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.


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.


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?


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:


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 …. “


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. 

The Everyday Guide to Everyday Carry

Let’s have a frank discussion about EDC, the everyday carry. The internet is overflowing with pictures, threads, and suggestions from self-proclaimed experts on the subject. I have never considered myself a subject matter expert on EDC; however, much like Liam Neeson, I have had a unique set of life experiences and skills that may give some credibility to what I have to say.  I am a member of the Special Operations community. I have carried concealed weapons and mission essential equipment when lives have depended on it. I have protected diplomats all the way up to the vice-president of the United States. I am a qualified and current Advanced Tactical Paramedic, certified by Special Operations Command. I have treated life-threatening trauma at both the point of injury and at higher echelons of care. I teach various tactical skills to militaries, government employees, law enforcement, and private citizens. Lastly, and perhaps most important, I am in a constant state of learning in order to employ and teach the latest science, tactics, and techniques based on research and events.

Let’s strip away, the shemaghs, infidel t-shirts, and talk about what works. This will not be a conversation about what pistol to carry (Glock 19). That is a forum unto itself.  Today I will tell you what I carry and why. I will tell you what I think you should carry and why. This writing has zero product placement or endorsement of any kind. This is all my opinion. My opinion is probably better than yours. Buckle up.

EDC should not be about your gear. I know, that sounds counter-intuitive. Bear with me. There are multiple reasons we should not be dependent on our equipment. The biggest reason is that our environment does not typically allow us to carry the equipment we would like to. Anyone who drives in the Northern Virginia or West Virginia area knows this frustration. Drive across the wrong bridge and you are instantly transformed from a responsible law-abiding citizen to a felon. This concept applies everywhere. Can you carry a pistol in a bank? What about picking your kids up from school? Auditoriums, ball parks and other venues of mass congregation are typically no-carry zones. Every place I just listed are also historically targets for violent crime or terrorism. Your EDC needs to start with your thinking, not your gear. It is possible to go out and have a good time and still be situationally aware.

“Your EDC needs to start with your thinking, not your gear.”

Here’s some homework: without being the overly sensitive veteran who just has to have his back to the wall in a corner booth, go out to a coffee shop or a bar. Order your drink, sit down, and observe. How many entrances and exits do you see? Can you get to them in a timely manner? Does the bathroom lock? Where do people park? Is there anything stopping a vehicle from driving through the entrance? Is there security? How many? What, if anything, are they carrying? What are they looking at? Do they have communication? What are people around you wearing? Look at hands and shoes. Hands can show intention. Shoes can show planning (you ever hear of anyone robbing a bank in flip flops?). Now try the same thing in a mall.  Do this exercise a few times and you should notice your situational awareness in public settings increase. You may be amazed what you’ve never noticed.  *Note: don’t do this exercise in a bank unless you want to answer some uncomfortable questions.

Your Bag

Unless I am trying to present the picture of a tactically prepared individual, I do not carry anything in Coyote Brown, Multicam, or other tactical colors. Similarly, I stay away from bags that have molle loops and more velcro than I have morale patches for. This is a personal choice. I know my training. I know what capabilities I have. I prefer that to be a surprise to anyone that needs to bear the brunt of that training. I have two bags that I normally use for my EDC. Neither are designed for this purpose, but they work well. The first is my Timbukt2 laptop bag. Women generally have an advantage over men in EDC as it is normal for a woman to carry a purse. Well, my man purse…satchel…has been in some pretty sketchy areas and has held everything from a side arm to a full chest rack. I find the top zipper particularly useful as I do not have to open the flap to draw my weapon.  My second bag, a small Mountain Hardware padded ruck, also is meant to be a laptop case, and also has fast access via a zipper. Both of these bags have traveled the world with me. Neither has ever raised suspicion. When selecting your bag, go through this short checklist:

  1. Will I carry this?
  2. Can I get to what I need in a hurry?
  3. Does it have enough pockets to segregate my kit?
  4. Does it have so many pockets that I don’t know where anything is when I need it?
  5. Is the construction durable enough to stand up being carried everyday?

Your Tourniquet

Why do you not have a tourniquet? You have a full basic load and a four-hundred dollar reflex sight, but you didn’t drop a few bucks on a tourniquet. Look at that, you’ve made your little sister cry. Dammit Daryl. Here a few down and dirty facts:

  1. You can bleed to the point of no recovery in 3-5 minutes from an arm or leg wound.
  2. You will not lose your limb simply because you applied a tourniquet.
  3. Improvised tourniquets will likely take longer to gather and build than 3-5 minutes
  4. Your belt is not a tourniquet.
  5. Tourniquets save lives.

