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With New Jersey, Options are Limited

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.

Republicans Pushing Gun Issues

It looks like the Republican Governors Association thinks that pushing gun control is going to be a worthwhile attack on John Hickenlooper out in Colorado.

There’s quite a bit of fair criticism that it appears as though Republicans often tend to only turn to our issue when they can attack Democrats for it rather than doing very much in the way of positive work to advance the cause. I suspect the truth in that statement, like any issue dealing with politics, varies wildly depending on your state and region. However, I can at least say this about our GOP governor in Pennsylvania – he’s the reason that controversial gun control is not an issue in this year’s state elections, and I think that’s under appreciated by many gun owners.

Law Proposed in New Jersey: “Shaneen’s Law”

Assemblyman Ron Dancer of New Jersey has introduced “Shaneen’s Law,” legislation that would give judges the option of not sending citizens like Shaneen Allen to prison. Allen, if you recall, was the mother from Pennsylvania who had a Pennsylvania LTC, and didn’t know it was invalid in New Jersey until she was pulled over and told the officer she was armed. Atlantic County Prosecutor, James P. McClain, threw the book at her.

I’m glad to see someone at least trying to do something about this. Of course, I’d rather stop this with reciprocity, but that’s a long way off for the Garden State. Maybe Assemblyman Dancer’s bill has a chance to go somewhere.

I really want the anti-gunners to explain to me what public interest is served in sending Shaneen Allen to prison? She’s not a threat to anyone. There was never anyone that was victimized by her actions. What purpose does it serve to separate a mother from her child to house her in a prison at taxpayer expense? Is this the America you really want to live in? In an article that would make even the most “law and order” Republican cringe, anti-gun activist Bryan Miller has already answered that question. Sadly, I believe the answer is yes, because when she picked up the gun and put it in her purse, to those people, she became something less than a human being.

UPDATE: This post originally mentioned Shaneen Allen was persecuted by the Ocean County Prosecutor. Atlantic County is where she was persecuted. We apologize for the error.

Saying No to Bloomberg

NRA is launching an ad campaign to highlight what an insulting busybody Michael Bloomberg is to anyone who doesn’t want to live their life the same way he demands the little people live.

According to the WaPo, it’s starting out with a $500,000 buy in Colorado. USA Today says that it will also run nationally on cable. They also report a digital ad buy in other states like Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia.

This buy starts now, so they aren’t waiting until the elections to do it.

Philly Cop Under Investigation for Gun Violations

A Philadelphia Police Sergeant is under investigation by the department after he allegedly tried to anonymously turn in street guns that he obtained by “buying the weapons from neighborhood kids in an effort to get them off the streets.” His iterations may have been good, but the fact is that purchasing or taking possession of a handgun from someone who is not an FFL or your father or grandfather (or son or grandson) is a violation of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act. A non-licensee can loan an officer, or someone with a PALTC a handgun, but if the firearm changes title, that’s a different ball of wax.

They wouldn’t cut you or me any slack if we got busted doing this. The officer in question seems to be in disbelief he’d be held to the same standard. Sorry Sergeant Ruff, but these are the “common sense” gun laws your Police Commissioner and Mayor support, and there’s no exception to the law for good intentions, and none for individual police.

Mark Steyn on Ferguson: Where Were the Dash Cams?

I haven’t had much to say about the Ferguson situation, because I’m just not sure there are any good guys here. Everyone seems to be acting badly. I’m also glad Mark Steyn channels my major issue about the case, which is why there wasn’t any dash cam:

The most basic problem is that we will never know for certain what happened. Why? Because the Ferguson cruiser did not have a camera recording the incident. That’s simply not credible. “Law” “enforcement” in Ferguson apparently has at its disposal tear gas, riot gear, armored vehicles and machine guns …but not a dashcam. That’s ridiculous. I remember a few years ago when my one-man police department in New Hampshire purchased a camera for its cruiser. It’s about as cheap and basic a police expense as there is…

… In 2014, when a police cruiser doesn’t have a camera, it’s a conscious choice. And it should be regarded as such. And, if we have to have federal subsidy programs for municipal police departments, we should scrap the one that gives them the second-hand military hardware from Tikrit and Kandahar and replace it with one that ensures every patrol car has a camera.

I couldn’t agree more. The state still has to prove its case (should there be one) beyond a reasonable doubt, but that’s going to end up being “he said, she said” rather than hard evidence, thanks to the lack of dash cam footage. In addition to the initial disproportionate response when all this got started, I also think it says something profound about the Ferguson, MO police department that in this day in age it’s elected to forego dash cams.

You don’t seem to hear the media speaking much about the lack of dash cams, probably because they are too busy showing the world what uneducated nitwits they are.

