Archive for the ‘Gun rights’ Category

Virtual Shooting Range at the Brown County Fair

October 16, 2015 Comments off
Virtual Shooting Range operated by Shootin' Blanks, Inc., at the Brown County Fair. Photo by Ken Santema 08/14/15.

Virtual Shooting Range operated by Shootin’ Blanks, Inc., at the Brown County Fair. Photo by Ken Santema 08/14/15.

Finally getting caught up on some blog posts from the 2015 Brown County Fair. Along with having chats with elected officials I took some time to stop by what I thought was a pretty cool outdoor booth that had a virtual shooting range. The range is operated by Shootin’ Blanks, Inc., out of Sidney, Montana.

I actually first heard about the booth from my teenage son and his friends who couldn’t stop talking about it and the cool games they had. Yes, there are games, but I found out it is so much more!

The setup was created for law enforcement and military training. The computer includes over five hundred training scenarios with real live situations and various possible outcomes for those situations. These simulations not only allow law enforcement to train on how to shoot; it also allows law enforcement personnel to train on when it was not appropriate to shoot. The computer system is tied into court cases that can be used to teach a law enforcement trainee why use of force in certain situations was wrong and what should have been done instead. I really thought it was great to hear this tool cannot only be utilized to train in the usage of firearms,  it also can be used to know when to refrain from using guns.

Virtual Shooting Range at the Brown County Fair. Photo by Ken Santema 08/14/15.

Virtual Shooting Range at the Brown County Fair. Photo by Ken Santema 08/14/15.

The weapons used by the virtual shooting range are real guns that have been modified to work with the system. A laser barrel is used for targeting and there is a CO2 recoil kit used to make the simulation seem real. There were over a dozen weapons available to choose from.  When using the simulation I actually shot a Glock and I was surprised at how much it felt like I was shooting live rounds.

Looking to the future I hope to see more of these virtual shooting ranges open to the public. It is a safe way to learn how to handle firearms. Plus choosing the old west or zombie  apocalypse scenarios can make it fun.

Been a while since I’ve done a gun post

October 5, 2015 Comments off

I just had someone ask me why I haven’t done a post about gun rights or gun control legislation for a long time. For the most part I find the topic to have become irrelevant, even if people don’t realize it. The reason the gun control debate has become irrelevant is because of 3D printing technologies.

As I explained two years ago technology has changed everything:

Schematics for a 3D printed gun.

Schematics for a 3D printed gun.

Technology is making many of the steps taken by the anti-gun movement irrelevant. Specifically 3D printers will allow consumers to manufacture parts for their own goods; this includes gun parts! Anyone owning a 3D printer can create plastic parts from a CAD drawing. The ability to create these parts changes the whole gun control debate.

Over the last couple of years 3D printing has advanced rapidly. I have had the opportunity to see 3D weapons printed out and also was able to test fire a couple of them. The process was fairly cheap and easy to do. The laws gun control advocates want to pass has become basically irrelevant thanks to technology making it possible to manufacture guns completely outside of the regulated market. If more gun control laws are passed I would expect the manufacture of 3D printed guns to continue its rise in popularity.

On a side-note I keep running into gun control activists that use reactions from tragedies to state that “everyone” wants common sense gun control laws. First off, I highly doubt there is any subject where most people agree. And at the same time I think the survey results from Pew shown below show this is a topic that has the nation divided.  In fact since the rise of the Tea Party it appears many people have gone from worried about gun control to being more worried about the right of Americans to own guns.


Categories: Gun rights Tags: ,

Pressler will push for background checks to exercise Second Amendment protected rights

August 3, 2014 2 comments
US Bill of Rights

US Bill of Rights

I noticed Independent Senate candidate Larry Pressler released a statement calling for background checks of people exercising their Second Amendment protected rights. In his statement Pressler calls it the “Conservative Position”. To back up his assertion that this is a conservative position he uses one subset of gun owners:

Pressler said that most conservative South Dakota pheasant hunters support a background check on guns.

This has become the conservative position, because it will help to preserve the gun rights of hunters and others who wish to have guns.

Preserving hunting rights is usually towards the bottom of the list as to reasons conservative groups fight against gun control measures. The two main reasons I see gun rights activists working against gun control measures have to do with personal and political security. Neither stance has anything to do with hunting rights.

Personal security is important. There are bad people out there who wish to harm others. It would be nice if that wasn’t true. But since it is true people need to be able to defend themselves. The police can only react to crimes after they happen. By the time a police officer arrives at the scene of the crime it is usually too late. Rape cases on campus have been receiving a lot of attention lately. Such cases would diminish if potential rapists were unsure about whether their intended victim were carrying a firearm for protection. That doesn’t mean everyone should carry a weapon for protection. But if enough people are carrying concealed weapons it will deter certain criminal activities because of the greater possibility of there being a firearm used against them in defense.

