A Geek With Guns

Discount security adviser to the proles.

Archive for the ‘Gun Rights’ tag

Carry Permit Applications Spike in Florida

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While gun control advocates are always quick to tell people they need to be more vulnerable, common sense seems to reign supreme. It’s not uncommon in the wake of a mass shooting for carry permit applications to spike. The most recent mass shooting in Orlando is a prime example of this:

Thousands of Floridians are looking to take personal safety into their own hands after the massacre at an Orlando nightclub last month.

In May, the Florida Department of Agriculture distributed more than 20,000 applications to people interested in a concealed weapon permit or other firearm license. That number jumped to more than 36,000 in June, according to recently released numbers.

The applications are either sent by mail or downloaded from the department’s website.

One of the reasons mass shootings are so frightening to the average person is because they demonstrate just how helpless unarmed individuals are against an armed individual. Gun control advocates, unwilling to face that fear, pray to their god, the State, to make all the bad things go away. People willing to face that fear take matters to mitigate their risks in case they find themselves in such a position. A byproduct of this practical attitude is that the general public becomes less vulnerable as more people within it are able to resist armed attackers.

Like You and Me, Only Better

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Law enforcers have a proud tradition of hating any government granted privilege that inconveniences them. The Fourth Amendment irritates them because it throws up roadblocks between them and searching every vehicle and building. The Fifth Amendment irritates them because it stands between them and forcing suspects to incriminate themselves. The Second Amendment irritates them because they want to be the only ones carrying guns:

In Cleveland, police union head Steve Loomis said he made the request to protect officers following recent fatal shooting of three police officers in Louisiana on Sunday and the killing of five officers in Dallas on July 7. Kasich said he did not have the power to circumvent the state’s open-carry law.

[…]

Across the country, similar battles are playing out in states where municipal authorities, often backed by police departments, are clashing with state lawmakers over how to regulate the open carrying of firearms.

Dallas’s police chief drew criticism from gun rights advocates for saying open carriers made it more “challenging” for his officers to respond to a shooter who killed five policemen at a demonstration this month.

[…]

Police in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have been trying and failing to restrict the open carrying of guns for years. The state attorney general argues that citizens have a constitutional right to publicly display weapons, which cannot be overruled by city authorities.

“I wish more of our legislators could see past the ideology,” said Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn. “They have no concern about the impact in urban environments that are already plagued by too many guns and too much violence.”

These officers are focusing on open carry, not because it makes their job more challenging (after all, it’s pretty easy to distinguish a person with a holstered gun from a person actively shooting people), but because it’s currently the most controversial form of carry. This is how these fights always play out. You start with the most controversial aspect of the thing you’re trying to crush because it’s the aspect you can get popular support for. Once you’ve crushed the most controversial aspect the next aspect can be made controversial.

These officers aren’t against open carry, they’re against carry. If they achieved their goals and managed to get open carry abolished they would then move on to claim that concealed carry makes their jobs difficult because it’s hard for them to know who is legally carrying a firearm and who is a drug dealer illegally carrying a firearm.

In the end these officers want a world where us mere serfs have no protections whatsoever against them.

Philando Castile Had a Carry Permit

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A lot of boot lickers have called Castile’s girlfriend’s claim that he had a carry permit into question. If he did have a carry permit that necessarily means he had no felonies, history of domestic abuse, or any notable history of violence. Since those are the go-to excuses boot lickers usually use to justify what appears to be an egregious use of lethal force by police, the fact he had a carry permit really threw a wrench into their mechanisms.

Earlier this week the Star Tribune said it had confirmed that Philando Castile had a carry permit. The boot lickers called this claim into question as well because the source was anonymous (due to the privacy laws surrounding permit holder data in Minnesota anybody with access to the data who shares it can get into trouble). However, the family of Castile has released a copy of the letter sent by the Hennepin County Sheriffs Office when they issued Castile his permit.

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I think we can put the issue of whether or not Castile had a carry permit to bed now.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 15th, 2016 at 11:00 am

Garbage In, Garbage Out

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In computer science the term garbage in, garbage out is used frequently to note that if you have garbage data as an input you will get garbage data as an output. This is applicable in any research. A new study has been released that claims there is no racial bias in polices’ use of lethal force in the United States. Quite a few people have jumped on this because it supports their bias that there isn’t a problem with policing in this country. However, Radley Balko points out a serious flaw in the study. It uses reports written by police officers:

For the purpose of the discussion, let’s break shootings and killings by police into three categories: incidents that were illegal and unnecessary, incidents that were legal and necessary, and incidents that were legal but unnecessary. If you’re asking whether current laws and policies allow for too many police shootings, looking at how many shootings are justified under current law and policy is just question begging. It’s that last category — legal but unnecessary — that we want to explore. Unfortunately, it’s also a category that is plagued by subjectivity and the simple fact noted above: Most of the data we have comes from police reports themselves.

