Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 41 Comments

"There are no socialists in the bush" - HPS All of my physical training only barely prepared me for the difficulty of the Weminuche Wilderness (pronounced with the "e" silent).  It's National Forest land, not National Park.  The Department of Agriculture no longer prints maps of the area, so we relied on NatGeo for the map, and it's good, but not perfect. We have a lot of ground to cover, including traveling with firearms, the modification I made to one of my guns for the trip, the actors…… [read more]

North Carolina Mom Carries Rifle To Bus Stop

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 1 week ago

News from NC.

Obviously we’re going to suggest no one take a firearm to a bus stop to pick up a child, but as far as criminal behavior, we can’t find a criminal violation,” said Chris Honeycutt with the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office.

Ignoring the question whether it was wise to carry a rifle to a bus stop, the Sheriff’s office made the right call here.  As we’ve seen before, North Carolina is an open carry state, and that includes any firearm.

I hope that North Carolina LEOs are finally learning this lesson.  It’s damn well taken long enough.

Take A Wild Guess Who Wants The North Carolina Concealed Handgun Law Changed To Add A “Moral Character” Clause And “Discretion” By The CLEO?

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 3 weeks ago


To GRNC supporters from GRNC president Paul Valone:

The good news is that, at least for now, you have won a great victory. The Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) for S90 has been pulled from the Judiciary Committee calendar and will not be considered tomorrow. If you had planned to attend the meeting, please do not go… at least for now.

It has come to our attention that Senator Dan Britt has been responding to the many respondents to GRNC’s alert by telling them we are incorrect about the bill. At least initially, Sen. Britt apparently didn’t understand his own bill… perhaps because it was the NC Sheriff’s Association that fed him a bill of goods. Now that he apparently understands the problem, he has professed the best of intentions. We will take him at his word.

Why Sen. Britt was wrong about the S90 PCS
In its current form, the S90 PCS would indeed make concealed handgun permits discretionary by adding essentially the same subjective “good moral character” clause which sheriffs have been using to arbitrarily deny pistol purchase permits for many decades. It would do so under a new GS 14-415(a1)(2) by requiring applicants for concealed handgun permits (which it now calls “Class A” permits) to also qualify for pistol purchase permits (renamed “Class B” permits).

The language is, at best, vague. We can argue forever whether its vagueness limits or actually expands sheriffs’ arbitrary “discretion,” the bottom line is this: 1919 Jim Crow language originally intended to deny guns to blacks has no place in modern statutes, and especially not in a hugely successful “shall-issue” concealed handgun statute which GRNC got passed back in 1995, and which has produced a huge plummet in NC violent crime ever since.

Why a ‘fix’ won’t work
We appreciate that Sen. Britt has offered to “fix” the language to remove the “moral character” clause from the concealed handgun language. While a nice gesture, doing so fails to address the problem that the S90 PCS is flawed not only in execution, but in concept.

The portion of the PCS dealing with pistol purchase permits (a/k/a “Class B” permits) purports to be an improvement because it “authorizes” (yes, “authorizes”) applicants to purchase as many handguns as they want over 5 years for a higher $25 fee. Ignoring for a moment, that “authorizing” handgun purchases turns a right into a privilege, and that people of lesser means, who can afford only one defensive handgun now experience a 500% “tax increase” (from $5 to $25) to buy a single handgun, please consider the following.

Six years ago, thanks to the efforts of GRNC and then-Sen. Buck Newton, as part of restaurant carry bill H937, the NC Senate voted to repeal our Jim Crow pistol purchase law in favor of point-of-sale checks as done in nearly all other states. Unfortunately, when the bill was sent to the House, then-Speaker Thom Tillis insisted the measure be removed.

By contrast, what the NC Senate is doing now is to cement our Jim Crow purchase permit law permanently in place, permanently enshrining it in such a way to make full repeal all but impossible. It is often said that “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” In this case, the mediocre is the enemy of the morally just.

Sheriffs association: All about money and power
At issue is the role of the NC Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA) in this debacle. By all indications, they wanted the “moral character” clause added to concealed handgun permits and were, perhaps, disingenuous in their negotiations with Senate bill sponsors.

As GRNC VP Don Pomeroy notes, in at least its original form, the PCS lines the pockets of NC sheriffs while hanging the NC Department of Public Safety out to dry.  Language in this bill would strip 100% of the permit fees currently shared with NCDPS and create a cash windfall by giving that money to sheriffs increasing their current share of the permit fees by over 100%.

