mm (4″)
9×19, .40 S&W (9×21 on request)
Magazine Capacity
9×19 and 9×21: 15 cartridges
.40 S&W: 12 cartridges
Synethetic balck
Trigger way
4,0 mm (app. 0,2″) (constantly)
triangular / trapezoid shape
rectangular sights with or without  Trilux, match sights

What’s Banned In New York

The office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) has provided a graphic summary of what rifle features are now banned under NYSafe. That is the draconian law pushed through so quickly that even law enforcement if prohibited from having more than 7 rounds in their magazines. NY(un)Safe stands for Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.

As you look through the pages of the graphic you need to ask yourself how the absence of a bayonet lug or a muzzle break will make the people of New York State any safer. The obvious answer is that it won’t.

NY State – Banned Rifle Features by