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The Frau Becomes an Activist
This last January 18th found the Frau sniffing around the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association (OK2A) annual Policy Conference. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should wear my bejeweled collar to such a prestigious sounding event, but later found it to be a very warm and inviting affair, without any presumptiveness or hints of snobbery. Well, it’s Oklahoma, folks, so I actually didn’t expect anything else.
The conference boasted an impressive lineup of speakers and attendees, from legislators to famous economists. Relatively famous economists, I should say since I realize most people haven’t heard of Dr. Lott or his work outside of gun rights or criminology circles. There was also law enforcement and the legal community represented as well. I won’t go into the conference details so much, since other columnists for this website cover that in more detail, but I would like to take a moment to talk about WHY conferences like this are important now more than ever in today’s political environment.
Some folks may wonder why all the push for new gun rights legislation in a solidly conservative state like Oklahoma. After all, people here think Texans are mushy when it comes to their conservative bona fides. Well, a lot of folks don’t realize what a weird place our gun laws were in just a few years ago. We may have followed a lot of other states on the concealed carry issue, but just look at how folks got in a tizzy over open carry, which was legal in over half the states in the Union but specifically outlawed in super-duper-conservative Oklahoma. Thanks to folks like the OK2A, that’s changed. Did you know that until a year ago, you couldn’t technically carry a loaded gun on your own property without a permit? Lots of farmers and ranchers were surprised to hear that, even if prosecutions almost never happened.
As was said at the conference, 20 years ago if you told someone living in Colorado that they would have a high capacity magazine ban, they would have laughed at you. It may sound trite, but the old phrase rings true...of which I will quote in full:
“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” John Philpot Curran
Colorado is a perfect example of rights becoming “prey to the active.” One or two enclaves of (for lack of a better term) hippie do-gooders in Boulder and Denver have managed to turn one of the more enterprising frontier states into a bastion of “social responsibility." The only way states like Oklahoma and Texas keep our basic freedoms is to push for them, year in and year out. This is why I was pleased to see such a wide cross section of the political spectrum at the OK2A conference. “Rabid” (pardon the pun) libertarian types such as myself, “social” conservative types, and even a couple Democrats were represented. Made my tail wag, I tell you.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and look forward to next month...I hear my, ahem, handler will be by with a technical article of some sort on the AR-15 rifle...which I always say is your moral responsibility as an American to own. Stay frosty, people.
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Frau Laudenboehmer Versus the Tornado
This past week found the Frau sniffing around what remained of a good friend’s house down at Ground Zero in Moore, OK. I don’t want this all too brief article to be another rehash of the power of nature (awesome) or how people band together during a shared crisis (they most certainly did). This website focuses on personal defense and firearms, and if I may, I would like to un-invoke my literary license and drop my normal snarky comments on dumb things Joe Biden says and focus for a minute on how a dire situation like the one many of us witnessed first hand can lead to unexpected complications when it comes to securing one’s firearms.
I was on assignment to a particular friend that has known me for years, but had come into the recovery effort a day late due to complications, so the recovery effort at this particular residence was already underway. I couldn’t help but ask said friend: “Friend, have you found your guns??”. There are many things that can get lost during an EF5 event; so lost they may be a mile away in a debris field and virtually unrecoverable. One of the things that you don’t want just out wandering around might be your M&P you take to the range, or your carry piece, or any number of go-boom type things that also might come in handy during situations where less-than-human types decide to come pick up other people’s stuff “on accident” while “looking for survivors.” At any rate, Friend told me his wife had her piece with her in the hidey-hole, but they hadn’t found his Smith and Wesson (he was at work that day). As the day wore on, and folks were sifting through the wreckage, one eagle-eyed Other Friend spotted a hard pistol case underneath a pile of wood and debris.
Now I want to say up front that nobody, but nobody can predict what might happen during an event of that magnitude. Still, we can mitigate the risks as best we can by following some common sense guidelines:
- Have a safe or locker for your guns. You should do this even if you live in Death Valley and get zero tornadoes/hurricanes/floods per year...but I digress. Bolt it to the slab/wall studs/whatever you can do to secure it. The heavier the safe, the better, but those can cost money, so do what you can.
