Archive for the 'Gun Control' Category



Lessons From Nazi Gun Control

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

Stephen Halbrook:

Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress in April about an idea he had directed the Department of Justice to investigate: a requirement that gun owners wear electronic bracelets that would enable only registered owners to activate their firearms. Some critics, focusing on abusive surveillance powers, have called it Orwellian.

But one needn’t look to fiction to be wary: History offers numerous examples of well-intentioned policies to control crime that have had disastrous consequences. In my new book, “Gun Control in the Third Reich,” one particularly horrific case study begins in Germany during the tumultuous early 1930s.

In 1932, Alfred Flatow, the three-time gold medalist in gymnastics at the 1896 Olympics, complied with a gun-registration requirement that Weimar officials hoped would reduce the threat posed by extremist groups. The former athlete dutifully registered three handguns, but this didn’t spare him. The government warned that gun-ownership records must be stored securely so they wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. It failed to consider that only law-abiding citizens would register, whereas political extremists and criminals would not.

In 1933, the ultimate extremist group, led by Adolf Hitler, seized power and immediately set about using gun-registration records to identify, disarm and attack “enemies of the state,” a euphemism for all political opponents. Police conducted search-and-seizure operations for guns and “subversive” literature in Jewish communities and working-class neighborhoods.

And you know the rest of the historical account.  Holbrook’s piece is good right up until this.

None of this is to claim that Eric Holder or today’s proponents of gun control are totalitarians in waiting. But this frightening saga is a reminder of good intentions gone horribly wrong. And unless we let the lessons sink in, we will dishonor honorable people such as Alfred Flatow – and millions more whose suffering we should never forget.

I argue – and have many times – that there is nothing good about the intention behind a universal background check or national gun registration.  And Obama and Holder are indeed totalitarians, not just in waiting, but in realitatem.  All gun control is totalitarian, and as I’ve pointed out before, gun control is a sign of wicked rulers.

Nonetheless, Holbrook has written a very good piece worthy of the few minutes it takes to read it.  It’s good to see him back in the public eye.

Is The Second Amendment About Self Defense And Hunting Or Amelioration of Tyranny?

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 1 week ago

Self defense against criminals or self defense against — criminals?  Kurt Hofmann asks the question:

But as a practical matter, does that really make much difference? When you defend yourself against an assailant who happens to be a common criminal, after all, you’re defending your rights from violation, no less than if your attacker–and aspiring rights violator–draws a government paycheck, carries a tax revenue-supplied firearm, and is acting on government orders. Likewise, in resisting a tyrannical government, you are defending yourself from that government–and the hired muscle of said government, from whom you are defending yourself, is no less criminal than the common street thug or rapist.

To claim a difference, other than one of scale, between a thug who rapes a woman, and a tyrant who rapes a nation, is to elevate the tyrant to something greater than the thug-writ-large he is.

Great point.  Consider for a moment gun control in Nazi Germany and what it did to the Jews.  It matters little (or not at all) whether the home invader is uniformed or not.  We must all ponder these difficult things.

Remember when you do ponder that we’re not the first to do so.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer decided – albeit a little late to the game – that he had to speak and act.  “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”  I claim that God has very specific requirements of us when we act.

So as to the question, the answer is not “either-or.”  It is “both-and.”

The Supreme Court Abramski Decision

BY Herschel Smith
3 months ago

The Supreme Court has decided the Abramski case with a 5-4 vote.  The reaction thus far has been fairly muted, but the implications of the decision are potentially far reaching.  Kagan, writing for the majority, spends a significant amount of painful time [painful for those of us who have filled it out many times] in the nuts and bolts of Form 4473 and what she believes must have been the intent of Congress when they crafted the Gun Control Act of 1968.  Scalia wrote a spirited dissent, and anticipating the objections, Kagan writes:

But Abramski and the dissent draw the wrong conclu­sion from their observations about resales and gifts. Yes, Congress decided to regulate dealers’ sales, while leaving the secondary market for guns largely untouched. As we noted in Huddleston, Congress chose to make the dealer the “principal agent of federal enforcement” in “restricting [criminals’] access to firearms.” 415 U. S., at 824. And yes, that choice (like pretty much everything Congress does) was surely a result of compromise. But no, straw arrangements are not a part of the secondary market, separate and apart from the dealer’s sale. In claiming as much, Abramski merely repeats his mistaken assumption that the “person” who acquires a gun from a dealer in a case like this one is the straw, rather than the individual who has made a prior arrangement to pay for, take pos­session of, own, and use that part of the dealer’s stock. For all the reasons we have already given, that is not a plausible construction of a statute mandating that the dealer identify and run a background check on the person to whom it is (really, not fictitiously) selling a gun. See supra, at 9–15. The individual who sends a straw to a gun store to buy a firearm is transacting with the dealer, in every way but the most formal; and that distinguishes such a person from one who buys a gun, or receives a gun as a gift, from a private party.9 The line Congress drew between those who acquire guns from dealers and those who get them as gifts or on the secondary market, we suspect, reflects a host of things, including administrative simplicity and a view about where the most problematic firearm transactions—like criminal organizations’ bulk gun purchases—typically occur. But whatever the reason, the scarcity of controls in the secondary market provides no reason to gut the robust measures Congress enacted at the point of sale.

If it seems that Kagan is making the judgment of a legislator here, you are not mistaken, and it isn’t a mistake that she spends so much time in her decision on the federal code.

Via David Codrea, attorney Joshua Prince says of the decision:

There is NO law enacted by the Congress regarding straw purchasers! This was made up in whole cloth by the ATF! This is a FAR worse decision than anyone is comprehending. NOW, administrative agencies can enact criminal laws, which have NOT been enacted by the Congress!

David Workman also weighs in at Examiner:

Nelson Lund, a constitutional scholar and Second Amendment expert at George Mason School of Law, had this to say: “Five members of the Supreme Court have decided to make it a federal crime for a lawful gun owner to buy a firearm for another lawful gun owner. No federal statute says any such thing. The Justices are once again legislating from the bench, which violates the Constitution, and enacting a retroactive criminal law, which is even worse.” His comment came via e-mail.

In his dissent, Scalia notes that there is evolving history in how the ATF has applied and enforced the Gun Control Act.

After Congress passed the Act in 1968, ATF’s initial position was that the Act did not prohibit the sale of a gun to an eligible buyer acting on behalf of a third party (even an ineligible one). See Hearings Before the Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 94th Cong., 1st Sess., pt. 1, 118 (1975). A few years later, ATF modified its position and asserted that the Act did not “prohibit a dealer from making a sale to a person who is actually purchasing the firearm for another person” unless the other person was “prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm,” in which case the dealer could be guilty of “unlawfully aiding the prohibited person’s own violation.” ATF, Industry Circular 79–10 (1979), in (Your Guide To) Federal Firearms Regulation 1988–89 (1988), p. 78. The agency appears not to have adopted its current position until the early 1990′s.

Then Scalia offers up this zinger.

In the majority’s view, if the bureaucrats responsible for creating Form 4473 decided to ask about the buyer’s favorite color, a false response would be a federal crime.

He has put his finger on a core problem with this decision [and other such rule-making inside the beltway].  As I’ve noted before:

Laws are passed by the Senate and Congress.  But after laws pass, thousands of lawyers inside the beltway go to work writing regulations based on those laws, or not, using the law as a pretext for further regulation that Congress didn’t specifically intend.  At times, Congress has even had to pass laws undoing regulations because the regulations don’t meet the intent of the law, and yet the executive branch won’t stop enforcing that regulation (or class of regulations).

Regulation is passed merely by entering them into the federal register, allowing a waiting time for public comments (which are nothing but a chance afforded to the authors of the regulations to ignore them or write sarcastic rebuttals), and then after the waiting period, it takes on the force of law including prosecution, fines and imprisonment for failure to follow them.

