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Currently Browsing: Politics

Averting a DHS Shutdown

Off topic, because gun news is a bit thin right now. Instapundit notes that Republicans have agreed to run a clean DHS funding bill, whereas previously they decided to use this to make a point on Obama’s immigration power grab. A 92-2 vote means that even some of the hardest core tea party types voted to drop the immigration issue. Why?

I tried to argue unsuccessfully in Instapundit’s comments that shutdowns almost never work out in favor of the GOP. They nearly always take a hit in the polls, and take the blame. Given the countries current vulnerability to attack, and our ascendent enemies, I can’t really get all that worked up that the GOP didn’t want to get near the cliff, less some jihadist decide to push them off it with an attack during or near the shutdown, for which the GOP will nearly certainly be blamed in the media. I think one of the other commenters had the right idea:

Never take a hostage you’re not prepared to shoot. Attach the amnesty prohibition to EPA funding. Nobody cares if EPA shuts down. Let the greens and la raza fight it out among themselves.

Now that’s just crazy enough to work!

Charges Dropped in New Jersey Antique Gun Case

It would seem that someone gave the Cumberland County, NJ prosecutor a clue that putting an elderly man away for 10 years (likely life in his case) is not really an appropriate move for someone who collects 18th century stuff and managed to pick up a flintlock pistol. Charges have just been dropped without further comment from the DA.

Emily gets to carry her gun

Emily Miller’s application for a carry permit was approved. About time.

My guess is they figured that doing so and hoping she went away was better than the alternative

Brady Campaign Backs Down from Promises to Anti-Gun Pols

It would seem that the Brady Campaign staffers were making funding promises to Pennsylvania officials that they may have had no intention of keeping.

Back when Pennsylvania municipalities were regularly passing gun control ordinances, several cities only went through with the measures that violated state preemption laws because the Brady Campaign/Center promised, via MAIG and CeasefirePA representatives, to pay for the defense of those ordinances if the cities were sued.

Well, now the threat of lawsuits is looming and the Brady Campaign is telling the media that they never made such promises by claiming that the person who made the promises wasn’t really speaking for them.

While the local Fox affiliate dug up city records from Lancaster and Erie that showed they made those promises, we recalled another instance in Radnor. Except, Radnor lawmakers demanded the promise in writing. From Sebastian’s 2010 report on that meeting:

Commissioners seemed skeptical when CeaseFirePA mentioned that the Brady Campaign would pick up the tab for any lawsuits against the ordinance, and indicated they’d want it in writing. It’s my opinion the Bradys will be very reluctant to put anything into writing, so I think that’s a strategy to use going forward. Get your local politicians to demand that. If the Bradys don’t deliver, that’s another point, and it may start the politicians wondering whether the promise is worth anything.

It seems that now we have the proof that the Brady promises on this issue really were worthless.

In Lancaster, the pledge came from Max Nacheman who represented MAIG and Brady at the time and would later represent CeasefirePA. In Radnor, it appears that Commissioner Elaine Schaefer called the Brady Campaign herself and got the pledge that the group would defend the town. So the Brady Campaign is now trying to claim that the exact same promise made in at least 3 different cities via at least 2 different people, was really just some random miscommunication?

Yeah, that’s totally believable.

It would seem that town officials are now learning what we’ve been trying to tell them for years – you can’t believe the false promises the anti-gunners tell you when they are trying to get their agenda passed. They need something to call a “win,” and if your budgets take a beating due to legal expenses because they told you to do something illegal, they don’t care. It’s still a “win” for their agenda even as taxpayers lose.

Not the Brightest Gun Shop Burglars

Today has had a bit of excitement in Bucks County. One of the local gun shops was the location of a “standoff” between police and two men from Philadelphia who were attempting to break in.

After stealing a vehicle, the suspects entered through the roof and figured they would go through the ventilation system. They managed to remove at least a sheep mount from the store before the cops managed to get them out of the building.

These ever-so-brilliant suspects realized that they would be caught, so they figured they would call 911 and claim they found a dead body somewhere else in town and the police who were already set up outside and trying to get them out would just leave and let them walk away. That just got them another criminal charge out here in Bucks County.

