Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Argument for gun control ... or 'texting in public' control?

Authorities: Argument over texting leads to man being fatally shot at Florida movie theater | Fox News:
(January 14, 2014)
WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. – Authorities say an argument over texting in a Florida movie theater ended with a retired Tampa police captain fatally shooting a man sitting in front of him. The former police captain, 71-year-old Curtis Reeves, has been charged with second-degree murder. It wasn't immediately clear whether he has retained an attorney. Pasco County Sheriff's officials said the shooting happened Monday when Reeves asked 43-year-old Chad Oulson to stop texting at the theater ...

The punch line was ... Oulson was texting to his 3-year old daughter.

More information  available here.

No, I'm not going to even suggest that the shooting was justified.  Reeves contended that Oulson had 'assaulted him' ... with a bag of popcorn!   Since Reeves was a retired police captain, he should have been able to evaluate the threat level more objectively.

It's significant that this deadly assault occurred in Florida, though.  This was the premiere state which allowed concealed carry of firearms.  Initially, the people who thought it was "A Bad Idea!" suggested that it would lead to a series of  'Road Rage' incidents, but it never did, really.

This non-issue outcome encouraged other states to enact similarly permissive laws about concealed carry.

Does this strange incident suggest that the nay-sayers were right, after all?

No, I don't think so. 

Typically, most LEO offices permit their retired members to continue to 'carry' firearms, concealed, in public.  The thinking seems to be that experienced officers have developed the proper judgement to evaluate a situation, and decide whether "deadly force" is justified.

Clearly, in the case of Captain Reeves, that judgement was faulty.

As an Army veteran, I'm usually less benign about the judgement of the "Officer Class" .. speaking in terms of Senior personnel, not in terms of police "officers".  This is not a universal judgement, and on behalf of the retired military officers whom I consider friends ... they're just people, and we judge them by their actions.  But I do have memories of some military officers who are notable mainly for their poor judgement, and not that they are the minority.

Captain Reeves, in my personal opinion, made a terrible mistake in over-reacting to a petty incident.  I will not defend him.  We don't know all the details of the "incident", but I see no reason to believe that his response ... shooting the popcorn-throwing, tot-texting stranger ... could be justified by the circumstances.

I won't give up my opinion, though, that concealed carry -- even in movie theaters -- is justifiable.  Witness the Aurora, Colorado, theater where even a less competent idiot shot up a movie audience during the premiere of a Batman movie.

Were Captain Reeves there and able to use his BETTER judgement, he might have reacted ... better.

At least one hopes he would be pointing a gun at the madman with a rifle, and not at the guy eating popcorn in the next row.


I had a long discussion with a woman whose judgement and expertise I respect.  She presented the question: "Do you think EVERYONE should have a gun?  Or are there some people who just can't be t trusted to exercise good judgement?"

I had to agree with her.  I do know people I would not trust with a gun, and I suspect you do, too.

The question isn't whether those people exist, but who decides who they are?

When that "who" decides on the basis of departmental policy, rather than the circumstances, sometimes the results are disatrous.

But we have become accustomed to disasters in public forums, haven't we?

"Microstamping in California" - Part II

Reviewing the comments on my review of "Microstamping in California", it's obvious that I have not made clear the full wrath detail of my objections to this odious law.

Here's an Instant Replay of the most bizarre portions of this pseudo-technology:

Under this law, firearms manufacturers would have to micro laser-engrave a gun's make, model and serial number on two distinct parts of each gun, including the firing pin so that, in theory, this information would be imprinted on the cartridge casing when the pistol is fired.

Given the interest displayed by the respondents, one assumes that the readers are conversant with the details of firearms manufacture.

The portion of the bill with which I took exception ignored the 'firing pin' clause, and emphasized the other "distinct part" of the gun.  (Note:  Most Microstamping Bills .. which failed to pass in EVERY OTHER STATE where they were introduced ... tended to require impressions to be made on only one portion of the cartridge case ... definitively, the base of the cartridge.  That's why Revolvers were almost universally exempt.   They are not cycled by the recoil, but by a purely mechanical process.)

Generally speaking, these bills were applicable to designs where the recoil of a pistol (not a revolver) was used cycle the "Auto-Loading" action.

