No one wants to take your guns, right? New York Times: “Repeal the Second Amendment”

In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, the usual suspects have come out in full force.  This showed up on my news feed this morning:

From a law-and-order standpoint, more guns means more murder. “States with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides,” noted one exhaustive 2013 study in the American Journal of Public Health.

Nothing like a Post Hoc ergo Propter Hoc fallacy to start things off.

From a personal-safety standpoint, more guns means less safety. The F.B.I. counted a total of 268 “justifiable homicides” by private citizens involving firearms in 2015; that is, felons killed in the course of committing a felony. Yet that same year, there were 489 “unintentional firearms deaths” in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Between 77 and 141 of those killed were children.

And a smooth transition to cherry picking by comparing justifiable homicides to accidents.  As usual, defensive gun uses that do not result in a dead criminal aren’t worthy of being counted, despite estimates of them ranging from 50,000 to 2 million a year.

From a national-security standpoint, the Amendment’s suggestion that a “well-regulated militia” is “necessary to the security of a free State,” is quaint. The Minutemen that will deter Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un are based in missile silos in Minot, N.D., not farmhouses in Lexington, Mass.

The venerable strawman appears!

From a personal liberty standpoint, the idea that an armed citizenry is the ultimate check on the ambitions and encroachments of government power is curious. The Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s, the New York draft riots of 1863, the coal miners’ rebellion of 1921, the Brink’s robbery of 1981 — does any serious conservative think of these as great moments in Second Amendment activism?

Someone’s clearly never heard of the Battle of Athens.

But hey, there’s a moment of self awareness:

Given all of this, why do liberals keep losing the gun control debate?

Maybe it’s because they argue their case badly and — let’s face it — in bad faith. Democratic politicians routinely profess their fidelity to the Second Amendment — or rather, “a nuanced reading” of it — with all the conviction of Barack Obama’s support for traditional marriage, circa 2008. People recognize lip service for what it is.

Then there are the endless liberal errors of fact. There is no “gun-show loophole” per se; it’s a private-sale loophole, in other words the right to sell your own stuff. The civilian AR-15 is not a true “assault rifle,” and banning such rifles would have little effect on the overall murder rate, since most homicides are committed with handguns. It’s not true that 40 percent of gun owners buy without a background check; the real number is closer to one-fifth.

The National Rifle Association does not have Republican “balls in a money clip,” as Jimmy Kimmel put it the other night. The N.R.A. has donated a paltry $3,533,294 to all current members of Congress since 1998, according to The Washington Post, equivalent to about three months of Kimmel’s salary. The N.R.A. doesn’t need to buy influence: It’s powerful because it’s popular.

Nor will it do to follow the “Australian model” of a gun buyback program, which has shown poor results in the United States and makes little sense in a country awash with hundreds of millions of weapons. Keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill people is a sensible goal, but due process is still owed to the potentially insane. Background checks for private gun sales are another fine idea, though its effects on homicides will be negligible: guns recovered by police are rarely in the hands of their legal owners, a 2016 study found.

In fact, the more closely one looks at what passes for “common sense” gun laws, the more feckless they appear. Americans who claim to be outraged by gun crimes should want to do something more than tinker at the margins of a legal regime that most of the developed world rightly considers nuts. They should want to change it fundamentally and permanently.

Holy shit, this is the most honest assessment of the gun control movement I’ve seen in ages.

Too bad it doesn’t last:

There is only one way to do this: Repeal the Second Amendment.

Repealing the Amendment may seem like political Mission Impossible today, but in the era of same-sex marriage it’s worth recalling that most great causes begin as improbable ones. Gun ownership should never be outlawed, just as it isn’t outlawed in Britain or Australia. But it doesn’t need a blanket Constitutional protection, either. The 46,445 murder victims killed by gunfire in the United States between 2012 and 2016 didn’t need to perish so that gun enthusiasts can go on fantasizing that “Red Dawn” is the fate that soon awaits us.

Oh ok dude.  You just spent paragraphs telling us how the gun control movement argues in bad faith and now you want to repeal the constitutional protection that prevents firearms from being banned from ownership.

Let’s also not pretend that banning & confiscation wouldn’t be immediately put on the menu.  You know how I know this? Because even with the 2nd Amendment protections, gun control zealots frequently propose just that.  Here’s a bill that was put forward for banning firearms in Wisconsin.  Here’s another one in Missouri.  Here’s one in Georgia that called for confiscation.  California & New York both have already passed bills that ban firearms & do not allow for grandfathered possession, with New York using their registration database to require turning them in or destroying them – notice that the firearms referenced are .22lr rifles, deemed illegal because they have a magazine capacity greater than 5 rounds.

