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The Media Darling

I can’t count how many article I’ve seen about Caleb Keeter (if you’re saying “Caleb who?,” join the club) in the media. I passed on most of them, since I’ve never heard of the guy, and I frankly don’t care what celebrities think. But this article from the Canada Free Press is worth reading:

Someone in Keeter’s position will be assigned absolute moral authority on the issue because of what he went through in Vegas. You still oppose gun control? Oh yeah? Go through a shooting rampage and then come back and tell me that!

The many people who went through the same rampage and did not have their minds changed will presumably not be assigned the same absolute moral authority, for reasons I suppose are obvious. But authority is not what makes an idea good. It’s the quality of the idea itself. So let’s examine Keeter’s full statement explaining his change of mind …

As I said, this one hit close to home, but it didn’t change our minds. The article makes the very good point that although the very careful planning this mass murderer did made return fire an unrealistic option, there are plenty of other public mass shootings where someone with immediate access to a gun could and has made a difference.

Victims at the Four Seasons

Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer has an attention-grabbing headline: “For Bucks couple in Vegas, a horrifying view of the carnage.” With a headline like that, you click on it thinking that maybe they were in the midst of the crowd and saw things you can never forget.

And, let me tell you, I don’t think they will ever forget the horrifying view of an empty littered lot 35 stories below their posh Four Seasons room the morning after the shooting. The art deco-inspired wall papers and giant shiny silver mirrors to reflect the lights coming in from their floor-to-ceiling windows looking down on the Strip will remain forever in their minds against the backdrop of the litter below them.

The article says they heard some shots which the couple assumed to be fireworks with the concert they could just hear below them. But the article deliberately uses phrases that just acknowledge they saw the curtains blowing out of the neighboring hotel room the following morning and litter the next morning after there had been bodies previously. It doesn’t actually say they saw “carnage.”

The Inquirer does want us to know that the couple resting in their super comfortable Four Seasons bed has no intention of letting the gunman get in the way of their high end bridal conference business and that they will, in fact, be strong enough to stay the entire 4 additional nights they were planning to stay! #LasVegasStrong

When this couple reached out to the largest newspaper in their home region to tell their harrowing story, they made sure to pose for a photo in their posh hotel dressed in their most stylish clothes looking appropriately concerned for the little people below. Without it, I’m not sure we could have believed that they had survived such a tragic crime that happened to a group of completely unrelated people 1,600 feet down the Vegas Strip.

Now This is the Kind of Article I Expect from the Media

Granted, I had to go to inverse.com, and who has ever heard of that? We’re probably the only people who will actually read this crap.

Although restrictions do exist on buying, selling, and owning fully automatic weapons — also commonly referred to as machine guns — these firearms are technically still legal. Some advocates of gun rights, however, have claimed the opposite in arguments.

What I love is that he refers to the federal assault weapons ban later in her article. Was that a ban? Did that make “assault weapons” illegal? Because it did the same kind of grandfathering, only under much less stringent regulation. Look, for all but the wealthy collector, machine guns are effectively illegal. I can’t afford one. Most of you can’t afford one, or maybe you could if you gave up a car or a first born. A lot of people can’t get CLEO sign-off. They are not common.

Gun owners — those both with handguns and bigger rifles and shotguns — do not need a license to buy and own their firearms, and don’t need to register their guns with the state, according to the National Rifle Association.

So Nevada has registration for smaller rifles and shotguns then? Where did you get that from?

Automatic weapons were also used in the attacks at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in 2016, the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012, and Columbine High School in 1999, according to a report from anti-gun group Everytown for Gun Safety.

No, they were not. Those murderers used semi-automatic weapons: one shot for each pull of the trigger. The link to Everytown doesn’t even say anything about weapons used.

 

Almost Getting it Right

This is a lot better than I would have expected from “fact checkers” only a few years ago. It’s mostly right.

Journalists often mistake the “AR-15” semi-automatic rifle, sometimes referred to as an assault weapon, for an automatic weapon. It is a much smaller caliber version of the military and fully-auto M-16. The AR-15 is also highly accurate at a long distance.

