Friday, May 17, 2019

Why Wayne LaPierre Needs To Resign Or Explain Why He Won't Do So

Lt Col Allen West and others have called
for LaPierre's resignation
I really wish that there were not real, significant problems at the NRA.  Unfortunately, there are VERY real problems.  Demanding that they be addressed is not anti-NRA. - it is what we need to do to save the NRA.  There are at least six good reasons for us, the membership, to expect LaPierre to resign.  No one is saying that Wayne LaPierre has not done many great things in defense of the 2nd Amendment.  He has.  However, as a leader, he has unquestionably failed in at least five ways:

1) Ackerman MacQueen PR firm (AckMac) - no matter whom you believe, it is clear that huge problems exist.  After all, the NRA is suing them.  These problems happened on LaPierre's watch.  They have been going on for years (AckMac has been the NRA public relations firm since 1981).  This alone should have caused him to do the right thing and resign.

2) Running expenses through AckMac to increase his compensation package.  It appears that LaPierre ran $200k+ of clothing expenses through AckMac, who then billed the NRA.  He did this while making a salary well into six figures.  There are also tax questions here.  His job does not qualify him to receive clothing tax free.  If he did not pay taxes on the value of the clothing, AckMac, the NRA and LaPierre could all be charged with tax evasion.

3) La Pierre's huge salary, and salary increases, while the NRA work force was taking compensation cuts and NRA income is down.  If the NRA was thriving, perhaps LaPierre's one million dollar plus compensation package would be justified.  However, it is inexcusable for him to be making this much money while the NRA's employees have lost their retirement plans and NRA income is down.  A real leader -and I have worked under someone who did this  - would slash their own salary and do everything they could to help those working under him, who could ill afford pay cuts.

4) Carry Guard - Stabbing firearms instructors in the back.  The first huge issue with the Carry Guard program is that the NRA decided to go into the firearms training business in competition with existing firearms instructors who were, prior to this, some of the NRA's greatest promoters.  This move, clearly approved by LaPierre, was both underhanded and shortsighted.  Now these instructors are likely to promote the GOA or SAF, or worse yet, no 2A organization at all.

5) Carry Guard - an inferior insurance product.  The NRA came up with a demonstrably inferior insurance plan, on that requires you to pay all your expenses out of pocket and then get reimbursed if and when you are found not guilty.  In contrast, CCW Safe sells plans that cover all of your expenses, including all legal fees and expenses, bail bonds, and one million in liability coverage - all of which require zero out of pocket.  Yet the NRA leadership prostituted the NRA's good name buy tell members and others that the coverage was "the best available", when it clearly was not.

6) Carry Guard - Insurance license disaster.  Sadly, that's not the only problem with Carry Guard.  The NRA was literally so incompetent that they failed to obtain the proper licenses to sell insurance in several anti-gun states.  This resulted in the NRA suing the insurance underwriter in an effort to blame them.  It also resulted in New York (and perhaps other states) opening investigations into the NRA.  This alone is more than enough for the membership to expect LaPierre to resign.

So, there you have it.  Six reasons why we should expect LaPierre to resign.  Too bad he does not appear to have the integrity to do so - or to publicly explain why he should not.  He needs to do one or the other.  The future of the organization depends on it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Democratic Plan To End Gun Rights In America

Just in case you had any doubts about the commitment of the Democratic party to ending gun rights in the US - turning gun ownership into privilege - consider today's news.  In fact, Kamala Harris made the two statements below in the same day, in the same exchange with reporters.  Funny how every news outlet except Fox was careful not to report them in the same article:




Step one: Flip the conservative majority on the Supreme Court by expanding its' size with liberal members who do not care what the constitution says

They would likely first eliminate the filibuster in the Senate, then they would only need a simple majority and the presidency to expand SCOTUS. 

From Bloomberg:
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<SNIP>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris said Wednesday she’s open to expanding the U.S. Supreme Court, accusing Republicans of creating a “crisis of confidence” in the nation’s highest court.'


