Monday, July 31, 2006

GOSC Leaders Meet With NRA's LaPierre

Members of the Gun Owners of South Carolina leadership team had another chance to meet with Wayne LaPierre on Friday, July 28th, when he was in Columbia for a book signing. NRA director Herb Lanford, GOSC women's issues chair Patty Clark, GOSC president Jerry Stoudemire, and I joined dozens of NRA members and pro-gun citizens for the book signing.

After the event ended Wayne and I took a few minutes to renew a friendship we've shared for over a decade. He thanked SC gun rights activists for our hard work here in South Carolina and offered to support our efforts in any way possible. I explained how helpful NRA-ILA has been in support of our efforts and thanked him in return. Wayne's a real class act for sure.

On a side note, Wayne had PR and legislative consulting guru Tony Makris along for the book signing. It was good to get reacquainted with Tony. I first met him about 12 years ago and have been an admirer ever since. We do the same kind of work professionally..... only Tony operates at a much higher level. Tony is truly one of the best at what he does.

You may recognize Tony's name. In addition to handling PR for NRA folks like Charlton Heston and Wayne Lapierre, he's the host of ESPN's "Under Wild Skies-Africa".

Sunday, July 23, 2006

NRA's Wayne LaPierre Coming
to Columbia This Friday

On Friday, July 28th, at 7:00 pm, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre will be at the Books-A-Million on Harbison Boulevard in Columbia. He will be signing copies of his new book The Global War On Your Guns.

Don't miss this chance to met Wayne and to purchase an autographed copy of this timely and important book.

I will be there along with other local GOSC and NRA representatives. Come on out and meet with us and perhaps learn how you might get involved in the local fight to keep and bear arms. I look forward to seeing you there this Friday.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Scarborough Acted Properly

According to a story today in the Charleston Post, Rep. Wallace Scarborough will not be prosecuted over an incident that occurred last Sunday night. Solicitor Ralph Hoisington concluded that Scarborough acted within the law when he investigated noises in his parents fenced and locked back yard.

As I suggested in an earlier post, Scarborough simply did the prudent thing when he grabbed his 9mm handgun to confront two men he thought might be burglars. Additionally, he violated no laws in connection with the unintentional firing of the gun into the ground near a back porch.

Solicitor Hoisington had the benefit of first person accounts recorded in witness statements and affidavits. If those statements included any evidence of impropriety, Scaborough would have faced prosecution. The bottom-line is Scarborough acted properly.

And although he did nothing wrong, Scarborough was still considerate enough to apologize to the utility workers. Just another example of the quality of individuals who own guns, have CWPs, and belong to the National Rifle Association.

Rep. Wallace Scarborough is truly a class act.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Paranoid or Just Prepared?

A fellow NRA member who happens to be a state legislator has been in the news lately over an incident that occurred last weekend in Charleston.

Rep. Wallace Scarborough was house sitting for his elderly parents when, during the night, he heard noises and saw flashlights shining in the back yard. Scarborough, a CWP holder who successfully completed SLED approved legal and practical firearms training, grabbed his 9mm handgun and went to investigate.

Scarborough discovered that two men had entered the locked and fenced back yard. When challenged they shined blinding flashlights directly into his face. The men, who Scarborough could not clearly see, claimed to be employees of a utility company. They would not produce identification and insisted they had a legal right to be there. Scarborough took exception and told them to leave. They refused to leave.

As Scarborough walked away to call the police, he tripped and unintentionally fired a round into the back porch. At that point the unwelcome visitors made a hasty retreat and themselves called 911. The two intruders, who were later identified as utility workers, claimed that Scarborough made threats and fired a gun at them.

The police came and Scarborough was arrested for assault with intent to kill. Should he have been arrested?

I was not there and can only consider the information I’ve been provided, so I’m not going to judge the case one way or another. However, I do believe we should give Scarborough the benefit of the doubt based on the knowledge I have gained.

Without a doubt the whole thing could have been avoided had the utility company representatives been appropriately trained and taught to show proper identification upon request of a property owner.

