“I’m Older Now And It’s Very Scary”

WTSP Channel 10 News did a report a couple of days ago about the growth in Florida senior citizens applying for and getting the concealed carry permits. The report notes that over 350,000 permits holders in Florida are over the age of 66.

I’m glad to see these people taking the responsibility for their own self-defense. With regard to the disparity of force argument, most senior citizens would be at a disadvantage against a younger attacker. I’m not a senior citizen (yet) but I would feel at a severe disadvantage if I were attacked by an attacker in his 20s or 30s.

I like the tone of this story. It isn’t “this is dangerous for Grandma to have a firearm” but rather an honest report on how senior citizens are taking the initiative to protect themselves. I hope the trainers in Florida and elsewhere recognize this and develop classes aimed directly at this demographic.

I would embed the video but I can’t get it not to autoplay. Bummer. Here is the link.

H/T Laura Carno

Shades Of Oliver Twist

If you were exposed to Dickens novels in school or are of an age to remember the movie Oliver, then you know the story of how an older corrupt man used young boys to do his nefarious deeds. In a case of life imitating art, Brad Shipley of Trenton, Florida was arrested for using neighborhood kids to break-in to homes and steal outdoor gear such as guns, knives, and fishing tackle.

Photo from the Levy County Sheriff’s Dept

Shipley’s scheme fell apart when one of the kids told his mom what he was being forced to do.

Shipley’s plan unraveled when one of the kids told his mother what he had been made to do. The mother contacted LCSO and investigators seized the moment. Investigators were able recover property from six residential burglaries in Levy County, one burglary in Gilchrist County and a storage shed burglary in Alachua County.

According to the Levy County Clerk of Court’s office, Shipley is facing 17 counts ranging from dealing in stolen property to burglary to being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is being held under a $810,000 bond.

I’m a little surprised at the size of the bond but then again if you are stealing a man’s (or woman’s) fishing rod and/or his mounted deer head, you deserve to rot in jail.

Florida HB 49 – Threat Of Force Bill

Florida Carry sent out an alert this evening regarding House Bill 49 – Threat of Force. This bill will protect citizens from being threatened with 10-20 year sentences when they use the mere threat of force to protect themselves. Overzealous prosecutors like the utterly despicable State Attorney Angela Corey of Jacksonville have been using an existing law to charge those who display (or brandish) a firearm in self-defense with aggravated assault.

More on this from Florida Carry:

HB 89 meets House floor vote tomorrow! We need your immediate help to ensure it passes!

House Bill 89 – Threat of Force sponsored by Rep. Neil Combee meets the entire House for a floor vote tomorrow, Wednesday, March 19th. The passage of this bill is absolutely crucial to protect law-abiding citizens who use the threat of deadly force in self-defense from being coerced into accepting a plea deal to avoid a lengthy sentence under 10-20-Life.

The 10-20-Life mandatory minimums law was enacted with the sole purpose of toughening punishment of violent criminals who use firearms during the commission of crimes, thus keeping them off the streets for a longer time. Recently however, overzealous prosecutors have figured out they could use the law to threaten people who displayed a firearm in self-defense, by charging them with aggravated assault, conviction on which would be a felony and subject to 10-20-Life.

Some of today’s legislators voted on the 10-20-Life bill, and they say it was NEVER intended to be used in this manner. It has been said that it is legally less dangerous to pull the trigger on an assailant than it is to simply display a firearm to scare them off. HB 89 protects those who display a firearm in self-defense. Please help us put an end to the persecution of law-abiding citizens at the hands of unscrupulous states attorneys and activist judges.

Florida Carry has the email addresses of the entire Florida House of Representatives here. Just cut an paste them into the “To” line of your email program.

They are asking people to send an email encouraging a yes vote on HB 89. To make it more effective, please use your own words and include this in the subject line: Vote yes on HB 89!

Colt And Florida

Back in late 2011, Colt’s Manufacturing Company indicated that it planned to open a plant in Kissimmee, Florida. They said they were going to make a $2.5 million investment in a vacant facility that was owned by Osceola County. While the plant was scheduled to open in 2012, it never did.

Fast forward to today. At today’s Regular Meeting of the Osceola County Board of Commissioners, the Board gave their unanimous approval and authorization for the Board Chair and Vice-Chair to sign the landlord agreement with Colt’s Manufacturing. The lease will run through 2023. This agreement was necessary before the equipment lessor would allow Colt’s Manufacturing to move any machinery into the building.

While Colt has committed to this plant since 2011, I don’t believe any mention has been made of just what will be made or assembled in this plant. Given Connecticut’s new gun control laws, I would not be surprised to see the plant being used for the assembly of AR-15s for the civilian market. However, that is just a guess.

