Gun control yak-shavers: Lights, cameras, no action
The last week of October was a busy week for House and Senate busybodies who proposed several go-nowhere gun control bills during brilliant TV press conferences highlighted by soundbite lectures that assured constituents they’re making America a better, safer place by crafting legislation they know has absolutely no chance of passing.
Meanwhile, in his quixotic quest for lame duck relevancy, President Barak Obama on Oct. 27 addressed the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago, where a foiled attempt to cherry-pick through the Constitution has spawned a lethal legacy of punishing law-abiding residents with oppressive gun control laws while aiding and abetting criminals with lenient gun laws and then blaming the inevitable gun violence on guns—all while sounding sane!
Obama said Congress must adopt strict gun control laws—such as those that work so well in his hometown—nationwide rather acknowledge the 10th and 14th amendments that “allow” states and local governments to do so. “It’s time to be honest,” he lied. “Fewer gun safety laws don’t mean more freedom.”
It takes talent to speak in such singular doublespeak without batting an eye. Truly, it does. Unfortunately, in Washington, there is much patience for such Orwellian oratory, especially when accompanied by the buzz of yak-shaving.
—Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) got on New York City’s TV “news,” squeezing in a 30-second blurb between round-the-clock coverage of Lamar Odom’s recovery, with her initiative to do something about something—dammit!—by proposing H.R. 3830, the “Reducing Gun Violence in our Neighborhoods Act of 2015″ which would impose a $100 federal tax on the sales of guns.
“If making guns more expensive means fewer end up in commerce, I’m happy with that result,” she said.
In other words, once again, tax law-abiders for the actions of law-breakers and, since legal gun owners are a convenient minority to “blame,” it is politically correct to discriminate against them. Besides, it looks and sounds good on TV. That’s all that matters.
Velazquez’s foray into original thinking is a near-exact version of the “gun violence tax” approved by the Seattle City Council earlier this year. In Seattle, gun and ammo sales are subject to a tax of $25 per firearm at sale and 5 cents for every round of ammunition at sale; 2 cents for every round of .22 caliber ammunition and smaller.
—Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) introduced his “The Gun Dealer Accountability Act,” that would allow the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to do more frequent inspections and require lists of inventory from gun stores that have illegally transferred guns or have served as the source of 10 or more weapons used in crimes in the previous two years.
Right now, federal law prohibits ATF from releasing public records of what weapons gun shops have in their inventory, and the agency is permitted to inspect gun stores only once a year.
—Not to be outdone, the Senate clown car disgorged its frequent fliers — Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Chris Murphy (Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Chuckie Cheese Schumer (N.Y.) — onto the steps of Capitol Hill amid a forest of TV cameras to remind everyone that they, too, are eager to show that they’re willing to appear willing to take action, especially if no real action can possibly result.
The clown car cabal’s “Background Check Completion Act” would close the “default to proceed loophole” that allows gun sales to finalize after 72 hours if a background check is not complete. It also calls strengthening background checks by closing the so-called “gun show loophole,” eliminating loopholes for firearms purchased online and at gun shows, and providing more funding for the existing federal background-check system.
The bill has a handful of Democratic backers but faces an uphill battle in the Senate where Republicans aren’t interested in gun control legislation as much as they are in adopting bills that, while they have many of the same “loophole” features as the Democrats’ proposals do, will include mental health requirements designed to keep guns out of the hands of lunatics rather than out of the hands of law-abiding sane people.
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SOUNDS LIKE COMMON SENSE
Hearing Protection Act is formally introduced
The Hearing Protection Act of 2015, proposed by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) and co-sponsored by 10 GOP colleagues, was formally introduced into the House on Oct. 10.
If adopted, it would remove suppressors from the purview of the National Firearms Act and place them in the same regulatory category as long guns, eliminating a $200 federal tax on gun silencers and loosening licensing requirements that make them difficult to buy.
The law and the tax are the residue of the Depression Era war on gangsters when suppressors were grouped in with machine guns and sawed-off shotguns under the National Firearms Act of 1934. But does a device that reduces the number of decibels produced by a gun shot really belong in the same category as an automatic weapon?
Most think not, especially when the devices are becoming mainstream. In fact, writes Mark Keefe in American Rifleman, “In other countries —including those with very restrictive gun laws — suppressors are considered the polite thing to do. Shooting unsuppressed is frowned upon; it’s simply rude.
“And,” Keefe continues, “in an unusual bit of irony, a suppressor you can buy at the hardware story in other countries takes six months and the permission of the Federal Government here.”
Outdoor Life Editor John Snow writes the bill is “a long time coming,” noting if adopted, “this would mean no more onerous ATF waiting period, which can take up to nine months, and no more $200 tax stamp.”
Making suppressors less expensive and more easily attainable is a public health and safety measure, Snow said. “Hearing loss from exposure to gunfire is a major problem for the military, law enforcement, and the general shooting public,” he notes.
“For all those who consistently talk about ‘common-sense” gun laws, the support of this bill will be an ideal test to see if they mean what they say. Nothing makes more sense than to figure out ways to protect the hearing of those exposed to the report of gunfire,” Snow writes. “Whether in a duck blind, on an open-country stalk, or at the gun range, suppressors enhance firearms safety and offer a degree of protection against hearing loss that everyone— shooters and non-shooters alike — should embrace.”
