Archive for the 'Federal Firearms Laws' Category



H.R. 3799: Hearing Protection Act Of 2015

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 2 days ago

H.R. 3799 is in the top ten most viewed bills the week of December 23, 2016.  Simply put, this bill would do as follows.

… amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) eliminate the $200 transfer tax on firearm silencers, and (2) treat any person who acquires or possesses a firearm silencer as meeting any registration or licensing requirements of the National Firearms Act with respect to such silencer. Any person who pays a tax on a silencer after October 22, 2015 may receive a refund of such tax.

The bill amends the federal criminal code to preempt state or local laws that tax or regulate firearm silencers.

The equivalent bill in the Senate is S 2236.  I assume that once voted on, a committee would be assigned to work out any details if there end up being differences.

By the way, Pat Toomey was asked about his support, and he wrote an entire letter without answering the question.  Don’t wait on that wet noodle to support any bill recognizing your just liberties.  Would someone in Pennsylvania please run for his office?  No, wait.  No offense to the ladies reading this, but if he has male plumbing, I want a man in the office rather than Pat Toomey.  Ladies who support my liberties are just fine.  I don’t want any more eunuchs.

It is encouraging, though, that the interest seems to be there, and people are asking.  Note to Senate and Congress.  We’re watching and taking names.

 

Concerning James Comey, Hillary And Guns

BY Herschel Smith
6 months, 2 weeks ago

David Codrea:

Whereas Hillary can skate on perceived reckless conduct when Comey himself acknowledges it is “a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way,” gun owners also deemed guilty of recklessness now face a “terrifying new precedent,” per a Conservative Review analysis of the Supreme Court’s 6 -2 decision in the Voisine case.

“[T]he court ruled that crimes of recklessness rise to the same level as ‘misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence’ which preclude individuals convicted of such a crime from firearm ownership by federal law,” the article explains.

“Congress was not worried about a husband dropping a plate on his wife’s foot or a parent injuring her child by texting while driving,” Justice Clarence Thomas protested in his dissent.

Yea, we’ve discussed that case before.  And I agree with David that the defendants were not the outstanding citizens you want for such cases, but of course that’s irrelevant.  It often takes defendants that who are otherwise less than outstanding citizens to prove the larger point being made, i.e., rights applies to all men, not just the pretty people.

But it gets even worse than that.  As we’ve seen, in the words of Justice Elena Kagan, “… the word “use” does not demand that the person applying force have the purpose or practical certainty that it will cause harm, as compared with the understanding that it is substantially likely to do so. Or, otherwise said, that word is indifferent as to whether the actor has the mental state of intention, knowledge, or recklessness with respect to the harmful consequences of his volitional conduct.”

Notice the words intention, substantial likelihood, and recklessness.  The point is that this list of potential infractions that would prohibit firearms ownership can be construed to be virtually anything concocted by the mind of the executive.  Stay away from law enforcement.  Don’t ever involve them in anything.  Give them wide berth.

As for Hillary, did you really think the administration would hold her accountable?  I didn’t and said so to those around me.  Laws apply to little people.  If you’re reading this, you are a little person.  Act and plan accordingly.

Because The Director Of The FBI Is An Idiot

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

Nothing … and I repeat … nothing … can placate or mollify my loathing of Lindsey Graham of S.C., whom I loath about as much as I do State Senator Larry Martin of S.C.  But this exchange between the loathsome Lindsey Graham and the director of the FBI is priceless.

Texas Man Charged With Shooting Gun At Charging Bear

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 3 months ago

The Montana Standard:

WEST GLACIER, Mont. (AP) — A 57-year-old Texas man faces a federal misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm in a national park after he reported shooting a charging bear with his .357 revolver.

Brian R. Muphy’s attorney is scheduled to plead not guilty on Murphy’s behalf during a court hearing in West Glacier on Friday. Murphy is scheduled to appear via video.

Charging documents say Murphy was hiking on the Mount Brown Lookout Trail on July 26 when a grizzly bear charged him. He told rangers he discharged his bear spray and fired a shot when the bear continued toward him. The wounded bear fled and could not be located.

It is legal to carry a gun in Glacier National Park but it is illegal to discharge it. A conviction carries a $500 fine.

By my count this is at least the second life that has been saved from a bear attack after legalization of firearms in National Parks, the first instance being mid-2010 in Denali.

