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State Progress on Gun Rights

USAMapI’ve noticed a flurry of state news in the past two days, some of which is significant. First, the Texas Legislature has sent a Right to Hunt amendment to the voters for approval. The number of hunters continues to decline, which translates into a loss of political power. It’s important to get these constitutional protections in place before it becomes a real issue. Animal rights people are far more numerous than anti-gunners, and unlike people who favor gun control, animal rights supporters are very passionate and motivated.

Governor Dayton has signed the budget bill that contained the pro-gun measures he did not like. It doesn’t appear the Governor was willing to pick that fight. This was a bevy of pro-gun measures, the most newsworthy of which was legalizing suppressors. In addition to that measure, it also fixes some reciprocity issues, adds emergency powers protections for gun owners, removes the requirement for notification to carry in the state capitol, and allows the purchase of long guns in other states, rather than just contiguous ones.

Constitutional Carry in vehicles has just passed the Alabama legislature, allowing people to transport firearms, loaded or unloaded, without a permit in vehicles. Not as good as full Constitutional Carry, but I’ll take what I can get when I can get it.

In Florida, you can now carry a firearm without a permit during an emergency evacuation or a declared state of emergency. Governor Scott signed it into law. Again, partial victory for Constitutional Carry, but we’re now a step closer to having one of the big states buy in, which we really need to get other states to go along.

Not all is good news. Oregon is in the process of passing more gun control. When the dam breaks, it’s hard to stop the flood. Apparently some lawmakers in Oregon can’t read or understand, “[N]or shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Sadly, a lot of federal judges can’t either.

Also, apparently one Republican lawmaker, the Senate Majority leader, has been holding up campus carry in Nevada. The bill went down to defeat with 6 Republicans voting against. Nevadans have some work to do.


New Meme: Gun Rights Not for Blacks?

I’m a strong believer that Black Americans often unjustly draw the short straw from our legal system, and the police are often guilty of systemic bias in their enforcement of the law, but I have to agree with Bob Owens in this particular story which highlights a black v. white open carry encounter. I’ve seen some white guys get treated equally poorly, and sometimes worse, depending on jurisdiction, and how familiar the officers are with handling open carriers. I’m open to the hypothesis that Black Americans will, on average, have more negative experiences, but these two encounters are do necessarily represent an example of such bias.

My purpose in bringing this incident up is to note there seems to be a meme going around. I go over a LOT of news in this issue. You only ever see a fraction of it here, because I don’t often decide to write about a topic until I notice new patterns. This has become a new pattern. There seems to be a concerted effort to convince African-Americans that gun rights are for white people, and white people are only interested in preserving this right for themselves, and blacks can never hope to exercise it on an equal basis with whites.

While I have no doubt in a country of 300 million, you could find people who believe that gun rights are only for white people, it is not even remotely mainstream opinion even among the most gun nutty of gun nuts. Even at my working-class, aging suburban gun club, we have African-American members, and the guy who ran my qualification test for my membership was an African-American. I won’t say there ain’t a racist among us, it’s a 1200 person club, and you can find plenty of assholes among any 1200 people, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find many people who would agree Second Amendment rights are for whites only.

So why would someone try to float this meme? I think this all started with the recent Pew Poll, showing support for gun rights swinging in our favor among Black Americans. Nick Johnson, who’s written a whole book on the topic, has noted that support of African-Americans in favor of gun control seemed to come more from a desire to coalition with progressive-minded whites than out of any deep cultural or historical inclination from within the black community.

It’s not that I believe there’s any overarching or coordinated conspiracy to put meme out there, but if you can plant the idea with a few sympathetic and influential opinion leaders, and then let other influential people chew on it a bit, you can get a meme to spread. Progressive Democrats are completely dependent on owning the black vote. They can’t let any issue drive a wedge, and this one is now threatening to do that, so they need to bring their base back in line. The real solution for Democrats would be to abandon gun control, return to more traditional liberalism, and leave the progressive mouth foamers hung out to dry. But how many traditional liberals are left these days?

Even in NJ, we can win some

Evan Nappen gets a judge to rule that the law means what it says.

In a published decision binding upon all New Jersey municipalities, the New Jersey Appellate Division has confirmed that New Jersey municipalities may NOT require added forms for firearm permit applications beyond the state forms.