Moreover, the PCS would have given sheriffs power over to whom they issued either pistol purchase permits or concealed handgun permits… if they issued such permits at all.

The second you turn your head, the communists are at it again.  They never sleep, do they?  There isn’t a single God-given right you have they wouldn’t take to themselves if they could, there isn’t a single dollar you or anyone else has that they wouldn’t take if they could, and there isn’t a single bureaucratic machine they don’t like.

That’s right.  Your single guess was good enough, and you got it right.  North Carolina CLEOs and the Sheriff’s association.

Or in other words, the communists.

Thanks to Paul Valone and GRNC for their diligent work on this and similar issues.  We’d be in a pickle without them.

North Carolina House Bill 86

BY Herschel Smith
9 months ago

I appreciate the folks on reddit/firearms keeping me up to date on the latest attempts at communist gun control in the North Carolina House of Representatives.  H.B. 86 is summarized as follows.


I see that the totalitarians are shooting for the moon.  This has every fevered wet dream that has ever crossed the mind of the statists except outright ban of so-called “assault weapons,” which I’m certain would be in there without at least a hint that this bill might fail.

Age limits, waiting periods, fees to make it more expensive to own a firearm, charges for people who had access to a firearm when someone invaded their home and used it in self defense (i.e., “safe storage”), permitting for long guns as well as pistols, etc.

So instead of going in the right direction, which would be to do away with the pistol permitting scheme, which we all know is merely a way to raise revenue for the county sheriffs, they are going in the wrong direction, which is to expand this bastard program to long guns.

Well, allow me to take a very little time and help you to understand how most of us think about the issue of weapons.  We believe that ownership of the means of self defense and the amelioration of tyranny is a God-given right, not subject to amendment by men.  The constitution, which forbids what you are trying to do, is a covenant, an agreement between men concerning how we will live.  When either side breaks the covenant, it is forever broken, releasing the offended party from its obligations, and consequences necessarily follow from that.

All gun control, since God expects, even requires, that men defend home and hearth by whatever means is necessary, is wicked.

The Bible does contain a few direct references to weapons control. There were many times throughout Israel’s history that it rebelled against God (in fact, it happened all the time). To mock His people back into submission to His Law, the Lord would often use wicked neighbors to punish Israel’s rebellion. Most notable were the Philistines and the Babylonians. 1 Samuel 13:19-22 relates the story: “Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plowshares, mattocks, axes, and sickles sharpened…So on the day of battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in this hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.” Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon also removed all of the craftsmen from Israel during the Babylonian captivity (2 Kings 24:14). Both of these administrations were considered exceedingly wicked including their acts of weapons control.

The Almighty is the Lord of men, not tin pot dictators, and it is He who demands fealty.  Whether this bill gets a hearing, what ultimately happens means absolutely nothing concerning our rights.  It can only damn you in eternity as you attempt to supplant the edicts of a Holy God.  Our rights stand firm, do not change, and will not bend, since they are a function of the very character of the Almighty.

But just in case any of this isn’t clear enough to you, let me share what’s currently happening with and to the communists in Maryland, who are also attempting gun control.

Here I am with Wicomico County Sheriff Michael Lewis, who says he “will not comply” with onerous gun laws like long gun licensing and confiscation.

The brave gun owners of Maryland are saying, “We will not comply.”  And rest assured, whether North Carolina gun owners show up in droves or not to any such hearings in the North Carolina Senate or House, neither will we.

At some point, totalitarians must hear the word ‘no’.  Your move.

North Carolina Republican Inaction On Gun Bills

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 5 months ago

Via WoG, this:

‘Hunting & Fishing’ ballot initiative: a thin veil covering the GOP’s apathy toward gun owners…

Other organizations may be happy with a hunting and fishing ballot initiative posing as pro-gun legislation, but we at GRNC are not fooled by a wispy, token gesture in the absence of real pro-gun legislative action. Second Amendment voters like you played a pivotal role in Republicans gaining and maintaining a supermajority in the NC legislature, but how has Republican leadership repaid you for this? Simple:

1. GOP Senate leaders, like Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, have spent a full two years ignoring gun owners, refusing to give GRNC’s ‘Permitless Concealed Carry’ bill (HB 746) even a hearing, let alone bring it to the floor for a vote.

2. Republicans in the NC House, like Speaker Tim Moore, have refused to give a hearing to the time-critical School Self-defense Act (HB 1039), which would help protect our vulnerable school children.

