It’s not really tab cleaning time just yet, but I’d rather fire off the news post today rather than tomorrow. Tomorrow is our last day in our old offices. On Monday, the movers come, and I have to move a few switches and servers. Tuesday they switch our Internet pipe, so I will have a lot to do ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday.
See, a lot of us conservatives walk around in a reassuring trance believing that people like and want small government. Most people don’t. At most, they like and want small government for other people. Farmers like farm subsidies, defense-contractor employees like big spending by the Pentagon, most senior citizens explode at the slightest mention of cuts to Social Security or Medicare. Most self-identified conservatives not only don’t fight for smaller government, they fight against it when it personally impacts them. And then they turn around and complain that lawmakers never manage to reduce the size of government.
I’m with Tam on the issue, I’m glad it’s not my call. But I’ve seen a lot of conservatives arguing that because no background check can be 100% effective, and there are sure to be some jihadists among them, we don’t let any of them in. It only takes one to do a lot of damage. Let me play a bit of devil’s advocate, but in a different context.
There’s no way for a background check to be 100% effective, and one wrong person with a gun can cause a lot of damage, so we ban guns, right? Careful what lines of reasoning you use, lest that logic be applied to other contexts on issues you care about.
I don’t join with the left to suggest that if you don’t want to let them in your a horrible, racist person, and I think there are reasonable and non-racist arguments to be made for not accepting Syrian refugees. I’d just be careful with a “we can never be too safe” argument when it comes to background checks, because that leads to a certain conclusion in another context that would make most readers of this blog deeply uncomfortable.
I don’t see why Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) would think we’d be fooled by this move and drop opposition to smart gun technology. We didn’t have to arrive at this place. I don’t think any gun owners are opposed to the technology in concept, provided it’s the market that’s allowed to choose whether it wins or loses. But Senator Weinberg didn’t want that. She wanted to mandate it, while at the same time exempting police. That’s not something that can be undone, and trust gets automatically restored. We should continue to oppose this technology. We know, not just speculate, we know it will result in politicians mandating it.
After the attacks on Paris, I turned to Bitter and said “I’ll bet this will see another surge in gun sales, and particularly a surge in people applying for concealed carry licenses.” Sure enough, western Pennsylvania sheriffs departments are reporting they are overwhelmed by the number of new applicants:
Requests for licenses to carry concealed handguns jumped sharply in some Western Pennsylvania counties Monday and Tuesday, a reaction some sheriffs’ offices said they have come to expect in the days after mass shootings and terrorist attacks.
And this kind of poll is the only kind that counts. Regardless of what Bloomberg wants to trick people into believing, when Americans become concerned they may come under attack, they arm themselves.
I first got my LTC in 2002, less than a year after 9/11, and it was 9/11 that convinced me to pull the trigger, so to speak. I figured they’d eventually try something here like they did later in Mumbai, Kenya, and now Paris.
Bloomberg’s mouthpiece is touting a new PPP poll they commissioned that they claim shows clear support for banning private transfers of firearms, but in actuality shows very strong support for the Brady Bill, which already passed in 1994.
Q1 Do you support or oppose requiring a criminal background check of every person who wants to buy a firearm?
Support a criminal background check for
everyone who wants to buy a firearm …………. 83%
Oppose a criminal background check for
everyone who wants to buy a firearm …………. 14%
It makes you question why they are framing the question this way. Why not ask the question this way? “Do you support or oppose requiring all transfers of firearms between individuals to be processed by federally licensed gun shops who conduct background checks?” How much does the support fall off if you do that? How many people took that question to mean support for background checks at point of sale?
The biggest problem for NRA in all of this is probably this:
Q12 Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement: The NRA used to be an organization dedicated to gun safety, but it’s been overtaken by lobbyists and the interests of gun manufacturers and lost its original purpose and mission.
Strongly agree ………………………………………… 45%
Somewhat agree……………………………………… 14%
Somewhat disagree …………………………………. 13%
But then you have 51% of gun owners saying NRA represents their interests, which makes you ponder whether they misunderstood the question.
Q10 In your view, does the NRA represent your interests as a gun owner, or not?
NRA represents your interests as a gun
owner …………………………………………………….. 51%
NRA does not represent your interests as a
gun owner ………………………………………………. 37%
Not sure …………………………………………………. 12%
Polling is essentially trickery, because how you ask the question can skew the results incredibly. How many people on the Constitutional Carry questions were thinking removing the permit requirement would mean no more carry? The domestic abusers and stalker numbers don’t surprise me. No one wants to be seen, even by a pollster, or standing up for domestic abusers and/or stalkers.
