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Staycation

Regularly scheduled blogging will resume after the Thanksgiving holiday, and I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. I am taking some time off from work and getting things done at my club that need to be done, like getting the place ready for a campus wide IP network that I’ve talked about here before. Planning has been finished for some time, and now it’s time for doing.

Additionally, the Democrats have taken over my Township this past election, and what is the first thing they aim to do? Spend my tax dollars lobbying for gun control on behalf of Mike Bloomberg. At the local level, they are preempted from actually passing ordinances regulating firearms, so I don’t really care what any Supervisor thinks on guns one way or another. But I sounded the alarm and got a handful of people to show up to the Supervisor’s meeting to deliver a message: fix the damned pot holes, and if you want to see gun control, give our State Rep a call on your own dime.

But it’s not all drudgery. I like new toys. My club just obtained a new Cub Cadet Challenger 500, and boy is it a fun machine to tool around in. The 2001 Kawasaki Mule 3010 it replaces was a more sedate and practical work horse, but for some tasks I really like the Cub better. The big thing the Mule has going for it is bench seats, which is easier to get in and out of. That’s important in a working vehicle. But the Cub gets around the property better, has a winch standard, and doesn’t have any divider between the bed and the cab, so you can actually fit 10 foot boards in it diagonally without having to shoot them into the air over the cab where you have to be wary of low hanging branches. It’s a one mile loop around the property, so I appreciate the Cub’s greater speed and nimbleness. That basically means less time wasted getting from point A to point B.

 

Good News: Having Your Serial Number Rusted Out Doesn’t Constitute a Violation

From Joshua Prince:

Yesterday, the Superior Court issued its decision in Commonwealth v. Ford, 196 ED 2016, in relation to whether natural corrosion (i.e. rust) over a firearm serial number constitutes a violation of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act for purposes of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

The case involved a prohibited person, who was caught with a firearm. They charged for that and because the serial number was obscured by corrosion. The defendant moved to suppress the firearm, under the grounds that the search was illegal. Police claimed “exigent circumstances” in entering the residence (in this case, someone screaming in the house), which the defendant contested.

The Superior Court ruled that the Court of Common Pleas was correct to deny the suppression of the handgun, ruling exigent circumstances existed for the warrantless entry into he home, but that the lower court was wrong to allow the charge of obliterated serial number when it was obliterated by the natural process of rust rather than an overt obliteration.

We were lucky here, because bad defendants make bad law. We’re fortunate, in this case, that we had judges that could look beyond that. This should give you an idea of the importance of judicial elections in Pennsylvania.

The Problem of the Northeast Gun Culture

At the risk of embarrassing one of my readers by elevating his comment to a post, I thought this was as succinct a statement about the issue as I can think of:

Most of the areas that still experience discomfort and lack of familiarity with firearms are the places that have basically banned them and driven off all the gun owners. In NY State (an example I’m personally familiar with), the city is basically a gun free zone with zero ownership, no ranges, no concealed carry, no stores, etc. Upstate has fudds who practice in their backyards and can’t understand why people need assault weapons to hunt deer (literal quote). These guys are all old as fuck and they aren’t leaving behind a generation or three of gun owners because all of their children left the state for greener pastures (me included). A lot of these states coincidentally have serious problems besides the gun issue, so I wouldn’t exactly beat a path back if they made my hobby legal again.

The only way to change those places is to override the legal barriers to the hobby (either though Congress or the federal court) so people can begin participating legally again. Without that, you’ll never get ranges, stores, clubs, etc. And without those things you don’t get voters that care about the issue.

If I had to boil it down to a single sentence: “These guys are all old as fuck and they aren’t leaving behind a generation or three of gun owners because all of their children left the state for greener pastures.”

My club is about 1/3rd New Jersey residents, and I’m noticing a sharp uptick in the number new applicants from the Garden State. I expect that will accelerate as things get worse for the remaining gun owners, and the few remaining places to shoot on the other side of the river are closed. The average age at my club is 64 years old, and we’re not getting younger. A lot of them have kids that have moved away. Granted, there’s young shooters out there in the area, but we’re still holding onto many vestiges of Gun Culture 1.0, and it is difficult to convince a bunch of old guys who have been doing things a certain way for years that they need to change. But there is a hook you can use: most of them express profound disappointment in the lack of young people in the shooting sports. The truth is that there are plenty of young people in the shooting sports, even in the ‘burbs of Philadelphia: they just aren’t shooting your shooting sports.

