The Arizona Rifleman http://www.arizonarifleman.com Shooter, Scientist Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:05:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bloomberg’s 5 Strategic Blunders http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/04/17/bloombergs-5-strategic-blunders/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/04/17/bloombergs-5-strategic-blunders/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:56:08 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2502 Continue reading ]]> From Guns.com comes this excellent piece regarding Bloomberg’s recent announcement. Here’s the quick summary and some commentary:

1. New name, same stink
You can’t polish a turd. In other words, they can call it whatever they like, but as long as Bloomberg is at the helm of the organization they’re going to encounter heavy opposition to their cause.

I genuinely think he doesn’t get that outside of the Northeast and anti-gun places like Chicago, people aren’t so keen on him. Pretty much nobody likes out-of-town billionaires telling them how they should do things.

2. Timing is everything
If it’s true that timing is everything, then one has to question why Everytown chose to announce this move approximately two weeks before the National Rifle Association’s annual show and convention, which is the gun lobby’s one weekend during the year in which they are certain to garner mainstream media coverage and reach millions of Americans.

Yeah, that’s weird.

3. The real objective to background checks
Various polls show that there is widespread public support for universal background checks yet many gun owners are opposed to a law mandating them. Why is this?

The reason gun owners object to universal background checks is not over the notion that private transfers shouldn’t be subject to background checks, but over the implementation of the measures lawmakers proposed.

The article goes on to suggest that rather than mandating that all purchases go through an FFL, where a record of sale is kept, private individuals should have access to NICS (or at least a basic version that says “Proceed” or “Consult FFL”) in the form of a smartphone app or something otherwise easily accessible. They also mention a useful thing that’s often overlooked: having the app be able to save and print out a receipt/record of sale, so the seller could have a record Just In Case.

I, for one, would be totally fine with a law opening up NICS as an option for private sellers, so long as (a) it’s optional and (b) that’s all the law does. No registration, no data retention, no mandated FFL transfers, etc.

If I’m going to sell a gun to a buddy I’ve known since I was a kid, there’s no need for me to do a NICS check — I know he’s good, but if I were to sell to someone from Armslist, someone who responded to a classifieds ad, or someone I met at the range it’d be nice to check to make sure they’re not a prohibited person. Criminals will, as usual, simply ignore the law so it makes no sense to mandate the checks.

4. Why go to war, when compromise is possible?
It appears that Everytown is gearing up for war when it’s quite possible that they could have cut a deal with gun owners and saved Bloomberg millions of dollars.

Suppose [...] Bloomberg’s being sincere in his remarks1, I bet most gun owners would readily sign a deal that established national, ‘shall-issue’ concealed carry reciprocity laws in all 50 states and created a federal law banning bans [AZR: emphasis mine] on ‘assault weapons’ and ‘high capacity’ magazines in exchange for an improved background check system, tougher laws cracking down on domestic abusers and increased funding for suicide prevention and the safe storage of firearms.

Easy: For Bloomberg it’s not about the guns, it’s about control. He doesn’t want a deal, he wants to win. If he actually gave a damn about increasing public safety there’s about a zillion other things he could with $50 million that would be enormously more effective.

Lest anyone think his “nobody is going to take anyone’s gun” remarks are sincere, look at the history of gun control activists: they always say they don’t want to take anyone’s guns, then they ratchet the restrictions tighter when they can.

One need look no further than Sunnyvale, California, where they recently banned even the possession of grandfathered “high-capacity” magazines and require that people turn them into the police. It should be obvious that “universal background checks” is a stepping stone. Indeed, MAIG and MDA, both funded by Bloomberg, have explicitly stated that they want to ban “assault weapons” (which are, of course, the most popular guns owned by ordinary people and some of the least-likely types of guns to be used in crimes) , restrict magazine capacities, and work to eliminate the “gun culture”.

5. All this for what?

Before one wages a $50 million war, they ought to know what they stand to gain if they win. And in this particular instance, what’s achieved by expanding background checks to cover private transfers is not quite clear, meaning that there’s no statistically significant evidence to suggest that universal background checks would have a positive effect on crime rates.

Again, Bloomberg wants to win. He knows that “universal background checks” aren’t going to do squat against criminals, and probably so do the people at MDA, the Brady Campaign, etc., unless they’ve all been drinking the kool-aid. It’s just the camel’s nose in the tent and a point of leverage for future encroachments; baby steps, if you will.

They realized that asking for the whole pie isn’t going to work, so they’re asking for just a teensy-tiny slice. Then, in the future, they’ll ask for another and another until eventually they get where they want. We have to counter them at each step lest they gain a new foothold.

Edit: Minor corrections to grammar. I really need to proofread before posting.

