In the wake of the San Bernadino shooting I have several long-time friends on the Book of Face calling for more gun control as a means of stopping such tragedies.
One person proposed “common-sense” things like “banning assault weapons, closing the gun-show loophole, universal background checks, restricting magazine capacity, waiting periods, training requirements, safe storage laws, actively taking guns away from people no longer eligible to own them, licensing, registration” and so on. They failed to realize that every single one of those things is already the law in California and did nothing to prevent the bad guys from carrying out their terrible crime.
Another went so far as to say that the country should ban bullets, since banning guns is legally off the table. <sarcasm>Right, because that’ll totally work, no court would ever have a problem with that, there’d be no incentive for criminals to illicitly produce or import cartridges using the same methods?used for human or drug smuggling, and nobody can possibly make bullets, powder, and primers from scratch.</sarcasm>
The anti-gun-rights side is getting desperate at their near-complete inability to restrict our rights at the federal level, with only slightly more success at the state level. We have the Brady Campaign calling the NRA “terrorists” and we have?Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo coming clean with something that pro-gun folks have known for a while: they actually do want to take our guns. He even says as much in an earlier article: “Yes, we really do want to take your guns. Maybe not all of them. But a lot of them.”
As long as it seemed possible to pass regulations limiting the most egregious abuses of gun ownership, there was some political logic to accepting the gun culture basically on its own terms and advocating for specific fixes. These include limitations on weapons designed for or less exclusively mass violence, basic background checks on gun purchases, perhaps waiting periods for purchasing a firearm, etc.
Getting those sorts of limited, incremental restrictions passed would certainly be harder if gun advocates knew that the gun control supporters actually wanted or were building toward more dramatic efforts to take guns out of circulation, require licensing – in other words, to fundamentally change the nature of gun ownership in the country.
(Bold added by me. -AZR)
Sorry, Josh, we’ve known that was endgame for you and others who feel the same as you?for decades. It hasn’t fooled anyone, no matter how many times the Brady Campaign or Bloomberg’s groups change their names.
It’s now clear that even the most innocuous restrictions on guns – simply requiring real background checks, restrictions on big magazines which let you snuff out more people before someone at your school massacre tackles you – are not even up for discussion or any good faith bargaining. No restrictions are allowed. Period. This present reality has to be accepted and understood.
Glad to see he recognizes that our?rights aren’t up for discussion or bargaining away. Sorry, you get nothing, nor should you.
I’m under no illusion that there’s any political will at the moment to dramatically reform private gun ownership in the country. But precisely because no reforms are possible today it makes perfect sense to flesh out the alternative – not minor restrictions on the margins but a society which has dramatically fewer guns, where private ownership was limited and regulated like how you would in a civilized society and one in which we took seriously limiting the needless deaths and suffering guns cause today.
You want to take my guns away.
I won’t give them up.
Now that it’s almost one year until the election, the anti-gun groups are?dumping?money?into?commercials?for politicians.
Unfortunately, Bloomberg has enough money to keep this up essentially forever. Sure, money doesn’t vote, but it can sway voters and ~$40 billion can sway quite a few.
Now would be an ideal time to donate some money to the NRA-ILA?(no NRA membership required) and the NRA-PVF (NRA membership required). I just chipped in $100 each to the ILA and PVF.
If you’re not already a member, join here. They have a promotion now where you get a free duffel bag (whoo!) and $10 off the one-year membership (and more off the longer-term memberships). That money can do a lot to counter Bloomberg, and having the NRA be able to say “We have X million dues-paying members.” makes a big difference in the legislature.
Over at The Federalist, Rachel Lu writes:
It?s one thing to accept that my husband?s mostly-safe job has a slightly increased risk of death by psychopath. It?s quite another to accept that he can?t do anything about it. Granted, it isn?t likely that someone would try to murder him and his students in cold blood. We now have to agree, though, that the risk is no longer entirely negligible. If news rooms were being shot up at the same rate, I?m guessing we?d be seeing major movement on the protect journalists front.
In the end, that?s really the question we have to ask. In a real emergency, do you want the psychopath to be the only one with a gun? Or would you rather take the terrible chance that people like my husband (a legal gun owner and married father of four) can handle carrying a weapon responsibly, knowing he might then be in a position to save your life if a deranged gunman chooses our university community for his next rampage?
Go read the whole thing.
I’ve bought and sold a small number of guns in private sales over the years, mostly with friends I’ve known for decades and others I know are non-prohibited (e.g. I watched them pass a NICS check a week or two before) so the risk of my inadvertently selling to a prohibited person was quite small. Still, I was thinking about ways to make private sales safer for both buyer and seller.
