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Comment Re: GET A JOB YA BUMS (Score 1) 305

Please take the time to read about the distinction between positive rights and negative rights. Wherever a positive right is claimed to exist, there must necessarily exist slavery in order to provide it, and thus there can be no valid positive rights, only negative rights. In modern America, we've simply decided that in order to indulge a lot of positive rights that we create by fiat, we will enslave wage earners. It neither makes it moral, nor rational. Claiming to have a right that requires the enslavement of others is no more rational than claiming to be a married bachelor.

Comment Re:What can they learn? (Score 3, Insightful) 267

It's not a challenge at all. Texas does it. We're required by our state constitution to have a balanced budget, and we only let our legislature meet for 150 days every other year. The result: once they are in session, they're working to hammer out the new budget and fix the real problems, instead of constantly being in session feeling the need to legislate something, messing things up, and wrecking the economy.

It works so great that our economy in Texas attracts a constant stream of refuges fleeing the charred ruins of California's economy and its legislature that occasionally takes a two week break between sessions of wrecking the state.

Comment Re:I thought you needed a gun to shoot someone... (Score 1) 706

In the US, the fourth amendment prevents any law where you must demonstrate secure storage. Additionally, the crux of the issue in DC v Heller and McDonald v Chicago was whether the government could deny you the right to immediately access weapons to defend yourself in your home, either through impossible permitting schemes, bans, or requirements to be disassembled or locked up.

At least in Texas, and about a dozen other states, there are laws that allow you to be charged if a minor gets ahold of your unsecured gun (some states require that he hurt himself or others with it, not simply gain access to it). As it relates to this case, Adam Lanza was 20, not a minor, and even if his mom had securely stored the weapons she also trusted him far too much with guns given his known mental state and probably would have trusted him with access to the secure storage as well.

So while Ms. Lanza could have prevented Adam Lanza from gaining access to the weapons if she had taken a more objective view of her son's mental state, there isn't a law in this case which could have done it for her. Requiring demonstrated secure storage is illegal in the US on 2nd and 4th amendment grounds, and Adam Lanza was not a minor and thus not prohibited from accessing weapons in general.

One additional question to ask is, "was Adam Lanza adjudicated mentally deficient, and therefore a 'prohibited person' under ATF definitions, thus making it a crime for Ms. Lanza to allow him access to weapons?" Initially, I would guess the answer is no. She took him to the gun range regularly and allowed him to fire guns in public. But, for argument's sake, assume he was a known prohibited person, and that Ms. Lanza was in violation of the law for allowing Adam Lanza access to firearms. All it would mean is that she broke the law, leading to the eventual death of 28 people including herself, and that Adam Lanza would have earned five more counts of prohibited person in possession of a firearm, which, unsurprisingly, still would not have deterred him from going on his rampage.

Comment Re:I thought you needed a gun to shoot someone... (Score 1) 706

I wasn't saying we need to eliminate any laws. I was responding to the previous poster's implication that more laws would solve the problem by pointing out one of about 50 laws Adam Lanza broke that day. None of those laws helped. More laws wont help either.

Here's the best list I can find on the laws Adam Lanza broke:

1. First degree murder of his mother.
2. Illegal possession of the .22 he shot her with.
3. Illegal possession of the 10mm handgun.
4. Theft of the 10mm handgun.
5. Illegal possession of the 9mm handgun.
6. Theft of the 9mm handgun.
7. Illegal possession of the rifle.
8. Theft of the rifle.
9. Illegal possession of the shotgun.
10. Theft of the shotgun.
11. Unpermitted carry of a handgun for the 9mm.
12. Unpermitted carry of a handgun for the 10mm.
13. Theft of the Honda registered to his mother that he drove to the school.
14. Bringing the 9mm handgun into a school zone.
15. Bringing the 10mm handgun into a school zone.
16. Bringing the rifle into a school zone.
17. Bringing the shotgun into a school zone.
18. Discharging a weapon within the city to gain entry into the school.
19. Forced entry into the school.
20. First degree murder.
21. First degree murder.
22. First degree murder.
23. First degree murder.
24. First degree murder.
25. First degree murder.
26. First degree murder.
27. First degree murder.
28. First degree murder.
29. First degree murder.
30. First degree murder.
31. First degree murder.
32. First degree murder.
33. First degree murder.
34. First degree murder.
35. First degree murder.
36. First degree murder.
37. First degree murder.
38. First degree murder.
39. First degree murder.
40. First degree murder.
41. First degree murder.
42. First degree murder.
43. First degree murder.
44. First degree murder.
45. First degree murder.

Arguably you could add transportation of stolen property one time for each of the four stolen guns, but I'm not sure if Connecticut counts that as a separate charge from possession of stolen property.

What additional law would have prevented this? Keep in mind that Connecticut already has a state level assault weapons ban, and that there was no one armed in the school to oppose him, so how long it takes to reload is unimportant, plus he had practiced to reload very quickly and even did mag changes before entering a new classroom to top off his ammo.

Comment Re:Doesn't the NRA already collect names? (Score 1) 531

... trying to arm schoolteachers. Both would be funny if The Onion wrote them. The fact that Americans really want these things is frightening.

Don't think of it as "trying to arm school teachers." The NRA never suggested that you start a program of shoving a gun into every (or even any) school teacher's hands and forcing them to carry it. What was advocated was allowing teachers to volunteer to do it, and allowing schools to establish their own requirements for training, securing weapons, etc.

In Texas where I live, the law wouldn't need to be changed to do this. Individual school districts would simply need to give specific teachers permission to carry a gun on campus, and everything would be legal.

