We Don’t Need Stronger Gun Laws. We Need Stronger Communities!

Here we go again. Another school massacre and another overreaction by liberals who want to play politics with the Second Amendment.

On Valentine’s Day, 17 students and faculty members were murdered by a former classmate at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., a small community west of Boca Raton.

As tragic as the murders were, sometimes I am confused by the way people react to tragedies. In the aftermath of a mass shooting, many people want the government to immediately pass new gun control laws. The hard truth is that there is absolutely nothing the government can do to protect you from tragedies like the horrific massacre in Parkland.

Tragedy, by definition is, “an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe.”

Sometimes good people are beset by tragedies, randomly and without warning.

If you ban guns, do you really think violent tragedies will go away? One need look no further than Japan to find the answer.

In Japan, it is illegal to possess, carry, sell or buy guns. So, it is extremely rare, if ever, for a shooting death to occur in Japan.

For example, in 2014, Japan had six gun related deaths compared to 33,599 in the U.S.

In 2016, however, nineteen people were killed and 26 injured in a stabbing massacre in Tokyo, which was Japan’s deadliest mass killing since World War II. In 2008, a man ran over a group of people with his truck and then stabbed 18, killing seven in Tokyo’s Akihabara gaming district. In 2001, eight children were killed when a former employee, a janitor, entered an elementary school in Osaka and stabbed them to death.

So, the point is that even if guns were outlawed in the U.S., a person determined to commit an act of violence will always find a weapon of choice to unleash their diabolical schemes.

Irresponsible mainstream media outlets take advantage of these crises, broadcasting the anguish and misery of distraught family members just to boost their own ratings. As they say, “if it bleeds, it leads.”

Let’s game out one of the liberal arguments that outlawing guns is the solution to these mass shootings, that seem to happen with more frequency.

So, Japan has outlawed guns. Now, killers in that country use knives and cars to inflict massive carnage upon their fellow citizens.

If the U.S. outlawed guns and preemptively banned, let’s say, ice picks and utility knives, then individuals that are committed to killing other people will simply use whatever else they can get their hands on. Cars and trucks might become the weapons of choice; should we ban them, too? If we go down that road, where will it end?

What liberals refuse to address is the lack of values and morality in our society. Religion instills in a society a sense of right and wrong and demands some type of structure in our lives, but liberals have run prayer out of our nation’s schools; and any mentions or references to God in the public square are questioned, mocked or maligned outright.

Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, can anyone legitimately argue that the Ten Commandments are not good standards for any society to live by? Thou shalt not murder, lie, covet, etc.

In American society today, many people have bought into the notion that man, not God, is the measure of all things. There are no rules. No restraints. American society has cast the traditional nuclear family by the wayside. For liberals, normal is whatever you feel like doing at any given moment.

Liberal Hollywood elites, the most vociferous advocates for gun control, refuse to take responsibility for the violence and lack of morals that are constant themes in their movies and TV shows; most of them won’t even acknowledge the negative effects that their industry has on the minds of young people.

The result is generations of children who become desensitized to violence and mayhem, who then lash out in real life, without ever considering the repercussions of their actions.

These kids don’t wake up one day and decide to go on murderous rampages at their schools, simply because someone picked on them during lunch or they experienced a bad breakup. We have all gone through that as teenagers and young adults and we got through it without killing and maiming dozens of our classmates.

What is different now? Today, it’s very hard to get teenagers and young adults to think critically about the world they live in. No one wants to accept personal responsibility for anything that happens in their lives; everyone gets a trophy; everything bad that happens to them is always someone else’s fault.

The state of Florida and the F.B.I. are going to spend millions of dollars trying to figure out why this kid killed students and faculty members at that school in Parkland. In reality, there are no simple solutions to most problems that we wrestle with as a society.

Unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen to good people and banning guns won’t change that.

RELATED ARTICLE: School Shooting Was Outcome of Broward County School Board Policy – Now Local and National Politicians Weaponize Kids for Ideological Intents…

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in Black Press USA.

6 Common Media Myths About Gun Control

The latest mass shooting, this time at a Florida high school, was one of the deadliest school shootings since the Columbine massacre in 1999.

So far, there have been 17 confirmed deaths in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and the alleged shooter is in custody.

Americans are understandably searching for answers to stem this terrible epidemic.

Unfortunately, as always, many jump immediately to the conclusion that guns and protection of gun rights are what’s fueling the recurrence of these crimes. Some suggested that any opposition to gun control legislation is outright immoral.

But the often sincere and certainly passionate claims made by those calling for gun control frequently don’t add up.

As columnist David French wrote of the recurring shootings in a brilliant column for National Review, “It’s horrifying, and governmental solutions are hard to find. Twitter’s fondest wishes to the contrary, the unique characteristics of mass shootings mean that they often escape the reach of public policy.”

After the Parkland shooting, a number of old and new myths about the Second Amendment and gun control became media narratives. Here are just a few of the more common ones.

1. There Have Already Been 18 Mass Shootings in 2018

While school shootings are a serious problem, there have been frequent exaggerations about just how common they are.

One story that has gained widespread traction is that the Parkland shooting is the 18th school shooting since the beginning of 2018. This statistic was originally cooked up by Everytown for Gun Safety, a pro-gun control nonprofit.

Yet, as The Daily Wire noted, this statistic is highly misleading.

Several of these “shootings” were individuals committing suicide on campus and many others were of stray bullets passing through classroom walls with no injuries taking place. In only a few cases were people other than the shooter actually harmed.

“[O]f the 17 ‘school shootings’ before Wednesday’s shooting; three students died; roughly 30-35 were injured,” according to The Daily Wire.

Even The Washington Post said the Everytown number was “a horrifying statistic. And it is wrong.”

“Everytown has long inflated its total by including incidents of gunfire that are not really school shootings,” according to The Washington Post.

2. Trump Signed a Bill That Makes It Easier for Mentally Ill People to Get Guns

This story spread rapidly after President Donald Trump tweeted out that the Parkland shooter was “mentally disturbed” and that more vigilance was necessary to stop these people before they engage in mass killings.

However, this stretched the truth.

Last year, Trump and Congress used the Congressional Review Act to overturn an Obama-era regulation that among other things could prevent those who received disability payments from Social Security from purchasing firearms.

The rule brought up serious charges that it was not just a violation of the Second Amendment, but Fourth Amendment due process rights.

“No administrative process and no administrative law judge should be able to take away a constitutional right,” Heritage Foundation senior fellow Hans von Spakovsky said when the rule was repealed. “This should exclusively be a regular court of law to determine if someone is disabled enough to pose a hazard with a gun, not a federal bureaucrat.”

As Reason editor Scott Shackford wrote, the rule did not specifically prevent mentally ill people from getting guns. Instead, it threw a wide, potentially unconstitutional net over people who may be no threat to themselves or others.

“[T]he regulation was opposed not just by National Rifle Association (NRA) but by several mental health and disability groups and by the American Civil Liberties Union,” Shackford wrote.

