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Estimating Firearms Ownership: A possible direct measurement, and a possible problem

Someone recently stumbled upon a way to estimate firearms ownership in America; a method which I don’t recall seeing used in any published research.

Real estate listings.

It seems a great many online real estate listings with interior photographs show numerous firearms, racks, hunting trophies, reloading equipment, and other direct and indirect indicators of firearms possession, presumably lawful since listers are comfortable with posting the images publicly.

This was a narrow sample of America: single-family dwellings in rural portions of a specific state. But examining a wider selection might be fruitful.

Some advantages of using real estate listings for such an estimate include:

  • Listings can show geographic distribution down to the neighborhood (but it might too cumbersome to go below the county level).
  • Other studies have associated geographic location with political leanings; this could cross-referenced to suggest a firearms ownership/politics correlation which is usually assumed.
  • Likewise could a demographic (race, ethnicity, etc.) be more accurately established.
  • Asking/sale prices may be a proxy for the owner’s economic status.

Sadly, I lack the resources to fund such a study. Nor do I have the knowledge of statistics to conduct it personally. But this is data — if it can be reliably inferred — would be very valuable to many people.

That said, I have to ask: WTF?

A common criticism of telephonic surveys on firearms ownership is, “I’m not going to tell a total stranger on the phone what guns — or other valuables — I have. Maybe it’s really a burglar screening for lucrative targets.”

So why would you post photos, or let your real estate agent do so, of your firearms (or other equipment indicating their presence) complete with your address?


Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar. He could use the money, what with truck repairs and recurring bills.

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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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Bump-Fire Ballot Stuffing

As noted earlier, the victim disarmers are hoping to make a lot of last minute pro-ban comments on the “Bump-Stock Type Device” ban rulemaking proposal.

They are now swarming.

If you have not yet commented, this would be a good time to do so. Remember, convincing the ATF not to implement the rule would be great, but by commenting, you can at least let them know we’re watching. Closely.

Direct commenting link.

Comments are due by June 27, 2018, at 11:59 PM ET.


Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar. He could use the money, what with truck repairs and bills.

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A referral, not an endorsement

I have a column posted at my personal blog. It espouses a position not endorsed by The Zelman Partisans, which is why it’s on my blog. But I would like people to read it and think about it, and TZP does get more traffic than Random Acts of Gibberish.

Stop Pelosi? What difference does it make?

“Here’s the worst part: Anti-gun Democrats have a SIX-point lead on the generic ballot. It’s time to rally the patriots of the Silent Majority.”

“Will you pledge to keep the House of Representatives out of the hands of Nancy Pelosi?”

As opposed to anti-gun Republicans? Here’s the real problem. Democrats are anti-RKBA for obvious reasons. But so are the Republicans.

For the Republicans, the excuse is always “law and order,” and public safety. Officer safety. Looking like they “care.”

Read the whole thing.

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A license to kill

I know I’m a little behind here, but I wrote to the author of this silly column and wanted to give him a chance to reply.

-crickets-

A Gun Nut’s Guide to Gun Control That Works
The idea is simple but powerful: a federally issued license for simple possession of all semi-automatic firearms. This license would allow us to carefully vet civilian access to semi-automatic weapons, while overriding state-specific weapon bans and eliminating some of the federal paperwork that ties specific firearms to specific owners.

As a gun owner who is active in RKBA circles, I found this federal semiautomatic firearm licensing proposal extremely interesting. I think testing on a small scale to work out the bugs is a good idea. And there will be issues, as the low compliance rate with the NYSAFE licensing requirement has shown.

Since Stokes’ concern is crime, I propose testing his concept on the small subset of Americans responsible for that crime, before implementing it on 55-120 million noncriminal gun owners. 10,000 or so murderers would be a more manageable test group; and it would be cheaper to implement.

In order to reduce crime through licensing, his plan will definitely have to take certain factors into account.

According to DOJ data, approximately 88% of firearms used in crime are stolen. 64% of murderers are prohibited persons by way of prior felony convictions, and more are prohibited through domestic violence misdemeanors, adjudications of mental illness, and other disqualifiers. (My own informal survey of media reports shows that roughly 80% of murders are prohibited for one reason or another, just based on quick web searches; it could be higher since all court transactions wouldn’t turn up in such a public news search.)

Inmate surveys have shown that most criminals obtain their firearms through friends or family members (who might be expected to be aware of the person prohibited status) or blackmarket street transactions. Less than 10% lawfully obtained their firearms. (Anecdotal data from my own time as a peace officer supports those findings.)

