Archive for the ‘free markets’ Category

Rhode Island and Guns

Posted: April 9, 2013 by ShortTimer in free markets, Government, Guns, Leftists

From the Providence Journal:

House GOP Leader Brian Newberry is urging the manufacturers of Colt and Beretta firearms to relocate “from hostile territory” to “a place that wants them”: Rhode Island.

On a statement issued Monday morning, Newberry, R-North Smithfield, said: “Colt operates from West Hartford, CT, a state that has just enacted some of the most rigid gun regulations in the U.S. Beretta, of Accokeek, MD, has said it would look elsewhere if more restrictive gun legislation was passed in Maryland.

And today from the Providence Journal:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Governor Chafee and state leaders revealed a package of gun control bills Tuesday that would ban semiautomatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, increase penalties and close loopholes on gun crimes, and take steps to include mental-health records in background checks.

Rhode Island currently has among the toughest gun laws in the nation, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. For one, the state requires background checks on all firearm purchases.

Bans on magazines, rifles, ownership, carry, etc.

It’s like inviting in a brewery and then going full Carry Nation on them in order to destroy the fiend intemperance.

Some corners of the firearms world have been upset at Armalite and Magpul for selling to law enforcement and military in states with prohibition on ownership of firearms that doesn’t extend to law enforcement.  Armalite said they wouldn’t supply to any governments, whether state or lower, that restricted the rights of citizens, but would still sell to individual law enforcement officers.

Elements of the firearms community didn’t approve of this, viewing it as supplying the enforcers with weapons that the citizens couldn’t have.  Given that most places with bad gun laws don’t make exceptions for individual ownership by law enforcement or military – the exceptions are usually only made for duty/issue weapons – the issue seems to be blown out of proportion by some folks just a bit.

Nonetheless, there has been a lot of criticism in the last couple of days towards gun companies for sales to individual officers in the states that do allow LEOs special privileges – because those ban states then would have those same LEOs enforce unconstitutional laws on the citizenry.

Magpul was targeted for this criticism, since Magpul allowed a one-time order for law enforcement; regardless of location.  After much communication from some firearms enthusiasts, Magpul amended their duty sales program today:

Regarding LEO Sales

March 1st, 2013

Back in 1990, when I was deployed in Desert Shield and Desert Storm as a Marine grunt, some companies prioritized me items for my M16 for shipping that I purchased with my own funds.  After getting out and forming Magpul in 1999, I established the same priority policy for Military and Law Enforcement, due to the requirements of their profession.

The same policy has been in place for 13 years now and has never been an issue until a few days ago. I do not support the idea that individual police officers should be punished for the actions of their elected officials. That said, I understand the concerns that some have with Law Enforcement officers getting special treatment while at the same time denouncing second amendment rights to another citizen in the same state.

With the fight in Colorado right now we do not have time to implement a new program, so I have suspended all LE sales to ban states until we can implement a system wherein any Law Enforcement Officer buying for duty use will have to promise to uphold their oath to the US Constitution – specifically the second and fourteenth amendments – as it applies to all citizens.

Richard Fitzpatrick

President/CEO – Founder

Magpul Industries

Some firearms enthusiasts who were vehemently and colorfully pushing for the Magpul to rescind its LEO program would do well to remember that Magpul really is going to be picking up and moving out of Colorado when CO’s magazine ban passes, which is no small statement of principle.

At the same time, those in ban states are making their concerns known that selling to individual officers who would be excluded by law is creating a world where “some animals are more equal than others” – especially if providing to enforcers of unconstitutional laws, and it is a policy that a principled gun company should examine, and Magpul has.

Asking for a declaration of Constitutional understanding and principle from their customers might be worth expanding to everyone.

-

Also posted here by Magpul on their Facebook page.

Milton Friedman’s distilled short version of why vouchers work:

HotAir has the news roundup on Alabama’s introduction of a voucher system, where the left reacted with rage.

