Monday, February 18, 2019

Dave Hardy's Presentation At Second Amendment Symposium


Lincoln Memorial University's Duncan School of Law held a Second Amendment Symposium on January 18th in Knoxville, Tennessee. I would have loved to attend this but I was leaving the next day for the SHOT Show. The symposium featured scholars who represented both the standard model and the collective rights model of the Second Amendment. Representing the standard  model were Clayton Cramer, Stephen Halbrook, David Kopel, and Dave Hardy. The representatives of the collective rights model were Carl Bogus and Robert Spitzer.

Dave Hardy's presentation has been published to YouTube. While the audio isn't the best, it is still worth listening to if you are interested in the history of the Second Amendment and what the Founding Fathers intended when they added it to the Bill of Rights.




Dave writes of his presentation:
The theme is that Second Amendment had two independent purposes; one does not control the other. The militia phrase is indeed militia-centric, and the right to arms clause is focused on an individual right. James Madison and the First Congress were trying to satisfy two different constituencies, one of which wanted to protect the militia, the other of which wanted to guarantee an individual right to arms. They chose to appeal to both. This means that the individual right guaranteed is not one only for militia use; they were two separate ideas, and one is not a restriction on the other, anymore than the First Amendment's guarantee of a right to religious exercise means that its freedom of the press only protects books on theology.
 It will be interesting to read the papers that will come out of this symposium. I have an email in to the LMU Law Review asking when they will be published. I'll update this when I get a response.

Friday, February 15, 2019

HB 86 - A Bill To Californicate North Carolina Gun Laws


House Bill 86 - Gun Violence Prevention Act - was introduced into the North Carolina House of Representatives yesterday. The date was chosen to coincide with the Parkland shootings of a year ago. The primary sponsors of the bill are Rep. Christy Clark (D-Mecklenburg), Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford), Rep. Marcia Morey (D-Durham), and Rep. Shelly Willingham (D-Edgecombe and Martin).

The bill is a laundry list of gun control wish items. However, having read the bill I see nothing in it that actually would reduce the criminal misuse of a firearm. Instead it impacts the legal ownership of firearms in such a way as to discourage firearms ownership.

The bill would:


  1. Require a permit for the purchase of any pistol, "assault weapon", or long gun. I see no exemptions in the bill other than a NC CHP for receipt of a firearm. In other words, as a Curios and Relics FFL I would still need a permit or my CHP to receive a firearm.
  2. Imposes a 3-day waiting period after purchase "or agreement to give away or transfer, the pistol, assault weapon, or long gun."
  3. Defines an "assault weapon" to include the usual list of ARs, AKs, etc. It does add Saiga 12 shotguns, any semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has one or more of the "evil features" such as a pistol grip or adjustable stock, any semiautomatic pistol that accepts a magazine outside of the pistol grip, semiauto shotguns that can take a detachable magazine, and those shotguns with a revolving cylinder.
  4. Modification of the pistol purchase permit to include "assault weapons" and long guns.
  5. Bans sale, possession, or carrying "assault weapons" by those under the age of 21 with certain exceptions.
  6. Bans bump stocks and trigger cranks including those possessed prior to December 1, 2019.
  7. Requires safe storage of all firearms except when being carried or used by the owner or legally authorized user. Violation is a Class A1 midemeanor and would add punitive damages in civil lawsuits.
  8. Repeal universal concealed handgun permit reciprocity. North Carolina currently accepts any out of state CCW as valid for carry within the state.
  9. Requires the reporting of any stolen firearm within 48 hours. It makes it a Class 3 misdemeanor for the first violation and a Class I felony for the second violation.
  10. Requires liability insurance for all gun owners of not less than $100,000.
  11. Limits magazine size to 15 rounds for pistols and rifles; limits shotgun magazines to 8 shells; limits shotgun tubes to no more than 8 shells. Bans "large capacity" magazines and requires all new magazines made in NC to have date of manufacture imprinted on them. Grandfathers pre-December 1, 2019 magazines so long as continuous ownership is maintained.
  12. Repeals state preemption of local firearm regulations.
  13. Mandates destruction of seized firearms.
  14. Adopts the California Roster of Handguns and adopts their testing requirements. If your handgun is not on the roster, it can only be sold to either a sheriff or a FFL. No mention of microstamping in the bill's language though that is a feature of the California Roster.
The full bill can be read here.

Rep. Christy Clark (D-Mecklenburg), the lead primary sponsor, is a first-term representative who was one of two politicians to get the Everytown for Gun Safety endorsement in North Carolina. She was also a chapter leader for the Demanding Moms. I'm still looking over her contribution list for funding from Everytown. She was cited by the State Board of Elections for failing to properly identify donors who gave more than $50.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Omnibus Gun Reform Bill Introduced In North Carolina


House Bill 61 - Omnibus Gun Changes - was introduced into the North Carolina House of Representatives yesterday. The primary sponsors of the bill are Rep. Larry Pittman (R- Cabarrus and Rowan), Rep. Larry Potts (R- Davidson), and Rep. Keith Kidwell (R- Beaufort and Craven).

The most salient thing this bill does is to reintroduce permitless concealed carry into North Carolina. As open carry of firearms is a constitutional right in the state, this bill would extend it to concealed carry of firearms. Concealed Handgun Permits would still be available and the bill has language that encourages people to obtain them if they plan to travel out of state or want to facilitate the purchase of a firearm.

The bill would also make it an infraction as opposed to a misdemeanor to carry concealed on posted private property. It would remain a misdemeanor to carry while one has alcohol or a controlled substance in his or her bloodstream. Exceptions are made for controlled substances that have been prescribed and are being taken in therapeutic amounts.

Much of the bill just reiterates where one can or cannot carry a firearm such as courthouses, the grounds of the Legislative Buildings, or the Executive Mansion. It goes on to state that one can carry open or concealed at state rest stops and state parks.

Finally, the bill orders the State Board of Education to develop an elective course on comprehensive firearms safety in consultation with law enforcement agencies and "firearms associations". This course would be an elective to facilitate the learning of STEM principles. The bill also orders the State Board of Election to develop another elective course on wildlife conservation based upon the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Consultation for the course development would be with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, the Division of Marine Fisheries, and the Wildlife Management Institute.

The full text of the bill can be found here.

H. 61 is similar to H. 746 which was the last sessions' bill that authorized permitless carry. As you may remember, it passed the House in 2017 but stalled in the State Senate when the spineless Republican leadership failed to even schedule hearings of the bill. Ostensibly the Republicans wanted to preserve their super-majority. Given the 2018 election results, that was a failure on their part as they lost their super-majority anyway.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

A Blog For The Gun Curious


My friend David Yamane has started a new blog called Gun Curious. It is aimed at those who don't yet have a firearm but are curious about it.

He says:
As someone who had little exposure to and no interest in guns for most of my life, I know what it is like not to understand guns and gun culture. For nearly a decade now, I have burrowed deeper and deeper into American gun culture. I hope to translate what I have learned to the gun curious – those interested in but unsure about guns.

This uncertainty about guns can be coupled with attraction, repulsion, or neutrality. Whatever your orientation, if you are open-minded and hope to learn more about guns and gun culture, you should find something of interest here.
 If you have a friend or colleague that is curious about guns and would like to read more from a non-judgemental perspective, I would highly recommend sending them to David's new blog.

He explains more about why he decided to start a second blog at his GunCulture 2.0 blog

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Where The 1A Meets The 2A


As I mentioned the other day, the website sponsored by a coalition of civil rights groups was threatened by prosecution if they didn't take down certain code files. CodeIsFreeSpeech.com was put up after the anti-gun Attorney General of Washington State and a host of fellow traveler AGs went to court to suppress computer code assembled by Defense Distributed. These groups were not a party to that lawsuit and were not enjoined from distributing them on the Internet.

