Sunday, January 20, 2013

Please Don't Eat the Daisies

If you're old enough, or watched enough TV movies, you'll recognize that name.  Originally a book by humorist Jean Kerr, the book's success led first to a Doris Day movie and later a TV sitcom.  The reason I'm bringing it up is not the plot, it's the idea: the backbone of the story was something many of us felt while raising our kids.  You had to be that specific about everything your kids could and could not do and you had to tell them explicitly.  You wouldn't even think of telling them not to eat the flowers, and the next thing you know, they'd have a mouth full of daisies - or, in our case, hibiscus.

Why is this relevant?  This the perfect description of our legal system today.  I'm thinking specifically about the gun control laws, but it works for everything.  Today, legislators would not only tell you not to eat the daisies, they'd define what a daisy was.  The idea is that if they're specific enough they can't get anything wrong.  We can see how well this works all around us.   

Here's an example that has been talked about both in comments here and and at other places.  New York's new laws refer to magazines and require the gun manufacturers to retool so that all standard magazines in all the modern double stack pistols can only have a seven round magazine.  How does that effect an 8-shot revolver?  Is an 8 place moon clip banned?
If you examine the law, there is never a mention of the term "Moon Clip", and the word revolver only occurs in reference to describing people licensed to possess a pistol or revolver.  There is mention of revolving cylinder shotguns being considered assault weapons, but not revolvers. 

Is this a magazine?  Have you ever seen anyone, anywhere who calls a moon clip a magazine?  As I said in comments, the people who wrote this law wouldn't know a moon clip from a Moon Pie if you told them one was edible - but maybe that's too Southern for the NY legislature and isn't fair.  The text of the law is pretty good about the term magazine and doesn't use the word clip at all.  It says 
"Large capacity ammunition feeding device" means a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device, "
I don't think a Moon Clip falls under this description, so I say it's fully legal.  If they had meant to outlaw it, they would have been specific - "please don't eat the daisies".

Of course, I Am Not A Lawyer, nor do I play one on the internet.  I'm some random dood with a blog and opinions that I think are well-based on fact and logic.

Like the previous "Assault Weapon Ban", it's a "scary features ban" but it's also declaring a war on ergonomics.  By outlawing telescoping stocks, they are saying that anyone with one of these scary-looking guns needs to make it fit them alone.  No sharing by a couple that's very different in size.  By outlawing pistol grips, they're just saying they want them to look like grandpa's rifle and not all scary like these new-fangled guns.  You're not allowed to have a barrel shroud to keep from burning your hands while holding the gun, and you're not allowed to have a forward mounted handle to help prevent you from burning your hands. But I'm sure a nice looking wood stock with checkered engraving will be just fine.

For now. 


  1. I wouldn't be surprised to have them determine that a moon clip, or half-moon clips, are "feed strips (circular)".

    Also, one of the other reasons adjustable (as with telescoping) stocks are desirable, is because of differences in clothing: a warm winter jacket, with layered clothing for really cold weather, will make a normally-fitted stock too long.

    Which makes me wonder: will a trigger guard that is large enough for a gloved finger be banned as a "high-capacity" trigger guard? (Don't ask them - they just might do it ;-)

  2. Wow - I'm famous ! (that was my comment you linked to).

    I suspect that whether it was specifically mentioned or not an arrest would ensue, because what cops do it "arrest based on probable cause." If the PC can be justified Qualified Immunity absolves the LEO from consequences for all but the most egregiously improper arrests.

    Once the paperwork and the corpus have been handed over to staff at Central Booking it's the prosecuting attorney's (State's Attorney in FL, or, more likely, an ASA) job to determine what prosecution, if any, will follow. It should be noted that this is also the point where the defendant's "lawyer money meter" starts running.

    Until a court decision is rendered on whether or not a moon clip, not specifically mentioned in statute, is legally an "ammunition feeding device" or "feed strip" arrests will continue based on previous PC. If a court rules it isn't pending prosecutions can be dropped and defendants can appeal to have their arrest(s) expunged (more lawyer money....). Procedures, like laws, vary between jurisdictions, and often those jurisdictions are within a state, so county X can decide it is, and county Y can decide it isn't, and until a higher court rules everything's a crap shoot based on geography and attitude of enforcement.

    If you're getting the idea that government can rule by oppressive economics, you're right.

    Long term, stuff like this is headed to the Supreme Court. Short term, why are you still living in New York? (Not that some other places aren't just as bad, but in some other places the number of Free Citizens approaches critical mass which tends to subdue such anti-citizen efforts.)

  3. They don't know the difference between moon clips and moon pies but they know that moon pies are popular in the South and guns are popular in the South, so yes, moon clips are illegal.