Inside the Beltway: Libertarians question gun-free zones – Washington Times

Inside the Beltway: Libertarians question gun-free zones – Washington Times.

By Jennifer Harper – The Washington Times

2nd-Amendment-Cartoon“We’ve created a ‘gun-free zone,’ a killing zone, for the sickest criminals on the face of the Earth,” says R. Lee Wrights, vice chairman of the Libertarian Party, in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., killings. “And we’ve made the children of this country the victims.”

The 1990 Federal Gun Free Schools Zone Act, which prohibits carrying firearms on school grounds in most cases, “criminalizes the right to self-defense in places filled with the most vulnerable citizens,” Mr. Wrights says. He argues that would-be shooters would be deterred by “merely the knowledge” that armed people could be present in a potential target area. “They’re not going to walk into a police station, and why not? Because that’s where the guns are,” Mr. Wrights observes, adding that after 9/11, Congress allowed firearms in airline cockpits.

bretterbring“It’s time to take the same approach with teachers, school administrators, and security guards, who should be allowed to carry the tools necessary to protect the students in their care,” Mr. Wrights adds, insisting that gun-free zone policies should be re-examined.

“We must stop blinding ourselves to the obvious: Most of these mass killings are happening at schools where self-defense is prohibited,” says Carla Howell, executive director of the Libertarian Party. “Gun prohibition sets the stage for the slaughter of innocent children. We must repeal these anti-self-defense laws now to minimize the likelihood they will occur in the future, and to limit the damage done when they do.”

THE NEWTOWN-VIDEO GAME CONNECTION

Some continue to ponder the influence of graphically violent video games and movies following Newtown. “The violence in the entertainment culture — particularly, with the extraordinary realism to video games, movies now, et cetera — does cause vulnerable young men to be more violent. It doesn’t make everybody more violent, but it’s a causative factor in some cases. We ought to ask the entertainment community, what are you going to do to tone that down?” Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Independent, told Fox News Sunday.

A1oY9n6CQAImJcc.jpg largeHe suggested more scrutiny from Capitol Hill policymakers. “In our society, you always try to do it voluntarily. But I think we’ve come to a point where you’ve got to say, if not, maybe there’s some things we can do to tone it down,” Mr. Lieberman said.

THE NEWTOWN-FAITH CONNECTION

Former presidential hopeful and Fox News host Mike Huckabee had another explanation.

“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?” Mr. Huckabee asked.

“Because we’ve made schools a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability. That we’re not just going to have be accountable to the police if they catch us, but one day we stand before, you know, a holy God in judgment. If we don’t believe that, then we don’t fear that,” Mr. Huckabee told Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto.

DISAGREEMENT CULTURE

gun-control“The public broadly perceives that Americans themselves are divided over core values. Nearly seven in 10 Americans say the country is divided when it comes to the most important values, while 29 percent believe Americans are largely in agreement and united,” says Gallup analyst Lydia Saad.

New findings reveal that 80 percent of Republicans cite this divide, along with 63 percent of Democrats.

“The difficulty President Obama and Congress are having in coming to agreement on important issues may, therefore, not be unique to Washington; rather, it may generally reflect the way things are — or at least are perceived to be — in the country more broadly. Whether that is a bad thing, or the natural result of the United States’ large size, diversity, and freedoms that allow political arguments to go on unfettered, is a separate issue,” Ms. Saad notes.

THE DEMOCRACY RACE

A new rating of the most “democratic” nations on the planet places the U.S. in 15th place in a list of 104 countries. The Vienna-based Democracy Ranking Assoc. offers an annual assessment of the “quality” of democracy among the populations, taking into account such factors as political rights, civil liberty, press freedom, corruption, political stability, “gender gap” issues and myriad socioeconomic indicators.

The top 10 nations on the list are Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland and Austria.

“The United States dropped from ranking position 14 to 15, but improved in scores from 78.3 to 78.5, with gains in politics, environment, health, and knowledge, but losses in economy and gender,” the report said.

comegetCanada, Belgium, Britain and Australia outrank the U.S. The nations with the lowest rankings are Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Libya, Syria and in last place, Yemen. See the findings here: http://www.democracyranking.org

POLL DU JOUR

• 61 percent of U.S. voters are concerned that Obama administration policies “will move the country toward socialism”; 89 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats agree.

