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Win in Palmer vs. DC!

Via Alan Gura, who is the attorney for the case. This was the case challenging the District of Colombia’s ban on carrying firearms in public, that the court had been sitting on for quite some time. The court left the door open for some regulation of carry, including licensing, but “consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

Needless to say, this is a significant win. Probably the most significant win since Illinois was forced to become shall-issue in the case of Moore v. Madigan. Hopefully this will strengthen the hand of Congress when it comes to setting the Districts gun laws for it, and then preempting City Council from regulating firearms.

A quick way to fix this problem would be to recognize licenses to carry from all states that issue them. I believe D.C. residents can obtain licenses from Virginia, which would probably do until D.C. sets up its own shall-issue regime.

A bigger question is whether this case will go to the Supreme Court or not. The Court hasn’t seemed eager to hear a carry case, but maybe this will be the one. If this does go to SCOTUS and wins, that would apply to the whole country.

UPDATE: It’s been so long since Palmer was heard, I forgot it was still at the District Court level, and not the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. So the next step is the Circuit Court, not the Supreme Court.

Anti-Gun Hate Files: First Edition

News is kind of slow, so I figure I should point out instances where our opponents display all the seething mouth foaming they accuse us of, and let their extremism show.

From eduardo16, on the comments on this news piece:

This is an insult to Niles progressive community. The Mayor and trustees are scared and afraid of the gun lobby lawsuits and ignored the popular clamor to stop guns in Niles. They caved in to the gun lobby and showed zero leadership. The American society needs to be disarmed, secularized and educated otherwise it will continue becoming an affluent version of the Taliban.

Disarmed, stripped of religion and re-educated? That sounds familiar. Yes, congratulations Eduardo, people like you are the reason I own guns, and advocate others do the same! You’re dangerous, and your ideas are dangerous. They lead to dark places. I don’t intend to go with you.

Here’s a comment by hughjames46:

Who would want this filth in their community? It’s a dirty, loud business. Not to mention quite ridiculous, grown people knocking off paper targets and paying for the privilege and then getting all excited about it. (You have to admit they do seem sexually repressed.)

These stores are no better than adult book stores. Their clientele is likely to be lower class and no better than drug addicts. Gun nuts need a fix and these stores are like having a pusher right on the corner.

Sometimes you have to wonder if some of these comments aren’t trolls. But to be fair, I’ve seen hate and pearl clutching of this magnitude coming from the other side before. This mentality blows my mind. I don’t really get the point of soccer either, grown adults kicking a ball around a field and hardly scoring, but that doesn’t mean I think no one ought to enjoy it.

Joe Manchin Costs Jobs with Gun Control

This letter would seem to indicate that Beretta considered relocated to West Virginia, having been wooed there by politicians no doubt looking to bring jobs. But Beretta indicates they were “looking first and foremost for a widespread and stable place of political support in any potential location,” and Joe Manchin’s recent actions on gun control were enough to give them the heebee jeebees. It’s not like West Virginia needs jobs or anything. Working class people struggling for good manufacturing jobs ought to take note of where Democratic priorities lie.

BerettaLetter

Pearl Clutchers Defeated in Niles Gun Shop Battle

Don’t ever let anyone tell you they aren’t after your guns. That was a recent theme Joe Huffman was pushing on his blog. You can see the collected evidence here, here, here, and here. I suspect one could make a successful niche blog out of a feature like this. To show that even Shannon Watts group is, in fact, an extremist group dressed in the disguise of reasonableness, last week John Richardson raised the alarm that the Mom’s Demand Action was busy trying to prevent a shooting range from opening in the Chicagoland area. This place is to be called Sportsman’s Club and Firearms Training Academy. Sounds like a den of criminals to me! I say “is to be called,” because the anti-gunners were defeated in their efforts to stop the range from being built. They got a whopping one vote in their favor on the Niles City Council.

When they get to the point where they are trying to prevent ordinary Americans from engaging in recreational shooting, or having a clean and safe environment to learn owning, shooting, and carrying a gun safely, they’re not operating in the realm most Americans would consider reasonable. These people are extremists. They are as kooky as the lunatics carrying AR-15s into Target, just approaching it from the other side of the issue. You can see their extremism on display in the comments to this article. Who is Christine Fenno? Why, she’s a professional extremist with Moms Demand. No amateur extremism going on there.

Joe is right. Don’t ever let anyone tell you they aren’t after your guns. At the very least, they are singularly unconcerned with actual gun safety. In order to teach people gun safety, we need ranges and instructors. Moms Demand is against ranges and instructors. What does that tell you? We should celebrate that they’ve lost this fight in Niles. We are bringing a safe and fun gun culture back to the places where they thought they had destroyed it for good. We will persevere, until we have places like “Sportsman’s Club and Firearms Training Academy” popping up in New York City, San Francisco, and all manner of places that will make the Christine Fennos of the world clutch their pearls. One way or another, they will have to deal with us as friends, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow Americans, no longer able to dismiss us as the caricatures erected in their own prejudiced minds.

