Thursday, November 23, 2017

Doing My Part To Stimulate The (Gun) Economy - 2017 Edition


I have been doing these Black Friday posts annually since 2010. The state of the firearms industry is a bit different this year. After many years of double-digit growth, it appears the bubble has burst. In earlier years you would have been lucky to find an AR-15 upper for $400 or so. Now you can get the whole AR for that price.

Let's just say it has not been a great year for the firearms industry in general. The thought that we would have a President Hillary and you better grab while grabbing is good was crushed late on the night of November 8th when Donald J. Trump was elected president. Dennis Badurina of Dragon Leatherworks who also owns a small gun store in Tennessee has been pointing out the state of the retail firearms industry with his posts on his Facebook page for a number of months. As Dennis notes, the industry is in freefall and is in a state of contraction.

I am going to make the assumption that the industry will be using Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a major tool to rid itself of excess inventory. If you are in the market for anything, I think you should find some good deals with careful shopping.

As with last year, I have decided not to reinvent the wheel and will point out some of the better aggregations of Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. I will be adding links to individual companies as I go through the weekend when I find something that might not be covered elsewhere.

Starting off, there is the Black Friday page of Slickguns.com. It has links to the sales at all the major big box sporting and outdoor stores.

Crowd-sourcing is a great way to put many eyes together to find the deals. The /gundeals subreddit page of Reddit is one such place. They have a Black Friday megathread going that has a little bit of everything. The other major crowd-sourced effort is on Arfcom. Their "official GD Black Friday" thread is at 6 pages and counting. The first thing that caught my eye there was $8 PMags. You can never have enough magazines! Now if I can find some less expensive CZ P-09 mags, I'll be in hog heaven.

If you trend more towards the tactical, SoldierSystems.net has a dedicated post that is continually updated with Black Friday sales.

As for me, I'm good on most things. However, I'm in the market for a good quality handgun safe/strongbox with a mechanical keypad. My granddaughter Olivia Grace is almost three and has a little sister due in April. Little fingers can get in places they shouldn't be and I want to protect against that.

Finally, I'd like to remind everyone that No Lawyers - Only Guns and Money is an Amazon affiliate. All commissions that I earn from your purchases go to non-profit gun rights organizations like the Second Amendment Foundation and the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund.

If you are in the market for an inexpensive tablet device, the Kindle Fire 7 is only $29.99. It was $33.33 last year. The Complementary Spouse uses her Fire daily to keep up with email, crafts, and family.

UPDATE:

There is a thread at 24hourcampfire.com with some more hunting related Black Friday specials.

My friend Andy Langlois of Ching and Rhodesian sling fame is having a sale on all his products. Save 20 percent off all his products from Nov. 22 – 28 and 10 percent off all products from Nov. 29 – Dec. 24, 2017. I have both his belts, both style of slings, and even a couple of holsters by Andy and the quality is top-notch. Go to https://www.andysleather.com/collections/black-friday-sale. Use the code "BlackFriday".


Monday, November 20, 2017

He'd Should Have Still Been In Prison


It has been widely reported that the Air Force had erred in not forwarding the conviction for domestic violence of the killer in the Sutherland Springs, TX church murders. The Air Force has acknowledged their error in not forwarding this information for inclusion in the FBI's National Instant Criminal background check system. If they had done so, the killer - who was legally prohibited from owning a firearm - would never have passed NICS background checks in both Colorado and Texas. There was another error in my estimation as I make clear in my discussion of the potential sentences the killer could have gotten in both the military and civilian courts.

The first document is a record of the killer's general court martial held at Holloman AFB in New Mexico. It is clearly marked a Crime of Domestic Violence.





If you read this document carefully, the killer pled guilty to two charges of assault and had another five dismissed or withdrawn. This was obviously a plea bargain though there is no mention of it in the document. Later mentions in the press confirm it.

