Weekly Gun News – Edition 64


I’m pretty much back to 100% since my several day stay in the hospital. I’m surprised how much it took out of me considering they weren’t doing anything to me other than monitoring for a dangerous side effect of the Sotalol they started me on. I felt worse coming out than I did going in! Now I have some mental cycles to spare on a news links post:

Detroit Metro Times on Constitutional Carry: “In this case, there’s another reason; your average good ol’ boy doesn’t like paying the $100 application fee for a concealed weapon permit, plus subsequent fees every few years to renew the license.” Or maybe, just maybe, the fee disenfranchises vulnerable populations of their right to self-defense, and serves to perpetuate white privilege. If it cost $100 to vote, they’d throw a screaming fit. Remember your Alinsky: Make them live up to their own standards.

Hard to argue: “No knock raids should be banned except in cases of imminent threat to life.

I’ll be honest, I’m not optimistic the GOP controlled Congress is going to accomplish anything important in the next two years. But if all we get out of Trump is another two solid Supreme Court justices, it might be enough to move the ball forward a good bit.

NRA-ILA: Poll shows overwhelming support for more background checks is actually underwhelming. Well, we know that. Last time Bloomberg put the issue before the actual voters he very nearly lost in one state, and outright lost in another, both of which were purplish blue states. Even in a deep blue state he didn’t win by the margins polls said he should have.

SAF has won a FIOA action to find out how much revenue Seattle is collecting from its gun tax. The tax was never intended to raise revenue. It was meant to prevent the wrong kind of businesses from operating in Seattle. No different than if they were trying to drive out book stores or newspapers with punitive taxation.

Annette Evans: “There Is No Crying in Shooting.” Having once gotten a bit of powder residue behind my eye protection and into my eye, I’m not so sure!

Yes, we do love ourselves some good old fashioned law and order, don’t we?

A plea deal is probably the best this guy’s attorney was going to get. To me he seemed rather unbalanced.

Bloomberg’s The Trace: “The NRA’s New ‘Carry Guard’ Program Has Some Certified Trainers Seeing Red.” They link primarily to this article. I don’t really have a problem with NRA selling concealed carry insurance, but I do have a very big problem with it undermining its own long standing training programs in favor of something that to me looks very poorly thought out.

I’ll give NRA credit for doing some reporting that a decade ago we’d never have seen anywhere other than the blogosphere.

NRA is pushing ballot reform in Maine. This isn’t directly a gun topic, but the ballot has been Bloomberg’s primary tool to achieve wins. He lost in Maine, but generally speaking if you have enough money, you’ll win ballot fights. They’d be foolish not try to shut these mechanisms down. Personally, I think ballot measures should be unconstitutional under the Guarantee Clause, but what do I know?


21 thoughts on “Weekly Gun News – Edition 64”

  1. “Hard to argue: ‘No knock raids should be banned except in cases of imminent threat to life.’ “

    The trouble is, I would guarantee that possession of a couple grams of weed (or contraband firearms) would be deemed an “imminent threat to life” while, say, engaging in espionage with a hostile foreign power wouldn’t be — in either case, depending on how well positioned you were.

    When you see subjective language in a proposal, watch out.

      1. I don’t think that’s what he said. He’s suggesting that the meaning of the exception would (most likely) end up getting twisted around to suit TPTB. Banning possession of a plant suits TPTB. End result: he predicts nothing would change, even though the law had been.

        1. You got it right, Publius. And frankly I find it hard to believe that Mr. Cramer didn’t really get the point.

          But to put a little literal meaning in what I said: I’m old enough to remember the “Reefer Madness” days when most people believed, literally, that one toke on a joint (words that would come later, as I recall) and people thought they could fly, and could and did try to fly out of high windows. Or, take a machete (etc.) and try to kill everyone in the room. So, pose an imminent threat to life.

