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Something to Watch for in Arguments

Robert Verbruggen has a great article in National Review that gets to a serious problem you will notice in research touted by anti-gun groups and people who really fucking love science. Let me quote:

We shouldn’t care about “gun murders” or “mass shootings”; we should care about murders in general and mass killings in general, regardless of how they’re accomplished. (Up to a point it’s essentially tautological to claim that more guns translates to more problems with guns, because a society with no guns by definition cannot have any problems with them.) As I’ve noted numerous times before, there is no simple, consistent correlation between gun ownership and murder or homicide rates in general, either among developed countries or among U.S. states. More sophisticated studies face a variety of serious methodological obstacles — I don’t find any of them that compelling — and have reached varying conclusions. The research on mass shootings in particular is in an even more primitive state.

There’s the old quote from Archie Bunker that comes to mind: “Would it make you feel any better, little girl, if they was pushed out of windiz.”



Don’t Forget to Vote

Especially Virginia and New Jersey readers. It’s the root of all our power. Vote like your gun rights depend on it, because they do.

The Evolving Deal on SHARE and National Reciprocity

This article indicates we could get the SHARE Act, with the Hearing Protection Act component removed, and with National Reciprocity and some restriction on bump stocks added. The SHARE act removes a lot of the “sporting purposes” language in the Gun Control Act, so I’d probably take this deal. I don’t know what they are planning to do about bump stocks, but I’ve heard suggestions that they be classified as AOWs. That would require a change in the National Firearms Act.

If we’re going to start adding things to the NFA, I think it’s only fair that we get something in return, such as moving suppressors to Title I. I’m a bit surprised lawmakers are actually more wary of that than they are about National Reciprocity.

The more I’m seeing from the gun control side, the less I think they really care about bump stocks. They were willing to get excited about a bill that would effectively ban any aftermarket modification to a semi-automatic rifle, but I don’t notice a whole lot of movement to single out bump fire devices and ban those, especially if that means having to eat SHARE or National Reciprocity in return. It’s almost like if we concede we’re willing to trade something, that must not mean it’s important to us, and if it’s not important to us, they aren’t interested in a deal. It’s almost as if the attitude is: “Those people have to be made to pay.” Nope. Sorry. We’ve taken enough blame for the actions of psychos, and we’re done with that.

What’s Going on With Bump Stocks?

I’m always surprised by how many people think the political process involves Very Smart People of good faith gathering ’round the table to try to solve the problems of the people. They are often shocked and dismayed when the actual process is explained to them, “That’s just not how it should work. Everyone should work together in good faith.”

Usually those folks have had zero or very minimal involvement in civic society. There’s nothing quite as eye opening as being involved with an organization that is run by committee. I’ve been either directly or peripherally involved in organizations like that since I was a teen, and so were my parents, and their parents before them. Decisions don’t come about because Very Smart People work together and problem solve, decisions come about by managing personalities and their interests. Even when the organization has leaders that are effective at managing those things, decisions are usually very suboptimal.

For example, very recently at my club we had the clubhouse repainted in a very drab, neutral color, without any accent coloring. It needed to be done to protect the building. But why not do an accent scheme that really makes it pop? Have you ever tried to get a body of people to agree on a color scheme? Drab doesn’t offend anyone, and no one has strong opinions one way or another.

So I get tired of people who say, “Why don’t you get in there and write some good legislation if you know so much about this?” Are you fucking kidding? I’m not jumping into that shit show unless you force me into it.  I’m not conceding anything because “it’s the right thing to do.” People who approach democratic institutions with that attitude get eaten alive. That’s not to say I’m not willing to trade or make deals: that’s how things get done in a democratic body. But why would I concede something I don’t have to? Because it’s the right thing to do? Please. Any time you hear a politician talking that language, they’re blowing smoke up your ass. They know better, and are hoping you don’t.

