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The witch hunt against gun owners

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By Michelle Malkin  •  March 21, 2007 09:39 AM

The Roanoke Times’ targeting of concealed carry permit holders is the topic of my syndicated column today. Intro:

“The Second Amendment,” Charlton Heston used to say, “is America’s first freedom.” The Second secures the rest.

It’s a message narcissistic journalists need to hear again. A decade ago, Heston chastised the media in a National Press Club speech for its collective ignorance, apathy and open hostility toward gun owners’ rights: “Clearly, too many have used freedom of the press as a weapon not only to strangle our free speech, but to erode and ultimately destroy the right to keep and bear arms as well. In doing so you promoted your profession to that of constitutional judge and jury, more powerful even than our Supreme Court, more prejudiced than the Inquisition’s tribunals. It is a frightening misuse of constitutional privilege, and I pray that you will come to your senses and see that these abuses are curbed.”

Alas, Heston’s prayers have yet to be answered. While courts have recently bolstered Second Amendment rights, endangering gun owners in the name of free speech continues to be the blood sport of the Fourth Estate.

Read the rest.

I also mention Big Nanny Michael Bloomberg’s witch hunt “sting” operation against gun shops. The Second Amendment Foundation reports:

The Second Amendment Foundation today confirmed that it is providing financial support to Adventure Outdoors of Smyrna, Georgia in a lawsuit against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other New York defendants for attempting to ensnare and defame the store in Bloomberg’s infamous 2006 gun shop “sting.”

SAF’s support was requested by attorney and former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, now working at the Jasper, Georgia law offices of Edwin Marger, which represents Adventure Outdoors. SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb said the foundation has sent a check to Marger, and promised to help bring public attention to the case.

“Bloomberg’s notorious enterprise against Adventure Outdoors and other gun retailers was, and remains, an outrage,” Gottlieb stated.

Adventure Outdoors was targeted by Bloomberg’s vigilante “sting” operation last year. In addition to suing Bloomberg, the company has filed a motion to dismiss the civil lawsuit filed by Bloomberg against the gun shop. Adventure Outdoors is one of several retail firearms dealers targeted by Bloomberg’s rogue operation. That multi-state “sting” has come under the scrutiny of the Department of Justice and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The Justice Department has declined to file criminal charges against any of the gun dealers targeted by Bloomberg, and has advised Bloomberg’s office that it could face “potential legal liabilities” if such sting operations continue. Earlier this year, W. Larry Ford, Assistant ATF Director for Public and Governmental Affairs, confirmed to SAF that the agency “is investigating the matter [Bloomberg’s stings] in order to determine if violations of federal firearms laws occurred.”

“Mayor Bloomberg and his henchmen had no legal authority to conduct their questionable operation,” Gottlieb noted. “These civil lawsuits amount to harassment through the courts. It’s an egregious abuse of perceived power by Bloomberg, and we’re only too happy to assist Bob Barr and his colleagues in an effort to stop Bloomberg’s demagoguery.”

Virginia gun dealers targeted by Bloomberg are fighting back:

Amid the Confederate flags, anti-Yankee bumper stickers and Civil War relics displayed throughout Bob Moates Sport Shop, a new, rather uncivil war is brewing.

“Ask about the Bloomberg Gun GiveAway” reads a sign taped to the gun shop’s register, beckoning customers to enter the drawing named for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose federal lawsuits against gun dealers in five states have drawn the wrath of Virginia’s gun enthusiasts.

Bloomberg calls the dealers holding the contest sick. The dealers call Bloomberg words that aren’t fit to print.

“This has proved to be a battle royale,” said Philip Van Cleave, president of the pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League and mastermind of the giveaway, which has boosted business for the two participating store owners. “The truth is, if Bloomberg hadn’t picked on Virginia, we wouldn’t have gotten involved. But he made the mistake of stepping into Virginia with this.”

The Republican mayor has sued 27 out-of-state gun dealers, alleging that they sold firearms illegally to undercover private investigators conducting a sting operation for New York. City officials say the dealers have supplied hundreds of weapons used in New York City crimes. The lawsuits, which name dealers in Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia, ask the court to require monitoring of the shops’ sales…

…Nine dealers, including two in Virginia, have settled with the city, agreeing to be monitored by a court-appointed special master.

The owners of two Virginia stores being sued said they were forced to close because of crushing legal fees. But in January, two other store owners began fighting back with the gun giveaway. Through March 31, customers who spend $100 at either of Bob Moates’ stores or Old Dominion Guns and Tackle in Danville are eligible to win a handgun or a rifle, courtesy of the Defense League. The drawing will be held April 19. Among those ineligible to win, as per the official rules: “Mayor Bloomberg and his immediate family members.”

Van Cleave said he came up with the idea as a way to boost sales at the stores, which have already shelled out thousands in legal fees.

The contest has only further agitated Bloomberg, who has made gun control a top priority in his second term.

“These are sick people,” Bloomberg said in January when questioned about the giveaway at the Mayors Against Illegal Guns summit in Washington. “And if they think that this is funny, I don’t think that the parents or the spouses or the children of those that get killed with illegal guns would find that very entertaining.”

Dave Hancock, who has worked at Bob Moates Sport Shop for 25 years, shakes his head at such statements.

“Mr. Bloomberg thinks we’re a bunch of sick people,” said Hancock, leaning against a display case of handguns. “Well, I think he’s an idiot.”

Raise your voices if you agree: E-mail Big Nanny Bloomberg.

***

A reader e-mails:

I just read your most recent column, regarding the Roanoke Times’ publishing the names and addresses of gun onwers. While I understand the outrage of those whose names have been published, I think a larger point has been missed. The Roanoke Times has made it easier for criminals to target homes of people who do NOT own guns. We know that burglars target homes that are know to be gun-free, since by doing so they lower their risk of being confronted. The Roanoke Times has given criminals a list of homes to avoid.

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