Tuesday, May 24, 2016
I posted an article from Politico on Facebook yesterday. The article said the NRA was facing member backlash from their endorsement of Donald Trump on Friday. I noted that I thought Politico was stretching to find NRA members who were opposed to the Trump endorsement. I compared it to finding people at the Annual Meeting who were in favor of universal background checks. You would find them if you looked hard. I went on to add that Politico was a part of the mainstream press whose job it seems is to get Hillary elected even if she does treat them like something she found on the bottom of her shoes.
I thought what I said was fairly uncontroversial.
I was wrong.
I have lost track of how many comments and replies pro and con the Trump endorsement that I have received. Some of the comments have up to 50 replies to them. Much of it is back and forth between people who oppose the endorsement and those who thought the NRA right to do the endorsement. To get a true feel for it you need to read the comment and then the back and forth replies.
The comments on both sides of the argument have come from people within the gun culture whom I respect for their devotion to the Second Amendment. Given that, I do see that the endorsement of Trump was more controversial than I thought.
My take on why the NRA-ILA and NRA-PVF made the endorsement now is that it was pragmatic politics. The NRA is nothing if not a practitioner of realpolik. The pragmatic consideration is that an early endorsement at a time when it would get lots of media attention cements the NRA as one of the inner circle of organizations who will have the ear of a President Trump. It is already a given that the NRA will have no seat at the table under a President Clinton. She has already declared us as one of her prime enemies.
The NRA could have waited to make the endorsement later in the campaign season but they would have risked that endorsement getting lost among other endorsements. Moreover, as some have suggested, they could have just foregone an endorsement of Trump as they have done with some past Republican nominees. Given Trump's past pro-gun control comments, they could have been excused for going this route. That said, 2016 Trump is very pro-gun, has made very pro-gun statements throughout the campaign, and has very pro-2A positions posted on his website. It could be posited that the NRA endorsement is a reward for coming over the from the dark side.
As I said above, I do see the endorsement of Trump as being more controversial than I thought. However, pragmatically, I don't see that the NRA had any other choice than to do what they did.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
I listened to Donald Trump's speech at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum yesterday. Two things stood out for me. First, and most important, I really do believe that Trump understands the issues surrounding the Second Amendment and gun rights. In his speech he referenced the makeup of the Supreme Court, judges, concealed carry permits, the threats to the Second Amendment, self-defense, and gun free zones.
The latter two, self-defense and gun free zones, are two areas that he really highlighted. Noting the Paris Massacre in a gun free zone, Trump said he doubted that it would have gone on long if held at the Annual Meeting due to the number of armed citizens. (As a sidebar, due to the Secret Service and their protective rules, Trump *was* speaking in a gun free zone.) Trump spoke of single moms in Florida and grandmothers in Ohio that would be left defenseless if Hillary was elected. That lead to his newest nickname for Clinton as "Heartless Hillary". Though, he admits, he still really likes "Crooked Hillary."
Second, listening to a Trump speech is an exercise in patience. This is not because of what he says but how he says it. The man has a severe case of attention deficit disorder when it comes to public speaking. He'd start out on a topic and then ...SQUIRREL! and he'd be off on a tangent. He makes some good points but he can be damn hard to follow.
I read some discussion yesterday on Sebastian's blog on whether or not the NRA should have endorsed Trump. In my opinion, the NRA did not have much of a choice. They deal in realpolitik. Their avowed foe Hillary Clinton has doubled down and made gun control, the Second Amendment, and the NRA her number one target.
This is a two-person race unless Bernie decides to run as an independent which Trump encouraged in his speech. The NRA has to pull conservatives who supported other candidates and gun owners who don't trust Trump back into the fold. Without them, Hillary most likely will win and the Second Amendment will be lost as an actual civil right. It will become a historical artifact. That is something the NRA can't live with and I certainly won't live with.
Friday, May 20, 2016
I'm listening the NRA Leadership Forum as I write. There have been some good zingers against Hillary from Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox. In the meantime, Democrats in California are pushing more and more gun laws.
This release from the Firearms Policy Coalition gives more details on this "gunpocalypse".
