As I used to be a Californian, I still keep up to date on happenings from my old state.
The NRA sent out the following notice today:

Senate Bill 776, sponsored by State Senator Loni Hancock (D-9), has been introduced in Sacramento.? The bill has been assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee and could be heard on Tuesday, April 21 or Tuesday, April 28.
Simply put, SB776 would mandate the registration of all magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition.? The possession of unregistered magazines would be a crime and punishable up to a year in prison.

Not this crap again.
California’s prohibited the purchase or import of magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds since 2000 or so, which was in the middle of the now-expired federal AWB. I’ve not seen a single magazine that has a serial number or some other unique marking that could be provided to authorities.
In addition, they implemented rather draconian restrictions on scary-looking guns: new ownership is prohibited, transfer is prohibited (even if the registered owner dies) — the gun must either be removed from the state or destroyed. Of course, not many owners of such firearms bothered to register their guns.
The guns themselves are already heavily regulated, as of January 2010 all handguns must be equipped to apply microstamps to cartridge cases, and proposals to regulate, register, or otherwise restrict ordinary ammunition have also been proposed. In short, California has some of the most onerous gun laws in the nation.
What legitimate reason do they have for wanting to register magazines? What purpose would registering magazines serve? I can’t think of a single one. Criminals are already prohibited from owning guns, and the Fifth Amendment enables them to avoid registration of guns or magazines due to the fact that it would cause them to self-incriminate.
Of course, any registration or prohibition of magazines would be utterly useless: California borders Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and Mexico. The first three states have essentially no limitiations on magazines, and Mexico’s just a free-for-all. Criminals would have no problems acquiring magazines, regardless of any restrictions in California. Once again, only law-abiding citizens would be affected.

Good Lawyers

It’s regularly advised on various gun-related forums that gun owners should have the contact number of a good gunny-friendly lawyer to call in the unlikely and undesireable event that one is needed. Better safe than sorry, right?
Does anyone have any recommendations for such lawyers in the Tucson and Chandler areas? Ideally, they’d have some number one could call day or night in the event that they’re needed. I tend to avoid lawyers and other legal-related stuff like the plague.
That said, I don’t have any particularly need for a lawyer (I’m not in any sort of legal trouble), but I’d like to have one on call just the same. Preferably one that’s not shady.

Deadly Hands

One of my cow-orkers (sounds so much worse than co-worker, right?) studies Mixed Martial Arts. He claims — to my hearty laughter — that if he were involved in some sort of fight, and came before a court due to said fight, he might receive a harsher sentence due to his hands being “deadly weapons”.
Now, I’ve heard the age-old myth that the hands of professional boxers, trained martial artists, etc. need to be “registered as deadly weapons”. Of course, this is bunk. A brick could be a deadly weapon, yet one is not asked to register it. Indeed, I own numerous firearms and I am not asked to register them. Would the TSA require the removal and checking in the cargo compartment of one’s hands prior to flying? As I said, an absurd myth.
He claims that laws in several states allow for hands to be classified as deadly weapons, and the owner of said hands can be penalized for using them in violent acts. In the age old tradition of science, I told him “cite or GTFO” (also known as “prove it”). He has yet to come up with any sort of facts on the matter. Would any of my readers have any information readily at hand (no pun intended) that would indicate the facts either way?
I could believe that someone might be charged with “assault with a deadly weapon” if they used their fists and had some disproprortionate advantage, such as great size or strength, compared to their victim, but I doubt that your average person, even a martial artist, would be charged as such if they were caught fighting by the police.

Legalized = Taxed?

Whether people are talking about legalizing marijuana (which I support, even though I’ve never touched the stuff) or opening the NFA registry, it seems that everyone says, “Legalize it, then tax it.”
Personally, I’m in the “legalize it” camp, but not so much in the “tax it” camp, particularly when it comes to “sin” taxes…which I wish didn’t exist. Taxes should serve a specific purpose: I pay taxes on gasoline, and that revenue goes to maintaining roads, streetlights, and other infrastructure. I’m fine with that.
How does an NFA or marijuana tax serve anyone?
If the law requires that NFA items be registered with the ATF, I understand that it will cost a little bit of money to process each registration, and I could understand a processing fee that would cover that cost. At most, that should cost around $50. It’s essentially data entry. A re-opening of the NFA full-auto registry may prompt a spike in registrations, but even if they collect a $50 fee per item, the ATF would likely still be covering their costs (government isn’t supposed to make money).
Similarly, subject marijuana to the same sales tax, if any, that other purchases get subjected to. Same thing with alcohol and cigarettes. If the taxes are prohibitively high, then nobody will bother with paying them, and will instead buy things on the black market.
I understand the whole “legalize it” mindset, and I can understand the “regulate it” mindset (so as to ensure that products like marijuana are not adulterated with harmful chemicals, see China) to some extent, but the “tax it” mindset? I just don’t see how that benefits anyone except those who collect the tax.