This happens every day, all over the nation, and in the DOT, NRC, EPA, DOJ, ATF, DHS, and other departments and agencies that the reader cannot even name and didn’t know existed.  Any law giving the executive branch the authority to further regulate firearms will be an opportunity for abuse, overreach and exploitation.

I’ve seen it in my own line of work.  Regulations take on the force of law after comments responding to entries in the Federal Register are summarily ignored by the agency doing the regulating.  It makes little sense to respond with comments when the regulator’s mind is made up.  These regulations frequently far surpass the law in breadth, scope, depth and magnitude.

One such example on Form 4473 might be the following.  My own son was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, but knew of one poor soul who became inebriated the eve of his discharge and was caught for DUI on base.  This Marine was dishonorably discharged.  According to the wording on Form 4473, he will never be able to legally purchase a gun even if a judge agrees with him because the USMC won’t revisit its discharge and thus he won’t be able to answer – truthfully – on Form 4473 about discharge from a branch of the service.

[I don't mean here to exonerate the ridiculous GCA for its requirement that gun transfers across state lines go through an FFL.  I have gifted a firearm to one of my sons this way, and in order to fulfill this part of the law (he couldn't legally carry it with him on the airline even by following TSA regulations since he didn't own it), we had to pay the exorbitant cost of shipping the gun air express to an FFL and then a transfer fee in his home state.  It had the effect of escalating the cost of the whole affair, and I'm convinced that this was part of the intended effect by Congress.]

To me, this kind of regulation seems onerous compared to what Congress wrote, but it is latitude given (and taken) by the federal regulators.  If there is a problem with legislating from the bench, there is even a worse problem with regulating by the executive branch from inside the beltway.  The problem will continue (and grow) as long as the public abides the abuse.

Notes From HPS

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 1 week ago

Mike Vanderboegh:

Chicago Police and ATF Form Intelligence Center To Fight “Three Percenters”

Right.  Like the three percenters are the problem in Chicago as opposed to say, the gangs and black-on-black violence.  I’ll tell you what.  Drop by, you Chicago police officer (“Dr. Suess”) who argued with me over e-mail about how I was going to beg for your help one day to “protect me,” and tell me who commits crime in Chicago?  And tell me why you aren’t out running down the gangs, you coward?  This is all a ruse, a smokescreen to send money to Chicago, the home of criminal Eric Holder.

David Codrea:

True to form and right on cue, “progressive” pundits who feed themselves pushing citizen disarmament and other ways of subverting true egalitarian power sharing are out in force, blaming everyone outside their collectivist echo chamber for the actions of two misfit killers.

Of course they do.  And be sure to read David’s rundown of the couple’s ejection from the Bundy Ranch.  As for the “pundit,” he doesn’t bother me a bit.  Only people who don’t believe in anything need the government to tell them what to think.

Kurt Hofmann:

Sunday evening, Nia Sanchez went from being Miss Nevada to accepting the crown for Miss USA … Ms. Sanchez, who has a fourth degree black belt in taekwondo, recommended that women learn how to defend themselves.

You mean someone has been named to this position who didn’t give the answers common to a sophomore in international studies at Dartmouth or American University?

I see that Eric Cantor has lost.  It isn’t just his treason concerning immigration and amnesty that concerned the people of Virginia.  Remember is gun control schemes.  Gun owners never forget.  Never.  And watch out, Paul Ryan.  You guys are two peas in a pod.  And perhaps you will suffer the same fate one day.

Notes From HPS

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 3 weeks ago

David Codrea:

A New York television station’s news programming has dropped all pretenses of unbiased reporting and relegated itself to being a purveyor of anti-gun propaganda.

“PIX11 is taking a stand against gun violence,” the station announced in a commercial promoting its involvement “teaming up with local leaders and the families of victims to make June gun violence awareness month.”

David invokes what the administration says about “authorized journalists.”  I think it’s a good thing when so-called journalists finally drop the pretense.  At least this is a bit of honesty about things we all knew.  And as for authorized journalists, that just goes to show that they think about the first amendment what they think about the second: some pigs are more equal than others.

