Circular Firing Squad: Perhaps The Best We Can Do

John Richardson covers a bit of what’s been going on in North Carolina. This is one area I’m not sure there’s any solution other than the circular firing squad, because what you have is a state group, in this case, Grassroots North Carolina, actively trying to undermine an NRA endorsement over issues that have absolutely nothing to do with gun rights. This particularly annoys me because in the DISCLOSE battle, Schuler was the one Democrat who tried to do the right thing, and get every pro-gun group exempted from the requirement. Not only just every gun rights group, but virtually every political advocacy group.

GRNC is not only wrong on Schuler, they are supremely wrong. They are lambasting the one Democrat who tried to solve this problem in favor of all 501(c)(4) non-profits, including GOA, including CCRKBA, and including GRNC. I will back GRNC to the hilt when they do good work like participate in lawsuits to try to get North Carolina’s emergency powers laws tossed out, but they are wrong to attack Schuler on this issue, and I believe they are shooting the rest of us in the foot in their attempts to smear him on an issue totally unrelated to gun rights.

So what obligation do we have to not return fire when other groups actively being a circular firing squad? I think the answer is we shouldn’t have much. The great trick is not to let it get personal. Argue on the facts, and may the best set of facts win the day.

UPDATE: This is really a collective action problem. NRA promises pro-2A supporting politicians they can deliver the gun vote on election day. To the extent NRA can actually do that, we win. If public infighting draws into question whether NRA can actually deliver the vote, it hurts the organization as a whole electorally, and thus the cause. I will never tell an NRA member not to vote their individual conscience as a citizen. I would be lying to you if I told you that when I got into the voting booth, I’ve never bucked an NRA endorsement. Most certainly I have, because as a citizen, the Second Amendment is important to me, but I weigh that among a number of issues that are important to me.

NRA risks creating a perception that when it comes to supporting Democrats, even liberal Democrats, who support the Second Amendment, they can’t deliver the goods. If that perception takes hold, and you can bet our enemies will do everything they can to push that perception after Tuesday, the whole bipartisan coalition we’re creating falls apart, and we go back to the Republicans treating us like the crazy uncle. Because where else do we have to go?

Collective action is a tough thing for gun owners. It’s always felt like herding cats, and to be honest, I’d probably get worried if it ever wasn’t like that. But ultimately, you have to take collective action to protect individual rights, because politics is a collective action sort of institution. That necessarily has to mean putting some of yourself aside to accomplish goals. Not all of yourself, but it requires a bit of being able to subordinate your own desires for the sake of the greater good. It requires not making the perfect the enemy of good.

The left is very good at this, for obvious reasons. It’s in their blood. It’s not in ours. I wouldn’t want us to be like the left. Not by a long shot. But I think we need to figure out a way to disagree, and to express disagreement, that doesn’t undermine the cause as a whole. We need to be able to speak collectively as a close to a single voice as we can manage, but still have room within the framework for disagreement without seriously undermining the single voice. I’m not going to absolve NRA, and suggest they aren’t part of this problem, because I think they are. But to be honest, I won’t pretend to have a solution. I’m not sure there is a solution. But the fact that the left is very good at collective action, while we’re very bad at it, mostly due to our respective natures, is another one of the reasons liberty loses. Liberty is an individual benefit, but to preserve it you need collective action within a political framework. This is a paradox I’m not sure how to resolve.

Black Powder in a 1911

Cemetery shows us what the clean up job looks like. He recently got an AR-15, and was joking about working up a black powder .223 load. Well, maybe not joking. It’s hard to tell. If anyone was going to do it, it was going to be him. No matter how wrong it may be. But Cemetery is that kind of shooter who thinks if… working up a black powder load for whatever gun you can imagine is wrong… he doesn’t want to be right.

Brady Center Sues Badger Guns

Under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, suits related to negligence are still allowed to proceed. The Brady case is crafted as to attempt fall into that category of permitted lawsuits. You can find the complaint here. Reading it over, I’d be very surprised if Badgers Attorney doesn’t try to use PLCAA to dismiss this suit. In the case in question, a drug addict bought a firearm that he later gave to a person who shot two police officers. The suit seems to hinge on the fact that he was a prohibited person because he was a drug addict, and that somehow Badger should have known this. You see language in the complaint about Badger being a “public nuisance,” which is precisely the kind of lawsuit PLCAA was meant to quash.

I’m not going to comment on Badgers business practices in general, because I’m not familiar with the store. Maybe some local people could comment. There are certainly stores out there that have a bad reputation even among shooters. But I’m struck by how much the Brady suit reads like a social policy paper rather than a civil complaint. It is my opinion that this lawsuit should be squashed under PLCAA. Under the PCLAA standard:

(B) NEGLIGENT ENTRUSTMENT- As used in subparagraph (A)(ii), the term `negligent entrustment’ means the supplying of a qualified product by a seller for use by another person when the seller knows, or reasonably should know, the person to whom the product is supplied is likely to, and does, use the product in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical injury to the person or others.

