The NRA and Senator Reid

The NRA is waffling conflicted about whether to endorse Senator Harry Reid for re-election.  I have sent the following letter to express my disapproval:

I understand the argument the NRA is making regarding Senate Majority Harry Reid and I reject it as cynical in the utmost. Senator Reid may support the 2nd Amendment, but no one in the Senate has done more to trash the remaining 9 in the Bill of Rights.

I am not a single issue voter and I fear neither Charles Schumer nor Dick Durbin as Majority Leader precisely because I have confidence in candidates like Sharon Angle and in the NRA. Please confirm my confidence in the NRA by rejecting Senator Reid.

If the NRA endorses Harry Reid you will lose me as a member. I will be able to say, “No, I did not belong to any organization which supported the man who called the War on Terror ‘lost,’ jammed the biggest entitlement in history through the Senate using immoral means, denied that any illegal immigrants are employed in Nevada’s construction industry, called George Bush a liar, and can generally only be regarded as a nefarious hyper-partisan liar himself.”

I urge you to endorse Ms Angle. While a non-endorsement is preferable to an endorsement of Senator Reid, it would still cause me to do some serious thinking about my membership.

YMMV

Shotgun Sellout

‘Shotgun Sellout’: House Democrats cut special deal with NRA

House Democrats held a shotgun wedding between campaign finance “reformers” and the National Rifle Association today in announcing a carve out for the powerful gun lobby in a bill responding to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.

The “Shotgun Sellout” exempts large organizations from the most burdensome regulations of the DISCLOSE Act, “Democratic Incumbents Seek to Contain Losses by Outlawing Speech in Elections,” while pistol whipping genuine grassroots groups. …

Draft amendment affecting the NRA as part of a “Manager’s Amendment” for consideration this week in the House Rules Committee:

Exempt section 501(c)(4) organizations” are also exempt from new reporting requirements. These are organizations which have qualified as having tax exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code for each of the 10 years prior to making a campaign-related disbursement, that had 1 million or more dues-paying members in the prior calendar year, that had members in each of the 50 states, that received no more than 15 percent of their total funding from corporations or labor organizations, and that do not use any corporate or union money to pay for their campaign-related expenditures.

NRA members, especially, should call the NRA at 1-800-672-3888 and ask them why they don’t defend the First Amendment as strongly as they do the Second.  They should withdraw their support and urge a vote against the DISCLOSE Act.

MSNBC. Fail.

I’ve been out of town for 10 days, so I’m quite late to this party. I do not normally reach this far back news-cyclewise, but I’ve had several conversations that make me think it’s worthwhile. Some people don’t know what I’m about to demonstrate.

Protesters against Big Government, at Tea Parties and health-care “town halls,” have been the object of scatological insult by prominent national “news casters” and have been portrayed by Democrat leaders as traitors, dupes, insurance company stooges, Nazis and, most often, as racist. Ignoring the protests didn’t work, so the protesters themselves must be discredited. No protest can be about policies, they are all caused by mouth breathing knuckle draggers who would be most comfortable wearing white sheets.

Here’s an MSM example:

You will note that MSNBC’s video shows dramatic closeups of the rifle while the bobble-heads decry the racial overtones of “white people” showing up with guns when the black president is in town.

Camera angles can be manipulated, however, and MSNBC went to some trouble to support their “protesters are white racist, gun-crazed fanatics” narrative. You have to wonder if the bobble-heads even knew the real story.

If the camera angles had been honest, as they are in this local news story, they would have shown the man carrying the rifle.

This coverage honestly conducted and it actually is news, even if none of the people at the local station actually know what a machine gun is.

So, the reason for a tardy post on this is conversations I’ve had where people had only seen the MSNBC video and didn’t know the melanin content of the guy with the gun.

Maybe he is a racist. Maybe not. What he is not is a white racist. He is also not a fanatic. As he states, he is simply exercising a Constitutional right.

Judging Sonia

Sonia Sotomayor may be as wooden as Al Gore and more prone to spoonerisms than George Bush, but even I have to admit that she is fundamentally clueless about the 2nd Amendment.

