Monday, November 12, 2018

"I want gun control and I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers."


The above quote comes from Susan Orfanos. She was the mother of Telemachus Orfanos who was one of the victims in the multiple murders committed at the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks, California. It was reported on the CBS Evening News for Friday, November 9th.
"He didn't come home last night," said his mother, Susan. "I don't want prayers. I don't want thoughts. I want gun control and I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers. I want gun control. No more guns."
The link to the story includes the video interview with her and a friend of the murderer.

I can excuse the bitter words of a distraught mother who lost a son. However, I have also gotten emails from both the Brady Campaign and the cult of personality known as Giffords calling for more gun control and asking for donations.

Excuse me but these murders happened in the gun control paradise known as California. Giffords Law Center rates the state an "A". It is the only state in the Union rated this high. Even New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts only get A minuses. In the last Brady Campaign rankings I can find from 2015, California was the number one state in terms of adopting the gun control measures they wanted.

Red Flag laws?

Check!

Highly restrictive may issue concealed carry?

Check!

Ban on open carry?

Check!

Waiting periods?

Check!

Assault weapon (sic) bans?

Check!

Magazine size restrictions?

Check!

Purchase of ammunition only through licensed dealers?

Check!

Background check to buy ammo?

Check!

Ban carry in establishments that serve alcohol?

Check!

The state has every thing that the gun prohibitionists have been calling for to supposedly stop "gun violence" and "mass shootings" and yet it failed. When a murderer is determined to commit evil deeds the weapon really almost becomes irrelevant. It could just as easily have been an attack using a knife as in Melbourne, Australia on Friday. Even worse might have been an arson attack where an exit was illegally locked or blocked. Some of the worst night club fires in the US and the rest of the world have been due to arson.

My point is that there is little that can be done to stop the initial attack even with the most restrictive of laws. Evil people will do what evil people will do.

That said, there are a number of things that might have lessened the toll. For example, if the six off-duty cops there had been allowed to carry in the Borderline Bar, they could have responded with deadly force to stop the murders. Or, for example, as Greg Ellifritz points out, the murderer posted to Facebook and Instagram during the attack which was an opportunity to attack the murderer when he was distracted. While it might have been illegal in California, in many states you can carry in a place that serves alcohol so long as you don't drink. This would be the place for Designated Defenders as suggested by Massad Ayoob.

I'm not sure how to prevent all mass violence events. I do think Malcolm Gladwell is on to something with his theory of threshholds where each event begets a larger and worse event. Media publicity doesn't help. I'm not saying that it shouldn't be reported but restraint and discretion should be exercised. For a start, do like many bloggers and academics have pledged: don't report the killer's name. As the No Notoriety campaign suggests focus on the victims and not the killer.

It would be a start. In the meantime, be alert and be careful where you go.

A Message From Medium Amanda


This post has nothing to do with lawyers - not even election lawyers. It has nothing to do with guns - not even gun control. And this post has might have something to do with money as in an email scam. We all get spam and we probably all have received emails from Nigerian princes or the widow of a long deposed African dictator offering a share of the wealth if we help them collect it.

However, this email was different. It was from a medium named Amanda who is offering to "bend fate in my favour". The only problem is that Medium Amanda hasn't quite figured out how to customize her emails to each and every recipient.
Dear firstname,

Your energy came to me in a beautiful vision. I see that you are at a crossroads. You can pick either side: fortune will smile upon you, or disaster will strike.

I possess the gift to bend fate in your favour. This means that your cash flows will considerably increase within the foreseeable future.

All I need is your approval to change your destiny. I need some information from you in order to tell you exactly what you have to do to build your fortune.

If you do not take any action within 5 days, I can no longer help you avoid your fate. Click the link below so that I can tell you how you can realize your biggest dreams.

This is top priority for me, so let me give you the answer as soon as possible.

Love,
Medium Amanda
Medium Amanda even included a picture of herself!




