Thursday, October 16, 2014

I594: Useful Gun Control or Capitalist Plot?

Under Construction 8:41 AM 10/17/2014 -RMF
This post is now out of date. I594 passed amidst dramatic expenditures. It is now the law.
Donations for and against I594  as of 10/16/14 in top graphic bar. Currently I594 has consumed an astonishing $10M of the $81M total contributions for WA election for 2014 to date. . $2.3M of the $9.5M donations for I594 come from New York State. Screenshot graphic from WA PDC. 
Below is the text of the letter I have sent WA PDC compliance officers. I have not received an answer as of yet:
HI PDC Compliance:
The 'WA Alliance for Gun Responsibility' has received a donation of $1M from New York State from EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY ACTION FUNDPresumably, if this were a WA PAC or non-profit or 527, this organization would have to list the donors that made up that $1M contribution. But in this case, an out of state organization has injected $1M into a WA initiative race from some unknown number of donors, none of which the people of WA can possibly know.  How does this conform with WA public disclosure law?
Below the break is the R code snapshot look at the pro I594 contributions to date. Ninety percent of the $8,383,561 pro I594 contributions to date are under $500. This might mean a little more if the sums of the  top ten donation amounts (range $500 : $1M) weren't ~$7M of the $8.3M of contributions.  The top ten donation amounts themselves comes from only 29 unique contributors out of a total of 7,256 unique contributors. The sums of the top ten Contributor names are ~ $6.1M of the $8.3M donations to date. Those $6.1M contributions come only from Washington and New York. Politics is a sport for the rich these days. Looking at the top ten Contributor names on the list below confirms this for I594.

Are these the finances of a coordinated Capitalist Effort?

R code available
[1] 8383561

quantile(as.integer(ALL$Amount), probs = seq(0, 1, 0.10), na.rm = TRUE)
     0%     10%     20%     30%     40%     50%     60%     70%     80%     90%    
      2      25      35      50      50      50     100     100     250     500  

                            Contributor     SUM CONTRIB CONTRIB.UNIQ STATE.UNIQ
1  EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY ACTION FUND 1650000       2            1          1
2                       HANAUER NICOLAS 1335000       4            1          1
3                        BALLMER CONNIE  580000       7            1          1
4                         GATES MELINDA  525000       2            1          1
5                    GATES WILLIAM  III  525000       2            1          1
6                            ALLEN PAUL  500000       1            1          1
7                        BALLMER STEVEN  500000       4            1          1
8                        WYCKOFF ANN P.  376600      11            1          1
9                     HANAUER LENORE M.  105000       3            1          1
10                         HANAUER NICK   50000       1            1          1

[1] 6146600

1  1000000 2000000       2            2          2
2   650000  650000       1            1          1
3   500000 1500000       3            3          1
4   165000  165000       1            1          1
5   125000 1000000       8            2          1
6   100000  100000       1            1          1
7    70000   70000       1            1          1
8    50000  600000      12            5          1
9    30000   30000       1            1          1
10   25000  300000      12           12          1

1  1000000 2000000       2            2          2
2   500000 1500000       3            3          1
3   125000 1000000       8            2          1
4   650000  650000       1            1          1
5    50000  600000      12            5          1
6     1000  302000     302          269          2
7    25000  300000      12           12          1
8     5000  265000      53           47          1
9      500  213000     426          393          2
10   10000  200000      20           19          1

[1] 7030000

[1] 29

[1] 7256

1     WA 6692579    8479         5685       225     1406
2     NY 1681665      14           11         5        9
3     DC    3094       2            2         1        2
4     MA    2050       3            2         2        2
5     CA     806      17           14        12       14
6     AZ     735       5            4         3        3
7     MN     550       9            3         2        2
8     ME     500       2            1         1        1
9     FL     475       5            5         4        5
10    MI     250       1            1         1        1

1            SEATTLE 3420772.4    4252         2944          1      575
2           NEW YORK 1680630.0       6            5          1        4
3           BELLEVUE 1190988.5     351          219          1       39
4           KIRKLAND 1082947.4     240          155          1       37
5          SHORELINE  400815.0     125           70          1       23
6             MEDINA  138039.0      43           31          1        6
7      MERCER ISLAND  123572.0     374          243          1       44
8           ISSAQUAH   55637.5      66           50          1       13
9  BAINBRIDGE ISLAND   31052.0     212          144          1       30
10           WOODWAY   18600.0       8            5          1        1 

A Pre-existing Right?

Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment . We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment , like the First and Fourth Amendment , codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in  DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER June26, 2008.
It has long been discussed/rumored in post-Soviet Russia that websites must be registered with the state if they attract a  specified limit of users. In China, the great firewall is rumored to be in place censoring what citizens can view. Either country has crimes against the state that can be applied to activities that citizens of a  first amendment driven constitutional democracy like the United States would find intolerable. Make no mistake; in any state less friendly to freedom of speech this blogger would likely be spending time in nasty,dark places with concrete walls and drains. Here in United States, the Snowden revelations have let us all know that we are all constantly monitored. But if Justice Scalia is correct about the second amendment being a "pre-existing right" (and Justice Scalia makes a very powerful and historical,legal, and semantic case for such), then we must admit that we do not today treat those who exercise their  second amendment rights with the same respect as the first amendment.

Monitored by the NSA or not, I AM NOT required to register this blog with anyone but Google. Anyone can view this blog and interestingly enough (although this is a local 'microblog' written in my own idiomatic English), Russia and China are in the top ten of countries that read this blog. Russia actually is a distinct second to the U.S. in non-java script pageviews. But if you own a gun in the United States, you are required to register that weapon with the state. The text of I594 increases the scope of this registration. The 18 page text of I594 is worth a read simply because it institutes an entirely new set of laws,regulations, and criminal offenses triggered by the proper/improper purchase or transfer of a firearm.

