Texas Professor Trades Geography for Drama to Protest Campus Carry in the Lone Star State

According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, more than 1 in 3 Americans believe that colleges and universities exert a negative effect on the country. When respondents are grouped by political party, that response is as high as 58%.  While the poll doesn’t explain the basis for these feelings, we suspect that many view academia as the haven of ideologically-driven zealots, rather than sober-minded professionals. Take, for example, Professor Charles K. Smith from San Antonio College, who recently managed to get his name in the newspapers for teaching his geography class in protective combat gear to protest the lawful carrying of concealed handguns by students.

An article on mySanAntonio.com indicates that Smith was hoping to make a point about Texas’s 2015 campus carry law. The law took effect on community colleges, including the institution where Smith teaches, on Aug. 1. “I was just saying I don’t feel safe,” Smith told a reporter. He continued, “My assumption is that you will have more people carrying guns, that well [sic] lead to problems. It always has.”

One would hope that a man of letters like Prof. Smith would base his views on the evidence, rather than on irrational fears or personal prejudices. Yet Texas data consistently show that concealed carry licensees are far more law-abiding than the general population.

Meanwhile, four-year institutions in Texas were a year ahead of community colleges in implementing the 2015 law and did so without the parade of horribles Smith and likeminded academics feared. The Texas Tribune noted that “administrators overwhelmingly say the change to the campus climate has been minimal,” with exactly zero reported incidents of academic debate or disappointment over grades escalating into armed conflict. Academic officials interviewed by the Tribune said the law’s rollout was handled “very smoothly and without incident,” had “[v]irtually no impact at all,” and was “[a]mazingly quiet.”

Meanwhile, the Dallas News reported that the actual cost to public colleges and universities of implementing the law was more than 15 times less than estimates these institutions had provided to the state legislature.

Economist John Lott also makes the point that with well over one million concealed carry licensees throughout Texas, it’s highly probable that the professors who are so resistant to allowing concealed handguns on campus are already unwittingly encountering them in a host of other places.

Yet these facts, if even known to Prof. Smith, apparently haven’t influenced his thinking. Rather, his statements to mySanAntonio.com seem to indicate a belief that students have been gunning for him his entire career but simply have never had the tools at hand to carry out their lethal desires. “Used to, when they got mad at me, they had to go home to get the gun and had time to cool off,” he stated, “now they will have it with them.”

For what it’s worth, publicly available reviews of Prof. Smith by his students don’t indicate any murderous impulses, rather a consistent view of his classes as “boring” but “easy.” One student’s assessment was particularly pointed:

He makes mildly boring subject matter into a painful classroom experience. His sleep inducing political rants and disagreeable classroom demeanor and behavior make his lectures unbearable. He should make some effort and inject some enthusiasm into teaching geography rather than wasting students’ time with political commentary about current events.

Another faulted him for excessive talks “about his vacations,” while still another noted that Smith “inputted his very Liberal political views into just about every lecture.”

Smith did tell the reporter that he warned police and administrators about the plan for his stunt, which after all could have reasonably caused concern among students and bystanders about his intentions or plans. “Some of them were okay and some of them weren’t, but it’s freedom of speech,” Smith insisted.

That may be, but the message Smith actually conveyed may have simply raised questions about his own ability to interact respectfully with people whose opinions and ideology diverge from his own. Whether or not Prof. Smith succeeded in making himself bulletproof, it’s pretty clear that no facts or contrary opinions can penetrate his ironclad anti-gun ideology.

Repudiated at the Polls, National Democrats Continue to Push Gun Control

Recent weeks have seen a heated debate involving national Democratic Party figures over how to approach the issue of abortion in a manner that would allow the party to be more competitive in portions of the country dominated by Donald Trump and the Republicans in the 2016 election. Such soul-searching is to be expected for a party that does not hold either chamber of Congress or the presidency. However, one issue that appears to be off the table in any Democratic recalibration is the national party’s zealous support for further gun restrictions.

This intransigence was highlighted by two recent pieces of radical gun control legislation.

First, on July 27, Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.), along with 12 cosponsors, introduced H.R.3458. The text of the legislation has yet to be made available to Government Publishing Office, but is described as a bill:

To require certain semiautomatic pistols manufactured, imported, or sold by Federal firearms licensees to be capable of microstamping ammunition, and the prohibit [sic] the removal, obliteration, or alteration of the microstamped code or microstamping capability of a firearm.

An accompanying press release noted that “The bill prohibits federal firearms licensees from manufacturing, selling, or transferring semiautomatic handguns, unless those handguns are capable of microstamping ammunition or face gradual fines.” An earlier version of the bill introduced in the 110th Congress made clear that this restriction would apply to all semiautomatic handguns manufactured or imported after the effective date of the legislation.

Microstamping is a flawed and expensive method in which certain firearms components, typically the firing pin, are etched with a serial number that is transferred to an ammunition cartridge when the gun is fired. NRA and others have identified numerous problems with this technology, including the fact that it is easily defeated with common hand tools or repeated use of the firearm, and would require an onerous system of registering firearm components. Further, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute has estimated the cost of implementing this technology at $200 per firearm.

Not to be outdone, on July 28, Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-N.J.), along with 16 cosponsors, introduced H.R.3613, “To authorize the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance to make grants to States, units of local government, and gun dealers to conduct gun buyback programs, and for other purposes” to the tune of $360 million.

To support squandering federal taxpayer dollars on gun buyback (more appropriately termed turn-in) programs in 2017 reveals a fanatical hostility towards guns and a profound disregard for sound public policy.

