Archive for the ‘free markets’ Category

HotAir has this post today on the Armatix iP1, a pistol which is wholly unsuitable for defense against anything other than paraplegic squirrels.  It’s another twist on the idea of the so-called “smart gun” that only allows a user wearing an RFID-chipped watch to fire it.  I’ll elaborate on its uselessness later, but first, I’d like to discuss the magazine disconnect.

The magazine disconnect is a bug feature, primarily in handguns, that disables a firearm when the magazine is removed.  It will also disable a firearm if the magazine isn’t properly seated and the mechanism isn’t engaged.

The supposed benefit to this is that if a police officer is fighting a suspect, the officer can take the magazine out, rendering the gun inert.  That it renders the officer’s gun inert for the officer is never considered… or that simply jarring the magazine slightly loose will also disable it is never considered.  For the citizen, the supposed benefit is… for the children or something.

For a citizen carrying a pistol for self-defense (or for law enforcement), there is a need for a firearm to work the first time every time.  And it simply adds one more thing to go wrong that wasn’t there before.  If a magazine doesn’t seat right, rather than have one round fired and the need for immediate action to “tap rack bang” and get the gun working, it simply means there is no first shot.  That lack of a first shot means the immediate threat that’s caused the defender to draw is going to overwhelm them.

I can’t think of any law enforcement agencies that carry pistols with a magazine disconnect, though examples where the magazine disconnect is rejected are quite frequent.

It makes a tactical reload more dangerous, because rather than changing one magazine for another with a pistol still carrying one round… it means reloads are changing one magazine for another with a pistol that’s been turned into a brick for the time being.  And if you don’t seat that reload properly, your pistol is still bricked.  If for whatever reason your pistol magazine well (the place the magazine goes, for you non-gun folks), has become dirty, whether because you’re rolling across the ground of a Christmas tree lot or if it’s just filled with pocket lint, you’ve rendered your gun inert.

Magazine disconnects objectively make guns more dangerous by making them less reliable.  The push for “smart” guns is like saying knives should be made safer by making them dull – folks who work with knives know it’s a dull knife that’s unreliable that causes injuries.  To the uninformed or to a vapid idiot, a dull knife seems less dangerous.  Magazine disconnects also make guns more dangerous by allowing casual users to rely on the disconnect, thinking that a firearm with no magazine is “safe” without checking the actual chamber.

Magazine disconnects, however, are not called magazine disconnects by the state of California.  They’re called magazine “safeties” and are mandatory.

Which brings us to the Armatix iP1, as introduced in the Washington Post as the “iPhone of guns”.

One of California’s largest firearm stores recently added a peculiar new gun to its shelves. It requires an accessory: a black waterproof watch.

The watch’s primary purpose is not to provide accurate time, though it does. The watch makes the gun think. Electronic chips inside the gun and the watch communicate with each other. If the watch is within close reach of the gun, a light on the grip turns green. Fire away. No watch means no green light. The gun becomes a paperweight.

A dream of gun-control advocates for decades, the Armatix iP1 is the country’s first smart gun. Its introduction is seen as a landmark in efforts to reduce gun violence, suicides and accidental shootings. Proponents compare smart guns to automobile air bags — a transformative add-on that gun owners will demand. But gun rights advocates are already balking, wondering what happens if the technology fails just as an intruder breaks in.

A bug has been added in the name of “safety”.  Magazine not in?  Gun won’t work.  Not wearing your magic watch?  Gun won’t work.  Magic watch battery dies?  Gun won’t work.

Criminal identifies your magic watch arm and knows how to disarm you?  Gun can’t help.  Don’t wear your magic watch because it looks stupid and has to go on the wrong wrist?  Gun won’t work.  Get hassled by police who see you with a gun-watch?  Gun brings you problems.

If your kid can find your magic gun, he can also find the magic watch.  If you’re going to off yourself with your own gun, you can find your magic watch.

James Mitchell, the “extremely pro-gun” owner of the Oak Tree Gun Club, north of Los Angeles, isn’t one of the skeptics. His club’s firearms shop is the only outlet in the country selling the iP1. “It could revolutionize the gun industry,” Mitchell declared.

