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.

Two More Favorable Court Rulings

Looks like we’ve had a few more favorable court rulings in the past few days. The first comes from the Middle District of Pennsylvania, in the case of Suarez v. Holder, holding that a past non-violent felony conviction was not sufficient to strip him of his right to keep and bear arms. This is an “as applied” challenge, meaning it did not challenge the felon-in-possession statute (18 USC 922(g)) on its face, but challenged it as applied to the plaintiff in this case. He was convicted in 1990 of carrying a firearm without a license in Maryland, a misdemeanor in Maryland, but one that can carry a penalty of up to three years in prison (and thus prohibiting under federal law). The more cases like this we get, the more cause we have to seek further redress through Congress, since these suits cost the federal courts time and money (both of which are in short supply). You can read more about the case here. Hat tip to Joe Huffman for the tipoff.

The other case is from the Florida Court of Appeal, Norman v. State. This court upheld the Florida restriction on open carry, but it’s a win because they adopted the reasoning that we’ve been pushing the courts toward. The court recognized there was a right to carry a firearm outside the home, but that the state may regulate the manner in which firearms are carried.

The Legislature “has a right to prescribe a particular manner of carry, provided that it does not ‘cut[] off the exercise of the right of the citizen altogether to bear arms, or, under the color of prescribing the mode, render[] the right itself useless.’” The Legislature is permitted to regulate the manner in which arms are borne for the purpose of maintaining public peace and safety, so long as any such regulation leaves available a viable carry mode.

The reason our legal advocates have been pushing for this interpretation is because it squares with a long, unfortunate tradition in some parts of the country of making concealed carry unlawful, while allowing open carry, and courts upholding them under the Second Amendment and state Second Amendment analogues. This ruling does beg the question of whether, say, New Jersey, for instance, could get around being forced to comply with federal law by legalizing open carry, but still requiring a relatively non-obtainable license for concealed carry. That doesn’t do anything to destroy the right de jure, but given that open carry is not socially acceptable in the Garden State, does it amount to a de facto destruction of the right? That’s probably why anti-evasion doctrine is going to become very important going forward.

Kleck: Defensive Gun Use is Not a Myth

It’s very good to see Politico willing to publish a retort by Gary Kleck against an article recently published in the same by the trolls over at Armed with Reason. Be sure to read the whole article, but I will quote from, and comment on a bit here:

But what DeFillipis and Hughes carefully withheld from readers is the fact that I and my colleague have refuted every one of Hemenway’s dubious claims, and those by other critics of the NSDS, first in 1997, and again, even more extensively, in 1998 and 2001.

I’m shocked (shocked!) to discover pro-gun control folks not presenting all the facts, and misleading people into believing their conclusion. This is standard operating procedure for our opponents. Dr. Kleck pulls no punches:

The authors, a couple of Oklahoma investment counselors with no graduate degrees, do not claim to have had any training in survey research methods. Like Hemenway (who is also untrained in survey methods), they believe that it’s perfectly plausible that surveys generate enormous over-estimates of crime-related experiences, as if this were the most commonplace thing in the world.

In other words, the people criticizing his studies have no credentials. I’m not one to argue that un-credentialed people can’t produce good science, because they can. But DeFillipis’ and Hughes’ operation looks more like slick marketing rather than science. It would seem Dr. Kleck agrees:

Left unmentioned will be one simple fact: in all of H’s commentary, he does not once cite the one thing that could legitimately cast doubt on our estimates—better empirical evidence.

That’s because they can’t produce it. Even very conservatives studies, like the National Crime Victimization Survey, put the number at 80,000 events a year, and that was also done in the early 1990s, before concealed carry was broadly legal. Even anecdotally, I know two people who did quite legitimately defend themselves with a firearm. In both cases, there were no shots fired; the attacker(s) fled.

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.

Stagecoach Mary – The Well-Armed Woman of Montana

I have to admit that I adored reading this write-up on Mary Fields of Cascade, Montana. She was the second woman and first African American to deliver mail for Wells Fargo Co.

In her stay in Montana, she took on many tough traditionally male jobs and those were sometimes dangerous enough that she would slap a gun on her hip. Even beyond being a well-armed woman, the legends surrounding her seem pretty epic. Consider that the article says she was “one of very few black people in the new state at all, and most likely the only one with a pet eagle.”

By the time she retired from her mail route, apparently her birthday was celebrated as a local holiday for the school kids.

New Jersey Flintlock Case Getting Mainstream Traction

The New York Daily News has run a very favorable article on the Gordon Van Gilder case. You read that right, the New York Daily News. They even embedded NRA’s video on it. I’m kind of shocked, because it’s not like the Daily News is on our side, even on a good day. My guess is that the media is likely aware these stories damage Chris Christie. Regardless of motivation, the more people hear Mr. Van Gilder’s story, the more likely he can get a favorable outcome, as Shannen Allen did.

It also lets people know that what New Jersey has are all the “reasonable common sense gun laws” that the gun control crowd promotes, and that New Jersey’s laws are their model for the rest of the country.

In Order to Win Colorado Back, House Democrats Must be Removed From Power

The Denver Post is reporting on the committee votes in the Colorado House:

HB 1050: Repeals requirement that anyone besides a licensed gun dealer who transfers possession of a firearm must obtain a background check and repeals requirement that charges a fee for a check. Defeated 6-5.

HB 1127: Establishes immunity from certain civil actions for owners and operators of businesses open to the public who adopt a policy allowing persons to carry a concealed handgun on the premises. Defeated 6-5.

