BY DAVE WORKMAN – The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 8-0 with Elena Kagan recused (she worked on the case as Solicitor General) that enhancing prison sentences for the use of a firearm in a crime is legal.
The significance of this ruling should not be lost on veteran Seattle talk show host John Carlson, or on Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, nor on former SAF staffer Dave LaCourse. They were the power behind Washington’s landmark “Three Strikes and You’re Out” and “Hard Time for Armed Crime” measures 17 and 15 years ago, respectively. No small amount of credit should also go to the National Rifle Association and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The idea swept the nation, and became the foundation for tougher federal standards.
The high court ruling involved two unrelated cases, as reported by the Washington Post. Two criminals, Kevin Abbott and Carlos Rashad Gould, had each been sacked for felonies and their sentences were enhanced for carrying guns when they committed the crimes. Abbott had been convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and Gould was popped for drug trafficking.
While gun prohibitionists were working hard to convince people that restricting the gun rights of law-abiding citizens with the Brady Law – part of which was later ruled unconstitutional by the high court – and the Clinton ban on so-called “assault weapons” (both measures cost Democrats control of Congress in 1994 and they know it), the nasty old “gun lobby” was pushing measures that put criminals in prison where they belong, while leaving the rest of us alone. Mssrs. Gottlieb, Carlson and LaCourse can feel righteously vindicated by the ruling, considering the sneers and jeers they endured from the soft-on-criminals, hard-on-guns crowd when these measures were approved by public vote.
The court examined a federal law that allows tougher sentences for those who use firearms while selling drugs or committing violent acts, and said the intent of a slightly ambiguous turn of phrase was clear: to tack more years onto an offender’s sentence.-Washington Post
Evergreen State firearms owners should hardly be surprised to learn that at the far end of the country, in Pennsylvania, anti-gunners are already exploiting last week’s slaying of a game warden by a convicted felon. It is true to form; gun banners invariably try to move their anti-rights agenda forward with each tragedy, apparently believing that blood lubricates their politically wobbly wheels.
As Northwesterners will recall, in the wake of Seattle’s Capitol Hill Massacre in March 2006 and the Jewish Federation attack in July of that year, gun prohibitionists lost very little time in demanding the passage of legislation restricting gun shows, and pushing for a ban on so-called “assault weapons.” Likewise, people will recall that the Capitol Hill killer, Kyle Huff, did not purchase either of the guns he used at a gun show, and there is no evidence he ever attended a gun show…anywhere. We also recall that he used a shotgun, not a semiautomatic rifle, in his homicidal attack. Jewish Federation killer Naveed Haq was a Muslim extremist nutball who, despite an apparent history of mental problems, was able to clear two background checks and bought his guns at retail from two different shops in the Tri-Cities area. I wrote about those incidents in an Op-Ed piece in the Seattle Times.
Haq, and Capitol Hill gunman Kyle Huff, did not purchase their guns at gun shows. Their firearms were purchased at retail, and they had to pass background checks. Huff brought his firearms from his native Montana. Haq bought his handguns from two different shops in the Tri-Cities area
Now in the Keystone State, Wildlife Conservation officer David Grove, 31, has been gunned down. The suspect , Christopher Lynn Johnson, is in custody, and he could not legally possess a firearm for past crimes. Even the Philadelphia Inquirer acknowledged in an editorial that “As a convicted felon barred from owning a firearm, Johnson would have had no business carrying the .45-caliber handgun that police say was used to kill Grove. In fact, police say the shooting may have started because Johnson knew that he faced possible jail time merely for being caught with an illegal gun.”
A proposal supported by most Pennsylvanians would require reporting lost and stolen weapons as part of a strategy to curtail illegal gun sales by buyers who pose as fronts or so-called straw buyers. It has the support of law enforcement and mayors in dozens of cities and towns, but it has gone nowhere in Harrisburg.
Another gun-safety tactic would be to limit handgun buyers to one a month – once again, to cut down on illegal trafficking without infringing on anyone’s right to legally own a handgun.
Finally, the state needs to close the so-called Florida loophole that allows people to acquire out-of-state handgun licenses even after they have been turned down in Pennsylvania.—Philadelphia Inquirer editorial
So, what does the Inquirer suggest be done in the wake of this slaying? The newspaper is calling on lawmakers to close the so-called “Florida loophole” that allows Pennsylvanians to obtain a Florida concealed carry license, even if they’ve been turned down in Pennsylvania. The newspaper wants to limit handgun purchases to one per month. They want mandatory reporting of lost and stolen firearms.
What on earth do any of those wish list measures have to do with, even remotely, the slaying of officer David Grove? If you answered “Absolutely nothing,” you got it right. Johnson certainly had no Florida carry permit. He couldn’t buy one gun a month, a year or ever as a convicted felon and the newspaper knows it. If the gun he allegedly used was stolen, that’s not the rightful owner’s fault, but Johnson’s, and the newspaper knows that as well.
Odd, isn’t it, how the gun ban lobby is always hot to push an agenda when the seriously effective measures that crack down on armed criminals come from (gasp!) those filthy “gun nuts.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling affirms once again that the “gun lobby” was right. Gun prohibitionists were wrong. At least both sides are consistent.
UPDATE: My esteemed colleague Kurt Hofmann takes a far different view about the high court ruling here. As he said, this gun rights movement is a big tent.
Submitted by Dave Workman, Seattle Gun Rights Examiner