Thursday, April 11, 2013

Gun control bill clears its first hurdle in Senate

Gun control bill clears its first hurdle in Senate | US National Headlines | Comcast:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress' most serious gun-control effort in years cleared its first hurdle Thursday as the Senate pushed past conservatives' attempted blockade under the teary gaze of families of victims of December's Connecticut school shootings.

The bipartisan 68-31 vote rebuffed an effort to keep debate from even starting, giving an early victory — and perhaps political momentum — to President Barack Obama and his gun control allies. Four months after 20 first-graders and six staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown were killed, relatives watching the vote from a gallery overlooking the Senate floor dabbed at tears and clasped hands, some seeming to pray.

Even so, few supporters of the legislation are confident of victory. Several weeks of emotional, unpredictable Senate debate lie ahead, and a mix of gun-rights amendments, opposition from the National Rifle Association and skepticism from House Republican leaders leave big questions about what will emerge from Congress. Foes of the proposed new restrictions say they would penalize law-abiding citizens and do nothing to curb gun violence.

 "The hard work starts now," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who brought the legislation to the floor for debate.
 The United States Senate today proved themselves sensitive to the needs and desires of the American People.  Yes, the effect is essentially the same, but they promise that they will provide lubricant.

Here, according to the text of the report, are some of the particulars (no, I don't have text to support the news story):

The Senate's firearms bill would subject nearly all gun buyers to background checks, add muscle to federal laws barring illicit firearm sales and provide slightly more money for school safety measures.
"Nearly all" means that they will NOT require background  checks for private transfers (including sales?), which implies that "legacy firearms transfers" (my term, not theirs) between family members will not require a background check.

However, it 'specifically' (?) requires that gun show transactions include an NICS background check.  I have no problems with that, personally; if you're going to have checks for dealers in their store, you might as well have checks for dealers in "off-premises" venues.

Unknown so far is whether that is going to affect the guy who wanders into the gun show with an AR slung over his shoulder, and finds some non-dealer attendee who wants to buy it.  Are "Parking Lot Sales" going to be regulated?   IF so .. how, and why?  This is one of the "fiddly bits" which suggest that the actual bill is going to look a lot like the Obama Medical thingie;  convoluted, long, and with lots of stuff that's hidden in the text.  As an aside, I think that any bill which takes takes more than 20 minutes for a high-school graduate to read should be summarily dismissed without a vote.


Excluded and facing near-certain defeat in upcoming votes were proposals to ban military-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines — factors in the Newtown killings some [sic] other recent mass shootings. But keeping those provisions out of the current legislation did not mollify critics.
It would appear that results of the 1994 "Assault Weapons Ban" test/debacle actually reached the desks of some senators.  Which is to say, it didn't work then and it won't work now, so drop it!
Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

Some potential amendments could broaden gun rights and weaken supporters' backing for the overall bill.
One proposal is by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, who say it would improve how the federal background check system blocks weapons from going to people with certain mental problems, though critics say it would make it harder in some cases to do so. Another possible amendment would require states to recognize permits for carrying concealed weapons issued by other states.
Yes, I think that there are people who just should not have access to a firearm.  This includes all the people who think it's fun to shot up shopping malls, churches, movie theaters and schools.  I'm just not sure about the difference between "crazy" and "evil".

I'm aware that there are laws currently which prevent "permission" to sell to these people; I hear that the problem is with reporting.

I think the problem is with reporting, but not the way it has been presented.  I don't think it's so much that states get the information but aren't reporting it to the feds.   I DO think it's with defining the difference between crazy/evil people, and people who go to their "mental health provider" and piss him/her off.   The problem with reporting is "who will guard the guardians".  There are a lot of minimally qualified "Psychologists" out there whose credentials are .. can I say "IFFY"?   The folks who go into the head-shrinking business are usually caring, helpful professionals.  Or they are a bunch of libertards who think they know what's best for everyone.  Sometimes, the line between the two sub-groups overlaps.   It's kind of like the pediatricians who question the children they see, and ask them intrusive questions like: "Are there guns in daddy's closet?"

