Posts tagged ‘gun control’

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.

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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03/21/2013

Intermediate scrutiny is the new rational basis

by wfgodbold

At least in the Fourth Circuit.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision reversed the district court’s decision in Woollard v. Sheridan (which had invalidated the Maryland concealed carry statute’s requirement that an applicant show good cause for issuance of a concealed carry license).

The court quoted legislative “findings” supporting the law as written:

(1) the number of violent crimes committed in the State has increased alarmingly in recent years;

(2) a high percentage of violent crimes committed in the State involves the use of handguns;

(3) the result is a substantial increase in the number of deaths and injuries largely traceable to the carrying of handguns in public places by criminals;

(4) current law has not been effective in curbing the more frequent use of handguns in committing crime; and

(5) additional regulations on the wearing, carrying, and transporting of handguns are necessary to preserve the peace and tranquility of the State and to protect the rights and liberties of the public.

The court even notes that these findings (adopted in 2002), have not been substantially changed since the Maryland legislature first adopted them in 1972.

Somehow, despite the passage of 30 years from the legislature’s initial adoption to its re-adoption of these findings, the situation in Maryland has not changed (after all, if it had worked, and crime had gone down in response to any laws based on these findings, surely the present findings would differ by at least crediting the current harsh laws for the drop in crime). This is in fact strikingly similar to the Supreme Court’s current case on the Voting Rights Act, in which Congress had adopted the same “findings” today as it did at the VRA’s inception–in 1965.

The Fourth Circuit went on to list several other “findings” (I won’t reproduce them here; if you click through to the Volokh Conspiracy and then to the opinion itself, you can read them on pp. 26-28). This reads like a litany of standard gun control fears–essentially that liberalized carry will take us back to the wild west. It hasn’t (for example, despite similar claims by opponents of Virginia’s bar and restaurant carry bill, crime didn’t increase–it dropped).

Maryland essentially argued that they should be able to deny carry licenses to the vast majority of applicants because of public safety, and the Fourth Circuit went along with it (citing heavily to the Second Circuit’s opinion in Kachalsky, but doing its best to minimize the Seventh Circuit’s opinion in Moore).

Professor Volokh appears to take a dim view of the court’s deference to the legislature’s findings (especially coupled with this standard of review) and notes that “a constitutional right that can be trumped in nearly all its applications, under whatever level of scrutiny, is not really a right.”

I agree.

I would go further, though. The various circuits, in KachalskyPeterson, and now in Woollard are focusing too much on Heller and McDonald‘s language regarding the “core” Second Amendment right. The right of armed self-defense may be strongest in the home, but as the Seventh Circuit noted in Moore, that does not mean that it is nonexistent elsewhere. 

I only have one other thing to say about this case–I’m very glad it came out today and not last Thursday, or I would have had to stay up all night reworking certain parts of my law review note so I could turn it in on Friday.

03/03/2013

Remember, gentle reader, that under federal law, “firearm” has a very specific definition

by wfgodbold

A firearm is:

(1) a shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length; (2) a weapon made from a shotgun if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length; (3) a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length; (4) a weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length; (5) any other weapon, as defined in subsection (e); (6) a machinegun; (7) any silencer (as defined in section 921 of Title 18, United States Code); and (8) a destructive device.

Under federal law, all such “firearms” must be registered. From the definition, regular handguns, rifles, and shotguns are not included. Only short-barreled rifles & shotguns, machine guns, silencers, destructive devices, and AOWs are “firearms.” Possession of unregistered firearms is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

So when you read, gentle reader, that President Obama has pardoned someone for “possession of an unregistered firearm,” it means that the person pardoned had either a short-barreled rifle/shotgun, a machine gun, a silencer, a destructive device, or an AOW that was not registered with the ATF.

Now, it could be that Obama now thinks that heavily restricting the possession of firearms is a bad idea. If so, I agree, and I look forward to any proposal for repealing the NFA the president brings forward. Suppressors are great safety devices, and short barrels make rifles far less unwieldy. I shouldn’t have to pay a $200 tax stamp to the government to possess them, and I certainly shouldn’t be prevented from lending them to friends or family (I’m not even going to address the ridiculous necessity of gun trusts the NFA has foisted on us).

Considering Obama’s continued push for standard capacity magazine bans and a reinstatement of the ban on so-called assault weapons, I doubt that’s the case.

01/21/2013

On arbitrary magazine capacity limits

by wfgodbold

Robert VerBruggen over at NRO highlights a major problem with New York’s new seven-round magazine limit: chiefly that most modern handguns don’t have seven-round magazines.

At all.

One commenter asked whether “high” capacity magazines gave an advantage in a gunfight, but not against unarmed targets, and I responded with this:

Increased magazine capacity confers an advantage when one is limited by magazine quantity. If one wears gear making it feasible to carry a large number of magazines (as the Aurora shooter did), then the capacity of those magazines does not confer so great an advantage.