Looking at the Air Force's Manual for Courts-Martial that was in effect in 2012, Specification 2 meets the UCMJ's definition of "aggravated assault". Remember, he hit the child so hard that he fractured his skull according to Col. Don Christensen (USAF-Ret.) who was the prosecutor in the case.
(4) Aggravated assault.
(a) Assault with a dangerous weapon or other means or force likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm.
(i) That the accused attempted to do, offered to do, or did bodily harm to a certain person;
(ii) That the accused did so with a certain weapon, means, or force;
(iii) That the attempt, offer, or bodily harm was done with unlawful force or violence; and
(iv) That the weapon, means, or force was
used in a manner likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm.
(Note: Add any of the following as applicable)
(v) That the weapon was a loaded firearm (vi) That the person was a child under the age of 16 years.
The manual goes on to add that inflicting grievous bodily injury upon a child under the age of 16 increases the maximum punishment. The sentence for the aggravated assault on the step-son in which he intentionally inflicted grievous bodily injury could have been dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay, and eight years of confinement. Even if they deemed it a simple assault, he still would have gotten a dishonorable discharge and two years of confinement. He got a bad conduct discharge and one year of confinement.

Let's compare this to how a civilian court would have defined the crime and what sentence a civilian judge would have imposed. Because I am most familiar with North Carolina law, I'll use it for my purposes. Other states will have different definitions and different sentencing guidelines.

North Carolina differentiates between "physical injury" and "serious bodily injury". The former causes great pain and suffering. By contrast, "serious bodily injury" is an injury that "creates a substantial risk of death", permanent disfigurement, coma, extreme and prolonged pain, etc. I think a reasonable person would agree that a fractured skull is a serious bodily injury.

North Carolina law also differentiates between assaults on adults and those on children. The assault on the former wife which included strangulation (among other things) would be covered by NCGS 14-32.4. It only needs to cause physical injury or pain. That would be treated as a Class H felony.

The more serious charge would be the assault on the child and would be covered by laws detailing child abuse. NCGS 14-318.4.(a3) states:
A parent or any other person providing care to or supervision of a child less than 16 years of age who intentionally inflicts any serious bodily injury to the child or who intentionally commits an assault upon the child which results in any serious bodily injury to the child, or which results in permanent or protracted loss or impairment of any mental or emotional function of the child, is guilty of a Class B2 felony.
Looking at the sentencing guidelines for felonies that were in effect in North Carolina for the time period in question, Specification 1 of the charges against the killer would have been a Class H felony. The presumptive range for incarceration for this charge as a first time offense would be 5 to 6 months in prison. However, it is the charge for the attack on the step-son that brings serious time. It is a Class B2 felony which has a range of 94 to 196 months in prison. The presumptive range is 125 months to 157 months imprisonment. In other words, even if the sentences ran concurrently and he got the absolute minimum sentence for his vicious attack on the child, he would not have gotten out of prison until sometime in 2020.

I have a great respect for the military. My father served 28 years in the Army. Likewise, the Complementary Spouse's dad, brother, and sister-in-law all were Air Force officers. I have been assured that the Air Force takes child abuse seriously and every base has a Commanders Council on Child Abuse. That said, I think the military justice system failed the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas and the people of the United States. In my opinion, the main goal of this General Court Martial and the attendant sentence was to get rid of an undesirable airman and the quicker the better. The less the Air Force had to deal with him in the future, the better in their (grossly incorrect) estimation.

Friday, November 17, 2017

"I'm From The Government And I'm Here To Kill You"


That is the title of Second Amendment attorney Dave Hardy's new book. It details how Federal negligence and arrogance got people killed and how the perpetrators got away free due to the law. I've been reading the book and will post a full review of it in the near future. From what I've read so far, I highly recommend it.

However, this post isn't about Dave's book but rather about how negligence on the state and local level in California allowed a mentally disturbed and often violent man to kill five people before he himself was killed in a shoot-out with police. The murders happened earlier this week in Rancho Tehama Reserve. In addition to the murders, this mad man shot up the local elementary school wounding one student.

The murderer was out of jail on bail from an assault in January where he had been charged with a total of five felonies and two misdemeanors. At the time he was released on bail, the judge in the case ordered him to surrender his firearms and had issued a protective order which barred him from “owning, possessing, purchasing or attempting to purchase firearms.” He had certified to the court that he had turned in his firearms to the custody of a local gun shop.

