Sunday, February 28, 2010

Why the Idea of Control Control is Nonsense

Gun control defined: The theory that people who are willing to ignore laws against rape, torture, kidnapping, theft, and murder will obey a law which prohibits them from owning a firearm. - Unknown

UOC Event at Presidio - First Open Carry Event in a California National Park?

As reported at, a group of open carry advocates openly carried their firearms, and picked up trash, at Baker Beach in San Francisco.

A total of 21 people attended the event, with 12 open carrying their firearms.  Eleven bags of trash were collected and hauled out by the attendees.  U.S. Park Service rangers checked on the unloaded status of the attended firearms, as allowed by state law, without incident.

The Three Stupidest Gun Owners Ever

In this video clip posted on YouTube, you actually see a live body armor test, in which one person shoots a living test dummy, who is wearing body armor, with a semi-automatic pistol. After taking off the armor, a small round wound and a trickle of blood can be seen on the targets chest.  The test dummy also coughs a couple of times afterward.

Did the test dummy just get shot through the lung?  Unknown, because the video is too short to determine the extent of the wound, and a lung shot is not immediately incapacitating.  Are these three young men the stupidest gun owners ever? Oh, yeah!

How many of the Four Rules of gun safety have these guys violated?  Here they are for reference:
  1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.
  4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.3

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Open Carry Blowback - Contra Costa Times

The Contra Costa Times weighs into the debate over open carry in California in this editorial published today.  It is predictably negative, strongly disapproving of the practice, but it does correctly describe the legality of the practice, and the fact that these events are political activism, not macho posturing.

Nevertheless, the editorial warns its readers that the open carry events are fraught with risks, and that guns openly carried might cause shootings to occur, especially in this passage:
We can envision a circumstance where a teen comes into a coffee shop and runs out with the tip jar and the good citizen carrying a weapon decides to load up and pursue the youth. That has bad ending written all over it.
I really do not believe that open carry advocates attending these events think of themselves as any type of a police officer, nor do I think that they are ignorant of the law governing the use of force.  This is the Times stirring up more FUD, fear, uncertainty, and doubt, in its anti-gun readers.

That said, open carriers beware!  Anti-gun advocates are being inspired by your events to begin pushing back.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Not untrained, and not unlicensed. Stop spreading FUD.

The Marin Independent Journal spreads more FUD about the new weapons policy in National Parks in this article.

Halfway through the article one reads the following quote:

Allowing untrained and unlicensed people carrying guns in national parks is an invitation to disaster," said John Waterman, president of the U.S. Park Rangers Lodge.
Even though prior to that idiotic statement the article correctly states how the new law would apply in California:
Now under the new rule visitors can legally carry a loaded gun into a park or wildlife refuge - but only if the person has a permit for a concealed weapon and if the state where the park or refuge is located also allows concealed firearms. California allows concealed weapons.
 So, people who can legally carry weapons into the parks will NOT be unlicensed, and they will NOT be untrained, because CCW licenses have a training requirement.  One would think that Mr. Waterman, president of a park rangers organization, would be more informed than he seems to be.

In actuality, the new policy changes almost nothing in California.  CCW issuance is very limited.  Take a look at the CCW permit issuance statistics released by the California Department of Justice.  In 2007 there were only 40296 permits in the entire state (population in 2008: 33.8 million), and since California does not recognize any other state's concealed carry permits, non-resident visitors to national parks in California are not able to carry their firearms legally in California national parks.

The sky is not falling, the new law affects almost nobody.

New York Times Notices California Open Carry Events

We finally hear from the liberal voice, the New York Times, about recent open carry events in northern California in this editorial.  While I do not make a habit of deconstructing articles bashing gun-rights advocates,  I think that this article was especially egregious.

It starts off with the very first sentence:

It looked like a casting call for a Sam Pekinpah shoot-’em-up: 100 or so gun enthusiasts showed up at the Buckhorn Grill in Walnut Creek, Calif., this month with revolvers strapped on their hips.
Why is it that anti-gun people invoke the cowboy image when describing open carriers, or gun owners in general, if it is not to imply childishness and immaturity, and thus to dismiss the entire position of the gun-rights advocate?  The cowboy image is further embellished by the use of the word "revolvers", when photographs of the event clearly show most people carried semi-automatic pistols.  Invoking Sam Peckinpah's name implies that there is also a potential for the violence he portrayed in his films to become real violence at these events.

The editorial explains that this activity is, unfortunately, legal, and mourns that fact:
Unfortunately, more than two dozen states also have allowed themselves to be bullied by the gun lobby into adopting similarly dangerous law.
"gun lobby", a code phrase for the National Rifle Association, is blamed for all the terribly lax gun laws in states outside of New York, as if no real person would ever vote in favor of such an insane practice.  The truth is less appealing to the Times, because open carry laws are often decades old, and have usually been approved by the majority of voters or state legislators without the influence of the N.R.A.  A great many people in this nation believe in armed self-defense.

But all is not lost, the Times opines, because two restaurant chains have banned the open carriers:
The good news from California is that more businesses are summoning the courage to say no thanks and no entry to the flaunters. 
Right.  These people are not carrying firearms, they are not responsible adults.  They are "flaunters".  Further, one restaurant chain, Starbucks, refuses to take the common sense approach and banish open carriers as well:

Should customers be free to sip Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Lattes at their laptop screens while brandishing a gleaming Ruger .357? So far, Starbucks executives say yes, claiming they are quite safety-minded within a policy that “supports the federal, state and local laws in the communities in which we do business.”
So, open carriers not only "flaunt" their firearms, they also "brandish" their firearms,  Never mind the fact that unholstering and actually brandishing a firearm is a crime in California, one that not one open carrier at any of the several events held recently has been accused of, once again a open carriers are portrayed as irresponsible cowboys.

