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Good News: Having Your Serial Number Rusted Out Doesn’t Constitute a Violation

From Joshua Prince:

Yesterday, the Superior Court issued its decision in Commonwealth v. Ford, 196 ED 2016, in relation to whether natural corrosion (i.e. rust) over a firearm serial number constitutes a violation of Pennsylvania’s Uniform Firearms Act for purposes of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

The case involved a prohibited person, who was caught with a firearm. They charged for that and because the serial number was obscured by corrosion. The defendant moved to suppress the firearm, under the grounds that the search was illegal. Police claimed “exigent circumstances” in entering the residence (in this case, someone screaming in the house), which the defendant contested.

The Superior Court ruled that the Court of Common Pleas was correct to deny the suppression of the handgun, ruling exigent circumstances existed for the warrantless entry into he home, but that the lower court was wrong to allow the charge of obliterated serial number when it was obliterated by the natural process of rust rather than an overt obliteration.

We were lucky here, because bad defendants make bad law. We’re fortunate, in this case, that we had judges that could look beyond that. This should give you an idea of the importance of judicial elections in Pennsylvania.

The Problem of the Northeast Gun Culture

At the risk of embarrassing one of my readers by elevating his comment to a post, I thought this was as succinct a statement about the issue as I can think of:

Most of the areas that still experience discomfort and lack of familiarity with firearms are the places that have basically banned them and driven off all the gun owners. In NY State (an example I’m personally familiar with), the city is basically a gun free zone with zero ownership, no ranges, no concealed carry, no stores, etc. Upstate has fudds who practice in their backyards and can’t understand why people need assault weapons to hunt deer (literal quote). These guys are all old as fuck and they aren’t leaving behind a generation or three of gun owners because all of their children left the state for greener pastures (me included). A lot of these states coincidentally have serious problems besides the gun issue, so I wouldn’t exactly beat a path back if they made my hobby legal again.

The only way to change those places is to override the legal barriers to the hobby (either though Congress or the federal court) so people can begin participating legally again. Without that, you’ll never get ranges, stores, clubs, etc. And without those things you don’t get voters that care about the issue.

If I had to boil it down to a single sentence: “These guys are all old as fuck and they aren’t leaving behind a generation or three of gun owners because all of their children left the state for greener pastures.”

My club is about 1/3rd New Jersey residents, and I’m noticing a sharp uptick in the number new applicants from the Garden State. I expect that will accelerate as things get worse for the remaining gun owners, and the few remaining places to shoot on the other side of the river are closed. The average age at my club is 64 years old, and we’re not getting younger. A lot of them have kids that have moved away. Granted, there’s young shooters out there in the area, but we’re still holding onto many vestiges of Gun Culture 1.0, and it is difficult to convince a bunch of old guys who have been doing things a certain way for years that they need to change. But there is a hook you can use: most of them express profound disappointment in the lack of young people in the shooting sports. The truth is that there are plenty of young people in the shooting sports, even in the ‘burbs of Philadelphia: they just aren’t shooting your shooting sports.

My club is a Silhouette club. That’s what we shoot. It’s been a dying sport for a while now. I shot it for a while, but I’ve largely stopped. Why? It’s extremely difficult. It takes years to become competent at it, and if you’re just kind of OK, it’s about as much fun as watching paint dry. I don’t regret trying it, and it taught me a lot about shooting. But the sports the kids are shooting are basically life size video games. Is it any wonder the traditional sports are dying?

Change is difficult, time consuming, and painful, but worth it. The great trick is making people comfortable with change. I’m a big fan of doing what we can to rescue what culture we have, and not losing places to shoot to generational rot.

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.

Remember, No One Wants to Take Your Guns

This may be a bit of hate click trolling on the part of the Boston Globe, but here you do have a major newspaper calling for…. taking people’s guns.

The logic of gun control lies, at bottom, in substantially reducing the number of deadly weapons on the street — and confiscation is far and away the most effective approach. Is there any conceivable turn of events in our politics that could make confiscation happen? And what would a mass seizure look like?

