Pro-Gun Group I’ve Never Heard of Supports McGinty

Apparently American Gun Owners Alliance, a group I’ve never heard of until reading this article, is “encouraging its members to support McGinty”, apparently unaware that there is the option to not cast a vote in that race if you think Toomey is unacceptable. Go ahead and do that. I wouldn’t blame you. This is the kind of shit that makes me want to beat my head against a brick wall repeatedly. Seriously guys, you have more options than voting for one party’s candidate or the other if you want to send a message.

And to be clear, I’ve expressed before that I’m not sure it’s in our short term interests to knife Toomey’s candidacy in 2016, as opposed to 2022. So I’m also sympathetic to the groups that are reluctantly holding their noses. Sure, McGinty will be more junior than Toomey, but I feel a lot better about our chances to boot Toomey from that seat in an off year primary and holding the seat than I do about getting rid of Kate McGinty if she gets in. There’s also the possibility that Toomey can be convinced that his political self-interests resides in “coming back to Jesus,” so to speak. Stranger things have happened.

And That’s Just People Who Will Admit It to Strangers

Household gun ownership is increasing. That tells me we definitely have a decent amount of uninitiated people entering the shooting world. Most of us experienced in the issue aren’t going to talk to random people calling to ask about guns in the house.

But let me talk for a minute about the actual poll. I’m going to assume below that you skim the poll.

Household gun ownership: It’s good news that overall household gun ownership has increased, but if that’s all happening in red states, it actually doesn’t help us. What I see is an increasing divide between Republicans and Democrats on the gun issue. If that managed to marginalize the Democrats so they couldn’t win elections, that would be fine, but it does not appear the Democratic Party is in decline. A big increase in household gun ownership in swing states would be great news. We have some good evidence that it’s increasing in blue states, but real polling would be helpful.

Gender gap: The gender gap on the issue is still very significant. It would be interesting to see gender cross tabs broken down by race. I suspect we’re doing much better with white women, but not doing as much to reach minority women.

Generation gap: There’s no serious generation gap on the issues the Dems are likely to be able to achieve on, except for a federal database of gun sales. Unfortunately, millennials aren’t very big privacy wonks. Millennials do seem, however, to have figured out the “assault weapons” issue is bullshit.

Overall I’d say the poll is good news. But I’m worried about anti-gun attitudes becoming a shibboleth among Democrats. If they can achieve that kind of cultural unity, and still win elections, eventually our goose is going to get cooked.

But I Thought Gun Control Was a Winning Issue?

The Boston Heard thinks that Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy shot “shot the Dems in the foot” with her new autocratic “Assault Weapons” Ban. But how can that be? Hillary and Obama think gun control is a winning issue. So much so that Hillary has chosen to make it a centerpiece of her campaign.

Nonetheless, in deep blue Massachusetts, she finds herself in the middle of a backlash, even from liberal members of her own party. Gun bans have never been popular, no matter how much they want to delude themselves that they are. I keep saying the worst thing the Dems and gun control movement could do to us is to drop the assault weapons issue entirely, repeal all the state bans, and push hard on issues that sound reasonable to the uninitiated, but actually quietly nibble away at our political power. Bloomberg almost seems to get it, and that’s why he worries me.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, who notes: “Punch back twice as hard, as a famous man says.

Pat Toomey Reaps the Rewards

Back in March, Sebastian called it when he noted that while Pat Toomey was touting support from CeasefirePA leadership, these are not people who would ever actually cast a vote for him. Granted, we thought that was more of a “won’t vote for you in the privacy of the voting booth” type of prediction, not a “will actively campaign against you despite doing what they wanted” kind of way.

But, it seems that’s how loyalty to gun controllers is rewarded. Toomey’s opponent has been endorsed by the very same group whose leaders were kissing his rear back in March, likely knowing all along that they would throw him under the bus come the run up to November’s general election.

Good call there, Pat.

You know what I was doing 6 years ago in November? Casting a ballot for you, Pat, when polls opened and spending the rest of the day standing outside of a senior citizen’s center asking voters to support your candidacy. You know what I won’t be doing this November? Telling anyone about your campaign – other than the fine readers of this blog about how you screwed us and fell for every pathetic lie from the gun control groups. You can rely on your new best buddies at Ceasefire to help out instead, Pat.

Oh, wait, no, you can’t.

