Dispelling the 90% Canard

Since when do 90% of Americans agree on anything?  Yet somehow, a push poll stat has wormed its way into the debate over firearms.

The problem with polls are that you can force a desired outcome from them. And both sides of any debate are capable doing such a thing.

However, this particular CBS News/New York Times Poll has garnered attention because it has been oft repeated by the President and many others trying limit our 2nd Amendment rights.

So, what did this poll consist of? The only question asked of 1110 adults nationwide was:

Do you favor or oppose a federal law requiring background checks on all potential gun buyers?

That’s it. No nuance; just an answer in search of a question.

So, for the record, we do have the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. It was signed into law over 19 years ago. It “requires that background checks be conducted on individuals before a firearm may be purchased from a federally licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer…”  It also established the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (aka NICS).

The only exception to this federal rule is private sales of firearms. That is, if I wanted to sell my privately, legally owned firearm to anyone else legally elligible to own a firearm. If I suspect or know that someone cannot legally posess one (like my neighbor with multiple felonies), I am prohibited from selling it to them.  If unlawful activity were to occur as a result of that individual obtaining that firearm, it would inevitably point back to me, and I would face federal charges. Some states, themselves, prohibit private sales without background checks.

I think its safe to assume that the majority of Americans gun owners are responsible, and feel their government should trust their discression when it comes to private sales.  Or, perhaps they don’t desire to pay a premium for a brand-new firearm from a dealer. So, they seek out folks they know in their community, or someone they can establish trust with, to purchase the type/make/model of firearm the desire for less than they’d pay at a formal dealer.  And, again, the majority of Americans feel they should be treated as adults to make these decisions.

To that end, what the poll DIDN’T ask was…

 “Do you favor or oppose a federal law requiring background checks on all sales, including private sales of guns (aka private property) ?”

I think we would be seeing some different results with this improved wording. So, I think we can speculate that the pollsters in question knew that such a phrasing would not obtain them the results they wanted.  I mean, hell, I’d have a difficult time saying “no”… though in the back of my mind I would immediately question, “do they mean private sales, as well?”

Follow-up questions, encapsulating the consequences of such action, would have shaped a different outcome, as well. Questions about filling out a 4473 or other FFL-type paperwork and paying a small ransom just to file and verify said information through NICS. These are the kinds of things that most folks oppose.

If there was a way to check, leave zero paper-trail/footprints, and cap costs to what the transaction of information actually costs (few dollars at best), I think you might find more support.  However, you’d have to do something to overcome the current level of distrust you, the politicians, this tact has exacerbated.

Worse, though, was the language of the Machin-Toomey bill. I’ll let Professor Volokh explain.  For TL;DR types…

The result of the disparity is “pro-gun” provisions which are actually very strong anti-gun provisions: The supposed ban on federal firearms registration authorizes federal gun registration. The supposed strengthening of FOPA’s interstate transportation protection exempts two of the worst states (the reason why FOPA was needed in the first place), and provides any easy path for every other abusive state to make FOPA inapplicable.

Anyway, folks ought to stop throwing this figure around. It’s not remotely representative, the response was decidedly shaped by the question, and as a result, when many hear it mentioned, they tune out.  It’s a subtle way of saying, “I’m not prepared to work with you on our rights”.

Tony Posawatz, Fisker CEO, waxes on clean tech and… gun control?

Tony Posawatz, CEO of nearly defunct, taxpayer-funded Fisker (who is telling congress they may be filing for bankruptcy), is shown in a brief clip talking to Alan Murray at the 2013 ECO:nomics conference. Tony talks about adoption of new technology, market penetration, and, “hey, well, we made something”

“I won’t get political on anyone here today, but if the gun industry was as regulated as my industry, we’d have a lot less issues, if you will.”

Wait, what? Someone who can scarcely manage the production of an over-priced, sometimes-running electric car has the nerve to make an non-sequitur aside at firearms?

