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Archive for the ‘2nd Amendment’ Category

I’ve written extensively about gun control, but mostly because of practical and moral objections to the notion that government should have the power to disarm law-abiding people.

But I hadn’t realized that some of the earliest gun control initiatives were designed to oppress blacks.

As Dave Kopel explains in Reason, the white power structure in many post-Civil War states was very anxious to disarm former slaves.

After the Civil War, the defeated Southern states aimed to preserve slavery in fact if not in law. The states enacted Black Codes which barred the black freedmen from exercising basic civil rights, including the right to bear arms. Mississippi’s provision was typical: No freedman “shall keep or carry fire-arms of any kind, or any ammunition.” …The Klansmen, unlike the freedmen, had horses, and thus the tactical advantages of mobility. In a few months, the Klan triumph was complete. One freedman recalled that the night riders, after reasserting white control, “took the weapons from might near all the colored people in the neighborhood.” …Sometimes militias consisting of freedmen or Unionists were able to resist the Klan or other white forces. In places like the South Carolina back-country, where the blacks were a numerical majority, the black militias kept white terrorists at bay for long periods. …In areas where the black militias lost and the Klan or other white groups took control, “almost universally the first thing done was to disarm the negroes and leave them defenseless,” wrote Albion Tourgeé in his 1880 book The Invisible Empire. …As Jim Crow intensified, other Southern states enacted gun registration and handgun permit laws. Registration came to Mississippi (1906), Georgia (1913), and North Carolina (1917). Handgun permits were passed in North Carolina (1917), Missouri (1919), and Arkansas (1923). As one Florida judge explained, the licensing laws were “passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers… [and] never intended to be applied to the white population.”

With this historical knowledge, this poster now makes a lot of sense.

It quotes the infamous Dred Scott decision, which also was predicated on the state-sanctioned oppression of African-Americans.

While I wasn’t aware of the racist history of gun control, I did have some familiarity with the fact that totalitarian governments traditionally have wanted to disarm citizens.

I wrote, for instance, about gun control initiatives by the Venezuelan dictatorship.

And this superb poster from Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership is the 4th-most viewed post in the history of my blog.

So this image is in that tradition.

Now let me make an important point.

I don’t think advocates of gun control in the United States are racists or fascists. I assume that 99 percent of them are guilty instead of being naive.

Which is why I’m always delighted to share admissions from honest leftists that gun control simply doesn’t make sense.

P.S. Switching to a different topic, a French economist (no, that’s not a contradiction in terms) was awarded the Nobel Prize about a week ago.

He’s apparently considered to be on the left of the philosophical spectrum, yet it’s worthwhile that even he thinks there’s too much statism in his home nation.

Hours after he won the economics Nobel Prize, Tirole said he felt “sad” the French economy was experiencing difficulties despite having “a lot of assets”. “We haven’t succeeded in France to undertake the labour market reforms that are similar to those in Germany, Scandinavia and so on,” he said in telephone interview from the French city of Toulouse, where he teaches. France is plagued by record unemployment and Tirole described the French job market as “catastrophic” earlier on Monday, arguing that the excessive protection for employees had frozen the country’s job market. “We haven’t succeeded also in downsizing the state, which is an issue because we have a social model that I approve of – I’m very much in favour of this social model – but it won’t be sustainable if the state is too big,” he added. Tirole remarked that northern European countries, as well as Canada and Australia, had proven you could keep a welfare social model with smaller government. In contrast, he said France’s “big state” threatened its social policies because there will not be “enough money to pay for it in the long run”.

He’s exactly right. I’m a libertarian, so I don’t want the government involved in areas such as housing, healthcare and income redistribution.

But even if you favor larger government, there’s a giant difference between having the public sector consume 57 percent of economic output (as in France) or a more reasonable amount, such as what’s found in Canada or Australia (as Professor Tirole mentioned).

By the way, I made the same point as Tirole when I spoke last year in Paris. I asked my audience whether they thought they got better and/or more services than the citizens of Switzerland, where the burden of government spending is far less onerous.

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As a libertarian, it’s easy for me to get agitated about the theoretical burden of high taxes, wasteful spending, and costly regulation.

But even regular people should get upset when they get exposed to specific examples of individuals who are victimized by abusive government.

Regarding the particular topic of Second Amendment freedoms and government misbehavior, I know I get very angry when I read about what happened to folks like Adam Meckler and Benjamin Srigley.

And now we can add Shaneen Allen to the list. Here’s some of what Glenn Reynolds of the University of Tennessee wrote for USA Today.

