Archive for the 'Gun Control' Category

Properly Defending Liberty Comes Down To One Thing: World View

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

There is a stir among gun rights advocates – or at least, presumed gun rights advocates.  On the one hand, there are the open carriers and opponents of I-594 and their advocates in the state of Washington (and other places like Texas and New York where even Sheriffs are recommending that your thrown your SAFE act pistol permit recertification invitation in the garbage), and on the other hand are Alan Gottlieb, Dave Workman, Bob Owens (who seems like a late comer to the pragmatic approach), and many of their readers.  See for instance this article at Zelman Partisans, this one by Bob Owens, and this article, this article, this article, and this article from Mike Vanderboegh.

As you might be able to guess from my history, I am not an advocate of pragmatism.  I have been a vocal and uncompromising opponent of universal background checks (and anything that enables such statism) from the beginning.  But before we rehearse and and expound on the reasons for my opposition, first let’s survey the pragmatists.  Bob Owens’ prose is stunning.

A small group of long gun open carriers lacking the discernment, basic common sense, and the political savvy of your average garden snail made complete fools out of themselves as they dangerously brandished firearms in the Washington House gallery last week during I-594 protests …

… knuckle-draggers like those pictured above don’t understand the long-game, and can’t grasp that the average citizen thinks that a person carrying a long gun to a protest of any sort is most likely unhinged.

We need to do a better job of patrolling our own, folks, because if we don’t find a way to control these cretins, the forces of gun control will be certain to exploit them for every bit of political capital that they can.

“Garden snail” … “knuckle-draggers” … “fools” … “cretins.”  These are words for open carriers normally reserved for web sites like Mother Jones, Balloon Juice, or perhaps Salon.  I am an open carrier (at certain times), and while this example is atypical of open carriers, it’s important to remember that even if it is perceived to be theatrical, it has context and it was provoked.

Earlier this summer, Rep. Jim Moeller took to Facebook and issued what some gun-rights advocates perceived as a challenge.

“I will refuse to conduct the business of the state as long as any ‘open carry’ nuts (are) in the gallery,” Moeller, D-Vancouver, wrote on his Elect Jim Moeller Facebook page.

Open carriers have experience with open carry of weapons being legal but also being bullied about their choices, or even worse, put in an unsafe position because of their legal choices.  It’s also important to remember that while open carry may not appear to be the norm today, it wasn’t always this way in America.

In the colonies, availability of hunting and need for defense led to armament statues comparable to those of the early Saxon times. In 1623, Virginia forbade its colonists to travel unless they were “well armed”; in 1631 it required colonists to engage in target practice on Sunday and to “bring their peeces to church.” In 1658 it required every householder to have a functioning firearm within his house and in 1673 its laws provided that a citizen who claimed he was too poor to purchase a firearm would have one purchased for him by the government, which would then require him to pay a reasonable price when able to do so. In Massachusetts, the first session of the legislature ordered that not only freemen, but also indentured servants own firearms and in 1644 it imposed a stern 6 shilling fine upon any citizen who was not armed.

When the British government began to increase its military presence in the colonies in the mid-eighteenth century, Massachusetts responded by calling upon its citizens to arm themselves in defense.

Weapons were used for hunting, self defense, and yes, amelioration of tyranny.  It wasn’t too many days ago that we rehearsed the jihadist attack on Charlie Hebdo and the goofy “reenactment” that the boys from TTAG did.  And goofy it was, but I did have the good sense to observe that “when defending against attackers with foreknowledge and rifles, you would rather have foreknowledge and rifles yourself.”

Islamists are being given sanctuary in the U.S., and Islamic calls to prayer are heard over loud speakers in Detroit, Michigan (and have been for about a decade now).  Beyond that, tens of millions of Hispanics and Latinos have flooded across the border, some of whom included very violent gang members who have been so bathed in violence and death that they are said to perpetrate it not only for the sake of crime, but for the sake of the violence itself.  Some strategists see the capability to conduct criminal operations and perpetrate violence to be far greater among the cartels than any Middle Eastern or Asian Islamic group.

As if the potential need for self defense isn’t enough, America now has two hundred trillion dollars of unfunded liability, now has full orbed socialized medicine, and has aborted more babies than Hitler killed Jews.  The time would have come and already left that the founders of this great nation would have put their foot down and drawn a line in the sand.

But as a community we still seem to be asleep, or at least comfortably deluded.  The most instructive and educational of all of the links I have provided above comes not from the authors, although some are very good, but from the comments.  Consider this one.

As an advocate of freedom, I’m dismayed at the flawed thinking of so many not so responsible gun owners disregarding the efforts of so many responsible citizens that are trying to preserve and restore our 2nd Amendment rights. Many gun rights advocates are working hard to encourage responsible and knowledgeable leadership out of our legislature. The few that want to use a firearm as a tool of intimidation or civil disobedience will make it even more challenging for the rest of us to convince our representatives that an armed society is indeed a polite society.

Next, consider this.

While open carry may not be ‘illegal’ in a particular case, doing so is not often the right thing to do.  There was a time that, even here in California, we could sling a rifle across our shoulders and ride a motorcycle out to the range and no one freaked out. Then, we had the ‘open carry’ crowd start trying to attract attention, gathering in large groups and parading around, getting loud and vocal and,in general, acting like prissy little drama queens. As expected, people reacted.

The first commenter also slammed the open carriers for horrible muzzle control.  I am not defending poor muzzle control, and if they were brandishing or threatening in any way, they need to learn the rules of gun safety and mature a bit before doing this again.  That is both illegal and unsafe.  But that’s a side show compared to the real issue.  To the first commenter convincing his representative is what it’s all about, even though that hasn’t worked to stop socialized medicine, abortion and oppressive taxation.  From the land of make believe we come to the second commenter, for whom the problem started not with collectivists pressing down with statist gun control laws and regulations, but with open carriers who exercised their rights to carry (and what would have been the catalyst for just such a “display” as suggested, he doesn’t say – it just started happening one day I suppose).  Then there is the hand-wringer, what I consider to be the capstone of the anti-open carry argument.

While I support the concept of unfettered right to bear arms, the reality in most of these “United States” is that one’s appearance on the street with a handgun openly strapped to one’s belt is unsettling to the hordes of liberals out there, and their reaction is definitely averse to our rights, and a threat that they perceive, to them.

Whenever CCW is an available alternative, we should prefer it, and avoid any display of firearms to those idiots who oppose our rights. The objective is not to prove some point, it is to be safer and to be better able to defend ourselves and our families, and CCW serves both objectives well.

Someday perhaps, most Americans will recognize that carrying a gun is not a bizarre fetish, but is a commitment that Americans make, in order to be free, and to incidentally guarantee the freedom of those who do not understand. That day has not yet come, and will come more quickly if we avoid unnecessary confrontation.

I yearn for the day when every housewife can choose to openly strap on a handgun when she goes grocery shopping, or to the mall. Until then, CCW is a better pathway to our freedom.

That day will “come more quickly if we avoid unnecessary confrontation.”  Finally, from the delusional to the defeatist.  Consider Sebastian.

I have no problem with the “I Will Not Comply Crowd.” I live in a state with a similar regime to Washington for handguns, and it’s probably one of the most ignored laws in the commonwealth. I have no problem with civil disobedience.  I don’t disapprove of what the sticks have been doing in Connecticut, because I don’t think there’s anything we carrots can do to help the Nutmeg State, for the time being. We’re challenging the law in federal court, and maybe, maybe down the road we could federally preempt it using Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. That’s thin gruel, and I recognize that. But we are trying, and I think over the long run we have a good chance of being successful.

The big strategic question of gun rights in the last two years of the Obama Administration is how we defang Bloomberg, because he, without a doubt, is the single biggest threat our gun rights have faced since the 1990s. He’s not going to be intimidated by sticks; he has enough money to hire his own private army to protect him if he wishes. He’s not going to be concerned with carrots either, because most of us aren’t billionaires, and don’t have the money to throw around the political process that he does. So what do we do?

And this brings me to my main points.  Background checks are not a problem because they currently constitute a national gun registry.  If you recall my previous discussion on the subject, I played “devil’s advocate” to see just how close the ATF could come to such a monster.  I am still skeptical that the schema is in place (or could be put in place without a lot of additional pain and work).  But the danger in universal background checks is twofold.  First, it would indeed put the procedures and protocol in place for a national gun registry.  Second, it makes the government the ultimate arbiter of God-given rights.

There is an intensely moral element to control of this sort.  Gun control is evil, a sign and symptom of wicked rulersSebastian doesn’t think so.

I really don’t like it when churches insert themselves into political matters under the guise that these are really spiritual matters. Murder, rage, and vengeance — these are all matters of the spirit. Gun control is a matter of politics.

But to the educated man or woman, politics is ethics, which is a category of philosophy, or a description of a comprehensive world view, including metaphysics and epistemology.  It’s all related, and has to do with how you know what you know, how you assign truth value, and what lies beyond the physical.  That which is so intensely moral is not ripe terrain for compromise.  And a proper anthropology – a right view of mankind – knows that “the heart [of man] is deceitful above all things, and is desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9).  Only God understands it, and all attempts by men to divine the intentions and correct the maladies of the heart end in despair and failure.

