How Pro Second Amendment is Chris Christie?

I never had very high expectations from Chris Christie on the gun issue. New Jersey has a one of the lowest rates of gun ownership in the country, and it’s part of both the New York and Philadelphia media markets, neither of which are known for gun friendliness. But the recent Brian Atkins case has people talking whether a pardon is in the cards:

As for Christie, he seems to have learned a lesson from that loss. By the time he ran for governor last year, he had adopted the position that politicians traditionally adopt when they really, really wish the gun issue would just go away: He said he wouldn’t seek new laws, but would enforce current laws.

That’s not good enough for gun lovers, and the case of Brian Aitken shows why. Aitken, a media consultant in his mid-20s, was a normal, law-abiding citizen until January of last year. That’s when he moved back to his native New Jersey from Colorado, where he had lived for several years.

It should cost Christie nothing to pardon this guy. I’d be surprised if 10% of New Jerseyans think justice is served keeping that guy in prison. The big risk Christie faces is a Democratic opponent attacking him for “pardoning a mentally unstable man for carrying illegal guns, deadly ammunition, and high capacity magazines,” which unlike other states will actually work in New Jersey on people who are ignorant of Aitken’s plea. But given the Philadelphia media’s sympathetic coverage, I would say this makes it safe politically. It’s an non-controversial, visible way that Governor Christie and stand with us. If you believe in the right to bear arms, even if you believe that right is restricted to the home, that right necessarily has to cover moving arms between residences.

Surprising Daily News Coverage of Brian Aitken

I’ve never seen the Philadelphia media cover a railroaded gun owner so favorably. Fortunately, the Judge who railroaded Aitken was dismissed by the Christie Administration, but the right thing for Christie to do here is to pardon him. I’m relatively appalled the jury, who clearly wanted to find this guy innocent, didn’t just do so, ignoring the judges instructions. I’d hang a jury as long as it took to either get them to relent or at least get the guy a mistrial.

But I’m equally appalled at the attitude of Bryan Miller, even if I’m not surprised. From the Daily News Article:

“What little I can glean about the transportation issue leaves me puzzled, but a person with common sense would not be moving illegal products from one place to another by car,” said Bryan Miller, executive director of CeaseFire NJ, an organization devoted to reducing gun violence.

“If Mr. Aitken did the research he said he did, he would not have hollow-point bullets and large-capacity magazines in the vehicle,” Miller said. “They are illegal, period.”

I say not surprised because I decided years ago Miller wasn’t someone who disagreed in good faith. The guy hates gun owners. He’s a textbook bigot. It’s just common sense, you see, when New Jersey is the only state in the nation which has any kind of restrictions on hollow point ammunition, and if Aitken was moving, he fell under the exception anyway. The big crime they nailed him on was merely having the pistols in the trunk of his car. As far as Miller is concerned, it’s just another gun owner in jail where he belongs. What a hate filled man.

Amtrak Allowing Guns

Amtrak protested endlessly that they couldn’t allow guns on trains. Well, it turns out they can:

Under the policy, beginning Dec. 15, guns can be brought aboard trains that have checked baggage service. Gun owners must inform Amtrak officials 24 hours ahead of departure. Unloaded firearms must be packed in hard-sided containers and will be stored in train lockers.

Not sure why 24 hours advanced notice is required. Airlines don’t require that. Of course, the Brady Campaign says this is just going to make it that much easier for “makes it easier for terrorists to bring weapons on trains with intent to do harm.” Looks like the Brady folks are responsible for the twenty four hour notice thing.

Come on guys. What purpose does that serve other than to harass gun owners? You want to know why we can’t really have dialog? Stuff like this is the reason why. Is a terrorist going to give Amtrak 24 hours notice? Ian Argent had some useful observations yesterday:

Once the gun is out in the world, the owner can do anything with it. The law-abiding one will, of course, limit himself to the lawful activities. But not one of New Jersey’s many strict and serious firearms laws could stop me from loading up my legally-purchased and legally-owned limited-capacity magazines and my legally-purchased and legally-owned handgun, and going out to cause mischief. It’s worth noting, by the way, that, given my lifestyle and normal mode of dress, I could be carrying my handgun and a hundred rounds of ready ammo at any time I carry a pocketknife (which is most of the time) and had I been doing so there is essentially no chance I would have been discovered doing so.

Of course, I don’t do any such thing. For one thing, that much ammo is HEAVY. I could get by with probably 2 extra magazines. But, more seriously, I don’t carry because it is against the law, and I don’t have a pressing need to.

I have been carrying for about eight years now, and the only time I’ve ever had to present my license is because I was legally required to tell the officer I was armed (TX requirement). If I had been carrying illegally for eight years, without a license, I would have been able to get away with it. Given that reality, who do the Brady folks think is being deterred by these laws? Certainly not criminals. Definitely not terrorists. If one has a gun, the law can only amount to punishment after the fact, and since most of the unlawful things you can do with a gun carry hefty jail sentences, it seems rather redundant. Unless your goal is to punish the otherwise law abiding for not following the rules, or to frustrate the exercise of the right.

The Brady goal has nothing to do with crime or terrorism. Their goal is to frustrate the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right to the extent that they can get away with it. Nothing convinces me more of that than the fact that they pushed a 24 notice requirement on Amtrak.

Richmond Times Dispatch Calls BS on Gun Control

I was happy to see, this Sunday, a takedown of the gun show nonsense our opponents have been relentlessly pushing. They followed up once more today with an article on the same topic:

There are four problems. First, the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Institute for Justice have found that only 1 or 2 percent of offenders obtained their weapons from gun shows. Second, the activity at issue — private, person-to-person firearms sales — is not limited to gun shows, so calling it a “gun-show” loophole is disingenuous.

