Quote of the day—Justice Antonin Scalia

I don’t see how there’s any, any, any contradiction between reading the second clause as a — as a personal guarantee and reading the first one as assuring the existence of a militia, not necessarily a State-managed militia because the militia that resisted the British was not State- managed. But why isn’t it perfectly plausible, indeed reasonable, to assume that since the framers knew that the way militias were destroyed by tyrants in the past was not by passing a law against militias, but by taking away the people’s weapons — that was the way militias were destroyed. The two clauses go together beautifully: Since we need a militia, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Justice Antonin Scalia
March 18, 2008
During oral arguments in the case of District of Columbia et. al. v. Heller.
[We lost our strongest ally on the Supreme court in the battle against anti-gun people yesterday. He will be greatly missed.

See also other quotes and references I have posted about him.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Professor Ruth Wisse

If history has taught anything. When someone says he is going to murder the Jews, believe him.

Professor Ruth Wisse
February 6, 2016
Professor Ruth Wisse Explains the Worst Case Scenario
[There was another gem in the same post:

Professor Wisse explained why she is a political conservative. “When I look at any policy, I ask myself: What is the worst outcome that can happen?” Liberals, she said, are fixated on the best outcome. The liberal outlook ignores history and reality.

I can’t recall where I read it, and it was very recent too, but someone explained progressive thinking in a very similar manner. Their observation was something to the effect that if a good outcome was possible from government involvement then that was sufficient justification for government action. Examples abound but the most obvious are Obamacare and the popularity of an admitted socialist running for U.S President.—Joe]

The Instalanche

My post about OSHA is going after ammo manufacturers got a link from Instapundit last week. While the number of hits weren’t as great as some people; with total of 6,975 page views in one day it is much better than the first time I got one. And it is the most page views I have gotten in a single day since I switched to Word Press in December of 2012 and perhaps ever.

Here is a more visual view:

Instalance

A big thank you to Glenn Reynolds and especially the anonymous caller from the ammo manufacturer.

Quote of the day—Louis Pasteur

The greatest derangement of the mind is to believe in something because one wishes it to be so.

Louis Pasteur
[I can’t disagree with the conclusion. But I fear that particular derangement of the mind is so common that one would be hard pressed to prove it was abnormal. Hence my placing it in such a wide variety of blog post categories.—Joe]

This will be interesting

Cosmic breakthrough: Physicists detect gravitational waves from violent black-hole merger:

Scientists announced Thursday that, after decades of effort, they have succeeded in detecting gravitational waves from the violent merging of two black holes in deep space. The detection was hailed as a triumph for a controversial, exquisitely crafted, billion-dollar physics experiment and as confirmation of a key prediction of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.

It will also inaugurate a new era of astronomy in which gravitational waves are tools for studying the most mysterious and exotic objects in the universe, scientists declared at a euphoric news briefing at the National Press Club in Washington.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have detected gravitational waves. We did it!” declared David Reitze, the executive director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), drawing applause from an  audience that included many of the luminaries of the physics world. The briefing was watched around the world by physicists who have long waited for such a detection.

I’m hoping this will lead to the development of “warp drive”.

Quote of the day—Denning and Reynolds

Political scientists and law professors alike have written extensively on signaling and agenda-setting by the Supreme Court. Despite being dicta—the issues mentioned were not before the Court and were not necessary to resolve those that were before it—the Heller safe harbor seems to us to have been a clear signal, clearer perhaps than any sent in Lopez, that lower courts should not declare open season on any and all federal gun laws. It seems to us that the lower courts have certainly heeded this signal.

If the Heller safe harbor was indeed intended as a signal to lower courts (and litigants, perhaps), then it tends to confirm an earlier observation we made about Heller: that it is another example of the Court’s tendency to constitutionalize the national consensus on certain hot button issues and then enforce it against outliers.

Brannon P. Denning
Glenn H. Reynolds
August 1, 2009
Heller, High Water(mark)? Lower Courts and the New Right to Keep and Bear Arms
[Via Glenn Reynolds.

