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Looks Like PA’s “Red Flag” Bill is Getting a Floor Vote

A vote could happen as soon as today, so be sure to call. I made probably a weekend’s worth of work for myself getting my club involved.

I don’t understand why people think we need HR 2227, the “Red Flag” law, when it’s trivially easy to make someone a prohibited person in Pennsylvania by 302ing them for psychological observation, and we already have prohibitions for people who file a Protection of Abuse order. This is probably harder to get than a PFA. So what’s the point? I think the point is Bloomberg thinks he can get this, and he’s right. Republicans love themselves some law-and-order, and if you can figure out how to get them chasing after that bone, you can beat NRA.

My issue with this bill is that in certain jurisdictions, like Philadelphia, these ERPOs are going to be rubber stamped. They’ll issue the order as a matter of routine. I also don’t really like that it defines “Family or Household Member” as “other persons related by consanguinity.” I have non-immediately family members deeply concerned about my mental health because I shoot. I get their are penalties for abuse, but what about cranks that think anyone who likes guns is off their rocker? What’s to prevent an abusive husband from using this to disarm a spouse? Nothing. I am also disturbed that the evidentiary standard for applying an ERPO is “preponderance of the evidence” (a lower standard) but getting one removed is “clear and convincing evidence” (a higher standard). The default legal disposition is “easy to get an ERPO, hard to get rid of an ERPO” which is exactly how it will be done in practice.

This also won’t do jack to stop mass shooters. We’ve seen in recent cases where authorities and families don’t take the barest of measures, readily available. So what’s adding more bullshit that’s only going to get abused by the authorities? I’m so glad we have the Republican Party to protect our gun rights. So glad. Such a great job they are doing.

Time to Light up the Switchboards

Gun control on the move in Pennsylvania. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Bloomberg is going to be relentless, and given how squishy Republicans in this state have been getting, I would not count on anything. Give your lawmaker a ringy dingy or drop him a line somehow to let him or her know you oppose gun control, and these bills specifically.

NRA makes it easy. If you don’t have time, hit their “Take Action” link. But personal contact is always more effective.

Taking Back Vermont

Can Gun Owners Take Back Vermont? Vermonters really really need to make sure Phil Scott is punished:

Dick Wobby, one of Scott’s closest friends and political advisers, recognizes the similarities and concedes that if conservatives revolt and moderates stay home, the governor could lose a primary challenge. But he’s skeptical that gun-rights activists, whom he characterizes as “a bunch of radical, gun-toting individuals,” are as potent a political force as they appear.

“They’ve got a base of what? One hundred people? One hundred fifty people?” Wobby said. “When you really look at it, their rallies and groups are not growing. They’re diminishing rapidly.”

This is utter betrayal. Bloomberg talking points, through and through. This is what Everytown has been trying to convince politicians. And you know what? If we sit on our asses and do nothing; just sit back and lament how awful they all are, Bloomberg will be proven right. It’s vitally important to vote against Scott every chance you get. Help out his opponents. This is one of those situations: “I don’t care how you do it, you must sink the Bismarck.” Phil Scott’s political career is the Bismarck. He can’t win re-election. If Vermonters want to save their state, you need to start here.

The Final Indignity for the Departing New Jersey Gun Owner

From Evan Nappen, foremost authority on New Jersey gun laws:

Moving out of New Jersey? You still must do a “Change of Address” on your NJ Firearms Purchaser ID Card within 30 days of moving to your new out-of-state residence. (Jersey issues non-resident FPICs.) You may also choose to voluntarily surrender your FPIC. Failure to take action is a crime of the 3rd Degree. Max of 5 years in NJ State Prison for non-compliance. You can be criminally charged and extradited back to NJ.

The bridge tolls to get out are hella expensive too.

Privacy Policy

The European Union’s deadline for GDPR compliance are fast approaching. This is the regulation where they claim if you’re storing data about EU citizens, they get to dictate your policies, or else. So I decided it was time to ensure this web site had an appropriate privacy policy.

