Will Phobias About AR-15s Keep Schools From Adopting This Innovative Product?

Time is of the essence in mass public shootings. Civilians and police stop a lot of mass murders by carrying handguns, but sometimes you need a larger round than is available in a traditional handgun. It often simply isn’t practical to carry around a rifle. And school staff might not have time to run to a locker to retrieve the needed gun.

Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter, Meadow, died in the 2018 Parkland school mass murder that left 17 people dead, is fighting to give school districts the tools they need. Byrna, a company that makes innovative self-defense tools, has donated eight backpacks containing collapsible AR-15s to Pollack’s “Meadows Movement” nonprofit. These guns fire .223 caliber rifle rounds and are more powerful than traditional handguns.

On January 4th, Pollack will give the backpacks to the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office for use by school resource officers (SROs) and Will Hartley, superintendent of Bradford County Schools.

“The folding rifle is easy to carry throughout the day for a school resource officer inside the bulletproof backpack,” Pollack said. “The seconds to get minutes lost retrieving a rifle from a locker vs. pulling the bulletproof backpack into a vest and having the rifle on hand equates to the number of lives that could have been saved.”

The school superintendent echoes his comments. “I wish more people could have it,” Hartley notes. “Because if someone comes on your campus and they have a long gun, we need to be able to meet their force with the same kind of force.”

Bradford County Schools is smart enough to have multiple layers of protection. Even when school resource officers are in the right place at the right time, they have a tough job. Uniformed guards may as well be holding neon signs saying, “Shoot me first.” Attackers know that once they kill the sheriff’s deputy, they have free rein to go after everybody else.

To prevent that, the Bradford County schools are part of Florida’s Guardian Program. As in nineteen other states, teachers and staff are trained to use guns to protect people. But their guns are concealed. Permit holders make guards’ very difficult job easier. If an attacker tries to kill a school resource officer, he reveals his position and makes himself a target to someone with a concealed handgun. As with concealed handgun permit holders generally, the whole point is that the attacker doesn’t know who else he needs to worry about.

Instead of a sign in front of these schools saying “Gun Free School Zone,” they are replaced with signs warning: “Please be aware that certain staff members at Bradford County Schools can be legally armed and may use whatever force is necessary to protect our students.”

But, unfortunately, there are plenty of schools around the country that haven’t learned the lessons that Bradford County has. And these backpacks, with their built-in bullet-resistant vests and ARs will help protect school resource officers from surprise attacks from behind them and will give them more potent firepower if they get into a firefight with attackers. In literally just a couple of seconds, the bullet-resistant vest can also be put on their front side.

Technically these guns are called AR-pistols rather than AR-15s, but the difference in terms is entirely arbitrary and results from nonsensical government regulations on how to define a rifle. Instead of a stock, an AR-15 pistol usually has a tube, but the two guns are functionally identical.

Pollack so believes in Byrna’s products that he is now their chief public safety officer.

It will be a shame if school districts’ phobias about AR-15s prevent them from taking advantage of this innovative product.

Who Wants to Tell California AG Bonta that Access to ‘Weapons of War’ as a Check Against Tyranny is a Core Tenet of the Second Amendment?

I spent much of the last week assisting my brilliant colleagues in preparing their supplemental brief in Duncan v. Bonta. This is the magazine-capacity case that kicked off the now-famous “freedom week” in California in 2019. Our win in district court was affirmed on appeal by a 3-judge panel, but then was reversed by the Ninth Circuit sitting en banc.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court acted on our appeal by vacating the en banc decision and remanding the case for further proceedings in light of Bruen.

Back in the district court, the Attorney General Rob Bonta submitted an overlong brief making all sorts of inane arguments, which our brief responds to quite well. However, one throwaway line from the Attorney General bugged me immensely . . .

In neither Heller nor Bruen did the Court find that the Second Amendment’s protections were grounded in the need to bear arms for militia service…or as a “check against tyranny”. In fact, Bruen repeatedly confirms that self-defense (and not militia or military service) is the “central component” of the right protected by the Second Amendment.

Personal self-defense is certainly a critical aspect of the Second Amendment, but both the founders as well as the generations immediately after them considered one other purpose paramount: a final defense against a tyrannical government that attempts to overthrow our constitutional order.

This idea, once accepted as common knowledge, has become controversial. It has been derided by modern day gun control advocates as the “insurrectionist theory” of the Second Amendment that was invented by the NRA in the 1970s.[1]

Yet it certainly wasn’t invented by the NRA, nor is it some tinfoil hat theory. It instead goes to the very core of what the Second Amendment was intended for, as the historical record is indisputable on this point.

Embarrassing as it may be to admit for some polite society academics of today, the Bill of Rights was written by people who just finished violently overthrowing their former government. Based on that experience, they were obviously very fearful of the new government they were forming becoming tyrannical, and so they included the Second Amendment, in part, as a failsafe.

You don’t need to take my word for it – the Founders said so themselves. James Madison tried to assuage fears of a tyrannical federal army running roughshod over the people in one of his many Federalist Papers:

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Are we slouching toward fascism? 
Andrew P. Napolitano

Fascism is a governmental system in which the means of economic production and delivery of services are privately owned but government-controlled. Throughout history — before even getting to its racism and wars — fascism has led to the glorification of the state and the destruction of personal liberty. It is happening here.

During the past few months, we have learned that the major credit card companies have begun to record transactions at gun shops so as to enable the feds to learn the identity of patrons. These are lawful gun shops selling lawful products to lawful purchasers. The credit card records do not reflect precisely what was purchased — it might have been $2,000 for a gun safe or for gun safety lessons — but they do record the purchase amount and the contact information of the purchaser.

The problem here comes about when the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives come calling with their so-called National Security Letters in order to find out who is purchasing what. The George W. Bush-championed Patriot Act of 2001 — the most horrific congressional assault on personal liberty since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 criminalized dissent — permits federal agents to bypass the search warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment when they want private records that are in the hands of a custodian.

These NSLs are really nonjudicial search warrants in which one federal agent has authorized another to seek your records. Since the gun shop purchase consists of the exercise of the natural right to exchange value for a lawful product and since the product purchased is an extension of the natural right to self-defense, the former protected by the Fifth Amendment and the latter by the Second Amendment, there is no lawful reason for the feds to know who has made these purchases.

Prior to the Patriot Act, if the feds came calling upon the custodian of your records, the custodian informed you of the government’s interest in your records, and you had a reasonable time period to challenge the feds in court. Today — notwithstanding the free speech protections in the First Amendment — it is unlawful for a custodian to inform you that the feds have come calling.

Thus, the records held by your computer, telecom, financial, health care, utilities and credit card service providers, your physicians and lawyers, may all be accessed without search warrants and without notice to you.

Under the Constitution, where federal gun registries are not permitted, it is none of the federal government’s business who has purchased what from a gun shop.

Moreover, since the Supreme Court has characterized the right to self-defense as fundamental, akin to the freedom of speech, there is no more authority under the Constitution for the feds to learn the identity of gun shop patrons than there is for them to learn the identity of bookstore patrons.

The additional danger here is to the democratic process. These decisions to keep records of sales and make them available to federal agents were made by government bureaucrats and corporate bosses, not by Congress. This is a creeping deterioration of the right to keep and bear arms because the feds are notoriously anti-gun, no matter who is president and no matter what the Supreme Court rules the Second Amendment protects.

Add to this the new program concocted by Visa whereby it will keep records of credit card purchases in which it will rank the purchased products’ conformity with the green climate change agenda view of carbon emissions, and make those records available to the Treasury Department, and you see a further whittling away of personal privacy.

It gets worse.

