Defense

A summary of Armed Citizen stories from around the country, Federal gun control laws are back following the California shootings/stabbings and various retail stores announce new gun policies. Keeping it brief this week due both to real life and not much of worth actually happening this week.

1.) Armed Citizen. Two men in Salt Lake City were arrested after breaking into a person’s home and threatening their daughter this week. The two men (one of who seems pretty satisfied with himself) were confronted by the woman’s armed father, and ran after he recognized the suspects. They are now facing charges of aggravated burglary and aggravated assault.

A mattress store owner shot a robber who had a gun pointed at his face. The suspect apparently was not killed in the incident, although not much information was released on it otherwise.

Finally, a Marine in Texas shot and killed a man attempting to steal from a GameStop in Houston. Over on Guns Save Lives, Texas easily leads the nation in most documented self-defense stories. It’s almost taken as read that committing any crime in Texas is a bad idea, yet that doesn’t seem to stop anybody.

2.) Self-resolution. A man pistol-whipping another ended up killing his accomplice this week when the gun went off in the process. Moving on.

3.) Federal Restart. To the surprise of those who haven’t been paying attention, the shootings/stabbings in California have led to the re-introduction of federal gun control legislation. This time, whatever measures come out of it will apparently be attached to a spending bill. It says something that this is the method being used, as attempting to pass gun control on its own was a spectacular failure shortly after Newtown. The bill is a slimmed-down version of the last round, including expanded background checks and preserving, as The Hill reports, “a federal rule requiring border-state gun dealers to report bulk purchases of certain semiautomatic rifles, a mandate Republicans are trying to undo in the spending package.”

Considering that Republicans are both disagreeing and introducing amendments against the plan in the House, it is at least looking like the plan has almost no chance of passing. Just like last time.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Observance

We are the first generation that has never had to fight for its freedom.

We have been given just about everything one could want. Instant communication across the planet, the ability to purchase just about anything from home (or anywhere we happen to be), the ability to work, speak, think, and do as we please so long as nobody is injured by our efforts.

What it seems we don’t have is an appreciation for where it came from. For many in my generation, Memorial Day is a kick-off to summer, perhaps a time to track down sales. This has become an internet meme (because of course it has) among many pro-military sites. This is either ignored in full or seen as trite, but personally the fact that Memorial Day has come to symbolize summer and shopping is annoying at best and repulsive at worst.

What would happen if, as a nation, we actually meant “support the troops” beyond the initial send-off to war? An article this week on ITS Tactical looks into many of the issues facing our veterans today; among them being homelessness (about 1/3 of adult homeless are veterans), spikes in traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and a record number of suicides.

Most recently (as in “this week”) we have the Veterans Affairs scandal. While I am fully aware that Memorial Day is about those who have given their lives in defense of our country, I highlight this scandal both for its scale and because it is a scandal that, for a country that repeated “support the troops” with unreal regularity, apparently cannot be asked to care for those who have survived the wars we sent them to. Leaving aside the recent reports that the present administration knew about it since they took office few (at least in my opinion) would argue that there are people more deserving of the best care our nation has to offer than those who have risked their lives for it. Wait times for veterans reportedly go for months, and what should be a national embarrassment is instead being treated as yet another scandal. A political football.

What I am saying is this: we as a nation like to say we support the troops. It is something that is said frequently, almost mechanically. The reality is at present there is almost no evidence that we actually believe what we say. Memorial Day, on the surface, is a day to remember those who have died in the Armed Forces. In the days leading up to this year’s Memorial Day, that entire premise is undercut by celebrations of sales, the “unofficial beginning” of summer, and a disastrous veterans healthcare system.

We have been given everything by people who have fought and died for us. It is cliche but true that the sacrifices made, the hardships endured and generally the raw effort undertaken to defend (indeed, to create) this nation cannot be repaid. Nonetheless, we must begin to treat those still with us with the best care we can offer, and those no longer with us with the utmost respect we can give.

We have been given everything. It is time we give something back.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Random Thoughts: Criminals and Gun Rights

– Starting to see more than a few notes about restoring gun rights to convicted felons. 

– In April, there was an article posted to Truth About Guns on the subject.

– In Louisiana, keeping felons from owning firearms was deemed unconstitutional last year under an amendment to the State Constitution in 2012.

That case has, as recently as this month, gone before the Louisiana Supreme Court.

