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The Senate Math for CCW in 2017

It’s not looking probable; we would need a miracle. Here’s the breakdown

Starting with the 2013 vote (57 Ayes to invoke cloture), I did up a spreadsheet of the likely vote results in 2017, based on current occupancy, the 2013 vote, and the Senators political stances on the issue.

I came out with maximum of 59 Aye votes (assuming Luther Strange gets to vote Aye or his replacement votes Aye).

The vote delta (because we had both gains and losses)

NH: -1 (Maggie Hassan replaced Kelly Ayotte)

IA: +1 (Joni Ernst replaced Tom Harkin)

SD: +1 (Mike Rounds replaced Tim Johnson)

WV: +1 (Shelley Moore replaced John Rockefeller)

However, what I don’t see is the 60th vote. I broke out the Nay votes who are in seats up in 2018 in states that voted for Trump

Bill Nelson is a hard NO
Claire McCaskill is a hard NO
Sherrod Brown is a hard NO
Bob Casey is a firm No
Tammy Baldwin is a hard NO

And, if anyone flips to be the 60th, I wouldn’t put it past some of the presumptive Ayes to flip to Nay to prevent it. Fix NICS is already being pulled out as a cover for voting Nay (and was used for that purpose in the House).

Now, maybe the GOP leadership knows something I don’t, or this really was a setup to burnish everybody’s 2A pro/con credentials. Whichever way that goes, if you want reciprocity this year, better start praying.

Should Have Cut a Deal When You Had a Chance

Prof. Adam Winkler is taking to the op-ed pages speaking out against H.R. 38, mostly because it lets people from California get an out of state license and carry in their home state. I’d note that previous versions did not have this feature, and were limited to non-residents and only to people with licenses. If gun control folks had cut a deal with us years ago, that’s the law they would have gotten. But they made us wait hoping things would get better for them. They bet wrong, so I have no sympathy. I have no sympathy for the argument that the law is unconstitutional:

The law is likely also unconstitutional. Congress has only limited powers, and the Supreme Court has expressly held Congress has little authority to regulate carrying guns on public streets.

The carry act has language seeking to work around this problem. It is limited to possessing or carrying a handgun that has traveled in interstate commerce. But this is a clear pretext, as nearly all guns travel in interstate commerce. Whether that pretextual hook will be enough for the courts we will have to see.

It’s enough to ban felons possessing firearms and to ban machine guns, isn’t it? Or does the “herpes theory” of the commerce clause only apply when we’re talking gun control, rather than civil rights protection. I’d give Prof. Winkler that there are potential Bourne issues with the 14th Amendment, but I don’t also see why Congress can’t enact this based either on Full Faith and Credit or its Militia powers. The contours of both have never really been all that extensively litigated. Even Bourne may not really be an issue, since it’s arguable that H.R. 38 compliments the right to carry, which was already assumed to exist in Heller. Additionally, H.R. 38 implements the kind of framework which is actually a more apt exercise of Congressional power than Judicial power. So are the Bourne issues really there? Bourne was meant to reinstate the Sherbert test, which SCOTUS decided to abandon. The RFRA specifically was targeted to overturn a Supreme Court decision. H.R. 38 does not do that. The Supreme Court recognized a right to carry in Heller, and applied it to the states under the 14th Amendment in McDonald. If one believes that the federal government has a role to play in civil rights protection, something that liberals used to strongly support, why should H.R. 38 be unconstitutional, rather than an appropriate exercise of Congress’ Section 5 powers of the 14th Amendment?

NRA Burns Florida Carry

I told people at NRA for a while they should do more to fight back against other gun groups who sabotage some of our best efforts when we try to argue not to let perfection be the enemy of good. It seems they are finally starting to do that:

Moms Demand Action should put Florida Carry’s representatives in red t-shirts and give them an award, because in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on 12/5/2017 Florida Carry sided with Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action – NOT Florida gun owners.

Ouch! I have to say, that’s brutal even by my standards. I can feel that burn all the way up here.

