Progress

I noted back in Brevity that campus carry here in Georgia was axed from the gun bill. However, that was not to say that the gun bill going through the legislature isn’t impressive. This week, a look at the bill, plus CCW on Campus elsewhere, and the return of Dick Heller. Thanks again to The Armed Novelist for helping gather this week’s reports.

1.) Georgia. Despite the loss of campus carry, a major gun bill that would allow for CCW in churches and bars. The bill passed the Public Safety and Homeland Security committee, will move to the House Rules Committee, before finally coming to the House floor for a vote.

In other Georgia news, a group calling itself the “Millenials Movement” (you only wish I was making that up) is opposing a portion of the gun bil which, while not legalizing campus carry, lowers the penatly from criminal prosecution to a $100 fine. A Morehouse College student, Ronnie Mosley, says the bill basically endorses guns on campus through that alone.

To repeat, this does NOT legalize campus carry. That is likely dead for the session.

2.) MAIG. To the surprise of pretty much nobody, a former of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns group left after noticing that the objective of the group was gun confiscation. In a column in the Poughkeepsie Jorunal, mayor John Tkazyik wrote the following:

It did not take long to realize that MAIG’s agenda was much more than ridding felons of illegal guns; that under the guise of helping mayors facing a crime and drug epidemic, MAIG intended to promote confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens. I don’t believe, never have believed and never will believe that public safety is enhanced by encroaching on our right to bear arms, and I will not be a part of any organization that does.

We can only hope other mayors see that, and also defect from the organization. Still though, it is good to see such candor from someone who used to be part of that group.

3.) November. Kicking up the hype well ahead of the elections, the NRA has referred to the 2014 cycle as “do-or-die” in terms of the Second Amendment. NRA President Jim Porter says the organization “fully expect” to win a pro-gun Senate in the 2014 elections. He also noted that even anti-gunners are seeing their narratives collapsing, with the release of crime reports plus the lack of long-promised “blood in the streets” gunfights materializing.

4.) Postal Service. A persistent Senator Rand Paul got a measure to allow guns NEAR but not IN Post Office buildings passed unanimously through a Senate committe. Paul noted the support of his ammendment allowing guns both near and in the buildings was backed by the NRA, GOA, and National Association for Gun Rights.

Minor victory, to be sure. But at least leaving a gun in your car before entering the Post Office may no longer be a criminal act if the bill passes. I’m curious to know what criminal would stop at being “near” the building though.

Storm

As I’m sure you know by now, we in Atlanta suck at dealing with snowstorms. While I will briefly touch on the absurd firestorm in the aftermath, I am more interested in zooming in on the timeline of events, as we have a case study on panic buying and our (or at least our country’s) tendency for misguided over-reaction.

This week, we focus on the storm. And no, we are not using it’s “name.”

1.) Monday. Monday night saw what modern America calls “preparing” for the storm. This largely consists of panic buying and way-too-late pre-treating of major highways and other arteries of the city. For whatever reason, buying stuff hours prior to the storm is “just what people do” in this country. It’s a practice that still baffles me.

2.) Tuesday. Tuesday is when things got interesting. As this timeline from 11Alive shows, schools and the Atlanta government essentially closed at the same time and about an hour or so after the snow started falling. This led to a surge of traffic in quickly-deteriorating road conditions. At around 2:00 PM, reports of widespread gridlock started to emerge. That gridlock essentially lasted into the following morning, with many literally spending the night stuck in traffic. I personally know one man who had to walk from Kennesaw to Marietta. How he managed to come to class on Friday I’m still not sure.

3.) Wednesday. With the snow mostly gone, many cars on the road abandoned, and gridlock still on the roadways, Wednesday was essentially a day for the government to catch up on clearing out the roads. With a State Of Emergency declared (and frankly, with traffic at an unprecedented dead stop) many schools simply did not open Wednesday, or Thursday. Temperatures remained below freezing the entire day. It should be noted that, while there were power outages, they were not widespread, and many areas still had all the basics.

