Today we scored what may be the most important civil-rights victory since the Heller ruling in 2008. Woollard v. Sheridan was found for the plaintiffs, and
Maryland’s law requiring concealed-carry applicants to show “good and substantial reason” for their permit applications has been found unconstitutional.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions about Robert Heinlein, but not to their own facts. In a blog post on Heinlein’s novel Beyond This Horizon, David Brin advances a number of claims which are disputable, and one that is utterly bizarre. He alleges that the thought behind Heinlein’s famous quote “An armed society is a polite society” was not Heinlein’s but issued from John W. Campbell, the editor who with Heinlein invented science fiction as we know it.
This claim is not merely wrong, it attempts to traduce a core belief which Heinlein expressed in his fiction and his nonfiction and his personal letters throughout his life. We do not have to speculate about this; as I shall show, it is so amply documented that Brin’s claim passes from being merely tendentious to outright bizarre.
Brin’s error matters to me personally because, as much as I am anything else, I am one of Heinlein’s children. I have closely studied his works and his life, and that study has shaped me. What I have given to the world through my advocacy of open source is directly tied back to what the Old Man taught me about liberty, transparency, and moral courage. And I am never more Heinlein’s child than when I advocate for an armed (and polite) society.
SF author and civil-rights activist Joel Rosenberg has been unjustly arrested. Good coverage at PopeHat; essentially this is harassment following a Nov 5th assault on Joel by a cop while he was pursuing a FOIA request related to his first arrest, on bogus charges that prosecutors subsequently dropped.
I have very mixed feelings about this one, because I suspect I may, in a manner of speaking, have helped get Joel in trouble.
It is now about fourteen months since, after receiving my second death threat, I started carrying a firearm almost constantly. This experience has taught me a few truths, some merely amusing but others with larger implications.
The major lesson: people are amazingly oblivious to what they don’t expect to see. When I carry using a belt holster (not my only method), I watch peoples’ eye movements and facial expressions for this pattern: eyes going to my right hip, momentary startlement or an increase in tension. This would mean the shirt I’m wearing flapped over the pistol butt has ridden up and it’s exposed. But, in fact, with only one exception that I’ll get to, I have never seen this. On the other hand, there have been occasions when I’ve noticed by touch that the weapon was exposed, or my wife has told me it’s showing, and nobody around me gives any sign of having noticed.
Monday’s decision in McDonald vs. City of Chicago is a major victory for civil rights. Yes, it was 5-4 and the ruling was weaker than it could have been, but the basic holding that the Second Amendment is incorporated against states and all lower levels of government can be a powerful tool for positive change if we wield it correctly. The legal climate for full restoration of firearms rights in the U.S. is now better than it’s been since the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968.
Much remains to be done, however. The Heller ruling in 2008, while affirming that firearms ownership is a fundamental individual right, allowed “reasonable regulation” and failed to specify a standard of scrutiny for what is “reasonable”; the McDonald decision does not specify this either. The constitutionally correct position, of course, is that laws infringing on Second Amendment liberties should have to meet the same strictest-scrutiny standard applied where the First Amendment is concerned — but the City of Chicago has already made plain its intent to nullify the Heller and MacDonald rulings by equating “reasonable” with “prohibitive”.
I made a minor but useful discovery about pistol holsters this morning. It may be something a million shooters have figured out sooner, but since it took me over a year of constant carry to notice there are probably at least as many who haven’t. Therefore the following tip.
I use several carry methods depending on conditions. One of them is a DeSantis MiniSlide, a smallish leather belt holster designed for concealed carry; my belt threads through slots in the holster’s side flaps. While this rig is generally satisfactory, it has shown some tendency to slide around, and adjusting the rig when it slips into an uncomfortable position is something I prefer not to do in public.
This morning it occurred to me that I could cut down on the shifting by threading my belt through the rear slot in the holster, under one of the keeper loops on my Levis, and then through the front slot of the holster. This does two good things: (1) it snugs down the belt between the holster slots, slightly increasing the inward pressure on the flaps so slippage is decreased, and (2) it prevents the weapon from sliding any further forward or back than the point at which one side will hang up on the keeper in the middle.
That is all.