Post H.R. 38 Rant

I should be happy that HR 38 has passed the house, but I can’t muster a whole lot of excitement. We’ve done that before, and the Senate has always been the problem house. I’d like to think “We got this!,” but I know realistically we have a hard time getting 60 votes in the Senate. If FixNICS isn’t enough to give a handful of GOP Congressmen cover enough to vote in favor, how do we get to 60 votes in the Senate? Unless the filibuster rule changes, and at this point, I think it should, the Senate is a body that can confirm judges and pass budget bills, and that’s it. Maybe the FixNICS sweetener will get it 60 votes.

I got invited to participate in a Town Hall by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick last night, and we tried to get in a question about his vote on HR 38. It was interesting that he fielded two callers asking about the Bill, but neither of them knew he had just voted against it, or knew much about it. We made clear to staff queuing callers that we did know how he voted, but the clock ran out and we never got our question in. To the callers he did take, he stated he had issues with the bill, but supported it in concept. Of course, he never stated what those issues were, because he’s a worm. He even wormed his way out of saying whether he voted for or against it. Allowing your constituents to get arrested by the State of New Jersey for bearing arms is not supporting the Second Amendment, no matter how often you say you support it.

All three of them, Fitzpatrick, Meehan, and Costello, are scared to death of Bloomberg’s money, and the ads he could afford to run in this media market. None of this was a factor when the gun control movement was in dire financial straits. Bloomberg coming in with big money was all it took to undo years of progress we had made with lawmakers in this area. I had wondered why Bloomberg wasn’t running ads here, whereas he was in other swing or blue state GOP districts. Now I know; he had their votes in the bag already.

Costello was OK on the issue before Bloomberg brought his billions. Fitzpatrick’s seat has a had a history of anti-gun Republicans, and the Curt Weldon, who held Meehan’s seat for years, was always squishy too. So this isn’t new. But we’re going to need a lot more organization in the Southeast if we’re going to counter Bloomberg’s money. We’re going to need people to care, not take their rights for granted, and be willing to show up and be counted. That’s been the struggle. NRA seems to no longer be interested in real grassroots organization, and has instead started promoting a culture  that only serves to feed anger and outrage on issues unrelated to guns. How are we going to use all that anger? We have to do this ourselves.

Let us not just talk about Delaware Valley Republicans, who invented the anti-gun Republican, after all. I’d also like to talk about retiring Congressman Massey and Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert, who is spreading the same bullshit. You see, Rep. Massey never supported H.R. 38, if you talk to his constituents. But once it became apparent he’d have to post a vote on it, he started spouting a bunch of nonsense about the FixNICS component of it. So now he gets to go down as Paul Revere sounding the alarm against a boogeyman of his own creation while posting a vote against us. Representative Gohmert seems to have joined him in this.

And yet, a lot of our people are buying this posturing hook, line and sinker. They are politicians. They don’t like the bill. They don’t want to vote for the bill. But rather than coming out and just stating they don’t and have never supported federal civil rights enforcement, they invented a narrative that turn them into the heroes. Even GOA, run by the Pratt family, who I’ve suspected have strong reservations about federal civil rights enforcement, didn’t feel they had the juice to come out against H.R. 38, but they sure were willing to spout bullshit. Another person I’ve long suspected of opposing federal civil rights enforcement is Dudley Brown, and he did not defy expectations either. Do you know why Bloomberg and the anti-gunners were against combining the two bills? Because they feared it would get us the 60 votes we needed to actually pass National Reciprocity, which they know will be a disaster for them. FixNICS is the same kind of thing we’ve done a million times. What’s the old saying? You can lead a bureaucrat to water, but you can’t make him do his fucking job? Or something like that.

I get that GOA and NAGR hate NICS, and I don’t think it’s worth a whole lot either. But as long as it’s the law of the land, and for the foreseeable future it will be, we have an interest in seeing it function well and do what it’s supposed to do. If extra funding for NICS gets us the biggest civil rights victory since FOPA, I’m willing to make that trade.

H.R. 38 – National Reciprocity – Passes House

Here’s the vote tally. It is not too much of a surprise my worm of a RINO Congressman voted no. Maybe I’ll volunteer for Dean Malik in the primary. Malik may or may not have a chance, and it would throw that seat to the Democrats, but that’s probably what’s going to happen anyway. Both the Fitzpatricks have been awful on this issue, and awful in general.