Of course, Mr. Murphy is now charged with a crime.  There are two problems that could be contributing, the first being that laws are now passed in broad sweeping language that apparently ignores guilty intent, or in other words, Congress is Eroding the Mens Rea Requirement in Federal Criminal Law.

The second problem that could be contributing is that the enforcement in question may be of a regulation rather than a law, which is made via federal register by armies of lawyers sitting inside the beltway who have been (unfortunately) empowered by Congress to do just that.

But the third problem is there  is obviously a prosecutor who wants to take this case to court, otherwise he wouldn’t have a scheduled court appearance and need a lawyer.

The law becomes absolute in contemporary America, regardless of the fact that a man’s life was saved because he discharged a firearm.  But it’s absurd that Congress would have passed a law allowing firearms in National Parks early in 2010, but then refused to allow people to use that firearm to defend their lives.  Since it is absurd, it clearly wasn’t the intent of Congress (or should not have been).  Therefore, the prosecutor is likely to blame for the fact that Mr. Murphy has to defend himself in court for saving his own life.

Man Kills Bear And Faces Charges

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 9 months ago

From Reason.com (h/t Say Uncle):

Richard Ahlstrand, of Auburn, Massachusetts, faces criminal charges after encountering a bear in his back yard and shooting the damned thing to avoid being mauled or eaten. Specifically, as noted at Reason 24/7, he’s charged with “illegally killing a bear, illegally baiting a bear, illegal possession of a firearm and failure to secure a firearm.” All of these charges, once translated from Massachusetts to American, seem to stack up to outrage that Ahlstrand didn’t make his yard completely inhospitable to animals that are rarely seen in the area, and then investigated a suspicious noise with a weapon in hand rather than cower under the bed. Worst of all, he actually defended himself when he encountered danger.

According to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Ahlstrand had a 50-gallon drum of birdseed in his backyard, and this appears to be the basis of the “baiting”charge against him. Leaving the birdseed outside might be considered a foolish idea in an area where bears are known to congregate, but the same article quotes the police chief claiming that “bear are not common in Auburn” with the last such sighting about a year ago. So Ahlstrand shouldn’t have had birdseed because … ?

When confronted by the bear, Ahlstrand had a shotgun with him — in his own backyard, remember — because he’d heard a noise and thought he’d seen a bear the day before.

From CBS Boston:

Richard Ahlstrand told WBZ-TV he was stocking his bird feeder Friday night when a bear about seven feet tall and 300-to-400 pounds started chasing him.

That’s when he turned his shotgun on the bear.

“I didn’t have time to aim through the sights, but I aimed in the direction of the head on this thing and I pulled the trigger before it got to me.  It just dropped,” he said.

Ahlstrand said he was carrying the shotgun Friday night because he thought he saw the bear in his yard Thursday.

The police version from the Telegram:

Chief Sluckis said the bear is believed to have been attracted to a 50-gallon drum of birdseed Mr. Ahlstrand had in his backyard. He said Mr. Ahlstrand told police he heard a noise outside and felt in fear of his life.

“He went back inside, retrieved a shotgun and decided to shoot the bear,” Chief Sluckis said. “Obviously we believe if Mr. Ahlstrand was truly in fear for his life he would have stayed secured in his home and would have called the police.”

I’ve lived in Boston and Worcester both, sad to say, and so I’m fairly certain that official Massachusetts policy is that people should dial 911 and then curl into a fetal position whenever they hear a curious noise. But living in the wide open spaces of Arizona, as I do, I’m called upon to investigate suspicious noises fairly frequently.

When backpacking I am a great proponent of taking smells away from camp as much as possible.  We have had all manner of wildlife in camp even in spite of our best efforts.  Having a large container of food in the yard may not be the wisest thing to do.

But this is a man, made in God’s image, contrasted with an animal, which is not.  Laws that favor animals over man are immoral, and there is no question what a judge or jury should do in this case.  If I carry a gun in order to stop an assault by another human, I’ll surely stop an assault by an animal.

