Saturday, March 30, 2013

Imprimis hits the bullseye

I would like to refer you to a very good article about the Second Amendment by Edward J. Erler, a professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino. Do not roll your eyes. He is among the academics who have taken a broad-minded look at gun rights, rather than a frowning, squinting and supercilious one. There are a few some such, just not enough of them. He writes:

Now it’s undeniable, Senator Dianne Feinstein to the contrary notwithstanding, that semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15 are extremely well-adapted for home defense—especially against a crime that is becoming more and more popular among criminals, the home invasion...

Consider also that assault rifles are rarely used by criminals, because they are neither easily portable nor easily concealed. In Chicago, the murder capital of America—a city with draconian gun laws—pistols are the weapon of choice, even for gang-related executions. But of course there are the horrible exceptions—the mass shootings in recent years—and certainly we must keep assault weapons with high-capacity magazines out of the hands of people who are prone to commit such atrocities.
The shooters in Arizona, Colorado, and Newtown were mentally ill persons who, by all accounts, should have been incarcerated...
Read more: 

The article proceeds to a closely reasoned analysis of what the Second Amendment means, discussed in light of Heller and the ways in which the right to arms relates to bedrock principles of liberty, and ideas of the individual versus the collective. A longtime reader of this blog told me that it reads sorta like one of my readers got a piece published in Imprimis, but I can claim no credit. I doubt  Dr. Erler ever heard of me. It is more like he too is listening to the echo heard round the world, which still reverberates from the shot heard round the world.

Mankind will be free. Our enslavers have always been better armed and better read, which is why, if we are smart, we don't let that happen. Free press, free speech, go to church where you want, plenty of guns to go around... Anyone who is against these things is potentially a danger to self and others, and our forebears had a name for that. It is a sad day when these principles are cast in doubt. They are principles that should need no defending. They are beyond rational challenge. That is why it is disturbing to hear them challenged, because the basis of the challenges always work out to something a bit irrational; gun control always has in it an element of 'wishing will make it so.'

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The modern rifle and its foes

The gun works the bolt for you, which is really all that "semi-automatic" means. 

The modern sporting rifle is self-loading and feeds from detachable magazines, which may be of any convenient size. These weapons are mischaracterized by anti-gunners as battlefield weapons of mass death, which no mere private citizen should have, but that's nonsense. These are not machine guns. You aim, press the trigger, a bullet comes out, and then you must aim again and press again if you wish to fire another shot. So then each trigger press releases a single shot, and each shot must be aimed if you want to hit anything. Some of these guns share the basic action designs of military full-auto rifles, but that is because the military actions have proven reliable. It makes sense to base a sporting or general purpose rifle on a proven mechanism. That is why the sporting rifle looks like the military rifle, a matter which frightens and confuses the ignorant. But after all it is only a matter of outward appearance.

That outward similarity has been cynically exploited by anti-gun crusaders, as here:
"...The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons."
 --Josh Sugarmann, Assault Weapons and Accessories in America, 1988
Mr. Sugarmann is director of the Violence Policy Center, and no friend of your gun rights, but he does know enough to recognize the fundamental difference between a modern rifle based on a military action and an actual assault rifle.

For reasons of law, custom and practicality, the full auto feature is deleted in sporting rifles. Among the practical reasons is that the full auto gun can't be tuned up to have a good trigger pull, of the kind hunters and target marksmen like. Another is that few people, unless Uncle Sam is buying their ammo, can afford to shoot a machine gun often enough to become any good with it. A rifleman buys his cartridges by the box, perhaps by the case. A machine gunner needs his by the pallet or truckload. Furthermore, full auto fire from a lightweight rifle is seldom useful, even in self defense use--bullets go everywhere. For such reasons as these, few people choose to take on the expense and bother of registering and owning an actual automatic weapon.

The previous generation of sporting rifles, the hunting guns everyone these days finds prosaic, ordinary and not particularly threatening, were based on successful military rifles. The bolt action fighting rifles from Mauser, and their competitors, became the basis for the last generation of sporting rifles. They were also the most efficient military rifles of their day. The bolt action military rifle showed that a certain action mechanism worked better than those tried previously. Civilians began using the same pattern for target shooting, hunting and self defense. That is just what is happening today, with the AR. A better idea has come along and people are adopting it, just as they did previously with the bolt action, and before that, the lever action, the breechloader, the percussion cap and the flintlock--all of them advances in their times.

The clever modular design of the modern AR rifle is such that you can change its caliber, its length, its sights, its trigger; it is a great deer rifle if chambered in 6.8 SPC or 7.62 x 39 Russian, excellent for farm pests if chambered for .223 Remington or .204 Ruger. For inexpensive target shooting, many shooters convert their AR's to the ever popular .22 Long Rifle,  an accurate cartridge that is economical and pleasant to shoot.

Essentially, our panicked sisters over at the Democratic Party, and at the other gun control advocacy groups, want to turn back the hands of time, ignore a century of gun progress and pretend that rifle shooters are not inveterate tinkerers and experimenters, who are always looking for better, more efficient ways of doing things. Legislative Luddites, they want us all stuck back in 1898 with the Mauser.

An advantage the AR holds for sportsmen is that a humane finishing shot, if required, comes a bit sooner from a semi-automatic, because you do not have to lift, withdraw and push home the bolt. The gun works the bolt for you, which is really all that "semi-automatic" means. While the ideal is to kill game cleanly with the first shot, sometimes that does not happen and the hunter's goal then is to minimize suffering with a second shot and do it immediately.

As a home defense rifle, the AR has, as I have pointed out previously, several advantages. Contrary to what Joe Biden pretends to know about it, the AR-15 is a very easy rifle to shoot. Its ergonomic controls, straight line stock and light recoil make it much easier to manage than Biden's double barrel bunny blaster, particularly if you need more than two shots.

To everyone's initial surprise, years ago, the AR ended up ruling the roost in the Service Rifle National Matches, but by now everyone knows the AR platform can be the basis for an outstanding target rifle.

So then, looking to the present political situation, we have a program of ongoing intentional misrepresentations from leftist politicians, trying to scare people over imaginary machine guns, with the net effect if they succeed of messing with progress, with no demonstrable hope of improving anyone's safety. Perhaps they feel they "must do something," even if it is the wrong something. It is not the right course to shut down progress in developing and refining gun technology, based upon a lie.

Civilian experimenters have been responsible for a great deal of progress in rifle accuracy and ammunition improvements over the years, progress that has helped our nation's military efficiency in some instances, and it is progress that will come to a halt if we no longer have the latest guns to tinker with.

We will, incidentally, become quite ill prepared to deal with tyrants, as per the purpose of the Second Amendment, but I do not suppose our Democrat friends are thinking about that, in particular. They appear to think that concern is irrelevant in our times. Thus they do not think I should be concerned about it, either. I find this reasoning unconvincing. No one foretells the future with certainty, but there are some alarming lessons to be learned from the past. On that basis, the Second Amendment is not obsolete unless tyranny is impossible. The right to keep and bear arms means efficient arms, and there have been a few advances in efficiency since Paul Mauser built his bolt action masterpiece back in 1898. That is how we need to look at the question of the modern sporting rifle; the civilian AR is a logical and timely development based on the technology of our era, and the civilian's link to understanding and being proficient with present arms technology.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Riot gun

I settled years ago on my favorite type of defense gun. It is the riot gun, 12 gauge. I refer to the repeater, either pump or semi automatic, not Joe Biden's silly double barrel. The double is a fine gun for dealing with wabbitty wascallity, but let's be real here. If you "Buy a shotgun, buy a shotgun," make sure it holds plenty of ammo. Buy a riot shotgun.

Since nearly all justifiable self defense shootings are at short range, it makes sense to choose the best short range gun. This is it, beyond doubt.

