Thursday, April 8, 2021

Hands-Free Laws And Gun Control

In July of last year, my state of Indiana joined a bunch of other states in enacting a "hands free" law regarding cell phone use while driving.


"Beginning July 1, 2020, Indiana law will prohibit drivers holding mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, in their hands while driving to reduce distracted driving and improve safety on Hoosier roadways."

It seems like a reasonable idea on the surface. Who hasn't had someone driving near them swerving around in traffic while clearly trying to text at 70 mph?

The obvious problem is that this law does nothing to stop people from texting or talking while driving. Sure we might look around to make sure a cop doesn't see us but otherwise I see just as many people yakking on the phone or swerving all over while texting as I did before the law. Other distractions like applying make-up, or eating a sammich or fiddling with the radio are still legal more or less. 

What is the point? Why bother?

The point is nothing more complex than the people in power deciding that it is up to them to "fix" a problem, even if their "fix" doesn't work and even if the problem is one of their own creation. With few exceptions, from the presidency down to the local dog catcher, people who take on jobs where they get to rule over others do so because they get off telling other people what to do.

Not texting while driving 75 mph in heavy traffic is simple common sense and you can't legislate common sense. But you can make it illegal and look like you are <doing something>. 

Of course it also creates a whole new class of "crimes" that people can commit and therefore making more and more people "criminals". Eric Garner, the obese black man who died while resisting arrest in New York, was being busted for selling loose cigarettes. Why is it illegal to buy a pack of cigarettes and resell them individually? You can be sure it is mostly because the State isn't getting another cut of the resale.

When there are rules for everything, it inevitably makes breaking those rules almost inevitable. I am sure there are any number of laws I break without even thinking about it every day. If I am going 56 in a 55 MPH zone, I am breaking the law. Who knows how many laws we don't even know about that we break. 

The other aspect to this is that the hands-free laws create another opportunity for people to ignore the law. We already do that when driving, failing to signal, speeding well over the limit, tailgating, driving recklessly. Unless we got caught or cause an accident, we flaunt traffic laws and no one thinks twice about it. I mostly drive out in the country but when I go in town I am often shocked by how fast people are driving. I am not known for being a slow poke behind the wheel but even in Fort Wayne it is not unusual for me to be going 75 in a 65 MPH zone and still get passed by cars that are going 85-90 MPH.

The more laws you create that people are going to ignore, the more comfortable people get with breaking the law. 

Now look at gun control and how this applies. We have lots of gun control laws and it is obvious that many people flaunt them based on the number of felons who shoot each other with guns they are legally prohibited from possessing. It sounds like former Vice President Biden is planning on writing his name, hopefully in ink and not his own feces, later today on new executive orders targeting several categories of firearms. While we don't have the details yet, we do know this: very few people are going to comply. History backs this up.

After Las Vegas, President Trump outlawed "bump stocks" and everyone was supposed to turn them in or destroy them. How many were turned over to the ATF? According to the best guesses, only around 650 were actually turned in and it is estimated that there were between a quarter million and half a million bump stocks in circulation. Even if we use the low number of 250,000 and assume 2,500 were turned in, that is at best a 10% 1% compliance rate and that also means that there are hundreds of thousands of people who have what was an illegal bump stock knowing they were "illegal". Bump stocks are a gimmick, I had never even heard of them before Las Vegas. What about something more common?

For example, New Jersey banned "high capacity" magazines, or magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. Since we live in an era of double stack magazines, almost every handgun other than micro-compact pistols and old style 1911s hold well over 10 rounds and even some micro-compacts like the Springfield Armory Hellcat and the new Smith & Wesson Shield Plus hold up to 13 rounds. In a state like Jersey with over a million gun owners, that translates to millions and millions of magazines that are illegal as of 2018. This isn't a slap on  the wrist law like hands-free driving, according to NJ.com "Possession of a large-capacity magazine gun can result in up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.". It is a felony, not a misdemeanor and that has ramifications for your employment prospects. Prison time makes this no laughing matter but that same report also states:

A New Jersey State Police spokesman said not a single large-capacity magazine has been turned in since the law went into effect nearly nine months ago. Residents can also bring them to their local police departments.

