Hickenlooper Goes on the Defensive

June 20th, 2014


The headline reads, "Colorado governor tries to apologize for gun control measures, blames staff, then curses." That's actually a pretty good summary of the situation. Video of his statement is here.

You may recall that 55 of the 62 elected sheriffs in Colorado brought a suit to challenge the constitutionality of the gun-control bills Hickenlooper signed last year. You may also recall that state Senators Morse and Giron were ousted in a historic recall election over those bills, and that Senator Hudak resigned just as she was about to be recalled.

Now, when he has to save face, he tries to spread the blame and claim he just didn't realize what a "kerfuffle" his signature would cause. Really? Does the fact that Michael Bloomberg bent him over a metaphorical barrel to sign them not suggest there might be some friction? Does the fact that the bills passed along strict party lines not imply some dissent?

When he signed HB 1224 (the magazine capacity bill), he promised that it would "make our state safer in the long run." Now he says,

Some punk kid in Aurora wants to go out there and start spray shooting his neighborhood, which is still happening, in Aurora, in Denver, in Colorado Springs. It’s not like you’re gonna have a hard time finding a magazine.

So, he admits it doesn't make them any safer. I have a serious question. No, really. Is this because they legalized pot? Are the voters in Colorado expected to be so baked they'll swallow this sort of vacillation?

Let's hope all this backlash leads to a repeal of those laws in the near future.

Abramski v. United States

June 16th, 2014


While technically a gun case, this one hasn't generated much press. At issue is a purchase of a pistol Bruce Abramski made on behalf of his uncle. Mr. Abramski was prosecuted for making a "false of fictitious" statement in regards to the actual buyer of the firearm.

Under 18 USC §922(a)(6) it is unlawful to mislead a dealer regarding the actual identity of the purchaser of a firearm. Ostensibly, this is to prevent "straw purchases," which are a major source of crime guns. The classic example is this:

Bob is legally disqualified from owning a firearm. Bob gives Steve money, and Steve buys the firearm on Bob's behalf. Steve is a bad man who has just provided a bad person with a gun and he should feel bad.

Except that's not accurate. Even if it was legal for Bob to own the gun in question, Steve would be committing a crime by claiming to be the actual buyer. However, if Steve bought the gun with his own money and gave it to Bob, it would be a gift, and it would be perfectly legal. It would still be legal if Bob reimbursed Steve directly after the exchange.

It only becomes illegal if Steve uses Bob's money while claiming to be the actual buyer. There's a lot of misunderstanding on this, and the situation isn't helped by the fact that information provided to the public isn't quite clear on the matter.

The law is poorly written and open to misinterpretation. Rather than visit that, the Court has simply reaffirmed the wording and how the ATF currently sees it.

The decision is here [pdf].

Stingray Black Copper

June 9th, 2014


Until recently, I'd been using a Magneto mechanical mod for my coil builds.  Various build problems aggravated me, and when it broke, I replaced it with a Stingray clone.

Stingray Bottom Cap

All of the contacts on the Stingray are copper, which enhances conductivity. I suspected this was a gimmick, but it does actually heat up more quickly.

Stingray Top Cap

The top cap has a floating firing pin, which allows any tank or dripper to sit flush. Here it is with a Patriot RDA. With a 0.9Ω coil, it generates massive clouds.

Continued »

Guam Goes Shall-Issue

June 6th, 2014


The governor of Guam has signed Bill No. B296-32 [pdf] into law. As per Section 2, the police "shall issue a license" to carry a firearm if the applicant meets the requirements, which are fairly lenient. Aside from being legally eligible to own a gun, applicants must show some proof of training, which can be satisfied by a hunter safety course, an NRA course, or a DD214.

So, the requirements are basically the same as getting a permit in Florida. Guam falls under the appellate jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit, and they may be feeling the pressure after the Peruta ruling.

Guns Save Lives has more information on this.

