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Head of Everytown: Throw the Book at Them

John Feinblatt is Bloomberg’s chosen leader for Everytown. He was a muckety muck in Bloomberg’s Administration as Mayor of New York City, and has been involved in Bloomberg’s gun control efforts since the beginning. He pens an article in the Daily News, which I will address point by point. The gist of the article is that NRA doesn’t really mean it when they say “enforce the laws we already have,” and so Feinblatt offers his own ideas on what that means:

For decades, though, NRA lobbyists have fought to suppress trace data, even using the federal budget to try to limit intelligence-sharing among law enforcement.

You might recall when that data was freely available before, it was used to target high-volume gun shops for lawsuits with the intent of putting them out of business. It is still available to law enforcement for bonafide investigations. It’s just not available to people like Bloomberg and the Brady Campaign, and they are butthurt about that.

To help catch more murderers and gun criminals, it can also advance an investigative tool called microstamping …

Yes, a tool so great even UC Davis had to admit it was bullshit. Additionally, both California and New York have both passed Microstamping laws, but have yet to issue any regulations about it. Why? Because it’s a bullshit issue and even the bureaucrats know it. I’m a bit disappointed in Mr. Feinblatt here. This is the kind of pie in the sky dreaming I’d expect from the Brady Campaign.

Good old-fashioned communication can boost enforcement, too. Felons broke the law and tried to buy a gun more than 40,000 times last year alone — yet they rarely face any consequences, beyond the gun store turning them away.

This is actually one area I disagree with the NRA on, and one area I’m pretty sure they are mostly sincere in wanting stronger enforcement. The reason most of those felons who tried to break the law aren’t prosecuted is that most of them are non-violent felons who are no threat to anyone. It would be a waste of public resources to prosecute and incarcerate them. If the prohibitions on felons was limited to violent felons, and was part of their conviction, I would have little issue with more rigorous enforcement.

We all know the reason prosecution rates for NICS denials are low, but no one wants to admit it: I’m not all that worried about the dude who gets a NICS denial because a decade ago he cheated on his taxes, and no one else is either. Yet any felony, including tax evasion, regulatory crimes like importing a lobster in the wrong bag, possessing a bald eagle feather, and having a bit too much pot on you will earn you a lifetime prohibition.

There’s actually no federal gun trafficking law, and “straw purchasing” a gun for a criminal is nothing more than a paperwork violation.

This is an outright lie, and it’s one repeated often by gun control advocates. Straw purchasing, that is buying a firearm for someone else, anyone else, is a federal felony with a 10 year prison sentence. Many states have analogue crimes with similarly harsh sentences. The exception is if you wanted to buy a gift for your wife or brother. But if someone gives you money to buy a firearm for them, and you do, that’s a straw purchase. It is also unlawful sell guns to people who are residents of another state without being a licensed dealer. Only Federal Firearms Licensees may ship firearms via common carrier (there are exceptions to this, like shipping a gun to an FFL for repair) out of their home state to a non-licensee. So there is a federal trafficking statute, even if it’s not explicitly called that.

The issue they have, when you really analyze their arguments in this area, is that it can sometimes be hard for the state to meet its burden in prosecuting federal gun law violations. Rather than viewing that as a feature, necessary to prevent ordinary people tangled in the web of non-violent federal crimes, gun controllers have always viewed the state’s burden as a bug, and consistently support weakening or eliminating due process when it comes to gun violations.

Impact of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

Appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association (what this has to do with medicine is dubious, unless you subscribe to guns as a public health menace, which I don’t), a study looking at the effect of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law.” Given the AMA’s anti-gun position, it should not surprise you that they found it increases homicide. But the study does admit to a number of limitations, and makes some further admissions that tell me this was cooked up. Take this statement, for instance:


A potential limitation of interrupted time series designs is the possibility that other factors that occur simultaneously may distort estimates of intervention effects. Such factors might include national changes in social or economic variables (eg, a recession) or events that have a profound and lasting impact on society (eg, natural disasters). Additional design elements can be added to interrupted time series designs to assess whether such factors are influencing statistical estimates. We employed 2 such design features: analysis of homicide rates in 4 comparison states (New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia), and analysis of control outcomes (suicide and suicide by firearm).

