Grab Bag 5

Israel and, of all places, Russia back armed self-defense, and Open Carry Texas imagines what other rights would look like behind gun control regulations. Plus a “law school professor” discusses repealing the Second Amendment. (Stay with me.)

1.) Programming notes. First off, there have been more Grab Bag updates than usual as of late. I do try to find a running theme through the week’s news, but it is turning out that the larger the Run, the harder it is. It’s kind of a cop out, but for the naming conventions the Run has had for over a year now, it’s the best I can manage.

Also, there will be no Midnight Run next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. I can’t/won’t/never would consider speaking for my InSov Network colleagues, but I’m taking the occasion of Thanksgiving as a chance to breathe and focus on things neither online nor (entirely) firearms related.

But until that point, let’s take a look at just about everything that is firearms related.

2.) Russia. Would you have ever considered gun control getting weaker in Russia? Breitbart News has a story out this week saying that the Russian government now recognizes self-defense as a legit reason for people to carry guns. The news agency also notes Russia’s much higher murder rate:

In addition to concerns over the skyrocketing murder rate, it is important to note that Russian legislators are also grappling with ways to confront Russia’s growing terror threat and the tensions that continue to exist between Russia and the Ukrainian population. A well-armed Russian citizenry may be a pre-emptive response to both these matters.

It is worth repeating that INTERPOL called for armed citizens as an anti-terror method shortly after the Kenya mall siege in September of last year.

3.) Israel. Responding to a series of terror attacks in Jerusalem (among other places), Israel has decided to loosen its gun laws as well. Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said “The decision to ease the restriction stems from recent events and the need to strengthen the sense of security among the general population and due to the recent terrorist attacks that have struck us.”

Much like the US state of Texas, the gun-friendly reputation Israel has is almost completely opposite of what their actual laws state. The Jerusalem Post writes:

As opposed to the United States where gun ownership is a right, in Israel it is a privilege given to people who meet certain requirements.

The licenses have only been issued to those who work in security or law enforcement, or who live in settlements or other places where the state has an interest in them being armed.

As of earlier this week, criteria included that the applicant be over 21, an Israeli resident for more than three years, have passed a mental and physical health exam, background checks by the Public Security Ministry and shooting exams and courses at a licensed gun range. If given a permit, the holder is allowed to order a single firearm with a one-time supply of 50 bullets from a licensed dealer. He is required to retake the licensing exam and undergo testing at a gun range every three years. He also has to prove he has a safe at home to store the gun.

4.) Texas. Speaking of, let’s discuss a thought experiment from Open Carry Texas (who have thrown their weight behind a Constituional Carry bill in the state, as discussed last week in Midnight Run: Remnants). OCT posted to their blog an experiment where the other rights recognized in the Constitution are put behind regulations/licensing schemes similar to the ones places on firearms. For example:

The $200 Criminal Prosecution License recognizes that you are entitled to an attorney, that the state doesn’t hold a secret trial against you five years after you’re falsely arrested (assuming you don’t have a SSPL). Witnesses against you are protected cross examination unless you have a current CPL.

After being trained on the duties of jurors and proving that you haven’t ignored a jury summons in the past five, you can go to your nearest courthouse to obtain a $200 Jury Trial License that recognizes your right to a trial by jury.

Imagine if whether you spent the rest of your life in prison or were given a death sentence relied on whether you were licensed to have a public trial by jury.

5.) Repeal It. A Texas A&M law professor floated the idea of repealing the Second Amendment. TX A&M’s Mary Penrose framed her argument as follows:

“I think I’m in agreement with you and, unfortunately, drastic times require drastic measures. I think the Second Amendment is misunderstood and I think it’s time today, in our drastic measures, to repeal and replace that Second Amendment.”

Good luck with that.

6.) Ben Carson. Potential 2016 GOP Presidential Candidate Ben Carson “clarified” his now infamous remarks to talk show host Glenn Beck. Let us reset what happened, and work from there. In 2013, in a conversation on Beck’s television program, Carson said that he would rather people in urban areas “in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it.”

