Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ex-ATF Agent Doesn't Know Firearms

Color me surprised.
What’s missing from Heller is a comparison of guns at the time the Second Amendment was written and now. Had the Framers time-traveled to a contemporary gun store, they probably would have been astonished at just how lethal firearms would become. They might have even graced the Second Amendment with an additional clause that placed limits on the madness.
But they didn’t. Neither did the Heller justices, who completely ignored the stark contrast between then and now. One wishes that a law clerk looked up Section 921(a)(16) of the Gun Control Act of 1968, which exempts weapons with antique ignition systems or that do not use fixed ammunition – in other words, the guns of the Framer’s era – from the definition of “firearm.”
For someone who was supposed to enforce firearms law he doesn't seem to know firearms or their history all that well. After all, the Cookson repeater (a flint-lock lever action), the Belton Flintlock, and Girondoni Air rifle were all in existence at the time.
Also - using the Gun Control Act of 1968 to justify his interpretation of the constitution is pretty stupid, given that the GCA isn't a part of the Constitution and post dates it by over 150 years.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Inanities of Anti-Gunners

I came across an anti-gun blog post the other day. It was really quite inane. Consider this quote:
"Gun ownership isn’t some inalienable right granted by God. Remember, the Constitution was written by men coming out of a long and bloody war near the end of the 18th century. It was written for their time.
It also included the “right” to own a human being."
And she's not the only one who feels this way - some of the comments are just as ignorant and foolish:
"Indeed! And it’s already an amendment. So….it can be amended"
I of course, responded:
It did not actually include the right to own a human being. It did prevent any slave import bans before 1808 (And a ban on importation did take effect then https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_Prohibiting_Importation_of_Slaves). For the purposes of representation, it did count “three fifths of all other persons” (Having previously mentioned “free Persons” and “Indians not taxed”).
There is no mention of a “right” to own slaves, and the only part of the Constitution that might be construed to grant that right is the 9th Amendment,
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
And it doesn’t say anything about owning slaves. In fact, the 9th amendment works better as an argument against slavery (even without the 13th amendment) that it does as an argument for slavery.
A word to the wise among anti-gunners: Don't try to use the Constitution to justify your argument unless you've actually read the Constitution and can pull a direct quote to try justifying your argument. Otherwise you just look stupid.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Rolling Stone - or is that Rolling Dumbass?

Apparently, if the NRA hadn't opposed a renewal of the 1994 Assault Weapon's ban and "cowed" Congress into following suit this tragedy would have never happened. Of course, since this is coming from one of the great bastions of journalistic integrity and accountability, and definitely not a bunch of pinko commie terrorist sympathizers, we can just take their word on it and disown the NRA now... Or maybe not. The Rolling Stone is in italics, my responses are in bold.

There is much we don't know about the San Bernardino massacre.

An actual true statement. Wow.

But we have learned something about the arsenal deployed to kill at least 14 and injure more than 20 others.

Arsenal? You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means. Were the terrorists walking around carrying enough weapons to arm a platoon?

The San Bernardino authorities have revealed that the alleged assailants — Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27 — were killed in a police shootout in possession of two .223-caliber assault rifles, and nearly 1,400 rounds of ammunition. They also carried semiautomatic handguns.

Oh, two .223 caliber assault rifles, semi-auto pistols, and 1,400 rounds of ammo. That's not an arsenal. That's barely enough weapons to properly arm them, and not even enough ammo to last a month of practice. For reference, I go through at least 150 rounds a practice session - with a bolt action service rifle older than my grandfather, on a bad day. I know people who go through that much on Tuesday. I personally own twice as many firearms as were used in the attack (and I've only been collecting for a few years), including one that becomes an "Assault weapon" the instant I remove the mag-lock (in CA), and multiple "semi-auto handguns"... 

