Why I joined the NRA

After 20 years of evading joining the NRA, I finally did it last week.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the NRA because, despite the fearsome extremist image the mainstream media tries to hang on it, the NRA is actually rather squishy about gun rights. A major symptom of this is its lack of interest in pursuing Second Amendment court cases. Alan Gura, the civil-rights warrior who fought Heller vs. DC and several other key cases to a successful conclusion, was funded not by the NRA but by the Second Amendment Foundation. Also, in the past, the NRA has been too willing to acquiesce to unconstitutional legislation like the 1986 ban on sales of new automatic weapons to civilians.

So, you might well ask: why am I joining an organization I’m dubious about now, when the gun-rights cause seems to be winning? Popular support for Second Amendment rights is at record highs in the polls, a record seven states now have constitutional carry (no permit requirement), Texas just became the 45th state to legalize open carry last week…why am I joining an organization I’ve characterized as squishy?

I joined because the state-worshiping thugs on the other side are doubling down, and they still own most of the media and the machinery of the Federal government. After decades of pretending that they only wanted soi-disant “common-sense” legislation aimed at specific problems around the edges of gun policy, the Democratic Party is now openly talking of outright gun confiscation. The usual suspects in the national press are obediently amplifying their propaganda.

Some things you do for substantive effect – giving money to the SAF so Alan Gura can win another case is like that. Some things you do less for effect than as as a signal of pushback intended to create political momentum and demoralize the other side; joining the NRA is like that.

Meanwhile, I think my sentimental favorite gun-rights organization is still Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Because they have the motto that truly says it all to those with any sense of history: “Never again”.

223 thoughts on “Why I joined the NRA

  1. It would be nice if the ACLU recognized (and supported) the 2nd Amendment.

  2. I think it’s hilarious that the Democrats are going into a presidential election year promoting more gun control, more Muslim immigration, and the wonderfulness of Obamacare. To say the least, these aren’t positions that endear them to huge swaths of the electorate. Then there’s Hillary claiming that “all sexual assault victims deserve to be believed” (except Bill’s, of course) while aging rapidly and looking increasingly like someone who literally might not survive a campaign, much less a term in office. She must be on some medication that’s causing weight gain.

    People have had lots of fun mocking Trump and the “clown car” on the GOP side, but the Democrats have been at least as mockable.

  3. >It would be nice if the ACLU recognized (and supported) the 2nd Amendment.

    Back during my first 15 minutes of fame, someone high up in the ACLU once asked me why, in view of my obvious and strongly-articulated concern about free-speech and electronic privacy rights, I hadn’t joined the ACLU myself. I looked him straight in the eye and said “I will join the ACLU on the day it starts defending the Second Amendment with the same passion it shows in protecting the First.”

    He hemmed and hawed and mumbled something about that policy decision being up to state chapters. I didn’t find that a satisfactory answer then and still don’t today.

  4. The NRA’s strong points are the influence on the legislative side, so their member numbers matter. The SAF strong point is the ability to fight winning battles in court, so their financials matter.

    That being said, joining both is not a terribly expensive option. And as Tom Gresham always suggests, join your state organization also.

  5. >The sad, sordid tale of the sellout and self-destruction of the late Aaron Zellman’s organization is detailed here:

    I can’t bring myself to believe that Gottlieb is the kind of sellout implied, not after SAF funded Gura to win the Heller and McDonald cases. Those have been our most important victories ever.

  6. Oh god.

    California and their new “If I’m getting a divorce and am already going to accuse my husband of DV and child abuse I should call him a threat to have his guns confiscated too” law?

    Or health care and the “my health insurance nearly doubled in six years until the company I was with dumped out of the business last year so now I pay 30% more than that for the same coverage”?

    The latter especially has shut up a few political ‘liberals’ telling me “but a friend of a friend pays almost nothing for theirs” – because I’m paying it.

  7. The best thing about JFPO is their logo. It’s guaranteed to generate screeching from all the right people.

  8. I used to be an NRA member. I dropped my membership like a hot potato once they started going off about illegal immigration.
    I like my issue-groups to be single issue groups so I don’t have to deal with all of the extra crap.

  9. esr, unless you want to be inundated with junk mail, be sure to email membership@nrahq.org and ask to be placed on the “Do Not Promote” list.
    https://www.nramemberservices.org/members/faq/faq.aspx

    Also, are you aware that your dues to the “NRA” NRA doesn’t go toward political stuff? In other words, if you’re interested in more than just the status-signalling, you have to explicitly donate to one of NRA’s subunits, like NRA-ILA, or NRA-PVF.

  10. The thrust of the upcoming executive order on gun control will be directed at inhibiting citizens from owning guns anonymously via private party purchasing that circumvents background checks. Ostensibly, this is to ensure that terrorists, felons, and nutjobs cannot legally buy guns; but in practical reality, it’s purpose is much more insidious.

    All of us are currently being profiled by both public and private entities using the explosion of information now accessible in the digital age. Macro-scale computer simulation of societal behavior is also being conducted using this information as a key input.

    Sensitivity case analysis indicates that private gun ownership is a significant driver for various outcomes. These models are extraordinarily sophisticated now, and obtaining detailed data that associates individual archetypes with specific types of firearms and ammunition consumption is highly advantageous in threat assessment by public authorities. If things get dicey, this knowledge will be used to target key individual archetypes for suppression rather than attempt widespread confiscation.

    My problem with the NRA is that they are playing checkers and the incipient tyrants are playing chess.

  11. >esr, unless you want to be inundated with junk mail, be sure to email membership@nrahq.org and ask to be placed on the “Do Not Promote” list.

    Done. Thanks for the other heads-up as well.

  12. @esr: “He hemmed and hawed and mumbled something about that policy decision being up to state chapters. I didn’t find that a satisfactory answer then and still don’t today.”

    While right to bear arms may appear to be winning, I think attitudes toward it are highly regional. For instance, I live in NYC, whose Sullivan Laws controlling firearms are among the strictest in the nation. Those have a tangled history, named after the NYC pol who first proposed them back in 1911. The supposed intent was to decrease armed gang violence between rival immigrant groups, and the proximate cause had likely been a gun battle between Jewish and Italian mobsters in 1903, where both gangs turned on the cops when they arrived. But as is typical in such things, it wasn’t that simple. Sullivan was a Tammany Hall politician, and Tammany controlled the gangs. It was more about protecting Tammany’s political power and position than protecting the citizens caught in the cross-fire.

    In general, the climate in NYC is anti-gun. An example is a woman I know, born to and raised in a middle class Jewish family in NYC. She got the notion with her mother’s milk that guns were Bad Things, and only police and the military should posses them. I was grimly amused when she moved to the West Coast for career reasons, was taken target shooting by friends, and discovered the liked it and was good at it. She suffered all sorts of moral qualms. I told her the culture she was raised in was not universal, and she should talk to folks from places like the rural Midwest, where a boy might get his first shotgun at age 12 as a rite of passage into manhood, and see how they felt. She still had to deal with her mother’s voice in her head saying ” *Bad Girl!*” when she picked up a handgun, but at least she got the notion there were other voices to listen to.

    More recently, there was the tempest in a teapot over “stop and frisk” efforts in NYC. Those efforts targeted poor black neighborhoods with gang problems. Black community activists protested, claiming they felt humiliated and demeaned, and when the city administration changed after an election, the new Police Commissioner ended the practice. A friend of a friend is a black woman named Paula. She was *very* unhappy at the end of stop and frisk. The neighborhood in Brooklyn she lives in is relatively safe, but she has friends and relatives in the neighborhoods where stop and frisk was being done. With the lack of stop and frisk, guns are back, and her friends and relatives are afraid to be out after dark because gang-bangers will be battling over turf and drug revenues, and bullets don’t care who they hit.

    The ACLU rep you spoke to had a point, alas. All ACLU members will support First Amendment activities. Many will *not* support Second Amendment efforts, along the regional lines I mentioned, and if the ACLU tried to as an organization, it would likely face an internal political crisis.
    ______
    Dennis

  13. >The ACLU rep you spoke to had a point,

    No, he didn’t. If you don’t support fundamental civil rights when and where they’re unpopular, you don’t meaningfully support them at all.

    If the national ACLU were a principled and consistent civil rights organization, it would expel members and chapters that refused to support the Second Amendment for exactly the same reasons and on the same grounds that it would expel supporters of chattel slavery. In neither case is “regional differences” a colorable excuse.

  14. Something I noticed about the jpfo website, and then about this website was that https is either not enabled or broken.

    I don’t know if anyone banging the TLS needs to be used for all of the web drum has come around here yet, but there are very few reasons not to serve your site over https nowadays.

  15. @esr: “>The ACLU rep you spoke to had a point,

    No, he didn’t. If you don’t support fundamental civil rights when and where they’re unpopular, you don’t meaningfully support them at all.”

    See what I said about internal political crisis. If the ACLU tried to do what you want as a national organization, it might just kill it.

    In practice, the ACLU is about the First Amendment. Wanting it to be about other rights as well is laudable. Expecting it to be is wishful thinking.
    ______
    Dennis

  16. I really don’t want to join the NRA. But if I do, I want to be sure to put myself in a position to vote — which means, grudgingly, I’d have to buy a life membership as I wouldn’t want to wait five years.

    I decided a while ago that unless and until they have a fundamental change the ACLU won’t see a dime for me unless it is somehow exhorted out of my pocket without my knowledge. They’re too squishy on the things I agree with them on, and their stance on 2A is a deal breaker.

    It stinks to sound like a single issue voter but these people have made this issue the main issue for me going forward (without neglecting other civil rights of course). I’d hoped after Heller and McDonald they’d take a break given the political suicide this is in most of America. Nope, no such luck.

  17. Dennis: “In practice, the ACLU is about the First Amendment. Wanting it to be about other rights as well is laudable. Expecting it to be is wishful thinking.”

    Then they should stop advertising “Our only client is the Constitution”.

  18. And, for the record, I’ve been a Benefactor Life Member of the NRA for the last N years (I lost track a while back, but it’s at least 20).

  19. @Jay Maynard: “Dennis: “In practice, the ACLU is about the First Amendment. Wanting it to be about other rights as well is laudable. Expecting it to be is wishful thinking.”

    Then they should stop advertising “Our only client is the Constitution”.”

    Probably. But I suspect the ACLU’s attitude mirrors that of the populace in general. All parts of the Constitution are not equally popular, and you’ll find groups that devoutly wish various provisions could be excised or amended. It’s a reason why I’m happy it’s very difficult change the Constitution. If it were easier, it might be a very different document now than when it was written.
    ______
    Dennis

  20. I joined a month ago for similar reasons.

    I avoided joining them for years because of how squishy they were on first amendment rights. They pointed violent video game bans after Columbine.

  21. The NRA regularly gets things liberty related wrong but that hasn’t stopped me from being a member since I first set foot in these United States. Understanding the founding principles of the NRA helps to explain why they tend to be military and police positive and not quite as personal liberty as you might expect. So be members of multiple pro 2nd Amendment groups, clubs and organizations. And write your Congressman/woman regularly. Something that Americans do far less often than I ever expected.

  22. I am “represented” in Congress by Democrat Representative Tim Walz, a loyal footsoldier for Nancy Pelosi; Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar, who quietly works to shore up Harry Reid; and Democrat Senator Al Franken, who has carried his hatred for all things conservative into office.

    Is there any reason to believe that writing any or all of them will make the tiniest bit of difference?

  23. Jay, try Debbe Stabbe-us in the back and Peters. Neither have the citizens of Michigan or the U.S. best interest’s at the forefront. Unfortunately, unless you live in the great S.E. cities of MI, the chance of having your voice heard is slim indeed.

  24. @Jay Maynard –

    > I am “represented” in Congress by …. Is there any reason to believe that writing any
    > or all of them will make the tiniest bit of difference?

    No, but… Letting them know that not *all* of their constituents are “libural sheeple” may give them pause on implementing some of their most batshit insane projects.

  25. “Is there any reason to believe that writing any or all of them will make the tiniest bit of difference?”

    I tend to think this question boils down to a choice between cynicism or optimism – which then becomes a choice of joining the Lumpenproletariat or the bourgeoisie. For myself, I’d rather go down with the bourgeoisie. But I am constantly surprised at the number of cynics that have never written to their representatives. For every letter I’ve written was responded to and an attempt was made to defend their positions and if anything at all, they had to expend some cycles doing so which interrupted them from unrestrained machinations.

  26. I told her the culture she was raised in was not universal, and she should talk to folks from places like the rural Midwest, where a boy might get his first shotgun at age 12 as a rite of passage into manhood, and see how they felt.

    I was at my sister’s house for Christmas when my youngest nephew got his shotgun. He was 9. I get the impression that that’s fairly ordinary there (rural Texas, just outside Austin). Of course, he can’t shoot it without an adult around – for going alone, it’s still BB guns only, or waiting a few years.

  27. Welcome to the club. I’ve been a Benefactor Life member for I don’t know how long, and have never regretted it. That being said, I’ll second the comments of some others that if your interest is strictly in the political side there are other groups that take harder and more consistent positions that also deserve your support.
    OTOH, I’m not aware of any other group that does as much in terms of outreach, education or gun safety as the NRA. They don’t always fight political battles the way I’d like them to, but their work in the culture wars has been invaluable, and as is said, politics is downstream of culture.

  28. As Gordon Baxter once wrote, a teenager from a well-to-do Texas family might well get a Ruger Super Blackhawk and a Jeep Wrangler for his 16th birthday – and have already been taught how to handle both safely.

    patrioticduo: “if anything at all, they had to expend some cycles doing so which interrupted them from unrestrained machinations.”

    How many cycles does it take for a low-end staffer to skim the letter, figure out the overall subject, pick out the correct form reply from the files, and send it?

  29. Also, in the past, the NRA has been too willing to acquiesce to unconstitutional legislation like the 1986 ban on sales of new automatic weapons to civilians.

    The NRA and America’s gun owners had a stark choice when that poison pill was added by a bogus voice vote to the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986: gamble on getting a cleaner bill later (unlikely), swallow it, or watch the BATF continue to extinguish our gun culture with its post GCA of ’68 atrocities. That’s the reason Congressman John Dingell in 1981 said for a NRA video “If I were to select a jackbooted group of fascists who are perhaps as large a danger to American society as I could pick today, I would pick BATF.” They really were that bad back then, and we saw it again when they started the Waco tragedy simply to have some good press before upcoming appropriations hearings with a President they could be confident was even more on their side than GHW Bush. More recently, see Fast and Furious.

