New Jersey Flintlock Case Getting Mainstream Traction

The New York Daily News has run a very favorable article on the Gordon Van Gilder case. You read that right, the New York Daily News. They even embedded NRA’s video on it. I’m kind of shocked, because it’s not like the Daily News is on our side, even on a good day. My guess is that the media is likely aware these stories damage Chris Christie. Regardless of motivation, the more people hear Mr. Van Gilder’s story, the more likely he can get a favorable outcome, as Shannen Allen did.

It also lets people know that what New Jersey has are all the “reasonable common sense gun laws” that the gun control crowd promotes, and that New Jersey’s laws are their model for the rest of the country.

In Order to Win Colorado Back, House Democrats Must be Removed From Power

The Denver Post is reporting on the committee votes in the Colorado House:

HB 1050: Repeals requirement that anyone besides a licensed gun dealer who transfers possession of a firearm must obtain a background check and repeals requirement that charges a fee for a check. Defeated 6-5.

HB 1127: Establishes immunity from certain civil actions for owners and operators of businesses open to the public who adopt a policy allowing persons to carry a concealed handgun on the premises. Defeated 6-5.

HB 1009: Repeals the ban on the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines. Defeated 6-5.

HB 1049: Adds a place of business to the locations that may be defended with deadly physical force. Defeated 6-5. 

HB 1086: Requires the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to produce in a certain time frame certificates allowing for the transfers of machine guns, destructive devices or other firearms or explain why, in that time frame, it was denied. Defeated 7-4.

See the whole article to contrast what the GOP is doing in the Senate, which passed constitutional carry out of committee. I hate to raise the bar higher, because Colorado activists have already been carrying a lot of water for the movement, but if Colorado is to be snatched out of Bloomberg’s hands, the Democrats must lose control of the House as well.

These were 6-5 votes. It’s very close. But the next election could determine everything. Abandon false prophets like Dudley Brown, who has a socially conservative agenda that extends far beyond gun rights. The Colorado GOP has to get smart and embrace good candidates who can win in that state’s more socially liberal political climate.

Gun Control Proponents Telling Half Truths, Says Politifact

More half-truths being peddled by the antis are being exposed by fact checkers. This time it’s Lori Haas of the Coalition to Stop Gun Ownership. The claimed that in states with bans on private transfers, 49% fewer women are shot and killed. The actual number is 38% fewer, but the experts that Politifact spoke with cautioned against cause and effect. For instance, Gary Kleck pointed out:

“States do not randomly pass gun laws — those that pass gun laws are different in many ways from those that do not,” Kleck, who has studied the impact of background checks on homicide rates, said in an email. “For obvious political reasons, it’s easier to enact stricter gun laws in states with fewer gun-owning voters. Thus, states that extended background checks to private gun transfers had lower gun ownership rates even before those laws were passed. Likewise, states with stricter gun laws are more urban, less likely to be Southern or Western (and thus culturally different), more politically liberal etc. You can’t isolate the effect of a gun law without controlling for other violence-related factors.”

I would think the proper study to do is an interrupted time-series analysis, where you measure the rate before and after the law was passed. Now we have new laws in Delaware, Washington, and Colorado. I’d bet good money that it will have almost no effect on the crime rates in those states, outside of broader trends. Criminals either buy guns on the streets, or they use straw buyers. Banning private sales won’t affect either.

Still a Long Way from the 2016 Primaries, a Look at Scott Walker

Scott Walker starts to do well in polling, and suddenly he’s public enemy number one for the left. They’ve done very well with the tactic of defining the opposition early, but I really hope the left keeps knocking on the guy for not finishing college. I can’t think of any better way to help Walker identify with the working class (you know, those people who failed to turn out for McCain or Romney) than the left disapprovingly pointing out that he might have something in common with many of them. I know people who didn’t finish college who can code rings around people who did. Most of us have friends that didn’t quite make it. Also, let’s face it, Harvard and Yale grads have done a pretty good job of screwing this country up. I’m willing to give a dropout from Marquette a chance.

