On Selling Loosies –

Can we do away with the idea that ‘selling loosies’ is just some minor violation of a city ordinances

The truth is much more complex than that. First and foremost, the people selling ‘loosies’ often place themselves in front of retail stores. They cost those stores customers. Customer who might go in and purchase other items besides just a pack of smokes. So between the revenue lost from selling singletons and the impulse purchases, it can be a hardship on stores. And let’s be realistic, it ain’t cheap to run a business in New York City.

How bad is it ? I don’t know. I did find a site that helps determine what permits or licenses apply

NYC Tax and Permits

I had to include the cigarette vending machine — probably doesn’t apply but the site is kinda wonky about the questions asked. — but that is 10 or 11 requirements someone selling a ‘loosie’ fails to comply with. I  wonder how much money the city, state and federal government looses every year to unreported income. How many people aren’t helped because the tax dollars aren’t to run the shelters, feed the homeless, or keep a medical clinic open. And how many people with unreported income are still getting welfare benefits that could be used to help the lives of others?

I wonder how many times the courts are clogged with low level arrests like this instead of dealing with aggravated assaults, rapes, murders; think of the number of hours dedicated to stopping people from this type of  crime.

And that doesn’t even address federal law either.

 

FDA Flyer and page

What a minute ! It’s against federal law to sell ‘loosies’? yep, appears so. Now again, I don’t agree with the laws in place, but as we gun owners are so often reminded; we have recourse to change the law without resorting to violence. This is nanny state government at it’s most inane; we pass laws that have good intentions (we will make you be healthy) and forget those laws are enforced with violence as the ultimate resort.

Guess it just chaps me to see this issue downplayed. It isn’t a simple traffic violation — running a stop sign in the middle of the night when no one else is around — it is an economic crime. One personally I don’t think should be on the books, maybe this will help drive a few more people into the libertarian/conservative ‘small government’ camp.

Please join the discussion.

Same Story, Two Different Verses

First off we have a department taking action (thankfully) about an excessive force situation.

Back in June, Officer Jesus Martinez was caught on camera by a witness straddling and handcuffing a panhandler who was face down on the ground.

Martinez was seen roughing up the man, and later told the department that he had to use pepper spray because the man was resisting arrest.

Police say in the video it’s clear that the man is in extreme pain. A second witness told police that Martinez tackled the panhandler after they exchanged words.

An investigation by Internal Affairs found that Martinez used unnecessary and/or inappropriate force. He was arrested and charged with Official Oppression, which is a Class A Misdemeanor.

Martinez was also fired from the department, where he had worked since 2006

 

Of course not mentioned is what has happened to other people in the city since June. I applaud the city of Dallas for taking steps to right the wrong. But I do have to ask the antis “Do you think the police would be LESS violence, LESS brutal if the people were unarmed?”

I don’t think so.

Next up we have news from my home town

ARLINGTON – The Arlington Police Department has opened an internal, criminal investigation into the possible illegal sale of accident reports to lawyers and injury clinics.

One department employee has been placed on leave as allegations swirl about an illegal business-solicitation ring.

Yep, seems some ‘unnamed employee’ was providing attorneys and medical clinics with information they shouldn’t have.

I also applaud the city for acting on this. Given the time frame, this really is acting fast on information. Still makes you wonder what other information has been compromised, what other data has been passed on to unscrupulous people?

So I’ll ask the antis “Do you think the police would be LESS corrupt if the people were unarmed?”

This types of problems are not unique to America, they are not unique to this time and place. Time and time again we’ve seen that basic human nature has not changed, not in this country and not in the thousands of years of documented human history. These are just two of the many examples of why the average person should not be disarmed. There has to be a final check on the abuse of power; that check has to stay in the hands of the individuals.

 

Please join the conversation.

I voted…..and for Prop 1 I Voted NO

Texas makes it fairly easy to vote early; the polls are even open on Sunday. So after church, I stopped by and cast my vote.
As usual, I voted for those I believe will support a small government. Or at least not growing it as fast as possible.

