Showing posts from April, 2013

Hijacking the language

Latest thing from the gun control crowd is to refer to their objective as "gun safety." Of course that is nonsense. Gun safety is what you do with a gun if you have one, to make sure the wrong people don't get their hands on it, and that you use it safely, so that holes end up only in the proper types of targets. If the idea is to keep people from having guns, that is properly termed "gun control." I have been advocating for better gun safety for many years (along with a great many other people) and the influence on the accident rate is significant and downward. It has nothing to do with saying you cannot have this gun, or that magazine, or that your name belongs in another government database. The term "gun safety" has been hijacked because it sounds good. Who could be against safety? But the word does not mean the same thing when it is spoken to deceive. Of course it does not: No word does.

Comparing outcomes of gun control measures

For the present, we have no new gun control laws at the federal level. The latest gun control flap has, though, added new laws in some states; some of these laws seem to me ill considered. New York's SAFE Act appears to be nonsensical, serving mainly to harass gun owners and invade their privacy, and we have other instances of what I regard as infringing behavior from some other states' legislatures. The good part about this is that state laws give us a chance to compare laws side by side, by comparing outcomes in one state against those in another, something federal laws give us no chance to do. We can look at what happens and ask whether the new laws in New York, Maryland, Colorado or elsewhere actually make anyone safer than people in states without such laws. This is a very good aspect of organizing our country as a federal republic. When a state has a good idea in legislation, events will reveal that, and other states can copy what was done. Likewise, laws that fail of

Shocked, shocked I say...

Media outlets are reporting that the Boston Marathon bombers were not lawfully in possession of the guns they used. Is anyone besides the press surprised in the slightest? The Hill opines: The news that the suspects were not authorized to own firearms will likely add fuel to calls for tougher gun laws – an issue that was put on the back-burner last week after the Senate blocked the central elements of a gun-control package backed by President Obama. Read more: I don't see how that reasonably follows. Massachusetts gun laws are decidedly strict, big on police permission slips and background checks. They are stricter than what has been proposed at the federal level. Yet here we have unauthorized persons armed with guns and bombs. To the dedicated leftist, this can only ever mean that we need still more laws, but let us pause for a moment and ask what good ha

The Western democracies: What's our problem, really?

The Western democracies are in an awkward era. Our economic malaise is plainly government induced. Our governments are too large and costly. We will not admit it to ourselves. We the people have emotional and political interests tied up in the idea of the welfare state and many of us receive cash or benefits from government programs. The fact that the scheme cannot work in the long run is the more loudly denied the more inescapable it becomes. Austerity is needed. It is vehemently resisted and the need for it is denied. The economy sinks a little lower. New calls for austerity are met by new resistance and further denial. The economy sinks lower still. We would rather have the problem than the solution. Austerity measures, when imposed, are too little  too late: big enough to cause riots but not sufficient to solve the underlying problem . Democracy gone wrong in this way cannot correct itself by democratic means. Few voters have the vision, or the courage, to vote themselves les

Dry firing--and the ammo shortage

Since there isn't much ammo to be had these days, I thought I would talk a bit about dry firing. Those new to shooting may not be familiar with the idea. It is practicing your shooting, but without ammunition. It is beneficial practice; many credit it with improving their skills because they can practice everything repeatedly, making their operations of the firearm precisely correct, without the distraction of the bang and the kick. Some have found it very useful in getting over a tendency to flinch. With the pistol, you can practice drawing, aiming and trigger pressing. With the rifle you can practice mounting the gun, aiming and pressing, and you can practice aiming and pressing in the various firing positions. You can become adept and efficient in looping up with a firing sling before you let anyone see you do it at the range. All four gun safety rules apply at all times when you are dry firing, as of course they do at all other times. Rule Number One is "All guns

Assault pot (Cartoon)


What's wrong with universal background checks?

"Do you support background checks for people who buy guns at gun shows, or over the Internet?" Why sure. Sounds pretty good, in fact. Sounds entirely reasonable, when asked like that. But the devil is in the details. A number of states already implement that requirement through their state gun laws. It is instructive to examine the result. A requirement for private sale background checks creates an unenforceable law. Private, after all, is not the same as public. Those with criminal intent to buy and sell will simply do it on the quiet. The criminal underground market in guns is untouched by requiring background checks. Law abiding citizens comply with the requirements simply out of their reflex to obey the law. If they sell a used car to a neighbor there is paperwork; why not a used gun? In states without this requirement, there is still a moral burden, and practical problems, in selling a gun to just anybody. You would be morally culpable on some level if you sold

Why there aren't more NRA members

Throughout this latest assault on the Second Amendment, I have been blogging about the dirty politics and the whipped up hysteria, the fake claims and the weirdly spiteful worldview of the anti-gun contingent. I feel it is important to cover that stuff. You have to go back 20 years to recall an anti-gun political storm comparable to this one, and in several ways, this one is worse. It attacks not only gun owners' choices but their privacy. As a blogger I can push some buttons and find out about the traffic visiting my blog. I cannot tell who is visiting but I can tell when, how many they are and which articles they are reading. And I have seen something startling. Even at the height of the gun control mania, my most popular articles were about gun tech. Not the politics, but the nuts and bolts of shooting irons, sights and so forth. It seems to me that therein is an explanation of why we have only five million NRA members carrying the political action burden for more than a h

