Evolve Together, Slight Return

February 25th, 2014


I wrote about these guys last week. At the time, I really couldn't find much to link them directly to any of the regular gun-control groups. This isn't too surprising. Their new generation of advocates has adapted well to social media and they've learned to cover their tracks.

Then Mike Weisser's name came up. He calls himself the "gun guy" at Evolve Together, and he has a column at the Huffington Post. Apparently, he's the "gun guy" because he runs a shop somewhere, and that qualifies him to decide what's good for us. He's not a fan of the NRA, and he only recently seems to have discovered the NSSF, which is odd for a guy in the gun business.

His own blog is replete with "studies" authored by David Hemenway and funded by the Brady Campaign. John Lott, who has debunked a great deal of Hemenway's nonsense, is of course "the NRA’s favorite academic stooge."

So, yeah. We know what we need to now. Nice job trying to get in under the radar, guys.

Chess vs. Checkers

February 25th, 2014


The big news today is that the Supreme Court declined to hear three cases involving gun rights. The first was NRA v. ATF, a challenge to 18 U.S.C. § 922(b)(1), which prohibits licensed dealers from selling handguns to individuals under 21 years of age. The second was Lane v. Holder, which challenged the requirement that handguns be purchased in one's home state.

The third was NRA v. McCraw. At issue was Texas law, which denies a license to carry a pistol to anyone under the age of 21. To answer the central question of the case, the Court would have to rule whether the right to keep and bear arms applies outside the home.

So, does their refusal to grant cert mean the issue is dead? No. These were good cases, but none of them was the right case.

The Second Amendment Foundation and several others have been bringing another set of cases on the matter in the lower courts for three years now. We've lost in three Circuits and won in two. All five decisions were important because they set up a split between the lower courts that the Supreme Court can't ignore. In technical terms, it's called strategery.

Last week's win in the 9th Circuit directly contradicts the 3rd Circuit's ruling in Drake v. Jerejian (formerly Drake v. Filko). The latter case is up for consideration by the Supreme Court as we speak, and it's being run by Alan Gura. Gura represented us quite well before the Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald, and he cleaned the floor with the opposition in Ezell v. Chicago. 

I've got a feeling this is the situation the Supreme Court was waiting for, and we've got the right guy on the job.

Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

February 24th, 2014


Piers Morgan is leaving CNN. I can't say I'll miss him. His unrelenting condescension towards the country that hosted and employed him wore thin long ago.

His constant hammering on the gun issue was repetitive and often surreal. While I'm of two minds about Larry Pratt, he was civilized and patient in his first go-round with Morgan. He didn't deserve to be treated like this. I don't care what the issue is, or who's right. A display like that from a man in Morgan's position is absolutely unacceptable.

Was there ever an apology? No. Morgan doesn't do apologies, not now and not when he slandered the Queen's Lancashire Regiment.

I daresay his chances of finding gainful employment in the UK may be worse than his chances here. At least he's not our problem any more.

More Win in San Diego

February 22nd, 2014


San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore has chosen not to appeal [pdf] last week's 9th Circuit ruling, in which California's "good cause" requirement for concealed carry permits was ruled unconstitutional. Ventura and Orange counties have also dropped the clause.

Does this make California shall-issue? Not yet. Dissenting judges in the 9th Circuit can still demand an en banc rehearing of the case. Given the forcefulness of O'Scannlain's opinion, that might be a hard one, but I wouldn't put it past someone to try. I can imagine the political pressure will be significant.

There are also methods by which Sheriffs can obstruct the process through other means. California Penal Code is full of all sorts of potential obstacles. The first is their ability to make the training requirement overly burdensome.

26165 (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the licensing authority may require a community college course certified by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, up to a maximum of 24 hours, but only if required uniformly of all license applicants without exception.

Under 26190, they can mandate psychological testing for applicants. Under 26200, the Sheriff can impose

any reasonable restrictions or conditions that the issuing authority deems warranted, including restrictions as to the time, place, manner, and circumstances under which the licensee may carry a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.

There's quite a bit of latitude there, and more than enough to render the right impossible to exercise.

As it stands now, the 7th and 9th Circuits have issued divergent opinions from the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. The matter begs review from the Supreme Court. It will take more than one ruling to clear this up, but we're well on the way.

Evolve Together

February 19th, 2014


This video has been making the rounds lately, and I think it's hilarious.

It was conceived by Evolve Together. Founder Rebecca Bond came out briefly and vaguely on the general issue of violence after Sandy Hook, but she doesn't appear to be aligned with any of the usual gun-control groups. Of course, the anti-gunners have learned to be sneaky with their affiliations and finances, and it's suspicious that they haven't reached out to any of the mainstream gun groups for support.

The video itself was produced by Saatchi & Saatchi, who have done some gun-control work in the past, but I don't know if that was relevant in this case.

Despite the out-of-period weapon (repeaters weren't around until 80 years after ratification), it contains a message gun folks really need to take it to heart.

Continued »

Rogue 2 is Down

February 18th, 2014


Christopher Malcom has passed away at the age of 67. He played Zev Senesca in the Empire Strikes Back.

If you don't know who that is, you can do your penance by watching the original trilogy again tonight.

This Affects Us All

February 16th, 2014


Michael Dunn has been convicted on three counts of attempted second-degree murder. The conviction follows an altercation in which he fired into a car following an argument over loud music with the occupants. While the trial didn't generate the same media coverage as the Zimmerman case, it's still national news. It's also still a problem for us.

There are three parallels to the Zimmerman case. The first is race. We don't know that it was a factor in Dunn's decision to open fire, but it's going to come up anyway.

The second is the media focus on Florida's "stand your ground" law, despite the fact that it's not relevant. Neither Dunn or Zimmerman ever requested a pretrial hearing in accordance with the law. Both men allowed their legal counsel to run the case in front of a jury. Nonetheless, there's a groundswell of activism to repeal those laws, and Shannon Watts (now funded by Michael Bloomberg) is taking point on the initiative.

Third? The State's Attorney in charge of the case is Angela Corey, the same person who prosecuted Zimmerman and Marissa Alexander. It should be noted that this jury agonized for over 30 hours to convict Dunn, but the jury in the Alexander case took less than 15 minutes to do so.

I could also harp on the borderline incompetence of legal counsel. Zimmerman's lawyer cracked "knock knock" jokes in his opening statements, while Dunn's lawyer made some outlandish statements to the media. The most unsettling was, "I believe that it will be extremely clear that Mr. Dunn acted as any responsible firearm owner would have under the same circumstances."

What? Responsible firearm owners don't get into fatal confrontations over loud music. Responsible firearm owners don't blindly open fire on an occupied vehicle, nor do they shoot at it when it's driving away. Responsible firearm owners don't leave the scene of a shooting to go order pizza and cocktails, then drive 130 miles home before contacting the police.

Michael Dunn isn't a responsible firearm owner. He's a vigilante and a racist. These are his own words:

The jail is full of blacks and they all act like thugs. This may sound a bit radical but if more people would arm themselves and kill these (expletive) idiots, when they’re threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior.

He's not us. He doesn't represent us. Yet the media and our opponents are going to do their best to make it look like he does, and perception is what matters.

An Unexpected Win

February 14th, 2014


Today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a surprising verdict in the case of Peruta v. San Diego [pdf]. California's requirement that applicants for concealed carry permits prove "good cause" has been ruled unconstitutional. 

The district court erred in denying the applicant’s motion for summary judgment on the Second Amendment claim because San Diego County’s “good cause” permitting requirement impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense. [p. 77]

Wow. Nobody really expected that from this court, and I really didn't expect this from Judge O'Scannlain, who was less than helpful in Nordyke.

Continued »

By Ysgramor's Scraggly Beard

February 12th, 2014


☠☠☠☠. Really. I mean, ☠☠☠☠.

I guess I'm not going anywhere for awhile. On the bright side, I still have power. Many people in Georgia don't at the moment. Fortunately, everyone knew enough to get off the roads before the worst hit.

The bird feeder gets pretty popular in this weather, and I'm getting visitors I've not seen before.

Bird Feeder

Here's hoping something thaws by tomorrow.

Here We Go Again

February 12th, 2014


It looks like we're in for a repeat performance of the weather problems we had two weeks ago. As usual, our infrastructure is woefully underprepared. People may be stuck in their houses for several days, and power outages are likely. We can expect a bit of finger-pointing when it's over, but nothing will change.

In the meantime, make sure you've got batteries charged and your 30-caliber magazine clips loaded. For while we sit at home and eat Cheetos, the Draugr are training.

Everybody's an Expert

February 11th, 2014


The Truth About Guns has a review of the new Remington R-51 pistol in which the author perceives numerous shortcomings in the design. I might be inclined to take him seriously if he actually seemed to understand the gun in question.

It works more like a Luger P08 than anything else, with a fixed barrel and short-stroke style action.

The R51 doesn't work anything like a Luger. It uses a delayed blowback mechanism, while the Luger has a unique toggle-lock system. I suppose we could stretch the criteria and claim that the pistols are similar because both fire the 9mm cartridge, both feed from a removable magazine, and both have fixed barrels. Of course, that would mean the R51 is also identical to the Steyr GB or the H&K P7, which is hardly the case.

It's unfortunate he didn't like the R-51 as much as his Glock, but if he's going to sound credible, he needs to better understand the things he's reviewing. Some server space, a few advertisers, and some artificial controversy do not a gun expert make.

Acceptance vs. Investigation

February 5th, 2014


Last night, Bill Nye debated Ken Ham, the president of Answers in Genesis. It didn't go so well for Nye.

Why? Because Ham has certainty on his side, and certainty isn't something scientists do. Scientists don't accept explanations without proof, and they're smart enough to admit when they don't know something. Creationists, on the other hand, claim to have all the answers. At the end of the day, the latter approach appeals more to a crowd.

Creationists generally issue a few stock arguments against various theories, most of which are easily debunked by even the layman. Notice the insistence that the second law of thermodynamics (entropy, in short) invalidates the concept of evolution. What they're missing is that Carnot's law applies in a closed system, not an open one.

Someone needs to tell the guy in picture #21 that the Big Bang was not the result of an exploding star. The lady in picture #5 asks how we can have sunsets without God. That would be due to the fact that the earth is round. It rotates on an axis, and the part on which she's standing sometimes rotates away from the sun. We've sent out spacecraft which have more than adequately demonstrated this.

There are plenty of Christians who believe the earth is more than 4,000 years old, and there are many who have no problem with evolution. So, why do so many still choose dogma over demonstration? If one's faith is so fragile that it can't withstand new pardigms, that's a personal matter. The same things creationists want stripped from our textbooks are the very foundations of medicine, technology, and commerce.

Abolish those things, and we turn back 300 years of progress.

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