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Crowninshield Gets Three Years for Manufacturing Without a License

For those of you who remember, Daniel Crowninshield set up a scheme whereby a person would purchase an 80% lower, then would pay him to use his CNC mills to finish it. The government argued that this amounting to manufacturing without a license. A novel theory, to be sure, but because they picked the right guy they never had to test out this novel theory in court.

Now, if you help people machine AR-15 lower receivers for profit, you can probably expect to spend some time in prison. Just a bit of general advice for people who might be tempted to try to walk the razors edge on violating or not violating the Gun Control Act: it probably will not look very good to a jury if you go by the alias “Dr. Death.” I mean, it’s a free country and all, but just sayin’. I’d also not advise not walking the razor on GCA while being a domestic violent misdemeanant, allegedly in possession of an unregistered machine gun. I’m sure that probably played into the decision to take the plea deal. Now the feds get to claim a scalp without having to test their novel theory of manufacturing without a license in court.

UPDATE: Along the same vein, attending open carry protests and making sure everyone knows who you are, and knows that you’er armed, when you have two felony raps is also not going to make things easy on your lawyer.

“Guns in America” Forum

Tomorrow at Central Penn College in Summerdale, PA there will be a forum featuring David Keene, former NRA President, and Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFire PA. It runs from 7-8PM.

Keene has generally been a great spokesman for the issue. If anyone in the area wishes to attend, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. It’s a bit of a hike for me.

Important Ruling From PA Superior Court

The en banc Superior Court, in Commonwealth v. Goslin, has ruled in favor of the defendant without dissent:

We disagree with the trial court’s conclusion that the language of Section 912(c) is vague.

Rather, we conclude that, in order to ascertain the meaning of Section 912(c), we need not look beyond its plain language. The plain meaning of Section 912(c) provides two separate defenses: possessing and using a weapon on school property “in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity” as well as possessing “for other lawful purpose.” (emphasis added, as Chief Counsel Prince specifically argued this exact construction and noted the different verbs utilized related to the different provisions)

The Court concludes:

Although we are concerned about individuals possessing weapons on school property, we are bound by the broad defense that the legislature has provided defendants in such cases.

Josh Prince is raising money for legal defenses, as the case is headed back to lower court for a re-trial. I wouldn’t exactly go carrying firearms on school grounds because of this ruling, but it seems pretty clear the legislature intended to supply a broad defense for people engaged in legal activity. We now have the second-highest court in the Commonwealth recognizing that.

UPDATE: More discussion here. It looks like the DA is dropping the charges rather than going through with a re-trial. Josh Prince also points out that this only creates an affirmative defense. The DA can still charge you.

Coming Apart

Everyone I Don't Like is HitlerGun news is pretty thin, so forgive an off topic post. I might have a news roundup this week, hopefully! These days I’m more worried that the country is literally coming apart in front of my eyes.

Maybe I have it bad because this area is kind of the front lines between Red and Blue America. We’re where Blue America starts to stop, with Red America starting out in the Western Exurbs. This week I have started to manicure my Facebook News Feed to cut out people who post non-stop political bullshit. It’s not just Facebook either. Bitter quit a neighborhood group because it descended into political bickering. It’s infected a lot of other civic institutions we’re involved with lately as well. It makes you wonder if this is what it was like to live in 1850.

But the coming apart back then was at least over a real issue; slavery. Today we’re coming apart because people are frothed up about the bad guys in the movie playing in our own heads. I really don’t want to live in an echo chamber. I’m actually disappointed I’ve never gotten more than a small handful of gun control advocates engaging in the comments, and I still have gun control blogs in my feed. I’m always open to an argument on the merits of an issue.

