Currently Browsing: Gun Rights
Sep 23, 2014
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.
Sep 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.
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.
Sep 19, 2014
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.
Sep 16, 2014
I hate to news links you guys so soon after doing it previously, but today is our Bucks County Friends of the NRA Banquet, for which Bitter is co-chair and I serve on the committee (and will be co-chair next year, as Bitter is stepping down) and Bitter’s Mom and Grandmother are visiting, so lots of stuff going on this week.
Shooting in defense of pets.
A lot of folks are talking about the New York Times admitting the Assault Weapons issue was bullshit. I think there’s a concerted effort by anti-gun groups to spread this story so gun owners feel safe and go back to sleep. Once that happens, next Sandy Hook like pretext, they are going to come after us differently, not trying to get everything and the kitchen sink. But that will open the floodgates.
$350 million for gun control from another rich asshole.
Speaking of rich assholes, looks like NRA has started a site meetbloomberg.com. Bloomberg is a great villain. What we have to hope is that he stays at the center of the debate.
I don’t know about the antis, but I personally prefer it when our nation’s police officers can shoot straight.
Turns out that there is mounting scientific evidence showing that natural supplies of lithium in water correlate to suicide rates. I’ll be it correlates better than gun ownership does with suicide rates. (h/t Instapundit)
The Brady Center is suing Lucky Gunner for selling the Aurora killer ammo. I will analyze that complaint when I come across it. “[T]he case will allege that BulkAmmo.com was negligent in allowing the purchase without any ‘screening mechanism to determine his identity or intent for the products.’” This is sure to be even worse than the case I mentioned yesterday. I actually think someone needs to countersue the Bradys. There are usually sanctions for filing frivolous lawsuits. Punch back twice as hard.
Remember, our opponents are against the very notion of self-defense. Well, maybe they’d agree hitting someone repeatedly with a flower would be a reasonable level of force one could use in self-defense.
I guess Kathy Kane doesn’t want to make people think she’s too anti-gun. She’s pooped in a lot of punchbowls in Harrisburg. She can’t really afford powerful enemies.
Things are looking better for Shaneen Allen, but we should keep the pressure on.
I suspect this is a ploy to derail ATF 41P. ATF can’t define person to mean one thing in one context, and another thing in another context.
Sep 11, 2014
It’s the anniversary of 9/11, and I don’t really have much to say after 13 years. Maybe after 40 we’ll have sales at Penny’s. If it hasn’t been apparent, I’m suffering a bit from blogger burnout. Most of that is because I really just don’t have the time right now. In truth, these past few weeks have been quite generally unproductive, so I don’t think it’s just blogger burnout, but burnout in general. The cure for burnout, for me at least, is usually a vacation, but even if I had somewhere to go, I have things I need to spend money on that aren’t a vacation, like digging a fallout shelter in the back yard. I kid for now, but if the Bear keeps terrorizing the countryside, I might not be kidding. I never had high hopes for this Administration, but if you had told me the Cold War might be back on like in the good old days, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Andrew Cuomo won his primary, but not nearly by the margin he should have as a well-funded incumbent against poorly funded challengers. Jacob notes in the link that it’s being acknowledged that Cuomo’s support for the SAFE Act is a big reason why he fell short of expectations.
Please note some of the unintended consequence of the “law and order” stance of “throw the book at criminals who violate our guns laws.” I’d personally love to see the “law and order” strain in the center-right coalition die the quiet death is richly deserves. I get why we’ve wagged that dog int he past, but it’s always been an unsavory business, and it does us no good to pretend otherwise.
More accurate headline: The NRA Pissed Off the Wrong Billionaire, or maybe the right one. In fact, the effort in Washington State to end private transfers of firearms is headlined almost exclusively by billionaires. Remember, it’s OK to buy democracy, as long as it’s the right people doing it.
Remember, it is unlawful to carry weapons on public transportation in Illinois.
Mother Jones thinks “These Women Are the NRA’s Worst Nightmare.” I hate to tell you Mother Jones, but no. We’ve been through much worse than the likes of Shannon Watts. I’d much rather have Bloomberg and Watts as opponents than the Brady’s, who were a D.C. power couple even before they got into gun control. I’d much rather have an unpopular and failed Obama Administration in the bully pulpit than a popular are politically adroit Clinton Administration. There is no comparison.
