My Life Changing Event

This was originally published at The Bang Switch in 2013, and then appeared on the blog at Full 30 in 2016.  However, since I recently wrote about my “Paid Vacation” some folks asked about this piece because they could not find it.  I am republishing it here on my website so it does not disappear again should something happen to Full 30.

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There have been a few mentions in other articles here (on The Bang Switch) about my having been involved in a shooting. During my career, I have been involved directly in two, and indirectly in quite a few more. The more recent one in which I was directly involved was a much different event that has caused me to make many changes in the way I do things, both at work and at home. As the two year anniversary approaches, naturally I find myself contemplating it. I find writing this out to be somewhat therapeutic, but this is a long one so, if you choose to read it, please hang in there.

Also, as this is my story, some of my personal views may come out. Take those for what they’re worth, but please don’t try and lecture me about my opinions if they happen to differ with yours.

I have been a Deputy Sheriff for just over 17 years. I work in a very wide spread, mostly urban, metropolitan area that includes six incorporated cities, plus the unincorporated part of the county. The unincorporated parts of the county vary greatly, from tightly packed residential neighborhoods with lots of low income housing complexes, to large rural areas that are sparsely populated. My department provides service to the unincorporated parts of the county, in which about 560,000 people live.

The last 15 years of my career have been (were) spent working patrol on swing shift (3pm-1am). I love swings, both because of the volume and variety of calls, but because the hours best fit my life outside of work. My department utilizes a computer aided dispatch (CAD) system and we all have computers in our cars. The cars are also equipped with a GPS locator system that is tied into the CAD, which has a mapping system that allows us to zoom in all the way to specific addresses, including the corresponding lot lines (similar to Google maps, but not as pretty).

It was a hot 100 degree early July night two years ago. That particular night, I was working our north central area, which is mostly residential housing, commercial properties and lots of low income apartments. It is a very small but diverse district, which routinely has the highest volume of calls for any of the patrol districts. It was almost 9pm and I had just finished dinner when I got sent to an incomplete 911 phone call at a local Motel 6. The caller said nothing and hung up. I told the dispatcher that I would handle the call solo because it sounded rather innocuous. While driving to that call, I got an update that on callback, the handicapped female in the room was asking for the fire department to assist her in getting dressed. The fire department advised us that deputies were not needed.

I began exchanging silly comments about that call with my dispatcher via the CAD messaging system. I have known my dispatcher for about 15 years and we have always been friendly. A few moments later, she dispatched me to another incomplete 911 call. This one said that a disturbance could be heard in the background and that someone had hung up. As a rule, when a disturbance is heard, the call takers will not call back. Initially when I was dispatched, I was sent by myself because no other units were available.

One of our canine units offered to cover me. He has a similar number or years of service with our department, but he and I had only recently begun working the same area and prior to this call, I think I had only been on maybe one or two other calls with him. Since as a canine unit, he covers the entire north part of the county, I had no idea where he was coming from. As I drove to the call, which was located in a fairly nice residential neighborhood, I continued to joke with the dispatcher about my previous call, asking how I could request a fire truck loaded with hot women to come get me dressed. She had similar concerns, but was instead looking for the calendar model type firemen instead. As I got within about a mile or two of my call, I decided to look at the CAD map and see about how far off my cover unit was. He appeared to about the same distance from the call as I was, perhaps a little further away. Since I had the map pulled up at this point, I zoomed it in to see where on the street the house I was going to was located.

As I got close to the call, I pulled to the side of the road around the corner from the call location to await my cover unit. That placed me a little more than two houses from the call location. I blacked my lights out and I cracked both windows a few inches so I would be able to hear if anything was going on. I advised my cover unit where I was waiting for him and then I closed my computer lid to avoid illuminating myself inside my dark car.

As I sat waiting for cover, I heard a male voice yelling and it sounded like it was coming from the area of my call. I could hear the yelling, but could not make out what was being said. My car was positioned so I could just see the corner of the front yard of the target house. It was fairly dark and there were no street lights near the house, but there was a light on at the front porch. In that dim light, I thought I saw some movement so I decided I needed to approach to see what was going on. I figured my cover had to be pretty close by now.

(Very similar setup to our cars, but this is not one of my department’s vehicles.)

I put the car in drive, turned the corner onto the street, crossed the street and drove south against the left sidewalk (wrong side of the street). As I slowly approached the house, I saw a male walking from the north corner of the garage, down the short driveway, and south away from me on the sidewalk. It was poor lighting, but he appeared to be carrying a rifle. It looked to me like a rifle with a wood stock and what appeared to be a white sling. As previously mentioned, I am a gun nut, and the first thing that came to my mind was a presentation or parade type rifle, like an ‘03 Springfield or a Garand with a white patent leather sling.

When I saw him holding the rifle, I decided that it would not be prudent for me to go to a rifle fight with my pistol, so I hit the lock on my rifle rack and pulled my personal 14.7” LWRC M6A1-S from the rack. I charged it and put the forward vertical grip in my left hand. Since he was walking toward a parked car, I decided I would wait to see if he was just going to place his rifles in the trunk of the car. He did not. In fact he walked past the car and then started across the street heading deeper into the neighborhood and towards a very dark, unlit area. Open carry is not legal in my state, and we were responding to an unknown disturbance call in which this man was likely involved, so I could not let him just wander off into the darkness toting a rifle. I decided I would hit my lights and using my PA, tell him to put the gun down. I rested my rifle’s forend on the steering wheel, I hit the high beam switch first, then turned the lights on with my left hand and using my right hand, grabbed my PA mic and told him to put the rifle down and turn around with his hands up. At this time, he was approximately 40 yards from the front of my car.

Apparently, this man I had never once met, had other plans. As soon as I told him to drop his gun, he turned around, shouldered the rifle and fired a shot. I saw the muzzle flash, heard the report, saw sparks near the front of my car and heard the round impact my car. Still seated in my car, I shouldered my rifle and brought it up. I immediately noticed that in the stress of the moment, I had neglected to turn on my EOTech (why I switched to the Aimpoint PRO), but since my rifle has a fixed front sight, I decided to use the EOTech as a very large rear sight aperture. Of course, that whole thought process took about 1/8th of a second. I dropped the safety and clicked off several rounds directly through my windshield. I looked up and he was still standing and had the rifle still shouldered. Not knowing if the windshield was affecting my shots, or if the lack of having my EOTech on was causing me to miss, I decided I needed to move (another ½ second thought process).

I stuck the car in reverse and began backing out. This is the point that my in-car camera begins recording. In watching the video, this man can be seen firing two more rounds at me as I back my car out onto the adjacent street. Since the street I had been parked on previously is a four lane street that often has heavy traffic, I checked the oncoming lanes as I backed into the intersection. I cranked the wheel and backed across the road at an angle getting myself out of the direct line of fire. I activated my light bar, which is what activated my in car camera system, and the 30 second buffer is what captured the shots fired as I am backing. I grabbed my radio mic and voiced that I had exchanged gunfire, that the suspect was still armed and that I needed additional units.

I placed the mic back in the holder and exited my car with my rifle. It was at this point that I turned my EOTech on. I stayed on the driver side of my car, near the driver door, keeping the hood, and subsequently the engine, between me and the suspect. About 5-10 seconds later, my cover unit pulled up and stopped on my right and just slightly back from me placing his front bumper at about my front doors. He exited his car with his department issued 16” barreled Colt AR-15, equipped with nothing but iron sights. He saw the rather large hole in my windshield and asked if I was ok. I told him I was fine, I gave him a brief suspect description and pointed to the direction in which I last saw him.

About 2 seconds after the canine handler arrived, one of our CSI units pulled up to the left of my patrol car. Our CSI units are sworn deputies who have completed patrol training. Additionally, the one who showed up has several years patrol experience in one of our contract cities. He exited his truck and had to dig his rifle out of the back of the extended cab.

