08/28/2013

About this pro-gun “Harvard” “study” that is making the internet rounds today

by wfgodbold

There are a few things that need to be said:

1. It isn’t new; it’s from 2007.

2. It was published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, which is the official journal of the Federalist Society (and so, despite the Harvard name, has a more right-libertarian bent than one might expect; in fact, the top of the Journal’s homepage bears the legend “The nation’s leading forum for conservative and libertarian legal scholarship.”).

3. The authors do not appear to be affiliated with Harvard. This is due to the nature of law review publications (which the Harvard J.L. & Pub. Pol’y most assuredly is). Law professors and attorneys write articles and then submit them to reviews for consideration for publication. The staff of the review will check the articles and their sources, making sure that cited authority actually says what the author claims it says.*

Now, I haven’t read the article itself or looked at the sources or methodology. I am in favor of its conclusion (as should be obvious from this blog). Its truth or falsity should be determined irrespective of its source.

Breitbart.com‘s calling it a Harvard study is bending the truth nearly to the breaking point, and Hot Air‘s assertion that because this article is from HARVARD!!11!1 it settles everything is flat out wrong.

I was originally going to submit this as a comment over at Alphecca, but decided instead to get in my one post for August (I have no idea why this has become my new schedule, but I will try to post more frequently).

*If you remember, gentle reader, I am currently a member of the law review at my law school. Reviews are predominantly student-run, and we spend most of our time running down sources and editing submitted pieces.

07/11/2013

Schrödinger’s Open Carry in Arkansas

by wfgodbold

Before I get into the meat of Act 746 of Arkansas’s 89th General Assembly (on which both Clayton Cramer and Sebastian and Bitter have recently written), let me congratulate Illinois on its actual passage–over the governor’s vet0–of a shall-issue concealed carry licensing scheme. Welcome to the club!

Now, here in Arkansas, much hullabaloo has been made over Act 746, which went into effect on July 1st. That act changed the language in Arkansas’s law regarding the offense of carrying a weapon (Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-120), and in the law governing possession of handguns on school property (Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-119).

The main issue is with § 5-73-120, which previously read:

(a) A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon if he or she possesses a handgun, knife, or club on or about his or her person, in a vehicle occupied by him or her, or otherwise readily available for use with a purpose to employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.

(b) As used in this section:

(1) “Club” means . . . ;

(2) “Handgun” means . . . ; and

(3)(A) “Knife” means . . . .

(B) “Knife” includes . . . .

(c) It is a defense to a prosecution under this section that at the time of the act of carrying a weapon:

. . .

(4) The person is carrying a weapon when upon a journey, unless the journey is through a commercial airport when presenting at the security checkpoint in the airport or is in the person’s checked baggage and is not a lawfully declared weapon; . . .

Note that though this section provided the “journey” defense, subsection (b) did not actually define what qualified as a journey.

As of July 1st, the statute, as amended by Act 746, now reads:

(a) A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon if he or she possesses a handgun, knife, or club on or about his or her person, in a vehicle occupied by him or her, or otherwise readily available for use with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.

. . .

(b) As used in this section:

. . .

(3) “Journey” means travel beyond the county in which a person lives; and

. . .

(c) It is permissible to carry a handgun under this section that if at the time of the act of carrying a weapon:

. . .

(4) The person is carrying a weapon when upon a journey, unless the journey is through a commercial airport when presenting at the security checkpoint in the airport or is in the person’s checked baggage and is not a lawfully declared weapon; . . . [emphasis added]

So, the amended statute now defines journey, changes defenses to carrying a weapon to when it is permissible to carry a weapon, and adds what appears to be a mens rea element to the offense itself–the person’s purpose must be to unlawfully employ the handgun.