One thing to also keep in mind with polls like this is that they will greatly overstate NRA membership, because they identify NRA members by asking if the person is an NRA members. About 33 million Americans will self-identify as NRA members even if they haven’t actually been dues-paying members for years. That’s about 1/3rd the number of gun owners in this country. So when 55% of the people in this poll say NRA represents their position on background checks, that’s about 15.4 million Americans who say they are NRA members, but actually are not. Just to put that in perspective, Obama’s margin in 2012 was 3.5 million, and in 2009 was 9.5 million.
How do you become a police state? Whatever the police ask for, they get. No questions. I think this bill, which would require people to turn on their dome lights during a traffic stop is going to end up getting someone killed. The police unions are asking for it, so who are members of either party to say no? Republicans love themselves some law and order, and you can’t expect a Democrat to say no to a union, can you?
What’s going to end up happening is a lot of out-of-state people will get fined, because they aren’t aware of such a ridiculous law, since they don’t exist in other states. Maybe that’s the idea. Is it a good and courteous thing to turn on one’s dome light during a stop? Sure. But just because it’s courteous doesn’t mean it ought to be the law.
Of course, there will be the usual, “the innocent having nothing to hide,” from the law and order crowd, but remember a .22LR hollow nose cartridge getting out of your range bag is going to get you in a hell of a lot more trouble than a $50 fine in New Jersey. This bill is not only an invitation to extract more money from out-of-state drivers, it’s an invitation for more otherwise law abiding gun owners to end up in New Jersey State prison. Chris Christie isn’t going to be around to issue pardons forever, and we already know the courts can not be depended on.
My bigger concern is that as awareness of the law spreads in New Jersey, the people who are slow to catch on are going to be presumed by the stopping officer to be up to no good, and are going to meet at the least a heightened response, and at worse a dangerous overreaction. Politicians need to think about the consequences of these kinds of outlying regulations, and not be afraid to say no to the police lobby when they come asking for them. It’s already against the law in New Jersey to refuse to turn on your dome light when requested (I don’t know what happens if your dome light doesn’t work, since it’s not an inspection item, and not required to be working on the car). This law seems like a way to bilk money out of the peasantry while claiming to be about keeping the King’s Men safe.
I asked Joe Huffman, who runs Boomershoot and who has more explosive experience than any other gun blogger, if he would have any commentary about suicide bombers who were armed with TATP bombs, and he has responded. He’s certain that if TATP gets hit with a bullet impact it will detonate, so necessitates head shots. He goes into a lot more detail than I will, so read the whole thing.
One weakness in my own shooting is that I’ve spent very little time shooting at moving targets. I’ve done it once, and I did OK, but I’d love to spend more time with targets like this:
Of course, I should offer the standard Internet disclaimer which goes: “That kind of gamer stuff will get you killed on the street,” or something like that, but since you can’t practice shooting terrorists in the gourd, these kinds of moving targets seem like a good idea.
A few figures on the right politicized the terrorist attack in Paris pretty much while it was happening. I might agree with the sentiments expressed, that people are generally made safer by having a well-armed population who are well-trained (dare I say well-regulated?) in the use of those arms. But I agree that jumping right in with fodder intended for domestic political audiences is distasteful. But my question for the folks arguing this: is it wrong when Obama jumps in with political rhetoric immediately following mass shootings? Is it wrong when gun control advocates immediately start pushing their policies in the media immediately in the wake of mass shootings? If you say it’s wrong for Newt Gingrich to do it, but fine for Barack Obama, then you have a double standard, and pardon me if I don’t then start thinking your an unthinking partisan. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having the policy discussion. That will inevitably come. But I do think it’s the decent thing to do to tame the rhetoric until people have had a chance to process what happened. At least give it a few days.
And notice, in the linked article, the Washington Post laments politicizing the attacks, and then turns around and belches out several anti-gun talking points, like they couldn’t help themselves, and like that itself is not controversial or political. So who’re really the assholes here? You’d almost think for as narcissistic as some in the media are, they might look in the mirror now and then.