  1. “Nobody is going to take anyone’s gun. Nobody is going to keep you from hunting or target practice or protecting yourself,” said Bloomberg on Wednesday during an appearance on the Today Show. “Just making sure that a handful of people, who we all agree shouldn’t have guns, don’t get their hands on them.”
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Defying New York http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/04/14/defying-new-york/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/04/14/defying-new-york/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:10:45 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2496 From Sebastian comes this gem:

Defiance

Peter O, a commenter at Shall Not Be Questioned, points out that the person filling out the form did not use the black ink as required.

 

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Ballistic Monte Carlo Methods http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/04/14/ballistic-monte-carlo-methods/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/04/14/ballistic-monte-carlo-methods/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:05:40 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2490 Continue reading ]]> This is a paragraph I never thought I’d see in the academic literature:

“[W]e advocate the use of ballistic-assisted (i.e. projectile-based) random sampling methods because they are both easily accessible and parallelizable. In particular, shotgun-assisted random sampling seems very suitable becaues of the presumed abundance of shotguns in cataclysmic times and the speed at which they can generate samples.”

- Vincent Dumoulin, Félix Thouin – “A Ballistic Monte Carlo Approximation of π

Awesome. That’d make for an amazing grant application.

See here for a summary article that explains things for non-mathematicians.

Edit: Somehow I borked the initial post by forgetting the title and screwing up a link. I’ve now corrected these errors. If you’re still seeing those errors in your feed reader, please refresh the feed.

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Bill Maher: “Why Doesn’t The Democratic Party Come Out Against The Second Amendment?” http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/03/24/bill-maher-why-doesnt-the-democratic-party-come-out-against-the-second-amendment/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/03/24/bill-maher-why-doesnt-the-democratic-party-come-out-against-the-second-amendment/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 18:58:14 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2487 Continue reading ]]> From Real Clear Politics, National Review, and Sebastian comes this gem:

ELLISON (D-MN): I mean, 27 children were mowed down. Isn’t that enough for us? One of our colleagues, [former Congresswoman] Gabby Giffords, shot in the face.

MAHER: Then why doesn’t your party come out against the Second Amendment? It’s the problem.

ELLISON: I sure wish they would. I sure wish they would.

MAHER: Really? Because I never hear anybody in the Democratic party say that. But they say, ‘I am also a strong supporter.’

I expect Maher to say something like that, but I’m surprised that a US Representative who has taken the Oath of Office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” would be so forthright.

Immediately following the above exchange, Rep. Ellison encourages Maher (and the audience) to “[c]heck out the progressive caucus. We have come out very strong for common-sense gun safety rules.” to which Maher replies, “Common-sense gun safety is bullshit.”

For once, I agree with Maher as he defines “common-sense gun safety” as, “It means there are 3,000 types of guns available in the U.S. and you want to ban about 200 of them. [...] It’s not going to change anything.”

Rep. Ellison replies, “No, what it means is that if you want to have grandpa’s shotgun, have it, but get rid of those crazy military-style assault weapons. [...] You can’t solve the problem with just one little thing. You’ve got to make sure that the CDC can issue reports on gun killings and hand gun violence. You’ve got to make sure that we can get rid of assault weapons. You’ve got to close the loophole at gun shows.”

Wow.

If you are interested in seeing your blood pressure rise, click the links and see the video.

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Skepticism on Anti-Gun Studies http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/02/17/skepticism-on-anti-gun-studies/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/02/17/skepticism-on-anti-gun-studies/#comments Mon, 17 Feb 2014 11:57:15 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2481 Continue reading ]]> I’m a bit skeptical on a new study. The BBC says,

Researchers claim a new study provides some of the most compelling evidence yet for tighter gun controls in the US.

The team followed the consequences of the State of Missouri repealing its permit-to-purchase handgun law in 2007.

The law had required purchasers to be vetted by the local sheriff and to receive a licence before buying a gun.

Reporting soon in the Journal of Urban Health, the researchers will say that the repeal resulted in an immediate spike in gun violence and murders.

The study links the abandonment of the background check to an additional 60 or so murders occurring per year in Missouri between 2008 and 2012.

This seems a bit strange to me: gun buyers are still required to undergo a NICS check at the gun dealer (even if they don’t need to get a permit from the sheriff, who also presumably runs the buyer through NICS), so how would doing away with a duplicate check and permit from the local sheriff result in an increase in gun murders?

The team said it took account of changes that occurred in policing levels and incarceration rates, trends in burglaries, and statistically controlled for other possible confounding factors such as shifts in unemployment and poverty.

The team counted a doubling of handguns shortly after sale being recovered from scenes of crimes or from criminals.

Interesting, though I wonder how they define “shortly after sale”. The article does not mention if the handguns being traced were originally purchased in Missouri or brought in from other states. Also, it doesn’t mention how they were able to get access to trace data in the first place, what with the Tiahrt Amendment still being in effect.

