Minority Report, This Isn’t

In our recent debate over both the constitutionality and effectiveness of red flag laws, there have been a lot of comparisons to the movie Minority Report. In case you’re unfamiliar, Minority Report is a science fiction film set in a future world where technology exists which allows for the prediction and prevention of crime…thus the comparison to red flag laws.

It has been a while since I last saw the movie and it’s on Amazon Prime right now, so I decided a re-watch was in order. But in the first few minutes, the movie itself smashes any comparisons to our red flag laws, current or proposed.

Faced with a case of potential murder and the countdown clock ticking, the protagonist works frantically to decode exactly where and when the crime will occur. As the tension builds, and the team races the clock to pinpoint the exact location of the pre-crime, they assemble and deploy a tactical team to swoop in and grab the not-yet-a-criminal.

Only seconds remain as they narrow it down to two adjacent houses, but refuse to move in until they know exactly which house is the correct pre-scene of the pre-crime. They could just as easily have taken down both houses, rather than risk selecting the wrong one…but they did not. Watch the scene in question here:

This is a key difference in the imaginary world of Minority Report, and the reality which is red flag laws. Even with the advanced (yet fallible) technology of the future, the movie cops wouldn’t simply grab up anybody who might be a threat…they waited until they were sure. They wouldn’t risk arresting an innocent person, even in the name of preventing a murder.

Unfortunately, that was fiction. Our red flag laws enjoy neither the technology nor the restraint of Minority Report…but they are real. Who would have thought a dystopian sci-fi flick would offer a rosier picture than present-day America?

Contact your legislators now to demand they oppose red flag laws.

Originally posted at deltabravocharlie.com

That’s Crazy Talk

I was recently listening to a talk given by my friend Cheryl Todd of Gun Freedom Radio on the topic of “red flag laws,” and she said something that caught my ear. She was explaining the difficulty that trained psychology and psychiatry professionals have in predicting violent behavior, and said “we suck at it.”

Minority Report is fiction, you know.

She’s absolutely right. It does not take much research to discover that it is in fact extremely difficult to predict violent behavior in even those clinically diagnosed…by professionals…as mentally ill. It is also a widely recognized fact that mental illness does not automatically mean someone is dangerous.

So why would we get in such a big hurry to take guns from people suspected of being dangerous, as assessed by the untrained non-professional…when the professionals admit that they “suck at it,” and that the vast majority of legitimately mentally ill people are not dangerous?

And why, if the mental health of the person is in question, do “red flag laws” confiscate the gun(s) but not the person? If the person is suspected of being dangerous, why should they not be immediately confined for assessment by mental health professionals? If their mental health were really that important to us, wouldn’t we want to see that they receive immediate care? And if the safety of those around them were truly the priority, how effective is it to just confiscate the guns we know about, while leaving the supposed dangerous person free to a gun we missed, obtain a replacement gun, or substitute another weapon to commit violence? After all, you could even leave the guns right where they are if you simply take the dangerous person away from them and into treatment.

Seems like there’s an awful lot of holes in that red flag.

You just know what she’s going to do if she gets out…

It is because it actually has nothing to do with mental health or violence prevention, and everything to do with removing as many guns as possible from the hands of free, law-abiding citizens. There are already plenty of laws on the books to prohibit criminals, addicts, and those who have been legally designated as mentally ill from possessing guns. But “red flag laws” are nothing more than an attempt to throw the largest possible net over as many gun owners as possible, without the due process guaranteed by the Constitution.

And that’s crazy talk.

Originally posted at deltabravocharlie.com on July 31, 2019.

Drive On

An argument we often hear from gun prohibitionists is that it is more difficult to obtain and drive a car than it is to obtain and carry a gun. They’ll tell you that it is only “common sense” that we should make gun ownership more closely resemble car ownership. But let’s forget for a moment that the right to keep and bear arms is constitutionally protected, and that the “right to own and drive” cars is not.

Not a right.