4.) Thursday. Temps briefly passed freezing, and most of the city had gotten into a shelter. This was largely a wrap up for the city, but already people were looking for someone to blame. Invariably, the main two men taking the flak were Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim (ka-seem) Reed. Now while there is a huge fight over it, I’m not going to wade into that. Both because it is largely irrelevant (there is no “one” party to blame for all this) and because it is at best a cover for the ignorance of everyone else.

5.) Samaritan. While the overall picture is bleak, there is one element I want to draw attention to for different reasons. The aftermath of the storm saw amazing gridlock, and a paralyzed city. At the same time, many who were not in the gridlock took it upon themselves to help those who were. In addition, as it was used in West, Texas, social media saw people coordinated efforts to help stranded motorists. At the apex of the storm, Home Depot announced plans to keep many of its stores open overnight in case people needed shelter. While the national media focuses on the politics and who is to blame, I prefer to focus on the people working to make the best of a horrid situation.

6.) Aftermath. I bring all this up to pose a number of questions. As I have said in the past, all major events have tactical value to the prepper or survivialist. That statement is no different here. What would you do in that situation? If you were one of the people stuck in traffic for twelve to eighteen hours, how would you manage that and would you eventually abandon the car? What about those around you? In my opinion, the purpose of prepping, the purpose of survivalism as a whole, is to rely on one’s self regardless of what happens and, as we saw all over Georgia, sometimes that also means rolling with the events, and helping others out in the process.

Brevity

Well, I had a few notes planned for this week…..then the week happened.

There is a story in the LA Times highlighting every school shooting/lockdown event this week, plus we have the mall shooting in Maryland.

So this week, we’re keeping it really brief. This week an emphasis on CCW on Campus, the FBI says AR-15s in schools are a solid idea, and a look back to the Arapahoe shooting. Thanks once again to Armed Novelist for helping out this week.

1.) CCW On Campus. The current gun bill in the Georgia Legislature does not have a provision for CCW on Campus. This does not mean that CCW On Campus won’t come up in a later bill. The demise of the CCW On Campus provision comes after an attempt to leave the decision to ALL university admins was potentially unconstitutional.

2.) ARs in Schools. Meanwhile, a report from the FBI seems to suggest that putting AR-15s in schools may be a better idea than many are wanting to admit. The report reads in part:

The data clearly support equipping officers with patrol rifles. Many ASE sites involve open spaces or long hallways that create engagement distances beyond the ability of most officers to effectively engage a suspect with a pistol. Add this to the possibility that the officers may have to place precision fire on a suspect while avoiding hitting fleeing or injured victims, and the need for patrol rifles is clear. Additionally, about a quarter of attackers are armed with rifles. Officers ought to have firepower at least equivalent to what they will face if they go in harm’s way.

So the FBI supports armed officers in schools with ARs, while the head of INTERPOL suggests an armed citizenry can prevent massive attacks. Alongside that and the PoliceOne survey, it’s doubtful we’ll be hearing much about how Law Enforcement “overwhelmingly” supports gun control.

3.) Arapahoe. As with most mass shootings, the warning signs were ignored at Arapahoe as well. A guard named Camerson Rust says that the administation there ignored multiple warnings about the shooters erratic behavior. Arapahoe, of course, was where the shooter was stopped by an armed guard. Not that anyone wants to discuss that….

4.) Preparation. How many people carry a knife and a gun with them? How many of you have been told “you’ll never need it.”

