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Jul 25, 2014
Many of you have probably read the story that broke yesterday evening about the doctor who saved his life and is credited with saving numerous others by pulling out his own legally carried firearm and shooting a mental patient who had just shot his caseworker and tried to shoot the doctor. But I have to say for a case that’s still unfolding today, the Daily News has probably the best story I’ve seen on the situation and people involved.
They highlight that the shooter was known as a threat to himself and others, having been involuntarily committed by his local police department two times in the last 5 years and has a known criminal history of firearm and drug offenses. It will be interesting to see if he stole the firearm he used given that he does have a history that includes robbing a bank, according to their research.
They tracked down neighbors at his last known address and none of them were remotely shocked. They said he was clearly deeply troubled, and a friend of an ex-girlfriend of the shooter even said that the guy was a heavy, heavy drug user and claimed he got violent with the girlfriend and kicked her in the stomach while she was known to be pregnant.
In other words, this is a violent, drug addicted mentally ill person who, while in “care,” was allowed to roam the streets and continue committing crimes up until he murdered a woman who was trying to help him in cold blood and tried to take out the doctor, too. The police chief stated that he believes the shooter would not have stopped with the people in the room, and he credits the doctor with keeping the tragedy from turning into a mass shooting.
The shooter was clearly prohibited from possessing firearms, and Pennsylvania already has mandatory background checks on private sales of handguns. You’d think this would make it clear to the other side that the problem lies with our mental health and legal systems. But, no, they still blame the gun even though one in the hands of a lawful owner helped save lives.
Jul 23, 2014
This letter would seem to indicate that Beretta considered relocated to West Virginia, having been wooed there by politicians no doubt looking to bring jobs. But Beretta indicates they were “looking first and foremost for a widespread and stable place of political support in any potential location,” and Joe Manchin’s recent actions on gun control were enough to give them the heebee jeebees. It’s not like West Virginia needs jobs or anything. Working class people struggling for good manufacturing jobs ought to take note of where Democratic priorities lie.
Jul 23, 2014
The Obama Administration has taken such an egregious action that is has me actively cheering gun control wallet-in-chief Mike Bloomberg. From today’s edition of Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt, on what he’s calling a de-facto travel ban to Israel, quoting Bloomberg:
“This evening I will be flying on El Al to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel,” Bloomberg said in a prepared statement emailed by former City Hall spokesman Marc La Vorgna shortly after 8 p.m.
“Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely,” Bloomberg continued. “The U.S. flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit US airlines to fly to Israel.”
It’s not like anyone flying to Israel isn’t aware there’s a war going on. If people want to take their chances, it’s no business of the FAA’s. I agree with Geraghty that this is back channel pressure on the Israelis to comply with US demands. You know, US demands that it basically not defend itself.
I’ve said over the dinner table that if the drug cartels in Mexico were launching rockets over the border into El Paso at the same rate Hamas has been launching them out of Gaza, in a few days there would be no living cartel members. If the US Army wouldn’t invade Mexico and clean house, Texans would. There wouldn’t be all that much concern for collateral damage, as long as all the rockets and heavy weapons were found and destroyed quickly. A hostile Mexican government would likely be deposed. We all know we would do that. Even most liberal Americans faced with rocket attacks would demand action.
Yet this Administration apparently expects the Israelis to “show restraint.” They are. The fact that it took this long to go in shows remarkable restraint — restraint that Americans would never exercise in the same situation.
Jul 22, 2014
Tam was wondering how two Americans, recently killed in the hostilities in Gaza, were legally serving in the IDF while retaining citizenship. I am far from an expert in this, but there have been a number of Supreme Court cases involving this topic of dual-citizenship for those of you interested. But my understanding boils down to this: you generally won’t lose your citizenship unless you renounce it or take some action in a manner that shows intent to give up citizenship. US law and policy is generally favorable for people holding dual-citizenship, residing abroad, and serving compulsory military service, which Israel requires. I also think you can even join a foreign military voluntarily, since routine oaths are generally not sufficient to cause the loss of citizenship.
What’s interesting is that the State Department policy that allows one to keep citizenship as a result of a “routine oath” is just that — State Department policy. The case law is less clear as to when one renounces one’s US citizenship or not. Take the case of Vance v. Terrazas, where a dual-US/Mexican national lost his US citizenship when he signed a form having to reaffirm his Mexican citizenship when he went to college there.
