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Tag Archives: gun

If you keep an eye on the hashtags #gunsense or #guncontrol, you may have noticed that they exploded yesterday when the 9th Circuit Court handed down a decision that included the following:

“Because the Second Amendment does not protect in any degree the right to carry concealed firearms in public, any prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry — including the requirement of ‘good cause,’ however defined — is necessary allowed by the Amendment.”

…a statement that made gun control advocates cry victory and shout to the rooftops that common sense had prevailed. It was even described by many as restricting the ability to carry guns in public, period. The response by pro-gun posters was similarly loud and passionate, with plenty of Molan Labe to pass around.

So did the Second Amendment just die? Well, not so much.

Once my own knee stopped jerking, I read a little, including the Heller decision which lead to a case I’d never heard of, State v. Chandler. Heller, for those who are unfamiliar, was a landmark case in which the idea that the 2nd Amendment extends to self defense and that handguns are “in common use” for the purpose, and as such are 2nd Amendment protected.

In Chandler, the question of Constitutional protection for concealed carry was questioned. In that case, the court decided that no, it was not Second Amendment protected and could be regulated by the states.

These two decisions relate to the case before the 9th Circuit to some degree, a case that calls into question the “demonstrating need” criteria that California uses to determine if one can get a concealed carry permit. The Court, as stated above, found that this was not an Unconstitutional restriction.

To sum up, there are three facts in question here:

  1. The right to carry weapons at all.
  2. The right to carry weapons concealed.
  3. Necessity as a restriction for concealed carry permits.

Heller affirmed that carrying firearms outside the home is protected. Chandler affirmed, referenced in Heller, affirmed the rights of states to place restrictions on concealed carry. This decision addresses only the third point.

Now whether this decision will stand is highly suspect. No one can argue this isn’t a serious restriction and that “need” seems to be in conflict with “right”. The 9th’s decisions, also, have a near 80% overturn rate. The longevity of this decision is likely to depend on the 2016 Presidential Election, who gets appointed to the vacant 9th seat in the Supreme Court of the United States, and their leanings.

It is also important to note that this rescinds no concealed carry permits in any state, only affirms that the strictures used by the states to determine who does and doesn’t get a permit are not in violation of the 2nd Amendment.

The bottom line? Don’t panic. This too may pass, and even if it doesn’t, it isn’t likely to be the end of he Second Amendment.

I can’t imagine, though, that this case will fail to draw scrutiny to open carry laws in every state, as the question does stand, if you can’t carry concealed or openly, how is the right to “bear” not “infringed”?

I don’t use the word idiot lightly, except perhaps when I’m using it directed towards myself.

That said, this woman is being an idiot.

The woman in question, Heidi Yeman,  has decided to conduct a month long experiment in which she will open carry a firearm on her hip wherever she goes. She’s attempting to illustrate, I think, how foolish it is to allow people who have no handgun training or knowledge to legally carry firearms on their person at all times. I can see where she’s coming from, but of the ways I’d recommend people illustrate this point, this is not even on the list.

Personally, I’d like to see a national concealed carry standard. I’d like that standard to include range time (like a minimum of 12-20 hours and 500 rounds) and for states that use that standard to have reciprocity with one another. I don’t agree that a permit should be required for owning a firearm, though I’m iffy on the matter of open carry.

The Ms. Yeman and I have some attitudes in common, perhaps. For that matter I do not wish to disparage her character in general. I’ve never met her and I’m sure, outside of this nonsense, she’s a reasonable, responsible and mature person.

But that said, if one wishes to demonstrate their objection to mere presence of firearms in public, as she has, I fail to see how the best way to do that is to be an idiot first, failing to educate one’s self one iota for the sake of being one’s own imagined worst case scenario, and then a firearm carrier second. It is attempting to construct self-fulfilling prophecy, as if trying to be a fool has ever been a difficult bar to leap.

Before Apple’s success encouraged advertisers to append a lower case “i” onto every noun they could find, there was a similar interest in using the word “smart” as a modifier. The idea was that “Smart” things were controlled by computers in such a way s they were more effective than with just manual controls, as opposed to reality in which many simple devices only gain the feature to crash and require reboot.

The term “smartgun” was one such iteration of this.

