Defense Distributed Declaration

In the ongoing litigation between Defense Distributed and state attorneys general over the distribution of three-dimensional models of firearms and components thereof over the Internet (which has been approved by all federal regulatory agencies), I was asked to submit an affidavit in support of the Defense Distributed case.  I have previously described this case here in my post “Code is Speech”.

Here is what I drafted which, after consultation with others whose efforts are much appreciated but will remain unnamed, will be submitted into the public record.  This is exactly what was submitted, less my signature: why make it easy for identity thieves?  This was submitted, as is done, in gnarly monospaced text with no mark-up.  If it shows up in your browser with awkward line breaks, try making the browser window wider and it should get better.   If you’re on a tablet or mobile phone, try it when you get back to the desktop.

The opening and closing paragraphs are as prescribed in 28 U.S.C. § 1746 for an “Unsworn declaration under penalty of perjury” by a non-U.S. person.  This is also called a “self-authenticating affidavit”.

This may seem lukewarm to those accustomed to my usual firebrand rhetoric.  In this declaration, I only wanted to state things which I knew or believed based upon my own personal experience.  Consequently, I eschewed discussing the state of the art in additive manufacturing (I have never actually seen nor used an additive manufacturing machine) or the limitations of present-day machines (all of that may, and probably will, change in a few years).

Attorneys for Defense Distributed expect to lose in the original district court litigation and the Ninth Circuit, but the purpose of this declaration is to be used in higher court appeals where there is a less ideological and more fact-based scrutiny of cases.

Although I really had better things to do this week, I was glad to take the time to support the Defense Distributed case.  Even if you don’t care about guns, the attorneys’ general position in this case argues that computer-mediated speech: the transmission of files from computer to computer, is not speech protected by the First Amendment.  This is arguably the greatest assault on free speech since the adoption of that amendment.

I am privileged to have the opportunity to oppose it.

(This declaration is a public document which will become part of the record of the trial and eventual appeals.  I am disclosing nothing here which will not be available to those following the litigation.)

                DECLARATION OF JOHN WALKER

I, John Walker, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746 hereby declare and
say as follows:

    1.  I was a co-founder of Autodesk, Inc. (ADSK:NASDAQ),
        developer of the AutoCAD® computer-aided design
        software.  I was president, chairman, and chief
        executive officer from the incorporation of the company
        in April 1982 until November 1986, more than a year
        after its initial public stock offering in June 1985. I
        continued to serve as chairman of the board of directors
        until April 1988, after which I concentrated on software
        development.

    2.  Autodesk is the developer of the AutoCAD® software, one
        of the most widely-used computer-aided design and
        drafting software packages in the world.  AutoCAD allows
        creation of two- and three-dimensional models of designs
        and, with third-party products, their analysis and
        fabrication.

    3.  During the start-up phase of Autodesk, I was one of the
        three principal software developers of AutoCAD and wrote
        around one third of the source code of the initial
        release of the program.

    4.  Subsequently, I contributed to the development of
        three-dimensional extensions of the original AutoCAD
        drafting system, was lead developer on AutoShade[tm],
        which produced realistic renderings of three-dimensional
        models, and developed the prototype of integration of
        constructive solid geometry into AutoCAD, which was
        subsequently marketed as the AutoCAD Advanced Modeling
        Extension (AME).

    5.  I retired from Autodesk in 1994 and since have had no
        connection with the company other than as a shareholder
        with less than 5% ownership of the company's common
        stock.

    Design Versus Fabrication

    6.  From my experience at Autodesk, I became aware of the
        distinction between the design of an object and the
        fabrication of that object from the design.  For
        example, the patent drawings and written description in
        firearms patents provide sufficient information "as to
        enable any person skilled in the art to which it
        pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to
        make and use the same, and shall set forth the best mode
        contemplated by the inventor or joint inventor of
        carrying out the invention" [35 U.S.C. § 112 (a)].  But
        this is in no way a mechanical process.  One must
        interpret the design, choose materials suitable for each
        component, and then decide which manufacturing process
        (milling, stamping, turning, casting, etc.) is best to
        produce it, including steps such as heat-treating and
        the application of coatings.  This process is called
        "production planning", and it is a human skill that is
        required to turn a design, published in a patent
        description or elsewhere, into a physical realisation of
        the object described by that design.

    7.  A three-dimensional model of an object specifies its
        geometry but does not specify the materials from which
        it is fabricated, how the fabrication is done, or any
        special steps required (for example, annealing or other
        heat treating, coatings, etc.) before the component is
        assembled into the design.

