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NRA Convention, Day 1

Technically, Day 1 of the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting & Exhibits in tomorrow, but we managed to get started a little early since we arrived early.

Before we even managed to make it to our first stop, we ran into Tom King of the NYSRPA. They have a booth here and are apparently planning a raffle for some gun. I’ll check it out when they are fully set up tomorrow. Then, we ran into Dave Adams from the VSSA who can always be counted on for fantastic insight into the Virginia legislative happenings. We actually discussed an issue that came up before their General Assembly dealing with releasing license records because it turns out the genealogy community was actually involved. Random, informative discussions all around, especially since we’re likely in the same boat as Virginia for a while – purely defensive with very little chance of pro-Second Amendment measures moving in Pennsylvania.

ScottonNRANewsAfter that, we connected with Scott Bach of the ANJRPC while he was doing an interview on NRA News with Cam Edwards about the magazine ban in New Jersey. Seriously, we need to find some folks we know here who are from states where we can cheer some good news.

We actually did meet folks from Utah at GunAuction.com who could boost some spirits with the CLEO shall sign bill becoming law. We also talked about why some pro-gun issues just don’t get much support in a solidly pro-gun state where people don’t really feel like their rights are under serious threat.

Then, our evening took an interesting twist when we tried to go out to eat dinner. I had checked out Yelp reviews before we left for times when were looking for something in walking distance and found Claddagh Irish Pub. However, we discovered upon arriving that they thought a brilliant business decision during a gun rights convention would be to post against guns at the door. They are certainly free to do that, and we were free to turn around and walk up the street to The Weber Grill which had no such sign where we discovered AMAZING bbq. Seriously, it’s a little spendy for bbq, but worth every penny in every bite. I’m a little embarrassed at how quickly I inhaled my plate. Another thing I was free to do was to let people on Twitter following the #NRAAM tag know about the posting at the first joint. It just happened to get retweeted to a few thousand people talking about the convention…

After that, catching a drink ended up turning into a chance to talk to Prof. Robert Cottrol and Dave Hardy. I think that Sebastian may end up with some interesting post topics stemming from these discussions.

Tomorrow is the NRA Foundation Law Seminar, and I hear it’s going to be absolutely packed with pro-gun attorneys and other supporters. I have no doubt that will be interesting. Overall, Day 1 of our NRA convention experience was pretty good. It was mostly just catching up with people, and we clearly need to work harder to create more reasons to celebrate when we get together rather than mostly having to talk about why things are a struggle in many states. I think that’s a goal we can all drink to, something I’m sure I’ll do plenty of tomorrow!

Full Context of Bundy Statement

I know it’s from Media Matters, but it’s pretty much just Clive Bundy speaking for himself:

I wouldn’t have too much to say about this if he just used the word “negro.” My grandparents used to call them “colored people,” and never quite managed to adopt the modern sensibilities on the topic of race relations. They were not racist people, but held on to a lot of old ways of thinking on the topic. But as bad as my grandparents, who were a generation older than Bundy, could get on the topic of race, I could never imagine them saying anything like this. There’s even a part at the end, not mentioned by the Times, where he says “Down there, they were probably growing their turnips.” The context seemingly suggesting that they were happier enslaved “down there,” growing turnips.

Patrick H made what I think is the best argument in the previous comments:

We still fight to let the KKK protest. We still fight to let Nazi’s speak about Jews however they want. Why? Because its freedom.

Remember the quote “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist…”

Whether Bundy deserves our support should ONLY be on whether he is right in his fight (whether that’s because he is right, or because who he is fighting), not because he has unpopular opinions.

It’s a fair point. We defend the right of the KKK to speak and protest not because we agree with them, but because we believe their freedom to do so. We defend a lot of things in this society in the name of freedom that we find repugnant. In fact, that is the definition of freedom-loving. But this argument forces me to admit that it’s not just this late statement that makes me reluctant to support this situation.