To make gun and car ownership more simpatico, we should first make concealed carry licenses reciprocal between all 50 states. The anti-gun crowd objects to this on the grounds that concealed carry licensing standards are inconsistent between the states, and that all driver’s licenses are the same. But a quick web search for state driver’s licensing requirements show that the standards each state enforces vary quite a bit…and despite these differences, a driver’s license from Alaska is still perfectly valid in Florida. So using the “treat guns like cars” standard, shouldn’t a concealed carry permit from Mississippi be valid in New Jersey, for example?  Instead, when it comes to concealed carry, people who have never even read the Constitution go all “states’ rights” and forget all about the differences in drivers’ licensing.

(And don’t even try to use the RealID program to argue about licensing standards. With RealID, the licensing document itself must meet certain formatting requirements, but has nothing to do with actual driving ability. If my driver’s license does not have certain physical characteristics I cannot use it to ride on…not fly…an airplane from Cincinnati to San Antonio. But I can still use it to drive my car from Cincinnati to San Antonio. Common sense!)

Driver’s license, or concealed carry license? Shouldn’t matter.

But let’s not stop there in our quest to make gun ownership and car ownership more similar. Any adult, 18 years of age or more, can buy a car any time they want.  Under current federal law, it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to purchase a handgun…not like cars at all! In nearly every other aspect of life, we consider 18 to be the age of adulthood. An 18-year old can join the military, vote, buy a rifle or shotgun (according to Federal law)…or a car. Why not a handgun?

Not federally licensed. No background check.

Let’s also consider where we buy cars, and how. Car dealers are not required to be federally licensed, nor are they required to conduct a federal background check on potential purchasers. You certainly don’t need to run a background check in order to privately sell your car to someone else. Let’s get rid of that requirement for guns…in order to make it more like buying a car! We should also remember that car sales are not generally restricted depending on how big the engine is, how fast the car goes, or how much fuel it holds (and such restrictions, where they exist, are usually only with respect to whether or not you can take it on the public roads…we’ll cover that in a second). Similar restrictions on things like caliber, firing mechanism, and magazine capacity ought to go away if we want to treat guns like cars! Heck, some states even allow fully automatic cars!

A full-auto auto…

As an aside, we all know that it would be silly to restrict or ban cars that have certain cosmetic or ergonomic features, so of course we will discard all such restrictions for guns as well, right?  Of course we will…it’s only common sense.  And speaking of common sense, we normally require that cars be equipped with a muffler…so let’s make it easier to put one on your gun!

Nice muffler. Image by Oleg Volk.

Of course, the subject of registration of cars versus guns inevitably comes up, but the popular belief that all cars must be registered and licensed through the state is simply not true. Requirements will vary by state, but in most cases if a vehicle is not going to be driven on public roads, it does not have to be registered…and cars are never registered with the federal government! For example, if you had a 4-wheel drive that you only drove around your farm, or your buddy’s farm, or any other private driving complex…you certainly do not need to get tags for it. Except for an instance in which a firearm is actually used for legitimate self defense, every legal use of a firearm I can think of takes place either on someone’s private property with their consent, or on public land as already allowed by law. Never mind that no one can explain how registering an item…car or gun…prevents its use in a crime. They might try to argue that registration makes it easier to solve crimes, but the truth is that it rarely happens, and when it does it is after the fact and prevents nothing. And if you really want to mess with their heads, ask them how they intend to get criminals to register their guns…especially since the Supreme Court has already ruled that you cannot force a convicted felon to register a gun! (Violates their 5th Amendment right to not self-incriminate.)

Unregistered.

Let’s not forget the old standby argument…insurance. Antis will often try to point out that you can’t honor concealed carry licenses in all states because there is no consistent requirement for liability insurance, like there is for drivers’ licenses. Swing and a miss! Drivers are not required to have insurance in order to be licensed to drive…liability insurance is the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle. What if you didn’t own a car but wanted a drivers’ license? Does your state require you to purchase a car before they’ll license you to drive? Of course not. I didn’t own a car when I learned to drive and got my license; my parents had to add me as a driver on the insurance policy they had on their car…but the policy was written on the car, not me. Personally, I’ve never been asked to show proof of liability insurance to rent a car…just a valid drivers’ license (from any state, and even some foreign countries). I can easily fly to Texas and show my Kentucky license and rent a car, whether I own an insured car of my own or not (and if stopped by law enforcement my Kentucky license will be recognized). The car rental agency is the owner of the car, and they are the ones responsible for insuring it.

This is a road one could explore for hours…lots of points of interest and side trips, and you could even get a little lost. But if you keep going, you’ll wind up right back where you started…at one simple truth. Although the right to keep and bear arms is a constitutionally protected civil right, guns and gun owners are much, much more heavily regulated than cars and drivers. Anyone who tells you different is selling you something.

Original post at deltabravocharlie.com

For Your Own Safety

Katherine Nixon is dead, for her own safety.

Afraid of a co-worker’s potential for violence, she voiced that concern to her husband the night before she died, and told him she wanted to take a gun to work.

Dead, for her own safety.

She was forced by policy to work in a so-called “gun free zone.” As a utilities engineer for the City of Virginia Beach, she was forbidden to bring a gun into the building where she worked…as was her murderer. And I am quite confident that the managers of that organization told her (and the other 11 victims of the May 31st shooting there) that the reason for the policy was “safety.”

For your own safety.

If Katherine Nixon had argued this policy with them, they would have lied to her. They would have told her that allowing employees to bring guns to work was not safe. They would have told her that in the event of a workplace shooting, her having a gun would only make things worse. Worse than what?

This is the lie that managers tell employees (and themselves) every day in this country. Despite readily available data to the contrary, they continue to insist that denying citizens the most effective and easy-to-use self-defense tool available somehow makes them safer. Don’t you believe them.

The only ones made safer by policies like these are the managers and the organizations which employ them. As I have written before, these policies are meant to protect the organization from liability, rather than the lives of the human beings who work there. Organizations don’t see employees like Katherine Nixon as real people, with real lives…precious lives worth defending. They are “resources,” and resources can be replaced. You are the “R” in your company’s “HR” department, after all.

Job postings for Utilities Engineer with the City of Virginia Beach as of June 13, 2019

Jason Nixon has retained an attorney, hoping to force some answers and accountability from the city. My cynical side fears he will have little success, however, as the court system has been extremely reluctant to assign any liability to organizations which enact no-gun policies…even while they fail to protect the lives of the people who work there.

Very few states have any sort of law on the books assigning liability to organizations which disarm their people, or even grant immunity to organizations which allow the choice to go legally armed on their premises. This needs to change.

But I do hope that Jason Nixon’s revelation of Katherine’s fears in her final hours might inspire some change in the way the legal system and our lawmakers look at “gun free zones,” and start shifting the calculus of risk-averse managers.

No one should die defenseless…for their own safety.

Why Don’t You Kids Go Outside?

That was the question many my age heard from our parents on a regular basis when we were kids…though it wasn’t really a question. Today, kids are often depicted as sedentary, smartphone and Playstation obsessed couch potatoes, and sometimes that’s true. Fortunately, there are still plenty of kids who very much want to go outside, and the state of Kentucky has a pretty cool program to help them do it.

The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife operates three summer camps, known as “conservation camps,” for kids from 4th to 6th grade. At Camp John Currie, Camp Earl Wallace, or Camp Robert C. Webb, Kentucky kids can spend a week participating in nature studies, archery, boating, outdoor survival, firearm safety, fishing, and swimming.

The best part is that even if you don’t have kids (like me) or don’t live in Kentucky, you can still help a kid get off the couch and into a Kentucky conservation camp. A week at camp costs $225, and some families just don’t have the money to send their child. But by going to this page , you can sponsor a camper by contributing tuition assistance to a specific child or by donating to the general scholarship fund through the Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Foundation.

