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Seeking Little-Discussed Gun Control Laws:

We often hear, or have heard, about various gun control laws — bans on concealed carry, restrictive carry licensing schemes, bans on gun possession by felons or violent misdemeanants, bans on gun possession by people who are the targets of restraining orders, waiting periods for purchases, and so on. But I'm looking for gun control laws that are less talked about, the sorts of laws that even people who follow gun debates in some measure might say "Huh, I'd never thought of that one."

Naturally, the judgment about which laws are little-discussed is likely to be impressionistic, but let me offer three examples. First, some states entirely ban gun possession by noncitizens; I haven't heard that discussed often, though some such state laws have been struck down by courts. Second, some states ban handgun possession — though not long gun possession — by 18-to-20-year-olds, and Illinois seems to seriously limit even long gun possession by 18-to-20-year-olds, though a note from your parent (if he isn't himself a felon, a nonresident alien, and so on) might get you out of that constraint.

Third, some states, including my own California, neither entirely ban open carrying in most public places nor entirely allow it (as other states are well known to do), but rather allow it only if the gun is unloaded. That means you can carry a gun visibly strapped to your hip and a magazine visibly strapped to the other hip, and load the gun for immediate self-defense if you have a couple of seconds, but you can't have the magazine in the gun. (This is how I read the statute, especially Cal. Penal Code § 12031(g), but I'm not a specialist; don't actually act on my casual reading if your liberty depends on it!) To be sure, you might attract untoward attention by such open carrying, but the law technically allows it, so long as no rounds are actually in the weapon.

So these are some examples; do you have more? Again, please avoid the gun control laws that are often talked about in the media — I know about them already, and so do most of our readers. Also, more details are always better; if you have a citation or a URL to such a statute, that would be great, and if you just have a hazy recollection, it would be very helpful if you could clear it up a bit.

Finally, city and county ordinances, as well as administrative regulations, are especially likely to be missed by researchers, including by me. If you have some pointers to surprising local or administrative gun controls, I'd especially love to see them.

UPDATE: I originally said that in California you could carry an unconcealed unloaded gun, and a magazine in your pocket, but Gene Hoffman kindly pointed out that People v. Hale, 43 Cal. App. 3d 353 (1974), suggests that a gun may be treated as concealed if its magazine is concealed. I'm not sure that's a proper interpretation of the statute, but it does still seem to be a binding precedent, so that's what California law appears to be. Many thanks to Gene for the correction.

IL Resident (mail):
My own understanding (as an Illinois resident) was that you couldn't get a handgun in Illinois until you were 21. You could own a rifle and a shotgun at 18.
12.23.2008 4:00pm
Xmas (mail) (www):
Massachusetts...

Gun Permits are given out by the local police chief, who have the final say in whether the applicant can get the permit. In some towns, the police chiefs will simply sit on the applications.

An anecdotal example, my friend (isn't it always) had to threaten to sue the police chief of a small town on the Cape before he would get around to handling, and finally accepting, the application.
12.23.2008 4:04pm
Tammy Cravit (mail):
As of the passage of AB 1741 in October 2007, California law will require all semiautomatic pistols sold in the state after 1 January 2010 to employ microstamping technology (whereby identifying letters or numbers are etched into the firing pin, extractor face, etc., such that these markings are transferred to shell casings fired by the weapon). Criticisms of the new law have focused on its ineffectiveness in crime prevention (given that most guns used in crimes are stolen) and the fact that it mandates the adoption of an unproven single-vendor technology. Research from UC Davis and others has also cast doubt on the reliability and longevity of the microstamping process.
12.23.2008 4:08pm
George Lyon (mail):
Try DC's latest attempt to restrict Second Amendment Rights.

http://www.dccouncil.us/images/00001/20081210115303.pdf
12.23.2008 4:12pm
Mike Roth (mail):
Having moved to Chicago without knowing about the city's prohibition on firearm ownership, you should look into the City of Chicago ordinances on firearms possession and registration. The handgun ban is widely known and discussed, but if I recall correctly, you cannot take possession of a rifle or shotgun outside Chicago and then bring it into the City without first registering the gun with the police at police headquarters. In essence, you have to buy the firearm outside the city, leave it at the dealer's, take down all of the information needed to register it, have passport photos taken of yourself, go to police headquarters to register it and pay a fee per firearm to do so, wait for the registration to be approved, return to police headquarters to pick up the approval, and then return to the dealer's to pick up the firearm. You then have to re-register the firearm on an annual basis. See Section 8-20-10 et seq. of the Chicago Municipal Code.

I also noticed a provision in Section 8-20-160 of the Chicago ordinance that prohibits possession of ammunition unless one holds a valid registration certificate for a firearm of the same caliber of ammunition possessed and one has that registration certificate on one's person at the time of possession.
12.23.2008 4:13pm
KHS:
New Mexico Statutes:

30-7-13. Carrying weapons prohibited.

A. It is unlawful for any person without prior approval from the company to board or attempt to board a bus while in possession of a firearm or other deadly weapon upon his person or effects and readily accessible to him while on the bus. Any person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor.

B. Subsection A of this section does not apply to duly elected or appointed law enforcement officers or commercial security personnel in the lawful discharge of their duties.
12.23.2008 4:17pm
green-grizzly (mail):
Concealed carry in Utah is prohibited in mormon churches, but it is legal in all other churches.
12.23.2008 4:22pm
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
I'm not sure if these counts, but there are some interesting . . . features (anti-gun folks would call them "loopholes") in Minn. Stat. 624.714, Minnesota's carry law, and Minn. Stat. 624.7181, the prohibition against carrying long guns in (most) public places . .

While much of the carry law is pretty standard, as are most of the exemptions from the need for a carry permit, there is one strang one:

Subd. 9, Permit not required:


A permit to carry is not required of a person . . .

(3) to carry a pistol between the person's dwelling house and place of business;
. . .

(5) to transport a pistol in a motor vehicle, snowmobile or boat if the pistol is unloaded, contained in a closed and fastened case, gunbox, or securely tied package.

Note that the exception for the carry between "dwelling house" and "place of business" is separated by an "or" from the option to transport the gun unloaded.

624.7181, the prohibition against carrying long guns in public places has an even stranger feature; it defines "carrying" to exclude "the carrying of a BB gun, rifle, or shotgun by a person who has a permit under section 624.714".
12.23.2008 4:25pm
Alan A. (mail) (www):
Texas has many laws regulating firearms, and almost all of them exempt machine guns. IANAL, but from my reading of the laws, it would be perfectly legal for me to stick my M11 SMG into a holster and carry it around anywhere.

I'm willing to be wrong about this by the way. I've not tried it.
12.23.2008 4:27pm
Yankev (mail):

That means you can carry a gun visibly strapped to your hip, and a magazine in a pocket, and load the gun for immediate self-defense if you have a couple of seconds, but you can't have the magazine in the gun. (This is how I read the statute, especially Cal. Penal Code § 12031(g), but I'm not a specialist; don't actually act on my casual reading if your liberty depends on it!) To be sure, you might attract untoward attention by such open carrying, but the law technically allows it, so long as no rounds are actually in the weapon.
Ohio courts have held that an unloaded semi-automatic pistol or rifle is deemd loaded if there is a loaded magazine nearby. You might make sure there is not a similar line of case law in California.
12.23.2008 4:34pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Back when I was a gun dealer, I would peruse the BATF's Published Ordinances volume every year. One ordinance that startled me was apparently a Clark County, Nevada measure that prohibited the sale of foreign made handguns without ammunition for same. Huh?

My wild guess is that because of the number of oddball calibers that some European handguns used to be chambered in (9mm Largo, 9mm Makarov, 7.63mm Mauser), that the county was afraid that idiots might buy a gun in one these odd calibers, and not being able to find the right ammunition for it, would try to use something that was ALMOST a fit--with potentially catastrophic results.

My reading of Cal. Penal Code 12031 is the same as Professor Volokh's. I suspect that if you actually tried to carry an unloaded handgun in any big city in California, you would be at least stopped, and probably arrested. A friend was moving back in the early 1980s in Hermosa Beach, California. He had a pile of clothes, a 12 gauge semiauto shotgun with the action locked open, and he was carrying everything upstairs. The shotgun was NOT in his hand, but under a pile of clothes stacked on his arms. A Hermosa Beach cop actually drew a gun on my friend Steve, and told him that he should have the gun in a case. Steve reminded him that it wasn't illegal--and the cop wouldn't back down, and didn't reholster his gun until Steve was inside.
12.23.2008 4:38pm
SSFC (www):
The city code of Winston-Salem North Carolina (Section 14-29) prohibits the carrying of firearms in a cemetery, unless carried by a law enforcement or military color guard.

Perhaps sensible, but what prompted the need for the law?

The city code of Durham North Carolina (Section 12-26) prohibits possession of firearms outside the home "while under the influence of intoxicating drink or drugs" unless the drunk also has a concealed weapons permit. I suspect that this loophole was written in due to concerns that the state's concealed carry law would preempt the city code.
12.23.2008 4:39pm
notaclue (mail):
Tennessee weapons law uses the vague phrase "with intent to go armed," e.g. in Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1307(a)(1). In theory, if two citizens carry identical weapons in an identical manner, but the state can show that one of them "inten[ded] to go armed," he/she has violated the law. If the other has no such provable intent, he/she has not broken the law.

