The Second Amendment to the Constitution reads: "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
In the United States, the debate is about guns. In the UK and Australia, the debate on guns is over: the debate on swords and knives is just beginning. A free people have the inalienable right to own weapons, not just some particular type of weapon.
I am a second-amendment absolutist. I do not believe any regulation of arms is legitimate under the Constitution. When our nation was born, civilians owned warships, artillery, swords, and the latest in military firearms. In fact, in many cases American troops armed with rifles were significantly better armed than British troops using muskets.
Knives; swords; guns; explosives; missiles; tanks; artillery; battleships; aircraft carriers; up to and including nuclear weapons. If you don't like it, pass an amendment to change it. (I do exclude biological weapons; I do not think the founders would have considered them to be arms).
I recognize that the federal government does not share my opinion, and with some justification. Following the arms control laws in your jurisdiction is a good idea up until the point when you are ready to overthrow the government; if you're not ready for a shooting war with federal agents, follow the law whether you think it is Constitutional or not.
Why am I an absolutist? I believe the people should have parity of arms with the government. That our citizens had such parity allowed us to overthrow our own government two centuries ago, and that balance of power is vital to a free society. If our government has the capacity to use nuclear weapons against the people, the people must be able to respond in kind.
Once the absolute right of ownership is acknowledged, I'm willing to concede basic safety regulations to ensure you can't store your weapons where they might have damaging effects outside your property if detonated. For firearms, that doesn't matter much -- the bullet goes where you point it. If you can afford to build a nuclear weapon, you can damn well afford a very large buffer zone and an underground bunker to contain the blast.
By now, a lot of you are probably thinking I'm crazy. I don't blame you. Until recently, a lot of you would have never imagined a private individual could build a reusable spacecraft for under $20 million dollars. Americans dream big, and I trust the people more than I trust our government.
The short version appears to be that new handguns will not be added to the list of "acceptable" handguns in California unless they have microstamping technology. Guns already on the list will remain ok unless for some reason they need to be re-registered.
The details are at Calguns.
The difference this makes is a significant one. Microstamping is an unproven technology that is easily defeated by means such as changing the firing pin; criminals will not be affected by this requirement. It will increase the cost of new firearms that include microstamping technology and, probably more importantly, block new handgun models that don't use microstamping from being added to California's roster of "allowed" handguns. That means they won't be added at all, unless the California market is deemed large enough to justify the investment by itself.
In short, it's a roundabout gun ban.
There was no need to pass a law to do it, because the law had been passed years ago; all it took to activate this new restriction was a certification that the microstamping technology was available for use.
New Jersey has a similar statute concerning "smart" guns. We're likely to see an attempt made to bring that rule into effect as well, especially if there was an Obama administration push behind California's move. We're already seeing editorials calling for it, even though it's a really bad idea.
A cabdriver in Denver calls the police because his fare was taking firearms to a gun show (warning: really annoying autoplay audio ads at the link). The police arrived and arrested the man, along with several shotguns, because he had a foreign accent and they thought he was a terrorist.
It turns out his fare was Daniele Perazzi, president of an Italian shotgun manufacturer. As you might expect, such a man has lawyers and was released in short order, though reports are that law enforcement ordered him out of the state. If true, there doesn't seem to be any legal basis for the order.
This is of course an embarrassment for our country, which is supposed to be free.
Protecting David Gregory
If you remember, David Gregory was the news personality who held up a standard-capacity magazine during an on-air interview with an NRA spokesperson. The segment was filmed in DC, and the magazine is illegal there. The law is complete nonsense, of course, but the DC police enforce it vigorously when random citizens violate it while going about their ordinary, lawful business. David Gregory should not be above the law, but was not prosecuted for his stunt.
The blog Legal Insurrection is trying to find out why.
The AP headlines this story as doctors having the right to discuss gun safety. Of course they have a First Amendment right to discuss gun safety, just like anyone else does. The real story goes a bit further than that, though.
