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BREAKING: House Ways and Means Committee Votes to Refer Lois Lerner For Criminal Charges – Katie Pavlich

April 14, 2017

It looks bad when a government official has to take the fifth rather than incriminate herself or her boss. IRS executive Lois Lerner is only one of many. RM

The House Ways and Means Committee has voted to 23-14 along party lines to refer former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for prosecution. Although the details about exactly what charges will be have not yet been released, lawmakers are arguing Lerner has not been truthful with Congress or the IRS inspector general and leaked confidential tax information.

Source: BREAKING: House Ways and Means Committee Votes to Refer Lois Lerner For Criminal Charges – Katie Pavlich

Stereotypes and Realities of Guns on Campus- What were you thinking?

April 12, 2017

Should we allow guns on campus?  

My initial reaction to the question is the same as yours.  Are students responsible enough to defend themselves?  Why would we want a gun on campus?  On second thought, we call a guy with a gun every time there is a problem, on campus or off.  We often forget that fact.  That highlights the real issue here.  The real problem is with our inaccurate imagination.  We have an idealized view of campus life, and a stereotypical view of students.  Let’s add a dose of reality before we answer.  We don’t have to ignore our experience as we simplify our ideas.  A school campus is a dangerous place today.  Some people on campus are precisely the sort of people we want to go armed, for both their safety and for the safety of others.  Education is supposed to help us differentiate between things that seem roughly similar, but are different in important ways.  Lets educate ourselves on this issue.

Schools have changed over time.  Campuses and the cities they serve have moved closer together.  Students can leave campus and unwanted visitors can enter the campus with equal ease.  The campus today is also a business served by vendors of every kind.  Deliveries arrive at all hours of the day and night.  So, how does disarming the food delivery driver keep me safer?  We never bother to ask.

We never get past the slogans, such as, “Kids shouldn’t have guns on campus!”  Think about that for a minute.  The precocious and pimply faced 17 year old can’t legally carry off campus, so painting him as the face of campus carry distorts the question.  In addition, a student today is hardly the student you might remember from years ago.  A large percentage of today’s students have jobs and families.  Military veterans are returning to finish their degree.  Part time students go to school after working at their day job.  Older students return to school to retrain for a second career.  In fact, the very policeman you call when you’re off campus may be on campus tonight studying for her advanced degree.  Why should she be disarmed on campus?

Being a students changed in other ways as well.  Gone are the days of 3 ring binders.  Today, every backpack can be a treasure chest of phones, music players, computers, iPads, musical instruments, credit cards, and cash.  Those stolen items can usually be replaced after a crime.  Not always.

Innocence is irreplaceable.  Rape and sexual assault on campus, and on the way to and from campus, affects someone for a lifetime.  Crime on campus is fairly equally divided between assault, robbery and rape.  Women in college are three times more likely to be victims of sexual assault when compared to women overall.  A fifth of undergraduates and a tenth of graduate students report sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.   You can argue that undergraduates can not legally carry on campus therefore arming students would be ineffective.  That is only part of the picture.  Robbers and rapists have a difficult time telling the difference between a disarmed 20 year old and a returning veteran who is 22 years old.  Using a firearm for self-defense reduces the likelihood that an attempted rape will be completed by 90 percent or more.

Statistics only tell part of the story.  In many states, older students can carry discretely all day long..but not when they are on campus.  In some cases, disarming older students on campus may disarm them at their day job as well.  We never credit the increased rate of victimization of graduate students as being caused by a gun free campus even though the crime took place off campus.  We should.

“But, we don’t want kids with guns on campus!”

I get that. Let us have the debate of who should go armed and where, but let’s look at the reality and get past simplistic slogans.  Let’s look at real people.

  • How does disarming the contractor who trims the bushes on campus keep me safer?
  • How does disarming the EMT who is picking up a sick student at the campus health center keep me safer?
  • How does disarming the wheelchair-bound student who takes night classes keep me safer?

Saying “We don’t want kids with guns!” begs the question.  Which students are you talking about, and has a plastic no-guns sign on campus actually made us safer?  Fortunately, we don’t have to guess.  We know.

We have thousands of man-years of experience that we can examine.  Ten states already allow concealed carry on campus.  Their experience is more powerful than papers full of academic speculation.