    8.  Three-dimensional models of physical objects have many
        other applications than computer-aided manufacturing.
        Three-dimensional models are built to permit analysis of
        designs including structural strength and heat flow via
        the finite element method.  Models permit rendering of
        realistic graphic images for product visualisation,
        illustration, and the production of training and service
        documentation.  Models can be used in simulations to
        study the properties and operation of designs prior to
        physically manufacturing them. Models for finite element
        analysis have been built since the 1960s, decades before
        the first additive manufacturing machines were
        demonstrated in the 1980s.

    9.  Some three-dimensional models contain information which
        goes well beyond a geometric description of an object
        for manufacturing.  For example, it is common to produce
        "parametric" models which describe a family of objects
        which can be generated by varying a set of inputs
        ("parameters").  For example, a three-dimensional model
        of a shoe could be parameterised to generate left and
        right shoes of various sizes and widths, with
        information within the model automatically adjusting the
        dimensions of the components of the shoe accordingly.
        The model is thus not the rote expression of a
        particular manufactured object but rather a description
        of a potentially unlimited number of objects where the
        intent of the human designer, in setting the parameters,
        determines the precise geometry of an object built from
        the model.

   10.  A three-dimensional model often expresses relationships
        among components of the model which facilitate analysis
        and parametric design.  Such a model can be thought of
        like a spreadsheet, in which the value of cells are
        determined by their mathematical relationships to other
        cells, as opposed to a static table of numbers printed
        on paper.

    Additive Manufacturing ("3D Printing")

   11.  Additive manufacturing (often called, confusingly, "3D
        [for three-dimensional] printing") is a technology by
        which objects are built to the specifications of a
        three-dimensional computer model by a device which
        fabricates the object by adding material according to
        the design.  Most existing additive manufacturing
        devices can only use a single material in a production
        run, which limits the complexity of objects they can
        fabricate.

   12.  Additive manufacturing, thus, builds up a part by adding
        material, while subtractive manufacturing (for example,
        milling, turning, and drilling) starts with a block of
        solid material and cuts away until the desired part is
        left.  Many machine shops have tools of both kinds, and
        these tools may be computer controlled.

   13.  Additive manufacturing is an alternative to traditional
        kinds of manufacturing such as milling, turning, and
        cutting.  With few exceptions, any object which can be
        produced by additive manufacturing can be produced, from
        paper drawings or their electronic equivalent, with
        machine tools that date from the 19th century.  Additive
        manufacturing is simply another machine tool, and the
        choice of whether to use it or other tools is a matter
        of economics and the properties of the part being
        manufactured.

   14.  Over time, machine tools have become easier to use.  The
        introduction of computer numerical control (CNC) machine
        tools has dramatically reduced the manual labour
        required to manufacture parts from a design.  The
        computer-aided design industry, of which Autodesk is a
        part, has, over the last half-century, reduced the cost
        of going from concept to manufactured part, increasing
        the productivity and competitiveness of firms which
        adopt it and decreasing the cost of products they make.
        Additive manufacturing is one of a variety of CNC
        machine tools in use today.

   15.  It is in no sense true that additive manufacturing
        allows the production of functional objects such as
        firearms from design files without human intervention.
        Just as a human trying to fabricate a firearm from its
        description in a patent filing (available in electronic
        form, like the additive manufacturing model), one must
        choose the proper material, its treatment, and how it is
        assembled into the completed product.  Thus, an additive
        manufacturing file describing the geometry of a
        component of a firearm is no more an actual firearm than
        a patent drawing of a firearm (published worldwide in
        electronic form by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)
        is a firearm.

    Computer Code and Speech

   16.  Computer programs and data files are indistinguishable
        from speech.  A computer file, including a
        three-dimensional model for additive manufacturing, can
        be expressed as text which one can print in a newspaper
        or pamphlet, declaim from a soapbox, or distribute via
        other media.  It may be boring to those unacquainted
        with its idioms, but it is speech nonetheless.  There is
        no basis on which to claim that computer code is not
        subject to the same protections as verbal speech or
        printed material.

