Feb 27, 2017
I don’t often talk about my local gun club on these pages, but in this case I’m seeking some advice. You, dear readers, often have ideas I didn’t think of, or know of products I haven’t come across. I have been the club’s secretary since, I think 2009 at this point, and now I am tasked with rethinking some of the club’s processes. Let me give you some background:
- For years our club was run by a small handful of dedicated people who did most of the work, including handling dues processing every year. This was a very manual, paper process.
- Those people have either died, been voted out of office, or stepped aside. The people coming in don’t have that kind of time to dedicate, so we’re going to be much more dependent on process and automation than we have in the past.
- I am now helping to devise a system for invoicing members via e-mail, allowing them to pay online with a card, and only doing paper invoicing for people who prefer that.
- Whatever new system I come up with needs to be usable by people with average computer skills for baby boomers. It’s OK if it takes mad skill to set up, but beyond that it mostly has to just work.
- We need a secure way to back up data. I was thinking maybe using an encrypted S3 bucket at Amazon. Off site storage at my house is another option, and wouldn’t cost anything except the cost of a machine and disk, but we’re trying to move away from the club’s processes depending on single people.
- We’ve long wanted to use a “members only” forum. I like Google Groups, but I don’t want to have to manage accounts on Google and on club systems.
At the center of this, our new Financial Secretary has chosen to manage his role using QuickBooks. I have managed to enter our membership information into it, but I’m disappointed by how bad some of Intuit’s user interface is. For instance, I can’t sort the customer list by member number. It sorts it alphabetically, rather than numerically. There doesn’t seem to be any good way to change this.
QuickBooks may be a good accounting tool, but it sucks as a way to manage members. I’ve been looking at this product, to possibly sync certain fields in QuickBooks with a MySQL database, using Access as a front end to MySQL. This way membership information can be managed in two places, and it also would offer a means to set up MySQL-backed OpenLDAP for use with Google Cloud Directory Sync so we could set up “members only” Google Groups. I want a single place to manage membership information, and have it automatically update in QuickBooks, LDAP, etc, without someone having to manually update this information in multiple places.
I’m curious if anyone has any experience with this. I know another area club uses Wild Apricot, but our Financial Secretary was worried its QuickBook integration was tedious. I am also a bit wary about cloud applications, both because of security issues, and because if it goes under, or they make a major feature change that we’re not prepared for, we could be stuck up a creek without a paddle. I’m OK with using Google Groups, since that’s not a core function. We could live without it a while. But dues invoicing and managing membership information is critical.
If anyone has done anything like this, or something similar, I’d be curious to hear whether you think my idea is sound, or maybe there’s a better way.
Feb 27, 2017
Really, for most Dem politicians, gun control is preening virtue signaling meant to make sure the right people know they support right kind of people values. For Dems in safe urban districts, this doesn’t come at much of a cost. But what the Democratic Party faces today is that it’s been reduced to those safe urban districts. In order to come back, it’s going to have to appeal to people in the suburbs and exurbs. This is how the Dems came back strong in 2006.
Salena Zito argues that women with guns are the next threat to the Democratic Party.
A very important nugget from the poll: Like every woman interviewed at the outdoor show, an overwhelming 80 percent of them support the goals and objectives of the NRA.
So they represent a large chunk of white, suburban, conservative, pro-Second Amendment women who didn’t particularly like Trump but couldn’t vote for Clinton. They kept their opinions to themselves at dinner parties and pulled the lever for Trump in the voting booth.
Croney said that definitely described her.
Remember the Hillary Clinton that ran ads against Barack Obama in Pennsylvania for being too anti-gun? Yeah, if that Hillary Clinton had run for President, maybe she’d be in the White House.
I keep telling Dem friends, “Look, Hillary was a uniquely awful candidate. How bad is Hillary Clinton? She lost to Donald Trump.” It’s often a tough pill to swallow, but it’s true. Hillary did literally nothing to have broad appeal. Her girl power campaign was alienating to men. That’s bad news when you need Black and Hispanic men to turn out for you in numbers that rival Barack Obama’s if you’re going to win.
Making gun control the centerpiece of her campaign only scared off voters who might have been open to her in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. That virtue signaling works for Dems in safe districts. It’s bad news in a nationwide race. Barack Obama ran both times downplaying his support for gun control. It was only after he didn’t have to face voters any longer that we saw his true colors on the issue.
