Here We Go With Badly Drafted Bills

Now we have a bill number, HR3999, put forward by Rep. Carlos Curbelo, which is our bipartisan train wreck. You can see the text here, and it’s basically a restatement of Feinstein’s ban. Way overly broad, and not at all carefully drafted. Three Pennsylvania Republicans have signed onto this bill.

  • Charlie Dent has been OK on the issue, but he’s now a retiring lame duck, so there’s not going to be much threatening him.
  • Ryan Costello is Jim Gerlach’s replacement, and is showing to have little spine.
  • Pat Meehan is no surprise here. He’s been weak on the issue from the get go.

I don’t expect any of these guys to come out and scream “machine guns for all,” but this bill is badly done. The problem is there are a lot of things that can affect the rate of fire of a semi-automatic firearms without enabling it to fire like a machine gun. Among items that could be banned under this bill:

  • Match grade triggers.
  • Muzzle brakes.
  • Recoil weights
  • Buffer springs
  • Bolt carriers of different weights.

The list could go on. NRA is taking the position that Congress and state lawmakers need to wait for ATF to complete its review. So far, the FSB reviewer who green lighted the bump stock is saying they couldn’t find any way to classify it as a machine gun. Really, you classified the Akins Accelerator as a machine gun, they took the spring out of it, and you green lighted that. Seems to me if the Akins Accelerator was a MG, adding a spring makes any reciprocating stock similar to it, only without a spring readily convertible. Not that I’m interested in giving ATF an out.

Like I’ve said, I’m willing to trade bump stocks for SHARE or National Reciprocity, but only if it’s done with precision. This bill ain’t it. Not even close. This bill we have to kill.


No Right to Sell Arms

The 9th Circuit sitting en-banc has ruled there’s no particular Second Amendment right to sell guns. So that means you can own one, but the government doesn’t have to let anyone sell it to you. At least one judge dissented from the facial challenge, and another concurred on the facial challenge but “dissented from the dismissal of the constitutional challenge as applied to plaintiffs, stating that the majority’s analysis of the Second Amendment challenge to locating a full-service gun shop in an unincorporated area of Alameda County substantially interfered with the right of its customers to keep and bear arms.”

If there’s a right to bear arms, there has to be a right to sell them. That’s like arguing for freedom of the press, but it’s illegal for anyone to sell presses. They’d never accept that in a First Amendment context.

The courts will continue to read the Second Amendment into meaninglessness unless the Supreme Court steps in to stop them.

Far Left Not Keen on Gun Control

Gun control has almost always been a desire of the ruling class, not those they wish to rule. You’re even hearing them using the “monopoly on violence” rhetoric that’s been going around gun rights circles for some time. This begs the question of how long the Dems will keep up the anti-gun rhetoric? Hillary’s reaction to the Vegas shooting didn’t seem to go over well with anyone. Is there perhaps some recognition that this issue has outlived its usefulness?

Weekly Gun News – Edition 65

I started this feature not long after Sandy Hook, because the amount of bullshit flowing in the media was high enough that I couldn’t cover it all. This is a feature I’m happy to skip because of lack of news, but since we’re in the aftermath of a particularly bad mass shooting, the news is flowing. There are a few surprising things, however. One is that the gun control groups aren’t getting much traction. I have alerts for Everytown, Brady, and CSGV. For the most part the press aren’t writing about them. However, NRA’s announcement changed the news cycle.

The media were very quick after the incident to spread far and wide that in their estimation, Nevada’s gun laws are awful. They were even chiding Nevada for failing to implement Bloomberg’s badly drafted background check law. That narrative dried up quick once the facts started to come out.

This is the big article of the week: “I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.

If you read nothing else here, you’ll really want to read this. Worth sharing even on the vast wasteland of social media.

This bit by Sci-Fi author Larry Correia is also worth your time. Probably one of the best things I’ve seen defending suppressor deregulation.

The Federalist: “6 Reasons Your Right-Wing Friend Isn’t Coming To Your Side On Gun Control

Because it worked so well in 2016: 2020 Democrats Target Guns.

This one is going to be fertile ground for the conspiracy loons, because it’s increasingly looking like we aren’t going to have answers.

Guns now at forefront of Virginia Governor’s race. This won’t help the Democrat. Bloomberg is also dumping a lot of money into the race. You remember last time he did that and almost cost Terry McAuliffe the election?

It would be helpful to Senator Murphy if this was actually true: “Mass shootings are an American problem. There’s an American solution.” Unfortunately for him, it is not.

Smart guns won’t stop mass shooting, says Wired. I don’t know, judging from the thumbprint reader on my phone some days it just might.

We must ban springs! One easy way ATF could have ruled against bump stocks is to argue they are readily convertible. Just add a spring.

The Federalist: “When You Politicize Shootings You Make It Harder To Find Solutions” An excerpt: “Those in the press who mislead the public on all these issues give themselves away, as well. They are interested not merely in stopping mass shootings, but limiting gun ownership.”