Since 1998, the U.S. Department of Justice has understood that gun turn-ins are ineffective. A National Institute of Justice document from that year titled, “Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Promising” put gun turn-ins at the top of its list of “What Doesn’t Work.” The NIJ reiterated this point in a 2013 memo that concluded, “Gun buybacks are ineffective as generally implemented.” Further, some of the most radical anti-gun researchers, including Jon Vernick from the Michael Bloomberg-bankrolled Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, have admitted that turn-ins do not diminish violent crime.

Perhaps inspired by her Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives, on August 10, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) took to Twitter to call for a renewal of the federal “assault weapons” ban.  The entire “assault weapon” concept is a creation of anti-gun activists who used the term to create confusion after their attempts to ban handguns had failed.  Charles Krauthammer, a proponent of gun confiscation, wrote “the only real justification [for the assault weapon ban] is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation.”  As Krauthammer predicted, the ban on so-called “assault weapons” had little effect on crime, but that has not stopped gun-control proponents like Senator Harris from calling for its renewal.

After Al Gore’s defeat in the 2000 presidential election, the national Democratic Party made a concerted effort to soften their position on gun control in order to be more competitive in parts of the country where voters put significant value on their Second Amendment rights. In his book, “My Life,” Bill Clinton pointed to NRA and gun control as a factor in Gore’s defeat.

Democrats began to tolerate candidates that deviated from left-wing anti-gun orthodoxy. In a 2005 Boston Globe article titled “Democrats Recast Gun Control Image,” then Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Rahm Emanuel was quoted as saying that their candidates “[have] got to reflect their districts.” In the three presidential election cycles following Gore’s defeat, the Democrats recognized Americans’ Second Amendment rights in their platform. President Barack Obama conspicuously avoided the issue until he had secured a second term in office, leading the Brady Campaign to issue him an “F” rating in 2010.

Despite Bill Clinton’s repeated warnings, the national Democratic Party in 2016 flouted gun owners at every turn. Hillary Clinton endorsed Australia-style gun confiscationrepeatedly denounced the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, and when pressed, refused to acknowledge that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz railed against guns to Democratic delegates. In the midst of the presidential election campaign, Democrat representatives threw a gun control-inspired tantrum on the floor of the U.S. House. The national Democratic Party left no doubt that the Second Amendment was on the ballot in 2016.

And once again, the Democrats suffered a devastating defeat. In the immediate aftermath, NBC’s Chuck Todd credited NRA for giving Trump “a big assist” in his victory. Months later, political commentator Fred Barnes would write, “There are many claimants to the honor of having nudged Donald Trump over the top in the presidential election. But the folks with the best case are the National Rifle Association and the consultants who made their TV ads.”

NRA is happy to take credit for helping to defeat Hillary Clinton and for the election of pro-gun lawmakers across the country, but our efforts would not have been so salient had our opposition not so fully embraced the anti-gun agenda.

NRA is a nonpartisan organization and we continue to endorse members of any party who work to defend American gun owners. As the current marginalized national Democratic Party grapples with its agenda moving forward, it would do well to learn from its past and curtail their attacks on the Second Amendment. Wise Democratic leaders will recognize that they have been here before and that abandoning their anti-gun ambitions is an important component of their path back to power. However, with Democratic House members still offering microstamping and gun turn-in bills, there is little evidence of such wisdom.

The High-Level Hypocrisy of Mayors for Gun Control

Leona Helmsley, the “Queen of Mean” convicted of income tax evasion and other crimes, is famously said to have said “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.”

The same sense of entitled grandeur – that rules apply to lesser beings – pervades the thinking of many high-profile gun-control notables. For example, ex-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is protected by guns carried by his armed security detail, while he spends his billions to undermine the Second Amendment rights of average Americans.  

In 2006, as part of his anti-gun agenda, Bloomberg founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), a coalition of current and former mayors advocating for regulating all guns, not simply “illegal guns,” and calling for “assault weapon” and magazine bans, expanded background checks, and other restrictions on law-abiding gun owners. 

By 2013, roiled by constant reports of criminal behavior by members, MAIG was subsumed into Bloomberg’s new gun control entity, Everytown for Gun Safety. Nonetheless, arrests and convictions of MAIG members (including for gun-related crimes) continue to feature regularly in the news, so much so that it’s become something of a running joke (here and here). It’s likely no coincidence that MAIG’s website chooses not to name the elected officials that make up its membership; instead, it lists the municipalities these members represent.

The roster of the recently disgraced include the ex-mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, who resigned from office in 2013 after multiple women made allegations of sexual harassment, and who subsequently plead guilty to charges of false imprisonment and battery. Another public official who had been associated with MAIG is Gordon Jenkins, formerly the mayor of Monticello, New York, who was removed from office by a state court in 2015 after it found he engaged in “‘unscrupulous conduct or gross dereliction of duty or conduct that connotes a pattern of misconduct and abuse of authority.’” The misconduct referred to by the court included threats to withhold funding from his local police department in an effort to influence the disposition of criminal charges against him, and attempts to use his position to intimidate and coerce police officers into giving him special treatment after he was arrested for a DUI. Following his removal from office, Mr. Jenkins plead guilty to lesser criminal offenses after being charged with bribery-related felony crime. 

Rounding out the MAIG dis-honor roll for 2017 (so far) are former Stockton, California mayor Anthony Silva; Allentown, Pennsylvania Mayor Edwin Pawlowski; and Vaughn Spencer, former mayor of Reading, Pennsylvania, all currently facing criminal charges. Of course, these individuals, like all persons simply accused of criminal offenses, are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

In March, ex-mayor Silva was arrested on felony charges of money laundering, embezzlement, and grand theft, arising out of alleged personal misuse of grants and other funds of the Stockton Kids Club, formerly the Boys & Girls Club of Stockton. (“Sour grapes,” claims his defense counsel, although Silva has figured in other controversies.) As an elected official and part of a MAIG coalition of California mayors, Mr. Silva supported legislation creating so-called “Gun Violence Restraining Orders” that would require persons to surrender their firearms to police based solely on allegations by law enforcement or family members. 