• 49 percent of voters overall say the economy will be better in the next year; 20 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats agree.

• 42 percent of voters overall expect President Obama to be considered a great or good president; 7 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats agree.

• 38 percent overall expect Mr. Obama to be considered below average, or “one of the worst presidents”; 73 percent of Republicans and 5 percent of Democrats agree.

• 42 percent overall say that 2012 was a “good” year; 28 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of Democrats agree.

• 41 percent say 2012 was a “bad” year; 57 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox news survey of 1,012 registered U.S. voters conducted Dec. 9-11.

Weary sighs, hopeful accolades to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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MILLER: Dispelling gun myths – Washington Times

MILLER: Dispelling gun myths – Washington Times.

Perpetuating untruths about firearms with the Colorado tragedy

There is evil in the world, and the face of it was seen Monday when James Holmes made his first court appearance since he allegedly killed 12 innocent people at a showing of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo. As he sat with demonic-looking dyed-orange hair and bizarre facial expressions, it was hard to conceive of any law that could thwart such a maniac intent on mass murder.

That hasn’t stopped those on the left from seizing this tragedy to call for more gun-control laws. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, author of the expired assault-weapons ban, said on Fox News Sunday that firearms like the AR-15 the Colorado shooter used are “weapons of war” that “are only going to be used to kill people in close combat. That’s the purpose of that weapon.”

Though it is one of the most popular rifles sold to civilians, the AR-15 is rarely used in crimes, presumably because it’s not readily concealed. The most recent FBI figures show just 358 of the 8,775 murders by firearm in 2010 involved rifles of any type. By comparison, 745 people were beaten to death with only hands that year, but no one has called for outlawing fists.

Mrs. Feinstein joins notorious gun-grabbers like New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in seeking to vilify guns based on their appearance, not their performance. The AR-15 series was designed to look like the military’s M-16, but it is semi-automatic. That means it fires only one round when the trigger is pulled, and that round is no more powerful than any shot by an ordinary hunting rifle.

The left applies the scary term “assault weapons” to play on emotional responses, but it isn’t working anymore. More Americans oppose banning so-called “assault rifles” (53 percent) than favor it (43 percent), according to a Gallup poll from October 2011. The poll also showed the lowest level of support for new gun laws in history.

In other words, the public has realized those laws don’t work. Gun-free zones, like the Aurora movie theater, leave criminals armed and unchallenged. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin pointed out on Fox News Sunday that if “a responsible individual had been carrying a weapon, maybe — maybe — they could have prevented the death and injuries.”

This is what happened in another Aurora shooting in April. A gunman opened fire at a church, killing the pastor’s mother. An off-duty police officer who was attending the service stopped further rampage by fatally shooting the killer.

It is natural to look for easy solutions to this problem, but the unpleasant truth is a free society can’t do much when it comes to this kind of evil. “Even if you didn’t have access to guns, this guy was diabolical,” said Colorado’s Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “He would have found explosives. He would have found something else — some sort of poisonous gas. He would have done something to create this horror.” The public is not well served by those who would use half-truths to take away our Second Amendment rights.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.

Obama’s Covert Plan To Raise Gas Prices – Chuck Norris – Townhall Conservative Columnists

Obama’s Covert Plan To Raise Gas Prices – Chuck Norris – Townhall Conservative Columnists.

President Barack Obama’s energy plan involves radically increasing gas prices to the European rate of about $10 a gallon. And he’s well on his way, as gas prices have more than doubled since he took office in January 2009, when gasoline was only $1.79 per gallon. And he’s scheming to double prices again in his second term, with you footing the bill.

It’s no secret that we’re being gouged at the pumps. The reason for soaring gas prices? According to Obama, it’s not because of anything he has done — not his devaluing the dollar via his disastrous economic decisions, his closing federal lands for oil production opened by his predecessor, his passing cap-and-trade legislation in the middle of the worst economy since the Great Depression or his refusing to stand strong against the regime in Iran, which controls 20 percent of the world’s oil supply via the Strait of Hormuz.

