Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"High-capacity" magazines

Since the reelection of Barry Soetero (AKA Barrack Obama) and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there has a been a resurgence in the move to ban so-called "high-capacity" magazines (those ignorant, or in contempt, of correct firearm nomenclature call 'em clips):

Here is a photo of two factory magazines for the 9mm P226 pistol made by Sig Sauer. They are dimensionally identical.

The magazine on the left holds 18 9mm cartridges. This is what Sig designed the pistol for. It therefore is properly called a standard-capacity magazine. Hoplophobes (people with an irrational fear of guns) and those who exploit the ignorance of hoplophobes incorrectly call it a high-capacity magazine. In free jurisdictions, such as Utah, this is the magazine that comes with the gun. (Note: The purpose of the short crease in this magazine is to assure feeding reliability.)

Non-free jurisdictions, such as California, arbitrarily limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds -- something that Sig and most other manufacturers would never intend. To comply with the arbitrary and capricious capacity limit imposed by non-free jurisdictions, Sig presses a long, deep crease into each side of the magazine as shown in the right. The sole purpose of the long deep crease is to reduce the internal capacity to the mandated, arbitrary 10 rounds -- almost half! Hoplophobes call this a normal-capacity magazine. It is properly called what it really is -- a crippled magazine.

Responsible Americans in non-free jurisdictions will be imprisoned for the mere possession of the magazine on the left -- even without possessing the gun or ammo! Does any rational person really believe that a thug in California will shun the 18-round magazine because it might mean jail time? Face the facts, hoplophobes: Criminals, by definition are not deterred by your silly laws, let alone by the good laws!

So, who needs 18-round magazines? Hopefully, nobody. Ya gonna bet your life on hope? A law-enforcement officer -- even in the non-free jurisdictions -- with a 9mm Sig P226 typically has a round in the chamber plus a full 18-round magazine in the gun plus two more full 18-round magazines on his belt. That's 55 rounds! Does he really need 55 rounds? Hopefully not. But neither a wise cop nor his wise chief bets a cop's life on hope. Is your life or your child's life less worthy of uncrippled protection than a cop?

All these silly restrictions do is cripple the ability of responsible people to protect themselves and the people they love.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Armed Americans and the Sandy Hook massacre

On December 14, 2013, a mentally-disturbed young man murdered his mother, then massacred over two dozen innocent children and school staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut. As expected, this incident inflamed the discussion on gun rights. But, most of the rhetoric does not address the real issue: Mental health.

Mark Walters, host of Armed American Radio, a weekly three-hour radio talk sho that focuses on firearms, gun rights, and self defense. I found this edition of his show to be the best he has ever produced and the best treatment of the issues surrounding the Sandy Hook massacre and other violent crime. I urge all to listen. You will not regret it.

Hour 1 of 3 (click to play or download)
Hour 2 of 3 (click to play or download)
Hour 3 of 3 (click to play or download)

Some very worthwhile talk radio commentary on the shooting from Tom Gresham:

Hour 1 of 3 (click to play or download)
Hour 2 of 3 (click to play or download)
Hour 3 of 3 (click to play or download)

And, from Michael Bane:
Podcast 295 (click to download)

After listening, I'm sure you will conclude that we shooters know how to fix the problem of mass shootings. We've always known. Our response comes from facts and reason -- not hysteria as is so pervasive in the anti-gun crowd, the "news" media, and the misinformed/uninformed public.

Values and the Constitution

Last month, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave a speech which included his thoughts about values:
We have common values that go far beyond the Constitutional right to bear arms....we absolutely have to reassess a number of our society's value choices on issues like easy access to guns....
Yes, Mr. Secretary, we have "common values."

We value our lives and the lives of our children enough to say that waiting 20 minutes for the police to stop a massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School is unacceptable.

We value our "easy access to guns" because we know that guns are the only tools that enable our teachers, our children, and us to live long enough for the police to arrive and take over the fight against evil.

Our values are enshrined in and protected by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution -- not in the statist pontifications of elites in government office like you. Please understand that this is why we, and the Constitution, require people like you to swear an oath to "support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." We require that oath because we know that your values (power of the State) are not our values (value of the individual).

