Monday, August 27, 2012

Death by goverment

One of the criticisms levels against the Limited Liability Corporation is that it is effectively immortal. Well, as the CPSC is proving, the government can kill a corporation.
The company behind Buckysball is in a fight for it’s life with the minions of “for the children”. Despite doing everything properly to make sure their product is kept out of the hands of young children (to the point of dropping retail outlets), and a productive workign relationship (or so they thought) with the CPSC, the CPSC has decided this product is too unsafe to be allowed to be sold at all, basically without taking any input from Buckyballs. But they’re fighting back.
Gun owners, take note – this is a playbook to hammer gun ownership as well.

Gun cultures on the Hudson

NYC has an effectively dead private gun culture, with noted effects on the attitudes of MYPD towards shooting. NJ has a weak but present gun culture, with enough of a market that the Dick’s Sporting Goods that opened up near me recently has a small but present firearms section, despite the difficulties in paperwork that any retail firearms operation in NJ faces. As I noted in comments at Uncle’s, the local county police range is making a range available for shooters once a week (no doubt at least partially because they took federal funds and must meet the public access requirements of such), and the current range manager wants to extent the hours and days.  The range itself has a page on the county’s web servers (which is new).

One major difference? In NJ there is no paperwork required to possess a firearm in the home, range, fixed place of business, or in transit, and the paperwork to purchase firearms is shall-issue with minimal interactions with police and (relatively) low cost to the applicant. NYC requires a possession permit that is may-issue and very expensive ($235 or so per a glance at the NYPD page on obtaining a rifle permit), and there are ridiculous restrictions involved in actually transporting the firearm to a range. NYC requires registration of firearms, while NJ only recommends it (though handguns bought in-state will presumably be registered via the permit to purchase). Also, the permit to possess expires and must be renewed on pain of confiscation…

Thus, in NJ, to be a firearms owner you have to interact with the government once* to obtain a firearm as a resident (and not at all if you owned prior to coming to NJ*). So, if your interest wanes, you face no difficulties in retaining your firearm against the day it picks up. NYC, no such luck.

* – You need to provide a Firearm Purchasers ID card that matches valid picture ID to purchase “handgun ammunition” (undefined by statute, so many dealers require a card check for all ammo), and the FPID lists your address, so if you move you have to renew, which in some jurisdictions is treated as a new application.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Another observation

Wow, that was a quick turnaround. From recovering the weapon at a crime scene to determining it was legally purchased 20 years ago in a different state took at most 4 hours. In a country that is legally prohibited from maintaining a registry of firearms yet. Supposedly... I’m impressed – was the CSI:NY team on that?

Observations around an obscenity

There was an ambush assassination near the Empire State Building today, in which an individual took the life of someone he believed to be responsible for his misfortunes, and then was shot down in a hail of lead by police officers. I’m going to leave commentary on the actual incident to others.

What I will point out is that the onerous registration and permitting process to possess a firearm in New York City was defeated by buying a weapon twenty years ago and not talking about it since then. The requirement for a nearly-impossible-to-obtain carry permit, which the shooter lacked, was defeated by a layer of cloth.The vaunted perimeter security of the Empire State Building, including metal detectors and bag checks, was defeated by waiting outside the perimeter. Short of turning the entire country into a police state, and doing so twenty years ago, nothing could have stopped this person with murder on their mind from shooting their target.

It’ll get even harder to restrict access to firearms as small-scale machining and 3D printing become widely available. It’s about at the point today that you can create a rifle using a 3D printer and commonly available parts that can be ordered through the mail or bought at most gun stores; because they are replacement or customizing parts. The “serialized part”, the receiver, on an AR-15 is not an item that is subject to high stresses and therefore is suitable for manufacture in a 3D printer. This has been done already. If you have access to a CNC machine (and accessibility is becoming easier all the time), you can make an aluminum 1911 (the model of firearm used in this crime) or an aluminum AR-15. Note that complying with the odd restrictions of the federal Gun Control Acts makes this harder. If you didn’t care for the law (and if you’re going to commit murder…) a blowback operated smoothbore shortbarrel SMG is one of the easiest types of firearms to machine. (A breechloading shotgun is probably easier, and potentially more deadly for an assassination attack – and for the particular situation may have gotten about ten less people shot in the aftermath, depending). But a rifling setup is not impossible, just decidedly difficult.

It is impossible to stop a determined murderer once he has obtained his weapon and it is impossible to prevent the determined murdered from obtaining weapons under the US Constitution. There is no effective and Constitutional way to detect a concealed weapon in public. The most you can do is inconvenience the law abiding with ineffective and arcane restrictions.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012