It turns out that the threat of prosecution came from New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. Grewal had demanded server company Cloudfare delete CodeIsFreeSpeech.com's files or charges would be filed for them being in violation of a NJ state law.

Grewal had been recently successful in getting a lawsuit against him by Defense Distributed filed in the State of Texas dismissed on the grounds that it should have been brought in New Jersey. Mind you, that the dismissal was not on the merits of the case but rather merely whether a US District Court in Texas had jurisdiction.

He should have remembered the old saying, "Be careful what you wish for", as suit has now been filed in US District Court for the District of New Jersey. Now he will not be facing just Defense Distributed but also the Second Amendment Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Firearms Policy Foundation, the Calguns Foundation, and CAL-FFL. The individual plaintiff in the case is Brandon Combs who is executive director of the Calguns Foundation and president of both the Firearms Policy Coalition and the Firearms Policy Foundation. So now Grewal is not facing merely one plaintiff but six institutional plaintiffs and one individual plaintiff.

In a press release sent out yesterday, the groups had this to say about the lawsuit:
TRENTON, N.J. (February 5, 2019) — Today, attorneys for six advocacy organizations and one individual, Firearms Policy Coalition founder Brandon Combs, filed a new lawsuit and a motion seeking a restraining order and preliminary injunction against New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. The case was filed just days after Grewal’s Office of the Attorney General sent a threat of prosecution to Cloudflare, a major Internet services company headquartered in San Francisco, about www.CodeIsFreeSpeech.com. A copy of key court filings can be viewed or downloaded at www.codeisfreespeechlawsuit.com.

According to the complaint, on Saturday, February 3 the CodeIsFreeSpeech.com website’s act of republishing some of Defense Distributed’s digital firearms information “was met with yet another of Grewal’s Orwellian take-down orders,” demanding that Cloudflare “delete all files described within 24 hours or [Grewal’s Office] will be forced to press charges.”

“By issuing a takedown demand against” the entire website, “Grewal sought to compel the complete and total suppression of the political speech at CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, the links to other advocacy websites and their educational and political resources, links to political tee shirts, and even the very text of the United States Constitution itself,” the plaintiffs said in the filing. Attorneys for the plaintiffs also filed a motion seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Grewal. The Attorney General’s threats of prosecution and other civil enforcement actions under New Jersey laws, the plaintiffs say, violate their constitutional rights.

Last November, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a new speech crime into law, in Senate Bill 2465. Among other things, it created a new “third degree crime” for “a person to distribute by any means, including the Internet, to a person in New Jersey” certain kinds of speech, including “digital instructions in the form of computer-aided design files or other code or instructions stored and displayed in electronic format as a digital model that may be used to program a three-dimensional printer…”

CodeIsFreeSpeech.com “is a publicly available website for the publication and republication of truthful, non-misleading, non-commercial political speech and information that is protected under the United States Constitution,” the complaint says. “Its purpose is to allow people to share knowledge and empower them to exercise their fundamental, individual rights. It was created and developed during the week of July 22, 2018—long before the State enacted Senate Bill 2465.”

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Chad Flores, Daniel Hammond, and Hannah Roblyer of Texas-based Beck Redden LLP and Daniel L. Schmutter of New Jersey law firm Hartman & Winnicki.

The CodeIsFreeSpeech.com website can be additionally accessed through URLs GurbirGrewalisaTyrant.com and PhilMurphyisaTyrant.com.

The plaintiffs have filed a suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Moreover, at the same time they also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. They are asking the court to declare the New Jersey law in violation of the First and Second Amendments, the Commerce Clause, and the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment. Moreover, they want the court to declare Federal law preempts the New Jersey law and immunizes the plaintiffs from prosecution.

Monday, February 4, 2019

2019 NRA Board Of Directors Election - A Round-Up Of Endorsements


Voting members of the National Rifle Association - Life or higher members and five-year continuous annual members - should have received their Board of Directors ballot in the February 2019 issue of the NRA magazine that they have chosen. Mine came in my American Rifleman. The ballot this year contains 35 candidates. 33 of these candidates were chosen by the Nominating Committee and two are on the ballot as petition candidates. The Nominating Committee per their usual named a mix of politicians, celebrities, the usual hanger's on, and, believe it or not, actual gun people.

Out of these 35 candidates, you are allowed to vote for up to 27. However, to be very blunt about it, if you vote for 27 people you are an idiot just checking boxes and you really don't give a damn about who is on the board or the direction it takes. I say this because you are giving equal weight to both the best candidates and to the worst candidates out of the 27. If you bullet vote or pick a small number of candidates, then they stand a greater chance of actually being elected to the Board of Directors. In other words, the vote for your favorites isn't diluted.

Lt. Col. Robert Brown of Soldier of Fortune magazine is a long-time NRA Board member who is not afraid of shaking things up. He traditionally publishes a list of his endorsements and this year is no exception. He has endorsed six people for election this year. They are Anthony Colandro, Tom King of the NY State Rifle and Pistol Assn, Adam Kraut, Willes Lee, former NRA President Jim Porter, and Dwight Van Horn. I think it is interesting to note the Lt. Col. Brown has endorsed the two candidates overlooked by the Nominating Committee - Adam Kraut and Anthony Colandro.

The hunting and conservation organization Safari Club International has endorsed Paul Babaz for the Board of Directors. Given he is their current president this is not surprising and should be expected. Babaz was appointed to the Board last year to fill an empty position and is up for election this year.

David Codrea is a journalist and blogger whom I greatly respect. He and the late Mike Vanderboegh were the ones who first brought the BATFE's gun walking to light. Their articles on Project Gunwalker aka Operation Fast and Furious exposed the plan that ultimately led to congressional hearings and a finding of contempt for former Attorney General Eric Holder. David has endorsed only one person for the Board - Anthony Colandro - based upon his answer's to David's hard-hitting questionnaire.

Ammoland.com has been instrumental in collating a number of candidate statements and endorsements. In addition, they have asked that you consider both Anthony Colandro and Adam Kraut for the Board.

Knife Rights traditionally doesn't make endorsements for the NRA Board of Directors. However, this year they are endorsing a few individuals running for the Board who also serve on their Advisory Board. They sent this out in an email on Jan 31st. The people they endorsed are Sandra Froman, Lt Col. Ollie North, Pete Brownell, Anthony Colandro, Esther Schneider, and Paul Babaz.

My friend Amanda Suffecool of Eye on the Target Radio is bullet voting for Willes Lee. On her ballot she also highlighted Ted Nugent, Oliver North, and Allen West as people she would endorse.

Rock Island Auctions is endorsing their president Kevin Hogan for the Board of Directors. The endorsement points out that in addition to being a collector, he has raised $2.1 million for NRA-ILA.

Lt. Col. Willes Lee has too many endorsements to count. Included in his list of endorsements are Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation, Maj Toure of Black Guns Matter, Kenn Blanchard, the Virginia Shooting Sports Association, and many others. You can find all of them on his Facebook photo page.

Of all the people issuing endorsements and recommendations, the one I examine most closely is that from Jeff Knox and the Firearms Coalition. I say this because I trust Jeff's judgment, I recognize his unparalleled institutional memory regarding the NRA, NRA-ILA, and the Cincinnati Revolt, and because I think he truly loves both the NRA and the Second Amendment and he is willing to fight for both. Jeff has endorsed both Adam Kraut and Anthony Colandro for the Board. He goes on to say that he would give consideration to Mark Vaughan, Mark Geist, and Mark Robinson.

I think all of these guys would probably be good additions to the Board, but it is very unlikely that all 5 can win seats, and every vote for one of them, reduces the likelihood of the others winning. It's something of a conundrum, and there's no simple solution.