  30. esr on 2016-01-03 at 15:47:15 said:
    >The sad, sordid tale of the sellout and self-destruction of the late Aaron Zellman’s organization is detailed here:

    I can’t bring myself to believe that Gottlieb is the kind of sellout implied, not after SAF funded Gura to win the Heller and McDonald cases. Those have been our most important victories ever.

    Gottlieb being a “sell-out” is no longer subject to question, look at his actions in his home state, most recently supporting the Washington state initiative that bans private gun transfers, including for temporary and supervised group target shooting and hunting, rentals at gun ranges, etc. Colorado has such a law post-Sandy Hook, and the state AG was forced to promise not to prosecute homeowners when they placed their guns in safekeeping with friends during the 2013 flooding. Similarly Washington state has promised not to enforce the more onerous provisions, a promise we all know has an expiration date.

    It’s a clever gambit by Bloomberg, where his money can either buy a legislature as in Oregon, or fund a state initiate effort. These laws are important, like the ones that officially claim to “close the gun show loophole” are written to put them out of business, they’re aimed directly at the nation’s gun culture, hindering the creation of new gun owners, and I’m told gun shows are important networking events. Lose our gun culture and we end up like England, or a civil war when the “Three Percent” have had enough.

    The SAF does fund a lot of good lawsuits, and runs an important annual conference, but that’s about all, and don’t join them, simple membership is a snail mail marketing scam, pure donations are the best approach.

    Claiming Heller and McDonald were “our most important victories ever” is ludicrous, outside of Chicago, its suburbs and the State of Illinois it hasn’t changed the facts on the ground, with the rest of the Federal Judiciary including the Supremes ruling we have nothing more than a right to keep and bear some types of arms in our homes (that’s assuming the en banc review of Peruta v. San Diego reverses it, which seems to be the way to bet, and D.C. continuing its massive resistance and the Federal courts continuing to slow roll the lawsuits trying to enforce Heller).

    The usual suspects still insist the 2nd Amendment means nothing useful, you yourself note their open calls for confiscation, and they assume that the decisions will be reversed as soon as the Supreme Court makeup changes.

    Without looking at the wider scope of “ever” (our revolution probably has a better claim), the most significant change in my lifetime has been the nationwide sweep of shall issue concealed carry laws. When I was born that was pretty much limited to Vermont, which was the sole state to not ban carry after the Civil War or in the follow waves of non-Anglo-Saxon immigration. It now it holds for 42 states and the majority of the population, who will not quietly see that right taken from them (again).

  31. >I was at my sister’s house for Christmas when my youngest nephew got his shotgun.
    > He was 9. I get the impression that that’s fairly ordinary there (rural Texas, just outside Austin).

    Utterly orthagonally, I recently purchased a BB gun for my daughter (8).

    This was not a present.

    One doesn’t (IMO) give a child a “present” that they can only use when a parent is in the mood.

  32. Years back I was asked to join several veteran’s organizations, the American Legion being one such. I told them I declined because they gave Bill Clinton a clean bill of health in his run for the Presidency. Clinton, the draft dodger, yes.

    My point is that if even veteran’s orgs can be captured and misused by leftists, the NRA should beware of the moles in their house.

  33. > How many cycles does it take for a low-end staffer to skim the letter, figure out the
    > overall subject, pick out the correct form reply from the files, and send it?

    If you’re the low end staffer for Mike “Milquetoast” Coffman you stop bothering to respond when some of your constituents complain about your feckless behavior and repeated “schlonging” of your constituents without even benefit of lube.

    I’m half considering challenging him in the primary, but his opposition this year is a STRIDENTLY anti-gun idiot Morgan Carroll. Which means he’ll still get my vote, but grudgingly.

  34. Isn’t the NRA to hunting what AARP is to aging? Mere public relations facades that just endorse the Realpolitik nationalism of the corporate sport and sickness providers while pretending to serve this right or that need.

    Your reason for putting yourself on another big list is the same reason the rest of us need to stay off it.

  35. > No, he didn’t. If you don’t support fundamental civil rights when and where
    > they’re unpopular, you don’t meaningfully support them at all.

    More to the point if Eric’s interlocutor had half the support for the Second that he has for the first, fourth and fifth he would have been a little more critical in his comments about the state chapters (most of them) that do not support it.

    > If the national ACLU were a principled and consistent civil rights organization, it would
    > expel members and chapters that refused to support the Second Amendment for exactly
    > the same reasons and on the same grounds that it would expel supporters of chattel slavery.
    > In neither case is “regional differences” a colorable excuse.

    Tis a shame that UseNet and the Pithy Sig Line have fallen into disuse.

  36. “How many cycles does it take for a low-end staffer to skim the letter, figure out the overall subject, pick out the correct form reply from the files, and send it?”

    Leviathan can only be killed by a thousand cuts. I give it cuts on a regular basis. Do you? And to be honest, every letter I’ve sent has resulted in a response that could only have been penned by the rep his/herself or a close assistant. Furthermore, I engage in phone messages, faxes and go to events where I can meet the rep’s and speak one to one with them. Again, most Americans don’t. And interestingly, most rep’s are willing to listen and I’ve persuaded at least one to change their position. Ironically, on supporting to opposing gun ballistics “fingerprinting” laws.

  37. > Isn’t the NRA to hunting what AARP is to aging? Mere public relations facades that
    > just endorse the Realpolitik nationalism of the corporate sport and sickness providers
    > while pretending to serve this right or that need.

    No.

    There are two or five “NRA” organizations, depending on how you want to draw the line. The “Original” NRA is basically a teaching organization founded to improve marksmanship, and along the way sidetracked into political squabbles. It has “Hunter Safety” programs, funnels millions of dollars to local gun clubs and ranges and offers many other classes. A sort-of-separate NRA (a board of some sort) handles deciding where to spend/send those grants (this is the “depending on how you want to draw the line). These are a 501c3 organization, and contributions are tax deductible. This NRA advocates for gun rights through means that are not, and not intended to be overtly political. They are VERY VERY careful of their 501c3 status because the Democrats, like the IRS did with the Tea Party Groups, tend to be a LOT more aggressive with them than with the Brady Bunch/Million Moron March groups.

    This first organization has been around since 1871 and historically was as likely to support a gun control cause as oppose it.

    This changed with the GCA of 1968 when it became MORE apparent that the goal of the democrats wasn’t just to keep guns out of the hands of blacks and hispanics (http://www.davekopel.org/2A/Mags/dark-secret-of-jim-crow.html https://www.firearmsandliberty.com/cramer.racism.html) but to take guns away from *everyone*.

    Thus some more politically active in the NRA decided to form a more organized lobbying effort. With the changing nature of tax and political speech laws (which the ACLU doesn’t particularly have a problem with because only Republicans really have to follow them) the NRA spun this lobbying arm off as the NRA-ILA where ILA stands for Institute for Legislative Action. This is a 501c4 organization, and donations are not normally tax deductible.

    What folks like you don’t get is that aside from a very few large companies (Remington, Beretta, Ruger), MOST companies operating in this space are small or on the small side of medium[1]. Daniel Defense, a well known maker of ARs is less than 200 people. As is Bushmaster, STI International etc. Even the “Big Guys” aren’t all that big–3500 for Remington, 2k for Ruger.

    Only 2 of the top 6 biggest gun makers in the world are US companies (Smith and Wesson, and Colt)[2]. Colt (these days) is primarily a government contractor, and despite 122 million in annual revenue is perpetually bouncing in and out of bankruptcy (mostly because the owners are dickheads).

    Smith and Wesson is probably the largest, and it’s only about 1500 employees and revenue (top line) of about 551 million in 2014.

    Ranges and gun stores are also small to very small business, and *this* is where a lot of the contributions to the NRA from businesses come from. These are “average” folks who foolishly followed their hobbies and made a business out of them (which is why so many guys behind the gun counter are grumpy old dicks. They started this because they love it, and have to deal with idiots all day long. Picture working in a Best Buy computer section, or working for Microcenter…)

    So no, the NRA is not a “Mere public relations facades that just endorse the Realpolitik nationalism of the corporate sport “. In fact merely being able to toss of that line with a straight face means that you have your head up some sort of fundament so thoroughly that you’re staring at someone’s barely digestible lunch.

    [1] This PDF claims that any company less than 1000 people is a “small business” for the purposes of “small arms” see code 332994 https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/Size_Standards_Table.pdf
    [2] Questionable source http://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/6-biggest-gun-manufacturers-in-the-world-355042/

  38. “It would be nice if the ACLU recognized (and supported) the 2nd Amendment.”

    I talked about this with a friend who works *at* the ACLU. While he’s not especially zealot either way on guns, his response was “the ACLU’s position is that Miller and McDonald were errors”.

    I asked in response how many other civil liberties the ACLU played legal mix ‘n match with. He laughed nervously, and we changed the subject (I mentioned he’s a friend, right?)

  39. Oh, I should add that the NRA has between 4.5 and 6 million *paid up* members who, if anything want the NRA to be MORE aggressive and MORE involved in protecting their rights.

    The AARP has more members (a claimed 37 million), but is cheaper to join, and most members aren’t really all that aware of what sort of advocacy (which is to say left wing/progressive) the AARP engages in. They mostly think it’s a way to save money on this or that, or have some vague notion that the AARP is there to “help seniors”.

    The AARP has lost about 3 million members since 2008, and many attribute that to (1) Conservative organizations that have arisen to compete ideologically, and (b) their support of Obamacare.

    In keeping with Robert Conquests second law of politics, the AARP has been utterly co-opted by the left. To the extent they appear to be fronting for “sickness providers” (whatever sort of delusional bullshit that encompasses) this is more just a way of encouraging the regulatory state that is the goal of the modern left:

    http://libertyupward.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/wants-more-government.jpg

  40. >Utterly orthagonally, I recently purchased a BB gun for my daughter (8).

    Well that’s good. I’m still debating when and how to start my boys. I’m not sure if the younger one being the more mature one simplifies or complicates things.

    >This was not a present.

    So what was it?

    >One doesn’t (IMO) give a child a “present” that they can only use when a parent is in the mood.

    That strikes me as a case of odd semantics and empty distinctions. My kids have been receiving presents, that are most definitely theirs (yes we teach them property rights *and* responsibilities) but whose use requires adult assistance/supervision, since they were crawling.

  41. Oh, I should add that the NRA has between 4.5 and 6 million *paid up* members who, if anything want the NRA to be MORE aggressive and MORE involved in protecting their rights.

    Include me in that group. I think the NRA isn’t active enough, particularly in states like NJ — they do nothing here at all. It really pisses me off, and put me off getting a membership for years. They see us as a lost cause. They spent a lot of time, effort, and money getting open carry in Texas — which is a good thing — but they haven’t been challenging or lobbying for any carry in NJ at all. At the same time, the democrats here claim that the republicans are in the NRA’s pocket. All of our republicans are just slightly less anti-gun than the democrats.

  42. @Aaron Traas: “I think the NRA isn’t active enough, particularly in states like NJ — they do nothing here at all. It really pisses me off, and put me off getting a membership for years. They see us as a lost cause. They spent a lot of time, effort, and money getting open carry in Texas — which is a good thing — but they haven’t been challenging or lobbying for any carry in NJ at all.”

    How far do you think they’d get if they did? My personal feeling is “nowhere”, and if they think it’s a waste of time and effort to try, they probably have good reason.

    It’s an example of what I mentioned to esr about attitudes toward this being regional. The underlying culture in some areas is simply anti-gun, and the Northeast to a large extent is one of those areas.

    Those underlying cultural differences cut across party lines, and it’s no surprise Republicans in NJ are nearly as anti-gun as Democrats. If nothing else, they are elected officials who want to get *reelected*, and if they think their constituents are anti-gun, they will be too.
    ______
    Dennis

  43. >It’s an example of what I mentioned to esr about attitudes toward this being regional. The underlying culture in some areas is simply anti-gun, and the Northeast to a large extent is one of those areas.

    >Those underlying cultural differences cut across party lines, and it’s no surprise Republicans in NJ are nearly as anti-gun as Democrats. If nothing else, they are elected officials who want to get *reelected*, and if they think their constituents are anti-gun, they will be too.

    That’s not an excuse for compromising your principles, it’s just a case of not having enough money to stand and fight on *every* hill.

    The ACLU *does not* support the 2nd Amendment, anywhere in any way. It’s not that they do theoretically support it, but decide not to spend limited resources fighting for it in lost cause battles. I believe that distinction is important.

  44. @DMcCunney — they could actually fund the handful of pro-gun candidates here that we have. They could run billboards and advertising campaigns to try to change public opinion, or at least keep the tide from swallowing us. They could assist in the efforts that the local groups are doing that are helping in some small ways. Hell, if they assisted with money and boots on the ground for the Recall Sweeney campaign (in which I did participate with donations and labor), we would have ousted the most powerful democrat in the state instead of narrowly failing.

    There are a million gun owners in NJ, out of about 9 million residents. We have low membership rates to the NRA because they do nothing here. If they started actually doing stuff here, their membership would double quickly. As soon as Christy is out of office, they’re going to push through the stuff he vetoed that would make the NY-SAFE act look great in comparison.

    Oh, and we’re exporting our problems too. Lots of upper-middle class people from NJ are leaving because the cost of living is too high, and for the cost of a modest house on a 1/16th acre lot here, you can get a McMansion and serious acreage elsewhere. So a bunch of NJ people are going to places like PA and NC and VA, and demanding the same levels of service of their new states, and turning them purple. Do you think it’s a coincidence that both VA and PA stopped honoring lots of out-of-state CCW liscences in the past 2 years? They’re doing what they can get away with now, and they’ll push to get more when they can.

  45. DMcCunney on 2016-01-04 at 14:40:03 said:
    > How far do you think they’d get if they did? My personal feeling is “nowhere”,
    > and if they think it’s a waste of time and effort to try, they probably have good reason.

    It depends on how they did it.

    If they just attempted to straight out buy votes in the legislature, not very far.

    If they treated ANY firearms law the same way that the ACLU treats any law concerning abortion (meaning IMMEDIATELY issuing a press release expressing concern that the legislators are TRAMPLING, I say TRAMPLING in the rights of the downtrodden electorate and promising a legal response) they might get a little further.

    But if they *actively* went back to their roots and started aggressively promoted the shooting sports in the Dark and Fascist state of New Jersey (SRSLY dood, throw the f*king ring in the f*king volcano and GTFO), and developed a network of rational, aggressive, well versed gun rights lawyers (shout out to Donald Kilmer fighting the good fight in California).

    We can’t “win” this on philosophy we have to “win” this by having lots and lots of people who think that guns in one fashion or another are a normal part of civilized life.