Milton Friedman’s elaborate, thorough version of why vouchers work, why centralization is a problem, and why decentralization and freedom to choose solves many educational problems:

Around 18:40, he begins to discuss “the modern view”, which is much of what Cass Sunstein and the masters-of-men anointed elite regulators believe.  Friedman then goes on to explain how that relates to schooling, and the collectivist vs. individualist view of the purpose of education.

It’s not just Beretta that sees there’s always a problem with Maryland.  Maryland’s new anti-firearm bills are pushing Beretta towards leaving, and now LWRC is looking at the door as well.

For those unaware of LWRC, they make a lot of AR15s and AR15 parts.   Maryland SB 281 is an anti-modern firearm bill.

lwrc m6a2

Today, on LWRC’s Facebook page, they address Maryland’s new attempts at banning their products in testimony in opposition to SB 281:

Facing these 20 gun bills, he (LWRC owner Richard Bernstein) is now put in a position to abandon his home, many of his MD employees and his proud legacy to move his ventures to a state that does not ask that productive member of society fall on a sword as a scapegoat for inaction by its government against the prosecution of criminals for gun crimes. There is also apparent malaise by the government to addressing serious mental health care deficits in MD and an apparent disregard of its citizen’s Constitutional rights under the second amendment.

To understand the consequences of passing this legislation, you must know what is at stake. LWRCI’s rate of job creation over the past 7 months has been approximately 10 new jobs per month. We have expanded the business through three MD counties with employees numbering 300. Then there are the employees of businesses we subcontract to, like Eastern Plating in Baltimore County. We do so much work with Eastern Plating; LWRCI has a resident employee in house.

LWRCI will bring in excess of $130 million dollars into Maryland this year.

We already work in the most highly regulated industry in America. There are more than 20,000 domestic laws relating to firearms. As a company we are diligent to follow them to the letter of the law. Yet the Maryland Legislature, whom have already passed some of most extensive state firearms regulations in the union are attempting to pass further non-sensical laws that will do nothing to improve public safety.

Instead, these laws punish law-abiding citizens, and strip them of their rights. This law will push firearms into the black market to felons and criminals on to the streets as it did in Canada, the UK and Australia. Law-abiding citizens are faced with deciding whether to comply with an unconstitutional law or be labeled felons. Once passed, citizens with no legal method of disposing of these firearms will invariably create a black market with off the books sales with no checks, balances or regulations. Maryland seems doomed to repeat mistakes of the past while ignoring the core issues.

I came here to share this information on behalf of many Marylanders. We are asking ourselves a question everyday. Is it intent of this legislation to cause a mass exodus of law abiding citizens and productive companies? These citizens and companies will be forced to leave either on moral grounds, business grounds or both. These are the same people that are the core of civic responsibility and contribution to our community and state and its economy. How can LWRCI stay in MD and produce rifles, pay taxes, create jobs, and stimulate the economy when its government intends to restrict the rights of its own citizens? Aside from the moral issue, the citizens of this country would not forgive the hypocrisy of LWRCI staying despite passage of this legislation.

The legislation as written seems to be window dressing for political gain by a few in the face of ineffective crime control. The real issues of public safety as they relate to gun violence go largely unanswered. The MD government is making it clear through its actions with this legislation that we, nor Beretta nor other firearms manufacturers are welcome in MD. It sends the message that this is not the State to expand in.

This legislation also sends a clear message to MD citizens that wish to exercise their rights under the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution; that they are no longer welcome in MD. For criminals, it will be business as usual. As such, if this unconstitutional ban passes as written, we will comply with your wishes and move our companies out of Maryland along with as many employees and their families that wish to go.

Respectfully,

Darren Mellors
Executive-Vice President
LWRC International, LLC

LWRC addressed some conflict in the RKBA circles, but doesn’t look to be expecting much from their legislature:

 Focus your anger and outrage on those that want to take your rights away under the auspices of public safety for political gain when they now they are not addressing public safety at all. Wish we (sic) luck tomorrow testifying to a den of snakes who pretend to serve the people when all they are doing is serving themselves.

Update: Maryland’s Senate just passed another anti-gun bill today.

