VIDEO: McCain’s Subcommittee Staff Director Urged IRS to Target Conservative Groups

Little is as unnerving as trouble with the IRS, especially if you haven’t done anything wrong. That happened repeatedly during the Obama administration, as his IRS enthusiastically targeted conservative groups.

We’re now understanding why the Congress didn’t do much of anything about it.

We just released internal IRS documents revealing that Sen. John McCain’s Former Staff Director and Chief Counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, Henry Kerner, urged top IRS officials, including then-director of exempt organizations, Lois Lerner, to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous.”  President Trump, presumably unaware of these new facts, appointed Kerner as Special Counsel for the United States Office of Special Counsel.

The explosive exchange was contained in notes taken by IRS employees at an April 30, 2013, meeting between Kerner, Lerner, and other high-ranking IRS officials. Just ten days following the meeting, Lois Lerner admitted that the IRS had a policy of improperly and deliberately delaying applications for tax-exempt status from conservative non-profit groups.

Lerner and other IRS officials met with select top staffers from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a “marathon” meeting to discuss concerns raised by both Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that the IRS was not reining in political advocacy groups in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Senator McCain had been the chief sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act and called the Citizens United decision, which overturned portions of the Act, one of the “worst decisions I have ever seen.”

In the full notes of an April 30 meeting, McCain’s high-ranking staffer Kerner recommends harassing non-profit groups until they are unable to continue operating. Kerner tells Lerner, Steve Miller, Nikole Flax, then chief of staff to IRS commissioner, and other IRS officials, “Maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous.” In response, Lerner responded that “it is her job to oversee it all:”

Henry Kerner asked how to get to the abuse of organizations claiming section 501 (c)(4) but designed to be primarily political. Lois Lerner said the system works, but not in real time. Henry Kerner noted that these organizations don’t disclose donors. Lois Lerner said that if they don’t meet the requirements, we can come in and revoke, but it doesn’t happen in a timely manner. Nan Marks said if the concern is that organizations engaging in this activity don’t disclose donors, then the system doesn’t work. Henry Kerner said that maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous. Nikole noted that we have budget constraints. Elise Bean suggested using the list of organizations that made independent expenditures. Lois Lerner said that it is her job to oversee it all, not just political campaign activity.

We previously reported on the 2013 meeting. Senator McCain then issued a statement decrying “false reports claiming that his office was somehow involved in IRS targeting of conservative groups.” The IRS previously blacked out the notes of the meeting, but we found the notes among subsequent documents released by the agency.

We separately uncovered that Lerner was under significant pressure from both Democrats in Congress and the Obama DOJ and FBI to prosecute and jail the groups the IRS was already improperly targeting. In discussing pressure from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Democrat-Rhode Island) to prosecute these “political groups,” Lerner admitted, “it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.”

The April 30, 2013 meeting came just under two weeks prior to Lerner’s admission during an ABA meeting that the IRS had “inappropriately” targeted conservative groups. In her May 2013 answer to a planted question, in which she admitted to the “absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate” targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups, Lerner suggested the IRS targeting occurred due to an “uptick” in 501 (c)(4) applications to the IRS but in actuality, there had been a decrease in such applications in 2010.

On May 14, 2013, a report by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed: “Early in Calendar Year 2010, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status” (e.g., lists of past and future donors). The illegal IRS reviews continued “for more than 18 months” and “delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications” in advance of the 2012 presidential election.

All these documents were forced out of the IRS as a result of an October 2013 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the IRS after it failed to respond adequately to four FOIA requests sent in May 2013 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559)). Judicial Watch is seeking:

  • All records related to the number of applications received or related to communications between the IRS and members of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate regarding the review process for organizations applying for tax exempt status under 501(c)(4);
  • All records concerning communications between the IRS and the Executive Branch or any other government agency regarding the review process for organizations applying for tax exempt status under 501(c)(4);
  • Copies of any questionnaires and all records related to the preparation of questionnaires sent to organizations applying for 501(c)(4) tax exempt status and;
  • All records related to Lois Lerner’s communication with other IRS employees, as well as government or private entity outside the IRS regarding the review and approval process for 501 (c)(4) applicant organizations.

The Obama IRS scandal is bipartisan – McCain and Democrats who wanted to regulate political speech lost at the Supreme Court, so they sought to use the IRS to harass innocent Americans. The Obama IRS scandal is not over. We continue to uncover smoking gun documents that raise questions about how the Obama administration weaponized the IRS, the FEC, FBI, and DOJ to target the First Amendment Rights of Americans.

JW Sues for Mueller Deputy Andrew Weissmann’s Text Messages

This week we learned that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein hid from Congress a text message by FBI official Peter Strzok declaring that Trump wouldn’t become President:

“No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

The highly partisan Strzok became a lead player in Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion investigation of Donald Trump. Also, and still, in the lead is Andrew Weissmann, a senior deputy for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and a former chief of the Justice Department criminal Fraud Division.

Now the question is: What was Weissmann saying about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? We will find out.

Our legal team just filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit asking the court to compel the Department of Justice to produce “all text messages to or from DOJ official Andrew Weissmann” regarding President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-01356)).

We sued after the DOJ failed to respond to our December 15, 2017, FOIA request for:

  • All text messages sent to or from DOJ official Andrew Weissmann regarding Donald Trump and/or Hillary Clinton between August 8, 2016 and the present.
  • All calendar entries, whether in physical or electronic form, for Weissmann from January 1, 2015 to the present.

We’re not at all surprised that the Justice Department didn’t respond, given its deplorable record of transparency.

Weissmann’s objectivity in Mueller’s investigation was called into question in December 2017 when a separate JW FOIA lawsuit uncovered an email Weissmann wrote praising former acting Attorney General Sally Yates for defying Trump on enforcement of the President’s so-called travel ban.

Weissmann wrote to Obama appointee Yates in the email: “I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects.” President Trump fired Yates over her refusal to defend the policy. Yates was appointed by President Obama and was serving in an acting capacity as Attorney General for President Trump.

Also in December 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported that Weissmann had been in attendance at Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election night party. According to the Washington Post, Weissman contributed more than $4,000 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008 and $2,300 to the Clinton campaign in 2007.

Weissmann, described by The New York Times as Mueller’s “pit bull,” is the lead prosecutor in the Mueller team’s case against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Weissmann is demonstrably an anti-Trump/pro-Clinton activist. And it is suspicious that the Justice Department refuses to turn over any Weissmann text messages, especially given the anti-Trump bias documented in the FBI”s Strzok-Page texts.

Judicial Watch Seeks Obama-Era Records on Refugee Resettlement Sites

While the professional Left has successfully diverted everyone’s attention to a manufactured crisis involving illegal alien children on our Southern border, we are investigating other ways people flow into our country.

In particular, we continue to look at the UN-sponsored refugee program that has brought dangerous people across our borders. During the Obama administration, pro-refugee officials in several places gamed this system to disguise their intent.

We have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for records on sites that were considered for the resettlement of refugees in the United States during the last two years of the Obama administration. (Judicial Watch vs. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv-01244))

We sued after the State Department failed to respond to our February 23, 2017, FOIA request for:

  • All records reflecting the locations within the United States that were considered as possible sites for refugee resettlement under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) in 2015 and 2016.
  • All records reflecting the criteria used to determine suitability of locations as refugee resettlement sites in 2015 and 2016.
  • All records reflecting the names of local organizations promoting any of the locations identified above for consideration as refugee resettlement sites.

In October 2016 we made public 128 pages of documents we obtained from the mayor of Rutland, Vermont, showing a concerted effort by the mayor and a number of private organizations to conceal from the public their plans to resettle 100 Syrian refugees into the small southern Vermont town. The mayor and resettlement organizations shrouded the plan in such secrecy that not even the town’s aldermen were informed of what was taking place behind closed doors. The aldermen eventually wrote to the U.S. Department of State protesting the plan and opened an investigation into the mayor’s actions.

