Currently Browsing: Politics
Jan 28, 2014
Before the 2014 election season truly kicks into high gear in Pennsylvania, at least I have a little hope for the state with two little bits of information.
The big one is that Virginia just overcame the hardest vote to end the ban on Sunday hunting. There’s still a Senate vote to go, but it has passed in that chamber before. If Virginia can do it after years of arguing, then hopefully Pennsylvania can, too. Perhaps opponents will see that the sky won’t fall, just as it hasn’t in the vast majority of states that allow hunting on Sunday, and reason will prevail.
The second item is a bit of an election year kissing babies moment, but it was announced today that Gov. Tom Corbett is going to attend the NRA Friends dinner that will be held in conjunction with the new sportsman’s show in Harrisburg. Pennsylvania gun owners who appreciate our commonwealth’s laws over places like New York, Maryland, and Connecticut should really help out in a big, big way this year. Gov. Corbett came out firmly against gun bans when the press was pushing him hard to make a call for gun control, and he did it early enough that it shut down any major threat from the legislature.
Jan 21, 2014
Thanks to a reader for sending me this article on Media, PA mayor Bob McMahon, who pushed to have the town divest in the gun business:
Mayor Bob McMahon, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and a Vietnam veteran, said he’d had “a lot of involvement” with assault weapons. He said he saw no reason for their use other than for military purposes.
“A message has to be sent. I’m strongly in support of this resolution,” said McMahon.
I think it’s time for gun owners to send a message to Mayor McMahon. The next meeting is the 20th. If there are any gun owners in Media, it would be advisable to make a showing and make your voice heard! It’s like playing whack-a-mole. You have to keep whacking when the gopher pops up or you lose.
Jan 18, 2014
John Richardson comments on ATF renaming their headquarters after Elliot Ness, I guess like the FBI has named theirs after J. Edgar Hoover. John thinks this is actually appropriate:
To summarize, Ness didn’t get his man, he had questionable morals, he probably was an alcoholic, he covered up a crime, he couldn’t manage his money, and he was prone to wild exaggeration about his accomplishments. When you look at that summary of Ness’ life and career, who better to represent the modern day ATF?
Jan 15, 2014
Appearing in the Federal Register:
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS or “the Department”) is issuing this notice of proposed rulemaking to modify the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule to expressly permit certain HIPAA covered entities to disclose to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) the identities of individuals who are subject to a Federal “mental health prohibitor” that disqualifies them from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm. The NICS is a national system maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to conduct background checks on persons who may be disqualified from receiving firearms based on federally prohibited categories or State law. Among the persons subject to the Federal mental health prohibitor are individuals who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution; found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity; or otherwise have been determined by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority to be a danger to themselves or others or to lack the mental capacity to contract or manage their own affairs, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease. Under this proposal, only covered entities with lawful authority to make adjudication or commitment decisions that make individuals subject to the Federal mental health prohibitor, or that serve as repositories of information for NICS reporting purposes, would be permitted to disclose the information needed for these purposes. This disclosure would be restricted to limited demographic and certain other information and would not include medical records, or any mental health information beyond the indication that the individual is subject to the Federal mental health prohibitor. HHS notes that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has proposed clarifications to the regulatory definitions relevant to the Federal mental health prohibitor. The DOJ proposal is published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register. While commenters should consider this proposed regulation in light of the clarifications proposed in DOJ’s proposal, we note that those clarifications would not change how this proposed HIPAA permission would operate.
This honestly won’t do much, because my understand that it’s state privacy laws, not federal, that prevent many of the states that don’t report from reporting.
Jan 13, 2014
There’s a lot of discussion in the comments from the post the other day on a Virginia lawmaker’s attempt to outlaw oral sex for minors (but not regular sex). I used to be in the “Don’t legislate your morality on me!” camp as well, but the more I’ve thought about it, the less I think there’s any such thing as law that isn’t imposed morality in some way or another, so I no longer find that line of argument all that persuasive.
I also tend to agree with originalist thinking which suggests the Constitution and Bill of Rights was never understood to be any barrier to laws that today are generally regarded as being unconstitutional. This is evidence by the number of states who had laws barring such practices, and even going so far as to establish religion. But that’s not to say I think in the modern era I think such laws are just fine and peachy.
I believe criminal law should generally reflect widely held societal values. We nearly universally agree that crimes like armed robbery, burglary, theft, fraud, murder, etc, are moral wrongs and deserving of legal punishment. Regardless of what the social consensus in 1782 Massachusetts was in regards to church attendance, or what the consensus was in regards to sodomy in 1779 Pennsylvania, the consensus today is not even close to universal. When laws fail to reflect a broad consensus, it undermines respect for the law as a whole. Prohibition is a great example of a moralizing law that failed to achieve any broad social consensus, and is widely regarded as a failure.
