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Pearl Harbor, 75 Years Later

Today marks 75 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor which brought this country into World War II. We were out in Hawaii two months ago and visited the Arizona memorial. All these years later, it’s still leaking oil:

Oil Slick: USS Arizona Memorial

This aircraft hangar on Ford Island, now part of the Pacific Aviation Museum, also bears the scars:

Hangar 79 Ford Island

It’s worth noting that not all the casualties of Pearl Harbor died December 7. Men were trapped for weeks on the Oklahoma, after it capsized. Inside the West Virginia, three men were stuck for 16 days inside an airtight storeroom until they expired. They knew this because they were crossing off days on a calendar.

USS Oklahoma Memorial

USS Oklahoma Memorial. There are not many veterans still alive today. The National Park Service, which administers the Arizona Memorial, has a program to return survivors to be laid to rest with their shipmates after they die. Today NPS is interring two survivors who have since died. One is a twin whose brother didn’t make it.

 

Future of the Gun Rights Movement Open Thread

I am swamped, and probably will be all week. So I don’t have as much time to post anything. One thing to talk about is the future of the Gun Rights Movement. Here’s some things that we have to look forward to:

  • We’ll almost certainly get National Reciprocity at some point. I think there’s probably a good chance we don’t get that until 2018, unless the NRA has found a few extra votes to get past 60 in the Senate.
  • If Trump lives up to his word on Supreme Court picks, nearly all of the people on the list he floated were acceptable from a Second Amendment point of view. My fear is that we’d need to replace one of the Heller dissenter with a solid pro-2A vote, because either Kennedy or Roberts is soft on the Second Amendment. To be honest, I don’t think it’s Kennedy, so I’m not certain Kennedy’s retirement would fix anything.
  • NRA did very very well with Barack Obama in the White House. Will they keep 5 million members? I know they’ll be claiming that number for a while, even if it drops back to 4 million. But will NRA have issues holding members?
  • I think we can get suppressors delisted from the National Firearms Act. Talk of repealing Hughes or delisting machine guns from NFA are fantasy land. The next step after suppressors would be SBRs and SBSs.
  • I’d like to see simple legislation that states may not restrict the sale or possession of any firearm, ammunition, magazines or other firearm accessory if possession of those items would generally be legal under federal law. That would end the era of state gun bans.

Head of Everytown: Throw the Book at Them

John Feinblatt is Bloomberg’s chosen leader for Everytown. He was a muckety muck in Bloomberg’s Administration as Mayor of New York City, and has been involved in Bloomberg’s gun control efforts since the beginning. He pens an article in the Daily News, which I will address point by point. The gist of the article is that NRA doesn’t really mean it when they say “enforce the laws we already have,” and so Feinblatt offers his own ideas on what that means:

For decades, though, NRA lobbyists have fought to suppress trace data, even using the federal budget to try to limit intelligence-sharing among law enforcement.

You might recall when that data was freely available before, it was used to target high-volume gun shops for lawsuits with the intent of putting them out of business. It is still available to law enforcement for bonafide investigations. It’s just not available to people like Bloomberg and the Brady Campaign, and they are butthurt about that.

To help catch more murderers and gun criminals, it can also advance an investigative tool called microstamping …

Yes, a tool so great even UC Davis had to admit it was bullshit. Additionally, both California and New York have both passed Microstamping laws, but have yet to issue any regulations about it. Why? Because it’s a bullshit issue and even the bureaucrats know it. I’m a bit disappointed in Mr. Feinblatt here. This is the kind of pie in the sky dreaming I’d expect from the Brady Campaign.

Good old-fashioned communication can boost enforcement, too. Felons broke the law and tried to buy a gun more than 40,000 times last year alone — yet they rarely face any consequences, beyond the gun store turning them away.

This is actually one area I disagree with the NRA on, and one area I’m pretty sure they are mostly sincere in wanting stronger enforcement. The reason most of those felons who tried to break the law aren’t prosecuted is that most of them are non-violent felons who are no threat to anyone. It would be a waste of public resources to prosecute and incarcerate them. If the prohibitions on felons was limited to violent felons, and was part of their conviction, I would have little issue with more rigorous enforcement.

We all know the reason prosecution rates for NICS denials are low, but no one wants to admit it: I’m not all that worried about the dude who gets a NICS denial because a decade ago he cheated on his taxes, and no one else is either. Yet any felony, including tax evasion, regulatory crimes like importing a lobster in the wrong bag, possessing a bald eagle feather, and having a bit too much pot on you will earn you a lifetime prohibition.

There’s actually no federal gun trafficking law, and “straw purchasing” a gun for a criminal is nothing more than a paperwork violation.