Let’s not pretend that allowing people to own a single shot .22LR or over & under shotgun, stored at a hunting club, isn’t effectively banning firearms ownership.

I wonder what Madison would have to say about that today, when more than twice as many Americans perished last year at the hands of their fellows as died in battle during the entire Revolutionary War. My guess: Take the guns—or at least the presumptive right to them—away. The true foundation of American exceptionalism should be our capacity for moral and constitutional renewal, not our instinct for self-destruction.

How would the the Founding Fathers feel about privately owned guns? Dude, they issued Letters of Marque to allow for privately owned warships.  They had personally owned cannons. The Brown Bess rifle commonly owned by citizens was better than what was issued to the Continental Army.

Heck, even your math is bad – the population of the US during the Revolutionary war was roughly 2.5 million.  Regarding casualties during the Revolutionary war:

Throughout the course of the war, an estimated 6,800 Americans were killed in action, 6,100 wounded, and upwards of 20,000 were taken prisoner. Historians believe that at least an additional 17,000 deaths were the result of disease, including about 8,000–12,000 who died while prisoners of war.

America’s population today is 330 million, or 132 times greater than in 1776.  Let’s do some simple math:

6,800 war casualties times 132 = 897,600.  In comparison, we had 11,004 homicides by firearm in 2016.

So what would Madison say? He’d probably tell you to go pound sand, just in less polite terms.

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Let’s talk about silencers & how the “gun safety” movement is a lie.

Silencers are in the news, with all manner of breathless fear mongering coming from various outlets.  Why? The Sportsmen’s Heritage  Recreational and Enhancement Act of 2017 (SHARE) passed through committee (on a straight party-line vote, naturally) and has been forwarded to the House of Representatives.  Attached to it is the Hearing Protection Act, which (if successful) will remove silencers from the National Firearms Act and treat them like regular Title I firearms.   Not sure what this means? Don’t worry, I’ll explain.

What’s the big deal?

If you are unfamiliar with the backstory on what silencers are & why they are restricted, David Kopel wrote an excellent article covering the history & politics of silencers.   To sum up: Hiram Maxim invented the sound suppressor back in 1909 and marketed it as a “silencer.”   Here in the US, they are fairly uncommon & if you don’t have the proper paperwork  can send you to prison for a long time.

Wait, what?  Yep, that’s right –  For some reason that nobody can figure out, Congress decided to include them in the National Firearms Act of 1934, resulting in their being treated the same as machineguns, sawed off shotguns, and hand grenades.  Under the NFA, a hollow tube with baffles is considered a Title II firearm & heavily restricted: owning one requires fingerprints, a background check, and a $200 tax stamp.   Violations of Title II firearms laws are a federal felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.

With all these hoops to jump through, and harsh penalties, why do people want silencers anyhow?

Despite their portray in popular media, guns are loud.  A single gunshot can be up to 190dB – in comparison, thunder from a nearby storm is around 120dB.  Both are enough to cause immediate, permanent hearing damage because the sound is loud enough to kill hearing tissue.

Silencers are the gun equivalent of a car’s muffler – they function by taking the exhaust gases of combustion & slowing their expansion, cooling them before they escape the muzzle. The typical silencer is not particularly complex – it can’t be, because unlike an automobile muffler, the bullet has to travel in a straight line. Crude examples can be found made from converted oil filters, or can be constructed of a simple pipe, washers & steel or copper wool, and a means to attach it to the firearms barrel.  In a recent episode of The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes is shown with one made from a Maglite:

 

Silencers have many benefits besides the obvious noise reduction for the shooter:

  • Increased situational awareness.  By being able to hear what is going on around you, you are safer.  You are able to communicate with others &
  • Decreased firearms recoil, which means greater accuracy.
  • Less noise pollution in the surrounding area, which is especially important around firing ranges. In some European nations they are considered an essential way to reduce noise pollution & are available without a hassle.  Glock makes a disposable model that’s around $150 that is available in various countries.

In all likelihood, if OSHA had existed when silencers were invented, they’d be mandatory equipment today.

What caused this Silencer Showdown?

It is only in recent years that use of silencers in the American firearms community has changed, largely due to three factors: inflation, military acceptance & information sharing.

Inflation: When Maxim invented the silencer, Pistol models sold for $5, rifle versions were $7, or around $125 in 2017 dollars.  The National Firearms Act added $200 to that cost, effectively banning them from anyone other than the rich –   $200 in 1934 is the equivalent of $4959 in 2017.  Thanks to the magic of inflation, a $200 tax stamp no longer is the hurdle it once was, and in the last decade silencer, short barrel rifle, short barrel shotgun & other NFA purchases have exploded.   Let’s face it, in 1934 $200 on a $5 item was a big deal; but $200 today? That’s a monthly cell phone bill.