“We observe no particular risk from campus carry.  Permit holders commit firearms-related violations at a lower rate than even the very low rate for police officers. The rate is in the thousandths of a percentage point, and data from several states show that the rate is just as low for college-age permit holders.”

That is a lot of data to examine, but I have a simpler test for you.  Do you know which states already allowed concealed carry on campus?  Do you remember what happened when they adopted their campus carry policy?  The fact that you can’t name those states means that nothing happened when school campuses were treated just like everywhere else and students and staff were allowed to carry.  Nothing happened.  There were no rivers of blood on campus from concealed carry.  It was a non-event because a college campus isn’t special.

Does that really surprise anyone.. other than the faculty?

The Politically Incorrect Firearms Style Sheet for Non-Gun Owners

April 11, 2017

Firearms and the use of force often confuse the layman and the journalist.  This style sheet tries to present complex subjects in simple terms that are easy to understand for people who don’t go to gun stores or the range.  Perhaps you’ve read or heard a few news articles or editorials that missed the basic background facts of firearms.

These are the basics, and only the basics, but feel free to add your favorite additions.

Guns- are mechanical devices that launch a projectile. Sub-classifications include long guns and handguns.

Firearm- is a gun that accelerates a projectile with the expanding gasses produced by burning propellant.  Firearms are guns, but not all guns are firearms.  For example, air guns, spring guns, and blowguns are not firearms, but may be regulated as such in some states.  Some states also include flare and signaling guns as regulated firearms.

Long guns- are generally rifles and shotguns.  They typically require two hands to support and are fired with the butt of the stock resting against your shoulder.

Rifle- a long gun that stabilizes the bullet by making the projectile spin as it accelerates down the barrel.  Handguns typically have rifled barrels also.  The technique for spinning the projectile was invented hundreds of years ago.

Modern sporting rifle- See ARrifle.

Shotgun- is generally a smooth-bore long gun that shoots several small pellets.  (Smooth bore firearms don’t spin the projectiles they launch.)   Shotguns are usually loaded with shells rather than cartridges.  The shells contain shot (many BBs) rather than a single bullet.

Handguns- refer to guns that are small enough and light enough to be held in one hand without needing shoulder support.  Usually a pistol or a revolver.

Holster- is a pouch that supports a handgun.  Holsters are typically made of plastic or leather and cover the area around the trigger of the handgun.  Covering the trigger helps protect the person carrying the gun from having a negligent discharge.  Holsters may be carried on-body, or used in off-body carry when the handgun is stored in a purse or bag.

Revolver- is a handgun that stores individual cartridges in a rotating cylinder.    After it is fired, the spent cartridge case remains in the cylinder until the firearm is reloaded.  Modern revolvers fire each time the trigger is pressed.  Revolvers were in common use by the mid 1800s.

Pistol or auto-pistol- is a semi-automatic handgun.  They are typically loaded with a removable box magazine.  These handguns unload the fired cartridge and automatically load an unfired cartridge into the firing position after each shot.  Automatic loading pistols were invented in the late 1800s and were in common use by the early 1900s.

Bullet- The word comes from the French word for “small ball”.   A bullet is the projectile launched from a gun.  Bullets are typically made of lead or lead and copper.  The bullet is distinct from the modern brass case that holds the bullet.  The case stays in the gun and is not fired down the barrel.  The nose of the bullet may be solid or hollow.

Cartridge–  Modern ammunition combines a bullet, case, powder, and a primer into one mechanical assembly called a cartridge.  Ammunition cartridges were invented in the early 1800s.

Brass– a term of art referring to a cartridge case usually made of brass.  Often used in the phrases “Pick up your brass.” or “They left their brass behind.”

Clips- are mechanical strips that hold several cartridges so the cartridges can be easily loaded into a firearm.  Most clips do not become part of the gun when it is fired.  Modern firearms hold their ammunition cartridges in removable box magazines rather than using clips.

Silencer, muffler, or can- a baffle or muffler attached or built into a firearm.  Mufflers designed for firearms were patented in the early 1900s.

Lethality- All guns are lethal.  Metal objects moving over 200 miles per hour will penetrate skin.  Even being shot in the hand could prove fatal without medical attention.  Handgun bullets are moving at about the speed of sound.  Rifle bullets move at twice that velocity. 