Lastly, there is an element of eschatology in these demurrals from the pragmatists.  They see failure where many see potential success.  But fear not, God has always had His remnant, and He will not allow liberty to perish from the earth.  The chains always fall off, sometimes by His mighty hand, other times by using us as secondary causes and only by the utmost of peril to our lives, health and wealth – but always by His kind providence.

As much as I detest the propensity to compromise, especially out of fear of defeat, and as much as I loath Gates, Bloomberg and their minions, I don’t think what they do is all that significant.  Nor do I think that Gottlieb is all that significant.  He will be irrelevant in future circles of lovers of liberty, and I don’t think he will sway many minds.  Rather, with one commenter to this piece by Clair Wolfe I think that “the seed of the larger problem lies in the troubling correlation between politically and socially conservative people and their acquiescence to, even active subservience to, authority” (see here also my Foundation of Liberty).

And as much as I am accused at times of “preaching to the choir,” I think that the choir is a rather small ensemble of singers.  The problem is one of heart, or moral fiber, and of faith.  The collectivists turn to the state as their god, and the rulers mutually enjoin the people into the herds who need the state to determine the difference between right and wrong for the great unwashed masses.

Thus, most people would have no basis on which to demur if the state decided to kill every third man named Jerry before NFL games as a sacrifice to the football gods.  Utilitarianism has a very dark side.  For those who would oppose it with force but with no foundation, they are no different than Machiavelli.  The salient and important question is whether the people will wake from their slumber in enough time to prevent the degree of pain that can come from this conflict.  There is a massive cultural and religious war going on in America, and gun control is one front in that war.  People will gird their loins and engage now, or suffer the consequences later.

The Study That Gun-Rights Activists Keep Citing But Completely Misunderstand

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

Todd Frankel blogging at The Washington Post:

So what does the study say?

It’s hefty, running 121 pages. The title is “Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence.” The National Academies’ Institute of Medicine and National Research Council published it in 2013.

And the study clearly makes the case for why more gun-violence research is needed.

The CDC requested the study to identify research goals after Obama issued his January 2012 executive order. The National Academies’s study authors clearly see gun violence as a problem worth examining:  “By their sheer magnitude, injuries and deaths involving firearms constitute a pressing public health problem.”

The authors suggested focusing on five areas: the characteristics of firearm violence, risk and protective factors, interventions and strategies, gun safety technology and the influence of video games and other media. The document is peppered with examples of how little we know about the causes and consequences of gun violence — no doubt the result of an 18-year-old CDC research ban.

But gun-rights supporters zeroed on in a few statements to make their case. One related to the defensive use of guns. The New American Magazine article noted that “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.”

So it would appear the “good use” of guns outweighs the “bad use.” That may be true, except the study says all of those statistics are in dispute — creating, in the study authors’ eyes, a research imperative.

You can read the whole post for yourself.  I’ve lifted the money quotes out (and hopefully not out of context).  Mr. Frankel charges gun-rights activists with an error in interpretation of data and statistics, and whether Mr. Frankel is correct in his own interpretation or not is irrelevant.  The Germane point is that gun rights activists – if they are indeed using such data and statistics to demonstrate a point – are in error for simply using the data, not for misinterpreting it.

We’ve discussed this before.  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 do, i.e., that I’m part of the collective.”  I object to John Lott’s procedure, and have stated frequently that I do not believe in the second amendment.  I believe in God.  The Almighty grants me the rights to be armed, and when the Almighty has spoken, it is eternal law for all men everywhere and in all ages and epochs.  See also Holding Human Rights Hostage To Favorable Statistical Outcomes, and Kurt Hoffman on the same subject.

There is probably little constitutional basis for such a thing as the Centers for Disease Control at the expense of our tax dollars even when studying diseases.  But there is certainly none whatsoever for its existence when it pens studies for the express intent of infringing on God-given rights.  If gun rights activists are arguing statistics with the collectivists, that’s the mistake right there.  Full stop.  Don’t do that.  Ever.  You presuppose their world view when you do that.

Reenacting The ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Massacre

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

Vice News:

As US lawmakers are proposing nixing gun-free zones and arming teachers and guards with firearms to halt potential school massacres, one pro-gun group has unwittingly provided a case in point against fighting guns with more guns.

The Truth About Guns, a weapons rights group based in Texas, recently recreated a set mirroring the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, where masked gunmen last week killed 12 people. The group then reenacted the massacre with paintball rounds to determine whether throwing an “armed defender” into the mix could have saved lives.

In nearly every single setup, the armed civilian — portrayed by 12 different local volunteers — died. The only exception was in the scenario where the team member with the gun immediately fled the scene.

