Two Headlines

From WaPoNSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds

From NY Daily NewsRequest for gun permits in Newtown set to double last year’s numbers: police

There’s a connection between these two headlines.

Regardless of our beliefs, we have to live in the real world, and the real world is not politically correct. People in Newtown, having learned that the police cannot always protect them and their children, are taking steps to be more self-reliant. They don’t trust government to be able to protect them from criminals.

And why should they? Government at every level is failing to be trustworthy.

I suppose the good news for the Newtown residents who aren’t gun owners is that the NSA will have records of their 911 calls.

Eric Holder v. Civil Rights

If you were attacked by a mountain lion, would you fight back? Most of us would.

OK, instead of a four-legged predator, what if you were attacked by a two-legged one? Do you still think that you have a right to defend yourself? Or should you be required to run away? If I’m reading Eric Holder’s speech to the NAACP correctly, he wants to limit your right to self-defense. Is he forgetting this?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life …

Isn’t our right to be alive and preserve our lives the most basic civil right? And didn’t the Supreme Court say in the Heller decision that the basis of the Second Amendment is grounded in the right of self-defense?

We have real world examples of how the aggressive suppression of the right to go armed in self-defense has worked. In Chicago, the murder rate is through the roof. New York has kept a better lid on violence but at the cost of subjecting its citizens to “stop and frisk” searches by the police.

It’s as if the Progressives want to make two-legged predators a protected species in a kind of Orwellian inversion of “Four legs good, two legs bad.”

Arma Virumque Cano

I haven’t had much to say about the whole George Zimmerman case. Too many people have picked over its carcass, mostly people who are vastly unqualified by either training or experience to speak knowledgeably.

I won’t talk about the law involved, except to say that the evidence that I’ve seen points to Mr. Zimmerman firing in self-defense.

I want to talk about being armed and the real meaning of the Robert Heinlein remark that “an armed society is a polite society.” My friend Aaron Walker has argued that if George Zimmerman had been openly carrying his pistol, it is likely that Trayvon Martin would not have taken a swing at him in the first place. That makes sense. I can tell you that I once avoided being assaulted when I turned so that the other guy could see the .45 in my holster, and he realized that he was about to bring a knife to a gun fight. My potential assailant remembered his manners.

But that’s not the point of Heinlein’s maxim.

When one goes armed, he must remember his own good manners. When one is armed, whether with a gun or knife or any other weapon, he needs to remember that any conflict that he becomes a part of has the potential to become deadly. In that case, rather that feeling empowered to be obnoxious or assertive, the armed man seeks to avoid giving offense to others. Those who don’t have a significant risk of being removed from the gene pool.

The empirical evidence from those states that don’t interfere with Second Amendment rights suggests that gun carriers are a law abiding group. Folks with carry permits, for example, commit crimes at a significantly lower rate than politicians who are members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns (but that organization’s crime rate is sufficiently high that it should be called Illegal Mayors Against Guns).

Tantaene animis caelestibus irae?

UPDATE—I am not an advocate of open carry per se. Indeed, if Maryland would stop its concerted effort to suppress Second Amendment rights, I would probably engage in concealed carry most of the time. The incident I cite above occurred in a place where only open carry was legal.

Open and concealed carry have different tactical advantages. Neither is necessarily appropriate in all situations, but, regardless of how one goes armed, the necessity of being well mannered is always there.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

Part of Brett Kimberlin’s personal puffery is his claim to have circulated lots of petitions that have received lots and lots of signatures.

Uh, huh.

On 6 May, 2013, one of Velvet Revolution US’s subsidiary efforts called NRA Watch (No, I won’t link to it) posted this link to a petition. (Note: The link in the image below isn’t live.)nrawatchPetition1

If the link were live, clicking on it would show you this.nrawatchPetition2

nrawatchPetition3The petition isn’t doing so well. As of 3 pm yesterday, it only had 15 signatures. That’s fewer than one for every three days that the petition has been up at Change dot org. Of course, Brett Kimberlin didn’t post this petition himself. He delegated the work to Cabin Boy Bill Schmalfeldt who has a track record of getting things started only to abandon them. If Kimberlin were serious, he should have picked someone with some stick-to-it-iveness.

Say, here’s another interesting thing to note. The Cabin Boy gives the impression with his petition that he thinks firearms are something to be taken seriously.GE

Yeah. Right.

Using Public Resources for Private Political Purposes

Mayor Bloomberg was first caught using New York City IT resources to further his Mayors Against Illegal Guns gun control agenda. Today, JWF posts that he’s be caught sending a city employee to Nevada to lobby for a Nevada gun control bill. Instapundit suggest that this a matter that should be investigated by the New York Attorney General.