The CSI officer had just got his rifle out when we saw the suspect approaching us, only now he was armed with a handgun. He was walking at a very rapid pace. I looked past him and saw another male, who appeared to be wearing a black tank top and a pair of dark colored shorts, standing directly in our line of fire. I yelled at him to go back in his home, and thankfully he listened. I redirected my attention back to the suspect. At this time, he was about 40 yards from me and was holding the handgun down at his right side. He was still walking directly at us at a very brisk pace.

Both the canine officer and I began directing him to drop the gun and stop where he was. He repeatedly said “That’s not going to happen”. He kept approaching us at the same brisk pace, holding the gun down at his side. I recall having drawn an imaginary line on the street in the back of my head, and he was not going to come past that line because that would put him within range to easily hit us with his handgun. When he got to that line, I fired, as did the canine officer.

I remember thinking this as it happened, it was the weirdest thing. It was like my brain was controlling two guns. The canine officer and I both fired the same number of times, and almost in perfect unison. Thankfully, the CSI officer used his better judgment and did not fire. He was behind and between the canine officer and me, and if he had fired, he could very well have struck either of us.

Upon being shot, the suspect dropped immediately and began bleeding out very rapidly. I walked past my car with my gun still on him. As I arced around him, to get a better view of his hands, I could see that he was no longer holding the gun. I advised the other officers his hands were clear and then I got on the radio and requested the fire department for medical aid. The canine officer began looking for the handgun and the CSI officer was helping him.

About this time, a motor unit arrived. Since we had not yet contacted the house from which the 911 call had come, that was still a possible threat or a location with other possible victims. I grabbed the motor officer and we covered the front of that home until other units arrived and one of my coworkers relieved me at my position.

Through the investigation, it was found that I initially fired four rounds through my windshield and six rounds in the second engagement. The canine officer also fired six rounds during the second engagement. The investigators determined that one of my first four rounds struck the suspect in his right side causing a large laceration, but not hitting anything vital. They told me they were able to determine that because there was windshield safety glass embedded in his shirt at the location of that wound.

It was also found that what precipitated this event was that the 44 year old suspect, a man who had battled bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia his entire life, had just gotten into an argument with his elderly parents, with whom he lived. He told them he was going to kill himself which was why they called 911. When he heard that 911 had been called, he told them he was going to go out in a shootout with the cops.

I firmly believe, and after mentioning this theory to the canine officer, so does he, that the suspect was walking away from his home to set up an ambush for us, and that my early arrival may have very well saved our lives. The suspect was leaving the home with a loaded Mosin Nagant M44 bolt action rifle (coincidentally, I own the identical rifle), for which he was carrying spare ammo. What I saw that I thought was a white patent leather sling was actually a section of white rope he was using for a sling. He was crossing the street and heading to the darkest area on the street, which has an excellent view of his front doorstep providing him an excellent place from which to ambush us.

(Not the actual gun)

When I began replaying the incident in my head that night, something stood out in my mind as not adding up. When he fired his first shot at me, I remembered seeing sparks at about the same time as I heard the impact, but jacketed lead bullets don’t spark when they hit a plastic front bumper cover or plastic grill. I began examining the front of my car and was not able to find any holes, which further stumped me, until I heard what type of gun he was using. An examination of the ammo he had revealed it was steel core Russian surplus. What had happened was his elevation was off significantly. His first shot hit the street about eight feet in front of my car, causing the sparks when the steel hit the asphalt. That round ricocheted up and struck a frame member directly under my driver seat, leaving a ½” deep dent in the steel frame.

Some of the work related things this incident taught me consist of:

1) Had I relied on my department to issue me my gear, I would have been carrying a department rifle instead of my personal gun, and this incident would have played out very differently. At the time, our department issued 40 year old military surplus M16A1 rifles, with iron sights. It is not because they don’t care, but the budget is just not there to purchase 300 new rifles for every patrol deputy. The guns we got were free, and any long gun is better than no long gun. Since my shooting, I have tried to shoulder that full length rifle in my patrol car, and even with the seat back all the way (which is where I have it anyway since I am 6’3” tall), it would not have been possible to return fire from inside my car. My LWRC is significantly shorter in overall length and was easy to maneuver inside the cramped confines of my patrol car.

2) I am thankful that I have always taken range training serious, and that I have always practiced as if it were a real gunfight. I will continue to do so, and will make every effort to ensure others take their range time seriously as well.

3) I made some changes to what I carry on my gun belt, and I added a way to carry a spare AR magazine at all times (Blade-Tech Double Pistol & Rifle Combo Mag Pouch). I always had multiple spare mags in the trunk, but in case of a rapid deployment, like this incident was, I want to have a spare on me just in the off chance that it could turn into a prolonged firefight.

4) I retired my beloved, personally owned, blinged out Sig P220, and got a department issued P226 in 9mm. With the purchase of three 18 round flush fitting Mec-Gar mags, and with one of the issued 15 round Sig mags, I more than doubled the amount of pistol ammo I am carrying (from 25 to 70). Plus, I have the other two issued 15 round Sig mags as spares in my tac vest, along with my other 6 spare AR mags. Taking fire really made me paranoid about the possibility of running out of ammo. I do not plan on ever letting that happen.

5) I have played multiplayer first person shooter video games for many years (much to the amusement of my beat partners), but have always tried to play with a realistic mindset. I honestly think that the 80,000+/- simulated firefights I have been in on the computer helped me think very quickly when the real one happened. I never froze or stopped to think once during the incident. Firing through the windshield, backing the car out to get to a better place to engage him, staying behind cover, etc. All of that came naturally since those are things that I do when I play video games. Granted, video games don’t help with all the physical aspects of shooting a gun, but I feel they can definitely play a role in training your mind to react quicker when you are confronted with a real world gunfight, plus their just plain fun.

I made some changes in my personal life after this incident also:

1) I make sure my wife and kids know that I do not take them for granted. I make sure I tell them how much I love them every day, usually several times a day, and especially every day before leaving for work. As much as having coworkers killed in the line of duty over the years (7 on my agency during my career, 1 was a personal friend) has made me reflect on this, nothing drives it home like being involved in your own incident firsthand.

2) I used to be reserved when it came to sharing my opinion on matters of politics, but no more. I have become much more involved in the entire political process because one thing my career has taught me, is that the liberal policies that rule the state in which I live and work have bred an entire population of people for whom I spend 40 hours a week acting as their parent or babysitter. We need a society that promotes self-sufficiency, not dependency, and I am doing everything I can to spread that message. If you disagree with that assessment, you are entitled to your opinion, but I challenge you to spend a few shifts on a ride-along with a law enforcement agency in a large metropolitan city and experience the fruits of those policies firsthand. It was this unwillingness to be quiet that lead me to writing political commentary, which landed me a writing gig for Joe The Plumber, which in turn lead me to writing here, at The Bang Switch!

Three other cops were killed in the line of duty that very same night across the country. Two were killed in car accidents (one of which was a pursuit), and the third was shot to death. As the anniversary of this incident nears, I find myself thinking about them and how I could have easily been number four. The fact that I was not added to that list makes me very grateful for everything I have, and makes me appreciate even the smaller things much more.

Thanks for bearing with me during this very long account. Remember to take some time each day to appreciate the little things in your life, and lets all stay safe out there!
Matt


To address some things brought up in past discussions:
– No, I did not get a 72 hour “calming” period before talking to investigators. I was interviewed by the Homicide investigators that night, about 90 minutes after the shooting, after they finished their initial walk through at the crime scene. Prior to them, I had to tell my story to the deputy handling the main portion of the report and to several different supervisors each time a new one arrived.

– Yes, I had an attorney there but she only asked a couple of clarifying questions after the interview was over. As a cop, I cannot plead the fifth and must cooperate with the investigation if I hope to keep my job. Coincidentally, that is exactly what I would do anyway since I had nothing to hide.