“I am interesting in having that conversation," the California senator said in Nashua, New Hampshire, in response to a question about whether she favors adding as many as four seats to the court. "I’m open to this conversation about increasing the number of people on the United States Supreme Court.”
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Step Two: Create a case that would enable SCOTUS to reverse Heller/McDonald

From Politico:
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<SNIP>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Harris — a former career prosecutor who appears intent on owning the gun issue in the crowded primary — said if Congress fails to pass stricter gun laws in her first 100 days as president, she would act on her own. She floated executive orders requiring near-universal background checks on gun sales, closing the so-called "boyfriend loophole," reversing the Trump administration's move to allow fugitives with outstanding arrest warrants to buy guns, and repealing a law that prevents victims from holding gun-makers and firearms dealers liable for their losses.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Result: A reinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment that eliminates any personal right to keep and bear arms.

The bottom line: If Democrats ever gain both houses and the White House, the 2nd Amendment is effectively gone and any and all gun laws and bans would be permissible.

It's a simple plan that is completely feasible.  It would also tear the nation apart.  God help us if it succeeds.

Monday, May 13, 2019

How Much Would A "Buy Back" Of Semi-Auto Rifles Cost?

The cost of confiscating semi-auto rifles would
be massive - could the money be better spent?
Cost likely would exceed 2/3 of the US DOJ's yearly budget

The first thing we must recognize is that if the government wants to seize these firearms, they would have to pay for them.
  So, setting aside the huge constitutional issues what would such a program cost?

The first step in estimating the cost is estimating the number of such weapons.  The AR15 has been the most popular firearm in the US for a long time.  Then there are AK47s, Ruger Mini-14s and other guns such as the M1 Carbine.  Gun control advocates like to downplay the number of guns involved - while constantly expanding  the kinds of firearms defined as an "assault weapons".  No one knows how many semi-auto rifles exist that take detachable magazines are out there - but they have been made for over 100 years.  A realistic estimate would be 30-40 million, but it could be even more.


So, if compliance is high, what would such a program cost?  Well, if the average value of these firearms is $600.00 (a conservative estimate), then the math looks like this:

30,000,000 x $600.00 = $18,000,000,000.00

Yep, a realistic estimate of the buy back cost of these firearms is 18 Billion Dollars.  Add on to this the cost of administering the program, running ads to inform the public, disposing of the firearms, defending the law in court and who knows what else - and the cost could easily be over 20 billion dollars. 

For perspective, the entire budget for the U.S. Department of Justice (FBI, US Marshals, ATF, prosecutors, etc.)  is about $31 billion.  Tiny New Zealand's program may cost them 200 million.  After doing my own estimate, I discovered that other researchers have arrived at a similar number (20 billion).  All of this to eliminate a category of firearm that is involved in less murders than knives, clubs and bare hands/feet INDIVIDUALLY.

This raises a logical question: Would this money be better spent on other efforts?  Imagine what we could do with 18 billion dollars.  We could likely harden every school in the country or massively expand mental health services or provide more school resource officers or train school staff to protect their students - or some combination of the above.  

Even if you are a gun control advocate, you should be able to see better ways to spend that much money.  We could  fix our broken background check database so that it actually contains everyone who legally cannot buy or own a firearm.  We could prosecute more people who buy guns illegally.  We could increase funding for the ATF and implement a "Project Exile" like program nationwide.  This program imbeds ATF agents in local police agencies so they can bring federal charges against criminals caught with guns.  Since federal time is usually served far from home, this is a major deterrent that has been proven to greatly reduce the number of criminals carrying guns.  This would save far more lives than buying back millions of semi-auto rifles.

Banning semi-auto rifles is simply not the best way to spend 20 billion dollars if you want to save lives.  There are many other efforts that would be much more effective.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Rasmussen Gun Poll Reveals Three Disturbing Facts For Gun Rights

The poll summary can be found here.

Fact #1: 48% of American Adults favor a mandatory federal license for all gun owners.  (39% oppose, 13% undecided)


Fact #2: A majority of Americans do not believe a license requirement will reduce gun crime.

Fact #3: A majority of Americans do not trust the federal government with gun laws.

I see three major takeaways from this poll:

First, nearly half of Americans are in favor of licensing (and likely background checks too) ON PRINCIPLE.  They do not care if it has any effect on crime or not.  They simply believe a license should be required because guns are dangerous and if we require a license to drive a car, we should require one to own and operate a firearm.  Proving that there is no benefit will not change their minds. 

