Category Archives: Firearms

On Concealed Carry Reciprocity

Local West Bend guy and owner of Delta Defense was on 60 Minutes to talk about national concealed carry reciprocity. Hat tip Washington County Insider.

New Ammo Rules in California

Yet another reason why I will never, ever live in California. As if I needed another one.

Proposition 63 was passed in 2016 and makes it illegal to sell ammunition without a license from the Department of Justice, NBC news reports. Any ammo purchased over the internet would also be required to be sold through a licensed dealer, who would then deliver it directly to the buyer.

The measure also prohibits driving ammunition across state lines, and institutes background checks for anyone looking to purchase bullets. The law requires sellers to track ammo sales electronically and submit records to the DOJ to be stored in the “Ammunition Purchase Records File.”

Guns for Christmas

It’s kind of funny to read stories like this by foreigners.

Since 1998, when the system began, December has been the busiest month in all but two years (2008 and 2013).

For Mark Warner, the sales rep, the reason is obvious. “It’s holiday giving,” he says.

Giving someone a gun for Christmas may seem strange to non-Americans. But here, it’s the equivalent of…?

“Diamonds,” interjects Mark.

“I got customers who are husband and wife. She gets Louis Vuitton bags, he gets firearms.

“That’s their gift giving to each other.”

City of Milwaukee Bans Contractors From Arming Themselves

Predictably reactionary.

Contractors would be banned from carrying weapons, under a resolution passed unanimously Tuesday by the Milwaukee Common Council.

Aldermen also voted unanimously to direct the city Department of Public Works to examine Milwaukee’s outsourcing of work, and compile a report on outsourced projects that could be performed by city employees instead.

There are two things going on here. First, the Aldermen are using this as an excuse to swing more work to city employees instead of contractors. It would necessitate the hiring of more city employees which means a sop to the public labor unions which means more union money flowing back to liberal Aldermen. It is a simple power move.

Second, the Aldermen are impotent to act regarding actual crime in their city, but they want to make a show for “public safety.” In reality, what they have done is paint a big target on city contractors for the crooks in the city. Sadly, I think we’ll see the severe injury or death of a city contractor before Easter.

Millennials More Likely to Oppose Assault Weapon Ban then Older Folks

Huh.

Resistance to a ban on military-style assault weapons is strongest among millennials, according to a new Quinnipiac poll released this week.

[…]

Opposition to an assault weapon ban was strongest among Republicans and among self-identified registered voters 18-34, the poll found. Unlike older Americans, millennials were closely divided on their support for an assault weapon ban, with 49% supporting and 44% opposing a ban.

There was huge support for a return to banning the sale of assault weapons from voters over 50, with 70% support from over-50s and 77% support from over-65s.

[…]

For younger Americans, “these are guns that, as long as they’ve been part of the gun culture, have been very common and fairly typical guns, and that’s less true with somebody who was, say, born in 1930,” said Dave Kopel, a gun rights advocate and firearms law expert at the Independence Institute in Colorado.

People who grew up with the gun culture of the 1950s might be more accustomed to brown wooden hunting-rifles, while younger gun owners may be more used to the black polymer rifles that are often categorized as “assault weapons”, Kopel said.

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Because different Americans may have radically different conceptions of what an assault weapon is, the results of the survey on whether they should be banned should be judged with some skepticism, Yamane cautioned.

Bill Proposed to Protect Kids with Guns at School

This seems utterly reasonable, and in a sane world, unnecessary.

MADISON (WKOW) — Some high school students would no longer have to fear being expelled for having a gun at school, under a limited exemption being considered by state lawmakers.

Under current law, if a student leaves an unloaded gun in their locked car, in the the school parking lot, they would face a mandatory expulsion hearing if anyone reports it to the administration.

But the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) asked Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) to craft legislation that would exempt schools from starting that expulsion process, if law enforcement investigates the incident and doesn’t press charges..

