Glad I’m Not the Only One

Rob talks about his dearth of gun purchases this year. While everyone else was buying in the Great Obama Gun Panic of 2009, there were those of us who curtailed our buying. How many of you found you didn’t buy guns, or as many guns this year, as you did in past years?

Microstamping Becomes Law in CA in New Year

The Sacramento Bee covers the story, with a great quote from Larry Keane:

“California will become like Cuba with cars,” said Lawrence Keane, senior counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents the gun industry. “You will only be able to get very old models of guns.”

According to the story the number of pistols approved in California is already falling, and is expected to fall even further. The gun hating politicians of the Golden State should pat themselves on the back. It would appear they’ve successfully achieved the “handgun freeze” that was rejected 2-1 by California voters back in 1982. A losing issue can be turned into a winning one if you do it over time, slowly enough that no one notices until it’s too late.

Tough Times?

The Brady Center seems to be pretty desperate for donations. Four pleas for donations to their 501(c)(3) in the past day. A pity half the folks who follow the Twitter feed are more likely to donate to the NRA Foundation, or Second Amendment Foundation, if they are looking to make tax deductible contributions to round out the tax year.

MAIG’s Endorsement of Thuggish Law Enforcement Behavior

I’m particularly incensed by MAIG’s suggestion that we rescind many of the changes made after the Richmond Gun Show Incident. For those who didn’t follow the link in the MAIG Blueprint post, let me summarize for you what happened at Richmond. ATF agents basically conducted a dragnet, invading people’s privacy with no regards for whether they were innocent or guilty, and accusing them, in more than a few cases, of federal crimes.

  • Went to people’s addresses and asked questions of neighbors, family members, about gun purchases, and asking them what they were doing at the gun show.
  • Stopped several people with no probable cause, in some cases seized their weapons, and handed them a form indicating they were suspected of committing federal crimes. BATF claimed the letter was meaningless, but only a fool wouldn’t hire a lawyer after getting a letter like that.
  • Unlawfully pulled 4473s from dealers without a connection to a specific criminal investigation.
  • Detained several people for questioning who were legitimately selling firearms privately.

I don’t think too many of us would object if ATF conducted professional, undercover investigations looking for criminal activity at gun shows. It is possible to build a case against someone for dealing without a license, without ensnaring the innocent as well as the guilty.

To the extent that the Congressional backlash from Richmond has spooked the ATF from investigating gun shows, the proper remedy is to encourage professionalism in their investigative techniques. The remedy is not to huff and puff about the big-bad gun lobby, and tell ATF the solution is to go back out and act like thugs again. Gun owners aren’t going to tolerate thuggish behavior that targets the guilty and the innocent equally. We will tolerate professional, legal and courteous law enforcement presence. Maybe if MAIG were more interested in promoting the latter rather than the former, we’d be more willing to listen.

King Bloomberg of New York

Bloomberg is apparently looking for ways to further erode term limits for New York Mayor. Considering what he had to spend to barely eke out a win in the last election, maybe if he runs a few more times he won’t have any money left to fund MAIG. Of course, that would presuming he was using his own money, which he’s not.

Fun Facts: US Spending Edition

I figured this is the kind of holiday story that would warm the hearts of readers of this blog.

By now everyone realizes that the President is off dipping his toes in the sand of Hawaiian beaches and hitting up some of the Aloha State’s finest golf courses. In addition to renting out the three homes for Obama to vacation, paying for the cross-country flight for the First Family & their entourage, and all associated expenses, we’re also paying residents of Hawaii to kick it up in top hotels in Waikiki.

It’s a small world, and my Christmas Eve conversation with my grandmother turned up some interesting tidbits. It turns out that her yard man also does the maintenance in the area where Obama is staying. Part of his compensation includes housing in a modest apartment there on site. However, the Secret Service doesn’t want these staffers anywhere near the President. So they take over their homes & pay for them to stay in upscale hotels in Waikiki.

Boo-freakin’-hoo, right? Eh, not so much if you’ve ever spent much time in Hawaii.

While I’m sure the accommodations inside the hotel are nice, imagine being uprooted at the holidays from your home and put squarely in the middle of the hottest tourist destination of your state during the prime tourist season. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like quite as much fun, does it? (Also, for those of you not terribly familiar with the geography of Oahu, Waikiki is no where near Kailua.)

My grandmother swears that she’s sure everyone was okay with the visit and happy to leave their homes in support of the president, but she also says that as an Obama supporter who lives just west of Diamond Head – far away from the motorcades & insanity.

Bloomberg’s Blueprint

I have obtained a copy of Bloomberg’s secret “Blueprint for Federal Action on Guns” which is really a blueprint for how the Obama Administration can screw gun owners without needing anything from Congress. Chuck Michel is responsible for filing to FOIA request to get this one out and public where it belongs, [UPDATE: If you want to get the exclusive on this kind of stuff, I would suggest heading over to and registering. Their law firm does a lot of cutting edge Second Amendment legal work. It’s a great resource.] This was the infamous 40 recommendations that the Washington Post reported on a few months ago. It this document doesn’t convince you that MAIG is a significantly more serious threat than any other gun control organization out there, nothing will. Whoever wrote this knows ATF very well, and understands federal gun laws well enough to know how to effectively make changes using only administrative and regulatory changes, which do not require action from the US Congress. While some of the 40 recommendations are not objectionable, quite a number of them are. Let me go down the list and pick out some of the worst offenders, and this is by no means a comprehensive list. Look at the document yourself to find others:

  • Require REAL ID compliant identification for all gun purchasers. Those in non-complying states, which are many, will no longer be permitted to buy firearms.
  • Recommends a ban on the importation of all “non-sporting” firearms and ammunition, and specifically calls for banning the FN Five-Seven. Kiss cheap imported rounds of military caliber goodbye. Maybe kiss Glock’s goodbye too. MAIG isn’t all that specific on what would be sporting or non sporting. Also note that MAIG can no longer claim they do not advocate banning guns. They do.
  • Calls for keeping records for people who get a NICS default proceed, which means your background check has not “cleared” but you went through the required three day waiting period. These records can be kept for up to 20 years, in the case of someone who’s name matches someone on the “terror watch” list and six months ordinarily. Default proceeds can happen if NICS has incomplete records, or the system is down for a protracted period of time.
  • Calls for more enforcement of gun shows using the Richmond model. The techniques used at the Richmond gun shows were bad enough that Congress held hearings about the methods, and demanding ATF put a stop to them. They actually recommend rescinding a number of the changes made to prevent these abuses.
  • Recommends ways for the administration to exploit loopholes in Tiahrt to publish information on “problematic” gun dealers (so they can be sued by New York City, no doubt). As we’ve pointed out on this blog before, having a lot of traces doesn’t necessarily mean a dealer is breaking the law.
  • Lots of recommendations for new record keeping requirements on the part of FFLs
  • Requiring placement of alternate serial numbers of every newly manufactured gun, and requiring serial numbers to be deeper and larger. Also require that a consistent serial numbering scheme be adopted across all manufacturers and importers.
  • Asks ATF to promote MAIG’s Responsible Dealer Partnership Program that they foisted on Wal-Mart, much like they do with NSSF’s “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy.” They imply NSSF’s program does not go far enough.
  • Asks the CPSC to mandate gun safety lock standards. Gun dealers are required to provide these, but many gun owners are older, or younger, and do not have children. This would be a way to add substantially to the cost of a firearm, if a 30 dollar lock needed to be included with each sale.
  • Extend the multiple purchase reporting requirement to long guns, especially ARs, 50 caliber firearms, and Kalashnikov variants. MAIG is not very clear on this, and I think it would be difficult for dealers to keep track of the current state of regulation.
  • Specifically calls for the Stinger Pen Gun to be reclassified as an AOW. I had never heard of this before, but I guess it really pisses off someone in the New York Mayor’s office, which is a good enough reason, if any, to go buy one.

There can be no doubt now that MAIG is a gun control group, and a particularly dangerous one. This blueprint is comprehensive, and very well put together. Whoever helped MAIG with this knows what they are talking about, and I would imagine is a former higher up at ATF, since it evinces a detailed knowledge of how ATF works, and what their weaknesses are.

Please, if you have a MAIG Mayor in your town, or near your town, we need your help in getting them out. After the holidays, we’re all going to have some work to do in this regard, especially here in Pennsylvania. We’re pretty screwed if Obama even does some of these things. Let’s hope he has the good sense to know that the rest of the country isn’t New York City when it comes to this topic.

On Justice Jackson’s Famous Quote

The Brady folks really need to give up their reliance on ignorance to get their point across, especially when that forum allows for comments, and their claims can be easily debunked. A good example of this is the case they bring up here:

To the contrary, as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson wrote 60 years ago, the Constitution is not a “suicide pact”:

No liberty is made more secure by holding that its abuses are inseparable from its enjoyment…The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the Court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact….

Justice Jackson wrote this in a First Amendment case. Yet while many may disagree over how to apply his principle to questions of free speech, the issue should be clear when it comes to access to firearms.

Speech is used to express ideas. Firearms are used to kill over 30,000 Americans every year and wound another 80,000.

So because surely the constitution is not a suicide pact in a First Amendment context, than it surely isn’t one in a Second Amendment context, right? That means we can just ignore all that nasty stuff like due process. The problem is Terminiello was a case of a man being charged with a “Breach of Peace” for giving a speech. The Chicago ordinance banned speech which “stirs the public to anger, invites dispute, brings about a condition of unrest, or creates a disturbance,” and was ruled unconstitutional by the Court. The Court wisely held that we couldn’t really exist as a society where no one could speak for fear of sparking anger and dispute:

Accordingly a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea. That is why freedom of speech, though not absolute, […] is nevertheless protected against censorship or punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest.

Jackson was a dissenting justice, who spoke at great length as to the despicable nature of Terminiello’s speech, and indeed it was despicable. But that cannot be a factor in whether or not we suppress speech. Jackson’s actual quote, not the one cherry picked by Brady, goes as follows:

This Court has gone far toward accepting the doctrine that civil liberty means the removal of all restraints from these crowds and that all local attempts to maintain order are impairments of the liberty of the citizen. The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the Court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.

Practical wisdom, like people being afraid of make speeches that might stir controversy, or stir disorder, for fear that the government will come down on them. Imagine trying to speak on any controversial and emotional topic with this kind of standard? Fortunately, we should be happy that the majority view in this case came down on the side of liberty. I’m not surprised to see the Brady folks come down on the other side.