In talking to The Armed Novelist tonight, a story from 2012 about a man named Chris Willden came up.  Willden had come across a car that had slipped off of bridge, landing wheels-up in an icy river. Willden shot out the windows, and used a knife to cut away the seat belts. From The Truth About Guns:

He said the other two children were lifeless, the boy upside down in his car seat and the second girl floating in the front passenger compartment. Both were pulled from the vehicle.
Buzzy Mullahkel, of North Logan, told the Deseret News of Salt Lake City that the boy wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse, but was revived when another passer-by performed CPR.
“Emotions started taking over when he started to breathe. Everybody started to cheer. Lots of tears and clapping,” said Mullahkel, a father of a 4-year-old.

Guns, ladies and gentlemen, are tools. Nothing more, nothing less.

Statistics

Research suggests the sky is not falling, more women are arming themselves, and target shooting is surging in popularity. Also, more States work to expand gun laws, and a few stories from the Armed Citizen files.

1.) World not over. Back-to-back studied from Northeaster University and Texas State University suggest both that there is no “epidemic” of gun crime AND that the use of so-called “assault rifles” is extremely rare. Also of note is the Northwestern U study’s look at violence in media:

Tackling the subject of violent video games being linked to mass murders in recent years, the study brings into question the fact of whether these individuals were drawn to the game or abandoned to it by an ever-weaker fabric in today’s family structure. “To the extent that youngsters spend endless hours being entertained by violence says more about the lack of parental supervision and control. It isn’t that the entertainment media are so powerful; it is that our other institutions—family, school, religion, and neighborhood—have grown weaker with respect to

In other words, it may be a societal issue, and not the boogeyman of violent media. Both FOX News and the NRA could learn that….and at least FOX seems to, however reluctantly.

2.) Women. Perhaps the second biggest (if not the biggest) driving force behind the recent surge in firearms is the surge in women buying firearms for self defense. In addition, recent poll data suggests that women make up about 37% of new target shooters.

It is making the concept of the gun owner strictly being a muscleheaded redneck about as dated as that of the basement-dwelling gamer. It’s always good to see stereotypes collapse.

Meanwhile in India, the Indian Ordnance Factory has announced the first firearm made in India designed for women. The Nirbheek is a .32 revolver. The weapon costs the equivalent of $2,000.

3.) Legal Landscape. According to Georgia Carry, there is a bill going through the Senate here to end the Stand Your Ground law. In a statement posted on its Facebook page, GCO writes the following:

The General Assembly has reconvened and is beginning to hear bills. One gun control (SB208 – which would repeal Georgia’s Stand Your Ground Law) bill has been introduced and it is expected that a new gun bill will be introduced soon.
The new bill is not finalized yet there are those spreading rumors as to the dire consequences of passing the new legislation. There is no bill. There is no finalized language and your rights are not on the table for anyone to negotiate away. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and wait until the bill is dropped and see what is in it before people start opposing it or any language in the bill. As soon as the information is available, we will publish a link to the bill so that you may view it and understand what is in the bill.
Obviously, SB101 and HB512 are, at least for the time being off the table. We don’t expect them to move anywhere due to the new bill that is being offered. The new bill will start the process over with committee hearings. We have been told that it will move quickly with little to no delay.
Please wait until the language is complete and you are informed of the language before calling about specifics on a gun bill. It is fine to keep in contact with your elected officials and ask that the support gun rights but it is totally unnecessary for you to bombard them will calls that are without merit.
As we have stated in the past and continue to state, please show your elected officials respect when contacting them in any manner. Threats of never voting for them, etc. get you nowhere very quickly and hurt, rather than help our cause. In some of the items below, you will find information to help you fight all our opponents. That includes those claiming to be 2A supporters to those whom we know to be gun prohibitionists.

Meanwhile, another GA Legislator is introducing a bill that would dramatically impact FEDERAL regulations in terms of how the State handles them. According to Creative Loafing (odd name, solid news source), the bill would prohibit public officials and FFLs from following Federal laws “relating to a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition that is sold, owned, or manufactured commercially or privately in Georgia.”

It should be noted that the Daniel Defense line of rifles is manufactured here.