Tennessee's state House had a Speaker for many years who helicoptered into committees to kill pro-Second Amendment bills. Now that the House has a Republican majority for the first time since Reconstruction, and since we have many blue-dog Democrats in the chamber, some of these overly-vague laws may change.
12.23.2008 4:43pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Criticisms of the new law have focused on its ineffectiveness in crime prevention (given that most guns used in crimes are stolen) and the fact that it mandates the adoption of an unproven single-vendor technology. Research from UC Davis and others has also cast doubt on the reliability and longevity of the microstamping process.

I have a question for the more fervent SecI suond Amendment advocates.

Suppose someone invented a tagging technology that was completely reliable, i.e., it didn't interfere with the firing of the gun in any way, and it was completely reliable at identifying the gun that the bullet came from.

Now, am I right to think that you guys would still oppose this? I suspect that you guys would consider it a slippery slope to gun registration, which in turn you consider a slippery slope to gun confiscation. Perhaps, you also believe that a tyrannical government might use the technology investigate legitimate firing of guns as a prelude to confiscation.

But if that's what the debate is about, why all the legerdemain about this technology not working? I assume the technology will eventually work, and I further assume it could be quite useful if it does work to solve gun crimes by identifying the murder weapon. Indeed, even a somewhat inaccurate technology would still be helpful, the same way that eyewitness identifications, for instance, are helpful for crime investigations, even if they aren't always accurate.

At bottom, it seems to me that there is simply a real resistance among some gun owners to the police being able to figure out that they fired their weapon at someone. That may be legitimate or illegitimate, but isn't that the real issue here?
12.23.2008 4:43pm
Kukulkan (mail):
Tammy Cravit:

AB 1741 does not require all semiautomatic handguns sold after 1/1/10 in California to have microstamping abilities. It grandfathers in semiautomatic handguns sold in California before 1/1/10. Only new semiautos will have to have the microstamping capabilities. "Commencing January 1, 2010, for all semiautomatic pistols that are not already listed on the roster pursuant to Section 12131, it is not designed and equipped with a microscopic array of characters that identify the make, model, and serial number . . . " Thus 1911 clones and numerous other types of pistols will still be legal to sell in CA after 1/1/10. Also, it is redundant to say semiautomatic pistol. A pistol is, by definition, a semiautomatic handgun.

My favorite one for California is Penal Code Sections 12301 and 12302, which defines grenade launchers as destructive devices and prohibits possession of destructive devices by non-exempt citizens (i.e., everyone except military and police while on duty). You will not see any Yugo 59/66 SKS carbines in California (unless it has been altered) because they have a muzzle with a mount for RPGs. Strangely, the AG's office didn't make a similar stink for wire wrapped .303 Lee Enfield rifles.

Although it is not firearm related, Section 12301 also defines any sealed device containing dry ice for the purpose of making it burst as a destructive device. Section 12302 then makes possession illegal. Yep, that two liter soda bottle is illegal to possess if you put dry ice into it.
12.23.2008 4:44pm
Bitter Voter:
I rarely hear any talk about the federal Gun Free School Zones Act. Most people don't seem to realize that Congress reenacted the Act in exactly the same form (except for the addition of a jurisdictional section) after the United States Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in Lopez. I am sure that thousands of otherwise-law-abiding hunters unwittingly commit multiple felonies every year by driving past nearby elementary schools with their shotguns and rifles in unlocked cases.
12.23.2008 4:54pm
pete (mail) (www):

Now, am I right to think that you guys would still oppose this? I suspect that you guys would consider it a slippery slope to gun registration, which in turn you consider a slippery slope to gun confiscation. Perhaps, you also believe that a tyrannical government might use the technology investigate legitimate firing of guns as a prelude to confiscation.


Would you be willing to pay for it out of your own pocket or would you expect law abiding gun owners and manufacturers to pay for it? Pricing legal guns out of the reach of ordinary citizens is a time honored tradition of people trying to restrict the law abiding citizen's access to firearms.

If that technology would raise the price of a gun a neglible ammount, say $1 per gun, I would be fine with it although still skeptical that it would do much to prevent crime since no technology is infallible. The problem with the California law as is, is that any criminal with half a brain and a file or with a stolen gun he is willing to get rid of after the fact will not be deterred, but the law abiding gun companies and consumers are expected to bear the price for the technology.
12.23.2008 4:56pm
SayUncle (mail) (www):
I would say quite a bit of the NFA stuff, particularly the differentiation of short barreled rifles and Any Other Weapons, is quite unusual. They are also inconsistent in certain states. ATF has held that attaching a vertical forward grip to a handgun makes it an Any Other Weapon. Two states (SC and TN, IIRC) had court cases striking down that ruling.

And the requirement for sign off by a chief law enforcement official. Odd in Tennessee is that such approval is required by law.

And rules governing what is and isn't firearms manufacturing are convoluted to say the least.

If you go to Vegas for more than three days, you have to notify the local police if you have guns. Odd since Nevada recognizes quite a few out of state carry permits.

And New Jersey's smart gun law which basically states that once smart guns are viable, all other guns are illegal.
12.23.2008 4:56pm
Nick B (mail):
Re: Dilan Esper

How about we get the police to accept a trial for 5 years of the tech in question, rather than being exempted, as is always the case? Every time one of these wild cards gets thrown, the police are always exempt. In NJ, 2 years after the first "smart gun" is available, all new handguns purchased by citizens of NJ must be "smart guns", working or not, yet somehow the police are exempt.
In my opinion, this is merely an attempt at a back door tax, and possibly a handout to the developer of the technology. If your theoretical perfect technology was reasonably priced, I might consider it, but I am too aware of the general government method in similar cases to accept it sight unseen.
12.23.2008 4:56pm
J. Aldridge:
How about the Federal Act of 1868 prohibiting the "importation and use of firearms and ammunition" within all of Alaska and enforced by the Executive Order of President Grant on Feb. 4, 1870?
12.23.2008 5:02pm
notaclue (mail):
Dilan, you may be right, and what of it? We Second Amendment absolutists fear any law that could be used, perhaps by rogue officials, to identify law-abiding gun owners. This is why NICS records are supposed to be destroyed, IIRC, and why some states (not mine) destroy fingerprint records after they have established a citizen's right to a carry permit.

At the risk of getting off topic, this microprinting debate resembles the national identification card debate. Some might ask, why shouldn't we stand ready to identify ourselves at all times? Why not carry a national ID card? Many of the same reasons we resist a national card help explain why we resist microprinting, powder tagging, etc.
12.23.2008 5:04pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Suppose someone invented a tagging technology that was completely reliable, i.e., it didn't interfere with the firing of the gun in any way, and it was completely reliable at identifying the gun that the bullet came from.
Wouldn't it be simpler just to replace handguns with Star Trek phasers set on stun? That's about as likely. What you are also missing is that criminals already do things like file off serial numbers from guns. How long do you think it will take for a black market to be created in devices to damage the "tagging technology"?

Now, am I right to think that you guys would still oppose this? I suspect that you guys would consider it a slippery slope to gun registration, which in turn you consider a slippery slope to gun confiscation.
It isn't just "us guys" who think that. The second director of Handgun Control, Inc. said directly that registration was the first step towards confiscation. And he's not the only gun control advocate who has made that claim.

Perhaps, you also believe that a tyrannical government might use the technology investigate legitimate firing of guns as a prelude to confiscation.
So tell me, how many gun crimes not currently being solved will this new technology solve? I ask because the police already do surprisingly well at solving murders involving handguns. In addition, there is one little problem that you seem to be missing: many of the people that misuse guns in a criminal way can't legally own them. So what are the chances that knowing that the gun that used to belong to Mr. Smith before it was stolen in a burglary will help you to find Mr. X, who actually used it in a robbery?
12.23.2008 5:05pm
genob:
City of Seattle intends to impose a ban on guns on city property and in city parks. This despite the fact that the Attorney General has informed the mayor that the ban would violate (pretty clearly) the Washington state constitution. Probably lots of this kind of local stuff out there.



Story here
12.23.2008 5:06pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Dilan, you are right. When people abuse a right, they really need to be held responsible.

One of the difficulties that police now have prosecuting rapes is that some rapists are smart enough to use condoms, so as to avoid leaving any DNA evidence. You would agree that, in the interests of improving the chances of solving such crimes, all condoms sold in the U.S. would be registered to their original buyers, and would leave a microcoded chemical in the victim to enable us to track the rapist down.

What? Invasion of privacy? It would make condoms more expensive? What's WRONG with you, Dilan?
12.23.2008 5:10pm
RDB (mail):


Dilan,

The site linked has a pretty through debunking of the concept.
12.23.2008 5:13pm
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
Dilan Esper: I would, sure. That said, I don't see anything hypocritical about pointing out multiple flaws in a proposal, when I see multiple things wrong with it. Do you?
12.23.2008 5:15pm
Patrick216:
green-grizzly:

I'm no expert on Utah law, but I believe it forbids the carrying of a concealed weapon into any "house of worship," and the term "house of worship" is defined as any church, temple, synagogue, etc. So I'm not sure how only Mormon churches are affected. (And no, I'm not Mormon).

Clayton:

How strong is the evidence showing that gun ownership reduces crime? It strikes me that if there is evidence that expanding gun ownership reduces crime, that should start to shift liberals' attitudes over time.