When someone has to go out and say they’re “extremely pro-gun”, and yet they’re introducing a product that makes lawmakers salivate at rights they can now legislate away… I suspect this guy’s another Jeremy Alcede.

Lawmakers around the country have been intrigued by the possibilities. New Jersey passed a hotly contested law in 2002 requiring that only smart guns be sold in the state within three years of a smart gun being sold anywhere in the country. A similar measure made it through the California Senate last year, and at the federal level, Rep. John F. Tierney(D-Mass.) also has introduced a mandate.

Looks like James Mitchell’s “extremely pro-gun” stance has just led to New Jersey laws activating in 2017 that will ban all gun sales except for a glitchy .22 pistol.

Smart guns, advocates say, will have huge appeal to buyers. “If you have two cars, and one has an air bag and one doesn’t, are you going to buy the one without the air bag?” said Belinda Padilla, president of Armatix’s U.S. operation. “It’s your choice, but why would you do that?”

Belinda Padilla is an opportunist and clearly an idiot when it comes to both gun rights and self-defense, but she sure knows how to be a crony and make something that will appeal to government, who will mandate her product.

A better example would be “if you have two cars, and one has a starter that requires a digital signature from the powered-RFID key where if the battery goes dead in the key, you’ll be left stranded and unable to drive; and you have a car that runs on a mechanical key, are you going to drive the one with the glitchy system that will fail you and leave you stranded?”

I’ve only been stranded by a mechanical key… never.  But I’ve been stranded a handful of times due to dying batteries on RFID-only keys.  If I’d needed the car to start right then and there… or even needed the doors to unlock right then and there, I’d’ve been screwed.

It’s one thing to have something go wrong with a machine, it’s another to have failure specifically engineered into the machine.

Teret and others point to now-commonplace safety enhancements that Americans were skeptical about at first: air bags and smoke detectors. “They thought the air bag would kill them,” said Teret, who did early work on air-bag technology. “They thought it would shove them out the back window, that it would explode. It takes awhile to dispel these mythologies.”

Comparing it to airbags actually may be more accurate than they think.  Airbags deploy violently and injure people in minor accidents, and occasionally deploy because of damaged or faultly sensors, or due to jarring on rough roads.  Airbags require holding steering wheels differently in order to avoid being crippled by them.  I’ve personally been injured by an airbag, and have had a handful of coworkers injured by airbags that deployed spontaneously due to any number of electrical glitches or faulty sensors.

For people who drive on rough roads in rural areas, an airbag can be a huge liability, because cars may not know the difference between a bounce on a rock or an impact.

And also, Airbags Kill More Kids Than School Shootings:

Life with airbags has turned out very differently from the one promised by Joan Claybrook back in 1977. That’s when she told Congress that those friendly balloons in every car would pillow away 40 percent of crash deaths each year.

Last year, Dwight Childs, 29, of Broadview Heights, Ohio, screwed up. He ran a red light, resulting in a 10-mph crash. It was exactly the sort of mistake airbag supporters have always said, “you shouldn’t have to die for.” Childs’s two-month-old son, Jacob Andrew, strapped into a rear-facing child seat on the passenger side of a 1997 Ford F-150 pickup, was killed by the airbag, and Childs himself was charged with vehicular homicide.

The man’s crime? He didn’t switch off the airbag.

Judge Kenneth Spanagel piled on the punishment: 180 days in jail, suspended except for two cruel and unusual days; Childs must check in to jail on Jacob’s first birthday and on the first anniversary of the crash. Childs was ordered to make radio and TV ads about airbag safety for the Ohio Department of Public Safety. He was also placed on probation for three years, his license was suspended, and he had to pay $500 in fines and court costs.

I’ll boil it down for you. First, government forced this man to buy airbags, because bureaucrats in Washington know better than he what’s needed for his well-being. Then, when he failed to deactivate the safety feature he was compelled to buy, it sent him to jail. Airbags have turned America’s sense of justice on its head.

That government force is a big part of this story.  From the Silicon Valley elitist do-gooder who came up with the prize for bringing a “smart” gun to the market:

Conway, out in Silicon Valley, said: “You let the free enterprise system take over. Just like everyone opted into the iPhone and abandoned the flip phone and BlackBerry, consumers will vote with their feet. We want gun owners to feel like they are dinosaurs if they aren’t using smart guns.”

Except New Jersey already passed a mandate.  Other legislatures will follow.  Gun ban groups have been pushing this nonsense for years, as more guns can be banned because they can point to the bug-as-a-feature Armatix as a “success” that means everything else can go away.  The same has already been done with magazine disconnects.  The same has also been done with loaded-chamber indicators (which don’t interfere with function as much, but do make for a false sense of security, and do establish new banning criteria on all guns that don’t have them).

The objective is the same as the microstamping scam – ban guns by mandating technology that’s onerous, dangerous, and eliminates most of the market.

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The same style of government force objectives are pushed in the automotive world through CAFE standards.  Statist knows-what’s-best-for-you government doesn’t like certain cars, so they require automakers to not make them by putting restrictions on them that can’t be met.  Same government force used to mandate the use of nonexistent fuels.

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One final note – police and law enforcement won’t have these in their guns.  Ever.

Car thieves disable and manipulate RFID systems with computers in order to steal cars.  Any criminal with forethought could disable police firearms.

Or, in another scary thought, any government with a broadcaster could be disabling citizen firearms.  Makes confiscation needless if a gov agency can just brick a gun with the click of a mouse.

Transcript here.

Beretta has already noted there “There always seems to be a problem with Maryland“, and now Beretta is coming up with solutions to their Maryland problem.

Written by Ugo Gussalli Beretta in the Washington Times:

My family has operated our business from the same small town in northern Italy for 500 years. This means that when we make a commitment to a local community, our hope is to do so for decades, if not centuries, to come.

We apply this same philosophy to all of our factories and locations throughout the world. Such a commitment is not a one-way street, though.

Ugo Beretta makes the point that Beretta brings not only jobs, but makes firearms for the US military and citizens to defend themselves… and yet they’re treated poorly.

Our business has grown in recent years, and because of that, we needed to expand production in our U.S facility, located in Accokeek, just outside of Washington, D.C., in the Maryland suburbs.

Unfortunately, as we were planning that expansion, Maryland’s governor and legislature voted in favor of new regulations that unfairly attack products we make and that our customers want.

These regulations also demean our law-abiding customers, who must now be fingerprinted like criminals before they can be allowed to purchase one of our products.

And Beretta stands up for their people and their customers by voting with their feet and their dollars.

…because of these new restrictions and the pattern of harassment aimed at lawful firearm owners we have seen in Maryland over the decades, we decided to expand our facilities in a state that shows more respect for citizens who exercise their Second Amendment rights.

We chose Tennessee for our new facility expansion. Our plans for that location are extensive and long-lasting.

We chose Tennessee because the governor and legislators in that state understand what it means to support businesses (such as through job recruitment and training programs) that improve employment in the state without treating companies as a necessary evil.

We chose Tennessee also because the vast majority of its residents and their elected officials have shown that they respect and honor the American tradition of personal freedoms, including the right to bear arms.

Just like Magpul left Colorado, Beretta is moving away from Maryland and moving towards Tennessee.

Political decisions have consequences.

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I wonder if Beretta is still making the fairly well-regarded 96D?

beretta 96dNot a huge fan of the safety on the slide… but I gotta give credit for a company taking a stance like that.

Maybe I’ll just look into a 92FS instead just to see how the great 80s action movie handgun would hold up in a pistol competition.  Yippie-kay-ay indeed.

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Minor addendum here, but Beretta also currently owns SAKO and Tikka, two Finnish rifle manufacturers who make some of the best guns on the market.  Beretta’s stance for citizens’ rights makes one of those Tikka T3s that much more attractive.

tikka t3 liteIn fact, coupled with another pro-2A business, very, very attractive.