Feb 26, 2017
I have to hand it to whoever thought this up. Seriously, this was brilliant. In this, the Era of Trump, this is the smartest bit of opposition activism I think I’ve seen so far. My hat is truly off to you.
For the people who fell for this: shame on you. Educate yourselves. They weren’t passing these flags off to ordinary people on the streets: they were passing them off to what are considered “core conservative activists.” And hey, you waved them with all the red white and blue passion we’d expect from people who only give a fuck about cheering their own team and not a damned thing beyond that.
The stakes are going up folks. If conservatives wants to be taken seriously, it’s time to start acting like that’s the case. Educate yourselves. If you took half the time and resources you spent cheerleading and tried to actually learn something, you might get somewhere.
Feb 24, 2017
Ted Cruz is predicting there will be a Supreme Court vacancy this summer. A lot of people are getting very optimistic about Second Amendment cases because we get to replace Scalia with Gorsuch. Even if Gorsuch turns out to be as solid on the Second Amendment as Scalia, that doesn’t get us anywhere. Recall that before Scalia stepped down, the Supreme Court still wasn’t taking gun cases, even when the lower courts were just as if not more blatant than the 4th Circuit Court of appeals was. We need to replace Ginsburg or Breyer if we’re going to get anywhere.
Interestingly, however, not too soon after Cruz made his prediction, Ginsburg told the BBC she’s not so sure how much steam she’s got left:
Asked how much longer she would stay in post, she said: “At my age you have to take it year by year. I know I’m OK. What will be next year?”
She added: “I’m hopeful however, because my most senior colleague the one who most recently retired, Justice John Paul Stevens, stepped down at age 90. So I have a way to go.”
I wouldn’t read too much into that, but that doesn’t sound like someone who’s intent on staying on the High Court until the bitter end.
Feb 23, 2017
I see it all the time: people who believe the Second Amendment is an obvious, self-enforcing unmovable rock of American law. If you spend any time talking to gun owners, you will run into this. The basic idea that judges could simply interpret it out of the constitution is such an anathema to many people like this, they will often refuse to accept that it could happen.
In that vein, the 4th Circuit sitting en banc, in a 10-4 ruling deciding the fate of Maryland “assault weapons ban” have held that weapons that are “most useful in military service” are simply categorically unprotected. Because almost all modern firearms have a military pedigree, this interpretation would allow nearly any firearm to be banned.
The ruling was 10-4. Just let that sink in. That’s not even close. We have had to convince four additional judges to prevail here. A lot of people have done analysis of the ruling already, like Charles C.W. Cooke and John Richardson. What I want to do is look at a breakdown of the judges:
- Judge King wrote the majority opinion, and was appointed by President Clinton.
- Chief Judge Roger Gregory joined the opinion. He was recess appointed by Bill Clinton, but George W. Bush put him on the bench permanently.
- Judge Harvey Wilkinson wrote a concurring opinion. He will never sit on the Supreme Court so long as there’s any life left in the National Rifle Association. He is a “conservative” judge, but one who hates gun rights. He was appointed by President Reagan.
- Judge Motz was appointed by President Clinton.
- Barbara Milano Keenan was appointed by President Obama.
- James A. Wynn was appointed by President Obama. He joined Judge Wilkinson’s opinion.
- Henry Franklin Floyd was appointed by President Obama.
- Stephanie Thacker was appointed by President Obama
- Pamela Harris was appointed by President Obama
Joined in Part
- Albert Diaz was appointed by President Obama. He only joined the 2nd Amendment and 14th Amendment portions of the decision.
- William Byrd Traxler was appointed by President Clinton, and wrote the dissenting opinion.
- Paul Niemeyer was appointed by President George H.W. Bush
- Dennis Shedd was appointed by President George W. Bush
- G. Steven Agee was appointed by President George W. Bush
Boy I sure am glad we taught the GOPe and those assholes McCain and Romney a lesson they won’t ever forget! Even if George W Bush and Reagan hadn’t flubbed a few nominations, we still would have lost because the 4th circuit Court of Appeals is absolutely stacked to the gills with Obama and Clinton nominees. You know the old adage that only the Republicans get court picks wrong?
