The Wait

Having recently finished up the last of my birthday present, I decided I needed to celebrate the birth of our nation in an appropriate manner. I have a strict rule about not drinking during the day unless I have people over, so now the wait …

… the peaty goodness begins after dinner. I’ve heard the 30 year Laphroaig is wonderful, but at 230 bucks a bottle, it’s a bit steep for me. I’ve also had Caol Ila recommended to me, which is another Islay scotch. I found exactly one bottle in the entire State of Pennsylvania, which I plan to snatch up at my earliest convenience.

UPDATE: After posting this, Bitter quite correctly pointed out that I had just announced the last remaining bottle of Caol Ila in the entire state was to be had, and that it would not be out of the realm of possibility for an intrepid reader to beat me to the punch, and buy the bottle. So my earliest convenience became now. So now the last bottle for sale of Caol Ila in the entire PA Liquor System is owned my me.

Clinton’s Legacy

Dennis Henigan’s love letter to Elena Kagan got me thinking about just how much Bill Clinton well and truly fscked us all eight years of his tenure in the White House. Now, eight years after his presidency ended, we’re still dealing with fallout from Clinton’s anti-gun legacy, which Kagan is arguably part of. If we had elected a pro-gun Democrat in the 1992 election, Obama would likely have had no choice but to surround himself with a lot of Second Amendment supporting Democrats.

DC is one of those places, once you’ve been there a while it seems you never leave. Look at how long you’ve been hearing the names Rumsfeld and Cheney? How long have we been dealing with the Bush family in one incarnation or the other? Or hearing the name Kennedy? Jack Valenti was still in Washington D.C., and a presence on the Hill when he died in 2007, after serving in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. I’ve known the name Wayne LaPierre since I was in high school. Turnover happens a lot at the lower levels, but D.C. has a habit of keeping people for years.

The Courts are the same way. Take a look at the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Of the justices sitting, one was appointed by Carter, four by Ronald Reagan, two by George H.W. Bush, three by Clinton and three by George W. Bush. That’s a full half the court nominated by Presidents who’ve been out of office for nearly twenty years.

When I speak of elections having consequences, these kinds of things are largely what I mean. There’s a certain inevitability to things if you bring a highly left-wing administration into Washington D.C.

McDonald Freaking Out the Medical Establishment

The condescending assholes over at the New England Journal of medicine seem to be trying to convince their profession that the sky won’t fall, and they throw in some condescension toward Mr. McDonald as well:

In all likelihood, [Mr. McDonald] will get his gun. Ironically, that handgun may not be the panacea he seeks. It will not address the root causes of the drug- and gang-related crime plaguing his neighborhood. Its promise of safety may be illusory, and it may just increase the risks of homicide, suicide, and accidental injury and death of those who live in or, like his grandchildren, visit his home. It may also create legal problems. If he kills a neighborhood thug in self-defense, the odds that he will be held blameless are slim: in every year from 2004 through 2008, less than 2.5% of handgun-related killings by private citizens were deemed justifiable homicides.4 McDonald has, how- ever, secured a measure of immortality; he will forever be as- sociated with the case that bears his name.

Can you feel the scornful stare down from the ivory tower?  So New England Journal of medicine apparently believe one of our nation’s veterans, who was quite competent enough to bear arms in defense of their freedom to look down on him, is apparently incapable or unable to properly secure firearms when children come over. He is also surely going to murder someone and end up in jail! Seriously. That’s what you are saying, Julie D. Canter, MD, JD, who wrote this article. I’m glad she’s not my doctor. I think maybe it’s high time Dr. Canter came down from the ivory tower and started looking at her fellow citizens as equals rather an inferiors. I think that would help her become a better person than she apparently is now.

On the Reid Endorsement

NRA hasn’t yet endorsed Harry Reid, but I would be shocked if they didn’t. Truth be told, they’d be insane if they didn’t. Why? Well, this is probably the best reason, but I also really want to address some of the distortions of Reid’s record mentioned over at Red State, which looks like they could have come directly from Larry Pratt. Pratt is a shameful hack, and it would appear he’s turned Red State into one too, at least on the gun issue. Red State has a long list of transgressions committed by Reid. I don’t have the time or energy to address them all, but I will address the main points.

Harry Reid did, in fact, vote for the Brady Act. This vote was in 1993. Also voting for the Brady Act was Kay Bailey Hutchison, who GOA gives an A grade to. Funny how Republicans get forgiven, isn’t it?

