The Obama administration has directly or indirectly caused several gun-control panics beginning in late 2008. With each successive panic the high-water price level for popular weapons has declined, because manufacturers ramped up production in response to price incentives and because panic is difficult to sustain. There is more market competition and improved manufacturing technology, so supply and quality have improved despite executive orders curbing imports. In 2015 you can buy a US-made budget AR-15 from a good manufacturer for around $600. Back in the early ’90s when these panics started a similar gun would have cost $2k+ in more-expensive dollars.
Archive for the 'RKBA' Category
Bill Whittle is in great form here, showing how simplistic international murder-rate comparisons that fail to consider US cultural diversity are fatally flawed. (One quibble: Honduras isn’t a socialist country. However, this fact is irrelevant to Whittle’s argument.)
(Via Of Arms & the Law)
As it turned out, virtually all of the polling in recent weeks had been wrong. In the end, the vote wasn’t very close: it was a clear and decisive No. Whatever poll respondents had said – or been afraid to say – about their intentions because they felt coerced or intimidated by the aggressive tactics of the other camp, when it came to it, they were free to do as they pleased.
This is a salutary lesson in the limits of militant political activism: you can bully people in the street, shout them down at public meetings and dissuade them forcibly from displaying posters or banners you don’t like. You can, with the help of your friends and comrades, create what seems to you, inside the bubble of mutual congratulation, to be an unstoppable momentum.
But making people afraid to voice contrary opinions just reinforces the delusion into which political tribes so easily fall when they are waging war. And, even more dangerously, it leaves them utterly out of touch with the slow-burning resentment they are creating in the opponents they are so determined to crush. The inviolable privacy of the polling booth puts paid to all that: the ordinary citizen, who may well have had his anger and resolve strengthened under fire, gets his revenge.
It is alarming when a serving military man publicly ignores the law. It is doubly so when he is not only a Lieutenant Colonel but also a professor who has taught at the military academy at West Point. LTC Robert Bateman’s recent Esquire blog misstates the law and misunderstands the role guns play in US society.
LTC Bateman asserts “As of 1903, the “militia” has been known as the National Guard” and links to an analysis of the act. The reality is quite different if you actually read the first paragraph of the act.
That the militia shall consist of every able-bodied male citizen of the respective States, Territories, and the District of Columbia, and every able-bodied male of foreign birth who has declared his intention to become a citizen, who is more than eighteen and less than forty-five years of age, and shall be divided into two classes—the organized militia, to be known as the National Guard of the State, Territory, or District of Columbia, or by such other designations as may be given them by the laws of the respective States or Territories, and the remainder to be known as the Reserve Militia.
In other words, the heart of his argument that the militia is not the whole of the people rests at the very beginning on a lie. In the case of an ignorant youth, this might be excused but not a high ranking military professional who has had the responsibility of teaching our future military leaders. It is inexcusable. Given further legislative developments since 1903 regarding discrimination based on sex, I doubt that even this definition of militia is supportable at present because it is too narrow but even this outdated definition is an ocean compared to the teacup that LTC Bateman wants to leave for 2nd amendment rights.
Since it’s established that LTC Bateman doesn’t necessarily respect the truth, it’s important to check on the rest of his assertions. One of them is that “Weapons are there for the ‘well regulated militia.’ Their use, therefore, must be in defense of the nation.” The police are not in the national guard, does their use of arms defend the nation? Are they a well regulated militia? Is he calling for the disarmament of the police? Perhaps he does, perhaps he doesn’t. By the terms of his argument, they shouldn’t be armed but perhaps he did not want to completely embarrass himself. The alternative is that he is arguing that the police are a militia. This militarization of the police is an entirely different kind of problem, no less disconnected from the American tradition or problematic for our liberties but different than the question of their armament.
LTC Bateman repeatedly says in this article “hunting is valid”. Then again he also says that weapons “must be in defense of the nation”. So why is hunting valid? I’m guessing because it polls well enough that gun controllers would earn permanent minority status if they were to be perceived as anti-hunting and he personally knows a few hunters who he’d like to continue to see socially.
A little investigation yields the possibility that the whole thing is part of a joke of a presidential run which includes such gems as the forced deportation of gun owners (unclear whether they can come back afterwards) and bringing back the draft. So one viable theory might be that he’s just kidding here.
