Currently Browsing: The Media

Now You Can Be Sure the Bloomberg Talking Point Are Out There

As I’ve said before, when you see a pattern, it means it’s a coordinated campaign, and folks, we’re seeing a pattern. Same talking points as Milbank, to a tee.

Is it Title II, which eliminates liability on any shooting range built or operated with federal funding in whole or in part — if for example a deranged person commits a mass shooting on that firing range? The shooting range is free of liability in all cases, even if it knew a dangerous person was using the firing range and did nothing to alert the authorities.

Are people really committing mass shootings at firing ranges? Is this really a problem? I also LOVE this juxtaposition.

Is it Title I, which prohibits the entire federal government from addressing lead poisoning caused by ammunition or fishing tackle? Even though waterfowl hunters switched to non-toxic ammunition decades ago, and even though lead poisons people and wildlife alike, and even though there are non-toxic alternatives, this legislation would forever preclude the government from taking action.

Yes, there are very expensive and less effective non-toxic alternatives. There could be cheaper non-toxic alternatives, but …

And then there are the provisions eliminating all restrictions on the purchase of silencers, eliminating restrictions on armor-piercing bullets, and eliminating restrictions on carrying firearms across state lines.


There we are with the armor piercing bullets again, and you guys don’t see the articles I choose not to link, so you can expect this is a key Bloomberg talking point right now. You can’t, on one hand, tell us that we have to adopt alternatives to lead ammunition, and then, on the other hand, outlaw those alternatives. That’s what the “armor piercing” ammunition law currently does.

Let me just re-establish for those of you who might be new to this: the armor piercing ammunition issue is bullshit. Let me go over a brief history of this issue.

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, when this fake issue was turned into a full on scare by the media and Hollywood, people were demanding that “something must be done.” So politicians started drafting bills which were “something,” and therefore “must be done.” Early attempts by Ted Kennedy to draft a bill based on the ability to penetrate soft body armor would have banned most rifle ammunition. Nearly all centerfire rifle ammunition will penetrate body armor typically worn by police. Not just scary “assault weapons.” Not big bad .50 BMGs. The .30-30 Grandpa shot deer with for years will slice through soft body armor like a hot knife through butter, no matter what the bullet is made of. Why? Rifle bullets travel at two to three times the speed of handgun bullets, and speed is what gets you through kevlar.

Banning all rifle ammunition not being politically feasible, politicians looking for that “something” that “must be done” started focusing on handguns that could shoot bullets that were capable of penetrating soft body armor. That’s a much smaller class of ammunition, because nearly all handgun rounds except very powerful ones are stopped by soft body armor (I know, I know, it depends on the level of the vest, but for simplicity’s sake here). Still, a performance based criteria would ban large swathes of popular handgun ammunition. That was just fine by people who were in favor of banning handguns, so there was a real chance this could happen.

As a compromise, instead of focusing on performance, legislation could focus on the materials the bullet was made from, and based on whether or not it was designed to be fired from a handgun (basically it had to be a lead bullet). This would only ban a very small subset of ammunition that didn’t see much civilian (or law enforcement, for that matter) use. It was “something” that the politicians could take to their hysterical constituents demanding that an armor piercing ammunition bill “must be done.” And so it was done.

But lawmaking by Congress is only ever part of the equation. Federal bureaucrats have enormous leeway to make rules to implement a particular law. Under both the Clinton Administration and the Obama Administration that’s exactly what happened. Suddenly, it wasn’t “designed to be fired from a handgun” it was “can be fired from a handgun.” The new rule became if there was a pistol that could fire the ammunition, that ammunition became subject to the armor piercing law and could be banned. This was used to great effect to ban cheap 5.56x45mm and 5.45x39mm ammunition during the Obama Administration. What SHARE would do is to set the rule back to what it was intended to be, and eliminate the mechanism by which two hostile administrations have used to warp the law into something it was never meant to be. It was meant to be a meaningless feel good measure that didn’t really ban much of anything. It was NEVER intended to be a mechanism to ban large categories of rifle ammunition. But that’s what it was turned into.

But hey, why write an article on that? Why take the concerns of shooters seriously? Why try to learn something before just writing up an op-ed from Bloomberg’s talking points?

Gun Control Folks Definitely Expecting HPA to Move

There’s just too much chatter about it for that not to be the case. A common argument against: “What’s wrong with ear plugs?” But note this editorial concedes many of our points:

To be sure, the noise-reduction devices at issue do not eliminate gun noise; they reduce it by 30 decibels or so, making “suppressor” a more accurate term, and mitigating whatever additional risk the general public might face if the law results in more use of silencers, including unlawful use, as opponents fear.

