Free Markets, Free People

Guns and Gun Rights

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How do you argue a point with a side which hasn’t a clue how the real world works or what a logical “non-sequitur” is?

I think we all know which side that is.

Here’s the premise put forth by an article in The New Republic:

“Libertarians Who Oppose a Militarized Police Should Support Gun Control”

Here’s a sketch of the argument:

There is indeed agreement between many liberals and libertarians that the militarization of the police, especially in its dealings with racial minorities, has gone too far. But this consensus may crumble pretty quickly when it’s confronted with the obvious police counter-argument: that the authorities’ heavy firepower and armor is necessary in light of all the firepower they’re up against. At that point, many liberals will revert to arguing for sensible gun control regulations like broader background checks to keep guns out of the hands of violent felons and the mentally ill (the measure that police organizations successfully argued should be the gun control movement’s legislative priority following the Newtown, Connecticut shootings) or limits on assault weapons and oversized ammunition clips. And liberals will be reminded that the libertarians who agree with them in opposing police militarization are very much also opposed to the gun regulations that might help make the environment faced by police slightly less threatening.

But it doesn’t “crumble” at all.  You have to buy into the premise that it is a more lethally dangerous out there for police than it appears to be.  But it isn’t:

The number of law-enforcement officers killed by firearms in 2013 fell to levels not seen since the days of the Wild West, according to a report released Monday.

The annual report from the nonprofit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund also found that deaths in the line of duty generally fell by 8 percent and were the fewest since 1959.

According to the report, 111 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty nationwide this past year, compared to 121 in 2012.

Forty-six officers were killed in traffic related accidents, and 33 were killed by firearms.

The number of firearms deaths fell 33 percent in 2013 and was the lowest since 1887.

And the drop is credited to bullet proof vests, not SWAT Teams and MRAPS. Pretending that the threat is any higher now than it always has been seems obviously wrong, given the facts.  Certainly there are toxic cultures within our society who believe that violence is the answer to whatever they encounter as a problem. And yes, police have to face that potential threat all the time.  Do I think police should be armed adequately?  Yes, but that doesn’t at all begin to cover what we see among today’s police forces in terms of both equipment and tactics.  In fact, I believe it is all of these “wars” on everything from drugs to terrorists which have had a hand in helping to militarize the police.

That said, agree or disagree with that point, gun control is essentially not only been shown to be ineffective but is a non-sequitur in this “argument”.  See Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC for proof the ineffectiveness of the ban.  But you have to ask, who in this day and age but a clueless journalist would even begin to believe that “broader background checks” are going to keep guns out of the hands of “violent felons?”  Have they in the past (their answer is they just haven’t be stringent enough)?  Honestly, do they really believe a felon is going to waltz into a gun store to buy what he wants knowing full well he’ll have a background check run?  Really?

Have these rubes never heard of a black market (they can buy guns from Mexican cartels, thoughtfully provided by the DoJ)?  Do they not realize that any “violent felon” who wants a gun isn’t going to even try to get one legally?  So, knowing that, why in the world would any libertarian grant the absurd premise knowing full well that doing so only limits the freedom of the law abiding citizenry?  It’s absurd on its face.  And, logically, it is a non-sequitur to any libertarian (again, libertarianism isn’t about shrinking rights and freedoms for heaven sake).  How does making it more inconvenient for citizens who aren’t “violent felons” to buy a gun for self-protection going to stop a felon from obtaining his gun illegally?  It isn’t.

Because, of course, that’s not what they really want (i.e. incremental change via “broader background checks”).  They want a total ban on guns, for government and felons to be the only people with guns and to essentially outlaw then outright.  Obviously they are oblivious to the danger of only government having guns and they certainly don’t seem to be able to wrap their heads around the fact that felons aren’t going to pay any attention to the law.  Nor will the black market in illegal guns.  So why, again, should anyone grant this argument credence?

I swear, you just wonder at times what goes on between their ears all day, because it certainly has nothing to do with the real world or reason.