WFTV Channel 9 Orlando has a report on Colt moving in along with the positive reaction by area residents.

H/T Miguel

Who’s The Bigger Idiot?

I’m trying to figure out who in this case comes across as the bigger idiot – the media or the sheriff and his staff

On Tuesday, the Broward County Sheriff’s Department arrested the owners of a pain clinic in Pompano Beach (FL) on charges of money laundering, racketeering, and prescription drug trafficking. They then seized guns and money from the owners’ home and office.

As to who comes off like the bigger idiot, I’ll let you make the call.

First, here is the lead paragraph of the story by Linda Trischitta of the Sun Sentinel:

The confiscated arsenal includes two short-barreled assault rifles, a portable rocket launcher case and a tiny .22-caliber pistol that would fit in a brassiere.

Including “a portable rocket launcher case” in the list of a “confiscated arsenal” is pretty stupid. Reporters are not known for having gun smarts. However, it seems the sheriff of Broward County and some of his staff are trying to out-stupid the media when it comes to firearms.

Sheriff Al Lamberti had this to say:

During a news conference at BSO’s Fort Lauderdale headquarters, Sheriff Al Lamberti called the firearms array “scary” and “sophisticated” and “not the day-to-day, target practice weapons you’d normally see.”

But, officials acknowledged, the bulk of the weapons had been legally purchased.

You almost expect him to say the doctors arrested had firearms with that shoulder thing that goes up.

Sgt. Ted Taranu of the BSO then displays the arrogance (and stupidity) that serves to tarnish the reputation of all the good law enforcement officers out there:

The olive-green rocket launcher case did not contain its projectile, and was harmless.

Sgt. Ted Taranu of BSO’s gun squad said it is not illegal to possess such a souvenir, but that a civilian really shouldn’t have one.

“The military controls such equipment that could perhaps be bought at a gun show or from a private collector for around $500,” said Taranu. BSO will now try to determine who bought it, and from where.

Sheriff Lamberti, by the way, is a Republican. It goes to show that Democrats don’t hold the license on making anti-gun comments nor that Republicans are always pro-gun.

Enlightened Comment Of The Day

Florida’s “stand your ground” law which does not require a duty to retreat in the face of a deadly threat is generating some really off-the-wall comments as a result of the Trayvon Martin case. Case in point is this comment by Gregory O’Meara.

Gregory O’Meara, an associate professor of law at Marquette University School of Law, agrees.

“These ‘stand your ground’ laws license pistol-packing urban cowboys and paranoid people,” says O’Meara, who fought the passage of a similar law in Wisconsin. “We’ve all been trained to be afraid of black men, and if you’re afraid enough that justifies everything.”

Professor O’Meara is also Father O’Meara as he is a member of the Jesuit order. The Jesuit Order has traditionally been known for their academic and intellectual rigor. Given his comment above, Father O’Meara seems to have strayed from the Jesuit tradition and is instead embracing the mindset of Father “Snuffy” Pfleger.

Florida Knife Law Preemption Bill Filed

In news from the Second Front for the fight for the Second Amendment comes this from Florida. According to Knife Rights, Florida St. Senator Thad Altman (R-24) has filed a bill that would reserve regulation of knives to the State Legislature and pre-empt all municipal regulations of knives and cutting instruments.

As promised in our New Years message, we are pleased to announce that another Knife Rights bill is now in play. Florida State Senator Thad Altman (R- District 24) has filed a Knife Law Preemption bill developed by Knife Rights with cooperation of our friends at Florida Carry. We’d also like to acknowledge former president of the NRA, Marion Hammer, the executive director of United Sportsmen of Florida, who was very helpful in this effort. SB 1732 is “a bill…providing legislative intent to preempt the regulation of knives and weapons to the Legislature.” You can review the bill here: www.kniferights.org/SB-1732_Knife-Preemption_Altman.pdf

This bill builds upon the success of last year’s revised Florida firearms preemption law that provided for painful penalties to political jurisdictions that were previously ignoring the existing firearms preemption law. Our Knife and Weapons Preemption bill voids local laws and regulations and includes these same severe penalties if local jurisdiction were inclined to ignore this expansion of state preemption to cover knives. This puts real teeth into this bill, ensuring “the repeal of rules, ordinances, and regulations prohibited by the [new] section [of law].”

Two encompassing definitions are provided in the bill for “common pocketknife” and “knife” that are otherwise referenced in Florida law without constructive definitions. A “common pocketknife” is defined as “any knife that can be carried in a pocket, purse, handbag, backpack, briefcase, or sheath, or similar container.” “Knife” is defined as “a cutting instrument that includes a sharpened or pointed blade, including a sheath knife commonly used for fishing, hunting, outdoor recreation, or work activities.”