Kurt Hofmann:

Speaking of their desire to disarm people, that of course serves their purpose in more than one way. Not only is citizen disarmament their desired end, it’s also a means to that end, because the more “gun free” zones, there are, the fewer people permitted the means to effective self-defense, and the more they can be limited in whatever firepower they are permitted to have, the less likely it is that the next killer will be stopped before he racks up a big, exploitable body count.

Hey.  To make an omelet a few eggs must be broken.  It’s the cost of doing the king’s business.

Mike Vanderboegh:

Game and fish belong to the king.

And what did commenter Josh say about the notion of New York SWAT teams culling deer in that sorry state? “Only the King’s men may hunt the King’s deer in the royal forest.”

Concerning Guns, We’ll Never Give Up

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 3 weeks ago

MSNBC:

When I launched Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, I understood I would encounter opposition from those who took issue with my view – the same held by most gun owners – that firearm safety and responsibility go hand-in-hand with our Second Amendment rights.

I knew that sometimes these debates would get heated. In fact, I’ve always welcomed and embraced debate. That said, I’ve also always vowed to remain civil and to avoid cruel, ad hominem attacks in my work as a gun violence prevention advocate.

Unfortunately, as several recent incidents chronicled in Mother Jones make clear, a number of people on the extreme other side of this debate have shown they have no interest in adhering to a similar pledge.

[ ... ]

When it comes to protecting our children, our families and our communities from gun violence – moms will never give up.

Yea.  We won’t either.  And we have the guns.

What Do Nigerian Genocide And Gun Control Have In Common?

BY Herschel Smith
4 months ago

As a perfect followup to Concerning The Nigerian Christian Girls (albeit coincidental), a Nigerian named Emmanuel Onwubiko weighs in on the issue of gun control in Nigeria.

Section 33[1] of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 [as amended]clearly says that every Nigerian has the inalienable right to life. How then do you safeguard this sacred constitutional right to life in a situation of near-anarchy which has exacerbated with the arrival, over four years now, of armed Islamic terrorists  known as Boko Haram? These terrorists invade towns and villages killing, maiming and destroying innocent lives and property of Nigerians and the security forces seem clearly unable to provide security for all people.

The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, told the British Broadcasting Corpo­ration (BBC) television in an interview con­ducted on May 9, 2014 that North-East Nigeria was such a large expanse of land. This is interpreted to mean that the soldiers should not be expected to be everywhere in the three states under emergency rule in the terrorism-prone Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States. If the states that are under partial emergency are not sufficiently protected, do you expect that other states would be protected?

Little wonder then that in the North-West and North-Central, armed hoodlums suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have been on the rampage, killing people and destroying many villages.

May 8, 2014, the online version of The Guardian newspaper of the United Kingdom reported that of as many as 300 people were killed close to Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, while the Islamist group continued to hold more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls.

The writer continues with an analysis of other countries which allow the ownership of guns, concluding that the crime rate is much lower than in Nigeria.  He concludes with this.

In these jurisdictions, there are evidence that crime rates are minimal but in Nigeria where government disallows people from bearing firearms except the useless hunting Dane guns for the village hunters, armed hoodlums have wasted hundreds of thou­sands of innocent lives and these lives would have been saved if Nigerians of sound men­tal state with clean criminal records were li­censed to carry firearms.

Will the Nigerian Government stand idly and watch as armed hoodlums decimate Ni­gerians in their thousands before it can do the needful to legalize individual firearms own­ership under certain regulations? My take is that the Nigerian Government must liberal­ize firearms ownership in Nigeria as one way of safeguarding right to life since the armed forces and police have proved seriously chal­lenged and unable to be everywhere to pro­tect the lives of Nigerians and the constitu­tion makes it imperative that the security and welfare of every citizen is the primary duty of government. A stitch in time saves nine.

What do Nigerian genocide and gun control have in common?  One enabled the other as a catalyst or at least a contributing cause, if not the root cause.  And thus the solution is simple.

Notes From HPS

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 1 week 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
4 months, 2 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
5 months, 1 week 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.


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