But the editorial does not mention one important FACT about open carry events in California, omission of which accentuates the menace that the idea of 100 armed people in a family restaurant must inspire in New Yorker's minds: not one firearm carried at these events was loaded, because loaded firearms are illegal to carry in public places without a concealed carry permit.  Further, the organizers of the event coordinated with the Walnut Creek police department to have an officer present to verify that all firearm were indeed unloaded as required by law.

Either the New York Times was ignorant of these facts, which I can scarcely credit given the publicity these events have received, or it is selectively omitting inconvenient facts in order to heighten the alarm of "right minded" citizens.

I'll leave it for you to decide which.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Brady Campaign Scorecard Out - California 79, Utah 0

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is making a lot of news today after releasing updated state scorecards rating each states gun laws.  California makes the top spot with a score of 79, while Utah comes in dead last with a score of 0.

Reaction around the 'net has been swift and varied.  A blogger from Arizona lamenting that states low score of 2 quotes Paul Helmke:
"Since Arizona does not require Brady criminal background checks on all firearm sales, including those at gun shows, gun traffickers don't need to leave the state to funnel illegal guns to felons and gang members," says Paul Helmke, Brady Campaign president. "Arizona officials have done nothing in the past year to stop the flow of illegal guns within the state, including closing the loophole that allows dangerous people to walk into gun shows and buy guns without background checks."
 Aw, yes! The dreaded gun show loophole!  Well California has had that hole closed for a very long time indeed. But does anyone actually think that California criminals need to go out of state to get their guns, or that criminals cannot obtain a gun if they want one? Lovelle Mixon did not seem to have much trouble, and four Oakland PD officers were killed by him as a result.

After seeing the effects of our strict gun laws versus Utah's lax gun laws I am beginning to think that if California scrapped most of our gun laws our violent crime and homicide rates would not change much.  After all what do we have to show for our strict gun laws?  A lower homicide rate than Utah?

UPDATE 19 Feb. 2010: corrected typos and language in the original post. Also, take a look at David Hardy's post on the Brady Campaign Scorecards at Of Arms and the Law.  Follow the links to the stories he linked to.  They are worth reading.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Comments on Open Carry

SFGate published this article about the Buckhorn Grill prohibiting open carrying of unloaded firearms in their restaurants. The article is not remarkable, being pretty much a rehash of all of the other articles about the same event that have been published by Bay Area newspapers this week.  But reading the comments posted by readers can sometimes be a barometer of their views on the issue.

Do Bay Area citizens support the goal of the Open Carry Movement to reform California laws to allow carrying of loaded weapons in urban and suburban area, either openly or concealed?  Or do they want the open carry activists to just go away.  Here are the two most highly rated comments to that article:

Posted by: no1thing
Believe it or not, most people do not want to be surrounded by guns. The open-carry crowd seems intent on making scenes and making people uncomfortable.
This comment was rated at +348, -67 at the time I read the article.  Note that this comment contains none of the condescending liberal jibes that so many of the other highly rated posts have, but it has the highest positive rating of any comment.

Contrast that comment with the following one, which is typical of comments posted all over the Web by gun-rights advocates:

Posted by: obamacommie
So now the only people carrying guns into their business will be criminals. The same people carrying guns to rob the place and perhaps just be intent on murder. Whereas the gun carry crowd legally purchased, carry and advocate their beliefs; spend $1300 to help a small business and get kicked out.
This post is rated at +124, -386, the highest negative rating of any comment posted for this article.  This post would be considered a rational exposition of the gun-rights view of the open carry issue, but the general public, judging by the rating, is simply not buying the argument.

I think that there is a political message here that the Open Carry movement needs to understand: regions of this state that have votes and political influence do not want armed people in public.  One hundred people open carrying unloaded handguns in public alarms them, and if the Open Carry movement continues to generate high profile news coverage, it will be only a matter of time before some favor-currying politician in Sacramento (DeLeon, or  Lowenthal)  decides to cash in on the publicity windfall by writing legislation that will outlaw open carry of any weapon.  Indeed, they just might go further and abolish the California CCW permit system as well.  We all know that every urban police chief and sheriff would support that bill.

So, I ask the Open Carry movement:  Could you please tone it down?  We are at a critical juncture in the nation for gun rights: oral arguments for McDonald v. Chicago are set for March 2, and I have every expectation that the SCOTUS will strike down the Chicago gun ban.  Many high profile cases in California are currently waiting for that decision to determine how those cases will be decided, cases that challenge the capricious CCW system and ever more restrictive DOJ Roster of Handguns.  Lastly, guns are so unpopular in the urban areas of this state that I don't think that there is ANY chance of a legislative solution to the awful CCW issuance practices in the state.  Relief will only come through the courts, so these open carry events are NOT helping, and may end up hurting all gun owners in California.

Bay Area Open Carry - Group Inspires Another Ban

Bay Area Open Carry held another open carry event last week at the Buckhorn Grill in Walnut Creek.  Reports of up to 100 people attended the event, open carrying unloaded pistols in order to protest California law preventing loaded open carry, and the capricious nature of the states "may issue" CCW permit law.

But if the purpose of these events is to win over California residents to support a loosening of firearms laws, it would seem that these tactics are having the opposite effect.  How long will it take for someone alarmed by the sight of dozens of people carry firearms in a restaurant to contact their state representative and ask for a law repealing open carry of any sort?  Our state legislature has proved over and over again that it really does not like guns, or gun rights.  AB 962 was passed and signed into law late last year.

I am waiting for news of the pending legislation.