A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Gun Rights’ tag

Tossing Aside the Unwritten Rules

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I’m currently reading The Storm Before the Storm by Mike Duncan, which covers the period preceding the fall of the Roman Republic. It’s a fascinating book that covers a period of Roman history that doesn’t get enough attention. One of the reoccurring themes in the book is how long established unwritten rules were being continuously violated by ambitious politicos.

Political debate here in the United States is experiencing a similar trend. Although political matters here haven’t quite devolved to the point where politically ambitious individuals are able to raise a street gang to murder their opposition, plenty of other unwritten rules are being violated. For example, at one point there was an unwritten rule against using children as political pawns. That rule has been violated numerous times already but even by past standards the gun control advocates are being extremely blatant:

We’re seeking wisdom from the mouths of babes, these days. So I asked my 12-year-old son if the country would be a better, safer place if the government tried to disarm some or all Americans to reduce violent crime.

“I think that would have the opposite effect,” he said. “The fewer people who are armed, the fewer people there would be to fight against criminals.”

So there we have it: the launch of Pre-Teens Against Infringements of the Right to Self-Defense, right here in my living room.

If you’re less than bowled over by my son’s insights, you’re forgiven. He’s short on experience and incompletely developed in his analytic skills. He also is one person, offering an opinion heavily colored by his parents’ views and the particular American subculture in which he’s raised.

There’s no logical reason why his participation in the discussion—which his mother and I encourage as a stepping stone to full engagement in the world around him—would be more convincing than the arguments of pundits, criminologists, and philosophers, just as there’s no logical reason to pay special attention to the teens now calling for more-restrictive gun laws in the wake of the Parkland shooting. There’s no logical reason that is—but we keep conscripting the tykes into political disputes in an effort to end debate, not advance it.

It’s rather ironic that gun control advocates are, on the one hand, claiming that 18-year-olds aren’t mature enough to own a firearm but people much younger than that are mature enough to be taken with the same seriousness as adults in political debates.

My point in this post isn’t that kids should be ignored during political debates. Different people mature at different rates. Some people are incredibly mature at a young age whereas others seem to never mature. Some kids certainly do have the maturity and intelligence to discuss political matters whereas some adults do not. However, most of the gun control advocates aren’t genuinely listening to what the kids are saying. They’re using the kids as political pawns. Their participation is being pushed so their parents can claim that anybody who opposes gun control hates children. Of course, this is how children are always used in political debates, which is why there was an unwritten rule against using children in political debates.

I’m not going to go so far as to say that the United States is the same as the twilight years of the Roman Republic. History doesn’t repeat itself. It does rhyme though. And there are a lot of things that rhyme between the United States and the Roman Republic during its twilight years.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 23rd, 2018 at 11:00 am

Fifteen Dimensional Chess

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A lot of Trump supporters said that his announcement to push for a ban on bumpfire stocks was really just a game of four dimensional chess. In that case this must be a game of fifteen dimensional chess:

At the same time, Trump made clear Thursday that he will urge several new gun law restrictions — including raising the age for purchasing firearms, something sources said he was considering.

“I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue—I hope!”

I should be surprised by how well Trump, a man with a history of supporting gun control, managed to convince so many gun rights activists that he was really a supporter of gun rights. But I’m not surprise. Politically involved individuals tend to be especially gullible. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be involved in politics.

Gun control advocates should be cheering Trump right now because he’s playing their game of incrementalism. Outright banning firearms has been made difficult by various court rulings. But the courts have also supported banning classes of individuals from owning firearms. Gun control advocates have latched onto this fact and have been pushing to expand the number of classes that can be prohibited. One of the classes they’re currently working to add to the prohibited list is people between the ages of 18 and 20. Of course, none of them seem to want to prohibit 18-year-olds from joining the military so I’m not convinced that they actually believe people that young are too immature to possess a firearm. But it would remove gun ownership privileges from a lot of people and that’s their goal.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 23rd, 2018 at 10:30 am

Don’t Hire Government Amateurs

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Yesterday it was revealed that the school in Parkland, Florida had an armed guard. However, the guard was a government amateur so, as is so often the case with law enforcers who have no actual duty to protect you, when he was needed most he abandoned his post:

An armed security officer on campus where a gunman killed 17 people never went inside the high school or tried to engage the gunman during the attack, a Florida sheriff said Thursday.

That officer has now resigned.

“I think he remained outside for upwards of four minutes,” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Scot Peterson, a sheriff’s deputy assigned to the school, “was absolutely on campus through this entire event. He was armed, he was in uniform,” Israel said.

If you want quality security, hire private professionals who have a vested interest in keeping you, their paying client, safe.

