Friday, April 14, 2006

Castle Doctrine - NRA-ILA supports activism

Several days ago my blog called for the support of HB 5143 in Michigan - a Bill that has come to be known as "Castle Doctrine." I gave reasons for my support and called for communication with members of the Committee that will be hearing the Legislation on April 18th at 10:30 AM.

One Michigan group met with Representative Rick Jones on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 and asked how they could help get this Bill through committee. He advised that letters needed to be written and those of us who are committed to moving pro-gun legislation set to work. We wrote letters, made phone calls, posted to various message boards and blogs and generally spread the word.

On Friday, April 14, 2006, another Michigan group sent out and email alert to its members saying, among other things, "While others continue to blindly bang the drum for calls and letters to Legislators..." and more or less advised us that they'd take care of everything.

Sadly, it would seem that whoever is responsible for emails such as this simply does not understand the way the political system works.

With hundreds of emails and letters generated by the Brady Bunch and their anti-gun political machine, how could any responsible, and supposedly pro-gun, group ask its members to sit idly by and do nothing to attempt to counteract this tide of anti-gun pressure on our Legislators? This deeply mistaken approach could cost us the protection under the law that we so desperately need.

Thankfully, a few hours after this incredibly ill-thought out email was sent, the The NRA-ILA responded with this urgent email alert:

The Michigan House Judiciary Committee will be hearing important self-defense legislation on Tuesday, April 18 at 10:30 a.m. It is important that law-abiding citizens contact Chairman William VanRegenmorter and fellow committee members and ask him or her to pass HB 5143 and companion bills that are part of the Castle Doctrine package.

The "Castle Doctrine" legislation that has already passed in Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota will also help the citizens of Michigan by clarifying the rights and duties of self-defense and the defense of others within ones' home and/or occupied vehicle.

Please contact the House Judiciary Committee as soon as possible!

Your voice needs to be heard by this committee!

Contact information for the House Judiciary Committee members can be found below:

William VanRegenmorter (R-74), Committee Chair: (517) 373-8900;
Tonya Schuitmaker (R-80), Majority Vice-Chair: (517) 373-0839;
Alexander Lipsey (D-60), Minority Vice-Chair: (517) 373-1785;
Stephen Adamini (D-109): (517) 373-0498;
Steve Bieda (D-25): (517) 373-1772;
Paul Condino (D-35): (517) 373-1788;
Kevin Elsenheimer (R-105): (517) 373-0829;
Rick Jones (R-71): (517) 373-0853;
David Law (R-39): (517) 373-1799;
Bill McConico (D-5): (517) 373-0144;
Gary Newell (R-87): (517) 373-0842;
Mike Nofs (R-62): (517) 373-0555;
Tory Rocca (R-30): (517) 373-7768;
Virgil Smith (D-7): (517) 373-0589;
John Stakoe (R-44): (517) 373-2616;

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Castle Doctrine in Michigan....

A Man’s Home is His Castle – or so the Courts in Michigan have said thus far – but the Courts’ views change with the political tide and even the cases that have reinforced Castle Doctrine in Michigan have severely limited the scope and definition of what man’s castle entails.

Michigan residents have no “duty to retreat” in their own home, and the Courts tell us, anything attached to that home – any attached curtilage. However, anything not attached is no longer considered “home,” despite other Court rulings that would appear to support the concept, for instance, of a motor vehicle in which one is traveling, or an unattached garage adjacent to the home, as being part of one’s home (curtilage). Other Courts have ruled, in Fourth Amendment cases, for instance, that both of the above instances do constitute “home” for the purposes of the Court. Thus, the Court is at odds as to what is and is not home, and it is this circumstance that HB 5143 would correct. Codification is the only sure method to guarantee the right to defend one’s self against arrest if one must use an armed defense in a car jacking, for instance.

Similarly, at this point in our history, someone who does defend him or herself in any of the circumstances above, even if held to be completely justified in the use of deadly force, and within the boundaries of his or her own home, can still face ruination in the form of lawsuits from the individual who caused the situation, or from his or her family.

House Bill 5143 would end all of that and protect each and every law abiding citizen of our great State, who is justified in the use of deadly force when he or she reasonably believes that deadly force is necessitated to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. No one should have to retreat if he or she is in a place where he or she has a right to be – in her own car, in her own garage, on her own porch. No reasonable individual would ever “look for trouble,” but when trouble comes to find us, as law abiding citizens, in places like our homes, cars, garages or back yards, we should not have to leave it to the vagaries of the Court system to decide if we ran far enough, fast enough, or tried hard enough, to escape a situation.

House Bill 5143 would also afford financial protection to those who have been found to justifiably use deadly force to protect self or loved ones as defined in the law. HB 5143 would protect law abiding citizens from being prosecuted under criminal law and from any civil action for the use of force as defined under the law. Effectively, what the law would do is forbid the ruination of an individual who has had to use force against a felon in the commission of a crime and has sought only to employ what is that most basic human right – self defense.