The group ran the exercise in Plano, Texas and posted footage from a camera mounted to one of the attacker’s rifles to YouTube on Thursday. The Truth About Guns did not immediately respond to VICE News’ request for comment on the experiment Friday.

Sigh.  I’m not even going to link the video.  It’s meaningless.  Here’s Uncle’s take on it.

So, if one were to recreate what happened, they’d probably do something based on what happened. Or, instead, you could get some firearms trainers who know how to handle simunitions, let them strap on their gear and tell them to go practice a room-clearing exercise on random people you got to volunteer off the street to play CCW holder. Surprisingly, the firearms trainers manage to outperform the random people from the street.

Then, you could compound the error by inviting local media. Then, you get picked up by all the shitty, sensationalized listicle sites and are all over social media. And, boom, you got self-promotion.

Leave it to the occasional jackass to conclude that gun control helps the situation.

France’s ban on guns isn’t actually a gun ban of any sort. In fact, most French citizens share the same rights to firearm ownership as Americans.

The difference, however, is that French leaders haven’t sold out to the deep pockets of gun manufacturers and their lobbying group and removed important regulations that dramatically alter the mindset of citizens about those very deadly firearms.

Instead, these are the ultra-restrictive laws that some claim were responsible for the French terrorist attacks: Citizens must acquire a license to own a gun, including handguns. A requirement to obtain and keep that license is that the holder show proof of being an active shooting club member with at least three trips to the range each year and certification from a physician of the holder’s physical and mental capabilities.

Once that license is acquired, the only “gun ban,” is on fully automatic weapons, just like the one in the U.S.

Aside from that, the French can own pretty much any gun that an American can own.

But usually, they don’t own them. They don’t carry them around on their hips like this is some old West movie.

But it’s more invasive than that.  This point of view was written by a Frenchman right after Newtown.

From the French point of view, this shooting is just another example of the United States’ gun addiction …

France, however, underwent a major shift in its regulation of weapons in 1939. The French government worried that tough living conditions during the upcoming war with Germany could lead to revolts and unrest similar to those experienced by Germany and Russia during World War I. The government thus passed a law that would ban most guns. Moreover, when the Germans invaded France in 1940, another decree required every Frenchman to hand over his weapons.

This ban, justified by historical reasons, remained enforced after the war and has been the backbone of French firearm regulation ever since. In today’s legislation, the only weapons easy to purchase are hunting rifles, which has remained a French pastime.

The purchase of any type of military and civil firearm is only permitted in shooting sports for which a license is required. To obtain the licence, a year long process is required, including  a 6 month membership at a shooting club and background check by the police. This license needs to be renewed every three years.  Thus, for the last 73 years, weapons, except hunting rifles, have been ban for most Frenchmen. Promoting a gun-free environment has become the country’s answer to preventing mass shootings.

But it didn’t prevent a mass shooting, and I wonder if this Frenchman would care to revisit his position since the recent shooting in Paris?

See this analysis and this analysis for a discussion of category A, B, C and D in French gun control law, and if you wish to carry a handgun for personal defense, that isn’t viable.  It won’t happen in France.

Simply put, any attempted analysis, including that at TTAG, that focuses on what happens when shooters who plan their attack go to work on unsuspecting victims who have handguns (or nothing) proves only that when defending against attackers with foreknowledge and rifles, you would rather have foreknowledge and rifles yourself.

There are other variables that such a test doesn’t measure, such as could a potential victim in another room, hearing the commotion or seeing the attack, prepare in such a way as to save his life and the lives of others?  Philosophers call it “possible worlds,” and reenacting events like this one doesn’t even come close to exploring what might have, what could have, what may have happened.

Ignore all such “tests” and “reenactments.”  Arm yourselves to have a better chance to live in such an attack.  That’s the simplest and best advice anyone can give you.  The rest is just self promotion.

Coalition To Stop Gun Violence Mocks Chris Kyle

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

We previously covered the ill-advised cartoons done in poor taste promulgated by the CSGV.  Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse and the CSGV couldn’t go any lower, it does, and they do.

An influential anti-gun group is targeting Clint Eastwood’s potential Oscar nominee “American Sniper,” but it might be the group’s corporate sponsors — including the NFL — that get blasted in the assault.

The Washington-based Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has given critics of the upcoming movie a Facebook outlet to rant about the subject of the movie, sniper Chris Kyle, killed after the leaving the military and while he was at a gun range with a vet suffering from PTSD.

“Good Riddance,” wrote one. “What goes around comes around,” sneered another.