So It Has Come to This: Obama Gets Me to Cheer Mike Bloomberg

The Obama Administration has taken such an egregious action that is has me actively cheering gun control wallet-in-chief Mike Bloomberg. From today’s edition of Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt, on what he’s calling a de-facto travel ban to Israel, quoting Bloomberg:

“This evening I will be flying on El Al to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel,” Bloomberg said in a prepared statement emailed by former City Hall spokesman Marc La Vorgna shortly after 8 p.m.

“Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely,” Bloomberg continued. “The U.S. flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit US airlines to fly to Israel.”

It’s not like anyone flying to Israel isn’t aware there’s a war going on. If people want to take their chances, it’s no business of the FAA’s. I agree with Geraghty that this is back channel pressure on the Israelis to comply with US demands. You know, US demands that it basically not defend itself.

I’ve said over the dinner table that if the drug cartels in Mexico were launching rockets over the border into El Paso at the same rate Hamas has been launching them out of Gaza, in a few days there would be no living cartel members. If the US Army wouldn’t invade Mexico and clean house, Texans would. There wouldn’t be all that much concern for collateral damage, as long as all the rockets and heavy weapons were found and destroyed quickly. A hostile Mexican government would likely be deposed. We all know we would do that. Even most liberal Americans faced with rocket attacks would demand action.

Yet this Administration apparently expects the Israelis to “show restraint.” They are. The fact that it took this long to go in shows remarkable restraint — restraint that Americans would never exercise in the same situation.

Dual Citizenship Laws

Tam was wondering how two Americans, recently killed in the hostilities in Gaza, were legally serving in the IDF while retaining citizenship. I am far from an expert in this, but there have been a number of Supreme Court cases involving this topic of dual-citizenship for those of you interested. But my understanding boils down to this: you generally won’t lose your citizenship unless you renounce it or take some action in a manner that shows intent to give up citizenship. US law and policy is generally favorable for people holding dual-citizenship, residing abroad, and serving compulsory military service, which Israel requires. I also think you can even join a foreign military voluntarily, since routine oaths are generally not sufficient to cause the loss of citizenship.

What’s interesting is that the State Department policy that allows one to keep citizenship as a result of a “routine oath” is just that — State Department policy. The case law is less clear as to when one renounces one’s US citizenship or not. Take the case of Vance v. Terrazas, where a dual-US/Mexican national lost his US citizenship when he signed a form having to reaffirm his Mexican citizenship when he went to college there.

What does this have to do with guns? I direct you to question 11(j) on ATF Form 4473, “Have you ever renounced your United States citizenship?” I’m not sure there’s much case law on prosecutions for lying on 11(j), but I could be wrong. I think serving compulsory military service of your dual country is probably fine, but if you voluntarily joined a foreign military, or took any action that could be interpreted, through preponderance of the evidence, that you had intent to give up your citizenship, you could find yourself facing a long time in federal prison if you answer that question incorrectly on 4473. It’s a good idea for dual citizens to be cognizant of any oaths or actions that may have been taken that could be interpreted as intent to surrender citizenship.

It’s No Laughing Matter

Joe Huffman had a worn AR-15 part that was causing his rifle to double. He notes:

It would have been really ugly if the ATF took a dislike to me. A gun malfunctioning like that can result in a prison sentence. It’s not right. The law should be fixed. The ATF should abolished or at least have it’s “claws trimmed”. But that is the way it is.

To some degree the Supreme Court already declawed ATF’s interpretation of this statute in the case of Staples v. United States, but if you ever have this happen to you, it’s very very important that you fix it promptly. Definitely don’t take it to the range and tell your buddies, “Hey, check this out!” From Staples:

We concur in the Fifth Circuit’s conclusion on this point: “It is unthinkable to us that Congress intended to subject such law-abiding, well-intentioned citizens to a possible tenyear term of imprisonment if . . . what they genuinely and reasonably believed was a conventional semi-automatic [weapon] turns out to have worn down into or been secretly modified to be a fully automatic weapon.”

Joe has little to worry about here, since he pretty clearly fits nicely into the Staples language. But to be safe, it’s probably also a good idea to destroy or otherwise get rid of the worn part once you’ve replaced it, because you don’t want to constructively possess a machinegun either. The statute in question hinges upon your knowledge, and whether you have a “guilty mind,” as is required under the Staples decision. If you have an AR go full-auto, or burst, that in itself is not strictly a crime if you take measures to quickly fix it. If you think it’s cool and knowingly keep it that way, and that goes doubly if you tell someone about it, you’re opening yourself up for possible prosecution.

Monday News Dump – 7/21/2014

Just when I thought I couldn’t get any busier, it looks like I’m going to take on another client. The good news is, it won’t be a very long engagement, but it will be 12 hours a week for a few weeks, on top of the 20 hours a week I’m billing at another client. It doesn’t start for a few weeks, but my time is going to get more scarce during that time, so Bitter will be filling in again. But for now, here’s some collected news articles that might be of interest:

Brian Anse Patrick has a new book out that explores the Zombie phenomena.

