IGNORANCE ON GUNS: COMMON, BUT INEXCUSABLE

It is remarkable how little most people who are adamantly opposed to firearms know about them. In general, of course, blissful ignorance of guns is perfectly fine. But if you are a legislator, and you set out to ban something, you do have a duty to know what it is you want to make illegal.

Sheila Jackson Lee is the latest to embarrass herself. She wants to ban America’s most popular rifle, and she knows nothing about it. Not only that, she lies in support of her policy preference:

As I said, there is nothing wrong with being ignorant of a subject–unless you are a legislator, and you want to force everyone else to conform to your ignorant views.

White House infighting thwarts movement on guns

Applause

Competing factions inside the White House have stymied efforts to unite behind gun legislation, further delaying President Donald Trump from getting behind any plan.

On one side is Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, and Attorney General William Barr. Both are urging the president to back new firearms restrictions — including expanded background checks for gun sales — insisting he can be the leader who succeeds on an intractable issue that has bedeviled his predecessors and that he can win back moderate suburban voters in the process, according to people involved in the discussions.

On the other side, a group that includes Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son and an avid hunter, and a top aide to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, is telling Trump he risks losing support from his conservative base if he pushes too aggressively on new gun control legislation, they say.

Then there’s Trump, who has heard all of these arguments privately but publicly hasn’t committed to any plan. For weeks, he’s left Washington guessing on whether he’d support any gun control legislation and what form the legislation would take.

The competing forces have created paralysis with just about everybody involved in the discussions — most notably senators — and have delayed the White House’s release of its long-awaited package, possibly jeopardizing the effort to enact meaningful legislation following this summer’s mass shootings that claimed dozens of lives.

The White House didn’t initially respond to a request for comment but after publication spokesman Hogan Gidley refuted the story.

“This is ridiculous, we are completely united in developing exactly what the President wants — which are meaningful solutions that will protect the second Amendment, make American communities safer and potentially prevent these types of tragedies from ever occurring again,” he said in a statement.

Sheila Jackson Lee Confuses AR-15 for 10 Moving Boxes and a Heavy Machine Gun

Introducing her new gun-control legislation on Monday, Congresscritter Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) proved conclusively that she’s just too uninformed to go anywhere near the subject. She claims to have “held an AR-15 in my hand,” which weighed as much as “10 boxes that you might be moving.” She also claimed the rifle fired a .50 caliber round, and that “these kinds of bullets need to be licensed and do not need to be on the street.”

https://twitter.com/jason_howerton/status/1176145894061879302

ATF Admits No Legal Authority For Bump Stock Ruling

Show of hands, who has been paying attention to the various lawsuits dealing with the ATF’s reinterpretation of Bump Stocks? Because to be completely honest, I haven’t been paying as much attention as I clearly should have been. In their most recent court filing, the ATF has admitted some truly explosive news. Namely, they concede that they do not have the authority to reinterpret the definition of machine guns in the  bump stock ruling under the National Firearms Act (NFA).

ATF Admits No Legal Authority for Bump Stock Ruling

Let’s back up and provide some context. So, on December 26th, 2018, the ATF issued a final ruling on “bump stocks”. A bump-stock is a device that allows an operator of a firearm to simulate automatic fire by muscle power. While previously the ATF had decided that bump-fire or slide-fire stocks were legal devices, they then reclassified them as illegal machineguns. All current owners were ordered to destroy them. If you did not do so, you faced up to 10 years in federal prison.

Naturally, a lot of people became somewhat ticked off that the ATF would seemingly arbitrarily change their ruling to make thousands of Americans potential felons overnight. As a result, many people filed lawsuits. One such lawsuit was filed by the New Civil Liberties Alliance on behalf of plaintiff W. Clark Aposhian.

This Case in Particular

This lawsuit rests on a fairly straightforward presumption. The complaint states that since all legislative powers lie with Congress, the ATF, as a part of the executive branch, cannot reinterpret statutes to mean something else. Since the law regarding machineguns has not changed, bump stocks can’t be reclassified as machineguns.

