Sep 29, 2016
You can see here. It’s pretty much what I expected. Pat Toomey gets his grade reduced from an A to a C and loses his endorsement. In my local congressional race, it looks like Brian Fitzpatrick turned in a B questionnaire and is not going to carry an NRA endorsement. However, Fitzpatrick is running against Steve Santarsiero, whose F grade is really an understatement. Recall that Steve Santarsiero called for door-to-door confiscation of semi-automatic firearms. In other suburban Philadelphia races, Republican Pat Meehan is down to a B- with a D rated Mary Ellen Balchunis running against him. A race to watch is the sixth district, held by A rated and endorsed Ryan Costello, up against a D rated Mike Parrish. Costello is the only suburban district not running in mad fear of Bloomberg’s money. I cannot stress how damaging Bloomberg has been to gun rights in the Philadelphia suburbs, and that’s almost entirely because he brings more cash to the table than we can, and our local gun owners are not active enough in the issue politically to counter his money. It is not for lack of gun owners that we are losing ground, it is for lack of gun owners who give a shit enough to do something.
John C. Rafferty has drawn an endorsement with an A- grade in the race for Attorney General. His Democratic opponent Josh Shapiro is D rated, and on his web site says that he plans to “Expand background checks to cover private sales of long guns.” I’m not sure how the AG has the power to do that, but there you go. We’d also continue to worry about our reciprocity agreements with other states with Shapiro in the AG seat. Also consider that the AG seat is a springboard for Governor.
Sep 28, 2016
Last night was our annual Bucks County Friends of NRA banquet. Our last dinner was in 2014, because of burnout with the committee, we didn’t have a dinner in 2015. We were happy to have 150 people show up, most of whom were new. We turned out more people than Shannon Watts did at her last protest! One thing I noticed is that the number of women attending is way up, and this year we had a number of younger couples, like 20s and 30s younger. We’re not just attracting the OFWG demographic anymore. The community is definitely changing, or at least the people engaged with the issue enough to attend a fundraiser is changing.
Our rough estimate is that we raised $13000 for NRA Foundation programs. We’ve done better, and we’ve done worse. Overall, I think it was a good dinner for having skipped a year. Half that money stays in Eastern Pennsylvania, the other half goes into the Foundation’s fund to fund shooting programs generally. Every year the Eastern PA committees meet to go over grant requests and decide who gets the money raised through these dinners. Youth shooting programs come first. You can read more about the Friends program here, or find a dinner near you.
About a year ago I got tired of trying to win guns and losing, so I started putting all my tickets in to the cheesiest item on the table that no one else was bidding on. One year I got the NRA fan, which is actually a decent desk fan. This year I got the hand blown NRA wine decanter. Doesn’t everyone need a hand blown NRA-branded wine decanter? Once you have one, you’ll never know how you ever lived without it.
Disappointing this year was the NRA toaster. A few years ago NRA had a toaster that would toast “NRA” onto your toast. It was a two slice model, and it went for $400 dollars at the live auction. This year they decided to introduce the same toaster in a four-slice high-capacity assault configuration, and it only went for $110. Disappointing really.
Sep 27, 2016
I watched the debate last night, despite there not being enough booze in the world to get through that. Pass the Brawndo. I call it a draw, with the real loser being the American People. I think Trump’s base got a lot of red meat from Trump with his trade protectionism and good old fashioned “law & order” talk, and Hillary’s base got red meat both from her, and from plenty of Trump hate. Glenn Reynolds I think summed up my sentiment best:
Honestly, the bar was set so low that both cleared it: Trump didn’t throw anything, and she didn’t cough up blood. Happy 2016!
Sep 23, 2016
The first pistol I ever bought was a Mk.II. Later I bought a Mk.III. My chief complaints about the Mk.III:
- It was designed by lawyers. It’s got every awful “safety feature” you can think of.
- It’s really difficult to strip and clean.
Tam managed to get a hold of a Ruger Mk.IV and it looks like Ruger has addressed those issues. I’m very happy to see this, because the Ruger Mk series is a first pistol for a lot of people, and it serves an important function in the community.
Sep 22, 2016
After reading that Instapundit got suspended by Twitter, I’ve decided I’m done with it. I was angry that they censored Milo Yianopolous, but the fact is that Milo is a provocateur, so he runs the fine line. Glenn Reynolds is no Milo. Twitter is run by censoring fascists, and while I agree it’s their sandbox, I sure as hell don’t have to play in it.
I’m removing the Twitter platform from the blog’s social media, and I will no longer be posting on it. You can still find us on Facebook (for now). This post will be the last that will be posted to Twitter. We are done with it. If you value free speech and free expression, you should think about being done with it too.
