December 26, 2012

In Focus: The armed citizen sticks to his guns

For a sizable bloc of mainstream Americans, the Second Amendment is not to be compromised.

By PAUL J. WEBER The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Dave Burdett
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Dave Burdett, the outspoken owner of a gun store in College Station, Texas, says his affinity for guns is rooted in history, not sport.

The Associated Press

"The other thing is, shooting is fun. It really is," Burdett said.

Many think so. Smith, the mechanical engineer, said that includes teenage girls. At national shooting competitions, Smith has run into a group of girls around 13 or 14 years old who call themselves "The Pink Ladies," firing high-powered rifles at targets. He also recalls meeting Australians, whose country bans guns, who told him, "I love to shoot, so I'm going to the U.S."

Others add safety to the list of reasons for allowing people easy access to guns.

"To me it's obvious -- the more people that have guns, or at least in their homes, it's more of a criminal deterrent," said Bill Moos, a local taxidermist in the small town of Bryan, near College Station. Moos, who owns more than 30 guns, can be spotted any given morning, prowling his roughly 40-acre (16-hectare) ranch with his dogs and a shotgun slung over his shoulder.

He tells a story of standing in the post office one day and hearing about a suspect driving around, wanted by the police. He thought of the woman behind the counter near him.

"My first thought was, 'How are you going to protect yourself?' Does she have a gun, in case someone tries to rob her?" he said. "It's the first thing you think of: How are you going to defend yourself?"

On the television in the corner of his workshop, above a stuffed gray fox and a clutch of animal jawbones dangling on a ring like a set of keys, Obama is holding his first press conference since the Connecticut tragedy. He's promising to send Congress legislation tightening gun laws and urging them to reinstate a ban on military-style assault weapons, like the one used by Lanza.

Moos turns down the volume.

"I guess it's something you get used to," he said of guns. "That you grow up around, and you enjoy them, and you accept the fact that you can own. It's a privilege. It's a whole different way of life. I guess I don't need three pickups and a Corvette. But I have them."A BATTLE OF THE BANS IN KANSASPRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. - One of three northeastern Kansas communities being sued by the Libertarian Party over local bans on open carry of firearms is vowing to fight to keep its prohibition in place.

The government of the Johnson County community of Prairie Village said in a statement Monday it would "vigorously defend home rule authority and this challenge by a pro-gun organization to the city's ability to enact gun control measures within its borders," The Kansas City Star reported .

Officials of nearby Leawood and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., have not yet responded publicly to the lawsuits filed last week by the Libertarian Party of Kansas. The party is seeking injunctions to bar enforcement of the local bans.

Prairie Village city administrator Quinn Bennion said attorneys for the three governments have been in discussions for several weeks about defending their bans. He said the cities expected to be sued after receiving a letter from the Libertarian Party of Kansas stating that it would file lawsuits if they did not agree to lift their bans.

The lawsuit against Prairie Village alleges the city's codes conflict with state law and the Kansas Constitution. Libertarian Party officials noted a section of the Kansas Constitution which provides that a "person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose."

In a statement on Friday, party officials said they would continue to fight against bans of the open carry of firearms in Kansas cities "until all law-abiding citizens in Kansas have freedom from persecution to exercise their Second Amendment rights to bear arms by open carry."

The Johnson County community of Lenexa is the only other city in Kansas that bans open carry, according to Libertarian Party officials. But the city wasn't sued because, according to party officials, Lenexa officials recently said they would discuss the matter with the Libertarian Party.

-- The Associated Press


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