Saturday, February 01, 2014

Proposed Oregon Bill Treats Private Citizens as Licensed Dealers

SB1551 - SB1551:  (SUMMARY)

Requires person to request criminal background check before transferring firearm to any other person. Specifies exceptions to background check requirement for family members, inherited firearms and antique firearms. 

Punishes violation with maximum term of 30 days’ imprisonment, $1,250 fine,or both, for first offense, maximum term of one year’s imprisonment, $6,250 fine, or both, for second offense and maximum term of five years’ imprisonment, $125,000 fine, or both, for third or subsequent offense.


This 2014 Senate Bill  ("77th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2014 Regular Session")
amends  "S 166.412, 166.432, 166.433, 66.436,166.438, 166.441, 166.460 and 181.150"

This effectively treats private citizens the same as Licensed Firearms dealers when transferring firearms to any other person, with the excepts of antique firearms and if the transferee is a member of the original owner's immediate family (to include step-relationships, grand- parents/children, and aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, etc).

(I note in passing that the available information is that the bill specifically excempts immediate family transfers; this is in direct contradiction to the February 2014 member newsletter from ARPC.  I will be contacting the club .. of whom I am a member .. asking them for a more rigorous evaluation.)

The private citizen has the same responsibility as a licensed firearm dealer to perform a background check, and to maintain records.  The state responsibility is a 'instant' response (or a good faith effort with accountability) to provide a yes/no acknowledgement that the transferee is not proscribed from firearms ownership ... primarily due to a record as a convicted felon.

(see here for possible other informational links to this bill.)

This is NOT to be confused with the 2012 (76th legislative session) Senate Bill 1551, sponsored by Ginny Burdick, "...relating to weapons; amending ORS 166.262 and 166.370 ..." which
Eliminates affirmative defense exempting concealed handgun licensees from crime applicable to possession of firearm or other instrument used as dangerous weapon, while in public building or on grounds adjacent to public building.


This bill was sponsored by Senator Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, who stated in a January 23, 2014, OREGONLIVE (opinion) interview that he was not " playing politics" with expanded gun control legislation.

Also, in a January 09, 2014 OREGONLIVE interview, Prozanski said he will "... have the votes to pass it".

Another interviewee quoted in the same article noted that "... Prozanski hasn’t shared the bill draft with his caucus." Regardless, he (the Republican interviewee)  said he won’t support it and that no other Republican is expected to".
The article goes on to observe that "... Democrats maintain a narrow 16-14 majority in the Senate, meaning one defection would crater Prozanski’s chances."


Here we enter into the realm of introspection; assume that the following is based not on researched documentation .... the author of the bill has not SPECIFICALLY made this statement, but it is obvious from his parenthetical remarks.

It's all about the "Gun Show Loophole"!

Currently, when you go to a gun show, ALL sales are expected to be carried out on the show-room floor.  Dealers, who constitute the majority of sales tables, are expected to follow the requirements to check all purchasers through NCIC.  And in fact, even private owners (with a table, but no Dealer license) are usually required to perform the same checks.  It's a service that the Gun Show organizers provide, and require.

But if you are wandering through the show floor with a rifle slung over a our shoulder and a 3x5 card saying something like "private sale, $375" (or whatever), anyone is free to follow you out to the parking lot and either complete a cash transaction or ... elsewhere, off the lot.

These are obviously the "Gun Show Loopholes" that this bill is intended to address.

And I don't like it.


It has been my experience, and my observation (and it may or may not have been yours, too) that as soon as the "Government" becomes involved in private transactions, all reason climbs on a jetliner to sunnier climes.   Over-regulation, stilted legalistic jargon, and extension by hyperbole soon follow.  (For the purpose of this discussion, the term replies to, roughly, the following definition:  The Government makes a law, and then administratively applies it to coincide with it's preferred definition.  The result? Sometimes, the 'definition' or 'application' seems to bear no immediate relation to the supposed intent of the law, and increased restriction on private activities are justified by arbitrary fiat.)

What we are left with is the conundrum:  Is it better that the Government pass laws to regulate human interactions, or that we prefer the government to stick to its original purpose of serving the people and let us sort out the consequences of our private transactions in the course of normal human experience?

Personally, I think that we are all flawed, and we will make mistakes ... but our private mistakes are in the long run less intrusive than when we invite Government to control our lives in detail!

What would be the benefits?  What the downturn?

If this law were enacted, it would put one more foot on our necks.  As free, law-abiding citizens, I can only see that making criminals of us would only lead to more and greater interference in our private lives.

If we sell a gun to a criminal ... cannot they get the same guns for free by stealing them?  Almost 100% of highly publicized violent crimes involving firearms have shown that the criminals buy guns legally and were not dissuaded by governmental checks because they PASSED those checks;  or they bought them from other criminals; more commonly, that they steal them.