What does this have to do with guns? I direct you to question 11(j) on ATF Form 4473, “Have you ever renounced your United States citizenship?” I’m not sure there’s much case law on prosecutions for lying on 11(j), but I could be wrong. I think serving compulsory military service of your dual country is probably fine, but if you voluntarily joined a foreign military, or took any action that could be interpreted, through preponderance of the evidence, that you had intent to give up your citizenship, you could find yourself facing a long time in federal prison if you answer that question incorrectly on 4473. It’s a good idea for dual citizens to be cognizant of any oaths or actions that may have been taken that could be interpreted as intent to surrender citizenship.
Jul 22, 2014
Remember two years ago when it came out that Philadelphia disclosed personal information about some license to carry applicants in violation of state law?
They were people who were initially denied licenses and were in the process of appealing the denial, and many of them seemed like highly questionable denials.
Well, several of those folks did call lawyers who worked to sue the city and ended up with a great settlement.
From Josh Prince, one of the four attorneys on the case:
…the City will pay $1.425 million to the class and will be separately responsible for the costs of administering the settlement… Further, and of similar importance, the City has agreed to a number of policy changes…:
- Not to disclose LTCF applicant information either electronically or in-person;
- Annual training of the Philadelphia Police Department and Philadelphia License and Inspection Board of Review on the confidentiality of LTCF applicant information;
- Customer service training for the Philadelphia Gun Permit Unit;
- Posting a copy of the LTCF Application Notice on its website and where LTCF applications and appeals can be submitted or obtained, as well as, providing a copy to anyone who has his/her LTCF denied or revoked;
- The City will not required references on the LTCF application and will not contact any references listed on the LTCF application;
- The City will not require lawful immigrants or US Citizens with a US Passport to provide naturalization papers;
- The City will not require any applicant to disclose whether he/she owns a firearm during the LTCF application process;
- The City will not deny an application because the applicant answered “no” to any question regarding whether the applicant had been charged/convicted of any crime where the applicant received a pardon or expungement from the charge or conviction;
- The City will process all LTCF applications within 45 calendar days;
- The City will remit $15.00 to any applicant who is denied within 20 days;
- The City will not require LTCF applicants or holders to disclose to law enforcement that they have an LTCF, that they are carrying a firearm or that they have a firearm in the vehicle; and
- The City will not confiscate an LTCF or firearm, unless there is probable cause that the LTCF or firearm is evidence of a crime. In the event an LTCF or firearm is confiscated, the officer must immediately provide a property receipt, which shall include the pertinent information
All of the attorneys in this case deserve huge kudos: Benjamin R. Picker, Jonathan Goldstein, Jon Mirowitz, and obviously, Josh Prince.
Jul 21, 2014
When I first saw this article at The Daily Beast, talking about how Chris Christie was “faking it” on gun rights, I had no idea how much of the gun community would echo that sentiment. My reaction was “Well, yeah, but they’re all faking it.” You see, aside from the very rare gunny politician (and they do exist, they just aren’t that common), almost all your politicians arrive at this issue based on whether or not that position is politically expedient. Even your politicians that may pay a lot of lip service to gun rights have a breaking point, and you’d be surprised by how many “great friends” will head for the hills and leave you to the wolves if the vote suddenly starts to turn hard for them. In any of your state legislative bodies, there are legislative friends who really have not been tested, and nearly none of these guys are going home after a hard day of shaking hands and kissing babies to clean their AR-15s. It’s quite easy to say “Oh, I’m with you on this or that,” when they’re talking to your lawmaker to constituent in the comfort of their office. It’s quite another thing to actually take a hard vote for us when there’s not a knock down, drag out fight over it with both sides and the media fully engaged.
So while Governor Christie is not my ideal candidate for 2016 (I’m partial to Scott Walker if he’s interested in running), and while I agree that he’s vetoed a number of bills for us out of a desire to run for the GOP nomination, I have to respect that he’s signaled to us through action rather than lip service. Does that mean I trust him on guns? Not really. But trusting in politicians is usually a fool’s business. Since politicians, as a general rule, act out of political expedience, the trick is to continue making our issue expedient for them. Over the long run, that’ll work out a lot better for you than trust.
Jul 17, 2014
This is a topic I’ve long struggled with: are we better off with modern civil service protections, or would we be better off under the Spoils System? Lately, I’ve tended to agree with Glenn Reynolds “that the entire Civil Service system should be scrapped.” I’m think the civil service tends to perpetuate the opinions and prerogatives of a small handful of elites, and is fundamentally anti-democratic. Not that I always believe “anti-democratic” is a bad word, but it has to serve a purpose in the framework of individual liberty and protecting political minorities from the worst excesses of democratic government. I think civil service protections fail this test. I’d like to highlight his current top comment in Glenn Reynolds post, which I think offers food for thought. His commenter supports a return of the Spoils System:
A real spoils system would have several advantages:
- You could get rid of them all by electing a new party to office.
- Bureaucrats might be restrained by knowing that they will soon be turfed out into the private sector so they will want rules that they could live under after the next election.
- They might also be restrained by the knowledge that if their behavior got to obnoxious they would cost their party votes and potentially end their employment.
- Everyone would realize they are partisan hacks and thus not excuse their overreach behind some sort of non-partisan good government BS.
Lately, I’ve been thinking the same thing. The downside is there are people in the civil service right now who are actually knowledgable, do a reasonable job, and not political hacks. But there are far too many political hacks hiding behind civil service protections. These days I tend to agree we’d be better off with the spoils system, provided it was operated with the knowledge and understanding that there’s a lot the government does that requires people who are competent and willing to work hard. I’d hate to see, for example, document preservation exports cut loose at the National Archives because they were hired by the “wrong party.” But I’m willing to concede that civil servants who live by the sword (politics) can also die by it. That’s probably how it should be. An awful lot of civil service protections were generally meant to promote big, permanent government and rule by unaccountable “experts.”
Jul 15, 2014
California is going to have a 2016 ballot measure to break itself into six different states. From my point of view, I see two solid blue states (Silicon Valley and West California), three red states (Jefferson, North California, and Central California), and a purple state (South California). Neither side really gains much overall. However, this is basically without legal effect:
Not only must the breakup plan score an unlikely victory at the ballot box in 2016, it must also win the approval of Congress.
No, it must also win the approval of the California Legislature. Article IV, Section 3 of the United States Constitution:
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.
The people of California are not the “Legislature of the State concerned.” Unsurprisingly, both parties are fighting it. I don’t think anyone really wants to roll the dice with how this all would end up. From my view it looks like a marginally worse deal for Democrats. Maybe some native Californians who know the political landscape better might disagree.
Jul 10, 2014
Gun clubs can be organized under any number of tax statuses, but many will put them in a category where they may not be able to engaging in outright electioneering. However, one New York gun club sends a pretty clear message about the issue they want to see resolved without naming any candidates on a giant billboard.
I hate that the only place I ever witnessed really well organized gun clubs willing to get involved in the political fights to the degree that they were legally allowed to was in Massachusetts. It really was a case of too little too late there, and other states don’t have to follow that model if their clubs and organized shooters would get together and engage in just a little bit of activism.
Jul 10, 2014
I think the thing that both Sebastian and I hate the most about politics at the moment is that it seems like everyone is so hateful toward everyone else to the point of wanting to see the individuals themselves destroyed. I get that there’s a certain “us vs. them” quality to building political opposition, but in the past, you could still go to the bar and have a drink with someone with whom you disagreed. Now, that seems like something from the past for many folks.
One of the things that brought on my recent frustration with the issue is the Facebook scandal involving Kendall Jones, a young female hunter. She posted pictures from lawful hunts, and Facebook took them down for violating community standards. However, the “Kill Kendall Jones” page is allowed to remain because Facebook says that doesn’t violate any community standards. Now, a Democratic former Congressional candidate is offering $100,000 to anyone who will publish naked pictures of Kendall Jones simply because he doesn’t like that she hunts and wants to see her personally destroyed.
I don’t even know if the political discourse on display can be improved. When someone considers it a reasonable and good idea to start a page calling for the death of someone who simply disagrees with you, I’m not sure there’s much that can be done to bring people like that back to some form of reasonable discussion, even if it still results in disagreement.