What I’m not into is thinking people I don’t agree with are Hitler, Nazis, Fascist, Socialists, or Communists unless those people really are those things. When we use those to describe people we don’t agree with, we cheapen those terms. If everyone is a Nazi then no one is a Nazi. If everyone is a racist, then no one is a racist. Hate, actual hate, becomes meaningless. This behavior is removing our rhetorical tools for confronting people who actually are all those things. I’m not into arguing over whether the movie playing in your head is any good or not, or commiserating with you over how nasty the bad guys are. I’m kind of appalled you think any of your Social Media friends give a crap.

I certainly have anti-Trump people in my social media circles who are offering thoughtful opposition to the Administration. These folks I don’t mind. Trump will need some thoughtful opposition over the course of his presidency. But I see precious little of that versus patent nonsense.

UPDATE: Also see: “About That ‘Punching Nazis’ Thing…

Trump’s Pick to Replace Scalia

It’s Neil Gorsuch. You can check out his profile on SCOTUSBlog here. As John Richardson noted earlier today, he’s not written any opinions on the Second Amendment, but he’s in the same mold as Scalia, except for not being very fond of Chevron Deference, which is fine by me. We don’t know exactly where he stands on the Second Amendment, but given his overall judicial philosophy, I’d find it doubtful he’d be against us. That will need to come out in the hearings.

Speaking of the hearings, I fully expect this to go nuclear, meaning the Republicans will have to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees the same as they were eliminated for lower court nominees by the Dems. I think they should do it, because they can be absolutely assured the Dems will do it if they control the Senate again in the future. They pretty much said they would. Don’t give GOP lawmakers room to be fools and unilaterally disarm.

It’s important to remember, Scalia was the strongest justice on the Court for the Second Amendment. Replacing him with someone just as solid is just not going backwards. I would have preferred someone with a record on the Second Amendment. We never had records on Roberts or Alito, but they both voted with us when it counted. Alito and Thomas are strong on this issue. Either Roberts or Kennedy, or both, are softer supporters. We need to get one more vote on there before we’ll be moving ahead.

UPDATE: NRA is endorsing the choice out of the gate. My guess is they have talked to him, and the speed of the release means they knew about it before it was announced.

Good News for Pennsylvania

The PA Game Commission has approved hunting with semi-automatic rifles:

For deer and bear, full-metal jacket rounds are not permitted and semi-automatics used for big game are limited to a five-round magazine capacity. The measure also carries a sunset provision that expires on June 30, 2020 to allow for a board review the measure.

Limited five rounds in the magazine or five round magazines? Though, I’m guessing a blocked 10 or 20 round mag would work if not.

Another Walk Down Memory Lane

I decided to take a look in the immediate post-election era to see what we were talking about here eight years ago. I think it’s kind of a fun thing to do. Basically, I was talking people on my side down from the ledge a lot. What worries me today is I only see the madness feeding on itself. Then, I believed that madness was a distraction, and would imperil serious efforts to stop the new Administration:

Morning after election: “That is all.  Get ready folks, we are in for some dark, dark times.” Actually, if you had told me then where we’d be now at the start of a new Administration, I wouldn’t have believed you. We opposed Obama when he came after us and we came out on top every time. I figured we’d win some and lose some. I think we were helped greatly by the fact that neither Obama nor Bloomberg have any understanding of the gun culture in this country.

Barack Obama is my President.” “What I mean by that is I’m giving him a chance.” I still think he sucked, but the “Not my President” crap I see from the left now is still just as obnoxious when I was seeing it from the right eight years ago.

I largely blamed the Bushes for destroying Reagan’s coalition. Nothing I’ve seen since convinces me to change that argument. If there’s one thing I will always be eternally grateful to Trump for is sweeping aside the Bush family.

Boy is this not true anymore: “There are extremes on all sides.  Part of the reason our system works is that it tends to dull extremes.” Obama was actually far more successful at transforming the country than I thought. Plus, this bit of snark: “I think it’s safe to say that the re-education camps, at best, will be a second term project.”