Now that we’ve established that you need a commercially produced one-handed tourniquet, the harder decision starts. The online tourniquet battle about what is best or what is crap is pretty heated. There are more people making comments about tourniquet effectiveness than are actually applying tourniquets. I’ll let you in on a secret: applied correctly, they all work. Every one of them. Anyone who tells you otherwise hasn’t used the product or is selling a product.  Like every medic, I have my preferences. I feel a Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) is more reliable on the average arm and has a faster application time than the Special Operations Forces Tactical Tourniquet – Wide (SOFTT-W). The exact opposite is true for the leg. I know that both of these tourniquets require a minimum limb circumference for effective application, i.e. it may not work on your kid. The Stretch Wrap And Tuck Tourniquet (SWAT) will work on your kid or your dog, but good luck applying it to yourself with one hand. The Rapid Application Tourniquet (RATS) is fast and, on most limbs, effective.

In the interest of integrity, I need to disclose that I not only know the inventor of the RATS, but we served together. I count him as a friend. There is both political and medical controversy over this device. It is unwarranted and gets in the way of saving lives. I had my doubts about the RATS when it was first shown to me. For educational purposes, I had the RATS tested by Special Operations Medics using Doppler Radar to detect a distal (away from the heart) pulse. Applied to the arm, the RATS was 100% effective in eliminating a pulse. On the leg, the pulse was diminished, but not fully eliminated. The test subject was a Navy SEAL with “tree trunks for legs.” I have trained thousands of individuals in the use of tourniquets. What I have seen, without bias, is that the layperson is able to apply a RATS tourniquet faster and more effective than any other commercial tourniquet. After training, most students opt for the RATS over other commercial tourniquets. Again, this is not bias. This is what I have seen (called “empirical evidence” in the medical community).

I carry multiple CAT and SOFTT-W’s in my vehicles and aid bags. My EDC has the RATS. Based on what I have seen with my students, I recommend it for your carry.

Regardless of which tourniquet you choose, have it staged for easy access with one hand, and ready for one-handed application.  Take the tourniquet out of the wrapper. Adjust the slack (big for the CAT, smaller for the SOFTT-W, three finger for the RATS) for one-handed use. Watch the manufacturer’s videos. Practice, practice, practice. I have trained government employees that refuse to recognize violence is a real thing to the standard of a 15-second application. Shoot for that standard. If you are carrying a CAT, ensure that the CAT you are training with is not the CAT you are expecting to control actual hemorrhage. The parts are made for single use and weaken under torque. Buy a blue CAT for training and a black or orange CAT for real-world use.

Other Medical Supplies

I prefer to keep it simple in my EDC. I could easily make my EDC into an aid bag. I don’t want that. That’s why I have an aid bag. One pack of compressed gauze and a small roll of duct tape are enough to fix everything from a large laceration to detaining a dirt bag till I get to more supplies. I don’t have a preference for untreated gauze. Hemostatic agents are a longer discussion for another post. If you are carrying medical tape for anything other than making a name tag, go ahead and slap yourself. I’ll wait. Medical tape, despite it’s purpose, does not stick well to wounds or anything wet. I carry a small roll of Duck Tape purchased at Home Depot and a roll of Gecko Tape from North American Rescue Products. Pro-tip: if the tape is open, dog ear it. You will be shaky and limited to gross motor skills under stress. Not being able to find the end of your tape costs cool points.

If you choose to carry a commercial dressing in your EDC, I recommend the Olaes Dressing from Tactical Medical Solutions. The dressing has multiple uses in one package. The gauze can be removed from the dressing to pack wounds. A small sheet of plastic can be removed to seal chest wounds. The elastic bandage has velcro strips sewn in increments to counter shaky-operator syndrome. A side-note personal soap box on the Olaes: the dressing is named after my friend and classmate SSG Tony Olaes who was killed in action in 2004. He pronounced his name Oh-Lie-Es. Please do the same. Thank you.


Your knife needs to be sharp, durable, and short enough that it won’t be confiscated at a security check-point. Everything else is sprinkles on the ice cream. I carry a Benchmade Triage because of the blade quality, the rescue hook, the glass breaker, and because I didn’t have to pay for it.  It is worth the nearly $200 price tag, providing you’re not prone to leaving it with the bouncer at a West Virginia strip club (can I get that back? Asking for a friend.) I also carry a Leatherman Wave for all my multi-tool needs. I do have bias on these brands, as all three of us are from Portland.