Seriously? The first successful semi-auto handgun is from 1893, and the 1911 has been used, with very little variation for over a century, and remains competitive with newer pistol designs. It's a little late to get excited about semi-auto pistols.
Also, if the weapons actually were assault rifles, those have been heavily regulated sin 1934, and de facto banned since 1986, since assault rifle is a very specific term that refers to select fire (i.e. full auto/burst capable) intermediate caliber rifles. What you probably meant was "assault weapon" which, in general seems to mean "It's black, and scary, and makes us go poo poo in our panties", and is generally defined by cosmetics and ergonomics, rather than actual capabilities. Let's examine three rifles, all currently for sale at Atlantic Firearms (I am not affiliated with Atlantic, but I have bought from them in the past)

This is a fairly standard civilian legal AK. Lots of features listed on both the 94 AWB and the current CA one. Pistol grip, detachable 30 round magazine, bayonet lug, etc. What it isn't though, is select-fire. It's semi-auto only, and (legal) full auto capability can't be bought for less than $10,000, and that's a steal, even if you get something that isn't safe to shoot. It is only legal in California (which has it's own Assault Weapons Ban) if you neuter it and install a magazine lock.

This is another AK variant, a Vepr hunting rifle. While it too takes detachable magazines, it lacks a pistol grip, bayonet lug, and pretty much any other feature that would have prevented if from being sold in the years that the AWB was active. It does have a thumb-hole stock, which means that under California's Assault Weapon Ban (Which is stricter than the Federal one was) it's still illegal in CA without a mag-lock. It functions identically to the AK with the pistol grip and bayonet lug, and may actually be deadlier, since it's chambered in a larger and more powerful cartridge (Intermediate calibers are generally not considered capable of reliably and humanely taking game).

This final AK is a Saiga rifle. It's chambered in the same caliber as the one with the pistol grip above, functions identically, and yet, is completely legal in California, and completely unregulated by the original AWB. Three weapons with the same functionality, but different cosmetics and ergonomics, and thus, three different legal situations. The AWB could not have stopped this shooting, because it was entirely ergonomic and cosmetic based, rather than functionality based. And even if was functionality based, making a rifle is easier than making meth, and our porous southern border, combined with in country stolen weapons, makes for a well stocked black market.

The assault weapons were purchased legally. But these tactical arms are only legal in the United States because of the efforts of the NRA — which cowed congress into watching the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban expire under president George W. Bush.

The NRA, their own memories of just what happened in the 94 elections, and the fact that the ban was, at best a null effect.

Military-bred weapons have since become commonplace.
Dumbasses. "Military-bred weapons" have been commonplace since before the American Revolution, when you could see militiamen armed with smooth-bore military muskets, field artillery, and (during the Revolution) even armed warships. This has been a theme throughout American history, as surplus military arms have made their way out to the American people. Almost every bolt action hunting rifle uses a Mauser action - originally developed for the German military. Many semi-auto hunting rifles are based off of the M1 Garand, the AR-10 or the AK. 1911s, an iconic military handgun, have been one of America's most popular handguns for over a century. 

DPMS Panther Arms, which, according to police, manufactured one of the assault weapons found in the assailants' rented SUV, has closed its store temporarily. It had been offering $200 cash back as part of a "Black Friday Bonus Savings" promotion.
Your point is what exactly? Offering discounts on firearms is super evil?

DPMS's parent company is the Freedom Group, which also owns Bushmaster, the brand of assault weapon wielded by Adam Lanza in the Newtown massacre. At the bottom of its online store, DPMS links to the websites of the NRA, the NRA-ILA (the group's lobbying arm) and the Friends of NRA.
The Smith & Wesson rifle police say they recovered in San Berardino is from the company's popular M&P line; M&P is short for "military and police." In 2012, Smith & Wesson was inaugurated into the NRA's Golden Ring of Freedom — "reserved for those who have given gifts of cash or assets to the NRA totaling one million dollars or more."

 Oh my! A firearms based company donates to a firearms based Non-profit! That's almost as shocking as Red Hat or OpenSUSE donating to the Linux foundation!