Kyle is an American hero, a sniper so effective in Iraq that terrorists put a bounty on his head. But the movie is a liberal’s nightmare and the anti-gun coalition’s supporters have been eager to condemn it and keep it out of the Oscar spotlight.

You don’t have to be supportive of any phase of the campaigns Chris Kyle was engaged in to keep from being an ass clown about his death.  I didn’t agree with the initial invasion of Iraq (OIF1, while at the same time taking a different view of OIF2 and OIF3 for reasons explained in previous articles).  I supported the initial stages of our actions in Afghanistan (OEF), while calling for the complete withdrawal of troops when it became obvious we were going to engage in nation building, COIN and stability operations.

All of that is irrelevant except to point out that support for campaigns (or lack thereof) can be a complex thing, even among the military (remember that my son was deployed in Iraq and would have been in Afghanistan had he extended his enlistment – his views on these matters are complex and involved).  But for the CSGV to beclown themselves this way shows what they are truly made of.  Their moral character is despicable and repugnant.  I put them in the same category as Westboro Baptist Church.

Gun Control And The Boko Haram Massacre

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

David Codrea:

With body numbers described as “too many to count,” but with estimates ranging from “hundreds” to “2,000,” mass murders in Nigeria are being described by Amnesty International as “the deadliest massacre” in the history of the Boko Haram terror group.

“Most victims are children, women and elderly people who could not run fast enough when insurgents drove into Baga, firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on town residents,” the Associated Press reported a government official claiming.

David then goes on to describe the gun control in Nigeria, and states “Nigeria appears to be a land where the results of such “progressive” policies should be evident for all to see and emulate.”  Read all of David’s article.

And gun control has indeed been one of the catalysts for the rise of Islamic extremism.  I have long lamented the failure of men and women to arm themselves against Islamists, Christians in particular who falsely believe that Biblical theology requires pacifism, noting that it is a moral failure to ignore the protection of family and self.

But make no mistake about it, these are heavier weapons, perhaps some ever crew serve weapons, and arming with rifles and pistols wouldn’t have stopped the assault on the city.  But what being armed would do is stop them before they become strong enough to perpetrate such a ghastly attack.

An example of such aggressive use of force can be seen in the history of the Ethiopian Army in Somalia, where they have had measurable success against the Islamists.  The “Christian” army of Ethiopia has no intention of allowing Muslims to savage their people, and they are willing to take action before it is too late to secure those ends.

Individual and segregated actions cannot achieve security against an organized enemy using heavy weapons.  This requires family, tribe and militia, all of which are armed and willing to take the hard measures necessary to kill a determined enemy.

That there are men who allow women, children and the elderly to perish while they run away scared doesn’t bode well for the future of Nigeria.  For men who believe there is nothing after death – that a body cools to ambient temperature and there is nothing more – running away scared may make sense.  For Christians, there are more important things that staying alive because death is just the beginning of our life in eternity.

And finally, don’t be fooled by the recent Islamic violence in France.  The Islamists don’t really care about cartoons in the face of more important things.  They just can’t find anyone left in France who believes anything to attack.  Now, if they hear Christians with one voice, saying something like this:

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy christian Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.

Then the real enemy of Islam has spoken.  Islam is darkness, and it cannot abide the light.  Since it cannot abide the light, it won’t allow a marketplace of ideas where truth can be discerned from falsehood.  Arm yourselves.  Prepare to do battle.  It’s coming whether you know it or not.

Notes From HPS

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

David Codrea:

I understand some have differences, but those are not with JPFO itself, and that’s important enough for me not to automatically abandon my inclination to do what I can to help the organization survive, thrive and grow. If you don’t agree, I’ll not waste any more of your time trying to persuade you. Stop reading and go in peace. This message is intended for those of you who would like to join me in doing what we can to help this entity called JPFO.

I’ve already stated my position.  I align myself with people, not organizations.  I don’t have a lot of money to donate, but I have a Google page rank of 5.  I want to assist David Codrea and Kurt Hofmann.  If that means that I assist JPFO in the process, then so be it.

David Codrea:

In order to counter the well-financed propaganda effort, Nevadans for State Gun Rights has created a fact sheet that presents counter-arguments to those voters are being exposed to, and that warns against the loss of rights should they heed what the Bloomberg coalition is trying to make them believe. Supporters who object to and wish to respond to Sen. Smith’s Everytown talking point-parroting “editorial” can submit letters to the Gazette-Journal being careful to observe the paper’s requirements, including limiting them to 200 words.

This is simple folks.  Do what needs to be done and the gun controllers can be defeated.  Don’t be knots on a log.  Stop watching idiot TV sitcoms at night.  Spend time doing something useful (I know, my readers don’t watch idiot shows anyway, and they’re busy people.  Still, please add Nevada into your do-list over the coming weeks and months.  Patriots there need you.).