For example, we know the values held by the State and by people like you include the concept that police exist firstly to protect the State (ie enforce mostly arbitrary mala-prohibitum laws) -- not to protect our children, our teachers, and us from deranged murderers. Sure, your law-enforcement officers will come to the aid of our children when they can, but too often they arrive just in time to draw chalk outlines, take photos, do autopsies, and otherwise conduct an investigation. Sandy Hook proved that to us -- again.

Our values, as expressed in the 2nd Amendment, demand that our right and ability to protect ourselves and our loved ones be unimpeded. Your values are threatened by self-reliant people and by the resistance to tyranny posed by those same arms of self defense.

The Constitution says that our values trump yours. Unfortunately, half the voters are on your side. We need smarter voters.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mental illness and guns

Dr. Ignatius Piazza, who runs a shooting school I once attended (FrontSight), posted a long list of violent attacks where the shooter was taking medication for some sort of mental illness. Here's a similar article. The posts are well worth a look.

In many cases, the illness that was being treated is likely what triggered the violence. Shockingly, the medications, themselves, used to treat the mental illness have known side effects that also could have triggered the violence! We are giving people who are prone to violence to self and/or others drugs that are known to trigger violence! Who came up with that idea?

Coincidentally, Ann Coulter has a related piece today: "Ending gun violence requires commitment, not all of it voluntary." Please read it.

Locking up people can easily turn a bit Stalinistic, so it must be done in accordance with the Bill of Rights -- never for political purposes as did Stalin and others! But, some people are on the loose that really need to be put into a place where they can't hurt themselves and others. The ACLU, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and other similar organizations have been champions of putting the dangerously mentally-ill back into society.

There has been a recent surge in talk about gun control. My commentary in this blog is a part of that surge. But, everyone needs to come to grips with the simple fact that, while violence is easier and more efficient with a gun, the gun does not and cannot cause violence. Violence comes from a mind that isn't working right. This is the problem that needs to be addressed because with our without a gun, that mind will continue to be the problem.
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin
We must always err on the side of Liberty. Liberty comes with risks -- sometimes people get hurt. The risks don't magically go away when we give up our Liberty. That's why frail old guys like me -- and school teachers -- need a gun.

Gunfights in Utah?

Representative John Mathis (R-Vernal) is sponsoring HB.76, which restores the right of responsible adults to carry a gun, openly or concealed, within the State of Utah.

This legislation is long overdue. Why should any responsible adult need government permission to exercise a constitutionally-guaranteed individual right?

Eliminating the need for a permit would also eliminate the mandate for training. Nevertheless, I believe that everyone should obtain competent training in gun safety, the laws of self-defense, and the laws regarding the use of lethal force. Such training will help each individual to better avoid life-and-death confrontations and, failing that, make better life-and-death decisions.

Some will fuss over how this legislation will result in wild-west shootouts in Walmart. Well, that hasn't been the result in any other state with "Constitution carry." In fact, probably 10% of the adults you see in a Utah Walmart have Utah carry permits. How badly did they hurt you?

Vermont has never had a permit requirement. They don't have a problem with wrongful shootings.

Alaska, Arizona, Montana, and Wyoming dropped their permit requirements. These four states also do not have a problem with wrongful shootings.

Several states, such as Washington, have no training requirement for their permits. Likewise, no problem with wrongful shootings.

The statistics simply don't show that responsible citizens are in the habit of shooting the wrong guy or shooting when shooting isn't justified.

Should everyone have training? Absolutely! Any truly responsible person will voluntarily seek all the training they can afford. As a Utah Concealed Firearm Instructor, I benefit from a training mandate. But, should it be mandatory? The statistics say no.

Should people who carry be required to have a permit? Again, the statistics say no. In reality, the permitting process is primarily a revenue stream in most jurisdictions.

Requiring training and permits doesn't stop criminals from carrying. So, why should any responsible American need government permission to exercise a constitutionally-guaranteed individual right?