Military use: Silencers have been in military service since WWI, where they were issued to snipers & sharpshooters.  In WWII, they were found in various capacities from the Welrod Pistol to the Deslisle Destroyer Carbine to Silenced Sten. Vietnam saw a variant of the S&W M39 called the Mk 22 “Hush Puppy” that was used by SEALs for eliminating guard dogs & sentries, along with Silenced Swedish K “K Guns” used by both Special Forces & CIA personnel.

This continued into the modern era.  Well aware of the advantages that silencers provided, military units made them a requirement on weapons systems solicitations; in the mid 90s the Special Operations Peculiar MODification (SOPMOD) kit had a sound suppressor for each rifle.  When the Global War on Terror ramped up, Special Operations became even more important & capabilities needed to be filled.  The M110 was issued as a designated marksman’s rifle, putting silencers into the hands of riflemen.

Traditional media, Social media & word of mouth: In 2010, there had been a grand total of 285,087 silencers registered since 1934.  That would soon change.

The internet allowed firearms enthusiasts to communicate from around the world.  As such, those with actual experience using silencers, industry representatives & potential buyers were able join together. Information sharing via sites like AR15.com (est 1997), SilencerTalk, (created in 2006), tactical industry publications, & word of mouth allowed end users to become more educated on silencer effectiveness, how to obtain their own, or in some cases make them with ATF approval.  No longer was the NFA a mystery, and a niche market was even created to simplify the process by connecting firearms lawyers with clients.

Social media further spread information, from digital photos taken by service members to companies like Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC), Surefire & Gemtech taking part in  discussions.   These companies leveraged their knowledge gained from servicing military & law enforcement customers into providing better quality products to both law enforcement & civilian buyers.  Detailed specifications allowed comparison shopping. YouTube channels like Hickok45 featured silencer use & others explained the science behind them.   Industry leading manufacturers formed the American Suppressor Association in 2014 to help educate & reform silencer laws at both the state & federal level; through their efforts it is now legal to hunt with a silencer equipped firearm in 42 states.  Finally, large firearms manufacturers entered the market: Remington acquired AAC, SIG-Sauer created their own silencer division, and just this year S&W bought Gemtech.

By 2015, silencer ownership had exploded. CNN noted the drastic increase in silencer sales:

The number of registered silencers surged 38% from last year to 792,282 in February 2015, according to the most recent figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. There were 571,750 licenses in March 2014.

A year later there were 900,000 silencers in circulation. In February 2017 there were 1.3 million and the numbers continue to increase.

Even some people at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives have changed their minds on their being restricted, stating in a whitepaper that:

[T]he reason for their inclusion in the NFA is archaic and historical reluctance to removing them from the NFA should be reevaluated.

The Free Beacon has confirmed that silencers are rarely used in crimes, with roughly 44 instances a year.

“Consistent with this low number of prosecution referrals, silencers are very rarely used in criminal shootings,” Turk wrote. “Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating [National Firearms Act] classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the [Gun Control Act].”

Even in 2014 the ATF was having a difficult time keeping up with the ever increasing demands for NFA items.   Eventually they changed to a 7 day workweek and increased NFA branch personnel nearly threefold in order to try to combat growing delays.   Wait times for NFA transfers continued to increase.  The existing system wasn’t working, and wasn’t helped by a new Obama-era rule change called 41f that further increased paperwork to be processed – wait times were expected to double.  In anticipation of the rules changes, people rushed to get their paperwork in so their purchases would be “grandfathered” – Silencerco reportedly submitted $2,000,000 worth of NFA stamp applications in a single day.  If those were all silencers or machineguns, that’s 10,000 applications.

The ATF whitepaper gives an insider’s view:

The wide acceptance of silencers and corresponding changes in state laws have created substantial demand across the country. This surge in demand has caused ATF to have a  significant backlog on silencer applications. ATF’s processing time is now approximately 8 months. ATF has devoted substantial resources in attempts to reduce processing times, spending over $1 million annually in overtime and temporary duty expenses, and dedicating over 33 additional full-time and contract positions since 2011 to support NFA processing.

Put it another way: by keeping silencers restricted, it’s having a negative effect on law enforcement, because administration is draining resources.  That is money spent on personnel & paperwork and is not spent on criminal investigations.

Things come to a head

Enter the Hearing Protection Act of 2015, which had the objective of changing silencers from Title II weapons, to Title I & treated the same as regular firearms  The HPA eventually picked up 82 cosponsors, but was not passed in the 2015-16 session.  With the 2016 election under way, it was tabled; Clinton had campaigned on increasing firearms restrictions across the board, and was favored to win.

