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The Horror: Eddie Eagle

These days, I’ve kind of felt like most anti-gun editorials are really more of a dog bites man story. But every once in a while, you’ll find one that dials up the stupid to 11, and you just can’t help but mock it. This is one of those stories:

As I flipped through the pages of this children’s activity book, my innocent curiosity quickly shifted to annoyance and then disgust. This was a book written for preschoolers to first graders with the intent of teaching kids not to play with the guns that they find through the hero-like advice of a large talking bird.

Yes, the abject horror of kids learning not to play with guns. What will that evil National Rifle Association think up next!? Don’t they know that a lot of kids are killed by guns every year? And that poor Trayvon, “with Skittles in one hand and iced tea in the other, was shot to death in 2012 via Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.” To borrow from Miguel a bit:

“We have to do something about all these kids who die from gun accidents.”

“Okay, we’ll create a program that teaches young children that guns are dangerous, and not to play with them.”

“That’s awful. You can’t do that. Think of all the kids that die from guns!”

First Victim of the Washington State Transfer Ban

A museum is having to return parts of an exhibit because the guns were on loan, and when I-594 goes into effect, that will be illegal. There will be a lot of little stories like this, and each one is ammunition that can be used to help defeat this in other states.

Enhanced Preemption Law Paying Dividends

Despite the legal challenge against the new enhanced preemption law, the law is already paying off. Norristown council has revoked its lost and stolen ordinance.

In light of the recent amendments to the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act, which grant an expansive right of legal standing to individuals and membership organizations to challenge a local gun control ordinance,” the ordinance said, “which further provide for exorbitant damages that can be shifted to the municipality if unsuccessful in defending its ordinance, council has determined that it is in the best interests of the municipality to remove any regulation of lost or stolen firearms.”

It’s amazing how these municipalities were so confident in the legality of these ordinances when they were being passed over objections that they were illegal, are now are suddenly not so confident with the near certainly they will be sued and held accountable.

The Oregon Shoe Drops

Because here it comes:

Democrats in the Oregon Legislature say the outlook to expand background checks on gun purchases is better in 2015 than it has been in years, thanks to Senate seats they picked up in the Nov. 4 election and passage of an initiative with similar provisions in Washington.

Now defeating legislation in legislatures is something we’re pretty good at. This isn’t the ballot, so we have a better chance. I had wondered why Bloomberg didn’t target Oregon. I would think it’s a logical next step. But I suspect he got promises from Kitzhaber that he would push for a bill in exchange for Bloomberg’s support in his reelection. So Bloomberg decided to give him a chance to live up to his promise. If we beat this in the legislature, Bloomberg can always fall back to the ballot and get what he wants anyway. First he’ll try to get his money’s worth out of Kitzhaber, which is cheaper than a ballot fight, but he’s got the pockets to go for a full ballot fight if Kitzhaber disappoints him.

Russia Easing Rules on Concealed Carry

Perhaps after years of strict gun control and astronomical violent crime rates, the Russians government is finally coming to their senses. But this part is also interesting:

In addition, the amendment softened requirements for foreigners bringing arms into the Russian Federation or purchasing arms on Russian territory. The grace period for foreigners awaiting a license from the Interior Ministry for firearms has been increased from 5 to 10 days.

Not that it would make me any more likely to visit Russia, but it would help. I’d be more wary of their drivers, to be honest. The article notes that “The legislation also forbids carrying a weapon while under the influence of alcohol,” which I suspect disqualifies a more than significant part of the population.

The Long Game With Bloomberg

KeepCalmIgnoreI decided not to include John Richardson’s excellent piece on the I-594 aftermath in the news links, because it is good enough to warrant extra attention. You can read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. John thinks he’s figured out Bloomberg’s formula for which states to target, which I think is pretty good. One thing I would add is that in some states, like Oklahoma, the Attorney General can alter the title of an initiative if they believe it is misleading or inaccurate. So that’s another factor that Bloomberg may have to consider when evaluating whether to target a state.

Joe Huffman notes that he’s been busy recalling guns:

I understand the strong emotions I’m picking up from a bunch of people. I have a lot of them myself. Just last week I retrieved the last of the guns I had loaned out*. That transfer wouldn’t have been legal had I waited until I-594 went into effect. A lot of the innocent, everyday type of things we do with guns will soon be illegal. The Second Amendment is no different than the First Amendment. If there isn’t an victim then there cannot be a crime to exercise that freedom in that way. But we have vile enemies who want to destroy our freedoms. We must stand up to them.

[…]

*This gun was to a friend that had someone try to get in her apartment late at night. She lived alone, was unemployed, broke, and couldn’t even pay her rent at the time. I took her to the range, did a bunch of training, then loaned her a gun until she could afford her own. The transfer to her would not have been legal without a background check and fees under I-594. As this gun was rather old, I had purchased it second hand, I didn’t want it being in a registry, and I didn’t want to pay money to get my own gun back so I retrieved it.

This ties into what John mentioned about the Bloomberg strategy being to attack the basis on which the gun culture is spread and passed on. That he’s able to hide this under the popular notion of universal background checks is so innovative, if it wasn’t so evil I’d have to admire its ingenuity. Unlike other foes we’ve encountered, John is right, Bloomberg is not a moron.

We’ve had to live under a similar regime in Pennsylvania for a very long time, but in Joe’s scenario, I would have at least two options here. One is to loan her a shotgun, since our law only applies to handguns (though, the anti-gun folks are trying to change that). The other would be to have her apply for a License to Carry Firearms, since it’s been legal to loan a handgun to an LTC holder. But mostly, we deal with the law by ignoring it. Most people in Pennsylvania have no idea it’s technically illegal to handle someone else’s handgun if they don’t have a License to Carry, and it’s probably the most frequently broken gun law in this Commonwealth, but for the most part, people get away with it. I suspect that Washingtonians will turn massive non-compliance into a similar sort of situation that we live with here.

Jon Stewart Mocks NRA for Opposing Ivory Ban

I stopped watching The Daily Show a long time ago, because Stewart is a partisan hack that plays the “I’m just a comedian” card any time someone challenges him on his hackery, or lack of command of the issues. So I wasn’t surprised to see Stewart mocking NRA for opposing the Obama Administration’s ivory ban.

Ivory has been illegal to import since 1990. What the Obama Administration has done is to shift the burden of proof to owner to prove that the ivory in question was imported before 1990. This means if you’re selling an antique or pre-ban guns with ivory, Fish and Wildlife Service can come arrest you and then only later drop charges if you can prove the provenance of the ivory (the ivory, mind you, not necessary the gun it’s on) to the satisfaction of FWS officials.

Did Stuart or his writers ever stop to think that a lot of old and antique guns have ivory grips, or ivory as part of their furniture? Do they realize that old and historic power horns are made of ivory? Sure, there are plenty who have a proven pedigree, but how many people have old family heirlooms that aren’t papered? That’s why NRA, along with a lot of musicians (who supposedly Stewart doesn’t think are crazy) opposes the Administration on this ban. This is not even considering the effects it will have on grandfathered pieces in the hunting community.

Obama’s proposal is radical, and upends the notion that people are innocent until proven guilty, but Stewart is so ignorant, he and his writers don’t even realize what this measure does. NRA is right to oppose it. So are musicians. Guilty until proven innocent is not the American way, and I fully expect NRA to oppose laws which make it easy for gun owners to end up in prison.

Tuesday 11-18-2014 News Links

As happens every week or so, I have more stuff in the tabs than I could possibly comment on:

Not News: DC Police Show a profound lack of respect for Second Amendment rights.

As Joe Huffman likes to say: Don’t ever let anyone convince you they aren’t after your guns.

Say Uncle: Registration leads to confiscation.

They don’t really care about jobs, if those jobs are in disfavored industries that employ and empower their political enemies.

The 11th Circuit has upheld the Florida law prohibiting doctors from asking about gun ownership. I had thought there were First Amendment issues, and I still think that, but apparently the courts don’t agree. Maybe if the AMA and other medical groups would stop pushing doctors to be political operatives, this kind of thing would not be necessary.

