Monthly Archives: February 2009

Obama Administration To Seek Return Of “Assault” Weapons Ban

Back during the height of the General Election campaign, then-candidate Obama had this to say on the subject of Second Amendment rights:

A woman in the crowd told Obama she had “heard a rumor” that he might be planning some sort of gun ban upon being elected president. Obama trotted out his standard policy stance, that he had a deep respect for the “traditions of gun ownership” but favored measures in big cities to keep guns out of the hands of “gang bangers and drug dealers’’ in big cities “who already have them and are shooting people.”

“If you’ve got a gun in your house, I’m not taking it,’’ Obama said. But the Illinois senator could still see skeptics in the crowd, particularly on the faces of several men at the back of the room.

So he tried again. “Even if I want to take them away, I don’t have the votes in Congress,’’ he said. “This can’t be the reason not to vote for me. Can everyone hear me in the back? I see a couple of sportsmen back there. I’m not going to take away your guns.’’

Well, what a difference an Inauguration makes:

The Obama administration will seek to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 during the Bush administration, Attorney General Eric Holder said today.

“As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons,” Holder told reporters.

Change we can believe in !

Colorado General Assembly to Consider Repealing Death Penalty; Savings to be Used to Solve Cold Cases

For reasons I have expressed in earlier posts, I am opposed to the death penalty. I simply do not trust our criminal justice system enough to make a life or death decision on the innocence or guilt of an individual (based on recent news concerning Dr. West and others, it seems my distrust in the system is completely justified). I am very pleased to learn that the Colorado General Assembly is taking a hard look at this issue and considering repealing the death penalty and using the money saved to help investigate cold cases.

The Rocky Mountain News reports:

The idea of abolishing the death penalty in Colorado and using the money it takes to prosecute such cases to solve so-called cold cases stirred debate in a House committee late into the night Monday.

House Majority Leader Paul Weissmann, D-Louisville, revived his bill that just missed passing the House in 2007. The threat of death does not deter people from committing murders, he said, and the $370,000 spent to prosecute those cases could be better spent on investigating unsolved murders.
Since 1967, Colorado has executed one person and there are only two people on death row, Weissmann said. During that time, there have been 1,435 unsolved homicides.

Considering that the death penalty is so rarely enforced in Colorado, it seems to me that even those who support the death penalty should recognize the incredible costs associated with placing less than a handful of individuals on death row. The families of these 1,435 victims have just as much right to bring the killers of their loved ones to justice as those who wait for the day of execution for the ones who have taken their loved ones from them.

The article continues:

But several opponents of Weissmann’s bill said it’s based on a false argument.

Attorney General John Suthers noted that the Homicide Assistance Unit that works to solve and prosecute death penalty cases also has assisted 19 of the state’s 22 judicial districts with cold cases.

Colorado Bureau of Investigation Director Ron Sloan said that a Cold Case Task Force formed in 2007 is nearing the point where it will bring together federal, state and local analysts to review cases that are referred to it.

Plus, Suthers said, there are times when the possibility of receiving the death penalty is necessary to deter crimes. Those include instances in which someone who has been sentenced to or is facing life in prison might want to kill witnesses or commit an act of terrorism, he said.

I disagree that the bill makes a “false argument.” If the state saves $370,000 by no longer prosecuting death penalty cases, that’s $370,000 the cold case units have to work with that they currently do not. And if Colorado has only executed one person since 1967, how does having the death penalty on the books deter individuals from committing homicide?

I think we all instinctively know the answer: it doesn’t.

Morning Reading: The Legalization Of Homebrewing

This one is more of a personal thing for me (since I homebrew), but Reason’s Greg Beato has a nice story about the legalization of homebrewing.

After Prohibition, a little wrinkle in the law allowed home wine making, but not home beer making. As the consolidation of the beer market reached its peak, people replaced homebrewing for necessity with homebrewing for flavor — despite the illegality.

I’ve often called the legalization of homebrewing in 1978 “the one good thing Jimmy Carter ever did”; I thought it was something he drove due to his brother. The story, on the other hand, shows that it was one of those little changes almost snuck into a bill by an obscure congressman and passed with little debate or even fanfare.

Congress made a small change to remove an antiquated and unnecessary restriction on human freedom, and in 30 years we’ve seen the American beer scene rise from the depths of homogeneity to become one of the most vibrant beer-making countries in the world. A little liberty goes a long way.

Maybe the next step will finally be the legalization of home distilling?

I love it when Dilbert gets political
I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

1 2 3 4 5 22