In October of this year, he told radio host Dana Loesch that his remarks were “inartful” and that he supports the Second Amendment….and also smart gun technology.

Two days ago, according to Bloomberg.com:

Carson said that he could have been more precise in his answer to Beck.

“Perhaps I didn’t convey it appropriately,” he said. “I wanted to convey that, you know, I’ve lived in urban areas. I’ve worked in urban areas. I’ve seen a lot of carnage, and I’d prefer a situation where the kinds of weapons that create that kind of carnage don’t fall to the hands of criminal elements or insane people. But that is secondary to the desire to always defend the Second Amendment.”

Carson said that “under no circumstances” would he “allow a bureaucrat to remove any law-abiding citizen’s rights for any kind of weapon that they want to protect themselves.”

If he were in a position of national leadership, Carson said he would seek to allow people to possess any kind of weapon they can legally buy, including “automatic weapons and semi-automatic weapons.”

Asked by one call participant whether he would support convicted felons being allowed to possess guns after serving their time, Carson said it would “depend on what kind of criminal activity they were convicted for.” He added, “Is this somebody who is still considered a danger to society? If that’s the case, they probably still should be in prison.”

Carson said a “mental patient” or someone with “history of violence” shouldn’t be able to own “anything” to “wreak havoc on society.” That, he said, could be part of a “reasonable” gun-control law. The government also shouldn’t “retrospectively” go back to make once-legal guns illegal, he said.

It’s not my place to tell you whether to trust him or not. I’d like to hear if you do or don’t, regardless.

Happy Thanksgiving, people. Next Midnight Run is in two weeks. Until then:
Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Remnants

Election’s long over, time to set the stage for the next few months. This week, Constitutional Carry and Open Carry in Texas, Missouri law now prevents cities from banning open carry, Moms Demand Action claims to have momentum after the election somehow, and gun control moves to the State level. Brief, but some big stuff this week.

1.) Texas. In a move that probably gave Open Carry Texas more credit than their critics would want, two bills regarding Constitutional (i.e. permitless) and Open Carry were introduced this week. For its part, OCT is saying it will support the Constitutional Carry bill, not the one specifically dealing with Open Carry. This on the heels of Governor-elect Abbott’s almost immediate statement that he would sign whatever OC bill came to his desk.

(Before we get into the whole “you lose tactical advantage” thing, someone on OCT’s Facebook turned me onto an article laying out the case for open carry.

2.) Missouri. A new law in Missouri would also make OCT happy. The law essentially gives the state legislature power over the manner in which guns are carried, and bans cities from introducing their own bans on, for example, open carry.

3.) Denial. Despite crushing defeats in both the House and Senate, a GOP majority in both houses, the amazing success of NRA-backed candidates, and the overall shift against gun control in recent years, Everytown’s Mom’s Demand Action division says that gun control advocates still have momentum after the midterms.

4.) Dirt And Blood. Bearing Arms has a report out about the lethality of knives. In mid-October, none other than Massad Ayoob had a piece out on the “dangerous myth of hierarchy of lethality

While the massive Dirt and Blood had nothing to do with either post, they certainly reinforce it and are worth bringing up.

5.) Crime Stats. 2013 was an insane year for gun sales. Anti-gunner logic says that spike should have led to a surge in crime as well. The FBI has released a report that says crime actually fell in 2013, despite the record-breaking gun sales. (About 1,163,146 violent crimes. Roughly .37% of 316 million.)

6.) Midterm aftermath. With the GOP dominating both houses, the odds of gun control getting anywhere federally is practically nothing.

In terms of the state level, things might look a bit different. There is a piece in the New York Times entitled “Gun Control Can Win at the State Level” that discusses the anti-gun movement’s attempt to adapt to a federal stonewall. (Note that they don’t call it gun control but “gun safety.”

In PA, Democrats are looking to block a new law that gives the state legislature sole authority over the regulation of firearms and gives organizations like the NRA the right to help local citizens challenge gun laws cities attempt to pass that are tighter than the state law.