Sunnyvale’s magazine ban is going before the 9th Circuit. The 9th has been more friendly to gun rights than I expected, but given that one of our influential scholars on this has already pre-conceded this ground, I don’t expect it to go well.

Dan Malloy actually lost in Newtown. I’ve been looking, and that’s the only place I’ve seen that, along with the original Ammoland article. Doesn’t fit the narrative.

Apparently O’Malley was silencing dissenting voices in law enforcement over the implementation of the new draconian gun control laws in the Old Line State. Not surprising. Law enforcement rank and file are not on their side. It’s that protecting the narrative thing again.

New Jersey raises the fee for a handgun carry permit, among a general increase in fees for various governmental services. I’m not sure how they expect this will raise money, given that NJ practically doesn’t issue handgun carry permits, unless maybe they are seeing the writing on the wall and figure they at least can get more coin if the courts force them to issue.

Dave Hardy notes just how badly journalists can misunderstand gun laws. Yet out of the other side of their mouths, they’ll tell everyone how common sense these laws are, even though they don’t understand them.

I guess I’m not the only one who noticed that Giffords and Kelly have been very quiet since the election. Her old seat was lost to a Republican. There’s also the issue, I think, that Bloomberg is showing that gun control is only successful when backed by rich billionaire assholes willing to spend millions on it, and Giffords and Kelly are not rich people.

Watch out Florida. Looks like they are eyeing a ballot measure there for a transfer ban.

This looks like the kind of common sense gun reform we can all get behind. I’m often surprised by how byzantine some aspects of Texas’ gun laws are.

Miguel on gun control advocates:

“We cannot have people shooting! It is loud and bothers me. I don’t wanna hear it”
“OK, we are then gonna approve the use of silencers so the noise does not bother you.”
“You can’t let people use silencers! It is not safe because I cannot hear the shooting!”

More on UBCs and Registration

Some good discussion happening on the previous thread, perhaps because we had some dead air this past Friday and I’m late posting today. I thought I’d add a few more ideas to the discussion.

In theory I like alternative background check systems, such as BIDS. If every person who was prohibited from owning firearms was an armed robber or murderer, I wouldn’t be that concerned. But a lot of people are prohibited for relatively trivial non-violent crimes, and BIDS would require putting their personal information, useful for identity theft, out there in public. Encryption isn’t going to help, because if a lot of people have keys, it’s only a matter of when, not if, a hacker compromises those keys. You could reduce the amount of information in the system, to make theft of the information more difficult, but then you’re running a stronger likelihood of a false positive.

Ultimately, I’m not that concerned that the government knows I’m a gun owner. It’s difficult to hide that anyway, and there’s a lot of non-governmental avenues by which an unfriendly regime could determine I own, did own, or was at least interested in firearms. I am much more concerned about the government knowing what I own. In thinking about any system, the great object is to prevent this. If the government knows you are or maybe were a gun owner, as long as you have a plausible, legal way out of that status without having to tell the government, you have deniability. If they know what you own they can come take it whenever they want, and there’s nothing you can do. Turn them over? Say no, and you’re a criminal. Tell them you sold that gun years ago? Criminal. You’re not allowed to do that. Had it dump into the lake on a canoe trip? Well, “Lost and Stolen,” you know. It’s registration that enables confiscation. To accept it, means accepting the anti-tyrrany purpose of the Second Amendment doesn’t exist.

Background checks poll well. Registration not as much, but it still polls better than it should. The only way you’re going to turn the numbers around is by informing people what the transfer restrictions proposed by our opponents actually do, such as making it illegal to take a friend shooting to see if he or she enjoys it. I think the the argument that universal background checks are also universal registration is also worth using, but to do that you will have to explain how we already have partial registration via the 4473. Not many gun owners realize that a fairly comprehensive registry could be built in a matter of years just based on the contents of the ATF warehouse in West Virginia.