Autoloading or automatic loading is a technical term that describes how a firearm operates.  During each shot, an autoloading firearms removes the spent case from the gun, loads a new cartridge, and prepares the firing mechanism to shoot again.  These actions take place without the intervention of the shooter.  In contrast, some firearms require the shooter to perform each of these actions separately.  Autoloading guns are distinct from automatic firing firearms.

Automatic vs semi-automatic weapon– A semi-automatic firearm shoots one bullet each time the trigger is pressed.  In contrast, an automatic firearm shoots as long as the trigger is pressed.  Most modern military long guns are automatic weapons.  The few automatic firearms owned by civilians are collectors items.  They cost tens of thousands of dollars and take months of federal background checks to buy.  Automatic rifles were invented in the late 1800s.

Concealed carry- carrying a handgun either on-body, or in a case or bag, where the firearm is easily accessible and not visible to the casual observer.

Open carry- displaying a handgun, typically outside the waistband, and uncovered by other clothing.

Concealed carry license (concealed firearms license, concealed weapons permit)- is a state permit allowing the person to carry a firearm in public.  Most states do not regulate carrying a firearm on your own property.  Some 15 million people are legally allowed to carry concealed in the US.

Concealed carry class- the training taken to carry a firearm concealed.  Different states impose different requirements on the classroom and range-training required to receive a concealed carry license.

Reciprocity- The legal agreements between states where one state recognizes the rights of civilians and law enforcement officers to carry a concealed firearm if the individual is licensed to carry in his home state.  Some states don’t have reciprocal agreements.

Constitutional carry states- are states that allow legally armed citizens to carry a firearm in public without a license.  At least 14 states passed constitutional carry.

Magazine- the compartment inside a firearm or on the outside of a firearm where ammunition is stored.  Long guns frequently have an external box magazine that attaches to the bottom of the gun, or a tubular magazine that runs under the barrel.  Auto-loading handguns typically have a magazine in the grip where the gun is held.  The box magazine may be removable or fixed in place.  Contemporary firearms are reloaded by removing the empty magazine and inserting a loaded magazine.  Ammunition magazines can be reloaded when they are removed from the firearm.

Sights- are mechanical aiming devices that usually sit on top of a firearm.

Optical sights- usually a telescope with an internal crosshair used for shooting distant targets.  Optical sights can both magnify the target, and allow the target and crosshairs to be in focus at the same time.

Stock a.k.a. furniture- The extensions that fill the space between the mechanical parts of the gun and the person holding it.  The butt end of a rifle’s stock rests against your shoulder.  The piece lying under the barrel is called a foregrip.  Once made of wood, most are made of plastic these days.  Stocks may be fixed or adjustable to fit different size shooters.

Caliber-  the size of the bullet, and also the name of a cartridge.  Caliber generally refers to the diameter of the bullet.  Some cartridges that shoot the same diameter bullet are given slightly different names to differentiate them..and to confuse everyone else.  Some are measured in thousands of an inch, and some in millimeters.

High-powered firearm- this term traditionally meant firearms used to take medium to large animals while hunting.  Firearms that pushed a heavy bullet at high velocity killed animals quickly.  Some states prohibit hunting with low-powered firearms because a wounded animal may run away and die slowly.

AR rifle-  A rifle developed by the American company Armalite.  Military versions are called the M-16, and later the M-4.  They are medium-powered, lightweight, military rifles developed in the late 1950s.  Only a handful of civilians own a true military AR rifle because these guns are automatic weapons.  Civilians typically own a semi-automatic version called the AR-15.  Military forces do not, and would not, field an AR-15 rifle.

AK rifle- A rifle developed by Russian Mikhail Kalashnikov and the company named after him.  They are medium powered, medium weight, military rifles developed in the in the late 1940s.  Military versions were called the AK-47.  Only a handful of civilians in the United States own a military AK rifle because they are automatic weapons.  Civilians own a semi-automatic version patterned after the AK rifle, though both are called AKs.  Military forces do not and would not field the civilian semi-automatic version of the AK rifle.

Assault Rifle (military)-  Dedicated assault rifles were developed at the end of World War II.  These rifles fire a medium powered cartridge since troops were expected to shoot them on the move.  These rifles are designed for  light-weight since troops have to run with them during an attack.  Contemporary assault rifles can be selected to fire automatically, semi-automatically, or in short bursts.   They are neither as powerful nor as accurate as a main battle rifle.  The few assault rifles in civilian hands are expensive collectors items since they are automatic weapons.

