Gun Law Reform in Bolsonaro’s Brazil, Homicides Drop Precipitously

In December, 2018, in an article published by the Wall Street Journal, this pronouncement was made. From the wsj.com:

Now, Brazil is set to embark on an experiment that will determine what happens when you loosen gun restrictions in a country battling an overpowering wave of gun crime.

Homicides in Brazil were at historic highs in 2017. They dropped a bit in 2018, as candidate Bolsonaro ran on reform of the gun laws to allow self-defense, and reform of the law to get tough on crime.  The homicide numbers dropped from 59,000 in 2017, to 51,000 in 2018. President Bolsonaro was elected in October of 2018.

After taking office on 1 January 2019, President Bolsonaro issued his first decree reforming some of Brazil’s extreme gun laws on 15 January 2019. The drop in Brazil’s homicide rate accelerated.

Gun control in Brazil has a long history. By 1997, restrictions on gun ownership were deemed as “severe” by the Wall Street Journal. From the wsj.com:

In Brazil’s violent cities, where 90% of the murders are committed with guns, ownership restrictions have become so severe that Taurus has branched out into motorcycle helmets, bulletproof vests, and auto parts.

(snip)

Brazil’s 1997 law, which requires gun owners to have unblemished police records and pass rigorous psychological and shooting-proficiency tests, has slashed Taurus’s sales to private individuals by more than 80% in the past two years, Mr. Murgel says. Taurus has sought to make up for that with an aggressive push into motorcycle helmets and increased gun sales in the U.S., where Taurus’s advertising spending is up threefold this year.

Early in the Bolsonaro presidency, a Brazilian lawyer predicted the homicide rate would drop. From ammoland.com:

César Mello, asked that I include information that early reports are showing a 25% drop in Brazil’s homicide rate, in the first quarter of 2019. If this trend continues, 16,000 lives will have been saved in the first year of President Bolsonaro’s time in office.

The rate reduction was not quite that high. Only 10,000 lives were saved.  From wtop.com:

Brazil had 41,635 killings in 2019, down 19% from the prior year and the least number of homicides since 2007, when the so-called Violence Monitor index was launched. It is a partnership between the non-profit Brazilian Forum of Public Security, the University of Sao Paulo’s Center for the Study of Violence, and news website G1, which published the data Friday.

“IN OUR GOVERNMENT HOMICIDES, VIOLENCE AND FALLACIES FALL!” an exultant Bolsonaro wrote on his Twitter account, sharing the G1 news report. “Our government extends a strong embrace to all the security agents of the country. Brazil continues on the right path.”

When translated to homicide rates, the rate dropped 17% in 2018, then 23% more in 2019. The population of Brazil in 2019 was 210 million. The rate of homicides per 100,000 was 19.83.  That is less than 2/3 of the homicide rate in 2017, which was 30.8.

Brazil has not had a homicide rate this low since 1995, before the highly restrictive gun law of 1997 was passed.

When the NYTs did an article on the reform of Brazil’s gun laws during the Bolsonaro administration, somehow, the reduction in the Brazilian homicide rate was not included.  The article was published on 31 March, 2020.   From the nytimes.com:

During Mr. Bolsonaro’s first year in office, the government issued more than 200,000 licenses to gun owners. The federal police, which issues licenses for self-defense, approved 54,300 permits in 2019, a 98 percent increase from the previous year. The army, which grants permits to hunters and collectors, issued more than 147,800 new licenses in 2019, a 68 percent increase.

The only mention of homicides in the NYTs article is this:

In Brazil, a country of more than 209 million that has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, the right to bear arms is not a constitutional guarantee, as it is in the United States. The gun rights movement has long been on the losing side of policy debates.

Will the Brazilian homicide rate continue to drop? We will find out over the course of the next few years. Leftist academics are already finding excuses as to why the reform of Brazilian gun laws made no difference.

They had predicted homicides would rise as the reforms were implemented.

‘Could’ ought to be SHOULD.


Why gun owners could be the decisive vote in 2020

Recently, Joe Biden visited a construction plant in Michigan. A worker confronted Biden and accused the former vice president of “actively trying to diminish our Second Amendment right and take away our guns.” Biden, in turn, responded, “You’re full of [it].”

The exchange continued, cameras rolling, Biden clearly sensed an opportunity, recognized the political value of the moment.  Biden’s staff stepped in to try and move him aside. He waved them off. After all, his successful legislative record on guns – including the 1994 passage of a 10-year ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines – and frequent boasts about taking on and beating the NRA were at stake. Dodging the worker’s accusations was not an option.

Biden’s assertive posture on guns recalls the 2000 election. And this worries Democrats.

In 2000, the Democrat Party Platform celebrated Al Gore’s record of standing up to the NRA, the legislative successes of the Clinton administration, namely the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban, and called for mandatory gun locks and a host of federal programs regulating gun purchases.

Al Gore lost. Democrat leaders attributed the loss in part to gun owners support for George W. Bush, especially in states Gore was defeated including his home state of Tennessee. Public opinion surveys showed Bush won a historically large share of the gun owners vote – 66%, only Bush senior in 1988 attracted a greater proportion – 68%. To win elections, centrists Democratic strategists, concluded “Democrats need to reason with gun owners rather than insult them.”

