There Oughta Be A Law

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The realists among us realize that no new law and no new prohibition will ever stop the evil, the criminal, and/or the deranged from perpetrating evil, criminal, or deranged acts. Laws only impact the law-abiding among us. Moreover, if you enact enough laws and criminalize enough things, we all become law breakers. Harvey Silverglate covered this in his book Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent. Likewise, the Instapundit, Prof. Glenn Reynolds, wrote a paper on this called Ham Sandwich Nation which plays off the remark by Judge Sol Wachter that a grand jury could be convinced to indict a ham sandwich.

Examining this in the context of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, we have seen innumerable calls for new gun control laws along with calls for destruction and confiscation of certain firearms. I wrote yesterday about the introduction of a bill by Sen. Richard “I served in Vietnam (not!) Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) that would close the so-called ammo loophole. None of these proposed laws will or would have stopped a determined person intent on harming school children or anyone else. One need merely look to the recent spate of bombings in Austin wherein an individual using readily available ingredients and information gleaned from the Internet killed and maimed a number of people. Homemade explosive devices are already illegal as is murder.

Science fiction novelist and commentator Sarah Hoyt penned a very interesting piece on PJ Media yesterday entitled Of Laws And Men. She examined this whole notion that a new law will actually change behavior. It is part of the whole fanatical belief in a society organized by the numbers from the top-down. She points out that this is the way that society was organized in Communist countries but yet you still had black markets as people needed to survive.

Looking at all the new laws being proposed post-Parkland, she concluded:

They’re by and large decent people – the followers, not the leaders – who really want everyone to live in harmony, and since they wouldn’t dream of breaking laws, then it must be a matter of finding the right law to fix everything.

Only the world is not full of people who are terrified of breaking laws, and all their piling on of laws against gun owners does is leave the law-abiding defenseless before the lawless.

To have these people learn the error of their ways in a practical fashion will only destroy the world for the rest of us. And besides, judging from Europe, they’ll never learn. They’ll just refuse to admit their plan failed and pile on more laws and more regulatory bodies, till someone’s whole job is regulating the curvature of a banana. (You only wish that were euphemistic.)

So we need to educate them. We need to educate them better when they’re younger. We need to teach them history and psychology. Not the stuff edited by their own luminaries, who are as blinkered as they are, but real history and real psychology. And we need to teach them how humans are now and have always been lawless animals. We can’t be tamed, we can’t be domesticated, and even in the most oppressive regimes devised there will never be enough to make everyone obey. There are dissidents even in places where dissidence costs you your life. There are black markets where the regimes punish them and spend most of their time suppressing them. Because when the alternative is death, humans are really good at breaking the law.

So all laws passed, everywhere affect only the law-abiding. And even the law-abiding stop being so when life is at stake.

The answer to “Your gun is now illegal” is always, in practicality “Says you and whose army?” and “Come and get it!”

She’s right. We need to educate them. I suggest it would be five minutes of your time well spent to read her entire essay.

And In Your Morning News From The DOJ…

The Beltway method of releasing news that you don’t want to get a lot of attention is to release it on a Friday afternoon. I’m guessing the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions is taking it a step further with this release regarding bump fire stocks.

From the DOJ:


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Department of Justice Submits Notice of Proposed Regulation Banning Bump Stocks

Today the Department of Justice submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a notice of a proposed regulation to clarify that the definition of “machinegun” in the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act includes bump stock type devices, and that federal law accordingly prohibits the possession, sale, or manufacture of such devices.

“President Trump is absolutely committed to ensuring the safety and security of every American and he has directed us to propose a regulation addressing bump stocks,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “To that end, the Department of Justice has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a notice of a proposed regulation to clarify that the National Firearms and Gun Control Act defines ‘machinegun’ to include bump stock type devices.”

This submission is a formal requirement of the regulatory review process. Once approved by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice will seek to publish this notice as expeditiously as possible.

I don’t have a need, want, desire, or love for bump fire stocks. I do, however, believe in the rule of law. 26 USC Chapter 53 § 5845 (b) defines a machinegun as:

Machinegun. The term ‘machinegun’ means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can
be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single
function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part
designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in
converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be
assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

Arbitrarily saying that a bump fire stock is the same as a machinegun flies in the face of both the black letter law and in the face of numerous BATFE regulatory rulings. It makes a mockery of the rule of law and should be condemned as such. If the DOJ and the Trump Administration want to ban bump fire stocks, they should, as I suggested in my own comment on the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, submit a bill to Congress to add them to the NFA and GCA 68.

In the meantime, I plan to send a few buck to the Firearms Policy Coalition as they have already hired attorneys Adam Kraut and Joshua Prince to submit their comments and fight this in court. By the way, donations to fight this are tax-deductible.