October 2003

Downrange: 10/03

LAST CHANCE TO MAKE RESERVATIONS. Activists from around the country will converge on Houston for the 18th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference September 26 through 28 at the George Bush International Airport Marriot Hotel. Grassroots activists compare notes on the gun rights movement in their local communities and learn about the future of the national movement to secure our freedoms. Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation urged activists to: “be there to celebrate the major victories we’ve had in extending the right to carry. The people of Colorado, New Mexico, Michigan, and Minnesota are safer now that their fundamental right to self-defense is affirmed in their legal system.”


STEEL CHALLENGE RESULTS. Todd Jarrett captured the Limited Gun world championship at the Steel Challenge, the Super Bowl of handgun competition. There are numerous categories of shooting at the event to accommodate various competition disciplines, but the two most closely watched categories are Limited, for iron-sighted guns, and Open, where anything goes and the fastest time will emerge. Most of the best- known shooters compete in both Limited and Open categories. Jarrett edged Rob Leatham, twice overall winner of the Challenge, and revolver master Jerry Miculek as the three struggled to come up with four consistent runs on the seven courses of steel. The task was made more difficult by shifting lighting conditions, varying between harsh, washed-out full sun and a flat light under cloud cover.


MIAMI HERALD IN SUPPORT OF S. 659. The Herald, Miami’s Knight-Ridder newspaper, not known for supporting gun rights legislation, recently carried a piece from Opinion Page Editor James Werrell supporting passage of S. 659, which would limit gun industry liability for criminal misuse of guns. He wrote, “Are we to assume that a gun dealer is accountable in some way if, through a legal transaction, a customer buys a gun and uses it to rob a bank or to shoot his wife? As noted, what happens to personal responsibility? The seller merely provides the gun (or the ax, the knife, the car, the rope) that the customer then uses in a legal and responsible manner or, perhaps, to do harm to someone else. In either case, it’s up to the customer to decide.”


NATIONAL CRIME RATE DROPS. The Justice Department has reported that violent and property crimes dipped in 2002 to the lowest levels since records were first compiled 30 years ago, and dropped more than 50 percent in the last ten years. The annual survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics identified about 23 million crime victims last year, far below the 44 million recorded when studies began in 1973. In the past twenty years, more than half the states have relaxed prohibitions on lawful carry of concealed firearms by honest citizens who qualify for permits with additional training and background checks or otherwise are legally carrying firearms for self-protection.

-Todd Woodard