Sure, it could happen. But the sky could fall too! Death, destruction everywhere! And if that’s going to happen, and WaPo’s editorial staff would prefer it be deafening, and not just kinda loud.

In fact, the harms to shooters are modest — somewhat elevated risk of non-total hearing loss, essentially — and effective alternatives to silencers are readily available.

Basically, they don’t give a crap about your hearing unless you’re driven to the point of utter deafness. Then they care. Maybe.

The problem is that firearms users generally don’t take these simple precautions. Suppressors might help, NHCA acknowledged, but not “without the wearing of hearing protection.” In other words, “manufacturers cannot guarantee that use of noise suppressors alone will prevent hearing loss.”

Again, making our point for us. You still need hearing protection, just not as much. I doubt anyone at the WaPo involved in this editorial actually shoots, or has any idea that not all earplugs or muffs are created equal. That’s also not to mention that it’s better for hunters to  be able to hear what’s going on around them. Or for instructors teaching a new shooter to be able to communicate effectively without having to shout.

I use these electronic muffs, and they are the best compromise between protection and usability I’ve found. But I still can’t get a good check weld on a rifle with them. Also note they are rated for a 22db reduction, which means they reduce to about 138 decibels, which is just below action level. Note, WaPo journalists, that muffs that take gunfire well into the safe range are a lot thicker.

Ear plugs are very effective, offering up to 30 decibel reduction for quality plugs, but my main issue with earplugs is that I can’t hear shit when I’m wearing plugs unless someone is absolutely shouting at me, and to be completely honest, I hate having shit stuffed in my ears. You want to be able to communicate with other shooters and the people around you when you are shooting potentially dangerous weapons.

I’m not saying suppressors are a panacea that will make all hearing issues and noise complaints go away at ranges everywhere. But they are another tool in the toolbox. Even the WaPo editorial staff has to concede that the only reason to restrict them are hysterical predictions about criminal use if we unrestricted them. That’s never happened when this kind of thing has been predicted by journalists before, and I don’t see why it would happen now.

Half True is the Best We Ever Get

Yes, our friendly neighborhood fact checkers are at it again. The people who want to be the final arbiters of fake news struggle to even give us a half-true for something that was entirely 100% factual. Here they are “fact checking” Ted Cruz:

“Anyone know the first gun control laws in the United States?” Cruz went on. “The first Congress passed a law mandating that every able-bodied man must own a musket. That’s gun control Founding Fathers’ style.”

Apparently our steadfast journalists had never heard of the Militia Act of 1792 and had to turn to an expert. Not that I’d expect them to have heard of it, but let me Google that for you.

Seriously, if you can’t use Google, I’d strongly suggest giving up the profession of journalist and find some dank corner of a bar to hang out in to work on your drinking problem. You might find you’re more successful with that career choice.

It’s my impression that many of these people honestly aren’t very smart, and thus have no real expertise on much of anything to be pontificating on what’s true and false. What Ted Cruz said obviously wasn’t the full text of that bill, but if anyone expected he’d say:

“Anyone know the first gun control laws in the United States?” Cruz went on. “The first Congress passed a law mandating that every able-bodied man must own a musket. Well, except for black men, Indians, ferrymen employed on ferries along post roads, the Vice President, Congressmen and Senators, some federal employees, Quakers, or any other contentious objector where allowed by state law. That’s gun control Founding Fathers’ style.”

you need to get your head out of your ass. What Cruz said was an accurate summary of the Militia Act of 1792. For the most part, males of military age were required to be armed. The statement is not half true, it’s true.

The Media are Suckers? You Don’t Say

Forgive the lack of posting. Very busy. John Lott has an article in The Hill about “How gun control advocates play the mainstream media for suckers.” It’s good that an outlet like The Hill chose to run this:

Among police, firearms violations occur at a rate of 6.9 per 100,000 officers. For Florida permit holders, the rate is only 0.31 per 100,000. Most of these violations were trivial offenses, such as forgetting one’s permit.

The data are similar in other states.

The media is doing an injustice by inaccurately reporting about an issue with such immediate relevance to public safety

John Lott has done a lot of good work on behalf of the issue. I only wish he had maintained the position as more of a detached academic, rather than embracing outright pro-gun advocacy. Not that advocacy doesn’t have its place, but our opponents are far better at passing off activists as detached academics than we are. Our side could stand to up our game here.

