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Enemies Within?

I’ve hardly seen anything more over the top than Adam Kraut’s campaign for the NRA Board, and some Board members response to it. Marion isn’t the only one I’ve seen making comments that range from “good point” to “Oh sweet Jesus that’s nuts.” This is one of those cases where I’m probably just going to piss everyone off, so I might as well get on with it. Lately I’ve liked bullet pointing issues, so I’ll go with that:

  • The idea that Adam Kraut is some kind of Bloomberg plant or is financially motivated seems fantastical to me, so I’m inclined to not believe it if it’s not presented with evidence as equally convincing as the charge is nuts.
  • I’m skeptical of anyone who wants to be on the Board that bad. Seriously: you’re one of 76 people if you win. You’re ability to influence things is pretty limited. This is doubly true if you got on the Board by essentially running against it.
  • Let me turn that last point around to those attacking him: Adam Kraut would be one of 76 directors if he won. Why the flamethrowers? You do realize by attacking him like this, you raise the profile of his campaign? This backlash is making you all look petty and out of touch. You’re playing right into the hands of those who oppose many on the board right now.
  • You can say a lot of things about Marion Hammer, but Marion Hammer is the reason we have concealed carry. I would not advise anyone who wants to get on the NRA Board to do so by antagonizing her. I’m not saying she’s beyond criticism. No one is. But she’s the one who got the ball rolling legislatively by getting the Florida Legislature to take a bite of the apple. Concealed carry was a social movement, so I do not wish to go so far as to say that Marion single handedly did it. We all did it. But getting Florida to jump first was a huge accomplishment that got the boxcar over the hump.

I’ve always thought the best way to get on the NRA Board is to first, put in your time on the issue and the organization’s many activities. There’s a lot of ways to do that. Second, hang around Board meetings, get to know Board members, see if you might be able to get someone to help score you a committee assignment. Third, do a good job on that committee. Finally, try to get nominated. That to me is the path of least resistance. But I suppose it’s hard to change the good ol’ boys club by playing by its rules. But you know what else is hard? Trying to change the boys club by antagonizing it.

I’ll be the first to admit I’d make a poor revolutionary, but I’ve found it’s better wait patiently, to recognize opportunity, and be ready to exploit it when the time comes, than to try to force it.

Domestic Violence Prohibition Upheld

A federal court has ruled that the prohibition on domestic violence misdemeanants from keeping and bearing arms is constitutional. This is not surprising, since the Supreme Court has basically signals to the lower courts that they are free to ignore Heller and McDonald, and that they need not fear having their ruling, however awful, overturned. Here’s things I wish courts would consider:

  • There’s a difference in degree of infringement between someone who already owns firearms and being forced to give them up, and someone who does not own firearms not being able to buy any for the duration of the prohibition.
  • While the Lautenberg Amendment may not be an ex post facto law, the application of the prohibition on anyone who was ever convicted is a violation of their right to due process under the 5th and 14th Amendments.
  • Lifetime prohibitions triggered by misdemeanor convictions should always be regarded with considerable suspicion in regards to constitutionality.
  • Prohibitions should be something applied by judges as part of a sentence. The retroactive application of a prohibition is always a due process violation, even for felons. A defendant has to know which of his rights are on the line at the time he is accused and tried.

I don’t think applying a temporary prohibition to misdemeanants is on its face unconstitutional, but Lautenberg probably should be.

All HTTPS, All The Time

I’ve finally implemented making the site entirely HTTPS for all content. I’ve wanted to make it work for a while, but it took a while to finally pull the trigger. That not only keeps Google happy, it should keep everyone happy. Ordinarily, a redirect is easy, but I have a lot of widgets and old content that had hard coded links I had to find and change. But it seems to be working OK now, and I get green in Chrome and Safari.

Picking a Gun Fight

Governor Wolf may not have been expecting a fight over guns, but he sure as hell got one. There is a little known (outside of gun circles) provision in Pennsylvania law that when a state of emergency is declared, the only people who become eligible to possess firearms “on the public streets” are military, police, and people who have a License to Carry Firearms.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania has been hit particularly hard by opioid addiction. So naturally things will tend to follow the progression of politicians and pearl clutchers everywhere: this is a crisis of epic proportion, so Something Must Be Done. Declaring a State of Emergency over the opiods is Something, so therefore it Must Be Done.

There’s an effort growing to change the state of emergency law to remove the firearms ban. This would be a good idea. And since I believe the Governor did not intend to pick a fight on this issue, we might have a reasonable shot at getting him to sign it. It will also be interesting to see the gun control groups fight this, because of course having complex laws in place no one knows about means more people like you and me in prison, where no doubt many of them believe we belong.

