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It’s the 1930s All Over Again?

Another one from the thread that just won’t die:

When I was in West Germany,  during My active duty. I had a chance to talk to many of the Older German citizens, at the gast houses.  Many of these wise Old man spoke of the early 30’s etc. And how horrified they were to see what was being done to some people by the Gestapo.  But their Loyalty to their government stopped them,  from speaking out against the abuses.  Even though it put utter shivers down their spine and many said it Infuriated them. To see people( Their own neighbors in some instances/Very good friends) being arrested and taken away without due process of law.  But it happens everyday in America Now!  Not in such a gross context as Germany was then. But it is getting there.  And it will continue too! Because abuse by government does not get the proper scrutiny by the People, it deserves.  Or held to account for such abuses, by Law.

Get that?  Every day in America the Gestapo head out to snatch up political undesirables, and the Olofson case is proof of it!  Olofson, on whom the government served a lawfully obtained search warrant, gathered evidence against, permitted the assistance of counsel, and tried by a jury of his peers.  Yet this apparently means we’re precariously close to 1930s Germany.  It’s a shame you can’t order a sense of perspective on Amazon.

I have said before that I am no fan of the tactics the ATF used to convict Olofson, and I am certainly no fan of the laws that he was convicted of violating.  If the jury had walked him, I would have considered that justice done.  That a man like Olofson, who harmed no one, is rotting in a federal prison right now is exactly why these laws are wrong.

But because I advocate reigning in the ATF through legislation rather than gunfire, I am not an ally, but an enemy.  Because I propose we ought to repeal, or at the very least reform the regulations on automatic weapons in this country, rather than shooting any federal bastard who gets tasked with enforcing them, I am a coward, and sullying the cause.

Any “revolution” prosecuted by folks like this will not be one I will join.  Call me a coward, call me what you will, but I don’t see any good place it can possibly go.  An anonymous commenter made a very cogent point:

The point of revolt should be to win. And you won’t win… you CAN’T win, unless you have won the hearts and minds of a significant amount of We the People. This is, after all, your goal… right? The restoration of the Republic? Do you propose to “impose liberty” on a majority who don’t agree with your definition? Sounds more Che Guevara than George Washington to me.

“Leave me alone or I’m going to shoot” isn’t an argument. It’s a threat. It doesn’t win converts to your side, because it ultimately doesn’t offer any answers. If we’re to take you seriously, that you believe a Revolution can and will happen, then you should be able to answer this question: what would your post-Revolution society be like? If you can’t articulate a vision for this country other than “leave me alone”, then you’re not a believer in Locke (who saw a need for government), you’re just a garden variety anarchist.

The restoration of a constitutional republic isn’t going to happen when the same people who elected the government before the revolution will be electing it after.  After and during the first American revolution, things were made quite uncomfortable for loyalists.  By uncomfortable, I mean more than a few of them were dragged out of their homes, tarred, feathered, hung in some cases, shot in others.  Some of them were merely disarmed.  About ten to fifteen percent of loyalists emigrated.  In today’s terms, that would be about 45 million refugees.  Where are they all going to go?  Are we going to pass laws denying them citizenship?  Are we going to take their property?  If the answer is no, then the same people will elect another government that will look a lot like this one.  If the answer is yes, then you can count me out of that nonsense unless there’s absolutely, positively no other choice.  Revolution is nasty business.  It should not be undertaken or threatened lightly.  Many of these people do not speak like people who really, truly think that violence is an absolute last resort.

48 Responses to “It’s the 1930s All Over Again?”

  1. George says:

    Amen, Sebastian.

    The problem is…your way is hard. It’s not glamorous. It takes a long time. It doesn’t fuel a Red Dawn fantasy in an Internet echo chamber.

    You think you have it bad? Look at the folks who were lambasting Alan Gura as a sellout because he didn’t run into SCOTUS screaming “MOLON LABE!!!” with an AK-47 over his head.

    Unfortunately, your way is reasonable, effective, and pragmatic.

  2. HTownTejas says:

    Sebastian, I appreciate much of the work you do on your blog, and the discussions held here.

    Having said that, there in no way a free man can allow the ATF to continue pissing all over us. No one on the-thread-that-will-not-die wants a revolution. Most folks know how horrible that would be. That is why it is critical to warn the ATF and their neglegent handlers not to piss on the electric fence. If we do not show resolve, they will keep attacking until there is no other option.

    There is absolutely no justification for what they did to Olofson. None.

