What’s Up With Alamance County

Alamance County, North Carolina is considering a ban on all firearms in county buildings. Currently, only concealed weapons are banned. However, they are reacting to two non-incidents where an open carrier went in to pay their tax bills at the Tax Collector’s Office.

These individuals went in, paid their bills, and left. They were not like some open carry protesters carrying a slung shotgun or rifle but merely carrying a pistol on their hip. Open carry has been legal in North Carolina since the early 1920s based  upon the North Carolina Supreme Court case of State v. Kerner.

Grass Roots North Carolina has issued an alert on the moves by county commissioners to consider the ban.


The Times-News is reporting that Alamance County Commissioners are considering a comprehensive gun ban in County Buildings. Not known for being an anti-Second Amendment group, it may seem perplexing that Alamance County leaders would consider such a thing. Apparently, the discussion springs from a couple of recent incidents that are only remarkable in the fact that they are not “incidents” at all.

On a couple of occasions, citizens going about their daily business had stopped in to county offices to pay their taxes. While doing so, they happened to be open-carrying firearms. There has been no suggestion that the citizens acted strangely or threateningly in any way, and it’s worth noting that it is perfectly legal to open-carry in Alamance County buildings. To summarize the situation: no incident occurred, and no laws were broken. However, to be fair, it should be noted that some taxes were paid. So, where’s the problem?

It’s reported that some county employees expressed that they were “scared” by the presence of the lawfully armed citizens paying their taxes. So now, based on the feelings of a few individuals, the Commissioners are considering an all-out gun ban. That would be a gun ban on the very property that is funded by the taxes that these citizens came in to pay. The irony is striking.

When asked about the non-incidents, Sheriff Terry Johnson stated:

“I am a believer in a man’s right to bear arms, but you don’t walk into a county building with a gun strapped on the side of you.”

Which is it? Do the people have the right to bear arms, or don’t they? If Sheriff Johnson truly believes in that right, and intends to honor his oath to protect it, you’d think that he would be incensed that the County Commissioners would even consider a gun ban. One might even point out that Sheriff Johnson himself frequents county buildings, presumably with a gun strapped on his side. The irony is snowballing.

Unfortunately, Alamance County buildings are already posted against concealed carry, which means there is only one option left for citizens to legally bear arms if they need to pass through that particular public space. An additional restriction, one on open-carry, would establish a de facto 100% gun ban, and that would surely call into question Sheriff Johnson’s and the Commissioners’ commitment to the rights of the citizens they serve.

However foolish and ineffective it may be, property owners have every right to ban guns from their private lands and structures. Such is the nature of private ownership. However, if there is any place where the Bill of Rights is clearly applicable, and ought to be non-negotiable, it is on public property. County officials are elected and hired to serve the citizens of the county. It is the citizen who has the right to bear arms, and he or she has the right to do so primarily on public property, for the very reason that it is public—the citizens own it. If the County Commissioners claim the authority to infringe on this right, one can only wonder what’s next.

A gentle prompting may be needed to nudge the Alamance County Commissioners in the right direction. Surely, once they hear from their supervisors (the people), they will recall what it is they are charged with protecting, and whom they are charged with serving. Below, you’ll find contact information and a message that can be used to communicate your concerns to the County Commissioners.


E-mail the Alamance County Commissioners. Below you will find a recommended e-mail message you can use. Also, under ‘Contact Info,’ you’ll find a copy-paste e-mail address list for the commissioners.


Copy & Paste *e-mail list for the County Commissioners:
blashley62@yahoo.com; tkm@triad.rr.com; lhmassey@bellsouth.net; timdsutton@hotmail.com; timdsutton@justice.com

*No e-mail address available for Commissioner David I. Smith
His mailing address is:
PO Box 1854
Burlington, NC 27216


Suggested Subject: “No Gun Bans on Taxpayer Owned Property”

Dear Alamance County Commissioners,

I have recently been informed that there has been discussion among the County Commissioners about establishing a gun ban in county buildings.

With that in mind, I’m writing to remind the Commissioners that the citizens of Alamance County have a right to bear arms, and it is particularly on public property where this right ought to be recognized and protected. I respectfully insist that County Commissioners not machinate to deny Alamance County citizens their Second Amendment rights. Of course, I assume that you are a supporter of such rights, but passing an ordinance establishing a gun ban in county buildings would, unfortunately, prove my assumption incorrect.