With Trump’s surprise victory & Republican control of both the Senate & House, there was an opportunity.  Donald Trump Jr, an avid hunter, spearheaded efforts to reduce silencer regulations. The Hearing Protection Act was dusted off, reintroduced to the house as HPA 2017. It was then referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, followed by the House Judiciary, where it languished until June, when it was attached to the SHARE Act.  SHARE already had strong bipartisan approval and incorporated a number of changes that the firearms community had been seeking for decades.

So let’s talk about the “gun safety” movement & their objections to this bill.

Naturally the possibility of silencer restrictions being eased has caused a panic in the anti-gun movement & media allies.  Everytown produced a litany of fear mongering nonsense.  The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank panicked and vomited forth a massive amount of hyperbole including talk of howitzers & Stinger missiles (which the NRA quickly debunked). The Huffington Post claims deregulation is a ploy of the gun industry in order to combat the “Trump Slump” (which doesn’t exist, but I’ll address that in another article).

Rather than address each article, let’s talk about…

Common Myths Surrounding Silencers

Myth #1: Silencers completely eliminate the sound of a gunshot! 

Despite their portrayal in movies & television, silencers do not reduce a gunshot to a kitten sneezing.  In fact:

  •  a rifle with a silencer is still as loud as the operations deck of an aircraft carrier;
  • a pistol with a silencer is as loud as a jackhammer.

Even the CEO of ShotSpotter, a system used to detect gunfire in several cities, states that the Shotspotter system can still detect firearms equipped with silencers.

“In regard to gun silencers, it is more accurate to call them suppressors, as they suppress the impulsive sound of gunfire, not wholly eliminate it,” said Ralph Clark, the chief executive of ShotSpotter. “We have successfully if not inadvertently detected confirmed suppressed gunfire within our existing deployments. Although we have not formally tested the theoretical impact to our system, we intend to do some targeted testing in the near future. We believe we will have various options ranging from increasing our sensor array density to developing software/firmware to address the detection of suppressed gunfire if it were to become a widespread issue.”

Despite what some may claim, a silencer will not make a mass shooter more deadly, or hunter less safe.

Myth #2: Restricting them has kept them out of the hands of criminals!

This is a great example of correlation not equaling causation, or the Simpsons example of the tiger-repellent rock.  Strict silencer laws have not, in fact, kept them out of the hands of criminals; rather their use is just not given much media play because criminals breaking the law with heavily restricted items goes against the narrative.  Examples:

Over a half dozen examples in the last two years, with many more probably not even reported on.

So why aren’t criminals using silencers?  Probably because most criminals use small, concealable handguns and adding 9-12″ to the barrel makes them much more difficult to tuck into a belt.

Myth #3: People don’t need silencers, they can just wear earplugs!

First, let’s start with the research: The CDC did a study in 2011 titled, “Noise and Lead Exposures at an Outdoor Firing Range ─ California”.  In it, they stated:

The only potentially effective noise control method to reduce students’ or instructors’ noise exposure from gunfire is through the use of noise suppressors that can be attached to the end of the gun barrel.

The common sense approach to a loud noise is to muffle the item causing it, not to expect everyone in the area to be equipped with ear protection.  It’s only when that is not possible that additional hearing protection is suggested, which is why cars have mufflers instead of expecting drivers & passengers to wear ear plugs.

Second, when carrying a firearm for self defense, it is not possible or practical to wear ear plugs or muffs at all times.  There are over 16 million people with concealed carry permits in the United States, and unknown numbers of people who concealed carry in the 13 states with Constitutional Carry.  Each one runs the risk of permanent hearing loss should they be forced to defend themselves.

In addition, wearing ear plugs or muffs reduces safety, not increases it.  With hearing protection on, all sound is reduced, not just the gunshot, resulting in a loss of situational awareness:

  • Hunters cannot hear other people in the woods.
  • A homeowner inside their house will not be able to effectively hear an intruder’s movements – or police commands if they make entry.
  • Students receiving instruction have to learn to overcome the blast & recoil, rather than concentrating on form & control.
  • The areas surrounding firing ranges have increased levels of noise pollution.

Myth #4: If silencers are easier to get, there will be more criminals using silencers!

While I already addressed this partially with Myth #1 & how guns are still loud even with a silencer attached, this argument really requires a leap in logic to believe.

First, seized firearms figures show that most criminals use small & inexpensive handguns for crime.  The Trace was kind enough to provide data from Chicago PD which had inexpensive models from Ruger, Hi-Point, & other manufacturers dominating.  A stickup artist is not going to add 9-12″ of suppressor to the barrel of their firearm making it harder to conceal… not to mention doubling or tripling the price.