My club is a Silhouette club. That’s what we shoot. It’s been a dying sport for a while now. I shot it for a while, but I’ve largely stopped. Why? It’s extremely difficult. It takes years to become competent at it, and if you’re just kind of OK, it’s about as much fun as watching paint dry. I don’t regret trying it, and it taught me a lot about shooting. But the sports the kids are shooting are basically life size video games. Is it any wonder the traditional sports are dying?

Change is difficult, time consuming, and painful, but worth it. The great trick is making people comfortable with change. I’m a big fan of doing what we can to rescue what culture we have, and not losing places to shoot to generational rot.

We Have to Get Out From Under These Mass Shootings

Complaining that we shouldn’t be blamed and punished for the actions of mad men is all well and good, but one has to understand a few realities:

  1. Ruling classes, everywhere, universally, do not particularly care for the idea of those they imagine they rule being armed. This is deep seated, and the fundamental well from which gun control sentiment is drawn.
  2. Most people will favor any restriction on something if it wouldn’t affect them or their lives. People who would hew and haw and cry foul if you tried to ban alcohol, skydiving, or skiing, for the good of those who might get hurt by it or hurt others by it, will gladly turn around and agree that your hobby is beyond the pale and no right thinking person would ever engage in it. Especially if they are being fed that crap from the above group.

Mass shootings give the ruling classes the excuse to preen about showing the latter group how much they care… manipulating their emotional reaction to tragedy in order to bring them closer to their position. The actions of the former group forces us to circle the wagons out of self-preservation, which puts is at an inherent disadvantage in influencing Those Who Care Oh So Very Much to support us.

It will never look good defending your hobby in the face of dead children. Yes, I know that by the same logic, people who drink are more responsible for dead children than you or I are for enjoying firearms, but that doesn’t matter. Drunk driving deaths, domestic abuse, and alcohol poisonings are all statistics, not headlines. And most people drink. People will fight for what they enjoy, but aren’t going to fight for what you enjoy.

“But Sebastian, that’s why we make the self-defense argument,” I can hear people saying. Yes. It is. But understand that while that argument is a lot more effective, it also has limits. The self-defense argument will appeal to people who have the emotional disposition to accept it. You aren’t going to win the first group with that argument, who either live in ridiculously safe neighborhoods, or who can afford private security. They’ve never given self-defense a second thought. There are also members of the second group who will not be receptive to that message.

I’m afraid the Vegas shooting was the perfect kind of event to trigger subsequent whack jobs. I am a firm believer that media sensation is what drives these events. We know that mass shooters spend a lot of time planning attacks. They do not occur in a vacuum. The Vegas murderer (I won’t name his name, that’s what they want) set the standard for what would earn headlines. The whole thing was ready made for the next crazy asshole, which is why I think we’re seeing a rash of them now.

So what can the average gun owner do? Relieve ignorance. Breed familiarity. Understand the emotional state of the person you’re trying to reach. Don’t be this guy meme:

Invite people to shoot. Bring them to your clubs. Not a member of a local club? Join one. I don’t care if they are a bunch of Fuddy Duddy old codgers. You can’t change something from he outside, and we have to preserve those places to shoot for future generations. Familiarity is the immunization that will protect the second group from the first. We’re not going to win this by ‘sperging on the Internet (says the blogger). Get out there in the community and help build it.

Remember, No One Wants to Take Your Guns

This may be a bit of hate click trolling on the part of the Boston Globe, but here you do have a major newspaper calling for…. taking people’s guns.

The logic of gun control lies, at bottom, in substantially reducing the number of deadly weapons on the street — and confiscation is far and away the most effective approach. Is there any conceivable turn of events in our politics that could make confiscation happen? And what would a mass seizure look like?

You really don’t want to know what it would look like. They later go on to suggest that they’ll be kind to us and offer $500 per gun confiscated, instead of the $200 per gun offered by Australia.

Part of the problem is the sheer scale of the enterprise. An operation on par with the Australian buyback — claiming one-fifth of American guns — would mean tens of thousands of police officers collecting some 60 million guns. It is, on some level, simply unimaginable.

But perhaps gun-control advocates can propose something smaller — something more targeted.

Yes, it is unimaginable. So is the push back you will put in motion by passing this kind of policy. What scares me is, eventually, the Democrats will return to power. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. And if Democrats are still talking like this when they regain power, we are in for some very dark times.