WASB President Steve McCloskey told the Assembly Committee on Education Thursday it is not uncommon for students in rural Wisconsin to hunt before and after school.

And since many of those students live a far distance away from school, McCloskey said it is reasonable for them to keep an unloaded rifle in their locked vehicle.

Bubba Power

Yup.

They ask something like this: “Do you really think Bubba in camo gear hiding in the forest is going to take on the U.S. military? The U.S. military has nuclear weapons!”

Who exactly do you think has stymied the U.S. in Afghanistan for 16 years? The Taliban is made up of Afghan Bubbas. The Taliban doesn’t need to defeat nuclear weapons, though they are humiliating a nuclear power for the second time in history. They use a mix of Kalashnikovs and WWII-era bolt-action rifles. Determined insurgencies are really difficult to fight, even if they are only armed with Enfield rifles and you can target them with a TOW missiles system that can spot a cat in the dark from two miles away. In Iraq, expensive tanks were destroyed with simple improvised explosives.

If the U.S. government (and the American people behind them) doesn’t want to use nuclear weapons on foreign fundamentalists in Afghanistan, why does anyone presume they’d use them against Americans in Idaho?

It is not just our fecklessness. All great powers take into account the moral and manpower costs of implementing their rules and laws on a people. And an armed citizenry, especially if they seem to have a just cause to rally around, will dramatically raise the price of ruling them. The British Empire controlled one quarter of the world’s territory and ruled one quarter of the earth’s population in 1922. In that very year, they were forced to make an effective exit from the main part of their oldest colony, Ireland. Why? Because a determined group of Irish men with guns made the country ungovernable. The British technically could have deployed their entire navy, blockading the restive island, and starving any rebellion into submission. But they were unwilling to pay the moral price, or the price in blood. It was precisely this foreseeable event that had caused the British to ban Irish Catholics from possessing firearms hundreds of years earlier.

Taking Aim in the Gun Control Debate

This.

But what makes the gun debate so unbearably stale isn’t any disagreement over the interpretation of data. Nor is it a dispute over the value of firearms in a free society. If only it were about these questions. What makes the debate so stale, rather, is the disingenuousness of those who claim to want “sensible” and “reasonable” gun regulations but who in fact want an outright ban.

Supporters of stricter gun laws are not stupid. Some are rather prone to moral exhibitionism, for sure—we think of Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who didn’t wait for the blood to dry in Las Vegas before commencing a self-righteous tirade about the “cowardice” of his colleagues on the Hill who disagree with him on gun policy. But Murphy, Hillary Clinton, Piers Morgan—these people are not stupid. They do not actually think that reducing the capacity of magazines on semi-automatic rifles will somehow make it more difficult for deranged men to shoot schoolchildren. They don’t actually believe that closing the “gun show loophole” (the provision in the Brady law of 1998 by which gun purchasers may avoid background checks) will make Americans safer.

Yet gun-control proponents persist in this charade. Why? Because their real aim—an outright ban on all civilian use of handguns and most rifles—would require a repeal of the Second Amendment. They can’t or won’t call for such a repeal because, for all their brandishing of opinion polls and claims to speak for the majority, they stand no chance of accomplishing it. It’s not impossible to repeal an amendment. The Eighteenth Amendment, establishing Prohibition, was repealed by the Twenty-First in 1933. But it’s impossible to repeal a popular amendment, and Americans like guns and value the Second Amendment far too much to consider excising it from the Constitution.

Since they can’t name their desire, anti-gun activists, in a kind of Freudian displacement maneuver, spend their energy fulminating against the “gun lobby.” Hence all those Times editorials about the NRA “bullying” Washington and holding congressional Republicans in thrall. Hence all those talking-head diatribes and crime-show episodes portraying the “gun lobby” as some dark super-mafia, the mere mention of which turns otherwise cocksure politicians into whimpering fools. But do the NRA and related groups really have such great power? You wouldn’t know it from their lobbying expenses. Last year, gun-rights groups spent $10.5 million on lobbying. Environmental-advocacy groups spent $13 million. Labor unions spent $47.2 million. The agricultural services and products sector: $32.7 million.

