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Challenge to Vermont’s Magazine Ban

From NRA:

Fairfax, Va.— The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today announced support for a lawsuit brought by Vermont citizens, sporting-goods stores, and shooting clubs to challenge the state’s recent ban on many of the most popular firearm magazines in America.

“The magazines Vermont has now banned are owned by millions of law-abiding Americans,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “In fact, nearly half of all magazines in the nation would now be deemed ‘large capacity’ by Vermont.”

At issue in the lawsuit is one of the measures signed into law by Governor Scott on April 11, which bans the possession, sale, purchase, or transfer of long-gun magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds and handgun magazines with a capacity greater than 15.

“Vermont claims its new ban will advance public safety, but we know from other States that have experimented with this type of misguided ban that violent criminals are not going to adhere to the ban. The only people really harmed by the ban are the law-abiding citizens who will now be forced to defend themselves, their families, and their homes from violent attack by using sub-standard ammunition magazines. We are pleased to have been able to support the plaintiffs in this fight to vindicate their rights under the Vermont Constitution, and we expect the Vermont Courts to swiftly strike down this plainly unconstitutional ban.”

Challenging through state court is smart. We’ve had much better luck with state court rulings on the Second Amendment and state analogues than we have with the federal courts. Pursuing this via the First Circuit Court system would have a predictable result: we’d lose.

Congressional Ballot Narrowing

I touched on this briefly in the news links yesterday, but a much clearer picture is emerging that the current focus on the gun issue is hurting Dems on the generic ballot. Also, this from the WaPo:

 The survey shows the GOP making a more pronounced shift among white voters, who now prefer Republicans by a 14-point margin over Democrats, up from five points in January. Republicans lead by 60 percent to 31 percent among white voters without college degrees, slightly larger than an 18-point GOP advantage three months ago.

White voters without college degrees are responsible for closing the gap? Gee whiz…. what issue could that demographic possibly care about that could account for this? I can’t imagine.

After watching some of the Facebook hearings with Zuckerberg, it became apparent to me we won’t be getting any regulation of Silicon Valley that it isn’t OK with. None of the lawmakers have any idea how any of this stuff works, and they’ll be ripe for regulatory capture.

Social media makes astroturfing a lot more effective, and you don’t even need a lot of money to do it. Lawmakers weren’t prepared, and it’s a new world they have no understanding of. There are Republicans who fell pretty readily for Bloomberg’s narrative post Parkland. Those Republicans, like Phil Scott in Vermont, need to be punished electorally for their transgressions. There are a number of Florida Republicans in that boat too. But we will have to pick our battles carefully.

Culture Leads Politics

Kevin has a bit on “Why R. Lee Ermey Eatters,” because we need more cultural figures to show that shooting is FUN. We can all forget that sometimes. Despite the role Ermey is best known for, he was a hell of a nice guy. He also impressed me that he would attend NRA Board Meetings. There are some celebrities who I do not believe have even shown up to be sworn in. At the Glock booth, the line would always be around the corner (and Glock’s booth is BIG) to meet him and get a picture and autograph. Generally speaking, I don’t vote for celebrity Board members, even if they are sometimes contributors, just because they don’t need my help. But I always voted for Ermey. He struck me as a stand-up guy. And yes, the one time I saw him walking to the restroom from a Board meeting, I was tempted to tell the hotel staffer who also saw him walk by, “I hope that head is so sanitary and squared away that the Virgin Mary herself would be proud to go in there and take a dump!” That movie was one of those shared cultural experiences of my generation I’m not sure we really have anymore.

Monday News Links

Time for some tab clearing. Sorry for the light posting. Things are getting busy, and my sinuses haven’t been managing this odd seasonal change, or not change, as the case may be, well at all.

No, The ‘March For Our Lives’ Isn’t Defining A Generation

Bloomberg’s money is making a big difference: “In the struggle over Virginia’s gun laws, gun control advocates are winning the money battle – big time” If the media were doing its job, they’d be harping on Everytown and Moms Demand about what percentage of their funding comes from Mike Bloomberg and other billionaires he’s friendly with at every opportunity. When they have been asked, they won’t answer, which should tell you something. As it is now, they are willing to play along with the narrative that these are grassroots driven groups.