It’s a little thing, but little things add up. Also note, “funded in part by the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund.”

The Great Slide Backwards

As many of you have probably heard, Oregon passed a ban on privates sales. My goal with this post is to outline the implications of losing more states to the anti-gun blue menace. I keep thinking a lot lately about the book “The Big Sort,” which offers a theory as to why America is becoming more and more polarized:

We’ve built a country where we can all choose the neighborhood and church and news show — most compatible with our lifestyle and beliefs. And we are living with the consequences of this way-of-life segregation. Our country has become so polarized, so ideologically inbred, that people don’t know and can’t understand those who live just a few miles away. The reason for this situation, and the dire implications for our country, is the subject of this ground-breaking work.

Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington are the victims of what people have un-affectionaly dubbed Californication; the outmigration of Californians to like-minded neighborhoods in other states. Even Austin, TX has been Californicated to a large degree. The Big Sort, by putting us into homogenous neighborhoods, makes the task of Gerrymandering safe and uncompetitive districts easier for the politicians. Now, gerrymandering can be a tool of the defending party, by loading up new blue neighborhoods into established ones, but that has its limits. In Oregon, Colorado, Washington, and Nevada, we may have reached those limits. Once the state flips, and the new party manages to gain control for the gerrymandering process, it’s over for the defending party absent a serious realignment.

It was no real surprise to anyone that states like New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware slid back after Sandy Hook. Gun rights has been living on borrowed time for decades in those states. New Jersey, Connecticut and New York’s laws can all be explained by the fact that both Democrats and Republicans in New York won a decades long project to drive their gun cultures into extinction, and Connecticut and New Jersey are a result of that infection spreading. California’s transition happened much more quickly. Within my lifetime, California’s gun laws weren’t appreciably worse than those in other states. So how do politicians accomplish the extinction of their gun cultures?

Killing a gun culture really comes down to three things: gun bans, purchase restrictions, and carry restrictions. Note I don’t put licensing on this list. New York lived with the Sullivan Act for years with a healthy gun culture, and Illinois has (outside of Chicago) maintained their culture despite licensing. Licensing doesn’t necessarily kill a gun culture, but it can. Massachusetts is an example of a licensing regime that managed to kill off its culture. The Bay state successfully ratcheted up its requirements, dues, and greatly expanded the legal risk of gun ownership to the point where almost no one officially bothers anymore. California’s decline started with Roberti-Roos, their assault weapons ban, which after Sandy Hook became a template for states looking to finish off their gun cultures. It worked very well in California, and very quickly. I think assault weapons bans are probably the fastest acting gun culture poison out there.

Oregon gun owners should be very worried. Your new private transfer ban law will not be a culture destroyer itself. It’s too easy to ignore and nearly impossible to enforce. We’ve lived with a similar law for handguns for years in Pennsylvania, and it’s probably the most often broken gun law in this state. But this could be a harbinger of things to come for Oregon, and  the other Californicated states. My advice for people in Oregon:

  • Yeah, I know your new law technically makes it illegal to hand a gun to someone else to teach them to shoot. Ignore it. Continue what you’ve been doing. It’s technically illegal to hand a handgun to another person in Pennsylvania if that person doesn’t have a License To Carry. I’ve never heard of someone getting arrested for doing it in a context where they weren’t committing some other crime. These laws are useless. The politicians know they are useless and impossible to enforce, but they want to go back to their wealthy white liberal constituents in Eugene, Portland, etc and tell them what a swell progressives they are, and how much they care about “victims of gun violence.”
  • Fight any new gun bans like your gun culture depends on it, because it does.
  • Fight any new restrictions that would make someone first purchase confusing or overly complicated like your gun culture depends on it, because it does.
  • Fight any carry restrictions, like your gun culture depends on it, because it does.
  • Punish, as best you can, those that did this to you. As much as I hate suggesting this, if you live in a culturally pro-gun area with a Democratic rep, you ought to replace that rep even if they are pro-gun. Once you hit the point where the rest of the Dem caucus doesn’t have to care what their rural pro-gun contingent thinks, you do yourself no favors helping keep that party in power. Pennsylvania has traditionally had many pro-gun Democrats, but here the fact that gun control splits their caucus still matters to the party, though we’re reaching the point where that will no longer be true if they ever regain the legislature.

