10 February 2011

Thoughts on Apple iARs

If you're a follower of gun blogs, no doubt you've seen this and this, and perhaps this.

As others are saying with the whole "Uses proprietary ammo. Shuts off when shooting unapproved targets," those thoughts aren't completely unfounded.  In the gun community, should we be concerned that this is a wolf in sheep's clothing?

Let us considering this; Steve Job's campaign contributions over various election cycles for the past 20 years.  It ain't pretty.  From Fox:
“Steve Jobs is Democratic-leaning based on who he gives money to and what he says. And Jobs has never let it be known how he votes, but he supports Democratic causes and has contributed about $225,000 to Democrats since the 1980s,” McDonald told FoxNews.com.  While Jobs may appear Democratic, Apple's policies are simpler, he said: "They promote what's going to make them the most money.”
And for what it's worth, former Vice President Al Gore is also on the Apple board of directors.
Obviously, the list has some pretty unfriendly names upon it, including good old Dead Fish very prominently at the top.  So what is the end game here?

Obviously, being a free market guy, I have no problem with Jobs and company trying to make a buck.  Admittedly, my wife is an iPhone geek and a Mac user, and perhaps I'm becoming a convert, but what merrying of computer and guns will we see from Apple?  Should we have to worry about a push of technology for "smart guns."  With Jobs' billions and seemingly political clout, what new front does this acquisition of Saber Defense present to the gun rights movement? 

Obviously, this announcement should be treated with a bit of skepticism at first, but perhaps we will see innovative products that will permeate through out our armed forces, and thus, into the hands of the civilian market.  Until we see any changes from the Saber Defense portion of Apple's portfolio, we should proceed with caution, and hopeful optimism.  However, let us put Jobs on notice that pushing products that are contrary to the protected and functional meaning of the 2A, and then further using his clout and the legislative process to game the economic system to his advantage, will absolutely not be tolerated. 

MD Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Bill on Mag Limits Today

I just sent off this letter to the members of the Maryland Senate Judiciary Committee that will be debating and hearing testimony on a magazine capacity limit (limiting to 10 rounds down from the current State's law of 20 rounds).  

Honorable Members of the Judiciary Committee:

I am writing this letter in very strong opposition to Senate Bill 162, Firearms - Detachable Magazines - Maximum Capacity for Ammunition.

While I understand that this bill is primarily a reaction to the abhorrent tragedy that occurred last month in Arizona, it is my firm believe that this bill erroneously and incorrectly limits freedoms enjoyed by law abiding citizen. I wish to make it clear that the efforts of this state to protect its citizens and legislators should be focused on the actual acts of violence and the perpetrators thereof, instead of focusing on the tools used to commit such acts. Considering that the tool in question here (guns and their detachable magazines) are used for lawful purposes by those whom follow the law, I must question whether this bill will have any impact in effecting a decrease in criminal activity, specifically mass public homicides.

As you convene your committee hearing this day, please consider the following views of this constituent.

Arms in common use: Currently, Maryland law restricts the capacity of any ammunition feeding device to an arbitrary 20 round limit. While this law does not currently limit most arms that honest citizens can acquire and use for sporting and, more importantly, Constitutionally protected self defense, a decrease to ten rounds would almost assuredly cause a decrease in the supply of firearms within the state of Maryland. While some members of the committee might think limiting access to arms is a noble goal, it does nothing to address the potential for criminal homicides, regardless of the weapon used.

Further, with many law enforcement agencies in the state choosing to use handguns that often carry in excess of 10 rounds of ammunition, please note that even our government agencies agree that more rounds equals more opportunities to win in a self defense battle. Please recall that last year this committee enacted legislation to exempt homeowners from liability suits brought by the criminally negligent. Why do we want to regress in terms of defense of family and self by arbitrarily limiting the amount of ammunition one can use in any firearm at any time?

Economics: While we do not economic means test enumerated civil rights, it is hard to ignore the impact to small and local business that sell detachable magazines and the arms that operate with them. Considering the current economic climate, we should foster every opportunity to promote and encourage sales growth, cost savings, and business opportunities, as well as tax receipts to the state. At present, limited capacity magazines are both expense, produced in small numbers, and not widely available on the shelves of Maryland gun dealers. When cash flow for a small business can mean the difference between keeping the doors open or going out of business, we can ill-afford to upset this delicate balance as we force dealers to liquidate their products on hand, and replace them with something that may not even sell.

Looking to other "model" states as a product of such bans (California and Massachusetts), one sees that such magazine capacity restrictions impact the consumer as well. Manufactures of magazines are forced to produce a product they would not otherwise produce, thus limiting supplies and increasing the cost of both the magazine and the arms that use them. I would hope that you note that this will disproportionately affect the classes of people whom need them most to level the playing field against stronger criminals. Elderly, poor and economically stressed persons, as well as those living in under-privileged, crime ridden neighborhoods would effectively be priced out of the market place here in our state. Even if you don't agree with the recent Supreme Court decisions regarding the Second Amendment and its Incorporation, shouldn't we all strive to increase exercise of freedom afforded by all civil rights?

Impact Upon Crime: In the days after the Arizona tragedy, critics of firearms were quick to point out that these types of magazines were banned under the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Unfortunately, what the firearms critics failed to point out was that even the FBI was never able to correlate a reduction in crime statistics for those ten years to the reduction in "assault arms" and their accessories. If it is the attempt of this committee to decrease mass public shootings, I suggest we focus on mental health and criminal intent by better data-basing of crime reports and mentally deficient adjudication records before enacting legislation which only a law abiding citizen will follow.

As this legislation is discussed, the four surrounding neighbor states of Maryland should serve as an example to the ineffectiveness of this legislation. All four states currently do not impose arbitrary capacity restrictions limiting detachable magazines to 20 round, and all four states have lower crime rates than that of Maryland. Let us be realistic in this assessment however and not fail to realize that the culture and demographics of our neighbors is different from that of Maryland's, but from a straight forward correlation of more magazine capacity related to criminal shootings, it is nearly impossible to make such a connection.

In summary, I strongly urge the committee to discard this bill and withhold it from the full Senate. As outlined above, it is easy to see an increase to the arbitrary magazine capacity limit will do nothing to prevent crime, nothing to deter crime, and will only act to put further restrictions upon a civil right that is enjoyed by many Marylanders.

Thank you for considering the input from this concerned citizen as you hear today's testimony.