Backtrack

There’s not much to cover here. Everyone’s either freezing or trying to debate the color of a dress while freezing.

This week, gun control advocates cave in Vermont, Brady Campaign backs down on some of its promises, and audio of Bloomberg’s racially-tinged comments finally surface.

1.) Vermont. The state that has been a constitutional carry state for years was never going to do it, and now gun control advocates have admitted that universal background checks are a dead issue in the state. Looking for the silver lining, Ann Braden of “Gun Sense Vermont” said “two years ago, there wasn’t any way any gun provision would be debated. This is a long-term campaign to really change the conversation, so we can pass legislation to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”

That’s incredibly optimistic, considering the general direction of the country away from restrictions on firearms. (The idea of parts of the Gun Control Act being struck down has been a pipe dream for years, and yet it happened just this month.)

2.) Pennsylvania. A law passed recently in the Commonwealth of PA allows for organizations like the NRA to sue municipalities for having gun laws that are more restrictive than the state law. When this first passed, groups like the Brady Campaign promised some municipalities that they would help defend the laws from lawsuits.

Then the lawsuits started happening, which has led to the groups saying they never made the promises at all.

3.) Bloomberg. Everytown/MDA/MIAG head Michael Bloomberg’s comments about essentially taking guns from minorities for their own good (his words not mine) have finally emerged in audio form after Bloomberg blocked the video of the comments from releasing. Bloomberg phrased his point by basically suggesting that, since minorities are responsible for most of the violence, taking guns from them would be in their best interests and stop them from killing each other.

It’s about as categorically racist as it sounds.

4.) Zimmerman. Finally this week, the Department of Justice has announced what everybody already knew and said they do not have enough evidence to bring charges against George Zimmerman for the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin. Andrew Branca, a self-defense attorney with what is easily the definitive timeline of the trial, also took some time out on Legal Insurrection to break some of the inevitably-resurfacing myths that continue to be parroted for political gain three years later. All of his work on the case should be required reading on the Internet before discussing the case. Mr. Branca has called the case the cleanest self defense shoot I’ve ever seen brought to trial, in 2+ decades of practice” and explains why with his insanely thorough coverage of the case on LI. Well worth the read if you have the time.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Grasping

Anti-gun activists look to remain relevant, MDA tries to spin a victory out of Open Carry in Texas, and part of the 1968 Gun Control Act is struck down.

1.) Remnants. In an effort that is almost doomed to fail, anti-gun Senators are continuing to push for gun control legislation despite Republican control of both houses. The goal this time seems to be to settle for a possible “high capacity” magazine ban, limiting mags to only ten rounds. The theory being that limiting the rounds reduces the damage a mass shooter can do.

In other words, it is an accross-the-board ban to deal with a single, rare issue. (Recall Everytown’s universally panned attempt to inflate the number of school shootings.) It goes without saying that there is a much larger agenda at hand there.

2.) Goalposts. And now, a shot-and-chaser set of stores.

Let’s start on Februrary 15. Moms Demand Action head Shannon Watts said that open carry was “unsafe” and that the NRA is “normalizing” said unsafe behavior The logic being that open carry “makes it harder for people to ascertain who is and is not a member of law enforcement.” Of course, they admit that 40 of 50 states have some form of allowance for OC.

That’s the shot, now the chaser.

Fast forward two days later. February 17, 2015. Texas Governor Greg Abbot reaffirms that he will sign any open carry legislation that comes to his desk. While the bills on offer are not the constitutional carry bills that groups like Open Carry Texas (to be clear, Open Carry TEXAS not Open Carry Tarrant County) wanted, open carry is still very much on the table, as is campus carry.

Shannon apparently took to Twitter to say that MDA still hasn’t lost because no bill has gotten to his desk and anything that does will still require permits.

So the best victory available is suddenly supporting open carry with a permit, apparently.

3.) Stand Your Ground. The controversial-for-some-reason Stand Your Ground laws are back in the news this week, with bills in both Texas and Georgia looking to repeal their respective states’ SYG statutes. The Georgia one hasn’t been getting much play (and has almost no chance of passing regardless) while the Texas one at least has one or two articles documenting it.