It seems to me that the most logical thing would be to perform a NICS (or equivalent) check when issuing drivers licenses or state IDs. People who pass the check get a green checkmark or something on the back of their license, while those who fail get a red “X” or some other mark. It doesn’t need to be huge or obvious (think “Organ Donor”-mark sized), and it doesn’t even need to suggest guns (so squeamish people don’t get annoyed or even know what the mark is for).
Since everyone, gun owner or not, gets the marks on their drivers license or state ID, there’s no privacy risk that could be used to identify who is a gun owner or who isn’t. The marks merely indicate if someone is or is not prohibited from owning guns.
If someone’s circumstances change so that they’re now prohibited from possessing guns,?their license is replaced with one with the “prohibited” mark. Since such a change in circumstance almost always involves the authorities (e.g. being arrested by the cops, tried in court, etc.) enforcement should be reasonably easy. Costs would be negligible, since similar checks to determine one’s eligibility to drive are already carried out by the DMV at the time of issuance.
Those participating in private sales can easily check for the “approved” mark and have confidence that they’re dealing with a non-prohibited person.
Criminals would, as they do already, engage in illegal sales without compunction and wouldn’t care about marks on licenses. That’s not what this proposal is intended to stop: I’m interested in making it easier for people to buy or sell guns privately without inadvertently selling to or buying from a prohibited person.
In short, like Illinois’ FOID cards, only without needing to specifically apply for a separate license that uniquely identifies them as a firearms owner.
Of course, since this?proposal has no possibility for backdoor registration, I’m pretty sure the anti-gun folks aren’t remotely interested.
A common meme going around the gun control circles these days is that, though the Swiss have lots of guns, they’re not allowed to keep ammunition at home, and that ammo is only available at authorized shooting ranges. The implication being that if the US restricted ammo in the same way, it’d be just as safe as Switzerland.
This claim is false, but there’s some subtleties involved that cause confusion. Hopefully I can clear things up a bit.
- Up until 2012 the Swiss military required that soldiers (which is nearly all military-age men, due to their mandatory service) keep their military-issued rifle and a sealed box of military-issued ammo at home. This was intended to be used in case of invasion, so that soldiers could fight their way to a local armory to get more ammo, equipment, etc. In 2012, in light of the political and military stability in Europe, the military stopped issuing ammo for soldiers to keep at home and recalled the ammo that was previously issued.
- The Swiss government encourages marksmanship by subsidizing ammunition sold at shooting ranges, even if that ammo is not used in the military-issued rifle. Subsidized ammo is intended only for training purposes, and it must be used at the range and cannot be taken home.
- Similarly to the US, sporting goods stores and gun shops sell unsubsidized commercial ammo to gun owners for their own use. This ammo can be kept at home and used for any lawful purpose, such as self-defense, recreational or competitive shooting, hunting, etc.
Clear? Good. Now stop perpetuating falsehoods.
Back in late 2013 I checked how popular various pro- and anti-gun groups were on Facebook at Twitter. I figured I’d repeat the analysis to see how things have changed in the intervening years. Newly-added groups or individuals are bolded.
Gun Rights Groups:
- National Rifle Association (Facebook): 4,360,790 (2013: 2,748,839) +58.64%
- National Rifle Association (Twitter): 294,000 (2013: 191,692) +53.37%
- Gun Owners of America (Facebook): 1,107,856 (2013: 276,867) +300.14%
- Gun Owners of America (Twitter): 68,300 (2013: 22,786) +199.75%
- Second Amendment Foundation (Facebook): 378,722 (2013: 119,810) +216.1%
- Second Amendment Foundation (Twitter): 11,200 (2013: 4,962) +125.72%
- National Association for Gun Rights (Facebook): 4,274,248
- National Association for Gun Rights (Twitter): 7,424
- Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (Facebook): 205,747
- Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (Twitter): 1,442
- National Shooting Sports Foundation (Facebook): 348,490 (2013: 157,718) +120.96%
- National Shooting Sports Foundation (Twitter): 41,800 (2013: 21,104) +98.07%
- SHOT Show ? run by NNSF (Facebook): 96,866 (2013: 44,573) +117.32%
- SHOT Show ? run by NSSF (Twitter): 51,400 (2013: 23,649) +117.35%
- Glock, Inc. (Facebook): 1,475,378 (2013: 614,185) +140.22%
- Glock, Inc. (Twitter): 158,000 (2013: 63,336) +149.46%
- Smith & Wesson (Facebook): 1,184,344 (2013: 680,937) +73.93%
- Smitth & Wesson: (Twitter): 140,000 (2013: 54,447) +157.13%
- Sturm, Ruger & Company (Facebook) 493,549 (2013: 345,734) +42.75%
- Sturm, Ruger & Company (Twitter): N/A (Ruger appears to have no Twitter presence anymore.) (2013: 18,310)
Gun Control Groups:
- Americans for Responsible Solutions (Facebook): 177,283 (2013: 89,414) +98.27%
- Americans for Responsible Solutions (Twitter): 1,671 (2013: 210,708) -99.21%
- Mayors Against Illegal Guns (Facebook): N/A (MAIG no longer has a Facebook account.) (2013: 19,271)
- Demand Action ? MAIG on Twitter (Twitter): N/A (MAIG no longer has a Twitter account.) (2013: 26,860)
- Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America (Facebook): 442,548 (2013: 122,938) +259.98%
- Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America (Twitter): 36,500 (2013: 12,254) +197.86%
- Brady Campaign (Facebook): 112,893 (2013: 58,650) +92.49%
- Brady Campaign (Twitter): 25,600 (2013: 17,170) +49.1%
- Violence Policy Center (Facebook): 58,268 (2013: 20,571) +183.25%
- Violence Policy Center (Twitter): 3,926 (2013: 1,934) +103%
- CSGV (Facebook): 198,066 (2013: 46,314) +327.66%
- CSGV (Twitter): 13,800 (2013: 9,575) +44.13%
- Shannon Watts (Facebook): 1,166
- Shannon Watts (Twitter): 11,800
- Everytown for Gun Safety (Facebook): 905,324 (Everytown didn’t exist in 2013, but was formed from MAIG.) +636.41%
- Everytown for Gun Safety (Twitter): 56,500
What can we learn from these numbers?
Compared to the 2013 stats, all entries on the list except Ruger (who discontinued their Twitter account) and ARS (who lost essentially all of their Twitter readers, for whatever reason) had significant growth.
The NRA alone has more than 2.3x the number of Facebook followers of all the gun control groups combined. The National Association for Gun Rights is nipping at the heels of the NRA, with 98% of the number of followers. The GOA has only 58% the followers of all the gun control groups combined, though they dominate all the gun control groups except Bloomberg-funded Everytown.
The Brady Campaign (5.9% of gun control followers) and VPC (3.1%) are more or less rounding errors, with ARS (9.3%) and CSGV (10%) being only slight better.
Everytown alone has 47% of the total number of gun control followers. Everytown + MDA make up 71% of the total number of gun control followers, though the GOA + SAF have 10% more followers than Everytown + MDA. Glock alone has 9.5% more followers than Everytown + MDA.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a Colorado no-compromise gun rights group, has more Facebook followers than any gun control group except Everytown and MDA.
Recently I’ve seen gun control advocates suggest that they have enough people on their side to join the NRA en masse, outnumber the gun owning members, and either dismantle the organization or vote in NRA elections to change the group’s position on issues. Although absurd on its face, the proposal is even more laughable when you consider that the grand total of people who’ve clicked “Like” to *any* of the gun control groups on Facebook is less than half the number of people who’ve done so for the NRA even though clicking “Like” involves no expense or effort. Actually joining the NRA requires the expenditure of actual money for 5 years to get voting privileges, something essentially none of the gun control advocates are willing to do.
Every single one of the gun-rights groups is a membership organization funded by dues-paying ordinary people. None of the gun-control groups have dues-paying members, and while some individuals and groups donate money to the groups, the vast majority of the funding for Everydown and MDA (the only groups that matter) comes from Bloomberg and other wealthy elites.
Gun control groups are basically paper tigers, though backed by Bloomberg’s billions, at least two of those tigers have a bit of a bite. We should be wary.
Hillary Clinton just released her proposed ideas for gun control that, if elected, she says she will implement. As expected, they’re nearly all politically-motivated non-starters. Also, she cites Everytown as an authoritative source and blames the NRA for a host of problems.
Evidently she thinks it’s 1993 and she has a chance at passing them. Let’s take a look at what she supports:
- “Fight for comprehensive background checks” — this is the standard “universal background check” claptrap with some interesting additions: she’d remove the “default proceed” from NICS (“Sorry, NICS has been downsized. We’ll get to your request in a few months.”) and take unilateral, executive action to declare that anyone selling a “significant” (but unspecified) number of guns be declared “in the business” of selling firearms, and thus required to get an FFL. Personally, the current standard of being “in the business” is a bit nebulous so it’d be good to get a more concrete definition, but I don’t trust Clinton to set that standard.
Also interesting: she seems to be abandoning the widely-debunked “40% of gun sales are made without background checks” claim and is now saying “20-40%”.
- “Hold dealers and manufacturers fully accountable if they endanger Americans” — again, fairly standard gun-control stuff: repeal the Protection in Lawful Commerce in Arms act (thus exposing law-abiding gun and ammo manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to nuisance lawsuits intended to bankrupt them) and crack down on “bad apple” gun dealers.
