Happy Guy Fawkes Day. While you’re out and about, please remember poor Guido, the last man to enter the Houses of Parliament with honorable intentions.
It seems kind of fitting that that the holiday falls today. Beyond that, I don’t have much to say about the elections for reasons of time and inclination. Battleswarm is a good place to go if you’re looking for that.
I will be updating the contact pages on this site, but I’m going to wait until after the runoffs are over, everyone is sworn in, and they actually have pages to link to. If this does get past me for some reason, please yell at me until it gets done.
I’m going to avoid my usual “what China needs” snark here, because this is a little scary: Brittney Griner attacked in China by a man with a knife.
So three out of five voted? I guess that’s a quorum. (And I just noticed I missed updating the list of commissioners for Bruce Todd. Fixing that now.)
However, Saxet still has to agree to the contract, and the Statesman represents them as consistently stating they will not agree to a contract that requires background checks. Williamson County is looking better and better all the time.
(I’ll have to see if I can find a breakdown of some of the previous votes for y’all.)
And I said, “Whaaaaaaaaaat?” I wasn’t aware there was a gun show issue. As a matter of fact, I’d checked the Saxet Shows schedule just the other night (while dining with Lawrence) and they have shows scheduled through December 2014. So I figured we were done with the bolshie bushwa. Right?
And since licensed dealers at gun shows are already required to do background checks, that will accomplish…nothing. Except drive Saxet out of Austin and into someplace like Round Rock or Cedar Park, and reduce Expo Center revenue. Private sales between individuals are still going to take place, gun show or no show.
72 bottles over 16 months is 4.5 bottles per month, or a little over a bottle per week. Or, if you want to look at it another way, 23 gallons over 16 months is 1.4375 gallons, 184 ounces, or 5441.53 ml per month. Assuming a 30 day month, that’s a little over 6 ounces of vodka a day. Or somewhere between two and three stiff drinks.
If you drive drunk with an open bottle in your car, you have a problem. If you have two stiff drinks a day, do you have a problem? I’m not so sure. (One of the current comments on this story calls out the hidden assumption that she drank it all herself, rather than having parties, having friends over, another family member drinking some of it, etc.) And it bothers me a little that the attorney was able to get records of her purchases from Twin Liquor. I buy from Twin Liquor; is some lawyer going to be able to subpoena records of my purchases? Should I start paying in cash?
(Another hidden assumption: she only bought from Twin Liquor, and not from Spec’s, or any of the dozens of other liquor stores around town.)
I have written previously about the activities of the Austin Public Safety Commission, an appointed “advisory body to the city council on all budgetary and policy matters concerning public safety, including matters related to the Austin Police Department, the Austin Fire Department, and the Austin/Travis County Emergency Medical Services Department.”
I call that point out because the Public Safety Commission issued a series of “recommendations” to the city council yesterday. As reported in the Statesman, APSC recommends:
“banning the leasing of government-owned facilities to gun shows”.
“vendors at such shows to conduct background screenings”. This doesn’t make a lot of sense: we’re going to ban gun shows on public property, but we’re going to require vendors to conduct background screenings at the gun shows we’ve banned? I don’t believe the city can require vendors to conduct background checks at gun shows on private property; I think this is superseded by state preemption law.
“…enforcing a state law prohibiting the carrying of firearms — except by those with concealed hand gun permits — in public parks, public meetings of government bodies, non-firearm related events at schools, colleges or professional events and political rallies, parades and meetings.” Wow, that’s a daring recommendation, guys. Enforce existing law.
Instruct the “Austin City Council, Travis County Commissioner’s Court and Austin Community College and Austin Independent School District boards of trustees” to “divest ownership in any companies that manufacture and sell assault weapons or high capacity magazines to the public”.
“Direct the Austin Police Department and Travis County Sheriff’s Office to study gun buy-back programs and come back with recommendations.” Oh, boy, I hope they do. As you may have noted at the link above, the last gun buy-back turned into a gun show. If they have another buy-back, I’d love to take a shot at picking up some more nice older Smiths.