Agendas, that's the part that makes me shiver and quake.   I dread the day when some shrink arbitrarily decides that a patient is a danger and reports his patient to the feds, cancelling the patient's 2nd Amendment freedoms.  Before this is acceptable, there needs to be a LOT of references and referrals.  The U.S. Government is going to make this decision?  The psychologist may be right, or may be wrong.   The "If It Saves Just One Child" is the popular excuse for a plethora of societal ills.  How do you distinguish between a patient's "problems" and an examiner's "agenda"?

Again .... tons of verbiage in a federal bill, and a witch-hunt.


In Thursday's vote, 50 Democrats and 2 Democratic-leaning independents were joined by 16 Republicans in voting to begin debate on the legislation. Twenty-nine Republicans and two Democrats facing re-election next year in GOP-leaning states voted "no" — Alaska's Begich and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.


The Senate plans to debate an amendment Tuesday expanding background checks less broadly than the overall legislation would. Broadening the system to cover more transactions is the heart of the current effort on guns.
That amendment, a compromise between Sens. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., would subject buyers in commercial settings like gun shows and the Internet to the checks but exempt non-commercial transactions like sales between friends and relatives.
That accord, unveiled Wednesday, was designed to build bipartisan support for the legislation and seemed likely to do so. Toomey and Manchin are among the most conservative members of their parties and are both gun owners with NRA ratings of "A."
I don't have the list of Republican senators who supported this bill.  I intend to find out.  You should, too.  The flawed Republican Party is rife with politicians who are (a) honest in the historical sense that "when you buy them, they stay bought", and (b) Republicans In Name Only. There are overlaps, and if my contempt disrespect for professional politicians leaks through here, I am unrepentant.  However, one of the enduring planks in the Republican party is supposedly "respect for the Constitution";  this is one of the things that Obama cited in both of his presidential campaigns, and now we see how sincere HE was.
Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

This bill is at the same time less than I had feared, and more than I had feared.  The obvious issues are whether this would become (1) a second attempt at an "Assault Weapons Ban", (2) "Background Checks on Legacy Transfers" and (3) the associated "Registration/Confiscation" issues..

The first seems to have been adroitly avoided.
The second seems to have been narrowly sidestepped.
The third ... is not even addressed.  Which, to my mind, bodes ill for honest firearms owners.


Any time the Federal Government involves itself with infringements of the Second Amendment, people start calling for compromises.  What that means is, legitimate firearms owners give up a part of their rights, and nobody else.  It's NOT going to stop the school shootings, it's NOT going to stop armed robberies, it's NOT going to stop crazy/stupid/evil people from acting crazy, and it is NOT going to recognize that Americans With Guns defend themselves, their families, and their homes millions of times every year.

Oh .. wait.  Maybe it's going to stop that last part.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Post office retreats on eliminating Saturday mail

Post office retreats on eliminating Saturday mail | US National Headlines | Comcast:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The financially beleaguered Postal Service backpedaled on its plan to end Saturday mail delivery, conceding Wednesday that its gamble to compel congressional approval had failed. 

 With limited options for saving money, the governing board said the agency should reopen negotiations with unions to lower labor costs and consider raising mail prices. 

Yet the board also said it's not possible for the Postal Service to meet its goals for reduced spending without altering the delivery schedule. Delaying "responsible changes," the board said, only makes it more likely that the Postal Service "may become a burden" to taxpayers. 

Congressional reaction was mixed, mirroring differences that have stalled a needed postal overhaul for some time. Some lawmakers had urged the agency to forge ahead with its plan, while others had said it lacked the legal authority to do so. 

The Postal Service said in February that it planned to switch to five-day-a-week deliveries beginning in August for everything except packages as a way to hold down losses. 

That announcement was risky. The agency was asking Congress to drop from spending legislation the longtime ban on five-day-only delivery. 

Congress did not do that when it passed a spending measure last month.
 Still ... I have not received mail on a Saturday for ... years.  Is this a local phenomenon, or is the USPS mounting a subtle, "phantom protest"?

It doesn't really matter to me if they don't deliver Saturday mail to private residences.   Most of what I get is junk mail, and the rest is bills.  The local USPS installed a box on the corner of the cul-de-sac in which I live some years ago, so I have to walk all the way to the corner to pick up my mail!  Outrageous!  I may actually have to walk a few steps to check my mail!