Nationally, it is looking more likely that guns will be a central issue in the midterms. Michael Bloomberg’s group Mayors Against Illegal Guns has said that Bloomberg is prepared to use his personal wealth to push for stronger gun laws. This is an interesting change, as recent documents from MAIG suggest that he used public funds instead. Those documents also suggest that MAIG and the Brady Camp have been going at each other.

4.) By The Numbers. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is out with a new infographic that looks at the progress target shooting has made in 2013, and it’s overall impact on the American economy. Lots of ammo, lots of new shooters, so by nature there is a lot of money being spend on all of it.

5.) Armed Citizen. A man was critically injured at a Portland strip club after bursting into the building and shooting three. However, another patron was armed, and returned fire, critically injuring the suspect. All three victims were injured, but not killed. The clubs owners said that the suspect had been denied entry because of “belligerent behavior and racist comments.”

6.) CT Update. Finally tonight, this via Armed Novelist. The Truth About Guns is noting that, despite the mandatory registration, almost nobody actually registered. As TTAG notes, the confiscation is likely to happen regardless. If nothing else, it is cool to see a LOT of people completely ignore the required registration. This will definitely be remembered come the midterms, and I think everyone is looking forward to it.

Backfire

A bill for treating CCW permits like drivers licenses, Colorado Dems feel the heat from Magpul’s departure, and gun sales smash all previous records in 2013. Great week in firearms. Many thanks to The Armed Novelist for helping gather some of this week’s news.

1.) Chicago. Turns out the city not only banned carrying handguns, but also selling them in the first place. A recent US District Court ruling, however, struck the ban down as unconstitutional. This is, of course, a follow-up to the defeat of anti-gun efforts to prevent the State as a whole from allowing concealed carry.

Slowly but surely, fellow gunners.

2.) Candor. Moms Demand Action reacted to the ruling and, in the process, accidentally laid out their real agenda to go after both legal guns and ilegal ones over time. In a statement, the group said that they were “shocked that in a densely populated city struggling to keep children safe from gunfire, the court has dealt a serious blow to public safety by essentially encouraging more citizens to arm themselves.” The idea of defending yourself in an urban hellhole is, apparently, a bad thing. MDA stated that they agree with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who stated that “we need stronger gun safety laws, not increased access to firearms within the city.”

3.) Magpul Aftermath. Democrats in Colorado are taking heat for forcing Magpul out of the State. Republican state Rep. Lori Saine said “the magazine ban did not garner one Republican vote in the House or Senate, and now as a result of this one-sided, Democrat-sponsored law, more than 200 people will lose their jobs and their ability to provide for their families.

Magpul moved their operations to Texas and Wyoming after Colorado passed the magazine limits among other things in a large gun control package.

4.) 2014. Under the impression that he still has credibility, Mark Kelly, the husband of former AZ Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, said that his PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions, is looking at countering the efforts of the so-called “gun lobby” in 2014, and that they have raised $11 million in this effort. He says the PAC has become a “significant force” in the debate. Also of note is the almost expected statement of We’re gun owners. Gabby’s from Arizona, I was in the military. We feel strongly that people should have the right to own a gun. Those rights should not extend to criminals, abusers or the seriously mentally ill.”

5.) CCW in Georiga. On Monday, Georgia’s State Legislature begins the 2014 session. CCW on Campus, a holdover from last year, is expected to get another look this year and stands a fairly good chance of passing. (The previous effort failed not due to a lack of support, but a lack of time.) Despite anti-gun propaganda, it is worth noting that this would extend the right to those who have permits to start with.

I look forward to providing the best coverage I can of the issue. Keeping my ear to the ground for rallies, hearings, and eventual votes.

6.) CCW Everywhere, A pro-gun bill introduced by a Texas (naturally) Senator would allow CCW permits to be treated like drivers licenses, allowing permit holders to carry in any state that also has a permit system in place. The bill is slated to be formally introduced on Monday.

