End Of Semester – Light Blogging

I will have light to non-existent blogging today and tomorrow due to grading to student projects and final exams. As soon as I get those grades in, life resumes.

Oh, what I’ll do for gun buying money!

UPDATE: Grades submitted! I know students of all ages are happy when the semester and/or school year ends but perhaps not so happy as their teachers.

Privilege Or Right

Ana Simvoska of TV-6 – Fox UP – in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has a story posted yesterday concerning concealed carry in the state of Michigan. The station’s Facebook followers wanted to know more about Michigan’s concealed pistol license and what was required to obtain one.

She titled her story, “Concealed carry a privilege, not a right”, because of the information she was given by officials with the Michigan State Police.

Those hoops are a loaded application, fingerprints and a background check. Any felonies, or misdemeanors can disqualify you. That’s because carrying is a privilege not a right, officials said.

“They’re trying to ensure that when they give you the ability to carry concealed that you’re doing so safely, that you don’t have a history of violence, you don’t have a history of mental instability, and certainly that you’ve been a good citizen,” Lt. Robert Pernanski said.

In a few states such as Vermont and Arizona which have constitutional carry, carry is treated as a right and not a privilege. However, in the majority of states it is treated like in Michigan as a privilege.

That said, given the Heller decision which found that the right to keep and bear arms meant both “to possess” and “to carry weapons in case of confrontation” and subsequent decisions such as Woollard and Bateman which confirmed this right exists outside the home, I think states are treading a fine line between privilege and right.

Alan Gura has pointed this out forcefully in many briefs when he writes that the dictum from Heller that states the Second Amendment “is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose” cannot be used to eliminate all carry outside the home. As he wrote in Bateman, “the Court confirmed that there is a right to carry at least some weapons, in some manner, for some purpose.” Gura notes that Justice Stevens in his Heller dissent acknowledged that the Court’s opinion “protected the public carrying of arms”.

While we aren’t there yet, I do think there will come a time when carry (in some form) will be recognized as a right and not a privilege.

Jimmy Kimmel Mentions Project Gunwalker

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel was the headliner at the White House Correspondents Dinner last night. Traditionally the comedian who is the headliner will make somewhat funny jokes at the president’s expense. Among the topics that Kimmel brought up was Operation Fast and Furious if only for about 10 seconds.

As the staff of Twitchy noted, most in the audience didn’t get it.

Yes, Virginia, someone in liberal Hollywood finally found the balls to bring up Barack Obama’s bloodiest scandal.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel made reference to the deadly “Fast and Furious” White House/DOJ gun-walking scandal at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday night. Most of the D.C. media and Hollywood types, of course, a) cringed; b) shrugged their shoulders; or c) scratched their heads in abject, willful ignorance.

C-SPAN cameras did not share President Obama or First Lady Michelle Obama’s reactions. Attorney General Eric Holder was nowhere to be seen.

Gun Nomenclature And The Media

When it comes to guns, the media is so ignorant. We have all seen the various “Journalist Guide to Firearms Identification” cartoons where every gun is either an AK-47 or a Glock such as the one below.

Thanks to a reporter named John Barna of the Gloucester County (NJ) Times I may have an alternative. Reporting on the sentencing of a felon in possession of a firearm, here is how the firearm in question was identified.

On July 10, 2010, Burks knowingly possessed a 9mm Springfield Armory model XD-9 Sub-Compact Luger pistol, with a 16-round, high-capacity magazine, at a McDonald’s restaurant in Camden. Burks was found with the pistol during an arrest on unrelated weapons charges. Burks had previous felony convictions at the time.

I am still trying to wrap my head around a polymer Luger P.08 much less a sub-compact one made by Springfield Armory in Croatia.

I have a modest suggestion for Mr. Barna and everyone else in the media. The next time you decide to write about a gun as part of a story – even a mere 3-paragraph story – go to the NSSF website and read the “Writer’s Guide to Firearms and Ammunition.” It will keep you from sounding stupid.