The author goes on to suggest that California’s program of actively confiscating firearms of prohibited persons would be a model that would have stopped the Texas shooter. How? The feds didn’t have his record you ignorant prat. There isn’t some kind of voodoo the feds can use that will make a record in a filing cabinet on an air force base in New Mexico suddenly end up in the NCIC.

Ultimately, if gun-control advocates really want to stanch the blood, there’s no way around it: They’ll have to persuade more people of the need to confiscate millions of those firearms, as radical as that idea may now seem.

But yeah, I’m a paranoid conspiracy nut for thinking that people out there want to take my guns. I’m crazy for thinking that’s the goal. Outrageous for even suggesting that’s a serious proposal. Yeah, piss off.

Tough New Federal Gun Laws

Dave Kopel looks at the issue in The Hill, and notes, tongue in cheek:

In the spirit of these proposals, here are some ideas for tough federal gun laws — most of which should have been enacted years ago.

For people convicted of domestic violence, even a misdemeanor, how about a lifetime prohibition on firearms possession?

Further, a government license should be required for anyone who wants to manufacture, import, or sell firearms. The license should be mandatory not only for formal businesses, but also for individuals who make repetitive transactions for the purpose of profit. This would cover people at gun shows who put up signs declaring themselves to be “unlicensed dealers.” Anyone who engages in the firearms business without a federal license should be punished by up to five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Almost no one knows what our current gun laws are. But based on my social media feeds, that sure doesn’t stop everyone from thinking they are fucking experts.

Something to Watch for in Arguments

Robert Verbruggen has a great article in National Review that gets to a serious problem you will notice in research touted by anti-gun groups and people who really fucking love science. Let me quote:

We shouldn’t care about “gun murders” or “mass shootings”; we should care about murders in general and mass killings in general, regardless of how they’re accomplished. (Up to a point it’s essentially tautological to claim that more guns translates to more problems with guns, because a society with no guns by definition cannot have any problems with them.) As I’ve noted numerous times before, there is no simple, consistent correlation between gun ownership and murder or homicide rates in general, either among developed countries or among U.S. states. More sophisticated studies face a variety of serious methodological obstacles — I don’t find any of them that compelling — and have reached varying conclusions. The research on mass shootings in particular is in an even more primitive state.

There’s the old quote from Archie Bunker that comes to mind: “Would it make you feel any better, little girl, if they was pushed out of windiz.”

 

 

After Action Report in a Philly Ring County

Someone who knows I’m a registered Republican even though I’m more libertarian than they really like and not enough party cheerleader. But a local woman posted something about Bucks County GOP losses this morning that made me think there was room for some serious observations about things both large and small local and county candidates could have done to improve their odds in an opposition party wave year – a factor that was completely predictable.

Of course, I should have known better than to assume anyone was interested in talking about things they saw that worked well for candidates and missed opportunities for others. People would rather scream “SHAME!” than actually think about things they could help do for their candidates of choice in next year’s elections.

I guess I’m sharing an edited version here since I hope that someone might be willing to be inspired by some of these thoughts and ultimately make a positive impact for gun rights.

Locally, I don’t think most of the GOP candidates prepared to run in what is, historically, going to be a year that favors the opposite party. There were some small things I noticed that probably made a difference, and then some big concepts, too.

For most of the county-level offices, other than glossy mailers that immediately go into the recycling bin, all I ever saw were the generic blue signs that had lots of last names with no visible office listed. The offices were listed on the signs, but nearly impossible to read in much smaller print squeezed between 3-5 last names of various GOP candidates on plain blue backgrounds. Even the glossy mailers I got a look at as they fell into the trash all had many candidates for different offices so that they all blended together.

In a specific an example, for sheriff, I knew a guy named Milt Warrell was on the ticket because his signs were big, bold, clear, and not typical campaign colors. They were bright yellow and black. If it weren’t for the fact that I knew the GOP incumbent had a different name, then I would not have know Milt was a Democrat or anything else. But, unlike the GOP candidate, I knew he was running for sheriff. Milt’s visible campaigning just showed him being something different and that he was clearly running for that office.

I get that local campaigns don’t have major resources to spend, and that’s why they try to campaign together. However, it’s not acceptable to have literally no individual efforts. First of all, and this is pretty important in a purple-blue state for Republicans, you need to accommodate the ticket splitters. There have been times when I’ll take a sign for one candidate, but leave the others behind because I’m not on board with them. So why should the guy or gal I like miss out?