  3. scott says:

    You’re dead on. Preaching revolution because of Olafson (and other ATF abuses) is a non-starter.

    Unfortunately, the conditions that spawned the American Revolution aren’t present today, and further, may never be present again. Which begs the question, even if things got to the point of the British oppression in 1775 or Nazi Germany in 1939, would such a revolution succeed?

    I wonder, and so, we wait, and hope that we won’t have to make a choice against terrible odds of success, knowing that it is a futile act of resistance.

    But there is hope, and least on the gun front. Perhaps Heller will be the stone that starts the avalanche. And the more free we are to be armed, the more likely we are to be free, and maybe the idea of freedom will spread more even to those who don’t now share our desire for it (I’m referring to the sheeple of course).

  4. BC says:

    There is absolutely no justification for what they did to Olofson. None.

    Other than, you know, him violating the letter of federal firearms law, and them being charged with enforcing said law.

    Do I like those laws or the way BATFE went about proving their case? Hell no. But this Olofson-as-martyr shit really needs to be seen for the unmitigated horseshit it is.

  5. Peter says:

    You’re just not getting it. It’s not that the ATF went after Olofson. The properly sworn warrants are meaningless. The legal theater inside the courtroom is also meaningless. Those are results/consequences, not root causes.

    That the ATF repeatedly ‘tested’ Mr Olofson’s AR until they got the results they wanted are the problem. That they used (probably) Federal primers to induce ‘automatic’ fire is the problem: use of federal primers in a Garand will induce ‘automatic’ fire, for goodness sake.

    And it’s not about some general civil war, apologies to Mr. Vanderboegh. There are 2300 ATF agents, total. Against literally millions of gun owners, many of whom are quite pissed, far more than I am. There won’t be armed marches to the various state houses, because it won’t be necessary. All it will take is a ‘reverse Waco’, or better yet, a ‘reverse Ruby Ridge’, wherein a group of pissed citizens has an ATF raiding force pinned down in a barn or house somewhere.

    That’s all the revolution that there will be, and that is all that is necessary, despite what Mr. Vanderboegh might write. The ATF has gone out of its’ way to annoy the other alphabet agencies along the way, particularly the FBI, and don’t be surprised if they (the FBI) cannot find anyone culpable after some gunfight that the ATF loses.

  6. Sebastian says:

    That the ATF repeatedly ‘tested’ Mr Olofson’s AR until they got the results they wanted are the problem. That they used (probably) Federal primers to induce ‘automatic’ fire is the problem: use of federal primers in a Garand will induce ‘automatic’ fire, for goodness sake.

    That in and of itself is not enough to get a conviction. They had to prove that he knowingly possessed a machine gun. I agree with you that ATF needs standardized testing procedures. Their lack of them is disgraceful. But slamfire alone is not enough to obtain a conviction.

    I also agree that the law, which does not distinguish between slamfires and fully functional automatics, is broken and needs to be fixed. That’s an issue to take up with Congress.

    I don’t disagree that ATF needs to be reigned in, but the proper way to do that is to seek redress from Congress or the courts… not by gunfire.

  7. Ahab says:

    There won’t be armed marches to the various state houses, because it won’t be necessary. All it will take is a ‘reverse Waco’, or better yet, a ‘reverse Ruby Ridge’, wherein a group of pissed citizens has an ATF raiding force pinned down in a barn or house somewhere.

    “Breaking New: Federal Agents murdered by extremists while executing search warrant.”
    In a shocking display of brutality, a group of federal agents were gunned down today by armed extremists while the federal agents were executing a high risk search warrant. It appears that while approaching the house, the agents were pinned down in a pre-planned ambush by militia extremists armed with assault weapons, which were allowed back on the street when Congress allowed the assault weapons ban to expire.

    The head of the ATF has requested assistance from the Department of Homeland Security, stating that the current situation qualifies as domestic terrorism.

    Stay tuned after the break for a profile on the families of the fallen officers. I’m Vicki Carrington from CBS-Montana.”

    Yeah, that will do fucking wonders for our cause.

  8. BC says:

    You’re just not getting it. It’s not that the ATF went after Olofson. The properly sworn warrants are meaningless. The legal theater inside the courtroom is also meaningless. Those are results/consequences, not root causes.

    I’m getting it just fine Peter. You don’t like the law or the ATF’s operating tactics, and you don’t like the pace of reform through legitimate judicial and legislative processes. You’ve therefore constructed an elaborate psychodrama — that legitimate channels for reform are simply unavailable, and that the United States in 2008 is functionally indistinguishable from a totalitarian police state — so that you can play-act at being Henry Bowman.

