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Culture Leads Politics

Kevin has a bit on “Why R. Lee Ermey Eatters,” because we need more cultural figures to show that shooting is FUN. We can all forget that sometimes. Despite the role Ermey is best known for, he was a hell of a nice guy. He also impressed me that he would attend NRA Board Meetings. There are some celebrities who I do not believe have even shown up to be sworn in. At the Glock booth, the line would always be around the corner (and Glock’s booth is BIG) to meet him and get a picture and autograph. Generally speaking, I don’t vote for celebrity Board members, even if they are sometimes contributors, just because they don’t need my help. But I always voted for Ermey. He struck me as a stand-up guy. And yes, the one time I saw him walking to the restroom from a Board meeting, I was tempted to tell the hotel staffer who also saw him walk by, “I hope that head is so sanitary and squared away that the Virgin Mary herself would be proud to go in there and take a dump!” That movie was one of those shared cultural experiences of my generation I’m not sure we really have anymore.

You’ll Be Shocked, I Know

YouTube shooter evaded California’s magazine ban:

She fired a total of 20 rounds, apparently killing herself with the last round. In this case, poor marksmanship did more to keep the number of dead and injured low than California’s gun laws. Magazine limitations hurt defenders more than offenders. Attackers have the advantage of planning ahead, and can bring reloads with them. They aren’t likely to be concerned with discomfort. My jacket right now would hold 8 to 10 spare magazines. I could probably fit three or four extra in a pair of Khakis. But I’m not going to do that as a defender, because it’s uncomfortable and heavy.

I don’t want clueless politicians artificially limiting the magazine capacity of my pistol for the same reason the cops don’t: I don’t get to pick and choose where and under what circumstances I might need a gun. An attacker does.

Mass Killer Used 10 Round Magazines

Because they were easier to fit in his gym bag. You’d think this would be the end of that narrative, but you’d be wrong. New narrative: just think of how many lives were saved because he didn’t use those evil “high-capacity magazines” and “his gun jammed because he had to reload so much.” Even though in the Gifford’s shooting, the killer’s gun jammed because he was using an extended magazine that wasn’t designed for the gun.

Heads I win, tails you lose.

This is a difficult thing to discuss with non-gun people, and even some gun people who aren’t all that knowledgeable. Because it seems “obvious” that allowing fewer rounds in a magazine will reduce gun deaths. In truth there’s no evidence for this. Also, basic tactics would tell you that a magazine restriction disadvantages a defender more than an attacker.

It takes a few seconds to change a magazine. As a defender, I cannot and will not be carrying around a gym bag full of magazines with me all day. Most mass killers do this. Most of them also bring multiple guns to the attack. As a defender, I will carry the magazine that’s in my firearm. Maybe some more hard-core carriers will carry a reload. My likelihood of ever needing one round, let alone more than one, is very very low. But so is the likelihood I’ll ever be in the vicinity of a mass shooting. We don’t carry guns in anticipation of high-probability events, so I don’t want its capacity artificially blocked. The grip of my Glock 19 is designed to hold 15 9mm rounds, and as a defender, that’s what I want it to hold. Telling me I can only have 10 rounds serves merely to put me at a disadvantage to an attacker, who can plan around the restriction.

Cops know this. That’s why they would fight magazine restrictions that affect them tooth and nail. But if cops need them, they should be generally available.

Armed SRO Stayed Outside

It’s breaking news that the Stoneman Douglas high school had a School Resource Officer who stayed outside and failed to act. It’s easy to armchair quarterback this kind of thing in retrospect, but here’s the deal: no one has any idea how they are going to react when bullets start flying. Trained soldiers and cops are not immune to freezing up under fire. If people are going to argue that this shows armed intervention is a fool’s errand than we should disarm the police and military too. The only way you will find out for sure how you will act when people start shooting bullets at you is to have bullets shot at you. Training helps. That’s why I believe armed individuals make the choice to carry in schools with an intent to protect children should receive active shooter training, and whatever else is useful above and beyond what an average owner with a carry permit typically receives. I’d also note this country has a pool of veterans, many of them retired and with free time, who already know how they react when people are shooting bullets at them. They might be a useful part of the solution too.