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Polls confirm ‘news’ that ‘news’ is now polls — and vice-versa!
The marketing art and media science of “news” operations telling you what you told them and calling it “news” is clearly the “news.” Oh, and this just in: The latest new poll confirms feeling is thinking and believing is knowing.
In mid-October, Gallup and CNN/ORC both released polls in to re-ascertain — again — that Americans believe if more people carried concealed weapons after passing a criminal background check and training course, the U.S. would be a safer place and that more Americans oppose stricter gun control laws rather than support gun control laws.
Not to be caught with their pants down ferreting for facts, in late October the AP-GfK and ABC/Washington Post both released their own polls to confirm the latest “news” about what people feel and believe today, right now, right this instant.
According to the AP/GfK poll, 58 percent of Americans now feel gun laws should be made stricter, while 27 percent feel they should be left as they are and 12 percent feel they should be made less strict. That’s a slight shift since an AP-GfK poll conducted in December 2013, when 52 percent of Americans said gun laws should be made stricter.
According to the AP/GfK’s feelings-and-beliefs collectors, 45 percent of Americans believe laws limiting gun ownership infringe on the public’s right to bear arms, while slightly more — 51 percent — think they do not. That’s a slight shift since the 2013 poll, when 50 percent said gun laws do infringe on the public’s right to bear arms and 47 percent said they did not.
Meanwhile, 60 percent disapprove of the way President Barack Obama is handling gun laws, while fewer than four in 10 approve.
In a rare factual disclosure, the AP/GfK poll found that 37 percent of all Americans live in a household where at least one person owns a gun. That’s unchanged since 2013.
According to the ABC/Washington Post poll, 63 percent of Americans believe mass shootings are largely the result of mental health deficiencies in the United States — “not ease of access due to lax gun laws.”
Interesting phraseology: “Ease of access due to lax gun laws.” ABC/WaPo must have accidentally encountered some thinkers and knowers rather than cud-grousing feelers and believers.
Which only goes to show, you can poll some of the people some of the time, but you can’t poll all of the people all of the time.
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Unicorn-herders ensure only criminals can now buy guns in San Francisco
High Bridge Arms, San Francisco’s one and only gun store, is closing after more than six decades. As soon as it sells the few accessories and firearms remaining on its spare shelves, it’s out of business.
But that didn’t stop the San Francisco Soviet of Commissars from imposing more regulations on the soon-to-be-defunct business. City supervisors on Oct. 27 adopted a new law that requires all gun sales be videotaped and all sales data be immediately transmitted to the police department.
Unfortunately, Supervisor Mark Farrell’s new law won’t be applicable because the only gun sales occurring in San Francisco for now on will be those conducted curbside, in alleys, on the street — the kind of gun sales that arms criminals and leads to gun violence because law-abiding citizens have been regulated out of their right to self-defense.
“All the bad guys can still get theirs,” customer Steven Walker told ABC Channel 7’s Carolyn Tyler. “Now it’s just making it harder for law-abiding citizens to come in and protect them and their families here in the city.”
“I think they need to address more along the lines of the illegal activities being done in the street and to address violence in general, not just with guns,” High Bridge Arms General Manager Steven Alcairo told Tyler.
Farrell says other cities already have laws with similar requirements for firearms and ammunition sales. And even though this is San Francisco’s only store and it’s now going out of business, Farrell says the new law will be in place should anyone else try to set up shop.
“I do believe the city of San Francisco will be safer because of it and better off for it,” he said.
Of course it will! Meanwhile, gun sales are booming curbside, in alleys, on the street, and a herd of flying unicorns just landed in Golden Gate Park.
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IN THE COURTS
Supreme Court may—or may not—hear ‘assault weapon’ ban case
The United States Supreme Court will announce on Nov. 2 if it will hear the case of Friedman v. City of Highland Park, a potentially significant case that could define the ability of some Americans to own some semi-automatic firearms given the politically contrived but scary sounding title of “assault weapons.”
The Court was set to stage its third private conference on the case on Oct. 30 after opting not to accept or dismiss it on Oct. 26.
Dr. Arie Friedman and the Illinois State Rifle Association say Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago, violated their Second Amendment rights when it passed an ownership ban on various semi-automatic weapons, as well as a ban on ammunition clips that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
According to Constitution Today, in April 2015, a divided the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of the Highland Park weapons ban. In the 2-1 decision, Judge Frank Easterbrook said “the issue of a national right to own specific weapons” was best left to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has been reluctant to hear gun-related cases since issuing two landmark rulings, District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 and McDonald v. City of Chicago in 2010. However, legal analysts argue, the precedents in both rulings on gun ownership are very general and, potentially, open for interpretation.
In their Supreme Court appeal, attorneys for Friedman want the Court to spell out some more details on its Second Amendment jurisprudence.
“The Seventh Circuit upheld bans on commonly possessed firearms and magazines that clearly are unconstitutional under Heller, and it did so by applying a newly minted three-part test, all three parts of which stand in direct conflict with. Enough is enough,” their brief says.
Friedman is a practicing pediatrician and owner of semi-automatic weapons. He lost a bid for the state Senate as a Republican in 2012 in a campaign in which some conservatives complained about his support for abortion rights. In recent days,
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