Gabbing About Guns with Texas Joe – 049

Direct mp3 download.

Link to episode 49 on Libsyn.

Today’s guest is Texas Joe from the Knitting Insurgency Circle. While we could have talked about his homestead for quite sometime, today we decided to talk about firearms. Joe is highly knowledgeable when it comes to firearms being a licensed trainer and doing some work in the private security field. We discussed a lot of the basics when it comes to getting into firearms and why homesteaders (and everyone) should be able to defend themselves.

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Link to show notes for episode 48 with Nicole Parks.

Flagging Red Flags

For a moment, pretend you’re back in high school: a few years of your life riddled with teenage angst, whirling hormones and more concern about who is or isn’t talking to you than anything else. Undoubtedly, no matter what crowd you ran in, there was some amount of jostling for rank, and ostracization from other groups. It is the nature of the age. There was also a fair bit of bullying, maybe some name calling, and probably some empty threats along the lines of “I’m going to kill you.” Even after Columbine, these threats weren’t taken as actual threats of death, just maybe some violence or, as more likely than not, as an expression of extreme anger. Cue today’s high school climate and a phrase like “I’m going to kill you,” will see you suspended and receiving psychiatric care. And in California, you might even lose any firearm permits you have and be forced to turn in any firearms you own.

A while back, I mentioned how unsafe the NY SAFE Act was; how it discourages people from seeking mental counseling as it allows doctors (or any number of professional health professionals) the ability to inform the police department that the patient is a potential danger to themselves or others around them. In turn, the police then add the patient to a state database and revoke any firearm permits or licenses they may have – as well as any weapons they may have. Well, a few days ago, the California State Assembly advanced a bill that would expand the list of individuals able to “red flag” a “dangerous” gun owner to include employers, co-workers, and college and high school staff at a school the individual in question attended in the last six months. Previously in California, an individual could be red flagged by roommates, family members and law enforcement officers.

redflagThis might not seem like a big deal, but think about how big and how quickly the list of red flaggers grew. It went from roommates, family, and law enforcement officers (LEOs) to include an entire high school staff. And let’s face it, when you start to include school faculty like guidance counselors and teachers, you are essentially including the students. In today’s public school climate of “microaggressions” and constant appeals to authority to rectify any slightly questionable situations, this is a very dangerous movement. Consider that I feel threatened by you for looking at me angrily in PE class, and maybe I think you pitched the kickball too hard, well now I can go to any employee of the school and report you. That may not seem like much – there is a big gap between reporting a student and confiscating firearms, but let’s look at history and see how quickly these gaps are bridged when the public psyche becomes wrapped into irrational fervor.

Let those witches hang!

Let’s look to the Salem Witch Trials, or The Red Scare. Both of those instances where ignited by false accusations which then led to fear in the public psyche which then led to unfair trials and death or imprisonment for those accused. I’m not sure anyone would look back at the Salem Witch Trials and proclaim they were justified. And while the Red Scare might have a few who still think McCarthy was a swell guy, the vast majority of us can look at it and recognize that many people’s careers were ruined. We recognize now that these accusations were based on fear and society allowed their fear to dictate their legislation. If those examples are too long ago, look back to the 1980s, and early 1990s.

During the 80s there was something of a scare when a day care was accused of abusing children and participating in Satanic Rituals. Just like our other examples, this fear got caught up in the public mind and soon day cares across the US where being accused of abusing children, some adults went to jail (later some convictions were overturned), but a good number had their lives ruined, all because a mother with schizophrenia made a false allegation, investigators latched on, the children were manipulated, and the public cried out. We can look at this and believe that maybe one day care in America could allow something like this to happen, but it became wide spread, and we failed to use our logical minds to stop the non-sense. Instead we allowed fear to rule.

This is exactly what is going to happen in California. As soon as students recognize that Redneck Bobby, who smells like cow manure and is repeating tenth grade for the second time and lives a lifestyle that is scary or unagreeable to them will have to change his lifestyle if he loses his firearms because the counselors or teachers see Redneck Bobby as “dangerous,” students will jump, consciously or not. This is extremely problematic and it is exactly the way you can legislate a lifestyle out of existence. Of course, California says they will only keep firearms for six to twelve months, but consider that the individual in question will have to pass some mental battery that probably isn’t necessary. Also consider how easy it is to get your assets back after faulty civil asset forfeiture. (It’s not going to happen!)

Don’t forget that it doesn’t just have to be students that can report another student to a teacher, it can be a teacher initiating the report. I wish we could say that no teacher would stoop to using something like these red flag laws to target a student for any given reason, but we all know we cannot, again, consciously or not. Rumors are just as easily spread through the faculty room as the cafeteria, and once rumors start flying, the truth can become very difficult to ascertain, especially when it’s an adults belief against that of a students.

In very few situations will these red flag laws help anyone. If there is any student that is set on committing an act of violence, they will not be hindered by something like this. Rather, this will probably make them even angrier and more apt to commit violence. And the final blow? Imagine how the atmosphere of a school will change once one student get’s flagged. An already angst ridden building will be filled with students with even more disdain for teachers and fellow classmates, there will be a complete lack of trust for anyone, a constant looking over the shoulder, a forced secrecy lest something you say be taken the wrong way. These red flag laws are absolutely abhorrent, and it is only a matter of time before the state starts using these red flag laws to inhibit a citizen’s other natural rights.

Considering Mental Health, the Second Amendment and New York’s SAFE Act

When something horrible happens in our personal lives, we grieve, and eventually we come around to make decisions in an attempt to modify future behavior, so naturally when tragedy strikes the nation, we look to our politicians to make decisions that will modify national behavior. There are a number of issues with this decision making process, and a number of different angles to approach it from.