If that’s not a sharp enough stick in the eye, NC’s GOP Executive Director, Dallas Woodhouse, recently proclaimed on Facebook that the GOP will not move pro-gun bills during this session. And yes, you read that right, Dallas Woodhouse is not the Democrat’s Executive Director, he is the ostensibly “pro-gun” Republican’s.

4. Now, our state’s Republican politicians have further “repaid” you by putting forth a virtually meaningless ballot initiative, meant only to conjure thoughts of gun rights and to get conservative voters to the polls. Unfortunately, the ballot initiative does little or nothing to advance gun rights in our state. It definitely won’t protect school children, nor will it help you protect your family.

Good.  No one gets my vote by allowing me to pick up crumbs that fall from the master’s table.  I still want the idiotic, communistic system of CLEO approval for handgun purchases to be thrown out of the state.  I have a CHP for the simple and only reason that I cannot purchase handguns in NC without it.

Because NC republicans are communists.  Oh, and by the way, I don’t give a shit about your stupid hunting and fishing ballot initiatives.

AR-15s Still Popular In North Carolina

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 7 months ago

Citizen Times:

“I don’t think we’ll take up gun legislation of any type,” said state Rep. Chuck McGrady, a Henderson County Republican first elected to the General Assembly in 2010, the same year Republicans established control of the body.

“To get to a different place on guns, you’d have to have a different mix of legislators — it’s a pretty conservative state,” McGrady said. “I do anticipate we’ll be putting some monies into the school safety issue.”

That would revolve around “hardening” schools — adding security, police officers and other physical measures that would make schools more difficult for a shooter to attack — not measures designed to make it harder to buy guns.

State Rep. Brian Turner, a Democrat who represents part of Buncombe County, said it’s unrealistic to expect the Republican-dominated legislature to impose rules making it harder to get guns when the body opens the 2018 session May 16.

“If we do see something, I would imagine it would probably be along the lines of the hardening of schools and adding additional resource officers,” Turner said. “I think the focus would be less around firearms specifically and more about deterrence and prevention.”

A gun owner and hunter himself, Turner is far from anti-gun. But restrictions on “Title 2 weapons,” such as short-barreled shotguns or suppressors, might make sense, he said.

While North Carolina elected a Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, in 2016, it also went overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump, a Republican. On gun issues, the Tar Heel State is reliably conservative, according to Chris Cooper, a political scientist at Western Carolina University.

Cooper acknowledged Florida’s legislature raised the age to buy an AR-15 to 21 after the school shooting, as the shooter was 19, but he said “it’s unlikely we’ll see a lot of movement” in North Carolina.

“I think there was a policy window that opened briefly, but it appears to be closing,” Cooper said. “Florida had a little bit of movement, and people are talking about the issue, but I don’t think there’s a lot of persuasion going on. Even though people are talking about it more, I think both sides are drawing people more firmly into their own camps.”

Gun control legislation is “a particularly tough sell in North Carolina,” which has a strong tradition of hunting and gun ownership.

“We’ve looked to be to the left of some of the country on some issues, but gun rights is not one of those issues,” Cooper said.

Restrictions on suppressors might make sense to State Rep. Brian Turner because he is an idiot.  If he is a hunter like he says he is, he would understand the value of hearing and how much damage can be done to it.  So I think he is lying.  I don’t think he’s a hunter at all.

Moreover, hunting has nothing whatsoever to do with gun rights or the second amendment or the constitution of North Carolina.  So I think he just threw in hunting to bolster his creds thinking that we’d buy it.  I don’t.  I don’t buy any of his claptrap.  I wish people would stop mentioning hunting in the context of gun rights.  It’s stupid and it makes the person saying it look like an imbecile.

But what I do buy is that the NC legislature will do nothing to enact further restrictions on firearms freedoms without a huge fight.  For the sake of everyone, this isn’t a bridge Turner or anyone else wants to cross.  The only gun legislation I want to see is constitutional carry and repeal of the CLEO permitting process.

Good Primer On North Carolina Gun Laws

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 8 months ago

Seldom does any newspaper in North Carolina do anything but a hatchet job on gun laws, but the News and Observer has actually done a service outlining where the gun owner stands in North Carolina, good and bad.

When it comes to domestic violence, North Carolina has stronger gun control rules in some circumstances, and weaker rules in other circumstances.

North Carolina bans people with even a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction from getting a concealed carry permit, and in some cases the courts can also ban domestic abusers from buying guns in the future.

Furthermore, North Carolina is one of only seven states that require judges to force abusers to surrender their guns – if there are allegations of violence or violent threats. Most states just give the judge that option. However, some states also give judges the option to order abusers to surrender guns even in cases that don’t involve imminent threats of violence, but North Carolina specifically forbids that.