Allowing that outside firepower (pun intended) is what Democrats at least appear to object to. For now, the bill is slated to go live in January.

7.) Paranoia. Iowa Firearms Coalition. “WI School Cancels Vet’s Day Ceremony. Worried About 21 Gun Salute.” There isn’t a setup I could write that would do the stupid and paranoia justice. From the article:

School officials in one Wisconsin town have taken irrational fears of firearms to a new low. According to WEAU, the Eau Claire School District has cancelled their annual Veteran’s Day Program because they’re worried about “uneasiness” over the traditional 21 gun salute.

Keep in mind a Veteran’s Day 21 gun salute uses blanks. And those blanks are fired from show piece guns that are mechanically altered so that they can not fire real bullets. And keep in mind, that 21 gun salute, and those blanks, and those show piece guns are used by military veterans – men and women who would lay down their lives in service to others.

“There are just some conditions that we have to adhere to and the shooting of guns, even with blanks, is something we don’t feel is appropriate given society, and the concerns that we have and that the community has, on school premises.” Said Tim Libham, the Executive Director of Administration for the Eau Claire School District.

Veterans in the Eau Claire area have been performing this ceremony in the schools for more than 80 years. Kaye Olsen, the Vice President of the Eau Claire Patriotic Council says her group has now been forced to move their Veteran’s Day Program to a local Burger King.

You just can’t make this up.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Afterburner

It’s been about four days. Are you done with the celebrating yet?

This week, all the election news as it relates to firearms. This week, two states amp up hunting rights, Alabama becomes the latest to add a “strict scrutiny” amendment to its Constitution, and anti-gunners cling to a law in Washington State.

Thanks to my InSov Network colleagues both for helping with the Run and tolerating my occasional geeking out as a newshound.

1.) Baseline. It was an incredible night for both gun rights and the GOP. Guns.com has an excellent recap of the night, including specific Senatorial and Representative races.

2.) Fundamental Right. In late 2012, Louisiana passed an amendment subjecting any attempt at gun control to “strict scrutiny.” (Although the state S In August of this year, Missouri voters approved an amendment to the state Constitution making the right to keep and bear arms a “fundamental” right.

Now, Alabama joins that list.

Outside of those amendments, Alabama and Mississippi also made hunting a constitutionally protected right.

3.) Political stonewall. The GOP secured the largest majority for the party since Truman was in office. (In other words, the mid 40s-mid 50s). Breitbart has called the victory a “mandate to stop gun control” With an incredible majority in the House, any gun control legislation would basically need a lot of Republican support.

4.) Bloomberg. Outside of a “victory” in Washington State that we’ll get to later, it was not a good election for Michael Bloomberg’s “grassroots” campaigns. An editorial in the Washington Times lays out most of the losses, ranging from the losses in Colorado’s House and Senate (although the governor was re-elected by a “razor-thin” margin), to Everytown’s main targets winning their elections regardless.

Brietbart also pointed out how many pro-gun governors dominated their elections as well.

5.) Washington. As both the WA Times and Brietbart have noted, there was one part of the election where anti-gunners made a bit of headway. Washington state approved a law for “universal” background checks. (In other words, background checks for ALL gun purchases and transfers.) However, the bill was so complex that someone was able to make a labyrinthine flow chart regarding how not to break the new law.

Everytown, for its part, is promising that Washington was “just the beginning” and that they intend to bring the UBC hell to other states eventually.

6.) Drawbacks. It was not a complete sweep for gun rights this week. Aside from the action in Washington state, seats Democrats lost during the Colorado recall election are back in the hands of Democrats.

The Nation also had its spin on the elections under the title “It Was a Great Night for Gun Reform” (note the change from gun control to gun reform, by the way). The article points to the re-elections of governors in New York, Connecticut, and Colorado; as well as Susan Collins’ victory in Maine. (Collins voted for the Manchin-Toomey background check bill.)

Apparently, 4-5 victories is a great night for gun reform control, even in the face of everything else.