The State Department says it currently works with nine nonprofit organizations to resettle refugees. Those nonprofits have about 315 affiliates in 180 communities throughout the U.S.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the U.S. admitted 84,994 refugees during fiscal year 2016, just short of the 85,000 target set by the Obama administration. The U.S. admitted 16,370 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 12,587 from Syria, 12,347 from Myanmar, 9,880 from Iraq and 9,020 from Somalia. Pew Research reports that nearly 39,000 Muslim refugees entered the U.S. in fiscal year 2016, the highest number on record, according to analysis of data from the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center.

In fiscal year 2015, the U.S. reportedly admitted 70,000 refugees. The Obama administration also proposed admitting 110,000 refugees for fiscal year 2017.

President Donald Trump on January 27, 2017 issued Executive Order 13769, which included a suspension of the USRAP for 120 days. There were 29,022 refugees reportedly admitted to the U.S. in 2017 – the lowest number since 2002.

In a July 2017 report on the refugee applicant screening process and associated fraud risks, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that, “Increases in the number of USRAP applicants approved for resettlement in the United States from countries where terrorists operate have raised questions about the adequacy of applicant screening.”

We are suing to find out which towns across America were, without input and over the objections of residents, targeted for refugee settlements by the Obama administration.

And to make sure the Deep State isn’t up to its usual tricks, we are investigating to make sure now that the current State Department is being more transparent and honest in its placement of refugees.

The Strange Case of McAuliffe & McCabe — Another Clinton/FBI Scandal

You won’t hear from this from the liberal media, but the IG report is chock full of facts and scandal leads that go way beyond Clinton emails and the “get Trump” fever that overtook the FBI leadership. As our own Micah Morrison points out in his latest Investigative Bulletin piece, raises more questions about other players in the Clintons’ orbit:

Every student of American politics knows that Terry McAuliffe is that swampiest of swamp creatures, the cool cat with the big bucks. Al Gore called him “the greatest fundraiser in the history of the universe.” In 1996 alone, as national finance chairman of the Clinton-Gore re-election team, McAuliffe raised $50 million, but plunged the Democratic Party into a sweeping campaign-finance scandal involving the sale of sleepovers in the Lincoln Bedroom, coffee klatches at the White House, a vast cast of sketchy characters and rivers of money. The Clintons loved the ebullient money man and he loved them back. By 1999, McAuliffe claimed to have raised nearly $275 million for the Arkansas couple—and that’s before he joined forces with the Clinton’s 21st century money machine, the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative. In 2000, he was named chairman of the Democratic National Committee. In 2008, he chaired Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. In 2013, with enthusiastic support from the Clintons, he ran for governor of Virginia and won.

By 2015, Governor McAuliffe already was “shaping a significant role for himself” in Mrs. Clinton’s second try at the presidency, Politico reported. A “consummate political animal, [McAuliffe] just can’t keep his fingers away from the flame. Despite the daily demands of running the state…he’s emerging as Hillary’s informal liaison to governors and the party’s biggest donors, while also keeping a finger on the pulse of the camp’s central operations in Brooklyn.”

By contrast, even today, in the wake of hundreds of media stories and last week’s Office of Inspector General report on alleged wrongdoing in the 2016 election, few people will recognize the name Andrew McCabe. He’s a swamp inhabitant too, though many would put him on the right side of the swamp, on dry land, chasing the bad guys. Except that’s not quite how it turned out.

Many of the McCabe details in the OIG report will come as no surprise to Judicial Watch followers. We’ve been uncovering facts about the McCabe affair for over a year. Read about our efforts herehere, and here.

A useful timeline in the OIG report sketches the McCabe-McAuliffe saga—a swamp tale of a particular sort. In 2014, McCabe, a rising star at the FBI, is assistant director of the bureau’s Washington, DC, field office. His wife is a pediatrician in Virginia. Terry McAuliffe is governor.

In February 2015, Dr. McCabe receives a phone call from Virginia’s lieutenant governor. Would she consider running for a state senate seat?

Less than two weeks later, in March 2015, McCabe and his wife drive to Richmond for what they thought was a meeting with a Virginia state senator to discuss Dr. McCabe’s possible run for office.
In Richmond, according to the OIG report, they are told there had been “a change of plans” and that “Governor McAuliffe wanted to speak to Dr. McCabe at the Governor’s mansion.”

It’s around this time that a veteran FBI agent’s radar might start blinking.

McCabe and his wife meet with McAuliffe for 30 to 45 minutes, according to the OIG report. Fundraising was discussed. “Governor McAuliffe said that he and the Democratic Party would support Dr. McCabe’s candidacy.” McAuliffe asked McCabe about his occupation and “McCabe told him he worked for the FBI but they did not discuss McCabe’s work or any FBI business.” McCabe later described it to an FBI official as a “surreal meeting.”

After the meeting, the couple rode to a local event with the governor, then returned to the mansion with the governor to retrieve their car.

McCabe informed FBI ethics officials and lawyers about the meeting and consulted with them about his wife’s plans. No one raised strong objections. McCabe recused himself from all public corruption cases in Virginia and Dr. McCabe jumped into the race.

In July 2015, the FBI opened an investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email practices.

Let’s pause to note here that while the official FBI investigation was opened in July 2015, Mrs. Clinton was known to be in hot water as far back as March 2015, when the State Department inspector general revealed her widespread use of a private, non-government email server.

Swamp cats will notice that March 2015 is also when Andrew and Jill McCabe got their surprise audience with McAuliffe, the longtime Clinton money man.

The McCabe fortunes rose in the autumn of 2015. Mr. McCabe was promoted to associate deputy director of the FBI. Dr. McCabe received $675,000 from two McAuliffe-connected entities for her state senate race. They were by far the biggest donations to her campaign.

In November 2015, Dr. McCabe lost her race.

In January 2016, the FBI opened an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

On February 1, Mr. McCabe was promoted again, to deputy director of the FBI.

Despite the McAuliffe connection, the OIG report notes, there was no FBI re-evaluation of McCabe’s recusals following his promotions. Although recused from Virginia public corruption investigations, he retained a senior role in Clinton-related matters.

In May 2016, news broke that McAuliffe was under FBI investigation for campaign finance violations. CNN reported that investigators were scrutinizing “McAuliffe’s time as a board member of the Clinton Global Initiative” and Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang, a U.S. permanent resident who made large donations to both the McAuliffe 2013 gubernatorial campaign and to the Clinton Foundation.

On October 23, the Wall Street Journal revealed the McAuliffe-linked donations to Dr. McCabe’s campaign. At FBI headquarters, McCabe resists pressure from senior executives to recuse himself from all Clinton-related matters.

Finally, on November 1—a week before the presidential election — McCabe recused from the Clinton email and Clinton Foundation investigations.

Following James Comey’s dismissal in May 2017, McCabe was briefly acting director of the FBI—the most powerful law enforcement position in the land. Following the appointment of Chris Wray as director, McCabe returned to the deputy director position and, as controversy engulfed him and the FBI, he went on paid leave. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired him in March, 2018. The Justice Department inspector general has referred a possible criminal case against McCabe to federal prosecutors for lying to internal investigators in an earlier probe of the Wall Street Journal story and leaks.

One of the strangest claims in the OIG report is that the senior leadership of the FBI was not aware of — or perhaps simply did not care about — McAuliffe’s long history with the Clintons. “We were troubled,” the OIG report notes, “by the fact that the FBI ethics officials and attorneys did not fully appreciate the potential significant implications to McCabe and the FBI from campaign contributions to Dr. McCabe’s campaign and did not implement any review of those campaign donations. Thus, while the same factual circumstances that led to McCabe’s recusal on November 1, 2016, were present at the time McCabe became deputy director on February 1, 2016, the FBI ethics officials, McCabe, and Comey only learned of them as a result of the October 23 WSJ article.”

It seems likely now that the McCabe chapter of the larger battle in Washington will end with a whimper, not a bang. The beasts—investigative, media, political—move on. But what are we to make of Terry McAuliffe’s role in the episode?

