Category Archives: Firearms

Government Schools Use Kids for Political Activism

Today we are going to see our government schools encourage and facilitate the use of our children to agitate in support of a political issue. It is an abhorrent abuse of power.

Students across the country and around the world are expected to take part in a National School Walkout today in a call on Congress to pass tighter gun control laws.

The ENOUGH National School Walkout will be held this morning — exactly one month after the mass shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people and sent shock waves across the nation.

“the elephant in the room is semi-automatic guns”

Here is a letter to the editor about me in the Washington County Daily News. It’s a good reminder that when folks like me worry about the liberals wanting to go after our guns, those worries are not unfounded. So much ignorance…

Change the law on semi-automatic guns

I disagree with Owen Robinson’s Feb. 27 article, “Defending Our Kids.” He appears to be OK with the public purchasing semi-automatic rifles. I’ve learned through others that this is what AR15 type guns are called. Sandy Hook happened (20 children killed in 2012) and we did nothing other than decide, by default, that killing children was bearable. Six years later, 14 kids killed and … well, we’ll see what gets done.

Owen said “preserve the footings of individual liberty” and in his summary said “the violence only stops when met with equal force.”

I am just asking for a change. Change the law to put semi-automatic weapons in the same folder as automatic weapons. In 1986, a line in the sand was drawn and fully automatic machine guns were no longer for sale. Recorded Vote 74 was the Hughes Amendment which called for the banning of machine guns. The bill was passed and signed May 19, 1986, by President Ronald Reagan to become Public Law 99-308, the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act. Upon Reagan’s signature, the sale of new machine guns to or between civilians was banned.

However, you can, even today, still buy a machine gun legally along with other, even more destructive weapons.

Also on the books, on page 54 of Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s 2008 majority opinion, D.C vs. Heller he wrote, “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” Mental illness, government buildings, school, felons, etc. are existing exceptions.

I know there are several contributing factors to this issue but the elephant in the room is semi-automatic guns. Pareto analysis says work on the biggest issue first. Don’t ignore the others, just focus on the thing that will effect the most change, the quickest.

Bruce Wilk West Bend

For the record: yes, I am OK with the public buying semi-automatic firearms.

West Bend Columnist Takes Shot at Local Business

There’s a lot of hate in this man.

The NRA is not the only outfit promoting the absolute, god-given right to own and use firearms wherever and whenever we want. We have our own local Delta Defense proudly flying the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag joining that chorus.

For those who missed the Delta Defense signs all over West Bend as it sponsors events and charities to purchase some aura of respectability, the company provides the base for a number of connected entities promoting armed concealed carry and self defense, trading on fear and based on the idea that we need to be ready at a moment’s notice to use deadly force against those who might do us harm.

Tim Schmidt and his wife, Tonnie, who was elected to the West Bend school board last year, founded Delta Defense in 2003. They first opened in Jackson. Then, they purchased the former Museum of Wisconsin Art building across from the West Bend Library, bailing out the museum’s construction loan with a grant from local economic development funds. Next, they got more help from the city to build their new headquarters on the hill behind Boston Store. West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow, a proud “Three Percenter,” Second Amendment absolutist and staunch supporter helped engineer city support.

I’ll go on record in saying that Delta Defense has been a fantastic addition to West Bend and is a marvelous corporate citizen. They have expanded, provided jobs, and as Finke so disdainfully admits, has been a tireless contributor to dozens of local charities and community organizations. Delta Defense is the kind of company that people say they want a company to be.

I would also add that Finke is one of the local driving forces behind organizing the anti-gun protest that the students will be having next week. The same protest that the local school district decided to facilitate.

Firearm-related Crimes Are Way Down

So let’s ban guns?

“Firearm-related homicides dropped from 18,253 homicides in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011,” according to a report by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, “and nonfatal firearm crimes dropped from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 in 2011.

There were seven gun homicides per 100,000 people in 1993, the Pew Research Center study says, which dropped to 3.6 gun deaths in 2010. The study relied in part on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49 percent lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew,” according to the Pew study. “The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75 percent lower in 2011 than in 1993.”

All of that is good news — but many Americans don’t seem to be aware of it. In a survey, the Pew Research Center found that only 12 percent of Americans believe the gun crime rate is lower today than it was in 1993; 56 percent believe it’s higher.

In an effort to explain that finding, the Pew researchers noted that while mass shootings are rare, they capture public interest and are often viewed as touchstone events that help define they year in which the crimes occur. As examples, they cite three shootings in the past two years, in Tucson, Ariz.; Aurora, Colo.; and in Newtown, Conn.

The U.S. gun crime rate peaked in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Pew study says, ending years of growth in gun violence that began in the 1960s. But the rate of suicides committed using a firearm hasn’t fallen as fast, they add, noting that 6 out of every 10 gun deaths in America stems from suicide.

To me, the more important number is the number of fire-arm related assaults – not murders. Sometimes the difference between an assault and a murder is the quality and access to quality emergency care and/or the bad guy’s aim.

Impact of Assault Weapon Ban of 1994

Makes sense.

So, did the previous “assault weapons” ban work?

It turns out that various independent studies came to the same conclusion: the ban had no measurable impact on the number of shootings or the number of shooting deaths while it was in effect.

A 2005 report from the National Research Council, for example, noted that “A recent evaluation of the short-term effects of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban did not reveal any clear impacts on gun violence outcomes.”

A 2004 study sponsored by the National Institute of Justice found that while the ban appeared to have reduced the number of crimes committed with “assault weapons,” any benefits were “likely to have been outweighed by steady or rising use of non-banned semiautomatics.

As a result, the Justice study found “there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury.”

The main reason the failure of the ban to make a difference: “assault weapons” account for a tiny share of gun crimes — less than 6%. Even among mass shootings, most didn’t involve an “assault weapon” in the decade before the ban went into effect.

Sasse Responds to President’s Anti-2nd Amendment Blatherings

Boom.

“Strong leaders don’t automatically agree with the last thing that was said to them. We have the Second Amendment and due process of law for a reason,” Ben Sasse, a Republican senator from Nebraska, said in a statement. “We’re not ditching any Constitutional protections simply because the last person the President talked to today doesn’t like them.”

Speaker Ryan Talks Sense on Push for Gun Control

Amen, Speaker Ryan.

House GOP leaders downplayed the need for Congress to pass expansive new gun control measures on Tuesday, instead turning their ire on the FBI and local law enforcement for failing to prevent the Parkland, Fla. school shooting.

Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters at a press conference that “we shouldn’t be banning guns for law-abiding citizens” but “focusing on making sure that citizens who shouldn’t get guns in the first place, don’t get those guns.” Ryan — who said arming teachers was a “good idea” but a local issue that Congress should not infringe upon — touted a House-passed bill to reinforce background checks under current law.

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.