In case you haven’t read Kurt Hofmann’s latest at JPFO, please do so.  I previously linked this piece.

Mike Vanderboegh links an article on supply of the Ukrainian military.  I’ve discussed this before, and you know I’m a sucker for logistics.

Mike Vanderboegh says we are not all Charlie.  Hmm … I think Ned Weatherby said something just like that here.

Mike Vanderboegh, all over America, the government is cracking down on preppers.  Wood stoves are mentioned again.  The EPA is as out of control as I’ve ever seen anyone or any organization.  The regulations on stoves are immoral and obscene and the EPA doesn’t have a God-given right to tell people how they may heat their home.  Thus I recommend disobeying those regulations since, being immoral, they have no binding obligation on men.


Adam Gopnik’s Gun Confusion

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

The New Yorker:

The news that the parents of the children massacred two years ago in Sandy Hook, near Newtown, Connecticut, by a young man with a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle, were undertaking a lawsuit against the gun manufacturer was at once encouraging and terribly discouraging. The encouraging part is that those parents, suffering from a grief that those of us who are only witnesses to it can barely begin to comprehend, haven’t, despite the failure to reinstate assault-weapons bans and stop the next massacre, given way to despair. Like Richard Martinez, after his son was murdered by a weapon that should never have been in the hands of a lunatic, or anyone else, for that matter, they’re allowing themselves to be angry, and then turning their anger into action: they’re naming the business that helped kill their children and asking a court to hold that business responsible.

The filed complaint—the numbered paragraphs give it an oddly religious feeling, like theses nailed to a church door—is worth reading in full, however painful that might be, not only because of the unbelievable suffering and cruelty it details on that terrible morning but also because it offers, in neatly logical fashion, an indisputable argument: the gun manufacturer is guilty of having sold a weapon whose only purpose was killing a lot of people in a very short time. Despite the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives having previously declared that such weapons “serve a function in crime and combat, but serve no sporting purpose,” Bushmaster sold it anyway—and precisely on the grounds that it could kill many people, quickly. “Forces of opposition bow down. You are single handedly outnumbered,” the advertising copy read.

… one of the ironies of the whole story is that there already is a long-standing ban on truly automatic weapons—machine guns—whose legality not even the N.R.A. or their allies dispute. If anything, they tend to make a sniffy point of discriminating actual machine guns from mere semi-automatic ones, among them the Bushmaster. (Back in the twenties, the availability of the tommy gun to gangsters meant that the police were often brutally out-gunned.) But all of the talk about legal and illegal weapons, automatic and semi-automatic—as about the treatment of the psychologically troubled—evades the simple, central point: it ought to be very, very difficult, as it is in every other civilized country, to get your hands on a weapon whose only purpose is to kill people quickly. The N.R.A. and their allies make it very, very easy.

There are replies to Gopnik, but thus far I have yet to see one that targets the fundamental flaws in the argument.  To begin with, I don’t stipulate at all to the notion that the ban on fully automatic weapons is legal regardless of what the NRA believes.  I believe that the Hughes amendment is an unconstitutional and obscene abomination.  Adam needs to get out of Manhattan a little more and see the world.

Second, his categorization of weapons “whose purpose is to kill” shows fundamental ignorance of guns and the history of them.  The sporting purposes test applied by the ATF and codified into law is circular reasoning as I commented on the ATF study on importability of certain shotguns.

Wrapped up in this paragraph we have not only an amusing logical blunder but also the real crux of the problem. Authors have presupposed the answer (so-called circular reasoning) at which they must arrive, i.e., the statute must remain useful. Thus, all interpretations by ATF are biased to yield that result. It is not the responsibility of the ATF nor is it within the purview of their authority to ensure the continued usefulness of a statute, if in fact it is rendered useless by advances, common practices, evolution in sporting, or lack of wise crafting of the statute (such as the fact that nowhere in this discussion of “sporting purposes” is there any latitude given for personal protection and home defense under the second amendment to the constitution of the United States). This single paragraph renders the study itself as useless as the statute has become.

Let’s use another example in order to make the point clear.  Short barrel revolvers.  While some hunters use long barrel revolvers with scopes for hunting, no one uses a short barrel revolver for hunting.  It has no purpose except to kill (whether used in crime or in self defense).  And yet these aren’t the weapons Adam refers to when he discusses guns with a single purpose.  He is referring to AR-15s and other similarly-styled weapons, which ironically are used quite a bit for hunting (as well as for other sporting purposes such as 3-gun competitions).  You see, the ATF has written the rules by formulating a list and then trying to ban anything on the list – which is circular reasoning.