The situation is further muddled by AG Dustin McDaniel’s official opinion on the new journey provision of § 5-73-120, delivered in response to a state senator’s request for clarification of the meaning of the journey provision. McDaniel is very careful in his opinion to limit it to the meaning of this provision–in footnote 7, he states:

The act defines as one element of a possession offense under subsection 5-73-120(a) having “a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.” Acts 2013, No. 746, § 2 (new language underlined). Although one might debate the significance, if any, of this change in terminology, it is clearly immaterial to your question.

Because the state senator only asked about the journey provision, McDaniel dodged the more material question of whether the changes to § 5-73-120(a) by themselves decriminalize open carry in Arkansas.

I will remind you, gentle reader, that I am a law student–not a lawyer–and nothing in this post is offered as legal advice.

That disclaimer out of the way, I will say that I don’t plan on being the test case.

06/11/2013

Treason

by wfgodbold

Oh, right, I have a blog. Sorry about the absence dearth lack of posts laziness.

Anyway, I’ve seen much bandying about of “treason” and such regarding Snowden, the private contractor working for the NSA that leaked information on what the agency is actually doing, and I thought I would point this out:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted. U.S. Const. art. III § 3.

I doubt this applies to Snowden; he didn’t adhere to our enemies, nor did he give them aid or comfort.

However!

Nidal Hasan, the Islamist psychiatrist who shot up Fort Hood (*spit*), is intending to use the “defense of others” defense in his trial. He even said–in court–that he did so to protect the Taliban from deploying soldiers.

So, Hasan confessed in court that he killed American soldiers to protect the Taliban. I doubt that qualifies as giving aid or comfort, but it certainly seems to fall under the umbrella of “adhering to their enemies.”

Treason is a term of art, gentle reader. Don’t bandy it about carelessly.

04/24/2013

Still is the story told, / How well Horatius kept the bridge / In the brave days of old.

by wfgodbold

Macaulay may be no Kipling, but Horatius at the Bridge is still amazing.

Oblivion makes great use of a stanza from Horatius (not, obviously, the lines quoted in this post’s title). Much like The Dude’s rug, it really ties the film together.

Yes, it does star Tom Cruise. Yes, it is in a bleak, blue-filtered post-apocalyptic future.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great story.

04/19/2013

Remember, gentle reader, that if you’re going to lose, lose big. And then be a total dick about it.

by wfgodbold

I got the bulk of my gloating in by quoting Conan the Barbarian, but I couldn’t let Bloomberg’s and Giffords’s post-gun-control-failure statements just sit there.

Bloomberg, the micro-managing tyrant of NYC, said:

Today’s vote is a damning indictment of the stranglehold that special interests have on Washington. . . . More than 40 U.S. senators would rather turn their backs on the 90 percent of Americans who support comprehensive background checks than buck the increasingly extremist wing of the gun lobby. [emphasis added]

Gabrielle Giffords, who was tragically shot in the head by a lunatic and then granted supreme moral authority by the hard-core anti-gun crowd, said much the same thing:

I watch TV and read the papers like everyone else. We know what we’re going to hear: vague platitudes like “tough vote” and “complicated issue.” I was elected six times to represent southern Arizona, in the State Legislature and then in Congress. I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither. These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying and outside spending. [emphasis added]*

President Obama, of course, was not one to leave the special-interest-bashing to others, as the New York Times noted:

Standing in the Rose Garden next to former Representative Gabrielle Giffords and other victims of gun violence, Mr. Obama flashed anger as he said that the gun rights lobby had “willfully lied” about the legislation, and that Republicans and Democrats had “caved to the pressure.”

Bloomberg, of course, founded and bankrolls Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a notorious anti-gun organization filled with criminal mayors. Giffords similarly started her own super-PAC to push for strict gun control.

I’m not saying that Bloomberg and Giffords aren’t free to spend their money (or in the case of Giffords, donor money) to lobby for policy changes they support. Free speech and the right to petition legislators and the government for the redress of grievances are at the heart of our political system.

That said, it’s disingenuous at best, and damnably hypocritical at worst, to bemoan the grip that other special interests have on Washington merely because they defeated your special interests.

