an individual right

I mentioned something in the previous post, and it deserves being expanded upon.

While the nine Supreme Court Justices in D.C. v. Heller disagreed on how the right protected by the Second Amendment could be limited, all nine of them agreed that the right was one held by individuals, not “the militia”.  This is held out by their opinions and dissents.

To begin with, the Opinion of the Court was signed by Justices Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, indicating that they agreed with the following statements:

Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.

There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Moving on, Justice Stevens wrote a dissent to which Justices Souter, Ginsberg, and Breyer added their signatures:

The question presented by this case is not whether the Second Amendment protects a “collective right” or an “individual right.” Surely it protects a right that can be enforced by individuals.

Finally, Justices Stevens, Souter, and Ginsberg also signed Justice Breyer’s additional dissent:

In interpreting and applying this Amendment, I take as a starting point the following four propositions, based on our precedent and today’s opinions, to which I believe the entire Court subscribes:

(1) The Amendment protects an “individual” right—i.e., one that is separately possessed, and may be separately enforced, by each person on whom it is conferred. See, e.g.ante, at 22 (opinion of the Court); ante, at 1 (Stevens, J., dissenting).

Put simply, not even the Supreme Court Justices who agreed with “gun control” extremists about D.C.’s draconian gun laws were willing to sign on to the wholly spurious, historically-unsupported, recently-fabricated notion that the Second Amendment exclusively protects a right in relation to a “militia”.

The more you learn about how poorly supported the “gun control” position is, the more you start to understand why the people in the anti-rights movement are almost invariably so bitter, antagonistic, and hateful.  It has to wear on a person to be proven wrong at every turn.

One wonders why they simply do not accept reality and move on with their lives, happier and healthier for it.

SecondAmendmentBreakfast

wait. that’s illegal.

I would contend that there is no better, contemporary example of the insane incrementalism of “gun control” extremists than what is currently transpiring in Virginia.

Due to apparently-unfortunate election results, the authoritarians placed into the Virginia Legislature are working on prohibiting “assault weapons“, punishing people for having their firearms stolen, stripping people of their rights without benefit of due process or trial, and assorted other pipe dreams of  “gun control” wanna-be tyrants.

Peaceful Virginians’ response has been fairly predictable and quite understandable, and has included such things as banding together to form militias to defend their Constitutionally-protected, human rights.

Now, ever since “gun control” extremists have been attempting to unjustly deprive peaceful Americans of their rights, they have bitterly clung to the wholly erroneous notion that the rights protected by the Second Amendment only apply to militias.  Impressively, though the nine Supreme Court Justices seated at the time disagreed on how that right could be restricted and limited, all of them agreed that the right was reserved by the people, and the prefatory clause at the beginning of the Amendment was an explanation as to why, at the most.

But those who wish to control other men have never let simple facts get in their way, and – to this day – “gun control” extremists pound the “militia” drum.

So the Virginians getting together to form militias to defend their under-attack human rights are perfectly acceptable with the “gun control” crowd, right?

Wrong.

The Virginia Legislature’s response to this news was to propose legislation banning such activities.

"Gun control" extremists aren't even happy getting what they want.

As I like to not-really-joke, the slippery slope is not a fallacy when you can point to the incline and the Crisco.

“Gun control” extremists like to incessantly whine and moan that pro-rights activists are unwilling to “compromise”, or have “reasonable discussions”, or “work together”.

This is why.  

Even when peaceful Americans try to play by the absurd rules of ignorant fools, the latter change the rules, and then demand more, MORE, MORE.

I dare say – and I certainly hope – that America is tiring of foot-stomping temper-tantrums from “gun control” extremists who want to control others, but cannot even control themselves.

graphics matter, 2019 edition

Honestly?  I’m tired of writing these posts.  Because reality does not change.

No matter the “gun control” extremists’ beliefs, inanimate objects cannot control a human being’s behavior.

To believe otherwise is pure fetishism.

But people continue to believe otherwise, so here we are.

As always, check out the original version of this post for the series’ explanation.  And, as always, “more guns = more deaths” is not my hypothesis, nor does this series of posts mean to prove that “more guns = fewer deaths”.

