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Waivers Of Gun Rights: A New Shot At Gun Repression

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H/T The Daily Caller.

Getting on this list would by like being in the Hotel California You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave in other words you will always be on this list.

Lawmakers in California must have temporarily exhausted their store of ideas for legislating against law-abiding gun enthusiasts. After years of padding the bureaucracy with ever more complicated rules, restrictions and bans for people who legally own and enjoy guns, lawmakers are now considering a measure to strike a preemptive declaration against gun ownership.

The California bill, AB 1927, introduced by Assembly Member Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, directs the state’s Department of Justice to “develop and launch a secure Internet-based platform to allow a person who resides in California to voluntarily add his or her own name to the California Do Not Sell List.” This list would be uploaded to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), meaning the system would affect a person’s ability to acquire a firearm not just in California, but anywhere in the country.

On registering, a person has the option of providing the state with the names and email addresses of up to five contacts, who have the right to be notified as soon as the registrant seeks a restoration of the right to acquire guns. The bill makes it a crime to knowingly sell or transfer a firearm to a person on the list (and a licensed gun dealer is liable to lose their dealer’s license, too). “Receipt” of a firearm is “unlawful” for anyone on the list, although the bill specifies that mere possession is not prohibited (“possession after the moment of receipt is not unlawful and the fact of possession may not be relied upon to prove a violation” of the law).

While getting on the Do Not Sell List may be as simple as a few clicks of a mouse, getting off the list is challenging different matter entirely. The registrant must file a petition with a court to have his or her name removed. All persons on the registrant’s contact list are entitled to advance notice of the date, time, and location of the court hearing. And although a person may register on the list for any reason (or no reason at all), a court is authorized to remove a registrant off the list only after he or she establishes, by a “preponderance of the evidence that he or she is not at elevated risk of suicide.” The evidence needed to satisfy this standard isn’t specified, but it’s safe to assume that a mental health evaluation and testimony from a mental health professional will be required. Once a court grants the order, the state must remove the person from the NICS Index and expunge all records related to the person’s registration on the list.

A similarly inspired bill to allow a “voluntary waiver of firearm rights” is pending in Washington State.  S.B. 5553 allows anyone to file a waiver document with the court, and to include the name of a “person to be contacted” if a voluntary waiver is later revoked. All waivers are fed into a state police database used to determine eligibility to purchase a handgun. The person is free to revoke the waiver at a later date, but the waiver must stay in effect for a minimum of two weeks (seven days, plus another week in which the police must delete the waiver from the database). The bill makes it a felony to provide a gun to a person where there is reasonable cause to believe the person is subject to an active waiver, and a licensed dealer is prohibited from selling or transferring a gun to such persons.

The apparent rationale behind these bills is to provide those at risk of suicide with a way to declare themselves “prohibited persons” for the purposes of future gun purchases. Assemblyman Bonta describes his bill as giving “people the power to create a potentially life-saving barrier,” and the summary on the Washington proposal claims it will prevent suicide by helping “people in crisis maintain their autonomy while saving their lives.”

Overlooking several practical issues, the bills’ effectiveness isn’t likely to match the declared sentiment of advocates.

The California bill requires that the “Internet-based platform” for the list “credibly verif[y]” the identity of those who sign up online. Neither bill, though, has a corrective procedure to remove anyone included because they share a name and birthdate with someone properly listed, or because of some other error. The only way the bill provides for getting de-listed on California’s registry is convincing a court not that there’s been a mistake, but that the registrant has a non-elevated risk of suicide.

Waivers of constitutional rights “must be voluntary and must be knowing, intelligent acts done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences.” In Washington State, persons contemplating a waiver should be aware that the waiver remains effective even after it is revoked because the police have a week to process the revocation, with ensuing legal consequences. Because of the time lag between actual revocation and the update to the police database, a person who seeks to obtain a gun after revocation but during that period is liable to be reported to a separate police database of people who attempt to acquire guns while prohibited under state or federal law.

The most distressing thing about these bills is the focus on the method while bypassing the underlying, core problem of the person’s suicidal impulses, depression, or other mental health emergency. Experts estimate that the vast majority of persons who commit suicide suffer from a mental illness at the time of their death. The same mindset impelled “gun violence restraining order” laws in California and Washington State, aimed specifically at disarming persons at risk of harming themselves (but only with a gun). Regardless, Assemblyman Bonta, resorting to the favorite catchphrase of the gun control movement, describes his bill as “a common-sense measure” to allow people to “self-restrict their ability to purchase a firearm.”

While lawmakers continue to look for new ways to restrict gun rights, people seeking help may find there’s a lot of talk about promoting health through “innovative” prevention strategies for at-risk individuals, without much in the way of actual help.

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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Democrats’ Exciting New Hope Adheres to Tired Old Anti-Gun Dogma

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H/T NRA/ILA.

Dopey Winfrey has more skeletons than she would probably want exposed.

In 1997 Charlton Heston said this about Dopey Winfrey  “We’ve reached that point in time when our national social policy originates on ‘Oprah.’”        

       

Democrats searching for a standard-bearer in the 2020 presidential election lit on long-time entertainment, media, and publishing figure Oprah Winfrey this week, following a speech Winfrey gave at a televised Hollywood extravaganza. Winfrey received wide acclaim for her remarks, but amidst the #oprah2020 mania that has followed, questions have arisen over what Winfrey stands for politically and whether she has the desire and skill set to lead the Free World. Some of those questions remain unanswered, but for gun owners, one thing is crystal clear: Oprah Winfrey embraces the staunchly anti-gun posture of contemporary Hollywood.