It turns out the Massachusetts Medical Society adopted a policy on gun violence which encourages reviewing gun safety as part of "preventative care" (even though gun safety has literally nothing to do with the practice of medicine, and doctors are not experts on gun safety), allows the society to promote and support state legislative efforts on gun control (a non-medical policy decision which would seem to fall outside the organization's purpose and expertise), and to work with other organizations to support national gun control.
I don't object to medical professionals having opinions about guns, but I do object to doctors abusing their positions of presumed authority, whether as inappropriate questions asked during doctor-patient consultations or political propaganda abusing the appeal to authority fallacy.
Because car accidents can injure 50 people, and it takes a deliberate act to do that with a gun.
... and they brought up a recent incident where a two-year-old child was shot by her five-year-old brother. Quite frankly, this infuriates me. It's bad enough when it's the media or a politician; it's much worse coming from someone close to you. The implication of bringing up accidental deaths of children in a gun control debate is obvious: "If you cared about dead children, you would change your position."
I do care about children, and I don't want them dead any more than the next more. But I didn't shoot them. It wasn't one of my guns that was left where a child could find it and shoot their sibling or themselves. I wish that didn't happen, and it's a tragedy when it does.
But I also understand statistics.
The truth is, more kids get killed by swimming pools than guns by a whole order of magnitude. For children younger than 10 years of age, dying by gunshot is literally more than a one-in-a-million chance. 2/3rds of those are shot by adult criminals, people who are not allowed to legally own guns already.
Being a legal gun owner is remarkably safe, even before you consider the lives saved by firearms used in self-defense. It's not perfectly safe, because nothing is perfectly safe. Accidents will always happen.
Blaming responsible gun owners for accidents they had nothing to do with is nothing more than emotional blackmail. It offends me to my core, and I won't stand for it.
I say "responds" because they aren't able to move out of Maryland at the signature of a gun control law, but they will be looking at other states where they can expand production.
On the one hand, it's good for industries to move to states that will appreciate them rather than regulate them out of existence. On the other hand, each state we abandon to the anti-gun forces of darkness -- each state that loses its positive gun culture -- is most likely permanently lost, and that too has consequences.
The state-level gun control push that the Obama administration has been engaged in following the failure of its national agenda is going to -- in fact, already has -- resulted in many court challenges on Second Amendment and other grounds. We have a narrow majority on the Supreme Court, and we have been slowly using the court system to expand gun rights into traditionally anti-gun states.
Take, for example, Illinois -- the last state in the nation to have no concealed carry laws at all. Their complete ban on self-defense was struck down by the federal courts. Their state legislature has been struggling to find a law that will pass both political and Constitutional muster. That's a tremendous opening to bring the gun culture back to Illinois, but it will come to little if gun owners cannot become a political force there.
Our advantage in the courts will be short-lived if Democrats can drive us out of enough blue states to make winning national elections impossible. We're already at risk if Obama has the chance to replace any of the Heller 5.
We need to be cautious about cheering companies leaving states that fall to the enemy. Yes, moving manufacturers out of an anti-gun state can punish that state economically for passing gun control, and that threat can help us politically elsewhere. But make no mistake, it is still a retreat, and it costs us influence in the states we abandon.
How New Jersey deals with dissent
I've always felt the claim that the Second Amendment was about something other than armed insurrection against a tyrannical government was the claim that needed supporting evidence. The framers who wrote that Amendment did so only a decade after their own armed rebellion. It's not so great a leap to think that they anticipated another might be necessary.
That this idea scares the establishment is the intended result.
North Carolina moves to repeal gun registration bill
The Democrats are trying to go back to the gun control issue, but they have a "new" idea: smart guns! Never mind that their new idea doesn't exist despite various companies spending years trying to come up with one. Apparently, if James Bond has one in his latest movie, that's good enough for House Democrats. There are a lot of problems with this, but I'm going to lead with the low-hanging fruit:
Tierney said his Personalized Handgun Safety Act, H.R. 2005, would help prevent accidental deaths, like the case in New Jersey last month when a six-year old accidentally shot and killed a four-year-old child.OK, so the theory is, this .22 caliber rifle would be modified to add some sort of biometric recognition device, and not actually fire when the 6-year-old pointed it at his sister and pulled the trigger.
