Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Oregon Recalls Scrapped Following Lack Of Support From Republicans And NRA

Three out of four recall campaigns against Oregon legislators who helped pass universal background checks were scrapped earlier this month, having received zero support from mainstream Republicans and the NRA. A fourth recall is still in progress.

The recalls targeted four left-wing legislators who supported a bill requiring background checks on gun sales and private transfers between individuals. Gov. Kate Brown signed the bill into law on May 11.

Two of the recalls failed because they weren’t able to collect a sufficient number of signatures needed to generate a recall election. A third, against House Majority Leader Rep. Val Hoyle, was abandoned after Hoyle announced she would step down to explore a run for Secretary of State. A recall against Sen. Floyd Prozanski, chief sponsor of the background check bill, is still ongoing.

Organizers of the abandoned recalls blamed the failure on a lack of logistical and financial support from gun groups and Republicans. The state Republican Party reportedly told people not to help the recall efforts and may have deliberately tried to sabotage them. The NRA apparently offered to help but never delivered on the promise.

As one of the organizers told The Oregonian, “Everyone refused to work with us.”

It is unclear why Oregon Republicans were so unwilling to support efforts that would have given them a majority in the legislature. As for the NRA’s no show, one organizer blamed it on the organization’s complete inability to function on a state level. He wrote:

“The NRA response really felt like it was an organization that is just too big to function. I don’t think they have any sort of way to function on a state level. After repeated requests for help, money or even advice their response was purely stalling. Letting me know they would get back to me with help and then providing nothing. It was clear they were wasting our time. The very first conversation they should have said ‘No we are not going to help’ instead of wasting hours of my time.”

After facing little opposition in passing universal background checks in Washington State last year, the gun control lobby said it intends to push similar laws in a number of other states.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul To Push For Guns On Military Bases

Following the latest military shooting in Chattanooga last week, which took the lives of five servicemen, thirty-four members of the military have been shot and killed on US soil since President Obama took office in 2008. Last week’s attack was the fourth mass killing at a military facility in the past six years.

Yet soldiers are still prohibited from carrying guns on military bases, thanks to a twenty three year old policy put in place by President George H. W. Bush. The policy limits those who can carry at military facilities to law enforcement and security personnel.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul announced this week that he is working on a bill that would strike down this policy and finally allow soldiers to defend themselves at bases and recruiting centers.

Earlier this week, Paul said, “One of the weird things is that we have 15-20 states where you can open carry. So everybody can carry, except for the military? I think that’s crazy. The rules that apply to everybody should at least apply to the military.”

Paul also called guns a “great deterrent” and said he would like to make it easier to arm airline pilots as well.

Despite a strong track record of prioritizing gun issues, Paul has had a rocky relationship with the NRA, which left him off the list of speakers for its convention earlier this year.

Paul and his father have long been associated with non-NRA gun groups like National Association For Gun Rights and Gun Owners of America.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Donald Trump’s Shaky “Pro-Gun” Record

Donald Trump has taken the Republican Party completely by surprise, climbing into first place among Republican voters who plan to participate in their states’ primaries next year.

While it is refreshing to see somebody rattling the cages of the establishment, it remains to be seen whether Trump is actually a trustworthy conservative candidate  -- especially on gun issues.

Trump makes a big deal about his support for the Second Amendment and his lifetime membership in the NRA, but he may be more open to compromise than he is willing to let on. The truth is that he has supported gun control in the past and may be willing to do so again.

Trump stated his support for gun control in his 2000 book “The America We Deserve,” writing, “The Republicans walk the NRA line and refuse to even limited restrictions. I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.”

When confronted about this quote during a recent interview with Ammoland, Trump did not disavow his former comments or say he has changed his position. Instead, he evaded the question completely, saying:
I certainly stand by my opposition to Gun Control when it comes to taking guns from law-abiding citizens. You mention that the media describes the AR-15 as an ‘assault rifle,’ which is one example of the many distortions they use to sell their agenda.  However, the AR-15 does not fall under this category. Gun-banners are unfortunately preoccupied with the AR-15, magazine capacity, grips, and other aesthetics, precisely because of its popularity. 
As The Truth About Guns pointed out in a follow up post, Trump’s answer was essentially a complete dodge. TTAG wrote:
How do I put this politely? Bullsh*t. When Trump wrote: ‘I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons,” he wasn’t writing in support of a ban on fully - automatic rifles (gun control advocates’ definition of the term ‘assault rifle’, already highly restricted). He was giving a thumbs-up to a ban on all ‘scary black rifles’ (gun control advocates’ definition of the term “assault rifle”). Trump was dodging the question. At best.
It is certainly tempting to jump on the Donald Trump bandwagon. But it would be nice to see him give a clear answer about gun rights first.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Study Claims Gun Ownership Driven By “Gun Culture”

A new study, which the mainstream media has been covering heavily, claims gun ownership in America is highest among those who come from a “social gun culture.”

The study, published in a journal called “Injury Prevention,” seems innocuous at first. But a closer look reveals a clear anti-gun bias.

The survey breaks down respondents according to geographical area and whether or not they come from a “gun culture.” According to the study,
One-third of Americans reported owning a gun, ranging from 5.2 percent in Delaware to 61.7 percent in Alaska. Gun ownership was 2.25 times greater among those reporting social gun culture than those who did not.
In other words, people who own guns tend to come from places where gun ownership is popular. Pretty simple, right?

Wrong. While the study may seem harmless, the subtext is actually quite dangerous. Linking gun ownership to “gun culture” implies that reducing gun violence requires undermining that culture. As the authors of the study conclude: “Gun cultures may need to be considered for public health strategies that aim to change gun ownership in the USA.”

This line echoes a strategy that the anti-gun movement has been using for decades. According to The Gun Writer:
Since the 1980s, gun control groups have realized that once a person becomes part of the gun culture, they’re likely to become a single-issue voter focused on protecting the right to keep and bear arms. This is why anti-gun activist groups are now pushing the lie that — even though Americans have been buying guns in unprecedented numbers — gun ownership is declining. They hope other people will essentially say, ‘Well, if no one is owning guns, I guess I don’t need to own guns either, or fret about additional restrictions.’”
As The Gun Writer points out, the information in the study was drawn directly from two well-known anti-gun groups – the Brady Campaign and the CDC’s Injury Prevention and Control Center.

It is also important to note that the study focuses on law-abiding gun owners. People who own guns illegally – and are much more likely to commit gun crimes – are much harder to track down.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Establishment Republicans Betray Second Amendment Following Charleston Attack

Two prominent Republicans expressed anti-gun views following the Charleston killings last week, proving how the Republican establishment can be just as bad as Democrats when it comes to Second Amendment issues.

First, Fox News talking head Bill O’Reilly proposed a “solution” to gun violence that would involve federalizing all gun crimes, saying “if anyone is caught with a gun, in the commission of any crime at all, it [should] automatically become a federal beef. If convicted in federal court, the offender gets a mandatory sentence of ten years.”

Then, Republican political advisor Karl Rove told Fox News that “acts of violence” would continue until America is forced to “repeal the Second Amendment” in its entirety. He said:
Maybe there’s some magic law that will keep us from having more of these [shootings]. I mean, basically, the only way to guarantee that we would dramatically reduce acts of violence involving guns is to basically remove guns from society, and until somebody gets enough oomph to repeal the Second Amendment, that’s not going to happen.
It’s hard to tell which statement is more dangerously ignorant. O’Reilly seems to think it’s a good idea to put minor crimes involving gun owners in the hands of the federal government, giving the United States Attorney General unprecedented power over guns and gun owners. If he doesn’t see the risk in that, he clearly didn’t pay much attention when Eric Holder was in office.