Last week, Amazon announced a bizarre new partnership with the New York City Police Department whereby if you live in New York City and install Amazon’s Ring service at the front entrance to your apartment — and thus permit Amazon to record the audio and video of all who come and go at your entrance — the NYPD will have real-time access to the same audio and video.

This is yet another example of law enforcement intruding into private property — the home — without a search warrant, without probable cause of crime and without articulable suspicion.

The Amazon/NYPD partnership — just like the credit card/BATF partnership and the Visa/Treasury partnership — was never authorized by legislation. All these symbiotic relationships, just like the now well-known Big Tech/Department of Homeland Security partnership producing censorship of speech the government hates and fears, were born by bureaucrats using government carrots and sticks and the acquiescence of gutless corporate chieftains willing to please their government masters.

The government’s appetite for surveillance is insatiable. Yet, the dual purposes of the Fourth Amendment — by requiring judicial search warrants based on probable cause of crime and specifically describing the place to be searched and person or thing to be seized — are to keep the government off the peoples’ backs and to compel law enforcement to focus on crimes that have already been committed.

May the government lawfully engage in fishing expeditions? In a word: NO.

The secondary purposes of the Fourth Amendment are to prohibit general warrants — not based on probable cause of crime and not specifying the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized — and to require that before the government begins to gather any evidence of crime, it has articulable suspicion about the crime that has been committed and the person or place to be investigated.

Moreover, articulable suspicion alone — the threshold for commencing all criminal investigations — does not justify any search, seizure or non-public surveillance.

What we have here is the stealth use by government of private enterprise to do its unconstitutional dirty work, thus far untested in the courts but unconstitutional on its face. What secret favors is the government giving in return?

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court Judge, has published nine books on the U.S. Constitution.

Opinion: Gun control and the right to self-defense in a Culture of Death
Those in favor of gun control are right about one thing: there is no excuse for inaction. But they are wrongheaded in acting toward stricter but ultimately futile regulations.

As the nation continues to mourn the victims of the Uvalde massacre, and with old wounds aching over the sentencing of the Parkland shooter and the Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist trial, Catholics should be the ones who offer answers when it comes to gun violence.

Some legislators want to focus on gun ownership and gun control. But the remedy won’t be found there. Rather, the remedy is spiritual. The nation must realize that saving lives begins with returning sanctity to life in all its stages. And sometimes, as counterintuitive as it may seem to say so, it might, at times, actually take a gun to do that.

A common response to the continual tragedy of school shootings in the United States is to assert that if there are no guns, there will be no shootings. But this perspective is both impractical and misguided. Christians are still called to defend the lives of the helpless—and sometimes an opposing firearm is the best tool to accomplish that. To a virtuous person, the Second Amendment bestows the real potential to be a lifesaver. In these dark days, exercising the right to keep and bear arms may even be considered a responsibility where it is permissible.

As the Left makes arguments that gun control is about saving lives, Pope Francis and the American bishops have taken this tack as well. Though the USCCB’s emphasis is certainly on sensible measures (such as reasonable background checks), the push to have Congress tighten the legislation around the buying and selling of firearms ever since Columbine seems a little too in lockstep with the liberal sectors of government—such as their support for banning assault-style weapons and limiting handgun ownership.

In the wake of Uvalde, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago was particularly direct:

The Second Amendment, unlike the Second Commandment, did not come down from Sinai. There is an understanding that we all have in our hearts, engraved in our hearts, a natural law about the value of human life. And there is no amendment that can trump that.

His Eminence is both right and wrong. Yes, the right to bear arms is not a sacred right, as is the right to life. But there is an often-neglected angle of argument concerning that truth that responsible citizens bearing arms can save lives, and at certain times and situations, it does take an amendment to protect the lives that Cardinal Cupich affirms is a duty of natural law.

But, in fact, the criminals and even the criminally insane will often get their hands on firearms. Severe legislative restrictions, however, will keep many honest citizens unarmed, and that can lead to more unnecessary deaths as well. The bishops might say that being anti-gun is being pro-life, but allowing for the increasingly common scenario where the strong will take evil advantage over the weak is not pro-life at all.

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Even in Los Angeles………

U.S. Supreme Court aids gun rights yet again

The United States Supreme Court has no troops to enforce its rulings, but the justices are doing what they can to enforce their decision earlier this year in a major Second Amendment case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc., v. Bruen.

Last week the court took a dim view of a Massachusetts law that bars people convicted of gun-related misdemeanors from ever being allowed to buy a handgun again.

In Morin v. Lyver, the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Massachusetts law using a two-step balancing test that the Supreme Court forcefully threw out in its New York State Rifle & Pistol decision. The Supreme Court has now vacated the First Circuit’s ruling and sent the case back down to be heard again under the high court’s new standard, which is based not on subjective judicial balancing tests, but on history.

This time Massachusetts will have to prove that its law barring some people from buying guns is similar to restrictions that have traditionally been viewed as consistent with the right to keep and bear arms.

Dr. Alfred Morin was arrested for carrying a gun without a permit while on a trip to Washington, D.C., in 2004. Morin was licensed to carry in Massachusetts and didn’t realize his permit was not valid in D.C. due to the city’s total ban on carrying a gun (later declared unconstitutional). He was arrested after he complied with a no-gun sign at a museum and tried to check his gun with security. He pleaded guilty to carrying a gun without a license and was sentenced to jail time, but never required to serve it.

That misdemeanor conviction now bars Morin from ever again obtaining a permit to buy a handgun. He sued the state, but the U.S. District Court found that the law was constitutional because Morin was not a “law-abiding citizen,” having been convicted of a gun-related misdemeanor warranting imprisonment. The Court of Appeals agreed with that reasoning.

However, under the Supreme Court’s new standard, it’s no longer enough for courts to find that the states have “an interest in preventing crime” and then determine if the law is “reasonably tailored” to meet those needs. The presumption now is that individuals have the right to keep and bear arms. States must prove that any laws restricting that right have traditionally been consistent with Second Amendment rights going all the way back to the early days of the Republic.

Morin v. Lyver is the fifth case the Supreme Court has vacated and sent back down for reconsideration under the new standard. One is a California case, a challenge to the state’s 10-round magazine limit. In addition, a Ninth Circuit en banc panel vacated a decision in McDougall v. Ventura County, involving a challenge to the closure of gun shops early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The case has been sent back to the trial court to be reconsidered in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the New York case.

This is an important course correction. The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is not a privilege that governments may arbitrarily withhold or revoke. A written constitution is the consent of the governed, and it places limits on government power. Enforcing those limits is the job of the Supreme Court. Freedom depends on it.

There is not going to be a national divorce. There is going to be a national backlash, a backlash against the stupid, corrupt, and evil ideology of the left. We normal people are not going anywhere. We’re not chopping up our country any more than we are going to tolerate these monsters chopping up our little kids. We will not divorce them. We will defeat them. And it will be glorious.

Instead of a National Divorce, How About a National Backlash?

Dumping the libs and their garbage, blue cities – figuratively throwing their junk out on the lawn just in time for the sprinklers to go off – is so tempting and sounds so sweet. If only we could wave a magic wand and make the weirdos, losers, and mutations of the left just go away, along with annoying states like New Jersey. After all, they are pretty much a significantly less hot Amber Heard, and they are figuratively doing to America what she did to Johnny Depp’s bed.

Pack your stuff, libs, and get out. You’re someone else’s problem now.

But as much fun as it is to simply wish our pinko ex would just disappear and that we in red America could buy a Porsche, rent a condo, lose some weight and get some hair plugs, then hook up with an eager actress/model/whatever half our age, that doesn’t work out when middle-aged accountants do it, and it won’t work out for us if we try it as a country. The devil is in the details, and the details get really, really devilish.

