A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Gun Rights’ tag

You Can Have Either Guns or Cannabis in Minnesota

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Minnesota’s medical cannabis laws are, to put it nicely, absurd. Instead of legalizing cannabis across the board like Colorado, the Minnesota legislative and executive branches allowed law enforcement to effectively write the initial bill. The result was a bill that allowed patients with very specific conditions to access cannabis at prices that today remain artificially inflated due to the government granted duopoly of approved growers. Now that the bill is through minor tweaks are being made. One of the tweaks is adding more approved conditions to the list. Recently post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was added to the list:

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) – The Minnesota Department of Health on Thursday announced the decision to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a new qualifying condition for the state’s medical cannabis program.

PTSD was one of 9 conditions considered for addition this year, including depression, arthritis, autism, diabetes, insomnia, schizophrenia, phantom limb syndrome and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome – a genetic disorder that can affect the joints and skin.

I bring this up primarily because it’s an interesting intersection of cannabis and gun laws, especially for one beloved group of individuals that commonly suffer from PTSD and enjoy shooting sport: veterans. Unfortunately, due to the disagreement on cannabis between state and federal governments, using cannabis in a state where it’s legal means you lose your gun privileges. In fact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) recently updated Form 4473 to clarify this. In Minnesota, unlike states that have completely abolished cannabis prohibition, you have to register as a patient with the state, which means that it only takes one agency communicating with another to list you as a prohibited person in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

So now those veterans who suffer with PTSD and enjoy shooting sports have a choice to make. They can either treat their condition or they can own firearms. At least legally.

Illicit cannabis dealers are still happy to provide their product to people suffering from PTSD without requiring any registration with a government agency that might report them to the ATF. The lesson here is that if you’re suffering with any of the approved medical conditions that allow you to legally buy cannabis in Minnesota buy your cannabis illegally instead.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 2nd, 2016 at 11:00 am

Jeronimo Yanez Being Charged in the Death of Philando Castile

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In July Philando Castile was killed during a traffic stop by Officer Jeronimo Yanez. One of the things that made this shooting different is that Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, live streamed the aftermath of the shooting. Another thing that made this shooting different is the fact that Castile had a carry permit so the usual go to justifications used by cop apologists, such as claiming the victim had a history of violence, couldn’t be used to excuse the shooting.

Yesterday, in a rather surprising turn of events considering the history of officer involved shootings, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced that Yanez would be charged:

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced Wednesday that he has charged police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the July 6 killing of Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights.

Yanez is charged by the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts for dangerous discharge of a firearm near the passengers in the car at the time of the shooting.

You can read the filed charges here [PDF]. The evidence, which includes the dashcam footage from the officer’s car, brought fourth by the prosecution team is pretty damning. According to the filing between 9:05:52 PM and 9:05:55 PM Castile calmly informed Yanez that he was carrying a firearm. By 9:06:02 PM Yanez had unloaded seven rounds into Castile. Further reading shows that the firearm Castile was carrying was still firmly in his pocket as the medical team removed it when they were placing him on a backboard.

I’m sure this case will get a decent amount of coverage but I’ll do my best to keep everybody updated regardless.

I also think that it’s important to discuss the matter of how permit holders should handle themselves when interacting with the police. In Minnesota you are not required to divulge the fact that you’re carrying a firearm to an officer unless they specifically ask you if you’re carrying. There are two schools of thought on how permit holders should respond if pulled over by an officer. The first school of thought is that you should, as a courtesy, voluntarily inform the officer that you’re carrying and ask them how they want you to proceed. The second school of though, which I subscribe to, is that you should keep your mouth shut unless the officer asks if you’re carrying. Castile’s death illustrates one of the risks of voluntarily divulging such information as it seems that immediately after being informed Yanez went from calm to trigger happy. You have to decide how you will handle interactions with police officers yourself but I would prefer if you made the decision after being informed of the risks.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 17th, 2016 at 11:00 am

They’re the Only Ones with Enough Training

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Many advocates for gun control really don’t want gun control, they want to give law enforcers and the military a monopoly on possessing firearms. When you point out this hypocritical stance gun control advocates are quick to claim that those two groups of individuals are the only ones with enough training to responsibly own and carry firearms. However, despite their claims, we keep reading stories like this:

AUBURN, MI — A teacher was struck by a bullet when a Bay County Sheriff’s deputy fired a gun inside a high school classroom last week.