I’m inclined to a different one, that we should feel sorry for LTC Bateman and his recent stroke that has apparently affected his mental capacity. Our ire should be saved for Esquire magazine and its editorial staff that has encouraged this man to nationally embarrass himself.
cross posted: Flit-TM
Born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1814, Samuel “Sam” Colt was an innovator and inventor, single-minded, energetic to the point of hyperactivity, and the very epitome of a self-made man – of which there were a great many in 19th century America. At the age of seven years, his mother died. She was the daughter of a fairly well-to-do family; his father was a farmer turned minor industrialist, having gone into the business of manufacturing textiles with the aid of his in-laws. When Sam was eleven, his father went bankrupt. While the senior Colt attempted to regain his economic footing, Sam and his five brothers and sisters were farmed out to relatives and neighbors. Sam was apprenticed to a farmer, with the understanding that he attended school regularly. Which Sam Colt did, but likely did not learn anything beyond what he was really interested in – his handwriting was lamentable and his spelling a matter best left unmentioned. But he read widely and voraciously; his favorite was a then-popular scientific encyclopedia called the Compendium of Knowledge, and sometime in his early teens he resolved to be an inventor. At fifteen, he left school and went to work in his father’s mill, a splendid venue for tinkering – and indulging in a taste for showing off. On July 4th, 1829, he gained a degree of local notoriety by blowing up a raft in a local shallow pond, detonating a large quantity of gunpowder with a galvanic cell which he had built himself. He had advertised the event beforehand, by having handbills printed and distributed – so there was a substantial crowd gathered for the show. But the raft with the battery and gunpowder on it had drifted from position – and the resulting mighty blast showered the crowd with mud.
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Watching Kudlow tonight. The discussants agreed that the Republicans have mostly defeated the Democrats’ latest gun-control scheme, which has been reduced to arguments about the scope of federal background checks. This is small stuff as compared to the broad gun and magazine bans Democrats initially promised. Kudlow and at least one of his guests thought the Republicans would be wise to concede on the remaining issues, and Kudlow was eager to move the discussion on to the topic of Congressional budget negotiations. I think he missed the point. The Republicans won on guns for two reasons. First, the weight of public opinion shifted against the Democrats once people realized that the proposed anti-gun measures 1) would not prevent future mass-murders and 2) avoided dealing seriously with mental-health issues that seem to be much more connected to spree killings than guns are. The second reason why the Republicans prevailed was that, contra the Dem/moderate conventional wisdom, they stuck to their principles and didn’t concede on apparently marginal points. The Republicans wanted to win, were not eager for a deal and were willing to fight. That is a winning political position and the Democrats knew it.
So why don’t the Republicans apply the same principled, fighting attitude that defeated gun bans to other important issues such as federal spending, Obamacare and immigration?
Wretchard discusses recent notorious Type II system failures. The Colorado theater killer’s shrink warned the authorities to no avail. The underwear bomber’s father warned the authorities to no avail. The Texas army-base jihadist was under surveillance by the authorities, who failed to stop him. Administrators of the Atlanta public schools rigged the academic testing system for their personal gain at the expense of students and got away with it for years. Wretchard is right to conclude that these failures were caused by hubris, poor institutional design and the natural limitations of bureaucracies. The question is what to do about it.
The general answer is to encourage the decentralization of important services. If government institutions won’t reform themselves individuals should develop alternatives outside of those institutions. The underwear bomber’s fellow passengers survived because they didn’t depend on the system, they took the initiative. That’s the right approach in areas as diverse as personal security and education. It’s also the approach most consistent with American cultural and political values. It is not the approach of our political class, whose interests are not aligned with those of most members of the public.
The Internet is said to route itself around censorship. In the coming years we are going to find out if American culture can route itself around the top-down power grabs of our political class and return to its individualistic roots. Here’s hoping.
This column must be read to be believed, not that anyone with more than two brain cells would be convinced by such poorly reasoned psychobabble. Check it out, and check out the comments — some of them are excellent.
(Via Of Arms & the Law.)
UPDATE: Or perhaps it really is an April Fool’s joke?
Here’s another post from our good friend Gerry over at LITGM who is at the “front lines” of the gun buying explosion at a major outdoor retailer…
The federal threat of banning of certain firearms and hi-cap mags has eased for now. The Hairy Reed said so.
Politicians are still willing to present some new background check legislation for what that’s worth. A second separate gun ban bill will be proposed but highly unlikely to pass.
The gun grabbers may seem to be in retreat mode but will be firing back when they believe any upcoming tragic event provides them with another opportunity to try it once again. One thing I know for sure about libtards is they never give up until they accomplish their ultimate Utopian goals. On this issue that would mean eliminating private ownership of all firearms no matter what the spewing heads in the media say. Some states will ban a this or a that and maybe that’s the way it will happen. For now I am still proud to be an Indiana resident and happy refugee from Illinois.
Coincidentally for the last three days the ammo truck came through. Since the 5 box limit is still on we are now able to make it through an entire day with some leftovers except .22LR. Each morning the ammo locusts enter and clean that category out within the first 30 minutes even with a 100 round limit. In my observation .22 LR is currently THE most popular round, taking over in requests for all rifle and handgun ammo combined.