There is increasing speculation that the San Bernardino assailants could have been linked to international terrorists. But under U.S. gun laws, even ties to jihadists — sufficient to land an American on the FBI's terror watch list — do not prevent the purchase of guns, including military- and police- style assault rifles.
The Government Accountability Office has reported that "membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives under current federal law." 
From 2004 to 2014, according to the GAO, more than 2,000 suspects on the FBI's terrorism watch list successfully purchased guns — at a success rate of greater than 90 percent. The NRA has lobbied against legislation that would close this loophole by calling it "sponsored by gun control extremists."
Are we talking about the list which is almost halfway populated by people with no connection to terrorism, and which requires no conviction, has low (or no) minimum standards of evidence, and which the two apparently weren't on, since they had no trouble flying out of, and back into, our country? That terror watch list? Yeah, why don't you go screw yourselves. Forbidding felons and certain misdemeanor offenders from owning weapons is futile, stupid, and arguably unconstitutional enough, but people who haven't even been convicted of anything yet? As Captain America said, "I thought the punishment usually came after the crime." 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Crazy is as Crazy Does, Colorado Edition

This isn't the first mass shooting where the media has pointed a spotlight on the crazy's personal beliefs as if those beliefs are the reason why he went and shot as many people as he could.

Let's be honest. The issue here isn't abortion, just as the issue with the Charleston mass shooting wasn't racism and segregation. Their political beliefs are nothing more than an excuse, something to satisfy us when we ask "Why would anyone do this?" In reality the answer is much simpler, and remarkably consistent across mass killers of the lone gunman persuasion. They want media attention. They want 15 minutes of fame and their name to become, for a short period at least, a household name. These monsters have found that, by killing a few people, they can become the most powerful person in the world. The President of the United States will talk about them and at the very least pretend to do something. While the Federal Government might not do anything, you've got a fairly iron-clad guarantee that the individual states will do something. Any controversial political ideas held by the killer can change the ways that multi-national mega corporations do business.

In short, it's a chance for a disaffected, mentally unstable loner to change the way that America, and possibly the world, does business. Individual congressmen have less effect upon the course of events than a single successful mass shooter. Every time a successful mass killing happens, the other monsters take notes. They see that gun free zones are easy targets. They see that they're practically guaranteed to to get an anti-gun reaction that often leads to a lasting legacy built upon legislation. They see that a manifesto with controversial opinions can lead to a backlash against those opinions. They become a household name, more famous than some A-list celebrities. In short, we give them everything they want.

It's time we stopped enabling the pathetic scum who engage in mass killings. Rather than spread their name far and wide for the world to know, make them an unperson and never refer to them by name. Rather than dropping everything to deal with it, the POTUS should treat it just like he treats the daily murder rates for high crime cities like Detroit and Chicago (i.e. ignore it). Rather than making sweeping policy changes after a mass shooting we should leave things as they are. If we must do something, loosen restrictions on gun control so that the next time, there's a higher probability that they'll get stopped by someone with a gun. Stop doing what the crazies want and start treating them like any other murderer. No recognition. No fame. No power. You can't stop these attacks from happening, but you can minimize them by refusing to give them their prize.

Freedom over Security

With the expiration of NSA phone monitoring, we've taken an (unfortunately small) step towards placing freedom over security.
It's only one small, incremental step in rolling back abuse of the 4th amendment. It's best to remember that, no matter the issue, when security trumps freedom, neither is going to last long.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The 11th Hour, of the 11th Day, of the 11th Month...

Happy Armistice Day. Happy Veteran's Day.

Let us not forget those lost their lives and still sail the eternal patrol, nor those that came home broken in mind or body, nor those who came home hearty and hale. They all sacrificed something.

