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Court Won’t Hasten Concealed Carry in Illinois

Earlier I had mentioned that motions were filed to enjoin the State of Illinois from enforcing its prohibition on carry until such time as the new law was implemented. It seems the District Court judge has denied the motion and agreed with Illinois that the case is now moot. It looks like this will be appealed, but I don’t know what the timeline will look like.

Self-Defense Law in Pennsylvania Changing?

Eugene Volokh highlights how the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has opened the door to redefine Pennsylvania’s self-defense standard from one which requires the state to disprove a claim of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, to one where the defendant has to prove self-defense by a preponderance of the evidence. This would essentially shift the burden from the state to the defendant. Prof. Volokh notes that the legislature can codify the standard and settle the issue, which we might need to start pushing. A burden shift like this is going to mean more ambiguous self-defense cases are going to end up going to trial, even if the state doesn’t have a remarkably strong case.

Looks like we’re not finished on this subject yet in Pennsylvania. Looking at the opinion here, it would seem to me that there might be the votes to change the standard, since three justices joined in the Chief’s opinion, while only two filed concurring opinions that took issue with the self-defense statements. Note that Orie Melvin did not participate in this case because she was on leave from the court, and eventually convicted of several felonies.

Pennsylvania conducts Supreme Court elections in off years. A lot of people, including gun owners, don’t vote in these elections. These are the wages of that belief. Or perhaps I should say the continuing wages of that belief, because we’re still living with de facto registration in Pennsylvania thanks to the ruling in ACSL v. Rendell. I’d note that opinion was handed down in 2004, and we’re still hearing nothing but promises from legislators in terms of fixing that, nearly a decade later. I would not hold out hope they’ll fix the self-defense issue if the Supreme Court acts there in any kind of timely manner. Supreme Court elections are very important.

Gun Control in US Territories

It looks like some lawmakers in Saipan are looking to tighten their gun control laws, already likely unconstitutionally strict. I doubt even most people could point where Saipan is on a map, or even know it’s an unincorporated territory of the United States. The Supreme Court, in the Insular Cases, ruled that fundamental constitutional rights are to be enforced even in unincorporated territories of the United States. Therefore the ruling in McDonald v. Chicago has applied the Second Amendment to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. Their current laws are such:

The Commonwealth Weapons Control Act forbids the manufacture, purchase, sale, possession or carrying of firearms other than as provided by law.  In order to carry a firearm, the holder must have a license.

Shooting galleries are allowed, exempting patrons from the licensing requirement.  6 C.M.C. 2251.

.22 Caliber rifles and .223 caliber centerfire rifles and .410 gauge shotguns and their appropriate shells are allowed.  All other firearms are considered contraband and are not allowed in the Commonwealth.  6 C.M.C. 2301.

The CNMI is assigned to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. It seems hard to imagine that prohibitions this strict would pass constitutional muster even under today’s relatively early Second Amendment case law. It would seem that some local politicians are aware of that.

Some Tragedies More Tragic than Others

The Daily Caller notes Bloomberg’s coalition has been surprisingly silent on some recent mass shootings. On the surface, I suppose we shouldn’t consider this a bad thing. But the reason neither of these was so readily exploited by MAIG is because neither of them really work for accomplishing their goals.

One goal is keeping wealthy political elites engaged with the issue. At this point, MAIG probably realizes a broad grassroots movement isn’t possible with this issue, or at the least realize building one is a decades long effort. In the mean time, they have to motivate their base. Most wealthy elites don’t live in crappy apartments with seedy tenants. In order to stoke the fears and insecurities of elites, they have to be able to imagine they, or others like them, could be the victims. That’s one reason Sandy Hook was so ripe to exploit for political purposes, it struck at their very heart. Humans are tribal creatures, and for better or worse, we’re more concerned about what happens, or what could happen, to our own tribe than we are about people who are perceived as not being one of us. In the short term, MAIG needs political elites in the fight, both for funding and for political support.

The second shooting mentioned happened in California, where the weapons used were quite illegal. That doesn’t really fit the narrative either. Do you really want the risk the media will start the discussion of how California’s strictest-in-the-nation gun control laws aren’t effective at stopping mass killers? The killer illegally built a banned-in-California AR-15, and converted a black powder revolver into a cartridge firing revolver. We’ve always mentioned that these people are more resourceful than they are often given credit for, and strict gun control isn’t likely to offer much of an obstacle. This is proof of that. Bloomberg is already aware how quickly our side can snatch the media narrative if they aren’t careful. I wouldn’t want to touch this one either if I were them.