What freedom is at stake here? Is there a right to use public land without paying fees? Is there a right to use public land at all? Every post and argument I’ve seen which argues this situation is bigger than Clive Bundy, bigger than grazing cattle, bigger than turtles, etc, still has me scratching my head trying to understand how this is so. There are certainly grievances at work here at legitimate as the Mississippi is wide, but a lot of us have grievances with this Administration. What makes this one special?

As we mentioned previously, BLM is currently engaged in a big land grab along the Oklahoma and Texas Border. Here you’re talking about real private property rights being put at risk. This is most definitely a freedom issue, and I’d be more inclined to agree that it’s much bigger than any individual person affected.

I will say this: I do believe Cliven Bundy and his family have a right to not be needlessly killed by their government. Given how heavy BLM and other federal agencies were rolling in, it was clear there was the potential for another Waco-like situation. I don’t blame anyone for stepping up to make sure that didn’t happen. I’d agree that was the right thing to do. But I think if you’re going to start a civil war, it had better be over something very important. That citizens have the right to not be murdered by their government is that important, but one family’s use of public land is not. The big problem I have with the Bundy Ranch situation is it’s hard to tell where the line between stopping another Waco, and starting a civil war over one familys’ unfettered “right” to graze on public lands starts and ends.

UPDATE: Here are his full remarks:

Cliven Bundy: Blacks “Better of as Slaves”

Union Cemetery

These men were killed or maimed fighting the idea that there were people who were “better off as slaves.”

While I’ve had quite a bit of sympathy to the idea of standing up to an overreaching federal government, my instinct on the Bundy situation was to keep him at arm’s length. To be frank, the dude set of my alarm bells. Now I notice a direct quote of Bundy in the New York Times that would seem to suggest that I was right be wary:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

I get the greater point he’s trying to make, that life on the dole is degrading and dehumanizing, but really? Blacks were better off as slaves picking cotton? As if slavery, slavery is not a degrading and dehumanizing institution? I might agree that welfare doesn’t help the poor in the long term, but slavery was evil.

Sorry, this isn’t someone I’d want to take a bullet for, and it’s hard to fathom why anyone else would too, now that this much is clear. While I certainly don’t support Fed snipers or SWAT teams turning this situation into a bloody conflict any more now, than I did when I wrote this, I don’t stand with racists who think slavery was a better institution for Blacks than welfare.

NYC Cracks Down on Reloaders

New York City is now cracking down on their policy that allowed empty brass from the NYPD ranges to be sold to companies that reload the ammo to sell again on the civilian market. They put a ban on sales to reloaders, and all buyers must now sign an agreement that they will destroy the brass in such a way that it can never be reloaded.

Interestingly, Bloomberg, who initially defended selling to the reloading company, isn’t publicly taking credit for this move. However, de Blasio’s team says that while they absolutely take pride in having this policy, it’s actually a Bloomberg policy that was put into place very quietly in 2012.

Interesting Draw Techniques

Our only question: Just how was the woman planning to draw the gun from her…unique…storage…compartment?

Perhaps more interesting, the gun was stolen from a man last year and the police notified him that they had recovered the gun during an arrest. They apparently never told him the story of where the gun was found.

According to The Smoking Gun, in addition to her arrest for driving on a suspended license, she’s been charged with gun possession and introducing contraband into a penile penal facility.

Media Notices Silencer Popularity

It looks like Time just noticed the recent popularity of silencers in this piece published today. They don’t really scream that the sky is falling in the article, but they make sure to mention Newtown with how gun owners “have gone crazy” buying up guns and accessories, along with a handy reminder for folks that thinking of silencers should evoke the image of a criminal shooting someone in a back alley. At least they are kind enough to mention that silencers are, in fact, legal.

Preparing for Indianapolis

As tens of thousands of gun owners prepare to head to Indianapolis in the coming days, let’s take a quick look at how the media coverage is shaping up.

