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The Golden State’s law-makers that serve in the Public Safety Committee met to discuss AB-306 or as it has been labeled the Public Property Protection Act. This bill, introduced by Assemblymen Ivan Gomez-Lipshitz (D- Reseda) makes it a crime (Felony) to use deadly force, or the threat of deadly force in defense of oneself or others. The philosophical underpinnings of the bill are based on the belief that people within the borders of California are in fact property of the State. Since property can be regulated, the State has chosen to regulate the interactions between peoples.
“Our people are our resources!” stated Assemblyman Gomez-Lipshitz during his opening presentation. “Too many individuals have taken it upon themselves to act as individuals.” “This needs to stop now! I cannot tell you how many times my office has informed me that one of my constituents tried to rob someone… an act that itself is nothing more than a cry for help… and the person they were trying to rob did the unthinkable… they shot my constituent! This needs to stop now!”
Heidi Washington “Aurora” Francis Snodgrass, a sociology professor at Cal State Van Nuys summed up the prevailing sentiment among the pro-306 action committee:
“There is systemic racism, sexism, economic subjugation and generally bad behavior from privileged men and womyn. (Ms. Francis insisted that the use of the “y” in “womyn” be used in her quote. We explained that our spell checker would probably auto correct and she threatened us with a law suit. Under advice of counsel we deactivated our auto-correct for this paragraph).
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“Allowing people to defend themselves means that their dependence on the State is negligible. This is antithetical to California’s Progressive Values. If everyone is property of the State, we kill two birds with one stone. We move closer to Marxist ideology while at the same time allowing the state to further a progressive agenda.”
(We pointed out that her use of the idiom “killing two birds with one stone” was a patriarchal stereotype and evoked both violent imagery as well as being “speciest”. She responded by ending the interview claiming that our push back was a “triggering event”. She has threatened us with legal action for the emotional devastation she now is claiming.”
Lauren “Snooky” Gomez, the spokesperson for Gang Protection Now, an advocacy group for minority gangs that claim unfair persecution from privileged society, and an outspoken supporter for AB-306 had this to say:
“We love this bill! Love it! With all of these doctors, lawyers, and other rich people now packing heat, the playing field is starting to level. We used to be able to feel pretty comfortable that we could do the things we needed to do to get the stuff we needed to get with little to no resistance coming from the people we needed to take them from. Now when we go about our work… there is the real possibility that we might get killed! This S@#$T has got to stop! If people are told they can’t fight back, then it makes out job a lot easier, and a lot safer. We know that the legislature is going to support this… we told them too.”
When pressed about the comment regarding the legislature Mr. Gomez explained:
“Look, we own those guys. We are their constituents, not the people that live in their districts. We provide the money, the man power, and when necessary the muscle to make sure that they stay there in their nice air conditioned halls. We might not vote… but we make sure that the people that do vote, vote the right way.”
AB-306 is expected to pass the public safety committee and head to the full Assembly for approval. Governor Brown has already signaled his willingness to sign it.
"This story is for all intents parody… all characters are fictional…. if you read this and lost your mind and spent hours googling the people in the story or the legislation then you clearly did not read to the end!"
Last Thursday, we had a visit from the California Dept. of Justice Firearms Bureau, field representative.
This is in some circles referred to as an “audit”.
It was non-adversarial to say the least. She looked at a smattering of our files, made some recommendations on how we can improve, and showed us where we were flat out “not in compliance” with new laws… rest assure, that has been rectified. In fact, now when you come in to Artemis, you can see a copy of our FFL, our Certificate of Eligibility, and a copy of my FSC examiners card. If you are also the type of person who stays up at night concerned about safety warning signs not being present at the time of a firearm pick up… well, be assured… they have been ordered and will arrive sometime this week.
Of course, we had a conversation about the Assault Weapons registration process…. and she had no information. Which I pointed out was kind of funny… she was at our place to make sure that we were legally compliant with California Regulations… at the same time that her agency was breaking the law that California Legislature passed.
We then got into the question of the Straw Purchase.
Tongue and cheek ribbing about over regulation aside… this one is important and frankly I agree with her on it.
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Both State and Federal Law prohibit the sale of a firearm to what is referred to as a “Straw Purchaser”. This is someone who acts essentially as the agent of another individual that cannot legally purchase a firearm.
Now, at the Federal level this makes perfect sense. There are certain people that are prohibited from buying firearms as a condition of their mental health or their status as a felon. They have lost their rights for a variety of things from their Fourth Amendment protections to their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
The thing is, that for them to reach this status… (for rights to have been taken away) they had to be subjected to judicial proceedings first.
If they are able to coerce or persuade an individual (that still has the right to purchase a firearm) to do so on their behalf, then a crime has been committed. I think we can all understand that.
