Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Hillary Clinton on Gun Control

Democratic Jr Senator (NY)

Against illegal guns, crack down on illegal gun dealers

I am against illegal guns, and illegal guns are the cause of so much death and injury in our country. I also am a political realist and I understand that the political winds are very powerful against doing enough to try to get guns off the street, get them out of the hands of young people. I don't want the federal government preempting states and cities like New York that have very specific problems. We need to have a registry that really works with good information about people who are felons, people who have been committed to mental institutions. We need to make sure that that information is in a timely manner, both collected and presented. We do need to crack down on illegal gun dealers. This is something that I would like to see more of. We need to enforce the laws that we have on the books. I would also work to reinstate the assault weapons ban. We now have, once again, police deaths going up around the country, and in large measure because bad guys now have assault weapons again.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas Jan 15, 2008

Backed off a national licensing registration plan on guns

I believe in the Second Amendment. People have a right to bear arms. But I also believe that we can common-sensically approach this, and backed off a national licensing registration plan.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas Jan 15, 2008

Get assault weapons & guns off the street

Q: How would you address gun violence that continues to be the #1 cause of death among African-American men?

A: I think it's important to remember that the crime rate was driven down, & gun violence was driven down in the 1990s because of a combination of policies, like 100,000 police on the street and getting assault weapons off the street, and because of a growing economy. 22 million new jobs gave people who were hopeless a better chance for a future. So I want to get back to what works. This administration has tried to kill the 100,000 police. You've got mayors whose police force is outgunned by the criminals and the gang-bangers. Assault weapons are back on the street. We've got to go and do what works again. In addition to having policies that will get guns off the street, we do have to give young men particularly a better chance of a future that includes educational & economic opportunities & second chances when they get caught up in the criminal justice system.

Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum Jul 12, 2007

Background check system could prevent Virginia Tech massacre

Q: Did any role that federal government plays fail those students at Virginia Tech?

A: Yes. You know, I remember very well when I accompanied Bill to Columbine after that massacre and met with the family members of those who had been killed and talked with the students, and feeling that we had to do more to try to keep guns out of the hands of the criminal and of the mentally unstable. And during the Clinton administration, that was a goal--not to, in any way, violate people's Second Amendment rights, but to try to limit access to people who should not have guns. Unfortunately, we saw the tragedy unfold at Virginia Tech. We now know that the background check system didn't work, because certainly this shooter, as he's called, had been involuntarily committed as a threat to himself and others. And, yet, he could walk in and buy a gun.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC Apr 26, 2007

FactCheck: VA Tech shooter not declared a danger to others

Hillary Clinton slipped up in her description of the Virginia Tech killings, overstating what a Virginia court had found about the shooter's mental state in 2005. Clinton said the shooter "had been involuntarily committed as a threat to himself & others. And, yet, he could walk in and buy a gun."

That's only half true. It's correct that Seung-hui Cho had a court-documented history of mental illness that should have precluded his purchase of a firearm. And he was indeed found to present "an imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness" in a ruling dated December 14, 2005. But the Judge did not check a box that would have declared Cho "an imminent danger to others." Moreover, the judge declined to involuntarily commit Cho and sent him to outpatient counseling. Clinton's confusion on this might stem from bad reporting by some news outlets that said Cho was found to be a danger to himself and others.

Source: on 2007 South Carolina Democratic debate Apr 26, 2007

Congress' failure at Littleton response inspired Senate run

A month after the Columbine shootings, Bill & I went to Littleton Colorado to visit with the families of victims & survivors. The Columbine tragedy was not the first, nor the last, episode involving gun violence at an American high school. But it ignited a call for more federal action to keep guns out of the hands of the violent, troubled and young--a lethal combination. Bill and I announced a proposal to raise the legal age of handgun ownership to 21, and limit purchases of handguns to one per month.
Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p. 503-4 Nov 1, 2003

Keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them

We need to stand firm on behalf of sensible gun control legislation. We have to enact laws that will keep guns out of the hand of children and criminals and mentally unbalanced persons. Congress should have acted before our children started going back to school. I realize the NRA is a formidable political group; but I believe the American people are ready to come together as a nation and do whatever it takes to keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them.
Source:, “Gun Safety” Sep 9, 2000

Limit access to weapons; look for early warning signs

We have to make sure that our schools are safe. Our schools need more help from parents and from communities, and we also need more social workers and counselors who are trained to see the early warning signs. No school security system or metal detector can keep out the culture of violence that dominates the lives of so many of our children. We have to address issues of culture, and we have to ensure that young people do not have easy access to weapons; not only firearms but bomb making material.
Source:, “Safe Schools” Sep 9, 2000