This revelation also, quite obviously, spits in the face of gun control advocates who believe law enforcers are sufficient protection for everybody. As it turns out, government agents aren’t terribly motivated to protect you since they tend to get paid no matter what happens. If you fail to protect yourself, you end up severely injured or dead. If a private security provider fails to protect you, they no longer have a source of income (and may even face a lawsuit for breach of contract). If a government agency fails to protect you, everybody still pays their taxes to fund that agency.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 23rd, 2018 at 10:00 am

How Compromises Work

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In the aftermath of every mass shooting perpetrated by a nongovernmental individual, gun control advocates demand new restrictions be placed on gun owners. When gun rights activists refuse to roll over, gun control advocates claim that the gun rights activists are unwilling to compromise. I’m left to believe that the gun control advocates making that claim don’t understand what the word compromise means.

According to the dictionary, compromise means, “an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.” A good example of a compromise is when one company sues another company for violating its patents and both sides resolve the dispute by agreeing to license each other patents. The suing company concedes its patents but in turn the sued company also concedes its patents. Both sides have given something up to get something.

Gun control advocates demand that gun rights activists make concessions but offer no concessions of their own so there is nothing to compromise over.

However, gun control advocates might convince a lot of gun rights activists to compromise if something were offered in return. For example, I know a lot of gun rights advocates who have stated that they would accept universal background checks if the Hughes Amendment was repealed in return. I also know gun rights advocates who would likely accept raising the minimum age for purchasing a firearm if suppressors were removed from the National Firearms Act in return.

Instead of offering nothing and then complaining that gun rights advocates are unwilling to compromise, gun control advocates should state what they’re willing to concede in return for what they want. If they did that, negotiations could begin.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 22nd, 2018 at 11:00 am

Never Trust a Popularis

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If somebody asked me to describe Trump’s politics, I would label him a popularis. By that I don’t mean he favors the poor but favors the masses specifically because he believes doing so will grant him political power. The problem with populares is that you can never been sure which direction they’re going to go on any given issue at any point in time. Take the issue of gun control. A principled individual, whether they favor gun control or gun rights, will take a predictable stance on the issue. A popularis, on the other hand, will change their stance depending on the direction of the wind. One moment they might be attending a National Rifle Association (NRA) meeting to garner support from gun owners, the next they might be pushing gun control:

In the wake of last week’s shooting Parkland Florida—which left 17 people dead—President Donald Trump announced his intention to ban bump stocks.

“Just a few moments ago I signed a memo directing the attorney general to propose regulations that ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns,” said Trump in a public address Tuesday afternoon, “I expect these regulations to be finalized, Jeff, very soon” addressing Attorney General Jeff Sessions directly.

The President’s memo demands that the Department of Justice complete an ongoing review of whether bump stocks—a device which greatly increases the rate of fire of a semi-automatic weapon—are currently prohibited by current federal laws restricting machine guns.

I think my favorite claim about this announcement is that Trump is playing four dimensional chess. Such claims give Trump far too much credit. He knows that gun control is being demanded by a lot of people as it always is after a mass shooting. As a popularis, he wants to please those individuals so he’s giving them some gun control. However, he also doesn’t want to upset gun owners so he’s trying to give gun control advocates just enough to take the edge off of their hunger without angering gun owners too much.

Whether he’s playing four dimensional chess or being a popularis I will take this moment to mention that I pointed out that Trump wasn’t a staunch believer in gun rights when so many others, including the NRA, claimed he was.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 21st, 2018 at 10:00 am

Mental Illness Is a Meaningless Definition

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Now that I’ve skewered the vultures exploiting the Florida school shooting to forward their gun control agenda, it’s time for me to skewer my fellow advocates of gun rights.

Gun control advocates are quick to lump all gun owners, both those who have committed violent crimes with guns and those who haven’t, together and demand they all be punished. All too often gun rights advocates fall for the same collectivist nonsense. They’ll label the shooter mentally ill and by doing so throw individuals with mental illnesses under the bus.

Saying the shooter belonged to the collective of mentally ill individuals is, like all forms of collectivism, meaningless. Mental illness is such a broad term that saying somebody suffers from a mental illness says nothing specific. What kind of mental illness did the shooter suffer from? Were they schizophrenic? Were they autistic? Were they bipolar? Were they senile? There are a lot of recognized mental illnesses and only a handful of them carry any risk of instilling violent behavior in the sufferer.

I know, I know, anybody who is willing to kill innocent people is obviously mentally ill, right? If so, that means drone pilots and many law enforcers are mentally ill. Strangely enough, I generally don’t hear gun rights activists who label mass shooters as mentally ill apply the same label to drone pilots or law enforcers. It seems like the label of mentally ill is a euphemism for individuals they don’t like.