– Yes, I was automatically put on paid administrative leave for the next five days, which was most definitely not a vacation like everyone seems to think. I finally fell asleep at about 5pm the next day after the adrenaline dump finally wore off, the following day I had to go to the range to get a loaner rifle since mine was now residing in the crime lab (shooting at a target of a man pointing a gun at you takes on a whole new meaning), the next day I got to go sit down with a shrink (oooh, yay!), the next day I had to go to the critical incident stress debriefing and talk about how the incident made me feel (because you know, cops really like sharing their feelings with their coworkers), and on the fifth day, I finally got to sit down with my wife and kids and try, very unsuccessfully to forget about the whole thing.

Why I Ardently Support The Second Amendment

Often at times like this, just after a cop has just been callously murdered by some shitbag with a gun, people ask me how it is that I, as a brother in blue, can be such a strong advocate of the second amendment.

I have recently been in the very shoes that many Sacramento PD officers now find themselves, again: a coworker murdered by a shitbag with a gun.

In fact, I have sadly been in those shoes multiple times in recent years, so I understand how emotional a time like this is. My heart breaks for my brothers and sisters at Sac PD, and for all those who mourn the loss of Officer Tara O’Sullivan.

It is at times like this that liberal politicians, leftist organizations and anti-gun groups will point to the incident and try to use images of grieving law enforcement officers as props in their attack on the rights of Americans, and try to justify that attack on rights under the guise of trying to protect cops.

Well, here is why, completely unfiltered (ie: strong language to follow).

Criminals

I look at the worthless fucker who killed Sacramento Police Officer Tara O’Sullivan and I know that long before he fired the first shot at her and the other cops on scene, he violated many laws. He was, or should have been based on his misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, a prohibited person who could not legally own, let alone posses a firearm. Just from the photos provided by Sac PD in their press release, it is plainly visible that two of the firearms he used are illegal in California for anyone to have, let alone someone who cannot legally posses a gun at all. He had a long history of violent, criminal behavior, but here he was, out on the streets continuing that violent behavior. It was his violent behavior that prompted his girlfriend to call the cops for help that day.

Suspect’s weapons – both AR’s pictured are not CA legal due to standard configuration and standard mag releases.

As cops, all cops, even the few who do support gun control, we all know the following statement to be true:  Criminals do not obey the law.

Any criminal intent on getting a gun can and will get a gun, and any gun they want for that matter, if they want it bad enough.

Gun control laws do absolutely NOTHING to prevent criminals from getting guns, because criminals do not get guns through legal means. During my 22 year career, I encountered exactly two (2) people who had legally purchased gun and later used that gun to commit a crime.  One of those two people purchased his gun specifically to commit his crime.  He paid for it, waited the mandatory 10 day “cooling off” period, picked up his gun and drove straight to the crime scene where he shot his wife and then killed himself.

That criminals obtain their guns through illegal means  is not just my opinion based on 22 years of anecdotal evidence though. There are actually several studies confirming this as fact.

Politicians & Anti-gun Organizations

The same anti-gun liberals who “never let a good crisis go to waste” (Rahm Emanuel, anti-gun liberal politician) jump on these heart wrenching scenes and try to capture that emotion to push their anti-gun agenda. Very few things motivate people like raw emotion, and they know it, and they use that.

Those same assholes that want to outlaw firearms are the same fucksticks who are responsible for the suspect who killed Officer O’Sullivan, and thousands of others like him, for being on the streets. They have been constantly decriminalizing serious crimes, including some violent felonies, both through laws they pass on their own and others they put up to the voters disguised as such lies as “Safe schools and neighborhoods act.” They write bill after bill to give convicts more rights, to release them early from prisons, to completely forgive their criminal behavior, to allow them to serve on criminal juries, while they simultaneous write bills to take guns away from law abiding citizens who have done absolutely nothing wrong.

The anti-gun politicians are nothing but unscrupulous crap weasels who spread lies and count on people’s raw emotions to get what they want. Fuck them all!

Citizens & Self Defense

Lastly, as a cop, I have seen countless times, firsthand, the difference that having a gun makes for citizens. For many, it is the difference between life and death. For others, it is the difference between being a victim or not.

You see, we, the cops, want to do everything we can to protect the innocent. We wish we could be there exactly when someone needs us the most, to protect them from the criminals, especially the criminals with guns. But the fact of the matter is, that is physically impossible. This is not Minority Report. We do not know when and where bad things are going to happen, and there are only so many of us working and any given time. I explored this topic in depth many years ago, and still stand by every single word I wrote.

When seconds count, the cops are only minutes away.

Taking guns away from law abiding citizens only hurts them, and ironically just serves to make the criminals “job” safer.

Law abiding citizens use guns, most times without ever firing a shot, nearly 2 MILLION times a year to defend themselves and others. That is hundreds of times more defensive uses than people who are killed by criminals with guns. Ask yourself, whose side are you on, the victim’s or the criminal’s?

Any and all legislation should be driven by logical thought and analysis of its potential effectiveness, never emotion.

To those who want to do something to stop all this “gun violence,” stop focusing on the tool used. Instead focus on the perpetrator. You might be surprised to find nearly every single one has a long criminal history. Instead of trying to eliminate a tool that any skilled machinist can build in their garage, how about we start eliminating (removing from the streets) the worthless sacks of shit who plague our society.

Like all my brothers and sisters in blue, I grieve over the senseless, tragic loss of Officer Tara O’Sullivan, but I will not permit others to use my emotions to manipulate me.

Today, and every day, I ardently support the second amendment, because I am not a moron!
-Matt

** BREAKING ** Federal Court Judge Rules CA’s “High Capacity” Magazine Ban Unconstitutional

MagBanRuling

In a huge show of support for both the Bill of Rights, and for California gun owners, United States District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez found for the plaintiffs and granted summary judgment in the case of Duncan v. Becerra, which challenged California’s “high capacity” magazine ban.

The complete ruling as written by the judge is lengthy, and quite detailed.  The judge does an excellent job of laying out his reasoning, and discusses other previous supreme court decisions that justify his finding.  Rather than read the whole 86 page document, let me just offer the conclusion in it’s entirety.

1. CONCLUSION

Magazines holding more than 10 rounds are “arms.” California Penal Code Section 32310, as amended by Proposition 63, burdens the core of the Second Amendment by criminalizing the acquisition and possession of these magazines that are commonly held by law-abiding citizens for defense of self, home, and state. The regulation is neither presumptively legal nor longstanding. The statute hits at the center of the Second Amendment and its burden is severe. When the simple test of Heller is applied, a test that persons of common intelligence can understand, the statute fails and is an unconstitutional abridgment. It criminalizes the otherwise lawful acquisition and possession of common magazines holding more than 10 rounds – magazines that law-abiding responsible citizens would choose for self-defense at home. It also fails the strict scrutiny test because the statute is not narrowly tailored – it is not tailored at all. Even under the more forgiving test of intermediate scrutiny, the statute fails because it is not a reasonable fit. It is not a reasonable fit because, among other things, it prohibits law-abiding concealed carry weapon permit holders and law-abiding U.S Armed Forces veterans from acquiring magazines and instead forces them to dispossess themselves of lawfully-owned gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds or suffer criminal penalties. Finally, subsections (c) and (d) of § 32310 impose an unconstitutional taking without compensation upon Plaintiffs and all those who lawfully possess magazines able to hold more than 10 rounds.

Accordingly, based upon the law and the evidence, upon which there is no genuine issue, and for the reasons stated in this opinion, Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment is granted. California Penal Code § 32310 is hereby declared to be unconstitutional in its entirety and shall be enjoined.