There are another 30 odd pages of the original complaint, but that’s about the gist of things. Mr. Aposhian is a law-abiding citizen, the ATF told him that bump stocks were legal so he bought one. The filing states that the ATF lacks the authority to reclassify bump stocks, and thus the ATF has violated Mr. Aposhian’s constitutional rights, as well as exceeding its constitutional remit as part of the executive branch.

ATF Bump Stock Ruling Admission – Why Should We Care?

The million-dollar question. Why do we care? Because as of September 18th, the ATF has written a court brief that admits it exceeded its constitutional remit as part of the executive branch. The court filing states specifically that;

The statutory scheme does not, however, appear to provide the Attorney General the authority to engage in “gap-filling” interpretations of what qualifies as a “machinegun”. Congress has provided a detailed definition of the term “machinegun”…

The New Civil Liberties Alliance, on behalf of Mr. Aposhian, quickly filed a for a preliminary injunction. Essentially, as Mr. Aposhian has suffered “irreparable harm” from the deprivation of his lawfully-acquired bump stock, and the ATF (in the opinion of the Plaintiffs) clearly lacks the authority to cause such deprivation, the Final Rule on Bump Stocks should be struck down.

NCLA Brief

ATF’s Brief on the bump stock ruling is behind a login-wall in the PACER system. It can be found in the 10th Circuit Court’s filings, case number 19-4036, Aposhian v. Barr, et al.


ATF Admits It Lacked Authority to Issue Legislative Rule, NCLA Condemns the Agency’s Attempt to Ban Bump Stocks Anyway

This case is not about whether gun control is a good idea. Rather, Mr. Aposhian’s appeal raises key issues about how an agency may create such a ban—that is, whether agency regulations may contradict a statute passed by Congress. The appeal also challenges the notion that a mere interpretive rule can bind third parties, such as owners of bump stocks.

The bump stock rule made it a new federal crime to own a bump stock, even one purchased with ATF’s prior permission. ATF knows it didn’t have the authority to enact such a law. Instead of defending the rule, ATF now pretends the ban is just a recommendation for the public. NCLA is confident the court will see through ATF’s games and strike down this invalid rule.” Caleb Kruckenberg, Litigation Counsel

ATF is caught between a rock and a hard place. The agency lacks legal authority to issue a so-called legislative rule, but a mere interpretive rule is not legally allowed to bind any third parties outside the government. By ordering half a million bump stock owners to surrender their devices—or face prosecution—ATF has acted in a completely unconstitutional fashion. It is high time for the federal courts to put a stop to this regulatory nonsense.”
Mark Chenoweth, Executive Director and General Counsel

Congress could have passed bipartisan legislation making bump stocks illegal. Instead, ATF has tried to ban them via administrative action in the Bump Stock Final Rule. This Court has a constitutional obligation to strike down ATF’s attempted legislative rewrite. Otherwise, the Executive Branch will usurp Congress’ legislative function in other areas, and the Constitution’s careful limits on how laws are made will be undone.

The 2nd Amendment is a reminder to government of a right we inherently have

Those who want to repeal it? They don’t want that reminder; Which just happens to be guns, and what they can be used for.

I’ll keep this brief. The 2nd Amendment is often mischaracterized by both the left and even its defenders on the right. To state it simply, our right to keep and bear arms is a natural right, one that is granted to everyone by powers higher than man.

Read it carefully: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Many misconstrue this as the founders giving us the right to bear arms by codifying it in the Bill of Rights. But in reality, this amendment was not intended to grant a right to anyone. It is simply a reminder of the existence of the right, an explanation of why this right is so important to the nation, and a decree that the right itself is above reproach from government……..

Law-abiding gun owners are the true targets of all forms of gun control. We know this because the proposed measures will adversely affect us while doing nothing to stop violent criminals.

‘We have to do something’: Michigan school district considers arming staff

Addison — Standing on the sidewalk outside his school’s K-12 campus, superintendent Steve Guerra sweeps his hand across endless acres of farms, woods and marsh that surround his school and the 810 students inside.