Stop there and let’s discuss for a moment.  Notice that in North Carolina a person must surrender his guns if there are only “allegations of violence.”  Yes, I know someone who has had this happen to them, where a bitter separation or divorce was the catalyst for a false charge, and the man had to surrender his guns.  Unproven in court, mind you, no evidentiary basis, mind you, just allegations.

An accused abuser doesn’t even have to be convicted in criminal court of domestic violence to be ordered to surrender his guns; he just has to be subject to a restraining order. When there are particularly troubling allegations, especially involving the abuse of children or threats of immediate violence, courts can grant temporary restraining orders without the accused abuser getting the option to defend himself first.

Gregory Wallace, a constitutional law professor at Campbell University Law School in Raleigh, said concerns have been raised that people can lose their guns – even just temporarily – without the chance to tell their side of the story in court.

“Even though there eventually is a judicial hearing on the matter, these orders can unjustifiably deprive people of their constitutional rights, whether out of malice or sincere but mistaken concern,” Wallace said.

[ … ]

Can the government take your guns?

No. Or, at least, not unless they’re being seized as evidence for trial.

Even when it becomes illegal for people to own a gun – like after they have been convicted of a felony or involuntarily committed to a mental hospital – police don’t come in and take away their guns.

That’s partially because government officials typically have no idea who owns guns, or how many. Durham had been the only county in North Carolina that tracked who owned handguns – but that registry was shut down in 2014 by the North Carolina General Assembly.

Even in domestic violence cases in which the abuser is required to surrender his guns, police can’t go and take the guns. Instead, the abuser has to surrender the guns on his own and promise that he didn’t keep any.

I’m not sure about this part and would have to do more research, but it seems a stretch and I think I recall times when cops have been sent to confiscate weapons in North Carolina.

What guns are illegal?

For the most part, American citizens and legal permanent residents who are over 21 can buy any gun they want. People over 18 can buy rifles and shotguns, but not handguns.

And people who aren’t yet old enough to buy their own guns can still use other people’s guns in certain circumstances, like if they have their parents’ permission.

It’s a common misconception that highly dangerous weapons like machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and other “weapons of mass destruction” are illegal for people outside the military to own. But it’s actually completely legal to buy those weapons as long as you have a National Firearms Act permit, which requires extra fees and background checks.

And this area is one where North Carolina has looser gun control rules than most other states.

Before 2015, local law enforcement officials were allowed to use their discretion in denying someone one of those permits – for example, if the applicant had never been convicted of a crime but the county sheriff knew he was a gang member, or if the sheriff simply didn’t want any locals owning machine guns.

But that changed after former Gov. Pat McCrory signed a wide-ranging gun bill into law that included several changes, including one requiring sheriffs to approve those NFA permit applications as long as the person meets all the guidelines.

I recall when McCrory did this.  It was a sad day when little boy Roy Cooper was elected Governor of NC.  If Pat has just fought the toll lane on I-77, this wouldn’t have happened.

It is one of the few states to require background checks for private sales of handguns, although private sales of rifles and shotguns can still happen without background checks. Private sales include everything except for buying a gun from a licensed dealer – like making a purchase from someone at a gun show at the fairgrounds, or from a friend or family member.

This is poorly stated and incorrect as it reads.  It is impossible for a citizen to perform a background check on his potential buyer according to the stipulations of the NCIS because he has no access to it.  Rather, state law requires that the seller verify that the buyer have a concealed handgun permit.  Whether this happens or not is another issue.

There are clear legal distinctions about the right to carry guns in North Carolina. People can carry openly in some places as long as they can legally own a gun, but no one can carry a concealed gun without a permit.

The concealed carry application process is handled by the sheriff of the county you live in; it consists of a $90 fee, a background check and a test of basic firearms skills.

Anyone who has gotten a concealed carry permit in any other state can also legally carry concealed in North Carolina. And 36 states – including all the states that border us – recognize concealed carry permits granted here.

This oversimplifies what’s required to get a CHP.  One must also have fingerprints made and sign over authority to examine medical records to the CLEO.  The CLEO then has the authority to inquire of medical facilities in the area whether you’ve had admissions for substance abuse or mental health.  The author likely doesn’t know that because he doesn’t have a CHP himself.  He ought to have been required to obtain one before writing this report.

North Carolina has in my opinion draconian gun laws, while being a shall issue state is still overbearing in terms of medical history for a CHP.  All of it is an infringement on the God-given right to keep and bear arms, as we all know.  On the other hand, it’s useful and worthwhile to stay out of prison if for no other reason than to be with and support your family.