I discuss a national divorce in my most recent non-fiction book, “We’ll Be Back: The Fall and Rise of America,” but I show the consequences of one in my seventh and latest novel in the “People’s Republic” series, the just-released “Inferno.” Beyond all the new book’s gunplay and shooting – there’s a lot – and its cruel mockery of woke, liberal nonsense – there’s a lot of that too – “Inferno” gets into the weeds about what happens when you split a country in two.

The answer is not a lot of good.

When was the last time you heard of a happy divorce, especially when the exes have to live next door to each other? And they would – right next door to us. A national divorce means splitting up the country. This state goes blue, that one red. Some places are easy to take – yeah, blues, Chicago is all yours. But what about the rest of Illinois? Once you get out of Beetlejuice’s hellhole, you are mostly among normal Americans who like America, know which bathroom to use, and don’t murder each other with gleeful abandon. What, are we going to leave them behind the lines?

That’s not going to work well, especially when the blue rulers decide to turn blue America into a giant college campus and mandate that everyone sits to pee as a Harrison Bergeron-esque nod toward urination equity.

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Toddlers In Charge

Watching the Biden Administration announce, retract, modify, announce, let Joe speak, retract… and on and on is like watching a toddler on a sugar high. Think about it. Anybody who’s ever raised or dealt with small children knows that within the limits of their understanding, toddlers don’t necessarily lie. Tell outrageous stories about why or how something happened, yes. Understand that those stories are what adults often consider to be lies, no.

Ask a toddler how a vase got broken and s/he might tell you that the dinosaur did it. Yeah, right, you say. No, really mama! The dinosaur flew around the room and crashed into the vase! It wasn’t me! The dinosaur did it! The kid totally believes this and does not recognize it as a lie. Why? Well, it’s true that the dinosaur flew around the room and hit the vase. What the child has neglected to mention is that it flew out of their hand. Yep, they tossed it. But after that, the dinosaur was on its own, therefore its inability to fly properly led to it crashing into the vase. So, it’s not the kid’s fault. See how that works?

The Biden Administration seems to think that those sorts of fantastical, detail omitting stories can be utilized by adults trying to clumsily talk their way out of a bad situation that they created. They don’t seem to understand or recognize that they were supposed to leave that behavior behind when they were five or six years old. We have a bunch of toddlers in charge.

The magical thinking that this administration engages in is astounding. I mean, yes, magical thinking is emblematic of Democratic administrations, but this one is taking it a step further. Okay, on second thought, Gavin Newsome may be tied or pulling ahead in the race for most magical thinking by a Democratic pol. After all, Newsome seems to believe that he can order California drivers to go all in on electric cars with zero consequences for the electrical grid. Given his penchant for magical toddler thinking, I’m sure the fault for the electrical system will reside with the states from whom California purchases electricity and the failure of the grid will be the fault of the electrical companies who can’t upgrade their grid due to California’s highly restrictive environmental laws and regulations.

Back to our national toddler drama.

The Biden administration has been putting ideas out in the media-sphere and stating that these are done deals. Then when the public and often other Democrats push back and either refuse to deal or publicly state that this is not only a bad idea, it’s a stupidly bad idea, the administration pulls back and claims that this was never a done deal, but rather a suggestion. Just like the toddler who told mom, that no, he really wasn’t planning on jumping off the back of the sofa onto the dog, even though the kid is standing on the back of the sofa, looming over the dog. Not a lie for the toddler, simply a change of plans.

The entire kerfuffle with DeSantis over Hurricane Ian is a good example. Biden called the governors of the states affected by Ian, except for DeSantis. When DeSantis pointed that out, Biden called a few hours later. The administration of the President of the United States got called out for toddler behavior. They tried to justify it as scheduling. A toddler would argue that he meant to do it all along, and just hadn’t gotten to it yet.

A week or so ago, the feds were discovered purchasing $290 million worth of Nplate, a medicine used to treat radiation poisoning. Right after Putin threatened to use nukes against Ukraine. What are the feds (led by the Biden administration) expecting to happen? And who’s getting that medicine? When asked, Biden’s press secretary tried to pass it off as a scheduled and normal purchase. Uh-huh. Yep. Of course. Toddler magical thinking again, this time of the “What? I do this all the time!” variety.

Another example… refusing to reopen the Keystone pipeline for gas but trying to get OPEC to increase production and then relaxing sanctions on Venezuela in the hopes that we can up their production and buy gas there. It’s clear that the administration will do anything to avoid giving jobs to the middle, fly-over states and it’s clear that environmental concerns regarding pumping oil are not a consideration with regard to other, poorer countries. Toddlers engaging in payback behavior combined with the selective amnesia about prior behavior that led to current situation.

I know I’m not pointing out anything new or exciting here. Anybody who’s been paying attention has seen the projection of behaviors, the lies, obfuscations, hypocrisy, and contorted explanations coming out of the White House. But it just hit me that this is truly toddler behavior. What really scares me is that, like toddlers, I’m afraid that this administration – Ron Klain, Jill Biden on down – actually believes its own stories and doesn’t understand why the rest of us aren’t buying those stories. That’s the truly scary thing.

Toddlers are narcissistic little creatures. Everything is all about them, how they feel, and what they want. There’s a reason ages two to about four are called “The Terrible Twos.” Parents are supposed to train that out of their children so that they grow up to be a wee bit more self-aware and somewhat less navel-gazing. Adults with a narcissistic toddler mindset are created either through a chemical imbalance in the brain, or a failure to have that mindset trained out of them at an early age. For this administration I’m going with the latter.

I’m not sanguine about the ability of the rest of us to teach them that this sort of behavior is unacceptable. They’ve gotten their way for too long. But I do believe that we can (and must) somehow sanction this behavior. Like toddlers, they will squirm and scream to avoid taking any responsibility for any consequences arising from their actions. They will call their opponents (which encompasses all those who disagree with them) all sorts of names in hopes of getting those opponents to feel guilty and ashamed and give up on doing anything. They will continue to spin fantastical tales of evil aliens forcing them into actions they really didn’t want to take. They will do and say anything to get away with everything.

Don’t let them.

These are supposedly functional adults (note the modifier. However, they want us to believe they’re functional adults, so I’m going to treat them as such. If they can’t handle that, that’s their problem). Just like you would with a toddler, calmly and patiently point out the inconsistencies in whatever story they’re spinning out. Don’t allow the temper tantrums to affect you. Continue to point out the problems. Do it in public if you can, because throwing a temper tantrum in front of an audience has the beneficial effect of showing their toddler behavior to everyone.

Call them out when you see and hear those stories. Ask why they think that’s going to work, or why the other thing is true.

If you’re not a parent, or haven’t dealt with toddlers, ask someone who has for tips and tricks. They’ll happily share.

This administration and its supporters are toddlers who are acting up. Treat them as such.

“Bad Luck” and the Evanescence of Imperfection.

One of the few websites I check in on almost every day is RealClearPolitics.

I do so in part because of the range of its links—the editors cull many of the best columns from all sides of the political debate, so it’s a handy way to stay au courant—and in part for its expanding subsections on books, science, religion, defense, and other cultural topics.

Over the past several years, under the rubric RealClearInvestigations, the site has also been publishing its own incisive and independent investigative reporting on a wide range of issues. Those stories tend to be hard hitting and meticulously researched.

Every election season, they scour the polls and sift through the dross in order to supply readers not only with the results of a representative sampling of individual polls—which, as I note in a forthcoming column elsewhere, are often little more than a form of fan fiction—but also with the valuable “RCP average,” a kind of polling gold standard that pundits and prognosticators eagerly anticipate.

