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?

Absolute Moral Authority

Remember Cindy Sheehan?

The woman whose soldier son was killed in action in Iraq, and became an anti-war crusader, and a hero of the left (until she started attacking Barack Obama, when she became an untouchable).  Before she parted ways with the left, the left said her ordeal gave her “absolute moral authority”.

And indeed it’s not unusual for people to grant a little extra credence and tolerance to people who’ve directly suffered because of something they’re protesting against.

So I expect lefties with integrity to belly up behind a Colorado bill drafted by a Columbine survivor, which would allow law-abiding citizens with carry permits to carry at schools:

Colorado Rep. Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, was a student at Columbine High School in 1999 when two seniors went on a massacre that killed 13. Now he has introduced legislation that would allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to be able to conceal and carry in public schools, according to The Denver Post.

“This bill will allow honest law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed firearm for protection if they choose to,” Neville said in a statement. “But most importantly, it will give them the right to be equipped to defend our children from the most dangerous situations.”

Can you hear that?  That’s moral authority talking.

Going On The Offensive

It’s been a busy couple of years for Real Minnesotans (and Real Americans) [1].

We’ve had an anti-gun president for six years, and we spent two years with a completely DFL government – and the DFL platform calls for restricting guns in the hands of the law-abiding (“Reasonable gun control that promotes public safety and crime prevention”).  They were energized by the Sandy Hook massacre and, moreso, hundreds of thousands of dollars of Michael Bloomberg’s money.

And it all came to nought, due to the efforts of Minnesota’s pro-Second-Amendment grass roots, especially the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance and the Minnesota Gun Owners PAC.

Now, we have a GOP majority in the State House – including several members elected with direct support of Real Minnesota – and a Senate DFL majority that has many significant pro-gun members.

It’s time to go on the offensive.

And that’s precisely the agenda that GOCRA announced on Monday.  Here are the highlights:

  •  Right to Keep and Bear Arms Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution – I wasn’t aware that the human right of self-defense wasn’t in the Minnesota Constitution.  Notwithstanding the fact that McDonald v. Chicago incorporated the Second Amendment onto the states, it’s high time our constitution said so too.
  •  Ban “Emergency” Orders for Gun Confiscation – Minnesotans are expected to trust to the integrity of the cops.  But New Orleans residents found that that trust was misplaced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, as cops went door to door confiscating firearms from law-abiding citizens.  This needs to be explicitly banned under Minnesota law.
  •  Legalize Firearm Suppressors – Forget what you see in the movies; they don’t “silence” firearms, and they’re not a tool of assassins.  They’re like a muffler for your firearm, just like the one you’re legally required to put on your car, preventing harmful levels of noise from damaging peoples’ hearing.
  •  Constitutional Carry – The law-abiding citizen doesn’t have to jump through hoops to exercise their right to speak, worship, publish or assemble or, theoretically, be secure in their homes and possessions (we’ll need to work on that, too).  Why should guns logically be different?
  •  Stop Police Departments from Delaying Purchase Permits – Some police departments exercise passive-aggressive liberties in issuing “permits to purchase” firearms.  This needs to be addressed.
  •  Remove Redundant Capitol Complex Carry Notification – Back in the 1990s, when the state didnt’ have computers for most of its record-keeping, and carry permits were typed out on Selectrics at your local police station, the current law – you must notify the head of Capitol Security to carry in the Capitol complex, including the History Center – made sense, sort of.  Today, when Capitol Security has access to permit information in real time, it does not – except as a felony trap.  Time to fix it.
  •  Self Defense Law Reform – Minnesota self-defense law is fairly simple in statute – but quite complex in its case law.  There are a lot of hidden “gotchas” in self-defense, that can put a law-abiding citizen in jail even though they behaved objectively correctly.  Law with “gotchas” is bad law.  It’s time to fix it.  This is actually the most important one, in my book.
If you’re not a GOCRA member, you should be.  Every activist in a maroon shirt makes the impression on our legislature – already huge and impressive -that much bigger.


[1] Minnesotans/Americans who believe all ten amendments of the Bill of Rights are rights of the people.

Women And Guns, Take III

OK.  Deep breath.  It’s game time.

I tried twice yesterday to get through a piece by Rochester TV reporter Devin Bartilotta of WTTC television in Rochester.  There were two references to “Packing Heat” in the first ten seconds of the report; I just couldn’t go on.

