Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Don't Mess With People's Political Signs

 A few days ago someone went around and defaced all the Biden/Harris signs on my street and the Black Lives Matter murals on nearby streets. That is deplorable. Its a Republic and people have the right to support the candidates of their choice and the causes they believe in by posting signs on their property without them being defaced or destroyed. We all get to have opinions.

Well, a couple days after the defacement, I saw this new sign go up. Not that I agree with profanity, but if folks are gonna have a sign war, I guess this is fair game. Maybe some day we can go back to just disagreeing, rather than being disagreeable.


 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Albuqurque City Council Subcommittee Votes to Ask Legislature to Repeal Firearms Law Preemption Clause in the State Constitution

 In an 11 August article in the Albuquerque Journal, it is reported that a subcommittee of the Albuquerque City Council will forward to the full Council a request to ask the Legislature to amend the state constitution to repeal the so-called preemption clause in Article II, Section Six. That part of the constitution currently reads as follows:

"No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons.  No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms."

  The last sentence in the section is the critical one here. It prohibits cities and counties from passing their own firearms laws that would only apply within that city or county, thus ensuring uniform firearms laws all across the state of New Mexico and also ensuring that extremes of firearms laws are less likely to be created. Note that of course a city is able to ban the discharge of firearms for hunting or target shooting within populated places, but cannot independently ban or regulate possession of firearms or ammunition.

 So while a strongly pro-gun rural county cannot have more liberal gun laws than the state, a strongly anti-gun locality cannot write highly restrictive law either. Indeed, some on the Albuquerque City Council are chomping on the bit to, as Councilor Pat Davis states, ensure the state constitution is not "...“standing in the way of cities like Albuquerque and others of doing what’s reasonable..." The problem is, what's reasonable to Mr. Davis might not be reasonable to your or me and indeed, can vary from location to location depending on local politics. One might expect cities such as Santa Fe to also support such a move.

 In other states, the lack of preemption has resulted in situations where municipalities pass highly restrictive laws. For example, New York City does not honor the rest of the state's pistol permits and in fact, New York City puts huge hurdles in front of those wishing to own firearms of any sort, especially handguns.  Similar situations have cropped up in states such as Colorado (Boulder) and in Illinois.

 This is alarming for many reasons, a few of which I will mention briefly. One, the bar to amend the New Mexico Constitution is very low: a simple majority of both houses of the Legislature followed by a simple majority of the public. Two, if such an amendment passes (and indeed, the Legislature would be free to rewrite all of Article II Section Six if it so desired and put a new version to the voters), people in some parts of the state could suddenly find themselves becoming lawbreakers even if for their entire lives, they have been safe and law-abiding. You have a fifteen round magazine, a double stack pistol, or a military style rifle? Relinquish it or become a criminal. Or move, I suppose. Three, we are a very sparsely populated state with few major highways. If a city or county passes highly restrictive laws, will a safe passage clause be provided so that citizens can move between locations on our few highways in order to hunt or go to shooting matches? Four, will a municipality have the freedom to not recognize a state concealed carry permit?

We won't know the answers to any of these hypotheticals until they play out, should the constitution be amended. What we do know is that if it does pass, no two cities or counties may have the same laws. We will see confusion and see that some citizens will have fewer rights than others.

The Los Alamos Sportsman's Club and the NRA are following these developments. You should too.



Friday, June 19, 2020

Statues on the Move

With apologies to the late Gil Scott-Heron

and his song "Whitey on the Moon"


Santa Fe New Mexican Photo Credit to Matt Dahlseid
I keep thinking that its easier to tear down statues than solve real problems. The fact that these statues are still up rubs some raw and for historically good reasons, but there are other pressing problems that keep everybody down. Getting rid of statues won't open the economy, get the unemployment rate down, or lower the price of a house in the City Indifferent. But it will feel socially just.

Then I thought of Gil Scot Heron and realized that reality doesn't change, it just changes form. Hence my piss poor takeoff on Gil Scot-Heron's really cool song.