Predictably there are Americans who actually believe that if only French residents were allowed to carry guns in public, lives could have been saved. These delusional people have an alternate view of the world not shared by most. If someone can explain how a gun could have been used to take out guys wearing suicide vests when there is no expectation that someone will blow themselves up in seconds, then go ahead. Enlighten us. If someone can explain how a pistol in a waistband holster would save innocent citizens from men armed with AK 47s, (maybe automatic type weapons) then go ahead- enlighten us.
Of course, Mrs. Peterson’s blog is her safe-space, so it’s closed off to differing viewpoints. She’s asking questions that she in no way, shape or form wants answered, so I’ll do my best to enlighten.
First thing I would say is that if I were to find myself in such a situation, I am not anybody else’s hero. I carry a gun to protect my own ass and the asses of my loved ones. That it. If I can beat a hasty retreat to an exit, I’m going to do so up against those odds. Absent that, I’m figuring I’m going to die anyway, so I might as well take a few of the buggers out with me. That’ll be a few less for the cops.
Here are a few of the myths gun control proponents like to peddle:
You won’t be able to tell who the bad guys are.
Generally speaking, if a person is shooting at me, they are a bad guy. But in this case, they were armed with Kalashnikovs, so target identification is even easier. Normal people don’t carry Kalashnikovs to theaters, so I feel pretty safe in using that as a determiner (yeah, sorry rifle OC guys, this is why it’s a bad idea). It gets a little harder if someone else is shooting with a pistol, but even here, if he’s shooting at the guys with the Kalashnikovs and not shooting fellow theater goers, he’s a good guy, don’t shoot.
You’ll just kill more people because the bullets will just set off their vests.
Those vests are going to go off anyway, because that’s why they call them suicide vests. I’d much rather it go off not at a time and place of their choosing, where they can maximize body count. If two of them are close together, you might even be able to get a two for the price of one bonus. In this case they were wearing vests made with TATP explosive, which is very unstable and shock sensitive. If it’s a more professionally made vest, most common plastic explosives aren’t sensitive to shock. Even if I get killed or taken out of the fight by the vest going off, that’s still one less terrorist for the cops to deal with, and one less terrorist continuing to shoot at people. When the cops come in, what do you think they are going to do? They are going to shoot the people wearing the vest, because there’s no better option available. The anti-gun folks must assume the police have some special magic that relieves them of having to shoot the bad guy wearing the vest.
A person with a pistol could never successfully take on a person with a Kalashnikov.
This is complete nonsense. First thing to do if you can’t find an exit? Find cover. Theaters often have hefty support columns that would make good cover. Unlike the bad guys, who have given up their element of surprise, you still have yours. They are not going to be expecting people to shoot back. If you do engage them, while they are focused on you, they are not killing other people. At the least, you’re buying time for others to escape, even if you yourself fail to beat the odds.
As to the automatic weapons issue, I would fear attackers taking aimed shots on semi-automatic a lot more than I would attackers spraying automatic fire all over the place. The former signals attackers who are well-trained and know how to use their rifles. The latter signals poorly trained people who are going to empty their magazines quickly and give an opportunity for return fire when they have to reload. It also is indicative that they are using spray-and-pray tactics because they do not actually know how to accurately employ their rifles. Spray and pray may work to rack up the body count in a crowded theater, but it’s not as effective at dealing with a single target who is shooting at you.
I want to be clear that having a gun in a situation like this is no guarantee you’ll come out on top, and everybody lives. News reports are that there were three attackers inside the Paris theater. Reports also indicate they were quick with reloads and seemed pretty competent in employing their rifles. As one person armed with a pistol, I already don’t like my odds. But I like them a lot better with my Glock 19, or even a 7 shot pocket pistol, than I would with nothing to offer but harsh language.
The media and gun control advocates (but I repeat myself) seem to believe we live in some kind of fantasy world. We don’t live in a fantasy world any more than they do, because unless you’ve actually been in a situation like happened in Paris, speculating on tactics and outcome is just a mind exercise. The difference is when they do this, they do it without the benefit of knowing their own capability with a gun (or knowing it’s non-existing), the limitations of what different guns can do, and the limitations of individual shooters. It’s not some Rambo fantasy: if a defender is sufficiently well trained, and the attackers make mistakes, there’s no reason a single person with a pistol could not take out three attackers armed with rifles. Is your average licensee that well trained? No. But neither is your average police officer. And like police officers, there are licensees out there who are that well trained, and our country is better off and more secure for it.