DEA and ATF Team Up to Monitor Phoenix Area Gun Shows, Says ACLU

According to the ACLU, the DEA and ATF were conspiring to use license plate readers at gun shows. Presumably all this was because, war on drugs, and because, terrorism or something like that. You have to wonder with as pervasive as the surveillance state is becoming, with technology enabling it to ever greater heights, how long we have until there’s de facto registration even without the government even needing to resort to 4473s. Just watch a gun range for a while via drone or satellite, and just start compiling a list. Soon you won’t even need people to do this. You won’t even need to specifically focus the camera on the gun range. It’ll all be done algorithmically by computers, compiling tons and tons of data to be called up and analyzed any time the powers that be want to scrutinize someone.

The scary part is, I don’t know if there’s a good way to stop it. The chest pounders among us would perhaps suggest such a state deserves “Second Amendment remedies,” and it’s hard to argue that such a persuasive surveillance state has any legitimacy. But the technology will be there. Would you trust anyone with it?

Progress, But Not Nearly Enough

Washington, D.C. has issued eight concealed carry permits:

“We’ve had 69 applications, of which 3 were canceled at the request of the applicant,” Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said. “So far eight licenses have been approved and issued.”

Completely unacceptable. They ought to be charged with contempt. But nonetheless, there are eight people in DC who have, albeit limited, carry permits. These eight are pioneers, who would never have had them without court intervention. Let’s hope these pioneers are followed by many, many others.

Quote of the Day

Seen on the Internets:

The Libertarian Party couldn’t organize a gangbang in a whorehouse; they’d all rather sit around and argue the ethics of making people wear a rubber.

I’ve never understood the purpose of the Libertarian Party, because it never seemed to me to be all that interested in the political process. Other than running someone for President (which is kind of doing step 100 when you’re not even making it to step 5), it’s always seemed to me to be more of a philosophical society, spending most of its time and energy arguing over what libertarianism is and isn’t.

Probably the reason I’ve always preferred the term “classical liberal.” I definitely don’t fit the LP definition of libertarian, but nor am I really comfortable with the label conservative.

First GOP Shindig of the 2016 Election Season

Did anyone even know about the Iowa Freedom Summit? I didn’t, but it was essentially the launch of the 2016 election season for the GOP presidential hopefuls. Jim Geraghty has a pretty good assessment of the event, including assessments of the candidates. I only had time yesterday to tune in to two speeches on YouTube. I watched Scott Walker’s performance, because I was interested to see how he did. Walker has a touch of midwestern boring, but it was a solid speech. I like Walker’s record, but I’m concerned he might not be fiery enough on the stump to really connect with voters. The other was Chris Christie, who also delivered a pretty solid performance, but I agree with Geraghty that in a GOP primary he’s a second tier candidate:

If Bush and Romney are both in, you have to wonder how many big donors stick by him. He did better in his Iowa appearance than some might have expected, and he’s undoubtedly going to be a dominant figure in the debates. But he’s positioned himself in opposition to the rest of the party way too often, and you can’t win the GOP nomination from the Jon Huntsman slot, as the Republican nominee most acceptable to the Acela class that can’t stand Republicans.

Christie has strong political talents, but I think the compromises he’s had to make in a deep blue state controlled very decisively by the Democratic Party in every other aspect, is probably going to be too much for GOP voters anywhere other than the Northeast.

I want to like Rand Paul, but the unfortunate thing about Rand is that he shares something in common with Jack Kennedy; the biggest concern many people have is his father. I can accept that Rand is his own man, but I am very wary that he’s going to bring along the same baggage with him. If he can show he’s bringing along a different coalition, I might be open to him, but I’m not if he’s using his dad’s political apparatus. I also I’m not too keen with Tsar Vlad trotting around Eastern Europe in “quasi-isolationist non-interventionism,” as Geraghty puts it. I think after two more years of smart diplomacy, the next President is going to be in a real foreign-policy pickle.

On guns, any of these guys would be better than Obama, or Hillary, or Elizabeth Warren. I know, I know, “but… Carson,” “but… Christie,” “but… Mitt.” Yeah, we know the problems with those candidates, but the most important thing we need out of the next President are Supreme Court justices who are solid on the Second Amendment. Any Republican President is going to be expected to choose from the party’s short list. See the Harriet Miers nomination to understand what happens when Presidents don’t go that way. You’re not going to see any Republican President promoting an Obama nominee to the high court, or a liberal law professor. The only time this goes sideways is when the other party controls the Senate. By the reverse token, even if Jim Webb ends up winning in 2016, there’s little chance you’re getting a pro-2A justice out of him, no matter how much he might “support the Second Amendment” otherwise. The party divide on this issue has unfortunately become that strong.

Anti-Gun Group Confessions

The leader of a gun control group here in Pennsylvania told a Lancaster, PA outlet that they don’t consider actual prosecutions of crimes to be a relevant factor in pushing gun control laws.