Personally, I am going to cast a Bullet Vote with only Adam Kraut's name marked.
As for myself, I'll start by saying that I've long held that 90% of life is just showing up. Ted Nugent, Karl Malone, and Marion Hammer have not attended one BOD meeting to the best of my knowledge since winning election to the Board. I find that reprehensible. You either serve and show up or you resign. I don't care if the reason for not showing up is due to a health issue, a family issue, or a prior commitment. Running for the NRA Board was a promise that you would serve and these people failed.

I've never been keen on the celebrities on the Board with the exception of R. Lee Ermey who took the role of serving on the Board seriously. The same goes for former politicians. I'd make allowances for Rep. Don Young (R-AK) as he is still in Congress and still carries weight.

People whom I consider worthy of your vote include Sandy Froman, Pete Brownell, Willes Lee (whom I consider a personal friend), and Adam Kraut (whom I also consider a personal friend). Mark Robinson of my hometown of Greensboro would also be worth your consideration. My fear with Mark is that he is a newbie to the defense of the Second Amendment and was nominated due to "optics". However, I don't doubt his sincerity in the least.

I think Sandy Froman, Pete Brownell, and Willes Lee have enough backing to get re-elected without my vote. I fear the same cannot be said of Adam Kraut and for that reason I will be bullet voting for him. I hope my friend Willes will understand.



Change needs to come to the NRA or we will have lost all we have won in the last few decades. I see the gun prohibitionists getting stronger, better organized, and certainly better funded. Their misleading messages are repeated daily by the mass media. In an era of changing demographics, they are doing a better job of targeting women and suburban voters as well as the younger voters. If the NRA doesn't return to its Second Amendment roots and leave the broader social conservative commentary to other organizations, we will lose.

I think Adam is the change that the organization needs.

Threat Of Prosecution?


I got a cryptic text from a friend this morning sending me to www.codeisfreespeech.com. That is the website which has established after the Attorney General of Washington State challenged Defense Distributed's settlement with the Department of Justice regarding ITAR. The District Court granted an injunction against Defense Distributed's ability to put its files on the Internet. Note that it only enjoined Defense Distributed and a couple of others. It didn't enjoin the any of the coalition of civil rights groups that set up www.codeisfreespeech.com.

Here is what I found when I went to the website.



It says that file access was being restricted due to a threat of prosecution. I don't know which government entity is threatening them and infringing on the right of free speech but I'm sure we will find in the near future.

As an aside,  I sat next to two guys from Defense Distributed on part of my trip home from the SHOT Show. They told me that the Ghost Gunner 2 mini-CNC machine would now be able to finish the Polymer 80 Glock-ish 80% lower as they had released the code to do it.

Friday, February 1, 2019

I Thought SHOT Show Crud Was A Myth


I have attended the NSSF's SHOT Show for four years out of the last five. I had prided myself on not getting the supposed "SHOT Show crud" and thought it a bit of a myth.

I was wrong. It is not a myth. It is a real thing.



I was fine while in Las Vegas and on the extended plane trip home. However, on Monday I started getting a bit of a raspy throat and a tickle which led to a cough. Wednesday I started sneezing. If the "SHOT Show Crud" includes a typical winter cold, then I have the SHOT Show Crud.




My roommate for the SHOT Show was David Yamane of the GunCulture 2.0 blog. He took Airborne every morning and every evening. I should have done the same!

I was meticulous about hand washing and trying to stay hydrated as well as getting enough sleep. These are some of the preventives usually mentioned.




I just wish the pharmaceutical companies could come up with something like this for humans. If you can inoculate your dogs against the canine version of a cold, why not humans?

Monday, January 28, 2019

Reflections On The SHOT Show


This year's SHOT Show felt different than in years gone by. It may have been because I have attended a few of them and the mystique is gone. It could also be because there didn't seem to great excitement about new introductions which were few and far between.

If anything, this year's SHOT Show could be characterized as the year of the line extension. This was a common theme I heard from multiple people and sources. For example, CZ-USA has expanded their striker fired line of pistols from just the compact P-10C to add a full size P-10F. Conversely, FN expanded their FN 509 line to include a compact model. Even Hi-Point came in with a more compact version of their pistol.

Industry Day at the Range could be called the year of high winds. While not cold, there was a constant wind that increased throughout the day. Wind speeds were in the 20 MPH and higher. Other than shooting a bolt action Savage in .224 Valkyrie early in the day, I really didn't shoot anything at longer ranges. I will say the .224 Valkyrie seemed to do OK in the wind as I was on target at 780 yards.

I did get to shoot the new Mossberg MC1sc pistol. They said distributors had already purchased their entire first run of these subcompact 9mm pistols. The distinctive feature of the Mossberg is the take-down. Unlike some striker fired pistols, you don't pull the trigger for take-down but rather first remove the back plate and then the striker. Once you've done this, you can remove the slide and barrel. The MC1sc is meant to compete with the S&W Shield, the Glock 43, the Springfield XD-S, and the Ruger LC9s. Retail is in the $425 range with lower prices probably available. The Mossberg was a decent gun. However, my feeling is that most people would rather go with a pistol at the same or lower price from a company that has been making pistols for years.

I also got to shoot the Seismic 180 grain 9mm cartridge. The rep had me fire three rounds of regular 115 grain ammo followed by three rounds of the new Seismic 180 grain ammo. Despite the difference in weight, they felt about the same. The 180 grain cartridge is subsonic so I'm sure it will have a market from those who want to shoot 9mm suppressed. Tam has a good review of the round at RecoilWeb.

Paul Lathrop of the Polite Society Podcast had asked me to check out the new Kel-Tec KS7 bullpup shotgun. I did and wasn't wowed by it. The loading gate on the shotgun has such sharp edges that it cut my finger while I was loading it. The supposed advantage is the length. For the price of $475, I thing you could do much better with a new or used Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 with an 18-20 inch slug barrel. Kel-Tec also introduced their CP-33 .22 LR pistol. The key feature is that it has a quad stack magazine. The CP-33 is a large pistol but was easy to shoot, accurate, and the quad stack magazine fed flawlessly.

The Supplier Showcase was on Monday and Tuesday. It featured suppliers to the industry ranging from raw materials to parts to subcontractors. The raw materials included everything from nylon webbing to steel barrel blanks. A couple of vendors caught my eye for different reasons. Toolcraft makes high quality AR bolt carrier groups. I didn't realize until I talked with them that their plant is about 30 miles away from home. The other vendor that caught my eye was RCC Brass. They manufacture brass using CNC machines and can make any obsolete, wildcat, or bench rest grade brass that you desire. If you have the measurements, they can make it. It is not cheap - about $5 per piece - but it might be the only option for some guns. Moreover, if you want brass made to the exact chamber dimensions of your firearm, they can do it.

Finally, NSSF and the SHOT Show are making a great effort to give new vendors a chance to show their wares. They had what they called the Pop-Up Preview on Wednesday in a separate ballroom. Vendors had small booths compared to the regular show but they were larger than the Next Level booths. The SHOT Show will also be adding two new exhibit locations over the next two years - MGM Grand in 2020 and the new Caesars expo in 2021.

The SHOT Show gave me a chance to see a lot of old friends from both industry and media. I also made new friends such as Lara of the Liberal Gun Club and Craig of C4 Defense. I was fortunate to have David Yamane of the GunCulture 2.0 blog as my roommate. I couldn't have asked for a better roommate as we had a lot of good times together. Ultimately, for me, the SHOT Show is about the people and not the product and there were a lot of good people in Las Vegas this past week.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

NY State Rife & Pistol Case Unnerves Brady Campaign


I had been waiting to see the response of the gun prohibitionists to the Supreme Court granting certiorari in NY State Rifle & Pistol v. City of New York. Jonathan Lowy, head of the Brady Campaign's Legal Project, didn't disappoint. A fundraising email was sent out yesterday under his signature yesterday afternoon.