Swamp aficionados will note the sudden “change of plans” that elevated the trip to Richmond from a meeting with a low-level political operative to an encounter with the governor. McAuliffe is charming and charismatic. Money is (vaguely) discussed, and oh by the way, McAuliffe asks McCabe, what is your occupation?

Now, Terry McAuliffe’s connections are legendary. His devotion to the Clinton ambitions is unswerving. He knows everybody, particularly anybody who has any business with the Clintons (remember, the email controversy is about to metastasize) and certainly he knew that Andrew McCabe worked for the FBI before he asked that question. But now McCabe knows that the governor knows. Next, money—a lot of it—flows to Dr. McCabe’s campaign.

Things might have turned out differently, after all. Jill McCabe might have been in the state senate. Hillary Clinton might have been in the White House. And Andrew McCabe was in line to be the next director of the FBI. Some of the best swamp plays are not about greed but ambition.

The Rolling Stone Continues its Inaccurate Anti-NRA Reporting

It is by no means a closely held secret that Rolling Stone magazine has aggressively promoted an anti-gun agenda for many decades. It started in 1980, with the death of John Lennon at the hands of Mark David Chapman, when the magazine’s founder, Jann Wenner, decided he wanted to “make something good come out of (the murder).” Wenner started the Foundation on Violence in America, which was apparently designed to promote a public-relations campaign aimed at convincing Americans to accept restrictions on handguns.

This effort to cast handguns in a negative light came just before Californians were set to go to the polls in November 1982 to vote on Proposition 15, a referendum that sought to implement a handgun registration scheme in the Golden State. The Times wrote that police chiefs were supporting the measure, a poll conducted in April of that year showed support for Prop 15 at 60%, and the editorial crowed, “The gun lobby is running scared.”

For those unfamiliar, rather than cowering in fear, NRA mounted an aggressive education campaign in opposition to Proposition 15, designed to dispel the myth that ratcheting up restrictions on law-abiding gun owners would have any discernible impact on criminals. Voters listened, and Prop 15 was soundly defeated, with 63% voting against it. Clearly, Californians were not interested in the kind of gun control promoted at Rolling Stone, nor were Americans in general. Wenner must have got that message, at least, and his Foundation on Violence in America faded into obscurity.

Given this history, another anti-gun/anti-NRA article from Wenner’s magazine should come as no surprise.  But a recent one titled “A Brief History of Pro-Gun Rallies at Sites of Mass Shooting” is wrong on so many levels that it warrants mention.

First, the title suggests there were “rallies” held at the actual sites where a large number of people were killed by a violent, deranged person or persons using a firearm. Of the five examples cited, however, none were planned to take place at the actual site. One event, planned in Toronto, Canada (and 28 years after the actual crime took place), was eventually moved from a location Rolling Stone even describes as merely “nearby the site of the tragedy.”

The article takes even greater liberties with the definition of a “site of mass shooting” when it seems to scold students who support the Second Amendment in Colorado and Utah for organizing events in those states to show support for our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. These students chose to get involved in the political dialogue on guns as a response to the anti-gun messaging and rallies that had been promoted in response to the horrific events that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this year. As virtually everyone in America knows, that school is in Florida, not Colorado or Utah. Apparently, roughly 2,000 miles away equates to being on the “site of a mass shooting” to Rolling Stone.

But Rolling Stone saves its worst assault on journalistic integrity for its description of the NRA Annual Meeting that was held in Denver, Colorado in 1999.

First, it should be pointed out that the NRA Annual Meeting is not really a “rally.” As a non-profit corporation, NRA is subject to both its own bylaws and the laws governing non-profit corporations. One of the many things NRA is required to do each year is hold its Annual Meeting of Members, where it conducts critical functions, such as holding the election for members of its Board of Directors, as well as determining who will hold key positions as NRA officers.

These Annual Meetings, as NRA members are aware, are enormous events, regularly drawing tens-of-thousands of members from across America. This year’s meeting in Dallas reached nearly 90,000 attendees. Events of this size take years to schedule and organize.

In 1999, NRA was scheduled to hold its Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, in May. The site and date had been determined years before. Less than two weeks before NRA’s Annual Meeting was to begin, however, ten miles away in the town of Littleton, Colorado, two deranged students of Columbine High School murdered 12 of their fellow students, one teacher, and wounded 21 others.

NRA grieved with the rest of the nation over this tragedy, and out of respect for those who suffered, virtually every aspect of the NRA Annual Meeting was canceled. What wasn’t canceled, however, were the functions required under both our bylaws and the laws governing non-profit corporations.

In its latest screed against NRA, however, Rolling Stone states, “The NRA had a major gun rally planned in Denver just two weeks after the attack.” The article is clearly intended to imply that our Denver Annual Meeting was simply a pro-gun rally, coordinated after the horrific events in Littleton, rather than a required function of a non-profit corporation that had been scheduled years in advance. The article also ignores the fact that the Denver Annual Meeting was scaled back dramatically out of respect for the community.

But the coup de grace comes with the absolute lie that, at the Denver Annual Meeting, “Charlton Heston himself took the stage, hoisted a rifle in the air and shouted to a packed crowd that it could only be torn ‘From my cold, dead hands!’” That simply did not happen. Heston famously made that pronouncement the following year, at NRA’s Annual Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Of course, Rolling Stone is hardly a bastion for journalistic integrity. In 2014, the magazine famously published a sensationalized article about an alleged rape on the University of Virginia campus. When many questions began to arise regarding the story, Rolling Stone published an apology, apparently blaming the source of the story. An updated apology followed a day later, with the magazine now taking the blame for mistakes. A deputy managing editor soon resigned. A number of lawsuits against the magazine popped up. One found for the plaintiff and awarded $3 million in damages. One was settled for $1.65 million.

While it is unlikely we will see an apology from Rolling Stone for its grossly misleading article, perhaps we will at least see a correction regarding Mr. Heston. The magazine clearly has no love for the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and a deep hatred of NRA. But does it also support rewriting history? Well, probably, but being exposed for publishing a blatant lie should at least inspire someone at the magazine who has even a modicum of journalistic integrity left to encourage doing what is right, and have a correction about Mr. Heston’s speech posted.

Credit Card Payments Abruptly Stopped on Some Gun-Related Purchases

Intuit abruptly ceased processing credit card payments without notice in recent weeks on some firearms and firearms-related purchases, some of which were already shipped to customers.

Several small businesses experienced issues when payments on purchases were refunded to the customers rather than processed, the New York Post reported Monday. Sales on firearms, safety training classes, and gun-related gear like T-shirts were also impacted.

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Many of the purchases were already en route to customers and classes were already taken by the time the payments were cancelled. Accordingly, stores had to track down customers to re-do the transactions.

Intuit justified its actions by citing the company’s face-to-face requirement whereby firearms cannot be shipped directly to customers. However, many of the guns impacted businesses sold were sent to federally-licensed firearms dealers near the customers, where a background check can be completed prior to possession. Intuit continued to stand by its actions even after the mistake was revealed.

Intuit is a financial software and tax preparation company that produces TurboTax and QuickBooks.

In May, QuickBooks unexpectedly cut ties with Gunsite Academy, a firearms training center, according to the American Rifleman. QuickBooks said the guns and knives for sale on Gunsite’s website violated the face-to-face requirement.

QuickBooks also suddenly credited back sales to customers in lieu of processing the transactions, costing Gunsite thousands of dollars.

EDITORS NOTE: Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org. The featured image is by Milkos/Getty Images.

Podcast: Student Journalist From Florida’s Broward County Shares His Findings on School Safety

The school shooting in Parkland, Florida, rocked the nation. It also revealed incompetence and even corruption within the local school board. Kenneth Preston, a student journalist who helped expose some of these issues, joins us.

Plus: A new poll shows Americans are split on whether they want to go to space.

PODCAST BY

Background Checks WERE Done on Applicants for Florida Gun Licences

EDITORS NOTE: On June 8th, 2018 the Tampa Bay Times reported that Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DOACS) — the agency led by Adam Putnam — failed to conduct complete criminal background checks on concealed weapons permit applicants. Agricultural Commissioner Putnam and Congressman Ron DeSantis are running for the Republican nomination for Governor. Both strongly support the Second Amendment.