Firearms Policy Coalition Condemns “Fast-Tracked” California
Senate Votes it Calls ‘Gunpocalypse’
Civil rights group says gun-owners are being used as pawns in a turf war between Lt. Gov. Newsom, Sen. de León.
SACRAMENTO – Ten anti-gun rights bills were fast-tracked through the California State Senate today on a party-line vote of Senate Democrats led by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León.
The slate of proposals attacking California gun owners included four Assembly bills that were “gutted and amended” in the Senate just two weeks earlier in an effort by Democrats to avoid a full legislative vetting process and public scrutiny.
On the floor, debate about the need for the bills centered on a political turf war between Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, sponsor of a gun control ballot initiative opposed by my California legislators, and de León, who, ironically, views the ballot initiative process as a “last resort” rather than a way to short-cut the legislative cycle. “It is nothing short of unconscionable that millions of law-abiding Californians are being used as chess pieces in a twisted political game to see who can race to the bottom first,” said Craig DeLuz, legislative advocate for the gun rights group Firearms Policy Coalition.
Senator de Leon hopes that by fast-tracking gun control through the legislature, he can take the wind out Newsom’s “Safety for All” initiative’s sails—and his 2018 campaign to be the Golden State’s next governor. “The political class needs to know that law-abiding gun owners are not second-class citizens and the Second Amendment does not protect a second-class right,” noted DeLuz. “Even the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledges that.”
The ten gun control bills that were passed out of the Senate today are:
- • SB 880 (Hall): Bans common and constitutionally protected firearms that have magazine locking devices.
- • SB 894 (Jackson): Victimizes victims by criminalizing the failure to report lost and stolen firearms.
- • SB 1006 (Wolk): University of California taxpayer funding for gun control research.
- • SB 1235 (Deleon): Restrictions on ammunition purchases, creates a DOJ database of ammunition owners.
- • SB 1407 (Deleon): Retroactively requires serial numbers be placed on firearms dating back over 50 years.
- • SB 1446: Confiscation of lawfully acquired, standard capacity magazines that can hold over 10 rounds.
- • AB 156 (McCarty): Formerly dealt with global warming, but is now the same as SB 1235.
- • AB 857 (Cooper): Formerly addressed greenhouse gasses, but is now the same as SB 1407.
- • AB 1135 (Levine): Formerly centered around groundwater but is now the same as SB 880.
- • AB 1511 (Santiago): Formerly dealt with energy conservation, but now criminalizes loaning of firearms between personally known, law-abiding adults, including sportsmen, family member and competitors.
The American Suppressor Association sponsored their 3rd Annual Range Day at Knob Creek Range in Westpoint, Kentucky yesterday.
Members of the ASA that were there included Sig, Dead Air, Gemtech, AAC, SilencerCo, Yankee Hill, Daniel Defense, the Silencer Shop, and Liberty Suppressors.
Knox Williams of the ASA gave out a number of awards to members. As I remember it, Vender of the Year went to the Silencer Shop, Comeback Award went to Gemtech, and Person of the Year went to Josh Waldron of SilencerCo.
We (the Complementary Spouse and I) got to shoot a number of the suppressor. Below is a video of her shooting a Ruger 10/22 with a integrally suppressed barrel from Yankee Hill Machine.
Everyone and their brother seems to be heading to the NRA Annual Meeting. It took us an hour to get through the gates coming of Interstate 65. That seems the norm no matter which road you are coming in from.
That is, except if you are coming in through Gate 6. We saw very few people coming in that gate and no holdups. Gate 6 is accessed off of Preston Highway. See the map below.
I'm probably going to jinx things but I consider this a public service.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
This came across my desk today. It shows the increase in gun sales, NICS checks, etc. since President Obama was elected. I know I sure as hell have bought more ammo! I also got my carry permit after he was elected.
In a case brought by the Pink Pistols, Judge Richard Leon of the US District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction against DC's "good reason" requirement for a carry permit. The case, Grace and Pink Pistols v. DC, seems to have kept under the radar until now.
The text of the decision is here.
Earlier this year, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly had rejected the arguments of the Second Amendment Foundation in Wrenn v. DC. That case had been sent back to the District Court after it was found that Judge Frederick Scullin of New York had not been properly appointed to hear the case.