Finally, RealClear provides a constantly evolving digest of the news of the day arranged according to a handful of topics and printed in a single column down the left side of its home page.

In just 30 seconds, you can glance at those headlines and come away with a sense of the national mood.

Things on Sunday, Oct. 2, are not too cheery.

Under the rubric “Biden Administration,” for example, we find “Biden Says ‘We Can Afford’ Student Debt Forgiveness After GOP Lawsuit,” and “Fed-Backed Censorship Machine Targeted 20 News Sites,” a story about the Election Integrity Partnership, a consortium of four private companies that, under the aegis of the government, are surveilling, reporting on, and censoring conservative social media sites that publish stories displeasing to the administration.

Then we come to the topic of “U.S. Economy.”

Corporate Number Crunching Games Signal a Deteriorating Economy,” “Meta to Lay Off People for 1st Time,” “Fed’s Preferred Inflation Gauge Shows Price Surge Again Last Month,” and “Dow Ends Month Down Nearly 9%.”


There are other items on that list. None is what you would call upbeat.

This colloquy of gloom reminded me of a famous observation from the writer Robert Heinlein.

“Throughout history,” Heinlein wrote in 1973, “poverty is the normal condition of man.”

“Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people.”

Then comes the kicker: “Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.”

“This,” Heinlein added, “is known as ‘bad luck.’”

Of course, Heinlein was speaking ironically with that last bit.

The issue was not “bad luck” but virtue-fired stupidity.

All those “right-thinking people”—the people with the socially certified ideas, the kinder, gentler, mask-wearing, anti-fossil-fuel types—are on the ramparts, proudly toppling the atavistic instruments of their prosperity.

Very soon now, they will look around at the wreckage their good intentions have wrought and wonder who is to blame for the poverty, the chaos, the ruins that lay strewn where once, not so long ago, a vibrant civilization stood, supported by a mighty economy.

I am of two minds about this.

On the one hand, it’s an illustration of what the great philosopher Michael Oakeshott had in mind when he observed that “The evanescence of imperfection may be said to be the first item of the creed of the Rationalist.”

By “Rationalist,” I should add, Oakeshott meant more or less what we mean when we speak of “Progressives.” All are utopians of one stripe or another. Imperfection offends them. They cannot understand why, since they have identified and castigated it, it still exists.

They conclude, wrongly, that it must be because people are insufficiently enlightened by the progressive creed. Either that, or it must be because of people who perversely reject that creed. So they divide people who disagree with them as either ignorant or evil.

The former must be managed, directed, uplifted. The latter must be destroyed. On the other hand, the situation Heinlein describes is not an unavoidable fate. It isn’t “bad luck.”

Just as our mastery of the techniques of scientific inquiry enables us to make reliable progress in plumbing the secrets of nature, so our understanding of how markets work gives us the tools to manage the economy effectively. If, that is, we heed those lessons.

We have just pumped trillions of dollars into the economy, with the result that inflation is the worst it has been in nearly half a century. Who could not have foreseen that result? (Milton Friedman certainly would have.) 

We have willfully ignored the lessons of the market in order to indulge in all manner of utopian social engineering, with the result that economic growth has stalled and people are scared.

Robert Heinlein issued a useful warning. I wonder whether we will heed it?

The Second Amendment puts safety first

The Second Amendment which addresses the right of American citizens to bear arms, is a touchy subject these days, but its effect on our daily lives cannot be overstated. Being able to protect ourselves in a world that is becoming increasingly dangerous by the day is essential to survival. The right to arm oneself, whether the weapon is concealed or not, has become more important than ever.

Take a stroll through any major city and you’re likely to see a replay of what I witnessed recently in New York City, rampant homelessness, burgeoning crime and a proliferation of drug use. Feeling safe should be and has previously been an inalienable right, but today that’s no longer a given in this country. Instead, our cities are in a dangerous downward spiral. They are increasingly filthy and crime rates are skyrocketing. Make no mistake about it, America and its people are at risk. Cities that used to be barometers for the American experience are now bastions of hellish disarray.

Take for example San Francisco and you will see precisely what I mean. Shoeless drug addicts roam the streets like zombies in a trance, treating the streets like public toilets. Droves of homeless people shoot up heroin, not in trash-littered back alleys, but in plain sight on major roads and the gutters are filled with discarded syringes. What we need to rectify this situation is more policing and enforcement of the current rule of law. Until then, we are going the wrong direction by focusing on gun control. Our focus needs to be increased funding to the police, not “defunding” them. We also need to ensure that law-abiding citizens are afforded their constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms which is becoming an increasingly essential way for men and women to protect themselves.

People kill people, guns do not. Research has demonstrated that over-regulating gun ownership will have zero effect on the estimated 400 million guns that are already in private circulation. Gun control simply cannot stop violence in this country, which is being caused by a crime-ridden society that is out of control. Imagine that you are a small businessman in a big city rife with crime and short on cops. Imagine how you might react if an armed robber burst into your store, pulled a gun and demanded cash. You could meekly hand the money over and put your fate in the hands of an armed criminal, hoping he doesn’t just decide to orphan your children, or you could up the odds in your favor by defending yourself with a legally purchased and properly registered firearm.

In San Francisco, the former District Attorney decided that the city would not be prosecuting thieves who stole, as long as their thievery fell beneath a certain price point, these initiatives were announced publicly, talk about throwing gasoline on a fire. The result of that ridiculousness? We have all seen the videos of the resulting crime sprees posted online of gangs of criminals breaking into and robbing stores. In this era of lawlessness, the best life insurance policy is one tucked into a holster. Should we be forced to choose a thug’s life or our own, we should have the means to make the right decision.

Gun control advocates like to point to the mayhem wreaked by mass shootings, especially in schools, which are a truly terrifying reality. But we know that the perpetrators of those horrors are often mentally ill people. I am not opposed to sensible steps to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of the insane and the criminal—but I am opposed to overreach by the government to prevent law-abiding and rational Americans from securing the firearms of their choice.

Gun violence deaths detailed by Giffords Law Center hype the numbers but fail to look at the hard truth, the overwhelming majority of gun deaths are caused by people who misuse guns and stricter gun legislation would do little to stop those individuals who are compelled to use guns to commit crimes. The sooner we recognize this truth and the sooner we recognize where our country is headed, the quicker we will come to the realization that we truly must protect ourselves at all costs. Responsible gun owners know how to properly secure their weapons away from children and often routinely train with professionals to maintain standard of skill.

Gun ownership by good people deters crime. Criminals may think twice about committing their attacks if they are forced to wonder if their victims are packing heat. As the saying goes, “if guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have them.” What’s more, strict gun laws make it more difficult for people to protect their homes and families, a growing concern in a day and age where fewer and fewer people want to become police officers. In addition, considering this reality, police simply cannot protect everyone all the time. Response times may be short, but the window for self-preservation often occurs in mere moments.

A Pew Foundation report found that 79% of male gun owners and 80% of female gun owners said owning a gun made them feel safer. Another 64% of people living in a home in which someone else owns a gun also said they felt safer.

Safety in a land without allowing people to exercise their Second Amendment will become even harder to find. However, good people can make America safer with a permit in their pockets, and a holstered gun on their hips.


Mr. Williams is Manager / Sole Owner of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the year. He is the author of “Reawakening Virtues.”

Why Fauci Became a Bobblehead. 

In my charming little village in Westchester County, there is a charming little gift shop. And in the shop’s charming little window stands a display of bobblehead dolls. Unlike, say, an Elvis Presley doll, or figurines depicting the cast of Friends, these dolls aren’t meant to be seen in the spirit of knowing irony. They are more like religious icons: ritual objects of liberal veneration.

