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Number 946. October 29, 2017

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Blood on their hands’?
by Vin Suprynowicz
vin@vinsuprynowicz.com

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Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise


LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 01: People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after gun fire was heard. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

(Note: A version of this column appears in the Nov. 10 edition of “Firearms News,” on newsstands next week.)

The bodies from the Oct. 1 mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas weren’t even cold before the usual gang of jackals started braying for more “gun control.”

Mind you, simpler, more effective remedies were quickly suggested.

It appears millionaire mass murderer Stephen Paddock (more about whose motivations will doubtless come to light) spent days setting up his shooting gallery—complete with closed-circuit TV cameras—in a pricey 32nd-floor hotel suite at the Mandalay Bay Casino/Hotel. Steve Wynn, owner of the competing Wynn Resorts, says no guest at any of HIS properties would have been allowed to hide behind a “Do Not Disturb” sign for days—someone from security would have been knocking after 12 hours, checking the room to make sure everything was OK.

But of course, recommending such mundane procedural changes—even suggesting that Mandalay Bay and the other MGM Resorts properties in Las Vegas might want to arm and train their security guards to respond more quickly and effectively in various “ active shooter” scenarios—doesn’t get you the satisfaction of cynically shrieking that your political opponents have “blood on their hands.”


On “Face the Nation” Oct. 8, champion gun-grabbing Sen. Dianne Feinstein (setting an example in safe gun-handling, above) admitted no gun law, current or proposed, would have stopped shooter Paddock from killing 58 and wounding 500.

“Could there have been any law passed that would’ve stopped him?” asked John Dickerson.

Though she couldn’t resist incorrectly adding “ Possession of machine guns is not legal under the Second Amendment ” (Does that mean the BATF is going to refund all those decades worth of $200 “Class Three” tax payments, Senator?) Feinstein’s direct answer was “No. He passed background checks registering for handguns and other weapons on multiple occasions. I’m not sure there is any set of laws that could have prevented it.”

But that didn’t stop DiFi from proceeding within days to call for a new ban on “bump stocks,” trigger cranks, etc. Nor did it stop dyed-blonde “techno-pop” chanteuse Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, who prefers to go by “Lady Gaga” (and who appears to have some very important friends and backers), from declaring “blood is on the hands of” Congress and President Trump if they don’t immediately sign into law more gun control legislation—any kind will do, presumably.

Even has-been warbler Nancy Sinatra stomped out in her white vinyl boots to join the fray, declaring on Twitter Oct. 3 that President Donald Trump was “complicit” in the mass killing, and that “murderous” members of the National Rifle Association should face a “firing squad” for their support of firearm rights.

(A “firing squad” using what, Nancy – crossbows? Spitballs?)

The legislators who had “blood on their hands,” Ms. Gaga, were those who disarmed the Soviet, German and Chinese citizenry BEFORE Hitler, Stalin and Mao came to power, thus allowing those mass murderers to round up and massacre not mere dozens, but tens of millions of unarmed opponents and minority scapegoats.

And of course Hillary Clinton couldn’t keep her mouth shut (be polite, now), declaring “The crowd (in Las Vegas) fled at the sound of gunshots. Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer.…”

Politifact correctly rules that statement “false.” Those on the scene say they did NOT start to run at the sound of distant shots, which they initially thought were “firecrackers going off.”

A rifle “produces two sounds,” Politifact notes. “One is the crack of the bullet, which can be heard on most video recordings of the shooting and is produced by the bullet traveling faster than the speed of sound. This is unaffected by suppressors. Suppressors instead work on the muzzle blast.…

“A typical gunshot is around 150-160 decibels, a level that can cause hearing damage,” Politifact continues. Suppressors can reduce that sound by around 20-30 decibels… just below the threshold for instant hearing damage. Experts compared the suppressed sound levels to a jackhammer and a jumbo jet on the tarmac 100 yards away. That’s still fairly loud.”