My wife has been a public school teacher for 7 years, and a concealed carry license holder for 5 years. She enjoys shooting as much as I do, which is to say, a LOT. We go shooting regularly, and she carries a concealed weapon every day, and would have no hesitation to carry it into her classroom and lock it up with her purse, were she allowed to (currently she has to leave the gun in her car when she gets to work).

People like her are the ones the NRA is talking about when they say we should allow teachers to be armed at school.

Comment NASA is a lost cause. (Score 3, Interesting) 262

I worked at JSC from 2006 until 2010 when I volunteered for a layoff and left. The real drain that NASA causes is not the ~$18,000,000,000/year it spends, but tens of thousands of talented engineers who are wasting away their careers there waiting for something exciting to happen. Those engineers could be somewhere else doing something valuable.

Working in private industry now, everything is better: the pay, the management, an executive leadership team with vision and drive to make it happen. NASA is a mess, and no amount of motivational speakers, presidential mandates, or pie-in-the-sky dreams is going to fix it.

The way I sum up my time as NASA when I talk to people about it is this: "I'm very glad I got to work at NASA, and I'm even happier that I don't work there anymore."

Comment Re:I still see a market .... (Score 1) 204

Both of the numbers we listed are correct: about half from membership dues, and 3.2% from corporate donations. The NRA also gets money from advertisements in its publications, payouts from its endowments, donations from members, donations from state-level gun-rights groups, etc. The point I'm trying to make is that there simply isn't a logical case to be made that gun companies control the NRA when they don't provide even close to half of its funding, while gun-owning members provide more than half.

Indeed, that would be inefficient when they can get members to do their dirty work for them.

You're literally saying that people acting in what they've each determined to be their own best interest, is in fact a giant behavioral control conspiracy. If the NRA's policies really were so out of line with the membership's desires, we wouldn't see the membership continue to increase. Your whole argument relies on the pretentious fallacy that people don't know what is best for themselves, but you do.

The judicious use of outright lies, such as the "they're coming to get your guns" narrative, also helps.

All but the last one of these is from THIS YEAR.

Hawaii legislature proposes gun confiscation

New York Assemblyman asks colleague not to mention that original proposed SAFE Act included confiscation

Missouri Democrats introduce legislation to confiscate guns

VA has veterans who cannot manage their own financial affairs declared prohibited persons unable to own firearms

NJ State Senator "We needed a bill that was going to confiscate confiscate confiscate."

Oregon Legislator calls fears of gun confiscation a "paranoid delusion" and then states he is in favor of gun confiscation

Governor Cuomo says, "confiscation could be an option."

Feinstein suggests "compulsory buyback."

CA assembly proposes confiscating 166,000 legally registered guns.

And the classic from 1995:

Comment Re:I still see a market .... (Score 1) 204

I think if the NRA didn't represent its membership, its membership would not continue to increase, and those members would not continue to part with their money to support the organization.

The NRA's income is over $200,000,000 a year. A very few companies, such as Smith & Wesson, Ruger, and MidwayUsa, can afford to give the NRA $1,000,000 each per year (these are well publicized donations, because they buy much good will with gun owners). There simply aren't enough players in the gun industry as big as those three, who are also willing to give the money regularly, to support an organization that spends over $200,000,000 a year, and there is simply no incentive for large secret donations by gun companies.

As spelled out in the Atlantic:

Between [2005] and 2011, the Violence Policy Center estimates that the firearms industry donated as much as $38.9 million to the NRA's coffers.

So even the most anti-gun-rights group in the country, only claims that the NRA got $38.9 million from the firearms industry in a 6-year period. That's 3.2% of their budget.

Examine this from a game-theoretical perspective, and ask yourself, "does it make sense to say that the NRA does not represent gun owners?" "Who would be in a position to hurt the NRA the most if the NRA decided to represent manufacturers at the expense of owners?" "If the NRA does not represent gun owners, why does their membership continue to increase?"

When your conclusions don't match the data, maybe it's time to reexamine your assumptions.

I do understand the point you're trying to make about the NRA: you're arguing that because they only support one civil right, they are not a civil rights organization. Would you similarly say that because the American Civil Liberties Union does not speak out for stronger third amendment protections, they are not a civil rights organization? Or that because the Electronic Frontier Foundation does not support ninth and tenth amendment lawsuits, they are not a civil rights organization?

The point I'm making is that you can't plug your ears and say, "they're not a civil rights group," simply because they either support a civil right you don't agree with, or fail to give support to one you do agree with.

Comment Re:I still see a market .... (Score 1) 204

Can you post a link to an NRA press release for their stance on any of those things?

I have this feeling that you're trolling, but I can't figure out if it's pro-NRA trolling or anti-NRA trolling. The NRA is a single-issue civil rights group. They don't take hard stances on other issues because they don't want to alienate parts of their membership. Put another way, their strategy is that it's better to be as strong as possible on the second amendment, and silent on everything else, than to dilute their pro-2a power by getting dragged into non-2a debates.

Comment Re:Pointless (Score 1) 333

The EFF needs to learn the lessons of the NRA.

The NRA's operating budget, and the amount of money it spends on lobbying and campaigns barely puts it in the top 50 in DC, but the power it wields is wildly disproportionate. When you can jam up the entire capital switchboard, mobilize tens of thousands of people at a day's notice, and you have 5,000,000 members willing to separate with their money and cast votes over a single issue, then you ARE the power on the issue.

A 5 million member EFF would be as much of a beast in DC when fighting for first, fourth and fifth amendments as the NRA is when fighting for the second amendment.

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