Oh, but he voted for the evil assault weapons ban, Sebastian! Well, he did, but he didn’t. The assault weapons ban was attached to the Crime Bill, which was a must-pass part of a highly popular President’s agenda. See my post on the history of the Assault Weapons Ban. The actual AWB was called the Feinstein Amendment, and Reid voted against that. There were only four Senators who voted against the final Crime Bill. One of the other votes for the final bill? GOA A-Rated Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby. Shelby also joined Reid in voting to eliminate CMP funding. And here too, along with Hutchison again.

But I’m not going to sit here and do this all day for decades old votes. I mean, yeah, he did vote against the Lott Amendment back in 2000, but so did Fred Thompson. He did vote for trigger locks back in 2004, but so did Hutchison. But he also voted against renewing the Assault Weapons Ban on that same bill. Reid also voted against the final version of the bill that was amended with the trigger lock provision, gun show provision, and assault weapons ban.

Also worthwhile to note Harry Reid voted for the PLCAA, which was NRA’s major legislative initiative for the last decade. But I think what stands out the most is Harry Reid’s leadership on the issue in this Senate. Shall we name what we’ve gotten?

  • An amendment to allow National Park carry inserted into the Credit Card bill.
  • An amendment to fix DC’s gun laws inserted into the Voting Rights Act.
  • An amendment to create national reciprocity recognition that even included recognition for states that did not issue licenses, like Vermont. We lost his one, but the vote never would have happened without Harry Reid.
  • Funding rider to force Amtrak to allow guns in checked baggage.
  • Let’s also not forget all the other funding riders which are important for us, which Reid helped us get.

You can be upset all you want with him on other issues, but Harry Reid is solid on the Second Amendment. We’ve gotten more out of the Senate under Reid than we got out of Republicans in the roughly 14 years they ran things. Reid is not perfect, but there’s no politician that has a voting perfect record, and many that have records on guns comparable to Reid which GOA rates highly. I will leave it to my readers to determine whether Red State and GOA have any credibility at all when it comes to these issues, or whether they are using gun rights as a club to try to beat Democrats they find unsavory on other issues, and beating up on NRA because they know they are going to be supporting a lot of Democrats this fall. I think the answer is clear.

New Chicago Gun Laws Pass

They backed off on a few provisions, but it’s now law. Instead of one gun only, they did one-gun-a-month. No ban on gun shops, but a ban on gun ranges. This is still unacceptable, however.

UPDATE: More information here. Not sure whether all these made it into the final version or not.

UPDATE: Via SayUncle, commentary from Alan Gura here.

Are the Bradys Felons?

Earlier in the week, a few gun bloggers noted, along with, that the Brady Campaign was breaking the law in regards to this video showing Colin Goddard going to out of state gun shows with friends and buying guns. Is it illegal? To know, first you need to find out exactly how these transactions went down, so I actually asked them. Peter Hamm, Communications Director for the Brady Campaign, responded with the following:

Colin Goddard only purchased firearms in Virginia, and he is a legal resident of Virginia.  All other guns, at gun shows in states other than Virginia, were purchased by legal residents of those states, and Colin was just a witness. And all firearms purchased were turned over to local police departments in the jurisdictions where the gun shows were conducted.

This is legal. I would be surprised if they had done something illegal. As much as I disagree with Dennis Henigan and Daniel Vice on the legal issues surrounding firearms, they are competent attorneys are know this area of law. So how is this legal? First, it’s not illegal to buy a gun out of your state in a private sale. What is illegal is bringing it back to your state of residence or transferring it to someone else who is not a resident, except for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes. This is found in 18 USC 922(a)(3):

[It shall be unlawful] for any person, other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to transport into or receive in the State where he resides (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, the State where it maintains a place of business) any firearm purchased or otherwise obtained by such person outside that State[.]

So the crime isn’t purchasing, but transporting back to your state of residence. Since Colin and his resident buddy turned them into local police, they were never transported back home, or even across state lines. Now, if Colin had been the actual buyer of the firearm, it could have opened the seller up to liability under 922(a)(5):

[It shall be unlawful] for any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector) to transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver any firearm to any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector) who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, does not maintain a place of business in) the State in which the transferor resides[.]

