Tag Archives: Gun Control

Interesting Thought Experiment Combined With Legal Process

scales of justice

So, this story is interesting:

WASHINGTON — Worried the Internal Revenue Service might target you for an audit? You probably should be if you own a small business in one of the wealthy suburbs of Los Angeles.

You might also be wary if you’re a small-business owner in one of dozens of communities near San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta or the District of Columbia.

A new study by the National Taxpayer Advocate used confidential IRS data to show large clusters of potential tax cheats in these five metropolitan areas. The IRS uses the information to target taxpayers for audits.

The taxpayer advocate, Nina Olsen, runs an independent office within the IRS. She got access to the data as part of an effort to learn more about why some taxpayers are more likely to cheat than others.

The study also looked at tax compliance in different industries, and found that people who own construction companies or real estate rental firms may be more likely to fudge their taxes than business owners in other fields.

This whole concept resonates with me.  In my line of work I’m pretty aggressive in trying to sift through data to find root causes and trends.  I get this idea.  On the other hand, is it legal?  Can certain citizens face increased scrutiny, based only on what might be arbitrary profiling?

What is the difference between profiling wealthy citizens in certain industries that live in certain regions with, say, profiling certain people by age, race, nationality and religion?

Or, for a more pertinent subject, profiling citizens in order to reduce gun violence?

How The Old North State Feels About Gun Regulation

Gun Control.Elon.2013.02.24

I live in North Carolina and this surprised me.  I would have thought the banning of weapons would have polled lower.  The waiting periods and background checks…?  I’m less surprised by.  They are good ideas.

See the poll here.

Outside Federal Jurisdiction

Government Control

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

We’re seeing more and more of this:

With gun rights coming under fire across the border in New York State, the Susquehanna County commissioners spoke out by resolution Wednesday in favor of the Second Amendment.

Republican Commissioner Michael Giangrieco said the issues in New York prompted him to address the matter on a county level.

He proposed a resolution stating that “any federal act, bill, law, rule or executive order that in any way infringes on our Second Amendment rights by attempting to reduce the private ownership of any firearm, magazine or ammunition shall be unenforceable in Susquehanna County.”

So, it occurred to me, “Can the federal government regulate guns at all?  And if so, how does it derive that power?”

I couldn’t find anything that expressly authorized the federal government to regulate guns but had a sneaking suspicion I would find the authority somewhere else.  And then I found this:

Congress derives its power to regulate firearms in the Commerce Clause, in Article I, Section 8, Clause 3, of the U.S. Constitution. Under the Commerce Clause, Congress may regulate commercial activity between the states and commerce with foreign countries. In reviewing federal legislation enacted pursuant to the Commerce Clause, the U.S. Supreme Court has given Congress tremendous leeway. Congress may enact criminal statutes regarding firearms if the activity at issue relates to interstate transactions, affects interstate commerce, or is such that control is necessary and proper to carry out the intent of the Commerce Clause.

Ahh yes, the Commerce Clause.  The Clause that effectively ended state’s rights and allowed the federal government massive power over those states.  In fact, the landmark case establishing such leeway seems to make Montana’s effort to try and skirt federal gun regulations by manufacturing and selling guns within the state outside federal control.  Remember, that case found that a farmer didn’t have the right to grow and use wheat on his own farm as he saw fit.

My feel is that it was never meant that the federal government could regulate firearms in general, that it be left to the states.  But that the states and local governments COULD regulate those weapons as THEY saw fit.

Enforcing Federal Laws

Federal vs State

I don’t like strategy of individual states introducing, perhaps passing, legislation codifying a crime to enforce federal laws.  The rage right now is, of course, those laws referring to the enforcement of any federal ban or restriction on  gun ownership.

The latest version that I’ve seen is in Texas:

AUSTIN, Texas –  Under a measure advancing in the Texas Capitol, local police officers could be convicted of a crime for enforcing any new federal gun control laws.

Rep. Steve Toth, a newly elected Republican from the Woodlands, said his proposal would prevent officers from carrying out any future federal orders to confiscate assault rifles and ammunition magazines.

Toth’s proposal would create a Class A misdemeanor for police officers enforcing any new federal gun regulations. It also would establish cause for the state attorney general to sue anyone who seeks to enforce new federal gun regulations. It is one of several states-rights measures being offered by conservative state lawmakers nationwide in response to federal gun control proposals.

I think this is a dangerous path to go down.  We can’t have states running around claiming not to enforce federal laws.  The confusion it would create is massive.  Not to mention the continual lurching back and forth as one party or another assumes the role of majority and passes legislation that would enforce said law.

Untenable.

With that said, I have to admit that I feel a bit of “tribal yelp” as I see the states reacting like this.  And I have to work hard to subdue those passions are work to look at the goal objectively.

However, while I don’t think states should willy nilly decide which federal laws they will or will not enforce, it is important to point out that this is in direct response to Obama’s decision to restrict states from enforcing federal laws that HE disagrees with.  Namely, states trying to enforce immigration laws already on the books.  Let’s not forget the battle in Arizona where the Obama administration sued Arizona.

So, while the logical conclusion of this activity is undesirable, that conclusion was set in motion by Obama.

The Lunacy That Is Over Reaction

What’s next?