Winfrey’s anti-gun activism dates back to at least the 1990s when she was closely involved with the rabidly anti-gun group CeaseFire, Inc. The now defunct group’s website, still archived online, attests to its fanaticism. It’s Mission Statement, for example, explained:

Through a coordinated public service announcement (PSA) print and broadcast campaign, our mission is to mobilize a broad cross section of American leadership to educate and promote handgun-free homes and families. By highlighting the public health implications of handgun violence, Cease Fire can educate Americans to view handguns as the inherently unsafe and dangerous products they are, and not appropriate to have in any home. [Emphasis added.]

Oprah Winfrey was part of this “education” campaign, appearing in CeaseFire’s print and broadcast ads and in its fundraising materials. 

CeaseFire pioneered elements of the modern anti-gun publicity playbook, heavily promoting dubious factoids and inflating statistics about firearms’ supposed toll on “children” by including statistics pertaining to 18- and 19-year-old adults (a common age for gang membership). Its ads featured actors such as Winfrey and Paul Newman gravely recounting media stories about gun owners accidentally killing their loved ones. Even gun safes, according to the group’s ads, weren’t to be trusted. Taglines included, “Before you bring a gun in the house, think about it” and “A Home is no place for a handgun.”

The legendary Charlton Heston, who would go on to be one of the NRA’s most iconic presidents, lamented in 1997, “We’ve reached that point in time when our national social policy originates on ‘Oprah.’” 

Indeed, in 2000, Winfrey promoted the so-called Million Mom March (the march) on her popular daytime talk show. The march was actually a Mother’s Day rally of women in support of gun control on the National Mall. Although the actual number of “marchers” who attended the D.C. rally was considerably less than a “million,” the event received a major boost from Winfrey’s free publicity.  The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence – which later merged with the anti-gun organization that formed around the march – recounts that the march’s website crashed from the crush of traffic generated when its online address was published during Winfrey’s show.  Winfrey told her viewers that if they didn’t “do something” to stop “children” from being killed by firearms, they were “part of the problem.”

Insisting that she is “apolitical,” Winfrey nevertheless became a staunch supporter of Barack Obama’s hyper-partisan political career. Wikidpedia states that “Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama was one of the most widely covered and studied developments of the 2008 presidential campaign.” One paper by two economists from the University of Maryland estimates that Winfrey’s endorsement “was responsible for approximately 1,000,000 additional votes for Obama,” potentially swaying the 2008 Democratic primary in the two-term president’s favor. “Winfrey, for her part, described Obama’s political ascendance as “beyond and above politics” and “something new.”

Obama’s strongly pro-gun control views clearly did not diminish Oprah Winfrey’s support for him.  Rather, she repeatedly used her vast public reach to support Obama’s gun control agenda during his presidency. At Harvard’s commencement in 2013, for example, Winfrey plugged the administration’s #1 gun control initiative, “universal background checks.” In 2016, she indicated support for an “assault weapons” ban (another Obama-backed measure) in the wake of a mass murder in Orlando, Florida. “Are we a country that really believes that assault weapons should be made available to anybody?” she commented. “Are assault weapons necessary? I … just say, ‘enough.’”

Fortunately, unlike most of her other high-profile endeavors, Oprah Winfrey’s gun control activism has been a failure, at least as measured by additional federal gun control laws. But it’s hard to overstate the immense cult of personality that surrounds her, as well as the reflexive adulation she engenders from her fellow elites in entertainment and media. Like Barack Obama – with whom she remains close – a President Oprah Winfrey could count on their unconditional support, as well as their protection against any serious scrutiny or criticism. 

Gun owners know that the last thing America needs is another gun-control absolutist as president. Because while Oprah Winfrey is wrong that handguns do not belong in the home, it’s true that handgun abolitionists do not belong in the White House.

Americans for Responsible Solutions Claims NFA Isn’t Burdensome

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H/T The NRA/ILA.

Americans for Responsible Solutions is a bunch of irresponsible morons.

Earlier this week, gun control group Americans for Responsible Solutions continued their confused campaign against the Hearing Protection Act (S. 59 and H.R. 367) with a new line of attack. This vital legislation would remove firearm suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act, which requires suppressor purchasers to pay a $200 tax stamp and for the devices to be registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. According to the group’s latest perverse logic, the rapid growth of the suppressor industry in recent years somehow proves that the current regulatory scheme is not burdensome and that legislation to improve access to these important safety devices is unnecessary.

In an August 30 press release titled, “Silencer Regulation Soars in 2016, Despite Gun Lobby Claim that Regulations are Burdensome,” ARS cited data from the 2017 edition of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ “Firearms Commerce in the United States” to make their case. ARS Executive Director Peter Ambler noted, “the number of silencers registered with ATF has more than quadrupled in the past seven years, from just over 285,000 in 2010 to over 1,360,000 in 2016.” The group pointed out that this growth occurred “despite claims from the gun lobby that the federal regulations are too burdensome.” The crux of ARS’s argument is that the current regulatory scheme governing suppressors is not significantly burdensome and hasn’t deterred law-abiding gun owners from acquiring these items.  

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It appears the ARS staff slept through Economics 101. The current regulatory scheme imposes a $200 tax on suppressor transfers. In many instances, this can amount to 50-100 percent tax per device. The addition of a tax on a good lessens demand for that good, as some are unwilling to pay the total cost of the item including the tax or are priced out of the market altogether. While former astronauts and ARS’s Washington consultantsmight have a difficult time relating to the burden of a $200 tax, paying such a sum represents a significant burden for many Americans. In addition to creating this substantial burden on individuals, an excise tax that reduces access to safety devices like suppressors runs counter to sound public policy.