As for Rove, whether or not he actually wants the Second Amendment repealed, he clearly thinks doing so would make America safer. This goes against basic evidence showing that legal gun ownership reduces violence, not the other way around. Between 2007 and 2011, for example, gun violence plummeted while gun ownership went through the roof.

When liberals use mass murder to further their anti-gun perspective, it is infuriating but predictable. But it is even more concerning when so-called conservatives start to join in.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dem. Lawmakers Introduce Federal Gun Licensing Bill

Congressional Democrats are trying again to expand federal restrictions on gun rights, this time by requiring Americans to provide police with fingerprints, photos and other personal information before making any handgun purchase.

Democratic Reps. Elizabeth Esty (CT) and Chris Van Hollen (MD) and Sens. Chris Murphy (CT) and Richard Blumenthal (CT) introduced twin versions of a bill, the Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act, in the House and Senate last week.

The bill is modeled on Connecticut’s handgun purchasing law, which requires potential gun owners to undergo a background check, submit fingerprints, complete a training course and pay a $70 fee.

The bill’s sponsors claim the Connecticut system has saved thousands of lives since it was passed in 1995, although researchers including John Lott of the Crime Prevention Center have pointed out that shootings fell even faster in other nearby states that didn’t have the law during the same time period.

The authors of the bill also conveniently ignore the endless list of killers who have passed criminal background checks to purchase murder weapons. lists a few:

Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi (Garland), Jared and Amanda Miller (Las Vegas), Elliot Rodger (Santa Barbara), Ivan Lopez (Fort Hood 2014), Darion Marcus Aguilar (Maryland mall), Karl Halverson Pierson (Arapahoe High School), Paul Ciancia (LAX), Andrew John Engeldinger (Minneapolis), Aaron Alexis (DC Navy Yard), Tennis Melvin Maynard (West Virginia), James Holmes (Aurora theater), Jared Loughner (Tucson), Nidal Hasan (Fort Hood 2009), Jiverly Wong (Binghamton), Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech), Naveed Haq (Seattle), and Mark Barton (Atlanta). 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Supreme Court Refuses To Hear San Francisco Gun Control Case

The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on the Constitutionality of the city of San Francisco gun storage laws yesterday, meaning the city’s requirement that guns in the home be “stored in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock” will stay in place.

The court’s refusal to take this law into consideration raises serious questions about the Court’s commitment to protecting the Second Amendment, especially considering the similarities between this case and the District of Columbia v. Heller decision in 2008.

The Heller ruling is best known for striking down Washington DC’s handgun ban, but it also ruled unconstitutional the city’s strict gun storage requirements, stating that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep “lawful firearms in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense.”

The San Francisco case – Jackson v. San Francisco - was virtually identical to the gun storage aspects of the Heller case. When Jackson was submitted to the court in January, it was widely expected the court would take up the case and issue a similar ruling.

Instead, the court has gone to great lengths to avoid addressing the case at all. Jackson was submitted for conference five times before finally being accepted for review yesterday – and then promptly rejected.

The court did not offer an explanation as to why it refused to hear the San Francisco case, but two justices spoke out in opposition to the court’s refusal to get involved. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissent, joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, stating:
Less than a decade ago, we explained that an ordinance requiring firearms in the home to be kept inoperable, without an exception for self-defense, conflicted with the Second Amendment because it “ma[de] it impossible for citizens to use [their firearms] for the core lawful purpose of self- defense.” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570, 630 (2008). Despite the clarity with which we described the Second Amendment’s core protection for the right of self-defense, lower courts, including the ones here, have failed to protect it. Because Second Amendment rights are no less protected by our Constitution than other rights enumerated in that document, I would have granted this petition.  
Thomas added:
The Court’s refusal to review this decision is difficult to account for in light of its repeated willingness to review split-less decisions involving alleged violations of other constitutional rights.
Jackson v. San Francisco has been moving through the federal court system since 2009. Last year, an appeals court ruled against the plaintiffs, saying San Francisco’s gun storage laws are “not a substantial burden on the Second Amendment.”