    Normally, that would be somewhere between hilarious and sad. Unfortunately, we adults are actually trying to get something constructive done, and your bullshit antics make that considerably harder.

  9. Peter says:

    “I don’t disagree that ATF needs to be reigned in, but the proper way to do that is to seek redress from Congress or the courts… not by gunfire.”

    But that keeps not happening. There’s some occaisional window dressing, but the basic problems go unaddressed. As for the details of Olofson, I just don’t know: I keep finding conflicting assertions and claims (many of them court documents, which only muddies the water further) about what exactly was or wasn’t done. If he did indeed have a disconnector with a hole drilled in it, which is to the best of my very limited knowledge of AR rifles is the difference between an AR part and an M16 part, then he’s likely a moron. He should have been literally slapped upside the head by the on-scene ATF agent, not sent to jail for two-and-a-half years.

  10. RAH says:

    Unintended consequences indeed. The letter was to warn those folks who want national registration and instead it has divided the pro gun community.
    That was good shooting.

  11. RotgutSaloon says:

    The ATF was created as a rogue agency during prohibition and has been ruthlessly seeking relevance and a mission since repeal in 1933.

    Predatory tactics has been it’s signature and extra-legal shenanegans it’s guiding principle. Clinton used them as a spearhead in his “big-show” crackdown on lawful gun owners at Waco.

    Intimidation disguised as law enforcement has become the shameful face of these pathetic trouble-makers. Even in the hay-day of Elliot Ness they failed miserably at preventing criminals like Joe Kennedy Sr. from amassing the huge illegal boot-legging fortune that powers the current Kennedy Clan to this day.

    Out of step, out of date, and literally out of their minds, this identity challenged gang of misfits should be put out of existance forthwith by legislative action.

  12. Sebastian says:

    The problem with that, Rogut, is that many of the agents will be absorbed into whatever agency takes over ATF’s responsibility. Abolishing ATF will not fix the problem, which is rooted in the grant of authority given them by Congress. I don’t doubt ATF has cultural problems which need to be addressed, but I’m not confident the FBI is that much better, who would likely take over enforcement of this nation’s gun laws.

  13. BC says:

    Ditto Sebastian. The problems with the ATF are rooted in both the federal gun laws themselves, and in the ATF’s authorizing legislation. Simply shuttering the agency, and transferring its functions elsewhere, doesn’t solve those problems.

  14. illspirit says:

    How does the Olofson arrest/conviction being technically “lawful,” in and of itself, make it any less Nazi-esque? Pretty much everything Hitler did was “lawful” under the laws he controlled too..

    Granted, it may be a bit hyperbolic to compare the Olofson case to Kristallnacht or some such, but to shrug it off as “lawful” is either intellectually dishonest, or, at best, a wee bit myopic.

  15. Alcibiades McZombie says:

    Someone on that thread also said “feels a little like 1860”, which prompted my outburst against the Confederates. I found the entire implication quite offensive.

  16. Sebastian says:

    How so Illspirit? We have a constitution which describes the structure of our government, Congress passes a law, The President Signs a law, the Supreme Court (at least for now) does not rule the law is unconstitutional. A man is arrested for violating that law after a piece of contraband property that belongs to him is found in someone else’s hands. The government gets a court order for a search warrant, they gather evidence, do some (albeit sloppy) police work, take the case before a grand jury, who decides the evidence warrants indictment, takes it to a trial by a jury of his peers as the constitution prescribes, he is allowed assistance of counsel, and is convicted by said peers on the said count and sent to prison.

    You can argue that’s a farce, but then so is every trial in this country in that instance. What about this process is Naziesque? Being on the receiving end of law enforcement is a ruinous experience no matter what law you break. That’s why the obligation should be high to make sure those laws are just. I don’t think our machine gun laws meet that definition, but they are still law. Breaking them will have consequences.

  17. RAH says:

    The culture of ATF that most you deplore is the people hired on during the Clinton Administration. The old hands started to retire becasue the culture shift from an agency that assisted FFL holders to targeting them and any others in a anti gun intimidation.

    Acting head Sullivan is from Mass. and also has the idea that guns are bad lets make it difficult.

    The Bush administration has not been good at rooting out these people in The States, Justice, BATF etc. Rumsfeld was very good at cleaning out the Defense dept which is why he raised so much hell in Congress and the pressure was to kick him out before 9/11 happened. After 9/11 he was left alone and continued to clean house.