The article then goes on, tying gun control to other freedom issues, and generally pointing to the insanity of prohibition. It’s good to see at least one main stream publication pushing a pro-freedom agenda.

Rendell’s Departing Words to Us

Despite having screwed us on Castle Doctrine, Rendell thinks his gun control efforts are a failure:

“It’s a lost cause in Pennsylvania,” Rendell said in a conference call with reporters. He accused the General Assembly of kowtowing to the National Rifle Association.

“The legislature proved consistently in my eight years that they are scared to death to buck the NRA,” he said. “It’s incredibly frustrating, the hold the NRA has over the legislature. It’s embarrassing.”

Yep. Let’s keep it that way.

New XM25 Hitting the Media

The New York Post comments on the military’s XM25, a new 25mm grenade launcher that will launch smart grenades. I have no doubt this is a neat, albeit expensive toy, but I think the hype is a bit nauseating. Let’s take a look at the Post’s coverage:

The XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System is a rifle that can fire through doors and walls, leaving the enemy no place to hide, said.

That’s funny, I’m pretty sure my shotgun loaded with 00 buck has no trouble with doors and walls either. In fact, I’d bet my Glock will shoot through doors and walls too.

It has a range of roughly 2,300 feet making it possible to fire at targets well past the range of the rifles that most soldiers carry today.

The designated marksman’s M14 will reach out that far, and I’d hate to think of how much recoil this has if it can lob a 25mm grenade an entire kilometer. Actual spec says it’ll launch 500m to a point, and 1000 m for an area burst. I’m skeptical it’s practical range is actually that far. If it is, I’d hate to be the soldier who has to shoot something that thumps that bad all day.

My guess is the Army is selling this to taxpayers as the greatest thing since sliced bread so they don’t balk at the 35,000 dollar price tag for each unit. If it’s really as good as they say it is, It’s worth it. But I’m skeptical. The grenade uses the number of rotations to estimate distance. I would think that could be altered by atmospheric variability. Some folks around here are pretty good with ballistics. What do you think about using number of rotations for a distance measurement? What would be the variability, assuming you knew the rifling twist? It could be it’s actually a pretty good proxy for distance.

I have to admit, the biggest thing that makes me skeptical is that it’s built by H&K :)

The Golden Moose

Before I mentioned Michael Bane is going for a Golden Moose this year for “Fan Favorite Host”. For those of you who voted, Thank You. Now it seems Tam has a gig with SWAT Magazine, and is asking folks to vote for SWAT Magazine TV as “Fan Favorite New Series in 2010” on the Outdoor Channel If you voted for Michael, I’m sure Tam would appreciate your vote for SWAT Magazine TV. Even if you didn’t vote for Michael, I’m sure Tam would appreciate it.

Bradys Celebrating the Brady Act

Miguel points out that the Brady folks seem to be celebrating that they get it right half the time, because NICS has stopped 2 million transactions, and 1 million of them were felons! Now, it may be that that the other million are prohibited misdemeanants. That can happen if the misdemeanor is a domestic conviction, or it’s a misdemeanor that carries a possible sentence of more than two years in prison. These are also people unlikely to realize they are prohibited persons when they go to purchase a firearm, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they are overrepresented.

I seem to recall some analyses of NICS denials, that I wish I could find now, said that about 5% of NICS denials are appealed, and on appeal about half of those denials are overturned. How many people are getting unjustly denied by the background check system but never bother appealing to see if the data is erroneous? In truth we can’t know, but I doubt the number is zero. Many of those improperly denied may know they had been in trouble with the law before, but have their convictions erroneously classified as prohibiting offenses when they are not. Those types may not bother.

I’m sort of resigned to the fact that we’re going to have to live with some amount of gun control, and as gun control goes, the instant check system isn’t the worst of all things to have to live with. But just because I’m resigned to having to tolerate it, doesn’t mean I think it’s effective. Hard core criminals are going to get guns no matter what. I have little doubt that NICS has stopped some criminals from getting guns, but what kind of criminals? If you’re in a gang, in the business of selling drugs, or have an interest in robbing people, I’m not convinced that failing a background check is where your quest for a gun is going to stop. How many of those 2 million denied purchasers went on to buy a gun out of the back of a van? How many of them just had a girlfriend straw purchase a gun for them?

The Bradys always seem to be relatively horrified we don’t support these “common sense” measures. Maybe because there’s no evidence they are really making society any safer. To a woman trying to defend herself against an abusive ex-husband, it’s going to be little comfort to her, while she’s defenseless awaiting her NICS appeal, that the system gets it right most of the time.  We generally don’t tolerate those kinds of prior restraints when it comes to other constitutional rights.

Eat the Salad

Sorry for the light posting today. Will catch up when I get home. In the mean time, apparently Obama told a fat staffer to eat a salad:

One staffer was conspicuously overweight. The president, in an incident that Wolffe believes proves how caring the man is, took it upon himself to present the aide with a salad for lunch — “then listened to him protest that he could take care of his own health. ‘I love you, man,’ Obama said. ‘I want you to look after yourself. Eat the salad.’ ”

That tells you all you need to know right there. That also tells you all you need to know about Richard Wolffe and other Obama supporters like him, that this was taken as compassion rather than butting one’s nose into business it does not belong. This prompted Jim Geraghty to say:

Chris Christie for President: Because the commander-in-chief and leader of the free world should never be telling you to eat a @#$%^ salad.

We haven’t had a rotund president since Taft. Maybe it’s time.