But with that out of the way, it wasn’t a complete lost cause:


BCA data indicates a 312 percent increase in the number of permits issued to women from 2011 to 2013 in the zip code zones that are mostly in Olmsted County. In 2011, 122 permits were issued to women in that area. In 2012, the number jumped to 134. Then in 2013 it nearly doubled to 381 permits. 36 percent of those permits issued to women in 2013 were issued to women who were younger than 40-years-old. Those numbers are still dwarfed by the more than 1,200 men who got permits in 2013 in the same area.

Lisa Polowski, who processes the gun permits in Olmsted County, says the national 2013 firearm bump could be prompted by the 2012 shootings in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut.

“Things like that in society were really feeding into this, that people really feel the need to protect themselves” Polowski said. “Our numbers went up by probably 60 percent for a permit to purchase.”

But in generally safe and quiet Southeast Minnesota, women might still feel threatened.

“Self defense is what it boils down to,” said Marquette.

“Many times it’s an equalizer. Because many times their attackers are bigger, stronger, and this may help them,” Bierly said.

OK, after a couple of false starts, that’s not bad.  And incredibly, we actually saw a news report about a Minnesota that doesn’t bring in an obligatory comment from the useless Heather Martens – perhaps an advantage to getting news from a Greater Minnesota outlet.

So that’s all to the good.

We almost made it to the end without another cliché.

I said almost:

But in an increasingly violent world, the need for personal protection is putting more women on target.

Ms. Bartillota – does that sentence actually mean anything?

To the extent it does, it’s wrong; the idea that the world is getting more violent is, like “packing heat”, another media cliché – and unlike “packing heat”, it actually does some harm.   The world is not “increasingly violent”.  Violent crime is plummeting – in the parts of the country where guns are least “controlled”, anyway, where violent crime is off by half in the past twenty years.

But hey, at least we got to the end!

Women And Guns, Take II

Let’s try this again.

This morning, I started trying to dissect a report by Devin Bartolotta at Rochster’s KTTC-TV on the number of women with carry permits in southeastern Minnesota (numbers which are reflected statewide and are not limited to Rochester).

In my first attempt to write about the story this morning, Bartolotta’s report jumped into groaning cliché so early I had to abort my report this morning, and decided to take another run at it now, over the noon hour.

So let’s try it again.  Bartolotta’s report focuses on the number of women who are getting carry permits in the greater Rochester area:

Chris Marquette is a permit to carry instructor. His weekly classes are packed with women who want to learn more about packing heat…



“Packing heat?”


Good Lord.

OK.  I’ll try again tomorrow morning.  If I have to kick off the day with a shot of bourbon to mellow out, I’ll do it.  But I’ll get through it.

Honest.  I will.

Women And Guns

Gun control in America, since pre-Revolutionary times but not letting off in the least over the past 50 years, is largely about disarming African-Americans.  Because while #BlackLivesMatter, our powerstructure doesn’t think they “matter” enough to give them the means to defend themselves like any other citizen.

But I digress.

Along with ethnic and social minorities, the left is intensely skeevy about the idea of women with firearms.  Because as everyone knows, nothing “empowers” women like being completely dependent on external parties like the police to defend womens’ lives and safety.

And it shows in this piece from Rochester’s KTTC TV from last week, about the number of women getting carry permits in southeastern Minnesota.

The report, by reporter Devin Bartolotta, starts:

More Minnesotans are packing heat…



“Packing Heat?”



We’re four words into the story, and already KTTC can’t help but resort the Mike Hammer/Mickey Spillane-vintage honker “packing heat” to refer to “carrying a firearm”?

I’m sorry.  It’s completely thrown off my approach, here.

I’ll try again over the noon hour.

The Media And The Screamingly Obvious

On Monday, 68 year old Raymond Kmetz walked into the New Hope City Hall with a shotgun, shooting and wounding two police before other police killed him.

And the Pioneer Press, in relating official Minnesota’s confusion as to how Mr. Kmetz got his gun, revealed a number of truths about the gun issue (for the multi-millionth time) that, for some, could be a teaching moment, if they’re smart enough to be taught.

The man who brought a pistol-grip shotgun to New Hope City Hall on Monday night and started firing at police officers before being gunned down was not legally allowed to have a firearm, authorities said Wednesday.

Wait – so now the media is telling us that people who aren’t supposed to have guns…can get them?

Someone with a long history of mental illness, who had been incarcerated twice for making terroristic threats, subject to numerous restraining orders, and whose possession of a shotgun was a federal felony, was able to find a gun?

The next thing you know, they’ll be telling us that people with felony records can get them!

What next?  Juveniles with gang affiliations?

The answer, obviously, is to disarm the sane and the law-abiding.

Surprise, Surprise

Who predicted this?

Oh, yeah – all the good guys.