Political security is just as important as personal security. Many gun activists believe the reason for the Second Amendment being included in the Bill of Rights was to prevent a tyrannical government. If the time were ever to come when the federal government no longer protected the rights of “we the people” then the government could be overthrown and the people could implement a new government. Many gun control activist dismiss this line of reasoning because they don’t feel it would ever be necessary in the United States. Yet history has repeatedly shown that some of the most tyrannical governments have implemented programs to remove weaponry from citizens. That doesn’t mean all governments that take away weapons will end up being tyrannical. But the possibility does exist for that to happen. If a disarmed citizenship falls under the rule of a tyrannical government it would be hard, if not impossible, to overthrow that government.

Pressler focusing on hunting rights has nothing to do with personal security or political security. In his release he also focuses on school shootings:


If I am elected to the Senate, I will support a background check regarding guns,” said Senator Pressler. “We’ve had too many school shootings by people with mental problems, and we need to save the lives of these innocent young people. This has become the conservative position, because it will help to preserve the gun rights of hunters and others who wish to have guns.”

In this case Pressler is using a talking point that removing access to guns by some people will reduce school shootings. Yet these school shootings have rarely been done by the person who purchased the gun. If Pressler wanted to take a ‘conservative position’ he should focus on the fact that schools becoming gun free zones has left children and teachers vulnerable to attacks from those that would commit mass murder. This goes back to the personal security. Thanks to the current gun free policies on school grounds it is impossible for teachers to exercise their Second Amendment protected rights to defend themselves.

I have no problem with Pressler pushing for more gun control as an Independent candidate. He might actually make some traction with his misguided push for more gun control. But I do have a problem with his trying to say further restricts are a conservative stance on gun control. Actually his stance is asking for government to become more involved in people’s personal lives. That doesn’t sound conservative to me.

PS. Lets not forget. Such gun control measures are pretty meaningless anyway with the ability to print guns.

SD HB 1065: Removing fee from concealed carry killed in Committee

January 28, 2014 4 comments

Anonymous_9mm_pistol (1)Today the House Local Government Committee took up South Dakota House Bill 1065. HB 1056 would have removed the fee required when getting a permit to carry concealed. The bill was killed 8-5 by sending it to the non-existent 41st legislative day. Yesterday I said this was a bill I support, even though it doesn’t go as far as I would like.

Rep Olson (R-28B) sponsored and gave proponent testimony for the bill. Her testimony was pretty brief, which is OK because there was much more to say from others later on.

Opponent testimony revolved largely around the lost revenue removing this $10 fee would cost the state. Three dollars of the fee goes to the County issuing the permit; which goes to cover the cost of issuing the permit. The other seven dollars goes to the Secretary of State. Losing this seven dollars that goes to the states general fund seemed to be the biggest issue. Listening to the opponents of this bill actually backs up the claim by many of us that this ‘fee’ is actually a tax.

Rep Nelson (R-19) had quite a bit to say on the issue. He asked if other rights, specifically First Amendment rights required citizens to pay a fee to use those rights. I agree with Rep Nelson! There would be an outcry if anyone tried to tax free-speech.

There was an attempt to hijack the bill by Rep Hajek (R-14). Rep Hajek wanted to double current conceal carry tax to $20. That would give an additional $7 to the counties and additional $3 to the state. Part of her reasoning was because other states have high permit costs, then so should South Dakota? Usually Republicans trying to raise taxes are a little more sly about it. In this case Rep Hajek was actually coming out and pushing for a 100% increase on a tax so the state could get more revenue. I wonder if that move will have any impact on her re-election?

I doubt this is a bill that will have any smoke-out attempts. So it will likely remain dead for the year. I would however expect to see it again next year. Maybe then we will have a few more Republicans in Pierre that are not afraid to cut taxes; especially a tax on a constitutionally protected right.

PS. Another gun bill, HB 1066, did pass the Committee. But I was unable to listen to all of that testimony. Perhaps when I have more time…

SD HB 1065: Removing the fee to get a concealed carry permit

January 27, 2014 2 comments

Anonymous_9mm_pistol (1)On Tuesday, Jan 28, the House Local Government Committee will be taking up South Dakota House Bill 1065. The stated purpose of this bill is to “provide for the issuance of a permit to carry a concealed pistol without a fee.” I expect this bill to be hotly contested for those against gun rights. Actually my only problem with the bill is that it doesn’t go far enough.