And when I order bullets from Montana Gold?   * USPS doesn't put it in the "bulk mail" box ... they put a polite little pink slip in my letter box telling me to go pick up my parcel.  Well, it's 80+ pounds of lead and brass. 

Frankly, I don't blame them.  If I were the mail carrier, I wouldn't put an 80# box on my doorstop, either!

My solution?  I bought a hand-truck.

I figure, these guys are doing all they can to hold down costs.  If I can do my part to pick up the heavy stuff that *_I_* ordered (they give a good price on bulk shipping via USPS vs UPS), then it's my patriotic duty to trundle my hand-truck up to the window in my local post office.

When I can't manage a case of 2250 200-grain bullets from my car to my loading bench, I'm too feeble to shoot IPSC matches anyway.

Not an issue.
Update: April 11, 2013
Check the link in the body of the store, but as of this date Montana Gold Bullets is "OUT OF STOCK" on every single bullet which they typically sell.    Caliber, weight, configuration ... none of this matters.   They are apparently out of business until the raw materials become available to resume production.   "The Business of America is Business", as Calvin Coolidge is often misquoted, and due to purely political reasons, Business in America is Bad.

And by the way, I try not to include loading data here due to liability concerns.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Response to "The Hill" / 4-8-13

(In "Comments")

The whole thing about "transfers within family" is disingenuous.  In order to determine that this is an "allowed transfer" (more on this later), the guv needs to identify both the doner and the donee, and confirm the filial relationship. You have just identified both parties to the transaction .. which (to date) had always been sacrosanct. 

Next, you need to identify the transferred firearm .. including serial number. Can you say "Database", children? (I knew you could!) 
So you have three points of transactional identification Donor, Donee, and SN. This will be propagated unto the Nth generation, which means that by REGISTERING this firearm, you have not only tagged yourself and your immediate descendant you have tagged your decedents descendants forever. 
This, my friend, is the ultimate "Firearms Registration" scam. They don't CALL it that .. because that would be just WRONG! But that's what it is.
Has anyone considered that this plan requires that the United States' Government essentially is position to ALLOW firearms transfer .. and thus, firearms possession?
"THEY" cannot do that .. unless we allow them to. The Second Amendment (I'm sure this may become a 'tedious' reference to some of you) specifically disallows "Infringement" of the right of the Citizen to "Keep and Bear Arms". "Infringement" doesn't mean "YOU CANNOT STOP IT ENTIRELY"; it means " YOU CAN"T NIP 'N' TUCK IT TO DEATH!" 
You may not dance around the edges of the thing, and disallow this little thing and that. No, we're not talking about Weapons of Mass Discussion (stet) here; we're talking about the small-arms typically allotted to the common infantryman, in defense of his nation against a Government Gone Wile. CF: Concord; CF: American Revolution.

Bottom line: My guns are .. my guns. I can give them to my kids, and the guv not only shouldn't stop the transfer, but should not be aware of it! Certainly, they should not regulate it!

Senators debate whether you can give your guns to your kids

Report: Sens. Manchin, Toomey in talks over background checks - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room:

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and his GOP colleague Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) are working on language which would expand checks on firearm sales at gun shows and over the Internet.  
Their preliminary proposal, still in talks, would exclude gun sales between family members and temporary transfers for those with a hunting license, according to Senate aides close to negotiations, assuaging GOP concerns, the Post first reported Sunday night.
We're all waiting, wondering and worrying about whether and how the proposed "Gun-Control" laws would affect your ability to give your heritage firearms to your descendents.

The bottom line is ... control.

Think about it: The Federal Government is  deciding whether they will "let you" disperse your firearms.  They are now deciding whether they will "let you" give your firearms to your children, or other family members.

How are they going to do this?

Well, first, they need to identify the people who have firearms.
Then they need to identify the firearms.
Next, they need to identify your family.

See  a trend here?


In the "Best Case" scenario, "They" will "let you" transfer your firearms to "your family" without restriction.

In order to effect this oh-so-lenient permission, they need at least three data-points.  Maybe four.

  1. They need to identify you;
  2. They need to identify your family (and confirm the congruency);
  3. They need t o identify the firearm
  4. They need to confirm that you, and your family member, are legally allowed to possess the firearm.
Isn't that special?  They will LET YOU do what you have always been 'allowed' to do for 200 years, and the justification for this new record-keeping is that it will prevent ... what?