Since Illinois started granting concealed carry permits this year, the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year, according to police department statistics. Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft are down 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low.

“It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. “The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy or of course — and yet you have these incredible numbers.”

As you were.

Good Guys 1: Idiot 0

One of the most important things you learn in Minnesota carry permit training is that having that permit doesn’t make you a junior lawman. Find me a legal carry permit holder who believes that their permit entitles them to wade into disputes, gun drawn, like Dwight Schrute, and I’ll show you someone who should probably have their permit re-examined.

But it’s hard to find those examples – because carry permit holders almost never do anything quite that stupid. Are there examples? I’m sure there are, somewhere – there are likely several million carry permitees nationwide, and in a group that large, you’re going to have someone who screws up, sometime. I just can’t think of any recent examples right now. I doubt you can either.

Now, if you follow any of the “Gun Grabber” chat rooms and Facebook pages you’ll find all sorts of bellicose talk from anti civil rights people; claims that they’ll raise a commotion if they see someone with a permitted firearm, or even make up crimes and call the police.

Few of them (outside the media) have done anything about it so far.

Until this week, anyway:

.According to the sheriff’s office, Michael Foster, 43, saw Clarence Daniels, 62, in the Walmart parking lot with a gun holstered under his coat.

Foster followed Daniels into the store, put him in a choke-hold and brought him to the ground, the sheriff’s office said. He then started yelling that Daniels had a gun.

Mr. Foster is being charged with battery. I hope Mr. Daniels presses charges with vigor and glee.

Further proof, really, the biggest danger involved with the law-abiding carry of firearms is the ninnies who oppose it.

UPDATE:  Oh, yeah – there’s a racial angle.  The attacker was a white guy.  The innocent carrier, black.

Racist.  Just like every single gun control law.

Let’s Get Ready To Lobbbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Next Monday – January 26 – will be the first annual MInnesota Gun Owners Lobby Day (MNGOLD).

It’ll start with a rally in front of the Capitol.

After that, we – you, me, all of us – will do something that normally only highly-paid union stooges get to do; lobby the legislature. We’ll go inside, and politely, fairly and civilly meet with every single legislator, and let them know face to face that we’re watching, and that we vote.

Arrange your time off now! I am!

More details from the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance (Web, Facebook, Twitter) and the MN Gun Owners Political Action Committee (Web, Facebook, Twitter).


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Star Tribune finally deigns to report that Department of Public Safety altered the Application to Carry a Pistol form, to include more than a dozen illegal questions. Heather Martens is fine with that.
Heather Martens . . . said some of the questions on the form reveal information that may not turn up in a background check. Further, she said, where 80 percent of the state’s gun deaths are by suicide, even the simplest questions may get honest answers. “I could say that some of those questions are very important questions, and there’s no downside to asking them,” she said. “I wish they asked everybody who is buying a gun, ‘Are you planning on killing somebody with this?’ and a certain number of people are going to say yes. That’s just the way it is

First, it’s not 80%, it’s less than 70%. Still tragic, but let’s be honest about the numbers.

Second, the percentage doesn’t matter; the questions weren’t asked on an Application to Commit Suicide. Suicides don’t get permits.
Third, as Rep. Tony Cornish pointed out, the questions are irrelevant because only information law enforcement needs is exactly what turns up in a background check.

Fourth, notice the smooth slide away from the subject at hand – Permit to Carry – over to her pet peeve – Permit to Purchase. Too bad the reporter doesn’t have a clue about gun rights, so she doesn’t notice she’s being lied to by misdirection.

Joe Doakes

Dear reporters here in Minnesota; why do you keep going to Heather Martens for information on firearms issues?

If you had a source in any other area who always give you false information, and always made your reporting wrong, would you keep going back to them?

There really isn’t any excuse for this, anymore.

The Bad News

Minnesota human rights advocates got the Department of Public Safety to roll back a series of intrusive and, I suspect, illegal questions on the Minnesota carry permit application form yesterday.

That’s all to the good – as I noted below.

Now, let’s talk about reporting.

Channel 5′s Beth McDonough reported the story.  You can go to the link to watch it; the fella in the maroon shirt is not “Corey Bowman”, but in fact Andrew Rothman, president of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance.  Editing glitches happen.

But what I’m going to do is emphasize all of the elements in the online story that are prejudicial, signs of bias, or lead to much bigger questions – or would, if we had a news media that was interested in asking big questions of government, which we largely do not.

I’ll add emphasis to the parts of the story with the problems:

The way you apply for a permit to carry a gun in Minnesota is back to the way it was.