“Collect data on guns used in crimes”. I’m not sure from the context of the Statesman article what this means. I was listening to KLBJ-AM briefly last night, and caught part of a story on the commission recommendations; apparently, what they’re looking for is information about where crime guns come from. Are they stolen, legally purchased, bought at gun shows, etc.?
It is perhaps also worth noting that former mayor Will Wynn and current mayor Lee Leffingwell are members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and that Wynn is one of the members of that group who has been convicted of a criminal offense.
The more I hear out of these people, the better a recall election sounds.
(Before today, I’ve never had to wait in line to get into a gun show, except maybe the one time I went with Borepatch and we had to wait for the doors to open. It took me about 40 minutes in line to get into the show; I got there around 10:30 AM. Two friends of mine got there later and reported the wait was much the same, even at 1 PM.)
Awesome! Since the county staffers are going to bring “any other proposed events at the Expo Center with ‘unusually high safety risks’ for commissioners’ approval”, I suggest they start with the Republic of Texas biker rally. I mean no offense to Jay G. or any of my other motorcycle riding friends out there: I don’t ride myself right now, but I love you guys. But if we’re talking about “unusually high safety risks”, there were at least three deaths during last year’s ROT rally, and another three the year before. I’d think that qualifies.
Anyway, we’ve won the battle, but the war isn’t over yet. You need to be contacting your Congressperson. I’ve added pages with contact information for the Texas Senate and House delegations. The lovely and talented Erin Palette has pointed out Ruger’s automated letter generator, so you can even do it with a couple of clicks of the bunny. If you have time, though, I recommend you hand compose and either fax or email your rep; most of the sites I visited while I was pulling that list together warned that physical mail is delayed up to two weeks. Anthrax, don’t you know?
Before we give props to Eckhart and Daugherty, they are also quoted as supporting “background checks for anyone buying a gun at a gun show”. Oddly enough, so is Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. I suspect that Daugherty and Patterson are just misinformed, not malicious; I’m not sure about Eckhardt.
Austin Rifle Club sent out an email late last night stating that the Travis County Commissioners Court was considering the gun show ban today. I didn’t see that email until this morning, otherwise I would have considered going down to report.
So Judge Biscoe thinks gun shows are a threat to public safety, but not one that we need to act on immediately? One that can wait “three or four months”? Option two is that Judge Biscoe is a political hack who wants to be seen as “doing something” when he’s really doing nothing. But that can’t be true: political hackery on the commissioners court? Why, that’s unheard of! (Option three is that Judge Biscoe figures things will blow over in “three or four months”, we can return to the current status quo, and voters will forget his actions. My message to Judge Biscoe: “He’d seen how ‘civilized’ men behaved. He never forgot and he never forgave.”)
Any dealer with an Federal Firearms License who sells guns at a gun show has to do a check, just as if they were selling guns in a physical store.
Any person who regularly sells guns at a gun show, or any place else, is required to get a FFL. Not getting one is a Federal crime, if you engage in the business of selling guns. If a relative dies and you engage in a private sale of a few of his guns, that’s not a crime. But if you sell guns regularly at the gun show without a license, the BATFE will come after you, and you may do time.
Those same private sales will take place in supermarket parking lots, subdivision driveways, and other places even if the county restricts gun shows. There’s nothing the county can do to stop that.
The Statesman does not give a breakdown of how many people spoke at the meeting, nor does it give any indication how many supported or opposed the measure.
Keep that in mind. The opposition managed to get 200 people to support their illegal proposal. I think we can do much better.
Edited to add: Forgot something else I was going to mention: I updated the .CSV files of the county commissioners and the city council members with fax numbers, just in case anyone finds that useful. Someone yesterday (and I forget who it was) made the comment that they can ignore emails, but they have to answer the phone and they have to put paper in the fax machine. I am slightly dubious about the latter, what with modern technology and all, but the fax numbers are there if you can use them.
Edited to add 2: Updated story from the Statesman:
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