Not every light needs to be tactical to be useful. This $5 LED light has multiple functions and affixes to metal for hands free use.

We have also proven ourselves on the job.

Light (Flashlights/Tactical Lights, etc.)

Flashlights are similar to knives, in that you can lose it faster than the hours it took you to make enough money to buy it. I have been carrying the same Surefire Z2 Combat Light for 10 years. It’s durable, fist size, and has worked every time I needed it to. I’m sure there are better, newer lights out there, but I haven’t needed to find out. I also carry a five buck construction job site light I bought in the checkout line at Home Depot. It takes conventional batteries, uses LED, has spot and flood functions, and has a convenient magnet on the back. Maybe not my first choice for room clearing, but it’s great for lighting up a work space (think trauma, not cars). Both of my bags have headlamps. My primary is my Petzl, that everyone in SOF has a few of. There is no need to go out and spend big money on a headlamp. You’re not spelunking. Go to Home Depot and buy the three-pack for 10 bucks. Most of them even have red light capability. I’ve used them.

Miscellaneous Items

Phone charger and External Battery Pack – In an emergency, communication is key. If you spent your battery SnapChatting LOL’s to your contact list right before shit hits the fan, you’re going to need some juice. I’ve opted for an Otterbox uniVERSE case with a modular accessory slot. The external battery pack for this case is made by Polar Pro and is about $50 on Amazon. I have two of them.

Sharpie Marker & 3×5 Index Cards – Make an incident timeline. Mark casualties. Pass a note. Don’t forget to buy milk on the way home.

Cash – Lower denominations. A couple hundred dollars or so. Bribing rarely works with a credit card. Credit card machines do not work in power outages.

Gum – I like to chew gum when I think I’m about to get in the mix. I’m sure I could say something medical like, “activates the salivary glands to counter dry mouth secondary to stress-induced acid reflux”, but it just gives me something to do while I wait.

After packing your EDC bag, test it. Do not fall in love with one particular set-up if it isn’t working as well as it should. Once you think you have it set, practice. Use multiple conditions: low light, darkness, loud background.

Now that you’ve seen my kit and read my secrets, I’ll need to destroy you. Best of luck out there.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the Black Rifle Coffee Company blog.

VIDEO: What happens when you ask a gun owner if he brought protection?

Black Rifle Coffee Company teamed up with Matt Best from Article 15 Clothing to make a video about what happens when you ask a gun owner if he brought protection.

Both Black Rifle Coffee Company and Article 15 Clothing are veteran owned and operated businesses.

This is a must watch video. Enjoy!

Matt Best is a former U.S. Army Ranger turned online video satirist.

TAKE ACTION: Concealed Carrying Hits New High, Underscores Need for National Law

Information collected by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) indicates an unprecedented surge in the number of concealed carry permits, with the largest one-year increase on record occurring between May 2016 and May 2017.

The CPRC tracks permit numbers across the country and publishes an annual report on concealed carrying in the United States. As of late last year, the number of Americans with carry permits hit the 15 million mark, and the current estimate of permittees is at 15.7 million – almost double the number from 2011.

Apart from the accelerating rate at which carry permits are being issued, this development is significant for other reasons. The drivers of this wave are increasingly women and minorities: according to the CPRC’s 2016 report, “The number of women with permits has increased twice as quickly as the number of men with permits. Some evidence suggests that permit-holding is increasing about 75% more quickly among minorities than among whites.”

Urge your US Senators and US Representative to Support Concealed Carry Reciprocity!

Please contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative and urge them to cosponsor and support passage of S.446 — the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017– in the Senate, and H.R.38 — the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017– in the House.


This growth is particularly striking when considered in the context of the upswing in “permitless carry” jurisdictions.  Just this year, North Dakota and New Hampshire joined other states that allow concealed carrying without a state-issued license or permit. While the new carry statistic is impressive on its own, there is no doubt that it under represents the actual change in concealed carrying since last year.

This also reinforces the need for a national concealed carry reciprocity law. Despite the expansion of permitless carry, many gun owners continue to seek permits in order to have their carry rights recognized in other jurisdictions. As more and more Americans become legally qualified to carry, it makes less and less sense to subject the right to carry a firearm for self-defense to the existing patchwork of inconsistent reciprocity laws that change from state line to state line.

Senate bill S. 446The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, sponsored by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), and H.R. 38, The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, authored by Congressman Richard Hudson (R-NC), would allow law-abiding permit holders to carry a concealed handgun when traveling interstate.

