Monday, April 21, 2014

800% More Bullet!

I first saw this on Tumblr and thought it was some sort of parody of Bloomberg's Everytown group. It turns out it wasn't.

The post above was on our good friends Facebook page. It just goes to prove that $50 million can't buy you real gun sense.

UPDATE: Erika Soto Lamb who is the Communications Directors of Everytown for Gun Safety (sic) is asserting that this is a parody put up by "cybersquatters".  Going through the photos on that page, she may be correct. That said, her organization(s) have put out stupid ads about guns in the past.

No Word Yet On Drake v. Jerejian

Examining the list of orders from the US Supreme Court issued this morning, the one obvious omission on the list was Drake et al v. Jerejian et al. This is the New Jersey case that challenges that state's requirement for the showing of justifiable need in order to obtain a carry permit.

The case was up for discussion as to whether to take it or not on Friday. As it hasn't been denied, I guess this means no news is good news.

UPDATE: Dirk Diggler reports in the comments that the SCOTUS has passed this case to this coming Friday's conference. Keep your fingers crossed.

Early Voting Opens April 24th In North Carolina

Early voting opens April 24th in North Carolina for our May primaries. In anticipation of this, Grass Roots North Carolina-Political Victory Fund has released their candidate evaluations. They have also released their candidate recommendations in contested primaries.

In the Republican primary to face the vulnerable Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), they have a difference of opinion with the NRA-PVF. They have endorsed Dr. Greg Bannon of Cary while the NRA-PVF has endorsed NC House Speaker Thom Tillis of Charlotte. It is a Tea Party v. GOP establishment, an outsider v. an insider sort of thing. I think either man would be good for the Second Amendment with Brannon saying he's looking for laws to repeal while major gun rights bills including the castle doctrine have passed the NC General Assembly since Tills became the Speaker.

While GRNC-PVF has traditionally only concerned themselves with either statewide or legislative offices, this year they have made recommendations in a handful of sheriffs' races. It looks to me like they are looking for strong opposite party pro-gun candidates to oppose those sheriffs who killed the scrapping of the pistol purchase permits. I think it is high time that some of these sheriffs learn that actions have (electoral) consequences.

According to their alert, they have made recommendations in 40 contested races and will be spending approximately $100,000 in their primary efforts. These efforts include:
* Mailing GRNC-PVF Gun Rights Voter Guides to nearly 17,000 GRNC members;
* Mailing nearly 50,000 postcard election alerts to gun voters in races across the state;
* Running radio spots in several key races; and
* Conducting tens of thousands of automated phone calls in key races; and
* Sending email alerts to over 100,000 gun-owning NC voters!
GRNC is an all volunteer organization as is the GRNC-PVF. If you'd like to donate to help with these expenses, go here.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

April 19, 1775

Two hundred thirty-nine years ago today, an effort at gun confiscation by General Thomas Gage was the spark that started a revolution.

Sylvanus Wood was a Minuteman from Woburn, Massachusetts who responded to the call of the Lexington bell. Later in that fateful day, he is credited with being the first man to capture a British Regular during the American Revolution. Below is his sworn recollection of the battle on Lexington Green.
"I, Sylvanus Wood, of Woburn, in the county of Middlesex, and commonwealth of Massachusetts, aged seventy-four years, do testify and say that on the morning of the 19th of April, 1775, I was an inhabitant of Woburn, living with Deacon Obadiah Kendall; that about an hour before the break of day on said morning, I heard the Lexington bell ring, and fearing there was difficulty there, I immediately arose, took my gun and, with Robert Douglass, went in haste to Lexington, which was about three miles distant.

When I arrived there, I inquired of Captain Parker, the commander of the Lexington company, what was the news. Parker told me he did not know what to believe, for a man had come up about half an hour before and informed him that the British troops were not on the road. But while we were talking, a messenger came up and told the captain that the British troops were within half a mile. Parker immediately turned to his drummer, William Diman, and ordered him to beat to arms, which was done. Captain Parker then asked me if I would parade with his company. I told him I would. Parker then asked me if the young man with me would parade. I spoke to Douglass, and he said he would follow the captain and me.

By this time many of the company had gathered around the captain at the hearing of the drum, where we stood, which was about half way between the meetinghouse and Buckman's tavern. Parker says to his men, 'Every man of you, who is equipped, follow me; and those of you who are not equipped, go into the meeting-house and furnish yourselves from the magazine, and immediately join the company.' Parker led those of us who were equipped to the north end of Lexington Common, near the Bedford Road, and formed us in single file. I was stationed about in the centre of the company. While we were standing, I left my place and went from one end of the company to the other and counted every man who was paraded, and the whole number was thirty-eight, and no more.

