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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Fifty days out from Election Day, Former New York Mayor and anti-rights activist Michael Bloomberg is dropping $100 million in Florida, that’s right – $100 million in one state, to help Joe Biden win the state. Bearingarms.com editor Cam Edwards has to story today on Bearingarms.com’s Cam and Company.

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Steven Gutowski and colleague Charles Fain Lehman have this story at the Washington Free Beacon about those massive gun sales over this summer.

While March saw the most guns sold thus far in 2020, seasonally adjusted data show that it was June—the month after the death of George Floyd and subsequent onset of protests and civil unrest—that most exceeded expectations, massively outpacing usually languid summertime sales.

That suggests images of stores being looted and buildings being burned across many of America’s largest cities drove citizens to purchase guns at even higher rates, relative to usual seasonal patterns, than the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. David Kopel, a Cato Institute scholar with decades of experience in gun research, told the Washington Free Beacon the sales spike is clearly a response to the violence.

“Crime in general is a driver of gun sales,” he said. “And that includes not just individual criminals, but it also includes criminals who operate in large groups like rioters and looters. We had nationwide riots, mass violence, and police often ordered not to interfere or even overwhelmed. People understood more than ever that they have to be their own first responders.”

As Gutowski noted on his Twitter feed:

Gun sales tend to peak in March due to new models hitting stores and old models being cleared out (much like car dealerships) but then fall in the summer. This year was very different. The March peak was WAY higher than normal and June nearly matched it in raw sales!

The authors noted that while more guns were sold in March 2020 than in June 2020, June  is the bigger outlier once you account for seasonal effects—implying that the riots that began in June drove a bigger relative increase in gun purchasing than the onset of the Wuhan virus crisis in March.

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If you Google “Gun Purchases and Women, Minorites”, you will come up with several stories in August that report a good portion of those 5 million new gun owners are first time gun owning women and minorities.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported last week:

NSSF surveys revealed that 58 percent of firearm purchases were among African American men and women, the largest increase of any demographic group. Women comprised 40 percent of first-time gun purchasers. Retailers noted that they are seeing a 95 percent increase in firearm sales and a 139 percent increase in ammunition sales over the same period in 2019.

These new gun owners make the gun community more diverse but the NSSF also said this is nothing new:

Against the backdrop of historically high firearm sales, one major theme is shattering misconceptions that America’s gun owners are “old white men.” A surge in gun buyers across the country in 2020, more than 2.5 million since March alone, has boosted the diversity of the firearm-owning population.

While surprising to some, it’s not to those in the firearm industry. Today’s gun buyer looks more like the rest of America. They represent all walks of life and those buying firearms today increasingly are women, minorities and more urban than in previous generations.

Yesterday,  Cam Edwards, editor of Bearingarms.com and the host of Cam and Company, spoke with Tony Simon who has hosted a Diversity Shoot at New Jersey gun range Gun for Hire for several years.  He had to move it this year due to New Jersey’s onerous Wuhan Virus restrictions but it will be held this month.

Tony told Cam he didn’t expect these new gun owners to become gun rights activists right away.  I tend to agree but even folks like Gun Talk Radio’s Tom Gresham has said he doesn’t think these new gun owners are going to want to ban the guns they just bought.  I’ve heard others in the firearms community say they think there is a chance some of these new gun owners will vote their rights.

If you are a woman and a new gun owner reading this, let me recommend A Girl and a Gun as a resource.  If you are African American and a new gun owner, let me recommend the National African American Gun Association and for everyone, I recommend the NRA.

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The ACLU’s Legal Director, David Cole, wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week that the NRA has a right to exist and, whether you agree with the NRA or not, we should all be concerned when a government official seeks to abolish an organization that speaks for millions of members.

Our democracy is premised on the right of association. The First Amendment protects not only the right to speak, but also to band together with others to advance one’s views. Making or resisting change in a democracy requires collective action, and a healthy democracy therefore demands a robust “civil society.” The right to associate can’t survive if officials can shut down organizations with which they disagree. The Supreme Court has notably invoked that right to protect union members, Communist Party adherents, the Boy Scouts and the NAACP.