It is with this in mind we approach the issue of bump stocks, which The Daily Beast is reporting is effectively stalled out in Congress. NRA needed to buy time, and kicking the issue over to ATF for a bit accomplished that. In the mean time, bills were introduced that predictably banned much more than bump stocks, and instead focused on any parts or modifications that affected the rate of fire, which includes nearly anything you can put in a semi-automatic firearm. Can a match trigger let me shoot faster? Sure it can. That might not be its intent, but it can. Can a lighter bolt carrier make the action of a semi-automatic cycle faster, theoretically increasing the rate of fire? Absolutely. These kinds of modifications are common, and while they are aimed at accuracy, they do incidentally affect the “rate of fire,” whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean in something that isn’t a machine gun.

So why not just jump in and give them better language? Because I’m not a damned fool and neither is the NRA. I’m not going to preemptively trade something because it’s “the right thing to do,” I’m going to trade for something else I want. And what if I can still get what I want without having to trade anything? I’ll do that too, and hold onto the bargaining chip because it might be useful at a later date.

On the other side of the argument are the folks on our side who think just shouting “no” very loudly is a legislative strategy. How much impact do you think Ron Paul had on the overall direction of Congress? Because that’s effectively what he did for his whole career. People who do that in deliberative bodies get ignored, and worked around. For these people, the question is this: would you rather sulk in the corner and take solace in the fact that you believe you’re right and righteous as you lose one thing after another, or do you want to actually play the game and win? The latter is what you’re seeing now.

Far Left Not Keen on Gun Control

Gun control has almost always been a desire of the ruling class, not those they wish to rule. You’re even hearing them using the “monopoly on violence” rhetoric that’s been going around gun rights circles for some time. This begs the question of how long the Dems will keep up the anti-gun rhetoric? Hillary’s reaction to the Vegas shooting didn’t seem to go over well with anyone. Is there perhaps some recognition that this issue has outlived its usefulness?

More Fun Facts

Also seen on the Internets from certified very smart people when it comes to gun laws:

The Original 1934 NFA Banned ALL Handguns, Semi-Autos & Mags over 12 Rds. Had NRA Been “No Compromise” We Would Have Lost it All.

I wasn’t even alive then, and my Grandpop was just 14, but I know from my own research this is true. We got AOWs because they were originally meant to apply to handguns, and they were carved out of it at the last minute very carelessly. The original definition of a machine gun was any firearm which could fire more than 12 rounds without reloading.

Fun Fact of the Day

I was just entering high school in 1989, when New Jersey started the great Assault Weapons debate, so I did not know this. Seen on the Internets from someone who would know:

In ’89 New Jersey Could Have Beaten the Assault Firearm Ban if We Agreed to Assault Firearms Permits. We Said “No Compromise.” We Lost. Its Still Law.

Assault Weapons bans are culture killers. People who get into shooting enough will tend to leave states that have passed them. Would New Jersey gun owners have been better off taking that deal? At the very least it would have bought time. Sure, they might have banned them eventually, but at least they would have had to fight twice on the issue instead of winning it all in one fell swoop.

You don’t always have the choice between winning and losing. Sometimes it’s a choice between losing and not losing so much. I’m not saying we’re in that situation now, but screaming “No!” louder is not a strategy. Unless you feel confident we can deliver every GOPe critter’s head on a silver platter in the 2018 primaries, saying “No!” would have meant losing, which leads to more losing.

There is no surprise that even some harder core GOP legislators were geared up and ready to pass a bump stock ban: there is almost no lawmakers out there who are ideologically committed to gun rights. They arrive at their position on this issue solely on the basis of which votes they think they’ll gain or lose come election time. Money is also a factor, and while we do spend money, Bloomberg is waiting with open arms to donate large sums to defectors.

That is why it is very important when you write your lawmakers to make them understand you vote on this issue, and that if they want to keep that vote, they better not just sign up for takeaways.