    The BATF was almost eliminated when Homeland Security was set up and lobbied hard to keep it own agency. They want to stay relevant and their primary purpose was the 1934 Act. They did prosecute the guy who was straw buying guns on the east coast .

    Get a good admin in and they can weed the agencies but the nameless bureacrats dig in good to save their jobs. It is always better to prevent the proliferation of agencies before they grow.

  18. Skullz says:

    It’s not just the ATF, and all of us (I hope) know it. It’s the Mark Edward Marchiafavas (http://libertyzone.blogspot.com/2008/07/resolution-sort-of.html), it’s the Gabriel Razzanos (http://www.nypost.com/seven/07212008/news/regionalnews/gun_seizure_lawsuit_120836.htm), the Dicskson City incidents, Red’s Trading Post, Bloomburg lawsuits, ad nauseum.

    Many of us talk about what we’d do to the criminal that comes into our place of business or home uninvited. We talk about and train to combat multiple assailants. We relate how we’d defend our turf and our families to our death if required. But as soon as those committing the crimes are in uniform, we should keep quiet.

    Many of us love to cite the crime drops when a new CCW law goes into effect and applaud the fact that there is no blood in the streets, no wild west, no road rage shoot outs. We know that when the criminals are afraid of us, they think twice before trying to take advantage of a possibly armed citizen. But, if we talk about making our public servants afraid of committing crimes against – we’ve gone too far.

    The gun blogosphere and message boards praise the CCW holder who came to his fellow citizen’s aid during the commission of a violent crime, but some shiver at the possibility of defending their neighbor if it’s a group of thugs committing the crime under color of law.

    I don’t want a revolution… but I do want people – ALL PEOPLE to seriously consider the consequences of violating my rights and committing a crime against me or my family.

  19. Skullz says:

    Add to the above post, last sentence “or my neighbor”.

  20. illspirit says:

    My point wasn’t so much that the law itself is Naziriffic, just that its lawful status alone wouldn’t make it more or less so. Nor would the process used to achieve its lawfulness.

    Germany also had a constitution of sorts which described their structure of government. Through the late ’20s to early ’30s, Nazis slowly built a majority in the Reichstag via democratic elections, and passed laws. Hitler, when elected, signed said laws. The courts which they appointed upheld them. While they apparently weren’t fond of juries, per se, the election of these monsters seems to indicate that the peers from which a jury pool would have been drawn approved of the laws as well.

    As such, from a sterile, legalistic and procedural aspect devoid of (or perhaps even including) moral context, is there really that much difference between the Olofson case and, say, Alfred Flatow? Both were arrested for possessing contraband in violation of laws passed by duly elected officials, were they not?

  21. Kevin Baker says:

    Sebastian:

    Here’s what I learned from the Olofson case: If the ATF shows up at my door in full ninja gear, I might as well start shooting because A) I’m going to get sent to prison for something, and B) I’m going to lose my right to arms no matter what the facts are.

    In that, I’m right with Vanderboegh et al.

  22. RAH says:

    I agree that it is the little tyrannies and the great that we have to fight against. But once that fight becomes a shooting match the ability to solve or slowly fix things becomes moot.

    Thirty-two years to force DC to agree that the Second Amendment means what it says. That time frame was almost too long; it allowed a mindset to become imbedded.

    Just because they were told they were wrong to deprive the right to own small arms in DC, they still twist and squirm. IT will take time to pin them down. The House bill # 1337 is a good start and will cut through all the red tape that DC will use to prevent what Heller meant. It may not pass. We still are obligated to go back and challenge all the emergency rules of registration that DC has tried to create. That will take time and many gunnies are impatient. But Rome was not built in a day and what it took over 30 years to create will not disappear overnight.

    SCOTUS rulings are a tool to use. They do not come with troops with written instructions on how to implement the ruling. That is left to the lawyers and us. We either say that the ruling is no good and do not try to build on it or we do try to build from it.

    Virginia is a good illustration. A state with a long history of support for the right to own guns. Never instituted laws restricting the right to open carry. But this right was not exercised and people absorbed the mindset that only cops can openly carry a gun.

    Virginia after long discussion legalized CCW and the long fight on how to implement began. VCDL formed and over time got good leadership and slowly challenged all the little tyrannies of different county court houses. They had to challenge dozens of rules in counties on signage and all the little infringements. Counties had to change the ‘no guns allowed’ signs in parks. They finally got the State to declare preemption to force the cities and towns to go by state law.