The cynic in me thinks that this picture of Medium Amanda kind of looks like a stock photo and that her offer to help me realize my biggest dreams probably is a scam. Nonetheless, I am selfish so will keep her link of an offer of help all to myself.

And to all the Medium Amandas out there, thank you for giving me something to write about on a cold, damp, grey Monday morning.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

And At The Eleventh Hour The Guns Fell Silent



H. G. Wells called the Great War or World War I the "war to end all wars." We know that was a mythical false hope. Indeed, it can be rightly said that the Treaty of Versailles created the conditions that led, in no small part, to World War II.

The Armistice that ended the fighting on the Western Front went into effect at 11 am Paris Time on November 11, 1918. At that time, fighting was to cease. However, as I noted in a post a few years ago, fighting continued and men still died right up to until that time. Private Henry Gunther of Baltimore continued fighting to the end and was killed at 10:59 am as he charged a German machine gun nest. He was officially the last Allied soldier to die in combat.

Thus, this recording released by the Imperial War Museum in London is all the more eloquent as it begins with artillery fire and ends with the sound of birds singing. It comes from a recording made in the American sector near the River Moselle just before and after the eleventh hour.




So on this Veterans Day, the 100th anniversary of the Armistice ending fighting in World War I, let us remember all those living and dead who served in our country's armed services.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Happy 243rd Birthday, USMC!


Today marks the 243rd birthday of the founding of the United States Marine Corps at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia. Even though I come from an Army family, I recognize the role that the Marines have played in protecting our country here and abroad.

Below is the Commandant of the Marine Corp's birthday message. So to all my friends, new and old, who served wearing the globe and anchor, Semper Fi!




Mentioned in the Commandant's message is Gunny Sgt. John Canley who was recently awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery and leadership during the Battle of Hue'. If you'd like to know more about his actions as well as the actions of all the Marines who fought to retake Hue', I'd urge you to read Mark Bowden's book Hue' 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam. The hardback is available on Amazon at deep discount ($8.90 as of this posting) which is actually cheaper than the paperback.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Comment Of The Day


You may have read about the active shooter event at Topsail High School in Pender County, NC that turned out to be a malfunctioning hot water heater. It made many news sources this morning.

One reader on the Firearms and Politics email list had this comment about it.

Don't relax yet. David Hogg is claiming that the water heater was funded by Russian money funneled through the NRA. Film at 11.

After this week, we need something to laugh about and especially if it is at the expense of the gun prohibitionists.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

NSSF Analysis Of The Midterms


The National Shooting Sports Foundation sent out an email yesterday analyzing the midterm elections for their impact on the firearms industry as well as on firearm regulations. They will also be having a pair of webinars next Tuesday afternoon which I hope to be able to watch. I'll report on those afterwards.

I think the NSSF is correct in that a lot of bills will be proposed and may even pass the House dealing with gun control. These will then die in the Senate. They refer to the Senate as the Red Wall. I think they are also correct that the pace at which new judges will be confirmed will pick up.

From the NSSF:

A Blue Ripple, A Red Senate Wall And What It Means For The Firearms Industry

The results are still trickling in on Wednesday, but we’re getting a clearer picture of what we can expect when it comes to the next two years for gun laws in the United States.
Conventional wisdom says that the party in the White House loses “bigly” when it comes to the midterm elections, but last night’s results are proving different. We’re seeing more of a mixed bag in the Congressional results, a changing landscape in the governorships and gun control advocates that spent big and claim victory. But that call might be a bit premature.

House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives will flip back to Democrat control in the 116th Congress. There are several West Coast races still awaiting final counts, but Fox News’ Karl Rove predicted the final count will be 228-207 in favor of Democrats, which will see the Speaker of the House’s gavel change hands.
Prevailing sentiment says Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will again become house speaker, but many incumbent and congressmen-elect have vowed to not support her for the top leadership spot. We can expect short-term leadership power-plays, but they will have little effect on what we will eventually see in the next two years from the House.