Same caliber bullet, same cartridge. The only difference is the AR-15 is not capable of fully automatic or burst fire. There’s a difference in the receiver and the internal bits to make this so. The accuracy of an AR-15 is the same as the M16 when it’s set to semi-auto.

Gun opponents have lobbied for decades to make “high capacity” magazines illegal. Generally, they are talking about magazines that load more than 8 rounds. An experienced shooter can easily reload with a fresh magazine in a few seconds.

Generally they are talking about magazines that load more than 10 rounds, because I suppose they feel like that is a nice, round number.

But I’ll give the author credit for mostly getting it right. Years ago this stuff was often wildly off the mark.

Now You Can Be Sure the Bloomberg Talking Point Are Out There

As I’ve said before, when you see a pattern, it means it’s a coordinated campaign, and folks, we’re seeing a pattern. Same talking points as Milbank, to a tee.

Is it Title II, which eliminates liability on any shooting range built or operated with federal funding in whole or in part — if for example a deranged person commits a mass shooting on that firing range? The shooting range is free of liability in all cases, even if it knew a dangerous person was using the firing range and did nothing to alert the authorities.

Are people really committing mass shootings at firing ranges? Is this really a problem? I also LOVE this juxtaposition.

Is it Title I, which prohibits the entire federal government from addressing lead poisoning caused by ammunition or fishing tackle? Even though waterfowl hunters switched to non-toxic ammunition decades ago, and even though lead poisons people and wildlife alike, and even though there are non-toxic alternatives, this legislation would forever preclude the government from taking action.

Yes, there are very expensive and less effective non-toxic alternatives. There could be cheaper non-toxic alternatives, but …

And then there are the provisions eliminating all restrictions on the purchase of silencers, eliminating restrictions on armor-piercing bullets, and eliminating restrictions on carrying firearms across state lines.

 

There we are with the armor piercing bullets again, and you guys don’t see the articles I choose not to link, so you can expect this is a key Bloomberg talking point right now. You can’t, on one hand, tell us that we have to adopt alternatives to lead ammunition, and then, on the other hand, outlaw those alternatives. That’s what the “armor piercing” ammunition law currently does.

Let me just re-establish for those of you who might be new to this: the armor piercing ammunition issue is bullshit. Let me go over a brief history of this issue.

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, when this fake issue was turned into a full on scare by the media and Hollywood, people were demanding that “something must be done.” So politicians started drafting bills which were “something,” and therefore “must be done.” Early attempts by Ted Kennedy to draft a bill based on the ability to penetrate soft body armor would have banned most rifle ammunition. Nearly all centerfire rifle ammunition will penetrate body armor typically worn by police. Not just scary “assault weapons.” Not big bad .50 BMGs. The .30-30 Grandpa shot deer with for years will slice through soft body armor like a hot knife through butter, no matter what the bullet is made of. Why? Rifle bullets travel at two to three times the speed of handgun bullets, and speed is what gets you through kevlar.

Banning all rifle ammunition not being politically feasible, politicians looking for that “something” that “must be done” started focusing on handguns that could shoot bullets that were capable of penetrating soft body armor. That’s a much smaller class of ammunition, because nearly all handgun rounds except very powerful ones are stopped by soft body armor (I know, I know, it depends on the level of the vest, but for simplicity’s sake here). Still, a performance based criteria would ban large swathes of popular handgun ammunition. That was just fine by people who were in favor of banning handguns, so there was a real chance this could happen.

As a compromise, instead of focusing on performance, legislation could focus on the materials the bullet was made from, and based on whether or not it was designed to be fired from a handgun (basically it had to be a lead bullet). This would only ban a very small subset of ammunition that didn’t see much civilian (or law enforcement, for that matter) use. It was “something” that the politicians could take to their hysterical constituents demanding that an armor piercing ammunition bill “must be done.” And so it was done.

But lawmaking by Congress is only ever part of the equation. Federal bureaucrats have enormous leeway to make rules to implement a particular law. Under both the Clinton Administration and the Obama Administration that’s exactly what happened. Suddenly, it wasn’t “designed to be fired from a handgun” it was “can be fired from a handgun.” The new rule became if there was a pistol that could fire the ammunition, that ammunition became subject to the armor piercing law and could be banned. This was used to great effect to ban cheap 5.56x45mm and 5.45x39mm ammunition during the Obama Administration. What SHARE would do is to set the rule back to what it was intended to be, and eliminate the mechanism by which two hostile administrations have used to warp the law into something it was never meant to be. It was meant to be a meaningless feel good measure that didn’t really ban much of anything. It was NEVER intended to be a mechanism to ban large categories of rifle ammunition. But that’s what it was turned into.

