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Journalists’ Gun Policy Arguments Bore Me to Death

Just Don't Bore MeBy now we’ve all head of the mass shooting at the Fort Lauderdale Airport terminal. Joe Huffman speculates whether he picked Florida specifically because Florida banned carrying firearms in airports. Despite what many would accuse, this is not crazy talk: mass shooters often carefully plan their attacks, and consider the possibility of counter attack.

One issue I have with gun policy debates today that play out in the mainstream press is they’ve just gotten utterly boring. Take one of my favorite boring arguments: “He was a law abiding gun owner, until he wasn’t.” You don’t say? People don’t become criminals until they commit a crime? Bowl me over with a feather! This is essentially the argument of Daniel Ruth, columnist for the Tampa Bay Times, who is upset the Florida legislature is debating whether banning firearms in non-sterile areas of airports actually deters anyone intending to go on a killing spree from carrying out the deed. You’d think most of the article would be a discussion about that, but you’d be wrong.

Throughout his article you have passages like: “which would allow some 1.7 million people with concealed carry gun permits to move freely through airport terminals while armed.” Does that not imply something is wrong with 1.7 million people having Florida concealed carry permits? Of course it does, because later Ruth states that allowing firearms in non-sterile areas of airports: “assumes those 1.7 million gun-packing Floridians are Atticus Finch meets Dirty Harry — cool and calm under pressure and always blessed with perfect aim.”

So what bores me with all of this? Here’s the core issue: is society better or worse off allowing ordinary people to possess the ability to effectively apply deadly defensive force in public places. It’s not even really about guns, because if we had particle disrupters as the leading technology to apply deadly force, we’d be debating that. On the core issue at hand, the side represented by Daniel Ruth has pretty much lost the policy debate. Their current arguments on this topic are little more than channeling their anxiety at having lost by attacking the people who won.

It’s not that I have an issue, per se, with debates on the margins of a core issue: if you want to argue allowing teachers to carry firearms in schools risks a gun carelessly carried in a purse ending up in the hands of a student, I think we can have that debate. I can even think of arguments about guns in airport terminals that I might not agree with, but that wouldn’t bore me to death. But people like Daniel Ruth aren’t really interested in making actual arguments on the margins, or even rearguing the core debate with fresh arguments. They are only interested in public expressions of their anxiety at having lost. What surprises me, and is the reason I have absolutely zero respect for the media, is that anyone bothers to publish it. I am interested in sharing and debating ideas, but not so much reading or talking about the social anxiety of journalists.

Prepping the Ground for the Suppressor Fight

You can hate the Washington Post’s ignorant article about suppressors, but I have to admit that tying it to the Trumps was an effin’ brilliant way to frame the issue if the aim is to derail the bill. Why? Because most people don’t really give a shit or understand this issue, but if you try to imply the Trumps have something to gain from it, you trigger all the lefty hate rage, and that gets people who otherwise wouldn’t care motivated to oppose it. If the Trumps want it, surely it must be the Worst. Idea. Ever. That’s exactly what I’m seeing around social media.

The key is to speak out in favor of the issue. Put a human face on it. A lot of the same folks who complain about this bill are the same types who complain about noise emanating from gun clubs. Imagine if clubs could encourage members to use suppression? Right now that’s not a reasonable request because of the regulations. Push the training angle, and how it makes it much safer during instruction if the person being instructed can actually hear commands. This is one of those issues where we have really good arguments, and the other side is stuck hoping people believe Hollywood portrayals of how silencers work, and are willing to jump in and ra! ra! team! in opposition is the issue is framed in a way that triggers an emotional response.

Will Bloomberg Run a Semi-Auto Ban as a Ballot Measure?

I don’t think this Assault Weapons Ban will get through the Washington legislature, which makes me wonder if this is prep for accomplishing the same thing via ballot measure. While Bloomberg very nearly lost the vote in Nevada, and was outright defeated in Maine, he got a stronger margin for his Washington ballot initiative on “gun violence restraining orders” than he did on the private transfer ban. He might be feeling like Washington voters are in the mood for some gun control.

