Philando Castile’s death has nothing to do with the NRA, and no it is not “proof” they are “racist.”

I’ve seen “The NRA is RACIST!!!” claimed over and over again, often using the death of Philando Castile as if it is “proof” of this claim.  The people making this argument do so without knowledge of gun control laws or the full facts behind this case.

The Philando Castile shooting – Background:

On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was shot and killed by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minnesota, police officer, after being pulled over in Falcon Heights, a suburb of Saint Paul. Castile was in a car with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter when he was pulled over by Yanez and another officer.[3][4]

The shooting achieved a high profile[5] from a live-streamed video on Facebook made by Diamond Reynolds in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.[6] It shows her interacting with the armed officer as a mortally injured Castile lies slumped over, moaning slightly and his left arm and side bloody.[7] The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office said he had sustained multiple gunshot wounds and reported that Castile died at 9:37 p.m. CDT in the emergency room of the Hennepin County Medical Center, about 20 minutes after being shot.[8]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Philando_Castile

Reynold’s video mentioned repeatedly that Castile had a concealed carry permit. This was seized upon by various parties, who immediately declared that the NRA was racist for not defending Castile.

The NRA issued the following statement, 2 days after the shooting.

Shortly after this, other facebook videos from Castile’s girlfriend were unearthed, including one filmed days before the shooting, showing both of them smoking marijuana while riding in his car.

Further news reports revealed that the police officer responsible for the shooting smelled marijuana in the vehicle when he approached, and this Castile’s marijuana use was confirmed in later toxicology reports showing that he had high THC levels in his blood when he was killed.

As soon as marijuana usage was revealed, this shooting ceased to be “lawful concealed carrier shot by cop during traffic stop.”

Instead, Castile’s marijuana usage made him a “prohibited person” under the 1968 Gun Control Act:

The Gun Control Act (GCA), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), makes it unlawful for certain categories of persons to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms or ammunition, to include any person:

  • convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  • who is a fugitive from justice;
  • who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 802);
  • who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
  • who is an illegal alien;
  • who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
  • who has renounced his or her United States citizenship;
  • who is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner; or
  • who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

This bears repeating: The 1968 Gun Control Act makes it unlawful for certain categories of persons to possess firearms; one of those categories is unlawful users of controlled substances.  Marijuana is a Schedule I narcotic.

Because it is restricted at a federal level, state laws regarding medical marijuana use do not matter – using it is still unlawful under the Controlled Substances Act.

The ATF states this outright:

[A]ny person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.

If Castile was prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms, his CCW was irrelevant.

He was not a law abiding gun owner. He was not legally exercising his Second Amendment Rights. His was no longer legally carrying a firearm, but was illegally carrying while under the influence of a narcotic.  He was breaking Federal law, and as soon as this information came out, the NRA was no longer able to defend him or be outraged at his death.

The Controlled Substances Act draws no distinction between Schedule I narcotics; heroin, LSD, ecstasy, methaqualone, and peyote are all considered at the same level and if the NRA defended the unlawful user of one drug, they’d effectively be arguing for the users of any other Schedule I narcotic to also be allowed to possess firearms.

Marijuana needs to be rescheduled as soon as possible, but this has nothing to do with the NRA.

Marijuana / cannabis laws are yet another example of institutional racism in action, and the racist roots of marijuana laws are well documented.  This law is disproportionately prosecuted against Hispanic offenders, and there are a myriad of arguments for cannabis being rescheduled to make it available via legal means. Until this happens, firearms owners are stuck between a rock & a hard place – they are forced to choose between their 2nd Amendment rights and marijuana usage.

I personally think it’s shameful that after 8 years of a Democratic President who openly admitted being a regular user of marijuana during his high school years, who stated that marijuana use was no more dangerous than alcohol… zero action was taken to solve this issue.  It is especially ironic to consider that had President Obama been convicted for unlawful marijuana use, he may not have reached the highest political office.

