Archive for the ‘Gun Rights’ Category
With Hillary running for president and Obama occupying the White House, last year was a good year for the firearm market. Gun sales were up, ammunition sales were up, and the number of issued carry permits were up. Even a socialist paradise like Minnesota saw a record number of issued carry permits:
Law enforcement issued more than 71,000 permits to Minnesotans allowing them to carry a firearm in public, a record one-year total and a sharp increase from 2015, state officials said Wednesday.
As of Wednesday, the total number of valid permits in Minnesota was 265,728, the highest total ever reported in the annual release from the Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Roughly one year ago, that total was 217,909.
Of course, those are rookie numbers and, unfortunately, I’m expecting that number to drop. Politicians who favor gun control are the best thing going for the firearm market. When people are told they won’t be able to buy something in the near future they rush out and buy it. Standard capacity magazines will fly off of the shelf when politicians start whispering about passing legislation restricting magazines to 10 rounds. AR-15s and AK-47s will fly off of the shelf when politicians start whispering about banning modern rifles. The best way to bolster the sale of something is to get a politician to threaten to ban it.
There are a lot of vague laws. For example, if you own a computer numerical control (CNC) machine and use it to build a firearm you’re legally in the clear so long as you can legally possess the firearm where you live. However, if you let somebody else use the machine are you still in the clear? You can legally manufacturer your own firearm so long as you don’t transfer it but what constitutes manufacturing your own firearm? This is one of those legal gray areas that one should be careful about operating in:
According to investigators, Crowninshield, known online as “Dr. Death,” would sell unfinished AR-15 lower receivers, which customers would then pay for him to transform into fully machined lower receivers using a computer numerically controlled (CNC) mill. (In October 2014, Cody Wilson, of Austin, Texas, who has pioneered 3D-printed guns, began selling a CNC mill called “Ghost Gunner,” designed to work specifically on the AR-15 lower.)
“In order to create the pretext that the individual in such a scenario was building his or her own firearm, the skilled machinist would often have the individual press a button or put his or her hands on a piece of machinery so that the individual could claim that the individual, rather than the machinist, made the firearm,” the government claimed in its April 14 plea agreement.
CNC machines add a new twist to manufacturing. Instead of being required to learn how to use a series of tools a person can now download specifications, place a raw block of material in a machine, press a button, and grab a coffee while they wait for the machine to finish doing its thing. Crowninshield decided that if he had his customer press the button that started the milling process then they would legally be manufacturing the firearm. I agree with that interpretation but since he plead guilty we don’t know what the courts think of that interpretation.
The lesson this story teaches is that one needs to be careful when operating in legal gray areas. Although you’re at risk of being arrested and charged for anything you do, you’re at especially high risk when the law isn’t clear about whether your activity is legal or illegal.
Gun control advocates have been trying to make the case that guns are a “public health” issue for ages. I came across this nonsense again when read Ars Technica (which is a great site when it comes to technology but its writers are mostly ignorant of guns):
BOSTON—Because both criminal violence and gun rights have become contentious political topics, research on the health and safety aspects of gun ownership in the US is barely funded. In fact, many have questioned whether it should be studied at all. But Northeastern University’s Matthew Miller used a talk at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science to argue that there’s an area where the data shows a clear link between gun access and public health and that this topic reveals some hints as to how to better manage safety.
The issue in focus is suicide.
Here’s the thing, “public health” isn’t a thing.
Health is something that can only be determined on an individual basis. Sure, you can say ‘x’ number of people suffer from ‘y’ ailment but that information is of limited use because you need to look at each individual suffering from ‘y’ individually. The reason one person, for example, suffers from chronic headaches may be entirely different than why another person suffers from chronic headaches. What factors allow and individual exposed to people suffering from a highly virulent disease to avoid becoming infected? What factors cause a generally mild disease to turn into a life threatening condition for an individual?
The problem with collectivizing health is that it leads to absurd conclusions such as firearms causing suicides. Suicidal tendencies need to be analyzed on a case by case basis. This probably surprises collectivists because they like to think of everybody has being an identical cog in the great machinery of society but different people suffer from suicidal thoughts for different reasons. Some of those individuals are suffering from chemical imbalances in the brain. Others have suffered a lifetime of torment and just want it to stop. There are a plethora of potential causes for suicidal thoughts.
