May 2008

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

 Reports that state lawmakers are considering the release of thousands of prison inmates across the country to save money amount to a public outrage, CCRKBA said last month. The Associated Press reported in early April that legislators in several states are considering the move to prop up state budgets. One report stated those released might include “drug addicts, thieves and even violent criminals.” CCRKBA Chairman Alan M. Gottlieb said, “Before we waste time wondering what raving lunatics are behind this idea, it seems more prudent to advise the citizens who are faced with this ominous proposal that now would be a good time to start exercising their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. After all, the message that this sends to the public seems pretty simple: If you don’t own a gun, get one. If you’re not licensed to carry, you better apply now because cash-strapped state lawmakers obviously don’t care about the crime wave they’re about to unleash.”

In Idaho, Governor Butch Otter signed into law two-pro gun bills, SB 1441 and HB 604. SB 1441 provides that no county, city or local government body can regulate the sale, acquisition, transfer, carry and storage of firearms, thus adding them to the already existing points of preemption. It also clarifies that ammunition and firearm components may be regulated only by the State of Idaho, and not by local entities. SB 1441 removes the restriction on carrying a concealed firearm for self-defense in a state park. HB 604 protects Idaho shooting ranges from attacks such as noise complaints and local regulation.

In Florida, CCRKBA praised the Florida Legislature last month for passing a measure that expands and protects the right of Sunshine State gun owners to have firearms locked in their cars while they are working, and congratulated Governor Charlie Crist for signing it into law. The so-called “take your guns to work” bill prohibits business owners from banning firearms that are kept locked in cars by their employees when those vehicles are parked on company property. “We believe this legislation will prevent unfair sanctions against workers who simply want to exercise their constitutional right to have a firearm for their personal protection while traveling to and from work,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan M. Gottlieb. “Florida citizens who are legally licensed to carry have gone through background checks and a licensing process that certainly establishes their standing as law-abiding. These are not the kind of people who pose a problem in the workplace.”

In Houston, Texas, a homeowner shot a burglary suspect early last month after he was victimized twice in a week, according to KPRC, Local Two. Thomas Williamson said he stayed home from work one day after a burglar hit his home twice in a few days. Williamson said he looked out his window at about one o’clock in the afternoon and saw a man walk across his back yard. The man went into Williamson’s garage and tried to steal an air compressor, worth about $400, he said. When the burglary suspect walked out of the garage with bolt cutters, Williamson said he grabbed his shotgun. “He came to the door and I went, ‘Get on the ground. Get on the ground.’ He got on the ground and I told him, ‘Do not move,’ he said. “I was shaking. I had him on the ground with my shotgun and I told him, ‘Do not move.’ I was even yelling. I fired one shot in the ground just to show him I meant business.” Williamson said he shot the man when he tried to run. The burglary suspect was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. The District Attorney’s office said charges against Williamson probably would not be filed because Williamson was protecting his property.

In Vermont, reports indicate hunting and fishing licenses have dropped more than 20 percent over the past 20 years. In Arkansas, hunting licenses are down from about 345,000 in 1999 to about 319,000 in 2003. They’re down in Pennsylvania from 1.3 million in 1981 to 946,000 in 2006; in Oregon by 70,000 from 1987 to 2007; and in West Virginia by about 17 percent from 1997 to 2006.