Gun Control Isn’t the Answer

Yup.

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

[…]

By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don’t want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.

Committee Vote Scheduled for Constitutional Carry

It’s good to see some progress.

A state Senate committee vote has been scheduled for Tuesday (Sept. 19) on a bill — Senate Bill 169 — that, as introduced, would repeal Wisconsin’s state “gun-free school zones” statute.

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety included the SB 169, also known as the permit-less carry bill, as the final item in its public notice of an executive session (i.e., a committee vote on the bill) for Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 411 South, State Capitol.

Sheriff Won’t Blame Guns for School Shooting

The media is really upset that this Sheriff won’t use a school shooting as an excuse to advocate for gun control.

The day after a Washington state high school student opened fire on his classmates, killing one and injuring three others, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich held a press conference to decry the frequency of such shootings.

“This is a situation that plays out in our society way too often, and we as a society need to make a determination as to what’s causing this,” he said Thursday afternoon. Knezovich then launched into a list of factors he believes were at play when 15-year-old suspect Caleb Sharpe, who has been identified in court documents, brought both a handgun and an AR-15 rifle to Freeman High School on Wednesday.

[…]

But when a reporter asked Knezovich how the shooter had access to the firearms used to kill classmate Sam Strahan and injure three others, the sheriff was reluctant to discuss gun control issues.

“Minors are not supposed to be in possession of a handgun until they’re 21,” he said. “You never know how people get ahold of weapons. Those are things we’ll be digging into in trying to figure out what exactly happened here.”

And, of course, the sheriff is right. It was already illegal for this to possess a handgun – much less carry guns onto school property and start shooting people.

NRA Carry Guard Expo in Milwaukee

The NRA is holding its inaugural Carry Guard Expo in Milwaukee. A couple of things make this interesting.

The show that runs through Sunday was jammed with seminars, workshops and plenty of gear.

There were displays of handguns, rifles and shotguns and firearm accessories like holsters, bags and clothing all aimed at a growing market for those interested in concealed carry weapons and self-defense.

The first thing that’s interesting is that there were the inevitable protesters.

Not everyone was delighted to see the NRA in Milwaukee.

“The NRA has been ratcheting up their rhetoric lately,” said Anneliese Dickman of the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, which was leading a local protest.

“We’re protesting that they have a vision of America that encourages people to treat their fellow Americans as enemies and that they’re arming those people,” she said.

The anti-gun folks are constantly telling us that they don’t want to ban guns. No, they just want people to be “responsible” gun owners, so they say. This is an entire event centered around responsible gun ownership, and yet the anti-gun folks are still protesting. NRA Carry Guard is insurance for people who carry guns. It is actually an initiative of anti-gun folks to mandate that people have such insurance, and yet they are protesting. (Ironically, such a mandate would be a boon for the NRA if people are mandated to buy their product.) The rest of the expo is about safety training, gun safes, locks, safe ways to carry, etc. In short, this is an event for “responsible” gun owners, and yet the protesters are still there. They belie their real purpose.

The second thing that is interesting is that this expo is symptomatic of the NRA’s transition from strictly an advocacy organization to a business.

As I said, NRA Carry Guard is an insurance product for people who carry guns. The NRA has just entered this market. West Bend’s own Delta Defense has been selling similar insurance for years and has been booming. They just built a fabulous new headquarters and have been hiring people left and right. They also just won an award for being one of the best places to work in Wisconsin.

So do you think it is a coincidence that the NRA chose to hold its very first Carry Guard Expo in the backyard of Delta Defense? I think not. Also remember that the NRA unceremoniously disinvited Delta Defense to their convention earlier this year. The NRA is not behaving as an advocacy group that is willing to amplify its message by convening with like-minded groups. They are behaving like a business trying to take out their competitor.