Firstly, we must consider the state of our collective conscious when we make decisions regarding a constitutional amendment. The immediate days after a tragedy – let’s say a mass school shooting – everyone is politicized; everyone has an opinion; they are boisterous and short sighted. When we are emotionally charged, our judgement clouds, and we can become irrational without even realizing it. This is a normal part of the grieving process, but when we turn to politicians after something like Parkland, we run the risk of having our emotions taken advantage of by politicians who’s livelihood requires re-election. Just like you, politicians want to keep their jobs; they want to keep their income, and that means pleasing their constituents. Unfortunately, in times of collective social outcry when a seeming mob-mentality rules, pleasing constituents isn’t always best for everyone. If we look at knee-jerk reaction legislation, it has not done much to cede the initial cause for legislation, but has eroded some number of personal liberties and given more power to the government. For example, consider 9/11. A once privatized industry – flight security – is now run by the largest governmental agency created since WWII, the TSA. We are patted down, given full body scans, water bottles emptied, shoes and belts removed, minorities targeted. Do these things really make us safer in the skies? Certainly they make us feel safer, but at what cost? The TSA’s annual budget is 7.5 billion dollars. So within two months after a one-off event, the government took a privatized industry, and created a department with a $7.5 billion budget.


Remember Sandy Hook, one of the deadliest school shooting in US history? The days following, there was, of course, much heated debate about gun control and in neighboring New York state, legislation was quickly passed in the form of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE Act) one month after Sandy Hook. It passed, utilizing legislation within the NYS constitution that allows for bills to be expedited by the governor. The NY SAFE Act passed through both houses and received the governors signature in less than two full days. Once the bill passed, it was found to have a number of misguided provisions that called for restrictions that would inadvertently ban some common types of weapons and make some police weapons obsolete. For example, magazines sales were restricted to those that could only contain seven or less rounds – ten round clips were grandfathered in, but could only be loaded with seven rounds. This provision of the bill was later struck down. And more legislation had to be worked through later as the NY SAFE Act made no provision for police firearms. All this at cost to the NY tax payer. All things that should have been worked out prior to passage of the bill.

The NY SAFE Act also requires New Yorkers to re-register guns, and can sometimes be a confusing process as many of these guns have already been registered. When the final provision of the NY SAFE Act went into force at the end of January, 81,000 legal gun owners in NY became felons overnight for failing to register their weapons to NY’s new standards.

The biggest problem with the NY SAFE Act, however, has to do with a requirement of mental health practitioners to report to a state wide database if someone might cause harm to another. This database is then used to revoke permits and seize weapons. It may not seem like much, but this is a huge issue.

The NY SAFE Act may not seem to be invasive, and may even seem to have some “common sense” gun legislation in it, but when we consider it’s implications, it can quickly become quite nefarious and it’s something we must consider when we start to clamor for stricter gun laws and sales. The second amendment grants individuals the right to bear arms, the NY SAFE Act and other legislation would begin to limit these rights based on a soft medical condition.Undoubtedly there are times, when the mental state of an individual should probably preclude them from acquiring a weapon, but this is a very slippery slope.

Further consider the implications of the NY SAFE Act. If an individual reports to a mental health professional, including a physician, psychologist, nurse, or social worker and they deem the individual “is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others” they are required by law to report their findings to county officials who then agree or disagree with the professional’s findings and then put the individual’s name on a state wide registry. Once on the registry, any existing permits are revoked and an individual is no longer able to purchase a weapon; on top of that, any weapons currently owned by the individual are seized by the government until their name is expunged from the list. Ideally, this would keep guns out of the hands of dangerous, mentally unstable individuals, but there is a whole lot of room for things to go sideways. Imagine someone who owns a weapon, but is having some minor depression issues, and wants to seek counseling, would they still seek counseling now that the government could seize their weapons? This provision, without a doubt, jeopardizes mental health.

On top of jeopardizing mental health, consider that we are giving the government the ability to confiscate weapons for a non-criminal offense, we are removing someone’s second amendment right due to their state of mind. Where does this removal of rights stop? Once the government decides an individual is unfit to exercise their second amendment right, how long until the government decides that a person is unfit to practice speaking freely or worshiping freely? Or even voting freely? Is it that far fetched to imagine government requiring a mental health evaluation to acquire a gun permit? Remember, not long ago, the federal government used the IRS to target individuals of dissenting political beliefs; how long before they use the ATF? Do we really trust big government to ascertain an individuals ability to implement their rights afforded by the constitution in a fair and unbiased manner?

Surely, something needs to be done to stem the seemingly endless barrage of school violence, but before we rush into giving the government more power over individuals (that they never give back, mind you) let’s consider the long term and full scope impacts of our decisions. Let’s consider fixing the violence from all ends, including the social side that raises individuals who have such little – or perhaps such vast – self worth that they either can’t, or don’t grasp the immensity of killing innocent children. There are no easy answers, to this problem, but I can assure you, knee jerk solutions will only be rued.

Surely, something needs to be done to stem the seemingly endless barrage of school violence, but before we rush into giving the government more power over individuals (that they never give back, mind you) let’s consider the long term and full scope impacts of our decisions. Let’s consider fixing the violence from all ends, including the social side that raises individuals who have such little – or perhaps such vast – self worth that they either can’t, or don’t grasp the immensity of killing innocent children. There are no easy answers, to this problem, but I can assure you, knee jerk solutions will only be rued.