If anything, the largest difference is one of privilege (vehicles, driving), and constitutional rights (2nd Amendment). And second, by that logic, certain urban centers in this great nation of ours should be an oasis of low-crime (looking at you DC, Chicago, Philly, NYC).

I’m not discounting further efforts that we ought to make to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals, the mentally ill, but it’s sad to see yet another smart individual equate more laws with less crime.

Busy year…

Foggy-Sunrise_-Seattle-Skyline-_-Mt_-Rainier8197075467337321062Infrequent posting due to work, family (just had our 4th!), and life. Twitter is tempting, but I miss the long form.

I know a lot of folks feel on edge based on current events and our administration’s various agendas. But please hang in there; the fight for our 2nd Amendment (and other) rights won’t be going away any time soon.

No matter who is in power, individual liberty will always stand athwart big government.

[Incidentally, I've published some older posts from last year, and even January, that I just didn't feel up to throwing out there during and after a revolting election season. I re-evaluated them and felt they should be there. Obvioiusly, these issues have been long sorted out, or are still in the process.]

New Year, SSDD

Flinging into 2013… from AoSHQ:

Domino’s Wins Temporary Injunction Against Birth-Control Mandate on Religious Conscience Grounds

As is true with so much of our politics — and I think this is detestable — the bottom-line consequences of what they seek are minor in the extreme.  What is really sought is an encoded-into-law declaration of the legal supremacy of one culture over another, to the extent that the culture which has lost this political debate is actually now illegal and cannot exist as it previously had.

This isn’t about $3-6 per month, of course.  It’s specifically about using the law to win a cultural argument through coercive force.  If you can’t persuade them, criminalize them.

This will continue and grow worse in 2013. God, please, save us from ourselves.

Happy New Year, everyone.

I am broken…

for Newtown. Good God…

Police reported that 27 people, including 20 children and six adults were killed in Newtown, Ct., after a lone gunman opened fire during the school day Friday, NBC News reported. The gunman died at the scene.

Updated [12/15]: Information is coming fast and furious. Not everthing seems to be correct (i.e. the monster killed his own mother at their home); looks like the nutter may have used an AR-pattern rifle

Orr reports that authorities found two guns on the gunman’s body, a Glock 9 mm pistol and a Sig Sauer pistol. A Bushmaster assault rifle was found in the vehicle, Orr reports.

Meanwhile, a law enforcement official says authorities found more guns inside the school than the initial two that had been reported. The official would not say what type of guns were found but says all the weapons were being traced by state and federal authorities. The official was not authorized to speak to reporters about the investigation and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

A law enforcement source told CBS News’ Pat Milton that casings (spent shells) from a .223 semi automatic rifle were found inside the school.

I’m sure we’ll know more once the flood of speculation slows.
In the meantime, please pray for this community.

Aurora Shootings, Federal Money and the 5 Stages of BS

As more tragic details came out this weekend about the Aurora murders, we learned more details about the perpetrator, James Holmes.

After more information was revealed about his weapons, gear, and supplies, I wondered, “where does an unemployed med student get the big cash to buy stuff like this?!”  Other folks wondered, too

According to Mike Adams the editor of http://NaturalNews.com, a decent AR-15 rifle costs $1,000 or more all by itself and the shotgun and handgun might run another $800 total. He said spare mags, sights, slings, and so on would have cost at least another $1,000 across three firearms. A bullet-proof vest is easily another $800, and tonly one can guess he cost of the bomb-making gear. With all the specialty body gear, ammunition, booby-trap devices and more, Adams guessed that this is at least $20,000 in weapons and tactical gear, much of which is very difficult for civilians to get in the first place.

We knew very early that he was the recipient of some sort of National Institutes of Health federal grant (an agency of DHHS) for his schooling. Now, more information has been released about this grant…

It gave the graduate student a $26,000 stipend and paid his tuition for the highly competitive neuroscience program at the University of Colorado in Denver. Holmes was one of six neuroscience students at the school to get the grant money.