This comment reveals the risk of the NRA moving into a business:

Asked if the NRA would push to mandate insurance for concealed-carry permit holders, Powell said: “We absolutely are not interested whatsoever in having any mandates around this at all. Period.”

So they say now. But the NRA now has a financial interest in just such a mandate. And with their lobbying power, what are the chances that they would make sure the mandates require just the kind of coverage offered by Carry Guard?

I’m all for the NRA and think that they have done marvelous things for the spread of liberty in our nation. But I am wary about scenarios where their financial interests run contrary to that liberty.

Man Legally Carries Weapon at the Zoo

Good for him.

“It was my girlfriend’s birthday, and she likes elephants. That’s why I was there,” Polster said. “We walked into the farm exhibit area, the one officer pulls up, stops me and says we can’t have the firearm in the park,” he said.

Polster recorded the interaction with Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputies. His video runs more than an hour as deputies checked on the law. Ultimately, they determined Polster was right.

The Milwaukee County Zoo told WISN 12 News it does not allow the open or concealed carry of any weapons in any Zoo building or during any posted special event. But state law exempts public grounds.

“You can carry on the grounds. You just can’t carry in the buildings,” Polster said.

It doesn’t look like he meant it as a big statement. He’s not one of those goofs walking around with an AR-15. He was just going about his business. It’s a shame that the deputies took so long to look up the law. Perhaps Sheriff Clarke should conduct a training session.

Appeals Court Strikes Down D.C. Concealed Carry Law

Excellent!

A federal appeals court struck down a District of Columbia law Tuesday that required a “good reason” to carry a concealed firearm, ruling that it essentially bans the Second Amendment right for most D.C. residents.

The decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit conflicts with rulings from other appeals courts on concealed-carry rights, potentially ripening the issue for a Supreme Court that for years has stayed on the sidelines of gun control laws.

The D.C. Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, ruled the Second Amendment’s right of responsible citizens to carry firearms for personal self-defense beyond the home is not subject to bans on carrying in urban areas like the District or carrying absent a special need for self-defense.

“In fact, the Amendment’s core at a minimum shields the typically situated citizen’s ability to carry common arms generally,” the majority wrote. “The District’s good-reason law is necessarily a total ban on exercises of that constitutional right for most D.C. residents.”

Protecting the right to Pokemon Go

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

The summer of 2016 will be remembered for many things. It was the summer when America came to grips with the fact that Donald Trump was the Republican candidate. It was the summer when terrorism swept across the world from Nice to Dhaka to the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. It was the summer of Brexit when Britain voted to leave the European Union.

It is also the summer of watching hordes of people stumble through public places staring at their smartphones as they tried to capture animated creatures in the augmented reality of Pokemon Go. While the Pokemon Go craze has come and gone, it has left some interesting legal ramifications in its wake.

During the Pokemon Go phenomenon, the leaders of Milwaukee County became frustrated that so many people were wandering through public parks playing the game. The huge influx of people enjoying the public parks damaged landscaping, left trash, and sometimes disrupted other visitors. Rather than just enforce the existing rules against such damaging and disruptive behavior, Milwaukee officials decided to go after the businesses that make games like Pokemon Go. In January, the Milwaukee County Board passed an ordinance that required the companies who created virtual and location-based augmented reality games to get a permit and post a $1 million certificate of insurance in order for people to play their games in the park.

On its face, the ordinance was ridiculous and unenforceable. The fact that the users of a game might damage flowers in a county park hardly makes the producers of that game responsible, nor should a county be able to arbitrarily restrict access to public property for people engaging in legal activities. But the Milwaukee Common Council is not known for its logical dexterity. In response to the ordinance, a company called Candy Lab Inc., which makes a different augmented reality game, sued the county.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge J.P. Stadtmueller issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting Milwaukee County from enforcing its ordinance saying that it likely violates the First Amendment. This might be the first time in the nation’s jurisprudence that First Amendment protections have been expressly extended to augmented reality games.