You really don’t want to know what it would look like. They later go on to suggest that they’ll be kind to us and offer $500 per gun confiscated, instead of the $200 per gun offered by Australia.

Part of the problem is the sheer scale of the enterprise. An operation on par with the Australian buyback — claiming one-fifth of American guns — would mean tens of thousands of police officers collecting some 60 million guns. It is, on some level, simply unimaginable.

But perhaps gun-control advocates can propose something smaller — something more targeted.

Yes, it is unimaginable. So is the push back you will put in motion by passing this kind of policy. What scares me is, eventually, the Democrats will return to power. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. And if Democrats are still talking like this when they regain power, we are in for some very dark times.

The author goes on to suggest that California’s program of actively confiscating firearms of prohibited persons would be a model that would have stopped the Texas shooter. How? The feds didn’t have his record you ignorant prat. There isn’t some kind of voodoo the feds can use that will make a record in a filing cabinet on an air force base in New Mexico suddenly end up in the NCIC.

Ultimately, if gun-control advocates really want to stanch the blood, there’s no way around it: They’ll have to persuade more people of the need to confiscate millions of those firearms, as radical as that idea may now seem.

But yeah, I’m a paranoid conspiracy nut for thinking that people out there want to take my guns. I’m crazy for thinking that’s the goal. Outrageous for even suggesting that’s a serious proposal. Yeah, piss off.

Tough New Federal Gun Laws

Dave Kopel looks at the issue in The Hill, and notes, tongue in cheek:

In the spirit of these proposals, here are some ideas for tough federal gun laws — most of which should have been enacted years ago.

For people convicted of domestic violence, even a misdemeanor, how about a lifetime prohibition on firearms possession?

Further, a government license should be required for anyone who wants to manufacture, import, or sell firearms. The license should be mandatory not only for formal businesses, but also for individuals who make repetitive transactions for the purpose of profit. This would cover people at gun shows who put up signs declaring themselves to be “unlicensed dealers.” Anyone who engages in the firearms business without a federal license should be punished by up to five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Almost no one knows what our current gun laws are. But based on my social media feeds, that sure doesn’t stop everyone from thinking they are fucking experts.

Something to Watch for in Arguments

Robert Verbruggen has a great article in National Review that gets to a serious problem you will notice in research touted by anti-gun groups and people who really fucking love science. Let me quote:

We shouldn’t care about “gun murders” or “mass shootings”; we should care about murders in general and mass killings in general, regardless of how they’re accomplished. (Up to a point it’s essentially tautological to claim that more guns translates to more problems with guns, because a society with no guns by definition cannot have any problems with them.) As I’ve noted numerous times before, there is no simple, consistent correlation between gun ownership and murder or homicide rates in general, either among developed countries or among U.S. states. More sophisticated studies face a variety of serious methodological obstacles — I don’t find any of them that compelling — and have reached varying conclusions. The research on mass shootings in particular is in an even more primitive state.

There’s the old quote from Archie Bunker that comes to mind: “Would it make you feel any better, little girl, if they was pushed out of windiz.”

 

 

Don’t Forget to Vote

Especially Virginia and New Jersey readers. It’s the root of all our power. Vote like your gun rights depend on it, because they do.

Weekly Gun News – Edition 66

Fortunately, things are starting to calm down. But I still have much to clear from my tabs.

New York is investigating NRA over Carry Guard. Additionally, anti-gun folks are putting pressure on Chubb, the underwriter. I hope NRA has all its ducks lined up with Chubb, and they will hold and not wimp out under pressure. I’m sure the investigation in New York is a political shake down. NRA is a New York corporation, so it seems unlikely to me they wouldn’t have evaluated the program’s legality under New York law.

Know your enemy: “Gun reform needs grassroots activists, not astroturf.” I might not agree with the author’s goals, but he knows what he’s fighting better than most people who decry “the corporate gun lobby.”

This is always a mystery to the media: “As with many gun control pushes, the effort has already fallen by the wayside despite the support.” Maybe because journalists can’t read legislation. If they had just tried to ban bump stocks, they might have succeeded. But they tried to ban all modification of semi-automatic firearms, and failed. This is what I predicted would happen.

Constitutional Carry being pushed in Michigan.

Now anti-gun folks are looking to restrict night-vision gear. This technology is now ubiquitous, and no longer that sensitive. That’s why it’s cheap. It’s just cameras and displays.

People can bitch about Chris Christie all they want, but if Murphy wins on Tuesday, it will be effectively over for New Jersey gun owners.

Dem AGs fighting National Reciprocity.

They don’t understand why gun control is so hard, because, after all, all their friends agree with them.

Florida Political Review: “This conversation shouldn’t be construed as both-sides-ism. The evidence is clear that higher rates of gun ownership correlate with higher rates of gun violence. Countless studies suggest a variety of policies – waiting periods, universal background checks, buyback programs, limits on magazine capacity – can and do reduce the rate of gun death. The point of this wasn’t to debate policy, it was to understand a different perspective.” What evidence? Provide it. I’ve followed this issue a long time, and there is no credible study that has come to this conclusion. There’s certainly no consensus that this is the case.

Monumental Mental Health Second Amendment As-Applied Challenge Success

Researchers says law to expand background checks in Colorado and Washington failed most likely due to noncompliance and a lack of enforcement.” You don’t say? I never would have predicted this. In truth, it’s better for the cops to chase real criminals than trying to lock Elmer in jail because he lent his rifle to his hunting buddy. None of this was ever going to be reasonably enforceable, and anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional, or doesn’t understand the scale of what’s trying to be regulated.

Are Millennials Moving Right on Guns?

Yep: “Blogs opened up the internet for honest debate. Social media will kill it.

The root of gun control: “On reflection though, as an urban liberal who has not touched a gun in 20 years, that is an easy position for me to take. ‘Taking their guns’ seems reasonable, but owning a gun is a right that I will never exercise and means nothing to me. I should recognize that that might influence my willingness to place the Second Amendment on a sacrificial alter.” There’s also the fact that urban liberals don’t very much care for the kind of people who own guns either. After years of writing on this topic, the idea that this issue has anything to do with public safety is naive at best.

The Evolving Deal on SHARE and National Reciprocity

This article indicates we could get the SHARE Act, with the Hearing Protection Act component removed, and with National Reciprocity and some restriction on bump stocks added. The SHARE act removes a lot of the “sporting purposes” language in the Gun Control Act, so I’d probably take this deal. I don’t know what they are planning to do about bump stocks, but I’ve heard suggestions that they be classified as AOWs. That would require a change in the National Firearms Act.

If we’re going to start adding things to the NFA, I think it’s only fair that we get something in return, such as moving suppressors to Title I. I’m a bit surprised lawmakers are actually more wary of that than they are about National Reciprocity.

The more I’m seeing from the gun control side, the less I think they really care about bump stocks. They were willing to get excited about a bill that would effectively ban any aftermarket modification to a semi-automatic rifle, but I don’t notice a whole lot of movement to single out bump fire devices and ban those, especially if that means having to eat SHARE or National Reciprocity in return. It’s almost like if we concede we’re willing to trade something, that must not mean it’s important to us, and if it’s not important to us, they aren’t interested in a deal. It’s almost as if the attitude is: “Those people have to be made to pay.” Nope. Sorry. We’ve taken enough blame for the actions of psychos, and we’re done with that.

Gun Control Folks Try to Muscle in on Suicide Prevention

And they are rebuffed. Why? Because the suicide prevention groups are already working with NSSF on a program. Despite all the cries of “evil gun lobby!” from the gun control crowd, this is a smart move on the part of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

If your actual goal is to prevent suicides, gun owners need to be a part of that conversation. Embracing the Brady Campaign or Mom’s Demand’s message would cause us to reject the AFSP’s message and our community would circle the wagons. It would weaken AFSP’s mission.

Gun owners are not unaware of suicide. Our community recently experienced a high-profile loss. We are not inherently hostile to suicide prevention, or friends and family taking reasonable measures to try to keep guns away from those who are a danger to themselves or others. But that depends on suicide prevention as a movement not adopting an anti-gun position.

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