3. More Guns Means More Crime

One of the most frequent and persistent myths about guns is that the increase of guns in society leads to more crimes or violence in general. However, this hasn’t been the case. Studies demonstrate that gun control laws have not had a noticeable impact in reducing murder rates and violent crime.

I wrote in October:

As numerous studies have shown, gun ownership is not necessarily connected to crime rates, and may make crime go down. A 2016 report from the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action noted that:

As gun ownership has risen to an all-time high, the nation’s total violent crime rate has fallen to a 44-year low and the murder rate has fallen to an all-time low. Since 1991, when violent crime hit an all-time high, the nation’s violent crime rate and its murder rate have decreased by more than half, as Americans have acquired over 170 million new guns, roughly doubling the number of privately owned guns in the United States.

Furthermore, concealed carry permit holders are among the most law-abiding of any demographic group in America.

For these reasons and many others, gun control has fizzled as an issue even as its proponents continue to push the narrative.

There is simply no evidence that gun owners are more likely to commit crimes, violent or otherwise.

4. It’s Easy to Buy a Gun

In 2015, former President Barack Obama caused a stir when he said, “It’s easier for you to buy a handgun and clips than it is for you to buy a fresh vegetable.”

Obama doubled down in 2016, saying, “We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.”

Even The Washington Post fact-checkers cast doubt on this wild claim.

Sean Davis at The Federalist explained the wide gap between the effort required to buy simple produce and pretty much any firearm. Davis Wrote:

There are no federal laws requiring onion dealers to register with the federal government prior to selling onions. There are no state laws requiring that you apply for and receive an onion purchase permit, complete with background check, prior to purchasing an onion. There are no onion waiting periods or limits on how many onions you can purchase within a certain period of time. Nor are there, to my knowledge, any state or local laws prohibiting the possession of onions in schools or government buildings.

The fact is, there are numerous hurdles to gun ownership. It’s not something that can be done on an immediate whim.

5. Gun Control Works in Other Countries

A frequent claim by gun control advocates is that other countries have stemmed gun violence through strict gun control laws.

Australia, in particular, is used as an example for the U.S., as Obama did in 2015.

“We know that other countries in response to one mass shooting have managed to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours, Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours,” he said.

Of course, this comparison doesn’t calm the fears of many who believe that so-called moderate, “commonsense” gun control solutions are merely a Trojan horse leading to mass confiscation as happened in Australia.

Even so, the evidence that the law made a huge impact in gun violence is unclear. As a University of Melbourne report concluded in 2008, according to National Review, “There is little evidence to suggest that [the Australian mandatory gun-buyback program] had any significant effects on firearm homicides.”

The report said:

Although gun buybacks appear to be a logical and sensible policy that helps to placate the public’s fears the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths.

While Australia experienced a dip in firearm deaths after passing the 1996 law, so has the U.S. since the early 1990s, even as we moved in the opposite policy direction.

6. The Second Amendment Is Obsolete and Doesn’t Apply Today

Many gun control advocates acknowledge that the Second Amendment is a serious impediment to heavy-handed restrictions on firearms and confiscations and have advocated a repeal of this part of the Bill of Rights.

Others, however, have insinuated that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply today because the firearms used by the Founding Fathers were muskets, and that they couldn’t possibly have conceived of the devastating effectiveness of modern weaponry.

But the Founders did not design the Constitution to be an ephemeral document that would lose its applicability over time. They were quite aware that technological changes would come long after they were gone. They designed the Second Amendment to preserve the individual right to self-defense, just as they created the First Amendment to protect free expression.

William Blackstone, a British legal theorist whom the Founders often relied on for guidance, wrote, “Self-defense … as it is justly called the primary law of nature, so it is not, neither can it be in fact, taken away by the law of society.”

It was this reasoning that prompted the Founders to include the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

Just as the rise of the internet and new communication technologies do not make the First Amendment invalid, the principles of the Second Amendment apply today, even as firearm technology has advanced.

Many studies show that news coverage and publicity surrounding school shootings only serve to increase their frequency. As Reason’s Robby Soave pointedly asked on Twitter, does this mean that it’s time to crack down on the First Amendment? A form of “news control,” so to speak.

It is reasonable for Americans to be wary of policy proposals that would likely be ineffective, yet would negate our most precious individual rights.

This article has been updated to correct the year in which the Columbine massacre occurred.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Jarrett Stepman

Jarrett Stepman is an editor for The Daily Signal. Send an email to Jarrett. Twitter: .

FL Democrat calls for $2 Excise Tax per Bullet after Florida School Shooting. Why this is so very, very wrong.

The blame the bullet game has begun. Mourning families are still trying to understand what happened and Democrats are in their blame the gun and not the shooter mode.

Rather than focus on Nikolas Cruz who has been identified as the killer of 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, FL Kristine Rosen Gonzalez, a Democrat candidate for Congress, sent out a press release on February 15th, 2018 stating:

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, candidate for the Democratic nomination in Florida’s 27th Congressional District, today issued a call for Congress to enact a $2 per bullet excise tax with the funds to be used to retrofit schools and to help with the treatment of victims of gun violence. Currently, about 12 billion bullets are sold in the U.S. annually.

[ … ]

“We fund our national highways through excise taxes on gas and diesel fuel”, Rosen Gonzalez said, “so highway users are the one who pay for that system. Doing the same with gun owners is just as fair.” [Emphasis added]

What Gonzalez should be focused on is that Nikolas Cruz was “expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for unspecified disciplinary reasons.” Cruz was adopted by Lynda Cruz, a widow. Postings under the name Nikolas Cruz included threatening comments under videos on YouTube and other sites, including “I whana shoot people with my AR-15” (sic), “I wanna die Fighting killing s**t ton of people” and “I am going to kill law enforcement one day they go after the good people.”

CNN is reporting in an article w/video titled “FBI was warned about alleged shooter nearly 5 months ago, tipster says” the following:

The FBI was warned in September about a possible school shooting threat from a YouTube user with the same name as the suspect in Wednesday’s campus massacre in Parkland, Florida, according to a video blogger.

 Ben Bennight, the 36-year-old YouTube video blogger from Mississippi, noticed in September an alarming comment on a video he’d posted. He told CNN he immediately contacted the FBI.

“Im [sic] going to be a professional school shooter,” read the comment, left by a user with the name Nikolas Cruz, the same name of the suspected shooter who opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people.

It was one of at least two alleged threat reports about the suspected shooter that the FBI received, according to a law enforcement official. In both cases, the FBI did not share the information with local law enforcement, the official said.

Read more.

Perhaps Democrats in general and Rosen Gonzalez, in particular, should focus on why the FBI failed to take heed of the warning given to them. Maybe we need more federal agents to deal with these social media threats?

Problematic Women: Should Gun Rights Be Included in #MeToo?


Facebook and Google create a new dating policy, men say they’re now uncomfortable interacting with women in the workplace, and conservative women say #TimesUp is getting political by hiring Anita Hill. Has the #MeToo movement gone too far? We discuss in this week’s edition of “Problematic Women,” co-hosted with Bre Payton of The Federalist.

