Saturday, April 5, 2014

If You Think The Fight Is Over..

Well, certainly you haven't been paying attention to the grueling fights going on in Connecticut, New York, and Colorado, but it's also important to point out the forces in legal thinking that are marshaling for the next offensive against 2A in the Supreme Court, post-Heller. The Originalism Blog has this news on some work around "The Limits of Second Amendment Originalism and the Constitutional Case for Gun Control."

Wishing Top Shot Would Make a Comeback

With some of the reboots we've seen of popular TV shows, including Futurama, Arrested Development, etc, I'm regularly wishing something like the History Channel's Top Shot would make a comeback.

Like Duck Dynasty, it's nice to see a 'reality' show where the subjects aren't negative examples of humanity but actually portraying positive qualities personally and in their interactions with those around them.

Top Shot was nice, especially as the show went on, because:

  • The contestants were (mostly) supportive of each other with little backbiting (perhaps because)
  • Success was objectively achieved
  • It promoted the skill of marksmanship
So I keep my eye out for something similar in the works. I happened on this article at Slate of all places extolling the shows virtues. Pretty cool read. 

Update on Colorado Lawsuit

As you know, there's a lawsuit against Gov. Hickenlooper to force the repeal of the gun control laws passed in Colorado recently. The lawsuit has spent the last week in trial, with endless testimony from both sides going on through the week. gives a flavor of that testimony.

The testimony cited by the article appears to focus on comparing the needs of police to the needs of citizens.

In other words, given that police have no duty to protect you, and that their sidearms are therefore primarily for their own defense, how can a state claim on one hand that certain popular tools have a self-defense value for police officers but have no such self-defense value for citizens?

Allen Frances Lacked Critical Thinking Skills

Over at HuffPo, Allen Frances, Professor Emeritus at Duke, offers a less-than-scholarly opinion about guns and violence.

Let's take it one at a time:
  • "According to the Alice In Wonderland NRA logic, we need to repeal existing laws that restrict guns on military bases and make sure every soldier is armed at all times."
    WRONG - This utterly misrepresents the position of the NRA. The goal isn't to arm everyone all the time (a clue that it's wrong might be the absolutist nature of his wording) - the goal is to create an environment where it's possible - from a killer's perspective - that anyone might be armed and able to resist at any given time. In nearly all of these incidents of 'suicide theater' where a troubled man walks into a disarmed crowd and starts taking out as many as he can before he goes, he either kills himself or gives up at the first sign of opposition. There's a reason these killers target "gun-free zones". Creating the mere possibility that resistance would be swift acts as a deterrent first, and provides an avenue of active opposition second.
  • "And, following the same achieve a world in which everyone is armed and dangerous"
    WRONG - the goal would be to achieve a world in which anyone in a given crowd could be armed and thus ready to defend against the dangerous. It's difficult if not impossible to determine at what rate the possibility of an armed defender dissuades crime. What we do know is that these spree-killers target gun-free zones almost exclusively - schools and bases. We also can see multiple instances where armed resistance stopped a mass murder in progress.
    Maybe the professor could do a research project - find forty random subjects, and one at a time, show them two doors and give the subject a taser. Tell them that behind each door, there are five people in their seventies playing poker with $10k apiece, and the subject is to rob those behind door A or door B. Behind door A, there is a strict no-taser rule that the poker players voluntarily comply with. Behind door B, there is no such rule, and the possibility that at least one person has a taser. Which door do you think your subjects will choose? My hypothesis is that nearly every subject will choose door A, which holds the defenseless, rather than door B, which has only a possibility - but no certainty - of resistance. Let me bring it home for ya: without having to arm everyone all the time, simply creating the possibility that someone might put up a fight will substantially reduce the attractiveness of the target.
  • "The necessary corollary to the NRA pitch is that anyone who does kill with a gun must have been crazy....The National Rifle Association propaganda has it all wrong. Most violent acts are committed by people who are not crazy. "
    See what he did here? First talking about the NRA's response to spree-killers, and then attacking that response as an ineffective cure for all violent acts. First, I think just about every one of these mass-murderers coming to mind recently have been on meds for psychological issues. I certainly wouldn't use that as the only criteria for 'crazy', but once these people decide to start shooting herds of defenseless people, it's not too far off to say there may be something miswired upstairs. Second, are we talking about all violent acts now? Certainly not all "violent acts" are committed by certifiably crazy people. However, anyone who decides to commit a premeditated violent act against their fellow human being has long since "crossed the Rubicon" into illegality. Look at it this way - if you've already decided to violate the law in such a felonious manner as to murder someone, laws about contraband are mere speed bumps on the way to your ends. And certainly, giving potential victims access for force-levelers like handguns still acts as a deterrent first, and active opposition second. At the end of the day, the solution for rectifying our violent culture as a whole is much different than the one for minimizing exposure to mass-murder. In either case, giving potential victims a whistle and wishing them luck against the violent has not been working so far.
  • "Only one thing is predictable with statistical certainty. If there are more guns in the schools, streets, offices, military bases, and homes...more people will be killed."
    Actually, Allen, the data demonstrates the exact opposite. Violent crime, including the murder rate, has been falling year-over-year at the same time gun ownership has been skyrocketing. This isn't a recent trend, either. And while there are entire books dedicated to this phenomenon, any of us can view the data directly from the Department of Justice demonstrating that homicides are at their lowest since 1963. Gun ownership is a much more difficult thing to track objectively - surveys by Gallup asking people to fess up to a gun in their house while the government continues to vilify ownership are notoriously unreliable measures. What we do know from the ATF's data is that the number of licensed firearms dealers has been steadily increasing since the late 90's, indicating a growing market of consumers. To back this up, during the same time period, the number of NICS background checks, which happen when an individual is buying a gun from a dealer, has been increasing by orders of magnitude. Similarly, participation in the shooting sports has been increasing in the last four years, with the growth area being the young, female and urban, and 20% of these new participants having only shot for the first time in the last five years. Professor Frances proposes a correlation not supported by the objective data we have available to us.
My Take: Via the Internet, you and I have convenient access to source data and need to use that in evaluating articles like Professor Frances'. Speculation is rampant on both sides of the gun debate. Professor Frances speculates that guns in the hands of more people would result in more crime. On the other hand, the civil rights advocates speculate that the existing trends of increased liberty around self-defense and decreasing crime will continue to hold. The data we have to work with is not on the Professor's side, but on the side of civil rights.