When Ray Rice beat his wife unconscious in an elevator, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Michael Donio and New Jersey District Attorney Jim McClain agreed to put him in a diversion program for 1st-time offenders to keep him out of jail. But when Pennsylvania single mom Shaneen Allen was pulled over for a traffic violation and volunteered to a New Jersey police officer that she was carrying a legally-owned handgun with a Pennsylvania permit, the response of Donis and McClain was to deny her the same opportunity as Rice. …she faces a felony conviction and a mandatory 42 months in prison. Both Donio and McClain have been unwilling to dismiss the charges, or send Allen to a pretrial diversion program. They seem to want to make an example of her.

How disgusting. A big-time athlete gets special treatment even though he brutalized another person.

But Ms. Allen, who didn’t hurt anybody and only wanted the ability to protect herself, is being abused by the heavy hand of government.

Professor Reynolds argues that this is a problem that merits federal intervention.

The problem is, she’s being punished for something the Constitution says — and the Supreme Court has agreed — is a constitutional right. …Shaneen Allen wasn’t committing gun violence, and civilians with gun permits are a very law-abiding bunch, who have passed a background check and undergone training; no sensible state would want to discourage them from visiting. …Under the Constitution, Congress has the power to protect civil rights via legislation, and this seems like a good subject for action. I would suggest a law providing that when people who may legally own guns under federal law are charged with possessing or carrying them in violation of state law, the maximum penalty should be a fine of no more than $500. This would allow states a reasonable degree of regulation, without subjecting individuals to life-ruining consequences just because some politico wants to make a point.

Speaking of politicos, I hope Governor Chris Christie intervenes and pardons Ms. Allen. Pre-emptively if that’s even legally possible.

A few years ago, he did commute the sentence of a guy who was similarly victimized by New Jersey’s awful laws, so he’s at least semi-reasonable on these issues.

Now let’s shift gears and review a more uplifting story.

Back in 2011, I wrote about the unfortunate plight of unarmed Brits who had very little ability to defend themselves when their neighborhoods were assaulted by rioters and compared that situation to what happened during the Los Angeles riots, when Korean business owners used guns to successfully protect their lives and property.

And I augmented that analysis in 2012 when I wrote about disarmed New Yorkers who were vulnerable to thugs during the chaos that followed Hurricane Sandy.

However, there are places where people can exercise their constitutional rights to self defense, so let’s look at a feel-good story from the Midwest.

Here are some excerpts from a report out of St. Louis.

After nightfall, what began as a community’s peaceful demonstration against the Ferguson Police Department’s shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown turned increasingly violent. Crowds plundered a QuikTrip and burned it to the ground, and local news began reporting brazen raids on other stores in the area. After hearing of the roving bands of looters, Mike Gutierrez knew he had to protect his tattoo shop. He brought a posse with him, including Adam Weinstein, owner of County Guns… Gutierrez, Weinstein and their group arrived to find thieves tearing through a Dollar General in the same strip mall that houses their business. Weinstein says the looters attempted moving toward the shop, but were scared off by the guns.

Hooray that these guys had the freedom to defend themselves.

And I love the accompanying photo. At the risk of stereotyping, I assume that guys who run tattoo parlors are bad asses. Give them some guns and it becomes very obvious why the looters stayed away.

Though even mild-mannered suburban dads can deter looters. At least when they’re armed.

Meanwhile, what happens to store owners that rely on the government to protect them when bad things happen?

Well, there’s not a happy ending.

At the other end of the same strip mall that houses Gutierrez and Weinstein’s business, 53-year-old Silas Chung arrived at his women’s clothing store, Up N Up Fashion, to find a pane of glass shattered and a mannequin lying on its back in the parking lot. Inside the store, racks of newly stocked clothing had been stripped bare. Chung has endured a couple burglaries in the past nine years of running the store, but nothing comparable.

I hope Mr. Chung has insurance, though I would recommend that he also buy some guns and learn to shoot.

Sort of like this honest liberal.

P.S. As I’m typing this, I’m looking at the cufflinks that I received as a birthday present from the PotL. Very appropriate, wouldn’t you agree?

photo2

Perhaps not as strong of a statement as my license plate or my daughter’s t-shirt, but very nice nonetheless.

P.P.S. Here are some good videos on gun control (both serious and satirical) and here’s some good humor on the topic.

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I’ve explained on several occasions (here, here, and here) that we can be optimistic about the fight to preserve our rights to keep and bear arms.

