John Hinderaker of Powerline makes the case that Bundy doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on, despite sympathy for his problems with the Federal government. Yet, what is legal in the creeping lawlessness of increasingly out of control Federal agencies, bureaucracies, laws and regulations. Indeed, given the utter and staggering pile of laws, rules and regulations we’re all guilty of something, as pointed out in Glenn Reynolds’ Ham Sandwich Nation. If it weren’t for alleged violations of the desert tortoise under the Endangered Species Act, some other suitable charge could be brought against Clive Bundy to confiscate his ranch.
Most of we peasants are much too busy to devote our time to such undertakings. Most of us are too busy trying to make a living to have, after taxes, enough to take home to put food on the table, clothes on our kids’ backs and a roof over their heads. Most of us, if ever confronted by the federal government, would simple not have the time or resources to stand against such an assault.
And, there are people, however, who do have the time and resources to move the federal government against such citizens as Clive Bundy. Corrupt politicians in league with crony capitalists and other assorted rent seekers. For, the law was brought against Bundy for the purposes of such mutual enrichment. The head of the BLM is a former Senator Reid staffer. There are allegations that the interest in Bundy’s ranch is tied up in a solar project between Senator Reid’s son Rory and Chinese interests. Further, we know that Senator Reid has grown rich in office; far in excess that what could be accounted for by his Senatorial salary.
You can connect the points, but can you prove that in court? Alleged is the best we can say for this corruption is difficult to prove and far beyond Clive Bundy’s ability to ferret out. Because, this corruption follows the Chicago Way. Everything is ‘understood’ so there are very few actual quid pro quo’s actually uttered. It was ‘understood’ that the newly minted US Senator from Illinois–Obama–was going to get his mortgage from Northern Trust for his 1.5 million dollar manse in Chicago’s Hyde Park. And, it was also ‘understood’ that the lobby of Northern Trust was not going to be trashed by ACORN.
You can’t prove it. You can’t fight it. Connections with the right people and between the right people can bring down the frightening wrath of the federal government against individuals and totally destroy them. Given that one million dollars is 1/1,000,000 of a trillion dollars, what’s a million or two given away to a connected politician for a favor. With the trillions being spent in Washington DC, a million here or there simply gets lost in the clutter.
Which finally brings up the only saving grace in this temporary truce concerning the Ranch Bundy. The Second Amendment. The rule of law of last resort. The citizens that went out to protest and obstruct the depredations of the BLM agents were armed. They wisely kept their guns in their trucks and automobiles. But, the agents knew they were there. And, those agents caved. Caved because they weren’t professionals. Professionals, warriors in the true sense of the term have a discipline that keeps them from engaging in gratuitous destruction. Such as holing water tanks, destroying fences and killing prize bulls.
Bureaucrats with guns out for a little adventure away from the boredom in the office cubicle. Sniper rifles, real assault rifles! Cool toys for your little adventure scaring the peasants. Hired thugs with guns. Guns, that in other circumstances, would have been effective intimidation in gun-controled blue America. But, they knew they were up against people similarly armed and suddenly the job wasn’t easy. So, true to the thug code, you go somewhere else where the pickings are easier. They, the BLM agents, weren’t about to die for the desert tortoise.
Senator Feinstein knew exactly what she was doing with her ‘assault weapons’ ban. And, so did her fellow travelers such as Obama. The weapons they targeted are the civilian versions of similar military versions; and as such, are designed to take a beating and continue to function after literally firing hundred of rounds. These are the weapons, though lacking full auto capacity, that provide the individual citizen the necessary parity to stand against thugs in the pay of tyranny. The BLM agents caved because they knew that they against skilled marksmen–I suspect a lot of ex-military–with the necessary weapons to create that parity. And, the protesters knew that too.
This is the best of various outcomes. A complete crash and burn of the latest gun control push in the Senate last week. Because, there was never a real dialogue, a real two way conversation. The very legislation again played into the fundamental dishonesty of the gun control forces; a never settled, always expanding net of laws, rules and regulations with intent, little by little, to strangle the Second Amendment.
The Toomey-Manchin background check compromise is a prime example of that dishonesty. The proposed bill was better only by being less bad that the original bill, authored by Senator Schumer, that it replaced. For all of its high minded protection of the Second Amendment, it was riddled with loopholes that could at a later date be exploited into creating a de facto registry by compiling any and all information already in the hands of the Federal government.
And, in the states, where Democratic Party control stood unchecked, laws have been passed with wild abandon that utterly render the original intend of the Second Amendment entirely meaningless. Laws that make it a felony to possess heretofore perfect legal firearms. Bans on firearms and accessories that have caused whole companies to move with wholesale loss of jobs, manufacturing jobs, in those states.
In Colorado, we have the example of Magpul, whose biggest business, is making standard 30 round magazines. Yet, at the stroke of a pen, Colorado’s governor has make that business illegal. This from a man, who prior to entering politics, made his money making and selling beer. A product that once too was made illegal at the stroke of a pen during the prohibition. Irony proof.
But, let’s have a real conversation. First is the purpose of the Second Amendment. It’s purpose is not about sport or hunting. The purpose of the Constitution and Bill of Right was to build a country, not a country club. It was about having an individual right to access to up-to-date weaponry to give the individual parity in acting in concert to repel an invasion or insurrection. To repel criminal agents in the pay of a tyrant. To repel criminal agents who would attempt to harm you or kill you, attempt to invade your home or business, attempt to harm or kill your family.
In fact, the greatest threat to life from criminal activity is an armed government against an unarmed civilian populace. Over 100 million unarmed civilians have been killed by the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot over the twentieth century. Above and beyond the casualties of war by armed combatants in that era. Horrors never visited upon our country by virtue of an armed civilian populace.