Allentown, Pennsylvania Mayor Edwin Pawlowski was indicted in July, accused of violating federal public corruption laws arising out of a misuse of public office (over 50 counts, including bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services mail and wire fraud, travel act bribery, making material false statements, and conspiracy). Prior to that, Mayor Pawlowski appeared in a “public service” ad released by MAIG “demanding action” on gun control measures, and supported Bloomberg in calling for “tougher gun laws” and restrictions on gun shows and private firearm sales. 

Vaughn Spencer, the former mayor of Reading, Pennsylvania, was also charged in July and accused of violating federal public corruption laws (bribery, wire fraud, and conspiracy). Like Mayor Pawlowski, Spencer signed on to a MAIG letter to President Obama in 2012, calling for bans on “military style” weapons and “high capacity” magazines, expanded background check laws, repealing the Tiahrt Amendments, and more.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) press releases regarding these two Pennsylvania officials note that the allegations concern the “mayors manipulating the levers of power for their own ways and means. As charged, Edwin Pawlowski and Vaughn Spencer brazenly and repeatedly sold off city contracts to bankroll their political futures.” The DOJ adds that in “an astounding act of irony,” former Mayor Spencer allegedly “bribed the President of City Council to introduce legislation repealing a Reading anti-corruption statute.” 

These are serious offenses – the charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services mail fraud, and honest services wire fraud have an individual maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; the remaining federal charges have maximum sentences of five or ten years and similarly onerous fines. 

As part of furthering his notions of good governance, ex-Mayor Bloomberg has made a $32 million gift to Harvard University, funding a program to teach serving mayors how to be effective leaders, with the inaugural class of 40 elected officials beginning their studies this July. A cynic might suggest that the curriculum include, besides the usual Bloomberg hobbyhorses of sugary drinks and gun control, the fundamental concept that the rule of law applies to the high as well as the low. After all, when law-abiding Americans seek to protect themselves from criminals, it’s not usually the gun-grabbing crooks at city hall that come to mind.

TAKE ACTION: Let Your Congress Members Know that You Support the Hearing Protection Act

As we’ve previously covered a number of times, the Hearing Protection Act (HPA) is a federal bill to reduce the burdensome and antiquated acquisition process for firearm suppressors.  The bill would eliminate the excessive wait times (sometimes as long as a year) and the burdensome tax on transferring or making a suppressor.

Support for the HPA among gun owners remains very strong.  The HPA has been one of the most viewed bills on Congress.gov since its introduction in January, and it has regularly been the most popular bill on the site.  But, now more than ever, Congress needs to hear this support.

As members of Congress return to their home states and districts for the August recess, they often focus on constituent services, so now is a very opportune time to contact your elected representatives.  

Please contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative and urge them to support and cosponsor the HPA

If they already are a cosponsor, please thank them for their support.

You can contact your member of Congress via our “Take Action” tool by clicking HERE, or use the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

The View’s Joy Behar’s Elitist Anti-Gun Agenda Exposed

Grant Stinchfield calls out Joy Behar’s ignorant, elitist opposition to campus carry in Texas: “Joy, here’s what won’t stop someone determined to commit violence with a firearm: your dishonesty or resounding ignorance. Either way, it puts our country’s colleges in danger. It helps to keep professors defenseless, it makes our students vulnerable. And it leaves college women without an equalizer. Ask rape survivor Kim Corban why she advocates for the Second Amendment and maybe you’ll understand why our young men and women should be allowed to protect themselves with a firearm.”

EDITORS NOTE: Stinchfield airs live on NRATV weekdays at the top of the hour from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET.

Run, Hide, Perish – Survival Do’s and Don’ts from Across the Pond

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advises persons at risk of harm from an active shooter to “Run, Hide, Fight” (in that order), recommending “fight” – incapacitating or “attempt[ing] to take the active shooter down” – if all else fails.

In the United Kingdom, police and counter-terrorism authorities like the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the London Metropolitan Police promote a different version for surviving a firearms or weapons attack at home (and recently, abroad). The last step in their “Run, Hide, Tell” directs victims to turn off their cell phones and only call the police once it’s safe to do so.

This is peculiar advice even in a jurisdiction that gives its subjects almost no legal options for arming and defending themselves (herehere, here and here). What if running or hiding aren’t safe or even available alternatives? How will a person in hiding know when it’s safe to call the police? What if law enforcement doesn’t arrive quickly or find the victims in time?

The London Bridge attack last month offers a real-life example of how such violence may unfold. The attack began when terrorists drove their van at high speed into unsuspecting pedestrians on the pavement along the bridge. After mowing down several people, the three van occupants embarked on a stabbing spree through bars and restaurants in the heart of London. News reports confirm that police officers arrived within eight minutes or so of the first call to emergency services and eventually shot dead the three attackers, but not before the assailants had killed eight people and injured 48 others.

In the interim, several individuals fought back. In one restaurant, Roy Larner, armed with just his bare hands and his resolve, fended off all three attackers, a tactic that allowed the other patrons to escape. (Perhaps mindful of the official security directive, Larner’s friends brought him a jogging magazine captioned “Learn to run” to enjoy while recuperating in hospital.) Construction worker Gerard Vowls, who intervened when he saw the terrorist trio stabbing a young woman, described how he “pick[ed] up bottles, threw a chair at them, [bar] stools, [pint] glasses, anything I could get my hands on.” Although his desperate actions didn’t save that young woman, two other women claim his actions enabled them to get safely away.