Randy Barnett, in his book Restoring the Lost Constitution, has interesting ideas about how incorporation of the 9th Amendment through the 14th Amendment brings about constitutional limits on the state police power, offering a more originalist theory for how anti-sodomy laws could be held unconstitutional. While I find this personally appealing, there’s a lot that I think could be criticized on originalist grounds. But regardless of whether a law is constitutional or not, I do think we wade into dangerous waters when we criminalize behavior there’s no broad social consensus for criminalizing. That is the root of “Don’t impose your morals on me!” I’ve often though that perhaps we should require a supermajority to create criminal laws, and leave bare majorities for matters like budgets, civil procedure, and other internal governmental matters. If government wants to create a crime with penalties, it should be on something most everyone agrees ought to be a crime.
Jan 10, 2014
Sorry fellow gun owners, but that kind of “hanging out on the limb” positioning is only offered to the neo-puritans in the religious fundamentalist movement. Surplussing machine guns to civilians? Well, that’s just crazy talk! I agree with Ace of Spades on this count:
He wants to make oral sex with a minor a felony in all cases — including in the case of minors having sex with minors. 15-17 year olds are allowed to have sex with each other (no crime), but if they have oral sex with each other, that would be a crime.
There is a certain contingent in the Republican Party that insists on defending this nonsense. Not everyone who defends it actually supports it; I think the idea is rather that just as the left observes the rule No Enemies to the Left, so should we refrain from knocking allies on the right.
I don’t support this rule. I used to see in the value in it but I no longer do. Things like this are embarrassing and counterproductive. I am tired of being associated with the Party That Really Wants To Patrol Your Private Sexual Choices Because We Know Better Because It’s In the Bible.
Read the whole thing. I think there can be arguments made on originalist grounds that Lawrence was wrongly decided, but this kind of behavior strikes me as no better than what the powers that be in New York and Chicago engage in with regard to the Second Amendment. They’ll restrict it any way they can, just because they think they can get away with it, regardless of whether it really makes sense or not, or lands people who are otherwise no threat to society in prison.
Jan 9, 2014
The anti-gun folks are trying to get a measure on the 2014 ballot to ban firearms on college campuses in Colorado. They need to collect 86,105 signatures in the next six months in order for the measure to go forward. I think that’s a tall order, but certainly not impossible if they have enough money behind them or enough volunteers. I think we stand a good chance of defeating this measure if it makes it onto the ballot, but I look at this as a mechanism for spreading us as thin as they can get away with. Ballot fights are hella expensive for both sides, and if Bloomberg throws his wallet into the fight, we really can’t compete. If we have to spend money fending off a ballot measure, it’ll take some of the heat off the politicians who voted for the magazine ban, and also some of the Colorado federal representatives who also voted for gun control.
If this goes through, the most important focus will need to be getting our voters to the polls, and to make sure they vote “no” on the campus carry ban. It’ll all come down to mobilizing our people.
Jan 8, 2014
We have two breaking news items. One, a New Jersey Superior Court has ruled that local police departments can’t add their own forms and requirements above and beyond what is required by state law in order to issue FID cards and Purchase Permits. New Jersey courts used to routinely allow departments to disregard clear legal requirements, so if this indicates a shift in the attitudes towards guns by New Jersey state courts, it’s a welcome one.
The second breaking news items it that a prime leader of the Gun Control movement in the House, Carolyn McCarthy, is retiring. If Democrats become once again convinced that gun control is a losing issue, we might be able to earn ourselves a bit of peace. The leaders of the anti-gun movement have been getting old, and they may not be replaced by folks who are as zealous about it.
Dec 23, 2013
UPDATE: Link has been updated. It would seem Dick Black actually voted for the law, and was raising concerns about false accusations.
Just remember when you lament that we don’t get Republicans willing to stand up for say, repealing the Hughes Amendment or weakening the National Firearms Act, that they absolutely are willing to go waaaay out on a limb for the only people in the right coalition that are as good at organizing and manipulating government as the progressive left. Gun owners are a force because we are capable of delivering some epic punishment when politicians displease us. We are good at the stick, but not so much the carrot. The religious-right is far better at the carrot than the stick. In some ways the carrot works better. The stick will make them leave you alone. The carrot will actually get them to dance for you.
Apparently they’ll dance even if it means losing. One can argue that the “War on Women” is overblown and unfair, and maybe Dick Black was only raising a point about evidentiary standards. But the reason that attacks like this work is because voters buy into it. Why? That’s the question the Republican coalition needs to keep asking itself.
Dec 23, 2013
This is what I’ve been saying for a while as the immigration debate has heated up. I don’t have a problem with people who want to work and desire a better life coming to this country. But the same fear that New Hampshire has of Massachusetts immigrants, and the whole West has of California immigrants works on a national scale too. What I fear from all those immigrants isn’t their presence, but the fact that they will consistently vote for the same types of people and ideas that ruined the place they came from. It turns out that if Republicans offered that compromise, it might just work. So OK, they can stay (Green Card), but because they broke the law to come here, they can’t ever naturalize (Vote).