Soon all things relating to firearms should get back to normal, becoming more available and prices easing up at retail. Our customers will be more at comfortable when coming in to buy ammunition and I can get busy dong my job instead of making excuses why the shelves are bare. Answering the phone and not being asked if we have any .22 or 9mm ammo in stock will be a relief in itself. I will feel much better when the first boxes of PMAG’s arrive and an assortment of AR’s occupy the shelf once again.
Credit goes to the NRA and all its members new and old for placing pressure on the Trotskyite politicians, it looks like the grabbers will head back to their hide-holes for a while. But they will be back. There are times when I watch Wayne LaPierre on television and cringe. We could use a more articulate and plain-spoken spokesman (paging Dr. Ben Carson) in my opinion but Wayne did get the job done. In addition, all the law abiding gun owners deserve praise for calling their representatives, calling in talk shows and doing what it takes to demand our Constitutional right to self protection. Citizens spoke with their wallets too, buying record numbers of firearms of all types and (I hate to say this) buying up every box of ammo, bullet, primer, press and powder container in sight. Reloading has become extremely popular. Special credit goes to all the first time gun buyers especially the women. Many more women now feel much safer when out walking or jogging alone. Practice, practice and practice, ladies.
We’re still out here in flyover country clinging to our guns and religion. We’re prepared to put up a fight again whenever our Constitutional right to personal protection and right to hunt is threatened. No east coast libtard with a Central Park West worldview is taking away our Second Amendment rights dammit.
The grabbers will be back and you can count on it. Until then stay vigilant. This could be my last entry for the “Tales From The Front” category for a while.
Cross posted at LITGM
Remarkable verbal pirouettes from gun-ban advocate Mark Kelly:
Obviously Glenn Reynolds is right about this. Kelly bought the guns for the same reasons so many other people are buying guns. No other explanation makes sense. He expected to do it without anyone noticing, and now that he’s been called out he’s appearing in friendly media to try to minimize damage to the cause. We won’t believe him but surely some people will, perhaps the same kinds of people who believe gun bans reduce crime.
UPDATE (March 14): Whoops!
Recently I was reading how a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago was arrested for bringing an unloaded handgun to work, and that it made the news media. I reflected briefly on the fact that you can bring a loaded, concealed gun with you in most places in many states in the US and it wouldn’t be news, it would in fact be normal activity, for instance in the adjacent state of Indiana.
Meanwhile, in California, it is common for people to smoke marijuana openly as is discussed here. Needless to say, this behavior would get you immediately arrested in many states particularly in the south and midwest.
Taxation is also highly variable on a state and city basis. New York and California have some of the highest taxes, particularly on income beyond a particular level (progressive taxes). On the other hand, states like Florida and Texas have a much lower level of taxation and a much freer business climate in terms of regulation.
Without getting into the hottest of hot-button issues, clearly there are differences in the types of marriages and reproduction rights / right to life on a state by state basis. These differences are narrowing in some areas and getting wider in others.
Some states have “right to work” laws which massively limit union power, and have flourishing and expanding manufacturing economies as a result. Visit Alabama, South Carolina, and Texas to see where all the former manufacturing might in the midwest and Northeast and West Coast migrated to (if it didn’t go to China or overseas). The enacting of “right to work” laws obviously sends an important signal to business leaders whether or not a state is a friendly place to do business for incremental investment (along with taxation).
The “fracking” revolution has unleashed vast wealth in some states, and in other states it has been banned or severely curtailed. Meanwhile, California is going in on its own with carbon regulations and highly aggressive “green” energy targets, while other states are heavily reliant on traditional (and cost effective) technologies.
The differences on a state-by-state level on these different dimensions seem large and growing. They are much more subtle (though often correlated) with the Red / Blue analysis. An attempt to classify these vectors could be done as follows:
Energy Freedom – the ability to extract and use cost effective technologies (like natural gas, fracking, and coal) and a state’s willingness to invest more for reliability or the requirement to use expensive (green) technologies and curtail energy use even at the expense of industry competitiveness and reliability. California is likely on one end and Texas is on the other side, although many others have large freedom including Pennsylvania.
Safety Freedom – the right to defend yourself at home, in transit, at work and during study or whether that is assumed by the state. Sadly the most restrictive is Illinois and there are many candidates on the other side throughout the south and midwest (Indiana).
Personal Substance Freedom – the right to smoke, the right to drink, and the right to use various drugs or stimulants. Some odd states (like Colorado) are leading the way on this, it isn’t always the traditional Red / Blue divide.
Freedom to Work & Hire – the right to work and not be forced to join a union, and this is also tied with local laws and practices that limit the ability to hire and fire and direct hiring or limit firing in various dimensions.
Freedom to Build / Live / Rent – Houston is famous for having very limited zoning while other states and municipalities have highly restricted zoning practices. The New York co-op concept also severely limits new entrants along with rent control. These laws can also include whether you can work or have a business in your home. While subtle, these practices can have a large impact on prices and how the region functions.