Right now, I think liberals' hatred of gun ownership stems from abject fear. Most liberals I know have never handled a firearm of any kind -- long gun or hand gun. The very sight of a gun makes them tremble, almost like they were staring in the face of a grizzly bear or something. But if they start to understand that guns protect the little people, and are not simply the fancy of anti-government whack jobs, maybe attitudes will start to shift...
12.23.2008 5:17pm
notaclue (mail):
Patrick216: From your lips to God's ear.
12.23.2008 5:19pm
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
Actually, Clayton, I think a better analogy is that since (at least close to) all rapes where semen is significant evidence are committed by men, it would only be a "common sense" proposal to make sure that all male babies provide a DNA sample (not, obviously, semen) at birth; those who would otherwise benefit from the "pre-born" loophole, by being born well in advance of the new law, would be required to make a catch up sample submission.

Sound reasonable? No question -- it would, if implemented, solve at least many rape cases, and providing a few cheek cells via a swab is hardly major surgery.
12.23.2008 5:19pm
RDB (mail):
Sorry, linky no work.
12.23.2008 5:24pm
Bitter Voter:
SayUncle:
If you go to Vegas for more than three days, you have to notify the local police if you have guns. Odd since Nevada recognizes quite a few out of state carry permits.

The Las Vegas/Clark County requirement only applies to handguns and only applies to "residents." Visitors do not have to register their handguns, at least that is the way it has been interpreted in the past.

Regarding CCW permits, Nevada still does not have reciprocity with other states. Several other states recognize the Nevada permits, but only a Nevada permit is recognized in Nevada.
12.23.2008 5:24pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

How strong is the evidence showing that gun ownership reduces crime? It strikes me that if there is evidence that expanding gun ownership reduces crime, that should start to shift liberals' attitudes over time.
I would say that the evidence is strong, although the effect is weak. Increasing gun ownership does seem to reduce violent crime rates, but the reduction is not enormous. The cultural factors that reduce violent crime are vastly more important. However, I think you misunderstand why hatred of gun ownership (which is only somewhat tied to liberalism) is so strong:

Right now, I think liberals' hatred of gun ownership stems from abject fear. Most liberals I know have never handled a firearm of any kind -- long gun or hand gun. The very sight of a gun makes them tremble, almost like they were staring in the face of a grizzly bear or something. But if they start to understand that guns protect the little people, and are not simply the fancy of anti-government whack jobs, maybe attitudes will start to shift...
I think that gun control nut hatred of guns has less to do with fear of crime, and more to do with what owning a gun represents: it represents the very real possibility that they could be a victim of crime. The gun is an unpleasant reminder, much like seat belts remind us that we are doing something REALLY dangerous when we drive a car. But how many really lame excuses have you heard for not wearing seat belts?

I think that the reason that gun control has become identified (and not entirely correctly) with liberalism is because liberalism is primarily an urban phenomenon, and urban murder is primarily black and Hispanic. (Largely of other blacks and Hispanics--most murder in America is about 9/10 within race.) Owning a gun for many liberals would mean confronting that their control over city governments and domination of many state governments hasn't solved whatever cultural problems have turned many inner cities into hellholes.
12.23.2008 5:30pm
JB:

I would say that the evidence is strong, although the effect is weak. Increasing gun ownership does seem to reduce violent crime rates, but the reduction is not enormous. The cultural factors that reduce violent crime are vastly more important.


Is this geographic or temporal correlation? I.E, are you saying that places which have a higher proportion of gun ownership have less violent crime, or that for a given place, the tendency is that as gun ownership rates go up violent crime rates go down?

That said, one need not be a second amendment absolutist to oppose gun control measures of questionable effectivenss and unquestionable expensiveness. Doing things that don't work is the habit of a madman; paying large amounts of money to do so only makes it worse.
12.23.2008 5:38pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Actually, Clayton, I think a better analogy is that since (at least close to) all rapes where semen is significant evidence are committed by men, it would only be a "common sense" proposal to make sure that all male babies provide a DNA sample (not, obviously, semen) at birth; those who would otherwise benefit from the "pre-born" loophole, by being born well in advance of the new law, would be required to make a catch up sample submission.
No question about this, Joel. Applying Dilan's rules about "reasonable" would mean mandatory DNA sample for all men to solve rapes where there is no condom used. There's already a great sloan available, "Not one more rape! Mandatory DNA swabs for all pre-rapists!"

What the heck, mandatory fingerprinting and DNA for men and women. Think of all crimes it would solve!

And I can't see why Dilan would object to cameras on every street. And telescreens (whoops!) would certainly solve many domestic violence cases.
12.23.2008 5:40pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Is this geographic or temporal correlation? I.E, are you saying that places which have a higher proportion of gun ownership have less violent crime, or that for a given place, the tendency is that as gun ownership rates go up violent crime rates go down?
I don't put much stock in geographic correlations. Places that historically little violent crime often have little reason to own defensive weapons--and if violent crime rates go up, people sometimes respond to that fear by buying guns. Temporal corelations are pretty persuasive that increasing gun ownership either makes no difference in violent crime rates, or may cause a small decline.

That said, one need not be a second amendment absolutist to oppose gun control measures of questionable effectivenss and unquestionable expensiveness. Doing things that don't work is the habit of a madman; paying large amounts of money to do so only makes it worse.
That's the wonderful thing about restrictive gun control: it doesn't cost very much, especially when you compare it to stuff that does work, but is expensive.

I'm persuaded that efforts to reduce child abuse are, over a period 20-30 years, very cost effective. The evidence associated with deinstutionalization of the mentally ill suggests that while it wasn't done primarily to save money, it was incredibly expensive to the society.

Discouraging alcohol and marijuana consumption is clearly a win for reducing rates of schizophrenia (consumption of both is positively correlated with later rates of schizophrenia).

All these things cost money, however. Gun control laws, because the costs are borne almost entirely by gun owners, and those economic costs are small, are therefore bargains. That they generally don't work at all, or actually make crime rates worse, doesn't much matter.
12.23.2008 5:49pm
Yankev (mail):
There was also an Ohio decision some years ago upholding a conviction for violating an ordinance of a Cleveland suburb that prohibited possession of a handgun (or was it any firearm?) by any person without a letter from the chief of police of the person's home municipality, testifying to the person's good character. The defendant lived in another suburb whose chief of police did not issue (and was not required to issue) such letters. The defendant was driving through the suburb en route to somewhere else, with an unloaded gun in his trunk. I'd guess that neither he nor his chief of polioe had any inkling that the ordinance existed.
12.23.2008 5:53pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"At bottom, it seems to me that there is simply a real resistance among some gun owners to the police being able to figure out that they fired their weapon at someone. That may be legitimate or illegitimate, but isn't that the real issue here?"

It's the broken window effect.

There are lots of people who want to disarm the population. It's easier to fight them at this point than later. Simply oppose the little things they want, and they won't be able to progress to the point of accomplishing what they eventually want. Win the small fights to avoid the big ones.

Discussion of the issue without considering the motivations of activists makes little sense.

How about a law that required evrybody to carry papers at all times so it would be easier for the police to identify criminals?
12.23.2008 5:55pm
PubliusFL:
Yankev: Ohio courts have held that an unloaded semi-automatic pistol or rifle is deemd loaded if there is a loaded magazine nearby. You might make sure there is not a similar line of case law in California.

According to People v. Clark, 45 Cal.App.4th 1147 (1996), the loaded magazine must be in a position where the ammunition is ready to fire to make the weapon itself a loaded weapon. In that case, a shotgun was not "loaded" when shells were in a storage compartment in the stock of the shotgun. So it would appear that a holstered pistol with empty chamber and magazine well, and loaded magazines in a separate magazine pouch, would be okay.

However, Prof. Volokh mentioned "a magazine in a pocket," and I have heard that another case determined that a concealed loaded magazine can make your weapon a concealed weapon (in which case you'd better have a concealed carry permit), even though it is not a loaded weapon. I haven't read that case, but I wouldn't be surprised. This is, after all, California.

Also, if you openly carry an unloaded weapon, police have the right to stop you and examine the weapon to make sure it is unloaded.
12.23.2008 5:57pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

How about a law that required evrybody to carry papers at all times so it would be easier for the police to identify criminals?
There are a number of other ways to reduce violent crime that gun control advocates never seem to be willing to discuss:

1. Require everyone to wear only form-fitting clothes, so that the police can just look for suspicious bulges to know who to search for a gun.

2. Require everyone convicted of a felony (or perhaps a misdemeanor in the last five years) to wear jacket (or even better, a BRAND on the forehead) that identifies them as a criminal.

3. Require everyone to notify the police each time that they take up a new residence. With the wonders of the Internet, why not require you to inform the police every night at 6:00 PM where you will be staying the night? Think how much simpler it wil make it to find criminals!
12.23.2008 6:01pm
DiversityHire:
As an Alaskan, I was surprised to hear that reloading is illegal in many parts of the lower 48. I don't know what the law is in California, where I live now, but I've never seen gunpowder or empty cartridges at the store unlike in AK.
12.23.2008 6:08pm
Hanahan:
Well, according to a local daily paper editorial, 20% of gun homicides occur in 4 cities (NY, Chi., Detroit, and DC) where there is only 6% of total population.

I live in a southern state with liberal gun laws, and we fairly regularly have examples of people defending themselves or others, and shooting a perp. But at the same time, guns are a common target of breakins, and handguns make up a currency of the street -- they are a liquid asset on the street as good as cash.

I a big believer of CCW permits, and open carry (even though there is no open carry in my state). I'm not a gun nut and don't even own a gun (other than a pellet gun to clean out the squirrels). My reaction is based on empirical evidence that CCW holders are safe and law abiding people, a credit to the community, and produce no real negative in the current state of society.

The county sheriff even has courses for CCW holders, that if they come upon a deputy who may need assistance, how to identify themselves to the deputy and offer assistance.