Why pick those states as controls? The demographics of Ohio and Virginia are nothing like Florida. Virginia and New York also follow the common law that when faced with someone committing a forcible felony, you may employ deadly force to stop the commission of said felony, and you have no duty to retreat. This covers the vast majority of circumstances a citizen is going to be legally entitled to use deadly force in self-defense. New York and Virginia are already, via common law, Stand Your Ground states, so they make a very poor comparison to Florida. Also, why study just Florida? Maybe this is why, as the study admits: “Evaluations of Arizona’s and Texas’ stand your ground laws found no statistically significant impact on homicide.”

So keep studying the issue until you get the result you’re looking for? Pick the control states poorly to drive your desired result? Looks like it to me. The studies themselves usually do admit to their limitations, but the media never covers that. Therefore, these studies help drive a certain narrative, which is why Bloomberg spends big money to get them.

Busybodying May Be The Most Powerful Force in the Universe

How much have busybodies infiltrated the corridors of power? Enough that the National PTA has a position on guns, and it’s so badly done, you almost won’t believe it. Their definition of a semi-automatic assault weapon is hysterically ignorant. There’s one part of the position I’m somewhat OK with, “require knowledge of appropriate firearms use and safety practices.” I agree, so let’s get rifle teams back in our high schools, and have the team members run the gym class where the kids get introduced to that kind of thing.

Most of us here are Dems, Republicans, Libertarians, etc. But if we had to really pick a party that would truly represent us, it would probably be the “Leave Me the Hell Alone” Party. The problem is, because we’re the types that like to be left alone, we don’t really seek out offices and avenues by which we put ourselves in the position of running other people’s lives. We’re just not into that. You do your thing, I’ll do my thing, and as long as you’re not screwing up my shit and I’m not screwing up yours, we’re good.

But the busybody, especially the morally crusading busybody (lets face it, most gun control activists come off as Gladys Kravitz types to me), have every incentive to seek out those kinds of positions. You can even see it in this election: the DC-based religious right establishment is ready to have a cow if Trump wins, because the people they claim to represent put him there! The system picked out the worst moralizing crusaders and sent them to DC because they are the ones with the right incentives to get into those kinds of positions. To give government more power is to give moralizing busybodies more power, because that’s what’s attracted to government.

Most of us don’t want power to rule others: we want to be left alone. But in order to be left alone, you have to seek enough power to make them leave you alone. That, I think, is our great Catch 22.

Really? This is a Controversy?

Looks like Shannon Watts is gunning up controversy because NRA decided kids might enjoy some fun targets. I know this is hard for certain people to believe, but a lot of responsible parents teach their kids to shoot, and the kids might find some targets a bit more enjoyable to shoot than others. Hell, even I think it this looks like a fun and challenging target.

Upon seeing the NRA’s post, the consensus among Twitter users was shock. Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, called out the association for marketing guns to American children.

Shannon Watts, a gun control group, and a couple of other people now represent a consensus? It’s an insult to the millions of parents who teach their kids how to safely shoot to suggest that something like this represents “marketing guns to children.” If you don’t think these people will pass laws that prevent you from teaching your kids to shoot if they ever had the political power, you’re kidding yourselves.

Buying Elections

I am not a fan of the ballot. When there was murmuring about passing that in Pennsylvania, I wrote my reps. I got an unusual phone call back from a staffer of my State Senator, perplexed someone wrote them on this topic and looking for clarification as to my reasoning. My response basically was, “Look at how badly the ballot has screwed up California. It’s not democracy, it’s mob rule; the victor is almost always the side that spends the most money. It’s a great way for monied interests to dupe the people into voting for nonsense legislators would never be foolish or stupid enough to pass.” I was reassured by the staffer that the article I read was not indicative of a serious effort to get the ballot passed in Pennsylvania (which would require a Constitutional Amendment) and that my Senator would be unlikely to support such an effort should it come up. That was before Bloomberg started using the ballot to buy his political preferences.

Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control group founded by billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has been leading the charge, throwing its financial weight behind three of the four measures. The organization plans to spend $25 million nationwide on the issue, almost as much as the powerful National Rifle Association has spent on television advertising for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

NRA has made the calculation that Trump is a better investment than fighting the ballot initiatives. The collective wisdom of gun fora will certainly declare, if Trump wins and puts desirable people on the Court, that was a brilliant move! If he loses, or screw us, NRA will be the worst gun rights group ever! It’s a tough position. NRA is not capable of outspending Bloomberg in a ballot fight, so fights must be picked carefully. Past ballot initiatives we have won on have been defeated purely through grassroots effort. In both Massachusetts’ handgun ban ballot initiative, and California’s handgun freeze initiative, we were outspend heavily, but we had enough people on the ground who were good organizers to get it done. We’ve seen some of that recently (like the Colorado recall) but not nearly enough. Our people are very good at self-organizing when you hit at the heart of something very important to them (like  gun or magazine bans).

What you can expect Bloomberg keep doing is using the ballot to nibble around the edges. It’s an expensive thing to do: so expensive that once more money limited gun control groups realized they couldn’t go big, so they might as well go home. Bloomberg doesn’t seem to mind blowing tens of millions of dollars for incremental, marginal gains. People in Washington State may just have seen a glimpse of what Bloomberg has in store for them next. But I have to wonder if he’ll go for something big like universal registration, or some other real culture breaker. Bans on private transfers will largely be ignored by both the public and the authorities. It’s unfortunate to see Bloomberg win a victory, but it won’t break the culture. It won’t make the activists and hard core gun rights folks leave the states this passed in. At some point, Bloomberg will probably have to go after a culture killing issue to really win, and flip a state into the anti-gun column. Otherwise he’ll spend a decent chunk of his fortune whittling away at the margins. When and where will that move occur? Your guess is as good as mine.

Lack of Gun News

Not much happening out there that’s interesting, and I include in that Springfield’s announcement of SAINT. Might end up being a good launch date for Springfield if Hillary wins, though I’ve seen some speculation by people in the know that we the people might be a bit panicked out. I largely stopped doing too much shooting the past 5 years mainly due to lack of time and money.

I guess there’s some news: Bloomberg continues to crap money all over flyover country in an effort to buy elections. Years ago I used to be able to assure lawmakers that the gun control groups didn’t have the money for that kind of oppo anymore, but thanks to Bloomberg, now they do. They even have money, apparently, to help write TV shows. I watched a few episodes of the new Hawaii Five-O and thought it was dog shit.

I do not agree with the left about Citizen’s United, because I very strongly believe in free speech. But do I think it’s fundamentally fair that one rich guy can buy his political preference against millions of other Americans who don’t have that kind of money? No. But I can understand why many on the left feel that way. Their solution to the problem, silencing people, is both politically and morally wrong. But I can understand the desire to do it.

Toddlers & Guns Continues

The media has been going on a good bit to try to drive Hillary and the Brady Campaign’s toddler’s and guns narrative. Never mind that they seem to have padded their stats with adults, there’s an election to win!

The linked article is but one example of the genre. First, as I often feel the need to do, let’s tear down the straw man: no one argues that toddlers should have access to firearms, or that gun owners should be careless in the storage of their firearms. The problem is our opponents are approaching the issue as if the policy debate is simple, because to them it is. When you approach the issue at hand from the point of view of “you shouldn’t own a gun in the first place,” anything that makes it harder to do that is fine by them, and our concerns be damned.

The District of Columbia solved this problem by banning handguns, and beyond that demanding any gun stored in the district be rendered inoperable for purposes of self-defense. We, and the Supreme Court argued that was and ought to be a violation of Second Amendment rights. Hillary Clinton disagrees that’s the case. Hillary Clinton believes DC ought to be able to ban guns and force them rendered useless for self-defense, for the children. That’s not a mainstream belief, by a long shot. Yet the media is perfectly willing to obscure the difficulty of the issue for her.