Castile’s death was a tragic, avoidable police shooting, but the NRA absolutely cannot be blamed for it, nor is it “evidence” of any prejudice or racism on the NRA’s part.

Advertisements

Antigun Dishonesty: Banning “Weapons of War” and what that really means

Every so often the antigun zealots let their mask slip and reveal their true intentions, and the recent tactic of calling ordinary semiautomatic rifles “Weapons of War” is what we will talk about today.

The basis of this description is a bald-faced appeal to emotion.  A Weapon of War is clearly something extraordinarily dangerous, and by framing the AR-15 as such, they already set the stage that there is something unusual & frightening about them.

The US military doesn’t use the AR-15.  The US military uses the M16, & M4 carbine, which are cosmetically similar to the AR-15, but have an additional capability: fully automatic fire.

So let’s make this absolutely, perfectly clear: if someone calls an AR-15 a “Weapon of War” they are lying to you.

If you are unfamiliar with this topic, I strongly recommend the following website: http://www.assaultweapon.info where they discuss the differences between “assault weapons” and machineguns.

The reality is that AR-15s are no different than any other semiautomatic weapon available on the civilian market: you pull the trigger, a single bullet is fired.  You pull the trigger again, another bullet is fired.  Repeat until there is no more ammunition, or you’ve decided to stop shooting.

The antigun zealots are counting on you not going any further than visual similarities, and say as much:

 [H]andgun restriction is simply not viewed as a priority. Assault weapons … are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.

But let’s ignore this and just look at the phrase “Weapon of War” and follow the logic chain.  If “Weapon[s] of War” should be banned, even if the “Weapon of War” isn’t actually a “Weapon of War” then what about actual firearms being issued to the military?

Bolt Action Rifles

This is the USMC M40A6, a true blue sniper rifle:

Looks pretty scary, right? It’s tan, it has a folding stock, a pistol grip, a black barrel, rails for mounting all sorts of terrible devices…. wow.  Frightening!

This is the Remington 700 CDL:

Clearly a non-scary, harmless deer rifle, just like Grandpa used to have.

These are the same rifle.  Seriously.  The M40A6 is just a Remington 700 with fancy furniture, a special barrel & cosmetic work.  The most important part is right here:

That is how the firearm operates – the mechanism is called a “bolt action” – that lever above the trigger has to be pulled up, then back, then moved forward and down after each shot in order to load the next round.

Everything else is extraneous.  The barrel, the stock, any accessories such as a telescopic sight or bipod or anemometer or laser sight… none of those change how the firearm functions.   The sniper rifle at top is the same gun as “grandpa’s deer rifle” on the bottom.

If you ban the former, “Weapon of War” you have to ban the latter.

Shotguns

No discussion about “Weapon[s] of War” is complete without mentioning shotguns.  Shotguns have a proud history in warfare, and have been present in every military conflict where US soldiers have been combatants.

These are variants of the Modular Combat Shotgun system, currently issued:

You’ve got the full sized version that is used to guard facilities & prisoners.  You have a shorter version with a collapsing stock for Close Quarters Battle in urban environments, and you have a Breaching variant that is used to blow open locked doors when performing dynamic entry.

Compare them to this fairly ordinary “hunting” shotgun:

Would you be surprised to know that both sets of shotguns are variants of the Remington Model 870?  Again, both are pump action shotguns, the only difference is cosmetic: the furniture & finish.

If you want to ban  “Weapon[s] of War” then you simply must ban shotguns.

Pistols

Of course, no discussion about “Weapon[s] of War” can take place without the standard sidearm of the US armed forces, issued to pilots, officers, military policemen & Special Forces (among others):

The M9 pistol happens to also be known as the Beretta 92FS which was the standard sidearm of the LAPD for decades.

For that matter the USMC is issuing the Glock 19 under the designation M007:

While the Glock 17 has long been the standard issue sidearm to armed forces around the world.

So clearly if you want to ban  “Weapon[s] of War” you must ban common pistols as well.