Charges Dismissed: Podcaster Paul Lathrop Tells His Story

I had mentioned a while ago the Podcaster Paul Lathrop was in some legal trouble as a result of a false accusation. Mosey on over to the Handgun World Podcast to hear Paul Lathrop tell his story of being charged with a gun felony. Recently the charges have all been dismissed because the gas station the incident occurred at had video that disproved the accusers tall tale.

There are lessons to be learned here, so I think it’s worthwhile to listen. For those who just want a summary, my takeaway from it is:

  • Paul’s student driver gets under the skin of another truck driver for some perceived offense, and the other driver deliberately blocks them in.
  • Paul’s student driver flips the bird to the other driver, who then becomes enraged, gets out of his truck, and starts climbing up to the cab of Paul’s truck, at which point he informs the other driver that he’s armed. The other driver backs off. At no point was the gun brought out.
  • Both eventually depart the scene, but apparently the other driver called 911 with a tall tale about Paul getting out of his truck waving a big revolver around threatening to kill him.
  • Paul gets pulled over on the road and confronted by the Nebraska Patrol, who after taking him to the other driver to be identified arrest him. The gun he carries is a Glock 22, not a revolver. Prosecutor decides to charge terroristic threats, and possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.
  • Paul’s attorney obtains surveillance video from the scene that shows the other driver’s story to be false. The other driver won’t appear in court and perjure himself, and the prosecutor drops the charges.

From my point of view, the lessons are this:

  • If you get into a confrontation with someone where a gun is introduced into the situation either physically or as a warning, the first person to call 911 is presumed to be the victim, and that person should be you. If you are threatened enough to inform someone you’re armed, in the hopes that the fellow backs off, you’re definitely in “call the police” territory as well. If you don’t feel that threatened, you shouldn’t be introducing a gun into the situation in any manner.
  • I’ve written a lot about carrying defensive spray if you carry a gun, because the legal system tends to frown upon shooting people, or threatening to shoot people, for being belligerent assholes. It’s very useful to have force options that you can employ early on in a confrontation that do not have the legal implications of deadly force. In the situation described by Paul, he was in reasonable fear that the person climbing up his cab intended to use unlawful force against him or his student, in which case it would be justified to employ spray, not just threaten to use it. The standard for using force (but not deadly force) is “the use of force upon or toward another person is justifiable when the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion.” (Nebraska 28-1409). Most states are going to be very similar. That’s a far lower standard than what is required for deadly force.

I’m surprised that the authorities didn’t become suspicious when the accuser said Paul was waving around a big revolver and the cops recovered a Glock 22. But the jurisdiction and prosecutor were apparently not gun friendly.

I’m glad he got the charges dismissed. Being falsely accused like that is a nightmare. Be careful out there folks, and if you end up in a confrontation with some jerk, be sure to cover your own ass by calling 911 and making sure the authorities know who the victim is.

Gov Christie isn’t done with the 2A

Hot off the ANJRPC’s presses:

Christie Vetoes Seek Shall-Issue Carry & Clean Repeal of Smart Gun Mandate!

Wednesday August 24, 2016: 

In a blockbuster announcement today, Governor Christie conditionally vetoed two pieces of anti-gun legislation (A3689 and S816), imposing dramatic conditions that would change them into pro-gun measures establishing shall-issue right-to-carry and repealing New Jersey’s 2002 “smart gun” law mandate with no strings attached.

That’s interesting. I mean, it’s certainly a push-back against his political enemies, and an indication that he’s not going quietly off the national political stage, but it also means he’s making a bet that a bold move now will be remembered in 4 years.

How’s That Flip Flopping Working Out for Ya Pat?

It’s no surprise that Pat Toomey is still getting attacked by the Democratic Party for being too pro-gun. You’re seeing all the groups that no doubt promised him cover doing their level best to pull his ass from the fire. So does this mean the Democratic Party is now to the left of Bloomberg and Giffords on guns? It would seem so. What Bloomberg and his ilk are doing is trying to show they can help Republicans in a tough election fight. I think that’s doubtful, but all that matters is whether Pat Toomey believes it.

I’ve been torn between wanting to see Toomey go down in flames this year and the utter terror of Hillary getting to pick Scalia’s replacement with a Democratic Senate. I also worry that if we have a Dem in the White House and a Dem Senate, we might see several more justices retire, which would cement the Court as outright hostile to the Second Amendment for a generation. If that happens, I doubt I will live long enough to see a pro-2A court, and most of the folks reading this probably won’t either.