Many years ago, I was riding with my father, and we came upon a deputy with his sidearm drawn, obviously making a felony stop alone. My dad hung a U turn a bit down the road, and came back, ID'd himself and his rank (Marine Lt. Col) before exiting the car, and offered to "place myself and my sidearm under your command." The offer was accepted, and my father trained his 45 cal. on the car and didn't move for the 15 minutes it took for backup to arrive. It doesn't usually take 15 minutes any more, but a lone deputy out in the countryside can be a fair distance from backup, and they appreciate the help for a CCW holder.

My mother, who still lives out in the country, when a strange man was knocking on her door late at night a couple of years ago, she calls the sheriff first, and the neighbor second. Guess who shows up with the shotgun first, and in a bathrobe?
12.23.2008 6:11pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
My recollection is that FAA regulations require you to carry a rifle in your airplane when flying in Alaska. This is reminiscient of the gun control laws that required travelers away from town to be armed in many of the colonies.
12.23.2008 6:12pm
WC:
Regarding California open carry, my understanding was that it was illegal to transport a loaded firearm without a concealed carry permit, and a loaded magazine for a semi-auto counts as a "firearm" for this purpose.

So it might be legal to "carry" an unloaded weapon with a loaded magazine, if you are moving anywhere with it, you are transporting it and it becomes illegal.
12.23.2008 6:16pm
wooga:
Clayton,
How about putting RF chips in all guns, so police will be able to tell who around them has a gun? After all, that wouldn't bother hunters out in the woods!

While we're at it, why not put mandatory breathalyzer tubes in every new car?
12.23.2008 6:17pm
Fub:
Clayton E. Cramer wrote at 12.23.2008 4:38pm:
My reading of Cal. Penal Code 12031 is the same as Professor Volokh's. I suspect that if you actually tried to carry an unloaded handgun in any big city in California, you would be at least stopped, and probably arrested.
I've personally witnessed unloaded handgun open carry in the mid-peninsula burbs south of SF. It was a decade or so ago, but as far as I know no stops or arrests occurred. A customer of a surplus electronics store I occasionally shopped would carry a large revolver in a hip holster, with cartridges in the holster belt. He did not wear any sort of uniform or badge indicating security guard or police officer. He wore ordinary outdoor work clothing with a wide brimmed hat, which with his revolver and cartridge belt made looked vaguely like a western movie cowboy costume.

Customers in the store didn't seem to mind, and management certainly never expressed any concern in my presence. I recall one other customer talking with him about it in the checkout line, but only along technical lines, make, model, attributes, etc. The conversation was so inconsequential that I forgot the details. I doubt the police bothered him either, since he seemed unconcerned about carrying it. But I never asked.
12.23.2008 6:27pm
Melancton Smith:

I also noticed a provision in Section 8-20-160 of the Chicago ordinance that prohibits possession of ammunition unless one holds a valid registration certificate for a firearm of the same caliber of ammunition possessed and one has that registration certificate on one's person at the time of possession.


Yes and a strict reading of this leads to some pretty contorted machinations to comply.

You must keep the registration certificate with the rifle at all times. You must keep the reg. cert. with the ammunition at all times.

This means if I want to go outside of the City to buy ammo (no place to buy ammo in the city) I have to bring my rifle and all ammo I have with me.

Let's say I have 3 rifles in various calibers and I need to stock up. I must bring all three rifles, all relevant ammo, and the certificates with me to go buy ammo.

Guess what, if I get pulled over, I'm toting an 'arsenal'.



You then have to re-register the firearm on an annual basis. See Section 8-20-10 et seq. of the Chicago Municipal Code.


Also note that if you are even 1 day late the firearm is permanently unregisterable in the City and must be transferred out of the City. There is some vagueness as to whether that rifle can even be re-registered by someone else. Interestingly, you can go buy another rifle exactly like it and register that.

Chicago also bans laser targeting devices. Wouldn't want you to hit what you intend now would we?
12.23.2008 6:32pm
Melancton Smith:
Dilan Esper wrote:

Suppose someone invented a tagging technology that was completely reliable, i.e., it didn't interfere with the firing of the gun in any way, and it was completely reliable at identifying the gun that the bullet came from.


Would it be prohibitively expensive? Would we still be able to reload? Would law enforcement be exempt? Would existing firearms be grandfathered in?

Correct answers to those questions would go a long way.
12.23.2008 6:36pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Clayton:

And how about personal identity numbers on everyone's outer clothes? Makes it easy to know who did what, especially with all those surveillance cameras. Same rationale trotted out for car license plates, as a matter of fact.

Oh - and one point about why city people like gun control: an armed man walking down the street who sees a stranger being mugged by two thugs can do something, or nothing. An unarmed man can only do nothing - and a lot of people prefer not having to make the choice. Call it the Kitty Genovese Syndrome.
12.23.2008 6:37pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

While we're at it, why not put mandatory breathalyzer tubes in every new car?
Careful: You are describing Dilan's utopia. He may not be able to handle the excitement!

Oh yes, and mandatory registration of all alcoholic beverage containers, so we can find who is supplying alcohol to minors, and littering.
12.23.2008 6:37pm
PubliusFL:
WC: Regarding California open carry, my understanding was that it was illegal to transport a loaded firearm without a concealed carry permit, and a loaded magazine for a semi-auto counts as a "firearm" for this purpose.

The case I linked to interpreted the statute you are talking about. It now seems to be generally understood that the magazine has to be attached to the firearm to make the firearm "loaded." Here is what purports to be a California Peace Officers' Association memo on the subject.

You do have to be careful you don't carry into a school zone, though, because that violates a different law.
12.23.2008 6:40pm
DiversityHire:
Fub, Weird Stuff?
12.23.2008 6:42pm
A Law Unto Himself (mail):

a pellet gun to clean out the squirrels


SOMEONE CALL PETA !!!
12.23.2008 7:01pm
CDR D (mail):
Clayton wrote:

My reading of Cal. Penal Code 12031 is the same as Professor Volokh's. I suspect that if you actually tried to carry an unloaded handgun in any big city in California, you would be at least stopped, and probably arrested.

I'm getting confused. Section 12031 deals with loaded firearms.

The carrying of an unconcealed firearm in a public place is addressed in Section 12025, is it not?

Whatever. The copy of "Peace Officers' Guide to California's Dangerous Weapons Laws" provided to me by my daughter, a police sergeant, does have the caution:

"Citizens should be strongly discouraged from..., since to do so would attract an undue amount of attention from any nearby peace officers."
12.23.2008 7:22pm
pete (mail) (www):

I'm persuaded that efforts to reduce child abuse are, over a period 20-30 years, very cost effective. The evidence associated with deinstutionalization of the mentally ill suggests that while it wasn't done primarily to save money, it was incredibly expensive to the society.


Reversing the deinstutionilization of the mentally ill would do more to reduce crime and lower incarceration rates over the long term more than probably any other policy other than reducing the number of things that count as crime (i.e. drug legalization). It would certainly reduce crime more than any gun control laws would.
12.23.2008 7:38pm
CDR D (mail):
Another interesting twist to California's laws is in Section 12026.

Although a person may carry a loaded firearm within his own home, or on his own private property, openly or concealed, he may not visit his next door neighbor's property carrying concealed, even if the neighbor grants permission.

The 12025 exception only applies to the private property of the person in possession of the firearm.
12.23.2008 7:39pm
Chem_geek:
Clayton, that wasn't FAA regs, it was AK statute. Sometime between 1993 and 2008, though, the requirement to carry a firearm whilst flying in AK was removed.

2008 version:
Sec. 02.35.110. Emergency rations and equipment.

(a) An airman may not make a flight inside the state with an aircraft unless emergency equipment is carried as follows:

(1) the following minimum equipment must be carried during the summer months:

(A) rations for each occupant sufficient to sustain life for one week;

(B) one axe or hatchet;

(C) one first aid kit;

(D) an assortment of tackle such as hooks, flies, lines, and sinkers;

(E) one knife;

(F) fire starter;

(G) one mosquito headnet for each occupant;

(H) two small signaling devices such as colored smoke bombs, railroad fuses, or Very pistol shells, in sealed metal containers;

(2) in addition to the equipment required under (1) of this subsection, the following must be carried as minimum equipment from October 15 to April 1 of each year:

(A) one pair of snowshoes;

(B) one sleeping bag;

(C) one wool blanket or equivalent for each occupant over four.

(b) However, operators of multi-engine aircraft licensed to carry more than 15 passengers need carry only the food, mosquito nets, and signalling equipment at all times other than the period from October 15 to April 1 of each year, when two sleeping bags, and one blanket for every two passengers shall also be carried. All of the above requirements as to emergency rations and equipment are considered to be minimum requirements which are to remain in full force and effect, except as further safety measures may be from time to time imposed by the department.


1993 version:
Section 02.35.110 EMERGENCY RATIONS AND EQUIPMENT.


(a) An airman may not make a flight inside the state with an aircraft unless emergency equipment is carried as follows:

(1) the following minimum equipment must be carried during the summer months:

(A) food for each occupant sufficient to sustain life for two weeks;

(B) one axe or hatchet;

(C) one first aid kit;

(D) one pistol, revolver, shotgun or rifle, and ammunition for same;

(E) one small gill net, and an assortment of tackle such as hooks, flies, lines, sinkers, etc.;

(F) one knife;

(G) two small boxes of matches;

(H) one mosquito headnet for each occupant;

(I) two small signaling devices such as colored smoke bombs, railroad fuses, or Very pistol shells, in sealed metal containers;

(2) in addition to the equipment required under (1) of this section, the following must be carried as minimum equipment from October 15 to April 1 of each year:

(A) one pair of snowshoes;

(B) one sleeping bag;

(C) one wool blanket for each occupant over four.