Let’s have a conversation about the stupidity of the ‘gun free’ zone; the very cause of these sensationalized mass murders. For the Aurora, Colorado mass killer, there were ten such movie theaters between his residence and ultimate venue for his outrage. The theater he picked was the one that specifically had a ‘gun free’ policy. Ditto just about every school in this country; except Utah which allow concealed carry on campus by its teachers. Been working well now for several years.
A gun free zone is an unrestricted kill zone. The only way to prevent these mass shootings from happening is to immediately meet that threat with lethal force. Where this happens by virtue of an armed citizen (usually concealed carry), the causality rate is kept to about two victims. Where the armed citizen isn’t present (or prohibited) the causality rate rises to an average of 16 victims by the time the police arrive.
Then too is a conversation over the so-called ‘assault weapons’ ban. There is a reason our police and soldiers are armed with AR15 variant rifles, standard 30 round magazines, semi-automatic pistols and their attendant 15 round magazines. Those reasons also apply to the armed citizen. First, the citizen will need firearms of military utility because of the expectations of militia duty–namely, being expected to come forth in time of emergency armed with weapons, furnished by themselves, in common use. The AR15 rifle is becoming the preferred home defense weapon. It is light, with a light recoil, making it accurate and easy to control thereby minimizing the risk of collateral damage. The telescoping stock makes the rifle adjustable for use by a 6’4″ man or this more diminutive wife. The 30 round magazine helps minimize weapon manipulation allow a single defender to stand and survive against multiple assailants.
On second thought, let’s not have a conversation. Fresh from some sort of electoral ‘mandate’ last November, with a really sensational mass murder to flog, the Democratic Party stripped off its mask and showed it true intentions. Not ‘reasonable’ controls, but a mad rush to pile on every regulation imaginable. Laws written behind closed doors, no hearings, no debate or reflection. A real conversation, is first of all, undergirded by good faith.
Though not particularly articulated as such, I think that American’s reluctance to wage war is the fact that the use of force is done in the absence of due process. But, saying that, when Americans to wage war, a successful war, it is best done in the American style of warfare–to take the battle to the enemy and take the enemy apart. One of the distinct advantages of this style of warfare is the fact, by virtue of distance, the rule of law can be preserved at home while the violation of such occurs on the enemy’s territory.
Which brings us to the manner in which the manhunt for the two Muslim terrorists was conducted in Boston. In some respects, the response should be frightening. A whole city shut down by a literal army of militarized police forces, all with weapons unholstered and at the ready. Door to door searches by these same government agents against an essentially unarmed civilian populace. Massachusetts’ gun law make it so; if these gun laws existed in 1775 there’d be no Lexington or Concord and we’d all be speaking Canadian (ht: P.J. O’Rourke).
This brings into direct relief the wisdom of the manner in which our last President chose to fight. That is, taking the battle to the enemy. It had the advantage of keeping the enemy so busy that they had to time to take the initiative to our shores. It avoided having to fight a battle in the midst of your own civilian population with all of the attendant problems of stretching the Bill of Rights. With a city essentially under martial law, complete with police forces essentially indistinguishable for infantry soldiers, where were the limits? Could they enter a house against the owner’s wishes? What questions could or did they ask? “Did you see anyone that looked like the two bombers?” Or, “Are you hiding someone here? We’ll need to come and check.” “Do you have any guns, we’ll need to make sure.”
Not paranoia. With out any warrants, the police entered multiple homes in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and seized guns. Guns to this very day that haven’t been returned.
First, is the problem of blowing the problem up out of proportion. Let’s face it, two terrorists against a city of millions and the whole city shut down. In some less ‘enlightened’ cities in fly-over country, the minute those two came up for air, it would have been all over before the police arrived. The shoot out at the Seven-Eleven that left the older of the two dead, would have ended with both of those two dead or captured in the hands of armed citizens before the police arrived.
But, like Mumbai in 2008, a terrorist plot paralyzed an entire city because the extinction of a gun culture, so it is with Boston. A population totally habituated to letting the ‘experts,’ the ‘authorities’ handle it. A entire city unable to two isolated losers because only the authorities should handle guns. In my hometown of Casper, where essentially every household is armed, these two fugitives wouldn’t have a chance. Yes, they might still set off a bomb. But, after that, they better be miles out of town if they want a chance to survive.
More to the point is the fact that by creating a conditioning of someone else handling the problem, we create bigger problems than if we trusted our own citizens to use their judgement and handle the problem on a ‘retail’ level. Think back to September 11, 2001. What if the eight pilots and copilots were armed? (And, don’t give me the shocked response of ‘guns on an airplane, they’ll go off and we’ll crash!’. The planes crashed anyway.) What if the common ‘wisdom,’ going back to the first hijackings in the 60’s to Cuba of sitting by passively had not applied and the passengers rushed the hijackers. How much different the fundamental history of the last decade would have been.
Then, there is the conditioning that placing an entire city under essentially martial law is now the norm. Maybe it was, in this case, justified in the name of public safety. But, what about the future, will the deployment of an army in a major city be done for baser reasons? Rooting out undesirables? Confiscating guns? Searching to ‘incriminating’ contraband? Public safety or dry run for a police state?
Here’s the latest coming out of Colorado. Here’s what happens when the party of Woodrow Wilson, the party of the ‘living’ Constitution gets to run things. More gun control. Some of the items are limitations of magazine capacities, making gun owners pay for their own background checks, even opening gun manufacturers to liability lawsuits if their products are misused by criminals.
These proposals are in the face of losing business in the form of Magpul pulling out of Colorado and losing 600 jobs.