Simply stated, politicians are increasingly scared to go after gun owners and we keep seeing more and more evidence that Second Amendment freedoms make society safer.

And courts are beginning to do a better job of upholding the Constitution. A recent example comes from Arizona, where the government was trying to simultaneously undermine both the First Amendment and Second Amendment.

The latest example comes from Arizona, where a pro-gun group won a legal fight to post notices about firearms training. A controversial gun-safety ad campaign is about to return to Phoenix, after the city lost its attempt to censor the project sponsored by a gun-safety training group, TrainMeAZ, LLC. The Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, which represented TrainMeAZ, LLC, was granted summary judgment for its client Thursday by the Arizona Court of Appeals, preventing Phoenix from blocking the ads. …Officials at the time told Alan Korwin, owner of TrainMeAZ, that the message was too controversial and had garnered a complaint, and so had to be removed or changed. …“Gun-rights advocates nationwide are fond of saying the Second Amendment protects the First Amendment, which is totally true,” Korwin said. “In this case, however, it’s the other way around — free speech and the First Amendment have protected our right to keep and bear arms, and in particular, our right to train our selves and our precious families in real gun safety.”

This is welcome news, particularly since the court ruled unanimously against the government’s attempt to censor.

P.S. Back in 2012, I shared an IQ test for criminals and liberals. The test had only one question, which was whether criminals would be more likely to rob the house of a gun owner or a anti-gun activist.

Here’s a humorous sign sent to me by the Princess of the Levant. I suspect it’s photo-shopped, but it’s nonetheless funny because there probably are people this stupid.

Gun Control Robbery Sign

And if you like this kind of humor, here are more examples.

P.P.S. While there have been some positive developments in the fight for firearms freedom, the news isn’t all positive. We continue to get jaw-dropping examples of anti-gun political correctness from government schools.

P.P.P.S. On a totally separate topic, I’ve already created a Moocher Hall of Fame, but I think I need to also set up a Bureaucrat Hall of Fame.

I already have a list of potential members, but there’s an overpaid drone at the Environmental Protection Agency who surely deserves to be one of the charter members.

Just how much porn does a person have to watch on their computer at work to get fired from the Environmental Protection Agency? Apparently two to six hours a day will let you hold onto your job….the employee confessed to spending, on average, between two and six hours per day viewing pornography while at work. Apparently, the employee, whose identity has not been revealed, earns about $120,000 a year and has still not been fired.

Though perhaps we should be applauding this bureaucrat. After all, if you look at some of the things EPA bureaucrats do when they’re “working” (see here, here, here, and here), the country may be safer if they spend more time watching porn.

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It’s easy to get discouraged if you believe in small government and individual liberty.

It seems that the burden of the public sector is always expanding and that politicians and bureaucrats are always figuring out new ways to restrict our freedoms.

But let’s not lose hope.

We still have a lot of economic liberty, particularly if you count non-fiscal policy factors.

And we still have the Second Amendment.

Heck, we don’t just have the right to keep and bear arms, we exercise that right in massive numbers.

Take a look at this impressive graphic. We’re #1 in some bad ways, but it seems we’re also #1 in a very good way.

Make sure to share this graphic with your statist friends and colleagues. It’s guaranteed to put them in a glum mood for the rest of the day!

And when you share this with your misguided acquaintances, ask them why guns don’t cause murder in nations such as Switzerland and Finland. Maybe you’ll have a breakthrough and they’ll confess that gun control isn’t the solution.

Incidentally, in addition to having lots of guns in America, we also are quite ready to defy the government if politicians try to take them away.

What’s happening in Connecticut is merely one example of this wonderful form of civil disobedience.

Since we’re on the topic of gun ownership vs. gun control, here’s another image that will cause heartburn for your leftist friends.

Schindler guns

Same theme as the 4th image in this post.

And let’s not forget the best-ever poster on gun control.

Last but not least, here’s a poster sent to me by the PotL.

photo1

It’s the same message found at the top of this post and at the bottom of this post.

If you want more info – both serious and humorous – on gun control, click here.

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One of the best ways of reducing crime is to make anti-social behavior more expensive. Simply stated, the goal is to alter the cost-benefit analysis of criminals.

This doesn’t mean, by the way, that I’m assuming that bad guys are geniuses who put together spreadsheets or engage in elaborate calculations. Instead, I’m simply suggesting that crime becomes less attractive if thugs have a feeling that they’ll be more likely to get caught and/or more likely to get harsh punishment.