In his ruling, Stadtmueller systematically dismantles Milwaukee County’s ordinance and all of its flaws. He says in part, “the Ordinance thus dooms itself in its failure to provide ‘narrowly drawn, reasonable, and definite standards’ to guide the County officials who must apply it,” and that the game in question, “contains the least minimum quantum of expression needed to constitute protectable speech.” In a final slap at Milwaukee County officials, the judge states, “the Ordinance is revealed for its strangeness and lack of sophistication.”

This ruling is a good reminder that while technologies change, constitutionally protected rights do not. In his ruling, Stadtmueller correctly cites and earlier case, Brown v. Entm’t Merchs. Ass’n, in which the Supreme Court clearly stated that, “whatever the challenges of applying the Constitution to everadvancing technology, ‘the basic principles of freedom of speech and the press, like the First Amendment’s command, do not vary’ when a new and different medium for communication appears.”

That statement is a recognition of the fact that rights are endowed upon individuals. Our right to free speech is inherently individual and deserving of protection irrespective of the medium of transmission. The men who wrote our Constitution likely never envisioned telephones, the internet, or Pokemon Go, but they did not need to in order for the protections they wrote to apply. The right is to be protected. The technology is irrelevant.

This same principle applies to other rights as well. We also have a right to keep and bear arms (which is actually a more specific declaration of our broader right to property). And while our founders never envisioned the complexity or sophistication of modern firearms, they did not need to. The right is to be protected. The technology is irrelevant.

Our Constitution is not, nor was it ever intended to be, a living document. It does not need to be. Its brilliance rests in the understanding that human rights live in the bosom of each and every person. We must protect those rights whether they are being exercised with a quill, pen, keyboard, smartphone, musket or AR-15.

Bill Would Allow Schools To Provide Firearm Education

Good.

Wisconsin high school students would learn how to handle a range of guns — from handguns to rifles — as an elective class under a state Assembly bill introduced last week. 

Rep. Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin) is the lead sponsor of the bill, which would allow schools to offer on-site gun education classes. Its purpose is to promote gun safety and to boost participation in trap shooting, he said.

The bill would not change a current law that prohibits live ammunition and its use on school property.

The bill would not require schools to offer a class. If they did, students would not have to take it. However, the bill would require school superintendents to develop curricula.

2.2 Mile Shot

Wow.

“The Canadian Special Operations Command can confirm that a member of the Joint Task Force 2 successfully hit a target from 3,540 meters. For operational security reasons and to preserve the safety of our personnel and our Coalition partners, we will not discuss precise details on when and how this incident took place,” the unit said in a written statement.
Due to the distance of the shot, some voices in the military community expressed skepticism at the Canadian government’s report. The reported shot from 3,540 meters, or about 2.2 miles, would eclipse the previous sniper world record of 2,474 meters or 1.54 miles set by the United Kingdom’s Craig Harrison when he killed two Taliban insurgents in November 2009.
The Globe and Mail first reported the shot’s success and said it disrupted an ISIS attack on Iraqi forces, citing unnamed sources.
“The elite sniper was using a McMillan TAC-50 sniper rifle while firing from a high-rise during an operation that took place within the last month in Iraq. It took under 10 seconds to hit the target,” the paper said.
The Canadian military unit confirmed the distance of shot shortly after the Globe and Mail story was published, but the shot has yet to be formally confirmed a third party agency.

Committee Considers Civil Rights Bill

Pass it!

Any person living or traveling in Wisconsin could carry a concealed weapon without a license under a bill Republican lawmakers on Wednesday urged a legislative committee to advance.

The bill, authored by Rep. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, and Sen. David Craig, R-Big Bend, also would eliminate current state-mandated training to carry hidden weapons and allow Wisconsin residents with a license to carry a concealed weapon to bring firearms into schools unless school officials post signs prohibiting them.

The bill repeals the state’s gun-free school zone law and reduces the penalties for violating school rules banning guns from a felony offense to a misdemeanor or fine.