Assault Rifle, assault weapon (political)-  a firearm with features a politician doesn’t like.  Most modern firearms have been called “assault weapons” by some anti-gun politician at some point.

Background check-  a search of criminal records to determine if a person is prohibited from buying a firearm.  The background check is typically conducted through the FBI NICS system.  Some states perform their own background checks in addition to using the NICS system.

Prohibited person- someone with a criminal record who would not pass an FBI NICS background check.

FFL- a federal firearms licensee.  A person who received authorization to buy and sell firearms on a regular or commercial basis.  There are several types of federal firearms licenses depending on the type of business and the firearms being sold.  FFLs typically start the background check process.

Private sale, person to person transfer- A firearms sale that does not involve a federal firearms licensee.  Private sales are legal in most states.

Interstate transfer- moving a firearm from one state to another state for sale.  Based on federal law, guns must first be transferred from a FFL in one state to a FFL in another state before they are then sold to an individual.  Some states restrict interstate transfers of all firearms.

Arsenal- a government establishment where military equipment or munitions are manufactured.

Armory- a storage place for weapons.

Self-defense- is a human right.  Self-defense is also an affirmative legal defense in that the defendant stipulates that he deliberately used force, but that the use of force was justified.  The claim of self-defense is qualified.  The defendant must show that he did not start the fight, faced a serious threat, that the threat was immediate and unavoidable, and that the defendant was engaged in an otherwise legal activity.

Castle doctrine- is a legal doctrine that an individual is secure in his residence, vehicle and place of business.  Castle doctrine places the legal burden on the state to show that the use of force was unwarranted.  In particular, the castle doctrine modifies the duty to retreat.

Duty to retreat-  is a legal doctrine that says individuals have a duty to avoid a violent encounter.  The law came from English common law, where one party in an attack asserts that he took a step back and his attacker closed the distance in order to attack him.  This established who was the attacker and who was the defender.  It is generally held that a defendant does not have to retreat if doing so would present a greater risk than remaining in place.

Stand your ground law- is a legal doctrine that modifies the duty to retreat.  For example, some states would deny a claim of self-defense by a domestic violence victim as long as there was any remaining means of escape from a violent situation.  Some states with a stand your ground law place the burden of proof on the state in cases of self-defense.

Longtime Baltimore legislator Oaks charged with federal wire fraud – Baltimore Sun

April 8, 2017

If it weren’t for the government, who would we bribe to get our rights back?  Senator Oaks was convicted once before when he was in office.

“State Sen. Nathaniel T. Oaks, a longtime Baltimore Democrat state legislator, was charged in U.S. District Court Friday with accepting cash payments in exchange for using his position to influence a development project.”

“The 70-year-old Democrat from Southwest Baltimore turned himself in and pleaded not guilty Friday afternoon to one count of wire fraud.”

Source: Longtime Baltimore legislator Oaks charged with federal wire fraud – Baltimore Sun

Judicial Filibuster’s History: It Wasn’t a Strong ‘Norm’ to Begin With | National Review

April 6, 2017

It turns out that we’ve only had Senators filibuster judges for the last 14 years.  Democrat Chuck Shumer started it in 2003.  Harry Reid killed the filibuster for all judges in 2013. RM

From Charles Cook in the National Review, “In 2003, when Chuck Shumer began filibustering Bush’s nominees to the lower courts — a departure that tested what was a relatively new “norm” — the GOP came close to getting rid of it. In 2013, after the GOP had successfully filibustered 5 — yes, just 5 — of Obama’s non-SCOTUS judicial picks, Senator Reid did what the Republicans had not a decade earlier and killed it stone dead (with a carve out for the Supreme Court). And now, just minutes after the first ever partisan filibuster of a SCOTUS nominee, Mitch McConnell has nixed it completely.”