Gun control isn’t about guns. It’s about control. Control of you, gentle reader. I’ll leave you with an excerpt from Rudyard Kipling’s The Gods of the Copybook Headings:

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

*For a complete list of the various fallacies Giffords employs in her blatant attempt at emotional blackmail, check out James Taranto’s response at the Wall Street Journal.

04/17/2013

What is best in life?

by wfgodbold

To crush your enemies.

See them driven before you.

And hear the lamentations of the women.

Thanks to all who called their congressmen to read them the riot act. Of course, just because gun control was defeated today doesn’t mean that it’s gone forever. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, etc.

04/12/2013

Quote of the Indeterminate Time Interval – Bubblehead Les

by wfgodbold

Over at Shall Not Be Questioned on the Toomey-Manchin deal:

This bill is like trying to plug the holes in Swiss Cheese by cutting out plugs from the same slice and inserting them into the holes that are already there.

I’ve only read excerpts of the bill so far, but I’m not impressed. I’ll try to read it this weekend and post my thoughts in between preparing for my trial advocacy final and grading legal research assignments for class I’m the TA for.

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04/03/2013

Now reading: Terms of Enlistment

by wfgodbold

By the internet-famous Marko Kloos!

I’ve only just started it. First I had to finish A Throne of Bones and Summa Elvetica (both by Vox Day).

Terms of Enlistment–a milSF work–should nicely cleanse the palate after two long fantasy works (elves, orcs, goblins, Roman legions, a Catholic Church analogue, Vikings–what more could you want?).

I’ll probably finish it by the weekend, if I can work in some reading time in between work and class.

03/30/2013

A month’s worth of movie reviews

by wfgodbold

In reverse chronological order:

GI Joe: Retaliation was pretty good, if a bit light on plot (but hey, it’s GI Joe; just be glad the last half of the movie doesn’t teach you a moral lesson), and a bit ham-fisted with how it deals with characters from the first movie. Overall, though, I’d say it was better than the first movie, and should make enough money for Hasbro to keep the series going (whether that’s good or bad I leave up to you, gentle reader).

Olympus Has Fallen is a rah-rah kill ‘em all kind of movie, and Gerard Butler takes a turn as a Secret Service agent who has to save the president from an army of terrorists. He does so, of course, with much violence and more headshots than seems probable (look, if you’re fighting an army of mooks, it makes zero sense to shoot them all with a handgun when you’ve got a perfectly serviceable carbine SLUNG ACROSS YOUR BACK). *ahem* Anyway, aside from one scene (where I think the director was trying to hard to give us an American version of Fabrizio Quattrocchi‘s “I will show you how an Italian dies!”), it’s a good action movie. Even if the president kept making terrible decisions (I suppose they needed realism there to make up for the headshots).

Jack the Giant Slayer is an entertaining . . .

No. Just no. I can’t do this. It’s terrible. Not even Ian McShane, Ewan MacGregor, and Bill Nighy are enough to salvage this monstrosity. This does not fill me with hope for Bryan Singer’s return to the helm of the X-Men franchise.

A Good Day to Die Hard, on the other hand, is everything we’ve come to expect from a Die Hard movie. Gunfights, explosions, duplicity, John McClane complaining about absolutely everything, and general mayhem. Would definitely see again.

I had meant to write these up individually, but I kept finding some reason to procrastinate. I shall endeavor to do better, gentle reader. Until next time, enjoy the trailers for RED 2 and The Wolverine:

03/29/2013

Overheard in Jurisprudence

by wfgodbold

In class last night, while discussing Dworkin and the objective nature of morality:

Student: I’m just saying that somewhere there’s probably at least one person who thinks that putting babies on stakes is morally fine.

Professor: Yeah, and there are also people who don’t think that 2+2=4. Where do we put those people?

Me: Congress?

Even in law school, we’re united by our shared hatred of Congress.

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