At the time of his shootout with police, the murderer was found to be in possession of two semi-auto rifles which seem to have been made by him as well as two handguns registered to someone else.

As reported by the Orange County Register, police were called to his residence many time between January and this week's murders. However, he always refused them entrance.

Why were police called to his residence?
At a tense news conference Wednesday, police conceded that neighbors had repeatedly complained about (the murderer) firing hundreds of rounds from his house.

Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said authorities responded to calls several times, but the 44-year-old (murderer) wouldn’t open the door, so they left.

“He was not law enforcement friendly. He would not come to the door,” Johnston said. “You have to understand we can’t anticipate what people are going to do. We don’t have a crystal ball."
So you have neighbors reporting that a prohibited person is having target practice in his yard and the local law enforcement does nothing about it. Let me repeat that he was out on bail awaiting trial on five felonies and had a protective order against him banning his possession of any firearm.

WTF?

As law professor Laurie Levenson of Loyola Law School makes clear below, they didn't need his permission to enter.
“You can have probable cause even if officers don’t see a gun or hear shots,” she said. “They do not have to see the suspect with the weapon if all the circumstantial evidence indicates that he is violating the orders.”

Levenson said officers don’t even need a warrant to search a suspect’s home if they believe the caller and the evidence they are hearing and collecting indicate the suspect is firing a gun.

“If an officer believes there is someone with a weapon who is not entitled to have a weapon, the law permits the officer to go in,” she said.
While I imagine confronting a man who reportedly had both anger issues and was somewhat psychotic is dangerous, that is what police are paid to do and that is why they have SWAT teams.

No one knows if the killer's wife, neighbors, and the random people shot or killed would still be alive if the police had intervened when the neighbors called to complain but the odds certainly are higher.

I don't know California law as to whether the Tehama County Sheriffs' Department can be held liable for negligence. As Dave Hardy makes clear in his book, under Federal law this negligence would come under the "discretionary function exemption" and not a damn thing would happen to that department.

The other thing I do know is that no new gun control law would have stopped this killer. There were laws on the books that were meant to prevent him from having firearms. They were ignored. Moreover, the police declined to enforce them even in the face of complaints from neighbors that indicated he was violating the law. Gun  control laws stop the law abiding. They don't stop criminals and they don't stop those intent on ignoring the law.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

For My Massachusetts Readers - Hearing On Suppressors Today



I should have gotten this out yesterday but better late than never. The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security will be holding hearings on two bills that would seek to legalize suppressor ownership there.

From the American Suppressor Association who will be testifying at the hearings:
On Thursday, November 16th at 11:00 AM in Room A-1, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security will hear two bills which seek to legalize suppressor ownership in Massachusetts. S. 1317, and, S. 1340, would replace the current law that prohibits the possession of suppressors by non-manufacturers with language that allows private individuals to own and possess suppressors so long as they are not (1) prohibited persons; (2) committing a violent felony; (3) committing a crime of violence against a family member; or (4) possessing or selling controlled substances.
The American Suppressor Association will be on hand to testify in support of these bills, but we need your help! If you are a Massachusetts resident, please attend the hearing to show your support. Also, using the contact form below, please contact members of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security and politely urge them to vote in support of S. 1317 and S. 1340. Do this, even if you plan to attend the hearing in person. 

View our entire blog post HERE and our testimony submitted to the committee HERE.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Truth Or Wishful Dreaming On His Part


I saw a note that firearm company stocks were up today on rumors of a deal on gun control. What spurred it was a tweet by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) who is one of the most ardent gun prohibitionists in both houses of Congress.



This leads to the question as to what gun legislation. Will it be merely a ban on bump stocks, a bill to improve NICS, or is it something more? Therein lies the question and I just don't have a good answer to that.

I do know that the Senate Judiciary Committee was supposed to hold hearings yesterday on "Firearm Accessory Regulation and Enforcing Federal and State Reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)." However, that hearing has now been postponed to December 6th.

