An aggressive look at the Second Amendment from Ranger Up, a look at teaching actual gun safety in schools, and a case study armed defense from Pennsylvania. Outside of that, we have an Army Medal of Honor recipient retiring and a new Marine Corps Commandant confirmed.

Thanks as always to Catty Conservative and This is the Line’s Armed Novelist for helping out here.

1.) Ranger Up. If you aren’t familiar with them, Ranger Up is (primarily) a clothing company focused on “military and the patriotic Americans who love the men and women of the Armed Forces.” The company’s aggressive style extends past that into a blog that goes under the name “Unapollogetically American”, which holds an extremely pro-liberty viewpoint.

After a series of incredibly dense Rolling Stone articles regarding firearms, the team decided to take a characteristically strong rebuttal to a lot of anti-gun myths. A personal favorite myth being ““All we are looking for is ‘reasonable’ gun control that any ‘reasonable’ person would see as common sense.” They write:

Consider the following: it was not illegal for a felon to purchase or own a firearm prior to the passage of the 1968 Gun Control Act. Now it is considered “common sense” and “reasonable” for a felon not to be allowed to purchase a firearm. Why? There is absolutely zero evidence suggesting that the 1968 GCA did what it intended to do. Quite the contrary, actually; the crime/murder rate in the United States continued to rise after it was passed, seemingly unaffected by the law.

The point being, modern gun control advocates frame the debate in terminology that is couched in ideas that have no statistical or factual basis. If something is so “reasonable,” then shouldn’t the data back it up?

The bottom line from their perspective (and, frankly, mine) is that rights are inherent. Barring incarceration, there is no reason to strip someone of their rights. Besides which, the “safeguards” banning felons from owning firearms work about as well as every other ban….which is to say not at all.

At best they are ineffective. At worst they prevent people looking to turn their lives around to do so with full rights. If the response is “violent felons shouldn’t have guns”, then a.) they shouldn’t be released and b.) in a well-armed populace, that individual wouldn’t have much power anyway.

2.) Gun education. Billy Johnson’s latest NRA Commentators episode focused on the idea of (re)introducing firearms safety classes in schools. As expected, this has led to a lot of panic from people who claim to support “gun safety”….so long as that is limited to legislating guns out of existence.

It is here where a lot of the older readers have a leg up on me. I’ve spoken to people who talk about how there used to be trucks with gun racks outside of high schools. How, as Charlton Heston noted in a speech, “of course, you didn’t need to lock your door at night because there was a gun in every bedroom.”

Of course, many people have been part of rifle clubs in high school as well. All of which begs the question: What happened here? At what point did guns go from something whose safe operation was taught in schools to something whose mere existence was to be banned and those who did own one demonized?

3.) National reciprocity. An article by’s Ben Marquis has both some good and bad news for advocates of a national CCW reciprocity law. He notes that, if one accepts permits as unconstitutional infringments on one’s rights, he must by definition accept that a national permit reciprocity law is also unconstitutional. He points, also, to the emerging Constitutional carry movement, which aims to negate the permit process altogether. He writes in part:

The ultimate goal for many gun rights advocates is nationwide Constitutional carry, evidenced by a national respect and recognition of the fact that anybody and everybody has the right to carry a firearm for their personal protection, if they so desire. Criminals already enjoy the ability to carry a firearm anywhere and everywhere, for whatever purpose they please, as they ignore the laws that prevent good people from doing the same. Why should law-abiding citizens be placed at a disadvantage to gun-toting criminals, by their own government no less, a government whose sole purpose is to protect and defend the rights of it’s citizens?

4.) Armed Citizen. In defiance of his workplace’s no-guns policy, a doctor in Darby, PA carried his firearm into Mercy Fitzgerald hospital this week. On Thursday, a man came onto the 3rd floor and began shooting. The doctor, Lee Silverman, turned his gun on the shooter, hitting him three times in the chest.

The suspect is currently in critical condition. Dr. Silverman, who was originally looking at losing his job over the incident, will instead be retained by the hospital. Indeed, the hospital said it is reviewing its policies “to ensure a safe work environment.”

