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Pearl Clutchers Defeated in Niles Gun Shop Battle

Don’t ever let anyone tell you they aren’t after your guns. That was a recent theme Joe Huffman was pushing on his blog. You can see the collected evidence here, here, here, and here. I suspect one could make a successful niche blog out of a feature like this. To show that even Shannon Watts group is, in fact, an extremist group dressed in the disguise of reasonableness, last week John Richardson raised the alarm that the Mom’s Demand Action was busy trying to prevent a shooting range from opening in the Chicagoland area. This place is to be called Sportsman’s Club and Firearms Training Academy. Sounds like a den of criminals to me! I say “is to be called,” because the anti-gunners were defeated in their efforts to stop the range from being built. They got a whopping one vote in their favor on the Niles City Council.

When they get to the point where they are trying to prevent ordinary Americans from engaging in recreational shooting, or having a clean and safe environment to learn owning, shooting, and carrying a gun safely, they’re not operating in the realm most Americans would consider reasonable. These people are extremists. They are as kooky as the lunatics carrying AR-15s into Target, just approaching it from the other side of the issue. You can see their extremism on display in the comments to this article. Who is Christine Fenno? Why, she’s a professional extremist with Moms Demand. No amateur extremism going on there.

Joe is right. Don’t ever let anyone tell you they aren’t after your guns. At the very least, they are singularly unconcerned with actual gun safety. In order to teach people gun safety, we need ranges and instructors. Moms Demand is against ranges and instructors. What does that tell you? We should celebrate that they’ve lost this fight in Niles. We are bringing a safe and fun gun culture back to the places where they thought they had destroyed it for good. We will persevere, until we have places like “Sportsman’s Club and Firearms Training Academy” popping up in New York City, San Francisco, and all manner of places that will make the Christine Fennos of the world clutch their pearls. One way or another, they will have to deal with us as friends, neighbors, co-workers, and fellow Americans, no longer able to dismiss us as the caricatures erected in their own prejudiced minds.

Monday News Dump – 7/21/2014

Just when I thought I couldn’t get any busier, it looks like I’m going to take on another client. The good news is, it won’t be a very long engagement, but it will be 12 hours a week for a few weeks, on top of the 20 hours a week I’m billing at another client. It doesn’t start for a few weeks, but my time is going to get more scarce during that time, so Bitter will be filling in again. But for now, here’s some collected news articles that might be of interest:

Brian Anse Patrick has a new book out that explores the Zombie phenomena.

The Pueblo Chieftan didn’t particularly appreciate Bloomberg’s comments. The more people that gets around to the better.

A brief filed as an amicus in an ACLU case against government data harvesting.

Apparently the Connecticut Bar Association is looking to get in bed with the Brady’s. Apparently membership in the state bar is not mandatory for attorneys there. If you practice law in the Nutmeg State, I’d call and complain.

Is Remington trying to de-emphasize the R51?

The House is looking to preempt Washington D.C. from passing its own gun laws. This would be the first step on what I think should be a long road of the feds using their power under the 14th Amendment to preempt state gun laws. Our opponents want to argue that there needs to be a single, federal standard? Well, OK then, we’ll give you one.

Detroit police chief: ‘No question in my mind’ legal gun ownership deters crime’

Electronic Letters of Marque and Reprisal? An idea who’s time has come, if you ask me!

Another case of “Careful when you leave America.”

The feds are very eager to get rid of surplus M16s. So eager they’re giving two for one deals even if the department doesn’t ask. You know a good way to take care of this problem? Allow them to be surplussed through the DCM. Hell, I’d even take an exception that still required the auto-sear to be removed. Not possible under current ATF “once a machine gun, always a machine gun,” policy.

The may-issue bill, which would have made all firearms may-issue in Massachusetts, has largely been watered down to nothing. I’ll hand it to John Hohenwarter, I thought we were going to have to bend over with that bill.

Governor Brown has signed some gun control into law. Is converting single shot firearms to multi-shot firearms really a problem? I’ve never even heard of this practice.

This prankster almost gets his ass shot. He’s damned lucky the person who pulled his firearm in self-defense hesitated. From the other point of view, that concealed carrier was lucky he was facing a prankster.

Dog Bites Man: Irrelevant gun control group sues to have an irrelevant pro-gun bill struck down in the courts, in an attempt to gain back some relevancy.

Congrats, gun control folks: this AR-15 is legal in all 50 states. You’ve accomplished nothing, except taking us back a few decades in ergonomics.

This is how a gun culture dies. In New York, it’s been death by 1000 cuts. But they are getting pretty close to killing it off for good.

What happens when smart guns collide with dumb ideologies.

Rolling Stone magazine gets fisked by… the NRA? I don’t think I’ve ever seen NRA engage in that style before. See also this response to Rolling Stone.

Everytown is at it again. When people think “mass shooting,” they think of some nut job shooting up a shopping mall, movie theater or school. So why not lump domestic violence tragedies in with that idea and hope no one notices?

Hate to Tell You: They’re All Faking It

When I first saw this article at The Daily Beast, talking about how Chris Christie was “faking it” on gun rights, I had no idea how much of the gun community would echo that sentiment. My reaction was “Well, yeah, but they’re all faking it.” You see, aside from the very rare gunny politician (and they do exist, they just aren’t that common), almost all your politicians arrive at this issue based on whether or not that position is politically expedient. Even your politicians that may pay a lot of lip service to gun rights have a breaking point, and you’d be surprised by how many “great friends” will head for the hills and leave you to the wolves if the vote suddenly starts to turn hard for them. In any of your state legislative bodies, there are legislative friends who really have not been tested, and nearly none of these guys are going home after a hard day of shaking hands and kissing babies to clean their AR-15s. It’s quite easy to say “Oh, I’m with you on this or that,” when they’re talking to your lawmaker to constituent in the comfort of their office. It’s quite another thing to actually take a hard vote for us when there’s not a knock down, drag out fight over it with both sides and the media fully engaged.

So while Governor Christie is not my ideal candidate for 2016 (I’m partial to Scott Walker if he’s interested in running), and while I agree that he’s vetoed a number of bills for us out of a desire to run for the GOP nomination, I have to respect that he’s signaled to us through action rather than lip service. Does that mean I trust him on guns? Not really. But trusting in politicians is usually a fool’s business. Since politicians, as a general rule, act out of political expedience, the trick is to continue making our issue expedient for them. Over the long run, that’ll work out a lot better for you than trust.

The Importance and Dangers of “Othering” for Our Opponents

Image Courtesy of Mimi and Eunice

Image Courtesy of Mimi and Eunice

I had originally wanted to get this into yesterday’s post, but I couldn’t make it work without descending into “let me ramble on semi-coherently about yet another thing.” That’s a blogging style that I’ll leave to the resident expert, Brady Board Member Joan Peterson. In any kind of political fight you’re usually going to see both sides engaging in “othering,” namely setting your opponents outside the class of reasonable people, and often, even outside the class of people.

Most of us find it highly insulting, and I’m certainly no exception. I don’t like being compared to an unthinking animal, to the bottom rungs of society, or the lowest of the low any more than other people do. I don’t particularly appreciate seeing my liberty interested boiled down to some faceless “corporate gun lobby,” nor do I like seeing my views misrepresented as supporting “deep pocketed gun manufacturers,” or “merchants of death.”

But there’s an important strategic reason that they engage in this, and that’s because, “Hey, let’s go take away something important and meaningful from your friends, family and neighbors,” doesn’t have quite the same motivational ring as, “Let’s go stick it to those dumb, ignorant, stooges of the merchants of death!” That’s the first strategic goal of othering; people need an enemy and villain. Your friends, family and neighbors don’t make great enemies and villains unless you’re demented. So you have to be convinced that “those people” aren’t any of those things. For us, Bloomberg makes a great villain. He others himself. How many of us have megalomaniacal billionaires as friends, family or neighbors? No one? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

But there is a second prong to othering, one that can be introduced through this article by Tony Canales that speaks of liberal gun owners:

Writer Christopher Ketcham essentially comes out of the gun-ban closet and admits, openly, that as a Way-Lefty he and a number of his friends still like their guns. Furthermore, the reasons to have firearms  essentially parallel the very rationale of the Founding Fathers, that being of the need for the average citizen to oppose governmental tyranny as well as having the ability to defend oneself when being confronted by criminals and wildlife bent on harm.

The other purpose of it is to silence those people on your own side of the cultural divide for fear that they will be likewise othered into the negative cultural stereotype. In short, othering helps keep liberal and moderate gun owner’s mouths shut, and prevents them from speaking out. Anything we on our side do that makes people feel uncomfortable about joining us (I don’t know, like carrying AR-15s to Chilis at the low ready) only helps the other side other us.

But there is a downside to othering for our opponents: the crap they say about us is highly antagonistic to ordinary gun owners. Their othering can be a powerful means to bring more people into political engagement with the gun rights issue. When they accuse NRA of being “the corporate gun lobby,” it might be laughably false, but most gun owners aren’t NRA members. When they mention that gun owners only live in places that don’t have roads, are stupid for owning guns, and presumably also lack proper dental care, that insults about 80 million Americans, which is well more than half of the electorate if they all voted. Our opponents have a habit, going back many years, of taking things too far, of overreaching, and losing. What I worry about is seeing the same thing on my side of the issue.