Governor Hinkenlooper is all set to sign this bill; as long as the magazine capacity is between 15 and 20 rounds. How magnanimous. Once again we see the myth of the moderate Democrat. Just like the pro-life Democrats who sold their principles and morals down the river for Obamacare.
But, here’s the deceit. David Kopel discusses how, in the aftermath of the Columbine murders, Colorado State legislators sat down and worked out a compromise to address measures to prevent guns falling into the wrong hands. Measures were agreed upon to give law abiding citizens certain rights concerning concealed carry. At least in government buildings, real gun free zones, only enforceable if all access point to the building were secured. The point was a real compromise, one that wasn’t perfect, one that didn’t leave either side perfectly happy. But, the compromise, represented by these series of measures, that addressed true gun crime prevention and also allowed loosening of restrictions to allow law abiding citizens the ability to defend themselves.
This should have been a settled issue. And, one get the impression from Mr. Kopel’s take that many in Colorado did regard this issue as settled. But, no. Now with the Democrats in control of both legislative houses and the governorship, this compromise, this settled agreement is being opened up again for more gun control. ‘Reasonable,’ ‘common sense’ gun control until an opening arises to shove more draconian regulations through.
The deceit goes further. Anyone who owns an AR15 know about Magpul. Magpul makes, among other AR 15 accessories, the PMAG–a 30 round polymer magazine that essentially is the standard against which all similar such magazines are measured. Yet, this Colorado legislature, is willing to chase out Magpul and its 600 jobs from the state. Not just any jobs, but real live manufacturing jobs; the holy grail Democrat Party. So much for Obama’s recent State of the Union ‘pivot’ to jobs.
The rule of law is an agreement to abide to a certain framework of rules; fixed rules that will apply to everyone. It’s just a fancy term for what goes around, comes around. You the individual, the smallest minority, will not have rights to life, liberty and property trampled. One day you may have the power protect those rights, the next day you may not. Your ability to keep those rights when you’re down may very well depend on whether you respected those same right in the past when you were on top. It is built on a trust that both parties will both refrain from using the power that could be brought to bear against each other. Trust that the rules won’t be suddenly changed.
Maybe, what the Second Amendment guarantees is that the above social contract will be respected.
This deceit comes from a violation of that contract and it degenerates into mob rule. Which is what the ‘Chicago way’ is really about. Fifty percent plus one may loot the fifty percent minus one. Ultimately, mob rule will beget mob rule. Instead of rule of law we will degenerate into armed camps, literally. What Senator Feinstein’s assault weapons ban has started is a sundering of trust. A most fundamental sundering of trust by cutting across the very right to defend one’s own life. There is little to compromise over. As the 100 millions souls killed over the last century by the likes of Mao, Hitler, Stalin, Castro and Pol Pot attest, there is no middle ground. Life or death.
The mere fact, that this assault weapons ban passed once and by Feinstein’s recent re-introduction still lurks as a threat, shows that no amount of good faith will ever be enough. The quest for power by a self-made elite ever hovers over the little people. Even over their very lives.
It’s been remarked when the current gun control controversy dies down there will be plenty of bargains for AR 15’s. Ditto ammunition and magazines. I don’t think so, I think that while supply shortages and prices may abate, they will never go back. Heretofore, there will be a constant and incessant demand that make the shelf life, at the local gun store, for every semi-automatic pistol, rifle and shotgun very short. Same will be true for the accompanying magazines and ammunition. No one on the gun side is going to get caught short again. There will now be an ingrained mentality of always stocking up. Even if it means picking up another magazine or box of ammunition as an ‘impulse’ item by stopping at the sporting good store while picking up the dry cleaning.
Whether, the new ‘assault weapons’ ban passes or not, the mere fact it came up again killed any trust on the part of Second Amendment advocates with the gun controllers. Further, if prominent Democrats in the House and Senate fail very clearly and forcefully condemn this ban this breach of trust will take a very long time to mend. Mend and regain the trust of folks who indeed vote. Gun control rarely puts a politician over the top in an election, but it sure can get them defeated. Even folks in the bluest of blue states may start to come around to the pro-gun side over time; there’s only so much crime before even the bluest of liberals may decide that a gun may save their lives someday.
Though not the only reason, but gun control is turning out to be the issue that especially underlines the growing disaffection between the citizen and his relationship with his government. The Second Amendment at it core represents the securing of a right to have the means at hand to protect life, liberty and property. And, twice now, in the last two decades, Senator Feinstein has crafted bills that have created a gulf between American citizens and its government that will not heal for decades to come. Trust the Senator, and disarm yourself. Not that the Founding Fathers’ long view of history left them with any illusions.
But, like the simple acts of choosing food to eat or filling your gas tank, everything you do has become political. So, it is with guns. To own a gun is to forever catapult out of the ranks of the low-information voter. Merely, owning a gun will now put you in a position for forever defend keeping that tool. And, you will know one of the reasons to keep that gun is 100 million souls have been dispatched by the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot; in every case a disarmed populace at the hands of an armed government.
So, trust. Trust and its antithesis, hypocrisy. The gun controllers have jumped on a horrible tragedy of the murders of a score of children at Sandy Hook. Yet, instead of realizing that this tragedy was a direct result of an ill-founded ideal of theirs, the gun-free zone, this is used as a platform to excuse even further and more draconian gun control measures. Measure that will do nothing to address this particular situation, but burden otherwise law abiding citizens with further regulatory burdens.
Yet, these elites live in bubbles of tight and well-armed security. Their children go to private schools like Sidwell Friends that have all sorts of security, and secret service if the current occupant of the Oval Office happens to have school aged children in attendance. Children who are too precious to be place in the free fire zone of gun-free Sandy Hook.
We have concealed permits very selectively distributed by the City of New York to citizens that read like who’s who of financial and political influence. In addition to armed bodyguards either hired or provided by the police to Mayor Bloomberg.