I don’t expect them to be all “machine guns for everybody” in a district in the Philadelphia Suburbs, but this isn’t going to help the GOP pick up those working class voters they will need to stay in power in an area where, among educated people, Progressive Democrats are successfully creating a monoculture. This was not the issue to show “independence” on.

Oh well, we didn’t need their votes anyway. On to the Senate …

National Reciprocity Vote Today

As we await the House vote on National Reciprocity, of course we have to be our own worst enemies. Seen from Evan Nappen on the Book O’ Face:

GOA has always hated NICS. NO new prohibited persons are created here. Letting a prohibited person get a gun does not help the dealer OR the person. If you have outstanding parking tickets and a warrant is out for you — pay your tickets, and PRESTO, you are no longer a prohibited person. Fix NICS will help get National Reciprocity over the goal line in the Senate which is the toughest fight.

That’s what bugs me: the implication that this bill does something new. If you have an outstanding warrant, you’re already a prohibited person under the law. That’s been the case since 1968. It’s that “Are you a fugitive from justice?” question on the 4473. And Evan is exactly right: no one benefits from the system clearing people that shouldn’t clear.

There’s a big question of whether Brian Fitzpatrick will vote with us. He’s one of three PA GOP lawmakers who is not a cosponsor. A lot of people here know stories of people getting into trouble in New Jersey with guns, and Fitzpatrick’s district shares its border with New Jersey. I’d really like to not have to “sanitize” my car every time I have to cross over the river.

Yep: Nothing like having to quash “fake news” from our “friends” the day before a critical vote on a major piece of legislation.

Charges of “Whataboutism”: A Pet Peeve of Mine

I see this accusation a lot on social media. Some have collectively decided to rename “rooting out hypocrisy and naked partisanship” as “whataboutism.” When I first saw it, I thought it was weak. It was pointed out that it was a Soviet propaganda technique, but while the Soviets used it to cover up their much deeper sins, they weren’t always wrong about the flaws in our own society. This expert from the linked article strikes me as quite right:

If the intent of asking the “what about” question is indeed only to change the subject to protect a politician, then it’s exactly what critics contend, an effort to distract, deflect, or rationalize.

However, making a comparison is justifiable if it’s to flesh out the principles of a person silent about the conduct of a politician he likes while contending that hanging’s too good (figuratively speaking) for a politician he dislikes.

I’d like to think we can all agree that having perverts in public office is a Very Bad Thing. But many of the people saying that have covered for and defended perverts in public office for years, and have only now taken to rooting them out because they are becoming a political liability. Alabamans appear to be overlooking Roy Moore’s sins. Why wouldn’t they? Dems partisans are happy to sweep the Clinton’s and their allies aside now that they aren’t politically useful. But Al Franken? Hell no, not him. They need him.

I am not trying to argue that Roy’s just fine because Al’s a perv too. I think both of them are unfit to hold public office. In better times, we’d probably get some broad agreement there. But these are not better times, rather a time of political realignment. As a certain blogging law professor likes to say, “We have the worst political class ever!” And as we all go through this realignment, this cold civil war of sorts, we sure do.

How Philadelphia Plans to Shut down Convenience Stores that Sell Beer

If you’re Councilwoman Bass, you’ll put them out of business by making them easier to rob.

A controversial bill under consideration would require liquor stores to pull down the bulletproof glass they currently use to protect their clerks. After all, liquor stores are often prime targets for robbery. The glass keeps clerks safe, at least to some extent, and now it needs to come down.

These store owners tend to be Korean, so the accusation is being thrown around that the motivation for this is straight up racism. These business technically operate as restaurants. Convenience stores can’t sell alcoholic beverages in Pennsylvania, so what some stores do is to have a limited menu of items, apply for a liquor license as a restaurant, and then sell takeout, which restaurants are allowed to do.

I covered this issue some time ago, about the double standards at work here, and was very proud to have the current Mayor of Philadelphia tell me to go eff myself. You sell 7% ABV beers to white hipsters and no one cares. Do the same in minority neighborhoods and the world is coming to and end and we must stop it. Hard for me to agree there’s no racial issues at work here. I get the concern over social problems, but last I checked, dealing drugs, public intoxication, and public urination (all mentioned by Councilwoman Bass) were all crimes. Maybe address those issues, rather than targeting people who run the stores and ultimately their customers, many of whom probably just want a beer at the end of a hard day like we all do.