And this isn’t the first time the ACLU has supported the NRA from a political attack:

That’s why two years ago, we supported the NRA’s lawsuit charging Gov. Cuomo with violating its First Amendment rights. Mr. Cuomo moved to dismiss the case, but a federal judge ruled against him, holding that if he targeted the NRA for its gun-promoting views, he violated its First Amendment rights.

And that’s why we believe Ms. James has also gone too far. Dissolution of a nonprofit is the most extreme remedy state regulators can seek. It has historically been reserved for organizations that are essentially false fronts for personal gain.

The ACLU is just the latest in organizations calling the New York Attorney General’s attack on the NRA a dangerous political game. The last time the ACLU came to the NRA’s defense it cost the ACLU in donations. It will likely do the same this time but the organization is showing that at least in this case, standing by the Constitution is more important than politics.

 

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Yesterday, the Democratic-led House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to approve three measures: a so-called red-flag bill, a ban on standard-capacity ammunition magazines (often miscalled “high-capacity”) for consideration by the full House and legislation to prohibit people convicted of violent hate crime misdemeanors from possessing firearms.  It’s all part of a coordinated strategy between House and Senate Democrats to put pressure on Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to allow a vote on gun control bills including so-called “universal” background check legislation that passed the House earlier this year.

Meanwhile, President Trump is being pressured to signal his support for “expanded” background checks (whatever that means) and so-called red flag laws.  Bearingarms.com editor Cam Edwards asks the question today whether President Trump will cave or “dance with the ones that brought him to the White House?”

H/T Cam Edwards

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Politico has the story here.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Wednesday suggested she supports a mandatory federal buyback program for assault weapons and criminal prosecution for gun owners who do not sell those firearms to the government — a measure the vast majority of her fellow 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have been reluctant to embrace.

“I think we should ban assault weapons as well as large magazines, and as part of passing that ban, do a buyback program across the country so that those who own them can be … compensated for their money that they spent. But I think both of those ideas are strong,” Gillibrand told CNN.

“You don’t want people to retain them because if you make them illegal, you don’t want to grandfather in all the assault weapons that are all across America,” Gillibrand said when pressed on whether such a buyback program should be mandatory. “You would like people to sell them back to the government so that you can make sure people who shouldn’t have access to these weapons couldn’t have them.”

Most of her fellow Democratic candidates for President favor a voluntary compensated confiscation program but New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker also support the proposal.

The Democrats have been emboldened since the most recent mass shootings.  They believe they have a majority of the public on their side helped by a willing media to spread the narrative created by the gun ban lobby.  It is up to us to effectively counter that with letters to the editor and by contacting our state and federal legislators.

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One of the strongest voices pushing back against the Democrats and the gun banners since this weekend’s shootings has been radio talk show host Mark Levin. I recommend you go back and listen to the entire podcast of Monday’s show and at least the first hour of last night’s program.  He started out last night with this:

The pressure is on to destroy the Second Amendment. If you believe President Trump is the reason that this mass shooting took place then why do you need to take away our weapons? All the Democrats need to do is defeat Trump, right? So why go after the Second Amendment? Because it’s a lie! Two domestic terrorists with socialist, racist and progressive views commit atrocious acts of terror and they continue to blame Trump. Despite one shooter’s support for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, they still blame Trump. The Democrats and the media endlessly lobby for more gun control without ever casting blame on themselves. Then, Joe Biden, Beto O’Rourke and others say they’re open to taking tyrannical measures to make the United States more like Australia (a gunless society). Every major communist and fascist in history gained control by eliminating everything we protect in our First and Second Amendments; speech, press, faith, and the right to keep and carry guns. Afterward, despite Trump’s multiple disavowal’s of white supremacy, Sen. Cory Booker and sympathizers in the media continue to malign Trump falsely accusing him of racism. It’s difficult to see if they even care about this shooting at all, or just relish in attacking Trump and the Second Amendment.

Gun owners are under attack on multiple fronts.  Republicans are caving under withering pressure.  Now is the time to call your congressmen and senators, even if they support gun control because they need to know your views.  Even if they don’t support our rights, they do keep track of he number of calls they get on an issue.

