Gun legislation in Illinois and New Jersey

If you are in either of those states, read up and call your legislators.

Thu May 30 19:19:32 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Hidden White House connection

Former Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Doug Shulman visited the White House 118 times between 2010 and 2011. Acting Director Steven Miller, who took over at the IRS in November, also made numerous visits to the White House, though variations in the spelling of his name in White House visitor logs makes it difficult to determine exactly how many times.

The frequent trips to the White House under Obama far outnumbered the times other administrations felt the need to meet with the IRS, according to Mark Everson, who led the IRS under former President George W. Bush. Everson said he remembers making only one trip to the White House between 2003 and 2007 and said he felt like he'd "moved to Siberia" because of the isolation.
Sarah Hall Ingram visited the White House 160 times between 2011 and January of 2013. The majority of those visits appear to be related to Obamacare (she was visiting Jeanne Lambrew, who is Deputy Director of the new White House Office of Health Reform), but she would have had lots of opportunities to coordinate with White House staff on other matters.

I can't speak to what was really going on, but the amount of coordination between the IRS and the White House appears to be extremely unusual.

Thu May 30 08:44:03 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Supply and Demand, part 3

So I was having a friendly little discussion in the comments on this post about supply and demand and how that interacted with ammo prices.  I thought it was friendly, anyway, but it seems that Reasoned Discourse has broken out.  I'm frankly disappointed.  Here's my final comment that got rejected:

You can bet I would be grateful for $4/rnd ammunition if I didn't have any ammunition and needed some badly.  If I don't need it that badly, and I don't because I have some already, I won't be grateful for it (or mad about it); I just won't buy more at those prices.  Someone else, who doesn't have any laid up against a rainy day, should be grateful to buy some.  By not buying ammunition at the inflated prices, you are reducing demand and sending signals that the price needs to be reduced.

You say I don't want "feedback, consequences, rewards and punishments"; but I haven't said anything like that.  Raising prices in response to demand is feedback and consequences.  It rewards those who can supply the market successfully (by allowing them to make more profit when others are unable to acquire product).  Instead, you want to overlook the consequences for a retailer who has customers coming to his store constantly and not finding the ammunition they were hoping to find, because the only thing that retailer did in response to the demand spike was call in a restock order to his usual supplier.  

I want the retailer to take actions in response to market conditions changing -- trying to obtain more inventory, for example.  If he can only get that additional inventory at higher prices than normal, go right ahead.  Maybe it will sell and maybe it won't -- that's the risk he takes.  It is both reward and punishment.

If I *need* ammunition, I'm willing to pay a premium price for it.  If I don't need it, I'll wait until prices settle.  It's that simple.  I'd like to have that choice available to me -- and reward those vendors who go the extra mile to stock ammunition when it's scarce -- than find myself with money in my pocket when I would rather have cartridges in a magazine.

Of course most people aren't going to come out and cheer for high prices.  Customers want low prices.  They also want to be able to satisfy their demand for products.  They can't always have both.

Thu May 30 08:42:12 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Iris scans for school buses?

I confess I'm not terribly worked up about the iris scan itself, which was conducted on students without parental permission.  The lack of parental permission is, of course, bad, and the loss of control over the data is unfortunate for those affected by it, but really: it's a picture of your eye.  The odds of it coming back to haunt you are low.  Which isn't to say I wouldn't be pissed if it was done to one of my kids.

What boggles my mind is that someone thinks iris scans to get on to a school bus is a reasonable security measure.  What exactly is the security threat that demands iris scans?  Why not give the kids a student ID with a picture and, perhaps, an RFID tag or magnetic stripe?  Are people using fake or stolen ids to board school buses now?  Can those people not be recognized by the drivers as not belonging on the bus?

The mind boggles.

Thu May 30 08:34:00 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

I suspect false flag is the way to bet on this one

... but regardless of who is behind it and their motives, I hope they are caught and imprisoned.  It is in everyone's interest to keep this fight political.