So I’m not going to blame this school officer. I don’t like the odds of facing a rifle wielding maniac armed with a pistol and soft body armor either. I’d like to think I wouldn’t freeze up, regardless, and I’d give myself good odds on landing hits. But I don’t know. I’ve never been shot at, and neither have most police officers, even those with long careers. So I’m inclined to cut this guy a break. He decided to resign. That is the right thing. You know now that you’re not cut out for this line of work. I’d hate to have to live with what he’s going to have to live with, but he won’t be the first nor last.

UPDATE: I know this post is a bit controversial. Bitter is discovering some more information about the SRO that would indicate, yeah, sorry dude, I’m willing to judge. What I don’t like to do is beat my chest and declare “I could do better!” I’d like to think I could, but I’ve never had to face down an active shooter.

UPDATE: One deputy freezing up is something that can happen. Four of them freezing up is a systemic problem with the department.

Ever True: A Dog Analogy

Worth sharing, or perhaps re-sharing, because it’s a few years old, Popehat’s post on how to engage in a meaningful gun debate:

Me: I don’t want to take away dog owners’ rights. But we need to do something about Rottweilers.
You: So what do you propose?
Me: I just think that there should be some sort of training or restrictions on owning an attack dog.
You: Wait. What’s an “attack dog?”
Me: You know what I mean. Like military dogs.
You: Huh? Rottweilers aren’t military dogs. In fact “military dogs” isn’t a thing. You mean like German Shepherds?
Me: Don’t be ridiculous. Nobody’s trying to take away your German Shepherds. But civilians shouldn’t own fighting dogs.
You: I have no idea what dogs you’re talking about now.
Me: You’re being both picky and obtuse. You know I mean hounds.
You: What the fuck.
Me: OK, maybe not actually ::air quotes:: hounds ::air quotes::. Maybe I have the terminology wrong. I’m not obsessed with vicious dogs like you. But we can identify kinds of dogs that civilians just don’t need to own.
You: Can we?

Read the whole thing.

If You See Something, Say Something

Seems everyone knew this kid in Florida was a nut. The FBI even investigated him over threats. People saw something and said something. The authorities, however, did nothing about it. In many states, a trip to the loony bin makes you a prohibited person. In Florida, it’s called the Baker Act. In Pennsylvania, it’s the Mental Health Procedures Act. All it takes is the police giving you a ride, and you can’t legally buy a gun and won’t pass a background check.

Yet they did nothing. Yeah, sorry, in Florida we did what everyone says is the answer: made it very easy to make crazy people into prohibited persons, and the authorities still dropped the ball.

All the mental health prohibitions in the world aren’t going to amount to shit if no one lifts a finger to get people with mental health issues into the system. This happens repeatedly: we agree to give them the tools they ask for, the authorities drop the ball, and shit still happens. Then, they demand we give up the next thing, and the next thing.

If at first you don’t succeed, Try Try Again

ANJRPC  is taking another shot at NJ’s May Issue permitting regime. The actual complaint can be found here (PDF).

Amusing quote:

“Plaintiffs acknowledge that the result they seek is contrary to Drake v. Filko, 724 F.3d 426 (3d Cir. 2014), but, for the reasons explained in Wrenn v. District of Columbia, 864 F.3d 650 (D.C. Cir. 2017), that case was wrongly decided.”

That’ll do well at the Circuit Court, I bet.

I wonder what Scott Bach thinks is going to change at SCOTUS in the next couple of years than will get SCOTUS to take this case up instead of letting it languish like all the other may-issue cases?

The Senate Math for CCW in 2017

It’s not looking probable; we would need a miracle. Here’s the breakdown

Starting with the 2013 vote (57 Ayes to invoke cloture), I did up a spreadsheet of the likely vote results in 2017, based on current occupancy, the 2013 vote, and the Senators political stances on the issue.

I came out with maximum of 59 Aye votes (assuming Luther Strange gets to vote Aye or his replacement votes Aye).