It is absolutely beyond the pale that this Councilwoman would see people get shot and stabbed. She should be ashamed for even proposing this. I would argue that armor are arms, and a bill like this should be properly found unconstitutional under the 2nd Amendment.

Movement on National Reciprocity

House Judiciary Committee approves HR38 by a 19-11 vote. Lately we’ve had some argument within the community about the powers National Reciprocity, and the power that is based on.

H.R.38 should be amended to (1) unhinge it from the constitutionally- antagonistic Commerce Clause doctrine, and (2) expressly provide statutory protection of the fundamental, individual rights under the Second Amendment made applicable to the States and local governments by the Fourteenth Amendment.

I’d note that H.R. 38 does not go into any detail about which federal power it’s based on, and frankly, it doesn’t have to. There’s not requirement that Congress enumerate what powers it’s using and it doesn’t always do this. Any and all arguments about this being within Congress’ enumerated powers can and will be made when this law is inevitably challenged in Court. There is more than one power that plausibly supports H.R. 38 and the Fourteenth Amendment is one of them.

But whether the constitutionalist in us all likes it or not, the most solid framework National Reciprocity rests on is the commerce clause. This shouldn’t be, but based on existing court precedent, it is. There are serious Bourne issues arguing the 14th Amendment. So here’s the question: do you want to win, or do you want to participate in a constitutional debating society? Note that the test cases for this are likely to involved good people risking many years in prison. I’m absolutely comfortable arguing anything that will prevent this from happening. My conscience will be clear, because if the Courts actually did their jobs, the Constitution would mean you can carry anywhere already. If I have to fight within the framework they created to achieve that, so be it.

Understand that the entire felon-in-possession statute, all of 18 USC 922(g), 922(o), rely on “that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.” The federal courts are going to be very reluctant to start rocking that apple cart. But yeah, we could be pure and only make the 14th Amendment argument. And the courts, which are going to be looking six ways from Sunday to invalidate National Reciprocity, especially in the hostile jurisdictions it’s likely to face challenge in, will just cite Bourne and be done with it. Off to jail with the unlucky bastard who ends up being the test case. Good luck with life on the inside while you await your appeal.

No, we make the commerce argument, along with anything else that could possibly uphold this. It might not please the constitutional debate society, but I’m tired of that shit. I want to win. I want our rights protected, and I don’t care if I have to work in whatever shitty framework the courts have laid out for me.

People Will Lose Their Gun Rights Over This

I’ve already largely stopped posting Facebook on my personal timeline. I still keep my account for my blog and club, and the occasional comment thrown around. But this makes me want to swear it off entirely.

This is software to save lives. Facebook’s new “proactive detection” artificial intelligence technology will scan all posts for patterns of suicidal thoughts, and when necessary send mental health resources to the user at risk or their friends, or contact local first-responders. By using AI to flag worrisome posts to human moderators instead of waiting for user reports, Facebook can decrease how long it takes to send help.

I can’t really tell you how much I loathe social media. I’d love to see these companies crash and burn. They are doing nothing to make our lives better. When I was growing up, I was promised my future would be all Mars bases and Flying Cars, and Facebook is what I get? OK, sure, I got the Star Trek PADD and communicators, but what do we use them for? That’s right. Cat videos.

You see, it’s not that I am now or have ever been suicidal. I’ve said before, that I will never be suicidal is something I can pretty much guarantee. I like existence too much. But I don’t trust this not to have a lot of false positives, and there are very real consequences to alerting the authorities that someone might be a danger to themselves or others; loss of gun rights being the primary issue for this blog.

In many states, even an observational trip to the loony bin will land you a state and federal prohibition. Pennsylvania is one of them. If you ever find yourself in a situation where first-responders show up concerned that the Facebook AI has determined you’re going off the deep end, make sure you go voluntarily. Make sure you tell everyone you deal with you’re there voluntarily. Because if they take you against your will, now you have much bigger issues if you own guns. Even if they let you go, if you haven’t made arrangements, if you arrive home to a safe full of guns, congratulations, you’ve just made yourself a felon in addition to having to endure contact with the state mental health system.

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