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Cody Wilson Sues State Department

Two years ago, Defense Distributed was preempted by the state Department from posting plans for the Liberator Pistol online, arguing they were a controlled munition. Many of us in the tech business got a strong case of deja vu, remembering a similar government assertion in the 1990s that didn’t end up going all that well for the government.

In that grand tradition, Cody Wilson of Defense distributed has filed suit against the State Department, arguing First Amendment grounds. Lest anyone think this is some kind of fringe suit, it has the backing of SAF, and Alan Gura is among the attorneys on the case.

The New York Times describes this as “trailblazing,” but really this is just a continuation of the argument that happened over encryption in the 1990s. I predict this will not go well for the government. It shouldn’t go well for the government.

A Defense of Free Speech

Ace of Spades has an excellent article speaking of something that’s been bothering me in the whole reaction to the judicious marksmanship on the part of the Traffic Officer in Texas:

I do wish to not overly attack people I like and genuinely respect; but when I read, for example, Jamie Kirchick, a normally dependable guy and someone I’ve met slightly, and like well enough, spending 700 words of an 800 word column talking up how base he thinks Pam Gellar is in a column allegedly defending her right to free speech, instead of, you know, actually defending her right to free speech, I become despairing, because if this is all the defense the alleged defenders of Free Speech can muster, then we have no right to free speech.

This is about class. This is all about class.

This is about, specifically, the careerist, cowardly, go-along-to-get-along mores of the Upper Middle Class, the class of people whose parents were all college educated, and of course are college educated themselves; the class that dominates our thought-transmitting institutions (because non-college educated people are more of less shut out of this industry).

It is a class which is deathly afraid of social stigma, and lives in class-based fear being grouped with the wrong people, and which is more interested in Career, quite frankly, than in the actual tradecraft of that Career, which is clarity of thought and clarity of expression.

Read the whole thing. It is worth your time. This sort of hit me a bit, because when I think of the things left unsaid for the sake of getting along, I worry I’ve fallen into this trap myself. Sure, I have this blog, but I write under a pseudonym. Why? Because I maintain a career in a large metropolitan run by the Upper Middle Class consensus. Anyone who follows my personal Facebook account knows I seldom bring up political topics, largely for the sake of getting along with friends, coworkers, and some family.

I think the lack of conversation is killing this country. We’ve been reduced to walking on eggshells for fear of upsetting the perpetually offended, and often times you don’t know who they are until you say the wrong thing. This state of affairs benefits the far left, because it’s how they control the culture when most people don’t actually agree with them. If we’ve been reduced to insulting each other on social media, and going on virtual witch hunts for the disbelievers, this lets them win. The polite everyman shuts up to avoid becoming the victim of some SJW witch hunter. If this country started talking again, we might begin to understand we’re not all that different, and we share a lot of the same concerns.

Sometimes I wonder if the issue is that social media turns a lot of people into monsters, because it’s hard to believe the American character has changed all that much in just eight years. Perhaps all that’s happened is the left has figured out how to take over that institution like they’ve taken over all the others. People can get away with saying things online they’d never say to another person having a discussion over a few beers. Five years ago I cut the cord on the TV, and I don’t miss it. Lately I’ve been thinking I should cut the cord on social media. Facebook is a giant waste of time, and Twitter is becoming a 140-character-at-a-time cesspool of groupthink hashtag activism. People used to think TV was destroying the country, but I wonder if social media is actually destroying this country.

Maybe it’s time for me to build a brewery in flyover country and check out from all this ridiculous bullshit.

Rick Snyder Running for President in 2016?

Jim Geraghty discusses the rumors that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is running for the 2016 GOP nomination. My opinion is that Chris Christie is enough of a squish on gun rights, and that’s enough squish for one race. We remember that Rick Snyder vetoed a package of pro-gun bills sent to him by the Michigan legislature. We don’t forget, Governor. That’s why we’re successful. If Snyder enters the race, I don’t see too many pro-gun people backing him in the primary.

Bloomberg’s Favorite, AG Kathleen Kane, Keeps Finding Legal Trouble

It seems that Mike Bloomberg’s gun control cash can’t buy PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s way out of more legal drama.

Kane is being sued by a former agent from her office because he says she fabricated a story about him, claiming that he says his sting was only targeting black people. He claims that he never said that, and he says it seriously harmed his reputation as an investigator. He even took a polygraph test that he says he passed.

In fact, the story highlights that Kane claims she had a sworn statement by the agent’s boss that the agent suing her did say it. The problem is that there was no sworn statement. There was an unsworn statement (aka no legal accountability if they prove the boss lied) written more than a year after the supposed racial comment. To top that off, it was only written after Kane made her public claim. In other words, Kane made the claim that the agent with 20 years on the job made a statement. Then, four days after she issued the public attack, the agent’s boss magically writes up a statement fitting the narrative Kane told the media.