We'll assume for the sake of argument that the new technology functions properly and that the person who bought the rifle was willing to pay for it -- considering that the technology probably doubles or triples the cost of a simple .22 caliber rifle. (If the legislation passes, they would be forced to pay for it, or else go without).
The rifle would still have fired, and the child would still be dead.
The rifle was a gift. The 6-year-old owned it. He was an authorized user -- whether or not that is a smart decision is another matter -- and thus allowed to fire the gun.
So what are the real problems here?
First, a 6-year-old child had unsupervised access to a firearm. It's one thing to train a child to shoot under adult supervision, quite another for them to be allowed access to a firearm unsupervised.
Second, both children were unsupervised, period. Even inside a house there are many dangerous things to young children. It's not a problem unique to firearms. Which brings me to the statistics:
The CDC reports that for 2010 (the latest year available), one single six-year old died from a gunshot. For all children younger than 10, there were 36 accidental gun deaths, and that is out of 41 million children. Perhaps most important, about two-thirds of these accidental gun deaths involving young children are not shots fired by other little kids but rather by adult males with criminal backgrounds...Firearms safety for young children is a solved problem. There will always be tragic accidents, but 36 deaths in one year out of 41 million children is incredibly low. The right course of action for this "problem" is to not let your children play with dangerous things.
That's not the only problem with this latest gun control proposal, though. Smart guns have been around in concept for decades. They have yet to be successfully implemented, because:
Fundamentally, "smart" guns are assuming a stupid gun owner who needs to be protected from himself more than he needs the gun to protect himself from a criminal. The low rate of accidental gun injuries with existing firearms technology tells us that "smart" guns are a stupid idea, at least outside of Hollywood where the fights aren't scripted.
The police pulled someone over because he had "an inadequate light on his license plate". He had a handgun in his car with him, though, and the magazine had 9 rather than 7 rounds. The handgun itself was legally possessed -- meaning, in New York State, that he had a license to own it and was either heading to or from a gun store or shooting range, or had an endorsement to carry the firearm on his license.
But they charged him with having two bullets too many anyway.
Oh, and the police officers? They were probably carrying Glock handguns with a magazine capacity of 15-19 rounds, violating the same law because the SAFE act was passed without an exception for law enforcement.
Hat tip to MArooned.
Hat tip to Sebastian for the article. Follow the link for some analysis of how Christie might react.
Given that this is New Jersey, that's a surprising good package. The really bad stuff was blocked, along with a pro-gun bill.
The gun trafficking stuff is already illegal, just increasing penalties (although the due process implications of property seizure are troubling, this is hardly an issue unique to firearms). A state commission to study violence means nothing without legislation to back up its conclusions, submitting mental health records to the background check system is one of things that makes you ask "Why weren't you doing this already?", reporting on gun trafficking crimes is meaningless, and an illegal gun amnesty is even more meaningless.
The real kicker is that "delayed" does not mean "stopped". It may mean "pass at midnight when no one is watching."
Hot-microphone recording of New Jersey politicians demanding legislation to confiscate firearms.
Schools are staging "code red" drills involving an active shooter with assault weapons and fake blood. Students are reporting being locked in closets thinking their fellow students were being massacred just outside.
Maybe I'm being paranoid here, but it strikes me that these drills are much, much more effective at teaching emotionally vulnerable children to be deathly afraid of guns than they are at improving emergency response capabilities.
Well, that was fast. I didn't even have time to post a link to the original design files before the State Department ordered them taken down, citing arms export regulations. For those with long memories, it's very reminiscent of the fight over cryptography during the Clinton administration.
The good guys won that fight, but it took years, and a lot of legal risk, and finally a fait-accompli strategy of publishing the source code to Pretty Good Privacy in a printed book, sending the book out of the country, where some tireless soul typed it back in and hosted it outside of US jurisdiction. And that was First Amendment issue with clearly settled law. Adding firearms issues into the mix is only going to make it more complicated.
