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Hearing Protection Act Loaded onto Omnibus

The Hearing Protection Act has been attached to the SHARE act, which is a sportsman’s omnibus bill, and what a glorious omnibus it is. Of the important things the SHARE act does:

  • Eliminates the sporting purposes language from GCA ’68 and the law on armor piercing ammunition.
  • Creates a blanket exception for shotguns to prevent arbitrary reclassification as destructive devices.
  • Moves silencers/suppressors from Title II to Title I (no longer an NFA item).
  • Preempts states from playing games to discourage silencers but does not outright prevent states from banning them. (limited preemption)
  • Enhances the FOPA language to include travel by means other than vehicles.
  • Creates remedies against states that violate the safe travel provisions, including a cause of action and attorneys fees.
  • A bunch of hunting related shit I don’t really care about.

One concern I do have with the enhanced safe travel provision is that while it does cover ammunition and firearms, does not cover ammunition feeding devices or other accessories. If this bill passes, it will make suppressors Title I, which means they will become more common and more widely transported. Ten states still ban them even after this becomes law. About the same number of states have some kind of restriction on ammunition feeding devices. FOPA safe travel won’t do us much good if we can still be arrested for magazines and accessories.

The antis are quickly trying to get word out that they are now supposed to oppose the SHARE act, and not the HPA anymore. The attachment of HPA to a bill that should be easier to pass suggests that perhaps the GOP is a bit more serious about actually passing this, if they can pass anything.

I’ve been blogging for ten years, and this bill would constitute winning on a number of things we’ve been fighting for that whole time, including things I didn’t think would be politically possible ten years ago.

NFRTR Problems

Dave Hardy details the problems with the NFA registry in all its horrid detail.

OIG asked how often there was a discrepancy between the inventory and what the NFRTR said the inventory should be: 46% of inspectors said either “always” or “most of the time.” (Only 5% reported “never”).

I’ve heard this from ATF people who have spoken at the National Firearms Law Seminar too. The database is a mess, and there’s been a quiet effort to clean it up going on for years. Dave also notes:

Mind you, felony prosecutions are undertaken relying on the NFRTR to establish that a gun is not registered, and with evidence consisting of an affidavit from the custodian of records for the NFRTR certifying that no record of registration could be found.

But don’t go thinking you’ll evade prosecution if you convert your AR because the NFRTR is flawed. Most machine gun prosecutions there days proceed under 18 USC 922(o), where all they have to do is prove the machine gun was manufactured after May 19th, 1986, and that you possessed it. But if grandpa kicks the bucket, and you find the M1 Thompson he managed to smuggle back from Europe, be sure your lawyer knows the history of the NFRTR.

On The Move in Michigan

Passes the House by a 59-49 vote. We’re on a roll! Granted it still has to go through the Senate and earn a Governor’s signature in both MI and NC, but these things often take several sessions to pass. Concealed Carry was this way too. Given that Michigan’s governor has shown a willingness to veto pro-gun bills, Michigan seems a stretch, but every little step.

Constitutional Carry on the Move in NC

Voted out of the House by a 65-54 vote<. North Carolina is a pretty large state, with about 10 million people. It’s considerably more populated than Arizona. A victory with Constitutional Carry here will be quite a prize, and would help get the ball rolling elsewhere. It’s a harder leap for legislators to make when Arizona is the most populous state to vote go Constitutional Carry so far. “It’ll never work here,” becomes less an excuse once states that are similarly situated adopt it, and the sky doesn’t fall.

In this day in age, when police cruisers are fitted with networked computers, they can tell immediately whether someone shouldn’t have a gun. The more information technologies like that become more widespread, the less permitting systems make sense.

A Protected Class?

A bill has been introduced in Pennsylvania that would amend the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act to make gun owners a protected class. This means it would be unlawful for employers, landlords, banks, and public accommodations from discriminating against you because you’re a gun owner or because you carry a firearm.

I have mixed feelings about these bills. On the one hand, this is the system that exists, so as long as it does, I don’t see why, for instance, a landlord ought to be able to deny someone housing because they are a gun owner (and that does happen, and it happens pretty often, actually). Also, it’s hard to have sympathy for companies like Weyerhaeuser, when you read about the way they treat their employees. This incident is what got this whole issue rolling.