Another issue with collectivizing health is that is leads to blanket policies that can hinder sufferers from seeking treatment. Consider this claim that guns are related to suicides. It’s likely to lead to a policy that prohibits people deemed suicidal by the State from owning firearms. What happens when a gun owner starts suffering from suicidal thoughts but doesn’t want to reach out for help because they’re afraid of losing their guns? The answer is that they don’t seek help and try to deal with the problem alone.
I wish people would stop falling into these collectivist traps.
If you listened to gun control advocates you’d believe that all gun owners are middle aged fat white guys who want to killed anybody who is political liberal or has dark skin. The reality is quite different. Gun owners are a diverse bunch and are becoming more diverse every day. Some people joined the ranks of gun owners because they enjoy the sports, some became interested through the video games they played, and some joined because they realized they needed a means of defending themselves. Now people are joining the ranks of gun owners because they are concerned about the direction the United States government is going:
But instead FBI background checks for gun transactions soared to a new record for a single day – 185,713 – during the Black Friday sales on 25 November, according to gun control news site The Trace.
Some of this has been put down to gun retailers selling off stock at reduced prices, but there have also been reports of more “non-traditional” buyers, such as African Americans and other minorities, turning up at gun shops and shooting ranges.
Lara Smith, national spokesperson for the Liberal Gun Club, says her organisation has seen a “huge” rise in enquiries since November’s election and a 10% increase in paid members.
Some of the new members are reluctant first-time gun owners, says Smith, concerned that isolated acts of aggression against minorities could escalate into something more violent and that a Trump administration will dismantle key constitutional rights, leading to a “more fascist rule than the US has ever had”.
The club, which has nine chapters and members in all 50 states, aims to provide a forum for people whose political beliefs do not fit the traditional right-wing gun enthusiast stereotype.
This is great news in my opinion. I believe the mantra that an armed society is a polite society so expanding the ranks of gun owners can only help make our society more peaceful. I also believe that the best way to maintain and expand gun rights is to expand the demographics of gun owners. Historically gun control advocates have had a great deal of success in more politically liberal areas such as New York and California. If more political liberal individuals become gun owners then gun control will become a toxic issue for the politicians they give money to, campaign for, and vote for.
There are many good arguments for owning firearms. Barring personal preference or issues such as a mental disposition that may lead you to harm yourself or others there are few good arguments against owning firearms.
Minnesota’s medical cannabis laws are, to put it nicely, absurd. Instead of legalizing cannabis across the board like Colorado, the Minnesota legislative and executive branches allowed law enforcement to effectively write the initial bill. The result was a bill that allowed patients with very specific conditions to access cannabis at prices that today remain artificially inflated due to the government granted duopoly of approved growers. Now that the bill is through minor tweaks are being made. One of the tweaks is adding more approved conditions to the list. Recently post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was added to the list:
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) – The Minnesota Department of Health on Thursday announced the decision to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a new qualifying condition for the state’s medical cannabis program.
PTSD was one of 9 conditions considered for addition this year, including depression, arthritis, autism, diabetes, insomnia, schizophrenia, phantom limb syndrome and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome – a genetic disorder that can affect the joints and skin.
I bring this up primarily because it’s an interesting intersection of cannabis and gun laws, especially for one beloved group of individuals that commonly suffer from PTSD and enjoy shooting sport: veterans. Unfortunately, due to the disagreement on cannabis between state and federal governments, using cannabis in a state where it’s legal means you lose your gun privileges. In fact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) recently updated Form 4473 to clarify this. In Minnesota, unlike states that have completely abolished cannabis prohibition, you have to register as a patient with the state, which means that it only takes one agency communicating with another to list you as a prohibited person in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
So now those veterans who suffer with PTSD and enjoy shooting sports have a choice to make. They can either treat their condition or they can own firearms. At least legally.
