Watercooler 09/01/16; Can't grab the guns go for the ammunition; Just how difficult is it for government to obey the law ?; Even city governments go berserk


Illinois Lawmakers Want Serial Numbers On Bullets

This is one of the most insane pieces of gun legislation to come down the pike in a while, and it demonstrates just how innumerate politicians and the people that advise them on policy can be.


Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, tells WGN the serial numbers will be a way to address the violence epidemic in the city. With Harper’s proposal, every bullet sold in Illinois would require a serial number to be stamped on it by ammunition makers.

Harper says with the serial number, shootings would go down because the illegally acquired ammunition would be easier to track.


Ok lets look at this so we can see why this is a “Lets Lock People Up So We Can Say We Did Something” proposal and why it will likely get innocent people convicted.

First there are over 10 billion bullets manufactured in the U.S. Annually  : The Marketplace

Second there’s approximately 8,000 deaths from criminal shootings : Gun Violence Archive

The first thing you notice is the amount of bullets actually used in crimes or killings in particular is a vanishingly small percentage. Lets say it takes a criminal 10 rounds to do the job that works out to 80,000 bullets out 10,000,000,000 or  0.0001%

Now lets look at where criminals get their guns and bullets Elsevier Journal of Preventive Medicine Table 2, it turns out criminals buy 2% of their guns from gun stores. What do you know.  Now seeing nothing has been said about how the bullets are marked lets say the method of reading the number on a deformed bullet is 99.99% accurate.

Ok we have our numbers now lets look at what happens when we try and use that serial number in an investigation.

1. The police recover a bullet that is in sufficiently good condition that the number is readable there’s a 99.99% they get the right number


2. We know there is a 2% chance that there is any link between the serial number and the criminal using the gun.

=> ~98% chance the police have a suspect who had nothing to do with the shooting but is now in awkward position of clearing his name.

The above assumes criminals won’t do anything about serial numbers once they know they are there. If you allow that they can reduce the reliability to 70% this reduces the chance that the serial number is pointing at the correct suspect to 1.4%. So for every 100 gun crimes, the police are going to be investigating 98 innocent people.

Think about it, the law isn’t about deterring criminals, it’s about making it so honest gun owners don’t want their name in a database that will have the cops knocking at their door sooner or later.

New Mexico Passes A Law Ending Civil Forfeiture Albuquerque Ignores It.

Talk about government out of control, what do you do when the civil authorities have no respect for the law ?

Albuquerque resident Arlene Harjo, 56, is paying off a loan for a car she doesn’t have, because the city seized it for a crime it readily admits she didn’t commit, under an asset forfeiture program that is supposed to be banned. After her son was pulled over for drunk driving, Harjo became one of roughly a thousand people every year who have their car seized by the city of Albuquerque in a process heavily weighted against the property owner. But unlike the vast majority of those cases, she’s not rolling over. A new lawsuit filed Wednesday in state court by Harjo and the Institute for Justice, a libertarian-leaning public interest law firm, argues the city’s lucrative vehicle seizure program stands in direct contradiction of recently passed state laws and “is driven by a pernicious—and unconstitutional—profit incentive” that deprived Harjo of her 14th Amendment due process rights.

Republican New Mexico Gov. Susan Martinez signed a bill into law last year essentially ending civil asset forfeiture in the state, based largely on critical stories about programs like Albuquerque’s. Under civil asset forfeiture laws, law enforcement can seize property without ever convicting, or even charging, the owner with a crime. New Mexico’s reforms require a criminal conviction to seize property.



I wish Ms. Harjo the best with her suit, but somehow I doubt victory will bring change when a city government has decided to ignore the law of the land.

What Do You Do When Your City Goes Insane ?

In an election year, with nearly constant squawking from presidential candidates about well-paying jobs, the mayor of Palo Alto has an unusual message for some of the cash-flush tech companies based here: Go away. Please.

The mayor is considering enforcing an ordnance that bans firms whose primary business is R&D including software development. For those not familiar with Palo Alto the city is where the Graphical User Interface, Laser Printers, Ethernet, The Mouse. Currently the downtown is mostly tech firms with Palantir technologies occupying a full 12% of the business district, Tesla, SAP, and VMWare are included as well.

Have to wonder if the mayor’s next trick is requesting a missile strike on the town, which neatly brings us to the quote of the day.

Quote Of The Day

Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.
–Thomas Paine

Quiz: What is your political Typology ?

This is not that 4 quadrant smallest political quiz you may have seen.  It’s a somewhat more complex quiz from PEW. The quiz classifies people into 4 left leaning groups, 3 conservative leaning groups, and the who cares.

I rated Steadfast Conservative, we compose 12% of the population, See where you fit, but don’t take it too seriously. Hey like most things from my point of view it leans left.


Drink up That’s it for the Watercooler today. As always it’s an open thread


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