California has a different problem.
Without any judicial proceeding taking place, each citizen of the State of California has had a portion of their rights taken away by the Legislature. Under the guise of health, safety and welfare, the State of California has determined that a variety of handguns that are perfectly legal everywhere else in the Union, are not legal here because they are “dangerous”… well actually, they are deemed “unsafe” since they have not been blessed by the State.
This would be perfectly acceptable…. under normal circumstances except for one fundamental ILLOGICAL flaw:
There are still classes of people that can own them legally in the State.
Chief among them: Law Enforcement Officers.
As a Law Enforcement officer they retain the right to buy whatever they want. Literally, the State of California allows police officers to buy for their personal inventories, weapons that the State by definition considers to be “unsafe”.
What is more problematic is that the same officer that buys an “off roster” gun is then legally allowed to sell that gun to any non-prohibited person that resides in the Sate of California.
So… if a cop buys a Gen 4 Glock (a weapon that is sold throughout the entire country) and then decides he does not want it anymore, he can sell it to his neighbor who could not legally purchase it new from the gun store.
Here is the thing… everyone wants a Gen 4 Glock. Why? Well… perhaps it might be the sheer fact that it is newer, it might also be the fact that it has better design features then the Gen 3 which is available.
So, a gun that normally would cost about $500 in Arizona, can command a “used” price of upwards of $1000 in California, because the supply is so limited. Primarily limited to… you guessed it… law enforcement officers that are willing to sell theirs.
The ATF recently sent a letter to California Police Chiefs warning them that some of their officers are getting dangerously close to running side businesses of selling “off roster” guns. This is problematic as far as the ATF is concerned because the only way to legally trade firearms without an FFL is to not generally be in the business of doing so. A cop that has bought and sold 100+ off roster guns in the course of a year (yeah… that is a real example)… kinda sounds like an unlicensed firearms dealer.
The market can work in reverse too.
Bob decides he wants to get a Gen 4 Glock. Problem is Bob is not a cop. So Bob orders a Gen 4 Glock for his buddy Frank who is a cop. Frank does the paper work to get the gun then turns around and “sells” it to Bob.
Yeah.. that is a Straw Purchase. For the simple reason that when Frank fills out the ATF paperwork, he purposefully states that he is the “actual buyer” of the firearm. In the hypothetical, I just posited, Frank really is not the “actual buyer”, Bob is. Frank is “the legal middleman”… and quite possibly a “Straw Purchaser”.
Here is the question. The law prohibits someone from buying a firearm on behalf of someone they know is a “prohibited person”. But Bob is not really a “prohibited person” is he? It is perfectly legal for Bob to purchase a firearm, the State of California simply does not want him to purchase THAT particular firearm… at least not “new”.
There is a very very simple way to solve this problem.
It is elegant, removes the temptation for Law Enforcement Officers to engage in what could be seen as a dubious side business that runs afoul of Federal Law. It also allows individuals in the State of California to simply and easily buy new weapons that are available to law abiding citizens throughout the country.
It will save thousands of hours a year in the processing of DROS applications and will allow DOJ Field Representatives quicker compliance checks. (This will become even more important in the near future when ammunition sales become just as regulated as gun sales.)
Simply end the legislative tyranny of that silly roster!
Last Friday, I lectured at the California Rifle and Pistol Association’s headquarters in Fullerton. We have been invited to offer our Pre-CCW lecture at the CRPA headquarters once a month.
As is always the case when I lecture, I end up learning something interesting in the process. The nugget that I got from this class involved the number of weapons that we can have on our CCW permit.
There has never been a standardized position statewide regarding the number of firearms that a CCW holder can have on their permit, and that is seriously unfortunate. To make matters even more… shall we say “dynamic”… the possibility of national reciprocity complicates this issue even more.
In Utah, for example there is no requirement regarding limiting the number of firearms that a CCW holder carries. So… imagine a world where we now have national reciprocity, I know… the feeling makes me giddy too but I digress… regardless, we have two individuals. One lives in Ventura County and is licensed to carry three specifically listed pistols concealed. His friend lives in Utah, and has a license to carry from there. The two are visiting in Lake Tahoe. The Ventura resident is limited to the guns he can carry. The Utah resident can carry anything he wants. Literally under this scenario the Utah resident has more rights, (read less potential liability) in California then the citizen of California does.
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So during this class the question was asked “how many guns can I have on a permit?”
I told them that for Orange County the number is pretty much set at three. A couple of years ago there had been some discussion of extending the number to five, but at the last minute they decided to pull that off the table.
Rick Travis, the Executive Director of CRPA was in attendance. I asked him if he knew if it were confirmed that the Sacramento Sheriff had authorized five weapons on a CCW holder’s card.