Source: Judicial Filibuster’s History: It Wasn’t a Strong ‘Norm’ to Begin With | National Review

If you publish Georgia’s state laws, you’ll get sued for copyright and lose | Ars Technica

April 6, 2017

Ignorance of the law is no excuse..except in Georgia.  If you want to read the official laws of the state of Georgia, it will cost you more than $1,000.  If you publish Georgia’s state laws, you’ll get sued for copyright and lose. RM

Source: If you publish Georgia’s state laws, you’ll get sued for copyright and lose | Ars Technica

Corrupt California Politicians Lie to Protect Their Donors

April 5, 2017

NPR- Two Activists Who Secretly Recorded Planned Parenthood Face New Felony Charges (Sulivan-AP photo)

There is a story behind this story.  Pro-life activists David Daleiden, Sandra Merritt and their Center for Medical Progress were charged by the California Attorney General for recording executives from Planned Parenthood.  At first this looks like a news article about protecting privacy.  Once you dig deeper, you find layers of political corruption at the highest levels in California.  In short, Daleiden and Merritt recorded Planned Parenthood executives selling baby parts for profit.  This embarrassed the politicians who got political kickbacks from Planned Parenthood.   Rather than clean up their act, the politicians attacked the pro-life activists by abusing the California “justice system”.   The charges against the pro-life activists are bogus, but that didn’t stop the California Attorney General.  Then Attorney General, and now California Senator, Kamala Harris needed to signal her values to liberal California donors and generate campaign publicity as she ran for office.  So what if she had to bend the law to attain higher office.  Harris brought flimsy charges against the pro-life advocates.  Here is why.

Daleiden and Merritt released their damning videos before the 2016 election.  That was a horrible time for many Democrats.  Secondary investigations showed the corrupt cycle involving Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion politicians.  Some of the recordings were made in California.  Some of the political corruption involves California politicians.  To make matters worse, California is a major media market and the publicity was hurting the political futures of Democrat/Socialists across the US.

The political corruption looks like this.  Pro-Abortion politicians signal their values to pro-abortion voters by funding Planned Parenthood to the tune of half a billion dollars.  Planned Parenthood then makes large political donations to fund the election efforts of these pro-abortion politicians, some 23 million dollars.  That is a lot of money and a lot of potential votes at stake.  The damning videos showed Planned Parenthood executives describing how they harvest babies and sell baby parts.  That looks bad on Youtube.  That looked bad on the  TV news.  That looked bad for Planned Parenthood.  That looked bad for the politicians who fund Planned Parenthood and were running for re-election.  It was particularly bad for the politicians who received election campaign support from Planned Parenthood political donations.

Liberal prosecutors brought suit across the country.  The charges against the pro-life activists were quickly dismissed as baseless.  Just because the charges were baseless doesn’t mean they were ineffective.  Prosecutors spent our tax money to attack the pro-life activists.  This cost the pro-life groups huge amounts of time and money to defend themselves in court.  Their defense was paid for with private money, not tax money.  It is expensive for private citizens to fight city hall, or defend themselves from political  prosecution.  The charges of privacy violations also distracted the public from the political corruption between Planned Parenthood and liberal politicians.

Why do I say the prosecution was political?  In California, there is a law that requires both parties to be notified if a conversation is recorded.  There are clear exceptions.  The law is settled as they say.

One exception is if the recording is made in public where there is no expectation of privacy.  So far, so good.  What you say in your lawyers office should receive a different degree of privacy protection from what you say at a crowded cocktail party.  Some of the Planned Parenthood recordings were made in public.  I’m not sure if they all were recorded in a public place.

The second exception is if the recordings were made to document criminal activity.  That isn’t my opinion.  Those are the rulings from the US 9th Circuit Court.  The court’s rulings are binding on California state law.

Q: if I can find that out, why couldn’t California Attorney General Kamala Harris find that out?  Why couldn’t her appointed successor find that out?

A: because the law doesn’t matter.  We are not a nation of laws.  We are now a nation of political agendas.  Prosecuting the pro-life activists was good for Democrats in the political races across the US.  Prosecution was good for the California Democrats who supported Planned Parenthood.  Prosecution helped raise campaign donations and also gave Kamala Harris earned media in her campaign for the US Senate.

The lesson for us all is that it may be unattractive to chop up babies, but it is an unforgivable sin to come between a politician and their political ambitions.

Government funding of special interests is leading to increasing political corruption across the US.  The way to stop that corruption is to cut off government funding for Planned Parenthood and similar groups.  If you want to give away abortions, then pay for them with your own donations.

 

 

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