(b) However, operators of multi-engine aircraft licensed to carry more than 15 passengers need carry only the food, mosquito nets and signalling equipment at all times other than the period from October 15 to April 1 of each year, when two sleeping bags, and one blanket for every two passengers shall also be carried. All of the above requirements as to emergency rations and equipment are considered to be minimum requirements which are to remain in full force and effect, except as further safety measures may be from time to time imposed by the department.
12.23.2008 7:46pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
In regards to microstamping and smartguns and any other such non-sense, people also seem to forgwt just how incredibly durable guns are. The last figure I saw was something like 200million privately owned firearms in the US. With even minimal upkeep they will last practically forever, unlike cars which require ever more work to keep them operational.

Trying to mandate the total replacement of such a large population does not seem like a realistic proposition even if it were undertaken.
12.23.2008 7:51pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Clayton and Joel:

The problem with your sex example (and with the other examples you give) is that the discharge of a weapon is far, far more likely to result in nonconsensual injury than the discharge of semen.

Further, although the Second Amendment clearly supports an individual's right to keep and bear a gun, that is not based on any notion of privacy. Indeed, many people publicly carried their weapons at the time of the adoption of the Second Amendment. Rather, this was based on a belief in the benefits of an armed populace.

And yet you guys are making privacy arguments of the type that would make supporters of Roe v. Wade blush. I don't see anything particularly "private" about firing a gun, and that alone makes it extremely different from all the other examples you give.

And if have a privacy right with respect to their gunfire, how come you guys aren't calling for the repeal of anti-silencer laws?
12.23.2008 8:37pm
Fub:
DiversityHire wrote at 12.23.2008 6:42pm:
Fub, Weird Stuff?
HalTek. RIP some years ago.
12.23.2008 8:38pm
Harry O (mail):
In the state of Nebraska, it is illegal to carry a firearm (rifle, shotgun, or handgun) and illegal to carry a bow or crossbow while on a snowmobile.

I don't know why, but it was taught in class and asked on the test for a concealed carry permit.
12.23.2008 8:47pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Dilan Esper, there are a couple of billion rounds of ammunition fired every year in the US; the 'resulting' injuries and deaths are vanishingly few in comparison. So it may be that "the discharge of a weapon is far, far more likely to result in nonconsensual injury than the discharge of semen" somewhat mistates the situation.
12.23.2008 8:54pm
SayUncle (mail) (www):
Bitter Voter says

'Regarding CCW permits, Nevada still does not have reciprocity with other states. Several other states recognize the Nevada permits, but only a Nevada permit is recognized in Nevada.'

That changed about two years ago. They have reciprocity with many states, including mine.

See link
12.23.2008 9:04pm
John Moore (www):
In Arizona, for quite a while the law stated that a weapon in a holster would not be considered concealed as long as the holster was visible.

This led to a small business creating holsters that looked like "fanny packs." I used to carry a pistol in one of these when out in the country, to avoid scaring other folks while still being armed.

Then a judge ruled that these holsters were not holsters. That seemed to put an end to it. I went back to open carry in the boonies.

Eventually, we got CCW permits in the state.
12.23.2008 9:12pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
We have to get chocolate into this somehow.
12.23.2008 9:28pm
Bitter Voter:
SayUncle,

You are correct, Nevada does recognize other state's permits now. The statute is NRS 202.3688.
12.23.2008 9:32pm
Fidelity (mail) (www):
I'm sure you heard of the Oregon courts ruling that Concealed Handgun Licenses were public domain, and the newspaper requesting the names and addresses of everyone in Oregon with a CHL?

The drama unfolded further as my local sheriff sent out a letter asking each person with a CHL if they wanted their information disclosed, of the 10,000 letters he sent, he got 8,000 responses, of course everyone saying "no." Other sheriffs did the same shortly afterwards.

The drama unfolded further when another Oregon sheriff decided he's not sending the information to the papers unless a judge directly orders him to.
http://wweek.com/wwire/?p=18040

I also just read that the Portland City Council recently removed the right of the Mayor to restrict the sale of firearms during an emergency, a right I didn't know the mayor had.

I've always thought the limit on the number of rounds a firearm can hold to be a particularly hilarious restriction, as if someone can not reload, or that a firearm is less-deadly with less ammunition in a magazine. It's sad that the restrictions imposed on firearms are always drafted by people who know nothing about them. Remember the gall on Fox News who didn't know what a barrel shroud was, but stated regardless they should be illegal?
12.23.2008 9:38pm
Chem_geek:
Dylan, there are good public health (reduction of hearing loss) and public order (reduction of possibly objectionable noise) arguments for the repeal of anti-silencer laws.

Silencers, however, have a bad reputation amongst the general public and therefore a serious push for such a repeal would quite likely get nowhere fast.
12.23.2008 9:48pm
Fub:
Fidelity wrote at 12.23.2008 9:38pm:
I've always thought the limit on the number of rounds a firearm can hold to be a particularly hilarious restriction, as if someone can not reload, or that a firearm is less-deadly with less ammunition in a magazine. It's sad that the restrictions imposed on firearms are always drafted by people who know nothing about them. Remember the gall on Fox News who didn't know what a barrel shroud was, but stated regardless they should be illegal?
I recall some fish &game laws that restricted the number of rounds actually magazined when hunting specific game. One I recall was a three round magazine limit when hunting ducks. Hunters used a wooden plug (they called it a "duck plug") in the magazine to limit capacity when hunting. These laws or regs were not related specifically to gun safety. They were related to limits on licensed game kill.
12.23.2008 9:57pm
Tammy Cravit (mail):
With regard to the whole microstamping debate, I see a more fundamental issue than the cost and reliability concerns others have cited.

Consider a couple of scenarios:

1: Jones buys a pistol. Six months later, Smith breaks into his home and steals the gun. He trades it to Andrews for a quantity of drugs. Andrews gives it to his brother-in-law, Jackson, who uses it to commit a robbery in which a man is killed. The police run the numbers on the shell casings and come up with Jones's name. Jones shows them the police report documenting that the gun was stolen. Now what? We've created added cost for the gun manufacturers, doubtless added cost for the gun's legitimate purchaser (Jones), and we've given the police a false lead to waste time on in their investigation. And we haven't helped the police one iota in their quest to catch Jackson.

2: In the above scenario, suppose Jackson is actually *planning* his murder. He goes to a shooting range and casually gathers spent shell casings from a dozen people with guns of like caliber to the one he stole from Jones. After he kills his victim, he "salts" the crime scene with the purloined shell casings before making his escape. Now the police have an even bigger problem -- there's no practical way[1] to determine which shell casing (and hence which gun) was the "real" one, and hence they have even more false leads to run down.

I'm not opposed to the idea of microstamping in principle. I'm opposed to it because it doesn't do anything measurable to address the problem it's trying to address.

[1] - Technically, I suppose, neutron activation analysis or similar could be used if the bullet left any metallic residue around the lip of the shell casing. That is, however, a prohibitively expensive way to solve a problem that was of the government's making in the first place.
12.23.2008 10:15pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Dilan Esper, there are a couple of billion rounds of ammunition fired every year in the US; the 'resulting' injuries and deaths are vanishingly few in comparison. So it may be that "the discharge of a weapon is far, far more likely to result in nonconsensual injury than the discharge of semen" somewhat mistates the situation.

Maybe gun nuts fire more bullets than they ejaculate, but I am sure that the rest of the population makes up for it.

I'm thinking the Beatles' Happiness Is a Warm Gun is fitting here....
12.23.2008 10:26pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Jones buys a pistol. Six months later, Smith breaks into his home and steals the gun. He trades it to Andrews for a quantity of drugs. Andrews gives it to his brother-in-law, Jackson, who uses it to commit a robbery in which a man is killed. The police run the numbers on the shell casings and come up with Jones's name. Jones shows them the police report documenting that the gun was stolen. Now what? We've created added cost for the gun manufacturers, doubtless added cost for the gun's legitimate purchaser (Jones), and we've given the police a false lead to waste time on in their investigation.

By that reasoning, the police shouldn't look up records of driver's licenses or credit cards, because people sometimes steal cars and wallets.
12.23.2008 10:28pm
Daryl Herbert (www):
Prof. Volokh: your interpretation of California's law depends on the definition of "loaded." Where is that term defined? If I have an unloaded handgun, and a magazine handy, is that weapon considered "loaded" under CA law?

What you are also missing is that criminals already do things like file off serial numbers from guns.

It will be a crime to file off the serial numbers. Any handgun owner who uses the weapon for target practice enough times will cause the numbers to be worn down--so every handgun owner will be at risk of arrest.
12.23.2008 10:28pm
Daryl Herbert (www):
I found the definition of loaded:

(j) For purposes of Section 12023, a firearm shall be deemed to be "loaded" whenever both the firearm and the unexpended ammunition capable of being discharged from the firearm are in the immediate possession of the same person.

Section 12001(j)

Or, more accurately, I found that the term is not specially defined except in the context of 12023 (carrying a loaded firearm with intent to commit a crime).

Based on the rules of construction, I think you would have to use the dictionary definition of loaded (i.e., bullets actually in the gun, or in a magazine that is inside the gun). So I think your reading of the law is correct.

