GUN CONTROL ISN’T WORKING …and maybe it never did

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

The newest estimates of guns in American’s hands are now at 390 million, larger than our population. Not the adult population—the entire population. If you’re like me, you see this as a good thing, because guns are a good thing. They represent freedom, independence, safety, more things than I plan to list in this short space. A person who asks why you need a gun, or why you need so many, is so far behind the eight ball where do you begin? Why do you need so many shoes? In a free country like America, who tells you how many shoes you’re “allowed” to have? That goes double for constitutionally protected property.

The fact that this nation is now seeing more vicious immoral street crime than we had in the days of Eliot Ness and the Untouchables, the 1920s during alcohol prohibition, puts the lie to so-called “gun control.” We had no such thing back then. There were absolutely no federal “gun-control” laws until 1934, if you overlook a few minor hunting regulations in National Parks (the first was 16 USC §26 in Yellowstone). We had no background checks, or paperwork, registration of any kind, or age limits. People simply went into stores, like the Five & Dime (also known as Woolworth’s), or local hardware shops, and bought whatever they wanted. Including machine guns.

Today as you’ve read a million times, we’re drowning in laws enacted at the federal, state, and local level to control guns. A fat lot of good that has done! Every criminal of every description has managed to get everything on their Christmas wish list. But—they can’t have any of it—legally. Under so-called “gun control,” criminals can’t even touch or buy or get any kind of gun or ammunition, but as you can see, it hasn’t stopped them. Gun control has failed. It doesn’t work. It is a 100% failure. Murderers laugh at gun control.

What works is law enforcement. Everyone knows this, including the Democrat’s party, who want to gut it. If that isn’t insane, the word insane needs to be redefined. Democrats want to defund police at a time when the failure of gun control is so painfully obvious mass media has almost nothing else on its A-list, night after night. The illogic of banning guns, which the Left is pushing fast and furious, is coupled with an effort to disarm and disembowel police forces. They are having luck with that too. Police are quitting and departments have essentially been neutered nationwide. You folks in Dillon’s audience who wear the blue know of what I speak.

No, what needs a new definition is so-called “gun control.” This duplicitous relatively new scheme (not many decades old) is a method for controlling the public, and increasing government power. It has nothing to do with stopping crime. Here’s a basic truth, remember this: Gun control is not crime control. We have tons of the former, way too little of the latter.

Gun control is now uncontrol.

So why are criminals and malfeasants using their guns with such wild abandon, and such frequency? Without any semblance of stealth, or concern for innocents around them—even their own neighbors and children—they set day and night alight with gunfire. Wasn’t murder a clandestine thing? Has “gun control” become uncontrol? Although the media would have you believe crime is rampant, that’s a Big Lie if ever there was one. Criminal shootings aren’t happening in American cities, or even Democrat-controlled cities, as the Right likes to frame it. It is happening in certain limited, select urban neighborhoods. The demographics are publicly available if you care to check (but not made clear by cable or broadcast “news” outlets). This isn’t a suburban problem. It isn’t a rural issue.

No, what’s missing is that much-maligned, flatly rejected, looked-down-upon and denigrated old American sense of morality, and ethics, and sense of family values, and yes, even religion, and The American Way.

These have been so stripped out of our lives and our culture that even Olympic athletes don’t honor the nation that got them to the podium when they manage to get there. With such abysmal self-esteem, such a vacuum for recognizing what has value, and such constant drubbing from so-called “entertainment” on mass media, it’s no wonder that some people crammed into inner cities just parade around shooting each other and anyone else in range.

So-called “gun control” isn’t working, and doesn’t work. For you though, gun control is practicing, with new and better gear, so you’re a better shot, if God-forbid, you ever need it in a desperate situation. You have the Second Amendment to protect your right to do that. Every effort to deny that to you, that’s the crime.

Award-winning author Alan Korwin has written 14 books, ten of them on gun law, and has advocated for gun rights for nearly three decades. See his work or reach him at GunLaws.com.

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This article was published in the September-October edition of the Blue Press, the commercial catalog for Dillon Precision, the national leader in the manufacture of reloading equipment based in Scottsdale, Arizona.  It is reprinted with permission from the author.

Biden’s Ammunition Ban Is Part Of The Left’s Plot To Disarm Americans

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

The gun prohibition lobbies have discovered that even if they can’t ban guns, choking off ammunition is an effective way to prevent people from using them.

The Biden administration recently prohibited the import of ammunition from Russia. That’s bad news for American firearms owners, but there may be much worse to come.

The gun prohibition lobbies, having mostly failed in their campaigns to convince legislatures to ban guns, have intensified their efforts to disarm Americans by other means. The Biden ammunition ban is one step in the process.

If you’ve tried to buy ammunition in the last year and a half, you know how bad the shortage already was, even before the new ban. In a sense, Joe Biden has been a contributor to the shortage since 2020.

Gun and Ammunition Sales Were Already Surging

When presidential nominees declare an aggressive anti-liberty agenda, many Americans prudently exercise their rights while they still can. If an anti-rights candidate wins and starts implementing a gun-control agenda, the urgency increases. Thus, arms and ammunition purchases surged in 1993-94 (early Bill Clinton), 2008-09 (early Barack Obama), 2012-13 (Obama making gun control a top second-term priority), 2016 (Hillary Clinton campaign), and 2020 (Biden campaign).

Biden was, however, not the only problem. Rising COVID-19 cases worried many Americans that police forces might be temporarily spread thin. Thus, March 2020 saw a huge (and still enduring) surge in ammunition buying, beginning to outstrip supply.

Then came the summer of violence, as Marxists, leftists, and other opportunistic malefactors robbed, burned, looted, and murdered with impunity. Many law enforcement agencies stood idle. While rioting has abated in most cities, it will resume whenever the organizers decide to turn it on again. Meanwhile, the police have been partially defunded in some cities, and vilified and demoralized everywhere.

Then came the summer of violence, as Marxists, leftists, and other opportunistic malefactors robbed, burned, looted, and murdered with impunity. Many law enforcement agencies stood idle. While rioting has abated in most cities, it will resume whenever the organizers decide to turn it on again. Meanwhile, the police have been partially defunded in some cities, and vilified and demoralized everywhere.

Given that so many governments have demonstrated that they cannot or will not protect citizens from individual criminals or from violent mobs, it is no wonder that so many Americans have decided to take responsibility for protecting themselves and their families. But they can’t do that if they can’t buy ammunition.

A Maxed-Out Market

In 2020 about 8.4 million guns were purchased by first-time gun buyers. Like Americans who already owned guns, these newcomers might, in ordinary times, buy a few boxes at a time, for target and safety practice. But in today’s extraordinary times, many new and old gun owners are seeking to buy more, since they do not know if they will be able to buy ammunition at all in the future. Politicians from coast to coast used the pandemic as a pretext to shut down gun stores. No one can predict when they will do so again.

America’s ammunition manufacturers have responded to the full limits of their capacity. Many factories are operating 24 hours a day. But because the continuing effects of COVID-19 have disrupted supply chains, there are many materials bottlenecks that limit manufacturing output.

Input prices have also soared. For example, a pound of copper cost $2.55 on Sept. 2, 2019, and $4.30 on Sept. 2, 2021. Ammunition prices in many calibers have at least doubled. The backorders at ammunition manufacturers now stretch out to a year or more. Hornady Manufacturing Company — known for very well-engineered self-defense and hunting ammunition — said in May 2021 that it already had orders for its next two and a half years of production.

The ongoing ammunition shortage is seriously impairing the exercise of Second Amendment rights. Many gun owners have cut back on practice because they cannot be sure they will be able to replace the ammunition they use. Some firing ranges are not even able to sell customers a box of ammunition. The shortage is particularly burdensome for the millions of Americans who purchased their first firearm in 2020 and are being deprived of practice opportunities.

Drying Up Import

On August 20, 2021, the Biden administration announced it would not issue new licenses for the import of ammunition from Russia. Existing licenses were not affected. Ostensibly, the import bans are sanctions against the Russian government for its attempted murder of dissident Aleksey Navalny (although the seriousness of the Biden administration’s sanctions policy is questionable).

In 2020, 765 million units of Russian ammunition were imported into the United States — more than from any other nation. The calibers most affected by the Biden import ban are 7.62×54, 7.62×39, 5.45×39, 5.56×45, and match-grade .22 rimfire. Those first four calibers are mainly for AK platform semi-automatic rifles. AK rifles are manufactured by U.S. companies and by overseas exporters. Functionally, these popular rifles (and sometimes large pistols) are alternatives to the even more popular AR platform.

In general, AK rifles are manufactured to looser tolerances than ARs. This makes them less accurate, especially at longer distances. But they are also amazingly durable, and function well even under conditions of hard use, such as exposure to dirt.

Jim Grant, an editor of the AmmoLand website, urges Americans not to worry: other foreign countries export the above calibers to the United States, and by the time the existing Russian import licenses expire, some of the Russian manufacturers may be able to shift production to other nations.

Biden’s Ban Isn’t the Only Threat

Although the ammunition shortage may ease up in a year or two, the gun prohibition lobbies have more restrictions on their agenda. Michael Bloomberg’s “Everytown” lobby wants America to adopt the British system, in which guns and ammunition must be stored in separate, locked safes.

“We are all safer” in such a system, the Bloomberg lobby claims. True enough, if “we” means “violent home invaders.” But having to open two safes in a few seconds when invaders have crashed through your home’s back door makes life perilous for your family.

Perhaps the biggest current threat is a recent California law misleadingly billed as “background checks for ammunition.” As the history of gun control shows, what happens in California doesn’t stay in California. California prohibits mail-order sales. So rural Californians might have to drive hours to find a retail store with the ammunition they need.

If you can find a store with the necessary ammunition, the California statute requires the ammunition buyer affirmatively to prove American citizenship. Don’t have a handy certified copy of your birth certificate? California will take up to 22 weeks to issue you one. If you can’t get a certified birth certificate (or a passport, which usually requires a birth certificate to obtain), then you can never buy ammunition in California.

If you do have a certified birth certificate, the ammunition background check can begin. It is very different from the background check for firearms purchases.

Don’t Californicate the Gun Market

For the typical firearms background check, the buyer’s identity is checked against lists of prohibited persons (e.g., persons with felony convictions, unlawful aliens who were apprehended, persons under domestic restraining orders). In contrast, the ammunition check blocks sales to everyone who is not on the California registry of gun owners.

California’s handgun registry was created in 1990, and the long gun registry in 2014. If you bought your firearm before that, you won’t be on the list, and your ammunition purchase will be denied. You will also be denied if your current address is different from where you lived when you bought your gun.

As a result, 99.8 percent of California ammunition purchase denials are erroneous. The California appeal system for wrongful denials is opaque and slow. The apparent net effect of California’s “background checks for ammunition” has been to deter or prevent at least 2 million law-abiding Californians from purchasing ammunition.

As California illustrates, the gun prohibition lobbies are more sophisticated than ever, and they have discovered that even if they can’t ban guns outright, choking off ammunition is an effective way to prevent people from using guns.

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This article was published September 7, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.

Texas Is Now an “Open Carry” State, Here’s Why That’s a Good Thing

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

It has always been antithetical to the spirit of the Constitution to require a license to own a firearm

As of September 1, you no longer have to pay the government to carry a gun in Texas.

Most people think of Texas as the Wild West and may be surprised this was ever the case in the Lonestar State. But, Texas previously required a license to carry a gun, a restriction on citizens’ rights you’ll still find in 31 other states. Most of the time, that means citizens can keep guns in their homes or cars, but to carry on their person they must complete a class and then pay the government a recurring fee to obtain their permit. This could cost hundreds of dollars.

To address this, the Texas state legislature passed a “constitutional carry” bill during their last session, and Governor Gregg Abbott signed it into law in June. The bill doesn’t actually change the eligibility for purchasing or owning a gun. The state still blocks anyone under the age of 21 from gun ownership, as well as many people with criminal records. And those who wish to purchase a gun must of course still go through a background check as well.

Constitutional carry merely means that citizens no longer have to pay the government, or jump through hoops, to legally exercise their right to bear arms.

But be that as it may, it has not stopped the hand-wringing over the new law by many progressives, firearms instructors (who profit greatly off of licensing mandates), and police — all of whom are now spending considerable time warning the public that this will lead to an increase in gun crime and violence.

“New gun laws in Texas will surely lead to more gun violence,” read a headline in the San Antonio Report.

“New Texas law allowing people to carry handguns without permits stirs mix of fear, concern among law enforcement,” said the Texas Tribune.

And Moms Demand Action, a progressive anti-gun group, is offering to help businesses block consumers who carry.

Candidly, these talking points are tired, and they don’t stand up to reality.

First and foremost, it has always been antithetical to the spirit of the Constitution to require a license to exercise a right clearly defined in the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights. For no other right do we demand that citizens jump through hoops or pay the government to use them. Imagine if similar requirements were implemented for free speech or freedom of religion. It would be a gross injustice, as are gun permits.

Additionally, making people pay to take a class and then pay to obtain a license from the government does little more than block poor people from exercising their rights. Some of these requirements were put in place to intentionally block people of color from accessing guns in the past—laws that continue to reverberate today—making these measures even more unjust.

There is nothing about paying the government that makes a person less or more likely to be violent. In fact, those who intend to commit violence already intend to break the law, and will not be bothered with a permitting process in the first place. Arguments to the contrary are totally detached from reason, the nature of crime, and everything we know about violence.

Lastly, and without getting too into the weeds, it’s important to point out that the way the vast majority of gun violence and gun deaths are tracked and reported is… deeply problematic to say the least, if not downright disingenuous.

Mass shootings include any incident where four or more people are killed in a general area. That means even when the shooter is known to the victims, they are in their own home, or a crime is gang-related, they all get lumped into this arbitrary category that makes gun violence by strangers seem more prevalent than it is. Suicides are lumped in with homicides, which also leads the public to think there’s more gun crime than there is. And the number of times a year guns save lives is usually overlooked altogether. For the record, estimates show at least 162,000 lives are saved by gun ownership a year and millions of crimes are prevented.

Furthermore, we have strong data that show ownership of guns actually correlates with less violence, not more. Statistics from the US Department of Justice show that “U.S. gun-related homicides dropped 39 percent over the course of 18 years, from 18,253 during 1993, to 11,101 in 2011. During the same period, non-fatal firearm crimes decreased even more, a whopping 69 percent.” During that same time period, gun ownership increased significantly, even breaking records in 2012.

On the other hand, we continue to see states with the strictest gun laws lead the nation in actual gun crimes and homicides. California and Illinois, which all but block residents from gun ownership altogether, lead the nation in mass shootings. And New York, which has similar laws in the city, recently experienced a 166 percent increase in gun violence during the pandemic.

The Texas law does not necessarily mean more people will carry guns; it just means they don’t have to pay the state before they do so. But if the new law does lead to more people exercising their rights, it would be a positive story either way.

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This article was published on September 2, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from FEE, Foundation for Economic Education.

He Said The Quiet Part Out Loud

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

During a July 21 town hall event on CNN, President Joe Biden was addressed by a member of the audience who posed a set-up question about guns. The questioner asked, “So, how will you address gun violence, from a federal point of view, to actually bring about change and make our local cities safer?” The front part of the president’s answer was nonsensical, but then he said the quiet part out loud: “Guns. I’m the only guy that ever got passed legislation, when I was a senator, that made sure we eliminated assault weapons. The idea you need a weapon that can have the ability to fire 20, 30, 40, 50, 120 shots from that weapon — whether it’s a — whether it’s a 9-millimeter pistol or whether it’s a rifle — is ridiculous. I’m continuing to push to eliminate the sale of those things, but I’m not likely to get that done in the near term.”

That language seems pretty clear to me — President “No One Is Coming to Take Your Guns” wants to take at least some guns, such as AR-15s, which can accept standard-capacity magazines of 30 rounds, for example. That plank of the Biden citizen-disarmament plan was made very clear in his “The Biden Plan To End Our Gun Violence Epidemic,” which I excerpted at length in the October 2020 Downrange column. But based on his remarks of July 21, he also broadened his wish list of firearms he’d like to ban/take/regulate to include 9mm pistols, based on their ability to accept higher-round count magazines. Do I think he actually wants to ban only 9mm pistols that accept 20 or more rounds in the magazine? No, of course not.

Hopefully, he’s right about the last thing he said: “… but I’m not likely to get that done in the near term.”

On September 1, 2021, about the date you’ll receive this issue, my home state of Texas will join 20 other states in allowing Constitutional Carry (CC), or permitless carry, for carrying a handgun. Sorry we’re so late. The following states allow permitless concealed carry and open carry: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

It could have been 22 states had Louisiana’s Democrat governor Gov. John Bel Edwards not vetoed a Constitutional Carry bill in that state. In a veto-override session that failed, GOP State Senators Patrick Connick, Louie Bernard, and Franklin Foil supported the legislation during the regular session, but voted against it when the chips were down and they had a chance to override Bel’s veto.

Hopefully, Louisiana voters will remember this when these legislators appear on a ballot in the future.

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This article was published in GunTests on August 23, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the author.

 

Afraid Of Ghosts

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

“Ghost Guns” are the Latest in Hoplophobic Pants-Wetting

“Facing Republican resistance to new gun laws, the Biden administration has not pushed for a solution through Congress; instead, it is aiming to do so through an executive order, requiring the Department of Justice to come up with new ways to curb ghost guns. ” The Economist, August 7, 2021

Since 1968 (that is, since the Gun Control Act of 1968), all guns made by a “licensed manufacturer or licensed importer” must have a serial number. Why? The theory is, criminals will buy guns from licensed dealers, shoot somebody, then either accidentally or intentionally discard their guns, which the police will then find, and using the serial number, will be able to trace the firearm to the dealer, and thence to the purchasing criminal, thereby solving the crime.

As Dr. Phil says, “So, how’s that been working for you?” Have there been a lot of otherwise unsolvable crimes that were solved when the police found guns which they traced back to the criminal? When Hinckley shot Reagan, Brady, Delahanty and McCarthy, thanks to the serial number, the police were able to prove that it was Hinckley’s gun.  OK, but they had him in custody; they had witnesses and video of Hinckley shooting. What good did the serial number do? When Oswald shot Kennedy, the police had little trouble finding out that it was Oswald’s rifle, without using the serial number.

Is that a common thing for criminals to do? They shoot people, and then leave politely leave their guns behind? Why would they do that?

Is that a common thing, for criminals to buy their guns from licensed gun dealers, rather than stealing them or buying them on the black market? Why would they do that?

How did the Republic manage to survive 192 years (from 1776 to 1968) without requiring serial numbers on guns? Has the crime clearance rate improved in past 58 years, thanks to the crime-solving powers of serial numbers on guns?

In those cases where a gun gets tied to a crime, it is almost always accomplished by ballistic matching of the bullet to the gun – which can be done whether or not a gun has a serial number. Serial numbers rarely enter into the picture.

Requiring serial numbers on guns as an anti-crime measure was a stupid idea in 1968; it has not gotten any less stupid. (Manufacturers may use serial numbers for other, legitimate reasons, such as providing customer service, controlling inventory, and notifying buyers of potential manufacturing defects. Those have nothing to do with solving crimes and are none of the government’s business.)

Here is where “ghost guns” come in.  The Gun Control Act of 1968 requires that “licensed manufacturers” must put serial numbers on their guns. What if you are a legal, but unlicensed manufacturer? There is such a thing.  Anybody with a modest machine shop in the garage can make a gun from raw metal.  (Now that plastics/carbon fiber technology has advanced, it is even easier.  “Ancillary” parts can be made from polymers, but barrels and springs and other high stress parts still require steel.)

Heck, in Darra Adam Khel, in Pakistan’s Khyber Pass, the local tribesmen have been making sophisticated guns for over a century, without machine shops – just files and hammers and drills.

Here’s the “loophole” that has the hoplophobes’ pants in a bunch: if you make your own gun in your garage, you are not a “licensed manufacturer” so you are not required to put a serial number on your homemade gun. The horror!

Why doesn’t the U.S. government (“Our Federal Family,” as HHS Secretary Sibelius said) just ban unlicensed gun manufacturing? Because, for the moment, they are still paying lip service to the battered, obsolescent notion that the federal government does not have the power to regulate any activity that is not part of “interstate commerce.” That’s a slender reed to cling to.  As farmer Roscoe Filburn found out in 1942, when he grew wheat for his own use, the term “interstate commerce” means whatever Our Federal Family says it means.

For the time being though, there is an exception for “ghost guns,” guns made in home shops which do not enter into interstate commerce.  Taking advantage of the “loophole” (otherwise defined as “complying with the law”) companies are making and selling roughly formed but unfinished gun parts that aren’t quite finished enough to be considered “guns,” but which can be turned into guns by anybody with some basic machining tools and skills.

How “unfinished” must a gun be, before it becomes a “gun” instead of “material that could be made into a gun”? A block of steel could be made into a gun, but it is not a “gun” or even “almost a gun,” right?  Otherwise, people would get arrested for possessing blocks of steel.  Nowadays, companies make gun kits they market as “80% finished,” even though there is no law that says “80% is OK, but 81% is not.”  They are just testing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (the “AFT” according to President* Biden) to see how far they can go.

But why would any honest (non-criminal) person want a gun without a serial number?  Because, although serial numbers are fairly useless for solving or preventing crimes, they are extremely useful for registering and confiscating guns.  The President* has said that he wants to ban and confiscate AR15s, for example.  How would he do that?  The easy way would be by tracking the serial numbers.  So, if you are one of the millions of Americans who owns or wants to own an AR15, and you take the President* at his word, then maybe you would like one that can’t be traced and confiscated.

The most common 80% kit being sold right now is a copy of the Glock 9mm pistol.  Recently, the President* stated that he wanted to ban all guns capable of holding more than the officially approved number of rounds in the magazine — including nine millimeter pistols.  That’s a lot of guns to ban, because any semi-automatic gun with a detachable magazine is “capable” of using any size magazine.  For example, the 1911 pistol (of which there are many millions in circulation) typically is sold with a seven or eight round magazine, but aftermarket magazines that hold up to 50 rounds are available.  The first commercially produced semi-automatic pistol with a detachable magazine was the Borchardt — in 1893.  The Luger 9mm semi-automatic pistol dates to 1908.  Why is the AK-47 called the AK-47?  You guessed it – it was invented 74 years ago, in 1947.

President* Biden thinks that high-capacity semi-automatic firearms are some sort of new-fangled technology. That is, to use his term, malarkey.  Biden is the stereotypical person who considers himself a gun expert, but has no clue about guns (or much else, but let’s not digress).  The supposed new-fangled technology he wants to ban is over 100 years old.

In the most essential passage of his essential book, Guns, Germs & Steel, Jared Diamond wrote  “What should an elite do to gain popular support while still maintaining a more comfortable lifestyle than commoners?  Kleptocrats throughout the ages have resorted to a mixture of four solutions.”  The first of Diamond’s four principles of kleptocracy is this:

“Disarm the populace, and arm the elite. That’s much easier in these days of high-tech weaponry, produced only in industrial plants and easily monopolized by an elite, than in ancient times of spears and clubs easily made at home.”

Disarming the populace has always been the primary method of keeping the peons in their place, including regulation of clubs and swords and crossbows long before firearms were invented. Diamond observes that it is easier to prohibit high-tech guns than, for example, low-tech spears, but the game may have just changed.  Milling machines, routers, drill presses, and even CNC and 3-D machines have come down in price, to the point where many people can afford to have them in their home workshops. In 1968, homemade guns were almost unheard of. In 2021, they are very distinctly heard of.

What to do?  Admit that the 1968 law was never useful, and is less so today, and repeal it? Or double down and make a new, improved stricter law? Which approach do you expect from the kleptocrats in Our Federal Family?

 

 

$5 Trillion Gun-Rights Assault

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

COUNTERACTING A UTOPIAN DISARMAMENT PLAN

School Trust Funds — They Bear Astounding Wealth

Two years ago, just before we saw how totally anti-rights two of the three American political parties had openly become (democrats and communists, both vying for control of the White House and Congress), a third power bloc introduced five principles for what they called “a responsible firearms industry.” This bloc represents $5 trillion in assets and the influence that implies—more than any state in the Union.

According to the Calif. State Teachers’ Retirement System, signatories to this include Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds; Florida State Board of Administration; Maine Public Employees Retirement System; Maryland State Retirement and Pension System; Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund; Rockefeller Asset Management; San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System; State Street Global Advisors and more.

These groups are not friends of the Constitution and not your friends. According to CalSTRS Chief Investment Officer Christopher J. Ailman, “This is not a political statement about constitutional rights; it is a joint assertion by all of the involved signatories that investors have a stake in advancing public safety.” That is total propaganda hogwash. It is 100% about your individual rights. And squashing them.

The five stated principles of this mostly white male privileged power mob have zero to do with criminals, murder, assault, malfeasance, or reducing criminal activity. The entire plan is aimed at you, your guns and your law-abiding neighbors. Consider the principles, and with them, alternate plans that would actually address real crime in America, entirely missing from this Harvard-assisted plan. Solutions that have a chance of working will be avoided and evaded by these folks, probably with charges of racism or other useful name-calling redirects.

Any semblance of real answers to mob violence, street crime, arson, cold-blooded murder, destruction of the symbols and statues of our free society, will be dismissed while patting themselves on the back and running publicity campaigns to convince useful idiots that their plan is good. Useful idiots include tens of millions of your fellow Americans who voted to install communists, Antifa anarchists, and black-lives-matter racists into power in the recent elections. Here’s their plan, and some illumination.

First: “Manufacturers should support, advance, and integrate the development of technology designed to make civilian firearms safer, more secure, and easier to trace.”

Any requirement that makes it harder for citizens to immediately bring guns to bear in emergencies is wrong headed. Police will and should object, as should the public. Giving authorities increased ability to track you or your guns is a terrible idea. Increasing crime-control efforts (not so-called “gun control”) to identify and apprehend 7,000 perpetrators who murder 7,000 black victims every year is desperately needed, ignored here and unaffected by this misdirection of resources.

Second: “Manufacturers should adopt and follow responsible business practices that establish and enforce responsible dealer standards and promote training and education programs for owners designed around firearms safety.”

This is not the job of manufacturers. The school system must stop vilifying guns, leaving students in abject firearms ignorance, their history, their role in preserving peace and freedom, and how to safely handle and discharge firearms for sport and protection. When this was standard America was safer with healthier attitudes all around.

Third: “Civilian firearms distributors, dealers, and retailers should establish, promote, and follow best practices to ensure that no firearm is sold without a completed background check in order to prevent sales to persons prohibited from buying firearms or those too dangerous to possess firearms.”

Law enforcement is a government duty, not a civilian one. The attempt to displace that here is a sign of sickness. Repeated studies show almost all retail sales denials are false positives, and the few criminals foolish or brash enough to attempt retail purchases face virtually no meaningful police response. This is where attention is needed, not castigating or even focusing on innocent business people.

Fourth: “Civilian firearms distributors, dealers, and retailers should educate and train their employees to better recognize and effectively monitor irregularities at the point of sale, to record all firearm sales, to audit firearms inventory on a regular basis, and to proactively assist law enforcement.”

Again, the misguided rich elites focus on the innocents and retail. To reduce crime, focus on criminals: keep repeat offenders behind bars, using firearms in crime must receive real punishment, judges who allow such criminals to skate should be publicly identified, censured, and removed from the bench. The countless criminals already armed need to be identified and dealt with under existing law. Focusing on gunless bad guys buying their first gun at retail is an idiot’s plan for crime control.

Fifth: “Participants in the civilian firearms industry should work collaboratively, communicate, and engage with the signatories of these Principles to design, adopt, and disclose measures and metrics demonstrating both best practices and their commitment to promoting these Principles.”

Officials, not civilians, should routinely post their progress in identifying armed felons, inner-city murderers, catching them and bringing them to justice. Everyone must expose elitist anti-rights bigots posing as experts and proposing attacks on civilians as an obstacle to reducing crime. It misdirects attention, wastes resources, and denigrates fundamental human rights, by people pretending to be authorities which they are decidedly not. You should question their sources of wealth, and whether it should be redistributed, considering their obvious misuse of the astounding funds and influence they have controversially amassed.

*****

This article originally appeared in American Handgunner and is reproduced here with the permission of the author.

Award-winning author Alan Korwin has written 14 books, ten of them on gun law, and has advocated for gun rights for nearly three decades. See his work or reach him at GunLaws.com.

A Fantastic Decision for the AR-15

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes

The Miller v. Bonta gun-rights decision is a couple of months old now, but it’s a stem-winder that does not fail to inform and entertain. In it, Roger T. Benitez, United States district judge for the Southern District of California, declared California’s system of gun laws that banned the purchase and possession of AR-15 rifles unconstitutional. There’s a link to a PDF of the decision on the Gun-Tests.com website (search for “Bonta” or click here), and I encourage Gun Tests, readers, to go through all 94 pages. For those of you who don’t want to do that, or who are afraid of PDFs like the folks in the Progressive commercial, I will quote from the decision extensively here. I cannot overstate how impressed I am with the decision’s reasoning, logic, clear writing, and dry humor as Judge Benitez takes down the arguments of AR-15 banners in California, and by extension, in other restrictive areas of the country. But enough blandishment. Please enjoy the meat I’ve carved out below, which jumps to other pages in the back.

Background: The case name in Miller v. Bonta was originally Miller v. Becerra, with Rob Bonta being named in his official capacity as the active Attorney General of the State of California. Formerly, the California State Attorney General was Xavier Becerra, who is now the 25th Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. On August 15, 2019, James Miller, a board member of the San Diego County Gun Owners, sued then-Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the Director of the California Bureau of Firearms, alleging that the ban was an unconstitutional restriction of Second Amendment rights.

Miller was joined by the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee, California Gun Rights Foundation, Second Amendment Foundation, and Firearms Policy Coalition, along with three other San Diego County residents who said they legally own rifles or pistols but are unable to use high-capacity magazines in them due to the law.

On June 4, 2021, Judge Benitez ruled that California’s Roberti–Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 (AWCA), which banned the ownership and transfer of specific models of firearms that were categorized as assault weapons, and other California gun-ban strictures, are unconstitutional violations of the Second Amendment on their face. In the decision, Judge Benitez made a great many points of law and facts that are worth noting. The blocks of language below are cut-and-pasted directly from the decision, except I’ve removed most of the legal cases and footnote cites.

From the decision, Page 1, line 17: “Introduction:”

Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle, the AR-15 is the kind of versatile gun that lies at the intersection of the kinds of firearms protected under District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) and United States v Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939). Yet, the State of California makes it a crime to have an AR-15 type rifle. Therefore, this Court declares the California statutes to be unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs challenge a net of interlocking statutes which impose strict criminal restrictions on firearms that fall under California’s complex definition of the ignominious “assault weapon.”

Page 2, line 17

This case is not about extraordinary weapons lying at the outer limits of Second Amendment protection. The banned “assault weapons” are not bazookas, howitzers, or machine guns. Those arms are dangerous and solely useful for military purposes. Instead, the firearms deemed “assault weapons” are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles. This is an average case about average guns used in average ways for average purposes.

One is to be forgiven if one is persuaded by news media and others that the nation is awash with murderous AR-15 assault rifles. The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole, and facts matter. Federal Bureau of Investigation murder statistics do not track assault rifles, but they do show that killing by knife attack is far more common than murder by any kind of rifle. In California, murder by knife occurs seven times more often than murder by rifle. For example, according to F.B.I. statistics for 2019, California saw 252 people murdered with a knife, while 34 people were killed with some type of rifle — not necessarily an AR-15. A Californian is three times more likely to be murdered by an attacker’s bare hands, fists, or feet, than by his rifle. In 2018, the statistics were even more lopsided as California saw only 24 murders by some type of rifle. The same pattern can be observed across the nation.

Page 3, line 10:
A. Pre-Heller Origin of the Assault Weapons Control Act (“AWCA”)

It is clear today, in the year 2021, that individuals have a right to keep and possess dangerous common arms. But California’s Assault Weapons Control Act (“AWCA”) was enacted in the year 1989. In 1989, the California Legislature was concerned that an assault weapon “has such a high rate of fire and capacity for firepower that its function as a legitimate sports or recreational firearm is substantially outweighed by the danger that it can be used to kill and injure human beings.” AWCA then banned assault weapons by specific makes and models.

AWCA was a policy choice unencumbered by constitutional considerations. The California Legislature weighed only the firearm’s value for sports and recreation against the relative dangerousness of the weapon and the danger of it being misused by criminals. It was a different time in legal history.

Page 4, line 2:
B. Pre-Heller Second Amendment Jurisprudence

In 1989, most judicial thinking about the Second Amendment was incorrect. Prior to 2008, lower court opinions did not acknowledge that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to own firearms, or that the right applied against the states… In the year 1989, the California Legislature was not concerned with maintaining room for a citizen’s constitutional right to have a common firearm of one’s choosing to defend hearth and home. In making its policy choice, the California Legislature neither mentioned a modern rifle as a means of self-defense, nor did the core Second Amendment right appear to have been any part of its consideration. The formal legislative findings say nothing about self-defense. The balance was simply about criminal use, on the one hand, versus sporting or recreational activities, on the other hand. In the pre-Heller jurisprudential milieu, the pure policy choice made sense.

Page 6, line 3:

Concerning AWCA’s prohibited-features amendment, the Attorney General has not identified any relevant legislative history or legislative findings about the societal dangers of pistol grips, flash hiders, telescoping stocks, flare launchers or barrel shrouds. The State’s legislative information website lists several committee reports leading up to the signing of Senate Bill 23 by California Governor Gray Davis on July 19, 1999. But there are no studies of criminal gun usage recounted. There are no assault weapon experiences of other states or cities recited. There are no public hearings described. There is one indication, however: Senate Bill 23 was said to be similar to Assembly Bill 2560, which was passed the previous year, but vetoed by California Governor Pete Wilson. Governor Wilson issued a statement with his veto criticizing AWCA’s prohibited-features approach and offered this analogy: “If this bill’s focus were high speed sports cars, it would first declare them ‘chariots of death’ and then criminalize possession of Ramblers equipped with racing stripes and wire wheels.”

Page 8, line 2:

As an aside, the “assault weapon” epithet is a bit of a misnomer. These prohibited guns, like all guns, are dangerous weapons. However, these prohibited guns, like all guns, can be used for ill or for good. They could just as well be called “home defense rifles” or “anti-crime guns.”

The mechanical design features that identify a rifle as a California “assault weapon,” it is argued, tend to help a person shoot the rifle more accurately under pressure. The Plaintiffs make the point that this is a better condition for all lawful uses, i.e., a more accurate gun is better for everyone. After all, responsible gun-owners worry about the ending point of every round fired. If shooting in self-defense, a home defender wants every round to hit only attackers.

In contrast, the Attorney General argues that better accuracy makes it a more dangerous weapon. According to the Attorney General, “assault weapons enable a shooter to fire more rounds rapidly in a given period with greater accuracy, increasing the likelihood that more individuals will be shot and suffer more numerous injuries.” The implied context is a mass shooting. In the terrible mass shooting context, which fortunately is a rare event, reducing the number of innocent victims is the State’s goal, although it is not at all clear that a less accurate rifle would reduce the number of victims. A less accurate rifle in the hands of a mass shooter may very well result in different victims, but not necessarily less victims. On the other hand, in the self-defense context, which seems to be more common, taking accurate shots at attackers is vitally important for the innocent victim. While the state ought to protect its residents against victimization by a mass shooter, it ought also to protect its residents against victimization by home-invading criminals. But little is found in the Attorney General’s court filings reflecting a goal of preventing violence perpetrated against law-abiding citizens in their homes. Instead, the State’s litigation stance is more like the view recently expressed by a police chief in Oakland, California: we do not want victims to arm themselves; we want them to be good witnesses. Of course, a dead victim is a lousy witness.

Page 9, line 14:
E: Criminal Penalties

The State prefers a policy of residents not arming themselves with assault weapons, and for those who do, arresting residents. California Penal Code 30600 imposes a felony criminal penalty for anyone who manufactures, distributes, imports, keeps for sale, offers for sale, or lends an “assault weapon.” … As one commentator describes it, “[m]ere possession of an object that is commonplace and perfectly legal under federal law and in forty-four states will land you in prison, [will] result in the loss of your rights including likely the right to vote, and probably [will] cause you irreparable monetary and reputational damages, as well as your personal liberty. All of this despite the absence of even a single victim.”

Page 10, line 18:

The Second Amendment protects modern weapons. Caetano v. Massachusetts, 577 U.S. 411, 412 (2016). The firearms banned by California Penal Code § 30515 and deemed “assault weapons” are modern weapons. They are principally AR-15 type rifles, pistols, and shotguns. Plaintiffs and others refer to them as “modern sporting rifles” although they are clearly useful for more than just sport. They are modern rifles that do not look like the iconic rifles from years gone by. They are fabricated with synthetic polymers and anodized aluminum in cerakoted colors of black and brown and green. Parts once made of solid wood on guns of the past are gone. These modern rifles are constructed of lightweight alloys and titanium nitride barrels in angular skeletonized shapes. To those who grew up watching movie “westerns” with John Wayne, or Chuck Connors (“The Rifleman”) on television, modern rifles just do not look like rifles. The AR-15 platform in particular, is an “open source” design and includes firearms made by numerous manufacturers under different product names with countless variations and adaptations. In fact, the platform’s ability to accept modifications with ready-made retail parts without the need for specialized tools or expertise, is part of what makes these rifles popular. What advances in firearm design the future holds for these arms are yet to be imagined. When the term “modern rifle” is used in this opinion, it principally refers to a rifle built on the AR-15 platform with prohibited features.

Page 11, line 21:

Although the Attorney General sees it differently, the Supreme Court also recognizes that the Second Amendment guarantee includes a right to keep and bear firearms that have “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia.” Miller, 307 U.S., at 178. Miller implies that a weapon that is commonly owned and that is useful for the common defense for a militia member is also protected by the Second Amendment.

Page 12, line 18:
A. The Heller Test

… [I]t is time to put the constitutionality of AWCA to the test. Two tests will be used: (1) the Heller test; and (2) the Ninth Circuit’s two-step levels-of-scrutiny test.

The Heller test is a test that any citizen can understand. Heller asks whether a law bans a firearm that is commonly owned by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes. It is a hardware test. Heller draws a distinction between firearms commonly owned for lawful purposes and unusual arms adapted to unlawful uses as well as arms solely useful for military purposes. As applied to AWCA, the Heller test asks: is a modern rifle commonly owned by law-abiding citizens for a lawful purpose? For the AR-15 type rifle the answer is “yes.” The overwhelming majority of citizens who own and keep the popular AR-15 rifle and its many variants do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense at home. Under Heller, that is all that is needed. Using the easy to understand Heller test, it is obvious that the California assault weapon ban is unconstitutional. Under the Heller test, judicial review can end right here

Page 15, line 4:
2. Popularity Nationally

Nationally, modern rifles are ubiquitous. In 2018 alone (the most recent year with data), 1,954,000 modern rifles were manufactured or imported into the United States. Over the last three decades, 19,797,000 modern rifles have been manufactured or imported into the United States and the numbers have been steadily increasing.

Page 15, line 22:
3. More Popular than the Ford F-150 Pickup Truck

Modern rifles are popular. Modern rifles are legal to build, buy, and own under federal law and the laws of 45 states. There are probably more modern rifles in circulation than there are Ford F-150 pickup trucks. In 2018, 909,330 Ford F-150s were sold. Twice as many modern rifles were sold the same year. Imagine, every time one passes a new Ford pickup truck, it is a reminder that two new modern rifles have been purchased. That is a lot of modern rifles owned by Americans.

Page 17, line 8:

At the core this is a simple case. Like the cases of Heller and McDonald, here the government bans an entire class of very popular hardware — firearms that are lawful under federal law and under the laws of most states and that are commonly held by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes. Under no level of heightened scrutiny can the law [the Assault Weapons Control Act] survive.

*****

This article was published at GunTests on July 20, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the author.

Goldwater Institute Challenges Ruling That Raises Taxes For Arizona Shooting Ranges

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The Goldwater Institute is challenging an Arizona Court of Appeals ruling that shooting ranges qualify as “places of amusement,” subjecting them to higher tax rates.