To remain consistent with the supreme law of the land, and as a show of respect to the citizens you serve, I ask that you discount any thoughts of a gun ban on taxpayer-owned property. I will be monitoring your actions on this issue via alerts from Grass Roots North Carolina.


Technology Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Trump The Second Amendment

The Wall Street Journal had an article today about the development of so-called smart guns and how this may trigger a decade old law in New Jersey. In 2002 New Jersey passed a law saying that within three years after a so-called smart gun is available for sale on the US market and that the state’s Attorney General has certified it as reliable, then all new handguns sold there must have that technology.

BATFE has approved the German-made iP1 Pistol by Armatix for importation into the US and it is expected to hit the market by the end of the year. It has also be certified for California’s handgun roster. The iP1 pistol uses a RFID chip which requires communication with a special watch. In addition, the “Intelligun” from Kodiak Industries in Utah which uses a fingerprint-scan is also about to come to market.

“The technology is here,” said Nicola Bocour, a director at Ceasefire NJ, a gun-violence (sic) prevention group. “Apple is using biometrics with its smartphones. Guns are next.”

Backers of New Jersey’s law and signed by then-Gov. James McGreevey hope it would cut down on suicides and firearms accidents, especially those involving children. “Our thought was that the bill, if passed, would save lives every year, without infringing anyone’s rights,” said Stephen Teret, a professor of public health at Johns Hopkins University who helped New Jersey craft the law.

The New Jersey law specifically exempts law enforcement from having to use personalized guns. If the law’s authors thought the technology not reliable enough for law enforcement use, then why is it considered good enough for the public?

Professor Teret is quite mistaken if he thinks this law doesn’t infringe “anyone’s rights”. The technology isn’t free. The iP1 Pistol costs $1,400 while the Intelligun grips from Kodiak cost $399. How is requiring a citizen to pay for expensive technology in order to exercise an enumerated right not an infringement? Did not the US Supreme Court say in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections that a poll tax infringed upon the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment? How, pray tell, is requiring expensive technology, which may or may not work, not the functional equivalent of a poll tax?

I won’t get into the downsides of the technology which I think are numerous or the adverse self-protection potentialities of it. I would point to a recent poll that states a wide majority of Americans oppose the technology and doubt its reliability. This is a technology that, in my opinion, has limited use and is not one that I’d stake my life upon.

“Somebody Lower Than A Snake’s Belly”

Early this morning, a group of masked armed men robbed an assisted living facility in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They restrained the staff and then stole TVs and other valuables from the elderly residents.

About 1:30 a.m., three to four men entered the Clare Bridge Retirement Home at 275 S. Peace Haven Road, pulled out their guns and restrained employees, police said. The men, who had their faces covered, are alleged to have then gone into the rooms of the residents and stolen televisions, jewelry and other items, police said.

One resident had to be treated for a minor injury, according to police.

Police have not said how the men entered the facility. There were no visible signs of a break-in. Visitors must ring a bell in the foyer, and are allowed in by an employee. Employees must enter a security code to get in.

I think I’ve heard about damn near everything now. I just cannot conceive of an armed robbery of an assisted living facility. All I can say is that I hope most of the residents slept through it. The elderly need to be respected and not terrorized.

I agree 100% with C. D. Williams whose wife was a resident at the retirement home and lived across from one of the rooms that was entered.

Williams said his wife is fine but that he is upset that anyone would break into a retirement home.

“It’s somebody lower than a snake’s belly, and that’s pretty low,” he said. “You don’t know where to go to be safe.”

I don’t think it would be cruel and unusual punishment for the robbers, if and when they are caught, to be flogged or caned in the public square. In a spirit of moderation, I’ll save boiling in oil for the robber who injured the resident and not the whole gang of them.

UPDATE: Clare Bridge is owned by Brookdale Senior Living Solutions. According to their corporate website, this facility in Winston-Salem is strictly for the care of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

Now I’m really pissed off. My mother suffered from dementia during the last few years of her life. I saw a proud, smart, and fiercely independent woman reduced to a shell of her former self. Mistreating the elderly who suffer from dementia is on par with abusing a retarded child. Only the scum of the earth would do it.

Let’s Hope This Helps Solve The Shortage of .22LR Ammo

I got a press release today from Norma-USA. They are the American distributors for Swedish ammo maker Norma. The release announced that they would be importing a new brand of .22 LR ammo for sale in the US.