Before going into what I mean about the bill not going far enough, it is worth looking at what this bill does. Here is House Bill 1065 as drafted:

 FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to provide for the issuance of a permit to carry a concealed pistol without a fee.
Section 1. That § 23-7-8.2 be amended to read as follows:
23-7-8.2. The permit to carry a concealed pistol is valid for a period of five years from the date of issuance.The There is no fee for issuing the permit is ten dollars. The local authority shall collect the fee. Seven dollars of the fee shall be remitted to the secretary of state and three dollars shall be deposited in the general fund of the county or municipality issuing the permit.

Pretty straight-forward. There currently is a ten dollar fee collected to carry a concealed pistol. This bill removes that fee. As written I support the bill and hope it passed.

But, it is not the bill I wish it was. A better bill would be to remove the requirement to get a permit for concealed carry. From a personal rights perspective there is no logical reason for such a permit to even exist. The very process to get a permit for concealed carry means law-abiding citizens must ask permission to defend themselves. That is not how the US Constitution or the South Dakota Constitution were written. Both documents were written giving certain powers to the Government. Neither document gives the power to take choice away from citizens in matters of self-defense.

Gun permit programs are not about stopping crime. It has been said may times, but apparently has to be repeated, that permit programs such as this do nothing to prevent criminals from using a gun in a manner of their choosing. Putting greater restrictions upon law-abiding citizens than those that would be taken by criminals reduces the ability for people to choose. Luckily South Dakota has very lax requirements for attaining a concealed carry permit. Yet in some states (such as NY) it is almost impossible to get such a permit. It is time to roll back even these lax requirements in South Dakota before more well-intended requirements are added that take away our natural-born right to defend ourselves.

Some will say the background checks can be used to prevent mentally disabled persons from getting a permit. Yet that again falls short with the same arguments used with criminals. If a mentally disabled person is unable to get a permit does that mean they will never carry a concealed weapon? No, of course it doesn’t mean that.

Programs such as the concealed carry permit are about control over natural-born rights. Instead of taking steps to actually reduce crime and violence, these gun permit laws redirect important law enforcement resources into collecting data about citizens using their natural-born rights. Often you will hear gun-control advocates say things such as ‘nobody is coming for your guns’. Yet states like California are using these lists to actually take guns away from people. Other states are starting to do so as well. Just remember when someone uses the talking point ‘sensible gun control measures’ it usually means something like: ‘one step closer to total gun control’. To give a different example: would it be considered ‘sensible blog control measure’ to require someone to get a permit from the government to write a blog post? No, that would not be considered sensible. Yet gun rights falls within the same realm of natural-born rights as free speech or freedom of the press.

Since South Dakota has a very active gun culture and responsible citizens I think it is time to remove any control by the government on this Constitutionally-protected natural-born right. Unfortunately I don’t see that happening because too many people still feel that criminals will follow this law and refuse to concealed carry without a permit. So instead for now I will hope HB 1065 can be passed; thereby at least bringing South Dakota down the path of a truly liberty-oriented state.

A closer look at the Supreme Court brief South Dakota has joined

December 11, 2013 4 comments

courthousesymbolSouth Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley’s office put out a press release today announcing that South Dakota has joined a Supreme Court Brief supporting private firearm sales rights. Here is a snippet from the release:

PIERRE, SD: Attorney General Marty Jackley today announced that South Dakota has joined with 26 other states in an amicus, or friend of the court, brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court opposing the attempt by the federal government to expand federal law in the prosecution of legal gun owners selling firearms to another person who can legally own firearms.

Abramski v. United States is a case I’ve been following since earlier this summer. SCOTUSblog has a great page to track the proceedings of this case. Here are the issues posted on SCOTUSblog for this case:

(1) Whether a gun buyer’s intent to sell a firearm to another lawful buyer in the future a fact is “material to the lawfulness of the sale” of the firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6); and
(2) whether a gun buyer’s intent to sell a firearm to another lawful buyer in the future is a piece of information “required . . . to be kept” by a federally licensed firearm dealer under Section 924(a)(1)(A).

Basically there are two issues being looked at by SCOTUS in this case. Issue 1 revolves around 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6):

(a) It shall be unlawful—

(6) for any person in connection with the acquisition or attempted acquisition of any firearm or ammunition from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, knowingly to make any false or fictitious oral or written statement or to furnish or exhibit any false, fictitious, or misrepresented identification, intended or likely to deceive such importer, manufacturer, dealer, or collector with respect to any fact material to the lawfulness of the sale or other disposition of such firearm or ammunition under the provisions of this chapter;

So the first issue will look at the situation of someone buying a gun from a licensed dealer with the intent to resell that same gun to someone else who can lawfully buy that gun; specifically whether that buyer has broken the law by not disclosing that intent to resell. SCOTUS must decide whether not disclosing the intent to resell is “material to the lawfulness of the sale” at the point it was bought from the licensed dealer.