What it Means

The “Blue Wave” wasn’t the tsunami gun control advocates expected, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see a flood of gun control bills. Rep. Pelosi promised Floridians when she visited there in October that gun control would be a “top priority” in the coming year. She said then that she’d push for a gun background check bill, which we can only assume means what she’s already advocated for in universal background checks.
Expect more. Virginia Democratic Congresswoman-elect Jennifer Wexton defeated Rep. Barbara Comstock on a platform that included banning AR-15 modern sporting rifles and standard-capacity magazines. She’s just one of several newly elected members of Congress who will be looking to make good on their campaign promises.
Expect the House to turn from a legislative body to an investigative body. Democrats will take over every committee chairmanship. We should expect little to get done in the way of legislation because they’ll be more interested in investigating everything from impeachment to Russian collusion to President Donald Trump’s tax returns. And firearms will be in the mix too. Expect hearings on taxpayer-funded gun violence research, magazine restrictions, ammunition bans, age-based gun bans and attempts to outright ban entire classes of firearms.
Senate
If the House was the “Blue Ripple,” the U.S. Senate served as the Red Wall. And it got bigger. Republicans appeared to pick up at least net three seats, including North Dakota’s Kevin Cramer beating Heidi Heitkamp, Missouri’s Josh Hawley defeating Claire McCaskill, Florida’s Rick Scott topping Bill Nelson and Indiana’s Mike Braun overcoming Joe Donnelly. Nevada’s Sen. Dean Heller lost to Jacky Rosen, turning one Republican seat blue. Votes are still being counted in Arizona, and Mississippi is headed for a runoff. The first and most glaring lesson is that with the exception of Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), each of these Democratic senators voted against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

What it Means

Most importantly, the Senate has been called the saucer that cools the hot tea that comes over from the House. It’s been a frustrating characteristic at times, but now will become a reality that benefits the firearms industry and gun owners. Legislation can pass the House by simple majority, even if it’s just one vote. But it only takes one senator to kill a bad bill.
It also means that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is going to keep up the blistering pace of confirming judges to the bench and Trump Administration nominees won’t be automatically mired in the morass of politics. That’s especially important when it comes to the Supreme Court. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer are in their eighties. Neither has indicated a desire to retire, but no one foresaw that President Trump would nominate and confirm two justices in his first two years either.

More to Come

We’re still sifting through all the results, including state governorships, state legislatures and ballot initiatives. Tune in when NSSF hosts webinars on what the midterm election results mean to our industry and what we can expect. You can know this much: NSSF will remain engaged, fighting against legislation that hurts our industry and that infringes on our rights while working to America safer while respecting our liberties.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Remind Me Again Why SHOT Show Continues To Be In Vegas



The largest convention centers in the United States are not in Las Vegas. The largest, McCormick Place, is in Chicago and then the second largest, the Orange County Convention Center, is in Orlando, Florida. The Sands Expo Center which is the site of the SHOT Show comes in at tenth in size.

I can understand why McCormick Place was not chosen for the SHOT Show. Despite its size which I can assure you is huge having driven right past it twice in the last week, no one in their right mind would want to hold a convention in January in frigid Chicago. I won't even speak to the anti-gun politics of Chicago as a reason to avoid having the firearms industry trade show there.

I come from the school of rewarding our friends and punishing our enemies.

Nevada voters just elected Democrats to three out of four House seats including one flipped seat, ousted Dean Heller (R-NV) in favor of Jacky Rosen (D-NV) in the Senate, flipped the governor's office from Republican to Democrat, hold both houses of the state legislature, and now have only one Republican official, Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, elected statewide. The Las Vegas Sun opines that Democrat dominance of the state should continue thanks to Latinos and young voters. I'm sure you might want to add (some) ex-pat Californians to that list as well.