Prior:

Backpacker Shoots Grizzly In Denali, First Life Saved Since Firearms Legal

State Nullification Of Federal Gun Laws

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 9 months ago

Montana needs a new Governor:

Score one for modernity. Earlier this week, Montana’s legislature passed a nullification bill—a piece of legislation which would have forbidden Big Sky law enforcement from enforcing any new assault weapons ban or ban on high capacity magazines. Steve Bullock, the state’s Democratic governor, announced today that he was vetoing the bill, in part on the grounds that it is “unnecessary political theater.” (That would be because it aimed to nullify laws that don’t even exist yet.)

Nullification—the notion that states can negate federal laws they deem to be unconstitutional—is a doctrine dating to the 19th century that has repeatedly found itself on the wrong side of history, the courts, and the Constitution. And yet it continues to retain mystifying currency on the right, especially among state lawmakers.

The author’s prose is irrelevant and it doesn’t go down as recommended reading or a useful expenditure of your time.  But Milo Townsend gives us a nice rebuttal in the comments.

Firstly, the notion of states nullifying unconstitutional federal Acts dates to the 18th, not the 19th century – none other than both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison urged nullification of President Adams’ Alien & Sedition Acts in 1798 in the first formal political expositions on nullification in U.S. history, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions.

Second, the doctrine of nullification is not only explicitly sanctioned by the Tenth amendment of the United States Constitution, but is integrally built in to the essential structure of the entire federal charter.

Milo then gives us a link to his article on understanding nullification.  It’s all good and studied prose and does go down as recommended reading and a useful expenditure of your time.  The money quote follows.

The fact is, that in order to see why “We, the People of the several States,” are perfectly in line with the Constitution when we undertake to judge of the constitutionality of the actions and decisions of any branch of the federal government, we need only to open our eyes first to the rationale that gave us our government in the first place. Once we imbibe a sobering dose of that tonic prescribed by our founding physicians, “a frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of liberty,” it will be evident – dare we say even “self-evident?” – that if our government is truly grounded in republican principles, and is truly a government “of the people, by the people,” then there can be no alternative except to recognize our own responsibility in making such judgments. It is our sovereignty, as free individuals, which gives legitimacy to any power of our system of government, at any level, including the power to undertake constitutional arbitration and interpretation; such powers, then, are therefore ours in primacy, and are only lent to our representatives conditionally. They can, thus, be withdrawn, resumed, or re-delegated at any time by us, the sovereign authorities within this federal republic. In short, the question of whether we, the people, may undertake to judge of the limits and powers of our own federal government is obviously and unequivocally, “Yes!”

And thus does Milo give us the philosophical and historical underpinnings of our republic and the right to hold the federal government accountable my more means than a simple vote.  I have attempted to supply the theological underpinnings in previous articles.

So I have recommended numerous times that (a) the states arrest federal agents who enforce federal gun laws, (b) the states confiscate and destroy form 4473s in every gun shop in their respective states and order the owner to inform them if any ATF agent visits the store or attempts to arrests the owner, (c) the states place arrested federal agents in with the general prison population and prosecute them to the fullest extent of state law, (d) the states stop any additional federal agents from entering the state and forbid any federal agents from in any way assisting those arrested federal agents, and (e) the states enforce the laws of the states – including nullification – with the power of the National Guard or unorganized militia if necessary against the federal government.

If readers have seen this as boisterous chest-thumping, you have misunderstood it completely.  My recommendations are serious.  Furthermore, there is justification for such actions, theologically, philosophically and historically.

Scalia Says Gun Control Is Heading To Supreme Court

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 11 months ago

Examiner:

Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, decrying America’s demonization of guns, is predicting that the parade of new gun control laws, cheered on by President Obama, will hit the Supreme Court soon, possibly settling for ever the types of weapons that can be owned.

Scalia, whose legacy decision in the 2008 case of District of Columbia vs. Heller ended the ban on handguns in Washington, D.C., suggested that the Constitution allows limits on what Americans can own, but the only example he offered was a shoulder-launched rocket that would bring down jets.

And the wily judge suggested to an audience of Smithsonian Associates at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium Tuesday night that he is not just preparing for a new gun control challenge, but that he’s softening up one of his liberal colleague on guns.

The long-time duck hunter revealed that he’s taken Obama appointee Elena Kagan hunting several times, the last being for big game in Wyoming where she shot a whitetail doe. “She dropped that doe with one shot,” he said during an event that featured questions from NPR’s court reporter Nina Totenberg.

