Currently Browsing: Gun Rights
Aug 27, 2014
Fordam law professor Nicholas Johnson challenges Americans over the Right to Keep and Bear Arms:
A final question, and this one is not rhetorical: Will the people who invoke the power and rhetoric of civil rights to condemn the disparate treatment of heroin and crack dealers, come to the rescue of a law-abiding Black woman whose crime was misunderstanding the multilayered bureaucracies that restrict the federally-guaranteed constitutional right to arms?
Shaneen Allen failed to appreciate that only one piece of the right to keep and bear arms operates in New Jersey. She perhaps concluded that two high-profile Supreme Court opinions affirming the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, plus a Pennsylvania license to carry a concealed firearm, would be enough to secure her right to carry a gun for self-defense, even in New Jersey. She was mistaken, and might be faulted for her slippery grasp of U.S. federalism. But with that as her crime, she is still infinitely more worthy of being rescued than anyone on the recent list of presidential pardons.
So far, there have been no protests or demonstrations seeking justice for Shaneen Allen. Like Otis McDonald, she is ignored by the nominal defenders of civil rights. Let us hope that this is not the end of the story.
I sincerely hope it’s not the end. If she’s convicted, I fully expect Chris Christie to commute her sentence, to be followed by a full pardon once she’s gone through the process. I think what’s happened to Allen is egregious enough that Pennsylvania should refuse extradition. If she’s in free America, fuck what the New Jersey courts demand. We should refuse to turn her over if the State of New Jersey refuses to do the right thing.
She could be any one of you or me.
UPDATE: I should make clear when I say “fully expect,” that doesn’t mean I think he’ll actually do it. That means “fully expect” if he wants me to consider him a viable candidate for President in 2016. And oh yeah, there’s still Brian Aitken too, who could use a full pardon. I’m more open to a Christie candidacy than others, especially when I hear talk of Romney running again, but only if he does the right thing by Aitken and Allen.
Aug 27, 2014
From the Wonkblog:
But a child’s parent could. “If dad wants to give his son a rifle or a shotgun on his 13th or 14th birthday, he’s pretty much free to do that in most states,” Webster said.
This is clearly a horrible situation about which “something must be done.” In other news, how does New York have more liberal laws than us in this regard? And not just New York, but Delaware and Maryland as well. Hell, Massachusetts, Connecticut and California(!) have us beat. Yes, indeed. Something must be done about this!
Aug 25, 2014
I agree with this writer than Shaneen Allen is not collateral damage, and the law is working as the legislature intended it, and I agree with this too:
The video above makes a case for eliminating mandatory minimums to increase a judges discretion. That isn’t a just solution. It would still be a crime to simply possess a firearm with no criminal intent or history. If Shaneen shouldn’t face the penalty (I agree she shouldn’t) the state has prescribed for those who possess a firearm outside of narrow exemptions, why should any other gun owner?
But I’ve long advocated that we have to recognize reality, push for what we can get, and not let perfect be the enemy of good. The reality is that this is New Jersey: the legislature is never going to change the gun laws in the manner above, unless that change is forced on them by the courts.
But they might be able to look at the Allen case an at least agree to ease up on the law a bit so otherwise law abiding people don’t find themselves looking at years in a New Jersey prison for a mistake. In truth, even that is likely an uphill battle. It would be a huge deal if the New Jersey legislature even started looking at gun owners and said, “Not all of these people should be in prison.” That would be a sea change in attitude in the Garden State.
I’m not certain whether Dancer has any chance to even get his bill a hearing. It very well might just be a means to signal support, knowing full well it’s doomed to languish in the Democratically controlled, anti-gun legislature. But I’m inclined to support it nonetheless. Only two things are going to push New Jersey back from its current position: federal courts, or a federal legislative remedy under the 14th Amendment. That’s it.
Aug 22, 2014
There’s a certain amount of libertarian ambivalence about laws that force companies to allow their employees and patrons to have firearms (or other weapons) in vehicles in parking lots on private property. On the one hand, the property rights of the owner are trampled. On the other, if this is not forced, the self-defense right of the individuals are trampled. No matter what, someone’s natural rights are getting trampled. The justification for parking lot laws boils down to property rights are less important than self-defense rights.
But, there’s an interesting lawsuit that’s come out of the Aurora, CO mass shooting a few years back. Victims and family members are proceeding with a wrongful death/personal injury suit against the theater chain. Normally, I’d say this was an attempt to go after the deep pockets. But, we have been told that this theater chain was somewhat unusual in the region for posting their property, and it’s suspected that the shooter chose this theater at least partially because it was posted, since the theater was not the closest to his home.
A federal judge has again refused to dismiss wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits filed against a movie theater chain by victims of a 2012 mass shooting at a Colorado cinema where 12 people were killed and dozens injured.
In general, the lawsuits claim Cinemark had lax security at its theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora when a gunman opened fired during a midnight screening of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.”