5.) DC. Late-breaking news out of DC this week. Alan Gura, famous for his victories in the Heller and McDonald Supreme Court cases, scored another victory when a US District Court struck down DC’s ban on carrying firearms as unconstitutional. Senior Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. wrote:

In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny,”

DC, of course, may get it’s other gun laws defunded depending on what happens to the Massie Amendment, which passed the House last week.

With that, however, let us move outside of firearms for a bit.

6.) Marines. General Joseph Dunford was confirmed by the Senate as the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps. The 58-year-old will replace Gen. Jim Amos, who is retiring in the fall.

I’m not going to even try to hide this….virtually every Marine I’ve spoken with and a ton of comments on Facebook seem to give the impression that Amos’ retirement can’t come fast enough. If you are a Marine and disagree with that sentiment, please set me straight on that. From the outside, it looks like Gen. Amos is one of the most despised Generals in the history of the Corps.

Also, for the record, I’d want Gen. Mattis as either Commandant or President.

7.) Army. An Army Master Sergeant and Medal of Honor recipient retired this week. Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, an Army Ranger, retired after eight deployments spanning 15 years. The sergeant received the MoH for his actions on May 26, 2008. Despite having already been shot through both legs, he lunged towards a live grenade and threw it away from his fellow soldiers.

8.) Voting. Finally this week, the NRA’s re-started “Trigger The Vote” campaign is getting some attention with a provacative new ad this week. USA Today describes the ad as follows:

A suggestive ad by the NRA for its voter registration campaign will likely get tongues wagging.

The spot features a father talking to his son in a somber tone about something that’s not a toy, but is important to protect their family. He unlocks a case to reveal … a voter registration card.

The ad is part of the National Rifle Association’s Trigger the Vote campaign, aimed at increasing the number of registered voters — especially among gun owners. Andrew Arulanandam, public affairs director at the NRA, said the ad will run online and on cable backed by a seven-figure buy.

Bearing Arms takes it further, and it bears mentioning here:

When I instruct at Appleseed, one of my fellow instructors in the North Carolina cadre likes to point out that the Founding Fathers fought a long and brutal war in order to give us the gift of several boxes.

The soap box.
The ballot box.
The cartridge box.
The soap box of course refers to the right to free speech, to debate and disagree. The ballot box enables us to vote for candidates that best represent our views.

It was the sincere hope of the Founders that the citizens of the nation they founded would be able to go many years using just the first two boxes, and I suspect they would be pleasantly surprised to discover that we’ve only gone to the cartridge box just once (1861-65) since we became a nation to settle our differences.

While cynics say otherwise, voting does indeed matter. If you haven’t registered to vote, make sure that you and all your pro-gun friends register to vote, and that they turn out in November to ensure that their opinion matters. Elections are won and policies are decided by voter turnout.

The NRA’s campaign can be found at

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.


Pulling back a bit from being myopically focused on firearms this week, to focus on the liberty movement in general. Gun rights, gay rights, and stuff on millennials this week. Keeping it brief this week on a count of a ridiculously slow news week barring the Israel/Gaza madness, and a new plane crash for CNN, with help from Catty Conservative and This Is The Line’s Armed Novelist.

1.) Rand Paul. In an op-ed in USA Today, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky lays out his reasoning for the REDEEM Act, a bill slated to reform aspects of our criminal “justice” system and give at least people with non-violent felony convictions a “second chance.” The bill, if passed, would order the criminal records of minors to be sealed, and provide a path for adults to seal their records as well. (Note I said sealed not expunged. The former hides the record, the latter destroys it outright.

2.) Hope for the future. A Reason-Rupe poll suggests that a majority of millennials, at least in some respects, lean libertarian politically. This poll flies in the face of conventional “wisdom” which is that the same generation is more focused on entitlements and “social justice.”

3.) California. The governor of California signed a handgun ban into law this week. The law has nothing to do with the “gun violence restraining order” which has been stuck in the Senate since June because apparently due process still means something. Moving on.

4.) GOP and Gays. There’s been a shift in rhetoric from Republicans relating to the subject of gay marriage. Governors from various states have been slowly backing off their opposition to the topic, but also trying to keep focus on the party’s “major” issues like the economy.