- Pistols go in hard cases if they are not secured in a larger locker or intended to be available for immediate deployment against the less-than-human types mentioned above.
- If you have a shelter, you probably should look into storing some “bug out” materials in there full time. (such as...sealed tins of Russian surplus ammo for your sweet Finnish M39 Mosin) Most folks I know that have shelters do this already, including Oma Laudenboehmer (except she has more ammo than I do). On that note, keep a bug out bag handy for when it comes time to bolt to the shelter. Personally, I would keep my “Carry” piece and extra ammo/magazines in the bug out bag, as you may be called upon to do some heavy lifting once out of the shelter. Just a personal preference, use your judgment.
- If your shelter is large enough and you have enough time, you may surprise your neighbors by parading your entire collection of Japanese Arisaka war capture rifles into the cellar alongside the family pictures. Just...don’t crowd out people (and dogs) in favor of your vintage WW2 collection.
Those are just some of the physical aspects of keeping your friends close, and your guns closer to you during a high stress event. As I am a Weimaraner, and therefore a versatile hunting dog (pointing/retrieving/information security) I wanted to mention a couple of tips on preparing for the possibility of losing a firearm due to theft or Acts of God. These tips are basically “lite” off site backup strategies you can use for any critical information you would normally store on your computer. The computer that’s now in Tishomingo....and wet.
- Keep a personal inventory of your guns. Make model, year, and serial number.
- Keep this precious bit of information on a thumb drive attached to your computer. If you know how, encrypt that file with a passphrase (not password, Google it) so that only you and those you trust can access it.
- Alternatively, a “passport” style USB drive typically has a MUCH larger capacity than a thumb drive and should be able to hold a backup of your entire system..this is my preference, as the drive can be easily disconnected (it draws power from the USB cable) and tossed into a bug out container.
- Make a copy...put one in a safe deposit box or somewhere else physically distant from your residence, and keep the original (where, you say? In the bug out bag, maybe?). It should go into the bunker with you if you have to shelter there.
- Your insurance company may not require an itemized list of your guns in order to file a personal property claim, but the police might want a bit more proof down at the gun lost and found after the storm (this is Oklahoma, folks...) than “that looks like mine, it’s black”.
Just some thoughts off the top of my thick skull after pondering “what would I do if this were my neighborhood” last week. I hope they can be of use to someone in the future. And for the people in Moore, God speed.
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Political "Drive By"
Hi folks, sorry I was out last month. Just thought I’d pop in with a few quick ramblings on some of the current issues and follow up a bit from my last column on Universal Background Checks. Consider this a political “drive by.”
To start off, it seems that the esteemed Senator from California, Ms. Dianne Feinstein can’t get the Senate Majority Leader, one Harry Reid from Nevada, to put her big ol’ “assault” weapon ban up for a vote. She will have to settle for trying to add it as an amendment to another bill, which seems to have her knickers in a twist when faced with the reality she will have trouble finding 40 Senators to vote for it, much less the 60 actually needed to put something that controversial through. Couldn’t happen to a nicer lady, if you ask me. I’m sure they will blame the “powerful gun lobby” by which they mean the NRA, a favorite bogeyman of the “progressives” in this country. Never you mind about the 4 million or so members. It’s a “special interest” group, doncha know. That being said, don’t y’all let your guard down just yet, because the Universal Background Checks I wrote about a couple months back is still lurking out there in the shadows. We may have to rely on House Republicans to make that go away. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking... do I feel lucky?
In other news, Ms. Feinstein was asked some questions by mean old Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Seems he asked her at her “assault” weapons ban (AWB for short) bill hearing if she would be ok with limiting the 1st Amendment the same way she is limiting the 2nd...whether she would be ok with a list of books that were ok for Americans to read, and the like. Ms. Feinstein’s answer can best be summed up as “I’ve been in the Senate for a LONG time, so shut up.” You can read the transcript for yourself, but I think that’s a fair summary of her debate skills.
