For Once, Hillary Is Right

In a recent CNN town hall meeting, Hillary Clinton, who looks more and more like the leading Democratic presidential candidate for 2016, said this about gun control:

“We cannot let a minority of people — and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people — hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.”

When I read (and re-read) that, the image in my mind was the huge crowd outside the NRA convention in Indianapolis.

Courtesy of National Review

Courtesy of National Review

It was estimated at times to be as large as 30 protesters. This compared to the 75,267 NRA members and supporters inside.

Or the 5 people who showed up last August to protest the thousand inside the GeorgiaCarry convention.

Time and again, this numerical disparity is demonstrated. A minority of misinformed people ranting about

  • Background checks – we already must have them
  • Automatic weapons – already heavily regulated, unless you can manage to buy them in Mexico from the BATF.
  • Gun Show loopholes – which don’t exist

Yes, for once, I agree with Her Majesty. It’s time for the minority to shut the hell up.

School Carry Quietly Enacted in Georgia

Of late, the whole world, it seems, has been all aflurry about the “Guns Everywhere” bill in Georgia, HB60, recently signed by Governor Nathan Deal. This bill allows lawful Georgia Weapons Carry License holders to carry guns in bars, churches (with the permission of the church leadership), and in the unsecured parts of government buildings. The anti-gun factions have been most vocal, claiming as usual that this will lead to Blood In The Streets and a Return To The Wild West.

Of course, Georgia is not the first state to allow carry in these locations, and none of the other states have had any increase in gun usage in these locations. In fact, a study by the Richmond Times Dispatch showed a 5.2 percent decrease in crime involving firearms in bars in the state of Virginia in the first year following enactment of that state’s bar carry law. I would encourage a news outlet in Georgia to investigate HB60’s effects and report on it in July 2015. But, in the meantime, I will continue to breathe normally.

One of the places that “Everywhere” does not include in HB60, however, are schools. School carry was eliminated from the bill early on, because it created so much controversy.

So it comes as a surprise (to me at least) that there was another bill, HB826 (coincidentally sponsored by my State Senator, Lindsey Tippins), signed by Governor Deal yesterday. This bill changes how guns are treated in school zones, and it lists the people who are exempt from being considered in violation of the law. Exemption 6 says:

A person who is licensed in accordance with Code Section 16-11-129 or issued a permit pursuant to Code Section 43-38-10, when he or she is within a school safety zone or on a bus or other transportation furnished by a school or a person who is licensed in accordance with Code Section 16-11-129 or issued a permit pursuant to Code Section 43-38-10 when he or she has any firearm legally kept within a vehicle when such vehicle is parked within a school safety zone or is in transit through a designated school safety zone;

This changes the old law which only exempted GWCL holders who were in a school parking lot picking someone up. Note that GWCL holders are now exempted everywhere “within a school safety zone.” And, just to make it clear, another part of the law says

‘School safety zone’ means in or on any real property or building owned by or leased to any school or postsecondary institution.

So, this law, which goes into effect July 1, legalizes campus carry in Georgia.

Like most people, I was surprised and caught unaware that this was in the offing. But I am glad to see it.

However, I am cautious of how this will be received. I think my feelings are best echoed by Jerry Henry, the Executive Director of GeogiaCarry.org, who said in an email to members

What this means for you is that, according to GeorgiaCarry.Org, beginning on July 1 it will be legal to carry a weapon on school grounds.  There is, however, some debate about the new law, with some in law enforcement and schools claiming that the new law must mean something else.  As a result, GeorgiaCarry.Org asks its members to exercise common sense when carrying on school grounds so as to avoid bad publicity with respect to the hypersensitivity likely to be displayed towards a weapon in the school environment.  This will have the added benefit of giving the legislature no good or valid reason to re-criminalize weapons in school when the General Assembly meets again.

Lacking any stupid person flaunting a gun needlessly at some school event, we should be on our way to better protecting our children.

Thank you, Governor Deal, Lindsey Tippins, and the Georgia Legislature!

Keep Calm and Ignore the U.N.

As I have written of before, a couple of times, in fact, the anti-gun factions in the United States have come to realize that they have no chance of achieving their universal dream of total confiscation of guns. So, they have turned to another tactic, namely, scaring lawful gun owners with the threat of armed hordes of foreign troops in the streets. Namely, the United States has signed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. If you want to know what that does, go read it. I won’t defoul my blog with it’s drivel.

For the good of the Republic, let me reiterate why even this won’t work.

  • First, the Constitution is the law of the land, despite any treaties signed, even if they are ratified by the Senate. When the treaties violate the Constitution, they are null and void, and attempting to enforce them is a violation of just about everyone’s oath of office.
  • Second, since any treaty requires ratification by the Senate, consisting of a 2/3 vote – that’s 67 Senators – this treaty has no chance of passing. If Feinstein couldn’t get 60 Senators to ban magazines over 10 rounds, they won’t get 67 on anything pertaining to gun control.
  • Third, Executive Orders do not have the force of law, except to enforce laws that have already been passed by Congress. So forget that route, too.
  • Fourth, Calm The Hell Down. Remain vigilant. Smile and nod when the anti-gunners wax poetic on this fiasco. At least it keeps them occupied. But don’t engage them, just let them think they’ve got something, and then let them swing in the breeze.

As you were.

Why It’s A Good Idea For The Senate To Vote On The Gun Control Bill

Okay, this is as political as I am ever going to get in this blog.

I think it’s a good idea to let the new gun control bill come to the floor of the Senate, to be debated and voted on. Here are my reasons.

  • In the debates all the senators who speak will be on the record about where they stand, and all the senators’ votes will be on record. Then we can vote accordingly the next election.
  • People like Diane Feinstein and Chuck Schumer will get a spotlight to say something really ignorant and stupid, which can be replayed at our leisure for the rest of time.
  • The anti-gun faction will finally get a chance to say things that, if enacted, would violate the Second Amendment, and probably other parts of the Constitution as well.
  • Eventually, the bill will be voted down. In this I have no doubt.
  • The anti-gun faction will not be able to claim that they never got their chance to make their point or be heard. In fact, their illogical and unconstitutional points will be part of the public record.
  • The anti-gun faction will blame the NRA, (which will be true, especially when you consider all the NRA members who are swamping their senators right now) and the NRA’s membership will grow even more.

My two senators, Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, are both on record saying they think this bill violates the Second Amendment, and will vote against it on the floor, but they voted for cloture to let that happen.

If we don’t give this bad bill it’s day, the anti-gun faction will just whine and complain, and it will be televised and marketed by their media friends, and we will be back in this situation again.

I’m willing to let the system do what it is designed to do.

Magpul Sets The Bar

Magpul noBy now it’s no news to the shooting community that Magpul Industries is leaving Colorado because of the onerous gun control legislation being passed there, chiefly the ban on standard capacity magazines.

It is one thing to say, as a company, that you will not sell to police or government in states that prohibit the sales of your product to their general citizens, as 136 companies have said the the state of New York. But Magpul is setting the standard even higher. It will certainly cost Magpul a lot of money to move its operations, but they are willing to do that, so they can operate somewhere that their own employees can buy their products.

Now the onus is on us, as gun owners and citizens, to make sure Magpul’s efforts are not in vain. I’m not saying to buy Magpul because of that they do, although I think buying one magazine would be a great symbol. I am saying that we can’t let them be the only company to take a stand. Other manufacturers in Colorado and elsewhere need to take the same action as Magpul.

What all this comes down to is respect. The Colorado legislature doesn’t respect its citizens, and they are showing that. After all, there is no logical reason, much less evidence, why lower magazine capacity makes anyone safer. Yet, the legislature and the governor are telling the citizens of Colorado that they know best. Further, they don’t respect the companies who pay the taxes and provide the jobs in their state.

Now, I know companies like Smith & Wesson and Colt have been in their locations in Massachusetts for a long, long time. They have a connection to the area. But the government of Massachusetts doesn’t respect them either, and it’s time for them to take a stand, and take their business to a state where they are respected.

As for the rest of us, we need to continue to take a stand. Speak out. Never let disrespect go unchallenged. A government of the people only works if the people are involved.