Magpul and Colorado Update 2/27

Posted: February 27, 2013 by ShortTimer in Economic freedom, free markets, Guns
Tags:

Looks like Magpul is going to do the residents of their soon-to-be-former state a solid before they leave:

magpul colorado update 130227

They’ve also changed their header picture a bit:

magpul colorado update 130227 2

It speaks to the character of a company that’s willing to help out its customers as well as support the Second Amendment by providing supply to those in real demand before their rights are trampled.

beretta logo small

From the Washington Post:

On the production floor of Beretta USA sits a hulking new barrel-making machine ready to churn out the next object of obsession in America’s love-hate relationship with guns: a civilian version of a machine gun designed for special operations forces and popularized in the video game Call of Duty.  …

But under an assault-weapons ban that advanced late last week in the Maryland General Assembly, experts say the gun would be illegal in the state where it is produced.

Now Beretta is weighing whether the rifle line, and perhaps the company itself, should stay in a place increasingly hostile toward its products. Its iconic 9mm pistol — carried by every U.S. soldier and scores of police departments — would also be banned with its high capacity, 13-bullet magazine.

“Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?” said Jeffrey Reh, general counsel for Beretta.

Beretta is finally coming around to seeing that government contracts aren’t all there is in the business, and they can only get so many legislators to make them so many loopholes as a “state-approved” company for so long.

13 rounds isn’t high-capacity, it’s standard capacity; and the vast majority of them have 15 round magazines.  That was one of the selling points that helped it replace the 1911.

Among other restrictions, O’Malley’s bill would ban assault rifles, magazines with more than 10 bullets and any new guns with two or more “military-like” features. Gun experts said it’s a near-certainty that Beretta’s semiautomatic version of the ARX-160, now only a prototype, would be banned under O’Malley’s bill.

“I’m concerned. I think they’re going to move,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert). “They sell guns across the world and in every state in the union — to places a lot more friendly to the company than this state.”

Citizen sales are no small part of their production – and there are plenty of regions of the country that are friendly to both business and guns.

“We literally are part of the arsenal of democracy,” said Reh, sweeping his hand toward the production floor, where on a recent afternoon more than 1,000 of the military version of the pistol sat in various stages of assembly. “That’s why we consider this so insulting.”

They’re starting to get it.

Of course, they can feel insulted all they want.  To the left, they are ultimately evil unless totally state controlled.  That they provide pistols for thousands of law enforcement officers, hundreds of thousands of US troops, and hundreds of thousands of citizens is meaningless to people who want to destroy the gun business because guns are bad.

The assault-weapons ban isn’t the only part of the governor’s bill Beretta dislikes.

In Maryland, gun manufacturers are required to register as firearms dealers, which some say could expose the company to lawsuits for selling and shipping weapons as dealers do. The Senate Judiciary Committee, which passed the governor’s bill 7 to 4 late Thursday, spelled out an exemption for Beretta and a handful of other smaller manufacturers in the state.

O’Malley aides say the bill could have outright banned manufacturing of assault weapons in the state but did not in part because of Beretta, which has agreed to meet with the administration on Monday to discuss the bill.

“We think getting assault weapons off the streets and keeping this company can both be accomplished,” said Raquel Guillory, O’Malley’s spokeswoman.

No, they can’t.  And a $2000 modern rifle isn’t on “the streets” unless Obama’s ATF is giving it to Mexican narcoterrorist cartels.  Those $2000 modern rifles end up in the hands of sport shooters, 3-gun shooters, collectors, Second Amendment advocates, hobbyists, and the kinds of folks who don’t do anything with them but shoot paper; and won’t ever do anything with those rifles unless government targets their owners for liquidation.

beretta arx 160

Another “weapon of the future” that fires a cartridge designed in the early 1960s that is so small that many states (KS, VA, etc.) don’t let you hunt deer with it because it’s considered too weak to reliably take an animal humanely. But somehow politicians want to ban it for being superpowered.  All the black plastic must make it more dangerous.