That means people in Jersey are risking serious prison time by refusing to turn in their magazines but they still are refusing and there is nothing cops can do about it. Meanwhile it is creating a culture of ignoring the law. To add to my amusement, if these new gun control measures are enacted it will mean that there will no longer be any reason to not go all out and ignore most of the gun control laws. As of today people use pistol braces instead of regular stocks as a compromise but if you can't even use pistol braces, then why not throw a regular stock on your AR pistol and perhaps a vertical foregrip while you are at it. Maybe saw off the barrel of your shotgun. Hells bells, if you are going to break the law and tens of millions of people are going to, might as well go all out. If ammo wasn't so expensive we might see a lot of people doing a little machining at home to make their pew - pew - pew go pewpewpewpew.

Something else is very different today. Even compared to a few years ago, people on /ourside/ are far more absolutist about the 2nd Amendment today. People are starting to realize things are getting close to the endgame and that means that compliance will be far lower than it might have been a decade or two ago.

Eventually the required false flag shooting with the right circumstances (White male Trump supporter using an AR-15 shooting enough people to get noticed) will go as scheduled and even more serious gun control  will go nationwide via legislation. Biden promised this and the gun grabber groups who supported him are getting very impatient. The key pieces that will get the most attention will be a ban on "assault weapons" and a ban on "high capacity" magazines. How is that going to go? If people in New Jersey of all places refuse to turn in their magazines, what do you think people in Iowa and Idaho are going to do?

I would conservatively estimate that the average AR-15 owners has at least five 30 round magazines per AR and there are probably (at a very conservative minimum) 20 million ARs in this country so that means 100 million 30 round magazines. For AR-15s most people use Magpul PMAGs and those are cheap and reliable, under $15 most places. Likewise even the guy who has a semi-auto pistol for self-defense probably has 3-4 magazines for each pistol and there are hundreds of millions of semi-auto handguns in America so that means as many as half a billion "high capacity" magazines. Again there will not be significant compliance with a law banning those. 

These gun control laws won't actually do anything to curb gun violence but they will make criminals out of tens or hundreds of millions of otherwise law abiding Americans. It will also condition even more Americans to consider the laws of the land to be mere suggestions or worse a joke. Most people understand that a felony is a serious matter but what the Left is proposing will make tens of millions of Americans into felons. Are we going to really start locking up middle class suburban accountants because they didn't turn in their 15 round magazine for their Glock?

Making laws you can't enforce and that people simply ignore is how you create a general disdain for the law in the eyes of the people. Is that really the way we want to go? Apparently it is for many on the American Left. I wonder if they will like what this leads to? 

Mass graves don't care who ends up in them.


4 comments:

  1. "Even if we use the low number of 250,000 and assume 2,500 were turned in, that is at best a 10% compliance rate ..."

    Arthur, I really hate to do the Engineer Jim thing again, but 2500 is 1% of 250,000, not 10%.

    Aside from that, I'm in complete agreement.

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    1. Corrected, I shouldn't blog late at night. Or do any math whatsoever.

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  2. I have no proof, but my gut instinct says the whole "hands free" thing was pushed by insurance companies. Lots of idiots crashing = lots of insurance payouts, and those guys much prefer their money coming in, and do their best to hold on the every penny.
    Then L.E./.gov realized THEY could get in on the action and bolster their revenue, so this will NEVER go away. When that same type of law went into effect in CA some 5 years ago, my wife got popped by a CHP for it, the penalty was something like $90, but once all the "administrative fees" were tacked on, that ticket cost me $400. The most expensive phone call ever!

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    1. I am sure that is true, I don't think any legislation gets passed that doesn't benefit some monied interests. The cops around here have their hands full just issuing speeding tickets.

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