The good news is that the file has already made it outside the US to various hosting locations. The bad news is, that doesn't mean the fight is over. Anyone hosting the file inside US jurisdiction is likely to become a target for lawyers in cheap suits. They have lots of ways to attack this particular project; they've chosen to start with "posting the design on the internet is a violation of arms export regulations", but they could go after it for being an undetectable plastic gun, for not having a rifled barrel making it an NFA-regulated Any Other Weapon, for manufacturing a firearm without a license (the rules on this are tricky; it may be legal to print one for yourself if you never, ever let anyone else touch it)...
Remember when gun control groups kept saying that teddy bears are more heavily regulated than guns? Yeah, about that...
So why aren't I hosting the files? Well, I certainly believe that people in the US have both a First and Second Amendment right to host design files for printable firearms. That doesn't mean that the present administration agrees, and it has already indicated that it will enforce that view.
At any rate, if you're inside US jurisdiction, you don't want to be the guy they pick to prosecute. No matter how stupid the laws are. Anyone hosting the files while located in the US had better do so with the support of well-prepared lawyers and an organization like the EFF prepared to back a court challenge.
According to a Rasmussen poll released on Friday, while gun killings have plunged 39 percent since 1993, and non-fatal gun crimes have dropped 69 percent in the same period, those who want gun control think that gun crime is up. Rasmussen reports that only 7 percent of adults believe there are fewer gun owners in the country than there were 20 years ago -- and more importantly, 64 percent of those who want more gun control think that gun crime has escalated.Now, the truth is that political pressure for gun control is based more on the rare, highly-publicized mass shootings than everyday gun crime. Those events are so rare -- and sufficiently likely to prompt copycat crimes -- that it's difficult to get a good measure of trends. But gun control policies are not targeted accurately at people planning to commit multiple victim public shootings; gun control is targeted at the general population, both law-abiding and criminal.
While multiple-victim public shootings are horrible events, they are statistical nulls. In the big picture, the number of guns in public hands has been going up, while gun crime -- and crime in general -- has been going down. That directly contradicts the fundamental premise of gun control.
I'm not a gun nut. I'm a regular nut who owns guns, but only to hunt, not to defend my home and family, join the militia or fight the forces of tyranny.So you wouldn't defend your home and family with a gun if they were attacked? I mean, I understand that not being your primary reason for owning guns, especially since we all hope that we never have to -- but surely you can accept that they are useful for that purpose if, in fact, you have to.
As for joining the militia, you don't have to. You are automatically enrolled, being of sound mind and body and between the ages of 18 and 45. Did you register for the draft? Congratulations, you're officially in the militia.
I don't use the word, "nut," lightly. I mean it as a sincere compliment -- no different than somebody calling me a "fishing nut" and making my chest swell. (It might even the best thing I've been called lately.)This is an elaborate justification for his desire to keep calling honest, law-abiding gun owners "nuts". If you want people to listen to you, don't insult them.
There's a bit of the old Markey's Law with that "polishing" comment, too.
Even though gun nuts -- or "Bitter Clingers" as they now call themselves -- have recently called me a "traitor" and "useful idiot," I've always been a pro-gun guy. Now, after listening to the gun nuts, I'm even more pro-gun, but I'm sure, still not pro-gun enough.About that "Bitter Clingers" thing. Obama called us that. He didn't mean it as a complement.
If all the pro-gun guys you talk to are calling you a traitor or a "useful idiot", you should consider the fact that maybe they are right. Or, at the very least, not helping.
I consider my right to bear arms one of my basic freedoms, but not the only one, so buckle up, gun nuts. I happen to think other amendments to our constitution such as Number 1 (freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition), 13 (abolishing slavery), 14 (equal protection under the law), 19 and 26 (right to vote for women and all citizens over 18) and others might actually be more important than Number 2.I don't disagree about those being important. But here's the thing. Without the 2nd Amendment, we can't enforce any of the others.