Now whether or not you could nail him on the conspiracy element for the crime on the purchase, I don’t know. It seems to me the answer might be yes, so I suspect that’s why, even not yet considering state law, that it’s safe to use a resident to avoid problems on the purchase. But the main reason you need to use a resident is because once you have the gun, you have to get rid of it. It would be lawful to transfer it back to an FFL, but for PR reasons I don’t think the Bradys wanted to do that, so they gave it to police. But police aren’t exempted under 922(a)(5)! It would have been unlawful for Colin to turn them into police himself. Doubly so if he dropped his buddy off and then turned them in to police, one unlawful transfer to Colin, and one to the police. But what about straw buying? That’s a crime under 922(a)(6):

[It shall be unlawful] for any person in connection with the acquisition or attempted acquisition of any firearm or ammunition from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, knowingly to make any false or fictitious oral or written statement or to furnish or exhibit any false, fictitious, or misrepresented identification, intended or likely to deceive such importer, manufacturer, dealer, or collector with respect to any fact material to the lawfulness of the sale or other disposition of such firearm or ammunition under the provisions of this chapter[.]

Emphasis mine. That section only applies to acquisitions from FFLs. There’s no such thing as a straw purchase under federal law from a private seller. That’s not to say that purchasing a firearm on behalf of a prohibited person is legal in a private sale, but it’s prosecuted under 922(d) and (g) rather than 922(a). There is also 922(a)(9):

[It shall be unlawful] for any person, other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, who does not reside in any State to receive any firearms unless such receipt is for lawful sporting purposes.

This only applies to someone who is not a resident of any state, which would include American citizens living abroad. Alan Gura has actually been litigating on 922(a)(9), but the case is running into standing issues (DC Circuit’s standing requirements are a bitch).

But the ultimate conclusion is that the Bradys aren’t breaking the law here. It would have been interesting if Colin Goddard had been caught in temporary possession of a rifle, and charged. The logical thing would be to claim the sporting purposes exemption. “But it wasn’t a sporting purpose,” the government would fire back. That could leave Brady the only option of arguing that the sporting purposes exemption is too narrow in light of Heller. Wouldn’t that be funny? Think they would? I think they’d let Colin rot in jail. And the next time one of these joker groups claims that firearms are less regulated than teddy bears, point to this post. Or better yet, drop the ATF publication that contains all federal, state and local firearms laws on their foot. It’ll hurt. I promise.

New Chicago Laws

Daley’s strategy is going to be to give as little ground as possible, in hopes that he can go as far as the courts will let him. This strategy probably won’t end well for gun rights. Personally, I think Congress should exercise its enforcement powers under 14th Amendment powers to force the issue. Truth is, Congress could have problems with the ruling in City of Boerne v. Flores in this case, but I don’t believe the Supreme Court should have a monopoly on interpreting the constitution, even if I do believe the Court would be correct in ruling it is the ultimate authority in that matter. Would Congress passing a law preventing gun bans, rationing, and zoning that restricts gun shops pass the “congruence and proportionality” test of Boerne? I say pass it, then we’ll see if the Courts want to disagree with Congress on the matter.

UPDATE: For specific language, how about something like this added to the Gun Control Act:

No state or municipality may prohibit the possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, or transportation of firearms in common use for lawful self-defense or sporting purposes. Firearms in common use for lawful self-defense or sporting purposes shall be defined as any handgun, rifle, or shotgun as defined in section 921 of this chapter, but shall not include any firearm as defined under section 5845 of the Internal Revenue Code.

In my opinion this language would minimize the risk of invalidation under Boerne, because it’s using the Court’s own “common use” language, and the preemption here is limited only to non NFA items. In essence, Congress is deciding to define what firearms are in “common use” and my not be prohibited. This does not address carrying firearms, but you could put that in there. This doesn’t prevent regulation, but it does prevent bans. This leaves to the Court to decide on the matter of regulations, including licensing, point-of-sale qualifications, etc. The Supreme Court strongly hinted bans are off the table. All Congress is doing here is defining what “common use” means, which should be in Congress’ prerogative.

I know some will complain that we don’t get machine guns or NFA items here, but this does not prevent in any way the Court ruling that such restrictions run afoul of the constitution. Nor does it prevent Congress from changing the NFA later to remove them from the definition of firearm. The goal is to get gun bans off the table completely. Let’s settle that law.