Archive for the 'Gun Control' Category



Notes From HPS

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 2 weeks ago

David Codrea:

Titled “Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of Certain Rifles,” and assigned OMB Number 1140–0100, the 60-day notice abstract declares “The purpose of this information collection is to require Federal Firearms Licensees to report multiple sales or other dispositions whenever the licensee sells or otherwise disposes of two or more rifles within any five consecutive business days with the following characteristics: (a) Semi automatic; (b) a caliber greater than .22; and (c) the ability to accept a detachable magazine.

In the updates and comments, there is still some question as to just how far this goes.  Does this codify the requirement only for border states or does it expand it to all FFLs?  Either way, the ATF is overreaching, a feature of every agency in the Obama administration and a symptom of a larger more pernicious illness.

Kurt Hofmann:

The reporting requirement was imposed by raw executive fiat. A similar requirement for multiple handgun purchases, in contrast, is mandated by federal law. A blatantly unconstitutional law, to be sure, but at least that requirement has the thin veneer of legitimacy of having received the blessing of Congress.

At least when the communists in Congress have been involved, part of the constitution has been followed (albeit neglecting the most important part – our protections in the Bill of Rights).  But the ATF knows that there is no constitutional provision for what it is doing.

WRSA has a must read piece on more police piggishness, oddly enough by Mark Steyn.  Read every word of Mark’s article.  And there is this.

The District Court found for the coppers, and so did the Fifth Circuit, ruling that “Get your fucking hands off my mom” constituted a “verbal threat” and, from a guy on his knees 15-20 feet away, “an immediate threat to the safety of the officers” – rather than (as we approach Mother’s Day) what ought to be the sentiment of any self-respecting young man seeing somebody physically assault his mom.

The district court and the officer who perpetrated this evil had better watch their six should they ever do this to my wife of mother.

I had to miss Mike on Alan Colmes, but there is this.

Acrimonious, but fun. My favorite line: “You know, I’ve been warning about the possibility of civil war caused by government bad conduct for the past 20 years, but it wasn’t until I started mentioning that collectivist senators were putting their own testicles at risk that people started paying attention. I think I must have accidentally put my finger on where you fellers worship — if you can stand THAT mental picture.”

Alan Colmes and his radio show?  Worthless.  The telephone call in?  Pennies.  Mike’s line: Priceless.

Finally, if you want some pure gun porn, look here and here (be warned, it will take you a while).

Gun Control In The Wild West

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 3 weeks ago

The Washington Post:

BOB SCHIEFFER: “Does it bother you or does it worry you that we may be going backwards, that we’re going back to the day of the OK Corral and the old West where everybody carried a gun? Is that where we’re headed here?”

FORMER SENATOR RICK SANTORUM (R-Pa.): “You know, everybody romanticizes the OK Corral and all of the things that happened. But gun crimes were not very prevalent back then. Why? Because people carry guns.”

– exchange on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” April 27, 2014

The Hollywood version of the Wild West is at the core of this exchange on Face the Nation, so perhaps it’s time for a history lesson. One-time presidential candidate Rick Santorum asserted that gun crimes were low back then because people had the right to carry guns. But he actually has the story backward.

The 1881 gunfight in Tombstone, Ariz., was actually sparked by an effort to enforce the town’s Ordinance No. 9:  “It is hereby declared unlawful to carry in the hand or upon the person or otherwise any deadly weapon within the limits of said city of Tombstone, without first obtaining a permit in writing.”

That’s right, City Marshal Virgil Earp and his brother Wyatt were attempting to enforce a gun-control law that cowboys were evading — a law that was rather common in the West, according to historians.

Notice that the writer didn’t link scholarly reference for the notion that this was “a law that was rather common in the West.”  That’s because he can’t, and that’s because it wasn’t.

Notice how the writer’s prose drips with indignation at what he thinks he knows.  This is amusing, but you aren’t left as educated about the facts as he claims after reading his prose.