Beyond to the pecuniary burden, prospective suppressor purchasers face administrative hurdles that can be time-consuming and implicate the purchaser’s privacy. Prospective purchasers must complete a lengthy application process that requires the individual to provide their personal information, a passport-style photo, and a set of fingerprints. Many individuals are rightly intimidated by this daunting paperwork. Others are reluctant to provide their personal information, including their status as a gun owner, for inclusion in a federal database. Those who might wish to acquire a suppressor through an NFA trust could be deterred by the financial burden of establishing said trust, which can include the cost of hiring an attorney.

ARS even contradicted its position that the current NFA process is not burdensome within its own press release. The group acknowledged that “wait times are unnecessarily long for law-abiding individuals to purchase silencers.” Might such an “unnecessarily long” wait be considered a burden by prospective suppressor buyers and deter many from accessing these devices altogether?

In another firearms-related context – the acquisition of Right-to-Carry permits – it has been demonstrated that increasing the pecuniary and administrative burdens placed on individuals results in a decrease of the number of people who are willing to exercise their rights. Discussing the data on this subject in the third edition of his book “More Guns Less Crime,” economist John Lott explained,

results show that for each $10 increase in fees, the population getting permits is reduced by about one-half of a percentage point. And requiring five hours of training (rather than none) reduces the number of permits by about two-thirds of a percentage point.

Moreover, while ARS cited the data showing significant growth in the number of registered suppressors as evidence that current suppressor regulations do not burden prospective purchasers, they failed to put these numbers in context. As of April 2017, the number of registered suppressors was 1,360,023. The recent growth is impressive, but the number of registered suppressors is still miniscule in the broad scope of American firearm ownership.

Using ATF’s manufacturing data, U.S. firearms manufacturers produced around 9 million firearms for the domestic market in 2015 (the latest year for which this data is available), and another roughly 4 million firearms were imported that same year. In regards to the total firearms stock, the Congressional Research Service has estimated that there are more than 300 million firearms in the U.S., while others have estimated that number to be far greater.

When placed in the context of the number of firearms acquired or manufactured each year, or total U.S. firearms ownership, suppressors are unfortunately still a niche item. Given the obvious safety benefits these items provide for gun owners, it is reasonable to conclude that some of the staggering disparity between total firearms stock and the total number of registered suppressors is due to the incredible burdens placed on acquiring these devices.

Earlier this year, ARS was criticized by NRA and the Washington Post for spreading easily disprovable misinformation about suppressor function in a half-baked attack on the HPA. Now the group is disregarding the laws of supply and demand to make a contrived argument that the current regulations aren’t burdensome, and therefore should be retained. It’s clear that ARS is uninterested in the facts on suppressors and will make any argument, no matter how far-fetched, to defend the burdensome and outdated NFA.   

Arizona Supreme Court Rebuffs Tucson’s Illegal Destruction of Firearms

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H/T NRA/ILA.

The Arizona Supreme Court got this ruling right the guns should not be just destroyed at the whim of a city or town government.

On Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously held that the state was within its authority to prohibit cities and counties from routinely destroying firearms obtained through forfeiture or as unclaimed property. State law holds that political subdivisions must instead (subject to certain exceptions) recirculate the firearms through legitimate channels of commerce, just as they do with other types of valuable property. The case represents the latest battle in an effort dating back nearly two decades to prevent anti-gun localities from undermining the pro-gun policies of the state legislature.

While the case – State v. City of Tucson – rests on complicated issues of Arizona constitutional, statutory, and common law, it illustrates challenges facing gun owners nationwide and the importance of sustained advocacy in ensuring Second Amendment rights. Infringements of the right to keep and bear arms are rarely resolved simply by pointing to the Second Amendment or similar provisions of state constitutions. Rather, it often takes remedial legislation, backed by months or years of painstaking litigation, to vindicate the rights of gun owners.

The case also illustrates how even in the most pro-gun of states, there are always anti-gun enclaves and/or political opportunists who will openly defy clear legal authority for as long as possible to further their oppressive agenda of suppressing our firearms freedom.

The leading opinion of four justices validated the NRA’s argument that protecting the right to keep and bear arms enshrined in the state and federal constitutions is a matter of statewide concern and that the enactments of the legislature on this subject therefore take precedence over the acts of charter cities.   As explained in the case’s leading opinion, the Arizona legislature passed a statute in 2000 to assert exclusive authority over the regulation of firearms and ammunition. Nevertheless, the City of Tucson five years later enacted an ordinance calling for the destruction of certain unclaimed or forfeited firearms.

The legislature, in turn, responded by enacting two additional statutes in 2013 that prohibited agencies, political subdivisions, and law enforcement entities from “facilitating the destruction of a firearm” and that instructed them instead to sell the firearms to businesses which lawfully participate in gun sales.

Despite the legislature’s explicit directives, Tucson destroyed nearly 5,000 additional firearms after the enactment of the 2013 laws. The legislature again responded in 2016, this time by establishing a framework by which one or more members of the legislature could seek remedial action through the state attorney general’s office against alleged violations of Arizona’s laws or its constitution by political subdivisions.

Pursuant to that framework, Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem asked the attorney general to review Tucson’s firearm destruction program. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich concluded that Tucson’s ordinance was contrary to state law, but the city rejected the findings and refused to take corrective action. Pursuant to the 2016 law, Attorney General Brnovich then filed a petition with the Arizona Supreme Court to resolve the matter.