Heller sues DC

Story here. Note that it’s “Heller v. DC”, not “DC v. Heller”. Heller’s the plaintiff this time. 🙂
The article’s a bit short, but my understanding is that DC has done everything possible to not change anything, including bans on semi-automatic pistols, insisting that people keep their guns locked up and disabled (defeating the whole point of having a gun ready for self-defense), having obnoxious registration, licensing and ballistic fingerprinting requirements, and so forth.
Best of luck to Mr. Heller. More as I get it.
(Hat tip to Sebastian.)

I guess “gun free” zones don’t work…

A 22-year-old Phoenix man shot three people yesterday. Fortunately, nobody was killed and the three victims were hospitalized with non-life-threatening wounds.
The incident took place at the South Mountain Community College, a “gun free zone”.
When will people wake up and realize that laws, rules, and regulations proclaiming an area to be a “gun free zone” are barely worth the paper they’re printed on?
The only people guaranteed to be at the scene of a violent crime are the perpetrator(s) and the victim(s). Since the criminals seem to have no qualms with breaking various serious laws (for example, attempted murder) and surely would have no problem with violating a relatively minor law (for example, a prohibition against possessing guns in a certain place), it only makes sense that potential victims of crime should be allowed to possess the means to effectively defend themselves.
Of course, society should seek out and address the root causes of violent crime and work to rectify them, but that’s a long-term, utopian goal that provides little comfort or relief to someone being confronted by a violent criminal right now.
As they say, “when seconds count, the police are only minutes away”.
Hat tip to the AZCDL.

Heller Affirmed!

From the opinion:

The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
The Amendment?s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause?s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Woot. This is Big News(tm). Big enough, in fact, for CNN to run a front-page story on their website. The BBC has the story front-page on their international news page.
The Brady Campaign site is amusing yet sad…the decision is reached, and they immediately start begging for money. The NRA, on the other hand, is business as usual, and has a one-line mention of the ruling in the “NRA Top News Stories” category on their home page.
I’m still reading the opinion, so I’ll post more later when I’ve read it. Other blogs I read (see the blogroll on the right) have a considerable amount of material on the subject, so check them out!
I’d have a celebratory day at the range, but I’m in San Francisco after a multi-week vacation to Europe so all my guns are in the safe in Arizona. I may have to talk to some of my California friends to see about celebrating.

Guns and the Internet

One of the comments on this article stood out at me, and necessitated a reply.
The comment was:

Nut in Green Bay
He sold the guns used in two recent massares, over the net. He wants to make up for it by selling guns at cost so everyone can protect themselves.
Believe it or not, they featured him on the local news here with no comment, stating his case. As if he were a hero.
Mind boggling. There is no limit to the insanity of humans or the gullibility of mass media.
Did the bushies make it legal to sell guns over the net? How is this possible?

With very few exceptions (e.g. antique firearms), a non-FFL-holding individual cannot directly buy guns from the internet and have them shipped directly to them. This has been the case since 1968, and has not changed since then. Bush and his supporters have changed nothing.
One may purchase a gun from an online vendor like TGSCOM or a private seller on an auction site like GunBroker and have it shipped to their local Federal Firearms License holder (i.e. a gun shop). Next, the purchaser must go through the normal procedure of buying the gun from the dealer: filling out an ATF Form 4473 and undergoing a NICS background check. All state and local laws must also be obeyed.
There are several advantages to buying guns online:

  • Oftentimes online vendors have better pricing than a local shop.
  • Online vendors can often stock a larger variety of guns, often including unusual or uncommon guns, than a local shop.
  • Interstate purchases do not incur the cost of state sales tax.

Even taking into account the cost of shipping and the local dealer’s transfer fees, the lack of sales tax and better online pricing often results in a net savings of money for the purchaser.
In practice, this is absolutely no different than having the local gun shop special order a gun from a distributor, except that the buyer (rather than the dealer) initiates the transaction and has a greater choice of vendors than does the local gun shop.
Eric Thompson (proprietor of TGSCOM, who runs and other online gun shops) did not sell the guns used in two recent massacres. Rather, he sold a single gun to one of the shooters, and some non-regulated parts (magazines) to another. He complied with all applicable laws: once paid, he shipped the gun to the buyer’s local FFL. The dealer complied with the law, ensured the appropriate forms and background check were completed, and sold the gun to the buyer. Everything was conducted in accordance with the law. The fact that the buyer later used the gun to commit a heinous crime is not the fault of Mr. Thompson or the local dealer. The fault lies solely with the murderer.
Mr. Thompson’s offer to sell guns at cost so that law-abiding citizens can afford to protect themselves is an honorable act, and I applaud him for doing so.