A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Gun Rights’ tag

Gun Control is Futile

without comments

I know that I’ve beaten this horse to death but people still call for gun control so I have to keep pulverizing the equine’s carcass. Today we’re going to travel to Brazil, where gun control laws are pretty strict.

The reason gun control is futile is because a gun is something that can be easily built with a few modest tools. Police in Brazil recently confiscated a homemade machine gun. Unlike a lot of homemade guns, this one is actually pretty nicely finished and decently designed:

The pistol shown above, chambered to the .380ACP round, has an unusually decent overall finish and came with a very large capacity (30-round +?) box magazine. The tubular receiver extends to a muzzle area extension made of a brass-like material. The magazine housing just ahead of the trigger guard is a box-like structure, the ejection port being vertically-located there. Since no fire-selector or applied safety devices are visible, it would seem that the contrivance is a full-auto-only gun (confirmed in one of the videos), as it’s often the case with such DIYs. Sights? Who needs them?

Truth be told, guns aren’t unique in being impossible to control. Anything that has been created can be copied. But the simple the device is the more easily it can be copied. Trying to control the spread of any technology is futile and it only becomes more futile with simpler technologies.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 30th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Everything is Stand Your Ground Law Now

without comments

If three armed individuals break into your home and you shoot them does that fall under stand your ground doctrine? According to our friends across the pound it does:

The intruders – who police say were armed with brass knuckles and a knife – were shot by a 23-year-old man in an act of “self-defence”, officers said.

The son may not face charges due to so-called stand your ground laws.

[…]

Two of the teenagers died inside the home and one ran outside before dying in the driveway.

I understand that learning what stand your ground doctrine means takes a whole 30 seconds of Google searching and that’s a lot of time when you’re trying to get your article in front of people who have the attention span of a goldfish. Still, it would benefit everybody if the facts being reported were accurate. In that sprit I will clarify the difference between castle doctrine, what the author was probably thinking of, and stand your ground.

Castle doctrine states that an individual has the right to defend themselves in their home without a duty to retreat. Stand your ground doctrine states that an individual has a right to defend themselves wherever they are, assuming they have a right to be there, without a duty to retreat. This case would fall more under castle doctrine than stand your ground.

But even in the absence of either law, assuming the facts currently being reported are accurate, this case looks like a pretty clear example of regular old self-defense. Three armed individuals wearing masks smashed a sliding glass window to gain entry into the home. That signals intentions that aren’t good for the homeowner.

You don’t find Girl Scouts smashing sliding glass windows to sell homeowners cookies. Even Jehovah Witnesses don’t go that far. So it’s fairly safe to assume that somebody breaking into your home doesn’t have good intentions.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 29th, 2017 at 11:00 am

You Gotta Pump Those Numbers Up

without comments

With Hillary running for president and Obama occupying the White House, last year was a good year for the firearm market. Gun sales were up, ammunition sales were up, and the number of issued carry permits were up. Even a socialist paradise like Minnesota saw a record number of issued carry permits:

Law enforcement issued more than 71,000 permits to Minnesotans allowing them to carry a firearm in public, a record one-year total and a sharp increase from 2015, state officials said Wednesday.

As of Wednesday, the total number of valid permits in Minnesota was 265,728, the highest total ever reported in the annual release from the Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Roughly one year ago, that total was 217,909.

Of course, those are rookie numbers and, unfortunately, I’m expecting that number to drop. Politicians who favor gun control are the best thing going for the firearm market. When people are told they won’t be able to buy something in the near future they rush out and buy it. Standard capacity magazines will fly off of the shelf when politicians start whispering about passing legislation restricting magazines to 10 rounds. AR-15s and AK-47s will fly off of the shelf when politicians start whispering about banning modern rifles. The best way to bolster the sale of something is to get a politician to threaten to ban it.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 2nd, 2017 at 10:00 am

Be Careful In Legal Gray Areas

without comments

There are a lot of vague laws. For example, if you own a computer numerical control (CNC) machine and use it to build a firearm you’re legally in the clear so long as you can legally possess the firearm where you live. However, if you let somebody else use the machine are you still in the clear? You can legally manufacturer your own firearm so long as you don’t transfer it but what constitutes manufacturing your own firearm? This is one of those legal gray areas that one should be careful about operating in:

According to investigators, Crowninshield, known online as “Dr. Death,” would sell unfinished AR-15 lower receivers, which customers would then pay for him to transform into fully machined lower receivers using a computer numerically controlled (CNC) mill. (In October 2014, Cody Wilson, of Austin, Texas, who has pioneered 3D-printed guns, began selling a CNC mill called “Ghost Gunner,” designed to work specifically on the AR-15 lower.)

“In order to create the pretext that the individual in such a scenario was building his or her own firearm, the skilled machinist would often have the individual press a button or put his or her hands on a piece of machinery so that the individual could claim that the individual, rather than the machinist, made the firearm,” the government claimed in its April 14 plea agreement.