In other news: quite a lot of things have been blowing up, derailing, or otherwise being rather menacing lately.  I'm beginning to wonder if the authorities are deliberately keeping the T word under wraps.

UPDATE: Sabastian thinks it was just someone being stupid, rather than a deliberate false-flag.  While he has a point about millions of people who feel strongly about the issue having the potential for someone to be that stupid, I have trouble believing that someone stupid enough to think this would help the gun rights cause would also be smart enough to make a batch of poison.  I mean, the *stupid* gun rights advocate would just shoot someone, right?  If they are smart enough to realize that shooting an anti-gun target doesn't help, they're smart enough to realize that poisoning the same target also doesn't help.

Our side generally doesn't have people that stupid.

That doesn't mean I think it's an anti-gun false flag, though.  It could be that, or it could be any number of other causes who just want to disrupt things and figure that it would be fun to watch another round of "let's you and him fight". 

I'll also point out that the substance tested positive in "initial" tests, and that the content of the letters "is believed" to involve the gun control debate.  There have been a LOT of poisoned letters lately, and I think taking them all at face value is a mistake.

UPDATE: A convincing argument that this was more about media attention than malicious intent.

UPDATE: The investigation appears to have a suspect.  No updates on motivations or what evidence points to this individual.

UPDATE: The plot thickens.  It looks like the real motivation here is a husband-wife fight of some kind, both blaming the other for sending the letters.  The police first arrested the husband, but now they have arrested his wife.  However the whole thing gets sorted out, I was right to call it a false-flag.  It appears to have nothing to do with gun control.

Thu May 30 08:28:13 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Supply and Demand, part two

Suppose you have four people (one, two, three, and four) who want to buy ammunition.  Guy One is a big gunnie and has lots of ammo already, but he knows demand is high and shows up first thing in the morning.  He'll buy two boxes but is price sensitive because he knows what normal ammo prices are and has reloading tools.  Guy Two has a gun or two already but doesn't have a stockpile or reloading tools, and shows up at noon on his lunch break after Guy One says there's a run on ammunition.  Girl Three just got out of the hospital around 3pm because her ex-boyfriend and stalker beat her up.  She borrowed a gun from her dad and needs to find ammunition for it because dad didn't have any.  She'll buy one box at any price.  Guy Four shows up next week and is pretty laid back about it; he wants a box or two and doesn't much care whether the prices are high or low since he doesn't know what they "should" be.

You have one store that sells ammunition and that store has two boxes of ammunition. Demand is high because of a lot of gun control news.

Scenario A: The store prices their ammunition normally.  Guy One walks into the store and buys both boxes of ammunition.  Guy Two and Girl Three are out of luck.  Girl Three gets killed by her stalker.  Guy Four is pissed that he didn't get any ammo.

Scenario B: The store rations ammunition, one box per customer, at normal prices.  Guy One and Guy Two get ammo.  Girl Three is out of luck and gets killed by her stalker.  Guy Four is pissed that he didn't get any ammo.

Scenario C: The store prices ammunition at twice the usual price per round.  Guy One shows up, is disgusted by the prices, and goes home to his reloading bench to make his own.  He gets ammo.  Guy Two shows up, is disgusted by the prices, but doesn't have a reloading bench, so he buys one of the boxes.  He would have bought two, but with the higher prices can only afford one.  Girl Three shows up and buys the last box of ammunition.  She's fine with just one, because all she needs to stop her stalker is one.  (Practice is nice, but optional).

After she leaves, the store owner calls up his contact in NearbyForeignCountry and says "Hey, there's a run on ammo here.  Can you ship me some of your surplus pronto?  I'll pay 150% of the usual price because I can sell it for 200%."  Or maybe he calls up Guy One and offers to sell some of his reloaded ammunition.  Either way, he puts in more effort (or pays higher prices himself, or both) than usual to restock his shelves because he can make more money doing it than usual.

