Big Win In California

Olympian Kim Rhode and the California Rifle & Pistol Association won a preliminary injunction against enforcement of California’s ammunition background checks and importation ban yesterday.

US District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez opened his 120 page opinion granting the preliminary injunction by saying:

The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted.
California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured. In this action, Plaintiffs seek a preliminary injunction enjoining California’s onerous and convoluted new laws requiring ammunition purchase background checks and implementing ammunition anti-importation laws. For the reasons that follow, the motion for preliminary injunction is granted.

This is a big win for the CRPA, attorney Chuck Michel, and especially the gun owners, new and old, of California.

Judge Benitez went on to conclude:

Together, the background check requirement for all ammunition purchases in California and the anti-importation provisions that prohibit direct sales to residents often effect a complete statutory barrier to the lawful purchase of ammunition. Moreover, the provisions are interlocking and derive from the same section of Proposition 63. See §§ 8.1 through 8.16. The anti-importation provisions are not severable from the ammunition background check requirements. Even if only one part was unconstitutional both parts would need to be enjoined. But severability does not matter here, as both parts fail constitutional muster and require injunctive relief….

It is not the Court’s role to dictate to a state how it should go about attempting to accomplish its goal. If the state objective is to make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for its law-abiding citizens to purchase protected ammunition, then this law appears to be well-drafted. However, if the genuine object is to keep ammunition out of the hands of those who should not be able to buy it, perhaps the State could create a database (that would include persons prohibited, i.e., aliens
unlawfully present, felons, and others) and simply make that information available to sellers by cross-checking with the magnetic strip on a standard driver’s license and by allowing out-of-state vendors the same ability to engage in commerce as it does California vendors.

I would wager house money that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will appeal this ruling. As of this morning, he has not nor has he published a press release indicating any acknowledgement of the Judge Benitez’s ruling. If the state does appeal, the question then becomes will they be granted a stay to the preliminary injunction while they appeal the ruling. We will see.

In the meantime, Californians are free of an onerous and unconstitutional burden on their Second Amendment rights.

Quote Of The Day

The Wall Street Journal ran a story this weekend entitled, “The Stigmatized Olympians“. It was about the success of American shooters in the Olympics and the reluctance of some Americans to celebrate their accomplishments. American shooters have won more gold medals for the United States than in any other sport with the exceptions of swimming and track-and-field.

A good part of the story was about five time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode who is seeking to qualify for her sixth Olympics. Kim points out how the mainstream media treats competitive shooters and the shooting sports differently than other sports.

“Our sport has an unfortunate stigma attached to it,” says Rhode, a 36-year-old Southern Californian. Following December’s deadly shooting rampage in nearby San Bernardino, the media sought out comment from Rhode, who expressed sorrow for the victims and support for gun rights. Why should that crime have placed her in the spotlight? she asks: “You don’t hear them asking Nascar drivers to comment on crimes involving cars.”

Nor, I might add, do you see lawsuits brought against GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and all the other automakers when a drunk driver runs into a school bus and kills children. Contrast that with the grasping at straws lawsuit against Remington Outdoor Company brought against them for making the AR-15 stolen by the killer in Newtown.

Kim Rhode On Her Appearance At The Republican National Convention

Olympic Gold Medal winner Kim Rhode was interviewed by Ginny Simone of NRA News about her speech and appearance at the Republican National Convention. Rhode gave a short speech and then introduced a number of other Olympians that were supporting Mitt Romney.

From what Kim says, her role morphed from just doing a short speech to being the one who introduced the rest of the Olympians. She admits to being nervous as well as “a huge Republican”. Having watched her speech and presentation of the other Olympians, I think she did just fine.

They Always Have To Turn It Into A Discussion Of Black Swan Events

I didn’t see CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight with the interview of Kim Rhode. All I could find of the interview was this clip in which Morgan is asking Kim about the Aurora shooting. While Kim gave an excellent answer, it is sad to think that this is the only thing that CNN deemed worthy of excerpting. There is nothing about her record-breaking performance, nothing about how hard she trained to get there, and nothing really about the shotgun sports.