The media isn’t getting it right and anti-gun Democrats don’t want to get it right —  for some, it’s all about attacking a candidate for political reasons. This issue is extremely important to all firearms owners and license holders.  Truth and facts matter, so here is what really happened.

THE FACTS:

The Division of Licensing under the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DOACS) did, in fact, do background checks on applicants for licenses to carry concealed weapons or firearms.

Background checks were done through FCIC (Florida Criminal Information Computer system) and NCIC (National Criminal Information Computer system — the national FBI fingerprint data base) and they also did a NICS check (National Instant Check System), which is the name-based background check system.

The NICS system is the same system used by retail firearms dealers to do background checks when a person buys a firearm.

ALL THREE BACKGROUND CHECKS WERE DONE.

During the time the employee failed to do her job, approximately 350,000 applicants for carry licenses were processed. Of those 350,000, 365 had a disqualifier based on the NICS background check.

The employee should have uploaded those 365 into the internal computer system to stop the processing of those applications. She did not. So those 365 applicants got their licenses anyhow.

Although they got their licenses to CARRY firearms, they still would not have been allowed to purchase a firearm from a firearms dealer because the same NICS background check would have been performed by a dealer and would have stopped them from purchasing a firearm.

A license to carry does not exempt a person from the background check required when you purchase a firearm.  The license ONLY exempts a license holder from the 3-day waiting period.

When the Division discovered the problem, the employee was let go.  The Division then ran new background checks on all 365 applicants who initially had NICS name-based disqualifiers. Of those 365, 74 were cleared and 291 still had disqualifiers, so their licenses to carry firearms were immediately suspended.

THOSE ARE THE FACTS.  The facts don’t fit narrative being pushed by the anti-gun political opponents of the Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam, who is a candidate for Governor.

Feel free to forward this Alert to family members, friends and fellow sportsmen and firearms owners.

California Farmer Has Guns Confiscated and Faces Felony Charges After Trying to Register Rifle

California residents attempting to comply with the Golden State’s ever-increasing swamp of firearms laws and regulations should take warning. According to a report out of Bakersfield, a good faith effort to obey the state’s labyrinthine firearm rules will not spare a gun owner in technical violation of the law from the wrath of the California Department of Justice.

Back on May 17, local NBC affiliate KGET reported on the case of farmer Jeffrey Scott Kirschenmann. According to the news outlet, the trouble started back in April when Kirschenmann attempted to register a rifle he owned with the California DOJ.

In California, “assault weapons,” or commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms with features the California State Assembly finds distasteful, are subject to registration. Pursuant to SB 880 and AB 1135, the California DOJ is now accepting registration of firearms lawfully owned prior to January 1, 2017 that fit the state’s new, stricter, definition of an “assault weapon” signed into law in July 2016. The change in definition targets firearms equipped with a “bullet button,” which allows the user to efficiently remove a fixed magazine with the use of a tool. The registration period runs through June 30, 2018.

The KGET report explained that during his attempt to comply with state law, Kirschenmann submitted photos of “an illegally modified” AR-15 to the California DOJ. This prompted an investigation by the DOJ that culminated in a raid of Kirschenmann’s home. Once inside the property, investigators allegedly discovered several unregistered “assault weapons,” a pair of suppressors, and what California terms a “multiburst trigger activator.”

Kirschenmann was arraigned on May 21 and given $150,000 bail. The farmer faces nine felony counts of unlawful possession of an “assault weapon,” two counts of possessing a suppressor, and one charge of possessing a “multiburst trigger activator.” There is nothing in the report to indicate Kirschenmann violated any federal laws or that he has misused his firearms in any manner.

The California DOJ’s persecution of Kirschenmann, following what appears to have been an honest attempt to obtain assistance in complying with state law, will sow further mistrust between the state government and gun owners.

The climate of distrust is understandable. Becerra and his predecessor, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), have been at the forefront of demonizing gun owners. At Becerra’s 2017 confirmation hearing he told lawmakers that he considered his NRA F- rating “a badge of honor.” Back in February, Harris told the media that Americans can’t take pride in their country due to what she considers insufficient gun control laws.

Many gun owners are already reluctant to comply with registration laws, as such schemes are quite accurately viewed as a means to facilitate firearms confiscation. Moreover, Kirschenmann isn’t alone in his alleged failure to conform to Sacramento’s mandates. As history shows, when faced with California’s increasingly onerous and byzantine gun laws, many decent folks have unwittingly broken the law, ignored new restrictions, or opted for civil disobedience.

In 1989 California passed legislation that categorized certain semi-automatic firearms as “assault weapons” and required them to be registered. Few complied. Following the deadline and a “second chance” grace period, the Los Angeles Times reported that 46,062 firearms had been registered. Revealing the scale of noncompliance, the report went on to note that “The state Department of Justice has estimated there are 200,000 to 300,000 [commonly-owned semi-autos in the state]. Others have calculated as many as 450,000 to 600,000.”

With woeful registration compliance rates, one might expect gun control’s true believers to show leniency to those who make an attempt to comply with the law. Of course, that notion assumes gun control advocates consider registration in itself to be a valuable public policy. In truth, anti-gun advocates value registration only so far as it creates an additional barrier to gun ownership and enables confiscation.

Understanding this, California’s gun control laws have worked precisely as intended in Kirschenmann’s case. California officials have utilized them to remove firearms from one more benign American citizen and in doing so have inched closer to their goal of total civilian disarmament.

VIDEO: Scott Israel May as Well Have Bought the Gun for Parkland Killer — He Enabled Him

“Sheriff Scott Israel worked hand in hand with Robert Runcie to hide criminal actions, misdemeanors, felonious behavior of students like this murderer. They enabled him to avoid having a record established that would have prevented him from legally purchasing a firearm. In my opinion, Sheriff Scott Israel may as well have walked into the gun store and bought it for him.” —Dana Loesch

The Real Story of Parkland: Failed Leadership and Failed Cover-Ups

“The real story of how this murderer could pull off his plan undeterred is and has always been about those who were tasked with recognizing the threat that he posed before that fateful day.” —Dana Loesch

Guns Haven’t Changed in America. People Have.

Having enjoyed my 82nd birthday, I am part of a group of about 50 million Americans who are 65 years of age or older.

Those who are 90 or older were in school during the 1930s. My age cohort was in school during the 1940s. Baby boomers approaching their 70s were in school during the 1950s and early ’60s.

Try this question to any one of those 50 million Americans who are 65 or older: Do you recall any discussions about the need to hire armed guards to protect students and teachers against school shootings? Do you remember school policemen patrolling the hallways? How many students were shot to death during the time you were in school?

For me and those other Americans 65 or older, when we were in school, a conversation about hiring armed guards and having police patrol hallways would have been seen as lunacy. There was no reason.

What’s the difference between yesteryear and today?

The logic of the argument for those calling for stricter gun control laws, in the wake of recent school shootings, is that something has happened to guns. Guns have behaved more poorly and become evil. Guns themselves are the problem.

The job for those of us who are 65 or older is to relay the fact that guns were more available and less controlled in years past, when there was far less mayhem. Something else is the problem.

Guns haven’t changed. People have changed. Behavior that is accepted from today’s young people was not accepted yesteryear.

For those of us who are 65 or older, assaults on teachers were not routine as they are in some cities. For example, in Baltimore, an average of four teachers and staff members were assaulted each school day in 2010, and more than 300 school staff members filed workers’ compensation claims in a year because of injuries received through assaults or altercations on the job.

In Philadelphia, 690 teachers were assaulted in 2010, and in a five-year period, 4,000 were. In that city’s schools, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “on an average day 25 students, teachers, or other staff members were beaten, robbed, sexually assaulted, or victims of other violent crimes. That doesn’t even include thousands more who are extorted, threatened, or bullied in a school year.”