I lost my job to the covid
With statues on the move
The checkbook is getting awfully thin
With statues on the move

The landlord wants his rent today
With statues on the move
He said he’ll raise the rent any day
With statues on the move
I think he bought his thirteenth house
"investment property", they say
with statues on the move

But I can't afford a house today
With statues on the move
And my doctor locked his doors today
Because I can't afford the co-pay
With statues on the move

I wonder where I’ll get a job today
With statues on the move
Or why the NIMBYs cancelled that new rental place
With statues on the move
They say this is a progressive town
With statues on the move
But all I see is surface rage
With statues on the move

So here I sit all day today
Watchin the kids cause they can’t go to school
My wife is having a breakdown
And for me there is no job around
The car is low on gas
and the governor shut the bike shop down
I’m a nervous wreck but there’s no way out
And I wonder why all this big bad pout
Over a statue sitting in the middle of town
When my whole life is spinning down
Well, those statues are on the move

So I think I’ll write all these issues down
While I’m sittin here with this frown
Figuring out how to survive in an expensive town
Looking for some answers true
So I'll send my questions, return postage due
To this town's Mayor
c/o the office of Statues on the Move


And I did see Gil Scott-Heron perform at Stony Brook back in the 1980's. He did this song.



Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

Online gun safety videos I found

I was wondering what sort of online videos are available covering various firearms safety issues. So I started looking around. Below are some. But first, if you get no farther, read the Four Rules of Firearm Safety:

1. All guns are always loaded. Corollary: Even after you make sure it is not loaded, it is still loaded as far as anyone else is concerned. If you relinquish control of it, it is loaded again.
2. Never point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to shoot.
3. Keep your finger off of and away from the trigger until you are ready to fire.
4. Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

to those I might add:

5. Never handle a gun if you are impaired by drugs (legal or otherwise), alcohol, or emotional upset.
6. Store your firearms safely given the particulars of your own situation.

NOTE and Disclaimer: This is not firearms safety instruction and I am not an instructor. This is for your amusement only. See a certified firearms instructor for real training. 


But at any rate, here is the sort of stuff that is out there.

Just added tonight from Mike Grimler, my CCW instructor, found at WYOR





A quick discussion of the very popular AR-15 type rifle.



Two videos on semiauto handguns, which seem to be the most popular today. Note the position of the trigger finger OUTSIDE the trigger guard when handling or clearing the gun.

Note also: these are not YOUR guns.If you own guns, know them inside and out!





Beginner's guide to the AR-15




The Venerable pump action shotgun, with fond regards to V.P. Joe "shoot it off the back porch" Biden



another view of the 870



and another, twi ways to unload an 870



Revolvers. More intuitive.



Leave a comment in the comments if you have better videos. I'm an amateur on this.

Self defense lethal force laws vary by state. Find out what applies to you.

Range Safety from the National Shooting Sports Foundation



Handgun Basics for Absolute Beginners



I'll add more as long as it doesn't blow up this blog post and as long as I am interested.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Did You Buy a Gun This Week? Why?


Sunday's Santa Fe New Mexican reported a run on guns and ammo at the Outdoorsman of Santa Fe. Apparently this is not unusual right now and is happening elsewhere in the state, in part due to news that the Albuquerque City Council will vote on a proposed expansion of emergency powers to shutter gun shops. Whether that happens, and whether it is lawful, is beside the point. That, along with all of the other uncertainty and worry going on due to COVID-19 is resulting in a mad buying binge. But we don't need a buying binge right now. We need a caring binge.

As far as Santa Fe as reported by the Santa Fe New Mexican's Daniel Chacon:

“That rack is usually full of basic pump-action shotguns — all gone,” salesman Jay Winton said last week as he pointed to an empty rack in the store at DeVargas Center. “People … want to defend their home from the ravening hordes that they’re convinced are coming, so we’re selling lots of ammunition, lots of firearms.”

But at times like these, its perhaps best to remember Franklin Roosevelt's First Inaugural Address:

"...So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days..."

 But really. If you bought a gun, or are considering buying one right now, consider the following:

1. The Spanish Flu of 1918 killed more people than World War I and about a half percent of the U.S. population. We persevered.
2. The Great Depression unemployment rate peaked at 25%. We persevered.
3. Do you know how to use that gun in a crisis when a few seconds count? Do you know Jeff Cooper's Four Rules? Do you know the laws of the use of deadly force? Do you know how to store a firearm safely, esp. if there are kids around? If you are a first time firearm owner, do you know where to sign up for a gun safety class before you put a round in the chamber?  If you are unsure of any of these questions, lock that gun up until you can pass my quiz with an "A". You are more of a hazard to yourself and others than a resource.

"Bullets don't have a reverse gear" 
 -Me

We cannot shoot a virus. We can only shoot each other and quite possibly, live the rest of our lives  with the knowlege of having made a fatal mistake. We need to help each other and find common cause in working through this pandemic rather than fearfully arming up against hypothetical "ravening hordes" or collapses of civilization that will only happen if we as a people affirmatively make it happen.