    And IMO they *are* a part of civilized life, from hunting, to pure sporting events like Sporting Clays (one of the fastest growing sports in the US, allegedly), benchrest rifle (you think assembly language programmers are OCD? Oui Vey!), PPC, Steel Challenge, High Power Rifle, and USPSA/IPSC to more “mixed” events like Three Gun or IDPA, or just wandering down the quarry/rock pile and putting holes in milk jugs, cans and balloons. And yes, those of us who carry because sometimes there aren’t so civilized people out there who need to know explicitly that there are lines that Do Not Get Crossed.

  46. BTW, when was the last time *YOU* took someone shooting for the first time?

  47. Garrett on 2016-01-03 at 16:13:54 said:

    I used to be an NRA member. I dropped my membership like a hot potato once they started going off about illegal immigration.

    I don’t remember this, it appears to be the biggest issue the GOA is currently upset with the NRA about, and I wasn’t able to find any evidence of it with a few Google searches just now, including a nra.org site specific search. Some citations are needed to back up your claim.

  48. >BTW, when was the last time *YOU* took someone shooting for the first time?

    In my case, about six months ago. I usually initiate about a dozen newbies a year, most of them at the annual Geeks With Guns shoot at Penguicon.

  49. >I can’t bring myself to believe that Gottlieb is the kind of sellout implied, not after SAF funded Gura to win the Heller and McDonald cases. Those have been our most important victories ever.

    Heller (originally Parker vs DC) was not funded or conceived by SAF or the NRA. Clark Neily and Bob Levy were the primary initiators (independent from their work at Institute for Justice and Cato respectively) with Gura joining the team early in the process. The NRA specifically was concerned about the chances for the case, and was allegedly involved in meetings to keep the case from being filed, and later was directly involved in the same circuit with Seegars vs. Ashcroft.

    Bob Levy personally funded Heller vs DC (Heller 1 specifically – Dick Heller has been a plaintiff in DC several times). I believe that Levy and Neily worked the case without pay, and Gura agreed to a reduced rate.

  50. But if they *actively* went back to their roots and started aggressively promoted the shooting sports in the Dark and Fascist state of New Jersey, and developed a network of rational, aggressive, well versed gun rights lawyers.

    Yup — playing the long game. We need that, badly. Most ranges we have here aren’t too friendly to the modern run-and-gun shooting sports like IPSC and 3-gun. My range is set up for pretty standard bench-rest and stationary pistol and rifle shooting.

    If we have more people into shooting sports, we’ll have more shooters, and thus more citizens that are interested in owning firearms. Now, I do know quite a few people here that own guns that are in favor of some measures of gun control, but think what we have in NJ is absurd. So even if we keep some of our gun control, like requiring FID card to purchase, 1 gun a month, etc., we might be able to reasonably overturn the absurd laws around magazine capacity, transport of firearms only between “legitimate destinations”, concealed carry, etc. I’d love to remove the other restrictions too, but I’d not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  51. >BTW, when was the last time *YOU* took someone shooting for the first time?

    Not sure if you’ve ever lived and worked in a deep blue area, but that’s a tough question to ask of someone who lives in NJ. Attitudes about guns vary quite a bit inside the state, but letting yourself be openly known as a ‘gun guy’….

    In areas where there are few enough gun people that you might actually get recruits you might also be subject to reputational and career damage. Seriously. In areas where it’s safe to talk about guns (say much of Sussex County) anyone recruitable already has someone else to show them the ropes.

    NJ is totalitarian on guns. One of things you need to do when you apply for a firearms ID which you need to purchase any guns or ammunition (you also need, in addition, individually approved purchase permits to purchase any handgun but that’s a separate issue), is to confirm your employment. Which means you need to find someone in an official capacity at your employer to confirm to the state where you work, and the state makes absolutely sure that person knows it’s because you’re applying for a firearms ID. If you don’t think that has a chilling effect on applications I have some really undervalued real estate that might interest you.

  52. BTW, when was the last time *YOU* took someone shooting for the first time?

    Don’t remember exactly when, but I took 8 new shooters shooting since I got my first gun 3 years ago. 4 of them were anti-gun liberals. 2 of them, while not 100% pro-gun, aren’t anti any more.

  53. >BTW, when was the last time *YOU* took someone shooting for the first time?

    Oh. About 2 years ago. An old college friend who’s a fairly liberal Cook County (yes) resident but who luckily has a mild latent libertarian streak, on a visit to relatively free NJ.

    Her husband who is from the mountain west and wants to be able to have guns in the house, but had no resources of his own to take her shooting, was grateful.

  54. WRT the insignificance of Heller and McDonald I had forgotten a case where the Supremes this summer partially reversed the former, in denying cert to a case challenging San Francisco’s requirement to have guns in your home locked up if you’re not carrying them. This is related to D.C.’s laws which forbid your having a functional, loaded gun until the moment an home invader entered the room you were in, something specifically discussed and struck down in Heller.

    If Heller and McDonald were really important, I’d like to know how if you aren’t a resident of Illinois.

  55. If they treated ANY firearms law the same way that the ACLU treats any law concerning abortion (meaning IMMEDIATELY issuing a press release expressing concern that the legislators are TRAMPLING, I say TRAMPLING in the rights of the downtrodden electorate and promising a legal response) they might get a little further.

    As an NRA member*, I can assure you that, until you unsubscribe from the firehose, they will happily send you alerts (and issue press releases … that the press completely ignores, of course) the moment an anti-gun bill is introduced at the State or Federal level.

    Indeed, the minus there is that it’s so constant a flood that I just tune it out.

    (* Life, for the same basic reason as Eric, though I finally joined up right after the Sandy Hook lunatic did his thing. But for the same reason – to signal to the Ruling Class that their instincts are not supported by the entire nation.)

  56. William O. B’Livion> >BTW, when was the last time *YOU* took someone shooting for the first time?

    esr> In my case, about six months ago. I usually initiate about a dozen newbies a year, most of them at the annual Geeks With Guns shoot at Penguicon.

    /me raises his hand as one of the people esr initiated at GwG at Penguicon in 2012

    Which is why I keep “paying it forward” and continue to organize the same venue (4 years and counting!)

  57. his response was “the ACLU’s position is that Miller and McDonald were errors”

    Did you mean Heller? Miller is the decision from the ’30s that the 2A only applies to those weapons that a militiaman would find useful, and sent the case back to the trial court to determine whether sawn-off shotguns fall into this category. (The answer is that they do, so had the trial court ever held this hearing it would have been forced to find for Miller. But by this time Miller was dead, so there was no hearing.)

  58. To the extent they appear to be fronting for “sickness providers”

    I can’t imagine such people do much business.

  59. DMMcCunny writes: “More recently, there was the tempest in a teapot over “stop and frisk” efforts in NYC…. Black community activists protested, claiming they felt humiliated and demeaned”

    Claiming? What person, walking down the street minding their own business, wouldn’t feel humiliated and demeaned to be stopped and frisked? That’s the kind of thing prison inmates have to put up with, but it’s not the kind of thing free men should tolerate.

  60. DMMcCunny writes: “More recently, there was the tempest in a teapot over “stop and frisk” efforts in NYC…. Black community activists protested, claiming they felt humiliated and demeaned”

    Claiming? What person, walking down the street minding their own business, wouldn’t feel humiliated and demeaned to be stopped and frisked? That’s the kind of thing prison inmates have to put up with, but it’s not the kind of thing free men should tolerate.

    They live in a city that allows less than 60,000 each of its 8.5 million subjects to legally own handguns and rifles. They are demonstrably not free men, and no one has come up with a better way to keep crime at a tolerable level in a place like NYC where the people are not allowed to directly defend themselves.

  61. @Kevin S. Van Horn: ” “More recently, there was the tempest in a teapot over “stop and frisk” efforts in NYC…. Black community activists protested, claiming they felt humiliated and demeaned”

    Claiming? What person, walking down the street minding their own business, wouldn’t feel humiliated and demeaned to be stopped and frisked? That’s the kind of thing prison inmates have to put up with, but it’s not the kind of thing free men should tolerate.”

    Periodically, the NYPD has a press conference where they display the haul of illegal weapons gotten off the streets. You’ll see everything for zip guns to Glocks and Uzis. Some have been turned in in exchange for bounty in a rewards program. Others have been confiscated from the holders. You may assume the NYPD keeps records of where they came from, and concentrates efforts on areas that are sources.

    The neighborhoods in which this effort took place were poor and black, with gang presence and drug problems. Gangs fight over turf, and when you add drugs, money gets added to the things fought over. You can assume the gang that dominates a hood is involved in the drug trade. At a minimum, a dealer in the hood will be down with the gang, and probably paying a rake off to be allowed to deal. Gang members will kill to get that kind of money, and kill to keep it. Gang members acquire the guns in the first place through illegal transactions. The laws in NYC are such they can’t simply walk into a gun shop and buy over the counter. (It’s why calls for even heavier regulation are pointless as a response, because it doesn’t stop the gang members from getting guns.)

    The original efforts were a response to requests from landlords in those hoods whose tenants were afraid to venture out after dark because of gang violence. The black woman friend of friend I mentioned was in favor of the stop and frisk for just that reason. She’s a mother and a grandmother, and has friends and relatives in the affected hoods who are afraid to go out after dark now, because guns are back and shootings have soared.

    The question for the black activists who felt humiliated and demeaned by random stop and frisk is “We don’t blame you for being unhappy, but how *do* we get the guns off the streets? How do we make the neighborhoods places where people who live there *aren’t* afraid to go out after dark?” Given gang and drug related violence, gang members won’t willingly give them up. They got them in the first place because they thought they might need them. They make a reasonable assumption that they will wind up in a fight where the other side might have guns and they better have one too.

    One apparent suggestion was that the police should expand random stop and frisk to *all* neighborhoods, to avoid singling out the black communities. This is cause for raised eyebrows. The area I live in, for example, is quite safe. I feel no qualms about wandering around after dark at any hour, for blocks in any direction. Stop and frisk here would be a waste of effort because the police wouldn’t find anything. You look where the guns are likely to be.

    The neighborhoods in which stop and frisk were taking place and areas I would not walk in alone during the day, let alone at night. I would risk being at least beaten and robbed, and possibly killed, because I’m white, on a gang’s turf, there would be six of them and one of me, and they *could*.

    Free men and women shouldn’t have to tolerate being afraid to go out after dark because of gang related gun violence either. You tell me how to accomplish that.
    ______
    Dennis

  62. To stop someone, whether or not he frisks them, a policeman must have reasonable suspicion of an offense. That means if it ever comes to court he will have to explain why he stopped the person. If someone is literally minding his own business and doesn’t appear to be committing an offense, he shouldn’t be affected.

  63. BTW even if NYC respected the 2A most of the people who complained about “stop and frisk” wouldn’t qualify for permits because of past convictions.

  64. In practice, the ACLU is about the First Amendment. Wanting it to be about other rights as well is laudable. Expecting it to be is wishful thinking.

    If that were so I wouldn’t mind. A 1AF would be just as logical as the 2AF. But the ACLU is not about the 1A. It’s just as much about the 4A, 5A, 8A, and 14A, as well as for sundry liberties it alleges are included in the 9A. But not the 2A.

  65. >Eric, what do you think of the Gun Owners of America?

    Don’t know enough about them to have an opinion.

  66. Gun Owners of America (GOA) strikes me as more conservative than pro-gun; for example, they scored Obamacare as anti-gun (which strictly speaking, especially after Reid added some provisions, it’s not), and scored politicians on that as well as the usual stuff, making their scores less than useful if you’re just looking for information about gun issues. They’ve historically claimed to be the 2nd biggest pro-gun group after the NRA, but they’re tiny and a bit player that at best gets some MSM press every once and a while. Certainly the SAF does a lot more good with their support of lawsuits (but see above, if you want to support them, just donate money in excess of annual dues, don’t join).

    But as I recall they’ll call out weaseling politicians like John McCain a lot more readily than the NRA (in the case of McCain, he campaigned to shut down gun shows in the guise of “closing the gun show loophole”), so getting on their emailing list might be useful and would give you a better idea about them.

  67. Pingback: Why I joined the NRA | GOP News

  68. Pingback: dustbury.com » One among many

  69. Warning: That GOP News article has one of the most annoying popups I’ve ever seen…it masks the page and forces you to click to choose to call Obama a traitor, or not, before it’ll let you continue.

  70. The Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership was literally bought out by the Second Amendment Foundation in 2014. (JPFO founder Aaron Zelman died in 2010, and his organization was left to be run by a board which made some unpopular decisions.)

    In response, former JPFO writers and associates founded the Zelman Partisans as a base to carry on the founding goals of JPFO, in the same spirit as the original.

    zelmanpartisans.com

  71. Pingback: Drunk at idrunk.com » Blog Archive » Why I joined the NRA

  72. (Arrgh. You need preview. Ms. Weasel has it; Samizdata has it; Second City Cop has it. None of them are uberhackers.)

    Ms. Stoaty Weasel recently urged all her readers to join the NRA.

    “Membership has some unexpected benefits. Like, the best damn t-shirts I’ve ever owned, no lie. Good designs and sturdy as heck. Mine are just beginning to wear out after a decade and a half of hard service. Plus, if you wear an NRA t-shirt and scruffy jeans into Whole Foods, you can blend in beautifully for a while…and then enjoy the klunking sound when your slogan finally registers on hippiebrain.

    And the postman who delivers an NRA mag to your house every month is a polite postman.”

  73. An excellent opportunity to consider jury nullification, or just hanging a jury if that is all you can do.
    http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/223114/#respond
    The NRA should consider educating it’s members about jury nullification.

    Your comment section keeps on saying I have already said this. It certainly isn’t showing that in the thread.

  74. Yep. Life member. Pretty similar story to yours, ESR…except I was driven into the fold after 9/11.

    PS. Just noticed the dynamic preview below the comment box. For me, it is partially obscuring the submit button. I can justabout click on the right edge.

  75. > Three Gun or IDPA

    Back in the ’90s we had four local ranges. Then the NRA sent their goons in and signed them all up into some sort of NRA affiliate program.

    Previously, you could pay your fee and shoot, or join the club and shoot at a lower rate. After the NRA moved in, only club members were allowed to shoot, and you had to show proof of paid-up NRA membership TOO.

    I never went back. And every one of those ranges is gone, now. I wasn’t the only one upset with their NRA-only policies.

    There are a couple of “private clubs” that sponsor “open” 3-gun matches. I heard about them and was interested, and then… NRA members only.

    No. Not just no, but hell no.

    The nearest range that I’ve found, where I can shoot without having to give money to an organization I oppose, it almost two hours away. Where I once went to the range every couple of weeks, now it might be every couple of years.

