Carrying legal pistols across state lines

No one spent much time talking about the role of the Internal Revenue Service in causing the death of seven employees at a Wakefield, Mass., software company on the day after Christmas, 2000.

The defendant in the killings, Michael McDermott, 43, was convicted on seven counts of first-degree murder.

McDermott did it, and he deserves the vast bulk of the blame. But prosecutors said McDermott went on his rampage because the company planned to comply — no questions asked — with an order from the Internal Revenue Service to withhold a large part of his salary to pay “back taxes.”

Does the IRS give employers and their bookkeepers the opportunity to say “No thanks” when it dragoons them into withholding so much from someone’s paycheck that the victim won’t be able to cover both groceries and a house payment? (In numerous cases, the IRS orders the ENTIRE paycheck seized.) No.

Does the “Service” generally go before a real court to prove its case before ordering such “wage garnishments”? No.

Does the IRS compensate employers who are thus ordered to act as tax collectors, which means they’re required to run the risk of facing the kind of fury born of impotence that was seen in Wakefield? No. Does the IRS indemnify them? Compensate the survivors of such crimes? No.

But that’s not all. It turns out McDermott had an additional accomplice.

“When Michael McDermott walked into the offices of an internet consulting firm and shot seven people dead, he had an accomplice — the legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” writes Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America in a 2008 piece called “Massachusetts Legislature: Blood on Their Hands. (http://gunowners.org/op0109.htm.)

“Tragically, one of the victims was a legal gun owner who was licensed to carry in next-door New Hampshire” where he lived, Mr. Pratt points out. “But Massachusetts law prevented him from carrying his firearm in the state and on the job” — a firearm the licensed Vietnam veteran could very well have used to cut short McDermott’s deadly spree.

“There is no doubt that Sandy Javelle was bold,” Pratt writes. “When the shooting started, Sandy ordered his coworkers to lock the door behind him and barricade it. He then confronted McDermott and soon became the third victim.

“Had the Citizens’ Self-Defense Act sponsored by Maryland’s Roscoe Bartlett been on the books, Javelle would likely have been willing to carry his gun illegally in Massachusetts. He would have been able to seek an injunction and damages in federal court against prosecution for his violation of Massachusetts’ anti-self defense law,” Mr. Pratt wrote, three years ago. “Lamentably, Javelle was more afraid of the Massachusetts cops than he was of Michael McDermott. Deadly choice.”

The Bartlett bill in question would have required states to honor the concealed handgun carry permits of other states, the same way they honor other states’ driver’s licenses.

Since Rep. Bartlett’s bill failed to become law, the House of Representatives now tries again.

By a bipartisan vote of 272-154, the House on Nov. 16 passed a measure that will enable non-resident gun owners to carry a concealed firearm across state borders, ABC News reports.

H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, would allow gun owners with valid state-issued concealed firearm permits to carry concealed in other states that also allow concealed carry. (That is to say, it wouldn’t apply in Illinois, the only state which won’t issue a “permit” for this purpose to anyone.)

The bill is unlikely to even be scheduled for a Senate vote by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who’s only “in favor of gun rights” once every six years, when he returns to Nevada to run for re-election.

‘381 PEOPLE KILLED’

The House bill is not without its problems.

“It forces Vermont residents (who do not need a permit to carry) to either obtain an out-of-state permit or to push their state to pass a more restrictive concealed carry law than it now enjoys,” GOA points out.

Furthermore, “By requiring permits for reciprocity, the bill undermines efforts at the state level to pass constitutional carry (i.e., Vermont-style carry)” in other states.

Needless to say, the usual victim disarmanent gang are going nuts, anyway.

“This is an atrocious idea,” editorialized the Eugene, Ore. Register-Guard on Nov. 14. “This is more than an issue of states’ rights. It’s an issue of safety. Contrary to the gun lobby’s propaganda, not all concealed carry permit holders are responsible, law-abiding citizens. Eleven police officers and at least 370 other people have been killed by concealed carry permit holders over the past four years, according to the Violence Policy Center.”