Of course, there are also local ordinances . . .
12.23.2008 10:34pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I'm not opposed to the idea of microstamping in principle. I'm opposed to it because it doesn't do anything measurable to address the problem it's trying to address.

You know, there's a big, big gap between "sometimes may not work" and "doesn't do anything measurable". The fact that criminals can wear gloves to defeat fingerprinting doesn't mean that fingerprinting doesn't do anything measurable to address crime.

Part of the problem, really, is that the more strident gun rights advocates often make arguments like "this can never work" when their real problem is that they don't want it to work.

And as I said, maybe that latter argument is a good argument. But I think we should be having it rather than making flat declarations that things will never work. This is a technology, it will surely work IN SOME CASES, and like all technologies, it will likely get cheaper and better over time. So deal with the technology that ultimately may be developed, and its implications.

I suspect that the reality is that a lot of folks feel that their real arguments won't be accepted by the general public (which supports a right to bear arms but doesn't see a problem with the police investigating shootings with any reasonable tool) and therefore they don't want this technology to be developed to the point where it is cost-effective and functional.
12.23.2008 10:35pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I'm getting confused. Section 12031 deals with loaded firearms.
Yup. But try to carry an unloaded handgun openly in San Francisco. I rather doubt that you would not be arrested.
12.23.2008 11:24pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Most cities require the written permission of the city council before firing a cannon within the city limits.

This became an issue in Modesto, California, some years ago when Stanislaus County District Attorney James Brazelton was sued by his predecessor, retired DA Donald Stahl, for personal injuries following the firing of a replica Civil War cannon by the Richmond Fayette Artillery Brigade during a civil war re-enactment sponsored by the Stanislaus County Civil War Assocation. Apparently the blast waves from the cannon echoed oddly off the Depression-era brick walls of the post office and somehow blew out the eardrums of Mr. Stahl and the other victim.

I was the trial court research attorney working for the judge who heard this case. Brazelton was named as a defendant by Stahl's attorney because it was Brazelton's job, as honorary co-chairman of the Stanislaus County Civil War Association, to secure all necessary permits for the event, and he neglected to secure the Modesto City Council's written permission to fire a cannon inside the city limits, based on some city ordinance from about 1880-1890 which I suspect related to the scaring of horses. Brazelton was probably unaware of it.

This lawsuit brought great interest, and more than a few interesting side bets, in our legal community.

Counsel for the plaintiffs also named every signed-up member of the unicorporated and quite unofficial Stanislaus County Civil War Association as defendants (except for Mr. Stahl, who was likewise a member).

I pointed out to the judge that the by-laws of the Stanislaus County Civil War Association stated that the spouses of all duly-enrolled members were likewise members of the Association, which would include Mrs. Stahl.

The judge then persuaded plaintiffs' counsel to dismiss Mr. Brazelton and all the Association's members save for the few nominal officers, by loudly asking if Mr. Stahl's attorney would name Mrs. Stahl as a defendant because she was really at fault for letting the big lunk out of the house, and "we all know what happens when she does that."
12.23.2008 11:25pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton and Joel:

The problem with your sex example (and with the other examples you give) is that the discharge of a weapon is far, far more likely to result in nonconsensual injury than the discharge of semen.
It wasn't to deal with any old discharge of semen, but specifically rape. Just like microstamping isn't because of target shooting or hunting, but criminal misuse.
12.23.2008 11:26pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

And yet you guys are making privacy arguments of the type that would make supporters of Roe v. Wade blush. I don't see anything particularly "private" about firing a gun, and that alone makes it extremely different from all the other examples you give.
Not at all. The privacy argument is about mandatory registration, which is what microstamping turns into. I make no claim about a privacy right when firing a gun.
12.23.2008 11:27pm
pintler:
I have no problem with microstamping if:

1)It's free (or, at least, the costs are less than the actual benefits, given the simple 'common sense' countermeasures available to crooks).

2)It is available (free!) for any gun I want to buy (or build!), including a limited production $2500 Hammerli target pistol or whatever - I don't want to be trying to compete using the lowest common denominator.

3)I'm not going to get in trouble because my gun wears (I have target guns with many tens of thousands of rounds through them), and when I need to do regular maintenance, I can just order the new parts from Brownells and install them myself.

Note that I'm talking about the guns with a tiny serial number on the firing pin or whatever. If you're talking about the ammunition with little numbers etched on it, then also:

4)I want to be able to still buy bullets by the many thousands in bulk, without onerous paperwork, and reload them myself. Target shooters just can't manage without reloading - as an example, AFAIK, there is only one commercial loading for Bullseye Wadcutter guns - Federal's 185 gr Gold Medal Match. The last boxes I saw were $30 for a box of 50 - the last components I bought work out to reloads that cost $3.50 for the same thing. Put normal commercial 45ACP in a wadcutter gun and you'll break your $2500 gun.
And we're not talking buying a box of 20 rounds every hunting season - a bullseye match takes 270 rounds. The retired geezers who don't have to work all week :-) shoot a match or two a week, and practice in addition to that.

5)When I buy commercial ammo, I don't want the price to go up because the manufacturer has to discard a box of 50 because inspection showed one bad round, because the machine is expensive, etc.

6)I don't want to have to go to an FFL and pay $25 to give a box of ammo to a fellow competitor.

7)I don't want to go to an FFL and pay $25 every time I mail order ammunition or components.

8)I don't want to worry that I have to find the 1% of brass that always seems to land where no amount of searching will find it, lest some crook use it to salt a crime scene.

And, unless you make it illegal to work on your own guns, reload, ...., the only crooks you'll catch will be dumb as a post. You'll get some, like some crooks leave their wallet at the bank they robbed or whatever, but it's going to be rare enough it will be news. And the penalties for all those new crimes need to be very stiff (or the crooks will accept them as the cost of business) - but then you're imposing draconian sentences on otherwise law abiding gun owners who didn't realize giving a box of shells to friend was now a felony.

Lastly, on the cost/benefit: there is a similar concept where a couple of states (MD and MA) require a fired cartridge case to be submitted to the State Police. After a couple of years, the MD state police asked that the program be discontinued because it wasn't the best use of time for the few technicians it took to run the program. So it's not enough to say it might work occasionally - you need, I think, solid evidence that the total cost society spends on it will give a higher return in lives saved than other options (MRSA testing, drunk driving patrols, etc). IMHO, that's going to be a hard case to make.
12.23.2008 11:29pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Dylan, there are good public health (reduction of hearing loss) and public order (reduction of possibly objectionable noise) arguments for the repeal of anti-silencer laws.
However, there is one public safety argument for silencer regulation: every time you fire a gun in an urban setting, it will likely provoke a call to the police. Criminals have an interest in not having the police come and investigate; no law-abiding citizen should be concerned. I just wish knives were noisy.
12.23.2008 11:29pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Maybe gun nuts fire more bullets than they ejaculate, but I am sure that the rest of the population makes up for it.
The sign of a gun control nut: the need to engage in petty insults. I haven't fired a gun since August, and it had been at least a year before that.
12.23.2008 11:31pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

You know, there's a big, big gap between "sometimes may not work" and "doesn't do anything measurable". The fact that criminals can wear gloves to defeat fingerprinting doesn't mean that fingerprinting doesn't do anything measurable to address crime.
So by your reasoning, fingerprinting of the entire population should be mandatory. After all, you want microstamping imposed on every gun owner, whether they have broken any laws or not. And why not mandatory DNA swabs for the entire population as well?

There is a difference, of course. Fingerprinting doesn't impair your use of your fingers. Neither does the DNA swab. But microstamping technologies clearly do not work reliably, or police departments wouldn't insist on being exempted from the requirement.
12.23.2008 11:34pm
Abdul Abulbul Amir (mail):

Microstamping is costly and easily defeated. The firing pin and extractor and breach face are all subject to wear and replacement. Are firing pins to be serialized and require background checks?

There should be a cost/benefit analysis done on this. There is some potential marginal benefit but at what appears to be wildly disproportionate cost. Would it not be better to use the resources on a cure for cancer?
12.23.2008 11:35pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):


Jones buys a pistol. Six months later, Smith breaks into his home and steals the gun. He trades it to Andrews for a quantity of drugs. Andrews gives it to his brother-in-law, Jackson, who uses it to commit a robbery in which a man is killed. The police run the numbers on the shell casings and come up with Jones's name. Jones shows them the police report documenting that the gun was stolen. Now what? We've created added cost for the gun manufacturers, doubtless added cost for the gun's legitimate purchaser (Jones), and we've given the police a false lead to waste time on in their investigation.


By that reasoning, the police shouldn't look up records of driver's licenses or credit cards, because people sometimes steal cars and wallets.
A driver's license (in most states) has a photograph on it. If you use a license to commit a crime (such as passing a bad check or buy alcohol under age), it's pretty obvious that you aren't the person on the license. Furthermore, criminals seldom leave their driver's license or other identifying documents at the scene of a crime (with the notable exception of James Earl Ray leaving his dishonorable discharge papers behind at a bank burglary). The analogy to microstamping thus collapses.
12.23.2008 11:38pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Microstamping is costly and easily defeated. The firing pin and extractor and breach face are all subject to wear and replacement. Are firing pins to be serialized and require background checks?
Right now, police rely on barrel rifling marks on bullets--but this is pretty easily defeated. On most semiauto pistols and many revolvers, barrels can be replaced in seconds, and are not regulated, numbered, or tracked. Rifling marks can also be defeated by running a reamer down the barrel. The only reason that this isn't more of a problem for police is:

1. A fair number of bullets aren't in sufficiently good shape to get the rifling.

2. Very hard bullets don't get very crisp marks.

3. As barrels wear out (and for handguns, that can be 10,000-15,000 rounds), the rifling marks get less clear.

4. Most of the people who commit murder, robbery, and other crimes involving guns aren't on the right side of the bell curve. (Those criminals get elected Governor of Illinois.)