That's a big claim I made. Want proof? I have several points for you to ponder. A JSSAP study rated the shotgun as having twice the hit probability of an assault rifle and nearly half again better than a submachine gun. Furthermore, the word on the street is that someone put down with "the gauge" is generally down for the long count. Criminals fear this gun, for it has done away with many of their friends and relatives. For most of the last century, the 12 gauge pump was the flatfoot's friend, the gun most likely to be in a cop's hands if he whiffed trouble ahead of time. As for the cops' current defection to the glamorous M4 carbine, it is a fickle phase. They will be back to their old girl before long. Twice the probability of scoring...

The lightest body armor now in use will stop even the best buckshot. That was not a problem years ago, but now it is. Formerly a bad guy with body armor was a very rare occurrence. Criminals these days are getting wise to the advantages of a bulletproof torso. But the armor does not cover everything. The shotgun's hit probability, which owes to the spread of the shot, makes it possible to target and hit body parts not covered by the armor, such as necks and knees.

 For this kind of shooting, your chances are improved by using smaller shot than the famous 00.  00 does not have much pattern density, so we need to think smart.  #4 buckshot (never to be confused with #4 birdshot, which is many times too small for defensive use) gives three times the pattern density of 00. That is to say, the common loading carries 27 pellets to 00's nine pellets. So then, within a given area within the shotgun's pattern, the likelihood is that there will be three times as many impacts. #4 buck's reputation is that it sometimes produces insufficient penetration on torso shots. But so what? We aren't shooting at the torso anyway. That's bulletproof.

#1 buckshot (never to be confused, etcetera)  is a compromise between the good range and penetration of 00 and the good pattern density of #4 buck. Federal Cartridge is offering #1 buck with their excellent FliteControl wad. It is a reduced recoil load, 15 pellets, at reduced velocity, about 1100 fps. This loading has not been available long enough to have much of a track record, but it appears to be an improvement, for present day circumstances, over reduced recoil 00; it has better pattern density and nearly as much penetration. The extra pattern density is helpful if you need to make the difficult shot that hits the attacker where his armor does not protect him. My only reservation about this stuff, which also applies to the other "super wad" tight-patterning buckshot loads (Federal FliteControl, Hornady VersaTite) is that in some situations the patterns will be smaller than optimum. Of course we give up some of the shotgun's outstanding hit probability when we halve the size of the pattern.  On the other hand, the gun is effective at longer range. I'm watching with interest to see the practical, street level consequences of the super wads. I'm sure that for some uses they are an improvement, but sometimes a wide, fast-opening pattern can be a life-saving advantage.

Thus my view of the matter. In the near distance engagements that are typical for personal defense situations, I would rather have a riot shotgun than any other small arm. I want to be the one explaining what happened.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A child's garden of socialism

Do you want to see how socialism works? Gather a class of third grader children, or older or younger as you have available.

Give into each hand a variable number of candies, give to some one, some three, some two or four or five. Tell them not to eat them; they are to play a game.

Place before them a large bowl. Each is to put the candy into the bowl.

After all have done this, each is to take out his or her candy. Line them up in an orderly fashion each time.

The result that at the end of the line, or maybe a good deal before, there is no candy and there are still children.

That is socialism as I understand it. I am clearer on this than most, because I traveled in the old Soviet Union, while there still was such a thing,  and heard the best joke of the century. "Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under socialism, the reverse is true." Whoever said that was a genius. Unfortunately, he may have also been shot. If you know who said it and he is still alive, tell me who it is. I would like to shake his hand.

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" ends inevitably with people thinking it is better to have needs than abilities, and that is how socialism's downward spiral begins. The government must monitor what you have, because you might not give enough, or get too much. Then they have to make sure you have no candy in your pockets. Or anywhere else.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Just as I thought

It's the crazies, stupid. 