For those interested in how to beat gun control at the ballot, I would strongly recommend Dave Kopel’s piece “Against All Odds” that appeared in America’s First Freedom. It accounts how we beat a handgun ban on the ballot in Massachusetts in 1976. Then we were able to outspend our opponents, but it also was a huge grassroots effort. GOAL commanded 2000 volunteers to defeat the ban, and that’s the kind of manpower we’ll need to defeat Bloomberg’s transfer ban and registration scheme as this whole sad struggle moves forward.

It’s Time to Discuss the Bloomberg Problem

Miguel jumps on the news that Bloomberg’s outfit has silently been pouring money into the State of Nevada for the past several months, and have now dropped the bombshell of having collected 250,000 signatures to get their “Universal Background Checks” fraud on the ballot for 2016.

It is my opinion that we are going to lose this fight as bad or worse than we lost Washington, if the ballot title is as equally misleading. So that begs the question, what do we do? The way I see it, this is our reality:

  • The concept of background checks for gun purchases is overwhelmingly popular with voters. They lack the passion to push for legislative change through a Republican process, but put it on a ballot, and voters think it’s a nice idea that translates into “keep guns away from criminals.” If they see it on a ballot, backed up by enough advertising, they will vote for it.
  • Bloomberg and other rich asshole billionaires can afford to outspend us 10 to 1 or even 20 to 1 in every state that has the ballot and it won’t put a dent in their fortunes. Ballot initiatives mostly come down to who can spend the most money, so they will win just based on sheer spending alone.
  • Voters don’t actually read ballot initiatives. The title says it all. If the title talks about universal background checks, we will lose. People have no idea the implications, because they are rationally ignorant. If we could get it called the Universal Registration Initiative of 2016, we’d probably beat it.

The next question is what do we do to counter it. I see a few paths forward:

  • Develop a more acceptable compromise bill that implements background checks upon change of title, but without the registration component, which is far more dangerous. You can exempt CCW holders, and allow people to obtain a background check certificate that certifies someone is clear, and then the private sale can happen. In this case all the government would know is that Joe Blow obtained a background check certificate. They wouldn’t know if he bought, or what he bought. Maybe he just got it to go shopping. Remember, as long as there’s a way to transfer a firearm without a 4473, there are legal avenues for you NOT to have that gun when they come knocking for it. In order for this to shut Bloomberg down, it would have to be done at the federal level. It’s too late for Nevada, even if something like this passed next week. Of course, I wouldn’t accept anything like this as the federal level unless we got something in return, so attach to the bill eliminating restrictions on interstate transfers. Why do we need them? Now everyone gets a background check.
  • Keep fighting Bloomberg on the ballot measures until we beat him. I don’t believe this will work, because even if this ends up on the ballot in Arizona, I think it will win. See the part about background checks as a concept being popular with voters. I don’t think he’ll get the margin in Arizona, but even in a best case scenario, we beat him in Arizona, he still wins two state for our every one.
  • Forget fighting defensively, and shove National Reciprocity and some Federal Preemption under the 14th Amendment so far up Bloomberg’s ass that he chokes on Section 5. Hold open carry protests outside his residences in New York City as a giant FU. Emotionally that might feel good, but at the end of the day he’s still going to continue winning ballot fights, because he has the money for it.
  • Fight it in court. I don’t believe the courts will invalidate the applicability of background checks to private transfers in title, but I think there is a better chance to get the courts to rule that applicability of background checks to temporary transfers is overly broad and thus unconstitutional. Even California, for instance, exempts transfers for up to 30 days. I think it would also be possible to argue that as applied to CCW holders, the statute is overly broad. However, the other side is likely to argue that the registration component, processing through the FFL and 4473, is a key government interest. Personally, I’d love to have them in court arguing that, because it makes the case that this isn’t about background checks, but about sneaking universal gun registration in through the back door. Either way, the courts take a while, and without more pro-2nd Amendment ruling from higher courts, I think we’re a long way from being able to fight this effectively with lawyers.

I don’t like any of these options, really, but the purpose of the post is to get people thinking and talking. Sometimes you don’t have a choice between winning and losing. Sometimes the choice is between losing a lot, or losing a little.

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