Quote of the Day: Shaneen Allen Edition

Fordam law professor Nicholas Johnson challenges Americans over the Right to Keep and Bear Arms:

A final question, and this one is not rhetorical: Will the people who invoke the power and rhetoric of civil rights to condemn the disparate treatment of heroin and crack dealers, come to the rescue of a law-abiding Black woman whose crime was misunderstanding the multilayered bureaucracies that restrict the federally-guaranteed constitutional right to arms?

Shaneen Allen failed to appreciate that only one piece of the right to keep and bear arms operates in New Jersey. She perhaps concluded that two high-profile Supreme Court opinions affirming the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, plus a Pennsylvania license to carry a concealed firearm, would be enough to secure her right to carry a gun for self-defense, even in New Jersey. She was mistaken, and might be faulted for her slippery grasp of U.S. federalism. But with that as her crime, she is still infinitely more worthy of being rescued than anyone on the recent list of presidential pardons.

So far, there have been no protests or demonstrations seeking justice for Shaneen Allen. Like Otis McDonald, she is ignored by the nominal defenders of civil rights. Let us hope that this is not the end of the story.

I sincerely hope it’s not the end. If she’s convicted, I fully expect Chris Christie to commute her sentence, to be followed by a full pardon once she’s gone through the process. I think what’s happened to Allen is egregious enough that Pennsylvania should refuse extradition. If she’s in free America, fuck what the New Jersey courts demand. We should refuse to turn her over if the State of New Jersey refuses to do the right thing.

She could be any one of you or me.

UPDATE: I should make clear when I say “fully expect,” that doesn’t mean I think he’ll actually do it. That means “fully expect” if he wants me to consider him a viable candidate for President in 2016. And oh yeah, there’s still Brian Aitken too, who could use a full pardon. I’m more open to a Christie candidacy than others, especially when I hear talk of Romney running again, but only if he does the right thing by Aitken and Allen.

The Horror!

From the Wonkblog:

But a child’s parent could. “If dad wants to give his son a rifle or a shotgun on his 13th or 14th birthday, he’s pretty much free to do that in most states,” Webster said.

This is clearly a horrible situation about which “something must be done.” In other news, how does New York have more liberal laws than us in this regard? And not just New York, but Delaware and Maryland as well. Hell, Massachusetts, Connecticut and California(!) have us beat. Yes, indeed. Something must be done about this!

Ban on Carry on Alcohol Licensed Premises Ruled Unconstitutional

At least as applied to firearms carried in a vehicle in the parking lot of the licensed establishment:

As written, the clear language of § 13:95.3 prohibits the possession of firearms in any parking lot of an establishment that sells alcohol. Thus, any law abiding citizen who exercises his or her right to keep or bear arms within the confines of his or her personal vehicle will violate § 13:95.3 anytime he or she, for example, stops to refuel a vehicle at a service station that sells alcohol, or stops to purchase groceries at a grocery store that sells alcohol.

Indeed, Defendants concede in their memorandum that § 13:95.3 “could be unconstitutional ‘as applied’ to a person within the parking lot of a grocery store.” Similarly, the ordinance prohibits law-abiding citizens from purchasing and possessing firearms at any establishment that sells alcohol, thereby rendering the sale of firearms at establishments like Wal-Mart a criminal act. Indeed, even Defendants concede that § 13:95.3 impinges upon a right protected by the Second Amendment.

A step in the right direction. I tend to think the only restrictions of this manner that would be constitutional are on carrying while intoxicated. I’d also note if you can drive a 2 ton bludgeon down the road at 70MPH while sporting a 0.07BAC, carrying a gun being inherently less dangerous than operating a vehicle, people who carry are owed at least the same amount of deference.

That’s not the say the courts would go for that. The state will probably argue when it comes to vehicles there’s implied consent. Even if they set a BAC level for carrying, it couldn’t be enforced, since the cops can’t get any leverage over you to get you to blow. Not that I agree with implied consent when it comes to vehicles, but the state treats driving as a privilege, and at least in Louisiana, carrying a firearm is a right subject to strict scrutiny.

Eugene Volokh on the Low Hanging Fruit

Professor Eugene Volokh looks at the low hanging fruit in terms of laws that are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. I don’t have much to add, and agree many of the items he mentions ought to be up for consideration. I do want to comment on this, however:

Bans on so-called assault weapons, for instance, strike me as unwise, but they don’t themselves practically interfere with self-defense in a substantial way: people remain free to have guns that are just as effective for self-defense.

Isn’t this the same argument that the District of Columbia made in the Heller case? They were free to ban handguns because the people still had shotguns and rifles as options. Who’s to decide what burdens self-defense in a substantial way? If the vast majority of self-defense incidents only require 0 to two shots, why can’t the state outlaw anything that isn’t a two shot derringer, or a double barrel shotgun? If you use a test like that, it’s no real restraint on government, and requires judges to make decisions they have nearly no expertise to make; what does or doesn’t constitute a substantial burden on self-defense. The common use test, for all its flaws, is far preferable, because then the people get to decide.