Even as violent crime rates in England and Wales climb upward – with “double digit” increases in murder, sexual offense, robbery, and knife crimes reported in 2016 – local politicians reacted in horror to the mere suggestion that it was worth examining the possibility of registered firearms licensees using their guns to defend themselves or to assist the police during a terrorist attack.  On the same day that the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner offhandedly commented that this could be something to explore officially – without actually approving or endorsing the notion – the Devon and Cornwall Police released an official statement denouncing the remarks. “Under no circumstances would we want members of the public to arm themselves with firearms… Our message to the public is a simple one: to run, to hide and to tell.”

Interestingly, the statement adds the qualification that British police services “will require an uplift in resources in response to the unprecedented threats we are currently facing.” In much the same vein, earlier this year the then Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, warned that the surge in crime, along with resource constraints, meant law enforcement would be forced to prioritize service delivery, with “rationing” of police responses and officer deployments.

Unfortunately, with no legal recourse to self-defense products, there’s not much except the police to keep ordinary individuals from becoming potential victims of violent crime. “Run, Hide, Tell” is pointless if there’s no one to “tell” and the police are busy dealing with other emergencies.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down DC’s Concealed Carry Restriction

Court to Texas College Professors: Your Irrational Fear of Gun Owners Is Not Legally Addressable

Gun Control Groups: Good at Gloating, Bad at Counting on Advancing National Reciprocity Effort

Commerce Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson Steers Pro-Gun Spending Bill to House Floor

Court to Texas College Professors: Your Irrational Fear of Gun Owners Is Not Legally Addressable

Last Thursday, a federal judge in Austin, Texas, dismissed a lawsuit by several professors who sought to block the University of Texas from implementing a state law that provides for the lawful carrying of concealed handguns on campus. The case is Glass v. Paxton.

In a filing with the court, one of the professors claimed that the presence of armed students in their classrooms would impede their “ability to create a daring, intellectually active, mutually supportive, and engaged community of thinkers.” The court, however, noted the plaintiffs did not specify what subject matter or point of view they expected to be suppressed. Instead, the judge wrote, they appeared to claim that they would censor their own opinions for fear that an armed student would harm someone.

Yet the judge stated that the professors’ “subjective fear” that an unnamed, unknown student would be moved to future violence because of a differing opinion was based on “mere conjecture.” The judge accordingly ruled that the plaintiffs had not articulated enough of an injury for the court to have standing to hear the case.  Stripped of its legal jargon, Thursday’s ruling basically states that the professors’ own rank biases against law-abiding concealed carriers does not constitute a legally addressable injury. 

Because the judge ruled that the plaintiffs did not have standing, he did not opine on the substance of their novel First and Second Amendment claims. We had discussed the implausibility of those claims at length in a prior article on the case. It’s particularly notable that the learned professors hoped to convince the court that the Second Amendment itself REQUIRES the university to BAN law-abiding students from possessing firearms on campus.

Stripped of its legal jargon, Thursday’s ruling basically states that the professors’ own rank biases against law-abiding concealed carriers does not constitute a legally addressable injury. The UT professors bootstrapped their claims essentially by insisting that their own irrational prejudice of lawful concealed carriers was so acute that it would cause the professors to avoid expressing opinions they themselves believed would be offensive. The court in this case wisely chose not to entertain or dignify this self-delusion.

This makes sense. Campus carry is hardly a new or isolated phenomenon, and there is no evidence (or intuitive force) to support the idea that differences of academic opinions will lead otherwise law-abiding carriers to suddenly become violent toward classmates or instructors. Indeed, as economist and former university instructor John Lott recently reiterated, concealed carry permit holders are among the most law-abiding of Americans. It’s ironic that a group of professors supposedly taking a stand for academic freedom did so with such a paucity of empirical or evidentiary support and on such highly emotional grounds.

Unfortunately for the Constitution and for whatever legitimacy remains in higher education, Thursday’s ruling may not be the end of the case. The plaintiffs could still ask the judge to clarify or reconsider his decision or appeal it to a higher court. Considering their unique legal claims, we don’t expect the professors will be deterred from doing so by the sound legal reasoning of the judgement against them.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Run, Hide, Perish – Survival Do’s and Don’ts from Across the Pond

Gun Control Groups: Good at Gloating, Bad at Counting on Advancing National Reciprocity Effort

Commerce Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson Steers Pro-Gun Spending Bill to House Floor

VIDEO: Who Fights For Black Gun Rights?

The Black Lives Matter movement began as a way to shed light on what they saw as the unjustified killings of black men by police officers. Millions of dollars from liberal organizations and billionaires like George Soros later, they’re attacking the NRA and taking on extreme leftist issues that have nothing to do with the original purpose of #BlackLivesMatter.

So Colion Noir asks them: What are you really fighting for?

RELATED ARTICLES:

Run, Hide, Perish – Survival Do’s and Don’ts from Across the Pond

Court to Texas College Professors: Your Irrational Fear of Gun Owners Is Not Legally Addressable

Gun Control Groups: Good at Gloating, Bad at Counting on Advancing National Reciprocity Effort

Commerce Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson Steers Pro-Gun Spending Bill to House Floor

Steadfast Czechs Fight on Against EU Gun Control

The European Union’s new restrictions on firearms ownership were finalized on May 24, when the misguided changes to the European Firearms Directive were published in the political bloc’s Official Journal. Despite this setback, the Czech Republic has made clear that the country will continue its fight for European firearms freedom.

To quickly recap, following the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, the EU expedited plans to curtail gun ownership across the political union. Of most concern to European gun owners was a new restriction on the ownership of certain types of semi-automatic firearms. However, the legislation also included more stringent requirements for member state-issued firearms licenses, and measures that implicated gun owner privacy. After significant negotiations between the European Parliament and European Council to reform the European Commission’s flawed draft, the final contours of the legislation were agreed to last December. Since the announcement of the European Commission’s draft proposal, the Czech Republic has been among the harshest critics of the gun control legislation. 