Gun owners have long been a reliable GOP voting bloc. The General Social Surveys demonstrate that in 10 of the last 12 presidential elections, a majority of gun owners supported Republican candidates. Even when the nation supported a Democrat, gun owners typically remained loyal to Republicans. And in 2016, Donald Trump garnered over 60% of gun owners, which was the largest share since Bush in 2004. In the 2018 midterms, 61% of gun owners voted for Republican candidates compared to just 26% of non-owners, a 35-point gap.

This is not a small or insignificant political group. Opinion surveys estimate a third to 40% of households have a gun. That percentage increases notably among the all-important rural voting population. Moreover, in several key swing states gun owners comprise a substantial proportion of voters, including Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin. As Democrats remember, in a tight election, gun owners’ vote can be decisive.

But the former vice president believes much has changed since Al Gore’s defeat.

“I have a shotgun,” Biden countered, “I have a 20-gauge, a 12-guage. My sons hunt, guess what?   You’re not allowed to own any weapon; I’m not taking your gun away at all.”

Will gun owners believe him? It may not matter.

Gun politics appears to be shifting.   Democrats are now better positioned to engage Republicans on guns. Mass shootings repeatedly remind voters of the dangers of gun availability and the unspeakable violence that can result. Gun safety groups are much stronger and better financed than in the past. They outspent the NRA by millions in the 2018 midterms and defeated many NRA backed candidates. Exit polling showed gun policy among Democrats ranked number two behind health care and ahead of immigration and the economy. It ranked fourth among all voters. In addition, gun violence prevention was the top issue among young people.

These facts strengthen Biden and calm fears of many Democrats.

Returning to Detroit, the factory worker repeated he had heard Biden make that claim, that he would take guns away. “It’s a viral video,” the worker declared. “I did not say that! I did not say that! Biden replied, his voice raising, temper flaring, finger pointing. “Don’t be such a horse’s ass,” he added.

Predictably, the NRA released the video of the confrontation on twitter with the headline “Joe:  Gun owners see through your lies.”

Biden’s campaign touted the video as well, using it to spotlight Biden’s authenticity and strong advocacy for gun control and his long-time commitment to an assault rifle ban.

Both sides are dug in, their collective heels firmly planted. Both are betting their position on guns will be the winner.

The 2020 contest will be close; it will be an epic battle.

Which party prevails may turn on whether swing state gunowners believe the factory worker or Joe Biden.

Just in case you might have thought gun grabbers besides some idjit gubbernors had holed up for the duration of the emergency.


Brady Campaign: ‘There Is No Immunization’ for Guns Bought During Coronavirus Outbreak

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence suggests that gun sales pose a greater long-term risk to Americans’ health than does the coronavirus.

Newsweek reported that Brady Campaign President Kris Brown spoke to the surge in first-time gun buyers witnessed during March 2020, warning of the danger she believes now exists because of guns being in many homes for the first time. She lamented that those guns will be in homes long after the coronavirus passes: “We will get a vaccine, we will get immunization for this [virus] in the longer term but there is no immunization for that gun that is now sitting in that person’s home.”

Brown went so far as to address people who are contemplating buying a first gun but have not yet done so, asking them to commit to storing the gun in a certain way or else forgoing the purchase altogether: “We are very concerned, especially with people feeling isolated and job loss being an issue. The suicide risk is very real, and the only antidote to any of those things is to make sure you are safely storing the gun or to reconsider the purchase.”

On April 1, 2020, Breitbart News reported that Michael Bloomberg-affiliated gun control groups Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety urged governors around the country to “ignore” the Trump administration guidelines labeling gun stores “essential” businesses.

“It’s shameful and nonsensical that the Trump administration has decided to put gun dealers and manufacturers on the same level as police, first responders, hospital workers, and other Americans who are risking everything to save lives during this pandemic,” Everytown’s John Feinblatt said. “Governors should feel free to ignore this irresponsible advisory and do what’s best for their residents.”

Deeming firearms retailers ‘essential’ during the pandemic affirms the 2nd Amendment as an individual right

And this gets laid out at The Trace of all places…

What does seem clear, Blocher said, is that the closures do not amount to a ban on armed self-defense, since anybody with access to one of the hundreds of millions of guns circulating in the United States can still use it to protect themselves.

That can be very true. That the collective right to keep and bear arms is not harmed in anyway by the closure of gun stores. However, the great precedent set by Trump declaring at a federal level (And many states individually doing the same) that firearms retailers are deemed essential is that it affirms the right to keep and bear arms as an individual right and that even someone who does not already own a firearm has the right under the second amendment to go out and purchase one.  Awesome.

These new owners aren’t buying for any other reason than the cluebat of ‘You are your own First Responder’ hit them upside the head.


Pawnshop owner sees increase in first-time gun buyers amidst coronavirus pandemic

While St. Clair County Sheriff Department numbers do not indicate an abnormal increase in individual gun sales, one pawnshop owner said he is seeing an increase in first-time gun buyers in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the first three months of 2019, the St. Clair County Sheriff Department recorded 1,714 individual guns purchased in St. Clair County, compared to 1,630 guns in the first three months of 2020. The sheriff department’s numbers do not reflect sales reported to city police departments outside the sheriff’s jurisdiction.