Generally speaking, gun bans have not done very well on the ballot even in liberal states, but as California has shown, things might have changed since the gun control movement last had money for this kind of thing. California is a lost cause, however. I don’t think Washington is. But I also think Bloomberg will keep pushing until he’s rebuked.

You Knew There Would Be a Parting F*** You

You had to expect there would be a final middle finger extended in our direction as Obama headed out the door. Because it’s a regulation, the incoming Administration can’t just undo it on a whim: they have to go through the rule-making process. Alternately, our Republican Congress could fix this issue with legislation, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on it being a priority for them. There are a few interesting claims in the regulation itself, which has appeared in the Federal Register:

Our authority to report the information we include in these final rules stems from section 101(a)(4) of the NIAA, which requires that we provide to the Attorney General for inclusion in the NICS pertinent information included in any record demonstrating that a person falls within one of the categories in 18 U.S.C. 922(g) or (n).3 NIAA section 101(c)(1)(C) does not prohibit us from reporting this information to the NICS.

You see, we just report this stuff to the DOJ. What those meanies do it is their problem, not ours. So don’t think you can blame us, the SSA, for this. This bit below is just pulling justification out of their asses:

The commenters who relied on section 101(c)(1)(C) only cited part of the section in their comments. In its entirety, section 101(c)(1)(C) of the NIAA states: ‘‘No department or agency of the Federal Government may provide to the Attorney General any record of an adjudication related to the mental health of a person or any commitment of a person to a mental institution if

. . . (C) the adjudication or commitment, respectively, is based

3 NIAA 101(a)(4), 121 Stat. at 2161.

solely on a medical finding of disability, without an opportunity for a hearing by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority, and the person has not been adjudicated as a mental defective consistent with section 922(g)(4) of title 18, United States Code, except that nothing in this section or any other provision of law shall prevent a Federal department or agency from providing to the Attorney General any record demonstrating that a person was adjudicated to be not guilty by reason of insanity, or based on lack of mental responsibility, or found incompetent to stand trial, in any criminal case or under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.’’

We are not reporting information in records based solely on a medical finding of disability without the person being adjudicated as subject to the Federal mental health prohibitor ‘‘consistent with 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4).’’ The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has clarified through regulations that this prohibition covers individuals who have been determined by a court, board, commission or other lawful authority as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition or disease to be a danger to himself or to others, or who lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs.4

The DOJ Guidance specifically indicates that records relevant to the NICS include ‘‘agency records of adjudications of an individual’s inability to manage his or her own affairs if such adjudication is based on marked subnormal intelligence or mental illness, incompetency, condition or disease.’’

What SSA is doing here is pretty clearly and flagrant violation of NIAA, but they rely here on “DOJ Guidance” which is specifically counter to the NIAA. Essentially BATFE has never updated any of their regulations and policies to comply with the NIAA requirements. That’s what SSA is depending on here. They are setting themselves up to take no responsibility for depriving million of SSA recipients of their right to keep and bear arms with no trial or due process whatsoever.

Here’s the thing, regulations can’t be changed at the drop of a hat, but “ATF Guidance” surely can. Will Trump appoint someone who will actually clean up ATF and start making them follow the law for a change?

It’s interesting looking at this and thinking what the Obama Administration is trying to accomplish here, and it’s kind of brilliant in its deviousness:

  1. Regulations aren’t easy to undo. Much of this will not be noticed by anyone until after Trump takes office. So this regulation will largely blow up in his face and he won’t just be able to undo it. Most people don’t pay attention to politics, and the way this will get noticed is when grandpa has a heart attack and then ends up charged because the responding cops noticed a pistol by the bedside, but yet he has a record with the FBI. Any high profile case in the community will hurt Trump with his base.
  2. The passage of NIAA was controversial at the time, because GOA and NAGR came up with some very creative ways NIAA would be interpreted. By taking NIAA and pushing it’s language way beyond what it supports, they lend credibility to GOA and NAGR’s fears. That’s bound to re-open the debate. It will be argued that NIAA offered the justification, but I still believe NIAA was the right thing to do, as it required a relief mechanism from mental health disability that did not previously exist. Putting people into NICS en-masse is a trick that dates back to the Clinton Administration. I think using NIAA a justification was a very clever fuck you.