    Thank you, NRA…

    While the current story on the Hughes Amendment is that it was slid in at the last minute, the NRA’s official stance afterward, in their own printed magazine, was that they were only interested in “sporting” firearms, and they’d decided they didn’t represent people like me, who owned firearms they didn’t think were sporting. They might want my money – the NRA is all about money money money – but they don’t want to represent me or my interests.

  76. @TRX:

    Most of the private ranges and gun clubs I know do require you to be an NRA member to join, but I’ve never seen one that allowed the general public in AND required those people to be NRA members.

    I used to belong to the Santa Clara Valley Rifle Club, which meets at the 10th street range in San Jose, and at the time (this is almost 10 years ago) “ran” the range for the county. To be IN the club you had to be an NRA member, but to shoot there during public hours? No. Even at most of the sporting events (I showed up for Saturday Night Action Pistol) you didn’t have to be a member of either the NRA or the club–you just paid an extra 5 bucks for the night.

    Other than the year I was a member of the SCVRC, I have NOT been a member of the NRA because I was involved in firearms activism in California and was NOT impressed by the used car salesman they had fronting them out there, nor their play along to get along approach.

    That said I’ve shot at public and private ranges across America. I’ve shot IDPA in two different private ranges here in Colorado and never had to show NRA membership.

    That said, I do get the animosity towards the NRA, they’re sorta dicks.

  77. Oh, and:
    > While the current story on the Hughes Amendment is that it was slid in at the last minute,
    > the NRA’s official stance afterward, in their own printed magazine, was that they were only
    > interested in “sporting” firearms, and they’d decided they didn’t represent people like me,
    > who owned firearms they didn’t think were sporting. They might want my money – the NRA
    > is all about money money money – but they don’t want to represent me or my interests.

    The NRA, and especially the NRA-ILA is and always will be a creature of D.C. Democrats by and large oppose *all* ownership of firearms, but would be willing to make exceptions for hunting rifles and shotguns, and maybe olympic target pistols and biathlon rifles. Republicans aren’t quite as lockstep, but many if not most of them would gladly throw gun owners under the bus, and certainly have very little willingness to shift the overton window at all.

    It was even worse in the 1980s, and back then *most* gun owners were sportsman and hunters, and MOST of them looked at folks like you and I like we were aliens. The NRA–and I think this is the wrong approach–was of the opinion that they could give away something to protect something else.

    Pay the Dane his Geld as it were.

    I think that however they may feel about my AK, PTR and Sig556 in the privacy of their skulls, they know that the very second they open their mouth about it they’re going to start losing members.

    But again, I’m in a position of defending an organization that I don’t really care for all that much.

  78. Greg on 2016-01-04 at 15:46:26 said:
    Me:
    > >BTW, when was the last time *YOU* took someone shooting for the first time?
    > Not sure if you’ve ever lived and worked in a deep blue area, but that’s a

    You mean like Sillycon Valley?

    Or Australia? I can *show* you my card from the Northern Territories where I was officially licensed to fondle and fire a pistol or rifle.

    > tough question to ask of someone who lives in NJ. Attitudes about guns vary quite a bit
    > inside the state, but letting yourself be openly known as a ‘gun guy’….

    While I wasn’t able to take the folks shooting in AU, I did arrange for them to get out to the range with folks who had rifles and ammo.

    And have *always* made it plain that I’m the Gun Guy. Probably cost me a few jobs.

    > NJ is totalitarian on guns. One of things you need to do when you apply for a firearms ID

    You mean like in Illinois, where I lived (Chicago) for 7 years, and where I got my first gun when my dad died and I inherited one.

    And yeah, it was illegal. Yawn.

    > which you need to purchase any guns or ammunition (you also need, in addition,
    > individually approved purchase permits to purchase any handgun but that’s a separate
    > issue), is to confirm your employment. Which means you need to find someone in an
    > official capacity at your employer to confirm to the state where you work, and the state
    > makes absolutely sure that person knows it’s because you’re applying for a firearms ID.
    > If you don’t think that has a chilling effect on applications I have some really
    > undervalued real estate that might interest you.

    Then throw the f*king ring in the f*king volcano and move.

    Lots of open space here in CO to shoot. Decent tech industry, and we need more gun people to offset the left wing dope smokers flooding into the state.

  79. Lots of open space here in CO to shoot. Decent tech industry, and we need more gun people to offset the left wing dope smokers flooding into the state.

    It would be good to mention that after Sandy Hook Bloomberg was able to buy off the Democratic legislature and governor and get a bunch of nasty gun grabbing bills passed, including a ban on > 10 round magazines, which prompted Magpul to leave the state. And as I mentioned above, his favorite of criminalizing temporary gun transfers, directly attacking the state’s gun culture and suppressing the creation of new gun owners.

    After, the locals were able to recall a couple of state senators and threaten that enough to a 3rd that she resigned so the senate wouldn’t flip parties. But since then the two replaced senators lost their reelections to Democrats although the senate did flip by one seat, the idiot governor survived reelection, and the lower state house is still held by Democrats. As you say, “left wing dope smokers [are] flooding into the state”, crime is rising sharply, we’ve seen this story before and it doesn’t end well. It might be better for you to get out while you can….

  80. Greg on 2016-01-04 at 14:07:41 said:
    > >Utterly orthagonally, I recently purchased a BB gun for my daughter (8).
    > Well that’s good. I’m still debating when and how to start my boys. I’m not sure if the
    > younger one being the more mature one simplifies or complicates things.

    We have been taking her to the archery range off and on since she was 5, and she’s not quite ready for a live range yet (she is very bouncy and likes to “lawyer” rules too much), but I’ve got Coopers The Art of the Rifle and the Daisy Red Rider is one of the few air guns you can dry fire so we’re going to do a few months of classroom first.

    >This was not a present.

    So what was it?

    > One doesn’t (IMO) give a child a “present” that they can only use when a parent is in the mood.

    > That strikes me as a case of odd semantics and empty distinctions. My kids have
    > been receiving presents, that are most definitely theirs (yes we teach them property
    > rights *and* responsibilities) but whose use requires adult assistance/supervision,
    > since they were crawling.

    I don’t think it an odd distinction at all. Some things she has more-or-less “free” use of–any time she is not tasked with something else (or under some other pressure) she can play with her kindle, use her computer, get out her legos, dolls, stuffed animals etc. With the exception of the computer she keeps them in her room (the kindle is not allowed to spend the night up there because she’s proven she can’t handle it).

    OTOH the Daisy lives in the gun safe with the “real” guns, and she *can’t* use it at any time, and in fact the times she can use it.

    And yeah, it may be an artificial restriction, but when I was a kid I got a *cool* Daisy Air Rifle for my birthday and between 14 and 18 I got to use it maybe twice (which was my dad’s fault as, well, the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon.) So some things are just purchased for her use, and some things are presents. Makes sense to me.

  81. Howard:
    > And as I mentioned above, his favorite of criminalizing temporary gun transfers,
    > directly attacking the state’s gun culture and suppressing the creation of new
    > gun owners.

    He’s doing a piss poor job of that.

    You live up here?

    Geeks with Guns Mile High Division?

  82. William O. B’Livion: “Harold”, but that’s OK, most people seem to have only one slot in the brain for both names.

    I live in SW Missouri, and my family used to spend a lot of time in Colorado, and my youngest brother married a woman from there. No more, and after work forced my brother to move to the Kansas City area, they were planning on moving back someday, even kept ownership of their house there. That evidently is no more as well, although I haven’t asked about it, with all my sister-in-law’s family still back there it’s got to be a sore point.

  83. @Jakub Narebski

    The “gun show loophole” and “online loophole” are pure political BS propaganda, nothing more.

    In both venues, the *exact* same firearm sale law applies. No exceptions, no loopholes.

    The fascists are attempting to propagandize the ability of lawful people to dispense of private property (in this case, firearms) without having to run a background check – perfectly legal behavior, according to the law.

    [Unconstitutionality of the FFL scheme aside] only people engaged in the *business* of firearm commerce are required to have a FFL (Federal Firearm License) and perform background checks. This is a rather impotent attempt to regulate the point of sale where firearms move from the industry into private hands.

    Effectively, this scheme creates a large, distributed, inefficient database of gun owners, as the FFL dealers have to maintain a record of all sales/checks for a number of years. However, this database is incapable of tracking firearms as they move between private owners as people ‘horse trade’ and sell off guns for various reasons (raise cash, upgrade to better guns by selling old ones etc).

    By insisting that all sales – even between private individuals – are subject to background checks, they expand that database to a point where it would blanket the nation. Officially, the gubmint has no means to plunder this database, but we have seen instances where various agencies (State police, typically) have been illegally maintaining a copy of the background check info as it passes under their noses.

    Documenting an inventory of all sales couldn’t possibly be exploited by our government, could it?

    Nah. What could possibly go wrong?

  84. BTW. what is “gun show loophole” and “online loophole”, and why new law^W executive decision which is in no way a new law instead of prosecuting lawbreakers?

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/01/obama-tightening-online-loophole-for-gun-sales-requiring-background-checks/

    There are of course no such loopholes. If you’re “in the business” of selling firearms, you need a Federal Firearms License, although of course the ’90s gun grabbers made those much harder to get, and that isn’t changing from what I’ve read about Obama’s latest “I am the law” ploy. Nor can non-FFLs use the NICS background check system.

    “In the business” isn’t strictly defined, and isn’t trivially definable, for example, if I were to sell 100 guns as part of a relative’s estate sale, that’s a one off and I’m not in the business. Legally the venue doesn’t matter.

    The “online loophole” is even more nonsense, there are of course on-line sales sites, the one I use, GunBroker.com was opened a few weeks after eBay banned sales of guns. But buyer and seller are connected, the transfer laws are still the same, if in different states the seller has to ship it to an FFL in the buyer’s state, where a normal background check transfer takes place, it gets recorded on a BATFE Form 4473 mentioned in Red Dawn (the original one, at least) and the dealer’s logs, etc. etc. And the BATF fully supports this, even has a page where you can type in a subset of the supplied FFL’s number and it will tell you if it’s valid.

    The only new thing I’ve heard WRT to this is something about using “Internet advertising” as a sign someone is in the business. We’ll see if they start trolling GunBroker.com and company to harasses non-FFLs, note plenty of “in the business” FFLs use it, it’s a great way to expand your geographic reach.

  85. Here’s an orginzation most of us can’t join, because we aren’t “in the business” of selling firearms, ammo or accessories, it’s the true gun manufacturer’s trade association and of course eeeevil lobby (our betters are no more fond of the 1st Amendment’s right to petition), the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

    BUT, they are happy to add you to their mailing list, and along with quasi-noise like the latest corporate sponsor of one their activities they publish a lot of useful stuff, from a weekly bulletin to all sorts of fascinating data including adjusted NICS checked (removing as they can things like the monthly checks some states do of their concealed carry license holders). Recommended.

  86. Jay Maynard> Yeah…the ACLU counts to ten “one, three, four, five…”

    “Three”? I wasn’t aware the ACLU has a record on quartering-soldiers-in-private-homes cases.

  87. Jay Maynard> Yeah…the ACLU counts to ten “one, three, four, five…”

    “Three”? I wasn’t aware the ACLU has a record on quartering-soldiers-in-private-homes cases.

    And that’s interesting because it’s being advanced as a parallel to pervasive surveillance, by serious figures like law professor Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds, his school even holds Third Amendment symposiums.

  88. At what point does the 3rd Amendment prohibition of the government establishing a standing army of coercive force among us, become violated by the increasingly paramilitary police force [soldiers] living [being stationed] in our communities [private homes] ?

    Emanations and penumbras and intent, oh my!

    If we aren’t there yet, we’re barreling towards it in the near future…

    Would the ACLU scream if the government used its Public Takings power to seize private property in our communities to station armed agents there? They wouldn’t be ‘private’ homes any more…but d’ya think people might then notice the clear violation of the spirit of the 3rd?

    Meh. Not holding my breath.

  89. >Then throw the f*king ring in the f*king volcano and move.

    Already did.

    I now live in a shall-issue, open carry state. With a much lower cost of living, and much better (saner, more law-abiding, more polite for starters) people. Infinitely better place to raise kids too, which is no small consideration.

  90. > I now live in a shall-issue, open carry state. With a much lower cost of living,
    > and much better (saner, more law-abiding, more polite for starters) people.
    > Infinitely better place to raise kids too, which is no small consideration.

    Yeah, the kids part is what prompted us to vacate California.

    And Harold, I apologize for messing up your name.

  91. @Dan:

    Documenting an inventory of all sales couldn’t possibly be exploited by our government, could it?

    Partial solution to this: buy 80% AR-15 and 1911 lowers in cash and finish them yourself. I don’t know about the 1911 route, but the AR-15 lowers can be completed with a drill and either a router or drill press. That way, when the confiscations happen, you have a couple of firearms tucked away that no one knows existed. I’m going to do this as soon as I leave NJ; it’s a felony to manufacture firearms for personal use here without a license.

  92. Pingback: Why I Joined the NRA - 2nd Amendment Right

  93. Jesus you gun nuts get all excited pretty easy.

    Out of interest, picking up on a comment made above about the ACLU above (and out of genuine curiousity as a non-American): is the US constitution the only source of civil rights? Putting it another way, if the 2nd Amendment was not made to the US Constitution, what would a “pro gun” advocate point to in order to defend a “right” to own a gun?

  94. @Lord Captain Cecil Harvey

    Yeah, I know about 80% lowers (another eeevil target of the fascists, because, y’know, TERRORISTS!!!)

    I just don’t have the skills or resources to guarantee doing a good job completing them. When tolerances are measured down to thousandths of an inch, I don’t have any confidence in my ability to not fuck the lower up and turn it into a paperweight ;)

    My armory is well stocked as it is…except all the soon-to-be banned guns that mysteriously fell foul of a curious boating accident in the middle of a lake

  95. >Putting it another way, if the 2nd Amendment was not made to the US Constitution, what would a “pro gun” advocate point to in order to defend a “right” to own a gun?

    The British republican tradition, which the U.S. Constitution exemplifies and extends to a logical conclusion.

  96. >Yeah, the kids part is what prompted us to vacate California.

    It helped motivate us, too.

    In NJ we lived in a well-to-do town, low crime, good schools, physically pleasant (hilly, wooded)… It regularly made Money Magazine’s ‘Best places to live’ list. And even in such an ‘ideal’ town, the kids our kids went to school with disturbed us. You’d be surprised how many offspring of successful upper-middle-class families are neurotic to the point of dysfunction, or underdisciplined to the point of being semi-feral, or both.

    Our new state does *not* have those issues.

  97. …Putting it another way, if the 2nd Amendment was not made to the US Constitution, what would a “pro gun” advocate point to in order to defend a “right” to own a gun?

