This Might Be Of Assistance To Judge Maldonado

US District Court Judge Nancy Maldonado of the Northern District of Illinois has been nominated by President Biden for a position as a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. She has been a judge on the District Court since 2022. According to her judicial biography, she received her undergraduate degree from Harvard and her law degree from Columbia.

During her confirmation hearing yesterday, she was questioned about an amicus brief submitted by the Brady Center supporting a ban on “assault weapons” (sic) in Illinois. She was the attorney who had signed the brief. Signing a brief is a serious matter for any attorney. As TypeLaw points out, signing a brief attests to the fact that the attorney has read the brief and that the information contained in it is accurate and complete. Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure says that a lawyer signing a brief attests that the “factual contentions have evidentiary support.”

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) comes across as folksy and non-threatening. Nonetheless, he is like a dog with a bone when he is questioning a witness or, in this case, the nominee Judge Maldonado. He pressed her on what she meant by assault weapon. It was a joy to watch.

To help out Judge Maldonado the next time she is asked, I present this recent video from Ian McCollum aka The Gun Jesus. It is a short video in which he defines exactly what is an “assault rifle”. Unlike the term “assault weapon” (sic) which was a made-up term by Josh Sugarman of the Violence Policy Center to scare suburban soccer moms, an assault rifle is an actual thing and an actual term.

The Same Old Blah, Blah, Blah

I’m sorry but I just can’t watch Joe Biden bloviate on TV. I know it is the State of the Union speech which is supposed to be important but really isn’t. Thus, I went to the White House website to see what he was going to say about firearms. It is easier to read his words than to hear him shout them on TV.

From his prepared remarks:

Do something.

That was the same plea of parents who lost their children in Uvalde: Do something on gun violence.

Thank God we did, passing the most sweeping gun safety law in three decades.

That includes things that the majority of responsible gun owners support, like enhanced background checks for 18 to 21-year-olds and red flag laws keeping guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves and others.

But we know our work is not done.

Joining us tonight is Brandon Tsay, a 26-year-old hero.

Brandon put off his college dreams to stay by his mom’s side as she was dying from cancer. He now works at a dance studio started by his grandparents.

Two weeks ago, during Lunar New Year celebrations, he heard the studio’s front door close and saw a man pointing a gun at him.

He thought he was going to die, but then he thought about the people inside.

In that instant, he found the courage to act and wrestled the semi-automatic pistol away from a gunman who had already killed 11 people at another dance studio.

He saved lives. It’s time we do the same as well.

Ban assault weapons once and for all.

We did it before. I led the fight to ban them in 1994.

In the 10 years the ban was law, mass shootings went down. After Republicans let it expire, mass shootings tripled.

Let’s finish the job and ban assault weapons again.

C’mon, man. Don’t you know that the firearm arm used in Monterrey Park was banned in California years ago?

I do agree that Brandon Tsay is a hero for stopping the murders. On that we can agree.

As to the so-called Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, why are we treating 18-21 year olds like second-class citizens? We are OK with sending them to war in faraway places with fully automatic weapons to fight and die for this country so why are they treated differently. They can vote, they can enter a contract, they can be imprisoned as adults, and, in most states, they have reached the age of majority.

With regard to red flag laws, they make a mockery of due process. More importantly, if the person is so dangerous to either themselves or to us, why are they still out on the street? As seen in both Europe and in Wisconsin, a killer or terrorist with a vehicle can kill a lot of people.

Finally, mass shootings are rare events. They are aberrations. They are black swans. Yes they do happen but they are not the norm. Moreover, rifles including “assault weapons” (sic) are one of the least used weapons in homicides. They lag even fists and feet.

I’m sure Joe got some cheers from the left side of the aisle for his comments. But that is all he should get.