HB 1009: Repeals the ban on the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines. Defeated 6-5.

HB 1049: Adds a place of business to the locations that may be defended with deadly physical force. Defeated 6-5. 

HB 1086: Requires the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to produce in a certain time frame certificates allowing for the transfers of machine guns, destructive devices or other firearms or explain why, in that time frame, it was denied. Defeated 7-4.

See the whole article to contrast what the GOP is doing in the Senate, which passed constitutional carry out of committee. I hate to raise the bar higher, because Colorado activists have already been carrying a lot of water for the movement, but if Colorado is to be snatched out of Bloomberg’s hands, the Democrats must lose control of the House as well.

These were 6-5 votes. It’s very close. But the next election could determine everything. Abandon false prophets like Dudley Brown, who has a socially conservative agenda that extends far beyond gun rights. The Colorado GOP has to get smart and embrace good candidates who can win in that state’s more socially liberal political climate.

Gun Control Proponents Telling Half Truths, Says Politifact

More half-truths being peddled by the antis are being exposed by fact checkers. This time it’s Lori Haas of the Coalition to Stop Gun Ownership. The claimed that in states with bans on private transfers, 49% fewer women are shot and killed. The actual number is 38% fewer, but the experts that Politifact spoke with cautioned against cause and effect. For instance, Gary Kleck pointed out:

“States do not randomly pass gun laws — those that pass gun laws are different in many ways from those that do not,” Kleck, who has studied the impact of background checks on homicide rates, said in an email. “For obvious political reasons, it’s easier to enact stricter gun laws in states with fewer gun-owning voters. Thus, states that extended background checks to private gun transfers had lower gun ownership rates even before those laws were passed. Likewise, states with stricter gun laws are more urban, less likely to be Southern or Western (and thus culturally different), more politically liberal etc. You can’t isolate the effect of a gun law without controlling for other violence-related factors.”

I would think the proper study to do is an interrupted time-series analysis, where you measure the rate before and after the law was passed. Now we have new laws in Delaware, Washington, and Colorado. I’d bet good money that it will have almost no effect on the crime rates in those states, outside of broader trends. Criminals either buy guns on the streets, or they use straw buyers. Banning private sales won’t affect either.

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?

News Links for Monday 02-16-2015

Greetings from antarctic station zebra, or at least that’s what it feels like. It’s actually warmer in Alaska than it is here in Southeast Pennsylvania. Seems every time I start to think gun news is getting slow, it gets real interesting, real fast. I could do with slow news if it means no action from the Obama Administration to restrict our rights. I saw in Facebook a gun guy I know, who I also know to be a Democratic voting lefty, arguing that Obama couldn’t ban ammunition, and this was all a conspiracy to drive up ammo prices. There’s a lot of ignorance out there, and it is our mission as gun owners to relieve it.

National reciprocity is now on the table. It’s already upsetting the right people.

Miguel reports on an attempt to ban shooting ranges on residential property. NRA is opposing it because it makes no distinction between dense residential areas and rural properties, and because they argue current law is being misunderstood.

I have to agree with Jeff Soyer on this one. I’m not big on giving cops exemptions to generally applicable law. If it’s bad for the police, it’s bad for everybody.

Well, I’m glad the California legislature is taking the prospect of false reports seriously, but I still think there are serious due process concerns with this “Gun Violence Restraining Order” idea.

Good on Vermont gun owners for showing up. Fortune favors those that do. Hopefully we’ll send Bloomberg home with his tail between his legs.

Can’t stop the signal, though Bloomberg apparently thinks he can.

Marco Rubio would seem to be running for President. This is a good thing he’s doing.

Charles C.W. Cooke: “If Mance v. Holder’s Outcome Is So Horrible, Why Did Democrats Offer It Legislatively in 2013?” Because they were willing to trade it for something they wanted. Now we might win it outright, without us having to give up anything.

At least one reporter at Bloomberg News thinks Vermont being gun crazy is some kind of new development. Vermont’s hippies have been better armed than California’s for quite some time.

You knew the antis weren’t going to stop with I-594.

John Lott takes apart yet another Bloomberg “study.”

I think Governor Hogan should at least lend moral support to the cause of freedom. But unless the Dems are booted from the legislature, Maryland is likely lost unless the courts or Congress save it. I’m sure Emily Miller’s appearance at their rally will drive certain antis absolutely nuts.

Constitutional Carry is in trouble in Idaho, apparently. There’s going to be a rally February 21st in Boise. It’s doing much better in New Hampshire, where it’s cleared the Senate and is now on to the House.

Both campus carry and open carry have passed out of committee in Texas. As Bob Owens notes, the preferred version of the open carry bill, the one that would not have required a CHL, is sunk.

Talking to the cops after a defensive shooting, from an attorney.

If you want us to be reasonable, you first. We’d never accept a waiting period in the context of other fundamental constitutional rights. Why this one?

Bob Owens has an idea for how to fix the federal AP ban. The big problem is what defines “designed for use in a handgun.” Is 5.7x28mm designed for use in a handgun or a rifle? I’d like to use a green approach to just go for outright repeal. Dave Hardy isn’s so sure M855 even falls under the statutory definition, since it still uses some lead. That could open the door to lawsuits if the Administration actually drops this hammer.

Christians joining militias in Iraq to fight ISIS.

Shooting the Russian AN-94. I’d love a chance to shoot one, but it never looked to me like a design that would be reliable.

Looks like a Tavor trying to hump a KRISS

Off Topic:

I’d like to shut DHS down for good.

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