You can't shame the shameless: Obama lashes out

The Washington Times headline says it all:  "Obama angrily denounces gun-rights groups as willful liars." Story here: Wait...What? Obama is the one blowing smoke here, not the NRA, GOA or XYZ. Obama has continuously spread the lie that as many as 40% of guns are transferred without background checks, has never substantively answered the allegation that universal background checks are a Trojan horse for a national gun registry, has ignored the widespread belief that his measures do nothing about our real problems, and he has relied on wife beater polling to substantiate the claim that the American people are behind him. He has not convinced the skeptical that the bills under discussion would solve the deep problems behind the massacres at Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson or Newtown. You see, the problem is not American citizens, the sane and law abiding great mass of us, exer

Unit of fire

The unit of fire is an old military concept, a rough prediction based on prior experience, that says how much ammunition is likely to be fired from a particular weapon in one day of combat: the rounds per day needed for each weapon. At the link, see the U.S. Army's estimate from the WWII era. A rifleman was expected to let loose 150 rounds a day. The BAR gunner's unit of fire was 750 rounds a day. These estimates were revised downward for the Marianas campaign in the Pacific, 100 for the rifle, 500 for the BAR. What I found interesting about this is riflemen in WWII used less ammo than I had thought. Something else that caught my eye was that the unit of fire for the 12 gauge shotgun was only 25 shells per day. Reasoning this through, I suppose it makes sense if we assume that the fellow with the shotgun only fired at close targets, since buckshot is no good against distant targets, and he frequently hit what he was shooting at. Buckshot is tops for hit probability at mo

Paging Captain Obvious...

The reason why big-government busybodies of all parties hate and fear the Second Amendment is clear enough. Nothing else in our laws stands as starkly against the idea of an all powerful state. Since they want the government to be all in all (it is a form of worship) they hate the idea that the consent of the governed might someday be withdrawn, and by people with the means to make it stick. Ah well. Old news. Really, really old news: Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms. --Aristotle That is all. Continue to discuss among yourselves...

Web cartoon: Origin of the 2nd Amendment

This making the rounds this morning: (H/t to  )

More crazy advice from Joe Biden

This guy sure doesn't want you to have an AR-15. His latest wisdom is that " it can kill your kid in the bedroom ." So it can, and so can any gun. Interior walls do not reliably stop bullets, they aren't built to do that. Some exterior walls won't either. Understanding the fields of fire in your house, and beyond your house, is an essential part of becoming knowledgeable about home defense. A bullet from the AR-15 can pose less overpentration risk in common building materials than many others. That is among the reason why many urban police departments have bought AR-15's.  It is also among the reasons why AR-15's are vastly popular for home defense. What the cops do, and savvy homeowners too,  is load their AR's with lightly constructed bullets that break up easily when they hit something. When such bullets are launched at the AR-15's high velocity, what is supposed to happen is that the first thing the light and fragile bullet hits is the last

Unending litany of lies

There are small truths and great truths, noble truths and humble ones, basic truths and profound ones, but all lies are created equal. Here we have an Illinois politician arguing against the utility of concealed carry, saying that at the Aurora movie theatre shooting in Colorado, no one shot back. Uhh... Businesses in Colorado may post their premises against the carrying of weapons, which renders the carry permit invalid on that property. The theater in question did so ; it was in effect a gun free zone. Some have supposed that was why the killer chose that theater. Robin Kelly contributes here to the endless stream of either lies or gross misunderstandings (take your pick) upon which the anti-gun position sustains itself. I don't know what we can do but keep pointing to this stuff, in the hope that the truth will out. On the good side, Ms. Kelly is reconciled to the idea of concealed carry coming at some point to Illinois, but on the other, she wants it watered dow

The madhouse congress: Diana DeGette

In the once and future swamp that is Washington, D.C., many people pursue many agendas, to do with how to wield the powers of the state. One presumes they are well intentioned, for the most part. We may think that some of them have intentions that are wrongheaded, but that is in the nature of political debate. We can at the least expect them to be well informed. But it is not so with House of Reprehensibles member Diana DeGette (D-Colorado). She is the lead sponsor of a bill to forbid to us peons ammo magazines of normal size. Here is her explanation of why that would be a good idea: After all, there are lots of these normal magazines already around. Her response: “I will tell you these are ammunition, they’re bullets, so the people who have those know they’re going to shoot them, so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available.”

Infringement is here

When the Second Amendment no longer protects the things it was proposed and ratified to safeguard, the right in view has been infringed. The federal push for still more gun laws appears to be bogged down for the present, but several states have passed ambitious new laws purporting to make residents safer from guns. I would like to return at this time to the question of what right the Second Amendment affirms, and in what circumstances it is infringed. When we look at the amendment itself, and its penumbra of traditionally associated rights, we find several interrelated rights and responsibilities. The right to defend yourself against crime and the responsibility to do so only in narrowly defined ways that fall under the heading of justifiable self defense. The responsibility to come if lawfully summoned, with your weapons, to defend civilization in time of turmoil. The right and responsibility to resist tyranny foreign or domestic. It seems clear that a gun law that make