Second, there were also huge numbers of revolvers present, which cannot be effectively silenced due to the gap between the cylinder & the barrel. This throws additional cold water on potential criminal silencer use.

Silencers are a Public Health issue

Obviously the medical community must have something to say about this, right?

Surprise! They’ve been refusing to comment at all.  The silence of medical groups is something that has not gone unnoticed by the firearms community.  You’d think that decriminalizing a device that will prevent medical injury would be a no-brainer for medical professionals, but:

[T]he American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, American College of Surgeons, and the American Academy of Pediatrics not only refuse to support doing away with the outdated restrictions. They won’t even promote the use of suppressors as a valuable public health solution.

Even the group representing ear doctors, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, has decided officially to refuse their support of both this hearing-saving tool and the legislation that would make it widely available to their patients.

Usually eager to try to force further gun control under the guise of “Public Health” the medical community has been strangely quiet. There are no shortage of articles in medical journals advocating for stricter firearms laws, from background checks to “safe storage” to banning assault weapons, none of which have a proven track record of success at effecting, never mind reducing harm.  Yet when it comes to easing access to something that has empirically measurable, demonstrated effectiveness at preventing injury, they have nothing to say.

This, right here, reveals just how bankrupt the “gun safety” movement is.

 

NY DA doesn’t want CCW reciprocity… because ISIS. For real?

CNN took a break from being complete garbage to allow  New York District Attorney Vance a chance at bat:

Manhattan DA: This bill could turn your city into the Wild West

Blood will RUN in the STREETS!!!!  Where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, every single anti-gun argument since CCW reform began in the late 80s.

I’m proud to say that New York remains the safest big city in the nation, at least according to the Economist’s Safe Cities Index.

But this progress could come to a screeching halt if the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, known as CCRA, passes Congress. Every state has had the right to craft its own firearms licensing laws. In New York, we have crafted our laws to consider unique factors like our state’s population density, culture and history. The CCRA would override our state’s restrictive concealed-weapons permitting system and force New York to honor concealed-carry firearms privileges issued in other states, even though many other states have much looser standards.

Simply put, this means that the gun laws of Arkansas, for example, could be forced upon New York by federal mandate. I can only imagine how angry citizens of Arkansas would be if Washington politicians forced them to follow laws from New York.

Without a hint of irony, he manages to ignore how hated the NY SAFE Act is outside of NYC itself.  Hilarious!

Consider this: Eleven states grant concealed-carry privileges to individuals who have not undergone any safety training. Twenty states grant permits to people who have been convicted of violent crimes. And 12 states do not require any kind of permit or license to carry a concealed firearm. The CCRA would make it legal for someone to carry that concealed, loaded firearm into New York or anyplace else, regardless of local law.

How awful.  Why, the concealed carry holders of those states must be wanton criminals and those states are awash with violence committed by them, right? Strange that the DA couldn’t summon any information supporting that unspoken assumption, probably because as the Texas Department of Public Safety shows, CCW holders are much more law abiding than the general population.

So police officers are against this bill.

Uh, no, they aren’t.   Looking at that letter, it’s signed by the following organizations:

Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA)
International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA)
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA)
National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE)
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
Police Foundation (PF)

Missing from this is an endorsement of the largest police group, the Fraternal Order of Police, not to mention huge numbers of other organizations populated by rank & file officers.  In fact, I notice that this endorsement list is heavy on Command level endorsements, and scant on support from line officers.  This isn’t surprising, since police executives, administrators, and command staff are largely politically appointed & reflect the politics of their mayors.

In fact, when PoliceOne asked their members about their thoughts on armed citizens, the officers uniformly responded that they believed CCW was a good thing and helped reduce crime:

More than 91 percent of respondents support the concealed carry of firearms by civilians who have not been convicted of a felony and/or not been deemed psychologically/medically incapable.

A full 86 percent feel that casualties would have been reduced or avoided in recent tragedies like Newtown and Aurora if a legally-armed citizen was present (casualties reduced: 80 percent; avoided altogether: 60 percent).

Now that the ‘cops support a ban on CCW reciprocity!’ nonsense is debunked, let’s return to Vance’s fearmongering:

Who would actually be for this bill? I can offer one answer: ISIS.

According to George Washington University’s Extremism Tracker, New York is the top ISIS terror target in America. Meanwhile, ISIS is increasingly recruiting radicalized attackers to murder as many people as possible, using any means available.

Let’s not kid ourselves: ISIS is following the gun debate. Look no further than Rumiyah, its official magazine and how-to guide for terror. In its May 2017 issue, under a section titled “Just Terror Tactics,” ISIS specifically told aspiring terrorists how to exploit America’s lax gun laws to commit mass shootings on our soil:

“In most US states, anything from a single-shot shotgun all the way up to a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle can be purchased at showrooms or through online sales — by way of private dealers — with no background checks, and without requiring an ID or a gun license.”

The CCRA is a gift to these terrorists.

What.

Let’s break down how mindbogglingly stupid this argument is.

Right now, Europe is in the midst of a terror crisis, with automobiles being used to murder & wound dozens at a time.  After the latest attack in Barcelona, responding officers shot 5 terrorists who reportedly were wearing suicide vests.  A single van killed 13 and injured at least 120 people.  No word yet if NY DA Vance is going to call for banning motor vehicles within city limits, or banning driver’s licenses from other states.

Despite New York’s draconian firearms laws, somehow crimes are still being committed there.  There’s no magic barrier at the city or state line that prevents a firearm from coming in, so pretending that a ban on CCW reciprocity will prevent ISIS from smuggling in firearms is absurd, especially when a group of jihadists can use credit cards and rent a few moving vans from Budget or U-Haul and plow them through pedestrians.

Or using them as VBIEDs.

Thanks for the laugh, Vance.  I hope you do better prep work on criminals because this was weak.

Get ready to strap on your stupid: David Smalley vomits “Why Gun Nuts Lie – I Know From Experience”

So I came across an article this morning where David Smalley, Proud Atheist, lectures America about “Why Gun Nuts Lie – I Know From Experience” – and with a premise like that, you know you are in for quite a wild ride.

First, he starts with his credentials:

I live in Texas. I’m a gun owner. I have a concealed handgun license. I’ve taught my kids how to fire weapons.

I also understand and appreciate our Constitution. I’m fully aware of the 2nd Amendment, and how its authors wanted to prevent government tyranny. Considering what they had gone through, they had every right to demand such a thing.

I know enough about weapons to have a near perfect score on my firing test, to know that the “c” in SR9c stands for “compact” to make the weapon easier to hide; and to know that the AR in AR-15 doesn’t stand for ‘Assault Rifle,’ but ‘Armalite’ after the original company who made the gun.

Am I a gun nut? Maybe. But I like to keep myself skeptical and informed. And that includes realizing when I’m being illogically influenced by my culture, and taking necessary steps to correct it.

Great, you’d think someone so informed would also be up to speed on current laws and important court decisions like Heller v DC or McDonald v Chicago.  Of course, he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.

At this nation’s beginning, it made sense for the citizens to be armed similarly to the government to prevent tyranny.

Today, that’s ridiculous. The very concept is outdated. Some have said to me; the point is for the citizens to be “as armed as well as the government.”

Really? The concept is outdated? This would seem to indicate that Mr. Smalley’s beliefs are predicated on either strawman arguments or a lack of history (or both).  We’ll go into detail though, don’t worry.

For starters, today, the military has fully automatic M-16s. Citizens can’t buy that. You have to get a tamer version: AR-15.

You can’t have flame throwers, bombs, bazookas, Z10 attack helicopters, bradleys, tanks, fighter jets, nuclear reactors, or a plethora of other secret military weapons you don’t even know exist.

Mr Smalley shows a fundamental lack of knowledge with these statements, starting with current gun control laws.  Citizens can buy fully automatic M-16s, they are regulated as Machineguns under the National Firearms Act of 1934.  Flamethrowers? Not even federally regulated (even CNN scratched their head on that) and there are models for sale online right now in various configurations.  Bombs & Bazookas? They are considered “destructive devices” and have similar paperwork to machineguns.  Attack helicopters (Z10? wtf) & fighter jets? Uh, here ya go. Bradleys, tanks? Whoops.

So right off the bat, Mr. Smalley is entirely full of shit.  Of course if you confront him on this, he will shift the goalposts to whine about how you can’t buy the latest in military weapons systems like AH-64 Apaches with full Block upgrades, or a F-22, but that is besides the point – anyone citizen based uprising doesn’t require full air dominance & support.  They just have to apply the same asymmetric warfare principles that were used against the US in Iraq, Afghanistan & Vietnam.

Secondly, what if you were? I could hand you 50 AR-15s, give you 1000 illegal bombs, steal you a couple of tanks, and smuggle in some bazookas, and even let you fully train 500 of your closest friends.

If the government wants your shit, they’re going to take it.

You still wouldn’t be a match for even a single battalion of the United States Marine Corps. Not to mention the Air Force, Army, Navy, National Guard, Secret Service, FBI, CIA, and Seals.

So stop acting like your little AR-15 is going to stop tyranny.