But of course, these are cold, hard strategic calculations we’re talking about here, and gun control advocates would never engage in such things. They care: about you, about the children, and most of all about victims. No more names! It’s certainly not about using the news cycle in a strategic manner to further a political agenda. No. That’s only something the evil corporate gun lobby would do.

Monday News Links

The weekend is over, and as we look ahead to the next week, it’s time to dump all the stories I didn’t have time to say anything about and hope some fresh ones come by. I’ve noticed the news cycle on our issue is picking up a bit over the weekend.

Jim Geraghty notes that Obama has seemingly stopped talking about gun control. US News wonders when the gun fight is coming back to Congress. It’ll be yesterdays news until there’s a fresh tragedy to exploit. In the mean time, there’s surely something else he can find to play up division.

Have some Reasoned Discourse(TM) with your afternoon coffee. But I thought we were supposed to have a national conversation? Miguel has ever more from people who just want to have a conversation.

The media in New Jersey is starting to pressure Chris Christie to sign the gun control bills into law. This is but just one example. I’ve passed on several other NJ media stories along the same vein.

Why gun sales are falling. I think it’s good that the panic is ending, but it’s not a good time to get complacent, especially when there’s now going to be real money arrayed against us.

The New York Times has a double standard when it comes to recall elections. They are only good when it’s to get rid people who the Times editorial staff don’t like.

Speaking of media narratives, once again we see the drunk gun owner meme popping up in North Carolina. Any time we allow restaurant carry with a prohibition on consuming alcohol, this comes up.

Don’t bring a bat to a gunfight. This guy was apprehended, so no Darwin Award for him, but he definitely out-dumbed this guy.

Megan McArdle doesn’t think we need tougher standards for self-defense.

Larry Correia takes a look at Profiling and Stand Your Ground.

Charles Cooke notes that Stand Your Ground is nothing new. No, it’s not. It’s been the law in most western states since they’ve been states.

Dave Hardy takes a look at the a claim by the media on who benefits from SYG and notes some serious subterfuge.

Publicola: Women and Children first.

Tactical mythbusting: revolver brass in the pocket. I’ve always been suspicious of the story of the police trainer who took a mugger’s gun and gave it back to him. He had spent his days teaching retention, which involved repeatedly taking guns and giving them back. The lesson is you do what you train, but I’ve always been suspicious of the story.

Special Privileges for Retired Cops

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit thinks special privileges for retired cops might violate the Constitution’s prohibition on titles of nobility. I had never considered that, but I think it’s interesting. Not quite the same argument, but it’s worth noting that while the Silveira case was a disaster in terms of the Second Amendment, they did prevail on the equal protection argument under the 14th Amendment, tossing the exemption for retired cops from California’s assault weapons ban. I’d like to see the courts treat any gun control law which contains exemptions for law enforcement as automatically suspicious. Police carry firearms for the same reason citizens do: self-defense. But we probably have a ways to go there. Maybe Prof. Reynolds’ idea is a good start.

More Projection

An article on Wicked Local talks about how carrying a firearm only emboldened him to seek trouble, and he projects that onto George Zimmerman and the rest of us.

If Zimmerman had relied on responsible adults to do their jobs or avoided direct confrontation, Trayvon Martin would probably still be alive.

I know avoiding confrontation goes against the grain of the National Rifle Association’s philosophy and lobbying and certainly is the polar opposite of laws like the Florida Stand Your Ground Law or, as I prefer to call it, the Shoot Me Where I Stand Law.

This is ridiculous. You can only stand your ground when presented with a reasonable fear of grave bodily injury or harm. In other words, someone has to already either be attacking you, or putting you in reasonable fear that you are about to be attacked. In the case of George Zimmerman, being straddled and getting your head pounded into concrete qualifies, and 6 jurors agreed his fear was reasonable. Duty to retreat plays no role because he had no opportunity to retreat. It’s amazing how many people keeping yammering about this case without the barest of facts. The jury had the fact, and they acquitted.

The Unhelpful Second Amendment

Law professor Garrett Epps notes that the Second Amendment is “spectacularly unhelpful.” Second Amendment scholars have honestly settled a lot of this ambiguity. I also particularly resent this subtle dig in his conclusion:

It is thus in the interests of everyone concerned with the role of firearms in society to contribute more than images and myths to a reasoned resolution of this question—and during such discussions, perhaps we should all keep our hands where others can see them.