I hoped I was wrong, but what I thought would happen, did. The "broad national conversation"  Obama called for turned out to be a monologue. Instead of focusing on the problems of the violently insane, leftists went after your gun rights instead. They don't want to talk about anything but broad restrictions on your choices and new infringements on your privacy. They went after their same old anti-gun agenda that they have been flogging for years, not measures that match up with the reason we began the conversation in the first place. It was a matter of not letting a serious crisis go to waste.

Obama said he wanted the conversation because of the recent series of mass shootings and called for it after the Newtown massacre. Not that anyone on the Obama Left is listening, but let's talk about the string of mass murders: Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, Virginia Tech. There is a common denominator. Each one was done by a young man who was insane. Each was insane in ways that were glaringly obvious. None was in custody and none had been legally debilitated from having a gun. (Technically, the Virginia Tech shooter should have been disqualified by the background check, but the record of his previous commitment to a mental institution was not forwarded to the proper authorities and thus was not entered into the database.)

Why aren't we talking about the scandalous state of our mental health system? It is a system devoted to the idea of mainstreaming all types of the mentally ill into society, and which does not like institutionalizing even the dangerously disturbed. When that gentle-hearted approach goes wrong, society pays the price. In this case, you are supposed to bear some of the consequences, since it is your rights that are being infringed. Are you crazy? Why, then, are you punished for the acts of madmen?

The real cause of these massacres? It's the crazies, stupid. They walk among us. They have gun rights--at least until they are reported for what they are. Until we look at that situation, we have done nothing that will prevent further tragedies of the same kind.

If this had been an honest 'broad national conversation' it would have placed the mental healthcare question front and center, rather than tucking it away somewhere underneath the stack of preconceived gun bans and registration schemes. We got the laundry list of anti-gun measures the left has talked about for years. We did not get meaningful discussion of the cause of the murders.

I don't like to talk too much about other people's motives. It's a hard thing to know what their motives are, because people are often unclear on their own motives. Perhaps at least some of the leftist anti-gun people are sincere not cynical, and simply lost track of the real question. But it's clear that this conversation is not about its ostensible subject, but everyone's Second Amendment rights. That is an odd thing in itself, quite apart from the question of motivation. This is not the conversation we should be having.

The whole thing is an example of a political double shuffle: If you want A, you must support B. If you want lower medical bills you need to support Obamacare. If you want a thriving economy, you need to support government stimulus and various relief programs. If you want dangerously insane people not to go on murder sprees, you need...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bullet trap

Currently underway: A push to outlaw lead bullets. Of course the real reason is not because they are lead but because they are bullets. The pretext is that we are doing huge damage to the environment by shooting lead bullets. California is leading the Greek chorus on this one but legislators elsewhere are taking up the chant.

Notice that bullets made of nearly anything besides lead were banned years ago, on a pretext; see

So then, you cannot make them of "tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium." Add lead to the list and there are few substances left that posses the density and hardness needed. Those that remain are costly in themselves or too difficult to make bullets out of.

The law covers bullets "which may be used in a handgun." The breadth of that "may be" is apparently a matter of regulatory discretion, and exceptions by ruling may be granted by the Attorney General. But as the law is now construed, it covers some rifle calibers, as well as all pistol calibers.

Folks, this bother over lead bullets is an attempt to shut us into a box, in which we cannot make bullets out of anything. Of course, the right to bear arms includes ammunition, for a gun is useless without bullets, but foes of the Second Amendment will keep trying. There are some people in politics who are permanently disconsolate over the idea that you have the ability to shoot someone, even if you have no plans to do so, and they wish to deny your right to posses the ability. They do not think you should want the ability. They do not think you should ever need it. While I am sure all of us would like to live in a world like that, that is not the world we now have. (If we did live in a place like that, gun control laws would be pointless anyway, for no one would ever be gunning for anyone else, and so no one would ever need shooting.)

One answer: Limit, perhaps, the use of lead bullets in some critical wildlife areas, pending closer examination of whether lead really is the problem that is claimed, and at the same time, de-criminalize all the other bullet materials.