The dolls include the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who has been posthumously reinvented as an avatar of legalistic Grrl Power. Next to her wobbles the head of Vice President Kamala Harris, a figure whose elevation to secular sainthood appears a bit premature. Above those stands Dr. Anthony Fauci, the uncontested exemplar of all that is true and noble in today’s liberal pantheon. (Did I mention it is a very liberal town? Did I need to?) I imagine the shop’s customers bringing home their Fauci bobbleheads and placing them in positions of honor in their otherwise tchotchke-free homes. Henceforth, all who enter those households will be expected to stop and genuflect before Good Saint Anthony.

None of this is healthy. A secular domestic shrine is no place for a scientist. For that matter, it’s no place for a Supreme Court justice. (About Vice President Harris, the less said, the better.) But such is the state of our national ideological logjam. On the left, Fauci has become an object of quasi-religious devotion. On the right, he is reviled as the all-powerful enabler of a quasi-totalitarian state. (“Fauci Lied, People Died,” reads one of the many anti-Fauci T-shirts available online.)

Both sides are wrong. Anthony Fauci is not some uniquely brilliant scientist whose edicts must be obeyed without question. Nor is he the evil genius who single-handedly engineered the unprecedented restrictions on our freedoms that we’ve suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic. Does Fauci embody arrogance and overreach? Absolutely. But the problem is not the man; it’s built into the structure of our public health system. Fauci could be replaced tomorrow, and those problems would remain. In fact, given Fauci’s plan to retire by the end of this year, I’ve no doubt that the next occupant of his chair will eventually develop the same excesses and failings.

Fauci is the product of a public health establishment that has placed far too much power in the hands of a single person. The agency Fauci leads, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, remains fairly obscure to most Americans. Unlike the acronyms for the Food and Drug Administration or the Centers for Disease Control, the letters “NIAID” don’t exactly roll off the tongue. But Fauci’s post at NIAID is quite unusual among high-level government officialdom. NIAID’s director operates with nearly total independence from political supervision or oversight.

It wasn’t always this way. Fauci’s name first became known to the public during the grim early years of AIDS. The then-young doctor was vilified (often unfairly) by AIDS activists who said he wasn’t doing enough to fight the mysterious scourge. In reality, at that time Fauci and NIAID had less power to steer medical research and very limited ability to influence public behavior. But Fauci did reveal a predilection that would come to full flower during the Covid crisis: the willingness to peddle white lies he believed would nudge the public toward proper behavior. As the Manhattan Institute’s John Tierney has noted, Fauci promoted the idea that AIDS could be spread through “routine close contact.” That was intended to send the message that everyone was at risk and a “heterosexual breakout” could occur any day. It wasn’t true. What’s more, all the evidence there was at the time made clear that it wasn’t true. The feared breakout never happened. But boosting AIDS paranoia helped boost funding. And a panicked public, Fauci must have reasoned, would be a more pliable public.

Even so, Fauci and his agency didn’t attain their full power until after 9/11. In the months after the Twin Towers fell, a series of still-mysterious anthrax attacks killed five Americans. Bush asked his vice president, Dick Cheney, to come up with a response. Cheney decided to put NIAID in charge of defending the U.S. from both bio-attacks and pandemics of natural origin. “With the stroke of Cheney’s pen, all United States biodefence efforts, classified or unclassified, were placed under the aegis of Anthony Fauci,” writes Ashley Rindsberg at Unherd. But, unlike, say, the director of the National Institutes of Health (Fauci’s nominal boss), the head of NIAID is not a political appointee. He can be fired only through a long, byzantine process. This situation is typical for mid-level bureaucrats, but it is highly unusual for the leader of such a powerful agency. (The head of the CDC—another agency whose powers have greatly expanded—also falls into this curious category.) Under Cheney’s plan, “Fauci now had a virtual carte blanche to not merely approve but design and run the kind of research projects he sought,” Rindsberg writes, “and could do so with no oversight structure above him.”

Looking back to those post-9/11 days, we can see why the Bush administration thought this was a good idea. In fact, any time the nation faces a grave threat, people tend to want a wise, incorruptible czar in charge—someone empowered to act decisively while floating above petty political concerns. But it is never a good idea to put government officials beyond the reach of political oversight, and Fauci’s career shows why. Over time, such officials accumulate too much power and become too accustomed to having the last word. Those who work in the political sphere need to grapple with trade-offs, acknowledge criticisms, and hammer out compromises. But an all-powerful czar can ignore skeptics and focus exclusively on the crisis at hand.

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Lawrence Solomon: Finally it’s safe for the whistleblowers of corrupted climate science to speak out
The greatest scientific fraud of the century will be laid bare, along with its corrupt enablers in government, academia, industry and the media

Whistleblowers at the U.S. government’s official keeper of the global warming stats, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), claim their agency doctored temperature data to hide the fact that global temperatures plateaued almost 20 years ago.
Can the whistleblowers be believed in this claim, originally made in 2015? And in the further claim that NOAA then rushed this doctored data into print in time for the UN’s Paris global warming summit of world leaders, to dupe any doubters that the planet was in fact overheated?

Of course the whistleblowers can be believed, and not just because NOAA repeatedly stonewalled inquiries, even failing to comply with a congressional subpoena. No one paying attention can have any doubt that the governmental global warming enterprise has been a fraud. It’s been lies from the start, starting with the very mandate of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which astonishingly ruled out factors like the sun as being worthy of investigation.

Among those astonished was the Danish delegation to the IPCC. It discovered at one of the IPCC’s early meetings a quarter-century ago that its scientists could not present their study, newly published in the prestigious journal Science, showing a remarkable correlation between global warming and solar activity. To their further astonishment, to squelch dissent the IPCC cabal set out to destroy the reputation of its chief author, falsely accusing him of fabricating data.

Whistleblowers now know they will no longer be silenced.

Dissenters from the climate change orthodoxy soon learned that, if they refused to recant, they stood to lose their jobs, their funding, and their reputations. They also learned the corollary: to get hired, to get funded, to get promoted, they needed to produce the science the authorities wanted. Governments annually spent billions of dollars on climate change research, virtually all of it commissioned to prove that the science was settled — that man-made climate change represented an existential threat to the planet.

None of the billions spent on research amounted to anything — none of the models proved reliable, none of the predictions were borne out, none of the expected effects materialized. The Arctic ice cap hasn’t disappeared, polar bear populations haven’t declined, hurricanes haven’t become more common, malaria hasn’t spread, temperatures haven’t continued to climb. What did materialize was fraud after fraud.

Climategate — the 2009 revelations of hacked emails showing scientists labouring to manipulate data and cover their tracks — was followed by Climategate 2.0 (a second damning batch of hacked emails), by Amazongate (the revelation that the IPCC’s claim of coming devastation in the Amazon was based on non-peer-reviewed research by WWF eco-activists), Glaciergate (here the IPCC relied on speculation in a popular magazine) and other scandals.

The mega-fraud was the assertion that the science was settled, which the IPCC trumpeted with claims that 2,500 scientists from around the world endorsed its findings. Except those 2,500 — a number that was soon inflated to 3,000 and then 4,000 — didn’t endorse anything. They merely reviewed some of the studies heaved into the IPCC’s maw, many of them giving the research the thumbs down.

Likewise, a much heralded claim that 97 per cent of scientists believed the planet was overheating came from a 2008 master’s thesis by a student at the University of Illinois who obtained her results by conducting a survey of 10,257 earth scientists, then discarding the views of all but 77 of them. Of those 77 scientists, 75 thought humans contributed to climate change.  The ratio 75/77 produced the 97-per-cent figure that global warming activists then touted.