In other words, if you’re ammunition-limited, magazine capacity doesn’t matter. If you’re magazine-limited, magazine capacity does matter. Mass shooters have generally been the former, and the law abiding the latter.

I don’t carry because I want to shoot someone, just like I don’t have a first aid kit in my car because I want to practice emergency medicine.

I carry (when I can) because should I need immediate protection, the government has no obligation to provide it.

01/12/2013

Quote of the Indeterminate Time Interval – Wikipedia

by wfgodbold

Apropos of David Gregory’s violation of Washington, D.C.’s  strict liability standard capacity magazine ban, and the D.C. attorney general’s decision to forego prosecution:

Historically, selective enforcement is recognized as a sign of tyranny, and an abuse of power, because it violates rule of law, allowing men to apply justice only when they choose. Aside from this being inherently unjust, it almost inevitably must lead to favoritism and extortion, with those empowered to choose being able to help their friends, take bribes, and threaten those from they desire favors.

Of course, if you’re not David Gregory, and don’t have David Gregory’s connections, the D.C. attorney general is not nearly so understanding.

Tens–likely hundreds–of millions of such magazines are lawfully possessed in the United States by law-abiding gun owners. More than 1 million PMAGs are backordered from Magpul. Brownells sold through three-and-a-half years worth of magazines in three days.

Magazines like the one Gregory displayed on Meet the Press, and Magpul’s PMAG, are not complicated; they are made up of a box and a spring. Given the sheer number of standard capacity magazines in the United States, and the infrequency of mass shootings (they are not becoming more common, and your chances of being killed in a mass shooting are about the same as your chances of being struck by lightning), these magazines, as well as the AR-15 rifle (and all semi-automatic weapons) are in common use for lawful purposes.

If in common use is to mean anything at all, it must cover the AR-15–America’s most popular rifle–and standard capacity magazines.

 

12/18/2012

Those proposing bans on semiautomatic firearms* want to take us back to the ’80s

by wfgodbold

The 1880s.

Those of you who are good at math will note that that is closer to the 1791 ratification of the Second Amendment than to today (~90 years vs. ~130 years). Certainly far closer to the framing than TV, or the internet, but about on par with radio.

Proposing that somehow the arms protected by the Second Amendment are only those in existence at its framing and ratification is the first step down a dangerous road. If that logic applies to the Second Amendment, there’s no reason it couldn’t apply to any of the others.

Twitter? Facebook? The entire internet? TV? Movies? Video games?

Not protected under the First Amendment because at its framing and ratification you had to own a printing press and print pamphlets or stand on a soapbox and shout at passers-by to be heard.

Email? Cars? Your computer? Cloud storage?

All searchable without a warrant, probable cause, or even reasonableness, because the framers did not have any of that technology.

If you don’t like the Second Amendment, you’re welcome to try to repeal it, but consider: Would repealing the First Amendment mean that we no longer have the freedom of speech, or the press, or religion? Rights are not conferred by the government–they are, in the words of the Framers, unalienable.

Self-defense is a human right, and the best, effective means of self-defense is a firearm. A firearm puts the weak, the infirm, and the small on equal footing with their attacker.

To abrogate that right in the face of media-driven hysteria would be wrong, particularly when that hysteria is based on several false assumptions: (1) Mass shootings are not becoming more common, (2) An assault weapons ban would not have stopped the CT shooter, (3) Anything that would have prevented the CT shooting would have serious constitutional problems, and (4) America has already had a conversation about guns, and the gun control side lost.

I understand the drive to do something, but gun control proponents are focused more on doing anything, whether it would work or not, and whether it would be constitutional or not.

*Including, among others, the NY Post, which somehow fails to note (probably because of the pearl-clutching) that the AR-15 was invented in the late 1950s. The NYT notes that the AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America (and yet disingenuously posts a picture of a rifle that would be illegal under CT law, instead of one that was legal, like the shooter actually used). In Heller, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects arms in “common use.” (554 U.S. at 627) The most popular rifle in America surely falls under this “common use” umbrella.

12/13/2012

I’m of mixed feelings about the 7th Cir.’s holding in Moore v. Madigan

by wfgodbold

One the one hand, anti-gun wailing and gnashing of teeth is like music to my ears (the decision is here). Though gun control’s not quite dead, it’s definitely on life support.

On the other hand, this has thrown a wrench into a certain project I’ve left undescribed (see fn 1). Between this case, the 2d Cir.’s holding in Kachalsky, and whatever the 9th Cir. holds in Richards v. Prieto (assuming it’s decided next semester-ish), I’m going to have to rework substantial sections.

On the gripping hand, my project not only turned out to be timely, but by the time it’s done, it may even be on a circuit split!

And with that said, those astute readers of mine will likely have deduced the general subject of my law review article.

Now, back to studying. One more exam to go, and then this semester will be officially over.

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