Second, no matter what SCOTUS says, a near majority of Americans do not believe that gun ownership is (or should be) a civil right.  They view it as a privilege.  This is not good news.

Third, support for gun rights is a minority opinion.  The fact that only 39% oppose gun owner licensing is disturbing.  It indicates that there is little to no support for gun rights outside of gun owning households.  THIS IS WHY SO MANY GUN CONTROL BALLOT MEASURES ARE PASSING.

Looking ahead IMHO, this is what we should do:

1) A primary focus should be legal action.  We are unlikely to stop any gun bills from passing in many states.

2) We should make every effort to keep gun initiatives off of state ballots - because they are likely to pass.


3) We should seriously consider writing and lobbying for a simple expansion of NICS checks to private SALES only.  Family transactions should be exempted.  We should  combine this with a federal preemption of laws regulating the sale and possession of firearms.

Why should we do this?   Several reasons:

Background checks will be expanded eventually, given these poll numbers.  If we don't write the bill, the gun grabbers will.

Passing such a bill would prevent Bloomberg from "piggybacking" massive restrictions on his "background check" bills and initiatives.  (He has already done this in several states and will certainly continue to do so.)


This tactic would turn Bloomberg's own lies against him.  He would be forced to oppose a background check expansion bill and to admit that the laws to lobbied for in so many states actually DO go far beyond background checks on sales.  It would be hard for Bloomberg and other gun control advocates to sell the idea that state background checks are needed in addition to federal checks.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Would The Loss Of The NRA Doom The Pro-Gun Movement?

Over the past week, I have read a lot of articles in the general press covering the "crisis" in the NRA.  The tone in most of them was, "The NRA is in deep trouble and when it falls, it will be the end of the pro-gun political movement."  Without accepting the fall of the NRA as a fact (we are, thankfully, far from that point), are they right?  If the NRA vanished tomorrow, would the fight for gun rights come to an end?

The answer to that question is: ABSOLUTELY NOT.  Here's why:


1) The NRA Is Far From The Only National Gun Rights Organization - It May Not Even Be The Most Effective One


While the NRA is certainly the largest gun rights group in the US, it is not the only one.  In fact, the NRA has experienced a great many defections to other gun rights groups in the last 15 years.  The two largest groups are the Gun Owners of America (GOA) and Second Amendment Foundation/Citizen's Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (SAF/CCRKBA).

Membership figures can be somewhat misleading, as they do not indicate just how active people are in the gun rights political and legal fight.  The NRA claims about 5 million members (and I believe them).  However, the average NRA member is likely less involved than members of either GOA or SAF.  The NRA is better known and, at least until now, likely the first organization someone getting involved in the political fight for gun rights would join.  Additionally, the NRA is much more than a
political organization.  The NRA issues safety standards, trains and certifies firearms instructors, operates a huge shooting range complex in New Mexico and operates two large firearms museums.

In contrast, GOA and SAF are exclusively involved in the gun rights battle.  While neither are as large as the NRA, they are not small groups.  The GOA has 2 million members and SAF/CCRKBA has at least 650,000 members.  In my opinion, both organizations are much more efficient than the NRA.   Both have mch smaller budgets, but are very effective.  



The GOA is very involved in monitoring legislation, in Washington and in most states.  They do a good job of alerting gun owners to legislation they believe should be defeated or supported.  In this regard they are at least as effective as the NRA, and significantly less likely to compromise.  If the NRA disappeared tomorrow, the GOA would almost certainly experience a sharp increase in membership.  After all the 5 million NRA members are not going to stop opposing gun control if the NRA folds.

In contrast, SAF/CCRKBA is much more focused on legal action.  In fact, they have won many more cases than the NRA has - with a much smaller budget.  Politically, they are slightly more likely to support some gun laws that contain both restrictions on and expansion of gun rights - especially when the proposed law is a net gain for gun rights.  
In addition to these two groups, there are many small national and state organizations, such as Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, the Firearms Policy Coalition, Calguns, etc.  If the NRA were to fold, these groups would also likely see
an increase in membership and funding.  This would result in a somewhat greater focus of resources at the state and local level.

