I Gazed Upon The Chimes Of Freedom Crashing

Back in the seventies and eighties – the nadir of gun rights in the US – the antis used to cite a statistic; “85% of Americans support gun control”.

It was misleading and out of context, of course; the question asked if people supported any form of gun control.  By that metric, “wanting to keep guns out of the hands of felons” is “supporting gun control”.

But the fact remained; a significant number of Americans, deluded by two decades of anti-gun propaganda in the media, had come not to appreciate their Second Amendment rights.

And that has changed.

According to Pew, a decisive majority of Americans oppose gun control.

Exactly two years after President Obama’s bid for gun control following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting died in Congress, a new poll has discovered a huge shift in public opinion to backing Second Amendment gun rights and away from controlling gun ownership.

The reason: Americans now believe having a gun is the best way to protect against crime, 63 percent to 30 percent.

Pew Research Center found that while support for gun control once reached 66 percent, it has dropped to 46 percent while support for gun rights has jumped 52 percent, the highest ever in the past 25 years.

Despite years of the media and educational/industrial complexes best efforts, and hundreds of millions in “progressive” plutocrat money, Americans have figured out what our self-appointed “elites” can’t seem to; more guns in the hands of the law-abiding equals less crime.

You know what’s the most glorious thing about this effort?  The whole thing, nationwide, is entirely grass roots.

Perhaps the GOP should outsource its messaging effort to the shooters.

Perfect Is The Enemy Of Good

I need to get in shape.  The best way to do this is to win the Olympic Decathlon – because those people are in the best shape in the world.  I’ve decided that if I’m going to do anything about my physical fitness, it’ll be “win the Olympic Decathlon”.

“But Mitch”, you may ask, “how do you plan on getting into that kind of shape?”

You’re not paying attention.  I said my goal is to “win the Olympic Decathlon”.  It’s not to “spend years training to be in the Olympic Decathlon”.  Training is not winning.  They’re completely different words.  If I win, by definition, I’ll be in amazing shape.

“But Mitch”, you may continue to hector me, “nobody, not even the most amazing athletes, competes at level without years of…”

And I’ll cut you off right there.  You’re clearly not listening.  I’ll win the Olympic Decathlon.  Then I’ll be in shape.  Any questions?

Jeez,  You people are such Real Athletes In Name Only (REANOs).

Much Ado About Ado:  We’ve written before about the entire group of organizations aligned with the “National Association of Gun Rights” (NAGR), including “Iowa Gun Owners” (IGO), and their Minnesota “cousins”, “Minnesota Gun Rights” (MGR).  I put “cousins” in scare quotes, because the groups are really one and the same; they’re both run by the Dorr Brothers out of Des Moines; occasionally, they don‘t even get all the “Iowa” references out of their Minnesota fundraising materials.  It’s gotten to the point that a bipartisan group of pro-Second-Amendment legislators – including some who supported MGR in the past – have come out against them for raising lots of money but not actually doing anything with it.   Their defenders note that they did drop some fliers and ran two – two! – radio ads supporting Roz Peterson in Burnsville; their detractors note that their lack of registrations with the state mean they were strictly limited in the amount of money they could spend – as in, $1,500 or so – and that the Peterson race was not decided on gun issues and, for that matter, nobody thinks their involvement made a stitch of difference in Peterson’s victory.

But that’s yesterday’s news.

This week, the Iowa Firearms Coalition fired a broadside at IGO for opposing an omnibus gun rights bill.

Give Me Everything I Want, Or Give Me Nothing I Need:  The omnibus bill covers a wide swathe of gun rights projects:  preventing the media from getting permittees’ personal information, removing the ban on parents teaching their kids to shoot, making permits attach to the person rather than the gun, allowing people whose permits are denied to seek reimbursement if the denial is overturned, and a slew of other things (that make me praise the wisdom of the crew that wrote Minnesota’s carry law.

And IGO is against it.   Instead, they are pushing – as they did two years ago – a “Constitutional Carry” bill”, similar to the laws in Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming and Vermont.

Nothing wrong with Constitutional Carry; it affirms that the Constitution grants us a right to keep and bear arms; no law-abiding citizen should have to ask, or pay, the state to exercise their rights.

Nobody disagrees.

But IGO is under the impression that any effort spent on “lesser” bills legitimizes state control over your right to keep and bear arms, and reduces the chance of winning full constitutional carry.  And so they’re fighting against Iowa’s Omnibus Gun Bill:

This same group actively lobbied against the Shall Issue concealed carry reforms we passed 5 years ago. If they had their way we’d still be holding out for a “perfect firearms bill” that never had a chance at passing. Had they been successful hundreds of thousands of Iowans would not be able enjoy the freedom to lawfully carry concealed weapons that we enjoy today. Instead of working to protect and enhance the Second Amendment rights of Iowans by any means possible, this group of gun owners would rather gamble everything on improbable, all or nothing, high stakes bills. This approach is almost always guaranteed to fail and their track record proves it. Not one single piece of pro-gun legislation they’ve sponsored has ever reached the Governor’s desk, let alone been signed into law.

Now they’re up to their same old tricks, working again in lock step with Bloomberg and Company, this time to kill Iowa’s Omnibus Gun Bill.

Long story short, IGO is helping the Bloomberg repress gun rights in Iowa.  And unless you live in Wyoming or Alaska, winning Constitutional Carry is going to be long, drawn-out process of winning hearts and minds, rather than my campaign to win the decathlon.

Problem is, they want to do the same thing in Minnesota.