Sep 22, 2016
The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has refused to grant a preliminary injunction against the State Department to prevent it from enforcing ITAR rules against Defense Distributed.
Ordinarily, of course, the protection of constitutional rights would be the highest public interest at issue in a case. That is not necessarily true here, however, because the State Department has asserted a very strong public interest in national defense and national security. Indeed, the State Department’s stated interest in preventing foreign nationals—including all manner of enemies of this country—from obtaining technical data on how to produce weapons and weapon parts is not merely tangentially related to national defense and national security; it lies squarely within that interest.
Jesus, you’d think they were talking about a plans for a Pershing Missile here, not sharing publicly available data on how to manufacture small arms. It’s not like these are national defense secrets. We’re talking about information that is in the public domain! The government even asserts that it’s only Internet publication that’s problematic, and that it’s still within rights to publish this kind of thing through older media.
Judge Edith Jones, a Reagan appointee, was the dissenter in the case. In the majority were Judge Eugene Davis, a Reagan appointee, and Judge James Graves, an Obama appointee. From Judge Jones dissent:
This case poses starkly the question of the national government’s power to impose a prior restraint on the publication of lawful, unclassified, not- otherwise-restricted technical data to the Internet under the guise of regulating the “export” of “defense articles.” I dissent from this court’s failure to treat the issues raised before us with the seriousness that direct abridgements of free speech demand.
Reading her dissent, she really gets it. Judge Davis is 80 years old. Does he really understand the implications of what the State Department is doing here? From Judge Jones dissent:
Defense Distributed and its amici challenge the regulations’ interpretation of “export” and the “public domain” exception to the definition of “technical data.” Although the majority opinion adopts the State Department’s litigating position that “export” refers only to publication on the Internet, where the information will inevitably be accessible to foreign actors, the warning letter to Defense Distributed cited the exact, far broader regulatory definition: “export” means “disclosing (including oral or visual disclosure) or transferring technical data to a foreign person, whether in the United States of abroad.” There is embedded ambiguity, and disturbing breadth, in the State Department’s discretion to prevent the dissemination (without an “export” license) of lawful, non-classified technical data to foreign persons within the U.S. The regulation on its face, as applied to Defense
Distributed, goes far beyond the proper statutory definition of “export.” Even if “export” in AECA could bear a more capacious interpretation, applying the State Department’s regulatory interpretation to the non- transactional publication of Defense Distributed’s files on the Internet is unreasonable. In terms of the regulations themselves, how this expansive definition of “export” interacts with the “public domain” exception is unclear at best. If any dissemination of information bearing on USML technical data to foreign persons within the U.S. is potentially an “export,” then facilitating domestic publication of such information free of charge can never satisfy the “public domain” exception because newspapers, libraries, magazines, conferences, etc. may all be accessed by foreign persons. The State Department’s ipse dixit that “export” is consistent with its own “public domain” regulation is incoherent and unreasonable. Even if these regulations are consistent, however, attempting to exclude the Internet from the “public domain,” whose definition does not currently refer to the Internet, is irrational and absurd. The Internet has become the quintessential “public domain.” The State Department cannot have it both ways, broadly defining “export” to cover non-transactional publication within the U.S. while solely and arbitrarily excluding from the “public domain” exception the Internet publication of Defense Distributed’s technical data.
If the majority’s reasoning holds, it’s bad bad news for tinkerers everywhere. A lot of topics are considered defense articles. This goes way beyond guns. It will be a great offense to the First Amendment if this ruling holds.
Sep 22, 2016
The new pre-emtiion enhancement bill, HB 2258, is now going before the Pennsylvania House floor, having been voted out of committee by a 21-6 vote. I’m curious to see if we can pass this with a veto-proof or near veto-proof majority. The GOP controls the House and Senate at levels in this state that have not been seen for decades, and there are still some pro-gun Democrats out there, so I’m hopeful we’ll get a good vote tally.
When this bill was briefly law before it was invalidated by the courts for violating the single-subject requirement of our state constitution, it did a lot of good. Most municipalities folded like a cheap deck of cards once challenged under it. The only holdouts were the big cities, which fought the law using the single-subject argument.
Follow this link to go to NRA’s handy app that will help you write your rep. Let’s get this done.
Sep 21, 2016
I’ve been too busy to do much posting. I’d feel bad about that if there was much gun news to post about. Things will stay very busy until mid October, when they should return to a more even keel. But as always, there always a little bit of gun news:
Alan Gura: “The Court after Scalia: The next “conservative” Justice may not save the Second Amendment.” I don’t know, George H.W. Bush was pretty culturally and temperamentally pro-gun control, but he still gave us Thomas, and his son gave us Alito and Roberts, without which Heller and McDonald would never have won. Though I suspect Roberts’ minimalism is a big part of our problem trying to bring greater security for the Second Amendment.