Anti-gun paranoids need to come to grips with the fact that responsible Americans won't hurt anyone unless necessary to protect themselves or other innocent persons. This bill will not allow irresponsible persons (eg, criminals, crazy people, addicts, drunks, etc.) to possess a gun nor will it diminish our need to protect ourselves from them.

I urge the Utah Legislature and the Governor to pass this bill immediately. Every other State would be wise to do likewise.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Universal background checks for gun purchases

James Alan Fox, criminologist at Northeastern University and an expert on mass shootings, notes that "most mass murderers do not have criminal records or a history of psychiatric hospitalization," so "they would not be disqualified from purchasing their weapons legally." And if they were, he adds, "mass killers could always find an alternative way of securing the needed weaponry, even if they had to steal from family members or friends."

Nevertheless, Barrack Obama, and others, have proposed a "universal background check" be required for all transfers of firearms. There is also a call from some for a background check on all ammunition transfers.

Federal law (18 USC § 922(d)) already prohibits certain persons from possessing firearms and ammunition. These persons include felons, persons adjudicated mentally incompetent, drug abusers, illegal immigrants, etc. It is also unlawful to transfer a firearm or ammunition to these restricted persons.

It therefore is incumbent upon anyone selling, loaning, gifting, or otherwise transferring a firearm or ammunition to another person to take reasonable steps to ensure the transferee is not a restricted person. Failure to do so subjects both persons to severe penalties -- up to 10 years in federal prison.

Because of this already-existing restriction on the transfer of firearms, I see no need to require any form of "universal background check" on firearm transfers between responsible persons.

Mandatory universal background checks would impose unnecessary and unreasonable costs and inconvenience on transactions where the transferor already knows the history and character of the transferee such as a father and son or friend to friend.

Jurisdictions that already impose "universal background checks" do not have a better record of keeping guns out of the hands of violent persons than do other jurisdictions. In fact, jurisdictions with mandatory universal background checks often have higher rates of violent crime!

One argument in favor of "universal background checks" is to close the so-called "gun-show loophole." Most firearms purchased at gun shows are dealer transactions with already-mandated background checks. A few firearms are sold at gun shows in private non-dealer transactions. These latter transactions are generally not subject to background checks. While these transactions are still subject to the above cites prohibition on the sale of firearms to restricted persons, it is very rare for a gun-show firearms to be later used in a crime.

Criminals generally get their guns by theft, from other criminals, through illegal straw-purchasers, and a few corrupt dealers -- very rarely at gun shows or other legal transfers. The persons involved are already committing a crime under current law. They are not, and will not be, deterred by current law nor will their acquisition of firearms be affected by a new and largely unenforceable "universal background check." No reasonable person would believe that criminals would obey any new law mandating a "universal background check" for their black-market trade in firearms. Such a law would only affect responsible persons, so what's the point?

I can foresee that a universal background check requirement could inadvertently (or by sinister design) impose severe penalties on someone like me who serves as an instructor for various gun safety courses including Hunter Education and a 4-H youth shooting club since I often allow my students to borrow and shoot my personal firearms during their training.

Anyone who has ever smoked a joint gives up his right claim that imposing more regulation on responsible gun buyers and gun owners will have any effect on the behavior of violent criminals.

Current law is more than sufficient in managing the legal non-dealer transfer of firearms. Any effort to impose any form of universal background check must be rejected. If such a law is introduced, I demand that it exempt the following (unless there is reasonable belief that the transferee is a restricted person):
· family members and close friends
· temporary use of borrowed firearms by participants in a course of shooting instruction, members of a shooting club, or at an established shooting range
· transactions where the transferee possesses a government-issued firearm permit
· other persons with evidence of a current criminal background check (eg law enforcement officers, school teachers, members of the Armed Forces)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Politicans, the oath of office, and voters

This morning (Jan 20, 2013), in compliance with the US Constitution, Barrack Obama took the oath of office for his second term as President of the United States:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. (US Constitution - Article 2 Section 1)
Tomorrow (Jan 21), he’ll repeat the oath at a public ceremony. A few days ago, newly elected and reelected members of Congress were also sworn in (I also have taken this same oath as a military officer and as a federal law enforcement officer):
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. (US Constitution - Article VI)
Note that both oaths of office require loyalty to one entity, and one entity only: The Constitution of the United States. There is no sworn loyalty to a political party, a political leader, a religious leader, a political agenda, a king, or anything else.