    Still the fight goes on. But even in the northern liberal counties such as Fairfax and Arlington have finally gotten the message. CCW is here and they cannot limit it with petty rules. Then came a few who opened carry and again the education process among law enforcement, city councils, park authorities, and county councils. The constant challenge of the petty rules to stop what was perfectly legal, but VCDL has been immensely effective at eliminating these little infringements and now the law and the politicians and bureaucrats know that open carry is legal and stopping a person just for carrying a gun, will bring citizens to their meetings armed.

    The citizen’s constant push to change what had occurred over 30 years has been effective. The implied statement that citizens will carry at the meetings has been heard with all the implications understood. Nowhere did ever VCDL openly threatened with armed resistance, which would have hurt their efforts.

    That is the slow and hard work that citizens have been and will continue to do.

  23. Peter says:

    BC: “I’m getting it just fine Peter.”

    No, BC, no you’re not. Not by a long shot, you should pardon the expression. Since I’ve expressed things that you clearly don’t grasp, how about you ask me for clarification?

    And rather go through some tedious point by point refutation which you will again misconstrue, I’ll simply ask you to keep doing what you’re already prepared to do. The Maquis during WW2 was effective due to the larger French populace being good citizens and inadvertently giving them many places to hide. You can do that without messing yourself, right?

    There are clearly people here who have a Line. It’s not a Line that Others May Not Cross, rather it’s a self-imposed Line that they themselves won’t cross. Personally, I find that disheartening, but it’s something I can use to my advantage.

    As far as any ‘pace’ is concerned, show me. The word pace is a verb, one that connotates movement. Show me that movement. And since you claim to be ‘getting something constructive done’, how about you show me? I don’t see any bills limiting the ATF, I don’t hear any talk in DC about defunding the ATF, I don’t read about any conversation about simple things like making the ATF use clearly defined testing standards. My objections to the ATF isn’t that it exists, but that they make things up as they go along, they lie on the stand, and they capriciously redefine what is and what is not a weapon/machine gun/dangerous device. Additionally, I object to the complete lack of any effort from Congress to hold them to any standard other than the one that ATF claims for itself.

  24. Sebastian says:

    Here’s what I learned from the Olofson case: If the ATF shows up at my door in full ninja gear, I might as well start shooting because A) I’m going to get sent to prison for something, and B) I’m going to lose my right to arms no matter what the facts are.

    I just don’t think that’s really the case. I would also note that Olofson probably would have done a lot better in his case had he sought, from the very beginning, competent legal counsel. But given that I doubt you’re lending out AR-15s with M16 trigger groups in them, I don’t think you’re in any serious risk.

  25. Sebastian says:

    Peter… I specifically linked to a bill that does many of those things in the main post.

  26. BC says:

    Keep flattering yourself by imagining you’re saying things above my intellectual pay-grade, Peter. Keep flattering yourself by imagining that you’re an intellectual heir to the Maquis rather than some Internet blowhard who confused Red Dawn for a documentary and Unintended Consequences for nonfiction. And above all else keep your head in the sand by telling yourself the absence of movement on your particular pet gripes about the ATF implies that no reform of gun laws is either occurring or possible.

  27. Sebastian says:

    Illspirit:

    I see what you’re saying, and you’re right. Not all laws, even those passed through the democratic process, are just laws. The question of when you stop trying to affect change at the ballot box, and pick up a rifle is a serious one, and I’m not opposed to the notion that Democratic governments can trample rights, especially rights of minorities.

    As such, from a sterile, legalistic and procedural aspect devoid of (or perhaps even including) moral context, is there really that much difference between the Olofson case and, say, Alfred Flatow? Both were arrested for possessing contraband in violation of laws passed by duly elected officials, were they not?

    I would posit the difference in that case was intent, and who the targets were. If the ATF were going around and rounding up guns en-mass from certain undesirables, I would argue that it’s drastic measures time. When our Congress passes a law stating that “no Jew/Arab/Black/People with unpopular political views may possess firearms.” then I’m willing to talk about resisting that, violently if need be. That’s a much more serious situation than the government enforcing an, albeit misguided, generally applicable law.

    You could argue that the machine gun laws are wrong, and I would agree with you, but they are not so great a wrong that opposing them is so urgently necessary we can’t use the political process. For the purpose the second amendment protects, machine guns are not strictly necessary. If you don’t have one on the first day of the revolt, you’ll have one on the second day. That’s not to say I think the ban is constitutional, but it’s not so great an infringement to warrant revolution.