– The general mindset seems to be that, as someone on Twitter put it:

@TheBucketShop @KB3WTR I say, if u can’t trust them w/ a gun, u shouldn’t let them out. @rolloutside @Apev990 @Dr_2A @Mellynjess @Rebecca_221B

-The discussion about felons and gun rights sprung out of the debate on whether or not felons should get voting rights. The rationale being that, if felons can be trusted with a vote (in other words, with helping to decide the fate of the city/state/nation around them), why can’t they be trusted with a gun?

– I’ve even met an attorney who, if given the chance, says he’d argue the case. When asked what the odds were of felons owning guns, however, he told me that the courts would likely be the only option, but that it would happen regardless.

@RondeauBH Actually, yes, I do. The vast unwashed won’t like it, neither will state pols, but it’s gonna happen. @KB3WTR @soderstromk

– All that in mind, what are your thoughts? Should felons have their gun rights restored or is it too much of a risk? Should felons be extended the right to vote as well? When has a felon “paid their debt to society” (or is that a debt that can never be repaid)?

State’s Fights

Nullification fails in Missouri, Louisiana allows guns in restaraunts, and Michigan looks at a gun registry. Thanks as always to Armed Novelist for his assistance. Keeping it brief this week.

1.) Missouri. While a bill looking to nullify Federal gun laws failed, Missouri lawmakers instead approved a bill that allows teachers to carry firearms. The bill, which leaves the decision in the hands of individual districts, was approved near the close of Missouri’s annual session and is waiting for the Governor to either veto or sign it.

2.) Louisiana. Meanwhile, Louisiana is allowing firearms to be brought into restaurants. The office of Governor Bobby Jindal confirmed that he intends to sign the bill into law, which would also allow off-duty officers to carry as well.

3.) Illinois/Michigan. Illinois, as expected, seems to be pushing in the opposite direction. Guns Save Lives has a story out about a bill that has just about everything anti-gunners could want; from semi-auto registration, to “universal” background checks, to magazine restrictions. It is what the NRA-ILA referred to as “the anti-gunner ‘wish list’ in Illinois.”

So as not to be redundant, GSL also notes that Michigan is going in a similar direction.

4.) Irony. Dave Workman of examiner.com has an interesting story out regarding the Brady Campaign. At an even in Seattle, the head of the Brady Campaign and Washington Ceasefire were spotted behind armed security in a building that had a “no guns allowed” sign out front.

Anti-gun….for you not them.

5.) Ammo. As readers probably almost too vividly remember, ammo prices went entirely in the wrong direction last year while supplies for ammo (especially .22LR) were depleted. Reports are coming in of that shortage showing signs of easing in some parts of the country, though others still seem to believe the shortage is not over just yet.

None of which would happen if guns weren’t popular. In a way, it’s a problem that is nice to have.

6.) Brilliance. Armed Novelist brought this one up. The ATF, in passing additional regulations, may have ended up accidentally rendered other regulations completely irrelevant. Kurt Hoffman of examiner.com writes:

The current situation involves the Hughes Amendment–the pernicious poison pill (the actual passage of which is quite dubious) that attached itself, leech-like, to the otherwise much needed Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) of 1986. Under former Congressman William Hughes’ (D-NJ) amendment, no fully-automatic firearm that was not already registered by May 19, 1986 can ever be registered, and thus can never be legally owned by private citizens. This, of course, has vastly and artificially inflated the price of the legal pool of pre-1986 machine guns, because their number has been capped.

Now, though, the Prince Law Offices, P. C. blog, reports that the BATFE, in trying to impose more regulatory hoops (they simply cannot help themselves), may instead have inadvertently opened up a detour around the Hughes Amendment. It’s a bit complicated, but the gist is that a person picking up an NFA-regulated item (a suppressor, in this particular case) on behalf of a trust (trusts are one way of easing the regulatory hoops of NFA item ownership–although the BATFE is trying to make that more difficult, as well) will have to undergo a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check, even though the item would belong to the trust, and not to the person.

Just not a good year for ATF.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Skynet

The “smart gun” still struggles to find a market, an LA County sheriff’s deputy builds an illegal rifle, and Missouri passes more pro-gun legislation.

1.) Smart Guns. Lots of movement regarding the Armatix “Smart Gun.” First off, we have some more info on pricing. Apparently the thing is $1,800 and is only chambered in .22LR. That is roughly 3 times the price of a decent Glock. The weapon requires the user to wear a watch for whatever reason, and has a decent failure rate. Additionally, an article in Forbes has listed multiple problems with the tech from computer malfunctions to authentication issues, to the idea of smart guns being tracked or jammed. The idea of a gun being jammed or tracked is going to be the main sticking point for pro-gunners.

What is interesting is that nobody who supports this tech seems to be too eager to suggest whether they would mandate it. Until (if) we start seeing honest discussion on that aspect, expect this to go nowhere fast.