With the NRA Annual Meeting opening on Friday, the National Rifle Association was quite thrilled by the result. They issued this press release:
NRA Responds to Significant Second Amendment Victory
Federal judge orders D.C. officials to stop enforcing provisions that bar most residents from carrying firearms
Fairfax, Va.— The National Rifle Association (NRA) today responded to an order issued by a federal judge in Grace and the Pink Pistols v. District of Columbia that instructed D.C. officials to stop enforcing provisions of the city’s code that barred most D.C. residents from carrying firearms for self-protection.
“Today’s order is a victory for Second Amendment rights and has real implications for the safety of law-abiding citizens,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “The Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment protects the core right of self-defense in the home, but as the District Court today reaffirmed, that right is just as important to ordinary citizens commuting to work or shopping for groceries in an unsafe neighborhood.”
In the ruling issued today, Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia concluded that the district’s law is likely unconstitutional and that the plaintiffs who are challenging it in court would be severely harmed if the district were allowed to continue to enforce its ban while the lawsuit went forward. The judge held that the district’s “overly zealous . . . desire to restrict the right to carry in public a firearm for self-defense to the smallest possible number of law-abiding, responsible citizens” unconstitutionally flouted the Second Amendment.
In 2008, the Supreme Court struck down a D.C. law banning most citizens from possessing handguns at all, reasoning that such a ban was flatly inconsistent with the individual right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment. The district continued to enforce its ban on carrying firearms in public even after that ruling, however, and a federal district court struck that separate ban down in 2014. The district responded by enacting a new “licensing” scheme that only allowed its residents to carry firearms in public if they could show a specific, documented need for self-defense—for example, by proving that they had been attacked or were receiving death threats. The city issued a minuscule number of licenses, and the scheme had the practical effect of a full ban.
“Legislation that restricts the law-abiding does nothing to reduce crime and is unconstitutional. The NRA is glad that fact was recognized in federal court today,” concluded Cox.
The ruling prohibits law enforcement from enforcing the concealed carry ban temporarily while the constitutionality of the ban continues to be argued in court. The NRA will continue to support this suit financially.
Professor Eugene Volokh has his analysis of the case here.
Here is what the Second Amendment Foundation said about their win in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday.
BELLEVUE, WA – A three-judge panel for the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a 2-1 ruling that “the right to purchase and sell firearms is part and parcel of the historically recognized right to keep and bear arms” protected by the Second Amendment in a case brought by the Second Amendment Foundation.
SAF was joined in the case by the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, the Calguns Foundation, Inc., and three businessmen, John Teixeira, Steve Nobriga and Gary Gamaza. SAF was represented by noted California civil rights attorney Don Kilmer, and the case was supported by an important amicus brief filed by Virginia attorney Alan Gura for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Gura won both the Heller and McDonald Second Amendment rulings before the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This is an important decision,” said SAF founder and CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “It remands the case back to the lower court for further proceedings consistent with the ruling as it pertains to the Second Amendment.”
The lawsuit was against an Alameda County ordinance that prohibits gun stores from being located within 500 feet of a residential zone. Writing for the majority, Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain noted that, “the Ordinance burdened conduct protected by the Second Amendment and that it therefore must be subjected to heightened scrutiny—something beyond mere rational basis review.”
“Both SAF and CCRKBA can be proud of this victory,” Gottlieb stated. “We agree with Judge O’Scannlain’s explanation that ‘the county had failed to justify the burden it has placed on the right of law-abiding citizens to purchase guns. The Second Amendment,’ as the judge wrote, ‘requires something more rigorous than the unsubstantiated assertions offered to the district court.’”
Quoting the Supreme Court ruling in SAF’s 2010 landmark McDonald case, Judge O’Scannlain reiterated, “The right of law-abiding citizens to keep and to bear arms is not a ‘second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees that we have held to be incorporated into the Due Process Clause.’”
Second Amendment attorney David Kopel does a great job in breaking down the case in a post on the Volokh Conspiracy. It is well worth a read to get a great understanding of the case.
Professor Eugene Volokh also provides a summary of the case here. However, in my opinion, it is not nearly as comprehensive as that of David Kopel. If you only have time to read one, read Dave's.