Girl Three shoots her stalker, and Guy Four gets his ammo, too.

That's why you shouldn't get mad about high ammo prices.  Doesn't mean you have to pay them, but don't get mad about them.  It's the free market in action.

Note that in Scenario C, supply rises to meet demand, and more people have ammunition than in scenario A or B.  Existing resources are allocated to meet the highest demand, and supply is increased, which will bring prices down eventually.  In scenario A and B, rather than increasing prices, there are shortages.  Shortages really suck when you are the one caught short.

Sure, it's a contrived scenario, but it's illustrating a basic economic principle.

(See Part One here.  Part One began as a comment on another blog).

Wed May 29 09:10:16 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The fox wants to guard the henhouse...

... or at least that's what comes to mind when Eric Holder, famous lately for personally signing the authorization to wiretap at least three reporters and overseeing the wiretapping of hundreds more at the Associated Press, says we should pass a media shield law.  He says a law like that would protect reporters from people like him who will abuse the law.  And he's right: such a law might well protect journalists from DoJ abuse.  It might be simpler for Holder to simply refuse to approve abusive warrant requests from his subordinates, but that horse has fled the barn.

But that raises an important question from Senator and Dick Durbin: Who is a journalist, and why should they deserve special protection?
"But here is the bottom line -- the media shield law, which I am prepared to support, and I know Sen. Graham supports, still leaves an unanswered question, which I have raised many times: What is a journalist today in 2013? We know it's someone that works for Fox or AP, but does it include a blogger? Does it include someone who is tweeting? Are these people journalists and entitled to constitutional protection? We need to ask 21st century questions about a provision that was written over 200 years ago."
The First Amendment was clearly written to protect everyone, not just a special group of people.  Media shield laws give special protection to government approved speech.  That means the government can take away that protection for speakers it doesn't approve it, which tends to shut them up, or deny it altogether for those who it suspects would say things it doesn't like.

Government should not be in the business of approving journalists.  Free speech is free speech.  Every one of us should be protected from government agents listening to our phone conversations without a warrant.

Wed May 29 03:29:54 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Did Holder lie under oath?

The House Judiciary committee is investigating.

To me, the only question seems to be whether Holder was actually under oath, or if they pulled another Clinton and let him testify without actually swearing an oath to tell the truth.

It's past time for Holder to go, but it would be nice to find out what Obama knew and when he knew it, too.  Since Holder doesn't seem bothered by the Contempt of Congress, let's see if the Special Prosecutor of Congress is more effective.

Wed May 29 03:14:27 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Supply and Demand

It seems ammo prices are coming back to normal, and some people normally on the side of free markets are pissed that vendors were selling ammunition for higher than usual prices when there was less than usual to offer for sale:
5.56 mm ammunition was reaching a dollar per round, but that has trailed off to around 75 cents per round, and I expect it to go lower.  The stores around me (and you know exactly who you are) who were selling 5.56 mm ammunition for four dollars per round now have customers who are royally pissed off (and I noticed that you have backed way off on your prices now).  You reap what you sow.  I'll keep increasing my stockpile of 5.56, but not by purchasing from you.
Why be mad?  If you didn't have ANY 5.56 ammo, you might be willing to pay $4 a round and be happy to now have SOME 5.56 ammo.  If you already have 5.56 ammo, and just wanted to stockpile more, you'll pass because the price is too high and you don't actually need it -- thus making sure there is some available for the person who does need it.  This is how the free market allocates resources when they are scarce.  It's natural, normal, and entirely appropriate.

Unless those who don't have 5.56 mm ammunition know that the price will go back down. The losers will be the stores who charged 4 dollars per round. I already see it around here.
Those who don't have it and are willing to wait until the price comes back down are doing the right thing for them, and making sure that the people who are willing to pay that higher price have ammunition available to buy when otherwise there would be none.

Yes, raising prices in a time of scarcity often annoys people.  It shouldn't; being annoyed at economics is irrational.