According to the article, the study was conducted by “Prof Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.” I note that they forgot a key part of the research center’s name: the proper name is the “Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Center for Gun Policy and Research”.

Being a scientist myself I’m a big fan of science, but I’m skeptical of research produced by think-tanks, particularly those with major funding from a heavily-biased source.

Either way, the study is irrelevant: owning a gun is a Constitutionally-protected right. Requiring a permit or license to exercise any right, even if such permit or license is routinely granted, is wrong, period.

America currently has more than 300 million handguns in circulation. But the issue of gun control remains a hugely contentious one.

I was under the impression that the US had somewhat more than 300 million guns of all types, not just handguns. This was probably just an editing error on the part of the BBC.

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Great news from California! http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/02/14/great-news-from-california/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/02/14/great-news-from-california/#comments Fri, 14 Feb 2014 10:34:24 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2476 Continue reading ]]> As the Washington Post reports,

A divided federal appeals court on Thursday struck down California’s concealed-weapons rules, saying they violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

By a vote of 2 to 1, the three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said California was wrong to require applicants to show good cause to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Outstanding. I was born and raised in California and the restrictive gun laws there always chafed a bit (though I later moved to Arizona, where things were better). Although the gun laws in CA have ratcheted ever-more-restrictive over the years (“assault weapons” ban, .50 BMG ban, etc.) it’s nice to see a combo-breaker in the form of this case.

Honestly, this decision (and the recent one out of Illinois that struck down the prohibition on carry) is something I did not expect: I’ve been so used to states like California having increasingly restrictive gun laws, even in the wake of Heller and McDonald, that I more or less gave up hope for those states. I am pleasantly surprised and, to paraphrase Sebastian, I hope this is a step in bringing certain states back to America.

I will also join in with everyone else congratulating Clayton Cramer for having two of his law review articles cited by the court.

Although court decisions like this one are baby steps, they’re steps in the right direction and lay down a good legal precedent for the future.

Update 1: Bob Owens has some choice quotes from the decision here.

Naturally, the Brady Campaign is not happy. They statement claims that, “Neither history or precedent supports this aberrant, split decision that concocts a dangerous right of people to carry hidden handguns in public places to people whom law enforcement has determined that they have no good cause or qualifications to do so.”, which is somewhat strange since the court has, in support of its decision, cited numerous historical and legal precedents. Do the Brady’s offer any sort of citations to legal precedent, court decisions, or historical claims in support of their position? No, they go straight to emotional arguments: “The parents of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, whose children were killed by licensed concealed-carry holders, could educate the Court about the real dangers posed by this legal error.” That’s pretty weaksauce, even for the Brady’s.

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Detroit police chief reiterates pro-CCW stance http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/02/02/detroit-police-chief-reiterates-pro-ccw-stance/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/02/02/detroit-police-chief-reiterates-pro-ccw-stance/#comments Sun, 02 Feb 2014 18:04:13 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2473 Continue reading ]]> From The Detroit News:

Police Chief James Craig responded Thursday to a citizen who criticized his pro-gun stance by reiterating his opinion that “good citizens” who legally carry firearms could help deter violent crime.

[...]

Craig stressed that he doesn’t support vigilantism.

“This is not often talked about: responsibility,” he said. “I do not condone vigilantism. I don’t support individuals arming themselves and doing the work of police officers. Police officers are trained to enforce the law. I think you put people at risk when you have people that are out playing police. I do see that a concealed weapon is an opportunity for self-protection only; not to go out and enforce the law.”

After Thursday’s meeting, Police Commissioner Lisa Carter and her husband, Tyrone Carter — both former police officers — said they agreed with Craig.

“There are a lot of seniors in Detroit who are victims,” Tyrone Carter said. “It’s not vigilantism for people to protect themselves.”

Added Lisa Carter: “That’s all we’re talking about: The right for people to be able to protect themselves.”

Excellent.

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You’re on your own http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/01/30/youre-on-your-own/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2014/01/30/youre-on-your-own/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 21:25:36 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2471 Continue reading ]]>

Unfortunately the people calling the police in an active shooter event (or an armed robbery, or a home invasion, etc) don’t have three minutes. Lethal violence typically happens in seconds, not minutes. The bad guys do not announce their presence or intentions ten minutes before they start the fireworks. The police are almost always going to be reacting to an act of violence that is ongoing, meaning they are going to be rushing to the scene where people are already bleeding in a valiant effort to limit the carnage. Not to prevent it. To quote from the report: “Approximately half of the events (49 percent) ended before law enforcement arrived on scene. This points to the phenomenal speed with which these incidents occur.”

The FBI report is acknowledging a simple, inescapable truth: You are on your own.

- Tim at Gun Nuts Media (Emphasis in original.)

Read the whole thing.