In the more than five years the law’s been on the books, not one person has been prosecuted.

“It’s just to lord it over law-abiding people and threaten them with it — which is wrong and immoral,” said Jonathan Goldstein, the NRA’s attorney on the case.

Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePA, agreed that prosecutions aren’t the point of the law.

So, if enforcement isn’t the point of passing gun control laws, then what is the goal? Is it to score a “victory” to use in fundraising for more gun control group salaries? Or is the goal to create a patchwork of such complicated laws that no one wants to bother trying to become a lawful gun owner? These are questions the paper isn’t willing to follow up on, even though it should be a little odd that a gun control group spokesperson is indicating she doesn’t care if there’s any enforcement of the laws she claims are sooooo vital to public safety.

A different kind of wearable

Inspired by (Disney’s) security theater, Leatherman will be bringing a “wearable multitool” out this year. I feel for the guy who designed this; one of the minor annoyances of being a low-level road warrior (3-5 flights a year) is not being able to bring my own Skeletool with me. I’ve seriously considered buying a pack of the cheap $2/unit in bulk at the local home despot to be able to drop one in my checked luggage and not care too much if it doesn’t make it past baggage handling. This won’t fix that annoyance completely, since it won’t have a blade, but the “cutting hook” would deal with most of what I actually use a blade for (opening packages without having to use my teeth). And, of course, the most important tool, the bottle opener.

OTOH, the fine folks at TSA will probably make something up on the spot to “ban” this…

Carrots and Sticks

A very good essay by Brian Keith up on Joe Huffman’s site describing the divide between the two parts of our movement in terms of “carrots” and “sticks.” I agree with the basic premise. The only thing I would add is that sometimes the things sticks can do can thoroughly screw up what the carrots are trying to accomplish through the political process. That’s not how we’d like it to be, but politicians are not courageous people, and getting the cats to herd the way we want is a tricky and delicate process.

Like I said in a previous post, philosophically, I have no problem with the “I Will Not Comply Crowd.” I live in a state with a similar regime to Washington for handguns, and it’s probably one of the most ignored laws in the commonwealth. I have no problem with civil disobedience.  I don’t disapprove of what the sticks have been doing in Connecticut, because I don’t think there’s anything we carrots can do to help the Nutmeg State, for the time being. We’re challenging the law in federal court, and maybe, maybe down the road we could federally preempt it using Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. That’s thin gruel, and I recognize that. But we are trying, and I think over the long run we have a good chance of being successful.

The big strategic question of gun rights in the last two years of the Obama Administration is how we defang Bloomberg, because he, without a doubt, is the single biggest threat our gun rights have faced since the 1990s. He’s not going to be intimidated by sticks; he has enough money to hire his own private army to protect him if he wishes. He’s not going to be concerned with carrots either, because most of us aren’t billionaires, and don’t have the money to throw around the political process that he does. So what do we do?

David Gregory Arrest Affidavit Released

Essentially, the DC Metropolitan Police wanted to arrest Gregory, but the DC prosecutor declined, arguing he was a nice guy and didn’t possess the magazine with any criminal intent. This surely would not be a defense for you or I should we find ourselves similarly situated to Gregory. He’s getting off because he has the best immunity in the world: celebrity. Like you and me only better, indeed.

Is Losing Big Better Than Losing Small?

Other bloggers have linked Publicola’s post about the dangers of compromise, so you might have seen it already. I had to wait until I had time to address it. Publicola is argues the no-compromise position, but he’s always been a reasonable fellow, and willing to make arguments instead of flinging insults, so I respect him for that. His post is probably one of the best defenses of the no-compromise position I’ve read:

In the short term it seems to help by lessening the damage done by a law, but in the long run it makes a law harder to repeal or have ruled unconstitutional. Further it makes intensifying the effects of a law by further additions over time more plausible.

Read the whole thing. One thing I would point out is that the courts weren’t much of an option for us until 2008 for federal gun laws, and not until 2014 for state gun laws (at least in federal court). So prior to 2008, or at least prior to the retirement of Sandra Day O’Conner, the courts were never going to rule anything unconstitutional on Second Amendment grounds because they didn’t have the votes for it.

But that’s not to say it’s a bad point Publicola makes. I’d feel a lot better challenging a five round limit in court than a fifteen round limit, because the five round limit is more apparently unreasonable. But I still wouldn’t feel good about either, because I know what arguments the other side will make and how federal judges mostly think about the issue. For the foreseeable future, the courts are a crapshoot when it comes to challenging gun control. If the courts are ever stronger defenders of Second Amendment rights, I think this point will be completely valid, and it might make sense to remain obstinate, knowing the courts will more likely have your back with a more intrusive law.