I’m not sold on Walker yet, but I think he has a lot of positive attributes other candidates lack, and has decent potential to bring all the parts of the GOP coalition along if he can hold it together. I don’t think Walker is offensive to any part of the coalition. Here are the plusses, in my view:

  1. The left has thrown pretty much everything they can throw at him and nothing has stuck, so far.
  2. He’s won three times, under enormous and mobilized political opposition, in a blue state that hasn’t voted for the GOP candidate in a presidential election since 1988.
  3. He’s a preacher’s son of Christian faith, but he doesn’t wear his faith on his sleeve, and doesn’t seem to have an obnoxious tendency to tell other people how to live. I don’t think he’ll have a problem with evangelicals. Huckabee managed to carry evangelicals in the 2008 primary, but I think Huckabee is going to fall flat this time.
  4. His record has mostly been one of fiscal conservatism and crushing public sector unions.
  5. While the big establishment donors are likely behind Jeb, so far Jeb isn’t bowling anyone over. I think the big donors would be willing to back Walker if his candidacy has legs, and Jeb falls flat. I don’t see the big donors getting behind Rand Paul, for instance.
  6. I have no idea where the Republican Hawks will stand on Walker, but I think he’d likely be acceptable to them. Rand Paul is not likely to be acceptable to them.
  7. The libertarian leaning part of me would prefer Rand Paul, but I’m not offended by Walker. I’m also a little hawkish. I’m worried about the Russians, and I’d like to destroy ISIS.
  8. I think on Second Amendment issues, Carson and Christie are the only two we need to be wary of.
  9. I think Walker’s relatively non-elite credentials will be a plus to bring out working class voters who are disillusioned with the Democrats, but who couldn’t identify with a rich WASP (WASM?) like Mitt Romney.

Of course, there are a lot of things I’m not sure about with Walker:

  1. Can he build a viable nationwide campaign apparatus and run it effectively? I think he has better political instincts than the GOP consultant class does, and it would be tragic if he had to depend on those snakes to run his campaign.
  2. Can he draw big donors? If he can’t raise money, he’ll be overshadowed by the candidates that can. It is possible to win against moneyed candidates, but it takes a lot of grassroots energy. Rand Paul can probably draw a large number of very dedicated followers. I’m not sure about Walker, but I might be surprised.
  3. The guy is a little dull. Granted, after eight years of the Narcissist-in-Chief in the oval office, I’m willing to deal with some midwestern boring. People are attracted to glamorous candidates, and Obama had a lot of glamour. Fortunately it looks like the GOP candidate’s going to be running against a grandma, no matter how the Dem primary turns out.
  4. He’s going to have an entire national press corps trying to entice him into gaffes. I’m pleased that he smartly dodged a gotcha question from the British press on evolution. Answer yes, and you lose evangelicals. Answer no, and get smeared as a science denying snake handler. Successful politicians tend to be people who know how to charm the media. Reagan and Clinton were good at this. Charming is not a word I would use to describe Scott Walker.

So that’s my thoughts on Walker’s candidacy as it stands right now. What do you think?

News Links for Monday 02-16-2015

Greetings from antarctic station zebra, or at least that’s what it feels like. It’s actually warmer in Alaska than it is here in Southeast Pennsylvania. Seems every time I start to think gun news is getting slow, it gets real interesting, real fast. I could do with slow news if it means no action from the Obama Administration to restrict our rights. I saw in Facebook a gun guy I know, who I also know to be a Democratic voting lefty, arguing that Obama couldn’t ban ammunition, and this was all a conspiracy to drive up ammo prices. There’s a lot of ignorance out there, and it is our mission as gun owners to relieve it.

National reciprocity is now on the table. It’s already upsetting the right people.

Miguel reports on an attempt to ban shooting ranges on residential property. NRA is opposing it because it makes no distinction between dense residential areas and rural properties, and because they argue current law is being misunderstood.

I have to agree with Jeff Soyer on this one. I’m not big on giving cops exemptions to generally applicable law. If it’s bad for the police, it’s bad for everybody.

Well, I’m glad the California legislature is taking the prospect of false reports seriously, but I still think there are serious due process concerns with this “Gun Violence Restraining Order” idea.

Good on Vermont gun owners for showing up. Fortune favors those that do. Hopefully we’ll send Bloomberg home with his tail between his legs.

Can’t stop the signal, though Bloomberg apparently thinks he can.

Marco Rubio would seem to be running for President. This is a good thing he’s doing.

Charles C.W. Cooke: “If Mance v. Holder’s Outcome Is So Horrible, Why Did Democrats Offer It Legislatively in 2013?” Because they were willing to trade it for something they wanted. Now we might win it outright, without us having to give up anything.