So if you have a few  hundred bucks to burn, perhaps its a better idea to donate it to the Red Cross, the food bank, Santa Fe Community Fund, or some organization trying to raise funds for COVID-19 test kits or ventilators. Yesterday we bought water containers and distilled/deionized water and delivered same to a close and elderly friend with serious medical conditions who has some medical contraption that needs DI water to function. She is, as she said to us, "one of the people for whom a COVID diagnosis would likely be a death sentence".



Stop and think. Look around you. As FDR so beautifully said, we have nothing to fear...but fear itself.

Disclaimer: I am on the Board of Directors of the Los Alamos Sportsman's Club. These are not club views or Board views but my views alone.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Some Quick Thoughts on the Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Bill Currently Filed for the 2020 Legislative Session

 I will undoubtedly edit this but wanted to get something out there.

Two identical Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO, or "red flag") bills have been prefiled for the legislature and are on the Governor's "to do" list for the thirty day session. On the house side, HB 7 has been filed by Rep. Daymon Ely. On the Senate side, Sen. Joseph Cervantes and Mr. Ely have filed SB 5. These are both online and can be examined. As an aside, Rep. Patricia Caballero has filed HB 85 to ban "firearm converters" but that bill is so bizzarely written that I hope it simply dies.

The bigger issue is the ERPO bill, which as I said, has been on the Governor's to do list and is being pushed heavily by the gun control fraternity. I won't bore you with a rewrite here so go read the bill. What I will do is point out what I consider the most problematic aspects of it to a gun owner.

First and foremost is due process. These bills use a lower standard of evidence to issue an order, the so called "preponderance of evidence" standard or fifty percent plus a smidgen typical of civil lawsuits. This is in contrast to "beyond a reasonable doubt" used in criminal adjudication.The good news is that this year's bill has a provision that the person seeking the order has to fill out an affidavit under oath, which means that if they mislead the court, they are subject to penalties such as being charged with perjury.

The bad news for gun owners would be that these cases are often ex parte (only one party need appear) and in any case, the person seeking the order, once it is issued, puts the gun owner into a position of being guilty until proved innocent.The initial orders are good for about fifteen days and you get your day in court. If you convince the court the request is not supported by sufficient evidence, you get your guns back. If not, say goodbye to them for a year.

But what about that day in court? In spite of the fact that your 2nd Amendment (and as enumerated in Art. II, Sec 6 of the state constitution) right to bear arms is on the table, as are your 4th and 5th Amendment rights to be secure from unlawful searches and seizures and loss of property without due process, you are at risk if you cannot afford counsel. The bill, while saying you have a right to counsel (well, duh...) does not provide you with one if you cannot afford one. So an indigent person or one of somewhat limited means will likely be showing up in court not only unfamiliar with the whole judicial process (as would be the case for most of us), but unable to afford competent legal advice. That is the most shocking problem in this bill from my perspective. It needs to be amended. As I said to Rep. Ely on the phone, I think this is a prime consideration for a lawsuit against the bill on due process grounds.

Finally, some of the wording in the bill is vague and could be a legal trap. Section C on pg. 13 of the present bill lists reasons one can be served with an ERPO. These include 'unlawful, reckless, or negligent use, display, storage, possession, or brandishing of a firearm". While brandishing is a fairly well established legal concept, I am not familiar with any NM law that defines some of these other terms. What is unlawful, reckless or negligent storage? If it is in the eye of the beholder, this is vague and can be twisted and turned to the use of a party unfamiliar with firearms.

Likewise, "misuse of controlled substances or alcohol". Are these well defined legal concepts or another opportunity for a gotcha? Finally, "the recent acquisition of a firearm". Really? Presumably one would have to have a context other than "gee, I like that winchester".

I would encourage all gun owners to contact the bill sponsors as well as their own representatives and bring up these points. I'm not opposed to an ERPO bill as a concept because as someone who has a subscription to multiple newspapers, I read of cases where these bills are good tools if used as a precision tool rather than as Maslow's Hammer. I do think these have to be narrowly drawn and preserve due process.

Its tough to strike a proper balance with these if one is thinking of real world situations. But find that balance we must.

Note as of 1-15-2020 10 a.m. I have repeatedly asked the New Mexico ACLU for an analysis of this bill. so far, crickets.