Don’t get me wrong, shady dealers supplying criminals deserve to get penalized and shut down, but she claims that 38% of dealers inspected in 2011 were non-compliant with federal law. If true, this is almost certainly because of various minor paperwork errors (someone writing “Y” instead of “Yes”, for example), not serious criminal violations.
It seems Hillary’s administration, if elected, would be as hostile to FFLs or more than her husbands administration.
- “Keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and the severely mentally ill” — More standard stuff, some of it reasonable. She supports adding people convicted of stalking or domestic abuse to the list of prohibited persons, which seems sensible: current law doesn’t apply to people who abuse someone with whom they have a dating relationship (as opposed to a marriage). I can’t really argue with changing the law to cover people convicted of domestic abuse, regardless of who they abuse.
However, she loses me by saying straw purchasing is only a “paperwork violation” rather than a proper federal crime, which she thinks should be changed. I’m not aware of any other paperwork violations that carry the threat of 10 years in jail and a quarter-million dollar fine.
She’s a bit vague when she says she wants to “[i]mprove existing law prohibiting persons suffering from severe mental illness from purchasing or possessing a gun”, so I can’t really comment. People whose mental illness means they pose a danger to themselves or others shouldn’t possess firearms, but I strongly feel that nobody should lose their rights without getting their “day in court” (emergency commitments excepted), so this vagueness is worrisome.
Lastly, she claims that “military-style assault weapons do not belong on our streets”, and that they are a “danger to law-enforcement and our communities”. She says she “supports keeping assault weapons off our streets”. I agree with her last sentence: no weapon should be left on the street. They should be kept in a good home, preferably in a good safe, and used for lawful, safe enjoyment, protection of the innocent, sport, etc. I’m happy to take in any homeless guns. More seriously, she doesn’t explain why the country’s most popular legally-owned firearms — some of the most rarely-used-in-crime guns, to the point where the FBI doesn’t even have a separate category for them in their annual crime reports — are so dangerous compared to other, unspecified firearms, nor does she offer any justification as to why they should be restricted.
In short, it’s Bloomberg’s wishlist, plus a little more. Someone needs to tell her than 1994 isn’t coming back.
The recent shooting in Oregon got me thinking about liability and gun-free zones.
Our opponents have proposed limiting gun ownership by mandating gun-owners carry liability insurance (( Somehow they ignore existing renters/homeowners policies that cover accidental injury or death, including those involving guns, and which are typically quite affordable, and think that “gun insurance” would be prohibitively expensive. )).
Why don’t we, the gun-owning community, turn that around and use it to our advantage? For example, a place that’s open to the public (e.g. a university, stadium, shopping mall, theater, government building, etc.) should be partially liable for violent crimes committed on their property unless they have a “secure environment” in which all people are screened for weapons, security is provided, and unauthorized access is prohibited. Simply putting up a sign and calling it a day would no longer be sufficient.
Think of courthouses and airports: they ban guns, but have screening procedures to ensure that unauthorized people are not armed within the property, and police are readily available in case of any incident.
Can’t afford to provide screening and actual secure environments but still want to disarm law-abiding people? Then you should bear some responsibility in the event that people are victimized on your property. Don’t want to do that either? Easy: let people have the means of protecting themselves.
Naturally, private locations (e.g. homes, private businesses not serving walk-in customers, etc.) would not have such requirements.
I’ve recently seen an image meme making its rounds on the Book of Face. It consists of two pictures, each with their own text. However, for the life of me I can’t find it now, so you’ll have to deal with my description rather than an example.
The first picture is of a sweet, grandmotherly lady with text along the lines of “I have to show my ID and sign in the logbook to purchase medication with pseudoephedrine for legitimate medical purposes, and even then I’m limited in how much I can buy.”
The second is of James Holmes, who murdered numerous?people at the theater in Aurora, with text along the lines of “I was able to buy 6,000 rounds of ammo online with no background checks, no questions asked, and without the authorities knowing.”
The intended implication is that?since society has?restricted the sale of pseudoephedrine to reduce criminal misuse, it’s crazy that online ammo sales are essentially unregulated, and we should have similar restrictions on both.
I read it differently: the restrictions on pseudoephedrine present only the most minimal barrier to amateur criminals wishing to make illicit drugs (more serious criminal gangs get the precursors in industrial quantities and don’t bother extracting pseudoephedrine from over-the-counter drugs), and that restricting the sale of either over-the-counter drugs containing?pseudoephedrine or ammunition is absurd, misguided, and ultimately futile in preventing criminal misuse.
In short, the meme is a clear example of the?failure of such restrictions, not a good example for even more restrictions.