Archive for December 12th, 2012

4 Years Until North Korea Has ICBM That Can Reach Continental United States?

As if Iranian nuclear weapons weren’t already a worry for us (and more so Israel), now the North Koreans are one step closer to having an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental United States. Jack Kim and Mayumi Negishi reported on the Reuters website this morning:

North Korea successfully launched a rocket on Wednesday, boosting the credentials of its new leader and stepping up the threat the isolated and impoverished state poses to opponents.

The rocket, which North Korea says put a weather satellite into orbit, has been labeled by the United States, South Korea and Japan as a test of technology that could one day deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting targets as far away as the continental United States.

According to Kim and Negishi, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) verified the North Koreans’ claims.

And here’s something that’s particularly worrisome- if it’s true. From the article:

U.S. intelligence has linked North Korea with missile shipments to Iran. Newspapers in Japan and South Korea have reported that Iranian observers were in the North for the launch, something Iran has denied.

Great. Just great.

So what kind of timeframe are we talking about here before North Korea has an ICBM capable of reaching and hitting the continental U.S.?

Well, Elisabeth Bumiller and David Sanger reported on The New York Times website back on January 11, 2001:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warned Tuesday that North Korea was within five years of being able to strike the continental United States with an intercontinental ballistic missile, and said that, combined with its expanding nuclear program, the country “is becoming a direct threat to the United States.”

Mr. Gates is a former director of the C.I.A., and his statement, officials said, reflected both a new assessment by American intelligence officials and his own concern that Washington had consistently underestimated the pace at which the North was developing nuclear and missile technologies.

Considering that statement was made almost a year ago, it could be only 4 years before North Korea is able to hit the continental U.S. via a nuclear-armed missile.

From an AFP piece this morning:

“This launch certainly bolsters their credibility when they say that they have missiles that can strike the United States,” said James Schoff, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“It’s harder to wave that off after a successful test like this,” said Schoff, a former Pentagon official.

It looks to me that the United States is most likely looking at a nuclear-armed Iran and an ICBM-armed North Korea down the road.


Kim, Jack and Negishi, Mayumi. “North Korea launches rocket, raising nuclear arms stakes.” Reuters. 12 Dec. 2012. ( 12 Dec. 2012.

Bumiller, Elisabeth and Sanger, David E. “Gates Warns of North Korea Missile Threat to U.S.” The New York Times. 11 Jan. 2011. ( 12 Dec. 2012.

“North Korea rocket raises nuclear stakes, poses threat to US: Analysts.” Agence France-Presse. 12 Dec. 2012. ( 12 Dec. 2012.

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Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 Asia, Foreign Policy, Middle East, Public Safety, Technology 2 Comments

Federal Court Rules Illinois Concealed Carry Ban Unconstitutional

Concealed carry could soon be legal in every state of the Union. From the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action website Tuesday:

Federal Court Strikes down Illinois’ total ban on carrying firearms for self-defense outside the home or business

Fairfax, Va. – The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled today that Illinois’ total ban on carrying firearms for self-defense outside the home or business is unconstitutional. The case involves lead plaintiff Mary Shepard, an Illinois resident and a trained gun owner, who is licensed to carry a concealed handgun in both Utah and Florida. The National Rifle Association is funding this case. The Illinois State Rifle Association is a co-plaintiff in this case.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for all law abiding citizens in Illinois and gun owners throughout the country,” said Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of NRA. “The court recognized that the text and history of the Second Amendment guarantee individuals the right to carry firearms outside the home for self-defense and other lawful purposes. In light of this ruling, Mary Shepard and the people of Illinois will finally be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights.”

On September 28, 2009, while working as the treasurer of her church, Ms. Shepard and an 83-year-old co-worker were viciously attacked and beaten by a six-foot-three-inch, 245 pound man with a violent past and a criminal record. Ms. Shepard and her co-worker were lucky to survive, as each of them suffered major injuries to the head, neck and upper body. Ms. Shepard’s injuries required extensive surgeries and she continues physical therapy to this day attempting to recover from her injuries.

In today’s decision, Judge Richard Posner ruled that Illinois’ ban on carriage is unconstitutional. The Judge went on to say, “One doesn’t have to be a historian to realize that a right to keep and bear arms for personal self-defense in the eighteenth century could not rationally have been limited to the home…. Twenty-first century Illinois has no hostile Indians. But a Chicagoan is a good deal more likely to be attacked on a sidewalk than in his apartment on the 35th floor.”

“Today’s ruling is a major victory for law-abiding Illinoisans—and for everyone who understands that the Second Amendment protects the right both to keep arms, and to bear arms,” added Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “This ruling makes clear that Illinois cannot deny law-abiding residents the right to carry a firearm for self-defense outside the home. This is a step in the right direction for all gun owners. We know it probably won’t be the end of this case, and we’re ready to keep fighting until the courts fully protect the entire Second Amendment.”

View the entire ruling here.

(Editor’s note: Permission to reproduce the above material granted by the National Rifle Association, Institute for Legislative Action)

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Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 Firearms, Gun Rights, Legal, Self-Defense No Comments

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