As anyone who has gone into their local Walmart knows, .22 LR ammo is scare to nonexistent on the shelves. Norma is well-known for making fantastic ammo and I expect this .22 LR ammo to be no exception. With a MSRP of $4.99, Norma-USA TAC-22 is also reasonably priced for what it is.

Let’s hope this helps to ease the shortage of .22 LR on dealer’s shelves. It is available by mail order from both Grafs and Midway USA.

Fat Chance Of This Happening

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Bullet Points for November 18th, a coalition of groups has requested that Attorney General Eric Holder apply the “‘sporting purposes’ exemption to the definition of armor piercing ammunition set forth in the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA).”

The letter accuses ATF of sitting on petitions from ammunition manufacturers for exemptions for ammo made from materials such as brass and copper. While these materials fail the composition test set forth by the Gun Control Act of 1968, the law does provide an exemption for products clearly intended for sporting purposes. Long range target shooting and hunting would both clearly be sporting purposes.

The letter from these groups (seen below) makes a good case for why such ammo should be granted an exemption. That said, I don’t think there is a chance in hell of Eric Holder pushing ATF to act on these petitions. Not only is Holder anti-gun, he tries to portray himself as pro-cop which would cause him to rule out any ammo that could be considered “armor piercing”. It is a sham but it is what it is.

Johnny Returns To Chasing Ambulances

Former senator, failed presidential candidate, and famous philanderer Johnny Reid “John” Edwards is reportedly going to shun politics and return to practicing law.

The National Law Journal reports that:

Renouncing any further political ambitions, former U.S. senator and two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has returned to the practice of law, confident that potential clients and juries will look past the personal transgressions that pushed him from public life.

Edwards is joining forces with his daughter Cate and former law partner David Kirby to launch EdwardsKirby, a plaintiffs firm with a public interest focus.

One of the most successful trial lawyers in North Carolina history, Edwards, 60, said Monday in an interview with The National Law Journal that practicing law is “what I was born to do.”

Edwards had a fairly successful personal injury practice in which he won 54 cases with awards of $1 million or greater. His former practice was primarily North Carolina based. However, this new firm will be taking cases from across the country.

The original partnership practiced primarily within the state of North Carolina, but the new firm is national. Edwards said he anticipates going to trial around the country—and he wasn’t concerned about his ability to connect with non-Tar Heel jurors.

“I didn’t come to talk about politics, but I know from politics that we can do it anywhere,” he said.

Also, the original firm primarily handled cases involving catastrophic injury and death, while the new firm has a broader portfolio. Kirby said the focus would be on three areas: civil rights and discrimination; consumer rights and protection; and safety, including medical malpractice and product liability.

“This firm intends to limit its practice to a selected group of cases that hopefully will not only have impact on individuals involved, but have a broader impact on the law,” Kirby said.

While Edwards made his fame and fortune in the Tar Heel State, at least we can say he isn’t a native. That distinction falls to South Carolina. Thank goodness for small favors.

McAuliffe Loves His Fringe Supporters

Let’s face it. In terms of gun prohibitionist groups, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is a fringe group. They want to think they are in the big leagues but most politicians don’t pay them no never-mind. That is, until Virginia Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) came along.

From the NRA-ILA:

Only a couple of weeks after narrowly winning his bid for Governor of Virginia, NRA-PVF “F” rated candidate Terry McAuliffe appointed the Virginia State Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Lori Haas, to his 54-member “bipartisan” transition team.

CSGV advocates measures such as criminalizing the private transfer of firearms between family and friends, banning commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and ammunition magazines, imposing a deeply flawed microstamping system, revoking concealed carry laws and repealing self-defense laws.

Despite claiming support for the Second Amendment, Haas’s appointment to this position to help assemble his Administration sends a very clear message to gun owners and sportsmen in Virginia that their rights are already under attack in Richmond.

As Bitter noted yesterday, elections have consequences.

This Just Doesn’t Make Sense To Me

This past Thursday the US Fish and Wildlife Service destroyed six tons of illegally-obtained elephant ivory. They destroyed it by running it through a rock crusher at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. The six tons of confiscated ivory were accumulated over the last 25 years.

The official purpose for destroying the ivory was “to crack down on international poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking” according to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s release announcing the destruction.