About 616 guns were purchased in March, compared to 447 in February. These numbers aren’t too far off from 2019, when 637 and 434 guns were purchased, respectively.

This content is being provided for free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Please support local journalism by subscribing to the Times Herald at thetimesherald.com/subscribe.

Tim Daniels, owner of the Hock Shop in downtown Port Huron, said it’s normal to see an increase in sales around this time of the year because people are receiving their tax refunds, and many use them to buy big-ticket items like a gun.

However, for about the past six weeks, the increase in sales is larger than his gun/pawn shop would normally see, he said.

“We had this push and this concern for people defending themselves,” Daniels said.

He said he has recently seen a lot of first-time buyers. While he has noticed an increase in all gun sales, Daniels said buyers are especially interested in firearms that are simple to operate and are designed for self-defense.

“We’re seeing a step up (in sales) in entry-level firearms,” Daniels said, “firearms that are more basic.”……..

A spokesman from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Office said gun shops are not considered critical infrastructure under Whitmer’s stay at home order, which is in effect until April 13. However, pawnshops are allowed to operate under the order because they are considered financial institutions……..

Poll: 1 in 20 Households Bought A Gun In Response To COVID-19

A Newsy/Ipsos survey reveals how some Americans reacted to COVID-19 and the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.

One in 20 households say they’ve bought a gun in response to the coronavirus outbreak. That’s according to an exclusive Newsy/Ipsos survey showing that many Americans have reacted to COVID-19 and the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic by buying or thinking about buying guns.

“I got a Glock. That seemed like a pretty reliable … very reputable weapon.”

Justin Orel is a web developer and former Marine living with his wife and newborn in Kansas City, Missouri.

“I thought about purchasing a firearm for a while. Never really was sure about it. Also I’m not like, I don’t know, a gun nut, or like, I don’t know, also usually more on the side of like heavier gun controls probably not a terrible thing like better background checks and things like that. … We were just like, well, maybe now is the time just in case, like, something crazy happens or people start losing their minds … Maybe better to have one and not need it than need it and not have it.”

Justin isn’t alone in that thinking. Newsy’s sister stations have collected a range of voices from across the country who have said it’s fear of the unknown during this pandemic that has driven them to purchase firearms.

“People saying that there’s gonna be food shortages. Breaking ins in houses. … It’s just really concerning.”

“I have a wife I love. I have four daughters I love — and they’re beautiful. So, it only makes sense to have some protection.”

“You don’t know what’s going to happen. There have been talks of shutdowns, lockdowns, statewide, nationwide.”

Additionally, our Newsy/IPSOS survey found that a greater number of respondents — one in 10 — have considered purchasing a firearm because of the coronavirus.

This information comes as gun and ammunition sales surged while coronavirus cases continue to grow. Ammo.com, an online ammunition retailer, reported a 777% increase in revenue between Feb. 23 and March 27. And according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms trade association, the FBI saw a 300% increase in background checks on March 16th compared to the same day last year.

Everytown Law: It’s Totally Constitutional To Close Gun Stores Right Now

For years, Everytown for Gun Safety has presented itself as a moderate “gun safety” group that isn’t interested in stripping Americans of their rights, but is only in favor of “commonsense gun safety” regulations. Now they’re exposing that lie all by themselves. In a time of uncertainty, and during an emergency, Everytown is doing everything it can to prevent Americans from acquiring firearms and ammunition. There’s nothing common sense about that. Their position has nothing to do with gun safety and everything to do with keeping as many Americans as possible unarmed and defenseless when more Americans than ever before are choosing to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

On 2 April, 2020, a three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in the Duncan v. Becerra case. The District Court Judge, Roger T. Benitez, had ruled that the outright ban of magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds violated the Second Amendment.

In the background noise, things 2nd amendment are still ongoing.


Illinois Supreme Court remands White County case that found FOID card unconstitutional

(The Center Square) – It’s back to the circuit court with an Illinois Supreme Court case challenging the constitutionality of the state’s Firearm Owners Identification card.

In 2017, Vivian Brown, an elderly resident of White County, was charged with violating the FOID card law when she had a rifle in her home without possessing a FOID card. Her attorneys said that violates the Second Amendment, arguing “the second amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense and that this right is at its ‘most acute’ in the home.”

In February 2018, the White County Circuit Court sided with Brown and found the FOID card law unconstitutional when applied to her case. The state appealed directly to the Illinois Supreme Court a few months later.

The Illinois Supreme Court released its split ruling on Thursday. The majority opinion didn’t make a decision on the constitutionality of the law in Brown’s case, but instead cited a court rule calling into question the process the circuit court used.

“We must, therefore, vacate the court’s finding of unconstitutionality and remand the cause to the circuit court to enter a modified judgment order that excludes that finding,” said the majority opinion penned by Chief Justice Anne Burke. She was joined by Justices Thomas Killbride, Rita Garman and P. Scott Neville.

Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said the state’s high court punted.

