More on UBCs and Registration

Some good discussion happening on the previous thread, perhaps because we had some dead air this past Friday and I’m late posting today. I thought I’d add a few more ideas to the discussion.

In theory I like alternative background check systems, such as BIDS. If every person who was prohibited from owning firearms was an armed robber or murderer, I wouldn’t be that concerned. But a lot of people are prohibited for relatively trivial non-violent crimes, and BIDS would require putting their personal information, useful for identity theft, out there in public. Encryption isn’t going to help, because if a lot of people have keys, it’s only a matter of when, not if, a hacker compromises those keys. You could reduce the amount of information in the system, to make theft of the information more difficult, but then you’re running a stronger likelihood of a false positive.

Ultimately, I’m not that concerned that the government knows I’m a gun owner. It’s difficult to hide that anyway, and there’s a lot of non-governmental avenues by which an unfriendly regime could determine I own, did own, or was at least interested in firearms. I am much more concerned about the government knowing what I own. In thinking about any system, the great object is to prevent this. If the government knows you are or maybe were a gun owner, as long as you have a plausible, legal way out of that status without having to tell the government, you have deniability. If they know what you own they can come take it whenever they want, and there’s nothing you can do. Turn them over? Say no, and you’re a criminal. Tell them you sold that gun years ago? Criminal. You’re not allowed to do that. Had it dump into the lake on a canoe trip? Well, “Lost and Stolen,” you know. It’s registration that enables confiscation. To accept it, means accepting the anti-tyrrany purpose of the Second Amendment doesn’t exist.

Background checks poll well. Registration not as much, but it still polls better than it should. The only way you’re going to turn the numbers around is by informing people what the transfer restrictions proposed by our opponents actually do, such as making it illegal to take a friend shooting to see if he or she enjoys it. I think the the argument that universal background checks are also universal registration is also worth using, but to do that you will have to explain how we already have partial registration via the 4473. Not many gun owners realize that a fairly comprehensive registry could be built in a matter of years just based on the contents of the ATF warehouse in West Virginia.

For those interested in how to beat gun control at the ballot, I would strongly recommend Dave Kopel’s piece “Against All Odds” that appeared in America’s First Freedom. It accounts how we beat a handgun ban on the ballot in Massachusetts in 1976. Then we were able to outspend our opponents, but it also was a huge grassroots effort. GOAL commanded 2000 volunteers to defeat the ban, and that’s the kind of manpower we’ll need to defeat Bloomberg’s transfer ban and registration scheme as this whole sad struggle moves forward.

It’s Time to Discuss the Bloomberg Problem

Miguel jumps on the news that Bloomberg’s outfit has silently been pouring money into the State of Nevada for the past several months, and have now dropped the bombshell of having collected 250,000 signatures to get their “Universal Background Checks” fraud on the ballot for 2016.

It is my opinion that we are going to lose this fight as bad or worse than we lost Washington, if the ballot title is as equally misleading. So that begs the question, what do we do? The way I see it, this is our reality:

  • The concept of background checks for gun purchases is overwhelmingly popular with voters. They lack the passion to push for legislative change through a Republican process, but put it on a ballot, and voters think it’s a nice idea that translates into “keep guns away from criminals.” If they see it on a ballot, backed up by enough advertising, they will vote for it.
  • Bloomberg and other rich asshole billionaires can afford to outspend us 10 to 1 or even 20 to 1 in every state that has the ballot and it won’t put a dent in their fortunes. Ballot initiatives mostly come down to who can spend the most money, so they will win just based on sheer spending alone.
  • Voters don’t actually read ballot initiatives. The title says it all. If the title talks about universal background checks, we will lose. People have no idea the implications, because they are rationally ignorant. If we could get it called the Universal Registration Initiative of 2016, we’d probably beat it.

