Reid Confident on Gun Control Deal

The Washington Times is reporting. Reid noted in a conference about the Zika virus that, “I think we’ve taken a bite out of the NRA. I think they’ve done enough damage.” The threat is still from the bill the squishy Republican are getting behind, essentially the “no-fly, no-buy.”

The measure by Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, attracted 52 votes of support in a procedural vote last week, yet it fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a potential filibuster and advance, leaving the effort in limbo.

That doesn’t seem to fit Reid’s optimism. 52 is a good bit shy of 60. But we shouldn’t get cocky.

Bad Migraine

Sorry I have been out of commission today. I have suffered from migraine auras usually without headache for years now, but I’ve never had one this bad. Usually they start out as a dot on my field of vision that sparkles a bit, then expands to kind of a zig zaggy dazzling pattern. In the affected area, I can’t really see.

Usually the process runs through in less than an hour and I’m OK. Today I’ve been getting multiple waves of expanding auras and the dot area it usually starts as has persisted, which interferes with being able to read.

I went to urgent care this afternoon and the doctor (who also suffers from them) checked me out and agreed the symptoms were that of a migraine. Eyes fine, arteries seemed to be moving blood fine, oxygenation fine, pulse and BP pretty high, but I have white coat pretty bad. No symptoms of anything indicating possible stroke. Doctor prescribed Sumatriptan, with the warning that it doesn’t often work. Took the first dose and the dot is still there, though not throwing off expanding auras anymore. Just took the second dose, so we’ll see if that helps, but I’m not optimistic.

I’ve had enough of these auras I usually shrug them off, but this one is terrifying because it’s hung around all day. In the mean time, reading is possible but difficult with that part of my field of vision distorted. Laying down in a dark room helps, but I can only do that so much before going stir crazy. I’m just hoping I don’t have a damned brain tumor or something.

Compared to some of my friends who have them, I have it easy. One can be debilitated with pain and light sensitivity for days at a time. Until now I’ve gotten off easy.

Journalists Who Can’t Do Math

This is real Baghdad Bob shit right here. Basically, to sum up, the NRA is increasingly dependent on the firearms industry for money, because $14 million has been donated by gun makers over the years. The author even mentions NRA’s revenue is $310 million from membership dues. Do you even math!?!?

But even with that, white men are headed to political extinction, gun ownership is in decline, especially among women, because the General Social Survey says so. NRA is facing stiff competition from Larry Pratt and Dudley Brown, most of its members secretly hate the NRA and disagree with it. Members will probably revolt just like Republicans did against the establishment because they secretly support gun control.  3D printing will be the end of the NRA because it will dry up that 14 million a year because it will put all the manufacturers out of business.

Seriously, Sarah Ellison ought to stick to writing about topics she knows about, and should also stay away from math. Last I checked $14 million dollars was 4.5% of NRA’s revenue from individual members. We call that “not really a lot.” Ms. Ellison could also use a lesson in discerning propaganda from gun control groups from actual research.

The Slippery Slope is Real

This article at Forbes titled, “Gun Policy Is Hard,” gets it right, mostly. I would encourage you to go read it. I’ll wait….

One of the authors assertions is that we shouldn’t so quickly dismiss the suicide argument. I’m not sure what the author thinks can be done to prevent someone who is suicidal from using a firearm without seriously restricting firearms generally. We can’t read people’s minds, and I don’t see any solution that doesn’t involve making firearms generally difficult to obtain, which is a non-starter with us for good reasons. That brings me to the argument I want to address:

Gun-rights supporters often argue every increase in gun regulation, no matter how tiny, is just one step on the path to the ultimate goal: prohibition. The NRA, in particular, has resisted nearly any gun-control proposal, partially because it warns against the boogey man of prohibition.

I think Eugene Volokh pretty successfully and decisively destroyed the notion that slippery slope arguments are a fallacy. The reason we make slippery slope arguments is because we’ve seen it happen. New Jersey and New York both started with licensing, and in New York’s case licensing and registration. Massachusetts also passed licensing and registration. California implemented bans on carrying firearms and enacted stringent waiting periods (15 days). With the sole exception of New York (who’s licensing law dates back to the early 20th century) all these restrictions were passed during the first wave of gun control in the 60s and 70s. All of those states have successfully passed numerous more onerous restrictions since. California’s long slide, which is continuing as we speak, started with the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Ban in 1990.

The reason that has been successful is because each incremental restriction reduced the number of gun owners over time, and thus reduced our political power to fight new restrictions. During the second gun control wave in the 1990s, a lot of gun owners left these restrictive states for greener pastures, and the ones that remained tended to be either politically inactive and/or naive, further reducing our political power in those states.

The biggest predictor of whether or not you support gun control is “Do you own a gun?” If the answer is “yes,” you’re statistically unlikely to support very much gun control. If the answer is “no,” then you’re statistically likely to support more sweeping gun control. We’ve seen in history that even very minor restrictions, like California’s 15-day waiting period dating back to 1976, and the 5-day waiting period dating back to 1965, and the three-day waiting period dating back to 1956….. see where I’m going with this? Each incremental restriction reduces our political power, and over time that has added up to a rout. California is reaching the end. We are facing utter defeat there. An entire state of 38 million people is about to become like New York City, where firearms are not technically banned, but effectively very difficult to obtain and use.

So no, gun owners are not committing a logical fallacy worrying about the slippery slope. It’s real. Ask any state where these “reasonable common sense” measures have taken hold. All of them have only gotten worse over time. There no states that enacted gun control legislation during the first (60s & 70s) or second (90s) wave of gun control that have not gone on to enact more.

Supreme Court Delivers Gun Case

This is not a Second Amendment case, but rather one of statutory interpretation with the Lautenberg Amendment, which prohibits people convicted of Misdemeanor Crimes of Domestic Violence (MCDV) from possessing firearms. The question is whether reckless conduct qualifies as a MCDV, or whether the federal statute requires knowing, intentional conduct. The Court ruled that the statute makes no distinction. Justice Thomas dissented, with Sotomayor joining parts I and II of his dissent. Part III of Justice Thomas’s dissent argued that because this is dealing with a fundamental constitutional right, that the Court should read the statute narrowly to avoid the constitutional issue. From Thomas’s dissent:

Finally, and most problematic for the majority’s ap- proach, a person could recklessly unleash force that reck- lessly causes injury. Consider two examples:

1. The Text-Messaging Dad: Knowing that he should not be texting and driving, a father sends a text mes- sage to his wife. The distraction causes the father to rear end the car in front of him. His son, who is a passenger, is injured.

2. The Reckless Policeman: A police officer speeds to a crime scene without activating his emergency lights and siren and careens into another car in an intersec- tion. That accident causes the police officer’s car to strike another police officer, who was standing at the intersection. See Seaton v. State, 385 S. W. 3d 85, 88 (Tex. App. 2012).

In these cases, both the unleashing of the “force” (the car crash) and the resulting harm (the physical injury) were reckless. Under the majority’s reading of §921(a) (33)(A)(ii), the husband “use[d] . . . physical force” against his son, and the police officer “use[d] . . . physical force” against the other officer.

But this category is where the majority and I part com- pany. These examples do not involve the “use of physical force” under any conventional understanding of “use” because they do not involve an active employment of something for a particular purpose.

This strikes me as correct, and an unintended consequence of the majority’s thinking. Here’s another passage from Part III of Thomas’ dissent:

A mother who slaps her 18-year-old son for talking back to her—an intentional use of force—could lose her right to bear arms forever if she is cited by the police under a local ordinance. The majority seeks to expand that already broad rule to any reckless physical injury or nonconsensual touch. I would not extend the statute into that constitutionally problematic territory …

… Today the majority expands §922(g)(9)’s sweep into patently unconstitutional territory. Under the majority’s reading, a single conviction under a state assault statute for recklessly causing an injury to a family member—such as by texting while driving—can now trigger a lifetime ban on gun ownership. And while it may be true that such incidents are rarely prosecuted, this decision leaves the right to keep and bear arms up to the discretion of federal, state, and local prosecutors.

Worth noting that no other justice was willing to join that.

Thinking About Safe Storage Laws

Police are charging the New Jersey woman who lost a child when her older child accidentally shot the other one playing with mom’s pistol. In her case, she was keeping the pistol illegally. Safe storage laws are meant to punish parents who do things like this. Any time a law is proposed to deal with a social issue it’s worth asking:

  • Is justice served by this law? This woman already lost one kid. If she goes to jail the other kids ends up in the state foster care system. Now in this case, given the criminal history of this woman, maybe the kids are better off in state care. But is that always the case? Is the behavior in question so bad that it’s worth breaking up families over?
  • Is the law going to deter the irresponsible behavior? I’ve often argued that in most cases when it comes to accidental shootings (which are actually pretty rare) the kinds of people who need to be deterred are the kinds that won’t be deterred. The fact is that most of the people reading this don’t need a law to tell them to do what is necessary to keep firearms secured from kiddies and other irresponsible persons. It’s difficult for me to believe that the potential loss of a child is not more of a deterrent than the law.
  • Is the law enforceable? As with most laws regulating personal behavior in the home, enforcement is only going to occur when the police become aware of a violation, which is only going to happen after an accidental shooting, the very thing the law is meant to deter.

Generally speaking, I’m skeptical of any law that controls people’s behavior in their own homes. My issue with safe storage laws in general has been:

  • They usually apply a one-size-fits all solution. There are a lot of ways to secure firearms. Some solutions, like trigger locks, are outright dangerous for someone who is uneducated on how to use one.
  • They usually don’t exempt households without children. I have no kids, and while I have a safe to secure my firearms from burglars, when I’m home we have unsecured firearms, and there’s no risk to either of us with that.
  • They are not enforceable, and the people they will be enforced against are already dealing with the loss of a child. When a child is accidentally poisoned (which happens far far more often than firearms accidents), we don’t generally charge the parent for leaving prescription drugs, drain cleaner, etc unsecured. We don’t charge pool owners for accidental drownings (also happens far more often than firearms accidents) if they left the gate open.

I think incidents like these are best left as torts when multiple parties are involved, and something for child services to investigate, and dealt with through family court if necessary. I’m not sure charging a mom who just lost a kid with a felony is really justice.

Please Don’t Take Offense if I Don’t Facebook Friend You or if You Were Unfriended

I’m speaking about my personal Facebook, not the blog’s. I’m slowly but surely scaling back my personal social media presence. I think Facebook and other social media like Twitter are ruining the country and harshening discourse. Back when I decided Comcast and Cable News were destroying the country, I cut the cord. That cord cutting wasn’t any cold turkey approach: it came about because I realized I was paying a crappy company like Comcast more than 100 bucks a month for TV that wasn’t worth watching.

Now I’m starting to feel the same way about Social Media. The blog will continue to use social media as its own entity, but I myself am scaling back to friends and family; basically people I know or have known in meatspace. I mostly use Facebook now to share old pictures that my family likes, so you’re really not missing much. At some point I’ll run out of old pictures, and then perhaps Facebook will go the way of Comcast. So please don’t be put off if I don’t friend you. Eventually I want to be free of Facebook and the like.

Brexit Wins

I wish I had shorted the pound, because once I read Charles C.W. Cooke’s article that suggested “Stay” had become the position all right thinking people held, I said to Bitter “That means ‘Stay’ is over-polling and ‘Leave’ has a real shot.” But I’m not a finance-minded person. I don’t even know how you short a currency. Polling is becoming unreliable because when you make “All sensible people support The Silly Party” type positions, people lie to pollsters. Even Charles C.W. Cooke agrees:


As in 2015, the simple answer was that the public lies to pollsters. And who can blame it? I have spent quite a lot of time in the U.K. over the last month, and I have been startled by the condescension, the disdain, and the downright bullying that I have seen from advocates within the Remain camp.

By the same token, if you notice Hillary and Donald close in polling, it probably means The Donald is ahead. Trump has become the “no respectable and intelligent person would ever vote for” candidate. So people will lie to pollsters. This also explains why “expanded background checks” polls at 90% while in deep blue Washington it only pulled in 59% of the vote. Gun control has almost always way over-polled.

The Brexit Internets have to go to Tam on this one, upon news of hearing the pound was getting pounded:

Weekly Gun News – Edition 41

The struggle continues. Remember that time is our greatest ally. Generally speaking, once people stop feeling and start thinking, we usually do OK. Its your job, individually, to try to get people to think. Due process is a serious concern for everyone. Even when you leave the domain of constitutional rights, I doubt you’d find support for revoking drivers’ licenses for people on FBI watch lists. Keep the conversation going, and as always, catch more flies with honey.

Ace of Spades “The Competition to Say the Stupidest Possible Thing Has been Unusually Fierce Today” To be fair, I don’t expect non-shooters to know how loud gunfire is versus a popping bike tire. But if you’re ignorant of the subject you should probably acknowledge as much as refrain from commenting.

Dave Kopel: The History of LGBT gun-rights litigation.

Just One Minute has some good commentary on the terror watch list stuff.

Bob Casey changed on guns because he was never in favor of gun rights to begin with. He lied to people to get into office. I was one of those fools. Never again.

Patrick Jonsson: “What AR-15 Owners Say About Their Guns and the Orlando Shooting.” He has been a fair reporter on this issue.

Selena Zito: “Orlando attack re-exposes the great American divide

The Week: “How Democrats Cynically Abandoned All Principle on Guns.” “A five-year ban on anyone who is merely suspected of being involved in terrorism is an egregious violation of due process and constitutional rights — and it goes without saying that the people targeted by these investigations will be largely Muslims.”

Even Gawker thinks this terror watch list stuff is bogus. I don’t think this issue falls along the traditional right/left device. If falls along whether you’re an authoritarian or a civil libertarian, and since politicians tend more toward the authoritarian side of the spectrum, that’s what’s going to give us trouble.

Ann Althouse: “Why aren’t human beings better at reasoning? Notice that this guy is — probably unwittingly — declaring that he’d be just fine with a law that came right out and said no Muslims can buy guns.” When you boil it down, a lot of people would. And so would an uncomfortable number of people who otherwise claim to support gun rights.

Lessons Learned from the Orlando Shooting Police Response.

Charles C.W. Cooke: “Is there something in the water over at Slate?

Chris Cox: “Where Does the ‘Powerful Gun Lobby’ Get Its Power?” He’s right about their ability to communicate being a lot better. It has improved greatly from what it was when I started blogging.

AMA Looking to Profit from Orlando Shooting. The AMA is probably a bigger enemy on this topic than the CDC. The CDC is always out to please its political masters, whereas the AMA will always publish stuff that puts gun rights in a bad light.

Clayton Cramer: Target ISIS, not pressure cookers.

Also from Clayton: Assault Weapons, Fact & Fiction.

Joan Peterson: “I have a question for these folks. Do you honestly think that those who have been identified as known terrorists should be able to purchase guns legally from licensed dealers?” She poses the question like she wants a discussion, but she does not. Any pro-gun position on her blog eventually gets banned when they show she’s incapable of thinking or arguing. She’ll manipulate her comments to make herself look smarter than she really is.

Reminder: The gun control movement doesn’t have a monopoly on victims. There’s way too much of people claiming victimhood status to avoid healthy debate and discussion, and its ruining the country.

Dave Hardy: “Why, you’d almost think that the gun issue is a legislative surrogate for the conflict between criminals and honest people….

Shannon Watts is out again with that “regular ol’ mom” crap.

Charlie Mitchell: “Today’s National Rifle Association is a trade association — protecting manufacturers — yet masquerades as a grassroots citizen rights movement.” I stop reading after that, because right there that tells me he doesn’t have any idea what he’s talking about.

Gallup Poll: 2:1 Americans think arming more people with concealed carry guns will help prevent terrorism.

Looks like G4S may have doctored some of the psych eval paperwork for the Orlando attacker.

Off Topic, but sadly not really:

The Senate very narrowly rejected a bill that would have given the FBI expanded surveillance powers to search e-mail records without a warrant. Note it was mostly Dems that stopped this. Except for Paul (KY), Gardner (CO), Daines (MT), and Murkowski (AK), the rest of the GOP loves themselves some “law and order” even at the expense of civil liberties.

Pennsylvanians: Call Your State Reps

It never ends. House Bill 1770, sponsored by “Ban Them All” Rep. Steve Santarsiero, has been bottled up in committee to suffer the fate such an affront to civil liberties deserves. However, Santarsiero has filed a discharge petition to get it to the House Floor, so we could be seeing a vote. One thing I would be sure to stress in any correspondence with Republican lawmakers is that the FBI director does not want this legislation. This will play to many lawmaker’s “law and order” instincts, and perhaps offer them some cover to vote no. Follow NRA’s link and use their “contact your legislators” feature. Change the default message to your liking. It’ll help if they aren’t all the same.

It’s worth noting that Santarsiero is running for Congress in this district.