Marketing Agility

The big news according to the mainstream media and the White House was the trade of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for professional women’s basketball player Brittney Griner. Bout was serving a 25 year sentence for conspiring to kill Americans while Griner had been sentenced to 9 years on drug charges. Left out in the prisoner exchange was former Marine Paul Whelan who has been sitting in a Russian prison since 2018 on trumped-up espionage charges. At least Secretary of State Antony Blinken had the decency to acknowledge Whelan was left behind.

Bout is reputed to be the inspiration for the Nicholas Cage character in the movie “Lord of War”.

Missouri-based retailer Tactical Shit took the notoriety associated with this prisoner exchange and the resulting criticism to set up a 24-hour sale called the “Lord of War” sale. They are offering 10% off all gun and ammo sales with few exceptions. I got an email about it by mid-afternoon today. I will note that I am neither a customer nor an affiliate.

A screen capture from the email is below.

Was this in good taste? Well….. Was it a great example of marketing agility? Damn right it was. They used a current event that is being reported ad nauseum to reach out to their potential customers who are not thrilled with Paul Whelan being left behind. I would be real interested in finding out what sort of response they have gotten to this promotion.

One final note – the company refers to its customers as “Local Warlords” so this fits right into that theme.

Police Report On Raleigh Murders

The Raleigh Police Department has released a preliminary report on the October 13th mass casualty event in which five people were murdered and two wounded. The killer is a 15 year old juvenile whom authorities have not publicly identified though some media sources have published it. However, He is currently in the hospital in critical condition from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman indicates that she intends to charge him as an adult.

The next day before most details were known, President Joe Biden released a statement on the murders. Included in the statement was a renewed call for a new assault weapons ban.

For the lives we’ve lost and the lives we can save, I took historic action to stop gun violence in our nation, including signing the most significant gun safety law in nearly 30 years. But we must do more. We must pass an assault weapons ban. The American people support this commonsense action to get weapons of war off our streets. House Democrats have already passed it. The Senate should do the same. Send it to my desk and I’ll sign it. 

Having read the police report, there are a few things that stand out. First, the killer was armed with a shotgun, a handgun, and a large knife. He did not have any “assault weapon” (sic). Second, the first victim was the killer’s 16 year old brother who had been both shot and stabbed. Third, the killer covered almost 2 miles on foot from the first murder until he was taken into custody. Fourth, there is no word on how he obtained the firearms. Finally, the most important question goes unanswered: why?

We don’t know why he killed his brother, we don’t know why he continued the killings, and we don’t know how he obtained his firearms. We do know that he did not have “an assault weapon”. His family asserts that there were no warning signs that their son “was capable of doing anything like this.” If he survives, I hope we do get some answers as he goes to trial.


ATF Threat To Curios And Relics

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has released a new report entitled National Firearms Commerce and Trafficking Assessment: Firearms in Commerce. It was released May 5th and has received some attention in the media. That attention is concentrated primarily on privately made firearms and the increase in production of all firearms since the year 2000.

As they say, the devil is in the details and this 308-page report touches on a lot more than the increase in production and privately made firearms. While I may get into depth on other parts of the report and the BATFE’s recommendation in later posts, today I want to concentrate on what they have to say about curios and relics.

As things stand now, a C&R is defined by Title 27 Code of Federal Regulations §478.26. They can be a) firearms manufactured more than 50 years prior to today; b) firearms certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum that exhibits firearms to be of museum interest; or c) any other firearm that gets a substantial part of its value from being “novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event.” Thus, a curio and relic could be any firearm ranging from a Ruger Model 77 made in April 1972 to Gen. George Patton’s personal handguns. In my own collection of curios and relics is a Winchester Model 50 semi-auto shotgun. It qualified under the 50 year rule and its only real claim to fame for me is that it was manufactured in 1957 which is the year of birth.

The report devotes parts of two pages to curios and relics as well as C&R FFLs. As I have held this FFL since 1997, this was of particular interest. First they note that the number of 03 FFLs has increased by 148% since 2000 with there being 59,457 currently. Those of us with this license now compose 40% of all FFLs. Much is that proportional increase is a result of the decrease in numbers of 01 FFLs due to increased regulations and the anti-gun policies of the Obama and Biden administrations. Second they note while they do have a list of all firearms classified as curios and relics since 1972, they do not have a data system that tracks information on these firearms, museums that certify museum interest, etc. They then note their data analysis questions the 50-year rule. Therein lies the rub.