These reasons, by the way, are why the few states that have imposed ballistic registration requirements have spent millions of dollars, with nothing to show for it.


There should be a cost/benefit analysis done on this. There is some potential marginal benefit but at what appears to be wildly disproportionate cost. Would it not be better to use the resources on a cure for cancer?
If the goal was to reduce crime, you are correct. But that's not the goal of microstamping, or ballistic registration, or gun registration, or licensing, or most other gun control measures. They are passed to discourage gun ownership by creating minor obstacles and raising costs.

To the extent that gun control nuts can discourage poor black men from owning guns, they hope to reduce the horrifying violent crime problem in the ghettos--without having to confront why these problems became most severe after adoption of the Gun Control Act of 1968. (And while sometimes gun control nuts admit that this where they are most concerned, usually their liberal instincts force them to turn this into the delusion that the problem of gun violence is evenly distributed throughout America. It isn't. Not even close.) It wasn't GCA68 that did it, but other well intentioned efforts of the Great Society: expansion of the welfare state with its disconnecting the relationship between procreation and child rearing; deinstitutionalization (which sent vast numbers of psychotics to the streets, especially in big cities); and the decline in cultural norms concerning responsibility and violence.
12.23.2008 11:49pm
pintler:
To answer the original question, the mildly odd parts of WA state law:

1)Sort of inverse gun control - gun safes are exempt from sales tax (Sorry, no cite)

2)RCW 9.41.090 requires a 5 day waiting period for handguns, unless the buyer has a carry permit. The oddity is that there is no exception for police officers, many of whom don't have the permit because they can carry concealed without it. They are usually surprised to find that have to come back in 5 days, while the civilian w/ CPL next to them takes hers home today.

2)RCW 77.15.460 prohibits possessing a loaded long gun in a vehicle, other than on duty LEO. This is often overlooked because it's orphaned over in section 77, vice all the other firearms regs in section 9.41. Interestingly, this one lacks the common exception for active duty military. I suspect it is frequently violated at, e.g., the Yakima training center. Or maybe all state laws invalid on federally owned or leased property? Anyway, don't load your shotgun while camped in the Winnebago.

3)RCW 70.108.150 prohibits firearms possession at outdoor music festivals.
12.24.2008 12:00am
Soronel Haetir (mail):

Part of the problem, really, is that the more strident gun rights advocates often make arguments like "this can never work" when their real problem is
that they don't want it to work.

And as I said, maybe that latter argument is a good argument. But I think we should be having it rather than making flat declarations that things will
never work. This is a technology, it will surely work IN SOME CASES, and like all technologies, it will likely get cheaper and better over time. So deal
with the technology that ultimately may be developed, and its implications.



There is however a great disincentive in what you wrote here. Because the people who actually buy guns don't want this technoledgy the gun makers have no reason to pursue it. My understanding is that this effect is what has stalled the smart gun drive. It would not surprise me if a similar thing happens with microstamping. It also seems like an area where police expemtion seems ever sillier. Unlike smart guns where the complaint is that the firearm itself may not work, malfunctioning microstamping's cheif complaint is that evidence won't be left.
12.24.2008 12:37am
pintler:

There is however a great disincentive in what you wrote here. Because the people who actually buy guns don't want this technoledgy the gun makers have no reason to pursue it.


I wonder why the fans of microstamping don't advocate, say, offering a $50 tax rebate on the purchase a gun with microstamping (or perhaps the Joyce Foundation could fund
a rebate). When the first few murders are solved, and no problems arise, the idea will catch on.

As an aside, I always wonder why the people in favor of some restriction don't try and bargain, like 'we want microstamping, and if you'll agree to it, we'll agree to eliminating bans on concealed carry in post offices, parks, and the other nonsensical restrictions'.


p.s. Addendum on the odd laws - Montana forbids concealed carry in bank lobbies; the businessman making the large cash deposit is outta luck.
12.24.2008 1:04am
Gene Hoffman (mail) (www):
I'm a bit of an expert on California Firearms laws.

It is legal to openly carry an unloaded firearm in California. There are some municipal codes against it but they are likely preempted and the other wrinkle is that one can not knowingly come within 1000' of a school. The definition of loaded is interpreted in People v. Clark. Having a loaded magazine on your person does not a loaded firearm create unless you're in the Governor's mansion amongst other highly sensitive places, a known street gang member, or in the act of committing a felony. However there is case law (People v Hale) that strongly suggest that magazines for an unloaded handgun being openly carried must also be unconcealed. I don't suggest doing it but there are those folks in California who do open carry unloaded. Arrests happen but DA's tend to be smart enough to not bring charges. This alert (http://tinyurl.com/a5qe8y) has gone out to most Law Enforcement agencies in California.

To Eugene's question - one of the most curious gun control laws in California is PC 12031 (e) which states "In order to determine whether or not a firearm is loaded for the purpose of enforcing this section, peace officers are authorized to examine any firearm carried by anyone on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or prohibited area of an unincorporated territory. Refusal to allow a peace officer to inspect a firearm pursuant to this section constitutes probable cause for arrest for violation of this section."

This means California is an effectively Fourth Amendment free zone if you're carrying something that looks like a rifle case.

-Gene
12.24.2008 1:11am
Thomas_Holsinger:
pintler,

The federal supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution negates state laws against carrying of firearms by duly authorized federal personnel, whether or not they are on federal property. This applies to active duty military personnel within the course and scope of their duties as such. Reservists on federal property (including reserve and National Guard armories) are likewise immune to such state laws.

Gene,

I was asked by a City of San Mateo police officer to open my rifle case when I was carrying it on a public transit bus to the gun range at Coyote Point in, I think, 1964. I was fourteen years old at the time.
12.24.2008 1:22am
Sebastian (mail) (www):
I have one for you. Pennsylvania, like many states, prohibits having a loaded long arm in your vehicle. It's a summary offense, and my understanding is that it's meant to discourage poaching. It's illegal to carry a firearm that is not a long gun in a vehicle without a License to Carry.

This is not unusual, but Pennsylvania's License to Carry provision is. Most states only license carrying of handguns. Pennsylvania licenses the carrying of any firearm with a barrel shorter than 16 inches, and a shotgun of barrel length less than 18 inches. In short, if you have an short barreled shotgun, or a short barreled rifle, it's perfectly legal to carry one loaded in your vehicle, provided you have a license to carry.

AR-15 with a 16 inch barrel, unlawful to carry loaded in a vehicle in Pennsylvania under any circumstance (with exceptions for military and law enforcement).

AR-15 with a 14.5 inch barrel, lawful to carry in a vehicle with an LTC.
12.24.2008 1:42am
Extrano (mail):
Well, at the moment there are at least 22,309 "restrictive gun laws" in effect. Of those, only 11,919 more or less restrict the right to "own or possess." The other 10,390 laws are by and large reasonable responses to local conditions.

A surprising number of those concern the payment of a bounty on vermin. "Any rat killed for the bounty in the alleys between Main and Railroad Streets shall be destroyed with .22 caliber shot shells" is typical of this class of legislation.

On the other hand the 11,919 laws that restrict an Americans right to keep and bear can all be considered more or less nutty. Of those, not a single restrictive gun law has ever reduced violent crime. On the contrary, a very good argument can be made that one law, the Gun Control Act of 1968, has resulted in the violent deaths of a half million of us.
12.24.2008 2:31am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
The sign of a gun control nut: the need to engage in petty insults. I haven't fired a gun since August, and it had been at least a year before that.

But of course, Clayton, I wasn't talking about you. I was talking about the absurd commenter who was claiming that Americans fire guns just as often as they do the nasty.
12.24.2008 4:23am
Bill Harshaw (mail) (www):
Switchblades: sort of off the subject, but it relates to my teen years and it provides a non-Second Amendment parallel to gun control laws. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switchblade has a good article.
12.24.2008 8:45am
pintler:

But of course, Clayton, I wasn't talking about you. I was talking about the absurd commenter who was claiming that Americans fire guns just as often as they do the nasty.


I'm not why this statistic is interesting, but when a hypothesis is described as absurd, I have a compulsion to see if that is true. Doing the math,
this link estimates 8 to 10 billion rounds of small arms ammunition is sold at retail each year in the US. The male US population (the original hypothesis, ahem, involved only males) is roughly 150 million. If 50 million are too old or young to ahem, that would work out to 100 rounds per male per year. I don't know how many times each man, ahems, each year on the average, and really don't want to google it, but I'm not sure the original hypothesis can be dismissed as facially absurd.

[I went through this absurd exercise to make the point that it is important to not make assumptions. For example, people seem almost universally astonished to find that the majority of 'deaths due to gun violence' (as the term is usually used) are suicides.]
12.24.2008 8:45am
karrde (mail) (www):
Since 1927, Michigan Law has required the acquisition of a License to Purchase a Pistol before any transfer of a Pistol can occur. (This law is often cited as evidence of the racist roots of gun control. Essentially, it provided an easy way for police to deny pistols to Blacks without having the provision explicitly written into law. Since then, the racist application has waned...I think...)