Just as I had finished and got back to my place, I perceived the British troops had arrived on the spot between the meeting-house and Bucknian's, near where Captain Parker stood when he first led off his men. The British troops immediately wheeled so as to cut off those who had gone into the meeting-house. The British troops approached us rapidly in platoons, with a general officer on horseback at their head. The officer came up to within about two rods of the centre of the company, where I stood, the first platoon being about three rods distant. They there halted. The officer then swung his sword, and said, 'Lay down your arms, you damned rebels, or you are all dead men. Fire!' Some guns were fired by the British at us from the first platoon, but no person was killed or hurt, being probably charged only with powder.

Just at this time, Captain Parker ordered every man to take care of himself. The company immediately dispersed; and while the company was dispersing and leaping over the wall, the second platoon of the British fired and killed some of our men. There was not a gun fired by any of Captain Parker's company, within my knowledge. I was so situated that I must have known it, had any thing of the kind taken place before a total dispersion of our company. I have been intimately acquainted with the inhabitants of Lexington, and particularly with those of Captain Parker's company, and, with one exception, I have never heard any of them say or pretend that there was any firing at the British from Parker's company, or any individual in it until within a year or two. One member of the company told me, many years since, that, after Parker's company had dispersed, and he was at some distance, he gave them 'the guts of his gun.'"

Behind The Times

Virtually everyone knows by now that the renamed combo of the Illegal Mayors and Demanding Mommies didn't secure the Everytown for Gun Safety Facebook page before their big announcement. Rather, it went to a pro-gun rights grassroots activist who was quicker on the uptake than they were. This happened despite their supposed expertise in social media as evidenced by their presentation called "Disrupting the Gun Lobby with Digital Organizing" at Austin's South by Southwest Festival. The SXSW presenters included both Shannon Watts and Mark Glaze.

So when did EGS get their act together and establish their Facebook presence? On April 17th, two days after their big announcement.

And how are they doing in terms of likes? They have 9 likes versus 26,183 likes for the pro-gun Everytown for Gun Safety Facebook page.

Guerrilla tactics do work, and work well, when used against a larger, wealthier opponent who has no real idea what action at the grassroots level really means. Just like in Colorado where four pissed off guys successfully took on both Bloomberg and the Democratic Establishment to recall Sen. President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron, Everytown for Gun Safety and its over 100 local Facebook pages will cause Bloomberg to have to devote resources in order to get them taken down from Facebook. That is money that won't be spent on ad campaigns or donated to gun prohibitionist candidates. We may lose the battle but we will win the war.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Too Good To Not Share

This YouTube video takes the "Hitler bunker" video and subtitles it to reflect the scooping of Bloomberg's new "Everytown" organization on Facebook. It was sent to me in the comments of my post about the homes of Bloomberg and Watts.

If you want to see the real grassroots at work, here it is.

The Houses Of "Everytown"

The world looks differently to you and me than it does to Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts.

Unless you live in an exclusive suburb with armed guards at the gate, I doubt your home looks like the array of homes below. It should be noted that I don't begrudge Mr. Bloomberg his money as he earned it by taking an idea for providing financial data and ran with it. That is the American Way and I applaud his entrepreneurship. Shannon Watts took the more old fashioned way and (re)married well to the former CEO of a Wellpoint subsidiary.That, too, is OK...I guess.

Bloomberg's Upper East Side Townhouse
Bloomberg's Long Island Estate
Bloomberg's Bermuda vacation residence
Bloomberg's London apartment in Cadogan Square

Bloomberg's North Salem, NY Farm
Bloomberg's Vail, Co "Mountain Haus" condo

Aerial view of Bloomberg's Wellington, FL horse farm & estate
Watt's Indiana home - street view

When you live in a million dollar plus home in a plush neighborhood, your view of the world is just different. You don't have crime at your doorstep and you really don't have to worry about home invasions. And if you are Mr. Bloomberg, you have your own private armed security detail made up of ex-NYPD cops. I don't know if Mr. Bloomberg provides armed security personnel to Mrs. Watts when she travels around the US on behalf of the Demanding Mommies but I wouldn't be surprised if he did.

However, the populist streak in me is offended about being told that I should support gun control for my own good by people who live in a well-protected environment. Moreover, my liberal arts education makes me cringe at the perversion of the word "safety" by those who really mean prohibition and control by it. If you are going to be for gun control, at least be honest about it, like it was when the Brady Campaign was called Handgun Control, Inc.

When it comes to real gun safety, it is the NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and other gun rights organizations AND their members who do the grunt work of promoting gun safety. We are the ones running the Eddie Eagle classes, we are the ones teaching kids how to handle a firearm safely at home and at camp, we are the ones who invest our hard-earned money into safes, locks, and other security devices, and we are the ones providing classes to abused spouses so that they can learn how to protect themselves. And we are doing it every day in everytown at the grassroots level.