What an interesting statistic. Of course, wrongful killings by police officers likely exceed that number, over the past four years. Does the “Violence Policy Center” conclude we should disarm all police?

But on closer examination, note the VPC doesn’t even say permit holders ”wrongfully” killed 381 people, anyway. Nor does it even say all these “victims” were shot.

The VPC “death count,” accessible on the Internet at www.vpc.org/ccwkillers.htm, “is so egregious,” says Erich Pratt of GOA. “They count shooters without permits. They count non-gun deaths involving people with permits.”

An outfit called PajamasMedia.com analyzed the VPC statistics back in 2009. The anti-gun group “double counts victims to inflate their statistics,” reports Bob Owens, in “Violence Policy Center Makes It Up as They Go Along — Again” (http://tinyurl.com/85rn3cz.)

Furthermore, the gun-grabbing outfit “includes deaths that were caused by rifles, beatings or strangulation — in other words, tabulating deaths that were clearly NOT caused by concealed handguns; and in some cases, even counts ‘murderers’ who were later cleared in court as having acted in self-defense.”

According to the Pajamas Media analysis, less than half the deaths which were attributed to concealed carry holders by the VPC were actually “committed by a permit holder drawing and firing his or her concealed weapon.”

A classic case is that of Tony Villegas, a Florida man who strangled a woman in her own garage.

Now, I don’t generally approve of strangling women, in the garage or anywhere. But commenting on the twisted logic of the VPC in including this crime, Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman asked, back on March 31, “How can strangulation be blamed on a concealed weapon permit? If a fisherman kills someone, do we ban fishing rods?” (http://tinyurl.com/86yz7ny)

‘THE GUNSHINE STATE’

“The VPC is desperately trying to inflate its statistics,” says Erich Pratt of GOA. “And that is why they have included examples where children grabbed a parent’s gun and unintentionally inflicted harm.”

In fact, the one Nevada example included on the Violence Policy Center’s “death list” involved a concealed handgun permit holder who on July 20, 2009 was using a drive-in window at a local Walgreen’s drug store when his five-year-old picked up a 9mm handgun from the vehicle’s front console and fatally shot himself in the head. The father pleaded guilty to a felony charge of child abuse and neglect with substantial bodily harm, the VPC reports.

That was a terrible and pathetic accident. Nonetheless, you don’t need a permit just to own a handgun in Nevada, nor did the permit holder, in this case, shoot anyone. Is this the kind of incident you thought of when that Oregon newspaper reported “Eleven police officers and at least 370 other people have been killed by concealed carry permit holders over the past four years”?

“Press reports indicate that concealed carry is at an ALL TIME HIGH, even while crime rates have been dropping in the U.S. over the past few years, writes Erich Pratt in his own analysis of the VPC statistics. “Yet we’ve been hearing the Chicken Little cries of doom and gloom as far back as the mid-1980s, when Florida kicked off the modern concealed carry movement with the enactment of its ‘shall issue’ law.

“Prior to its passage in 1987, opponents of the law claimed that a carry law would turn the Sunshine State into the ‘Gunshine State.’ It was a cute jingle, but their dire predictions never materialized,” the younger Pratt reports. “Murder rates started dropping immediately after the passage of the law, prompting one of the chief opponents, Rep. Ron Silver, to admit that he had been wrong about concealed carry.

“Such was the case in Texas, as well,” Erich Pratt concludes. “One of the chief opponents in the Lone Star State was Senior Cpl. Glenn White, who is president of the Dallas Police Association. White lobbied against the law in 1993 and 1995 because he thought it would lead to wholesale armed conflict.

“Senior Cpl. White admits, though, ‘All the horror stories I thought would come to pass didn’t happen. No bogeyman. I think it’s worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who have permits. I’m a convert.’”

One Comment to “Carrying legal pistols across state lines”

  1. R Says:

    Michael McDermott- too bad his frustration was vented at the wrong people.

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