The Heller ruling after 5 years. Has it been that long? I still think it was a great victory, but I have renewed worry about what eight years of Obama is going to do to the federal courts, and where we’ll be able to take Second Amendment law from here.
According to Brietbart. Sometimes I think Bloomberg is smart enough to avoid the kinds of amateurish mistakes I’d expect of CSGV or the Brady Campaign, but wow. Apparently in reading off a list of gun violence victims, they mentioned Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Glad to see MAIG sticking up for terrorists. Stay classy.
Caleb lobs a grenade into the lubrication wars. I’ve never been convinced by the fancy oils either, but I do like to clean my guns with Gunzilla, because it has very little odor, and works well. I’ve done the brake cleaner thing, and while it’s quick, effective, and easy, I thought I could hear my brain cells crying in agony and dying every time I caught a whiff of the fumes. I agree with Caleb on motor oils though. If it’s good enough to keep a car running it ought to be good enough to keep a gun running. A common mistake people make with oil is using too much. ARs are especially sensitive to over-lubricating.
I noticed something interesting on Pinterest yesterday. Hobby Lobby posted a pin of this product in a new category dedicated to western-themed room decor:
Throughout the day when I checked, that product was their most re-pinned and most “liked” pin they had posted in any western decor. I checked out who re-pinned and where, 30 of those re-pins were to boards clearly labeled for home decor. About half a dozen were to boards designated as gift ideas. The vast majority of all boards were clearly run by women.
Keep in mind the context of this pin. This is from a craft store with a target audience of women, and this is a product they stock and also sell online. (Lordy, I miss Hobby Lobby. I like Michaels, and Joann is okay, but Hobby Lobby is supreme in crafting, IMHO.) Actual sales data from other sources indicate that these re-pins aren’t all just people browsing without buying and displaying since an antique-style Winchester Rifle sign is in Amazon’s top 20 of decorative signs.
When I see things like this, it really does hit home that even as our community has taken a few significant political hits on the chin in places like Colorado where its hard to imagine such losses, we are making public awareness of gun ownership a normal thing. Unless you live in Manhattan or San Francisco, saying that you own and shoot guns isn’t likely to get you looks like you have a second head anymore. (Even those places, it may only get you one because that’s how those people think they should react.)
But when you can go to a party and the hostess hands you a glass designated yours by the revolver wine charm, we’re winning. When the 7th most popular ice cube tray on Amazon is makes ice in the shape of handguns, we’re winning. When half of the one star reviews on the product come from anti-gunners who are outraged that such products are even sold, we’re winning.
The next step is to converting the “new normal” of recognizing gun ownership without ridicule to actual action on behalf of the Second Amendment, even if it is minimal action. In some ways, being part of the new normal (at least the relatively newly recognized, since gun ownership was always somewhat prevalent) makes it tougher to motivate people. It makes it easier to fall victim to notion that no commonly owned firearm is really under threat because everyone knows that the Supreme Court said we’re good on guns and so many people own them, so clearly they are safe.
Meanwhile, Mr. Morse, a Colorado Springs Democrat, released a statement Monday on his Facebook page asking for out-of-state help from those in traditionally liberal cities to help fight the recall effort.
“We can get phone lists to you and things like that and have you help from Boston, Massachusetts, or San Francisco, California,” said Mr. Morse in a video message.
It’s like he thinks that being controlled by out-of-state interests is a good campaign message. Somehow I doubt that is the case for a guy who only won his last election by a few hundred votes.
But I hope that he keeps putting out videos like this. It just makes the job of people who support his recall easier. I hope that pro-gun folks use his own words against him and highlight in their door-to-door campaigning that Morse is calling on people from Boston, San Francisco, and NYC to buy this election for him. I mean if he didn’t want that to be the key theme of his campaign, then presumably he would not have made that the first video of his campaign, right?
Musso was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and two counts of simple assault, allegedly against a person who was attending the rally and a police officer. He was held on $5,000 cash bail, and will be on arraigned June 19.
Heidi Yewman, a Brady Board member, decides to try carrying a gun for a month, deliberately wallowing in ignorance. Some of you may have already seen this article, because I’ve seen it circulating around some other blogs. I’ve been sitting on it trying to figure out what to say about it, since I think what Heidi Yewman is doing here is extraordinary enough to be worthy of more lengthy commentary. I commend her for taking something like this on. It’s pretty apparent that guns make her very uncomfortable, and I’ll commend anyone who’s attempting to push their comfort zone and maybe try to learn something, and develop some understanding. But suspect her point is more that licenses to carry are too easy to get, to which I say, “So what?”
If we treated carrying a gun like we treated driving a car, all you’d have to do is show up to a police range near you and demonstrate some basic competence in handling a gun. In most states I know of, all that’s required for a license is to pass a basic driving skill test. I never took Drivers’ Ed. My parents taught me to drive. Driving, which I would point out the state regards as a privilege rather than a right, is something most of us learned via informal instruction from other drivers rather than through formal training. Most state law is fine with that. Not the case for guns, which the state recognizes (in theory) as a right. Yet for all the anti-gun machinations that we ought to treat guns like cars, if we really did, I doubt they’d find the regulations stringent enough.
I did not grow up in a gun household. I was introduced to shooting by an uncle as a kid. As an adult, I informally learned how to handle a firearm safely from a friend, who had learned from his father. I bought a Ruger Mk.II and went to the range a lot. The four rules are and a little initial supervision to make sure you practice them are honestly all the instruction you need to start training safely on your own. The rest is just buying advice and legal issues. After getting comfortable with a .22, I got a Glock 19 and shot the hell out of that too. When I started carrying a firearm, I had no formal training (Pennsylvania doesn’t require any), but I could have easily passed a police qualifier, and I understood the basic law of self-defense.