Why gun control groups have moved away from the assault weapons bans? It’s naive to believe it’s not still on the agenda. They are just looking for ways to score a victory without rousing our community to oppose them, and they’ve learned assault weapons bans tend to do that. They will ban any gun they can get away with politically if you give them half a chance.
SayUncle notes that using wasp spray as a defensive spray, as an article suggests, is a violation of federal law. I also doubt very much it would be effective. Actual defensive sprays have their place, but I wouldn’t use one to stop a home invasion. Home invasions are deadly force situations.
SayUncle notes that the guy in WalMart who was shot dead holding a BB gun was likely swatted. Bob Owens is also on the case.
Eugene Volokh: The Last American Jurisdiction with a Total Handgun Ban. There’s an awful lot of pacific territories that are unfriendly toward guns. It’s good to see that might be changing. John Richardson has more background not he case. Bitter’s grandfather was stationed on Tinian in World War II as a mechanic, but was shipped back to Hawaii only a few months before this most famous aircraft went rolling down the runway there with it’s rather infamous payload.
The Second Amendment isn’t just about firearms. Someone ought to tell that to Mike Honda.
Thirdpower has snapshots of the rally and counter-rally at Chuck’s Gun Shop in Cooke County. They headed to Pennsylvania right after, but didn’t say where until the lawsuits were filed. I’ll have more to say on that later.
Panera Bread has caved to Shannon Watts. I suspect they wanted to avoid the kind of Bloomberg funded ad campaign currently being waged against Kroger. Where would their movement be without rich assholes? It’s the same play, however. Panera doesn’t actually change it’s policy, but instead releases a statement saying guns are icky so Shannon Watts can fundraise off another “victory.”
Bloomberg getting bored with gun control? I’m not relaxing. It doesn’t take much effort to write checks, and Bloomberg can outspend NRA every year for the rest of his life just by occasionally cleaning out his sofa cushions.
NRO: Anatomy of a GOP Disaster, talking about the Corbett Campaign. The biggest complaint against Corbett from the center-right is that he’s been a do-nothing governor. To me, that’s hardly a sin. I worry more about what politicians are going to do to me than for me. But being a loser Republican this year has to take a special talent, when you look at how other states are faring poll wise.
Anti-gun people won’t give up on this ridiculous notion that guns cause suicides. I can state this very confidently: owning a firearm does not increase my risk of death by suicide one bit. If I die from my own hand it’s going to be by fried foods and booze.
Another mass knifing in China. He stabbed 8 children and a teacher, three fatally.
A lot of anti-gun folks really are terrible people, but let’s not pretend we don’t have assholes on our side too. Though, to be honest, I’ve never seen anything like this on our side.
A teacher in Utah has an accidental discharge while, well, having an… err… intentional discharge. A professor in Idaho also screws up. This obviously is not going to help our cause. While I still strongly believe most people who carry are safe, there is a small number of buffoons out there who will ruin it for the rest of us. We’re probably very fortunate the Missouri Legislature chose to override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that would allow limited carry in schools, and also preempt local communities when it comes to open carry.
From The Firearm Blog: Guns, Ignorance and Superstition in Africa, and The Winchester 94 in WWII.
Mike McDaniel of Bearing Arms: A Submachine Gun Primer.
Remember, gun control works.
Sep 4, 2014
I am (perhaps unsurprisingly) a constant customer of Baen Books, both in the era of its founding by Jim Baen and now under the able leadership of Toni Weisskopf. They print books that entertain me, though the Baen logo is neither a necessary nor a sufficient guarantee that I will be entertained. In the past year or so, a cultural conflict in the Science Fiction domain has brewed up, another theater in the overall culture war. Diatribes have been written, ably and poorly, by all combatants as well as their allied hosts. Toni has this particular one, and Sarah Hoyt has reprinted it someplace I can easily link to. It’s long, and a lot of it is domain-specific, but the conclusion has relevance to the RKBA culture war. Emphasis is mine
But are the popular awards worth fighting for? I’m not sure our side has ever really tried, though there are indications that previous attempts to rally readers of non-in-group books were thwarted in ways that were against the rules of the game. And yet, to quote Heinlein, “Certainly the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you. If you don’t bet, you can’t win.”