As a recently retired career cop who spent his career applying case law to situations on a daily basis, I absolutely concur with the judge’s decision, but that does not take away from my surprise that it was reached.  Sadly, the one thing that past court rulings on gun control laws in California has taught me is even if a law is blatantly unconstitutional, somehow California gets them pushed through.  This ruling today is a huge step to correct those past mistakes.

As a California resident, one who is not personally affected by the ruling today as my LEO status rendered me immune from the law, I am not going to lie, I am ecstatic!  This is a huge win for law abiding gun owners.

Before anyone runs out and orders a bunch of drum magazines, I feel I should point out that I am unclear as to whether or not this ruling will eliminate all of California’s magazine capacity regulations, or just the most recent iteration.  In reading the ruling, it seems pretty clear to me that the intent would be to eliminate all regulation of magazine capacity limits, but we shall have to wait and see.  Plus, we can pretty much assume that AG Becerra will be appealing this ruling.  Even so, this is a huge step in the right direction.

An Alternative to “Universal Background Checks”

Universal Background Checks

What is the reason so many people demand “universal background checks?”  I mean private citizens who want them, not the politicians who push that crap.   Because they do not want bad guys to get guns, right?  As good, law abiding gun owners, neither do we.  Despite what the NRA hating, anti-gun politicians and anti-gun organizations constantly scream, exactly no one wants to unwittingly put a gun into the hand of a criminal, not even us “heartless gun owners.”

First, before we dive into this topic, we must clarify what a “universal background check” is because many people out there who are in favor of them really do not understand what they are calling for.  They hear emotional appeals for them from people who are pushing gun control, purportedly as a means to save lives, and they just accept what they hear.  What a “universal background check” means is that every single gun transfer (change of ownership) goes through a background check.  No matter if it is a gun dealer selling a gun to a customer or if it is your grandmother giving you your deceased grandfather’s old hunting rifle.  ALL transfers would have to have a background check.

In theory, that does not sound totally unreasonable, until you understand what is actually involved in that, especially based on the current background system.  Most proponents of “universal background checks” do not have the slightest clue what is involved in making that happen, whereas most gun owners are intimately aware of the difficulties involved.

Why Gun Owners Resist “Universal Background Checks”
If no one wants bad guys to have guns, then why do gun owners fight against universal background checks?  One of the reasons, a big one to some of us, is because we do not trust the government, and yes, that absolutely includes me, a career government employee.  In order to ensure every gun sale is processed through a universal background check, the government needs to know what guns you and I all own.  Without that knowledge, I could sell any gun I wanted to whomever I wanted and there would be no way to track the sales to ensure a background check was performed.  “So what?” you say.  “Why does it matter if you have to register your guns?”

Because registration always, always leads to confiscation.  If not for all people, most definitely for some.  You can see it happening right now in California.  The CA DOJ has teams of agents running around the state confiscating registered guns from people.  Some of those people were merely in the process of trying to register their guns in order to comply with a new law when the DOJ showed up, arrested them and took their guns.  Long before that, in Washington DC way back in 1965, they passed a law requiring the registration of all handguns.  Then, a decade later in 1976, they outlawed handguns completely.  Since the government knew who had what handguns, it made it easy to ensure they were all eliminated.  As a gun owner, it is very easy to look around and see what governments have done once they take away all the guns, and the first step in taking away the guns is knowing who has them.

Then when you consider some of the gun laws they are proposing, it should be even easier to understand why gun owners are paranoid.  California already has a “gun violence restraining order” which allows law enforcement and family members to seek an ex parte (only the accuser, not the accused) hearing to take away the guns of a person.  They want to expand that law to allow practically anyone who knows a person to file for one.  I am a law abiding gun owner and a retired cop, but I absolutely worry that some anti-gun acquaintance of mine might go run to a judge, and based upon their completely irrational fear of guns, say whatever they could to convince a judge to grant an order calling for my guns to be confiscated.  I know how the court systems work, including in regards to restraining orders.  It is not remotely beyond the realm of plausibility to think someone would lie to a judge to get a restraining order granted, especially someone who is not entirely mentally stable.

Call us gun owners paranoid if you will, and maybe we are, but being mildly paranoid served me well in my career as a cop; it kept me alive.  There is an old saying that goes, “just because you are paranoid does not mean they aren’t out to get you.”

So, if we are being honest here, whether or not you think gun owners have a valid point in fearing the registration that would be required in order to ensure “universal background checks” were performed, I would hope that you can at least see the basis for our concerns.  History, both ours and abroad, is chock full of governments abusing their people once they have disarmed them.

Getting beyond the simple desire to not let the government know what guns we have, there are some other factors which we gun owners also see as further infringement on our rights.  In order to process these universal background checks, it is a requirement to have a gun dealer process all gun sales because currently they are the only people who can.  Even transfers that involve no money such, as a gift or trade, would have to be processed by a gun dealer.  This not only inconveniences the gun dealers who charge a “nominal fee,” because now they are taking their time to process a sale that does not benefit them at all, but it requires the parties involved in the sale to seek out a dealer to perform the transaction.  Let me explain these infringements by using my home state of California as an example.

California’s Universal Background Check System
As a California resident, where we already have “universal background checks,” if my father, a law abiding, retired government employee with nothing more serious than a speeding ticket in his long past background, wants to give me, a retired cop with nothing more serious than a speeding ticket some 25 years ago on my record, a gun he owns, any gun, but for sake of this example, say a 100 year old Winchester rifle (a cowboy gun for those who know nothing about guns), he and I must take that rifle to a gun dealer who not only must process the transaction for us, run the background check, but then since he is a gun dealer, he must complete a DROS (dealer’s record of sale) for that antique rifle.  So now, not only do I have to pay the dealer their transfer fee, which CA has limited to $10*, but I also have to pay a DROS fee which is another $25.  Once the DROS is completed, there is now a record of that rifle, including its serial number, make, model and caliber, and who it was transferred from and to.  In California, that DROS information is then entered into a state database and that information is maintained indefinitely, in other words, it becomes a de facto gun registry (enter us paranoid gun owners again…).

(*In California, that poor gun dealer must now hold onto the gun for the mandatory 10 day waiting period, for which there is only one exemption for active cops who have a letter from their department head, even if we both already own other firearms.  So, the dealer must take time from his other customers to process the transaction, which will take a minimum of 30 minutes in my best experience, then he must store the gun for 10+ days, and all he is allowed to collect for those troubles is $10?  Not that I want to pay through the nose for a transfer, but I absolutely understand why gun dealers are not happy to process private party transfers as it is a losing proposition for them and hits them directly in the pocket book.)

The way the laws in California works, it inconveniences not only both parties transferring the gun, it inconveniences the dealer processing the transfer and actually costs them money, and it creates a gun registry.  If you are okay with all of that, then you clearly are more interested in attempting to prevent legal gun sales than you are with trying to keep guns away from criminals.  Artificial delays and levying fees to exercise a constitutionally guaranteed right sure sounds like infringements to most of us.  If that does not sound like an infringement to you, imagine having to pay a fee and wait 10 days before you can exercise your right to free speech.

Setting Ground Rules
But there has to be something we can do, right?  Well, I think I might have a solution, one that would pass the stink test with gun owners and one that might appease the anti-gun folks demanding the “universal background checks.”  However, we must agree on a couple things before my plan makes sense, some of which I have already discussed.

1) Criminals do not obey laws – Can we all agree that criminals, by their very nature of being a criminal, do not obey the law?  Criminals are not walking into a gun store to buy a gun, nor are they going to a dealer to process their private party transfers.  If that is too much of a stretch for you to make, then my proposal will not make any sense.
2) No one wants bad guys to get a gun – Not even we die hard second amendment supporters.  If you cannot concede that even those horrible, gun owning NRA members do not want criminals to have guns, then we are all just wasting our time, not to mention that you are also completely delusional.