He said, in part, that the stakes are high and it is a case of "life and death".
The Supreme Court announced yesterday that, for the first time in almost a decade, it will hear a Second Amendment case – the first gun case to be decided by a Court with two Donald Trump-appointees. The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, challenges a city ordinance governing transportation of firearms. Make no mistake: the stakes could not be higher. Commonsense gun safety laws across the country are at risk. We need your support to make sure that the voices of Americans who want stronger gun regulation are heard loudly in the Supreme Court.

The stakes for this case are nothing short of life and death. Whatever the Supreme Court says in its decision will help determine whether Americans maintain the right to enact the strong, commonsense public safety laws they want and need to protect loved ones and communities from gun violence, or if judges will take this right from us. But the Framers put “well-regulated” in the Second Amendment and “the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence for good reason. We are committed to making sure the Supreme Court doesn’t write the gun industry’s guns-everywhere vision into our Constitution.
 He goes on to say that the Supreme Court never meant the Second Amendment to apply outside the home as evidenced by the Heller decision. In my opinion, he has misconstrued the late Justice Scalia's decision.

What is interesting about all of this is that none of the gun prohibitionist organizations bothered to file amicus briefs against the Supreme Court granting cert in this case. The only amicus briefs were from a coalition including GOA, another organized by the Attorney General of Louisiana on behalf of a number of states, and another from the Western States Sheriffs Association and various law enforcement groups. These all were in favor of cert being granted. I don't know whether it was hubris or ignorance that explains the casual approach of the gun control industry to this case but I am certain they will now be submitting amicus briefs fast and furiously in support of the position of New York City.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

This Makes Me Sad


For many years I have been posting the SHOT Show videos created by Jeff and Boge Quinn of Gunblast.com. I just learned that they won’t be at SHOT this year due to Jeff’s health issues.

I’ll let Boge fill you in at the video below. As for me, I hope and pray his health improves and we see him at SHOT next year.


"What Is The DC Project" - Watch And See


The DC Project is the brainchild of competitive shooter Dianna Liendorff Muller. Launched a few years ago, it seeks to have one women from each of the 50 states to go to DC to lobby on behalf of the Second Amendment. These dedicated women converge on DC at the same time and seek meetings with various representatives and senators to discuss why they support gun rights as women's rights. That is kind of a hard proposition for a rep to turn down without looking virulently anti-woman.

Amanda Suffecool of Eye on the Target Radio and the Ohio representative to the DC Project clued me in that they had just released a couple of videos explaining it. One is a short one-minute video talking about the women of the Project while the second is longer and explains it.


First, an explanation of the Project:





And then an overview of the women.


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Finally! Another 2A Case Is Accepted By The SCOTUS.


The Supreme Court has finally accepted another Second Amendment case. The case is NY State Rifle & Pistol Club v. City of New York. The case involves the effective ban by NY City on transporting a licensed firearm registered in the city out of the city. Therefore, if you wanted to transport your pistol to a range outside the city or to a vacation house upstate you are forbidden from doing so.

The city argues that it is a matter of public safety and this spurious argument was bought by 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in 2018. The NY State Rifle & Pistol Club is challenging this as an abridgement of the Commerce Clause, the Privileges and Immunities Clause, the Second Amendment, and the 14th Amendment as it applies the preceding to the States.

Attorney for NYSR&PC is Paul Clement who is one of the premier appellate attorneys in the nation having served as Solictor General for President George W. Bush. There are also amicus briefs from a number of 2A organizations as well as a number of states led by Louisiana.

The docket is found here.

More on this as it progresses.

UPDATE: I had a long chat with Todd Vandermyde who was formerly the NRA lobbyist for Illinois. His feeling is that this case is a lot more important than it would seem on the face of it. While the question before the Court deals with the New York City ban on transporting firearms out of the city, his feeling is that it will be used by the Court - provided we win - to set the standard for review of future Second Amendment cases. Given the way lower courts have been fudging scrutiny, this would be a great win if he is correct.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Neat Little Product For Campers, Etc.


Knowing we had some time to kill on Sunday, I wrangled us tickets to the ANME Winter Expo being held in Las Vegas. It is for those in the military surplus business and featured everything from knives to all sorts of surplus gear to camping supplies.

One of the coolest and least expensive things I found was the Simple Shower. It converts a 1 to 2 liter bottle into a handheld shower. Unlike the black shower bags, the temperature of the water never gets too hot. Setting a clear 2 litter bottle of water out in the sun for a couple of hours will raise the temperature to about 102-104 deg. which is plenty warm for a shower.




The kit includes the shower head and two tubes. You attach it to any water bottle, let it sit in the sun for a while, and now you have a warm shower.

The patented Simple Shower weighs less than an ounce and costs about $10. I think designer James Peet has a winner on his hands. You can order it directly from the company at this link.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Key Provisions Of Feinstein's New AWB (Updated)


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) reintroduced her assault weapon ban yesterday. It is S. 66 and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill has 28 co-sponsors - 27 Democrats and one Independent (Bernie Sanders).

The full text is not yet available. However, from Feinstein's press release we can see she aiming wide and deep.
Key provisions:
  • Bans the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons by name. Owners may keep existing weapons.
  • Bans any assault weapon that accepts a detachable ammunition magazine and has one or more military characteristics including a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding or telescoping stock. Owners may keep existing weapons.
  • Bans magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, which allow shooters to quickly fire many rounds without needing to reload. Owners may keep existing magazines.

Exemptions to bill:

  • The bill exempts by name more than 2,200 guns for hunting, household defense or recreational purposes.
  • The bill includes a grandfather clause that exempts all weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment.

Other provisions:

  • Requires a background check on any future sale, trade or gifting of an assault weapon covered by the bill.
  • Requires that grandfathered assault weapons are stored using a secure gun storage or safety device like a trigger lock.
  • Prohibits the transfer of high-capacity ammunition magazines.
  • Bans bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates.

Updates to Assault Weapons Ban of 2017:

  • Bans stocks that are “otherwise foldable or adjustable in a manner that operates to reduce the length, size, or any other dimension, or otherwise enhances the concealability of a firearm.”
  • Bans assault pistols that weigh 50 or more ounces when unloaded, a policy included in the original 1994 ban.
  • Bans assault pistol stabilizing braces that transform assault pistols into assault rifles by allowing the shooter to shoulder the weapon and fire more accurately.
  • Bans Thordsen-type grips and stocks that are designed to evade a ban on assault weapons.

I had to look up Thordsen-type grips. She is referring to stocks and grips from Thordsen Customs which are meant to allow firearms to be California and New York compliant.

You can tell by the updates to her AWB of 2017 that she is after any adjustable stock and AR-pistols with or without a stabilizing brace.

Looking at the Key Provisions, firearms like the Ruger PCC pistol caliber carbine would be banned as it has a threaded barrel. I think she learned her lesson from the original AWB which allowed no more than two features. Not that I think this bill will pass the Senate but I could foresee the development of pump carbines that feed from a detachable magazine. Remington used to have such a rifle called the Model 7615. You can see an example here.

It will be interesting to read the full text of this bill when it is published. To get an idea you might want to look at her 2017 version.

UPDATE: Ryan Cleckner, attorney and former Director of Governmental Affairs for NSSF, has this analysis of the Feinstein's new AWB. Given his background in the industry and his shooting background, it is well worth a read.

UPDATE II: Ryan informs me that he has now read the actual text of the bill and has more comments on it. He thinks it is even more dangerous than before.

Friday, January 18, 2019

What Do You Want Me To Check Out At SHOT?


I'm a little late putting this up but what the heck. I'm packed and I leave for the SHOT Show tomorrow afternoon. If you want me to make sure to check something out for you, just leave me a note in the comments. I'll do my best to try and get to that booth.

But remember:




Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Replica Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle?


I have been getting multiple releases announcing new products on a daily basis for the last month in anticipation of the SHOT Show. Some are line extensions and some are entirely new products. Not that they aren't all of interest but this one really caught my eye.

