Last updated: July 29. 2014 10:40AM - 172 Views
By Jeremy Wallace

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According to the Texarkana Gazette: gun law shot down

Our nation’s capital is known for having strict gun control laws.

Before 2008, Washington residents could not even own a handgun. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

Now those in Washington can own a handgun, but only a model approved by the authorities and the gun must be licensed and registered with the police. Residents are not allowed to carry their weapon either concealed or in the open outside of their own homes.

Well, that was the law.

In a decision announced Saturday, a federal judge ruled the law requiring gun owners to keep their weapons at home violated the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

In his decision, U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. wrote that in light of recent court decisions — including the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that the ownership of firearms is an individual right not tied to service in a state militia — “there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional.”

Gun rights advocates cheered the decision, saying the ruling will make the streets of Washington safer for all residents.

A spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia — the agency that defended the ban in court — said officials were weighing the decision and may appeal.

We applaud Judge Scullin’s ruling. The Second Amendment clearly says the people have a right to both keep and bear arms.

Strict gun control laws such as those in Washington D.C. only serve to render decent citizens defenseless against armed criminals who don’t obey those laws anyway.

According to the Scottsbluff Star-Herald: death penalty: Arizona execution took two hours too long for critics, 25 years too long for victims.

Joseph Wood, an alcoholic and drug abuser, had a troubled relationship with his 29-year-old girlfriend, Debbie Dietz.

For five years Dietz had endured domestic violence at Wood’s hands. Finally, she broke up with him and obtained a protection order from a judge. Wood ignored it, walking into Dietz and Sons Auto Paint and Body Shop in Tucson, Arizona, where she worked with her father. Armed with a .38-caliber revolver, he killed Debbie’s father, Gene Dietz, with two shots to the chest.

He then went to another section of the shop where Debbie was desperately attempting to call for help. Wood grabbed her around the neck and shot her once in the stomach and once in the chest. Before the second shot, witnesses heard him tell her “I told you I was going to do it. I love you. I have to kill you,” and using a vulgar epithet to describe her.

After murdering his two victims, he then fled the building. When police arrived, Wood started shooting at them and was hit nine times by return fire. He survived; Debbie didn’t.

All that happened in 1989. Wood was convicted Feb. 25, 1991, and sentenced to death July 2, 1991.

If you’ve heard of him at all, it’s because he was just put to death in Arizona. His demise made headlines because it took nearly two hours for the drugs used in the execution to kill him. The national media has had a lot to say about that. To find out about how Gene and Debbie Dietz died, you have to do some digging. No report notes how long it took Gene or Debbie Dietz to expire.

During his decades in jail, Wood filed a series of appeals that were denied by the U.S. Supreme Court. Once an abuser of street drugs, Wood argued that he and the public have a right to know details about the state’s method of lethal injection, the qualifications of the executioner and who makes the drugs. Such demands have become a delaying tactic in death penalty cases.

Wood’s defense lawyer, Dale Baich, called Wood’s death a “horrifically botched execution” that should have taken 10 minutes. During the time it took Wood to die, a series of calls took place involving the governor’s office, prison director, lawyers and judges. One judge was concerned that monitoring equipment couldn’t reveal whether the inmate had brain function, and they talked about whether to try to save his life. Judges were notified of his death while they were still considering whether to stop it.

Although Wood was described as gasping for air, some witnesses said he appeared to be snoring. Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan dismissed the notion the execution was botched, calling it an “erroneous conclusion” and “pure conjecture.” He said IV lines in the inmate’s arms were “perfectly placed” and insisted that Wood felt no pain.

Anesthesiology experts say they’re not surprised that the combination of drugs took so long to kill Wood.

“This doesn’t actually sound like a botched execution. This actually sounds like a typical scenario if you used that drug combination,” said Karen Sibert, an anesthesiologist and associate professor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

But Wood’s was the third execution in recent months to rekindle the national debate over the death penalty. The apparent struggles of condemned murderers suggest to some that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment. They would like to see it join hanging, poison gas, electrocution and other methods of carrying out capital punishment that have been eventually abandoned in favor of other methods that seemed to be more humane — including lethal injection.

A member of Debbie Dietz’ family offered a few other alternatives.

“This man conducted a horrific murder and you guys are going, ‘let’s worry about the drugs,’” said Richard Brown, the brother-in-law of Debbie Dietz. “Why didn’t they give him a bullet? Why didn’t we give him Drano?”

The appropriate elapsed time for an execution is something for experts to debate. While some critics say two hours is an excessively long time, none of them seemed fazed by the fact that in the broader sense it took 25 years. If Americans are going to debate how long it takes for an execution to end, let’s also start talking about how shamefully long it takes for one to begin.

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