I wish I could say the problem will get better, but it’ll likely only get worse. California and other parts of the west are running out of water. This problem has been exacerbated by the drought, but it would be running out even without the drought. The root problem is poor planning, and an inability to do large water projects thanks to NIMBYs and environmentalists. It may be reality that one day the people of Los Angeles and San Francisco turn on the water taps and nothing comes out. If that happens, millions will leave the state, and that will be a disaster for the whole country, and especially states like Oregon, Washington, and Colorado.

Currently about 1/3rd of the population of this country lives effectively without meaningful Second Amendment rights. As we lose more and more states, that number is only going to rise. We have to do something, and that’s going to require more creative thinking than our movement has traditionally been accustomed to.

More on Doctors and Guns on Gun Blog Variety Cast

I make a brief appearance on Episode 27 of the Gun Blog Variety Cast speaking about the issue of Doctors and Guns. I realized after my post on this topic last Friday that I was remiss in mentioning Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership. I hope DRGO manages to grow, and hopefully gets powerful enough to someday take on the SJWs who run the various medical societies. We talk about DRGO a bit in the podcast.

I think if you call your podcast “Gun Blog Variety”, gun blogging guests should have to do a dance, bang out a few tunes on the accordion, or sing a few love songs before going on. Maybe sing a few love songs while accompanying on the accordion, and dancing!

Click here to play the episode. My segment starts at 26:25, but listen the whole thing. Looks like Miguel usually occupies that slot, so this week’s segment has 95% less beard!

Magazine Ban Partial Repeal Dead in Colorado

I’m sorry to report that it appears Dudley Brown was successful in scuttling a Democratic proposal to raise the magazine limit in Colorado from 15 to 30 rounds.

Caldara said Wednesday that he had not yet received the letter, but agreed that it would be impossible to pass a 30-round limit this year with 26 Republicans in opposition. Supporters of the plan would need every House and Senate Republican behind it, plus a few House Democrats.

Years from now, when Coloradans are still living with a 15 round limit, you can thank Brown and all the people who drink the RMGO kool-aid  for it, because I think that’s going to be the result. Colorado’s demographics aren’t going to improve from here for Republicans. Unless there’s a major realignment, it’s hard to see how we’re getting rid of that limit. Maybe we’ll get extraordinarily lucky in the courts.

That said, I don’t want to get into endless bickering over this. It’s time to move on and keep pushing for either full repeal, or whatever we can get out of the Democrats, who are likely to control the Colorado House for some time.

UPDATE: I know I have a few Colorado readers. What two Democrats are potentially vulnerable in 2016 or 2018 in the Colorado House? How likely is the GOP to hold the Colorado Senate in a non-wave year?

Philly Judge Allows NRA Suit to Go Forward

The city wanted to put a stop to the lawsuit challenging their illegal gun ordinances while the constitutionality of the bill was fully litigated, but a judge has decided that the suit may move forward, despite the battle over constitutionality. This is very good news, and a welcome contrast with the judge in Pittsburgh who stayed the suit in Pittsburgh early in March.

Yesterday, an appeals court refused to lift the stay on the Pittsburgh case.

Wednesday News Links 04-29-2015

Hard to believe that April is almost over. The good news is that my report has been largely delivered, so I have more writing energy to devote to blogging. I was doing a security and infrastructure analysis for a client that turned out to be a good bit lengthier than I had thought, so hence the mad scramble to finish it. When someone is paying you five figures for a report, it has to be written far more carefully and with far greater scrutiny than a blog post. I only wish I could get paid $500 per page here! But here’s some news for free anyway:

With the late situation in Baltimore is just another reminder of what the law ultimately means, and if you’re not willing to see people die to keep sharp, pointy things illegal, you probably shouldn’t have a law. Oh, and good thing O’Malley disarmed everyone before all this, otherwise someone might get hurt.

Harrisburg ordered to release donor information for their legal defense funds.

Civil Rights victory for non-citizens.

Thirdpower noticed something in the Brady Staffer who was plaintiff on the Lucky Gunner suit. Brady keeping a gun owner database? Why? Of course, it could be an epic troll, in which case well-played. Miguel noticed too, and thinks it might be a violation of Florida law if true. Probably other states too.