You don’t say? “This seems to have had the opposite effect than what was intended. A major shift in the generic congressional ballot polls occurred this past month. In February, Democrats led by 16 points. By the end of March, that lead shrank to six. When Republicans hear the demagoguery and read op-eds like former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ call to repeal the Second Amendment, they are motivated to turn out and protect their rights.” Our greatest asset is that our people care, deeply. Six months from now they will still care. Six years from now, they will still care. We have something to lose.

The Portland Press Herald loves the ruling out of Massachusetts that says assault weapons have no constitutional protection. The judge in this case cherry picked some parts of Heller he liked, and ignored the parts of it that didn’t suit the result he wished to reach. He even invented parts of the Heller decision that are not there. The whole idea that militarily useful weapons are categorically unprotected is found exactly nowhere in the Heller decision. The fact that this guy is a Reagan appointee doesn’t give him automatic pro-gun bonafides like the Press Herald suggests. Silents have always been more supportive of gun control than other generations, so this does not surprise me.

I’ll have more to say on the Pennsylvania situation in a bit. There are some who would burn everything down and attack on all fronts. Quinn’s bill is an analogue of a federal law, and generally speaking we’ve not burned bridges over that. I’m much more concerned over Stephens’ bill, as it lacks sufficient due process. In Pennsylvania, an observational commitment is disabling, and all that takes is for someone to take you in for observation involuntarily. It’s not a high bar to reach, so I’m not sure why Stephens thinks this kind of thing is necessary. But hey, “Something must be done!,” right?

Despite what your lefty friends scoff at, this is true: “Armed civilians have the power to resist a bad government, and the collective force of millions of armed Americans absolutely acts as a deterrent to increased authoritarianism from its own leaders.” Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t understand how humans exercise power over other humans. Planes, tanks, bombs and nuclear weapons are useful for destroying armies in the field, but to subjugate a population, you need to send people out to use force and intimidation against the people you wish to subjugate. That becomes a lot harder when that population has the ability and will to turn the tables on the subjugators. At that level, the kinds of tools you use to defeat armies are a lot less useful.

I’ve seen a lot of this: “Will the NRA go the way of the tobacco lobby?” It was actually Ed Rendell who came up with the idea of trying to do to the gun issue what governments did to the tobacco issue. This isn’t a new idea. It’s just that Bloomberg’s money is a really useful mechanism for trying to put something like that in place. Personally, I think people like “Mark Pertschuk, former president of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and former legislative director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence” are querulous busybodies who need to learn to mind their own business.

Also along the lines of the tobacco companies, The Brookings institution has another ridiculous idea. We’re very well served to keep the gun industry largely a cottage industry. Bloomberg could not ever hope to do as much damage to the gun making business as Cerberus Capital did.

Business these days seem to want to be involved in politics. So give it to them good and hard. Hopefully that convinces the other big banks to stay out of the debate. Apple and the other streaming companies seem to be holding. I think they realize if they start censoring politically controversial speech at the behest of activists, there will be no logical limit.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: This is not a left-right issue. This is an issue of the upper classes, who can afford to pay security and pay to live in very safe neighborhoods, versus working class Americans. For the most part, it is a class issue. While you’ll find people in all classes on both sides, for the most part, we’re up against wealthier elites.

Joe Huffman: “Talk is cheap. Thankfully so is ammunition and gas. Talk less about how bad genocide is and invite your friends and family to Boomershoot instead.

Glad to hear that, but the lower courts are being permitted to do an awful lot of damage to it: “Parkland student says Clarence Thomas assured him 2nd Amendment ‘won’t be touched’” I think what you’re dealing with is a Court in stalemate on the issue. Without a change, there isn’t going to be another decisive ruling on the matter.

This is what happens when you give in to the kind of people who demand gun control.