The solution to this should be legislative, if we’re going to fix this permanently. The Gun Control Act’s mental health provisions are outdated, and there was a bill in the last Congress to replace them. That would frustrate the habit of Dem Administrations trying to stuff as many people into NICS as they can get away with.

2016, The Gift That Keeps Giving: Brian Anse Patrick Dies

Brian Anse PatrickBrian Anse Patrick died of cancer unexpectedly (for us) at age 62, of cancer. I ended up at the lunch table with him at the law seminar in Louisville this year, and if he was terminally ill, he certainly didn’t look or act it. I had met him several times at the law seminar, but I don’t think he was a reader, and never remembered meeting me previous years. But he was always really glad to meet someone who read his books and would strike up a conversation enthusiastically on those topics. His real area of academic expertise was propaganda.

Please, if you’re a 2A academic scholar, I would strongly encourage you to go into hiding until next week. We’ve already lost Don Kates. Now this.

Future of the Gun Rights Movement Open Thread

I am swamped, and probably will be all week. So I don’t have as much time to post anything. One thing to talk about is the future of the Gun Rights Movement. Here’s some things that we have to look forward to:

  • We’ll almost certainly get National Reciprocity at some point. I think there’s probably a good chance we don’t get that until 2018, unless the NRA has found a few extra votes to get past 60 in the Senate.
  • If Trump lives up to his word on Supreme Court picks, nearly all of the people on the list he floated were acceptable from a Second Amendment point of view. My fear is that we’d need to replace one of the Heller dissenter with a solid pro-2A vote, because either Kennedy or Roberts is soft on the Second Amendment. To be honest, I don’t think it’s Kennedy, so I’m not certain Kennedy’s retirement would fix anything.
  • NRA did very very well with Barack Obama in the White House. Will they keep 5 million members? I know they’ll be claiming that number for a while, even if it drops back to 4 million. But will NRA have issues holding members?
  • I think we can get suppressors delisted from the National Firearms Act. Talk of repealing Hughes or delisting machine guns from NFA are fantasy land. The next step after suppressors would be SBRs and SBSs.
  • I’d like to see simple legislation that states may not restrict the sale or possession of any firearm, ammunition, magazines or other firearm accessory if possession of those items would generally be legal under federal law. That would end the era of state gun bans.

Levi Strauss Being Anti-Gun is Nothing New

Big news that hit yesterday is that Levi Strauss CEO doesn’t want firearms in their stores. I’ve gotten to the point, after Shannon Watts’ various shakedowns, I couldn’t care less what they say: if they don’t post against it doesn’t mean anything. But Levi Strauss has a history, and it’s a big reason I don’t buy their products, and haven’t for a number of years. I planned today to outline this in detail, but I noticed that Miguel beat me to it, so I don’t have to! That’s good. I’m working against two deadlines until Monday.

I buy my jeans from L.L. Bean. I love their flannel lined Double-L jeans for the winter. L.L. Bean’s owners are libertarians, so there isn’t an issue there. They are also located in Maine, and wouldn’t you rather help the economy of a state that told Bloomberg to go eff himself this past election, rather than help the economy of San Francisco?

More Culture Killing Gun Legislation in New Jersey

New Jersey is going to be so screwed when Christie leaves office, it’s not even funny. Dems are looking to impose onerous regulations on shooting ranges in New Jersey with the aim to prevent suicides. This is not about preventing suicides, it’s about destroying the gun culture in New Jersey.

Every gun owner would be required to present NJ firearms credentials to the owner or operator of a range before being allowed to use their own firearms on that range, every time they use the range. What if you’re from out of state?  Sorry.  What if the club doesn’t have staff to check credentials?  Too bad.