He nodded in affirmation, and went on to tell me that there were counties (albeit rural ones) that have no limit. (a cursory search of our surrounding neighbors turned up that Riverside allows six guns on a permit!)
Even the mandate to have the firearm registered to you as a specific individual has fluctuated over time.
All of the guns that Sandy and I own were accumulated during our marriage… which by definition means that they are community property. Community property true… but registered either individually to me or to Sandy. (Why registration cannot be done in a corporate form for businesses, or husbands and wives is completely beyond me.)
That means that since our CCW permits require specific firearms be registered to us as individuals, I can’t carry Sandy’s gun. Well, actually that is not an accurate statement… I cannot carry my joint ownership firearm that happens to be registered in Sandy’s name. The reverse is also true… she cannot carry a gun that she owns but is registered to me.
So, that brings us to the concept of rationalism.
What is the rational behind this rationing concept?
There is none.
A couple of years ago the Orange County Sheriffs dept. was all set to increase the number of guns from three to five. (A step in the right direction,… even if it is still somewhat arbitrary).
In the eleventh hour they nixed it.
We have no idea. Someone thought that by increasing the number of guns on a permit there would be a commensurate increase in liability. How they came to this conclusion is beyond me.
Regardless… that is where we are. A system of rationing with no rational basis behind it.
Six guns… three guns… five guns… unfortunately the entire system misses the point. It’s not about the number of guns… it’s about the responsibility of the gun owner to train. The gun is just a tool. A very efficient tool to be sure, but a tool none-the-less.
When the focus turns from the law abiding citizen, to the specific tool that they happen to employ a false sense of security arises. One that can potentially have tragic consequences.
The Pinnacle of Multi Tasking
During our CCW class this past weekend, we had the pleasure of hosting a returning client from out of State…. she just so happens to be the daughter of Bret, our instructor.
Sara went and got herself married a couple of years ago to a fine sailor in the US Navy. After a stint in Guantanamo Bay, the two have moved to Virginia for her husband’s duty assignment.
She had come home to visit her family, and in furtherance of getting her CCW in Virginia, decided to take our class, which (we learned) evidentially satisfies the training requirement there as well.
Not wanting to miss out on the fun of watching his daughter, Bret decided to audit the class as well.
For those of you who have been through our program before, you know one of the consistent themes throughout the class is the development of “Mastery of Skill at Arms”. This is a poetic way of saying, developing muscle memory.
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Bret chimed in on the first instance of “muscle memory” and related a story to the class that had happened to him.
For those of you who don’t know Bret, he is a recently retired Lt. with the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Dept.
He spent his entire career working in various capacities with the Sheriff from the jails, to the courts, to Patrol and ultimately as he reached the upper ranks, management. Fairly early on in our business Bret came in as a student.
He had access to various elective and mandatory training through the Sheriff, but he also sought out training opportunities on his own. He became a regular client, and after his retirement from the Sheriffs dept. became one of our instructors.
Bret shoots a lot.
In addition to demonstrating shooting techniques on our systems, he also is a regular competitor at various shooting competitions throughout the state. (He has also recruited one or two Artemis students to join him on the circuit!)
The story he told was interesting.
Remember… Bret spends a lot of time demonstrating techniques to our clients. Repetition after repetition takes place in the Lab showing our students the proper methodology for doing either the simplest administrative reload, to the the most complex malfunction clearance.
So, there he was at a live fire competition. He had a specific shooting string that needed to be completed under time, with the requisite amount of accurate hits. He was also limited in the amount of ammunition he had available to equalize the field between the semi-auto crowd (which he was one of) and the revolver guys.
After his first shot went down range, he saw that his slide had not completely gone forward into battery.
He instantly began an intellectual process of how he would need to proceed to get his gun back into battery, and not eject one of the precious rounds he had in his firearm. (One miss, or one shot not fired would detract from his over all score. If he simply racked the slide, he would eject an unused round and make him ineligible to win this string.)
As he thought about what he was going to do, he saw his gun rotate back into his workspace. He watched as his support hand slapped the magazine into place, and then instantly go to the slide and power stroke the action.
With the action set his sites were back on target and without thinking about it, he was shooting again.
He had trained to instantly go into an immediate action drill and clear a malfunction when one presented itself. He had done this so many times, that when he perceived a malfunction… while thinking about something else… he cleared it quickly, efficiently, and dynamically “returned to the fight”.
This was not the best course of action for Bret the “competitive shooter”.
But Bret is not a “competitive shooter” first and foremost.
He is a gunfighter.
While that round that he intellectually wanted to save ended up being thrown clear of the injection port, and his score was diminished… he realized something far more important: If this had been a life and death event, he would have had the Mastery of Skill at Arms to get his gun back into battery and back into the fight.