Finally, note that North Carolina is an open carry state.  I’ve never even seen any attempts floated to reverse that.  In general, South Carolina has better gun laws that North Carolina, including no CLEO approval for handgun purchases.

How then can South Carolina persist in their idiotic opposition to open carry?

North Carolina Constitutional Carry Bill: It’s Not All That It Seems

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 6 months ago


— A House committee voted Wednesday in favor of a bill that would eliminate North Carolina’s requirement that people obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

House Bill 746 creates “parity” for people who are allowed to carry guns openly but suddenly find themselves on the wrong side of the law if they put on a jacket and cover up their holstered sidearms simply because they lack a concealed carry permit, said sponsor Rep.Chris Millis, R-Pender.

“This bill would allow law-abiding citizens to be able to carry concealed, regardless of obtaining the mandatory government permit, and this ability to carry concealed is only in places where it is currently allowable to openly carry a firearm,” Millis said, noting 13 other U.S. states have similar rules on the books.

Concealed carry permits are issued through a county sheriff’s office, which conducts a criminal background check and looks for records of mental illness or incapacity. The requirement has long been a sore spot with gun rights advocates, who say it gives sheriffs too much power to deny gun owners what they say is their constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon.

Grass Roots North Carolina has worked hard for this bill, and I certainly support it.  I also enjoyed meeting GRNC face to face at the recent gun show in Charlotte, and was pleased to hear that some of them read my articles.  But this bill isn’t all that it seems.

Oh to be sure, it’s potentially carry without a permit, but let me ask you a question?  Why would this be the case?

The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association has taken no position on the bill, but said it’s pleased legislators didn’t also move to revoke permits required to buy handguns. County sheriffs are a key voice in the debate because they issue handgun permits.

The North Carolina Sheriff’s Association has taken no position on the bill.  They couldn’t care less.  It tells you why right in that single sentence.  To give you a little background, at one time the CLEO had to issue both permits to carry and permits to buy a handgun.  The permit to carry involved a lot more than permits to buy, including a comprehensive review of medical records that you must turn over to the CLEO.

They still do that, and they also still issue permits to buy handguns, but oops, what do you know, unintended consequences and all, the CLEOs need more time and more money and more personnel because that mental health screening that was previously done for CHP holders – yea, that one, well, they do it for all handgun purchases now.

So just to buy a handgun requires one and the same process as a CHP holder goes through.  Recognizing constitutional carry is a bit of a ruse and misdirect when they have just now incorporated the full CHP process into handgun purchases.  While several months ago some state senators waxed confused and apologetic over the behemoth new system they didn’t know they were creating, it’s almost as if they planned this whole thing to begin with.

Pardon me if I don’t get giddy over constitutional carry in North Carolina.  Get rid of the communist CLEO permitting system for handgun purchases and then I’ll think you’re actually doing something about liberty in North Carolina.

An Open Letter To North Carolina State Senators On The New Mental Health Screening For Handgun Purchases

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 9 months ago

By way of background for my readers, North Carolina has an antiquated system of laws for handgun purchases, based on Jim Crow era thinking, that requires the County LEO to pass judgment on the fitness of an individual to purchase a handgun.  For a concealed handgun permit, I had to submit to not only a background check, but also turn over my medical records to the County Sheriff (as if criminals will care about such nuisances if they intend to commit a crime with a handgun).  But with no fanfare, the NC Legislature slipped a new law past the citizens where a mere purchase of a handgun puts the individual through virtually the same hassle as a concealed handgun permit.  Thus we see reports like the following concerning the ridiculous effects of said law.

The Blaze:

Larry Hyatt, owner of one of the country’s busiest gun stores, has more than a quarter-million dollars worth of guns sitting in his store, just waiting for their prospective owners — and there’s a good reason.

Hyatt’s store is located in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina’s most populous county. The large number of firearms in “purchase queue” stems from a newly created firearms law passed by the North Carolina legislature in December requiring everyone who applies for a gun permit in North Carolina to undergo a mental health background check.

Larry Hyatt, owner of one of the country’s busiest gun stores, has more than a quarter-million dollars worth of guns sitting in his store, just waiting for their prospective owners — and there’s a good reason.

Hyatt’s store is located in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina’s most populous county. The large number of firearms in “purchase queue” stems from a newly created firearms law passed by the North Carolina legislature in December requiring everyone who applies for a gun permit in North Carolina to undergo a mental health background check.