If Stokes can devise a licensing system that will induce those already prohibited persons to register and license themselves, and to comply with existing laws on firearms possession, I think he’ll have proven his thesis, and we can expand it to all Ameri…

-snort- -giggle-

Of course, he’ll also have to find a way to work around the Supreme Court’s HAYNES decision, which found that felons cannot be required to self-incriminate. A prohibited person applying for a firearms license would tend to do that.

Once he’s managed that, he should be able to address the compliance problem among once-lawful gun owners. In the 1990s, California saw a whopping 2.33% compliance rate with “assault weapon” registration. The NY SAFE Act yielded a slightly better 4.45% compliance rate. Connecticut gun owners are a little more obedient. That state saw a huge “assault weapon” registration 13.44% compliance rate, although they must have been disappointed with the “high capacity” magazine registration 4% compliance rate.

The compliance rate on California’s latest registration scheme should be interesting.

Of course, since no one knows how many firearms are out there, where they are, or who has them, determining compliance is going to be tough. Stokes might need to resort to Alison Airies’ proposal to use the NSA to monitor all Americans for firearms ownership indicators and search all suspects’ homes, with no-warrant follow-up searches and friskings.

Hey, if they’re going to rape the Second Amendment, they might as well scrap the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth. Then, when all the gun owners have been eliminated from their police state, they can over the empty homes, taking care of the Third.

And then there’s malicious compliance.

Somehow, these grand plans never take into account the old problem of inducing criminals to obey the law, before wasting money registering the tens of millions of people who are not the problem.


Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar. He could use the money, what with truck repairs and bills.

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It’s only cognitive dissonance if you’re cognitive

…of the contradiction between this goal…

Arizona students plan to occupy state Capitol with ‘die-in’ for gun control
Students with the March for Our Lives movement said they plan to occupy several buildings at the Arizona Capitol on Friday to demand Gov. Doug Ducey support stricter gun-control laws.

…and this accompanying image.

March For Our Lives protesters demand “their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools and communities” march at the Arizona State Capitol on Mar. 24, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Perhaps they’ve forgotten that it was a citizen shot by a cop that sparked the “Hands up, don’t shoot” BS, not a shooting by the people they want disarmed.


Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar. He could use the money, what with truck repairs and bills.

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Poll: Do you care about bump-fire?

Recently, I’ve put a fair amount of my time into tracking bump-fire bans, new rulemaking and legislation alike. I’ve noticed thatrelatively few people seem to be speaking about the subject, and the majority of those who bring it up at all indicate that bump-fire stocks (and trigger cranks, etc.) aren’t worth bothering with.

Obviously, I disagree with that assessment.

Web site traffic analysis also indicates that bump-fire is a low-interst topic.

What do you think? Am I wasting my time and yours? This a two-parter; two separate, but related, polls.

 

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POLL: What’s your best guess what a “large-capacity ammunition cartridge” might be?

The Richmond, VA school board recently adopted a resolution that calls upon Congress to:

“ban the manufacture, sale, purchase, possession, and use of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition cartridges, except those needed by the military and law enforcement.”

In all my decades of personal, military, peace officer, and private security officer experience, I have never encountered a “large-capacity ammunition cartridge.” I have no idea what it might be.

I tried to ask the RPS school board, but the only member who would even reply — Jonathan Young was unwillingly or unable to define the term.

I asked Justin Mattingly, the reporter who wrote the story about the resolution adoption, if he could get clarification on that.

-crickets-

What’s your best guess what a “large-capacity ammunition cartridge” might be?

So far, we’ve got:

  • .50 caliber cartridge
  • A shoulder thing that goes up.
  • A ten yard belt?
  • Obviously another definition written by Jeff Sessions DOJ.
  • call BATFE … they know it all [they just think everything is a machinegun -cb]
  • 8″/55 (20.3 cm) Mark 71
  • One holding more than 10 gallons?
  • 155mm artillery round has capcity
  • A high caliber ammunition drum clip?
  • does not exist
  • I vote M829A4 round for the M1 Abrams
  • a “pancho villa” cartridge belt??
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Poll: Carry in California

The Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards are afraid “that people who can legally carry concealed guns in their home states could do the same” in California if Congress passes reciprocal carry legislation. The thought of hordes of law-abiding people swarming the state apparently terrifies them. But that presupposes that law-abiding people who want to routinely carry concealed want to go to California, which I can personally attest isn’t necessarily the case.