    The 9th Amendment.

    The Constitution is not an exhaustive/authoritative list of our rights, it merely enumerates some of them to establish specific protections for those deemed remarkably important.

    So, absent the 2nd Amendment, the RKBA would still exist, and the feral gubmint would still have no authorization to infringe upon it…as if that would be any more of an impediment than the 2A is today ;)

  98. Putting it another way, if the 2nd Amendment was not made to the US Constitution, what would a “pro gun” advocate point to in order to defend a “right” to own a gun?

    The interpretation I like is that the 2nd Amendment only acknowledges the natural right of defense of self and others, we have it whatever the Constitution says, or not, and whatever our Robed Masters claim it says. The first thing in the Deceleration of Independence’s list of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness, by definition essential to the second, and at minimum in the long run necessary for the third.

    If you don’t believe in natural rights, we can get reductionist and note Mao’s observation that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”, and that we’re not about to surrender it, to devolve into subjects instead of the citizens we’ve been since we broke from the British crown. Especially when our betters have made it crystal clear what they’d do to us if the power balance was reversed, no way are we disarming in the face of those would be totalitarians who aren’t even hiding that as of late.

  99. On well to do middle class kids being neurotic….

    Something I considered a long time ago was the general applicability of Erics “Ethics from the barrel of a gun” essay – that people from environments that required a greater degree of “pay attention or you will be killed by an impersonal nature” tend to foster people with a better idea of what they can and cannot do.

  100. @Lord Captain Cecil Harvey
    If you are serious about 80% lowers, there is an open source AR milling machine for sale from Defense Distributed called the Ghost Gunner. It will finish the milling of an 80% blank in about 90 minutes. You will end up with an AR lower without serial numbers and no legal history. Creating home made firearms is legal in most states including where I live. The project is based on the idea that milling “G-code” is free speech and not subject to control. They publish the G-code to mill the lowers and are currently taking the US Gov to court to continue to distribute the code.

    Defense Distributed in the past created the printed pistol (the Liberator) and distributed the code to enable anyone with a 3d printer to print a working 22 cal firearm. They also distribute the printer designs to print a AR lower. Before you say these are unreliable, if you believe that 3d printing is in its infancy, technology will enable us to print useful weapons and we need to define and protect this right now.

    Defense Distributed has a couple of cool videos on You Tube. They are based in Austin TX.

    The Ghost Gunner product is real and is in current production. This is sort of the open source side of weapons production, and if open source driven milling platforms take off, weapons control in this country and across the planet is facing a new day where the most modern weapon is available in the form of down-loadable G-code and the metal stock to mill it from.

  101. @jfre: “if open source driven milling platforms take off, weapons control in this country and across the planet is facing a new day where the most modern weapon is available in the form of down-loadable G-code and the metal stock to mill it from.”

    I must respectfully dissent.

    Guns have been trivial to make for decades now, using readily available materials, against widely available plans, requiring only metalworking skills routinely taught in high schools. (c.f. http://thehomegunsmith.com/pdf/Stengunplans.pdf).

    Cryptographic code was also trivial to find and publish in the 1990s, but there was still a serious fight to keep people like George Zimmerman out of jail for publishing PGP. Just ask the Kerberos guys at MIT why they stripped the crypto out before publishing, and the KTH guys in Sweden doing all the work to put the crypto back in.

    Just because technology makes things easier will not magically deprive government of the power to regulate and criminalize it.

  102. “there was still a serious fight to keep people like George Zimmerman out of jail for publishing PGP”

    Phil Zimmermann, not George.

  103. I absolutely agree with you. Manufacture of weapons using standard metal working tools is very possible. But bringing on site lathes and mills with the necessary 3 phase power supply is not all that easy. They weigh hundreds of pounds and a fair amount of training. With a CNC machine, much of the skills are in the code. Setting up the piece is fairly simple and obvious. The computer delivers precision and repeatability.

    On the government side of things, you are right as well. They can try to criminalize and control. In the US if the G-code describing these objects is protected as free speech, that is a blow against their ability to control it, just as it did with DVD encryption and the work on PGP.

    Weapons design is a fairly limited field with high barriers to entry. If design can be done on CAD platforms and written to metal with desktop CNC, those barriers fall.

  104. I gave up on the ACLU when they took the wrong side in the case of a boy whose parents had escaped the Soviet, and then decided they wanted to go back.

    The boy was 12, old enough to know the difference between a totalitarian hellhole and a country that hadn’t entirely lost its concept of liberty, and he wanted to stay in the USA. The ACLU weighed in on the parent’s side, and that’s when I decided they were useless.

  105. @TomM on 2016-01-05 at 19:09:26 said:

    ” Putting it another way, ”

    It cannot be any source of rights at all. It is a written statement of the tasks the federal government is to perform, also stating a few tasks the states are to perform, and of what no government in the jurisdiction of the constitution can do towards the execution of those tasks. It contains a few grants of privileges to be afforded to individuals at the public expense, such as a jury trial.

  106. @jfre — I’m more than aware of that. But I have a drill press, a router, and very basic machining knowledge. With some of the modern jigs, you can finish a lot of the modern 80% lowers in about 4 hours or so by hand. I have little use for a tiny 3-axis CnC mill outside of this, and aren’t they like $1,500? If it got down to, say, $300, it would be a no-brainer — I’d buy one, and lend it to a bunch of my friends.

    @Dan — the modern jigs for 80% lowers are pretty fool-proof if you take your time and follow directions. If you have a friend who has any experience with machining, AR-15 lowers are pretty simple. And with some of the cuts you’re making, if you go a little overboard, the only issues will be cosmetic. You’re doing 2 things:

    – milling out the pocket for the fire control group
    – drilling a bunch of holes for pins that are to go through

    In both cases, these cavities/holes you are creating are located by the jig. A drill press is recommended for the holes, but it can be done with a steady hand and a hand drill. Many jigs available come with the end mills/drill bits/router bits that you need to complete. See instructions here:

    http://aresarmor.com/store/media/ecom/prodlg/AR-Jig-Instructions.pdf

  107. “Putting it another way, if the 2nd Amendment was not made to the US Constitution, what would a “pro gun” advocate point to in order to defend a “right” to own a gun?”

    Ah, the Declaration of Indepedence – which in effect said, that ANY person capable of making a stand against tyranny may do so because it is a natural right that all persons are born with. Tyranny comes in many forms and we are all born with a natural right to defend ourselves from it. You could read John Stuart Mill, Bentham, Rousseau, Hume to get a better picture of it.

  108. Nothing in an AR lower needs “thousandths of an inch” precision. If you fail on one, it will probably be mangled beyond recognition, not slightly imprecise. Go slow. Lubricate, lubricate, lubricate your drill holes.

    Before yesterday, you could get unfinished 80% lowers for $20-$30, so it was cheap enough to pick up two for practice on before working on the pretty anodized one you intended to keep. Now, even the blems are over $50.

    I keep a bookmark to a site with photos of a guy transforming a garden shovel into an AK receiver. Lots of fun when you need to shatter some twit’s mistaken belief that guns are hard to make. Even better would be pictures of the same process, but done with hand tools in caves in Afghanistan, but I can’t find any of those.

    http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/179192-DIY-Shovel-AK-photo-tsunami-warning!

  109. @jfre — also, about the Ghost Gunner, I’d be WAY more interested if it could take an aluminum or polymer billet and mill out a receiver. I could see the ATF or lawmakers changing their tune on what constitutes an 80% lower, and the legality of such.

    I’m also interested in the community moving on past the AR-15. It’s a dated design with a weird manual of arms and set of constraints. The need for the buffer tube precludes certain kinds of stocks, the rear charging handle is awkward, the bolt catch is poorly located and prone to breakage. There’s a lot to like that could be kept with the new design: great safety selector, simple and robust fire control group, easy takedown, etc.

    I’d love for the community to arrive at a standard that’s designed under a few principles:

    – re-use the good parts of the AR-15
    – designed to be metal or polymer
    – designed to be easily milled or 3D-printed
    – free of patents (or freely usable patents kept by a non-profit)
    – more flexible/modular stock system

  110. > Putting it another way, if the 2nd Amendment was not made to the US Constitution, what would a “pro gun” advocate point to in order to defend a “right” to own a gun?

    Personally, I’d go to the Preamble.

    > We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    The purpose of a Constitution trumps the text. I see in there the right to replace any government that fails to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”, which necessarily includes the capacity to do so (aka gun rights).

    If you are looking for general principles, rather than a written document, I’d go with the Declaration of Independence. Not the specific words, or the specific grievances, but the philosophy that guided the minds of that era.

    Also, in Luke 22:36, Jesus told his followers to arm themselves.

  111. kjj: “The purpose of a Constitution trumps the text. I see in there the right to replace any government that fails to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”, which necessarily includes the capacity to do so (aka gun rights).”

    Careful…because that’s the exact same justification totalitarians use to impose their will on us.

  112. “The purpose of a Constitution trumps the text.”

    That’s what’s known in rhetoric as “an assertion that you just pulled out of your ass”.

    The constitution is a legal document, and it assigns certain specific powers and explicitly prohibits others from the government. The preamble has no bearing on any of these specific measures, and pretending that it’s some kind of overriding carte blanche for the thugs of the day to do whatever they damned well please is bullshit of the highest order.

    Shame on you.

  113. As for the declaration of independence, many people fail to realize that it too, is a LAW. It is an ACT of congress. It is in fact, the beginning of American law’s divergence from English law. In the Declaration, the congress nullifies the authority of the crown, and cites their causes for doing so. In any bound set of the code of the United States, you will find it at the beginning of the first volume.

  114. >Which magazine did you pick, and why?

    First Freedom. Description seemed the most interesting.

  115. kjj wrote: The purpose of a Constitution trumps the text. I see in there the right to replace any government that fails to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”, which necessarily includes the capacity to do so (aka gun rights).

    Jay Maynard wrote: Careful…because that’s the exact same justification totalitarians use to impose their will on us.

    What Jay (and Random Observer) said. At best, the purpose colors the following text, in the event any of the text is ambiguous enough that judges have to determine what the text was supposed to mean. Otherwise, if you take the purpose as legally binding, it becomes a half dozen elastic clauses one could use to justify all sorts of things. (“Promote the general welfare” is the clause Jay refers to.)

    As Dan said earlier, the 9th Amendment (which would then be the 8th) is a much better guarantor. Technically, we don’t need the 2nd, because of the 9th. In practice, it’s likely that in that case, gun rights debates would be an even bigger mess than they are. Too many people already mistakenly believe, for example, that the Constitution gives the people rights, as opposed to guaranteeing existing rights. It’s not a leash on the people; it’s a leash on the government.

  116. >> Putting it another way, if the 2nd Amendment was not made to the US
    >> Constitution, what would a “pro gun” advocate point to in order to
    >> defend a “right” to own a gun?

    > The 9th Amendment.

    > The Constitution is not an exhaustive/authoritative list of our rights,
    > it merely enumerates some of them to establish specific protections for
    > those deemed remarkably important.

    I’ll reproduce the text of the 9th Amendment here for convenience.

    > The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be
    > construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    Unfortunately, without any further explanation as to what rights the people do in fact retain, it’s ineffective. In practice, if you argue that the government MAY NOT do some thing because it infringes some unenumerated right which ought to be protected by the 9th Amendment, and the government argues that it MAY do this thing on the strength of the “necessary and proper” clause, the government wins. The only exception I’m aware of since the 14th Amendment incorporated it on the states is the recognition of a right to privacy.

    My guess is that without the 2nd Amendment, lethal guns would be almost gone among civilians, and possibly the more tranquil jurisdictions’ peace officers. My model for this is the lawn-dart ban- the thing is considered dangerous, we have a number of high-profile instances of people dying from it, so it gets cultural stinkeye.

  117. … In practice, if you argue that the government MAY NOT do some thing because it infringes some unenumerated right …

    No. The government MAY NOT do some thing because it has not be specifically authorized to do so.

    10th Amendment.

    The debate over ‘rights’ is beyond the purview of our government.

    Absent the 2A, there is no authorization for the fedgov to regulate firearms. 10A applies. You would see more churn between States regarding differing gun laws.

  118. I should add, that none of the above has proven to be any impediment to the gubmint nailing clauses and amendments in the ass with delirious abandon.

    The Constitution is not a magical parchment. It needs moral people to uphold it.

    Ay, there’s the rub.

  119. No, Dan. As several people have pointed out in response to my earlier post, the constitution IS magic. You must obey it, exactly as written and interpreted against you and against the intent of the founders by people that wipe their asses with it. If you don’t bow down in surrender to Pournelle’s Iron Law, you might do something bad, like overthrow the British. Damn the intent, damn the purpose, we mush obey.

  120. > No. The government MAY NOT do some thing because it has not be
    > specifically authorized to do so.

    > 10th Amendment.

    > The debate over ‘rights’ is beyond the purview of our government.

    > Absent the 2A, there is no authorization for the fedgov to regulate
    > firearms. 10A applies. You would see more churn between States regarding
    > differing gun laws.

    I was addressing the Constitution as it is interpreted in practice, not in your tiny-government fantasy. The Constitution provides no specific authorisation for the government to regulate lawn darts either, beyond the “necessary and proper” clause. And believe me, absent the Second Amendment, the exact same arguments would be applied to firearms.

  121. …I was addressing the Constitution as it is interpreted in practice,…

    Sure. Doesn’t make it right. See “none of the above has proven to be any impediment to the gubmint nailing clauses and amendments in the ass with delirious abandon.”

    …The Constitution provides no specific authorisation for the government to regulate lawn darts

    Correct. The regulation of lawn darts by the fedgov (I didn’t know about that, actually) is illegal….but I seriously doubt anybody gives a flying fuck about the degrading Constitutional impact of such petty regulation.

    “I was not a lawn dart player, so I said nothing”

    Cumulatively, however, that kind of apathy is what is enabling the ‘ratchet effect’ of fedgov encroachment. We are collectively failing in our duty to be the ultimate law enforcement of this nation – enforcing the Constitution upon the government.

  122. Lord Captain Cecil Harvey on 2016-01-05 at 16:48:22 said:
    @Dan:
    > That way, when the confiscations happen, you have a couple of firearms…

    Um, how should I put this?

    “You know officer, it’s the funniest thing–knowing that the law was going to require me to turn my guns in I went for one last shoot with them on this island out on lake , and wouldn’t you know of ALL the luck, my canoe tipped over RIGHT OVER THE DEEPEST PART OF THE LAKE, and they all fell out, so I’d like to report them missing.”

    No, sorry, I don’t have the serial numbers. Yeah, awfully irresponsible of me. Search my house? No sir, you’ll have to get a warrant for that, the *rest* of the constitution is still in effect”.