But unlike race, sex, disability, etc, owning a gun is not an immutable characteristic, and I’m not that big on the state interfering with private relationships. I accept that it was probably a necessary evil to do so for race. But it is an evil which I am loathe to expand to more and more people over issues that don’t boil down to immutable characteristics.

Despite Long Guns Being Rarely Used in Crimes …

… and despite Pennsylvania’s ban on transfers or loans of firearms without going through an FFL or Sheriff not doing hardly a think to put a dent in Philadelphia’s violence crime rate, some lawmakers want to expand the ban on transfers or loans to long guns.

This has been going around in rightly circles. It’s interesting to see some of the outlets making hay of this given that Santora is still willing to vote the right way on abortion.

Constitutional Carry in Wisconsin?

Looks like it’s on the move. Note how the media is spinning it now? “Committee to Hear Input on Ending Concealed Carry Training.” Technically accurate, but does someone want to argue the headline isn’t loaded in a way that Bloomberg’s Everytown would surely approve of?

Good news for Pennsylvania if Wisconsin passes, since the two states are somewhat similar politically. Well, with one difference: say what you want about Scott Walker, but the dude gets things done, and sits atop a throne made from the skulls of his vanquished enemies. Contrast that with Tom Corbett, who couldn’t get anything done, and was sent packing after a single term.

UPDATE: Michigan too, another state similarly situated to ours. I know we have a Dem governor, but I don’t think this is even on anyone’s radar in Pennsylvania. The GOP in both Michigan and Wisconsin has shown a lot more backbone than they have here.

Suppressors in the News

You know the fight is brewing when over memorial day several outlets run stories. USA Today actually has a relatively positive piece on them. In fact, even our opponents at ARS are now helping make our point:

Chipman said silencers are not certified as hearing protection and he worries that the gun lobby argument and the bill title could dupe buyers into thinking silencers alone can save their hearing. Ear plugs and ear muffs are tested and used by law enforcement and the U.S. military for hearing protection.

“I would hate for anyone who is not as informed as a gun expert … to misunderstand that they can fire a gun with just a silencer and not use hearing protection,” said Chipman, a former ATF special agent.

All it takes is hearing a suppressed report once to know you still need hearing protection. But it’s just loud. You don’t need as much. My electronic muffs are rather thin, because I can’t get a good cheek weld on a rifle with thick muffs. What a suppressor does is make my thinner hearing protection options more effective. People who are opining about this have no idea how ear splittingly loud and disorienting unsuppressed gun fire really is.

The Dallas Morning News has a less charitable take on the issue, asking: “And what’s wrong with ear plugs?” Ear plugs are not remarkably effective. I’m happy to see that gun people in the comments are coming armed with facts and shooting down every argument opponents make. It strikes me that they don’t really have any good arguments against the Hearing Protection Act. First comment to the Dallas Morning News article is actually pretty well done:

What Happens When There’s no Sheriff?

Apparently Blair County, PA lost its Sheriff, and due to a lack of someone to sign LTCs, they just stopped issuing them. A judge has authorized the Chief Deputy to act in the Sheriff’s stead until a replacement can be confirmed. It looks, in this case, like the seat has only been vacated since April 9th, and Sheriffs have 45 days by statute to issue.

This kind of licensing scheme would never be allowed in any other context. There’s a movement now to let people vote without first having to register to do so. If we ever get judges willing to take the Second Amendment seriously, as opposed to judges who are fine with it being a second-class right, this kind of thing is what will eventually take down licensing regimes.

Is NRA in a Position to Exploit These Trends?

First being the increase in black gun owners. Some of John Lott’s research has backed up the anecdotal stories. The other trend is hipster hunters. Note that article is appearing in a lefty outdoor site, but they’ve bought the left’s take on NRA hook line and sinker. But what is NRA doing to dispel these myths?

There’s a hell of a lot of conservative branding and conservative outreach from NRA, and to some degree I understand that it’s easier fishing where there are a lot of fish. I am understanding that NRA will tend to reflect its members. But I do worry the organization is so far out in the conservative weeds, there’s no going back. If the Democratic Party is ever going to push gun control off of its platform, the impetus to do so is going to have to come from within. This is opportunity, and I fear it will be wasted.

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