Statists tend to believe that government lists are beneficial or at worst benign. They tend to believe that government has good cause for creating lists. That part is true. Government does have good cause for creating lists. But that cause is neither beneficial or benign. It’s to inflict ill on those they deem worthy of punishment.
The Attorney General of California just demonstrated this by publishing the name and home address of every carry permit holder in the state:
California Attorney General today announced new and updated firearms data available through the California Department of Justice (DOJ)’s 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal. The dashboard is accessible though DOJ’s OpenJustice Data Platform. The announcement will improve transparency and information sharing for firearms-related data and includes broad enhancements to the platform to help the public access data on firearms in California, including information about the issuance of Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permits and Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVROs).
The Attorney General claims this is to improve transparency, but it’s obviously retaliation for the Supreme Court’s ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, which found that requiring carry permit applicants to provide proper cause violated the Second Amendment.
By publishing this information, the Attorney General provided burglars who want guns with a list of homes to hit, abusers who have lost track of their victims with their victim’s hiding places, and every other ne’er-do-well with the identities and home addresses of people whose only “crime” was to obtain a carry permit. Of course, this was the intent because the Attorney General is angry about not being able to deny California denizens the legal privilege of carry a means of self-defense.
I’ve stated many times on this blog that gun control is futile because it’s impossible to control the production of simple mechanical devices. Guns aren’t like semiconductors. Today (however, this will change in the future) manufacturing semiconductors requires highly specialized equipment and knowledge. Guns on the other hand require only the simplest tools and materials to build. The knowledge isn’t specialized either. Books on the topic of gunsmithing are readily available and the information is easily accessible online.
Whenever I brought up these points advocates for gun control (and even some opponents of gun control) claimed that I was full of shit. To them I submit the following:
The proliferation of homemade “ghost guns” has skyrocketed in Los Angeles, contributing to more than 100 violent crimes this year, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a report released Friday.
Detectives have linked the untraceable weapons to 24 killings, eight attempted homicides and dozens of assaults and armed robberies since January, according to the report.
And police expect the problem to get worse, the report said.
During the first half of this year, the department confiscated 863 ghost guns, a nearly 300% increase over the 217 it seized during the same period last year, according to the report. Since 2017, the report said, the department has seen a 400% increase in seizures. That sharp jump suggests the number of ghost guns on the streets and such seizures “will continue to grow exponentially,” the authors of the report wrote.
This is nothing new. Just ask Brazil. But this is a good story to show that gun control can’t even succeed in a city with extremely restrictive gun control laws located in a state that also has extremely restrictive gun control laws. If people in Los Angeles can’t be stopped from manufacturing firearms, there’s no hope of any government entity controlling it elsewhere.
Nothing I said here is specific to firearms. Anytime a government attempts to outlaw a technology it only leads to the creation of a black market. The only difference between a legal and illegal technology is that manufacturing, selling, and buying an illegal technology carries additional risks. These risks are reflected in the higher prices charged by manufacturers and the amount of effort put into hiding them from authorities (whereas little if any effort is ever put into hiding legal technologies from authorities so it’s actually easier for authorities to track them). I’m sure law enforcement agencies and the mainstream media will make this into a big issue over the next few years. Their efforts will be wasted though because there’s nothing government can do to stop this.
Whenever politicians push for gun control, they like to act as though would-be revolutionaries are the only proponents of gun rights. In his latest obligatory push for gun control Biden had the following to say:
If you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.
He’s talking about a military with submarines suffering chronic premature mechanical failures, seamen who can’t avoid playing bumper boats with commercial ships, fighter jets that can’t fly, and recruitment rates so abysmal that standards have to be lowered so overweight individuals can be taken.
Imperial Rome at the height of its power the United States is not.
Most people don’t realize the power that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) wields. The agency can make an arbitrary decision and it effectively becomes law. What makes this matter worse is that the agency isn’t bound by previous decisions. It can (and frequently had) change its mind whenever it wants.
Case in point, the ATF previously decided that using an arm brace to shoulder a pistol was a felony. It later changed its mind. Now…
It sounds like the ATF is secretly (another problem with its ability to arbitrarily change its mind is that the process can happen behind closed doors) changing its mind about arm braces again:
Congressman Matt Gaetz announced today on his podcast the ATF is crafting secret rules restricting the possession of certain pistol braces by American citizens, and that he has sent them a letter demanding they stop.