I won’t take a firearm into New Jersey, even legally. But I know people who compete over there. This will effectively end that if they don’t have a non-resident FID card (which is really a good idea to have if you’re going to be transporting firearms in New Jersey).

Shooting activity could only occur where staff exists to check credentials.  Unstaffed ranges would lose members (because members wouldn’t be allowed to shoot there), many clubs would be forced to close.

This would essentially close every club in New Jersey. It would make it impossible to bring new shooters into the sports, since they would essentially need to apply for and receive an FID card before they could even try it out. This would destroy the shooting culture in New Jersey, and that’s exactly what it’s intended to do. Suicide prevention is a ruse. Christie has shown a willingness to veto legislation like this, and will probably continue to do so as long as he’s in office, but it’s going to be hell to pay if Christie is replaced with an anti-gun Democrat.

But Will Stu Greenleaf Get the Message?

Change the states, and this could easily be Republican State Senator Greenleaf’s political epitaph if he doesn’t quit blocking our bills:

A powerful south Florida state senator who repeatedly sidelined popular gun rights legislation lost his seat Tuesday, opening the door for campus carry and open carry in the Sunshine State.

Florida State Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, chairs the Senate Criminal Justice Committee and in 2015 refused to hold hearings on a bill to allow legal concealed carry on public colleges and universities. Diaz de la Portilla was also a fly in the ointment when it came to derailing an emergency concealed carry bill the year before and in 2016 was key in killing bills on campus carry and open carry, refusing to even meet with advocates.

The Dem replacing him is also rated F, but taking one F and replacing them with a more junior F who doesn’t chair a key committee can be a win overall. Senator Greenleaf, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee, who is the reason enhanced preemption had to be stuck on another bill, should think about that. Like Florida, the Pennsylvania GOP Senate majority could absorb the loss of one seat, and I’d be happy to donate to or volunteer, even for the most Kumbaya singin’, tree huggingist hippie, if they looked like they had a credible chance of getting him out of our way.

The Biggest Winner of 2016?

Even Bloomberg’s “The Trace” admits NRA was the big winner of the 2016 elections. Of their seven big ticket races, only Joe Heck of Nevada was a loss. Nevada is probably a solid blue state now. All groups use safe incumbents to bolster their win percentages, but we won most of the important races. The way I see it, here’s what we can hopefully accomplish, in order of importance.

  1. A good, strong solid replacement for Scalia.
  2. Another good, strong solid Justice replacing either Breyer or Ginsburg.
  3. If Kennedy chooses to retire, and he probably should, someone more solid to replace him.
  4. Civil rights legislation that rolls back state infringements on the RKBA.
  5. National reciprocity.
  6. Hearing Protection Act (delist suppressors from NFA).

The very first item of importance is the Supreme Court, because through the Supreme Court, we can preserve this right for generations. We can reverse our fortunes in states like New York, New Jersey and California. Behind that is Congressional legislation to restore Second Amendment rights using Congress’ Section 5 powers under the 14th Amendment. Even with a more “conservative” court, there are going to be some things that are better for Congress to do, like National Reciprocity, or establishing a sort of national preemption.

A lot of people will balk that I put delisting suppressors at the bottom of my list. That helps make things better for those of us in friendly states. Too many Americans, about a third,  are living in states where Second Amendment rights are routinely infringed upon. We have to fix that. We can’t allow people like Bloomberg to continue bifurcating this country into places where the Second Amendment is respected and valued and places it’s absolutely pissed upon. That’s not how our rights are supposed to work. Your right to free speech is the same in New York City as it is in Peoria. Your Second Amendment rights should be the same.

You should not fear your job moving to California, New York, and New Jersey and have to choose between your family and livelihood, and your Second Amendment rights. You should not be forced to leave your home to retain your rights because the powers that be in your state disapprove of it. The Bill of Rights guarantees birthrights for all Americans, hell for all humans. Restoring that idea for all of the Bill of Rights, not just rights favored by elites, should be our top priority.

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