Beretta should know that this whole thing stinks of cronyism, which isn’t something an Old World company would be unfamiliar with at all.  They may get favors now, but they won’t in the future.  As they note in the story, there are lawsuits that don’t necessarily exempt Beretta.  Long a tactic of the anti-rights forces, the left wants to be able to sue manufacturers for making products that only hurt people when misused criminally.  They want to sue for liability when criminals use guns as a method to destroy gun companies.  It’s what they do.

Beretta may get a niche carved out for it here in legislation because of the jobs it provides, but Beretta will also be looking at the fact that loophole they’re in will be tightened gradually.  They are the frog, and Maryland is going to boil them.  To the left, arms only belong in the hands of the state and leftist terrorists like Bill Ayers.  There is no place in their world for weapons.  Theirs is an impossible utopia of gun free zones where women use whistles and ball-point pens to fend off attackers because they hate guns so much they would rather women be raped than defend themselves.

Del. Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (D-Prince George’s), whose district encompasses the Accokeek plant, said he would do everything he could for the company.

“We want to keep those jobs,” said Vallario, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which has a key role in approving the legislation.

He cares nothing for the company.  He cares about the job losses.  If he cared about the company, he’d oppose infringements on the right to keep and bear arms.  If Beretta turned to nothing but a state-owned, state-run, state-controlled entity that makes weapons solely for the jack-booted thugs of the state, he wouldn’t care.  That they are still nominally a free company with the ability to leave means he wants them to not take their jobs out of state – and decimate the supply chain that supports them when they move.

The company’s Italian patriarch, Ugo Gussalli Beretta, visited the plant shortly after O’Malley introduced his gun-control bill, and the two discussed the issue. But Reh declined to say if the two reached any decisions about what would happen if the governor’s bill passes.

“All I can tell you is, Mr. Beretta said, ‘There always seems to be a problem with Maryland.’ ”

Beretta probably isn’t moving.  Italian gun regulations have gotten worse in many ways in the last few years, and Beretta is already used to dealing with governments that are slightly more despotic than Maryland.  It would be nice to see them get sick of it and move, though.  Their company would benefit from a regulatory climate that isn’t ideologically out for their blood, they’d probably benefit from a better tax structure, and they could avoid a legal climate that’s also out for their blood.

Magpul will move.  That’s a sign in the industry that things are serious.  If Beretta moves, that’s a paradigm shift in the industry.  Their competitors won’t sit and wait for the noose to tighten or to play cronyism games with politicians who will stab them in the back, and there will be an exodus of firearms jobs out of their historical homes in the industrial northeast.

Update: HotAir has a little more on this today.

There’ve been declarations by several gun companies about what they won’t put up with concerning the Second Amendment.   Most recently Magpul’s 2A stance against Colorado’s infringements, Olympic’s 2A stance with regards to any state that restricts their product, and less recently Ronnie Barrett’s years-old declaration that California will not get any business from his company, now comes ArmaLite, the company that originated the AR-15 (AR stands for ArmaLite rifle), making their own declaration:

ArmaLite is continuing a policy put into place when California first banned our rifles. That policy remains:

1. We will not sell to those states which deny it’s honorable citizens the right to own ArmaLite’s.

2. We do not halt sales to individual officers even in problematic states. I am a former Police Officer myself, and the staffer who stimulated the recent anger is a currently serving one. We are well familiar with the fact that most rifles serving Police Officers are purchased by the officers themselves, and that they shouldn’t be punished for the actions of their political elite.

We consider sales to those state subdivisions which are not engaged or potentially engaged with disarming its citizens. DNR and Forestry Departments, for instance, sometimes serve in remote areas that conceal drug farms and their officers deserve good hardware.

3. We will not sell to those lower political subdivisions that deny their honorable citizens the right to own ArmaLite’s. Chicago, for instance, prohibits its citizens from owning ArmaLite’s within the city limits so we make no effort to sell into that city. We have many friends on the Chicago Police Department and have continued to sell to them individually.

Our observation is that most County Sheriffs disagree with banning sales of our rifles and many publicly refuse to enforce such laws. We sell to those departments and to their Deputies, but will not sell to those County departments headed by Sheriffs who would deny their citizens the same rights.