It’s all because of 18 questions on a new application. Some argue it asks for too much information.

Like a lot of Minnesotans Corey Bowman owns a gun, “being a hunter and avid outdoorsman.”

Helping to give Minnesota a reputation as the land of 100,000 guns. [1] In fact, 165,000 people have permits to carry, according to state records—the most ever in Minnesota.

To get a permit to carry, you have to fill out an application, one standard form. But before Tuesday, that application contained 18 fewer questions. Some of those include: whether you’ve been in treatment for substance abuse, fled the state to avoid prosecution or if you’ve been convicted of a crime as a juvenile.

Those questions lasted less than 36 hours online, because of backlash from gun rights enthusiasts.  [2]

“At worst, it’s creating dozens of additional opportunities for somebody to make an accidental mistake that results in the denial of their permit application or even criminal charges,” according to Andrew Rothman with the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance.

The now-former application said the information was required, leaving the impression the permit couldn’t be processed without all the questions answered. And that’s okay with Corey Bowman.   [3]

These are the kind of questions that would pick out the people that don’t need to have the firearms,”  [4] Bowman said.

The Department of Public Safety told us it updated the permit to carry form to reflect changes made by lawmakers in 2014.   [5]

So let’s go through them one by one:

  1. Nobody has ever called Minnesota anything of the sort.  For starters, there are at least 2.5 million guns in Minnesota.  I get it – reporters like their snappy quips.  But please.
  2. Was Martin Luther King a “civil rights enthusiast?”  Are the people who are protesting police brutality “civil liberties enthusiasts?”  Were the Occupy Minneapolis people “rape and filth enthusiasts?”  No.  Someone who tinkers with model airplanes in his spare time is an “enthusiast”; people who fight for civil rights are “activists”.  Unless, apparently, it’s the Second Amendment.
  3. Well, that’s great.  Who the hell is Corey Bowman?  I’m sure he’s a fine person and al, but why is Corey Bowman’s opinion important to us?  He’s an authority on carry permit law because he’s a hunter?
  4. No.  The permits are issued or denied based on information that is available to police for the asking; criminal and court records and things in that weight class.  This was nothing but a petulant attempt to try to trip people up.
  5. What changes in the law?  Other than the domestic abuse law – which affected permits after they were issued, and for which the information needed to deny permits is already automatically available to the police – there were no changes in the law in the 2014 session that anyone I know can think of.

More on this, hopefully, tomorrow.

The Good News

The state Department of Public Safety, operating outside the bounds set by the Legislature, added a series of additional questions to the online (and at some point, one presumes, print) Minnesota carry permit application form.

Some of those include: whether you’ve been in treatment for substance abuse, fled the state to avoid prosecution or if you’ve been convicted of a crime as a juvenile.

The backlash from Minnesota gun owners got those changes removed in a day and a half.

The Minnesota Republican Party could learn a lot from Minnesota’s Second Amendment human rights activists.

Sure, there’s bad news.  Or should I say, Bad News.

Back at noon with that.

Pick Your Battles

In the days since the Paris Charlie Hebdo and Jewish Deli massacres, it’s become fashionable in media circles to say, in one language or another, “I Am Charlie Hebdo”.

I’m not.

The French paper was sort of like the American satirical institution South Park – with an unhealthy dose of that traditional drug of the European idle elite, mindless and often nihilistic pseudointellectualism.   And among that class’ fatal conceits in the days since the massacre is the idea that free speech will win out over terror.

It’s BS, of course:

Freedom and individual liberty can, and must, win over terror; “The pen is mightier than the sword” could only have been written by someone who never had to bet his life, and certainly not his family’s lives, on it.

Against civil, political opponents, speech is fine; against those who’d kill you, our freedoms need a more aggressive, tangible defense.

But Charlie Hebdo was not the criminals; the terrorists were.

Along with big media outlets like the AP and the NYTimes, I’ve been asked why I don’t run Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons.  Unlike the AP and the Times, I’m not a hypocrite – I don’t get any particular kick out of offending peaceful, law-abiding members of any faith just because I can.  Most Muslims, especially in America, want nothing to do with violent Shi’ite or Wahhabi extremism; I feel no need to piddle on their faith to stick it to terrorists…

…especially because my “beat” in Minnesota, and we have plenty of thin-skinned personality cultists in this state who don’t take satire well:

Anyway – just as the best defense against bad speech is better, louder, good speech (which this blog and my show are), the best defense against a bad guy with a gun remains…:

…a good guy, or gal, with a gun; uniform optional and, in extremis, not strictly necessary.

Satire is many things; it is not bulletproof.