Grand opportunities have been are are actively being flushed down the crapper when it comes to the Second Amendment because, based on the memes I see going around Facebook, GOP voters are completely ignorant and it’s only getting worse. If we had won in 2008 or 2012, we never would have gotten to this point.

Careful Out There

Tam relays a story about a homeowner shot by police, and draws a few lessons, the first of which is if you called the cops, don’t then go running around outside your house with a gun. Seems sensible enough. The second one is the money quote though:

If you are on the playing field when they show up and you hear “Drop the gun!” then you need to drop the gun. Seriously. Like it just turned white-hot. (This is a good reason to carry drop-safe pistols, BTW. I realize that carrying that 1904 Ruritanian army surplus Schnellblitzenselbstlader in 8.3mm semi-rimmed is really cool, but aren’t you going to feel funny getting shot twice when you drop it: Once in the junk by your own gun when it hits the ground ass-end first, and again in the gut by the responding officer because he’s startled by the gunshot?)

RTWT, as always, with apologizes to those who love their Schnellblitzenselbstladers.

Texas Professors Fail to Stop Campus Carry

Court ruled they didn’t demonstrate they were likely to succeed on the merits. They hilariously claimed it was a First Amendment violation. Even the University of Texas thought that was ludicrous, and the judge didn’t buy it either. Look, stupid people with PhDs: when a student sticks a gun in your face and tells you to shut up, that’s a violation of your First Amendment rights. It’s also a violation of a number of other laws as well, most of which are quite serious, as I’m sure most people with an 6th grade education can tell you. Someone merely having a gun is a violation of nothing, except in your apparently vibrant, child-like imagination.

The Texas university system being a taxpayer funded, state chartered institution, is ultimately controlled by the Texas legislature, who said gun on campus are fine. That’s pretty much the last word unless you can convince them to change their minds.

Possible Explanation for the Nasty Discourse?

Ace from Ace of Spades thinks political dishonesty may play a part:

Many in the GOP establishment do this for slightly different reasons. See, they’re supposed to be in agreement with the Tea Party’s core principles of reduced spending, reduced government, and greater individual freedom.

But, of course, they’re not so committed to those things. Oh, as a general rule, they favor them– but they’re very quick to sell them out in favor of some other priority, which they won’t admit is a greater priority, because they’re pretending their highest priority is reducing spending, reducing government, and increasing individual freedom.

Thus, John McCain, rather than honestly objecting to the parts of the Tea Party movement he disagrees with, or honestly expressing his opinion that we need a bigger government than Tea Partiers think we need, resorts to personal attacks: They’re Wacko-Birds. They’re Hobbits.

Read the whole thing. For a lot of readers here, I suspect you will relate to what he says. I know I do. But my experience writing on the gun topic for the past ten years has shown me that a lot of people really don’t appreciate honesty. That’s probably why sites that regurgitate what The Base wants to hear are more popular and draw a wider audience.

One reason I believe that online threads tend to go south so quickly is because the people arguing in them feel strongly about an issue, but don’t understand the issue well, and either can’t make a good argument, or have never given much thought to how complicated the topic actually is. After that, it’s pretty much guaranteed to descend into madness.

Years ago I thought the pro-2A side was a lot better at this, but in the past several years, our side has gotten a lot worse and the pro-gun control side is getting better at making their arguments. Not that their arguments are entirely rooted in sound facts, but they are getting better at spinning bullshit and making it look compelling to the uninitiated. They’re demanding we up our game, and based on what I’m seeing out there, we’re not up to it. I attribute this to two things. One is we’ve brought a lot of new people into the issue who have a lot of passion, but not much in the way of experience with or knowledge of how to argue the issue. The second thing I blame is the rise of conservative media that is better at telling people what they want to hear, and isn’t much interesting in grooming effective activists.

I think people who follow an issue closely do appreciate honesty in political struggles. I know I do. But I’ve never gotten more shit as a writer than I’ve gotten by telling people things they don’t want to hear, and most of that time what they don’t seem to want to hear is, “This issue is a lot more complicated than you think it is, what you want to do isn’t actually so easy, and there are going to be unpleasant consequences you’ll need to be prepared for and have a plan for dealing with.”