All posts by Carl Bussjaeger

Author: Net Assets, Bargaining Position, The Anarchy Belt, and more

Forgotten Memo: KSTP’s mysterious bump stock doc

A week ago, Minnesota television station KSTP ran with a story about a mysterious “federal memo” allegedly being sent to law enforcement agencies and Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL) regarding bump-fire stocks.

Aside from pages waved about on camera by reporter Beth McDonough, no one else has seen the memo. KSTP still declines to publish it, paraphrase the contents (if they’re protecting a source), or even say who signed it and when. Apparently the DOJ denies sending such a memo.

David Codrea and I have been trying to get KSTP to publish it, to no avail. McDonough, the reporter for KSTP who “broke” the news of the memo, was asked for a statement for-the-record on why KSTP will not publish the alleged memo.

She, and the station declined to respond. -crickets-

So what can we tell about this memo? All I’ve seen of what seems to be the document is the handful of pages in McDonough’s hand on screen. A screenshot of the documents doesn’t tell me much; too low resolution. It looks vaguely like ATF letterhead.

Compare this…

…to these real examples.

The logo on the KSTP letter could be the ATF seal, but it’s set far lower on the page than the examples. Other things like the divider line, addresses, and control numbers which I might expect, don’t seem to be there. But, again, the image quality is poor.

It strikes me as something a person might have scanned from real letters on the Internet, then pasted into their own word processor. Maybe someone with the ATF, maybe a prankster.

All the “information” which McDonough mentions sounds straight out of the November 28, 2018 CNN report citing “a senior Justice Department official.”

Over at ar15.com user “AT7” has apparently found a better resolution image, and reports

The memo is addressed to “Special Agents in Charge”

It is from a person in “Fiscal Operations”

Subject is “bump stock type device” with two more words, possibly “abandonment process”. It is dated November 24 2018.

FFLs generally not being SACs, it’s hardly surprising that no FFL (including several at ar15.com, as well as Georgia and Ohio FFLs contacted) have seen this memo.

So what does KSTP have, and where did it come from? What does it say?

They aren’t telling.

KSTP’s silence on a story of major national interest is peculiar, to say the least.

 

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Worst year for school shootings?

Supposedly we’ve had a 60% jump in school “violence.” Something must be done, right?

2018 is worst year on record for gun violence in schools, data shows
This year has been by far the worst on record for gun violence in schools, the advocacy group Sandy Hook Promise said, citing research by the US Naval Postgraduate School (NPS).

The NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security , a near 60% increase on the previous high, 59, an unwanted record set in 2006.

No. That’s utter crap. I wanted to check the NPS “shooting” raw data. The very first one I semi-randomly selected (wanted something recent) was a guy who drove around town and shot out windows randomly — and happened to include a school — with a BB gun.

What has increased dramatically is news reporting of incidents, and false inclusion of non-firearm/non-violent incidents with no specific relation to schools.

After the very first “incident” I checked was garbage, I couldn’t make myself waste any more time fact-checking what is clearly just another agenda-driven database chock full of BS. Feel free to do your own checks.

 

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About that “federal memo” on bump stocks

A few days ago, KSTP in Minnesota reported that they “obtained a federal memo detailing the new ban on bump stocks.”

The memo, circulated by the Department of Justice, is being sent to law enforcement agencies and gun shops with a federal firearms license.

This topic is of great interest to me, so I was disappointed that they didn’t publish a copy of the memo. I wrote to the reporter and suggested they do so. Failing that, I asked for a copy.

-crickets-

Then they published a new story.

Feds mum on bump stock ban memo obtained by KSTP
The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives in Washington, D.C. declined to comment on a memo, obtained by KSTP on Monday, detailing a new federal ban on the sale and possession of bump stocks.

But they still won’t publish the memo.

Oddly enough, I haven’t seen any other reports — news, forum, or blog — about any FFLs getting the memo. So… off to a few of my local gun stores.

No FFL dealer I spoke to has received the supposed memo. Not “We can neither confirm nor deny,” but “Nope. Haven’t seen anything like that at all.” Nothing about bump-fire or bans. One even pointed out that if a guidance memo had been sent to thousands of FFLs there is no reason not to publish it.

I asked folks to check with FFLs in their own areas. As yet, nothing; no report of an FFL receiving KSTP’s mysterious memo.

Did KSTP get suckered, or misinterpret what they got? If it’s real, is it somehow “classified” such that FFLs can’t or won’t admit having it yet (would that even be legal)?

If the former, KSTP should admit it.

In the latter case, I think Americans should definitely see what plans the feds wish kept secret. And KSTP should definitely publish it (with necessary redactions to protect the source).

If you have seen this memo, please forward a copy to me. Again, you can redact your identifying information, or I can and will do so. I will not reveal the source without your permission.

 

Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar. He could really use the money, what with truck repairs and recurring bills. And the rabbits need feed. Truck insurance, lest I be forced to sell it. Click here to donate via PayPal.
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Math is hard

The wisdom of Tom Arnold.

OK, with 80 to 120+ million gun owners in America… times .8…

That would be 64,000,000 to 96,000,000 shootings. Is that per year, Tommie?

Maybe it’s over the course of the gun owner’s life. …men average around 75 years, so…

That would be 853,333 to 1,280,000 shootings per year.

According to Everytown for More Violence (who notoriously look for the worst possible numbers of shootings) we only manage 124,761. That’s everything: homicide, suicide, accidents… the whole enchilada.

That’s less than one-tenth (0.097) to fifteen-hundreths (0.146) of Herr Professor Arnold’s (Ph.D. Remedial Common Core Mathematics) carefully researched, scientific, wild-assed guesstimate.

Darn it! Who’s slacking off?

Added for the benefit of Einstein Arnold: Total shootings — not self and family — are a fraction of his claim on self/family alone. I’m not even going to look up the lower self-inflicted and domestic violence numbers (but you can derive some of them from the Everytown link above).

 

Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar. He could really use the money, what with truck repairs and recurring bills. And the rabbits need feed. Truck insurance, lest I be forced to sell it. Click here to donate via PayPal.
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Bump-Fire Rule Pending

For some reason, the coming rule banning bump-fire stocks is all over the news, as if it’s something new. Maybe it is to some of these people, but The Zelman Partisans have been on this since October of last year.

The only new data I see is this bit from CNN, which does appear to answer one question.

Under the new rule, bump stock owners would be required to destroy or surrender the devices to authorities. Members of the public will be given 90 days to turn in or otherwise discard their bump stocks, according to a source familiar with the final rule.

Instead of making instant NFA felons out of bump-fire stock owners, they’ll have 90 days to get rid of their expensive gadgets.

How generous.

Earlier this month I noted an amusing typo in the rule notice.

It is anticipated that the rule will cost $129,222,483 million in the first year (the year with the highest costs).

ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY-NINE TRILLION, TWO HUNDRED-TWENTY-TWO BILLION, FOUR HUNDRED-EIGHTY-THREE MILLION EFFING DOLLARS.

I expected that “typo” to be fixed once I brought it to their attention (and people laughed). I stand corrected: It is not a typographical error.

I believe that must be the anticipated litigation cost of defending a rule based on an outright lie, and contradicting US Code, against hundreds of thousands of bump-fire stock owners (a guesstimate based on other folks’ guesstimates of more than half a million stocks in circulation).

 

Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar. He could really use the money, what with truck repairs and recurring bills. And the rabbits need feed. Truck insurance, lest I be forced to sell it. Click here to donate via PayPal.
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Oh, puck it.

I thought the school that put buckets of rocks in the classrooms to “protect” students was pretty bad… and dumber than a box of rocks, as the saying goes.

The school that asked students to bring in canned goods for the purpose was worse (and in violation of their own “no weapons” rules).

But this: A university, full of putative adults, some of whom could lawfully carry effective weapons if allowed

Puck it.

No; I mean it. They’ll puck up an active shooter.

Faculty trained to use hockey pucks to thwart shooters
Faculty members at Oakland University in suburban Detroit have received hockey pucks and are being trained to use them to potentially thwart active shooters.
[…]
The faculty union also is working with student groups to distribute an additional 1,700 pucks to students.

You know what would work? Letting the honest folks carry guns for defense. 10 out of 10 dead murderers never re-offend.

Maybe I’ve misunderstood the situation. Could they be doing something so suicidally ridiculous to call lawmakers’ attention to the fact that they’ve rendered campuses into helpless-target rich environments?


Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar. He could really use the money, what with truck repairs and recurring bills. And the rabbits need feed. Truck insurance, lest I be forced to sell it. Click here to donate via PayPal.
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NY SPY Act: S. 9191

While people are starting to take notice of the New York bill that would include social media in licensing background checks, most seem to missing an important point or two.

