Once again our old world kept on a turning and the stars, sun and moon stayed in their places so here we go again. Each month in these pages, I try very hard to find and pass on information about your rights, legislation, and the wacky things that go on around us. Some months I find a lot to pass on and some months not so much. But there is always something going on that is worthy of note. So let get going.
Let’s start with this. We have all heard of things like ‘eco tourism’ and ‘eclipse tourism’ and the like. But how may have heard of ‘Gun Tourism”. Well, it is a new trend sweeping the world where people from countries where firearms are restricted can come here to lock and load. And it’s booming. In China, for example, Dickson Wong, a marksman with deep interests in firearms, arranges tours for groups of Chinese gun enthusiasts to travel to DeSoto County, Florida so they can shoot at firing ranges. That’s a long way to travel for target practice, but in China, target practice is exceedingly difficult to do because of restrictions on firearms and where even the possession of a firearm may land one in jail for years.
Wong has the closest thing to a gun shot in Beijing. It has camouflage gear, holsters, and T-shirts quoting the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. What’s missing are the arms, which are illegal to manufacture or sell in China for private use. Wong estimates that tens of thousands of wealthy Chinese travel to the U.S. every year to shoot, and he aims to capture some of the demand when he opens his own state-of-the-art gun club in 2019. He hopes to draw 5,000 Chinese tourists a year to his club with luxury accommodations and Chinese speaking instructors. A promotional video for the club highlights sumptuous steaks, open air firing ranges and a wide selection of guns to shoot.
Gun tourism is already a growing business in the United States because of less restrictive laws regulating firearms when compared with other countries. Honolulu attracts target shooters from Japan, which has stringent gun-control laws, and Las Vegas has many ranges available for domestic and foreign visitors.
Up until 1949, when the communists came to power in China, the country was awash in firearms due to the resistance to Japanese occupation in WWII and a protracted. civil war. After the communists came to power, some firearms were confiscated in urban areas but farmers to keep two rifles for hunting. Tighter controls enacted by the communist’s party were largely ignored until after the pro-democracy demonstrations at Tiananmen Square in 1989 were crushed. After that, tougher enforcement was undertaken and in 1996 the government formally banned citizens from owning guns. In 2008, the rules were widened to further to include restrictions on owning replica weapons. Possession of a firearm can carry a prison sentence of up to seven years.
China’s government defends its strict gun laws as needed to guarantee public safety. (How many times have we heard that from the anti-gun people here when the talk of ‘common sense gun controls’.) Critics say that the real reason is to prevent rebellions. There are no official figures for gun-related deaths in China, and the media only reported 25 last year. However, tens of thousand people in China every year are stabbed to death. As might be expected, even with China’s tight gun controls, criminals are using guns more and more, especially those in the drug trade in the south.
Han Weitian, 33, of Beijing visited Wong’s club in Florida last May. Pictures on social media show him firing an automatic rifle on an open range. “Chinese ranges fix their weapons to the bench,” he said. This felt free, like real shooting.”
Blast away ‘Gun Tourists’. Enjoy that sound of freedom.
Just a quick note here relating to guns in another dictatorial country, Venezuela. In Venezuela, only the military and what are called ‘citizen police’ can own guns. With the recent civil unrest there, the President (dictator) has quadrupled the ‘citizen police’ force from 100,000 to 400,000 armed individuals. These people have broad government authority to arrest and or shoot anyone who they feel is a threat to the government. And the average citizen has no way to defend themselves against them. Sure glad to be here.
Let’s come back from overseas and take a look quickly here. All over the country state legislatures are in session and continuing work on legislation which impacts gun rights. In Iowa, ‘Stand Your Ground’ could soon be coming. Lawmakers there, are considering legislation which would bring wider latitude for firearms self-defense. In Idaho, lawmakers are looking to help educate youth about guns and gun safety with a bill, if signed into law, that would encourage public high schools to offer gun safety education as an elective course. Also, in Idaho, the state House committee voted to pass a bill that would expand the eligibility for state concealed carry. In Georgia, “campus carry” is working its way through the state legislature Their House of Representatives has passed the bill and sent it on to the state’s Senate. In Wyoming, it looks as if Governor Matt Mead will sign a bill that allows local school districts the authority to allow possession of concealed guns on school property by district employees, including teachers and principals. And in Missouri, over twenty proposed bills dealing with guns, including safe storage, background checks, restrictions on sales of firearms, tax credits for firearm safety education, etc., are in process. And there is even one to establish a state firearm – in this case, the Smith & Wesson .44 revolver. In Washington State, a proposal by the state’s Attorney General to ban assault weapons, or to at least require owners to have a license and go through an invasive background check, died in committee even though the House of Representatives there is controlled by the proposer’s fellow Democrats. Here is Oregon, it would seem at this time most gun relation is dead except for the ‘gut an stuff’ provision of a gun bill which would allow for gun confiscation from people deemed to be a risk to themselves or others. Still waiting to see where that one goes and what safeguards on gun owning citizens rights are, or are not, included.
Lets’ depart with these.
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” George Orwell (This also applies to our rough women soldiers. God bless them all)
“Fate whispers to the warrior, “You cannot withstand the storm.” The warrior whispers back, “I am the storm.” Unknown
This is my shield. I bear it before me into battle, but it is not mine alone. It protects my brother on my left. It protects my city. I will never let my brother out of its shadow, nor my city out of its shelter. I will die with my shield before me facing the enemy. Spartan Creed.
Well, that is all for now. More maybe next month if the world keeps turning and the sun doesn’t get too close to the earth. Until then, shoot straight, keep em in the ten ring, be safe on the range, be vigilant and protective of your freedoms, and God bless the USA.