The Pueblo Chieftan didn’t particularly appreciate Bloomberg’s comments. The more people that gets around to the better.

A brief filed as an amicus in an ACLU case against government data harvesting.

Apparently the Connecticut Bar Association is looking to get in bed with the Brady’s. Apparently membership in the state bar is not mandatory for attorneys there. If you practice law in the Nutmeg State, I’d call and complain.

Is Remington trying to de-emphasize the R51?

The House is looking to preempt Washington D.C. from passing its own gun laws. This would be the first step on what I think should be a long road of the feds using their power under the 14th Amendment to preempt state gun laws. Our opponents want to argue that there needs to be a single, federal standard? Well, OK then, we’ll give you one.

Detroit police chief: ‘No question in my mind’ legal gun ownership deters crime’

Electronic Letters of Marque and Reprisal? An idea who’s time has come, if you ask me!

Another case of “Careful when you leave America.”

The feds are very eager to get rid of surplus M16s. So eager they’re giving two for one deals even if the department doesn’t ask. You know a good way to take care of this problem? Allow them to be surplussed through the DCM. Hell, I’d even take an exception that still required the auto-sear to be removed. Not possible under current ATF “once a machine gun, always a machine gun,” policy.

The may-issue bill, which would have made all firearms may-issue in Massachusetts, has largely been watered down to nothing. I’ll hand it to John Hohenwarter, I thought we were going to have to bend over with that bill.

Governor Brown has signed some gun control into law. Is converting single shot firearms to multi-shot firearms really a problem? I’ve never even heard of this practice.

This prankster almost gets his ass shot. He’s damned lucky the person who pulled his firearm in self-defense hesitated. From the other point of view, that concealed carrier was lucky he was facing a prankster.

Dog Bites Man: Irrelevant gun control group sues to have an irrelevant pro-gun bill struck down in the courts, in an attempt to gain back some relevancy.

Congrats, gun control folks: this AR-15 is legal in all 50 states. You’ve accomplished nothing, except taking us back a few decades in ergonomics.

This is how a gun culture dies. In New York, it’s been death by 1000 cuts. But they are getting pretty close to killing it off for good.

What happens when smart guns collide with dumb ideologies.

Rolling Stone magazine gets fisked by… the NRA? I don’t think I’ve ever seen NRA engage in that style before. See also this response to Rolling Stone.

Everytown is at it again. When people think “mass shooting,” they think of some nut job shooting up a shopping mall, movie theater or school. So why not lump domestic violence tragedies in with that idea and hope no one notices?

Hate to Tell You: They’re All Faking It

When I first saw this article at The Daily Beast, talking about how Chris Christie was “faking it” on gun rights, I had no idea how much of the gun community would echo that sentiment. My reaction was “Well, yeah, but they’re all faking it.” You see, aside from the very rare gunny politician (and they do exist, they just aren’t that common), almost all your politicians arrive at this issue based on whether or not that position is politically expedient. Even your politicians that may pay a lot of lip service to gun rights have a breaking point, and you’d be surprised by how many “great friends” will head for the hills and leave you to the wolves if the vote suddenly starts to turn hard for them. In any of your state legislative bodies, there are legislative friends who really have not been tested, and nearly none of these guys are going home after a hard day of shaking hands and kissing babies to clean their AR-15s. It’s quite easy to say “Oh, I’m with you on this or that,” when they’re talking to your lawmaker to constituent in the comfort of their office. It’s quite another thing to actually take a hard vote for us when there’s not a knock down, drag out fight over it with both sides and the media fully engaged.

So while Governor Christie is not my ideal candidate for 2016 (I’m partial to Scott Walker if he’s interested in running), and while I agree that he’s vetoed a number of bills for us out of a desire to run for the GOP nomination, I have to respect that he’s signaled to us through action rather than lip service. Does that mean I trust him on guns? Not really. But trusting in politicians is usually a fool’s business. Since politicians, as a general rule, act out of political expedience, the trick is to continue making our issue expedient for them. Over the long run, that’ll work out a lot better for you than trust.

Rolling Stone Article on Larry Pratt and GOA

The big question I have is why is the “American Independent Institute” funding a story about Larry Pratt and Gun Owners of America, and why now? I don’t make any secret that I’m not a fan of either Pratt or GOA, and this article outlines a lot of the reasons why. But I’m at a loss for what motivated it. Rolling Stone has been doing a lot of hit pieces on guns lately, at least one of which was supremely stupid. If the purpose was to make gun owners and the gun rights movement look like far-right lunatics, I don’t think the article succeeds at that, since it continually highlights the differences between GOA and the rest of the movement. It does succeed at making Pratt look like a lunatic. But what do our opponents have to gain by attacking Larry Pratt and GOA in such a manner, and attacking now? Are they hoping to raise his profile in the hopes to keep using him as a foil? Hardly seem to be the way you’d go about it if that were your goal.

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