Lessons Not Learned

You’d think after the death of Christopher Bizilj in Massachusetts that everyone in the NFA community would realize that micro-uzis weren’t good weapons to train people on, especially for kids. But there’s always someone who doesn’t get the memo. That’s right, it happened again. The article doesn’t specifically say it was a micro-uzi or mini-uzi, but I’d put money on that being the case. The standard submachine gun Uzi is harder to lose control of in that manner, because it’s heavier and has a slower rate of fire (600 rpm) but it is still possible if the shooter is very inexperienced.

Either way, machine pistols are manifestly inappropriate for training newbies on, and that goes double if the person you’re training is a 9 year old. You’d think folks that have the money to play with NFA stuff would have more common sense.

UPDATE: Video here. They cut it just before it would get very ugly, but you can see what happened. As I suspected, it looks to me like a mini-uzi.

I’ve fired a machine pistol similar to the mini-uzi before. I was taught how to shoot it as an adult. It was more than just one shot on semi-auto. Start with doing a few strings on semi, to get a feel. Then put two in the magazine and shoot on full auto. Then work up to three. Then five. At each step, evaluate how well the person is exercising control. Then work up to ten. Full magazines don’t come until the person being instructed shows they can maintain authoritative control over the firearm.

If we in the firearms community want to keep being able to play with NFA toys, we’re going to have to get the message out that people need to exercise a tremendous amount of care in instructing people how to shoot them. Nine is way too young to have the experience and physical strength to control a machine pistol on full auto. The antis are already running with this story, and you can bet they will bring up this is the second time this has happened. God help save us from ourselves.

Moms, Maids, & Lies

Dave Kopel wrote a wonderful article in the September issue of America’s First Freedom about the fake narrative of just being a stay-at-home mom that Shannon Watts created for herself. He highlights her political work as the Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan’s Public Affairs Officer during the same period that the governor was doing public events and public calls for gun control in the media, and yet Shannon claims she’s never ever worked on gun control before. Sure.

Shannon isn’t too happy about the fact that it uncovers her previous political career and work for a company hated by many of her followers – Monsanto – so she’s fighting back, but not because she can actually refute anything in the article. She’s getting women to argue with #MomsNotMaids because of the NRA publications department depiction of her.


This is one of those times when neither party is right. (Except Dave and his excellent article, which will be sadly overlooked – exactly what Watts wants.)

Watts is wrong because she’s effectively arguing that real moms don’t clean their family homes. Um, hate to tell you Little Miss Priss Spoiled Girl, but the vast majority of moms do clean their own homes and know many of these little tools quite well. (Well, except for the rotary phone – that was a relic even when I was a child.) Making sure their kids live in a home that’s safe and that they are fed is a very typical role for a mother, obviously not something that a woman as wealthy as Watts does because that’s work for the maids.

Watt’s vehement reaction against being portrayed as a woman who cleans a home is also inherently demeaning. What is wrong with being a maid? I know plenty of women – mothers, even – who clean buildings and houses for a living. Why does Watts consider a perfectly legitimate and honorable profession to be an insult? Again, this is illustrative of her stuck-up elitist out-of-touch Twitter rants.

On the other hand, whoever designed this little illustration for NRA is also in the wrong, too. Stay-at-home moms are a hell of a lot more than just cleaning supplies, rotary telephones, and nearly archaic coffee makers. I’m not even a stay-at-home mother, and I am insulted by this attempt to sum up their days like this. The stay-at-home moms I know today are frequently home-schooling their kids, getting the kids involved in many hobbies and activities, or are active in non-profit groups. Even the sit-com stereotypes of how stay-at-home moms get their entertainment (through the phone, in the illustration) isn’t accurate for today if they were trying for a failed version of tongue-in-cheek.

The concept of a paper doll playing dress up for a part isn’t inherently a bad illustration for Shannon Watts and her little effort to pretend she’s not a paid professional with years of experience in Democratic politics and PR circles, but they didn’t even do a good job of trying to creating a visual image of how one would dress up and fake being a stay-at-home mom today.

This comes on the heels of some really great media coverage of pro-gun women lately, and I suspect that’s another reason why Watts is trying to make the NRA look anti-woman. Unfortunately, they gave her the bait to do it.

Monday Morning News Round Up 8-25-2014

Welcome back from the weekend everybody. Browsers ground to a halt, so it’s time to start unloading some news:

Gun Vote 2014:

It’s looking more and more like Hickenlooper might be vulnerable in Colorado. We need his head on the proverbial pike this election. This is where to make our stand. Those of us in Pennsylvania need to help Corbett too. Whether you’re pissed off at him on other issues (I sure am), his quick repudiation of gun control in the wake of Sandy Hook helped us tremendously.