“Incrementalism Is A Four Letter Word”:  Every gun rights group that matters has “Constitutional Carry” as a goal.  Some – the NRA – are exceedingly pragmatic about it.  Others – GOCRA – see it, correctly, as something that, like “Shall Issue”, is going to take years of lobbying, education and hard political work.  This includes teaching a legislature – which is is mostly pro-gun, even on the DFL side – the benefits of Constitutional Carry in a state that, in case you hadn’t noticed, isn’t much like Wyoming or Arizona.

But IGO, and it’s Minnesota cousin branch office MGR, take the tack that spending time and effort on anything “less” than Constitutional Carry not only legitimizes the gun control that exists, but makes it less likely we’ll ever get Constitutional Carry.

Both claims are absurd, of course; gun control was imposed piecemeal over decades as media and liberal propaganda affected voters’ attitudes about guns; undoing the attitudes will take time (although the process is well underway).   Does anyone think that the gun movement should have held off on filing the Heller and McDonald cases, and waited for the One Big Case To Throw All Gun Control Laws Out?  Does anyone think winning “shall issue” in Illinois makes it less likely that Illinois will ever further loosen their restrictions?

Magical Thinking:  NAGR is run by one Dudley Brown – who was highly involved in Ron Paul’s various campaigns for President.  The IGO/MGR’s Dorr Brothers are  linked to Ted Sorenson, an Iowa Ron Paul mover and shaker at the center of a scandal involving Michele Bachmann.   Some of MGR’s most prominent adherents in Minnesota were also heavily involved in the Ron Paul effort, and are still involved with “Liberty” groups.

Nothing wrong with that.

Except that too many “Liberty” groups believe that if you “stick to your principles” and think big thoughts and accept no compromise, freedom just happens.

I’m oversimplifying, of course.  Or perhaps I’m overcomplicating.  If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about many of the ranks of Ron Paul / “Liberty” supporters, it’s that they want to change the world in big ways, but they seem to eschew the idea of doing it through the political process, which they seem to deem too corrupt.

And so MGR, like its IGO home office, has gathered about it a lot of people who want big changes, and like to think and argue big thoughts about those changes…

…but can’t spell out a way to actually get the law changed so that their big ideas become actual policy.

I’ve tried.  Oh, Lord, I’ve tried. I’ve challenged MGR supporters; “You want Constitutional Carry or nothing? OK – in a state where the idea of “people carrying guns without permits” scares the crap out of at least half the voters, and whose votes count as much as yours do, how do you get to passing a law?”

The answers get more and more vague the more you press them, and always devolve back to one form of “magical thinking” or another.  *

At any rate; beware of people promising big results if you just belieeeeve.  And give.  Because in politics more than most parts of life, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

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At The Capitol

It’s been a big couple of days at the Minnesota State Capitol for Second Amendment supporters.

Yesterday, the House Public Safety Committee passed all or parts of four bills as part of the Public Safety Omnibus bill:

  • HF830 (Lucero), the Interstate Purchase bill (legalizing buying firearms from states that aren’t contiguous to Minnesota.  I bet you didn’t know that was illegal?)
  • HF372 (Nash), which would abolish the capitol felony trap (the requirement to notify the head of Capitol Security if you’re a permittee who’s carrying is obsolete and serves only to dangle the threat of a felony over otherwise law-abiding citizens)
  • HF722 (Newberger), perhaps the most important of all, the Katrina bill, barring state government from seizing firearms during a “state of emergency”.

It’s an omnibus bill – which means when it goes to the Senate, the bills have a decent chance of either passing, or putting a lot of DFL senators on record as anti-gun extremists. While the majority in the Senate is pro-Human-Rights (even the DFLers), most of the committees are controlled by anti-gun extremists like Ron Latz.

Now, here’s the big part; tomorrow, the House is voting on four stand-alone bills.  Yes, it’s redundant to the omnibus bill; it’s theatrics, to show the Senate (and governor, and the media) how much popular support these bills have.

They’ll be voting on Lucero, Nash and Newberger’s bills, as well as Mark Anderson’s bill  (HF1434) to allow Minnesotans to put mufflers on their guns and preserve their hearing, as they do in 39 other, smarter states.

Here’s The Deal:  The debate and vote are at 3PM tomorrow.  If you can make it down to the Capitol at 3, preferably wearing a maroon shirt, ideally a GOCRA t-shirt (or anything but camouflage, basically); it’d be great to show the House (and the Senate) that we’re serious.  We always do.

There’s a decent chance these bills can pass – and leave the Human Rights movement in a better position to further expand the rights of the law-abiding in future sessions.

Posted

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Ordered a couple of magazines for my Combat Commander. Didn’t like them, wanted to return. My usual shipper is the UPS Store on Lexington but no, their franchise agreement says they can’t ship guns or gun parts which they interpret broadly to protect their franchise. Fair enough, they gave me directions to the UPS hub in Minneapolis where I found this sign.

Guy at the counter confirmed they can ship magazines – even loaded ones, if I declare it – but no, I can’t carry my pistol on my belt while I drop off the gun parts I’m returning. He was perfectly nice about it, that’s just the company policy. The logic of higher management escapes me.

Joe Doakes

It reminds me of all the companies I’ve worked for that put “Workplace Violence Policy” chapters in their employee manuals.  The “policy” invariably involves forbidding guns on company property – which, perforce, means barring the law-abiding from defending themselves against, well, workplace violence.

The Elmer Gantries

When it comes to Second Amendment rights groups, I’ve always said “let a thousand flowers bloom”.

You prefer to fight the national fight by proxy?  Send your $35 to the NRA.  Want to get more into the thick of things nationally?  Contribute to the Second Amendment Foundation.

Wanna affect what happens in the Minnesota legislature?  Support GOCRA.  Wanna affect who gets elected to the Legislature?  Support MNGOPAC.  Feel like taking it to the streets?  The Twin Cities Carry Forum is the place to go.