On June 14, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka announced the country’s intention to challenge the new restrictions in the European Court of Justice. Reporting on the development, Agence France-Presse quoted Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec, who stated, “We cannot allow the EU to interfere in the position of member states and their citizens under the guise of fighting terrorism” adding, “I’m not happy about the complaint but we have no other option.”

The move came after deliberation by the Czech government, during which some Czech politicians were reluctant to challenge the new controls. However, throughout the process, Chovanec was adamant about the need to confront the new restrictions. On June 8, the Czech News Agency reported that the Interior Minister viewed the EU’s arguments about thwarting terrorism a “mere pretext” to impose the new controls. Expressing his severe disdain for the EU’s gun controls, Chovanec noted “In my opinion, the directive should not be implemented even if it meant that Europe will sanction the country.”

The Czech Republic has a strong tradition of civilian gun ownership and firearms manufacturing, and in recent years has made significant efforts to protect their proud heritage. In addition to confronting the changes to the European Firearms Directive directly, some Czech politicians have supported a change to the Czech constitution that would guarantee the right to keep and bear arms. Further, in July 2016, Czech President Milos Zeman expressed his support for an armed citizenry to confront terrorist threats.

The Czechs have until August 17 to file their formal complaint against the new European Firearms Directive with the European Court of Justice. NRA-ILA will continue to follow the Czechs in their crucial struggle for freedom and apprise U.S. gun owners of any new developments.

VIDEO: Colts for England!

What happens when a nation strips its citizens of the tools they need to defend their families?

Jihad! That’s what happens.

We call out the British government over its suicidal, stupid approach to Islam.

EDITORS NOTE: Before America’s entry into WWII small arms and ammunition were purchased from U.S. manufacturers until they were supplied under lend lease in 1941. The weapons obtained from America for the British army included the Tommy gun, Colt M1911A1 semi-automatic handgun and the Colt .45 revolver.

The Loophole in Background Check Thinking: Criminals Obey the Law

Gun control groups expend an awful lot of ink, time and money advocating for “common-sense public safety laws” like “universal” background checks because such restrictions, they claim, will keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people.

It’s peculiar, then, that many of these entities don’t do a better job of background-checking their own adherents and associates. Not too long ago, then-California state senator Leland Yee (D), whose staunch support of gun control measures earned him a spot on the Brady Campaign’s “Gun Violence Prevention Honor Roll,” was accused of committing various felonies, including illegal firearms trafficking and money laundering offenses. Following a plea agreement in which he acknowledged his participation in a firearms trafficking conspiracy, among other offenses, Yee was sentenced to five years in jail.

Members of the Michael Bloomberg-founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), now reconfigured as Everytown for Gun Safety, popped up in the news with such embarrassing regularity due to arrests and convictions for crimes, including gun crimes, that the New York Post ran an editorial in 2013 titled “Illegal mayors against guns.”

And last month, a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Illinois alleges that a certain Francisco Sanchez violated a federal gun law that prohibits possession of a firearm by a felon. The snag is that at the time, Mr. Sanchez (a.k.a. “Smokey”) was apparently working as a supervisor at CeaseFire Illinois, as highlighted in a February feature by the Everytown-funded website, The Trace.   

The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint states that Mr. Sanchez was convicted of murder and aggravated battery in 1986, and adds the more disturbing allegation that he is the “national leader of the Gangster Two-Six Nation,” a street gang “prevalent throughout Chicago” and in other states. Mr. Sanchez’s arrest occurred as part of a larger federal investigation of gang-related gun and drug trafficking in which other suspected gang members or associates were apprehended and over 100 firearms were seized.

Of course, the complaint contains only allegations, not evidence, and Mr. Sanchez and his fellow defendants remain innocent until proven guilty. However, the arrests – which took place shortly before the Memorial Day weekend – coincided with a drop in gun homicides as compared to last year’s holiday weekend.

We’ve written before about how criminals get guns, including this study at Chicago’s Cook County Jail that concluded criminals bypass legal sources in favor of guns obtained from “family, gang members, or other social connections.”

Expanded background check laws won’t stop criminals because criminals ignore the law. Nonetheless, Everytown and others of its ilk will continue to call for ever-increasing restrictions and laws affecting law-abiding gun owners in the name of prohibiting felons, violent criminals, and gang members from obtaining guns. Honest gun owners will continue to do what they’ve always done: obey the law.

NJ Court: State Can’t Criminalize Possession of ‘Pencils’ and Other Lawful Objects for Home Self-defense

It is refreshing to finally see some common sense coming out of a court in NJ, as the state is notoriously known for its illogical and Draconian gun laws that do little more than make felons out of law-abiding gun owners.

Last week, the Supreme Court of New Jersey upheld the right to lawfully possess and hold a weapon for self-defense in the home, rejecting arguments advanced by the State that would treat a citizen like a criminal for simply answering an angry knock at his own door while holding an object that was legal to possess.

The case, Montalvo v. State, arose out of a commonplace neighborhood dispute. Daleckis, downstairs of Montalvo, banged on the ceiling to let Montalvo know he was upset about the noise from upstairs. Montalvo then knocked on the Daleckis front door, and, getting no response, threw a table off their shared porch, which he acknowledged was a “stupid” thing to do. Shortly after, Daleckis went to the Montalvo apartment to confront him over the broken table. Montalvo and his wife claimed Daleckis was not just knocking but angrily kicking and slamming on their door. Uncertain of what to expect, Montalvo took the precaution of picking up a machete – used in his work as a roofer and kept with other tools – before opening the door. In the exchange that followed, Daleckis said Montalvo pointed the machete at him, while Montalvo testified he held the machete down the entire time. Both agreed, though, that Montalvo never stepped outside of his own apartment.