The second issue revolves around 18 U.S.C. 924(a)(1)(A):

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, subsection (b), (c), (f), or (p) of this section, or in section 929, whoever—
(A) knowingly makes any false statement or representation with respect to the information required by this chapter to be kept in the records of a person licensed under this chapter or in applying for any license or exemption or relief from disability under the provisions of this chapter;

So the second issue looks at whether the intent to resell a weapon by a buyer is a record required to be kept by the licences dealer. Both issues are basically the same thing: SCOTUS must decided whether failing to notify a licensed buyer that a weapon is being purchased with the intent to sell that weapon to another citizen that also is legally able to purchase firearms.

I have been following this case for two reasons. First I am interested in all gun control legislation and court cases. Personally I believe it was ‘stretching’ the law to prosecute someone under the above mentioned federal laws for a transaction that is legal in the state the transaction was conducted. Actually I don’t even think this should be thought of as a second amendment case, but it is being treated as one.

Second, and more importantly, I  find the case interesting because it has implications for private sales that are legal under state laws. A poor decision from SCOTUS could have harmful ramifications for citizens that wish to conduct lawful private commerce without federal government intervention. This case may be getting attention because of firearms aspect, however a poor decision in this case could make it even easier to justify federal interventions into other industries.

The full brief can be read here. The three arguments being used in this briefing are:

  1. The United States wrongly interprets federal law to indirectly regulate the private intrastate transfer of firearms between two individuals legally permitted to possess firearms.
  2. The United State’s expansive view of the statutes at issue unlawfully infringes on the states’ ability to be responsive to their citizens’ preferences.
  3. The United State’s Expansive view of the statutes at issue needlessly brings the second amendment into this case.

I applaud Jackley in joining with 25 other states in this Supreme Court briefing. . Arguments in this case will begin on Jan 22, 2014. I will be following the case at that time and hoping for a good ruling from SCOTUS.

PS. I almost forgot. Since this post involves SCOTUS I better cover my butt and invoke my First Amendment right to publish this post.

Plastic gun ban extension passes both the House and Senate with no recorded vote

December 10, 2013 Comments off


Last week I noted the House of Representatives had passed an extension of the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 (HR 3626) for another 10 years. House leadership had snuck the vote through with only about ten representatives on the floor. Yesterday the Senate passed HR3626 by ‘unanimous consent’; meaning no recorded vote had to be taken.

I am even more disappointed in the Senate than I was in the House for this vote. Neither side of the gun control debate will likely be happy with the Undetectable Firearms Act being extended how it was.

For those of us opposed to the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 being extended I will re-post my words from last week:

As to my first objection with this vote I cannot see any clear constitutional reasoning for banning plastic guns. Back in 1988 it was still basically sci-fi to think people could simply ‘print’ a gun in the convenience of their own home. Now 25 years later this has become reality. This law will do nothing to prevent criminals from taking undetectable weapons onto airplanes or any other public place where guns are prohibited. Instead the law will prevent law-abiding citizens from creating a means of self-defense in their home. I’ve written before about how 3D printing will essentially negate gun control. All the extension of this law will do is make ‘criminals’ of people who are exercising their Second Amendment protected natural right of bearing arms.

Senator Schumer (D-NY) did try to push through an amendment that would prevent what he call’s a ‘loophole’ for 3D printers. Senate Republican and Democratic leadership then decided to ‘compromise’ and pass the House version of the bill via ‘unanimous consent’. That move allows DC politicians running for office in 2014 to make one of two statements:

  • DC politicians opposed to gun control can say they are not on record having voted for gun control. That is technically true, since no roll-call vote was taken.
  • DC politicians pushing for greater gun control can say they were able to extend monumental gun control legislation. That is also technically true. The word ‘monumental’ (or similar terms) will likely be used because the Undetectable Firearms Act was the first ban of a type of gun and has been used since then as model legislation for increased gun control.

As I look at the status of HR3626 I see President Obama passed the bill into law last night. I hope voters on both sides of the gun control debate make votes like this an issue going into the 2014 election. Back-room deals to pass legislation without recorded votes is NOT how things should be running in DC.

Categories: Gun rights Tags: ,
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