   17.  For example, the following is the definition of a unit
        cube in the STL language used to to express models for
        many additive manufacturing devices.

            solid cube_corner
              facet normal 0.0 -1.0 0.0
                outer loop
                  vertex 0.0 0.0 0.0
                  vertex 1.0 0.0 0.0
                  vertex 0.0 0.0 1.0
                endloop
              endfacet
            endsolid

        This text can be written, read, and understood by a
        human familiar with the technology as well as by a
        computer.  It is entirely equivalent to a description of
        a unit cube written in English or another human
        language.  When read by a computer, it can be used for
        structural analysis, image rendering, simulation, and
        other applications as well as additive manufacturing.
        The fact that the STL language can be read by a computer
        in no way changes the fact that it is text, and thus,
        speech.

   18.  As an additional example, the following is an AutoCAD
        DXF[tm] file describing a two-dimensional line between
        the points (0, 0) and (1, 1), placed on layer 0 of a
        model.

            0
            SECTION
              2
            ENTITIES
              0
            LINE
              8
            0
             10
            0.0
            20
            0.0
            11
            1.0
            21
            1.0
              0
            ENDSEC
              0
            EOF

        Again, while perhaps not as easy to read as the STL file
        until a human has learned the structure of the file,
        this is clearly text, and thus speech.

   19.  It is common in computer programming and computer-aided
        design to consider computer code and data files written
        in textual form as simultaneously communicating to
        humans and computers.  Donald E. Knuth, professor
        emeritus of computer science at Stanford University and
        author of "The Art of Computer Programming", advised
        programmers:
            "Instead of imagining that our main task is to
            instruct a computer what to do, let us concentrate
            rather on explaining to human beings what we want a
            computer to do."[Knuth 1992]
        A design file, such as those illustrated above in
        paragraphs 17 and 18 is, similarly, a description of a
        design to a human as well as to a computer.  If it is a
        description of a physical object, a human machinist
        could use it to manufacture the object just as the
        object could be fabricated from the verbal description
        and drawings in a patent.

   20.  Computer code has long been considered text
        indistinguishable from any other form of speech in
        written form.  Many books, consisting in substantial
        part of computer code, have been published and are
        treated for the purpose of copyright and other
        intellectual property law like any other literary work.
        For example the "Numerical Recipes"[Press] series of
        books presents computer code in a variety of programming
        languages which implements fundamental algorithms for
        numerical computation.

    Conclusions

   21.  There is a clear distinction between the design of an
        artefact, whether expressed in paper drawings, a written
        description, or a digital geometric model, and an object
        manufactured from that design.

   22.  Manufacturing an artefact from a design, however
        expressed, is a process involving human judgement in
        selecting materials and the tools used to fabricate
        parts from it.

   23.  Additive manufacturing ("3D printing") is one of a
        variety of tools which can be used to fabricate parts.
        It is in no way qualitatively different from alternative
        tools such as milling machines, lathes, drills, saws,
        etc., all of which can be computer controlled.

   24.  A digital geometric model of an object is one form of
        description which can guide its fabrication.  As such,
        it is entirely equivalent to, for example, a dimensioned
        drawing (blueprint) from which a machinist works.

   25.  Digital geometric models of objects can be expressed
        as text which can be printed on paper or read aloud
        as well as stored and transmitted electronically.
        Thus they are speech.

    References
        [Knuth 1992]   Knuth, Donald E.  Literate Programming.
                       Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of
                       Language and Information, 1992.
                       ISBN: 978-0-937073-80-3.

        [Press]        Press, William H. et al.  Numerical Recipes.
                       Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press,
                       (various dates).
                       Programming language editions:
                           C++     978-0-521-88068-8
                           C       978-0-521-43108-8
                           Fortran 978-0-521-43064-7
                           Pascal  978-0-521-37516-0

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United
States of America that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed on November 22, 2018

                                            (Signature)
                                 _______________________________
                                           John Walker
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NY v NRA

The State of New York is playing dirty in an attempt to put the National Rifle Association out of business.   They are going after their insurers.   This ought to be prevented.  I am sure that we do not want a State to decide to kill off a company for political reasons, which is what is going on here.

“Simply put, Defendants made it clear to banks and insurers that it is bad business in New York to do business with the NRA,” the lawsuit says. “As a direct result of this coercion, multiple financial institutions have succumbed to Defendants’ demands and entered into consent orders with DFS that compel them to terminate longstanding, beneficial business relationships with the NRA, both in New York and elsewhere.”  …

“Defendants’ goal, from the outset, was to disrupt any and all business arrangements between the NRA and any insurance administrator, broker, or underwriter—indeed, any financial institution.”