Patrik Jonsson, whose reporting on this issue has always been fair: “Why gun experts don’t support banning – or buying – ‘bump stocks’

Your hearing is a joke to them.

Gun groups now rejecting Pat Toomey’s “landmark background check bill.” How does it feel to be a sucker, Pat? I told you, none of those people will ever vote for you. Last election, a lot of us didn’t either!

Remember that when someone starts to argue that your hobbies aren’t worth precious lives, that we tolerate an awful lot of death and societal harm for people’s pleasure in other contexts, so what makes you such an peculiar asshole? And unlike guns, alcohol isn’t particularly useful for self-preservation in most situation, though I suppose it’s a useful fuel and disinfectant.

Philip Bump at WaPo: “But the effect of having a silencer probably would have been negligible. Clinton and others appear to be assuming that silencers — or ‘suppressors,’ as they’re known in the industry — work the way that they do in the movies.

Bearing Arms: “In the wake of the Las Vegas shooing, YouTube has banned all videos demonstrating how to modify firearms so that they can fire in more rapid succession.” Oh well, Internet freedom was fun while it lasted.

The New York Daily News thinks they’re being played by Congress and the NRA. If your goal is more semi-auto gun bans, then yes, you are. And we are very good at it. The truth is that overreach on the part of the anti-gunners is why nothing happens. We’ve been willing to make trades, and we’ve made trades. The other side seems to have a real issue with that.

What if I were attending a shooting match or training class in Vegas? Or Reno?: “While amassing private collections of firearms may be consistent with the spirit and the letter of the Second Amendment, it is hard to accept that anyone has a protected right to appear in the time and place of their choosing bearing more than 10 rifles.” I don’t offer advice to Bridge players because I don’t know or understand the game. But hell, bring up guns suddenly everyone’s a fucking expert.

An oldie, but worth bringing up again: “There’s No Correlation Between Gun Ownership, Mass Shootings, and Murder Rates” I did a similar analysis years back and got the same result. Once you start controlling for confounding factors like urbanization, income, etc, you’re admitting that the problem is more complicated than just the prevalence of firearms.

Raise your hand if you thought Jimmy Kimmel’s cry-a-thon was a bit much. Ben Shapiro has an excellent retort. So does Charles C.W. Cooke.


More Fun Facts

Also seen on the Internets from certified very smart people when it comes to gun laws:

The Original 1934 NFA Banned ALL Handguns, Semi-Autos & Mags over 12 Rds. Had NRA Been “No Compromise” We Would Have Lost it All.

I wasn’t even alive then, and my Grandpop was just 14, but I know from my own research this is true. We got AOWs because they were originally meant to apply to handguns, and they were carved out of it at the last minute very carelessly. The original definition of a machine gun was any firearm which could fire more than 12 rounds without reloading.

Fun Fact of the Day

I was just entering high school in 1989, when New Jersey started the great Assault Weapons debate, so I did not know this. Seen on the Internets from someone who would know:

In ’89 New Jersey Could Have Beaten the Assault Firearm Ban if We Agreed to Assault Firearms Permits. We Said “No Compromise.” We Lost. Its Still Law.

Assault Weapons bans are culture killers. People who get into shooting enough will tend to leave states that have passed them. Would New Jersey gun owners have been better off taking that deal? At the very least it would have bought time. Sure, they might have banned them eventually, but at least they would have had to fight twice on the issue instead of winning it all in one fell swoop.

You don’t always have the choice between winning and losing. Sometimes it’s a choice between losing and not losing so much. I’m not saying we’re in that situation now, but screaming “No!” louder is not a strategy. Unless you feel confident we can deliver every GOPe critter’s head on a silver platter in the 2018 primaries, saying “No!” would have meant losing, which leads to more losing.

There is no surprise that even some harder core GOP legislators were geared up and ready to pass a bump stock ban: there is almost no lawmakers out there who are ideologically committed to gun rights. They arrive at their position on this issue solely on the basis of which votes they think they’ll gain or lose come election time. Money is also a factor, and while we do spend money, Bloomberg is waiting with open arms to donate large sums to defectors.

That is why it is very important when you write your lawmakers to make them understand you vote on this issue, and that if they want to keep that vote, they better not just sign up for takeaways.

What Options Does ATF Have?

As I updated yesterday, I think NRA’s move with ATF is meant to buy time. Time is our strongest ally in a situation like this, because you need people to stop thinking with raw emotion and start being more reasonable. All the strategic documents I’ve ever read coming out of the gun control movement (I wish I could find them now) call for immediate action in the wake of a tragedy. Reason being, and they have admitted this, is that they need people in an emotional state to get traction with their ideas. They do not have millions of people who care about this issue deeply. They have people who transiently care. They know time is their enemy.

