the slippery slope of gun control

I would like to take a moment today to extend my sincere thanks to the legislatures of both New York State and Connecticut for proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that "gun control" is, in truth and fact, a slippery slope.

Anti-rights cultists come absolutely unhinged every time you mention the possibility of "gun control" itself being a slippery slope, and tend to immediately decry such mutterings as prima facie logical fallacies; it is true that the slippery slope can be a logical fallacy, but when you are seeing those trees whipping by your head, reality has to step in. Unfortunately, that reality is the slippery slope has been greased since at least 1934 and we pro-rights activists have been steadily losing ground in the name of "compromise" since at least then, if not beforehand.

The "gun control" extremists have always wanted more, more, more… First it was the National Firearms Act, then it was the Gun Control Act of 1968, then it was the Lautenberg Amendment, then the Brady Law, then the Assault Weapon Ban, then… then… then… Oh, we pro-rights activists have certainly made headway in the past few years, but even with all of the thousands of firearm-related laws on the books, there are still useful idiots clamoring for more! More! More!

Slippery slopes stop being fallacies when you can point to the obvious pattern.

Which brings us up to the modern examples. The state of New York already had an assault weapon ban – any rifle that could accept removable magazines and had two "military" features was prohibited. New York already had a "high-capacity" magazine ban, where "high-capacity" was arbitrarily and capriciously defined as "more than 10 rounds". New York already required all firearm dealers and gun shows to perform background checks on all firearm transactions. New York already had licensing requirements to own firearms.

In other words, New York already had a large number of the "common sense", "reasonable" "gun control" measures most anti-rights cultists out there want. They should be happy with that, right?

Wrong. Consider S2230-2013: Licensure, suspension and revocation of firearm licenses, which just passed the New York Senate [update] and was just signed by Governor Cuomo into law [/update]. It is a long read, but the low points are:

  • The two-feature aspect of the NY assault weapon ban is tossed and replaced with a one-feature test.
  • A ban on all new semi-automatic rifles that can accept a removable magazine and have at least one of: a folding or telescoping stock, a pistol grip, a thumbhole stock, a second handgrip, a bayonet mount, a flash suppressor / muzzle brake (they spelled it "break" in the legislation, amusingly enough) / muzzle compensator / threaded barrel, grenade launcher.
  • A ban on all new semi-automatic shotguns that has at least one of: a folding or telescoping stock, a thumbhole stock, a second hand grip, a fixed magazine in excess of seven rounds, an ability to accept detachable magazines.
  • All such existing "assault weapons" must be registered with the state within one year of the effective date, and registration is subject to "a review of disqualifiers by the State Police."
  • If they are not registered, possession of such "assault weapons" is a crime.
  • All such existing "assault weapons" may only be sold to dealers or out-of-state.
  • All magazines that can hold more than 7 rounds are banned.
  • This ban includes previously-"grandfathered" magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.
  • Magazines that can hold more than 7 but not more than 10 rounds are "grandfathered", but may only hold 7 rounds.
  • All ammunition sales must be processed through firearm dealers.
  • All ammunition sales must include an NCIS check on the purchaser.
  • All ammunition sales must be recorded and logged.
  • All firearm ownership permits must be renewed every five years (some counties had permits that never expired).
  • All private sales of firearms must be executed through a firearm dealer.

And, like I said, those are just the low points.

So, let us see here… it is still possible to own an AR-15 in the Empire State, but it would have to have an unthreaded bull barrel, some kind of non-pistol-grip grip, and a fixed stock, and you can only feed it 7 rounds or less. Amusingly, though, an M1A without any kind of muzzle attachment would be 100% legal, despite throwing a larger bullet farther and with more energy; but that is about the only funny thing to be found.

At least 75% of modern semi-automatic handguns are functionally banned. What is that? They only banned handguns with certain features? Well, that is great… except they also banned all new magazines over 7 rounds of capacity, which means your Glock or XD or S&W is only useful for as long as its magazines last – the only <10 round magazines I am aware of are for single-stack firearms that already do not have capacities in excess of 10 rounds. Oh, I am (fairly) sure that enterprising companies will step in and start producing 7-round double-stack magazines for common firearm platforms, but let us consider something for a moment.