Yeah, it’s probably wrong to use city resources that way. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the server hosting the MAIG’s assets has a big gulp hard drive that holds more than 16 Gb. Hypocrite. Arrogant hypocrite.

Quotes of the Day

The concept that the Bill of Rights and other constitutional protections against arbitrary government are inoperative when they become inconvenient or when expediency dictates otherwise is a very dangerous doctrine and if allowed to flourish would destroy the benefit of a written Constitution and undermine the basis of our government.

—Hugo Black

Can any of you seriously say the Bill of Rights could get through Congress today? It wouldn’t even get out of committee.

—F. Lee Bailey

Irresponsible Gun Ownership

Heidi Yewman has a post over at MsBlog about her spending a month with a Glock pistol.

Her behavior is prime example of the fact that not everything that is legal is wise—or, in her case, responsible.

She bought a 9 mm Glock, took it home, and freaked out when she opened the box and found a magazine in the pistol. She found a cop (who was doing a traffic stop) and asked him to remove the magazine for her.

The cop thought I was an idiot and suggested I take a class. But up to that point I’d done nothing wrong, nothing illegal.

Nonsense! She had done something very, very, very wrong. She was fooling around with a firearm and had absolutely no training, not even the Eddie Eagle safely class the NRA offers for kids.

She began her … quest … fool’s errand … whatever … because she’s opposed to Starbucks’s policy of not hassling customers who carry firearms in accordance with local laws.

I was right to protest Starbucks policy. Today, they have a woman with absolutely no firearms training and a Glock on her hip sitting within arm’s reach of small children, her hands shaking and adrenaline surging.

Did I say, “irresponsible”? Let me also add, “immoral”! If she is so afraid of her own self-control that she doesn’t trust herself to be armed, why does she assume that she has the moral right to endanger others.

UPDATE—Zed from Day by Day asks a good question here.

Dingy Harry

Dingy Harry may be back to trying to get a gun control bill through the Senate. Although he won’t be specific about plans, he’s said that he wants to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

The Senator should consult the current version of 18 USC 922, which reads in part:

(d) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person—
(1) is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
(2) is a fugitive from justice;

(4) has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution …

It’s already illegal to sell or even to give guns to crooks or wackos. You know, it might be simpler for the Progressives to state their real policy objective, viz.:

[O]rdinary citizens don’t need guns, as their having guns doesn’t serve the State.

—Heinrich Himmler

It would be more honest to offer an Amendment to repeal the Second.

Baghdad Bob Back at Work?

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf (better known as “Baghdad Bob”) must be coming out of retirement. Who else would be crazy enough to be peddling the meme now showing up on the left that the NRA on its last leg? First, The New Republic; then, The Boston Globe; then, The Philadelphia Daily News; now, The Guardian; and all pushing the idea that the NRA is finally facing real opposition and losing its clout.

Uh, huh.

That’s must be the reason why paid membership has soared past 5,000,000.

Being a Subject Vis-à-vis Being a Citizen

The Daley Gator discusses one of the aspects of being a subject in the UK as opposed to being a citizen in (most of) the United States. (Second Amendment effectively void in New York, Maryland, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, Illinois, and certain other jurisdictions.)

It has been noted that the average American household is better armed than a typical British bobby.

It’s Only a Constitutional Right

What could go wrong? All these Democrats are proposing is to make a right enumerated in the Bill of Rights subject to the whim of unelected bureaucrats who can suspend it by placing your name on a secret list you can’t see without any due process and no judicial review.

Oh, and they claim that banning gun purchases by persons on the terrorist watch list would have stopped the Boston Marathon bombers. How? Will pressure cooker purchases be subject to background checks? Or the common household chemicals available at most supermarkets that can be used to homebrew explosives?

You know, it would be easier for these control freaks to run our lives for us if they’d simply repeal the Bill of Rights wholesale.

UPDATE–Prof. Reynolds notes that what the politicians control they use against us.

To borrow a word: Indeed.

Reduced Capacity Magazines and Fingerprints

It’s been reported that the police who engaged in a gunfight with the Tsarnaev brothers last week fired over 200 rounds of ammunition. They didn’t kill the older brother outright. The autopsy says that he died of gunshot and blast wounds (from his own explosives). The younger brother was wounded but still in action a day later.

And Gov. O’Malley wants the already below-normal 20 round limit on magazines here in Maryland reduced to 10 rounds.

It’s also been reported that neither of the Tsarnaev brothers ever filled out any state paperwork for any of the handguns they used.