Massad Ayoob On Stand Your Ground Laws

Massad Ayoob was part of a panel discussion sponsored by the Cato Institute on Stand Your Ground laws on Monday along with Clayton Cramer and Steven Jansen of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.

Mas has served as an expert witness since 1979 in cases involving self-defense and is the author of the seminal work In the Gravest Extreme. He served for many years as a Captain in the Grantham, New Hampshire police department and is now a year-round resident of Florida.

If anyone knows anything about self-defense, the legal use of lethal force, and justified shootings it is Massad Ayoob. So when he discusses Stand Your Group laws, I listen. I only wish all the professional agitators at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic) would listen as well.

Below is the presentation he gave as part of the Cato Institute’s panel discussion.

Contempt Citation In The Works

Richard Serrano of the LA Times is reporting that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has been given the green light by the GOP House leadership to pursue a Contempt of Congress citation against Attorney General Eric Holder.

The 48-page draft citation is being drawn up by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Top committee officials recently met for most of a day in the House speaker’s office and were given the green light to proceed toward a contempt citation, according to sources who declined to be identified.

If adopted by the GOP-led House, the contempt resolution would be sent to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington or perhaps an independent counsel in an attempt to force the Justice Department to provide tens of thousands of internal documents to the committee.

According to Serrano’s sources, the draft citation says that Holder “obstructed and slowed” the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.

As Katie Pavlich says in her post on this contempt citation, “It’s On.”

I hope they are right as this will be more fun than ridiculing Obama for eating dog.

UPDATE: It seems that CBS and the LA Times might have been a bit premature in their forecast of a contempt citation in the works. Either that, or the Republican leadership has chickened out yet again. If I was a betting man, I’d go with the latter and not the former.

From Matt Boyle at the Daily Caller:

After the initial reports, a House Republican leadership aide told The Daily Caller that the LA Times and CBS reports were inaccurate. The GOP leadership aide said that “while there are very legitimate arguments to be made in favor of such an action [holding Holder in contempt], no decision has been made to move forward with one by the Speaker or by House Republican leaders.”

Initially, a spokesperson for Issa refused TheDC’s request for comment. But just hours after TheDC published a story detailing the appearance of infighting between Issa and Boehner, a House oversight committee spokesperson backed off and said the LA Times and CBS reports were inaccurate as well.

“The Justice Department has not fully cooperated with the investigation into gunwalking that occurred in Operation Fast and Furious,” the committee spokesperson told TheDC. “The House Oversight Committee continues to make necessary preparations to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt if the Justice Department refuses to change course and stop blocking access to critical documents.”

“While the committee continues to move toward consideration of contempt, it is important to note that the next step in the process of contempt must be made by the Oversight Committee,” the spokesperson added. “Reports, based on anonymous sources, that decisions for consideration of contempt on the House floor have already been made are inaccurate.”

Throw into the midst of this an accusation from Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, that Darrell Issa has political motivations with the possible contempt proceedings. Of course, coming from the likes of Elijah Cummings who has viewed his role in the hearings as to protect the Obama Administration and to promote more gun control, this is rich.

There Are No Coincidences

Yesterday, the BATFE held a briefing for the media on the results regarding traces of firearms recovered in Mexico. Reporters that attended this briefing were not allowed any cameras, recording devices, or video equipment. They were only allowed pen and paper to take notes. Katie Pavlich of Townhall.com tweeted after the event that the moment they got into the briefing they were given a flash drive with the statistics.

The data released show that 68% of the guns submitted for tracing originated in the United States. Note that is only the guns submitted by the Mexican government. Moreover, as Larry Keane of NSSF pointed out in a tweet early this morning, no mention is made of the “Time to Crime” stat. Thus, you don’t know if the “recovered” firearms traced are ones from Operation Fast and Furious or from a burglary in El Paso in 1997.

The BATFE released this yesterday regarding the briefing on the traces.