Lockton, the NRA’s long-standing insurance provided, dropped all NRA-related services after receiving threats of extortion by DFS. The lawsuit alleges that Lockton and the NRA were in contract negotiations over a policy renewal. They were set to lock-in the deal when Lockton came back and said they would not provide the NRA with any services moving forward.

This is the assault of the ten thousand lawyers.   It may be a popular move for Governor Cuomo, but it should not be allowed.   NRA is going to need a ton of money for lawyering to fight the State of New York.


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Code Is Speech

Liberator pistol (produced by additive manufacturing)There is a fundamental principle at stake in the current controversy, ignorantly reported and heavily spun, over the recent U.S. State Department settlement with Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation in which Defense Distributed essentially won the case it had been pursuing since 2015, clearing it to distribute design files for the manufacture of firearms and components which can be used to produce them via additive manufacturing (“3D printing”).

This principle is much simpler and more fundamental than the cloud of confusion and ignorance spread like squid ink by the slavers who prefer a disarmed and dependent population at their mercy.  It goes to the heart of free speech, and we’ve been here before.

The information required to produce an object via additive manufacturing is a computer file which gives instructions to the fabrication device to make the object.  This file can be expressed in text and looks something like this:

        solid cube_corner
          facet normal 0.0 -1.0 0.0
            outer loop
              vertex 0.0 0.0 0.0
              vertex 1.0 0.0 0.0
              vertex 0.0 0.0 1.0
            endloop
          endfacet
        endsolid

Now, this is hardly The Federalist Papers or Common Sense, but it is text which you could read on a soapbox on the corner to the bewilderment of everybody except for a few aspies furiously scribbling down the numbers to take back to their workshops, or publish in a newspaper or pamphlet.

A federal judge in the U.S. state of Washington has issued an order to block the distribution of computer files which the settlement permitted to be disseminated on 2018-08-01.  (Lest one confuse these judicial tyrants with those chronicled in the seventh book of the Bible, recall Jerry Pournelle’s reminder to mentally replace “judge” with “lawyer in a dress”.  This one was appointed by Bill Clinton.)

This is a fundamental attack on freedom of speech.  It asserts that computer files and their dissemination via electronic means are not protected speech, and that the design of an object can be restricted in the same way the physical object can.  These are ideas so stupid only an intellectual could believe them.

Now, I spent some years of my life building tools to create electronic designs and models of objects in the physical world.  This technology has become central to almost everything we do, from fabrication of microcircuits to automobiles to the creation of imaginary worlds for entertainment.  I am, as they say, invested in this.

This lawyer in a dress is saying that my speech, and your speech, in electronic form, distributed electronically, is not subject to the protections granted his, spoken in a courtroom or printed on paper.  He is saying that such speech can be regulated based upon its content, which the founders of the republic that pays his generous salary (extracted by implicit threat at gunpoint from hairdressers and cab drivers who only want to be left alone) rejected in the very first amendment to their Constitution.

As I said, we’ve been here before.  In the 1990s, when the fellow who appointed the lawyer in a dress was president and demonstrating by example his moral rectitude to the nation, the U.S. tried to declare that strong encryption, which would allow citizens to communicate without eavesdropping by the organs of U.S. state security, was a crime to disclose.  Once again, they tried to declare computer code, in this case encryption algorithms and applications, “muntions” and subject to export controls.  In the celebrated case of PGP, MIT Press published its source code as a book and challenged the U.S. government to prevent its publication.  The U.S. government backed down (but did not entirely abandon its stance), and encryption is now generally available.  (Want military-grade encryption entirely within your browser?   Here you go!)

We won then.  We must prevail now.  If the slavers win the argument that computer files are not subject to the protection of physical speech or print, then everything you publish here, or send in E-mail, or distribute yourself will be subject to the kind of prior restraint this lawyer in a dress is trying to impose on Defense Distributed.

This is where it all comes together—the most fundamental of freedoms—speech, self defence, and the autonomy of the individual against the coercive collectivist state.  If these things matter to you, consider joining Defense Distributed.

Disclosure:

Cody R. Wilson at Fourmilab, 2013-01-30I provided some of the early developmental-phase funding of Defense Distributed.  To the right is a photo of Cody R. Wilson on his visit to Fourmilab in January of 2013.  I am the “patron” described (in not-so-complimentary terms) in his superb 2016 book Come and Take It).  In our conversation then Cody persuaded me to get into Bitcoin.  That has repaid my support of Defense Distributed many, many times over.