And Gov. O’Malley wants to fingerprint folks who fill out the paperwork to legally buy handguns.

Which Choice Are You Pro?

All of us are pro-choice to the extent that we believe that we should be free to choose the way we wish. The anarchists among us would agree with that point of view wholeheartedly. Libertarians might moderate that to the extent of limiting choices that affect another person. At the other end of the spectrum, nanny-statists and Progressives would say that choice must be limited by their understanding of what is good for us, by which they really mean the choices they choose.

At the silly end of things, nanny-statists such as Mayor Bloomberg want to take away your right to choose a Big Gulp. They argue that it’s bad for your health and that you’ll be a burden on the healthcare system, yada, yada, yada. At the serious end of things, they want to take away your right to choose to defend yourself with a modern sporting rifle loaded with a normal capacity magazine. They argue that … umm … well, actually they don’t have a logical argument; they just don’t like the idea that you might have a gun. They have to make a stretch to bring some other party’s interest to limit your choices.

OTOH, most Progressives favor a right for a mother to end the life of her child in utero. For those of us who look at the DNA of a child and see a member of our species from conception, it’s clear that an abortion affects an innocent party. Others may disagree about when that child deserves protection, but essentially no one advocates the killing of viable children born alive. The question of when to protect a child’s life is one of those inconvenient questions that many would rather not wrestle with.

That, I think, is the reason for the main stream media’s avoidance of the Gosnell murder cases. I brings that question into focus.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

One of the latest efforts of Brett Kimberlin’s Velvet Revolution US is a website called NRA Watch (No, I won’t link to it.) that is advocating for stricter gun control, including a ban on modern sporting rifles such as the AR15 and standard capacity magazines. Hold that thought while you read the following passage from page 173 of Mark Singer’s Citizen K:

To counter Kimberlin’s claim that he was temperamentally incapable of violence (“not prone to assaultive behavior”), for instance, the government cited the array of weapons that had been seized during the drug bust in Texas. Among them was a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol equipped with a silencer. The testimony of Bixler placed this gun in Kimberlin’s hands, along with the half-dozen AR-15s he said he had bought the defendant.

At the time that he was busted while trying to smuggle 5 tons of dope in Texas, Brett Kimberlin was already a convicted felon, and it was illegal for him to possess any firearm. Did that law stop him? Straw purchases were against the law then as now. Did that stop him?

Do you think that he would have complied with a 10-round magazine limit for the AR15s he wasn’t supposed to have?

Me neither.

Hello, Foot. Meet Gun.

I’m told that shooting oneself in the foot is a bad idea. I suppose so. I’ve never tried it, although I have been around more than my share of negligent firearm discharges.

There are four very simple rules which will make a negligent discharge unlikely.

1. All firearms are always handled as if they are loaded.
2. Never point the muzzle of a firearm at anything you are unwilling to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are aligned on the target.
4. Be sure of your target.

Those rules are simple, and following them will keep you from negligently shooting yourself or any one or thing else. The rules and laws governing who can have a gun and under what circumstances are more complicated, and failure to attend to those rules can also be quite painful.

Here in Maryland, for instance, for almost 20 years we have had strict controls on the transfers of certain kinds of rifles and magazines. Here’s how that affects me.

I have a collector’s item WWII vintage M1 Carbine made by National Postal Meter. It isn’t on any of the state no-no lists, at least not yet. However, the 30-round magazines commonly used with M1 Carbines are restricted in that they cannot be transferred to another individual in Maryland. So if I take my Carbine to the range, I can shoot it using one of my old 30-round magazines, but if I allow someone else to shoot it (lending it is a transfer), they must use a 15-round magazine because I can’t transfer the 30-round magazine to them.

I also have a Colt AR15 Sporter Carbine. It doesn’t use the usual .223 Remington/5.56 mm NATO ammunition; it’s chambered for 7.62 X 39 mm Russian round that is legal for deer hunting in Maryland. The only magazines I have for it are the 5-round units provided by Colt. Since an AR15 is regulated firearm, I can’t just hand it to whomever I wish. So-called “gratuitous” temporary loans are OK, but anyone other than a family member, close friend, or licensed dealer can be risky. All transfers are supposed to go through a licensed dealer. However, the 5-round magazines have no restrictions whatsoever.

This is what happens when laws are cobbled together by people who have little understanding of what they are trying to regulate. When I was a federally licensed dealer a couple of decades ago, there were over 20,000 federal, state, and local gun laws in the book that the ATF sent me, some of them contradictory. There are more of ‘em now.