Today the majority holds that the Government can take semiautomatic rifles away from law-abiding American citizens. In South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, the Government can now tell you that you cannot hunt with these rifles. The Government can tell you that you cannot shoot at targets with them. And, most importantly, the Government can tell you that you cannot use them to defend yourself and your family in your home. In concluding that the Second Amendment does not even apply, the majority has gone to greater lengths than any other court to eviscerate the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.
In addition, the majority holds that even if it is wrong when it says that the Second Amendment does not cover these commonplace rifles, Maryland can still lawfully forbid their purchase, even for self defense in one’s home-the core Second Amendment right. My friends do not believe this ruling impairs the rights citizens have under the Constitution to any significant degree. In my view, the burden imposed by the Maryland law is considerable and requires the application of strict scrutiny, as is customary when core values guaranteed by the Constitution are substantially affected. I recognize that after such a judicial review, the result could be that the Maryland law is constitutional. I make no predictions on that issue. I simply say that we are obligated by Supreme Court precedent and our own to treat incursions into our Second Amendment rights the same as we would restrictions on any other right guaranteed us by our Constitution.
Therefore I respectfully dissent.
Written by a Clinton Appointee. Sometimes they don’t get what they want out of a judge either.
Feb 22, 2017
For those of you who remember, Daniel Crowninshield set up a scheme whereby a person would purchase an 80% lower, then would pay him to use his CNC mills to finish it. The government argued that this amounting to manufacturing without a license. A novel theory, to be sure, but because they picked the right guy they never had to test out this novel theory in court.
Now, if you help people machine AR-15 lower receivers for profit, you can probably expect to spend some time in prison. Just a bit of general advice for people who might be tempted to try to walk the razors edge on violating or not violating the Gun Control Act: it probably will not look very good to a jury if you go by the alias “Dr. Death.” I mean, it’s a free country and all, but just sayin’. I’d also not advise not walking the razor on GCA while being a domestic violent misdemeanant, allegedly in possession of an unregistered machine gun. I’m sure that probably played into the decision to take the plea deal. Now the feds get to claim a scalp without having to test their novel theory of manufacturing without a license in court.
UPDATE: Along the same vein, attending open carry protests and making sure everyone knows who you are, and knows that you’er armed, when you have two felony raps is also not going to make things easy on your lawyer.
Feb 20, 2017
Tomorrow at Central Penn College in Summerdale, PA there will be a forum featuring David Keene, former NRA President, and Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFire PA. It runs from 7-8PM.
Keene has generally been a great spokesman for the issue. If anyone in the area wishes to attend, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. It’s a bit of a hike for me.
Feb 20, 2017
Moms Demand Action and Everytown (which is to say Bloomberg) are planning on flooding legislative sessions with activists. One wonders whether their “more than 100 volunteers” will once again be paid protesters, or whether they’ve found some real moms who care enough about the issue to give up a weekday. Florida has a very active session planned:
- Bill to legalize open carry in Florida. Open carry isn’t my thing, but I don’t see why it ought to be criminalized.
- Legalize carrying of firearms in non-sterile parts of Airports. If someone is intent on shooting up the place, they aren’t going to be deterred by a sign or a law on the books somewhere.
- Allow firearms to be carried on college campuses. College students are adults. I don’t think it’s ever made any sense to restrict permit holders from carrying on college campuses.
- Allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry guns at any legislative meeting, committee meeting, county or local government meeting. Local government meetings are a magnet for kooks and crazies, which is why I’d like to carry a gun if I go to one. Again, not going to deter anyone intending to shoot up the place.
- Legalize carrying firearms by permit holders in career centers? What the hell is a career center? This is a prohibition I’ve never heard of in any other state.
- Require that courthouses provide temporary storage for permit holders. This is already the law in Pennsylvania, so I don’t see why Florida shouldn’t join the fun.
- Expansion of stand-your-ground to place the burden on prosecutors to prove that there is no viable self-defense claim. This is what they’ll fight tooth and nail.
- Ballot measure on eliminating the 72-hour waiting period for LEOs to buy personal handguns. I’d vote “no” on this. I don’t see why they shouldn’t have to follow the same rules as the peasantry.
That’s pretty ambitious, but Marion Hammer is a force of nature, unlike Shannon Watts, and the Demanding Moms, who are a force of Bloomberg. I know which one I’d be more scared of if I were a Florida legislator.
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.