In the case of the highly publicized 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, Seungui Cho bought his guns legally and passed the Instant Check by NCIC.

In the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, Adam Lanza murdered his mother and then stole the guns which she had legally purchased ... after an NCIC referral..

In the 1999 Columbine School Massacre, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold convinced an acquaintance to purchase their firearms ... who passed the NCIC check.  It was a legal transaction.

In this country, we are focused in mass shootings.  And we are traumatized every time we hear about the next one.   Others who are less traumatized see the notoriety, are thrilled by it, and begin to plot to gain the same public recognition for themselves.

What's the answer

One answer might be to muzzle the press.  Require newspapers, radio, TV .. all media to immediately discontinue reporting on "massacres".  This might have the effect of dis-encouraging similarly warped personalities from attempting to emulate these attention-getting 'events'.

But that would violate the First Amendment .. and everybody likes that one!

Instead, Politicians have focused on the Second Amendment as the one to violate.  Or, specifically, to "infringe".

As is the case of all political moves, it's a Popularity Contest.  Can't "infringe" upon the First Amendment?  Hey, kids, let's put on a show!

Let's make a big splash and "show those people" that we're worth listening to.

Sure, the criminals won't pay any attention to it, and it will put a tremendous burden on honest people, but ... heck, they'll vote for us anyway.  Why?  Because we will be seen to be "Doing Something!

Nobody will notice that we're "infringing" .. what the heck does THAT mean? ... if we go after an unpopular group!

Except for the REAL orphans of Society.  You know, the kids that nobody loves.  Like-firearms owners.  And who cares about THEM?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dud shotgun shell? Two years in jail!

MILLER: D.C. businessman faces two years in jail for unregistered ammunition, brass casing - Washington Times: Mark Witaschek, a successful financial adviser with no criminal record, is facing two years in prison for possession of unregistered ammunition after D.C. police raided his house looking for guns. Mr. Witaschek has never had a firearm in the city, but he is being prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The trial starts on Nov. 4.
 Mark Witaschek is a DC resident whose disgruntled ex-wife turned him into the police for having firearms in his home.  What was illegal in the Federal District.

In a warrant-less search of his home, no firearms were found.  However, police found a 'dud' shotgun shell and charged him with the crime of possessing ammunition ... even though the shotgun shell was obviously (by the firing-pin strike on the primer), not functinable "ammunition".

Witaschek is a shotgun shooter, and does own firearms, but stores his shotguns in the home of his sister in Annapolis ... where possession of firearms is NOT illegal.

He had experienced the 'dud' round while shotgun shooting at a trap range, and kept it as a sourvinier on the desk of his home office, where DC police found it in their 'raid'.

Witaschek was arrested and led away in handcuff as a result of this.  He is out on bail (last word) and awaiting trial and possible incarceration for two years.

Mr. Witaschek’s 14-year-old daughter let inside some 30 armed officers in full tactical gear.
D.C. law requires residents to register every firearm with the police, and only registered gun owners can possess ammunition, which includes spent shells and casings. The maximum penalty for violating these laws is a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.
Police based their search on a charge made by Mr. Witaschek’s estranged wife, who had earlier convinced a court clerk to issue a temporary restraining order against her husband for threatening her with a gun, although a judge later found the charge to be without merit.
Apparently, even the mere possession of expended ammunition ... or "spent shells" ("Brass") ... is cause for arrest and imprisonment in the Demoncratic Non-State of DC.

Ignorance is No Excuse!

Apparently, enforcement of this draconian law has nothing to do with criminal intent, or (since no firearms were found in the home) the ability to act on any supposed criminal intent.  It seems obvious to the casual observer that this man was careless, but not felonious.

Still, he is subject to the letter of the law, and the District of Columbia police department (which, among other needs, is at least partially responsible for security of the Capital and its inhabitants) deems him such a threat to the peace and well-being of the community that they are willing to prosecute him to the full extend of the law .. such as it is, and whatever the cost both fiscal and political.

If I lived in DC, I would be serving a thousand years in jail.  I have 'expended' brass all over my house, and a garage full of gunpowder, primers, bullets, and reloading equipment sufficient to spend weeks reloading ammunition.  In DC, I would be a felon.  In Oregon, I'm just a Gun Nut.

I do not understand these people, really.  Most of my friends are of similar felonious intenr, if simple possession of an empty cartridge would be a felony.

Funny.  People who shoot, who own guns and reload their own ammunition, are among the best people I know.  One wonders why the folks on the East Coast get so worked up about a dud shotgun shell.

I guess they have nothing better to do.  Other than make laws which affect the entire country, I mean.

I'm retired, and I thought *_I_* was bored!

Video here.

We're not talking about camp fire cookies here!

