Free Markets, Free People

gun control

Pushing the liberal agenda

Now that progressives, liberals, whatever they’re calling themselves today, are secure in the fact that Barack Obama will be in the Oval Office for another 4 years, they plan on doing everything they can to see that he does what he said he’d do way back in 2008 - or at least what they thought they heard him say he’d do.

Those parts include climate change, drone strikes, gun control and closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, among others.

We’ve seen the first shots fired in the gun control advocacy (no pun intended) with the absurd Costas gun-control editorial at the half-time of an NFL game.  And, of course, Dianne Feinstein is making the usual “assault weapons ban” noises.

By the way, as a complete aside, but speaking of gun control, I want to show you a classic exchange:

Can you say pwned?!

Anyway, back to the subject at hand – the liberal agenda.  Remember, Obama told the Russian President that he’d be “more flexible” after his re-election.  There’s absolutely no reason that he won’t be less politically inhibited (because in the political world, that’s what “more flexible” really means) domestically as well as internationally is there?

But now?  Now it’s safe:

“Liberals in the media are going to be tougher on Obama and more respectful at the same time,” Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker’s chief political commentator and a former speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, told POLITICO. “He was the champion of our side, he vanquished the foe….. [but] now liberals don’t have to worry about hurting his chances for re-election, so they can be tougher in urging him to do what he should be doing.”

Apparently the NY Times plans on leading the way in pushing and prodding Obama to do what he said he’d do (or what the NYT thinks he said he’d do):

The New York Times editorial page launched a series titled “Goals for a New Term,” calling on the president to implement stronger gun control laws and shutter Gitmo, which he had pledged to do during his first year in office. The tone of the editorials has been sharply critical: On guns, the editors suggested Obama lacked courage. On Guantanamo, they slammed his administration for deciding “to adopt the Bush team’s extravagant claims of state secrets and executive power, blocking any accountability for the detention and brutalization of hundreds of men at Guantánamo and secret prisons, and denying torture victims their day in court.”

Gitmo?  There are rumblings out there – again – of the Federal government purchasing a closed prison with the idea of moving the jihadists in captivity there on to the shores of the US.   Seems prison is okay for the jihadists if the left initiates the idea of buying one and housing them there.  But holding them in Gitmo, a place that wasn’t their idea (but clearly is superior to moving them here) is just beyond the pale because, you know, it was that evil Bush’s idea.  So it’s not about incarceration, it’s about the myth of Gitmo … or something.

Obama has claimed he has no interest in climate change legislation/taxation in his second term (well, he doesn’t as long as there’s a Republican House … if that changes in 2014, he might develop an immediate interest).  Then he’s said he does.  Then, yeah, not so much.  So who the hell knows.  But what we do know is progressives intend to try to push him on this and it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he responds positively.  He certainly has nothing to lose.  And it may provide a distraction if the economy keeps tanking.  He can couch his attempt to tax thin air in the usual class warfare (fat cat corporations fouling the streams and polluting the air while melting the ice caps to boot).  He can call for “social justice” because, you know, climate change effects those least able to afford it first … or something.

Drone strikes?  Yawn.  A small faction of the left concerns itself with drone strikes.  It is classic leading from behind.  Get over it progressives.  Your President approves all those arial assasinations himself.  It is part of the responsibilities that Nobel Peace Prize winners must endure.

Sarcasm aside, it will indeed be interesting to see if Obama does anything for progressives in his 2nd term.  Will he become an activist president or will he vote “present?”

Well, let’s see – is he taking the lead in fiscal cliff negotiations and working tirelessly with Congress to ensure a solution before the deadline or is he going on a 20 day vacation to Hawaii ending January 6th?

~McQ

Worst. Pro-Assault. Weapon. Ban. Argument. Ever.

Interested in seeing one of the dumbest attempts to counter an argument against reinstituting the “assault gun” ban?

It’s, well, pretty pathetic, and, coming out of Media Matters, shouldn’t really surprise you.

First the graphic that started it all:

Okay, you’re in the ballpark now.