If we were to compile statistics on, say, medical mistakes in an effort to make policies that would improve the state of medicine, we wouldn’t get all of our data from written statements by the accused doctors or hospitals. If we wanted to compile data on conflicts of interest in politics, we wouldn’t rely on members of politicians to self-report and adjudicate when their vote may have been influenced by a campaign donation. But this is essentially what we do with shootings by police officers.

The study is simply an extension of the phrase, we investigated ourselves and found that we did nothing wrong. Studying police use of force in the United States is difficult because most of the data is created by the police themselves. There is very little third-party oversight and what little exists is usually tied to the law enforcement community in some manner.

I’m sure Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who killed Philandro Castile, wrote a report that exonerated him of wrongdoing. This isn’t just because he wants to avoid punishment but also because he probably wants to justify his actions to himself. We humans are great at twisting logic to justify our actions to ourselves. Thieves will tell themselves that since the person they were stealing from was wealthy no real harm occurred to him and therefore the theft was justified. Domestic abusers will tell themselves that they have to hit their partner in order to teach them important lessons. Police, likewise, will tell themselves that lethal force was necessary to preserve their lives. We cannot rely on the reports thieves, domestic abusers, and police write about their own actions because they are necessarily biased. So long as rely on such data as our input we’re going to get garbage as our output.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 15th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Do You Believe Being Armed is a Cultural Norm or Not

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The Star Tribune has stated that it received confirmation that Philando Castile had a carry permit. Being a permit holder added a unique element to his death because it necessarily means that he had a clean record (no felonies, no history of domestic abuse, etc.). Having a clean record means the boot lickers couldn’t justify the shooting by citing the victim’s history. Instead many of them are claiming that Castile didn’t put his hands on the steering wheel when he was pulled over which in combination with being armed justified the officer’s supposed fear for his life. What’s funny is that many of the people making this argument also claim to be pro-gun.

This is one of my favorite instances of cognitive dissonance. Gun rights advocates usually argue that being armed isn’t threatening in of itself. In fact they often scoff whenever an anti-gunners claims to be in fear for their lives when they see somebody who is armed. These gun rights advocates usually also argue that being armed should be a cultural norm. I agree with both sentiments. However, where I diverge from many supposed gun rights advocates is that my belief doesn’t give an exception to anybody wearing a badge.

Does somebody have grounds to be afraid for their life just because the see somebody else who is armed? If you don’t believe they do then why should an officer be justified in fearing for their life just because they’re interacting with somebody who is armed? It can’t be both ways, which is something a lot of supposedly pro-gun people fail to realize.

As I said, I personally believe being armed in of itself is not threatening behavior and I believe being armed should be a cultural norm. This also means that I don’t believe police officers have grounds to get all “Officer safety! My life is on the line!” just because they’re interacting with somebody who is armed.
You shouldn’t have to expect an officer to treat you any differently if you’re armed than if you’re unarmed. Being armed and not immediately taking a submissive position when being pulled over also shouldn’t justification for an officer to shoot you. People who claim to be supporters of gun rights and also believe that officers are justified in being afraid for their lives just because they’re interacting with somebody who are really anti-gunners who don’t realize it.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 11th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Yes, Permit Holders Do Stop Mass Shootings

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An awful lot of mass shootings occur in gun-free zones. While correlation doesn’t prove causality it can indicate a trend. When gun rights activists point this correlation out the other side of the aisle is quick to claim that no mass shootings have been stopped by permit holders so the correlation is irrelevant. It’s a false argument that can only be made because when a permit holder shops a mass shooter the event doesn’t turn into a mass shooting. But permit holders are out there and they do stop bad people with guns planning to shoot a lot of people:

LYMAN, SC (FOX Carolina) – Deputies with Spartanburg County said a man faces multiple attempted murder charges after opening fire outside a nightclub early Sunday morning.

The shooting happened around 3:30 a.m. at Playoffz nightclub on Inman Road in Lyman.

Deputies said 32-year-old Jody Ray Thompson pulled out a gun after getting into an argument with another man and fired several rounds toward a crowd that had gathered out in front of the club.

“His rounds struck three victims, and almost struck a fourth victim, who in self-defense, pulled his own weapon and fired, striking Thompson in the leg,” Lt. Kevin Bobo said.

Bobo said the man who shot Thompson has a valid concealed weapons permit, cooperated with investigators, and won’t be facing any charges.

What this story shows is the concept of defense in depth. Police officers were apparently elsewhere when the shooting start, which isn’t unusual as they can’t be everywhere at once. Had the shooter been left to his own devises would have likely shot far more people. However, his spree was cut short because there was an additional layer of defense. An average person with the capacity for force necessary to fight back fought back and in so doing probably saved several lives.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 1st, 2016 at 10:30 am

How Do You Get on The Terrorist Watch Lists? Be in the Wrong Place When an Officer Needs to Fill a Quota.

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With all the talk about prevent terrorists from buying guns I think it’s time we sat down and asked what a terrorist, in this context, means. When people say they want to prevent terrorists from buying guns what they really mean is that they want to prevent people on the terrorist watch lists from buying guns. But being on the terrorist watch lists doesn’t mean you’re a terrorist. In fact, over 40 percent of the names on the lists aren’t affiliate with any known terrorist organization.