Read through the list of kids and their stories and see if you don’t find a few that tug at your heartstrings. A lot of these children are in rural counties and are depending on the generosity of another to help them get to camp. And for what it is worth, I’m not asking you to do anything I wouldn’t do. I made my donation today, and now this young girl who wants to “learn how to survive in the wilderness” and “learn gun safety” is going to get her wish.

That there are so many kids who want to do this is great, and it would be a shame if they missed the opportunity for want of a hundred bucks or so. If it gets a kid outside, I think it’s money well spent.

Originally published at:  https://www.deltabravocharlie.com/home/why-dont-you-kids-go-outside

Choose Well

Coloradoans recently experienced a (more or less) collective butt-clenching at the possibility that a crazy lady who wanted to shoot up a school might be running around loose in the state. In anticipation of this possibility, they responded by simply closing all the schools they thought might be at risk and keeping all the kids at home for the day.

Image: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

The thing is, this is precisely why an on-site armed response capability is necessary every day. Do you think that if Columbine, or Virginia Tech, or Sandy Hook had actually expected that a shooting was imminent, they’d have been open that day? I’ll guarantee that if you asked any organization which had actually experienced a mass shooting if they expected it to happen that day, every single one of them would answer “no.” If they had honestly expected something like that to happen, or even think there was a truly credible threat, they would do just what Colorado did and close the doors for the day and send everyone home. (And for the record, I find no fault in that decision. I’d do the same thing if I really thought trouble was coming.)

“So what’s your point, Dave?”

My point is that every single mass shooting at a school or business happened when it was not expected, and if one happens at your school, church, or business it will also be unexpected. Just like every other victim of a mass shooting, you will not have advance warning.

If and when that day comes, the time for avoidance and for preparation is over…you will be forced to react, right then and there. The opportunity to avoid bloodshed will have passed, and the only option remaining is whether it will be a shootout, or a massacre…and guess what? You have to make that choice in advance. Choose well.

https://fastersaveslives.org/

Image: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

 

Note:  Due to excessive spamming, comments are disabled for the time being.

It’s All About You

Occasionally they will slip up and tell you what the real objective of their “commonsense gun safety” and “good first step” gun laws really is. Notice this comment from a Facebook thread discussing the recent shooting in Aurora, Illinois:
That’s right. The commenter here never mentions how useful background checks are in keeping guns away from criminals; rather he points out their utility in creating lists of gun owners which can be used later to confiscate guns. Remember that…it’s going to come up again.
 
Then, since police had his name on a list, they raided his home and confiscated all his guns. Actually, that’s not true. I made that part up.What the police did do after revoking his FOID card was…send him a letter. In the letter he was informed that the FOID card was revoked and ordered to surrender his guns to his local police department. It’s unclear what happened after that (other than the part where he still had a gun and shot people with it).
Bev Horne/Daily Herald via AP
 
I suppose it is possible that the police were simply too busy to go get his guns, but then that doesn’t make the confiscation of the hundreds of millions of American guns look too feasible, does it?
It’s also possible that the police did go looking for his guns, and he hid them. Or that they did confiscate them and he simply went out and got another (without a FOID card or background check). Doesn’t make those gun control laws look too effective, does it?
 
And it is possible that the reason that cops typically don’t go all raid-ey and confiscate-y on this guy and other prohibited persons who fail background checks is because none of this is about disarming criminals, it’s about disarming YOU.
In fact, people who fail background checks while attempting to purchase firearms are almost NEVER prosecuted (12 prosecutions out of 112,090 denials in 2017), and there are a couple of reasons for this. The first and foremost reason is the extremely high rate of false positives (some estimates run into the 90% range). Bear in mind that when we say “false positive” in regards to a NICS background check failure, we are actually talking about a law-abiding citizen who was denied their right to purchase a firearm.
This brings us to the second big reason that there are so few prosecutions for failed background checks, and it is because…you may want to sit down for this…actual criminals don’t submit to background checks in the first place. Studies have shown time and again (as if we needed a study to tell us this) that criminals obtain their firearms by buying them on the street from other criminals, from friends and family members, or most commonly by stealing them. Sorry, but I don’t think you’re going to get a crook to take that stolen gun to an FFL for a background check.
That’s why the Illinois murderer still had a gun, despite all the controls in place in that state. He was never going to submit to gun control laws, and the truth is they weren’t designed to stop criminals like him. They are only meant to create an ever-tightening noose around the necks of law-abiding citizens, until the point that it is impossible for people like you to own a firearm (see the Facebook comment at the top of the page).
It’s not about crime. It’s all about you, baby.