This is the crux of the problem:  Firearms Manufacturers who hoped to vend new pistols in the offending state would be required to change their manufacturing process in order to either engrave or emboss the details ... including serial number .. on the breach of every slide.   And on the face of every firing pin.

en·grave  (n-grv)
tr.v. en·graved, en·grav·ing, en·graves
1. To carve, cut, or etch into a material: engraved the champion's name on the trophy.
2. To carve, cut, or etch a design or letters into: engraved the silver watch with my monogram.
a. To carve, cut, or etch into a block or surface used for printing.
b. To print from a block or plate made by such a process.
4. To impress deeply as if by carving or etching: The experience was engraved into his memory.

em·boss  (m-bôs, -bs)
tr.v. em·bossed, em·boss·ing, em·boss·es
1. To mold or carve in relief: emboss a design on a coin.
2. To decorate with or as if with a raised design: emboss leather.
3. To adorn; decorate.
4. To cover with many protuberances; stud: "The whole buoy was embossed with barnacles" (Herman Melville).

 If you either "engrave" or "emboss" the information on a primer, much of the impact of the head of the firing pin is expended upon the full surface ... which leads to misfires.  Neither approach tends to maintain the full impact of a firing pin, but one supposes that  both the firing pin and the breach-face would be designed to impress the data as an indentation, rather than to push the majority of the surface away from the areas which would be impacted by either/both the firing pin and the breach-face.

Can you imagine the technology which would be required to remove a portion of the breach-face and still retain the raised (or 'engraving') portion which would act like the typeface of a Linotype printer? How may rounds would it take for the raised surface to wear away?  If the breach-face is designed to 'emboss' the data on the cartridge base, who much accumulated gunpowder residue would it take to fill the un-raised surfaces of the breach-face to the point where the data is obscured?

Over time and repetitive firing, both wear and fouling would tend to obscure the impression on BOTH the primer and the base of the cartridge ... rending the information delivery subject to interpretation by technical obscures who can be counted on to say: "I can't tell if that's a "one" or a "seven" .. or other expressions of undeterminability.

Besides that the engraving or embossing process in such minute detail is prohibitively expensive, it also makes it a requirement that the slide must be perfectly and reliably mated to the frame.

At this time only the frame is  serialized.    Now, to accommodate this bill, the slide and the frame must be matched.  That makes not just one step of accommodation (that the slide and the frame retain the same serial number) but also another step in which they are matched with the model number.   It is not only possible, but likely that the same slide might be used on any number of models.  This is just one more complexity which makes the manufacturing process logrithmically more difficult.

Consider the legal liabilities if a slide and frame may not be perfectly matched by the manufacturer!

Oh, and then the factory assemblers have to match the firing pin to the other two components; that requires that all THREE components .. one major and one minor ... must be perfectly match.

Let's look at the slide.  Generally speaking, if a slide cracks or is otherwise rendered unserviceable, the replacement cost is a matter of a few hundred dollars;  it's a stock part, and requires no special accounting other than billing.

Now, with the requirement that the slide be 'serialized', the cost of creating a new duplicate slide becomes almost prohibitively expensive.


But what about the firing pin?

What does it cost to create a firing pin, today?  Pennies.  A couple of dollars, at best.

Now, the cost of creating a firing pin with the exactly correct data EMBOSSED on it is ... much higher.  And again, the legal liability of providing the correct information is daunting.

So, you  cannot get a replacement firing pin (which, like pencils, are subject to wear and frequent replacement) without walking through a number of legals steps.

First, you (the customer) must identify the firing pin.  Also the pistol manufacturer, serial number and model.

Why would the manufacturer want to fill an order for someone who may not even own the firearm for which the replacement parts are supposedly intended?   After all, it would be easy for someone to order replacement slide and firing pin for a pistol which belonged to someone else.  Then he could create a crime scene which (according to the state of California) pointed directly at the owner of another firearm ... even if that firearm had  never left the possession of the true owner!

This requires the manufacturer (at no cost to the state!) of both firing pin and slide to establish a procedure which will definitively identify the purchaser and CONFIRM that identity!

This is, in effect, not only gun registration but registration of whatever parts The State chooses to define as, essentially, a 'firearm'.

It increases not only the cost of the original purchase, but also the cost of maintenance.