But hey, why write an article on that? Why take the concerns of shooters seriously? Why try to learn something before just writing up an op-ed from Bloomberg’s talking points?

Gun Control Folks Definitely Expecting HPA to Move

There’s just too much chatter about it for that not to be the case. A common argument against: “What’s wrong with ear plugs?” But note this editorial concedes many of our points:

To be sure, the noise-reduction devices at issue do not eliminate gun noise; they reduce it by 30 decibels or so, making “suppressor” a more accurate term, and mitigating whatever additional risk the general public might face if the law results in more use of silencers, including unlawful use, as opponents fear.

Sure, it could happen. But the sky could fall too! Death, destruction everywhere! And if that’s going to happen, and WaPo’s editorial staff would prefer it be deafening, and not just kinda loud.

In fact, the harms to shooters are modest — somewhat elevated risk of non-total hearing loss, essentially — and effective alternatives to silencers are readily available.

Basically, they don’t give a crap about your hearing unless you’re driven to the point of utter deafness. Then they care. Maybe.

The problem is that firearms users generally don’t take these simple precautions. Suppressors might help, NHCA acknowledged, but not “without the wearing of hearing protection.” In other words, “manufacturers cannot guarantee that use of noise suppressors alone will prevent hearing loss.”

Again, making our point for us. You still need hearing protection, just not as much. I doubt anyone at the WaPo involved in this editorial actually shoots, or has any idea that not all earplugs or muffs are created equal. That’s also not to mention that it’s better for hunters to  be able to hear what’s going on around them. Or for instructors teaching a new shooter to be able to communicate effectively without having to shout.

I use these electronic muffs, and they are the best compromise between protection and usability I’ve found. But I still can’t get a good check weld on a rifle with them. Also note they are rated for a 22db reduction, which means they reduce to about 138 decibels, which is just below action level. Note, WaPo journalists, that muffs that take gunfire well into the safe range are a lot thicker.

Ear plugs are very effective, offering up to 30 decibel reduction for quality plugs, but my main issue with earplugs is that I can’t hear shit when I’m wearing plugs unless someone is absolutely shouting at me, and to be completely honest, I hate having shit stuffed in my ears. You want to be able to communicate with other shooters and the people around you when you are shooting potentially dangerous weapons.

I’m not saying suppressors are a panacea that will make all hearing issues and noise complaints go away at ranges everywhere. But they are another tool in the toolbox. Even the WaPo editorial staff has to concede that the only reason to restrict them are hysterical predictions about criminal use if we unrestricted them. That’s never happened when this kind of thing has been predicted by journalists before, and I don’t see why it would happen now.

Half True is the Best We Ever Get

Yes, our friendly neighborhood fact checkers are at it again. The people who want to be the final arbiters of fake news struggle to even give us a half-true for something that was entirely 100% factual. Here they are “fact checking” Ted Cruz:

“Anyone know the first gun control laws in the United States?” Cruz went on. “The first Congress passed a law mandating that every able-bodied man must own a musket. That’s gun control Founding Fathers’ style.”

Apparently our steadfast journalists had never heard of the Militia Act of 1792 and had to turn to an expert. Not that I’d expect them to have heard of it, but let me Google that for you.

Seriously, if you can’t use Google, I’d strongly suggest giving up the profession of journalist and find some dank corner of a bar to hang out in to work on your drinking problem. You might find you’re more successful with that career choice.

It’s my impression that many of these people honestly aren’t very smart, and thus have no real expertise on much of anything to be pontificating on what’s true and false. What Ted Cruz said obviously wasn’t the full text of that bill, but if anyone expected he’d say:

“Anyone know the first gun control laws in the United States?” Cruz went on. “The first Congress passed a law mandating that every able-bodied man must own a musket. Well, except for black men, Indians, ferrymen employed on ferries along post roads, the Vice President, Congressmen and Senators, some federal employees, Quakers, or any other contentious objector where allowed by state law. That’s gun control Founding Fathers’ style.”

you need to get your head out of your ass. What Cruz said was an accurate summary of the Militia Act of 1792. For the most part, males of military age were required to be armed. The statement is not half true, it’s true.