Think for a minute. How would you react in similar circumstances? Would you automatically assume the interlopers had a legal right to be there? Would you take a gun to investigate?

I suspect that most “security minded” people would generally react like Scarborough did. Yes, he could have practiced better tactics (cover, illumination, etc.) but in general, he did what I would have done. In other words….grab a gun and investigate.

I’m sure that some less cautious individuals consider this a paranoid overreaction, but they’re wrong. Nowadays it’s better to be overly cautious than to be overly deluded. If you think it can’t happen to you, then you’re likely to be the next victim.

Want proof that Scarborough wasn’t off base with his basic instincts and initial reaction?

Just yesterday the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office issued a public alert to elderly citizens regarding burglaries and thefts being committed by criminals posing as utility company employees. Sound familiar?

Two suspicious prowlers who claimed to be utility workers frightened Scarborough. He thought they might be burglars. Did he overreact as some have suggested? It’s starting to look less and less so.

Cynical types will no doubt roll their eyes at the thought of defending ones home against what they perceive to be a minor threat. But in reality, nighttime burglary is far from minor. In fact, it’s one of the most dangerous crimes for homeowners.

Think about it. Any idiot bold enough to invade an occupied home or property, especially in the South where almost every homeowner is armed, has to be dangerous. In such circumstances an armed response is not only warranted, but also imperative for self-preservation.

The plain fact is nighttime burglary is so serious that South Carolina law has long made an exception in Section 17-13-20 for the use of deadly force in such circumstances.

For convenience here’s what it says:

A citizen may arrest a person in the nighttime by efficient means as the darkness and the probability of escape render necessary, even if the life of the person should be taken, when the person:

(a) has committed a felony;
(b) has entered a dwelling house without express or implied permission;
(c) has broken or is breaking into an outhouse with a view to plunder;
(d) has in his possession stolen property; or
(e) being under circumstances which raise just suspicion of his design to steal or to commit some felony, flees when he is hailed.

The self-righteous Monday morning QBs and the ivory towered finger pointers in the press either don’t know about the nighttime burglary law, or they prefer to ignore it. Either way it’s disappointing to see so many automatically assume Scarborough was in the wrong.

Now that things are a little clearer, the real question is: Was it reasonable for Scarborough to think that the two men prowling around the fenced backyard in the nighttime might be burglars? The inescapable conclusion is YES!

Clear thinking persons would naturally assume that two prowlers in a dark backyard, especially in today’s world, were likely up to no good. And in my view, one has a duty to respond to such threats armed and prepared to defend life and property.

But maybe that’s just me.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Liberals Just Don't Get it

Washington, D.C. police chief Charles Ramsey (pictured here) has declared a crime emergency in response to a recent spike in violence and murder. (Assuming D.C. officers follow the Chief's physical fitness standards, the donut shops ought to pretty safe for tourists.)

Two things are certain....

Number one, the liberals (like Ramsey) will have any number of "summits" to talk about the problem; and

Number two, nothing substantive will come of all the talk.

Why? Because the liberals love to talk, but they never really want solve problems because they rely on them.

The truth is, if they eliminated crime or poverty or pollution, they'd have no constituencies. Its in their interest to perpetuate problems, that's why they talk so much.

Look at D.C. for proof. It's illegal to possess a gun in the nations capitol, yet criminals seem to have them. Why?

If gun control works, why is the crime rate so high in Washington, D.C.?

We know the answer and its found right here in South Carolina. In fact, I had a couple of posts last month about our falling violent crime rate. But its not just South Carolina.

Look at Florida, a state that also allows its citizens to carry firearms.

In almost every case, crime is up where citizens are prohibited from having handguns for self-defense and down where citizens are allowed to carry handguns for self-defense.

Unlike liberals, criminals are smart. They fear pain and naturally prefer areas (like D.C.) where they are unlikely to encounter any.

Its that simple.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Joe Wilson Reinforces 2A Support

My Congressman Joe Wilson recently spoke out again in support of the Second Amendment. Not that he had anything to prove, but its nice to see a US House member offer such a solid statement of belief in our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Its particularly refreshing when its in response to some misguided liberals latest "crime control" plan.