There’s the money shot!  The argument is “your AR-15 doesn’t matter against the full weight of the US Government.  At a base level, he’s correct – one person cannot stand against the government.  One person, however, can make a difference, whether they are Ed Snowden, or Bradley Manning, or others.  If Mr. Smalley had a base level of knowledge, he’d recall back to how WWI was started before making such a vacuous argument.

Here’s the thing though: We’ve been at war since just after 9/11 – 15 years now.  Despite that, we haven’t been able to pacify two areas that are smaller than Texas.  We still have troops deployed in Afghanistan, and despite “withdrawing” from Iraq, we have troops fighting there as well.  So while one man with a rifle can’t make a difference, it would behoove Mr. Smalley to recall the riots in Baltimore and Ferguson, or the LA Riots from the 90s,  before dismissing the effectiveness of large groups of people.  Larry Correia has a great article on why your “citizens can’t stand up to the government” argument is not grounded in reality, I suggest you read it.

But that can’t be all of his argument now, can it? Of course not:

Just be honest. You like it because it makes your pee-pee big, and when you fire it, it gives you a tingle in your no-no place.

Of course, nobody could want an AR-15 (or equivalent rifle) because they are fun guns to shoot. Or that they are excellent for home protection. Or that they work for shooters as tall as 6’6″, or children barely in their teens. No, it’s because we’ve got little dicks.  And Mr. Smalley has a vast amount of experience with the genitalia of gun owners because he’s clearly conversant and can speak from experience having handled many of them, right?

So what’s next? Oh, more of the usual antigun talking points:

A collection of studies from 2012-2013 found that having a gun in your home significantly increases your risk of death—and that of your spouse and children. If you have a gun (regardless of how it’s stored), everybody in your home is more likely than your non-gun-owning neighbors and their families to die in a gun-related accident, suicide or homicide.

 

Oh look, a list of 10 strawman arguments from Mother Jones, followed by a moronic “correlation = causation” argument that ignores that firearms homicides or suicides aren’t even on the top ten lists of ways to die in America.  Guess what, Mr Smalley – owning a car makes it more likely you’ll be in a car accident too.  Please, let go of your pearls.

Gun owners and their families are not more suicidal than non-gun-owners, research shows. Nor are they more likely to have a history of depression or other mental health problems.

But they—and their families—are at significantly increased risk of successfully taking their lives with a gun.

Sure, because firearms are pretty efficient like that.  But, as I’ve stated before, “Remove guns, PROBLEM SOLVED” doesn’t work with suicides either, as people will switch methods.  See (gun free) Japan with 2x our suicide rate, and (gun free) South Korea with more than 2x our suicide rate, and (heavily gun restricted) Belgium with 1.33 our suicide rate.

Next, Mr. Smalley fails at the google:

Let’s play a little research game. Google: “man fights off gang of bad guys with AR-15” and the first thing that pops up is a video of criminals shooting at a moving car with handguns.  …

Your fantasy of wiping out those 14 burglars, like Rambo spraying bullets from your AR-15, just isn’t going to happen.

It doesn’t happen. Period.

It doesn’t happen? Oh ok.  Let’s try that with videos. First result for “man defends with AR-15” is this:

Second result:

Here’s another video:

And here’s a woman defending her home in Detroit with a Hi Point carbine:

Hmm, sure looks like people defend themselves with rifles, Mr. Smalley.

I’m not advocating for you to lose all your guns. Even aware of the statistical dangers, I struggle with what to do with mine. I want my kids to be educated on the dangers, but I don’t want to act like guns make me safer. At least if I’m being skeptical even when it hurts.

Ah yes, the “No one wants to take your guns” strawman rears its head.

Here’s an idea: Disarm yourself.  If you don’t want a gun, don’t buy one. We’re pro-choice like that. As a matter of fact, I’d suggest you sell all of yours immediately because you sound like an asshole and I’d hate for you to hurt yourself or someone else.  Because you aren’t being skeptical: you are showing confirmation bias and are ignoring information that counters your viewpoints.

Then comes the litany of gun control masturbation:

But we have to draw the line somewhere. The bottom line is, we just need common sense. And we need to stop lying to ourselves.

I detailed my proposal for gun legislation on Dogma Debate #211: Guns & Atheists. But here’s the gist of it:

Treat guns like cars.
Mandatory licenses
License renewals
Mandatory training
Mandatory insurance
Operating laws
Operating age limits
Restrict some models
Require safety inspections
Mandatory registration
Background checks

I’m drawing the line well before that, because you aren’t educated enough about the laws to have a layman’s opinion and your facts are wrong.

Your laundry list is dumb for a few reason. For one, you don’t want to treat guns like cars, because if you did, you’d actually be making the case to loosen laws.  Here’s a couple things for you to read about why your argument has the facts exactly backwards:

All of those lay it out in very simple language why your argument is dumb.

