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.

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.

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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.

meet-the-board_3

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

Distrustful and Wary

Caution

I am distrustful and wary.

I am distrustful of evangelists, self-appointed do-gooders, politicians and speedy government.

I am distrustful because the laws never stop where they claim.

Every new law promises to reduce crime and tragedy, yet these atrocities keep happening.

The laws don’t work as promised.

We hear “inconveniencing a few” gun owners is okay “if it stops just one killer.”

Except evil won’t be legislated away. So it happens again. It happens no matter what law is passed.

Then again, the mob solution is to “inconvenience” the gun owners who didn’t kill anyone. EVERY TIME.

The mob shows more sympathy for the killer, than those who want to keep their belongings.

This is why I am distrustful. People don’t know what they’re talking about. Not even a little bit. They use terms they don’t understand.

They parrot lies that fly in the face of actual common sense.

They don’t even understand the very systems they employ. Yet, they want to give up other citizens’ rights, and “inconvenience” folks who didn’t hurt anyone.

They believe their mere outrage is sufficient to justify taking rightful personal property from someone else.

That’s just dangerous.

That’s tyranny.

Tyranny is insisting we can tell someone else what he or she needs and wants.

Maybe the “pass a law, lather, rinse and repeat” approach just doesn’t work. So why do we always look to that one, and only that one, as the answer?

Because the real answer requires real work, that few of us will actually do. They don’t have the power to take it themselves. They want others to do the lifting for them.

It’s easier.

They don’t want to fix the system. Hell, they don’t even understand it.

They know deep down the real answers include real work, HARD work, time, energy and money. They don’t have any of that; but their mere outrage justifies their forcing others to comply with their contrived notions.

This is why I am distrustful.

We distrust our politicians, our government, and mass media; because none of them has earned our trust.

Maybe this is exactly how it should be.

E. Alan Normandy
Retired Police Lieutenant

A Cops Random Thoughts About the NYC 2017 Halloween Terrorist Attack

fatal-incident

Some random thoughts after yesterday’s terror attack in NYC (originally shared as a Facebook post)

I was at a family member’s house last night and they had the news on about the terrorist attack in New York. At first they were watching Fox but at one point, switched it to CNN. Listening the to cop bashing, anti-gun leftist nitwits on CNN blathering on and on was mind numbing. The thought processes demonstrated by the hosts was like listening to children attempting to profoundly discus an alien invasion (extra-terrestrial, not illegals).

First of all, they kept asking different people “how can we prevent incidents like this?” Really? Are you people that freaking idiotic? You absolutely cannot ever prevent an incident like this. It was a solo guy in a truck who decided to run over people. No matter what his motivation is, whether it be radical Islam like in this case or some crazy jackhole who doesn’t like people on blue bicycles, it is not something that can be prevented. They ask this same question every time something bad happens, and their guests tap dance around the real answer. Let’s be on the adult program, please. Stop placating the public with bullshit. Tell them the truth. It is absolutely not possible to prevent every bad thing from happening. Evil exists. Acknowledge that, and be ready to face the evil when it shows its face.

Then, while they tap danced around the topic of his motivation, which to anyone with a freaking brain was pretty damned obvious. When a guy does something blatantly evil like that, then gets out of the car shouting “allahu akbar” it does not take a rocket surgeon to figure out what his motivation was. But they kept ignoring that and were pretending like he didn’t say it. Then after the note the suspect wrote was located, they almost acted surprised. These are the same idiots arguing that we need open borders to take in refugees from the very countries breeding these radical Islamic terrorists. It is like there is an absolute inability or outright, intentional refusal to put 2 and 2 together.

Third, not one time did they attempt to blame the truck (because of course that would be entirely stupid). In fact, very early on, many news sources were calling it a shooting, and some others called it a traffic accident. There was almost a refusal to admit that this was an intentional act committed by a murderous shitbag who was armed with something that was most definitely not a gun. Yet the fact is, trucks have been used a great number of times to kill and injure people in terrorist attacks. Terrorists attempted to blow up the Twin Towers with a bomb in a truck, a terrorist blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City using a truck. Terrorists in Nice, France just last year used a truck to kill 86 people. No one blames the truck, but these juvenile morons are the same idiots who, when there is a shooting, immediately blame the gun and start screaming about the “common sense need for gun control.” How does the general public not see the glaring hypocrisy on display? How do people listen to these idiots and give any credence to their moronic comments?