Instead, this series of posts exclusively exists to disprove the notion that more firearms automatically means more fatalities, as the aforementioned “gun control” extremists incessantly, erroneously declare.

My sources include:

– the CDC WISQARS Fatal Injrury Report
– the BATFE Firearms Commerce in the United States Annual Statistical Update 2018
– the Small Arms Survey of 2003
Radical Gun Nuttery
my data spreadsheet

And, once again, as every time previous, the hypothesis of “more guns = more deaths” falls flat on its face.

PopulationFirearmsDeath2019.png

Now, it’s absolutely worth noting that the firearm-related fatalities are almost as high as their peak back in the early ’90s… but the US population has grown massively since then, meaning the rate of firearm-related fatalities is actually down since then.

Relatedly – pun intended – the correlation between the raw number of firearms in the United States and the raw number of firearm-related fatalities in the United States is -0.03268.

That is to say, there is precisely no correlation.

Which means there cannot be causation.

And that is a complicated way of saying, “the number of firearms in America is not driving the number of firearm-related deaths in America.”

Which brings us to rates, and any sociologist knows that rates are much more valuable than raw numbers.

Well, the correlation between the rate of firearm ownership – that is to say, the number of firearms in America divided by the American population – and the rate of firearm-related fatalities is -0.34575.

In other words, there is a noticeable, negative correlation.

Which, again, means there cannot be causation.

Look, I get it.

Kind of.

It is literally an article of faith among some people that “guns are bad”.

But the data simply does not back that prejudice up.  And, frankly, it is kind of disappointing that modern people are still bitterly clinging to the notion that inanimate lumps of metal can affect conscious, cognizant humans’ minds.

But here we are.

why #stopdownloadableguns has already failed

Ok, on this, the day of one of my favorite things ever – the democratization of technology – let us have a serious, sober-ish conversation about this whole #StopDownloadableGuns / #Stop3DPrintedGuns hysteria by starting at the beginning and working forward.

  • Is it legal to make your own firearms?

Absolutely (at the federal level). To put it the proper way, it has never been illegal to produce firearms for your own use. Do not sell it and do not make an illegal firearm (e.g. an SBR without an appropriate tax stamp), but otherwise? Knock yourself out.

And designs to build your own firearms at home have existed… basically since firearms have existed.  Some of those designs are painfully-simple-yet-frighteningly-effective:

Djic5PIWwAAM4nJ

Others require a bit more knowledge and tools.  And still others are literally commercially available.

All of those concepts take something that is not legally considered a firearm and turn it into something that is legally considered a firearm, at home, without registration or knowledge of anyone else.  None of those firearms have to be serialized.  None of those firearms are “traceable”.  And, again, all of those designs have been available for literal decades.  And making them is completely legal.

  • It is legal to 3D print your own firearms now?

Yup. It is entirely legal to print a firearm with a plan you have on your local machine, right now, even before the whole “end of the world” thing today.

  • So what’s the #StopDownloadableGuns fuss about?

Few years back, the State Department told an organization called Defense Distributed that if they continued to distribute firearms plans on the internet, they would be in violation of something called the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. ITAR is a pretty complicated topic in its own right, but it basically boiled down to DefDist – and its subsidiary project DefCad – being shut down. The thing is, the State Department edict exclusively applied to the distribution of the files, not the use of the files. Have them already? Knock yourself out. Share them online? Bad juju.

As of today, DefCad has been granted federal permission* to share the files as they see fit, and the predictable “gun control” organizations and extremists (but I repeat myself) are absolutely losing their minds.

But here is the thing: the files are already out there. In lots of places. And they have been added to over the past few years. As the saying goes, “the internet views censorship as damage and routes around it.” Or, “you can’t stop the signal”.

cant-stop-the-signal-1

So all this #StopDownloadableGuns / #Stop3DPrintedGuns nonsense about “letting horses out of the stable”? Yeah, they have been out for six long years, they have been multiplying like rabbits, and y’all done well and truly lost. Anywise. (And, again, this is even ignoring the firearm plans that only use parts from your local home improvement store and have been available for longer than most “gun control” extremists have been alive.)

  • Can you entirely 3D print a firearm?

