The Paradox and Absurdities of Carbon-Fretting and Rewilding

Herschel Smith · 28 Jan 2024 · 4 Comments

The Bureau of Land Management is planning a truly boneheaded move, angering some conservationists over the affects to herd populations and migration routes.  From Field & Stream. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently released a draft plan outlining potential solar energy development in the West. The proposal is an update of the BLM’s 2012 Western Solar Plan. It adds five new states—Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming—to a list of 11 western states already earmarked…… [read more]

Police Disarm Concealed Carrier In Tucson

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 7 months ago

Report via David Codrea, and straight from Mr. Hildreth’s Facebook post.

Steven Hildreth, Jr.
So, I’m driving to my office to turn in my weekly paperwork. A headlight is out. I see a Tucson Police Department squad vehicle turn around and follow me. I’m already preparing for the stop.

The lights go on and I pull over. The officer asks me how I’m doing, and then asks if I have any weapons.

“Yes, sir. I’m a concealed carry permit holder and my weapon is located on my right hip. My wallet is in my back-right pocket.”

The officer explains for his safety and mine, he needs to disarm me for the stop. I understand, and I unlock the vehicle. I explain that I’m running a 7TS ALS holster but from the angle, the second officer can’t unholster it. Lead officer asks me to step out, and I do so slowly. Officer relieves me of my Glock and compliments the X300U I’m running on it. He also sees my military ID and I tell him I’m with the National Guard.

Lead officer points out my registration card is out of date but he knows my registration is up to date. He goes back to run my license. I know he’s got me on at least two infractions. I’m thinking of how to pay them.

Officers return with my Glock in an evidence back, locked and cleared. “Because you were cool with us and didn’t give us grief, I’m just going to leave it at a verbal warning. Get that headlight fixed as soon as possible.”

I smile. “Thank you, sir.”

I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities.

Maybe…just maybe…that notion is bunk.

Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.

Police officers are people, too. By far and large, most are good people and they’re not out to get you.

I’d like to thank those two officers and TPD in general for another professional contact.

We talk so much about the bad apples who shouldn’t be wearing a badge. I’d like to spread the word about an example of men who earned their badges and exemplify what that badge stands for.

‪#‎BlueLivesMatter‬ ‪#‎AllLivesMatter‬

[EDIT: In my rush to post, I accidentally omitted that my wallet was in the back-right pocket, near my firearm. This was the primary motivation for temporary disarmament. The post has been modified to reflect that.

Again, I’d like to thank the TPD and their officers for their consistent professionalism, courtesy, and the good work that they do, both in this particular contact and every day.]

So let me get this straight.  The most unsafe times in any handgun evolution is unholstering and holstering your weapon (depending somewhat on the maturity of the one engaged in the action, and always subject to trigger and muzzle discipline).  The police decided to put Mr. Hildreth in danger by touching his weapon, in order to contribute to their own perceived safety?  Okay.  Got it.

Now for an assessment.  Mr. Hildreth is being to kind to the police.  No one should have been touching the weapon – not Mr. Hildreth, and not the police.  The weapon should have stayed holstered.  Period.  There is no tactical reason whatsoever to have unholstered and confiscated the weapon, not for a minute, not for a second.  Furthermore, let’s not pretend that negligent discharged don’t happen with the police.  We know they do.

So can anyone give me a single, solitary reason that the police, if they had wanted to see his identification, couldn’t have said, please reach into your pocket and produce your identification for us?  Is there any reason whatsoever to conclude that anyone was safer for the police having touched this weapon?  My bet is that no one can produce such a reason because there isn’t one.



And The GOP Debate Winner Is?

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 7 months ago

Reince Priebus.  I heard him briefly a few minutes ago talking about what “they” are calling the Cruz Missile.  I didn’t have the debate on, but my wife entered the room and turned it on just in time for me to see Cruz upbraid the folks running the debate.