This conclusion would appear to be true and signals to gun rights activists the incredible importance of changing the culture prior to pushing our luck in the courts. We need to make restrictive laws appear to be nonsensical outliers then, if we cannot get legislative action to our satisfaction, press the issue in the courts.—Joe]

The science is settled

Report: Criminologists, Economists Find Benefits to Gun Ownership:

Economists and criminologists have very different approaches to research and different political views, but they both generally find benefits from gun ownership,” Lott told Townhall in an email. “Economists, on the whole, were much more likely than criminologists to believe that there are benefits from gun ownership.  By a factor of 12-to-1, economists believe that permitted concealed handguns reduce rather than increase murder rates.  Despite their differences, still criminologists also believe this by a factor of just 2-to-1.”

Perhaps surveys such as this will help Americans take a level-headed approach to gun control in the future.

No. It won’t help Americans take a level-headed approach to gun control. This is because anti-gun people have never been “level-headed”. If they had the capacity to be level-headed they wouldn’t have been anti-gun to begin with and they wouldn’t have to lie to gain traction.

We must continue to fight them culturally and politically until they become as irrelevant as the KKK which they so closely resemble.

Quote of the day—Stephen Miller

Sanders is a kookily proud outsider and self-declared Democratic Socialist who joined the House of Representatives in 1988 and the Senate in 2005. In the quarter-plus century he’s served in federal office, only 3 bills he’s sponsored have ever made it into law. Otherwise, he was that guy you would occasionally see yelling about rapine capital or the unnecessary proliferation of deodorant brands to an empty chamber of Congress on C-Span during midday break sessions. And this has been Bernie’s professional life for the past 35 years. Get up. Go to Congress. Fight with Lamp. Declare victory.

Stephen Miller
February 1, 2016
Culture Club: How Media Makes a Meme
[H/T to Ed Driscoll.

I have nothing to add.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Alan Korwin

Nothing points out the bankruptcy of our nation’s gun-control debate better than the mythologies that surrounds it.

Prior “common sense” proposals are perpetually abandoned. The so-called “news” media adopts each new absurd gun-control scheme dutifully, promotes it uncritically, then drops it like a hot potato when it is proven worthless and runs to the next latest greatest bit of hoplophobic (morbid gun fear) ridiculousness.

In effect the nation endures a serial mythology, with new myths invented constantly, so we lose sight of each established myth as new ones spring into the public eye.

Alan Korwin
December 21, 2015
KORWIN: America’s Real Gun Problem – The Gun Myths
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

I-594 being ignored

I reported some on this last December but KING 5 News has more:

But analysis of federal data by the KING 5 Investigators raises questions about how effective that law has been.

Only 2% of background checks in Washington in 2015 stemmed from “private party” sales of guns, according to data in the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check – or NICS – system.

That number is surprising to researchers Philip Cook of Duke and Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago, who study gun violence.

They say that their own research – and studies by others – have shown that up to 40% of gun sales nationwide are between private citizens. They’re skeptical that the 2% reported to the FBI is an accurate picture of the private gun market in Washington state.

“I suspect…there are a lot of unreported private-market sales going on,” Ludwig said in an email to KING 5.

In other words, the data could indicate that many gun sellers and buyers are evading the law.

And that doesn’t even count the “transfers” covered by the law which don’t involve a sale. I’ll bet they would be unable find anyone who did a NICS check on someone they loaned a gun to for a short period of time. I-594 is probably, and justifiably so, going to be ignored as much as other stupid laws such those against recreational drugs, underage drinking, and oral sex.

Quote of the day—Jasim Mohammed Atti’ya

What I did were terror acts. It was my duty. There are infidels and there is instruction in Koran to stop this and fight all infidels.