Ouch

From David French at National Review:

In April 2014, America was transfixed by an armed standoff in the Nevada desert. On one side was a collection of dangerous, out-of-control armed men who were deliberately provocative, prone to saying unhinged things in a single-minded quest to destroy their enemies, and who lied time and again to cover their misdeeds.

On the other side was Cliven Bundy.

How bad did the feds get that National Review is dismissing armed resistance to the government? Pretty bad, if you read any of the whistleblower documents.

Dismissed with Prejudice

What does it say that the Bundys case was not only dismissed, but dismissed with prejudice, which means the government can’t reopen it. What does it say that it was an Obama appointed judge who did it? How bad was the government’s misconduct in the case, and if it was that bad, maybe the protesters had some justification for shaking their guns in the tyrant’s face?

“The government’s irresponsible and, at times, false proffers to this Court as well as its dismissiveness toward the defense inspires no confidence in the prospect of fairness,” they wrote. “A dismissal is necessary to remedy the constitutional violations, to preserve the integrity of this court’s processes, and to deter future misconduct. Anything short of a dismissal is tantamount to condoning the government’s behavior in this case.”

People can balk at an armed population being a check on bad behavior from the government all they want, but based on what I’ve read from this case, there were agents in the Bureau of Land Management who were itching for a fight, and when it looked like they might actually get one, decided that discretion was the better part of valor and backed down.

Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.

– Thomas Jefferson

“Consent of the governed” doesn’t really have a whole lot of meaning if harsh language is your best defense. An armed society may be more messy, and more uncomfortable for some than one where everyone is at the mercy of government bureaucrats, but I much prefer a world where people have to think, and think hard, about whether or not to trample a minority interest under the public boot.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Some would probably be more comfortable if we were more like Germany or Sweden, but that’s not who we are, and like Jefferson, I hope we will never be.

The Future of the Gun Rights Movement

It’s a good time, in the New Year and entering the 12th year of blogging, with 11 now behind me, to take a look at where we stand, and where we’re going. I am not as optimistic as many people, and I believe in some ways we’ve lost ground since I started blogging. Here are some observations:

  • When I started blogging, the gun rights movement owned the Internet. This is no longer the case. If you go into any gun related thread, you’ll find madness and ignorance screeching pretty loudly on both sides.
  • Reasonable people have given up arguing on the Internet. That’s been left to the crazies.
  • Back in 2008, this was an eminently democratic medium. Literally anyone could start a blog, and sometimes it feels like almost everyone did.
  • Today, in 2018, the Internet is controlled by a handful of large corporations. Those corporations have, whether deliberately or not, killed the democratic nature of the Internet that existed in 2008.
  • In 2008, there was no social media. In 2018, social media has driven a good portion of the American Population, especially those who follow politics, quite literally crazy.
  • Social media favors those who spend money to seed the population with memes. While money wasn’t useless in 2008, you didn’t build an audience by spending money. Remember all those successful gun control blogs that got started a decade ago? We already had the networks in place to build a community, and we did. They didn’t, and their attempts were comical. Social media allows micro targeting, and to reach people who are most prone to be open to your messaging. In 2008, the new media favored those who already had horizontal interpretive communities in place. In 2018, social media lets you build those communities if you’re willing to spend the time and money.
  • In 2008, the gun control movement was nearly bankrupt. It is now being largely funded single handedly by Mike Bloomberg, who has the money to outspend our movement for years if he’s willing. Additionally, that money will probably expand the donor base of the gun control movement beyond Bloomberg, because having that kind of money to spend is bound to be able to rake a broader donor base. I would be surprised if even absent Bloomberg’s money, Everytown doesn’t have a substantially larger pool of donors than Brady et al had in 2008.
  • We bloggers were all out to crush the mainstream media in 2008, and we should pat ourselves on the back for succeeding. Unfortunately, I believe it’s been replaced by something far far worse.
  • The wild west days of the Internet are over. Regulation will be coming. For years we fought Congress on what I would call crusty old people regulation, mostly along the lines of “Do you know what this Internet thing is doing to the children?” Same thing happens with every new technology that frightens people ignorant of it. We were right to fight off that. But I believe that after many years in the wilderness, eventually both parties are going to come to agree to Make Antitrust Law Great Again. Alphabet (Google) will be the big target, but once it becomes fashionable again, I don’t think it will stop there.
  • I believe Facebook will either burn itself out, or our sense of etiquette online will adjust. I think the former is more likely. I gave up Twitter entirely. I don’t miss it. I’ve curtailed my Facebook activity substantially, and don’t regret that either. It was inevitable that, like Trash TV, we’d eventually get Trash Internet, and Facebook and Twitter are, if you ask me.

So where does this leave the gun rights movement?