I don't know why they need to do this.  Well, from their point of view, it provides the government with a handy means to regulate firearms.  Not just the TRANSFER, but the POSSESSION.

Who here is going to go through all the (you imagine the scenario) hoops required for you to give your guns ... or leave them, in your will .. to your wife, your children, or your cousin?  What happens if you die intestate?  You didn't make specific provisions in your will for the disposition of your firearms?  Gee, what are these "Representatives" going to do to service your last wish?

Best case:   they will track your family for the rest of their lives, and your children's children as well.  Can you say "Big Brother"?
Anytime you find the Government "permitting" you to do something, you should immediately redefine that as "reserving the right to FORBIDDING you to do ... whatever.

The Feds, the State, your local municipality .. they have no business deciding/regulating/recording what you do with your personal firearms.  They have no "need to know".

Reject (refuse to complete) any governmental form which includes the serial number, description, origin or disposition of your personal arms.  

I would usually avoid the use of foul language (except under certain circumstances, usually involving "mass murder"), but today I will define at least two:

Vile Verb:  Registration
Vile Noun: Politician

These processes, and these people, do not mean to do you any service .. which is THEIR JOB!  You pay their salary, they are (supposedly) your servants.  They work for you, they have no mandate to tell you what to do.  Oppose them at your every opportunity.  Resist their oppression, ignore their illegal laws, and vote against any of them who support  illegal Gun Control.

Oh ...  all Gun Control Laws are not legal; especially the "hidden laws".

"Universal Background Checks" and "The Gun Show Loophole"

Republican Senator Makes The Conservative Case For Universal Background Checks | ThinkProgress:

At a town hall in Oklahoma on Monday, Sen. Tom Corbun (R-OK) made perhaps the best argument to convince conservative gun owners that they should support required background checks on every single gun purchase.
Taking the recent debate over gun regulations from the political to the personal, Coburn told constituents that universal checks are “the responsible way” for gun owners to ensure that they don’t sell their own guns to “someone you wouldn’t want to have it”: Those on that list will include felons and people with mental instability. 
A concern that gun owners are on that list or one separate to it was discounted by the senator, a fact that has been and continues to be checked on by his staff on a regular basis. “I’m for enhanced background checks because it’s a way for you to go online to make sure you’re not selling your gun to someone you wouldn’t want to have it,” said Coburn.  The responsible way is to check them against this [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] list and they don’t know that you did it.”
"They don't know that you did it."

I think this statement was intended to be reassuring to firearms owners who engage in private sales.  And I also think that it was disingenuous.

The cited article goes on to cite statistics:

Currently, private sales are exempt from background checks, and it’s estimated that 40 percent of firearm sales are completed without a check. According to Bloomberg News, “A 2004 Bureau of Justice Statistics survey of inmates convicted of gun crimes found that 80 percent acquired the weapons through a private transfer.” Ninety-two percent of Americans want to change this grim statistic, and support a background check on all sales.

The statement .. and the position espoused .. assumes that private sales of firearms are typically between strangers.  In point of fact, the statement that "40% of firearms sales are completed without a check" ... includes not "sales" but "Transfers" which often do not include the exchange of money.

Which is to say, TRANSFER of firearms (which is the true scope of the proposal) includes a parent gifting a firearm to a relative.  That is a "guesstimate" of the statistic, not supported by actual data because these TRANSFERS are not included in data currently gathered by the Federal Government.

But if this becomes law ... it will be gathered, and retained by the Feds:  and they can use this information any way they want to, including as a guide which firearms they should confiscate "next".

The news reports do NOT provide the source of their statistics, perhaps because their sources are public statements by public officials, such as this Republican Senator from Oklahoma.  (Which is just one more reason why I consider myself a "Conservative" rather than a "Republican".)

Private transfer of firearms has historically NEVER been restricted by the Government at any level; only the public sales between dealers and the anonymous public.    This legislation is intended to put the Government between the provider and the recipient of ANY firearms transfer; it is not only intrusive in our private affairs, but it advances the proposition that the Government has the right to interfere in family matters; a position which is not supported by the Constitution.