In fact, major surveys show that scientists in the tens of thousands do not believe that global warming represents a threat. With the departure of president Obama and his administration, which had blocked independent investigations from being pursued, whistleblowers in greater numbers will now dare to come forward, knowing they will no longer be silenced.

One of them is Dr. John Bates, a recently retired principal scientist at NOAA, who described how his agency manipulated data to manufacture a non-existent increase in global temperatures.  In a press release last week, U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith thanked “Dr. John Bates for courageously stepping forward to tell the truth about NOAA’s senior officials playing fast and loose with the data in order to meet a politically predetermined conclusion.” This week a second press release from the same committee indicated that NOAA will be brought to account.

The blizzard of lies from NOAA and other corrupted agencies will soon be outed in excruciating detail. The greatest scientific fraud of the century will thus be laid bare, along with its craven and corrupt enablers in government, academia, industry and the media.

Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe, a Toronto-based environmental group.

Joe Biden, Lout, Liar, And Lunatic

When candidate Joe Biden promised that if elected president he would unite the country, did he think he could do it alienating roughly half the population? Or did he mean he would unite the Democrats and independents against the “MAGA Republicans”? Thursday’s speech clearly indicates what he had in mind was the latter.

Last week, Biden smeared Donald Trump supporters, calling them semi-fascists who practice “burn-it-all-down politics” and face “​​backwards full of anger, violence, hate and division.”

One of the most appropriate and fitting responses we saw to this was Libby Emmons’ Biden Is The Semi-Fascist He’s Looking For in Human Events.

Biden followed up his “semi-fascist” rant with Thursday’s prime-time “soul of a nation” speech, in which he spoke of the 74.2 million who voted for Donald Trump in 2020 as white supremacists, extremists, rearward-looking deplorables, and wild-haired bogeymen who pose an existential threat to the country.

Which shows he’s a liar. Less than a week after the 2020 election, Biden swore before the country he would “​be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify; who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States.”

Sure, he said Thursday that not every Republican is a “MAGA Republican.” But his handlers were not going to let him make the mistake that New York Gov. Kathy Hochul did when she told that state’s Republicans they needed to leave and go to Florida. He needed to show some restraint in what amounted to a campaign speech.

Biden is also a lunatic. To have listened to him since he took office, it’s hard to conclude that he’s not trying to provoke a cold if not hot civil war, or at least a major political conflagration. He did tone things down a bit Thursday from his previous fever speech, but that was likely in part to make room for all the meaningless bromides he spouted as if they were the most unique and profound words ever stitched together.

Naturally Biden resorted to our “democracy” over and again as if it were a convention that should be worshipped. He said it well beyond the point of where it became sickening. And it’s another lie. The U.S. is not a democracy. Never has been. Why do the Democrats and their media cheerleaders continue to identify our style of government in the same terms a grade-schooler would?

The U.S. is a representative republic, or democratic republic. (And Biden and his party are its biggest internal threat.) Democracy is mob rule, which is exactly what the Democrats want – as long as it’s their mob ruling. Think of the George Floyd riots, Antifa violence, destruction, looting – they support anything that wrecks order and helps set them up to take on more political power.

Even the ancients understood the dangers of democracy. A Greek historian who lived more than 2,000 years ago noted that Democracy, “by its violence and contempt of law becomes sheer mob rule.”

As always, Biden was a lout, projecting, as Democrats do, the sins of his party – flouting the Constitution, disregard for the rule of law, a naked lust for political power, and contempt for our system of government – onto the only major party in this country that has, too often with minimal success, tried to protect liberties and limit freedom-killing government expansion.

But none are surprised. Biden has always been a sleazy character who has plagiarized the work of others, bullied anyone not in a position to challenge him, smeared GOP judicial nominees, vilified a man whose offense is that he was driving the truck that Biden’s first wife drove into the path of, killing herself and infant daughter, and likely used his office for personal monetary gain. The man is a wreck who is taking a country down with him.

Gun law grounded in bigotry reveals its roots

It’s telling when your best argument for a new law is to cite discredited laws of the past as part of your rationale.

But that’s just what New York State has resorted to in trying to convince a judge that its plethora of new restrictions making a permit to carry a handgun virtually useless should pass muster.

As the clock ticks down to the Sept. 1 implementation date, the misnamed Concealed Carry Improvement Act will do nothing more than create a new class of law-abiding criminals. And if that phrase sounds oxymoronic, you don’t know New York State – where the second half of that word is often the most operative.

Instead of targeting criminals, the new statute targets law-abiding pistol permit holders, many of whom will become felons simply by ignoring a law that will accomplish nothing except to put their lives at risk and put them in handcuffs.

The fact that in defending the law from a legal challenge, the state’s filing contains a footnote practically disavowing its own arguments tells you all you need to know. But that’s what happens when you try to defend the indefensible restrictions pushed through by Gov. Kathy Hochul and a compliant Democratic Legislature.

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Recent pitch for gun control relies on faulty data

State Rep. Emily Kinkead, D-Pittsburgh, and state Sen. Art Haywood, D-Philadelphia, are sponsoring bills in the state House and Senate respectively to require Pennsylvanians who wish to purchase firearms first apply for and secure a permit from a law enforcement agency.

We are skeptical that this proposal complies with the Supreme Court’s decisions — including one decided just this summer about New York state’s onorous and frequently arbitrary permit requirements — that protect the right of Americans to keep and to bear arms.

We are even more skeptical it complies with the state’s Constitution, which leaves even less ambiguity about the right of Pennsylvanians to arm themselves.

And in voicing our skepticism we must also note that Kinkead is advocating for the law using specious data.

As political reporter Bradley Vasoli detailed, a claim by Gov. Tom Wolf echoed by Kinkead that Pennsylvania sees a mass shooting “every 10 days” relies on an uncommon definition of mass shooting, under which about two-thirds of the “mass shootings” are incidents without a single fatality.

Twenty-three shootings combined without one death.

Kinkead also echoed an argument by Haywood that Missouri saw its gun-related killings increase after a similar law was repealed in 2007. But what neither Kinkead or Haywood acknowledged and what Vasoli and Second Amendment rights advocate John R. Lott noted in examining this claim is that while gun-related killings increased 17 percent in a five-year stretch after the repeal, they were already increasing before the repeal. In fact, before the repeal they had increased by nearly 30 percent.

When considering legislation that affects a deeply cherished right of our region, we need legislators that respect our U.S. and state constitutions. We also need legislators that respect all the facts and not cherry-picked numbers or contorted definitions.

A bridge too far for legal gun owners

The whole gun debate can be annoyingly shrill, absolutist and selfrighteous. Both sides are known to generate some eye rolls from the general public, many of whom just want the violence to stop but would rather not trample on the rights of legal, law-abiding gun owners.

Maybe a way forward would be to put county sheriffs in charge of all firearms laws. Sheriffs are elected, so they’re accountable to the people. They understand guns, both their potential to protect and their capability to generate great harm. They know that training and responsibility are

essential. Across the state, sheriff’s offices effectively handle the application and permitting of conceal carry permits for eligible Missourians. Local law enforcement seems to have a certain practicality with guns that the chattering class sometimes lacks. They know that training is good and the filing of paperwork is necessary, but they also seem to know when enough is enough.

Recently, FBI Director Christopher Wray has expressed a desire to conduct audits of concealed weapons records in Missouri. Nothing major, just a little looksie to make sure there is no “misuse of the system.”

Yeah, right. Why don’t you take a look in people’s houses and medicine cabinets while you’re at it? It doesn’t sound like an abuse of the Fourth Amendment.