Jasim Mohammed Atti’ya
February 3, 2016
EXCLUSIVE: Jailed ISIS bomb maker says he would quit before donning one of his deadly vests
[The options they give to us are become Muslim and follow Sharia Law, pay a heavy tax, or die. I am of the opinion we should create alternate options not to their liking.—Joe]

Quote of the day—United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

We reject the State’s argument that the Second Amendment does not apply to detachable magazines because magazines are not firearms—that is, detachable magazines do not constitute “bearable” arms that are expressly protected by the Second Amendment. See U.S. Const. amend. II. By Maryland’s logic, the government can circumvent Heller, which established that the State cannot ban handguns kept in the home for self-defense, simply by prohibiting possession of individual components of a handgun, such as the firing pin. But of course, without the ability to actually fire a gun, citizens cannot effectively exercise the right to bear arms. See Jackson v. City of San Francisco, 746 F.3d 953, 967 (9th Cir. 2014) (“The Second Amendment protects ‘arms,’ ‘weapons,’ and ‘firearms’; it does not explicitly protect ammunition. Nevertheless, without bullets, the right to bear arms would be meaningless.”). In our view, “the right to possess firearms for protection implies a corresponding right” to possess component parts necessary to make the firearms operable.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
February 4, 2016
No. 14-1945; STEPHEN V. KOLBE et al. v. State of Maryland
[It’s nice to find a court that agrees with us and is making clear what we gun rights activists all know to be true and essential.

This answers the ignorant high school kid I quoted yesterday.—Joe]

OSHA is going after ammo manufacturers

I received a call today from someone who works for a major ammunition manufacturer. They required anonymity but want the following information to get out to the public.

NSSF is also involved in the fight but doesn’t want to speak out about it either.

It turns out my blog post about OSHA considering a requirement of “no guns at work” policy got their attention.

They referred me to this letter from OSHA as background and proceeded to tell me:

For about two years we’ve been BITTERLY fighting, and ultimately losing, a battle with OSHA over warning labels on ammunition.

They have repeatedly asked something to the effect, “Are you doing this due to pressure from above?” They haven’t been able to get an answer. Everything just seems a little odd about it. My blog post dialed the paranoia up another notch.

It’s a little obscure so you may not be aware that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is prohibited, by law, from regulating firearms and ammunition. This means that, by law, ammunition is not considered a “consumer product”. And some other agencies don’t have authority to regulate them for other reasons.

Ammunition manufacturers have long recognized they could be a target of repressive regulation if the government were given a plausible excuse and hence have been very careful to “police their own”. With no major events attributable to poor quality, indifference to safety, or newsworthy events attributable to ammunition they have managed to avoid undue attention for many decades. The only thing I can recall in my lifetime that put them at serious risk was the big fuss about Black Talon ammo back in the mid-90s. Winchester nipped that in the bud by taking it off the market faster than the tyrants in congress could pass a bill to ban it.

So for decades the ammunition manufacturers have been avoiding undue scrutiny and everyone has been getting along pretty well. Then a couple years ago OSHA approached them and said, in essence, “You need to put warnings on all your products because indoor range employees are at risk from exposure to lead.”

What?

Sure, some indoor ranges have had severe problems with air quality. And some employees and customers have been exposed to too much lead. So one shouldn’t have a problem understanding how OSHA could find a way to poke their nose into the business of indoor ranges. They have never had oversight over ammunition before so how do they imagine they have authority to regulate it now? Well, from reading the letter OSHA sent to SAAMI lawyers ammunition it appears their claim is that ammunition is a “chemical container”. And hence manufacturers much comply with all the nuances of proper labeling of chemicals in their use at the place of business. They can sort of explain this away because ammunition is not, legally, a “consumer product”.

Okay. Fine. Using the proper weasel words the power hungry regulators think they have an angle to harass the ammunition manufacturers. Why not just comply with the labeling requirements and get them off their backs? They are. But it’s not all that easy.

It turns out this is non-trivial for a number of reasons. One reason is that some of the larger manufacturers have many thousands of different packaging configurations. It can cost over a million dollars to change the packaging on everything. Another reason is that the labeling requirements are such that it can’t fit on some of the current packages. A fifty round box of .22 LR ammo is just too small to have the required warnings and still be readable. Another reason it’s a problem is that the environment where the ammo is used varies so much. The same ammo that is perfectly safe for the shooter in a hunting environment can be toxic at an indoor range with inadequate ventilation due to plugged air filters. There are just so many things out of the ammo manufacturers control that the valid safety issues need to be addressed at the location where it is being used.

There are a couple of things that are kind of strange about this whole thing. One is that this person talked to several importers at SHOT show this year. None of them had been contacted by OSHA. Also, there have not been any sanctions or direct threats of sanctions over this. OSHA is providing guidelines and “suggestions” but doesn’t actually claim they have the authority to tell them what to do.

They suspect this may be due to politics rather than a semi-legitimate concern of regulators for the health of range employees. But, they don’t have any hard evidence to support that hypothesis. Do you?

Strict scrutiny in MD by the 4th on the 2nd

The 4th Circuit Court ruled on an assault weapon ban in Maryland. They said, in part:

Strict scrutiny, then, is the appropriate level of scrutiny to apply to the ban of semi- automatic rifles and magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

…..

In our view, Maryland law implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment—“the right of law-abiding responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home,” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 635 (2008), and we are compelled by Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), as well as our own precedent in the wake of these decisions, to conclude that the burden is substantial and strict scrutiny is the applicable standard of review for Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claim. Thus, the panel vacates the district court’s denial of Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claims and remands for the district court to apply strict scrutiny.

It was a 2-1 majority. To put it technically, “Suck on that one, anti-rights cultists!”

Ahem. That is to say, “I’d count that as a potentially important win.”

Socialism

We have an admitted socialist running for president and making a “good” (for certain definitions of “good”) showing. People don’t really seem to get what socialism means. Recently I had a college student tell me that, “A little socialism is good.” Rather than hammer them into the ground and destroy a friendship I mildly disagreed with their claim and changed the subject.

Unless you are of the opinion that we need to destroy our country before we can save it we need to destroy the idea that socialism in any form is “good”. Socialism and communism have been attempted and failed more times than any other political system. While many of the failures have only resulted in general malaise, economic stagnation, and lower standard of living the most extraordinary political failures in history occurred under socialist systems. National Socialism of Germany, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the Peoples Republic of China being the most well know of those with their approximately 100 million dead.

I’ve talked to people that have lived under socialism. They know better than the naïve people in this country who have lived all their lives in a somewhat free market economy. I’m not the only one who has talked to the survivors of these regimes. One of my children’s high school teachers, Don Kaag, posted this on Facebook a couple days ago:

My old VW mechanic Dieter in Pullman, WA, is in
his 80’s, retired now, and has turned his shop over to his son Georg. In the late 1950’s, Dieter, as a young East German, “came over the wire”. He escaped from the German Democratic Republic’s “Socialist Paradise” with nothing but the clothes on his back and some mechanical skills he could use to earn a living in the West.

He worked as a car mechanic in West Germany, in Scandinavia, and then immigrated to South Africa, where he met his wife, and where they started their family. Finally he relocated to Canada and then at last to the U.S., earning his way with his talented mechanic’s hands and his brain.

He hates what Socialism did to his homeland.

I was stationed in southern Germany—in Bavaria—in the early to mid-80’s, an Armor officer and tank company commander guarding the inter-German border against a possible invasion by the USSR…and for those of you who were not there and privy to the secret briefings, you have no idea what a very near thing it was. Our tanks had their war-load of ammo on-board 24/7/365.

The border was a sobering sight. Twenty-foot-high barbed wire fence on concrete posts topped with concertina wire. On the fence, pointed back into East Germany, were command-detonated claymore mines. Past that, 100 yards of ground was defoliated, plowed and planted with pressure-sensitive anti-personnel mines. Then further into the GDR there was yet another barbed wire fence with a gravel patrol road behind it, and with hexagonal concrete guard towers every quarter-mile. They had powerful searchlights mounted on them, and machine guns, both pointed into “no-man’s land”.

There’s a point to all of this, I promise. All of this was built TO KEEP EAST GERMANS IN, not to keep West Germans and Americans out.