Is it something in the water?  What has caused our current regimes (not government, but would-be Czars) to decide that they have a right to interfere with a gift or a will which allows a parent or grandparent to privately transfer their personal arms to their progeny?

That is the effect of the "Universal Background Check" laws which are being proposed.

Gun Show Loophole

Actually, this so-called "Gun Show Loophole" is the justification for the proposal.  And .. at least in Oregon .. it is entirely bogus.  Local sponsors of  "Gun Shows" have long ago decided that it is their responsibility to avail themselves of the National Criminal Instant Background Check System (NICS) as part of any firearms transaction.    Do private individual conduct firearms transfers in the parking lot of gun shows?  Possibly .. even probably.  But this is not the normal profile of firearms transfers as Gun Shows, and in fact it is not the situation which we are most concerned about protecting from governmental intrusion.

This proposal is concerned that the Government be involved in ANY firearms transfer ... "if it saves just one child", as they so pompously state.  In truth, it is an unwarranted obtrusion on private family matters, and as such should be rejected out of hand.

The recent trend has been toward accepting the concept that only the Government (especially in its most all-intrusive definition .. the Federal Government) can properly protect us against the "Sale" of firearms to criminals, terrorists, and homicidal lunatics.

The NICS was originally proposed ONLY to regulate the common public sale of firearms between licensed dealers and the anonymous public;  and we accepted it, acknowledging that this was a 'stranger-to-stranger' transaction; it was "commerce", and vaguely justified by the long-abused "Interstate Commerce" provision in the Constitution.   We can live with that.

Obama's new proposals, however, have used that regulation to spring-board dramatically more intrusive governmental intervention.   Not satisfied with restrictions on "commerce", this new approach goes beyond the original "keep the guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and lunatics" goal;  now they want to know who has guns, and where they go.

Yes, you read that right.  The NICS carefully avoided retention of firearms sales records;  all it wanted to do was to insure that the recipient was not legally prohibited from buying a firearm; after the sale was vetted, records were deleted in that the identification of the firearm, and that of the purchaser, was necessarily deleted after a certain (in terms of hours, perhaps days) period.

The ONLY way that the "Universal Background Check" system can function properly .. which is to say, the only way that enforcement is possible .. is that the name of the prior owner, and the name of the new owner .. and sufficient personal & demographic information to insure identification of the individuals involved .. will be recorded.  Also, it is necessary that the firearm serial number, and other specific description be recorded AND STORED so that subsequent transfers can be empowered to track the ownership of each individual firearm.

This is .. ipso facto ... Registration.  But because of the current state of national hysteria, our wanna-be Lords and Masters believe that they can slip the whole "Registration" thingie in under the radar.  We won't understand what they are doing, because if we were smart enough to understand they way governmental regulations are intended to undermine our basic rights .. we would probably be smart enough to avoid selling guns to crooks and terrorists in the first place.

Go back and re-read that last sentence.

Think about ObamaCare, which requires 2,000+ (unread) pages to define how we need to have the federal government involved in our health-care plans, because we're not smart enough to provide for our own physical health.

In the same way, the Feds are here saying (dismissively) that we are not smart enough .. or sufficiently concerned about our own welfare . to avoid selling crooks the instruments by which they may rob and murder us.

(The Soviet union had the same idea 20 years ago:  they thought we were so dumb that we would sell them the rope by which they intended to hang us.)

But it's a two-tier scenario.  While we're focusing on the details of the proposal, and worrying about line-item veto .... we're supposedly ignoring the basic premise of the thing:

We aren't able to run our own lives, so they're going to do it for me.  It's their job, and .. the more laws they pass, the more likely we are to believe that they (the President, the Senators, the Representatives and all of the other detritus of Politics) are working for our betterment.

It's insulting.

They're treating us as if we were children.

Oh!  [Dawns the light!]  They believe that we ARE incompetent to handle our affairs.  In their minds, of COURSE we require the gentle guidance of their elected parental hands.

And they wonder why we thing that the Second Amendment needs protecting from their usurpation of our Constructional Rights.

They need to go back, and re-read (or read for the first time, most likely) the Constitution;  And the Federalist Papers!

(What a bunch of Maroons!)