Conclusion: by telling us they want to ban  “Weapon[s] of War” the antigun zealots confess their true goal is to ban every type of firearm; they just aren’t smart enough to realize this.

Token Antigun Veteran: The NRA and its allies use jargon to bully gun-control supporters

Have you ever noticed that whenever an “air” of authority is needed, a token antigun veteran or gun owner is trotted out to promote whatever antigun tactic is going to be used to try to silence the people protesting their rights being taken away?

Adam Weinstein is just one example.   Before we get to the hilariously bad piece of gaslighting that he wrote, let’s talk about his CV for a few moments.  His WaPo byline says the following:

Adam Weinstein is a senior editor at Task & Purpose and a Florida native, and is currently at work on a memoir about gun culture in America.

Oh, a senior editor for Task & Purpose? Gosh, that’s fantastic, he must know his stuff!  Let’s look at his bio on Muck Rack:

I’m a senior editor at Task & Purpose, the news and culture site for service members and veterans. Previously, I was a senior investigative editor for a startup created by ABC News and Univision. From 2013 to 2015, I was a senior writer for Gawker, specializing in national insecurity: domestic discontents, guns, global affairs, and militaria. I launched and edited Gawker’s highly successful Fortress America blog. I also helped launch The Trace, the investigative magazine on gun culture and policy, as a writer and editor.

Well gosh, he helped launch The Trace, the firearms “journalism” talking point generator financed by Mike Bloomberg, joining his other astroturf groups such as Moms Demand Action, Everytown, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and more.  When someone admits to helping launch a propaganda outfit, you should take what they have to say with a giant grain of salt.

Today, he published the following opinion piece in the Washington Post – The NRA and its allies use jargon to bully gun-control supporters: If you don’t know what the “AR” in AR-15 stands for, you don’t get to talk.

Right off the bat we have him poisoning the well and acting like gun owners are engaged in the horrifying crime of gatekeeping, because knowing what you are talking about is somehow a bad thing.

 While debating the merits of various gun control proposals, Second Amendment enthusiasts often diminish, or outright dismiss their views if they use imprecise firearms terminology. Perhaps someone tweets about “assault-style” weapons, only to be told that there’s no such thing. Maybe they’re reprimanded that an AR-15 is neither an assault rifle nor “high-powered.” Or they say something about “machine guns” when they really mean semiautomatic rifles. Or they get sucked into an hours-long Facebook exchange over the difference between the terms clip and magazine.

Well, yes, we do diminish or dismiss the view of people who make ignorant statements.  You see, Adam, words have meanings and when you wish to enter into a discussion about how the firearms laws of this country are bad, it helps if you can demonstrate a layperson’s knowledge of the subject matter.   Why does this matter?

Because the difference between an “assault weapon” and an “assault rifle” is that the former is available from WalMart, but possessing the latter without an appropriate NFA Form 4 with Tax Stamp is a violation of US Code; a felony with 10 year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.  Even more than this, the “common sense” “gun safety” proposals being put forth are also going to be federal laws, with federal felony penalties for violating them.

So when you want to turn people into felons for breaking laws, asking you to know what you are talking about is not bullying.  It’s having a rational discussion.  It’s not making people into criminals based upon your ignorance.

If you don’t know the difference between an “assault weapon” and “assault rifle” here’s a handy resource that will teach you – http://www.assaultweapon.info/ (link opens in new window).  If that’s too long, this Imgur gallery is a short read.

Weinstein’s article focuses on haranguing various conservatives who use pro-gun arguments.  He snidely comments on Dana Loesch wrongly identifying Belton & Puckle guns as fully automatic.  He berates Tomi Lahren for not having “qualifications” when she pointed out that the AR in AR-15 stands for Armalite and not “Assault Rifle” then goes off on a tangent where Eugene’s Stoner’s family somehow knows exactly how their late patriarch would have felt regarding his almost 60 year old design being the most popular pattern rifle in the US.