Irreconcilable Differences

June 3rd, 2014


We all know who the NRA is, right? They've made a statement on the ludicrous practice of carrying rifles into public businesses as a form of "activism."

Let's not mince words, not only is it rare, it's downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one's cause, it can be downright scary. It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates.

You may not know Charles Cotton. He's an NRA board member and Executive Director for the Texas State Rifle Association. Alice Tripp is one of the TSRA's lobbyists. These are the folks actually doing the work to get open carry legalized in Texas. They've told us that the antics of Open Carry Texas have jeopardized the chances of that passing in the next legislative session.

In short, people who know what they're doing and get things done want these ludicrous "demonstrations" to stop.

C.J. Grisham is the President of Open Carry Texas. His folks are the ones causing the problem. His reaction?

When you've got the TSRA and the NRA basically coming down on us for standing up for our rights, that's where our problem is, because now you guys are siding with Moms Demand Action.

Now he's doing the whole James Brown cape over the shoulder act and encouraging his members to cut up their NRA membership cards.

That should cost the NRA roughly 11 one-year memberships. That's a loss we can take. Grisham, Watkins, and the others need to be actively called out and shunned.

Several major businesses have chosen to disallow the carry of weapons on their premises in the wake of these rifle toting play dates. Our opponents have picked up on it and it's given them a strategy. They've realized they don't need to go through the legislative process to make life harder on us. They just need to go after private businesses.

All the while, Grisham and his little absolutists are making the argument for them. Who's really siding with Moms Demand Action?

Still Not Getting It

May 28th, 2014

Bent Barrel

"I told my daughter it's not safe to be here. We gotta go," says the guy who's got the muzzle of an AK-47 sweeping his daughter.

First Starbucks, then Jack in the Box, then Chipotle. Now it's Sonic. The Texas open carry crowd is practically phoning in content for the anti-gunners to ridicule us.

This isn't activism. It's a fun prank for some reprobates to occupy a lunch hour. The rest of us deal with the consequences forever. They need to knock it off, and we need to start telling them that.


May 26th, 2014


Politicians didn't waste any time calling for gun control following the Elliot Rodger shooting. The usual suspects like Dick Blumenthal and Peter King have already made their voices heard. So has Dianne Feinstein, whose renewal of the ineffective Assault Weapons Ban was snubbed last year.

We must ask ourselves if an individual whose family called police with concerns about mental health, who is receiving therapy and who has had several run-ins with police should be allowed to own multiple firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. When anyone, no matter their mental health or history, can so easily obtain any gun they want and as many as they want—we must recognize there is a problem.

You know what? I don't disagree. Where I do take issue is the idea that more laws would have prevented this. Consider California's laws for a moment. They are are among the strictest in the country, and they're a virtual grab-bag of everything the gun-control lobby wants.

California bans weapons like the AR-15, so the shooter used pistols. They only allow the purchase of one handgun a month, so he spaced out his purchases. Magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds are banned, so he stocked up on 10-rounders.

California requires buyers to present a Handgun Safety Certificate, which the shooter presumably acquired. They also ban private-party transfers and require "universal background checks," which did not deter him. The Santa Barbara sheriff doesn't make getting a concealed carry permit easy, but Rodger didn't let this stand in his way.

So, we need, what, more laws? This is where the slippery slope argument comes in.

Some folks believed that if we acquiesced to the Manchin-Toomey bill and Feinstein's renewed Assault Weapons Ban last year, they'd leave us alone. Sorry, but no. We'd have had another shooting, and they'd demand more laws. When those laws failed to stop yet another shooting, they'd demand even more. The cycle would continue until virtually nothing was left.

And what then? We'd still have the fatalities, and the whole time, we'd have ignored the central question: what has gone wrong with society over the last 20 years that's making this happen? We need to stop blaming the instrument and start looking at the cause.

Blaming the NRA might make for good press, but they're not the ones with blood on their hands here.