Magpul Announces Their Move

Posted: January 3, 2014 by ShortTimer in free markets, Guns, Second Amendment, Texas, Wyoming
Tags:

From Magpul:

Magpul Industries announced today that it is relocating its operations to Wyoming and Texas.

The company is relocating manufacturing, distribution and shipping operations to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Magpul is leasing a 58,000 square foot manufacturing and distribution facility during the construction of a 100,000 square foot build-to-suit facility in the Cheyenne Business Parkway. The Wyoming relocation is being completed with support from Governor Matt Mead, the Wyoming Business Council and Cheyenne LEADS.

Magpul is moving its corporate headquarters to Texas. Three North Central Texas sites are under final consideration, and the transition to the Texas headquarters will begin as soon as the facility is selected. The Texas relocation is being accomplished with support from Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Economic Development Corporation.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead welcomed them:

“Wyoming and Magpul are a great match. The state is looking to expand and diversify its economy. Bringing an innovative and growing manufacturing operation to Wyoming is a significant step for the state. We offer Magpul an attractive tax environment, stable and reasonable regulations, not to mention a firm commitment to uphold the Second Amendment,” Governor Mead said.

As did Texas Governor Rick Perry:

“In Texas, we understand that freedom breeds prosperity, which is why we’ve built our economy around principles that allow employers to innovate, keep more of what they earn, and create jobs,” Gov. Perry said. “I’m proud that Magpul is the latest employer to join the ranks of companies that call Texas home.”

Colorado just lost a business that does somewhere around $80 million in yearly revenue.

We’ve talked about the push for an internet sales tax before, and some effects it’s going to have.  And now we’re seeing some more of those effects:

From the Miami Herald, about KC MO:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Online retailer Amazon is severing ties with its online associates in Missouri because of a new state law that subjects their transactions to sales taxes.

Amazon Associates write blogs or product reviews then link to Amazon.com, and collect commissions — between 4 percent and 8.5 percent — if people use that link to buy something on Amazon’s site.

Amazon is blaming a new Missouri new law that takes effect next week subjecting those online transactions to sales taxes for its decision to sever the ties, the Kansas City Star (http://is.gd/X0XZdE ) reported.

It’s worth noting that Amazon is for a federal internet sales tax, because it will be used to crush competitors.  Here they don’t like it because it bothers them.

The end result is that small internet companies are destroyed, the taxes that the government wants to wring out of the citizen vanish with the companies, and peoples’ livelihoods are harmed.  Those same citizens who owned the now dead companies now have less to spend in their own communities, and won’t pay state sales taxes or income taxes on income they no longer earn.  The community is now poorer.

From the Fiscal Times:

The Internet sales tax is hitting consumers like me in the gut – literally.

As someone interested in keeping my weight down (who isn’t), I order a supply of low-calorie pre-packaged meals from a food-and-lifestyle website – and have it delivered each month without so much as a keystroke if there’s no change to my existing order.

The company is based in Maryland, but that’s been irrelevant. The convenience of receiving the order at home in New York without thinking about how far the food travels has been hard to beat.

Recently, however, this polite but scary note hit my in-box – and by the way, when companies are this polite in an email you know it’s not good news:

“We wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that we will begin collecting and remitting sales and use taxes on all Internet sales where applicable as of September 1, 2013. The sales tax will be visible during checkout as part of the overall breakdown…

“Our decision to join other major Internet sellers in the collection of and remittance of sales and use taxes is in response to the growing instances of states legislatures and revenue agencies seeking the enforcement of Internet sales tax. We expect to see more measures enacted aimed at enforcement of sales and use tax collection.

He basically sums it up by saying he probably won’t be buying from the same company, since he’ll be paying more.  And he may simply change his buying habits altogether, and he wonders what kinds of taxes he’ll have to pay on that.

Well, the answer is screw you, citizen, because the government will wring every last dime out of you so it can fund more perpetual Democrat voters on the welfare plantation and buy them new Obamaphones.  You being free to choose what you like is a problem, because they need that money to fund their bigger and bigger governments, and you need to be nudged into the slot they want you in.  The Ruling Class will do as it pleases, and it will do as it pleases to you.