In Washington State, it’s the rich elites against the rest of us.

Cuomo isn’t looking to hot either. NOW has endorsed his opponent in the primary. Well, he’s certainly very good at New Yorkers good jobs. Just remember, when it comes to priorities, Cuomo chose gun control over jobs.

Meanwhile, the anti-gunners are throwing every last dollar Bloomberg managed to find in his sofa at this race. It’s funny how the left celebrates rich plutocrats dumping tons of cash against a grassroots organization, as long as they agree with the rich plutocrat.


Jim Sensenbrenner introduces a bill to disband ATF. Bob Owners is correct that it’s something neither side wants, and for the reasons he cites. Gun laws won’t go away, and enforcement will likely shift to the FBI, who will be very competent and railroading gun owners, and also seeking more congressional funding to do so.

A plurality of folks in New Jersey agree with Christie’s veto of their new magazine and gun ban. That’s progress!

The Well-Regulated Militia:

Whether they realize it or not, these folks are doing something that has a long tradition in America, among both blacks and whites, though I agree with Glenn Reynolds take on the reaction of polite society.

From Jim Geraghty, are ISIS ‘External Operations” already underway? Americans shoot back. Carry your guns, folks.

Chicago crimes drops as concealed carry applications surge. Who could have seen that coming?

Militarization of Police:

I sort of indirectly linked to this piece by a former LAPD officer the other day. Popehat has an excellent takedown of this author, and the attitude he represents.

Robb Allen has an excellent commentary of “This whole l’affaire du Ferguson

A few bloggers, including Dave Kopel, Ilya Somin, and Ace of Spades, are taking on the notion being floated by the left that conservatives and libertarians aren’t saying anything about the militarization of police.

Charles E. Cobb Jr., on ‘the challenge of Ferguson’

Forbes: Gun technology that could prevent another Ferguson. I don’t think smart guns are the answer, but it’s a fair treatment of the subject. I’m also not big on gun cameras. I want to see the context that lead up to the drawing of the gun. I’d be worried cops will draw their weapons too soon just to be sure there’s a recording.

Reason: How a suburban SWAT team sees itself.

This is big government.

Guns in the News:

Charges dropped against man who followed the Vice President’s advice and fired a shotgun into the air.

Rick Perry can’t carry anymore. He’s been indicted. Maybe this would be a good time to have a conversation about whether indictment is sufficient due process, but I suspect there are too many people sympathetic to the idea of indicting and disarming Rick Perry to use this topic to open people’s minds.

Layers and layers of editorial oversight.

The TSA has confiscated more than 1000 guns at US Airports. I’m a LOT more careful after I had my little incident in Phoenix. I was lucky, because a) it was just ammo in a magazine and not a gun and b) the Phoenix TSA and Police are pretty mellow about this kind of thing.

Activists in the News:

Frank Carroll thinks Ted Nugent has to go. I agree, but the only way it’s going to happen is for NRA members to stop voting for him.

Kroger, it seems, won’t be bullied by Shannon Watts. Some of the demanding moms seem to be moving up towards wonton destruction of property in response to Kroger’s rebuffing. If you live in Kroger Country, might be worthwhile to send some kudos their way. I don’t live in Kroger country, and am thus not a potential customer.

Reminder: the people on the other side of this issue think you and I belong in prison. To these extremists, our behavior is deviant, and on par with pedophilia.

Brady Campaign lost its suit against Armlist (this is a bit old. I must not have cleared this before).

Howard Nemerov hangs it up. This is why I blog using a pen name. You never know when you might be working with a true believer, and if they would be willing to throw you in prison, they’d be willing to ruin your professional life too.

The Connecticut Bar Association is headed for a showdown over its support for gun control.

WSJ: Where is Open Carry legal? Features a picture of fellow blogger Rick Ector of Legally Armed in Detroit.

Just Guns:

Tam: “Back in the late 19th-early 20th Centuries, rifle technology was changing by leaps and bounds, and it must’ve been hard to keep up, so there were lots of ways armies would wring one more decade out of obsolescent gear…

Off Topic:

Jim Geraghty takes a look at Democratic fundraising, and concludes that the GOP certainly isn’t behaving like they really want to take back the Senate. The problem is that the GOP is no longer the party of money. The sad thing is they haven’t realized it yet.

Are Republicans smart enough to become the party of Millennials? I’d say no.

Over fourteen thousand voters in Virginia also registered in Maryland? That’s not to say they are all casting ballots in both places, but certainly a cause for concern.