“We understand that ATF is currently considering restricting one arm brace model owned by over 700,000 Americans,” Congressman Gaetz writes along with six other members of Congress. “We strongly urge ATF to cease taking any actions and reconsider or rescind any secret determinations which call into question the legality of firearms owned by millions of law-abiding Americans.”
If the ATF decides that possessing some or all arm braces is a felony, then possessing them becomes a felony. No bills have to be written, no laws have to be passed or signed. One day you own a perfectly legal firearm and the next you’re a felon because you possess of a short barreled rifle. The only difference between the day that you became a felon and the day prior is that somebody in a government agency changed their mind.
Gun restriction advocates haven’t enjoyed much recent success in their political efforts so they’ve switched gears. They’ve been leaning on corporations to lean on gun retailers. This has resulted in banks refusing to do business with gun retailers and other such nonsense. Now Salesforce has decided to cave to the unwashed masses and is telling gun retailers to either stop selling modern firearms or abandon its platform:
SAN FRANCISCO — On its website, Salesforce.com touts retailer Camping World as a leading customer of its business software, highlighting its use of products to help sales staff move product. A Camping World executive is even quoted calling Salesforce’s software “magic.”
But behind the scenes in recent weeks, the Silicon Valley tech giant has delivered a different message to gun-selling retailers such as Camping World: Stop selling military-style rifles, or stop using our software.
The pressure Salesforce is exerting on those retailers — barring them from using its technology to market products, manage customer service operations and fulfill orders — puts them in a difficult position. Camping World, for example, spends more than $1 million a year on Salesforce’s e-commerce software, according to one analyst estimate. Switching to another provider now could cost the company double that to migrate data, reconfigure systems and retrain employees.
Not many better examples of corporate mutually assured destruction exist than this one. One the one hand Camp World could fold and decide to stop selling modern firearms. If it did, it would almost certainly incite the wrath of gun owners and, as Dick’s Sporting Goods can tell you, pissing off gun owners can hurt your bottom line. On the other hand Camp World could tell Salesforce to go pound sand, which would cost the company both money and public relations, since it spent so much time touting Camp World as one of its success stores. Either way this move could cost Salesforce many other accounts since I’m willing to bet that Camp World isn’t the only gun retailer using Salesforce.
There is a lesson to be learned here. Becoming dependent on a third-party platform is a liability. If you make your business dependent on a third-party platform, your business is suddenly at its mercy. The third-party might come to you some day and tell you that you need to change your business model or it will pull the rug out from under you. If you’re a business owner that values your independence, then it’s in your best interest to avoid becoming dependent on any single third-party.
I frequently bitch about the People’s Republic of Minnesota but at least we have decent overall gun laws (although the politicians, not surprisingly, at constantly at work to change that). The denizens of California don’t even have that. However, a federal court tossed those poor saps a few scraps from the freedom table:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — High-capacity gun magazines will remain legal in California under a ruling Friday by a federal judge who cited home invasions where a woman used the extra bullets in her weapon to kill an attacker while in two other cases women without additional ammunition ran out of bullets.
“Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez wrote as he declared unconstitutional the law that would have banned possessing any magazines holding more than 10 bullets.
This case stems not from California’s original ban on standard capacity magazines, which allowed gun owners to continue possessing magazines they acquired before the ban, but from a 2016 change that demanded Californians surrender their pre-ban magazines. But that 2016 attempt may end up costing California its earlier magazine ban as well:
Chuck Michel, an attorney for the NRA and the California Rifle & Pistol Association, said the judge’s latest ruling may go much farther by striking down the entire ban, allowing individuals to legally acquire high-capacity magazines for the first time in nearly two decades.
This ruling is potentially good news for gun owners across the entire country. It could be used to invalidate magazines bans in other states that have them and prevent states like the one in which I suffer from implementing them.
In other related news, several California gun owners have miraculously discovered their boats full of standard capacity magazines that went under in 2016. This is great news for both those gun owners and the environment since those lost magazines can now be removed from those marine environments.
Once again proving that the concept of due process isn’t acknowledged even in so-called liberal democracies, the overlords in New Zealand have announced that in the aftermath of the Christchurch attacks they’re not just punishing the shooter, but they’re also punishing every gun owner in the nation:
New Zealand will ban all types of semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles following the Christchurch attacks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said.
The announcement comes less than a week after 50 people were killed at two mosques, allegedly by a lone gunman.
Ms Ardern said she expected new legislation to be in place by 11 April, saying: “Our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too.”