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On Useless Laws http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2013/12/10/on-useless-laws/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2013/12/10/on-useless-laws/#comments Tue, 10 Dec 2013 16:34:35 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2464 Continue reading ]]> Slashdot user MBGMorden has written one of the most concise, insightful summaries of why gun control laws are essentially useless. I’ve reproduced their post here for posterity:

 

Murder is against the law, and rightfully so, but that’s because the actual act being outlawed is exactly what you want to prevent. Once a murder has occurred grave harm (literally) has already occurred to another party. Same with theft. Same with rape. Same with assault.

See, all those things are directly harmful to another individual. Making laws against them certainly won’t ever stop such crimes from being committed at all, but it will reduce the frequency.

The issue with plastic guns (or gun laws in general) is that the very act of having a gun isn’t harmful. You can do harmful things with it, but just having one doesn’t cause any harm in and of itself. The people that would use those guns to harm another person are already willing to break laws to do so – laws with much stiffer legal consequences.

Think of the number of guns in the US. There are more guns in this country than there are people. The VAST majority of them are never used in a harmful way, and the vast majority of gun owners are law abiding citizens. Passing gun laws affects most of them (because most of them actually follow the laws), but it does nothing for the tiny fraction of them that do not adhere to the law anyways, and those were the ones you really needed to worry about.

Its not that laws in general are useless – merely that laws that exist solely as an attempt to keep someone from breaking another law are useless.

 

Emphasis mine. That last line sums things up quite nicely.

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Veterans for Responsible Solutions: a new anti-gun astroturf group http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2013/11/12/veterans-for-responsible-solutions-a-new-anti-gun-astroturf-group/ http://www.arizonarifleman.com/2013/11/12/veterans-for-responsible-solutions-a-new-anti-gun-astroturf-group/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 08:51:17 +0000 http://www.arizonarifleman.com/?p=2460 Continue reading ]]> So, Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords have started a new branch of their gun-control group, Americans for Responsible Solutions. This group is supposed to bring “the experience of military veterans who’ve sworn to defend the Second Amendment and have themselves been well versed in the use of firearms”, according to CNN, who continues with the following:

“I’ve been shot at” while flying, Kelly told reporters on a conference call organized to promote the initiative.

Moreover, there are guns in the Arizona home Kelly shares with Giffords he said, guns used for self-defense and target shooting.

The point Kelly was trying to prove is that neither he nor any member of his organization is looking to repeal or limit Second Amendment rights, likely because the perception of any move against gun ownership in the United States is bound to incite fierce opposition from the powerful pro-gun lobby.

Ok, let’s focus on the last paragraph, where Kelly says he and this group are not trying to repeal or limit Second Amendment rights. While I agree that he’s not trying repeal the amendment (you can’t repeal rights), I’m curious how he can claim to not want to limit the right when his group states that its policy goals are:

  • Criminal Background Checks
  • Limiting High Capacity Magazines
  • Limiting Assault Weapons
  • Stopping Gun Trafficking

The only one of the four policies that wouldn’t infringe or limit the Second Amendment is the last one, as it focuses solely on criminal traffickers of guns. The other three goals seriously infringe on people’s rights: mandatory background checks on all sales would be ineffectively without a registry (else how would you know if a check had been performed?), limiting magazines with a capacity greater than some arbitrary limit (7 in NY, 10 in CA, 15 in CO) puts artificial limits on what people can use for sport or self-defense, and banning the most popular types of guns in the country (which are almost never used in crime) serves no purpose at all except to restrict people’s rights.

In short: essentially everything this group wants to do ends up restricting and limiting the rights of ordinary, law-abiding people while doing essentially nothing that would be effective against crime.

Also, CNN talks about “the powerful pro-gun lobby” as if it were some nebulous, diabolical group instead of tens of millions of law-abiding, gun-owning (and/or gun-rights-supporting) fellow Americans.

Vance Coleman, a retired Army major general, said on the call that he also owns guns. But not everyone should, Coleman continued, namely criminals and the mentally ill.

“They should not own guns and the Congress needs to do something about that,” Coleman said.

Incredibly enough, it’s already illegal for criminals and the mentally ill to own firearms. Their rights can be restricted after due process (e.g. being convicted of a disqualifying crime or being adjudicated mentally defective, involuntarily committed to a mental institution, etc.).

The exact functions of the veterans initiative remains fluid.

In short, it’s an astroturf group that intends to use appeal to authority (that of military vets) to push it’s unconstitutional agenda, but they haven’t quite worked out the details.

Politically, gun control has proven largely unpalatable, particularly with the successful recall elections in September of a pair of Democratic legislators in Colorado who helped push gun control measures.

Indeed. It’s probably wise for politicians to remember this point.

Hat tip to Sebastian. How he keeps up with all the news to find these stories, I have no idea.

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