Not only that, rapid fire can quickly “blow out” a suppressor’s internal baffles, heating up both a suppressor and the muzzle to which it’s attached till it’ll burn your skin, as many a novice shooter has learned. There’s a reason many military machine guns are issued with asbestos mitts so red-hot barrels can be changed when they start to deform and “fail. ”

GET OFF THE DEFENSIVE, GUYS

Why on earth we should expect any useful input about firearm and suppressor technologies from has-been canaries and failed First Ladies who presumably wouldn’t know how to rack a slide to save their lives, but who nearly all live in gated communities protected by, um… armed guards… is not clear to me.

But OK, if they want to talk gun control: Let’s go.

“The first new law we want…” they begin.

“No, wait, hold on there” all those congresscritters (including plenty of Democrats) who ran for office insisting “I support the Second Amendment” should say at that point.

“You have an idea for a new ‘gun control’ bill? Great. But how many hundreds of separate laws can a police officer enforce? If we’re looking to make sure they can focus on ‘ gun control’ laws that actually prevent or at least reduce the number of deaths from these lunatic attacks, we need to start by evaluating how much good our CURRENT gun control laws did on October the First.

“Just to reassure the electorate your goal isn’t merely to layer on so many bureaucratic enactments that you eventually ban our gun rights de facto, by making it impossibly inconvenient and expensive to exercise those God-given rights, let ’s start by repealing ALL THOSE EARLIER GUN CONTROL LAWS THAT DIDN’T DO ANY GOOD on October First, OK? Then we’ll be happy to debate the likely effectiveness of your new proposal concerning, what, ‘bump stocks’?”

Start with the granddaddy of them all, the 1934 National Firearms Act, which was disguised as a tax measure to pass constitutional muster, but which was really designed—and is enforced— to make it expensive, cumbersome, nearly impossible for the average American to (legally) purchase and own and shoot a full-automatic machine gun or machine pistol.

(If the BATF was really trying to ease the deficit by collecting as much revenue as possible from this $200 “firearms tax,” Americans would be allowed to pay their $200 in cash—no ID required—and drive away with a machine gun off the shelf at 24-hour drive-through ATF windows all over the country. Instead, the BATF has come up with an insanely onerous and time-consuming process involving fingerprinting, getting their permission if you want to transport your legally-acquired firearm to a machine-gun shoot, all kinds of hoops and obstacles to acquire and enjoy a machine gun or machine pistol—or suppressor or short-barreled rifle or rifle grenade—and then topped it off with the clincher: they’ ve banned “for civilian use” the manufacture or re-importation of real automatic weapons like the heavy, clunky, 1918-vintage Browning Automatic Rifle, creating an artificial shortage which has driven the price of weapons of interest only to collectors—not the kind of piece anyone today would be likely to choose to stick up a liquor store – above $40,000.)

(At least they got rid of the absurd “police-chief-signoff ” requirement, effective July, 2016.)

All kinds of Americans who have never shot anyone with a machine gun (never tried to, never intended to) have been deprived of their gun rights—even gone to prison—for technical violations of the absurd and complicated paperwork and inspection and “reporting” requirements of the 1934 NFA. But at least all this rigmarole cut way down on casualties in Las Vegas on October the First, right?

Well… no. We’ll have to rate the effectiveness of that 1934 law at “zero.” The shooter was able to sidestep ALL those requirements and fire his legally acquired semi-automatic weapons at rates of fire mimicking those of fully automatic machine guns through the simple expedient of using a rifle with a couple of springs in its stock – a technology no one had thought of in 1934, before new materials and tyechnologies allowed modern rifles to be made so much lighter.

WHICH OF THEIR LAWS DID ANY GOOD?

So of course the gun-grabbing blood-lickers now insist that Congress ban “bump-stocks”—which means what they ’ll really be banning is a couple of springs.

Make no mistake, based on the way the BATF has enforced other such laws, gun owners in the future would likely be jailed not just for owning rifle stocks with a couple of springs in them, but also for possessing a couple of spare springs which COULD have been installed in their rifle stock to turn it INTO a “bump stock.”

Springs! Congress is talking about banning a couple of SPRINGS!

Furthermore, since I presume even the Democrats aren’t ready to call for house-to-house searches, all such laws get enforced selectively. You think when they “ban” something it goes away? How did that work out with marijuana?