On the ballot is a state-wide Proposition

“The constitutional amendment providing for the use and dedication of certain money transferred to the state highway fund to assist in the completion of transportation construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation projects, not to include toll roads.”

Let’s look at what the Proposition does and then I’ll explain why I voted against it.

The additional transportation money would come from directing a portion of the state’s annual oil and gas production tax collections to the State Highway Fund. Currently, the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) receives 75 percent of the state’s annual oil and gas production tax collections that exceed the amount collected in fiscal year 1987, when it was created. If approved by voters, half of the money currently destined for the ESF would be dedicated to the State Highway Fund. The remaining half would continue to build the unspent balance of the ESF. According to estimates from the Texas Comptroller, if voters approved the Constitutional Amendment $1.7 billion would be transferred in to the State Highway Fund in the first year alone.

Okay….First reason is right there — it takes money that is supposed to be dedicated to the Economic Stabilization or “Rainy Day” Fund and directs it to transportation projects such as roads and bridges.

Second reason;

(c) Not later than the 90th day of each fiscal year, the comptroller of public accounts shall transfer from the general revenue fund to the economic stabilization fund and the state highway fund the sum of the amounts described [prescribed] by Subsections (d) and (e) of this section, to be allocated as provided by Subsections (c-1) and (c-2) of this section. However, if necessary and notwithstanding the allocations prescribed by Subsections (c-1) and (c-2) of this section, the comptroller shall reduce proportionately the amounts described by Subsections (d) and (e) of this section to be transferred and allocated to the economic stabilization fund to prevent the amount in that [the] fund from exceeding the limit in effect for that biennium under Subsection (g) of this section.Revenue transferred to the state highway fund under this subsection may be used only for constructing, maintaining, and acquiring rights-of-way for public roadways other than toll roads.

Breaking down the politician weasel wording; Each legislative session the politicians would vote for a ‘floor’ on how little money has to stay in the Rainy Day fund and then split any money (remaining  above and beyond that) and new money into the Rainy Day fund and the State Highway fund.

So letting the politicians decide how much we should keep in the rainy day fund is a bad thing (more on this later). Related to this is the tendency of politicians to vote against appropriating the necessary amount of money for the important projects and then use other money to prop it up.
Sorry folks, if the State Highway fund isn’t getting enough money; the answer is simple; either vote for more taxes or stop spending money wastefully.

 

Lastly,

The constitutional amendment would provide significant progress in addressing the state’s unmet transportation needs by providing $1.7 billion in the first year alone. However, this amendment alone does not “solve” Texas’ transportation funding challenge. Experts say Texas has at least $5 billion in unmet transportation needs each year. This measure is expected to provide $1.7 billion annually to address these transportation needs.

Yeah, won’t come anywhere close to solving the problem but it would siphon even more money off from the Rainy Day fund. Yes, this is the final problem — the Rainy Day fund is a political slush fund that politicians tap on a regular basis and it needs to stop. NOW.

I feel we need to vote against every transfer of money out of that account. I think we need to hold politicians accountable for its depletion. Our recent history in the last 5 to 10 years shows how rocky the economy can be. We need to be prepared, as individuals and as a polity, to weather uncertain or hard times.

So, that is why I voted against it.

What do you folks think; would you vote for or against?

 

Still Less Than A CHL

Mike Norman, opinion writer at the Star-Telegram, is whining about the Voter ID law. If anyone has been following the law in the media, you know it has been a confusing tale. One court strikes it down, another re-instates it. It’s been going back and forth at the legal equivalent of a ping pong match.

In fact, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi found the requirements “draconian” and ruled last week that the voter ID law passed by the Legislature in 2011 discriminated against African-American and Hispanic voters.

And, according to the evidence in a nine-day trial, that’s what the Legislature wanted.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals brushed those findings aside — didn’t even address them — on Tuesday in ruling that because voting is just days away, the state should be allowed to enforce its voter ID rules as planned.

And to be frank, I am very conflicted on whether or not I want the courts to strike this down.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I think having to show ID is a good idea. This is a right that only exists because a person is a member of the polity; so showing proof of that is not violating a fundamental right.