The real story is much more complicated, involving the intrigue of a woman, corrupt deals between alleged bad guys and alleged good guys, threats, innuendo, goading, and the desire for power as an elected official wrapped up into a surreptitious plan that ultimately led to the shootout.

Yes, gun control was a part of the issue, but take note that Americans won’t give up their guns, especially in the face of abusive law enforcement.  This is one good takeaway for us all, as well as the fact that snide commentaries from the main stream media aren’t as educated as they think they are.

ATF Rulemaking On Adjudication As Mentally Defective

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago

Perhaps someone else I regularly read alerted me to this, but if so, I certainly overlooked it.  This one slid under the wire with me.  Comments close at midnight on April 7th, so these comments will have to suffice.  Prince Law Offices filed an objection to the rulemaking, and their filing is worth reading.  They observe that “few in the Firearms Industry wanted to take a stand against this new notice of proposed rulemaking.”  Perhaps so, but I’m not in the “industry.”  And I do indeed take a strong stand against this rulemaking.  Herein are my comments to the ATF.

The ATF is not the appropriate bureau of the executive to make decisions on adjudication on metal health of any sort.  Furthermore, even qualified individuals disagree with the notion that this will ameliorate crime or other nefarious uses of firearms.  Witness the following list of experts.

Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, Mayo Clinic: “We physicians generally do not know enough about firearms to have an informed conversation with our patients, let alone counsel them about gun safety.”  He continues by arguing:

  • Even if every mentally ill person in the country were registered, the system isn’t prepared to handle them — and only about half of the states require registration.
  • Only about 10 percent of mentally ill people are registered — and these are people who have been committed, they’ve come to attention in a way that requires court intervention.
  • Literature says the vast majority of people who do these kinds of shootings are not mentally ill — or it is recognized after the fact.
  • The majority of mentally ill people aren’t dangerous.

Dr. Richard Friedman: ” … there is overwhelming epidemiological evidence that the vast majority of people with psychiatric disorders do not commit violent acts. Only about 4 percent of violence in the United States can be attributed to people with mental illness.

Dr. Barry Rosenfeld: “”We’re not likely to catch very many potentially violent people” with laws like the one in New York.”

Dr. Steven Hoge: “One reason even experienced psychiatrists are often wrong is that there are only a few clear signs that a person with a mental illness is likely to act violently.”

And National Journal notes the following.

Perhaps most important, although people with serious mental illness have committed a large percentage of high-profile crimes, the mentally ill represent a very small percentage of the perpetrators of violent crime overall. Researchers estimate that if mental illness could be eliminated as a factor in violent crime, the overall rate would be reduced by only 4 percent. That means 96 percent of violent crimes—defined by the FBI as murders, robberies, rapes, and aggravated assaults—are committed by people without any mental-health problems at all. Solutions that focus on reducing crimes by the mentally ill will make only a small dent in the nation’s rate of gun-related murders, ranging from mass killings to shootings that claim a single victim.  It’s not just that the mentally ill represent a minority of the country’s population; it’s also that the overlap between mental illness and violent behavior is poor.

Attempts to restrict firearms ownership for the rightful and God-granted purposes of self defense suffer from lack of legitimacy (since ATF isn’t the right place for such rules to be born) and outrageous prejudice and bigotry, evil features of mankind’s sinful nature that have no place whatsoever in American society.

Since propensity to violence isn’t in any way able to be correlated to mental health issues, and since the mentally ill do not in large measure commit acts of violence at a higher rate than those who are supposedly mentally sound, this rulemaking is unjust and no more than an abortion.  Violence is a function of evil rather than mental soundness, something that an ATF questionnaire or doctor’s examination cannot quantify or repair.