How to Ban Private Gun Ownership in America

It can be done. You just can’t do it in one fell swoop. You must do it in steps.

You take the first step in 1934 by making some kinds of guns bad, requiring them to be registered with the government and levying a special tax on them. This is to establish the idea that while some guns are OK, other guns are bad. This will be handy later on.

Image result for nfa restricted firearms

You take the next step in 1968. You pass laws adding more restrictions on gun ownership and sales, most notably establishing the requirement of a government-issued license for a business to sell guns. This will be handy later on.

Image result for FFL

Your next step is in 1993, when you pass a law creating certain classes of citizens who are prohibited from possessing guns, as well as adding a requirement that licensed dealers (created in 1968) run each prospective purchaser through an FBI background check before selling them a gun. This will be handy later on.

Image result for filling out 4473

It is now “later on.” It is 2019, and none of this has had any impact on criminal gun ownership. Although that is not the true objective, you point this out and insist that we must take yet another step.

Image result for house judiciary committee hearing hr 8
House Judiciary Committee advances HR 8 to markup.

So far you have managed to outlaw certain types of guns and certain types of gun owners, and to require that sales from licensed dealers obtain government permission before proceeding. The problem is that citizens are still allowed to transfer (some) guns to each other without the participation of a licensed dealer (1968) or a background check (1993).

This next step is to pass laws requiring “universal background checks.” (2019) This will now close the loop and ensure that no guns of any type (good or bad) are transferred to any citizen (good or bad) without government permission. And although some would say this is a “good first step,” they are now only two moves away from the end game.

From AWR Hawkins at Breitbart News.

The next step is to point out that “universal background checks” have been ineffective in reducing crime (though they were not intended to reduce crime) since you don’t know who in America owns all the guns. You can’t tell if people are complying with the background check law without gun registration. So you pass that law…to “close the loophole”…and now you have everything you need. All the pieces are in position to take the final step and eliminate private gun ownership in America…at least by law abiding citizens.

 

Let’s review:

We have established that some guns are bad, and the government decides what those are. (1934)

We have decided that some people are bad and prohibited from gun ownership, and the government decides who they are. (1993)

We require government permission to obtain a gun. (2019?)

The government has a list of guns and gun owners. (?)

Remember, every time they pass another law, it is referred to as a “good first step”…right before the next one.

Things That Go Bump

Wow. According to the flames shooting out of my laptop, the President recently banned bump stocks by executive action. These same flames also tell me that this betrayal spells doom for President Trump and the cowardly Republicans. Honestly, if I could figure out how to monetize the anti-Trump and anti-GOP commentary coming from the gun community over this bump stock ban, I’d have my next couple of African safaris paid for already.

Understand that I think bump stocks are a stupid range toy. They are an unserious waste of money and I personally have no use for them. Also understand that I oppose banning them, period…but I agree with Michael Bane that this is not the hill we want to die on.* In fact, I think the President’s attempt at a ban is a “yuge” mistake, and may very well be overturned in court. (Seriously, what’s a liberal judge going to do when blocking a Trump action means supporting gun rights?)

But here’s my proposal. If this “ends” Donald Trump and the Republicans, I’ll buy you a Bentley. You know what’s going to happen to them, worst case? Donald Trump doesn’t get re-elected and the Republicans move back into the minority in the Senate (having already lost the House). You think this “ends” them? Nope. Even if he’s not President anymore, Donald Trump will still be Donald Trump…and at least he was President once. (You get that promotion to Assistant Manager yet?) And the Republicans? They might be in the minority in the House and Senate, but they’re still in the House and the Senate…and you’re still stuck in line at the Chick-fil-A.

So what’s my point? My point is that they aren’t afraid of you, dear Gun Voter. Shake your fist at the sky and threaten to never vote for them again, and watch them scurry off in fear to pass National Reciprocity and the Hearing Protection Act…right after they finish fighting that dastardly bump stock ban. Right?

I’ll never vote Republican again, as long as I live!

The truth is that the GOP prefers to be in the minority. As the minority, they don’t have to produce any results. All they need to do is “fight the good fight,” where they can then vote for all this pro-gun stuff, knowing it will never pass. Then the scrappy losers can hit the campaign trail and tell you how much they loves them some 2nd Amendment, and how they will never give in…as long as you vote for them. Go ahead and throw them in that briar patch, Brer Fox…

But here is where the two parties differ. While the Republicans may not fear their electorate enough to pass pro-gun legislation, the Democrats expect to be loved by their electorate for passing the most stringent gun control imaginable. And although this doesn’t bode well for advancing gun freedom, it ought to be clear which is the worst of the two options.

So what to do? The Vichy GOP will likely never go to the mat to roll back any existing gun control law (and they are all gun control laws). But I am also confident that if Hillary Clinton had been elected, her bump stock ban would be old news, and we’d certainly be facing even worse. Give Democrats enough power, and you’ll be calling Donald Trump’s bump stock ban “the good old days.”

So spare me the tirades about how you’re done with Trump and the Republicans. Sit out future elections, or worse…vote Democrat…and see what happens. Me? I guess I’ll keep voting Republican and working to “bump” them in the right direction.

 

 

*And if you want my pro-2A bonafides, here goes: I really and truly believe that every single gun law enacted since 1781 should be repealed. All of them. I am not exaggerating one bit. So there.

It Can’t Happen Here

“It can’t happen here,” is a phrase often associated with denial, and in the firearms industry, we usually discuss denial within the context of violent crime. Not today.

In my state of Kentucky, we have enjoyed a strong pro-gun environment for quite a while. Kentucky joined the concealed carry wave relatively early on, adopting shall-issue concealed carry in 1996. Here in the Bluegrass State, concealed carry licensing is relatively easy and reciprocity is widespread, and there are many other robust protections for gun owners.

But now we are facing a bill which is truly a gun controller’s wet dream. Pre-filed in the Kentucky General Assembly by Representative George Brown (D-Fayette County), BR 349 is basically an omnibus gun control bill. I would encourage you to read it for yourself here, but here are some highlights of this atrocious piece of anti-gun legislation:

  • Defines semiautomatic rifles ‘assault weapons’ based on a removable magazine plus a single feature, such as a pistol grip.
  • Defines pistols with a threaded muzzle as an ‘assault weapon’.
  • Defines magazines which hold more than 7 rounds as ‘high capacity’.
  • Enacts requirements for all transfers of firearms to go through a licensed dealer (FFL), to include a background check.
  • Makes all firearms transfer records public.
  • Enacts mandatory reporting requirements for loss/theft of firearms.
  • Enacts safe storage requirements.
  • Requires inventory of firearms belonging to the estate of deceased persons be reported to the county Clerk of Courts.
  • Creates licensing requirement for handgun possession.
  • Registers all handguns.
  • Registers all ‘assault weapons’ and ‘high capacity magazines’ as defined above.
  • Requires dealers to log sales and periodically transmit that log to the Kentucky State Police.

Now, it is unlikely that this bill will even make it out of committee. But this is pro-gun Kentucky, and the fact that a bill like this even exists here ought to give you chills, even if you live in another state…especially if you live in another state. Because it can happen here. And if it can happen in a state like Kentucky, it can happen anywhere.

Where liberty goes to die.

Don’t think it can’t. Don’t fall asleep and assume that politicians will simply do the right thing. Contact your legislators and remind them that we value our gun freedom here, and that you expect them to represent those values when they kill this thing.

Click on the picture below to find out who your Kentucky legislators are and how to contact them.