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The Long Struggle

Speaking of Glenn Beck, today in his announcement that he’s done with the GOP, he offered me an introduction to a series of posts I’ve been wanting to link for a while now. Sarah A. Hoyt posted “A Winter At Valley Forge:”

You know, I read all over the net, mostly in comments (and more on that later) that the GOP had gone spineless and they had funded Obama’s amnesty. So I went and looked at numbers. 1/3 of the GOP flipped. ONE THIRD.

Two thirds held firm. And this on a matter that has emotional appeal to politicians if not to the people on the ground. You see, they are convinced if they vote against it it will drive Latinos away from the GOP. It’s what the media and their corrupted offices tell them. It’s the “smart” opinion, as opposed to all us rubes on the ground.

And two thirds held firm.

You’d think it would be a moment to celebrate. You know, ten years ago half of them or more would have caved. But we’ve been working on taking over the GOP. And it has effects.

It seems to me what we should be doing is celebrating that two thirds held firm, and taking notes of the cavers to primary them.

You’ve seen a similar dynamic in the gun issue. A few decades ago there were Republicans who would reliably line up to screw us on the gun issue. Mike Castle probably would have his own AR-15 ammo ban bill drawn up and ready to go. But where are those people now? Gone, most of them. Sure, there’s still Pete King and a few other squishes, but overall the Republican Party is now far more solid on the gun issue than they were ten years ago. Everyone was worried who we were going to lose after Sandy Hook. Our experience told us that we’d likely lose enough Republicans so that things that weren’t possible before may suddenly become possible. But that didn’t happen. With the exception of Pat Toomey and Mark Kirk, the GOP stood with us, and I have a feeling Toomey isn’t going to be crossing us again on much else between now and his re-election bid. They didn’t do it because they were such nice guys. They did it because we fought a decades long battle create that circumstance.

Sarah Hoyt has two follow on posts here and here. I encouraged you to read the whole articles, if you read nothing else this week. From the first link:

But beyond that – what do you expect to accomplish by saying “I will never vote for a republican again?” or “I’m going third party?”

I know what you think you can accomplish. You think the GOP will fall in line.

WHY WOULD THEY?

What you’re saying is “I’m going to keep the dems in power for the rest of our natural lives.”

You know what the unprincipled (most establishment) GOP hears when you say that? “I’d better cozy up to the left because they’re the future. Let me see what I can concede today. I sure would like to keep my job as the loyal opposition.”

Is that what you want? No? Change your tactics.

It took the gun issue a long time to get rid of most of the anti-gun and squishy Republicans, but we largely succeeded. It’s going to take an equally long time to get rid of the GOP establishment that prefers to chase big donors, and go along to get along, than to embrace any kind of populism. Populism, even conservito-libertarian populism, is scary for elites. There was never going to be a scenario where they were going to roll over and accept it without a fight. But we in the gun issue have shown it can be done successfully, even if the elites are against us. The same is true of the populist movement attempting to wrest control of the GOP, whether you want to call it the Tea Party, or something else.

Beck Walking Back NRA Statements

I’m told that Glenn Beck is walking back his NRA comments from last week on his radio show today, which is good. Grover Norquist announced that he welcomes NRA’s investigation. Like I said, I have mixed feelings about DC insiders on the NRA Board, but I do have to admit that David Keene fits that definition, and I thought during the worst of Sandy Hook he was quite an elegant speaker on behalf of the cause. But what bothered me about Beck’s statement was that it showed a lack of understanding about how NRA picks its board, and showed a willingness to hurt the organization over tangential issues. I should note that distinct from arguing NRA is too soft, etc. That’s a separate argument.

At this point, there is no control NRA can exercise over whether Grover Norquist wins or loses. The only control really is through the nominating committee, and that is largely a board entity. That ship sailed in January. Grover’s future on the NRA board is now exclusively in the hands of voting members. Second it’s over an issue that has no relationship whatsoever to NRA’s mission. Even if the accusation is true, I don’t see how one board member out of 76 is going to help accomplish a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of the NRA. I agree with the reader who commented that he didn’t see the Muslim Brotherhood end game here.

