Must Be The Guns


shutterstock_129482747Early Monday morning, Carey Gabay, an aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, was shot in the head, apparently by a stray bullet; he is not expected to survive. As member kelsurprise notes on the Member Feed, both Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are already calling for additional gun control measures, despite New York already having some of the least gun-friendly laws in the country:

Seeing as Cuomo’s previous foray into more stringent gun laws bordered on delusional, I’m curious to know what additional measures he thinks will manage to address the criminal element responsible for the majority of gun violence here, while still “protecting the Second Amendment and legitimate gun owners.”

As Jacob Sullum notes at Reason, statistics do not paint the tidy fewer-guns-less-crime picture that gun-grabbers want (if you exclude suicides from the statistics, the numbers are even less useful to them). Moreover , barring the extremely unlikely prospect that the fatal shot was fired by either a NYPD officer or one of the handful of people with the resources and connections to obtain a carry permit in the Big Apple, the killer had already committed multiple crimes before he even drew the weapon.

Obama’s Success: It’s the Institutions, Stupid


Over the past few weeks and months, Obama has been winning. His administration has proved unstoppable on just about every item on its agenda, from environmental and energy regulation to illegal immigration to gay marriage to Obamacare. Indeed, the president recently acknowledged this obliquely, saying that gun control “has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied.” It’s difficult to find any other area where conservatives have held back the progressive tide. The next president will be hard-pressed to contain the damage to our economy, our international interests, and our liberty.

Two competing narratives dominate the 2016 GOP nomination contest. The first stresses competence and experience. Obama, this narrative goes, came to office as a community organizer with no real-world experience and little political experience. He surrounded himself with ignorant young hacks, and has stumbled from one mistake to another. Thus we need to nominate an experienced administrator with a proven record as an executive: no more first-term senators.

Silver Lining to the Rainbow Victory?


Illinoisreview.typepad.comPointing out that the Supreme Court found the right to gay marriage in Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, Bob Owens of Baring Arms seems to have found a silver lining in last Friday’s Obergefell decision. The Court wrote:

“The fundamental liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs…Courts must exercise reasoned judgment in identifying interests of the person so fundamental that the State must accord them its respect. History and tradition guide and discipline the inquiry but do not set its outer boundaries. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.”

There are currently 36 states with “shall issue” firearm license schemes; i.e., one where anyone who meets certain objective criteria must be issued a license. By using the same rationale as the Court used on Friday, those holding valid concealed carry permits must be granted the same protection in places like D.C., Maryland, New Jersey and New York. After all, while the Court had to strain to find its rationale to overthrow 6,000 years of human history, the Second Amendment is right out there for all to see.

The Mainstreaming of Gun Rights


Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 1.33.08 PMYou’ll be forgiven for not appreciating the extent to which gun-rights advocates have enjoyed success comparable to that of same-sex marriage and marijuana decriminalization advocates over the past decade.

With each mass shooting — most recently the racist massacre in Charleston – progressives show a mix of arrogance and disdain: arrogance aboout their own virtue and disdainful of Americans’ exceptional attitude toward guns. But everyone involved knows that when the gun grabbers’ moment in the sun passes, it’s the gun nuts who eventually carry the day.

And they always do.

Governor Christie, You Have A Problem


shutterstock_95092702On Friday, our own Charles C. W. Cooke and Kevin Williamson discussed the latest firearms-related injustice from New Jersey, in which Carol Bowne was murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend — against whom she had a restraining order — while awaiting approval to own a firearm. Cameron Gray ably took the matter up again yesterday, reiterating the injustice New Jersey committed against her.

Amazingly, there was yet more news on the Garden State’s terrible gun laws yesterday: Governor Chris Christie pardoned Steffon Josey-Davis for unlawful possession of a weapon (a felony). More specifically, Josey-Davis was charged and convicted for forgetting to unload his legal handgun and merely securing it in his glove compartment during a harried commute to work as a security guard. Though his legal troubles are now over, his financial ones are not, and his legal defense fund is still taking donations.