May 24th, 2014


By now, you've likely heard of the Elliot Rodger incident. He stabbed three people to death in his apartment, then when on a shooting rampage that killed three other people. It's big news because he's the son of a Hollywood director, he left a juicy manifesto, and his victims were affluent white people.

Poor children are shot in Chicago on a weekly basis, and we treat them like a grim but acceptable statistic. Yet we obsess over the ravings of a spoiled narcissist who decided to punish the world because he couldn't get laid.

Yes, Rodger was sick, but so are we all.

Despite having plenty of clues as to his mental instability, the police did nothing. Sandy Hook was supposed to open a dialogue on our shameful treatment of mental illness in this country, but it was drowned out by calls for gun control because the latter makes for easy politics. We're still making the same mistake.

How sane is that?

We Just Can't Have Nice Things

May 20th, 2014


Last year, Starbucks asked customers to stop carrying guns in their locations because people walked in with rifles slung over their shoulders. Last week, Jack in the Box asked customers to stop carrying guns in their locations because people walked in with rifles slung over their shoulders. This week, Chipotle asked customers to stop carrying guns in their locations because people walked in with rifles slung over their shoulders.

Are we seeing a pattern here, folks? Are we really that obtuse? This isn't civil activism; this is a malicious sort attention whoring that hurts the very cause these dinks claim to support.

And they have the audacity to pretend they don't even get it. This isn't happening because of some culture war. It's happening because people can't show simple discretion and manners. They get a picture to show to their friends on social media, and the anti-gun groups get to chalk up a very public victory.

Frankly, if I saw this going on in a restaurant, I wouldn't eat there either.

Carrying for the cause. Not.

This needs to stop. The only "awareness" it raises is that gun owners are disruptive, selfish nut jobs. We need to single these people out, and we need to ostracize them.

C'mon, Dudley…

May 16th, 2014


Ah, election season. Today's obnoxious mail comes from our friends at the National Association for Gun Rights.

I think they meant Phil Gingrey. The guy doesn't even have red hair, so it's not accurate to refer to him as "gingery."

Or it could be they're too busy slandering real 2nd Amendment advocates to be bothered with trivialities like spell check.

Probably the latter. I really don't expect much competency from an organization whose sole purpose seems to be nipping at the heels of the NRA. Frankly, Dudley Brown has his hands full making a fool of himself in Colorado. I'd appreciate him not splashing around in our pool.

That said, the primary race to replace Senator Chambliss is already as wretched as can be. While Gingrey has been an unwavering friend to the 2nd Amendment, I'm not fond of his support for CISPA or for FISA expansions. As far as I'm concerned, those are both huge fails on the civil liberties front.

Jack Kingston is also running for the seat. He's a hard-right partisan who voted for last year's government shutdown. He also voted to make the PATRIOT Act permanent, and he supports the usual time-wasting drivel like amending the Constitution to punish flag burning and being gay. No thanks.

Then there's Karen Handel, who ran an infamously vicious and negative campaign against Nathan Deal in her run for governor. She was eager enough to court favor with the Log Cabin Republicans when it helped her earlier in her career, but when it became apparent being nice to gays was bad for Tea Party politics, she tried to deny her membership with them. She's an opportunist who sells out her allies when it suits her. Think carefully before allowing her to represent you.

And what of Paul Broun, for whom the NAGR are so fond? I couldn't come up with a better caricature of the Sean Hannity fan club if I tried. Note to Republicans: if you want any hope of attracting moderates, drop the family-values and anti-science stuff.

That pretty much leaves Derrick Grayson and Michelle Nunn. I really like Grayson's platform, but I don't know if he stands a chance. If Michelle Nunn's name sounds familiar, it's because her father was a long-serving, old-school Georgia Democrat who followed his conscience and knew how to build consensus. She seems to be cut from similar cloth, but I'm leery of her stance on the 2nd Amendment.