The thing Heidi Yewman needs to understand is that my story is pretty typical, whereas hers is not. Most people have the sense to know when they need help, and are in over their heads. Without a friend available who was familiar with guns, I probably would not have taken the plunge on my own. Even she was smart enough to track down a police officer for help, rather than fumbling around trying to clear her pistol with dangerous ignorance. This is what anyone with half a lick of sense would do.
But I don’t particularly approve of how she’s going about all this. “Look, I am an untrained person who is dangerously ignorant of how to safely handle a firearm,” is basically her argument. I would strongly advise her to take a training course, regardless of what the laws from her state demand. But if it’s a good idea, why not mandate it? That’s the next place she wants to bring the audience. That’s her point. The answer is going to be a very hard pill for those like her to swallow: the kind of person who isn’t bright enough, or self-aware, or responsible enough to know when they should seek help and advice is going to present a problem no matter much training you mandate. Heidi Yewman knows running around in public, openly carrying a gun she does not know how to operate (let along safely operate) is unwise and hazardous. Her instincts are that of a responsible person. Training will, at best, produce an irresponsible person with a training certificate. They will always be irresponsible and foolhardy, because it is their fundamental nature. It would be nice if we could prevent these people from voluntarily taking on any weighty responsibility, like carrying a gun, driving or reproducing, but in a free society we don’t prejudge people and deny them rights based on gut instincts and hunches.
Also, the high cost of training (300-600 dollars, in many cases) is going to ensure the poor can never exercise their rights. At most the state should only test for competence, and it ought to pick up the tab for citizens to qualify. Likewise, It would be less of a constitutional insult, for states which require training, to provide it gratis. Someone truly concerned about what Heidi Yewman is concerned about would push for that, rather than pushing to simply increase the cost of exercising a right. I wouldn’t hold my breath, however. The real complaint is that anyone can do this at all. Given that, I’m going to keep pushing to lower the costs of exercise of the right by removing as many barriers as I can get away with.
I’ve long had a gut feeling that the courts would uphold training requirements as constitutional, but that once this would happen, training would quickly become the means by which hostile jurisdictions attempted to prevent people from exercising their Second Amendment rights.
In other civil rights struggles, the Courts have often tried to be conservative in their ruling, and later realized they had made a mistake. “Separate but equal,” probably being the most famous court-invented fallacy to attempt to avoid doing the right thing. Hopefully, like other civil rights struggles, once it becomes apparent to the courts the states can’t play with their ruling toy nicely, they’ll take the toy away from them entirely. That will depend, over the long term, how committed the courts are to protecting the right seriously.
Josh Horwitz, Executive Director of the Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence Ownership, seems to think lethality and accuracy are undesirable qualities in a firearm, and sure does with the manufacturers would concentrate on safety. I asked Bitter what she thought about that kind of argument, as someone who has a degree in public relations. The notion of gun safety has always given me a chuckle, because guns are supposed to be dangerous. They have to be dangerous to serve their core function. Bitter thinks there can be some contexts the “gun safety” message can resonate with people, but agrees Horwitz’s context is pretty weak.
I also like the use of the Romney signs as backing material. They are probably more useful in that role than they were as campaign material, and this may be the best thing Romney has done in his career to help gun owners. Waste not want not.
This morning I was pleased the installers from the Home Despot* showed up to install the new carpet in my office. This was to be the culmination of all our efforts. I was considerably less pleased when the installers informed me they didn’t have enough carpet for the stairs, because it wasn’t put into the order. After calling the installers, and the Home Depot, we determined Home Depot had measured the stairs, but when they submitted the order, it wasn’t noted correctly, so the carpet for the stairs was never ordered. We were scheduled to get our new bookcase tonight, and Bitter was going to start restocking it. That’s now on hold because the stairs still aren’t carpeted, and the bookcase goes right adjacent to the stairs.
Home Depot agreed it was their mistake, and agreed I didn’t have to pay for installation for the stairs, but I still had to pay for the cut of carpet they forgot to order. I found the installers to be far more apologetic and helpful. To me, if you screw up the order, that’s on you, and you eat the whole cost of fixing the problem. But that is apparently not the Home Despot way. If this was the only mishap, I would have been somewhat understanding, but I’ve found the whole customer experience with Home Depot’s carpet department to be lacking.
We originally picked Home Depot because they actually had a better selection of commercial-grade carpets than most of the local stores, and allowed us to take samples home. The local stores wanted to bring samples over when they came to measure. Because my office is in the basement, the sun comes in at different times of day and I didn’t want to have to make a snap decision on color. But that’s where the Home Depot advantage ended. From Bitter getting wildly wrong information to the first person she talked to, to the order being screwed up, to the haphazard way they schedule installation, the rest has left a lot to be desired. I should note that I’m not dinging their installers. Their installers did a bang-up job. My basement floor is concrete, uneven, and difficult to work with. There are PVC drain covers around half the perimeters, and they dip in places. Their installers dealt with the weirdness very well, and the carpet looks great, despite the still naked staircase.
But Home Depot itself needs to work on their customer experience. I’m generally fine with appointment windows, but having a 7-8AM window in which I’ll get a call to get my appointment window that day is the kind of customer service I expect to get from the local electric monopoly or Comcast. It would be nice to be able to have an actual appointment window, and perhaps, as the customer, to even have some feedback on when this window might be so we can plan around it. It would also be nice if their employees knew their business, and didn’t screw up orders when they submit them to their installers.
So next time, I think it’ll be Big Marty’s, and I have a lot more carpeting left to do. I get that mistakes can happen. Bitter will tell you I’m actually a pretty undemanding customer. But when the good customer experience ends once I decide on a purchase, that’s tough to forgive. Home Depot’s only saving grace, at least for this area, is that their installers know what they are doing, and do good work.