Umarex will now be producing an officially licensed air rifle replica of the Ruger 10/22. I think it caught my eye because the Ruger 10/22 was the first gun I ever bought. I was 18 and it costs a whole $55 at Best Products in Greensboro. There is no word on the price of the Umarex replica.




From the release:
The level of detail in the Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle transcends its looks. “Umarex did a great job in developing the 10/22 Air Rifle,” said Ruger Vice President of Marketing, Rob Werkmeister. “We are truly impressed by the level of authentic detail and craftsmanship incorporated into this airgun, and we are proud to be affiliated with a company that shares our passion of providing quality products and exceptional service for shooters around the world.”

The 10/22 Air Rifle from UMAREX was designed to shoot .177 caliber pellets, the most readily available and most popular selling airgun caliber for recreational shooting. The magazine is authentic in shape and the magazine release pushes forward in authentic fashion giving you the ability to pull the magazine from the receiver. The magazine holds a red, removable rotary clip that accepts 10 flat or round-nosed pellets instead of the traditional .22 LR cartridge and is cleverly held in the magazine by a sliding lever, which allows for the easy exchange of a pre-loaded clip available as an accessory.

The bolt, while seemingly there for aesthetics, since it does not load a pellet into the chamber, serves to cock the rifle when actuated, giving the 10/22 Air Rifle a delightful three-pound trigger pull. The weight of the trigger and its identical overall size makes it an ideal rifle for first-time shooters whose natural next step up is the Ruger 10/22 chambered for .22 LR.

Loading quality UMAREX CO2 into the rifle is easy. With the twist of a button at the rear of the butt stock the buttpad slides out to reveal an incorporated Allen wrench. That wrench is used to remove a long cylinder inside the stock that punctures two, 12-gram CO2 cartridges when installed back-to-back within the stock of the rifle.

Beyond its function, the 10/22 Air Rifle is slightly lighter than the firearm, but looks the part. The sights are authentic in style, including the folding rear sight, and the rifle has authentic looking sling attachments incorporated. The receiver is ready to accept after-market rails that fit the Ruger 10/22 so that you can customize your Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle with the optic of your choosing.

I Missed This Story About Taurus From Earlier This Year


I'm not sure how I missed this as I like to keep up with the relocation of manufacturing within the firearms industry but I did. What clued me in was a posting on The Shooting Wire that this move won an award from the Georgia Economic Developers Association.

Taurus USA announced in April that they were building a manufacturing facility in Bainbridge, Georgia.
Taurus Holdings, Inc. (“Taurus USA”) announces plans to establish a manufacturing facility in Bainbridge, Georgia, part of Decatur County, creating over 300 new jobs with a combined investment of over $22.5MM in infrastructure and operations. Taurus USA, through its subsidiaries, manufactures or distributes the popular Taurus®, Rossi®, and Heritage™ Manufacturing product lines....

David Blenker, President & CEO of Taurus USA comments, “The decision to relocate stems from our desire to expand our facility, keeping all operations in one location. All involved have welcomed Taurus, from the Governor’s office to the Bainbridge Chamber of Commerce. We look forward to establishing a solid workforce and giving back to a great community,” continued Blenker. Ground breaking ceremonies will take place mid-summer 2018.
Not being too terribly conversant with Georgia geography, I had to look up Bainbridge. It is in southwest Georgia near the Florida state line west of Thomasville. Perhaps more importantly, it is less than an hour's drive to Tallahassee, Florida. It has is the home to Bainbridge State College which has partnered with industry on many occasions.

The award announcement on the facility:
In December 2019, Taurus will complete its move to a new 200,000 square foot facility in Bainbridge. This new state-of-the-art facility will help expand the company's U.S. engineering and production capabilities, host the new corporate headquarters, and further strengthen core manufacturing efforts to better meet consumer expectations in firearm innovation and quality performance. For the Bainbridge and Decatur County area, this move will add 300 jobs and insert more than $22.5 million into the economy.
I'm not sure what was the impetus to this move from their Miami Lakes location in Florida. It could be cost of living, cost of labor, politics, or merely the desire to be a big fish in a small pond. I'll be sure to visit the Taurus booth this coming week at the SHOT Show and ask.

By the way, I know it is convenient to hate on Taurus. I have a couple of their firearms - a Tracker 627 revolver and a PT1911 - which have worked fine for me. I got them used at a good price and I'm OK with them. They aren't Smith or Colt respectively but I didn't intend them to be.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Prisoners Say Where They Got Guns -- And It Isn't At Gun Shows


The Bureau of Justice Statistics recently released a special report entitled Source and Use of Firearms Involved inCrimes: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016. It reported that 20% of prisoners or 1 in 5 possessed or used a firearm while committing the crime for which they were imprisoned. The numbers go up when a violent crime was involved.

The report goes into great deal on the demographics of the criminal, the crimes involved, and so on. However, what really caught my eye was how they obtained the firearm(s) used in the commission of crime.

From the report:
Among prisoners who possessed a firearm when they committed the offense for which they were imprisoned and who reported the source from which they obtained it, the most common source (43%) was off-the-street or the underground market (table 5). 
The next most frequent source was "from a friend" at 25.3% followed by "other source" at 17.4% which could include found at the scene of the crime or brought by an accomplice.

Another approximately 10% obtained their firearms at a retail location which includes gun stores, pawn shops, flea markets, and gun shows. Breaking it down, the great majority of these were bought either under the prisoners's own name or an assumed name with a background check at gun stores and pawn shops. Both of these entities must hold Federal firearms licences.

But what about gun shows?

I hate to break to everyone railing on and on about the gun show loophole but gun shows accounted for only 0.8% of the firearms possessed by these criminals serving time.

Theft rounds out the list at 6.4%.

Tom Gresham made the suggestion on Twitter that you bookmark, copy, and print this report as ammo proving the "gun show loophole" is a fallacy. I agree.

A Little Shopping Humor


Sorry I haven't posted before today this week. You know how every one speaks of coming home with the SHOT Show (or NRA Annual Meeting) crud? Well, it seems in my case it was the pre-SHOT crud. With luck, this means I will have immunity to anything and everything for the coming week of SHOT Show and afterwards.

In the meantime, here is a little something from A Southern Thing. I think we all have been asked most of these questions when shopping in a store. Well, most of them anyway.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Text Of HR 8 - The "Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019" (Updated)


The text of the Democrat's universal background check bill has been released. The bill will be HR 8 which has been reserved for the Speaker and which number was chosen to represent the day that then-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) was shot. I think Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) will be the official sponsor of the bill and I presume most Democrats will be on board as co-sponsors. Gotta get that Bloomberg money, ya know.

As to the "Bipartisan" part of the title, I presume that is because Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and maybe a few others will be co-sponsors of the bill. One Republican or 20 really doesn't make it "bipartisan" any more than a Republican bill that has one or two Democrats as sponsors.

Here is the text of the bill:

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Mr. THOMPSON of California introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on January 8, 2019.

A BILL

To require a background check for every firearm sale.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019’’.

SEC. 2. PURPOSE.

The purpose of this Act is to utilize the current background checks process in the United States to ensure individuals prohibited from gun possession are not able to obtain firearms.

SEC. 3. FIREARMS TRANSFERS.

Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is amended—

(1) by striking subsection (s);
(2) by redesignating subsection (t) as subsection (s); and
(3) by inserting after subsection (s), as redesignated, the following:

‘‘(t)(1)(A) It shall be unlawful for any person who is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to transfer a firearm to any other person who is not so licensed, unless a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer has first taken possession of the firearm for the purpose of complying with subsection (s).

‘‘(B) Upon taking possession of a firearm under subparagraph (A), a licensee shall comply with all requirements of this chapter as if the licensee were transferring the firearm from the inventory of the licensee to the unlicensed transferee.

‘‘(C) If a transfer of a firearm described in subparagraph (A) will not be completed for any reason after a licensee takes possession of the firearm (including because the transfer of the firearm to, or receipt of the firearm by, the transferee would violate this chapter), the return of the firearm to the transferor by the licensee shall not constitute the transfer of a firearm for purposes of this chapter.

