Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Smart Guns Are A Dumb Idea

This post is inspoired by this article:

I am amazed, in this age of product liability law, that any company is willing to sell this product. Take a look at this product from a different point of view. It is not that Armatix is promising that the gun is safe, rather, they are promising that the gun will ALWAYS fire if the owner needs the gun to fire, and they are also promising that the gun will never fire if the authorized owner is not holding the gun in proximity to the watch.

But we all know that electronic technology at consumer level prices is notoriously unreliable, or at least not reliable enough to make the claim that the gun WILL ALWAYS operate correctly. First, all electronics runs on batteries. Are the batteries rechargable? How long does a battery last? Does the gun notify you of a low battery condition? All electronics operate only within a certain temperature range. What is the allowed range for the gun? How does the electronics interact with the mechanics of the gun to prevent firing? Can this mechanical interlink be defeated, allowing the gun to be fired by anyone?

My guess is that the answer to my last question is "YES".

Hence, as I see it, this gun is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Perhaps this is real reason why we have not seen prototypes coming out from REAL gun companies like Smith & Wesson, Sturm & Ruger, or Colt. Perhaps they fear lawsuits marketing a product that truly is a solution in search of a problem.

I am not against this type of technology. But I am not going to pay a premium for a product that I believe would be cumbersome to use, unreliable, and is available only in .22LR, from a company that has no history of firearms design and manufacture. Check out their web site. They offer only one gun for sale, and they offer no literature that would help answer the questions I asked above. Sorry, no thanks.

If this technology is ever proven to work reliably, with electronic security that I can control (my own encryption keys and signature) and only adds about $50 to the price of the gun, then I might consider buying it. Afterall, cell phone lock technology is making cell phone theft a losing proposition. Perhaps the best result of this technology would be to make firearm theft a losing proposition as well. In terms of injuries due to accidental/negligent discharges I think gun safes and firearms safety training are cheaper and better solutions.

Now, as for laws mandating this technology, and eliminating legacy firearms? I'll fight them tooth and nail, but I fully expect this to be an added requirement to the DOJ Roster in California by our wise and benevolent legislators in Sacramento.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why Gun Control Can't Gain Traction

Simply put, there are more shooters every year, people who know the truth about guns, people who reject the false logic of the gun grabbers.  People like target shooters:

"It's also a sport with more participants than the population of Australia. In 2011, target shooters spent more money doing on their hobby than all 32 teams in the National Football League took in."
Let that sink in: target shooting, not all shooting sports, but just target shooting, is bigger than NFL Football in the United States.

That is why the gun grabbers are losing.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

One Reason Why I Prefer a 1911

When I was researching for my first handgun purchase, I seriously considered a Glock pistol, but I heard of too many incidents like this one:
"On the day of the shooting, Counceller's hands were not on the trigger, but his fleece jacket's drawstring found its way into his holster.
"When pulling up on that jacket, this thing comes up, basically hits the safety and fired," he said.
Based on the store video, an internal police investigation concluded that the jacket's drawstring "caused the weapon to fire.""
This is clearly an incident in which a trained and experienced individual was let down by the design of the gun.  I am sure that the Chief did everything correctly, but somehow failed to notice the drawstring inside the trigger guard.

I elected to get a 1911 in part because it has an external thumb safety on the left side of the slide.  While this requires one to train to make disengaging the safety  an automatic act during presentation, there is the added benefit of having a tactile indication of the state of the gun: safe or ready to fire.  One must also train to engage the safety when coming off-target.

Not to bash Glocks, but the trigger safety used on Glocks, S&W M&P pistols, and others, simply gave me the willies, and I elected to go with a different gun.

In Other Words: Keep the Booger Hook off The Bang Switch!

A very good article about firearms accidents on Real Clear Policy.  Here is the money quote:

"Not only are gun accidents rare to begin with, but when they happen, they overwhelmingly happen because people were not following the rules. Someone who's careful doesn't need to panic about the idea of having a gun in the house -- they just need to keep being careful."
Follow the four rules, and you  will be all right.  Also, never let children have unsupervised access to firearms.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Active Shooter Training Video

Here is an interesting active shooter training video, a collaborative product of the San Antonio PD and WOAI News 4. Note that among the advice given, is acknowledgement that armed citizens can be effective in stopping an active shooter. This is a concept that is to new to many  of us, but might be surprising, and unwelcome, to the anti-gun crowd.

