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Gunning for your rights

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Mental midgets of the tallest order (aka gun grabbers) are reaching new lows in their campaign against legal firearms:

• Legislation in at least a half-a-dozen states (including Pennsylvania) would require gun owners to buy liability insurance. That is, government would make gun ownership, a constitutional right, contingent upon your ability to pay an insurance premium. What's next, mandatory, government-ordered insurance for church attendance, speaking in public, posting on the Internet or tweeting, publishing anything, peaceably assembling and petitioning the government to redress one's grievances?

• The Pennsylvania legislation — House Bill 521, introduced on Feb. 5 — would require a $1 million liability policy as a condition of being given a concealed carry permit. And it would allow police to roust any gun carrier at any time to produce proof of insurance — and not merely if you're carrying on your person but, by extension, if you're transporting it in your vehicle. Sans proof of insurance, the government would be allowed to confiscate your guns. Not only is this a Second Amendment nose-thumbing, it violates the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.

• The ignorami argue that such provisions are no different than requiring automobile or homeowners insurance, never mind that operating a motor vehicle and home ownership are not constitutional rights. They also argue that even the National Rifle Association offers gun liability insurance and more than a few people carry gun insurance of their own volition. Indeed it does and some do — but it's voluntary.

• Wonder how many criminals with hot guns will call State Farm?

• Not to be outdone, Democrats in the Washington state Senate thrice since 2009 have introduced bills that would allow annual warrantless searches of homes containing what the state deems to be “assault weapons” and to make sure they are “secured” the way the state deems, too. The latest version was introduced this month. But public outcry forced the offending provision's withdrawal. Federal and state constitutions are dead letters to Evergreen State “progressives.”

• Adding ignorance to buffoonery, Vice President Joe Biden says a shotgun is more accurate and easier to handle than an AR-15. And, by golly, the veep says he's instructed wife Jill to counter any “problem” at the heavily fortified, Secret Service-guarded veep conclave with two blasts from the family's double-barreled shotgun.“You don't need an AR-15,” he said. “It's harder to aim, it's harder to use and, in fact, you don't need 30 rounds to protect yourself.”

Obviously, Mr. Biden has never fired the .22-caliber AR-15 semiautomatic. Had he, he'd know it is indeed more accurate, far easier to handle and would not knock Mrs. Veep on her behind the way a shotgun would. And Joe Biden calls himself a Pennsylvania native.

• And finally, Garry McCarthy, the superintendent of police in Chicago — the nation's poster city for proving that more gun laws don't lead to reduced gun crime — says the Second Amendment limits citizens to owning only smooth-bore muskets. By that standard, the First Amendment limits printing presses to those of manual operation capable of printing only one side of one sheet at a time — and would offer no protection to Mr. McCarthy's ignorant assessment, spoken on Chicago's WLS-AM radio.

Colin McNickle is Trib Total Media's director of editorial pages (412-320-7836 or

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