The Totalitarians Among Us

Herschel Smith · 03 Mar 2014 · 15 Comments

Victor Davis Hanson observes: In short, Obama will always poll around 45 percent. That core support is his lasting legacy. In a mere five years, by the vast expansion of federal spending, by the demonizing rhetoric of his partisan bully pulpit, and by executive orders and bizarre appointments, Obama has so divided the nation that he has created a permanent constituency that will never care as much about what he does as it cares about what he says and represents. For elite rich liberals…… [read more]

Bob Costas Offers Wager To His Gun Critics

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks ago


Sports broadcaster Bob Costas is not backing down in the face of criticism for his outspoken advocacy of gun control. In fact, he’s challenging his critics to a bet.

Costas was asked about the controversial political positions he has taken on the air, including gun control, in an interview with “Late Night” host Seth Meyers, and said it’s very much an issue in sports that deserves to be talked about.

“Here’s what I would say to anybody who any time they hear the word guns automatically goes off, like, ‘Oh, they’re going to repeal the Second Amendment,’” Costas said. “Let’s make a bet, you and me. Let’s say over the next five years we’ll do a Google search. We’ll have an independent party monitor it. You keep track of how many good and constructive things are associated with athletes having a gun, and I’ll keep track of all the tragedies and criminality and folly. And let’s see who comes out ahead or behind as the case may be.”

Costas said regardless of Americans’ positions on gun control generally, it’s undeniable that sports has a “gun culture.”

“Sports has a gun culture.”  Well so does the South, Bob, and I can say that because I live here.  Why, just a few minutes ago I was shopping online at Hyatt Gun Shop (2330 hours) and more than 5000 people were online doing the same thing.  We don’t run around shooting each other like you seem to think athletes do.  What I think you’re really saying is that professional athletes can’t be trusted, and that makes you a racist.

Florida Sheriffs “Clarify” Their Position On The Second Amendment

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 1 day ago


In testimony Monday before a Senate committee in Tallahassee, Electra Bustle, lobbyist for the Florida Sheriff’s Association, clarified earlier remarks she made on behalf of her client, stating that the sheriffs realize Floridians have both a right to keep and to bear arms.

“The sheriffs in Florida support the Second Amendment, and we encourage law abiding citizens to take full advantage of their right to keep and bear arms.  I wanna take just a few minutes to clarify some remarks I made in the House committee,” Bustle said. “I tried to make a distinction between the right to own and bear firearms, and distinguish that from a concealed weapons permit, and unfortunately I used words that created a sound byte that now has muddied up the water.”

Bustle’s comments were made before the Senate Military Affairs, Space and Domestic Security Committee, which debated and then passed SB 296, a bill that allows Floridians to carry firearms during a declared emergency and mandatory evacuation.

In previous testimony before the House committee, Bustle told the lawmakers that “there is a difference between owning a firearm and carrying one concealed on your person. Owning a firearm is a right. Carrying concealed is a privilege, and it is a privilege that is earned by showing a higher degree of training and proficiency with a firearm.”

Bustle’s previous comments set off a firestorm of controversy, especially amongst the state’s 7 million gun owners.

“The only thing I was trying to say in the House committee, was there is a distinction in Florida,” Bustle said Monday. “We absolutely have the right, and the sheriff’s support the right, to own and carry firearms, but in Florida, we are a concealed weapons licensed state, and as a result there are certain eligibility requirements required of people who want to carry concealed.”

This is rich.  So she said that there is a distinction between the right to bear arms and the privilege to carry them with you based on approval by the CLEO.  Then in order to “clarify” her wording, she said, there is a distinction between the right to bear arms and the privilege to carry them with you based on approval by the CLEO.  There’s nothing like muddying the waters and then repeating yourself thus muddying the waters.

Here’s the deal.  The waters aren’t muddied.  She said what the CLEOs think, and they think what she said.  She didn’t make a mistake either time.  The CLEOs continue to believe that they are “the only ones,” that special fraternity approved to be in charge of others.  But it goes beyond that.

When I took my concealed handgun permit class, I was already an experienced shooter, and was appalled at the horrible mismanagement of firearms by attendees.  Muzzle flagging and lack of trigger discipline were the order of the day.

It wasn’t like that in Colonial days, where men were required to bring their weapons to church and practice with them along with their families.  But do folks learn the lessons fairly well in lieu of the classes, or does weapons mismanagement cause untold deaths?

Well, let’s turn to Arizona where a law passed in 2010 recognized constitutional carry.  If these concealed handgun courses were so damned valuable, one would expect that the murder and negligent homicide rates would have skyrocketed after passage of the law.

They didn’t.  Turning to Arizona’s statistics (they included negligent and accidental homicide in murder), the numbers run like this: 2006 (462), 2007 (464), 2008 (404), 2009 (317), 2010 (343), 2011 (339), and 2012 (345).