Gun-control groups like Everytown oppose any national reciprocity law, claiming it “would have a profound impact on state public safety laws,” “present serious risks to law enforcement,” and would let “criminals and other dangerous people carry concealed guns in every state in the country.” In fact, the first operative section in both bills plainly states that the scope of the proposed reciprocity law excludes persons who are “prohibited by Federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm” – felons, persons with mental illness disqualifications, illegal drug users, and others. Such claims also ignore the unfortunate detail that criminals and other dangerous people pay no mind to permitting or other laws and already carry guns and other weapons illegally (and undoubtedly, will continue to do so).

The prediction that existing permit holders will run riot should a national reciprocity law pass likewise overlooks reality, being hard to square with the CPRC’s analysis concluding that concealed carry permittees are “extremely law abiding.” (According to the CPRC, law enforcement officers commit crimes at a rate that is a tiny fraction – 1/37th – of the rate of the general population; the crime rate for permit holders is even lower.)

As for the “risk” the legislation allegedly presents to law enforcement, it’s the peculiar one of exposing officers to a greater “danger of being sued for trying to confirm the validity of an out-of-state permit.” Police officers themselves, given their front-line experiences with violence and guns, appear to have a more receptive and informed attitude towards concealed carrying rights. A 2013 survey of over 15,000 police professionals across all ranks and department sizes asked questions about firearms, including concealed carrying. Over 91% of respondents supported the concealed carry of firearms by civilians who had not been convicted of a felony and/or not been deemed psychologically/medically incapable “without question and without further restrictions.” When asked to rate, on a scale of one to five, “how important … legally-armed citizens are to reducing crime rates overall,” over 75% of respondents answered by giving this the highest or next highest rating.

The CRPC’s next annual report on concealed carrying is expected in July, with updated statistics. As the number of America’s law-abiding concealed carry permittees moves towards new highs, we hope that elected officials, like the police, recognize that these armed citizens are “an asset in reducing violent crime and not a liability.”

Please contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative and urge them to cosponsor and support passage of S.446 — the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017– in the Senate, and H.R.38 — the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017– in the House. You can contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative by phone at (202) 224-3121, or click here to Take Action.

Bloomberg’s Everytown Creates ‘Authors Council’ to Push Anti-Gun Propaganda

As if the country’s media weren’t already sufficiently co-opted by anti-gun advocates, this week, Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety announced an effort to pervert an additional facet of American entertainment. The billionaire bank-rolled interest group has developed the Everytown Authors Council. According to Bloomberg’s astroturf campaign, “The Council is designed to harness the power of the literary community to amplify the gun safety movement.”

Such efforts to influence an already biased entertainment sector are nothing new for Everytown. An April 2016 Variety article detailed how the gun control group worked hand-in-hand with writers for Netflix’s “House of Cards” to push their anti-gun agenda.

That same month, NRA-ILA’s Grassroots Alert informed readers of the extent of Everytown’s involvement in trying to distort television programming. It explained that an Everytown employee has the position of “Director of Cultural Engagement,” who, “oversees Everytown’s storytelling efforts, partnerships with the creative community and develops cultural assets that mobilize Americans to support common sense reforms…”

Much like with their efforts to pervert television, Everytown’s Authors Council will reportedly “use its collective reach and cultural influence to support common-sense solutions…” In providing comment for an Everytown press release, author Jodi Picoult seemed to express a willingness to create agitprop for the anti-gun group, stating, “It is because of this that authors are singularly suited to speak out on the need for common-sense gun laws, and to tell the stories of those who have been devastated by gun violence in this country.”

One would hope that shameless shilling on behalf of a statist billionaire would be derided in any artistic community. Unfortunately, many in America’s “creative” class appear all too willing use their “art” in service of Bloomberg’s vanity project. As such, the gun-owning public should do their best to apprise the general public of the gun control movement’s propaganda techniques, and consider their own consumption of media accordingly.

RELATED ARTICLE: From My Cold Wet Hands: Humorless Scold Targets Squirt Guns

Don’t Scapegoat Gun Owners for Chicago’s Violent Crime Problem

The last two weeks have brought more evidence that Chicago’s gangland violence continues to spiral out of control. On May 2, two plainclothes police officers were shot while conducting an investigation in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. A van driven by an alleged gang associate pulled up next to the officers and a passenger in the vehicle opened fire. Then on Sunday, mourners were gathered at a makeshift outdoor memorial for an individual who had been shot and killed the night before in the City’s Brighton Park neighborhood, when two masked gunmen fired upon the crowd. Two were killed and eight were wounded in what police are characterizing as a gang retaliation shooting.

