They Want Your Opinon

The Philadelphia Inquirer wants our opinion on gun control, and they provide an e-mail address ( to send your opinion to in 200 words are less.

I think it’s very important that the Inquirer hear from a lot of gun owners on this one, especially those of us in Pennsylvania. I will publish the letter I will send shortly

UPDATE: Bitter tells me newspapers typically won’t publish what’s published elsewhere.  So I will have to hold off on posting here until I have a link to offer or, if they choose not to print it, I’ll post what I sent them.

Thanks to David Codrea for the pointer

It Does Not Mean What You Think It Means

Paul Helmke has been busy reading “all the words in the Second Amendment, not just the ones we like”. Unfortunately for them, I’ve been reading all the Miller decision, not just the parts that the Bradys like. You know, like this part:

With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces, the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.

The Militia which the States were expected to maintain and train is set in contrast with Troops which they [p179] were forbidden to keep without the consent of Congress. The sentiment of the time strongly disfavored standing armies; the common view was that adequate defense of country and laws could be secured through the Militia — civilians primarily, soldiers on occasion.

The signification attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. “A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline.” And further, that ordinarily, when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.

Emphasis mine. I think the Bradys are very much misreading the Miller opinion. Jack Miller was dead by the time the case was heard, and it was only the government’s position that the court entertained. The court was presented no evidence that the firearm in question was in common military use at the time. The Miller test, therefore, was on the firearm in question, not on the status of the individual. By the Miller test, it would seem to me that an M16 would qualify as protected by the second amendment. Considering that, the Bradys shouldn’t be so enthusiastic about touting Miller. If the court adopts that test, I may be able to get M16s rather than AR-15s, which would make me rather pleased, but probably not Paul Helmke.

UPDATE: Ian Argent has more over on his blog.

MADD Gone Mad

MADD is not just a group out to stop drunk driving, it is the latest incarnation of the temperance movement, that’s gone way beyond it’s original mission.   Look here:

Also, as of Saturday, people can lose their driver’s licenses for providing alcohol to anyone under 21. The penalty is important because many underage drinkers get alcohol from friends or family members, said Craig Lloyd, the executive director of the North Carolina chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The law means that, theoretically, parents could be punished for giving a glass of wine to their 20-year-old son or daughter, even if the 20-year-old never gets behind the wheel.

Lloyd said that’s not excessive.

“It’s a zero-tolerance policy,” he said. “Breaking the law is breaking the law.”

It’s busy body meddling in something the state has no business meddling in.  I make it no secret that I believe denying 18-21 year olds the choice, as adults who are free to make choices, the freedom to imbibe alcoholic beverages is unjust.  I’ve always believed if you’re old enough to die for your country, you’re old enough to buy a beer.  I definitely don’t think the state should further criminalize a father who wants to share a beer with his 20 year old son.  Lower the drinking age to eighteen, and I may have fewer problems with this, but as it stands now, MADD can go to hell.

What We Did Yesterday

We went to the Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination.   One candle for every fallen soldier during the battle.  It’s amazing.  Five miles of fields full of candles placed a yard or two apart.  It’s quite stunning.

Bitter has the pictures.  The first one was hers, the last one mine.  You’d be surprised the number of people who were taking flash photos, which will never turn out.   I used Bitter’s camera because you can adjust the exposure time and the aperture manually.   I’d love to be able to go wander around with a tripod, because there were a lot of other good photo opportunities that just weren’t going to be had from a car.  I think our pictures were pretty good for just propping the camera up against the car, and using a four second exposure.

On Preambular Clauses

Whatever staffer over at The Brady Campaign who is responsible for their blog is going to have to be careful not to get carpel tunnel syndrome from blogging out so much crap as of late. Their latest steamer repeats the old tired explanation of why the Parker decision was wrong and out of touch with the purpose of the second amendment:

If the Second Amendment is read naturally, in the order it is written, then its militia purpose explains “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” not the other way around. A “well regulated Militia” is the Amendment’s aim, not merely some side benefit of arms owned for “private purposes.”

The Brady’s are arguing here that the introductory clause, where the founders explain a purpose of recognizing the people’s right to keep and bear arms, renders the operative clause, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” without meaning, since there’s no longer a “well-regulated militia”.

It’s not the first time an argument like this has been made before The Court. In the case of Eldred v. Ashcroft, which challenged the constitutionality of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, the attorneys representing Eldred tried to argue similarly the the copyright power, which is granted Congress in Article I Section 8:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

Was limited only to those purposes which promoted the progress of science and the useful arts, and since the 1998 Copyright Act extended the copyright period well beyond death, it could not possibly be construed to do such a thing, since dead people seldom produce useful art. Here’s what The Court said about that argument:

The CTEA’s extension of existing copyrights categori-cally fails to “promote the Progress of Science,” petitioners argue, because it does not stimulate the creation of new works but merely adds value to works already created. As petitioners point out, we have described the Copyright Clause as “both a grant of power and a limitation,” Graham v. John Deere Co. of Kansas City, 383 U. S. 1, 5 (1966), and have said that “[t]he primary objective of copyright” is “[t]o promote the Progress of Science,” Feist, 499 U. S., at 349. The “constitutional command,” we have recognized, is that Congress, to the extent it enacts copyright laws at all, create a “system” that “promote[s] the Progress of Science.” Graham, 383 U. S., at 6.

We have also stressed, however, that it is generally for Congress, not the courts, to decide how best to pursue the Copyright Clause’s objectives.

The Court in Eldred felt that the preambular clause in the copyright power served as no meaningful limit on that power.  If The Court is unwilling to find a preambular clause as being a limit on a power of Congress, what makes them so confident they would be willing to go so far as to believe a preambular clause would render part of the Bill of Rights completely meaningless?

You Know You’re a Gun Nut …

… when you have a burn the exact size and shape of a .22LR casing, including the rim, from where the casing ejected into your shirt while you were shooting little metal animal shapes.  I figured that one was going to leave a mark.