~McQ

Assuming rights that no one has

That’s precisely what this pediatrician is claiming when he talks about what he has a right to do as it pertains to his patients and guns in the house:

As a pediatrician, I have one, straightforward professional obligation: to safeguard and support the health and wellbeing of my patients. In my case, those patients are children, but you could change the age range of the people coming into the office and apply that statement to any medical provider.

Every question I ask and every part of the physical examination, no matter how uncomfortable or invasive they might sometimes seem, is directed toward that one goal. I don’t ask about my patients’ sexual habits for the sake of prurience, for example, but rather to assess their risk for problems like sexually transmitted infections or unintended pregnancy.

Asking about guns in the house is no exception. When I ask parents if there are firearms in the home, and if so how they are secured, it is for the sole purpose of keeping their children safe. Given that access to guns in the home has been shown to increase the risk of death from suicide or homicide, to say nothing of the risk of accidental death, these questions are important. I ask because the answer matters.

He won’t ask you if you have a pool.  Or a car.  Or knives.  Just a gun.

He assumes a right to ask based on the false notion that it is his job to “keep children safe”.  Well, it’s not.

So when asked by anyone about guns in my house, I will invoke my real right – that of privacy – and look an intrusive bastard like this right in the face and say, “that’s none of your ‘effing business.”

Question asked and answered.

~McQ

DiFi and the “freedom’s to messy and dangerous” Brigade go after guns again

Of course, much like the climate alarmists, other than leveraging off a horrible incident like the Navy Yard shootings they really don’t have the stats (or the Constitutional backing) to call for banning guns. But that doesn’t stop them from doing so anyway:

“This is one more event to add to the litany of massacres that occur when a deranged person or grievance killer is able to obtain multiple weapons — including a military-style assault rifle — and kill many people in a short amount of time. When will enough be enough?” Feinstein asked in a statement.

She added: “Congress must stop shirking its responsibility and resume a thoughtful debate on gun violence in this country. We must do more to stop this endless loss of life.”

When will enough be enough? Ask a couple of Colorado state senators.

Enough will never be enough as long as the gun grabbers try to continue to pin it on the implement instead of the murderer. Here again we have a not quite right person acting out with guns. Sound familiar? Yet somehow the system not only gave him a security clearance (after he’d been arrested previously for using a gun in Seattle), but apparently okayed it for him to be sold a weapon.

How is that the fault of the weapon? Where did the weapon “fail” in this? Where did the weapon “cause” this to happen? How did the weapon find its way into this man’s hands? Because the state failed in numerous ways to do what it is and was supposed to do. Grant a security clearance to a clearly disturbed person, lax security at a secure facility, etc.  Gee, maybe it isn’t guns.  Maybe it is incompetent government that can’t enforce existing laws?

But DiFi, the WaPo and other gun grabbers don’t really care about facts.

Life does go on, through Columbine in 1999, through Virginia Tech in 2007, through Sandy Hook in 2012. Each atrocity provides a jolt to the nation and then recedes with little effect, until the next unimaginable event occurs, except each time a little more imaginable. Everything was supposed to change after a man with a semiautomatic weapon mowed down 20 elementary school children in their classrooms last December. But for the politicians, nothing changed. Now, another massacre, another roster of funerals. Again, again, again.

Anyone notice the one similarity in all these events?  Everyone of them took place in a “gun free” zone.  And what else do you notice about each?  And in each one, the state did a bang up job of protecting everyone in them, didn’t it?

DiFi comes from a long line of those who find freedom messy and dangerous and would prefer the orderly and safe haven of state authority instead (with her in charge, of course – and exempted from her own rules). And she wouldn’t at all mind imposing her utopia on you – by force if necessary.

~McQ

Does the government understand how the internet works?

You’ve all read about the first “3D gun” being made?  Well here’s some of the fallout:

Defense Distributed, the Texas-based nonprofit that wants to empower people to 3D print their own guns, has hit a bit of a legal snag. According to founder Cody Wilson, DEFCAD, the open source weapon-printing project powered by Defense Distributed, received a letter (embedded below) from the State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Compliance, telling him to remove the blueprints of the Liberator, his 3D printed gun, from the web so that they may be reviewed by the department.

The group’s website currently has a red banner appended to the top that reads, “DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls.  Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.”