My friend Dieter was one of the lucky ones—thousands of East Germans died on that wire, or lost their lives to the minefields or machine guns, or to the killer guard dogs trained to attack would-be escapees—Dieter made it, he got out.

Dieter and I have seen the ugly face of “true Socialism” firsthand. He suffered under it and risked his life to escape from it, I only watched it slowly destroy a people through my binoculars and tank sights.

When the Wall in Berlin came down in November 1989 such was their hate for that wall that Germans from both sides attacked the ugly barrier by hand with sledge hammers and picks.

The moral to this little tale of obscure Cold War history is this: America, be very, very careful about electing an avowed Socialist as President of the United States.

Bernie Sanders seems a harmless old duffer, and he promises free goodies for everyone, but in the final analysis he represents those who still think, despite all historical evidence to the contrary, that Socialism is the “wave of the future”. (Look at the U.K. before Lady Thatcher, or at Cuba and Venezuela right now… “Iron Maggie” once said, “Socialism works great until you run out of other people’s money.”)

Socialism and communism needs to be swept into the dustbin of history and given as much respect as witch burning—which it closely resembles.

Quote of the day—Murray Rosenbaum

If you have a single gun and over 50 bullets, you could be a public danger.

The amount of ammunition you would need to keep your home safe from potential thieves and those who would cause you harm wouldn’t be even close to 100 rounds of anything. A single clip is more than enough to be threatening and protective if worse comes to worse.

Murray Rosenbaum
A eighteen-year-old senior at Columbia Prep in NYC
February 3, 2016
Bullet, Not Gun Control
[Children say the cutest things!

But children with crap for brains like this shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

Murray, let me help with your education.

A typical pistol match requires a 100 to 150 rounds.

Last month reloaded, for my own use, just under 2000 rounds. Last year it was 9531 rounds. Later this month I’m taking a class which requires, “2000 rounds of brass-cased FMJ ammunition (minimum)”.

When I took a friend to the range last weekend for a couple hours to teach her how to defend herself she went through about 200 rounds and her education and practice is far from complete. After I get her to a basic competency and comfort level she will probably take this class which requires, “600 rounds of brass-cased, FMJ ammunition (minimum)”. I expect getting her to that level will require another 500 rounds of ammunition.

Murray, you say,

the trick is making bullets more expensive…

I have no doubt there are plenty of other people who would claim that I’m endorsing the destruction of the second amendment. They can say that all they want, but in the end the Constitution says “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” but it doesn’t say anything about bullets.

Okay. Then using that same argument I have to conclude you would be unable to find a constitutional problem with a heavy tax on books. The First Amendment says freedom of the press, but doesn’t say anything about you being able to read it. Right?

When practicing I sometimes go through ammunition at the rate of up to five rounds per second. I figure that is about half the speed you can read words. So I propose we tax your use of reading of words at double whatever tax you want to impose on bullets. The number you used as an example in your post figured out to $75 per bullet. So, doing the arithmetic for you just in case your ignorance extends to the area of numbers as well as firearms and constitutional law, that would be a tax of $150 per word.

If you want to inflict a crushing tax on my education and those of others exercising their specific, enumerated, constitutionally protected, rights then you can say all you want, but in the end the constitution doesn’t protect you any more or less than it does me.*


* If you want to claim “books don’t kill people” ask your history instructor about Mein Kampf, The Communist Manifesto, and Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. Then reevaluate your claim before you engage me on that issue.—Joe]

Correlation or causation?

I’d like to think this is another data point for the validation of Dr. Joe’s Cure for Everything but I worry it is more about correlation than causation:

A healthy sex life in old age may help keep the brain healthy as well, though this connection may not work the same way for both sexes, a U.K. study suggests.

After adjusting for other factors that might explain the link between brain function and sexual habits – age, relationship status, living arrangements, education, wealth, exercise routines, depression, loneliness and quality of life – older men’s sexual activity levels were still tied to how well they did on both word-recall and number sequencing tests, the study found.

But in women, only word recall was associated with sex.