Yale University legal scholar John Lott argues that gun accessibility in our country has never been as restricted as it is now. Lott reports that until the 1960s, New York City public high schools had shooting clubs. Students carried their rifles to school on the subway in the morning and then turned them over to their homeroom teacher or a gym teacher—and that was mainly to keep them centrally stored and out of the way. Rifles were retrieved after school for target practice.

Virginia’s rural areas had a long tradition of high school students going hunting in the morning before school, and they sometimes stored their guns in the trunks of their cars during the school day, parked on the school grounds.

During earlier periods, people could simply walk into a hardware store and buy a rifle. Buying a rifle or pistol through a mail-order catalog—such as Sears, Roebuck & Co.’s—was easy. Often, a 12th or 14th birthday present was a shiny new .22-caliber rifle, given to a boy by his father.

These facts of our history should confront us with a question: With greater accessibility to guns in the past, why wasn’t there the kind of violence we see today, when there is much more restricted access to guns?

There’s another aspect of our response to mayhem. When a murderer uses a bomb, truck, or car to kill people, we don’t blame the bomb, truck, or car. We don’t call for control over the instrument of death. We seem to fully recognize that such objects are inanimate and incapable of acting on their own. We blame the perpetrator.

However, when the murder is done using a gun, we do call for control over the inanimate instrument of death—the gun. I smell a hidden anti-gun agenda.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams is a columnist for The Daily Signal and a professor of economics at George Mason University. Twitter: .

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This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

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Black to Basics on School Shootings

There isn’t a good person alive who wouldn’t do everything in their power to stop the horror story that keeps playing out in our nation’s schools. It shouldn’t matter what political party you subscribe to, how much money you make, or where you’re from, everyone wants the shootings that have snuffed out hundreds of innocent lives to end. But, the reality is, until we have an honest conversation about our culture and what’s driving our young people to do this, it won’t. An honest conversation was exactly what Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) was trying to have during a meeting with local pastors last week. Unfortunately for Diane, who’s running for governor in Tennessee, her opponents just couldn’t resist the opportunity to take her quotes out of context and turn an opportunity for sincere dialogue into a cheap political headline.

Like a lot of conservatives, Diane knows that there’s no magic solution to the violence that’s sweeping through society. Our children aren’t picking up guns and killing their classmates because there’s a Second Amendment. There’s been a Second Amendment for almost 230 years — and commonplace shootings have only been around the last 20. As Dr. Ben Carson once said, the heart of the matter is the heart. Gun control only deals with one aspect of that. Until we’re willing to address the motivation for the violence, Americans won’t change anything. There has to be a moral component – an agreement that, somewhere along the way, our society lost its way.

“We have devalued life in this country,” Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said after the Parkland shooting. “We threw God out of school… We have families that are broken apart, no fathers at home. We have incredible heinous violence as a game, two hours a day in front of their eyes. And we stand here and we wonder why this happens to certain students.” Rep. Black couldn’t agree more. She, like so many Americans, thinks a big part of the problem starts at home. “As a nurse, I look at the root cause…I think it’s a deterioration of family. They don’t have that good support system. And where are they looking? They’re looking for something… maybe on the internet, maybe something in a small group of friends. And they’re going in the wrong direction.” She made the connection with violent movies, and the steady desensitizing that’s taking place with America’s young people. And it isn’t just violence, Diane went on, but pervasiveness of all kinds.

“Pornography. It’s available — it’s available on the shelf when you walk in the grocery store. Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there’s pornography there. All of this is available without parental guidance. And I think that is a big part of the root cause that we see so many young people that have mental illness get caught in these places.”

“Every one of those school shootings go back to looking at that child, and their friends can actually pinpoint a time where they saw a change in their behavior.”

“So I believe mental illness is something we’ve got to address. We’ve got to address the family.”

Almost immediately, some liberals ran to their keyboards and started tapping out columns, suggesting that Diane Black was blaming school shootings on pornography. Obviously, that’s a distortion of what she said. Pornography is just another example of the damaging influences that have somehow become morally acceptable in this culture. With the advent of technology, violence, sex, profanity, contempt, ridicule, bullying – it’s all at our fingertips. And worse, at our children’s.

Thirty years ago, every teenager wasn’t walking around with a smartphone that let them download every vile and grotesque thing on command. If you think pornography isn’t one of the contributors to violence, then you haven’t read the data. The link between crimes like sexual assault and porn is there, whether the media wants to admit it or not. Our friends at Fight the New Drug make a pretty compelling case that, like so many other addictions, pornography is mentally numbing.

“‘… [T]he FBI’s own statistics show that pornography is found at 80 percent of the scenes of violent sex crimes, or in the homes of the perpetrators.’ Now we think that’s kind of tough to ignore, while those who promote porn think this is easy to overlook… We’re not saying consuming porn will automatically make someone a serial rapist. Even so, looking at the raw data, porn is connected with sexual violence.”

Still unconvinced? Read this astonishing piece in the New York Times about what teenagers are learning from online porn, including how to rough up your sex partner. “‘It gets in your head,” Q. said about the harsh treatment of the actresses in these videos. ‘If this girl wants it, then maybe the majority of girls want it.'” “As one suburban high school senior boy told me recently, ‘I’ve never seen a girl in porn who doesn’t look like she’s having a good time.'” Maggie Jones, who did every parent in America a public service by publishing this feature, points out that Indiana University did a national survey of teenagers, and around one-sixth of boys admitted to sex acts like choking a partner. And yet we think that violence won’t translate into other aggressive behavior? Or worse, we don’t understand that devaluing or disrespecting other people gradually chips away at human decency — or dignity?

Pornography didn’t kill those 17 bright, promising futures in Parkland. No one, including Diane Black, is suggesting that. What we are suggesting is that these are the slow burns of the cultural crisis that’s destroying us.

Josh McDowell delivered a powerful talk on the impact of pornography at our Watchmen on the Wall conference last month. If you haven’t watched it, please do so.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


RELATED ARTICLE: At SCOTUS, a Make or Bake Moment

VIDEO: Starbucks CEO Unaware of His Company’s Support for Planned Parenthood

When Starbucks closed over 8,000 stores this week to conduct “racial bias education,” a group of pro-life leaders penned an open letter to CEO Kevin Johnson explaining the company’s complicity in enabling America’s most racist organization: Planned Parenthood. The letter outlines how Planned Parenthood was founded by eugenicist Margaret Sanger and the abortion giant targets minority neighborhoods to this day.

Read the letter here.

Alveda C. King, niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., also wrote:

It’s time for corporations like Starbucks that claim to care about “racial-bias” to stop funding Planned Parenthood’s house of horrors, which has taken precious lives away from minority communities and from society at large.

However, in an interview this week, Johnson claimed he did not realize Starbucks supported Planned Parenthood’s racist abortion agenda.

Starbucks’s support for Planned Parenthood has been documented by 2ndVote, and apparently confirmed by a company spokesperson this week:

“Starbucks does not have a corporate relationship or sponsorship with Planned Parenthood. Starbucks is listed as a donor of an organization because the Starbucks ‘Partner Match’ program provides matched cash awards for contributions made by Starbucks partners (employees). … Most 501(c)(3) designated nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and most Registered Charities in Canada qualify to receive matching funds.”

If Starbucks actually does care about eliminating racism, shouldn’t they start by ending all financial ties to Planned Parenthood? Remember, by supporting the abortion giant, Starbucks is also complicit in the abortion industry’s links to sexual abuse and sex trafficking.

Let Starbucks leadership know what you think by sending a message using the buttons below:

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You can see all the companies that support Planned Parenthood’s abortion industry on our resource page here.

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RELATED ARTICLE: Child Abuse Cover-Ups Haven’t Stopped Starbucks’ Funding of Planned Parenthood

UK Busybodies Target Pointed Kitchen Knives, Gun Tattoos

Don’t ever underestimate the British capacity for combining the oppressive with the doltish. This week, the United Kingdom’s decades-long campaign against all things martial sunk to a fresh low when one of the Queen’s more domineering subjects floated a ban on the sale, and possibly the possession, of traditional kitchen utensils. Not to be outdone, other British busybodies demanded satisfaction from a professional athlete whose firearm body art they found objectionable.