Crimea: Here we Go Again

It is said that history does not repeat itself, but that is does rhyme.  We have been hearing a lot of rhyming this week from Russia attempting to justify its invasion of Ukraine.  In this article from Fox News we read:

"Putin has defied calls from the West to pull back his troops, insisting that Russia has a right to protect its interests and Russian-speakers in Crimea and elsewhere in Ukraine. However, there has been no sign of ethnic Russians facing attacks in Crimea or elsewhere in Ukraine."
This paragraph, especially the part about protecting "Russian-speakers" reminded me of another territorial dispute in Europe, from 76 years ago: the Sudetenland Crisis of 1938. During this episode, Adolf Hitler proclaimed himself the protector of German-speakers inside certain border regions of Czechoslovakia. Here is Hitlers demand

"I am asking neither that Germany be allowed to oppress three and a half million Frenchmen, nor am I asking that three and a half million Englishmen be placed at our mercy. Rather I am simply demanding that the oppression of three and a half million Germans in Czechoslovakia cease and that the inalienable right to self-determination take its place." - Adolf Hitler's speech at the NSDAP Congress 1938
 Of course, Hitler orchestrated the entire crisis in order to occupy the Sudetenland in order to gain territory at Czechoslovakia's expense. This indeed happened when the Western powers signed the Munich Agreement in which Great Britain and France pressured Czechoslovakia into accepting the loss of territory in order to avoid war. Make no mistake, Great Britain and France threw Czechoslovakia under the bus.

The similarities between Russia and Ukraine in 2014, and Germany and Czechoslovakia in 1938 are striking. I believe the goals are similar: grab territory from a weak neighbor supported by indecisive and irresolute partners, especially the United States. We should all keep out eyes open over the next few weeks for the bus trundling down the road, probably driven by President Obama, with Secretary Kerry acting as the conductor.

Consider also, that the main base for the Russian Black Sea Fleet was surrounded by the territory of a different sovereign nation, and we see a ready motive for Putins' aggression: he want to control the Crimea to protect and secure Sevastopol.  Russia intended to keep the Crimea. Further, Russia will attempt to grab and hold any other parts of Ukraine it can get. Barring enormous diplomatic pressure, I believe that these territorial changes will be permanent.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Another Win for Constitutional Rights

A Federal judge in Texas has ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage in that state to by unconstitutional. From the article:
“Regulation of marriage has traditionally been the province of the states and remains so today,” Garcia wrote in the 48-page ruling. “However, any state law involving marriage or any other protected interest must comply with the United States Constitution.”
AS with marriage, so to with firearms.  We live in good times to see the rights of the individual being broadened instead of limited. 

The ban is still in effect as the losing side is expected to appeal this ruling, so the judge granted a stay of his order overturning the law.  But this decision must increase the liklihood of the Supreme Court to weigh in on this issue.

A Journalist Sees Reason on Concealed Weapons

Michael Barone sees reason on the issue of concealed weapons in the United States in this article.  He makes an observation that I myself have made before: more guns has not lead to more crime:

"To the contrary, violent crime rates have declined drastically during the last quarter-century. I don’t think you can prove that concealed-weapons laws caused that result, but they have probably contributed to it, because would-be criminals are less likely to assault people they believe might be armed. In any case the argument that concealed-weapons laws would lead to more violent crime has been about as thoroughly refuted as an argument can be."
This is why those lamenting the recent 9th Circuit decision on the San Diego Sheriffs policy on CCW permit issuance are actually very much behind the times.  California should, and hopefully,  will join the rest of the nation with regards to concealed carry laws.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Good Two Weeks for Gun Rights

It has been a good couple of weeks in California for gun rights. On February 13th the United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit announced its opinion in Peruta v. Gore, which held that the San Diego County sheriff used an unconstitutionally narrow standard for the "good cause" requirement for issuance of CCW permits. So narrow in fact that it is impossible for an ordinary law-abiding person to obtain a license to carry.