I just don’t get it. I cannot for the life of me understand how people who, by all other accounts, are intelligent and educated can be so utterly ignorant.
-Matt

 

Big Problems in Gun Free Utopia

GunFreeUK-01

Gun control proponents in the United States love to point to the UK with their super strict gun laws as a model for the United States to emulate. The problem with that theory is that gun control does has not done what they think it has done.  The latest statistics coming out of England would seem put a bit of kink in their theory, that is if they actually cared about facts.  As reported by The Guardian, the UK is seeing a large increase in the overall crime rate, but the spike in violent crime, especially crimes involving guns, dwarfs the overall rise.  Sadly, The Guardian did not include a link to the original source of the statistics so we can only take their word that these numbers are accurate.

Speaking of those numbers, let’s take a look at some:

  • 10% rise in overall crime rate over the last 12 month period
  • 18% rise in violent crime over 12 months prior to March
  • 23% increase in gun crime in 12 months (even though guns are all but banned)
  • 26% rise in the homicide rate*

A 10% rise in the overall crime rate is concerning, but the rise in violent crime and especially the rise in the murder rate are downright scary.  Even more perplexing is the 23% increase in gun crime, “largely driven by an increase in the use of handguns,” in a country where private gun ownership is so severely controlled that it is difficult and best for the average person to own a gun at all (only shotguns and rifles) and where handguns have been banned completely.  Coincidentally, not only are handguns the type of firearm most used in crimes, here in the United States they also happen to be the type of firearm most often used in self-defense, not that that matters in the UK since using a gun in self-defense is pretty much illegal there too.

While much of the article does not talk about the different crime rates for previous years, it did include the violent crime rate increases for four consecutive 12 month periods.  According to the article, in the most recent 12 month period, the violent crime rate increased 18% (previously noted), it also rose 10% in the 12 months before that, 8% in the 12 months before that, and again rose 3% in the 12 months before that.  Those increases are over the previous 12 month period, not over the base year.  In order to get the total increase over that time frame, you have to add each increase together to get the total increase for that entire time frame.

Thus, that is a 39% increase in the violent crime rate from just five (5) years ago!  That is an insanely gigantic increase in violent crime in such a short time frame.**

Yay gun control!?!?!?

Gun control does not prevent violent crime.  Gun control does not even prevent gun crime.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or ignorant.

So, the next time someone points to England while trying to justify gun control, point them to this.

 


* I am somewhat confused by their wording when they discussed the rise in the homicide rate, which they indicate was over the last year, but they also mention a 1989 incident that took 96 lives.  According to the article further on, it appears the UK crime statistics are based on when the crime investigation is completed, not when the crime actually occurred, hence the mention of the 1989 incident as the investigation was just completed.  Who keeps statistics based on when the investigation is completed vs. when the crime was committed?  That is bizarre.

**Note: I am not a mathematician or a statistician, so if my calculations are off, please tell me what I did wrong.

The nature of The Deputy

Courtroom oath

As a patrol Deputy I always insisted on the public doing ride a longs with a law enforcement officer whenever possible. This practice was heavily advocated because of the difficulties I had in explaining the multifaceted angles of the profession.  Today a friend of mine was speaking with me about a tragic ordeal she both endured and participated in and I remarked about the horrific and wonderful strangeness of the profession. It is true that molecularly each human individual awakes as a physically “different” person each day. I propose The Deputy awakes conceptually or even spiritually different as a person each day.

As a blanket rule, Deputies do not believe in blanket rules so this multifaceted and angular description can only poke small holes into the container which preserves the entire essence of the topic, yet this is endeavored upon in multiple parts here. While certain examples are used, this is not meant to be a collection of cop stories or law enforcement accomplishments nor is it meant to be used as a political tool in any way. My intent is to simply educate and deduce.

Part 1:  The Bonding Pear
Having taught from time to time at the Sheriff’s Academy I see new recruits entering in to the profession from a perspective of naivety as to what kind of career they are embarking upon. As if looking through a foggy (and perhaps somewhat cracked) mirror I have delighted in realizing once again the varied backgrounds of each individual who believe they desire the job of “Protecting and Serving.”

