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April 26, 2006
Militias, DC, and Supreme Challenges

I was catching up on the most recent cases in DC that are being used to challenge the non individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment. The usual modus operandi on these cases is that they get filed and a district court relies on the last 50 years of judges intentionally misreading US v. Miller to then find that a plaintiff has no standing. In both Seegars v. Gonzalez and Parker v. District of Columbia the judges point out that no one claimed to be a member of the Militia which allowed both judges to not really look into what it might mean if these people were members of the militia.

The funny thing is that the men in both cases are members of the militia. In US Code Title 10, Chapter 13, § 311. Militia: composition and classes, reads in part:

The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and... under 45 years of age who are... citizens of the United States.... The classes of the militia are ... the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard...

Most every male plaintiff is between the ages of 17 and 45 and is thus a member of the unorganized militia. It is up to the plaintiffs to point this out and it is one of those items that puts the collective rights model in pretzels when you try to defend it faced with a Federal statement from Congress that the person in front of the court is a member of the militia.

As to the DC cases, Seegars was denied Cert. by the Supreme Court, but Roberts had to recuse himself as he was on the En Banc DC Circuit panel for that case. Parker is moving forward and is a case with much better facts and current disposition.

Posted by hoffmang at 12:38 AM

April 23, 2006
California AR-15s

I'm a bit behind the times on this, but an interesting convergence of court cases and federal firearms laws has created an interesting opportunity for California residents to legally acquire AR and AK type weapons. This is becoming an interesting protest piece:

First let me review the history of the various Assault Weapons bans. There were two in California and one in the USA. The 1994 Federal Crime Bill banned various assault weapons for average citizens. The law sunset in September of 2004. In 1989 California passed the AWCA or Roberti-Roos Act that banned a list of named assault weapons. One of those lists was a list of AR or AK type weapons. In 1999 SB23 was passed that then banned any centerfire rifle that has a detachable magazine and a pistol grip or any other so called "evil" features.

Enter a California Supreme Court case named Harrott v. County of Kings (25 P.3d 649 (Cal. 2001). This expanded on an earlier decision that required the DOJ to use a process spelled out in the law to add AR or AK type weapons to an existing list that was last promulgated in October 2000.

What this means is that a California resident can legally purchase a receiver or "lower" for an AR-15 as long as its make and model number are not on the current list.

Moving forward, the situation now sits that since the Federal Ban is gone there are lots of new manufacturers offering new models of AR type lowers. One can legally acquire one by purchasing a stripped lower so that it doesn't fall under the SB 23 restrictions as stripped lowers don't have a pistol grip but do have a removable clip. Then one acquires a 10 round clip (SB 23 says that a rifle is an assault weapon if it has a fixed magazine larger than 10 rounds.) There are now kits to modify the magazine release so that it takes tools to remove an installed 10 round magazine. Check this part of SB 23 to see the definition of whether a magazine is removable. Once the magazine is affixed one can add or have a pistol grip and a whole list of additional "evil" features. To reload, one installs a removable rear pin to break open the action and load 10 rounds with a stripper clip. After acquiring an off list lower those who want documentation of their legality can write the DOJ and get their response that shows that your make and model is not on the list and is thus legal and valid.

The most interesting thing here is that there is a 50-50 chance that DOJ will add many of these new AR makes to the list which will then allow one to register an Assault Weapon. Once registered there are no real restrictions on modification or evil features allowing recent purchasers to have licensed AR-15 like rifles in California.

An "Off-List" flier
Calguns.net Forum on AR/AK off list rifles

Hat tip to Brett and the guys at Calguns.net.

Posted by hoffmang at 05:11 PM

April 19, 2006
Mark Steyn On Iran

Mark Steyn's most recent editorial on the history leading to the current situation in Iran matches much of the way I've seen this conflict. We're going to have to undo the mistakes of Carter and Reagan. I tend to agree with his bottom line:

The cost of de-nuking Iran will be high now but significantly higher with every year it’s postponed. The lesson of the Danish cartoons is the clearest reminder that what is at stake here is the credibility of our civilization. Whether or not we end the nuclearization of the Islamic Republic will be an act that defines our time.
Posted by hoffmang at 10:47 AM

April 16, 2006
Towards a Nuclear future

My wife and I were the last generation truly afraid of nuclear holocaust. She and I watched the Berlin wall come down and that was the begging of the end of worrying about waking up to nuclear winter. It lends a certain perspective on realizing how less massively catastrophic nuclear technology is likely to be.

Through the politics and honest debate about climate, energy, and the future I've adopted a test. I've decided that anyone serious about reducing greenhouse gases had to be a supporter or reluctant supporter of nuclear electrical generation.

I had heard that this was true, but its excellent to see Patrick Moore who co-founded Green Peace come out in the WaPo editorializing in support of Nuclear energy.

One of the things I would really like to see is that the western world gets serious around a design that is off the shelf for any country that wants it and is purchasable from a host of neutrals or variously aligned countries like Japan that will allow NATO and others to call, for example, Iran's bluff. Lets sell everyone cheap and easy nuclear power plants and keep the uranium enrichment being the Canary in the nuclear weapon coal mine.

Posted by hoffmang at 09:07 PM

April 09, 2006
Too little, too late

Today in the news is a new plan from the various wireless carriers to seamlessly hand off calls from the cellular network to VOIP over WIFI called UMA.

It seems obvious to me that if they do not implement this in the next quarter or two, then the adopter curve is going to go exactly the opposite direction. It is clear to me that federated Jabber, Asterisk and/or Skype, and various software packages are going to allow me to create this functionality more cheaply.

As soon as my next Treo has better than 144Kbps access and Wifi access I'm changing my mobile plan. I'm going to only buy unlimited data. Then I'll install a VOIP client on the Treo. With the addition of some software my home, home office, office, and former mobile number will all ring at the handset that makes the most sense. That may be my home phone within the hours that my office phone should ring programmed in. At work, that would be my desk phone because I'd rather not suffer the wireless network when I have lots more bandwidth and a better VOIP phone. However, I can still pick up the line on my Treo as I might be at my house where my coverage is rotten (I live in a canyon covered by no one) or I might be walking around the office. Either way, my IM/VOIP presence application suite will just route the call to the most appropriate place.

I'm really looking forward to people calling my desk line and picking it up about 300 yards offshore in Cabo San Lucas. Carolina Pacific is going to be the ultimate world wide office.

Companies selling non VOIP voice minutes are so screwed.

Posted by hoffmang at 11:26 PM

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