License and register all handgun sales

Hillary Rodham Clinton offered her support for a legislative proposal to license hand guns. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer, would require anyone who wants to purchase a gun to obtain a state-issued photo gun license. “I stand in support of this common sense legislation to license everyone who wishes to purchase a gun,” Clinton said. “I also believe that every new handgun sale or transfer should be registered in a national registry, such as Chuck is proposing.”
Source: Jun 2, 2000

Tough gun control keeps guns out of wrong hands

I think it does once again urge us to think hard about what we can do to make sure that we keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals and mentally unbalanced people. I hope we will come together as a nation and do whatever it takes to keep guns away from people who have no business with them.
Source: Press Release Jul 31, 1999

Gun control protects our children

We will not make progress on a sensible gun control agenda unless the entire American public gets behind it. It is really important for each of you [kids] to make sure you stay away from guns. If you have guns in your home, tell your parents to keep them away from you and your friends and your little brothers and sisters.
Source: Forum at South Side Middle School in Nassau County Jul 15, 1999

Don’t water down sensible gun control legislation

We have to do everything possible to keep guns out of the hands of children, and we need to stand firm on behalf of the sensible gun control legislation that passed the Senate and then was watered down in the House. It does not make sense for us at this point in our history to turn our backs on the reality that there are too many guns and too many children have access to those guns-and we have to act to prevent that.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida Jul 5, 1999

Lock up guns; store ammo separately

If you own a gun... make sure it’s locked up and stored without the ammunition. In fact, make it stored where the ammunition is stored separately. We’ve made some progress in the last several years with the Brady Bill and some of the bans on assault weapons, but we have a lot of work to do.
Source: ABC’s “Good Morning America” Jun 4, 1999

Ban kids’ unsupervised access to guns

Q: What actions can students take to help gun control further? A: Young people, especially teenagers, [should pledge] to not give any child unsupervised access to a firearm; not to go into homes, or let your younger siblings go into homes where you know guns are and are not safely stored and taken care of. You guys are going to a party, make sure there are no guns around. If you own a gun or you know people who do, make sure it’s locked up and stored without the ammunition.
Source: ABC’s “Good Morning America” Jun 4, 1999

Get weapons off the streets; zero tolerance for weapons

The first step is to take weapons off the streets and to put more police on them. The Brady Bill, which my husband signed into law in 1995, imposes a 5-day waiting period for gun purchases, time enough for authorities to check out a buyer's record and for the buyer to cool down about any conflict he might have intended the gun to resolve. Since it was enacted, more than 40,000 people with criminal records have been prevented from buying guns. The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act banned 19 types of military-style assault weapons whose only purpose is to kill people.

As part of a "zero tolerance" policy for weapons, drugs, and other threats to the safety of teachers and students, the President signed an executive order decreeing that any student who comes to school with a gun will be expelled and punished as a condition of federal aid.

Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p.126 Sep 25, 1996

Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

A bill to prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others. Voting YES would:
  • Exempt lawsuits brought against individuals who knowingly transfer a firearm that will be used to commit a violent or drug-trafficking crime
  • Exempt lawsuits against actions that result in death, physical injury or property damage due solely to a product defect
  • Call for the dismissal of all qualified civil liability actions pending on the date of enactment by the court in which the action was brought
  • Prohibit the manufacture, import, sale or delivery of armor piercing ammunition, and sets a minimum prison term of 15 years for violations
  • Require all licensed importers, manufacturers and dealers who engage in the transfer of handguns to provide secure gun storage or safety devices
Reference: Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; Bill S 397 ; vote number 2005-219 on Jul 29, 2005

Voted NO on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers for gun violence.

Vote to pass a bill that would block certain civil lawsuits against manufacturers, distributors, dealers and importers of firearms and ammunition, mainly those lawsuits aimed at making them liable for gun violence. In this bill, trade groups would also be protected The bill would call for the dismissal of pending lawsuits against the gun industry. The exception would be lawsuits regarding a defect in a weapon or ammunition. It also would provide a 10-year reauthorization of the assault weapons ban which is set to expire in September 2004. The bill would increase the penalties for gun-related violent or drug trafficking crimes which have not resulted in death, to a minimum of 15 years imprisonment. The bill calls for criminal background checks on all firearm transactions at gun shows where at least 75 guns are sold. Exemptions would be made available for dealers selling guns from their homes as well as members-only gun swaps and meets carried out by nonprofit hunting clubs.
Reference: Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; Bill S.1805/H.R.1036 ; vote number 2004-30 on Mar 2, 2004


RAND Study Finds Substantial Amounts of Ammunition Bought by Felons, Others Prohibited from Buying Bullets

Substantial amounts of bullets and shotgun shells sold in Los Angeles are purchased by felons and others who are prohibited by law from buying ammunition, according to a new RAND Corporation study that is the first to examine the amount of ammunition sold to criminals.