If you are a non-Californian with a CCW license do you have any interest in traveling to California with your sidearm?

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Bullshit, NSSF: It is gun control

NSSF: Fix NICS Act is ‘Not Gun Control’
Fix NICS is Not Gun Control

Unlike restrictions on semi-automatic rifles or magazine capacity, Fix NICS is not a “gun control” measure, no matter how some opportunistic co-sponsors on that side of the gun debate may choose to characterize the bill.

Yes. It is.

It is a prior restraint on the exercise of a constitutionally protected right. It requires one to preemptively prove his innocence.

It denies Second Amendment rights completely to arbitrary classes: unapproved users of arbitrary substances regardless of legality at state level, or even if such use has never been associated with other mala in se criminal activity by that person.

It requires such a person above to choose between perjury or self-incrimination in violation of the HAYNES Supreme Court decision, in order to exercise his Second Amendment rights.

It denies Second Amendment rights completely to those convicted of an arbitrary definition of misdemeanor domestic violence, including imposing an ex post facto punishment of permanent prohibited person status decades after the fact. (I say arbitrary, because it’s only “domestic violence” depending on which person with whom you were in a close relationship.) The vast majority of criminal convictions in America come through plea bargains, in which the defendant often gives up, settling for lesser punishment, just to save the hassle. It has been documented that some who made plea arrangements have later been proved innocent.

In a similar manner, appellate judges have tossed pled-down convictions of lawful immigrants because the immigrants were unaware that their punishment could subject them to deportation. Yet a “domestic violence” offender was supposed to know in the 1970s that a 1997 law would cause his punishment to include a permanent abrogation of rights.

It has denied Second Amendment rights completely to unconvicted “fugitives” even as — similarly to the above real world scenario — a federal court has ruled that it an unconstitutional violation of right to deny welfare payments to the same “fugitives.”

It denied Second Amendment rights completely to people arbitrarily placed in NICS databases by the Veterans Administration and Social Security Administration without the due process and adjudication required by federal law.

It denies Second Amendment rights completely to people subject to “Extreme Risk Protection Orders specifically designed to avoid any adjudication until after the abrogation of rights.

So why do it?

In truth, the legislation is based on the previous state-level work of the firearms industry to improve a system put into place nearly two decades ago. Ever since its inception, NICS has been hamstrung by the systemic failure to include all necessary disqualifying records in its database.

For the industry. Not honest gun owners.

It’s is unlawful to knowingly sell a firearm to a prohibited person. The industry wanted NICS check purely to cover their own asses. Much as corporate America requires would-be employees to pee in a cup to cover their asses under the Drug-Free Workplace Act’s requirement that they make “an ongoing, good faith effort to maintain a drug-free workplace by meeting the requirements of the Act,” the industry wanted to make customers fill out intrusive forms to meet the 18 U.S. Code § 922 restrictions on sales. NICS made it even better — for the industry — by shifting responsibility for granting permission to the FBI.

CYA. Liability. Not because they had a bunch of felons and psychos strolling in to buy guns. By a 2001 study, by 1997 roughly 87% of criminals bypassed stores to get their weapons from friends, family or illegal street sources. (side note: a mere 0.7% obtained them from gun shows.)

Approximately 88% of firearms used in crimes are stolen, while 64% of murderers had prior felony convictions. They weren’t buying those stolen guns from FFLs and filling out 4473s.

We know they aren’t doing that, just from the NICS denial numbers.

In 2016, there were 27,538,673 NICS transactions processed. There 120,497 denials (0.4%). At least 30,000 thousand of those are under appeal. Historically, around 93% of denials have been found to be false positives.

There have been 1,393,729 denials since the NICS program began in 1998. Five percent of that — proper denials — would be 69,686.

Last time I checked, there were 147 referrals for prosecutions. 147 in almost two decades. Those aren’t numbers indicating a need to keep criminals from shopping in gun stores.

(The 2016 NICS report says the top reason for overturned denials is that they got the wrong person: that with name, address, sex, date of birth, place of birth, and SSAN, they still couldn’t tell the buyer from some prohibited person with a similar name. Another top reason is that the NICS databases simply had the wrong — often outdated — information on the person.)

Those overturned denials are people whose Second Amendment human/civil rights were denied through a gun control measure.

Those numbers say the program serves no purpose… except to cover the industry’s ass. At the customers’ and taxpayers’ expense: At a typical $25 for a NICS check, the industry pocketed $5,077,150 on this year’s Black Friday alone, just to make a phone call. The FBI is requesting $8.9 million in the FY2018 budget for NICS.