An Alternative
Now, for those rational enough to accept that criminals do not obey the law, and that law abiding gun owners do not want criminals running around with guns, we can proceed.  If the purpose behind “universal background checks” is truly to prevent bad guys from getting guns, and no one wants bad guys to get guns, then why not make a publicly accessible website on which any gun owner can run some basic information of the person seeking to purchase a gun from them, that would access the NICS system and give them a simple yes or no answer to the pertinent question: Can this person legally possess a gun?

The internet did not exist when the NICS system was created and what used to require a decent amount of time to process back then can be completed (with proper access to the proper databases) in a few seconds now.  An “instant background check” can truly be instant.

A system like this would allow private party sellers to be reasonably certain that the person they are selling a gun to is not a prohibited person.  If they don’t care about that fact now, you can rest assured they are already going to ignore the law requiring the background check anyway.

This system would not inconvenience gun dealers by forcing them to process a sale that not only does not benefit them, but actually hurts them.

From a paranoid gun owner’s perspective, this system would have no information about the firearm being transferred so there would be no need to worry about the government building a registry.

Finally, use of this system should be 100% voluntary, leaving it up to the seller whether or not they feel it necessary.  So, like in the example I gave above, with my father giving me an antique rifle, there would be no need at all to use the system.  However, if I were selling a gun to someone I do not know, I could quickly check to make sure I was not selling a gun to a prohibited person.

But What About The Gun Show Loophole?
First of all, that is utter crap.  There is no “gun show loophole.”  All laws regarding firearms sales outside of gun shows ALSO apply in a gun show.  If the transfer is a private party transfer, currently no background check is required (unless the individual state requires it like California does), but if the seller is a dealer, the sale must go through all the same steps that it would if it were taking place in a brick and mortar store.  As for my proposal in relation to gun shows, gun shows would be no different than any other sale.

Not only could there be a mobile version of the system in the form of an app for folks with smart phones and tablets, but for those “old guys” who refuse to carry a smart phone, there could be a kiosk at the gun show that would allow anyone to check a potential buyer’s legal gun owning ability.

While my proposal would not prevent criminals from selling other criminals guns (absolutely nothing can do that – look at the prevalence of illegal drugs if you think otherwise), this would allow people who are concerned about keeping guns away from bad guys a way to do so that would not cost a ton of money, inconvenience an uninvolved business, or create a gun registry.


I absolutely encourage people to comment on this topic, but please do so in a polite, thoughtful manner.  People calling names, throwing insults, or spewing anti-gun propaganda will just be banned.  Keeping guns away from bad guys is in everyone’s best interest.  The only way to improve our ability to do so is if we can have an actual conversation about the topic with everyone who the issue concerns.

CA Legislature Proposes 3 Gun Control Bills on 1st Day Back

1stDayBack

My worst post-election fears are seemingly coming to fruition.  California lawmakers, with no opposition, are off an running with their anti-gun agenda and are likely going to turn me into a felon within six months.

For those that do not follow California politics closely, let me explain.  During the last election, Democrats managed to take a veto proof super majority in both the state Assembly and Senate, as well as putting Gun Grabbing Gavin Newsom in the Governor’s chair.

December 3rd was the first day back in session for the California state legislature.  On that very first day back, three gun control bills were introduced.

AB 18 – Firearms Excise Tax – by Marc Levine (D)
“This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that imposes an excise tax on the sales of handguns and semiautomatic rifles and would require the revenue collected from that tax to be used to fund grants through the CalVIP program.”

So the plan here is to tax the law abiding citizens as punishment for acts performed by criminals?

It is still very early in the life of this bill and at this date, they have not even set the proposed tax rate, but rest assured, CA lawmakers would never levy exorbitant taxes on the citizens without their consent. Oh, wait…

AB 61 – Gun Violence Restraining Orders – by Phil Ting (D)
California already has passed these very worrisome “gun violence restraining orders,” but current law apparently is too restrictive for lawmakers.  Currently, only family members and law enforcement can file an ex parte (in other words, the accused is not even in court) petition to a court that enables law enforcement to forcibly remove guns from someone who legally owns them.

If you are a gun owner or a cop, or God forbid, a gun owner who is a cop, you are probably aware of the recent shooting in Maryland where cops went to a home to serve a gun violence restraining order and ended up shooting the gun owner.  I am not faulting the cops in that situation because other than very generic information, I know nothing about the order or what occurred in that incident, but this is exactly the type of thing I predicted would happen when these laws started getting passed.

With all that in mind, apparently this is not good enough for the anti-gun liberal politicians in California because now that we have that law, it is time to start tweaking it to make it easier for just about anyone to go before a judge and get your guns taken away.

Here is the proposed change that this bill would enact.  Bear in mind, currently only a family member or law enforcement can petition the court to have your guns removed.

“This bill would similarly authorize, an employer, a coworker, or an employee of a secondary or postsecondary school that the person has attended in the last 6 months to file a petition for an ex parte, one-year, or renewed gun violence restraining order.”

So now your boss, a coworker, or anyone who knows you from college can request that the state take your guns away.  Why stop there?  Why not open that list up to friends, neighbors, persons who live in the same state, or anyone on the planet who might not want you to have a gun?

AB 12 – Firearms: Gun violence and mental health – by Jacqui Irwin (D)
“This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation relating to gun violence and mental health.”

This is a veritable Pandora’s box in the making, because this bill does not say anything specific.  This was an “ooh, ooh, let me be the first to get an anti-gun bill on the books even though I have no specific issue to address or any plan on how to address it” bill.

The text of the bill is merely an emotion tugging, anti-gun screed that says nothing more than “guns are bad.”

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

SECTION 1. The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:

(a) On November 7, 2018, in the city of Thousand Oaks, a tragic and senseless act of gun violence at the Borderline Bar & Grill resulted in the deaths of 12 Californians, including Sergeant Ronald Lee Helus of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

(b) This act of gun violence injured many others who fled the Borderline Bar & Grill and has deeply impacted the surrounding community that is known for its safety and low level of violent crime.

(c) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation relating to gun violence and mental health, in an effort to prevent future acts of gun violence in California.

I really have no idea what the purpose of this bill is, other than to get another anti-gun bill on the books as early as possible.

Which brings me back to where I started, life in California just got very scary for law abiding gun owners.  Not only are all the same Democrats coming after us, but now there is no one in place to stop them.

“Gun Free Zones” Are A Myth

WaffleHouse

Sadly, early this morning another f&*#ing nutjob with a gun went to a posted gun free zone and committed yet another mass shooting.  This one took place in Antioch, TN, which is essentially a suburb of Nashville.  A naked man with a rifle walked into a Waffle House and began shooting people (Note:  As more info comes out, it appears he may have been wearing pants. Early reports had him nude).  He managed to shoot a total of eight (8) people before a patron, a big damn hero, managed to wrestle the gun away from him.  The naked suspect fled and is actively being hunted by my brothers and sisters in law enforcement as I type this.  Four (4) of those innocent, random victims have since died from their wounds.

This tragic, yet potentially preventable incident, happened inside a Waffle House, which according to corporate policy is a posted Gun Free Zone.  Also, thanks to Tennessee state law, unlike many other states, gun free zone stickers on private businesses carry the full weight of the law thus anyone who chooses to ignore that sign could be arrested for a gun crime.

Unfortunately for all those people inside that Waffle House, this incident is yet another perfect example of the complete and total failure of “Gun Free Zones.”

A sign in the parking lot, a sticker on the door, cannot, will not ever prevent someone intent on murdering people from entering the location to do so.  Seriously, what sort of magical, childlike, fairyland thought process is required of someone to make that seem remotely plausible?

In reality, you know, the realm where we actually live, what those signs do is prevent law abiding people from carrying their guns, thus preventing them from protecting themselves and other people.  The incident this morning is the absolute perfectly horrible example of that.  You see, to most of us, a naked guy carrying a rifle is a HUGE warning sign.  You see that coming towards you and you know something bad is about to happen.  Had there been a concealed carrier inside this restaurant, they could have been ready before this nutbag got off a single shot.  Potentially, they could have prevented the entire incident as this is one of those cases where one would not even need to hear a gunshot before you knew something bad was happening.

So let’s talk a bit about “Gun Free Zones” and their failures.  Seems that every time we have a mass shooting, it is almost always in a gun free zone.  According to the statistics, more than 98% of mass shootings in the US since 1950 have all taken place in “gun free zones.”  This is a point that conservatives make repeatedly.  In fact, President Trump has even talked about this glaring problem.

However, the rabidly anti-gun left argues this blatantly obvious fact with semantics.  Take for instance this article from Mother Jones where they claim that mass shooters do not intentionally choose gun free zones as their targets.  “There is zero evidence to support it.”  The problem with Mark Follman’s entire basis of his article is, who cares why the suspect chose the gun free zone as his target? The fact is they killed people in a “gun free zone.”  Who gives a rats ass what the crazy guy’s logic is, the statistically proven fact is that these cowardly mass shooters attack “gun free zones,” where law abiding people are prevented from defending themselves.

That line of thought is like saying back on September 11, 2001, we should have been more concerned about why terrorists attacked the United States rather than being concerned that they actually did.  Who cares what their reasons were for attacking were.  They brought the fight to our doorsteps.  It was time to take it back to them.

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I have also read other articles (sadly I am unable to locate any of them now) that examined a number of mass shootings and claimed that they did not occur in gun free zones, because the shooter was firing from a place that was not a gun free zone, while completely ignoring the fact that the victims were in a gun free zone and unable to fight back.  One article specifically used the 2015 shooting at the Chattanooga Military Recruitment Center as an example for this argument, saying that, despite the recruitment center being a gun free zone, the fact that the shooter was on the street meant this was not a gun free zone shooting.  This is yet another completely semantical argument.  If the victims were prevented from carrying a gun due to the location being a gun free zone, does it matter where the shooter was?

Drawing on my cold war era childhood for this one, that would be like saying if Russia launched some ICBM’s toward the US, it was not an act of war because Russia was not on US soil when they did so.  Who thinks like that?

Here is the thing, Gun Free Zones do not work.  They do not keep anyone safe, and in fact, I would argue, and like it or not, the evidence supports my argument, gun free zones get more people killed.  A “Gun Free Zone” sign no more prevents a person intent on killing from bringing in a gun than a speed limit sign prevents people from speeding.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or a fool.

 

Jim Cooper, Using Faulty Logic to Punish Gun Owners

Cooper

For a guy who claims to support the 2nd amendment, Jim Cooper sure has a funny way of showing it. In fact, the language in AB 2497 tells me that Assemblymember Jim Cooper‘s claim is an outright lie.

Last legislative session (2015-2016) he authored a bill that addressed “ghost guns” requiring anyone who previously built one to apply for a serial number and requires anyone planning to build one to apply for the serial number before completing one. There were other requirements in it as well, but rest assured, the bill did nothing to stop criminals from getting “ghost guns” and only adds all sorts of additional hoops for law abiding gun owners to jump through.

Now, this session, he just gutted and amended a bill, AB 2497, one that originally was related to the Food and Agriculture code, but now specifically penalizes firearms owners and retailers who have “the privilege of selling firearms and ammunition” (direct quite from the language of the bill) in order to fund some school safety programs, programs that would benefit ALL of California, not just law abiding gun owners who are being tasked with funding it.

Sure seems like a long way from supporting the 2nd amendment to me. In fact, it seems much more like punishing people who dare to exercise a constitutionally guaranteed right.

To say I am disgusted by this is a colossal understatement! For a man who spent a long career in law enforcement, it saddens me to see him do astoundingly stupid shit like this. He damn well knows that the 99% of the people using guns to commit crimes are not buying them at retail stores. This bill does nothing to punish criminals, and absolutely, without a doubt, penalizes millions of law abiding Californians who have done nothing wrong.

(Disclaimer: The hypothetical that follows is absurd and is only used to show how stupid this proposed bill is. Anyone making racist comments based on this hypothetical, no matter their skin color, will be banned. I have zero tolerance for racists.)

Let’s take a moment and use the logic behind AB 2497 and apply it to a completely hypothetical bill. Say we propose a new bill aimed at lowering the overall murder rate, reducing jail and prison crowding, and to pay for damages caused by rioters (“protesters”). Since the vast majority of the participants of all the recent anti-cop riots across the entire country are members of this group, and since the overall jail/prison population consists of 40% of people who are members of this group, and since on average, 52% of all murders annually are committed by members of this same group, a group who only constitutes 13% of the US population, it only makes sense that we should tax that group specifically instead of passing the costs for that onto the whole of society, right? Therefore, I recommend that we levy additional taxes on all black Americans.

Makes sense, right? Of course it doesn’t! That is completely, utterly absurd, yet that is exactly the same logic that is behind AB 2497. FFS, stop writing stupid laws that punish law abiding people for the actions of criminals!
-Matt

The Latest, Greatest AWB Has Been Proposed

HR5087

The leftist gun grabbers in the House of Representatives have introduced the latest and greatest incarnation of their recycled, already tried and proven ineffective “assault weapon” ban – HR 5087.

Rather than rehashing everything I already said on Twitter, I’m going the lazy route and just going to plop down the tweets right here.

Let’s Discuss Some Post-Parkland Florida Proposals

Proposals

Let me start by saying something that I should not need to say, but thanks to those who seek to ban guns, doing so has become necessary lest I be accused of wanting more kids to die.

I abhor school shootings, mass shootings, and murder in general.  I have spent my entire professional life fighting crime and doing everything I can to prevent instances like that from happening, and when they do, I have done my best to ensure that justice was served.  I have personally had to inform people of the deaths of loved ones.  I know the difficulty involved with these situations, much more so than most people.  No one should ever have to deal with the loss of a loved one to murder, and most especially not the loss of a child.

Furthermore, I absolutely want to see these incidents decrease.  In fact, not only has the general murder rate dropped over the last several decades, but despite what many think, the rate of these school shootings has been fairly flat over that same time frame, and schools are actually safer than they were 30 years ago.  School shootings are in fact not becoming more frequent as many people think.  It is just the media coverage of the incidents lasts much longer, thus the time between news stories has lessened giving the appearance of an increase.

Still, all of us, gun rights advocates such as myself and many of the people calling for more gun control, want the same thing.  We want our kids to be safe in school, and we want to be safe in our work places.  We want murder rates continue to decrease.  We ALL want the same thing.  Our disagreement is not in the goal, but rather it lies in how to get there.

Having spent more than 20 years in law enforcement, and having spent my entire life around guns, I have a fair amount more expertise in both subjects than many of those calling for legislation, no matter which side of the aisle they are on, so I would like to take a little time and address some of the specific proposals.

If you disagree with me, I strongly encourage you to call me out (in a polite, respectful manner) on the point with which you disagree so we can discuss it.  Pointing fingers, accusatory comments and name calling do none of us any good, no matter which side is doing the pointing.

Universal Background Checks – You know, since “90% of Americans” want them.  I keep hearing that number but I have no idea where they came up with it.  In theory, I am all for universal background checks, but only in theory.  In reality, there are problems.

First, what exactly is a “universal background check?”  That innocuous term means that every transfer of every gun, whether it is sale by a licensed gun dealer to a customer, a private party sale to another private party, or a grandpa giving his grandson his old hunting rifle, must have a background check completed.  This means that no matter what type of transfer it is, the involved parties must have a licensed gun dealer process the transaction.  This is the case in California, where I live, right now.  If my father (a law abiding American with no criminal history) wants to give me (a law abiding American who is an actively employed cop) a gun, we both have to go to a gun dealer, fill out the Form 4473, and pay a transfer fee.  The cheapest fee in my area for completing this transaction that I have found is $75, some of which goes to the state because of the DROS fees that they charge dealers.

As a cop, I am all for anything we can do to make it harder for bad guys (legally prohibited persons, criminals, crazies, etc.) to get guns.  I am willing to sacrifice an extra 10-30 minutes of my life to do so.  Some would call this an infringement, and it is, but in my personal opinion, it is a very minor one that I am willing to deal with, IF this would work.

The problem is, universal background checks would not work.  The ONLY way for “universal background checks” to work, the only way to possibly enforce them (in other words, to catch the people who are intent on selling guns to bad guys) is for the government to know and track every gun that every single person owns, in other words, a national gun registry.  Without knowing who owns what, there is no way to say who sold what gun to whom.  If you can’t say who sold what gun to whom, you have no way to ensure that all sales go through the “universal background checks.”

As a cop and as a person who is well aware of world history, I am vehemently opposed to any gun registry, let alone a national one.  It is for that reason that I am absolutely opposed to the idea of mandatory “universal background checks” as they are being proposed.

I do have a proposal that would allow anyone who wants to ensure that they are not selling a gun to a prohibited person, but one that does not require a gun registry, nor would it even be possible to create a registry from the system.  Since the previously proposed “universal background checks,” absent a national gun registry, would only be used by persons intent on obeying the law, my proposal would cover that same crowd but without forcing them to pay the state exorbitant fees nor would they be held hostage by gun dealers who are tired of processing gun transfers for people who aren’t buying anything from them.  Why not have a publicly accessible website that a private person who is selling a gun to another private person could access and with a set amount of information (similar to what is on the form 4473) could run the person through the website, without supplying an information about what type of firearm is being sold or how many, and it would merely tell the seller whether or not the buyer can legally purchase a firearm.  Am I missing a downside to this?

Raising Long Gun Purchase Age to 21To be frank, this is just plain stupid, and unconstitutional.  Name me one other constitutionally protected right that you would even just slightly dream of making a legal adult wait three years before they could exercise it.

21

If an 18 year old is considered a legal adult, if they are old enough to serve in the military, to give their life for their country, if they are old enough to vote and determine who runs this country, then they are old enough to purchase a firearm.  In fact, I would argue they are old enough to legally purchase a handgun as well as a rifle.  Last I checked, the bill of rights did not include age exclusions.

Oddly enough, the political left has been talking about lowering the voting age to 16, but at the same time, they apparently think those very same people are not responsible enough to own a gun until they are 21?  This makes absolutely zero sense, either you are a responsible adult or you aren’t.

“Bump Stock” BansOr more precisely, “rate of fire increasing product bans” are totally unjustified.  One a$$hole in the history of ever misused a bump fire stock to commit violent crime.  Many folks, including me, would argue, and can supply ample evidence, that a decent shooter could have inflicted as much, if not more damage with a bolt action rifle, while firing far fewer rounds, which would have made locating him even more difficult.

Prior to that incident in Las Vegas, no one other than gun people even knew what a bump stock was.  As soon as word got out that the suspect had used one, the anti-gun movement had a new boogeyman, and the completely inaccurate information began to flow.  People are under the misguided impression that bump stocks turn your gun into a full-auto making it more deadly, which they absolutely do not.  In fact, I do not know a single firearms expert who would choose to employ one in a tactical situation over a standard semi-auto rifle otherwise equally equipped.  They are nothing more than a gimmick, a novelty item, a range toy.

So, if they are worthless, why the opposition?  Because the legislation (HR 3999) that is supposedly aimed at making them illegal is very broad and specifically outlaws any firearms device that is designed to increase the rate of fire.  Here is the actual, important verbiage for those who doubt me.

“(a) Prohibition.—Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(aa) It shall be unlawful for any person—

“(1) in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, to manufacture, possess, or transfer any part or combination of parts that is designed and functions to increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but does not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun; or

“(2) to manufacture, possess, or transfer any such part or combination of parts that have been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.”

First problem is that a semi-auto weapon does not have a set rate of fire, so how can you possibly determine what constitutes increasing the fire rate?  I am a well-trained, very practiced shooter and as such, my “rate of fire” is much faster than, say, my wife’s.  That said, comparing me to a fast shooter, someone such as Jerry Miculek, makes me look like a slow novice.  The rate of fire of a semi-auto weapon is solely a function of the shooter, not the weapon, and that is even true with weapons that are equipped with bump stocks.  Second, the currently proposed legislation is so loosely worded that it can also be interpreted to include things such as a precision trigger, a short reset trigger, a muzzle brake or compensator, a recoil reducing stock, and just about anything that could conceivably be argued as a part that allows the shooter to fire their weapon faster.

I am absolutely opposed to the banning of bump stocks, but I do not speak for everyone.  Sadly, many firearms owners are willing to sell them (and the people who own them) out to the anti-gunners, much like some hunters our there are willing to sell out AR-15’s and their owners.  Just because you do not like or use a product is not a good reason to sell them out.  What goes around, comes around.  Next time it might be you, might not.  But you can rest assured that eventually it will indeed be you.  Besides, as we all acknowledge, banning bump stocks will accomplish absolutely nothing other than placating the anti-gunners, which will just give them more ammo the next time.  “Banning bump stocks did nothing so now we must ban ___________.”

“Assault Weapons” BanBeen there, done that.  This is nothing new and has been rehashed multiple times since the national ban that was in place from 1994-2004 expired.  That previous ban has been proven to be a failure at reducing the murder rate for a number of reasons, but the most important reason it did nothing is that “assault weapons” are statistically irrelevant when it comes to crime.

The category of “assault weapon” is on that is completely made up by politicians and anti-gunners.  The things they chose that define what constitutes an “assault weapon” are nothing more than mostly cosmetic features that neither make a rifle more or less deadly than any other rifle.  Fewer people die every year at the barrel of a rifle, which includes all “assault weapons”, than die to a suspect armed with only hands and feet (unarmed suspect).

California has had an “assault weapon” ban since before the 1994 national ban, but just a few days ago they proposed a revision to that ban.  They now want to redefine the term “assault weapon” to include ALL semi-auto centerfire rifles that have a “detachable” magazine.  I put detachable in quotes because last year, California saw fit to redefine that term to mean a magazine that can be removed without needing to disassemble the receiver.  The proposed redefinition would essentially outlaw every single semi-auto centerfire rifle made, including your hunting rifle.  Wake up Fudds (Fudd is a derogatory term for hunters who support “assault weapons” bans), your hunting rifle is about to become that thing you support banning.

AWs

I absolutely do not support an “assault weapons” ban.  Evidence shows they are ineffective at lowering crime rates or murder rates, including school shootings, and as California is proving, it is just used as another incremental step to banning all firearms.

Magazine Capacity LimitsPick your capacity, this is also nothing new.  Magazine capacity bans have been in effect in many states for a very long time, and just like the “assault weapons” bans, they have proven ineffective at lowering murder rates and have failed to prevent mass shootings.  In fact, the most deadly school shooting in American history was carried out using artificially limited capacity 10 round magazines.

I will not go into siginificant depth on this subject in this piece because I have written an entire piece on the topic and I also made a video on the subject.

Let me just say this, even if we were to assume that just because a law was passed limiting the magazine capacity to a set number, and assuming the suspect who plans on murdering people decides to obey that particular law, they will just buy as many magazines as they think they will need as they plan and prepare for their evil act.  But you know who won’t have as many bullets as they want?  The law abiding, concealed carrier who is now at a disadvantage by having their ammo carrying capability artificially limited.  You just handicapped the good guy while doing nothing to stop the bad guy.  Well played!

Arming TeachersI am all for this, so long as the teacher is doing it voluntarily and can pass a standardized training requirement and meet a set qualification procedure.  One of the truths about mass shootings is that the suspect keeps shooting until one of two things happen, they run out of bullets or they are engaged by an armed good guy.  Why not put armed good guys in the schools?

The biggest negative I can see with this is if we tried to force, or even encourage teachers who were not fully mentally invested in this plan to participate.  I’ve seen what happens with cop recruits (and coworkers) who do not fully invest themselves in firearms training.  It creates, at the minimum, a not well trained person, and at worst, it creates an unsafe person who should not be handling a gun, let alone attempting to use one to protect kids at a school.  The teachers would have to be mentally and physically prepared for this extra responsibility.  If they are, then I fully support this.

I would take this one step beyond arming the teachers.  This country has thousands upon thousands of military veterans in need of work, men and women who signed on the line to give their life for their country, and you damn well know they would do the same for our kids.  The could fill all sorts of roles in the school beyond just being an armed deterrent.  Schools employ all sorts of people aside from teachers and these vets could easily take on some of those other jobs.  Hell, we could even help them to become teachers themselves if they so choose.

ConclusionI do not remotely think that these proposals are the only options that exist.  In fact, I would argue, as I did, that most of these proposals are a complete waste of time and would accomplish nothing, at least if the real goal is enhanced public safety.  However, sadly, these are the proposals that not only receive the most public attention, but all the proposals (except for arming teachers) are the only proposals that are ever pushed by the anti-gun organizations or by most liberal politicians.

If I neglected to mention a proposal that is getting serious attention, please feel free to point that out to me.  I freely admit I may have missed one as the proposals often sound like a broken record and I’ve become numb to the noise.

Anti-gun Policies Cost Lives In Florida

01

It has been a little more than a week since the horrific shooting in Parkland, FL and as more becomes known about what lead up to that shooting, it is proving itself to be a tragically perfect example of government’s total failure, in fact it’s inability to keep people safe.  Getting beyond the mistakes that were made by multiple agencies on many levels, getting beyond the cowardice of one or more responding cops, we need to look at another aspect of this horrible incident.  Since so many people from students to school administrators, to the Sheriff of Broward County, all the way up to lawmakers on the federal level are screaming for more gun control, let’s take a close look at the effect that existing gun policies played in this incident.

Since Sheriff Scott Israel has seen fit to very publicly scream for gun control himself, and done so in the most unprofessional manner I can imagine, ripping into people who disagrees with his point of view like an emotional teenager, all on national television, so I’ll start with him.  Broward County Sheriff’s Office is a very large Sheriff’s department with, according to their website, more than 5,800 employees (includes sworn and non-sworn).  Their annual budget is $730M.  That is a very big local department by almost any standard.

Would it surprise you to find out that the Broward County Sheriff’s Office does not issue rifles to their patrol cops?  It sure as hell surprised me!  What year is this?  In this day and age, it is practically criminal to not supply your street cops with a rifle.  (Broward deputies can buy their own rifle if they desire, but the department does not issue them.)

I thought the North Hollywood Bank Robbery in 1997 taught us all that cops needed long guns?  I would think that all of the recent mass shooting incidents that our news media sees fit to talk about 24/7 for weeks on end would have taught us all that.  I would think that all of the changes in training and tactics for law enforcement over the last 20+ years would have taught us all that.  But apparently none of that got through to Scott Israel, since he refuses to issue rifles to his street cops.

Now, before anyone jumps up and claims I have no idea what is involved in providing rifles to an entire department, let me assure you I do.  I happen to work for a large agency, although not as large as Broward County, and I have worked in an administrative position on my department where my job was providing equipment for all of our patrol deputies.  I understand perfectly the difficulties in providing equipment for a large agency.  And yes, it is a much different beast than providing tools for a smaller agency.  Buying 10 of something is much different than buying 500, or 1,000 of the same thing.  I understand perfectly that there is a significant cost in trying to put a rifle in every patrol officer’s hands, EXCEPT THERE IS NOT!  The Broward County Sheriff could get all the rifles they want from the Federal 1033 program for FREE!  Zero, nada, nothing.   Instead the man in charge, the man with whom the buck stops, Sheriff Scott Israel chose not to put rifles in the hands of his deputies, but why?

There is only one reason that can explain why Sheriff Israel would make the conscious decision to not issue rifles to his troops,  and that is because Israel allowed his personal anti-gun agenda to cloud his judgement.  His personal gun control ideals influenced how he equipped his cops, and those ideals kept the necessary tools out of the hands of the men and women who most desperately needed those tools last week.

Disturbingly, Sheriff Israel is not the only policy maker who allowed his feelings about guns to cloud his judgement.  The school administration is also to blame.  If you doubt a school administration would allow their personal opinions about firearms to influence their policy making, I have some bad news for you, and a bridge to sell you.

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I spoke with a friend who works for one of the local agencies there in Florida and asked about why the school cops did not have rifles.  Turns out, the school administrators and school board actively prevented the law enforcement officers who are assigned to the schools from having a rifle on campus.   The local agencies approached the schools about placing gun safes in the school cop’s office, in which the cop could secure his rifle from his car, if he even had one, so it would be near him in the event of an emergency.  The school district administration flat out refused to allow that.  You know, because a cop carrying a rifle into an office and locking it up is super ultra mega scary and we cannot have high school kids seeing a cop carrying a long gun, or something like that.

So what that policy means in the real world is that the school cop responding to an incident on campus is required to assess the situation and determine if a rifle is needed, and make a choice on limited information:  go to the scene or to my car and get my rifle.  Most times that would mean going to the scene sans long gun, evaluating the situation and if a rifle is needed, returning to your car to get it, rather than just taking it from the office with you initially.  How on Earth does that make sense to anyone?  If schools had a firefighter located on campus, would they prevent them from having a fire extinguisher in their office?

Lastly, the delusional myth that calling anything a “gun free zone” somehow protects anyone is beyond me.  How does anyone in their right mind think that putting a sign up is going to stop someone from doing something that they want to do, especially if what that person wants to do is already illegal?  Do speed limit signs prevent speeding, anywhere, ever?  Rather than declaring a location a “gun free zone,” why not instead enact laws that simultaneously, harshly punish people who illegally bring a gun onto a school campus, but that also allow people who have gone to all the trouble to obtain a concealed carry permit to have their firearm, including teachers and other school personnel if they so desire.  Nationally, concealed carry license holders are the single most law abiding group of people there is, even more law abiding than law enforcement.  Why would you intentionally prevent potential help from having the single most needed tool in a crisis situation where every second counts, and every second means another life lost?  I cannot fathom the amount of delusion and denial that is necessary to not grasp this simple fact.

It is clear to me as a career cop that two factors combined together which allowed these horrible policies to be created.  The first factor is a irrational dislike of firearms and the second is denial.  The only way to explain a Sheriff refusing to give his patrol cops free rifles is his extreme anti-gun agenda, which he has espoused nearly non-stop since this incident.  The only way to explain a school not wanting officers to have long guns available on campus is their dislike and/or fear of firearms.  The other factor, denial, is also clear to anyone with law enforcement experience.  These administrators, both the Sheriff and the school, were in denial that an incident like this tragic shooting could ever happen.  It is clear from the policies they put in place.  If they had faced the sad reality that something like this could happen, they would have issued the proper tools and would have established policies that helped first responders, not hindered them.

Sadly, this incident is chock full of screw ups, balls dropped, bad decision making, bad policy, and sadly, one or more cowardly cops who failed to do what we took an oath to do.  There is much to be learned from this shooting.  Two of the biggest takeaways in my opinion are 1) policies derived from anti-gun opinions do nothing to keep anyone safe, and 2) if you are counting on government to keep you safe, as much as the vast majority of cops really do try, you are betting on the wrong horse.

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This piece can also be found at Full30.com and The Daily Caller