It creates a huge clerical burden on the manufacturer, and greatly increases their legal liability,

Their manufacturing processes be damned .. the overhead alone is unbearable.  I cannot imagine a situation which would encourage a firearms manufacture to even attempt to accommodate the manufacturing, support and legal burdens which are required by this bizarre law!

This is in no way an attempt to solve crimes.  This is a blatant, out-and-out attempt to impose gun-control 'by other means'.

The California Legislature (senate and assembly, both) bought into this nefarious scheme with the full intent to deny their law-abiding citizens their 2nd Amendment rights.

  • Manufacturing process becomes prohibitively expenseive
  • replacement of worn or broken parts similarly expensive
  • Legal responsibilities for 100%  accuracy also include legal liabilities for manufactures and vendors
  • Replacement parts (firing pins AND slides) only available on 'special/custom' order, and only DIRECTLY from manufacturers
  • Requires registration and tracking procedures for replacement "small parts"
  • Requires acceptance by customers of exceptionally intrusive identification and verification process from non-governmental agencies
  • Ultimately, EVERY segment of parts replacement process becomes entangled in legal issues, more expensive, more frustrating, and more likely to end in disappointment when any party in the transaction fears that legal implications make the exchange too hazardous
  • Customers with a broken gun ... even just a bent firing pin .. may soon find it 'easier' to replace the gun than to walk though the parts-replacement process

Need it be mentioned that most legislators are trained lawyers?  If they can't tax us to death, they can legislate us to death. (Shakespeare got it right.)

And if you live in California, they will do both.

If there was ever a reason for a citizenry to make their political partisanship a one-issue priority ... anti-gun control, I cannot imagine what it would be.

And of course, it's all for the chillllll ... drun ......!

What a bunch of Morons they must think  us to be.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

"Microstamping" in California

Shooting Wire:
(January 10, 2014)
 NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) today filed a lawsuit on behalf of their members against the State of California in Fresno Superior Court challenging the state's microstamping law. NSSF and SAAMI seek to invalidate and enjoin enforcement of provisions of state law enacted in 2007, but not made effective until May 2013, requiring that all semiautomatic pistols sold in the state not already on the California approved handgun roster contain unproven and unreliable microstamping technology. Under this law, firearms manufacturers would have to micro laser-engrave a gun's make, model and serial number on two distinct parts of each gun, including the firing pin so that, in theory, this information would be imprinted on the cartridge casing when the pistol is fired.
I have to admit to a certain amount of chagrin when reporting this story.

A few years ago I spent months reporting on this bizarre turn in Gun Control (type "microstamping" in the "search" block near the top of this blogpage).  I had [foolishly] concluded, privately, that this was such an obviously unworkable "solution" to 'gun violence' that everyone would drop it, eventually.

I was aware that it had become public law in California in 2007, but considered it just another knee-jerk reaction by The Land of Fruits and Nuts.

There is no law which is too ridiculous for California to consider seriously by California Legislators, as long as restricts access to The Evil Gun.  I knew that, but I thought .. really, not even California Assembly persons (they are very picky about Politically Correct nomenclatures) would insist on THIS bill!

Silly me.

I should have noticed this May 19, 2013 article on the KDOC TV website:
After years of delays, a gun law signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007 is finally in effect.
The law requires all new semi-automatic handguns to come equipped with a device that stamps each bullet with the gun's make, model, and serial number.
The law will not be applied to any of the 1,200 guns already on the state's firearm roster.
The law has angered gun rights advocates including the Calguns Foundation which challenged requirements of the state's handgun roster as unconstitutional in a federal court filing.
The law couldn't take effect as it was supposed to in 2010 because of patents on the technology, including at least one filed by the Calguns Foundation to delay the law's implementation.
On Friday, Attorney General Kamala Harris officially certified and announced that patents were no longer an issue. Former state Assemblyman Mike Feuer, who authored the law, hailed it as a "monumental day for law enforcement.
Perhaps I did notice it, in passing, but ... it was a flawed report.  The law didn't truly require an automatic ID stamping on each BULLET.