It was also the law (and will be until sometime in Feb. 2009) to bring a newly-acquired pistol to a Law Enforcement Office for a Safety Inspection. However, there are no clear standards of what constitutes an unsafe pistol, so the safety inspection devolves into a closet registration.

As the law is currently interpreted, anyone who receives a pistol from inheritance must fill out a License to Purchase form, and follow through with the Safety Inspection, even if the weapon is passing from the father's estate to the son without any transfer of cash.

I don't know how the law is interpreted to handle spouses coming into ownership of pistols from a deceased spouse.
12.24.2008 9:29am
GeneralObvious:
New Jersey:

Any person who offers to sell a machine gun, semi-automatic rifle, or assault firearm by means of an advertisement published in a newspaper circulating within this State, which advertisement does not specify that the purchaser shall hold a valid license to purchase and possess a machine gun or assault firearm, or a valid firearms identification card to purchase and possess an automatic or semi-automatic rifle, is a disorderly person. N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6.

Also in New Jersey, if you surrender a firearm to the police, you don't get immunity for its unlawful possession unless you provide written notice ahead of time ("...including the proposed date and time of surrender...") and that notice is actually received by the proper authorities. N.J.S.A. 2C:39-12.

I don't know if provisions like these are commonplace in other states, but they strike me as shady.
12.24.2008 9:47am
Wahoowa:
I think there was an article in the Iowa Law Review maybe two years ago about gun possession by non-citizens.
12.24.2008 10:52am
PersonFromPorlock:
pintler:

I'm not [sure] why this statistic is interesting....

Dilan Esper's original statement was:

...the discharge of a weapon is far, far more likely to result in nonconsensual injury than the discharge of semen.

If we take "far, far more likely" to mean 'twice as likely', then DE is claiming that there are twice as many firearms injuries per shot fired as there are rapes per ejaculation. Since we know there are (using your data) ten billion rounds fired per year and 230,000 injuries (including deaths - CDC stats), there's .000023 injuries per round and a corresponding .0000115 rapes per ejaculation.

There were 94,635 forcible rapes in 2004 (FBI stats). Dividing this number by .0000115 yields 8229130435 ejaculations to support that number of rapes, if in fact discharge of a firearm is twice as likely to result in injury as ejaculation is to result in rape. Given 100 million sexually active males (your datum), that works out to 82 ejaculations per year per man.

Of course, if "far, far more likely" means 'ten times as likely' then it works out to 410 ejaculations per year per man, which seems unlikely.

Given a lot of 'givens', DE's claim isn't absurd; but neither is it absurd to challenge it. His original point, that it makes more sense to mark ammunition than condoms (and yes, this thread has gone a little off the rails!) begs the question of whether it makes sense to do either, though.
12.24.2008 11:02am
Andy Freeman (mail):
> There were 94,635 forcible rapes in 2004 (FBI stats).

It is generally agreed that the reported rape numbers aren't all that close to the actual numbers - the argument is over whether rape is underreported by 2x or 20x.

The with-gun injury numbers are considerably closer to reality as they come from health care and morgues.
12.24.2008 11:55am
PersonFromPorlock:

It is generally agreed that the reported rape numbers aren't all that close to the actual numbers - the argument is over whether rape is underreported by 2x or 20x.

A good point, and one I didn't take into consideration. It makes DE's claim that much harder to support.

As to why I used "ejaculation" when I know perfectly well it's not the same as 'doing the dirty'? Brain fart, pure and simple.
12.24.2008 12:53pm
zippypinhead:
Virginia is often held out as an example of a state with very "lax" gun control, but there are a number of interesting tidbits buried in state law, some of which include:

1. One handgun-per-month purchase limit. This was enacted back during the peak of the crack epidemic when D.C. and a few Northeastern states were complaining about bulk straw purchases of handguns from Virginia. The statute, however, is easy for legitimate purchasers to skirt, because among other classes of buyers, it does not apply to (a) CCW permit holders, (b) Federal C&R licensees purchasing C&R-eligible handguns, and (c) any other person who gets an exemption, good for 7 days, from their local state police barracks after filling out a form explaining what you want to purchase and why (although this smells vaguely of a discretionary "may issue" rule, I've never heard of a non-prohibited person ever being turned down).

2. Prohibition on sale or possession of "street sweepers" or 12+ round rotary drum shotguns. This was passed after such firearms began showing up in the hands of gang-bangers in Richmond.

3. Prohibition on carrying a concealed weapon in a place of worship during services, unless the CCW holder has "good cause" to carry. I've never heard of an attempt to prosecute someone under this statute either, which is not surprising given the inherently vagueness of a subjective "good cause" exception.
12.24.2008 12:54pm
LT (mail):
Note Cal. Penal Code sec. 12031(e):


In order to determine whether or not a firearm is loaded for
the purpose of enforcing this section, peace officers are authorized to examine any firearm carried by anyone on his or her person or in a vehicle while in any public place or on any public street in an incorporated city or prohibited area of an unincorporated territory. Refusal to allow a peace officer to inspect a firearm pursuant to this section constitutes probable cause for arrest for violation of
this section.


At least one case (People v. Delong (1970) 11 Cal.App.3d 786, 791-92) has decided that this "examin[ation]" is not a search for Fourth Amendment purposes, but this provision has always troubled me as essentially mandating consent to a search, with arrest as punishment for refusal.
12.24.2008 1:04pm
pintler:
PersonFromPorlock: bravo, very nice analysis.
12.24.2008 1:11pm
Mike M. (mail):
Maryland's Handgun Roster is a clear candidate.

To buy a pistol in this state, it has to be approved. Annoying if you shoot obscure guns...like Olympic Free and Rapid Fire pistols. The list of guns of this type not approved is quite long.

But the nasty trick is that to get a gun approved, you have to present a sample. A sample a non-dealer cannot legally provide because Federal law prohibits him from acquiring a gun out of state, and state law prohibits him from buying it in state.

It's a Catch-22.
12.24.2008 4:53pm
Sladuuch (mail) (www):
@Dilan:
During my last range trip, I fired between 300 and 400 rounds of ammunition. They all hit paper targets, and nobody was injured. While I was there, five or so other people did likewise; I suspect several thousand rounds of ammunition were expended between the half-dozen of us, all without a single injury.

I suspect your mental image of firing guns consists of pot-bellied rednecks blowing away tin cans (when they're not marrying their cousins, of course). In this frame of mind, it is impossible to imagine the ownership or use of a gun unconnected with reckless, irresponsible behavior. In order to truly have an open-minded debate on the issue of guns, you will need to abandon this attitude. I did. You can too.
12.24.2008 7:48pm
orions_hammer (www):
I'm not sure if it qualifies as "Little-Discussed", but 18USC922(r) reads:

It shall be unlawful for any person to assemble from imported parts any semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation...

The background is that federal import law only allows guns into the country for "sporting purposes". The intention in 922(r) was to keep importers from doing an end-run around military-style import bans by legally importing guns in a sporting configuration (say, with a wooden stock), and then modifying the guns to the more valuable military configuration (say, with a black pistol grip and folding stock). The statute is arguably overbroad in enforcing this goal, because it applies to "any person", including end users, not just importers.

"from imported parts" is defined in the regulatory amplification of 922(r), 27CFR178.39, as containing "more than 10 of the imported parts listed...", including barrels and stocks and such.

The consequence of this is that for many imported firearms sold in this country, the importer has replaced just enough imported parts to get the gun into the country legally (adding "compliance parts"). For such weapons, it's perfectly legal to add arbitrarily scary US-made parts, such as bayonets, grenade launchers, or pistol grips; yet it could be a felony 922(r) violation if Joe Average puts on a simple imported wooden stock!
12.24.2008 11:24pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
During my last range trip, I fired between 300 and 400 rounds of ammunition. They all hit paper targets, and nobody was injured. While I was there, five or so other people did likewise; I suspect several thousand rounds of ammunition were expended between the half-dozen of us, all without a single injury.

Look, I know some people fire guns for sport and use lots of ammunition. But you are confusing the hobbyist with the average gun owner. The vast, vast majority of gun owners clearly don't do that or don't do it very often.

Meanwhile, every healthy male in America ejaculates frequently.
12.25.2008 12:12am
Sebastian (mail) (www):
Look, I know some people fire guns for sport and use lots of ammunition. But you are confusing the hobbyist with the average gun owner. The vast, vast majority of gun owners clearly don't do that or don't do it very often.

Well, there are approximately 8 billion rounds of ammunition produced each year for 80 million gun owners, according to Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute. That comes out to about 100 rounds per year, on average. Or about two times a week. I would say, on average, that folks do indeed fire a gun about as often as they have sex.
12.25.2008 10:20am
Tucker (mail):
Westport, CT, bans hunting within town borders (it has a special exemption from state law which allows it to do so).

That ban contains the following language:

Sec. 10-3. Prima facie evidence.
Possession of any loaded firearm for hunting outside any building shall be prima facie evidence of hunting in violation of this section.
(Code 1981, § 66-2)

See here under Chapter 10 ANIMALS.
12.26.2008 2:03pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Well, there are approximately 8 billion rounds of ammunition produced each year for 80 million gun owners, according to Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute.

How many of those rounds remain in a closet or stored with the gun? It would seem rather obvious that the vast majority of purchased ammunition is going to stored, not spent.
12.26.2008 4:36pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
By the way, just as an aside, but to use an old Bum Phillips line in a different context, if you are firing your gun more than you are having sex, you are either shooting too much or ****ing too little.
12.26.2008 4:37pm

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