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What Options Does ATF Have?

As I updated yesterday, I think NRA’s move with ATF is meant to buy time. Time is our strongest ally in a situation like this, because you need people to stop thinking with raw emotion and start being more reasonable. All the strategic documents I’ve ever read coming out of the gun control movement (I wish I could find them now) call for immediate action in the wake of a tragedy. Reason being, and they have admitted this, is that they need people in an emotional state to get traction with their ideas. They do not have millions of people who care about this issue deeply. They have people who transiently care. They know time is their enemy.

So what are ATF’s options? They can take the bait and reclassify, which would be an admission they were wrong in the first place. That will attract blame for Las Vegas to ATF and the Obama Administration. That wasn’t put in there just because NRA wanted to tweak Obama (though I will admit it a nice side effect). It’s daring ATF to reclassify. If ATF does reclassify, every bump fire stock out there will become an unregistered machine gun. All of them will have to be tracked down and confiscated. Remember that there’s no new registrations, so you won’t be able to just register it, pay your NFA tax, and be good. If there were only a few thousand of these things out there Monday, there will be tens of thousands of them out there by the end of the week. I can promise you ATF does not want to have to chase after all these things, and then be left explaining how a misclassification resulted in tens of thousands of unregistered machine guns being sold to people with their blessing.

So at the end, ATF is likely to come back and affirm their original ruling, and telling Congress if they want reclassification, the ball is in their court and not ATFs. But this will take some time, and that time will help in getting us a favorable deal. We’ll do much better to negotiate after the news cycle has moved on. Our people are now paying attention, and it’s becoming clear that having the GOP in charge of Congress and the White House is not an immunization against future gun control.

It’s a good idea to write your critters. They do need to hear from us. And that message should be to pass SHARE and National Reciprocity, and not to vote for any future gun control. Despite news stories, NRA does not derive it’s power at the negotiating table because it donates big to politicians. It derives it from all of you calling and bitching to your lawmakers.

This Just Gets Weirder

Does the FBI think this isn’t just a lone whack job? Nothing would surprise me anymore. I hope they clarify all these statements soon, because the conspiracy nuts are going to have a field day with all this stuff if the FBI comes out and says “Yeah, it was just a sad, depressed man who wanted to go out in a blaze of infamy.”

Victims at the Four Seasons

Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer has an attention-grabbing headline: “For Bucks couple in Vegas, a horrifying view of the carnage.” With a headline like that, you click on it thinking that maybe they were in the midst of the crowd and saw things you can never forget.

And, let me tell you, I don’t think they will ever forget the horrifying view of an empty littered lot 35 stories below their posh Four Seasons room the morning after the shooting. The art deco-inspired wall papers and giant shiny silver mirrors to reflect the lights coming in from their floor-to-ceiling windows looking down on the Strip will remain forever in their minds against the backdrop of the litter below them.

The article says they heard some shots which the couple assumed to be fireworks with the concert they could just hear below them. But the article deliberately uses phrases that just acknowledge they saw the curtains blowing out of the neighboring hotel room the following morning and litter the next morning after there had been bodies previously. It doesn’t actually say they saw “carnage.”

The Inquirer does want us to know that the couple resting in their super comfortable Four Seasons bed has no intention of letting the gunman get in the way of their high end bridal conference business and that they will, in fact, be strong enough to stay the entire 4 additional nights they were planning to stay! #LasVegasStrong

When this couple reached out to the largest newspaper in their home region to tell their harrowing story, they made sure to pose for a photo in their posh hotel dressed in their most stylish clothes looking appropriately concerned for the little people below. Without it, I’m not sure we could have believed that they had survived such a tragic crime that happened to a group of completely unrelated people 1,600 feet down the Vegas Strip.

Sounds Like a Crank

The first shots I saw in a video were about 10 seconds of very regular fire… something that you’d expect from an honest-to-God machine gun. But people have reported that some video sounded like a crank fire mechanism to them, like you’d find on a gatling gun. I have to say, I agree after seeing this video:

This guy must have done extensive planning for this to have this much hardware staged and ready to go. But what’s his beef?

UPDATE: Here we go. I’m not aware of a cranked firearm ever being used in a crime before, but that’s not going to stop attempts to reclassify them. Is it possible the shooter used a bump stock as the article mentioned? Sure. But it strikes me as rank speculation. Not that I’m not doing a lot of that here, but I’ll admit it’s rank speculation. The media won’t.

More Useful Than a Gun?

It occurred to me this morning that a drone or two with a tear gas grenade might have been able to change the situation in Vegas faster than a SWAT team ultimately did. Fly one or two through the shot out windows, and at least it might stun and delay the shooter long enough to save lives and give the police better odds on entry. Might also make the dirt bag off himself ahead of schedule.

Too late now, but maybe something police should consider for future high-profile, target rich venues. Drones are cheap and relatively easy to fly these days. My club now has a cadre of drone pilots who spend the weekends using our ample open space to practice.