The court ruled in April that shooting ranges are “comparable” to “amusement parks.” The Goldwater Institute filed a friend of the court brief last week, arguing that shooting ranges are not circuses but places where people can go to learn a new skill and practice self-defense.

Timothy Sandefur, vice president for litigation at the Goldwater Institute, said it was important to clarify the distinction between amusement parks and shooting ranges because Arizona legislators amended tax law to remove “places of instruction” from the tax and replace it with “places of entertainment” about 30 years ago.

“In doing so, they created an exemption for businesses such as aerobics studios or martial arts dojos, because these are places where people go to learn and practice their skills – which is different from places such as carnivals, circuses, or fairs, which is what the tax was intended to apply to,” Sandefur said in a statement.

Sandefur said the Arizona Court of Appeals maintains a policy of strictly interpreting laws. He believes the court’s decision that a shooting range “offers the same type or nature of activity as those provided by the businesses specifically [listed] in [the tax law]” was a broad interpretation.

The businesses listed in the tax law include “races, contests, games, billiard or pool parlors, bowling alleys, public dances, dance halls,” which Sandefur holds differ from a shooting range, “where people receive training, instruction, and supervision at all stages and are there to learn and practice their self-defense skills.”

Sandefur said the lower court’s decision not only was an overreach of power “beyond what the people’s elected representatives authorized,” but additionally “intruded on the individual’s right to practice self-defense.” When taxes increase, so do prices, Sandefur said, making consumption harder for Arizonans.

“We urge the state’s high court to review the case and ensure that the taxing power remains within its limits,” he said.

*****

This article was published on July 21, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Arizona, Missouri Lead Coalition To Protect Second Amendment Rights in New York

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Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced he and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt are leading a coalition of 26 states to defend Second Amendment rights at the U.S. Supreme Court.

In their amicus brief in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Corlett, the state attorneys general urged the court “to declare New York’s subjective-issue firearm license regime unconstitutional.”

New York’s subjective-issue concealed carry permit laws require an individual seeking a concealed permit to carry a firearm outside the home to “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession.”

The laws require residents of New York “to prove that they have already been a victim of violent crimes before they may protect themselves from potentially becoming victims of violent crimes,” according to the attorney general’s office.

Brnovich called these laws a threat to public safety and violation of Second Amendment rights.

“Law-abiding citizens should not require the consent of faceless bureaucrats to exercise their right to keep and bear arms,” Brnovich said in a news release.

The coalition’s brief contains examples of citizens in good legal standing who were denied permits after demonstrating a need in order to demonstrate that New York’s “proper cause” requirement bans nearly all citizens from acquiring arms, Brnovich’s office said.

The brief holds that if the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling is upheld, “the liberty of citizens in every State, not just New York” will be threatened.

The 28 attorneys general agreed the original meaning of the Second Amendment gave Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense outside their homes. They cited the Supreme Court’s Heller v. D.C. decision, saying the holding was that “the federal constitution ‘guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation’” and that the decision clarified that any prohibition that “makes it impossible for citizens” to engage in self-defense violates the Second Amendment.

Arizona, along with 42 other states, have objective-issue systems where a permit is issued to an individual who meets a certain set of objective criteria, such as a background check, mental health records check, fingerprinting, knowledge of applicable laws and firearms training, according to the attorney general’s office.

Brnovich cited the success of Arizona’s objective-issue regime, writing that Arizona implemented a licensed concealed carry regime in 1994 and a right-to-carry for all law-abiding citizens without a license requirement in 2010. He said that while Arizona saw 10.5 murders per 100,000 people in 1994, by 2016, Arizona’s murder rate was 5.5 per 100,000, nearly matching the national rate of 5.3.

The brief offered empirical evidence that citizens who are concealed carry holders are significantly less likely than the general public to commit a crime and argued that objective-issue permitting and concealed carry permits generally decrease crime. The attorneys general cited a 2013 review by the National Research Council that reveals victims of crime who resist with a gun are less likely to suffer serious injury than victims who either resist in other ways or offer no resistance at all.

“New York cannot override the Second Amendment or the natural right of self-preservation,” Brnovich said. “I will continue to vigorously protect Americans’ constitutional rights.”

*****

This article was published on July 21, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Court Declares Laws Banning Handgun Sales to People Under 21 Unconstitutional

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A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that federal laws banning firearms dealers from selling handguns to customers under the age of 21 were unconstitutional.

The United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said in the decision that there was no reason to treat the Second Amendment any differently from other constitutional rights citizens enjoy no later than the age of 18. The court ruled that 18-year-olds possess Second Amendment rights, and the federal government failed “to justify its infringement of those rights under the appropriate level of scrutiny.”

“Despite the weighty interest in reducing crime and violence, we refuse to relegate either the Second Amendment or 18- to 20-year-olds to a second-class status,” Judge Julius Richardson wrote in the majority opinion.

The case, Hirschfield v. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, concerned a federal law making it illegal for federally licensed firearms dealers to sell handguns to customers under the age of 21. The law was included as part of the Gun Control Act of 1968, and was justified due to the disproportionate crime rates of 18- to 21-year-olds, according to the ruling.

“To justify this restriction, Congress used disproportionate crime rates to craft over-inclusive laws that restrict the rights of overwhelmingly law-abiding citizens,” Richardson said. “So we hold that the challenged federal laws and regulations are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.”

Judge James Wynn criticized the logic of the ruling in his dissent, arguing the Second Amendment was different from other constitutional rights and its infringement by the law was justified.

“No, the Second Amendment is exceptional not because it is uniquely oppressed or imperiled, but rather because it is singularly capable of causing harm,” Wynn wrote, calling the decision a victory for the gun lobby.

“Huge win for the Second Amendment,” gun advocacy group National Association for Gun Rights tweeted in response to the decision.

The ATF was joined by gun control organizations Giffords and Brady in the case. The agency did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

*****

This article was published on July 14, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal.