A Geek With Guns

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Archive for the ‘Gun Rights’ Category

Why Democracy Sucks Part XXI

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Barack Obama is once again pushing science fiction as official policy. As usual this has caused a great deal of ignorant individuals to voice their unqualified opinions on the matter. Surprisingly, in a sea of shitty media discussion, one publication managed to hit the nail on the head as far as the entire smart gun discussion is concerned:

Guns are a technology, and, like most members of the general public, gun control advocates are thoroughly confused about how guns operate outside of Hollywood — as in, “the Internet is a series of tubes“-level confused. It’s hard for me to overstate just how bad it is out there, even among much of the gun-owning public.
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This, then, is what the NRA is terrified of: that lawmakers who don’t even know how to begin to evaluate the impact of the smallest, most random-seeming feature of a given firearm on that firearm’s effectiveness and functionality for different types of users with different training backgrounds under different circumstances will get into the business of gun design.

And they’re right to be afraid, because it has happened before.

You can substitute gun owners for the National Rifle Association (NRA) since the opposition isn’t limited to just that organization. But the point stands, most lawmakers are entirely ignorant about the technology behind firearms. That brings us to today’s lesson: democracy sucks.

Somewhere along the line the idea that everybody is entitled to their opinion morphed into the idea that everybody’s opinion is equally valid. That idea is nonsense. A theoretically physicist should no more regard my opinion of his work than I should regard the opinion of somebody who has never studied basic mathematics on an algorithm I’ve written. When somebody lacks the basic fundamental knowledge of a field their opinion on that field is not equally as valid as an expert’s.

But such facts are irrelevant to democracy since it is a system where a majority of a voting body makes the rules. Here in the United States that voting body is Congress. Congress is composed of members elected by the majority of their constituents. In the end the only qualification somebody has to have to rule on something in the United States is charisma. This becomes a major problem as soon as members of Congress decided to write a law because they — along with their peers — are entirely ignorant on the subject the law pertains to.

Issues revolving around firearms are being decided by people who are entirely ignorant about firearms. When the issue of smart guns arises the problem is compounded by the same people’s ignorance on computer technology. In the end you have people who know nothing about the technology being discussed voting on how that technology is to be used.

Imagine if we applied democracy to an engineering feat such as building a bridge. Instead of having architects, structural engineers, material engineers, and construction workers designing and building a structurally sound bridge we’d have a bunch of ignorant lawyers voting on how they thought the bridge should be designed and built. The only outcome of that would be failure. If we don’t apply democracy to building a bridge why do we think it’s an acceptable means of mandating laws involving technology?

An Armed Society Is A Polite Society

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Muslims are a minority in the United States. Anti-Muslim sentiments are also at a high. Those two points create the perfect conditions for anti-Muslim bigots to act brave and mighty. Heinlein wrote, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” From this one can infer that an unarmed society is an impolite society. Manners are bad when one faces no consequences for their actions.

A group of anti-Muslim bigots planned to hold a protest at a mosque in Dallas. I’m sure the participants had crusader-like visions of appearing brave and powerful compared to the infidels they planned to protest. Especially since they were brining weapons and likely assume their targets were going to be unarmed. But things didn’t turn out quite as they expected:

A few hundred South Dallas residents, mostly black, flooded Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to oppose a planned demonstration by a mostly white group that routinely protests outside mosques.

Both sides were armed.

Dallas police stood guard on a funeral home’s roof as black counterprotesters swarmed the parking lot of Eva’s House of Bar-B-Q, vowing to defend their streets and chanting “black power.”

“This is what they fear — the black man,” said activist Olinka Green. “This is what America fears.”

The anti-mosque group showed up in camouflage, carrying guns and an American flag, FOX 4 reported. They left soon after and the protests ended without incident.

Instead of protesting an unarmed group of Muslims the protesters found themselves up against armed counterprotesters. As is usual in case when two equally armed but disagreeing groups come into contact, the conflict ended peacefully. The protesters, seeing their perceived advantage vanish, decided to withdraw rather than risk a conflict with a group that could put up an effective resistance. In effect the protesters saw that they might actually have to back up their actions with their lives and decided it would be smarter to take the polite route than to continue their impolite actions.

Time and time again history has shown us what happens when one group enjoys overwhelming force over another: genocide. I advocate that everybody wanting to bear arms do so. But I especially encourage members of oppressed groups to bear arms. The biggest enabler of oppression is force disparity. This is why oppressors always try to disarm their intended victims. After the Civil War the State passed arms control laws specifically aimed at disarmed newly freed blacks. In the aftermath of the 1857 Indian rebellion Britain passed weapon control laws aimed at disarming Indians. When the Third Reich came to power it passed laws expressly forbid Jews from owning firearms. But without force disparity oppression is much more costly to perpetrate. With the risks of oppressing a target group increased most would-be oppressors tend to keep their actions to mere words whispered behind closed doors.

Written by Christopher Burg

April 5th, 2016 at 10:00 am

German Gun Laws

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Regardless of what the opponents of self-defense claim, buying a gun in the United States is subject to numerous regulations. But even we have it easy compared to people living in other countries. Jörg Sprave has a fascinating channel on YouTube where he devises some of the craziest slingshots known to man. He’s also an avid gun enthusiast. That being the case, I was glad to see him record a video explaining exactly what the gun laws in Germany are. While they’re far more draconian than here in the United States, they’re also not nearly as bad as in many other countries.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 29th, 2016 at 10:00 am

With Special Badges Comes Special Privileges

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Becoming a police officer is a pretty sweet gig. You don’t need to be intelligent. In fact, being intelligent can prohibit you from becoming a police officer. It’s not an especially dangerous. And you get to enjoy special privileges:

This week, a Tarrant County judge sentenced cop watcher Kenny Lovett to 90 days in jail after a jury determined he interfered with a high-risk traffic stop in Arlington in 2015.

“It’s a safety issue first and foremost,” said Melinda Westmoreland, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted Lovett’s case.

On that day, Lovett and several other cop watchers pulled over to film Arlington police making a traffic stop.
Not long after they began filming, two officers approached them, concerned about the holsters some the cop watchers were also carrying. The exchange was caught on video.

“I need you to go back [to your vehicle] and put your weapons up if you’re armed,” the officer says in the recording. “Feel free to record after that.”

Two of cop watchers did what the officers told them to do. Lovett, who was carrying a black powder pistol, refused. He was then led away in handcuffs and charged with interfering with public duties and disorderly conduct.

When you interact with a police officer it’s OK for them to demand you to disarm but it’s not OK for you to demand they disarm. Considering the number of officers being killed is going down while the number of people being killed by cops is going up I think it would be fair to demand officers disarm when interacting with members of the public.

Power is easily abused by those who have it. By operating on a higher level than the general public law enforcement officers are in a position to abuse power. If we want to reduce power abuse by law enforcers they need to operate on the same level as the rest of us. That means they should fall under the same scrutiny when using force, being surveilled, and interacting with other individuals as every other person in society. If an officer can be armed while interacting with the general public then people keeping officers accountable by filming police interactions should be allowed to be armed as well.

We Interrupt Your Daily Grind To Bring You The Bloody Obvious

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Gun control advocates have a laser like focus on guns, which causes them to lose sight of the actual issue of violence. This is most obvious when they declare victory because another weapon has started to be used common:

NEW YORK (FOX5NY) – New York mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to put a positive spin on a recent rash of stabbings and slashings across the city. He credits the NYPD taking guns off of the street.

“I’m not a criminologist but I can safely say that guns are being taken off the street in an unprecedented way. Some people, unfortunately, are turning to a different weapon,” de Blasio says.

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The mayor claims that since there are so many fewer guns on the street, officers can now focus on criminals using knives and razors.

To be entirely honest I would much rather be shot than attacked with a knife. Assuming you survive, being shot tends to be more easily remedied than being slashed and stabbed.

Several things are worth noting with this story though. First, there is no evidence that New York’s gun control laws are the cause for the uptick in stabbings. Bill de Blasio is just declaring it so but offers no evidence to support his claim. Second, he doesn’t mention if shootings have gone down in addition to stabbings increasing. This is important to determine because it could be that shootings have remained the same and stabbings have simply increased. Third, even if we assume shooting are down the actual problem of violent crime obviously remains. Whether people are shot or stabbed doesn’t make a difference. Either way people are still being injured or killed. Four, and this is one that is usually overlooked, are the efforts of law enforcers to stop out violent crime creating more violent crime? It’s pretty hard to claim violence crime is down in law enforcers are injuring and killing people are a higher rate to enforce weapon prohibitions.

Here is something we do know though. Acquiring a carry permit in New York City is very difficult, which means the people operating within the letter of the law are at a severe disadvantage. If somebody attacks them with either a gun or a knife they are handicapped as far as self-defense goes.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 8th, 2016 at 10:00 am

ATF Says Certain Medical Patients Prohibited From Owing Firearms

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Should people who require certain medications lose the right to self-defense? According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) they should:

What has forged this quirky convergence of advocacy — tokers, meet shooters — is a September letter from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives saying it is illegal for medical-marijuana patients to own firearms.

Everybody who buys a gun must fill out ATF Form 4473, which asks: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”

Answer yes, and you don’t get the gun. Falsely answer no, and you’ve just committed a crime.