This policy, combined with the state law totally outlawing open carry of firearms (thank you Assemblymembers Portantino and Ammiano!), constituted a total ban on the carry of firearms in public, a ban that the 9th CA found unconstitutional, noting in its opinion that citizens must be allowed to carry firearms in some manner.

The opinion is very well researched and logically argued, following the example set by the Supreme Court in the Heller and McDonald opinions. As such, it will be a powerful piece of case law in favor of gun rights, and it will be very difficult to overturn.

In further developments, the San Diego Country Sheriffs office announced on February 22nd that the county would not seek an en banc appeal of the 9th Ca decision. There is still a possibility that a judge in the 9th CA itself could request an en banc, in which case the process would continue. But at this time, the case is over, and the decision will stand across the entire 9th CA district, which includes California and Hawaii as states that generally restrict public carry of firearms.

Yesterday the San Jose Mercury News  weighed in on this issue with an editorial entitled "Highest court has to review gun rulings", (note that the online editorial title differs from the printed editorial title cited above) which is ironic since it appears on the same that that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) rejected all three 2nd Amendment cases that had petitioned for certiorari, continuing their trend in recent years of rejecting all 2nd Amendment cases that petition for review.

The Mercury News gets right to the point: armed law abiding citizens are "dangerous":

"If the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' recent ruling striking down restrictions on concealed-carry gun permits is allowed to stand, California will become a more dangerous place."

Yes, because the law-abiding citizen is the source of all gun violence in this state, and we don't already have hundreds of thousands of not so law-abiding already carrying guns illegally.

"Fortunately, the ruling is on hold pending appeal -- and the Supreme Court really needs to take up this case. "

Actually, the ruling is not on hold because there has been no appeal. Apparently the Mercury News does not read San Diego County Sheriffs press releases.

In any case I totally agree that the Supreme Court should take up the case because there is a circuit court split on this issue that is a mile wide, but it is unclear how this case would make it to the Supreme Court. Only the parties to the case have standing to appeal. Mr. Peruta, et al, have won their case, and San Diego County has declined to proceed. The only thing preventing a final decision enforcing the ruling all across the state is that the District Federal Court must receive that case on remand and issue the order striking the offending San Diego policy as directed by the Circuit Court. It seems that the Mercruy News does not understand how the Federal court system works.

The Mercury News wants the Supreme Court to rule to restore the status-quo in California, but what we really need is a strong ruling to knock down the laws in those states, like the 9th Circuit did in California. States like New York, New Jersey, and Maryland continue to use similar discretionary laws to deny the rights of law abiding citizens to carry firearms in public, while Washington D.C. prohibits the practice altogether.

"The deaths of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis in Florida show what happens when guns proliferate in public: People use them to resolve disputes when they could walk away. And people who don't properly handle weapons put us all in greater danger."

Ah, yes, raise the specter of white-on-black violence to cloud the issue. The Mercury News gets the essence of these cases wrong once again. The Martin case shows that citizens can safely use firearms in self defense: the facts of the case showed that Martin attacked Zimmerman, and Zimmerman used lawful means to defend himself. The Davis case shows that even in states that allow widespead concealed carry, all instances of firearms use will be investigated and must be justified. And the Mercury News ignores this fact: most young black males killed with guns are killed by other black males.

California will not become a lawless place just because more people are carrying concealed weapons, but Californians will have the means to protect themselves from the lawlessness of others in our society. How do I know this? Because that is what we learned from the experiences of the thirty nine states that issue licenses on a shall=issue basis over the last 25 years, and the experience of some 8 million lawful citizens.

"It's urban areas, including much of Santa Clara County, that face the greatest peril if the Supreme Court agrees with the 9th Circuit's decision. California's strict gun safety regime would be seriously undermined, and we would all have to grapple with the consequences."

I do agree that there will be consequences. Tens of thousands, perhaps as many as 1.5 million, people will be able to carry concealed in California, and the Mercury News and sheriffs departments all around the state are going to get a hard lesson on respecting the newest civil right. In the end, we will all be better off.