Whether it is an evolution in rhetoric or caving to the “gay lobby” is completely up to you.

5.) Impressive collection. Two men in California were arrested after a search warrant turned up about 300 weapons despite that “prior convictions” legally barred them from owning a single firearm. The men also were said to have “anti-government thoughts and ideals”….because that’s so rare at this point isn’t it?

Just to put a point on it, these men weren’t supposed to have ONE firearm, but managed to get THREE-HUNDRED.

6.) Hobby Lobby Aftermath. I’ve never understood how some people’s first refuge in a debate is the death threat or ad hominem. Pride, apparently, is a much bigger deal than admitting one is wrong. Nobody knows this better right now than Holly Fisher, whose photograph of herself in front of a Hobby Lobby with a Chick-fil-a drink and “pro-life” shirt subjected her to no shortage of bile from critics of those three. A follow-up image of herself in front of an American flag with a gun in one hand and Bible in the other also scored her comparisons to a widower of the 7/7 attacks in London. (Not based on who they are, but on the POSE both women have in their respective photographs. Apparently that’s enough evidence for conviction.)

She seems to be rolling with the punches, though. Twitter handle is @HollyRFisher.

Ignorance is not in short supply on the Internet. But just because it’s in abundance doesn’t mean you have to buy it.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Back to Basics

Alright, Blowback’s out, the celebrations are over, and now we ease the Midnight run back into a normal format. This week, This Is The Line’s Armed Novelist on the language of the gun control debate, the word “Tea Baggers” returns in time for the election, and gun clubs meet country clubs. Keeping it brief and, for the most part, keeping it light.

1.) Armed Novelist. I mentioned a few weeks back that frequent Midnight Run contributor Armed Novelist has launched a blog of his own. Shortly after Independence Day he released a new entry called “The Language of Control.” In the piece, he discusses a recent speech by President Obama in which he said “we should be able to take some basic, common sense steps that are, by the way, supported by most responsible gun owners. Like having background checks so you can’t just walk into a store and buy a semi-automatic.” Leaving aside the rather obvious fact that nobody can do that, the switch from “assault rifle” to “semi-automatic” is both important and concerning to gun rights advocates.

2.) Distrust. While I don’t necessarily think polls should be seen as absolute truths, they are still worth at least paying attention to. A new Quinnipiac suggests that, while everybody (presumably) wants to lower crime to the greatest degree possible, most people don’t trust politicians to implement solutions for it.

It is also becoming clear that Mike Bloomberg’s gun control groups have had next to no influence.

3.) Seizures. That doesn’t mean people aren’t trying to ban guns regardless. The latest trend seems to be to allow guns to be seized purely on accusation. Gun control people love it, anyone with a decent understanding of the Constitution and due process hate it.

It says a lot, though, that we’re willing to torch a person’s right to due process of law if it means we can feel safer.

4.) Tea-Baggers. Shotgun Joe Biden is back. Apparently John Walsh is getting a program on CNN, which he vowed would continue Piers Morgan’s efforts on gun control. Walsh told reporters that he spoke to Joe Biden on the topic of guns once. National Review has the transcript:

“I said to Joe Biden, ‘90 percent of Americans are for a responsible background check for a gun, and you know what this Congress has done? Not voted on it, not brought it to the floor, not introduced a bill,’” he recalled to reporters during an event for his upcoming program, a crime show called The Hunt. “I said, ‘They’re all scared shitless of the NRA, aren’t they?’”

“‘John, every one of them,’” the vice president replied, according to Walsh. “‘Because the NRA will run a tea-bagger against you. . . . They’ll put 5 million bucks against you.’”

It should be noted that a lot of people attribute Morgan’s poor ratings to his gun control crusade. He has basically vowed to follow the path that doomed his predecessor.

5.) Checkpoint. An article over on Truth About Guns makes a simple, and fairly optimistic statement: What a difference a decade makes for gun rights.

Illinois has gone shall issue, of course here in Georgia we have HB60, and a host of other pro-gun legislation came online July 1st. TTAG focuses in particular on Kansas; which in the span of 10 years went from banning most NFA items and concealed carry (and allowing local municipalities to create their own gun laws) to having a state preemption law (giving the State Legislature sole authority on gun regulations) to allowing NFAs and concealed carry.