In answer to a question from Senator Leahy … Well, let’s have a shortened version of the pandering exchange:

LEAHY: Thank you. And in the Second Circuit decision, Maloney v. Cuomo, you, in fact, recognized the Supreme Court decided in Heller that the personal right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution against federal law restrictions. Is that correct?

SOTOMAYOR: It is.

LEAHY: … We all know that not every constitutional right has been applied to the states by the Supreme Court. I know one of my very first cases as a prosecutor was a question of whether the Fifth Amendment guaranteed a grand jury indictment has been made applicable to the states. [?] The Supreme Court has not held that applicable to the states.

Seventh Amendment right to jury trial, Eighth Amendment prohibition against excessive fines, these have not been made applicable to the states. … but would you have an open mind, as — on the Supreme Court, in evaluating that, the legal proposition of whether the Second Amendment right should be considered fundamental rights and thus applicable to the states?

SOTOMAYOR: Like you, I understand that how important the right to bear arms is to many, many Americans. In fact, one of my godchildren is a member of the NRA. And I have friends who hunt. I understand the individual right fully that the Supreme Court recognized in Heller.

She acknowledges that many Americans think the right to bear arms is important. Someone she knows belongs to the NRA. She has friends who hunt. There’s nothing in her answer that actually acknowledges we have a 2nd Amendment.

Let’s walk through it. Indeed, the 2nd Amendment does not grant the right to keep and bear arms. The 2nd Amendment merely recognizes a right that existed before the Constitution was a gleam in James Madison’s eye.

Ms Sotomayor’s understanding that the right to bear arms is important to many Americans is as irrelevant as it is ignorant. Many Americans would like to have Nationalized health care, but that does not make it a Constitutional right. If no Americans considered the right to keep and bear arms important it would still be their right.

One of her godchildren is a member of the NRA? Perhaps this is very indirect evidence of the empathy she would apply to any decision before SCOTUS involving her godchild’s rights under the 1st Amendment, but I doubt it.

She has friends who hunt? That must be in an Amendment I missed, because the 2nd Amendment has nothing whatever to do with hunting. That idea is a far-left-wing trope, invented in an attempt to lose fewer votes when trashing the 2nd Amendment.

The 2nd Amendment is about the right to self defense. The Founders assumed you have the natural right to defend yourself against individuals who would harm you and against a government that would steal your liberty. The 2nd Amendment does no more, or less, than acknowledge that you have this right, independent of the Constitution.

The 17% solution

The Myth of 90 Percent: Only a Small Fraction of Guns in Mexico Come From U.S.

The fact is, only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the U.S.

What’s true, an ATF spokeswoman told FOXNews.com, in a clarification of the statistic used by her own agency’s assistant director, “is that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S.”

But a large percentage of the guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing, because it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the U.S.

“Not every weapon seized in Mexico has a serial number on it that would make it traceable, and the U.S. effort to trace weapons really only extends to weapons that have been in the U.S. market,” Matt Allen, special agent of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told FOX News.

…In 2007-2008, according to ATF Special Agent William Newell, Mexico submitted 11,000 guns to the ATF for tracing. Close to 6,000 were successfully traced — and of those, 90 percent — 5,114 to be exact, according to testimony in Congress by William Hoover — were found to have come from the U.S.

But in those same two years, according to the Mexican government, 29,000 guns were recovered at crime scenes.

In other words, 68 percent of the guns that were recovered were never submitted for tracing. And when you weed out the roughly 6,000 guns that could not be traced from the remaining 32 percent, it means 83 percent of the guns found at crime scenes in Mexico could not be traced to the U.S.

…But Tom Diaz, senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, called the “90 percent” issue a red herring and said that it should not detract from the effort to stop gun trafficking into Mexico.

“Let’s do what we can with what we know,” he said. “We know that one hell of a lot of firearms come from the United States because our gun market is wide open.

Existing laws already give the United States all the power required to stop any guns from crossing the border into Mexico. All that’s needed is to enforce them, i.e., secure the border. If that’s too hard for Mexico, what difference could some new US gun laws make?

More here.

Drugs, guns and wacky pols

President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, Attorney General Holder and some lesser lights in the Democrat hierarchy have, of late, periodically referred to the weapons and other munitions possessed by Mexican drug gangs as a problem that originates in the United States.

One item of supply and one of demand figure into these comments. The demand side, from a U.S. perspective, is for drugs. As long as it is immensely profitable for Mexican drug lords to smuggle drugs into the American market, they will constitute a demand for weaponry to defend their business. In sum, we supply the cash with which the Mexican criminals purchase military hardware.

The drug claims seem likely to be true. We have failed deter the north bound drug traffic by failing to defend our border in general. The President has shown he can stop cross-border traffic involving legitimate Mexican truckers when the Teamsters get upset, but, like George Bush, has responded with less vigor to patrolling our southern border against illegal Mexican incursion.

The weapons claim is either a lie or an admission that we cannot enforce our own laws. No weapons of the type being touted are able to be legally owned by American civilians. You cannot legally buy an automatic weapon. You cannot legally buy hand grenades. You cannot legally buy an rocket propelled grenade or a launcher for it. There is simply no legal civilian channel for these weapons. Therefore, if American civilians are involved in the arms flow to Mexico, they are already committing felonies the United States – according to Obama, Clinton and Holder – is powerless to prevent. And this claim would also require that the civilians smuggling such weapons are fools. It is not credible that highly restricted weapons are being smuggled, in quantity, across our borders twice when they need never enter the U.S. at all.

If Obama, Clinton and Holder think these weapons are being stolen from U.S. military or police supplies the law-enforcement problem is even greater. Fortunately, neither U.S. civilians nor our military are exporting automatic weapons, hand grenades or RPGs. Even the LA Times has pointed this out.

Most of these weapons are being smuggled from Central American countries or by sea, eluding U.S. and Mexican monitors who are focused on the smuggling of semiauto-matic and conventional weapons [Sic. Semi-automatic weapons have been conventional civilian arms for 100 years.] purchased from dealers in the U.S. border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Why then, do the Democrat bigwigs keep bringing up the idea that military grade small arms are entering Mexico from the United States? Simple, if they can tie the ownership of conventional hunting and self-defense weapons to border violence and drugs, they will perhaps get a chance to further regulate these standard civilian arms. Certainly, the records of Obama, Clinton and Holder show they would welcome such an opportunity.

However, far be it from The Other Club to simply complain. There is a solution to both problems. First, legalize the drugs and then tax them to within 80% of the street value. The revenue would be more than the cap-and-trade carbon tax, without damaging the economy, and the government could reduce the death toll from bad drugs while also starving the Mexican drug cartels. They would no longer be able to afford, nor have any use for, military grade weaponry.

Second, as a matter of consistency, since Nancy Pelosi considers enforcement of our immigration laws to be un-American, require Mexico to grant Second Amendment rights to its own citizens. After all, the claim is that they do have full Constitutional rights as soon as they cross the border, legally or not. They might as well enjoy the same rights in Mexico. Isn’t it un-American that they don’t? Besides, maybe allowing the average Mexican citizen to defend himself would help law enforcement there.

Update 7:16PM
Congressional testimony here on the topic.

And here on the success of Mexican gun control laws. They do need a Second Amendment.

G. O. P. 5

Credit where it is due: Obama Administration opposes challenge to 2nd Amendment rights.

March 9 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Supreme Court left intact lower court decisions shielding Smith & Wesson Holding Corp., Sturm, Ruger & Co. and other gunmakers from lawsuits pressed by New York City and shooting victims in Washington, D.C.

…President Barack Obama’s administration joined the gun industry in urging the Supreme Court not to question the constitutionality of the 2005 law, known as the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Like the Bush administration, Obama’s lawyers didn’t take a position on whether the federal law required dismissal of the lawsuits.

RTWT, it is interesting to know the origins of this suit. Hint: Giuliani Opposes Pistols.

Got yours?

Obama to Seek New Assault Weapons Ban

H/T DS

An update 5:55PM

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder claimed banning “assault weapons” will be a benefit to Mexico in its struggle with drug gangs. A Feb. 20th State Department warning is quoted:

“Some recent Mexican army and police confrontations with drug cartels have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades,” the warning said. “Large firefights have taken place in many towns and cities across Mexico, but most recently in northern Mexico, including Tijuana, Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez.”

As ABC notes, the cartels used automatic weapons and grenades. Automatic weapons are those capable of firing continuously with one press of the trigger. These are machine guns. They have been heavily regulated in the United States since 1934, and it is almost impossible for a citizen to possess a working example. Grenades, similarly, are not allowed for civilian use. Those weapons being used in Mexico are not coming from the United States legally, if at all, because they could not be legally purchased here for over 70 years.

Semi-automatic weapons fire once each time the trigger is pressed and will not fire again until it is released and pressed again. Millions of everyday hunting rifles function exactly this way, but they are not proposed to be banned. Why? Because they don’t look like fully-automatic weapons. Holder is essentially claiming that the appearance – the cosmetics – of a weapon are a reason to ban it. Here is the list of cosmetics that the “assault” weapon ban considers important. Any 2 of these features means the weapon is banned:

  • Folding stock
  • Pistol grip
  • Bayonet mount
  • Flash suppressor, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate one
  • Grenade launcher (more precisely, a muzzle device which enables the launching or firing of rifle grenades)

Now, Holder didn’t issue that State Dept. warning, but he clearly agrees with it. Still, I don’t believe he thinks banning semi-automatic weapons will help the Mexicans. He wants his gun ban to be seen as needed to prevent bloody drug wars south of the border where the gangs have machine guns. Well, the gangs have machine guns, but the “assault” weapon ban has absolutely no connection to that fact. Nor did the original ban have any connection to reducing crime committed with “assault” weapons. A 2004 study funded by the Department of Justice, Titled An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003, notes

Should it [the ban] be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement. AWs [assault weapons] were rarely used in gun crimes even before the ban.

So, this is not about protecting anyone, Mexican cops or US inner-city drug gangs from guns. It’s about weakening the Second Amendment. If you believed Obama when he said he respected that Amendment, you made a mistake.

Signs of the long, slow apocalypse

1- Why is the DOJ changing the rules for Federal Firearm Licenses?

…The Department of Justice is amending the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) to delegate to the Director of ATF the authority to serve as the deciding official regarding the denial, suspension, or revocation of federal firearms licenses, or the imposition of a civil fine. The Director will have the flexibility to delegate to another ATF official the authority to decide a revocation or denial matter, or may exercise that authority himself. Such flexibility will allow ATF to more efficiently decide denial, suspension, and revocation hearings and also whether to impose a civil fine, because the Director can redelegate to Headquarters officials, field officials, or some combination thereof, authority to take action as the final agency decision maker. This will give the agency the ability to ensure consistency in decision making and to address any case backlogs that may occur.

Emphasis mine. The answer is it will make it easier to handle a flood of FFL revocations: ATF shutting down FFL on increase

2- Why is the White House taking direct control of the census? To make it easier to gerrymander Democrat districts as it’s done in Chicago.

3- Why is Fannie Mae to Loosen Rules for Home-Loan Refinancing? Because it worked so well the last time.

4- Why is such a big deal being made over stopping “torture” and “rendition?” Because it was a campaign promise. How is it being done? By redefining words in the style of Bill Clinton. It depends what the meaning of “rendition” is.

5- Why is 84% of the work force being excluded from stimulus spending? Because they don’t belong to a union.

6- How much of the “stimulus” bill is merely spending lacking any special urgency? 78% and rising.

7- Why are we doing this when we know FDR’s stimulus policies prolonged the Great Depression and that when Japan tried it over and over for 20 years, accumulating debt equal to 180% of their GDP, it FAILED? Because it gets the Democrat social policy enacted without debate.

8- Why are all charges against the guy responsible for bombing a US warshiop being dropped? Because that’s the way Obama wants it.

9- Why is Iran demanding an apology for US “crimes” against Iran? Because Obama already apologized twice for US actions. Once, in his inaugural address and again in his first TV interview on Al-Arabiya.

Update: 3:45PM

10- Obama’s NSC Will Get New Power. Maybe this is even a good idea, but the howls from the left if the WaPo had written; “increasing its authority to set strategy across a wide spectrum of international and domestic issues” about the Bush administration’s NSC, would have been deafening.