          Since we are currently reliving some aspects of the 1930s, beliefs-wise, I would not say that it’s impossible that Reefer Madness days may return as soon as they suit someone’s law-and-order agenda.

          I don’t think it will happen, I wouldn’t bet on it happening, but I also don’t think it (or something analogous) is so impossible as to be off-base for an illustrative example, as I used it.

  2. “They’d be foolish not try to shut these mechanisms down.”

    First let me say I’ve done a 360 on the ballot initiative issue during my life Maybe a 540 or 720. Because, when I was involved in an issue that won, I’d be greatly impressed with our political acumen and how persuasive we could be. When we lost, the masses were of course dumb-asses who wouldn’t listen to reason and fell for the worst kinds of manipulation, and that was reason enough to ban initiatives and referenda of any sort.

    FWIW, I was involved with one multi-issue, state “conservative” organization that also went back and forth on the issue, depending on how they thought their current laundry-list of issues would fare.

    But the question is, what is right in the small-d “democratic” sense? Do we oppose something because it will probably not serve our immediate interests well? Because it will cost too much to defend our interests?

    I admit anymore I don’t know, and I try not even to think about it too much, because I realize that in the past my opinions were guided by the most recent win/loss, meaning my conclusions were always self-serving.

    Your “Guarantee Clause” point is a good one; I’ll have to think about that angle.

    1. “Your ‘Guarantee Clause’ point is a good one; I’ll have to think about that angle.”

      I fear you wouldn’t have too much of a linguistic leg to stand on, based on the “Guarantee” of a “republican form of government.”

      Here is the Wikipedia definiton of “republic.” (This is a long article and I was frankly amazed at the extensive forms of government considered “republican.”)

      A republic (Latin: res publica) is a form of government in which the country is considered a “public matter” – not the private concern or property of the rulers – and where offices of state are elected or appointed, rather than inherited. It is a form of government under which the head of state is not a monarch.

      In American English, the definition of a republic can also refer specifically to a government in which elected individuals represent the citizen body, known elsewhere as a representative democracy (a democratic republic), and exercise power according to the rule of law (a constitutional republic).

      I was particularly interested in the following,

      …the Swiss Confederacy was proclaimed, and Switzerland has retained a republican form of government to the present.

      because the last I knew, Switzerland depended on initiative and referenda for its legislation, more so than on its legislature. It was once reported that some of its municipal units (or cantons?) had 22 referendum elections a year.

      So, in common parlance, if Switzerland can be referred to as having a “republican form of government,” I’m sure a state that had several referenda, on a couple days a year, would qualify.

      More to our U.S. point, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Guarentee Clause wasn’t addressed by the SCOTUS when Initiative and Referendum was widely introduced in the late 19th, early 20th century Progressive Era. In which cases, it would appear the SCOTUS (or federal courts, anyway) found it OK.

      1. Awesome research, Whetherman! I, too, have pondered where the lines between republic and democracy are drawn ever since Sebastian mention the Guarantee Clause in a previous post perhaps a year or so ago. Your research shows it’s not as cut and dried as I thought. Perhaps, as Benjamin Franklin was so famously asked after the convention, a republic in that day was distinguished more from a monarchy than a direct democracy, although the constitutional debates show that the central government was intended to be federal (limited and representative of the States) rather than national (interstate democracy representing the people at large) – source: A New View of the Constitution, by John Taylor of Caroline, 1821, written after many of the notes recording the debates were finally unsealed to the public. Thanks for doing all that legwork!
        – Arnie

        1. Arnie, thanks. Something we all need to do (and I still don’t do it consistently enough) is to begin thinking about a problem by first inspecting why we believe what we do about it. Often the answer is, someone wanted us to believe that way, and indeed, things are not all that cut and dried.

          Something I’d suggest for research — that I haven’t looked at myself for quite awhile, and never in depth when I did — is whether the “direct democracies” founders like Benjamin Franklin referred to were actually that at all; even in ancient Greece and similar city-states, usually the vote was confined to a fairly narrow social and economic class. In some ways those “direct democracies” may have been more analogous to the “representative” government envisioned by the founders.