This woman is not just incompetent, she belongs in jail. It seems a grand jury agrees with me on the issue of criminal charges in another matter. Even the outlets that endorsed her think it’s time for her to get out of the office. Of course, I’m surprised she hasn’t put a fat target on the media since she already hinted she would sue them for reporting on her many ethical problems.

Remember folks, this woman won partly due to the huge financial investment made by Mike Bloomberg specifically because her views on gun control. She has repeatedly screwed with our reciprocity agreements, and she started lobbying against federal pro-gun bills before she even took office. But, hey, all those voters in the traditionally Republican parts of Pennsylvania felt like a vote for her was a vote for Penn State. No, it was a vote for corruption and abuse that not even the Philadelphia media can tolerate.

Arguments Heard in Act 192 Case

Yesterday, a Pennsylvania Court heard the case challenging the constitutionality of Act 192, the enhanced preemption law. Pennsylvania’s constitution has a single subject requirement for bills, and the preemption enhancement was attached to a bill about metal theft.

Even if this law is invalidated, preemption still remains the law of the land, and Act 192 still has done a lot of heavy lifting in getting municipalities to repeal illegal ordinances. Even if the act is ruled unconstitutional, it has been a major setback for Bloomberg to bet set so far back in his campaign to end preemption in Pennsylvania.

Sometimes you just stand on the sidelines and cheer both sides

Senator Robert Menendez (D) is mired in a scandal about not getting his money’s worth from Amex reward points (oh, and bribery, corruption, and other quaint Hudson County political peccadilloes). He and a Florida doctor have been indicted on federal corruption charges, and the Senator is not taking this quietly. But what surprised me was a few pieces on various right-leaning blogs that suggested we should support the Senator because the prosecution is a piece of political payback for not following the White House policy line. Really? The Senator as much as admits to ethically questionable behavior (his defense is that it wasn’t illegal), he’s a pro-statist politician who never met a gun control bill he didn’t like, AND the White House has to expend scarce political capital to nail him?

I’ll be popping some popcorn while the Democratic Party’s infighting spills out into the news cycle.

Calls for Bloomberg-Bought Kathleen Kane to Resign

Not even Bloomberg’s riches could cushion Kathleen Kane’s fall from grace. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a scathing call for her to resign.

They highlight that it has recently come out that she personally intervened to revoke subpoenas for men with apparent ties to the mob, and then got a $25k political donation out of it. She did eventually decide that maybe she should return it, but it’s clear they assumed she should be “rewarded” for her effort derailing the corruption investigation.

As a close Clinton ally, I’m sure that we’ll soon hear the claim that this is all part of War on Women and that it’s clearly only because she’s attractive. There’s just no way that anyone could think she’s incompetent based on the fact that she’s looking at potential criminal charges for her actions in office and is now tied to two cases of stepping in to derail corruption investigations into political allies. Clearly, it’s just because she’s a woman. /sarcasm

Being Realistic About Chris Christie on Gun Rights

I’m going to be play some devil’s advocate here: Chris Christie is the most pro-gun governor New Jersey has had for at least 50 years. I say that as someone who is still, tentatively, backing Scott Walker, so this is not driven by some establishment conspiracy to prop Christie up if Bush III falls over, even though I’d back Chris Christie over Bush III.

As a governor of New Jersey, following a parade of awful, corrupt Democratic governors, and facing an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature, I don’t think he’s done a bad job. Do gun owners of a certain age in the Garden State remember booting Jim Florio, after he passed the state’s Assault Weapons Ban? What did Christie Whitman ever do for you? And unlike Chris Christie, Christie Whitman sailed into office with a Republican legislature!

For me Chris Christie’s greatest sin is signing the law that allows people to be denied Second Amendment rights because they were on a secret government list that has included dangerous jihadists like Ted Kennedy. But as a former US Attorney, Christie is quite cozy with the “law and order” branch of the GOP, which hasn’t met many civil liberties it wasn’t willing to infringe on for the War on Terror (really, what’s a little habeas corpus suspension between friends?) or the War on Drugs.

His “law and order” tendencies aside, Christie has been willing to veto more anti-gun bills and use his executive power on our behalf than any New Jersey governor since 1962. Those of you who are older might be able to refute me on this, and you’re welcome to, but I haven’t found anything in my research to indicate otherwise. Most of New Jersey’s gun control laws were passed in and about 1966, under Governor Hughes (no, not that Hughes), and I haven’t found any GOP or Dem successor willing to lift a finger.