Scoped bolt action rifles are used as sniper rifles – or for hunting deer.  Shotguns are used for turkey – or to clear rooms in Now Zad Afghanistan by the U.S. Marine Corps.  There is no list that doesn’t ‘beg the question’ (as a formal logical fallacy) when it comes to military or sporting purposes.

Furthermore, a weapon’s capacity to kill is precisely what makes it valuable when it comes to the amelioration of tyranny, which is what the second amendment is all about anyway.  You see, death comes to us not from an imperfect society that lacks the proper state supervision, needing just one more law or the right kind of leadership in order to be the utopia on earth envisioned by Gopnik.  Death comes to us at the hands of criminals, petty and state-sanctioned, due to something called federal headship in Adam and original sin.  Gopnik must return to Genesis Chapter 3 in order to craft a meaningful and consistent anthropology that explains reality.

As with all statists, their god fails them.  They will forever be waiting on the providence of an impotent totem, and may as well slash their wrists and bleed before Baal.  God sits in the heavens and mocks them (Psalm 2:4).  Their attempts to bring heaven down to earth through lawfare and social programs will only end in failure and suffering.  Statistics on guns and crime aren’t relevant to Gopnik’s problem.  He needs to jettison his fundamental world view in order to understand who he is, who man is, and what man must do to be saved.

Guns, Bad Cartoons, Poor Taste

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

Kurt Hofmann sends this along.

First of all, the folks carrying the cartoon are rude and ill mannered.  The cartoon is poorly done.  I don’t mean just in poor taste, I mean poorly done.  It’s an awful cartoon.  My dog could draw better than this.  Second, the cartoon is in poor taste.  Blood dancing is in bad form no matter who the dancer or victim.

There are good cartoons and bad ones, and I don’t even have to agree with the cartoonist in order to appreciate good art and clever ideas.  For example, a very liberal cartoonist with whom I seldom if ever agreed, Doug Marlette, once gave us this after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

The Eagle cries.  Now one doesn’t have to agree with huge government programs in order to appreciate Doug’s having captured the moment with a cartoon.  Furthermore, as an engineer I know full well how Morton-Thiokol had ignored their own engineer’s warnings concerning temperature and O-rings.  The failure never had to occur.

Still, whether one agrees with the cartoon or not, Doug wasn’t blood dancing.  He was showing true grief and sorrow over needless deaths.  The folks at CSGV have latched on to crap and made it their own.  Very well.  It suits them.

Pistol Stabilizer Brace NFA Nonsense

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 1 week ago

Via Uncle, Prince Law.

ATF is at it again in their latest determination later. Previously, I discussed their determination in relation to the sample that Black Aces Tactical submitted and hinted that ATF might be shifting its view on stabilizing braces …

The letter notes that the literature included with the sample states the Stabilizer is not designed nor intended to enable a user to fire a weapon from the shoulder (Page 1 of the letter). FTISB correctly finds that attaching the Stabilizer does not turn the pistol into a “firearm” as defined by NFA, but then states “provided the Blade AR Pistol Stabilizer is used as originally designed and NOT as a shoulder stock.”

The issue with FTISB’s latest determination is they are attempting to classify a firearm based on the end users use of an attachment designed and intended to be used in a certain way.

[ … ]

The letter to FTISB stated that the device was not designed OR intended to enable a user to fire a weapon from the shoulder. So how does FTISB come to the conclusion that an end user shouldering the Stabilizer turns the firearm into an item regulated by NFA?

[ … ]

Allow me to pose this hypothetical to you using the logic in this latest determination letter. If an individual attaches the Stabilizer to his AR pistol, goes to the range, shoots it as the manufacturer intended and then hands it to his friend who shoulders it, did it just become an illegal short barreled rifle?

I know that the good and smart folks from Prince Law are attempting to make sense of an arcane law and regulation thereto.  That’s their profession and they’re good at it.  And to be clear (although unrelated exactly to this post at Prince Law), lawyers do things that sometimes puzzle us, like argue for or against something before a court and then argue (in case the court rejects that argument) something that undercuts the first argument to see if the court accepts that position, as if they didn’t believe the first argument.  But the problem is that none of this (stabilizer brace ruling) makes any sense.

Let’s circle around on this one again.  The problem is that none of this makes any sense.  It’s similar to the same thing we observed with the sporting purposes test for the importability ruling for shotguns.

On page 4 the following statements are made: “The 1989 study then examined the scope of “sporting purposes” as used in the statute. The study noted that “[t]he broadest possible interpretation could take in virtually any lawful activity or competition which any person or groups of persons might undertake. Under this interpretation, any rifle could meet the “sporting purposes” test. The 1989 study concluded that a broad interpretation would render the statute useless.”