On the state level, Sallie Munday, a candidate for our state Supreme Court, clearly benefitted from split ticket voting given the spread she put up statewide. As much as I hate to admit it, I do think part of it was because she is a woman. (There were several races where GOP women beat Dem men by percentages that aren’t likely explained by much more than they won the women’s vote because they are women.) But I think the significant vote spread was also because she was willing to run very targeted social media ads that don’t cost a ridiculous amount of money. Even before I had my NRA orange mailer on her endorsed candidacy, I was getting ads for her on the issues I clearly follow on Facebook. I knew her name well before Election Day, before the NRA ever sent anything about her, and on issues I care about.

On a side note, what was up with NRA PVF having multiple statewide-endorsed candidates in Pennsylvania and then leaving them off of their website? We had to go through the effort to scan in the mailer to share with Sebastian’s gun club. It would have been easier to point to a public webpage like we could with New Jersey.

Back to the Pennsylvania state races… Christine Fizzano Cannon was also doing some ads, though not as targeted as Munday’s, but enough that I knew she was a ballot for something. However, her good move was to do several “alert” style ads starting around 11:00am on Election Day over the fact that Philadelphia purposefully printed her name incorrectly on about half of their voting machines. I don’t know if she ran those sponsored posts statewide, but every time I opened Facebook yesterday, I saw one here in a ring county. That plays very well into the narrative most suburbanites and “T” people have that Philly is corrupt. That’s hours of sending a message out there that will motivate many who may have been uninspired to make sure and hit the voting booth on the way home. Not to mention, the specific reason her name was chopped in Philly could have caused some split voting tickets because it’s something unique to women who don’t give up their maiden names, but also use their husband’s names. Philly decided not to recognize her “2nd” last name on half of their machines. That’s not something most men would face, and women know it. She beat out a Democratic woman, and I suspect that if we could get the timing of those votes cast for her, there was an uptick after she got the word out about Philly screwing her over.

There is one exception to the social media spending that didn’t win in a race I was watching closely, and that’s a local supervisor candidate. He started spending on Facebook ads right before the election, but they weren’t targeted (beyond location) and they were reproductions of those glossy mailers that go straight into trash. They didn’t tell me anything about him. It’s like someone told him to spend something online, but he didn’t know about any of the power to really target it. And since guns have come up as a local issue, he could have done something. I’m sure that’s true for a variety of other local issues that he didn’t really hit on.

I don’t think that online ad spending is the ticket to success, but I do think that individual campaigns that at least tried to talk about issues voters care about won out here over generic 3-5 candidate signs that barely fit the office names on there. It was expected to be an opposition party wave year, and they didn’t run like it at all here in Bucks County.

I also won’t ignore that Trump was a factor, even though federal races weren’t on the ticket here. But that isn’t a surprise since this is typically the result when one party takes the White House the previous year. One way to both run against what many find off-putting about Trump without actually running against him and his policies is to make yourself really likable. I see a huge missed opportunity with one relatively small office in Pennsylvania that could really spawn a lot of fun online ad themes, and that’s Prothonotary. I still can’t say it. I still don’t fully understand what they do (even though I believe some of it is genealogically-related), and I can assure you that other regular and irregular voters are in the same boat. Surely someone in a candidate’s circle of friends or family could help draft a series of funny videos around that theme. Run them online for not much money, and that could have been one more county office to hold onto just by running on a platform of being a likable person with a sense of humor.

There’s also the mobilization issue. How many GOP-leaning voters were put off by a lack of enthusiasm, a dislike of driving in dark and rain, and heavy rain? In an aging state like Pennsylvania, probably quite a few. Was there an effort to reach out to older voters who otherwise would have gone to vote? I don’t know. I know that some races were close enough that everything should be on the table as proposals to GOTV for the county GOP. I also know enough to know that they won’t do it here. Sad.

Don’t Forget to Vote

Especially Virginia and New Jersey readers. It’s the root of all our power. Vote like your gun rights depend on it, because they do.

Air Forced Failed to Report Killer to FBI

After discovering the Sutherland Spring mass killer’s conviction involved cracking his infant step son’s skull, definitely a prohibiting offense, I was wondering how this guy managed to legally buy a gun not once, but four times. Now it would seem we have our answer. You remember President Obama’s executive order after Sandy Hook that instructed all federal agencies to review what they can do to prevent gun violence? You remember the VA coming forward and reporting veterans en masse if they had a fiduciary guardian? I do. Do you remember the SSA almost doing the same thing until Congress put a stop to it after the change in Administration? I do. Yet reporting people who commit what is effectively felony battery to NICS is apparently something they can’t be bothered with.

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