The Media Matters person (Timothy Johnson) says:

The image was created by a blogger who used it to argue in favor of the ban, writing that “If you can buy the gun on the top, but can’t buy the bottom gun, who cares? You still have a gun.” McArdle responded that “if it makes no difference, than why have the law?” and argued that “‘assault weapon’ is a largely cosmetic rather than functional description.”

But Johnson says there are vast differences which mean that, hey, they’re just not the same.  The bottom one, per Johnson, is much more lethal.  And he’s got the reasons why:

In fact, the lower pictured weapon, a Mossberg 500 Tactical Persuader, has a number of features that increase its lethality compared to the top pictured shotgun. Contrary to what the graphic suggests, the only difference between the two weapons is not just the pistol grip featured on the Tactical Persuader. The Tactical Persuader also has an adjustable stock that can be removed from the firearm completely, which allows the gun length to be shortened for increased concealability. Furthermore, when combined with a pistol grip, the firearm can be more easily maneuvered, allowing the shooter to fire from the hip and more easily use the weapon from vehicles and in other close quarters situations.

An almost identical configuration was sought out by Suleman Talovic, a teenager who used a Mossberg-derivative pistol grip shotgun during a rampage that killed five and wounded four at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 12, 2007. A recent report issued by the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research found that firearms with assault weapon features are disproportionally used in mass shootings and that when used result in higher numbers of casualties.

OK?  You get my point about silly?

A “pistol grip” doesn’t “increase lethality” unless you beat someone over the head with it (by the way, I can make a pistol grip on the other using a saw in about 5 minutes, or, just buy one aftermarket and install it on the top gun).  Pistol grips are non-lethal “features”, not lethal weapons.

Secondly, being able to conceal something doesn’t make it more lethal either.  It simply means you can hide it better.  How hiding something better becomes “lethal” will have to be answered by Mr. Johnson who seems not to know what “lethal” actually means.

In fact the blogger is correct – they are exactly the same gun where it counts.  And to be lethal, you must still load them, point each of them at someone and pull the trigger.   One doesn’t shoot more rounds than the other, one doesn’t use a “bigger” round than the other, one won’t shoot faster than the other.   They are each 12ga 6 round pump shotguns.  Period.

Finally, correlation is not causation (i.e. the gun made him do it where he might not have had he had the top shotgun available instead) and the fact that someone on a rampage chose a shotgun with a pistol grip over a rifle stock doesn’t make the one with the pistol grip more lethal (I do wish this guy would look up “lethal”).

Additionally the fact that one might be able to be used in “close quarters” better than the other again doesn’t make it more lethal.  It simply provides a perceived advantage over the other that may or may not, in fact, play out.  If, however, it is something anyone would want, it is easily done to the top gun with a minimum of effort or cost.

Then, I assume, thinking he has just nailed it by pointing out the “lethality” of the pistol grip, he throws this up from some activist group that is just about as silly as the rest of his stuff:

All assault weapons–military and civilian alike–incorporate specific features that were designed for laying down a high volume of fire over a wide killing zone. This is sometimes known as “hosing down” an area. Civilian assault weapons feature the specific military design features that make spray-firing easy and distinguish assault weapons from traditional sporting firearms.

Civilian “assault weapons” or those which look like them are “semi-automatic” by law.  Military assault weapons usually have the option of automatic fire.  It is on the automatic selection that a large volume of fire is going to be projected (and, unless you know what you’re doing, very ineffectively).  Civilian guns don’t have that option.  They’re not the same freakin’ thing regardless of how they look!

Consequently they’re not going to be doing any “spray firing” or “hosing down” of an area in semi-auto mode.  Can a semi-auto put out a decent amount of fire?  Yes, especially if it has a large capacity magazine.  But those two shotguns in question are pump action and only hold 6 rounds each.

Shotgun A will fire no faster or slower than shotgun B in the picture above.  If A can do it, so can B and the reverse is also true.  And whatever they do will involve shoot, pump, shoot, pump, shoot, pump etc.  The bottom shotgun doesn’t go “boom, boom, boom, boom, boom”.  It does exactly what the top one does – “boom, pump, boom …” (I wanted it to make it easy for Johnson to understand).

So, in sum, the blogger is correct, but even more correct is Megan McArdle.   What’s the point?  They’re pump action shotguns that are, except cosmetically, exactly the same (and each can be modified in any number of ways from their stock appearance).  What again is the point of the law?