“What they did was they decided that they didn’t want to decide, so they sent it back to the circuit court,” Pearson said.

He said he expected the case to end up back at the Illinois Supreme Court.

The dissenting justices called the majority opinion “pointless.”

“Neither the parties nor the interests of justice will be served by this unexpected and pointless exercise,” Justice Lloyd Karmeier wrote in a dissenting opinion. He was joined in his dissent by Justice Mary Jane Theis. “Remand to the circuit court to enter a new order dismissing the case on statutory rather than constitutional grounds is a meaningless and wasteful act.”

Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois Executive Director Todd Vandermyde also said the state’s high court didn’t make a decision.

“They didn’t make a finding one way or the other,” Vandermyde said. “And as I read this I think the FOID card act is on life support. I think they went out of the way to not address the constitutional issues raised in this case.”

Nor from what I’ve seen.


Will COVID-19 kill the Constitution

Jacob Sullum
The great American jurist St. George Tucker, writing at the beginning of the 19th century, called the right to armed self-defense “the true palladium of liberty” and “the first law of nature.” But California Gov. Gavin Newsom thinks that right, guaranteed by the Second Amendment, is optional.

After Newsom ordered “nonessential” businesses to close in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, he let local sheriffs decide whether that category included gun dealers. Newsom’s decision, which allowed Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to unilaterally ban the sale of firearms and ammunition, illustrates how readily politicians ignore constitutional rights in the very circumstances where they matter most.

Villanueva’s ban, which several gun rights groups challenged in a federal lawsuit last Friday, was inconsistent with recent guidance from the Department of Homeland Security as well as the Second Amendment. In an advisory published on Saturday, the department added firearm retailers to its definition of the “essential critical infrastructure workforce,” which Newsom explicitly exempted from his order.

On Monday, Villanueva, who describes himself as “a supporter of the Second Amendment” but also suggests that keeping guns for self-protection is irresponsible, rescinded his ban, citing the new federal guidelines. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, whose business closure order initially covered gun stores, likewise recognized them as “essential” after seeing the federal advisory.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf also deigned to allow firearm sales, but only after three members of the state Supreme Court said that “it is incumbent upon the Governor to make some manner of allowance for our citizens to continue to exercise this constitutional right.” Notably, that rebuke came in a dissent from a March 22 decision summarily denying a challenge to Wolf’s violation of the Second Amendment.

The reversals by Murphy and Wolf, who are now allowing firearm sales by appointment and in compliance with social distancing rules, show that shutting down gun stores was never necessary to curtail transmission of COVID-19. But their reluctance to respect the Second Amendment and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s unwillingness to intervene do not bode well for civil liberties at a time when many people seem to think that fighting the pandemic trumps all other concerns.

To “save the nation” from COVID-19, Cornell law professor Michael Dorf argued two weeks ago, Congress should suspend the writ of habeas corpus, an ancient common-law right that allows people detained by the government to demand a justification. Yet the Constitution says that “the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

Although neither of those circumstances applies, Dorf suggested that the spread of the COVID-19 virus from other countries to the United States could be construed as an invasion. While “no one knows” whether the courts would accept that interpretation, since “Congress has only ever suspended habeas in wartime,” Dorf said, “there is reason to think that the courts would dismiss a habeas case following nearly any congressional suspension.”

In a recent survey of 3,000 Americans, the University of Chicago’s Adam Chilton and three other law professors found bipartisan agreement that “now is the time to violate the Constitution,” as they put it. The survey asked whether the respondents would support various constitutionally dubious policy responses to the epidemic.

Sizable majorities of both Democrats and Republicans favored confining people to their homes, detaining sick people in government facilities, banning U.S. citizens from entering the country, government takeovers of businesses, conscription of health care workers, suspension of religious services and even criminalizing the spread of “misinformation” about the virus. “Even when we explicitly told half of our sample that the policies may violate the Constitution,” Chilton et al. report, “the majority supported all eight of them,” including the speech restrictions.

“After the threat has subsided,” the law professors conclude, “Americans must recognize any constitutional violations for what they were, lest they become the new normal.” By then, it may be too late.

Record gun sales: Handguns up 91%, background checks 94% in virus scare

People ran to gun stores in record numbers as they sought self-defense weapons amid the coronavirus scare, driving sales up about 83% in March and leading to a record number of FBI instant background checks.

Industry officials said that handguns, rifles, AR-style weapons, and ammunition flew off the shelves when states and the federal government started to lock down communities. Many who purchased weapons said they were worried the lockdowns would create chaos or riots.

The FBI recorded 3,740,600 background checks in March, the most in any month ever — and by a mile. In February, another record-breaker, there were 2,802,467 checks.

This year alone, there have been 9,245,857 background checks, which are mostly for gun purchases. That figure is higher than the nation’s total gun background checks for every year from 1988-2005.

Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting, which compiles estimates for gun sales, estimates that a total of 2,583,328 guns were sold in March. That is an 83% increase over March 2019, it said in data shared with Secrets.

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They estimate that handgun sales jumped 91%, to 1,534,000 weapons over March 2019. And rifles surged 73% to 835,663.