In short, Americans need not worry that ArmaLite is selling to those who betray them.

…ArmaLite is strongly involved with both personal, corporate, and political efforts at the State, National, and International level to protect our civil rights. And we’ll continue to support your shooting needs as the situation moves forward.

Respectfully,

Mark Westrom
President,
ArmaLite Inc.

This was posted in response to numerous emails asking for ArmaLite to support a boycott of anti-Constitutional states.  There was some confusion at the level of communication, prompting ArmaLite to respond poorly and creating a little bruhaha within the activist firearms community until Westrom looked at the situation, realized that customers and some of his own staff were talking past each other, and made the above statement.

Worth noting is that ArmaLite’s is located in Geneseo, IL, which due to the imperial dictates out of Chicago, isn’t the most gun friendly area.  Firearms owners there do not have rights.  They beg the state for permission.  This is one of the many reasons why ArmaLite isn’t taking the same kind of Extremely Rightwing stance that folks like Mark LaRue are.

Nice to see that other elements of the conservative blogosphere are starting to notice these stories, too.  Well, Michelle Malkin caught the Magpul story, anyway.

Update: It’s worth noting as well that some 2A supporters are taking ArmaLite to task for still selling to individual officers in ban states… which means they are supporting that some animals are more equal than others.  The “some animals are more equal” police sales stance is something that more staunchly pro-2A companies have refused.  If the state restricts ownership, there’s no reason why a state enforcer should get a pass.  If citizens can’t own it, why should the state’s enforcers be armed against the citizen?

ArmaLite’s line in the sand is a lot further back than Olympic’s or LaRue’s. but restricting sales to actual government entities is still a line in the sand.

CO HB 1224 was passed with a voice vote in the Colorado House this afternoon, by volume of the shouts, not by number of votes.

They’re still pushing other bans here.

Looks like Magpul will probably be moving, and so will Alfred Manufacturing, unless the Colorado Senate blocks it… which is looking highly unlikely.

Update: Denver Post:

After about 6 hours of debate, members of the Colorado House on Friday afternoon gave preliminary approval of a bill to banning high-capacity ammunition magazines.

“An overreaching majority of Coloradans support limiting these high-capacity ammunition magazines and it’s our job in the legislature to implement the will of the people,” said House assistant Majority Leader Dan Pabon, D-Denver.

Republicans could force a roll call vote later today on the bill, otherwise a final House vote will be taken on Monday.

The vote came after Republicans implored members to vote against what they called a “flawed” measure that would infringe on Second Amendment rights and kill jobs.

“It’s not good for Colorado and I urge that we do what’s right and kill this bill,” said House Minority Leader Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs.

They’re currently making it so the government has to get involved in every firearm sale, and that so much as a loan of a firearm requires a transfer form – debating HB 1229, which mandates background checks.

As of 3:30 MST, Representative Polly Lawrence just found out that she can’t loan someone a gun without becoming a criminal… and the ban on loaning firearms just passed as of 3:33 MST by voice vote and laughter from the Democrats.

Update: Representative Priola (R) on the floor as of 4:43 MST:

“I’m going to plan my next trip to Detroit… because they seem to have solved all the ills of the world.

Where are the bill sponsors. No one’s here? The bill sponsors are not here.

Where’d they go?

Don’t they know this is what they’re supposed to do? To discuss legislation…”

Background check bill sponsors walked off.  They aren’t even there to support their own bill.

Update 2: Representative Wilson (R) just pointed out as of 4:55 MST that the ATF form 4473 means that anyone who uses marijuana can’t pass a background check.  Therefore anyone who has a legal gun in Colorado who smokes wouldn’t be able to pass a background check, and anyone who can’t pass a background check can’t prove that they’ve ever passed a background check… so their rights may be forfeit.

Update 3: 5:06 MST – Representative Gardner (R) just got Representative Labuda (D) to say that an unassembled firearm isn’t a firearm: “It’s not a firearm if it’s in pieces”, and that it doesn’t require a background check.  Ergo, all you have to do is field strip your AR and you can sell it without violating the law.  It makes the law meaningless.