So what are ATF’s options? They can take the bait and reclassify, which would be an admission they were wrong in the first place. That will attract blame for Las Vegas to ATF and the Obama Administration. That wasn’t put in there just because NRA wanted to tweak Obama (though I will admit it a nice side effect). It’s daring ATF to reclassify. If ATF does reclassify, every bump fire stock out there will become an unregistered machine gun. All of them will have to be tracked down and confiscated. Remember that there’s no new registrations, so you won’t be able to just register it, pay your NFA tax, and be good. If there were only a few thousand of these things out there Monday, there will be tens of thousands of them out there by the end of the week. I can promise you ATF does not want to have to chase after all these things, and then be left explaining how a misclassification resulted in tens of thousands of unregistered machine guns being sold to people with their blessing.

So at the end, ATF is likely to come back and affirm their original ruling, and telling Congress if they want reclassification, the ball is in their court and not ATFs. But this will take some time, and that time will help in getting us a favorable deal. We’ll do much better to negotiate after the news cycle has moved on. Our people are now paying attention, and it’s becoming clear that having the GOP in charge of Congress and the White House is not an immunization against future gun control.

It’s a good idea to write your critters. They do need to hear from us. And that message should be to pass SHARE and National Reciprocity, and not to vote for any future gun control. Despite news stories, NRA does not derive it’s power at the negotiating table because it donates big to politicians. It derives it from all of you calling and bitching to your lawmakers.

NRA Asks for Reevaluation of Bump Stocks

I’m not surprised by this. I do wonder why you’d invite ATF to reclassify rather than use it as a bargaining chip to get our two bills through Congress. I know a lot of people are going to freak the ever loving hell out about this, but there’s several truths, unpleasant truths to be sure, but truths nonetheless:

  • With this incident, continued grandfathering of machine guns is going to be at risk. I’ve been told by very experienced people who work with Congress that the current machine gun regime exists because for the most part it flies under the radar. There’s only been one incident where a legal machine gun was used in a crime, and that was committed by a police officer.
  • Machine guns are a hill you’re going to die on. The time to have that fight was in 1934, and the population was too busy trying to survive the depression. Rightly or wrongly, and I believe wrongly, machine guns have never been considered by most Americans to be in the scope of their Second Amendment rights. This probably has something to do with the fact that they were banned before there was any great awakening on the Second Amendment, or maybe Americans just didn’t care enough to fight until they started going after guns that weren’t machine guns. Either way, it’s a lost cause. You might not like hearing this, but it’s reality. Our best bet to preserve what machine guns are left is to let them continue to fly under the radar.
  • Semi-autos are put at risk because one of our powerful arguments is that they are not, in fact, easy to convert. We largely have overcome the assault weapons issue by relieving people’s confusion that assault weapons are machine guns. Why did this work? Because the vast majority of Americans are OK banning machine guns. I’ve been talking to numerous people who are not inherently hostile to guns who are asking me why the feds allowed a conversion that was so easy to do. You’re not going to argue back with “But it’s not a conversion. It’s only simulated full auto fire.” You’re splitting hairs, and people know what they heard and saw on those videos.
  • Bump fire stocks are a range toy. They aren’t particularly useful for target shooting, aren’t particularly reliable, and aren’t particularly useful for self-defense. If you like the citizen militia purpose of the 2nd Amendment, and I do, they aren’t particularly useful for that either. No current military would field them. I’m not going to agree to risk suffering real and substantial losses to defend them. Is banning them stupid and useless? Yes. But public policy is rarely decided on the basis of reason.
  • SHARE and National Reciprocity were probably going to pass the house, but both were likely going to fall short of 60 votes in the Senate. We know this because the last time the issue came up we were short. If attaching a reclassification of bump stocks gets us past 60 votes, I’ll take it. Those are real and substantial gains for the Second Amendment. I think it’s well worth the trade.

I know this is going to piss off a lot of people, but this is reality.

UPDATE: The more I think about this, the more I think this is a tactic to buy time. Time is our best friend here. Most likely scenario: ATF reviews its determination and says, which is perfectly true: “We can’t reclassify these things without legislation.” By that time, politicians are acting more reasonably, and the public has moved on. We get out of the immediate crisis and have more room to make a deal.

Now That There’s Talk of a Ban …

there isn’t a bump-fire stock to be found. There probably weren’t all that many out there before the prospect of a ban came up. How many will there be after? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands?

And if Feinstein gets her way, as long as it’s illegal already, might as well put the spring in it. You won’t do more time for the spring, and it makes the device a lot easier use and more effective.

I’ll reiterate my prediction, because it’s what happened after Sandy Hook; they will be offered a deal; bump stock ban to get our two bills through. They will not take it. They won’t be able to help themselves. At the end of the day, they will get nothing, and then wonder why.

This Just Gets Weirder

Does the FBI think this isn’t just a lone whack job? Nothing would surprise me anymore. I hope they clarify all these statements soon, because the conspiracy nuts are going to have a field day with all this stuff if the FBI comes out and says “Yeah, it was just a sad, depressed man who wanted to go out in a blaze of infamy.”

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