Robert Bateman’s Sleight Of Hand Concerning Guns

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago

Esquire:

What is not working, as Secretary Hagel formulated it, is America’s gun culture. All of these mass shootings took place with privately owned weapons purchased without any sort of serious screening or taken from their rightful owners — a mother or a father, by theft or murder. In essence, you can be a complete and total nutcase and acquire a gun pretty easily …

here is where I think it is time to make my first realistic suggestion on this topic. I already tried polemics, and that got mostly nowhere. So what I put forward is a practical suggestion stemming from my time in the States last month.

Last month I was traveling, in part with my wife and daughter, and I began to notice something. There were a lot more concealed weapons there than I remember seeing before. Four times in the space of just a few days I noticed men carrying pistols under their shirts, in restaurants, stores, and even in a children’s play area of a shopping mall. This craze, which seems new to me because I have been serving overseas for so long, is taking place not just on the streets or in bars, but in family restaurants and places where we all shop. So that is a part of the solution.

What we need to do is make owning guns impractical for everyone. The simple solution for this is not a new law or judicial ruling. It is “voting” with our wallets.

I started to do it last week when I was in a nice seafood restaurant that had food that was so good I was thinking of writing it up and also telling my friends about the place. As an out-of-the-way joint, they could certainly use the free publicity, though they certainly pulled in their share of locals for a blustery Sunday morning. Then I saw the guns.

Nope, not going to do it, I decided on the spot. And I am also not going to bring my kids or my wife in there ever again until they decide that guns are not allowed in their restaurant. And that, friends, is the solution.

I’m not sure what Bateman means when he says “complete and total nutcase.”  Nutcases have had guns before, witness Bateman himself.  But as Bateman knows full well, he is being a prejudiced bigot by defining mental health issues as revolving around propensity to violence when so many mental health professionals know better and have said so.

But this isn’t the point that should have grabbed your attention.  Notice that he began with the killing at Fort Hood, and ended with advocating that people use their purchase power to keep guns away from restaurants.  But only law abiding people would honor a law which stipulates that they not carry in an establishment, and so Bateman has targeted people who would willingly not carry in order to punish law-breakers like the Fort Hood shooter.

Bateman’s gun control isn’t about stopping shootings or reduction of crime.  It’s about his collectivist political beliefs, and he knows it.  And just to top it off, he is a liar and knows it.  He doesn’t really want making the ownership of guns impractical for everyone.  He wants the state to have plenty of them.  He just wants it to be impractical for you and me.

Prior:

Response To Robert Bateman Concerning Guns

The Iraqis, Their Weapons And Gun Control

Crime In Chicago Since Concealed Carry

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 2 weeks ago

The Blaze:

On July 9, 2013, a bill to recognize Illinois gun owners’ right to carry concealed firearms was passed by both chambers of the state Legislature. Illinois became the last state in the nation to allow public possession of concealed guns.

Gun control advocates warned that high-crime areas, like Chicago, would only see more violence if residents were allowed to carry guns in public.

In reality, the opposite may be happening.

On Tuesday, the Chicago Police Department announced that the city experienced its lowest murder rate since 1958 in the first quarter of 2014. There were 6 fewer murders than the same timeframe in 2013 — a 9 percent drop — and 55 fewer murders than 2012, police said.

Further, there were reportedly 90 fewer shootings and 119 fewer shooting victims compared to last year. There have also been 222 fewer shootings and 292 fewer shooting victims compared to the first quarter in 2012.

[ ... ]

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy called the drop in crime a “trend.” He attributed the drop to the “talent level of individuals” on the police force, “intelligent policing strategies” and other programs. He did not mention the concealed carry law.

It makes sense, of course, but here is the problem with such reports.  John Lott is mentioned, and he continually makes claims about the prevalence of guns being inversely proportion to crime.

Whatever.  I’ve made the point that what happens to society at the macroscopic level is immaterial.  My rights involve me and my family, and don’t depend on being able to demonstrate that the general health effects in society are not a corollary to or adversely affected by the free exercise of them.