Now let me explain in just a few words what this is really all about.  Revenue.  That’s right.  Money for the permits, financing expensive military toys and bloated salaries for LEOs.

Notes From HPS

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 1 day ago

David Codrea:

Acknowledging a necessary self-imposed silence as they marshal their legal resources following a March raid by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives in which polymer precursor receivers were seized, EP Armory (the manufacturer that supplied Ares Armor, itself the subject of ATF raids) issued a statement Monday updating customers and supporters on the status of their legal plight.

Drop by David’s place to read what they said.  They are in a fight against the forces of darkness, and I’m sure that the privacy rights of their customers has already been violated.  Copies have been made and filed, you can be sure.

Kurt Hofmann:

There’s a reason that the anti-self-defense zealots refuse to make a distinction between the concepts of “guns everywhere,” and “guns everywhere except where there is no potential need for them.” It’s because even they lack the audacity to try to dispute the fact that no such distinction exists.

Kurt’s love of logic is a wonderful thing.  Truly it is.

Does the new WV gun law cause confusion?

“I think the intent of that was to say that if the rec center has a place that would enable the person with a concealed carry permit to lock it away so there’s no way anyone else could get to it, then they can do that,” Palumbo said.  “Otherwise the gun would have to be locked in a vehicle.”

[ ... ]

However, the National Rifle Association has an entirely different interpretation.  The NRA’s legal division said, “It is clear that a person with a concealed carry license can (emphasis added) carry a firearm concealed in a ‘municipally owned recreation facility’ even if the facility does provide for secure storage (emphasis added).”

Why is this so hard for everyone?  It isn’t hard for me.  Here’s the deal.  They are talking about recreational facilities.  Folks come in to play sports.  They cannot do that with a carry gun.  They need a storage location in order to secure their weapon.  For the folks who come in to manage, watch and score the games, if they have a permit they can carry on their person.  Again, what’s so hard to understand about this?  See also the emotional meltdown by anti-gunner Danny Jones.  It’s still good for a laugh.

Guns Tags:

Kansas Advances Gun Preemption Bill

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 2 days ago

Topeka Capital-Journal:

The Senate endorsed a sweeping bill Tuesday limiting authority of local governments to require employees to disclose if they hold a concealed-handgun permit and abolishing power of cities or counties to spend tax dollars on gun buy-back programs.

Legislation scheduled for a final vote Wednesday would require elimination of all city or county regulations, ordinances or policies regulating the open carrying of firearms. The bill would allow municipal governments to post signs on buildings to ban open carry of weapons, but violators would face no criminal sanction for ignoring the signs.

The Senate bill also would make it a misdemeanor to operate, possess or carry any firearm — not just a concealed handgun — while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“Local control in many instances is best,” said Sen. Clark Shultz, a McPherson Republican who carried the bill during Senate floor debate. “In this case, we’re talking about a fundamental right to bear arms.”

However, Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, said the bill brought by Shultz ignored an idea commonly expressed by Republicans and Democrats in the Capitol that government closest to the people was preferable.

“Time and time and time again we move to take local decisions out of the hands of local government,” he said.

Under Senate Bill 447, municipal employees could refuse to disclose to employers whether they possessed a concealed-carry license. The measure would ban disciplinary action against a worker who declined to answer questions from employers on the subject. All city or county governments would be blocked from creating records on concealed-carry licensees and would have to destroy any documents already created.

Lobbyists of the National Rifle Association and Kansas State Rifle Association urged senators not to amend the bill, said Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer, R-Grinnell.

[ ... ]Pettey said it would cost an estimated $21.9 million for 350 public libraries to comply with the state security law adopted in 2013 by the Legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback. Many of these facilities can’t afford security upgrades and will eventually open doors to people carrying hidden firearms, she said.

“Our libraries are gathering places in our communities,” she said.

Sens. Forrest Knox, an Altoona Republican and leading proponent of conceal-carry rights in Kansas, objected to Pettey’s amendment. He said watering down current rights of people to carry guns in public buildings would undermine the safety of all employees and patrons

“This has a lot to do with the bill we passed last year,” Knox said. “Criminals can carry into the buildings. Law-abiding citizens cannot.”

Good.  Kansas would then become an open carry state.  As I’ve also commented regarding preemption laws:

… in order to prevent local hicks, ne’er-do-wells and criminals from acting out their Napoleon fantasies upon other men, association with the state means that – assuming robust gun rights laws already exist – local municipalities and townships shouldn’t be able to preempt state laws.  The state is the right size for law-making and control.  Our founding fathers were wise.

And there are would-be Napoleons everywhere.  Experiences seems to tell us that localities are a good breeding ground for collectivists who want to control your lives and take your money.  The federal Leviathan is far worse.  The State is sometimes worse, sometimes not, but if robust state laws protecting our rights can be passed, it behooves us to prevent localities from interfering with those laws.