I think the problem is that folks just really feel they have no possible conversation with the other side any more, that the battle for this part of the culture isn’t worth fighting. And I think again SF is mirroring the greater American culture. Our country is different because it, like science fiction fandom, was built around an idea—not geographic or linguistic accident, but an idea—we hold these truths to be self evident. And it is becoming more and more obvious that the two sides of American culture no longer share a frame of reference, no points of contact, no agreement on the meaning of the core ideas.
And yet, I can’t help but think that at some point, you have to fight or you will have lost the war. The fight itself is worth it, if only because honorable competition and conflict leads to creativity, without which we, science fiction, as a unique phenomenon, die.
This is why I blog, I engage in arguments and debates (and a little bit of trolling as well) in comment sections and on Facebook (and on Twitter back when I still had the energy). You have to fight or you will have lost the war. Despite the famous line, they can take our freedoms. But we have to remember what the actual objective is. The objective is not to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, or hear the lamentations of their supporters. That might be a side effect, but the objective is to regain our freedoms and build the institutions that will support and protect them in the coming generations. And to do that we have to convince the undecided. To do that, we have to engage, have discussions with outsiders where it can be seen. And, of course, we have to both be and appear to be correct and reasonable.
Sep 2, 2014
I regret that I was not able to fully participate in the discussion that my last post engendered; but a family vacation out of country intervened. But I’m back now, so I can address a couple of points that came up.
First, of course, I don’t believe that the usual business owner should discriminate against the usual firearms bearer, either as a visitor or employee (except as far as dress code; don’t open carry a white rifle after labor day, don’t open carry at people, &c); at least not as a matter of course. There are circumstances where certain specific areas of a business might be off-limits to carriage of firearms; you don’t necessarily want to allow large chunks of ferrous metal into the MRI room, or non-instrinically-safe items into a place with a volatile atmosphere, for example. Not to mention tightly-secured aras such as prisons, mental hostpitals, or certain areas of courthouses. However, I am also somewhat leery of using the blunt force of law to enforce this societal norm against private property owners. In this case, while I’m not unaware of the civil rights aspect, it’s not a free-for-all, either. Regardless of your right to free speech, a private property owner may ask you to leave if you exercise it in certain ways, for example; or if you are an employee your free speech rights may be quite sharply curtailed while on the property or on the clock.
However, I chose the title of the last post and this one to highlight that my suggestion is to change the “default” assumptions. Today, the “no guns” sign functions against lawyers as a bunch of garlic does against vampires; as a mythical ward against their depredations. The suit in Colorado aims to change this assumption, but not particularly in a way that the supporters of the RKBA should be happy about; the plaintiffs claim that the theater chain should have had more security, not that they should not have posted, and that the theater should be on the hook for compensating the victims and families.
In a better legal regime, the property owner might be excepted to take basic and minimal security precautions, such as ensuring any exterior lighting is in proper order, just as they should ensure that the parking lot does not have any sinkholes, &c. When it comes to controlling access to the property by possessors of weapons, thought, they can have a choice. On the one hand, that if a property owner does not prohibit firearms to the people who are inclined to observe such a restriction, they should be immunized (a la the Protection of Commerce in Lawful Firearms acts immunization of retails and manufacturers of firearms, as a very off-the-cuff suggestion). But, on the other hand, that if the property owner does post, they should be required by law and custom to make a serious effort to ensure that all visitors are protected. IE, that a secure perimeter be established, at the boundaries the visitors be given the opportunity to safely and securely disarm and stow their weapons and later safely and securely recover and rearm, and that the property owner be potentially liable in civil (and if appropriate, criminal) court for malicious acts perpetrated against visitors (and employees), not to mention the secured weapons.
This is something that could and should be codified in law, that if a business owner wishes to declare part or all of their property a “weapons-free” zone, they must make a sincere and thorough effort to ensure that it remains as such. In theory, I suppose the courts could force the issue, but in practice I don’t think they will, at least not in a manner we would recognize as supportive of the general RKBA.
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.