A couple more new columns at The Zelman Partisans

  • Captain Witold Pilecki: I am almost ashamed that I had never heard of this man before, because based just on the Wikipedia entry, Pilecki was a total badass.
  • Voter Blocs: They know who they really see as their constituency. Gun control is OSHA for violent criminals.
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No so fast there about that wonderful “background check app”

Sean D. Sorrentino thinks the supposed smartphone app for running background checks is a gun owner win.

Now the gut reaction of most gun owners who are politically active will be “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!” But before you jump up on that table and do your best Patrick Henry impression, let me explain why this is a good idea.

Let me explain why Mr. Sorrentino actually has zero idea if this is a good thing.

Sorrentino focuses on the fact that this takes FFLs and to-be-photocopied-by-ATF 4473s out of the picture, and makes backdoor registration impossible. But we don’t know that. Nothing says how the system would work. Zip. Zero. Nada.

A next-to-best case scenario is you input the buyer’s basic name, birthdate, address, gender, and maybe SSAN, and out pops a pass/fail with a confirmation number for records.

Who inputs it? The seller? Then the buyer has handed perfectly good identity theft data to someone he might not know that well.

The buyer? That’s sounds good, but…

Let’s talk a little about smartphone apps. You download and install them. The app store has a record of app users.

So one day the feds decide they need a list of app users, and orders Google and Apple to hand over the identifying data on everyone who has the app. If the feds run their own “store,” they already have the data.

Now the feds have a non-registry registry of every firearm owner who downloaded it. If the buyers have to install it and run their check, the gov knows who owns guns. If the seller does, they still know who had guns, and still might. If he hasn’t sold anything yet, they know that. Don’t worry; it’s a list of app users; not a registry of firearms owners. Perfectly legal. -wink- -wink-

What if the scenario isn’t so cheery?

The gun grabbers want eventual registration, and those copied 4473s are their eventual best tool. Why expect them to give that up now? The as-yet undisclosed details of the app could include a “virtual 4473,” requiring all that data be entered into the app and transmitted to the the records folks at ATF who’ll promise not to database it. Until a bill establishing a database — such as is currently filed in the House — passes. And suddenly they have the list of privately transferred firearms and owners they’ve been trying for since the 1960s.

It gets worse. A smartphone is a tracking device. With the mandated geolocation for E-911, they can track the gun owner’s movements in realtime, once they know who they are.

But consider all the news reports about apps that access geolocation without proper user authorization, and send it to third parties. Or pictures and other files stored on the phone. All sorts of lovely data. The gov is going to write that app. Did you take pictures and video during your last range or hunting trip? Do you keep a list of firearms on your phone, to ease theft reporting?

We don’t know if the app will ever be a thing. We certainly don’t know how the system would operate if it ever does. But app registration alone worries me.

Just ask those 10,000 scope app users. That’s 10,000 people who just made the list of gun owners that doesn’t really, because odds are someone with a rifle scope has it on a rifle, or will.

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A Reasonable Right?

I came across a rather remarkable column the other day. It much needs to be addressed. I’ll take it in two parts.

But first, treat yourself to a stiff dose of your preferred adult beverage. You’re going to need it, because the column is by Adam Winkler and Edwin S. Grosvenor. Winkler, I was familiar with. Grosvenor, not so much; this introduction was unpleasant.

The Reasonable Right to Bear Arms
While the Founders sought to protect the citizenry from being disarmed entirely, they did not wish to prevent government from adopting reasonable regulations of guns and gun owners either.

I found that an odd assertion (or it would be, from someone other than Winkler). Really? Then why does the Second Amendment end at “shall not be infringed. and not “infringed, except…”? Where’s the clause that supports that absurd claim? I asked Winkler and Grosvenor. Winkler answered.

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…”

Thanks for playing!

Winkler thinks “well regulated militia” is the authorizing clause for the infringements the rest of the sentence forbids. Liberal logic.

The Second, as rewritten by this pair of “experts.”

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the reasonable right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed, except as necessary to regulate guns and gun owners.”

We are to believe that people who had recently fought and won a war that began when the British attempted to “regulate” and confiscate arms would write the authorization for the same into their Constitution?

We are to believe that the opening 2A clause was to ensure control of people and arms by government, written by people said

“The power of the sword, say the minority…, is in the hands of Congress. My friends and countrymen, it is not so, for the powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from sixteen to sixty. The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every terrible implement of the soldier are the birthright of Americans.”
– Tench Coxe

and

“Whereas civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.”
– Tench Coxe

and

“The governments of Europe are afraid to trust the people with arms. If they did, the people would certainly shake off the yoke of tyranny, as America did.”
– James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46, specifically written to explain the proposed constitution

Was the introductory clause inserted to ensure the people were answerable to the government?

From the Virginia Declaration of Rights, we can clearly see otherwise.

“That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants and at all times amenable to them.”
[…]
“[W]hen any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community has an indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.

George Mason had other things to say on the topic of the militia.

“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials.”

The militia exclude government officials; it is the people. The clause isn’t there to ensure the government can disarm the people. It’s there to make damned sure they don’t, so that the militia can keep a potentially tyrannical government in check.

Moving on, that first shot of booze I recommended was just to get you started. Take two or three more, because we’re about to see what “reasonable” laws “allowed” by the Second Amendment look like. W&G were kind enough to give some examples of suitable laws.

The Founders had broad bans on gun possession by people deemed untrustworthy, including slaves and loyalists. They required many gun owners to register their weapons, and even conditioned the right on a person’s political leanings.”

The closest law I could find to weapons registration is the Militia Act of 1792, which called for individuals to register with their local militia company. There is no mention of registering weapons, just that they appear with their designated privately owned, militarily-suitable arms and ammunition, and field gear.

But I did find other laws of the sort Messrs W&G approve.

Were Firearms Regulated In British North America?
It should be made clear that colonial orders respecting weapons, and specifically firearms, referred principally to the places and times in which persons who could possess firearms were either required to do so or permitted to do so. Statutes pertaining to prohibited possession by certain persons, or prohibited transfers to certain persons were usually related to the person’s race, ethnicity, religion, or indentured status.

So gun control restrictions based on race and religion are fine?

Not all persons could possess firearms in British North America. There were no apparent prohibitions for free white men with respect to ownership of arms. However, in Massachusetts for example, firearms ownership and use was prohibited for “Negroes” and “Indians”. They could not possess arms or train with the militia.

Below is an example of a statute forbidding the use of arms by “Negroes” and “Indians”[5]

In 1656, the Colony of Massachussetts Bay “General Court” ordered:

“…henceforth no negroes or Indians, although servants to
the English, shall be armed or pmitted to trayne…”

So… white people can have militarily suitable firearms, but Blacks and Native Americans cannot have anything, Winkler? Which religions would Winkler and Grosvenor decide are not entitled to the Second Amendment? In the colonial period they adore, Roman Catholicism was discouraged, and outright illegal in some colonies. Or maybe they dislike Jews, or Muslims. Women?

I think we already know what “political leanings” they want disarmed.

It does seem to me that little things like the First, Thirteenth, and Nineteenth Amendments, and the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth — all intended to end the discriminatory practices Winkler and Grosvenor drool over — might stand in the way of their victim-disarmament utopia. But I’m sure they can redefine some other clause to show slavery and discrimination are just peachy.

Which is exactly why we do have a Second Amendment protecting the right of an armed populace to prevent it.

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NZ Confiscation: 19,837

That’s how many newly banned firearms New Zealand has managed to collect, halfway to the deadline.

With an estimated 158,730 affected firearms, that’s an overall 12.5% compliance rate.

But now the government estimate is 173,000. 11.5%.

Lessee. with approximately 250 “buyback” events planned, and being halfway through the process, it appears the per event rate is averaging 159 firearms. To get all the firearms, they need 692 per event. They’re actually collecting less than a quarter of that.

Of course, if NP boss Bridges’ estimate 200,000-plus is correct, the compliance rate is 9.9%.

Or National MP Brett Hudson’s reported police estimate of 240,000. 8.3%.

Since that’s an NZ .gov official citing a police estimate, I’m going to roll with it.

No wonder the NZ government now wants total firearms registration. They need to know who has them, and where, so they can collect them. Except…

Of the 14,000 or so MSSAs that are registered with police, 2500 have been handed in.

Most of the banned firearms had no registration requirement. “Military-Style Semi-Automatic” firearms are registered (and now banned). And even with registration, they can’t get better than 17.9% compliance. (Other estimates of registered MSSAs range as high as 14,500, which lower the MSSA compliance rate.)

From articles I’ve been reading the government is quite worried about the low overall compliance rate. The fact that 4 out 5 registered owners of registered MSSAs are blowing them off must be scaring the hell out of the panty-pissers.

Amusingly, news reports no longer include the previously obligatory police quotes about how enthusiastic gun owners are about the confiscation.

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Dear Ms. Hammer,

I see you have launched yet another attack on critics of the Vichy National Rifle Association.

I am one of those people. I have been for decades; long before it became trendy to notice the financial mismanagement (to be kind). So you are attacking me.

If I had done “1 percent of what Wayne has helped the NRA accomplish,” I would expect The Zelman Partisans to ban me from the site, cancel all my login credentials, and apologize to its members for allowing me to work there.

Let us speak of what the VNRA has done. It is a long list, but I will merely touch upon a few things, without going back too many decades.

Gun-Free School Zone Act: Perhaps you forgot that the VNRA supported that, putting honest firearm owners at risk of becoming felons simply by driving too close to a school. I consider that support to make the VNRA accomplices in every school shooting since.

NICS: That was another multidimensional chess “compromise” proposed by the VNRA. Sure, it sunsetted waiting periods… at the cost of forcing honest folk to preemptively prove their innocence in order to exercise basic human/civil rights. Since I was around at the time, I — unlike you, it seems — recall warnings that with the background check system established, it could lead to universal background checks… of exactly the sort we’re facing today. (And let me tell you how much I appreciated your “compromise: when I bought my first post-NICS firearm. I, an honorably discharged military veteran and former peace officer had to get the government’s permission to purchase a Marlin .22LR plinker. Thank you so very fucking much.)

Assault Weapon Ban: Not so much the ’94 federal ban, but others. Imagine my surprise when I moved to a midwestern city and saw an NRA press release claiming credit for writing that city’s AWB banning my deer rifle. The VNRA’s excuse: It would have been worse if we didn’t write it. Worse?! You banned a deer rifle by specific model.

Constitutional Carry: Do you recall how the VNRA was against before it was for it? I do. I remember how we (i.e.- not the VNRA) worked for years to get it passed in New Hampshire. We had it all lined up… and the effing NRA showed up on the last day of the legislative session and told reluctant assholes that it was okay to ITL it because the NRA didn’t support it. (Your excuse was that you only wanted it amended to duplicate some US Code language. But you did that after-hours, when you knew damned well it was too late to amend, and that you were working behind our backs.)

Old news, you say? How about some… newer news?

Bump-fire Ban: Stop pretending the VNRA simply meant to derail legislation by administratively “regulating” bump-fire stocks under the NFA. We told you that the only way to do that administratively was to call them machineguns, and that, due to the VNRA’s earlier FOPA “compromise” (which gave firearms owners nothing), they would be post-’86 “machineguns” and thus banned completely, no grandfathering allowed.

And we warned that it opened the door to ruling that all semi-autos are “easily converted” to machineguns. Since you probably weren’t paying attention, take note that federal (correction: the one I know for sure is in Nevada state court) suits have been filed to ban all semi-autos for precisely that reason, using the the new rule as the basis.

Not recent enough for you?

Ex parte firearm confiscation orders: Yes, the VNRA endorsed that constitutional abomination. Sure, once again you pretended that you meant ex parte-with-due-process.

No, that is an oxymoron making “military intelligence” pale in comparison. Look up TRUAX, and explain how “due process” after the fact works. (Hint: “poorly”)

The VNRA is endorsing legalized SWATting of the sort that has already gotten someone killed, and firearms confiscated from innocent people who weren’t even the subjects of the orders.

A man is dead, Hammer; that is on your conscience and LaPierre’s. If either of you are so equipped, which seems doubtful.

The damage VNRA, under LaPierre’s “leadership,” has done to supposedly constitutionally protected human/civil rights is why I criticize it. I wouldn’t give a damn about LaPierre’s busty-intern budget, hoped-for mansion, hundred-thousand dollar wardrobe, or the rest of his compensation package if he was earning it. Instead, he’s being pampered and paid to screw over the NRA membership specifically, and the nation in general. Without lubricant.

As I said, I have criticized the VNRA for more than two decades. And yes, I tried reaching out to the NRA with my concerns and specific suggestions (by phone, postal mail, and email; I may have even faxed back in the day). All I ever got back was mass-mailing membership solicitations.

A couple of year ago, I came to the conclusion that the VNRA was no longer salvageable and, as an active danger to Americans’ rights, needed to go the way of the dodo.

I came to that conclusion before the VNRA’s bump-fire fiasco. Before its endorsement of lethal SWATting.

And here is Marion Hammer reinforcing that that conclusion.

The Vichy National Rifle Association delelenda effing est, bitch.


Addendum
With my permission, The Truth About Guns republished this letter, and it’s garnering quite a few comments there. Notably, people take umbrage with my assertion that FOPA gave us nothing, in exchange for the loss of new machineguns.

Mike Hawkizard: “Remember, ATF used to charge people who sold one gun at a gun show for dealing without a license before FOPA.”

And they continued doing so for years after. “Spot the fed” was a regular game at gun shows in Georgia in the ’90s, and I had an ATF CI try to sting me in 2003.

You might even recall when Clinton began purging FFLs, to make it easier to bust sellers… in the ’90s.

Eric in Oregon: “Agreed, not even sure what mental contortions it takes to literally claim that gun people got nothing. This guy can’t be serious.”

“We” got:

1. Limits on FFL inspections, with a loophole the ATF still exploits.

2. “Safe passage,” which NYS and NJ were still violating at least up to a year ago, when a federal judge finally enforced it. Last time I had to drive through MA, I disassembled my firearms, tie- wrapped individual parts to prevent quick reassembly, locked them in a metal case, and chained the case to the truck frame, because MA cops routinely busted travelers for anything less; that was 2014, 28 years after FOPA.

3. Registry ban, which the ATF complies with by photocopying 4473s during inspections and scanning into an indexed image collection. All that data is collected, ready to be OCR’d into a searchable database as soon as a bill — such as already filed in the House — passes.

We lost machineguns, and later bump-fire stocks, thanks to the Hughes amendment. And, as mentioned, there is at least one lawsuit (two, I think) in progress intended to extend that loss to semi-autos.

A compromise that didn’t give firearm owners anything, if the feds allow violations.

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TZP Columns Update

My most recent columns at The Zelman Partisans

  • Survey says..: Politicians take note: 82,220,861 likely voters oppose more gun control.
  • Rorschach Research Associates: They conducted a verbal Rorschach test of “support” for whatever was in the mind of each individual.
  • The Cluelessness is strong in this one: And a-fisking we go. It rapidly becomes obvious Swearer has no frickin’ idea what she’s talking about.
  • Nasty, Brutish, and Short: This is the 21st century; the firearms cat is out of the bag. If you want to use gun control to stop shootings, you need to reduce the nation to a sparsely populated Stone Age society.
  • A willingness to defend yourself WILL get you “red flagged”: What was the horrible “threat” Kohfield made, that got his firearms stolen and him involuntarily committed to a psych hospital by judicial order (the latter part means he may never get his firearms back, nor replace them)?
  • Absolute Tyranny: What is it with Dim-ocrat presidential candidates thinking that threatening to wage war on American civilians makes a great campaign platform plank?
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