Federal Court Says Connecticut's Aggressive Assault Weapon Ban Is Constitutional - By EDMUND H. MAHONY, The Hartford Courant 7:33 p.m. EST, January 30, 2014 HARTFORD —
Gun control advocates were buoyed Thursday by a federal court decision in Hartford that upholds Connecticut's toughest-in-the-nation assault weapons ban, calling it a constitutionally valid means of balancing gun rights and the government's interest in reducing gun violence.
 "The court concludes that the legislation is constitutional," senior U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello wrote in a decision published late Thursday. "While the act burdens the plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights, it is substantially related to the important governmental interest of public safety and crime control."
The legislature enacted comprehensive restrictions on ownership of semiautomatic weapons and ammunition early last year in the emotionally charged weeks following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Troubled gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 first-grade students and six women with a now-banned AR-15 Bushmaster assault rifle his mother bought.
What?  Do we now need another "Heller Decision" to ban "lookism"?

The crux of the court decision is this:
In defending the ban, Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen argued that handguns and rifles on the state's list of banned assault weapons were designed for killing people and should not be generally owned and used.
The salient fact which escapes lawmakers in Connecticut is that all guns are designed "to kill people".

Over the centuries since gunpowder was invented, firearms have been historically used in war. As the technology improved, mankind discovered that guns were eminently practical in hunting wild game, to feed ones family.   But even until the 18th Century, guns (in the term of hand-held personal armament, rather than in the sense of "Artillery") were cumbersome, slow to reload, and generally inaccurate ... until long guns with rifle barrels were introduced.  And even then, the smooth-barrelled musket was less efficient and accurate than bows, and took much longer to reload.

The advantage of firearms over archery?  Guns were more intimidating in war, and could maintain their striking power over long distances .. given that actually HITTING a single target was still problematic.  Still, a good archer was the product of decades of training while anyone could use a gun.  This led to the usage of 'massed firepower' in war, because it was cheaper in the long run and was more effective .. if only because of the ease of training more of the yeomanry in their usage.

The charge that "guns are for killing people" is facetious and disingenuous. 

Strong men and fierce warriors, and trained archers (or even crossbow users) were more effective, given body strength and training. Watch the movie "RAN" (Japan, 1985) to see the power of massed archery.

The value of firearms is that it allows even the weakest among us to defend themselves against "strong men and fierce warriors".   

Today, firearms are primarily defensive weapons.   And when federal courts chip away at the Second Amendment, they are making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves against attack by people who can physically overpower them.

I direct you to the blog of John Lott, of "More Guns, Less Crime" fame.   His post for 1/30/14 chronicles "Some great defensive gun use stories from 2013".   Generally, these are stories were at home alone when strangers attempted to break into their homes.  Typically, they ended up hiding in a closet and shooting through a door.  Some were living in remote rural areas, where police response was very long.  Typically, by the time the police responded to their frantic 911 phone calls, the attackers had cornered the women, who had nobody to protect them ... and the traumatized women had either driven way, wounded, or killed their attackers by using their guns to protect themselves.

When the courts decide that a specific firearm is not permissible for civilian ownership, or that the firearm holds "too many bullets", or concern themselves with asking "why would anyone need to own a ... " (name the currently unacceptable) variety of firearm, they are NOT limiting the firepower available to savage rapists and murderers, but to otherwise helpless innocents.


Those of us who accept guns as tools know that the most dangerous weapon is one which the attacker has, and the defender has not.   Gun laws don't stop the felon, but they severely restrict the choices of the individual who probably knows better than some overpaid, sanctimonious judge who has never hidden in a closet while on the phone with the notoriously powerless 911 operator.  All the operator can do is to say "the police are on the way" and "please keep on the line!"

Parenthetically, I have great respect for 911 operators.  They deal with family and personal crisis every day.  In some of the videos on Lott's website, the operators are saying "do you have a gun?" and "you do what you have to do, Ma'am".  These people .. often other women ... know what it is like to feel helpless and alone.

This judicial decision .. to suggest that guns are 'bad' and must be proscribed, because they are designed "to kill people" ... have no understanding of the real purpose of firearms ownership.

When you are alone, and locked in a closet, and some brute is battering down your doors, sometimes the best two friends you have are the 911 operator and a gun in your hand.  With enough ammunition to defend yourself against a raging stranger whose intentions are NOT to sell you a box of cookies!

PS:  what is "An Assault Weapon"?  One that holds more ammunition than you think should be needed to drive off or kill a home invader!