PA Primary Results

The big news going around is that four open socialists won in the Dem primaries, bragging that Pennsylvania is turning the right kind of red. For people who think “this makes them easy to beat,” two of those socialists have already won, because they face no challenger. Those are very safe Dem seats. Also, socialism is not a bad word anymore. I don’t care that most young people don’t know what socialism is when they mention they support it; they didn’t grow up with it being a bad word. Venezuela can happen here. It’s nothing to take lightly. Eventually, I believe the loons will be firmly in charge of both parties. That’s just the way things are going. But which side’s loons are closer to the mainstream?

Those of you who live in my district, the 8th 1st Congressional District, no doubt know that Dean Malik was trounced by Brian “I Love Assault Weapons Bans” Fitzpatrick. This isn’t surprising. Malik ran an awful campaign. Fitzpatrick’s last minute ads on Facebook touting his conservative bonafides were so awful as to be laughable, but only if you’re paying attention, which most people aren’t.

Malik ran on a “Real Republican” and “Real Conservative” message. Guess what the new voters Trump has bought into the coalition don’t give a crap about? Malik never really made the case for why it was better to replace Fitzpatrick with himself. He ran on a more conservative than thou platform rather than building a case against Fitzpatrick with voters. If he did, I never noticed it. The only TV ad for Malik I saw was vague and generally awful. While I’ll grant that “Real Republican” is at least not so awful as “The Time is Now” as a campaign message, it’s not a deal sealing message.

I am a Gen Xer, but I consume information more like millennials do. I don’t have cable, and don’t watch TV. I am really only reachable these days via social media, e-mail, and streaming video ads. I saw a ton of ads for Scott Wagner. I knew who he was early. Neither Malik nor Mango (seriously, if your last name is Mango, you don’t have a future in politics) reached me with anything, and the stuff I sought out wasn’t compelling. Facebook ads are dirt cheap and very effective. I hate Facebook, but there’s no excuse, other than cluelessness, for not using it heavily. This is not even about reaching young voters: young voters use different social media. Facebook is for reaching core political demographics of middle aged and older voters.

That said, if I’m Brian Fitzpatrick, I’m not feeling too good that 1/3rd of my base hates me enough to vote me out for a candidate that ran a ho-hum campaign. I am feeling good that the Dem establishment candidate got beaten from the left. But the redistricting isn’t going to help Fitz any. Neither is the fact that neither myself nor a lot of other gun voters will ever vote for him again. Once you endorse gun bans, what difference is there between you an the Democrat? Wallace is a nut, but do I hate the nut enough to vote for the worm?

I get this is not a solidly conservative district, and any candidate is going to have to be left of the base, but my problem with the Fitzpatricks is that they’ve never played that game well. They play the game like they don’t really understand their base. Any candidate standing more center than their base is going to do a few things here and there to disappoint, but the Fitzpatricks are constant disappointment. I say this as someone who volunteered for Mike Fitzpatrick’s campaign to oust Patrick Murphy. As it is now, I would have been better off with Murphy, who at least supported National Reciprocity! The Fitzpatricks have made clear they don’t give a shit about gun owners, so I no longer give a shit about them. I’m done with the Fitzpatricks.

Punching Back Twice as Hard

The NRA has filed suit against Cuomo and the head of New York’s Department of Financial Services, Maria Vullo. I was hoping NRA was working on this, because the lawsuit practically writes itself. The 33 page complaint can be found here. The suit is not just against Cuomo and Vullo in their official capacity, but also against them as individuals. This means Cuomo and Vullo will be personally on the hook for part of NRA’s losses, and NRA is claiming that it “… has suffered tens of millions of dollars in damages based on Defendants’ conduct …”

Defendants’ unlawful exhortations to New York insurance companies, banks, and financial institutions that they, among other things, “manag[e] their risks, including reputational risks, that may arise from their dealings with the NRA . . ., as well as continued assessment of compliance with their own codes of social responsibility[,]” as well as “review any relationships they have with the NRA[,]” and “take prompt actions to managing these risks and promote public health and safety[,]” constitute a concerted effort to deprive the NRA of its freedom of speech by threatening with government prosecution services critical to the survival of the NRA and its ability to disseminate its message. Defendants’ actions constitute an “implied threat[ ] to employ coercive state power” against entities doing business with the NRA, and they are reasonably interpreted as such.

There’s several things claimed in this complaint that are important. One is that even if DFS was correct in fining Lockton and Chubb, it was wholly inappropriate and beyond the scope of their lawful authority to demand that both companies cease doing business at all with NRA, even outside of New York, even for programs which are compliant with New York Law. When I first read that, my thought was “That’s pretty much slam dunk a First Amendment violation.”

Secondly, NRA argues that the fine was meant as retaliation for NRA’s exercise of its First Amendment rights, because other organizations similarly situated to NRA are apparently violating New York’s claimed regulation and have not faced prosecution. NRA claims Lockton and Chubb were singled out specifically for NRA’s views which Cuomo and Vullo find abhorrent.

Federal judges will still be federal judges, and gun rights and NRA are not popular among that set, especially in New York City. But this is a First Amendment case, and the precedent is much more clear that Cuomo and Vullo are violating NRA’s rights, and as a consequence, our rights as members. I do hope if and when this hits discovery, if other conspirators are found, they are added to the suit.

They wanted to make an example out of us. Now we can turn this around and make an example of them.

Seen on the Internets: Red Flag Laws and Due Process

From Sean on Facebook, who I’m hoping doesn’t mind the link since it’s a public post:

Stop making the Due Process argument. No one cares about that but us, and we’re already convinced. Insist that your representatives add a line to these laws in committee. Add words to the effect that if a judge finds a person to be dangerous to himself or others that he be taken directly to the mental ward for a 72 hour evaluation. If he’s safe enough to release, he doesn’t lose his guns. If he’s too dangerous to release, then he gets committed. Anyone who wants to prevent violence by unstable, dangerous people wouldn’t leave unstable, dangerous people on the street where they can still cause mayhem.

Sadly, I think this is correct. We lost on this issue because due process was basically our only argument. Only civil libertarians give a shit about due process, and there aren’t a lot of civil libertarians left these days. Neither the populist right nor today’s progressives give a crap about that argument, because both lean more toward the authoritarian side of the political compass.

Sean suggests countering a left-authoritarian argument with a right-authoritarian argument. I believe that would be effective in today’s climate, even if I don’t personally like it. NRA has certainly never hesitated to channel the law-and-order instinct of right-authoritarians to counter left-authoritarians.

I wouldn’t mind a political realignment that would pit left authoritarians (progressives) and right authoritarians (alt-right/populists) against left-libertarians (modern liberals) and right libertarians (small ‘l’ libertarians), but I don’t get the impression that many people believe the struggle is along those lines, and I’ve given some thought as to why. I’d certainly be up for that struggle, because my ‘side’ would be a lot clearer. I’d have more passion for that struggle.

In truth, I believe there are more authoritarians than libertarians, so that coalition doesn’t happen because the libertarian side of that struggle gets crushed. I think that’s why Sean is right.

New Tactic to Shut Down Open Carry?

I was very concerned when I heard police in Montgomery County 302’d (involuntary observational commitment) someone for open carrying an AR-15. I don’t consider it wise to open carry an AR-15 down the streets of suburbia, but 302ing someone for politically distasteful behavior is reminiscent of the Soviet Union, and along the lines of “things we worry about” when we’re talking mental health issues and guns. Some people out there, after all, consider an interest in firearms to be a sign of mental instability.

But this article suggests there were other factors involved other than the open carrying:

Rather, police acted after some of the man’s friends messaged police via Facebook with concerns about his behavior and change in mental status.

One witness told police the young man talked of “shooting up” Penn State Abington back in January.

More recently, the man texted the friend a picture of the AR-15, saying “look what I just got.”

OK. If the allegation is true and the witness credible, in this context the 302 is a lot more understandable. But I worry law enforcement might get an idea that a trip to the loony bin for evaluation is the new “Disorderly Conduct” charge if you want to nail someone for open carrying because the responding officer doesn’t like it.

I Have No Words

The only thing that gives me hope for humanity is that he’s in 3rd place. And I guess in this era of female equality, we’ve revised the “chinaman” slur to “china people?” I guess we don’t want all those china ladies to feel excluded? That’s forward thinking!

Thanks for letting everyone know you support the NRA dude. Thanks.

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