Thanks to Mother Jones

This is a handy reference to show just how far we’ve come in two short years. I always love it when our opponents build great tools to helps us show how much progress we’re really making. 99 Laws rolling back gun control? Sounds like we could make a song out of that:

99 gun control acts in the law, 99 gun control acts
Take one down, pass it around, 98 gun control acts in the law …

Yeah, and we’re gonna keep going. Thanks Mother Jones.

New Jersey Looking to Ban Laser Pointers

Of course, in New Jersey, we ban first, and ask questions later. As John Richardson notes:

By this definition, the sale of the laser products sold by Crimson Trace, Viridian, and LaserMax would all be outlawed.  Their peak output is 5 milliwatts.

Guns are not the target of this new law, but I’m sure most of the usual suspects over there won’t complain if that’s an “unintended” consequence. What’s interesting is, you could make a reasonable argument that at least some types of lasers are protected by the Second Amendment. It’s not just guns, folks.

When Did Google Incoming Links Start Working?

It used to be, when I first started blogging, you tracked incoming links on Technorati, which did a pretty decent job of showing who was linking to you. Then Technorati kind of fell apart and out of favor, so everyone switched to tracking incoming links via Google. Unfortunately, Google kind of sucked at it, and you got so many spammy links that it practically was never worth it to even look. But for the first time in a while, I just looked at Google’s link tracking, and all the incoming links are legit. This pleases me, because a driver of blogosphere “conversation” is incoming links, and if you can’t see who’s talking about you, you can’t really join in. I am pleased to see this working well again.

What Condition Do You Store Your Guns?

When the Balloon Goes Up has an interesting discussion topic. Do you store your guns all loaded, nothing loaded, or a mix? I’m in the mix category. The carry arms (only two, a Ruger LCP and a Glock 19) are loaded and stay loaded unless I’m cleaning. The Glock and LCP also never leave their holsters except for cleaning and shooting as well.

Anything that goes into storage (the safe) is unloaded. The gun gets checked going in, and checked going out.  The only exception I make to unloaded guns in the safe is if we have to leave the house for an extended amount of time (for instance, to go to New Jersey, New York, or DC) and can’t take the guns, in which case they go in the safe, in the holsters, on the free part of the shelf (which doesn’t have a rack). The lower part of the safe is always unloaded. I have to juggle a lot of guns around if I want to get to something in the back of the safe, and I’m just not going to risk bumping a bang switch while jostling stuff around, and some of the guns in there have fine triggers that wouldn’t take much. I’m a big believer that if you’re going to keep loaded guns off-person, they should remain, always, in a holster, so that the trigger is protected.

The Founders Who Didn’t Believe in Self-Defense

You hear now, from the gun control groups (or is that group at this point) who do not accept Heller, and deride it as without historical basis, that our founding fathers did not create the Second Amendment with self-defense in mind, and there is no evidence the Second Amendment was about that at all. The true answer is that there were no founding fathers who disagreed with the idea that a person had a right to a firearm for self-defense. In 18th Century America, it would have been like announcing the sky is blue. So they argued about the things they did disagree on, like the distribution of military power in the new republic. Our opponents enjoy acting like this argument is a cop out, and that our side has never presented evidence. This could not be further from the truth. Do these appear to be men who find the notion of carrying arms in self-defense unusual?

I left at your house, the morning after I lodged there, a pistol in a locked case, which no doubt was found in your bar after my departure. I have written to desire either Mr. Randolph or Mr. Eppes to call on you for it, as they come on to Congress, to either of whom therefore be so good as to deliver it.

A gun in a bar? For shame Mr. Jefferson! Clearly you must have gotten drunk and shot the place up. But it does beg the question of why Jefferson had a pistol on his person. Perhaps he merely was transporting it?

I left at Orange C. H. one of my Turkish pistols, in it’s holster, locked. I shall be glad if either yourself or Mr. Eppes can let a servant take it on to this place. It will either bind up in a portmanteau flap, or sling over the back of the servant conveniently.

Of course, one normally does not transport in a holster unless one is carrying for purposes of self-defense. Of course, this is when Jefferson was President, so maybe they view that he was authorized, or something. I mean, they didn’t have any secret service back then. Also, Jefferson was kind of a nut. Surely the federalists were more level headed, right?

Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs, and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps, I could not surrender if I would.

John Adams, Boston Gazette, 9/5/1763

But that was before the Constitution, way before. Surely Adams’ views matured as he considered the Second Amendment.

To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.

John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States 475 (1787-1788)

Well, that sounds like Adams endorsing the Heller view of the Second Amendment to me. But OK, so we have Jefferson and Adams. Big deal. Surely Washington didn’t need to compensate for anything by carrying a gun around with him?

As was then the custom, the General had holsters, with pistols in them, to his saddle. On returning to Mount Vernon, as General Washington was about to enter on this private road, a stranger on horseback barred the way, and said to him, “You shall not pass this way.” “You don’t know me,” said the General. “Yes, I do,” said the ruffian; “you are General Washington, who commanded the army in the Revolution, and if you attempt to pass me I shall shoot you.” General Washington called his servant, Billy, to him, and taking out a pistol, examined the priming, and then handed it to Billy, saying, “If this person shoots me, do you shoot him;” and cooly passed on without molestation.

Never a good idea upset George Washington. You never know when he might have his servant shoot you. It’s pretty clear that a broad swath of our founders, either through words or actions, believed in the right of self-defense, and believed in guaranteeing the idea of keeping and bearing arms for that purpose. These are a few things I’ve been able to find. Further evidence can be found in “The Founders Second Amendment” by Steven Halbrook.

Shooting Competition Used as Evidence?

Looks like someone in Washington is on trial for shooting someone in a road rage incident, and the prosecutors are using his participation in a shooting competition as evidence against him. This reminds me of a story Bitter tells about cops she knew who were competitive shooters, and could ace their qualifications, but deliberately pulled shots so as to avoid the possibility of a jury questioning why they drilled several bullet holes in Sumdood’s center of mass. Probably not a bad idea in some states, considering I once had a coworker from New Jersey that was upset about that very thing serving on a jury for a police shooting.

Foreign Shootings

A major tactic of our opponents is to dig through papers finding horror stories involving people misusing guns and pointing to the article, then pointing to us, and shaming us publicly, like we had something to do with it. “If only those crazy gun nut extremists would just support reasonable gun laws, like they have in Europe, these kinds of things wouldn’t happen,” they say. It’s a pretty good sign they are running out of arguments, and it looks like they’ve run out of that argument too.

According to at least one law professor …

… we value free speech a bit much. Personally, this article greatly offends me. Perhaps if we showed our displeasure by rioting and violence, we’d have grounds to ban it by the Professor’s own standard? What good is free speech if you can ban any speech which might offend deeply enough to cause disorder? Under that standard, wouldn’t it have been in the interest of public order to silence Martin Luther King? Malcolm X?

Despite its 18th-century constitutional provenance, the First Amendment did not play a significant role in U.S. law until the second half of the 20th century. The First Amendment did not protect anarchists, socialists, Communists, pacifists, and various other dissenters when the U.S. government cracked down on them, as it regularly did during times of war and stress.

I do not care to repeat the mistakes of the 18th and 19th centuries. One problem I’ve always had with originalism is that perhaps free speech always meant what it’s come to mean in this century, but that the Courts just didn’t take it seriously enough before. There are a lot of things in that old document that judges have been saying “Surely they couldn’t have meant that,” to through the whole history of the republic.