Contrast this with the State of Florida. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) beat Tallahasse Mayor Andrew Gillum (D-FL) for the governorship. Rick Scott (R-FL) beat three-term incumbent Bill Nelson (D-FL) for the US Senate. Republicans hold the other three statewide offices (AG, Ag Commissioner, and Chief Finance Officer). Despite losing two seats in House delegation to Democrats, Republicans still hold a 14 to 13 edge. They are also projected to hold majorities in both the state House and Senate.

The Sands Expo Center which is the location of the SHOT Show in Las Vegas has about 1.2 million square feet of exposition space. Earlier this year it was announced that the SHOT Show would expand their venue to include the MGM Grand Conference Center in 2020 and the Caesars Forum in 2021. According to the announcement, it is due to running out of space at the Sands Expo Center and having to turn away potential exhibitors.



The Orange County Convention Center, by contrast, has 2.1 million square feet of exposition space and is the nation's second largest convention center. You would not need to expand the SHOT Show to multiple locations to handle the growth in exhibitors. OCCC also has over 6,000 parking spaces. Orlando does have fewer hotel rooms with "only" about 121,000 rooms as compared to Las Vegas which has approximately 175,000 rooms available. However, when you expand out of the city limits of Orlando to places like St. Cloud and Kissimmee you thousands of more rooms. Another advantage to Orlando is the generally warmer, even balmy, weather you are likely to find there in January.



I would be all for immediately switching the 2020 SHOT Show from Nevada to Florida for many of the reasons mentioned above including more space and a gun friendlier location. However, it won't happen overnight.

 The fly or flies in the ointment on making the switch are two-fold. First, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has extended their contract with the Sands Expo Center through 2027. I don't know if this is because they got a better deal from Sheldon Adelson or because they just were very familiar with the location. The second issue is a shooting range large enough to handle Industry Day at the Range. The Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club is outstanding in that regard. There are a number of shooting ranges in Central Florida but nothing approaching it that I know of.

To conclude, the gun industry has changed from being a boys' club to being more inclusive of women and families. You see fewer and fewer "booth babes" at the SHOT Show and the NRA Annual Meeting than in the past. It would be nice if the industry's major event would leave Las Vegas behind and move to a more gun and family friendly location like Orlando. We'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

For Illinois Gun Owners And Voters



Illinois gun owners and voters are faced with the choice today between Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL) and billionaire and Hyatt Hotels' heir J.B. Pritzker. From what my Prairie State friends tell me, Rauner has been somewhat ineffectual as governor but has vetoed some of the most egregious gun control legislation to come out of the Illinois General Assembly. Pritzker, on the other hand, promises to support the whole litany of gun control from gun bans to state licensing of firearms dealers. The RealClearPolitics poll average on this race gives a clear edge to Pritzker. It will stay that way if gun owners stay home.

Both the Illinois State Rifle Association and Illinois Carry are supporting Rauner who they say has had an open door to them. Expect that door to be nailed shut under Pritzker.

Illinois Carry sent this out yesterday by email. They are correct in asserting that if all FOID card holders voted the 2A that it might be safe in Illinois.
Candidate for Governor
J.B. Pritzker Announces :
"NO safe space for NRA in Illinois!"

J.B. Pritzker vows, “The NRA will have no safe space in Illinois if I am elected governor.”  That means NO safe space for you and me!

Governor Rauner is the absolute only logical choice for gun owners.  He has a FOID card and supports the Second Amendment. The Governor has provided IllinoisCarry access to his office and staff. He has sought our opinions on gun legislation.  This last legislative session, his veto and amendatory veto power was all that stood between gun owners and the anti-Constitution tyrants in Springfield.  

If Pritzker is elected – that protection will be gone and all he will need is a simple majority to pass all the horrible anti-gun bills that gun owners have been fighting against all these years.

Imagine how safe the Second Amendment would be here in Illinois if all 2,287,291 FOID card holders went into the voting booth Tuesday and voted for pro-Second Amendment candidates like Gov. Rauner.

The Second Amendment
Is At Stake On Nov. 6th!

We Urge All Gun Owners To Vote!