Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Wake Up Call for Second Amendment Activists

This post is a wake up call for the second amendment activists in the state of New Jersey. You are doing it wrong. All your indignation at your rights being denied. Nobody cares. All your examples of successful self defense in other states - after all, if there were no guns, both criminal and victim would be fine.

All your rants about corrupt government not listening to "the voice of the people." You have it all wrong.

I discovered that when I visited my mother and was glancing through the local newsletter of her senior community. I came across this:

Think about it. This group, not associated with guns in any way, manages to get 387 signatures on a petition to expand background checks, ban assault weapons, and limit magazines. How many signatures can you get to fix background checks, remove the assault weapons ban and allow standard capacity magazines? How many people don't even want to talk to you because you are "those gun people?"

Your liberal representatives aren't ignoring "the voice of the people" - they are listening. When you have the same 50 names over and over protesting each new gun law, there are thousands coming in to preserve or tighten NJ gun laws. You can show up at hearings all you want, but nobody cares when there are piles of people happy with the laws they are enacting.

You've lost every legislative battle head to head. You fizzled out on the Sweeney campaign. You are getting nowhere with the public on right to carry. Maybe it's time to look at what works instead of beating your head against the same wall. Here's a modest proposal.

1) No gun groups - you have no credibility trying to get Joe and Jane NJ to sign any petition that says NRA, NJ2AS, NJ2AR, ANJRPC, You-name-it-RPC, CNJFO or anything associated with "gun". Stick with things like "Citizens for a safer New Jersey" or the mysterious "Justifiable Need."

2) No guns - almost everyone knows at least one person who should not have access to a firearm. Most people know someone who has committed or attempted suicide. Suggesting that we need more guns or more access to guns or better guns, etc. does not work for these people.

3) No violence - don't make the issue "my rights" or even "self defense." Make the issue "justice" and "safety - things people can all agree they want.

4) Lie - look at the notice above. "This survey was conducted because of the markedly increased gun violence occurring in the United States." That's a bald-faced lie, with gun violence at an all time low in the United States. And yet, it was what people wanted to hear, and what they believe. Pick something that's subjective, and not easily quantifiable or verifiable and run with it.

5) Get sympathy. The only gun issues that the public has supported you on were the case of Shaneen Allen and Brian Fletcher. Why? Not because they cared about them having gun rights, but because they were "unjustly" imprisoned. Nobody wants to see children go without a parent, even if they don't like that the parent had a gun. And in each case, it seemed that the gun was needed (Allen because she had been mugged, Fletcher because he worked nights in dangerous neighborhoods).

So here's my modest proposal. If you want an issue that will actually get you traction (and signatures), how about presenting all the cases of people "wrongly persecuted" for guns, like Allen, Fletcher, Brian Aitken, Gordon Van Gilder, etc. and using them (and the thousands of cases like theirs) to push for a bill to add the words "for the commission of a violent crime" to every New Jersey gun restriction.

Think about it - nobody wants to see good people in jail for no good reason. Nobody wants to spend millions in taxpayer money arresting, prosecuting, and housing and feeding these people. Nobody want to see families and careers destroyed when no crime was ever intended or committed. Furthermore, not even the leftiest leftie can claim that this weakens laws to prosecute criminals in the slightest.

So find a legislator who will introduce the bill if you get support. Then get the support. Go hit the streets, run media campaigns, do all the things you need to do to get the signatures. This is actually something that will succeed because it is 100% non-controversial.

Or you can sit on your butts and whine about how you want to leave New Jersey because you can't have any rights. Up to you.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando Blame

First off, please join me in prayer for the victims, and the perpetrator...
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord. Let Your perpetual light shine upon them.
May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
...and for all those who reject God's love, that they may find Him
Lord Jesus Christ, most merciful Savior of the world, we humbly beseech You, by Your most Sacred Heart, that all the sheep who stray out of Your fold may in one days be converted to You, the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls, who lives and reigns with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end.
...and for those affected by this tragedy
Heavenly father, we come before you today in need of hope.
Hope for a better future, hope for a better life, hope for love and kindness.
We need your light, Lord, in every way. To bask in your glory.
To know that all is right in the world, as you have planned, and as you want it to be.
Help us to walk in your light, and live our lives in faith and glory.
In your name we pray,
Now onto the subject at hand, the blame game. Liberals were quick to blame the NRA for what happened. However, it's hard to see that the NRA had anything to do with it. The NRA actually worked hard to give this country a background check process for gun purchases. That this failed in this case is not their fault. The murderer not only passed FBI background checks for buying a firearm, but passed background checks to work for a DHS contractor. You can say the system failed, but truly there is no way for a background check to predict who will do something if they haven't done anything in their past.

