Fears of Rioting Drive Missouri Gun Sales

Image: Wikimedia Commons
Image: Wikimedia Commons

This is hardly surprising: “Gun sales are up across St. Louis since the shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent nights of violence,” as CBS Saint Louis reports (hat tip to Drudge Report). This mirrors what happened during the Los Angeles riots. Hopefully those intent on harming innocent third parties and their property will knock it off.

The Problem with Gun-Owner Welfare

Image: Pretoria Travel
Image: Pretoria Travel

A media release today from Colorado House Republicans states: “House Bill 1275, which authorizes the state of Colorado to purchase property to build a multi-use shooting facility in Mesa County will go into effect. The shooting facility is projected to attract more than a 100,000 visitors annually along with world-class competitors from around the world.” Insofar as the purpose of this tax-funded venture is to provide opportunities for recreational shooting, it is a form of welfare for gun owners, and therefore a violation of individual rights. People who do not shoot guns recreationally, or who do not even like guns, ought not be forced to finance the recreational shooting of those who do. Now, there is  an element of this that probably supports the state’s constitutional mandate that government establish a general militia and store “public arms”—a mandate the state almost entirely ignores—so there is some aspect of the bill that comports to some extent with the proper purposes of government (i.e., to protect rights). However, any state expenditure in this area should be strictly tied to militia purposes. Otherwise, recreational shooting facilities should be tax-exempt, private enterprises with due protections from abusive litigation.

The “Logic” of Gun-Free Zones

Image: Wikimedia Commons
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Two funny stories have floated around social media for years. (I suspect both were made up.) According to the first, a woman complains about daylight savings time because the extra hour of sunlight cooks her grass. According to the second, someone complains that “wildlife crossing” signs are badly placed, because the wildlife crossings in those locations create hazards for drivers. The error is the same in both cases: A person wrongly thinks a description of something changes the underlying reality of what’s going on. It occurred to me that people who advocate so-called “gun-free zones” commit a similar error, in that they imagine that decreeing an area “gun free” will somehow stop criminals from using guns in those areas.

The Way Bloomberg’s “Everytown” Gun Ad Should Have Ended

Image: Wikimedia Commons
Image: Wikimedia Commons

The victim disarmament group Everytown for Gun Safety recently published a video showing a man breaking into his ex-wife’s house, seizing their son, and shooting the woman. The point of the ad is that, if the man hadn’t had a gun, he wouldn’t have been able to shoot his ex-wife. However, If the man hadn’t had a gun, he still would have been able to break in, kidnap the couple’s son, and harm or murder his ex-wife with a knife, bar, or other weapon. Moreover, disarmament laws would not have stopped him from getting a gun illegally. What likely would have helped, as Dan Cannon points out, is if the woman had had a gun and the training to use it effectively: “Who was the woman on the phone with? The police. The police have guns. She was begging someone with a gun to come and save her, most likely by shooting the suspect (her ex). If she had a gun, she could have been that good guy with a gun.” On YouTube, CoyoteTrails edited the ad to show what should have happened:

August 1 Update: “The video is no longer available due to copyright claim by Everytown for Gun Safety.” I guess the organization found the edited video too effective a rebuttal. Anyway, the edited video showed a man breaking into his ex-wife’s house, the woman opening her gun safe and retrieving her handgun, the woman warning the man, and the woman firing her gut at the man—the end.

Colorado Gun Sales Normalize as Practice Shooting Increases

“Gun purchases in Colorado have fallen by more than a third this year, after an unprecedented surge of buying last year,” reports Ben Markus for Colorado Public Radio. Meanwhile, “Colorado Springs-area shooting centers gaining in popularity,” reports the Gazette. In related news, the new Colorado universal background-registration law has generated only a small fraction of the private-sale checks that Democrats predicted, reports the Denver Post (via the Associated Press).

Top Six Reasons I’m Glad the Recall Pushed Evie Hudak to Resign

The three successful recall efforts in Colorado politics this year are unprecedented. On September 10, voters recalled Democratic state senators John Morse and Angela Giron and replaced them with Republicans. On November 27, the third target of a recall election—my state senator Evie Hudak—resigned rather than face the voters and risk the Democrats’ advantage in the state senate. (With Hudak’s resignation, a vacancy committee will replace Hudak with another Democrat, maintaining the party’s 18-17 member advantage.)

In an article for Complete Colorado, I point out the absurdity of Hudak’s supporters claiming that the recallers—the very people engaged in democratic action to gather signatures and seek a recall vote—are somehow undemocratic. I note, “Although lawful, Hudak’s decision to resign replaces a democratic recall election with a profoundly anti-democratic decision by party elite.” Read the entire article.

There is more to say, however, about why it’s a wonderful thing that Hudak is no longer my state senator—even though she has denied me a voice in choosing her replacement. Here are my top six reasons.

1. Hudak supported the rights-violating, badly drafted anti-gun legislation heavily promoted in the state by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Obama administration.

2. Hudak heartlessly insulted a rape victim on the floor of the state senate—while invoking bogus statistics to browbeat the poor lady.

3. Hudak suggested that another legislator should “flip a coin” to decide a vote. State Senator Owen Hill asked Hudak, “How can I vote on it if we can’t have a little bit more discussion?” She replied, “Take your best shot… Here’s a coin you can flip.” Hill sensibly responded, “I didn’t knock on 20,000 doors so I could flip a coin.”