The Media are Suckers? You Don’t Say

Forgive the lack of posting. Very busy. John Lott has an article in The Hill about “How gun control advocates play the mainstream media for suckers.” It’s good that an outlet like The Hill chose to run this:

Among police, firearms violations occur at a rate of 6.9 per 100,000 officers. For Florida permit holders, the rate is only 0.31 per 100,000. Most of these violations were trivial offenses, such as forgetting one’s permit.

The data are similar in other states.

The media is doing an injustice by inaccurately reporting about an issue with such immediate relevance to public safety

John Lott has done a lot of good work on behalf of the issue. I only wish he had maintained the position as more of a detached academic, rather than embracing outright pro-gun advocacy. Not that advocacy doesn’t have its place, but our opponents are far better at passing off activists as detached academics than we are. Our side could stand to up our game here.

Why No One Should Trust Social Media

This fascinating article in Mic talks about how Snap tried to pick Mike Bloomberg’s deep pockets using the gun control issue, but apparently they weren’t biting. Apparently they told Bloomberg’s Everytown folks if they didn’t buy all the ads, then they would be available to the NRA as well. They didn’t bite on that one, because apparently Everytown was already talking to Snap’s news division about a big ol’ chunk of earned media they felt would be more valuable.

This is how the game is played folks. They didn’t have to jump in bed with Snap’s advertising division, because their news division had already jumped into bed with Bloomberg!

It’s a joke. Seriously, don’t believe anything you see in the media, and especially social media. You can’t even go with “Trust, but Verify.” Expect you’re being lied to and seek primary sources.

Ghost Guns! Under My Bed!

It’s kind of depressing the media has largely chosen to ignore our issue, and isn’t as much in the business anymore of running hysterical articles like this. Articles like this are why I got into blogging.

The guns are built from kits and arrive in pieces, so under existing law, when they’re shipped, they aren’t guns. When assembled by their buyers, they’re lethal – and legal.

Federal officials like Graham Barlowe, the resident agent in charge of the ATF’s Sacramento office, say the loophole is dangerous.

You can find a meme on the internet called “Everyone I Don’t Like is Hitler.” One could easily create a similar meme for the gun issue that goes, “Everything I Don’t Like is a Loophole.”

All the parts needed to assemble a gun were in the box when it arrived. It took Vasquez a couple of hours to assemble the weapon.

Did this include machining? Because if you failed to mention that he had to spend several hours machining the receiver, this is #FakeNews. From the article, you’d think he ordered a parts kit from the Internet, put it all together, and voilà, we have an functioning firearm. That would describe a felony if it were true.

Here’s some fast facts any journalist should know, that I think we can all agree on:

  • Generally speaking, it’s legal and should be legal for gun owners to buy parts for firearms. Parts are unregulated.
  • There is always one part of the gun that ATF considers The Gun, and that part is regulated as if it were a fully assembled firearm. Usually that part is the receiver (which if you’re a journalist reading this, is the part the rest of the parts of the gun attaches to).
  • Chunks of metal are not regulated. Regulating chunks of metal because they could be turned into guns with the right machining would be stupid beyond belief.
  • At some point, regulators decide that a part qualifies as a firearm if a certain amount of machining has been done to it. Usually a machined part that is about 80% complete, as arbitrarily determined by the regulator (ATF in this case), is considered a hunk of metal and is not considered a firearm. Where does life begin for a firearm?
  • It is currently a felony to earn livelihood or profit from manufacturing firearms if you don’t have a license to manufacture firearms. The current interpretation of this that you can’t sell firearms you make for yourself.
  • You could outlaw machining and assembling chunks of metal into functioning firearms, but that’s only going to deter people who are not doing it as part of a criminal enterprise, and if they aren’t doing it as part of a criminal enterprise, why the hell do you care?

What I’m getting at is, fine journalists, is where is the loophole? What law are you going to pass that won’t just be making something more illegal for criminals?

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