The Bradys are essentially arguing in the complaint that the types of firearms that Badger sold to the drug addict (evil assault weapon) plus the number of guns he bought over the course of a week (two), and the fact that he was an admitted drug addict, should have indicated he was intending to use them for criminal purposes. Because of these facts, the sale was negligent.

In short, this is an attempt by the Brady Center to blow a hole a mile wide in the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act with this case. Regardless of whether or not Badger is a responsible operation or not, it’s important for the gun rights community as a whole that PLCAA squashes this suit. If it doesn’t, PLCAA will be rendered almost entirely ineffective, and you can bet this won’t be the last shop sued. Failing to get legislation rationing firearms, and banning assault weapons legislatively, once again we see the Brady Center trying to accomplish with lawyers what it couldn’t accomplish with lobbyists.

Get Out the Vote for Rossi

Joe Huffman points out one of the races this coming Tuesday that’s going to be really important for gun owners. Someone else we know has been working hard on this race too. We’re fighting a defensive action in PA, trying to keep this Senate seat from going anti-gun in the hands of Joe Sestak, but Rossi would be a true pickup in a state that’s supported anti-gun politicians state-wide as of late.

Attack Ads

I have a huge pet peeve: People who complain about attack ads.

First, they work. I hate it, but they do work. It sucks, and it makes for a miserable campaign season. But, if they didn’t work, they wouldn’t be the fine American tradition that they are today.


Voting While Armed

A few days ago, we saw the beginning of a controversy brewing in Pennsylvania when it comes to the election – and not just the voter fraud accusations already flying. Rep. Bryan Cutler posted a link to the debate in his area when Lancaster County commissioners considered a ban on firearms in polling places. According to local news, is was either a directive or “suggestion” from the state on how towns can ban guns:

Stehman said she made the recommendation to the commissioners at the direction of the Pennsylvania Department of State.

The good news for the folks in Lancaster County is that a) you have a gun owning lawmaker who is looking into why the Department of State is trying to push an illegal resolution in all of the counties, and b) the commissioners recognized that the ban would be a legal and logistical nightmare and opted to follow the law.

But it’s a fair question to ask why someone at the Department of State would ask all 67 counties to break state law and pass these bans on possession?

[The directive/”suggestion” from the Department of State] then lists several sections of the Pennsylvania Elections Code that could be cited to justify such resolutions.

But [Commissioner Craig] Lehman said state and federal law are pretty clear that counties can’t legislate gun possession.

“I would hope the Department of State would have provided the legal justification for its direction, but it clearly doesn’t address the Uniform Firearms Act at all,” he said.

Once contacted by Rep. Cutler, the Department of State appears to have discovered the Uniform Firearms Act and fully agreed that local bans on lawful carry in polling places is completely illegal – even though they tried to push all the counties to pass those illegal bans.

NRA isn’t taking any chances and warned its members here to contact their local county offices to demand they say no to gun bans. I’d still like to know who exactly was responsible for the directive/”suggestion” because it seems like a very targeted group to keep away from the polls in a year that will no likely help the currently administration & House leaders.

UPDATE: Good news via Rep. Cutler:

Victory in the gun in polling places debate. Dept of State sent a clarifying memo verifying that counties are preempted from regulating guns. … However, note if polling places are in a area that is already regulated such as a courthouse or school that regulation must be followed.

I’m still not happy that the Department of State felt it could send an instruction packet on how to ban guns to the counties. I’d call for a little accountability since they spent serious time (looking through all of the state laws – except the one that actually matters) and some money on this fiasco. But, at least it is resolved. I vote at a school, but I think I’ll be standing at the polls at a different location, so this does impact my right to carry. Especially since Sebastian will be in another area working for a different candidate.

Party First. Your Rights, Second.

This ABC News article hints that we may have some trouble in an upcoming Republican Congress:

National Republicans are furious with the National Rifle Association, their natural ally, for endorsing 58 incumbent Democrats who support gun rights. And with Republicans aiming to win control of the House, some are promising retribution for the NRA next year.

“In about a week, the NRA will find themselves on the bad sides of a few dozen new Republican members of congress. They have put their credibility – and also that of their members – on the line for the sake of ingratiating themselves with a bunch of liberal Democrats who are about to lose, and lose badly,” said one senior GOP operative who requested anonymity to speak freely.

So these “dozen new Republican members of congress” are willing to put their party affiliation ahead of the Second Amendment and the Constitution? Looks like we may be headed back to the days with Republican majorities that weren’t really willing to do much for us. Remember folks that the last Republican Congress got us Lautenberg, the Gun Free School Zones Act, a ban on purchasing of handguns by those 18-20, and oh yeah, PLCAA. Gotta throw at least one bone to the gun nuts.

Now it would seem some want us to go back into an abusive relationship with the GOP. If any of the new freshman GOP critters want to hold a grudge against NRA, I sincerely hope NRA will be willing to involve itself in primaries to get them out.