The implication that our scholars have been dishonest and argued only through “images and myths” is insulting and unfounded. We ultimately won at the Supreme Court because we had better and more thorough scholarship on the issue, and could answer the criticisms of the other side argument by argument.

It is amazing to me that no one had any difficulty figuring out the meaning of the Second Amendment until the 20th century, when gun control started to become popular. Dave Kopel has a pretty good account of how the collective rights myth came about. Maybe we should keep our hands where others can see them, but not because we deal in myth and images. Those who have opposed the “standard model” of the Second Amendment are the ones who have been engaged in the real myth making.

Where Are the Haters?

I notice that Heidi Yewman’s continuing saga is now up to 1174 comments. That’s an order of magnitude more than appear over at Ms. Magazine. Going through them, I notice one or two obvious trolls, but most of the comments seem to be to be pretty reasonable. I just tried to post a comment there myself, and it appeared immediately. This tells me The Daily Beast isn’t really moderating heavily, and to the extent they are, only after the fact. I’ve been keeping a close eye on the comments and they all seem reasonable to me. Remember she claims this:

The Ms. Magazine blog moderator withheld most of the threatening comments, and ultimately the magazine, its small staff overwhelmed by the flood of vituperation, initially decided not to run the rest of the series, a development Joe Nocera of the New York Times noticed and reported on.

Also, don’t forget that the staff at Ms. claimed the same. Where is this vituperation at The Daily Beast? How is it they managed to gather an order of magnitude more comments than Ms. without any of this “vituperation?” We’re dealing with people who have an agenda, and that agenda is to take a small number, perhaps one or two individual who really crossed the line, and smear an entire community of reasonable people with that brush. The gun control crowd always insist that brutish behavior from gun owners is a common, regular occurrence, in comments we mysteriously never get to see. In reality, their standard operation procedure is to crush dissenting opinion any time they start losing an argument. Having better arguments would seem to equate to brutish behavior for many of them. That certainly seems to be the case for members of the Brady Campaign Board. They are not interested in dialog.

And the Junk Science Begins

I am by no means an expert on statistical analysis, but I’ve probably had more training in it than most people, and this looks like a crock of horse shit to me so far. I’m not sure what the graphs they are publishing here even mean, or even how they were arrived at. At best I can tell it’s boiling down self-defense situations to something extremely simplistic by people who are not subject matter experts in that field. Self-defense can’t be boiled down to a probability calculation. Because it involves people, it’s not something you can model mathematically.

I also don’t understand how you can treat gun violence as an epidemiological issue when it’s not a disease. I think you are already making an awful lot of assumptions if you’re starting out with that approach. I see no good coming from this, which is why we need to continue to fight funding to this garbage.

UPDATE: The paper is here. This is the sentence which can clue you off that it’s junk science:

This debate cannot be settled satisfactorily by verbal arguments alone, since these are often driven by opinion, and lack a solid scientific backing. What is under debate is essentially an epidemiological problem: how do different gun control strategies affect the rate at which people become killed by attackers, and how can this rate be minimized? This question can be addressed with mathematical models that describe the interaction between a criminal shooter and one or more people that are the target of the shooter.

Emphasis mine. That sentence right there ought to raise alarm bells. If complex human behavior and interactions could be mathematically modeled, we’d be quite comfortable with the idea of armed robot police. We’d have pretty good artificial intelligence. Even for relatively predictive human activities that can be done relatively well by computers, like driving and flying, we’re still not at the point where we’re comfortable turning everything over to machines.

The results then clearly depend on the assumptions underlying the model, and this is very important to keep in mind when reading this paper, or any paper that deals with mathematical models in biological and behavioral sciences.

Yes, certainly, but you can bet that the media and policymakers will completely ignore these caveats and dive straight into the conclusion, in order to give their own preconceived notions the air of science, and only some stupid gun owning neanderthal with barely any education would argue with science.

UPDATE: One other severe criticism I have with their model is that it only considers homicide. Do we not care if someone, I don’t know, gets their head beaten against a sidewalk and suffers permanent brain damage? Do we not care about whether someone can avoid a lengthy hospitalization and recovery from, say, multiple stab wounds? Do we not care about rape? (Why do they so hate women?) Do we not concern ourselves with how often these kinds of horrors can be avoided by merely drawing the weapon on the attacker? You can’t just boil down human violence to homicides. That’s highly simplistic and completely invalid.

UPDATE: Joe Huffman has more to say in regards to this. I’m still getting caught up with everyone, having effectively taken Wednesday through Friday off blogwise, so I’m running a bit behind on what folks are talking about out there in the gun blogosphere.

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