Uh, control, that’s what.

~McQ


The end of gun control?

I ran across an article in Forbes by Mark Gibbs, a proponent of stricter gun control, in which he thinks, given a certain technology, that gun control in reality may be dead.

That technology?  3D printers.  They’ve come a long way and, some of them are able to work in metals.  That, apparently led to an experiment:

So, can you print a gun? Yep, you can and that’s exactly what somebody with the alias “HaveBlue” did.

To be accurate, HaveBlue didn’t print an entire gun, he printed a “receiver” for an AR-15 (better known as the military’s M16) at a cost of about $30 worth of materials.

The receiver is, in effect, the framework of a gun and holds the barrel and all of the other parts in place. It’s also the part of the gun that is technically, according to US law, the actual gun and carries the serial number.

When the weapon was assembled with the printed receiver HaveBlue reported he fired 200 rounds and it operated perfectly.

Whether or not this actually happened really isn’t the point.  At some point there is no doubt it will.  There are all sorts of other things to consider when building a gun receiver (none of which Gibbs goes into), etc., but on a meta level what Gibbs is describing is much like what happened to the news industry when self-publishing (i.e. the birth of the new media) along with the internet became a realities.   The monopoly control of the flow of news enjoyed by the traditional media exploded into nothingness.  It has never been able to regain that control, and, in fact, has seen it slip even more.

Do 3D printers present the same sort of evolution as well as a threat to government control?  Given the obvious possibility, can government exert the same sort of control among the population that it can on gun manufacturers?  And these 3D printers work in ceramic too.  Certainly ceramic pistols aren’t unheard of.    Obviously these printers are going to continue to get better, bigger and work with more materials. 

That brings us to Gibb’s inevitable conclusion:

What’s particularly worrisome is that the capability to print metal and ceramic parts will appear in low end printers in the next few years making it feasible to print an entire gun and that will be when gun control becomes a totally different problem.

So what are government’s choices, given its desire to control the manufacture and possession of certain weapons?

Well, given the way it has been going for years, I’d say it isn’t about to give up control.  So?

Will there be legislation designed to limit freedom of printing? The old NRA bumper sticker “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” will have to be changed to “If guns are outlawed, outlaws will have 3D printers.”

Something to think about.  I think we know the answer, but certainly an intriguing thought piece.  Registered printers?   Black market printers?  “Illegal printers” smuggled in to make cheap guns?

The possibilities boggle the mind.  But I pretty much agree with Gibbs – given the evolution of this technology, gun control, for all practical purposes, would appear to be dying and on the way to dying.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Was “Fast and Furious” a government plot to increase gun control?

We’ve been asking about that since the scandal first came to light months and months ago on the podcast and on the blog.  Usually not given to conspiracy theories, we’ve found it hard to justify the operation otherwise.  The recent use of executive privilege by the President seems to lend credence to the assertion/theory.

At least in this case, It appears where there’s smoke there may be fire.  And both Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley have spoken out on the notion:

But the suggestion by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., that the deadly operation was conceived to advance the administration’s gun-control agenda is quite plausible.

"Here’s the real answer as to gun control," Issa said on ABC’s "This Week": "We have email from people involved in this that are talking about using what they’re finding here to support the — basically assault weapons — ban or greater reporting."

Issa was asked about the possible connection after comments he made at an NRA convention. "Could it be," he said on NRA News’ "Cam & Company" program, "that what they really were thinking of was in fact to use this walking of guns in order to promote an assault weapons ban? Many think so. And they haven’t come up with an explanation that would cause any of us not to agree."

Grassley is less oblique about it:

According to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, "There’s plenty of evidence developing that the administration planned to use the tragedies of Fast and Furious as rationale to further their goals of a long gun reporting requirement."

In fact, they’ve already cranked up the reporting requirements:

As Issa noted on "This Week," the Department of Justice announced on April 25, 2011, "right in the middle of the scandal," that it was requiring some 8,500 gun stores in Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico to report individual purchases of multiple rifles of greater than .22 caliber by law-abiding American citizens to the ATF because such guns are "frequently recovered at violent crime scenes near the Southwest border."