According to reports, they tried to claim that they just randomly broke into that building because they were homeless. Sure. Stealing a truck, driving to a gun shop, getting at least some product out of the building, but it was just because you wanted to get warm? Oh, and there just happened to be drugs on them, too. Yeah, no jury here will buy that sh*t.

However, it turns out that neither one of these geniuses likely knows what it’s like facing a jury. Sure, they both have arrest records from Philadelphia, but the vast majority of their charges were nolle prossed.

One of the suspects appears to have quite the history with guns, as he was arrested for illegally carrying firearms at 15. He has a record that’s 4 pages long filled with many charges involving theft, burglary, and assault. Yet, this is the same city filled with people demanding more gun control. It’s clear that they aren’t making do with the laws they have, and now a suburban gun shop and neighboring stores are paying for those decisions not to prosecute.

Is it Unlawful to Donate to a City’s Defense Fund for Illegal Gun Ordinances?

[UPDATE: Link fixed] Pro-gun attorney Josh Prince makes a good case for it. The criminal penalty for violating preemption is not part of the new Act 192, but was an original feature of the 1974 preemption law. The problem, however, is that it would require the county district attorney to bring charges, which they’ve never been willing to do. In this case, I doubt they would. Anyone charged would likely have a decent First Amendment claim that their donation was a form of protected speech. So from the beginning there was never any enforcement mechanism for preemption, so many towns and cities through Pennsylvania just ignored it, and passed their own gun control laws anyway. While rarely enforced, if you were one of the unlucky few, it was on you to hire an attorney at your own expense, to defend against the charge and challenge ordinance in court. While this almost always resulted in victory under Pennsylvania’s preemption statute, you were out the money for court costs and attorneys fees. The legislature set out to fix this with Act 192, and at least Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg don’t appreciate being held to account for their own illegal behavior.

Sorry fellas, you’ve been flouting the law for 40 years now. Time to pay up.

Still a Long Way from the 2016 Primaries, a Look at Scott Walker

Scott Walker starts to do well in polling, and suddenly he’s public enemy number one for the left. They’ve done very well with the tactic of defining the opposition early, but I really hope the left keeps knocking on the guy for not finishing college. I can’t think of any better way to help Walker identify with the working class (you know, those people who failed to turn out for McCain or Romney) than the left disapprovingly pointing out that he might have something in common with many of them. I know people who didn’t finish college who can code rings around people who did. Most of us have friends that didn’t quite make it. Also, let’s face it, Harvard and Yale grads have done a pretty good job of screwing this country up. I’m willing to give a dropout from Marquette a chance.

I’m not sold on Walker yet, but I think he has a lot of positive attributes other candidates lack, and has decent potential to bring all the parts of the GOP coalition along if he can hold it together. I don’t think Walker is offensive to any part of the coalition. Here are the plusses, in my view:

  1. The left has thrown pretty much everything they can throw at him and nothing has stuck, so far.
  2. He’s won three times, under enormous and mobilized political opposition, in a blue state that hasn’t voted for the GOP candidate in a presidential election since 1988.
  3. He’s a preacher’s son of Christian faith, but he doesn’t wear his faith on his sleeve, and doesn’t seem to have an obnoxious tendency to tell other people how to live. I don’t think he’ll have a problem with evangelicals. Huckabee managed to carry evangelicals in the 2008 primary, but I think Huckabee is going to fall flat this time.
  4. His record has mostly been one of fiscal conservatism and crushing public sector unions.
  5. While the big establishment donors are likely behind Jeb, so far Jeb isn’t bowling anyone over. I think the big donors would be willing to back Walker if his candidacy has legs, and Jeb falls flat. I don’t see the big donors getting behind Rand Paul, for instance.
  6. I have no idea where the Republican Hawks will stand on Walker, but I think he’d likely be acceptable to them. Rand Paul is not likely to be acceptable to them.
  7. The libertarian leaning part of me would prefer Rand Paul, but I’m not offended by Walker. I’m also a little hawkish. I’m worried about the Russians, and I’d like to destroy ISIS.
  8. I think on Second Amendment issues, Carson and Christie are the only two we need to be wary of.
  9. I think Walker’s relatively non-elite credentials will be a plus to bring out working class voters who are disillusioned with the Democrats, but who couldn’t identify with a rich WASP (WASM?) like Mitt Romney.