The next question is what do we do to counter it. I see a few paths forward:

  • Develop a more acceptable compromise bill that implements background checks upon change of title, but without the registration component, which is far more dangerous. You can exempt CCW holders, and allow people to obtain a background check certificate that certifies someone is clear, and then the private sale can happen. In this case all the government would know is that Joe Blow obtained a background check certificate. They wouldn’t know if he bought, or what he bought. Maybe he just got it to go shopping. Remember, as long as there’s a way to transfer a firearm without a 4473, there are legal avenues for you NOT to have that gun when they come knocking for it. In order for this to shut Bloomberg down, it would have to be done at the federal level. It’s too late for Nevada, even if something like this passed next week. Of course, I wouldn’t accept anything like this as the federal level unless we got something in return, so attach to the bill eliminating restrictions on interstate transfers. Why do we need them? Now everyone gets a background check.
  • Keep fighting Bloomberg on the ballot measures until we beat him. I don’t believe this will work, because even if this ends up on the ballot in Arizona, I think it will win. See the part about background checks as a concept being popular with voters. I don’t think he’ll get the margin in Arizona, but even in a best case scenario, we beat him in Arizona, he still wins two state for our every one.
  • Forget fighting defensively, and shove National Reciprocity and some Federal Preemption under the 14th Amendment so far up Bloomberg’s ass that he chokes on Section 5. Hold open carry protests outside his residences in New York City as a giant FU. Emotionally that might feel good, but at the end of the day he’s still going to continue winning ballot fights, because he has the money for it.
  • Fight it in court. I don’t believe the courts will invalidate the applicability of background checks to private transfers in title, but I think there is a better chance to get the courts to rule that applicability of background checks to temporary transfers is overly broad and thus unconstitutional. Even California, for instance, exempts transfers for up to 30 days. I think it would also be possible to argue that as applied to CCW holders, the statute is overly broad. However, the other side is likely to argue that the registration component, processing through the FFL and 4473, is a key government interest. Personally, I’d love to have them in court arguing that, because it makes the case that this isn’t about background checks, but about sneaking universal gun registration in through the back door. Either way, the courts take a while, and without more pro-2nd Amendment ruling from higher courts, I think we’re a long way from being able to fight this effectively with lawyers.

I don’t like any of these options, really, but the purpose of the post is to get people thinking and talking. Sometimes you don’t have a choice between winning and losing. Sometimes the choice is between losing a lot, or losing a little.

Good News for PA Republicans & Gun Owners

The Senate GOP has dumped Dominic Pileggi (RINO, Delaware) as Senate Majority Leader in favor of Center County Republican Jake Corman. If there’s any one person who I think deserves the blame for losing the Governor’s mansion, it’s Pileggi. He, along with a handful of other Southeast Republicans, blocked the Corbett Administration from accomplishing anything, including liquor privatization, which was wildly popular with voters, even voters in the Southeast.

If we end up losing on the germaneness issue with enhanced preemption, likewise, you can blame Pileggi and Stu Greenleaf (RINO, Montgomery), who held up the bill long enough that a floor amendment to an existing bill was the only path forward. Maybe now we can see some progress from the GOP Senate, just in time to have everything blocked by soon-to-be-governor Tom Wolf.

Civil Rights Victory in the 9th Circuit

According to NRA’s Annual Firearms Law seminar, the 9th Circuit has denied the Brady Center’s and State of California’s motion to intervene! Remember that the Sheriff who was the defendant in this case declined to file for an en banc rehearing, putting Brady and the Kamala Harris into a panic. Needless to say this is good news, because it means the Peruta decision holds, making California, Hawaii and our pacific territories shall-issue. Savor the victory California and Hawaii, you deserve it. Something tells me the folks at the Brady Center are going to be very sad pandas today.

Bucks County Courier Times: “Pssht… What Rule of Law?”

YellowJournalismIt’s no surprise to anyone who gets the local rag (I don’t subscribe, I prefer the softness of Quilted Northern, personally) knows that the editorial bent is decidedly anti-gun, so it’s hardly a surprise to see the Bucks County Courier Times offering a ringing endorsement of continued lawlessness on the part of municipalities in Pennsylvania, while simultaneously calling Bucks County RKBA advocates “gun zealots” and fanatics. I’ve come to expect things like this:

If such a weapon is later found to have been used in a crime, the purchaser commonly claims the gun was lost or stolen. The lost or stolen reporting requirement would rescind that free pass and hold straw purchasers legally accountable, as they should be

They keep repeating this, but Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, who combined have populations pushing two million, have yet to actually prosecute anyone under these laws we’re told are so vital to combat this oh so common problem. Why? Supposedly the Bucks County Courier Times folks are journalists. Shouldn’t that be a question you might want to ask the people pushing Lost and Stolen?