Any direction Guerra stands — north, south, east or west — law enforcement is at least 20 miles away from Addison Community Schools, which sits remotely along the borders of Lenawee, Jackson and Hillsdale counties.

Guerra, who spent the summer reinforcing nearly 130 school windows with security film and adding 60 new security cameras, estimates police response time to his main school building from any three county sheriff’s departments is between 13 to 38 minutes.

“Both of those numbers are unacceptable,” Guerra said. “A school shooting is over in seven minutes. We are looking at other opportunities to keep our kids and staff safe.”

That includes arming school staff.

Addison school officials are talking about becoming the first school district in Michigan to allow its educators to carry guns.

The conversation started 18 months ago, Guerra said, when school leaders were searching for new ways to improve school safety, and it led to the creation of a safety committee comprised of three local board of education members to study and research the idea.

Then earlier this month, about 100 people attended a public meeting where students, parents and community members openly spoke of their support of and concerns about having guns inside the school.

Guerra said he has eight staff members who are concealed pistol license holders, including himself, teachers and a custodian, who have already volunteered to carry if the district moves forward with the option.

“I personally think that it would be a good idea,” Guerra said. “As the CEO and superintendent of my district, I can’t guarantee 100% safety in my district. Would employees carrying guarantee? No. It would reduce causalities.”

GOP signals unease with Barr’s gun plan

That went up the flag pole and right back down again real fast didn’t it?

Senate Republicans are treading cautiously on a background checks plan floated by Attorney General William Barr that has been decried as a “non-starter” by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Barr floated the proposal to GOP offices on Wednesday as the Senate inches toward doing something on gun control amid growing public pressure created by a seemingly endless string of mass shootings.

But Barr was careful to tell Republicans that his memo on background checks, titled “Idea for New Unlicensed-Commercial-Sale Background Checks,” did not have the backing of President Trump.

“I’m up here just kicking around some ideas, getting perspectives so I can be in a better position to advise the president,” Barr told reporters. “But the president has made no decision yet.”

GOP lawmakers, for their part, were decidedly noncommittal, with several saying they still wanted to hear what Trump would back.

“It’s one thing to have a few ideas on paper,” said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who met with Barr and White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland on Tuesday.

“But in terms of actually being a concrete proposal where you can say, ‘How do you feel about this?’ I need to see a lot,” Hawley told reporters, summarizing his meeting with Barr.

“My question was, where’s the president on this? Is this something — I asked that question directly — is this something the president supports?”

Hawley said Ueland couldn’t say whether Trump backs the Department of Justice (DOJ) proposal.

“That’s an important piece, because if the president doesn’t support it, there’s no point. It’s not going to become law,” he added.

The NRA moved quickly to dismiss the proposal, which would expand background checks along the lines of a 2013 amendment to a gun violence bill that was sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

“This missive is a non-starter with the NRA and our 5 million members because it burdens law-abiding gun owners while ignoring what actually matters: fixing the broken mental health system and the prosecution of violent criminals,” said Jason Ouimet, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.

Here Are the Problems With the Attorney General’s Plan To Expand Background Checks for Gun Buyers
It would not do much to protect public safety, but it would magnify the injustice of existing restrictions on gun ownership.

Attorney General William Barr is reportedly floating a proposal to expand background checks for gun buyers that is similar to an unsuccessful 2013 bill sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) and Patrick Toomey (R–Pa.). The proposal would require background checks for “all advertised commercial sales, including gun sales at gun shows.”

Manchin and Toomey’s Public Safety and Second Amendment Protection Act would have required that federally licensed firearm dealers, who are already required to conduct background checks, be involved in all sales at gun shows and all transfers resulting from online or print ads. It explicitly exempted transfers “between spouses,
between parents or spouses of parents and their children or spouses of their children, between siblings or spouses of siblings, or between grandparents or spouses of grandparents and their grandchildren or spouses of their grandchildren, or between aunts or uncles or their spouses and their nieces or nephews or their spouses, or between first cousins.”