It’s insidious and even dangerous to argue gun rights as a part of crime prevention based on statistics because it presupposes what the social planners to, i.e., that I’m part of the collective.

Charleston, West Virginia Mayor Danny Jones Is A Moron

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 3 weeks ago

Complete … total … unmitigated … emotional … meltdown.

Supreme Court On Guns And Domestic Violence

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 3 weeks ago

WSJ Law Blog:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday bolstered federal efforts to keep guns away from domestic abusers, ruling that even a misdemeanor conviction involving minimal force can trigger a ban on firearm possession.

A Tennessee man argued that his misdemeanor conviction for causing “bodily injury” to the mother of his child shouldn’t bar him from keeping guns because it wouldn’t qualify as a violent crime under other federal statutes.

The Supreme Court unanimously disagreed. Writing for the majority, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that the nature of domestic violence justified stricter efforts to prevent conflict between intimate partners from turning deadly.

“’Domestic violence’ is not merely a type of ‘violence’; it is a term of art encompassing acts that one might not characterize as ‘violent’ in a nondomestic context,” she wrote, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.

Justice Department documents say most forms of domestic violence are “relatively minor and consist of pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, and hitting,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. While those might not be serious offenses in other situations, things are different in the home, she continued.

“The accumulation of such acts over time can subject one intimate partner to the other’s control,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. Moreover, she observed, traditionally battery was defined as any “offensive touching,” whether or not it caused physical injury.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote separately, agreeing with the outcome in Wednesday’s case but calling for a narrower definition of “physical force” that excluded “the slightest unwanted touching” and similarly minor offenses.

Does anyone else consider it rather creepy that the SCOTUS justices are writing things down about “unwanted touching?”  You’d better mind your p’s and q’s in the future if your children go to any of the public communist schools.

One report about a spanking might bring the SWAT teams down on your home.  And I’m sure that no man will feel like he is being targeted just because he is a man.  That certainly won’t happen.  And I’m sure false reports won’t be filed.  And I’m sure the local courts will be more than amenable to vacating bad judgment on the part of the local LEOs.  After all, they’ve always been on our side in the past, no?

Mental Health And Guns: Mentally Defective Because You Believe In The Second Amendment

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 4 weeks ago

Remember when I asked this question?

When will you be adjudicated mentally defective because you believe that being armed is the surest way to ameliorate tyranny in America?

Now we know the answer.  Via Uncle, The Washington Post:

[Plaintiffs allege that, as] of February 3, 2011, Plaintiffs possessed FOID cards, owned firearms, and kept their firearms in their home. At some point before February 3, 2011, David expressed “unpopular political views … about his support of Second Amendment rights” to “a locally elected official.” That official, somebody in that official’s office, or one of the individual defendants falsely construed David’s comments “as evidence that [he] had a mental condition that made him dangerous.” On February 3, 2011, [Illinois State Police] Lieutenant [John] Coffman wrote a letter to David revoking his FOID card under § 8(f) of the Act based on the false and unreasonable assertion that David had a “mental condition” within the meaning of that provision.

On February 5, 2011, with Lieutenant Coffman’s approval, Agents Pryor and Summers entered Plaintiffs’ home without a warrant or consent, conducted a search, and seized Plaintiffs’ firearms, which Plaintiffs used for personal protection, hunting, investment, and enjoyment …

Simply because local LEOs wanted to, the Plaintiffs had their weapons confiscated, and the LEOs ignored constitutional protections regarding illegal search and seizure.  The case has to do with residents of Illinois, but it could be anywhere.

Now someone spend the time and expend the effort to explain to me how mental health checks are going to keep guns out of the hands of “dangerous criminals.”  Go ahead.  I’m listening.