As tempting as it is, fighting fire with fire isn’t the best way to prevent a house from burning down. If a gun control advocate tries to use nonsensical collectivization to make their case, responding with your own flavor of nonsensical collectivization isn’t productive. It’s far more productive to call out their nonsense while simultaneously analyzing the problems that can be acted on (i.e. the real problems). There is no way to act on an individual belonging to an arbitrarily defined group. There are a ways to improve school security, response times, etc.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 16th, 2018 at 11:00 am

Fitting Definitions to the Narrative

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The shooting in Florida is the 18th school shooting in 2018! Or not. It turns out that the statistic that is being mindless regurgitated by much of the Internet is, like most such mindless regurgitations, malarkey. The statistic, not surprisingly, originates from Everytown for Gun Safety, which is an organization known for massaging definitions to fit its narrative:

Everytown has long inflated its total by including incidents of gunfire that are not really school shootings. Take, for example, what it counts as the year’s first: On the afternoon of Jan. 3, a 31-year-old man who had parked outside a Michigan elementary school called police to say he was armed and suicidal. Several hours later, he killed himself. The school, however, had been closed for seven months. There were no teachers. There were no students.

Also listed on the organization’s site is an incident from Jan. 20, when — at 1 a.m. — a man was shot at a sorority event on the campus of Wake Forest University. A week later, as a basketball game was being played at a Michigan high school, someone fired several rounds from a gun in the parking lot. No one was injured, and it was past 8 p.m., well after classes had ended for the day, but Everytown still labeled it a school shooting.

Everytown explains on its website that it defines a school shooting as “any time a firearm discharges a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds.”

To borrow a phrase popularized by Mark Twain, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. The beauty of analyzing numbers is that you can whatever result you want if you use the proper definitions. If, for example, you want to maximize the number of school shootings in the United States, you merely need to define a school shooting as any incident where a firearm was discharged on school grounds. It doesn’t matter if the discharge happened at a school that has been closed for seven months or if the discharge was caused by a law enforcer’s lack of awareness of their surroundings.

Details matter but most people ignore them. When they see a headline that confirms their bias, they post it, usually without bothering to read the cited source. This is why most discourse is pointless. Facts aren’t being debated, confirmation bias is.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 16th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Pretending to Do Something

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There is never a shortage of government busybodies when something has to be done and people have been demanding that something be done in response to the Las Vegas shooting. So the law enforcers in Mesa, Arizona have answered those demands by arresting and charing an individual show the shooter purchased ammunition from:

U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Authorities have charged Douglas Haig, 55, of Mesa Arizona with selling “armor-piercing ammunition” to Las Vegas killer Stephen Paddock according to court documents acquired by the Associated Press. Haig works full time as an aerospace engineer and part-time as a manufacturer of reloaded ammunition.

This would be like arresting the head of Ford in response to somebody using an F-150 to run down a group of people. Haig made a product and sold it. After that he ceased to have control over it and therefore ceased to be responsible for it. But that doesn’t matter because the government wants to show the world that it’s doing something in response to the shooting.

The lack of Haig’s involvement with the crime doesn’t matter as illustrated by the charges against him. He’s not be charged with anything relating to the shooting. Instead he’s being charged with violating an unrelated regulation against manufacturing “armor piercing” ammunition (which, itself, is a nonsensical legal definition) without a license. Since none of the Las Vegas shooter’s victims were wearing body armor, the ability for the ammunition he used to penetrate body armor is irrelevant (and that’s not what the legal definition of “armor piecing” is even based on). But the arrest gives the law enforcers something to show the public and that’s all that matters.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 8th, 2018 at 10:30 am

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

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I guess even the most incompetent, loathsome bastards do something right once in a while:

The Republican-controlled chamber passed the bill by 231-198, in their first major gun legislation since a 2012 Connecticut school massacre.

Republicans said the bill would allow gun owners to travel without having to worry about conflicting state laws.

Just kidding! We’re getting fucked over by this as well:

To make the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act more palatable, Republicans have included measures to strengthen the national background check system.

Never underestimate the Republicans’ willingness, even with majority control over Congress and the presidency, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 7th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Rookie Numbers

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These are rookie numbers but at least they’re increasing:

There are nearly twice as many guns in the average gun-owning household today as there were 20 years ago, according to new Wonkblog estimates based data from surveys and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In 2013, there were an estimated 8.1 firearms in the typical gun-owning household, according to these data. In 1994, the average gun-owning household owned 4.2 guns.

I wonder how much that number has increased since 2013.

Establishing gun ownership numbers in the United States, thankfully, is very difficult. For the longest time gun control advocates have been claiming that gun ownership rates are declining. When National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks, a number that is released by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), shows record numbers the gun control advocates claim that it’s just the same gun owners buying more guns. When it’s pointed out that there is a record number of new carry permits being issued and record attendance at shooting competitions the gun control advocates cover their ears and start screaming, “I can’t hear you,” over and over again.

My point is that by almost every metric gun ownership rates in the United States are increasing. This is good for many reasons. Politically it is becoming more expensive for politicians to attack gun rights. While politicians don’t care what they’re constituents they are naturally lazy bums who would rather chase an easy victory than one that will result in them having to listen to a bunch of plebs complain to them.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 1st, 2017 at 10:00 am