But a lot of the “outrage” around SYG is based on a misunderstanding of its role in self-defense law. All it does is remove the “duty to retreat” from the equation. The use of force itself must still be justified. As “Law of Self Defense” author Andrew Brancca wrote in 2013, the concept of the law is actually over 136 years old. The article was written in the context of the Zimmerman case. He writes in part:

….the imposition of a generalized duty to retreat made defeating almost any claim of self-defense child’s play for hyper-aggressive prosecutors. In a fight for your life your attention is focused sharply on staying alive–at least, if you survived we can assume that was the case. After allocating the cognitive bandwidth to staying alive, there’s often not a whole lot left to allocate to identifying and carefully assessing the prospects for safely retreating down that particular path, or through that particular door, or behind that particular obstacle.

But in the cool, safe environs of a court room, the Prosecutor will point to ALL of these avenues of escape and demand the jury ask why not one of them were pursued–why they were not even attempted? And if he can convince them that a reasonably safe avenue of retreat existed and you failed to take advantage of it, failed to meet your generalized duty to retreat, before using deadly force, your use of that force is not justifiable under the law. Your entire claim of self-defense collapses out from under you, and instead your conduct has become an unlawful killing.

4.) Constitutional Carry. While Constitutional Carry is no longer a certainty in Texas, the concept has been gaining traction elsewhere. Lawmakers in the Colorado Senate and Montana House each approved their takes on the subject of permitless carry.

5.) Nullification. The concept of outright nullifying federal authority on firearms came back into focus this week with the ATF’s sudden interest in banning a common type of “green tip” ammo. ShallNot.Org has an excellent recap of that fight, broken down state-by-state.

Constitutional carry plus a reassertion of both the Second and Tenth Amendments. It’s a good time to be following gun news.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Lone Star

Two carry bills advance in Texas, New York City manages to go 11 days without someone being murdered, and law enforcement on background checks.

I kind of miss the larger Runs, but I don’t feel there is all that much worth covering as of late.

1.) Texas. While not the Constitutional Carry many were hoping for, bills supporting open carry and campus carry easily passed their committee hearings to go to the full Texas Senate. Of course, the other big story out of Texas is the head of Open Carry Texas being assaulted by an armed Moms Demand Actionbodyguard. Why an anti-gun group would still go with armed security is either ironic or a sign of what their actual goals are.

2.) New York City. Apparently, the fact that NYC has gone without murder for eleven days is major news worthy of an article. Of course, New York City isn’t exactly gun friendly, so that it also is dangerous enough that this warrants an article doesn’t speak highly of that either.

3.) Background checks. Police in North Carolina are pointing out that background checks can’t stop first-time criminals. After investigating the murder of 38-year-old Russell Allen Mitchell, it was discovered that the suspect, 62-year-old Richard Nielson, had no criminal record and was able to buy a handgun about an hour before his murder-suicide.

He had “nothing in his background that would have issued any red flags.”

Basically, think of it this way. The Walter White at the start of Breaking Bad could have bought any weapon he wanted.

There is a whole discussion on background checks, their ineffectiveness, and their unconstitutionality we could go on here. Lucky for me, Linoge over at Walls of the City has already done that and has a lot more credibility on that topic than I do).

4.) Handguns. A Federal Court has ruled that the ban on interstate handgun transfers is unconstitutional. Most interestingly, however, is the standard by which the law was ruled unconstitutional. The law did not survive even moderate scrutiny standards, let alone the strict standard that anything involving a Constitutional right should be subjected to.

This is the first time that part of the 1968 Gun Control Act has been struck down in court. Whether the rest of it will follow remains to be seen.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Grab Bag: February 2015

Women continue to drive gun sales, The Bang Switch on why cops aren’t the only ones who need firearms, and a doomed push for magazine ammo limits on Capital Hill. Threads between the news are starting to get really difficult to find.

1.) Women. Markley’s Law is a term coined by either Linoge or Joe Huffman stating that, when an gun control advocate starts to lose a debate, he/she will invariably make some form of sexual innuendo. Basically, the implication is that the person only supports the ownership of firearms as a way of compensating for a small penis.

As of late, there has been one major issue with this (aside from the fact that sexual innuendo is the hallmark of a dead argument). The driving force behind the recent uptick in gun sales has been, and according to examiner.com’s Dave Workman continues to be, women. In Washington state, for example, women hold roughly 23% of CCW permits in the state. Additionally, the National Shooting Sports Foundation says that “women are now the fastest growing segment in the shooting sports industry.”