We also interview Savannah Lindquist, a college graduate sexually assaulted at Temple University, and learn why she says the #MeToo movement should include supporting gun rights for women. Learn more about her story here, and watch the video above or listen to the podcast below.

Portrait of Kelsey Harkness

Kelsey Harkness is a senior news producer at The Daily Signal, and host of “Problematic Women,” a podcast and Facebook Live show. Send an email to Kelsey. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

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The Gun Industry’s Surprising Take on the Trump Administration

After eight years of President Barack Obama, you’d think that firearms owners—and the entire firearms industry—would be dancing with joy at the presidency of Donald Trump.

Certainly, it was great to hear the president speak up for the Second Amendment in his State of the Union address. But as I learned at this year’s SHOT—Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trades—Show, which wrapped up last week in Las Vegas, it’s more complicated than that.

The SHOT Show, organized by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry, is the best place to take the temperature of the world of American firearms. With 12 miles of displays and a seemingly endless crush of attendees, it’s a well-organized melee of manufacturers, importers, exporters, advocates, retailers—and, of course, firearms enthusiasts.

But this year, the enthusiasm of the enthusiasts was notably muted.

There’s little doubt that the majority of SHOT Show attendees prefer Trump, personally and professionally. Obama made it clear that he didn’t like the firearms business, or firearms owners, and it’s never pleasant to know that the man in the White House hates your passion and your livelihood.

But in practice, Obama was a gift to the firearms industry, as fear of what he would do drove gun sales to previously unimaginable heights and put millions of guns in American homes.

So the relief the industry felt at his departure—and Hillary Clinton’s defeat—was tempered by the reality that it would likely hurt sales, which in turn was coupled with the hope that Trump would back reforms that the firearms industry has been clamoring for.

As of today, the sales pain is a reality—but the industry’s hopes for reform have not been fulfilled. Indeed, in some respects, things are worse now than they were in 2016.

Gun Sales

Like almost everyone else, the firearms industry was anticipating a Clinton win, in anticipation of which a lot of the industry filled its order pipeline. Now, with lots of orders placed and with sales on the wane, the industry is shaking out.

This is an old pattern in the firearms industry, which appears to be unable to kick its addiction to the sales seesaw. Back in 1994, for instance, a bump in sales—caused by President Bill Clinton’s “assault weapon ban”—was followed by a collapse over the following years.

Today, collapse is much too strong a word, but decline certainly is not.

In 2016, according to adjusted figures from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there were 15.7 million background checks on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which federally licensed firearms dealers use to determine if a prospective buyer is allowed to purchase a firearm.

By comparison, in 2017 there were only 13.96 million checks. Imports, which normally make up about a third of the market, are down almost 30 percent, year on year.

And according to a 2017 National Shooting Sports Foundation study conducted with Responsive Management, the surge of participation in shooting activities before 2014 fell back down in 2016, while hunting has continued its long-term retreat. In 1981, there were 17.5 million active hunters in the U.S., while in 2016, despite a larger population, there were only 11.5 million.

Increasingly, shooting is done on a range, by an urban, suburban, and more female constituency. Still, shooting participation overall remains higher than it was a decade ago—and those millions of new Obama gun owners are a constituency that gives the industry a higher baseline, if they can be mobilized as regular shooters and voters.

The State of Reforms

On the reforms side, the pattern is even less happy.

Like every highly regulated industry, the firearms industry has a long wish list. But none of the five items that top the list are visibly much further along now than they were a year ago.

Export control reform, of which the National Shooting Sports Foundation has been a stalwart proponent, has still not brought commercial firearms and ammunition from the purview of the State Department over to the control of the Commerce Department. And the U.S. signature is still on the Arms Trade Treaty, which remains as unworkable as it is unwise.

Legislatively, the picture is even less appealing. The Hearing Protection Act is stuck in the House. The bill would eliminate the transfer tax on firearms suppressors (which some inaccurately call “silencers”) and—in effect—remove the devices from the purview of the National Firearms Act, which is mostly for weapons such as machine guns and short-barreled shotguns. Only the U.S. places suppressors in the same class with machine guns. In most of Europe, suppressors are an off-the-shelf purchase.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, meanwhile, is stuck in the Senate. The bill would make a concealed carry license in one state effective in all the states that allow it.

Finally, there’s the Fix NICS Act, the fruit of a National Shooting Sports Foundation campaign dating back to 2013, which would make the National Instant Criminal Background Check System more reliable by including more mental health records—and which has still not received the bipartisan push over the goal line that it deserves.

On the subject of the background check system, I’m always astonished by what I learn about firearms regulation at the SHOT Show. Today, as a result of the terrible Vegas shooting, banning “bump stocks”—which give a semi-automatic weapon the firing speed of a fully-automatic one—is the latest anti-gun silver bullet.

But yet, as attendees at a National Shooting Sports Foundation seminar on the background check system were told, there are still federal departments out there that will respond to FBI queries related to the system only if the FBI writes them an old-fashioned letter.

Federal firearms dealers are allowed to go through with a sale if the National Instant Criminal Background Check System fails to respond within three business days, meaning that some system checks happen only after the fact, at which time it becomes the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ duty to recover the sold firearm.

Instead of panicking about bump stocks, perhaps Congress should require all federal agencies to make timely replies to National Instant Criminal Background Check System inquiries from the FBI.

What the Trump Administration Has Done

The really troubling part of the Trump administration, though, isn’t so much what it has failed to do, but what it has actively done.

In November, Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a memo forbidding the Department of Justice (in most cases) from avoiding notice and comment rule-making—a wise policy in general, but a problem for the firearms industry, which is regulated in large part by the ATF on the basis of administrative determinations.

ATF overcame that barrier—its actions are individual adjudications, and thus allowed by the Sessions memo—but not before ATF had ground to a halt for some time.

The fundamental problem, though, is the same one that has bedeviled the Trump administration throughout its tenure: a lack of appointed leadership in the federal agencies. The result has been to hand considerable power to permanent government bureaucrats, and virtually no one in the industry is happy about how that power has been used.

As Johanna Reeves, executive director of the FAIR Trade Group—the industry association of firearms importers and exporters—puts it, “Obama has more power now than when he was president.”

Throw in the fact that the most experienced and knowledgeable civil servants who once oversaw the export control process have retired or resigned, and the result is a lot of change that the industry doesn’t like.

On the ATF side, the industry is concerned that regulations to eliminate bump stocks will end up capturing all semi-automatic firearms, and they are alarmed by the prospect that ATF inspections of federal firearms licensees might start to piggy-back off the Pentagon’s much more intrusive oversight of defense contractors.

In the here and now, a series of decisions in the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls has added to the burden of obtaining export licenses for minor parts and components and different calibers of ammunition, and—perhaps as a result—processing times have slowed. Licenses for exports to Canada used to take two to three days. They now take 10. Some licenses for exports to Europe are now taking 30 days to process.

All these changes at the State Department come at a time when, the industry hopes, the process of export control reform is crawling toward a resolution—which implies that the logical thing for State to do is to make no changes before it hands the business over to the Commerce Department.