I didn't buy guns or ammo during the recent unpleasantness, because I figured that the prices were going to be inflated due to the demand and if no significant gun control was passed they would be coming back down.  Also, I had a reasonable amount of ammunition for my firearms already.  I didn't *need* more guns or ammunition, so I did not buy more at inflated prices.  Several of my friends had been meaning to buy a gun, but had not gotten around to it.  Not only were they willing to pay inflated prices NOW to make sure they had what they needed if a ban did occur, they were happy to pay those prices knowing they were inflated because, if they did not, they might be left with nothing in the event of a ban.  (No, they did not buy from me.)

Because people like you and me did not buy at the higher prices, people like my friends were able to and happy to.  Would it be a better world if you and I had a heavier gun safe and my friends had nothing because the shelves were bare?

Tue May 28 22:07:41 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Democrats seek to remove the Tiahrt Amendment

As every politically active gun owner should know, the Tiahrt Amendment is regularly attached to Congressional spending authorization legislation, and prohibits the BATFE and other agencies from spending money maintaining a gun registry, disseminating existing gun trace information to anyone other than law enforcement, and going after gun dealers whose legally sold guns are later used in crime.

If we lose this amendment, we probably won't notice at first -- but future efforts at imposing gun control will be much more effective, and the number of gun dealers will shrink rapidly as the BATFE is enabled to harass them for operating their business legally.

Your Senators and Representatives need to know to oppose this.

The actual letter complete with signatures is available in PDF format.  Hat tip to Protein Wisdom.  (NOTE: This is an older post that got delayed for a bit because other things were more pressing.  I'm posting it now as a reminder that we need to keep our eyes open for sneaky stuff as well as frontal assaults).

Tue May 28 21:55:58 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

It's difficult to shoot yourself with a rifle accidentally...

... especially twice, but it is possible, it seems.
Adair's husband, Shane, and other witnesses told police she was drinking with friends in her garage Tuesday night and wanted to show off the weapon. It fired twice, hitting her once in the head as she brought it to the room and passed it to Shane.
Guns and alcohol don't mix.  That's an important rule to remember. 

Tue May 28 21:52:15 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Illinois concealed carry bill passes House

Literally only Chicago voted against it, but the state governor appears opposed.  If it passes, it's a step forward.

UPDATE: The Senate is trying to alter the deal.

Tue May 28 00:58:26 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A convicted felon who supports gun control

That's like a newspaper headline "Dog bites man".  Or a criminal advocating for workplace safety regulations. 

The article is playing fast and loose with the facts, of course:
There is, of course, a legitimate argument that background checks would not have prevented the Newtown massacre. This is likely true, but it's also equally true that Lanza would have been denied easy access to legal firearms if his mother, the purchaser and owner of the assault weapons he used (and the first one to be murdered by Lanza) had utilized trigger locks and/or a gun safe -- prudent safety features that any good NRA member would wholeheartedly advocate.
So, the argument is that expanded background checks would have stopped Lanza from getting a gun, or at least made it more expensive and risky to get a gun illegally rather than getting one legally.  That might make some sort of sense... if Lanza had purchased firearms legally.

He didn't.

His mother did.

He killed his mother -- who did in fact have a gun safe -- and took her guns.

No matter what restrictions were placed on Adam Lanza's ability to buy guns legally, his ability to murder his mother and take her guns is unaffected.

[Oh, and as for the gun safe and trigger lock -- don't you dare speak for NRA members.  Every NRA member I know laughs at trigger locks as entirely inadequate and unsafe devices to secure a firearm.  A gun safe is more reasonable.  Neither should be legally mandated, however, because they would delay the availability of a firearm for self defense.  How you secure your firearms is a personal choice, as the Supreme Court affirmed in the Heller case.]