Speaking of SCOTUS: “Joe Biden to Lead New Push for Senate Vote on Merrick Garland.”
Sex Offender laws violate Ex Post Facto Clause, says 6th circuit. Relation to guns? Lautenberg by all rights should have been declared Ex Post Facto as applied to past convictions, but that was argued pre-Heller. A court willing to enforce the Second Amendment would take another look at that ruling.
In depth article about a guy who open carries a rifle to Wal-Mart. Fair coverage?
“How to smash the gun lobby.” Well, first you need to understand the “gun lobby,” which you clearly don’t, so good luck with that.
Schumer: “Progressive Supreme Court #1 Goal.” Schumer if probably the shrewdest politician in public office today. He’s also probably the number one enemy of the Second Amendment in public office today.
Yeah, I haven’t noticed George Takai’s new gun control group dominating the scene either. Actually, I haven’t even noticed them.
NYT: “Gun Control Groups Divide Their Loyalties in Senate Race.” CeaseFirePA is funded by Bloomberg, so if you ask me, they are trying to create a “Head, I win. Tails, you lose.” type of situation by doing competing endorsements. For what it’s worth, I’m becoming more convinced by the anti-Toomey folks that he needs to go down.
Yes, let the hate flow through you. Your hate only makes us more powerful.
They are really intent on building that “West Coast Wall,” trying to get all the west coast states to ban semi-automatic rifles that look scary.
Eugene Volokh: “Can some people who have finished their felony sentences recover their Second Amendment rights?” Like I said before, we’re doing better in this area than I thought we would.
Age discrimination in my industry is real, and I’m getting to the age where it’ll start becoming more of a problem. I’ve tried very hard to keep my skills up, and it’s letting them fall behind that’s a big driver. But the struggle is real, especially if you live in the Valley.
This: “One of the things that Trump’s candidacy has done is shown that the political consultant/advertising business is largely a racket, and I suspect that this accounts for much of the visceral hostility that so many people in that business display toward him.” I’m not a fan of Trump, but one silver lining if he wins is that the consultants will be exposed for the con men they are. Maybe it takes a con man to spot another con man.
Hoover Institute: “An Era of Tenuous Majorities.”
Yes, this drives me absolutely batty, and I see it on the left and the right pretty equally.
Sep 19, 2016
Looks like Bloomberg must have funded a major survey of gun ownership that didn’t just ask whether you had a gun in the home, but how many. Data shows that the number of gun owners has increased, but not at the same rate as population. The trend is apparently driven by men owning guns at a lesser rate, even as women are owning them at an increasing rate.
I think all of these social surveys are going to be limited by how many people are willing to talk to surveyors about a topic that’s a sensitive one. So even if the survey mythology it tip top, it’s always going to have that limitation. Personally, if someone calls asking about the number of guns I have in the home, and not just about whether I own one, I’m going to become very suspicious and hang up the phone.
Azrael, one of the study’s authors, said she was surprised that the detailed questions on gun ownership received no pushback. “People didn’t write back to GfK and say, ‘You have no right to ask these questions.’”
“It was encouraging,” she said. “It didn’t feel fraught. It felt that we were talking about a regular consumer product.”
Yeah, because if I were participating in that survey company’s response pool, I would just check off “no, not a gun owner” and send it back if I didn’t want to go there. I think the more they try to extract information, the lower the response rate is going to be. Low response rates are probably why this survey came up way short on the total number of guns we know (from ATF manufacturing data) are out there.
That said, I think the idea that most of the 300 million guns in this country are owned by a subclass of “super owners” as they call them in this survey is probably on the mark, and as Gary Kleck notes in the article, “That’s probably true for just about any consumer good.”
Most people reading this blog are probably “super owners.” Would you respond to someone with a long list of questions about your status as a gun owner? I sure as hell wouldn’t. But at the same time, Bloomberg is obviously funding these surveys for the exact purpose mentioned in this study: “this survey sounds like part of the ongoing effort to minimize gun ownership to make more gun control seem politically achievable.” Yep. You’re far better off talking to your elected representatives about how you feel about gun ownership than you are Bloomberg’s social surveyors.
Sep 19, 2016
Apparently there was a mass stabbing in Minnesota while I was incommunicado, which ISIS is taking credit for. Supposedly he asked at least one person if they were muslim before cutting them. Personally, I think it’s very courteous of jihadists to stop and ask whether their victims are muslims first. I very much appreciate being offered the time and opportunity to prepare my reply.
Looks like we also have dumpster bombs going off in New York City and in New Jersey. Same dude suspected in both bombings. With all this activity, I’m glad Glock weather is soon to be upon us. I’d hate to have to engage a stabby jihadist with a pocket pistol.