From all walks of life, we get pilots, ex-military, bartenders, hairstylists, stay at home mothers, college students, college professors, doctors,  scientists and youthful wide eyed teenagers to name a few. They all desire to do something more with their life. The first few days of an Academy class are always awkward as each participant attempts to find a way to bond with others who are so different from themselves. As the Academy progresses individuals learn to function as more efficient groups and begin to motivate each other through various intensive training and testing procedures.

As the recruits learn laws, ground combat, defensive driving, report writing, firearms proficiency and physical education they begin to develop the muscle memory which ultimately kicks in when the body produces excess adrenaline. One might become top of the class in a certain area of instruction yet it does little to prepare the recruit for the actual work. If these skill sets can be learned at a fundamental level, the recruit moves into much more intensive training in the field. It is the field where many people, after witnessing the realities and cruelties of life choose to pursue other work.

In the beginning, it is ensured that Deputies plant the bonds of partnership deep within fertile soil. It was put to me years ago in the Academy that if one did not possess a certain “fire” in the belly, succeeding as a Law Enforcement Professional would be difficult. Within the same speech I was also told if I thought I could get through the academy or field training without the help of others then I was stupid. Deputies do almost nothing alone. We have each other read arrest reports, we bounce ideas off one another during complex investigations, we show up for each other when the potential for trouble exists and we offer a brotherly nod when a good job has been done.

Entire novels, psychological studies, endless theorems and both good and terrible television series and movies have attempted to capture the essence of what Law enforcement is. In an effort to demonstrate the temperament of such circumstances and shed light upon the greater existence, certain “stories” must be told. Those beginning bonds which took root within the elementary training environments ultimately yield the fruit of emotional and physical survival in various ways.  If those seeds have not taken root however, The Deputy is, for the lack of a better term, in a bad way. I thank God for those more experienced officers who came so quick to help me before I understood the overall predicament placed upon me.

I can recall, once while I was relatively new to the job and enjoying some personal relief within the heavily graphitized resting area of a gas station, a clerk shrieked to me about someone being shot across the street. While zipping up I remember thinking to myself how important the situation must have been to have the female clerk run screaming into the men’s bathroom while an armed, stone faced Deputy Sheriff in a black uniform urinated in a supposed secure environment.

I walked outside to look across the street and indeed witnessed a mob of people doing…who knows what. I am still not certain to this day what the angry group of people were doing because most of them ran away when I arrived. It didn’t strike me until much later, but the weight and authority of driving by myself in emergency status to a shooting where an angry mob gathered was much more than I could bear psychologically at the time. The thoughts of what could have happened always come much later, sometimes years later.

I remember calling for my partners immediately. Some of them were guys I didn’t quite get along with and others had pulled me aside to specifically tell me they flat out did not like me. Each one still came, and when they arrived upon chariots of salvation they came bearing fruit from those trees long planted.  I had never tasted fear and relief at the same time yet this was the overwhelming flavor. The fruit nourishes and helps to grow, even at times when it has a rotten appearance or taste. Without it, no Deputy could survive during, after or even before a significantly stressful incident.

Situations like having to kill someone, watching someone die, attempting CPR on an infant, rescuing a half burned corpse from a burning car, or attempting to bring order to chaos after an intoxicated teenager has killed the driver of another vehicle. Events such as these provide nightmares to The Deputy either immediately or many years after the fact. The events cannot be erased and they become part of The Deputy; forever to be carried upon high shoulders along with the radio, shotgun, rifle, Taser, baton, gloves, keys, chemical spray and medical kits. Deputies become weary yet they are always sustained by the fruit.

Newsom – Stupid, Manipulative, or Both?

Newsom-Stupid

I swear, every time Gavin Newsom opens his mouth (or keyboard) regarding guns, he makes a bigger idiot out of himself, at least to those of us that know and understand guns and gun laws. To top it off, the comments from his anti-gun supporters really makes me wonder about their mentality.

First of all, take a look at the photo and read what Newsom wrote. In the photo is a guy with a long gun sling (with the damn safety off!!!! FFS people, keep your weapon on safe!). It appears to be a 5.56 SBR AK variant of some sort, but that is not hugely relevant.  Newsom posts that this is the “new normal” which only displays his lack of knowledge on the very subject in which is trying to pass new laws.  The fact is, open carry of long guns in Texas has been legal for a long time. The “new normal” is that people can open carry holstered handguns, and my understand is only if they have a concealed carry permit.