If you want to donate money to an organization that seems to have little tie to Minnesota, that is closely linked to a network of similar organizations that seem to do more harm than good in the legislature in other states (Iowa, Colorado and Mississippi), which probably means it’s a good thing all that Minnesota fundraising has no visible impact in the Legislature itself?

A bipartisan group of pro-Second-Amendment legislators would like to have a word with you about that:

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This bipartisan group of legislators, most of whom have been key leaders in pushing back the Bloomberg-financed gun grab bills, are urging you not to be fooled.

Now, I’ve written a bit about “Minnesota Gun Rights”, as well as “Iowa Gun Owners” and the “National Association of Gun Rights” in the past year and a half.  And I get two questions about the subject:

  • “Berg, aren’t you connected with GOCRA?  Isn’t this just trying to thin out the competition?”:  I’m “connected” with just about everyone in the Second Amendment movement.  I network like a madman.  Hello – I’m a blogger and talk show host; I go where the info is. And no – “competition” is good, where the goal is “who can be the first to drag Governor Flint-Smith kicking and screaming to the table to sign the legislation we want”.  As I believe I and the sixteen oversigned legislators have established, MGR isn’t really competing on that front.
  • “MGR stands for Constitutional Carry – GOCRA, the NRA and MNGOPAC don’t.  If we pass Constitutional Carry, we won’t need any of the other legislation.  Why waste time?”:  That’s a little like saying I’m swearing off dating until Morena Baccarin returns my calls.  I mean, if I get into a position where Morena Baccarin returns my calls, great – but until I do (and I’m not), what then?    Saying “We’ll accept nothing but Constitutional Carry, and any lesser legislation merely accedes to government’s power to regulate  your God-given right to self-defense”.  Which is true – in a philosophical sense.  The law is not philosophy.  If the Minnesota gun movement had adopted that idea in 1994, we’d still be begging our police chiefs for carry permits, mostly in vain.  And the simple fact is, until we get a pro-Second Amendment governor, and legislatures that are not just mostly pro-Second Amendment (as they are today) but very strongly so, we’re not going to get Constitutional Carry.  Minnesota is not Arizona or Wyoming or Alaska.  By the way, passing Constitutional Carry won’t solve many of the other gun related issues – like reciprocity, the Capitol felony trap, or the right to purchase in non-contiguous states.  It just won’t.
  • “Isn’t ‘Shall Issue’ just a moneymaker for the carry permit instructors that run GOCRA?”:  No more so than fund-raising over a pie-in-the-sky proposal that is years away from passage, assuming everything goes perfectly from an electoral perspective (which Minnesota Gun  Rights is doing absolutely nothing to assure).

More later.

Let’s Make Michael Bloomberg Crap A Cactus

Up there with Easter, Christmas, the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, this coming Saturday is one of the most wonderful times of the year.

It’s the Shooter Show at Bill’s Gun Shop and Range in Robbinsdale.

Shopping for a new gun?  Dozens of manufacturers will be there, showing their wares.  Bring a driver’s license, buy a box of ammo, and you can test fire any of the hundreds of pieces for free.  Prices are coming down from the panic-buying highs of a couple years ago, so it’s a great time to buy!

Plus – door prizes and giveaways (accessories, goodies, and even firearms), charity raffles (ditto), and…

…ahem…

…full-automatic machine gun rentals.  Buy a box of ammo, take your pick, pony up, suit up, and poke more holes in more paper faster than you ever knew possible.  Last year I shot the M1928 Thompson and the KRISS.   This year?  I’m focusing on the Bren, and/or the BAR.

Oh, yeah – I’ll be doing the show from Bill’s, live from 1-3PM on Saturday.  Stop out and say hi.

Why yes – I’ve been looking forward to this all year long.

It’s Back

“Stand Your Ground” is back.

The bill – which would do nothing but remove the “duty to retreat” from self-defense on your property and in your car – was slandered as a “Shoot First” bill three years ago when it was passed by a bipartisan majority in both chambers (which, as an aside, is positive proof that the opposition was looking for the stupid vote; does anyone knows what happens to the person who shoots second?).  Governor Messinger Dayton issued a veto that was bought and paid for by big anti-gun interests; the metrocrats that controlled the Legislature at the time didn’t override him.

This year’s edition has a bipartisan slate of authors, a decisive majority of support in the House, and enough support in the Senate to make it interesting…

…and a governor – Tina Flint Smith – who will veto it forthwith (by pulling wires attached to Mark Dayton’s writing hand).

Of course, the point with this bill – and Senator Branden Petersen’s “Constitutional Carry” bill – is to do what the Second Amendment movement did over the previous two DFL-controlled sessions; rack up anti-gun votes by DFLers in greater Minnesota.  The DFL got trounced outstate in the 2014 elections in large part on the strength of gun votes; it can happen in the Senate in 2016.

Which is exactly how we got “Shall Issue” carry permits 12 years ago.

I worry at times that the lessons from the Carry Permit battle have been lost to a generation of pro-gun activists.  Shall Issue took from 1995 to 2003 (and again in 2005) to pass.  Eight years (with another year of maneuvering around a pet DFL judge).  It involved playing political chess, not checkers.

So suit up, people.  Winning your freedom isn’t for the faint of heart.

Break Out Your Maroon Shirts

Tonight, and Thursday morning, the legislature is going to be debating a bill – HF722, sponsored by representative Jim Newburger – which would prevent government from confiscating civilian firearms during states of emergency.

This is no idle worry; after Hurricane Katrina, the police went door to door through the storm ravaged neighborhoods, confiscating peoples firearms, leaving them helpless in the face of looters and thugs.