My tail also got to waggin’ a couple days ago when the always-interesting Rand Paul (R-KY), fresh off his “don’t drone me, bro” filibuster banded together with Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) and let Senate majority Leader Harry Reid know that they would at least procedurally filibuster ANY new gun control legislation brought before the Senate. This puts Reid in the position of having to find 60 votes to proceed on the bill I mentioned at the top of the article. Senate rules may seem arcane, but I like the fact that you have to have more than a 1 vote majority to move controversial bills through the Number One Debate Club. Paul, Cruz, and Lee may very well become the Three Amigos of the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. Except not a joke. And awesome.
Lastly, I think everyone needs to buy some Magpul products even if you don’t have a gun to put them on (yet). Magpul, for those who aren’t familiar, is one of the premiere manufacturers of firearms accessories, as well as the PMAG, probably the MOST popular polymer AR-15 magazine in existence today. Magpul is based in Erie, Colorado. The short version is that Colorado proposed some ridiculous new gun control legislation (Colorado HB1224). Magpul publicly stated that if that bill became law, they would leave Colorado. Colorado’s legislature passed the bill, and Magpul has immediately started moving their operations out, with the accompanying 200 jobs. Congratulations, Colorado, not only are you driving businesses away, you’ll end up spending money to defend that new law in court when the Second Amendment Foundation makes its way around (after they take on New York).
And lastly, in a segment we’ll call “Stuff Joe Biden Says” (since this is a family-oriented site), I bring you the following gem:
“What is the downside of saying you can have clips with only 10 rounds in it? What does that violate? Hunting? Sportsmanship? If you need more than 10-rounds to hunt — and some argue they hunt with that many rounds — you shouldn’t be out there hunting. What am I doing to infringe upon your Sec… your constitutional right?” (hat tip Daily Caller)
Yes, Joe, you stupendous …. ahem, sorry. Yes, Joe, the Second Amendment is all about HUNTING. The Right to HUNT. That’s what Madison wrote about in the Federalist papers, wasn’t it? The Framers were all fired up about how the British Crown denied them the right to hunt in the forest. Possibly also to frolic. I’m SURE that was in there somewhere. Let me look it up:
“"[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."
-- James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 46 (cribbed from Walter E. William’s GMU faculty page)
OOPS! Biden later followed with this classic:
“When you go to registration, it raises all the black helicopter crowd notion that what this is all about is identifying who has a gun so that one day the government can get up and go the house and arrest everyone who has a gun, and they’ll cite Nazi Germany and all that.”
Well, then let’s cite Nazi Germany, Joe, since you expect us to:
"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing."
-- Adolph Hitler, Hitler's Secret Conversations 403 (Norman Cameron and R.H. Stevens trans., 1961) (thanks again to Prof. Williams)
Yikes... you know, I’m no conspiracy hound, but Joe, you might want to read (you CAN read, right?) a bit of history on Nazi Germany and what happened with gun registration there before you blow off your fellow Americans as being part of the “black helicopter crowd.” Simply amazing. Double Barrel Joe really hates the idea of ordinary Americans having modern firearms, doesn’t he? You know, I kinda look forward to the Democrats nominating Smokin’ Joe for President in 2016 just for the comedy potential.
Anyway, I think that’s all I have for this month, as we’re kind of in a transition period waiting for the other shoe to drop on some of these Federal level issues. Except for me. I don't wear shoes. I’m a dog.
Universal Background Checks
Hello all! It’s great to have an opportunity to talk to you all about not only issues relating to firearms from time to time, but also hopefully clear up some of the mystery surrounding the goings-on in Washington, D.C., and other places that affect us all in ways we might not realize at first. For my inaugural column, I’d like to take a swipe at a proposal that is being pushed as the most “common sense” of legislative changes: extending the background check requirement to all firearms sales, not only sales that go through a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer, or FFL for short. In other words, Universal Background Checks or UBC for the purposes of this article.