Civil Rights Victory in California

NRA’s Annual Firearms Law Seminar is reporting that we have won in the case of Sylvester v. Harris:


The Court has found that the 10-day waiting periods of Penal Code § 26815(a) and § 27540(a) violate the Second Amendment as applied to certain groups. Plaintiffs urge the Court to follow the approach of Moore v. Madigan, 702 F.3d 933, 942 (7th Cir. 2012), in which the Seventh Circuit stayed its ruling for 180-days in order to give the Illinois legislature the opportunity to craft new laws in light the unconstitutionality of various Illinois firearms laws. The Court finds Moore‟s approach to be appropriate.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

  1. The 10-day waiting periods of California Penal Code § 26815(a) and § 27540(a) violate the Second Amendment as applied to those individuals who successfully pass the BFEC/standard background check prior to 10 days and who are in lawful possession of an additional firearm as confirmed by the AFS system;(a) If the BFEC/standard background check for such an individual is completed and approved before 10-days, Defendant shall immediately release the firearm for delivery to such individual and shall not wait the full 10-days;
  2. The 10-day waiting periods of California Penal Code § 26815(a) and § 27540(a) violate the Second Amendment as applied to those individuals who successfully pass the BFEC/standard background check prior to 10 days and who possess a valid CCW license issued pursuant to California Penal Code § 26150 or § 26155;(a) If the BFEC/standard background check for such an individual is completed and approved before 10-days, Defendant shall immediately release the firearm for delivery to such individual and shall not wait the full 10-days; Case 1:11-cv-02137-AWI-SKO Document 106 Filed 08/25/14 56
  3. The 10-day waiting periods of California Penal Code § 26815(a) and § 27540(a) violate the Second Amendment as applied to those individuals who successfully pass the BFEC/standard background check prior to 10 days and who possess both a valid COE issued pursuant to California Penal Code § 26710 and a firearm as confirmed by the AFS system.(a) If the BFEC/standard background check for such an individual is completed and approved before 10-days, Defendant shall immediately release the firearm for delivery to such individual and shall not wait the full 10-days;
  4. Defendant shall modify their BFEC procedures as they deem necessary so as to be able to comply fully and in good faith with this order.

The ruling is stayed for 180 days. I would imagine the State will appeal. There could never be any sound rationale for applying a waiting period for people who already owned guns. I don’t even think there is one for a waiting period at all, but for now we’ve at least started to push back a little bit on the whole notion of waiting periods. Victories are going to come in small increments at first, and then either sweeping victories or sweeping defeats, as the case works its way up. This is one of those small increments in the right direction.

This was a case brought by the CalGuns Foundation.

With New Jersey, Options are Limited

I agree with this writer than Shaneen Allen is not collateral damage, and the law is working as the legislature intended it, and I agree with this too:

The video above makes a case for eliminating mandatory minimums to increase a judges discretion.  That isn’t a just solution.  It would still be a crime to simply possess a firearm with no criminal intent or history.   If Shaneen shouldn’t face the penalty (I agree she shouldn’t) the state has prescribed for those who possess a firearm outside of narrow exemptions, why should any other gun owner?

But I’ve long advocated that we have to recognize reality, push for what we can get, and not let perfect be the enemy of good. The reality is that this is New Jersey: the legislature is never going to change the gun laws in the manner above, unless that change is forced on them by the courts.

But they might be able to look at the Allen case an at least agree to ease up on the law a bit so otherwise law abiding people don’t find themselves looking at years in a New Jersey prison for a mistake. In truth, even that is likely an uphill battle. It would be a huge deal if the New Jersey legislature even started looking at gun owners and said, “Not all of these people should be in prison.” That would be a sea change in attitude in the Garden State.

I’m not certain whether Dancer has any chance to even get his bill a hearing. It very well might just be a means to signal support, knowing full well it’s doomed to languish in the Democratically controlled, anti-gun legislature. But I’m inclined to support it nonetheless. Only two things are going to push New Jersey back from its current position: federal courts, or a federal legislative remedy under the 14th Amendment. That’s it.

Welcome to our Guest Blogger

Ian Argent has generously offered to do some guest blogging while I’m busy trying to recuse clients from untoward disaster. Ian has guest blogged on here before when Bitter and I were in Hawaii back in 2010. He also blogged, before he got really busy (having kids and all), at his own publication: The Lair.

I had planned a big announcement with fireworks, mariachi bands, and giant fighting lizards, but Ian hit the “Publish” button instead of the “Save” button on his first post by accident, before the announcement could be made. I’m sorry to say that was a violation of the lizards’ contract and they cancelled, so here is just this announcement instead.

Ian is currently a resident of the People’s Republic of New Jersey, and also a gun owner, so have pity on him. Like many people, he is trapped behind the Iron Curtain for now. As am I, at least for several hours each week until my current engagement completes (sometime in September, at least I think).