7.) Safety. Outside of the electoral madness, a new Gallup survey says that six in ten Americans believe guns make homes safer. Only 30% of respondents said guns made homes more dangerous.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (AKA Handgun Control Inc.) criticized the survey, saying it was “troubled” by Gallup’s findings.

8.) State of Play. All of that in mind, what’s next? We know support for gun control has only gotten worse. We also have a new pro-Second Amendment group called ShallNot.org that is apparently backed in part by the Tenth Amendment Center.

More recently, however, a lawsuit in Connecticut seeks to overturn the firearm/mag bans. The NRA offered a “friend of the court brief” arguing against the bans, falling back on the US Supreme Court’s landmark Heller decision.

Also, as mentioned in point four, Bloomberg’s anti-gun groups have not had a good run as of late. This isn’t even including their inability to get a decent protest going.

There are really only two ways this can end now, with pro-gun advances at the state level, and a Republican surge at the Federal level. The first sees the gun control movement slowly dying out, eventually becoming a loud but easily-ignored minority. The second sees a deeply divided country, the kind of America secessionists claim bolster their arguments.

But one thing is certain: gun control doesn’t have much to stand on. With the Internet, the intentions (a total gun ban) and tactics (ranging from appeal to emotion, to SWATting, to outright slander) of the gun control movement are clear to anyone who is capable of doing baseline research. Attempts to use shootings to push legislation that even advocates admit has almost no chance of stopping gun violence. (Something even former Everytown execs admit as well.)

Gun control has had a horrid track record, and had a bad night this past Tuesday. Considering the trend against gun control, the formation of aggressive and no-holds-barred pro-gun groups, and the increasing inability of gun control groups to even get a basic protest underway of any significance, that is only a taste of what is to come.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Groundswell

The midterms are, regardless of how some choose to spin it, a referendum on the last two years of leadership from elected representatives. It’s also a chance for once-nascent movements to make their mark on the national stage. This week, we look at the silence from Dems on gun control with help from InSov Network colleague and This is the Line editor Armed Novelist, we look at the tanking support for gun control since 2012, and we re-visit the nullification movement.

1.) Repercussions. Sandy Hook was, to many in the gun control movement, the “it” event. The shooting was the event of such grand scale, involving such young targets, that support for gun control would surge, making every effort to ban firearms sail through Congress. What we ended up with were fabricated polls, using the Newtown victims as props at gun control speeches and, lest we forget, one of the biggest jumps in gun sales in modern history.

The event that was supposed to destroy gun rights and galvanize gun control ended up doing entirely the opposite.

Over on This is the Line, Armed Novelist has a much more in-depth take on the midterms.

2.) Nullification: The Movement. The Tenth Amendment Center has launched a new website focusing on Federal gun laws. In an article posted this week, the Center launched ShallNot.org. The accompanying handbook lays out what is billed as a “State-Level Plan to Nullify Federal Gun Control” and states that “simply put, the federal government has no constitutional authority to restrict your right to keep and bear arms. At all. Period.”

To that end, the Tenth Amendment Center also has a note on three states already moving toward nullification; Idaho, Alaska, and Kansas.

3.) Washington State.. Michael Bloomberg is not known for a winning track record when it comes to pouring money into elections centered around firearms. This should come as great encouragement to opponents of I-594 in Washington state, as Bloomberg has now put nearly $2 million into supporting that proposition, alongside the roughly $8 million other gun control groups have thrown at it. I-594 would, in effect, force background checks on alltransfers and purchases of firearms. (Yes, even from relative to relative.)

4.) Lacking support. There is a very good reason for the millions being thrown at the measure. A new poll by Gallup suggests that support for gun control has has tanked in the last two years. This is in addition to the surging gun sales, spectacular failure of federal gun legislation, and success of pro-gun legislation of HB 60. (All of which, to be quite frank, has been run though so frequently here that to do it again would be beyond redundant.)

Or, as an op-ed in the Daily Caller noted, “The Obama Administration is Still Losing Its War on the Second Amendment.”

Stay alert. Stay informed. Stay free.