When I first heard about this being draft, I asked, “Realizing you’re politicians, & thus insane, I ask: HOW are you going to see a 1YR Internet search history?”

The bill has been filed, and my question semi-answered.

NY: S09191 Summary: Relates to requiring social media and search engine reviews prior to the approval of an application or renewal of a license to carry or possess a pistol or revolver

Here is the most relevant part:

54 deem appropriate. In order to ascertain whether any social media
55 account or search engine history of an applicant presents any good cause
56 for the denial of a license, the investigating officer shall, after

S. 9191 3

1 obtaining the applicant’s consent pursuant to subdivision three of this
2 section, and obtaining any log-in name, password or other means for
3 accessing a personal account, service, or electronic communications
4 device necessary to review such applicant’s social media accounts and
5 search engine history, review an applicant’s social media accounts for
6 the previous three years and search engine history for the previous year
7 and investigate an applicant’s posts or searches related to (i) commonly
8 known profane slurs or biased language used to describe the race, color,
9 national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age,
10 disability or sexual orientation of a person; (ii) threatening the
11 health or safety of another person; (iii) an act of terrorism; or (iv)
12 any other issue deemed necessary by the investigating officer. For the
13 purposes of this subdivision, “social media accounts” shall only include
14 Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram, and “search engine” shall
15 only include Google, Yahoo and Bing.

I’ll just get this part out of the way, so I can move on to the real problems (not that this isn’t pretty bad): “[K]nown profane slurs or biased language;” also known as protected speech, unless it involves a direct threat, or actual slander/libel. I see 1st Amendment issues if they deny a licensed based on protected speech they don’t like. Especially if they don’t know what “niggardly” means.

It’s almost as if Sen. Parker set out to shred the 1st Amendment, as well as the 2nd.

Now, as to how they would check for bad-think… We don’t know. This bill says what, but doesn’t specify the process, the how.

obtaining the applicant’s consent pursuant to subdivision three of this section, and obtaining any log-in name, password or other means for accessing a personal account, service, or electronic communications device necessary to review such applicant’s social media accounts and search engine history…

You have to give them your usernames and passwords. Not just for your social media accounts, but to your phone and/or computer. That’s how they’ll be able to see your browser search history. When you hand over your phone and computer; as that’s the only reason they would need the computer logon for themselves.

When you surrender your device, make them sign a receipt with the date and time. Send the state a bill for the time. It may be useful in other ways, too, as you’ll see.

Or your boss’s computer. I can tell from web site logs (I’m an admin for several sites) that a lot of people appear to be using company computers, which matches personal in-office observations over the years. If you’ve been surfing at work, you’ll need to let them search that computer, too. I wonder how companies are going to react to that, what with proprietary files and all.

I see no mention of controls to prevent them playfully scanning through all your directories in search of… oh, financial data, HIPAA-protected medical information, your porn stash, whatever.

But let’s say the thugs are just looking at your iPhone. Is the plan to check search engine history, then hand it back to you? When do they check years of multiple social media posts? Will they use your passwords to login from your phone, or from their own computers?

If they use yours… well, that puts you out-of-pocket for a phone for quite some time. And speaking of time…. air time. Are they going to burn your air time, or provide WiFi at their expense?

I also wonder about “search engine history.” Do they differentiate between that and browser history? When checking referral search terms, I see a lot of people entering URLs (“http://www.whatever.com/index2.html”) into the search engine instead of the browser address bar. Do these politicians know the difference, or are they like people I’ve met who said their browser is “Google”?

But either way, will they follow a URL entered into the search engine to see if it really is “profane” or “biased”? What if it turns out to be a URL for a medical appointment schedule, or your online banking account? I think they’ll run afoul of HIPAA again, or federal banking laws.

And if your browser cache is part of the “history” they think is from search engines…

On the other hand, if their techno-probing is that comprehensive, there would be some wonderful opportunities for malicious compliance. If they follow URLs…

One might prepare for the probing by loading up on every Russian malware site on the Internet. If the authorities use your computer/phone for the search, have your java/ad/malware blockers turned off, then sue the hell out of them for rendering your device useless. If they download the history files to their own computer and start browsing, they’ll infect themselves.

Or My Little Pony and brony sites; that might be worse.