[ … ]

Scalia explained why he wrote Heller, but wouldn’t discuss current gun control limits in Congress and the states. “There are doubtless cases on the way up,” he said, adding that limits on what weapons can be owned will likely be part of any new decision. “There are doubtless limits, but what they are we will see.”

Commentary

Good.  Let’s rock.  Let’s get on with the preservation or diminution of our rights and freedoms.  Time is wasting.  It’s time to revisit the decisions in Heller and McDonald, not because, as Justice Ginsburg thinks, there might be a reversal of Heller on the horizon with a “future, wiser court,” but because Heller didn’t go far enough.  The Supreme Court recognized our right to ownership of firearms, but didn’t specifically broach the issue of “bearing” those arms, i.e., carrying them for personal defense.

This relationship that appears to be developing between Scalia and Kagan is, I’m sure, very sweet and and all of that, but I wouldn’t count on her vote.  Furthermore, the whole issue of duck hunting concerns me.  The Second Amendment, as Scalia knows, isn’t about duck hunting, or deer hunting, or any other “sporting purpose.”  The sporting purposes test imposed by the last round of onerous firearms laws, and enforced by the ATF, is entirely unconstitutional.  I have said before that I think the test is misapplied, and that if it is a firearm, it has a sporting purpose.  But proliferation of this test through the judiciary (from some future decision) is cowardly because it doesn’t formally recognize the truth, and that is that the second amendment exists in order to ameliorate tyranny.

But for the courts, just remember that we firearms owners aren’t likely to have any more respect for confiscatory policies (or anything that can enable confiscation such as universal background checks), onerous policies (such as counting the number of cartridges I can put in my magazine), or unconstitutional tests (like sporting purposes) coming from the courts than we would if it came from the Congress or the President.  And just for the record, the Supreme Court became a laughingstock over the decision on Obamacare.  You wouldn’t want to put the final nail in the coffin holding your honor or respectability, would you?

Be very careful.  Think wisely.  Don’t start things you cannot stop.

UPDATE: Thank you for the visit on this article.  It is timely and important.

Obama Administration’s New Push To Regulate Shooters

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 2 months ago

If Lanny Breuer isn’t arguing against gun possession outside the home, Obama’s Bureau of Land Management (Department of the Interior) is trying to promulgate new regulations on shooters.

Gun owners who have historically been able to use public lands for target practice would be barred from potentially millions of acres under new rules drafted by the Interior Department, the first major move by the Obama administration to impose limits on firearms.

Officials say the administration is concerned about the potential clash between gun owners and encroaching urban populations who like to use same land for hiking and dog walking.

“It’s not so much a safety issue. It’s a social conflict issue,” said Frank Jenks, a natural resource specialist with Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, which oversees 245 million acres. He adds that urbanites “freak out” when they hear shooting on public lands.

If the draft policy is finally approved, some public access to Bureau lands to hunters would also be limited, potentially reducing areas deer, elk, and bear hunters can use in the West.

So exactly how would such regulations be implemented?

This is the key paragraph foes say could lead to shooters being kicked off public lands:

“When the authorized officer determines that a site or area on BLM-managed lands used on a regular basis for recreational shooting is creating public disturbance, or is creating risk to other persons on public lands; is contributing to the defacement, removal or destruction of natural features, native plants, cultural resources, historic structures or government and/or private property; is facilitating or creating a condition of littering, refuse accumulation and abandoned personal property is violating existing use restrictions, closure and restriction orders, or supplementary rules notices, and reasonable attempts to reduce or eliminate the violations by the BLM have been unsuccessful, the authorized officer will close the affected area to recreational shooting.”

The new regulation may as well say that for any reason under the sun when an employee of the BLM wants to close down lands to shooting, he may do so at his discretion.  This has a potentially huge affect on shooters, and the most remarkable thing is its broad sweep (note that implementation of the regulation doesn’t require demonstrated safety issues), combined with the bypassing of the process for making law – you know, the Congress.  Congress has been left out because, you know, the Obama administration knows better than to have to wait on something silly like the law-making process.

Taxpayer Dollars Used To Purchase Weapons for Mexican Cartels

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 3 months ago

From David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh writing at Examiner and Sipsey Street Irregulars we learn how Operation Gunwalker (or Fast and Furious) was no botched sting operation.