4. Hudak supported the Amendment 66 tax-hike proposal, a measure that voters thankfully rejected by wide margins.

5. During important legislative hearings, Hudak spent her time on social media.

6. Hudak’s supporters distributed a nasty, misleading flyer in an attempt to suppress the democratic recall effort, and, to my knowledge, Hudak did not condemn the flyer or those responsible for it.

Hudak was arguably the least competent legislator in Colorado. I for one rejoice that she’s out of office.

The Clements Murder and Colorado Gun Laws: My Complete Colorado Article

Complete Colorado has published my latest column about the murder of Tom Clements, former head of the Colorado Department of Corrections.

The details of the case are very disturbing; here are my concluding remarks:

Colorado’s prisons contain thousands of “active” gangsters who violently “target” each other while in prison. One of these gangs is the 211 Crew, a group of violent white supremacists that included [Evan] Ebel, that sent a Colorado judge into hiding, and that likely ordered the murder of Clements. . . . Even though Ebel violently assaulted a prison guard—a crime for which he was supposed to serve an additional four years—the government’s “clerical error” released him from prison early. After Ebel broke his ankle bracelet and went on the run, the government did nothing about it. Two days later, Ebel murdered a pizza delivery man for his uniform. Two days after that, Ebel murdered Clements at his home. Two days after that, Ebel nearly murdered a Texas law enforcement officer and attempted to murder many more.

In the midst of this chaos—of this fundamental incapacity of Colorado government to perform its central role of protecting the public from violent criminals—Colorado’s Democratic legislators and Colorado’s governor are largely concerned, not about cleaning up those obvious problems, but with redirecting government resources toward the tracking and monitoring of peaceable gun owners.

Read the entire article.

Leftist Media Critic Jason Salzman Declines My Offer to Pay for His Gun Safety Class

Leftist media critic Jason Salzman is “scared of guns” and ignorant about  them. Given he has taken to writing about gun safety—and given he routinely writes about gun policy—I offered him an opportunity to learn what he’s talking about by attending a gun-safety class at my expense. Unfortunately, he has declined.

Yesterday I Tweeted to Salzman, “I offer to pay for your gun safety class we both agree to.” He replied, “You’re very kind, but I don’t own a gun and I dont want to spend the time on a class right now. Already too busy” (capitalization corrected).

I reiterated my offer to Salzman by telephone and mentioned that his lack of a gun wouldn’t be a problem, as he can use a loaner.

In short, although Salzman has the time to work toward the violation of the rights of gun owners, he does not have the time to learn about how guns operate or about gun safety.

My offer remains open, and Salzman knows how to reach me should he change his mind and accept it.

* * *

This morning I appeared on Peter Boyles’s radio program to discuss my Complete Colorado article, “Will Senator Morse Clarify His Remarks on Gun Owners Having ‘Sickness’ in Their ‘Souls’?” (You can find the audio file on the KNUS web page or on Podbean, July 30, third hour.) I discuss Salzman in that article, and Boyles discussed him extensively on his show; thus, I wanted to add a few additional notes about Salzman here.

Boyles spend much of the hour discussing a “fraudulent” contest in which Salzman played a role. I didn’t know anything about this (or I had forgotten whatever I’d heard about it), so I was not prepared to discuss the topic. After the show I did a bit of digging.

Westword‘s Michael Roberts confirms that Michael Huttner and ProgressNow “promised to give away a trip to Hawaii to the person with the best idea to improve America,” and Salzman was involved with this project. That prize was never awarded. Roberts writes that Salzman “was a contractor to ProgressNow’s national organization and had no role in the Hawaii contest beyond helping to publicize it.”

I asked Salzman if he wished to comment about the Hawaii prize or about his work now. He replied:

On the record, the Westword article is accurate about my role. Mike Huttner was my client, and I’m not authorized to talk about the project beyond what I’ve said.

I regularly post my work on ColoradoPols and Huffington Post. I used to post on Squarestate.net, which seems to have folded. Sometimes I post on other progressive outlets, and I try to get op-eds published in real-life newspapers.

As for the debate about Morse’s comments, I’ll have more to say about that at a later time.

The photo shows Jason Salzman, and I hereby release the photo under a “Creative Commons” license, with attribution and a link to this web page. —Ari Armstrong

Did Colorado Senator John Morse Claim that Gun Owners Have a “Sickness” In Their “Souls” that Needs to Be “Cleansed”?

In my latest Complete Colorado op-ed, I argue:

In context, [State Senator John] Morse does seem to imply that gun owners—at least those who robustly campaign for gun rights—have sick souls. If he meant something different from that—if he is prepared to say that rights-respecting people who own their guns of choice and who campaign for gun rights are perfectly moral to do so—now would be a great time for Morse to clarify his remarks.

I quote extensively from his March 8 comments in that article. If you still wonder about the complete context or the tone of his remarks, I have now put his entire speech on YouTube.

August 1 Update: Complete Colorado has published my follow-up article about Morse’s remarks. Morse did offer additional comments about his March 8 “sickness” speech with a March 13 release of the video of that speech. I summarize: “Although these additional remarks clarify that Morse was not claiming that all gun owners have a sickness in their souls, they do not retract Morse’s insinuation that many gun owners—namely, those who own the types of guns and gun magazines of which Morse disapproves and who campaigned against the Democrats’ anti-gun legislation—do have a sickness in their souls, in Morse’s view.” Read the complete follow-up for details.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons