Feb 16, 2017
The en banc Superior Court, in Commonwealth v. Goslin, has ruled in favor of the defendant without dissent:
We disagree with the trial court’s conclusion that the language of Section 912(c) is vague.
Rather, we conclude that, in order to ascertain the meaning of Section 912(c), we need not look beyond its plain language. The plain meaning of Section 912(c) provides two separate defenses: possessing and using a weapon on school property “in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity” as well as possessing “for other lawful purpose.” (emphasis added, as Chief Counsel Prince specifically argued this exact construction and noted the different verbs utilized related to the different provisions)
The Court concludes:
Although we are concerned about individuals possessing weapons on school property, we are bound by the broad defense that the legislature has provided defendants in such cases.
Josh Prince is raising money for legal defenses, as the case is headed back to lower court for a re-trial. I wouldn’t exactly go carrying firearms on school grounds because of this ruling, but it seems pretty clear the legislature intended to supply a broad defense for people engaged in legal activity. We now have the second-highest court in the Commonwealth recognizing that.
UPDATE: More discussion here. It looks like the DA is dropping the charges rather than going through with a re-trial. Josh Prince also points out that this only creates an affirmative defense. The DA can still charge you.
Feb 16, 2017
A reader noted that the blurb about non-resident reciprocity ending in September has disappeared from the Delaware Attorney General’s web site. Does this mean it’s not happening? Let us hope so. Many of us in Pennsylvania have Utah and Florida licenses to be able to carry legally in Delaware.
Feb 15, 2017
Passed by 57 Yeas to 43 Nays. Fortunately there’s no filibuster for this kind of action, so a bare majority is all that was required. It’s worth looking at the no votes, and seeing what that may portend for National Reciprocity or the Hearing Protection Act, should it come before the Senate. The following Senators voted “no” from states that Trump won:
- Robert Casey (PA)
- Tammy Baldwin (WI)
- Claire McCaskill (MO)
- Gary Peters (MI)
- Debbie Stabenow (MI)
- Sherrod Brown (OH)
- Bill Nelson (FL)
Most of these folks are up in 2018. If we can avoid any “I am not a witch!” moments this election cycle, and not vote for the person Claire McCaskill spends $2 million campaigning for in the Missouri GOP primary, we might have a shot at flipping some of these.
Feb 15, 2017
Tabs are filling up, so it’s time to clear them.
Governor Malloy’s proposal to try to balance the state budget on the backs of Connecticut gun owners, and the poor trying to exercise their Constitutional rights, is getting some backlash. We may be able to beat him on this. Malloy is one of the most unpopular Governors in the country.
Bloomberg’s money is back in Colorado working against us.
How to talk to people on the other side: “From one such night in Dover, Del., two images stick: Tea Partiers arriving early for the forum, clutching pocket Constitutions in their hands – and those same folks lingering afterward in the parking lot, chatting away with the NPR types, fervent but friendly.” The Tea Party was mostly a bourgeois movement that the GOP elites either ignored or actively undermined. That’s a big part of what brought about the Trumpening.
Why liberals should back Neil Gorsuch.
Neil Gorsuch is OK by Dave Kopel.
Maryland is looking to end campus carry, for the small handful of people who can actually draw a Maryland carry permit. It’s still worth fighting, because eventually we may be able to fix the carry issue through the courts.
Bans guns on planes, period, because common sense. If there’s one thing I wish I could get across to gun owners: people only value the rights they themselves enjoy. Few people have an ideological commitment to liberty. So you have to bring people into the issue.
Analysis true: “The Long-Abused Commerce Clause Will Now Bullet-Proof Concealed Carry Reciprocity.” I don’t have an issue with this, because I don’t see why we shouldn’t use the tools the left gave us. The power is properly found in the 14th Amendment, but its easier for the courts to weasel around that if they want to. The current commerce clause is harder without risking other laws built upon that edifice.
Vox: Why disabilities rights activists like me sided with the NRA on an Obama gun control rule.