So, in spite of the hope of those opposed to gun rights, "taking down the NRA" would not end the battle over gun rights.


2) There Are Many State Organizations As Well

There are gun rights organizations in every state.   Consider those in the nation's most populous state, California:


The CalGuns Foundation.  Calguns is a very active organization focused on gun rights in the most populous state.  It has a strong online presence and has wide range of members and supporters drawn from every demographic group in the state, from liberal LBGT people to conservative Christians.  Calguns is active on both the political and legal fronts.


The California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), founded in 1875 is affiliated with the NRA, but is separately incorporated, which means that even if the NRA were to vanish this group (and all the other state affiliates) would still be around.






The Gun Owners of California, is the state affiliate of the GOA.   Again, this organization would be unaffected by the collapse of the NRA - except, perhaps, an increase in membership and funding.





That's the situation in California - and it is typical.  Most states have at least an NRA affiliate and a GOA affiliate - and often additional groups, all of which would still be around if the NRA were to disappear. 


3) Technology Has Transformed The "Gun Media"

In the 1970s, the NRA and a few monthly "gun magazines" were the only communication outlets informing pro-gun rights activists.  While these outlets still exist, a great deal has changed in the last 40 years.  NRATV and the NRA's publications are far from the only media outlets that are pro-2nd Amendment and keep pro-2nd Amendment voters informed.  In fact, other outlets, unconnected to the NRA, are far more popular in the firearms community.  Here is a brief overview. 

Radio/Podcasts

In addition to local firearms radio shows, a national, weekly, three hour radio show - Gun
Talk - airs on more than 220 stations each week.  In addition, Gun Talk has a strong online presence, including making every broadcast available as a podcast.   In addition there are a great many other gun rights podcasts.  This site lists 42 of the most popular - but there are hundreds more, some of which are quite popular.  



YouTube/Online Video


hickok45 has over 4 million subscribers
Gun channels are huge on YouTube.  Here are some of the most popular:  hickok45 
(4,160,934 subscribers), FullMag (2,406,907 subscribers), Iraqveteran8888 (2,158,370 subscribers), Edwin Sarkissian (1,864,081 subscribers), Forgotten Weapons (1,194,427 subscribers), TAOFLEDERMAUS (1,179,776 subscribers), Military Arms Channel (940,510 subscribers), Colion Noir (864,203 subscribers), sootch00 (827,028 subscribers), nutnfancy (795,559 subscribers),  and 22plinkster  (539,830 subscribers).  There are many, many more.  When you look at these numbers, it's easy to see why YouTube is resisting pressure from anti-gun rights groups to ban gun channels.  They have, however, continued to put more and more restriction on them.


However, should YouTube kick all gun channels off of their platform - a move that would cost them millions of viewers - these gun channels are ready.  They have another platform up and running: Full30.com.  Many of these channels have been uploading content to this site for well over a year - and informing their YouTube subscribers of this.  Even if YouTube drops the hammer and bans gun channels, they will not go away.



Should YouTube ban gun channels, content
creators already have an alternative site
Online Publications


Ammoland is only one of many websites
covering stories of interest to gun owners
In addition to video and podcasts there are many gun websites which cover stories of interest to the firearms community - including gun rights.  These include Guns.com, The Truth About Guns, Ammoland, and Personal Defense World are some of the most popular.

Social Media

In addition to all of the above resources, there are many social media pages and accounts that, in addition to their own content, provide links to all of the above online resources.  So far, most - if not all - online social media sites permit the sharing of pro-2A articles and videos.  Should they be stupid enough to ban pro-2A resources, users will simply move to one of the competitive platforms that would love to have the users.

Consider our own little Facebook page (Clergy in Support of the 2nd Amendment).  It has 2170 followers.  This means that when a link or a story is shared, it goes out to 2170 people.  Multiply that be several hundred, if not several thousand similar pages, and it becomes apparent that in a few hours information critical to the gun rights fight can reach millions in a few hours.