This seems simple, doesn’t it? I mean, why not? It only takes a few extra minutes to go through this process, right? We already make everyone go through a dealer if purchasing across state lines, so, really, what is the big deal in closing the “gun show loophole?” I’m glad you asked! Whenever you hear the words “gun show loophole,” replace that phrase in your mind with the words, “private sale.” The “gun show loophole” derided by many politicians and other do-gooders might as well be called the “garage sale loophole” or the “My Second Cousin Frank loophole” (should you and Frank share a great-grandmother). Gun shows are targeted primarily through ignorance, or by Joe Biden, but I repeat myself. Sales made from an FFL at a gun show are required to go through the same background check as any other retail firearms sale. Sales made between two private citizens at a gun show, or a yard sale, or (cough) the parking lot at your local Bass Pro (why are you giving me that look) have never been subject to these requirements, at least here in Oklahoma.
Still, you may ask yourself, what’s the big deal? The devil, as always, is in the details. The biggest problem we face here is how Federal and/or State authorities plan to ENFORCE a UBC. Some advocates of UBC are saying, “We just want all transactions to go through an FFL to make sure private citizens aren’t selling guns to felons on accident. Nobody wants to register your guns, we SWEAR.” My question to them is this: what are “they” going to do if a bunch of budding anarchists out there just decide to “forget” to go to their local FFL to run a check against their prospective buyers? Who will ever know if you and a friend decide to wear Guy Fawkes masks (Frank, is that you?) in some disreputable location like, I don’t know, your living room, and with a nod and wink exchange goods for cash and go your separate ways? Without a registry that you owned a particular gun, nobody can trace that boom-stick to your second cousin, a music teacher from Stroud that you’ve known your whole life, and we can’t have THAT now, can we? Put plainly, the only way to be sure that you, Joe and Jane Citizen, have complied with these requirements is to know exactly who has what guns in the first place, and when and to whom you sold or otherwise transferred your gun. I don’t see how the Federal Government or some combination of State and Federal agencies can make this work without a de facto Registry of all legally owned guns. If you ask me, we would then be only one more (extremely rare) mass shooting away from the next “step,” which would likely be some form of mandatory registration. So, you ask, what’s wrong with having a National Gun Registry? What do you have to hide? You’re starting to creep me out a little...
Forcing all gun sales, public or private to go through an FFL would, according to the proponents of UBC, ensure that the guns transferred would be “properly” tracked, and we would have more information on where these guns were circulating, thus keeping them out of the hands of felons, the mentally ill, or the French. There’s just one fatal flaw here. What do we do about the millions, if not tens or even potentially hundreds of millions of guns that are not on the hypothetical registry because they were purchased prior to this new requirement? Hint: fill out a LOT of forms for the MAN. A few more moments of reflection on this concept should raise the hackles and bare the teeth of anyone who shares genetic material with those who stood against the British at Lexington and Concord. What I’m getting at here is, this is America, not England or Germany. The right to arms goes back to the founding of our great country. Is that the Battle Hymn of the Republic I hear echoing in my head?
Furthermore, not only would a national gun registry be an enormous breach of privacy, it would also do virtually NOTHING to combat gun crime. Are the local criminals going to suddenly experience a catharsis and wake up in a cold sweat at 2 a.m. and think, “I forgot to register my Raven .25 that I used to hold up the 7-11 last night?” Folks, we live in reality, not some Looney Tunes cartoon where both the sheepdog AND the coyote clock in and out and follow set rules on the disposition of the sheep. As if that weren’t enough, a registry would run counter to an already existing Federal law you may not know about called FOPA, or the Firearms Owners Protection Act. FOPA basically prohibits the Federal or State governments or other entities from maintaining a registry or database of firearms or their owners (law nerds can check 18 USC 926 (a) if they don’t believe me). I’m not sure how the gun “safety” enthusiasts plan on ultimately making UBC work without repealing this important protection for gun owners. If you are like me and believe that the true purpose of the Second Amendment goes deeper than duck hunting or breaking clays at the local club, this should make you wary.
Finally, and on a more serious note, universal background checks would not have prevented Sandy Hook or Columbine because the perpetrators broke numerous OTHER LAWS to get the guns they used in their horrific crimes. Law-abiding people have a tendency to, well, abide by the law. Criminals do not. That’s why we call them criminals. So in a nutshell, UBC does nothing to keep us safer, makes us less free, causes various Founding Fathers to spin in their graves, and likely costs billions of dollars for the government to implement, making us poorer to boot. I can see why the current administration loves the idea.
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