Due Process and "Terror"

December 13th, 2015


The gun-control lobby is attempting to use the San Bernardino shooting for political fodder.  The problem is that the incident occurred in California, a state they consider to be a model laboratory for gun restrictions.

They've chosen to sidestep that issue, and they're proposing a new solution:  bar anyone on a terrorist watchlist from owning firearms.  If we don't look too closely, it seems sensible.  It also makes for good soundbites about security.

In practice, it's a terrible idea, and it's something that should offend anyone interested in civil liberties.

Consider the "no fly" list.  One has no way of knowing …

An Alternative to Gun Control

October 3rd, 2015


In the wake of this week's mass shooting, we're going to hear calls for more background checks.  This, despite the fact the shooter underwent and passed several background checks when he purchased his guns.  This, despite the fact that Oregon passed more strict background check legislation only a couple of months ago.

Background checks don't stop these tragedies.  With the exception of Newtown, every mass shooter in the last two decades has purchased his weapons at retail and passed a check.  The lack of a deterrent effect is obvious.  Any other social policy that has failed this utterly would have …

Trigger Warnings

September 27th, 2015


I went to high school in a somewhat rural area.  Local politics were steered by religion and conservatism.  Therefore, it should have come as little surprise that our library's copy of Catcher in the Rye had been subjected to extensive redaction by some busybody.  In fact, entire paragraphs of the book had been blotted out with magic marker.  The school librarian wasn't the least bit surprised or disturbed when I pointed this out to her.

I used to assume that book banning was the province of the Right.  That's no longer the case.  Liberalism has bred its own version, and it's just …

Crocodile Tears

September 27th, 2015


There's a sad-sack story being circulated by gun-control advocates about Lonnie and Sandy Phillips.  In essence, the claim is that they're being bankrupted by an evil gun retailer who knowingly armed the Aurora movie theater shooter.

The truth is something altogether different.

The lawsuit itself [pdf] was an attempt to hold online dealers culpable because they sold ammunition without a background check.  There is no law in Colorado, or on the federal level, mandating such a practice.

Notice the "should have known" clauses:

Defendants in this case knew, should have known, or knew that it was substantially certain, that in


August 29th, 2015


I get it:  Donald Trump is rich.  He managed daddy's real-estate business with some degree of competence, and it made a great deal of money.  Good for him.  That doesn't qualify him to be the President of the United States.

He has yet to articulate a single coherent policy position.  He says he'll "build a wall" and "make Mexico pay for it."  OK.  How is he going to get that done?  He won't say.  He claims he's going to "make America great again."  What steps does that entail?  No clue.

He claims to have learned about foreign policy by watching generals on …

Here Comes Biden

August 25th, 2015


It's been reasonable to suspect he'll run for the Presidency, and that now appears to be confirmed.  He's run twice before.  This time, he's been Vice President for 8 years.

If he does, Clinton is done.  Biden doesn't have any major scandals or suspicion to overcome. He's been in politics for nearly four decades, and everybody knows him.  He's got the lock on New England and he'll sweep the labor unions.  He's safe, charismatic, and connected.  He doesn't even really have to campaign for it.

Clinton will fall by the wayside.  Bernie Sanders isn't going to happen.  The party is going …

Oregon: Universal Background Checks and Datamining

August 8th, 2015


Oregon recently passed a bill to mandate so-called universal background checks on private transfers of firearms.  One of the arguments we've made against the concept is that it will result in the creation of a gun registry.

This isn't just a "slippery slope" argument.  The only way to enforce background checks on private transfers will be to know who had the guns before they were transferred.  That entails a registration.  Supporters of this legislation claim we're full of hot air.

Well, it looks like that's exactly what's happening in Oregon.  Background checks are done on the state level there, and …

Lamenting the Inevitable

July 24th, 2015


I suppose the rifle open-carry guys needed something to do.  They haven't been in the news the last few months, so they decided to strut around recruiting offices in the wake of the Chattanooga shooting.

In Lancaster, Ohio, a guy named Christopher Reed had a negligent discharge in the parking lot.  Apparently, someone asked to see his rifle and he fired it while he was trying to clear it.

He has been charged with discharging a firearm within the city limits.  As it turns out, this isn't his first rodeo.  He was convicted and fined $50 for a similar incident in …

The Brady Check Loophole Isn't

July 13th, 2015


Let's see if we can get this straight.  A loophole is defined as, "an error in the way a law, rule, or contract is written that makes it possible for some people to legally avoid obeying it."  If somebody writes a law with a specific exemption, that exemption doesn't qualify as a loophole.

The Brady Act regulates background checks on retail sales of firearms. Sarah Brady helped author and promote the law. She knows full well what's in it.*

The Charleston shooter purchased a firearm at retail.  He lied on the form by failing to disclose he was an …

The Confederate Flag Thing

June 26th, 2015


Charleston can a rough town.  They've got a dark history when it comes to race relations.

It's sad that it took the murder of nine people at the hands of a neo-Nazi to get the world to notice that.  It's even sadder that people think taking a stupid flag down will change anything.

Yes, I get it.  The Confederate flag isn't strictly about slavery.  But like it or not, that flag is unavoidably tied to perceptions of dehumanization, oppression, and segregation.

Consider the svastika.  Hitler didn't invent it.  He appropriated it for his uses, and it will forever be tainted by …

Victory in Puerto Rico

June 20th, 2015


This one came in under the radar. An organization called Ladies of the 2nd Amendment in Puerto Rico brought a class-action suit challenging the Commonwealth's permitting system.  They won.

In the Court of Salinas, Judge Lugo Anibal Irizarry ruled that Articles 2.01, 2.02, 2.04, 2.05 and 2.06 of the Arms Act failed constitutional scrutiny.  Most notably, he criticized the voucher system, stating "no fundamental right is taxable."  While I doubt we can expect this decision to be quoted in continental cases, it's nice to see an acknowledgement of that.

Residents may now carry firearms without needing to pursue a permit …

H.R. 2058

May 14th, 2015


The FDA is soon expected to extend its authority to all tobacco products. They consider electronic cigarettes and vaping products to fall into that category, so we could be looking at serious trouble for manufacturers.

Currently, products introduced prior to February of 2007 are grandfathered in under the doctrine of substantial equivalence.  Anything introduced later would have to go through an expensive and difficult approval process.  The problem is, the vast majority of vaping products were introduced after that date.

Rep. Tom Cole has introduced a bill that would move the "substantial equivalence" date for FDA …

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