Actually, the sharing of conceal carry records is a violation of Missouri law, which specifies that conceal carry endorsements or permits are considered personal protected information. It’s probably also a violation of Missouri’s Second Amendment Protection Act, a law that puts limits on sharing firearms information with federal authorities or databases.

SAPA, as its known, contains some overreach that hinders the ability of law enforcement at the local level, but bear in mind it’s requests like this from the FBI or Justice Department that sparks overreach as a response to the overreach. Local sheriffs are right to balk at this unreasonable and unnecessary request. It’s absurd to think that violent felons, traffickers and drug kingpins, the kinds of people the FBI ought to worry about, will mosey over to your local sheriff’s office to fill out a CCW application.

— St. Joseph News Press

Law-abiding gun owners will not harm you. But criminals will

There have been innumerable debates on gun ownership. These discussions generally address two critical factors: gun violence in inner cities and mass shootings. As a result, some Americans have called for the removal of certain weapons, such as the AR-15, from civilian ownership, and the limitation of magazines to 10 rounds as a means to combat these two problems. While I understand the desire to act quickly, we should not act in a way that makes villains of law-abiding gun owners who only wish to protect themselves and their families while simultaneously giving criminals the upper hand in their pursuit of destruction.

Can good, responsible citizens with firearms actually make a difference in life-threatening situations? A recent incident in Indianapolis demonstrates that, with training, a responsible gun owner can respond swiftly, safely and responsibly to save lives. A 22-year-old saved a significant number of lives when he eliminated a shooter who murdered three people and injured three more in an Indiana mall; the situation likely would have been much worse. Since 2021, there have been a total of 22 confirmed incidents of concealed carry permit holders employing deadly force to stop criminals in life-threatening situations. This number sounds insignificant in a vacuum; however, it is critical to consider that most shootings do not occur in places where firearm carry is permitted — for obvious reasons — thus there is generally no armed person available to stop a shooter.

As a gun owner with a license to carry a concealed handgun, I am fully aware that the use of force is an action of last resort. Firearm carriers are trained to avoid risky situations and make every attempt to deescalate whenever feasible. Nonetheless, taking a life is only appropriate if your own life is in imminent danger. I hope that I will never be in such a life-or-death scenario, but it is comforting to know that I can safeguard my life and the lives of others if necessary. After all, no sane individual goes about his or her day craving blood; rather, people carry to secure their own safety. Responsible individuals can use a weapon to prevent mass shootings and other types of deadly violence.

However, the villainization of law-abiding gun owners has prompted many Americans to distrust firearms and gun owners in general. This has occurred at the hands of government actors and gun control lobbyists who twist the facts to make people believe that guns are both dangerous and unnecessary in life-threatening situations. They make gun owners out to seem like fringe conspiracy theorists who have a deep distrust for authority.

Unsurprisingly, this could not be further from the truth. Gun owners are your neighbors, your friends and your family members. The firearms community is comprised of people you care about, and they are neither monsters nor evil; they are ordinary citizens concerned with their safety and the use of the fundamental right to defend themselves. No one should be at danger of having their rights and liberty infringed upon by criminals intent on causing bodily harm. Restrictive gun laws merely place criminals who flout the law in control.

When I recall growing up in rural South Carolina during a very difficult period in our nation’s history, I recognize that it was firearms that enabled Black people in the South to fend off the Ku Klux Klan. I consider today’s single moms and women who, in most cases, would be powerless against an assailant but could have the ability to protect themselves with a firearm. It goes without saying that members of the LGBTQ community have the right to keep and bear arms, and they most certainly ought to have the right to defend themselves if they find themselves a potential victim of a transphobic or homophobic attack. I consider the hatred of Asian people and atrocities committed against our Jewish brothers and sisters; they absolutely deserve to use deadly force against assailants who seek to harm them for their immutable characteristics. This privilege is available to all law-abiding Americans, regardless of color, religion, orientation or any other classification.

Criminals and those seeking to commit mass violence do not care if you are armed or not; they will find other ways to harm you. This has been the case since the beginning of human history. However, the question is how to strike a balance between protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens and keeping us safe from criminals. Maintaining access to weapons for law-abiding citizens is essential, and a balance must be struck between laws that screen out criminals and laws that make it difficult for law-abiding people to acquire and possess firearms.

You may not like firearms, and you may not want to possess one, but if you ever find yourself in a situation similar to the victims in that Indianapolis mall, you will wish there was a good Samaritan with a gun who could mean the difference between survival or death.

Judge Napolitano’s basic sentiment is correct, he just gets some facts wrong.

Your Gun Is None of the Government’s Business

No sooner had the Supreme Court released its decision last month recognizing the personal right to carry a handgun outside the home than the big-government politicians began to resist the court’s holding. None was more anti-Constitution than New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who told the court that “New York is ready for you.”

I understand that politicians often say and do things that they inwardly know are unconstitutional or unlawful in order to please their political bases, but vaguely threatening the Supreme Court over a fundamental liberty is an offense to the Constitution.

Here is the backstory.

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The folly of an ‘assault weapons’ ban

Congress is desperately trying to resurrect a carcass of the 1990s. Democrats want to bring back their so-called assault weapons ban but pack it with more added restrictions this go-around. In fact, U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, R-9th District, had a revealing exchange with New York Congressman Jerry Nadler, where the latter admitted that the point of the bill is to ban a host of weapons in everyday use today.

The bill, expected to receive a floor vote in August, is about disarming Americans, classifying them more as serfs and not citizens. Regardless of some good intentions for public safety, it’s yet another piece of gun legislation that gives criminals and the government the upper hand over law-abiding citizens.

Even U.S. Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, who gleefully spearheaded the most recent gun control compromise, denounced the bill. “So-called ‘assault rifles’ are semiautomatic firearms,” wrote Cornyn. “Firing mechanism essentially the same as a semiautomatic pistol and shotgun. They should be honest: Democrats want to disarm law-abiding citizens while doing little about crime and undermining the police.” Cornyn’s right. Simply banning weapons based primarily on aesthetic characteristics serves no useful purpose except to take guns away from the citizenry.

The 1994 ‘assault weapons’ promised a reduction in gun violence and crime. Yet, tough sentencing laws and pro-active policing brought down the crime rate. A 2004 U.S. Department of Justice report noted that renewing the ‘assault weapons’ ban makes little sense. According to the report, the magazine capacity limits and banning certain classes of semiautomatic weapons “is likely to be small at best, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement” to impact gun violence. The ban expired soon after the Department of Justice findings.

“HR 1808 represents the latest over-reach by congressional Democrats seeking to incrementally end the private ownership of firearms,” declares Grass Roots North Carolina President Paul Valone. “By using a draconian ‘one feature’ test rather than the ‘two feature’ test of the 1994 ban on semiautomatic firearms, it would ban something as simple as a Ruger .22 pistol if it happened to have a threaded barrel, which is commonly used for attaching a muzzle brake or other device. Equally egregious is its ban on magazines holding more than ten rounds, severely limiting the ability of lawful citizens to use firearms for self-defense precisely when Democrat policies are causing an explosion of urban homicide.”

The ‘one feature’ test simply means that if a particular firearm has a single feature like a barrel shroud or telescoping stocks, it will fall under the ban. Valone and others believe that even if passed into law, the Supreme Court will probably strike it down as unconstitutional, particularly given the recent Bruen decision.

Still, the Constitution continues to prove to be meaningless in the minds of the aggressive gun-grabbing crowd. President Biden himself mindlessly reads from the teleprompter, “You can’t be on the side of the police” if you oppose this bill. Yet, a new Quinnipiac Poll, even with relentless media cheerleading for gun control, reveals that 49% of Americans support an ‘assault weapons’ ban. The bill has morphed into a behemoth for banning tens of millions of guns that already exist for the sake of rewarding anti-Second Amendment donors who lavishly spend to elect Democrats intent on seizing firearms.