There is a lot of disapprobation over the internet concerning the CNBC hosts, and properly so.  They are worms, and always have been.  But that misses the bigger picture.  The GOP has an awful lot of candidates, and the field needs to be winnowed.  Cruz seized the opportunity with an outstanding extemporaneous speech.  Furthermore, a good spanking of the MSM is always meaningful for GOP voter morale.

Reince may not have know exactly how it would go down, but he knows that progressives just can’t contain themselves.  They must be who they are (“Can a Leopard change it spots?).  He only knew that at this point in the campaign, a good fight with the MSM to show America how worthless the media is would be in proper order.

CNBC obliged because they couldn’t not oblige.  Oh to be sure, he is publicly indignant (“I cannot believe the candidates were treated that way!”).  Behind closed doors, he is lighting cigars and giving high fives to his staff.  I never knew the names of the CNBC hosts, and if I ever did, I wouldn’t know them now.  They’ll go down in the dust bin of history as irrelevant dimwits.  Reince is the winner.  He played them like a drum, or if you wish, he used them like a cheap hooker and kicked them to the curb.


CDC “Gun Research”

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 7 months ago

Hartford Courant:

Silence never solved complex national problems. Yet some spineless lawmakers put special interests ahead of the public even to the point of discouraging and shutting off discussion of important public issues.

This is nothing new. Congress imposed a gag order from 1836 to 1844 on the overriding issue of the 19th century, refusing to accept any and all “petitions, memorials, resolutions, propositions or papers relating in any way, or to any extent whatsoever, to the subject of slavery or the abolition of slavery.” It was unconstitutional, draconian and finally ended because a few congressmen fought it every day.

Gun violence in America is another critical public issue, but Congress has for nearly 20 years found a way to silence government researchers by using the power of the purse to intimidate the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After the terrible murders in Newtown three years ago, President Barack Obama signed an executive order directing the CDC to resume gun research. The CDC still hasn’t, but it must — despite congressional threats from the majority Republicans.

The bullying started in 1996, when the CDC released studies that researched the risk factors that led to gun violence.

One study found that just having a gun in the home was associated with a nearly 300 percent increase in the likelihood that it would be used to murder someone in the house. The likelihood that someone in the house would use a gun to commit suicide was even higher — 500 percent.

Then the National Rifle Association swung into action, complaining that the CDC was using public funds to push gun control and ask political questions. The Republican-controlled Congress cut CDC funds by the exact amount used to study gun-related violence and prohibited researchers from using public funds to advocate for gun control.

This put researchers in a bind: If they did open-ended, scientifically sound research that, say, examined what local regulations were most effective in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, Congress would accuse them of breaking the rules and would punish the CDC by slashing its budget.

The threats did what the weapons manufacturers wanted, dropping a curtain of silence on guns.

This is a piece of work.  Slavery and guns are brought up as if there’s some analogous feature.  Debunked “studies” are cited, emotional, draconian terms are invoked (silence, slashing, prohibited, etc.), and then finally, the NRA is blamed for it all.

Here are the facts.  Many NRA members lose patience with the NRA because we see it as too progressive and willing to compromise in its rating system.  The real enemy of progressives is gun owners, even though they don’t know it.  They still see gun owners as a monolithic group, controlled and told what to think by the NRA.  Independent-minded thinking never occurs to progressives because they don’t work that way.

No one has prohibited anyone from studying whatever they want.  What Congress did was prohibit the spending of tax dollars for studies that first of all, would likely be used to press for political ends, and second, should never be funded by the government anyway.  Many gun owners would assert that the government has a constitutional right to raise monies for the common defense, and not much else.  The only reason such a thing comes up with the CDC is because government spending is out of control.

I strongly recommend that the folks at the CDC – and anywhere else for that matter – study whatever they want, on their own dollars and on their own time.  There is no moratorium on such studies (they’re not illegal), just on using my money for them.  I don’t get to take your money and study how to make M855 ammunition more effective, and you don’t get to take mine and throw it away on “studies” I don’t sanction.  That’s fair enough.

Paul Ryan On Gun Control And Why The GOP Establishment Is Confused

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 7 months ago

I had pointed out almost three years ago that Paul Ryan was a gun controller.