Remember folks, guns are bad because there might be accidents involving children. But teaching children to stay away from guns is evil. Of course, it makes sense when you figure without tragedies to exploit, the other side doesn’t really have much in the way of arguments.

Oregon State Senator Betsy Johnston: “New Oregon Gun Law Will Accomplish Nothing

Bloomberg’s Everytown: We’ll debate any expert, anywhere, anytime, as long as they agree with us.

Veto threat coming from the New Hampshire governor on Constitutional Carry.

Miguel asks whether Maryland National Guardsmen are being forced to play security theater in Baltimore.

I had no idea that Albertsons supermarkets banned firearms in their stores. Good thing I don’t shop there. Though, the reason I don’t shop there is because their supermarkets suck.

Here’s hoping Tim McGraw is continuing to Dixie Chick himself.

Senator Tim Kaine loves himself some gun control. I am very alarmed that Virginia is on its way to becoming a solid blue state, thanks to out of control growth of our federal government. This will be very bad for NRA.

Our Congressional seat will be open in 2016. The Dem lining up called for a door-to-door confiscation bill of all semi-automatic firearms after Sandy Hook. This is still a swing district, and our GOP sucks, but this guy can’t win. He’s from New Jersey, originally, which should surprise no one.

Caleb asks about whether the firearms industry should tighten admission standards for media at trade shows. If you just required them to have a business card and have posted something about guns in the past week, that would weed out a huge number of unserious people.

Civil Rights Victory in Illinois. As a gun owner, I would never see a therapist. This is the reason why.

New Jersey is a may-issue state when it comes to gun ownership.

 The Firearm Blog takes a look at the new AK-12.

Hey, maybe if so many people weren’t constantly beating the confiscation drum, this bit at the Daily Beast might actually have some credibility.

Politifact admits handgun waiting period essentially useless. That assumes the goal is public safety, and not frustrating people out of exercising their enumerated constitutional rights. Interesting timing, because Clayton Cramer has a new paper out on this very topic.

Remember, our opponents in the gun control movement are often horrible people.

Minnesota Governor Threatening Veto on Suppressor Bill

We’ve done very well getting bipartisan cooperation on passing a suppressor hunting bill in Minnesota, only to draw a veto threat from Governor Mark Dayton, who notes:

“Nowhere in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution does it refer to the right to bear a silencer,” Dayton wrote in the letter. “To allow gunshots to be silenced increases the danger to law enforcement officers, and to innocent bystanders.”

It doesn’t refer to the right to bear pistols either, yet that was the key arm at issue in Heller. Can we give this stuff more than a soundbite’s worth of thought? Is that really too much to ask? The Governor also displays his ignorance of the subject. A silencer doesn’t silence: it takes a shot from being deafeningly loud to being kind of loud. Because rifle bullets used for hunting travel at supersonic speeds, even with an unsuppressed rifle, the target will be hit before the sound of the gunshot reaches it. Any public safety argument that revolves around the sound of gunfire being any kind of public safety benefit are ridiculous, as is the Governor if he vetoes this bill.

The linked article shows how we’re successfully driving this issue. Even thought the article is about Dayton’s veto threat, it still gets out all our key talking points in about suppressors to the general public. This is how you chip at the NFA: first, you build a constituency for getting suppressors de-listed, and hunting is one shooting activity where its benefits are apparent. Earplugs might save your hearing, but they also masks the sounds of wildlife, or more importantly, the sound of another person nearby you might have missed visually. It’s easier to get these talking points out in the context of hunting than anything else. Second, when you build that constituency enough, and the gun community becomes familiar with the applications and benefits of suppressors, push for having them delisted from the National Firearms Act. Five years ago I would have said getting anything delisted from NFA a pipe dream. Now, I think we have a realistic chance of delisting them in the next decade if the political winds keep blowing in the right direction.

Shannon Watts’ Circle of Fail is Complete

After equivocating a bit on the issue of guns in parks, Governor Haslam has signed the bill making carry in Tennessee parks legal. I thought that the demanding moms had a reasonable chance of getting a veto out of the Governor after his equivocating on the issue, but nope. Maybe he was influenced by Shannon Watt’s huge protest fail, contrasted to a number two attendance figure for NRA’s Annual Meeting two weeks ago.

Bill Haslam may be a former MAIG Mayor, but it appears he knows where his and his party’s bread gets buttered.

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