Shoot, I wonder if the gun nuts have asked themselves this question. Would the Second Amendment even pass today?73% of the population supports it. That's well over the 2/3rds majorities required for a Constitutional amendment.
I've learned that gun nuts are scared, and I am, too, but for a different reason. They're terrified about our new president sending out a flock of black helicopters to confiscate their guns?or at least make it harder to buy them.That would be because people are calling for gun control laws to confiscate firearms.
That's not all that scares me. I could go on, but the point is. Losing some of my gun rights doesn't make my top twenty concerns. If that makes me a "traitor," well, we have a pandemic of treason in this country.If it's just a matter of not being your top concern, well, people disagree. It doesn't make you a traitor, just a "useful idiot" in your own terms. But "traitor" seems more appropriate, since you claim to be a "gun nut" while trying to calm down gun owners who are trying to protect their rights. And your rights, too.
Even after enduring the name-calling, I admire the dedication of gun nuts.You don't have ANY space to talk about name calling.
Guns, guns, guns -- that's all that matters to these people. They've closed their minds to compromise. To them, there's no such thing as a common sense gun law. Because of their single-mindedness, they get it done. Ask any politician who has proposed a "reasonable gun law."We have "common sense gun laws", not all of which make much sense, but are the result of over a hundred years of compromise. We are tired of being asked to compromise.
Despite the fear mongering I read in the comment sections and gun blogs, I believe President Obama is smart enough to keep his party from being again swept out of power because of the gun issue.See you in November 2014.
No word yet on where, but they say they will reveal more after the NRA's annual meeting this weekend.
A lawsuit to be filed against Connecticut's sweeping new gun laws will argue that the legislation signed into law by Governor Malloy in April was not properly vetted and pushed through in a way that snubbed the opinion of some gun owners.I haven't read the actual lawsuit yet, just the news report. The news report doesn't exactly give a favorable case, focusing on the "emergency" nature of the law and the lack of public input.
Unless there are real procedural issues with the law, a judge is going to be reluctant to second-guess the legislature. But we'll have to wait and see how this one goes.
Anti-gun ballot initiative efforts
Gun control advocates in Washington launched an initiative campaign Monday, enlisting the help of voters to expand firearm background checks after lawmakers declined to pass a similar measure.Voters in Washington State and Arizona, be aware of this.
From a national perspective, ballot initiatives are interesting. A lot depends on timing -- a random date, a regularly-scheduled election, a statewide election, a national election -- and turnout. It lets legislators avoid voting on gun control issues themselves and thus avoid responsibility for the results.
Talks to revive gun control legislation are quietly under way on Capitol Hill as a bipartisan group of senators seeks a way to bridge the differences that led to last week's collapse of the most serious effort to overhaul the country's gun laws in 20 years.It's not over yet. Stay vigilent, and be thinking of ways we can improve our response.
I missed this story a while back about Obama "using executive power to move gun control forward":
The president has used his executive powers to bolster the national background check system, jumpstart government research on the causes of gun violence and create a million-dollar ad campaign aimed at safe gun ownership.But it could explain a lot about the federal request for concealed-carry data in Missouri (and suggests it would be a good idea to check for similar requests in other states). (It turns out that the Missouri request was made by the BATFE). It's also suggestive to consider this New York case for possible federal involvement or encouragement.
In January, Obama directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to begin studying the causes of gun violence for the first time since Congress, at the behest of the NRA, began blocking funding for such research in 1996.Problem: I had not heard Congress had removed the block on expenditures related to gun control "research" by the CDC. Neither have some of the people who are attending, but they seem willing to attend anyway.
But wait, there's more:
In another administrative move, Obama directed the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to examine the efficacy of existing gun trigger locks and firearm safe standards to determine if they need to be improved. The CPSC has partnered with the American Society for Testing and Materials International, but does not have a firm timeline for when its examination will be finished, according to a spokesman.Gun locks, and a national ad campaign on "safe gun storage", which we can assume will be as political as Obama can possibly make it while still spending public money.
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