I would also add that the Colorado gun control laws were followed by the Colorado recalls.

6.) High-class range. “What do you get when you merge a shooting range and a country club? Leaving aside the fact that we’re at that point, apparently the so-called “guntry clubs” are an emerging trend in the shooting sports world. Washington Times has a story out on a massive complex in Gainsville, Virginia that will “house two 25-yard ranges, a 50-yard range and a 100-yard range, a 1,600-square-foot, two-story live-fire shoot house for law enforcement training, a cafe, a lounge and a 5,000-square-foot retail area.”

Range time is going high-class, people. It’s either a sign of the hobby going mainstream or an attempt to mainstream it regardless.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Blowback: Motivation

“Don’t trust anybody.”

It is a phrase barely ever spoken, but almost always intended by those seeking power. You can’t trust anyone around you because of what they might do. Everyone could be a mass murderer. Everyone could be a thief. Everyone could be out to take advantage of you/backstab you.

Everyone except them, of course. If we just give those seeking control of our lives what they want, not only will we be “safer” but all of the aforementioned fears will be taken care of. All we have to do, is surrender virtually everything to them.

In other words, fear your neighbor, but trust your rulers.

It goes without saying that this isn’t something that is widely accepted. In fact, over the last few years, government power grabs have been actively resisted, exposed, and in some cases forced to shut down. From the IRS scandal, to the scrapped plan to put FCC “monitors” in American newsrooms, there has never been a bigger resistance to the Federal government than there is now.

Outside of Federal agencies getting roasted, attempts at gun control have failed spectacularly since we met last year for Blowback: Resurgence. Gun sales continue to have extreme momentum, only recently pulling back from last year’s summer that pro-gun readers would rather not be reminded about.

Most recently, however, this resistance to government control has emerged in the form of fighting against the so-called Common Core public education standards. Many see it as the Federal government trying to directly control local school ciriculum with sub-par standards and convoluted methods. While Lady Liberty has taken to this topic to the point where my coverage is meager, it would be remiss to not discuss it at least to some degree. (Besides which, she basically asked me to do so on Twitter regardless.)

That isn’t to say that the “fear your neighbor” propaganda hasn’t worked. The general reaction to a positive news stories is “there actually are good people.” The trouble being that it’s ridiculously easy to counter that. Blowback has always focused on the larger picture; the survivalist movement, the patriot movement, self-reliance, etc.. This year will continue that, but will also attempt to break through that. In my mind, the ultimate way to do this is to show what happened during Winter Storm Leon.

1.) Baseline. As far as firearms as concerned, virtually everything from Resurgence to the end of 2013 has been covered in Midnight Run: Optimism. Going over all of that seems a bit redundant (especially for those of you who lived through the ammo shortages). This year’s Blowback will cover everything from that point forward. The Bundy fight, the rise of the militia movement, the idea of an armed revolt, and the broader idea of what it means to be a Citizen will all be covered.

I have no problem entertaining the idea of an armed revolt. I’ve been hearing enough about it to jump into it for Blowback.

2.) Education. Honestly, it would be a lot easier to say “go read Lady Liberty’s blog” and then just break for lunch. A.P. Dillon’s coverage has been relentless, and her coverage of the fight against Common Core is second to none. But, both at her request on Twitter AND because it is an important topic, we should at least address the topic. (But seriously, if you are looking for top-notch coverage of this fight, I readily admit that I am not the one to be following. She is.)

Also, I will endeavor to get through this topic without Pink Floyd references.

First off, Common Core is, in theory anyway, a group of educational standards produced by the Federal government. It goes in tandem with the “one-size-fits-all” standardized testing that has been so popular if ineffective lately. The issue is that, in many cases, the methods of teaching Common Core perscribes are outright baffling to most people.

The almost-robotic nature of the standards and methods Common Core used led to one particularly awesome speech by a high school student in Knox County, TN. TheBlaze reports:

“The president essentially bribed states into implementation via ‘Race to the Top,’ offering $4.35 billion taxpayer dollars to participating states, $500 million of which went to Tennessee,” Young said. “And much like No Child Left Behind, the program promises national testing and a one-size-fits-all education, because hey, it worked so well the first time.”