If I have any readers in Kansas, keep me posted on progress of this law.

New York SWAT Team To Hunt Deer

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 2 days ago

In what must surely be one of the more stupid programs ever conceived, a New York SWAT team gets to go hunting.

An Erie County city is bringing back a bait-and-shoot program to reduce a surging deer population that’s causing damage to property and hazards to motorists.

The city of North Tonawanda used the technique from 2004 to 2008 to reduce the deer herd. Now residents are complaining again about too many deer.

According to the Niagara Gazette the program will be conducted by four police SWAT team members between October and March in two undisclosed locations.

Alderman Eric Zadzilka said the city had 77 car-deer collisions in 2003, and only 17 the following year after the deer reduction program was initiated.

Mayor Rob Ortt says meat from deer killed through the program will be donated to the Food Bank of Western New York.

Because, you know, it must be bad policy to issue off-season permits to local hunters, and such.  Because they aren’t special like the SWAT.  And we need to find some way to spend all of that tax money.

I find myself wondering if the cops are going to use MRAPs and machine guns.  Do they go deer hunting while tacticool?

Charleston, West Virginia Mayor Danny Jones Is A Moron

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 2 days ago

Complete … total … unmitigated … emotional … meltdown.

NRA Board Member Tom King Laments Rhetoric At Pro-Gun Rallies

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

NY Daily News:

In my “Albany Insider” column today, I wrote how Tom King, the head of the state Rifle & Pistol Association, was critical of the increasingly angry and inflammatory rhetoric at pro-gun rallies. King said he fears that the ugliness that has popped up at the rallies is actually hurting the pro-gun cause. He also said it’s time to stop the rallies, arguing that they won’t result in a repeal of the SAFE Act. He wants to instead focus on trying to get the law struck down in the court …

I won’t post his silly letter, but I thought it would be appropriate to highlight this paragraph.

Fellow gun owners I submit this to you for your consideration. We will never convert the 22% rabid anti-gunners, we don’t have to convert the 32% avid pro gunners but we must convert a sizable portion of the 46% of those somewhere in between if we want to retain our 2nd Amendment Rights long term. These are the soccer moms, the guys who say I’ve never shot a gun but would like to try it and the people worried about their safety. How do we do that? Not by standing on stage screaming obscenities at Cuomo and certainly at large rallies where people stand on stage, pound their chest and tell the attendees to prepare for war. That frightens the very people we want to attract to our side, the people who will insure (sic) 2nd Amendment Rights for our grandchildren.

As a sidebar comment, the people he wants to attract will not insure (sic) 2nd amendment rights for our grandchildren.  But second, this letter is as  emblematic of everything that’s wrong with the NRA as I’ve ever seen.  It’s the perfect example of how not to think about our rights.

The strategy he advocates is why we’re where we are, among other reasons like loss of our national moral conscience.  He wants first to turn to the black robes, and failing that (as it certainly will fail and has already failed), he wants to turn to popular opinion.

Like so many other NRA board members, he wants to be oh-so-respectable and loved by the people.  Don’t appear extreme and scary, says he.  Never mind the warnings that should be issued to the collectivists should they continue with their pursuit of confiscation and onerous laws and harassment.  Never mind that they could be declaring war as an unintended consequence of their lust for power.  Don’t be scary to the people we want to persuade.

I rarely cite polls or popular opinion because while they may matter to the exigencies of my life, they don’t matter to my rights.  I have weapons because God gives me the right to own weapons, not the second amendment.  The opinions of the people are as subject to the vicissitudes of ideology as the times in which they live, and the mind of man cannot be entrusted with the rights of mankind.  If Mr. King is placing his trust in the people, he is building his house on sand.

My rights are what they are by divine pronouncement.  It is righteous to own guns because it reflects the character of the Almighty.  Without this I’m no different than the statist thugs and collectivists who want to disarm me, except we happen to be on different sides of an issue.  It means everything … everything … to be right and righteous.

Until the NRA board of directors is as convinced of the foundations of their rights as I am, they will be a weak and neutered organization, fit for nothing much except a good magazine once a month.

UPDATE. David Codrea links some history on this.  Jacob is a real piece of work.  Come on into my house, Jacob, and let’s throw down.  I’ll call you out for being the sorry, pathetic, collectivist piss ant you are.  Or did I already just do that?

Notes From HPS

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

Kurt Hofmann:

It’s more than plausible that of the portion that would not be shipped overseas, at least some would end up in killers’ hands here in the U.S., available for appalling mayhem. Why, after all, would an arms smuggler just sit on the weapons, which would thus not be making him any money, and would instead just expose him to the risk of arrest and prosecution?