There are dozens of people who are on the NRA board I wish weren’t, but it’s never been something I’ve thought worth quitting over. I just don’t vote for those people. If all Glenn Beck did was encourage his audience to not vote for Grover, I’d think that a perfectly productive way to deal with the issue. It’s the threat to quit, and by influence having members of his audience follow that I took issue with.

Peddling Outrage While Leaving Out Key Facts

It seems that Media Matters set their sights on Cam Edwards yesterday, challenging him on biography. See, at one point Cam said he received a resolution from the Oklahoma State House. It turns out it was a citation recognizing from not only the House, but also from the Lt. Governor. Yup, big discrepancy there.

However, their focus is on trying to make him look like he’s a media version of “stolen valor” by claiming an Emmy award. They even got the local executive director to back up the claims, yet Media Matters and the executive director aren’t acknowledging that Cam did actually receive an award giving his name in the honors section for his “significant contribution” on the documentary that won the Emmy. It’s signed by their president and everything.

Now, Cam did take time to update his bio to be more accurate. I mean we don’t want the Media Matters folks to worry their heads about the “Great Oklahoman citation” wording any more. And now it’s clearer that it came from not just the House, but even the Lt. Governor at the time. But more importantly, he did re-word it so it more accurately reflects that his work was part of a team effort that won an Emmy.

As Cam notes, this is part of the effort to keep everyone outraged about everything. Even with evidence presented that raise questions about their accusations (right now, MM is calling the Emmy thing a “lie” on their front page, despite having been provided the evidence that he did receive an honor from them), it’s not about accurately reporting the situation.

Here Comes the Democrat Ammunition Bans

After ATF’s capitulation, the Democrats were quick to show their true colors and wave the gun control flag proudly. First out was Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) with H.R. 1358 “To enact into law a framework for deciding whether certain projectiles are primarily intended for sporting purposes for purposes of determining whether the projectiles are armor piercing ammunition.” It looks like we’re going to have another bill later this week, introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA). Unlike Engel’s bill, which we do not have language for yet, Speier has introduced her bill in previous Congresses. Her bill would ban all centerfire rifle ammunition, because it changes the standard to apply to any ammunition capable of penetrating body armor typically worn by police officers, and which is designed to stop handgun rounds, not rifle rounds.

This is all fine by the Democratic Party of Barack Obama. It’s not that there haven’t been reps out there on the anti-gun fringes for a long time, introducing bills like these that they can put on a press release knowing they will die in committee. What’s different now is they are out, proud and loud about how anti-gun they are. Take Steve Israel for example, calling ATF “cowards” for backing down from a clearly unworkable proposal. There was a time when the Democratic Party believed that gun control was an issue that was keeping them out in the wilderness, and started to walk away from it. We have to ensure they stay out in the wilderness, for a while, until it’s become apparent they’ve really learned their lesson.

National Firearms Law Seminar

If you’re an attorney or just interested in firearms laws, then you shouldn’t miss the National Firearms Law Seminar at the NRA annual meeting.

I have to say that this year’s program really stands out for the combination of nationally known speakers, as well as the practical topics covered a bit more in-depth by some of the lawyers working on Second Amendment issues you may not have heard about yet.

For one, the lunch speaker is Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame. Having heard him speak before, I can say that he always delivers a really good presentation that informative as well as entertaining. The program notes that his lunch speech will look at “the transformation of the Second Amendment from an ’embarrassing’ outlier to the Bill of Rights, to a provision that, like other parts of the Bill of Rights, protects identifiable individual rights in court.” Massad Ayoob will be giving a presentation on armed self-defense, highlighting mistakes “by the shooter at the scene, and by defense counsel in court.” That should be quite interesting, even for the non-attorney.

In my opinion one of the most interesting topics looks like it could end up being the session on the Brady Campaign’s recent litigation strategy against individual FFLs. The description of this talk by Cord Byrd notes that they have been “utilizing state laws including negligent entrustment, negligence per se and public nuisance to circumvent the protections afforded by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.” Then you have the always wonderful Sarah Gervase who packs so much practical information for attorneys into her topics each year talking about civil rights actions in firearms cases for this year’s Nashville seminar.

Registration is online, and there are discounts for various folks – law students, those who only want to attend the lunch speech by Glenn Reynolds, just a half day, and even for non-attorneys. There’s pretty much no way that you won’t walk out of the sessions learning something new if you choose to attend.

Even as someone who isn’t a practicing attorney and who doesn’t do the legal analysis for the blog, there’s usually something I pick up that gives me so much more context and understanding about the cases we hear about during the next year. More importantly, as I’ve met many people who maybe had a little minor offense, often nothing related to firearms at all, when they were 18 who are still paying a penalty with their firearms rights when they are 68 over the years, I’ve realized how invaluable it is that defense attorneys should know at least something about this area of law and how it impacts their clients.

My M855 Public Comment

Even though BATFE backed down from its proposed rule change to reclassify M855 as “armor piercing,” I still thought it important to get a comment in if they decided to revive the issue at some point. Since I’m an officer at my local club, I figured I’d make a motion at the members meeting that our club send a public comment, and the motion carried without opposition. Tomorrow is the deadline for comments, so I thought I’d publish my comment here, just in case any of you might want to borrow some language for your own submissions:

March 15, 2015

Denise Brown
Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
99 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20226

Dear Ms. Brown,

I am writing to you on behalf of Falls Township Rifle and Pistol Association, a 1,200 member private shooting club located in Falls Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The members of our club stand in opposition to ATFs proposal to ban commonly used M855 “green tip” ammunition by classifying it as “armor piercing.” While we are pleased that your agency has decided to back down from this proposal for now, we would like to make our opinion known, and considered in the event BAFTE decides to move forward with this proposal in the future. M855 ammunition is not classified as “armor piercing” by our military, and neither do we believe M855 ammunition should be classified as armor piercing under federal law. As you are aware, the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 1986 defined armor piercing ammunition as such:

(B) The term “armor piercing ammunition” means—

(i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or
(ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.

(C) The term “armor piercing ammunition” does not include shotgun shot required by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile which the Attorney General finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the Attorney General finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil and gas well perforating device.

As you are also likely aware, M855 ammunition has a core that not “constructed entirely” from the listed substances, but has a core that is made from both lead and steel. It is also not readily apparent that M855 is “larger than .22 caliber” given that its bullet diameter is the same as the popular rimfire cartridge, and nor was M855 “designed and intended for use in a handgun.” M855’s jacket does not comprise “more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.” It is our assertion that M855 does not even fit into the statutory definition of “armor piercing ammunition.”

We further assert that even if M855 was to be classified as armor piercing, it surely fits into the exemption in the subsection C as “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.” M855 is used by millions of recreational and competitive shooters, including many members of our club, as an inexpensive source of practice ammunition.

BATFE director Jones has expressed concern about M855’s ability to penetrate soft body armor typically worn by police. But as you are certainly aware, soft body armor is only intended to stop handgun bullets. M855 has no greater ability to penetrate soft armor than any other round loaded in .223/5.56x45mm. Indeed, any centerfire rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and target shooting is capable of penetrating soft armor. M855 is therefore not any more amenable to criminal misuse than other rifle ammunition. We believe this should weigh heavily against any decision to remove the sporting purposes exemption for this ammunition which has been in place and working for the past 30 years.

Sincerely,

 

My Real Name, Secretary

Does the Conservative Movement Own NRA’s Soul?

I’ll be frank, I’m not the biggest fan of having Grover Norquist on NRA’s Board, primarily because I want to the NRA to remain dedicated to its members, and not channeling the interests of DC insiders. But I am an even lesser fan of NRA living in terror of a nut job like Glenn Beck:

Beck said in a letter on the NRA political action group’s website that NRA executive director Wayne LaPierre is “taking this very seriously” and is beginning an “open and transparent investigation into these alleged ties.”

Beck’s accusation is that Norquist has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which seems rather fantastic to me, even if I’m not Grover’s biggest fan. But one thing I am definitely not a fan of is letting Glenn Beck dictate terms to the NRA. Yes, he has a large audience. I’ve been present at meetings of a local gun rights group where dozens of “Agenda 21” whack jobs pummeled a local politician with that nonsense when the guy came to discuss gun rights. I do not think Beck is good for the conservative movement, and I believe NRA would be better off without those kinds of followers. I don’t want one man to have the ability to decide who will and won’t be on NRA’s Board.

The correct thing to do here is to tell Beck to get bent and stop hiring him to do NRA activities. If he quits, he quits. If his followers quit, let them quit. I want an NRA composed of people who support gun rights, and support it to the hilt. If you’re going to quit because you think Norquist might be a secret muslim because he married a Palestinian woman, I don’t need your “help.” If hating on muslims, or anyone who has any contact with them, is more important to you than gun rights, you don’t really believe in gun rights. If you don’t want Grover Norquist on the Board of NRA, then don’t vote for him. If other members still manage to push him over the top, and you quit NRA over it, then pardon me if I don’t question your dedication to the Second Amendment.

What a Pain it is to Deal with Freedom

I had to take a couple of breaks from this Atlantic piece on how awful it is that the First Amendment allows unpleasant people to say unpleasant things in an unpleasant manner.

Yes, freedom does mean that some people will live and speak in a different manner than you – maybe even in a way that is offensive. Speaking out and telling them how offensive they are is often a great tool to get them to quiet down. In fact, such results might even be considered social shaming, which is a form of punishment that exists outside of government. It involves things like individual people making the decision to no longer support the people who offend them and letting them suffer social consequences that can often be extremely unpleasant. However, the Atlantic writer appears to believe that since such punishment doesn’t involve a police gun to the head, handcuffs, and a court room, it’s not actually any punishment at all.

I think what really got me going was the extreme elitism on display in this bit:

No one with a frontal lobe would mistake this drunken anthem for part of an uninhibited and robust debate about race relations. … If the First Amendment has become so bloated, so ham-fisted, that it cannot distinguish between such filth and earnest public debate about race, then it is time we rethink what it means.

It would seem that the argument is that if you can’t speak eloquently and aren’t engaged in thoughtful debate, then your First Amendment rights should be “rethought.”

I have to say that one reason this elitism on speech probably drove me a little more up the wall today is because I just witnessed someone in another forum who, to be blunt, is currently incapable of speaking eloquently or engaging in what the writer would consider “earnest public debate.” While her form of rather odd text speak at all times is nearly impossible for others to follow, that doesn’t mean the government needs to declare that she deserves less in the way of protection for her speech than what I deserve because I am likely capable of being more articulate in expressing the same things.

Freedom means that some people will make different choices that you don’t like. The beauty of freedom is that when those people are in charge, you can make the choices they don’t like and feel confident that you won’t be put away for the “crime” of those statements and actions.

ATF Director Badmouthing Rifle Ammunition

ATF B. Todd Jones would seem to indicate he’s not just concerned about M855:

In a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, ATF Director B. Todd Jones said all types of the 5.56 military-style ammo used by shooters pose a threat to police as more people buy the AR-15-style pistols.

“Any 5.56 round” is “a challenge for officer safety,” he said. Jones asked lawmakers to help in a review of a 1986 bill written to protect police from so-called “cop killer” rounds that largely exempted rifle ammo like the 5.56 because it has been used by target shooters, not criminals.

They’ve been trying to use this issue as a backdoor gun ban since I was in elementary school, as a way to ban all rifle ammunition. Here’s my concern: I hadn’t realized Jones was scheduled to appear in a budgetary hearing a few days after announcing he was backing off. What’s to prevent Jones from putting the M855 ban back on the table once he gets his agency’s budget approved? I think we need some protections in there to ensure he’s not just playing games for the sake of his agency’s budget.

Excellent Graphic for Suppressors

There is currently an effort in Minnesota to get suppressors legalized. Minnesota is one of only of eleven states where they are illegal, and Minnesota Gun Owners PAC is working to change that. I really like the fact sheet they made up on the issue. This is excellent:

SupressorFacts

 

This gets the message across in a very clear way. If you look at the growth in this issue, I think we may have a decent shot of getting suppressors out from under the National Firearms Act if we can keep the trend going.

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