The shooting occurred at about 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, inside Bay City Western High School, 500 W. Midland Road. The deputy, a school resource officer, was in a room by himself when he negligently discharged a gun, said Michigan State Police Special 1st Lt. David Kaiser.

The bullet went through at least one wall and struck a female teacher in an adjacent room, Kaiser said.

“The teacher was struck in the neck area, but she was not injured,” Kaiser said. “The round did not break the skin.”

Why was the officer playing with his firearm? Even rudimentary training would have taught the officer that you leave your firearm in your holster unless you need to use it. Failing to do is can lead to a negligent discharge that his some poor teacher’s neck with a bullet.

Time and again we see stories involving officers negligently discharging firearms. This either shows a severe lack of training in many departments or that officers feel as though they can disregard their training. The latter seems plausible because officers common avoid suffering consequences for bad behavior, which is part of why I find gun control advocate’s willingness to allow police officers to remain armed so hypocritical. As a non-police officer I usually have to face the consequences of my bad decisions. If I negligently discharge a firearm and hit somebody I will likely end up facing some kind of criminal charge and then face a civil lawsuit if I hit somebody. Officers seldom have to face such issues. That being the case, I am going to be safer on average with a firearm than most police officers.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 17th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Teaching Youngsters to Shoot

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I believe that an armed society is a polite society. As the number of armed individuals increases in a society so does the cost of perpetrating a crime. This is why I’m a supporter of teaching young individuals how to shoot. The sooner they learn how to safely handle a firearm the sooner they are both inoculated against anti-gun fear mongering and prepares them for the day when they can carry a firearm. I especially support efforts like Elaina Spraker’s to teach young women how to shoot:

In 2009, Alaskan Elaina Spraker decided to start a gun training course for young women interested in learning about firearms, gun safety and how to shoot. Spraker said the idea came to her when she asked her then-teenage son if his female friends enjoyed going to the gun range as much as he and his friends did. Her son’s response caught her by surprise. He said most of the girls stayed back.

Women, on average, tend to be at a physical disadvantage to men. Firearms remove physical disparity from the equation. With a firearm a woman, elderly individual, or wheelchair bound individual can put up effective resistance against a physically fit 20-year-old male. There are few things as empowering as realizing that you can effectively defend yourself even against stronger attackers.

Having more armed women that are skilled at handling firearms can only benefit society.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 4th, 2016 at 10:00 am

The Public Education System’s Ongoing War with Education

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Since its inception the public education system has been at war with education. Instead of education people the United States public education system is based off of the Prussian system that was designed to make automatons that were smart enough to operate the machinery but not smart enough to revolt against the State. But remnants of education continued to stick around for a few generations until we finally reached the point we’re at today where the movie Idiocracy looks more like prophecy than satire.

The Hibbing School District has identified a remnant of education that has managed to remain untouched and is working to address that hiccup:

HIBBING — The Hibbing School District is considering ending its nearly 60-year partnership with the Hibbing Rifle and Pistol Club.

During a school board meeting Wednesday, Superintendent Brad Johnson said various concerns from the public regarding the gun range in the basement of Lincoln Elementary has led him to strictly limit access to the facility until there’s a permanent solution to ensure everyone’s safety and to limit concerns from the public.

The facility can only be used once school-organized activities and events have concluded on Wednesdays, or when inclement weather prevents gun safety classes from being held outdoors.

There has never been an incident on the range so safety isn’t the actual reason for attempting to shutdown the range. But teaching children how to safety and effectively operate firearms is education and potentially threatening to the State. And I’m not even talking about the potential form armed revolution in this case. People who have the ability to defend themselves and are confident in their ability are much harder to scare. Fear is the health of the State. Without fear the State has a hard time manipulating people into surrendering their autonomy.

Consider the police state we live in today. It was able to expand because first people were afraid of the communists then they were afraid of the drugs and now they’re afraid of the terrorists. People are willing to put up with widespread surveillance, again, because they’re afraid of the terrorists. Now the State is drumming up fears of war with Russia and that will be used by it to grab even more power.

The knowledge and ability to defend yourself is a significant threat to the State. The public education system has been hard at work stamping down this knowledge by teaching children to never fight back against bullies but instead run to a school administrator. In recent years schools have even begun punishing students who do defend themselves under the idea that violence is never the answer. Sometime like a gun range that teaches children how to use the most effective tools of self-defense commonly available wasn’t going to fly forever.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 12th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Apparently CNC Machines Don’t Exist

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Cody Wilson stirred up a lot of controversy when he released designs for the Liberator, a single shot pistol constructed with a 3D printer. Why did a pistol constructed of materials that were guaranteed to fail after firing relatively few shots and couldn’t be scaled up to a powerful caliber? Because most gun control advocates have no concept of how guns work. That leads them to fear imaginary devices such as the mythical Glock 7 from Die Hard, which lead to the passage of the Undetectable Firearms Act. Another reason is that most gun control advocates are apparently unaware that computer numerical control (CNC) machines are a thing:

Even after reading his book, I’m still not sure what he means by this. Sure, plenty of open-source zealots favor software that can be edited, freely, by anyone. However, there is a crucial distinction here: no software, until the one created by Wilson and his followers, has ever been used to create a physical device that fires lethal bullets.

The Liberator was not the first gun created using software. In fact most modern guns are initially created using computer aided design (CAD) software, frequently simulated in software before being created, and sometimes built using a CNC machine. Software has been used to create guns for a while now. What Cody Wilson did wasn’t revolutionary, it was evolutionary. He managed to make a firearm with inferior equipment and materials that provided the most basic requirements to qualify as a firearm. I don’t mean to understate his contribution to firearms manufacturing but his real revolution, in my opinion, was to illustrate how irrelevant gun control is, especially as we march into a future where home fabrication will become easier and be able to utilize better materials.

Technology has always been the death knell of centralized control. While gun control advocates cling to their belief that a powerful central government can make all of the bad things go away the rest of the world is moving on and doing what it damn well pleases. I don’t fear gun control because I realize it’s a lost cause. Cody Wilson helped illustrate that to the world with the Liberator.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 11th, 2016 at 10:30 am

My Biggest Concern with Smart Guns

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The subject of smart guns, that is introducing electronics into firearms to boost their capabilities, is a touchy one. A lot of capabilities could be added to firearms but one side sees the introduction of electronics as a way to forward the goals of gun control while the other side has legitimate concerns about reliability. Me? My biggest concern is a smart gun manufacturer pulling a stunt like HP:

On September 13, owners of HP OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro and OfficeJet Pro X began contacting third-party ink vendors by the thousand, reporting that their HP printers no longer accepted third-party ink.

The last HP printer firmware update was pushed in March 2016, and it appears that with that update (or possibly an earlier one), HP had set a time-bomb ticking in its customers’ printers counting down to the date when they’d begin refusing to follow their owners’ orders.

With a simple software update HP locked third-party ink providers out of its platform. This isn’t new. HP has had a long history of trying to stop consumers from using their ink of choice in HP printers. Hell, HP isn’t even alone in this pursuit. Lexmark was nailed to the wall for attempting the same shit in 2003.

It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine firearms manufacturers pulling a similar stunt. Can you imagine, for example, a Remington smart gun that disabled the use of third-party ammunition with a simple firmware update? With software copyright laws as they are and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act what it is, this is the kind of thing that really worries me about introducing more electronics into firearm.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 20th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Federal Court Rules Medical Cannabis Users Have No Right to Defend Themselves

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In addition to the massive increase in government violence, another side-effect of the war on drugs is the stripping of so-called rights. Under United States law, a person in possession of verboten substances cannot legally exercise their Second Amendment privilege. Some people have asked whether or not cannabis users who have been given permission to treat their medical condition by the State are an exception to that rule. A federal court recently ruled that they’re not:

A federal ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders does not violate the Second Amendment, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.

The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals applies to the nine Western states that fall under the court’s jurisdiction, including California, Washington and Oregon.

It came in a lawsuit filed by S. Rowan Wilson, a Nevada woman who said she tried to buy a firearm for self-defense in 2011 after obtaining a medical marijuana card. The gun store refused, citing the federal rule banning the sale of firearms to illegal drug users.

This ruling is ridiculous for two reasons.

First, this ruling is really stating is that people suffering from certain medical conditions have no right to self-defense. If, for example, you suffer from chronic pain and have only had success treating it with cannabis the State has declared your life so lacking in value that it’s not even worth protecting.

Second, this ruling also declares that your gun ownership privileges can be revoked without due process:

Wilson said she was not a marijuana user, but obtained the card in part as an expression of support for marijuana legalization.

