OSD 42: Dude, where's my SCAR?

One of our recurring themes, as most of you have noticed by now, is "if you want to spread gun rights, just make more gun owners". How do you make more gun owners? Get more people familiar with guns. How do you get more people familiar with guns? Make gun content that spreads. How do you do that? Social media.

That's why another of our mantras has been that the existence of the internet is one of the most important advances for gun rights in modern history. The internet (to assign agency to a complex adaptive system for a second) wants only one thing: to spread information. And everything it touches starts to take on its properties. Viral. Exponentially spreadable. Self-reinforcing. Hard to stop. Etc etc. All that fun cypherpunk stuff.

Even physical goods that the internet touches start to take on the properties of software. The internet blurs the lines between software and physical reality, because mere knowledge about a thing, if you squint hard enough, fractionally is the thing.

Say 0 is "I don't possess x" and 1 is "I possess x". We think of that as binary, but is it? If you know all about a thing and how to make it and how it works and who to talk to about it and what's cool about it and why you should want it … that doesn't put you at 1, but it certainly doesn't leave you at 0 either. Just having that information gives you, say, 40% of the experience of actually possessing x. So you're at 0.4. Spreading information is like a partial way of spreading x itself. At internet scale.

(To really abuse this analogy, the internet's scale means that spreading information can, in a way, be more powerful than spreading x. Suppose having the information puts people at 0.1, versus the solid 1.0 of possessing x itself. So having the information is one-tenth as good. But if ten times as many people can get the information, then you still come out even. If a thousand, or a million, times as many people can get the information, you come out ahead. Information is powerful, and tends to turn into physical results.)

So, that's cool. Everybody intuits that this is happening with guns, even if they can't articulate it. For some (e.g. probably you, if you're reading this) that's exciting.

OSD co-founder Chuck Rossi was on Jim Fuller's Guns, Guitars, and Freedom podcast this week talking about this stuff. Chuck was a Facebook engineering director for 11 years (side note for you tech folks: he did really cool work on release engineering in that time), and was the company's quasi-official gun expert. For his last two years there, he focused exclusively on gun content policy, working to make it predictable for users. Doing that on a hot-button issue at 2-billion-user scale is hairy, and Chuck shares lots of behind-the-scenes details with Jim & Co. Check it out.

And by the way, if you ever have a Facebook or Instagram account get taken down for gun content even though it's complying with the rules (it happens a lot!), Chuck is your guy. He recovered an account for @coolguysurplus just this week, and does that kind of stuff all the time. If you get unjustifiably banned for gun stuff, you can reach Chuck on Facebook or by hitting up OSD on Twitter or Instagram. Just send the URL of the page that got taken down and any background on what happened, and we can try to help.

Make it a great week.

This week's links

Ahoy - Glock
Speaking of gun stuff and social media, check out this new Ahoy video. Linking the reddit thread instead of the video directly, because it got posted to /r/videos, a mainstream sub, and blew right the hell up. Read the thread. People are extremely open to positive-light, opinion-free gun stuff. Just be cool, make good stuff, and they'll come to you.

Bill introduced to repeal un-NFA SBRs
Likely won't go anywhere, but it doesn't have to. It's about shifting the Overton window. Twenty years ago, nobody was talking about NFA reform. Today it's mainstream gun rights stuff, and has a symbolic bill in Congress. Tomorrow…

The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of the Tin Foil Hat Gun Prepper
This piece by our own BJ Campbell blew up again this week after a tweet from Rep. Thomas Massie. Do you like math? Do you like guns? Then you'll like this.

Overview of oral arguments in NYSRPA v. City of New York
Josh Blackman with a breakdown of the highlights from oral arguments this week. (Audio of oral args here.) If the justices decide this case is moot, there are six other 2A cases cocked and locked, fully briefed and ready for them to grant cert on.

@rob99711 took over our 2A court case database
Speaking of 2A cases, Twitter legal eagle @rob99711 created this Airtable database of every live 2A case in the country, from the state and district courts all the way up to the Supreme Court. He keeps it updated constantly, and there's absolutely nothing like it anywhere else on the internet.

We liked it so much that we asked if we could use it to replace our own court case database. He said yes! So this is now the One Database To Rule Them All™. Bookmark it. (Also, follow @rob99711 on Twitter if you're into this stuff. Nobody's on top of it like him.)

"Man the gun culture is so awesome these days."
Some perspective from a redditor. In a lot of ways, modern gun culture is unprecedented. Stay frosty, but on many fronts we've made insane progress.

"This piece is a well-executed example of a smart strategy that gun control groups have been running for a few years. We call it 'should dressed up as is'. Let’s break it down."
Twitter thread from us analyzing the clever persuasion technique in a gun control piece from this week's New Yorker.

Also on Twitter this week, we asked @Everytown if they'd be up for a tweet series where we each steelman the other group's ideas.
Steelmanning your opponent's ideas is a mark of intellectual rigor. We're up for it. Not sure why they haven't responded, it would be fun 🤷‍♂️

NYT survey methodology uncovers revealed preferences in each party
For non-impeachment-related issues, Republicans rate gun rights as their #1 priority. For Democrats, gun control is only #4. (And that's UBCs. AWBs are down at #8). Skin in the game matters.

BJ Campbell points out an interesting domain-specific opinion shift
"The rate of serious side effect or death from the HPV vaccine is 3.4/100k.

CDC: the HPV vaccine is safe and we should use it.

The 2018 US firearm homicide rate is 3.14/100k.

CDC: there's a firearm homicide epidemic."

HK just launched real-deal semi-auto MP5s
*tango down intensifies*