Friday, February 22, 2013

Thirty-four and counting...


Personally, I think it would be interesting if FFL's stopped processing certain transactions as well, i.e. LE-exempt transactions.  That would add a little more sting to the effort.  I don't see an Equal Protection issue, not a Federal Civil Rights Act issue.  There might be something buried in ATF regulations, or maybe in various state statutes (CA may have one) about having to process certain types of transactions, so more research would be required.

That would either 1) dry up the supply to LE (slightly) or 2) force LE to engage in certain questional transfers (illegal ones, I mean). 

If we're going to do this, it should be all-in.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Brain Dump

What's wrong with "May Issue" (i.e. California) permit systems.  They let the Sheriff play favorites.  That doesn't sound conducive to exercising the right of lawful self-defense, does it?

Kachalsky may be going up to SCOTUS.  Petition for cert. filed, amici briefs coming in.  HT Dave Hardy for the list.

Compare Kachalsky with Madigan.  The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Posner writing, smacks down "No Issue" in Illinois.  Illinois AG Madigan has filed a petition of rehearing en banc.  Either way, we have a 7th/2nd Circuit split, so SCOTUS is likely to consider the question.  At least Scalia thinks so.  And I'm inclined to agree with him.  I predict this will refine the contours of the "most acute" language found in Heller, as applicable through MacDonald.  I also think we'll see something giving more guidance, if not an outright bright line, for necessary levels of scrutiny for different facets of the right. 

More gun companies (I think we're up to 7 now) are outright refusing sales to law enforcement in states with restrictive non-LE rules for ownership of firearms or parts.  This is good, and pressure should be brought on some of the bigger names, like Smith &Wesson and Ruger.  A quick way to make your voice heard is here (thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition). 

The Colorado house today passed a magazine capacity limit, along with some other dreck.  Magpul, presently located in CO, is threatening to pull out, taking their tax revenue and 600 jobs with them.  Good on Magpul. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Just and the Unjust

Excerpt of some comments I made on a Facebook posting last night.  I thought I'd share, as I'm always open to criticism.

A couple of thoughts. First, I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, both of the State and the Nation. And unlike many of my colleagues, I actually think the oath means something about circumstances much bigger and more important than just me.
More importantly we have to ask a semi-philosophical question. Does the Constitution enable only the passage of just laws, or does it enable the passage of any law, just or unjust?

I think the answer is self evident, but not easy. The Constitution is based upon Natural law and demands limited government, two preexisting concepts which depend upon protection and enforcement only through just laws. An unjust law by definition degrades a human being, a just law elevates and promotes the value of the person. An unjust law is anathema to Natural law, so the Constitution cannot contemplate a structure of unjust laws within its framework. To suggest otherwise implies a dysfunctional absurdity.

We have problems with the above argument when we examine the original text and its implicit support for slavery (i.e. the 3/5th's clause) and lack of universal suffrage (among other flaws). Slavery is perhaps the ultimate example of an unjust institution. At the founding, then, the document was internally flawed and suffered internal contradiction. However, the Founders admitted the document was imperfect and would be imperfect, and allowed for the Amendment process in order for future generations to correct those flaws. Men like Jefferson and Hamilton expected that in decades to come the document would ultimately be corrected, in essence pushed towards the notion of "more perfect" (though not absolutely ever perfect).

Lo' and behold that is precisely what happened some 89 or 90 years later, by way of a massive internal convulsion we call the Civil War. Some decades later we started on the path to correct issues with universal suffrage for women and other areas where Civil Rights needed to be addressed. So, with that understanding in mind, it then becomes consistent to say the Constitution is, in fact, a framework which contemplates only the passage of just laws. Anything unjust defaults to being unconstitutional.

So, then you have to ask if the current push for gun control amounts to unjust law imposing upon a preexisting Natural right. I think the question answers itself. There can be nothing elevating or just about restricting the right of a human being to defend herself, provide for her family, or lend his life and arms to the defense of his community. Some counter this with the supposed injustice of armed violence in our communities. To that I would answer that evil men are not just and they choose to operate outside the bounds of civil, rational society. The injustices committed by evil people are not to be remedied by exacting a price on those who abide by the just laws of society. At the same time exacting retribution on the good, then, is indeed a heresy against justice. The form of this heresy being unjust laws, no good member of civil society is bound to obey them.

Someone or something much bigger than me will ultimately judge my action or inaction. I simply know where I stand and what I will and will not do. If we must hang, let us all hang together.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gun law proposals WORSE than NY

Steinberg and all his California Senate cronies have really gone off the deep end.  They are, I think, intentionally trying to outdo New York & Cuomo.  My first thought on this was, literally, "holy.  shit."

Watch the press conference.

I realize it will make you want to rip your hair out, punch Steinberg in the face, or FedEx him a box of your dog's ripest 'presents'.  Can't say I'd blame you.

At this point, I'm going to wait and see what happens (in terms of introduced legislation).  NRA is working the halls in Sacramento, but that's not something to rely on.  I'll be upping my letter writing in the coming days and I hope others will too.