I get being tops on gun rights in New Jersey is not a high standard. But New Jersey is an unbelievably hostile political environment for guns. It’s arguably more hostile than even Brady top-ranked California, where there are still many parts of that state which simply ignore the diktats from Sacramento, and where there’s a good chance you can find local constabulary will look the other way. But for New Jersey, it’s become clear that even counties in more conservative South Jersey jurisdictions will throw the book at otherwise good people in the name of “law and order.”

I see a lot of complaining that Chris Christie didn’t bother to help Brian Aitken, but a pardon requires one to admit guilt, and Aitken wanted to appeal his conviction. And good for him, since he did get it overturned, except for the hollow point charge, which he is still appealing. If he seeks a pardon (and in every state there is a bureaucratic process for that), you have to first admit guilt. That wasn’t an issue for Allen, since they had her dead to rights since she admitted guilt to the arresting officer. Christie can’t grant a pardon he wasn’t asked to grant, at least without screwing up the system, and possibly ruining the appeal.

I don’t blame anyone on not liking Chris Christie. We all have our candidates we prefer in the primary season. But I think few people in the gun rights movement have any idea how hostile the Garden State is to our cause. Chris Christie might be behind the national curve on the Second Amendment, but he’s farther ahead on the curve than any solid blue state governor I can think of in the past 50 years, including Mitt Romney.

A Pardon Well Deserved

Chris Christie is clearly trying to boost his pro-gun credibility in whatever way he can given the extremely anti-gun legislature he deals with since he signed a full pardon of Shaneen Allen today.

This is wonderful news for Allen, and it will hopefully send a message to New Jersey’s police officers and prosecutors. New Jersey isn’t exactly going pro-gun, but maybe there will be a little more sanity in the enforcement of the laws.

Hobbyists and Collectors Generally Aren’t Politicians

New Jovian Thunderbolt has a write-up on the guns owned by potential 2016 Presidential candidates. Tam isn’t impressed, and neither is McThag. I’m actually surprised it’s that many. I think collectors, and by collector I don’t just mean gun collectors, tend to have certain personality traits. Hardcore hobbyists share many similar traits. The personality profile of a hard core collector or hobbyist pretty much prevent those types of people from running for office, because people running for office also have certain personality traits, and those are very different from a hard core hobbyist or collector.

So it’s not surprising that most of the candidates may have a gun or two, for hunting, personal protection, etc. But they aren’t that into it. In NJT’s list, you’ll notice there’s one gun guy, really two if you look at it, because I’d be surprised if Todd and Sarah Palin don’t own several, and I’d be surprised if Rand Paul owned more than a couple. The real gun guy on that list is Lindsey Graham, who’s picture is right there along side John McCain if you look up RINO in the dictionary. But Graham has always been solid on guns, because, at the least, he’s good at saying the things that convince us he’s a shooter. But even Graham, I’m betting, isn’t spending more than the odd weekend at the range, and maybe a few hunting trips throughout the year for fundraising and politicking. The life of a Senator, Governor or other high level politician doesn’t leave much time for “not politics.”

Most politicians don’t arrive at their pro-gun positions by being gun people. They arrive at that position because it is in their self-interest to do so. We are the ones who are charged with convincing them, and we do that by voting the issue, and persuading them that voting the way we want them to vote is in their self-interest. That can be the carrot, or the stick. Our side is generally much better at the stick, because punishing enemies rallies our grassroots more than supporting friends. But punishing enemies can buy you a lot. The current GOP field all being pretty solid on the gun issue was bought with the heads of Dick Lugar, Mike Castle, and other squishy Republicans who lost their primaries. Obviously it would be better to have a real gun guy behind you in politics, but those are going to be a rare find.

It’s worth remembering that Reagan signed the current Armor Piercing Ammunition Law that Obama was trying to use to screw us. Later in life (whether he did, or his handlers did, is a matter of debate) he endorsed the Brady Act and Assault Weapons Ban. Bush sailed into office saying he’d sign an AWB renewal. John McCain was the first GOP nominee who was actually against an AWB, but he was in favor of banning private transfers, and he lost. Romney was for an AWB before he was against it, and he lost. We have slowly, but surely, corralled the GOP much closer to our position. Let us hope we can keep it there, and we might make real progress if things go our way in 2016.

Ultimately, all I care about from a Second Amendment viewpoint is a) who is a GOP president going to put on the Court, and b) will they sign pro-gun bills? Beyond that, I couldn’t care less how many guns he or she does or doesn’t own, short of what that signals about how serious they might be in their convictions.

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