Although the justices were divided on their reasoning, all agreed the state legislature had acted within its authority by enacting the statute preventing localities from destroying firearms that were otherwise lawful to sell under state and federal law.  The leading opinion of four justices validated the NRA’s argument that protecting the right to keep and bear arms enshrined in the state and federal constitutions is a matter of statewide concern and that the enactments of the legislature on this subject therefore take precedence over the acts of charter cities.

Tucson’s behavior to date leaves little doubt that anti-gun officials will continue looking for ways to undermine the rights of gun owners within the city, notwithstanding the state legislature’s pronouncements. This is unfortunately an all-too-common phenomenon across the country in otherwise pro-gun states. That is exactly why the NRA’s work to vindicate the rights of gun owners never stops, even when it does not grab national headlines.

First Carry No Gun: Police Chief Gets Inhospitable Reception at Texas Medical Clinic

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H/T NRA/ILA.

Where is the problem he clearly as identifiable as a police officer.

We recently reported on claims that “gun safety advocates” in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have given a U.S. Marine Corps. veteran an untenable choice: custody of his grandson or his constitutional right to possess a loaded firearm.  Now, from Texas – of all places – comes a similar tale of a police chief who was told he could receive medical care from a Woodlands ear, nose & throat clinic … but only if he took off his duty sidearm and left it outside the building.

Conroe Police Department Chief Philip Dupuis made it clear, moreover, that this was not an innocent case of mistaken identity. “My badge is clearly displayed,” he told the Washington Times of the incident. “I have my lanyard on with ‘police’ on my ID card hanging around my neck. I had handcuffs.”

Nevertheless, the receptionist at Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists (Texas E.N.T.) told him in front of a lobby full of other people he would not be treated unless he complied with the practice’s “no-gun” policy. “I have never been so embarrassed … in my 35 years of law enforcement,” Dupuis noted in a Facebook post about the incident.

Chief Dupuis went on to state that he took up the matter with officer managers at two separate locations of Texas E.N.T., including the one where his usual doctor normally practices. Their responses, he said, were unsatisfactory.

Later, however, the practice’s business manager called the chief to personally apologize.  “Our company values law enforcement officers and first responders for their selfless service and will serve them and our communities with the utmost respect,” a clinic representative told the Times.

Let’s be clear: Anti-gun extremists have reached the point where they are not only detached from legitimate concerns about public safety or “guns in the wrong hands” but simply want anyone with a gun (no matter who or what the reason) to know they have no place in the world they wish to create. Theirs is not a creed of “live and let live.” It is one of dogmatic and reflexive bigotry. 

The company also apologized and disavowed the incident on its own Facebook page:

Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists will continue to treat armed law enforcement officers who have the appropriate identification. Again, we sincerely apologize to Chief Dupuis for the situation and the embarrassment he may have felt. We will make every effort to ensure this does not happen again in any of our locations.

Whether any Texas E.N.T. employees were disciplined in connection with the matter, however, is unclear. Chief Dupuis also said he has not heard from the Texas E.N.T. doctor who usually treats him.

Private businesses are generally entitled to determine for themselves the rules that govern the carrying or possession of firearms on their premises, just as gun owners are free to determine the businesses they will (and will not) support. Most reasonable people can live with that arrangement.

But it’s hard to divorce what happened to Chief Dupuis from the larger current of the medical profession’s institutional (and unscientific) bias against firearms and their owners and the animosity that has increasingly greeted police personnel at various private businesses. Neither phenomenon is reasonable or justified.

Let’s be clear: Anti-gun extremists have reached the point where they are not only detached from legitimate concerns about public safety or “guns in the wrong hands” but simply want anyone with a gun (no matter who or what the reason) to know they have no place in the world they wish to create. Theirs is not a creed of “live and let live.” It is one of dogmatic and reflexive bigotry.

This explains why people like Doris Greggs White – who identifies herself as a “healthcare professional” – continue to support the way Chief Dupuis was originally treated. Responding to Texas E.N.T.’s apologetic Facebook post, Greggs White wrote:

I feel you had no reason to apologize to this crybaby cop. he and his ilk have slandered you. you have every right to protect your staff and other patients. they can only whine about blue lives mattering although medical staff are under increasingly more frequent and severe attacks by patients and their [angry] families. he claims to have never been more [angry] in his career-over this?! if he’s that unstable he should not be armed and should be banned from your facility. 

Their words and their actions speak for themselves.

Elizabeth Warren Urges Democrats to Champion Gun Control, Shut Down Debate

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H/T NRA/ILA.

I guess Princess Fauxcahontas is trying to go on the war path again against guns.

Just as many in the Democratic Party are seeking to moderate their message in order to once again compete as a national political party, some high-profile Democrats are urging the party to lurch further left with an even firmer embrace of gun control.

On June 13, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) addressed those gathered at the “progressive” Netroots Nationconference in Atlanta, Ga. In her usual frenzied style, Warren used the forum to attack those Democrats who would moderate the party’s message, including those who would temper the party’s stance on guns.

Going further than most anti-gun activists and politicians, her command for Democrats to champion gun control included a call to shut down discussion on the topic. In doing so, Warren seemed to liken the issue of gun control to that of global warming, which many activists have long-attempted to put beyond the scope of legitimate debate.

During her wide-ranging diatribe, Warren stated,

It’s time for us to say: Democrats are on the side of science.

We’re done arguing about whether climate change is real – and we’re going to fight it with everything we have.

We’re done arguing about whether trickle-down economics works – and we’re going to fight to build this economy so it works for working families.

We’re done arguing about gun safety – and we’re going to fight for the common-sense reforms the overwhelming majority of Americans want.