7.) Record breakers. Finally this week, as predicted, 2013 was a banner year for gun sales, smashing previous records in terms of the sheer number of background checks performed. Of course, background checks alone are a miserable indicator of gun sales, as more than one gun can be attached to the same check. Nonetheless, it is an indicator of where the country is going, and flies in the face of virtually every narrative about the collapse in gun ownership, which is itself experiencing a bit of a resurgence.

National CCW Reciprocity, CCW on Campus, and gun control lobby efforts to make gun control a central issue of the 2014 elections. We just got started and it is already looking to be an awesome year.

Pre-game

New year, but there’s a ton of stuff to cover. As an aside, the Georgia Legislature kicks off January 13th, so the fight over guns on campus will start soon as well.

Anyway, on this week’s Midnight Run, Citizens in a county in Oregon pick up where a gutted sheriff’s office left off, gun registration begins in Connecticut (and builds in other States), and Magpul confirms new HQ and manufacturing hubs. As always, we’ll close with the latest from the Armed Citizen file.

1.) Citizen Law Enforcement. Josephine County, Oregon reduced its sheriff’s department to what has been described as a “bare-bones” force. Residents have responded by creating their own armed patrol groups. The county government had relied on timber subsidies from the Federal government, which owns about 70% of the land there. When that was cut, officials tried to pass a tax levy to cover for it. That levy was killed by voters, and the sheriff’s office was promptly cut down. The sherrif’s office announced that it would be limited to “life-threatening situations” and urged those in “volatile situtions” to move out of the county.

2.) Connecticut. Gun owners in Connecticut lined up to register certain guns and magazines this week. A new law, passed in the wake of the Newtown shooting, requires the registration of what the state deems “assault weapons” and magazines holding more than ten rounds. The Connecticut Citizens Defense League, which says the law is unconsitutional, still reminded gun owners of the law so they didn’t become felons on New Year’s Day.

Reaction on the Internet was pretty diverse. Ranging from the idea that Connecticut citizens who did register their guns were a “craven few [who] seem eager to give away their liberty” to more sympathetic views asking if the people calling them cowards would follow through on their beliefs and refuse to register their guns at the risk of becoming felons. The former group points to New York gun owners, many of whom completely ignored the requirement in the State’s controversial SAFE Act.

3.) DC. Gun re-registration came online in the Nation’s Capital this week. Everyone who has purchased a firearm since 1976 must re-register it for $48 and be photographed and fingerprinted like the criminals they are. The penalty for not doing so is a revoked registration, which makes the Citizen a felon for possessing an unregistered firearm. That “crime” carries a max penalty of a $10,000 fine and a year in jail. As the Washington Times notes:

The city has not made clear how it will enforce the law, but the police are in possession of all registrants’ home addresses so confiscation and arrests would be simple.

4.) SAFE Act. A Federal Court upheld a majority of the NY SAFE Act this week, save for the limit it placed on how many bullets can be in a magazine at one time. The 7-round limit, and three other provisions deemed “too vague” for residents to understand (involving “references to muzzle ‘breaks’” and pistols deemed “versions of automatic weapons”) were struck down in a ruling by US District Court Judge William Skretny.

5.) Detroit. The Armed Novelist brings this out-of-nowhere news. The head of Detroit’s police force suggested that armed Citizens may deter crime. In a remarkably candid press conference, Chief James Craig said “When we look at the good community members who have concealed weapons permits, the likelihood they’ll shoot is based on a lack of confidence in this Police Department.” He continued, “coming from California, where it takes an act of Congress to get a concealed weapon permit, I got to Maine, where they give out lots of CCWs , and I had a stack of CCW permits I was denying; that was my orientation. I changed my orientation real quick. Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed.”

Robert Steveonson, director of the Michigan Associate of Chiefs of Police, noted that “a lot of police officers have no problem at all with law-abiding citizens having guns.”

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence said that his stance was purely an “emotional one.”