Does anyone think that had that indeed happened, Yee would not attempt to exploit the ensuing carnage as justification for more “gun control”?

Well, it seems to be the collectivist’s modus operandi.

David Codrea:

Case in point, since OSHA is mentioned as a possible catalyst in Thursday’s Bozeman raid by other agencies, this column warned back in 2009 that Obama’s pick to head the agency, David Michaels, was strongly anti-gun and committed to using regulatory schemes to get his way. At the time of his nomination, this column advocated organized opposition, including scoring confirmation votes against gun group ratings and contacting the appropriate Senate committee, even reminding readers of Michaels’ organizational connections with George Soros (himself a backer of draconian international citizen disarmament efforts).

I’ve warned you about the executive branch of the government and legislating by federal register notice.  This is a corollary.  They send the regulators in and fine you, shut you down, and make it impossible to do business.  They may even send an armed team after you for breaking the rules they wrote without the consent of the Congress.

Visit Mike Vanderboegh’s Crisis City for a view of where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

PTR makes its first rifles in South Carolina.  If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times.  Smith & Wesson, Rock River Arms, Remington, Mossberg … what are you waiting for?

Some genius named Rachel Stella is asking about Georgia’s new law, and whether it’s okay to have guns on God’s property.  I’m in favor of guns on God’s property, and oh, by the way, the posing of the question assumes a chasm between the sacred and secular.  The Psalmist says that the “cattle on a thousand hills belong to God” (Psalm 50:10), or in other words, we’re just stewards.  He owns everything.  So that about covers it for me.  Guns everywhere.

Guns Tags:

Development Of Weapons Technology In U.S. Lags World Because Of Gun Control

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 4 days ago

WRSA likes this machine gun (details here).  My experience (attempting to exchange email among other things) is that H&K has a rather elitist attitude.  Furthermore, like so many firearms manufacturers, they make many of their weapons systems only for military and law enforcement.

Okay, nice machine gun.  But here is a fact which bears mentioning.  American engineering is second to none.  Things like open bolt versus closed bolt, mechanisms to cool the gun, head spacing, spring constants, gas operation design, component materials (among many others) are all variables that can be used by entrepreneurial engineers and gunsmiths to design a better weapon.

Do you want to know why that doesn’t happen in America?  There is no incentive.  The largest gun market in America is civilian, and as you know the manufacture and sale of newly designed or built fully automatic weapons has been illegal to anyone except LEOs since the abomination called the Hughes Amendment.

William J. Hughes was a democrat from New Jersey in case you were wondering.

Virginia ABC Agents Assault Innocent Girl

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 4 days ago


A University of Virginia student is seeking $40 million from the state and seven Alcoholic Beverage Control agents who arrested her believing she had illegally purchased beer when she had bought bottled water.

Elizabeth K. Daly, 21, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Richmond Circuit Court, according to media reports. She alleges malicious prosecution, six counts of assault and battery and failure to appropriately train ABC agents.

On April 11, 2013, ABC agents confronted Daly outside a supermarket in Charlottesville. The agents believed Daly, who was then 20, was under the legal drinking age and had purchased beer.

Daly was charged with two felonies for grazing two agents with her vehicle.

Daly has said attempted to flee in a panic because the agents weren’t in uniform, one pulled a gun and another attempted to smash a window with a flashlight.

Daly spent a night in jail on felony charges of assaulting two law enforcement officers and eluding police. Prosecutors withdrew charges against Daly in June and her record was expunged in October.

In her lawsuit, Daly said she has suffered from a tremor in her right hand, intense anxiety and other problems since the confrontation.

As a result of the April 2013 incident, Daly and her parents “have incurred significant legal, medical, and other costs, and will continue to do so in the future due to the malicious, intentional” and negligent actions of the defendants, the lawsuit states.

A spokesman for Attorney General Mark Herring called the incident “incredibly unfortunate.”

Here is the summary.  Virginia ABC agents in plains clothes brandished a weapon at an innocent victim and attempted to smash the window of an automobile, endangering the driver (and any occupants that might have been there) of lifelong blindness from shards of glass, all over what they thought was a beer.  And the court officer notes this incident as being “unfortunate.”

Here is a modest proposal in an attempt to ameliorate the police state we have become.  Every law enforcement officer, federal, state, county and local, in America wears a camera beginning immediately.  The camera will be worn at all times when on duty by those who interact with the public (including LEOs from SWAT officers on to uniformed patrol), and failure to wear the camera will entail loss of job and deprivation of licenses issued by the state (such as driver’s license, hunting license, firearms license, etc.).

The video will be streamed to an independent third party, who releases the video upon request to any victim or his lawyer, and posts video of all violent encounters.  Law enforcement officers can then be held accountable for the same crimes we would be, namely brandishing, assault, denial of constitutional rights, lying under oath, and any of a host of other crimes.

It would be a start.

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