Just because you had no hand in the commission of a crime doesn’t mean you can’t be punished. Now the slaves in New Zealand will join their counterparts in most of the other Commonwealth nations in being all but entirely disarmed.
One of the worst arguments that gun control advocates make is that individuals should rely on “professionals” (by which they mean police) for protection. The reason this is one of the worst arguments is because it makes a lot of assumptions that don’t play out in reality. One of those assumptions is that the police can respond immediately. Jayme Closs’s case has been making headlines for a couple of days now in part because it had a happier outcome than most people were expecting. She was found alive after she escaped her capture. However, there was a 15 to 20 minute period where everybody was likely on pins and needles:
Douglas County sheriff’s deputies arrived roughly 15 to 20 minutes later.
15 to 20 minutes is a long time to wait when a kidnapper who has already murdered two people may be looking for his escaped victim. Unfortunately, 15 to 20 minute response times are pretty typical in rural areas due to the distances between places. Fortunately, the people who were protecting Jayme were armed:
“So, they got in the house, and I loaded a gun and got ready and was standing at the door waiting until the police showed up, because (Jayme) said she didn’t know when he was coming back. When she was sitting on my couch, I couldn’t believe it. I just said to her: ‘I am so happy to see you,’ because I thought she was dead.”
Had her kidnapper found her and had the people protecting her not been armed, there would have been very little that they could have done to stop him from taking his victim back. That kind of bureaucratically enforced helplessness is not a future I find appealing especially when the proponents of said future can’t offer a realistic alternative for personal protection.
One of the most common arguments made by gun rights advocates is that keeping and bearing arms is essential for self-defense. One of the most common counterarguments made by gun control advocates is that people should rely on professionals to protect them. Professionals in their case means law enforcers, which leaves a giant hole in their counterargument. Courts have consistently ruled that law enforcers have no duty to protect people. A new ruling clarifies that that lack of duty includes children:
A federal judge says Broward schools and the Sheriff’s Office had no legal duty to protect students during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom dismissed a suit filed by 15 students who claimed they were traumatized by the crisis in February. The suit named six defendants, including the Broward school district and the Broward Sheriff’s Office, as well as school deputy Scot Peterson and campus monitor Andrew Medina.
Bloom ruled that the two agencies had no constitutional duty to protect students who were not in custody.
Whenever I’ve pointed this consistent ruling out to gun control advocates they’ve had to resort to the extremely weak counterargument that while law enforcers aren’t obligated to protect people, no decent law enforcer would shirk from doing so. Arguments based on what people should do can be immediately dismissed when discussing violence because people should refrain from initiating acts of violence. When the argument of self-defense arises, it is because what people should do has already been thrown out of the window. More specifically though the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School proved that there are law enforcers who will shirk from defending people.
As far as the courts are concerned, when somebody initiates violence against you, you’re on your own. If I were a student, I’d trust a teacher who likely has an emotional incentive to protect me far more than a random law enforcer who has no obligation whatsoever to protect me. Since I’d put more trust in a teacher, I’d prefer they have the option of being armed so they are better equipped to defend me if the need arises (as an added bonus, the need to defend me would be less likely to arise since the school would no longer be a tempting soft target).
When I was in high school, I was taught about how the three branches of government counterbalance each other. The president can’t write or pass law. Congress can’t sign legislation into law. If the president and Congress conspire to do something illegal, the judicial branch can overrule their actions. But like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, the idea that the three branches of government balance each other out is a fairy tale.
The executive branch has continued to grow in power since the beginning of this country. Instead of slapping down attempts by the executive branch to grab more power the legislative branch has worked to retroactively declare those power grabs lawful. The judicial branch, which is ultimately ruled by the Supreme Court, which consists of judges nominated by the executive branch, has more often than not rubber stamped executive power grabs.
Now instead of Congress proposing and voting on legislation and the president signing it into law, new restrictions can be created by the executive bodies that have been granted regulatory power. The latest example of this is the reclassification of bump stocks as machine guns. Congress never passed legislation. The president said that he was going to ban them and one of his agencies, the Department of Justice, created a new regulation that declared bump stocks machine guns and thus put them in a category that is unlawful to own (machine guns that weren’t registered by May 19th, 1986).
This reclassification by an executive agency isn’t new. This has been the norm for decades. I just wanted to highlight it because, unlike Santa Claus, many people believe in the fairy tale of a balanced government well into adulthood.