At least one reporter at Bloomberg News thinks Vermont being gun crazy is some kind of new development. Vermont’s hippies have been better armed than California’s for quite some time.

You knew the antis weren’t going to stop with I-594.

John Lott takes apart yet another Bloomberg “study.”

I think Governor Hogan should at least lend moral support to the cause of freedom. But unless the Dems are booted from the legislature, Maryland is likely lost unless the courts or Congress save it. I’m sure Emily Miller’s appearance at their rally will drive certain antis absolutely nuts.

Constitutional Carry is in trouble in Idaho, apparently. There’s going to be a rally February 21st in Boise. It’s doing much better in New Hampshire, where it’s cleared the Senate and is now on to the House.

Both campus carry and open carry have passed out of committee in Texas. As Bob Owens notes, the preferred version of the open carry bill, the one that would not have required a CHL, is sunk.

Talking to the cops after a defensive shooting, from an attorney.

If you want us to be reasonable, you first. We’d never accept a waiting period in the context of other fundamental constitutional rights. Why this one?

Bob Owens has an idea for how to fix the federal AP ban. The big problem is what defines “designed for use in a handgun.” Is 5.7x28mm designed for use in a handgun or a rifle? I’d like to use a green approach to just go for outright repeal. Dave Hardy isn’s so sure M855 even falls under the statutory definition, since it still uses some lead. That could open the door to lawsuits if the Administration actually drops this hammer.

Christians joining militias in Iraq to fight ISIS.

Shooting the Russian AN-94. I’d love a chance to shoot one, but it never looked to me like a design that would be reliable.

Looks like a Tavor trying to hump a KRISS

Off Topic:

I’d like to shut DHS down for good.

More on M855 Ban: Going Green to Get Rid of AP Restrictions

With an impending rule change on M855, it got me thinking way may be able to use the pressure traditional lead-based ammunition has been put under to either get rid of the federal armor piercing ammunition law. Some of you might remember the hysteria in the 1980s surrounding “cop killer” bullets. This culminated in Public Law 99-408 of August 28, 1986, and signed by Ronald Reagan. The hysteria was further hyped up in the film Lethal Weapon III when gun control was getting its second wind in the early 1990s. Most of the hysteria was over the introduction of KTW bullets, which, and I know this will shock you, were never armor piercing.

Getting through soft body armor is a pretty simple equation; it takes velocity, which any rifle caliber bullet will easily deliver. The antis tried very hard to get most traditional ammunition banned through people’s confusion about the properties of ammunition and soft body armor. The bill that actually came out was one of those false compromises, where they only get a slice of the cake, instead of the whole thing. This was some of the most ridiculous hysteria about guns ever whipped up by the anti-gun crowd and a compliant media, and we ought to demand it be repealed.

Fast forward to today, and the greens want us to get the lead out. Well, what are you going to do when you can’t substitute certain suitable and cheap metals without it running afoul of this poorly considered law? There is absolutely no danger with the public having ammunition that falls under this classification. Even very inexpensive Level IV plates are rated to stop 30.06 AP M2 (black tip) ammunition, and without the plate, any rifle round, whether “armor piercing” or not, and even some very powerful handgun rounds, will go through the kind of soft armor that police wear. Also, as Bob Owens points out, the 55-grain round that the market is likely to fall back on is even more deadly than the M855 round, and will also easily penetrate the type of soft armor worn by police. M855 was mostly sought after by shooters as an inexpensive target round, and that is precisely why, in my opinion, it was targeted. They are cutting off the supply because they can, and because it will price more people out of the hobby.

The entire “armor piercing” ammo law was based on a lie, and if the left really wants to see the shooting sports get greener, shouldn’t they agree to let us make, sell, and acquire ammunition with steel cores and other materials that make good and reasonable substitutes for lead? We can call it the “Green Ammunition Act of 2016.”

New Jersey Busts 72 Year Old Man for Transporting a Flintlock

You know the anti-gun retort that if you love the Second Amendment so much, then fine, but it should only apply to flintlocks and muskets? Have you ever wondered if they really mean that? Trust me, they don’t. Case in point:

You’d think at some points, the courts would fix this. But currently, in the 3rd Circuit Court, there is no right to have a firearm outside the home per the decision in Drake v. Filko. Until such time as the Supreme Court corrects this egregious ruling, having a firearm outside of the home is a privilege in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, as far as the federal government is concerned.