If bad things do come to pass, you're going to see some suggestions here that might offend your sensibilities.  If that happens, then your sensibilities are wrong.  Not sorry, either.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Marlin XL7 Review

Every gun manufacturer out there has been coming out with "workingman" rifles - affordable, but decently built rifles suitable for basic hunting needs, and with a little work, basic target needs.  The idea is to push away from the $800+ fancy-wood-and-polished-steel rifles that adorn many safes, and to move towards rifles that can sit in a gun rack all season, under the seat in a pickup truck, or ride along through mud, dust and rain on an ATV.  The idea being that they can take abuse and keep working, cosmetics be damned. 

Marlin's entry is the XL7 and the one I tested was a basic 30-06 model, selling for under $400 in most gun shops.  The rifle comes with a cable lock (trash), an installed 1 piece scope rail (decent), and an owner's manual.  I decided to test with the factory scope rail, the only change being that I added a bit more torque to the mounting screws.  The screws for this rail were slotted heads - not my favorite, and they were a bit loose.  I torqued them down to about 28 inch-pounds, and then set a Leupold VX-II on the base.  Some may question having such a scope on a $400 rifle.  Long story short, it was a handy spare and I'm sure the rifle would work just as well with a less expensive Redfield (also made by Leupold). 

Ammo was Wally World Remington Core-Lokt 150 grain 30-06 - a basic load with a pretty wide variation in bullet weights and powder charges, but again something you'd find on the way to your hunting destination.  At $20 a box it won't break the bank and you can find it anywhere. 

Range day was cool, no wind, somewhere in the low 50's, cloudy and shooting was done from a bench out to 100 yards.  The first order of business, however, was to boresight the rifle/scope combo so I'd be on paper.  I prefer optical boresighters, but I used the Mark I Eyeball.  In short, you put the rifle on sandbags, remove the bolt, peer down the bore from the breech end, and line up the center of the barrel with the center of your 100 yard target.  Keeping the rifle steady, look through the scope and see where the crosshairs are on the target.  Dial them in to be dead center on the target.  Re-verify that your target remained in the center of the bore and the crosshairs are still on target.  Done.  You won't be quite on the 'X' this way, but you will be on paper. 

The first 3 shots were grouped low and left, about 8" low, 4" left.  After a quick scope adjustment, the next 2 shots were in the X, and the 3rd just below in the 10 ring.  I suspect a small amount of vertical stringing, but that could be due to the shooter, the ammo or both. 

Perhaps the nicest feature of this rifle is the trigger.  It's similar to an Accu-Trigger, breaks at about 2 1/2 pounds and has a good reset.  I did notice that once the center lever is depressed, the trigger does have some notable creep, but it's not severe and the creep doesn't seem to stack or impede a decent break.  I have no idea what the lock time is (that's the time between trigger break and firing pin impact on the primer), but I have no reason to suspect it is out of line with most other production rifles. 

The bolt cycles nicely, though I did find ejection to be a little weak, compared with a Remington 700 action.  Finally, the only thing I didn't quite like was the plastic trigger guard. While this can be upgraded with another Marlin part, I suspect my dislike was more a matter of prejudice.  Plenty of plastics have stood the test of time in rough conditions, so this will likely hold up, too. 

Overall the XL7 is a nice rifle for the price.  It's capable of taking down most North American game, it's light, it's accurate and it will probably outlive it's owner if not unreasonably abused. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Are gun owners asking for a police state?

All this talk about armed guards in schools got me thinking. 

The problem with armed guards at (insert location here), is the possibility that the number and types of locations we choose to protect will increase.  Armed guards will become ubiquitous - the local Walgreens, the supermarket, more banks (they are scarce in banks around here, FWIW), Post Offices, theatres, Taco Bell, 7-11, and on and on. 

Eventually we will be living under the very police state most of us did not want in the first place.  And we will be living under it because we *asked* for it.  I think it is more or less irrelevant if the guards are sworn LE, retired LE, private security or even volunteer-and-trained LTC holders. 

Be careful what you ask for.  Me, I'm still on the side of better mental health services, better (not new, but more thorough) background checks via proper sharing of relevant criminal background and mental health information and 50-state "shall issue".

Outdated technology...

John Foley of Infoweek offers his thoughts on the technology needed to implement certain aspects of gun control as they pertain to data storage and sharing.

I suppose one concern is that the Feds already waste billions of dollars and government is notorious for getting technology wrong more often than right.  In that regard, I have little hope that the Feds can do even the basic things properly.

On the other hand, if Congress decides it wants to spend this kind of money on upgrades, there could be a benefit.  The idea has been tossed around for some time now that PKI can partially anonymize background checks for the purposes of avoiding de facto registries.  The idea is fascinating, and while it's not mine, I do have some insight into the technology that would be involved, as well as the legal and ethical issues that may arise. 

Imagine a background check that involves simply a "Proceed" or "Deny" response, the answer being hashed and encrypted by the NICS private key (digitally signed).  No data about the firearm or the seller is collected, and both the request and the signed response are wiped after 30 days.  The FFL (every FFL) has a copy of the NICS public key and can immediately verify the NICS-signed Proceed.  You drop a 4473 off with the FFL at the same time.  Background check is done, ATF has only FFL paper records to fall back on for traces (sorry guys, I don't want a gun registry) and the idiots on the left can shut up. 

Seems reasonable to me.