Here are their recommendations (Page 162):

1. ATF should receive funding to develop a data system that tracks the history of each C&R firearm on the list to include: full description of the firearm, the date the firearm is added to the C&R list, identification of the criteria met to add the firearm to the C&R list, the person making the request, what museum stated the firearm was of historical interest, and who stated the firearm was rare, novel, or collectible. The three criteria for approving a firearm to be added to the C&R list are found in 27 C.F.R. §478. As possible, this information should be catalogued for ATFs current list C&R List -January 1972 through April 2018.

2. DOJ should review the C&R criteria in 27 C.F.R. §478 to determine if the “more than 50 years old” factor is still valid in determining that a firearm is truly a curio or relic. The C&R provisions were enacted in 1968 and firearms more than 50 years old at that time were manufactured prior to 1918. Today, firearms that are more than 50 years old were manufactured prior to 1972 and this now includes a wide variety of modem firearms to include some AR-15 type rifles, AK-47 type rifles, SKS rifles, and semi-automatic handguns. Importation, transfer, and background check regulations are different for firearms on the
C&R list and holders of a Type 03 FFL.

As I see it, these recommendations boil down to two things. First, BATFE says we want money to fund what we should have already been doing with existing funding. Second, BATFE is saying Springfield 1903s we were cool with but those icky ARs, AKs, SKSs, and semi-auto handguns give us the vapors.

Unfortunately, the Gun Control Act of 1968 gives the Attorney General the authority to define a curio or relic by regulation. Given the anti-gun, anti-rights bias of both Merrick Garland and President Joe Biden, this is a real problem. I could foresee them categorically removing the 50-year rule from what constitutes a curio and relic and limiting them to what is on the list. January 20. 2025 as well as January 2023 cannot get here soon enough.

US Weapons Being Sent To Ukraine

After the President of Ukraine spoke to Congress, President Joe Biden announced another $800 million in weapons and other security assistance to Ukraine. There was one thing in the list that kind of struck me as interesting. See if you can find it.

The new $800 million assistance package includes:

800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems;

2,000 Javelin, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons, and 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems;

100 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems;

100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, and 400 shotguns;

Over 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds;

25,000 sets of body armor; and

25,000 helmets.

Since I don’t think the Ukrainian Army nor its Territorial Army are yet ready to engage in trench warfare, I’m wondering a bit about those 400 shotguns.

Given it is Biden, I surely hope he doesn’t expect the Ukrainians to take his advice on “self-defense” with a shotgun from his Vice-Presidential days.

Quote Of The Day

Every Saturday morning I go to the Powerline Blog to see their roundup of the week in pictures. Along the way I stumbled across a post by Kevin Roche on a speech given by President Biden regarding the Omicron variant. Or, as Roche put it, the Moronic Variant.

From the post:

Biden delivered the remarks setting forth his big plan to stem the panic he has helped foment over the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus. Does this make sense? Are we going to develop seasonal campaigns to address each new variant of the virus? This is madness.

As always, the remarks stressed a theme with monomaniacal intensity. We are all voyagers on the good ship Pequod. Biden is our Captain Ahab. Covid-19 is his Moby Dick. The prospects are not good.

The Moby Dick reference is very apropos given it was first announced in November. If you have ever read Melville’s book, you might remember this line from the very first paragraph.

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

Chipman Nomination Formally Withdrawn

While speculation earlier today was that the White House would announce the withdrawal of the nomination of David Chipman to be the director of BATFE next week, it came to an end much quicker. The White House formally withdrew the nomination this afternoon.