Despite strict–as in strict liability–prohibitions of ‘assault weapons’ and ‘high capacity clips’ in the city limits of Washington D.C. we have Senator Feinstein grandstanding her ‘assault weapons’ ban in front of a display of such. She having gotten ‘special permission’ to do such. Special permission? From whom? Then, there is David Gregory, physically holding a 30 round magazine, in known violation of Washington D.C. law who is excused from any legal liability. Courtesies denied ordinary citizens who unknowingly have run afoul of the exact same laws while in D.C.
All of this begins to underscore a sense that we live in an era much like the Hunger Games where the elite in the Capitol live a life apart from and free of the rules that govern those underlings who live in the Districts. Indeed, while the rest of the country is struggling through a depression, there is a economic boom in Washington D.C. A contrast remarked upon repeatedly in the blogosphere.
There is bad faith. We have been repeatedly told that all that is wanted is reasonable gun control to try to curb violence. And, there is absolutely not motivation to confiscate your guns. Yet, these gun control advocates keep coming back to the well to ask for more. Asking for more curbs and restrictions when their last round of legislation fails. Moreover, none of this legislation seems to address criminal usage of guns; rather, it criminalizes the use and possession of guns of the otherwise peaceable and law-abiding citizen. And, now, sensing another crisis that can’t be allowed to go to waste, the gun controllers are now trying to put into place the foundations of a registration system that will only serve to allow confiscation.
It becomes reflexive to go out and hoard some more every time the MSM and their political travelers sense hysteria can be ginned up for more gun control legislation. The issue is never settled since short of complete disarmament, there is never enough.
Confiscation? Paranoid? Hardly. New York City established a registration system in the 60’s; only to use that system, after subsequently banning ‘assault weapons,’ to demand that certain guns already registered be turned over or removed from New York City. A similar situation has occurred in California over their ‘assault weapon’ ban. And, now in Minnesota, where legislation proposes to exactly that. Though it didn’t make it into the final law, for the present, Governor Cuomo’s bill orginally included provisions for all sorts of confiscations of certain arms and related accessories—in those words.
Feinstein’s ban allows you to keep what you have (for the time being) after being investigated, fingerprinted and photographed. And, paying a $200 tax per gun since these will all be registered under the National Firearms Act. But, ultimately it is confiscation since upon death such arms will go to the government and not to your heirs. The real irony is when death will intervene to allow such a transfer to the government; the length of your ‘natural’ lifespan may be decided when government agents show up to collect your registered guns.
So, all of these reassurances have been for naught. Lies to get smaller laws through until the time was ripe to pass major legislation to, what now appears, be an attempt to register and/or confiscate firearms. In the campaign to enact the first ‘assault weapons’ ban, the then named “Handgun Control, Inc.” (Now renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence) immediately jumped on the bandwagon even though its stated purpose was about handguns and not rifles. Or, was there a deeper agenda? As a gun owner, whom do you really trust when someone approaches you with a national ‘conversation’ on ‘reasonable controls?’
The next issue is everyone is guilty of something. Laws and regulations are so intrusive and extensive that it is impossible to know or comprehend what the law really is. It now becomes some arbitrary exercise of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; or somehow pissing someone off who has the power to bring the state after you.
But, gun owners have been in that situation for a long time. The absolute thicket of gun regulations that exist from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, not to mention the reams of regulations from the ATF again makes it probable, approaching unity, that you have violated something.
But, many gun owners have made the choice to take a chance since its better to be tried by twelve rather than carried by six. Gun laws, therefore, have been largely honored in the breach.
Which leads us to the realm of unanticipated consequences. Since my start in collecting guns in 1990, I’ve noticed acceleration in the acquisition of guns and ammo over the 20 or so years. Before Feinstein’s first ban gun show were relaxed affairs where you entertained yourself looking at all sorts of displays and hunting down a bargain or two. You could buy an AR 15 made by Colt (top of the line) for about $700. You could buy an SKS rifle for about $80. The SKS was a cheaply made Russian rifle specifically designed for use by illiterate peasants barely out of the bronze age; and very popular in Florida for use on an airboat in case an alligator took a particular interest in you as lunch. Popular because if it fell overboard you didn’t care it was so cheap.
Yet, in the years that have gone by, there is no such thing as a disposable gun to allow falling overboard. Every gun is bought and closely guarded against the day there will be no more. The $700 AR 15 is now in excess of $2000. While, after the lapse of the first ban, prices may have abated and supplies become more plentiful, these have never really returned to the days before the Feinstein’s first ban. Everything is being acquired against the day of confiscation.
The biggest irony is that the AR 15 can probably owe a lot of its popularity to the attention it was given in the original ‘assault weapons’ ban. It was a gun with a very niche appeal and one looked down upon by a lot of gun aficionados. Yet, over the last twenty years it has now become the most popular rifle sold in America.
Moreover, the AR 15 growing popularity has paralleled the growth of the ‘shall issue’ concealed firearm permit. The effect is to familiarize and demystify these guns and their capabilities. It has familiarized a broader swath of Americans to the arbitrariness and the frank ridiculousness of hundreds of gun control laws. It has removed the taboo of guns for self defense. It has familiarized more Americans with the true intent of the Second Amendment and defanged the argument that thus and such gun has no utility for hunting or thus and such gun’s only purpose is for military usage. It has highlighted the true purpose of the Second Amendment against the hypocrisy and corruption of the ruling elite.
Not to say that people are enduring six month back order times for guns, accessories and parts now just to hand these items over to the government. Nor, are people spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars, even in this time of economic depression, to, on Election Day, vote for candidates that will take away those very things that they’ve parted with so much money to acquire. That money that is cleaning every gun and bullet off the shelf in every gun store in this country should be regarded as serious statement of commitment to a cause as is bundled PAC contributions.