Why No One Should Trust Social Media

This fascinating article in Mic talks about how Snap tried to pick Mike Bloomberg’s deep pockets using the gun control issue, but apparently they weren’t biting. Apparently they told Bloomberg’s Everytown folks if they didn’t buy all the ads, then they would be available to the NRA as well. They didn’t bite on that one, because apparently Everytown was already talking to Snap’s news division about a big ol’ chunk of earned media they felt would be more valuable.

This is how the game is played folks. They didn’t have to jump in bed with Snap’s advertising division, because their news division had already jumped into bed with Bloomberg!

It’s a joke. Seriously, don’t believe anything you see in the media, and especially social media. You can’t even go with “Trust, but Verify.” Expect you’re being lied to and seek primary sources.

Ghost Guns! Under My Bed!

It’s kind of depressing the media has largely chosen to ignore our issue, and isn’t as much in the business anymore of running hysterical articles like this. Articles like this are why I got into blogging.

The guns are built from kits and arrive in pieces, so under existing law, when they’re shipped, they aren’t guns. When assembled by their buyers, they’re lethal – and legal.

Federal officials like Graham Barlowe, the resident agent in charge of the ATF’s Sacramento office, say the loophole is dangerous.

You can find a meme on the internet called “Everyone I Don’t Like is Hitler.” One could easily create a similar meme for the gun issue that goes, “Everything I Don’t Like is a Loophole.”

All the parts needed to assemble a gun were in the box when it arrived. It took Vasquez a couple of hours to assemble the weapon.

Did this include machining? Because if you failed to mention that he had to spend several hours machining the receiver, this is #FakeNews. From the article, you’d think he ordered a parts kit from the Internet, put it all together, and voilà, we have an functioning firearm. That would describe a felony if it were true.

Here’s some fast facts any journalist should know, that I think we can all agree on:

  • Generally speaking, it’s legal and should be legal for gun owners to buy parts for firearms. Parts are unregulated.
  • There is always one part of the gun that ATF considers The Gun, and that part is regulated as if it were a fully assembled firearm. Usually that part is the receiver (which if you’re a journalist reading this, is the part the rest of the parts of the gun attaches to).
  • Chunks of metal are not regulated. Regulating chunks of metal because they could be turned into guns with the right machining would be stupid beyond belief.
  • At some point, regulators decide that a part qualifies as a firearm if a certain amount of machining has been done to it. Usually a machined part that is about 80% complete, as arbitrarily determined by the regulator (ATF in this case), is considered a hunk of metal and is not considered a firearm. Where does life begin for a firearm?
  • It is currently a felony to earn livelihood or profit from manufacturing firearms if you don’t have a license to manufacture firearms. The current interpretation of this that you can’t sell firearms you make for yourself.
  • You could outlaw machining and assembling chunks of metal into functioning firearms, but that’s only going to deter people who are not doing it as part of a criminal enterprise, and if they aren’t doing it as part of a criminal enterprise, why the hell do you care?

What I’m getting at is, fine journalists, is where is the loophole? What law are you going to pass that won’t just be making something more illegal for criminals?

How the Social Security NICS Repeal is Being Spun

Most of us are aware that the Obama Administration finalized the Social Security rule in the lame duck period, leaving it open to repeal by Congress, and repeal Congress did. So one might thing much of the media would have headlines much like the Hill, right? Something along the lines of “Congress Repeals Obama-era Social Security Gun Rule.” But why do that when you can get away with headlines like “Congressional Republicans Vote to Allow Severely Mentally Ill to Have Guns.

Fortunately, Charles C.W. Cooke is the voice of reason on this.

And, given the way the headlines are written, you could be forgiven for drawing any one of those conclusions. But here’s the thing: None of them is true. Not at all. This was yet another sordid episode of The Press Is Having a Breakdown, coupled with a special installment of Celebrities Tweet Falsehoods Without Knowing It.

I keep wishing people would argue over the actual issues, instead of the cartoonish delusions that people with agendas are putting in everyone’s heads. This is not a new problem, certainly. But since the election, it’s reached epidemic proportions.

How many times have you seen someone you know posting something on Social Media you know is bullshit, but you don’t bother to engage because of the effort it would take to get any discussion working off the same set of facts? And for what? Many of these folks aren’t really interested in that kind of discussion; it’s all about cheering one’s team. Look at what someone would have to have some idea about to have a discussion on the facts:

  • What are the existing laws in regards to crazy people having guns.
  • What is due process, and what is generally required to deprive people of their Constitutional Rights.
  • What the Obama Administration’s Social Security rule actually does and does not do.
  • How NICS under the Brady Act and how adjudication generally works under the Gun Control Act.