“We got an official letter from the Secretary of State, telling me who they were, what their authority was under U.S. law and telling me they want to review these files to see if they’re class one munitions,” Mr. Wilson told Betabeat by phone. “That includes blueprints.”

So anyone want to guess how many times those blueprints were downloaded before this order came along?  I know there are many other aspects of this case to discuss such as this:

In the letter … the State Department says that Defense Distributed may have released data that is controlled by the International Traffic in Arms Regulation without getting prior authorization. This would put the company’s actions in conflict with … the Arms Export Control Act.

“Please note that disclosing (including oral or visual disclosure) or transferring technical data to a foreign person, whether in the United States or abroad, is considered an export,” reads the letter. It also says that until Defense Distributed has received the legal all-clear, the company “should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled. This means that all such data should be removed from public access immediately.”

But other than a basis to prosecute, the letter accomplishes nothing. Same with the “law”. Add the internet and, well, whoosh, it’s around the world before the government even knows about it.

A perfect example of why, and you can see rumblings of it happening now here (and, of course, it is a top priority in other countries), government is growing more and more interested in controlling the internet.  Again, the excuse du jour will be what?  “It’s for your own safety and security that we clamp down on these things and take away some of your freedoms”.  It has no choice if it is going to enforce it’s laws does it?

And we all remember what Ben Franklin said about trading freedom for security, don’t we?

Don’t we?

~McQ

The danger of guns. Dangerous, dangerous guns. Assault guns, even.

So, the Bureau of Justice Statistics has released their new report (PDF) on crimey, violency things. The key takeaway on homicide, is that it’s declined sharply over the last 20 years.

There were 11,101 firearm homicides in 2011, down by 39% from a high of 18,253 in 1993.

homicide

This actually understates the drop, however, because if you jump back to 1991, the FBI reports that there were 24,703 homicides that year. So, while homicides have declined by 39% from 1992, they’ve declined by 55% from 1991.

It’s not just homicide. In general gun crime is just…less.

Nonfatal firearm-related violent victimizations against persons age 12 or older declined 70%, from 1.5 million in 1993 to 456,500 in 2004. The number then fluctuated between about 400,000 to 600,000 through 2011.

guncrime

So, despite the fact that we have more guns in private hands than at any other time in living memory, we simply aren’t using them against each other anywhere near as much as we were just 20 years ago.

Maybe part of that is the profusion of concealed carry laws. Maybe part is because of things like 3 strikes laws, where we just lock people up for a really long time, and we have really a lot of people in prison. But what is clear is that violent gun crime has dropped precipitously since 1991.

~
Dale Franks
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Don’t expect to see something like this in the MSM anytime soon

It’s just an inconvenient truth that they don’t want anyone to be aware of at the moment – i.e. you are your own best self-defense and you should be equipped to handle that responsibility.  This happened last year.  Did you hear about it?  The MSM is invested on the side which says “guns are bad”:

A citizen with a gun stopped a knife wielding man as he began stabbing people Thursday evening at the downtown Salt Lake City Smith’s store.

Police say the suspect purchased a knife inside the store and then turned it into a weapon. Smith’s employee Dorothy Espinoza says, “He pulled it out and stood outside the Smiths in the foyer. And just started stabbing people and yelling you killed my people. You killed my people.”

Espinoza says, the knife wielding man seriously injured two people. “There is blood all over. One got stabbed in the stomach and got stabbed in the head and held his hands and got stabbed all over the arms.”

Then, before the suspect could find another victim – a citizen with a gun stopped the madness. “A guy pulled gun on him and told him to drop his weapon or he would shoot him. So, he dropped his weapon and the people from Smith’s grabbed him.”

Whoa, that can’t be right can it?  Guns kill people.  Guns are dangerous.  Guns should be banned.  Guns are terrible.

Anyone want to guess what those who were threatened and stabbed in this particular instance might say about the gun wielding man?

Maybe, “thank you?”

Oh:

By the time officers arrived the suspect had been subdued by employees and shoppers. Police had high praise for gun carrying man who ended the hysteria. Lt. Brian Purvis said, “This was a volatile situation that could have gotten worse. We can only assume from what we saw it could have gotten worse. He was definitely in the right place at the right time.”