Of course every one of the multiple sales that contributed to the guns that went into Mexico were okayed by the ATF. And don’t forget the prelude to all of this:  the use of a discredited study that supplied the justification for an attempt to increase gun control:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others in the administration had been pushing the discredited line that 90% of guns seized in Mexico came from the U.S. as justification for stricter gun laws and reporting rules.

But of course, it’s all really nothing more than a logical assertion or theory at the moment since the misnamed Department of Justice won’t release key documents as legally and rightfully demanded by Congress (in the execution of its Constitutional duty of oversight) and the President of the United States is aiding and abetting this avoidance of DoJ’s legal duties.

Reinstating the assault gun ban and tightening gun control are undeniable goals of the liberal left.  There’s no denying that.  But to summarily do it would be politically disastrous and they know that as well.  So there has to be a pretext, a reason for it.  What better pretext than the death of hundreds of Mexicans at the hands of guns smuggled in from the US coupled with the false 90% stat?  Convenient, no?

Obviously it wasn’t supposed to leak out that the Federal government ordered it or, I’d guess, see 2 Federal agents be murdered as a result of their operation.

What could be worse than turning over the documents requested by Congress?

Something like this coming to light.

Look for the Obama administration to do whatever is necessary to delay, deny and obfuscate for 4 months on this.

But if this is true, and if Obama is fortunate enough to be re-elected, it may end up being a very short second term.  There are scandals presidents can survive and then there are those they can’t survive.

This would be, or at least should be, one that isn’t survivable.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

McCarthy – "no reason that these devices should be available to general public."

One of the reasons I repeat over and over again that "freedom is choice" is to give context to stories like the one that follows and to give the reader an idea of why I am usually against anything that limits choice.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s (D-NY) bill would limit the magazine capacity for pistols. It is another "freedom traded for security" bill which limits choice simply because it makes some people uncomfortable for that choice to be available to you. They simply don’t believe you’re responsible enough to have it.

Here’s what she said:

“The only purpose for the existence of these devices is to be able to shoot as many people as possible as quickly as possible,” McCarthy wrote in a letter to her colleagues that accompanied the bill. “There is no reason that these devices should be available to the general public.”

For the sake of argument, let’s stipulate that’s true. That the only reason these high capacity magazines exist is to "shoot as many people as possible as quickly as possible". So what? As with most anything it can be used for a good purpose (defense) as well as a bad purpose (murder – in this case, mass murder). So on its face, shooting "as many people as possible as quickly as possible" can be a good or bad thing depending on the situation. McCarthy would like you to believe such a ban would only effect the "bad thing". Obviously, that’s not true.

But, that’s not the line I object too the most. I find "there is no reason that these devices should be available to the general public” to be something that should send chills down the spine of anyone who is concerned with growing government oppression.

Why? It’s an attitude that has gotten us in the shape we’re in today. What she is asking is for like minded legislators to agree with her premise that government should decide what the public can and can’t use responsibly.

Never mind that shoot-ups in Safeway parking lots involving members of Congress by deranged lunatics are as rare as hen’s teeth, Ms. McCarthy has decided that there is "no reason these devices should be available to the general public". She claims that should be government’s decision/choice – not yours.  This latest situation provides an excuse to attempt this power grab, not  a real reason.

So to you who’ve owned that Browning High Power for 20 years and have the original 13 round mag – she would make you a criminal upon passage of the bill (it would eliminate the exception for mags manufactured before ’94). If anyone finds out you have one and turns you in, you’re up for 10 years in the pokey.  The fact that you’ve responsibly had and used it for over 20 years means zip (although it does demonstrate the bankruptcy of her argument).

McCarthy’s reason for attempting to do this is personal:

Gun control is a personal matter for McCarthy, whose husband was murdered and son seriously injured in 1993, when a disturbed gunman opened fire on a Long Island commuter train. Like the alleged Arizona shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman who killed McCarthy’s husband also used a high-capacity magazine.

I’m sorry to hear that. However, it was the deranged killer that murdered her husband, not the high-capacity magazine. I’d love to hear the argument that says a deranged killer would have stopped firing after one 10 round mag if we’d just eliminate access to mags with capacity above that. Of course that’s nonsense. And changing a mag in a hand gun, with even minimal practice, is both quick and easy. It would be done before most realized it was happening.