Initially there were bailouts. I was happy to see the Administration spending time on this because it would weaken it for fights to come. I expected the Dems to act in their own self-interest, rather than march their historic Congressional majority off a cliff, which is what they did.

Judicial minimalists were no friend to the Second Amendment then, and they still aren’t.

Good manners are in short supply these days, and sadly that’s true of much of our side as well.” Little did I know it would only get worse. One of Obama’s tactics is to troll his political opponents to throw them off balance, and make them behave irrationally. It was very effective, but also bad for the country. Trump learned from the master.

The Dems could stand to hear this today, but then I was talking to gun owners: “There are literally hundreds of bills that get introduced in Congress, or thousands if you count the legislatures of the several states, each legislative session.  Most of them aren’t going anywhere.

Gun control supporting folks in the media were calling us crazy for thinking then President-Elect Obama wanted to do gun control, except for the fact that it was in his transition platform. He actually left us alone, for the most part, during his first term, if you recall. Even signed a few pro-gun measures (admittedly under duress, since they were attached to “must pass” bills).

This is still very relevant: “We feel a deep pleasure from realizing that we believe something in common with our friends, and different from most people.  We feel an even deeper pleasure letting everyone know of this fact.  This feeling is EVIL.” This feeling is what made Zuckerberg filthy rich, and we’re all about this today.

Obamacare was starting to shape up. This is exactly what happened: “Enforced through the tax system, eh?  Well, at least that’s probably constitutional.  Either way, there’s no word on how they plan to pay for what is bound to be an enormously expensive program.  To me this is the worst of both worlds.  There will be no incentive to control health care costs with a system like this, and costs will spiral out of control.

Sarah Palin would eventually beclown herself, but the GOP response to her was a prelude to Trump, looking back now. More along those lines here.

You know, I’ve been saying that I don’t think people have to worry about Obama shipping anyone off to concentration camps in cattle cars.  I still stand by that, because I think Obama is hiring and appointing solid progressives, within our legal traditions, not murderers.” I could say the same thing about Trump’s picks today, except for the “solid progressive” part.

Paul Ryan, who is fairly hard Right, won big in areas of his district that went hard for Obama” Of course, now Paul Ryan is an establishment sellout! (yes, I’m being sarcastic).

Why It’s Not the 1930s Again.” Another thing Dem voters could stand to read now, only then I was saying it to GOP voters. More along those lines here.

Obama Will Overreach” Boy, he sure as hell did, didn’t he? People who wanted to see gun control after Sandy Hook could have easily gotten some if they hadn’t overreached. Hell, we preemptively offered to reform the background check system and apply it to all transfers, and they rejected that because it wasn’t radical enough. So we took our respective sides, fought it out, and they lost.

These same people are now Trump voters.

Interesting. Trump’s approval numbers were pretty low as President-Elect. I didn’t remember this, but it looks like Obama’s were too.

 

How I Opposed Obama Eight Years Ago

I was looking back over my archives. This is something I don’t like to do, because my beliefs have evolved somewhat, and my blogging style today isn’t quite the same as it was back then. In some cases I’d like to reach through the screen and smack my then self. But what I was talking about in the post-Obama inauguration period is a sharp contrast to the nuttery I’m seeing on social media today:

I also noticed the day before Obama’s inaugural is when I launched a Facebook presence for the blog. That’s also, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence, when dialog in this country started to head downhill.

The World Gone Mad

Maybe it’s just because I’m used to being disappointed by the occupant of the White House, it’s hard for me to get as worked up over the Administration change as much as everyone on Facebook. I was reading Sarah Hoyt’s article about “Surviving the Cult” and glanced briefly at the comments. This really caught my eye:

I feel like I’m being constantly gaslighted by people I have, well, had, some respect for, joked with, met, and suddenly they’ve all gone crazy left as though they’re trying to win some kind of loon contest. And I must have just been really naive not to have seen it years ago.

Yep, and while I’m aware that this has reenergized the loony right, I the center seems to be disappearing. Embrace the crazy! It’s quickly becoming the zeitgeist of our age.

Women’s Marchers Debase Women’s Monument

A monument dedicated to women on the site of the largest complex of buildings owned exclusively by women seems like it would be a great place to stop and pay some respect during the Women’s March, doesn’t it?

It was, if you define paying respect by climbing up the monuments to slap on signs, clothing, and hanging crap off of the outstretched hands. If respecting the property means stomping over flower beds, kicking the greenery up, pushing through the bushes, leaving trash strewn about, and apparently also smearing paint on statues, then sure, lots of respect was paid to the monument and buildings owned by women. (The paint apparently isn’t visible in the videos below because they were shot after signs were placed on top, but I’ve seen it mentioned by several who visited the site later.)

The buildings owned exclusively by women since the empty city block across from the White House lawn was purchased more than 100 years ago – before women could even vote in this country – and are home to the Daughters of the American Revolution. DAR is non-partisan and apolitical. I know women in the group who are far more conservative than I’ll ever be and far more liberal than I’ve ever been. And yet we have a few things in common – a sense of respect for American history and values, and we’re always volunteering for something in our communities.

In fact, the monument that was “decorated” by the marchers is dedicated to the founders who spelled out that DAR was supposed to be a community service organization. Our current goal for recorded service in our community is 19 million hours collectively doing meaningful service – not writing checks or showing up to a gala for a cause – in 3 years. The 19 number comes from the fact that our final year of recording hours will be the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment.

I’ve seen marchers defend the mess they left on sidewalks by saying that the City wanted to handle clean up so they wouldn’t have as many trashcans that could be a security risk. Assuming that’s accurate, this mess is not on a sidewalk. In fact, much of it is not even on concrete. It’s in bushes and dropped over gardens. It’s on private property that women have to pay to clean. So all those complaints about the gender wage gap? A man is on video calling for people to leave their trash that women who make less will have to pay to have cleaned. That flower he laughs about kicking out of the ground, sure it’s just one bloom. But those gardens are paid for by women. So much for respect.

Inside those halls, if the people in the video had any interest in history, they would find a museum that primarily runs exhibits relating to women’s connections to history and craft. They would find collections put together by volunteers and staff (paid by women) dedicated to documenting the rich history that covers this country’s recent immigrants to the Revolution’s minority patriots. They would find out about how a group of women raised money to plant entire forests in every state – many of which are still preserved public green spaces today. Instead of actually showing even a reasonable level of respect for those efforts, they spread paint on our monuments and leave their trash behind as a “shrine” for women to clean up. (At least a past national officer reported that the paint seems to have been water based and was removed without further damaging the statue.)

But I have to say that it’s not just the marchers who left their trash behind in an effort to force non-partisan groups into partisan political debates, it’s also the reaction afterwards. Needless to say, the images of this vandalism have been shared widely in various DAR groups online. Some of the liberal members of the group are trying to put a positive spin on the intention, but also recognize that this is a man who is organizing some level of vandalism on our statues and that it will require women’s funds to clean up. I have seen some who have asked their fellow marchers to contribute to those expenses by donating to the DAR’s building maintenance fund in recognition of the fact that it wasn’t appropriate to leave everything behind for a private, non-political group that wasn’t involved to clean up.

Then there are those members who participated who I’ve seen demanding women who share information about the clean up efforts be banned from the organization. Their argument being that DAR is non-political, so a post about cleaning up the trash and paint left on our property by a political march is considered political because it makes their cause look less than perfect. Newsflash ladies, every movement has a**holes. If you’ve been involved in real grassroots action before, you know this. Call them out on their bad behavior and do what you can to correct that image. Instead, they want to silence those who are expressing disappointment in bad behavior. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to believe that a shared American value should include that even when you’re passionate about an issue, trespass and vandalism of private property is inappropriate.

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