“I think we should look into someone who is not legally allowed to buy a gun going to (a show), buying one, and let’s figure that out,” he said. “I think we need to find out how to close these loopholes and do it in such a way that we don’t infringe on Second Amendment rights.”

All controls of these kinds infringe on second amendment rights by their very nature.  Go ahead, I told Ryan.  Look into it.  He’s a collectivist and statist of the first order.  I was surprised that no one has brought any of this up when Ryan’s name was floated as the great savior of the House of Representatives.  But in fact they have brought it up.

Ryan’s 2014 gun control vote came amid the emotional outpouring that followed Elliot Rodger’s May 23, 2014, Santa Barbara attack. Although Rodger passed a background check, registered his guns with the state–as is required in California–and only used ammunition magazines of 10 round or less, Ryan voted for Representative Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA)’s (D-CA-5th) amendment providing $20 million to expand the amount of information states are putting in the National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) database. Thompson’s House webpage showed that the amendment was supported by Gabby Giffords’ gun control control PAC Americans for Responsible Solutions, as well as “Everytown for Gun Safety, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Sandy Hook Promise, Third Way, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence… [and] States United to Prevent Gun Violence,” among others.

In addition to this, there was an example of Ryan showing an openness to more gun control in the wake of the heinous attack on Sandy Hook Elementary. Just over a month after Adam Lanza stole guns then used them to attack innocents in the gun free zone at Sandy Hook, Ryan told Meet the Press’s David Gregory that Congress needed to look at background checks and “[make] sure there aren’t big loopholes where a person can illegally buy a firearm.”

His running partner, Mitt Romney, was also a complete sellout, but this has an extra twist in it.

Conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh revealed on his Monday program he had “been sitting on a story for almost a week” to see if members of the media would cover it.

“I wanted to see if this got any play anywhere,” Limbaugh said on his program, according to a transcript posted to his official website.

The story was posted to a conservative news website last week and detailed an interview Mitt Romney recently did for David Axelrod’s podcast. In the interview, the former Massachusetts governor suggested some of today’s divide in politics was because of the rise of online conservative and liberal media outlets.

“It was out there for everybody to see,” Limbaugh said of the story. “It was out there for everybody to react to. And honestly, folks, I didn’t see anything on it ’til yesterday. I’ve been holding this story.”

He added, “Mitt Romney is on record in the David Axelrod podcast as lamenting and complaining about the fact that there is now a conservative media, both on talk radio, in print, in broadcast, and on the World Wide Web. Romney told Axelrod that the demise of legacy media had empowered conservative insurgents like this show and others, which has prevented collaboration in Washington.”

Prevented collaboration in Washington.  Except he has no idea how serious this is, and neither does the GOP establishment.

I have no feeling for the electorate anymore. It is not responding the way it used to. Their priorities are so different that if I tried to analyze it I’d be making it up – John Sununu.

Here’s the deal fellows.  Trump’s popularity will fade when voters realize his sensibilities are anti-conservative.  Carson’s support will fade if and when voters realize he is a pro-immigration freak.  The GOP is in shambles, but the voters will not put forth an establishment candidate, one wholly-owned by the chamber of commerce, who supports immigration – legal or illegal – so that crony corporatism can benefit from low wages that can be paid to Hispanic workers because America has SNAP, welfare and free medical care for the poor, all on the taxpayer dime as corporate welfare.  Middle America won’t fund expensive cars, houses on the lake and the college educations for the children of the members of the boards of directors and corporate executives any more.

Animal Farm is alive and well, and we don’t care if our hard work is helping the poor or the rich.  Boxer won’t work harder.  Boxer will only work for his family – his children, and his children’s children.  As for me, I don’t care if the GOP ever fields another candidate.  It can cease to exist as far as I’m concerned.  There comes a time when it all has to end, when the reaper comes calling, when we’ve sowed the seeds of our own demise and it’s grown into a great, invasive pestilence.