By the time the police arrived, the quarrel had fizzled out (Daleckis ultimately refused to provide a statement to police). Montalvo was arrested on charges that included two weapon possession offenses. The first count, possession with a purpose to use the weapon unlawfully, requires an intent to use the weapon against another’s person or property. The second was a violation of N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-5(d) (knowingly possessing the machete “under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as it may have”), which prohibits possession of a weapon other than a firearm where the defendant has not yet formed an intent to use the object as a weapon, but possesses it under circumstances in which it is likely to be so used. This second count became the focus of the litigation.

Because New Jersey law defines a “weapon” as “anything readily capable of lethal use or inflicting serious bodily injury,” Section 2C:39-5(d) criminalizes possession of ordinarily lawful objects (scissors, razors, kitchen knives) in circumstances where the possession is not “manifestly appropriate” for lawful use, regardless of the actual intent of the possessor. This offense is a fourth degree crime, punishable by between three and five years’ incarceration on conviction.

At Montalvo’s trial, the model instructions to the jury directed that only three elements were necessary for a Section 2C:39-5(d) conviction: a weapon, possessed “knowingly,” in circumstances where a reasonable person would agree the object was likely to be used as a weapon. In response to the jury’s questions about self-defense, the judge advised that self-defense could not justify possession unless the defendant had armed himself as a “spontaneous” response to repel an immediate and compelling danger – anticipatory self-defense did not qualify. So instructed, the jury found Montalvo guilty of the Section 2C:39-5(d) offense but acquitted him on the first charge, and he was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

In his appeal, Montalvo argued the jury had been misdirected on self-defense, and that his conviction criminalized the possession of an otherwise legal weapon in his home in violation of the Second Amendment. After an appellate court affirmed his conviction and sentence, Montalvo launched a further appeal to the state’s highest court, the Supreme Court of New Jersey. 

The Attorney General of New Jersey took the unusual step of filing a “friend of the court” brief in the appeal, arguing that, while citizens are entitled to possess lawful weapons in the home for self-defense, the State is concurrently authorized to regulate the manner in which these weapons are possessed. “Everyday objects, which are entirely lawful to possess in their own right, even a pencil, can be used as weapons. The Legislature did not issue a wholesale prohibition on such lawful objects, but rather sought to regulate only the circumstances under which such objects may be possessed.” (Emphasis added.) This brief, consistent with the submissions by the prosecution, claimed the Second Amendment could not apply because Montalvo’s “disproportionate” response, arming himself where there was no “actual threat,” exceeded the boundaries of the right of self-defense in the home. In furtherance of this extremely narrow interpretation, the Attorney General’s brief asked that the court modify the model jury instructions for use in future cases to clarify that weapons for active self-defense in the home could be used only if the person armed himself spontaneously to repel an immediate danger.

A unanimous Supreme Court of New Jersey rejected this outlandish approach as both unworkable and unsupported by U.S. Supreme Court decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago (extending to “all instruments that constitute bearable arms”).

Justice Fernandez-Vina, writing for the court, noted at the onset that the case did not demand “an extensive Second Amendment analysis. We need only observe that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to possess weapons, including machetes, in the home for self-defense purposes.” Montalvo’s possession of the machete was lawful and it made no difference “whether his possession was for roofing or for self-defense because either would qualify as a lawful purpose.”

The interpretation of the law promoted by the State and the Attorney General was inconsistent with the very core of this fundamental right. The right to possess a weapon in the home for self-defense would be almost useless “if one were required to keep the weapon out-of-hand, picking it up only ‘spontaneously’” when and if the circumstances made clear an immediate danger existed. Calibrating the right so exactly to the presence of an immediate danger made it impossible to hold a weapon in anticipation of such potential, but not yet imminent, threats. This did not mean Montalvo could threaten the use of a machete merely for the purpose of inciting fear in another, but it did mean he could answer his door simply holding a weapon.

The court reversed the judgment below confirming the conviction and remanded the case; at the same time, the court directed a review and revision of the jury charge for Section 2C:39-5(d) offenses. The revision language, as suggested by the court, would clarify that possession of a lawful weapon in one’s home could not form the basis of a conviction under Section 2C:39-5(d); that a person may possess, in the home, objects that serve multiple lawful purposes, including the purpose of anticipatory self-defense; and that a person who responds to the door of his home with a concealed weapon that threatens no one acts within the bounds of the law.

Although we welcome this common sense ruling by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, this case affords yet another illustration of the importance of the courts and how dependent, in practice, the exercise of Second Amendment rights is on what any particular court considers to be the boundaries of the law. Since the Supreme Court’s rulings in Heller and McDonald, there have been all too many judges that have concluded the right to keep and bear arms is some kind of second-class constitutional right.

It Would Have Been a Massacre by Jeffrey A. Tucker

The horrifying scene at a practice field in Alexandria, Virginia, at which Congressman Steve Scalise was shot in a shocking flurry of gunfire, could have been much worse. Rand Paul pointed out that “it would have been a massacre” had a member of the House leadership not been there. His presence guaranteed that the heavily armed Capitol Police could take him down. Many others present expressed similar feelings. They were sitting ducks. If the offensive gunfire could not be met by defensive gunfire, the bloodshed would have been far worse.

As this case shows – and there are millions more like this one – force must be met with force to stop the violence.