At some point in the past (hell if I know when), New York had no limitation on the size of a firearm’s magazine. Then, on 13SEP94, New York banned the sale of any new magazines that could hold in excess of ten rounds; however, old ones were grandfathered in.

Now New York is arbitrarily banning all of those pre-’94 magazines, even the ones previously grandfathered, but graciously telling you those greater-than-seven-but-less-than-11 round magazines of yours are grandfathered under the new law? Yeah, and how long will that "grandfathering" last until it, too, is arbitrarily legislated out of existence?

And this is all without even touching on the fact that registration has invariably preceded confiscation, even here in the United States.

Oh, you think I am sliding back into the realm of a logical fallacy again? I guess two data points are insufficient for you to be happy, huh? Well, recall that I mentioned Connecticut in the opening line of this post. The ironically-named Constitution State has an assault weapon ban (No, really. I have to wonder how the mother of the Sandy Hook murderer owned hers.), but does not have a "high capacity" magazine ban; they attempted to pass one in 2011, but it got nowhere.

Apparently State Senator Edward Meyer is unhappy with this situation, given 2013 SB 00122 he proposed:

That the general statutes be amended to establish a class C felony offense, except for certain military and law enforcement personnel and certain gun clubs, for (1) any person or organization to purchase, sell, donate, transport, possess or use any gun except one made to fire a single round, (2) any person to fire a gun containing more than a single round, (3) any person or organization to receive from another state, territory or country a gun made to fire multiple rounds, or (4) any person or organization to purchase, sell, donate or possess a magazine or clip capable of holding more than one round.

Read through that again. It makes it a crime for you, as an average citizen, to own a firearm, of any type, if it can fire more than one round or a magazine if it can hold more than one round. Every semi-automatic firearm of any type, every revolver, and almost every rifle, pistol, and shotgun would be banned by this legislation; no grandfathering, no registration, just outright banned. Granted, this is just a bill at the moment and has a long way to go before becoming a law, but still.

Hell. With. That.

Hell with State Senator Meyer, hell with New York, and hell with any other politician who would propose any other similar legislation.

That little pleasantry dispensed with, however, this is why the "slippery slope" has been, and continues to be, a valid concern when applied to "gun control"; those who would unjustly deprive us of our rights and property are never happy until they are entirely successful, and they will keep chipping away, using different tactics – all in the name of "compromise", mind you – until we are left with nothing at all. First it is 10-round magazines… then seven… then five… then why do you need magazines at all? Then one shot rifles. Then why do you need guns at all?

"Gun control" is and always has been a slippery slope, precisely because those who advocate it want control… not over guns, mind you, but over you.

cz-52s and tt-33s, quick thoughts

If you have hung around firearm-related weblogs or communities very long, you have probably heard of the CZ-52 (more properly known as the Vz.52) and the TT-33 (or just TT, for Tula, Tokarev); both pistols are typically amongst the first firearms purchased by people who get their Curio and Relic license from the BATFE, which is hardly surprising, given their still-inexpensive-but-slowly-rising prices. Both pistols are functionally interchangeable, at least superficially – they carry the same number of the same cartridge, are both short-recoil operated, have locked breeches, are single-action only, and are arguably dangerous to carry with a round in the chamber – but they differ considerably on the specific details: the former is Czechoslovakian, the latter purely Soviet; the former employs a crazy roller-and-cam locking system borrowed from the German MG-42, the latter borrowed the swinging-link system from the venerable 1911; the former wraps its recoil spring around the barrel (which, unfortunately, is no help at all for its bore axis height), the latter employs the more-standard recoil spring guide rod system.

I had the opportunity to shoot both side-by-side this weekend (the CZ was mine, and unfired until I shot it; the TT was a friend’s), and I have to admit, while they are both markedly different, I would not go so far as to say one was better than the other. In fact, if the CZ-52 had a normal, functional magazine release and a decocking lever that was not prone to setting off chambered rounds, it would not be a bad little firearm at all… And if the TT had a safety that could be operated by, well, anyone (yes, I know the safety has to be added for importation purposes, but that does not make it any easier to use), it would be a decent, classic firearm as well.