The formal announcement by the White House:

David Chipman spent 25 years in distinguished service to our country as an ATF agent. He’s a gun owner himself, and someone who has the backing of law enforcement groups. And, he’s spent most of last decade as a leading voice for commonsense gun violence prevention legislation that will save lives. He would have been an exemplary Director of the ATF and would have redoubled its efforts to crack down on illegal firearms traffickers and help keep our communities safe from gun violence.

Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress have made clear that they intend to use gun crime as a political talking point instead of taking serious steps to address it. That’s why they’ve moved in lockstep to block David Chipman’s confirmation, and it’s why they side with gun manufacturers over the overwhelming majority of the American people in opposing commonsense measures like universal background checks.

They even unanimously opposed the Rescue Plan, which has given cities and states $350 billion that they can use to put more cops on the beat so that they can really know the neighborhoods they patrol, and invest in proven community anti-violence programs – among other uses. While my administration has worked to strengthen law enforcement and crack down on gun crime, Republicans have opposed us at every turn.

We knew this wouldn’t be easy – there’s only been one Senate-confirmed ATF Director in the Bureau’s history – but I have spent my entire career working to combat the scourge of gun violence, and I remain deeply committed to that work. Since taking office, my Administration has taken numerous steps to combat gun violence, and we’ll continue to use every tool at our disposal to fight gun violence and keep Americans safe. I am grateful for Mr. Chipman’s service and for his work.  

I find it interesting that they are blaming firearms manufacturers and Republicans for the defeat. The reality is that David Chipman was a bad nominee, had plenty of baggage, and represented an extreme viewpoint. He was so extreme that you could not come up with enough Democrats to back his nomination.

On a snarky note, I think the person most upset by the failed nomination has to be Gabby Giffords. She thought she was finally going to be rid of Waco Dave and finds she is stuck with him.

Durbin – Chipman Has “A Lot Of Issues”

File this Politico story under the “No Shit, Sherlock” label.

Senate Majority Whip and Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) said “there are a lot of issues” over David Chipman’s nomination to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Durbin goes on to say:

Durbin acknowledged Monday that the whip count “is not where we want it yet, but there’s always a chance.”…

“Members understand this is a highly controversial position,” Durbin said Monday. “It has been left vacant because Republicans and Democrats couldn’t find someone to fill the slot so it’s no wonder that we’re having some difficulty with it.”

What I read Durbin’s statement to mean is that he hasn’t been successful in convincing Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) that the political fallout from supporting Chipman won’t be as bad as they think. They are still listed in the undecided column.

It is either that or the incentives that he is offering to them have not risen to the level where they will hop onboard. By incentives I mean support for pet legislation, campaign money, and the like.

If Durbin and Chuck Schumer were convinced they had 50 votes to confirm Chipman, the vote would have already been held. Since they don’t, Chipman remains in limbo. The longer it goes, the less likely he is to be confirmed. All it takes is for one non-Republican to come out against Chipman and the nomination will be withdrawn. One way to read Durbin’s interview with Politico is that he is signaling the White House it is time to pull Chipman’s nomination.

As to the issues surrounding David Chipman, I think that I and virtually every other gun owner in America would run out of fingers if we had to list them all.

AAF Research Report On David Chipman

The American Accountability Foundation has produced a 24-page research report on David Chipman. They have dug very deep into his background. It is well worth a read.

Some of the things that popped out at me were his divorce, how he tried to play the system to get relocation expenses, his change in behavior and views, and how he became increasingly both radical and anti-law enforcement.

Discussions with friends who used to work with him at BATFE were interesting. For example, a former BATFE agent who had been his friend had this – “but after he got divorced, and then joined AA, he because very self righteous and almost evangelical in views that he holds; no more competing ideas and middle ground, and more like once he gets in his head that something is “right” he pursues it with a passion and fury.” That leads to the question as to whether Chipman is a recovering alcoholic. If so, for how long? While that does not disqualify him for the position, it does raise questions on how he handles stress.

I would read the whole report and then contact my senators signifying my opposition.