Kim Rhode On NRA News

John Popp of NRA News interviewed gold medalist Kim Rhode on her record-breaking win in London. Unlike some of the other media interviews which have tended to be a little superficial, this interview got into things like social media, the impact of her win on the shooting sports, and the positive attention it has brought to shooting. One of the interviews that Kim mentioned she will be doing is with Piers Morgan of CNN.

Congratulations To Kim Rhode

Kim Rhode not only won the gold medal in Women’s Skeet today but she did it with a new Olympic record. Even more impressive, she became the first American to medal in five consecutive Olympic events.

Kim Rhode at the medal ceremony

The previous Olympic record for Women’s Skeet was a score of 93 (out of 100). Kim’s winning score was a 99. This means she only missed one clay pigeon on her way to a gold medal.

Rhode’s history-making performance began with an Olympic record score in the qualification round, as she missed only one target out of 74 shots.

She then erased any doubt about who would take the gold, nailing all 25 targets in the final to tie the world record with her gaudy total score of 99, a number that blew the Olympic record of 93 out of the water. Rhode had shared the record of 93, which she and two other women turned in at the Beijing Olympics, but Italy’s Chiara Cainero wound up winning gold in a shoot- off.

This time, Rhode didn’t leave anything to chance. Her closest competition on Sunday was China’s Wei Ning, who hit a total of 91 shots to fall way short of the standard set by Rhode. In those terms it was the most dominating performance in Olympic shooting history, with Rhode securing the largest margin percentage between first and second place.

Kim Rhode after the prelims

The New York Times had this to say about her making US Olympic history.

Under drizzly, gray British skies, the shooter Kim Rhode made American Olympic history.

Rhode, 33, became the first American athlete to win five medals in an individual event in five consecutive Olympic Games. She earned a gold medal in women’s skeet on Sunday, setting an Olympic record and tying the world record by hitting 99 out of 100 targets. She also became the first woman to win three gold medals in Olympic shooting.

In her first Olympics in Atlanta in 1996, Kim won a gold in Double Trap. She was all of 17 at the time. She followed this with a bronze in Sydney in 2000 and another gold in 2004 in Athens. The Olympics then did away with Double Trap for women and she switched to Skeet. She won silver in 2008 in the event in Beijing and now the gold again in London. With five medals in five Olympics, does she plan to retire? What do you think!

This success marked another high in Rhode’s amazing career, but she insisted she is far from finished and she now has her shotgun sights set firmly on Rio 2016 – and beyond.

‘I do not see myself quitting any time soon,’ Rhode said.

‘I’m looking forward to 2016 and a few more after that. The oldest Olympic medallist was a shooter and he was 72, so I still have a few more in me.’

According to a story in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Kim’s family had some special pins made for this Olympics with the approval of the US Olympic Committee. The pin even has a battery operated light that makes the shotgun muzzle glow red when you push on it.

Many countries fully financially support their shooters. The US does not unless you want to count the US Army Marksmanship Unit. Given she shoots anywhere between 500 and 1,000 rounds daily, the costs add up. The Christian Science Monitor estimates she has shot over $3 million worth of shells over her career. I do think her training and competition ammo is provided free by Winchester but still…

Training since before she won gold in Atlanta as a 17 year old, Rhode estimates she shoots 500 to 1,000 rounds shot a day. The total cost of that ammunition over the course of her competitive life (again thanks to the math whizzes at the Times): $3.65 million.

Can we remember her name now? Kim Rhode. Please take out a piece of paper and write it down if you have to.

At every competition, she is “competing against people who have everything given to them,” she said at a media event in May, noting that other top shooting countries fund their shooters. And still, she has accomplished more than any of them.

“In China,” she added, “if they win, their families are taken care of for life.”

She lugs all her own gear to practice at a California range. In her spare time, she builds cars. Builds them. She has 13, including a 1917 Model-T, she said. Her favorite? A Shelby Cobra she built from a kit.

Aren’t famous Olympians supposed to be winning cars, not building them?

 In conclusion, congratulations to Kim Rhode on her record-breaking performance. She had done her country and her family proud.