Well, that doesn’t fit the narrative: “Florida’s state lawmakers haven’t gotten a dime from the NRA since 2005” Well, the Republicans haven’t done much for us in Florida since then, and have, in fact, actively screwed us.

When it comes to banning guns, the South Florida Sun Sentinel doesn’t think we ought to let pesky things like definitions bother us at all. What a bunch of clueless dolts. You can define assault weapons. That was never the argument. Our argument is that the definition is absurd. It’s a war on cosmetics and ergonomics. Guns must be uncomfortable to use, and look the same as they did 150 years ago!

The gun control people acted like this was the end of the world, and the Congressman should be charged for brandishing. But it’s really not cool to whip it out in public if you’re not planning on using it. It’s not a prop.

They can’t help themselves:

Get used to it kid: “It’s not just because I’m rolling my eyes at ignorant ‘full semi-automatic’ or ‘weapons of war’ comments coming from the anti-rights crowd, but because I’m ashamed of what the people on my own side are saying.” That’s why you never read the comments. Except here. You should read the comments here.

Bank of America Caves

The next domino has fallen:

On Tuesday, Finucane said, “We have had intense conversations over the last few months. And it’s our intention not to finance these military-style firearms for civilian use.” She said the reaction has been mixed.

“These are clients we have enjoyed a relationship with,” she said. “There are those I think will reduce their portfolios and we’ll work with them and others that will choose to do something else.”

The amount of damage Bank of America and Citi can do pales in the amount of damage already done to the US Firearms business by Cerberus Capital via Remington Outdoors. The gun business is better off as a highly distributed cottage industry, and I suspect with changes in technology, that’s where it’ll be headed. Such an industry is going to be less vulnerable to pressure from big banks and the financial industry.

Personally, I think the banks need to be broken up. Both Citi and Bank of Americans eagerly lapped up trillions of our tax dollars. Never again. Break them up.

Teachers Union Threatens Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo has, so far, resisted a tremendous amount of pressure from these left-aligned groups to stop doing business with the NRA and legal gun manufacturers and sellers. A major national Teachers Union is now threatening to end a mortgage program with Wells Fargo, or else.

“We’re issuing Wells Fargo an ultimatum—they can have a mortgage market that includes America’s teachers, or they can continue to do business with the NRA and gun manufacturers,” Weingarten said in the statement. “They can’t do both.”

Hopefully 20,000 mortgages isn’t a huge amount of money for a bank as large as Wells Fargo. I bank with Wells Fargo, having started with Core States Bank, and then gone through all the mergers over the years. I will send them a note saying that I appreciate them staying out of this political battle and not caving to pressure to take a position in the gun debate.

I really don’t get this new fad of people needing the companies they do business with to affirm their politics. I mean, if you’re selling fair trade coffee, I think it’s reasonable to expect that the brand would promote the idea of fair trade. Or if you’re selling guns, the business would promote the idea of gun rights. Some products are lifestyle products, and you can’t get around that. But banking and financial services are not among those. I don’t need my beliefs on, say, the non-delegation doctrine affirmed by my bank when I make a deposit. I don’t need a lecture about Big Ag when I go to buy a burrito. Personally, if you think that way, you probably need to get a life.

The Gift that Won’t Stop Giving

Ted Nugent, firm believer that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, is at it again.

I could go onto a rant about why the hell is this guy still getting nominated to the Board (I get he could run by petition and win, but why endorse it?). The only way we can expand our political power is to grow the tent. Some questions for people to discuss in the comments:

  1. Is Nugent helping keep the tent full, or is he driving more people away from it?
    Does the nonsense spewing from his maw actually accomplish something for us, and if so what?
  2. Does this kind of rhetoric bring in support from places we need it? Not all new NRA members are created equal. I’d rather have ten new NRA members where I live, in Northern Virginia, or in Columbus, Ohio than have 100 new NRA members in rural Oklahoma.
  3. The reason Nugent’s inane commentary gets amplified is because it gins up our opponents base and hardens their soft supporters. The other side has a bigger amplifier than we do. Does that mean we need to police our kooks harder than the other side needs to police theirs?