If that continues, it should make the use of Markley’s Law increasingly awkward.

2.) “Only Cops Need Guns.” Matt of TheBangSwitch has a column out that takes aim at the argument “only cops need guns.” Matt, himself a cop, notes what should be obvious: no matter how much the police want to, they simply cannot physically protect you. Safety, in other words, is a personal responsibility (and as many legal cases have upheld, it most certainly isn’t theirs because it is physically impossible). The reality is that the numbers simply don’t add up.

The NYPD is one of the largest police organizations in the United States. I just checked their official website and according to that, the NYPD currently has approximately 34,500 cops. That is a huge number by any stretch of the imagination. BUT, let’s put that number in perspective. According to the most recent available census data (2011), NYC is 468 square miles and has a population of 8,244,910 people. Now for some arithmetic: 8,244,910 / 34,500 = 239 citizens per cop.

Read any apartment lease, any private business’ rules, or even a public institution’s rules. Generally you will see a pattern among all three; while they can take steps to lower the risk of crime occurring, they cannot be held responsible for crime and cannot prevent it.

3.) Ammo limits. For some reason, the idea of limiting the number of bullets in a magazine has taken root once again. A new bill in Congress seeks to limit the number of rounds in ANY magazine to no more than 10. The pretense, of course, is reducing the ability of a mass shooter to do more damage. It is worth noting that the rifle used by the Columbine shooters had a 10-round limit.

However, this bill is almost certainly going to fail with Republican domination in the House and Senate.

Interestingly, in Colorado, some Democrats have signed onto a bill to repeal magazine limits.

Whether that is an honest response to criticism or an attempt to set up something much larger remains to be seen.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Grab Bag: January 2015

The “Gun Violence Restraining Order” is back from the dead, Kentucky residents can now apply for CCWs online and a blazing fast disarm ruins an armed robber’s plans. Keeping it brief once again.

1.) GVRO. The idea that if someone can’t get a gun they are suddenly pacified raised its head again this week, with an “extreme risk protection order” bill being introduced in Washington State. The bill, author and Washington State Senator Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma) says, would allow for the family members, doctors, etc. of a person to confiscate that person’s firearms if any of them believed he was going to seriously injure another person. The bill would also have provisions for people who file a false report to be criminally charged.

None of this, of course, deals with the problem at hand. Someone believed to be ready to injure another person by definition doesn’t care HOW they do it, so long as somebody gets injured for whatever reason. The bill also does not seem to give the target of the order any real due process until after the guns are confiscated.

2.) Online Application. How many of you would apply for or renew a CCW permit online? Kentucky has published the results of their efforts this relatively new idea. Most importantly, the online application system has reduced the wait time for permits from two months to somewhere in the region of 15 days.

3.) D.C. But, while one state is making applying for a permit blisteringly easy, other areas are doing exactly the opposite. Washington D.C., which has dragged its feet since the Heller decision way back in 2008, has finally started issuing permits. Right now, there are eight people in all of DC who have permission to carry. Eight.

4.) Nullification. For whatever reason, nullification continues to gain steam. This time we have news out of Montana about a nullification bill getting a redo in the state Legislature. Montana, of course, was one of the original Stand Your Ground states, which has since spread to roughly 33 states. Whether this will spread outward from Montana as SYG did remains to be seen.

5.) Smart Guns. Guns.com attended the first “smart gun symposium” in Seattle, Washington this week. On the agenda were panels on the technology and the challenges smart guns faced, but everyone was, according to the website, “almost everyone involved steered very clear from any political action that might, in the slightest, indicate that the purpose for developing these technologies was tied to any form of gun control.” Guns.com also noted that, despite being within minutes of where the symposium took place, nobody from the Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms were invited. The event, meanwhile, was hosted by Washington Ceasefire (a gun control group) and the Washington Technology Industry Association.

6.) Disarm. A store clerk in England was held at gunpoint (yes, I know, “but they don’t have guns in England”), and managed to disarm the suspect in one ridiculously smooth motion. There is not much information on the case, but it is definitely worth your time.

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.