    OTOH if they DO send teams around to all the houses where they think registered guys are, well, I hope they send cops and soldiers with no kids.

    Hate to see kids without fathers.

    And no, Mr. FBI man, that is not a threat, it’s a prediction. There are a lot of nutcases out there who will shoot first and adjudicate later. I’m not that way, you get a warrant you’re welcome to search my house and take any gun you find.

    Of course they won’t be there because they’ll be in the lake.

  123. Tom M> Out of interest, picking up on a comment made above about the ACLU above (and out of genuine curiousity as a non-American): is the US constitution the only source of civil rights?

    No, it is not. Each state in the US has a constitution of its own, and each state constitution has a bill of rights similar to the federal one. To the best of my knowledge, every state constitution guarantees a right to hold and bear arms. So, what if some magician waved a wand and made the federal Second Amendment disappear? In my informed but non-professional opinion, it would have but a marginal effect on what people can legally do with guns (at least outside of Washington DC and federal territories). Only the courts adjudicating gun rights would change from federal to local.

  124. “Absent the 2A, there is no authorization for the fedgov to regulate firearms. 10A applies.”

    Incorrect. Interstate commerce. I’m led to believe that every gun crime complaint includes the allegation that the gun had been trafficked in Interstate commerce.

  125. > To the best of my knowledge, every state constitution guarantees a right
    > to hold and bear arms.

    The state provisions are varied (and some states, notably CA and NY, have no such protection except as it is incorporated by the 14th Amendment). For example, AR provides the following.

    > The citizens of this State shall have the right to keep and bear arms
    > for their common defense.

    So it would be perfectly legal for the state government to restrict guns used for hunting, target shooting, or even personal security, but not common defence (which is more or less in line with how proponents of gun control would like to see the 2nd Amendment interpreted). Other states have different provisions:
    – AZ stipulates that individuals and corporations cannot “organize, maintain, or employ an armed body of men.”
    – FL has a 3-day waiting period for handgun purchases hardcoded into their constitution.
    – IL qualifies theirs with the rather ominous “Subject only to the police power,….”
    – ME prohibits further discussion, concluding with “…and this right shall never be questioned.”
    A number specifically note that concealing a weapon is not protected, and there are many that enumerate personal defence, hunting, or recreation as a recognised cause to own a firearm. Some also restrict the right to citizens (sorry, green-card holders!).

    http://www.trolp.org/main_pgs/issues/v11n1/Volokh.pdf

  126. Ahhh, the Commerce Clause. Responsible for even more federal government shenanigans than the Necessary and Proper clause.

  127. @TomM on 2016-01-05 at 19:09:26 said:

    Jesus you gun nuts get all excited pretty easy.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msRaooooyds&w=854&h=480%5D

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/msRaooooyds

    Out of interest, picking up on a comment made above about the ACLU above (and out of genuine curiousity as a non-American): is the US constitution the only source of civil rights? Putting it another way, if the 2nd Amendment was not made to the US Constitution, what would a “pro gun” advocate point to in order to defend a “right” to own a gun?

    The Constitution is not a source for “Civil Rights”, at least as you seem to be confusing the term.

    If you think the Constitution is the “source” for any sort of Natural or Human rights you’re missing the point.

    Show me in the Constitution where there is the right to an abortion. Show me in the constitution where there is the right to force private institutions to accept “Gay Marriage” and respect it (note, I’m not arguing whether the Federal or State GOVERNMENTS have to respect it, that’s a matter of equal protection. I’m talking about people being forced to bake cakes and theoretically cater pizza to a gay wedding).

    The constitution does lay out how certain natural rights are instantiated in our country. For example a Just Government (stop laughing) rules by consent of the governed. Elections are how one demonstrates that consent.

    But it is not the SOURCE of that right, it only shapes it.

    What the bill of rights does is state in fairly certain terms that the Feds *may not* muck with these things, and have to use subterfuge to fuck with the rest.

    For this we need to bring back tar and feathering.

    No, the answer really is “The rights to reasonable[1] tools are an inherent part of the natural right to defend yourself, your family and others, and only a tyrant would want to take them away”.

  128. Terry on 2016-01-06 at 20:22:33 said:

    Watch out for these guys:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJt7p-wikpw

    Pigeons are essentially flying rats and I have no problem eradicating them.

    There are some versions of that “sport” where the do the shooting on feed lots and kill (and eat, yuck) what they shoot. No problems with that–it’s just like duck or quail hunting. Heck, it’s probably even more challenging that ground hog shooting.

    OTOH, if they’re releasing them from boxes or traps in an enclosed area? That’s a bit…sadistic.

  129. Greg on 2016-01-05 at 19:33:56 said:
    > > Yeah, the kids part is what prompted us to vacate California.
    > It helped motivate us, too.

    > You’d be surprised how many offspring of successful upper-middle-class
    > families are neurotic to the point of dysfunction, or underdisciplined to the point
    > of being semi-feral, or both.

    I was in the Punk, then Goth scenes for almost 20 years, so no, I wouldn’t.

    Hell, I spent my 18th birthday in Marine Corps boot camp. I was way past *semi*-feral.

    > Our new state does *not* have those issues.

    Oh, it does, unless you moved to the south island of New Zealand, and even there far away from Christchurch.

  130. gmmay on 2016-01-06 at 23:27:54 said:
    > Ahhh, the Commerce Clause. Responsible for even more federal government
    > shenanigans than the Necessary and Proper clause.

    Bah. That’s like blaming guns for gun violence.

    Politicians, bureaucrats and peasants are responsible for the shenanigans, those are just the figleaf.

  131. >Putting it another way, if the 2nd Amendment was not made to the US Constitution, what would a “pro gun” advocate point to in order to defend a “right” to own a gun?

    I’d prefer this argument: throughout history, from Ancient times, there was a recurring pattern in many cultures that there was a class of free / conqueror / aristocratic class who were allowed (often required) to be armed and a class of conquered / subjugated / slave / serf / commoner class who were generally forbidden from it. You can see this pattern from Spartan helots to Okinawan peasants, it isn’t even particularly cultural, rather driven by the logic of a smaller ruling class making sure they stay ruling class, resulting in very similar rules.

    Now today such stratification is not accepted, everybody is supposed to be equal now, and democracy and human rights and all such kinds of glittery unicorn farts, anyway, the question is, if we at least pretend to buy into this fiction of equality, which I don’t but the majority does, should people be equalized upwards or downwards? Should the former privileges of nobles be extended to all, should everybody be elevated to a status similar to a Roman citizen, or rather should everybody be enserfed or treated as conquered provincials?

    The point is, I for example would be even less willing to buy into the fiction of equality if it would mean it is downwards, not upwards equalization.

  132. @Parallel
    …Incorrect. Interstate commerce. …

    OK, but that’s a generic clause, not one specifically targeted at firearms.

    I suppose they could ‘regulate’ the interstate commerce of firearms away to *nothing* – y’know, like they did with health insurance.

    We can still buy health insurance. We will still buy guns within our State boundaries.

    Fail.

    tldr; Not gonna happen. Your “general welfare” , “interstate commerce” and “necessary & proper” clause fantasies will fail.

  133. @TheDividualist

    …The point is, I for example would be even less willing to buy into the fiction of equality if it would mean it is downwards, not upwards equalization.

    Right. I accept ‘equality’ only in the sense that we all have an equal freedom to seek to achieve all that can be achieved by man (ie. your ‘upwards’ equalization)

    Ownership and utilization of technology is one of those achievements.

  134. The Scott Alexander posting is GUNS AND STATES.

    Best sentence from it: “As the old saying goes, guns don’t kill people; guns controlled for robbery rate, alcoholism, income, a dummy variable for Southernness, and a combined measure of social deprivation kill people.

    Best or at least wittiest comment criticizing it, from an “Oliver Cromwell”: “In this post, Alexander meticulously destroys Left reasoning on gun control and then concludes that all Left policy proposals are correct anyway on the basis that gun owners obvious don’t value guns at the level of a Netflix subscription.

  135. It won’t be any surprise to the regulars here.

    As are the responses to it.

  136. Funny, funny stuff on that slatestarcodex post.

    I would love to see the Pythonesque fantasy world that rattles around inside their heads projected onto the silver screen.

  137. Merciful $DEITY. If I had any inclination to participate there, that comment thread would have turned me completely off of it. How much more SJW-feminist-entitled can you get?

  138. Eric made several high quality contributions to the SSC discussion on guns. Several commenters responded favorably to the inherent intelligence in these posts, but it also elicited some eccentric over-sensitivity to non sequiturs (e.g. an imperative for gender neutrality). SSC skews toward highly intelligent discourse, but Scott is very protective of his liberal homies. He will ban you if you stray too far from PC rigor.

  139. >He will ban you if you stray too far from PC rigor.

    I know Scott personally, a little. and I’ve watched his blog for a while, and I don’t think you’re being quite fair.

    My belief is that he likes having people kick over PC applecarts, as long as we’re rationalist enough about it and don’t put him personally on the spot with his Blue Tribe homies.

    And I evaluate the odds that he will ban me for saying the kinds of things I’m saying as effectively nil.

  140. >>“Bah. That’s like blaming guns for gun violence.”

    Fair enough.

  141. @ ESR – “I don’t think you’re being quite fair.”

    Actually, I was speaking from personal experience.

    I made a foray onto SSC for the first time about six months ago and got embargoed for a few months. No warning, no explanation, no listing on the registry of bans. Since then, I have found that if I am highly circumspect in my posts, and don’t ruffle too many feathers, all is well. No complaints. His blog, his rules.

  142. >How much more SJW-feminist-entitled can you get?

    Than Scott’s blog comments? Um…Jay, you don’t get out much, do you?

  143. Eric: “Than Scott’s blog comments? Um…Jay, you don’t get out much, do you?”

    I was referring specifically to replies to the posting you linked, with plenty of folks objecting to it on gender-based SJW terms.

  144. >I was referring specifically to replies to the posting you linked, with plenty of folks objecting to it on gender-based SJW terms.

    Yeah, and I’m saying that if you think Scott’s commenters are extreme that way you’re leading a very sheltered life. His crowd at least listens to reason 50% or more of the time.

  145. Now that the news from Germany is out enough that the press can no longer ignore it, and the German self defense stores have sold out their stocks of pepper spray and harsh language, I’ve seen a sharp decline in internet comments from random Euro dudes aghast at our “wild west gun culture”.

    I’m sure they’ll be back in a few days, but it looks like very few of them want that thrown in their faces right now.

  146. Extreme? No. Hard-line SJW enough that I’ve got better things to do than try to engage them? Yes. SJW-feminist-entitled? Yes.

  147. The funny part is that liberals think the SSC comments section is an arch-conservative circlejerk. Scott Alexander’s own hypothesis, based on surveys he’s taken showing his commenters average out to be moderate, is that people who think SSC commenters skew conservative are just shocked to find themselves outside of their usual bubbles.

  148. I concur with Eric’s view on SSC. Cord Shirt is, IMO, overreacting, but most of her other comments strike me as reasonable, even when I disagree with them. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of rationalist “red tribe” commenters there – Mark Atwood (who I think comments here on occasion), onyomi, and John Schilling, as well as “grey tribe” like Nancy Lebovitz (who I know comments here), and David Friedman.

    The only commenter there I would say is simply trolling goes as “anonymous”, and he/she is already getting plenty of criticism for it. (JAD got banned yet again…) The culture there is one of the best I’ve seen.

  149. “I wonder how many SJW-feminist whinehards are going to pout and stamp their feet about Obama ‘mansplaining’ why rape victims really can’t defend themselves with a gun”

    Zero. Men should be taught not to rape in the first place.

  150. >Cord Shirt is, IMO, overreacting

    And even her overreaction is pretty tame by SJW/feminist standards. She hasn’t screeched at me or tossed around thought-stopping jargon, just articulated a belief system fairly calmly and even agreed with me on the “civic duty” point.

  151. @ Paul Brinkley

    Mark Atwood spent a month on the SSC registry of bans. It is my belief that Scott uses his toolbox of psychiatric techniques to manage the range of comment allowable on his blog. This may be justified in order to minimize flaming and trolling, but it is also a stifling form of censorship. Eric has never backed down from a challenge online and to-my-knowledge has bested every idiot that has made an incursion into A&D.

  152. I vaguely remember a claim, back on the Steve Jackson Games BBS before the Secret Service raid, about how the introduction of reliable repeating firearms gave traction to the women’s suffrage movement, due to shifting the perception of women away from “childlike beings who need a (male) protector” toward “big girls who can take care of themselves.”

    IIRC, it was Mike Hurst, who added that he found the anti-gun position of modern feminists to be darkly humorous.

  153. “Putting it another way, if the 2nd Amendment was not made to the US Constitution, what would a “pro gun” advocate point to in order to defend a “right” to own a gun?”

    Ultimately, if you believe that men should be free: That they own themselves, that they should be allowed to live their lives, and defend their lives, without anyone else trying to rob or enslave or kill them, then certain things follow from that. Things that we desire because we don’t want to be slaves, and therefore things we must grant our neighbors if we want to be consistent and not have constant warfare of different groups of people trying to subjugate each other.

    We call these things “rights”. The constitution doesn’t grant us our rights – it just recognizes them. The constitution was created to forbid the government from intruding on those rights.

    If you believe that men should be free, then the right to self defense follows from that. The right to self defense implies the right to acquire the tools to defend yourself.

  154. If you don’t believe that men should be free: Or believe that certain groups of men should be slaves, prey, or just killed off en masse, then of course it doesn’t follow that you’ll be happy with them being armed.

    Of course, that’s why we want to be armed.

  155. Recently a CNN reporter went through a simulated active-shooter exercise with a group called ALERT (presumably the Association of Law Enforcement Emergency Response Trainers). While he eventually got the “bad guy”, his pistol jammed three times AND he either shot a simulated colleague or simulated-shot a colleague.

    According to ALERT it takes thousands of hours to train to the point where you don’t make rookie mistakes that could endanger yourself or others — and not all of us have the free time that Eric Raymond has, making the number of competent citizen first responders vanishingly low. In a real active-shooter scenario, if you’re not one of them you’re counting on someone else in the area being trained to that extent — and NOBODY else being a chucklehead with a piece liable to injure or kill you, or get taken out by the shooter or cops — and I don’t like them odds.

    My point being that wide availability of firearms doesn’t increase your odds when the shit hits the fan, and may make them worse.

    We have laws on the books to regulate and track equipment that might be used to commit crimes, everything from lockpicks and construction equipment to some kinds of diesel engine. The perps of a UK jewel heist were caught because they stole and used a particular kind of cement drill that is only available to licensed construction firms — and they were able to trace the firm that had the drill stolen.