The term goes back at least to the 1980’s. Various versions of the concept existed prior to that, however, in novels and in film. But what does it mean, you ask?

The term gets applied to weapons that either have some form of firing mechanism that makes them super-humanly accurate with minimal targeting or that only fire when pointed at a genuine threat.

Generally, the former version involves some sort of fire control computer which does the targeting for the shooter, who then gives the go ahead to actually discharge a round. Up until recently, this was pretty much fiction when it came to personal firearms, though a company has produced a rifle that promises even novice shooters the kind of accuracy produced by expert snipers.

The Trackingpoint rifle

The firearm costs as much as a reasonable Toyota but if you put it’s targeting system to work, the rest should pretty much be foolproof.

The second definition is also in the works as well. There are several companies that have been trying to use various widgets so that guns only fire in the hands of their users. Some use fingerprint recognition while others require the shooter to wear a ring or carry some device to let the gun know that it’s allowed to fire.

The big issue I personally (as well as many others have) is that the effects of a firearm not firing when it is needed most likely would end in tears. Admittedly, so do negligent discharges or guns getting into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, but I’m not sure I want to find out the hard way that my handgun won’t fire because the batteries went dead.

The auto-targeting marvels coming down the pipe also come with their own sets of concerns, though the one most often bandied about by people alarmed with any functional firearm (“Criminals will get it!”) seems to be overblown, mostly because of the technologies high dollar barrier to entry and the fact that manually targeted firearms suit their purposes just as much and are already widely available.

The advancements in firearms tech do not change that a gun is mostly a tube with a spring on one end. Still, there are some interesting and impressive developments and it’s only a matter of time before they’re affordable.

But today, the only way for most people to have a smartgun is to have a gun and be smart, a thing that no computer will ever entirely replace and that has historically always been a rare commodity.

I know I’m a week or so behind the curve on this one, but I wanted to start off this blog with a few words about the 3D Printable handgun.

For those who are reading this, but are unaware of the Liberator (the recent one, not the one from WWII), basically I’m talking about a large, single shot pistol that can be produced on a 3D printer. The 3D printer is a machine costing about as much as a subcompact that uses computer models to produce actual artifacts out of plastic (though some metal versions exist, I am told). It also can only produce parts, but a handgun assembled from parts is still a handgun.

A company in the state of Texas, Defense Distributed, has been working towards the goal of producing a firearm that one could produce on a 3D printer for some time. They’d already produced gun parts, a sound suppressor and generally made a lot of people nervous. Politicians began to seek to pass legislation to make the production of printable firearms illegal. Headlines were grabbed like water at the end of a marathon.

In general, this freaked some people out, as if now one could run down to Kinko’s and print out a Glock.

But the problem is this: this is not a great handgun. It’s got a plastic barrel that has, in one test, failed after the first shot. To reload it, you have to remove that barrel. It is chambered in .380, which is at the debatable bottom end of defensive handgun calibers. It is the size of two smaller semi-automatics. The firing pin still must be metal. And on top of that, there’s the detail that bears repeating, that it is produced on a machine that costs enough that you can, even at today’s prices, go buy around 10 AR-15’s instead and have cash left over for ammunition.

And yet, the U.S. Government had Defense Distributed pull down the plans.

The message there is less about the ability of people today to acquire a inadequate firearm for an exorbitant price, but as a warning to the inevitable successors of Defense Distributed who will produce more durable firearms. But that will not stop people from distributing the Liberator plans or the intellectual children of the gun.

What I find interesting is how much the actual firearm’s capabilities are misunderstood, how much the importance of the achievement is downplayed, and how much this is a 2nd Amendment issue that has become a 1St Amendment one. I’m not trying to downplay the achievement, but it’s important to remember that firearms are simple machines and have been cobbled together from much less hi-tech sources.

A reasonable firearm of the same capabilities can be made with some duct tape, a couple of pieces of pipe, a nail and a rubber band. The Sten sub-machine gun is made essentially from bicycle parts and is a fully automatic weapon. In wartime, people have produced pistols, rifles and light artillery by hand.

This is nothing new.

One day, sooner than we think, people will have a device in their house that can spit out simple things. You could print a figurine, a cup, a flute or many other artifacts. It will be awesome.

But you’re not going to be able to download a Glock anytime soon.

Perhaps we should stop acting like it.