So “othering” is a tactic that pretty much everyone uses in political battles. It’s distasteful, but it’s reality. But one can take it too far, and fortunately for us, our opponents do a lot of the hard work for us when it comes to bringing more people into the issue. I think it’s wise to keep their folly in mind when we look at our own side’s behavior.

Halfway Through July News Links

Is it the middle of July already? Time does indeed fly when you’re busy. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to let up anytime soon. In addition to working at a client, I’m still doing my regular job, and things there are getting a bit backed up. Running a blog is like having two jobs, so when I have two jobs that I get paid for, three (i.e. this blog) is a bit too much to handle. But I appreciate Bitter filling in. As it often is in the summer, gun news is a bit slow. But let’s see what I have here in the tabs:

Be careful when you leave America. Since my new client is in New Jersey, it’s something I have to be cognizant of. A single .22 hollow point that escaped from your range bag after a day of shooting can land you in New Jersey State Prison for a good while.

Culturally, hunting is in a lot more trouble than shooting. You see plenty of hunters arguing against trophy hunting too when these things come up. It’s never a good idea to feed your presumptive allies to your enemies in the hope that they’ll eat you last.

Do gun owners have any rights liberals are bound to respect? Well, they don’t seem to think so.

Professor Nick Johnson looks at those who are undermining our right to Keep and Bear Arms. He looks into the book “The Second Amendment: A Biography.” I started reading it, got about 1/3rd of the way through. I’ll finish it when I have more time.

Gun control is well and truly a folly with modern technology. But that’s not going to convince people to give it up.

Chicagoland is acting up again, treating shall-issue as may issue. Lawsuits are already filed. It’s funny that the gun control folks justify this intrusion thusly: “If you can’t fly on a plane because of being on a secret government list, you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun.” Well who said that ought to be constitutional in the first place? Last I heard, there was an implicit right to travel.

Is there hope for the future? I think it’s good advice. Of course, one way to neutralize attacks on social issues is to actually not be on the wrong side of younger voter’s values.

I have to agree with Joe. I don’t see any problem with that ad. Even if you’ve taught your kids well, you haven’t taught your friends’ kids.

OSU students sue over illegal campus gun ban.

Does the Religious Freedom Restoration Act violate separation of powers? Not necessary off topic. The article mentions City of Boerne v. Flores (1997). If we get national reciprocity, I can promise you that you’ll be seeing more of that case.

Missouri is considering passing a RKBA provision very similar to the one passed in Louisiana. The more states that do this, the better. It shows that the people aren’t happy with this intermediate scrutiny two-step dance the federal courts have been doing. The Louisiana Supreme Court recently upheld prohibitions on violent felons possessing arms under strict scrutiny, so there should be less credible scaremongering this time.

Just when you thought the stupid couldn’t get any stupider. Seems there’s a lot of stupid going around these days.  I have to agree with Jeff Soyer. The way to convince people we’re not a bunch of loose cannons with guns is not to act like loose cannons with guns.

The Army is looking for a new pistol again. The big problem is the ammunition. Would the world really be a worse place if we announced we were withdrawing from that one aspect of the Hauge Convention?

Why am I not shocked that Bearing Arms is the only place I’ve even heard of this guy?

Gun Clubs & Elections

Gun clubs can be organized under any number of tax statuses, but many will put them in a category where they may not be able to engaging in outright electioneering. However, one New York gun club sends a pretty clear message about the issue they want to see resolved without naming any candidates on a giant billboard.

I hate that the only place I ever witnessed really well organized gun clubs willing to get involved in the political fights to the degree that they were legally allowed to was in Massachusetts. It really was a case of too little too late there, and other states don’t have to follow that model if their clubs and organized shooters would get together and engage in just a little bit of activism.

A Progressive Who Understands the Gun Issue

Sent to me by one of my liberal readers:

What matters isn’t what the public believes. What matters is the issues that the public is willing to get out and vote for. By and large, people don’t care badly enough about gun control to throw out legislators who don’t do what they want. But the small minority of gun nuts do care very badly–and they get out and vote in partisan primaries with that same passion.

This is the nuts and bolts of it, and one reason I’ve always strived not to just be another blog out there reaffirming confirmation biases. When most people don’t agree with you, the only way you can win is to ensure there remains few people passionate enough about gun control to actually vote on it.

We’ve made tremendous strides in this issue over the past few decades, to the point where the number of issues we don’t enjoy at least a plurality of favorable public opinion are few. But one reason I’m always very wary of tactics designed to antagonize rather than persuade is because being antagonized is what causes people to get off their asses and act. There’s always a tendency among our people to believe that there’s more public support for our issue than there really is. The article is correct to note that this doesn’t matter as long as there’s still a big enthusiasm gap, but let’s not pretend the other side doesn’t have a large pool of potential supporters they can draw from if only there’s enough money to reach them.

That’s where Bloomberg comes in, and where he can do the most damage. They are starting small, not asking for much of a commitment. That’s why you see them circulating a lot of petitions and easy stuff which don’t take a lot of thought or effort. We’ve seen when it comes to higher levels of engagement, they take more than *ahem* a little encouragement.

My big concern is money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy elections. Bloomberg can easily outspend us. If we don’t make up for it with our own enthusiasm, we could end up in big trouble, and it could very likely come quickly and without much warning.

 

Standing Up to The Attacks

As cynical as I feel sometimes about the direction things are headed in with the Second Amendment issue, I do have to give a little credit where it is due to some of the other citizens stepping up to speak out. I’ve noticed several letters to the editor standing up for the NRA and gun rights recently, and even though I don’t agree with every conclusion in every letter, I’m happy to see people speaking out publicly. We need a few more people to stand up to the really absurd accusations about gun owners in the media because it helps inspire others to step up.

Christie Vetos the Magazine Ban

From ANJRPC:

Today Governor Christie vetoed A2006 / S993, legislation (http://tinyurl.com/pxxpja3) that would have banned firearms magazines larger than 10 rounds and would have banned an entire class of popular .22 caliber semi-automatic rifles. The veto marks the end of the road for this legislation for the 2014-2015 session.
“After months of intense battle over this misguided legislation that won’t stop another crime or prevent another tragedy, we are grateful that Governor Christie has heard the voice of the outdoor community and ended the discussion,” said ANJRPC Executive Director Scott Bach. “The Governor clearly recognizes the difference between legislation that punishes violent criminals vs. legislation that targets the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Metcalf Really Needs to Stop Digging

Thanks to Bearing Arms for pointing to Dick Metcalf digging ever deeper whining about the premature demise of his career. He also shows a poor understanding of the standard model of the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment says the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, Metcalf noted, “not that it shall not be regulated.” Rather the first four words of the amendment, “a well regulated militia,” not only allow but mandate regulation.

We’ve been over and over this, again and again. The prefatory clause is simply a justification for acknowledging the right. There are other such prefatory clauses in the Constitution, such as:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

People have argued, in front of the Supreme Court, that the prefatory clause meaningfully modifies the nature of the power in question, and the Supreme Court rejected the idea. Only two justices tried to argue that the prefatory clause limited the power to only those things which promoted the progress of science and useful arts. The structure of the Second Amendment is nearly identical. The prefatory clause, which states the case for acknowledging the right, does not meaningfully limit it, anymore than the patent and copyright prefatory clause limits Congress’ power. That’s without even needing dissect the 18th century meaning of “well-regulated,” which in this case means regulated like a clock, and not regulated like a chemical plant.

“Everything is regulated, but everything is not infringed. Not all regulation is infringement. Is your right to drive a car being infringed by a speed limit?”

There is no right to drive a car. Some may say there ought to be, and I would be among those who would agree with that, but current law treats the “right” to drive a car on public roads as a “privilege.” If it was recognized as a right, things might be different. Also, a speed limit only regulates what you may do with a car. No one would argue the Second Amendment is so absolute as to preclude how one may employ a firearm. You have no Second Amendment right to rob a bank with a gun. No one would argue that you have a Second Amendment right to shoot across your neighbor’s yard, or shoot across a public road or waterway absent any exigent circumstances. That’s very different than some of the regulations Metcalf has advocated for, which would amount to a prior restraint when it comes to other rights.

Those are debates we can have. Some have argued that the prior restraint doctrine from First Amendment law might not be completely applicable to Second Amendment law, and I don’t see people calling for Dave Kopel’s career on a platter. The problem with Metcalf’s article, and his continuing statements in the media was/is ignorance. I can point to numerous examples of people getting away with the kind of things he’s been saying without getting skewered. Metcalf’s problem is he’s adopted many of the shopworn arguments of our opponents. No one argues the Second Amendment is absolute, or that we could reasonably expect the courts to find it as such. There’s plenty of room to argue about this or that. But when you adopt the same rhetoric and tired arguments as our opponents, people are going to react badly. That’s what Metcalf did, and has been continuing to do.

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