Illicit cannabis dealers are still happy to provide their product to people suffering from PTSD without requiring any registration with a government agency that might report them to the ATF. The lesson here is that if you’re suffering with any of the approved medical conditions that allow you to legally buy cannabis in Minnesota buy your cannabis illegally instead.
I believe that an armed society is a polite society. As the number of armed individuals increases in a society so does the cost of perpetrating a crime. This is why I’m a supporter of teaching young individuals how to shoot. The sooner they learn how to safely handle a firearm the sooner they are both inoculated against anti-gun fear mongering and prepares them for the day when they can carry a firearm. I especially support efforts like Elaina Spraker’s to teach young women how to shoot:
In 2009, Alaskan Elaina Spraker decided to start a gun training course for young women interested in learning about firearms, gun safety and how to shoot. Spraker said the idea came to her when she asked her then-teenage son if his female friends enjoyed going to the gun range as much as he and his friends did. Her son’s response caught her by surprise. He said most of the girls stayed back.
Women, on average, tend to be at a physical disadvantage to men. Firearms remove physical disparity from the equation. With a firearm a woman, elderly individual, or wheelchair bound individual can put up effective resistance against a physically fit 20-year-old male. There are few things as empowering as realizing that you can effectively defend yourself even against stronger attackers.
Having more armed women that are skilled at handling firearms can only benefit society.
Cody Wilson stirred up a lot of controversy when he released designs for the Liberator, a single shot pistol constructed with a 3D printer. Why did a pistol constructed of materials that were guaranteed to fail after firing relatively few shots and couldn’t be scaled up to a powerful caliber? Because most gun control advocates have no concept of how guns work. That leads them to fear imaginary devices such as the mythical Glock 7 from Die Hard, which lead to the passage of the Undetectable Firearms Act. Another reason is that most gun control advocates are apparently unaware that computer numerical control (CNC) machines are a thing:
Even after reading his book, I’m still not sure what he means by this. Sure, plenty of open-source zealots favor software that can be edited, freely, by anyone. However, there is a crucial distinction here: no software, until the one created by Wilson and his followers, has ever been used to create a physical device that fires lethal bullets.
The Liberator was not the first gun created using software. In fact most modern guns are initially created using computer aided design (CAD) software, frequently simulated in software before being created, and sometimes built using a CNC machine. Software has been used to create guns for a while now. What Cody Wilson did wasn’t revolutionary, it was evolutionary. He managed to make a firearm with inferior equipment and materials that provided the most basic requirements to qualify as a firearm. I don’t mean to understate his contribution to firearms manufacturing but his real revolution, in my opinion, was to illustrate how irrelevant gun control is, especially as we march into a future where home fabrication will become easier and be able to utilize better materials.
Technology has always been the death knell of centralized control. While gun control advocates cling to their belief that a powerful central government can make all of the bad things go away the rest of the world is moving on and doing what it damn well pleases. I don’t fear gun control because I realize it’s a lost cause. Cody Wilson helped illustrate that to the world with the Liberator.
In addition to the massive increase in government violence, another side-effect of the war on drugs is the stripping of so-called rights. Under United States law, a person in possession of verboten substances cannot legally exercise their Second Amendment privilege. Some people have asked whether or not cannabis users who have been given permission to treat their medical condition by the State are an exception to that rule. A federal court recently ruled that they’re not:
A federal ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders does not violate the Second Amendment, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.
The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals applies to the nine Western states that fall under the court’s jurisdiction, including California, Washington and Oregon.
It came in a lawsuit filed by S. Rowan Wilson, a Nevada woman who said she tried to buy a firearm for self-defense in 2011 after obtaining a medical marijuana card. The gun store refused, citing the federal rule banning the sale of firearms to illegal drug users.
This ruling is ridiculous for two reasons.
First, this ruling is really stating is that people suffering from certain medical conditions have no right to self-defense. If, for example, you suffer from chronic pain and have only had success treating it with cannabis the State has declared your life so lacking in value that it’s not even worth protecting.
Second, this ruling also declares that your gun ownership privileges can be revoked without due process:
Wilson said she was not a marijuana user, but obtained the card in part as an expression of support for marijuana legalization.
The 9th Circuit in its 3-0 decision said it was reasonable for federal regulators to assume a medical marijuana card holder was more likely to use the drug.