If the GOP puts up another milquetoast candidate who thinks conservative insurgent media is a problem, universal background checks are a good idea, and it’s all going to be okay if we just get the illegals to be legal so we “know who’s here,” I’ll walk my dog, grill out and ignore the election returns.  But I won’t vote any more.  Ever.  I have long harbored doubts that America can stay together as it is.  It’s too diverse, too different, too ideologically divided, and too geographically far-flung.  It seems to me more likely that it will split into three or four countries anyway, so let it be now.

Burn it all down, burn it to the ground.  Bring on dystopia.  Bring the revolution.  The long delay is beginning to bore me.

Florida Sheriffs On Open Carry

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 7 months ago

Count Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams among the overwhelming majority of county sheriffs who said they oppose a measure that would allow concealed carry permit holders to openly carry firearms in Florida.

The Florida Sheriffs Association provided results of an email vote on the issue, as reported by the News Service of Florida, that resulted in 47 sheriffs saying they oppose the proposal, 10 saying they support it, five abstaining from a vote and five couldn’t be reached.

A spokeswoman for Williams confirmed today that he voted with the majority.

A majority of the Florida Sheriffs Association opposes measures (SB 300 and HB 163) that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry guns. In an email vote between Friday and Monday afternoons, 47 of the state’s sheriffs opposed the bills, 10 were in favor, five abstained and five others could not be contacted. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, representing the association, said Thursday that a number of sheriffs are against the measures because of philosophical reasons or simply the concept. Gualtieri added that other opponents would prefer changes, such as a need for additional training of permit holders, a better definition of where people couldn’t openly carry guns and a requirement that openly displayed firearms are secured. “There is absolutely no requirement that it be carried in a holster,” Gualtieri said. “If someone is walking down the street, open-carry, with his .45(-caliber handgun) stuck in their back pocket, somebody could just come up and take it out of their pocket. That’s not safe.”

Bob Owens states:

A person acting in an otherwise normal, rational and law-abiding way should not be stopped merely because his shirt rode up, or was too tight, or she simply felt more comfortable carrying a firearm outside the waistband instead of concealed.

Perhaps if Florida law enforcement hadn’t abused existing laws to punish law-abiding concealed carriers who accidentally exposed their firearms I’d feel more sympathy for them, but they have… and so I don’t.

45 of the 50 states allow some form of open carry.

It is absurd that Florida does not.

Yes, it is absurd, but given Bob’s opposition to Texas open carry, frankly I’m not sure where he stands on the issue.  But abuse of concealed carriers isn’t the reason to support open carry, and I wouldn’t be more supportive of the Sheriff’s opposition to the proposed law under any circumstances.  Bob wants them to develop a more coherent case for their opposition, and I don’t think there is one to be developed.

So the Sheriffs are concerned about people taking guns from unsecure holsters (non-retention holsters or those not in positive control of their firearms, I guess)?  Well, this is a stupid concern and doesn’t represent a coherent case for opposition to the law.

It’s a concern for folks openly carrying, but not LEOs.  Since when does anyone oppose a proposed law that recognizes use and carry of a piece of property because a thief, larcenist or petty crook can steal your property?  That makes no sense.

Do we also oppose ownership of automobiles because criminals can steal them?  Sometimes people are responsible with their cars, and they still get stolen.  Sometimes they drop their keys in a parking lot and thus they get stolen.  We don’t change automobile ownership and use laws because someone drops their keys.  And to be sure, the easiest way to perpetrate a mass killing is with a car, instantaneously and without LEO intervention.

I think Bob should clarify his position on open carry.  I support it without reservation, and there is no coherent argument against its legality.  If Bob wants to clarify what this “coherent” opposition to the legality of open carry is, I’ll assess it.  As for the Florida Sheriffs, I don’t really care what they think.

If Worms Had Machine Guns, Birds Would Be Scared Of Them

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 7 months ago

Perspective from the sports world:

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh has a way with words, and he proved that again Monday.

Speaking to reporters, Harbaugh said he doesn’t deal with “ifs” and “thats” before coming up with a crazy “if” scenario.

“If worms had machine guns, birds would be scared of them.”

Well, sure. Worms probably can’t do a whole lot with a machine gun, but I get your point.

On the surface it appears to be a completely random phrase. Even Harbaugh seemed unsure of its origins saying, “Somewhere along the way I got it in my brain.” So where did this phrase come from? It appears it came from a children’s book title, “If Worms Had Machine Guns.”

So if you read the summary of the book, it has to do with making do with what you have.  There’s a lesson in that for us all, but one has to wonder whether what the feds are thinking is a little darker.  We can’t let them have machine guns because then we would be scared of them, whereas now we can eat them up as we wish.  Hence, GCA and NFA.

But the analogy breaks down in who is the bird and who is the worm.  In our case, the worms do have the machine guns, no?

Austrians Stocking Up On Guns

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 7 months ago

There is this report, but the translation sounds like a five year old did it.  Much better is this report at World Net Daily.

Austrians are arming themselves at record rates in an effort to defend their households against feared attacks from Muslim invaders.

Tens of thousands of Muslim “refugees” have poured into Austria from Hungary and Slovenia in recent months on their way to Germany and Sweden, two wealthy European countries that have laid out the welcome mat for migrants. More than a million will end up in Germany alone by the end of this year, according to estimates from the German government.

Obtaining a working firearm and ammunition in Germany, Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands is practically impossible for the average citizen. Germany, for instance, requires a psychological evaluation, the purchase of liability insurance and verifiable compliance with strict firearms storage and safety rules. And self-defense is not even a valid reason to purchase a gun in these countries.

The laws in Austria, while still strict, are a bit less overbearing.

A Czech TV report confirms that long guns – shotguns and rifles – have been flying off the shelves in Austria, and Austrians who haven’t already purchased a gun may not have a chance to get one for some time. They’re all sold out.

And those arming themselves are primarily women.

“If anyone wants to buy a long gun in Austria right now, too bad for them,” the Czech newscaster says. “All of them are currently sold out.”

He cites the Austrian news outlet Trioler Tageszeitung as the source of his report.

“We cannot complain about lack of demand,” Stephen Mayer, a gun merchant, told Trioler Tageszeitung.

He claims the stock has been sold out for the last three weeks and that demand is being fueled by fears generated by social changes.

“People want to protect themselves,” Mayer said. “Nonetheless, the most common purchasers of arms are primarily Austrian women.”

They are also buying pepper sprays, which Mayer said are in big demand among those who can’t get a gun.

Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, said he recently returned from a gun rights event in Europe, where he sensed a change in attitude toward firearms.

“I just returned from a gun rights meeting in Belgium, and I can attest that all over Europe people now want the means to defend themselves,” Gottlieb told WND. “Self-defense is no longer a dirty word. In countries like Austria, where it is still legal to own a firearm, gun sales are at record levels. I can tell you first-hand that people in Europe now wish they had a Second Amendment.”

When hard times come, the progressive ideas and self loathing of bored, pampered and effete men fall by the wayside, and in its place enters a reality check on the very nature of mankind and what it means to be made in God’s image, under duress and under threat.  Then there is this later in the piece.  The Czech TV station then reported that Islamists are promising: “We will cut the heads off unbelieving dogs even in Europe.”

And you can believe them when they say this.  As for Alan Gottlieb and his preening over the second amendment, what he won’t say is that he is perhaps the number one sellout of said protections.  But in the end, what he doesn’t mention is what’s most important.  Men and women are made in God’s image, and it is this which constitutes the surest guarantee of the right of self defense.  Austrians waiting for the government or a European equivalent of a second amendment is a stupid as Americans trusting in the second amendment.

I trust God.  Man is only blessed to the degree that he sides with the Almighty, and that includes self defense.  You can count on this coming to American shores.

Notes From HPS

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 7 months ago

David Codrea:

Demographic Death’ of NRA Just Another Big Media Myth,” economist, author and Crime Prevention Research Center Founder and President John Lott writes in a “Perspective” piece for Investors Business Daily.