Reportedly, the only major sticking point now between State and Commerce is State’s desire that Congress continue to be notified of all firearms exports worth more than $1 million—a sticking point that should be eminently solvable.

The advantage of export control reform for State is that it will substantially reduce the number of license applications it has to process. The advantages for the industry include the fact that quite a few foreign purchasers are unwilling to buy anything that is subject to U.S. export controls, as the compliance processes on the foreign side are as onerous as they are on the U.S. exporter.

But today, the firearms industry is in the worst of all possible worlds: State is focused on the supposed “crown jewels” (like tanks) that remain under its control, and commercial firearm exports are getting caught up in that increased scrutiny. This wasn’t how export control reform was supposed to work.

What is missing here is political and administrative leadership—leadership to finish off export control reform and to press ahead with at least a couple of the other reforms.

Hope for Action

National Instant Criminal Background Check System reform should appeal even to gun-hating liberals in Congress, and Trump can unsign the Arms Trade Treaty on his own. Concealed carry reciprocity and the Hearing Protection Act may well take longer, but as the firearms industry knows all too well, eternal vigilance is the price not just of freedom, but even of modest reform.

Right now, however, weakening sales, no public steps forward, and quite a few small administrative steps back make for an unpleasant combination. It’s all well and good knowing that the man in the White House is fundamentally on your side, yet kind wishes don’t pay the bills.

In the realm of firearms, the Trump administration isn’t endearing itself to either its opponents or its supporters. It’s certainly not too late for it to do better, and as I commented earlier, 2018 could be a great year for American gunmakers, sellers, and buyers. But if progress doesn’t arrive before next year’s SHOT Show, the outlook, both administratively and politically, could be a great deal darker.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Ted Bromund

Ted R. Bromund, Ph.D., is the Margaret Thatcher senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read his research. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

Cherry-Picking Statistics: How the Violence Policy Center Manipulates Data to Advance their Cause

Last week, the Violence Policy Center shared their analysis of 2016 fatal injury statistics, which are released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and available for public analysis. VPC’s headline: “U.S. Gun Death Rate Jumps 17 Percent Since 2008 Supreme Court District of Columbia v. Heller Decision Affirming Right to Own a Handgun for Self-Defense.

That appears to suggest causation as if the Heller decision somehow has driven people to commit crime.

The chart in the press release is even more disingenuous than the headline. Take another look.  A casual look at the chart gives the impression that the firearm death rate has skyrocketed – the marker went from near the bottom of the chart in 2014 almost all the way to the top! The axis runs from 10.0 to 12.5; this technique is commonly used to make numbers seem more dramatic. Take a look at the same data point – the overall firearm death rate in the U.S. – on a chart with a more honest axis.

Notice that the sharp increase presented by the Violence Policy Center is flatter when the axis hasn’t been manipulated to suit an agenda. Readers will also notice that this chart is not arbitrarily set to only post-Heller years but goes back to 1990; the longer trend line reveals some truths that the VPC would like to ignore. Total firearms-related death rates were higher through nearly all of the 1990s than they were in 2016.

One should also notice that the total firearms-related homicide rate continued a marginal and pre-existing downward trend after Heller, moving from 4.28 per 100,000 population in 2006 to 3.45 per 100k in 2014. A trend that directly contradicts the misleading headline touted by the Violence Policy Center.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

“Strict Scrutiny” Amendments: Iron Plating for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

UK: Gun Control Extremists Target Police for Teaching Teen Cadets About Firearms

Stemming the Tide: Violent Crime Decreased in First Six Months of 2017

Crossing the Line – Firearm Preemption Protection Under Attack

Gun control groups are fond of describing preemption as a doctrine whereby a state has stripped local governments of their power to regulate guns. In fact, under established legal principles, localities are subordinate “creatures of state law,” with no inherent rights or powers other than what a state decides to delegate to them through statutes or charters. Although some local governments may be delegated an authority to regulate public safety and welfare (“police power”) as broad as that exercised by the granting state itself, this power retains its essential character as delegated authority and is limited both by the corporate boundaries of the locality and any restrictions on its exercise that may be imposed by the state.

State preemption laws have been enacted across the nation to block local governments from passing laws on labor and employment, taxation, and many other issues of sufficient importance to require consistency and justify a uniform policy approach across the state.

For example, half of all states have some form of preemption on local minimum wage laws; 19 states likewise preempt local governments from imposing mandatory paid leave laws; over 40 states have limitations on how local governments raise revenue or assess or spend taxes; and more than 40 states have laws that prohibit localities from enacting laws restricting firearms, ammunition, and firearm components.

The tradeoff for withholding this local legislative power is equalized laws throughout a state, which means individuals and businesses don’t have to navigate a variety of conflicting regulatory schemes that change with each municipal or county boundary. In the case of firearm preemption laws, these ensure that fundamental Second Amendment rights are not diluted or distorted through controversial local policies. As NRA-ILA executive director Chris Cox has noted, firearm preemption laws protect gun owners “from harassment by an unreasonable and confusing patchwork of municipal gun laws… so that the state legislature, rather than every town, village, and burg, has the sole ability to control state police powers that are clearly of general concern.”

One illustration is a City of Seattle court case arising from the city’s decision to implement a “gun-free” policy, which resulted in a ban on firearms in public places like community centers, sports fields, playgrounds, performing art venues, and others owned or managed by the city. Winnie Chan and other concealed carry permittees successfully sued and overturned the policy for not only violating the preemption law, RCW 9.41.290, but another statute that authorized persons with a valid permit to carry “for the purposes of protection or while engaged in business, sport, or while traveling” unless otherwise prohibited by state law. Confirming that actions taken by a local government in excess of the limits on its authority are invalid, regardless of how well-intentioned or critical to public welfare they are alleged to be, the court pointed to explicit language in RCW 9.41.290 that repealed local rules, “regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.”

Since then, localities and the courts in the Evergreen State have been chipping away at the preemption statute. Last year, the Supreme Court of Washington upheld a City of Seattle fee imposed exclusively on gun and ammunition sales, an “innovative” measure to “save lives” and create local funding for “gun violence” research. The court determined that RCW 9.41.290 preempts only “regulation” of firearms, not taxation.

More significantly, legislators in Washington State have recently introduced a bill, SB 6146, to repeal the state preemption law entirely. As justification, the bill cites the need to “restor[e] inherent local authority to adopt firearms regulations” so localities may themselves “address the epidemic of firearm violence in their communities.”

It’s not difficult to understand the impact of this bill if passed. According to a U.S. census document, as of 2012 Washington State had close to 2,000 local governments – including counties, cities, and towns. King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties, three of the most densely populated counties, had anywhere from 86 to 157 units of local government within each county alone. Once each locality has the authority to build upon state laws and adopt its own area-wide rule, law-abiding citizens who cross the line of their own jurisdiction to work, shop, visit, or travel will have to comply with whatever mix of firearm and ammunition restrictions and bans the local lawmakers view as feasible from time to time.