Wrapped up in this paragraph we have not only an amusing logical blunder but also the real crux of the problem. Authors have presupposed the answer (so-called circular reasoning) at which they must arrive, i.e., the statute must remain useful. Thus, all interpretations by ATF are biased to yield that result. It is not the responsibility of the ATF nor is it within the purview of their authority to ensure the continued usefulness of a statute, if in fact it is rendered useless by advances, common practices, evolution in sporting, or lack of wise crafting of the statute (such as the fact that nowhere in this discussion of “sporting purposes” is there any latitude given for personal protection and home defense under the second amendment to the constitution of the United States). This single paragraph renders the study itself as useless as the statute has become.

The entire NFA is useless, (in the main) unenforceable, and nonsensical.  It needs to be repealed, along with the GCA. This ruling by the ATF on stabilizer braces is yet another demonstration of that fact.  Fortunately, we have another option.

In each case, Bloomberg understood his enemies, their foibles and their failures far better than they understood him. So he won and they lost.

But then something happened that Bloomberg in his arrogance never expected, something that the “mainstream gun rights organizations” for their part never expected either — in every single state where Bloomberg had “won,” it turned out that the victims of his unconstitutional laws had other ideas. And they didn’t need “leaders” like Wayne LaPierre and Alan Gottlieb to lead them.

The “I Will Not Comply” movement in the various affected states began the instant Bloomberg’s Intolerable Acts were passed. Individual firearm owners, led here and there by some courageous activists of the smaller rights groups who were not so worried about raising money and preserving their press image than their “betters,” simply announced that they would not obey such unconstitutional laws.

In the case of a stabilizer brace (and I don’t currently have one and I also have no AR pistol or SBR), if my home was threatened by invaders intent on doing harm, I would use whatever weapon was within reach, including a pistol with a stabilizer brace, and deploy it the way I deemed best suited for my own safety and the safety of my loved ones.  If that meant shouldering a pistol, they so be it.

The folks at Prince Law will not argue that way because it isn’t their job.  But it’s our job to disobey unjust laws.

Doctors Should Tell The Truth About Guns

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 1 week ago

The latest silliness from Mike Weisser comes to us from Huffington Post:

Last week I attended a conference on medicine and gun violence in which a cross-section of researchers and clinicians focused on how to figure out if patients are at risk for gun violence and how to intervene appropriately when such a clinical situation appears to exist. The problem raises medical, legal and ethical issues involving proper patient care, privacy, liability and other questions that the medical profession has been wrestling with for a long time but have really come home to roost this year.

Three states have now passed laws limiting the degree to which physicians can ask patients about guns and only a last-minute surge of votes from Democratic senators who will shortly be replaced by Republicans allowed a Surgeon General to be confirmed whose views are decidedly anti-gun.

Throughout the conference I kept listening to presentations which were based on an assumption about medicine and guns which I’m not sure is really true. And it goes like this: in order to effectively raise the issue of gun risk, the physician must first determine whether a patient is, indeed, a risk to himself or others if he has access to a gun. And if the physician determines that the patient is, in fact, a health risk if there’s a gun around, how do you determine the degree of gun access without infringing on his right to own a gun whether he’s a risk for gun violence or not?

The reason I’m not comfortable with this assumption is because I happen to believe one simple thing about guns, namely, that if there is a gun lying around, locked or unlocked, the risk of gun injury is simply much greater than if the gun doesn’t exist. To borrow a phrase from the late Elmore Leonard, “Don’t fool with guns in here, okay? The goddamn piece’s liable to go off.” Now researchers can parse all the data with a fine-tooth comb from today until next year, but the bottom line is exactly what Leonard says: if it’s around, sooner or later it’s going to go off.

We’ve covered this in detail before.  Guns don’t “go off.”  Someone puts their finger on the trigger and pulls it.  If it is pointed in an unsafe direction, someone may get harmed or killed.  It’s the same with automobiles or trucks.  I drove beside a truck the other day that was swerving to the point I thought the driver may be drunk.  Likely he was sleepy, which is as bad or worse than being drunk.  Or, we may substitute chemicals in the home, or cold temperatures, or overheating for the elderly if they lose or cannot afford air conditioning.

Guns are no different.  The problem is that the author sees the role of doctors the same as the role of any other profession – as agents of the state.  He sees life this way because he is a collectivist.  And he likely knows that guns don’t just “go off.”  He is using that phrase in order to evoke emotion and approbation for doctors who won’t behave as agents of the state.

You recall another society where doctors were agents of the state, don’t you?

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