In a letter dated June 1, 2010, then Phoenix ATF Group VII supervisor David Voth instructed a Federal Firearms Licensee in Arizona as follows:

Dear Sir,

Per Section 925(a)(1) of the Gun Control Act (GCA) exempts law enforcement agencies from the transportation, shipment, receipt, or importation controls of the GCA when firearms are to be used for the official business of the agency.

Please accept this letter in lieu of completing an ATF Form 4473 for the purchase of four (4) CAI, Model Draco, 7.62×39 mm pistols, by Special Agent John Dodson. These aforementioned pistols will be used by Special Agent Dodson in furtherance of the performance of his official duties. In addition, Special Agent Dodson has not been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. If you have any questions, you may contact me at telephone number 602-605-6501.

Sincerely,

(Signature)
David Voth
ATF Group Supervisor
Phoenix Group VII

In the lower left-hand margin of the one-page letter is the hand-written notation:

“Picked guns
up 6/10/10
Paid Cash”

“Paid Cash” is underlined.

The existence of this letter provided to these reporters by a previously reliable source familiar with the Fast and Furious investigation, coupled with interviews of other sources across the country which put it into context, provides startling proof that the Federal government did not merely “lose track” of weapons purchased by “straw buyers” under surveillance by the ATF and destined for the Mexican drug cartels. In an undercover operation ordered by Fast and Furious supervisor David Voth, the U.S. government purchased firearms with taxpayer money from licensed firearms dealers, instructed them to conduct the sales “off the books,” and used an ATF agent, John Dodson, to deliver them directly to people that Dodson believed were conducting them across the border.

They go further to discuss how Dodson was almost surely set up to keep him from becoming a whistle-blower for the illegal operation.  This isn’t news.  But what is certainly news is how the news treated this revelation.  Bob Owens followed up this story with analysis of his own, and then remarks concerning a Fox News article on the same subject in one of the comments:

Fox News pretty much lifted their article part and parcel from Codrea and Vanderboegh, and should be considered plagiarists. No link to either of their sites, and Sispsey Street was only mentioned in passing; the Examiner not at all.

David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh have been out front on this scandal ever since it broke.  In fact, they helped to break it.  Their contacts beat any other in the main stream media.  Yet as Owens notes, there isn’t even a single link to Sipsey Street Irregulars or Examiner.  The failure properly to source simply propagates, with The Daily Mail sourcing Fox News.

For a period of time Matt Drudge had a link to the Fox News article as his headline.  This, my friends, is stolen traffic.  Fox News stole the content investigated and written by Codrea and Vanderboegh and posted it as their own.

This is shameful in professional journalism.  Fox News owes David and Mike an apology and explanation.

One final note concerns the explanation by Voth of how the Gun Control Act allowed exemption from its stipulations for LEOs.  One commenter remarks at Owens’ post:

Using agency funds (taxpayers’ money) to buy the weapons to be transferred to the cartels means that the operation has, prima facie, violated U.S. Code Title 18, Part 1, chap. 96, section 1960-61, defining the use of federal funds to illegally obtain and/or transfer controlled substances and/or items to unauthorized third parties.

To do this within the law (as in a drug transaction) requires a bench warrant from a state or federal court. The buying or selling has to be done in a controlled manner, the item(s) must never be out of law enforcement control (meaning they at least must be tracked), and they cannot cross state lines or national boundaries without proper notification of authorities on the “receiving end”.

“Fast & Furious” and “Gunwalker” have, on the face of it, violated all of the above provisions.

The argument that the exemptions were intended to allow the trafficking of weapons across national borders is ridiculous in the superlative.  Of course, this won’t fly anywhere, not in court or even with the court of public opinion.  Also note how Voth failed to mention the Arms Export Control Act.

Gunrunner Comment of the Day

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 6 months ago

Comment of the day:

The Obama administration, charged with and sworn under oath to the task of enforcing the laws of this country, used a federal agency for the purpose of allowing the laws to be violated, so as to effect changes in the laws they don’t like.

And if they don’t get the law changed, they’ll just unilaterally change it themselves through agency regulation?

[ … ]

This is the gravest dereliction of sworn duty I have witnessed in my lifetime. Almost directly, it led to the death of an agent under their control.

And it deserves at least 20 years with no parole in Leavenworth prison.

And it has expanded to the Tampa ATF Office, which is currently engaged in a coverup.


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