Update 4: 5:22 MST – Gardner’s amendment to prevent FFL dealers from being forced to do background checks lost.  It was a Republican amendment, and wasn’t done by voice, it was done by head count until it was voted down.  Colorado has a sham government.

From the NYT:

WASHINGTON — President Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour from $7.25 and to automatically adjust it with inflation, a move aimed at increasing the earnings of millions of cooks, janitors, aides to the elderly and other low-wage workers.

And it will do nothing to help anyone looking for a job.

The White House said that the move would have profoundly positive effects for low-income families without unduly burdening businesses or raising the unemployment rate. It cited research showing “no detectable employment losses from the kind of minimum wage increases we have seen in the United States.”

There are always losses as the cost of hiring employees goes up.  Thus employers hire fewer employees, and employees at entry level don’t get the skills they need to get the next rung up on the ladder.

The White House also pointed to companies like Costco, the retail discount chain, and Stride Rite, a children’s shoe seller, that have previously supported increasing the minimum wage as a way to reduce employee turnover and improve workers’ productivity.

As employers, they can increase wages on their own.  This is what Costco did.

As Costco Senior Vice President Jeff Long said recently in support of increasing New York state’s minimum wage, “At Costco, we know good wages are good business. We keep our overhead low while still paying a starting wage of $11 an hour. Our employees are a big reason why our sales per square foot is almost double that of our nearest competitor. Instead of minimizing wages, we know it’s a lot more profitable for the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity and commitment, product value, customer service and company reputation.”

And they’re also a very large business.  Y’know what a raise in the minimum wage does to them?  Nothing.  Y’know what happens to their competitors?  Their competitors have to spend more on employees.  It creates a barrier to entry.  This prevents their competitors from entering the marketplace with the advantages of being able to hire lower-wage workers.  This prevents unskilled workers from getting a stepping-stone job.

This makes life easier for Costco, who get to increase the expenses of their competitors through governmental fiat.  This is crony capitalism for Costco.

It hurts the people it’s supposed to “help”, driving them to unemployment and dependency on the government and right into the hands of political parties that will give them handouts.  The special interests in this case are the big businesses who benefit from destruction of smaller businesses, and the government officials who benefit from manufacturing more unemployment to create more people dependent on government handouts.

Gun Panic Economics

Posted: February 7, 2013 by ShortTimer in Economic freedom, Economics, free markets, Government, Guns

From Valley Guns, via TheTruthAboutGuns:

Smith & Wesson: Running at Full capacity making 300+ guns/day, mainly M&P pistols. They are unable to produce any more guns to help with the shortages.

RUGER: Plans to increase from 75% to 100% in the next 90 days.

FNH: Moving from 50% production to 75% by Feb 1st and 100% by March 1.

Remington – Maxed out!

Armalite: Maxed out.

DPMS: Can’t get enough parts to produce any more product.

COLT: Production runs increasing weekly…bottle necked by Bolt carrier’s.

LWRC: Making only black guns, running at full capacity …can’t get enough gun quality steel to make barrels.

Springfield Armory: Only company who can meet demand, but are running 30-45 days behind.

AMMO: Every caliber is now Allocated! We are looking at a nation wide shortage of all calibers over the next 9 months. All plants are producing as much ammo as possible w/ 1 BILLION rounds produced weekly. Most is military followed by L.E. and civilians are third in line. MAGPUL is behind 1 MILLION mags. Do not expect any large quantities of magpul anytime soon.

RELOADERS:

ALL Remington, Winchester, CCI & Federal primers are going to ammo FIRST. There are no extra’s for reloading purposes. It could be 6-9 months b/f things get caught up.

Provided government doesn’t create any more uncertainty in the market, things will be back to normal in 6 months.  If the government starts going after the industry, it’s going to do just what every other industry would, and demand will outpace supply as supply is crushed by dictatorial fiat.

Of course, that’s what would-be tyrants want.