In recent months, the UK, and London in particular, has found itself in the grip of a violent crime wave. During February and March of this year, there were more murders in the UK capital than in New York CityStatistical data from the Office for National Statistics released in April noted that in England and Wales crimes “involving a knife or sharp instrument” were up 22 percent in 2017. The report added, “The past three years have seen a rise in the number of recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument…” Despite the island nation’s ever-increasing gun control measures, police also recorded an 11 percent increase in firearms offences for the year. UK criminals have also been using household acids to maim their victims.

A closer look at the data shows that of the offences involving a knife or sharp instrument, robberies involving these weapons increased 35 percent over the previous year. Homicide and sexual assault increased 26 and 24 percent, respectively. Regarding knife and firearms offences, the report indicates that these crimes “tend to be disproportionately concentrated in London and other metropolitan areas.”

In response to the increased bloodshed, last July the UK’s Home Office declared their support for knife turn-in programs and new restrictions on mail order knife sales. The UK prohibits knife sales to those under 18. Under the new Tory proposal, the government would enforce this rule by requiring subjects who order knives through the mail to pick them up at a retailer, where their age would be verified. In response to the acid attacks, last October Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced the Tory government’s intent to restrict the sale of corrosive substances.

These heavy-handed tactics aren’t enough for one UK official. In mid-May retiring Luton Crown Court Judge Nic Madge used his valedictory speech as an opportunity to advocate for a ban on the sale, and potentially the possession, of common kitchen knives.

According to a report from the Telegraph, Madge told his audience that the reason why the current knife restrictions have had little effect on violent crime is because “the vast majority of knives carried by youths are ordinary kitchen knives.” Upping the rhetoric, Madge added, “Every kitchen contains lethal knives which are potential murder weapons.” Paralleling a common gun control refrain, Madge asked, “why we do need eight-inch or ten-inch kitchen knives with points?”

To combat this ever-present culinary threat, Madge proposed, 

I would urge all those with any role in relation to knives – manufacturers, shops, the police, local authorities, the government – to consider preventing the sale of long pointed knives, except in rare, defined, circumstances, and replacing such knives with rounded ends.

To address the countless pointed kitchen knives already owned by British subjects, Madge explained,

It might even be that the police could organise a programme whereby the owners of kitchen knives, which have been properly and lawfully bought for culinary purposes, could be taken somewhere to be modified, with the points being ground down into rounded ends.

Madge failed to address the issue of shanks. UK subjects are likely to have little difficulty constructing the homemade knives, having spent their lives in a prison.

In any other corner of the globe, Madge’s ludicrous policy proposal would have been the week’s most foolish commentary on weapons control. Not so in the Land of Hope and Glory, where even the mere depiction of a firearm is cause for panic.

On Sunday, Jamaica-born UK professional soccer player and English national team member Raheem Sterling posted a photo of a training sessions to his Instagram account. In the photo a tattoo of an M16 rifle is visible on Sterling’s right leg.

On Tuesday, British tabloid The Sun put the photo on the front page of the paper, with the headlines, “Raheem shoots himself in foot,” and “GUN TAT FURY.” According to the paper, the tattoo “triggered fury among anti-gun campaigners.”

Anti-gun activist and founder of UK group Mothers Against Guns Lucy Cope told the Sun that Sterling’s tattoo is “totally unacceptable” and that the footballer “should hang his head in shame.” Revealing the extent of her and her group’s anti-gun lunacy, Cope stated, “We demand he has the tattoo lasered off or covered up with a different tattoo… If he refuses he should be dropped from the England team. He’s supposed to be a role model but chooses to glamorise guns.”

In their race to attack Sterling for his choice of body art, the Sun and Cope neglected to take into account the athlete’s life story. Sterling, who appears to be no fan of firearms, explained, “When I was two my father died from being gunned down to death… I made a promise to myself I would never touch a gun in my life time, I shoot with my right foot so it has a deeper meaning.” According to the New York Times, the way in which Sterling was criticized for his tattoo has led some to wonder whether the outcry was fueled by racial animus.

For their part, the English Football Association has supported Sterling during the anti-gun tantrum, with a spokesperson noting, “He and the rest of the squad are focused solely on preparing for the forthcoming World Cup.”

U.S. gun owners should take careful notice of the UK’s ongoing experience with civilian disarmament. No amount of compromise or appeasement will satisfy anti-gun advocates’ urge for control.

Advocacy-Fueled Hysteria Hides the Truth on School Violence

In the wake of the two recent high-profile school shootings, the institutional gun control movement and many in the mainstream media have taken their always alarmist rhetoric to new heights. Michael Bloomberg anti-gun front group Everytown for Gun Safety has released misleading and routinely debunked figures on the prevalence of school shootings in the U.S. A New York Times columnist, wrote an item following the Houston shooting titled, “This Is School in America Now,” calling such tragedies an “everyday nightmare.” A reporter for the Washington Post authored an article with the salacious and misleading headline “2018 has been deadlier for schoolchildren than service members.” It wasn’t until the fifth paragraph that the Post bothered to mention that there are 50 million public school students as compared to 1.3 members of the military; meaning service in our armed forces is in fact, contrary to the headline, 17 times deadlier. Barack Obama’s Education Secretary Arne Duncan called for a school boycott, while contending that “the threat of gun violence infects everyday life.”

All of this is meant to instill fear in parents and schoolchildren and adolescents in order produce ratings and clicks while pushing a stagnant gun control agenda. A sober look at the data reveals that school mass shootings are extraordinarily rare events and that schools are the safest place a child can be.

Northeastern University Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy James Alan Fox has led extensive academic research on mass shootings. In February, Fox released data he and colleague collected for a forthcoming book titled, “The Three R’s of School Shootings: Risk, Readiness, and Response.”

A Northeastern.edu article that summarized Fox’s research made clear that “Mass school shootings are incredibly rare events.” Further, it pointed out that the researchers found that “shooting incidents involving students have been declining since the 1990s.”

Quoting Fox, the item went on to state,

Four times the number of children were killed in schools in the early 1990s than today, Fox said. “There is not an epidemic of school shootings,” he said, adding that more kids are killed each year from pool drownings or bicycle accidents.

Following the shooting in Houston, Fox took to the pages of USA Today to reiterate his call for calm. Fox pointed out that “School shootings, however horrific, are not the new normal,” and that “despite the occasional tragedy, our schools are safe, safer than they have been for decades.”

Other academics have also tried to put the recent tragedies in perspective. Following the shooting in Parkland, Fla., Harvard instructor and expert in risk analysis David Ropeik wrote a piece for the Washington Post titled, “School shootings are extraordinarily rare. Why is fear of them driving policy?” 

Ropeik explained, 

The Education Department reports that roughly 50 million children attend public schools for roughly 180 days per year. Since Columbine, approximately 200 public school students have been shot to death while school was in session, including the recent slaughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (and a shooting in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday that police called accidental that left one student dead). That means the statistical likelihood of any given public school student being killed by a gun, in school, on any given day since 1999 was roughly 1 in 614,000,000. And since the 1990s, shootings at schools have been getting less common.

Ropeik went on to point out,

The chance of a child being shot and killed in a public school is extraordinarily low. Not zero — no risk is. But it’s far lower than many people assume, especially in the glare of heart-wrenching news coverage after an event like Parkland. And it’s far lower than almost any other mortality risk a kid faces, including traveling to and from school, catching a potentially deadly disease while in school or suffering a life-threatening injury playing interscholastic sports.

In a moment of journalistic integrity, the New York Times addressed this topic in a piece titled, “Why Campus Shootings Are So Shocking: School Is the ‘Safest Place’ for a Child.” Director of the National Center for Juvenile Justice Melissa Sickmund told the paper, “Especially in the younger grades, school is the safest place they can be.” Pointing to a report from school safety analysts Safe Havens International, the Times explained, “In some parts of the country, accidents related to high winds, like tornadoes, presented a more deadly threat to children than an active shooter.” Driving the point on risk home in another New York Times piece, columnist Tina Rosenberg wrote, “A school can expect a shooting once every few thousand years.” 

Data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics shows that there is not an upward trend in fatal violence in schools. The NCES’s Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2017 report, which measures through 2015, explained,

The percentage of youth homicides occurring at school remained at less than 3 percent of the total number of youth homicides between 1992–93 (when data collection began) and 2014–15, even though the absolute number of homicides of school-age youth at school varied across the years.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, the overall rate and number of homicide deaths among school-age children and adolescents (ages 5-18) dropped by more than half from 1993 to 2015.

Data from the report also indicates that “threats and injuries with weapons on school property” are decreasing. The report points out that “The percentage of students who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property was lower in 2015 than in every survey year between 1993… and 2011.”

In light of all of the data showing schools are the safest place for a child, Duncan’s call for parents to keep their children out of school is a galling attempt to score political points with a proposal that would expose children and adolescents to more risk than they would ever face in a classroom. Moreover, Duncan’s comments reveal the altitude of the ivory tower he lives in.

Out here in the real world public schools are the nexus of several vital social services that extend beyond their educational mission. According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 30 million American children rely on their schools for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program. In many cases this includes breakfast and lunch. In recent years, New York City has hesitated to close school for inclement weather because the need for these meals is so acute. Schools are also the avenue by which many children and adolescents in need obtain physical and mental health services.

While Duncan’s set might be fortunate enough to leave their children at home with the nanny, public schools provide a necessary childcare function for working and middle-class families. A report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that U.S. couples with young children spend 25.6 percent of their income on childcare, while single parents spend 52.7 percent. The Economic Policy Institute determined that in 23 states childcare costs more than in-state public college tuition.

In the midst of the current advocacy-fueled media hysteria, policymakers and concerned citizens should slow down long enough to examine the facts on school safety. A thoughtful analysis of the data reveals that the type of violence seen in Parkland, Fla. and Houston remains rare and that public schools are the safest place for children and adolescents.

Bedrock American Values Prove Stubbornly Resistant to Gun Control Opportunism

Social justice busybodies obsessed with how other people live their lives often portray the success of their causes as a matter of destiny. “The young people will win,” insists one youthful gun control advocate, falsely portraying his personal crusade as a generational mandate. Yet recent events have demonstrated that bedrock American values – including support for the Second Amendment – tend to outlast moments of high emotion that are increasingly relied upon by political opportunists to advance their agenda. Given the chance to collect their thoughts, most Americans instinctively revert to freedom.

We recently commented on this point with reference to poll numbers that show a familiar pattern of gun control support spiking in the immediate aftermath of an infamous firearm-related crime, only to taper off as the punditry aims its fury in another direction or overplays its hand and is forced to regroup. 

Since then, additional evidence has arisen to complicate the media’s breathless narrative that “the ground is shifting on gun control.” 

First, more recent poll numbers underscore the fact that Americans, including young Americans, recognize that the country has far more pressing problems than rushing to enact unproven gun control measures. 

The Associated Press and MTV, for example, teamed up this year to measure the “Youth Political Pulse,” with surveys conducted from late February to early March (when the news cycle was focused on the terrible crime at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School) and again from late April to early May. Between the survey periods, the percentage of respondents aged 15 to 34 who identified firearm-related issues as their highest concern for the country fell 15 points, from 21% to 6%. During the earlier survey period, the gun issue was the highest concern. In the latter period, it was tied for the sixth most common response, behind the economy, social inequality, and even threat of nuclear war.

Moreover, a week after a similar crime in Santa Fe, Texas on May 18, support for gun control in the Lone Star State had actually dropped 6% since April, as measured by Quinnipiac University polling. Support for stricter gun laws was also lower in the May sample among those aged 18 to 34 than among those 65 or older, another inversion of the conventional wisdom that youth are destined to change the national debate on this question. A Quinnipiac analyst opined: “The tragedy at the Santa Fe school south of Houston changed few opinions among Texas voters about gun control. Support for gun control in general is down slightly, while support for background checks for all gun buyers is virtually unchanged.” 

Adding to the gun control advocates’ woes were the release of data and studies that contradicted their claims of a rising epidemic of school shootings fueled by easy access to so-called “assault weapons.” 

The website The74Million.org, which describes itself as a “non-profit, non-partisan news site covering education in America,” published a lengthy interview in May with Criminologist Nadine Connell of the University of Texas at Dallas, who’s compiling a database of every school shooting since 1990. The piece underscored Connell’s findings that “school shootings are extremely rare” and that allowing them to drive policy isn’t “always the most productive” way to keep students safe.

Connell indicated that “from the perspective of policymaking,” the media’s current reporting on school shootings can be misleading. “[A]s of now,” she said, “we don’t think there is an increase in the number of incidents as much as there is an increase in the attention to the incidents.” She also stressed that “the number of rampage-like incidents remains extremely low, and they are a relatively small subsection of the shootings we are analyzing.” Schools, Connell said, “are the safest they’ve ever been.” 

While Connell indicated in the interview that she is not a fan of arming teachers, she also declined to put gun control at the center of the debate. When asked what would be the “most effective method to stop the lion’s share of the problem,” she emphasized “whole-school-centered approaches to improve climate, clarify expectations, and support teachers and administrators in creating a community of trust and support.” She also noted that the “environmental design” of schools can play an important role in keeping kids safe without making them feel like they are under siege.

Perhaps more even more ironic was a May 22 report from the Rockefeller Institute that was funded by a multi-state “Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium” representing a who’s-who of Northeastern antigun jurisdictions. Entitled “Can Mass Shootings be Stopped?” the report broadly focuses on mass shootings in general, rather than on school-specific events. 

Like Connell, however, the authors mentioned media distortion as an impediment to understanding the true nature of the problem. “Mass shootings, and those that are particularly lethal, are amplified by the news cycle, making them appear more commonplace when they are, in fact, statistically rare,” they stated. They also characterized the media’s coverage of the events as “unbalanced,” potentially leading the public to “hold disproportional attitudes about the events themselves.” 

The report made the points that mass shootings are not limited to the U.S. but “occur in countries worldwide,” are nearly three times more likely to be perpetrated with handguns than with “assault weapons,” and occur more frequently in workplaces than in schools. Also likely to displease its funders is the report’s observation that gun control laws, whether passed in the immediate wake of a mass shooting or kept on the books for decades “often are not enforced, leading them to be ineffective at preventing the next mass shooting.” But perhaps most damning of all was the authors’ admonition that “[k]nee-jerk reactions rooted in emotion will not solve the problem.” 

Yet that is exactly how gun control advocates operate and what they offer. Whatever can be said about the youthful gun control activists who have captured so much of the media’s attention lately, they are among the prime purveyors of emotionalism and hyperbole. And far from bringing innovative new thinking to the issue, their main “solution” is the tired notion of banning guns that are underrepresented in rampage gun crimes and remain highly popular among the law-abiding. Instead of treating every word out of their mouths as some new game-changing revelation, their gun control seniors should remind them that “assault weapon” bans had until recently been de-emphasized as an embarrassment to the movement and too obvious of its prohibitory intent.

Unlike the latest gun control hashtag or self-congratulatory Hollywood vanity project, the National Rifle Association has been around since 1871. We’ve seen movements come, and we’ve seen movements go. And while we never doubt the sincerity of our opposition in their desire to eradicate the right to keep and bear arms, we’re not about to change our values or objectives just because some media talking heads or youth-obsessed celebrities begin making demands or throwing around half-baked claims.  

Fortunately, the American commitment to freedom also remains strong and resilient. And freedom-loving Americans know they have an ally in the NRA. 

Setting Brushfires of Liberty

5 years in the making, filmed in 25 states with over 40 patriot super stars, REVELATION Dawn of Global Government is resonating with Christians and conservatives alike. Although highly unusual for a conservative Faith based film to release in theaters, REVELATION, was 7th in the nation for box office. Hundreds of enthusiastic fans have written reviews urging concerned Americans to watch this critically important film and share it as a tool to educate their own families and friends.