Basically he engages in all manner of ad hominem attacks & logical fallacies while trying to shut down discussion, because feelings mean more than facts or something.  Unsurprising considering his boss paid good money to produce this slick paper advocating exactly that: Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging

Then he insincerely slides in as an impartial, middle ground “voice of reason” with this comment:

In this kind of war over words, both sides probably need to give a little. But the pro-gun side needs to give a lot more — not just because it’s been disingenuously gunsplaining to shut down discussions and close minds for years — but because the onus should be on those citizens who own the weapons technology, and purport to understand it, to share that understanding with the skeptical and less-informed. That’s a responsibility that goes along with the right to bear arms.

The pro-gun side does not need to give, at all, because we’re literally faced with people who view the NRA as a terrorist organization, (including putting up billboards advertising their belief) are calling members “child murderers.”  Spare me the indignation about “gunsplaining” Adam, your crocodile tears are transparent.

He closes with

And yes, a growing number of American gun owners, including me, find “assault weapons” easier to define, and harder to defend, with time.

Well of course you find them hard to defend, Adam.  You’re a stalwart defender of gun control in nearly every form, and are a quisling.  You  are “one of the good ones” who is all too happy to promote gun control because you think the 2nd Amendment is a relic and not a necessity, especially when law enforcement agencies are not only have no duty to protect you but also aren’t even going to take action when directly warned about a mass shooter.  They’ll just stand around waiting while kids die.  I figured out who you remind me of.

So Adam, this isn’t about “gunsplaining” – it’s about you trying to silence the critics pointing out the myriad flaws in your side’s terrible arguments.   The only “bad faith” is your dishonest garbage masquerading as a ‘reasonable person’s perspective.’

Reason.com article also discussing this: http://reason.com/blog/2018/03/06/in-defense-of-gunsplaining

Hotair: https://hotair.com/archives/2018/03/06/when-democrats-gunsplain/

Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com/2018/03/06/washington-post-gun-control-second-amendment/

Twitchy: https://twitchy.com/sarahd-313035/2018/03/06/oh-good-grief-this-wapo-opinion-piece-on-gunsplaining-is-beyond-embarrassing/

Louisville’s $1.2 million ShotSpotter system counted 465 gunshots on NYE. No Arrests Made.

File this story under “(No) Return on investment” –

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – It was a busy New Year’s Eve for Louisville Metro Police.

According to LMPD’s Public Information Officer Lamont Washington, ShotSpotter, Louisville’s new technology that allows police to detect the sound of gunfire, was activated a total of 465 times between 11 p.m. New Year’s Eve and 8 a.m. New Year’s Day.

According to Washington, this is the first New Year’s Eve that Louisville has had the technology.

ShotSpotter uses sensors to find the location of gunfire within seconds. LMPD hasn’t disclosed exactly where the sensors are located in the city, but has told us they’re located in areas that have experienced the most gun violence in Louisville. Neighborhoods like Portland, Russell, Shawnee, Chickasaw, Parkland, Smoketown, Shelby Park, and Old Louisville.

Officers have access to ShotSpotter on their car computers and smartphones. Every time gunfire erupts, the technology pinpoints exactly where the shots came from. Within a minute that gunfire erupts, officers on patrol, along with the Real Time Crime Center and MetroSafe are notified.

No arrests were made in connection to any of the shots fired on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. 

http://www.wave3.com/story/37177557/lmpds-shotspotter-records-465-gunshots-that-rang-in-the-new-year

For a system that’s cost $1.2 million so far, with additional subscription dollars expected soon, let me just say I’m less than impressed.  ShotSpotter has been in use in a variety of cities, from LA to Chicago.  While it has been used to direct patrol cars to areas where suspects have been caught with the gun still in hand, its record is not exactly stellar.

The money spent on this system could have paid for several full time officers, new cruisers, and updated equipment.  Or, social welfare programs with proven track records in reducing violence, such as after school programs.  Oh well!