Craig and Felzkowski told the committee before a packed hearing expected to last hours that the legislation strengthens Wisconsin residents’ constitutional right to keep firearms especially for self-defense. Felzkowski emphasized an important aspect of the bill would allow law-abiding citizens who can carry weapons openly to now “throw a sweater on.”

“Right now I can go to Gander Mountain and buy (a handgun) and strap it to my hip — what I cannot legally do is throw a sweater on,” Felzkowski said. “That’s what we change.”

First, this is a pure civil rights issue. Keeping and bearing arms is one of the civil rights actually guaranteed by both our state and federal constitutions. There is no rational argument to continue allowing government to curtail that right in this manner.

Second, this is a practical matter to clean up the state law where it conflicts with federal law – and with other state laws, for that matter.

I’m sure this hearing will go on for far too long and the same old tired arguments that were trotted out against concealed carry will be flogged again. All of those arguments have been discredited by reality. And there are already 14 other states that already have a form of Constitutional Carry. Wisconsin is hardly being a pioneer in this regard. Let’s get this done.

NRA Moves Heavy Into Insurance

This has huge implications for West Bend’s own Delta Defense, which has been selling insurance to concealed carry holders for years and just built a new headquarters.

Enter the National Rifle Association. Stories like Balistreri’s have motivated some gun owners to purchase insurance policies that could cushion their financial burden in the event that they shoot someone. Such policies have been available for years, but last month the NRA announced a new insurance product, Carry Guard, which they marketed to their millions of members online and at their annual meeting in Atlanta. The idea of firearms liability insurance has been previously championed by gun safety advocates on the left, who envisioned insurance as an instrument of public safety that could encourage safer guns and safer behavior. As implemented by the NRA, though, firearms liability insurance has a different function—to insulate gun owners from the expense and other possible consequences of a shooting.

“We live in a litigious society,” explains Josh Powell, chief of staff and executive director of general operations for the NRA. “The bad guys come to your house and you gotta use your gun and then you end up paying a hundred thousand dollars to protect yourself.”

Powell explains that Carry Guard was created to accommodate the needs of a changing culture in the U.S., where more people carry concealed weapons. “There’s just been this incredible carry revolution that’s taken place over the past eight years, and you know, the NRA started it. We started this in Florida 35 or 36 years ago, passing the first concealed carry bill. And so this is really a response to that movement and our members saying ‘Hey, we need you guys to be the gold standard for training, liability insurance— everything concealed carry.’”

With similar language, the marketing campaign for Carry Guard emphasizes the “two pronged program” that offers “America’s most comprehensive coverage and training for those who carry a gun.” The campaign features a studio portrait of NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch, staring down the camera with glinting eyes, holding up her Carry Guard insurance card like an officer flashing a badge. “I will never carry a gun without carrying this,” the adjacent text proclaims. In an article for the NRA publication America’s First Freedom, Loesch recounts her memories raising young children in crime-ridden St. Louis. She says her neighbors were grateful that she always carried a gun while supervising the children outside, and often inquired about how they could also legally carry and join her in “standing watch” over the neighborhood. “If only NRA Carry Guard existed back then,” Loesch laments. “There was no one-stop training option I could recommend.” Moreover, “Without proper coverage, my neighbors risked very real financial and legal consequences if they were ever forced to the pull the trigger in self-defense, even if they did everything right.”

Florida Concealed Carry List Hacked

This is why allowing our government to keep lists of what we do and what we own is a bad idea.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam assured concealed weapons permit holders Tuesday they have nothing to fear from alien hackers. The names of some 16,000 concealed weapon permit holders were revealed when the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ computer network was hacked earlier this month.

Some 469 individuals who did some form of e-business with the department had their names and social security numbers stolen. Those individuals have been notified and are being offered a year of free credit protection from the state.

Putnam said the attack came from outside the United States and he has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to assist in the investigation.