  28. Peter says:

    “Keep flattering yourself by imagining you’re saying things above my intellectual pay-grade, Peter. Keep flattering yourself by imagining that you’re an intellectual heir to the Maquis rather than some Internet blowhard who confused….”

    Wrong again, BC. You’ve chosen to not understand what I’ve written. That’s a moral deficiency, not an intellectual one. You aren’t here for conversation, you’re here to castigate and belittle anyone who doesn’t agree with your viewpoint. You noticed that I didn’t try to convince you otherwise? You clearly have a limit on what you’re prepared to do, and that’s fine. Don’t presume to impose that on me or anyone else. You want to own a gun so long as it’s not too dangerous or too unpopular to do so, I got it.

    You speak of legislative and legal actions. That’s fine, so far as it goes, and probably enough for now. However, there are many folks out there who are still beating the Militia drum despite that being specifically rejected by the Supremes. They’re not giving up, and it’s long past time to remind them that the attainment of their goal has consequences. Moreover, imagine some Columbine-like mass shooting with Obama, Pelosi and Reid running the store. All your petitions and whatnot, and undoubtably Heller too, will be swept under the carpet as though they never existed. You doubt that? Then explain how Miller was so regularly mis-quoted and -cited for 69 years. It’s not as though Justice Scalia didn’t give them hints on how to do that in his written Heller decision.

    When you truly get that gun ownership is an enumerated Right, that it’s not some sort of reserved privilege, you and I can talk, not before. As it is, all you left out is that I’m overcompensating for a tiny wee-wee.

  29. Peter says:

    “Peter… I specifically linked to a bill that does many of those things in the main post.”

    True enough. I would point out that the title of the bill contains the date 2007, and we’re more than halfway through 2008. If you think that it will get through committee, make it through both Chambers and get signed before President Bush leaves office, you’re more hopeful than I am. And considering President Bush’s frankly schizophrenic attitude towards guns, even assuming that he would sign such a thing might be stretching it.

  30. Sebastian says:

    I never said the legislative process was quick. But it’s not quick for either side. It took the Brady’s a decade to get The Brady Act. It took nearly that long to get FOPA passed. Concealed carry was a decade and a half long battle and is still going.

  31. Sebastian says:

    Of course, your quite correct that Obama will put the entire gun rights platform on hold for four, possibly eight years. Which begs the question what you’re doing between now and November to help defeat him.

  32. Peter says:

    Specifically Obama? Nothing, to be completely honest. I have been focusing my efforts on the Hon. Robert Wexler, my current Congresscritter, who is a co-sponsor of Rep. McCarthy’s ‘Eee-vil Barrel Shroud Sticky Up Thing’ re-enactment and nowhere to be found on HR 4900, who is up for re-election in November. He ran unopposed last time, and the current challenger isn’t anything special either, but he’s getting my support.

  33. illspirit says:

    Sebastian, I’m a bit confused here. If you agree that a lawfully and democratically elected government can be just as tyrannical as a despot, then why play the ‘but-the-arrest-was-legal’ card with such sarcastic condescension (in the original post) to the fellow who feels we’re approaching synchronicity with pre-war Nazi Germany?

    With regards to intent, yea, current laws and enforcement methods are nowhere near as evil as the Nazis. For that matter, they smell more of incompetency than they do of malice. But on the other hand, the rather arbitrary nature of it all is almost as bad in other ways. At least the Jews knew they were, well, Jews. But does an FFL ever know whether the ATF is going to launch a multi-year crusade to shut them down over some obscure paperwork errors like Reds? Did that guy in Cali last year think he would get raided and have all his guns confiscated over some pics on MySpace? Or that guy in Long Island who had his stuff taken for having the audacity to contact Carolyn McCarthy about an issue? Should someone with, say, an AR pistol, SBR and/or rifle with a foregrip ever expect to get busted if the ATF gets bored and wants to play the “constructive possession” game? And what does it take to provoke a raid like Waco? Or the infamous kitten-stomping raid?

    I would argue that the sheer randomness has a chilling effect by itself. How many people do you think there are who would like to own guns (or some specific type), but are just intimidated by all the wacky laws?

    Anyhow, yea, I agree it’s not time to start shooting yet. And hopefully that time will never come. If it weren’t for the Constitutional question and the fact the antis always try to use it as a stepping stone, I would find the machine gun ban more amusing than anything. The only thing it really accomplishes, aside from raising revenue, is making most of us waste less ammunition.