Anecdotal information from gun dealers indicated that most of those guns were AR- and AK-style rifles and shotguns.

Justin Anderson, the marketing director for Hyatt Guns in Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the nation’s largest, told Secrets that there was a line out the door for a week. “Our daily business literally quadrupled, and we had three record days in a row. Self-defense guns, including AR-15s and shotguns, and ammo are the hot commodities,” he said.

And, he added, “Suffice to say, it’s been crazier than I have ever seen it in 13 years in this business!”

SAAF Chief Economist Jurgen Brauer said, “As anticipated by the general media and within-industry reports, firearms sales boomed in March 2020 largely due to the COVID-19 health crisis.”

Will the Second Amendment Survive Coronavirus?
History shows that tyrannical government diktats can long outlast the crisis that inspired them.

With panicked consumers emptying store shelves around the country, and shoppers in at least one city fighting over toilet paper, the coronavirus pandemic seems just a short distance from coronavirus pandemonium.

The panic comes at a time when many police departments, to reduce spread of the virus, have curtailed arrests and are releasing certain criminals from prison. This is exactly the type of situation that the Second Amendment is meant to address. The White House has publicly recognized that reality. Yet many public officials insist on flaunting the Second Amendment, ordering gun shops closed or banning firearm sales.

Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, for example, has ordered “all non-life-sustaining businesses” to close their physical locations. The long list of businesses that may remain open in Pennsylvania includes groceries, drug and hardware stores, newspapers, rental centers, and take-out from restaurants. But gun businesses didn’t make the cut.

Yet the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Declaration of Rights declares that “the right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, without even mentioning that provision, refused to issue an injunction on behalf of some gun shops against the governor’s order. Three justices dissented, including Justice David Wecht, who wrote:

The inability of licensed firearm dealers to conduct any physical operations amounts to a complete prohibition upon the retail sale of firearms — an activity in which the citizens of this Commonwealth recently have been engaging on a large scale, and one guaranteed by both the United States Constitution and the Constitution of this Commonwealth.

The dissenting justices suggested that the constitutional right could be accommodated by allowing the completion of sales with minimal contact.

New gun buyers are often surprised by how difficult it is to purchase a gun in their state. In Maryland, for example, it takes a month to get a handgun-qualification license. It could take six months in New York, where a judge has to sign off on each handgun license. California has a ten-day waiting period for delivery of a firearm after the sale is approved.

Buying a gun requires a background check, which in most states is conducted by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). NICS conducted 2.8 million checks in February, the third-largest monthly total since the system was set up in 1998. Most NICS searches are automated and tell the dealer almost instantaneously to “proceed” or “deny” a sale, although some transactions must be delayed for examiners to research incomplete records.

Some states insist on conducting the background checks directly. That’s the case in New Jersey, where Governor Phil Murphy has ordered “non-essential” businesses, a category in which he includes gun shops, to close. The state police then shut down NICS checks as well, effectively banning all firearm sales. A legal challenge has been filed. By contrast, Governor J. B. Pritzker of Illinois declared that firearm retailers are “essential” and may remain open for business.

Gun sales already had been skyrocketing from the ever-escalating threats of gun bans coming from Democrat presidential contenders. The fear of societal breakdown stemming from the coronavirus has added to the demand for firearms across the country.

Everyone wants to slow the spread of COVID-19. The various emergency decrees being issued distinguish between essential and non-essential businesses. What could be more essential than protecting yourself and your family from criminal violence, especially when the Bill of Rights declares it to be an essential right that may not be infringed?

Americans should be mindful of the dangers of “emergency” decrees. History tells us that government diktats in response to man-made and natural disasters often lead to unprecedented restrictions on individual liberty that last long after the disasters are forgotten.

Some of the anti-gun decrees now being issued appear to be motivated by the false premise that limiting gun sales will prevent upheaval in the event that the contagion causes mass shortages and desperation. Yet citizens who purchase firearms must pass stringent background checks to ensure that they are mentally stable and have no felony records or other legal barriers to firearm ownership. They are exactly the kinds of armed citizens needed if law and order break down.

Strong measures must be taken against the spread of the coronavirus. But they must be tailored to accommodate the citizens’ ability to protect their safety in all aspects and to preserve their constitutional rights.

That determination by the Department of Homeland Security that the firearms business’s – nationwide – are ‘essential’ must really be galling.


L.A. County sheriff (again) reverses closure order for gun stores

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced Monday that he would no longer order or recommend that gun stores be closed as part of the county’s “safer at home” order.

The reversal was the second time Villanueva announced businesses dealing in firearms and ammunition may reopen, after he twice ordered them to close since last Tuesday.

He said the move was prompted by memorandum issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Saturday that designated workers supporting the firearms and ammunition industry to be “essential infrastructure” workers.

“Based on further input from the federal government, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not order or recommend closure of businesses that sell or repair firearms or sell ammunition,” Villanueva said in a written statement.

The sheriff said that while the Department of Homeland Security guideline was an advisory only, “…nonetheless, the federal memorandum is persuasive given the its national scope.”

The department will monitor for unsanitary conditions and improper social distancing practices at all businesses, then report unlawful conditions to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for review, Villanueva said.

“Regardless of whether a business sells groceries, gasoline, firearms, or any other product or service, we encourage them to abide by all health and safety measure in place,” he added.

The National Rifle Association and three other Second Amendment advocacy groups sued the Sheriff’s Department over Villanueva’s most recent order for gun stores to close on Thursday.

The businesses had just reopened after Villanueva ordered them closed on Tuesday, but he faced objections from the county’s top attorney.

Go look in a mirror and you will see who your real ‘First Responder’ is.


Coronavirus Clobbers Cops and Suddenly Second is First Fallback

Reports are surfacing in several jurisdictions about the number of police officers testing positive for Coronavirus, underscoring the importance of the Second Amendment among people who might have been indifferent about the right to keep and bear arms…until now.

Over the weekend, TIME magazine reported that “about 700 New Jersey police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus.” Acting State Police Supt. Col. Patrick Callahan said more than 700 officers have been quarantined at home.

However, the Philadelphia Inquirer subsequently reported that Callahan had “overstated” the number. The newspaper noted that “while 1,272 officers had been ‘quarantined,’ the actual number of those testing positive was 163. In addition, it said that 1,435 officers were ‘out for other reasons,’ but did not elaborate.”

The Sun reported Monday “Almost 5,000 (New York) cops are currently out sick as the coronavirus crisis continues to ravage New York with fears looming of disorder on the streets. The number of police officers out sick on Sunday amounts to nearly 14 per cent of the 36,000-strong force.”

The Associated Press reported “More than a fifth of Detroit’s police force is quarantined; two officers have died from coronavirus and at least 39 have tested positive, including the chief of police.”
The story also revealed “Nearly 690 officers and civilian employees at police departments and sheriff’s offices around the country have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an Associated Press survey of over 40 law enforcement agencies, mostly in major cities. The number of those in isolation as they await test results is far higher in many places.”

Altogether, these reports reinforce the argument made over the weekend by Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, which has filed a lawsuit in New Jersey to reopen gun shops and shooting ranges. He says the same principle applies nationwide, where police manpower shortages might translate to problems for the public, despite official insistence they have things under control.

“This is exactly why the Foundation lawsuit to force New Jersey to re-open gun stores during this emergency is so important,” Gottlieb said. “People need to be able to obtain the means of self-defense in times such as these. This is why the right to keep and bear arms is essential.

“The Second Amendment wasn’t written for duck hunters,” Gottlieb added. “The right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the Constitution to assure every citizen has the means to defend himself or herself when help may not arrive in time, or maybe not arrive at all.”

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began more than two weeks ago, anecdotal reports of citizens rushing to gun stores to purchase firearms and ammunition have surfaced, suggesting many people were buying guns for the first time. The Second Amendment in essence became their first fallback.

Alarming to gun owners from one coast to the other has been the widespread shut downs of police agency services including fingerprinting for concealed carry license or permit applications. Some agencies are accepting renewals only, deciding to suspend new permit applications. This has already resulted in one lawsuit in North Carolina, filed by SAF, the Firearms Policy Coalition and Grass Roots North Carolina.

Several other lawsuits are under consideration, Gottlieb hinted in a telephone conversation late last week.

Pandemic Exposes Dangers of So-Called “Universal” Background Checks

As the COVID-19 pandemic makes its way across the country, Americans are getting an important lesson in the dangers of placing a prior restraint on the exercise of a constitutional right. The vast increase in those seeking protection in the Second Amendment during this period of uncertainty has caused the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and Point of Contact State background check systems to buckle. Worse, some jurisdictions that have criminalized the private transfer of firearms have also shut down access to gun stores or their state criminal background check system. This lethal combination of misguided policies has made it impossible for millions of Americans to acquire, or even borrow or lend, firearms during this moment of crisis.

In peddling so-called “universal” background checks, anti-gun activists and politicians claim such checks are instant, and therefore don’t encumber Second Amendment rights. For instance, according to Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) firearm background checks take about 90 seconds.

Gun owners know that for many law-abiding individuals NICS checks, let alone point of contact state checks, have never been instant. In the 2018 NICS Operations Report, ​the FBI noted that 30 percent of all NICS checks were not “instant determinations.” The document explained that 20 percent of all checks required some additional analysis to complete, while 10 percent were delayed for further research. The problem overwhelmingly burdened law-abiding gun buyers, as only 1.21 percent of all checks resulted in a denial.

The simple facts outlined in the annual NICS Operations Report have not been enough to shame gun control advocates into dropping their “background checks are instant” talking point. However, the recent experience with firearms background checks during the COVID-19 outbreak should be enough to put their false claim to rest for good.

On March 17, the National Shooting Sports Foundation summarized the state of NICS in a message to federal firearms licensees (gun dealers). NSSF explained,

According to NICS, there are delays in the system due to an astronomical volume of transactions over the last several days. While much of the NICS System is automated and yields an immediate “proceed” or “deny” determination, transactions that result in a delayed status require the work of NICS examiners to investigate whether the transaction should be approved or not. With daily volumes roughly double that of last year, the NICS team is unable to begin investigations on all delays within three business days, creating a backlog in the delayed checks.

Colorado, a state that criminalized private firearm transfers in 2013, is a Point of Contact State where the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is tasked with performing firearms background checks. According to the CBI, as of March 24, background checks were taking four days. According to a report from the Reno Gazette, in Nevada, a state that criminalized private firearm transfers in 2019, “the onslaught of background check requests has made it virtually impossible to get through on the state’s Point of Contact Firearms Unit phone line.​”​ Due to these states’ prohibitions on private firearms transfers, the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding residents are at the mercy of an overwhelmed government bureaucracy.

The situation is even graver in jurisdictions that, through a combination of laws that criminalize the private transfer of firearms and virus-induced shutdowns, have foreclosed the Second Amendment right to acquire a firearm.

On March 21, the New Jersey State Police issued the following message to Federal Firearms Licensees.

On Saturday, March 21, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy announced he is putting New Jersey in lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus. Per Executive Order 107, he is ordering the residents of New Jersey to stay home, directing all non-essential retail businesses closed to the public. At this time, the order includes New Jersey Firearms State Licensed Dealers. The New Jersey State Police NICS Unit is directing the vendor of the NICS Online Application (NICUSA) to turn off the NICS Online Services for submitting NICS transactions by eliminating the “Request Form” button, effective 9:00 pm EST, Saturday, March 21, 2020. You will still have the ability to view the message board and the status of previously submitted transactions. This “Request Form” feature will remain off until further order by Governor Murphy.

New Jersey is a Point of Contact state where the New Jersey State Police are tasked with performing all firearm background checks.

In order to acquire a rifle or a shotgun in New Jersey a prospective owner must obtain a Firearms Purchase Identification Card. N.J.S.A. 2C:58-3d. requires that a background check be conducted before an FPIC is issued.

Likewise, in order to acquire a handgun, a prospective owner must obtain a Permit to Purchase a Handgun (PPH). The PPH is also issued pursuant to a background check.

Up until 2018, an FPIC or PPH holder could acquire a firearm from another private individual without further government interference. The logic being that the FPIC or PPH holder had already been thoroughly vetted by the government.

However, on June 13, 2018, Gov. Murphy signed A2757. This legislation added a background check requirement for every firearm transfer on top of the existing licensing requirements.

Therefore, with the March 21 change in state police procedure, New Jerseyans are not able to acquire firearms.

The situation is similar in Washington. In 2014, the state has criminalized the private transfer of firearms. RCWA 9.41.113​ requires that parties to a firearms transfer “shall complete the sale or transfer through a licensed dealer” pursuant to a background check.

On March 23, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued an order closing all “non-essential” businesses due to the threat of the Wuhan virus. The shutdown included firearms dealers. The governor’s closure order, coupled with existing Washington background check law has made it so Washingtonians cannot acquire or transfer firearms during this crisis.

It should be noted that New Jersey and Washington’s laws do not just require background checks on all firearm sales, but also on other types of firearm transfers. Under both state’s laws, a gun owner could not lend their friend or neighbor a firearm for protection during this time of crisis without first conducting a background check.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the dangers inherent in laws that require government permission in order to exercise a constitutional right. Such laws make law-abiding Americans dependent upon the government’s ability and willingness to grant such permission – something many governments have been unable to ensure. This crisis has shown that Americans cannot trust the government to act as a gatekeeper on their fundamental rights. Therefore, Americans must jealously guard their right to privately transfer firearms without government interference.​

Not all that long ago these types were having conniptions about people who were using the wrong ‘gender pronoun’.
A real crisis apparently brings things into a clearer perspective, and from the überproggie New Yorker magazine, no less.


Choose Your Weapon

As shoppers stock up for a potential Armageddon, an Oregon gun store has sold out of ARs and .308 rifles, many of which went to first-time liberal buyers.

There was no complimentary hand sanitizer for the concerned customers of Gorge Guns, in Hood River, Oregon, on a recent Friday. Erika Bales, the shop’s twenty-nine-year-old owner, wasn’t worried about the virus. “I figure, just let nature take its course,” she said. Her customers were less nonchalant. Bales, who had a neat manicure and a number of tattoos, said that, days earlier, people had begun realizing that “everyone’s buying things and everything’s gonna be gone.” The resulting rush was, for her, unprecedented. She was out of ARs and .308 rifles. A few shotguns remained, and she told shoppers that they could saw them off, to a legal length. “Obama didn’t even bring in these numbers,” Bales said.

At noon, a woman in her sixties came in. She wore plastic gloves and had a scarf wrapped around her face, and she traced a wide arc around the only other non-employee in the store. “I’ve been doing this since the beginning of March,” she said, referring to her protective gear. “I don’t feel sick at all. I’m self-quarantining.” She left her house only for essential activities. This was one. “I’m buying a gun,” she said. “I can’t believe it.”

She went on, “My son was a little upset about it.” (He preferred his bow and arrow.) “I’m old and I live alone, and we don’t know if there’s going to be civil unrest. The world is not the same.” She added, “It didn’t have to be this way.” Unlike many of the shop’s regulars, she was no fan of Trump: “He’s a divider all the way. First he said, ‘Five people have died, big deal.’ Now he’s saying, ‘I always knew it’d be dangerous.’ ” Talk turned to Portland. “It’s a ghost town,” a young woman said. Her name was Rosemary, and she was helping Bales out, since the restaurant where she waited tables had closed.

