No Justice, No Peace

November 24th, 2014

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That very slogan is a mockery of our system of justice. The protesters demanded a grand jury, and they got it. It turns out the eyewitnesses were unreliable, and the physical evidence shows no criminal activity on Officer Wilson's part. The system did its job.

Many of those calling for an indictment never cared about the process. They simply care about punishment. They want someone to suffer, and they assume that will happen if they get enough people to scream. They believe that public opinion should drive criminal proceedings.

This tendency towards vengeance is the basest of human instincts, and it's exactly what our system …

More on Pistol Braces

November 24th, 2014

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I've been over the issue of pistol stabilizing braces before. Attaching one to a pistol is perfectly legal. It is also legal to use it as a shoulder stock, though that's not the intended purpose. The BATFE issued a very specific letter to clarify this.

Black Aces Tactical recently manufactured a shotgun with the brace, and they've been informed that this is impermissible. People are now under the impression that this affects all uses. That is not the case.

The answer is simple and short. In legal terms, a shotgun is not a pistol. They are …

Jay Leno Weasels Out

November 23rd, 2014

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Jay Leno was scheduled to speak at the 2015 SHOT show but has cancelled under pressure from gun-control groups. This came from his spokesperson:

When it came to his attention that this was actually a pro-gun lobby show, he immediately cancelled his appearance. He found out that it was not what he was originally told it was, and he decided to cancel.

OK, what else would the National Shooting Sports Foundation be? I find it incomprehensible that he would be ignorant of that, or of what the SHOT Show promotes. He could at least have been honest about it.

The Coalition to Stop …

I-594: Curios and Relics

November 16th, 2014

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The ATF has long recognized that certain firearms fall into a category known as "curios and relics." As defined, this includes weapons that "are of special interest to collectors by reason of some quality other than is associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons." Most are firearms over 50 years old, or for which the value is historical rather than functional.

Collectors of curios and relics (C&R) can acquire a Type 3 FFL, which allows them to bypass some of the transfer requirements of the Gun Control Act and Brady Act. To the …

Hollis v. Holder

November 8th, 2014

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A guy named Jay Aubrey Isaac Hollis has started a crowdfunding campaign. His goal is to bring litigation against Attorney General Holder on the grounds that the National Firearms Act and 1986 Hughes Amendment are unconstitutional.

In short, he submitted a Form 1 to the BATFE for approval to build a machine gun for personal use, even though it's illegal for him to do so. Somewhere along the line, somebody got their wires crossed, and it was approved. The BATFE recognized the error and revoked their approval the same day.

Mr. Hollis seems to think this is his big Mr. Smith Goes to Washington moment, and he's presenting a batch of Hail Mary passes to the Northern District court in Texas. Seriously, this is what he asks for in the opening pages:

overturning Wickard v. Filburn
declaring "unjust taking" under the 5th Amendment because an erroneous approval was reversed
applying strict scrutiny to all matters involving the 2nd Amendment, despite the fact that most Circuit courts have rejected the idea
revisiting the legislative process behind the passage of the Hughes Amendment

This guy is going to crash and burn in oral arguments, and we'll all suffer for it. Whatever you do, don't encourage him.

I-594: A Recipe for Disaster

November 6th, 2014

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It only cost $13 million, but Washington State voters have passed a bill [pdf] mandating "universal" background checks for all transfers of firearms. This is bad law. It will punish those whose only failing was not knowing its stipulations in detail, and it will do nothing to deter crime.

Under the law, a transfer is pretty much any situation in which possession of a gun changes. It doesn't just cover the sale of firearms–a transfer occurs whenever someone besides the registered owner is in possession of the gun. So, "hold my rifle while I tie my shoes" is a transfer. If a background check hasn't been done, with a licensed dealer as the intermediary, both parties commit a gross misdemeanor.

I'm afraid it's going to take a few innocent people getting thrown in jail or losing their right to own guns in Washington before the defects of this law come to light.

On Referendums

November 4th, 2014

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The Republicans are looking to pick up six or more seats in the Senate tonight. Mitch McConnell looks to be winning in Kentucky, and he'll probably replace Harry Reid as majority leader.

Tomorrow morning, the Republicans are going to be basking in optimism and satisfaction. That would be a tremendous mistake. They need to have viable plans in place right now, or they'll be back in the wilderness in two years.

Pundits are calling this election a referendum on the President and his policies. That's not the case. If anything, that would have been the 2010 election. The "take back our country" rhetoric and tricorner hats won Republicans a few seats, but the Tea Party forked the message and turned their narrow majority into a tool for little more than squabbling obstructionism. They seemed to think the public didn't notice.

Next came claims they'd take the White House in 2012. That didn't happen. Presidential candidates bickered among themselves over who was more conservative and did little else. When the dust settled, they were left with Mitt Romney. Tea Party freshmen in the House lost seats. In New York and New Hampshire, they lost their seats back to the Democrats they'd unseated in 2010.

They were left with just enough votes to force one government shutdown and threaten another. They've little else to show for their work.

This year, they seem more focused, but their victory will be transitory at best.

Henderson v. United States

October 21st, 2014

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The Supreme Court granted cert to this one last night. At issue is the disposition of a person's firearms once he's convicted of a felony.

The question presented is whether such a conviction prevents a court under Rule 41(g) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure or under general equity principles from ordering that the government (1) transfer non-contraband firearms to an unrelated third party to whom the defendant has sold all his property interests or (2) sell the firearms for the benefit of the defendant. The Second, Fifth, and Seventh Circuits and the Montana Supreme Court all allow

Eric Holder Resigning

September 26th, 2014

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It may seem like odd timing, but it makes a perverse sort of sense. Come Monday, the Department of Justice will be required to release documents they previously withheld from Congress during the Fast & Furious investigation. Holder may be trying to distance himself from whatever fallout might ensue, but he remains in contempt of Congress for that bit of obstruction.

While it looks like he'll escape any consequences from that (and it has for some time), one can only hope this will haunt his professional life. Two American law-enforcement officers and over 150 Mexicans died as …

DC Has a Carry Law, and It's Terrible

September 21st, 2014

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In response to their recent court loss in Palmer v. DC, the District of Columbia has drafted a law [pdf] allowing civilians to carry firearms. The city council is doing their best to flaunt the court order without veering into direct contempt, much as they did following the Heller decision.

Essentially, one might be able to get a permit to carry in the District, but the bill is structured in such a way as to make it virtually useless. Here are the major provisions:

Applicants must demonstrate "a good reason to fear injury" and "a special …

Sensenbrenner Wants to Shut Down the ATF

September 18th, 2014

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So, we've got a proposal on the table [pdf] to break up the ATF and fold its responsibilities into other law-enforcement agencies. The idea is to give the FBI authority to enforce firearms regulations while giving the alcohol/tobacco stuff over to the DEA.

I'd love to see it happen. Homer Cummings' little post-Prohibition revenue collection agency has grown into the arbiter of our firearms laws, and it would be a gross understatement to say they've done a horrendous job of it.

This is the agency that funneled guns across the border to Mexico in the Fast & Furious …

ATF Pushing Ahead with 41P

September 15th, 2014

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A year ago, the President advanced a number of regulatory proposals on gun control. One of the more esoteric ones involved changing the way trusts are handled in regards to NFA firearms.

The original action date was to have been last June, but the BATFE was deluged with comments. While action appeared to have been pushed back to 2015, the Bureau has recently published a draft form [pdf].

Essentially, any "responsible party" of a trust or corporation must now file this form and seek approval from local law enforcement. That approval is impossible to obtain in many areas.

The …

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