An oath of loyalty to the US Constitution is also required of state and local elected officials; federal, state and local judges; members of the Armed Forces; and of civil servants.

Why did the founders require such an oath from our nation’s leaders? They broke away from a nation where loyalty was sworn to a monarch rather than to ideals of liberty. From sad experience, they knew that accreting loyalty in one individual or group of people, tyranny is almost always the result. Hence, the revolutionary concepts of a declaration that human rights come from the Creator – not by government edict and a Constitution which describes and authorizes a central government with clearly defined and limited powers and a prohibition from infringing the God-given rights of the people.

They knew that majority rule inevitably results in the majority infringing the rights of the minority, so they established a representative government – a republic rather than a democracy. They expected that we would elect men and women of sound character who would live up to their oath to the Constitution. They expected that by demanding loyalty to the Constitution and the principles of Liberty that it enshrines, our government officials would protect the human rights of every American – not merely the members of an aristocracy, a particular party, persons of a certain skin color, or other special interest.

Sadly, our elected leaders, judges, and civil servants have lost with the concept of loyalty to the Constitution rather than loyalty to a person or party. How did this happen? Because the voters themselves do not understand the Constitution and how it would work if followed. Few Americans have read it and consequently fail to elect public officers who have the courage and integrity to follow it.

Voters are willing to be bribed with their own money or, worse, with the money of their neighbors. Voters cast ballots based on selfishness, covetousness, party label, personality, emotion, even skin color -- everything the founders fought against! Voters think that their lives will improve because of government programs -- they fail to understand that their lives only truly improve when they accept responsibility for their own success and only demand of government that it protect their right to succeed.
[I]f the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted....If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws. — Noah Webster (History of the United States)
We need smarter voters!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Doctors, patients, and guns

Yesterday (Jan 23, 2013), Barrack Obama announced 23 initiatives allegedly to stem gun violence. All of his ideas have been tried at the state and/or federal levels and all have failed to reduce violent crime.

While all 23 of his ideas clearly violate the constitutional limits imposed on the central government, one of these power-hungry and misguided ideas involved doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes. It would:
Protect the rights of health care providers to talk to their patients about gun safety: Doctors and other health care providers also need to be able to ask about firearms in their patients’ homes and safe storage of those firearms, especially if their patients show signs of certain mental illnesses or if they have a young child or mentally ill family member at home.
It is preposterous to presume that any medical professional has a right "to talk to their patients about gun safety" or "to ask about firearms in their patients’ homes and safe storage of those firearms" any more than they have a right to ask about the color of their carpets. They have not right to intrude into a patient's life in areas completely unrelated to the quality care he or she does have an obligation to provide.

Medical doctors, nurses, and other staff are trained in medicine. They are not qualified in firearms and firearm safety (unless they also happen to be NRA-certified firearm instructors). To venture outside their professional role and training as a healthcare provider violates an important ethical boundary:
...your doctor may be violating a doctor-patient boundary. Doctors are ethically bound not to use their patients’ trust to advance a personal interest such as a political agenda. And the evidence shows that in almost every case, doctors’ questions to you about guns are motivated by anti-gun politics. -- Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership
If a medical professional becomes aware of a patient's status as a gun owner, it might be wise to advice him or her to seek training from a qualified firearms instructor. Otherwise, it is none of his or her business!
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. -- United States Bill of Rights
What is it about "shall not be infringed" that doctors and politicians don't understand?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Anti-government crap

This cartoon brings to mind what happened to dissenters in other nations: Hitler's Germany, Mao's China, Stalin's USSR, Pol Pot's Cambodia, etc.

May I live up to the anti-government, pro-liberty standard set by dissenters such as those mentioned above, our nation's founders, and the inspired Constitution our founders wrote.