Barr’s proposal would do pretty much the same thing, but it also would authorize licenses for “transfer agents” to help gun owners comply with the background check requirement. The idea, presumably, is that the new category of licensees would make compliance easier by providing an alternative to firearm dealers.

This proposal is less sweeping than the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which the House of Representatives approved last February. That bill, which was supported by 232 Democrats but only eight Republicans, would ban almost all gun transfers by people who are not licensed dealers. It applies to any sale, whether or not it happens at a gun show and whether or not the firearm was advertised.

The House bill makes an exception for “a transfer that is a loan or bona fide gift between spouses, between domestic partners, between parents and their children, including step-parents and their step-children, between siblings, between aunts or uncles and their nieces or nephews, or between grandparents and their grandchildren.” If money changes hands, in other words, a background check would be required even for transfers between relatives.

Both proposals share the same problems as any other effort to expand the reach of background checks. First, the categories of prohibited buyers are irrationally and unfairly broad, encompassing millions of people who have never shown any violent tendencies, including cannabis consumers, unauthorized U.S. residents, people who have been convicted of nonviolent felonies, and anyone who has ever undergone mandatory psychiatric treatment because he was deemed suicidal.

Second, background checks are not an effective way to prevent mass shootings, since the vast majority of people who commit those crimes do not have disqualifying criminal or psychiatric records. Third, background checks, even if they are notionally “universal,” can be easily evaded by ordinary criminals, who can obtain weapons through straw buyers or the black market. Fourth, voluntary compliance is apt to be the exception rather than the rule, and enforcement will be difficult, if not impossible.

Since the Manchin-Toomey approach applies only to relatively conspicuous sales, enforcement would be easier, but only because unadvertised private sales would be exempt. The House bill would be mostly aspirational and symbolic, since the government has no way of knowing when guns change hands in private transactions if the sales are not advertised and do not happen at gun shows.

In a study published last year, researchers looked at what happened after Colorado, Delaware, and Washington expanded their background check requirements. They reported that “background check rates increased in Delaware, by 22%–34% depending on the type of firearm,” but “no overall changes were observed in Washington and Colorado.” It is hard to see how the federal government can do any better, since it does not know who owns which guns and cannot possibly monitor unrecorded private transfers.

Gun Control: Wrong Solution to the Wrong Problem

With their push for gun control, liberals are demanding that conservatives acquiesce to their solution for a problem they largely created.

But gun control is the wrong solution to the wrong problem. The actual problem is the growth of mental illness in American society. So the real question that must be answered before any realistic solution can be proposed is why mental illness is trending so noticeably upward.

One measure that shows this increase in mental illness is the significant rise in the number of suicides, which have been steadily climbing for the last couple decades. There were over 47,000 U.S. suicides in 2017, and it is only getting worse.

The explosion in mental illness is a manifestation of cultural rot. Liberals gleefully turned America’s culture into a death-celebrating cesspool and, in Saul Alinsky-like fashion, indicated that the only solution is the shredding of the Second Amendment, something they have always wanted to do.

Beto O’Rourke one-upped the traditional movie supervillain by not only bragging about the Democrats’ secret evil plans, but then putting them on a t-shirt. But seizing guns will only aggravate the mental illness trend while doing nothing to address it.

 

How to stop mass shootings: End war and the culture of violence

A noble aspiration, but this is a condition of the heart and mind of fallen man and that won’t change until we have a new Heaven and Earth.

Undoubtedly the worst day in any family’s life is when a police officer arrives at their residence to inform them that a loved one has been killed either in a mass shooting or in a senseless act of violence at work or driving or walking to or from their place of employment.

The family’s grief would be palpable; their anger would be understandable because no human being’s life should be ended by an act of violence. Unfortunately, there are violent human beings in every society who because of mental illness or are just plain evil — harboring resentment against “others” whether they are members of any easily identifiable racial, ethnic, or religious group.