Eugene Volokh On The Second Amendment And Magazine Capacity

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 2 weeks ago

Eugene Volokh:

A gun with a larger than usual capacity magazine is in theory somewhat more lethal than a gun with a 10-round magazine (a common size for most semiautomatic handguns), but in practice nearly all shootings, including criminal ones, use many fewer rounds than that. And mass shootings, in which more rounds are fired, usually progress over the span of several minutes or more. Given that removing a magazine and inserting a new one takes only a few seconds, a mass murderer — especially one armed with a backup gun — would hardly be stymied by the magazine size limit. It’s thus hard to see large magazines as materially more dangerous than magazines of normal size.

[ ... ]

Still, these same reasons probably mean that the magazine size cap would not materially interfere with self-defense, if the cap is set at 10 rather than materially lower. First, recall that until recently even police officers would routinely carry revolvers, which tended to hold only six rounds. Those revolvers were generally seen as adequate for officers’ defensive needs, though of course there were times when more rounds are needed.

[ ... ]

… even if bans on magazines with more than 10 rounds are unwise, not all unwise restrictions are unconstitutional. That’s true for speech restrictions. It’s true for abortion restrictions. And I think it’s true for gun restrictions as well.

This is an oddball commentary by Eugene.  I don’t think the issue is whether, as the judges tried to adjudicate, a magazine capacity restriction burdens the second amendment, but whether those who are protected are burdened by the restriction.  It’s not a trivial distinction.

I’m not really sure why he drew on the issue of abortion rights to create the analogue.  It isn’t a very good one.  The wording of the second amendment is clear, including the phrase “shall not be infringed.”  The Supreme Court created a right to abortion ex nihilo.

Even if you believe that such a right exists, the analogous wording isn’t there in the constitution to protect it.  Thus, restrictions on abortion have no equivalency to restrictions on firearms.

Furthermore, there is a case to be made that restrictions on abortion and lack of restrictions on firearms have the same goal, i.e., the preservation of life.  Eugene provides the defeater argument for his own case, and states a contradictory conclusion anyway.  But firearms are used for more than just personal defense.  They are also necessary for the amelioration of tyranny.  Both of these are life preserving things, just as restrictions on abortion are life preserving restrictions.

Why Eugene didn’t choose to work on this angle and why he chose the opposite, is anyone’s guess.  All in all, this isn’t one of Eugene’s better pieces of work.  I think he missed the mark, and widely so.

For magazine capacity and what it may do for you, see also my analysis of Mr. Stephen Bayezes.

10 Things The Gun Community Has Tried To Tell You

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 2 weeks ago

Following the pattern set by Ms. Catey Hill writing at WSJ, it seemed prudent to address at least ten things that we’ve tried to tell you.  Whether you’re listening is usually evident by whether you write things like Catey or say stupid things like, say Michael Bloomberg.  At any rate, here are the ten things.

1. Concerning Gun Safety

Catey says of the “gun industry” (whatever that is) that “Owning our product may be hazardous to your health.”  That wasn’t what I was thinking at all.  I was thinking that we’ve tried to tell everyone that guns, like automobiles, like ladders (50% of falls from ladders kill), can be unsafe when treated that way.  Online forums repeat the rules for gun safety to the point that it is almost excruciating, and yet I know them by heart and practice them everywhere I go.  I’ve never had an accident or so-called “negligent discharge” with a gun.  Because, you know, I’m responsible.  I wish I could say the same thing about those idiot kids driving down my road in hot rods, far too fast for neighborhood safety.

2. Concerning Guns and Fear

Catey says of the gun industry, “Fear is good for our bottom line.”  That wasn’t what I was thinking at all.  I was thinking that just like the industry surrounding door locks, being prepared is a good thing.  It usually involves patience, study and a little bit of money.  For some reason I’m reminded of a story.  An older lady is stopped by a Highway Patrol Officer, and like a responsible gun owner she informs him that she has three handguns in the car, a .45 1911, a .357 Magnum S&W revolver and yet another revolver (perhaps it’s another S&W revolver, this time a .38).  The officer asks what she’s so afraid of, and she replies, “Not a damn thing officer.”