  34. BC says:

    You’ve chosen to not understand what I’ve written. That’s a moral deficiency, not an intellectual one.

    Again, Pete, by all means continue to flatter yourself by believing this is the case.

    You clearly have a limit on what you’re prepared to do, and that’s fine.

    Yup. I’m not prepared to assassinate LEOs, or otherwise use lethal force to solve political problems except as a last resort.

    Don’t presume to impose that on me or anyone else.

    Sorry, but that’s the law. Someday the law may grow so onerous that armed resistance is the only alternative, but we’re nowhere close to that point, and ’til then, anybody who uses violence to vindicate a political grievance is a criminal, not a hero. There is no “live and let live” with criminals. I will bring coffee and donuts to the cops who bring you in, and vote to convict you if empanelled on the jury that hears your case.

    You want to own a gun so long as it’s not too dangerous or too unpopular to do so, I got it.

    If that’s what you think, no, you don’t “got it”.

  35. Peter says:

    Whatever, BC. You’re a troll, and a not particularly gifted one at that.

  36. BC says:

    It takes an honorable man to admit he’s run out of arguments and has nothing useful left to say, Peter.

  37. CorbinKale says:

    BC,

    If you would stop intentionally misconstruing fair warning of self-defense, as threats of assassination, your arguement would carry much more weight.

    “I will bring coffee and donuts to the cops who bring you in, and vote to convict you if empanelled on the jury that hears your case.”

    If you brought coffee and doughnuts to the cops, you would probably not make it past Voir Dire. And a jury is not there to decide in accordance with the letter of the law. A judge could do that. A jury decides the case AND the law in question, then dispenses justice. The people are the sovreign, not the government. Since the 2AM says that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, I will conclude that ALL gun laws are unconstitutional. That being the case, self-defense against any government agency violating the Constitution will be vindicated. I would vote to acquit.

    Let’s hope the ‘in system’ route works. If not, things will get medieval, and no one on either side wants that.

  38. Peter says:

    No, you’re not going to claim victory ad silencio, you’re simply not worth talking with any more.

  39. Sebastian says:

    BC/Peter — We’ve devolved to the point where I’m not sure there’s anything to be had by continuing the pissing contest. E-mail me if you wish to discuss things further.

  40. Peter says:

    No, Sebastian, I’m done. You have your point of view, and I have mine. BC is looking to throw gasoline on things, and after trying twice to talk with him, it’s plain that he’s just not interested. I’ll stop now.

  41. Peter says:

    Oh, and thank you for letting me play in your sandbox. It was rude of me to have left that out.

  42. Sebastian says:

    Sebastian, I’m a bit confused here. If you agree that a lawfully and democratically elected government can be just as tyrannical as a despot, then why play the ‘but-the-arrest-was-legal’ card with such sarcastic condescension (in the original post) to the fellow who feels we’re approaching synchronicity with pre-war Nazi Germany?

    It can be, but that’s not to say I agree that is the case now. Right now we still have a government that is largely operating within the parameters outlined by its constitution. I have many bones of contentions when you get down to the nitty gritty details, but in the matters of utmost importance, things are doing just fine… or at least not worse than they have been in the past.

    With regards to intent, yea, current laws and enforcement methods are nowhere near as evil as the Nazis. For that matter, they smell more of incompetency than they do of malice. But on the other hand, the rather arbitrary nature of it all is almost as bad in other ways. At least the Jews knew they were, well, Jews. But does an FFL ever know whether the ATF is going to launch a multi-year crusade to shut them down over some obscure paperwork errors like Reds? Did that guy in Cali last year think he would get raided and have all his guns confiscated over some pics on MySpace? Or that guy in Long Island who had his stuff taken for having the audacity to contact Carolyn McCarthy about an issue? Should someone with, say, an AR pistol, SBR and/or rifle with a foregrip ever expect to get busted if the ATF gets bored and wants to play the “constructive possession” game? And what does it take to provoke a raid like Waco? Or the infamous kitten-stomping raid?

    Those are all legitimate grievances, but as bad as they are, if the solution involves war, the cure is going to be far worse than the disease. The only solution that will resolve them long run is convincing enough of your fellow citizens of the problem that they either work, or at least acquiesce to change things. One of the great paradoxes of this nation’s founding was that our founders had an extreme distrust of democratic rule, yet, ultimately, they believed in putting the power in the hands of the people, both in terms of arms, and ultimately in political control. As a nation we have never lived up in practice to the ideals they had for us, but we’ve done pretty well, considering.