Police departments wouldn’t have too much trouble training officers on drones. Keep a few on standby and ready to go, or actively in the air. I would have issues with drones being armed with lethal force, but I’m OK with less-than-lethal force like tear gas or a flash bang. The problem with something like this is that it just gave a new template to the next whack job looking to go out with his name becoming a household word, and people hanging on learning every detail of his life.

Well, That Didn’t Take Long

Via Ace of Spades, a CBS legal exec:

“If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs will ever do the right thing,” Geftman-Gold wrote on Facebook. “I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country fans often are Republican gun toters.”

Yeah, and we’re the horrible people, right?

Despite Bitter’s brother narrowly escaping, this won’t change our opinions on firearms. I can’t speak for Bitter, but to me this is plane crash and lightning territory. It’s a rare event, and not something that necessarily calls for “something” that “must be done.” The only way you can stop someone with a clean record who is very motivated to get a firearm from getting one is to make them flat out illegal, and even if you did that, it still won’t stop people who are determined. Gun control is and always will be a fool’s errand. It’s an easy answer for people who want there to be easy answers.

I Agree, This is Highly Weird

David French at National Review:

This was the University of Texas tower attack on steroids, conducted out of nowhere, with meticulous planning and at great expense, from a person who doesn’t seem to fit any normal profile of a mass shooter. There is much we have yet to learn, but for now, this is one of the most chilling and mysterious events I’ve ever seen.

In a decade of blogging, I’ve followed a lot of public mass shootings, and this busts the profile for sure. I’m glad there are people out there relieving ignorance about the legal status of machine guns.

I’m still going to stick with my initial speculation that this guy lived in a 400k house, had two planes, and a clean record: he fits the profile of someone who could have afforded a legal machine gun. I’m not going to be surprised if that turns out to be the case.

Can’t Both Sides Lose?

Henry Kissinger is rumored to have said, in regards to the Iran-Iraq war, “It’s a pity both sides can’t lose.” That pretty much sums up how I feel about what happened in Charlottesville. For those of you who are wise enough to avoid social media, it has been non stop “fascism and nazism descending on America because a few hundred idiots got together and Charlottesville and did what idiots tend to do.

I’m told variously I have to speak out. No I don’t. I down own kooks. I don’t own those people any more than people who voted for Bernie own that dude who shot Steve Scalise, or people who voted for Hillary who own this guy. Let’s establish that we all think murdering people is wrong, that violence is bad, socialist authoritarianism, whether national or international flavor is bad, fascism is bad. I’ve always been more of a pragmatist than a hard ideologue, so I’m OK condemning a whole host of isms.

So no, I definitely don’t own a few hundred loser white supremacists or antifa protesters who decided to get out of mom’s basement for a day and beat each other up over a statue.

I’ll leave you all with Ace of Spades:

But as John Sexton points out, you can’t expect a culture to praise all sorts of Identity Politics — flat-out racist groups and gender supremacists — but say that one group doesn’t get to play by the same rules.

Either it’s all poisonous garbage, or it’s all got something of merit to it.

I believe the former. But the media — and the establishment right political class — cannot continue with this incoherent claim that Identity Politics are permissible for e everyone except The One Group Which is Truly Odious and Cursed by God.

People will not accept that. No one will accept his subordination without a fight of some kind.

I agree. It’s all poisonous garbage, and if we don’t abandon it for the good of the country, it’s only going to get worse.

Quote of the Day: Policing

Tam commenting on the recent shooting of an Australian woman by an apparently jumpy Minneapolis cop:

Policing is generally something folks get into because they knew they always wanted to as a kid, or because it’s a reasonably easy gig to land getting out of the military. It’s the ones who suddenly decided in their thirties that they wanted to drop everything and be Batman and a Force For Good that worry me.

I think people also go into law enforcement because their parents were in law enforcement. But the point is very well taken. Read the whole thing.

Good Advice

Greg Ellifritz, of Active Response Training, and a police officer, has some advice for both cops and carriers that’s worth reading:

Look at this shooting. The reason for contact (only one functioning brake light) is valid legally, but what do people think about cops pulling people over for minor infractions like that?  They don’t like it.  Following the logic, they will like it even less when someone gets shot as a result of a “bullshit” stop.

I know what the cop was doing, he was likely hunting for criminals and people who have warrants. I see it pretty regularly. Cops pull over crappy cars for equipment violations, hunting for an arrest. Poor people who can’t afford to fix busted tail lights often can’t afford to pay their tickets, their child support, or their court fees. Their driver’s licenses are frequently suspended and they regularly have warrants.

So, aggressive cop looking to arrest “bad guys” pulls over a beater car and runs everyone inside for warrants. About 25% of the time he gets lucky and gets an arrest or a bunch of tickets. Every once in awhile, bad shit happens, innocent people die and the cop ends up in the national media spotlight.  Is it worth it to take the chance of such a negative outcome to enforce a relatively inconsequential  traffic violation ?

Read the whole thing.

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