Monday, September 29, 2014

GRPC - Next Year, Phoenix


The location for the 2015 Gun Rights Policy Conference has been announced and it is Phoenix, Arizona. The conference will be held the last weekend of September as usual.

Let's assume you just can't make it to the conference due to cost or work or, God forbid, another suicidal maniac screwing up the FAA's air traffic control system. Thanks to the joint efforts of Ammoland.com, the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, and The Polite Society Podcast (of which I'm a co-host)  you can watch the entire conference live via streaming video.

Paul Lathrop, host of The Polite Society Podcast, announced the joint effort late last night on Facebook.
I am proud to announce that at the Gun Rights Policy Conference 2015 The Polite Society Podcast will partner with AmmoLand.com - Shooting Sports News & Business and NJ2AS News and Events to provide LIVE video streaming of the conference!

I want to thank Fredy Riehl of Ammoland, Frank Jack Fiamingo, president of NJ2AS, and Rob Morse each of whom helped hatch the plan. It is going to take quite a bit of planning to get it done the way that it should be done, but I am certain that it will be a fun time.
I think this is great news.

And in one of those weird coincidences, I'm leaving for a business conference in a few minutes in....Phoenix.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Shades Of Gregg Marmalard


Reading a story about the veto of a student campus carry resolution at Baylor University, I couldn't help but think of the character Gregg Marmalard in the movie Animal House. Marmalard was the student body president at Faber College who did the bidding of Dean Wormer in trying to get rid of Delta House.


The Student Senate at Baylor had passed a resolution on September 18th urging that those legally licensed to carry concealed be allowed to do so on campus. The sponsor of the resolution, senior Gannon McCahill said it would make the campus a safer place and noted that people can legally carry most everywhere else.

However, this resolution was vetoed by Baylor Student Body President Dominic Edwards on Thursday and thus won't be presented to the university administration. Edwards contended the Student Senate did not properly seek in put from students, faculty, and staff. The move to override the veto failed to achieve the requisite two-thirds needed.

It seems that this is not the first veto by Edwards of a student senate resolution.
McCahill also aired frustration about the ability of the senate to push measures forward, noting that controversial issues tend to be “vetoed and pushed aside so the administration doesn’t have to deal with it.”

The student senate last fall approved a measure to drop “homosexual acts” out of the university’s sexual misconduct policy, but the body could not override a presidential veto.
I don't think the Baylor University President and Chancellor really needs to be protected from a little controversy. This is quite minor compared to what Ken Starr has dealt with in the past.

NSSF - The Changing Face Of Target Shooters


The National Shooting Sports Foundation has released a great new infographic about target shooters. One can clearly see the difference between gun culture v1.0 and gun culture v2.0.



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Joe Manchin Said He Supported The Second Amendment, Too


Democrats running for the US Senate from red states love to say they are for the Second Amendment.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he was for gun rights, boasted he was endorsed by the NRA, and even showed himself shooting a rifle at the "cap and trade" bill. That was in 2010. In 2013, he introduced a bill that would "only add gun checks to online sales and gun shows." That was a myth among many other problems.

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) said she supported the Second Amendment in 2008 when she won against a lackluster Liddy Dole in the Obama landslide. That didn't stop her from voting for Manchin-
Toomey in 2013 along with gun prohibitionists like Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and the late Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).

Now comes Kentucky Sec. of State Alison Lundergan Grimes who is running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). She said she disagrees with Obama on guns, coal, and the EPA. She even ran an ad showing herself at the skeet range. She even chides McConnell's waving a Kentucky long rifle a'la Charlton Heston at the 2014 NRA Annual Meeting saying, "That's not the way you hold a gun."



Then she was a guest on the Kentucky Sports Radio show in which she said was for the Second Amendment but supported closing the mythical "gun show loophole."




I'm sorry but if you say you support closing the non-existent "gun show loophole" (sic) then that means you support universal background checks. Answering a question about whether you'd support banning any guns by saying "I support the Second Amendment" is nothing more than obfuscation. You want to appear gun friendly but you are supporting exactly the same thing as Bloomberg, Watts, and the rest.

Mitch McConnell is not my favorite Republican. I think what he's done to undercut the non-establishment wing of the Republican Party is stupid politics. However, I vote the Second Amendment and he supports gun rights. I am also well aware that we are but one Supreme Court justice away from seeing Heller and McDonald overturned. The only way to ensure Obama doesn't get a chance to seat another Kagan or Sotomayor on the Supreme Court is with a Republican-majority Senate. If Grimes wins, that isn't going to happen.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Off To The 2014 Gun Rights Policy Conference


I leave in a couple of hours for my flight to Chicago to attend the Gun Rights Policy Conference. It has been a momentous week leading up to the conference.

First, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said he would be recommending pre-trial intervention for Shaneen Allen. This comes after the Attorney General John J. Hoffman "clarified" his directive to prosecutors regarding the prosecution of legally licensed visitors to the State of NJ who ran afoul of their onerous laws. And it formally happened yesterday as Ms. Allen stood before NJ Superior Court Judge Michael Donio "who formally put on record that she had been entered into PTI, and that all motions have been withdrawn and all pending court dates — including an Oct. 20 trial — suspended."