11- Why is Obama [putting] brake[s] on Afghan surge? Because it’s a campaign promise that had no plan, but unlike “rendition,” it’s hard to redefine “boots on the ground.”

And another possible answer for 2. So he can let ACORN conduct the census.

Update: 4:20PM

I have said I want Obama to fail on the rejection of his statist ideas. Instead, in a fortnight, he may be failing of his own hubris as reinforced by partisan fools like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Victor Davis Hanson points out grave danger, RTWT

…Again, anyone who cares about the U.S., at home and overseas, must be worried, very worried, about the disastrous last two weeks. Even the fawning media — that is responsible in some way for the crisis, given that they chose to be Pravda-like in encouraging the messianic style that got a haughty Obama in his present mess — will soon start bailing in efforts to restore their last fides. If a Dick Morris figure does not come to the rescue soon, Obama’s soaring rhetoric of hope and change will become the stuff of Leno/Letterman and general laughter. Bush was unfairly demonized, but no one abroad thought he was predictably soft and would be so-so about protecting U.S. interests, or that his words and his deeds would be so often in direct antithesis.

And no one thought, even after the Bush Medicaid entitlement, that Bush would bankrupt our great-grandchildren in order to fund, as one example, ACORN.

Update: 7:45 PM

#11 *Now* He’s Asking Questions???

Back in the spring and summer of 2007. Barack Obama was all for charging into Afghanistan on a white horse because Iraq was NOT (we repeat, NOT) the central front in the war on terror.

Contrary to the divisive and mean-spirited rhetoric of his know-nothing opponent, Democrats like Mr. Obama were not soft on national security. Au contraire, mes cheres! “They couldn’t wait to take the fight to al Qaeda! It was just a question of choosing their battles – fighting smarter, not harder:

“We cannot win a war against the terrorists if we’re on the wrong battlefield.” Pointing to al Qaeda’s resurgence along the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Obama called for troops to be redeployed from Iraq. He promised that when he becomes president, “Nobody will work harder to go after those terrorists who will do the American people harm. But that requires a commander in chief who understands our troops need to be on the right battlefield, not the wrong battlefield.”

During the campaign, Obama was full of contradictory rhetoric. The troop Surge, he opined in an entry later purged from his website, was a failed strategy:

Of course if you think more troops didn’t do a thing to improve the situation in Iraq, what could make more sense than to suggest the same failed strategy in Afghanistan? This is called “thinking outside of the box”.

After months of refusing to admit the Surge did make Iraq more secure, what better way to get badly needed troops for your newest “failed strategy” than to do an about face and claim the Surge (which you just spent months claiming had nothing to do with improved security) has paved the way for accelerated troop withdrawals?

Stimula


U.S. Department of Justice


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives


Assistant Director
Washington, DC 20226

January 6, 2009

Notice to All Federal Firearms Licensees
Regarding ATF Form 4473 Shortage


As a result of an unprecedented increase in demand for ATF Forms 4473 (5300.9) Part I Revised August 2008, inventory of the form at the ATF Distribution Center is running low.

As a temporary measure, ATF is allowing FFLs to photocopy the form 4473 in it’s [sic] entirety until they receive their orders from the ATF Distribution Center.

A notice will be posted at the expiration of this temporary authorized change.

Form 4473 is the form both seller and purchaser must fill out when a firearm is transferred by a Federal Firearm License (FFL) holder. Among other data, it records the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) confirmation number the dealer must obtain to complete the sale of any firearm.

The supply of form 4473 is running low, proving not all retail sales are in the tank.

On a personal note, I notice a rifle I purchased on Black Friday is on offer via the Internet at double my cost on average. This may work out quite well for me.

Thank you, Mr. President-elect. By the mere fact of your election, you have stimulated the economy and encouraged many Americans, some of whom had not previously done so, to assert their rights under the 2nd Amendment. Well done.

Maybe you could drop a few hints about banning certain canned goods that possess very long shelf life, or applying a 500% tax to any cans that open with those little key thingys? Most of those foodstuffs are unhealthy meat based products that appeal to the same people who are driving up the price of 7.62×39 cartridges.

In the interests of full disclosure: I’m long Hormel, brass and lead.