First, there is nothing remotely close to a scientific consensus on the efficacy of gun control advocates’ most favored proposals. A 2013 memo from the Department of Justice’s National Institute for Justice surveyed the research on several gun control measures. In relation to a restriction on the private transfer of firearms, the NIJ determined that such a measure would be ineffective unless coupled with an onerous registration regime. Addressing restrictions on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms, NIJ determined, “Since assault weapons are not a major contributor to US gun homicide and the existing stock of guns is large, an assault weapon ban is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence.” So-called “smart guns” were found “Unlikely to affect gun crime.”

Moreover, earlier reviews of gun research and controls by the National Academies have made clear that the senator’s absolutist statement is unwarranted.

Second, while gun control proponents are quick to point to polls showing public support for restrictions on the private transfer of firearms as a justification for trampling gun rights, actual experience paints a different picture. In 2016, anti-gun activists’ most-touted gun control measure was on the ballot in two very different “blue” states, Maine and Nevada. When given the opportunity to vote on this legislation, Mainers rejected further gun control, while Nevadans narrowly passed a misleading and unenforceable background check initiative by less than a 1 percent margin. Not exactly evidence of an “overwhelming majority.”

If there is any positive aspect to Warren’s recent anti-gun statement, it is that the senator was so forthright in her attack on our Second Amendment rights. For many years, gun control advocates and anti-gun politicians have implored lawmakers and the nation to have a much-needed “conversation” on gun control. Of course, the country has been embroiled in a nearly ceaseless national debate on the topic since the 1960s.

This tactic is always an anti-gun ruse. Rather than an earnest debate on the merits of a given proposal, those using this language are exclusively concerned with achieving their preferred policy outcomes. While Warren is incorrect that the argument over gun control has been decisively determined in her favor, at least she has dropped the ridiculous pretext of wanting a serious debate.

Warren’s hardline anti-gun position might play well in Massachusetts, a state where the fanatical attorney generalhas been permitted to willfully misinterpret state law to attack law-abiding gun owners and local law enforcement have discretion over who may possess even a single-shot shotgun. Given Hillary Clinton’s fervent support for the most radical gun control measures and her subsequent ascent to the Democratic presidential nomination, it’s obvious that militant anti-gun messaging is also attractive to some of the more statist elements of the Democratic Party. However, there is strong evidence that if the Democrats are interested in competing nationally, a more moderate stance on Second Amendment rights is the way forward.

Democratic Party leaders, and Democratic candidates running in competitive elections, will have to decide whether to follow the lead of someone likely bolstering her left-wing credentials to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, or look to history and recognize the wisdom in former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Rahm Emanuel’s determination that Democratic candidates should “reflect” their constituents.

Firearm Registration + Bureaucratic Incompetence = Seizure of Innocent Veteran’s Guns in New York

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H/T NRA/ILA.

Screw New York and their anti-gun attitudes.

It had all the makings of a dystopian political thriller. Sheriff’s deputies unexpectedly descend onto the property of a law-abiding 70-year-old Vietnam veteran and insist they have a writ to seize his firearms. The document, however, is obviously flawed. Different Social Security numbers appear in different places. The man knows he’s never been in trouble with the law. And he had certainly never appeared before a judge on the issue of his firearm ownership. When he tries to point out the obvious mistake, he is ignored. All the police want to know is where his guns are. 

Thankfully, Don Hall of Talberg, N.Y., was not subject zero in a long-feared government round-up of civilian firearms. But his story – detailed in a lengthy article on the Syracuse.com website – is still a chilling and cautionary tale that underscores the dangers of firearm registration, antigun fanaticism, and laws that dispense with constitutional due process on the pretense of protecting “public safety.”

Fortunately, Mr. Hall kept his head that night last February and did not overreact to a confusing and provocative situation. Instead, he contacted a lawyer the next day and began the arduous process of clearing his name and securing the return of his lawfully-owned and constitutionally protected property.

According to the paperwork the deputies had shown Mr. Hall, he had been labeled as a “mental defective” and was therefore prohibited from owning firearms. Hall wracked his brain trying to figure out any possible basis for this finding, but there was simply none. He had never been treated for any mental health condition. 

On his attorney’s advice, Mr. Hall went from one local hospital to the next securing affidavits to prove he had never received mental health treatment. At one hospital where he had been treated for sleep apnea, he told the Syracuse.com, the records clerk “turned white as a ghost” when she realized they had incorrectly entered the Social Security number associated with his account.

Finally, some two months later, Hall’s attorney was able to convince an Oneida County judge that his client was the victim of a bureaucratic misidentification. The judge ordered the guns returned, but even then, Hall was initially told he’d only get back his pistols, not his long guns. Fortunately, that further bureaucratic error was also corrected.

The genesis of Don Hall’s trouble appears to be New York’s practice of cross-checking certain mental health records with firearms registrations. Hall had apparently been mistaken for another individual with a disqualifying metal health history. While the Syracuse.com article indicates the exact legal authority for the action taken against Hall remains unclear, at no time before his firearms were forcibly seized was he given a chance to answer the accusations against him.

“I was guilty until I could prove myself innocent,” Hall told the reporter. “They don’t tell you why or what you supposedly did.” His attorney agreed, stating, “To me, presumption of innocence is the foundation of our system, and this provision [allowing for seizures based on cross-matched records] doesn’t allow for that.”

Gun control advocates are increasingly pushing for laws that would allow authorities to suspend a person’s Second Amendment rights based on unproven accusations or the inclusion of a person on some secret government list. These types of regulations turn constitutional due process on its head by forcing Americans to prove their innocence after adverse action has already been taken against them based on evidence they were never given a chance to contest.