"Any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile... can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, I served in the United States Navy.”
-- President J. F. Kennedy, August 1, 1963 to the US Naval Academy graduating class.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Putting Weapons Back On the Street"

From CNN:
New laws force police to put guns back on the street
Well that's one heck of a charged headline. The implications of blood in the streets and dead police officers are par for the course as far as the anti-gun agenda goes. There are a few other real gems in the article, such as:
"My job is to keep my officers safe," said Fred Fletcher, the police chief of Chattanooga, where there have been more than 100 shootings this year. "To send them out to face the same guns they risked their lives to get off the street is a big concern."
While some law enforcement officials support the sale of confiscated guns, a number of police chiefs like Fletcher are speaking out against the practice -- arguing that the risk of selling a gun back to a criminal far outweighs the amount of money they could make.
 Do they not run background checks? You know, the same background checks that every FFL has to run when they sell someone a weapon?
... For those police departments that sell the guns, some only sell to federally-licensed gun dealers, which include everything from online gun emporiums to brick-and-mortar firearm stores. Other law enforcement agencies sell the guns directly to the public through auctions, often at a steep discount compared to what the gun would cost new from a gun store. Safeguards, such as background checks, are required. But that's not always enough.
 Oh, so they do use background checks. Just like FFLs. I'm still waiting to see how this is different from the business that a gun store does - in which used guns are sold for a significantly lower price than new.

... This kind of transaction, known as a straw purchase, is illegal. Garant, who pleaded guilty to making the straw purchases, was sentenced to a year in prison. Meanwhile, the Duluth Police Department told CNNMoney that it has suspended the sale of firearms "until our department develops sound strategies in keeping firearms from individuals who are ineligible to lawfully possess them."
"A gun that should have been destroyed instead was sold back to the public," said Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek, who oversaw the investigation of the shooting. "This is the worst nightmare that could have happened."
You know, a straw purchaser would have been able to do the exact same thing to an FFL. They are literally complaining something that their policies concerning selling guns off or destroying them will have no effect on.

...As a result, a number of Arizona law enforcement agencies have started selling seized guns. And major departments like Phoenix have discontinued buyback programs altogether -- which had previously resulted in the destruction of thousands of guns.
 Buyback programs are about as useful as tits on a boar hog anyway. There are three types of people who sell guns to buyback programs: People who don't want guns anyway, but ended up with one for one reason or another, Criminals trying to get rid of evidence/broken guns, and Gun Owners scamming the system by selling low quality improvised guns/broken guns to make a profit. Most of the guns destroyed by buybacks are pieces of shit that nobody cares about.

..."What's really concerning is the political power of some of these groups that at end of the day are more focused on getting guns on the streets than getting them in the right hands," said Austin, Texas Police Chief Art Acevedo.
 The right hands? It's impossible to keep criminals from getting guns. They steal them from legitimate gun owners. They conduct straw purchases. They make their own. They buy them on the black market. No department's policy on sale or destruction of seized firearms is going to have an effect upon crime. Spare me the stupidity.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

No, You don't Need a Factory To make Firearms

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The original AR-15 design is 58 years old (it's precursor design, the AR-10 is 60), the original AK design is 68 years old. The 1911, one of the definitive semi-auto pistol designs, dates from, you guessed it, 1911, with precursor designs and prototypes from the late 1890s. Machine guns predate the 20th century, and rapid fire crank weapons predate the American Civil War. Sniper rifles with effective ranges in excess of 800 yards were used to great effect in the aforementioned American Civil War, and current top-line sniper rifles are generally bolt action, which predates smokeless powder and metallic cartridges. Since all of these inventions, manufacturing technology has done nothing but improve. Basic machine tools, available to everyone, can be used to produce professional quality firearms. New developments, such as desktop CNC mills and 3-d printers simply reduce the amount of space and skill required.

So it should come as now surprise when criminals circumvent the law with homemade firearms.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Happy Birthday to the US Navy!

On this day in 1775, the Continental Navy, precursor to the modern US Navy, was established. Let's celebrate 240 years of defending America!