Sadly, such carnage is not outside the norm for a city with a murder rate so high that it skews efforts to measure violent crime in the country’s urban centers. However, that these crimes are alleged to have been perpetrated using semi-automatic rifles has led some gun control supporters to seize upon the incidents as justification to further restrict gun rights.

This week Chicago Police officers were given a safety bulletin warning of an increase in violent criminals using semi-automatic rifles. The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board quickly attempted to convert this bulletin into anti-gun capital, issuing a piece contending that the use of semi-automatic rifles posed a “new danger to cops and civilians.”

As one might expect, the editorial board’s answer to this “new” threat was to further burden the law-abiding. The board argued for federal legislation to prohibit the private transfer of firearms, which it terms “universal background checks.” The piece concluded by claiming, “Gun violence in Chicago and the rest of the nation is a dire, daily emergency. It’s time our lawmakers took serious measures to stem it.” The editorial was quickly spread by the typical gun control advocates via twitter.

Violence perpetrated with firearms is a serious problem in Chicago and certain other urban areas, but as for “the rest of the nation,” the national crime rate is still near record lows.

Moreover, the type of violence the editorial contemplates is not typical. Despite the oft-lamented increase in the popularity of semi-automatic rifles for lawful purposes, there has been no national-level increase in the use of rifles of any kind for murder. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting data, the number of murders committed with rifles fell each year from 2010 to 2015 (the most recent year for which this data is available). Even as the national murder total and murder rate rose slightly from 2014 to 2015, the number of murders perpetrated with a rifle fell.

Further, the Chicago Tribune’s proposed solution to the city’s woes ignores the prevalence of gang members acquiring their firearms via straw purchase. In Illinois an individual is already required to possess a Firearm Owners Identification Card in order to possess or acquire a firearm, but this has failed to impede violent criminals. In a 2013 survey of inmates in the Cook County Jail, one prisoner revealed the robust nature of the illegal gun trade in Chicago, telling the interviewer, “All they need is one person who got a gun card in the ‘hood’ and everybody got one.”

Even when Chicago police identify a straw purchaser, there is a reluctance to vigorously prosecute them. Last month, the NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert highlighted the story of a young woman with a FOID card who was convicted of providing firearms to a gang-affiliated individual. One of the firearms she supplied was later recovered in the possession of a juvenile. The woman was sentenced to 15 days in an “alternative work program,” 12 months of probation, and a $679 fine. At the outset of the case, the Chicago Police Department pointed out “these cases usually result in a plea of guilty in exchange for felony probation,” and that, “The felony arrest is not expected to result in jail time…”

The inadequate prosecution of dangerous criminals is endemic in Chicago and exacerbates another problem in the city; de-policing. A national survey of almost 8,000 police officers conducted by the Pew Research Center that was released in January found that reaction to recent high-profile encounters between citizens and law enforcement has had an effect on how officers are able to protect their communities. The survey found,

(72%) say officers in their department are now less willing to stop and question suspicious persons. Overall, more than eight-in-ten (86%) say police work is harder today as a result of these high-profile incidents.

Moreover, a recent report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Office of Partner Engagement, titled, “The Assailant Study – Mindsets and Behaviors,” observed a similar trend. The study contended that reaction to high-profile citizen-police encounters has had a chilling effect on law enforcement. According to the report,

Departments – and individual officers – have increasingly made the conscious decision to stop engaging in proactive policing. The intense scrutiny and criticism law enforcement has received in the wake of several high-profile incidents has caused several officers to (1) “become scared and demoralized” and (2) avoid interacting with the community.

In December, a report from CBS’s 60 Minutes showed just how acute this problem is in Chicago. The report pointed out that police activity fell as homicides skyrocketed, with an online article accompanying the program stating, “In August of 2015, Chicago cops stopped and questioned 49,257 people. But, a year later, stops dropped 80 percent and arrests fell by a third.” The article goes on to explain, “In a climate of increased scrutiny, a dozen beat cops and recently retired officers told 60 Minutes, off-camera, they’d stepped back and the data reflects that.”

Facing the intractable issues surrounding urban policing and criminal justice, politicians and anti-gun advocates have once again sought to blame law-abiding gun owners and certain types of firearms as responsible for society’s ills. The truth is, the problems facing Chicago and a handful of other cities are far more complicated than those pushing gun control care to admit. Scapegoating gun owners and firearms might be effective politics in parts of the country where a significant portion of one’s constituents have little experience with responsible firearm ownership, but it doesn’t make for effective policy.