So what does this person -- this convicted felon, who is never going to legally possess a firearm -- suggest that honest men should be subjected to in order to get government permission to exercise their inalienable rights?
Every inmate admitted into the Arizona Department of Corrections is required to take a mandatory psych test. I took it on four separate occasions, one for each time I was sentenced to an Arizona State prison. The test runs about two hours, and was quite proficient at identifying the mentally disturbed?especially those prone to violence. Incoming inmates who failed this test were automatically removed from general population and redirected for further psychological evaluation.

This simple test should be mandatory for any individual who wishes to purchase a firearm.
A two-hour psychological examination before buying a firearm?  For everyone?  Take a moment to let it sink in: this person, this felon, is recommending that every American who wants to exercise their second-amendment right to own a gun be treated like a convicted criminal going into prison.

Putting aside everything else -- buddy, there aren't enough psychologists to administer the test.  Look at the NICS check counts.  How many psychologists does it take to run 175,000 2-hour examinations every day?  How much does it cost?  Do we take these people away from their current work with patients that might actually do some good?

We can get an idea of what it would cost:
A quick sample of some individual clinical psychologists' fees shows them to be all over the map. Dr. Jeff Daly practices in Carlsbad, California. His hourly rate is $150 per session and $25 for additional services, such as extensive telephone calls. Legal testimony costs $300 an hour. Dr. Lisa Lombard of Chicago, Illinois, charges an hourly fee ranging from $35 for a 15 minute office consultation to $180 for a 90 minute counseling session. She also has different hourly fees for group and couples therapy and charges $200 an hour for expert testimony. Dr. Claudia Diez works in New York City, and her standard fee is $200 an hour. Dr. Amy D. Rouse of Westerville, Ohio, has an average fee of $130 to $150 per session, according to "Psychology Today."
So we're looking at $300 per examination, roughly.  The FBI says it conducted almost 20 million NICS checks in 2012.  (99.5% of those were passed).  So we're looking at $6B in direct costs -- before psychologists decide to increase rates in response to demand.  No doubt these tests would be funded by fees levied on the person buying the gun -- which would dramatically increase the cost of most firearms, putting them even further out of reach for the people who most need them for self-defense... the poor.

And we've wasted 40 million hours of innocent people's lives by forcing them to undergo a psychological examination for wanting to be able to defend themselves effectively.

Why do I say wasted?  Because it's obvious that these tests won't work when applied to the general public.  I'm not a statistics expert by any means, but I understand the real issues here pretty well. 

First, a bit of background.  In order to evaluate the usefulness of this test, we need to know two numbers.  We need to know the false positive rate (ie, the test says an individual will be violent, but they are not) and the false negative rate (ie, the test says an individual will be peaceful, but they are not).  We don't actually know either of those numbers from the article. 

We do know something about the population taking the test currently, though.  They are people who have committed a crime serious enough to go to prison.   That tells us that we have absolutely no idea how effective this test will be on the general population.  We're not dealing with a random sample; we're dealing with a sample so thoroughly biased that I'm having trouble coming up with an example that would be worse without being a tautology. 

The consequences of a false positive on this test as a prisoner are minor.  Maybe you get assigned to a different cell block with more security.  Maybe the guards watch you more closely.  Maybe you aren't eligible for parole as soon.  The consequences of failing this test as a free man are much worse: your right to self-defense will be denied, probably for the rest of your life, if you fail to convince a psychologist that you can be trusted with a gun.  Do we subject other constitutional rights to this kind of absurd prior restraint without even a hint of due process?

No, we do not: and for good reason.

Having established that false positives on this test are serious business, let's take a look at how many of them we are likely to see.

We know there are a lot of people buying guns -- 20 million per year, roughly.  Some of them buy more than one gun over the course of the year, but as a rule of thumb let's start at 20 million gun owners.  (That's a lowball estimate, credible studies based on gun ownership not gun purchases per year give numbers around 50-80 million gun owners).  Every year we have roughly 9000 gun homicides.  Let's wave our hand and say that they all try to buy a gun legally for the sake of our argument.