Not technically, and not legally. The technical problem is that firing pins are almost invariably made of metal for a reason – you have to set off that primer to, in turn, set off the powder. And plastic just does not have the strength to do that.

The legal problem is something no-joke called the Undetectable Firearms Act. This law is literally 30 years old, and requires at least 105g of steel in any firearm ever produced, anywhere – even at home. This applies to 3D printed firearms.

Remember that scene in Die Hard 2 about the mythical Glock 7 that was made entirely out of porcelain or something? Yeah, the Undetectable Firearms Act is older than that, rendering this whole #StopDownloadableGuns / #Stop3DPrintedGuns hysteria ludicrous.

  • Can you mostly 3D print a firearm?

Short of the firing pin and enough other steel to be legal, sure. And it is good for… about a maximum of ten rounds, from what I have seen so far, and marginally accurate at five yards, if that. They are proofs of concepts, nothing more.

  • So what can you do?

Well, for example, AR-15 lowers do not have a significant amount of force or temperature applied to them at any given time. Given appropriate modifications, you could totally print a lower that is good for 500+ rounds, depending on materials.

bolty lower

And people have been, again, for literally years. The 3D-printed AR lower is kind of the holy grail of 3D printed firearm hobbyists, and the last iteration I saw was… solid. Drop a lower parts kit in it, an upper on it, and a stock, and it works, for a time.

  • So what’s the point of 3D printing firearms?

Remember “democratization of technology”. The USSR abjectly feared mimeographs and other copy machines simply because they knew they could not control the flow of information – and propaganda was, and still is, essential for socialism to “work”.

  • So, hold on, is this a Second Amendment issue or a First Amendment issue?

The end product is definitely protected by the Second Amendment, but the specific situation of whether or not the federal government – or any government – can control the distribution of information is totally a First Amendment issue.  The #Stop3DPrintedGuns folks are literally calling on the government to control what information you can and cannot read.  This is no different than if the “gun control” extremists were trying to convince the government to burn all of a specific technical journal.

Yes, #StopDownloadableGuns is morally and logically equivalent to book burning.  It is censorship, pure and simple, but even a step beyond simple censorship because they are actively trying to destroy the information.

liberator5

And the control of information never works, even if the government is involved.  The case of United States v. Progressive Inc. is probably the closest parallel to the current situation, and it pertained to publishing plans to a no-joke nuclear weapon.  And, guess what?  The government gave up the case.  The hilarious story of the RSA “munitions” t-shirt is another example where the FedGov lost.

3D printers are the modern day Gutenberg movable type press, but instead of democratizing knowledge, they democratize power. 3D printing firearms, while still in its infancy today, puts the means for people to defend themselves squarely in the hands of the people – where it always should have belonged in the first place.  How? The ability to download a file and push a button to produce a “functional” – for various definitions of the word – firearm removes licensing and registration and confiscation and all other forms of “gun control” from the table. This is why #StopDownloadableGuns / #Stop3DPrintedGuns ninnies fear it so.

And that is the ultimate irony.

These folks style themselves as the “Resistance” against the current administration, but not only are they wanting to give President Trump more power than he Constitutionally should have, but they want to deny We, The People another means of defending ourselves.

These are frequently – if not invariably – the same people who decry our current President as “literally Hitler”, and they want to remove a rather significant means for the public to defend themselves from being thrown in cattle cars and extermination camps. How ludicrous is that?

(* – Well, the State Department granted them permission, but US District Judge Robert Lasnik, who appears to be more interested in signaling his virtue than obeying the Constitution, granted a temporary restraining order against DefCad.  Not even Judge Lasnik can stop the signal, though, as Code is Free Speech is adequately demonstrating.)

are gun sales down under president trump yet?

About a year ago, I took a look at the notion that firearm sales had gone down during President Trump’s term.  The reality?  Gun sales had, in fact, not gone down, and the average NICS checks per month during his time in office had already overrun President Obama’s numbers by about a third.

Well, here we are about a year later, with a year’s more data; are firearm sales down yet?

Still nope.

AverageMonthlyNICSCheckbyPresident

As before, the information I am examining is the NICS Firearm Background Checks table published by the FBI every month, and, also as before, there is a very important caveat here:

NICS checks are not a track of the total firearm sales in America, for two very significant reasons.