As for Ms. Allen herself, she had this to say:
“I have no words for how I feel,” Shaneen Allen said outside the courtroom. “I won’t be going to jail and can stay home with my kids and get back to my life.”

That includes finding work after losing her three jobs as a result of a felony charge hanging over her head.

Now, she wants to head to nursing school — a plan detoured after she was arrested and jailed for 46 days after she was stopped on the Atlantic City Expressway with her gun.
Frankly, I don't think this would have been the outcome if she hadn't been such a sympathetic figure AND if Ray Rice hadn't gotten a slap on the wrist after brutally knocking out his wife-to-be. It also goes to show that politicians can find ways to act correctly if the heat is high enough.

Second, Alan Gura chalks up another win for the Second Amendment with a case from Pennsylvania.  Binderup v. Holder involved a guy who lost his Second Amendment rights for sleeping with the wrong woman. Dan Binderup had pled guilty to a the misdemeanor crime of "corruption of a minor" which could have carried a five-year sentence. He got a fine and probation. However, under Federal law, you lose your Second Amendment rights if the crime could carry a penalty of more than a year. Dave Hardy give a good explanation of that here. It is a shame that Jefferson Schrader didn't live long enough to see this decision.

Finally, Eric Holder resigned as Attorney General of the United States. I was so busy with work yesterday I didn't know about this until the Complementary Spouse came home and told me. As the editorial headline from Investor's Business Daily said, "Holder's Exit Not Fast Or Furious Enough".

In a just world, Eric Holder would be headed to prison. As it is, he'll become just another Obama Administration alumnus getting his multi-million dollar payday from some business or law firm that wants an "in" with Obama.

More will be written about Holder's departure in the coming days but right now it is my own departure for Chicago that is more pressing.

UPDATE: After having my first flight cancelled at 8:45 this morning, going to the airport (5 minute drive) and waiting a half hour for a United ticket agent, getting rebooked out of Greenville-Spartanburg, driving to GSP, waiting 3 hours, and then having my second flight cancelled at 4:00 pm, attending this year's Gun Rights Policy Conference will be nothing more than a fond dream. It sucks but it also is a good lesson in the fragility of technology. Who would have thought one suicidal man could have wreaked so much havoc?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Interesting Second Amendment Case Out Of Massachusetts


If you travel abroad to a foreign country you carry your US Passport with you to prove that you are an American citizen. You don't carry your birth certificate nor, if you weren't born in the United States, do you carry your Certificate of Naturalization. Every foreign country around the world recognizes a passport as evidence of citizenship yet the Boston Police Department would not recognize Phuong Ngo's US Passport as evidence of his US citizenship when he applied for a License to Carry. They demanded a US birth certificate or a Certificate of Naturalization and only would accept only one of  those documents.

Mr. Phuong Ngo came to the United States as a child with his parents. In  2006 his father became a naturalized citizen of the United States. 8 U.S.C. § 1431 provides that a child born outside the United States automatically becomes a citizen if at least one parent is a US citizen by either birth or naturalization; that the child is under age 18; and that the child is residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence (i.e., not an undocumented or illegal alien). Mr. Ngo thus became a US citizen without having either a US birth certificate or a Certificate of Naturalization. Nonetheless, he is a US citizen or the Department of State would not have issued him a passport.

22 U.S.C. § 2705 states that during its period of validity a US Passport shall have the same force and effect as proof of United States citizenship as certificates of naturalization or of citizenship issued by the Attorney General or by a court having naturalization jurisdiction.

Because of the intransigence of the Boston Police Department acting as the BPD Licensing Authority, Mr. Ngo and Commonwealth Second Amendment have filed suit in US District Court for the District of Massachusetts against Commissioner William Evans. They are seeking to have Boston's requirements for a License to Carry to be declared unconstitutional, as applied and facially, on Second and Fourteenth Amendment grounds as well as on the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. They are also seeking a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction enjoining the BPD Licensing Authority from refusing to accept Mr. Ngo's US Passport as evidence of his US citizenship.

From Comm2A's press release on the case:
NATICK, MA - On Monday September 22nd, Commonwealth Second Amendment (Comm2A) and an individual plaintiff filed suit in federal district court against Boston Police Commissioner William Evans seeking a temporary restraining order against the department's policy of refusing to recognize valid US passports as proof of US Citizenship.

"I think most Americans would find it deeply offensive to learn that the police don't consider a US passport evidence of citizenship," said Comm2A President Brent Carlton. "Sadly this is no surprise from a Police Commissioner who believes no one in Boston 'needs' a rifle or a shotgun. The US Constitution that Commissioner Evans has sworn to uphold has a Bill of Rights, not a bill of needs. This is just one more tool that the Boston Police use to prevent the people of Boston from exercising a fundamental right."