We are working diligently to get a companion bill filed in the Florida House of Representatives, which is generally required to assure passage. We will keep you posted.

It is interesting to note that Florida Carry and former NRA President Marion Hammer are assisting in their efforts. It is encouraging to see primarily gun groups working with knife groups to broaden protection across the board for the Second Amendment. This is the equivalent of hunting groups working with fishing groups to protect both game and fish from the PETAfiles.

Colt Expands To Florida

Given the relatively hostile climate for gunmakers in Massachusetts and Connecticut, I think it should come as no surprise that Colt’s Manufacturing Company – the civilian side of Colt – announced yesterday that it is setting up a regional headquarters and production facility in Florida. According to the announcement from Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office, Colt is making a $2.5 million capital investment in a building owned by Osceola County. They expect to have a staff of 63 that will begin phasing in during 2012.

I don’t have a crystal ball but I think this is only the first of many expansions by firearms makers outside of their traditional “Gun Valley” home. I think the moves will be made for two major reasons: a more favorable  (and gun friendly) business climate in the new location and lower personnel costs due to non-unionized workforces. It was only last year that Olin Corporation’s Winchester Division began moving most of its center-fire ammunition production from East Alton, IL to Oxford, Mississippi. That move was done for both those reasons.

I would also keep my eye on announcements out of the state of South Dakota. They have an industrial development project run out of the governor’s office that is targeting firearms manufacturers and others in the gun industry. They promote their gun-friendly attitude as an attraction for businesses in the industry.

The full announcement for the office of Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) is below:

12/1/2011 Osceola County, Fla. – Today, Colt’s Manufacturing Co. LLC announced its commitment to create 63 jobs in Osceola County for its new regional headquarters and product manufacturing center. The center will hire people for engineering and manufacturing jobs, among others. In 2012, Colt is projected to begin phasing in the first of 63 jobs paying an average salary of $45,060 to be created during the following three years. Governor Rick Scott and Colt’s Manufacturing Company President and CEO Lieutenant General M. William Keys USMC (Ret.) were joined by the Osceola County Board of County Commissioners for the announcement.

“As a supporter of new job creation and the Second Amendment, this announcement sends the clear message that Florida is both open for business and a defender of our right to bear arms,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said. “My primary responsibility as governor is to be our state’s chief advocate for job creation. My personal involvement in bringing Colt to Florida demonstrates my administration’s deep commitment to rebuilding our economy.”

Colt is making a $2.5 million capital investment in a vacant building, which the company will lease, that is owned by Osceola County. Governor Scott and his economic development team at Enterprise Florida Inc. and the Osceola County Economic Development Department worked with Colt to bring this project to fruition. State incentives include $250,000 from the Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund and funds for workforce training. Osceola County is offering additional incentives, including renovation of the building and rent concessions.

“Colt looked at many possible sites across the nation, but we ultimately decided to locate our new facility in the State of Florida,” Gen. Keys said. “Florida offered a strong pro-business incentive package. Coupled with the low cost of doing business in Florida and a favorable regulatory environment, opening this new facility was very attractive to us. Governor Scott’s personal commitment to both Colt’s growth plan and America’s right to bear arms was instrumental in our decision.”
“Attracting an American icon like Colt, which is one of the world’s top brands, is a real coup for our economic development efforts,” said Commission Chairman John Quiñones. “Beyond creating new, high-wage jobs, Colt is going to be a great asset to our community.”
“Colt’s expansion to Osceola County is a perfect fit for the region,” said Dr. Sanford Shugart, president of Valencia College, which will design a specialized training program for the company. “Valencia College stands ready to deliver the best trained, best educated workforce possible. We welcome Colt’s Manufacturing Company to Osceola County and commit to partnering with them and serving their employees and families for many years to come.”

Osceola County is located southeast of Orlando and just due west of Cape Canaveral.

Needs More Trigger Discipline!

Jim Piccillo is a Democrat running for Congress in the Tampa Bay area. Until two years ago he was a Republican whose main claim to fame was introducing then-Senator Joe Biden at an Obama rally as “John McCain.” He was a member of Republicans for Obama and volunteered in the Obama campaign.

Piccillo, who served in the 101st Airborne but did not see any combat, is emphasizing his military service. His latest ad shows him holding a M-4 and says he will “kick butt”.

Screen capture from Piccillo ad

Florida’s 5th Congressional District is home to many veterans. I hope for Piccillo’s sake that one of those vets isn’t his old drill sergeant. If not, Piccillo will probably be reamed a new one for his poor trigger finger discipline.

The website FiveThirtyEight rates this seat as having a 99% chance of the Republican winning.