All in all, it would safer — for the goons — to use your device. In which case, if your computer skills are up to hacking file properties, and you’re willing to take a chance…

Install an incriminating file — child porn is extremely risky, so you might want to use ISIS videos and bomb-making instructions — with creation/access properties showing it appeared on your device while it was in the goons’ custody (you got that receipt, right?). When you get your device back, “find” it and report that someone was being very naughty with your stuff. Child porn and terrorism can fall within the feds’ purview, so report this unlawful activity by NY cops to the FBI.

And watch the great state of New York try to explain it.

Depending on how they pull the history data from your device, other options might be available. It would be a darned shame if they plugged into a USB port and sucked everything out of your browser profile folder.

Including all the trojans and worms you thoughtlessly left there.

I could probably monkeywrench without doing anything special. I don’t use Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Google, Yahoo or Bing. I can imagine a brain-dead bureaucrat going nuts trying to find them on my device. I don’t like being tracked, so I routinely delete my entire browser history. If they stick to only what’s listed in this bill, all they would see from me is a series of Twitter posts making fun of idiots, including state Senator Parker himself.

No doubt that will be “biased language used to describe his mental disability.” There’s a reason I refuse to live in New York.


Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar. He could really use the money, what with truck repairs and recurring bills. And the rabbits need feed. Truck insurance, lest I be forced to sell it. Click here to donate via PayPal.
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Another Country Heard From: Mere Suggestions

On the one hand, you might think this is good news for NY staters.

Some NY agencies to stop enforcing gun law
When the SAFE Act became law, it emerged as one of the most controversial pieces of legislation on the books in New York.
[…]
In Erie County, including in Buffalo, people kept getting charged with a crime under that part of the law even though federal judges had struck it down.
[…]
Those defendants will soon see those charges dropped, said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.

And in the future, that charge will no longer be prosecuted in the county under his administration, according to Flynn.

Charges dismissed. Excellent.

On the other hand, the provision was struck down years ago. Why were they enforcing it at all?

On the gripping hand…

Rulings from federal courts below the U.S. Supreme Court ARE NOT BINDING ON STATE AGENCIES, so the 2013 and 2015 rulings on this part of the SAFE Act amount to MERE SUGGESTIONS, according to Flynn. It is up to individual county district attorneys to decide whether they will abide by the rulings of federal judges, he said.

Federal court rulings are not binding? Since when?

It isn’t like he’s in one federal court district, and the ruling came down from the other district. The ruling against the magazine limit (7 rounds in a 10-round magazine) was upheld by the 2nd Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. the 2nd Circuit covers the entire state, not to mention Connecticut and Vermont.

Yes, rulings are binding, if we still have a system of law, if New York (and Erie County) are still part of the United States of America.

It’s… nice that Flynn decided to obey the court. This time. But I’m deeply troubled by a district attorney who thinks it’s optional. Not according to the Constitution, Article III, Section 1.

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

And Section 2.

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;— between a State and Citizens of another State,—between Citizens of different States,—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

States do not get to pick and choose with which “suggestions” they feel like complying. For instance, if the folks convicted under that unconstitutional provision were to sue in federal court for deprivation of rights under color of law, and win, Flynn doesn’t get to say, “Nah. We ain’t paying up. The Constitution doesn’t apply to us.”

Unless he’s acknowledging that he has seceded from the Union. Perhaps Flynn sees federal taxes as optional as well.


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Another Licensing Proposal

Thomas Gabor, a Canadian pontificating on US policy, thinks we can solve all our firearms crime problems by registering, taxing, folding, stamping, spindling, and mutilating gun honest gun owners. Sort of.

Point of View: U.S. needs a more comprehensive licensing system to curtail mass shootings
A central theme of gun rights advocates is that gun laws are futile as “bad guys” will simply get around any background check system by buying their guns on the illicit market. However, in many recent mass shootings — Thousand Oaks, Pittsburgh, Parkland, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs (Texas), Orlando, Charleston — the shooters obtained their weapons legally from licensed firearms dealers after passing the FBI’s background check system (NICS). They either had no criminal records or had run-ins with the law that were not recorded in the FBI’s databases.

This “criminologist” proceeds to explain that comprehensive, universal, and astonishingly arbitrary firearm owner licensing will solve everything “mass shootings”.

Note the immediate bait and switch: When rights advocates suggest criminals will just break more laws, Gabor suddenly points and exclaims, “Look! Over there! Mass shooting!” And pretends the issue was never more general.