Side note: I'm by now half sick of people trying to legislate in matters they know nothing about. What is worse, our dear leaders don't want to know about them. They do not listen to attempts to advise and inform. Their preconceptions and prejudices are enough for them to go on. For a veneer of justification, they will fund studies to support their views--but none that challenge them. On that basis, they wish to micromanage things for everyone else. Does that seem like "limited government" to you? Do you feel infringed yet?

Further fulmination: Even if you thought the ban on non-lead bullets was a good idea in 1986, it has outlived its usefulness, if it had some to begin with. Advances in body armor permit a rethinking of the law's purpose as well as its side effects. There has always been--even before firearms--an arms race between weapons and armor. At this time, armor is winning the race, due to growing understanding of how impacts may be trapped and dispersed. The bullet law we now have makes assumptions based on armor technology older than many of today's cops.

My prediction: The very next thing out in cop vests will give full Level III protection (that's higher than IIIA) and will be something you can stand to wear all day.

If they next try to ban silver bullets, look out. The Lone Ranger will be on his high horse about that one.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Colorado update

The only good news coming out of the place is that some politicians who foisted new gun control laws on the public are facing recall elections, if the signatures are there, and I am pretty sure they are. The legislators broke an unspoken rule. If you are a Colorado Democrat, you are supposed to respect Western custom and culture, not go lockstep on everything with the national Democratic machine. That includes being at least a little circumspect on the gun issue. It certainly does not include climbing onto New York City Mayor Bloomberg's anti-gun bandwagon.

All hat and no cattle.
The way things used to work was that Democrats got elected on the understanding that there is a conservative streak in Colorado voters, even in a lot of Democrats. If you are a Democrat politician you may work all you like on a selection of public spirited causes, but you should soft-pedal it if you want to infringe gun rights or promote the idea that boys should marry boys.

Now that the legislature has broken this unwritten agreement, it will be interesting to see the public's response. Will the people of Colorado sense that the rules have changed, and their formerly moderate Democratic Party is now an extension of the Obama Left?  It seems the obvious conclusion for them to draw. Voters who formerly voted Democrat on the basis that Colorado Democrats could be relied upon to make culturally sensitive accommodations to Colorado voters will need to reconsider that, as the recall process goes forward.

I think what is going on in the legislature these days is overreach and arrogance. The Democrats have exceeded their warrant because they have betrayed the public's expectations. Not everything they can do, under the legal authority given to legislators, is something that they should do. I think the people are starting to feel this and are looking for the right words to explain the way they feel. I hope the Democrats' comeuppance is sharp and the damage to the party long lasting.

Friday, March 15, 2013


I love Colorado. I was not born there but I love her. The high mountains are the home my heart found. Of all the places I have been, they are to my eyes the loveliest. I saw clouds fill a valley below me until they looked liked heaped up mashed potatoes in a bowl. The weather was clear, up where I was. There are not many places on earth where you can watch weather happen from above.

Mountain marmots chirp like bad automobile brakes. Mountain lions steal puppies from  back yards. Bears mainly want to be left alone. Squirrels are curious, always looking around the branch or trunk to see the funny man with the rifle. The very plentiful squirrels give rise to a mountain aphorism: If you want to see squirrels, just go out in the woods and act like a nut.

The people who live out in the country are generally conservative. They are few enough that they do not actually need many gun laws. Nearly everyone up there has a gun, knows not to point it in the wrong direction and that is all the matter amounts to. That's the supposed evil "gun culture." So Colorado's new and infringing laws make no sense for the high country. They do not make very much sense even for the more liberal population concentrations such as Denver and Boulder. Indeed, the new laws are imported from out of state. This legislative campaign was in large measure instigated and funded by New York's Mayor Bloomberg. There is very little in the laws that reflect the will of Colorado's people or their actual needs. This was a political demonstration pure and simple, that gun laws can be shoved through even in a pro-gun state. All you need is enough Democrats in the legislature and a little good old party line persuasion, plus a rich out of state agitator who is gung ho for anything politically left-leaning (the Latin word is sinister.)