Mandatory licenses? This is a non-starter unless they are freely available on a shall-issue basis.  By the way, Illinois has mandatory licenses for even purchasing ammunition under their Firearms Owner Identification requirements. Guess how that works out for them?

But hey, are you going to be ok with 16 year olds getting concealed carry permits? Because that’s what you are asking for.

Mandatory training? I’m down for that if you make it part of K-12 public school curriculum.  Otherwise you are just using dogwhistle racism to try to deny those who live in lower income brackets the ability to defend themselves.

Mandatory insurance? There’s not an insurance company out there that’s going to cover criminal actions (the primary reason you want firearms insurance, right?) and suicide requirements are pretty strict in existing health insurance as well.  But again, this goes back to dogwhistle racism as the people most likely to be victimized are also the same group disproportionately represented as homicide offenders.

Age limits? Why?  This sounds like you aren’t interested in safety whatsoever.  We have 360x more children 12 & under being injured in bicycle accidents every year (144,573 in 2014) than firearms (460 again 2014).  Hell, almost 6800 kids under 12 almost drowned in 2014.  Even looking at fatal injury data, bicycles killed 29 kids, 597 were drowned, 43 fell to their deaths, and 44 were killed unintentionally by firearms.  Roughly the same number of kids died falling down stairs or off ladders as were accidentally shot.  Double digit numbers of deaths, while tragic and horrendous for the families, are not reasons to curtail constitutional rights.

Model restrictions? Why? What restrictions?  Let me guess, ones that scare you based on cosmetic features.  We already have model restrictions, thanks, and we don’t need more for dubious reasons.

Safety inspections? Why?  Sounds like you aren’t a fan of privacy either.

Mandatory registration? LOL no.  Sorry! First, registration schemes are the epitome of Southpark’s Underpants Gnomes style gun control logic.  It’s one of those ideas that sounds good in theory, but doesn’t actually work out in practice.  Why? Because when guns are stolen, or straw purchased, or otherwise disappear, your registry is useless. Registries are good for one thing, and that’s revenue generation.  Past that, they don’t work unless the firearm is recovered at the crime scene… and if you have the gun, you typically have the shooter too.

Finally, Background Checks. See Illinois above.  If you want truly effective background checks, open a publicly accessible NICS portal that requires two party token authentication and you’ll have actual gun owners supporting the concept.  Meanwhile until straw purchasing and the like are eliminated, not to mention burglary, you are missing the crime gun forest for the trees.

No one wants to take your guns: “Why It’s Time to Repeal the Second Amendment”

It’s gotten to the point where I’m going to have to create a new category: No One Wants To Take Your Guns.

Because this shit is getting out of hand.

Supposed Constitutional Law Professor David S. Cohen penned this nonsensical rant for Rolling Stone the other day, “Why It’s Time to Repeal the Second Amendment

In the face of yet another mass shooting, now is the time to acknowledge a profound but obvious truth – the Second Amendment is wrong for this country and needs to be jettisoned. We can do that through a Constitutional amendment. It’s been done before (when the Twenty-First Amendment repealed prohibition in the Eighteenth), and it must be done now.

Yeah, because we should just eliminate constitutional rights because something bad happened.  My rights end where your feelings begin. Mind you, this only applies to the 2nd amendment.  Hate speech? Well no, we can’t eliminate the 1st amendment!  A criminal getting away with murder because of the right to remain silent? Not a good reason there.

Rather, it’s only the burdensome 2nd amendment that is regularly targeted for elimination.  And remember, no one wants to take your guns.

Social Engineering Opportunity: Gun Buyback in Miami = opportunity for buyers

Oh look, another gun buyback…

A South Florida boxing gym is taking a stand against gun violence in hopes of making our neighborhoods safer. A gun buyback event is being held in Miami this weekend.

“We need you guys to turn in your guns. We need the community from all over Miami-Dade County to show up and show out because too many young people have been shot or killed by senseless gun violence,” said Rev. Jerome Starling, Jordan Grove Baptist Church.

http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Gun-Buyback-Event-in-Miami-Hopes-to-Curb-Gun-Violence-371738391.html

Well, let’s see what the plan is:

The plan is to give people $100 gift cards for each working gun they turn in and $50 gift cards for guns that don’t work.

The Heavyweight Factory boxing gym in Hollywood is sponsoring the event and donating $100,000 for the gun buyback. The owner of the gym grew up in Liberty City.

Hmmm, $100 gift card?  This seems like an excellent opportunity for enterprising buyers to offer $150 cash for any AR-15 or SW686 or Colt 1911s that would be turned in.

Or to head on down to Home Depot and make a few pipe guns.