There are going to be two rounds of hearings:

  • Tonight at 6 PM, in the Civil Law committee. This will be in room 500, at the State office building. You can park for free in lot AAA, at Aurora and rice, after 4 PM – and meters are generally open along John Ireland Boulevard after business hours, too.
  • Thursday morning at 10:15 AM in the Public Safety committee. This will be in room 10 at the state office building.

Second Amendment humans rights advocates are on the offensive, this session – but that doesn’t mean anything is a shoe in. Showing up at hearings, or calling your legislators, is still essential.  Maybe moreso than ever.

Any DFLer who votes against this bill is essentially tipping their hand; they won’t “waste a crisis”, and if offered the chance will use that crisis as an excuse to extort firearms from the law abiding citizen. They need to be held accountable for this 2016

Word’s Getting Around

Heather Martens has never once made a substantial, true statement about firearms or the Second Amendment.

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Her testimony at the Minnesota House was more of the same: Martens claimed that silencers were “designed” to allow people to commit murder and get away with it.

Sure – in the same way that car mufflers were designed to allow hit-and-run drivers to sneak up on victims.

If you want real facts about suppressors, GOCRA as usual has the answers.

 

Long Overdue

To: The entire Minnesota state legislature
From: Many hypothetical, westbound Minnesotans who may have had to stop at gas stations on the east bank of the Red River every time they go back to visit their parents to transfer something that is perfectly legal on the east bank but is a felony on the west, and vice versa into the trunk.
Re: Reciprocity

You have a bill in the hopper that would do a job that the Public Safety commissioner was supposed to do over 10 years ago; make carry permits reciprocal between Minnesota and states whose permits are “substantially similar” to ours.

The Public Safety Commissioner 10 years ago took the most anal retentive possible view of “substantial similarity”, and made Minnesota permits reciprocal with an almost useless assortment of other states; Minnesota permits are no good in any of our neighbor states, and vice versa.  And the state of North Dakota created a special class of carry permit, expressly designed to conform to Minnesota law, to get Public Safety to honor NoDak permits (and vice versa).  Governor Flint-Smith’s Public Safety commissioner has ignored the legal imperative to change the rules accordingly.

You have a chance to fix that this session.

Please do.

A Miracle Of Physics

This form email has been making the rounds at the capitol in Saint Paul.  The person who sent it to me is under the impression that it shows the gun-grabbers are running out of good ideas and smart people.

Au contraire, said I.  This letter is a miracle, bordering on the first radio signal and the first nuclear fissile pile.

Because so much stupid is jammed into this email, it violates what were once thought to be inviolate laws of physics.

The woman – she’s a suburban matron from Mound – comes out swinging:

I oppose legalizing silencers in Minnesota (HF 1434). Silencers are designed to let people commit murder and get away with it.

Only in the movies.

They do the same thing for guns that mufflers do for cars; forestall hearing loss.  They take 30 decibels off the “bang” of a gun firing. What does this mean?

This:  “…for most commercially available fire arms and cartridges, this ends up only reducing the noise level to somewhere in the range of 130-150-ish dB for a supersonic cartridge and 117-130-ish dB for a subsonic cartridge. For reference on just how loud that is, an ambulance or police siren is typically between 100-140 dB. So this isn’t exactly the “whoosh” sound Hollywood depicts.”

Someone’s been watching too many movies:

In addition, silencers would compromise Minneapolis’ crime-fighting “shot-spotter” technology.

About as much as things like buildings and cars and anything else that gets between a shot and a shot-spotter microphone.  In other words, not really.

I also oppose HF 305, a bill to let North Dakota legislators decide who can carry guns in Minnesota. Under current law, state law enforcement reviews other states’ laws to determine if the other states’ permits should be recognized in MInnesota. That is as it should be. We should not let North Dakota legislators decide what is best for public safety in Minnesota.

This is mad ignorance.

The law allows the Commissioner of Public Safety decides whether other states’ carry permitting laws are “subsantially similar” to Minnesota’s.  North Dakota implemented a two-tier system – one permit for residents, and another for non-residents, specifically to cater to that absurd restriction in Minnesota law, to help avoid creating a felony trap for law-abiding citizens from both states.  Knowing, as I do, er, “friends” who have to stop in Moorhead or East Grand Forks when travelling west to move, er, payloads to the trunk, this change is long overdue.  Not that author of this post knows the difference.

Two other bills, HF 830 and HF 372, are unnecessary. In particular, weakening our laws around carrying guns at the Capitol is a step in the wrong direction.

But she doesn’t favor us with a reason why.

That’s simple; she’s parroting something someone else told her.  There is no downside to the proposal; Capitol Security has real-time access to the database of carry permittees; the current notification statute is a throwback to the days when permits weren’t computerized.

Please join me in opposing these bills.

[“Writer’s” name redacted]
Mound, MN 5536

She must be on the “Minnesota Progressive Project” farm club.

Orwell Would Puke…

,,,at this proposal, from the usual assortment of Metrocrat hamsters.  It may be the worst anti-gun bill, and the most toxic attack on civil liberty, in recent years.

It would essentially allow any cop or domestic violence victim to claim you brandished a firearm and have the authorities remove all firearms from your house and person.

Without even a hint of due process.

I say again; without even a plaintive whiff of due process.

Now, this bill is DOA in the House; Tony Cornish, a legislator who makes Ted Nugent look like Oprah Winfrey on Second Amendment issues, is chair of the Public Safety Committee; the DFL may as well deliver the bill directly to the paper shredder.

So why do it at all?

Politics:  Because Ron “Did You Know I Went To Harvard?” Latz is running the show in the Senate public safety committee, so it’s pretty much guaranteed a floor vote.  Which means a bunch of GOP senators will be on the record with “no” votes, which will be dutifully relayed during the 2016 campaign as “Senator X voted to give firearms to domestic abusers and people who threatened cops!” by the Alliance for a “Better” Minnesota.

