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Cornered Cat's Newsletter Is ...

The Cat's Meow

by Kathy Jackson

  We're Winning The Battle!  

Hi There!

There's so much going on with Cornered Cat that I scarcely know where to begin. But let me start by telling you about a trip I recently took. It was a tough trip for me, because it involved traveling to one of the most anti-gun jurisdictions in the entire nation: the city of Chicago. Illinois is the last state in the union that has absolutely no provision for concealed carry whatsoever (not even the false promise of a "may issue" law with impossible requirements, but a plain and simple "thou shalt not" law). Chicago itself has been the scene of several recent court battles over the simple right to own a handgun within the city, and it's entirely illegal for an outsider like me to bring one into town. Since I strongly dislike traveling without my self defense firearm, deciding to go was a tough call. But I'm glad I did. Here's what happened...

Cornered Cat Speaks at the GRPC

Last week at this time, I was on my way to the Second Amendment Foundation's Gun Rights Policy Conference. This was the 26th annual GRPC, which brings together firearms owners from all over the country to discuss ways to promote and expand recognition of basic human rights as they relate to firearms ownership. I was honored to be able to speak briefly at the conference, on a panel that included author Chris Bird and legal expert Massad Ayoob. Chris spoke before I did, and he gave a great speech! Among other things, he talked about the tremendous numbers of people getting their concealed carry permits over the past few years. This was a wonderful setup for my own talk. Here's what I said:

Does anyone here remember 1986? Let me refresh your memory a little. That was the year I graduated from high school. [Brilliant... I just told 800 people exactly how old I am! Eeep!] The girls all had huge, poofy hair, and they wore massive amounts of blue eye shadow. Remember that? Aerobics were a really big thing, so you would actually see people walking around at the mall wearing neon colored tights and legwarmers. The girls also wore big, huge oversized sweaters with these giant shoulder pads. It was a very ugly time in America.

A lot has changed since 1986. In 1986, only eight states recognized the right to concealed carry. Only eight. In 2011, 37 states have shall issue laws. Forty-nine of the 50 states recognize some form of carry for ordinary citizens. We are standing on the last ground that has not yet recognized that basic human right to self defense outside the home. We're here! This is it. A lot has changed since 1986.

I can't talk about the legislative or political agendas. I think it's safe to say that the Second Amendment Foundation has the lawsuit and litigation strategy well sewn up. I'm not going to talk about the aftermath of self defense or the way that works out in the court system after you've protected yourself. I think Massad Ayoob is the master at that and he's going to have something to say about that.

What I want to talk about is what we, as ordinary people, can do to support and encourage the right to self defense. There are states where the law requires prospective concealed carry people to take classes that are designed by the state. These classes take time and they cost money. There are states where you can go down, pay a fee, give them your fingerprints and they'll give you a permit right there. You get the permit just for paying a fee and passing that background check. And there are a few states where we have Constitutional carry, where you can just decide, "Okay I'm a responsible person, so I'm going to carry a firearm to protect myself." More and more, we're seeing those laws loosen up. There are huge numbers of people coming into the self defense movement who have decided, "I'm going to have a firearm and I'm going to use it to protect myself if I need to in the absolute worst case."

When we talk about those people coming in, I think there are two things that we can be doing. The first thing is, I believe we should support legislative and political efforts to expand the recognition of the right to self defense. This is a basic human right! The Second Amendment belongs to all of us, every single one of us. It belongs to rich people and it belongs to poor people. It belongs to people in the country and it belongs to people in the city. I don't care if you're a Republican or a Democrat, if you consider yourself liberal or conservative or libertarian. It doesn't matter! It belongs to all of us. This is a basic human right. So we need to be expanding that recognition of that right. We need to fight against any -- any! -- attempt to limit the right to only the people who can afford the extra bureaucratic fees. We need to limit attempts to make it cost more to own firearms, to make it cost more to carry firearms.

Tough restrictions on the right to carry do not cause hardships for the well to do. But they are a deal killer for people with limited resources. For their sake, we need to fight against any law that makes it harder for people to exercise the basic human right to self defense.

At the same time, I believe we also need to be building a culture within the gun culture that says it is just simple common sense that of course if you want to carry a deadly weapon, of course you're going to get training! Of course you're going to learn how to use it safely and use it well. I think if a friend comes to you and says, "I'm thinking about getting a carry permit," your instinctive, automatic response should be, "That's wonderful! Where are you going to get your training?" I think that if you know someone who has limited resources who wants to have a firearm for self defense, for personal protection, I think you should say to them, "That's great. Here, let me loan you this book. Let me show you this DVD that I have. Let me take you out to the range and work with you on these things that I learned in my last firearms training class."

I think that the pressure of a social force like that is far, far more powerful than the pressure from a dead law.[Sigh... I forgot to add my summary sentence when I spoke. But here it is: So we need to fight against laws that restrict the right to carry, and we need to encourage ourselves and others to get trained whenever and wherever we can afford training -- not because there's a law forcing us to do it, but because it is the right thing to do.]

I wanted to close by thanking Rhonda Ezell. Rhonda, your lawsuit produced my favorite legal quote of all time. This is from the court case in the 7th Circuit, and it says, "The right to possess firearms for protection implies a corresponding right to acquire and maintain proficiency in their use. The core right wouldn't mean much without the training and practice that make it effective." This is awesome! We have a court ruling that says you need to get out to the range, and you need to take your friends, and you need to practice, and you need to train.

If you can support the work of the Second Amendment Foundation as it moves forward with court cases such as the successful Heller and McDonald cases, you would be doing a good thing. Putting my money where my mouth is, today I signed up for a life membership in that worthy organization. Because I meant what I said: the 2nd Amendment belongs to all of us, and these folks have worked tirelessly to make that right a recognized reality in the lives of people who live in some very restrictive places. Thank God for them and their hard work.

Quote of the Day

"The encouraging thing is that every time you meet a situation, though you may think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it you find that forever after you are freer than you ever were before. If you can live through that you can live through anything. You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.

"You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'

"The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. If you fail anywhere along the line it will take away your confidence. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do." -- Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn By Living (1960) pp 29-30

Did you know...?

Bullets come in different weights, measured in grains. The higher the grain (gr.) number, the heavier the bullet. There are 7000 grains to a pound, so a 115-gr. 9mm bullet weighs just a small fraction of a pound -- 0.016428571429th of a pound, to be precise. That's a little heavier than a stack of three dimes.

Cornered Cat Classes

Remember to swing by the website page at for a list of upcoming classes. If you'd like to help organize a class in your area, please drop me a note via email (pax at Cornered Cat dot com) so we can discuss details.

Stay Safe,


PS We had a little technical issue with new subscriptions earlier this week, but I believe the situation is cleared up now. Since you're reading this, it probably didn't affect you anyway. But if you had to visit the website to catch the newsletter, and would rather receive it in your email box, please go ahead and sign up. I promise we won't ignore you anymore!

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February 14, 2014—Cornered Cat Valentine's Day Sale

February 29, 2012—Shooting Practice -- In Your Home?

February 17, 2012—Women Making a Difference

January 14, 2012—Preparing For 2012

December 19, 2011—What Do YOU Carry?

November 3, 2011—Best Gun for a Beginner

October 27, 2011—The Elephant In the Room

October 13, 2011—Blame the Victim

October 5, 2011—Life is a Daring Adventure

September 29, 2011—We're Winning The Battle!

September 15, 2011—6 Must-read books

September 7, 2011—Protecting Yourself IS Protecting Your Family

August 31, 2011—Purse Tactics

August 15, 2011—The Cat's Meow