So, the issue arises: vote for a terrible candidate who might fight for the right to keep and bear arms, or vote for a good candidate who might not? Sometimes single-issue voting isn't a clear course.

Heller v. DC

May 15th, 2014

US District Court no the Supreme Court of United States of America, see the Pride for LAW

Following the Supreme Court's 2008 decision in DC v. Heller, the District of Columbia was forced to allow handgun ownership. They quickly cobbled together the Firearms Control Emergency Amendment Act of 2008, into which they put as many obstacles as they could. They retained a very intrusive and burdensome registration system that wouldn't pass constitutional muster in most other places.

Dick Heller and the 2nd Amendment Foundation brought another suit challenging several of the District's regulations, and thus far, the courts have been uncooperative. Today's decision in the US District Court [pdf] doesn't leave us with much hope.

Judge Boasberg approached the proceedings with a hostile and dismissive mind. The Supreme Court found that rational basis was off the table when considering laws abridging the right to keep and bear arms, so he simply calls it intermediate scrutiny.

Given that the Supreme Court urges judicial deference to legislative predictions as well as to legislative judgments regarding conflicting evidence,it is plain that Plaintiffs are mistaken about the burden of proof in this case. The District need not prove that the gun-registration laws will actually further its asserted interests in order to prevail. [p. 17]

Yes, they do need to…at least outside Washington DC. He sweeps aside statistical evidence from Gary Kleck in favor of anecdotal evidence from a few folks in law enforcement, and he arrives at some rather alarming conclusions.

Much more persuasive is the District’s second, public-safety, justification for the gun registry.  The registration system ostensibly serves this interest by allowing the city government to screen out dangerous or irresponsible people who try to obtain a firearm, to ensure that gun owners are familiar with gun safety and D.C. firearm regulations, and to inhibit the illegal trafficking of firearms.  In other words, the basic registration requirement allows the District to keep track of who is responsible for which guns,while also acting as a “hook” onto which the District can attach additional public-safety regulations. [p. 23]

The federal background-check system so lauded by proponents of gun control is supposed to screen out ineligible buyers. The last sentence strongly implies that upholding this law will make further restrictions more acceptable down the road.

If there's any doubt as to his hostility towards us, his response to the argument that multiple registration requirements create a burden wipes that out.

In any event, as alluded to earlier, the Second Amendment has so far been read to protect only “a personal right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes, most notably for self-defense within the home.”  While one or two firearms may be necessary for such purposes, a large collection of weapons is not. The Constitution, in short, guarantees the right “to keep and bear arms,” not the right “to keep and bear an armory.” As an individual seeks to acquire more guns, he moves farther and farther away from the right to bear arms and closer toward the constitutionally unprotected goal of assembling a personal arsenal. [p. 59]

So, what constitutes a "personal arsenal," thus removing constitutional protection? Three guns? Ten? Does freedom of the press only apply to two or fewer computers in the house? This makes no sense and sets a very dangerous precedent.

Our next step is to appeal this to the DC Circuit. They sided with us in the original lawsuit, and we can hope they stand with us now.

Senate Hearings on E-cigarettes

May 12th, 2014


The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will be meeting Thursday to discuss potential regulations on e-cigarettes. The bad news is that they've already been subjected to a great deal of misinformation. The good news is that Senator Isakson is on the committee.

He can be reached via email here. Please keep things positive and polite. More to the point, keep them short and succinct. These communications are read by busy and underpaid staffers, and yours needs to stand out if they're to bring it to his attention.

Focus on the positive aspects. If you've quit smoking tobacco, mention how effective these are. Tell him you aren't inhaling 4,000 toxic chemicals and that you aren't exposing those around you to secondhand smoke. Point out that you will not be a burden on the already-strained health-care system.

Reasonable regulations that reduce access to minors are good law, but overbearing restrictions and taxes on adults will interfere with what may be the greatest public-health invention in decades.

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