Monday, November 13, 2017

90% Of Success Is Just Showing Up


Adam Kraut, a firearms law attorney in Pennsylvania, is running for the NRA Board of Directors again this year. He qualified to be on the ballot by petition under the new, harder rules. Last year, he was about 60 votes shy of being the 76th Director. I supported Adam last year and I plan to vote for him again this year. I had dinner with Adam at the 2017 NRA Annual Meeting and came away impressed. I have spoken to him a few times since and his knowledge of firearms law has been helpful to me with my blogging. Frankly, we need energetic young people who will rock the status quo on the Board of Directors.

In addition to running for the Board, Adam has promulgated four bylaw changes that I think are well worth your time examining. The first proposed bylaw would require a candidate for the Board to run by petition-only after serving two consecutive terms. They would not be eligible to be nominated by the Nominating Committee. Think of it as a soft term limit. They wouldn't be precluded from serving more than two terms on the Board but would be required to go to the voting members and get their support if they wanted to serve a third term or more.

The second proposed amendment would require attendance at two out of three Regular Meetings in order to be renominated by the Nominating Committee.
Proposed Amendment Two would require that a Director attend two of the three Regular Meetings held each year or lose their eligibility to be nominated by the Nominating Committee. There is a provision which would allow for an excused absence due to 1) a medical emergency, 2) death in the family, 3) natural disaster, or 4) their flight, etc. being canceled by the provider (eg. airline). However, if a Director were to miss three or more successive Regular Meetings due to a medical emergency OR two or more successive Regular Meetings due to the other 3 exemptions, they would be ineligible for consideration by the Nominating Committee.
The third proposed amendment would amend the section of the Bylaws pertaining to the Nominating Committee to contain these restrictions on nominations while the fourth proposed amendment would create an Honorary Board whose job would be to advise the Board of Directors as their time permits. This would be an ideal place to put the celebrities. It is akin to what many colleges and universities have with a Board of Trustees (the BOD) and a Board of Advisors (the Honorary Board).

Look at the three charts below to see the current attendance records of the existing Directors. Some directors take their job very seriously and some are flat out slackers. The worse offenders seem to be the celebrities and the politicians. If you want the honor of serving on the NRA Board of Directors, I think it is incumbent upon you to get yourself to the meetings. Time conflicts should generally be resolved in favor of the Board meeting.



Below is a copy of the ballot that will be sent to Life and 5-Year members with the February issues of the official NRA magazines (American Rifleman, American Hunter, etc.) You will note that only two candidates are on the ballot solely by petition and another three who were both nominated by petition and by the Nominating Committee. I would give strong attention to the attendance records of existing Directors when casting a vote. By my count, only nine of the Class of 2018 Directors have a perfect attendance record which is and of itself embarrassing.



Adam has created a page with short videos on his amendments, the attendance issue, and how to fill out the bylaw petitions. You can find it here.

I have served on boards ranging from a quasi-judicial board dealing with zoning adjustments to the Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Charlotte Board of Directors. All of these boards were composed of work horses and not show horses. That is how it should be with the NRA's Board of Directors. The enemies of gun rights are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to abridge our civil rights. We need a Board of Directors that not only shows up but can be proactive rather than reactive to these threats.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Great Letter To The Editor


The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed commentary on the 100th anniversary of Communism this past Tuesday. It was entitled, "100 Years of Communism - 100 Million Dead." The article discussed the consequences of the Bolsheviks' turning Marxist-Leninist ideology into reality.

In response to this article, Jack Wissner of Atlanta had this to say:
Wanton killing of millions in the name of some bankrupt ideology is a bit more difficult when everybody, not just the elite, are armed.
Mr. Wissner shows an astute understanding of why our Founding Fathers made the right to keep and bear arms part of the Bill of Rights.

Thank You To All Our Veterans


Veterans Day honors all those who served in any branch of the military. It was originally conceived as Armistice Day and was first celebrated on November 11, 1919. The significance of the date is that it was the day that the armistice was declared effectively ending World War One.

I never served in the military but my dad and my Uncle George served in the Army while my Uncle John and Uncle B served in the Navy during WWII.

I have many friends in gun rights community who are veterans and I salute them for never forgetting the oath that they took to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.