I cannot urge you strongly enough to support Castle Doctrine in Michigan and lend your strength and commitment to law abiding citizens and their right to be safe in both home and travel.

SAFR says:

Dear SAFR Member:

Michigan House Bill 5143 goes before committee Tuesday or Wednesday of next week and is expected to be voted by the following week.

The Brady Campaign has sent over 400 letters to legislators telling them this bill is bad for Michigan. They need to hear from you that this is good legislation. It has broad, bi-partisan support and can be sitting on the Governor’s desk if we let them know how important it is.

Please WRITE LETTERS. Phone calls are not that helpful because they can’t be carried to committee hearings. Emails will work, but the best thing is to hand write a letter. These cannot be deleted like email can. Either mail the letters or fax them, but get them out NOW so they reach in time. Write to both your Representative and Senator.

To write to the House:

Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514

Find your Representative!

To write to the Senate:
Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Find your Senator!

Please forward this information on to as many people as you can, as we need to get a much more powerful response than the Brady Campaign did.

Do it now - SAFR can help protect your rights - but only your voice can really make a difference.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Good and Bad Training...

I'm a teacher. I've got three formal degrees, several training certificates that apply to teaching in the schools and seven more that apply to teaching firearms safety. By now, I have probably spent the calendar equivalent of 23 years in some kind of schooling or another. Believe me, I have seen good training, bad training, indifferent training and every stripe in between.

This past weekend, I saw some of the best training I have ever been privileged to experience by a team of instructors who know what quality training means.

Thursday through Sunday, I attended Training Counselor classes offered by the
National Rifle Association's training department and an excellent team of Master and Senior Training Counselors. A "train the trainer" type session that lasted four days and was as well done as anything I've ever gone through for training.

I think my proudest moment was hearing that these instructors would feel confident sending family or friends to me to take a class. I will always do my best to live up to that trust.

Kudos to the
NRA, to Roy Mullens of Ohio, and to the rest of the team joining us in Ohio to ensure quality training. My thanks to the NRA, its 4 million-plus members and the proud commitment to freedom, safety and education that is a driving force for all we do.

America's 1st Freedom. It's not just a magazine, folks - it's a way of life.

Twain - and the Governator

I've talked about my enjoyment of Twain's writings before - his obvious love of his wife was touching and his political, romantic and satirical writings precisely on target. He had a brevity of wit that I cannot help but admire and I wish I had the ability to produce pithy one-liners at anywhere near the same level as he.

For instance....

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.

So true. There are many who will step up to the plate when it comes to the possibility of taking a knock in the head but when it comes to standing for what one believes in, we are sadly lacking. Moral courage is difficult for so many. I teach high school, and I find the lack of moral courage to be prevalent even in the smallest matters. Some of my children would rather face almost any punishment than face doing what is right.

Unfortunately, it doesn't get better with age. There are so many examples of lack of moral courage that I cannot really begin to address them. Here is a for instance, though.

Governor Schwarzenegger knows how he came to this country - legally, following the law, working his way through the system, doing the right thing and eventually, becoming a citizen of this great country. He has even risen to public office in California, the most populous state in the Union, where Hispanics make up one-third of the population.

Now, I understand responding to your constituents - certainly, he should do that. However, to pander to them is another story altogether, and to simply not stand for what is morally right is something I really didn't expect from the Governor.

Today, in the
Wall Street Journal, the Governor says, "Before 9/11, we gambled that everyone entering our country had good intentions." Now this is a very true statement - and the sentiments that follow are also true - that we can no longer afford to do so, that it effects our safety to do so, that we need stronger borders and that this will mean more agents, etc.


He rejects punishing law breakers. He rejects the idea that those who are in our country illegally should be deported. He rejects this and he rejects that. He believes we should develop a temporary worker program to allow American businesses to hire foreign workers for jobs "American workers will not do" - never mind that it's been shown over and over again that American workers will do the jobs, but that some unethical employers prefer undocumented workers since they do not require taxes be paid, matching social security payments, or even basic safety compliance in hiring. He believes we should be sending money to other countries to bolster their economies so that people in those countries will want to stay home rather than come here.

I'm going to indulge in a colloquialism. "Duh...." It hasn't worked in the last century - why would we expect to think it would work now? And what about the rather stark evidence to the contrary as exhibited in the attacks on our own soil by those we have fed and clothed in the past?

Here's another Twain quote which I have found to be terribly true:

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

I have no wish to see our country bitten again - the past has shown us what a mauling illegal immigrants can inflict upon our country, its citizens and their safety and our economy. It is time to do the right thing and enforce the law - and strengthen it if that's what it takes to make our country strong.

It is most certainly not time to pander to 12 million illegal immigrants who think the law should not apply to them.

Time for the Governator to adhere to another Twain truism.

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."