“Rising demand for ivory is fueling a renewed and horrific slaughter of elephants in Africa, threatening remaining populations across the continent,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “We will continue to work aggressively with the Department of Justice and law enforcement agencies around the world to investigate, arrest and prosecute criminals who traffic in ivory. We encourage other nations to join us in destroying confiscated ivory stockpiles and taking other actions to combat wildlife crime.”

Some six tons of ivory were pulverized by an industrial rock crusher in front of some of the world’s most influential conservationists. Speakers included U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe; Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice President of World Wildlife Fund; Azzedine Downes, CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare; and Paula Kahumbu, Executive Director of WildlifeDirect. Remarks were also provided by Robert Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and Judy Garber, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

“By crushing its contraband ivory tusks and trinkets, the U.S. government sends a signal that it will not tolerate the senseless killing of elephants,” said Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund. “Other countries need to join the United States, Gabon, Kenya and the Philippines to take a stand against the crime syndicates behind this slaughter.”

“The destruction of the U.S. ivory stockpile speaks loud and clear to those who value ivory more than saving the elephant species from extinction,” said Downes. “IFAW commends the government’s action that underscores the critical role the United States can play in ending the illegal ivory trade.”

It should be noted that hunting of elephants in certain parts of Africa is 100% legal and that the importation of trophies (including tusks) from these elephants is permitted. Moreover, the importation of antique ivory is also legal and permitted.
I am against the violation of game laws and poaching. Whether it is an undersize redfish, an out of season brook trout,  or an African elephant taken by poachers using AK-47s, violations should be prosecuted.

That said, this just doesn’t make sense to me. How does destroying this ivory do anything to stop the poaching of elephants? This is especially true if, as the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe notes, “rising global demand for ivory is erasing those hard-fought gains” against poaching. The basic laws of supply and demand would dictate that even if demand remains the same, the decline in supply will increase the price. If the actions of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Obama Administration are causing the price to increase, would not this encourage poachers even more?

Perhaps I’m naive but it would seem to me that the use of proceeds from a controlled sale of confiscated ivory to fund more game wardens in Africa, to reimburse native farmers whose crops are trampled by the elephants, and to finance the prosecution of poaching organizations at all levels would do more to conserve and protect African elephants than pulverizing this ivory.

I guess my problem in understanding the rationale behind all of this is that I’m not a politician or a bureaucrat or work for a NGO.

Quote Of The Day

Jonah Goldberg, writing in the National Review Online yesterday, has perhaps the best characterization I’ve ever read about the far lefty ne’er do wells at Media Matters for America. It comes from his article about President Obama’s backtracking on ObamaCare.

Media Matters for America — David Brock’s sweatshop for twentysomethings who couldn’t get an internship at the DNC

I think that about says it about a group whose sole mission seems to promote Obama, demonize the NRA and gun owners, shout “Koch Brothers”, and deny Operation Fast and Furious. Oh, yes, and to trash Fox News at every opportunity along with CBS’s Emmy Award winning investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson.

October NICS Show Slight Decline

The October 2013 NSSF-adjusted NICS checks are in and they show a slight decline from the same month in 2012. Nonetheless, if you look at the chart of NSSF-adjusted NICS checks for the last 14 years, both 2012 and 2013 are substantially higher than prior years.

From the NSSF:

The October 2013 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,113,818 is a decrease of 0.5 percent compared to the NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,118,994 in October 2012. For comparison, the unadjusted October 2013 NICS figure of 1,679,099 reflects a 4.6 percent increase from the unadjusted NICS figure of 1,604,743 in October 2012.

The next chart is quite interesting. It shows the last 12 months of year over year data. You can see the spike in December 2012 and January 2013 presumably caused the shooting in Newtown and the attendant rise in the call for more gun control. After that, it follows the more normal curve of trending down towards summer and then starting to show a rise as the hunting season arrives.


 As the distance from the tragedy in Newtown has grown, the year over year gains have diminished until in August and October they actually show decreases. I think that we are at a new normal with some months being higher and some months being less.That said, the slight increases and decreases will be at a much higher base than pre-2012.

While the NSSF-adjusted NICS checks are not a perfect correlation for gun sales, they are a good indicator of them. For the firearms industry the great growth spurts may be over and their backlogs decreasing but they are still producing at a level that is significantly higher than in the past.