That’s my two cents worth, of course; I have no doubt that Ron Latz would love to send SWAT teams to the home of every law-abiding gun owner on principle, but the political realities don’t support it right now.

We’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE: GOCRA is taking this bill very seriously, and so should you:

Everyone has moments in life where things seem hopeless. A death in the family, a job loss, PTSD from military service, a divorce… Responsible gun owners know that a doctor or psychologist can help. But this bill would encourage doctors to trick you into signing away your rights!

Imagine: there you are. You’re hurting. You go see a professional. He listens, then says he can help. He gives you a pile of forms to sign. Buried among them is a form created by this bill — one that puts you on the NICS no-buy list. “Voluntarily.”

Call your legislator. Tell them this bill needs to be killed with fire.

Carry On, My Straight-Laced Son

There’s not much happening on Second Amendment issues – that the mainstream media wants to report on, anyway; I never expected they’d cover the local Real American Second Amendment Human Rights movement going on the offensive, especially.

But there were a few half-hearted attempts to roil the pot this past week.

Channel 9 noted last week that carry permit issuances are off by 1/3 in the past year – while leaving it to the reader to figure out for themselves that they’re still running 2.5 times ahead of 2010, before the Obama Panic started.

Regional lefties tried to make a little hay over these numbers:

Individuals with permits to carry committed 1,320 crimes in 2014, according to reports from law enforcement. Only 20 of those crimes involved the use of a pistol to commit the crime, while more than half of these crimes were DWIs or other traffic offenses that had nothing to do with firearms.

In other words, a group making up 3% of the population commits a tiny fraction of 3% of the state’s “gun crimes” (and let’s ignore for a moment that “gun crimes” means everything from murder – there were none – to inadvertently carrying a gun in a post-office).

Simple fact; law-abiding gun owners are better citizens, on the average, than the typical Minnesotan.

More context?  There are now about 180,000 Minnesotans with carry permits.  Ten years ago, the House Research office figured that a maximum of 90,000 would get their cards; I figured it’d peak around 55-60,000, since most “shall-issue” states tended to level off around 1% of the population.  We’re around triple that now. And while the numbers will likely drop (and could drop to zero, if we pass “Constitutional Carry“, which won’t happen until 2017 at best), they have completely blown away even supporters’ most optimistic predictions…

…in every way but literally, as MPR’s Bob Collins noted in a story earlier this week that pointed out that…:

“They thought the streets were going to be running with blood, but statistically, it hasn’t shown itself as a problem in terms of an increase in the amount of gun crimes,” Cmdr. Paul Sommer of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office told the Star Tribune.

He’s right. More than 10 years after the pitched battle over the law, it’s clear the hyperbole from both sides was overwrought. We’re not ducking road-rage shootouts, but we’re not fending off criminals, either, the Pioneer Press said.

Well, Collins is half right.  The opponents’ hyperbole – as was predicted in this space – turned out to be the same onanistic fantasy that it’s been in every other state that’s adopted “shall-issue” permitting.

But what was the “hyperbole” among the supporters?

There was none.  No credible supporter predicted that we’d see groups of law-abiding citizens with carry permits holding off crooks like a beleaguered Vietnam-era firebase, up to their knees in enemy bodies and spent cartridges.   We predicted at the time, in fact, nothing spectacular; just a slow, quiet diminution in crime.

Although I’d love to ask Bob Collins “why so bloodthirsty?”  There haven’t been many self-defense shootings by permittees – we’ve reported on several in this space over the years – although each of them involves an innocent person who is alive that likely would not have been without a gun.  And the stats don’t reliably count the number of deterrences that don’t involve anyone getting killed (like this one) much less without shots being fired.

It’s not much ado about nothing.

Trial Balloon

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Obama Administration wants to ban popular rifle ammunition on the grounds it could be used in handguns.

We saw this under Clinton, too, with the “cop killer” bullet craze and fear of Thompson Center pistols. Then, as now, it was all cover for a ban they wanted all along.

I saw this ammo at Cabellas a while back and thought “I should stock up, for when case they ban it.” But of course, I didn’t own a .223 so I didn’t buy any. Crap, another million dollar investment opportunity, wasted.

Joe Doakes

On the other hand, if you are, or know, a lawyer, litigating the inevitable test cases will no doubt put some peoples kids through Ivy League schools…

It’s Go Week

This is going to be a big week at the legislature for Second Amendment bills; five vitally important gun rights bills are going to be hitting the legislature in the next week.

End The Trap: Currently, you have to notify the head of capitol security if you are a carry permittee who wishes to carry at any building in the Capitol complex – the Capitol, the office buildings, and even the Minnesota history center, across the freeway. This is what’s called a “felony trap” – an obscure law which happens to be a felony. It’s also obsolete; it made sense, back when carry permits were cardboard chits carried in the wallet, and police didn’t have instant access to computers. But today they do; police can validate a carry permit as fast as they can validate a drivers license these days. This law serves only to trip up people who aren’t clairvoyant about the law, and it needs to go away. Representative Jim Nash Will be introducing a capitol carry bill today,

End The Other Trap: Did you know that it was illegal to buy a gun in a state not directly bordering Minnesota? I’m pretty up on the law, and I didn’t know this. But it’s true – if you buy a firearm from a state other than Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa or Wisconsin, you have to transfer it through a federally-licensed firearms dealer. It’s a stupid law, and another felony trap, and it needs to go. And go it shall, if the bill be introduced by Representative Lucero passes into law. Lucero is introducing the bill tomorrow.

Secure In Your Homes A lot of urban legends sprang up in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One that was all too real? On government orders, the police went door-to-door, confiscating firearms and leaving the remaining citizens disarmed and helpless in the face of looters and gangs. And the fact is, Gov. Dayton could order the same confiscation after any sort of disaster, here in Minnesota, today. Heck, he could order firearms confiscated if he sees the walls pulsing in his office. Representative Newberger is introducing a bill on Thursday that will restrict governments emergency power to confiscate guns from the law-abiding citizen.

A Right of the People – The vast majority of states have a state constitutional provision echoing and reinforcing the US Constitution’s Second Smendment guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms to the people. It’s not redundant; states have Powers reserved to them by the constitution, and it’s good to make sure that they are enumerated. Representative Hackbarth will hopefully be introducing an amendment to the Minnesota state constitution this week.

Noise – if you drive your car without a muffler, you get a ticket. But if you try to put a muffler on your gun – to forestall the hearing loss that can accompany the noise involved in shooting – it’s a state felony.

Minnesota is one of very, very few states that bands civilian ownership of firearm suppressors. They’re called “silencers” by people who know nothing about firearms; they don’t “silence” anything. In fact, a suppressed firearm is still fully detectable I shot spotter, which is the police’s Big beef with the proposal to allow suppressors. They are governed by federal law – it requires a federal license to own a suppressor, so it’s not like this bill will open them up to criminals. Indeed, there has never been a confirmed crime committed using a suppressor of any kind, much less he legally owned one. Ever. Outside the movies, anyway. Hopefully, there will be a bill legalizing federally licensed suppressors in Minnesota next week.

All of you Second Amendment supporters, need to get your dialing finger is Limbird up. We’re going to have all sorts of work to do.

By the way – after this last two sessions, it’s nice to be on the offensive again, isn’t it?

Pay Up For Your Rights

Up until 1974, Minnesotans didn’t need a permit, or a sheriff’s permission, or a card costing $100, to exercise their Second Amendment right to carry a firearm. Minnesotans could carry anything they wanted, subject to their criminal record; they could do it anywhere they wanted to subject to their senses of etiquette.

From 1974 to 2005, Minnesotans had to beg, convince, or suck up to their local police chief to exercise their Second Amendment rights. And since 2004, Minnesotans have had to pay for the privilege of having Minnesota law-enforcement try to prove they weren’t legally entitled to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

So over the context of the past 40 years, things are moving generally in the right direction.

But there is a proposal of footage, floating around somewhere in the legislature, to adopt “Constitutional Carry” – as several other states around the union have. Constitutional Carry means that any law-abiding citizen can carry a firearm, openly or concealed, as long as they don’t have a criminal record that would deny that ride.

Not only is that exactly the way Minnesota law stood before 1974 – it is, in effect, exactly the way it is today; The law abiding jump through hoops to exercise their right to carry, and criminals carry anyway. Just as they did before 1974.

The actual record is clear and unequivocal; law-abiding citizens in Minnesota are phenomenally unlikely, statistically, to commit any kind of crime of all:

I think the proposal is a good one; Gov. Dayton will veto it, of course, but before that we will get some votes on the table before 2016.

But after 40 years of having to pay, and submit to scrutiny, to exercise our God given constitutional rights, I think we need to have a proposal with more teeth to it.

I think we need a Mandatory Carry law.

Under my law, all law-abiding citizens over the age of 21 will be required to have a firearm on their person.

Now, anyone who doesn’t want to have a firearm will be able to exercise that right – by getting a “Permit to Not Carry”. This permit can be gotten one of two ways:

  • Pay $100 to your local county sheriff to obtain a Permit Not to Carry,
  • Applying to your county sheriff, with proof you have reason not to carry a firearm.

I think that would be perfectly fair. Or, at least, bring a form of Justice after this past 40 years.

Sitting Sheep

As the Twin Cities mulls over the news that Al Shabaab – the Somali terrorist group – has called for jihadists to attack the Mall of America and other large symbols of commerce, it’s worth noting that virtually every single mass shooting that’s happened at a mall has been at one that is, like the MOA…

…posted “No Guns” for law-abiding people.

Because the more dead civilians there are, the more chances for Pulitzers for local media?

Ron Latz: Big Brother

Last week, Senator Ron “I went to Harvard – I bet you didn’t go to Harvard, did you?” Latz tabled Senator Petersen’s digital privacy bill, likely killing it for the rest of the session.

And yesterday?

For the third consecutive session, lawmakers have sparred over whether LPR “hits” on innocent people should be deleted immediately—what privacy advocates want, or kept for 90 days– what law enforcement wants.

This session, a 90-day retention bill sponsored by Sen Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, over protests from Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, who authored a competing bill arguing for zero retention. While the committee opted not to move forward with Petersen’s bill, Latz’s bill headed to the Senate floor for a vote.

In other words, Sen. Ron “we are all created equal, but some of us are more equal than others” Latz, who also led last sessions push to create a paper trail on all firearms purchases, wants to keep a 90 day record of everywhere everyone has been in a car.

Let’s let that sink in for a little bit; the DFL jammed down legislation that puts the state in charge of all of your personal and health data; they tried their darndest to register the movement of every firearm in the state; they successfully defended one was electronic surveillance; and now, thanks to Sen. Latz, they will have a 90 day record of your travels.

NOD TO POLITICAL REALITY:  It’s entirely possible that Latz has submitted the “90 day retention” bill as  a sop to his police and prosecutor organization benefactors; that he referred it to the Transportation committee to so it gets tabled without Latz’s fingerprints on it; that he’s playing both sides.

I don’t care.

If Senator X submitted a bill calling for the sterilization of black males to fight crime, even at the behest of a big contributor, even knowing that his political maneuvering was going to see that it went nowhere, it’d still be a loathsome bill.