Yet, in step with their fanatical opposition to most any gun restriction, the NRA and like-minded gun zealots opposed even that modest attempt to keep guns out of the wrong hands. They claim that local versions of the would-be state mandate are unconstitutional based on a state law requiring gun law uniformity.

In our view, the local measures don’t infringe on the legal possession of a firearm. And so that right remains uniform across Pennsylvania.

We oppose gun control fanatically because it doesn’t work. What’s the big issue right now around the country? Universal Background Checks, right? Pennsylvania has them for handguns, which in . How has it worked to reduce Philadelphia’s crime rate compared to say, Phoenix, where anyone can go strapped without a license of any kind, and guns can be bought and sold between private parties?

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, Philadelphia in 2013 had a violent crime rate of 1100 incidents per 100,000 persons. Phoenix, in comparison, had a violent crime rate of 632 incidents per 100,000 persons. That’s more than 40% less violent crime in Phoenix compared to Philadelphia. How does the staff at the Courier Times explain this disparity?

Now let’s look at that last statement, that local measures don’t infringe on possession. That’s not the issue as to whether it’s infringing or not. The issue is that under state law, local communities have no power to regulate possession firearms and ammunition. Period. That’s already been upheld by the State Supreme Court, who held:

Because the ownership of firearms is constitutionally protected, its regulation is a matter of statewide concern. The constitution does not provide that the right to bear arms shall not be questioned in any part of the commonwealth, except Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, where it may be abridged at will, but that it shall not be questioned in any part of the commonwealth. Thus, regulation of firearms is a matter of concern in all of Pennsylvania, not merely in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and the General Assembly, not city councils, is the proper forum for the imposition of such regulation.

Emphasis mine. So does the Bucks County Courier Times have any respect for the rule of law? Is it OK for municipalities to act outside the law and evade consequences for it because judges like to warp the standing doctrine so that we’re unable to challenge such a violation? It seems to me they are fine with lawlessness, provided it’s lawlessness they approve of.


Happy Veterans Day

A recently discovered picture of my Grandfather, who served in World War II at the end of the Battle of the Bulge. He was deployed for about a month before he was wounded near St. Vith, Belgium. This picture was taken before he deployed, in Spartanburg, South Carolina on August 6, 1944.


This was also recently discovered:


It looks like they chose not to inform my grandmother of the extent of his injuries. His wound was bad enough that he was partially disabled in the use of his left hand for the rest of his life, though he would never admit it. They shipped him home to convalesce. My grandfather died in 1996 at age 76.

The Inevitable Lawsuit Against Preemption Enhancement

I had mentioned before there were issues with germaneness with the preemption enhancement bill, so it’s not surprising to see that a lawsuit has been filed to challenge the law on that issue. Note that having to take this more risky route to pass preemption enhancement wouldn’t have been necessary if it weren’t for intransigence in the part of the GOP leadership of the Senate.

It’s worth noting that there has not been a single prosecution under the numerous “Lost and Stolen” laws that have been illegally passed by municipalities around the Commonwealth, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. This is despite the leaders of these cities telling us these laws were critical crime fighting measures. None of this is surprising. The City of Philadelphia hardly ever prosecutes gun violations. They are typically add on crimes that get plead away, or in most cases, the cities just refuse to prosecute. Any city leader in Pennsylvania claiming to need these laws need to explain why they aren’t using the ones they already have. How are more going to help? And maybe since you aren’t using the existing ones, we ought to take those away too.

The Latest on Smart Guns

This should be enough to convince anyone that gun control people are technocratic central planners who are more than just a little uncomfortable with the idea of anyone exercising individual control over their own lives and destinies:

In other words, instead of enforcing “safe environment” rules by way of checkpoints where guns are not permitted (on airplanes, in consulates and embassies and so on), “we propose to address these safety areas within the firearm itself”. The gun would negotiate its operations by communicating with the safety area transmitter.