Remember, they say they want “common sense” gun laws, but then do this when someone tries to open a shooting range. “‘I never would have moved to Ramsey if I knew this gun club would be there,’ she said. ‘It’s a matter of public safety. It might also jeopardize my property value as well.'” They either hate you, fear you, or some combination of both. That’s what drives them. How do you negotiate with this? You can’t. You just have to destroy them politically.
I’ve been wondering for a while whether Wayne LaPierre was planning to retire from NRA in the next Administration. It would probably be best if he retired during a period of relative stability. He is 67. Same age as my dad who’s been retired for several years now. I have no knowledge of any plans in this regard, but I’m betting Wayne retires in the next four years.
Joan Peterson, Board Member of the Brady Campaign, laments fake news among pro-gun people. When it comes to fake news and alternative facts, you can trust her. She’s an expert.
I’ve actually suspected ATF has wanted relief from the backlog of silencer paperwork for a while, but the previous Administration wouldn’t let them go there. I’m actually thinking repealing part of the NFA is within reach. I never would have believed that a decade ago. Hughes Amendment in 10 years? Who knows!
Feb 15, 2017
Back when there was such a thing as a pro-gun Democrat, Delaware Governor Ruth Anne Minner signed a bill that granted the Attorney General of Delaware the power to enter into reciprocity agreements. Now it would seem those agreements are being modified, with Delaware to cease recognition of all non-resident licenses as of September 2017. This means that Pennsylvanians will no longer be allowed to carry in Delaware on a Florida or Utah license, as we can do now under the current reciprocity regime in the First State.
This is raising the stakes for getting National Reciprocity done sooner rather than later.
Feb 14, 2017
I warned people that Bloomberg’s ballot initiatives would blow the door open to more gun control and risk turning the state, and I’m sorry to see that is actually happening:
House Bill 1387 would impose an annual registration and licensing system on the most popular and commonly owned semi-automatic firearms sold today by classifying them as “assault weapons.” In addition, it would prohibit the sale and transfer of standard capacity ammunition magazines labeling them as “large-capacity magazines.” The transfer and sale of these firearms and magazines would be prohibited to anyone other than a federally licensed firearms dealer, a gunsmith or to law enforcement for destruction.
You can bet that if the legislature doesn’t pass these, and make no mistake, you should call and make sure they don’t, Bloomberg is going to spend big to get this on the ballot. Don’t let it happen: this is a precursor to confiscation. That’s not a hyperbole, it’s happened both in California and New York City, where registration lists were used to confiscate firearms later made illegal or reclassified as illegal. If you want to keep your guns, you have to stop this.
Feb 13, 2017
In the Washington Post, from Jeffrey Swanson, a Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine:
The gun restriction rule is a well-meaning policy that gets some things right, notably its support of federal efforts to improve detection of risky people who should not have legal access to guns. But despite its good intentions, what the policy actually does is take away the gun rights of a large category of individuals without any evidence that they pose a risk of harm to self or others, and without legal due process protections commensurate with abridging a constitutional right.
As I’ve said, Bitter’s late grandfather had a designated payee, because he could not manage the finances of his farm properties in his old age. But there was no safety issue at all with him possessing firearms. He just could not handle money.
It is unfortunate that Republican lawmakers are using a rather heavy-handed regulatory tool — the Congressional Review Act — to repeal the gun restriction rule, rather than modifying it to reflect what the evidence tells us about mentally ill persons and violence risk.
I believe we have a bill that intends to do just that. It was introduced in the last Congress by Senator Cornyn, and opposed by Bloomberg’s group. Despite the rhetoric of the opposition, common sense is nowhere to be found.
Feb 13, 2017
Gun news is pretty thin, so forgive an off topic post. I might have a news roundup this week, hopefully! These days I’m more worried that the country is literally coming apart in front of my eyes.
Maybe I have it bad because this area is kind of the front lines between Red and Blue America. We’re where Blue America starts to stop, with Red America starting out in the Western Exurbs. This week I have started to manicure my Facebook News Feed to cut out people who post non-stop political bullshit. It’s not just Facebook either. Bitter quit a neighborhood group because it descended into political bickering. It’s infected a lot of other civic institutions we’re involved with lately as well. It makes you wonder if this is what it was like to live in 1850.