I’d also concede that when we accepted the position of instant background checks, we made our position for arguing against expanding them more difficult. We absolutely did. But by the same token, it’s hard to see how we’d be better off as a community if we had been stuck with 7-day waiting periods, as the original Brady Bill originally wanted, or been stuck with the local police, given later non-commandeering doctrine development by the courts, compiling their own registries using the background check applications as originally envisioned by the early versions of the Brady Bill. It’s also difficult to see how we’d have been better off with an assault weapons ban with a one-feature test, no sunset, and a five round magazine limit (which is what they wanted, originally). Most of the current “Gun Culture 2.0” never could have developed and flourished under those circumstances, and a lot of people would have moved on.

The ultimate problem with the argument is that it assumes everyone stay outraged and angry, and will keep fighting. Some will, no doubt, but many won’t. They will exit the gun community. More importantly, their kids will likely not be part of it. With the right law, they can destroy or heavily curtail the gun culture. Look at New Jersey, for instance. Most of their worst New Jersey gun control laws date back in 1960s, and while there are still impassioned people fighting over there, for the most part New Jersey’s laws have succeeded in destroying their gun culture to the point where they are pretty much at the mercy of the legislature. California and New York are also in the same boat. I don’t think the gun culture in any of those states is better off for having lost big.

News Links for Wednesday 1-21-2014

You may have noticed posting getting a bit light again. That is because I have been re-engaged at my client this week, as their project is wrapping up. Additionally, I’ll be taking on another client for a infrastructure and security evaluation, but the deliverable there is a report, so I don’t expect that to be a huge time suck. There has actually been a decent amount of gun news, which I present thusly:

I continue my tradition of not going to SHOT. Not that I don’t want to go, but I don’t really have the money to dump on a week in Vegas. Going to the NRA Annual Meeting every year is about all we can muster. If you’re looking for good SHOT coverage, visit The Firearm Blog.

Why are anti-gunners so violent? Mouth foaming CSGV supporters agree! Also, why does Shannon Watts hate America?

Oh, speaking of CSGV’s foaming at the mouth supporters …

What was the motivation behind the M4/M16 hit piece that recently cropped up? Tam has a look.

Looks like Bloomberg is already lining up his rich buddies to repeat “rich assholes buy democracy” in Nevada.

Maryland’s new gun laws are headed to appeal.

MyFoxPhilly: “Legally purchased guns caused a man to lose custody of his son.

Dems in Western PA: “Hey, we’re not those anti-gun kinda Dems around here.” Unfortunately, it’s becoming your parties brand. I think a lot of blue dogs are going to be sorry they ever shilled for Obama, and a lot of them did.

Federal judge considering whether to hold DC in contempt. They aren’t going to let people carry unless the judge shows he’s serious. I hope he does hold them in as much contempt as they are holding all our rights.

SayUncle said it better than me about the TTAG Charlie Hedbo simulation. Also, from the comments, it looks like Michael Bane is planning to do one of his own. I think that’s a good idea. My only objection was to inviting the media to a hurried and seemingly not well-planned event.

Democracy is the serially uninformed and easily led being suckered into voting against their own best interests by deep-pocketed grifters who are looking out only for themselves.” Sometimes it doesn’t seem republics are any better, but they are better.

Ace of Spades updates on the recent ATF rulings. ATF is getting more absurd, and more arbitrary and capricious in its rulings. This is entirely inappropriate when it comes to a protected civil right. What is the sense in denying people the ability to rent machines in order to make lowers? I think this is ripe for a lawsuit.

Michael Bane reminds everyone that we did have a media education program, a la Bloomberg. Well, not a la Bloomberg. Our folks weren’t peddling garbage.

S.E. Cupp also has more to say about Bloomberg’s “education” program. Also see more on the subject here.

Turns out Michigan Governor Rick Snyder isn’t all that reliable on Second Amendment issues when he doesn’t have to face voters again. Hope he’s not aspiring to higher office, because if he is, we’ll be sure he flames out in his primary.

Joe Huffman posts his speech from the January 15th rally in Olympia. I think everyone should read it. If you’d rather watch it, head here.

The OC clowns have now accomplished getting firearms banned from the House and Senate galleries in Washington State. I take issue with Alan Gottlieb’s assertions that people like this are on our side. This follows on the great success of Texas activists in getting the legislature to vote for panic buttons in offices. Much more of this, Bloomberg can quit spending his money and just let misguided OC activists handle everything.

“This is a culture war, folks,” said Blake.  “They don’t like what we do.”

Politico: “The Myth Behind Defensive Gun Ownership.” I say drop the writers off in the worst neighborhood in Detroit, and then see how they feel about defensive gun ownership. You’ll see a lot more of this. The left is scared to death of the trent in public opinion, and they will use their media allies to do whatever they can to reverse it.

Why the CDC isn’t funding anti-gun propaganda.

Demographics is not destiny. It’s worth noting that Bush managed to get a significant chunk of the Hispanic vote ten years ago. Parties get cocky and arrogant at their own risk.

Conservatives battling Comcast. My act of defiance against Comcast’s evil was to cut the cord. Don’t give them money. There’s nothing worth watching on TV these days anyway.