‘‘(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to—

‘‘(A) a law enforcement agency or any law enforcement officer, armed private security professional, or member of the armed forces, to the extent the officer, professional, or member is acting within the course and scope of employment and official duties;
‘‘(B) a transfer that is a loan or bona fide gift between spouses, between domestic partners, between parents and their children, between siblings, between aunts or uncles and their nieces or nephews, 1or between grandparents and their grandchildren;
‘‘(C) a transfer to an executor, administrator, trustee, or personal representative of an estate or a trust that occurs by operation of law upon the death of another person;
‘‘(D) a temporary transfer that is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, if the possession by the transferee lasts only as long as immediately necessary to prevent the imminent death or great bodily harm;
‘‘(E) a transfer that is approved by the Attorney General under section 5812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or
‘‘(F) a temporary transfer if the transferor has no reason to believe that the transferee will use or intends to use the firearm in a crime or is prohibited from possessing firearms under State or Federal law, and the transfer takes place and the transferee’s possession of the firearm is exclusively— 
‘‘(i) at a shooting range or in a shooting gallery or other area designated for the purpose of target shooting;
‘‘(ii) while reasonably necessary for the purposes of hunting, trapping, or fishing, if the transferor—
‘‘(I) has no reason to believe that the transferee intends to use the firearm in a place where it is illegal; and
‘‘(II) has reason to believe that the transferee will comply with all licensing and permit requirements for such hunting, trapping, or fishing; or
‘‘(iii) while in the presence of the transferor.

'‘(3)(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Attorney General may implement this subsection with regulations.
‘‘(B) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph may not include any provision requiring licensees to facilitate transfers in accordance with paragraph (1).
‘‘(C) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph may not include any provision requiring persons not licensed under this chapter to keep records of background checks or firearms transfers.
‘‘(D) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph may not include any provision placing a cap on the fee licensees may charge to facilitate transfers in accordance with paragraph (1).
‘‘(4) It shall be unlawful for a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to transfer possession of, or title to, a firearm to another person who is not so licensed unless the importer, manufacturer, or dealer has provided such other person with a notice of the prohibition under paragraph (1), and such other person has certified that such other person has been provided with this notice on a form prescribed by the Attorney General.’’.

SEC. 4. TECHNICAL AND CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.

(a) SECTION 922.—Section 922(y)(2) of title 18, United States Code, is amended in the matter preceding subparagraph (A) by striking ‘‘, (g)(5)(B), and (s)(3)(B)(v)(II)’’ and inserting ‘‘and (g)(5)(B)’’.
(b) CONSOLIDATED AND FURTHER CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2012.—Section 511 of title V of division B of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended by striking ‘‘subsection 922(t)’’ each place it appears and inserting ‘‘subsection (s) or (t) of section 922’’.

SEC. 5. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to—
(1) authorize the establishment, directly or indirectly, of a national firearms registry; or
(2) interfere with the authority of a State, under section 927 of title 18, United States Code, to enact a law on the same subject matter as this Act.

SEC. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE.

The amendments made by this Act shall take effect 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
 
UPDATE: Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned notes that those of us who have Curios & Relics licenses would have to go through a licensed dealer for our transfers. Notice that the wording in the bill makes no mention of "licensed collectors" but only importers, manufacturers, and dealers.

UPDATE II: Attorney and scholar David Kopel has a textual analysis of the bill on the Volokh Conspiracy. Dave notes that it would also ban the transfer of a handgun to those 18-20 years old which is now legal in many states in private sales. You can't have a FFL transfer a handgun to you unless you are 21 years of age or older.

SHOT Show Is Coming





I will be heading to the 2019 SHOT Show in little more than a week. There have already been some new product introductions such as Mossberg's first pistol in about a 100 years and a .357 Magnum revolver from Colt.

What do you want me to check out? If you will tell me in the comments section, I'll do my best to check it out.

Remember, if you tell me everything, I'll only have 22 seconds to check it out.

Five Out Of 199 Doesn't Make A Bill "Bipartisan"


Now that HR 8 - the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 - has been posted to the Library of Congress website we can see who is listed as a co-sponsor. Five Republicans out of 199 Republican House members in the 116th Congress doesn't really qualify the bill to be called "bipartisan". It is a semantics game played by both parties and it is equally misleading whichever party sponsors a bill.

Here are the five Republicans who are co-sponsoring the bill:
Rep. King, Peter T. [R-NY-2]

Rep. Fitzpatrick, Brian K. [R-PA-1]

Rep. Mast, Brian J. [R-FL-18]

Rep. Upton, Fred [R-MI-6]

Rep. Smith, Christopher H. [R-NJ-4]
King, Fitzpatrick, Mast, and Upton were all co-sponsors of a similar bill, HR 4240, in the prior Congress. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Bad Boy Updgrade? Ummm.


Cimarron Firearms Company is a Fredricksburg, Texas company that imports fine reproductions of Old West guns from Italy. They range from Single Action Army revolvers to Wyatt Earp's Buntline as well as a line of both shotguns and rifles. They are uniformly well made and are exacting reproductions.

That is why I was a bit surprised at this "upgrade" to their Model P Pre-War "Bad Boy" single action revolver. You can see the sneak peak of it in the video below from The Adventure Cowboy YouTube channel.




I guess putting a Vortex Venom pistol red dot on a single action army revolver is an "upgrade" to some as it could be used for hunting or target shooting. That said. the traditionalist in me is horrified. It just doesn't seem appropriate to sully up a classic of the Old West with a battery operated optic made in the Philippines.

Industry Consolidation And Homogenization


Jim Shepherd, publisher of the Outdoor Wires, is at the Archery Trade Association show this week in Louisville, Kentucky. He made this observation about consolidation within the archery and hunting industries. He points out that it is not only those industries who are consolidating but it is widespread across the fishing, hunting, shooting, and outdoor industries.
Some news releases we’ve distributed this week have again pointed out something that isn’t unique to archery -consolidation is happening across the industry.

From nutritional supplements to tree stands, scents and broadheads, archery is seeing to the absorption of smaller companies into larger ones.

For many small businesses, it’s a matter of survival. The business climate’s tough right now, and if you’re a company with little capitalization and no margin of error, adding your niched products into a larger operation makes sense. These businesses began because their owners were passionate about the sport, and saw a real need for a product that wasn’t there. With very few exceptions, a single-product or limited-product business isn’t viable.

That’s the part of consolidation that concerns me most.

Large companies with fixed operating costs look at new products differently that an entrepreneur who’s willing to bootstrap a good product to market.

If potential sales volumes or margin are in question, most big companies tend to take a pass on the concept. That number-centric approach doesn’t encourage innovation.

When innovation dies, homogenization is the best possible outcome.

And homogenization doesn’t drive participation. Nothing other than oxygen appeals to everyone.

So while we’re looking at the latest-and-greatest from the major players, we’ll be prowling the smaller exhibits looking for those undiscovered innovators. We want to encourage them.
I wholeheartedly agree with Jim - the little guys can come up with the innovative stuff that is really interesting. Moreover, new cool stuff is what pulls people in and that applies to both the old and young.

 This is why I try to spend at least a day and a half at SHOT Show looking around the lower level which is where the new and younger companies usually end up.

US V. Torres - Do "Unlawful Aliens" Have The Right To Possess Firearms?


Does an illegal alien, unlawful alien, undocumented immigrant, or whatever your favorite term for those in this immigration class have the right to possess a firearm under the Second Amendment? Five circuit courts have said no and now the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in an unanimous decision agrees in a decision released yesterday. They have all found that 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5)(A) is constitutional.