Whether plinker, skeet shooter or hunter, in the back of every gun owners’ mind is a tool to save your life against the day you may face a thug—in the pay of a tyrant. That is the ultimate one issue voter.
Then is the issue of civil disobedience. As is already true in states and local jurisdictions that require gun registration, we can expect little voluntary photographing, fingerprinting and gun registrations to comply with the proposed Feinstein Assault Ban II. And, we will now have a nation of tens of millions of felons. All at the stoke of a pen. One day a law abiding citizen, the next a gun felon.
Yet, if everything is illegal then nothing is illegal. Arbitrary law that offends common sense will create a turning away from our government the very people who most fervently support law and order. Arbitrary compliance will be the answer to arbitrary law. What will specifically be violated is failure to register a gun, heretofore legal, as a National Firearms Act (NFA) firearm in the same class as machine guns, short-barreled guns and gun silencers. So, if some 80 millions are already felons under the NFA, why stop there? Why not acquire a machine gun? Converting an AR 15 to true full automatic fire isn’t that hard in your average garage with tools that can be acquired at Home Depot.
With the advent of three-dimensional printing, an item like an AR 15 magazine can be easily ‘printed.’ Indeed there down-loadable CNC plans that can be loaded into a 3D printer to make an AR 15 lower—the portion of the AR 15 that carries the serial number and is considered the ‘gun’ by the ATF.
Such a ban and such lack of compliance will have the effect of stripping the last bit of legitimacy to the governing elite. A compliance rate in excess of 5 percent will be shockingly high. What of, what I expect to be, the 90 percent who won’t comply? The very citizens who have a higher propensity to populate the ranks of our military and law enforcement. Citizens who are more likely to be the productive class that actually pays taxes that actually support the boom times of Washington D.C. Citizens who will pretend to be law abiding but will no longer feel a civic duty to contribute beyond obeying the little laws to give the impression there’s nothing to hide. No longer of nation of public spiritedness. But, of nation of hoarders and hiders. A nation where everyone is a felon, everyone is Spartacus, everyone is Galt.
While the ‘Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act’ of the 1968 Gun Control Act is a much-appreciated reform, it falls into the category of half measures. Gun control is yet another example of the detritus of a century of ‘progressive’ legislative initiatives that has now brought our nation to its knees with unsustainable debt and regulation.
The entire gamut of gun control regulations is going to have to come under a through scrutiny. While Justice Scalia, in his Heller opinion made room for the role of regulation, the notion is largely boilerplate since none of the rights secured by the Bill of Rights is absolute in all circumstances. But, the focus is going to have to change and the scope of these regulations narrowed since the burden of justification for these regulations will fall on the government to specifically show their necessity. The reason is that Heller and McDonald profoundly shift the locus of control over the rights enumerated from the government in the militia interpretation of the Second Amendment into the hands of the individual.
First, we need to look at the issue of the militia and this quote from the Miller case of 1939; the decision that best embodies the militia interpretation of the Second Amendment:
The significance attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. ‘A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline.’ And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.
The above quote implies the individual possession of arms. But, it places that possession into scope of these arms to be used at the behest of a governmental need. It would also imply that the government would have some role into what arms would be appropriate for militia use; in part dictated by the mission envisioned for the militia.
Just on this basis alone, one could argue that what is already in use by infantry soldiers and law enforcement would, by default, be a weapon in ‘common use’ for militia use as well. The first general mission would be a battlefield situation of holding or taking ground. This would involve holding and securing roads, crossroads, bridges and other strategic facilities (power plants, industrial infrastructure or refineries). This would, therefore, require, at the very least, semiautomatic rifles and pistols with large capacity magazines. The rifles would have to be modeled off military assault rifles since, unlike hunting rifles, these weapons would need the durability to allow for high volumes of fire.
Safety for these militia members would be the same as our uniformed soldiers and law enforcement personnel. Flash suppressors and, increasingly, sound suppressors to protect a militia member from danger of giving away his position.
The second arena of conflict would be close quarters combat. This might be in situations where combatants close to distances of 50 yards or less. Or, combat situations that require the control building requiring those structures to be cleared of enemy personnel. This may be more in the domain of law enforcement. But, this is also very much an issue faced by our soldiers in suppressing the al Queada insurgency in Iraq.
In close quarter combat, long range precision become second to the accurate delivery of a high volume of fire. That means automatic weapons. Not necessarily a ‘machine gun,’ but, at the very least, a three round burst capability standard in the military’s M16 rifle and M4 carbine.
Additionally, gunfire in an confined, indoor space can create noise and flash is can be particularly disorienting. And, potentially lethal if you are blinded by muzzle flash or disoriented by the noise of a gunshot magnified by echoing in an enclosed space. You ability to follow up, to stay oriented and aware may be the difference between life and death. Again, reason to have flash and sound suppressors on your firearm.
Combat in confined spaces will now bring up the need for more compact firearms. Rifle barrels shorter than the National Firearm Act’s (NFA) sixteen inches. And, short barreled shotguns. The M4 Carbine has a barrel length of 14.5 inches.
So, even from the standpoint of the militia model of the Second Amendment, one can call into question the Constitutional legitimacy of regulations imbedded in the NFA.
Now let’s move on to Heller and McDonald and the newly enshrined protection of the individual right to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property. So, in addition to militia duties, we now add a whole new universe for the keeping and, in the gravest extreme, using lethal force. At this point, the state’s interest in an armed militia become an expectation that the expected armament will meet some minimum criteria of weapons in ‘common use.’ But, beyond that minimum criteria, we now come to the individual’s choice as to how he will equip himself to protect life, liberty and property. And, beyond militia duties, where and how he will engage when a perceived threat arises.
The most likely area of threat will be defense of home and family or possibly his business. This will almost invariably require the defense of an enclosed space; a residence or place of business. All of the tactical considerations of close quarters combat and clearing a building come into play. Therefore, all of the above considerations of more compact weapons, weapons more easily wielded in confined spaces, sound suppressors, flash suppressors and a high rate of fire become more than a matter of militia preparedness. Further, since we are talking of an individual right, the interests of the state now only come into play if there is a clearly defined public safety issue.
Then we move on to the subject of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). The requirement of filling the ATF 4473 form can now be called into question since we now have issue of prior restraint and privacy in the exercise of a right secured by the Bill of Rights. A case might be made if it were a method to insure that citizens fulfilled their militia obligations by purchasing and maintaining weapons suitable for militia duty. But, in the era of an individual right and a National Criminal Instant Background Check System (NICS) to confirm that the potential gun buyer is indeed eligible, why is it any longer necessary to permanently record a purchasers name, address and so forth? If the purpose is to prevent the sale of a firearm to a violent felon, a much more unobtrusive manner of check is now the more Constitutionally appropriate order of the day; such as the NICS.
Finally, there is the issue of felony convictions for mere possession of a firearm or certain firearm accessories. The whole concept of guilt by possession come from the paternalistic attitidue that you’re not allowed to have that ‘bad’ thing anyway.
So, as a result, we now have the issue of somehow creating a whole new area for appeals for existing gun control laws as they are modified to accommodate the new world of the Second Amendment of the individual right. This goes back to one of the biggest casualties of gun control–res mens, the guilty mind. Or, in my way of thinking, the concept of the reasonable layman; the layman who can’t hope to know every nook and cranny of Federal, State and Local law and regulation. That is, there was a purposeful intent to commit harm. Therefore, rather than slapping another ten years on to a sentence for merely possessing a firearm, there will have to be more careful prosecutions to show that that possession was integral to the intent to facilitate the crime. And, appeals for prior convictions, will now need to be reviewed in the light of criminal use of firearms. This will be a mess, but this is the price of sloppy jurisprudence of ‘piling on’ charges in the first place. Welcome to the new world of deferring to Constitutionally secured individual right and the need for greater precision in determining the precise nature of what evil was actually committed. It’s a concept that is going to have to percolate itself back into our legal community.
I take the concept of militia duty seriously. In fact, as a former Naval officer, militia laws expect me to show up for militia duty in time of emergency until the age of 62. But, as a member of the militia and an individual, who in the gravest extreme, will use lethal force to defend myself, my family and my community and country, I very much expect that my government will indeed furnish, or allow myself to furnish, those weapons, reflecting the cutting edge of self-defense technology, that will optimize my chances of success and survival.
I wish to credit Gun Fight by Adam Winkler and Second Amendment Penumbras: Some Preliminary Observations by Glenn Harlan Reynolds for the ideas that I expanded on in this posting. It’s been 30 years since I graduated from college so I’ve basically forgotten all the rules of footnoting. And, I majored in engineering anyway.
Here we have an assertion that the failed car bomb attempt in Times Square may have been retaliation for the South Park controversy concerning the allegedly offensive depiction of Muhammad. In the many commentaries on Comedy Central’s censorship of South Park’s episode on Muhammad in a bear costume; one misses the role of the Second Amendment and it true purposes in the defense of personal liberty. And, why the the right to keep and bear arms is so important in matters such as these.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park’s creators grew up in Texas and Colorado. Though they may have tromped around in the uber-liberal environs of Boulder, Colorado, they, nonetheless live cheek and jowl next to a culture that accepts personal firearm ownership. This is a region, where the probability of a home or car complete with at least one immediately operable firearm approaches unity. It is also a region where said firearms are in the possession of individuals who know how to operate them.
Contrast this to the situation in New York City, headquarters for Comedy Central, where the Second Amendment has been gun-controlled into oblivion. Unless, of course, you’re financially or politically connected enough to score a concealed carry permit.
The net effect is that Parker and Stone probably knew that they would be targeted for all sorts of abuse for this latest Muhammad episode; possibly even expected hot-lead-fired-in-anger abuse. But, I suspect that they may even go as far as to have firearms in their possession. If nothing else, in Colorado, as most of the inter-mountain west, a firearm, with little bureaucratic meddling can be obtained in short order.
In contrast, the Muslim website that warned of a fate similiar to Theo Van Gogh takes on serious gravity in New York City since your life is entirely tied up in the interest and competence of governmental authority. Since the police aren’t in the business of protecting people (their only mandate is to enforce the law), you’re on your own.
In the west, you’re still on your own. But, you at least got a gun.
So, to someone like my self, a death threat would be very unsettling, to say the least. And, yes I would call the police–it may help with creating leads. But, I know that the police aren’t going to camp out at my doorstep as my bodyguards.
However, I would do one more thing. Check the security of my home and business. And, check that my firearms are operable.
A firearm isn’t a talisman against evil. Nor, does it give me the right to go and shoot my way out of every tight spot. Nor, will I necessarily engage in words or activities to provoke anger. An armed society is a polite society (h.t. Heinlein, I think). Moreover, Parker and Stone are in the business of potentially provoking such anger; no one said that South Park is a cuddly chick flick. But, a firearm lends an enormous psychological advantage in giving me the reassurance that, in the gravest extreme, as a truly last resort, I have the means to preserve myself and my family. And, with that calming reassurance, I now have the ability to think through and consider other alternatives to solving a potential crisis.
Moreover, living a culture and environment of gun ownership, the bad guys, most likely outsiders, are going to have a much harder time driving an SUV ladened with explosives without getting noticed by neighbors who are going to start to ask questions. One of the characteristics of those who carry firearms is that they are going to be more alert; more cognizant of their environment. Most people live in condition white, oblivious. Gun owners are more likely to be in condition yellow; not paranoid, just aware.
In New York City, confronted with the gravest extreme, you maybe have a kitchen drawer with some knives. In other words, unless your some highly trained martial arts aficionado, you’re dead. The police will then come and enforcing the law about bringing murders to justice, will dust for fingerprints, zip you up in your body bag and cart you off to the city morgue for more clue analysis. The folks at the Comedy Central home office know this. They caved.
This now brings us to the issue of probable cause. The use of lethal force is limited to stopping an imminent threat of loss of life or serious bodily harm. This involves a reasonable perception that the person stopped had the proximity, means and motive to carry out an attack that would so threaten loss of life or serious bodily harm. Say, a 6’6″ man with a hunting knife ten feet away yelling he’s going to kill you.
While the threats over this South Park episode can’t be directly construed as imminent harm to life and limb; it carries weight as such since it emanates from a Muslim. Unlike the other major religions where killing in the name of religion is very clearly outside the pale, this is a religion that has a significant and numerous enough minority of followers who will, in fact, carry out threats of violence and murder in the name of Islam. It is a religion, who’s holy book, the Koran, specifically advocates killing certain specific enemies. And, it is a threat that Comedy Central has construed as an imminent threat to life and limb. Hence censorship.
The real purpose of the Second Amendment is to give each individual citizen the physical means to defend life, liberty and property from criminal elements; whether the common street variety or those working at the behest of a criminal government. Or, in this case, to give the individual citizen the means to defend those same rights to life, liberty and property when the government abdicates its duty to defend those rights. Unfortunately, with our Secretary of Homeland Security so tied down with identifying critics of Dear Leader Obama as terrorist threats, you’d better move to Colorado and get a gun because you’re on your own.
The Saudi oil tanker is in the hands of Somali pirates; and in international waters well removed from Somalia off the coast of Tanzania. Here’s Powerline. Here’s a ship that’s worth the better part of a billion dollars carrying a cargo of about 100 million dollars worth of oil. And, it crewed by just 25 men.
I’ll also hazard to guess, other than a random smattering of pistols between the captain and two or three other ranking officers, the ship and crew are completely defenseless.
I’ll not get into the details of what it would take to defend a ship against boarding on the high seas. Or, whether a firefight on board a tanker would actually result in a massive confligration or explosion. But, even if the Saudi owners did not value the lives of the 25 crew members, one still wonders why it would not take better care of an investment in ship and cargo that costs a significant fraction of a billion dollars. But, it seems to me that these crews need to be enlarged to mount a more effective watch. These crews need to be armed and trained to resist and repel pirates. Armed merchant ships are not a historical anomaly.
Why, are these ships, or at least the crews not armed? We know, when it comes to crime at home that calling 911 will not necessarily save your life from criminal predation. And, the police have no legal liability to protect you from a criminal. In a similar fashion, one cannot expect naval forces to be in everywhere, patrolling thousands of square miles of seas and accounting for tens of thousands of ships that pass through the sea lanes along the east coast of Africa. Or, has the 911, call the police to protect me mentality, so permeated the merchant marine as to think that you can operate in international waters in a personal crime-free bubble.
Or, are the tyrants and dictators of these countries that own and flag these respective ships so afraid of an armed citizenry that the loss of 25 crew and a supertanker are a small price to pay to keep their restive subjects under their thumb? Perhaps, arming the crews may not have any material impact on their political control since these armed agents are at sea. But, these crew come home with dangerous and heady ideas of having control over their lives that can only come with the possession of lethal force. Dangerous ideas of why can’t I have the same control over my life at home as on the high seas.
Here’s Obama, on September 15th in Colorado (hat tip; Hugh Hewitt):
“The bottom line is this. If you’ve got a rifle, you’ve got a shotgun, you’ve got a gun in your house, I’m not taking it away. Alright? So they can keep on talking about it but this is just not true. And by the way, here’s another thing you’ve got to understand. Even if I wanted to take it away, I couldn’t get it done. I don’t have the votes in Congress.”
Get that: “I don’t have the votes in Congress” to take away your guns. Rights are secured by the Bill of Rights. They are not granted by our government. It seems, in Obama’s world view that rights secured by the Second Amendment only exist until Obama can cobble a congressional majority to restrict or eliminate them. And, this comment came in the context of the post-Heller world.
Here again we have the UN Secretary General, vying for for the Oval Office, with an attitude towards the US Consittution that befits a tin-horn dictator from the third world. Rights are gifts of the state. Rights can be voted in and out of existance merely by rounding enough votes in the House and Senate.
This was another unguarded phrase that speaks volumes of the man and his attitudes. Are the freedom of speech or free assembly to be treated in a similar cavalier way? With Obama, I suspect so. Here’s some of Michelle Obama’s thoughts on her husband, the prospective UN General Secretary of the United States:
Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
We have a man who has very definite ideas as to how our society should be ordered. You may not be “isolated” or “cynical.” You will never be “allowed” to be “uninvolved.” You are commanded to “engage.” This speaks of a man with very little tolerance for any objections to his Orwellian world view. So plan to show up for your required daily “Two Minutes of Hate.”
There’s also a serious prospect that the “fairness doctrine” will be re-established if Obama can pony up the votes; so much for the First Amendment.
There is a real litmus test regarding a politician’s respect for the limits of governmental power; the Second Amendment. It is the canary in the coal mine. What you do to the Second Amendment can, shall and will be done to the rest of the Constitution.
