Free Markets, Free People

gun control

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

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
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

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

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

Feinstein’s assault weapons ban will not be in final Senate bill

Emily Miller, writing in the Washington Times, reports:

Gun control efforts on the nation level lost a major battle when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told a bereft Sen. Dianne Feinstein Monday that her so-called assault weapon ban bill was getting pulled from the gun package coming to the floor next month. Her legislation, which passed the SenateJudiciary Committee last week by a straight party line vote, is the only one of the four gun-related bills that passed out of committee that Mr. Reid axed.

Mrs. Feinstein insists she will not be ignored. The California Democrat plans to bring two amendments up during the gun votes — to ban firearms that have one cosmetic feature that makes them resembles military weapon and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Mr. Reid said Tuesday that “her amendment, using the most optimistic numbers, has less than 40 votes — that’s not 60.”

However, Mr. Reid’s calculation was really less about vote counting and more about keeping the majority in the upper chamber.

“The Democrats know that Feinstein’s ‘assault weapon’ ban is suicide at the polls for them come 2014,” Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation told me Tuesday. “It is so extreme that even the Democratic leadership in the Senate doesn’t want it as part of their package.”

So ‘whoohoo’, huh?  Yeah, sort of, but Miller entitles her piece “RIP national assault weapons ban”.  RIP?  Hardly.  If you think Democrats, or at least Feinstein, are going to quit on this, you’re wrong.  Just consider how long they pushed for government mandated health care.  The fact that they couldn’t muster 40 votes in the Senate is, to those who would take your guns, another temporary setback.  Despite the fact that studies have shown no positive link a decline in gun violence and the last assault weapon’s ban, they’ll continue to try.  Trust me on that.  This isn’t about safety, it’s about controlt:

Mrs. Feinstein insists she will not be ignored. The California Democrat plans to bring two amendments up during the gun votes — to ban firearms that have one cosmetic feature that makes them resembles military weapon and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

Right now Democratic Senators are reading the electoral tea leaves and know that such a vote, at least for those in states where their seat isn’t safe, is electoral poison.  As soon as they see or feel that the electorate’s opinion has shifted, they’ll gladly vote for such a ban.  The lack of votes isn’t about principle, it’s about keeping their jobs.

“The Democrats know that Feinstein’s ‘assault weapon’ ban is suicide at the polls for them come 2014,” Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation told me Tuesday. “It is so extreme that even the Democratic leadership in the Senate doesn’t want it as part of their package.”

Mr. Obama does, of course. And so they’ll continue to try.  And they’ll use the incremental approach instead.

And there’s something else to consider here – the politics of the Reid move.  He’s taken the step of removing the most controversial parts of the gun control attempt.  But there’s still more for the Senate to consider.  And Reid is trying to use his removal of the “extreme” parts to demand a corresponding move (i.e. “compromise”) from the GOP in support of what’s left.

The background check bill is the most contentious of those three, and lawmakers are still working behind the scenes to find a compromise that can garner 60 votes in the chamber.

Sen. Joe Manchin III, a West Virginia Democrat who has been trying to work out a compromise, said Tuesday he was optimistic on that front.

“I’m still working very hard, and hopefully reasonable people will look at reasonable proposals and something will happen,” he said.

And what would that compromise bring?

Currently, all sales by licensed firearms dealers must go through background checks, but transactions between private individuals do not. Lawmakers are looking for a way to extend checks to almost all transactions without also creating a record-keeping system that gun rights supporters fear could turn into a gun registry.

How could it not turn into a defacto“gun registry”?

And who wants to bet that some GOP Senators end up supporting it?

~McQ

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 20 Jan 13

This week, Bruce Michael, and Dale discuss the media and the New Obama Administration.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

Question of the day: how do you enforce “universal background checks?”

A part of the legislative gun control package and executive orders President Obama has set in motion includes this:

Mr. Obama would require background checks for private sales between individuals, including those at gun shows and via the Internet. Expanding the checks is the “single most important thing we can do,” a senior administration official said.

Sounds reasonable on the surface, right?

But then the deeper question – how would this have to be accomplished?

Well, let’s see – there’s no way to track how well this law is being followed unless you are able to identify all the guns that this requirement would cover.  And, of course, it would cover every existing gun out there now, right?  Isn’t that what “universal” means?

So what is required?

Ah, gun registration.  Every single, solitary gun that is legally held by the public would have to be registered so the Fed could then track sales and ensure that “proper background checks” were executed.  If not, then we have a new crime with which to prosecute citizens and populate our jails.

Oh, and the crimnals?  Yeah, they’ll play along, won’t they?

Can’t wait to watch the gang-bangers in Chicago line up to register their guns and do background checks before selling them.

Absurd.  And useless.

~McQ

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 06 Jan 13

The holiday hiatus is over! This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss the Fiscal Cliff, Debt, and gun control.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

Feinstein’s attempt to grab your guns

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is laid out the guts of her bill to ban certain weapons. In it she plans to “grandfather” in those weapons that would be in violation of her new requirements. Among those requirements are certain characteristics that would make a gun an “assault” weapon.  She has narrowed it down to a one characteristic test, and would ban magazines that hold over 10 rounds. But where she makes the greatest attempt at tightening gun control is found in the “grandfathering” of weapons which would violate the new law.

Here’s the summary of that portion:

Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:

 Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment
 Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or
sporting purposes and
 Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons

However, it also:

Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms
Act, to include:

o Background check of owner and any transferee;
o Type and serial number of the firearm;
o Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint;
o Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that
possession would not violate State or local law; and
o Dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration

That’s right, it will require any owner of such a weapon to undergo a background check, register the weapon with authorities, and then undergo a certification requirement.  Same would apply if you sell it to anyone.

Note too the attempt to ignore the self-defense function of owning a weapon by contending the law protects “legitimate hunters” and “sporting activities”. As we all know, the Second Amendment says nothing about either of those pursuits.

Liberals, as Rahm Emmanuel once said, never like to let a crisis go to waste. They view the Newtown massacre as an opportunity to further limit the freedoms of Americans. My guess is that any attempt to require federal registration and certification will be met by massive civil disobedience. And deservedly so.

~McQ