Reader: Although I can not be certain of the quality of my intelligence, I can tell you that if I faced the possibility of violating such a complex set of laws by simple ownership of this blog, I simply would not write at all. Instead, (like many freedom fighters in repressive countries), I would probably collect weapons in secret and plot revolution in the wilderness. Or perhaps simply emigrate to the United States like my Catholic great-grandfather who escaped eastern Poland and the Russian Tsar by emigrating first to Sweden and then to Wisconsin. If owning a fire-arm is a "pre-existing" right, why are we making it so difficult and treacherous to exercise this right?

The "Registration" of Gun Owners

In an excellent text I recommend to everyone, Edwin Black's "IBM and the Holocaust" documents and prototypes the danger of citizen registration in the modern state. Black, through use of meticulous research, documents how the data analysis software and hardware of its day ("Dehomag Hollerith") enabled the the Third Reich to have near total information and surveillance of its citizenry and those peoples in the path of Nazi conquest. It is no right wing delusion to conclude that in the next great national emergency that state wide databases will be accessed to determine "where the guns" are. Any martial law addendum to collect or outlaw the ownership of weapons would be enabled be database technology. Any one living in the post Snowden era who believes such a possibility is not real is suffering from political and historical delusions.

Another significant issue is the security of a gun registry database. It has long been pointed out by network security experts that "back doors" enabled by NSA are responsible for some of the worst penetrations by state and crime base cyber-terrorists.  But SQL based databases have been subject to hundreds of thousands of "injection" based attacks regardless, an unfortunate amount of them successful into high profile clients like law enforcement, Social  Security administration, retail establishments and investment banks. In light of this history, is it really reasonable to expect that "Washington state patrol electronic database, the department of social and health services electronic database, and with other agencies or resources as appropriate" gun registries as specified by I594 will be secure? Of course not.  Here's 100:1 odds that the North Koreans have already hacked those databases.  Imagine how much a list of all weapons stashed in households across WA would be worth to the narcotics trade? A thoughtful crime syndicate would simply filter on the type of weapon they want in the poorest neighborhood (least security) and hire some thugs to steal them; perhaps reasoning it would unlikely those thefts would be reported. Here is a quote from I594 specifying the gun registries that would be involved in registering firearm transfers/purchases: 
(2)(a) Except as provided in (b) of this subsection, in
determining whether the purchaser meets the requirements of RCW
9.41.040, the chief of police or sheriff, or the designee of either,
shall check with the national crime information center, the Washington
state patrol electronic database, the department of social and health
services electronic database, and with other agencies or resources as
appropriate, to determine whether the applicant is ineligible under
RCW 9.41.040 to possess a firearm.
(b) Once the system is established, a dealer shall use the state
system and national instant criminal background check system, provided
for by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (18 U.S.C. Sec. 921
et seq.), to make criminal background checks of applicants to purchase
firearms. However, a chief of police or sheriff, or a designee of
either, shall continue to check the department of social and health
services' electronic database and with other agencies or resources as
appropriate, to determine whether applicants are ineligible under RCW
9.41.040 to possess a firearm. 
Here is the WA DOL chart showing existing (pre I594) requirements for firearm purchases and transers in WA state:

Firearms purchase/delivery requirements

Handgun purchase without CPLHandgun purchase with CPLRifle or shotgun purchase with or without CPL
State application to transfer pistol or revolver requiredYesYesNo
Federal form 4473 firearms transaction record by dealerYesYesYes
Local LEA conducts background check, including federal disqualifiers under NICSYesLEA conducts all other background checks except for NICS checkNo
Firearms Dealer conducts NICS for instant check prior to the deliveryNoYesYes
Delivery5-days, or upon approval of the law enforcement agencyUpon notification of approval from NICS centerUpon notification of approval from NICS center


CPL - Concealed Pistol License
LEA – Law Enforcement Agency
NICS – National Instant Criminal Background Check System

Surveillance of its citizenry classically makes the governments and the wealthy elite that control them feel more secure. It allows them to accomplish a number of aims. Many of them useful, but historically many of them for suspect purposes. If you think that government persecution can't happen here, maybe you should talk to a survivor of WWII Japanese internment camps in the U.S. Or the blacklisted labor leaders, politicians, artists, authors and entertainers of the McCarthy era. Or the scientists who helped us defeat the Nazis (like Oppenheimer and Turing) only to have themselves subject to surveillance, persecution and needless prosecution.  That's a small lie I guess. Turing was, after all, a gay Brit who wasn't interned. He was simply forced by his country to engage in a form hormonal sterilization until in desperation he killed himself. That was quite a reward for mind that laid out the future of computing in the 20th century and arguably broke the Nazi codes that helped Britain survive WWII. Fear of its citizenry and loss of control compels weak  and insecure minds that succor to government power to deploy means, often simply because they can.

There is one further problem of no small import; if one does accept the plausibility of any of the arguments on behalf of a strong reading of the Second Amendment, but, nevertheless, rejects them in the name of social prudence and the present -day consequences produced by finicky adherence to earlier understandings, why do we not apply such consequentialist criteria to each and every part of the Bill of Rights? [97] As Ronald Dworkin has argued, what it meant to take rights seriously is that one will honor them even when there is significant social cost in doing so. If protecting freedom of speech, the rights of criminal defendants, or any other parts of the Bill of Rights were always (or even most of the time) clearly cost less to the society as a whole, it would truly be impossible to understand why they would be as controversial as they are. The very fact that there are often significant costs -- criminals going free, oppressed groups having to hear viciously racist speech and so on -- helps to account for the observed fact that those who view themselves as defenders of the Bill of Rights are generally antagonistic to prudential arguments. 
from Sanford Levinson 

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