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Courts, legislators taking up gun debate

The Butterfly Effect

Courts, legislators taking up gun debate

About Kelly Francis

Kelly Francis is a 2006 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. She co-chairs the Public Policy Advocacy Committee for Minnesota Women Lawyers and serves on the Board of Directors for the Coalition for Impartial Justice. She currently works in local government.


  1. First off, let’s straighen one thing out: No police officer has ever been killed by a bullet defeating a properly worn vest rated to stop it. The “cop killer” is a hollywood myth from the movie Lethal Weapon. It doesn’t matter if the bullet is tungsten, lead, titanium-carbide, or coated with teflon. If it’s a 9mm, it won’t penetrate a class two vest. Period. If it’s a 30-06 or .308, it won’t penetrate a class three vest. Period. If it’s a .50 BMG….well, it could be a spit wad, and it probably wouldn’t matter because they don’t produce body armor to stop it.
    Secondly, there is no credible evidence to support the theory that mexican drug cartels are buying RPGs, LAW rockets, grenades, heavy machine guns, M16s, fully-auto AK47s, etc etc from the American civil arms market. Fewer than 1 in 6 guns seized by mexican authorities are ever traced to the US, and, to date, no one has addressed how many of those were originally sold by the US gov to the Mexican Army. It’s plausible that pistols or shotguns available to a US citizen may be interesting to cartels. Rifles? Not so much. Not when fully-auto weapons are available more cheaply and with less risk from corrupt officials.
    Thirdly, I’m not going to defend the 2nd Amendment on safety grounds. It’s a civil right, and civic responsibility. If you choose not to exercise that right, to shirk that responsibility, that’s fine. Don’t trample my rights because your wilful ignorance has caused an irrational fear of inanimate objects. Don’t blame me for a war caused by poor legislation (ie, the Drug War) when the right I’m exercising has nothing to do with the problem or probable solution. And if you’re going to pass feel-good, do-nothing legislation that will make absolutely no measurable difference (Brady Law), at least have your facts straight.

  2. What troubled me about this ruling was not only the fact that significant numbers of felons have been shown to have illegally purchased ammunition online, but also that the ruling overturned the statute on the grounds that the definition of “handgun ammunition” was unconstitutionally vague.

    Much of California law might be based on this, but the problem is the legislature not understanding what they are doing, and drafting bad law. The courts are right to overturn it, regardless of the consequences.

    There’s no real definition for ammunition primarily intended to be used in a handgun. One might suggest that 9×19 Parabellum fits this, but there are plenty of rifles that fire this cartridge as well. And how do you classify .22LR, which is used just as much in handguns as is used in rifles?

    Also consider that online ammunition sales are the primary means competitive shooters purchase ammunition these days. Because it’s a consumable item, requiring face to face transactions would put a lot of competitive shooters in California at a severe disadvantage because it would limit their ability to purchase ammunition in bulk at online discounters, the vast majority of which are located in other states. I’m also extremely skeptical laws like this are going to have much of an effect on black market access to ammunition. Criminals don’t tend to go through much ammunition, in comparison with sport shooters or people who lawfully carry firearms.

  3. nov_284 – speaking as somone who watches her spouse put on a bullet proof vest to serve you and your neighbors…guns still threaten (and take) officers’ lives every day. I do not have an “irrational fear of inanimate objects,” it is real, just ask the family of Sgt. Joseph Bergeron.

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