Fundamentally, Professor Frances is arguing that policy should be written for the edge-cases, which is known bad practice and the folly of doing so is too-often demonstrated in these little labs called "gun-free zones". The Professor would speculate that we have stopped untold numbers of non-existent massacres from even happening with these laws. But when the massacres do happen and we say, look, these laws were culpable both in attracting a mass-murderer and preventing timely defense, he would have us expand the sphere and scope of the gun-free zones rather than reduce the risk exposure they entail, casting aside the concept that someone hell-bent on killing the defenseless is hardly going to let a "gun-free zone" street sign change his mind. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Format Changes

Pardon my dust while I muck around with different formats and layouts for the site

Social Conservatives are Fair Weather Friends to Gun Rights

Check this out - a church in New York has attempted to get a proxy to Walmart shareholders, and filed suit when they couldn't, which would let said shareholders vote to stop selling sexually-explicit music and "high-capacity weapons", whatever that means.

According to the Rector, this is not an 'anti-gun' move, but a 'family values' play. Well, however you spin it, putting pressure on a retailer to stop selling the guns the statists want banned is a different means to the same end. Ever hear that idiom about the road to hell's substrate?

Otis McDonald, Civil Rights Champion, Has Died

Sad day. I knew he was battling for his life, and it took a turn for the worse recently, but it looks like the inevitable has happened.

Otis McDonald was the plaintiff in the McDonald vs. Chicago case that overturned Chicago's handgun ban. As such, he was part of something historic and of supreme importance to all of us. This was the major case to rule that the civil right identified in the Heller decision also applied to the States via the 14th Amendment.

Youth Tobacco Usage, Art Galleries and Second Amendment Advocacy

Did you know today is "404 Day"? Get it? 4/04? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) identified this day to call attention to aggressive Internet censorship in Libraries and Schools, done for either reducing liability and/or political correctness.