Conclusion:

Would losing the NRA be a huge blow to the gun rights cause?  Absolutely.  Would it end the fight - NO WAY.  In fact, it is possible that several much more efficient groups would experience a dramatic increase in membership and funding.  Anti-gun rights groups should be careful what they wish for.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Why Banning AR15s Is Useless, Unconstitutional and Dangerous


I fully realize that the title of this post may seem absurd to many readers.  That said, I firmly believe that anyone who considers the following facts with an open mind will reach the same conclusion - even if they wish the facts allowed a different conclusion.  Let's look at the facts.

Banning AR15s would be useless

The above is proved by the following facts:

1) There are at least 6 million AR15s in private hands (likely many more).
  In addition, there are tens of millions AK47s and other semi-auto rifles.  Yet less than 2% of homicides are committed with any kind of rifle.  Less than handguns, or knives, or clubs, or bare hands
According to FBI Stats, Homicides Involving
Any Kind of Rifle Are Very Rare.  The Number
Involving AR15s Is Even Smaller
and feet INDIVIDUALLY.  No matter how scary they look, or how effective they may be when used in warfare, they are simply not common murder weapons.


2) They have been used on only 13 mass murders in the last 15 years - less than one per year.

3) Mass murders are usually committed with handguns.  You simply do not need a rifle to kill unarmed people across the room.  Banning AR15's will simply not stop mass shootings, or even slow them down.  Don't believe me?  Do what I did: Research what weapons were used in mass shootings.

4) At close range, the most dangerous weapon is not a rifle, it's a shotgun.  The common, pump action shotgun can fire buckshot that blows fist sized holes at close range. When it spreads out at longer range, can both more easily hit a moving target and hit more than one person.  For these reason both the military and police have used shotguns for close range fighting for over 150 years.

Even When Looking Just At Mass Shootings,
Handguns Are By Far The Most Common
Firearm Used (Source)
5) If AR15s and other mass shootings were banned, mass murderers would simply turn to other weapons or obtain them on the black market, already the source of 43% of firearms owned by criminals.  They might actually decide to use shotguns, which are more dangerous.

Consider the Santa Fe High School shooting, the second-deadliest school shooting in the United States in 2018.  The mass murderer used a pump-action Remington Model 870 shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver to kill 10 people and wound 14.  He did this in spite of a very fast response by law enforcement (less than 3 minutes), including one officer who was at the school.  Had he been allowed to continue killing for as long as the Stoneman Douglas High School murderer was, the death toll would have likely been as high.



The 2nd Worst Shooting In 2018 Was Committed With A
Shotgun And a .38 Revolver - Not An AR15
Pump shotguns were also used in the Capital Gazette shooting (5 dead) and Navy Yard shooting (12 dead).  At this point no one is seriously talking about banning pump shotguns - in fact even Joe Biden has come out against this.

If AR15s were banned, and not available on the illegal market (an impossibility), shooters would simply turn to handguns (constitutionally protected) and/or shotguns (also constitutionally protected).  There is no difference in the death toll when these firearms are used.  Banning AR15s would accomplish nothing



Banning AR15s would be unconstitutional

AR15s (and other semi-auto rifles) are clearly protected by the 2nd Amendment. To understand why this is, you need to have some understanding of the SCOTUS decisions AND firearms.  Many who confidently state that they are not protected have never read the SCOTUS decisions.  They are relying on small portions which - having read the whole decision more than once - I know to be pulled completely out of context.  
Unless SCOTUS decides to completely ignore the rules set forth in the Miller (1939), Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010) decisions  - as lower courts have done - these firearms are protected by the 2nd Amendment.  

Let's look at the three current Supreme Court decisions regarding the 2nd Amendment right:

First, we have the Miller decision (1939).  The background on this case is that in 1934, the first federal gun laws were passed.  Among other things, many firearms thought to be both especially dangerous and unusual, were heavily regulated and subjected to very high taxes upon transfer.  Additionally, anyone wishing to purchase such weapons were subjected to a stringent background check.  In addition to machine guns and other weapons, short barreled shotguns (commonly called "sawed off") were subjected to this regulation.

Shortly after the new law took effect, a known criminal (Miller) was caught in possession of a short barreled shotgun while traveling between states.  He this was charged with illegal possession and transportation.  He appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, which accepted the case.  However, Miller died before the case was heard - but the DOJ continued the case, even though no defense was presented, at least at oral arguments.