Congressman Wilson clearly understands that in order to be truly safe from harm, individuals need to have the ready means to defend themselves.

Joe knows......Guns Save Lives!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Mad Props For The Master!

My friend and neighbor Rod Shealy recently got some good ink regarding his success as a political consultant in the recent primary elections. As the article points out, Rod is among the best in the business.

I've worked on campaigns with all the guys mentioned in the article and know their varying styles pretty well. One thing that stands out about Rod is his unique approach to things. He's advised me informally in the past and although I sometimes question his approach, more times than not, he's right on the money.

One of Rod's high-profile candidates is Lt. Governor Andre Bauer. As we gun owners know, Andre pulled out an impressive, come from behind win last week in the run-off elections. A story in the Greenville news reveals that Andre outspent his opponent Mike Campbell by a wide margin.

You can't argue with the numbers, but it sure is interesting to note how determined the news media is to avoid reporting the obvious.

The truth is Andre outworked the other guy and he's proven himself as a leader over the last decade. His dedication and success have earned him an extremely loyal base of supporters. Unfortunately for Campbell, they came out and worked hard too.

Contrast that with an opponent (Campbell) who never held elected office and had no record to run on. Also, try as he might, there was no way Campbell could ever keep up with even a crippled Andre (remember Andre's ankle was shattered in a recent plane crash) and there's your recipe for sure defeat.

The bottom-line is that Campbell was simply outclassed, out worked, and under supported.

And, oh yeah, out consulted by the master.

Future of the Second Amendment
My good friend Patty Clark (director of GOSC's Women's Programs) recently e-mailed this picture of her niece along with the subject line: Future of the Second Amendment. This is a really cool picture and the story that goes along with it illustrates a very important aspect of preserving our cherished rights.

In an example that should inspire us all, Patty's brother, Donald Zappone, presented his 7-year old daughter, Stephanie, with a rifle after she proved to have the discipline to learn proper gun handling and complete the NRA's Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program. This wise approach will help ensure that Stephanie is safe and that she understands the important role firearms play in a free society.

Interestingly, Stephanie and her dad live in California where guns are not as socially acceptable as were accustomed to in South Carolina. But that doesn't deter the Zappone family one little bit. In fact, they strongly support the Second Amendment and are working to raise a well rounded family that understands how to use and respect firearms.

My hat's off to Donald Zappone and to Stephanie too!!! Keep up the good work!!!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Lifetime CWP in South Carolina?

Indiana recently passed legislation establishing a lifetime concealed weapons permit. Under the new law a person can obtain a CWP that never expires. The cost of the permit would be considerably higher than one that renews every three or four years, but in most cases the benefit to both the state and the permit holder makes the cost easily justifiable.

Although we have managed to make some significant improvements to South Carolina's CWP program, I must admit the idea of a lifetime permit never occurred to me. But recognizing a good idea when I see one, I've taken the initiative to contact several law makers. Right now the interest is high. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see South Carolina follow Indiana's lead in the next legislative session.

Joe Wilson Continues His Pro-Gun Ways

Congressman Joe Wilson has again shown gun owners why his service is so important to keeping our Second Amendment rights. In a brilliant move recently, the US House of Representatives took the bold step of passing legislation that suspends the requirement that new guns include a trigger lock.

The anti-gunners were quick to condemn the measure. According to the Brady Campaign the extra money (tax) that gun owners would be forced to pay is worth it "if it saves one life." Our man Congressman Wilson was a little more level headed. According to Wilson, "Responsible and law-abiding gun owners do not need the government to tell them to be safe." I couldn't agree more.

Joe's excellent quote reminded me of why I've always been a BIG supporter of his various campaigns. He was my state senator for many years and helped NRA and GOSC pass right to carry in 1996. In fact, if not for Joes leadership, it never would have made it out of the Senate.

Thanks Joe for continuing to support the Second Amendment. Over and over you've proven to be a friend of gun owners. I'm proud to live in your district and proud to call you my friend and my Congressman.