With support from the National Institute of Justice, researchers analyzed records detailing ammunition sales made during April and May of 2004 at 10 of the 13 retail stores in the city of Los Angeles that sell bullets and shotgun shells to the public.

A total of 2,031 people purchased 436,956 rounds of ammunition during the study period. This included 10,050 rounds of ammunition purchased by 52 people with felony convictions or other violations on their records that legally prohibit them from buying ammunition.

While federal and state laws prohibit certain people from buying ammunition, there are no mechanisms to enforce the rules. Los Angeles and a few other cities require ammunition sellers to collect information about the purchasers, but in the past those records were not routinely reviewed.

“Strategies to reduce gun violence in communities thus far have focused intensely on the guns,” said George Tita, a criminologist at the University of California, Irvine, and lead author of the study that appears in the October edition of the journal Injury Prevention. “More effective policies will need to address access to ammunition as well as access to guns.”

While the study examined only a short period of time, researchers say it provides the first reliable information about whether ammunition is routinely purchased by people who are barred from possessing ammunition.

“We found that it's not uncommon for people with criminal records simply to buy ammunition at a retail store,” said Greg Ridgeway, co-author of the study and a researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “It is particularly risky for communities to have guns and ammunition in the hands of such people.”

Past studies have shown that guns and ammunition possessed by felons and others prohibited from owning weapons are more likely to be used in violent crimes than weapons bought by people with no criminal histories.

People who buy ammunition in the city of Los Angeles must show a driver's license or other photo identification and leave a fingerprint with the seller, who maintains records about the transaction. An unsuccessful bill introduced in the California legislature in 2005 would have required ammunition dealers in California to log all ammunition sales and their purchasers in a state database.

The RAND study says if lawmakers want to prohibit the illegal sale of ammunition they could extend the instant background checks required before guns are sold to also cover the sale of ammunition.

However, unless such a step was taken at the state level, buyers could simply purchase ammunition in a nearby city to get around a local law. In addition, people prohibited from purchasing ammunition could begin buying ammunition from unregulated private sellers in the secondary firearms markets, researchers said.

However, studies conducted by other researchers in different communities with high levels of gun violence found that more careful enforcement of ammunition purchases may not necessarily lead to the creation of a black market in ammunition, according to researchers.

Another alternative is for law enforcement officials to take advantage of ammunition sales records to provide tips about felons who may illegally possess firearms, according to researchers. Ammunition logs have been used by Los Angeles area law enforcement officials to obtain search warrants that have led to the recovery of illegal firearms, according to the study.

Researchers say their study was limited by the small number of ammunition sales outlets involved and the relatively brief study period. Most of the outlets studied are located in the San Fernando Valley in the northern section of Los Angeles.

The study was so geographically limited because there are no ammunition outlets in the high-crime neighborhoods in the south part of Los Angeles. Residents of those areas are likely to buy ammunition at stores in adjacent cities that do not require ammunition sales records to be collected, according to researchers.

Records involved in the RAND study were collected from retailers by the Los Angeles Police Department and analyzed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to see whether purchasers appeared in federal or state criminal databases.

Other authors of the study are Anthony Braga of Harvard University and Glenn L. Pierce of Northeastern University.

The study was carried out through the Safety and Justice Program within the RAND Infrastructure, Safety and Environment Division.


McCain -- is he eligible to be president?
He does not meet requirements of the Constitution

Tom Kovach
Tom Kovach
February 2, 2008

A lot of naysayers have made light of the strict Constitutionist views of presidential candidates Alan Keyes, Ron Paul, and former candidate Tom Tancredo. Now, those men just might be in a position to have the final say over "mainstream" candidates such as Senator John McCain. Why? It turns out that Republican candidate McCain might need to drop out of the presidential race, despite his recent win in the Florida primary, because he is not eligible to fill the office of president.

John McCain is not a natural born citizen of the United States! He was born in the Panama Canal Zone.