Gun control proponents argue that this local control of firearm laws allows for innovative, “customized solutions” to gun crime, and fills “regulatory gaps” at the state and federal level. This state and federal “policy vacuum” argument disregards the extensive network of federal and state laws – especially in Washington State – that already comprehensively addresses firearms and firearm offenses. Such local “solutions,” moreover, have previously run afoul of state firearm rules, or sought to impose clearly unconstitutional gun restrictions (as was the case with since-invalidated handgun bans in Chicago and the District of Columbia). And far from overriding “tradition” and leading to “illogical results,” preemption laws are based on long-standing legal principles on the legislative preeminence of the state over localities, and the need for consistency on issues as important as civil rights.

Every recent gun control measure promoted in Washington State, from the so-called “universal background checks,” to the “extreme risk protection order” law, to the Seattle “gun violence tax” on gun and ammunition sales has been predicated on promises of reducing gun crime and protecting families and communities. Once passed, though, the background check law has been found to have had no “measurable effect,” the enactment of Seattle’s gun fee has been followed by more violent crime, and information on the “extreme risk protection order” law suggests it is not being used (the proponent group admits it isn’t tracking the use or effectiveness of the law). The bill proposing the revocation of the preemption law is no different.

Preemption laws are not new. As anti-gun activists increasingly focus their agenda on convincing state legislatures to adopt restrictive firearm laws and bans, legislators need to remember that there are good policy reasons, quite apart from the constitutionally protected rights at stake, for why almost all states have laws prohibiting local jurisdictions from imposing their own gun policies.

Democrats’ Exciting New Hope Adheres to Tired Old Anti-Gun Dogma

Democrats searching for a standard-bearer in the 2020 presidential election lit on long-time entertainment, media, and publishing figure Oprah Winfrey this week, following a speech Winfrey gave at a televised Hollywood extravaganza. Winfrey received wide acclaim for her remarks, but amidst the #oprah2020 mania that has followed, questions have arisen over what Winfrey stands for politically and whether she has the desire and skill set to lead the Free World. Some of those questions remain unanswered, but for gun owners, one thing is crystal clear: Oprah Winfrey embraces the staunchly anti-gun posture of contemporary Hollywood.

Winfrey’s anti-gun activism dates back to at least the 1990s when she was closely involved with the rabidly anti-gun group CeaseFire, Inc. The now defunct group’s website, still archived online, attests to its fanaticism. It’s Mission Statement, for example, explained:

Through a coordinated public service announcement (PSA) print and broadcast campaign, our mission is to mobilize a broad cross section of American leadership to educate and promote handgun-free homes and families. By highlighting the public health implications of handgun violence, Cease Fire can educate Americans to view handguns as the inherently unsafe and dangerous products they are, and not appropriate to have in any home. [Emphasis added.]

Oprah Winfrey was part of this “education” campaign, appearing in CeaseFire’s print and broadcast ads and in its fundraising materials. 

CeaseFire pioneered elements of the modern anti-gun publicity playbook, heavily promoting dubious factoids and inflating statistics about firearms’ supposed toll on “children” by including statistics pertaining to 18- and 19-year-old adults (a common age for gang membership). Its ads featured actors such as Winfrey and Paul Newman gravely recounting media stories about gun owners accidentally killing their loved ones. Even gun safes, according to the group’s ads, weren’t to be trusted. Taglines included, “Before you bring a gun in the house, think about it” and “A Home is no place for a handgun.”

The legendary Charlton Heston, who would go on to be one of the NRA’s most iconic presidents, lamented in 1997, “We’ve reached that point in time when our national social policy originates on ‘Oprah.’” 

Indeed, in 2000, Winfrey promoted the so-called Million Mom March (the march) on her popular daytime talk show. The march was actually a Mother’s Day rally of women in support of gun control on the National Mall. Although the actual number of “marchers” who attended the D.C. rally was considerably less than a “million,” the event received a major boost from Winfrey’s free publicity.  The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence – which later merged with the anti-gun organization that formed around the march – recounts that the march’s website crashed from the crush of traffic generated when its online address was published during Winfrey’s show.  Winfrey told her viewers that if they didn’t “do something” to stop “children” from being killed by firearms, they were “part of the problem.”

Insisting that she is “apolitical,” Winfrey nevertheless became a staunch supporter of Barack Obama’s hyper-partisan political career. Wikidpedia states that “Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama was one of the most widely covered and studied developments of the 2008 presidential campaign.” One paper by two economists from the University of Maryland estimates that Winfrey’s endorsement “was responsible for approximately 1,000,000 additional votes for Obama,” potentially swaying the 2008 Democratic primary in the two-term president’s favor. “Winfrey, for her part, described Obama’s political ascendance as “beyond and above politics” and “something new.”

Obama’s strongly pro-gun control views clearly did not diminish Oprah Winfrey’s support for him.  Rather, she repeatedly used her vast public reach to support Obama’s gun control agenda during his presidency. At Harvard’s commencement in 2013, for example, Winfrey plugged the administration’s #1 gun control initiative, “universal background checks.” In 2016, she indicated support for an “assault weapons” ban (another Obama-backed measure) in the wake of a mass murder in Orlando, Florida. “Are we a country that really believes that assault weapons should be made available to anybody?” she commented. “Are assault weapons necessary? I … just say, ‘enough.’”

Fortunately, unlike most of her other high-profile endeavors, Oprah Winfrey’s gun control activism has been a failure, at least as measured by additional federal gun control laws. But it’s hard to overstate the immense cult of personality that surrounds her, as well as the reflexive adulation she engenders from her fellow elites in entertainment and media. Like Barack Obama – with whom she remains close – a President Oprah Winfrey could count on their unconditional support, as well as their protection against any serious scrutiny or criticism. 

Gun owners know that the last thing America needs is another gun-control absolutist as president. Because while Oprah Winfrey is wrong that handguns do not belong in the home, it’s true that handgun abolitionists do not belong in the White House.

2017: Another Year Millions of Americans Bought Firearms

We, like many of our members, watched the NICS numbers all year. We read – and fact-checked – all of the claims about the “Trump Slump” and the imminent collapse of the entire firearms industry (see herehereherehere, and here). Month after month, the narrative around the NICS data framed gun sales as waning because a new record wasn’t set. Bloomberg headlined its latest entry, “Gun Sales in America Drop.” The Chicago Tribune reported that “Holiday gun sales dip after record Black Friday.” 

The FBI released the final NICS numbers for 2017. There were 25,235,215 total NICS checks in 2017 – making last year the second busiest year ever for the NICS office. Across all states, territories, and the District of Columbia, there were 7.2 million NICS checks related to handguns (not including private sales, rentals, returned, pre-pawn, or pawn redemption checks); 5.2 million for long guns; just under 400,000 for “other” firearms; and 236,167 checks for multiple purchases. More than 9.9 million Americans initiated a NICS check for a permit last year. 