    I would argue that the sheer randomness has a chilling effect by itself. How many people do you think there are who would like to own guns (or some specific type), but are just intimidated by all the wacky laws?

    More than a few, which is why I advocate making the laws far less random, and less prone to being violating by the unknowing. But if the choice is between persuading the people, and making war on them, I choose persuasion.

    Anyhow, yea, I agree it’s not time to start shooting yet. And hopefully that time will never come. If it weren’t for the Constitutional question and the fact the antis always try to use it as a stepping stone, I would find the machine gun ban more amusing than anything. The only thing it really accomplishes, aside from raising revenue, is making most of us waste less ammunition.

    Pretty much, which is why I don’t get all that worked up about it. It think the founders would probably agree that machine gun ownership should be protected by the second amendment. That’s just based on what I know about them. But I don’t know what they would have thought about surface to air missiles, or anti-tank rockets. I mean, I could make a guess they would have thought it should be protected, or maybe had some trepidation, but there was really nothing like that in their times.

    In 1789, there was a certain limit on the destructive power that one man could wield. These days, if you remove the legal and monetary barriers, a single man could wield the power to destroy a city. That’s something the founders could never have even dreamed of. Our civilization has, quite literally, mastered that power behind the stars. We could argue endlessly about what the founders would have thought about the implications of that, but the fact is, that they would be no better, and would perhaps be less informed to answer those questions than we are now.

    When you really start thinking about the issues, nothing is as cut an died as many folks would like to believe.

  43. Sebastian says:

    Oh, and thank you for letting me play in your sandbox. It was rude of me to have left that out.

    It’s fine. I will always give fair warning before commenters cross the line…

    … oh wait ;)

  44. Billy Beck says:

    BC: “…but we’re nowhere close to that point,…”

    (“There you go again…”)

    Sebastian: do you recall this matter of individual ethics from the other thread?

    Could you explain it to BC?

  45. David Codrea says:

    Sebastian: “That in and of itself is not enough to get a conviction. They had to prove that he knowingly possessed a machine gun. ”

    Please show me where that was the case in the trial transcript.

    It didn’t matter the government had repeatedly failed to replicate automatic fire until they replaced the ammunition with a softer primer type. It didn’t even matter that the prosecution admitted it was not important to prove the gun would do it again if the test were conducted today.

    What mattered was the government’s position that none of the above was relevant because “[T]here’s no indication it makes any difference under the statute. If you pull the trigger once and it fires more than one round, no matter what the cause it’s a machine gun.”

    No matter what the cause.

    Please show me where you have different information.

  46. BC says:

    Please show me where that was the case in the trial transcript.

    It won’t be found in the trial transcript. It’s in the statutory definition of the offense.

    18 U.S.C. § 922(o)(1): Except as provided in paragraph (2), it shall be unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun.

    18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2): Whoever knowingly violates subsection (a)(6), (d), (g), (h), (i), (j), or (o) of section 922 shall be fined as provided in this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

    Emphasis mine. 922(o) violations aren’t strict-liability offenses. The prosecutor has to prove the defendant knowingly violated 922(o) as part of his case-in-chief.

    Knowledge, for the purposes of the section, is knowledge that (per 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b)) the gun shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger — not that a statute defines such firearms as machine guns, nor that possessing or transferring such a weapon is against the law.

    Olofson tried to claim that he didn’t know the gun he gave to Kiernicki fired automatically, and that it was just a malfunctioning AR. The jury thought he was full of crap, likely based in large part on Kiernicki’s testimony of Olofson’s statements to him. See Tr. Transcript 38-39, U.S. v. Olofson, WL 2463280 (E.D. Wis. 2007).

  47. David Codrea says:

    Just went through the transcript–it is in there. The statement “They had to prove that he knowingly possessed a machine gun” is correct and I withdraw my question to Sebastian. Whether I or anyone else agrees with or likes the jury verdict is irrelevant. It is what it is.

  48. CorbinKale says:

    The AR would pass muster under the Miller decision. The right to possess the firearm is covered under Heller. The only thing missing is a decision that will decide ‘shall not be infringed’. That decision will do one of two things. Nullify all gun laws, or signal mass regulation. It seems like Heller has standing to file another suit. Maybe I am wrong, but I can’t reconcile ‘shall not be infringed’ with ‘reasonable infringements’.

    I look forward to the day when we can do away with the insanity of stepping over invisible lines and a 1/4 inch barrel length being only the difference between upstanding citizens and felons.

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