Freedom From Excessive Taxation – Some level of taxation is necessary for government to function but high tax levels have severe intended and unintended consequences of under investment and evasion. Taxation includes state, local, city, sales, estate, property, and “sin” taxes. These vary significantly by area but are highest in California and the East Coast and likely the lowest in the South.
Freedom of Marriage Choice – A larger portion of states are recognizing marriages beyond the traditional marriage, and this varies by state
Freedom of Reproductive Rights – There are a wide variety of approaches and trends on a state level and then there are practical impacts, as well. This is highly variable by state in practice
Freedom on Medical Rights – an emerging model will be how each state approaches new medical practices and funding methodologies, along with the practical availability of doctors that subscribe to the state’s controls and funding methods. This area will grow exponentially in the near future
I believe that these sorts of analyses on a state by state level are much more useful than the traditional Red / Blue view (although they are often correlated) and when you start to dig in to the differences on a state and municipal level they are staggering, particularly when you view the extremes.
It would be interesting and useful to begin to put together the various data sets to analyze states and municipalities along these continuums, and others that I’ve likely missed.
Cross posted at LITGM
This is another installment from our friend Gerry over at LITGM who is in the “front lines” of the gun rights issue working for a major retailer.
It is becoming all too weary for me to tell customers “no”. As a major outdoor equipment retailer it must be frustrating to know how a great sales period that is usually slow could have been even greater if they had the product to sell. That said, our store and the entire chain is doing very well. Turkey season is approaching and all the necessary items are being bought at a brisk rate. Now it’s fishing’s turn and yesterday the customers who are fishermen came in for a special sales event. They were all buying new tackle in anticipation of the season.
At work the phone doesn’t stop beeping so we started playing a new game. Between us we call out a caliber we each predict that will be requested by the caller whenever the phone beeps. I usually go with .22. Paul likes 9mm while Don prefers 5.56 or .223. “Hello, hunting department, how may I help you?” is soon followed by a “no sir, we are all out of 9mm.” Paul quickly lets out a “woo-hoo I won!” No bets, just fun. Breaks the monotony of constantly saying no.
Not much new to report from the firearm front. There is no retreat, more of a cease fire mode, awaiting replenishment from the supply line. AR’s come in small numbers and are quickly snapped up. Same holds true for ammo. Each morning the same dozen or individuals so show up looking for their favorite calibers. These are the battle hardened. They know they’re unlikely to find what they want but they still arrive to look. Maybe, and occasionally when they show up we actually have meager replenishment for them. Then it’s Katy bar the door – soon it’s gone. It goes into basements, garages and some to the great aftermarket to be resold. My bet is not much is being used at the range right now. When asked how soon ammunition will return to full supply I repeat the same answer trying my best to appear positive instead of weary. When the entire nation’s supply of consumer ammunition is sold within three weeks it takes a long time for manufacturers to recover. That is the simple truth.
What I witnessed last week was astonishing. 62 cases of PMC .233 55 gr. FMJ disappeared within 36 hours. That is 62,000 rounds (1000 per case) packaged in boxes of 20 and with a limit of 10 boxes per customer sold out in our one store alone. The first wave of regulars came in and while packing their baskets were simultaneously calling friends to alert them to their find. About an hour or two later that larger second wave arrived. Late in the day the after work crowd came in to clean up the leftovers.
They tell me of their own conspiracy theories or those they discover on the internets. The one most interesting is that the government is intentionally buying enough ammo with the intent of keeping the civilian supply low. So I went to a close acquaintance who is with the FBI. I asked him if what I hear about government bureaus such as NOAA and the DCFS buying excessive quantities of ammunition is true and why they would need so much, as many customers have claimed.
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This is another “tale from the front” from our friend Gerry over at LITGM. He works with guns and gun buyers all day in the thick of everything…
Women And Firearms
While most may not realize this, a fair amount of new firearms currently being purchased are by those who never held one before – especially women of all ages. This fact alarms those nanny-state leftists, Trotskyite politicians, useful celebrity idiots and milquetoast media sluts. While they gasp at the thought of so many first time gun owners this is a good sign that the Second Amendment may not be infringed after all.
A Gallup poll reported that in 2005, 13 percent of all women owned a gun. That number jumped to 23 percent in 2011. Here is an interesting read on the subject, from the New York Times of all places.
If we were a well-armed society last year then we are a very well armed society this year.
Thank you ladies!
Last weekend a lady who reminded me of my mother was standing at the end of an aisle holding some packages in one arm. She asked me for some assistance. She was somewhat overweight, well-dressed and used a cane for support. While not as old as my mother there was something very similar about the two.
As I drew near I could see one package was a clear plastic container holding Howard Leight hearing protection headphones. In the other was a nylon holster. Her question to me was – is the holster she chose able to fit her new handgun, a small .38 special S&W revolver?