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Closer to a Fracture

In discussing the firing of Kevin Williamson a few days ago, @1967Mustangman closed the post with the observation, “…America inches closer to a fracture.” A District Court in Massachusetts  may have just moved us several feet closer thereto, in ruling that the Second Amendment permits a ban on possession of many categories of the most popular guns in the country. That the Judge, William G. Young, had a political axe to grind is suggested by his gratuitous observation in the opinion that Justice Scalia would have been “proud” of it. Such commentary in district court opinions are, let us say, unusual.

The law bans virtually all semi-automatic weapons, calling them “assault rifles.” As such, the court says (straight out of gun-banners’ talking points) they are useful to the military, therefore not protected  by the Second Amendment. This, itself, is a non sequitur.

As well, the opinions is – like most anti-gun propaganda – all but fact free. If a military force were armed with the civilian version of AR-15’s in question, it would be a laughably (it would be, at minimum, unkind to laugh as soldiers were cut down en masse as they would be, thus armed) ineffective force. Actual assault rifles, you see, have a selector switch which permits fully-automatic firing (the way they are invariably used, except by snipers), so the very name of the category of banned weapons is a fabrication. First, kill language, then kill rights. Civilian versions of AR-15’s and all other rifles mythically called “assault-rifles,” lack the full-auto function.

This law criminalizes at a stroke scores or hundreds of thousands of citizens subjects of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It will set local citizens at each others’ throats and this ruling will embolden anti-gun fanatics throughout the country. Every municipality and some states with anti-gun activists will be passing similar bans. Fractures (and punctures) to follow. Only a prompt Supreme Court ruling (an unlikely event) announcing that such weapons may not be banned under the Second Amendment can prevent what could easily become a violent upheaval. But, I think that may be precisely what the illiberal left is aiming for.

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TOTD 2018-03-11: “Weapons of War”

On Friday, February 23rd, 2018 former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice appeared on the Hugh Hewitt radio program. In a rambling discussion, she said the following about gun violence.

I will say this, Hugh. I think it is time for us to have a conversation about what the right to bear arms means in the modern world. I don’t understand why civilians need to have access to military weapons. We wouldn’t, we wouldn’t say you can go out and buy a tank. So I do think we need to have that conversation.

But then she went on to say,

But I believe that the rights that we have in the Constitution are indivisible. We can’t throw away the 2nd Amendment and keep the 1st.

Hey, I said it was rambling.  If rights are “indivisible”, then what is there to have a conversation about?

Anyway, libertarian science fiction author L. Neil Smith took this as buying into the gun grabbers’ trope of “weapons of war have no place in the hands of civilians” and published a 950 word riposte in The Libertarian Enterprise.  Here’s an excerpt.

People on the wrong side of this issue frequently blather that America’s Founding Fathers—who, for the most part, were aware only of single-shot muzzle-loading rifles and pistols—couldn’t have imagined civilians armed with automatic or semiautomatic weapons. On the contrary, what the Founding Fathers couldn’t have imagined is a time when ordinary citizens are forbidden to own and carry weapons fully as capable as those of the military, defeating the entire purpose of the Second Amendment. They understood what you and others like you pretend not to, that military weapons in civilian hands are for preserving civil rights and civilian lives. As leftists continuously whimper, they are, indeed “weapons of war”: humanity’s 10,000-year-old continuing war against tyranny.

So I’ll repeat: military weapons in civilian hands are for preserving civil rights and civilian lives. They are, indeed “weapons of war”: humanity’s 10,000-year-old continuing war against tyranny. I have lived through the terms of twelve United States Presidents, at least half of whom I did not trust, and who made me extremely glad there’s a Second Amendment to act as a continuous deterrent. The President you worked for had even liberals buying guns and reading the Constitution. Happily, any warm, pleasant dreams that he or any of the others may have cherished about slapping down a recalitrant peasantry would have been dashed by the icy cold water of Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s apocalyptic vision of America consisting of “a rifleman behind every blade of grass”.

Military weapons in civilian hands are for preserving civil rights and civilian lives. I repeat it once again so you can get it through your statist head. They are, indeed “weapons of war”: humanity’s 10,000-year-old continuing war against tyranny. Don’t tell me that it can’t happen here. It already has. When the BATFE and the FBI, both organizations without Constitutional standing, ignored Yamamoto’s warning and illegally imprisoned and murdered 76 innocent individuals in their church near Waco, Texas, in the Spring of 1993, simply because they wouldn’t come outside when ordered to by a gang of jackbooted thugs, the armed citizenry may have lost that particular battle, but the people inside held the feds off for 51 days, and government lost the war in general, as shown clearly by the final resolution of the Bundy Ranch Standoff in Nevada.