He’s addressing a Washington Post analysis by UCLA School of Law Professor and author Adam Winkler, which claims changing demographics will diminish the National Rifle Associations’ political influence.

We don’t know true gun ownership rates and how they have changed because we can’t rely on people admitting true gun ownership to pollsters, Lott argues.  What we do know is “concealed handgun permits and gun sales have soared.”

We also see support for “gun control” has fallen in spite of currently experienced demographic changes, more people believing they are safer with a gun in the home, and a rise in urban gun ownership, including among blacks, Lott tells us.

[ … ]

The question Lott could have addressed, but did not, is how are all these people he and Winkler are talking about voting?

Good Lord!  What kind of dope is John Lott smoking?  Regular readers know I soured on John Lott from way back, and then his argument with me over open carry in Texas (along with his chicken little “the sky is falling” attitude about what we might lose in Texas if we support open carry), put me over the edge.  He’s as much of a negative influence on the gun rights community and a sellout as Alan Gottlieb.

Bet you didn’t know there was such a thing as a .9 mm gun, did you?  Honestly, you would think respectable outfits would require that their writers know at least a little bit about their subject.  But this is Salon, not a respectable outfit.

This is an awesome thing, but you need to get yourself a serious fighting rifle, ma’am.  An AR-15 will do just fine.

Rush Limbaugh comes along in his thinking, but he’s not quite there yet.  He should have articulated that the reason we don’t like Hispanic laborers paid low wages isn’t because hard workers deserve more, it’s because we don’t want to fund their health care, SNAP and welfare for the benefit of corporations (which is nothing more than corporate welfare).  Furthermore, Rush hints at it, but doesn’t say it and may not see it as clearly as we do.  Our attitude is one of scorched earth.  Burn it all down.  If the GOP is as much of a sellout this cycle as it has been lately, then end the pain and suffering now and burn it all down.

Guns Tags:

David Kopel And Joyce Malcolm Versus Priya Satia On Carry Of Guns In England

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 7 months ago

An interesting exchange occurred between David Kopel, Joyce Malcolm, et. al., and another professor on carry of guns in England.  The first volley appeared at The Washington Post, and while I won’t quote in its entirety, I will quote at length and send you to the article for the conclusion.

Should D.C. residents have the same right to the licensed carry of defensive handguns as the people in most states? That is the issue currently before the D.C. Circuit, in Wrenn v. District of Columbia. The D.C. government lost on this issue in federal district court. D.C.’s brief to the D.C. Circuit argues that “For as long as citizens have owned firearms, English and American law has restricted any right to carry in populated public places.” According to the brief, the pre-existing right to arms, which was protected by the Second Amendment, “did not encompass carrying in densely populated cities.” Further, D.C. says that in the 19th century, carry prohibitions were widespread in the United States. An amicus brief on behalf of Michael Bloomberg’s organization “Everytown” makes similar claims.

In an amicus brief filed this week, several legal historians, including me, dispute the D.C. and Bloomberg claims. Besides me, the amici are Joyce Malcolm (George Mason Law; the leading historian on the history of English gun control and gun rights), Robert Cottrol (co-appointment at George Washington in Law and in History; a specialist in the history of race, including the racial aspects of gun laws),  Clayton Cramer (author of three books and many articles on the history of firearms law in Early America and the 19th century) and Nicholas Johnson (Fordham Law; most recent book is Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms). Our attorneys were Stephen Halbrook and Dan Peterson. Halbrook has a 5-0 record in the U.S. Supreme Court, all on firearms law cases, and is himself a leading scholar on the legal history of the right to arms.

The claim that there was a general prohibition on the carrying of arms is based on the 1328 Statute of Northampton, which D.C. characterizes as a public carrying ban. As our brief explains, the case law is contrary to such a broad interpretation of the 1328 Statute.  For example,  Sir John Knight’s Case (1686) said that the statute applies only to people who go armed to terrify the King’s subjects.” There was a lot of weapons-carrying in England, partly because of public duties, such as keeping “watch and ward,” as well as required target practice (in longbows and muskets) at the target ranges that every village was required to maintain. The peaceable carrying of arms was an ordinary thing to see, not a terrifying one.