In 1939 SCOTUS handed down its' decision.  They essentially sidestepped the whole issue of personal vs. collective right by pointing out that a short barreled shotgun had no value in the context of a militia.  It is important to recognize that this decision only addressed what weapons were protected - not, as mentioned, the issue of personal vs. ""collective" rights.

So, what kind of weapons did they say were protected?  Simple: Weapons with military value.  No military value, no 2nd Amendment protection.  Clearly, this completely invalidates the argument that "weapons of war" are not protected.  Just the opposite is true.  In reality, all firearms types in common use have been used as weapons of war - so banning weapons of war would result in all firearms being banned.  
SCOTUS did not address the 2nd Amendment for another 69 years.

In 2008, the high court issued the Heller decision.  Dick Heller was employed as a security guard at a government building in Washington DC.  He actually carried a firearm while on duty, but was not, under D.C. law, allowed to keep a firearm at his home for personal defense.  In fact, the District of Columbia banned all new handguns and forbade any firearm being kept in functional condition - they had to be kept disassembled. He sued the District in order to be able to register his handgun and keep it available for self defense.

Obviously, the case was accepted by SCOTUS and Dick Heller won.  However, the decision, written by lifelong hunter and shooter, Justice Scalia, covered much more than just the matter of handguns - it sketched out a great deal of the overall 2nd Amendment right.

First, it is important to recognize that D.C. argued aggressively in favor of keeping their ban on handguns.  They made the argument that handguns are used in 62% of homicides, and that therefore the ban should stay.  They also argued that people didn't need
Even though handguns are clearly the most
dangerous firearms SCOTUS ruled they are
protected by the 2nd Amendment
handguns for self defense - they could use shotguns, or even rifles.  Handguns are very dangerous and not needed.  Does that argument sound familiar?  It should, it is exactly the argument made against the AR15 - except that rifles are used in less than 2% of homicides, and so called "assault rifles" are used in less than that.  Therefore, the argument for banning handguns is much, much stronger than the argument for banning AR15 and other similar rifles.  The high court completely rejected this argument and ruled the handgun ban to be unconstitutional.  If handguns - the weapon of choice for both criminals and mass shooters - cannot be banned, than it is clear that semi-auto rifles such as the AR15 also cannot be banned.


That's not all.  A basic rule set forth in Heller is that the people decide what guns are protected - not the government,  If the government could decide what arms are protected, the 2nd Amendment would protect nothing.  People called into militia service brought such firearms as they chose to possess for lawful purposes.  Therefore, any firearm commonly possessed by people for ANY lawful purpose (self defense, target shooting, hunting, collecting) is protected, period.  This has since been accurately called the "common use" test.

In this excellent video from Khan Academy,
two constitutional experts explain how the
2nd Amendment has always protected a
personal right


Additionally, SCOTUS, after reviewing all data related to the passage of the 2nd Amendment, similar provisions in state constitutions passed in the same era, and rulings related to the same, concluded that the 2nd Amendment right is a personal, not collective right.  This is simple common sense.  Had the authors only been concerned with the ability of states to arm and organize militias, they could have simple stated that the states had the right to organize and arm militias.  If they wanted to restrict the right to militia members, they could have simply limited that right to militia members.  They did none of these things.  Instead, the court decided, strangely enough, that when the 2nd Amendment said "the right of the people", it meant the right of the people.

Why did the founders protect the right of the people to possess arms?  Consider this quote from Alexander Hamilton:

"If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is

paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual State. In a single State, if the persons entrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair."

Hamilton is not advocating for rebellion against the Constitution, he is saying that the last safeguard against an unconstitutional takeover of government by tyrants is an armed citizenry.  Thank God, this provision has never been needed, except as a deterrent.  One can argue that no one has tried to overthrow our constitutional government because of the many obstacles to such action, including a massively armed citizenry.  More on this later.

In the follow on case to Heller - McDonald (2010), the City of Chicago was sued since they had exactly the same law.  The issue was "incorporation" - was the right enforceable against
Otis McDonald fought for
the right to legally own a
handgun in Chicago
state and local government, or just the federal government?  SCOTUS decided that the 2nd Amendment restricted all levels of government - and that, "it is essential to our system of ordered liberty".