If the test is accurate, we should expect to see .045% of the people taking it fail.  That's less than one in a thousand.  We're wasting 2 hours of time from a thousand people to maybe catch one person who might commit a crime.  In reality, of course, we'll see much less than that -- because criminals don't buy guns through legal channels.  They know they aren't allowed to and their background will be checked.  So the people we will be annoying with this test are going to be almost universally honest, significantly less than the one in a thousand rate would suggest.

That's if the test works perfectly, with neither false positives nor false negatives.  Which it won't, because nothing ever does.

Let's suppose the test is 95% accurate on the general population.  That is, 95% of the time it gives the right answer, and 5% of the time it gives the wrong answer.  (Whether this is a standard of accuracy achievable by modern psychology is left as an exercise for the reader). 

That's a million honest people being denied their Constitutional rights on the basis of a psychological examination, not their own behavior.  Every year.

If failing this examination results in a permanent and retroactive bar to gun ownership, and a typical gun owner buys one gun a year, within 20 years all of those typical gun owners will be barred from gun ownership by a false-positive test result.

Of course, that wouldn't bother the author of this proposal.  He can't own firearms, after all.  At least, not if he asks permission.  He seems remarkably familiar with how to get a gun without asking permission.

Hat tip to Ace of Spades for the article.  The rebuttal at the link takes a different approach, and is worth reading.

Mon May 27 01:40:39 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

2nd Amendment challenge to state gun control laws filed

Maryland and Connecticut will both see challenges.  Colorado already has cases pending.  Illinois is likely to see a genuine compromise on concealed-carry laws (more details). 

Fri May 24 12:57:29 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

It turns out Lois Lerner has a history

Conservatives have long tangled with Lerner, who was director of enforcement at the Federal Election Commission from 1986 until 2001, when she moved to the IRS.

"Everything we have seen at the IRS was reeled out first at the FEC," says Jim Bopp, a noted election-law attorney who represented the Christian Coalition in its successful fight to quash the FEC's attempt to impose a $5 million fine on the group for political activities. The FEC lost the case on summary judgment in a 1999 opinion written by a Jimmy Carter appointed judge.

"In a dozen out of the 81 depositions in the case, the FEC wanted to know about people's religious beliefs or the content of their prayers," Bopp told me. "Lerner took the speech-chilling culture she developed at the FEC right over to the IRS."
More details from the Weekly Standard.

I'm going to throw in one huge caveat here.

We know there was an emergency meeting of the Journ-o-list membership within the White House on Wednesday.  Several known left-wing "journalists" and pundits were spotted entering the White House, presumably to strategize the response to the scandals.  Those who came out were sticking to the same story: It was all Lois Lerner's fault and doesn't go any higher than that.

There seems to be ample evidence that Lerner would not object to the sort of tactics used in the improper IRS investigations, but the fact that we are being fed Lerner as the target suggests to me that there's more to it than that. 

It seems the IRS has decided that Lerner's work is so good she deserves a paid vacation.

UPDATE: Part of the "more to it" is Sarah Hall Ingram, who was in charge of the IRS division when the whole thing started.

Thu May 23 17:56:09 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Government hacked Fox News computers

During a discussion on Monday about the Justice Department tracking and snooping into Fox News reporter James Rosen's personal emails, Fox News host Shepard Smith offered another, related claim. The network's computer servers were also looked into, he told Judge Andrew Napolitano. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office denied it.

"When they do issue this subpoena," Smith noted, "by law, they have to tell you they've done it, don't they? I mean, they went into our computer servers at Fox News, went around around our security, pulled things out, and didn't tell us they'd done so."
They hacked Sharyl Attkisson's computer, too.

We have been living in a police state since Obama took office, and we are only now finding out just how bad it has become.

Tue May 21 23:52:41 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

CBS reporter claims her computer was compromised

Sharyl Attkisson's biggest story lately has been Fast and Furious, for which she has taken heat from the management at CBS and many other sources. 

Who benefits from compromising her ability to communicate with anonymous sources? 