The article then goes on to point out that other theaters in the chain hired security, but this theater chose not to. The theater chain’s defense is that they should not have a “duty and burden to have foreseen and prevented the criminal equivalent of a meteor falling from the sky.” However, by encouraging their patrons to disarm under threat of banning from the property or other legal actions, I’d say that they have chosen to assume the “duty and burden” by forbidding their patrons from retaining the means of self-defense. And, at any rate, a mass murderer is not the only reason for someone to wish to have the means to defend themselves readily to hand.
In the end, this is why those signs and policies exist, because after a tragedy, people will go looking for the deepest pockets that can provide them monetary compensation. The assumption has been, until now, that the signs may not be effective against lawbreakers, but they are effective against the plaintiff’s bar; that they are the equivalent of those signs you see at coat racks and in parking lots that say “management is not responsible for theft.” (which is literally true, but apparently needs to be spelled out). However, today we live in a legal regime where the search for deep pockets causes the plaintiff’s bar to advance the theory that if a property owner does not have a policy against the carriage of weapons, they are responsible for the actions of anyone who does carry a weapon onto the property. Which is absurd, of course.
If this lawsuit goes through, though, the property owners will be forced to take on the duty of defense of their patrons. For a variety of reasons I don’t expect this lawsuit to succeed; but it points out a libertarian way of obtaining the same results as a parking lot law, without the trampling of the rights of the property owners. Pass laws that make it harder to sue the property owner for the actions of a third party on that property, a la the Protection of Lawful Commerce In Firearms Act or the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, and impose a duty to defend patrons if the property owner chooses to post their property as a “gun free zone.” Then leave it to the free market and the insurance companies to make those signs evaporate…
H/T to Saysuncle
Aug 20, 2014
Assemblyman Ron Dancer of New Jersey has introduced “Shaneen’s Law,” legislation that would give judges the option of not sending citizens like Shaneen Allen to prison. Allen, if you recall, was the mother from Pennsylvania who had a Pennsylvania LTC, and didn’t know it was invalid in New Jersey until she was pulled over and told the officer she was armed. Atlantic County Prosecutor, James P. McClain, threw the book at her.
I’m glad to see someone at least trying to do something about this. Of course, I’d rather stop this with reciprocity, but that’s a long way off for the Garden State. Maybe Assemblyman Dancer’s bill has a chance to go somewhere.
I really want the anti-gunners to explain to me what public interest is served in sending Shaneen Allen to prison? She’s not a threat to anyone. There was never anyone that was victimized by her actions. What purpose does it serve to separate a mother from her child to house her in a prison at taxpayer expense? Is this the America you really want to live in? In an article that would make even the most “law and order” Republican cringe, anti-gun activist Bryan Miller has already answered that question. Sadly, I believe the answer is yes, because when she picked up the gun and put it in her purse, to those people, she became something less than a human being.
UPDATE: This post originally mentioned Shaneen Allen was persecuted by the Ocean County Prosecutor. Atlantic County is where she was persecuted. We apologize for the error.
Aug 19, 2014
Tam has an excellent posts that doesn’t merely give you a sense of perspective, it clocks you in the noggin with it:
In the Sixties, they’d have already turned the dogs and water cannons on the Ferguson protestors. In the Twenties, Andy and Barney would have broken the old Potato-Digger out of the armory and started mowing them down. The po-po used to be pretty quick to go weapons-free on unruly crowds, especially if such crowds were made up of black folk or commies.
Read the whole thing. The reason I’ve had relatively little to say on the matter is because I just can’t find much to agree with in what’s floating around out there. I think this was a good opportunity to raise awareness of police militarization, but a lot of the people who are crowing that line now would take their ARs and body armor replace them with tie-die and daisies. They aren’t really my allies. More from Ace of Spades:
I do not mind that the police should have the capacity to Armor Up and employ Fallujah Room-Clearing Tactics in serious situations, in apprehending serious criminals after serious investigations.
I want them to have that capability.
However, I do not want (and will not accept) them employing that capability for routine warrant services in the service of confiscating a meager amount of contraband drugs.
In Ferguson, the situation, as I see it, is different. There were major riots. The cops are not making up some pretext for going Rambo. As a strictly factual matter, there was rioting, shops were looted and burned to the ground.
I can concede — and in fact I endorse — Mary Katherine’s unstated point that the militarization of police has gone too far and is being employed for trivial matters, while not agreeing with her that protecting against further rioting is itself a trivial matter.
Ace offers a lot to think about. I’m not sure I agree with everything he has to say. I still remain very uncomfortable with police pointing guns at people who don’t outwardly appear to be doing anything worth pointing a gun at someone for. But do I really have a problem with the cops using a heavy, armored vehicle as defensive refuge in a riot situation? Not really.
The more I think about this, the more I agree with Professor Reynolds: the root of the problem is attitude. That’s what we have to fix. While there may be no golden era of policing, we can go back to a previous era and find a set of principles by which an ethical police force can operate.