In this story about the renovation at the Westin next to the Convention Center that is only finishing days before the NRA convention comes to town, the reporters include these little nuggets from the local tourism authorities:

VisitIndy told FOX59 News that the 7,100 downtown hotel rooms are experiencing a virtual sellout for the weekend, with many of the 33,000 hotel rooms in the metropolitan area filling up as well.

They say the expected economic impact is predicted to be about $55 million based on recent numbers.

The Washington Times does a glowing review of the event for Beltway insiders who often forget that NRA is a group with real grassroots.

The Indianapolis Star provides some tips on what NRA visitors should do in the area. Some of you might find it odd that a cemetery is on their list of things to see, but I can tell you that I was actually thinking of going to visit this cemetery if time allowed. First of all, there’s a president and vice president buried there. Secondly, it really does appear to be pretty stunning. I learned about it before this article because I have a distant family member buried there.

With the Illegal Mayors of Everytown Moms holding their own mini event, expect letters to the editor like this one to hit continually throughout the show. They learned last year that headlines about record breaking attendance and 80,000+ gun owners standing up for their rights at a convention was a bad thing for their cause. More than any direct protest, they are trying to make sure that every article about tens of thousands of politically-motivated gun owners showing up to prep for punishing anti-gun lawmakers at the polls this year includes a mention that gun control activists are also gathering. This is a PR game, and it’s one that has been successfully played before in other issues. (There was an event for conservative online activists that followed around the much bigger liberal version every year, and many media stories about the liberal convention would include mention of the conservative convention.)

CSGV & VPC Standing Against Due Process Protections

Mens Rea is a basic component of common law. It suggests that for serious offenses, the state must prove that you had a “guilty mind.” In other words, you consciously chose to commit the illegal act. There are exceptions to this, usually for crimes which are not very serious. For instance, speeding is a strict liability offense. It doesn’t matter if you tell the officer you didn’t know you were speeding. But in serious cases, like felonies and high misdemeanors, prosecutors generally have to prove mens rea in addition to actus reus. So along comes our fascist friends at CSGV and VPC, what’s their advice on this important legal matter?

However, gun control advocates told the Star that it is difficult to prove a buyer’s intent to purchase a gun for a felon. “You don’t want to make a prosecutor prove someone’s state of mind,” said Ladd Everitt, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “That’s almost impossible.”

“It’s extremely hard to prove [the straw buyer] lied about their intent when they bought the gun,” said Kristen Rand, a lobbyist for the Violence Policy Center, which seeks stricter regulation on firearm sales.

It may be a tall burden, but having to prove state of mind is a barrier prosecutors should have to climb in order to earn convictions for serious crimes. That’s part of our legal tradition when it comes to the rights of the accused. Perhaps the folks at CSGV and VPC should consider moving to a country where protections for the accused are considerably weaker, and gun laws are very strict. I’d suggest Russia, because if you believe things like this, you don’t belong in America.

Breaking into a Gun Safe

Barron Barnett recently had the electronic lock on his Liberty Safe go TU, and had to have it drilled. He offers some advice on safes and what you can do if you ever find yourself in this situation. I’m glad to hear that it’s not an easy feat to get into the safe, especially since I also have a Liberty, though my lock is mechanical. One thing I’d point out though, is getting in can be an easier operation if you’re unconcerned about saving the safe and just want in.

Military History Bleg

Because I know how wise you readers are in your varied studies and hobbies, I hope that you can help me out with something. I’d like to know if the abbreviation for the rank of ensign in a Revolutionary War militia is the same as what we use now in the Navy.

One of my ancestors was an ensign in the Henry County, Virginia militia, and I’d like do properly document that with an abbreviation. However, given that the rank was abolished in the Army in 1815, and the fact that I don’t know if things would be quite the same in the militia, I thought I would try to find out what the proper format is in this case before I have it engraved on something.

So, military & history buffs, what do you say?

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