Key phrase: “By the time officers arrived …”  It could have ended with “the man had stabbed a dozen people” or “had killed 3″ or, well, any of a number of much worse endings huh?

But, you know, you can’t be trusted with guns.

~McQ

More gun control “cognitive dissonance”

From The Hill, this paragraph concerning the brothers who perpetrated the Boston bombings:

The news that the suspects were not authorized to own firearms will likely add fuel to calls for tougher gun laws – an issue that was put on the back-burner last week after the Senate blocked the central elements of a gun-control package backed by President Obama.

A) I told you so … I said a few days ago that the defeat of the latest gun control legislation was only a set back and hardly the end of the left’s efforts to further restrict the right to own a firearm.  B) I also told you I feared the aftermath of the bombings.  And here we go.   And finally C) WTF?

It is clear that Massachusetts’ very strict gun control laws has no effect here. None.  Absolutely zero.  How many times and in how many ways must we say that scofflaws don’t obey laws?  How often does the “we ought to pass a law” crowd who think legislation and restriction is the answer to everything have to see that their way is a failure before they quit trying to take our freedoms away?

Gun control laws don’t work.  If they did, there’d be no criminals running around with “illegal” guns, would there?  There’d be no source of those guns if those laws worked.  But, in fact, criminals almost exclusively obtain “illegal” guns and/or completely ignore any gun control legislation.  Look at Chicago for heaven sake.  Some of the most restrictive gun control laws in America and criminals have all but made it a free-fire zone.

When will the left understand that the problem isn’t guns, it’s criminals?  How often does it have to be pointed out to them that criminals, by definition, don’t obey laws?  How will more legislation suddenly stop (or even deter) two determined people, like the Boston bombers, from illegally obtaining guns?  Harsher penalties?  Obviously they were willing to take the risk.  And that seems to be the case with all the other criminals who use guns in the commission of their crimes.

The only people that will be deterred and restricted by new gun control legislation are the law abiding.  And watch out for this – at the end of this road (or slippery slope if you prefer) is the rationalization that the only way to “control gun violence” is to completely outlaw guns.  It is the logical end of the left’s push for more and more restrictive gun legislation.  And, as they often do, they’re willing to spend the time, exploit and politicize tragedies and achieve incremental success in taking guns away.  It’s no different than ObamaCare.  That’s not the end of anything.  It is the first grab.  The end state, if you are a student of the left’s actions at all, is fully government run single-payer health care.  ObamaCare is just the beginning.  Once it fails, because government has, whether on purpose or inadvertently designed it to fail, government will blame “the market” and claim it is the solution.

It’s an old pattern being repeated, in a slightly different way, in the gun control saga.  One only has to harken to the era of prohibition (or not even that far back … how about drug laws?) to know that restrictive legislation doesn’t work, has never worked and will never work.

Violence and criminal behavior are the problems.  Passing all the laws in the world won’t change that.  As usual, government chooses to treat the symptoms and go after a tool rather than the actual problem.

If and when they finally find a way to ban all guns, run gun manufacturers out of the country and put more untold thousands of citizens in jail, they’ll be shocked, shocked I tell you, when gun violence continues and violence in general rises.

See the UK and Australia for case studies.

~McQ

The left’s misfire on gun control legislation

Apparently Barack Obama threw a bit of a hissy fit when the gun control legislation went down in the Senate.   And, as James Taranto points out, Gabby Giffords managed, in a 900 word screed, to employ about every logical fallacy one can employ in here denunciation of the failure of the legislation to pass.

Finally, the NY Time’s Jennifer Steinhauer weighs in claiming that the vote went against the will of the people and that it was the gun lobby’s fault.

Gun lobby?  Oh, we all know about the NRA.  However here’s something I don’t think the left fully comprehends.  The real “gun lobby” is the majority of the American people.  In the US, there are 88.8 guns per 100 people.  The highest in the world.  Yet all the rhetoric about increased gun violence simply doesn’t pan out.  Certainly there have been some high profile sprees and shootings, but on the whole, there hasn’t been an increase in gun violence, and certainly nothing like being claimed.

The left’s problem may be that the people of the US know that.  And they’ve also sniffed out the ulterior motive for this incremental attack on the 2nd Amendment.

So while they throw their hissy fits and put forward their fallacious arguments, they continue to miss why there is so much resistance to gun control legislation.

Because, quite frankly, a large portion of the people simply don’t trust government.  And you can add to that a fundamental understanding that self-defense is a personal responsibility and right.

The left just can’t wrap it’s head around that concept.  If they pass laws and give the responsibility to government then we’ll all be safer, right?

Sarcasm aside, don’t even begin to think this is the end of the struggle.

They’ll be back again soon.

Just hide and watch.

~McQ

Is policy killing red-state women?

I see some on the Left passing around this map showing that female mortality worsened in many counties between the early/mid-’90s and the early/mid-2000s.  (Meanwhile, male mortality only worsened in 3.4% of counties.)

They noticed red states doing worse than blue states, and thought that this must, of course, be due to the Republican war on women™.

The mortality rate of females [worsening] in 43 percent of U.S. counties from 2002-2006 is eye-opening. This map from health researcher Bill Gardner helps you see where the worst results are typically coming from — red states and the redder parts of blue states.

It apparently did not occur to these partisans to control for a fairly simple, innocent phenomenon: old people just die more frequently than younger people.

  • Rural areas are aging faster as they have fewer kids who stick around – and it’s mostly women left behind, since women have a longer life expectancy than men in the US.  So the mortality rate of a county could go up even if people are as healthy for their age as ever.
  • On the other hand, when you have an influx of young people (like in high-immigration counties), the mortality rate drops.

As evidence for this, look at the overlaps between the above map and two others:


More old people combined with fewer people in the prime of their health tends to mean a higher death rate, and vice versa.  It’s not a perfect correlation, but at very least it’s something that should be taken into account before blaming policy for deaths.

It certainly seems like less of a stretch than trying to blame the trend in female mortality on suicides connected to expanded gun ownership:

[A]nother study suggests that red states’ high levels of gun ownership make them especially dangerous:

With few exceptions, states with the highest rates of gun ownership — for example, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Alabama, and West Virginia — also tended to have the highest suicide rates.

How big of a stretch is this as a contributor to female mortality?  Two little hints:

And then there’s this bold prediction:

With red states rushing to turn down the Medicaid expansion, these results will likely only get worse.

That’s not outlandish as guesses go, since women consume two thirds of medical care in this country, but there’s not an obvious nationwide relationship between Medicaid dependence and changes in women’s mortality (though controlling for ethnicity might be a start):

Blaming the party elected by older people for higher mortality in the areas they govern is like blaming Democrats for young urbanites being more prone to violent crime than old rural farmers.  If you’re not controlling for other causes, you’re just trolling for partisan causes.

GOP Senators prepare to cave on unnecessary gun control legislation

Let me preface this by saying there is absolutely no need for new gun control legislation.  None.  Nada. Zip. Zero.

The claims by the left that gun control legislation will solve problems of violence are nonsense. Period.

But that likely won’t stop the usual suspects among GOP Senators from helping the left in their incremental but determined efforts to limit your 2nd Amendment rights. Apparently “Congress shall make no law” has a different meaning to some people:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has emerged as a key player if Senate Democrats are to have any chance of passing legislation to expand background checks for private sales of firearms.

McCain and Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) are at the top of a list of Republicans considered most likely to sign on to legislation expanding background checks after talks with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) stalled earlier this month.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has signaled he will likely support the yet-to-be-finalized proposal he negotiated with Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to expand background checks to cover private gun sales, according to Senate sources.

Of course we’ve been assured by some that this is really of no big consequence and we should relax and let it happen.

Uh, no.

Like I said in the beginning – there is absolutely no need for new gun control legislation – none. The fact that some in the GOP seem poised to make that happen anyway should tell you all you need to know about certain members of that party and their professed claim to believe in your Constitutional rights all while negotiating parts of them away.

~McQ

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