Aug 18, 2014
There’s always a lot of myths that go around about German gun control laws from the 1930s, and the rise of the Nazis to power. Stephen Halbrook has actually done the research, and you can see the talk he recently gave on C-SPAN. I’d love to be able to embed it, but it looks like C-SPAN isn’t blog friendly with their videos.
Aug 12, 2014
Time to clear out some of the tabs, as I think how how to make all this time balancing work. In truth it’s not really time. When I’m done at the end of the day now, I simply have no mental energy left. I want to watch a movie, listen to some music, or just veg out in my chair. Some people are good mental jugglers, and can keep many balls in the air at once. I can only do it for so long before I just get worn out.
I’m aware of the recent news, I just can’t come up with anything original to say about it. But sometimes I come up with stuff when I try to do a news links post, so let’s go:
American shooters are too intelligent for smart guns.
The Washington Post profiles Tom Palmer, of Palmer v. D.C.
Some of you might have seen Jerry Miculek’s 1000 yard shot with a 9mm. For those physics geeks out there, you might be interested in Joe’s analysis of the shot, which shows there’s some luck involved.
Bearing Arms: Why the new NRA terrifies the political left.
The terror watch list database doubles. No one knows why. Sounds like a great way to treat a constitutional right, by denying it based on one’s presence on a secret government list with no published criteria to get on, and none to get off.
A look at the 2014 Governor’s races. Doesn’t look good for Corbett. I’m not willing to write off the race yet, but his poll numbers need to move in the right direction. Corbett is a lot like Obama. He’s a decent campaigner, but he’s terrible at governing.
I’m not too keen on beer sales at gun shows. But mostly because “What’s the point?” I don’t go to gun shows looking for beer. I go to gun shows looking for guns. I don’t think the argument, to be honest.
Police interference with your right of self-defense, and then failing to protect you, may be unconstitutional.
If you carry a gun you have a supreme duty to be aware of where your firearm is at all times. Get in the habit of checking. That goes double for off-body carry. If you’re going to do that, you should have purpose built equipment. Hint: your kids diaper bag is manifestly inappropriate.
Would you buy a smart gun from this man? Well, now I can see why he thinks a smart gun might be valuable. But I’d generally advise anyone who isn’t willing to practice safe gun handling until it’s ingrained that they are probably better off not owning firearms.
Chicago Chief of Police says carrying a firearm for self-defense is the same as drunk driving. Carrying a gun while drunk, and shooting out streetlights, is apparently something Chief McCarthy is intimately familiar with. He thinks you have as little self-control as he does.
Aug 12, 2014
Guns are going to be a big issue in the Connecticut governor’s race. I’d like to see Malloy’s political career served up on a silver platter. He didn’t win by a huge margin, so maybe it’s possible to knock him off. I’t we manage any of the big four: Hickenlooper, Malloy, O’Malley, or Cuomo, it’ll be a big victory. If we get two, even better. If we get three, that might be enough to re-teach Democrats “the lesson.”
If I had to pick any of the four I’d want Hickenlooper most of all, probably followed by O’Malley, then Malloy and Cuomo. Reason? We were always living on borrowed time in the other states. If we can’t hold Colorado, other states will start to fall like Dominos.
It’s looking pretty bad for Corbett in 2014, and who knows how bad that’s going to affect down ticket races. I would have thought Pennsylvania would start turning anti before Colorado. A lot of Pennsylvanians have no idea how good they have it, and how quickly that’s going to fly south if they don’t wake up.
Aug 4, 2014
The slow trend in gun news unfortunately continues, and I have been more in the mode of trying not to do filler, or veer off topic too much. But I do have some tabs built up from late late week and into the weekend, so let’s see if we can get a news post going:
Bloomberg’s paid stooges aren’t too keen on a new Army pistol because that means gun nuts will want them. Well, I don’t have a 92F, so that may not be the case for me.
From Nick Johnson: Arms and the Several States.
Even NRA is mocking Bloomberg for his epic ad fail.
No, the main obstacle is that smart guns are an answer to a question no one asked. At least no one who actually buys guns.
No… not after your guns at all!
Who knew that Cor-Bon made such projectiles of exploding death?!
This could be a saving grace when it comes to gun control implemented by the Obama Administration.
I’m pretty sure a seminar at the NRA Annual Meeting on sausage making draws a bigger crowd.
D.C. may try to get around the recent ruling in our favor by passing Maryland style may-issue.
Florida doctors told to just ignore the Florida law, at least that’s the advice they are getting from the AAP, which would seem to have taken a lesson from the Obama Administration.
Everytown for censorship has been getting parody videos pulled down even though parody is protected speech. It’s always surprised me how little they can roll with the punches. Watts particularly can’t seem to accept when she makes mistakes.
Oak Ridge offering accent reduction to southerners. My Philly accent attenuated a good bit during college, which is ironic given I went to school in West Philadelphia. But being around other people who didn’t have the accent changed the way I talk.