While Don Hall eventually got back his firearms, he had to spend considerable time and money to establish his innocence, and none of the entities or officials involved are taking responsibility for the mistakes that led to the seizure, much less offering to compensate him for his efforts and trouble. And for every person like Don Hall with the means and determination to challenge arbitrary and unjustified government action, there are surely many more who will simply cut their losses without putting up a fight.

Which all just goes to show that when it comes to antigun fanaticism, trampling the rights of the innocent has always been the cost of doing business

F Stands for FAIL: Magnets – 1, “Smart Gun” Technology – 0

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H/T NRA/ILA.

So much for these so called safe smart guns.

The news broke this week that the “smart gun” which many gun control advocates hoped would usher in the brave new world of mandatory user recognition technology is … if not exactly a fraud … a good example of common arguments made against smart guns. 

According to an article in Wired magazine, the $1,800 .22 LR pistol that made such a splash with gun controllers upon its debut is easily hacked. It can be activated (or deactivated) at distance from authorized users. Its locking mechanism can be defeated by holding magnets against the slide. And the equipment to do these things is readily available and costs less than a trip to the movies.

The hacker profiled in the article – who goes by the pseudonym Plore – told Wired, “I was confident I’d be able to break it … I didn’t think it would be so easy.”

Obviously, Plore isn’t used to dealing with gun control advocates. Most of us who do so on a regular basis come to a similar realization. We know we can debunk their nonsense. But we’re often still surprised just how ridiculous most of their propositions really are.  It may be that someone, someday will actually come up with user recognition technology for firearms that actually works and that does not pose untenable reliability or remote manipulation issues.  As the Wired article indicates, however, that day has not arrived, however much some may wish for it. 

The simple point is this:  technology doesn’t exist, until it actually exists.  We can’t simply wish things into existence.  An entire generation grew up wanting flying cars like the Jetsons used. Most grown-ups eventually learn to live within the realm of the possible, while still striving for improvement wherever it can be found.

But the sense of entitlement to whatever they want is so acute among many gun control advocates that their longings sometime achieve the force of law, even though reality refuses to accommodate them. Thus, they pass mandates for things like “smart guns” and microstamping, ban guns whose appearances particularly offend them, and insist on the creation of gun control capabilities and bureaucracies for which their jurisdictions lack resources and therefore ignore

It may be that someone, someday will actually come up with user recognition technology for firearms that actually works and that does not pose untenable reliability or remote manipulation issues.  As the Wired article indicates, however, that day has not arrived, however much some may wish for it. 

For now, if you want a gun that works as advertised, the smart choice is still traditional technology, backed by sound storage and handling practices.

From My Cold Wet Hands: Humorless Scold Targets Squirt Guns

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H/T Bearing Arms.

These nattering nabob are worried about a water pistol causing children to turn violent.

There biggest reasons children are turning to violence is absentee parents and God has been taken out of our schools.

We had parents that taught us right from wrong and busted our asses when we did not follows the rules.

We started our school day with the pledge of allegiance a prayer and lots of times bible verses.

We grew up watching The Rifleman,Gunsmoke,The Rat Patrol and Combat yet we did not go around killing people.

 

Sponsored by NRA-ILA

We have yet to reach Memorial Day, but the fun police have already set their sights on at least one cherished summer childhood activity. In an article for PopSugar.com, titled, “Why Kids Should Never Play With Water Guns. Period,” author Lauren Levy lectures the nation’s parents on the hidden menace of squirt guns.

According to Levy, no child should be permitted to use a water gun under any circumstances. That a particular squirt gun might bear no resemblance whatsoever to a real firearm is of no concern to Levy, who contends, “Even if they’re colorful and super cool, kids shouldn’t be playing with water guns because it normalizes the real thing.”

Fully embracing the role of a humorless scold, Levy earnestly warns readers, “There are some children who will never smile again — all because someone picked up a gun. At the same time, we have little ones playing and laughing over the very thing that is killing other kids. It just isn’t right.”

One could reasonably mistake Levy’s article for satire, were it not for the fact that recent decades have witnessed a wide-ranging effort to stamp out the fictional toy gun hazard. There have been toy-gun turn-ins modeled off of gun “buy-backs,” local bans on the sale of toy guns that have crippled small business owners with outlandish fines, and too many zero-tolerance school suspensions to count.

Levy makes several assertions about how toy guns are detrimental to children but offers no evidence to support her claims. Levy’s expertise on the matter appears limited to a combination of her feelings and a childhood where her mother insisted on a toy gun-free home.

Levy’s lack of evidence is revealing. In an interview with WebMd.com clinical psychologist and best-selling author Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D. made clear, “Everyone has an informal causation theory that playing with guns leads to the use of guns in adulthood,” but that, “There’s no scientific evidence suggesting that playing war games in childhood leads to real-life aggression.” In recent years, the work of Thompson and other researchers has led to a bevy of articles in typically anti-gunpublications that have sought to calm parents’ fears about aggressive play and toy firearms.

Further, the type of ban Levy encourages has second order consequences. The Centers for Disease Control has made clear that physical activity and play are vital to a child’s healthy development, and research indicates that outdoor play is particularly beneficial. In surveying the available research on outdoor play, an article published in the journal Health & Place noted “encouragement of outdoor play and fostering an environment of movement among children improves the physical, emotional, social, and cognitive health of children…” Sadly, other research has found that today’s children are not getting enough outdoor playtime. Fun, wholesome physical activities like a summertime squirt gun battle should be embraced as an exciting way to get kids up off the couch and away from their screens.