An Idea So Crazy, It Just Might Work

Glenn Reynolds in USA Today: “Looking for ‘solutions’ to mass killings? Start with punishing failure.“:

Since then, we’ve had a lot of what the father of genuine hero Borges, according to the family’s lawyer, calls “bubblegum hero stuff.” But there’s been no accountability for the adults whose incompetence, or worse, made this slaughter possible. And, as with the earlier examples above, that’s par for the course. Over and over again, when the government fails, there are no consequences for those overseeing the failing.

No. When they screw up, we pay. Accountability for thee but not for me. Glenn Reynolds has spoken out against qualified immunity repeatedly. I read this weekend about the idea that absent qualified immunity, officers would have to carry insurance, like doctors do. Or more likely their departments would carry insurance for them. This would give better incentives for agencies to weed out bad cops. Sounds feasible to me. But would it work in practice? Does malpractice insurance weed out bad doctors?

You’ll Be Shocked, I Know

YouTube shooter evaded California’s magazine ban:

She fired a total of 20 rounds, apparently killing herself with the last round. In this case, poor marksmanship did more to keep the number of dead and injured low than California’s gun laws. Magazine limitations hurt defenders more than offenders. Attackers have the advantage of planning ahead, and can bring reloads with them. They aren’t likely to be concerned with discomfort. My jacket right now would hold 8 to 10 spare magazines. I could probably fit three or four extra in a pair of Khakis. But I’m not going to do that as a defender, because it’s uncomfortable and heavy.

I don’t want clueless politicians artificially limiting the magazine capacity of my pistol for the same reason the cops don’t: I don’t get to pick and choose where and under what circumstances I might need a gun. An attacker does.

Financial Pressure Being Put on Other Banks and Processors

Bloomberg had a plant at Citi, so that’s how they caved so quickly, but pressure is being put on other gun businesses:

The [New York State] pension, third largest in the U.S., contacted the chief executives of nine financial institutions including Mastercard Inc., Visa Inc., American Express Co., Discover Financial Services, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., First Data Corp. and Worldpay Inc., asking them to assess risks and explore the cost of implementing systems that could reject purchases of firearms, ammunition or accessories.

I can’t think of what public safety impact is going to be had from driving gun businesses to use cash, which will diminish traceability. Think about it: some schmuck buys a gun and later uses it to murder his wife, if he pays for it with a card the cops will know where it was bought as soon as they pull his credit card records. If it’s cash, they actually have to trace the gun, assuming they even have it. We’re constantly told that Law Enforcement needs more tracing resources, and this would be removing one. So what’s the public safety function of this? I ask this as a rhetorical question, because we all know the answer. As Glenn Reynolds is fond of observing: “It’s got nothing to do with safety. It’s all about humiliating the flyover rubes and showing them who’s boss.

It’s also about acting, which forces us to react. PLCAA was such a reaction, and it immediately rocketed up to the top of NRA’s priorities. It was the major legislative achievement we got out of the Bush Administration. How would you like the major legislative achievement of the Trump Administration be a bill that doesn’t allow the financial industry to discriminate against federal firearms licensees, instead of SHARE or National Reciprocity? I can promise that Bloomberg would love it.

Actually, I think there are other options: such as a lawsuit under 42 U.S. Code § 1985(3). Ordinarily, Carpenters v. Scott would be a problem here, which held that 1985(3) did not apply to First Amendment cases where the state was not involved. But this would not be a First Amendment case, and with the involvement of the New York State Pension Fund, the state now is involved. It’s a long shot, but I’d still try it, if only to make some of these people burn money on lawyers.

There’s also tortious interference with contract, which Dave Hardy has talked about some. I don’t agree such laws should be applicable to boycott organizers, but a state pension fund using their market power as a form of intimidation to interfere with and harm another’s lawful business is a textbook case. I’d grab that chair in this bar fight.

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