The ACLU is blaming Christians, but it's hard to see that Christians had anything to do with it. No Christian group has called for violence against gays, not even the Westboro Baptist Church. The only religious group that calls for violence against gays is Islam. So I guess in a way you could blame religion, but you can't blame Christians.

In my view, one hundred percent of the blame belongs to the murderer. Yes, you can also blame the Islamic fundamental ideology that encouraged him, but that ideology has not moved me to violence against gays, nor will it ever. The murderer chose to follow it.

So, was there anything that could be done to stop it from happening? The FBI says they couldn't have done anything differently, and I agree. The system did what it was supposed to do - it is foolish to believe that any such system will stop every act of violence unless we take away all human rights and live in a police state (oh wait, that's been done and it didn't work then).

The nightclub, on the other hand, could have done something differently, which would have stopped, or at least minimized, the violence. Florida is a "gun friendly" state, yet nobody in the nightclub fought back. Why? Because the nightclub was a "no guns" zone. I am not against a private business having a "no guns" policy, and in a place where alcohol is served and people are likely to be in conflict it might be a good policy to have.

However, if you are going to deny people their natural right to protect themselves, it is really your responsibility to provide protection for them. If the club had armed guards on the premises (presumably in plain clothes) the body count might have been much smaller (or maybe zero, if the murderer knew he would meet armed resistance and didn't carry out his plan at all).

If you are a business owner with a "no guns" policy, you should consider your moral (and perhaps legal) responsibility to protect the people in your establishment.

[N.B. The state of Florida does allow guns in an establishment which serves alcohol, just not in the bar area proper. So the gun ban was the business owner's decision.]

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Gun Buybacks

The other day at work I looked out the window to see a bus (not the one pictured) parked in the middle of the park across the street. It sat there all day. It turned out to be a police bus, running a gun buyback program.

If you're unfamiliar with the concept, the idea is to "get guns off the streets" by buying them and destroying them. The implementation, however, is a ludicrous waste of taxpayer dollars. First off, the taxpayer pays an average of $135 per weapon. Secondly, there is the cost of paying a bus full of police to sit around all day, every day. The gun buyback programs (at least around here) involve a police bus sitting for a month, in different locations.

Let's go over some of the problems.

Private property is taken without fair market compensation to the owner. If the gun is legally owned, the owner could have sold it to a federally licensed firearm dealer, usually for far more money than the police pay. For instance, the police will pay $150 for a revolver, which might bring $300-$1000 or more at a dealer.

The gun buyback programs con the public. They do not tell the gun owners that they can dispose of unwanted guns in legal ways that would make them more money. They do not tell them that if they have a gun that needs to be secured, they can do so for free through the National Shooting Sports Foundation's Child Safe program.

Gun buyback programs are an excellent way for criminals to have the police dispose of evidence for them. By bringing a crime gun to a gun buyback program, the criminal is immune from prosecution, and the police legally cannot use the weapon as evidence. What a win for criminals!

Gun buybacks are illegal in many states (including New Jersey), yet the state not only fails to prosecute, but encourages them.

They encourage other crimes. For instance, one news story includes a woman who brought in her ex husband's firearms because she didn't want him to have guns. So we have a man whose legally owned property was stolen with approval and assistance form police (I'm fairly sure he didn't even receive the money the ex wife received from the police).

The guns destroyed are often family heirlooms, of personal or historic value.

They are ineffective at reducing violent crime. Let's face it, if you're someone who's interested in using a gun criminally, why would you turn it in (unless you already used it and want the evidence gone). Instead the guns turned in are ones which would never be used in a crime anyway (which, truth be told, is the mast majority of guns anyway).

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