July 2005

Downrange: 07/05

The 2nd Guarantees The 1st
In a mid-May interview, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the constitutional right of Americans to own guns is as important as their rights to free speech and religion.

In an interview on CNN’s ‘’Larry King Live,’’ Rice said she came to that view from personal experience. She said her father, a black minister, and his friends armed themselves to defend the black community in Birmingham against the White Knight Riders in 1962 and 1963. She said if local authorities had had lists of registered weapons, she did not think her father and other blacks would have been able to defend themselves.

‘’I also don’t think we get to pick and choose from the Constitution,’’ she said in the interview. ‘’The Second Amendment is as important as the First Amendment.’’

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In May, a bill allowing more law-abiding Minnesotans to legally carry a handgun easily passed the House and was expected to be signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The Republican-controlled House voted 86-47 to reinstate a conceal-carry law, which has been overturned by the courts. The 2003 law allowed adults with a clean record, no mental illness and proper training to get a permit to carry a gun.

After the courts struck down the law, citing the procedure by which it was passed, the state reverted to a more restrictive system where sheriffs and police chiefs had more authority to refuse a permit application.

More than 25,000 people got five-year handgun permits after the 2003 law took effect in May of that year and before it was suspended by a judge in July 2004.

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Also, the Texas Senate has given final approval to HB 685, which exempts military personnel with recent handgun training from the range instruction portion of the Concealed Handgun License (CHL) course. Also this week, the Senate approved HB 225, which lengthened the time a carry license is valid from four to five years. The House also considered HB 318, which allows residents from any other state to apply for a Texas CHL and expands the number of states that would be eligible for reciprocal agreements with Texas.

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In Tennessee, SJR 44, a bill that would amend the State Constitution providing citizens with the “Right to Hunt and Fish,” was reworked to include an amendment that protects against politically motivated bans on the hunting of certain species, such as bear and dove, or bans on the use of certain implements or methods, such as archery equipment. This was important because the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has contended that it should be allowed to prohibit certain types of hunting for political, not biological, reasons.


-Todd Woodard