The aftermath will include all the usual questions. What were the gunman’s motivations? Shooter James T. Hodgkinson’s Facebook page shows that he is a supporter of Bernie Sanders and socialism generally. Where did he get the gun? Did he obtain it legally with all the appropriate background checks? What does this scene imply about gun regulations and controls on distribution?To some degree, all these questions are beside the salient point. As this case shows – and there are millions more like this one – force must be met with force to stop the violence. If a murderous monster has the most firepower in the space, everyone else’s life is in the balance. The calls for gun control refuse to deal with this reality. To the extent they succeed in restricting people’s rights to defend themselves and others, they bear moral culpability for an increasingly violent society.

Defense Use

What happened at the baseball park was a classic case of defensive gun use. In the entire debate over guns, this is the point I find most compelling in a practical sense. Despite being raised in a gun-owning family, and having spent many hours at gun ranges and owning some myself, they are not my favorite things, which is to say I don’t really like them. I have no romantic attachment to them at all. I would rather live in society without them.

There is a strong reason for people like me to hope for a wide distribution of guns and firing skills.

And yet a society without guns is not an option. Given this, there is a strong reason for people like me to hope for a wide distribution of guns and firing skills. It is precisely because of my attitude, and others like me, that I hope that there are plenty of others out there, who have my back in case like this.The use of guns for defensive purposes makes the strongest case there is for liberalization of gun laws. Trevor Burris comments:

The prevalence of defensive gun use (DGU) is one of the most hotly debated issues in gun control policy. In the words of one study produced by the National Research Council, measuring DGU “has proved to be quite complex, with some estimates suggesting just over 100,000 defensive gun uses per year and others suggesting 2.5 million or more defensive gun uses per year.” That’s quite a range, but if it falls anywhere in that range then it is still a lot of DGU.

The dispute about the number of DGUs centers primarily on the definition of defensive gun use and the method of counting it. When the Bureau of Justice Statistics performs the National Crime Victimization Survey they ask about DGU, and they generally reach a number around 100,000. Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck and others have criticized that method because many people are understandably unwilling to tell a government agent that they have brandished or fired a weapon in self-defense. They may not know if what they did was legal, and they may illegally possess the weapon, to name just two concerns. Thus Kleck performed surveys designed to reach just defensive gun use without creating biased concerns in his subjects. Through that method he reached the number 2.5 million.

Feeling Safe

This is why the prevalence of private owners carrying guns makes me feel safer. To be sure, there are bad actors but the best foil to them are good actors who serve as a counterforce. Once you pay attention, you see examples everywhere.

Knowing that there is no way for government to ban guns — there is a black market in nearly every country with severe restrictions — the best protection for everyone is for ownership to be widespread and distributed through the population.

So I would like to make a plea to my fellow citizens: please buy guns. Carry them. Keep them in your homes and cars. It’s especially important to do this in public places, where freak murderers could conceivably lurk. The weapons should be loaded and dangerous, capable of killing with one shot.

I want every robber around every corner to hold the expectation that anyone he mugs is carrying a deadly weapon.

I especially desire this, because I don’t want to do this. I don’t like them. I don’t want them in my home. I don’t like shooting at the range. I don’t like looking at them, shopping for them, cleaning them, or even thinking about what they do to others. I loathe violence of all sorts, and hope to never have to use it. I’m a pacifist in spirit.The only way I can really hope to get away with indulging my temperament here is if others are willing to pick up the slack. I want burglars, kidnappers, thieves, and would-be mass murderers of all sorts to believe that every home in my neighborhood is heavily armed and populated by fearless gun owners – and for them to believe that my home is among them.

I want every robber around every corner to hold the expectation that anyone he mugs is carrying a deadly weapon. I would like to sit in theaters, airplanes, and restaurants where the trolls and scum among us believe that they could pay the ultimate price for savagery.

The thing is that I do not want to personally contribute to this cause in any way. I’m not up to it.

For Every Jew a 42

A friend who grew up in Brooklyn in the 1960s said this was a common slogan in his neighborhood: “For every Jew a 42.” It was commonly understood that if the Jews had been heavily armed in Germany, instead of systematically disarmed by the state as they were, the rise of the Nazis would have been checked, and perhaps the Holocaust could have been prevented. Neither he nor his friends were particularly interested in doing this but the point was clear. Today, he too hopes to be a free rider on gun nuts. I’m with him on this point.

What the law is should have nothing to do with our own personal choices about what we like or dislike, do or do not do.

As regards guns, as with marijuana and prostitution, what the law is should have nothing to do with our own personal choices about what we like or dislike, do or do not do. This view seems nearly extinguished in our world today. If you don’t drink sodas, you are happy to ban them. If you don’t like heroin, you think others should be prevented from consuming it. If you don’t like guns, you want them banned.Stand Up For Rights

That’s not how the free society works. The preservation of freedom requires that we be willing to stand up for the rights of others to own and do things we do not like but which harm no one, or, in the case of guns, actually save lives.

For this reason, I have far more respect for the teetotaler who favors a free market in liquor than I do for the heavy drinker who favors them same. Non-smokers should stand up for the right to smoke. And so too should people who do not own guns and have no desire to own guns stand up for the right to possess and carry.

Especially in the case of guns, those of us who do not want to handle guns have a special and personal interest in defending not only gun rights but also the proliferation of weapons among the citizenry. It’s the only way that we can truly deter crime and stop crime in public places when it is unleashed.

The only real means to prevent the emergence of a world safe for criminals and government is to see the proliferation of guns among everyone else. I’m sorry, but I will not do my part in this respect. But I will defend the rights of others to do so, with a sincere hope that they will own, train, and be ready. Yes, I’m a free rider, but gun owners need to know that I’m truly grateful.