President Obama would do well to take his own advice; in regard to the possibility of $3-a-gallon gas in 2006, the then senator said, “The time for excuses is over.”

To add insult to injury, Obama has appointed some petroleum-pillaging politicians, such as Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who, according to The Wall Street Journal, said in 2008 that in order to wean Americans off gasoline, the administration should make them punitively pay at the pump: “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

And just two weeks ago, as reported by Politico, Chu told Congress that Obama’s Department of Energy “isn’t working to lower gasoline prices directly” but “is working to promote alternatives such as biofuels and electric vehicles.”

When Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., specifically asked Chu whether the Obama administration’s goal is to lower gas prices, he emphatically replied, “No.” (Out of the horse’s mouth!)

But I suppose the views of Obama-appointed officials such as Chu don’t have any bearing on soaring gas prices, right?

Chu again embraced the strategy to raise gas prices in order to increase green alternatives to Chris Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday,” in February 2011, when he said: “The price of gasoline over the long haul should be expected to go up just because of supply and demand issues. And so we see this in the buying habits of Americans as they make choices for the next car they buy.”

Increasing gas prices in order to wean us off gasoline and onto biofuel alternatives is a ruse — a deceptive strategy laid on the backs of American citizens.

This is what Obama meant two weeks ago when he repackaged and re-pitched his “new energy policy” from a gas station in Indianapolis. The words on his podium were “Investing in Energy Independence.” Notice he didn’t say who is doing the investing or with whose money he is investing. It might seem as if spending — I mean investing — your money is Obama’s forte, but to me, it smells like more capitalism-crushing B.O. (See http://www.spreadingbo.com.)

This president has mastered cloaking the truth in oratory rhetoric. In last Saturday’s presidential address, Obama hailed his oft-repeated petroleum apologetic: “While we consume 20 percent of the world’s oil, we only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.” The problem is that 2 percent to which he refers is extant reserves, not what we could produce. That’s deceptive!

Speaking of misleading, this past week, Chu was at it again as he testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Dodging a question about whether he practices what he preaches by owning an electric car, Chu replied sheepishly, “No, I don’t own a car at the moment.” (Before you commend him for his bio-walking, it should be noted that he’s chauffeured in U.S. government Cadillac Esplanades, which, of course, run on fossil fuels like his wife’s BMW.)

If you are ready for real hope and change, then I have the option for you.

I believe we can continue to seek alternative energy solutions while lowering gas prices by implementing a super energy solution, the one that former speaker of the House and current GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has proposed.

Gingrich’s plan? As I noted last week, it is the polar opposite of Obama’s. Newt is ready on day one of his presidency to begin to implement his plan to expand leasing of federal lands for oil and gas development, condense regulations to make it easier for companies to build new extraction sites, tap shale reservoirs, start building the Keystone XL pipeline, replace the Environmental Protection Agency with a new, economically rational Environmental Solutions Agency, and, as a result of these bold solutions, end our dependency on foreign oil, reduce the cost of gas (to $2.50 per gallon), create millions of domestic American jobs, and bring in billions of dollars of new revenue for the U.S. by making us one of the largest global exporters of various fuels.

You can get many more details of Newt’s energy- and job-building plan by watching his 30-minute address at http://bit.ly/xcKGuT.

Newt and I, as well as millions of other American patriots, believe in aggressively pursuing renewable energy alternatives and development, but not at the risk of losing our petroleum and economic shorts while we’re doing it. As is often the case in life and politics, the answer is “both… and…”

It bears repeating that Bloomberg Businessweek reported in November that “unlocking vast reserves of shale gas could solve the energy crisis, the jobs crisis, and the deficit.”

If you are ready for real change — if you want to stabilize our economy, increase jobs, lower gas prices and restore our republic simultaneously — then shout it out to Washington and the nation: “Get off your gas! Drill, and vote Newt Gingrich!”

For many more ways in which the Obama administration is contributing to higher gas prices, see The Heritage Foundation’s February 2011 report “10 Things You Need to Know About High Gas Prices and Obama’s Oil Policy.”