The recent spate of mass shootings has brought into focus the AR-15 rifle used in virtually all the horrific acts of violence that have claimed hundreds of lives across America. In response, many media pundits, anti-Second Amendment activists, and virtually all Democratic presidential candidates decry the private ownership of the AR-15 “assault rifle,” and call for a “government buyback” of these firearms or outright confiscation of the rifle as their solution to ending mass shootings in America.

The AR does not stand for “assault rifle,” a gross mischaracterization of a firearm that was created in the 1950s by the ArmaLite Company that branded it. The AR-15 is a semiautomatic, lightweight rifle and has the same capabilities as a semiautomatic handgun. This means that only one round can be fired at a time when the trigger is pulled, unlike a machine gun, which is capable of firing bullets repeatedly by holding the trigger down. Since 1986 civilians can no longer purchase machine guns.

In short, the term assault rifle is a politically loaded term based on federal and state law definitions. The government defines an assault weapon as a semiautomatic rifle, pistol and shotguns that have the capability to use detachable magazines. Nevertheless, why would any citizen want to own a firearm that looks like a military weapon? The AR-15 is typically used for target shooting, hunting, home defense and competitive matches. In other words, 99%-plus of lawful AR-15 owners are peaceful, given that 5-10 million AR-15-type rifles are owned by private citizens.

But the advocates of banning the private ownership of so-called assault weapons assert that “Enough Is Enough,” and that to stop the carnage in America the government — which is supposed to protect our safety and security — must not kowtow to Second Amendment defenders who believe that there is a fundamental right to self-defense.

Have the “gun grabbers” thought through their proposal to ban the AR-15 or similar type firearm? Apparently not, because if they did, a ban on so-called assault weapons would, yes, increase shootings. In other words, the law of unintended consequences would kick in.

Prohibition of any substance or item leads to black markets. Our experience with alcohol prohibition during the 1920s and early 1930s and drug prohibition today are the quintessential examples of policies that increase violence — and corruption — in our society.

The violence that would ensue after a ban of so-called assault weapons would turn our cities — and rural communities — into killing fields as black market gangs would vie for turf to sell their contraband to individuals who would defy the government’s “assault” on their Second Amendment rights. In addition, law enforcement officers would have to be armed to the teeth to eliminate the assault weapon black market. Funerals for police officers would skyrocket.

But instead of a knee jerk reaction to mass shootings, maybe, just maybe, federal elected officials and presidential candidates would reflect how their actions have contributed to mass shootings.

A common trait of most mass shooters is that they served in the military, had been rejected to serve or came from a military family. In an essay, “Wars and Domestic Massacres,” Libertarian Lew Rockwell makes the compelling argument that our foreign policy of unending global conflict that is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of individuals in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, promotes a “culture of violence” in America that cannot be dismissed.

In sum, banning rifles would not end mass shootings, but a foreign policy of peace and commerce with all would be the humane way of leading by example. Maybe then we will be safer at home instead of eviscerating the Second Amendment.

 

Gun Sales Jump 15.5 Percent in August as Dems Renew Push for Regulations.

Background checks for gun sales, concealed-carry permits, and security spiked in August as congressional Democrats renewed their push for expanded gun control in the wake of several mass shootings.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System recorded a 15.5 percent uptick in background checks last month, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

The jump in gun sales appears to have been spurred by a desire to secure self-protection amid an epidemic of mass shootings in the U.S., before Congress potentially approves stricter gun-control measures such as an assault-weapons ban, universal background checks, or limits on ammunition.

The NSSF also pointed out that some states saw a particularly steep jump in background checks last month, with Alabama’s NSSF-adjusted number jumping over 100 percent from August of last year, and Minnesota’s number increasing 68.9 percent.

Why Soft-on-Crime Democrats Are Tough on ‘Gun Violence’
By embracing the magical thinking behind gun control, the Democrats remind us they would rather punish society and label law-abiding citizens wrongdoers than confront the criminal class.