It’s time to focus less on running afoul of inherent rights and banning legal weapons and instead look to practical solutions to crime and gun violence. The overwhelming majority of gun crimes are committed with handguns by criminals who already possess them illegally. Cities with the highest crime rates are usually the hardest places to buy guns in America. We should reject further proposals that narrowly focus on criminalizing law-abiding citizens for the illusion of safety.

The Americans legally accessing firearms remind us that the American Founders got it right the first time with our Second Amendment. People want to protect themselves from criminals and even the government if it becomes tyrannical. This protection was included in our Bill of Rights for the simple reason that it’s a right that predates American constitutional theory itself.

The reason behind the ‘Right to Bear Arms’

So, you think so called assault weapons and high capacity magazines should be outlawed?

Any person who thinks so, should first re-read and remember the Supreme Court’s opinion in District of Columbia et al., v. Dick Anthony Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783. Then look at the news about the Ukraine/Russia war. Putin is a tyrant just like King George was when the Second Amendment was written into the Constitution, only worse. The 2008 Supreme Court of the United States’ opinion holds that “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm/or traditional lawful purposes, such as self-defense…” 

The Second Amendment is not just about protecting ones self, home, or family against a bad guy who breaks in or threatens harm. The important points of the opinion centers around the Court’s language stating the reason for the holding of the case was the historical right citizens have to resist tyranny. The Court reviewed the history of old England where Stuart Kings disarmed their opponents of their right to keep arms, to suppress them. Following that example, King George III took the same measures in the colonies against opponents of the King’s rule.

“…[H}istory showed that the way tyrants had eliminated a militia consisting of all the able-bodied men was not by banning the militia but simply by taking away the peoples arms, enabling a select militia or standing army to suppress political opponents. This is what had occurred in England that prompted codification of the right to have arms in the English Bill of Rights. 

“{It} was understood across the political spectrum that the right helped secure the ideal of a citizen militia, which might be necessary lo oppose an oppressive military force if the constitutional order broke down.” 

One does not need to be a history buff to know that in colonial days, the average British soldier carried a muzzle loading flintlock gun. A colonist could be as well armed if needed, in order to fulfill the purpose of the Second Amendment as it was understood at the time. The Heller case affirms the same right in this United States of America under the Second Amendment.

If this purpose of the Second Amendment is understood in the “gun control” debate going on now, it is reasonable to conclude that the average American citizen may need to be about as well armed as the average military man if a tyrant is intent on oppression or conquering against us citizens or our country. What docs the average military man carry today? An assault weapon with a large magazine. Should not the average American citizen have the same right to carry an assault weapon with a large magazine in order to fairly confront an oppressive tyrant under the citizen’s constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment?

I am sure many will scream “that will never happen!” “Americans don’t need assault weapons with large magazines for such a purpose!” So did the Ukrainian government so think, before Putin attacked! I understand that for many many generations in Ukraine personal firearms were outlawed. People did not even know how to hold or use firearms as a result. When attack by Putin was close the Ukrainian government apparently made wooden replica guns to teach people how to handle guns before handing out military weapons so they could help defend themselves and country. Ukraine citizens lined up for blocks to get a weapon to defend themselves, their families, property and country. And citizens did stand up to and are standing up to Putin. They did so just like the framers of the Second Amendment to our Constitution intended for us to be able to do if necessary.

You think Putin won’t attack the U.S.? Take away the Second Amendment or severely hamper it and you will soon find out. Yes, the mass shootings in our country are horrible beyond belief, especially against little children, and I agree everything that can be done to stop shootings should be done short of eliminating or severally hampering the Second Amendment more than it already is. But if you think nothing can be worse, go over and live in Ukraine for a while and I think you will see that it can be. Do you want to take a chance? I don’t.

Analysis: Guns Are Normal and Normal People Use Guns

As I hope to write regularly for The Reload, I thought my first contribution ought to say something about how I generally approach American gun culture, which bears on the fierce debates over guns taking place across the country.

I am a sociologist who has been studying American gun culture for the past decade. My approach to the topic differs considerably from most of my gun studies colleagues. Rather than focusing on crime, injury, and death with firearms, my work is based on the proposition that guns are normal and normal people use guns. This is not an article of faith or belief statement for me; rather, it is based on my empirical observations of guns and gun owners.

When I say guns are normal and normal people use guns, I mean it in two senses. First, guns and gun ownership are common, widespread, and typical. Second, guns and gun ownership are not inherently associated with deviance or abnormalities.

The normality of guns runs deep in human history. The use of projectile weapons is behaviorally normal for Homo sapiens as a species. Today’s widely owned civilian firearms are part of an unbroken thread of what Randy Miyan calls “the human-weapon relationship,” stretching back to rocks in the uniquely evolved hands of our prehistoric ancestors. As paleoanthropologist John Shea concludes, “Projectile weaponry is uniquely human and culturally universal. We are the only species that uses projectile weaponry, and no human society has ever abandoned its use.”

Although most societies today – consensually or not – give over to the state a monopoly on legitimate violence and hence the ability to restrict civilian ownership of projectile weaponry, the United States is an outlier in having a significant portion of the population insist upon their right to own firearms independent of the state, a right written into the U.S. Constitution and many state constitutions. In early American history, guns were widely owned by those who could legally do so. One reliable estimate found guns in 50 to 73 percent of male estates and even 6 to 38 percent of female estates. These rates compare favorably to other common items listed in male estates like swords or edged weapons (14% of inventories), Bibles (25%), or cash (30%).

Even as the nation has become more settled, more industrial, and more urbanized, levels of firearms ownership remain exceptionally high. Accounting for under-reporting of gun ownership in surveys, a reasonable estimate is that 40% of all American adults personally own a gun, over 100 million people. According to the Small Arms Survey, there are some 400,000,000 privately owned firearms in the United States. Actually, if the average gun owner owns 4 to 5 guns, then the actual number of civilian firearms could be closer to half a billion.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, shooting guns is also very normal in the United States. In 2017, the nonpartisan Pew Research Center asked, “Regardless of whether or not you own a gun, have you ever fired a gun?” Nearly three-quarters of respondents (72%) said YES. In population terms, nearly 180 million adults in America have fired a gun. Pew also asked, “Just your best guess, at what age did you FIRST fire a gun, whether you owned it or not.” 63% of respondents answered that they were under 18 years of age when they first shot a gun.

None of this denies that there are what Claude Werner calls serious mistakes and negative outcomes with guns. These range from unintentional discharges to mass public shootings. But huge denominators in terms of gun owners and guns owned means the absolute risk of accidental injury or death, homicide, or suicide is quite small.

I have previously illustrated this using conservative estimates of guns and gun ownership and broad estimates of negative outcomes (including accidental and intentional deaths and injuries as well as non-fatal criminal injuries and victimizations with firearms). I found that just 0.15% of guns and 0.79% of gun owners are involved in fatal or non-fatal injuries or victimizations involving firearms annually.

Looked at the other way around, 99.85% of guns and 99.21% of gun owners are NOT involved in fatal or non-fatal injuries or victimization involving firearms annually.

Of course, the normality of guns and gun owners is not just an academic question. It is reflected in the way many gun control activists and politicians approach guns. At a time when people use terms like “insane” and “addiction” — or worse — to characterize gun culture in America, it’s important to remember that guns are both commonly owned and generally non-problematic here.

Unfortunately, normality is unremarkable. It is not headline news. It is not of concern to social scientists. And yet it is my dominant experience of guns and gun owners.