By suddenly shifting the discussion to “recent mass shootings,” he deflects attention from the simple facts that 63% of murderers using firearms had prior felony convictions, and that over 93% of firearms used in crimes are obtained through unlawful channels bypassing background checks. By focusing on a few high profile crimes (and ignoring shootings such as Sante Fe where the firearms were obtained illegally; and mischaracterizing the Sutherland Springs and Charleston shooters who did not obtain their weapons legally), he rationalizes licensing that cannot and will not deter the overwhelming majority of gun-armed criminals already ignoring laws.

His proposed licensing system is quite general though. Besides universal background checks preemptively-prove-your-innocence prior restraint on all sales, he wants:

I recommend a comprehensive licensing system that would identify signs of troubling behavior beyond criminal records. Law enforcement would interview license applicants, consult references, and examine criminal, military, and mental health records. Spouses or ex-spouses would be notified of the application and could inform authorities of disturbing behavior.

Applicants would receive police training and testing in the proper use of force, safe handling of firearms and marksmanship. A 15-day waiting period would preclude gun purchases by those in the midst of a crisis. The license would apply for five years and a fee would support the licensing process.

We already know none of that will deter the vast majority of killers, but maybe it will work on those inclined to commit massacres.

For the record, Russia has far more draconian licensing laws than even Gabor is advocating. They don’t seem to have worked very well. I suppose Russia doesn’t count since gun controllers always leave it out of the comparisons between developed nations.

Norway seems pretty developed, and has licensing similar to Gabor’s concept.

In fact, Norway ranks higher than the US for mass shootings.

Hmm… Maybe we should check Gabor’s own Canada.

Oops. And look at those restrictions.

Gabor’s proposal fails cost (loss of constitutional guaranteed rights):benefit (fewer firearms fatalities) analysis.


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Nuke us till we glow, and shoot us in the dark?

With the Democrats winning a House majority, we have been warned to expect a lot of gun control laws, with firearms bans topping their evil wishlist. Back in May, the psychotic Rep. Swalwell [D-CA] penned an op-ed, giving us a heads-up on their intent.

Instead, we should ban possession of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons, we should buy back such weapons from all who choose to abide by the law, and we should criminally prosecute any who choose to defy it by keeping their weapons. The ban would not apply to law enforcement agencies or shooting clubs.

My response at the time was an email asking how he planned to enforce his totalitarian wetdream. He declined to explain.

Now we know. While Alison Airies was satisfied with stop & frisk, followed up with summary public execution, Swalwell is willing to go a bit farther.

For some reason, that May column started making the rounds again, folks apparently thinking it was published last week.

Joe Briggs tweeted an observation regarding the consequences of the ban.

So basically @RepSwalwell wants a war. Because that’s what you would get. You’re outta your fucking mind if you think I’ll give up my rights and give the gov all the power.

Swalwell, war criminal-in-waiting, explained how he would manage it.

And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit. I’m sure if we talked we could find common ground to protect our families and communities.

By Friday afternoon, the nutjob was backtracking.

Joe, it’s sarcasm. He said he’s going to war with America if gun legislation was passed. I told him his government has nukes. God forbid we use sarcasm

No; Briggs said Swalwell’s attempt to massively violate the human/civil rights of tens of millions of Americans would spark a war, one started by the government. Which it would. Swalwell replied with the threat of overwhelming military force against civilians, demonstrating another bit of profound ignorance about other laws he’d have to change.

Sarcasm would be something along the lines of, “Well gee; everyone knows all the evil gun owners will meekly surrender their expensive property to the police state, so force won’t required.” Or, as he tweeted later:

But you seem like a reasonable person. If an assault weapons ban happens, I’m sure you’ll follow law.

That’s sarcasm. The threat of military force was not sarcasm. That was an explicit threat against innocent civilians.

Swalwell is unhinged. He is mentally ill. He has posted a threat more serious than those incriminating social media posts of recent mass shooters. He should be removed from office, and involuntarily committed as a danger to others.

It’s worth noting that this nuke-threatening politician is considering a Presidential run in 2020, potentially giving him access to the nuclear football.


Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar. He could really use the money, what with truck repairs and recurring bills. And the rabbits need feed. Truck insurance, lest I be forced to sell it. Click here to donate via PayPal.
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Ed. note: This commentary appeared first in TZP’s weekly email alert. If you would like to be among the first to see new commentary (as well as to get notice of new polls and recaps of recent posts), please sign up for our alert list. (See sidebar or, if you’re on a mobile device, scroll down). Be sure to respond when you receive your activation email!

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