Of course, there are a lot of things I’m not sure about with Walker:

  1. Can he build a viable nationwide campaign apparatus and run it effectively? I think he has better political instincts than the GOP consultant class does, and it would be tragic if he had to depend on those snakes to run his campaign.
  2. Can he draw big donors? If he can’t raise money, he’ll be overshadowed by the candidates that can. It is possible to win against moneyed candidates, but it takes a lot of grassroots energy. Rand Paul can probably draw a large number of very dedicated followers. I’m not sure about Walker, but I might be surprised.
  3. The guy is a little dull. Granted, after eight years of the Narcissist-in-Chief in the oval office, I’m willing to deal with some midwestern boring. People are attracted to glamorous candidates, and Obama had a lot of glamour. Fortunately it looks like the GOP candidate’s going to be running against a grandma, no matter how the Dem primary turns out.
  4. He’s going to have an entire national press corps trying to entice him into gaffes. I’m pleased that he smartly dodged a gotcha question from the British press on evolution. Answer yes, and you lose evangelicals. Answer no, and get smeared as a science denying snake handler. Successful politicians tend to be people who know how to charm the media. Reagan and Clinton were good at this. Charming is not a word I would use to describe Scott Walker.

So that’s my thoughts on Walker’s candidacy as it stands right now. What do you think?

New Jersey Busts 72 Year Old Man for Transporting a Flintlock

You know the anti-gun retort that if you love the Second Amendment so much, then fine, but it should only apply to flintlocks and muskets? Have you ever wondered if they really mean that? Trust me, they don’t. Case in point:

You’d think at some points, the courts would fix this. But currently, in the 3rd Circuit Court, there is no right to have a firearm outside the home per the decision in Drake v. Filko. Until such time as the Supreme Court corrects this egregious ruling, having a firearm outside of the home is a privilege in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, as far as the federal government is concerned.

Gun Control is for “Wealthy, White Individuals”

Wow. Just wow. One of the former city officials who backed the Bloomberg/CeasefirePA effort to enact local gun control laws said that his city needs to fight on behalf of gun control because he wants to keep the city safe for “white, wealthy individuals.”

Michael Donovan, a former member of city council who supported the lost and stolen gun law, said Allentown should be joining other prominent Pennsylvania cities in their fight against the state law.

“Allentown is the third largest city in the state,” he said. “It is claiming a renaissance for wealthy, white individuals who wish to be safe. I believe the mayor has a responsibility to join the fight against this law.”

No, I’m not kidding. The gun control ally really did say that out loud to a reporter. But, it got buried at the bottom of the story. Do you think if he was a Republican that this would be at the very bottom of the story?

The standard is so good, we should double it

An article in Slate is just fine with saddling gun owners with hefty legal fees to get a charge based on an unlawful ordinance thrown out, but not with making the towns pay legal fees to defend them. And the article even links to an analysis (and judgement) that the harassment laws are “unenforceable.” But the laws are still on the books, because there’s no real cost to the municipalities. To be fair to the author (though not to the headline writers) the article references a couple of real incidents where law-abiding gun owners were harmed. On the other hand, it takes uncritically and without support statements by the anti-gun side that the laws are effective, unused, and harmless.

These kinds of municipal ordinances designed to harass gun owners are primarily signalling mechanisms, intended to show that the municipality doesn’t want “those kind” of people here, and were expected to be risk-free; because they would only be used against those not able to defend themselves either in the courtroom of law or public opinion. Funny how laws violating civil rights work out that way. But now that the state is making them put up or shut up, most are folding.

It’s a bit of a shame that the enabling language had to be tacked onto a different bill, giving the deep-pocket municipalities a chance to strike down on the “germaneness” grounds. Sebastian probably has a better idea of how that’s going to fly in PA courts than I do.

Incidentally, the article claims the NRA refused requests for an interview. Good for them, there’s not a chance in the world that an interview with a Slate reporter with an axe to grind would have helped. And as usual, the comments section is rather more pro-gun than not, which is another indication of how little grass-root the other side has left.

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