Trigger locks! Except trigger locks are dangerous if not used properly. Could we force gun owners to lock their firearms in safes, as San Jose is proposing? The affordable models are often not worth spit, and may even be actively dangerous. They won’t stop thieves worth a damn. I don’t have children in the home, so why should I be part of this one-size-fits-all-and-fuck-you solution? And why is my locked home not considered secured enough? Do we require everyone to have a real-deal secure $2000 gun safe? Won’t that mean that the poor effectively have no Second Amendment rights? Do we have a government program to help the poor afford gun safes? Why not? Libraries helped the poor access their First Amendment rights for decades before books were cheap enough for anyone to afford.

One thing I’ve learned immersing myself in this stuff for so many years: nothing is ever as easy as zealots want to convince you it is. If someone tells you there’s a simple solution to something, they are either ignorant, or know better and are hoping you’re ignorant enough to buy it. Gun ownership is no magic bullet against bad things happening, and gun control isn’t either. That’s why I’m not about grand solutions, and tend to believe people should be left free to fix their own problems and make their own choices. I oppose gun control because the movement is philosophically centered around denying individuals the right to make their own decisions about their own lives, security, and happiness.

Forbes Accepts an Entirely Manufactured Narrative

Colin Goddard gave a lecture offering a narrative that he was just your average everyman, nursing his wounds from Virginia Tech, when Sandy Hook happened, and then he decided he had to do something!

Yet he didn’t immediately join the the gun safety movement. It wasn’t until the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Mass., when he watched the victims on TV the same way the rest of the nation watched his tragedy at Virginia Tech, that something changed for Goddard. He has come to refer to this shift as his ‘Newtown moment.’

“I think the fact that it was an elementary school shook this country to its core,” he told Forbes. “People said, ‘Something has to change.’”

The following day, Goddard packed his bags and moved to Washington DC.

That’s not the history I remember, and I’m betting you don’t either. The reason for that is because it’s totally made up. A search for “Goddard” on my blog turns up dozens of stories when Colin was professionally employed by the DC-based Brady Campaign well before Sandy Hook. The entire narrative offered to lackadaisical Forbes reporter Alexandra Wilson is entirely manufactured! Ten minutes of Googling would have shown Colin Goddard is making up this timeline.

Reporters need to be a lot more skeptical of claims from the gun control movement. Chances are if you see their lips moving, you’re either being outright lied to, or you’re being deceived in some way. Check their facts with actual experts.

UPDATE from Bitter: It turns out that she didn’t even need to Google it. Colin’s own LinkedIn page says he started working as an Assistant Director of Federal Legislation in the gun control movement years before the Newtown shooting. Yet Alexandra Wilson claims he didn’t even head to DC until after Sandy Hook. So is she lying about the timeline, was she deceived, or do Brady Campaign donors have a very fair concern over why a former Assistant Director wasn’t working in DC, despite his job being to work on federal affairs?

This is a Bad Video Campaign

Seriously guys, even from an objective viewpoint, this is just bad:

How the mighty have fallen. Must be hard to stand out with all that Bloomberg money driving the movement, but this is pretty bad stuff for an organization that used to be a lot smarter than this.

Facts are a Matter of Opinion

NRA is Fact Checking the Fact Checkers over Hillary’s endorsement of the Australian Model of gun control. The problem with a lot of these Fact Check sites is that they are fact checking opinion. I’ve seen this in a more contexts than guns. It is a fact that Hillary Clinton endorsed the Australian Model. This is not disputable. But it’s the opinion of the fact checkers that she didn’t really mean it, because her campaign tried to walk it back. Fact checkers should judge facts. They shouldn’t be in the business of discerning whether a politician is lying or spinning for the general public. It’s fine to mention Hillary’s campaign tried to walk back the statement. It’s fine to mention when asked directly about supporting confiscation, she dodges. It’s the ultimate judgement that the claim is false because she’s of course telling the truth that she didn’t really mean it that I have issue with. That should be for the public to decide.

Based on how I see these fact check sites used on social media, their sole purpose is as a mean to allow Democrats to smugly shut down lines of arguments that are potentially damaging to their candidates: “Politifact said it was false, so shut up with your paranoid wing nut NRA talking points.”

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