3. Guns & The Law

Catey says that “Guns get special treatment under the law.”  That wasn’t what I was thinking at all.  I was thinking that we’ve tried to tell you that guns are in that special category of being specifically mentioned in the constitution, just like free speech and the right not to quarter troops in your home or the right to refuse to testify against yourself.  It’s a fundamental God-given right, and recognized as such in the constitution.  Hence, you must tread carefully on this terrain.

4. Children & Guns

Catey says of the gun industry, “We want your kids to play with guns.”  That wasn’t what I was thinking at all.  I was thinking that we’re tried to tell you our stories of learning to shoot when we were children (I learned on my father’s 10/22 in my back yard), our stories of learning gun safety as youngsters, and learning to listen carefully to our parents and mentors.  For this reason – and others – those lessons are burned into our memories.  What we learn as children is difficult to forget as adults.

5. Gun Control

Catey says of the gun industry that “Gun control may work.  We still think it’s a bad idea.”  That wasn’t what I was thinking at all.  Except for willful disobedience to clearly obscene laws (like what is going on in Connecticut right now), gun control absolutely works.  We’ve tried to tell you that it works for its intended purpose, i.e., control of the citizens (gun control is all about control).  We’ve tried to tell you it has nothing whatsoever to do with crime or violence.  We’ve tried to tell you that the proponents of gun control know this as well, and routinely set up a straw man to hide their real intentions.  Let me demonstrate for a moment.  At Daily Kos, this bit of honesty appeared one day.

The only way we can truly be safe and prevent further gun violence is to ban civilian ownership of all guns. That means everything. No pistols, no revolvers, no semiautomatic or automatic rifles. No bolt action. No breaking actions or falling blocks. Nothing. This is the only thing that we can possibly do to keep our children safe from both mass murder and common street violence.

Unfortunately, right now we can’t. The political will is there, but the institutions are not. Honestly, this is a good thing. If we passed a law tomorrow banning all firearms, we would have massive noncompliance. What we need to do is establish the regulatory and informational institutions first. This is how we do it.  The very first thing we need is national registry. We need to know where the guns are, and who has them.

Yea, I know what you’re thinking.  It seems invasive and creepy to me too, sort of like a fat uncle who can’t stop staring at little girls during family reunions.  That’s the way anti-gunners are.

6. Guns & Politics

Catey says of the gun industry, “Politically, we’re practically unbeatable.”  This was exactly what I was thinking, except substitute gun owners for gun industry.  And I don’t know why you’re not listening.  If you were you wouldn’t have enacted those obscene laws in New York and Connecticut.

7. Guns & Obama

Catey says of the gun industry, “Under ‘Gun Ban Obama,’ we’re doing just fine.”  That wasn’t what I was thinking at all.  I was thinking that in spite of gun ban Obama, we’re doing just fine.

8. Guns & Advocacy

Catey says, “Sometimes we aren’t ‘pro-gun’ enough.”  To add insult to injury, she brings up the S&W boycott.  Sheesh!  I do hate to rehearse that bit of pain because I love S&W so much, but I have indeed pointed out that we reward those who are friendly to us and punish those who aren’t.  So this is sort of what I was thinking along with Catey.  I’m glad we could agree on something.

9. Guns and Gun Sales

Catey says of the gun industry, “We sell guns to people you might not want us to.”  That wasn’t what I was thinking at all.  I was thinking that I’ve tried to tell you that I know your real intentions.  I am on this list of people “you might not want” to have guns, along with every other law-abiding citizen.  I know this, and you know this.  Now it’s just a matter of telling everyone else the truth.

10. Ammunition Availability

Catey say of the gun industry, “Ammo is our secret weapon.”  That wasn’t what I was thinking at all.  I was thinking just today that if I didn’t have my truck, I wouldn’t have to buy so much gasoline.

There are many more things, but that covers it for now.


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