  1. Any number of firearms could be transferred on a single NICS checks.  It could be 1.  It could be 10.
  2. Some states, such as North Carolina, use their carry permit system as a replacement for the NICS background check.  You still have to fill out an ATF Form 4473, but no NICS is run on you.

At best, NICS checks can be considered a “floor” for the data, as in “no fewer than this many new firearms entered circulation in America on these months/years”.

But, still, as I said last year, NICS checks are regarded as the primary metric by both the pro-rights organization and the “gun control” extremists, so it is still a good – if incomplete – measure of overall trends.

And trends are still high:

Screenshot 2018-07-14 at 17.24.43

In fact, those trends are sufficiently high that the drop from the peak month of one year (typically December) to the low month of the following year (typically June or July) has been consistently below average for our current President:

PeakBottomComparison

Now, in fairness, that metric could indicate that NICS checks are constantly trending upwards, on average, or it could indicate that firearm sales are simply leveling off.  So, now that we have another year of data from President Trump’s time in office, let us consider the options.

How about if we look at sales in the equivalent months of each President’s term?  In other words, let us compare the first month of Trump’s term against the first month of Obama’s term, and the first month of Obama’s term against the first month of Bush’s term, and so forth.  Which month had higher NICS checks?

Weeeelllll…

I would put a pretty graphic here, but the honest truth is that there is a grand total of one month – December of 2007 – where the NICS checks were lower than its corresponding month for a previous President (in this case, December of 1999).

In other words, since December of 2006, NICS checks have been higher in a given sequential month of the current President’s term when compared to the equivalent sequential month of the previous President’s term 99.28% of the time.

Alright, TL;DR time:  no, gun sales are not down under President Trump.  Their meteoric increase during the last President’s term appears to have slowed, but that may be nothing more than the establishment of a new normal.

Also, since December of 1998, there have been a total of 291,724,502 NICS checks.  Again, this is not an accounting of firearms sold but it is indicative of one thing:  

There are a lot of firearms in peaceful Americans’ hands, and they are not going anywhere.

(I will upload the source spreadsheet for this as soon as WordPress gets over itself and lets me.  Suffice to say, all I did was take the FBI numbers and put them into a couple of charts.)

arizona concealed weapon permit holders are more law-abiding than average

This week, we will take a look at the state that actually declared the Colt Single Action Army to be their state firearm – Arizona:

ArizonaCWP

Since first starting their Concealed Weapon Permit program on 08SEP94, Arizona has issued 330,776 permits that are still active, while only 4,189 have been suspended and 1,209 have been revoked.

In other words, over the course of the past almost-24 years, Arizona’s CWP has only had a “failure rate” of 0.366%.

To put things in perspective, in 2016 Arizona had a total felonious crime rate of approximately 3,819.5 per 1000,000 residents.

Given that Arizona’s felonious crime rate peaked at about 5,174.9 per 100,000 in 1991, it is quite acceptable to state that the average Concealed Weapons Permit holder is at least 10 times less likely to break a serious law than non-permit-holders.

I keep trying to find new ways to re-word these posts – beyond the obvious state and statistics changes – because Google hates repetitive content.  But I honestly can find only so many ways to say, “The average concealed carry permit holder is significantly more law-abiding than average non-permit-holders.”  And this only makes sense – concealed carry permit holders are background-checked when they get their permits – indicating a lack of criminal history – and know that any minor slip-up will cost them their permits.  But people still treat these statistically-more-responsible as social outcasts, even “safety risks”.

I suppose this just goes to show that “gun control” is not based on facts, but rather hysteria.

i only love that which they defend

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote today’s quote in a work of fiction, pertaining to characters in a world that never existed outside the pages of his books.

Still, I believe they are a sentiment that echos with firearm owners today.  For a large number – possibly verging on “vast majority” – of us, it is not about the firearms.  Oh, sure, they are fun to learn about, and even more fun to use, but in the end, it all boils down to the defense of family, the defense of hearth, and the defense of home.

Sharpness

And, really, you have to wonder why people would want to limit your ability to defend your family, if not outright strip you of it.