Gingrey On Magazine Bans And Background Checks

Dr. Phil Gingrey is a Republican congressman representing my home district, the 11th of Georgia. He has had a very strong pro-second amendment record in the past, and he was rated A+ by the NRA and endorsed by them in the last election.

Yet, following the Connecticut shootings, he made some disconcerting statements in a speech to a local business group, which I reported on here. In that speech, he seemed to advocate a magazine capacity limit, and an expansion of background checks.

This speech didn’t make much news for those stances, however, because in the same speech he contended that his experience as a gynecologist, working with tense and worried women who could not get pregnant until they somehow relaxed, led him to believe that the stress a woman experiences during rape might prevent her from becoming pregnant as a result. Coming on the heels of Todd Akin’s similar claim prior to the last election, which seemed to lead to Akin’s defeat, this created a media storm that overpowered anything else said that day, apparently to everyone but me.

In any case, I clicked through a link in a Tweet from Gingrey today, to read a press release about government spending, and decided to look at the other documents posted.  There was a blog post that caught my eye that I found when I searched for Second Amendment issues:

Protecting our Second Amendment rights 
Washington, D.C., Mar 4 –

Since the unthinkable school shooting in Newton, Connecticut, there has been much discussion on how to prevent future tragedies. Americans are all united in our desire to ensure the safety of students and the public at large.

Unfortunately, much of the focus has been on firearms restrictions, many of which are based on false information or unproven theories. These policies would also inhibit a law-abiding citizen’s ability to protect themselves, their families, or respond to public threats.

As you may be aware, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook attack, I made public comments about some of the policy considerations that I wanted to look at in order to prevent another such tragedy. I spoke publically before consulting with my constituents and key advisors on gun related issues. Since then, I have been convinced that limitations on magazine clips would not prevent any future tragedies, and I have been convinced that larger ammunition clips are actually safer because they allow for less frequent reloading which limits accidental misfire. 

In regard to background checks, I want to assure my fellow Georgians that I will oppose any legislation that could lead to any so-called “national firearm registry.”  It is my duty to protect the privacy and civil liberties of law abiding Americans and I will fight any measure that could provide the federal government the information it needs to track or confiscate firearms from lawful citizens.

The Obama Administration’s recent attempt to implement radical gun control policies through executive order is a gross violation of our Second Amendment rights. Let me assure you that I will work with House Republicans to oppose these measures in their entirety.  This January, I signed two similar letters to President Obama specifically reaffirming my commitment to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens in the face of these looming gun control executive orders.

Safeguarding our Second Amendment rights is of paramount importance, and throughout my tenure in Congress, I have worked – and will continue working – to preserve those rights. The National Rifle Association, of which I am a member, has consistently graded my voting record “A+.” Over a 10-year period, I have supported Second Amendment and sportsmen’s rights legislation 38 out of 38 times.

Since taking office, I have authored or co-sponsored 56 bills to protect or strengthen our Second Amendment rights. To view a complete list, click here.

During my tenure in Congress, I have made defending our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms one of my primary responsibilities. Please be assured that I will continue fighting against any measure that would infringe upon the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

Emphasis mine. 

First, it’s good to see the Congressman making the right call, and being honest enough to admit his first reaction was off the cuff without consulting his constituents. Even if he believed that magazine capacity somehow contributed to crime, it’s good to know that he is capable of listening to reason, and changing his view.

But I would think he would want to make sure this was communicated to those who think this is important. I  searched Rep. Gingrey’s Twitter feed and his emails, and didn’t find any reference to this. Now, for one thing, it’s a blog post, and I’m not sure how those are publicized.

In any case, it’s good to see my Congressman is square set in the defense of our Second Amendment rights. I will continue to observe and report.

A Compromise On Universal Background Checks

Just kidding. I don’t want to compromise. I want to give them exactly what they want. Background checks.

+++++

Congress will vote soon on something regarding the recent gun control proposals. Just what they vote on remains to be seen.

Senator Feinstein has called for bans on nearly all semi-automatic firearms, and if you think I am exaggerating, then you need to re-read her legislation.

Simultaneously, some are calling for an expansion of the background checks required for the sale of new firearms, to include all used firearms.

I”m here to say that this is the area we should give in to, to let them have their victory.

But not in the way the anti-gun crowd thinks.

Here is what the anti-gun crowd thinks when they hear universal background check:

  • Bill has an assault rifle, a Bushmaster KidSlayer Deluxe 3000, with a pistol grip, a 1,000 round assault clip, and a shoulder thing that goes up. He bought it at a gun show in 2005 after the AWB expired, for $100 from a guy named Leon, with no background check,  right in front of the policeman taking money at the door, who said nothing.
  • Alan wants to buy the Bushmaster KidSlayer Deluxe 3000, so Alan and Bill go together with the gun down to the county courthouse. At noon, sharp. Because the Gun Background Check Office is only open from noon to 12:15PM every other Thursday.
  • They stand in line. Both men get fingerprinted, photographed (both with and without the Bushmaster KidSlayer Deluxe 3000), weighed, and have blood drawn. Both submit their full identification, including last year’s tax forms, and they fill out a form 4473-A, which looks like a form 4473, except for the 17 extra pages asking about relatives and secret bunkers.
  • Once all the forms are filled out, they leave them with the County Clerk, along with the Bushmaster KidSlayer Deluxe 3000, for a minimum of 10 days. Of course, the office is only open every other Thursday, so it’s really more like 2 weeks.
  • Alan gives his money for the gun to the county clerk for holding. Good faith, you know.
  • Both men report back to the courthouse to find out if they are approved. Once approved, the photos get laminated onto the back of their drivers licenses, they are given the gun, and are free to go. The record of the gun ownership is published every night in the local newspaper at the bottom of page 2, as well as added to a local scrolling feed at the bottom of their Facebook pages.
  • Bill gets the money, less a small handling charge (10 percent), on a government debit card, so they can track where he spends it.
  • No, you cannot use government debit cards to buy another gun. Because we said so, that’s why,

+++++

Here’s more what I think we should aim for: wristbands.

When I go to a sporting event where alcohol is served, I have to have my ID checked to buy it. But rather than slow down every beer buy, many venues get smart. At the entrance is a booth where you show your ID, and,  when you prove you’re over 21, you get a wristband. Then, when you buy a beer, instead of showing your ID, you show your wristband as proof that the ID has been checked.

Here’s my Firearms Wristband proposal:

If you decide you would like to buy a firearm in the next (insert some period of time here, like 5 years) you go to the county courthouse and fill out a form 4473-B, which looks just like a form 4473 except it has no place to record the firearms being bought. Then, the background check is run, and you get a wristband.

Actually, you get a stamp on your CCW or your Driver’s License or your passport, or a card. Wristbands are a metaphor. In fact, since most CCW’s include a background check, you’re done if you have a CCW, which is why I only sell my guns privately to people with Georgia Weapons Carry Licenses.

Then, when you decide you want to buy a gun, you arrange the sale, and you fill out a form 4473-C which has your name and wristband number (remember, it’s a metaphor) and you take it to your local FFL holder. He or she confirms the wristband number and the gun serial number with the ones on the 4473-C, and gives you and the seller a copy, and keeps the original. You pay the FFL holder a nominal fee, maybe $5, and you’re done.

You’re done.

There is no need to call the CCW office, or the NICS, or anybody. You’re wearing the wristband.

You’re done.

+++++

But, what if you decide not to follow this procedure?

Well, you’re in violation of the law, just as you are now, if you buy a new gun from someone without a background check.

But what keeps guns out of the hands of criminals?

Good question. What keeps them out of their hands now? What makes you think they are going to follow the Universal Background Check that Bill and Alan did?

Seriously, if you have ideas on that one, let’s hear them.

+++++

Here’s a summary of my point, at last.

The other side wants universal background checks. Fine. Let’s give them universal background checks. But nothing more. No registration, no oversight, no right of approval. If the buyer has a valid background check, the government’s work is done here, move along.

Otherwise I say we tell them to take a flying leap. After all, we have the votes, we have the political power. Let’s use it.