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Hump Day Mini News Links

I keep saying I want to wrap up with this current client, but things keep coming up. So I’ve been in “I think I can wrap this whole thing up in the next few weeks” mode for the past two months. So I dare not say things should be returning to normal in a few weeks, but maybe! At some point, the project will end and I’ll be on to other things. Anyway, here’s some news links. Not too many this time, because to be honest, I haven’t even had time to gather links:

Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

What’s wrong with Oregon Republicans? Oregon is dominated by the Portland Metro area, so there’s not much hope for the GOP there. The GOP’s weakness in Pennsylvania, however, is almost entirely the fault of the GOP. The party in this state is sclerotic.

Holder: gun control among biggest failures. Happy to disappoint ya there Eric. I would imagine it was a tough thing to weigh his greatest failure.

John Richardson points out some other players in the I-594 initiative in Washington State.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a gun forfeiture case.

Glad to see Clayton Cramer has been doing better, but he’s still having some ups and downs. Hitting the tip jar would probably help. Money may not buy happiness, but the lack of it can certainly bring on a lot of misery.

Just another Everytown grassroots spokesperson who happens to work pretty high up for the Mayor’s office in New York City. It’s astroturf as far as the eye can see!

DC gets smacked down by the judge who ruled their carry ban was unconstitutional, but their new ordinance still has to have a hearing. Let’s hope the judge has read this.

A civil rights victory in Idaho! Ban on carrying guns on Army Corps of Engineers land is struck down. Right now this only affects the District of Idaho.

Mass shooting in Canada. Multiple shooters would seem to suggest terrorism.

Veteran Stands Up to Antis in Illinois

This comes by way of Legal Insurrection:

Confront them everywhere they appear. Never let them own the field.

The PA Supreme Court Controversy

Ace has a pretty decent write-up on the controversy on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court surrounding Justice Seamus McCaffery, who got in trouble for sending around raunchy e-mails on state computers. Apparently Justice McCaffery and the Chief Justice Castille don’t get along too well with each other. At the end, Ace notes:

Philadelphia Magazine says the war is partly about the power to supervise all of Pennsylvania’s state courts — power Castille doesn’t trust McCaffery with.

I don’t really have much of an opinion on the controversy, and perhaps Chief Justice Castille has legitimate reasons to be worried about Justice McCaffery. But I should note there’s a gun angle to this, in that Justice McCaffery is friendly to the Second Amendment, and Chief Justice Castille, a former Philadelphia District Attorney, has not been.

Supreme Court justices are elected in Pennsylvania, and McCaffery has carried an NRA Endorsement, and has spoken NRA Annual Firearms Law Seminar. I thought his talks were entertaining and funny, as Supreme Court justice presentations go.

Possible Germaneness Issue in Preemption Bill?

Unlike the federal government, but like many other states, Pennsylvania’s constitution has a germaneness requirement for bill amendments. Article III, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states:

No bill shall be passed containing more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title, except a general appropriation bill or a bill codifying or compiling the law or a part thereof.

My concern about the addition of A10397, the preemption enhancement,  to House Bill 80 is that H.B. 80 is about metal theft. That would seem to violate the germaneness requirement. Now, I suspect, though I’m not certain, that because the Senate attached this amendment to a House Bill, that it will go to conference, and the House can strip out the metal theft language and essentially make H.B. 80 a preemption bill only. If the legislature is intent on having a metal theft bill, they can always pass it later with a different bill number, or in a different session. But I do still believe there is a way to save the preemption enhancement on the germaneness issue.

We are, however, getting really close to the election, and this also could have been a last ditch effort for lawmakers to get on record so NRA’s lobbyist will release their grades. I’m not sure what there’s time to do or not. It’s looking like Corbett is going to be toast, and I think it’s a safe bet Tom Wolf will veto the measure. But Corbett will still be able to sign as a lame duck. To me the important thing is we get this done.

BTW, the pigeon shooting ban passed the Senate 3 to 1. NRA is opposing the pigeon shooting ban, but I personally think they are fighting a losing battle on that topic. Wayne Pacelle, head of the phoney-baloney Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), is no doubt pleased, even if it still has an uphill climb in the House. If you think those people are going to stop with pigeon shooting, you’re a fool. HSUS is an anti-hunting group, and any victory they get is a step closer to their goal of ending hunting. Unlike the anti-gun groups, they are very well funded, and have a highly motivated, rabid, and broad base of grassroots activists. That’s one reason I believe that, long term, hunting in the United States is probably doomed if trends among hunters keeps going the way it’s going. The time to stop arguing about what hunting is, and stand together, was yesterday.

Attacking I-594: WA State’s Phony “Background Check” Initiative

There’s a long way to go, but I-594, the Washington State initiative than would ban private transfers, even handing a gun to someone else on a private range, for instance, to teach them to shoot, is losing public support. These next few weeks will be critical for reaching low information voters. Without reaching those people, we don’t stand of a chance of winning. Both sides will be vying for their votes. Hopefully this ad will help:

I used to hate class warfare until certain classes started to think they were entitled to rule. I think the jab at Seattle billionaires who are backing this measure will resonate.

Pennsylvania Preemption & Pigeons

I like alliteration, and it seems that the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee might, too. Word has been spreading that the Committee might actually meet to move a pro-gun bill today. Of course, it comes with a word of warning that they might try to move the pigeon shooting ban out, too.

The Senate GOP has been the blockade to pretty much everything in Pennsylvania the last few years. On the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Stewart Greenleaf, has an ever worsening NRA grade as he constantly blocks pro-gun bills with opening doors to poison pill amendments. If you believe in free market wine, you can thank Chuck McIlhinney for blocking privatization.

I’ll be honest, even with an election year, I didn’t think that preemption had any chance to move at all in the Senate given how much they have gotten in the way of other reforms on our issue and others in the last couple of years. This is great news, and I’ll be calling my non-Judiciary Committee senator to let him know that if he wants my help this year, there better be a vote. I know my senator needs visible support from women based on the ads he’s running. I’m going to let him know that I’m happy to help, but only if there’s a vote and he votes for stronger preemption. Play the cards you’ve got – and helping a campaign is something everyone can do.

A Blessing and a Curse

By now, most of you have probably heard about Defense Distributed’s october surprise. They have chosen to make CNC milling more accessible to the masses with a machine that you can use to make receivers for about $1500. It looks like the mill starts with an 80% lower. The Wired article talks about how milling machines typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, but there are affordable mills out there that you could do more with.

My friend Jason, who has experimented with making firearms and written about it here on this blog, has a Taig mill. It would cost you a few hundred more dollars to build a protective enclosure around it, which he would recommend, since he once had a bit break off and fly across the room and embed itself in the wall before he decided to build one. This is, of course, about double the price of DD’s mill, but with a full blown Taig setup, you can make receivers from a block of aluminum.

Nonetheless, this move significantly increases the accessibility of home built firearms, and I believe that is going to be both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing, because it is now irrefutably true that gun control can never work. It is a curse because there are plenty of political elites who haven’t yet figured that out, and this gives them a new issue.

3D printing and CNC milling is new as a mass market technology (it’s existed for a long time, but only as industrial technology that was priced beyond what an ordinary consumer could afford). Being a new technology it’s going to scare people. People are more easily frightened  by technologies they don’t understand, and between all the billionaires arrayed against us, and a media able and eager to whip up public fears about guns, we could end up in a tough spot.

Our opponents in the gun ban movement have always had more luck with issues that don’t affect all that many gun owners. Remember that when the assault weapons hysteria was at its zenith in the late 80s and early 90s, not very many gun owners were familiar with the AR-15 or AK family. High-power shooters were still using the M1A, largely. That unfamiliarity bred opportunity for our opponents, because as long as you could keep your M1s, M1As, M1 Carbines, and Mini-14s, they had a lot more leeway to get the ratchet on the nut, which could always be tightened later.