[…]

The 9th Circuit in its 3-0 decision said it was reasonable for federal regulators to assume a medical marijuana card holder was more likely to use the drug.

According to the federal court it’s reasonable for federal regulators to assume holders of medical cannabis cards are using cannabis. The key point here is the word assume. Federal regulators don’t have to actually prove that you’ve broken federal prohibition laws to strip you of your gun ownership privileges. It merely has to assume you’ve broken the prohibition. Gun rights activists should be flipping their shit about this because it’s the exact same logic used by people demanding that anybody on the terrorist watch lists be prohibited from owning firearms. No due process is necessary for the State to declare your gun ownership privileges null and void.

Robert Anton Wilson founded the Guns and Dope Party under the premise that if you could get all of the gun nuts and all of the drop smokers united together you’d have a majority of voters. The downside is that the gun nuts tend to not like the dope smokers and vice versa. But the two groups really should be united because they’re fighting the same battle, which is the battle over who owns you. Both the gun nuts and the dope smokers are, whether they know it or not, arguing for self-ownership. The right of self-ownership necessarily requires the right to defend yourself, which the gun nuts are fighting for, and the right to put whatever you please into your body, which the dope smokers are fighting for. If these two groups would unite to tell all of the prohibitionists to go fuck themselves we might see some positive change in this forsaken police state of a nation.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 2nd, 2016 at 10:30 am

Gotta Pump Those Numbers Up

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While a lot of sectors of the economy are in the toilet the firearms sector is doing quite well. Guns and ammunition sales remain high, which has causes more manufacturers to enter the market. In fact the sector is getting large enough that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is beginning to whine about being unable to perform its duties:

Florida has more “gun manufacturers” than any other state except Texas, after a surge of 346 percent in licenses for gun makers since 2009, fueled by the nation’s growing demand for firearms.

That has created some concerns about the regulatory oversight of these businesses by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the federal law enforcement agency that monitors the nation’s gun sales and distribution.

“Maybe we are on the edge of a point where the ATF will not be able to keep up anymore,” said former ATF special agent William Vizzard.

Denial of service attacks against the State are always fun. First, they’re usually unintentional so there’s nobody’s head to put on a pike. Second, they exploit the State’s bureaucracy and therefore cannot be mitigated because the State won’t give up the one thing it relies on. Third, it gets more goods into the hands of consumers.

Anybody who has tried to purchase a suppressor in recent times knows that the ATF is already at the point where it cannot keep up. Wait times for six to eight months are the norm when waiting for ATF approval when purchasing a suppressor. That wait time is only going to increase as suppressors become more popular. And the ATF is constantly grasping for more power (again, that reliance on bureaucracy is biting it in the ass), which only further burdens the agency. Eventually the ATF will grind to a halt under the weight of its own regulations and then something may finally be done about the agency.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 31st, 2016 at 10:00 am

Never Comply with Demands from Politicians

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It’s inevitable that any company that becomes popular will begin receiving an endless stream of demands from politicians. Each politician will demand the company comply with their person agenda. One example of this are when anti-gun politicians demanded Facebook stop allowing its service to be used for perfectly legal gun sales. Facebook voluntarily complied and started taking down groups and posts related to gun sales. Now the politicians are back and demanding Facebook do a better job at blocking perfectly legal gun sales:

A United States Senator released Facebook’s response on Tuesday to a slew of questions he sent company officials last month about gun sales initiated through the site. But the two-page response, which was supposed to address what impact, if any, Facebook’s ban on gun sales has had, left many questions unanswered.

“While I commend the platforms’ facilitating the reporting of prohibited content related to gun sales by users, I urge Facebook and Instagram to redouble their efforts to develop and deploy technology that can enforce their gun-sales ban without relying so heavily on user reporting,” Sen. Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said in a written statement. “Facebook and Instagram’s ban on private firearms sales should have the teeth it needs to be effective, so that it can truly prevent guns from falling into the hands of those who should not have them.”

Never comply with demands from politicians. They’re never satisfied. No matter how well you comply with their demands they will always demand that you do a better job. Politicians are like spoiled children. Once you’ve rolled over for them they’ll never stop.

Treat politicians like terrorists (because they are); never negotiate with them. If a politician tells you to do something just ignore them. They’ll threaten to pass a law but complying with their demands will just give them a poster child to hold up as an example of the industry supporting the law they’re going to pass anyways.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 25th, 2016 at 10:30 am