The private ownership of firearms is a rebuke to this utopian zeal. To own firearms is to affirm that freedom and liberty are not gifts from the state. It is to reserve final judgment about whether the state is encroaching on freedom and liberty, to stand ready to defend that freedom with more than mere words, and to stand outside the state’s totalitarian reach.
Palin’s own life is a rebuke to the liberal mindset. Her decision to knowing carry to term a Down’s baby was a slap in the face of the NARAL crowd. And, that has been commented upon by many others.
But, little mention is made about guns. The Democrats make little mention because their last anti-gun crusade lost them both houses of congress in 1994. Their fellow travellers in the MSM tiptoe around the subject for the same reason.
Oh, to be sure, Palin’s moose hunting skills are news in the MSM. Such highlighting adds “color” to the story. And, such highlighting, in the minds of the MSM, without saying as such, is there in order to portray Palin as a missing-tooth rube. But, once again, gun ownership and Palin’s marksmanship skills are common in red-state America. What may be a slight intended for the oh-so-knowing bi-coastal elite only serves to emphasize the commonality that Palin has with the rest of America. If the MSM is not careful, it only serves to further emphasize the “bitter” comment Obama made at the Getty San Francisco digs.
But, this skillful gun handling bothers the Obama’s fellow travelers in their drive for a statist utopia. The first reason is the mere fact that lethal force in the hands of the private individual creates a barrier to have some of Obama’s more objectionable ideas forced down unwilling throats. Since the founding of our republic, the armed citizenry has always provided a quiet and unspoken check against a temptation against excesses, that in other countries, have degenerated into bloodbaths–the reign of terror in the French Revolution, the Final Solution or Ethnic Cleansing in the Balkans. The Second Amendment’s purpose was to allow for self-defense against criminal threat whether from the common street variety or agents of a criminal government.
The temptation remains. Look at this quote from Michelle Obama (via power line):
Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
No, this isn’t from the man running for president, but this is from a person who has actively campaigned for him. More importantly, it represents a mind set that you will do what we think is good for you. It’s frankly Orwellian. And, it contra this mind set; it is this reservation of the person, the individual outside the totalitarian reach of government; that most upsets the statist mindset. It is the individual that defines the state; not the other way around.
And, excuse me, but I’ll be just a cynical or as isolated or as comfortable as I choose to be. I’ll push myself to be better because I choose to be. I’ll engage when I feel like it. No, I’m not going to show up for a daily shout-fest like the Two Minutes of Hate.
A firearm is not a talisman that will allow you to shoot your way out of any problem. Rather, it creates a clarity of mind that comes by having the means to handle the situation should it degenerate into the gravest extreme. But, free of the paralyzing fear of the gravest extreme, you can consider other options to face the problems that the world may throw at you.
It also starts to leak out into other arenas. An independence of thought that begins to pervade into a lot of other areas not just related to self-defense. And, it begins to reflect an independence in action and deed. Heck, you’re already politically incorrect as hell by just having the fire stick. What does it matter if the rest of you becomes politically incorrect as well?
At the very least, Palin can feed her family with out resorting to food stamps.
As a parting thought, it is interesting to note the fear, deference and self-censorship many publishers and newspapers have shown in the face of jihadist threats. Dhimmihitude. The Mohammed cartoons come to mind. Or, Random House’s spiking the release of The Jewel of Medina. It’s no concidence that the editorial offices of these publications are in Second Amendment-free zones. I very much doubt that such jihadist threats would carry a lot of water in the editorial offices of Guns and Ammo.
Break out the blood hounds. And, while your at it beat up on a pregnant 17 year-old. Another designated “minority” has escaped from the liberal plantation and is actually thinking for herself–and succeeding.
She has the temerity to actually make her own decisions and not check in with the proffered wisdom of NOW and NARAL. She’s got five kids and should, in deference to NARAL, aborted the last. She’s supposed to be a ward of the state with all those kids; but instead of collecting food stamps she shoots a moose and feeds her family with said animal. We’ll pass on the Second Amendment implications integral to the moose murder.
Sarah Palin is a big threat to the Obama campaign. Even before her selection as McCain’s running mate, Obama’s campaign was running on fumes. What was supposed to be a triumphal coronation was turning into a squeaker. And, the Democrats are beginning to realize that the Messiah is really damaged goods from the Chicago Democratic political machine.
Obama’s just like Jimmy Carter back in 1976. He sounded fresh and new. But, under the hood it’s just the same liberal boiler plate. Back then, the MSM was able to hide Carter’s true liberal bona fides and maintain the southern born-again Christian facade; at least until after the election. Thanks to the internet, the MSM’s monopoly on information control is broken and we know of Obama’s less than sterling “post-partisan” credentials.
Enter Palin. She’s serves to highlight Obama’s weaknesses even further–chief being his inability to reach out to the other half of the Democratic party that voted for Hillary. And, her two year tenure as governor is experience that only further highlights Obama’s lack of accomplishments.
But, Palin’s real crime is her divergence from the holy scriptures of the liberated woman; Democratic style. It’s okay to be conservative if you’re white and male. But, if you fall outside that demographic, the liberal establishment is going to be particularly vicious in beating down the upstart. Savaging conservative minorities is no longer reserved for blacks. This is a successful woman who presents with credentials that would go entirely unrecognized on Martha’s Vineyard or the Hampton’s. And, this is a successful woman who is pro-life and shoots a gun and looks good all at the same time.
This is a woman who, in the eyes of the bicoastal elite is way off-script. An affront. She’s supposed to be divorced, have bad teeth, smoke, maybe with a GED, who’s supporting her kids checking out groceries at the local supermarket. This is a woman who must be destroyed immediately. Strangled in the cradle. Even if you have to drag her pregnant 17 year-old daughter into the fray to make the kill.