“I don’t like to go in cities anymore, anyway,” the customer said.

“But these rumors about them putting this country in full lockdown are inaccurate,” Rosemary said. “It’s a scare tactic. It’s not like all of a sudden we’re gonna wake up one day and everyone is sick and the whole world is ending.”

“I don’t know,” the customer said. “The exponential growth is happening.”

“If anything, we’re definitely repopulating, if nobody is at work,” Rosemary said cheerily. “We won’t have a shortage of humans, that’s for sure.”

Bales helped her customer choose a weapon. (“Pick three,” the customer told her.) As Bales rummaged around, the customer said, “I’m going to have a soldier train me. A friend of my son’s.” Bales returned with the first option. “A .22 Mag,” she said. “Holds thirty rounds.”

The customer peered at the gun.

“It’s a Kel-Tec PMR-30,” Bales said.

“I like the color of it,” the customer said. “It’s not black.” She picked it up. “It feels good. And it’s got a safety. I’m going to take this one. You’ve got ammo for it, right?” Bales nodded and noted a few of the gun’s features. “As long as you’re accurate, it’ll do damage,” she said.

“This is just going to be for close range,” the customer said. “In my house. If it happens.” (Asked what “it” was, she said, “In two months, if the cities are starving, they’re gonna come out. And I understand that.”) Bales piled boxes of ammunition on the counter. “I’ll take them all,” the customer said. She ducked outside to get her wallet from the car.

“I think she’s a liberal,” Bales said, once the door closed. “There’s so many coming in. First-time-gun-owner liberals. I’ve probably seen ten this week. It’s so funny, because I hope it just turns them on to liking the Second Amendment. I mean, the Constitution was created for a reason. To protect us.”

The customer returned. The bill was nearly seven hundred dollars, including electronic ear protection and sixteen boxes of bullets. She could come back and pick up the gun once her digital background check cleared. The customer asked, “If I don’t get approved, what happens?”

“You already got approved,” Bales said, glancing at a computer, with some surprise.

“O.K.! Can I take it?”

“Yeah. Some people go through fast.”

The new gun owner asked if there was a shooting range nearby. She asked if she needed a concealed-carry permit. She asked how to carry the gun out. “I can’t believe this!” she said, stepping into the world with her brand-new gun.

There is No Emergency Shutdown of the Second Amendment

Give someone power if you want to see their character. Unfortunately, the usual characters have revealed themselves during the Wuhan virus epidemic. Government officials asked citizens to limit their contact with others in order to slow the spread of the virus. Some government officials went well beyond that. They closed roads, released jail inmates, refused to arrest or prosecute suspects, closed gun stores, and refused to process firearms applications. It is precisely during such an emergency that we need government officials to stay within their authority.. and not one inch beyond.

Lots of us wanted a firearm after we saw criminals released from jail and law enforcement refuse to respond to calls. We increased the rate of firearms sales up to four fold, and up to eight fold for sales of ammunition. The instant background check system run by the FBI was overwhelmed. State agencies added weeks of delays to complete a firearms transfer..if the state bothered to process the applications at all.

The sheriff of Los Angeles County, CA told stores to close. The mayor of LA said they would shut off water and power to stores that stayed open. The county council, the lawyer who advises LA county officials, told the sheriff not to close gun stores or he would face lawsuits. The sheriff rescinded and then reinstated his order to close stores. As predicted, he was sued by four human rights organizations within hours. Sheriffs in Pennsylvania and New York said they would not process concealed carry firearm applications. Officials in New Jersey and Illinois simply stopped processing the permits required to purchase a firearm.. and they were sued.

The order to close gun shops and the refusal to process state required firearms paperwork is a significant confession on the part of these law enforcement officials. They are saying that they are more important than you are, that they should have guns and you shouldn’t. Many of these government officials were quickly sued for violation of civil rights under color of law. Government officials don’t have the power to suspend the constitution and violate civil rights. They exceeded their authority.

Idaho took the Wuhan crisis to heart and expanded the segment of people who have a right to carry concealed without a permit. Called “permitless carry”, that right only applied to state residents. Soon in Idaho, permitless carry applies to all legal US residents who may legally possess a firearm. Sensible government officials also extended the expiration dates for concealed carry permits just as they had for existing drivers licenses that could not be renewed during the quarantine. If only all government officials were that smart.

The lesson is clear. If it is too dangerous for a government official too to sit at their desk and process paperwork, then it is a state of emergency. The state has admitted that it can not fulfill its obligations to honest citizens. Under those emergency conditions, permits should not be required for citizens with a clean criminal record to own, transfer, or carry a firearm. We’ve used that same relief valve during hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes when civil government ceases to exist. Your rights and your safety take precedence over the convenience of a bureaucrat.

That lesson sounds obvious, but some politicians are blinded by their bigotry against honest citizens protecting themselves. Now we know the officials who don’t trust us, and in whom we should not place our trust. We gave them power, and they revealed the shortcomings in their character.