I like Charles Cooke’s take on this, showing how many mainstream disability advocacy groups also opposed the Obama-era rule. It’s a good go-to source if you see the Guns for Crazy People meme in Social Media. This blog has long been a critic of the traditional media’s shallow and often ignorant coverage on this issue. I don’t see  why in this era of Social Media we should not also be critics of it.

Navigating the Coming Disinformation Campaigns

It’s pretty clear at this point we live in a world where there’s no such thing as objective news reporting. Social Media has become a den of fake news and sharing news articles engineered to express certain points of view. While our blog here certainly does not claim to be objective, I will never deliberately lie to you, or deliberately twist facts to suit my agenda. I try hard to be honest.

I am going to use the example of the Trump Executive Order on immigration. It’s not my point to argue in favor of it, but it illustrates a very important principle: one, always go to primary sources. Don’t believe someone else’s characterization of something. Read it for yourself. Follow all the citations to legal statutes, and try to understand those. Eventually, you’ll develop a body of knowledge around a subject, and it will be much harder for people with an agenda to bullshit you.

Here’s the full text of the EO. You’ll see a lot of terminology and references to law. Like, what is an immigrant and non-immigrant visa? What is the Visa Waiver Program? What powers does the President have to suspend foreign nationals from entering the United States? So let’s look at some claims:

The EO is illegal and or unconstitutional! The EO is authorized by 8 U.S.C. 1182(f).

Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.

This is a broad power. In my opinion it should violate the non-delegation doctrine and actually be unconstitutional. But I’m speaking about what I wish the non-delegation doctrine to be, not what it actually is under today’s body of law. No court has ever overturned the executive’s use of this power, though Trump’s use of it is probably the most broad use of it to date.

The EO is a muslim ban! The seven countries involved are muslim majority countries, but the selection of these countries is a function of law and not the executive order. Congress passed, and President Obama signed a law in 2015 that established this list of countries. It does not represent all muslim countries. This is a bullshit characterization of the EO, though one Trump walked into by suggesting he favored such a ban during the campaign.

Obama picked these countries! Sort of. The Terrorism Travel Prevention Act of 2015 was attached to an Omnibus spending bill he didn’t really have room to veto. TTPA denied anyone traveling to Iraq, Syria, or other countries designated by the executive branch use of the Visa Waiver Program. Basically, if you’re a German National, and you travel to Syria, you don’t get automatically admitted into the US because we waive the Visa requirement for Germany. You have to get an entry Visa if you’ve traveled to any of those targeted countries. The law specifies Iraq and Syria. The Obama Administration added Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Iran.

The EO screwed permanent residents traveling back to the United States! It did indeed. The EO does not target permanent residents specifically, but Trump, wrongfully in my opinion, did not exclude permanent residents from the scope of his EO. Those people aren’t entering the United States, they are coming home.

The EO violates the establishment clause because it favors Christian refugees! Actually, one of the things the EO did do was suspend the admission of all refugees for 120 days, regardless of country of origin. But whether the EO violates the establishment clause is not clear at all. It gives priority to refugees seeking asylum in the United States if they are a persecuted religious minority in their home country. This could apply to Christians, but it could also apply to Yazidis in Iraq, practitioners of Falun Gong in China, or Muslims in Myanmar. I think this is carefully worded enough to pass muster.

Obama and Carter did the same things! Obama’s order only applied to Iraqi nationals who were applying for Special Immigrant Visas. Basically, the program that lets translators and other people who aided the United States emigrate here so they are not in danger at home. Carter’s order suspended all citizens of Iran from entering the United States (with certain exceptions) until our hostages were released. It’s safe to say, I think, that Trump’s use of 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) is the broadest use of that power to date.

The EO violates equal protection principles! There is other parts of immigration law which bar discrimination in the issuance of immigrant visas. Trump’s order certainly violates that, but the law is in conflict with the discretion afforded the President. The equal protection law came later, so there’s an argument to be made that Congress intended to modify the earlier power, but that’s not really clear. No courts have ever resolved that conflict, so it’s an open question.

That’s the best I can do for a no bullshit analysis of what’s going on. All I had to do was read the EO itself and do a bit of research into the claimed powers, and read some reasonable claims by reasonable critics and check their claims against what the law actually says.

More Media Wagon Circling Over the Hearing Protection Act

This time the LA Times is getting in the game:

Stiff federal regulations on silencers date back to 1934, when they were enacted as part of a crackdown on machine guns and other instruments of mobster violence.