2.) Oklahoma. The Governor of Oklahoma recently vetoed pro-gun legislation. Essentially, the bill demands that LEOs must certify Class 3/NFA forms within 15 days of receiving them.

The full Legislature overrode the veto this week. The veto was crushed in the OK House 86-3, and in the Senate 39-0.

3.) Missouri. For whatever reason, Missouri’s been on a kick as far as pro-gun legislation is concerned. From recent news of a bill to nullifiy federal law to a bill extending the Castle Doctrine to allow babysitters and guests to use deadly force against intruders. (Which would mean, presumably, means that babysitters and guests are currently barred from using deadly force. The very idea is absurd.)

4.) California. Seemingly unable to catch a break from people in authority breaking the laws the support/enforce, news out of California of an LA County sheriff’s deputy pleading guilty to building an illegal “assault rifle”

It’s not on the level of a State congressman pushing for semi-auto bans while trafficking rocket launchers, but it is an amusing development despite that.

5.) Moms Demand Action. Moms Demand Action etc. etc. launched a new campaign on Capitol Hill this week. The protest involved roughly 100 people, which somehow represents the views of everyone in the country. This on the heels of “crashing” the NRA, also with a few hundred people, in what was supposed to be the major kick-off to the Everytown campaign shortly before that started losing high-profile figures.

You can’t buy grassroots support. Even the most cynical in the country can see that.

6.) Clinton. Possible 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (assuming Benghazi doesn’t wreck her chances) recently had some interesting comments on the subject of firearms. Specifically that having “so many people, fully licensed, fully validated” carrying firearms was a problem. If that’s true, and there is an issue with having people who have undergone the process, expense, and background checks required to carry a firearm, it would be interesting to see under what conditions Mrs. Clinton would support people carrying them.

2016 is a long way off, sure. But the candidates, patterns, and major topics set to drive the election are already developing.

Stay informed, stay alert, stay free.

Aftermath

A strange dip in crime during NRA Indy, Everytown loses a high-profile leader, and HB 826 is signed with implications for campus carry. It’s almost exactly the same pattern as Midnight Run: Convention last week, only Armed Novelist is back.

1.) NRA Indy. In what is either a strange coincidence or one of the most awesome bits of news in some time, FOX 59 in Indianapolis is noting a strange shift in crime during the weekend the NRA convention was in town. Local police called the Saturday of the convention the most peaceful Saturday” in the month of April.

Sure, it may just be coincidence, but for the sudden infusion of the NRA convention and the thousands who no doubt brought their guns to the show and the city at large to result in a noticeable drop in crime is interesting to say the least.

2.) MAIG. Everytown’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns is losing its leader. Mark Glaze says that “it is time for me to hand off the fight to somebody else“, adding that there’s a “point where you feel you’ve done all you can do.” As Guns Save Lives notes, this is not the only problem facing the rapidly-disintegrating organization.

3.) HB 826. A law focused on the carrying of firearms in “school safety zones” may have opened the door to campus carry in the most roundabout way possible. Set to go into effect on the same day as HB 60 (the main gun bill, which was signed at a barbecue), gun advocates say that the language of the bill opens “school safety zones” to CCW permit holders in addition to what is set to go live with HB 60.

In related news, churches are split on HB 60’s opt-in system. The Episcopal Diocese in Atlanta has announced that it will prohibit firearms. The Archbishop Wilton Gregory said in a statement that “The last thing we need is more firearms in public places, especially in those places frequented by children and the vulnerable. I do not want to suggest restricting firearms in places where they are needed, to protect one’s home and property or to defend the public by officials who are entrusted with our protection. Yet this new legislation de facto makes firearms more available in places where they may allow violence to escalate.”

On the flipside, Liberty Baptist Church in Hart County is one of the first to allow licensed gun owners to carry during services. This is not entirely unexpected, as Georgia Baptists testified in support of church carry back in February.

4.) Fingergun. In a story I promise is from this week, a student has been suspended from school for making a gun with his fingers.

In TEXAS of all places.

5.) Smart guns. To the surprise of nobody in particular, an attempt to bring a smart gun to market in Maryland was responded to with criticism from everybody. Dealing with pressure (and death threats, because that’s how some of us operate, apparently) from all sides, the whole endeavor took about a week to be scrapped.

Smart guns are seen as a great solution…..by those who would ban firearms altogether. It is strange seeing gun stores try to take it on.

But recent reaction, plus the non-stop promotion by anti-gunners, proves that the concept will be a non-starter for the foreseeable future.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.