Watch the trailer by clicking here.

Here’s what people are saying:

“This was exceptional! Anyone who truly loves this country will take an hour and a half out of their life to go and learn. I knew a lot but it sure connected the dots for me!

“I spent many years in television news and one of the best things that I took away from that experience is… Nothing makes a huge impact like a film can! During my career, I saw many small groups do wonderful things. This is one of those!! May God bless you all.”

“We went last night to see REVELATION….. Amazing!!! My spirit was Sooo stirred…. we live evil times and this was eye opening on so many levels! WE need to get this message out to the public! GO see this movie!!!”

“Like drinking from a firehose!”

“My husband and I saw it and it was EXCELLENT !! I hope and pray it goes well spreading the word for all to see it!! This is so well put together. A MUST-SEE if you love America!”

Now this beautifully produced film is available on FREE beginning JUNE 8- 17!

The home spun wisdom and common sense of Country music legend Charlie Daniels is woven through out this riveting story as the narrator. Sitting in an old Tennessee log cabin, fiddle in hand Charlie reminisces:

“When I was a boy, things were pretty much like those wonderful Norman Rockwell images of 30’s America. But today, something’s wrong and we all know it!”

Mr. Daniels goes on to explain and introduce the main themes in this 5 star “must see” film which connects the dots on what has happened to our once mighty nation. Our Republic, originally blessed because of our Christian founding principles and heritage, is in a fight to the death involving the unseen realm of spiritual warfare.

Co-Star Lt. General “Jerry” Boykin proudly served this nation in the uniform of the U.S. Army. Most of his time was spent in Special Operations. He was one of the original members of the Army’s Delta Force. He commanded all of the Army’s Green Berets. He served a tour at the Central Intelligence Agency and finished his career as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. General Boykin was the commander of Delta Force during the tragic events of “Black Hawk Down” He is a devout Christian and serves on President Trump’s evangelical advisory team.

General Boykin explains the many facets of Marxism and Socialism increasingly popular in our nation, as he witnessed them in other countries around the world. The fascinating true life story Elena Chitta who escaped from a totalitarian Romanian communist regime is interwoven with General Boykin. The 73-year-old soft spoken Chitta feels called to sound the alarm by comparing her experiences to what she sees today.

Edward Griffin succinctly explains the birth of the Federal Reserve and how our Republic was secretly subverted during the infamous meeting at Jekyll Island.

He also explains Collectivism, which many people foolishly believe is our system of government!

Ex Muslim Brotherhood member, Kamal Saleem was sent to America as a sleeper cell and exposes the stark reality of the Islamic threat which goes to the heart and foundation of our civilization. Sharia law is not compatible with our form of government!

We then go on a wild ride through history with General George Washington and several very realistic historical reenactments reminding us of our Nation’s great moments of courage and sacrifice including the faith of our founding fathers and the Black Robed Regiment so named during the American Revolution.

Many other critical subjects are introduced by host Alex Jones of InfoWars.com including the Globalist Agenda and its incompatibility with our hard won and God inspired Constitution. The goal is to create a one world government. It’s as old as time itself. National sovereignty is a firewall against a globalist takeover.

At one time, mention of the New World Order was considered conspiracy but REVELATION exposes the roots, which go back to the time of biblical Nimrod and the battle for world control continues today. The latest and most diabolical plan, developed by the UN, is called Agenda 21. Every American citizen needs to understand and protest the implementation of Agenda 21 which is antithetical to our Constitution. The underlying premise is that private property rights, the backbone of our Constitution, are to be abolished!

The Second Amendment Right to bear arms is explored by several speakers including our own founder Stewart Rhodes.

Rock star Ted Nugent emphatically states “We the people have the right to keep and bear arms so that no king or emperor, or slave driver, ever rises up again and stops this sacred, unique unprecedented experiment in self government.”  Larry Pratt executive director of “Gun Owners of America” explains how we must be working to roll back much of the legislation put in place unconstitutionally.

Randy Weaver of Ruby Ridge notoriety, in an extremely rare and candid interview gives his heartbreaking testimony of a militarized police out of control. His young wife and nursing baby were shot and killed by an FBI sniper along with his 11-year-old son, Sammy. You will cry with him as he states “I’ve always loved this country; I still do”

The unique design of our Constitution is based on the concept that our rights come from God, not man. We the people, of the United States, then delegated 17 enumerated powers to this newly established federal government. For many decades now, the federal government has continued to get outside those bounds. It is the states’ responsibility to stop that overreach. We need to educate people about the 10th amendment and how the states have a rightful role to say “no” to corruption from the federal government. The states, who created the federal government to begin with, must be the ones that say, “Enough.”

When our forefathers, just a few years after having fought for liberty from tyranny, decided that they needed to establish a federal government, they were scared to death of reestablishing another tyranny.

This film is the “Common Sense” of our time.

Oh ye that love mankind, ye that oppose not only tyranny, but the tyrant. Stand forth. Thomas Payne, Common Sense, 1775.

We have been given a short reprieve with the election of Donald Trump but now is not the time to rest. We need to be more vigilant than ever in preparing for the next huge battle on the horizon. Obama has set up camp just blocks from the White House in an effort to undermine President Trump and our liberty with his “Organizing for Action”501 c3. Armed with the databases collected during his own presidential campaigns, OFA is strong, organized and well funded. As Charlie Daniels puts it “Kind of like the Trojan horse, you roll it inside the gates and all the bad guys slither out in the dark of night.”

After educating yourself and those around you by watching this film you will conclude as Samuel Adams did “It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”

The film may best be summed up by the lyrics to the original theme song written by Charlie Daniels below:

There was a mighty nation, blessed above all of creation, it was a rare and precious pearl.

Conceived in faith and liberty, home of the brave, land of the free, it was the envy of the world.

But this shining city on a hill has turned from the Creators will and let evil take control…now the reckless men who lead them want to strip away their freedom and steal their very souls.

Now it’s smoke and mirrors, switch and bait, criticize and confiscate, and let the guilty walk away.

In this once righteous Godly nation, in the halls of education, they forbid a child to pray.

They say we need to spread the wealth, they pretend to guard the health of the feeble and the poor, while the hand they hold behind their back confuses and conceals the fact that the wolf is at the door!

There’s an unseen hand that pulls the string and makes his little puppets dance to every song he sings.

The night rolls in on a rising tide, look beyond the shadows…Behold A Pale Horse rides!

They claim to seek a New World Order, nations without borders, but don’t believe the lie!

Even in this wealthy nation it can come down to starvation in a twinkling of an eye.

They tell us there will soon be peace, our lives will be an endless peace but they lead us toward the dark.

In the distance sabers rattle and armies train for battle as the beast prepares his mark.

There’s an unseen hand that pulls the strings and makes his little puppets dance to any song he sings.

The night rolls in on a rising tide, look beyond the shadows…Behold A Pale Horse rides!

It’s time for every righteous man to step up tall and take a stand there is so little time.

For if we hear and hesitate soon it will be too late, we are the last hope for mankind.

Time hurries on, the shadows fall, the hand is writing on the wall but even now there is still a chance.

For if the ones called by God’s name repent of sin and seek his face he will hear and heal the land.

There’s an unseen hand reaching from above and the gentle voice that beckons us to the shelter of his love.

Come on home my wayward child cause out on the horizon there is a…Pale Horse Running Wild!

America my wayward child can’t you hear the thundering hoof beats of a…Pale Horse Running Wild.

Pale Horse running wild…

Pale Horse running wild…

Pale Horse running wild…

Gun Control for Dummies – It’s Common Sense not Hoggwash!

Fluffyshotme posted the below video. Fluffy notes:

This video gives a further explanation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution in the context of the why the Bill of Rights was included along with the establishment of the Federal Government. Please share this with your friends so that they can help educate America.

Constitution of United States of America 1789 (rev. 1992)

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

EDITORS NOTE: Please check out Fluffy’s photography at http://www.fluffyshotme.com.