6.) Magpul. Ending months of speculation and complete silence, weapons accessory manufacturer Magpul announced that it is reloactaing its headquarters to Texas, and all other parts of its business to Wyoming. The company made headlines for announcing plans to move out of Colorado after sweeping gun control legislation was passed, including mag limits and an Assault Weapons Ban. The company is still looking at sites in Texas for its headquarters. In a related story, the company’s online store was quietly changed to show the release of its AK PMAG to be some time early this year.

7.) Armed Citizen. And finally the latest from the Armed Citizen file, this week taking place exclusively in Texas.

A homeowner in the Dallas suburb of Cedar Hill fatally shot an intruder who climed through a window on Christmas Eve. The intruder was identified as 31-year-old Joshua Slaven, the stepson of Cedar Hill mayor Rob Franke.

Another homeowner in the Fort Worth area shot an intruder in early December. After being shot, the suspect fled the home, but was eventually caught by police following the suspect’s blood trail. The suspect did survive his injuries.

Finally man in Amarillo, Texas attempting to steal a pickup truck was shot by the truck’s owner.. The truck’s owner found the suspect, 31-year-old Terry Lee Richardson, looking through the contents of his pickup and confronted him. Richardson reportedly tried to take the man’s gun but was shot in the process. Richardson was hospitalized and later arrested.

Grab Bag

No real rhyme or reason this week. It’s Christmas and everything is mostly slowing down barring a hilarious attempt to turn one man being axed from a cable channel into a story about the First Amendment and religious persecution. (Because there aren’t any other cable networks on Earth that’ll take that show, is there?) That pathetic outrage aside, this week we have news via The Armed Novelist about a Georgia school district arming Resource Officers in a big way, Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns are merging, and some more info on gun sales.

1.) Arming Schools. Armed Novelist turned me onto this from Breitbart. The Gainesville, GA school board has voted to buy Colt M4 ARs for officers in middle and high schools. The guns will be locked behind safes with biometric technology which (in theory, as any lock can be defeated) should keep the guns in the hands of the officers and nobody else. The one person on the board who voted against it claimed he “just can’t buy into guns in school.”

2.) MDAFGSIA-MAIG. The two “major” gun control groups of the day, Moms Demand Action etc. etc. and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, have announced plans to merge. The press release states:

The organizations will unite their grassroots, policy and field forces to enact common-sense policies that respect the rights of gun owners while keeping firearms out of dangerous hands. Moms Demand Action will continue its work as a moms-focused organization in partnership with the mayors’ coalition.

So we have that. They accomplished next to nothing separately, so I have low expectations for if they can do much together. Favorite part of the release is this:

“Gun violence used to be something that happened only in other cities, other communities, but now every mother and every American knows the fear of ‘what if?’ – what if it were my community or my child’s school?” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action.

God forbid we have to wargame what a criminal might do….better to think that “it can’t happen here” I suppose.

3.) “Gateway Crime.” This via Armed Novelist. Solidifying every anti-gunners paranoid fears, the chief of the Chicago police said that merely carrying a firearm is a “Gateway Crime” to committing murder. There isn’t much else to say about that, really. So let’s wrap this up and move on before breaking for Christmas.

4.) Gun Sales. Finally tonight, a bit of news about the continuing popularity of firearms. A story on Click Orlando, the main site for WKMG, states that Florida Law Enforcement expect to perform over 1 million background checks this year on private firearm purchases. As discussed back in Optimism, background checks are on track to set a record, with more checks performed this year than in any year prior.

5.) Christmas. Taking a break next week for Christmas and the New Year. Been an epic year for gun rights, and I look forward to covering what is looking to be a packed 2014. From CCW On Campus here in GA, to revived efforts at gun control nationally, the action planned for next year will make this year look like a warm-up act.

Merry Christmas, people. Relax, enjoy time with family (maybe spend some time at a range?), and I’ll see you in the new year.