Saturday, January 21, 2012

Who's mainstream and who's extreme?

There are a number of "arguments" that those who would place greater hurdles between the law abiding and their fundamental civil rights spout to justify their actions. They make claims regarding the meaning and intent of various historical documents, they buy and promote half baked studies with Joyce foundation money and they mangle all manner of statistics: All in the name of depriving you of your civil rights.

One of the most common themes is the notion that more people agree with them, tied in with the notion that there are fewer and fewer gun owners. Allow me to retort.

Actually, the first part of the retort comes from folks like Linoge, Tam, Uncle and anyone else I may be forgetting that expressed this thought first.

It does not matter.

That's correct-it does not matter how many folks think firearms ownership is an antiquated concept best left on the frontier. Fundamental to this line of thinking is the concept of Natural Rights. Natural Rights is the notion that your rights exist because you exist. They are something that belong to all humans as a function of their humanity. (Overview of natural rights) Although the early proponents of this idea couched it in terms of rights endowed by God and therefore were something that could not be taken by men from other men, there is no reason why the agnostic should not view human rights as a condition of humanity. There is no need for a creator to adopt this view. There is no room in this idea for racial, gender or religious bigotry. We all have our fundamental rights until we actively seek to initiate harm to others, at which point these rights become forfeit. In short, your rights exist because you exist, and the votes of the majority have no claim on these rights of the minority. I'm pretty sure that last line is a quote from someone else, but I can't recall who-probably Kevin Baker or Joe Huffman.

From another angle, I refuse to be penalized for another person's misdeeds. I am not responsible for their actions, and you will not restrict my liberty because some other person failed to handle the animated contest with the degree of success we should expect.

There is a wealth of reasons to suppose that more people support an expansion of gun rights than support increased restrictions. I will list a few here.

1) Facebook: The Brady Campaign (formerly known as Handgun Control, Inc) has about 14,000 likes on their Facebook page. Some fraction of these are pro-rights folks who have clicked "Like" to be able to comment on their page. The NRA Facebook page has almost 1.3 MILLION likes. In other words, almost 100 times more people have clicked "Like" on the NRA page than the Brady page.

2) Forums: There are a large number of internet message forums dedicated to firearms and gun rights. From some of the giants like and Calguns (290,000 and 100,000 members respectively) to smaller specialty boards dedicated to particular regions or manufacturers (NYFirearms, Glocktalk, Ruger) there are easily a million folks that read and post on these boards. typically has 4-5 thousand people viewing it at any given time. I have yet to find a gun control forum, let alone one that is in front of four thousand pairs of eyes at any given time.

3) Youtube: There are several documented cases of Brady, CSGV etc posting videos and only getting a few hundred views over the course of weeks, while pro rights folks will post videos that get a few thousand views in a shorter period of time. (Brady Campaign-after two weeks the too many victims video has about 900 views. The Gunnie reply to that video has about 7000 views in the same timeframe ) This time the factor is about 10 times versus 100. Bear in mind that this Brady event was hyped nationally by the largest gun control groups in the nation, groups with dedicated staffs and large (but ever shrinking) piles of cash from the Joyce foundation. The counter protest was something thrown together by a few bloggers that do this in their spare time.

4) Meetings: Every year the NRA holds its annual meeting, with attendance in excess of 60 thousand, while organized protests of that meeting draw about two hundred. See here for instance. And again, that factor of approximately 100. It just keeps popping up...Even in Illinois, a place where citizens fundamental rights are squashed without regard, gunnies manage huge turnouts.

Now, I would not claim that any of these indicators are definitive proof that the advocates for firearms freedom outnumber the advocates for restriction of the same. Taken as a whole, they make a fairly compelling case that we do, in fact, outnumber the Brady types.

There are several indications that the current gap in enthusiasm for further gun control is widening beyond where it already is. FBI NICS checks have been steadily increasing for years, meaning that more names are being checked to see if it's legal for them to posses firearms. Not every check is a purchase, and some checks are for a single purchase of multiple firearms. So, while there is not a one to one and onto mapping of checks to purchases, increasing checks strongly implies increasing purchases. Remembering that guns are rather durable, even a steady rate of NICS checks implies an increasing number of guns in circulation.

Gallup is showing that self reported gun ownership is at its highest level in decades.

Firearms manufacturers are recording record profits.

Ruger is trying the unprecedented feat of selling 1 million guns in1 year.

The anti rights folks will try to claim that these are simply indicators of people that already own guns buying more guns, and not an indicator of more people buying guns. That is nonsense. Yes, some people are increasing their inventory, but there is no way this is simply a stockpiling by current owners. First time/introductory shooting courses are filling up faster than instructors can teach them, CCW applications are skyrocketing and even formerly hostile or ambivalent media outlets are covering firearms positively. TV shows like Top Shot, American Guns and Pawn Stars show guns in a generally positive light and get pretty good ratings. Good ratings means more of them, and that means more people getting exposed to the cultural notion that guns are not de debil.


  1. "Not every check is a purchase"

    Actually, yes it is. It is illegal to use the NICS system to "prequalify" a person. The only case where a check is not a purchase is in the rare case where a person fails that check.

    OTH, none of the last two complete guns or the two AR lower receivers I purchased went through a NICS check. As a NC CHP holder, I am exempt.

  2. I was under the impression that some states periodically NICS check CCW permit holders to verify continuing eligibility. Perhaps I picked that up from a dubious source like CSGV?

    There's also the fact that things like stamped AK receiver flats don't require a NICS check either...

  3. States don't "NICS" check anyone. The police have direct access to the underlying database. The Sheriff, who issues my CHP, can use the NC database to check me out anytime he likes. I assume that he could hop on the FBI database as well, assuming that they are not tied together directly.

    And yes, neither AK flats nor 80% AR lowers are "firearms." Legally they are no different than paperweights. No check necessary.

  4. I was thinking a DB query=NICS check, whether that query came via telephone for a purchase or from local law enforcement accessing it.

    It's entirely possible that this is incorrect-I think I first heard of this from Horwitz's screed at Huffpo recently. Since none of the heavy lifters over there (Dimensio, Thirdpower, Berettaskeeter etc) jumped on it, I may have taken that tidbit to be true.

  5. Sean, see here: and look at the operations report for 2010.

    On page 8, if I'm reading this correctly, states that substitute a permit for a NICS check are required to run a NICS check at each issuance/renewal of these permits. That would be a check that is not initiated by a purchase. The takeaway, however, is that these individuals can then subsequently buy buy buy to their hearts content without ever registering another check. At least until renewal time.

    So, while there are checks without purchases, there is no reason to suppose that these limited number of checks are artificially inflating the number of purchases.

  6. "there is no reason to suppose that these limited number of checks are artificially inflating the number of purchases."

    that's certainly true. I've already gotten 4 out of my CHP.

    What chaps my butt is the local gun control bunch wants to impose mandatory NICS checks on CHP holders. Luckily they have as much clout in the NC General Assembly as my dog. Actually, my dog could at least get the legislators to feed her, the anti-gunners couldn't get that far.