In terms of individual categories of NICS checks, 2017 ranks third for handgun-related NICS checks and second for “other” checks. In terms of total sales-related checks (handgun, long gun, other, and multiple), 2017 was the fourth-busiest year ever. It was also the second busiest year for permit checks. 

Interest in defense and the shooting sports clearly remains strong; sure, NICS doesn’t provide a 1:1 proxy for gun sales but the FBI saw more than 13 million sales-related checks and almost 10 million permit checks. That equates to more than twenty-seven thousand permit checks and nearly thirty-six thousand sales-related checks every single day of the year. 

Hopefully, we can put the claims of “Trump Slump” and of the demise of the firearms industry to rest along with the year 2017. The continued strong NICS numbers all year indicate that Americans’ interest in defending themselves and their families, and their interest in the shooting sports, is not dependent on the occupant of the White House. We fully expect the firearms industry to continue to support the passions shared by millions of law-abiding Americans throughout 2018.

You’ve Got Fail: Investigation into Online Gun Sales Backfires on Gun Controllers

In yet another embarrassment for the gun control lobby, a government investigation of online gun sales designed to determine “whether private sellers would knowingly sell a firearm to an individual prohibited from possessing one” determined that … no, actually, they would not. In 72 attempts undertaken over 2 ½ years, undercover agents trying to buy guns through readily-accessible Internet sites failed exactly 100% of the time to complete a sale when the seller had reason to believe the buyer was prohibited or lived in another state.

Ironically, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report — “Internet Firearm Sales: ATF Enforcement Efforts and Outcomes of GAO Covert Testing” – was commissioned by three staunchly anti-gun members of Congress. Leading the charge was Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who was joined by Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The legislators were apparently banking on GAO to replicate the results of three earlier “studies” bought and paid for by über anti-gun sugar daddy Michael Bloomberg, beginning with 2011’s “Point, Click, Fire.” Using a similar methodology to the GAO study (responding to online sales ads with the suggestion they couldn’t pass a background check), Bloomberg’s investigators claimed that 62% of private sellers were nevertheless willing to proceed with the sale. 

Two later Bloomberg-backed efforts – one specifically timed to support the Bloomberg-funded “universal background check” initiative campaign in Nevada – claimed to prove that prohibited criminals were posting “want-to-buy” ads for gun. This was supposedly ascertained by comparing information the posters provided with their ads to criminal history records.

Combining the results of the studies, Bloomberg’s lackeys extrapolated that hundreds of thousands of dangerous criminals were acquiring firearms through “unregulated” online sales every year.

Needless to say, Bloomberg and his constantly-rebranding gun control empire – variously known as Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and Everytown for Gun Safety – argued the results of these publicity stunts “proved” the need for more gun control. The number one policy prescription was a federal “universal background check” law.

Of course, this narrative was picked up and eagerly pushed by the anti-gun media. 

But the GAO report also reinforced what the NRA has said all along, that online sales are not “unregulated” but subject to the same federal laws that apply to any other commercial or private gun sales. These include licensing for commercial sellers (with the attendant responsibility to identify buyers, keep transaction records, and run background checks), restrictions for all sellers on transacting across state lines, and a ban on selling to anyone with reason to believe the person is prohibited.

GAO’s findings showed nothing so much as that private sellers advertising online are knowledgeable about the law, conscientious, and self-policing. Fifty-six of the sellers (78%) “outright refused to complete a transaction once our undercover agents revealed either that the shipping address was across state lines or that the agent was prohibited from owning firearms.” In five other cases, the forum on which the ad was posted “froze” the prospective buyers’ accounts and blocked the transaction once information on their prohibited status was revealed. The agents failed to complete the remaining 11 cases because they determined the sellers wanted to take their money without actually making delivery of the firearm.

In every single case, however, the sellers would not deliver a firearm to a buyer they had reason to believe was prohibited or lived in a different state. The GAO report also showed that websites and legitimate sellers were willing to freeze out suspicious actors and cooperate with law enforcement officials to identify and successfully prosecute criminals operating online.    

So much for the “Wild Wild Web” that Bloomberg has spent so much time and money trying to conjure in the public imagination.

The investigators went even further, however, and also tried to purchase guns on the so-called “Dark Web,” which the report said “contains content that has been intentionally concealed and requires specific computer software to gain access,” thus affording users “little risk of detection.” The ATF put it more simply, explaining the Dark Web is “designed to facilitate criminal activity online.”

But even on the Dark Web, and even dropping the ruse that they were prohibited purchasers, GAO’s undercover agents were still only able to complete two of seven attempted transactions. One involved a semi-automatic Uzi that had been (apparently falsely) advertised as a machine gun, and the other was an AR-15 with an obliterated serial number. Both cases were referred for further criminal investigation.

Yet in sharp contrast to Bloomberg’s previous efforts, the GAO did not substantiate that most private sellers advertising online are willing to break the law. To the contrary, the GAO results showed that sellers operating on readily-accessible websites understood the law about restricted firearm sales and scrupulously followed it (even if some were seemingly willing to scam apparent criminals out of their money).

In Bloomberg’s world, you get what you pay for, and that includes “investigative” outcomes and fawning attention from the press. But GAO is not on his payroll. To their credit, they did a professional job with their investigation, and the results speak for themselves. Just don’t expect to hear about it from the media this time.

VIDEO: The most feared organization? NRA? No, Gun Owners of America!

Erich Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, in an email to supporters writes:

There’s only one thing the liberal media hates more than the Second Amendment…

Gun Owners of America.

Time and time again liberal celebrities and the media blast Gun Owners of America for our “dangerous” belief in the Second Amendment and for our dedication to protecting the rights of gun owners across the country.

One liberal MSNBC talk show host lamented that GOA is “tougher than the NRA.” Watch the video below to see for yourself!

EDITORS NOTE: Those readers wishing to support Gun Owners of America may do so by clicking here.

Here Are the 5 Worst ‘Fake News’ Reports on Guns in 2017

President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are strongly pro-Second Amendment, which means new gun control laws were dead on arrival in 2017.

But the mainstream media, not to be quietly defeated, exposed its anti-gun bias more than ever this year.

The national newspapers and left-wing TV networks continued to churn out unbalanced reports on gun crime and laws, while refusing to learn accurate terminology. Here are the top offenders.

1. USA Today

Anyone with common sense knows a chain saw weighs more than a rifle and its weight would pull it down, much less be stuck to an electric socket.

Readers immediately mocked the absurd getup by posting mockups of other “possible modifications” to an AR-15—laugh-out-loud things like a nuclear missile and a full-size F-16.

Andrew Wilkow added increasingly smaller AR-15s under the full-size one, like one of those Russian wood dolls of decreasing sizes.

2. CNN

After the horrifying shooting of Republican members of Congress on a softball field, CNN published a story in June titled “Where does the GOP baseball shooting leave the gun control debate?” It was not a news report by any definition.

The entire article is an interview—conducted by email—with the president of the (mostly irrelevant) Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

The reporter did not “email interview” any pro-Second Amendment group or activist for any balance. CNN didn’t even include that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who almost died in the politically motivated shooting, had not changed his views on protecting the Second Amendment from any further infringement.