Elections have consequences, and the power to tax is the power to destroy.

From the KC MO story:

Amazon’s email to its associates in the state called the new law unconstitutional. LaFaver said the legislature did not hear from the company when the bill was being debated.

If you understand how the market works, then you know that raising taxes creates a cost on businesses.  Those costs will be passed on to customers.  In the meantime, the businesses may have to eat the cost until they can shift it to their customer base (which will shrink as a result of higher prices), and many businesses simply don’t want to deal with that.

Amazon previously said it was in favor of a national sales tax, but that’s because it’s used there as a barrier to competition that will crush their smaller competitors that can’t afford to comply with new rules.  Amazon can slowly creep towards monopoly by having the government crush its competition with regulations.  That’s cronyism.

Here, Amazon looked at the increased costs in one market and decided to cut off some business partners because that’s what the bottom line favored.

Of course Democrat LaFaver couldn’t possibly have forseen that an increase in taxes would result in harm to businesses.  He’s a Democrat, and therefore can’t understand that actions in the marketplace by government have consequences.  He seems to think you can just raise taxes and more money will magically appear.  But the private sector doesn’t have Ben Bernanke and can’t run on IOUs.

Stand by for some gun-industry-politics wonkiness.

Troy Industries is a manufacturer of ARs and AR parts, as well as other modern rifle accessories.  The last time they were in the news was when Dick’s Sporting Goods dropped their line of ARs for political reasons, screwing over Troy pretty badly (as well as Dick’s screwing themselves).

Now they’re in the news for hiring Jody Weis and Dale R. Munroe as instructors for their Troy Asymmetric training group.

Jody Weis is noteworthy for being an anti-gun Chicago cop who was hated by his own officers for being a miserable coward.

He even went out and wrote a SunTimes op-ed in favor of more gun control:

Efforts to enhance background checks and limit the availability of high capacity magazines for assault weapons are both prudent measures that will assist in keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals and reduce the lethality of these weapons.

Dale R. Monroe is famous for the shot his partner Lon Horiuchi took at Ruby Ridge, killing Vicky Weaver while she held her baby:

FBI snipers Thursday defended their actions at the 1992 Ruby Ridge siege where a white separatist’s wife was killed, contending that danger to an FBI observation helicopter from armed men outside the separatist’s cabin justified opening fire.

But skeptical senators questioned whether permissive shoot-to-kill orders and exaggerated information about the threat of Randy Weaver led to an overreaction.

Dale R. Monroe, the partner of FBI hostage rescue team leader Lon Horiuchi – who fired the fatal shot – said he was preparing to fire but didn’t only because Horiuchi fired first.

Horiuchi invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination Tuesday after the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on terrorism refused to give him limited immunity from prosecution.

The Senate panel is trying to determine what took place at Ruby Ridge on Aug. 21-22, 1992, when deputy U.S. marshals seeking to arrest Weaver led to a confrontation in which deputy marshal William E. Degan and Weaver’s 14-year-old son, Sammy, were killed. The FBI’s hostage rescue team then was called in, and Weaver’s wife, Vicki, standing behind a cabin door, was killed by a shot that Horiuchi has testified previously that he fired at one of the men running to the cabin.

So basically a gun company which found itself on the receiving end of anti-2A anti-gun politics when Dick’s Sporting Goods made the cowardly decision not to carry their rifles… has now decided to hire people who are anti-gun and pro-big government.  And pro-tyranny.

This is a step by a company that’s either woefully stupid or trying to cozy up to government agencies in order to make sales.  There’s another company that does that.  It’s run by a dick whose company without lawsuits and government contracts would be singing its swan song due to misanthropic business practices.  I’m not sure if Troy wants to be T.H.A.T. kind of arms company, but it looks like it.

GunsSaveLife reads that Weis was fired due to the backlash.  But what the Troy release says is:

In response to the reaction of our customer base, Jody Weis will not be joining the Troy Asymmetric cadre of instructors.