ATF Releases Government of Mexico Firearms Trace Data

WASHINGTON – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today announced the release of trace information for firearms recovered in Mexico and submitted to ATF for tracing. Trace information shows that between calendar years 2007 and 2011 the Government of Mexico recovered and submitted more than 99,000 firearms to ATF for tracing. Of those firearms more than 68,000 were U.S.-sourced. More complete information will be available on the ATF website.

U.S.-sourced firearms are guns determined by ATF to be manufactured in the United States or legally imported into the United States by a federal firearms licensee. Since 2007, trace data shows a trend in recovered and submitted crime guns from Mexico shifting from pistols and revolvers to rifles. Law enforcement in Mexico now report that certain types of rifles, such as the AK and AR variants with detachable magazines, are used more frequently to commit violent crime by drug trafficking organizations.

ATF is working with its law enforcement partners at every level and the Government of Mexico to keep firearms out of the hands of gang members and criminal enterprises. The Mexico trace data is the result of information provided by the Government of Mexico to ATF about crime guns recovered in Mexico and submitted for tracing.

Firearms tracing provides information on the movement of a firearm from its first sale by a manufacturer or importer through the distribution chain in an attempt to identify the first retail purchaser. This information provides investigative leads for criminal investigations.

The Mexico trace data is not the result of any criminal investigation, or investigations, initiated by law enforcement in the United States.

ATF’s National Tracing Center (NTC) is the nation’s only crime gun tracing facility. The NTC provides critical information that assists domestic and international law enforcement agencies solve firearms crimes, detect firearms trafficking and identify trends with respect to intrastate, interstate and international movement of crime guns. The NTC traced more than 319,000 crime guns in calendar year 2011.

ATF is dedicated to reducing firearms trafficking and firearms-related violent crime on both sides of the border.

ATF will also release trace information for firearms recovered in Canada and the Caribbean and submitted to ATF for tracing between calendar years 2007 and 2011.

SayUncle had a post yesterday about how the multiple-long arm reporting requirement for the Southwest border states has now resulted in 123 investigations being started in south Texas. This came from an article on Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle. I don’t think it is any coincidence that the ATF emphasized the use of ARs and AKs “with detachable magazines” by the narco-terrorists in their press release.

Yesterday, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) had an amendment adopted to the FY13 Commerce, Justice and Science House Appropriations Bill which “would prevent the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) from using federal funds to track the purchases of gun owners who buy multiple rifles within a certain time period.”

From Rehberg’s statement on his amendment:

“While President Obama and his allies in Congress continue to undermine the Constitution, and infringe on our gun rights, I’ll keep fighting to ensure those rights are upheld,” said Rehberg, a member of the Second Amendment Task Force. “The ATF continues the effort to implement new gun control regulations without the approval of Congress, and, tragically, those efforts have included breaking our own country’s laws with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program. My amendment tells the Obama Administration that Congress will not tolerate this.”

The ATF regulation, first proposed in December of 2010 and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on July 11, 2011, requires federally licensed firearm dealers (FFLs) to file reports with ATF on all sales of two or more semi-automatic rifles within five consecutive business days if the rifles are larger than .22 caliber and use detachable magazines. The requirement applies to dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, but could be expanded to other states using the same obscure regulatory process used to create the rule. Information gathered from the dealers will be kept in a federal database for two years. While Congress passed legislation in the 1990s to allow ATF to track multiple-sales of handguns, they did not intend to expand this regulation to include long guns.

I also think it was no coincidence that BATFE held their press conference as Rep. Rehberg was working to amend the appropriation for their agency which would remove their ability to force FFLs in the Southwest to make reports on certain gun sales. The congressional liaison for BATFE (or more appropriately, agency lobbyist) would have known of these hearings and of Rep. Rehberg’s intent to offer his amendment which did pass.

Nothing happens without a reason in Washington. The BATFE press briefing may be seen as a counter-attack on the critics of that agency for both Project Gunwalker and the Administration’s attempt to use regulatory fiat as a gun control measure.