Obama Administration Sticking it to Us on Ammunition

Probably anticipating a gun fight with the GOP over the gun issue, the Obama Administration, through the ATF, are proposing jiggering the the definition of armor piercing ammunition in order to include M855. This is absolutely meant to cut off supply of inexpensive surplus ammunition, and screw shooters. It is a giant middle finger from this administration for having the temerity to oppose him. Remember what they tell us:

“You can’t continue to use lead ammunition, because it’s bad for the environment and wildlife.”

“But you can’t make ammunition out of anything other than lead because if you do, it’s ‘armor piercing.'”

They are well aware of the Catch 22 this put us in, and it’s deliberate. And they are hoping that the courts either don’t notice, or don’t care. If the Republicans want to show us they are with us, they’ll not only reverse this, but allow the US military to surplus ammunition once again to civilians. If Republicans really want to show they are with us, they’ll repeal the whole ridiculous “armor piercing” ammunition law entirely. It was always based on hysterics and misinformation, as is most gun control.

Public comment period ends March 16th.

Why Are Anti-Gun People …

… such vandals? Didn’t take long for Conoy Township’s new signs to get vandalized. I have to admit that it does appear that for some people who hate guns, it’s total projection. They have a temper and poor impulse control, and so they assume everyone else must be that way.

Personally, if I were a taxpayer in Conoy Township, I’d be a little miffed my tax dollars were being spent on a political statement. Not that I disapprove of the message, mind you, but it’s money probably better spent on something the township really needs.

So Can People Purchase From FFLs Out of State Now?

Despite today’s ruling, I’m fairly certain that most Federal Firearm Licensees are not going to sell to out of state buyers until they have guidance from ATF telling them it’s OK to do so. I don’t know whether or not that guidance will be forthcoming, and the government is almost certain to appeal the ruling and ask the Court of Appeals to stay the judges injunction until the appeals court rules. So celebrate, because we did win a victory, but don’t run off to a neighboring state to buy a handgun just yet. The current ruling enjoins the federal government from enforcing that provision of the Gun Control Act, but they could be permitted to enforce it again in the not too distant future. FFLs will wait until this case is fully litigated before beginning sales of handguns to out-of-state residents.

I saw someone ask whether this ruling would mean the approved handgun roster in Massachusetts would become dead letter in effect, if not in law. Keeping in mind I’m a lay person and not a lawyer, by my reading of the law, it may. Massachusetts law allows for purchasing firearms out of state, provided that you register them within seven days. The law about selling only handguns on their roster only applies to Massachusetts licensed dealers. So a New Hampshire dealer, not being a Massachusetts licensee, would not violate Massachusetts state law by selling an unapproved handgun. Federal law requires that the sale not violate the laws of either state. In this case it does not. California is another story, since it prohibits residents from buying out of state. Of course, all Massachusetts would have to do is, in the definition of licensee, add federally licensed dealers, and then out-of-state dealers would be forced to comply. So in short, it could endanger the handgun roster, but I’d be surprised of the legislature doesn’t change the law to preserve it. Of course, given the lack of guidance from ATF, chances are no out-of-state dealer would be willing to sell an off roster gun to a MA resident.

While private sales were not specifically challenged in this case, because of how federal law is worded, 922 (a)(3), which prohibits interstate transfers between non-licenseees, had to be struck in order to allow interstate sales through an FFL after 922(b)(2) was struck, since it would have been illegal to bring a firearm back after you purchased it. However, 922 (a)(5) was not enjoined, so it remains illegal to sell a firearm to someone from out of state, and so under conspiracy would also be illegal to buy from a seller if you’re not a resident of the same state as the seller. Again, I would ensure that everyone is aware that just because they are enjoined today does not mean they will be enjoined tomorrow, so there would be risk in conducting any interstate transfer that wouldn’t have been legal yesterday.

UPDATE: I’ve revised this post to incorporate some new information, and to make it more accurate. I’d also note on the scope of the ruling, Dave Hardy says that it’s unclear. I had previously thought it was worded such that it applied nationally, but then was told by someone who is an attorney that it would only apply in the 5th circuit. But Dave Hardy isn’t so sure.

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