NRA Asks for Reevaluation of Bump Stocks

I’m not surprised by this. I do wonder why you’d invite ATF to reclassify rather than use it as a bargaining chip to get our two bills through Congress. I know a lot of people are going to freak the ever loving hell out about this, but there’s several truths, unpleasant truths to be sure, but truths nonetheless:

  • With this incident, continued grandfathering of machine guns is going to be at risk. I’ve been told by very experienced people who work with Congress that the current machine gun regime exists because for the most part it flies under the radar. There’s only been one incident where a legal machine gun was used in a crime, and that was committed by a police officer.
  • Machine guns are a hill you’re going to die on. The time to have that fight was in 1934, and the population was too busy trying to survive the depression. Rightly or wrongly, and I believe wrongly, machine guns have never been considered by most Americans to be in the scope of their Second Amendment rights. This probably has something to do with the fact that they were banned before there was any great awakening on the Second Amendment, or maybe Americans just didn’t care enough to fight until they started going after guns that weren’t machine guns. Either way, it’s a lost cause. You might not like hearing this, but it’s reality. Our best bet to preserve what machine guns are left is to let them continue to fly under the radar.
  • Semi-autos are put at risk because one of our powerful arguments is that they are not, in fact, easy to convert. We largely have overcome the assault weapons issue by relieving people’s confusion that assault weapons are machine guns. Why did this work? Because the vast majority of Americans are OK banning machine guns. I’ve been talking to numerous people who are not inherently hostile to guns who are asking me why the feds allowed a conversion that was so easy to do. You’re not going to argue back with “But it’s not a conversion. It’s only simulated full auto fire.” You’re splitting hairs, and people know what they heard and saw on those videos.
  • Bump fire stocks are a range toy. They aren’t particularly useful for target shooting, aren’t particularly reliable, and aren’t particularly useful for self-defense. If you like the citizen militia purpose of the 2nd Amendment, and I do, they aren’t particularly useful for that either. No current military would field them. I’m not going to agree to risk suffering real and substantial losses to defend them. Is banning them stupid and useless? Yes. But public policy is rarely decided on the basis of reason.
  • SHARE and National Reciprocity were probably going to pass the house, but both were likely going to fall short of 60 votes in the Senate. We know this because the last time the issue came up we were short. If attaching a reclassification of bump stocks gets us past 60 votes, I’ll take it. Those are real and substantial gains for the Second Amendment. I think it’s well worth the trade.

I know this is going to piss off a lot of people, but this is reality.

UPDATE: The more I think about this, the more I think this is a tactic to buy time. Time is our best friend here. Most likely scenario: ATF reviews its determination and says, which is perfectly true: “We can’t reclassify these things without legislation.” By that time, politicians are acting more reasonably, and the public has moved on. We get out of the immediate crisis and have more room to make a deal.

What Happens When Non Gun People Design Gun Accessories

Does this winning smart holster really put a bar through the trigger guard? Seriously? That’s not how retention should work. Leave this stuff to gun people!

I give them credit for understanding that the smarts should be outside the gun rather than in it. I’ve been saying that for a while. But that holster is dangerous. Because the person who designed it likely knows nothing about guns or gun safety. Ironic, don’t you think?

The problem is, no gun person would waste their time on this because it’s not a product the market wants.

Suppressors Should Be No More Regulated than Pencils

Apparently the anti-gun groups are having a right fit now that the SHARE Act is moving in Congress. The silencer part of the bill seems to be what they are particularly hysterical about. What the hell is the big deal? Without a gun, what are you going to do with it? To me it makes about as much sense regulating optics. It is an accessory, and not in itself a potentially dangerous tool.

Look, I get the antis are going to argue up and down that firearms aren’t regulated enough in this country, but there’s just nothing particularly dangerous about silencers. That’s a fact. But suppressors would make a huge difference to the community in terms of saving hearing and cutting down on noise emitted from gun ranges. They should be no more regulated than pencils, because a pencil can be sharpened and used as an improvised weapon. A suppressor? Maybe you could throw it at someone and put a big knot on their head.

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