This is the third time I am aware of that Christie has intervened on behalf of a generally-lawful citizen — Shaneen Allen and Brian Aitken being the other two — charged with felony weapons violations. Despite the injustice and the fact that no one was actually in danger in these cases, the most unsettling aspect of these cases is that these people got into trouble because of their lawful and responsible instincts: Aitken came to authorities’ attention because his family called the police to say they were worried he might be suicidal, and found the guns he had stored in the trunk because he thought they’d be safer there than in his apartment; and and both Josey-Davis and Aitken would almost certainly have left the scene of their traffic stops with nothing more than a citation had they not disclosed to the arresting officers that they had a weapon on them. As Cooke and others have noted, Carol Bowne died in no small part because she was unwilling to break the law to protect herself.

The (Largely Ignored) Carol Bowne Story


In 2012, Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz claimed that she was raped. The university investigated, and found no evidence for the claim. In protest, Sulkowicz started an art project called “Carry that Weight,” in which she lugged her mattress around campus until her graduation last month. Even after dismissing the claim — and as questions about the veracity of the underlying allegation grew — the school endorsed the project as Sulkowicz’s senior thesis. Soon, images of her carrying her mattress went viral, and she became an international feminist icon. Many stories were written about her on sites like Salon, Jezebel, and Cosmopolitan. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand invited her to the State of the Union speech. Even fellow feminist icon and Girls star Lena Dunham tweeted her support:

Another Win for the Second Amendment


shutterstock_166788203Future historians will undoubtedly note two great ironies of the leftmost administration since Lyndon Johnson: that President Obama’s tenure coincided with (1) massive increases in domestic fossil fuel production and (2) historic expansions of the Second Amendment.

The latest incident happened on Monday, when U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. issued a preliminary injunction against Washington DC’s may-issue rules for concealed carry permits. Under the rules formerly in place, residents had to show not only that they had generally good reasons to wish to protect themselves, but positive proof that they had been specifically threatened:

A person shall demonstrate a good reason to fear injury to his or her person by showing a special need for self-protection distinguishable from the general community as supported by evidence of specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life. 24 D.C.M.R. § 2333.1

When Ronald Reagan was Shot


notePage1-1200Some of you may have seen this already; the Dallas Morning News published this four days ago, but if you’ve got a Sunday morning free to read, this is gripping. It’s a really well-researched account of George H. W. Bush’s role in the days after Reagan was shot.

Whenever I see a good, in-depth article like this called a “longread” by the paper it’s in, I sigh–this was once the length of any good piece of investigative reporting. Its very hard to say anything new or useful about something like this in fewer words.

Anyway, that was your daily middle-aged kvetch about kids these days and their short attention spans. Lots in this piece I’d never known before, and lots of details struck me as evidence of how much has changed since then. This is an event I remember vividly, but to many Americans alive now, I guess it’s just history, something that happened before they were born:.

A Nice Little Fiefdom


cc_application_pic_500x333We’ve had a few discussions before about the proper size and scope of local government. While I agree that keeping government local has multiple advantages — e.g., ease of response to complaints, ability to fit local needs better, relative ease of voting with one’s feet, etc. — this case out of Rhode Island furthers my feeling that those advantages only go so far and that we shouldn’t understate the degree to which local governments can still abridge citizens’ rights.

In Rhode Island, licenses to carry a concealed weapon are issued through local police departments, which have great discretion over their issuance. Some towns and cities are relatively liberal in issuing licenses, while others make it nearly impossible for the average citizen to protect himself with a firearm outside of the home. East Providence appears to be one of the latter: by former Chief Joseph H. Tavares’ own admission, no license to carry a concealed weapon had been issued within the last decade in his city of 47,000 people with slightly below-average income rates and rather dull crime stats.

In the early winter of 2012, resident Norman Gadomski Jr. applied for a CCW license, citing his desire to protect himself while handling cash at work, cycling, and camping, as well as his intent to join a Massachusetts gun club (the Rhode Island license would allow him to apply for a non-resident license from Massachusetts). He filed the paperwork, submitted to an interview, and disclosed that he had been arrested twice as an adult: once for possession of alcohol before being of age, once for some kind of property damage. Both arrests were made more than 20 years earlier and both were dismissed after the young Gadomski agreed to pay the Witness Fund and court fees.