So what lands somebody on the lists if they’re not affiliated with any known terrorist organization? One way is to be in the wrong place when an officer needs to fill a quota:

You could be on a secret government database or watch list for simply taking a picture on an airplane. Some federal air marshals say they’re reporting your actions to meet a quota, even though some top officials deny it.

The air marshals, whose identities are being concealed, told 7NEWS that they’re required to submit at least one report a month. If they don’t, there’s no raise, no bonus, no awards and no special assignments.

This is the problem with secret lists that have secret criteria. Anything can potentially land you on the lists. Since they’re secret you don’t even know you’re on one. Furthermore, if you do find out you’re on one there’s no way of getting off of it.

This is the problem with using lists that involve no due process to punish people. Under the laws the gun control advocates are fighting for you could lose your right to purchase a gun just because you were sitting near an air marshal when they needed to fulfill a monthly quota.

The Democrats Want to Prohibit Muslims from Owning Firearms

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Yesterday the Democrats had a little sit-in. They were trying to prevent any politicking from happening until the Republicans agree to vote for a gun control bill. Let me start off by saying that preventing politicking from happening is a noble thing. I think the Democrats were being a shining example for their fellow politicians. More politicians should sit around and do nothing. The longer they sit and do nothing the longer they’re not voting on measures and the longer the people can enjoy relief from the tyranny of law makers.

But it behooves us to look at their motives. Many Democrats cheered their fellow politicians on. They believed this sit-in is noble because of what the Democratic politicians were trying to achieve. However, what they were trying to achieve was to prohibit Muslims from owing firearms:

While sit-in participants are also advocating for expanded background checks and an assault weapons ban, their primary call to action is for a vote on a measure that would ban gun sales to people listed on a federal government watchlist – a move clearly designed more for its political potency than for its effectiveness.

And the government’s consolidated terrorist watchlist is notoriously unreliable. It has ensnared countless innocent Americans, including disabled war veterans and members of Congress. Nearly half of the people on these watch lists were designated as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation,” according to documents obtained by The Intercept in 2014.

What little we do know about the terrorist watch lists, thanks to a handful of leaks, is that over 40 percent of the names on them aren’t affiliated with any known terrorist organizations and that many of the names sound Muslim. There’s nothing noble about trying to block people of a specific religion from buying firearms. In fact, not to go all Godwin (since this is an accurate historical example), that’s exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews.

People criticize the Republicans for persecuting Muslims and rightly so. But the Democrats seem to get a pass even though they’re working towards the same ends. They’re two sides of the same fascist coin.

The State is a Kleptomaniac

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Nobody’s coming for your guns!

How many times have you heard that over the last week? I must have heard it a few dozen times. It’s the go-to response to any gun control loving statist. It’s also bullshit as is any statement that is based on the premise that the State won’t steal something.

Consider all of the things the State has stolen from people. If you’re working in the white market the State is stealing a percentage of every hour you work in the form of Social Security, income tax, and other assorted taxes. Long ago the State stole everybody’s property. You aren’t allowed to own your home, you’re only allowed to rent it. If you stop paying rent property taxes, the State evicts you. With the exception of a few states, the State is trying to steal your fucking plants cannabis and every state is trying to steal your heroin, cocaine, acid, and other chemicals it has decided you don’t need. What about non-recreational drugs? The State has taken a lot of those as well or locked them behind permission slips prescriptions. For Christ’s sake, the State has stolen your fucking candy. And your guns? If you meet one of the ever growing list of criteria, including being arbitrarily labeled a felon, the State tries to take your guns.

So, yes, the State is coming for your guns. In fact, it’s coming for everything you have. Theft is compulsive behavior for the State. It’s a kleptomaniac. Anybody who claims it isn’t coming for something is a fool.

Some Good News

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I have some good news for a change. It’s not surprising that gun sales are up. Gun sales always go up when the State starts talking about restricting them. What is a pleasant surprise is that the Pink Pistols are gaining a lot of memberships:

The Pink Pistols is a national gun club for gays and lesbians. It saw its membership soar from about 1,500 members on Saturday to 3,500 on Monday.

Dozens of new chapters are springing up, including one Smith is creating in Colorado Springs. He said it’s something he feels compelled to do, even though he’s heterosexual.

“I look at it as a disenfranchised minority that needs someone who’s willing to say I’m a resource who’s here and willing to help,” he said.

Another chapter also appears to be forming in the Denver area. The Pink Pistols typically meet on a regular basis at firing ranges to practice shooting.

I’m a huge fan of marginalized individuals arming themselves. I also give kudos to anybody who isn’t a member of a marginalized group providing aid to those who are. Gays, bisexuals, and transgender individuals still face high amounts of violence just for being who they are. If they make it known that they are armed and willing to defend themselves the people who traditionally prey on them may start to think twice.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 17th, 2016 at 10:00 am