A Troubling Remark


Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York. The case challenges the constitutionality of a city gun control regulation which forbade persons with a so-called premises licenses to transport their firearms any place other than on of seven approved firing ranges within the city. They could not even be removed from their licensed premises to be taken out of town.

New York City prevailed in the case in District Court and in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, but when the Supreme Court took the case, the City and the State of New York changed their laws and regulations in an attempt to moot the case. Under the new regime, firearms could be transported out of town for certain purpose as long as the trip was “continuous and direct.” No allowance was made for stops for fuel, meals, or overnight rest.

Both the petitioners and the United States argued that the case was not moot because the regulation was still unreasonable, and a couple of the justices seemed to favorably consider the idea that there was still a live controversy and that the City should not be able to dodge having its gun control regime tested against the standard set by D.C. v. Heller. The petitioners argued that allowing a government to moot a case after the Supreme Court accepts it for review would be a bad precedent. Speaking for the United States, the Deputy Solicitor General argued that the case was not moot because the petitioners could still seek money damages and because the text and history of the Second Amendment “condemn” New York City’s transport ban.

There was push back from the liberal justices—the most disturbing to me was a remark by Justice Sotomayor characterizing Heller as a “made-up new standard.” IANAL, but it seems to me that Antonin Scalia’s opinion clearly lays out what the Second Amendment has meant since it was enacted. Moreover, her comment seems to show a certain intellectual dishonesty. She is certainly not strict constructionist, so new standards of interpretation shouldn’t be a problem per se. I suspect that she would be all for the application of stare decisis to Rove v. Wade, so why not to Heller?

The court has been dodging Second Amendment cases recently. The justices may use mootness to punt this one. We shall see.

Meanwhile, there are more 2A cases in the pipeline.

The Real Minimum Wage is Zero


Reason has a post up about how the $15/hour minimum wage in New York City is having an adverse effect on restaurants and restaurant employees who are seeing their hours cut or are being laid off. That’s the Real World result of trying to legislate the economic value of any person’s labor. OTOH, some folks believe a “living” minimum wage is like the rest of socialism; we just haven’t done it right yet.

Anthony Advincula, a spokesman for the ROC [Restaurant Opportunities Center], has argued that such negative effects need not happen in tandem with the city-mandated wage hikes. “Increasing to $15 would reduce income inequality, and the number of individuals living in poverty now is ridiculously high,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “This is not just a business issue, this is a race, gender, pay-equality issue.” But if New York City is any example, the measures pushed by Advincula will only serve to make those issues worse.

Let them eat … um … home cooking.

Another Reason to Stay Away


I used to travel regularly to New York City for business. I can remember being able to truthfully repeat the old line, “It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

It’s not such a nice place to visit now. Mayor de Blasio is running the place further into the ground, and public safety is suffering. The NY Post reports that your 45% more likely to be murdered in de Blasio’s New York.

I’ll stay home or go elsewhere.

The Rules of Firearm Safety


Rule 1: All guns are always handled as if they were loaded.

Rule 2. Never point the muzzle of a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.

Rule 3: Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are aligned with the target.

Rule 4: Be sure of your target!

Rule 5: Stay out of New York City.

Here endeth the lesson in firearm safety.

Gun Control Means Hitting Your Target


CNN reports that all 9 of the citizen casualties in the Empire State Building incident were shot by police officers. Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned has some questions for Mayor Bloomberg, and the citizens of New York City deserve to hear him answer them.

How do you expect to have police that know how to shoot when you’ve done everything possible to extinguish any kind of responsible shooting culture in your city?

How many police officers do you think learn to shoot because they interact heavily in the civilian gun culture by taking part in competitions, belonging to shooting clubs, and generally shooting for recreation?

NRA has an entire division dedicated to law enforcement training. Have you ever considered inviting them to New York?

Law enforcement is a profession that tends to run in families. Indeed, a good many gun bloggers come from law enforcement families. Part of that is indoctrinating the next generation in the ways of the gun. If there is no civilian gun culture, how are the martial arts of this profession going to be passed down?

What if there is a Mumbai style attack in New York City? You’re now advertising to the world that your officers can’t shoot. The terrorists are listening.

The bad guy fired a total of 5 rounds. All of them hit his victim.

The cops fired 16 round and hit 9 bystanders. What kind of training standards does the NYPD have for its officers? And these cops were from the Anti-Terrorism unit; aren’t they supposed to be trained to the highest standards?

Pistol shooting is a skill, but it’s not that hard. I haven’t carried a gun for a living since I left the Army, but I still practice. I’m 64 years old, and my eyesight isn’t what it used to be, but the picture on the left shows how I did the last time I went to the range with my .45. All of the hits, even the fliers, are within the area of the target that counts for a full credit hit on most police qualification courses. If an old man can keep his skill up, we should expect cops to do so as well.

UPDATE—From the NYT:

From a distance of less than 10 feet, the officers, Craig Matthews and Robert Sinishtaj, answered in unison; one shot nine times and the other seven.

There. can. be. no. excuse.

UPDATE 2—Bob Owens at PJ Media wonders if NYPD officers should be issued firearms at all. Or if they do carry guns, should the amount of ammunition be limited? Perhaps a single round normally carried in a shirt pocket? That kept Barney Fife out of trouble.