Holder and Obama.

The whole spying on reporters for reporting news critical of the Obama administration appears to be a pattern of behavior, not just an isolated incident.

Tue May 21 23:50:23 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another smart gun prototype

Yeah, this is definitely a "gun control by other means" thing.  With the traditional routes to gun control blocked, someone in the Obama administration is pushing states to look at their microstamping/smart gun laws and try to activate those.  California already did bring their microstamp requirement into effect.  New Jersey has a smart gun requirement that goes into effect as soon as one comes on the market.

This latest smart gun idea involves a microchip and antenna in the gun (probably a cheap cell phone chip), a service provider, and a cell phone app that can detect when the gun is being moved and disable it remotely.  Let's go over the problems with this technology, even assuming it works exactly as designed:
  1. If there's a break in at home, and you need to remove your gun from its secure location, do you want an alarm going off on your cell phone when you do?
  2. Do you want to have to get your cell phone and give yourself permission to use the gun?
  3. What if the batteries are dead?
  4. The service costs $12 / year / gun.  With more than one gun, that adds up to a severe self-defense tax on the poor. 
  5. Guns are durable and can last over a hundred years with good maintenance.  Will this company last a hundred years and remain compatible with the technology in their earliest guns?  Probably not.
  6. What if you aren't at home when a burglar breaks in, but your spouse is?  You will see the gun moving when you haven't authorized it.  Do you disable the gun?  Are you responsible for your partner's death?
  7. If a burglar successfully steals the gun, they can disable the locking mechanism.  It won't prevent crime with stolen guns.
  8. It won't prevent crime by people who lawfully own their guns.  While this scenario is rare, it covers many of the mass shootings by people who should have been legally barred for reasons of mental illness -- but were not.  In other words, it would not have stopped Newtown.
  9. It invites automated government regulation of what you do with your gun when you remove it from the authorized location.  ("Why do you have your gun out, citizen?  Place it back in the safe or drive to the range within 5 minutes.")
  10. Everyone subscribing to the service is automatically on a registry accessible to the government. 
  11. And obviously the service will turn off your firearms when asked to do so by the police, whether you are still subscribing to their service or not.
  12. ... and whether the police officer asking has a warrant or not...
  13. ... and whether the police officer asking is your violent ex-husband or not.

Gun owners do not want and will not accept this technology unless mandated by law -- as is already in place in New Jersey, assuming it becomes commercially available. 

Free citizens will not ask permission from the State before defending themselves, no matter what laws the State has put into place.

But the State would love to use technology like this to make us submit.

Tue May 21 23:49:53 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS official Lois Lerner to plead the 5th

Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won't answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening -- or why she didn't disclose it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor III. Lerner was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.
There's an interesting dilemma here.  Does Congress proceed to charge her with crimes, or offer immunity in return for testimony about involvement higher in the food chain?

It looks like she won't get out of appearing.

Tue May 21 17:24:07 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Do universal background checks work?

Clayton Cramer examines the statistics from the 13 states that have already passed universal background check laws.

Tue May 21 09:42:56 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

More Benghazi Whistleblowers

These are saying they have details about what really happened in Benghazi: why the Ambassador was there rather than in the embassy, and the pressure on General Carter Ham (in charge of the region including Libya) not to act.

Why Ambassador Stevens was there is explosive -- literally:
Stevens' mission in Benghazi, they will say, was to buy back Stinger missiles from al-Qaeda groups issued to them by the State Department, not by the CIA. Such a mission would usually be a CIA effort, but the intelligence agency had opposed the idea because of the high risk involved in arming "insurgents" with powerful weapons that endanger civilian aircraft.
I had classed this as a conspiracy theory.  It looks like I was wrong.

Let me put the proper emphasis on this point:

The Obama Administration gave man-portable anti-aircraft missiles to Al-Qaeda terrorists.

If this is true, no wonder they are frantic to cover it up.