Following the new law’s passage — and combined with December’s terror attack in San Bernardino — the number of gun permit requests in Mecklenburg County began to skyrocket. This put the county’s sheriff in an awkward position. That’s because the new law gave him only 14 days to approve or deny a permit request, despite the fact that it normally takes much longer than two weeks to thoroughly screen the mental health background of a permit applicant.

But according to WCNC-TV, the time constraint hasn’t stopped Mecklenburg County Sheriff Irwin Carmichael from erring on the side of safety and approving permits beyond the 14-day limit — even if it means he’s breaking the new law in order to arm people who are ultimately cleared to have the permits.

“So [the new law] kind of puts us in a dilemma,” he told WCNC. ”Do we go ahead and issue permits and let everyone know in 14 days or wait till we get all of this medical information back? I’m always going to err on the side of safety.”

Carmichael added, “We want to make sure the guns are in the right people’s hands and that’s why we have to have these checks.” According to WCNC, what the sheriff is really trying to say is that his department is breaking the new law in order to keep the public safe.

The Sheriff seems arrogant, perhaps even proud of the fact that he is making the choice to break the law because, in his own words, he wants to “keep the public safe,” as if it’s within the latitude of a law enforcement officer to decide which laws he will follow and which ones he will not.

But is this what happens with mental health checks?  Is that what the Sheriff is doing, and is this what the Legislature intended?  It seems all the rage now, to ensure that mental health screening is part of gun purchase requirements, along with forcing parties in separation or divorce proceedings to relinquish their firearms (to see a sad, depressing testimonial of the abuses of these regulations by multiple men, see this reddit/firearms discussion thread).

First of all, notice that the law is more onerous than previous, with increased regulation, more intrusion and more government interference in the lives of peaceable men and women.  And this was sponsored by a man with Republican assigned to his name in the Senate.  Is it any wonder that there is such upheaval in the current election cycle?  What has the North Carolina Legislature done recently to make gun laws, or any other laws, less intrusive and less malleable to an increase in government power?  Gun permitting, which by the way is still not the regulatory scheme in the majority of states, is a means to increase local government control, put in place an approval system that is susceptible to corruption, and create a revenue stream that didn’t otherwise have to obtain if we had a system more conducive to liberty and God-given rights.

But now see what the new law has done!  It has superimposed yet another regulatory scheme that cannot possibly work, isn’t sustainable, isn’t funded, and leads to County LEOs who don’t care about obeying the law.  This is an awful commentary on stolid, dense and inefficient lawmaking and thinking by the Legislature.  The only option you have now is to supply a revenue stream to fund a gigantic new government program, for the purpose of governing men and women who follow the law rather than targeting those who don’t.  I simply cannot conjure up a more stupid waste of time and resources for the Legislature.

But what of this issue of mental health checks?  Do they accomplish anything?  Do people who would trigger a warning from mental health checks commit acts of violence out of proportion to their percentage representation in the population?

Fortunately, we’ve answered those questions before.  Let’s rehearse those answers.

In a paper published in the American Journal of Public Health, Jonathan M. Metzl and Kenneth T. MacLeish investigate a number of common beliefs about mental illness and gun violence, including the idea that “psychiatric diagnosis can predict gun crime before it happens.” They write that “legislation in a number of states now mandates that psychiatrists assess their patients for the potential to commit violent gun crime.” New York, for instance, “requires mental health professionals to report anyone who ‘is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others’ to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services, which then alerts the local authorities to revoke the person’s firearms license and confiscate his or her weapons.”

However, they argue, asking psychiatrists to judge who’s likely to become violent may be the wrong approach. They cite research showing that most gun violence isn’t committed by people who are determined to have mental illness — and that most people with mental illness don’t commit violence. According to one study, “the risk is exponentially greater that individuals diagnosed with serious mental illness will be assaulted by others, rather than the other way around.”

There’s more:

Random gun violence is a terrifying fact of American life, because of both the violence and the randomness. Terror bred by violence does not really require comment; they are twinned. But terror bred by randomness does, especially when it leads people to accept as true a reasonable story that is false, when a myth functions as an explanation. And that is what is happening with the way we talk about mental illness and random gun violence. Thankfully, a just published report in the Annals of Epidemiology pulls together the facts we need to consider if we really want to adopt evidence-based policies to reduce random gun violence.

The article, “Mental illness and reduction of gun violence and suicide: bringing epidemiologic research to policy,” is a comprehensive, critical survey of the available data (and it is surprisingly accessible and  well-written for an academic treatise). It concludes that “most violent behavior is due to factors other than mental illness.”