The ostensible reason for the laws, or their proximate cause, was a shooting done by a mental case. However, the laws that were produced do not infringe the rights of the insane, but the sane. There is nothing in them that deals with the matter of our broken mental health system; instead, everyone is treated as a potential threat, which is exactly wrong. Of course the philosophy that says the guns of ordinary, sane and peaceful people are somehow a problem is directly opposite the thinking in back of the Second Amendment.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Whatever happens...

If you are not allowed to have a gun that a reasonable man might choose as a good one to bring to a gunfight, your right is infringed.

Whatever crazy new laws we get, the American people must retain, somehow, arms suitable for the purposes in view in the Second Amendment.

Note that the Bill of Rights does not create or confer rights, but acknowledges rights evident under any well-regulated understanding of natural law. The rights pre-exist the document. Even if we lose the Bill of Rights, indeed especially then, we need to keep our guns.

Of course the purposes of the guns are to protect life, protect liberty and to arm state forces raised at need. The Second Amendment is about protecting your own life against criminals and oppressors and being armed to take part in a state defense force or a resistance movement if you have to. Duck hunting and raccoon chasing don't enter into it. Some guns are adequate equipment for protecting your life and liberty and some are not.

I got some "retweets" and "favorites" on Twitter for saying I didn't want my obituary to read, "Dumbass died because he tried to defend himself with Biden double barrel, against thugs with 30-shot rifles." What the Vice President is pushing as the gun you ought to have is simply inadequate. It was a good fighting gun in the 1880's but that was a long time back. What has changed is the armament you're likely to be up against if you face today's criminals or, God forbid, the agents of a tyranny foreign or domestic.

In practical terms, the Second Amendment is infringed when you no longer have the choices and the privacy you need in order to have a gun the government cannot take away without very good cause, and which is adequate for the purposes already mentioned. Biden saying "buy a shotgun, buy a shotgun" is insidious advice. It betrays his contempt for the real purposes of the right to bear arms.

Let me repeat that. Your right to keep and bear arms is infringed if your gun may be confiscated arbitrarily and your right is also infringed if your gun is not up to the duty it is there to do. If you are not allowed to have a gun that a reasonable man might choose as a good one to bring to a gunfight, and keep it and bear it without government harassment, your right is infringed.

Who decides what sort of gun is good enough? It seems to me that the possessors of the right should have some say in deciding when it is infringed. Some chucklehead who thinks you should have a double barrel and use if for warning shots and shooting through your door is not the one to say--his advice is bad from end to end. Senator Feinstein's grasp of reality is not much better. But these are the people who want to let us--under the government's sufferance, of course--have inferior guns. They want us to give up all the progress gained in gun design in a generation or more.

Why I'm laying out the criteria for "infringed" versus "non-infringed" is that we have to settle on a definition of infringement before we go on to the next question: What are we going to do about it?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Common sense gun control

If you've been reading along in this blog, you are doubtless aware that I think most of the gun control measures being proposed these days are wrongheaded. There are, though, a few measures that I think we could implement for the greater safety of us all.

Gun storage is one area where I'd like to see some improvement. When I read stories about kids getting their hands on their parents' guns and doing something stupid, and sometimes tragic, I cringe a bit. But I do not think we need new laws on the matter. Most state legal codes already cover the matter adequately. What we need is a talking-up campaign to inform or remind people about their responsibilities.

