Currently Browsing: Current Events
Jun 29, 2015
Saw this on Facebook, and was mildly surprised that NPR posted this
Since 1993, the United States has seen a drop in the rate of homicides and other violence involving guns, according to two new studies released Tuesday. Using government data, analysts saw a steep drop for violence in the 1990s, they saw more modest drops in crime rates since 2000.
The author of the NPR piece can’t even get up much enthusiasm for pushing the “OMG gun suicides” angle; and the summation paragraph (the second most important one for the TL;DR crowd, according to my writing teachers) takes a hard shot at the “criminals get their guns from gun shows” fallacy:
“In 2004 (the most recent year of data available), among state prison inmates who possessed a gun at the time of the offense, fewer than two percent bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show,” according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. “About 10 percent of state prison inmates said they purchased it from a retail store or pawnshop, 37 percent obtained it from family or friends, and another 40 percent obtained it from an illegal source.”
They note WHY 1993 is chosen as the benchmark date; it’s the peak year for “gun violence.” They also note that in the same period gun ownership has risen significantly. This is an amazingly pro-gun piece, and it’s on the NPR website. Following up to the summary at Pew’s own website, I’d even say the NPR summary is a tad more pro-gun than Pew’s; since Pew spends more electrons noting that the trend was more pronounced in the 1990s and has fallen off since 2000. One article doesn’t make a trend, by any means, but it’s an interesting article. And one worth keeping in my back pocket to deal with people who attack the source rather than the data.
Jun 26, 2015
Albeit with a side order of a”I’m a gun owner but…” and of course the condescension that the NRA wouldn’t support punishing people who actually misuse firearms, or that the laws he wants generally already exist, or would represent a loosening of the existing laws.
The post proposes (after a lot of political bumph) in a fairly sane way, that the NRA’s safety rules be enacted as federal law and that be it. And, shockingly enough, that safety education be left to a free market, not forced.
Punishing the people who actually misuse a tool, and leaving the innocent users in peace. It’s a radical idea whose time has come, I say.
I can quibble with some of his details (the safe storage requirement he wants is a little too much pre-crimey for me), but it’s a hell of a lot better than anything I’ve seen come out of anti’s recently. And a lot of it should be done by enacting uniform state laws, not action at the federal level. And a lot of his anecdotes would not be changed by changes in law, but by changes in culture – that people be prosecuted for negligent discharges, not allowed to call it an accident and go on. But that’s a problem with drunk driving (his comparison) as well. I have no issues with treating NDs as DUIs, assuming we don’t go to MADD-level idiocy. And he doesn’t mention that the reduction in DUI was achieved not only be increased penalties and enforcement, but by PSAs and other societal education.
Jun 19, 2015
A lot of people are pointing to a CNN article that references an official statement that the shooter bought the pistol used in the attack himself (and thus passed a NICS check), rather than being given one; despite being under indictment for a disqualifying charge. This is being used as a talking point about the uselessness of BG check. That’s not a good argument against universal background checks, though, certainly not one for our side. It’s an argument for doing away with NICS, yes, but replacing it with the kind of invasive and lengthy background check that predated NICS, and is still in use in NJ and some other places.
We need to be very careful about handing talking points to the other side – pointing out flaws in NICS gives them ammunition to replace it with an actual background investigation.
Jun 18, 2015
It had been a while since we had a major, high-profile mass shooting, and I was feeling like we were due. Generally speaking, I try not to make hay out of these things, out of respect for the dead. We can argue out the policy implications later. Things we can be sure about:
- Almost everything the media will say in the first several hours will be wrong.
- Gun sales will shoot back up again, as people scared of more gun control begin stockpiling again.
- President Obama has already used the incident as a call for more gun control. This was predictable.
- This will be used by mindless partisans to score cheap points against one another.
- Our opponents in the gun control will be using the incident to push their agenda before even all the facts are known. They will place the blame squarely on people like us.
Given this incident is high-profile, we have to be concerned about copycats. We are living in an increasingly ill country. Given the shooter’s age, I’m going to guess he was cuckoo for cocopuffs, and the racist stuff was part of his delusions. I kind of hope this is the case, because I can’t imagine what a monster someone would have to be to sit in a church for an hour with other people, the whole time thinking about killing them, and then follow through on your horrific plans. If he’s just a run of the mill sociopath, that’s a mad dog that needs to be put down, and I say that as someone skeptical about capital punishment.
Jun 18, 2015
Even if the Berlin Twp Police Chief had followed the law as written and issued a pistol purchase permit within 30 days, it would not have been enough for Carol Browne. After all, that would merely have allowed her to purchase a pistol, at which point she could only have it in a ready-to-use condition at her home, or possibly at her “fixed place of business” (I’m unsure as to whether that exemption applies to employees or only to the owner, and, at any rate, I presume she’d have had to have permission of the owner of the business). While in transit, though, the law requires:
All weapons being transported under paragraph (2) of subsection b., subsection e., or paragraph (1) or (3) of subsection f. of this section shall be carried unloaded and contained in a closed and fastened case, gunbox, securely tied package, or locked in the trunk of the automobile in which it is being transported, and in the course of travel shall include only such deviations as are reasonably necessary under the circumstances
Which would have made it very tedious (and somewhat unsafe) for her to have had her pistol ready to use when she was attacked. She could have walked out to the car and entered it, removed the magazine and unloaded the chamber, stored each as the law requires, and driven directly to work, reversed the procedure, worked, then done the same. Of course, every time you handle a firearm, particularly in unholstering and holstering, and unloading, you risk a discharge. In addition, this would have to be done in the confines of a car, which would necessarily preclude situational awareness. Not to mention that she still could not have the pistol available when running errands about town.
In theory, she could have applied for a permit to carry, but in practice, that would be almost impossible to get – the permits are may-issue and require both the approval of the police chief who was not diligent in issuing the purchase permit and a judge’s approval (and they very rarely approve).
The system that is a good start for the anti-gunners, whose provisions are supposed to “protect” women, meant that Carol Browne had no way to effectively defend herself when a bad man walked through the restraining order to kill her. She did everything she could legally do, and it was not enough.
Jun 17, 2015
From Ace, who notes that as a nation we’re “amusing ourselves to death.”
I pledge allegiance to the Meme of the Viral States of America. And to the Listicle, for which it LOLs, one tweetstorm, under Buzzfeed, with liberty and gawker for all.
I used to be very optimistic about the Internet, and where it would take mankind. Then social media happened.
Jun 8, 2015
One of the pieces of conventional wisdom you hear in New Jersey gun ownership circles is that the NJ Judiciary gutted the 30 day requirement for issuance of a pistol purchase permit or a Firearms Purchasers ID Card, but you never get a reference to the case in question, or the details. So, spent a few minutes googling, and after running my search, I found this case.
We read the statutory scheme as requiring a chief of police to withhold action on an application for a firearms purchaser identification card until receipt of the requisite SBI and FBI fingerprint reports.
We thus conclude that the inability of the chief of police to obtain the requisite SBI and FBI reports within the thirty day period constitutes “good cause” for a denial, but does not require the chief of police to deny the application on that account. He must withhold rendering a decision on the application until the fingerprint reports are obtained from the SBI and the FBI.
If the reports so obtained do not disclose a criminal conviction or any other disqualifying disability, the “good cause” for the denial of the permit evaporates, and an identification card must be granted immediately. Conversely, if the SBI or FBI report yields information disclosing good cause for the denial of a permit, the applicant should be notified in timely fashion.
So, the Berlin Township’s Chief of Police saying that they hadn’t received the fingerprint results means he was required to not issue under this decision. So, all the armchair lawyers who are suggesting 1983 suits, please don’t. It’ll be an expensive waste of time. Instead, push the NJ legislature to go to NICS.
Jun 5, 2015
Via Breitbart, a story of someone whose life may have been saved by gun control. And of course there will be no consequences for the police chief or anyone else in government. Because guns cause domestic violence or something.
A restraining order is a piece of paper, and when seconds count, the police are minutes away.
May 4, 2015
Looks like islamic radicals may have made a fatal choice in the victim selection process down in Texas at a “Draw Mohammad” art exhibit featuring a number of controversial speakers, including Pam Geller and Geert Wilders. According to Gateway Pundit, ISIS is taking credit for the attack. Seen on the Internet:
There might be a Paris, Texas, but let’s get one thing straight: Texas ain’t Paris.
My favorite is this:
Feb 27, 2015
Remember, it’s not just guns they want to control. I find several parts of this whole fiasco disturbing. Right from the beginning of the article, DHS and FAA held a “conference was open to civilians, but explicitly closed to the press. One attendee described it as an eye-opener.” When one of those attendees (who runs a small drone shop) posted a picture and notes from the conference, DHS asked him to take it down (he complied).
Then we get to the meat of the issue – that a drone manufacturer unilaterally chose to add all of DC to their drones’ internal “no-fly” map. First, of course, that their drones have a “no-fly” map in the first place, and secondly, that “DJI is preparing an update that will increase the number of airport no fly zones from 710 to 10,000, and prevent users from flying across some national borders.” This is of course, pointless, as there are other manufacturers as the spokesam for DJI points out. Wired also points out that this won’t prevent terrorism, because there will always be workarounds, legal or otherwise.
Sebastian noted a while back about the wishes of gun-control advocates to be able to erect “no-smartgun” zones at will. It looks like their counterparts in drone control will get that wish. I can only hope that DJI gets what Smith and Wesson got from firearms enthusiasts when they kow-towed to the government.