 

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Marsha Mercer has this op/ed in the Lynchburg News and Advance (it appeared in other newspapers as well) that discusses gun laws and the 2020 Presidential Race.  It regurgitates the questionable claim that 90 percent of the public supports so-called “universal” background checks (no ballot initiative trying to enact these have ever gotten more than 60% support and one in Maine actually failed to pass and got less than 50%).  She closes out the opinion piece with this:

No one wants more mass shootings. The 2020 campaigns and election offer us the chance to show we care enough to try to stop them.

Legal gun owners are not the problem and the restrictions mentioned would only apply to legal gun owners so exactly how would passing more gun control actually stop mass shootings?

 

 

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Yesterday, the New York Times had this story on some of the NRA Board questioning what the Times referred to as “Incendiary Videos” that are produced by the ad company used by NRA and posted on the NRATV streaming web site.  At the heart of the piece is the ongoing saga of the financial position NRA finds itself in the Trump era, and what role NRATV has played in it.

Fifteen years ago, NRA created NRANews, a response to the McCain/Feingold campaign finance law that prohibited certain paid political speech, but gave a monopoly to media outlets through an exemption in the law.   Portions of the law were later ruled unconstitutional.

NRA rolled out the web based talk program called Cam and Company, featuring Cam Edwards, at it’s 2004 Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh and for three hours a day, they streamed the program on the web as well as aired live on satellite radio.  Over the course of the 15 years, the program aired at different times, originally from 2:00 – 5:00 pm, moving to 9:00 PM to midnight to accommodate satellite radio, then back to the 2:00 – 5:00 pm time slot when Sirius XM decided to air the program on tape delay.  During this time they also started making the program available by podcast and also made it available on ITunes and later IHeart Radio.  This meant that fans could listen to the program at their convenience and did not have to be near a computer to hear it live.

The program featured a mix of all things gun news and also covered conservative politics, as elected supporters of gun rights became more Republican and supporters among Democratic elected officials, at least at the national level, continued to dwindle.  It was also a vehicle to bring events like the Shot Show, NRA Annual Meetings, and the new Great American Outdoor show to people that may not have the ability to intend in person.

As the politics of gun rights changed, so too did the NRANews web site.  Besides airing Cam and Company, it also started to produce programing like Noir featuring YouTube gun aficionado Colion Noir, Love at First Shot – a program aimed at the growing number of women shooters, and promotional videos aimed at increasing membership.  While no one could accuse Edwards of being “incendiary” – he’s one of the nicest people you could meet – the mainstream media and gun ban supporters more and more began to criticize the “promotional videos” that way.  Late last year, amid reporting of cut backs at NRA, NRATV abruptly stopped airing Cam and Company and let some longtime staff go.  A revamped Cam and Company began airing again in January 2019 – a 30 minute program at 5:30 that leads into Dana Loesch’s 6:00 PM program.

The Times article notes that NRA provided the critiques from two prominent board members, including former NRA President Marion Hammer:

Since the founding of NRATV, some, including myself and other board members, have questioned the value of it,” Marion Hammer, the group’s most formidable lobbyist and a key adviser to its chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, said in a statement. “Wayne has told me and others that NRATV is being constantly evaluated — to make sure it works in the best interest of the organization and provides an appropriate return on investment.

Another Board Member,  Willes Lee of Virginia, said this:

It is clear to me that NRATV is an experiment and Wayne is evaluating the future of the enterprise,” Willes K. Lee, a board member who leads the N.R.A. Outreach Committee, said in a statement to The Times.

When NRANews transformed and first launched as NRATV, it could be viewed as the NRA entering the streaming arena, making it’s broader television programming – reruns of hunting and gun shows that had aired on Outdoor Channel – more readily available, in addition to the Cam and Company program.   It also became a vehicle to push out more political programming.

This observer believes there is some value to NRATV – the continued airing of Cam and Company as well as programming like Love at First Shots which features World Champion Shooter  Julie Golob.  It will be up to the Board to determine if NRATV can continue in a cost effective manner.

 

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