And so is this one.

The Logical Conclusion

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Former New York Mayor Bloomberg suggests we take guns away from Black males aged 15-25 because that’s the group that commits most of the murders.  He’s partly right.

Nobody aged 15-20 – Black or White, Male or Female – should be carrying a pistol since it’s against the law for anybody under 21 to buy, possess or carry a pistol.  Yes, take those guns away.

And nobody aged 21-25 – Black or White, Male or Female – should be carrying a pistol in public without a Permit to Carry since that’s also against the law.  Yes, take those guns away, too.

If we could enforce those two sets of existing laws, we’d take illegally carried pistols out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them in the first place and that should take a bite out of gun crime.  It’s a wonderful idea but, as always, the devil is in the details:  how do you pick those people – and ONLY those people – out of a crowd?

Maybe if we limit the focus to illegally carried pistols?  Gun murders are mostly committed with pistols and pistols contain a big chunk of metal.  Metal detectors set at reasonable sensitivity could find concealed pistols without singling out every single person for frisking.

Anybody who sets off the metal detector gets waved aside for further processing.  Show me your Permit to Carry and Driver’s License and you’re on your way.  Minimal intrusion.

Set off the metal detector and no Permit to Carry?  Voluntarily show me the leg brace that set it off or wait here for police to frisk you.  Slightly more intrusive, might be ways to mitigate it (state-issued “metal plate in head” card gets you through without frisk).

Probably only install them at large gathering places like Vikings stadium, shopping malls, Super Target and nightclubs in downtown Minneapolis . . . but if society wants to get serious, the Mayor has at least given us food for thought.  We have the technology.  Do we have the willpower?

Joe Doakes

Joe errs a bit – in most states, 18 year olds can own guns, and in many they can get permits (although not Minnesota, where a 20 year old military veteran can come home from a year in Afghanistan, or from driving a nuclear submarine, and not get a permit). For better or worse.

Shrieking For Relevence

It’s been a rough year or so for Heather Martens.

It seems like just yesterday that she was not only serving as the chairperson (and almost solitary member) of “ProtectMN”, an astroturf checkbook advocacy antigun group, but de facto Minnesota State Representative for House District 66A, doing both her own job and that of Representative Alice Hausman (notwithstanding being a paid lobbyist, which is supposedly against House rules).  But it was in fact two years ago.

Last year, the worm turned for Heather Martens.  Flush with Michael Bloomberg’s money, the regional anti-gun movement hired a slew of PR professionals to carry the victim-disarmament movement’s legislative water.

And nobody has ever accused Martens of being a PR professional.  Inept? Sure.  Incapable of making a substantial true statement on the gun issue?  Utterly.

And so during the 2014 session, Martens was largely sidelined.

Oh, she still had her ace in the hole; for the past decade and change, no editor anywhere in the Twin Cities media would consider a story about firearms complete without a (false, laughable) quote from Martens.  She was to gun issues what Larry Jacobs is to every other political topic.

But then, a few weeks, back, the unthinkable happened; the Strib published a story on a gun policy issue that passed on quoting Martens.

Does this mean the Twin Cities media has finally realized what every other sentient person in the universe on both sides of the gun issue has known for over a decade – that Heather Martens is to competence and knowledge on Second Amendment issues what Mark Dayton is to hip hop?

Let’s not get carried away, here.

But let nobody think that Ms. Martens is going to fade too gently into obscurity, no matter how objectively richly deserved.  She sent out an email blast to her “supporters” this past week, including a little bird.  Bits of emphasis are scattered throughout by me:

Dear Mr. D’Artagnan,

The gun extremists have pulled out all the stops. They’ve introduced a bill to repeal all permitting and background check requirements to buy and carry firearms. The gun extremists tried to repeal our life-saving Minnesota law before, and we stopped them — but we couldn’t have done it without you.

Can you help us stop this dangerous bill?

Two questions, here:

  • What bill are they talking about?
  • If, as Martens claims, “we stopped them”, then why do they need everyone’s help to stop it again?
Seriously – nobody actually knows what bill Heather Martens is talking about.  Constitutional Carry – the notion that the law-abiding citizen shouldn’t have to apply or register or pay a fee to exercise their Second-Amendment rights any more than their First or Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights – hasn’t been introduced.  It might be, of course; it’ll get vetoed, but it’ll be good to see what Senators vote against it, for 2016.
But, again, “Protect Minnesota” had nothing to do with stopping a bill that hasn’t been introduced yet.

Join us on Monday, Feb. 23 at 10:30 in Saint Paul to stand up for your values — for the right of every child, from every neighborhood, to live free of the fear of gun violence. Click here to RSVP. A program from 11-1 with testimonials and a legislative issue training will be followed by visits to legislators for those who sign up.

If you can’t be there in person, please make a donation today to help cover the costs of the event.

Thank you for all you do,

Heather Martens

I’m tempted to show up.

Media Quiz Time: The Answers!

Last week, David Chanen of the Strib wrote a piece – a decent one, actually – about the straw-purchase flim-flam that put a gun in the hand of Ray Kmetz, the New Hope shooter who was legally barred from owning guns at all.

And the story omitted something that almost no story about guns in the Twin Cities media has, in recent or even distant memory.

There was no obligatory, supercilious, and utterly wrong quote from Heather Martens!

Of course, several commenters, starting with Mr. D, got it within minutes of my posting this morning.  Y’all know me too well.

Still, this is a virtual rupture of the space-time continuum.

What next?  A Strib piece about politics that doesn’t quote Larry Jacobs?

I feel like anything is possible!

Why Did Mike Freeman Let A Straw Gun Buyer Walk?