  • We haven’t had a real high level success in the federal courts in nearly a decade. This probably won’t change unless Trump gets one or two more court appointees. Trump’s court picks, so far, have been quite good. But we might have a very limited window to pack the courts with pro-2A judges. I don’t think any of the current SCOTUS justices are planning on retiring, and Ginsburg and Breyer will hold on to their seats until their dying breaths. Heller and McDonald are effectively meaningless without another SCOTUS ruling smacking down the lower courts. Much like Lopez and Morrison, the lower courts resisted and effectively rendered those rulings without substantial meaning.
  • National Reciprocity will struggle to pass the Senate. I don’t think after 2018, it will be easier to pass. Again, I think we have a limited window here.
  • I think we need a substantial victory to take the wind out of the sails of our opponents. Understand that National Reciprocity is effectively federal preemption for handguns. It’s limited, but it will make a difference. If we’re going to move forward rather than backwards, it will take a combination of federal action under the 14th Amendment, and favorable court decisions.
  • The “bad” states will continue to get worse. Additionally, some blue states that are not bad will start going bad. Washington State and Oregon, just to name a few. Nevada might not be far behind. Colorado Dems got punched in the face, so to speak, after the magazine ban, and I don’t think will try anything again for a while. But eventually that lesson needs to be retaught, and at some point you won’t be able to touch them. California is now in the position where gun rights proponents can’t mount any meaningful legislative opposition.
  • Polls are consistently showing that if you’re a Republican, you don’t favor gun control, and if you’re a Dem, you do. The Dems are more uniform in their pro-gun control beliefs than Republicans are in their pro-gun beliefs. Independents tend to lean a bit toward the pro-gun position, but this issue has become very very partisan, and it’s probably not going to get better.
  • Our power has always rested on our ability to swing close elections. If gun rights become baked into the GOP numbers, that will mean Democratic control will be disastrous for us, because the perception will be that they already beat the gun vote. If we are to keep earning success, we have to continue developing a large pool of single-issue or near-single-issue voters. That actually gets harder, I think, the more polarized the country gets.

 

Happy 2018

Blogging to continue shortly. Just getting back into the swing today. Will have something soon.

Netflix Binge Watching: The Crown

We’ve been watching The Crown, the tales of the latest monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Windsor. It’s surprisingly good. The actress who plays Elizabeth II starts out kind of awkward, but after a few episodes starts to wear the role very well. The actor who plays Prince Philip really looks the part, and does very well in the role.

I don’t know how I’d feel about the Constitutional Monarchy if I were raised in the UK. I’m a bit of an insufferable republican. Monarchy is a really awful thing to do to people; especially the monarchs. It is interesting human drama to put people into that kind of position for no other reason than accident of birth. Probably why those of us in the US have such a fascination with British royalty. At least our leaders have to want it. But if they really want it, are they fit to have it?

Why All These Bundy Cases Ended up Jury Nullified

As Dave Hardy pointed out, this is a doozy. BLM agent accuses his superiors of numerous illegal abuses and misbehaviors in the Bundy Ranch case:

The investigation also indicated that on multiple occasions, former BLM Special Agent-in-Charge (SAC) Love specifically and purposely ignored U.S. Attorney’s Office and BLM civilian management direction and intent as well as Nevada State Official recommendations in order to command the most intrusive, oppressive, large scale, and militaristic trespass cattle impound possible. Additionally, this investigation also indicated excessive use of force, civil rights and policy violations. The investigation indicated that there was little doubt there was an improper cover-up in virtually every matter that a particular BLM SAC participated in, or oversaw and that the BLM SAC was immune from discipline and the consequences of his actions.

If BLM regularly deals with ranchers in this manner, it would explain why the Bundys were jury nullified even though they were guilty as hell.

All in all, it is my assessment, and the investigation showed that the 2014 Gold Butte Trespass Cattle Impound was in part a punitive and ego-driven expedition by Senior BLM Law Enforcement Supervisor (former BLM Special Agent-in-Charge Dan Love) that was only in part focused on the intent of the associated Federal Court Orders and the mission of our agency (to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the multiple use and enjoyment of present and future generations).

Retaliation against dissidents and whistleblowers is endemic in the “civil service.” The fact that everyone so up in arms over Trump doing the kinds of things that has been routinely done in the federal bureaucracy for years has been, for me, a source of laughter and frustration. How often do you find yourself thinking about something a friend, colleague, or family member wrote: “You didn’t give a shit about X until biased news site Y just told you that Trump did X and now it’s the worst. thing. ever. Even though Obama and everyone that came before him did X all the time.”

We have some real serious issues about how the federal government runs, but we all need to be operating in the same reality to do something about it. We all increasingly don’t operate in the same reality. I’ve heard concerns for the “deep state” being dismissed as right-wing paranoia. I don’t care what you call it, this is the truth: the federal bureaucracy is a branch of government onto itself, which has very little accountability to the elected officials that under our system are supposed to lead it.

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