VPC “Public Support”

Howard Nemerov brings us part II of his series on the VPC’s finances.

Two people perform most of VPC’s public outreach: Executive Director Josh Sugarman and Legislative Director Kristen Rand. Between 2003 and 2007, as revenues decreased 49.9%, both Sugarman’s and Rand’s salaries increased 5.9%. But because revenues decreased, these two top earners––each of whom earned $132,894 in salary and $3,987 in benefits in 2007––went from 15.5% of total revenue in 2003 to 32.7% in 2007, more than doubling their slice of the pie (111.3% increase). Having just two employees taking home about one-third of total revenue may not be a long-term success strategy for a normal business, but it works when normal profitability concerns don’t exist. To understand the financial circumstances of VPC, one must understand their definition of “public support,” which accounted for 91.8% of VPC’s total revenue between 2003 and 2007.And to understand VPC’s “public support,” one must understand the Joyce Foundation, because VPC’s primary “public donor” is the Joyce Foundation.
You now the Joyce Foundation.  Funny, I seem to recall them being strangely associated with someone of great prominence.  You know, the guy who they say we’re nuts for believing is after our guns?
But I guess Robb is right, and Sugarmann is likely putting on his sad clown face trying not to laugh all the way to the bank.  Hey, if you can’t beat ’em, you might as well enrich yourself pretending to, I guess.  If Josh Sugarmann wants to keep suckering Joyce out of money, who am I to stop him?  Better than it going to an effort that might actually accomplish something.

Insurance and Pirates

Dave Hardy tells us about some perspective on allowing crews to arm themselves against pirates from someone in the Insurance business.  It’s interesting about the crewman suing Maersk for failing to provide a safe work environment.  As much as I wish this would change things, it’s one of the reasons so few merchant vessels are registered in the United States.  Safe work environments aren’t a problem for the government of say, Liberia.

But this kind of calculation has always bothered me.  You have two entities, the shipowner and the insurer, essentially colluding to declare the crew expendable commodities, just like the ship’s cargo.  If the left are really so big on workers rights, this sort of things should absolutely concern them.  It’s exactly the same calculation used by most employers to ban any sort of firearm or self-defense enabling device in the workplace — that your personal safety is less important than the possibility the company may be sued.

It’s wrong in both cases, it’s just a much more stark examples when we’re talking about merchant vessel crews who are likely to faced armed pirates.

Subcaliber Training

Michael Bane has an article on training with smallbore and “even airsoft guns.” I can tell you from personal experience that shooting air guns will make you a better all around shooter, and these days there’s a lot of air gun sports.   You have Action Airgun which use airsoft guns, and is a good substitute for IPSC/IDPA.  You can even compete online with this.   You also have 10 meter competition.   Then you have what I do, which is air gun silhouette.  All of them are worthwhile, and will translate to other types of shooting. Back to Michael:

The fundamentals teach us to how to control a firearm…as we add more recoil, nothing should change. In a personal defense situation, or even when the buzzer goes off in a match, you will likely not notice the recoil, the noise or the blast, and if your fundamentals are sound the bullet will go where you intended it to go.

My experience has been that a shooter who goes back to his/her duty or competition gun after a session training with .22s discovers the more powerful gun has less recoil than before (especially if that shooter has practiced extensively with full power ammo in the primary gun). Of course, the recoil didn’t miraculously go away…rather, subcaliber practice (after appropriate visualization and dry-fire) has allowed the shooter’s attention to be focused on controlling the gun through the application of the fundamentals rather than becoming fixated on the recoil, noise and flash.

Yep.  Due to the ammo shortage, and sky high prices, I am shooting larger caliber pistols hardly at all, and am shooting almost entirely smallbore and air pistols.  When, on that rare occasion, I do go to the range to shoot the Glock, my groups are tighter than they’ve ever been.  You also can’t beat range availability for air guns.  If you have a basement, you have a range.  You can shoot every day, and it costs pennies.

Mr. C Selling a New Sight Mount

Mr. Completely is fabricating a sight mount and selling them.  They get the sight lower on the gun for less parallax.  In silhouette, competitors tend to want higher sights, since you have to lob chunks of lead farther downrange, requiring a higher arc.  But for steel shooting, like Mr. C does, it looks like it would be a pretty good sight mount!

Spitzer’s Gun Control

Michael Bane warns us of an idea by Eliot Spitzer, to regulate the firearms industry by using the government’s buying power.  The reason it won’t work is that civilians buy more guns than the government does, so the industry would be unlikely to accept regulation in exchange for government contracts.

Sure, some of the big government contractors, like Colt, might cave.  But it’s basic economics, so let me put this in terms I think the Governor could easily understand.  If all the governors and former governors got together, and decided they would only accept services from the most classy and beautiful high priced hookers, you wouldn’t expect that to eliminate the market for more lowly street walkers. The demand is there.  Someone will meet it.

Florida’s Deadly Force Law

Florida is one of those states that still allows for use of deadly force in order to stop the commission of a felony, which played out in this story out of Florida:

Authorities do not plan to file charges against a Florida orange grove owner who fatally shot a 21-year-old woman, saying he is protected under the state’s controversial “no retreat” law.

But the woman’s boyfriend faces second-degree murder charges in her death, because the woman was shot to death during an alleged felony — the theft of an SUV.

This has nothing to do with the “no retreat law”.  Florida law allows for, and has always allowed for, the use of deadly force to stop a felony in progress.  In fact, this was common law, as I understand it, even going back to English common law.

At common law, the duty to retreat did not apply to someone stopping a felony (then felonies actually were serious crimes, unlike today when it’s anything politicians disapprove of strongly).  Duty to retreat generally only applied to individuals who were brawlers, or engaged in some other kind of non-felonious dispute.  Those individuals were expected to retreat before resorting to deadly force.  But if someone pulled a deadly weapon to rob you, you were justified in shooting him dead on the spot, as you were stopping a felony.

Fast forward a bit, and states started to take the common law justification of self-defense and put it into statutory law.  A lot of states, when they did this, took out the common law justification for felony, since these were done at a time when professional police forces were becoming common, and it was felt that apprehending and stopping felonies was a more a job for the police than private citizen.  The effect this created was that one had a duty to retreat in all circumstances.  Under American law, retreat is only necessary when the actor could have obtained complete safety by doing so, but it is still an element of the law, even if someone pulls a knife on you and demands your belongings, or even in a carjacking situation.  A prosecutor could, in theory, argue that you didn’t need to shoot the carjacker when you could have just driven off.

Some states, however, did create statutory justifications for stopping commission of a felony, and Florida is one of them.  This doesn’t have anything to do with castle doctrine.  Castle doctrine laws are meant to address the carjacking situation I spoke of above.  They eliminate the duty to retreat from a place you have a legal right to be, and establishes that deadly force may be used on a home invader, without having to first ascertain whether he presents a deadly threat.  This is not a new idea.  It used to be, many years ago, common law.

But don’t expect the media to do their research for you.