And I do not think anyone can argue with the efficacy of 7.62x25mm out of a handgun… especially not now that Wolf is producing hollow-point loadings as well.

In fact, now that I just discovered the M57 variant of the TT-33 (one more round in the magazine and a 1911-style manual safety, without a huge increase in price), I may have just found my next C&R purchase… The only hitch on those is that the specific magazines are hard to come by / expensive. In any case, I had harbored masochistic dreams of running IDPA/IPSC with a CZ-52, but after trying to change out magazines in anything approximating a reasonable amount of time, I dare say the TT family would be a better choice…

For what it can do, it is a bit unfortunate the 7.62×25 round has been left by the wayside.

about that time

So yesterday I got a big ol’ honkin’ package in the mail from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and my first thought was, "Huh, I don’t remember leaving any farms laying around in Florida after I moved out." I got back to the house, tore open the manila envelope, and was suddenly surprised at how quickly time had passed.

You see, as of this April, it will have been five years since I got my first "concealed weapon" license, and the State of Florida wanted to let me know that it was time to renew (and provide me all of the necessary paperwork to do so). How thoughtful of them (and I mean that in an honest, non-snarky kind of way).

And while all of this goes without saying, I see no reason not to reiterate it – in the past five years…

… I have never shot anyone over a parking space.

… I have never shot anyone over an incorrect order at a restaurant.

… I have never shot anyone for poor customer service.

… I have never shot anyone for looking at me the wrong way.

… I have never shot anyone, period.

… I have never even implied I was going to shoot someone.

… I have never brandished my firearm.

… I have never threatened anyone with my firearm.

And the statistics clearly show I am not alone.

Why, it is almost like the "gun control" extremists have no idea what they are talking about when they all-but directly accuse handgun carry permit holders / concealed weapon or firearm license holders / their counterparts of being tantamount to murderers! Big surprise there.

Now I just have to find the time to take off from work to get the fingerprint done by a law enforcement agency (a stupid requirement, but permits in general are stupid) and have my picture taken. Small price to pay, I suppose, for a permit that ranks amongst the most-accepted in the country.

rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated

One of the more-amusing talking points that is repeated ad nauseum by anti-rights cultists is that the “gun culture” is slowly dying, with the associated hand-waving and smoke-blowing to try to explain away the recent increases in NICS transactions and growth in firearm sales. Well, allow me to hand you two more nails to put in the coffin of that particular myth.

First up, it would appear as though there is a revitalized interest in hunting:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reported a total of 14,974,534 paid license holders for 2009, the largest figure since 2002 and an increase of 526,494 over 2008. The 3.6 percent rise in paid license holders represents the largest year-over-year increase since 1974.

I cannot say as though hunting has ever presented more than an idle attraction to me (seems to take far too much time/money/effort for far too little pay-off, and the thought of muffing a shot and having to deal with the animal is not terribly encouraging), but those are some fairly impressive numbers, and one hell of an increase.

Moving on, we look at another aspect of the “gun culture”:

Of particular significance, however, is the finding that the handgun owners who don’t already possess a concealed-carry permit, about 40 percent said they intend to apply for one within the next 12 months.

This strong interest in obtaining concealed-carry weapon (CCW) permits could mean a real demand for training and CCW-related accessories and firearms in the coming year.

Getting a concrete count on the number of handguns in civilian hands here in America is difficult (as it should be), but suffice to say that 40% of those handguns’ owners who do not have carry permits would still result in a population somewhere in the tens of millions.

And just for the graphically-inclined folks out there, compare these pictures of the 1986 SHOT Show against these pictures from this year’s massive SHOT Show – for Heaven’s sake, there were two story displayes. How awesome is that?

So with this recent resurgence in hunting, the millions of American citizens who will be pursuing new carry permits, and the massive growth of the commercial side of things, how is it, exactly, that the “gun culture” is “dying”? Hm?

(Courtesy of Say Uncle and The Firearm Blog.)