But the coming apart back then was at least over a real issue; slavery. Today we’re coming apart because people are frothed up about the bad guys in the movie playing in our own heads. I really don’t want to live in an echo chamber. I’m actually disappointed I’ve never gotten more than a small handful of gun control advocates engaging in the comments, and I still have gun control blogs in my feed. I’m always open to an argument on the merits of an issue.
What I’m not into is thinking people I don’t agree with are Hitler, Nazis, Fascist, Socialists, or Communists unless those people really are those things. When we use those to describe people we don’t agree with, we cheapen those terms. If everyone is a Nazi then no one is a Nazi. If everyone is a racist, then no one is a racist. Hate, actual hate, becomes meaningless. This behavior is removing our rhetorical tools for confronting people who actually are all those things. I’m not into arguing over whether the movie playing in your head is any good or not, or commiserating with you over how nasty the bad guys are. I’m kind of appalled you think any of your Social Media friends give a crap.
I certainly have anti-Trump people in my social media circles who are offering thoughtful opposition to the Administration. These folks I don’t mind. Trump will need some thoughtful opposition over the course of his presidency. But I see precious little of that versus patent nonsense.
UPDATE: Also see: “About That ‘Punching Nazis’ Thing…“
Feb 9, 2017
It’s kind of depressing the media has largely chosen to ignore our issue, and isn’t as much in the business anymore of running hysterical articles like this. Articles like this are why I got into blogging.
The guns are built from kits and arrive in pieces, so under existing law, when they’re shipped, they aren’t guns. When assembled by their buyers, they’re lethal – and legal.
Federal officials like Graham Barlowe, the resident agent in charge of the ATF’s Sacramento office, say the loophole is dangerous.
You can find a meme on the internet called “Everyone I Don’t Like is Hitler.” One could easily create a similar meme for the gun issue that goes, “Everything I Don’t Like is a Loophole.”
All the parts needed to assemble a gun were in the box when it arrived. It took Vasquez a couple of hours to assemble the weapon.
Did this include machining? Because if you failed to mention that he had to spend several hours machining the receiver, this is #FakeNews. From the article, you’d think he ordered a parts kit from the Internet, put it all together, and voilà, we have an functioning firearm. That would describe a felony if it were true.
Here’s some fast facts any journalist should know, that I think we can all agree on:
- Generally speaking, it’s legal and should be legal for gun owners to buy parts for firearms. Parts are unregulated.
- There is always one part of the gun that ATF considers The Gun, and that part is regulated as if it were a fully assembled firearm. Usually that part is the receiver (which if you’re a journalist reading this, is the part the rest of the parts of the gun attaches to).
- Chunks of metal are not regulated. Regulating chunks of metal because they could be turned into guns with the right machining would be stupid beyond belief.
- At some point, regulators decide that a part qualifies as a firearm if a certain amount of machining has been done to it. Usually a machined part that is about 80% complete, as arbitrarily determined by the regulator (ATF in this case), is considered a hunk of metal and is not considered a firearm. Where does life begin for a firearm?
- It is currently a felony to earn livelihood or profit from manufacturing firearms if you don’t have a license to manufacture firearms. The current interpretation of this that you can’t sell firearms you make for yourself.
- You could outlaw machining and assembling chunks of metal into functioning firearms, but that’s only going to deter people who are not doing it as part of a criminal enterprise, and if they aren’t doing it as part of a criminal enterprise, why the hell do you care?
What I’m getting at is, fine journalists, is where is the loophole? What law are you going to pass that won’t just be making something more illegal for criminals?
Feb 9, 2017
New Hampshire passed Constitutional Carry today. It still needs the signature of the Governor, but Governor Chris Sununu has expressed support for the bill. If you recall, Maggie Hassan vetoed the bill last year, but since she moved to the US Senate (replacing Kelly Ayotte) she left the governor’s seat open, which flipped from Dem to Republican.
Should Sununu follow up on his stated support and sign, New Hampshire will become the 12th state to pass Constitutional Carry legislation. I expect by the end of 2017 we’ll probably have a few more.