DRGO – “Gun Violence Does Not Fit The Public Health Model of Disease”

The oft chanted mantra that firearms are like viruses is patently untenable. Viruses are living organisms—they replicate and perform actions independently. To consider firearms alive, self-replicating and capable of independent action requires an absence of rationality.

Now, to the public health model. It is predicated on education about, then modification and eradication, of a problem. Study should begin with examining history, epidemiology, utility, and a cost benefit ratio.

Firearms are a tool designed to allow an organism to project power against another organism. That holds whether the tool-using organism(s) is a human against a predatory animal, or a group of people against another group of people. They are especially helpful for weaker organisms confronted by stronger ones. Firearms may be used appropriately or inappropriately, but that is based upon the user, not the tool.

Firearms are widely prevalent and that holds whether society accepts them or not. That is clear when we compare disparate regulations between cities within a country, or between countries. Some examples include Chicago and Baltimore in the United States, and criminal and terrorist use of firearms in countries with very strict anti-firearm regulations such as France, Mexico and Guatemala.

Firearms do exactly what they were designed to do, and they do it effectively and efficiently. For self-defense or anti-criminal use, firearms are the quintessential tool which allows a person, regardless of strength or physical ability, to defend against an individual or a group of criminals.

Individuals and groups who wish to see firearms removed from society frequently begin by proposing modifications. None of the modifications expounded by these groups would improve the utility and cost-benefit equation, or prevent criminals and terrorists from misusing them.

That leaves eradication. Those who propose eradication fail to understand human nature. Being human drives us to develop tools for specific purposes. Humankind went from being able to walk to using animals and then machinery to accomplish transportation. We went from charcoal scratchings on rock to print and electronics to accomplish communication. We went from running to throwing rocks to launching projectiles faster and farther to firearms.

Last but not least, the public health model has worked to some degree for automobile safety, and to reduce tobacco and alcohol use. But imperfectly, because the advocates fail to understand human nature. Compulsion goes only so far. Society continues to struggling with the failure of seat-belt laws and mechanical safety devices, and the fact that people too often will not do what other people think is in their best interest. The public health model as applied to firearms issues has also been plagued by misuse of data and fraudulent science attempting to promote a predetermined end. The American people trust the Constitution of the United States more than they trust esoteric statistics.

Ultimately, the public health model fails because the proponents are ideologists, not scientists.

https://drgo.us/gun-violence-does-not-fit-the-public-health-model-of-disease/

Vice interviews a former ATF analyst on bump fire stocks, makes the subtle case to ban semiautomatic firearms.

Vice is usually not known for their unbiased coverage or accurate gun reporting.  Just look at their “Gun Control” section of their site – 11 pages of entries, with few (if any) neutral or objective segments.

Which is why I’m not going to give them the benefit of the doubt with this piece:

The gist is, “Bump stocks are legal because that’s how the law is written.”  The retired ATF analyst even demonstrates how bumpfire can be achieved without a stock, and the VICE reporter quickly is able to replicate this.

The implication is clear: Congress must take action to change the laws.

Seriously, USA Today? 40mm Grenade Launchers?

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more idiotic, USA Today says “hold my beer!”

Yep, 40mm grenade launchers are somehow a danger, despite their being restricted as Destructive Devices, requiring the usual ATF background check, FBI fingerprinting, $200 tax stamp, and more.  And that’s just for the launcher – if you want a 40mm round, each one of those is considered a destructive device as well, if you can even find someone willing to sell you an explosive 40mm round.  

You know what the penalty is for having an unregistered Destructive Device? Federal Felony charges with up to 10 years in jail & a fine of $250,000.  But USA Today thinks these are just an accessory that is commonly available at any gun store.

This is why journalists covering firearms are mocked & derided relentlessly in the firearms community.   Because memes like this become less satire, and more reality:

If you want to have a serious discussion about a topic, it helps if you have even a layman’s grasp of the subject matter.  USA Today’s graphic is the epitome of fear mongering nonsense.