Upon close inspection the holster was the type to be worn on the belt, outside the pants. Before explaining the function of different holsters I politely inquired what she intended to use her handgun for. Personal protection was the answer. Do you intend to wear the holster outside the pants or concealed, under the pants? Neither, she was simply looking for one that would keep her revolver from being banged up in her purse or, in her words, “have it accidentally go off”. What to do?
I explained that while the holster she chose was a good fit it was meant to be worn on the belt and exposed. It had a safety thumb break strap secured by a button snap with a thin piece of plastic. The strap keeps the revolver secure and by using the thumb it will release the revolver for use. With the button snap and strap secured I explained, it could take her two hands and at least thirty seconds to draw it from her purse. A long time to fumble around in a self-defense situation. I steered her toward a thin, concealable foam/nylon product from Blackhawk. I use it as my personal carry choice. It’s lightweight, good for protecting her revolver from abuse in the purse and somewhat easier for her to interact with due to the lack of a safety thumb break. And it’s very affordable.
All of this considered I proposed another solution. We sell a line of handbags designed for women who wish to carry self-protection firearms. I led her over to the “Gun Totin’ Mama” line of handbags on display. Demonstrating to her the built-in feature of a zippered side compartment containing a lightweight nylon holster with soft velcro on one side and opposing hook velcro on the other, this slight holster (similar to the Blackhawk) could be positioned according to her style for ease of use.
She smiled. “You just gave me a great idea” was her reply. She did not wish to spent $99.99 on another handbag. Instead this inspired her to use another handbag she already owned. Her intent was to buy the Blackhawk $14.99 conceal holster and sew velcro to it. The other velcro side would be stitched to the inside of her old handbag. Clever.
The lady explained to me that when her husband asked what she wanted for Christmas her response was a gun. This floored the old boy, who had just arrived on the scene and explained to me his surprise at her request. They would soon be going to the range where he would help her become more familiar with her new gift. This explained the headphones.
The Leight brand sells, it’s a good commercial retail product. They both asked me why there was a large price difference in the selection of headphones on display. I explained the features on more expensive models.
The lady was so thankful and delighted that I spent so much time with her she went home and wrote a nice note about me on the corporate feedback website. This got back to me through management, who were very grateful and complementary.
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Edit: Ugh, what was I thinking. I haven’t gotten a post this wrong this decade. I reread Heller, which I apparently desperately needed. Mea culpa. I’ll leave this up as penance, and a reminder that I can be a great fool.
Previous item in series here: I
If you start from zero on the gun debate, a curious fact emerges. The right to arms is recognized in federal and state law as a military right in the form of milita membership via the unorganized militia. Militas are generally limited to men and only up to age 45 or so. So why don’t gun controllers go after the right to bear arms of those who are not covered? Women’s gun rights are only protected under the penumbra of the 2nd amendment. So why have women’s right to bear arms not been put under any specific pressure by the gun control crowd? Common sense and a little thought explains why attempts to control guns like this simply aren’t done and modern case law on this point is rarer than 3rd amendment case law. The ladies need their weapons to defend against both stranger attack and to equalize matters when boyfriend turns to ex-boyfriend stalker. Those over 45 have similar issues.
Those excluded from militia statutes have, theoretically, less protection of their right to bear arms, yet in practice this weakness of protection is never exploited. How did a 2nd amendment penumbra manage to grow up as custom without ever having gone through the judicial process.
Perhaps there have been relevant cases that I missed. Please educate me in comments.
Edit: I should have made clear in the text, and I manifestly did not, that the right to bear arms is a basic human right held by just about everybody that precedes constitutions and laws and is not limited to military service. That pretty much was the point of Heller, that bearing arms is an individual right.
This makes the article something of an exercise in looking at it from the other side’s viewpoint and still finding the gun controller position incoherent. The problem of Miller’s ruling against sawed off shotguns still stands.
Our good friend Gerry from over at LITGM works for a major reseller of outdoor equipment including firearms and is on the “front lines” in this important debate. Here is his story…
In the wake of a senseless tragedy and the residual madness regarding the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States I try to find the positive things. It’s not easy if you pay attention to the media but there are plenty of positives to witness first hand while on the front lines.
Good news #1
Ammo is coming in again, that is some good news. The bad news is customers snap it up as soon as it hits the shelves. Even with a ten box limit it disappears fast as if it were being given away. The magazine aisle is still barren. No backorders or rain checks are being issued. The reason is because manufacturers cannot guarantee when they will get it into our supply chain and that goes for firearms as well. Much of it has been wiped off the website. If there is no guarantee from a manufacturer then the company will not disappoint customers with a potentially false promise. Seems like a sound business decision.
Yesterday a man approached me with the usual questions. Any .223 come in? No. Any 5.56 arrive? No. How about PMAG’s? No. What’s going on, when do you expect to get more? Don’t know. Do the delivery trucks come in overnight or during the day? Nobody knows. What is holding up the supply? Manufacturers cannot keep up with the demand. I heard some is coming in today, is that true? I’ll check.
