Friday, February 22, 2013

What If...

Jim Shepherd, publisher of the Outdoor Wires, had a very interesting column this morning regarding the new gun control legislation that has been surfacing in places as disparate as Colorado and New Jersey. The language of the bills seems to have been derived from the same source - Mayor Bloomberg and his Illegal Mayors. This is something Michael Bane just pointed out about the Colorado legislation in his weekly Down Range Radio podcast on Wednesday.

Jim asks the question what if the purpose of the legislation is really the redefinition of legal terms.
But what if the intent of this legislation wasn't really the banning of magazines or classes of firearms? What if the real intent was to let the bans be watered down while pushing through sweeping redefinitions of terms we all think are clearly defined?

Consider, for example, the lawful transfer. That's a transfer of ownership between two private parties or between a federal firearms licensee and a purchaser, right? To a point.

But what if language broadened to the point that the term "transfer" was applicable to any regulated item -such as a "high-capacity magazine" used in competition and not just a "firearm"?

It seems to be a very small distinction, until you realize that a lawful transfer, as stated under Colorado's proposed statutes, would be applicable to magazines. And those definitions went on to broaden a "recognized competition" as having been run by either a state agency or non-profit. SASS, IDPA, USPSA are not, technically non-profit organizations. Under that broadened definition, USPSA/IDPA match officials picking up a magazine dropped during a competition stage would be participating in an illegal transfer.
Jim poses a very interesting question which illustrates the Machiavellian nature of some of our opponents. Read Jim's whole column. It is a must-read.


  1. John,

    This illustrates why the minute we allow the government to 'infringe' on a right even just a little bit, the lawyers start getting involved a fuck it all up!

  2. At this point nothing short of some real strong opinions from the Supreme Court - followed by a big push for Federal laws to protect those rights - will suffice.

    They got a long game. So do we. We were complacent these past years. Question is whether our newly rediscovered mojo can outlast theirs.

  3. I think the real focus here is to have bargaining chips for limiting concealed carry and the right to bear arms. SCOTUS as currently made up will strike down all of these laws, but that costs time and money. I think Bloomy and MAIG are trying to work some bargaining chips into their negotiations, just like they tried in IL, but the 7th screwed up their plans and not only ruled against them but gave a hard deadline. As always, we need to support all of our breathren in arms, which means giving $$ to SAF, NRA, GOA, and the rest of the alphabet soup to help them wage this war of attrition.

    -Dirk Diggler

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  5. Of course “language of the bills seems to have been derived from the same source” — that's how virtually all “nanny state” legislation is initiated.

    There's a nationwide network of public policy non-profits that drives much of the social change occurring today in America. For example, Oakland, CA-based ChangeLab Solutions produces model legislation to fight tobacco and childhood obesity and influence land planning in ways that support “healthier lifestyles.” They're funded by a combination of private foundations and state and federal agencies, and were almost single-handedly responsible for the nationwide ban on smoking in restaurants and bars.

    The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly LCAV) is a similar public policy non-profit focused on gun control.

    What these organizations all have in common is that they employ lawyers and social scientists together to conduct research and training, publish peer-reviewed articles and draft model legislation that supports their agendas. They employ scientific research in pursuit of social change. Some are directly connected with major universities while others operate independently. A few occasionally litigate but most avoid public confrontation. And all refrain from political partisanship.

    There is simply no analogue to these organization that is fighting for armed self-defense rights — not the NRA, SAF, GOA or any state-based organizations. There are a few scattered academics who write frequently about the law and research criminal violence issues, and a handful of attorneys who litigate gun cases. But the gun rights community has never approached the fight from any perspective other than as an interest group (e.g., gun owners). So it's no wonder that we always lose the “objective” battle that's waged in the media and in legislative committee rooms.

    The first step is understanding the battle that we're in. It's beyond wishful thinking to expect that the Supreme Court will someday once and for all put teeth into the words, “shall not be infringed.” Or to hope that elected officials will “respect our rights,” especially when they're constantly bombarded with well-funded research cataloging the evils of gun violence.

    If armed self-defense is to survive in America, it must be proven to save lives. It must be proven to be the most cost-effective solution to a broad range of intractable social problems. That will only happen when we marshal facts and reason on our side instead of relying exclusively on rhetoric.