Levy’s broadside on summer fun even puts her at odds with some of the most anti-gun politicians. NRA has had its differences with former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden, as both are unabashed gun control supporters. However, on the matter of water guns, we have found common ground.

Super Soaker wars were an annual fixture at the former vice president’s summer parties at the Naval Observatory, where Biden was often pictured engaged in battle with young attendees. In 2012, the White House tweeted a picture of Obama wielding a squirt gun while taking fire from what appears to be one of his daughters.

At one point in her piece Levy writes, “as much as we want to teach our kids about gun control and safety, we contradict ourselves the second we allow them to run around with toy versions to shoot their friends.”

Here Levy betrays her motives. Her piece isn’t about children mistaking real guns for toy guns, or that squirt guns will cause children to fail to appreciate the dangerousness of real firearms. Levy’s attack on water guns is about instilling an anti-gun political orthodoxy in America’s youth, lest a favorable childhood experience with a toy cause anyone to develop anything less than an unthinking animosity towards firearms.

Levy’s unsupported theories about the hazards of squirt guns should earn her derision from all but the most zealous adherents to the cult of gun control. Wise parents will look to the research on, and prevalence of, toy gun play and dismiss such overwrought attempts to curtail normal and healthy childhood behavior.

Democratic VP Candidate Tim Kaine on Gun Control: “I can’t think of an issue I’d rather be aligned with than this”

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H/T NRA/ILA.

Tim Kaine is an idiot.

 The 2nd Amendment wording.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

In May 2000, Tim Kaine, then-mayor of Richmond, Va., used more than $6,000 in public funds to charter eight buses. The buses were used to transport city residents from Richmond to the anti-gun, and inaccurately named, Million Mom March in Washington, D.C. 

The Million Mom March was sponsored and organized by extremist gun control organization the Bell Campaign, which was later renamed the Million Mom March Foundation. The Bell Campaign supported a litany of gun control measures, including gun rationing, a ban on the possession of commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and their magazines, firearm owner licensing, and gun registration. In regards to the right to keep and bear arms, the Bell Campaign contended, “The Second Amendment does not, and never did, protect the private ownership of guns for private purposes.”

Following a public outcry over the use of public funds for political purposes, including criticism from Richmond City Council members, Kaine was forced to seek private funds to reimburse the city. Despite the disapproval of citizens and his fellow public officials, Kaine was reluctant to admit wrongdoing, with the Richmond Times-Dispatch noting, “Kaine defended the subsidy on the ground that Richmond always has supported stricter gun laws.” At the time, the Times-Dispatch also reported that in regard to gun control, Kaine said, “I can’t think of an issue I’d rather be aligned with than this.”

This gross misuse of taxpayer dollars to advocate for extreme gun controls is indicative of Kaine’s 20 year public career, during which he has ceaselessly attacked the rights of law-abiding gun owners. In choosing Kaine as her running mate, Hillary Clinton has chosen one of the rare politicians that comes close to matching her zeal for restricting gun rights.

Even before his anti-gun pilfering of the public coffer, Kaine was hard at work targeting Virginia gun owners. In 1997, as a Richmond City Councilman, Kaine suggested that the Virginia cities of Richmond, Fairfax, and Roanoke should team up to push a gun control agenda in the Virginia General Assembly. On June 1, 1999, then-Mayor Kaine was a noted guest at the White House Rose Garden for speeches by President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton. A primary topic of both Clintons’ remarks was gun control, with the president specifically advocating for legislation that would eliminate traditional gun shows, and for further restrictions on standard capacity magazines.

In 2001, Kaine ran for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. During the campaign, Kaine staked out several anti-gun positions. On October 29, 2001, the anti-gun Washington Post endorsed Kaine, citing his support for Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month rationing law and restrictions on the Right-to-Carry in restaurants that serve alcohol. Kaine also earned the endorsement of the Brady Campaign, who called him the “clear choice,” noting, “As Mayor of Richmond, Kaine was a strong supporter of enforcing and strengthening Virginia gun laws…”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Warner sought to differentiate between his views and Kaine’s extreme anti-gun positions. A June 14, 2001 Associated Press item reported, “Warner, who does not favor additional firearms restrictions, already is trying to distance himself from his ticketmate on gun control. He acknowledged at a news conference Wednesday that he disagrees with lieutenant governor nominee Tim Kaine… on the issue.”

In 2005, Kaine ran for Governor of Virginia. During the race, Kaine worked to disguise his anti-gun politics. Doing his best John Kerry impression, Kaine posed as a sportsman at a skeet shooting event, shotgun in hand.

For this race, Kaine staked out a curious position on guns by contending that he was not for further gun control, while openly advocating for further gun control. The Roanoke Times fell victim to Kaine’s ruse when on August 27, 2005 they summarized the candidate’s incongruent position by noting, “Kaine said he doesn’t favor the creation of more gun control laws, but does believe the ones that exist should be enforced – and indicated he would back an extension of instant background checks at gun shows for all sellers, not just licensed ones.” Kaine’s misleading gun stance led Richmond Times-Dispatch commentator A. Barton Hinkle to write, “He isn’t fooling anyone — so why does he continue to try?”

Once governor, Kaine pursued his anti-gun agenda at every opportunity. In April 2006, Kaine vetoed legislation that would have permitted law-abiding gun owners to store a firearm in a locked container within a vehicle without obtaining Right-to-Carry permit.