The Strib ran a relatively decent story about the background of the New Hope shooting incident, where 68 year old Ray Kmetz, using an illegally-obtained 12 gauge shotgun, shot and wounded two New Hope police officers before being killed.

The officers are recovering, Kmetz is dead, and the issue is mostly closed…

…except for the matter of Michael Garant.

All Straw, Nothing But Straw:  Garant purchased several shotguns from an online gun auction.  According to the Strib story:

Kmetz was the highest bidder for three shotguns from K-Bid Auction in Maple Plain, which were actually bought by Garant in August at Full Metal Gun Shop in Princeton, authorities have said. Garant informed gun shop owner Troy Buchholz that he used the alias “Ray Kmetz” during the online auction because he didn’t want people contacting him from K-Bid’s site, according to court documents.

Show me a law-abiding gun owner who doesn’t look at that story and ask “who does Garant think he is?  The BATFE?”

As the story notes, the gun shop screwed up bad; the Strib writer (one David Chanen) talked with John Monson of Bill’s Gun Shop, who spelled out how it’s supposed to work.  Long story short: not like that.

Longer story shorter; Garant allegedly used an illegal purchasing tactic to put a gun in the hands of Ray Kmetz.

And Garant is being charged.  End of story.  Right?

Not My Job, Man:  Back in the 1990s, after some high profile shootings, the legislature and some city councils worked to give county prosecutors some tools to use against gun criminals, including straw buyers.   These were laws that had the combined, bipartisan approval of anti-gun zealots and pro-Second Amendment Real Americans, by the way – because they went after criminals, rather than the law-abiding gun owner.

And the county prosecutors used those to tear into criminals who used guns with a vengeance.

No, not really.  The laws largely languished.  Sources tell me that former Ramsey County attorney Susan Gaertner pled the charges from the laws away as parts of plea bargain deals every single time, sticking zero gun criminals with charges stemming from the anti-gun-crime laws.

And yes, prosecutors have some discretion in their charges, and plea bargains are a useful tool for unclogging the courts.  But it’s also no surprise that an extreme gun-grabber prosecutor would avoid the use of a law that might provide objective evidence that gun violence is a matter of violent people, not availability of firearms.

Susan Gaertner was that anti-Second-Amendment extremist.  And some say Henco prosecutor Mike Freeman is, too (although he’s made a few good calls in his career)

Gun shop screws up bigtime.

Bored To Tears:  When the police traced Ray Kmetz’s shotgun, the trail led to Garant.

You don’t need an expert to know what happened; Kmetz, who had been civilly committed several times, was utterly unable to buy a firearm.  Garant allegedly bought the gun, using Kmetz’s name but his own background – and then showed up at the gun shop in Princeton and bought the gun under his own name.

How illegal is it?  John Monson of Bill’s Gun Range calls it:

“This was a classic straw purchase,” Monson said. “If this guy couldn’t get arrested and charged, who could?”Monson says “internal process woulda stopped this cold”.

After the New Hope shooting, police traced the gun to Garant, and arrested him; it was the Thursday afternoon after the shooting took place.

And on Friday, notwithstanding the fact that the prosecutors have 36 hours to investigate and come up with evidence, Henco attorney Mike Freeman cut Garant loose – according to sources with knowledge of the situation, Garant was released as the Henco Sheriff’s office was still investigating.

Sheriff Stanek was not amused:

Sheriff Rich Stanek said he was befuddled by that decision. “We absolutely had state law supporting us,” he said. “We just need enforcement of current law.”

The state statute on straw buyers reads that “whoever recklessly furnishes a person with a dangerous weapon in conscious disregard of a known substantial risk that the object will be possessed or used in furtherance of a felony crime of violence is guilty of a felony.”

Stanek said he understands that the county attorney has prosecutorial discretion, but he believes the Legislature’s intent in creating the law supported charges against Garant.

According to Henco prosector Freeman (as related in the Strib), it was just too much a stretch (echoing Dakota County attorney and anti-gun zealot Jim Backstrom,who seems to think his attorneys are too incompetent to tell the difference between a murder and self-defense).

Here’s the applicable statute:  MN 609.66.1c:

Subd. 1c.Felony; furnishing dangerous weapon. Whoever recklessly furnishes a person with a dangerous weapon in conscious disregard of a known substantial risk that the object will be possessed or used in furtherance of a felony crime of violence is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both.

Garant admitted to furnishing the weapon.  The Strib story indicates there’s evidence that Garant knew Kmetz’s record made him ineligible to buy it himself.  Proving Garant knew there was “substantial risk” – well, isn’t that why all those attorneys make the big taxpayer bucks?   Admitting he knew Kmetz was unqualified is the very definition of “knowing and reckless!”

This should have been a no-brainer for Freeman’s office.

So why would Mike Freeman let a case like this slide, only for the Feds to pick it up?

Because he doesn’t want to give any, er, ammo to the Second Amendment movement by using a law we support to put an obvious criminal in jail?

Road Not Taken:  But that last graf of mine is conjecture.

And it’s about the best I can manage right now – because I’m a mere blogger.  A guy who writes polemics in his spare time, works a full time day job, yadda yadda.

You know what would help, though?

If there were an institution – perhaps one that owned things like printing presses and transmitters and, nowadays, websites.  And maybe staffed by people whose job it is to look into stories like “why doesn’t the county attorney in the state’s most violent county use the straw buyer law to pin local charges on a guy who put a gun in the hands of a man who shot two cops?”   People who, perhaps, consider themselves part of a near-monastic order of people who consider “the peoples’ right to know” a sacred calling, above reproach by mere lay people, but which exist to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”…

…even if “the comfortable” is a former gubernatorial candidate from a party whose asses their various publications kiss with full tongue?