The vote delta (because we had both gains and losses)

NH: -1 (Maggie Hassan replaced Kelly Ayotte)

IA: +1 (Joni Ernst replaced Tom Harkin)

SD: +1 (Mike Rounds replaced Tim Johnson)

WV: +1 (Shelley Moore replaced John Rockefeller)

However, what I don’t see is the 60th vote. I broke out the Nay votes who are in seats up in 2018 in states that voted for Trump

Bill Nelson is a hard NO
Claire McCaskill is a hard NO
Sherrod Brown is a hard NO
Bob Casey is a firm No
Tammy Baldwin is a hard NO

And, if anyone flips to be the 60th, I wouldn’t put it past some of the presumptive Ayes to flip to Nay to prevent it. Fix NICS is already being pulled out as a cover for voting Nay (and was used for that purpose in the House).

Now, maybe the GOP leadership knows something I don’t, or this really was a setup to burnish everybody’s 2A pro/con credentials. Whichever way that goes, if you want reciprocity this year, better start praying.

We Have to Get Out From Under These Mass Shootings

Complaining that we shouldn’t be blamed and punished for the actions of mad men is all well and good, but one has to understand a few realities:

  1. Ruling classes, everywhere, universally, do not particularly care for the idea of those they imagine they rule being armed. This is deep seated, and the fundamental well from which gun control sentiment is drawn.
  2. Most people will favor any restriction on something if it wouldn’t affect them or their lives. People who would hew and haw and cry foul if you tried to ban alcohol, skydiving, or skiing, for the good of those who might get hurt by it or hurt others by it, will gladly turn around and agree that your hobby is beyond the pale and no right thinking person would ever engage in it. Especially if they are being fed that crap from the above group.

Mass shootings give the ruling classes the excuse to preen about showing the latter group how much they care… manipulating their emotional reaction to tragedy in order to bring them closer to their position. The actions of the former group forces us to circle the wagons out of self-preservation, which puts is at an inherent disadvantage in influencing Those Who Care Oh So Very Much to support us.

It will never look good defending your hobby in the face of dead children. Yes, I know that by the same logic, people who drink are more responsible for dead children than you or I are for enjoying firearms, but that doesn’t matter. Drunk driving deaths, domestic abuse, and alcohol poisonings are all statistics, not headlines. And most people drink. People will fight for what they enjoy, but aren’t going to fight for what you enjoy.

“But Sebastian, that’s why we make the self-defense argument,” I can hear people saying. Yes. It is. But understand that while that argument is a lot more effective, it also has limits. The self-defense argument will appeal to people who have the emotional disposition to accept it. You aren’t going to win the first group with that argument, who either live in ridiculously safe neighborhoods, or who can afford private security. They’ve never given self-defense a second thought. There are also members of the second group who will not be receptive to that message.

I’m afraid the Vegas shooting was the perfect kind of event to trigger subsequent whack jobs. I am a firm believer that media sensation is what drives these events. We know that mass shooters spend a lot of time planning attacks. They do not occur in a vacuum. The Vegas murderer (I won’t name his name, that’s what they want) set the standard for what would earn headlines. The whole thing was ready made for the next crazy asshole, which is why I think we’re seeing a rash of them now.

So what can the average gun owner do? Relieve ignorance. Breed familiarity. Understand the emotional state of the person you’re trying to reach. Don’t be this guy meme:

Invite people to shoot. Bring them to your clubs. Not a member of a local club? Join one. I don’t care if they are a bunch of Fuddy Duddy old codgers. You can’t change something from he outside, and we have to preserve those places to shoot for future generations. Familiarity is the immunization that will protect the second group from the first. We’re not going to win this by ‘sperging on the Internet (says the blogger). Get out there in the community and help build it.

Air Forced Failed to Report Killer to FBI

After discovering the Sutherland Spring mass killer’s conviction involved cracking his infant step son’s skull, definitely a prohibiting offense, I was wondering how this guy managed to legally buy a gun not once, but four times. Now it would seem we have our answer. You remember President Obama’s executive order after Sandy Hook that instructed all federal agencies to review what they can do to prevent gun violence? You remember the VA coming forward and reporting veterans en masse if they had a fiduciary guardian? I do. Do you remember the SSA almost doing the same thing until Congress put a stop to it after the change in Administration? I do. Yet reporting people who commit what is effectively felony battery to NICS is apparently something they can’t be bothered with.

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