There exists two worlds in the gun community. The world of the recreational shooter, and the world of the gunfighter. Gunfighters, certainly can shoot recreationally… but the purpose of their shooting is the overall development of Mastery of Skill at Arms. While Bret may have lost that competition, his realization of the development of his own skill set was far more rewarding.
We train every day. We train with purpose.
Neil Gorsuch is in the process of becoming confirmed as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, filling the seat of my hero Justice Scalia after his untimely death last year.
The hearings showed that Gorsuch shares a judicial temperament similar to Scalia which would ultimately maintain the balance that has developed on the court over the last few years between conservative and activist oriented justices.
Essentially, nothing new and exciting is going to take place in the direction of the Court as a result of a Gorsuch appointment… but, that does not mean that politics does not play a role in the confirmation process… SIGH!
There were some anger and resentment from the Democrats regarding President Obama’s attempt to fill Scalia’s seat with Merrick Garland in the last few months of his presidency. An attempt that the Republicans met with resistance and ultimately prevented from happening. This still seems to be a source of consternation among the Democrats.
Hand wringing aside, the purpose of the confirmation hearing is to allow for the Senate to play a role in the nomination process…. specific to the individual nominated… not to air grievances arising from unrelated political dramas.
Regardless, during the confirmation process, we saw some examples of an attorney with a complete and utter lack of understanding of basic Constitutional principles, zero regard for the rule of law, and frankly a juvenile idea of established jurisprudence.
Fortunately, these displays did not come from Neil Gorsuch…
They came from California’s two Senators.
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In an exchange between Senator Diane Feinstein and Gorsuch, she asked him about the Second Amendment. Specifically, she wanted to know his thoughts on “assault rifles” as well as his understanding of Heller v. District of Columbia… and, if that ruling recognizes a “fundamental right” of citizens to keep and bear arms.
Gorsuch correctly demurred on the question of “assault rifles” (The nominated cannot comment on, nor give future litigants a statement that would indicate a pre determined outcome to future litigation). He did say that he would follow the law as established under the Heller ruling.
This seemed to really bother Senator Feinstein.
She wanted to know what Gorsuch thought of the law and whether by extension, it should be followed. Gorsuch's response was incredulity. “Senator, it does not make any difference what my thoughts are, it is the law.”
The fact that she would press him on this issue is problematic in two respects: First, as he has articulated, (and she must know)… it is the “law”, and arbitrarily not following it because of a personal belief cheapens all law, and ultimately leads to lack of predictability. How can a society function if knowledge of what is right and wrong is outcome based, dependent exclusively on a set of facts of a particular case, rather than on legal principles.
Second, if a judicial nominee were to signal his antagonism towards the underlying principle of existing law, that would clearly telegraph to future litigants how the outcome of a case challenging that law would go… in least, as far as this particular jurist is concerned.
The second round of insanity came from a tweet issued by Senator Kamela Harris. California’s Junior Senator.
She announced that she would not support Gorsuch since he placed “legalisms” over the rights of average citizens.
Again… she is looking for outcome based judicial principles. A jurist that will uphold Constitutional principles over the desired policy outcome of a case simply cannot be tolerated.
(ALSO… what the hell does she mean by “legalisms”? Is she referring to… um.. you know…”the law?!?!”)
Remember, until recently Ms. Harris was the highest ranking law enforcement official in the State of California, serving as Attorney General. It is no wonder that we have the problems in California that we do from the legislature, to the enforcement of laws, to the expansion of administrative regulations… clearly in defiance of Constitutional principles.
Senator Harris gave us a peek behind the curtain as it relates to leftist jurisprudence. The Constitution (read “legalisms”) is an irritant to her. A road block that prevents legislative as well as case law from allowing unconstitutional laws and programs from being enacted.
Senator Harris, Senator Feinstein,… the purpose of the Constitution is not to expand the role of Government, it is to RESTRICT the government from encroaching on the rights of the individual. The judiciary is to interpret the laws crafted by the legislature and ensure that they comport with Constitutional principles.
I would suggest that during the Congressional recess you consider taking a basic civics course.
Ladies of the night….
No wait! That’s wrong!
Yes… that is better.
Last Thursday, we had Ladies’ Night at Artemis. Typically during Ladies Night… I set myself up at the front desk and stay put until our clients go into the lab. Each month, we have a different themed lecture and different speakers. I usually stay out of the mix.
March was different. Stacie, who runs our Ladies Night program had asked me to be the “guest” lecturer for this month with a focus on Situational Awareness… The dynamics of the threat cycle and… if I wanted, a little law and philosophy, because… hey… its me.
My impressions (of Ladies’ Night) were not what I expected them to be. Many of the women that come to this program are regulars, and as such, I already had a fair amount of knowledge of their personalities. There were a number of newcomers though… Some had husbands that train at Artemis… or are wives and daughters of law enforcement officers… others, like the mother and daughter duo… found us on the internet and thought “Ladies Night” would be a good way to introduce themselves to us.
Of the women that I know in the program, I would consider them all to be strong and independent. Those that train with us regularly have a high level of gun handling skills and understand the basic fundamentals of use of force philosophy. Some of them… are CCW holders and as such feel a deep responsibility to continuously train.
I hope that my audience found my lecture interesting and intellectually stimulating. They did ask some very pertinent questions and I am proud to report no one fell asleep during the presentation.
In the lab however, we all became students.
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Those that had little to no gun handling experience started at square one and progressed nicely. They had drilled into them the importance of gun safety, muzzle discipline and began the process of becoming defensive shooters.
Towards the end of the night, our new guests made their way over to the 300 where I was putting clients through use of force scenarios and doing fairly extensive debriefs.
Two of the women and their actions stood out.
Both of these women, I would consider to be “strong”.
They have a good sense of self and are naturally protective of others. Under a high stress event though, they did the unthinkable…. they failed to act. They did absolutely nothing… they FROZE.
All agreed… that had these women been protecting their children… their actions would have probably been different… but since they alone were the potential victims, they were far more submissive.
Understandable… but unacceptable!
Each of these women have loved ones that absolutely depend on their continuous existence. Emotional, spiritual, psychological, and sometimes economic support are provided by the presence of these women…. were they to suddenly leave this world, the psychological trauma left by their passing would be for many of their loved ones, insurmountable.
Moreover, we as creatures inherently understand that in a world of uncertainties… sometimes, tragedy occurs. We hurt… but we can deal with falling trees and hurricanes. Monsters that attack our loved ones… well that is something entirely different.
A child will never recover from the fact that their mother was murdered. The psychic scar will alter forever the course of their life.
We all must be prepared to act. There are loved ones that count on us coming home. If we fail to act we are most assuredly putting them in harms way.
You have value.
That value is transcendent. That value must be defended against tyranny. There are simply too many people who desperately need you to survive. Forsaking their needs for the benefit of the attacker is, in my opinion an immoral decision.
You must train… know your strengths… know your weaknesses… and most of all develop the willingness to survive.
Outside of the Comfort Zone
In everyone’s life, there are times that demand the expansion of known operational zones.
Sometimes these are mandated by circumstances… others, strictly by desire. Regardless, growth, empowerment, understanding comes from actually “doing” rather than simple passive education.
Depending on our clients, our business is often based on this principle. Many individuals come to us with limited to no weapons training. Some are terrified about the prospect of actually shooting a gun… others, are terrified subconsciously about the potential of realization that their skills do not necessarily match the ideas of competency that they imagine they already possess.
Our goal is always to push past that and to achieve real learning and ultimately… mastery.
Sandy and I along with our daughters had the opportunity this past weekend to become students to something that was very foreign to us… thus… having us experience the same level of trepidation that many of our clients go through.
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Growing up, I had always wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle. This was based exclusively on a singular interest: They look cool!
My arguments had no utilitarian values. Cheaper gas, quicker drive times, faster speeds… these were irrelevant to me. Motorcycles simply looked bad ass… and I wanted one.
Unfortunately, there was an insurmountable obstacle that prevented me from learning:
There were certain rules in our home. Generally, these rules had some degree of flexibility that allowed them to be tailored to specific situations, but there was one that was carved in stone inspired from Divine Providence. NO MOTORCYCLES. The mere act of taking a class would have violated this fundamental principle since the class would have necessitated riding one at some point.
Upon marriage, my mother transferred her angst of motor bikes to my wife Sandy.
Oh, there was one point a few years ago where the power of my logic almost overcame the arguments against “the bike”.
While Sandy and I were coming home from somewhere with the kids in the back seat, I pushed and pushed the idea that we should at least “know” how to ride a motorcycle. This appeal towards education was having the desired effect. I could see Sandy’s internal gears turning and the possibility was beginning to exist… that I might actually change her mind. Then the cars ahead slowed down and we crawled past an accident scene.
A motorcycle vs. a car.
The results of the combat resulted in a fatality.
Sandy watched as we rolled by the carnage.
“Get your mom to agree to you learning how to ride and then we will talk about.”
Then something changed…
A few months back, without any prompting. Sandy came to me and suggested that both us and the girls should know how to operate a motorbike. Specifically an off road bike. Her arguments were sound… the same arguments I had used in the past: Lack of knowledge in a critical time could result in our demise.
At that same time, our eldest put on her Christmas wish list… “motorcycle riding lessons”… when it comes to education and training, Sandy is totally open to it. So this past Christmas, Santa not only gave our eldest the lesson, Santa gave us ALL riding lessons. The next step was looking for quality training and after discussions with our member Aaron Cress and David Langford (both team members of Kawasaki at the Corporate level)… a plan was set. They were going to personally teach us how to ride.
As we arrived at the muster point off Stoddard Wells Road in the High Desert, I was nervous. The kids and Sandy seemed perfectly fine, but I was scared.
I’m not sure if the fear was based around the precepts that my mother had instilled over these many years, or simply not having the skills to actually ride these things… but to argue that there was no trepidation on my part would have been wrong.
Aaron and David got the bikes ready and began to explain the clutch and the gear select.
When I was a kid learning how to drive a stick shift, I had my dad in the passenger seat next to me. There are no passenger seats on a bike. I was going to have to take all this information in and then go with it on my own. As soon as I got the bike into first I would be flying solo.
I was also worried about my kids and Sandy.
If I was this nervous, how were they?
I slowly increased the throttle and let out the clutch.
Ok… I think I get the concept.
I tried it again… This time to my shock I found myself moving. Yes… actually moving! Well.. in first gear and probably at about 10 miles an hour… but moving none the less.
Since we were on a clear expanse of land and I could hear the engine straining, I pulled in the clutch, lifted up the gear select to second gear and released the clutch again.
HA! it worked!
Well… if that worked, let’s try third gear.
I could see that Sandy and the kids were enjoying the same rate of success that I was as well.
Within 30 minutes… we were taking the bikes on dessert trails.
Sure, there were a few stalls. Dumped the bike a couple of times too. But these were minor set backs… not catastrophic failures.
By the end of the day, we noticed that we were sore and tired, but unbelievably satisfied.
We all had a blast!
Sandy and I had something else though: The knowledge that “if we ever NEEDED to get on a bike and go, we could and so could our kids”.
One of our clients years ago witnessed a horrible home invasion robbery. One that easily could have resulted in the death of his son. During that event, one of the criminals dropped a Beretta 92FS.
Our client, who had no knowledge of guns was afraid to pick it up.
Guns scared him… and the Beretta has a “complicated” look to it. He had no idea how to operate it. His response was to freeze.
After that event, he came to us and asked us to teach him how to shoot. He was not convinced he would ever buy a gun, but he knew he needed to know how to operate one.
I am fairly convinced that we are going to end up acquiring bikes here in the near future… maybe not a cruiser at this time, but one for emergency purposes… after all, I still have to obtain the approval of my mother before we move on… once we acquire them… we will need to head out and practice with them some more… not a problem… they are simply too much fun not to do so.
They do have an obvious utilitarian value. Knowing how to operate one is the ultimate point.
By Steven Lieberman
There are true Masters of Skill at Arms.
Individuals that embody the quiet professionalism of a warrior that peacefully walks among us. Those that exude a quiet confidence and athletic perfectionism that instantly comes to play when they have a weapon in hand.
They are our goal.
Through dedicated practice, countless repetition, and diligent study, we endeavor to match our abilities to theirs.
Then there are those that are are… well…. shall we say “content” to simply be licensed to carry a firearm.
It is the latter that has always given me the greatest concern and consternation. They also occasionally find their way into our CCW renewal classes.
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This last weekend, we had one such client.
As Sandy was checking students in at the fumble table… John V, playing the ever watchful range master yelled back to inform her that a student was playing with a firearm while in line. This egregious violation was quickly handled by Sandy in her typical professional yet stern manner.
The client had three guns for his CCW. All, older models and small caliber. .25 to be specific. He had not gone through our initial CCW training, but had seen that we had a class this last weekend, and that fit in with his need for a four hour renewal certification.
He was sent up on the line to qualify his guns.
A few minutes went by… while Sandy and I were checking in the other shooters, I looked up to see Michael, one of our instructors heading back towards us with a weapon in hand pointed towards the ground,
This has happened before.
Typically, this means that a client’s gun has suffered a severe malfunction that requires armorer’s tools to repair or we need to make a determination that the gun is beyond our means of field service and needs to be taken to a gunsmith.
“His gun went down while he was shooting. He claims that the the round went off but the casing failed to eject. Now this thing is completely sized up, and I can’t get it to release.” “By the way… we are going to have to really watch this guy. His gun handling is marginal at best.”
I took a look at his firearm. The slide would not budge, and the empty casing only seemed to be part of the problem. This was definitely something that would have to be worked out with a gunsmith. There was no way that I was going to let this firearm pass today’s qualification shoot.
“Yeah… This gun is done for today. I’ll tell the shooter what he is going to have to do to get it back onto his certificate.”
As Michael and I walked back towards the line, we saw John… one of our other instructors intently staring at the shooter in question as he cracked rounds off on one of his other guns.
Suddenly, John moved forward toward the instructor with concerned speed.
“Finger! Finger! Finger!”
Now concerned and only about five feet from the shooter, I watched as he negligently discharged a round into the ground about four feet in front of him.
The shooter did not seem to care.
Both John and I put our hands on the shooter and told him to cease fire.
Confused, he complied and put his gun down on the table… though it took repeated demands for him to do so.
I told the shooter to come off the line and follow me.
Once out of ear shot of the other shooters, I informed him that he was being disqualified from the class due to egregious safety violations. He began to protest, saying that he did not discharge the weapon.
I told him he did. Both John and I saw it, and the fact that he did not acknowledge it made it that much clearer to me that we could no way in good conscience issue him a certificate.
I instructed him to take some additional courses with us that focus on safe gun handling, and get the broken handgun repaired. Once it was repaired we would be happy to reevaluate him.
I asked him how often he shot these guns.
His response did not surprise me:
“During the last qualification shoot two years ago.”
This is completely unacceptable. If you are going to engage in an activity that has a foreseeable harm as a result of that activity… you have a duty to mitigate that foreseeable harm. Walking around in public with a gun comes with a pretty clear foreseeable harm… the only way that harm can be mitigated is with constant, consistent repetitive practice. Firing your gun once every two years in my opinion is a breach of that duty.
There is simply no excuse. Training opportunities are simply too available for today's CCW holders to claim that they “don’t have the time to practice.”
Failure to practice is a conscience decision… and one that exposes all of us to potentially catastrophic harm.
With RIGHTS, Come RESPONSIBILITIES! Start training now!
A while ago we wrote about the case of Kolbe v. Hogan. This involved Maryland’s ban on AR-15 and similar semi automatic rifles. The case was brought before a district court and ultimately made its way to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Recently, they released a decision that: like their brothers and sisters on the 9th Circuit in many of their decisions, eschews the Constitution and the directives of the Supreme Court in favor of a policy based outcome, rather than good jurisprudence.
In other words… the 4th Circuit has engaged in the time honored tradition of engaging in “MSU”… (Making S@#%T Up)
The late Justice Scalia recognized the Second Amendment of the Constitution as a core fundamental right in the case of Heller v. District of Columbia, (later clarified as applicable to the states in McDonald v. Chicago). Recognizing the Second as a fundamental right implicated the 14th Amendment and as such prohibited States from enacting statutes or ordinances that touched upon the Second Amendment, unless the needs of the State were balanced against the needs of the people through a virtually insurmountable balancing test.
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This test is referred to as “strict scrutiny”. Essentially a fundamental right, like all fundamental rights, (ie: speech, freedom of religion, due process, etc.) can only be limited if there is a “compelling State interest, and there are no less restrictive alternatives that can be applied to achieve that compelling State interest. As a general matter of form, there are always “less restrictive alternatives”… and as a result, the vast majority of statutes that implicate a fundamental right fail when tested against a “strict scrutiny” analysis.
If on the other hand, a right is deemed to not be a “fundamental right” a lower standard of review is called for. Here the statute in question will be upheld as Constitutional if the law is “rationally related to a legitimate government purpose”.
In Heller, Justice Breyer issued a dissent. In his dissent, he suggested that the Second Amendment… well, it might be a “right”… but hey,….guns are kinda dangerous (and scary)…and the desires of the State… well, they need to be really considered a little bit more than that pesky desire to err on the side of freedom. To ensure that the anti gun crowd would be able to continue to promulgate regulations of guns, he suggested an “intermediate level of review” for statutes that implicate the Second Amendment. His proposed idea was that if there was a “significant government interest, and the regulation was substantially related to that interest” the court should err on the side of the State and uphold that statute.
Here is the thing… Justice Breyer’s dissent has no force of law!
It is a: “Gee… if I only had four other justices that agreed with me, I could have foisted this on the American people thing, but I didn’t… so what the hell… this is what I would have done.”
Naturally, courts like the 4th and the 9th have decided to essentially ignore the directives of the Supreme Court under Heller and actually adopt the intermediate level of review test established by Justice Breyer.
What the hell?!?!
Imagine, if this was not a Second Amendment question and instead involved a statue that implicated the First Amendment.
If a dissenting conservative justice were to suggest that freedom of religion, while acknowledged as a core fundamental right, should be tested under Justice Breyer’s intermediate level of review, and lower courts ignored the majority opinion that the First Amendment was sacrosanct and required a strict scrutiny analysis… instead, adopting the dissenting justices policy, there would be riots in the street!
Not so with the battered and abused Second Amendment.
Justice Thomas finally issued a smack down Jackson v. San Francisco.
Jackson appealed to the Supremes and was ultimately denied Certiorari (essentially the court deferred to the lower court and refused to hear the case). Justice Thomas was less than pleased with his court’s decision not to hear the case. In a dissent to the granting of Cert., Justice Thomas essentially said “why the hell are these lower courts ignoring us in our clear directive to use strict scrutiny and instead using that whole “intermediate level” nonsense?
He also quoted a line from the original Heller that bears repeating: “A Constitutional Right subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no Constitutional guarantee at all.”
So, that brings us back to Kolbe.
Evidentially, the court decided not to listen to Justice Thomas’ admonition. They went ahead and instead tested the statute banning the AR-15 against an intermediate level of review. From their decision, it is clear that jurisprudence was not at the forefront of their decision. Making sure anti-gun policy was upheld in their view was far more important.
Years ago, a teacher friend of mine was ecstatic that Barrack Obama had been elected President. He was excited about the possibilities that now existed to “move this country in a more progressive direction.”
I asked him what he meant by that, and he started listing off potential government programs that could be created or expanded to develop his utopia that he dreamt of.
I explained that his ideas were dangerous.
Not the gravamen of his desires. I disagreed with what he wanted to do from a policy standpoint, but what really concerned me was the governmental and legal architecture that would have to be put in place to create the utopia he dreamt of.
“What happens when you have built all these pathways to government control, pathways that by their very definition limit the freedom of the individual, and suddenly.. years from now…you have a government in place that is despotic. Or, as the case may be… a government that rejects the progressivism you have developed and sought to use the established architecture for their own agenda? An agenda that by definition is antithetical towards yours?
His response was less than thoughtful. He believed that the glories of the new regime would make anything but progressivism impossible for the American people to accept forever more.
Well… we saw how that turned out.
This is the same problem with policy driven legal decisions. Justice Holmes once famously stated “Hard cases make bad law”.
What he was referring to were cases that tugged on the emotional strings of justices, or cases where individual judicial prejudices had to be ruled against to ensure logical consistency of juris prudence.
While the Justices of the 4th Circuit might have achieved their policy goals… the damage they have done to the Constitution is paramount.
Perhaps, Justice Thomas might soon be able to admonish the lower courts again.
There are times that warrant the specific mention of individuals for standing up for freedom.
This time, believe it or not…one of them is a politician.
In this blog I would like to call your attention to Melissa Melendez R- Lake Elsinore, Chuck Michel and our good friends at the California Rifle and Pistol Association.
Assembly Woman Melendez has introduced AB-757.
Assemblywoman Melendez deserves all the acolytes she has received from the gun community for stating the obvious: A citizen suffering an existential threat must have the ability to preserve their own life. A government… in this case a sheriff… must acknowledge that someone who articulates a desire to carry a firearm in light of this existential threat has shown sufficient “good cause”.
AB-757 would rationalize our States patchwork of pro and anti freedom jurisdictions and essentially instruct all sheriffs that if an individual is legally allowed to own a gun, and articulates that they would like to have a CCW under a “general interest in self defense” theory the sheriff must accommodate them.
Essentially, this would put into codified law the original ruling under the 9th circuit three judge panel in Peruta v. San Diego.
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Will her bill get enough votes to pass, make it through the Senate, and get a signature from the Governor?
Yet, stranger things have happened. None-the-less, Assemblywoman Melendez has done something for gun owners we rarely see in the legislature… she has gone on offense.
Those of us that cherish freedom have watched as our guardians stood at their posts and fought back against the marshaled forces of tyranny. Yet, the onslaught has always been too great. We have relied on beliefs that “These laws are clearly Unconstitutional”… “Surely the courts will overturn them?”… and sadly… “well, I don’t own those types of guns… this really isn’t my fight.”
The California Rifle and Pistol Association, and the great Civil Rights Lawyer Chuck Michel have pushed to counter-attack time and time again. Yet, for every victory in the court room, there are more restrictive laws cooked up in Sacramento.
From challenging each of the egregious gun regulations promulgated by the California State Legislature, to demanding withdrawals of onerous administrative regulations attempted by the California Dept. of Justice, Chuck Michel and the brilliant attorneys at his firm have fought the battle for freedom with their keyboards, printers and intellect.
Yet, as each of these groups and individuals stand to fight for you they cannot do so with your support both financial and emotional. Call Assembly Member Melendez (951) 894-1232 and let her and her staff know that you support AB-757. (While you are at it… contact your own representative and let them know you want them to give their full support to AB-757 as well.
Then go to the California Rifle and Pistol Association website and become a member. (www.crpa.org) Then do something more…. get involved. For you… and you alone are the defense against tyranny.
Edmund Burke articulated it perfectly: that for evil to flourish it simply takes good men to do nothing.
Doing “nothing” as freedom is assaulted by the very institutions that are formulated to protect it is simply not an option.
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