In the American colonies, nobody appears to have thought that they could not carry arms because of a 1328 English statute. Rather, the colonies mandated gun carrying in certain situations, such as when traveling or when going to church. To the extent that a few early states (and later, D.C.) enacted statutes expressing common law restrictions on arms carrying, the statutes (like the common law) only applied when a person did so “in terror of the country.” (D.C. 1818 statute; similar language in the states). In the colonial period, and in the first 37 years of independence, there were no restrictions on concealed carry. Several states enacted concealed carry bans thereafter, but of course these did not limit open carry. Moreover, our first “four Presidents openly carried firearms.” The notion that they, or anyone else, thought Americans were prohibited from doing so by a 1328 English statute is implausible.

To this, Priya Satia responds at Slate.

Oddly enough, medieval English laws matter in legal debates about gun control in the United States today. The Supreme Court’s landmark 2008 Second Amendment decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, determined that sufficiently “long-standing” firearms regulations are constitutional. This means that in Second Amendment cases, we have to get our English history right.

Doing so is crucial in a gun case now before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals: Wrenn v. D.C. The case is critical for Washington residents but also more broadly as the pro-gun lobby challenges laws in cities across the country. The District of Columbia argues that English and American law has always permitted restrictions on the right to carry guns in populated public places, tracing this tradition to the 1328 Statute of Northampton, which generally prohibited carrying guns in public. The District argues that the Second Amendment and its English precursors did not allow unfettered public carrying in densely populated cities, and thus the District may restrict it.

A group of legal historians has disputed this interpretation in an amicus brief filed this month, followed by an essay in the Washington Post by David Kopel, adjunct professor at Denver University’s law school. They claim the English Bill of Rights of 1689 superseded the 1328 statute and that, “There was a lot of weapons-carrying in England.” Thus, they conclude, D.C. residents have the right to carry guns in public. But their English history is wrong, as are their conclusions about public carry in the nation’s capital.

The Glorious Revolution of 1688–89 established a Protestant monarchy in England under William and Mary, ending the reign of the Stuarts. The Bill of Rights codified the constitutional limits on the new monarchy, including a provision guaranteeing Protestants (but not Catholics or Jews) the right to bear arms. But political realities overrode this provision. The new monarchy remained vulnerable to “Jacobites” seeking to restore the Stuart dynasty, with French and Spanish backing. This danger meant the British state could not permit widespread gun ownership.

The new monarchy’s disarmament laws built on laws passed after the Restoration of 1660, when the Stuarts returned to power after 11 years of republican rule and were similarly concerned with political stability. A 1670 statute had limited firearms possession to the noble and rich, although even their arsenals were subject to search and seizure at sensitive moments. A series of game laws from 1671 through 1831 dramatically reduced the number of people permitted to hunt, empowering gamekeepers to search for and seize unauthorized firearms. Smuggling laws also made carrying arms grounds for arrest. An armed militia was active through the 1680s, but not the 80 years that followed. Through the 1740s, its arms were locked in royal arsenals and distributed only at assembly. The government’s success at disarming the population made the militia superfluous, since its entire purpose was to prevent an armed rising against the government.

The amicus brief by Kopel et al. paints a picture of widespread gun carrying incongruous with this well-established history. The authors invoke the 1686 acquittal of the gun-toting Sir John Knight as evidence that the 1328 statute was inconsistently applied, but Patrick J. Charles, the award-winning historian for Air Force Special Operations Command, has shown that Joyce Malcolm (one of the brief’s authors) created this finding “out of thin air.”  In fact, Knight was acquitted because he was armed while cloaked with government authority. In an era of rapid urban growth, before state provision of police, the wealthy and noble fulfilled the role of informal police.

And I think you see where this argument is going, i.e., justifying law enforcement use of weapons to the exclusion of everyone else, even the military.  I wrote to Dave Kopel for a rejoinder, and he declined saying he had too many “irons in the fire,” but that “among its errors are conflating anti-hunting laws (which continued after 1689) with laws against defensive gun ownership.”

He also sent me to Joyce Malcolm, who is also busy but reminded me of her piece in Financial Times (I cannot locate the URL except at Free Republic).

Self-defence, William Blackstone, the 18th century English jurist, wrote, is a natural right that no government can deprive people of, since no government can protect the individual in his moment of need. The English Bill of Rights of 1689 affirmed the right of individuals “to have arms for their defence”. It is a dangerous right. But leaving personal protection to the police is also dangerous, and ineffective. Government is perilously close to denying people the ability to protect themselves at all, and the result is a more, not less, dangerous society.

I won’t rehearse the details of the debate.  But one thing stands out to me in this exchange, and it’s Kopel’s statement that “The notion that they, or anyone else, thought Americans were prohibited from doing so by a 1328 English statute is implausible.”  This is an important observation, so let’s unpack it a bit.

From my pedestrian point of view (from my coursework in philosophy, history and apologetics in seminary), I’ve always claimed that the best way to understand what the founders intended was to observe their lives and understand what they did or didn’t think their words meant.  Look to the culture, context and milieu which created these men and their views.  I have cited the public and open carry of weapons to which Kopel refers.

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. One colonial newspaper argued that it was impossible to complain that this act was illegal since they were “British subjects, to whom the privilege of possessing arms is expressly recognized by the Bill of Rights” while another argued that this “is a natural right which the people have reserved to themselves, confirmed by the Bill of Rights, to keep arms for their own defense”. The newspaper cited Blackstone’s commentaries on the laws of England, which had listed the “having and using arms for self preservation and defense” among the “absolute rights of individuals.” The colonists felt they had an absolute right at common law to own firearms.

And further:

Their laws about children and guns were strict: every family was required to own a gun, to carry it in public places (especially when going to church) and to train children in firearms proficiency. On the first Thanksgiving Day, in 1621, the colonists and the Indians joined together for target practice; the colonist Edward Winslow wrote back to England that “amongst other recreations we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us.”

The ownership and carry of weapons was virtually ubiquitous in colonial America.  It was so for the purposes of hunting, defense against animals, and defense against men.  As my own professor C. Gregg Singer has pointed out, news reports, primary source literature and eyewitness accounts are the best information on colonial America.  All information and data points to the expectation of the duty of self defense, rather than a prohibition of such.

Moreover, while I concede that it’s interesting what English law had to say about ownership and carry of weapons, it isn’t determinative.  We follow the constitution, and in particular, I have asserted before that rights to ownership and carry of weapons follows God-given stipulations, the constitution flowing from it’s basis in this moral history.

If Satia’s goal was to persuade me that I could look to England to find basis to reject ownership and carry of weapons, the goal wasn’t met.  The attempt was an abject failure.

The Men Who Won The Battle Of King’s Mountain

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 7 months ago

Twice now I have hiked the battlefield trail on King’s Mountain (as well as miles of other trails in that park) with my children, even though my children were grown when I did it.  It’s always educational to remember what once was and what used to be.  On Monday I hiked this trail with my beautiful daughter, Devon.

I have seen many homeschoolers on the trail with parents, reading literature and learning real American history, when men were free, rather than the fabricated crap and lies they learn in public schools that passes for history, taught by the collectivist lemmings.  I have never seen a public school class there.

One placard in particular has always caught my attention.

This distinguished race of men are more savage than the Indians, and possess every one of their vices, but not one of their virtues.  I have known … these fellows (to) travel 200 miles through the woods never keeping any road or path, guided by the sun by day, and the stars by night, to kill a particular person of the opposite party (George Hanger, British officer formerly attached to Ferguson’s provincial corps).


Would we win the war of independence today?  Do such men exist, who would travel 200 miles through woods, day and night, to engage fellow countrymen in a battle for freedom?

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