Profile of Terrorist James T. Hodgkinson: From disbelief to anger to violence to mayhem to mass murder [Videos]

Steve Scalise, the majority whip of the House of Representatives. Credit Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

For Democrats free speech has morphed into hate speech. Hate speech has morphed into violence and mayhem in the streets and on college campuses across America. Hate speech then morphed into action. Action became a politically motivated mass shooting at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia with five wounded and the shooter dead. Among those critically wounded was Steve Scalise, the Republican majority whip of the House of Representatives.

All of this carried out by armed Democrat James T. Hodgkinson who specifically targeted unarmed Republicans, their families, children and supporters.

The below video was taken at the Republican Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia:

The narrative from Democrats is two fold. Deny this act of pure hate was politically motivated. Point to anything other than the individual who carried out this crime against humanity, i.e. focus on the gun. The proper responses to what James T. Hodgkinson, with malice and forethought, did are blame the shooter for the shooting, the terrorist for terrorism.

James T. Hodgkinson

Democrats are relentlessly yelling “fire” in a crowed political theater. The predictable result is assassination for political purposes.

18 U.S. Code § 871 – Threats against President and successors to the Presidency states:

Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

Alex Jones notes,

“Days ago a standing ovation for the simulation of the assassination of the President of The United States. And now, a baseball practice loaded with Republican congressman and staffers became a live mass shooting event. James T. Hodgkinson was identified as the shooter that railed off over 50 shots at the 100 year old traditional event that included children. He was killed by Capitol Police. House Majority Whip was shot in the hip and transported to the hospital along with four others.”

Here is a short video and pictorial profile of a loyal “Democrat Socialist”, supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders, member of “Terminate Republican Party” and now known terrorist James T. Hodgkinson.

James T. Hodgkinson in 2011 at Occupy Wall Street rally:

Social media posts by James T. Hodgkinson:

Responses by liberals to the mass shooting:

RELATED ARTICLES:

20 Liberal Calls For Violence Against Conservatives in Quotes

James T. Hodgkinson Belonged to ‘Terminate the Republican Party’ Facebook Group

Hodgkinson Was Occupy Protester, Attacked the “One Percent”

Shooter Was Bernie Bro Who Joined ‘Terminate Republican Party’ Group

Shooting turned GOP baseball practice into ‘killing field’

After shooting, soul-searching on United States’ polarization

Gunman attacks GOP lawmakers

Leftists Know No Shame As Writer Posts Most Vile Tweet EVER About Alexandria Shooting

F Stands for Fail: Washington Post Flip-Flops on Suppressors

The Washington Post — in one of its rare reversions to journalism – recently issued a fact check that handed Americans for Responsible Solutions and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) three Pinocchios for overstating the noise-canceling properties of firearm suppressors. “There is little that’s quiet about a firearm with a silencer, unless one also thinks a jackhammer is quiet,” the report concluded. 

The context was the debate over the Hearing Protection Act (HPA). This bill would treat suppressors as if they were ordinary firearms for federal regulatory purposes, rather than the current practice of treating their sales as if they were machine guns, which are subject to much more cumbersome rules designed to discourage ownership. 

Suppressors’ popularity has increased exponentially in recent years, as firearm owners have embraced the health-promoting and experience-enhancing benefits of their use.

And while they do decrease the report of firearms, they do not, as the Post fact check accurately reported, render them anywhere near “silent.”

Who could possibly argue with technology that can reduce hearing loss associated with firearm use? Certainly not the Washington Post, which in its March 20 fact check stated, “We obviously take no position on whether this proposed law would be good or bad …. “

Obviously. 

Only that wasn’t so obvious to Washington Post’s editorial board (which at least formally is still separate from the paper’s reporting bureaus, although practically speaking editorializing and reporting have become nearly one in the same at the paper). 

Nine days after the fact check was published – shooting down, as it were, the main argument against the HPA (that gunshots would become undetectable) – the Washington Post did a 180 degree turn and editorialized against the bill. The HPA, it claimed, would repeal “one of the oldest and most effective firearms controls on the books.”

Effective how, exactly? Well, according to the Post, “Silencers are almost never used in murders and other crimes under the current restrictive law, but certainly they would be used in more crimes if there were more of them in circulation.” 

But in fact suppressor use in crime hasn’t perceptibly increased at all, even as the number of suppressors legally owned in America has nearly doubled in the last three years (the Post itself put the current number at “about 900,000,” while CNN reported it was 571,750 in March 2014). Figure in the mountain of unprocessed applications, as ATF struggles with a months-long backlog, and the actual number legally in circulation would already be considerably higher. 

And if the HPA were to become law, retail sales of suppressors would still have to be processed by federally licensed dealers, with the buyer undergoing a background check and filling out the associated paperwork that would allow for tracing of the device if it were recovered at the scene of a crime.

The Post insists that “Congress should tell the NRA to go away and not come back unless and until it has waged a serious campaign to get recreational shooters to take precautions ….” 

Really, Washington Post? We invited you, along with other news outlets, to come out to our headquarters – maybe a 30 minute drive from your own – to see exactly how suppressors work and exactly what sort of safety precautions we teach people who use firearms. 

You can find these safety precautions posted to our website. They include the admonition:

Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate.
Guns are loud and the noise can cause hearing damage.

Rules like this have been part of NRA training programs for over a 100 years.

And if you need hearing protection, you can easily buy it at the NRA Store. We’ll even throw in additional foam ear plugs at the range for free, if you want them, as we do for all of our visitors. 

But you didn’t know that, because you refused our invitation (unlike your peers), and you didn’t conduct the minimal research a competent third grade teacher would demand of any student before writing your silly, hypocritical, flip-flopping editorial. 

In this case you were right before you were wrong. But while half-credit may be good enough for your brand of journalism, it still earns an F from us. And that stands for FAIL.