According to the federal court it’s reasonable for federal regulators to assume holders of medical cannabis cards are using cannabis. The key point here is the word assume. Federal regulators don’t have to actually prove that you’ve broken federal prohibition laws to strip you of your gun ownership privileges. It merely has to assume you’ve broken the prohibition. Gun rights activists should be flipping their shit about this because it’s the exact same logic used by people demanding that anybody on the terrorist watch lists be prohibited from owning firearms. No due process is necessary for the State to declare your gun ownership privileges null and void.
Robert Anton Wilson founded the Guns and Dope Party under the premise that if you could get all of the gun nuts and all of the drop smokers united together you’d have a majority of voters. The downside is that the gun nuts tend to not like the dope smokers and vice versa. But the two groups really should be united because they’re fighting the same battle, which is the battle over who owns you. Both the gun nuts and the dope smokers are, whether they know it or not, arguing for self-ownership. The right of self-ownership necessarily requires the right to defend yourself, which the gun nuts are fighting for, and the right to put whatever you please into your body, which the dope smokers are fighting for. If these two groups would unite to tell all of the prohibitionists to go fuck themselves we might see some positive change in this forsaken police state of a nation.
While a lot of sectors of the economy are in the toilet the firearms sector is doing quite well. Guns and ammunition sales remain high, which has causes more manufacturers to enter the market. In fact the sector is getting large enough that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is beginning to whine about being unable to perform its duties:
Florida has more “gun manufacturers” than any other state except Texas, after a surge of 346 percent in licenses for gun makers since 2009, fueled by the nation’s growing demand for firearms.
That has created some concerns about the regulatory oversight of these businesses by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the federal law enforcement agency that monitors the nation’s gun sales and distribution.
“Maybe we are on the edge of a point where the ATF will not be able to keep up anymore,” said former ATF special agent William Vizzard.
Denial of service attacks against the State are always fun. First, they’re usually unintentional so there’s nobody’s head to put on a pike. Second, they exploit the State’s bureaucracy and therefore cannot be mitigated because the State won’t give up the one thing it relies on. Third, it gets more goods into the hands of consumers.
Anybody who has tried to purchase a suppressor in recent times knows that the ATF is already at the point where it cannot keep up. Wait times for six to eight months are the norm when waiting for ATF approval when purchasing a suppressor. That wait time is only going to increase as suppressors become more popular. And the ATF is constantly grasping for more power (again, that reliance on bureaucracy is biting it in the ass), which only further burdens the agency. Eventually the ATF will grind to a halt under the weight of its own regulations and then something may finally be done about the agency.
It’s inevitable that any company that becomes popular will begin receiving an endless stream of demands from politicians. Each politician will demand the company comply with their person agenda. One example of this are when anti-gun politicians demanded Facebook stop allowing its service to be used for perfectly legal gun sales. Facebook voluntarily complied and started taking down groups and posts related to gun sales. Now the politicians are back and demanding Facebook do a better job at blocking perfectly legal gun sales:
A United States Senator released Facebook’s response on Tuesday to a slew of questions he sent company officials last month about gun sales initiated through the site. But the two-page response, which was supposed to address what impact, if any, Facebook’s ban on gun sales has had, left many questions unanswered.
“While I commend the platforms’ facilitating the reporting of prohibited content related to gun sales by users, I urge Facebook and Instagram to redouble their efforts to develop and deploy technology that can enforce their gun-sales ban without relying so heavily on user reporting,” Sen. Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said in a written statement. “Facebook and Instagram’s ban on private firearms sales should have the teeth it needs to be effective, so that it can truly prevent guns from falling into the hands of those who should not have them.”
Never comply with demands from politicians. They’re never satisfied. No matter how well you comply with their demands they will always demand that you do a better job. Politicians are like spoiled children. Once you’ve rolled over for them they’ll never stop.
Treat politicians like terrorists (because they are); never negotiate with them. If a politician tells you to do something just ignore them. They’ll threaten to pass a law but complying with their demands will just give them a poster child to hold up as an example of the industry supporting the law they’re going to pass anyways.