Section 311 of US Code Title 10, entitled, “Militia: composition and classes” reads:
“(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are â€”
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.”
That is, all males of military age who are or intend to become citizens of the United States are under federal statute the “unorganized militia”, and have the duty of the militia to defend the Constitution of the United States against enemies foreign and domestic (as both naturalizing citizens and members of the armed forces swear to do).
This is always worth remembering, but never more than when prompt and violent action by civilians has recently prevented the murder by bombing of an entire planeload of passengers, as occurred on December 25th 2009 on Northwest flight 253.
Heh. State representative Fred Maslack of Vermont has proposed a bill under which non-gun-owners would have to register and pay a fee. Entertainingly enough, there is actual justification for this in a careful reading of the Vermont state constitution.
The Hon. Rep. Maslack is joking. I think. And I’m against requiring people who don’t want to bear arms to do so. But gad, how tempting – because underlying his argument is a truth that the drafters of the Vermont and U.S. constitutions understood. People who refuse to take arms in defense of themselves and their neighbors are inflicting a cost on their communities far more certainly than healthy people who refuse to buy medical insurance (and yes, I do think that proposed mandate is an intended target of Maslack’s jab). That externality is measured in higher crime rates, higher law-enforcement and prison budgets, and all the (dis)opportunity costs associated with increased crime. And that’s before you get to the political consequences…
I’ve never made a secret of my evaluation that refusal to bear arms is a form of moral cowardice masquerading as virtue. Real adults know how precious human life is, when they are ethically required to risk it on behalf of others, and when killing is both necessary and justified. Real adults know that there is no magic about wearing a police or military uniform; those decisions are just as hard, and just as necessary, when we deny we’re making them by delegating them to others. Real adults do not shirk the responsibility that this knowledge implies. And the wistful thought Rep Maslack’s proposal leaves me with is…maybe if moral cowardice cost money and humiliation, there would be less of it.
I’ve been trying to buy a gun recently, a better carry weapon (and by “better” I mean more concealable than what I have now and in my favorite caliber). My friends, I am here to tell you that this is an awful time to be in the market for a firearm; they are scarce and teeth-jarringly expensive because demand for them has gone through the roof. On reflection, though this is deucedly inconvenient for me at the moment, I think it implies some excellent news for the longer term and is one of a very few reasons I can think of to be grateful that Barack Obama is in the White House today.
This is a bleg for information on 1911-pattern handguns optimized for concealed carry.
Since receiving my most recent death threat, I’ve been carrying a Glock .40 pretty continuously. The .40 is an excellent weapon, but has two drawbacks from my point of view. One is that it has a 5-inch barrel and a relatively wide frame, it’s really designed for external holster carry rather than concealment, and while it can be hidden on a person my size it’s not really comfortable for continuous wear.
The other problem is that it’s not a 1911-pattern .45. Yes, I know, there are arguments for double-action and smaller calibers, but 1911 is what I like and thoroughly understand. That feeling of comfort and confidence is a valuable asset and could make a life-or-death difference in a clutch situation.
Therefore I’m soliciting information on 1911-pattern carry guns. The search specification is this: 1911-pattern .45 with a three-inch barrel, optimized for concealed carry with as few projecting parts to snag clothing as possible. I know of one weapon fitting this spec, the Kimber Ultra II Carry. I’m interested in pointers to functionally similar weapons, reviews, personal experiences, and recommendations. I will entertain offers of sale and would not turn up my nose at used guns in good condition.
Attacks on gun ownership and other philosophical/political diatribes will be considered off-topic for this comment thread and deleted. Yes, I have notified the FBI (which is taking the threat seriously) and the police have my house on elevated watch, but “when seconds count, the police are only minutes away”. If you have nothing concrete to contribute to helping me keep myself alive, keep your lip zipped.
UPDATE: Thanks to all who responded. I found a used, excellent-condition Kimber Ultra Carry II on gunbroker.com for $740, which is a steal considering that all the quotes I’ve heard locally are for $1299 and up. This is the exact thing I decided I wanted, so I am happy.
I had a breakthrough moment last night. It was on the IRC channel for one of my projects. The developers, and the IRC’s regulars, are a small and tight-knit group. By a coincidence completely unrelated to the nature of the project, we’re all firearms fanciers who take a firm line on Second Amendment rights. Occasionally the IRC chat will turn from project-related technical matters to topics like the relative merits of various pistol calibers.
Occasionally people will show up on the channel looking for project-related help. Some of them become semi-regulars on the channel because they’re often working technical problems for which the project is part of the solution. One of these guys hopped on the channel last night while we happened to be in the middle of a firearms digression, listened for a bit, and then started to spout.
News flash: Presidential candidate Barack Obama says Iâ€™m not going to take your guns away in front of a hand-picked crowd of Democratic supporters in Duryea, Pennsylvania — and they don’t believe him.
No, that was not a hook for an anti-Obama rant. Obama’s unbelievability on this issue is only partly his own individual fault. The infamous clanger he dropped last April in San Francisco (“And it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”) didn’t help, but it wouldn’t have become one of the defining memes of the 2008 campaign without a broader context that is what I’m more interested in exploring.
Instapundit links to this interesting news story: Texas school district lets teachers, staff pack pistols. While this is a step in the right direction, I think it does not go far enough.
I think all teachers, day-care staff, and other adults in loco parentis for groups of children should be required to carry firearms on the job. Maintaining continued proficiency at rapid-reaction tactical shooting should be a condition of their continued employment. Their job is to protect children; if they are not physically, mentally, and morally competent to do that job, they don’t belong in it.
I doubt any explanation of the threat model is needed. But I will point out that the Israelis require schoolteachers to be armed – and the only successful terrorist attack in memory on a group of Israeli schoolkids happened after the teachers, on a field trip, allowed themselves to be disarmed at a Jordanian border post.
Monday was the day things went bang. Firearms, basic and advanced. We began with safety instruction and refresher by the lovely Lynda, emphasizing three basic rules: (1) Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, (2) Finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, and (3) keep ammunition separated from weapons until you are at the firing line with the range hot. We were instructed in how to check and clear weapons.
The Heller vs. D.C. ruling affirming that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms was a major civil-rights victory building on 15 years of constitutional scholarship. Accordingly, we owe a great deal of thanks to principled and dedicated legal academics including Don Kates, Dave Kopel, and the blogosphere’s own InstaPundit (aka Glenn Harlan Reynolds) for their work on the Standard Model of the Second Amendment.
But there was another trend at work; the beginning of public recognition, after the year 2000, that anti-firearms activism has been founded on systematic errors and widespread fraud in the academic literature on gun policy.
I’ve had time to think about the impact of the Heller ruling on the 2008 elections now, and I’m concluding that a pro-gun-rights ruling with a 5-4 split was absolutely the worst possible outcome for Barack Obama’s campaign.
This morning I read the entire majority opinion from the Supreme Court striking down the D.C. gun ban. Then I walked over to the Malvern Police station and asked for a few minutes with my town’s Chief of Police.
Yes, testosterone makes people stupid. No, I’m not talking about the men who secrete and metabolize it, I’m talking about the nervous old women of both sexes who pronounce upon it as though it were some sort of demonic drug.
This is an essay blog; I don’t normally just carry links to other peoples’ postings,
but Iraq Gun Porn is just too informative, and too much fun, to pass up.
I was particularly tickled by this:
The ..45 pistol: Thumbs up. Still the best pistol round out there.
Everybody authorized to carry a sidearm is trying to get their hands on one.
With few exceptions, can reliably be expected to put ’em down with a torso
hit. The special ops guys (who are doing most of the pistol work) use the HK
military model and supposedly love it. The old government model .45’s are
being re-issued en masse.
Yeah, baby! .45ACP rules OK.
UPDATE: Yes, I like cranking off the sort of person who is offended by a title like “Iraq Gun Porn”; why do you ask?
Oh, my stars and garters. A pro-firearms story in the New York Times?
Yes, children, it has actually happened: Police and Owners Begin to Challenge Looters (link via InstaPundit). Property owners with guns maintaining civil order in their neighborhood are cited approvingly. There’s even a picture of a handsome armed couple “on the lookout for looters”.
I think I’m more shocked by this than I was by the hurricane. It’s bylined “FELICITY BARRINGER and JERE LONGMAN”; I wonder what life is going to be like for them at the Grey Lady’s next struggle session.