Some quick background on Victor Manuel Torres. He was born in Mexico and was brought to the San Jose, California area when he was four years old in 1989. Neither of his parents had legal immigration status. Notwithstanding that, he was enrolled in the San Jose school system until he was expelled in 2000 for gang membership in the Sur Santos Pride gang. A couple of years later he was sent to live with relatives in Mexico to get his act together. In 2005, he made three attempts to illegally enter the United States. The first two times he was caught and allowed to voluntarily return to Mexico. His third attempt was successful and he returned to live in the San Jose area. He married a US citizen in 2012 but made no attempt to apply for legal status. So you have a person who is in the United States unlawfully, did not have a right to legal status due to his parents, and who made no effort to change his status after his marriage to a US citizen.

In 2014, Torres was arrested when attempting to sell a stolen bicycle by the Los Gatos Police Department. When he consented to allow officers to look in his backpack for identification, they found a loaded .22 revolver, bolt cutters, and two homemade suppressors. In addition to state criminal charges, Torres was indicted and convicted on one count of being an unlawful alien in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5)(A). He moved to dismiss this charge on the basis that the Second Amendment protections applied to him and that § 922(g)(5)(A) violated the Second Amendment. The District Court disagreed and after trial sentenced him to 27 months in prison with three years probation. He then appealed to the 9th Circuit.

The 9th Circuit used a two-step inquiry to see if § 922(g)(5)(A) was unconstitutional both facially and as applied to Torres. The inquiry sought to determine whether the law burdened the Second Amendment and then. if so, the proper level of scrutiny. Noting that the 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, and 10th Circuits had dealt with this question they proceeded to examine those cases. The key issue was whether "the people" in the Second Amendment was meant to apply to those illegally in the United States.

The two cases that all six of the circuits used to determine "the people" were US v Verdugo-Urquidez (1990) and DC v Heller (2008). The first case said "the people" in the Bill of Rights were those in a class of persons who are a) part of a national community and b) who have developed a sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of it. Likewise, the Heller case emphasized the Second Amendment as "protecting the rights of citizens" and "belonging to all Americans". It went on to use the terms "law-abiding" and "responsible" in reference a citizen's right to use arms in defense of their home. The five other circuits had all agreed that § 922(g)(5)(A) was constitutional but disagreed on the reasoning.

The 4th, 5th, and 8th Circuits found that unlawful aliens (the preferred term of the 9th Circuit) were not members of the law-abiding community per Heller and thus not entitled to be "the people" under the Second Amendment. Conversely, the 7th and 10th agreed that Heller was not conclusive on who should be considered "the people" as that was only secondary to whether it was an individual or collective right. They thus relied upon Verdugo-Urquidez to determine that those in question were "the people" or assumed to be. However, under intermediate scrutiny their exclusion from Second Amendment rights was allowed because it did not severely burden that right.

The 9th Circuit decided that:
However, we agree with the Tenth Circuit’s approach, because we believe the state of the law precludes us from reaching a definite answer on whether unlawful aliens are included in the scope of the Second Amendment right. The Tenth Circuit correctly held that this question is “large and complicated.” Id. at 1169. Therefore, on this record, we find it imprudent to examine whether Torres (as an unlawful alien) falls within the scope of the Second Amendment right. As such, we assume (without deciding) that unlawful aliens, such as Torres, fall within the scope of the Second Amendment right as articulated under Heller and Vergudo-Urquidez and proceed to the appropriate scrutiny we should give to § 922(g)(5).
The court then had to decide whether § 922(g)(5)(A) imposed a permissible restriction on Torres' Second Amendment right and what was proper level of scrutiny. Torres argued for strict scrutiny but the court disagreed.
However, intermediate scrutiny is appropriate “if a challenged law does not implicate a core Second Amendment right, or does not place a substantial burden on the Second Amendment right.” Jackson, 746 F.3d at 961. Although not dispositive of the question, we note that there has been “near unanimity in the post-Heller case law that, when considering regulations that fall within the scope of the Second Amendment, intermediate scrutiny is appropriate.” Silvester, 843 F.3d at 823.
Here I might say that the "near unanimity" is due more to resistance by the lower courts to Heller and McDonald than to true constitutional jurisprudence.  The court goes on to decide that the severity of the law's burden on Torres' right is tempered. That is due to the fact that the prohibition on an unlawful alien's possession of a firearm does not continue once he or she has left the United States. Moreover, if an unlawful alien was to acquire lawful immigration status the prohibition in § 922(g)(5)(A) would be removed.

The court agreed with the government's contention that § 922(g)(5)(A) had an important governmental objective and that it was a reasonable fit between the objective and the conduct regulated. The primary objective is crime control and public safety. Armed unlawful aliens are a threat to immigration officers, they purposefully seek to avoid detection by often adopting false identities or staying outside the formal system of identification, and have already shown a willingness to disobey the United States' law on immigration.

They conclude:
The present state of the law leaves us unable to conclude with certainty whether aliens unlawfully present in the United States are part of “the people” to whom Second Amendment protections extend. Nonetheless, assuming that unlawful aliens do hold some degree of Second Amendment rights, those rights are not unlimited, and the restriction in § 922(g)(5) is a valid exercise of Congress’s authority.
They thus affirm the lower court's ruling that § 922(g)(5)(A) is constitutional.

The opinion was written by Circuit Judge N. Randy Smith. He was joined in the opinion by Chief Judge Sidney Thomas and US District Judge Sharon Gleason who was sitting by designation.

The full text of the opinion is here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Oleg On Red Flag Laws


Oleg Volk posted a comment on Facebook on Sunday evening that needs repeating. It is in reference to Red Flag Laws. Everyone who supports these ill-conceived laws and every politician who plans to vote for them needs to read it, digest it, and understand it.

A fun thought about Red Flag laws: the confiscators have no way of telling that they got all the available weapons. Even if the confiscation proceeds without gunfire, they've created an understandably disgruntled person with access to weapons (not limited to guns) and a kill list, starting with the finks and probably encompassing everyone who signed off on the confiscation, and those who helped carry it out. In other words, made the accusation a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Oleg points out something that I hadn't even considered. While I consider Red Flag Laws dangerous to civil rights, to due process, and to the person whose guns are being confiscated, I failed to consider that the application of such laws might be the trigger for someone who had not previously thought of violent actions.

The law of unintended consequences indeed. 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Democrats Love Symbolism...When Abridging Your Rights


Tuesday, January 8th is the eight anniversary of when then-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) was shot at an event in Tucson. The killer obtained his Glock at a licensed gun shop after going through a FBI-run NICS check. Keep that in mind for later. At the time, the shootings were blamed on "insurrectionist ideology", "weak" gun laws, and the lack of a permanent BATFE director among other things. Just like with the Parkland murders, the failure of school officials and the local sheriff contributed to the shootings and not the lack of a background check.

Thus, it should be no surprise that on Tuesday, a bill will be introduced by House Democrats that will mandate universal background checks. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly have been pushing universal background checks for years. They sent this out earlier today - along with the requisite beg for money to abridge your rights.
Here's some news I think you'll be quite happy to hear:

This Tuesday, January 8, Democrats in the House of Representatives will introduce bipartisan universal background checks legislation.

We fought to elect this Congress -- one that will stand up to the gun lobby -- and right away, they are delivering. The bill is H.R. 8, a symbolic action that will mark the 8th anniversary of the shooting in Tucson. It is also testament to all of our work moving the needle on this issue.

Gabby will be there for the announcement and we'll be ready to fight to get this thing passed.

But you know the gun lobby, they won't go down without a fight, especially on this issue. So we have to ask:

Can you make a $3 donation to Giffords PAC? We'll put it right to work in the fight to pass universal background checks.

This is a big deal, and we'll have a lot more soon. But right now, we're gearing up for what's sure to be a tough fight on this issue. So thanks for chipping in.

All my best,

Mark Kelly
My guess that the only thing bipartisan about this bill will be one or two RINOs like Rep. Peter King (R-NY) as a co-sponsor.