That doesn’t say he was fired.  He may still be hired on as a consultant, since he knows plenty of other JBTs to sell products to.  Crony capitalism at work in the firearms industry.

Even afterwards, they use very odd language.   They have also taken the Sgt. Schultz defense when it comes to Weis:

troy statement chicago politics

GunsSaveLife notes that Troy is still standing by Monroe, contesting minutae about what Monroe was quoted as saying, even though Monroe fully supported the fedgov’s actions at Ruby Ridge.

Troy as a business is cultivating relationships with the same authorities who threatened and still threaten liberty in their careers.  Troy is cozying up to really bad people.

A simple internet search would’ve revealed these backgrounds, so there’s no excuse for Troy to have missed it.  But somehow they ignored it one way or another, and Steve Troy says he didn’t do it himself.

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And if they want to cultivate government contracts or show themselves connected to bigger government activities as a way to hire instructors for their security courses without courting these two JBTs, there might be some other agencies they could’ve looked at first to provide some quality candidates.

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Hopefully Troy has a better explanation. In the short term, it still looks really, really bad.  It sure looks like they hired a pair of jack-booted thugs who could get them government contracts, because they were advertising the men as instructors on their website.  There’s little that looks accidental here.

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Update: Troy is keeping Monroe.

troy statement monroe staying

Problem is, that second thing is factually incorrect.  Horiuchi made a drawing of what he saw, and superlawyer Gerry Spence had to fight to get that from the FBI.  Vicki Weaver wasn’t out of sight.  The “rules of engagement” were to shoot any armed person on sight (later changed to any armed male).  That’s not a law enforcement action.  It’s worth reading Gerry Spence’s whole account of the event.  The Weavers certainly held some noxious opinions (reading Spence’s reason for defending Randy Weaver is very telling), but ultimately the actions of the government are actions as an institution against the people, not actions of individuals acting outside the bounds of society.

It is tyranny.

gerry spence from freedom to slavery

Troy is choosing to hire someone who participated in that institutional culture and who was an active participant in those events.

Their decision, but the market will ultimately decide.  Firearms enthusiasts tend not to forget.

Update 2: Just noticed that for some reason I had his name as “James” in there.  Corrected.

From Free Enterprise (last year):

Tis the season to give thanks. And for the last 80 years, the federal government has required raisin producers to “give thanks” for the privilege of selling their raisins nationally by requiring them to fork over up to half of their raisins – for free. A lawsuit raising a constitutional challenge to the program has now made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case is Horne v. Department of Agriculture.

The program, operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has a rather Orwellian-sounding name – the “Raisin Marketing Order.” In a nutshell, under this program, every year, as a condition for “letting” farmers sell their raisin crops in interstate commerce, the federal government has taken up to 47% of the farmers’ raisins – often for no payment at all, or below the cost of producing the raisins. The program has its origins in Great Depression efforts to fix the prices of agricultural crops. Don’t care much for raisins? Similar programs cover a variety of other agricultural products, such as walnuts, almonds, prunes, tart cherries – and cranberries! That’s something to chew on as you sit down to your Thanksgiving meal tomorrow.

From Free Enterprise (a few weeks ago):

The Supreme Court overruled a decision that allowed the federal government to attempt to strong-arm raisin farmers, Marvin and Laura Horne, into giving up half their raisin crop.

…When the government told the Hornes to hand over the raisins or their cash equivalent, the Hornes fought back.  Their legal fight began over a decade ago and the federal government has levied almost $700,000 in fines against them.  Today, Marvin and Laura won their Supreme Court case.

In today’s decision, the Supreme Court held that the raisin farmers could use the Constitution’s Takings Clause to defend their property rights in the enforcement proceedings the government initiated after the Hornes refused to hand over their raisins.  (The Constitution’s Takings Clause says that the federal government must provide just compensation when the government takes a person’s private property.)

It’s nice to see SCOTUS pushing back against the government and the government’s regulatory oppression of businesses.  The problem is the government wanted to keep their $700,000 in fines and then make them file again to get the money back that the government illegally took.  Thieves with the force of law.

Worland, Wyoming.  Photo by ShortTimer.