          Here’s a very broad question for thought and discussion: If a constitutional “representative government” can be constrained by its constitution, why couldn’t a constitutional direct democracy be so constrained? And if a democracy can’t be, why can a representative system be? (I’ll cite again, that Switzerland utilizes “direct democracy” as much or more than they utilize their legislature or executive; and while I don’t agree with everything the Swiss choose to do, its government is seldom if ever held up as one of the bad examples of the world; it’s constitution seems to constrain direct democracy at least as well as it constrains its representatives.)

  3. The Holland Tunnel guy needs to consider the art of subtlety. Why not just paint on the side of the van: “Gun nut. Pull me over and search. Bet you won’t find anything!”

  4. Regarding ballot reform, it might as well be eliminated. Courts seem to delite in overturning any that espouse a conservative viewpoint. Taking away some of Mikey’s leverage would be of measurable use.

  5. Sorry to beat the ballot initiative subject to death, but I took note in that article that there are substantial differences between the two congressional districts.

    I don’t know, so I’ll ask, could that be because the districts are gerrymandered to favor one, or both, political parties? I.e., that they are deliberately set up to put most people of one mind in one district, where they’ll deliver easy, guaranteed votes?

    If so, might more balanced redistricting following the 2020 census be a better solution than “reforming” (screwing with/rigging) the ballot law, which sounds pretty typical of what most states with I&R have?

    1. “…they are deliberately set up to put most people of one mind in one district…”

      So it would appear. The First Congressional District is almost entirely urban/metropolitan while the Second Congressional District is almost entirely rural, and is the geographically largest congressional district in the Eastern United States. Ideally — from my viewpoint — each district should contain the same proportion of rural and urban voters.

      The proposed ballot “reform” would make it practically impossible to get enough ballot signatures in the Second District, because of its physical size and dispersed population, as the districts are arranged now. At least, that’s how I see it. The present problem of ballot votes coming largely from the First District would be solved by making it almost impossible to get anything on the ballot.

      Again, my apologies for flogging a dead horse. That’s what happens when you pique my interest in an arcane issue. ;-)

      1. Ideally — from my viewpoint — each district should contain the same proportion of rural and urban voters.

        Why? That means each constituency gets diluted at the representational level; neither one has a representative dedicated to their own interests.

        1. My quick answer is that congressional districts are supposed to reflect national interests while the more numerous state representative and senatorial districts are supposed to represent regional differences within the state that should be addressed by the state legislature. It is no longer as clear that at the national level, “agrarian” interests are as pitted against “mercantile” interests as in earlier times in history.

          Perhaps I’m digressing, but I observe that right now there is a significant movement in Pennsylvania to reform the redistricting process to minimize gerrymandering, where loosely speaking, the interests of political parties are defined as being “regional” interests. But I observe that even the “reformers” seem to have an attitude that there is bad gerrymandering and good gerrymandering, where good is defined as serving the interests they agree with.

          For example, I’m told that in the Reading area, gerrymandering is for the purpose of divvying up a concentrated Hispanic population between something like six or seven Republican districts, rather than allowing them to have their interests (whatever those may be) be concentrated into one district. If you favor maintaining rural Republican control, you will see that the divvying up is analogous to what I’m saying would be ideal for Maine; if you think the Hispanics deserve their own district, then you’d support gerrymandering to accomplish that.

          Personally I think districting should be done via mathematical algorithm never touched by self-interested human hands, and be based only on population and compactness. Then let the chips fall where they may.

  6. I support background checks.

    I also support Pit Bulls.

    And If someone polls me, I would say I support both.

    But that is a far cry from voting to force people to have them.