There are only three requirements in the Constitution for the office of president. Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 5 requires that a candidate for president must be: a) a natural born citizen of the United States (emphasis added), b) at least 35 years of age, and c) having been a resident of the United States for at least 14 years. By its language, the Constitution — especially the Fourteenth Amendment — makes a distinction between a "citizen" and a "natural born citizen." A more lenient requirement to be only a "citizen," under Article I, Section 3, Paragraph 3, allows McCain to be a senator.

Senator McCain was a third-generation naval officer. His quick reaction to an intense fire on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal was a product not only of his fighter-pilot training, but also of being the son and the grandson of US Navy admirals. The question of Senator McCain's eligibility for the office of president does not in any way call into question the positive details of his military service record.

That said, however, it should be noted that many Prisoner of War advocates actually criticize ex-POW McCain for blocking efforts to document and release Prisoners of War! On that point alone, many in the military and veteran communities would refuse to support McCain under any circumstances. Sadly, there are also POWs from our recent and current Middle East wars. (Disclosure: this writer, who would definitely not vote for McCain, is a member of Rolling Thunder, which is active in the cause to support and free our POWs.)

A discussion of the McCain candidacy is incomplete without mentioning the Prisoner of War issue, because his ex-POW status is an integral part of both McCain the man and McCain the candidate. However, the key point in this column is not where McCain has been, nor where he wants to go, but whether he is authorized to go there.

Authority is at the heart of the question. The Constitution is the supreme legal authority of the land. Yet, when politically convenient, the Big Two political parties have ignored the Constitution. (Disclosure: this writer is a state official with the Constitution Party.) We are currently in a war (actually, two — not counting the ongoing "security operations" in several other countries) with no Constitutionally-required declaration of war. The Constitution also requires the president to use the military (not police!) to secure our borders. Yet, for years, Senator McCain has been a well-known proponent of amnesty for illegal aliens. That fact, alone, should disqualify him from running for president, because his actions reveal his clear intent not to "support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

And, the clear and simple language of the previously-cited paragraph of our Constitution makes it clear that Senator John McCain is not eligible to become the president of the United States. Although he is a citizen of the United States, he is not a natural born citizen. That requirement can only be changed by a Constitutional amendment. And, if he is to be true to his oath to "support, protect, and defend" the Constitution as it now stands, then Senator McCain should withdraw from the presidential race immediately. Opinions on this topic are welcome on my talk show, which airs live on Sunday morning at 0800 (that's 8am, for civilians) Central Time.

Tom Kovach lives near Nashville, is a former USAF Blue Beret, and has written for several online publications. In 2006, he published his first book. He is also an inventor, a horse wrangler, a certified paralegal, and a network talk-radio host. He is available to speak to your group. To learn more, visit:

© Copyright 2008 by Tom Kovach


Weapons Arsenal Is Found at Home of Columbia Professor

January 20, 2008

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Police stumbled upon a bomb-making factory Sunday in the home of a Columbia professor who specializes in the spread of infectious disease and are now investigating whether he and his roommate have any connection to terror.

One of the pipe bombs was described as being inserted into a Nerf football. Investigators with the NYPD and FBI were questioning Ivaylo Ivanov, a native of Bulgaria, to determine whether he has any terrorism or Russian Mafia connections, a source told New York’s Daily News.

An arsenal of weapons and explosive devices was found in the Brooklyn Heights apartment of a Columbia University professor yesterday morning after the professor’s roommate accidentally shot himself, police said.

Police said they removed seven homemade pipe bombs, a 9 mm handgun, a rifle, a crossbow and arrows, a machete, ammunition, gun silencers, and several bulletproof vests from a small one-bedroom apartment at 58 Remsen St. that neighbors say is owned by Michael Clatts, an AIDS researcher at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and the National Development and Research Institutes.

The arsenal was discovered after a man who also lived in the one-bedroom attic apartment, identified by sources as Ivaylo Ivanov, 31, shot himself in the hand.

After telling police officers on patrol on Montague Terrace that someone had shot him at around 1 a.m. on Sunday, he was taken to Long Island College Hospital, where he later admitted to police that he had shot himself.

A downstairs neighbor, Penny Kaufman, said she escorted police to the fourth floor apartment at around 3:30 a.m. yesterday to help them subdue the two men’s dog. Through the door of the apartment, Ms. Kaufman, a legal secretary, said she saw a handgun and several bullets lying on a desk chair near the door. She also saw blood smeared on a wall near the light switch and towels balled up in the sinks and bathtub.

“The apartment was in total disarray,” she said.


Looks like:

A) Cool woodworking project for Boy Scouts or something
B) No fun to reload.