Most Pro-Gun Provisions Stripped from Spending Bill

As Glenn Reynolds notes, “Harry Reid seems to accomplish a lot, considering he’s in the minority.” Certainly seems so, but I’ve long argued the big reason the Democrats can generally get what they want is that they are very good at using government and using process to get their preferred outcomes. Republican politicians, meanwhile, aren’t always the sharpest tacks in the box, and they are more interested in getting along and keeping the perks of office than they are about really challenging the left and learning how to play the game effectively. So here are the provisions that came out in the Senate:

  • House proposal to make permanent the one-year provision restricting the federal government from prohibiting imports of curios and relics.

  • House proposal to make permanent the one-year provision restricting the federal government from requiring licenses for Canada gun exports less than $500.

  • House proposal to make permanent the one-year provision restricting the federal government from denying shotgun imports on the grounds they are not suitable for “sporting purposes,” if such imports have not previously been denied.

  • House proposal to make permanent the one-year provision restricting the federal government from facilitating the transfer of a firearm to a known or suspected agent of a drug cartel (“Fast and Furious” provision).

  • House provision preventing the Department of Justice from requiring federal firearms licensees to report on the sale of multiple long guns to the same person.

  • House provision restricting the federal government from treating ammunition as “armor piercing,” except for handgun ammunition.

  • House provision allowing funding to process applications for individual relief from firearms disabilities, a reversal of a funding prohibition that has been in place since 1993.

  • Democratic proposal to block firearms sales to individuals on terror watch lists.

That’s quite a disappointment, but as long as the filibuster rule is what it is, neither side really is in the minority. The Dems still have the ability to block bills, and the Republicans know they’ll get blamed by the media for any shutdown that happens. Personally, I think they should go back to the rule that requires filibustering Senators to hold the floor. They can read Dostoyevski if they want, but they have to hold the floor.

Executive Orders on Guns Coming

Obama has been meeting with Bloomberg. I really have no idea what’s coming, or what the timeline is going to be. It seems that no one else does either. There is speculation that it will be related to the requirements for when you need an FFL because you’re “in the business” of selling firearms.

Officials say expanding background checks by closing the “gun show loophole” is the most likely option, though they concede legal and administration hurdles have slowed the process.

In his executive action, Obama could alter the government’s definition of who is “in the business” of selling guns, expanding it to include private dealers and others who can currently sell without completing a background check.

This is likely going to demand ATF set a fixed number of guns people could sell before being considered “in the business.” If they really wanted to solve this problem, they’d remove all the Clinton-era restrictions on obtaining a Federal Firearms License, including reducing the fee back down to what it used to be. Let’s be clear about what these fanatics are doing:

  • Step one: Make FFLs much more expensive and difficult to obtain, so as to drive hobbyists and occasional sellers out.
  • Step two: Punish hobbyists and occasional sellers for not getting FFLs when they really should.

I won’t deny there are people out there who are walking a thin line in regards to “in the business,” but this was less of an issue when the government made FFLs relatively easy and cheap for part-time and occasional sellers to obtain. Instead they smeared hobbyists and occasional sellers as “kitchen table dealers” who were of course Shady People whose only interest was selling guns to the underworld.

I think people are starting to realize that the only thing the gun control movement is good at is manufacturing bullshit issues aimed at sticking it to Those People, with Those People being people like us.

Circuit Court Upholds Florida’s “Docs v. Glocks” Law

For a lot of reasons, I have to agree with Eugene Volokh’s opinion on the matter. I don’t agree that enacting a restriction on one constitutional right to protect another is the right thing to do. But it is a strategically smart thing to do if you’re interested in sticking it to the organizations that represent the medical profession, and have been promoting all manner of anti-gun propaganda via the power and influence doctors have over society. That’s what I think the strategy was here. I can’t support it, but I can see the logic.

All this would not be an issue if the doctors would agree that the practice of medicine should not be politicized in the way it has.

Clayton Cramer Raising Funds for History Film

Clayton Cramer is trying to raise money via Kickstarter to do a film on The Oberlin-Wellington Rescue. With 13 days left to go there’s only $51 dollars, and I’m $50 of that. The Oberlin-Wellington rescue is an example of Americans using their right to keep and bear arms to resist a government intent on keeping people enslaved and treated as property:

As soon as residents heard of the marshal’s actions, a group of men rushed to Wellington. They joined like-minded residents of Wellington and attempted to free Price, but the marshal and his deputies took refuge in a local hotel.

After peaceful negotiations failed, the rescuers stormed the hotel and found Price in the attic. The group immediately returned Price to Oberlin, where they hid him in the home of James Harris Fairchild, a future president of Oberlin College. A short time later, they took Price to Canada. Under British rule, Canada had no slavery and Price did not have to worry about US authorities there.

I think it’s important these stories are told, especially when it comes to convincing people who don’t fit into the OFWG demographic that RKBA is important. This was not a right made up by the Supreme Court. Armed resistance to tyranny is woven throughout our history.

DC Concealed Carry Ruling Tossed by Court of Appeals

John Richardson has the story. The fortunate part is that it’s on procedural grounds and not on the merits of the case. Essentially the Court of Appeals argues that Judge Scullin should never have been assigned a case like this, since he was sitting on the DC Court from another district. It’s not uncommon for “retired” federal judges to serve when they are needed. Even Justice O’Conner has been hearing cases in the 9th Circuit since retiring from the Supreme Court. In this case, the Court has decided that Wrenn must start over.

This is unfortunate, but to be honest, we should want the wheels of justice to turn slowly, on the hope that if we have a favorable outcome in 2016, we can get changes on the courts that will help us secure a more robust Second Amendment we clearly will never get from this Supreme Court.

Licenses to Carry Up Locally

I’m glad to see my county making itself a harder target, with LTCs up 175%. I just hope the folks getting these LTC a) seek training (a basic course won’t make you a gun ninja, but it’ll give you exposure to how much more there is to know), and b) will actually carry their guns. The Democrats can push gun control in response to terrorism all they want. This congressional district is only R+1 on the Cook Index, and people are still voting through actions against what the Democratic Party wants to promote. Americans are choosing to arm themselves in record numbers. I guess we’ll see how this plays in 2016.

Cultural Bundling and the RKBA

This latest Dana Loesch video from NRA:

This has me thinking back a few days ago to Ken White’s article over at Popehat originally, but now in the LA Times as an op-ed, which I linked to in yesterday’s news post.

First, we could stop culture-bundling. We culture-bundle when we use one political issue as shorthand for a big group of cultural and social values. Our unproductive talk about guns is rife with this. Gun control advocates don’t just attack support for guns; they attack conservative, Republican, rural and religious values.

I get at this point in our political discourse, railing against this video is essentially pissing at the wind. The Obama Administration has successfully driven the sanity of this country’s body politic off a cliff.

So that brings us back to cultural bundling. I get that the prayer shaming that followed the attack in San Bernardino made that issue tangentially gun related. But should Obamacare be an NRA issue? Why use Dana Loesch to drag NRA into all these other right issues that have exactly shit to do with the Second Amendment?

If there’s anything that’s at all certain in politics, it’s that there is no such thing as permanent majorities. Without support from Democrats and people on the center-left, there will be no way to permanently secure the Second Amendment from the depredations of those who oppose it. NRA is tying (Loesching?) the Second Amendment to the fortunes of the conservative movement. It may be successful short term, but I worry NRA is shooting itself and the Second Amendment in the foot long term.

Changing Hearts and Minds: People Can Be Persuaded

AK-47A lot of people have probably already seen the new polling data showing the other side is losing public opinion on the “assault weapons” issue. For the first time ever, majority opinion no longer favors banning so-called “assault weapons.” No matter what else I have to say about this, this is an incredible milestone for the movement. I believe we have achieved this through unprecedented educational and cultural outreach by our movement. Back in the 1988, Josh Sugarmann set out to deceive the public with his now infamous quote:

Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons.

You’ll recall that the gun control movement started as a movement to ban handguns in the early 1970s. Fortunately for us, they never found much success. Why? Because what people tell pollsters has always been a lot different than how they actually vote on gun control once they get into voting booths. The handgun ban movement were handed two huge defeats in ballot measures in Massachusetts and California, in 1976 and 1982 respectively. A third defeat came in 1986 with the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act. The handgun ban movement was at death’s door, and they needed a new issue. Assault weapons were that issue. The handgun ban movement had spent years trying to reassure hunters and sportsmen they weren’t ever going to go after long guns, well, until they decided to go after long guns. The high-water mark for that issue was the mid-1990s.

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban passed into law September 13, 1994. I was 20 years old and in college. I never realized that such a thing could happen in America. The more I started to understand the issue, the angrier I got. I bought my first firearm, a Romanian SAR-1 Kalashnikov right after Y2K when gun shops were clearing out unsold inventory at good prices. The next day I joined the NRA. I don’t think my story is unique.

The gun control movement is a story of failure: failure that can be directly traced to miscalculating public opinion, and reaching too far. They’ve always been quick to believe polling on the issue. Both handgun ban ballot initiatives in Massachusetts and California were polling to handily win, but they didn’t. They claimed 92% public support for “Universal Background Checks” and only managed 60% in a very blue state. Polling on this issue doesn’t matter, and our opponents have never understood that. The politicians, however, do.

The reason they have overreached consistently is because they have to. As much as gun control folks might want universal background checks, that issue isn’t going to keep money rolling into the coffers of gun control groups. Their goal has never been public safety or crime control. Their goal has always been to destroy this country’s shooting culture and the culture of individual rights and self-reliance that underpin it.

The gun control movement has seen a minor resurgence of late. Obama has been successful at making gun control a shibboleth of the progressive left. Bloomberg has succeeded at bringing money to the table the gun control movement historically could only dream of. He is happy to nibble around the edges of our rights, without the need to explain to donors why they have to accept only half-measures for now. We now have three goals ahead of us:

  • Destroy Bloomberg’s incarnation of the gun control movement. This is going to be hard, because unlike other donors, he’s willing to spend big to get inches, and he can afford to keep doing it.
  • Improve the Supreme Court so we can enjoy robust protections from the courts that will be hard to undo. If any of the Dem candidates win in 2016, this will be hopeless.
  • Restore gun rights in states that have been largely successful in eradicating the Second Amendment rights of their citizens. We have to do this one way or another. It’s not an option to have two Americas.

This new polling data shows we can change public opinion, even if it takes hundreds of conversations across hundreds of dinner tables, or millions of conversations on social media. We can take their winning issue today, and make it their albatross tomorrow. With luck, there will be one Second Amendment, for the whole country, with no more “good” or “bad” states.

I’m Having a Hard time Seeing the Problem

Seen floating around the Internets, this map of the east coast if all the ice were to melt because of global warming:


Of course, I suppose all the people who live there would have to move somewhere.