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.

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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.

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.

Louisville’s Tim Faulkner Gallery shooting and a complete lack of outrage.

If a “mass shooting” occurs, and no talking heads are angry about it, will people make a sound?  The answer is: no.

This weekend, there was a concert event at the Tim Faulkner Gallery, located in Louisville’s West End – specifically in Portland.  For those who aren’t familiar with the venue, Tim Faulkner’s is a 26,000 square foot mixed-use facility near the Ohio River, that is home to both artist space, McQuixote Books & Coffee, and a 10,000 square foot performance area that hosts various events.  It is surrounded by warehouses, manufacturing, and a lower income homes that are slowly being gentrified by hipsters, trendy restaurants & businesses encroaching into the area.  Kentucky Kustom Cycles is across the street, Louisville & Indiana Railroad is two buildings east, and Habitat for Humanity’s Louisville office is two streets south.

When 5 people are shot at 1AM, you’d think that people would be upset by this.  One woman, a student at University of Louisville, died. 5 were wounded and expected to recover.  After the outrage of the Orlando Nightclub shooting, all of the usual suspects were up in arms.  They quickly blamed everyone from the NRA, to the firearms industry, to the GOP for enabling the killer to murder all of those innocent people.

Imagine my surprise when I saw absolutely zero mention of this weekend’s horror in my social media feeds.  The same people who would wail and rend their clothes in a morbid kabuki display of virtue signaling; the social justice warriors who proudly declare that anyone who opposes gun control is a psychopath, and that the NRA is evil… why, they were silent.

24 hours later, there are no calls for gun control.  No screaming about the easy availability of firearms.   No talk about innocent lives lost or the societal cost of gun ownership, or how Something. Must. Be. Done.

Why on earth would that be?  Simple.  Here’s the event where the shooting occured:

xihvtot

The victims? No elementary school children.  No casualties from the LGBTQ community. A distinct lack of media friendly corpses to be used as macabre props, because this is the wrong demographic. No possible hate crime, and if the shooter is caught, he will probably already have a long criminal record.   It’s not as easy for the gun control movement to dance in the blood of the victims when this sort of thing happens.

It’s difficult to manufacture outrage when it’s a people being shot at a rap concert. Because of this, the personalities that generate talking points have nothing to say because their audience is just going to shrug their shoulders and go “what did you expect” when they see the event & the victims.

You see, this type of “mass shooting” doesn’t fit the narrative.  Louisville’s West End is known as the bad part of town, with the city’s poverty, crime rates, shootings & drug issues all congregate to become that area middle-class mothers warn their kids to avoid.

No Facebook profile pictures will be changed to say “We stand with Portland.” The people shot will only be mentioned again as a statistic: they will be lumped in with other similar “mass shootings” to paint firearms ownership as a stain upon society.

Thus, the truth is laid bare: those who scream the loudest about gun control aren’t really invested in it.  It’s not a cause they actually care about, because if it was they would be marching for the victims of Saturday’s shooting.  No, gun control is merely a tool in the arsenal; a facet of tribal politics & a way for them to lash out against their political opponents.  It’s something that is only mentioned when they can puff themselves up in righteous anger, and preen in their cloaks of moral righteousness; because their opinions are right and those who disagree are clearly evil.  If something cannot be used as a weapon against your enemies, it is ignored.

Their silence makes it all too obvious how this is not a battle for what’s right, or to reduce “gun violence” whatsoever, but to score points off their opponents.  Because, let’s face it: If these people were truly passionate about their beliefs, if they truly felt that Black Lives Matter, or that every life is precious, then they would be screaming about this sort of thing happening. Instead, we hear crickets.

The political winds do not favor gun control, thus the faithful do not need to be rallied.  Better to save their outrage for whatever other convenient controversy can be manipulated.

NOWTTYG: MSNBC Urges Dem Senators to Seize ‘Opportunity’ of Terror Attack to Push Anti-Gun Agenda

Newsbusters posted this a few days back, with a clip from MSNBC’s Morning Joe show.