But we’ve gotten off the track. The question was how much good the 1934 National Firearms Act—which was LARGELY INTENDED TO STOP BAD GUYS FROM USING RAPID-FIRE FIREARMS as in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre—did in saving a single life at that outdoor country music concert in Las Vegas on October First. And the answer is “zero.”

So if we’re going to review our gun control laws, we should start by repealing the onerous, cumbersome, worthless, vastly expensive, unconstitutional National Firearms Act of 1934. Right? Why not?

(Yes, “unconstitutional.” In U.S. vs. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 – 1939—the high court merely remanded the case to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing – never held— TO DETERMINE WHETHER possession or use of a “shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches” had any reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-practiced citizen militia—a question which of course must be answered in the affirmative about actual machine guns.)

How about “waiting periods”? Did they do any good in slowing down the Las Vegas shooter? Of course not. So before we enact any new laws, we should repeal these useless “cooling-off periods.” Right? Why not?

How about “background checks”? Do any good in Las Vegas? Of course not. As is nearly always the case in such crime sprees (and as Sen. Feinstein confirms), this strange, millionaire shooter had no criminal record and passed his “background checks ” with flying colors.

But the gun control gang insisted “background checks” would do LOTS of good in reducing crime and violence—though by the same logic, since I can burn down a house and kill a whole family with a couple gallons of gasoline, I should have to pass a “background check” each time I buy gasoline, right?

So the nation now spends millions and millions of dollars on the time-consuming, frustrating task of checking the “background ” of everyone who buys a firearm from a federally licensed dealer—each TIME he or she buys a firearm (sort of like having to get a new driver’s license every time you go to drive your car)—and it… does no good. So before we enact any new laws, we should surely repeal these cumbersome “background checks”—right? Why not?

The answer to all these questions, of course, is that gun grabbers don’t care whether any of their thousands of existing “ gun control” laws do any good. They just want to pass more laws so they can preen before their gun-dumb urban constituents, meantime shrieking that anyone who stands up for our Constitutional rights has “blood on his hands.”

Their real goal is, indeed, to make it so onerous, so expensive, so inconvenient to buy and own and practice with a firearm that there will be no more guns in America – except in the hands of the government police, and the armed guards that guard the gated communities where most of these leftist celebrities and media elites hide out, of course.

What do terrorists do when they find it inconvenient to use a gun? As the radical Islamic extremists have shown us in Europe, they steal a truck and run it into a crowd and kill dozens of people that way. Or as they’ve shown us right here at home, they hijack airplanes and fly them into tall buildings. So: Do lawmakers who have failed to outlaw trucks and commercial aircraft have “blood on their hands,” Ms. Germanotta?

(Postscript: As of late October, the latest Democratic “gun control” measures—in fact nothing but the same tired old bromides dug out of their Washington desk drawers, none of which would have done a thing to stop or slow the Las Vegas shooter— appear to be going nowhere, as even Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer now reminds his colleagues there’s an election next year, even Bill Clinton having admitted their party lost the House in 1994 due to enacting a package of fancy, expensive, unpopular “ gun control” laws which did no good—as ever. While on the other hand, “Never-Trump” RINO Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has done nothing to advance “concealed-carry reciprocity” OR the Hearing Protection Act (removing the $200 tax from firearms suppressors)… and apparently now finds himself with a good excuse to continue to do nothing, as usual. Le plus qui change… .)

Vin Suprynowicz was for 20 years a columnist and editorial writer at the daily Las Vegas Review-Journal. He blogs at… www.vinsuprynowicz.com. His Online bookstore is at… https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sortby=0&vci=51238921 ;… his own titles at… https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?kn=Vin+&sortby=0&vci=51238921.

 

Vin Suprynowicz

 

Deep in the Nevada desert, in a hidden mansion full of old books and vintage clothes, guarded by five anthropomorphic cats and a family of Attack Roadrunners, Vin Suprynowicz went cold turkey from a 40-year newspaper career. They said he’d never write anything over a thousand words, again. But with the help and encouragement of the Brunette and a few close friends, he came back….
Read more about him.

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