Specific project information about the program he was involved in can be found on NIH’s site. And there is more exposition from USAToday

Doctoral students receive free tuition, and most get federally sponsored 12-month grants of $26,000, about $500 a week. Holmes, who was not employed, bought an assault rifle, shotgun, two semiautomatic handguns and 6,000 rounds of ammunition in the months leading up to what police called a methodically planned shooting spree.

So, there’s at least one possible source of funding. Not sure if his housing was paid for through this program, but even half that weekly $500 could put quite a dent in one’s budget-for-destruction.

Regardless, the pattern that emerged after this tragedy followed the trajectory I typically see, and perfectly described, by a commenter at RachelLucas.com, described as the 5 Stages of Bullsh*t

1. The crocodile tears. This includes the False Moment of National Unity, during which people proclaim that events like this bring us together, even as they sharpen their partisan knives for the next step.

2. The blood libel. With no data, motive is assigned to some conservative group or belief. This proves false 100% of the time, but like a tattoo, the accusation can never be entirely removed.

3. The Rorschach test. Every politician and pundit on earth pens an editorial explaining how this one isolated event has a much broader meaning that proves everything he’s been saying for the last 20 years.

4. Something Must Be Done. A national debate ensues on how to make sure that something like this never happens again. This event was a wake-up call and a game-changer. Everything must be on the table. We must not allow a 200-year-old piece of parchment to prevent us from Acting Right Away.

5. Suzy’s Law. Congress vomits forth a bipartisan bill that no member dare vote against. For precisely that reason, the bill includes a litany of unrelated pork and policy for both parties that could never otherwise pass. In exchange for a few billion dollars and a bit of your liberty, the president, surrounded by beaming legislators, offers a few cloying words about “what this town can do when people put their differences aside” and ostentatiously signs “Suzy’s Law”, a new set of rules that, had they been in place before the tragedy, would have made absolutely no difference.

Brilliant, Jeff.

Here is one of the more thoughtful responses to the various one-liners from the pro-(gun)control crowd:

We Won’t Be Fooled Again — Oh, Hell; Yes We Will

When there is a tragedy like the Aurora shooting we as a society make the same mistake as when there’s a terrorist attack; we focus on the capability.  In particular, the tools used to carry out the attack, and where the attack took place.  We look for bad stuff, and we want to make the bad stuff go away.
The problem isn’t the capability; the problem is the intent.  I could kill every person in a crowded movie theater.  So could you.  But, I don’t want to do that.  I presume you don’t either.  Most people don’t.  It’s not bad stuff that makes people do bad things, it’s bad people using stuff to do bad things.

More to come, I’m sure.

Obamacare: Now the Largest Tax Increase in US History

Representative Jeff Landry pointed it out simply and best

…speaking on the steps of the Supreme Court after a 5-4 ruling upholding the individual mandate as a tax, told a crowd of protesters and counter protesters that the individual mandate is now “the largest tax increase” in U.S. history.
“They basically have said Congress has no limit to its taxing power,” Landry said after the ruling. “This is the largest tax increase on the poor and the middle class in the history of this country . . . it was sold to the American people as a mandate and not a tax.”

And not just a tax, but now a precedent where the Federal government may now levy a special tax on you if you do not comply with their specific directives about what you should buy, or do.

So how should have SCOTUS ruled?  I defer to a friend, rdbrewer, on this..

The prudential, reasonable thing to do would have been to strike down the ACA and tell Congress “We don’t however rule today on the constitutionality of ACA as a tax,” thereby leaving open that issue for Congress to try again if it wanted. What Roberts has done is re-write the law.

This is truly a good example of judicial activism; rather than striking down the impermissible, it was rewritten for the legislature. Hardly pragmatic.

Remember: it wasn’t a tax!

If you didn’t feel like the election was going before, it’s definitely on today!