UPDATE: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had this to say in a release about the data given out by BATFE yesterday.

“Thorough gun statistics are hard to come by and tricky to interpret. The key to this data is that most of these guns can’t be traced to U.S. gun dealers. And, some of those would actually trace back to the United States because of the federal government’s own gunwalking scandal. We also have to remember that the only guns Mexico is going to submit for tracing are guns they know are from the United States, which clearly paints an incomplete picture of the firearms found in the Mexico.”

Katie Pavlich of Townhall.com who did attend the press briefing has a full report on it here. It seems some of her questions were not able to be answered (or they said they didn’t have the data).

UPDATE II: Larry Keane, General Counsel of NSSF, has a blog post up entitled “The Shrinking ‘Vast Majority’: NSSF Responds to ATF Mexican Trace Report.” It dissects the BATFE report and how some politicians and some in the media have played it up.

On the 90% myth:

But it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that many of the firearms recovered and traced come from the United States. That is because U.S. law requires markings on firearms precisely so they can be traced by law enforcement through commerce. It is sort of like tracing the VIN number on cars on a Ford dealership lot and be surprised to learn that most are Fords. What the 90 percent myth does not account for, and the media turns a blind eye to, and what yesterday’s ATF report does not shed light on, is the fact that you know nothing about the firearms recovered in Mexico but were never traced — like the firearms that the 150,000 or so Mexican soldiers took with them when they defected to go work for the drug cartels over the past several years.

On Time to Crime:

Perhaps what is most interesting about ATF’s report is the fact that it does not discuss the “Time to Crime” (TTC) for the Mexican traced firearms. ATF always gives TTC when it issues a tracing report (click here for an example). Why did ATF omit this piece of information? Because it knows that on average firearms (of all types) recovered in Mexico and successfully traced were on average originally sold at retail after a background check more than 15 years ago.

GRNC Steps Up Pressure On Bank Of America

Grass Roots North Carolina is stepping up the pressure on Bank of America to come clean on their treatment of businesses in the firearms industry. Bank of America is a North Carolina company headquartered in Charlotte.

Why doesn’t ‘Bank of (Un)America’ issue a statement of support for the Second Amendment?

GRNC has been in direct contact with Charlotte-based Bank of America. While expressing sympathy, Bank representatives have publicly side-stepped the issue of gun rights, tried to imply blame on firearms-related businesses by hiding behind unclear “confidentiality concerns” and when offered an opportunity to clarify support of the right to keep and bear arms on GRNC’s website, they offered the following cynical non-response:

“…it is absolutely not true that we would dismiss a customer purely based on being in this (firearms-related) industry. In reviewing the facts of the case, we do believe there was a miscommunication with this client, and we have already reinforced our policies with our teams and with the client. We have also discussed with the client a transition period during which the client may be able to obtain a new source of funding.”

Remember, these “reinforced policies” led them to abruptly cut the credit lines of McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, Inc; manufacturer of firearms and accessories, including vital components of the M40A3 Marine Corps sniper rifle currently used by our forces in Afghanistan. This step was taken by BoU Senior Vice President Ray Fox who reportedly indicated to McMillan that the decision was “politically motivated”.

These attacks are being launched from our backyards

If they want to behave like they are from Bloomberg’s NYC, they can move. While they are in the free state of North Carolina they will act responsibly or answer to US!

They go on to ask people to cut up their Bank of America credit cards, drop their accounts, email bank officials, and use social media to get the word out. The full alert can be found here along with email links and Twitter links.

GRNC is demanding that Bank of America publicly announce that they support Second Amendment businesses and to instruct their managers of that.

Practice Dos And Don’ts From Doug Koenig

In his most recent video for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Doug Koenig goes over the dos and don’ts for successful practice sessions. Given most people have the goal of becoming a better shooter, Koenig says go in with a game plan on what you want to work on. Moreover, he says to stretch yourself and do hard stuff. No one ever got better by only doing the easy stuff.