  7. The Guarantee Clause is currently be litigated in CO. Subject is a leftist attempt to overturn the Taxpayer Bill of Rights which was passed by the voters. If successful, it could overturn all initiatives. Unless it gets to the Supreme Court and Roberts makes a pretzel of the Constitution again.

    1. “The Guarantee Clause is currently be litigated in CO”

      Thanks, but if you’re referring to Kerr v. Hickenlooper (page 4), it appears to challenge the TABOR Amendment to the state constitution, itself, and not the initiative process by which it was enacted. Thus the Guarantee Clause, per se, is not being litigated vis-a-vis citizen initiatives.

      Kerr, et al. v. Hickenlooper, No. 12

      1445 (10th Circuit July 19, 2016)

      Subject: Whether the TABOR amendment to the Colorado Constitution violates, among other provisions, section 4 of article IV of the United States Constitution, under which the United States guarantees to every state a republican form of government (“Guarantee Clause”).

      The Wikipedia article on TABOR also is informative.

      1. The left is just trying to challenge TABOR without calling the initiative process illegal. But there is an obvious slippery slope here.

    2. Sorry if I tend to get fanatical when some arcane point piques my interest. ;-)

      This also is interesting:

      Kerr v. Hickenlooper is a lawsuit in federal district court in Colorado. The Plaintiffs (eight boards of education, a county commission, a special district board, current and past Colorado state legislators, public officials, educators, administrators and private citizens) have sued to overturn the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (“TABOR”). TABOR is an amendment to the Colorado Constitution passed by the voters in 1992. Among its many provisions, TABOR removed from the legislature (and all other levels of state government) the power to enact tax legislation. Instead, it requires any new tax measures to go to a vote of the people. TABOR also requires refunds of tax revenues that exceed an annually-adjusted cap on state spending, unless voters approve keeping the “excess.” These key areas of fiscal policy are put off limits to the normal functions of representative institutions — proposals, hearings about impacts, consideration of other interests and alternatives, deliberation, and compromise. By so eliinating and limiting essential fiscal powers of the Colorado General Assembly and the state’s political subdivisions, the Plaintiffs claim that TABOR has fundamentally undermined the ability of Colorado’s representative democracy to function. As a result, the state no longer has a “republican form of government.” A republican form of government is, however, guaranteed to all states under the Guarantee Clause (Article IV, section 4) of the United States Constitution and also is required to be maintained in the Colorado State Constitution by federal statute (the Colorado Statehood Act of 1875). TABOR thus violates Article IV, section 4, and the requirements of the Statehood Act, and should be invalidated by the court.

      It will interest me whether requiring the voters to approve the action of a legislature is considered equivalent to cutting the legislature out of the loop completely.

      Suppose it wasn’t required but enabled by a very easy referendum process. What would be considered too easy? One signature? One percent of the voters? Ninety-nine percent of the voters? What?

  8. With regards to the Law and Order comment:

    On the one hand, I firmly believe that anyone who isn’t currently serving a sentence in jail or in prison should be free to do anything that a free citizen should be able to do — up to and including voting and carrying guns. If someone is so dangerous that they can’t handle voting or carrying guns, then they shouldn’t be free, and sentencing and parole hearings should take that into consideration.

    OTOH, I find it weird that a pro-gun President would prosecute felons who carry guns, while an anti-gun President wouldn’t prosecute felons who carry guns. It makes me believe that the stated goal of the anti-gun types to keep guns out of the hands of criminals isn’t really what they want; indeed, it looks to me that they are more concerned with getting guns out of the hands of peaceable citizens than they are of criminals…

  9. “I find it weird that a pro-gun President would prosecute felons who carry guns, while an anti-gun President wouldn’t prosecute felons who carry guns.”

    What you need to understand is that anyone with political power is only pro- or anti-gun to the extent that it is an artifice for gaining votes and getting or keeping power. The most fire-breathing, pro-gun president (or?) would become instantly anti-gun if armed people were challenging his/her authority or the authority of their faction.

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