So, let's review.  In Miller, Heller, and McDonald SCOTUS decided that:

1) The 2nd Amendment right is a personal right that belongs to the people

2) In order to be protected, the weapon must have military value
3) All weapons in common use by the people are protected
4) The right restricts all levels of government - federal, state and local
5) The right is essential to our system of ordered liberty

Finally, we must address the section that gun control advocates constantly quote:

"Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.  For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues.  Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment , nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms"


"We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.

So, let's review what Heller says can definitely be regulated by government:

1) The carrying of concealed weapons.  This DOES NOT mean that that government can ban all carrying of firearms.  It does likely mean that government may ban open carry or concealed carry - but not both.  In contrast to the 1800's, today most governments would prefer concealed carry over open carry because such carry causes less concern by the public. (Out of sight, out of mind).  It also means that if open carry is allowed (which is the case in many states), state government can require a license for concealed carry.  This is completely irrelevant to the issue of AR15s. 


2) The possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill.  This is current federal law, and the law in most states.  Again, this is not relevant to AR15s.

3) The carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.  Since AR15s are not usually not carried in public, this doesn't apply either.

4) The commercial sale of arms.  In other words, government can license dealers - again, not relevant to the issue of AR15s and other semi-auto rifles.

5) Dangerous and unusual weapons.  The reference to Miller is a clear indication that what SCOTUS has in mind here are short barreled rifles and shotguns, machine guns, etc. that are controlled by the National Firearms Act of 1934.  Still, SCOTUS provides a test.  Government may ban or regulate weapons that are dangerous AND unusual.  Please note that the wording is not "dangerous or unusual".  I mention this because lower courts have actually applied Heller in this way, which is obviously wrong.  All firearms are dangerous - so if courts are allowed to misapply Heller in this way, the 2nd Amendment would - once again - protect nothing.  Are AR15s dangerous? Absolutely.  Are they unusual? Absolutely not.  In fact, they are the most popular firearm in the country.  In spite of this, lower courts have ruled that the Ar15 is unusual and upheld bans on the basis that they are not common.  Take a trip to any rifle range and you will discover how common they are.  Unless SCOTUS reverses itself, these lower courts are simply wrong.

AR15s passes every test required for constitutional protection - therefore banning them is unconstitutional.



Banning AR15s would be dangerous


Many people outside the U.S., and too many inside the U.S., simply cannot understand why gun confiscation would be dangerous.  The reason is simple: Like it or not, in this country,
firearms ownership is strongly associated with freedom.   In 2013, shortly after Sandy Hook,  a Rasmussen poll found that 65% of Americans saw the right to own firearms as an important safeguard against tyranny. You may think that this opinion would be less common among the 50-55% of Americans who do not have firearms in their home - and you would be correct.  57% of people in non-gun owning households hold this opinion.

When did this opinion take root in American public opinion?  Although the right of free Englishmen to own firearms was well established in the American mind almost from the beginning of English settlement, the strong association with freedom was forged on April 19th 1775 - when British troops left Boston to seize firearms from people who held the "wrong" political views.
The Revolutionary War began when British
troops attempted to disarm citizens at
Lexington - confiscation would likely
have the same effect today


Another major factor in play is that this association between gun rights and the preservation of freedom is much stronger in the mid-west, mountain west and south.  We don't have to guess as to the danger of forced gun confiscation, because we have already had at least one close call. 


In 2016, a veteran living in Northern Idaho was contacted by federal agents who said that they would be coming out the next day to collect his firearms.  His crime?  He had consented to have someone else manage his finances.  The veteran could have just surrendered his guns, but instead, he called some friends who called the local sheriff.


Opposition to more gun laws is not limited to
individuals - local government and local
law enforcement are already resisting

The next morning, the local sheriff - backed up by over 100 armed citizens - stood in front of the veteran's home.  The local media, include Spokane TV stations, were also there.  The sheriff made it clear that of ANYONE tried to take the man's guns, the best outcome they could expect would be to end up in his jail.  Fortunately, those tasked with the seizure were made aware of the situation at the man's home and decided it wasn't worth it.  They called the sheriff to tell him they were not coming.  The man kept his firearms.  However, it is obvious that had those agents showed up and attempted to take those guns, the potential for a firefight between local citizens/law enforcement and federal agents would have been very high.