Military weapons in civilian hands are for preserving civil rights and civilian lives. They are, indeed “weapons of war”: humanity’s 10,000-year-old continuing war against tyranny. Our Revolutionary ancestors actually had better guns—Pennsylvania rifles—than the British, armed with smoothbore muskets. Imagine a world in which the Armenians had been as well armed as the Turkish military. Imagine a world in which the Jews in Germany had been armed as well as the SS or the Wehrmacht. Imagine a world in which the Cambodian people had been armed as well as Pol Pot’s murderous thugs. According to research published years ago by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (look it up), every major act of genocide in the last century was preceded by sweeping gun control laws.

Read the whole thing.

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New Leftist attack on the NRA

Brought to us via a George Soros project, of course.   The newspaper that soiled my driveway this morning held a gloating article from the USA Today Network about all sorts of big companies severing ties (loose ones at that) with the NRA.   I had heard NPR gloating over it on Friday:

As a groundswell grows against the National Rifle Association in the aftermath of last week’s school massacre in Parkland, Fla., several businesses say they are ending their partnerships with the gun advocacy group.

The brands — ranging from insurance companies to airlines to rental car agencies — announced their decisions on social media, many apparently in direct response to tweets demanding change under the trending hashtag #boycottNRA.

Activists are seeking to name and shame business affiliates of the group.

This was kicked off by ThinkProgress, a Soros-funded Leftist webzine.   Going after corporations with connections to the target is what Big Gay did to the Boy Scouts of America.

I want everyone who is not a Leftist to know what is going on.   If you have any influence with the companies who are severing ties with the NRA, or even if you are just willing to put a note on their facebook page, it would be good to see some push-back.

This could become serious.  Here is what the Washington Post had to say:

But the boycott inspired by the Florida shooting massacre has stalled at the first stronghold of resistance: None of the video-streaming giants, Apple, Google’s YouTube, or Amazon (the company’s founder, Jeffrey P. Bezos, owns the The Washington Post) have acknowledged a petition and viral demands to take NRA videos offline.

If they do, and the world’s largest tech corporations effectively declare the NRA a pariah, boycotters have proposed plans to advance on the gun rights group’s power centers: its political capital and massive funding, which for decades have made the NRA one of the most feared lobbies in the United States.

 


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Assault rifles age limit helps Christmas shoppers

I saw a bunch of articles in the past few days that mentioned one initiative proposed to help forestall future mass shootings by mentally troubled youths.  The proposal is to raise the age limit required for a youngster to attain before he is allowed to purchase an “assault rifle” on his own.

In their rush to press forward any and all limitations on guns, eager beaver journalists rushed to state capitols all around to get soundbite quotes from politicians.  In red states they tried to buttonhole Republicans, looking for quotes that could be used during electioneering later this year.   In my state, they raced around the Tennessee capitol and got a number of GOP officials to opine on some proposals that they might be willing to consider or at least permit debate on.  I was amused, sort of, by some of the Surrender Caucus saying their usual weaselly things.

I laughed out loud, though, at one passage.  This is from an article in the dead tree pulp edition of the Memphis Commercial Appeal that soiled my driveway this morning.   I did not check, but since it is probably behind their paywall, I transcribed by favorite section below.  The article has a byline by Joel Ebert of the USA Today Network.

House Speaker Beth Harwell said she was unfamiliar with the issue regarding bump stocks and wanted to study it further before reaching a decision.   “I’m certainly, with the President of the United States supporting it, it certainly makes it high profile and gives it credibility.  I’d have to study the issue a little bit more” she said.

Harwell declined to answer a question about raising the age to buy assault weapons, noting that she recently purchased one for her son.   “When that’s the only thing he wants for Christmas, what do you do, right?” she rhetorically asked.

Har har har har, hoo hoo hoo.   Journalists want to raise the age for her son to purchase the weapon she just gave him for Christmas.   Of course; this is a great answer.   It is already really hard to find good Christmas gifts for teenage sons, so, if they cannot buy the assault rifle they want, it simply goes under the Christmas tree.  Win-win!

Representative Harwell is running for governor of Tennessee.  This just makes me even more inclined favorably to her candidacy than before.   I don’t know her sons’ ages, but I have no doubt that Tennessee is a more safe place because they are armed.