Our Drunk Founding Fathers

BenFranklinBeerA few years ago, a bar tab was discovered from a farewell dinner for George Washington, and it went around the Internet, stunning people with disbelief that any group of people could drink that much and still be able to walk home. Bitter was researching lineage societies in Philadelphia, and came across the St. Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia, for Pennsylvanians of Scottish birth or ancestry. I’m not really into joining lineage societies, but most of them keep genealogical records. Bitter came across this amusing account:

“At the Annual Dinner in 1762 Benjamin Franklin was one of the guests. It was reported that the [St. Andrew's] Society was charged for replacing a considerable number of broken wine glasses and also for replacing three chairs, all reputedly broken by Mr. Franklin. A member of the Society subsequently waited upon Franklin and called to his attention the amount of damage he had caused. Mr. Franklin, however, far from offering to pay up, suggested he come to the next meeting to see how much more damage he could do. He apparently was a perennial guest at the Society’s annual dinners, but not the following year, when the members unanimously declined to extend an invitation!”

So I guess Dr. Franklin wasn’t the kind of guy you wanted to invite to dinner if the liquor was going to be relatively free flowing.

Criminal Everything

This isn’t gun related, and it’s not really a case of true over-criminalization (though it easily could be if the state wanted to go after the family for truancy caused by the school), but it’s still something that pisses me off about the nanny culture getting its panties in a twist over any type of non-conformity.

If you’re a school administrator, there are some battles worth fighting. Students who fight, drug or alcohol abuse that impacts the school environment, and maybe even a few slaps on the wrist for overly revealing clothing. Then there are things that aren’t actually disruptive to anyone other than a tight ass who feels an absurd need to punish those who do not engage in groupthink. The principal of Muscle Shoals, Alabama appears to be one of those people.

He kicked out a girl for dying her hair red. Yup, red. Not purple, not blue, not green, not glittery silver, just red.

For the record, those other colors were all colors that I dyed my hair in high school without ever disrupting the school. The closest you might consider a disruption was at the end of my junior year when the school newspaper used me for a trivia question and asked what my normal hair color really was, and no one could remember so they kept asking me throughout the day. Yup, that’s the extent of “disruption” that hair color caused.

Her mother seems to understand how to distinguish between actual problematic behavior in teens and a bottle of red hair dye:

“I dyed my hair when I was her age. I was excited it was that, [that] it wasn’t a tattoo that she wanted or piercings, or something. There are so many girls that do it and there could be worse things. As long as she’s a good student, hair is the least of my worries.”

I framed things the same way to my mom when she was initially skeptical of my blue hair experiment. I could do drugs. I could engage in risky sexual activity. I could get myself arrested. I could “rebel” in any number of harmful ways. Instead, I was an honor student goodie two shoes who rarely did anything against the rules and I just dyed my hair. Hair that grows back. Hair that can be dyed back.

Even though I said at the beginning that this isn’t related to gun issues, I think I need to take that back a bit. The principal’s inability to handle a student who dyes her hair red is engaged in the same kind of thinking of not knowing how to distinguish between a real disruption or threat and something that’s just a little bit outside of the lines of “group” behavior that leads to actions like Six Flags banning veterans wearing military-themed shirts from their parks because the military shirt has a firearm. I’m not sure how you fix that kind of stupid by people who simply refuse to think critically and use a little common sense.

Pro-Gun Sheriff Wins; Defeats Bloomberg’s Money

There’s a very scary reality that someone with as much money as Bloomberg can put more than $150,000 into a county sheriff’s election and not bat an eye. Money can make things very, very tough to fight when someone saturates the airwaves with a common message during election season.

However, there’s a silver lining in that, ultimately, money doesn’t vote. People vote. That reminder was sent to Mike Bloomberg again last night when the county race he invested so heavily in managed to stay in the hands of a sheriff who believes in the right to defend yourself and your family.

David Clarke retains his office as Milwaukee County Sheriff this morning, even though the Bloomberg-backed challenger is refusing to concede today. Boy, he sure knows how to pick the classy candidates.

2014 Guv Races and Guns

Guns are going to be a big issue in the Connecticut governor’s race. I’d like to see Malloy’s political career served up on a silver platter.  He didn’t win by a huge margin, so maybe it’s possible to knock him off. I’t we manage any of the big four: Hickenlooper, Malloy, O’Malley, or Cuomo, it’ll be a big victory. If we get two, even better. If we get three, that might be enough to re-teach Democrats “the lesson.”

If I had to pick any of the four I’d want Hickenlooper most of all, probably followed by O’Malley, then Malloy and Cuomo. Reason? We were always living on borrowed time in the other states. If we can’t hold Colorado, other states will start to fall like Dominos.

It’s looking pretty bad for Corbett in 2014, and who knows how bad that’s going to affect down ticket races. I would have thought Pennsylvania would start turning anti before Colorado. A lot of Pennsylvanians have no idea how good they have it, and how quickly that’s going to fly south if they don’t wake up.

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