I told him to stick around while I made a personal visit to the warehouse and see. Some ammo came in and was being unloaded off the truck. What was on the pallets was unknown because it is all mixed up and shrink wrapped so there is no way to tell what exactly was in the shipment but I did manage to make out some branded shotshell cases. After my trip to the back I saw the department manager. He told me he heard some 5.56 was in but didn’t know how much and would get back to me when it was unwrapped. I explained that a customer had the shakes for some AR ammo. He said to tell him to come back in an hour or so and even then he did not know how much would be available since it sells instantly.
By this time the man was accompanied by his wife who was pushing a cart with various handgun ammo boxes as I returned to the floor. I told him that yes, some had come in. When I told him it would be in an hour or so I detected that he was getting the shakes. On the floor I refer to these customers as being similar to drug addicts. I see it daily. Folks are so frightened of bans or restrictions or high prices they are taking the lack of availability way too seriously.
He introduced himself as Sam and his wife Jill (not their real names). His shakes were brought on by the fact that he was due in for work in an hour. They discussed their situation in private. My take was they were after a twenty box limit between the two of them. Ten wasn’t enough with him having to leave. He pleaded with me to make it quicker but I explained that it was out of my control.
Going about my business I spotted them an hour later in the archery department looking at crossbows. In another half hour I spotted them walking toward the checkout grasping their twenty boxes of American Eagle 55 grain 5.56 NATO. That’s
200 400 rounds total. They were all smiles as if they just scored an eight ball. We spoke.
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The US is ill served by having the gun lobby be the primary defender of the Constitution’s 2nd amendment. The first part of the text is, as the gun controllers correctly note, under analyzed:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The problem is that the gun controllers don’t seriously analyze it either. What is the militia is a question that has yet to be definitively answered. As clear from the statements of the Founders, the text of federal law, the collective wordings of the state constitutions and state laws, the militia is the whole of the people. Membership in the militia is pretty clear. But that doesn’t answer more than who is in the militia. It says nothing about what it is.
What does the militia do? It must do either exactly what the military does or some subset of what the military does. How do you describe what the military does? Well the military has a listing of job descriptions called Military Occupation Specialty Code (MOSC). You never hear either side of the gun control debate discuss which MOSC are covered under the penumbra of the 2nd amendment’s recognition that the security of a free state makes a well regulated militia necessary. The gun controllers get the vapors at the idea that the 2nd amendment even has penumbras while gun groups aren’t much interested in potential penumbras beyond the right to ammunition for those guns they want and other ancillary questions strictly related to the subject of pushing lead downrange.
I would suggest that seriously thinking about what a militia is and what it should be restricted from doing would leave a large body of activities that should be protected by the 2nd amendment but generally aren’t because of the outsized emphasis on the trigger puller protection portion of the text. What are the military missions that are appropriate for the US military that are inappropriate for the militia? That’s a reasonable question. Let’s start with a decidedly non-scary MOSC, quartermaster. The military will occasionally feed the hungry. Does the militia have that right? That seems fairly trivial but yes, they should be able to. But when cities try to stop the feeding of homeless in city parks, is it still trivial?
When you live in a land of very limited laws, such questions do not arise. Of course you can feed the hungry and nobody need think too hard under what bit of the Bill of Rights is usurpation prevented. We exited that territory a few new deals ago. It’s time to start going over the text without skipping parts.
The issue there was not guns but the use of tax money to pay for teachers of religion. In the paragraph quoted above, Madison went on to say that citizens should object to the requirement of paying even “three pence” to support a religion because a government that extracts even that trifle may go on to coerce religious conformity. The small things are not small. The small things are where the people still have the capacity to fight authoritarian government.
Democrats know this. They are part of this American culture of deeply engrained belief in constitutional rights. What is different to the Democrats is that they don’t believe that the right to keep and bear arms is a constitutional right. They think the Supreme Court misinterpreted the Second Amendment when it found a constitutional right. District of Columbia v. Heller was a 5 to 4 decision, and the 5 are the 5 Justices, still on the Court, whom the Democratic Senators would love to have a chance to replace.
Read the whole thing.
Democratic politicians claim that they don’t want to take away people’s guns, but the pols’ behavior belies the claim. As Althouse points out, the Democrats appear to be looking at all possible ways to restrict the right to arms. The only things that hold them back are the Republican controlled House of Representatives, fear of a backlash by voters, and the courts. But we can be sure that the Democrats will seize any opportunities to restrict the RKBA that appear.
If you haven’t yet done it, now might be a good time for you to join or renew your membership in the National Rifle Association. I just joined. The NRA isn’t perfect but it’s the most effective advocate for the right to arms that we have.
This article is from our good friend Gerry over at LITGM, who works on the “front lines” of gun control.
While a good portion of the rifle display is vacant, while half the handgun case is empty and the ammo aisles are barren we still see a lot of customer traffic. A lot. One veteran employee coworker told me earlier in the season that after Christmas the store would be empty and part-timer hours would be cut. Some may be laid off. Didn’t happen. After five years of working there, Ed is surprised.
Ed claims four years ago, after his first election and due to his past history Obummer frightened the masses enough they began stocking up, causing a mad rush for ammo but not so much for firearms. After the ammo was gone (most popular was handgun ammo at the time I recall as a customer) the crowds subsided after a few weeks. Not this time. Customers flock in during certain hours interrupted by more moderate, what we now call rest periods. The worst times are early mornings, after 5pm and on weekends all day long. We are at the point where customers are buying anything in stock and will make compromises. Definitely a seller’s market.
They come in and comment on the barren shelves. Without a prompt they comment on politics and politicians. Military veterans and law enforcement officers seem to be the most vocal in opposition to potential new laws and bans. Do not believe the liberal media propaganda machine.
Some customers will stand and stare, some just gape, slack-jawed at what little ammo selection is left, as if miraculously more will appear or the price will suddenly drop. If you are reading this and like to shoot and/or hunt you had better buy any ammo available. Prices have already gone up and will not, in my opinion, be going down again anytime soon.
Last Friday an older retired gent pushing a cart wearing a hearing aid needed assistance. He and his wife were standing in front of a free-standing display that holds buckshot and slugs. Because of his hearing loss the wife acted as translator and at times repeated what I said very loudly. He explained that his WInchester pump shotgun was nearly fifty years old and he has had it in a closet, unused for the past twenty. His question was, is it safe for him to use 00Buck in such an old weapon? My response at first was to ask what was the fixed barrel choke (knowing that an older shotgun such as his was without changeable screw-in choke tubes) set at? He claimed that it was a full choke since he used it for goose hunting. We never recommend anything regarding firearms unless the customer is very specific in a request or I can visually inspect the firearm for which they want to buy ammo, scope mounts, scope rings, etc..
Here is where you may have a few problems sir. First you should have your shotgun inspected by a professional gunsmith. Second, a constricted full choke creates a potentially dangerous situation when firing 00Buck no matter how new a shotgun may be. when firing, the muzzle may splinter or the barrel may bulge by being over pressured. At that point his wife jumped in and loudly said, “That would be ironic, here we’re trying to protect ourselves and we could end up being the ones getting hurt.” In this situation something I often do is suggest they get a second opinion. There are two others who work in my area with much greater knowledge in firearms than I so I will call for one on the 2-way when the need arises. Roger came over and confirmed my advice. We then set the gent and his wife up with a box of #4 lead shot. It’s not 00Buck but #4 should get the job done. Larger lead shot for wing shooting such as #4 is always hard to find but we had a few boxes.
This couple is no different than many of the customers who have come in lately. They are either first time buyers or aged owners who put away their firearms long ago for whatever reason and now want to have them back in good working condition. These folks are taking what they believe could be their final chance to possess personal firearm protection legally.
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Posted by Lexington Green on 9th January 2013 (All posts by Lexington Green)
And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family?
Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?
After all, you knew ahead of time that those bluecaps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you’d be cracking the skull of a cutthroat. Or what about the Black Maria [Government limo] sitting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur — what if it had been driven off or its tires spiked.
The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The GULAG Archipelago
(Via Of Arms & the Law.)
My friend and blogmate “Gerry from Valpo” just put up a very interesting and timely post at LITGM. I have received permission to re-post it here.
As background, Gerry works part time at a retail store in northwest Indiana that deals in hunting and outdoor equipment and accessories, as well as firearms and ammunition. I thought the readers here would enjoy it as well and find it informative. Below is the post in full:
In a recent email exchange about ammunition, Dan and Carl both referred to my reports “from the front lines”. After giving that some thought, it’s true.
When I began my new job last July my intent was to stay busy, be among products I like and use, to be among like-minded individuals, to learn a bit more about hunting, firearms and ammunition and to make a few bucks on the side at the same time. Little did I know I would be thrust onto the retail front lines of freedom due to that recent unnecessarily violent human event that occurred in Connecticut and residual effects.
Well before that horrific human event in Connecticut many customers were already buying a certain category of rifle that is cosmetically similar to and confused with those used by the military. They also wanted to buy the ammunition used to feed these rifles. They knew as well as I did, circumstances now place us all closer to losing more freedom and liberty with every news event that happens to come our way.
Congruently many consumers were purchasing home and personal defense shotguns and handguns like never before. Seems they were all on to something.
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After the Newtown school massacre, a lot of people feel unsafe and want changes. They are right to do so. But the changes we make should actually make us safer, not just make us feel good. So like any full review, we need to start by describing what we already have.
The United States has the premier security system on the planet. It has the largest military, by far and has 50 state militaries in the national guard system. It has overlapping layers of federal, state, county, municipal and special purpose police (like the postal and railway police). It also has an amorphous, poorly documented, little discussed system called the unorganized militia. Naturally, the first thing to look at is the unorganized militia. Efforts to oversee and improve all the other parts are ongoing and permanent. We’re unlikely to squeeze major improvements out of those parts without major increases in expenses that we can’t really afford right now.
The unorganized militia right now, for virtually no taxpayer dollars spent. Its costs are self-funded via license fees and members buy their own weapons, ammunition, and training. It is “bring your own device” defense and gives us somewhere on the order of 2.5 million defensive gun uses (DGU) per year according to the best guesses of the academics who study such things. That’s 2.5 million cases of robbery, rape, murder, and other mayhem that often don’t even make it to the FBI crime statistics because just the knowledge of an armed presence defused a situation and made potential criminals think better of what they were going to do.
Any effort to change the rules under which the unorganized militia arms itself or gets rid of the unorganized militia altogether has to keep an eye on the DGU numbers so they either go up or the other portions of the system pick up the slack as the militia DGU numbers go down. Anything else and we are becoming less safe. This is why conservatives are mad at Sen. Feinstein. The gun control bill she is threatening to introduce will, very predictably, reduce the number of militia DGU and cause more innocent americans to be victims.
cross posted FLIT-TM
Cynic that I am, I am deriving a great deal of amusement from some of the media-political-general public storms whipped up in the wake of the horribly tragic Newtown shootings, and the deaths of two firefighters in an ambush set by an ex-convict in upstate New York. As if the shootings weren’t horrible and tragic enough in themselves, now we get to enjoy the reflexive Kabuki dance of ‘we must ban those horrid gun-things!’ being played out – especially since some of the very loudest voices in this chorus are politicians and celebrities who live with a very high degree of security at their workplaces and homes, and whose children attend rather well-protected schools. Such choruses appear to be completely oblivious to the fact that for many of the ordinary rest of us, poor and middle-class alike, the forces of law and order are not johnny-on-the-spot in the event of an attempted robbery, rape, break-in or home invasion. To rely on the oft-used cliché, when moments count, the police are minutes away. In the case of rural areas in the thinly-populated flyover states law enforcement aid and assistance might be closer to being hours away.
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This is very well considered:
Everybody wants to stop events like Newtown, but one suspects the gun control supporters want to do more than that: I think they want to promote an idealistic vision of “a peaceful society without guns” or something like that. I think that agenda is unrealistic on several levels — I don’t think a society without guns would be more peaceful and secure, unless you imposed a lot of other social controls that would not be imposed and you might not like if they were, and I don’t think such changes would be accepted by more than at best a bare majority of the American people, if that. It seems barely possible that sweeping anti-gun legislation could be shoved through Congress a la Obamacare after 2014, but such legislation would be very socially devisive.
Another point — do we really understand how very widespread gun ownership fits into what you might call the political economy of public order in this country? To take another thought experiment: could there be any reasonable doubt that some sort of program (and I’m not saying mainstream gun-control advocates are calling for this, at least I hope not) that would require everybody to hand over any and all semi-automatic pistols and rifles they have to the government and own them no more, and was actually enforced (which would be very difficult) would result in unpredictable and possibly dangerous changes in the balance of forces between the law-abiding and the criminal in this country? I don’t know how much public order in this country is actually enforced by the latent threat of private citizens with guns, but I bet it’s a lot more than your typical well-meaning gun-control advocate would think, and I’m confident that she has not thought about that question in much depth. I bet you would find gun-control advocates live disproportionately in the safest, most heavily policed parts of this country, that is, relatively affluent, urban or suburban areas. Their cognitive biases I suspect lean against taking very seriously the personal security of people very unlike themselves in terms of social status, lifestyle and other such identifiers. All this points in the direction of legislation, if there is any, that is specific and targeted at the problem that needs to be solved. I have no confidence Congress is capable of this, as it is a hard problem and even easy problems seem beyond their ability to address sensibly, but one can hope.
I just loaded up my car with four long guns, five hand guns and a big assed box of ammunition. Bitter Clinger, indeed.
After a bit of work this morning I am heading to Indiana to meet friends old and new. For the last half decade we have gathered on a farm property once every autumn to enjoy the company of each other, and to celebrate the Second Amendment. We will enjoy some target shooting, grill some flesh, and have a beer or two (after shooting, of course). Rumor mill has it that we will have some ladies joining us this year, and I think that is fantastic.
I look forward to this weekend each fall very much and feel sort of “cleansed” and refreshed when I return home. There is a lot wrong with America, but there are still a lot of very good people here, and many that understand that these rights that our forefathers gave us are to be cherished and celebrated.