Thursday, April 30, 2015

Anti-Gun Groups Call For Investigation Of NRA’s Finances

Anti-gun groups are calling for an investigation of the National Rifle Association’s finances following a report that donations intended for the main division of the NRA went to the political division instead.

A left-wing reporter made online donations to the regular NRA that showed up on his bank statement as having been deposited by the NRA Political Victory Fund, the NRA’s political action committee. An election lawyer called this a “clear violation” of campaign finance laws.

“There are at least three clear violations,” election lawyer Brett Kappel told Yahoo. “First of all, they can’t be soliciting from he general public at their website. Then there’s the fact that the money is not being solicited in the name of the PAC; they have to say it’s for the PAC and what the political purpose of the PAC is. And then there are multiple missing disclaimers [on the NRA-ILA website] such as the disclaimer saying that contributions have to be voluntary.”

This is not the first time the NRA has been accused of breaking fundraising and campaign finance regulations. Last year, it was fined $63,000 for breaking campaign finance laws in the state of Rhode Island.

The NRA should be able to do whatever it wants with the money people donate. But these mistakes reflect poorly on gun owners and give fuel to the enemy. The NRA is playing a dangerous game if it thinks it is above the rules.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Colorado Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Gun Stores Who Sold Weapons To James Holmes

A federal judge in Colorado dismissed a lawsuit against gun-sellers who sold weapons to James Holmes before the Aurora movie theater rampage in 2012, ruling the merchants did not play a significant role in the tragedy.

The lawsuit, filed by anti-gun group Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence last year, accused Lucky Gunner and Sportsman’s Guide of failing to properly screen Holmes before selling him the murder weapons. The plaintiffs included the parents of one of the victims.

Senior District Judge Richard Matsch ruled that the gun sellers were not a “substantial factor” in the tragedy.

“Holmes meticulously prepared for his crime, arriving at the theater equipped with multiple firearms, ammunition, and other gear allegedly purchased from several distinct business entities operating both online and through brick and mortar locations,” Matsch wrote. “Neither the web nor the face-to-face sales of ammunition and other products to Holmes can plausibly constitute a substantial factor causing the deaths and injuries in this theater shooting.”

Matsch’s ruling cited the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was created to protect arms manufacturers and retailers from liability for harm caused by a third party with their products.

Matsch also ruled that the plaintiffs pay the defendants’ legal fees, which might reach a quarter of a million dollars.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Handgun Open Carry Set To Pass In Texas

A law legalizing the open carry of handguns is close to passing in the Lone Star State, one of only six states that still don’t allow any type of open carry. The state does allow long guns to be openly carried in public.

The bill was approved 101-42, despite efforts by Democrats to water it down and allow big cities to opt out. Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign the bill after it is combined with a similar bill that passed the State Senate last week.

In addition to the handgun open carry bills that just passed, there is also a campus carry bill that is currently sitting in the House.

Despite its reputation for cowboys and conservatism, Texas has always had restrictive gun laws due to the political influence of big cities like Houston and Dallas. Now the state is finally living up to its image.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Real Reason For The NRA’s Rand Paul Snub

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will not be appearing at the NRA annual meeting this weekend due to his affiliation with National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR).

While a number of Republican presidential candidates were invited to the convention, including Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, Paul was left off the list.

NRA officials have blamed Paul’s absence on scheduling concerns, but a new report states that he has been banned from NRA events “as long as he remains affiliated with NAGR.”

Sen. Paul has been affiliated with NAGR since 2010, often appearing in their publicity materials.

NRA-ILA President Chris Cox criticized NAGR in today’s report, saying: “It’s amusing when some self-proclaimed ‘gun groups’ try to take credit for the work of the five million men and women of the NRA.”

NAGR president Dudley Brown is also quoted in the article, saying: “I’ve been a gun lobbyist for 22 years and there’s never been a point at which we not have tension [with the NRA]. We’re younger, we’re hungrier and we care less about the cocktail parties in Washington, DC.”

Instead of attending the NRA convention, Paul will continue the kickoff tour for his presidential campaign, launched earlier this week.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

NRA Putting GOP Establishment Over Gun Owners At 2015 Annual Meeting

The list of politicians appearing at the 2015 NRA annual meeting this weekend illustrates how the NRA has ceased being a gun rights group and has become little more than a puppet organization for the establishment wing of the Republican Party.

The NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on Friday will include a number of political insiders with questionable records on guns, like Jeb Bush and Bobby Jindal. Truly pro-freedom legislators like Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Utah Senator Mike Lee were not invited.

This comes after an election year where the NRA endorsed several establishment types (like Mitch McConnell and Thad Cochran) over conservatives with stronger records on guns, before going on to pour millions into barely contested Senate races while leaving Washington state gun owners out to dry.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is the most head-scratching speaker at the forum. In addition to supporting universal background checks on all gun purchases, he is also the poster child for Republican support of immigration amnesty. As David Codrea has smartly pointed out, amnesty is a critical issue for gun owners because it would introduce millions of anti-gun voters to the electorate.

Another speaker is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who signed a law last year allowing the state to seize firearms from people accused of domestic abuse, calling it “one more big step toward trying to make sure that for every gun you take away, it’s that much better for (a victim, their) family and friends and loved ones who care about that person.”

Also speaking is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who signed a confiscatory law in 2013 allowing state officials to share mental health records with to the federally administered National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for firearms purchases. History shows that laws like this are ripe for abuse by the government, which uses them to target average citizens in addition to the dangerously mentally ill.

Meanwhile, Gun Owners of America A+ rated Rand Paul, who vowed to filibuster all gun control legislation in 2013, and Sen. Mike Lee, who last month introduced a ban on all federal gun control, were left off the guest list.  

Instead of giving career politicians a platform to pay lip service to gun rights, the NRA should be boosting leaders who actually make gun owners a priority.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Arkansas Senate Passes Three Pro-Gun Bills

The Arkansas Senate passed three pro-gun bills this week expanding concealed carry rights and reforming the process for obtaining items under the National Firearms Act (NFA).

The bills will be sent to Governor Asa Hutchinson with an almost undivided seal of approval: the two measures expanding concealed carry rights each received only a single opposing vote and the NFA reform proposal passed unanimously.

HB 1505 would expand state code allowing lawful concealed carry on a public school, college or university campus to include sporting facilities and stadiums. The bill will also allow permit holders to store their handguns in their vehicle while on public college campuses and in the parking lot of the state Capitol.

HB 1372 would allow private schools to set their own policy regarding guns on their campuses. Currently Arkansas has a statewide prohibition banning concealed carry on private school grounds.

HB 1488 would reform a state law that gives law enforcement the power to approve or deny private firearms transfers at their own discretion. The new law would mandate that officials approve all transfers needed to obtain automatic weapons, shotguns and other firearms under Title II of the NFA, so long as the recipient of the firearm is legally allowed to possess it.