This is an outright lie, and it’s one repeated often by gun control advocates. Straw purchasing, that is buying a firearm for someone else, anyone else, is a federal felony with a 10 year prison sentence. Many states have analogue crimes with similarly harsh sentences. The exception is if you wanted to buy a gift for your wife or brother. But if someone gives you money to buy a firearm for them, and you do, that’s a straw purchase. It is also unlawful sell guns to people who are residents of another state without being a licensed dealer. Only Federal Firearms Licensees may ship firearms via common carrier (there are exceptions to this, like shipping a gun to an FFL for repair) out of their home state to a non-licensee. So there is a federal trafficking statute, even if it’s not explicitly called that.

The issue they have, when you really analyze their arguments in this area, is that it can sometimes be hard for the state to meet its burden in prosecuting federal gun law violations. Rather than viewing that as a feature, necessary to prevent ordinary people tangled in the web of non-violent federal crimes, gun controllers have always viewed the state’s burden as a bug, and consistently support weakening or eliminating due process when it comes to gun violations.

Levi Strauss Being Anti-Gun is Nothing New

Big news that hit yesterday is that Levi Strauss CEO doesn’t want firearms in their stores. I’ve gotten to the point, after Shannon Watts’ various shakedowns, I couldn’t care less what they say: if they don’t post against it doesn’t mean anything. But Levi Strauss has a history, and it’s a big reason I don’t buy their products, and haven’t for a number of years. I planned today to outline this in detail, but I noticed that Miguel beat me to it, so I don’t have to! That’s good. I’m working against two deadlines until Monday.

I buy my jeans from L.L. Bean. I love their flannel lined Double-L jeans for the winter. L.L. Bean’s owners are libertarians, so there isn’t an issue there. They are also located in Maine, and wouldn’t you rather help the economy of a state that told Bloomberg to go eff himself this past election, rather than help the economy of San Francisco?

More Culture Killing Gun Legislation in New Jersey

New Jersey is going to be so screwed when Christie leaves office, it’s not even funny. Dems are looking to impose onerous regulations on shooting ranges in New Jersey with the aim to prevent suicides. This is not about preventing suicides, it’s about destroying the gun culture in New Jersey.

Every gun owner would be required to present NJ firearms credentials to the owner or operator of a range before being allowed to use their own firearms on that range, every time they use the range. What if you’re from out of state?  Sorry.  What if the club doesn’t have staff to check credentials?  Too bad.

I won’t take a firearm into New Jersey, even legally. But I know people who compete over there. This will effectively end that if they don’t have a non-resident FID card (which is really a good idea to have if you’re going to be transporting firearms in New Jersey).

Shooting activity could only occur where staff exists to check credentials.  Unstaffed ranges would lose members (because members wouldn’t be allowed to shoot there), many clubs would be forced to close.

This would essentially close every club in New Jersey. It would make it impossible to bring new shooters into the sports, since they would essentially need to apply for and receive an FID card before they could even try it out. This would destroy the shooting culture in New Jersey, and that’s exactly what it’s intended to do. Suicide prevention is a ruse. Christie has shown a willingness to veto legislation like this, and will probably continue to do so as long as he’s in office, but it’s going to be hell to pay if Christie is replaced with an anti-gun Democrat.

Well, That Didn’t Take Long

Looks like the pendulum has swung back to having to argue, “No, burning the flag is speech protected by the First Amendment, and it ought to be.” Of course, no sooner are conservatives starting the flag burning debate again, some folks on the left acting like this is some kind of fringe, extremist position.

Nope. Hate to tell you, the American People like protecting speech they like, and don’t have issues restricting speech they don’t like. Actually, one could argue that the broad protections we have for First Amendment rights now are a product of elite opinion.

Record Black Friday for Guns

I’m starting to wonder if the gun sales were never really so much panic, but actually representative of a greater cultural shift on the issue. Dave Hardy has been saying that for a while. If we don’t see a significant drop in gun sales with the new Administration, there’s a good chance this is a broader cultural shift.

That would be a good thing, even if it’s people on the left stocking up in panic over Trump. This is a very American thing. It would also be good if that shift is the people who are becoming gun owners are doing more shooting, getting more training, and buying more guns. There are way more opportunities for this than when I first bought a gun 16 years ago. A lot more. My only regret for new shooters is that it’s a lot more expensive now than it was back then. I remember buying my first case of 1000 7.62x39mm non-corrosive for 89 bucks.

Weekly Gun News – Edition 51

Hopefully I have enough actual gun news to make this work. I thought we were going to have our first post-election mass shooting first, but it looks to be a dude plowed into students at Ohio State with a car and then began stabbing them. I am not eager to see Trump tested if we were to have another really awful mass shooting.

Rolling Stone: All-American Killer: How the AR-15 Became Mass Shooters’ Weapon of Choice. Actually, the handgun is the weapon of choice for mass shooters. Could have been written by Bloomberg’s people themselves, from the magazine that bought you rape hoaxes.