In April 2007, in the aftermath of the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech, Kaine wasted no time in pushing for gun control. The Roanoke Times reported that on April 26, 2007, only 10 days after the shooting, the opportunistic Kaine “said he thought the time might be right to press the General Assembly to address the gun-show loophole.” On January 8, 2008 Kaine continued his push to eliminate traditional gun shows, stating, “Now more than ever in the aftermath of April 16th, Virginians understand that this is a public safety issue.” Typical of gun control efforts, the legislation Kaine sought to enact could not have prevented the tragedy he cited to advance it. The perpetrator of the Virginia Tech shooting did not purchase the two firearms used in the attack at a gun show. Kaine’s gun show legislation was rejected in committee in 2008, and rejected by the Senate again in 2009.

In March 2008, Kaine again vetoed legislation that would have permitted law-abiding individuals to possess a firearm in a locked container within their car without obtaining a Right-to-Carry permit. Kaine also vetoed legislation that would have allowed Right-to-Carry permit holders to carry concealed in restaurants that serves alcohol.

In March 2009, Kaine once again vetoed vehicle and restaurant carry legislation. Kaine also vetoed separate legislation that would have merely permitted retired law enforcement officers to exercise their Right-to-Carry in restaurants that serve alcohol. Further, Kaine rejected legislation that would have made it easier to obtain a Right-to-Carry permit, by allowing applicants to complete the requisite training online.  He also rejected legislation exempting active-duty service members from Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month law.

Overlapping with his term as governor of Virginia, Kaine served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from January 2009 to April 2011. In this role, Kaine advocated for federal gun control legislation offered by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) that would have banned magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. As pointed out by the Huffington Post, during an appearance on Political Capital with Al Hunt in January 2011, Kaine expressed his support for McCarthy’s bill, stating that it was the “kind of legislation that I’ve long supported.”

Since January 2013, Kaine has served as the junior senator from Virginia, and has continually used his seat to advance an anti-gun agenda. 

In the wake of the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn. gun control advocates forced votes on several pieces of gun control legislation on April 17, 2013. The centerpiece of the gun control effort was the Manchin amendment, which would have banned the private transfer of firearms at gun shows and in transactions pursuant to an online or print publication. Kaine voted in favor of the restrictions.

That same day, Kaine voted in favor Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) amendment to ban commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. Worse than the 1994 Clinton ban, the Feinstein amendment would have banned semi-automatic firearms that accept a detachable magazine and have only one disqualifying feature, such as a pistol grip or telescoping stock. Similarly, Kaine voted for Sen. Joe Lautenberg’s (D-N.J.) amendment to ban magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds.

When presented the opportunity to vote to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners, Kaine declined to do so. Kaine voted against a NRA-supported Right-to-Carry reciprocity amendment that would have ensured that Right-to-Carry permits granted in one state would be honored in all others. Kaine also opposed an NRA-supported amendment that would have improved the availability of disqualifying mental health information for NICS, clarified the definition of “adjudicated as a mental defective” to protect due process rights, required more robust prosecutions of federal firearm laws including straw purchases, restricted the unlawful practice of multiple sales reporting for certain types of semi-automatic long-guns, and permitted interstate handgun sales.

Incredibly, despite representing a state with one of the largest per capita populations of veterans, Kaine opposed an NRA-supported amendment to ensure that veterans’ Second Amendment rights would not be stripped without due process of law. The amendment was crafted to address an ongoing Veterans Administration practice where a veteran’s Second Amendment rights are removed following something as cursory as the agency’s decision to assign the veteran a fiduciary to manage their VA benefits.

On December 3, 2015, Kaine made it clear to all that he values the Fifth Amendment no more than the Second, when he voted in favor of terror watch list gun control legislation offered by Sen. Feinstein. The legislation would have illegitimately empowered the federal government to strip the Second Amendment rights of an individual on a secret government watch list absent the due process guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

On June 20, 2016, Kaine again voted an iteration of Sen. Feinstein’s terror watch list gun control legislation. Further, Kaine supported legislation offered by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) that would have required nearly all firearms transfers to be conducted pursuant to a background check and through a Federal Firearms Licensee. The legislation also attacked gun owner privacy by placing a burden on gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to the federal government within 48 hours.

In addition to his objectionable voting record, Kaine has sponsored or co-sponsored a host of anti-gun legislation in the 114th Congress. Kaine is a cosponsor for the latest iteration of Sen. Charles Schumer’s “Fix Gun Checks Act,” which would prohibit nearly all private transfers of firearms. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) gained Kaine’s support for a bill to eliminate the three-day safety valve for NICS checks, which would empower the FBI to severely delay firearms transfers. Kaine also signed on to Robert Menendez’s (D-N.J.) legislation that would ban magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

In September 2015, Kaine introduced his, “Responsible Transfer of Firearms Act.” The legislation would hold dealers liable for transferring a firearm to a prohibited person, unless they had “taken reasonable steps to determine that the recipient [was] not legally barred from possessing firearms or ammunition…” This ambiguous burden is presumably in addition to the background checks dealers are already required to conduct on their customers. In a further attack on the firearms industry and its customers, in January 2016, Kaine cosponsored legislation to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

Of all the gun controls Kaine has supported during his time in the Senate, his support for one particular anti-gun measure seems most fitting. In June 2016, Kaine announced his support for efforts to repeal the prohibition on the Centers for Disease Control’s use of public funds to advocate for gun control.

More than 15-years after being rebuked for squandering taxpayer dollars on gun control advocacy as mayor of Richmond, Kaine is still eager to attack gun own owners’ rights by any means at his disposal, and he still isn’t above looting the public treasury to do it. 

It doesn’t appear, over this 20 year career, that Kaine has ever seen a type of gun control that he wasn’t in favor of.  Clinton, based on her commitment to destroying the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, couldn’t have chosen a more suitable running mate.

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