Instead, as more correctly reported in this May 20, 2013, article from Infowars:
In a controversial move that some believe will essentially lead to a de facto ban on semi-automatic handguns, Attorney General Kamala Harris announced that, effective immediately, all new semi-automatic firearms sold in the State of California will require a unique microstamp on every shell ejected when a gun is fired.
The INFOWARS article continues:
Microstamping, or ballistic imprinting, is a technology patented in the 1990′s by engineer and NRA member Todd Lizotte. When a gun is fired, a tiny engraving on the firing pin etches a microscopic identifier onto the cartridge as it is expended by the firearm.
The law, which requires every semi automatic gun sold in the state to imprint the gun’s serial number on the cartridge, was signed into law by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007 and was delayed due to patent stipulations in the legislation.
The legislation specified that it would take effect only when the technology was available and all private patents had expired.
But at a Los Angeles news conference Friday, Harris announced that micro-stamping had cleared all technological and patenting hurdles and would be required on newly sold semiautomatics, effective immediately.
Please note the name Todd Lizotte; this was the gentleman with whom I held an extended dialogue on this view 'way back when'.  (Specifically, 2008)

For background information on this dialogue, go to "cogito ergo geek" and enter "Todd Lizotte" in the query box in the upper left-hand corner of the page.)

... Unfortunately, Mr. Lizotte apparently managed to convince the California Assembly persons the micro-stamping technology was currently within the the technical ability of firearms manufacturers everywhere, and that it was viable.

That last one must have been a hard sell!  (Oh, wait .. this is California!  Never mind, it would have been 'attractive' tere.)

So, it's not only current law in California, but enforceable law .. which is a very different thing.

I do have a few points I would like to mention (again) in opposition to this law

Point one:  few firearms manufacturers are likely to accede to this California law.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that firearms manufacturers are likely, let alone willing, to change their tooling process to continue sales to California customers.  Given the current milieu of firearms restrictions in California .. including (but not only) that semi-automatic pistols must demonstrably pass a destructive "drop-test" to prove that they won't "Go Off" when dropped on concrete surfaces from a six feet altitude (all makes, all models, all calibers) California has made business so unappealing to dealers that it has essentially established itself as a "Not In My Back Yard State".  We won't talk about Barrett .50 Cal Rifles sold to California police agencies here.

Point two: the technology is not necessarily workable.

There are a lot of reasons why Lizotte's claims are challenged, not the least is that his technology is not demonstrably workable on ammunition which has been reloaded.

Example:  If we are at a pistol match, and you leave a piece of .45ACP brass on the range, I can pick it up and reload it.

If that brass (which may have been picked up and reloaded by others) ends up at a crime scene, it's impossible to determine exactly whose pistol shot it last.  So the claim that it can be used to identify the firearm which shot it is entirely disproved.  And no, the claim that they an determine "overstamping"  is not proved, either.

So .. it is NOT necessarily a tool which police agencies can use to determine what gun 'fired the fatal bullet'.


Point three: the law is not expected to achieve the goals which were used to justify it.

This is NOT technology which has been absolutely been proved reliable in the field.   Even ignoring the previous point of "overstamping",  there has been NO reliably, authoritative documented evidence that the microstamping technology is accepted .. or is expected to be accepted .. in criminal courts to definitively identify the gun which fired the cartridge (shell) which fired the bullet which committed a felony.

Well, bullets  .. or shells  ... don't commit felonies .. and that's a WHOLE other story, but let us ignore that for the moment.

Here's the point

California doesn't give a damn about identifying the "doer" in a violent crime.   They don't expect that, they don't require that.

All California (in the  persons of their state assembly-persons, and state senators) don't care a freaking damn about "fighting Crime", or "Solving Crimes".  They just want to get guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.  They know they can't get the guns out of the hand of criminals and other outlaws.  Push them hard, and they will admit that .. in private.

It's all Public Relations. 

NO elected official in California expects this law to reduce crime, or to help law enforcement agencies to convict perpetrators of violent crimes.   "Perps" are a drop in the bucket, and never noticed in the important events .. polls.

They just want to get re-elected.  It's all about image, and if you do NOT vote against this bill, you run the risk of being found "soft on crime" ... which means less votes next year.

They won't win if crime goes down.
But they will lose if they don't get re-elected.  Their pocket books are their sole priority.

They lose their job, they have to find honest work.  And they are not qualified.

That's all it is.  It's not about your safety, it's about their job security.

Anybody in California wish to argue otherwise?

I didn't think so.