[ … ]

Jeffrey W. Swanson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine and lead author of the article in Annals of Epidemiology was quoted in the UCLA Newsroom saying ”but even if schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression were cured, our society’s problem of violence would diminish by only about 4 percent.”

That is not very much. When people with mental illness do act violently it is typically for the same reasons that people without mental illness act violently.

“We’re not likely to catch very many potentially violent people” with laws like the one in New York, says Barry Rosenfeld, a professor of psychology at Fordham University in The Bronx….

study of experienced psychiatrists at a major urban psychiatric facility found that they were wrong about which patients would become violent about 30 percent of the time.

That’s a much higher error rate than with most medical tests, says Alan Teo, a psychiatrist at the University of Michigan and an author of the study.

One reason even experienced psychiatrists are often wrong is that there are only a few clear signs that a person with a mental illness is likely to act violently, says Steven Hoge, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. These include a history of violence and a current threat to commit violence ….

And finally this.

Jeffrey Swanson, a medical sociologist and professor of psychiatry at Duke University, first became interested in the perceived intersection of violence and mental illness while working at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in the mid-eighties. It was his first job out of graduate school, and he had been asked to estimate how many people in Texas met the criteria for needing mental-health services. As he pored over different data sets, he sensed that there could be some connection between mental health and violence. But he also realized that there was no good statewide data on the connection. “Nobody knew anything about the real connection between violent behavior and psychiatric disorders,” he told me. And so he decided to spend his career in pursuit of that link.

In general, we seem to believe that violent behavior is connected to mental illness. And if the behavior is sensationally violent—as in mass shootings—the perpetrator must certainly have been sick. As recently as 2013, almost forty-six per cent of respondents to a national survey said that people with mental illness were more dangerous than other people. According to two recent Gallup polls, from 2011 and 2013, more people believe that mass shootings result from a failure of the mental-health system than from easy access to guns. Eighty per cent of the population believes that mental illness is at least partially to blame for such incidents.

To see what Dr. Swanson concludes, you can read his conclusions for yourself.  I wouldn’t send you to the source if it didn’t substantiate my claims.  In summary, when it comes to predicting behavior, Psychiatry is mankind’s latest incarnation of the village witchdoctor.  People believe in it, but they don’t know why, and even the mental health professionals have told you that they have no hope of accurately predicting propensity to violent behavior.  It’s simply counterfactual to hold that a mental health screening can prognosticate or foretell acts of violence, an Orwellian tip of the hat to the awful movie Minority Report.  You’re making things up because it feels good to fabricate comfortable lies.

But we persist in the mistaken belief, and at what cost?  As pointed out by one commenter on these pages, “Control freaks love psychiatry, a means of social control with no Due Process protections. It is a system of personal opinion masquerading as science. See, e.g., Boston University Psychology Professor Margaret Hagan’s book, Whores of the Court, to see how arbitrary psychiatric illnesses are. Peter Breggin, Fred Baughman and Thomas Szasz wrote extensively about abuses of psychiatry. Liberals blame guns for violence. Conservatives blame mental illness. Neither have any causal connection to violence.”

It feels neat and tidy to assign someone to be responsible for violence, like a mental health professional, or to blame it on inanimate machines, like guns.  But that just isn’t the way the world works.  When men are moral agents who can choose to commit acts of evil, the most dangerous assumption is the one that informs you that you can legislate control over those individual actions.  When the results of policies that ingratiate the inner city youth to the government and relegate them to fatherless families causes young men to search for leadership and meaning elsewhere, the most ineffective policy is the one that targets the law abiding and peaceable citizen.  And when the criminal can choose to violate the law in spite of your best intentions, the most dangerous place to be is a so-called “gun-free zone” (because we all know there is no such thing as a gun-free zone, don’t we?).

You have created a body of law surrounding handgun permitting that has its roots in bigoted Jim Crow law, that has no positive effect on violence (so says the mental health professionals), and that by nature and intent bypasses due process rights.  It is a means of social control without Due Process protections.

But you can choose to undo all of this, can’t you?

Sent to the following:


N.C. Law On Guns In Bars One Year Old

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 2 months ago


A state law that allows concealed carry permits holders to take their guns into bars and restaurants is now one year old, but even though the law is set in the books, the debate over concealed carry has not died down.

Restaurants can still ban concealed carry by posting signage at their entrance.

Raleigh’s Players’ Retreat off Hillsborough Street is one such restaurant.