“If nothing else, these standards are a glowing conflict of interest and they lack the research they allegedly received,” he added.

Young also argued that Common Core standards display a “mistrust of teachers,” a line that prompted applause from the audience.

The battle against Common Core exploded when Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced that he intended to get his state out of Common Core, even if the Legislature refused to. This has led to a lawsuit pending between the Governor and the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Meanwhile, back in March Indiana became the first state to completely can using the standards. Georgia adopted the standards back in 2012, although there has been relatively minor attempts at barring it.

Finally, we tap into some of Lady Liberty’s coverage. In Oklahoma a bill to repeal Common Core was signed into law is now facing a lawsuit by the state’s Board of Education. (Similar to the lawsuit against Jindal in Louisiana. Are you still with me?) The lawsuit alleges that repealing the standards gives too much power to the state Legislature.

Also heartening are polls showing a dramatic reduction in support for Common Core. I will say this however, the only poll that will really matter in regards to Common Core aren’t for another five months.

Thanks once again to Lady Liberty for her relentless coverage of Common Core.

2.) Revolt: Overview. The idea of secession has been in the news off and on pretty much since the 2012 midterms. It is an upgrade of the “if he wins I’m leaving the country” stuff we’ve grown used to (or in my case, tired of) since the 2000 elections and probably before that.

I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in the (depending on your viewpoint concerning or motivating) uptick in traffic regarding armed revolt in the United States. There is a lot to cover in this section.

First off, however, I would like to thank a Twitter user for helping out here. Former Marine SSgt. Richard Davis and I have had numerous discussions on this topic both on Twitter and via private messages. He, and many others I have spoken to, seem almost convinced that some kind of armed revolt is on the horizon. One of their main focal points? The Bundy case. So let’s start there, while ignoring the racial freakshow CNN wanted to make of it.

3.) Revolt: Bundy. As discussed back in Midnight Run: Signal, Youtuber TheRealTripppleB has an excellent recap of events on the Bundy case. The reason it is relevant in Blowback is because a lot of people believe the collision between armed Federal agents and armed civilians is a sign of things to come. (The fact that it spawned a meme about a 2nd American Revolution and an more than a few iconic images doesn’t help either.)

The madness came to a head when Nevada’s governor and a Senator slammed the Federal government’s treatment of rancher Cliven Bundy. Governor Brian Sandoval said that “no cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans.”

As is well-known by now, the Feds backed off without a shot being fired. Afterwards, many Western states began efforts to take land back from the Federal government. (Nevada is roughly 84.5% Federal-owned land.)

Many see it as the start of something big. The rise of the militia movement, in many respects.

4.) Militias: Ground Rules. Back in the now world-famous Midnight Run: Debt update, I noted shortly after introducing a piece by Al-Jazeera America that the genetic fallacy has no place in the Midnight Run. The “genetic fallacy” is saying that something is irrelevant not because it isn’t true but because of where it comes from. I did this because I have been criticized in the past for using Al-Jazeera which, while a solid source for information, comes from a largely anti-American viewpoint to hear people (largely conservatives) say it. The fact that it was valid information, well-written, and relevant was apparently not enough to make “because it’s Al-Jazeera” a non-factor.

I’m bringing this up to inform you straight out that I don’t care. The concepts of armed revolt, indeed of citizen militias, is not mainstream by any stretch of the imagination. Therefore, it requires using sources that are regarded as extreme. Zero Hedge will make an appearance in a bit, for example.

5.) Militias: Overview. Let’s get something taken care of straight away. The phrase “well-regulated militia” in the Second Amendment does not indicate that the Founders wanted a Federally-regulated army, nor does it preclude civilian ownership of firearms. That first half of the Amendment is a statement of rationale, a “prefatory clause” that states the purpose of the Amendment without limiting the rights recognized by the Amendment. This was made clear in D.C. v. Heller it has been signified by the words of the Founders themselves (including George Mason’s quote stating that a militia is “the whole of the people”). There is also a fantastic article on Bearing Arms about the meaning of “well-regulated.” Basically, the Founders wanted the citizenry to be well-armed and well-trained in the use of those arms.