According to Politico, the bill will be number H.R. 8 to commemorate the date. The bill will be introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
“Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force has been fighting for a chance to pass legislation that will help save lives,” Thompson said in a statement. “Finally, with our new majority that ran on helping to prevent gun violence, we will introduce a bipartisan, universal background checks bill. We will hold hearings, we will have a vote, and this legislation will finally pass the House.”

“In communities across America, courageous survivors, families and young advocates are showing outstanding courage and persistence in demanding an end to the horrific scourge of gun violence in our nation,” Pelosi said in a statement. “It is an honor to join Congressman Mike Thompson and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords to answer their call by taking the first step to pass commonsense background checks – which 97 percent of the American people support.”
Notice those supposed poll numbers in support of "commonsense background checks". According to Pelosi, it is 97%. Was this supposed to be a gift to Threepers as the stalwart 3% that oppose this legislation? Why it was only yesterday it seems that Bloomberg, Giffords, and the rest of the gun control industry were saying it was a mere 90%.

So-called universal background checks are a solution in search of a problem. Criminals will continue to obtain firearms and the expectation that they will go through a NICS check is ludicrous. Moreover, as we have seen in the mass shootings which the news media and the gun control industry seem to feed on, the firearms were obtained from legitimate sources after a background check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation was completed. Finally, a law such as this is unenforceable absent a total registration of the 300-600 million firearms thought to exist in the United States.


Friday, January 4, 2019

One Day Of The New Congress And There Are Already Gun Bills


The 116th Congress has been in session for little more than a day and we already are seeing gun bills. However, they aren't all bad. There is even a good knife bill proposed. However, I imagine the really bad ones are in the pipeline. I'm sure Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA), the Carolyn McCarthy of Georgia and a card carrying Demanding Mom, will have a bill sooner or later.

The Good

HR 38 - Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) - This is a reintroduced version of his national reciprocity bill and it even has the same number as last time. 90 co-sponsors.

HR 88 - Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) - To protect the right of law-abiding citizens to transport knives interstate, notwithstanding a patchwork of local and State prohibitions, and to repeal Federal provisions related to switchblade knives which burden citizens. 4 Co-sponsors.

HR 155 - Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) - This bill would remove silencers or suppressors from the definition of firearms. I am presuming this means that they would also be removed from the requirements of the National Firearms Act of 1934. 23 co-sponsors.

HR 175 - Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) - To amend chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, to more comprehensively address the interstate transportation of firearms or ammunition. I think this means an updating of FOPA 86 to provide more protection for travelers who have firearms. 0 c0-sponsors.

HR 189 - Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R- MO) - To provide requirements for the appropriate Federal banking agencies when requesting or ordering a depository institution to terminate a specific customer account, and for other purposes. The intent of this bill is to end Operation Choke Point. 0 Co-sponsors.

The Bad

HR 33 - Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) - To increase public safety by punishing and deterring firearms trafficking. (Somehow I don't think Rep. Rush means the gangbangers and their girlfriends on the southside of Chicago). 0 Co-sponsors.

HR 49 - Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) - To require the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to report to the Congress semiannually on the number of firearms transfers resulting from the failure to complete a background check within 3 business days, and the procedures followed after it is discovered that a firearm transfer has been made to a transferee who is ineligible to receive a firearm. Presumably this was inspired by the Charleston church murders. 0 Co-sponsors.

HR 157 - Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) - To repeal the provisions of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act prohibiting the bringing of qualified civil liability actions in Federal or State court. 0 Co-sponsors.

HR 167 - Rep. Al Green (D-TX) - To prohibit the transfer of a firearm at a gun show by a person who is not a licensed dealer. Presumably closing the non-existent gun show loophole. 1 Co-sponsor.

S 7 - Sen. Marco Rubio - (R-FL) - A bill to provide family members of an individual who they fear is a danger to himself, herself, or others, or law enforcement, with new tools to prevent gun violence. This is the first of the Red Flag laws promised. 3 Co-sponsors.

The Rest

HR 110 - Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) - To provide an exception to certain mandatory minimum sentence requirements for a person employed outside the United States by a Federal agency, who uses, carries, or possesses the firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence committed while on-duty with a firearm required to be carried while on-duty. 0 Co-sponsors.

There have been 321 bills or resolutions introduced as of yesterday according to Congress.gov. If I missed any anti-gun bill that was introduced, please list the bill number in the comments.

UPDATE: HR 207 - Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger (D-MD) - To amend the Public Health Service Act to establish a grant program supporting trauma centers with violence intervention and violence prevention programs, and for other purposes. (Given his anti-gun stance, this bill should probably be in the bad column.)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Education Versus Training


I read a very perceptive opinion piece in yesterday's Wall Street Journal by Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC-5). She is the Chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and will be the Ranking Member in the new Congress.

The piece entitled "Stop Calling it 'Vocational Training'" dealt with the how we refer to vocational and technical education offered by vo-tech schools and community colleges as opposed to "higher education" offered in in 4-year colleges and universities. Foxx is well placed to discuss this as long before she entered politics she was a community college president in North Carolina.
Those who earn what people usually call vocational and technical degrees have long been viewed as inferior to those who graduate with a series of letters after their names. If you went to school to learn a trade, you must be lesser, because someone long ago decided that college should be called “higher” education. Considering the state of colleges and universities today, the word “higher” may be the most misleading of them all.
Foxx goes on to say that how we speak about education reeks of class snobbery. If a poor kid goes to a 4-year school, he or she has risen above their background. Conversely, if a middle class kid goes into a technical field, we say he or she "didn't live up to expectations." This, of course, ignores the fact that an apprentice welder can earn upwards of $60,000 annually to start as compared to many liberal arts graduates struggling to earn $30,000 a year.

Foxx then goes on to discuss an experience that she had in graduate school at UNC-Greensboro which I think goes beyond community college versus "higher education".
One of the few lessons that stuck with me from all the courses I took on the way to earning my Ed.D. came during a classroom discussion that sparked my passion for changing the way we talk about education. I’ll never forget how the professor responded to a student who used the word “training.” Training, the professor admonished, was for animals. Humans receive an education.

We can’t keep speaking of people as if they are animals. Whether an individual acquires a skill credential, a bachelor’s degree, a postgraduate degree or anything in between, it’s all education.
We speak of the need to get firearms training. This is offered by firearms trainers. However, should we not start calling it firearms education? It does after all involve learning and is offered in a class. We are being taught how to use a tool safely which is no different in essence than a surgeon being taught how to operate specialized OR equipment. Furthermore, advanced classes delve into human behavior and how to respond to dangerous, criminal, and abnormal behaviors. Think William Aprill.

Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman's book Thinking, Fast and Slow deals with the dichotomy of thought between instinctive and logical. The former or System 1 deals with fast and instinctive thought while the latter or System 2 is more deliberative, slow, and logical. In the firearms education context, System 1 is where many, if not most, concentrate their teaching. System 2 or the slower, more deliberative, and logical approach is what is covered by Massad Ayoob and Andrew Branca when dealing with the aftermath of a defensive gun use.

Virginia Foxx is correct that words matter when it comes to education. Training is what you do with your Labrador Retriever. Educating and teaching is what people like Tom Givens, Massad Ayoob, William Aprill, Greg Ellifritiz, and other "firearms trainers" do. From now on, education is how we should refer to what we as humans do in classes dealing with firearms. At least, I plan to do so.

Video - Open Versus Closed Bolt Systems


Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons has produced this nice short video explaining the differences in operation between open and closed bolt actions. While we tend to think that open bolt is for machine guns and closed bolt is for semi-automatic is the rule that isn't always the case. Ian has examples of both closed bolt full auto submachine guns and open bolt semi-automatic rifles. The confusion may stem from a ruling by BATFE back in the 1980s which said no new open bolt semi-autos could be manufactured as they thought these would be easier to convert to full auto.