    So why should we not regulate and track devices which are only ever intended to kill, and which are very dangerous even in well-meaning wrong hands?

  156. >According to ALERT it takes thousands of hours to train to the point where you don’t make rookie mistakes that could endanger yourself or others

    If this were actually true, the police would be useless. They don’t get thousands of hours of force-on-force training. Even Special Ops troops don’t get that! If ALERT actually says this, ALERT is bullshitting.

  157. Hmmm…. that whole “Alert” thing smells like Bullshit.

    Why?

    Because when there was a real active shooter, no civilian mistook the wrong guy and shot him.

    Heck, in the Giffords incident, they were aware enough to not draw firearms and physically restrained the shooter.

    The cases we hear about where the wrong person gets shot up? Cops.

  158. “So why should we not regulate and track devices which are only ever intended to kill, and which are very dangerous even in well-meaning wrong hands?”

    Tools have no intention.

    And none of the devices you cite are Constitutionally protected.

  159. “So why should we not regulate and track devices which are only ever intended to kill, and which are very dangerous even in well-meaning wrong hands?”

    Objection your honor, assumes facts not in evidence.

    How many other consumer goods have been regulated to the point it’s illegal for two private parties in separate states without going through a Federally licensed dealer? And for that private dealer to keep records sufficient to disclose every transaction upon request by law enforcement?

    (And don’t even say “cars” or “airplanes”; private interstate commerce is perfectly legal for them, unlike handguns. Using them on the public roads or in the air might be another story, but mere possession is no problem at all. If I sell a broken-down car to someone in another state I can’t be put in jail if I didn’t keep records of its serial number and to whom I sold it.)

  160. As for the declaration of independence, many people fail to realize that it too, is a LAW.

    No, it isn’t.
    1) Resolutions are not laws.
    2) Acts of the Continental Congress are not USA laws.

  161. …Putting it another way, if the 2nd Amendment was not made to the US Constitution, what would a “pro gun” advocate point to in order to defend a “right” to own a gun?

    The 9th Amendment.

    Not good enough. The 9th says that there exist unenumerated rights, but obviously it doesn’t say what they are. If the 2A didn’t exist and you were asked to prove that there is a RKBA, then pointing to the 9A would be begging the question. The 9A is useless as a source for unenumerated rights; its only function is negative: if you can prove from some other source that a right exists, then without the 9A its mere absence from the Bill of Rights might be taken as evidence that it’s unprotected. The 9A’s only function is to negate that argument. But you still need some positive proof that in America of the 1780s something was universally considered a right, so uncontroversial that it never occurred to anyone to list it among the rights that need protection.

  162. At what point does the 3rd Amendment prohibition of the government establishing a standing army of coercive force among us, become violated by the increasingly paramilitary police force [soldiers] living [being stationed] in our communities [private homes] ?

    At no point. The argument is nonsense. The 3A is about one thing and one thing only — preventing the government, in peacetime from making homeowners give soldiers free room and board. So long as soldiers are living in their own homes there is no violation.

    Besides, we’re at war now, so the 3A doesn’t even apply. It certainly doesn’t apply to personnel who are involved in the war. It could be argued that it does apply to personnel who are doing something completely different, and whose need for quartering has nothing to do with the war. But it’s moot because the government is not exercising its right to quarter its people in private homes.

    Would the ACLU scream if the government used its Public Takings power to seize private property in our communities to station armed agents there? They wouldn’t be ‘private’ homes any more…but d’ya think people might then notice the clear violation of the spirit of the 3rd?

    There would be no violation. It would be a clearly justified exercise of the Takings power, for a purpose whose public nature is indisputable. And of course it would have to be compensated at fair value, so there’s no 3A analogy at all.

  163. My point being that wide availability of firearms doesn’t increase your odds when the shit hits the fan, and may make them worse.

    Because this (Cops: Liquor store clerk fatally shoots 2 would-be robbers, 15 and 17) never happens.

    Yes, there have been incidents where a bystander was injured as a result of a citizen using his firearm against a crime in progress. Such incidents are far outnumbered (at least two orders of magnitude) by successful citizen uses of firearms.

    You could look here for lots of the latter.

  164. The only exception I’m aware of since the 14th Amendment incorporated it on the states is the recognition of a right to privacy.

    There are a number of recognized 9A rights. The right of parents to direct their children’s upbringing. The right to travel within the USA. The right to marriage. But none of these are derived from the 9A itself; they are derived from a mass of evidence that at the time the 9A was adopted they were regarded as rights, and they were not under attack so there was no perceived need to enumerate them; the 9A merely says that the failure to enumerate them should not be taken as intentional.

  165. … In practice, if you argue that the government MAY NOT do some thing because it infringes some unenumerated right …

    No. The government MAY NOT do some thing because it has not be specifically authorized to do so.

    10th Amendment.

    The debate over ‘rights’ is beyond the purview of our government.

    Wrong. The fedgov has been explicitly authorized to do many things, and it has also been explicitly authorized to do anything that is necessary and proper for carrying out one of its enumerated functions. For instance the authority to grant patents includes the authority to hire patent examiners, rent offices for them, buy them desks, chairs, and computers, and even to make it a crime to impede their work, and to impose a tax to finance all this. Similarly even the most minimal reading of the authority to regulate interstate commerce gives Congress extensive authority over many aspects of our lives.

    Absent the 2A, there is no authorization for the fedgov to regulate firearms.

    Sure there is. The militia clause would provide all the authority needed. So would the interstate commerce clause, even on a bare minimal reading, for any weapon that’s to be sold outside its state of manufacture. The 2A puts a limit on that. In exercising its enumerated authorities, Congress may not infringe any protected right.

  166. …Incorrect. Interstate commerce. …

    OK, but that’s a generic clause, not one specifically targeted at firearms.

    It doesn’t have to be. It covers all interstate commerce, including that in firearms.

    We can still buy health insurance. We will still buy guns within our State boundaries.

    Except that there’s also the militia clause. Without the 2A (or the 9A plus proof that the RKBA was uncontroversial in the 1780s) that would be sufficient for Congress to ban the private ownership of all weapons, or to regulate them however it pleased.

  167. >Except that there’s also the militia clause.

    No. The “regulated” in “well-regulated militia doesn’t mean what you think it does; the verb was not used in that sense in 1791. “Regulated” actually means “properly-ordered” in the same way one would speak of a well-regulated clock. It is cognate to the use of “regulars” for line military, a term that arose when constant “regulation” (drill) was required to maintain proficiency in firing a muzzle-loading musket at battlefield speed.

    The militia clause is not restrictive, it’s explanatory. This is very clear from the period sources; a principal reason 2A was added to the Bill of Rights was that at that time the act of James II in abrogating the “ancient right of Englishmen” to have and keep personal arms was remembered as one of the principal causes of the Revolution of 1688. The Founders were students of the English Republican tradition, which abhorred allowing the King to maintain a standing army; the whole point of the militia, for them, was that it not controlled by the central government.

  168. To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

    The assertion was that even without the 2A, Congress would have no authority to ban or regulate firearms. The militia clause gives Congress that authority. The 2A restricts it from using that authority in such a manner.

  169. Jeff Read:

    Recently a CNN reporter went through a simulated active-shooter exercise with a group called ALERT (presumably the Association of Law Enforcement Emergency Response Trainers). While he eventually got the “bad guy”, his pistol jammed three times….

    That means either he was handed lousy equipment or was “limp wristing” a recoil operated semi-automatic handgun. The former would confirm it was a setup, the latter can be solved by switching to a revolver or, I’m told, a few hours of training plus perhaps some strength exercises (I’ve never observed this with anyone I’d shot with).

    And others have noted, the general premise is falsified by the real world experiences of millions of cops and citizens. Although I’m sure we gun owners would not be surprised that a CNN reporter could not effectively or responsibly use a handgun. Perhaps all members of the liberal MSM should be banned from gun ownership; we won’t call it a bill of attainder since those are unconstitutional, fortunately under the modern Humpty Dumpty method of interpreting the Constitution the same thing in a different guise is not a problem.

  170. >we gun owners would not be surprised that a CNN reporter could not effectively or responsibly use a handgun.

    You misspelled “We gun owners think the average CNN reporter is so stupid he can barely wipe his own ass without help.”

  171. Milhouse, your reading of the interstate commerce clause is not minimal. The minimal, or “correct”, reading is that “commerce” is to be regulated federally, not “the objects of commerce”.

    See the difference?

  172. “You misspelled “We gun owners think the average CNN reporter is so stupid he can barely wipe his own ass without help.””

    Seriously, folks…watch any MSM story on, say, computing. See how laughably wrong they get it?

    What makes you think they get anything else right, either?

  173. Jay Maynard: Seriously, folks…watch any MSM story on, say, computing. See how laughably wrong they get it?

    I stopped long ago, don’t want to suffer from Gell-Mann Amnesia. And use the principle to police and filter the sources I do follow.

  174. @ESR

    >My belief is that he likes having people kick over PC applecarts, as long as we’re rationalist enough about it and don’t put him personally on the spot with his Blue Tribe homies.

    Scott is rather selective: he is tolerant even supportive about not being PC in everything except sexuality. He is very sensitive about and easily raises the banhammer by any sign of prudishness or non-approval of liberated sexuality. IMHO he does this because it is one thing that easily get very incisive and divise in an LW-subculture: for some reason LW-ers are sexually highly unconventional. This is weird for a group of people who likes capitalism, respects hard work and success and generally has this slightly center to right-of-center vibe but for some reason all kinds of weirdness, from transsexuality to asexuality to just plain simply camgirling for money is widespread and uncriticized amongst them. I don’t understand it at all.

    As a result, in an LW-type circle you can talk about black IQ and people stay calmly constructive, you can hate socialism and people approve, but you cannot talk about gay personality traits or the causes of female sluttiness or whether Bruce Jenner is really for real, or the knives come out and that is when Scott raises the banhammer.

    Then again, this be fairly conservative about a lot of things but also be very, very liberated about sex is a generic pattern of US sci-fi fans, hackers etc. even you or your role model (Heinlein) belong to this definition to some extent, perhaps the only reason I am somewhat surprised by this combo is me not knowing this type of culture, but probably for you this description sounds just familiar. They are probably the kind of people you meet in boardgaming cons, just younger.

  175. Milhouse, your reading of the interstate commerce clause is not minimal. The minimal, or “correct”, reading is that “commerce” is to be regulated federally, not “the objects of commerce”.

    See the difference?

    There is no difference. Commerce is in objects. Congress has the same authority to regulate commerce among the several states as it does to regulate commerce with foreign nations. Surely you don’t dispute that this includes the authority to ban the importation of anything Congress doesn’t like (such as weapons). If it doesn’t, then where did Congress get the authority to ban the slave trade in 1808, and why was the first clause of art. 1 §9 necessary to prevent its doing so before then? The exact same authority would allow Congress to ban the importation of weapons from one state to another, were it not for the 2A.

  176. Milhouse quotes the Militia Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 15) and claims,

    The assertion was that even without the 2A, Congress would have no authority to ban or regulate firearms. The militia clause gives Congress that authority. The 2A restricts it from using that authority in such a manner.

    I can’t see a plausible reading of the Militia Clause which would allow Congress to ban any weapons, except—perhaps—any weapons not in proper working order.

    It does, however, allow Congress to mandate the ownership of certain weapons, and to fund such ownership. Note the original proposal for what became the Second Amendment:

    The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated Militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

    Not sure why that last clause was dropped; it may be in the Congressional Record but I haven’t encountered it. At a guess, they felt that what became the First Amendment would cover this?

  177. Interesting: comments no longer appear in purely chronological order, instead replies appear directly after the replied-to comment.

  178. >Interesting: comments no longer appear in purely chronological order, instead replies appear directly after the replied-to comment.

    I upgradeed to WordPress 4.4 recently; that might explain it.

  179. Under the older reading of the Commerce Clause, however, Congress’ power to “regulate commerce” was not to be used as an excuse to regulate other things through their “effect” on commerce.

    In the Child Labor Case — 1918 — Congress had tried to regulate child labor indirectly in this way — by banning the interstate shipment of goods that had been produced using child labor. The Supreme Court, taking the older, “minimal” reading, said they couldn’t…because they weren’t really regulating the commerce itself, but the workplace. Money quote:

    “[T]he commerce power . . .[‘]is the power to regulate; that is, to prescribe the rule by which commerce is to be governed.’ In other words, the power is one to control the means by which commerce is carried on, which is directly the contrary of the assumed right to forbid commerce from moving, and thus destroy it as to particular commodities.” And further, “[t]he grant of power to Congress over the subject of interstate commerce was to enable it to regulate such commerce, and not to give it authority to control the States in their exercise of the police power over local trade and manufacture.”

    Obviously, the court reversed itself in a major way during the Depression, but the older, “minimal” reading did not give Congress “extensive authority over many aspects of our lives.” That came later.

    (Between the passages I quoted above, the Supreme Court noted some “exceptional” circumstances for which exceptions had been made, such as banning the interstate transportation of lottery tickets and prostitutes. The losing sides in those cases had an even more “minimal” reading, which was not a contemptible one.)

  180. >> You’d be surprised how many offspring of successful upper-middle-class
    >> families are neurotic to the point of dysfunction, or underdisciplined to the point
    >> of being semi-feral, or both.

    >I was in the Punk, then Goth scenes for almost 20 years, so no, I wouldn’t.

    I’m talking about 6 year olds.

    Oddly enough, my nicest friends in college were the punk and goth crowd. YMMV.

  181. >And even her overreaction is pretty tame by SJW/feminist standards. She hasn’t screeched at me or tossed around thought-stopping jargon, just articulated a belief system fairly calmly and even agreed with me on the “civic duty” point.

    All this discussion encouraged me to read the comment thread. They may aspire to rationalism, but they sure are a bunch of hot house flowers over there. Delicate orchids, they are. Suspect they’ve all been living in a prosperous sheltered intellectual bubble for too many generations, and it distorts their thinking.

  182. >Delicate orchids, they are. Suspect they’ve all been living in a prosperous sheltered intellectual bubble for too many generations, and it distorts their thinking.

    You’re not wrong, but at least they genuinely do value clear thinking and attention to reality.

  183. @ Milhouse

    They got that authority from the first line of Article 1, Section 9. I don’t know how you missed that when you referenced it.

    I am amazed every time I hear the Commerce clause argued this way. A mind that can read the Constitution and convince themselves that the Framers were too stupid to write “Congress can do whatever the fuck it wants” and instead had to resort to writing page after page of specific and enumerated powers with their true intent hidden in that Easter egg, is not a mind that I can identify as human. And yet, my cat never forms complete sentences when she walks on a keyboard.