And, as I explained in my IQ test for liberals and criminals, bad guys also will be less likely to commit crimes if they know there’s a non-trivial chance that they may get shot. I know that would change my cost-benefit analysis if I was a crook.

But it’s not just my satirical IQ test. You get the same results from real experts such as John Lott and David Kopel.

This is why there’s less crime when law-abiding people own guns (as humorously depicted here and here by Chuck Asay).

Unfortunately, an army base is one place where bad guys can feel confident that they’ll find unarmed victims.

This is worth discussing since, for the second time, we have a sad example of innocent – and disarmed – people getting killed at Fort Hood.

Glenn McCoy has a cartoon that aptly summarizes this issue.

McCoy Fort Hood Cartoon

I’m sure some statists would argue that both the cartoon and my analysis are wrong because the killers (Ivan Lopez earlier this month and Major Hasan back in 2009) were crazy and simply wanted to kill the maximum number of people.

But experts have shown that even nutjobs engage in planning and figure out that they will have more ability to kill if they choose venues where potential victims are disarmed.

And even if we hypothesize that some crazy people might be too unstable to make those calculations, what’s wrong with allowing people to carry weapons on a military base so they can defend themselves?!?

But I’m not holding my breath expecting the ideologues in the Obama Administration to change their anti-Second Amendment policies.

Though at least we can be happy that more and more states are acknowledging reality and expanding concealed-carry rights and implementing stand-your-ground laws.

P.S. I’m increasingly optimistic that we are beating the statists on this issue. Honest leftists (see here and here) are acknowledging the value of private firearms ownership. We have very strong polling data from cops that gun control is misguided. And ordinary citizens would engage in massive civil disobedience (as we’re seeing in Connecticut) if the thugs in government tried to confiscate guns.

P.P.S. But let’s not get complacent. Statists may be losing some battles, but they won’t give up in their war against the Constitution. And they’re using government schools to push a fanatical anti-gun agenda. And they’re also working through the United Nations in an effort to get gun control through the back door. Though I suppose we should be happy that American statists aren’t as crazy as their British counterparts.

P.P.P.S. Let’s close with some gun control humor. If you want to know how leftists concoct data against gun ownership, here’s a good example. And here’s a video showing how leftists think about guns. Folks will also enjoy this comparison of how guns are viewed by liberals, conservatives, and Texans. And I think we can all agree that this driver is being very polite.

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I’ve already explained why leftists must be depressed about their failure to restrict private gun ownership.

They’ve suffered brutal electoral setbacks in Colorado, and more and more states have strengthened the right to keep and bear arms.

Moreover, it’s hard for them to claim their agenda is about safer streets when cops overwhelmingly reject the premises of the anti-gun zealots.

And they also have to deal with something very troubling that further undermines their campaign against the Second Amendment.

That troubling thing is facts and data.

Because the more information that we learn, the more evidence we have – as John Lott often reminds us – that more guns equal less crime.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Jason Riley peruses some new data from the FBI. Here are some key excerpts.

A new FBI report says that violent crime continues to fall nationwide, which might annoy liberals because gun purchases continue to rise. In the first six months of 2013, murders fell by nearly 7 percent, compared with the same period in 2012. Aggravated assaults fell by 6.6 percent, and robberies are down 1.8 percent. “All of the offenses in the violent crime category—murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, aggravated assault, and robbery—showed decreases when data from the first six months of 2013 were compared with data from the first six months of 2012,” according to the FBI. Overall, violent crime in the U.S. fell by 5.4 percent. …The left likes to link violent crime to the proliferation of guns in the country, so it’s worth noting that the crime reductions described in the FBI report correlate with a steady increase in firearm sales.

But that’s not all.

It’s also worth noting that gun-ownership rates in the Midwest (39 percent) and South (50 percent) far exceed gun-ownership rates in the Northeast (22 percent), yet violent crime is down more in the Midwest and South than it is in the Northeast, according to the FBI statistics. And rural areas, where gun-ownership rates also are higher than average, saw a larger reduction in violent crime that metropolitan areas, where gun-ownership rates are lower than average. Not that gun-control zealots, who are so certain of a causal link between firearms and violent crime rates, care about such details.

Gee, what a surprise.

When more law-abiding people have guns, the bad guys are more skittish.

Hmmm…sounds like someone took the IQ test I devised for criminals and liberals.

But we have more good news.

It seems that Americans are not sheep meekly waiting to be fleeced of their constitutional freedom and liberties.