NICS is a demonstrably useless prior restraint of human/civil rights. It benefits only the firearms industry and anti-RKBA control freaks.

And the NSSF knows it. Or this would never have happened:

Several years ago, a friend was invited to an NSSF-sponsor media education event, where the visitors were given a talk on firearms, a Q&A session, and range time to see what shooting guns was really like. My friend attended.

So did I. Combining errands into one trip, she brought her children along, so I came to babysit during the NSSF program. During the shooting session, the NSSF rep noticed me at the back of the room outside the firing line (where I was trying to keep the kids quietly occupied) and asked if I wasn’t going to shoot.

He didn’t know who I was. Even though I had no credentials, he assumed I was an invitee. I corrected him. He still offered to let me shoot. I said what-the-hell.

And he handed a perfect stranger a Glock 17 and a magazine. No ID check. No background check. Didn’t even ask if I could lawfully possess. (For the record, I am not a prohibited person. But he couldn’t know that.)

The NSSF isn’t concerned about keeping guns out of the “wrong” hands; they just want CYA.


Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar.

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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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Ancient Mysteries

While the current news cycle churns out reports about multiple bills to ban bump-fire stocks and other accessories, or to ban nearly all semiautomatic rifles, let us cast our minds back to the ancient — in lamestream media time — history to the event that prompted this round of Second Amendment infringements.

Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, where the uninformed world discovered “bump-fire.” You know the narrative: A multimillionnaire dragged a couple dozen semiautomatic weapons to his 32nd floor suite. A dozen of them were equipped with evil bump-fire stocks. He broke out two windows and used those bump-fire “fully automatic” weapons of mass destruction to hose down a crowd of 20,000+ country music fans who probably deserved it because they’re nasty NRA gun owners themselves.

So our heroes in Washington, DC were forced to protect us by offering legislation to deny stuff to the 55 to 120 million gun owners who didn’t do it. “Bump stocks” must go! Bump stock manufacturers must pay for their crimes!

Whoa. Like I said, cast your minds back in time. To… say, October 2, 2017.

Did you see that? At least one fully automatic weapon and weapons equipped with bumpstocks.

The LA Times reported that other weapons were being examined to determine if they had been converted to full auto.

The Weekly Standard reported at least fully automatic weapon as well.

Dennis Michael Lynch noted it, too.

But the automatic weapon(s?) vanished from the narrative. Perhaps I overlooked it, but my searches turn up no “correction” that, “Oh, we didn’t mean full auto,” or, “That person was mistaken; we were talking about two different bump-fire devices and he thought we meant bump-fire and full.”

They just stopped talking about it.

Then they just stopped talking.

Well, why not, when you have powerful senators and congresscritters who need a lawful accessory to demonize in the interest of creating a gun control slippery slope?

Was one (or more) of the shooter’s weapon fully automatic? Personally, I thought at least one recorded burst sounded so regular (as opposed to other stuttering bursts) that I took it for full-auto fire.

The shooter had a clean record, so he’d have been eligible to purchase an NFA item. Certainly a multimillionnaire could afford one even at the inflated prices driven by the FOPA of 1986. But if he’d bought one legally, that would be just another example of the law not working as advertised. If he purchased one unlawfully, or converted a semiautomatic to full, well, then he’s just another criminal. Our protectors need something unregulated to… regulate. Gotta get that slippery slope.

So our ancient media mysteries are:

  • Was there one or more fully automatic weapons as reported in multiple outlets?
  • Did inspection of the weapons found in the hotel suite show which had been fired?
  • Has ballistics testing determined which were used to kill and wound the victims?

This is fairly important, really. The Mandalay Bay massacre is being used to justify a whole new set of infringements of human/civil rights, starting with bump-fire. Are they justifying legislation by something that didn’t happen per the script? (Note to nutcases: I’m not saying the incident was staged/faked; I’m questioning which weapon(s) was used.)

But shooters — aside from a few Mom’s Basement Army keyboard commandos and mall ninjas — consider bump-fire stocks to be nothing more than fun ammo-wasters. Granted, I can’t really wrap my head around mass murder, but it seems to me that if I were a wealthy guy intent on the murder of as many people as possible in ten minutes, and I had one or more automatic weapons handy, I don’t think I’d look over the selection and say, “Nah, the toy is the better tool for the job.”

I might transition to a bump-fired weapon if everything else jammed or broke, but who would start with that?

The cable news attention span has expired, so we may never learn the answers to my questions.

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