I would also like to recommend the book The Founders’ Second Amendment by Stephen P. Hallbrook. (Full disclosure: I am not with any sort of Amazon affiliate program and make no money off of any purchase that you decide to make after clicking that link.)

The first half of the Amendment states that the People should be well-armed and well-trained.
The second half of the Amendment states that the Government should stay out of the People’s way in achieving that objective.

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state”
“the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

That is the definition and the wording of the Second Amendment, and it is that definition we are sticking with for the rest of Blowback.

6.) Militias: Modern Use. Depending on who you ask, the rise of citizen militias either leads to “insurrectionism” (a term generally used by people who are already anti-gun and have decided to stop using the term “fetishist” for a few moments) or a much more orderly and restricted Federal government. A column from March in USA Today (I never said we’d use exclusively fringe websites) suggests that the absence of citizen militias has led to more intrusive law enforcement, arguing that if a well-regulated militia IS needed and we don’t have one, we are either “insecure, unfree, or possibly both.”

Bearing Arms takes this idea a bit further in an article that asks flat-out “can a rebirth of the Militia system head off the threat of government violence.”

7.) Militias: Action. But what, exactly, would militias be fighting against? Milwaulkee County Sheriff David A. Clarke believes that, if gun confiscation laws pass, it could lead to a “Second American Revolution. (Note that meme from the Bundy case, once again.) Some sites have taken it a step further, arguing that a civil war/revolution is, as Zero Hedge put it in June, “now inevitable.”

8.) Fear. Let me close Blowback by returning to the atmosphere of paranoia I discussed in the opening. On both the local and national level, many people believe that gun crime has never been higher. As a recent survey shows, constant reports of violence, fraud, and other crimes have helped feed into a society where people don’t trust each other much anymore. This distrust is dangerous to the country as a whole. The AP elaborates:

A society where it’s easier to compromise or make a deal. Where people are willing to work with those who are different from them for the common good. Where trust appears to promote economic growth.

Distrust, on the other hand, seems to encourage corruption. At the least, it diverts energy to counting change, drawing up 100-page legal contracts and building gated communities.

There’s one issue; almost all of it is based largely on media perception. Nowhere is this clearer than in a recent Pew survey that showed, despite the decrease in gun crime, that people believe it is actually worse.

But even that is breaking. Personally, I hold the non-stop reports of Good Samaritans that came out of Winter Storm Leon. In addition, Leon also gave rise to a crowdsourced map on social media set up to help people in need. The map, part of a project called “SnowedOutAtlanta”, allowed people to offer shelter, assist stranded motorists, and even allowed people to pin their location before their cell phone battery ran out.

While there is probably a survivalism case study in there, my point is this. If the world as depicted day-in and day-out by the media were true….none of that would happen. Sound odd? Let me put it in another way. People posted their GPS locations on a map open to everybody.

Moving northward, there is what Guns Save Lives referred to as the Detroit Revolution. GSL says the name describes an uptick in self-defense stories coming out of the city. The surge in self-defense stories was praised by the the city’s police chief. According to BizPac Review, the Chief say that he thinks the citizens of Detroit arming themselves is a “deterrent” to crime, adding “good Americans with [concealed pistol licenses] translates into crime reduction too.”

The surge in self-defense stories, the increasing distrust of the Federal government, and the rise of the survivalist/voluntarist movements all point to the same thing. Far from being “lost” or “finished”, the country is getting back to basics and rebuilding. People are starting to once again take their safety into their own hands, we’re seeing a revolt against Federal attempts to take control of education away from the local level, and yes, we are starting to see the monopoly on force break apart.

This is not distinctly American in modern times, as Reason Magazine pointed out in February, people around the world have taken to resisting government overreach. The action in Venezuela, Ukraine, and Thailand are all about people feeling like the government they are supposed to control is instead controlling them. With a recent Princeton study declaring our government to be essentially an oligarchy, and with the aforementioned attempts by the government to increase its control, it is only a matter of time before we see something snap back here in the US.

Will it be an armed revolt? Possibly. But we will see a resurgence regardless, and it will be like nothing we’ve seen before.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.