A 5-year-old Pennsylvania girl who told another girl she was going to shoot her with a pink toy gun that blows soapy bubbles has been suspended from kindergarten.

Her family has hired an attorney to fight the punishment, which initially was 10 days but was reduced to two.

Attorney Robin Ficker says Mount Carmel Area School District officials labeled the girl a “terrorist threat” for the bubble gun remark, made Jan. 10 as both girls waited for a school bus.

Ficker says the girl didn’t even have the bubble gun with her and has never fired a real gun. He says she’s “the least terroristic person in Pennsylvania.”

Thoughts, in no particular order:

  • Bubble gun
  • Terrorist Threat
  • 5 years old
  • Didn’t even HAVE the gun

 

On Guns, Defense and Militia

I can remember arguing the position just 10 – 12 years ago with conservative friends of mine that the 2nd amendment protected the rights of citizens to keep arms within a regulated militia.  That the amendment did not create an unlimited right to own any weapon in any quantity for any reason.

Interestingly it was a liberal friend that convinced me that states and cities that had much more lenient gun laws had lower crime rates.  That data, combined with a better understanding of individual liberty, has shifted my position to the right; how far is still unclear.

With that said, I have a question for the gun control advocates:

Would you trade the right of individual citizens to keep weapons in exchange for the creation of local militia outside the jurisdiction of the federal government?

That is, if the city of Raleigh decided that it needed stores of weapons, ammunition and other instrument of war, it could assemble such armament and recruit or conscript soldiers, train them and command them?  Further, this militia would e subject to no law other than state law and would not be subordinate to the President?

I strongly resonate with the argument that citizens do not need weapons of war.  And I don’t think that it’s healthy to stockpile weapons either.  However, I’m neither convinced that a rifle, with a magazine of arbitrary size, requiring a trigger pull for each shot, is necessarily a weapon of war or less lethal than a handgun, or 4.  However, I DO acknowledge that the founders clearly were concerned of a tyrannical government and the people’s right to defend themselves against that government.

I would love to be able to sit and have a beer with Jefferson, who argued that a standing army was among the greatest threats to the liberty of citizens.  Would he still feel that way in light of today’s Geo-poltical conditions?

Anyway.  When gun control advocates use the militia defense in their argument for more and more control, what does that mean?

An Argument In Favor Of Guns

There has been tons, I mean TONS, of reporting lately on the negative aspects of an armed citizen.  Let us not forget the benefits of said armed citizens:

Henderson, N.C. — Police are investigating a fatal shooting Sunday at a Henderson home that appeared to result from a home invasion.

Deyon Durham, 24, of 279 Faulkner St., was found shot to death at 1221 Montgomery St. shortly after 7 a.m., police said.

The initial investigation suggests that Durham was breaking and entering at the home when the homeowner, whose name was not released, shot him.

I understand that the scene in Henderson remains a tragedy; a young man in the prime of his life has perished.  But the home of an innocent citizen has been defended.

And, just like in the face of numerous other tragedies around the country, there is a back story that may have prevented the tragedy.  In this case, how was Mr. Durham free in society?

Durham had convictions, starting in 2005, for indecent liberties with a minor, sexual battery, breaking and entering vehicles, larceny and failure to register as a sex offender, according to state Division of Adult Correction records.

In parallel to those tragedies that are gathering more media attention across America, this one could have been prevented by methods other than taking guns out of legal citizen’s hands.  Perhaps, for example, by locking Mr. Durham up.

A Gun Culture In America

Bob Costas.  Jason Whitlock.

I’ve lived in a farm town, Minneapolis, back to the farm town and then a smaller one.  Back to the big city in Seattle only to go back to Minneapolis.  Then onto the suburbs of Raleigh.

When I read Jason Whitlock say that there is a a “Gun culture in America” I hear, and envision, the inner city population carrying guns to increase “street cred.”  I do not hear rural farmer owning guns to protect dogs, chickens and homes.

I have friends here in the burbs that carry.  There’s no desire to increase “cred.”

Am I wrong?

Gun Control

I’m guessing the tragedy in Colorado is going to get us all talking gun control again:

WASHINGTON (CBS News) The carnage in Aurora, Colorado has re-opened the nation’s debate about gun control. The issue came up after the 1999 Columbine massacre, but has largely been dormant since former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot 2011.

For the record, I think I’m moderate on gun control.  I support owning guns however I don’t think citizens need access to all forms of firearms.  Further, we should all agree that not all people should be able to own a weapon.

  • Kids
  • Felons
  • Terror watch list members
  • Perhaps controlled substance addicted individuals

I don’t know, just that we can agree that some people should be restricted.

With that, here’s my question:

Would you want the front row in that Colorado theater armed or not armed?

Or.

If you were in that front row in Colorado, would YOU want to be armed or not armed?

Why We Hate Guns More Than We Love Kids

I don’t really like guns.  Never really have.

I grew up with a BB gun; could hit the eye of a bird flyin’ too.  But I never went beyond that.  I never had a shotgun or eve a .22.  I was happy shootin’ my tin cans.

So, I get that people don’t like guns.  I get that if a person doesn’t have a gun, it’s harder to hurt someone.  I get all that.

But, it’s a right that has been established; we GET to own a gun if we want to.  And the reason we get that right is that it’s important that the government isn’t the only people with the guns.

But still; I don’t like guns.  But I love kids more.

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