Where I get my confusion is how we, gun owners and pro-rights supporters, could use the case.

 

It’s not hard to get the proper ID, proponents say. But evidence showed that for hundreds of thousands of Texans — disproportionately, African-Americans and Hispanics who are poor — it is difficult.

For them, the travel time to the nearest Department of Public Safety office to get a free ID card is 90 minutes or more. When they get there, they must have the proper documentation, which typically includes a certified copy of their birth certificate.

If they were born in Texas and can make an in-person visit to the proper records office and know how to ask for it, they can get a birth certificate for the cut rate of $2 or $3.

If they need to get it by mail, need to correct errors in their certificate, were not registered at birth or need a certificate from another state, the cost is at least $22 or as much as $47.

Those costs led the judge to declare the new voter ID law an unconstitutional poll tax, although that was not the primary focus of the trial.

Emphasis mine in the above paragraph. I looked up Taxi cab rates in the Dallas Fort Worth area and assumed about 60 miles travel in 90 minutes round trip. At $2.25 for initial charge and $1.80 per mile; that works out to about $110. Add in the $3 charge in person cost to get a Birth Certificate and round up to about $115 dollars.

Still less than the basic costs of a Concealed Handgun License at $140. Plus the $10 for the fingerprints, something the Voter ID does not require. Plus the $10 or so for Photos. Plus the $35 to $150 dollars for the class, Plus the $5 Proficiency Test fee. Even if we double the costs for the taxi instead of bus fare or getting a friend to take the person to get their birth certificate — it still is less burdensome than getting a Concealed Handgun License. And let’s not forget that each and every applicant for a CHL has to have a valid form of photo identification already !!!!!!

 

In fact, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi found the requirements “draconian” and ruled last week that the voter ID law passed by the Legislature in 2011 discriminated against African-American and Hispanic voters.

Hence my dilemma. If it is based on cost and burden; it should be clear that having to get a license to carry in public would have a greater impact on African-American and Hispanic voters. But of course that assume the judge trying the case would apply the law in a logical, rational and consistent basis. Most of the time I haven’t seen that happen when we are talking about restrictions on 2nd Amendment issues.

 

I think that the legislation will get around, eventually, to making Open Carry legal with a license. Then it is a short stride from there (huge hurdle but small step) to Constitutional Carry. So I’m not putting too much hope on the courts forcing the Legislation to act.

So how do the 3 or 4 people still reading this feel? Should we require a photo id for voting? Do you support the courts striking down or keeping the Voter ID law?

Importance of Communicating

Wow…..this video is a little tough to watch because it a.) shows the shooting, b.) shows a cop who shots very quickly and c.) illustrates the dangers we face, especially those of us who carry.

 

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First, I’m not saying the victim, the driver, did anything wrong. Definitely could have, should have done one very important thing much better — communicate to the officer. Letting the officer know “My license is in my wallet which is on the seat/in the console/etc” might have prevented this. NOT saying he is at fault though.

 

I understand how much stress is involved in being a cop; I want to make the process as stress free as possible so I don’t make any sudden moves. I try not to do anything that could be misinterpreted and IF I think there is a chance, I’m going to inform the officer before hand. Yes, I’m speaking from experience. I have something of a lead foot; been stopped several times for speed violations. Deserved them so I’m not complaining. I just recognize especially as someone with a Concealed Handgun License the factors involved in a traffic stop. I think people can get conflicted by the “don’t say anything to the cops” mentality and the desire not to give too much information to the police. I don’t advocate saying anything to the police other than what you are doing or better – what you are going to do before you do it.
Don’t explain anything you don’t have to, don’t volunteer information unrelated to the exact action you are doing or need to explain regarding the interaction.

I really believe this video is a great anecdote that shows how too many officers view the people they are sworn to protect — as enemies out to kill them. Not every person they encounter is out to kill them. This guy was just following the command as fast as he could. Instead of interpreting that behavior as it was; the officer saw it completely differently. I’ve talked about this often enough here, I don’t think I need to dwell on it too much more.