Newsom is either a complete idiot, or he is intentionally using a photo of a guy with a scary black rifle to draw on the emotions of his followers that fear guns, after all, a big black rifle is much more scarier than a holstered handgun.

Now, I am not, nor have I ever been a proponent of open carry.  Yes I agree that it should be legal, but tactically speaking, in a normal everyday urban environment, I think open carry is a huge mistake.  I say that not to start an open vs. concealed carry discussion, but rather to demonstrate that I am not arguing with Newsom and his minions because they are bashing something that I am a proponent of.

Once you get beyond Newsom’s manipulative (or arguably moronic) initial post, the comments by his supporters really make one wonder about the mental state of the people who support his anti-gun agenda.  In what has become typical of gun control supporters, the comments regarding penis size, paranoia, what a militia is, and claims that gun owners are all racist white people flowed quite freely.

I actually caught this post only moments after Newsom posted it to Facebook, and was one of the first people to reply to it.  Some of the replies to my comment were just off the wall.  Others, by folks who tried to offer some logic, fell far short and when I called them on it, they quickly disappeared, but the people obsessed with penis size never seem to clue in.

Seriously, read through the comments on his page.  It will really make you scratch your head.  The 3rd grade mentality offered by his supporters is scary when you consider that most of these people vote, and breed.  Reading through the comments, even the top rated comments, makes me feel like Joe must have felt when he awoke in the movie Idiocracy.
-Matt

Ignore The Idiot Celebrities, Please

Oh yay!  More uneducated (on the topic) Hollywood yokels opening their pie holes and spewing spoon fed drivel about a topic on which they have ABSOLUTELY ZERO expertise!  Sounds a lot like the panderer in chief whom they joined in this video…

Can you all please just STFU!  Looks like I can add a few more new folks to my “won’t give them another dollar of my hard earned money” list.

Folks, don’t buy the bullshit they are shoveling!  I feel horrible for the relatives of the victims that they have included in this video, but disarming me does not make you safer.

If the recent events, especially those in CA, have shown nothing else, they have perfectly demonstrated that no matter what “common sense gun control laws” you put in place, evil people with bad intentions will still get guns, legally or illegally.  As those very same situations proved, it takes good guys with guns to stop bad guys with guns.  And the last, most important thing those recent situations proved is that when seconds count, the cops are only minutes away.   Trust me, I’m a cop, I know.  We wish we could be there to prevent these acts, but the sad reality is, we can’t.

Absolutely nothing (besides the gun grabbing morons that is) says the good guy with a gun need to be a cop.  The most important thing is that they have the right training and the right mindset. Do not let these leftist control freaks disarm you!
-Matt

You Say You Want To Stop “Gun Violence”

If that is the case, I have a challenge for you.

 

Newsome

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom,

You have been making the rounds on a few left leaning talk shows (Rachel Maddow and Morning Joe – oddly enough, both MSNBC programs), and giving press conferences to the lapdog media, some staged at the scenes of previous mass murders, in order to push your new gun control proposals.  You say your goal is to reduce “gun violence” and that we need to do it because “more preschoolers getting shot every single year than police officers in the line of duty.”

For now, I’ll ignore the fact that you are making up bogus statistics to gin up the emotions of uneducated voters in order to get them to support your proposal, I’ll ignore that you are staging your press conferences at locations chosen specifically for the purpose of drawing on peoples’ emotions related to historical events that occurred there, and I’ll ignore that you are trying to use the memory of my fallen brothers and sisters in law enforcement, killed in the line of duty, to push your proposal.

What I would like to address is what benefit you think your proposal will actually accomplish.

As a nearly 20 year career cop, who has worked in some of the roughest neighborhoods in my county, who has gone to countless shootings, I can tell you that my personal experience tells me your proposal will do absolutely nothing to reduce “gun violence.”

I have pointed out the folly of your proposals numerous times on your Facebook page, but it appears you only reply to people who support your efforts, and have no interest in discussing the topic with those of us who differ, even though we may have some subject matter expertise.

With that in mind, I challenge you to sit down and have a public debate on the topic (whether it be face to face, online, on a radio show, a podcast, whatever – you choose the venue) and specifically your proposals.  At the same time, I would be happy to offer some suggestions that have a far higher probability to reduce the “gun violence” you claim to be addressing.

Sincerely,
Deputy Matt