    I get it that you aren’t arguing the “Just kidding, no limits!” interpretation here, but even the lesser notion that Congress meant anything other than “make regular” when they wrote “regulate” is daft. How many states do you think would have signed on if they had imagined that they were giving a simple majority of Congress the ability to choke the life out of their state by forbidding interstate trade in, say, cotton?

  184. the power is one to control the means by which commerce is carried on, which is directly the contrary of the assumed right to forbid commerce from moving

    That’s not a minimal reading, that’s practically a “living constitution” reading. This was the so-called Lochner era.

    In any case, as you note, that very decision does allow Congress to ban interstate commerce in products that it considers bad. The court only rejected its application to products made with child labor because once manufactured those products are identical with similar ones made by adults.

    “If the facility of interstate transportation can be taken away from the demoralization of lotteries, the debasement of obscene literature, the contagion of diseased cattle or persons, the impurity of food and drugs, the like facility can be taken away from the systematic enticement to and the enslavement in prostitution and debauchery of women, and, more insistently, of girls. “

    How can that same argument not extend to guns, on whose deleterious effects the Solicitor General will be happy to expound till the cows come home?

  185. They got that authority from the first line of Article 1, Section 9. I don’t know how you missed that when you referenced it.

    WTH are you talking about? §9 doesn’t give Congress any authority to do anything. It restricts the authority Congress already has, in various ways. The first clause restricts Congress’s authority to ban the import of slaves, by forbidding it to do so until 1808. But where did that authority come from in the first place? The answer is the commerce clause in §8.

    A mind that can read the Constitution and convince themselves that the Framers were too stupid to write “Congress can do whatever the fuck it wants” and instead had to resort to writing page after page of specific and enumerated powers with their true intent hidden in that Easter egg….

    Really? What the hell are you talking about? Who claims that? Not even the current Supreme Court says Congress can do whatever it wants. I’ve certainly never suggested anything of the sort, and a mind that can read that meaning into anything I’ve written is, er, not a mind that I can identify as human.

  186. §8 says what Congress can do. It lists a bunch of legitimate purposes for which Congress can legislate, and then says Congress can do anything that’s necessary and proper to achieve those listed purposes. It can’t do anything whose purpose isn’t listed. For instance, even under the current jurisprudence, the Supreme Court said it can’t require anyone to buy health insurance, because none of the listed purposes would be advanced by that.

    Then §9 puts a bunch of restrictions on those authorities. It says what Congress can’t do despite having the authority under §8. And the Bill of Rights adds a bunch more such restrictions. It’s essentially an extension of §9.

  187. In any case, as I wrote, Congress’s real power to regulate guns (if not for the 2A) would have come not from the commerce clause but from the militia clause. The militia clause lets Congress do almost anything it likes about weapons; the 2A steps in and says “so long as it doesn’t infringe the RKBA”.

  188. The Supreme Court said (in 1918): [the commerce power] is one to control the means by which commerce is carried on, which is directly the contrary of the assumed right to forbid commerce from moving… [t]he grant of power to Congress over the subject of interstate commerce was to enable it to regulate such commerce, and not to give it authority to control the States in their exercise of the police power over local trade and manufacture.

    Milhouse said: That’s not a minimal reading, that’s practically a “living constitution” reading. This was the so-called Lochner era.”

    This has nothing whatever to do with https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/198/45/, which was not about the Commerce Clause at all. Lochner said the Fourteenth Amendment prevented the states from passing a wide variety of statist measures, because “liberty of contract” was one of the “liberties” that the states could not remove without due process. The Commerce Clause isn’t even mentioned.

    The Child Labor Case, which I quoted, was about whether Congress could use interstate commerce as a “hook” to regulate industry. And the language I quoted was about that and took a minimal reading: “regulate commerce” means “regulate commerce,” not “regulate other things that have a ‘nexus’ with commerce.” As such, it did not give Congress “extensive authority over many aspects of our lives”…which is the statement of yours that I was arguing against.

    How can that same argument [as in the Mann Act and lottery cases] not extend to guns, on whose deleterious effects the Solicitor General will be happy to expound till the cows come home?

    I dare say it could under the Commerce Clause alone…that is why we need a Second Amendment, to prevent Congress from using its otherwise lawful powers to infringe the right to bear arms. But under the minimal reading of the Child Labor Case, they wouldn’t be able to go where they have now…for example, forbidding gun possession by convicted felons on the basis that the gun, at some point in its career, moved between states, or was made with materials that moved between states.

  189. (My reply to Milhouse is in moderation; I don’t know what triggered it.)

  190. Milhouse said: That’s not a minimal reading, that’s practically a “living constitution” reading. This was the so-called Lochner era.”

    This has nothing whatever to do with https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/198/45/, which was not about the Commerce Clause at all.

    I wrote “the so-called Lochner era“. Lochner itself was not so remarkable a decision. All it said was that in order to interfere with someone’s private financial arrangements the state must have some legitimate reason, however flimsy. The whole idea of “substantive due process” that underlies such decisions as Griswold and Lawrence more or less starts with Lochner. Nor was this “era” all it’s cracked up to be by leftist academics; see David Bernstein’s work on it. But it was an era when there was a general positive view of commerce as something that ought to be free, or at least vaguely free-ish. Hence the statement that the authority to regulate something doesn’t include the authority to ban it altogether, which is what I termed a “living constitution” reading. But the court backed down from that extreme interpretation by saying that Congress could use the commerce clause to ban trade in objects it considers “bad”, so long as there is something different about them that Congress can point to as a sign of their badness.

    But under the minimal reading of the Child Labor Case, they wouldn’t be able to go where they have now…for example, forbidding gun possession by convicted felons on the basis that the gun, at some point in its career, moved between states, or was made with materials that moved between states

    No. But they could regulate FFLs who engage in importing guns from other states. And in any case, they don’t need the commerce clause at all when they’ve got the militia clause, which doesn’t require anything to cross any border. The militia clause gives Congress the authority to do almost anything it likes about weapons; the 2A adds “unless it would infringe the RKBA”.

  191. @Milhouse, thanks for sharing your unsurprisingly warped misinterpretation of [parts of] our Constitution. Seriously. It’s good to keep an eye on the creative ways people are attempting to pervert the supreme law of the land, rather than work honestly within it. Makes my job easier, anyway.

  192. @Milhouse
    M> Acts of the Continental Congress are not USA laws.

    The current Constitution explicitly states in Article VI:
    USC> All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

    Clearly, the Constitution did not undo the laws passed by the previous governmental structure. In fact, by acknowledging the validity of previous contracts and Engagements entered into, the Constitution incorporates the Declaration of Independence by reference, because it’s the initial contract entered into between the colonies-becoming-states that created “The United States of America” as a named entity.

  193. > Ghost Gunner

    An overpriced, overhyped gantry router. Its main schtick seems to be that it’s a pushbutton solution for the mechanically incompetent.

    How about finishing an 80% AR lower with only hand tools?
    http://mujahadeenar15a2.tripod.com/

    Who needs an 80% lower anyway? Why not use some plastic cutting boards from the dollar store?
    http://www.weaponeer.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=8035&PN=2&TPN=3#133756

    Plastic too high tech? How about just a pine board?
    http://www.weaponeer.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=8035&PN=2&TPN=2

    If you have some basic tools, you can build one out of sheet steel:
    http://www.homegunsmith.com/archive/T11628.html

    If you have a welder or brazing torch you can just buy a kit for less than $30:
    http://www.theflatspot.net/ar-15-receiver-flat.html

    Or you can just use an existing lower and cheap pourable plastic to make a mold and cast a copy; no tools at all:
    http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_4/676733_Fruity_Ghost___DIY_100s_of_ARs_cheaper__faster__gentler_.html

  194. “An overpriced, overhyped gantry router. Its main schtick seems to be that it’s a pushbutton solution for the mechanically incompetent.”

    That’s not quite fair. A two-axis CNC mill is not to be sneezed at. Especially if it’s designed to make life simpler for folks without machine shop training or experience.

    I have little doubt I could learn to finish an 80% AR lower. I even own a drill press, so I have a reasonable likelihood of not totally screwing it up the first time. Still, I’ve considered getting one, for two reasons: to play with a nifty tool, and to make gun grabbers poopoo in their panties, as Mad Mike would put it.

  195. Milhouse on 2016-01-11 at 12:52:04,

    You are totally missing the point. Yes, indeed, Congress does indeed have the power to regulate interstate commerce of guns (or anything else.)

    What it does not have the power to do is, once having permitted interstate commerce in something, to then regulate what happens with the thing sold once the commerce is finished. Banning simple, intrastate possession or consumption of marijuana? No authority whatsoever. Banning the simple possession of firearms within a state? No authority at all.

  196. M> Acts of the Continental Congress are not USA laws.

    The current Constitution explicitly states in Article VI:
    USC> All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

    Yes. The USA adopted the Confederation’s debts. It’s not as if they had a choice in the matter. Their creditors were not about to let them off. WTF has this got to do with anything?

    Clearly, the Constitution did not undo the laws passed by the previous governmental structure.

    This is too silly for words. On the contrary you just proved the exact opposite. The fact that the constitution specified that the USA would honour the Confederation’s debts and obligations, but did not say that its laws would continue in force proves that they didn’t.

    In fact, by acknowledging the validity of previous contracts and Engagements entered into, the Constitution incorporates the Declaration of Independence by reference, because it’s the initial contract entered into between the colonies-becoming-states that created “The United States of America” as a named entity.

    That is bullshit. The declaration of independence is not a contract, and it did not do anything even remotely like what you claim. If you’re this ignorant you should not try to discuss history or law. (The compact between the states that you’re referring to is the Articles of Confederation, and that was repudiated by the new constitution. )

  197. What it does not have the power to do is, once having permitted interstate commerce in something, to then regulate what happens with the thing sold once the commerce is finished.

    It doesn’t have to. It can exercise extensive authority over many aspects of our lives by imposing its regulations at the time of the trade. For instance it can require all interstate traders to be licensed, and it can then regulate licensed traders any way it likes. It can forbid them from selling to any trader who is not also licensed, and thus not bound by its regulations. That effectively lets it regulate what happens to the item within the destination state, until it reaches the end user. And it can forbid sale to end users for specificed disapproved purposes, or even require end users to be licensed. That’s plenty of power, even without the expansive reading of Wickard and its progeny. That’s why we need the 2A.

    Banning the simple possession of firearms within a state? No authority at all.

    Actually full authority, without even resorting to the commerce clause. The militia clause is all the authority Congress would need to ban all private weapons, if not for the 2A.

  198. Dan, **** you too. Your attack on me is impossible to reply to, because it has no content. It’s just meaningless abuse. So go jump in the lake.

  199. Milhouse, you’re full of prunes. As the Supreme Court said in the Heller decision:

    it has always been widely under­ stood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed . . . .”

    I truly don’t understand why you’re banging on that drum so hard.

  200. A right without legal protection is pretty useless. It’s all very well to say you have the God-given right to free speech, and you may even be right, but without the 1A no honest court court would or could strike down a censorship law. Indeed, copyrights infringe the right to freedom of the press, but the constitution explicitly authorises Congress to infringe it in that way, and the courts are therefore bound to uphold them.

  201. M> That is bullshit. The declaration of independence is not a contract, and it did not do anything even remotely like what you claim. If you’re this ignorant you should not try to discuss history or law. (The compact between the states that you’re referring to is the Articles of Confederation, and that was repudiated by the new constitution. )

    The moment the colonies-becoming-states adopted the Declaration of Independence, they proclaimed the existence of the United States. The Articles of Confederation were adopted by the Continental Congress (the same body that enacted the Declaration of Independence) Nov 15, 1777, and not ratified by all 13 state legislatures until Mar 1, 1781. If the United States did not exist until that date, then why do we consider Jul 4, 1776 to be the nation’s birthday? Was there no government at all for nearly five years of the existence of “The United States of America” or was the Continental Congress the government until the Articles could be ratified?

    I am utterly fascinated by the desire to render the Declaration of Independence irrelevant. In order to do so, one must pretend that the laws passed by the Continental Congress were deemed to expire upon the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, and that the laws passed by the Confederation Congress similarly expired upon the adoption of the Constitution. But if that were the case, it should be trivial to cite a single case where such a law did in fact expire along with the legislative authority of the body that enacted it.

    You even say the compact represented by the Articles of Confederation was repudiated by the new Constitution, but failed to point to any specific language in the Constitution that does so. I pointed out the language that asserts the validity of acts of the Confederation Congress. To me, this establishes the principle that the entity now known as the USA did not spring into being ex nihilo with the ratification of the Constitution; instead it clarifies that it’s the same country that was created on Jul 4, 1776 by the Continental Congress that wrote the Articles of Confederation that created the Constitutional Convention that proposed the Constitution in the first place.

    The Northwest Ordinance enacted by the Confederation Congress continued to govern the territory of the United States not a part of any specific state until the first Congress under the Constitution passed a slightly-amended version of it. No one challenged the authority of any territorial government created under the earlier ordinance just because the Confederation Congress no longer had the authority to amend the legislation it had promulgated before the Constitution was adopted. That’s because sane people understand that the new Constitution did not repeal a single law passed by the Confederation Congress or the Continental Congress before it. It only changed who had the authority to do so.

  202. Incorrect. Interstate commerce.

    Nope. The commerce clause doesn’t grant power to the federal government to regulate or prohibit anything that can be bought or sold, as the FDR regime and its descendants have claimed. If it did that, the rest of the constitution would be moot.

    The commerce clause exists to forbid the states from erecting trade barriers against each other.

  203. >Nope. The commerce clause doesn’t grant power to the federal government to regulate or prohibit anything that can be bought or sold, as the FDR regime and its descendants have claimed. If it did that, the rest of the constitution would be moot.

    I believe these days the working interpretation of the Commerce Clause is that it can be used to regulate, prohibit, or even make mandatory, anything that has an effect, no matter how indirect, on any economic activity that crosses state lines.

    >If it did that, the rest of the constitution would be moot.

    It’s getting there.

  204. “I believe these days the working interpretation of the Commerce Clause is that it can be used to regulate, prohibit, or even make mandatory, anything that has an effect, no matter how indirect, on any economic activity that crosses state lines.”

    Indeed. The turning point was the ruling in Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942). This case held that growing wheat on one’s farm to feed one’s own livestock nevertheless impacted interstate commerce and was therefore a proper subject for federal regulation.

  205. The SAF deserves serious ‘props’ for Heller v DC, but it’s the NRA that has made the massive progress in the 50 states. I give to both.

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