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California’s Gun Confiscations a Mess

A few years ago California implemented a program to tie their registration databases into their background check databases, and then create a new database of people who have guns but are prohibited by law from owning them. Sounds great right? Well, only if you’re not a gun owner, or are and believe that these databases are actually accurate, which often times they are not.  California has been sending police door-to-door as they’ve been going down the list and taking guns, forcing false positives to prove their innocence.  Now this issue is finally getting media attention.

Phillips says, “It was traumatizing.”
And shocking for the retired nurse, now a stay at home grandma, who’d never been in trouble before.
“My first thought was ‘oh no what did my kid do.’ “
The officers were there for one thing.
“They were looking for the guns, because one was registered to me.”
Phillips didn’t know yet, but her name was listed in California’s Armed and Prohibited Persons Systems. She was now considered someone who wasn’t allowed to own, or be around, firearms.  So, all of her husband’s guns were confiscated, but not before being laid out on the front porch for neighbors to see.

Read the whole thing. If you spent enough time around pro-gun attorneys you’ll hear of cases far worse than this. You’d be surprised how many stories I’ve heard of mental health commitments being erroneously classified as involuntary, when in fact it was someone voluntarily seeking help.

We already know that a good number of NICS denials are false positives. The 2014 numbers say 14% of challenged denials were overturned, and there were 30,100 persons who have been issued a UPIN number. For those of you not familiar, if you challenge a NICS denial and win, you get a unique identifier that you give to the dealer upon each transaction, which lets the system know you’re cleared despite an erroneous record in the FBI’s database. In a lot of cases, it’s to clear up confusion with someone else with the same name and date of birth who has a criminal record.

So potentially, while California may be reaching a lot of genuinely prohibited persons in their wide dragnet, they will have a very large number of false positives. This is yet another reason we won’t agree to registration. We know from the registry the federal government already runs, the NFRTR — which is the database that contains NFA items like machine guns, short barreled rifles and shotguns, and silencers — that the registry is a bloody mess that ATF has been trying to quietly clean up for years.

If California did not have registration, they could never have tried this kind of “common sense” approach using shoddy data that’s going to end up with and uncomfortable number of old ladies proned out on their front porches. And criminals? They don’t register their guns with the police.

The McAuliffe Deal is Better Than I Thought

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffeWhen the deal between the GOP controlled Virginia legislature and Governor McAuliffe was announced, it seemed that the deal was to leave the agreements in place, rather than reminding them, but this article indicates that the deal is an exchange for near-universal reciprocity in Virginia. This article has some details:

The deal also pushes back the attorney general’s reciprocity deadline from Feb. 1 to March 1 and will require the attorney general’s office to enter into any reciprocity agreement offered by any other state, removing the discretion that allowed Herring’s unilateral action.

It was argued by some that this wasn’t really a win, because we maintained status quo, while they got something, even if it was miniscule. This article seems to indicate we’ve traded that trifle for near-universal reciprocity, and removal of the AG’s discretion in the matter. Given how pissed off the antis are about this deal, I think this has to be viewed as a net win.

They do note that negotiations are still ongoing, so keep the pressure up.

Terry McAuliffe Backtracks on Reciprocity

The Washington Post is reporting that a deal has been struck between Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe and Republicans. The deal breaks down to this: reciprocity with the 25 states will not be rescinded. In exchange, the GOP controlled legislature will agree to pass a bill with the following provisions:

  • If someone’s Virginia permit is revoked, they can’t use another state’s permit to continue to carry in Virginia. OK, fair enough. I’m not going to sweat that.
  • State Police will be made available at gun shows to run background checks. The checks will be voluntary, not mandatory, so fine by me.
  • Anyone subject to a permanent protective order (PPO) is barred from carrying for two years the order remains in effect. By federal law someone with a PPO can’t have a gun anyway, so I don’t see what the issue is here.

It makes me wonder if holding reciprocity hostage in an effort to get concessions was the plan all along, but McAuliffe didn’t get much of anything here in return, so I suspect they were made to feel their move on reciprocity was… ill considered. I don’t think the plan was to hold reciprocity hostage to get concessions, I think they realized they made a major political miscalculation and McAuliffe was looking for a face saving way out.

If you’re a Virginia gun owner, and were part of the noisemaking operation down there, pat yourself on the back, your governor and attorney general just blinked. They always underestimate us.

What do Mental Health Experts Say About Gun Restrictions?

A very interesting article in CNN that would seem to indicate mental health advocates aren’t entirely on-board with the Administration’s agenda:

As Swanson and his colleagues see it, gun ownership restrictions related to mental health are too broad and too narrow all at once. They capture a lot of people because of some contact with the courts or health care system, in some cases minor or a long time ago, who are actually at low risk of perpetrating gun violence. At the same time, they miss people who have yet to be diagnosed, adjudicated mentally ill or involuntarily committed, including people who are suicidal or have pathological anger, he said.

However much of what they propose I would find more unacceptable than the current status quo. For instance, I am steadfastly against restricting firearms because some people might commit suicide with them, something the article suggests would be a positive thing.

We’ve seen the gun control movement in recent years switch from an emphasis on crime to an emphasis on suicide, probably because crime has dropped to record low levels, and to be frank you can fundraise more easily from suicide victims. As the article notes:

Some observers say that talking more about suicides will change the focus of the gun control debate, in part by bringing a new demographic of victims into the discussion. Where often the victims of firearm-related homicide are young black or Hispanic males, nearly 80% of those who use guns to take their own lives are white men, according to the CDC.

They point to this study:

Our empirical analysis suggest that firearms regulations which function to reduce overall gun availability have a significant deterrent effect on male suicide, while regulations that seek to prohibit high risk individuals from owning firearms have a lesser effect.

Restricting access to lethal means has been identified as an effective approach to suicide prevention, and firearms regulations are one way to reduce gun availability.

No regulation of this kind, intended solely to discourage the exercise of an enumerated right, should ever be constitutional. I’m also just philosophically opposed to restricting access to dangerous objects because someone might kill themselves with it. That leads to a society that enfeebles it’s citizens, keeping them in a child-like state where dangerous things have to be kept from them by their parental figures (government) for their own good. Such a society may be regarded as kind, but it is not a free society.

Ballot Fight in Maine

Looks like Bloomberg has managed to buy his way to enough signatures in Maine that we’ll have ourselves a ballot fight there come election time. Like I’ve said before, unless we can punch him back hard with a loss in one or both of these states, he’s going to keep running this game in every state out there, and he has the money to outspend us.

Keep in mind that none of Bloomberg’s proposals make it illegal to change the title of a firearm (i.e. sell it to someone else) without going through an FFL. The ballot measure in Washington made any transfer (i.e. handing a firearm to someone else) illegal, except for certain limited exception. In Washington State currently, it is technically illegal to shoot with a friend on your own property, or on public land, or anywhere else that’s not a “bonafide shooting range” (i.e. well, we really don’t know what that means) or at a sanctioned match. Classroom training is illegal in Washington State, technically, if you use a firearm that you do not own. This has nothing to do with public safety. It has everything to do with sneaking restrictive measures in under the guise of something that sounds reasonable to average non-gun-owning voters.

Let us not also forget that banning private transfers and sales amounts to de-facto registration. Let us also not forget that after Sandy Hook NRA A-rated Senator Coburn offered a proposal that would apply background checks to all changes of title, but that dealt with our concerns regarding the de-facto registration component, and Chuck Schumer laughed it out of the room. Let us also not forget their refusal to exempt people with concealed carry licenses (who already have gone through the background check) from the private transfer ban, as we do here in Pennsylvania with handguns for temporary transfers (i.e. not change of title).

As the Mainer who notified me of this noted, “The UBC proposal is being driven and financed by out-of-state interests (read: Bloomberg). As a general rule, Mainers DO NOT appreciate being told how to live their lives by outsiders.” Spread the word, because if we don’t beat Bloomberg, this is coming to every state that has a ballot. Ballot measures come down to one thing: who spends the most money, and we cannot outspend Mike Bloomberg.

Gun Control Defeated in Virginia

The anti-gun folks made a big push, saying hundreds and hundreds showed up to protest. Complaints were loud when journalists reported the actual numbers. About the size of a somewhat larger Friends of the NRA dinner, I’d say. Either way, the good news is they came up empty handed, and it would seem there’s some will to solve the problem Herring created by making Virginia a Constitutional Carry state.

As a great man once said, punch back twice as hard. We not only have to defeat their proposals, we have to make them far worse off than they would have been if they had just left well enough alone.

FBI Says It’s Stopping NICS Appeals

So overwhelmed are NICS examiners with the Great Obama Gun Rush, they are apparently considering suspending appeals for people who are denied (there’s an instant play ad for me on the link, so beware):

The surge of criminal background checks required of new gun purchasers has been so unrelenting in recent months that the FBI had been forced to temporarily halt the processing of thousands of appeals from prospective buyers whose firearm purchase attempts have been denied.

I’d argue there are serious constitutional implications with something like this, that is there should be if the courts were willing to take the right seriously, which they aren’t, so it’s a moot point.

But it’s interesting that Obama Panic is driving so many gun sales that we’re breaking the system. The article goes on to describe the woes of the NICS system, which relies on voluntary compliance from the states. The article implies that the overload currently being experienced contributed to the Charleston mass murderer (we don’t give these bozos the infamy they seek by naming them) slipping through the system.

During the background check, [racist murdering asshole]’s March arrest on felony drug charges was mistakenly attributed to the Lexington County, S.C., Sheriff’s Department, not the Columbia, S.C., Police Department, which actually made the arrest. The sheriff’s department operates the jail where [the murderer] had been detained.

The Columbia police report included information that [the dope smoking murderer] admitted to drug possession, which would have triggered an immediate denial by NICS, according to bureau guidelines. But that information was never seen by the reviewer because the FBI’s database did not include Columbia police contacts in its list of agency contacts for Lexington County purchase reviews. The reviewer did attempt to reach the Lexington County prosecutor’s office, which was handling the drug case at the time, but received no response.

The gun control folks are now making a push to end “default proceeds.” Essentially the FBI has three days to complete the check and make a determination of status. If the FBI fails to issue a denial or a proceed, the dealer is permitted to go ahead with the sale after three days. In the case of our racist, doped up murder boy here, the dealer waiting five days.

Default proceeds are intended to protect the rights of the public from the government being able to shut down all gun sales through either being unwilling or unable to process the background checks. Imagine, for instance, a Carrington level event, or some other natural or manmade disaster, which takes down large portions of our telecommunication systems, with NICS down and unreachable. You might want a gun in that kind of SHTF scenario? Under the existing system, sales could still proceed after three days. Under the system the gun control proponents propose, all legal guns sales would be shut down. Default proceed is non-negotiable, and a system that would shut down all gun sales in a serious national emergency ought to be unconstitutional.

You Know Gun Control Folks are Desperate if NPR is Running This

NPR, yes NPR is running the story, “For Some African-Americans, Gun Ownership Underscores Segregated Past.” No respectable news outlet would have even entertained that headline when I got into this issue 16 years ago, let alone NPR. You never would have seen the New York Times publishing a factual piece on smart gun technology by a writer known to be pro-Second Amendment. You never would have seen the Boston Globe publishing a sympathetic man with a gun pieces. For people new to this issue, these final days of the Obama Administration may seem like a strange time to declare that the media is more willing to be fair to us these days than they were two decades ago, but it’s true. If you think things are bad now, the 1990s were much worse.

Demographics of NRA

Ammoland is hosting an article by an NRA instructor and Friends of the NRA committee member that allegedly reveals demographic figures:

* 40% women
* 40% minority mostly Asian and Hispanic.
* Sure a lot of white guys but the average age is down from 60 to 40-45.

He bases his figures on Friends of the NRA, which he claims tally race and gender. As a former committee person, with Bitter being  former committee chair for a Friends of the NRA dinner, this is news to me. Or is he counting the racial, ethnic and gender makeup of his own dinner, which is in no way representative of the Association as a whole? Maybe the field rep told him he’s been seeing a lot more women and minorities. Who knows? But NRA does not release demographic information about its membership.

I appreciate the enthusiasm, but this is essentially nonsense. I do agree, based on looking around at NRA Annual Meeting for the past nine years, NRA seems to be getting a good bit more female, somewhat younger, and slightly less white, just anecdotally. But the stereotypical NRA member is still very much the stereotypical NRA member. I would not draw broad conclusions about what I see at Annual Meeting, let alone a Friends of the NRA dinner in Los Padres, California. As much as I’d love these statistics to be true, I sincerely doubt they are even close to actual numbers.

Nick Johnson in WSJ: “A Glittery Gun-Control Distraction”

Prof. Nick Johnson has an article running in the Wall Street Journal which gives people a lot of missing background on Obama’s Executive Orders in regards to new guidance on when an FFL is required, including the previous history of overzealous prosecution, and then the later double cross with the “kitchen table dealer” actions by the Clinton Administration.

Now President Obama proposes moving the furniture around again. The ATF’s new guidance on the matter says that storefronts are irrelevant: “it does not matter if sales are conducted out of your home, at gun shows, flea markets, through the internet, or by other means.” The agency also emphasizes that “courts have upheld convictions for dealing without a license when as few as two firearms were sold.”

As someone pointed out, if you go to the application for an FFL:

FFL App 18a

So they are going to require gun show sellers to get FFLs, but they aren’t going to accept FFL applications for people who only do business at shows. One reason most machine gun possession prosecutions can no longer happen under the National Firearms Act (rather than 18 U.S.C. § 922(o)) is because it has been held by the courts that the government can’t charge someone for failure to pay a tax that the government refused to collect. This would seem to me to be a similar situation.

If the Obama Administration were to actually reverse or partly reverse Clinton-era policies meant to shut down hobbyists or part-time FFLs, he might actually accomplish something in terms of getting more people currently making marginal sales licensed again.

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