CNC machines add a new twist to manufacturing. Instead of being required to learn how to use a series of tools a person can now download specifications, place a raw block of material in a machine, press a button, and grab a coffee while they wait for the machine to finish doing its thing. Crowninshield decided that if he had his customer press the button that started the milling process then they would legally be manufacturing the firearm. I agree with that interpretation but since he plead guilty we don’t know what the courts think of that interpretation.

The lesson this story teaches is that one needs to be careful when operating in legal gray areas. Although you’re at risk of being arrested and charged for anything you do, you’re at especially high risk when the law isn’t clear about whether your activity is legal or illegal.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 24th, 2017 at 11:00 am

Public Health isn’t a Thing

with one comment

Gun control advocates have been trying to make the case that guns are a “public health” issue for ages. I came across this nonsense again when read Ars Technica (which is a great site when it comes to technology but its writers are mostly ignorant of guns):

BOSTON—Because both criminal violence and gun rights have become contentious political topics, research on the health and safety aspects of gun ownership in the US is barely funded. In fact, many have questioned whether it should be studied at all. But Northeastern University’s Matthew Miller used a talk at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science to argue that there’s an area where the data shows a clear link between gun access and public health and that this topic reveals some hints as to how to better manage safety.

The issue in focus is suicide.

Here’s the thing, “public health” isn’t a thing.

Health is something that can only be determined on an individual basis. Sure, you can say ‘x’ number of people suffer from ‘y’ ailment but that information is of limited use because you need to look at each individual suffering from ‘y’ individually. The reason one person, for example, suffers from chronic headaches may be entirely different than why another person suffers from chronic headaches. What factors allow and individual exposed to people suffering from a highly virulent disease to avoid becoming infected? What factors cause a generally mild disease to turn into a life threatening condition for an individual?

The problem with collectivizing health is that it leads to absurd conclusions such as firearms causing suicides. Suicidal tendencies need to be analyzed on a case by case basis. This probably surprises collectivists because they like to think of everybody has being an identical cog in the great machinery of society but different people suffer from suicidal thoughts for different reasons. Some of those individuals are suffering from chemical imbalances in the brain. Others have suffered a lifetime of torment and just want it to stop. There are a plethora of potential causes for suicidal thoughts.

Another issue with collectivizing health is that is leads to blanket policies that can hinder sufferers from seeking treatment. Consider this claim that guns are related to suicides. It’s likely to lead to a policy that prohibits people deemed suicidal by the State from owning firearms. What happens when a gun owner starts suffering from suicidal thoughts but doesn’t want to reach out for help because they’re afraid of losing their guns? The answer is that they don’t seek help and try to deal with the problem alone.

I wish people would stop falling into these collectivist traps.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 21st, 2017 at 11:00 am

The New Face of Gun Ownership

with one comment

If you listened to gun control advocates you’d believe that all gun owners are middle aged fat white guys who want to killed anybody who is political liberal or has dark skin. The reality is quite different. Gun owners are a diverse bunch and are becoming more diverse every day. Some people joined the ranks of gun owners because they enjoy the sports, some became interested through the video games they played, and some joined because they realized they needed a means of defending themselves. Now people are joining the ranks of gun owners because they are concerned about the direction the United States government is going:

But instead FBI background checks for gun transactions soared to a new record for a single day – 185,713 – during the Black Friday sales on 25 November, according to gun control news site The Trace.

Some of this has been put down to gun retailers selling off stock at reduced prices, but there have also been reports of more “non-traditional” buyers, such as African Americans and other minorities, turning up at gun shops and shooting ranges.

Lara Smith, national spokesperson for the Liberal Gun Club, says her organisation has seen a “huge” rise in enquiries since November’s election and a 10% increase in paid members.

Some of the new members are reluctant first-time gun owners, says Smith, concerned that isolated acts of aggression against minorities could escalate into something more violent and that a Trump administration will dismantle key constitutional rights, leading to a “more fascist rule than the US has ever had”.

The club, which has nine chapters and members in all 50 states, aims to provide a forum for people whose political beliefs do not fit the traditional right-wing gun enthusiast stereotype.

This is great news in my opinion. I believe the mantra that an armed society is a polite society so expanding the ranks of gun owners can only help make our society more peaceful. I also believe that the best way to maintain and expand gun rights is to expand the demographics of gun owners. Historically gun control advocates have had a great deal of success in more politically liberal areas such as New York and California. If more political liberal individuals become gun owners then gun control will become a toxic issue for the politicians they give money to, campaign for, and vote for.

There are many good arguments for owning firearms. Barring personal preference or issues such as a mental disposition that may lead you to harm yourself or others there are few good arguments against owning firearms.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 21st, 2016 at 11:00 am

You Can Have Either Guns or Cannabis in Minnesota

with 9 comments

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

with one comment

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

with one comment

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

with one comment

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