At their third primary debate, nearly all of the Democratic presidential contenders offered full-throated support for gun control. In the very recent past, gun control measures bowed to prudence by respecting the rights and expectations of law-abiding gun owners—even the Clinton “assault weapons ban” grandfathered weapons and magazines manufactured and purchased before the ban took effect.

Now, however, the rhetoric has shifted and become even more radical and uncompromising.

For example, supposed moderate Joe Biden said, “Over 90 percent of the American people think we have to get assault weapons off the street—period. And we have to get buybacks and get them out of their basements.” Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said we should “start” with a gun buyback aimed at assault weapons. Former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) took things further: “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47!”

He’s so proud of himself that he put his quote on a t-shirt.

The Rhetoric of “Gun Violence” Obscures the Reality of Violent Crime
At first glance, these appear to be tough statements by Democrats who want to tackle the problem of mass shootings. Everyone is frustrated by these costly and random crimes. But these high profile shootings are not increasing, and their rarity is obscured by disproportionate media coverage ……….

As I wrote last year, “the right to bear arms also comes at a price, and that cost has arguably become more pronounced as our society has become more fractured and disorderly. The honest argument in favor of the Second Amendment is that it’s worth it.”

 

No, Your AR-15 Is Not the Problem

Why do Democrats want to take away your AR-15? The fact that such a weapon was used by the Odessa shooter was the basis for Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke’s infamous declaration: “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47!” But this is like banning cars because automobile accidents kill more than 40,000 Americans a year, or banning tall buildings because more than 35,000 Americans die each year from accidental falls. O’Rourke is advocating what might be called the Instrumental Theory of Evil: The cause of our problems is not bad people, but bad things. Therefore, ban the evil things!

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke dismissed criticism and “hang-wringing” about his much-discussed debate statement that “Hell yes” he wants to confiscate assault weapons, saying those concerns “just show you how screwed up the priorities in Washington, D.C., are.”
“I refuse to even acknowledge the politics or the polling or the fear or the NRA,” O’Rourke told “NBC’s Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on Sunday. “That has purchased the complicity and silence of members of Congress.”

See, according to O’Rourke, the reason we have not yet banned the evil AR-15 is because, unlike him, other people lack courage and integrity. Democrats believe guns are evil, and therefore only bad people own guns, which means that prejudice against gun owners is a virtue. This explains why the campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination has become a contest to see who hates gun owners the most. Does it matter that the premise of their argument is demonstrably wrong?

In 1994, a ten-year prohibition on the manufacture, possession, and transfer of certain “semiautomatic assault weapons” was signed into law.
And what was the result of this ban? . . . A Justice Department report examining the impact of the ban was underwhelming at best. “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement,” the report states.
The report goes on to explain that the law’s larger impact on overall gun violence was minimal, because the banned weapons were rarely involved in criminal acts in the first place. According to the FBI, rifles — a broader category that lumps together your grandpappy’s hunting rifle with military-style rifles — constitute an average of 340 homicides per year. Though any loss of life is tragic, these numbers don’t exactly rise to the occasion in solving what is commonly characterized as a national epidemic. . . .
Between 2007 and 2018, 173 people were killed by mass shooters using an AR-15, according to a New York Times analysis — roughly, 15 per year. (For perspective, 13 people die per year from vending machines falling on them.) The fearmongering regarding this weapon becomes even more apparent when one considers the estimated 8 million AR-15s currently in circulation — the vast majority of which will never be involved in a crime.

So, just to make sure everybody’s got this in proper perspective: According to the FBI, there were 17,284 murders in the United States. Also, according to the FBI, in an average year, rifles are the weapons used in 340 homicides. Simple math tells us that rifles — all rifles, of every kind — are used in less than 2% of U.S. murders, and AR-15s account for only a tiny fraction (0.09%) of U.S. murders.

Even if we banned all rifles, 98% of murders would still happen, and banning AR-15s wouldn’t even reduce murders by one-tenth of 1%! Yet the audience at the Democrat debate erupted in applause when O’Rourke promised that “we” (i.e., Democrats) are “going to take your AR-15.”

Democrats hate you. They really, really hate you.