Also, there seems to be no one employed by CNN who has any knowledge of firearms statistics. Jim Acosta, the senior White House correspondent, tweeted: “Since Sandy Hook there have been at least 1,552 mass shootings, with at least 1,767 people killed and 6,227 wounded.”

Acosta, who has almost a half-million followers on Twitter, was not actually citing CNN, but an article in the left-wing outlet Vox.

Click through the article and you’ll see the data it contains is riddled with errors. It takes statistics from a group called “Gun Violence Archive,” which makes up out of whole cloth the definition of “mass shooting” to include people who are shot, but not killed. The group includes “news reports” for media sources instead of citing law enforcement agencies.

Nowhere in the article does Vox mention that there is an official government definition of “mass shooting,” which is four or more people killed outside the home in one incident.

In fact, the number of people killed annually in mass shootings has been an average of 23 over the last 30 years.

Don’t believe me?

That statistic is from leading gun control voice in Congress Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who gets her data from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

Acosta never explained his promotion of the bad reporting. The tweet remains on his account, giving the fake news legitimacy to CNN viewers.

3. NBC News

In this story, published five years after the Sandy Hook massacre, NBC reports that Congress has passed no new gun control laws, even when President Barack Obama was in office. That was true (aside from regulations through the White House), but NBC gives every reason for this, except a fact-based one.

The reason Congress doesn’t pass more gun control laws is that not one has ever been proven to reduce gun crime.

Instead, NBC puts the blame on anti-gun groups not being unified against the powerful NRA. (That would come as big a surprise to the Second Amendment Foundation, Gun Owners of America, and other pro-Second Amendment groups.)

NBC also nonsensically reports that gun control groups can’t compete with the resources of the NRA. It leaves out that those groups receive tens of millions of dollars from billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, while the NRA is funded by its grassroots members.

To cap off the bias in this story, NBC violates journalism rule 101, which is to ask a representative from the other side of the issue for a response.

4. The Economist

The Economist was once a reliable source of information on economics and finance. But, as this gun story makes clear, the magazine is now a partisan tool of the left.

In a November story about the tragic church shooting in Texas, The Economist cites “mass shooting” data from Mother Jones, a far-left outlet, rather than government agencies. Then the reporter writes that the shooter used an AR-15, which “was prohibited in 1994, but legalized in 2004 when America’s assault-weapons ban expired.”

That’s true, but not the whole story. The ban expired because Congress determined it was not effective in decreasing the number of homicides by rifle. The reader is left with the false impression that lack of a gun ban was directly responsible for the horrific church shooting.

The Economist does not even include data from the FBI, which would illuminate readers about the issue of gun violence. The most recent statistics available are from 2016. The FBI data show that there were 11,004 homicides by firearm. Of those, only 374 were by rifles of any kind.

5. The Associated Press

Almost every media outlet in the country—TV, print, and online—pays the Associated Press to use its wire service to supplement or replace its own reporting. This means AP has an outsized impact on news reports because its work appears in everything from local newspapers to network news.

Eagle-eyed Cargar Dolor recently tweeted to me: “This AP story from today claims that authorities recovered a ‘40mm pistol.’”

Clearly, the reporter knows nothing about the basic ballistics of firearms, and neither do the editors.

I tweeted to AP to correct this to a .40 caliber pistol, which it eventually did. Meanwhile, the more educated public tweeted to me that “40mm” is the size of a cannon or a grenade launcher.

Many of these mistakes would be funny if they weren’t rooted in ideological narrowness. They show how the mainstream media deliberately attempts to confuse the public in order to build support for more gun control laws.

At a higher level, the repeated bad reporting in just one area of public debate that shows the top editors and managers in mainstream media assign reporters to cover gun crime, without any expertise on the subject, research into data, or fact-checking.

If it weren’t for conservative media and informed social media users, the average American might walk the streets in fear of being attacked by someone wielding a rifle with a chainsaw attached to the bottom.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Emily Miller

Emily Miller is an award-winning jour

The Washington Post Exposes Pelosi Lie on National Reciprocity

As the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Of course, such a record would be an improvement for the Washington Post’s gun coverage. However, over the past year, the Post’s Fact Checker column has provided readers with a handful of well-researched pieces challenging the ridiculous assertions made by some gun control advocates. This week brought their latest, where writer Glenn Kessler admonished House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for her recent comments on H.R. 38, or the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.

Specifically, the article targeted a December 6 tweet from the former House speaker, where she stated,

Inviting violent criminals to carry concealed weapons doesn’t save lives

Inviting domestic abusers to carry concealed weapons doesn’t save lives

Inviting convicted stalkers to carry concealed weapons doesn’t save lives

Yet the @HouseGOP just voted to do exactly that #StopCCR

Earlier that day, the House passed H.R. 38 with bipartisan support by a 231-198 vote. The legislation would require states that issue Right-to-Carry permits to recognize the Right-to-Carry permits of all other states. Under the House legislation, law-abiding individuals from states where a permit is not required would also be able to carry in other states so long as they carry valid photo identification.

In relation to the tweet, a Pelosi spokesman told Kessler that the “information [was] provided by Everytown for Gun Safety.” Pelosi’s office also told Kessler that “the bill is terrible.”

Going to the heart of the matter, Kessler pointed out that the categories of individuals Pelosi listed are already prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law. Specifically, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) prohibits possession by any person,

who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year

who is subject to a court order that—

(A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had an opportunity to participate;
(B) restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and

(i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or
(ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury;

who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

States have small variations on the scope of individuals they prohibit from carrying firearms, but federal law targets the broad categories Pelosi mentioned. Explaining this fact, Kessler noted, “the differences among most states may loom larger in the gun debate than in reality.” Moreover, Pelosi should be well aware of the federal prohibition concerning those convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence; in 1996 she voted to approve the final version of H.R.3610, which contained this restriction.

Kessler went on to note that some form of Right-to-Carry reciprocity is already the law for the vast majority of states. In fact, a majority of states already either recognize carry permits from all other states, or recognize the permits of any state where their permit is recognized – without any further conditions.

Pelosi’s dishonest tweet earned her a well-deserved three out of four Pinocchios from the Post. However, there is a solid case for a fourth.

It is Pelosi’s central thesis that H.R. 38 poses a public safety risk. Kessler addressed this by pointing to a letter to congressional leadership in support of H.R. 38 from Missouri Attorney General Joshua D. Hawley and signed by 23 other state attorneys general. Kessler cited a passage that stated, “Concealed carry permit holders are among the most law-abiding members of society, and those States that allow for reciprocal concealed-carry permits have not encountered any significant safety issues.” However, other information in the letter and data and research on Right-to-Carry further refute Pelosi’s contention.

Elsewhere in the letter, Hawley, citing a law review article on the subject, explained,

In Texas, for example, state data on permit holders shows that, compared to the general public, they are “ten times less likely to commit a crime, eleven times less likely to commit an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and seven times less likely to commit deadly conduct with a firearm.”

A similar scenario has played out in Florida. As of June 30, 2017, there were 1,784,395 valid Concealed Weapon Licenses in the state. From July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, the state revoked or suspended 6,739 permits for any reason; a rate of 377.6 per 100,000. If limited to just license revocations, the rate is 83.6 per 100,000. FBI data shows that there were 726,396 arrests in Florida 2016, which is 3,524 arrests per 100,000 in population. Clearly, permit holders are far more law-abiding than the general public.

Moreover, violent crime has fallen by half since the early nineties, and at the same time, the popularity of Right-to-Carry has exploded. Since hitting an all-time high violent crime rate in 1991, 26 states have enacted “shall-issue” Right-to-Carry laws. In addition to this simple analysis, the vast majority of social science research on Right-to-Carry laws has found that these laws either have no effect on crime or have caused a modest decrease.

Throughout 2017 there has been mounting pressure among Democrats for Pelosi to relinquish her role as House minority leader. The concern is understandable. For years Pelosi has had poor favorability numbers, but now it appears she can’t even rely on the Democrat-friendly Post for fawning coverage. At least four times this year the Post has highlighted Pelosi’s lies about major legislation or the Trump administration. We’ll leave it to House Democrats whether they are comfortable being led by a politician who tells lies the left-wing media won’t even tolerate.

FBI receives over 200,000 gun checks on Black Friday

In a UPI.com article titled “FBI receives record-breaking 200,000 gun checks on Black Friday” Daniel Uria reports:

Nov. 26 (UPI) — The FBI received more than 200,000 background check requests for gun purchases on Black Friday, the bureau reported.

In total the FBI received 203,086 gun background check requests, required for purchases at federally licensed firearm dealers, on the major U.S. shopping day, USA Today reported.

The requests broke previous single-day records of 185,713 and 185,345 on Black Friday in 2016 and 2015 respectively, according to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System database.

The number of background checks doesn’t represent the actual number of guns sold, as multiple firearms can be purchased in one transaction.

Read more.

 

Gun Controllers Choose to Ignore Cases of Good Guys with Guns

Less than three hours after the tragedy at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was looking to score political points. As is his custom, Murphy fired off a tweet admonishing his colleagues for their refusal to submit to the gun control lobby’s agenda. However, in the following hours, as more information about the shooting became available, it became clear the event didn’t fit so neatly into Murphy’s preconceived anti-gun narrative.

Reports began to come out that an armed citizen, later identified as NRA Member and former NRA Instructor Stephen Willeford, had engaged the shooter with his own firearm, prompting the killer to flee the scene. With little information and no qualms about denigrating the brave actions of an American hero, the omniscient Murphy tweeted, “Let’s be clear – nobody ‘stopped’ this shooting…” At the time Willeford engaged the shooter, there were at least 20 people still alive inside the church. A heart-rending account provided to the Washington Post by David Brown, son of wounded churchgoer Farida Brown, made clear that Farida Brown feared the shooter was not finished killing when Willeford came on the scene.

Murphy’s attempt to dismiss Willeford’s courageous response to the shooting is in keeping with gun control advocates’ longstanding messaging efforts and shows the depths anti-gun activists will sink to bury the facts. According to these gun-control proponents, good guys with guns don’t stop bad guys with guns.

In order to justify this position, gun control activists ignore cases where armed civilians have put a halt to mass violence. Like a perverse Goldilocks, gun controllers will discount cases where a criminal was stopped before they were able to carry out sufficient carnage, and, as in the case of the shooting in Southerland Springs, dismiss a case where the killer was able to exact significant violence before an armed citizen could arrive.

When you look past gun control advocates and much of the media’s biased filtering, there are a number of documented cases where armed citizens have confronted these types of killers and likely saved lives. Here are just a handful:

On August 1, 1966, a madman went to the observation deck of the University of Texas at Austin Tower and began firing at those on the ground, eventually killing 14. During the shooting, several citizens retrieved their personal firearms and returned fire. According to a university effort to compile a complete historical record of the incident, “The ground fire did pin down Whitman, most likely keeping him from killing more people.” One eyewitness told Texas Monthly in 2006, “It seemed like every other guy had a rifle. There was a sort of cowboy atmosphere, this ‘Let’s get him’ spirit.”

On January 16, 2002, a disgruntled former student returned to Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va. and shot two school officials. According to an account from student Tracy Bridges printed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, he and fellow student Michael Gross retrieved firearms from their vehicles and went to confront the shooter. Along with two other students, Bridges and Gross were able to subdue the killer until police could arrive. In his book, The Bias Against Guns, Economist John Lott pointed out that “out of 208 news stories (from a computerized Nexis-Lexis search) in the week after the event, just four stories mentioned that the students who stopped the attack had guns.”

On December 9, 2007, a man entered the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. after having killed two people earlier in day at a Christian center in Arvada, Colo. The killer was met by volunteer armed church security guard Jeanne Assam. Describing her actions, Assam said, “I took cover. I identified myself. I engaged him. I took him down.” Following the incident, Church Pastor Brady Boyd called Assam a hero and explained, “Three people are needlessly dead, but many more lives could have been lost.” 

On April 17, 2015, a man fired into a crowd of people in Chicago’s Logan Square. John Hendricks, an Uber driver and Right-to-Carry permit holder, drew a handgun and shot the assailant, who collapsed onto the sidewalk. Recalling his experience for the Chicago Tribune, Hendricks explained, “There was a threat to me and I helped somebody in the process as well… It’s a positive feeling.”

On May 5, 2015, a deranged man drove into the parking lot of a fire station in New Holland, S.C. According to a report from WIS-TV, several children and firefighters were in the lot. The man then exited his vehicle with a firearm and shot into the air and at his own automobile. Firefighter Gary Knoll and one of his colleagues, both Right-to-Carry permit holders, drew firearms and confronted the man. Knoll and his colleagues were able to disarm the man and detain him until police could arrive. Speaking to the local media about the importance of exercising the Right-to-Carry, Knoll said, “It saved a life, if not multiple.”

On May 3, 2017, a man entered the Zona Caliente sports bar in Arlington, Texas, began speaking incoherently, and opened fire. At the time of the shooting, there were more than a dozen people inside the restaurant. A patron, who was also a Right-to-Carry permit holder, shot and killed the shooter, ending the incident. Arlington Police Spokesman Christopher Cook told the Dallas Morning News that the armed citizen was a “hero,” and noted that he “prevented further loss of life.”

In an interview with NRA, Willeford recalled the moment when he became aware of the gunfire at the church and said, “I kept hearing those shots and I knew every shot might be representing another person getting hit by a bullet.” Acting as fast as he could, Willeford retrieved his rifle, grabbed a handful of ammunition, and raced out his door barefoot towards the church. Anyone who has seen the NRA video, or Willeford’s other interviews, can see the anguish of a man who wishes he could have done even more to protect his community. Maybe Willeford’s heroic response wasn’t enough for Murphy to consider him a good guy with a gun, but the survivors in Sutherland Springs and the decent portion of America likely disagree.

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