So my advice for Mr. Bloomberg and Mrs. Watts is that they should stay in their palatial homes and worry more about the next gallery opening, the next society event, or the next cocktail party than how the rest of us in Everytown America provide for our own self-defense. In other words, they should mind their own damn business and leave us in the real grassroots the hell alone.

UPDATE:  Little did I realize when I wrote that Bloomberg and Watts should worry about the "next gallery opening" that Shannon Watts and her husband John actually owned an art gallery. Thanks to "Dirk Diggler" for pointing it out. The gallery, Watts Fine Arts, was located in Zionsville, Indiana. They said their goal is to be a destination for art collectors around the Midwest. The Watts wanted to bring contemporary masters to the Midwest saying in the press release, "Watts Fine Art represents living American artists who create exceptional paintings, sculpture and photography previously only available on the East and West Coasts and in the American Southwest."

The funniest thing about all of this is not the pretentiousness of it but that I found the press release on Go figure.

UPDATE II: After I wrote about the Watts' gallery, I find that it closed its doors in October 2012.
John Watts, owner of Watts Fine Art, said despite several marketing efforts, the store will close in October because business has been slow and the shop isn’t getting enough foot traffic and sales.

“After over three years in business, it became clear to us that our strategy of bringing museum quality national artists to Indianapolis was not a fit for the local market and especially Zionsville,” he said. “We don’t see this changing for a variety of reasons and did not want to compromise on the type of art we sell or the artists we represent.
Obviously, their heathen neighbors in flyover country just didn't appreciate the efforts of the Watts to bring them culture. 

Supreme Court Considers Whether To Accept The NJ Carry Case

Today is the day for the US Supreme Court to consider whether they will grant certiorari in the case of Drake v. Jerejian. This case, originally named Muller v. Maenza, challenges the state of New Jersey's requirement for the showing of "justifiable need" in order to obtain a carry permit.

From the petition for a writ of certiorari as filed with the Supreme Court:

The Second Amendment “guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 592 (2008). But in accordance with “the overriding philosophy of [New Jersey’s] Legislature . . . to limit the use of guns as much as possible,” State v. Valentine, 124 N.J. Super. 425, 427, 307 A.2d 617, 619 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1973), New Jersey law bars all but a small handful of individuals showing “justifiable need” from carrying a handgun for self-defense, N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:58-4(c).

The federal appellate courts, and state courts of last resort, are split on the question of whether the Second Amendment secures a right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense. The Second, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Circuits, and the supreme courts of Illinois, Idaho, Oregon and Georgia have held or assumed that the Second Amendment encompasses the right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense. But along with the highest courts of Massachusetts, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, which have refused to recognize this right, a divided Third Circuit panel below held that carrying handguns outside the home for self-defense falls outside the scope of the Second Amendment’s protection. It thus upheld New Jersey’s “justifiable need” prerequisite for carrying defensive handguns.

The federal appellate courts are also split 8-1 on the question of whether the government must provide evidence to meet its burden in Second Amendment cases. The First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth and District of Columbia Circuits require the government to produce legislative findings or other evidence to sustain a law burdening the right to bear arms. But the majority below held that the legislature’s policy decisions need not be supported by any findings or evidence to survive a Second Amendment challenge, if the law strikes the court as reasonable. Accordingly, the majority upheld New Jersey’s “justifiable need” law despite the state’s concession that it lacked legislative findings or evidence of the law’s public safety benefits, let alone the degree of fit between the regulation and the interests it allegedly secures.

The questions presented are:

1. Whether the Second Amendment secures a right to carry handguns outside the home for selfdefense.

2. Whether state officials violate the Second Amendment by requiring that individuals wishing to exercise their right to carry a handgun for selfdefense first prove a “justifiable need” for doing so.
The attorneys for the plaintiffs appealing this case are David Jensen and Alan Gura. Amicus briefs in favor of the plaintiffs have been filed by the NRA, Gun Owners of America, 24 Members of Congress, the Cato Institute, 19 states, the Judicial Education Project, and the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence at Chapman University School of Law.

Attorney David Jensen said he is "cautiously optimistic" that the Supreme Court will accept the case.
"The issue has percolated in the appeals courts for the last year and a half," Jensen said. "It would be well-timed."
This echoes the sentiments of Frank Fiamingo of the NJ Second Amendment Society expressed in an interview Wednesday on the Polite Society Podcast. He noted the split between the Federal Circuits on this issue. The recent rulings by the 9th Circuit in Peruta and the associated cases adds weight to this argument.

It will take four Justices voting to accept the case for it to be granted certiorari. We didn't get that in the petitions for the Kachalsky and Woollard cases. We should know by the end of the day whether the Supreme Court will consider the third major Second Amendment case in the last decade.