Though the details are unknown, the broad outline of the Newtown massacre suggests that it began with a failure in safe gun storage. The wrong person got hold of the guns, murdered their owner and went on a shooting spree. It was questionable judgment even to have guns in the same house with Adam Lanza; off site storage would have made sense here. Else the weapons should have been secured in such a way that he could not access them. Else his mother should not have owned guns at all. From the Hartford Courant:
In a six-minute rampage, armed with a Glock, a SIG Sauer and a Bushmaster rifle, he killed six women, 20 first-graders and, eventually, himself.
Before he drove to the school, he killed his mother, shooting her in the head at close range four times as she lay in bed at their home.
That indicates that he was able to get at the guns by himself, unsupervised, for she was still in bed. Insufficient concern over proper gun storage was her last mistake.

America's mental health system is not what it should be. When the law was framed that prohibits the dangerously insane from buying guns, it was presumed that we knew who they were. Times have changed. Patient privacy now trumps public safety. Findings of insanity are either not furnished to the authorities or else never made in the first place. Some psychiatrists work to shield patients from the indignity of being adjudicated incompetent or committed to an institution, events that  trigger a ban on an individual owning a gun. The "broad national conversation" veered off that very important aspect of our gun problems. Since we have had a string of shootings by obviously deranged people, the mental health aspect should be at the center of the discussion.

It makes sense to put armed security in schools. Where it is in place, we have already seen several incidents in which shootings were thwarted. Objections to the idea seem to hinge altogether on emotionalism. Those who say that guns in schools are inappropriate or send the wrong message have their hearts in the right place. It's just that their heads are not on straight. We do not live in the world we once did, and certainly the world is not altogether like what we could wish it to be. Society contains vicious people who harbor the idea of doing harm for harm's own sake. Unless we can turn that around, it is time to do the one thing that works and make sure there is an effective security presence at every school.

We need to acknowledge something we have been trying very hard to avoid talking about for years. There is a demographic connection to much of the gun violence that takes place. It involves such factors as urban blight, government dependency, the drug trade, lousy schools and--apparently at least--restrictive gun laws. I am not altogether sure on that last point, for it is difficult to say whether laws like Chicago's are a cause or effect of violence. Is the violence in part because of the laws, or despite them? Anyway we need to take a hard look at why there are pockets of violence where the murder rate is sky high, and why you can drive a short distance from there and find yourself in a neighborhood where no one has been shot in forty years. I think the answer here is going to have to include reform of our revolving door system of criminal justice. I have, in general, nothing against releasing prisoners, for that can be both merciful and cost effective, but it seems evident that sometimes we release the wrong prisoners.

I think the above items really will do some good if sensibly addressed. Unfortunately, the discussion in Washington has shifted away from the points that matter to a number of unhelpful proposals that reduce the choices and privacy of the law abiding and sane.

Dan Bongino to Tucker Carlson: It's not gun control, it's people control

Former Secret Service agent  Dan Bongino has a clear and compelling vision of where we are as a country: We live in a "post-constitutional society" in which government is running wild. He's active in Republican politics and has a web site you might want to check out.

More disastrously bad advice from Joe Biden

As I reported previously, Joe Biden is telling America that a double barrel shotgun is more appropriate for self defense than an AR-15. That is wrong on its face, but Joe's advice gets even nuttier.

"You want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door." 

If you do that, you will likely be charged with reckless endangerment, negligent homicide, or something worse. It is a violation of gun safety rules two and four.  It is a very stupid idea, perhaps the worst yet, from a man whose previous pontifications on what sort of gun you should have, and how you should use it, set a new standard for stupid.

An on-the-ball reporter covering Biden pointed out that a man recently did what Biden recommends and ended up in the calabozo, charged with reckless use of a firearm.

We ought not have gun policies recommended or dictated by people who have no idea what they are talking about.  But that is just what is going on. When the president talks about "magazine clips" that people shouldn't have and when toadies call any modern rifle a battlefield weapon of mass death, those of us who actually know somewhat about guns and shooting should know we are being set up. This gun control campaign is not about truth or reason or crime reduction. It is about limiting your power to defend yourself, for that will be the net effect if its ideas are implemented. Your power to defend yourself is at the heart of the Second Amendment, and the Second Amendment is the palladium of liberty.