The way I see it, the gun ban crowd has several options to deal with this:

  • They could change the definition of an unfinished lower. This could be done at a whim, as what constitutes an 80% lower is ATF policy, not federal regulation. It wouldn’t even require ATF going through formal rule making. They could declare tomorrow that now that 80% lowers are firearms, and create a new 70% standard.
  • They could require an FFL for all manufacturing and end home gun making. This would require an act of Congress. It would be completely useless to control people manufacturing with criminal intent, but there are plenty of people out there among the public, and even more in elected office, who are quite happy to criminalize behavior that frightens them, and they don’t think anyone should be doing anyway.
  • They could restrict CNC and 3D printing technology as a whole. I view this as the least likely option, but if more people find things to do with this technology that scares political elites, you could see a move for this.

So far we have not had any major issues with criminals utilizing this technology. I believe the reason for this is economic — you can buy a gun off the streets in most crime ridden neighborhoods cheaper than you could make one using a CNC machine or a 3D printer. If a criminal want an untraceable gun, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper and easier to dremel the serial number off a gun than to make one from scratch in a garage. But that won’t get us off the hook. A lone wolf criminal or nutcase using this technology in a high-profile incident could be all the pretext the politicians, media, and gun control crowd need to get the ball rolling to restrict home gun building and gun smithing.

I believe Cody Wilson* is playing with fire. I’m not saying he shouldn’t do it, but we all should be aware of what’s going on here, and not kid ourselves. This might convince some people who were already disposed to be skeptical of gun control that it is now impossible, but it’s just as likely to frighten the hell out of the type of people who are easily frightened by new and scary things. Which type of person do you think there are more of?

* Pssst, Cody…. The BYO community could really use a decent home anodization kit. Just saying.

Hypocrisy Gets You a Lighter Sentence?

It seems that as long as you have the right political views, you can break gun laws and get a slap on the wrist. If you don’t, you’ll end up facing serious charges and years in prison.

Compare these two situations:

1) In New York, an activist who promoted the SAFE Act that made carrying a gun on school property a felony even if the person has a license to carry, decided to carry his gun to a school after the gun control law took effect.

When the school was raided by SWAT officers and went on lockdown for a call about a man with a gun in the building, Dwayne Ferguson did not disclose that he had his gun. It was only when officers started patting down every person in the school did they find his gun. The school noted in their statement that he had an opportunity to disclose his possession to officers, and he chose not to do so, forcing everyone else to face a search.

For his refusal to disclose his accidentally carried, and otherwise licensed, firearm into a prohibited place, Ferguson’s charges were dropped from felonies and he received community service with a conditional discharge.

2) In New Jersey, a single mother from Philadelphia crossed a bridge with her license to carry a gun issued by Pennsylvania thinking that it applied across the border. It did not. When she was pulled over for a vaguely state violation, she willfully disclosed to the officer that she was a licensed gun owner.

For her cooperative attitude during her accidental carry situation, he had her arrested and the prosecutor considers her, as an otherwise lawful gun owner, such a danger to the community that he refuses to even consider the idea of a diversion program because it would mean she would not be put behind bars for years.

It would appear that having the right political views can go a long way in convincing a prosecutor not to press charges in these gun control cases.

Monday News Links 9-22-2014

Bitter’s mother and grandmother are on their way back to Tennessee, after spending the last week up here with us. Things turned a bit cold up here for folks used to Oklahoma summers. It’s starting to feel more like fall now and less like summer.

Don’t ever let anyone try to tell you that no one wants to take your guns from you. The NJ Star-Ledger calls for Australian style confiscation. Check the comments for people debunking “It worked for Australia!” propaganda.

The changing face of target shooting. Our opponents will do everything humanly possible to halt this trend. Keep that in mind when analyze proposed legislation to gauge their strategy.

Politico: “Gabby Giffords gets mean” The best way to fight back is to help out the politicians she’s attacking, both on the streets and in the voting booth.

John Richardson has a good piece on racial profiling on Form 4473. Why they are doing this now is an interesting question.

Alan Gura on DC’s may-issue shenanigans “In America, the police don’t determine what rights we have good reason to enjoy. You don’t need a good reason to speak, to worship, to vote or to carry a gun for self-defense.

Doctors groups seem to quite often be comprised of petty tyrants who know how to run your life better than you do. Here’s another example. You hear this a lot from gun control advocates: only federal gun laws are effective, because otherwise you can just go to a state with weaker laws. Well, then why do they keep trying to pass more controls at the state level then?

The war against accurate rifles. They’re going to hate particle beam weapons. More on that topic here.

Has Attorney General Kane offered a gift to gun owners? It seems improbable, but Josh Prince is going to try to put to some use.

SayUncle is done with the NFL. The NFL is an anti-gun organization.

Daily Caller: Top 3 Myths of the Second Amendment.

Shannon Watts: “Now, for the first time in our country’s history, there is a well-financed and formidable force positioned to take on the Washington gun lobby.” Well financed by a single billionaire asshole who has his own private armed security.

Even some Democrats are acknowledging Shaneen Allen doesn’t deserve to go to jail. This is what gun control means. When you heavily regulate a consumer product that’s widely legal most everywhere else, it necessarily means good people will go to prison. Democrats should think long and hard about that before passing everything our opponents (who are fine with gun owners going to prison) ask for.

NRA is getting involved in the race for Jim Gerlach’s old seat. I’m guessing Mike Fitzpatrick isn’t getting help this year. Fine by me, since I’ve been nothing but disappointed in him. Fitzpatrick has taken endorsements from gun control groups. Fitzpatrick has said previous he plans to step down in 2016. If this is not the case, he needs a primary challenger.

More about where NRA is spending its money this year.

Dave Kopel: New anti-gun strategies.

Off Topic:

 

Headline of the century?

Republicans need to figure this stuff out if they want to win elections. They are way behind. A big question in my mind is whether this will work for a run-of-the-mill candidate and not the new messiah incarnate.

The Fourth Amendment may be sick, but it’s not dead yet.

Polling & Results

With Washington ready for a ballot initiative fight this November and the accompanying debate over who is and isn’t showing up, I thought it would be important to look at a couple of historical votes relevant to the subject of ballot initiatives.

One is recent history. Very recent. As in, yesterday. There were were many polls showing that the Yes and No votes on Scottish Independence were in a dead heat, and even some showing that Yes was taking the lead in the days prior to the vote. The real result was a 10 point vote against independence with massive turnout.

Another, more relevant example, is from Massachusetts in 1976. I’ve posted about how important it is for gun owners to read about and learn from this example before. It shows why we keep fighting, even in sometimes clearly uphill fights. From Dave Kopel’s article on the ballot initiative fight:

Early polling suggested that a handgun ban would pass handily. Further, in the 1974 election, voters in several state legislative districts had overwhelmingly supported measures instructing their state legislators to vote for strict anti-gun legislation. …

The final poll, a few days before, had showed Question 5 with a 10-point lead. Everyone anticipated a long night waiting for the election results. Everyone was wrong.

Handgun confiscation was crushed by a vote of 69 percent to 31 percent. Of the approximately 500 towns in Massachusetts, only about a dozen (including Cambridge, Brookline, Newton and Amherst) voted for the ban. Even Boston rejected the ban by a wide margin.

There are notable differences in that it was certainly a far more extreme policy than Washington. However, it still shows that what people feel they “should” tell a pollster may not match how they vote in a closed voting booth. That’s the kind of tendency that Washington activists need to appeal to there.

Now, NRA cannot, even if they empty their entire campaign war chest into Washington State and completely ignore the rest of the country, outspend Bloomberg and Bill Gates. They can’t. Just accept it right now that you cannot look at this situation strictly through the lens of campaign finance reports. I’m not in Washington, but I do see some evidence of NRA work. There’s a Facebook page they’ve created that partially documents some of their work, and I can also say that from the moment I met our new EVC coordinator back in March, she’s been aware of this and trying to work with local activists to make sure they have what they need and help them out. Even in our Friends of NRA program that isn’t political, we saw record turnout for people showing up to participate, even though they couldn’t quite open their wallets as much as last year. Fights like this aren’t accurately portrayed in financial reports.

These issues are complex, and there’s a chance that we may lose. However, if gun owners study their history on ballot initiatives, they’ll know these things are won with volunteers on the ground and that sometimes polls on policy efforts to support more gun control are very, very wrong when you actually stick a ballot with that issue in front of someone’s face.

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