The ATF’s letter, sent out Sept. 21, clarifies that the bureau includes medical-marijuana patients in that group of prohibited buyers because their marijuana use is inherently illegal federally.

The absurdity, of course, is that the 4473 form asks if you are an unlawful user. People who have a medical exemption card are lawfully using cannabis and therefore should not be prohibited by law.

More importantly though, the fact that somebody can lose the right to defend themselves because they need cannabis is ridiculous. Cannabis is far safer than most other drugs including alcohol (which you can use and still legally own a firearm), which is responsible for a great deal of poor life choices.

There’s no valid reason to prohibit somebody from owning firearms just because they use certain drugs. So long as people don’t use their firearms while under the influence of drugs there is no real danger. And many drugs have no side effects that make firearm usage dangerous to the users or bystanders.

This is yet another example of a policy put forth by the ATF that demonstrates the agency is interested in restricting firearm ownership.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 29th, 2016 at 10:30 am

When Your Employer Hears About The Concept Of Defense In Depth

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What happens when your employer first hears about the concept of defense in depth but knows jack shit about firearms? This:

After each employee at Lance Toland Associates gets their license, Toland presents them with a gun known as the judge. He says it is one of the most effective self-defense weapons and all his aviation insurance agencies carry them openly in the office.

“Everybody has one of these in their drawer or on their person. I would not want to come into one of my facilities,” Toland said. “It’s a 5 shot .410, just like a shotgun and you call it hand cannon.”

Having armed employees is a great way to bolster the physical security of your workplace. But the Taurus Judge is not a good weapon to arm employees with. It is ridiculously large, only has five shots, takes much longer to reload than a semiautomatic handgun. “But, Chris,” I hear you saying, “It shoots both .410 shotgun shells and .45 Colt!” To that I will point out that better guns are available for both. In addition to that the Taurus has a rifled barrel, which causes shot to fly out in a doughnut patter.

This is one of those stories where I really want to give the employer credit for thinking about the security of his employees but find myself having to shake my head because he chose a firearm based on Hollywood specifications (it looks scary) instead of effective specifications (such as a 9mm semiautomatic handgun). Granted, a Judge is better than nothing but if you’re going to encourage your employees to have a firearm you should take the extra step to equip them with something better than simply being better than nothing.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 25th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Posted in Gun Rights

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Mental Illness And Guns

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Mental illness has become a sort of panacea in the gun rights debate. If only we can address the mental illness factor all the violence will cease. It’s one of the few things that both the pro-gun and anti-gun sides can agree on. In fact I agree that mental illness needs to be looked at. Where I differ strongly from most people in this debate is that I don’t think the State should be involved in the matter. When the State gets involved it issues decrees and those decrees always lead to punishments. Obama’s latest executive order on firearms claims to address mental illness but the way it goes about it can only make things worse:

The Social Security Administration has indicated that it will begin the rulemaking process to include information in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons.

The Department of Health and Human Services is finalizing a rule to remove unnecessary legal barriers preventing States from reporting relevant information about people prohibited from possessing a gun for specific mental health reasons.

Both clauses create additional barriers between people suffering from mental illnesses and treatment. Although the common belief held by Americans is that all mental illnesses are permanent the reality is quite different. Many people suffer from temporary mental illnesses. Non-chronic depression is probably the most common example. Even people who suffer from chronic mental illnesses are often able to control them through therapy, medication, meditation, etc.

A lot of people fall into temporary periods of depression that can become bad enough where they’re deemed a danger to themselves and others. Unfortunately these temporary periods can lead to lifetime prohibitions. Let’s consider a gun owner who has fallen into a period of severe depression after the death of their spouse. This gun owner desperately needs to seek help but doesn’t want to risk losing his gun ownership privileges. With every additional barrier that is erected the likelihood that this gun owners will seek help goes down.

Controlled chronic mental illness isn’t treated any better. Let’s consider another gun owner. This one suffers from bipolar disorder and their lows get severe enough where they can become a danger to themselves. It’s possible that this gun owner could live a much healthier and safer life with proper medication. Obtaining such medication requires them to get help from a mental health professional but they don’t want to see one because they are afraid they will become a prohibited person for the rest of their life. Again, we have a person suffering from a mental illness who has been dissuaded from seeking help because of fear of punishment. Instead of taking steps that could lead to a better, healthier life they continue suffering alone and therefore remain a continuing risk to themselves.

Addressing the mental illness factor should start with eliminating punishments for having a mental illness. I know that sounds backwards to a lot of people. But seeking help should be a pain-free as possible. In fact seeking help should be encouraged. Our hypothetical gun owners mentioned above shouldn’t have to fear becoming prohibited persons for the rest of their lives because they sought help.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 6th, 2016 at 11:00 am

Obama Boosts The Agorist Gun Market

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And so beings yet another period of standard capacity magazines becoming as rare as credibility in politicians. Obama has issued a series of arbitrary decrees that are likely to bolster the agorist gun market:

President Barack Obama directed federal agencies Monday to carry out a series of steps to reduce gun violence, including measures to restrict sales by unlicensed dealers — sometimes called the gun show loophole.

Regulators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will clarify that anyone engaged in the business of selling firearms must get a federal firearms dealers license and check the backgrounds of all buyers.

You have to appreciate a governmental system with so many checks and balances that one man can arbitrarily rewrite the rules. More importantly, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has become much stingier about who they will issue Federal Firearm Licenses (FFL) to. If you are somebody who sells a gun every couple of years it’s unlikely the ATF will issue you an FFL and therefore your act of selling is now criminal. Don’t let that get you down though, operating in the black market is far more rewarding than operating in the white market. Not only do you get to keep all of your money since you don’t have to declare the income but your customers don’t have to deal with the hassle of filling out a Form 4473 and submitting to an instant background check. Agorist gun deals and buyers win whenever additional burden is placed on commerce.

“The goal is keeping bad actors away from firearms,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

So these rules are going to keep guns out of the hands of police officers and other government agents?

ATF will also notify firearms dealers that they must file a report when guns from their inventory are lost or stolen, including those in transit. A White House statement said an average of 1,333 guns recovered from crime scenes in each of the past five years were traced back to dealers who never received them.

Another burden and another win for the agorist gun market. Who wants to make themselves a target by filling for an FFL when it carries ridiculous requirements such as constantly informing the government of the status of their inventory? It’s far better to not officially be in the business of selling guns so the ATF won’t decide to perform “random” inspections on their place of business because it suspects they haven’t been properly keeping the State informed about their inventory.

White House officials said the administration would seek funding from Congress to allow ATF to hire 200 new agents and investigators to enforce gun laws.

Excellent! There wasn’t enough agents arming Mexican drug cartels already. This should give the agency more staff so they can arm their cartel partners even faster.

There you have it, Obama is working hard to make the black market an attractive alternative to his white market. You have to appreciate a man who makes business for you at the expense of his own.

If You See Nothing, Say Something

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As this election season continues Bernie Sanders seems hellbent on proving to the world that economics isn’t the only thing he’s entirely ignorant about. During the Democratic Party circlejerk he decided to demonstrate his ignorance on what an emergency entails:

That was Sanders’ response to ABC News debate moderator David Muir Saturday night, who asked him about the neighbors of the San Bernardino terrorists who suspected something was amiss about the would-be mass shooters but never reported them for fear of accusations of profiling.

“That’s kind of a no-brainer. If somebody is loading guns and ammunition into a house, I think it’s a good idea to call 911. Do it,” Sanders said.

Muir pressed, “But I’m asking about profiling, because a lot of people are afraid of that.”

Sanders wanted no more of that topic and decided to move on.

Setting aside my feelings about the government operated 911 system, the idea behind it isn’t bad. 911 is a universal number that can be called to report emergencies (and possibly get help, but that’s not guaranteed). The idea is to beat the simple three digit number into people’s heads hard enough that during a major emergency they will remember to call it. Is somebody is suffering a heart attack? Call 911. Is somebody robbing a store? Call 911. Are you a good citizen and want to snitch on your neighbor for having expired tags on their vehicle? Don’t call 911. It’s not an emergency because there is no immediate risk of harm so get your quisling on by dialing the local police department’s direct number (then strongly consider flagellating yourself for your sin).

Is a neighbor carrying firearms and ammunition into their house an emergency? Is there an immediate risk of harm? No. So it’s clearly not an emergency. It’s not even illegal so don’t both annoying your local police department either. Just accept that your neighbor isn’t a dumbass and therefore has a means to defend themselves.

The problem with a universal emergency number is that it’s susceptible to denial of service attacks. If everybody starts flooding the number with inane bullshit the real emergency calls can’t get through. In fact this is already a very real problem. What Sanders is advocating, that people report even more inane bullshit to 911, will only further exacerbate the problem. That will only make it even more difficult for people who are trying to report a real emergency to get ahold of a 911 operator.

Take me, for example. If my neighbors followed Bernie’s advice they’d have to call 911 almost every other weekend when I returned from the range. Instead of having the operator free to accept calls involving houses on fire, people having heart attacks, etc. they have to waste time explaining to the caller that 911 is for emergencies only.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 22nd, 2015 at 10:30 am