Actually, silencers were included in NFA because of concerns over poaching during the Great Depression. I think it’s hilarious that the LA Times writer cited the Michael Rosenwald’s WaPo article we talked about the other day, because Rosenwald’s article actually said as much. It’s almost as if no one who comments on Rosenwald’s article actually read it! Was the concern over poaching legitimate? I don’t think so. I’d argue politicians back then were just as ignorant as they are now, and Maxim had only started selling them three decades prior.

Manufacturers say it’s illogical to raise a higher bars to silencer purchases than gun purchases, but this is a double-edged sword. They may be right, but that’s an argument for making guns as hard to buy as silencers, rather than the other way around.

That’s not politically tenable in this country. Again, this is the kind of crap the bores me. You’re never going to get ordinary handguns under NFA-like restrictions. Originally, this was tried when the NFA was passed, and handguns were awkwardly removed under pressure from the National Revolver Association and the NRA. What we were left with was the AOW designation.

“There’s no evidence of a public health issue associated with hearing loss from gunfire,” says Kristin Brown of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “There is evidence of a public health crisis from gun violence, and we think that’s where legislative efforts should be directed.”

Yeah, she’s an authority for sure. Let’s get Kristen to stand next to a Glock 19 as its magazine is emptied and then see how long it takes her hearing to come back to normal, assuming it does not cause permanent damage. Why doesn’t Kristen ask some of the old dudes at my club, who grew up around unsuppressed gunfire in the days before hearing protection was all that good? She won’t be able to without shouting at them, because they are all deaf as a post. Even those of us who wear hearing protection have had instances where either the foam didn’t fully expand, or the rifle butt slipped them out of position and your next shot rings your ears.

OSHA says that any noise over 85 decibels is the “action level” for requiring workers to wear hearing protection. OSHA warns that exposure of 110dB for a period of one minute risks permanent hearing loss. The sound of a 9mm firing is 160 decibels. That is loud enough to physically burst your eardrums. It will hurt if you’re near it. Also note that the decibel scale is logarithmic rather than linear. For those who don’t get that, it means that 160dB is a whole crapload louder than 85dB that OSHA considers action level. Silencers reduce the report of gunfire to below the level that risks bursting eardrums, but it’s still loud: about 120-130 decibels.

Others point to indications that silencers can reduce public awareness of developing firearm attacks and interfere with law enforcement.

Nonsense. Can you hear the sound of a jackhammer from a pretty good distance? Then you can hear the sound of a suppressed firearm.

The fact is this: if you are around a gun being shot in an indoor environment without suppression, you are more than likely going to suffer permanent hearing loss if you’re not wearing hearing protection. Most people who don’t shoot have have no idea how loud gunfire really is. TV and computer speakers cannot do it justice. People like Kristen Brown and her allies are going to deliberately lie about the effects because they are depending on that public ignorance to derail what is, actually, a legitimate effort to make it easier for people to buy what is honestly a firearm safety accessory that never should have been regulated the way it was in the first place.

Politifact Openly Aids Gun Control Group’s Narrative

Whether it is true that seven children per day die from gun violence depends on whether you define 18 and 19 year olds as children. One could argue that it’s a matter of opinion (which I’d point out would put it outside the realm of ‘facts’) but as an objective criteria, we can look at how the law defines it. Eighteen and nineteen year olds are not considered children legally. They would be tried as adults if they commit crimes.

There’s no universe where this claim should be rightly considered “Mostly True.” In one sentence gun control advocates have set the mental picture of Sandy Hook, which sadly involved elementary school children. Then they suddenly switched context without mentioning to the reader they were doing so, promoting statistics that involve legal adults. Gun control groups were hoping that readers wouldn’t follow through; that it would push the right emotional buttons by making people think they’re discussing  young children. When Politifact rates statements like this as “Mostly True” they are helping the gun control movement promote a deceptive narrative. They have made themselves part of this deception, whole hog.

If Politifact had a shred of honestly, they would have a rating of “Deceptive” or “Misleading” for situations like this where the underlying facts may be technically true, but are presented in a way that is clearly intended to mislead the reader. But they won’t do such a thing, because Politifact has no integrity. They were created to promote narratives that benefit a certain political viewpoint. In that sense, they are serving their purpose. But the real danger is that organizations like Facebook are planning to include outfits like Politifact to police what has been widely derided as “fake news.”

As much as I’ve been involved with the gun issue, these days I’m becoming more concerned about the future of free expression, especially in a world where Silicon Valley oligarchs are conspiring with the media to decide on what you and I get to see or not see.

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