As I’ve said many times, a free society is a messy society which entails risk. That is the price of freedom. But it also buys many more advantages than disadvantages. An authoritarian society is usually a tidy society with full jails and no choices in life. We’ve seen what they’re like.

Attitudes that say "we’ll decide what you can or can’t have or what should or shouldn’t be available to you" don’t belong in Congress or a free society. Not their job, although unfortunately that seems to be what it has devolved into.

We increasingly see government take more and more choice away from us. The attitude McCarthy enunciates isn’t uncommon at all. In fact it is quite common and reveals itself in much of the legislation that passes through Congress these days.

It is an attitude which we should demand be changed and changed quickly. Reducing choice and making otherwise law abiding citizens criminals with the stroke of a pen won’t change a thing in regards to deranged lunatics shooting up places with or without high-capacity mags. McCarthy’s bill isn’t about high-capacity mags, really – its about control, and not just gun control. And, as with most laws like this, it will only effect the law abiding as criminals and "deranged lunatics" will flat ignore it (and a thriving black market in high-capacity mag will establish itself and thrive).

“The United States Constitution guarantees to our citizens the right to keep and bear arms,” McCarthy wrote in a letter to her colleagues that accompanied the bill. “At the same time that we can all acknowledge this basic right, I believe that we should also be able to come together to develop reasonable laws designed to ensure that the right to bear arms is exercised safely and responsibly.”

That, Ms. McCarthy,is demonstrated by the responsible behavior of multi millions of gun owners in this nation daily. The law she wants passed won’t change that at all. And that’s the point.

It’s about more control and less choice, and for the most part, any proposed law of that sort should be resisted fiercely.

~McQ

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Say “no” to Rep. King’s proposed gun law

Well the usual over-reaction is under way after the Tucson shooting of Rep. Giffords.  I’ve mentioned the silly nonsense about a bill to ban “crosshairs” in political speech (which begs the question, what part of “Congress shall make no law” concerning political speech as laid out in the First Amendment).  But Rep. Pete King, a NY Republican, has decided that a “gun control” measure is what is necessary.  His solution?

Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York, is planning to introduce legislation that would make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official, according to a person familiar with the congressman’s intentions.

Why is it the propensity of these folks to restrict the freedoms of others instead of doing something to increase their own security?  Mostly because they can. Look, I can understand the fear this sort of a situation brings, but I’m sorry, restricting the freedom of law abiding citizens because of your fear is not what this country is all about – not if freedom is the fundamental idea upon which it is founded.

Consider this scenario in light of King’s nonsense – a legal possessor of a concealed carry permit is in a diner with his firearm on his hip sipping his morning coffee and minding his own business.  Some “government official” drops in unannounced to do a little per-election glad-handing.  The man with his legal firearm is now a inadvertent but prosecutable law breaker.

So what’s King going to do – make every government official wear a sign around their neck so those who might be carrying legal firearms can give them a 1,000 foot wide berth?  Why not just put – dare I say it – crosshairs on them?  Because if this is to become the law then it is incumbent upon “government officials” to ensure that those who might inadvertently break the law otherwise, are fully aware of when “government officials” are in the area.

Secondly, I hate to break it to King, but as with all laws, those who have a criminal agenda will not obey it or even give it a passing thought.  Essentially it will only ensnare those who most likely are innocently doing their own business.   Guys like Loughner won’t change their plans one iota because King and Congress pass some law about 1,000 feet of space.  It will only become another after-the-fact charge, another law broken, to add to the charge sheet.  But won’t stop a thing.

It is one thing to say you can’t bring a firearm to within 1,000 feet of a school or government building.  They don’t move and they’re easily identifiable.  Not so with “government officials”.

Bad idea and would make a bad law – as simple as that.  Oh – and when Mayor Michael Bloomberg comes out enthusiastically for this restriction on our freedom, you should automatically know it’s a bad idea, Rep. King.

Don’t make laws in emotional haste after the fact – they almost always end up being bad laws that further restrict our freedoms.  And this one would be no exception.

~McQ

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