So they get to decide on a central basis when you can and can’t defend yourself? Hell no. This is an answer to a question that nobody asked, except for those types that spend an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to run everybody else’s lives.

It’s good to see inside their minds.

Monday News 11-10-2014

Nothing beats starting out the week with a scaling and root planing at the Dentist. I’ll be happy when my gums no longer feel like someone cleaned them with a wire brush. But I will say, the bill hurt more than the procedure. But there is gun news to be had:

A handy flow chart on how to follow the new law in Washington State. Surely no innocent person could ever end up trapped in such a simple system! In other Washington State news, it looks like they are going to be in for a mass protest with civil disobedience. A grand idea.

Miguel takes a look on the stats on household gun ownership. Those are done by polling, and so probably more accurately reflect the percentage of households willing to tell a pollster they own guns, rather than actual percentages which are likely higher.

The narrative in the media seems to be that gun control actually won the midterms. I am disappointed in the midterms, not because we lost, but because I wanted to deal a blow to Bloomberg so hard he’d wonder why he was flushing his millions down the toilet. We didn’t get that. Close, but no cigar.

With that in mind, they are falling in love with the ballot. Gun owners in any state with ballot measures have to be concerned. The narrative is that gun control is on the move and popular among voters.

The voters in Philadelphia would elect Hitler if he ran as a Democrat.

This is an interesting idea in regards to 3D printed guns. Usually a firearm without a rifled barrel is an AOW, and I’ve been wondering if people realize these are potential NFA violation. Here’s the thing, the NFA says the barrel has to be rifled. But it doesn’t say the rifling has to work, does it?

The wages of Obamaism: A sea of red.

Apparently there is precedent to block Supreme Court nominees until the next President. The Republicans absolutely need to do this if there’s a vacancy.

You don’t see this kind of concern in the media and elite about the same types of barriers interfering with the rights of minorities to exercise their Right to Keep and Bear Arms. (h/t SayUncle)

Reason’s Brian Doherty takes a look at Bloomberg’s new strategy. Outspend gun rights proponents 10:1 on ballot measures using rich billionaire friends. Remember, they aren’t against money in politics. They are against your money in politics.

Neither of the two Colorado Recall candidates managed to hold their seats. The antis are trying to spin this as a win, but that is nonsense. We punished the guilty. I doubt you’ll see those replacements touching the gun issue, and if they do, we’ll recall them too.

A First Amendment challenge to a law in California that prohibits advertising of handguns. Dave Hardy also notes that oral arguments for the SAFE Act challenge are scheduled for December 8.

I didn’t think it was possible for a state GOP organization to be worse than Pennsylvania’s, but it is definitely possible.

I’d argue Minnesota stayed blue because they were largely settled by Scandinavian immigrants who have socialism in their blood.

Mit Pulver und Blei, die Gedanken sind frei!

Real progress in the culture wars.

Should Ballot Initiatives be Unconstitutional?

There is some discussion in a previous post about how a ballot measure, passed by a rationally ignorant electorate, the vast majority which never actually read the measure, could possible be legal. I share their disdain for the ballot. Our founders were rightfully quite skeptical of direct democracy, and one needs to look no farther than California to see how the ballot has essentially caused more trouble than it’s saved. It’s bad enough we have politicians that pass laws they don’t understand without reading them, but at least we can kick them out of office for it. Putting measures up to ballot is just a case of the elite manipulating the ignorant.

I would argue that ballot initiatives are unconstitutional under the Guarantee Clause of the federal constitution. Unfortunately, when the United State Supreme Court decided to look into the issue of whether the ballot was a violation of this clause, it weaseled out, and ruled the Guarantee Clause was purely a political matter, under the jurisdiction of the other two branches.

I do think there might be a court remedy for I-594, but I don’t believe the courts would ever strike down background checks, even for private sales. But we may have a chance in arguing the statute is overly broad, and covers too many constitutionally protected activities, such as a temporary loan of a firearm to a friend or family member, even for protected educational purposes under the Second Amendment. But I also do not believe we have enough firm case law currently to make that argument right now. For now I think Washingtonians are stuck with what the voters have done to them.

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