Following that:
Regarding General Ham, military contacts of the diplomats tell them that AFRICOM had Special Ops "assets in place that could have come to the aid of the Benghazi consulate immediately (not in six hours)."

Ham was told by the White House not to send the aid to the trapped men, but Ham decided to disobey and did so anyway, whereupon the White House "called his deputy and had the deputy threaten to relieve Ham of his command."
This will be devastating testimony.  I don't have any idea whether this represents something actually illegal -- the President has a lot of latitude in foreign policy, but aid and comfort to an Al-Qaeda linked entity is certainly illegal for the general public.  Refusing to send aid to Americans under attack is probably not criminal, but it's politically nuclear.

Tue May 21 09:21:18 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

DOJ leaked to smear Fast and Furious whistleblower

Not only was the actual leaking "inappropriate and unbefitting a US Attorney", but the smear operation was discussed by senior DOJ officials... at least one of whom has already resigned over a different media smear attempt.

Mon May 20 22:17:19 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama met with IRS division head the day before targeting started

According to the White House Visitors Log, provided here in searchable form by U.S. News and World Report, the president of the anti-Tea Party National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley, visited the White House at 12:30pm that Wednesday noon time of March 31st...

April 1-2, 2010: The new Acting Manager, Technical Unit, suggested the need for a Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party cases. The Determinations Unit Program Manager Agreed.

In short: the very day after the president of the quite publicly anti-Tea Party labor union -- the union for IRS employees -- met with President Obama, the manager of the IRS "Determinations Unit Program agreed" to open a "Sensitive Case report on the Tea party cases." As stated by the IG report.

Read the whole thing.  It is the smoking gun.

UPDATE: Four Pinocchios to Lois Lerner from the Washington Post.

UPDATE: True The Vote hassled by IRS, FBI, ATF, and OSHA.  That spells systemic corruption to me.

UPDATE: Laying out the White House's shifting story.  So... the White House council was told about the scandal April 22nd, and some of her staff had been told the previous week, but she did not inform the President until he saw it on the news?  Even taken at face value, that's not exactly a President in charge of... anything, really.

Mon May 20 08:28:59 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

California appears to be requiring microstamping technology

The short version appears to be that new handguns will not be added to the list of "acceptable" handguns in California unless they have microstamping technology.  Guns already on the list will remain ok unless for some reason they need to be re-registered. 

The details are at Calguns.

The difference this makes is a significant one.  Microstamping is an unproven technology that is easily defeated by means such as changing the firing pin; criminals will not be affected by this requirement.  It will increase the cost of new firearms that include microstamping technology and, probably more importantly, block new handgun models that don't use microstamping from being added to California's roster of "allowed" handguns.  That means they won't be added at all, unless the California market is deemed large enough to justify the investment by itself.

In short, it's a roundabout gun ban.

There was no need to pass a law to do it, because the law had been passed years ago; all it took to activate this new restriction was a certification that the microstamping technology was available for use.

New Jersey has a similar statute concerning "smart" guns.  We're likely to see an attempt made to bring that rule into effect as well, especially if there was an Obama administration push behind California's move.  We're already seeing editorials calling for it, even though it's a really bad idea.

Mon May 20 01:27:09 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]


A cabdriver in Denver calls the police because his fare was taking firearms to a gun show (warning: really annoying autoplay audio ads at the link).  The police arrived and arrested the man, along with several shotguns, because he had a foreign accent and they thought he was a terrorist. 

It turns out his fare was Daniele Perazzi, president of an Italian shotgun manufacturer.  As you might expect, such a man has lawyers and was released in short order, though reports are that law enforcement ordered him out of the state.  If true, there doesn't seem to be any legal basis for the order. 

This is of course an embarrassment for our country, which is supposed to be free.

UPDATE: It seems there's some doubt about this story.

UPDATE: Perazzi official press release.

UPDATE: Woman fabricated tale of questioning.  No hint of what the motive was.  Bizarre.

Mon May 20 01:00:59 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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