It happens and will continue to happen until we make departments and officers change.

 

Please join the discussion.

 

T.A.B.C. Withdraws Alcohol/Gun Show Proposal

It’s a short notice on their website

TABC Staff Recommends Withdrawing Proposed Gun Show Amendments.

The proposed amendments to TABC Administrative Rule 36.1 (Possession and Sale of Firearms on Licensed Premises) are being placed on the agenda for the September 23, 2014, Meeting of the Commissioners. The Commission Staff is recommending that the proposed amendments be withdrawn. The decision on what action to take will be made by the Commissioners. If the Commissioners vote to withdraw the proposed amendments, the current rule will remain in place.

Other sites do have a little more coverage of the issue though.

Staff at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has recommended withdrawing last month’s proposal at the panel’s next meeting on Tuesday.

Alcohol sales would have come with strict conditions, such as banning the sale of live ammunition, a requirement that firearms be disabled and not allowing a buyer to walk out with their weapon.

It was, in my opinion, a combination of the banning the sale of live ammunition and preventing a buyer from walking out with his/her purchase that was the main sticking point.

Beck said the rule was drafted to address the Dallas Safari Club’s annual convention, a massive event that draws up to 50,000 people that is mostly designed as an exhibit and may include only a few booths with weapons.

While it may have been designed to address the Safari Club’s convention; it would have hit dozens of other events like the Friends of the NRA banquets or even my gun club’s Annual Banquet. These events are often either great fund raisers or opportunities to increase membership. This was not a ‘gun friendly’ proposal.

 

 (f)   A location that has a license or permit authorizing the on-premises consumption of alcoholic beverages may only allow a gun or firearms show or display at the location if:
   (1)   the location is owned or leased by a governmental entity or nonprofit civic, religious, charitable, fraternal, or veterans’ organization;
   (2)   the location is used for a gun or firearms show or display only on an occasional basis; and
   (3)   a written agreement between the operator of the show or display and the permittee or licensee is filed at the commission’s district office and approved by the commission 30 days prior to the gun or firearms show or display and the agreement includes the following:

If nothing else, this section was worth defeating because it greatly limited where gun shows could be held.

Great job folks, I do have to mention the spin put on this by the state.

The commission asked for public feedback and hundreds of responses poured in from all sides.

“It was for the most part negative,” agency spokeswoman Carolyn Beck said Friday. “They were either against it because they didn’t think alcohol and guns should mix, or there was feedback against the restrictions.”

Yeah……..notice Ms. Beck ‘casually’ lumped those two very different reactions together. I’m betting there were many more comments against the restrictions then anything else.

 

Think All Felonies Are the Same?

A Georgetown teenager is facing a felony charge after police say he rubbed his private parts on a customer’s pizza.

Austin Michael Symonds 18, is charged with one count of tampering with a consumer product.

According to the felony complaint, a customer called in an order to Papa Murphy’s on September 2nd. When he walked in that’s when he saw Symonds rubbing his testicles on the family sized pizza he ordered.

The customer told police he asked Symonds how old he was.

“18,” Symonds said.

“So you are old enough to know better than to put your balls on someone’s pizza,” the customer said.

Symonds apologized to the customer. He told his manager that he did it because the customer called in the order right before closing.

 

Disgusting and wrong in so many ways but a felony? Seriously this is insane folks.

I am glad he was fired. I’m glad there were criminal charges filed. Hopefully, but doubt it will, make others think twice before doing something stupid like this. This may seem like a minor issue isolated to a single case but it is a common practice to charge people with the highest crime possible instead of something more appropriate like criminal mischief.

This could ruin the kids life for a very long time.

The teen told detectives he would have probably given the pizza to the customer if he hadn’t been caught. Symonds was released from the Williamson County Jail after posting bond. If convicted of the felony he faces between two and 20 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000.

He faces two to twenty years in prison for a imbecilic act. He faces the lose of many of his rights; including the right to keep and bear arms. I’m not saying it was a harmless act but is it really worth a felony ?

 

Please join the discussion.