In Connecticut, where reprehensible politicians exploited a school shooting to impose restrictions on the Second Amendment, it appears that many citizens are – in effect – telling them to bugger off.

Here are some excerpts from a story in the Hartford Courant.

Everyone knew there would be some gun owners flouting the law that legislators hurriedly passed last April, requiring residents to register all military-style rifles with state police by Dec. 31. But few thought the figures would be this bad. By the end of 2013, state police had received 47,916 applications for assault weapons certificates, Lt. Paul Vance said. An additional 2,100 that were incomplete could still come in. That 50,000 figure could be as little as 15 percent of the rifles classified as assault weapons owned by Connecticut residents, according to estimates by people in the industry… And that means as of Jan. 1, Connecticut has very likely created tens of thousands of newly minted criminals — perhaps 100,000 people…who have broken no other laws.

This story makes me proud to be an American.

We’ve seen some polling data that shows there would be widespread civil disobedience if politicians tried to confiscate guns, but I wondered whether people would be more willing to acquiesce to preliminary steps such as the Connecticut registration plan.

So it’s great to see that tens of thousands of them are resisting.

P.S. As I’ve noted before, anyone who cares about this issue should read these observations from a genuine firearms expert.

And if you have left-wing friends, there are two posts that may convince them to be rational about guns. Justin Cronin explains here that restrictions on gun ownership undermined his ability to protect his family. And Jeffrey Goldberg looked at the evidence and concluded that guns make people safer.

P.P.S. If you simply want a laugh or two,  this funny video shows that our left-wing friends are incapable of understanding this topic.

For more gun control humor, check out this joke comparing California with other parts of America, this interview with a general is worth sharing (presumably an urban legend, but could be true), and here’s a t-shirt that I’m putting on my Christmas list.

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Let’s start this post with some cheerful news.

The statists face a huge uphill battle if their campaign to undermine our rights to keep and bear arms. If you want evidence, just look at last year’s special election defeats of two anti-Second Amendment politicians in Colorado (followed by the resignation of another state senator who feared a recall). Or remind yourself about the utter failure of President Obama’s cynical attempt to get more gun control by exploiting the murder of children in Newtown, Connecticut.

And check out these two maps to see how we’re making progress at the state level.

But this doesn’t mean we can relax our vigil. Showing contempt for America’s separation-of-powers system, the President repeatedly has asserted that he has the power to unilaterally change government policy. And just as he arbitrarily rewrites Obamacare, he claims he can impose more gun control.

But that only allows him to nudge policy in the wrong direction since the courts have been reasonably helpful on the Second Amendment in recent years.

Moreover, the real constraint on the statists is the wonderful fact that the American people would respond with massive civil disobedience if politicians ever tried to take our guns. Heck, even some very admirable government officials already are engaging in civil disobedience.

So let’s maintain our momentum by doing everything we can to educate others about the folly of gun control. Here are a handful of images that help make the case for the the Second Amendment.

Though I fear our left-wing friends will misinterpret this one and demand to regulate box cutters (just as some left-wing Brits have advocated knife control).

Gun Control Jan 2014 2

Here’s one that reminds me that teachers in places such as Israel and Texas have the right to be armed.

Gun Control Jan 2014 1

Though I wonder whether that would be comfortable. Perhaps this Alabama woman has a better idea.

Here’s an image with the same message found at the top of this post and at the bottom of this post. (and if you want to see a t-shirt that shows the left’s “morally superior” approach, click here).

Gun Control Jan 2014 3

Needless to say, my daughter has been raised with the right understanding of this issue.

Here’s a poignant reminder that gun control often is a tool of totalitarian regimes.

Gun Control Jan 2014 4

Which is why I’ve always thought this poster is the most powerful argument against gun control.

Last but not least, here’s a reminder that bad people don’t like private gun ownership.

Gun Control Jan 2014 5

Sort of the same message I had in my IQ test for criminals and liberals. In simpler terms, would you go looting in the neighborhood pictured at the end of this post?

Let’s close this post with links to a couple of articles that also are worth sharing. If you have left-wing friends, there are two posts that may convince them to be rational about guns. Justin Cronin explains here that restrictions on gun ownership undermined his ability to protect his family. And Jeffrey Goldberg looked at the evidence and concluded that guns make people safer.

And for your analytically minded friends, this Larry Correia piece is must reading for anyone who wants to understand about magazine limits and so-called assault weapons.

P.S. Fee free to vote in my poll asking the most important reason to oppose gun control.

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