The EFF cites some examples of what the institutional nannies are often seen blocking, including "Wiccan, Native American spirituality...astrology...LGBTQ communities, youth tobacco usage, art galleries, and Second Amendment advocacy." [emphasis my own]

My Take: That's a convention I'd attend at least once! It's good company to be lumped into. Many people I've run into who are passionate about fighting the suppression and marginalizing of their advocacy don't understand that in a very real way, culturally and legally, we're all in this together despite the cultural lines that may lie between us. It's a bit tangential, but I can't help but recall Christopher Hitchens summoning Adam Mitchnik in outlining this alliance at its core: "the crucial distinction between systems...was no longer ideological. The main political difference was between those who did, and those who did not, believe that the citizen could -- or should -- be the property of the state."


Over to AmmoLand, documenting some extreme comments by NY governor Andrew Cuomo. Saith he: "[opponents to the SAFE Act] have no place in the state of NY." AmmoLand attributes this to comments made by the Governor on the radio show "The Capital Pressroom" on January 17, 2014.

I'm going to start tagging instances like these as "In Their Own Words".

The "Honor System" is the Foundation

Saw this post on, and it points out the NYT realizing the fundamental problem with the enforcement of gun laws (or any prohibition for that matter) - that it relies on people to follow the honor system, something criminals cannot be bothered by.

My Take: The NYT is not known to be friendly to RKBA, but this core concept of criminal compliance is fundamental to our criticisms on prohibition, whether gun control or the drug war. Criminals don't follow the laws, and therefore no law written will stop a criminal intent on violating even graver laws such as the prohibition on murder (or suicide). Put another way, if you're intent on killing someone, a gun law won't get in your way. For the NYT to connect the dots does represent some good penetration of this idea out into the mainstream.

NJ "Justifiable Need" Requirement Under Review

The challenge to the NJ requirement for a demonstrated "justifiable need" to carry is in the news again.

This case, Drake v. Jerejian, has been winding its way towards the Supreme Court after losing out in the 3rd Circuit. 

As you may know, this is essentially the East Coast version of the Peruta case, in which the 9th Circuit struck down San Diego County's "good cause" requirement for carrying.

Alan Gura, of Heller and McDonald fame, has filed a brief on behalf of Drake, basically supporting the idea that SCOTUS needs to use this as the cage fight to settle disagreement between 3rd and 9th Circuit courts. Cert is expected to be granted or denied by EOM April. 

Mississippi Creates State Holiday for Guns

The governor of Mississippi has just signed into law a "holiday" of sorts that will take place in the first full weekend of each September. During that time, the state will not collect it's typical 'cut' of 7% for any commercial sale of guns or ammunition. You got that right - no sales tax will be charged for guns, ammo or 'hunting supplies' according to the bill.

I thought this was an April Fool's joke when I first read it, but here's the text of the bill.

Monday, March 31, 2014

First Up: Political Fracture

New York's Rifle & Pistol Association has declined to participate in the pro-gun rally tomorrow.

My Take: "Divide & Conquer" is the method to defeat political enemies, and any time we're fractured in the cause of 2A, it presents a vulnerability to be exploited by the nannies and the statists. That said, this statement above by the Association is tapping into some wisdom by an experienced political man - nervous about losing credibility from some of the nuts and provocateurs out there. Events are great, but I think this is evidence that the organizers could have coordinated a little better to secure buy-in early, perhaps by vocalizing more clearly what the rally should _not_ be: fanning flames, a soapbox for unrelated, socially conservative issues, etc.

Just Another Source

I'm a big fan of RSS, and use it to keep up on a lot of sites that link to important news, including that about freedom, the second amendment, and the surrounding legal issues. There are six or seven go-to websites out there that I read very valuable information on, and those will be linked statically on this site, sometimes pointed to directly when they post on something of interest, as they frequently do.

However, there have been enough times when I've seen items of interest that don't get linked at these sites, or linked to days after the item first appeared on the web. This site then is my own web log of current news and information related to the fight to preserve our gun ownership rights, enumerated by the second amendment to the Constitution, but also augmented by the tenth and the fourteenth amendments and many of our own state constitutions.

This blog is not meant to compete with, contend with or detract from the sites I respect so much, but to hopefully add information to the conversation, and serve as another feed for those addicted to data like me.

About me: I'm an NRA and GOA lifer, live in Alaska, am married and enjoy the outdoors. I may accept other authors to contribute in the future just to keep up with this. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!