Tamara Keel: Building a Handgun Starter Kit.

Where has this guy been for the past two decades? “Not everyone who owns a gun is a fan of the NRA. Not everyone who doesn’t own a gun wants to stop others from having them. Now if we could only find a way to get those special-interest groups together for a nice argument.” We’ve been having that argument. Their side is losing it.

Glenn Reynolds in Florida Law Review: “Permissible Negligence and Campaigns to Suppress Rights.” He compares the PLCAA to New York Times v. Sullivan, a landmark Freedom of the Press case.

Pennsylvania Superior Court has vacated its previous decision on carry on Primary and Secondary School Campuses. The case will be reheard.

I thought Trump was going to do this? Troops in US can now carry.

Suddenly it’s minorities who are interested in purchasing guns. As I saw on the Internet: “Come for the panic. Stay for the freedom.”

Background Check Laws May Actually Interfere With Suicide Prevention Efforts. No kidding? We were saying that before Bloomberg start spending millions to get these passed via the ballot and deceptive advertising, but we were told to fuck off. I am really looking forward to carrying legally in New York City.

Andrew Branca: The Journal of American Medical Association disgraces itself by publishing a fatally flawed study of Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law.

More from NRA on that JAMA study.

Surrender by Saul Cornell? Cornell, if you remember, was one of the academics who tried to make the case that the Second Amendment was not an individual right.

This is why I don’t like those state laws nullifying federal gun laws. If lawmakers don’t intend to back up their nullification with the force that would be necessary (like jailing federal agents enforcing federal law), why bother? Some damned fool might actually believe your nonsense.

This is the silliest gun product I’ve seen for a while.

Katherine Timpf: “Believing Every Bad Thing About Trump Is as Harmful as Denying Every Bad Thing About Trump

 

Truth Getting Harder to Find These Days

I’ve been seeing the ongoing controversy over Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline, but this is one of those cases I feel like everyone involved, regardless of the “side” they are on, is lying to me. I’d imagine that, given the intersection of US Tribal Law, rights-of-way, easements, etc, it’s probably a lot more complicated, in which case no one outside of a handful of lawyers really understands the actual issues.

Part of the problem in the return to partisan media is that you can’t count on anyone to give an impartial account of the issue, even if it’s complicated. Sure, the old media had bias, but it was easier to see through that. It’s a lot harder when you’re dealing with media outlets that are willing to outright lie to you to advantage their preferred narrative.

I remember in the golden days of blogging, back when we were all hobbyists thinking we were fighting the man. By that time the media might have been the sick old man, but they were still the man. Well, the man is basically gone, and in those days we never thought all that hard about what would replace us.

Defecting Electors are the System Working

I’m pretty confident that despite a few electors making noises about switching their vote, that Donald Trump will still occupy the Oval Office by the end of January. But people on the left and right are going nuts over this. To the extent that electors are receiving threats, that’s beyond the pale, but I have no problem with trying to influence electors to switch their vote through peaceful means. I also don’t have issues with electors actually switching their vote. While it’s not a popular position today, I’m a huge proponent of the Electoral College, for the following reasons:

  • It gives a voice to smaller states that would otherwise be completely irrelevant in National Politics. And yes, I’m OK with rural people having outsized influence. Why? Because city folks don’t understand or care about rural folks, and without rural folks, city folks starve. I think protecting their interests from a dismissive and smug majority that doesn’t understand them is important.
  • It prevents variability in the election system from bringing the results into doubt. There was a lot of “selected, not elected” talk after Bush v. Gore in 2000, but there was never any legal doubt about Bush being a legitimate President because the Electoral College is the lawful body that elects the President. Likewise, a close popular vote count would be far more consequential, bring dozens of state electoral systems under the microscope.
  • The Electoral College is a final check against the people doing something extremely rash. Given the horrible choices in this election, I don’t feel too bad about a few electors going faithless. That lets me know the Electoral College might not actually rubber stamp a real Hitler or Mussolini. Hillary and Donald Trump were awful candidates, but I don’t believe either of them are potential dictators. I don’t think this election rises to the level of the Electoral College thwarting the will of the people, but a bit of controversy, from my point of view, isn’t unwelcome.

I suspect there’s going to be a lot of call for abandoning the Electoral College, but that would establish a true, national election. In every other instance in federal elections, we vote as states. I don’t think the Electoral College is an anachronism, and it’s an important buffer between the people and the Presidency. It may be that Hillary won the popular vote, but that is relatively meaningless, since the campaign strategy to win in a majority vote system would be very different from the system we have. It’s impossible to know whether Hillary Clinton would have won the popular vote if we were a 50%+1 takes it kind of system. I think we ought to keep the Electoral College in place.

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