November 2002

Friday, November 1st, 2002

A federal jury in Texas last month
convicted Timothy Emerson of three
counts of possessing a firearm. He
was charged in 1998 after buying a
pistol while under a restraining order
during a divorce proceeding. U.S.
District Judge Sam Cummings originally
dismissed the charge against
Emerson, ruling that the federal statute
used to charge Emerson violated
his Second Amendment right to bear
arms. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals overturned Cummings’ ruling
in October 2001. It ruled that an
individual has a right to bear arms
but that the right could be restricted
under some circumstances. The
case went back to the district court
after the U.S. Supreme Court said in
June it would not hear the case.
“An important part of the solution
to gun violence,” editorialized the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch last month,
“is a strict ban on private ownership
of certain types of firearms, along
with tough registration laws and
crackdowns on gun shows where
stolen weapons are sold and traded
without restrictions. Short of supporting
these actions, lawmakers owe
it to the public to back incremental
gun control measures.” One of the
“incremental gun control measures”
backed by the newspaper is a proposal
to provide about $750 over
3 years to let states -upgrade their
records and “help avoid issuing permits
to criminals, mentally unstable
people and others who should not
own guns.”
Among the cases on the docket
for hearing during the U.S. Supreme
Court session which opened last
month is one touching on federal gun
control policy, United States v. Bean,
No. 01-704. The question is whether
federal judges have jurisdiction to lift
the “firearms disability” that makes
it unlawful for someone convicted of
a felony to own or carry a gun.
In California, anti-gun Gov. Gray
Davis signed a series of anti-gun
measures in late September. These
include bills to repeal the special immunity
from liability suits granted to
the firearms industry nearly 20 years
ago; to give city attorneys access
to federal firearms sale records; to
authorize the Department of Justice
to test handgun models each year to
determine whether they meet state
safely standards; to prohibit the sale
of gun safely locks that are not approved
in the state; and to require
arms makers to obtain certification
from the Department of Justice that
the recipient is an authorized dealer.
CCRKBA Executive Director of
Joe Waldron said California anti-gun
laws created defenseless victims out
of innocent, and unarmed, citizens as
a man armed only with a knife was
able in late September to attack a
Greyhound bus driver, causing the
bus to crash and two passengers to
die. He said the attack in San Joaquin
is an outrage that could have been
prevented, or at least deterred, by an
armed citizenry. “Anti-self defense
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laws that disarm law-abiding citizen
simply create opportunities for thugs,
lunatics and terrorists,” he declared.
“If Californians enjoyed that same
right-to-carry protections as citizens
in 32 other states, and if there were
no regulations barring them from
traveling armed, this kind of crime
could be prevented. Whether it’s a
slasher on a bus, a crazed gunman
on a New York commuter train, or a
terrorist on an airplane, the presence
of a firearm in the hands of someone
who knows how to use it could prevent
a tragedy and preserve innocent
lives.”
In Virginia, Gov. Mark R. Warner
has decided to allow concealed
firearms in state parks. Following
the advice of Attorney General
Jerry Kilgore, Warner overturned a
decades-old regulation that barred
gun owners with permits from carrying
handguns in Virginia’s 34 stateowned
parks. “This is a big win for
gun owners,” said Philip Van Cleave,
President of the Virginia Citizens
Defense League. Warner directed
the Department of Conservation
and Recreation to stop enforcing the
ban immediately and to rewrite the
regulations so they’re consistent with
Kilgore’s recommendation. Kilgore
said concealed firearms could be
regulated only by the General Assembly,
not be a state agency.