Getting back to Connecticut Firearms Registration Laws:

Connecticut firearms owners are revolting against the new laws.
Gun owners in Connecticut have revolted against a new gun control law, with just 38,000 out of 2.4 million high capacity magazines being registered with authorities.
Following the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, Connecticut passed a law which banned ammunition magazines capable of carrying more than 10 rounds. Residents who had acquired such magazines before the law came into effect were mandated to register them with state police by January 1, 2014. The law also banned assault rifles manufactured after 1994, requiring them to be declared to authorities.
Weeks after the deadline expired, authorities revealed that 50,016 assault weapons and 38,290 ammunition magazines had been registered.
CT News Junkie reported that it is, “unclear how many gun owners own the banned weapons and magazines, but chose not to comply with the registration requirement.”
However, a 2011 Office of Legislative Research study found that, “there are over 2.4 million large capacity magazines in Connecticut that originated at the retail level.” This number didn’t even include those not purchased at the retail level.
With a state motto like "he who is transplanted, still sustains", and having elected Joe Lieberman and Joe Biden as your state senators, it's difficult for this old country boy to understand how you gathered the moxie to defy your state legislature.  But still you have, and we are proud of you for finally standing up for your individual rights.

It's too late for you to assume the state motto of "Live Free or Die", but perhaps you could assume the unofficial state motto of Oregon:'
"Never Give An Inch!"

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Gun flight: California has "a Pen and a Phone", too!

Gun flight: Smith & Wesson, Ruger quit California over stamping requirement | Fox News:
(January 26, 3014)
A new gun law proponents say helps law enforcement has driven Smith &Wesson and Sturm Ruger out of California, and affirmed the suspicions of firearms rights advocates that the measure is really about making handguns obsolete. 
 The two companies have announced they will stop selling their wares in the nation's most populous state rather than try to comply with a law that requires some handguns to have technology that imprints a tiny stamp on the bullet so it can be traced back to the gun. The companies, and many gun enthusiasts, say so-called "microstamping" technology is unworkable in its present form and can actually impair a gun's performance. 
 “Smith & Wesson does not and will not include microstamping in its firearms,” the Springfield, Mass.,-based manufacturer said in a statement. “A number of studies have indicated that microstamping is unreliable, serves no safety purpose, is cost prohibitive and, most importantly, is not proven to aid in preventing or solving crimes.
Okay, everyone who didn't see this one coming, raise your hand.

What?  No hands at all?

We talked about this less than two weeks ago in "Microstamping in California" (January 12) and "Microstamping in California Part II" (January 14).   Our point then was that the scheme is impractical, and that it was just another attempt by California's "Blue-State" Administration to keep firearms out of the hands of lawful citizens.

Ronnie Barrett, the .50 BMG, and California Lawmakers:
You may recall that in 2003, California passed a law which make the .50 BMG illegal to purchase.  Ronnie Barrett, president of Barrett Firearms Manufacturing (which makes the .50 BMG) famously declined to do business with the State of California in a letter in which he stated:

"This is not about protecting any honest citizen" ... "This is not about a reduction of crime. This is not about anything. This is about the nibbling process to totally disarm the American people."

"Anybody that's anti-Constitution or anti-United States government, I don't do business with them," Barrett said. "I will not be doing any business with any state agency or local agency that tries to disarm the law-abiding citizen."

(A document which purports to be the text of Barrett's letter is available at

California legislators suggested that  "the public doesn't need the weapon,"  and:

"This is a rifle that is currently treated like a hunting rifle, which means that any 18-year-old with a valid driver's license can get this," ... "It's less regulated than a handgun. We have no idea who has the gun."

At this time, 11 years later, California LEO organizations may "(have) this gun" ... but Ronnie Barrett will not honor the warranty nor will he continue to perform work on them.

So, essentially:  Screw You, California!  (signed) Ronnie Barrett

Now S&W and Ruger are sending the same message, and for the same reason.

Liberal legislatures are determined to have their own way, dammit, regardless of constitutional issues.  If they can't do it by directly violating your 2nd Amendment rights, they will screw you administratively.

We see the same haughty attitude at the Federal level, now that President Obama has openly declared war on the Constitution.  HE has "... a pen and a phone..." and if Congress will not comply with his vision, he will write Presidential Findings which allow him to dictate, rather than lead, in determining the future of this country.

Yes, this is preaching to the choir, but most people reading this have already decided that the present Administration is approaching a Dictatorship in attempts to further his vision of a Socialist nation.  (At least he hasn't taken over the oil wells ... yet!)

We won't bore you with the list of decisions which the Executive has made.  Congress can make laws, and the Court can judge the validity of the laws ... but it is up to the Executive to enforce them ... or not.

In America in general, and in California specifically, there is a branch of government which is cleverly performing an administrative end-run on Democracy.  And God help you, California, because both your liberal Courts and your Executive branch are fully behind the Legislative branch's determination to violate your 2nd Amendment Rights.

On a personal note:  since I moved out of California in 1976, I have only returned to visit my Children, and I was so pleased when my Son moved his family out of that state this year.

Driving across the southern border of Oregon makes me feel as if I were entering a Communist Country.