Here’s the transcript:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: …background checks, still 97% of Americans support background checks. 60% of American support some sort of ban on so called assault weapons. In that stricter gun law, 61% support. That assault weapon number is higher than usual. So now does seem like again an opportunity, I think, in large part because of the acts of terror that have happened in San Bernardino and then in Orlando. 

KATTY KAY: You know I think there is an opportunity, but all of us who have watched this over the years right Joe after Newtown we’re so feel so cynical and defeated about the prospect of getting anything done. But I was wondering, from the senator, is there anything that can be done short of changing the statutes. For example, red flags that pop up to the FBI if somebody has been under investigation, but that investigation is now closed. Which is what the FBI’s argument is in this case. Is that you know is there something that can happen short of having to actually get congressional approval?

Oh, this is an opportunity for change? Let’s approach this from a facts based manner:

The last “several” mass shootings were carried out by people who were background checked, or more. In the case of the Orlando shooter:

  • The shooter bought his guns at a gun store, where he was background checked.
  •  He had a concealed carry permit, for which he was background checked.
  •  He had a state firearms license, for which he was background checked.
  •  He was also an armed security guard for a government contractor which required an active security clearance, for which he was (you guessed it) background checked.
  • Somewhere in the last two he had to have 60 hours of training and a medical exam that certified he had no issues.
  •  The FBI interviewed him, twice, and investigated him for 10 months. He wasn’t on the Terrorist Watchlist either – they pulled him off after they didn’t find anything actionable.

Universal Background Checks wouldn’t have stopped this. Using the Terror Watchlist wouldn’t have stopped this. FBI interviews didn’t stop this. This was a government failure all the way around. This guy was a poster child for antigun policy proposals and still turned around and killed people.

In the case of San Bernardino, the shooters killed their victims in spite of a litany of California laws:

  •  Assault weapons ban.
  •  Mandatory handgun registration
  •  Mandatory rifle registration
  •  Mandatory safety training requirements
  •  Mandatory waiting periods before picking up guns after buying them.
  •  High capacity magazine bans
  •  Detachable magazine bans on rifles
  •  Mandatory Universal Background Checks
  •  Ban on open carry of weapons
  •  De facto ban on concealed carry thanks to arbitrary “may issue” requirements
  •  Total prohibition of bombs

Something does have to give. We need to stop rewarding the failure of gun control with more gun control. We need to examine whether these laws work, and if they don’t, eliminate them because they aren’t serving their purpose (other than to make red tape for non-criminals).

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.

Another head scratcher from the Washington Post: “How to protect gun rights while reducing the toll of gun violence”

WaPo churned out an editorial that had me shaking my head about the gall of the antigun movement.

The opening paragraph doesn’t hesitate, but rather leaps straight in to revisionist history:

Twenty years ago, one of us was director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, supporting research to build an evidence base to advance the science of gun-violence prevention. The other of us was a Republican representative from Arkansas determined to dismantle that effort because conservatives had concluded that it was aimed at gun control and not gun violence.

Well.  That’s one way to put it.

The two authors, Jay Dickey & Mark Rosenberg, are listed with the byline:

Jay Dickey, a Republican, represented Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2000. Mark Rosenberg, president and chief executive of the Task Force for Global Health, was director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1994 to 1999.

Dickey was the the key figure behind the Dickey-Wicker Amendment that slapped the CDC on the wrist for their overt bias in antigun research; he apparently had a change of heart after Sandy Hook.  Rosenberg was the head of the CDC department that funded said research, and is by no means impartial, having been a supporter of outright confiscation.  This Reason article contains quotes from him, including:

Rosenberg “envisions a long term campaign, similar to [those concerning] tobacco use and auto safety, to convince Americans that guns are, first and foremost, a public health menace.” In 1994 he told The Washington Post, “We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes. Now it [sic] is dirty, deadly, and banned.”

Oh yeah, I’m sure he’s completely changed his tune twenty years later. It’s not like he was quoted here in 2013 when talking about the CDC funding prohibition:

“It terrorized the bureaucracy and it terrorized the research community,” Rosenberg said of the episode. …

“I think they want to suppress information that doesn’t support their ideological position,” said Rosenberg, referring to the gun lobby.

Terrorized? That is strong wording it must be a fluke… oh wait, here’s one from a month prior.

Mark Rosenberg, former director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, had even stronger words. “The scientific community has been terrorized by the NRA,” Rosenberg said.

And here’s one from October 2012:

We’re being held hostage to firearm violence,” Rosenberg says, citing the NRA as the cause. “All of the science that could possibly give us answers is being stopped.”

Sure, he’s changed his tune, just listen to him:

When we met, at a congressional appropriations hearing in 1996, we fiercely opposed each other’s positions. But over years of communicating, we came to see that, while we had differences, we also shared values. We became colleagues, and we became friends. We have argued with each other and learned much from each other. We both belong to the National Rifle Association, and we both believe in the Second Amendment.

The problem with this statement is that the 2nd Amendment isn’t there to preserve duck hunting or single shot .22LR pistols.

The dishonesty continues just two paragraphs later:

Our nation does not have to choose between reducing gun-violence injuries and safeguarding gun ownership. Indeed, scientific research helped reduce the motor vehicle death rate in the United States and save hundreds of thousands of lives — all without getting rid of cars. For example, research led to the development of simple four-foot barricades dividing oncoming traffic that are preventing injuries and saving many lives. We can do the same with respect to firearm-related deaths, reducing their numbers while preserving the rights of gun owners.

Sure, we haven’t gotten rid of cars.  There’s also no organized movement to remove them, no “Moms Demand” for mass transit, no “Everytown” to get rid of sports cars. You can bet your ass though that when driverless cars are a viable option, they will be mandated.

You know what’s missing from this empty statement? An actual example supporting his claim.  You mention scientific research into cars and even a layman can list improvements that reduce accidents & fatalities: seatbelts, third brake lights, airbags, etc.  All of these, however, were privately developed by automobile companies and only later mandated in safety standards.

Strangely though, the authors can’t give a single example for research & development that would preserve firearms rights as he claims. Why is that?  Why have all of public health recommendations been “ban assault weapons” and “ban magazines” and “ban guns”?

If we are to be successful , those of us on opposite sides of this issue will have to do a better job of respecting, understanding and working with each other. In the area of firearms injuries, collaboration has a special meaning. It will require real partnership on the design of the research we do because while we often hear about “common-sense gun laws,” common sense is not enough to both keep us safe and to protect the Second Amendment.

And for some reason the “common sense” laws aren’t so much “common sense” as talking points that don’t bear up.  There’s no “respecting, understanding and working with each other” because one side has absolutely no interest in compromise or even rational thinking.  They just want a death by 1000 cuts approach until they can make sweeping bans.

There is urgency to our task. Both of us now believe strongly that federal funding for research into gun-violence prevention should be dramatically increased. But the language accompanying this appropriation should mirror the language already in the law: “No funds shall be used to advocate or promote gun control.” This prohibition can help to reassure supporters of the Second Amendment that the CDC will use the money for important research and not for gun-control advocacy. However, it is also important for all to understand that this wording does not constitute an outright ban on federal gun-violence prevention research. It is critical that the appropriation contain enough money to let science thrive and help us determine what works.

Overall, I’m not impressed with this plea for funding.  Sorry, Dr Rosenberg, but we’re way past the “once bitten, twice shy” stage. The funding prohibition against gun control advocacy already exists and yet antigun “researchers” simultaneously whine that there is a prohibition on research (through various articles & OpEds that fail to mention the CDC’s past activities) while churning out antigun studies funded by Bloomberg & Joyce.  Given these facts, why do you think we should not be suspicious that revisiting the issue and increasing funding will happen without

  1. The advocacy prohibition being stripped away
  2. A return to the previous shenanigans

It’s not like Wintermute, Hemenway, Kellerman or any of the others have changed their stripes.

If you have a plan on addressing “preventable” firearms deaths, you need to realize that suicide, homicide, and accidents are three distinctly different problems that require separate solutions. Come back when you have a proposal other than “Remove guns, problem solved.”