Since then, we have seen resistance to gun laws and potential gun laws increase.  More and more sheriffs are refusing to enforce new gun laws and more and more counties are declaring themselves "2nd Amendment sanctuaries".   Furthermore, we have seen several states enact restrictions on semi-auto rifles like the AR15 - including registration
Most gun owners and many non-owners see
confiscation of AR15s and other semi-auto
rifles as just the first step towards tyranny 
requirements.  By comparing sales and registration figures it has been determined that compliance with a registration law is less than 30% -sometimes far less.  It is obvious that they are failing to register because they believe (with good reason) that registration is the first step towards confiscation.


So, let's consider what would happen if semi-automatic rifles like the AR15 were to be banned.  After the initial "grace period" is over, just how would this law be enforced? 

Well, the federal government could simply do nothing and depend upon local government to report violations they encounter in the course of their work.  This would be totally ineffective because tens of millions of these rifles would remain in civilian hands.   Furthermore, as with immigration, local law enforcement cannot be forced to enforce federal law.  In fact, in many counties, they have refused to enforce state laws.  The banned guns likely would continue to be used in a few mass shootings.

So, eventually, federal agents would eventually be tasked with figuring out who might have these firearms and going out to seize them.  They likely would have a second grace period, in hopes that a few raids and arrests would result in more voluntary surrenders.
Given the division in our nation today, another
civil war would be much, much worse than the
first........

How long do you think it would take before a major firefight erupted?  My guess is that it would be a matter of days. Once that happens, we all lose - because nothing good would follow.  Many federal agents would likely refuse to carry out more raids.  Many local law enforcement agencies would stand with their citizens against what they would view as oppression. Governors would demand a halt to raids in their state - and some would likely make it clear that this was not a request.   Many would see the raids as the evidence that tyranny had actually begun, since they view the confiscation efforts as a clear violation of their rights.  The only real option left to those wanting to seize these firearms would be the use of the military.  In the current political environment, with America more divided than at any time since the civil war, the chances that a second civil war could be triggered would be high.  Once that happens, everybody loses.  There would be no winners.

As I stated earlier, an ban of AR15s would be dangerous.  In fact, dangerous would likely be an understatement.

So, these are the facts.  You may not like them, you may wish they were different, but this does not make these facts magically disappear.  They cannot simply be ignored.

I think it is very clear that a ban of AR15s and other semi-auto rifles would be a complete disaster for America.


Monday, April 8, 2019

Maps Show How Rapidly "2nd Amendment Sanctuaries" Have Spread In Western States


Dozens Of Counties Are Refusing To Enforce New Gun Laws 

A massive movement in support of the 2nd Amendment and in opposition to gun control measures pushed by Michael Bloomberg and his merry band of billionaires is sweeping through several western states.  As usual, the media has largely ignored these developments.


The following maps, several from the excellent site Gun Rights Watch, clearly show how far opposition to these new, bought and paid for laws, has spread.




New Mexico


In New Mexico, either through formal action by their county government, or a pledge by the county sheriff, only two counties in the entire state will enforce Bloomberg's new law.


Colorado
Counties in red have passed 2nd Amendment sanctuary measures.

Colorado has faced a great deal of resistance to Bloomberg's bought and paid for gun laws since 2013, however the passage of a so called "red flag law" has caused many counties to go on record as refusing to enforce these laws.


Washington

When Washington passed the deceptive I-394 initiative, many sheriffs simply refused to enforce it.  However, the passage of I-1639 has caused sheriffs in 24 counties to formally go on record as being unwilling to "actively enforce" both initiatives. 


Nevada

After the passage of a typical Bloomberg law, most counties in Nevada rose up in opposition.  The new law appears to be effectively nullified in most of the state, through a combination of action by sheriffs and county governments.


Oregon

The sanctuary movement is just beginning in Oregon, in response to the mere threat of a Bloomberg law.  If a law is actually passed, chances are many more counties will join those above.