“That’s the reason why I’m here,” Rose Caldwell said. “I would not be comfortable dining in a place where I thought people were bringing weapons.”

But the gun rights group Grassroots NC said that sign makes Players’ Retreat and hundreds of other restaurants that ban concealed handguns across North Carolina “high risk,” according to a running list on their website.

“I don’t want to be sitting in a restaurant that’s posted where I can’t carry my weapon safely and concealed on me,” said Josette Chmiel with Grassroots NC. “And in the chance that it gets robbed or somebody comes in, a criminal, a felon, shooting, that I can’t defend myself. To me, that’s a high risk.”

State lawmakers made it legal to carry concealed handguns in places like bars, movie theaters and in locked compartments of cars on school and state government parking lots one year ago Wednesday.

So what’s the result of the law?  Is the blood running from the bars out into the streets from all of the gun fights?  We get our answer next.

“And there’s been no incidences, so the law is playing out exactly as we thought it would,” Chmiel said.

You mean that the blood isn’t running in the bars, just like for the Mississippi open carry law, the blood isn’t running in the streets from all of the gunslinger scenarios like in the movies?  You mean that the gun control lobby is dead wrong?  You mean that people who openly carry weapons waited until it was legal because they are peaceable citizens?  You mean that the folks who waited until it was legal to carry in bars did so because they are peaceable citizens?

Wait.  Something’s wrong.  That’s not the narrative they want us to hear.

North Carolina Sheriffs On Purchasing And Carrying Weapons

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 5 months ago

Via David Codrea, N.C. Sheriffs on purchasing weapons:

The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA) is pressuring both House Speaker Thom Tillis (R, Mecklenburg, GRNC ****)  and NC Governor Pat McCrory (R, GRNC-***) to oppose GRNC’s repeal of the antiquated pistol purchase permit system that has been in place since 1919. As part of omnibus gun bill HB 937, which contains restaurant and limited campus carry, the purchase permit law would be repealed IF the House votes to concur with Senate improvements to the bill and IF Gov. McCrory doesn’t veto it.

The purchase permit law slated for elimination through HB 937 was designed to grant discriminatory power to NC Sheriffs and enable them to subjectively deny handguns whoever they consider “undesirable.” To this day, several counties abuse the permit system in ways that make it difficult for law-abiding citizens to rightfully obtain handguns.

Ironically, as documented by The Charlotte Observer, the law sheriffs defend is  letting untold numbers of felons bypass background checks to buy guns. Why? Because the untrackable slips of paper issued by sheriffs after background checks can’t be repealed and are good for 5 years. Eliminating the system would mean that checks using the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) would be done at the point of sale.

I don’t want to turn this conversation into one on open carry of firearms, but it’s relevant.  I’ve discussed before that I openly carry a weapon from time to time, mostly when I am trying to avoid sweating my weapon and don’t want to carry IWB.  The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police respect that choice, and smile and wave when they see me.

But it isn’t like that everywhere.  Even the CMPD has to be reminded of our rights.

Sean Sorrentino notes an instance where the 4th Circuit had to reprimand the Charlotte Police for using openly carrying a weapon as a reason to stop an individual, even someone who later turned out to have been guilty of a crime.  Even worse, I know individuals who live around the Lake Norman / Huntersville area (North of Charlotte) who openly carry, and one particular individual has been stopped by both local and state police.  Both times the law enforcement officer unholstered his weapon and pointed at my friend for doing nothing more than walking on the sidewalk.

Note to law enforcement in North Carolina.  The answer above by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police (“not breaking any laws …”) is the right one.  You cannot lawfully detain or arrest someone for openly carrying a weapon.  It is legal in North Carolina, as North Carolina is a traditional open carry state.  LEOs need to know and understand the law.  If you continue to unholster and point your weapons at someone who is behaving legally, an innocent person will eventually be harmed or killed and you will be responsible for it.  Don’t be ignorant.  Be thinking men and women.

Isn’t it ironic that the only ones who want final say over who can carry a weapon are some of the very ones who will unholster their weapons and point them at law abiding citizens?  I would be arrested and charged with brandishing a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon (assault can mean perceived intent), and a host of other things if I did that.  But then again, I don’t get to argue in front of the court that I wanted to make sure that I “went home at the end of the day.”  Only LEOs get to do that.

Local LEO approval of firearms purchases is a throwback to Jim Crow laws, plain and simple.  Their approval does nothing that form 4473 doesn’t accomplish.  And LEOs who point their weapons at law abiding open carriers should be prosecuted for crimes in court.

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