Despite federal law to the contrary, the department refuses to acknowledge that a valid US passport is proof of US citizenship. The Plaintiff attempted to apply for a ‘License to Carry’ on several occasions but was turned away by the Boston Police Department because he did not possess the requisite birth certificate or certificate of naturalization. Mr. Ngo became a US citizen as a minor child when his father became a citizen. Mr. Ngo does not possess nor is he able to obtain either a US birth certificate or certificate of naturalization. Mr. Ngo was repeatedly told that his valid US passport would not be accepted.

In refusing to acknowledge a valid US passport as evidence of citizenship, the complaint alleges that the Boston Police have trampled upon Mr. Ngo's rights under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, as well as violated the Supremacy Clause of Article IV of the US Constitution.

Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Margarita Smirnova and J. Steven Foley.
Frankly, I don't see that Boston has a leg to stand on but that certainly has NOT stopped anti-gun bureaucrats in the past.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How Do Silencers Work?


I am a sucker for a really good infographic and SilencerCo has put one out. They are the Utah-based manufacturer of silencers/suppressors for rifles, pistols, AND shotguns.

SilencerCo has always put a lot of effort into educating people on the legality, history, and usage of silencers. This infographic is their latest effort. Interestingly enough, it has caught the attention of the business press. BusinessInsider ran a story featuring the infographic below on Monday. Unlike most stuff you see in the media, it was accurate and non anti-silencer.

As someone who has a hearing related problem - tinnitus - due to shooting without hearing protection earlier in life, I really wish silencers and suppressors were not NFA items. At most, they should be listed as AOW or any other weapon and have a $5 transfer fee. The reality is that hearing loss is a public health issue and silencers, despite all the myth and legend about them coming out of Hollywood, are a hearing safety device.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Now Why Would The ATF Be Asking About Internet Sales?


The gun prohibitionists are always in a tizzy about "the Internet sale of guns". Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors is making a big deal about "Internet sales" in the campaign for the Washington State universal background check initiative I-594. That initiative, if passed, would mandate universal background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms. Of course, they are being helped by their allies in the Seattle media with articles like this giving the impression that Facebook is just one big gun exchange.

Here is what the Brady Campaign sent out to their true believers in their Toolkit 2014 which provides suggestions for contacting legislators and letters to the editor along with their general campaign strategy.
Unfortunately, when the bill (Brady Law) was created legislators could not have dreamed of the booming internet market and rising gun shows as a means for gun sales. Current law does not require a background check through these venues, meaning that a dangerous person could order a firearm online, meet someone in a parking lot to pick it up, and commit a crime that same day. In fact, there are several instances of this exact tragedy happening.
Gabby Giffords and the Space Cowboy are not to be outdone. Their "in-depth" report purportedly shows how the Internet is being used to circumvent laws banning firearm possession by the mentally ill. They are also pushing background checks as an issue in the race for Giffords' former Congressional set in their ads against Col. Martha McSally.

The Violence Policy Center has been on this bandwagon since the late 1990s as have anti-gun politicians such as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

You and I realize that companies like CDNN, Bud's Gun Shop, Cheaper Than Dirt, and Kentucky Gun Company among others are not shipping firearms willy-nilly across the country like they are living in some pre-GCA 68 world where anyone could mail order a gun and get it delivered to their home. Moreover, as traditional classified advertising is dying in newspapers due to the cost and declining readership, it is being replaced with online venues ranging from the general to the specific. Many gun forums maintain their own classifieds.

It is within this context that I was surprised by a new question on the ATF Form 8 ((5320.11) Part II. This form is for the renewal of a Federal Firearms License I have circled it in the photo below. Having had my Curios & Relics FFL for going on 18 years, this will make my sixth renewal of my collector's license. My last renewal was in 2011 and it did not have this question on it.




It asks, "Have you conducted or do you intend to conduct internet sales of firearms? If yes, list the websites from which you conduct your internet business." If you go to this link, you can see that the prior version of ATF Form 8 did not have this question on it.

As best as I can determine, this is a recent change. The Federal Register contains a notice from ATF dated January 30, 2014 stating that they were submitting a request for review and approval of Form 8 (5310.11) and that the public had 60 days to comment. No draft of the form was shown. A subsequent notice extended this comment period to May 2, 2014.

The final revision was approved on June 26, 2014 according to this OMB database. (If you click on the form name in the link above, it will pull up a PDF of this form.) Reading the justification letter for this revision of Form 8, much ado was made about why they changed this or that question to make it more readable or easily understood. That said, there was absolutely no mention of Q. 8 and the inquiry about Internet sales of firearms. None.

So the question remains: why this question and why now? Is this a prelude to some future restrictions on the advertising for sale of firearms on the Internet? Why is this question not asked on initial applications for either a FFL or a Collector's License? I don't know because the ATF slipped it by OMB without any justification of it and they haven't said anything publicly about Internet sales that I am aware.

As with all things ATF, this bears keeping a watchful eye on them and this issue.