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Venezuela: A Case Study On What Happens When Gun Rights Are Trampled.

With all deference to hunters and sportsmen, it wasn’t their right to hunt that inspired James Madison and our nation’s First Congress to include the Second Amendment in their proposed Bill of Rights.  There’s was a much greater concern, that of checking the power of a potentially tyrannical state.  The modern left dismisses this argument as nonsensical, superfluous, and yes, even hysterical.  But despite its foolish attempts at diminishing the importance of gun ownership as a check on government, the fact still remains that the concern was central in the minds of the Framers.  Perhaps Noah Webster, that great American scholar and teacher whom we have all come to know by way of his dictionary, put it best when he wrote, “The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops.”

Indeed, history has seen the pattern of gun right suppression in coordination with the rise of tyranny and oppression play out time and again.  China, Nazi Germany, communist Cuba, Russia, North Korea are but a few examples.  In fact, in keeping with Webster’s observation, the propagation of a dictatorship would be difficult to conceive if imposed upon a well-armed population.  And now, as we witness the financial and societal collapse of our southern neighbor, it is evident that Venezuela is no exception. 

In 2012, Venezuela’s, communist National Assembly banned gun ownership.  The stated reason for such an intervention is the oft-quoted safety argument.  In 2011, 40% of Caracas’s homicides were robbery related with armed robberies accounting for 70% of all major crimes.

Predictably, the government’s call for voluntary disarmament produced virtually no results, leading to the forcible confiscation of 12,603 firearms in 2013 alone.

The result? A rise in violence against police officers, and most ominously, a rise in violence by the state against its own citizens.  

In 2015 alone, 252 law enforcement officers were killed in Venezuela.  Why?  Well, in Venezuela, police officers are targeted for their firearms![1]

Additionally, when Venezuelans took to the streets to protest the “unjust laws” of which Webster wrote centuries ago, the state used live ammunition to quiet them down.  And like Cuba, Maduro’s regime established a group of colectivos, groups of local individuals charged with the implementation and enforcement of Maduro’s policies, except that, in Venezuela, 400,000 of them were officially armed and allowed to “carry out the regime’s rule by violence.” 

And what about the national homicide rate?  The rate government was trying to suppress? It actually rose from 73 per 100,000 in 2012 right before the ban was implemented to 90 per 100,000 in 2015.  In fact, in 2015 Venezuela faced the world’s highest homicide rate with 27,875 murders.  

There are elements within our country obsessed with restricting our gun rights.  Yes, there are sections in our country where gun violence reigns supreme.  And yes, the recurrently played out stories of senseless killings and associated suffering is tragic beyond words.  But there is no greater tragedy than a people who once given freedom are robbed of their liberties in pursuit of false assurances of safety and protection.  

Truly, Madison was not thinking of our right to hunt when he penned our Second Amendment.  He was thinking of much more ominous possibilities, the same eventualities that inspired Thomas Jefferson to proclaim, “it is [our] right and [our] duty to be at all times armed.”

The Author acknowledges the work of David Kopel and Vincent Harinam, cited below, on which the Author relied heavily.

[1]  David Kopel, Vincent Harinam, In The Wake Of A Gun Ban Venezuela Sees Rising Homicide RateThe Hill, April 19, 2018.

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EDITORS NOTE: This The Federalist Pages column is republished with permission. The featured image is from Pixabay.

UK: Police Commissioner Suggests Value of Armed Citizenry, is Quickly Rebuffed

Every once in a great while, an independent-minded United Kingdom official is overcome with a bout of common sense on firearms. However, such outbursts of reason are typically short-lived, as the gun control apostate becomes the immediate target of the country’s anti-gun establishment politicians and media. Such was the case in 2014, when former Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party and Member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage had the temerity to point out that the UK’s handgun ban is “ludicrous” and call for its repeal.

Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez

Following the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez was taken by a similar case of logic. During a June 12 appearance on BBC Radio Cornwall, Hernandez suggested that armed citizens could provide an important response to a terrorist violence.

According to an account and audio of Hernandez’s BBC appearance made available by the Guardian, a caller – who is a firearms dealer — to the radio show asked the police commissioner, “If there should ever be a terrorist attack, what happens if I and other people try to defend themselves using those guns? What would be the repercussions?” After lauding the caller’s question, Hernandez responded that such an armed response “might be some of our solution to our issues.”

The audibly dumbfounded BBC host, called the caller’s proposal “vigilantism,” going on to question the caller’s ability to properly handle and use firearms. Even after the host’s initial derisive comments, Hernandez defended her position stating, “I’m just saying, let’s officially have a look at that and see what would be the implications of it…. We work with businesses to keep our communities safe. I’d really be interested in exploring that with the chief constable.”

Unfortunately, Hernandez’s rational position was lost on Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer and Deputy Chief Constable Paul Netherton. The same day as Hernandez’s interview, Netherton issued a response to the police commissioner’s comments that appears to foreclose even a discussion about the use of private firearms to stop a terrorist threat.

In the release, Netherton noted that during an attack, “highly trained police firearms officers and Special Forces will be deployed to protect our communities,” and that “Under no circumstances would we want members of the public to arm themselves with firearms, not least because officers responding would not know who the offenders were, and quite obviously they would not have the time to ask.”

Netherton also reiterated official UK response policy, stating, “Our message to the public is a simple one: to run, to hide and to tell.” This charge is a noticeably neutered version of the United States Department of Homeland Security’s “Run, Hide, Fight.”

Just as disturbing as the UK’s disrespect of the fundamental right to self-defense is the ongoing effort by the UK’s political and media establishment to preclude any debate on the topic. Nigel Farage’s comments on the handgun ban were met with “fury,” with one opposing lawmaker dismissing Farage’s Ukip party as “extremely dangerous.” The BBC host dismissed Hernandez’s comments and the caller’s question out of hand. Likewise, Netherton released a statement refuting Hernandez’s position without exploration or discussion. Far from radical, Hernandez’s thoughts on fighting terrorism are shared by former Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

Such foreclosure of discourse is unbecoming a so-called liberal democracy. Today’s UK would do well to rediscover the great English classical liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill, as his work on the merits of free thought and vigorous discourse appears to be foreign to most of its subjects.

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VIDEO: Empowering Public Housing Residents to Defend Themselves

In this News Minute from the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, Jennifer Zahrn reports that, in Maine, Governor Paul LePage is expected to sign an NRA-backed bill that would allow residents of public housing to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.

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Dear Representative Lori Berman, (D-FL District 90), Communist Party of Florida

Representative Lori Berman, I thank you for sending me your email concerning Florida’s open carry bills. You stated that allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry openly their weapons in holsters on the streets and in public buildings gives you “great concern.”

You say they “pose a threat” to our “safety” in the community and to residents.

So that would be me and 1.4 million law abiding Americans who live in Florida with concealed carry permits that you are referring too, correct?

Seriously, please specify to me how an inanimate object in the hands of a well trained law abiding American poses a threat to residents and the community.

Please list for me all the threats that a holstered weapons poses. Give me 5 examples. List them 1 – 5.

I am an expert pistol and rifle shot. I have been federally and state screened to carry a concealed weapon. I was trained by the U.S. Navy to fire more weapons than your average person.

I am also a deadly shot so if a bad guy wants to play ball with me he will lose. I am not a threat to the community I am an asset.

People will feel at ease shopping in the store when they see my weapon in my holster. Bad guys will think twice about robbing the store I am in.

Ladies with a holstered weapon become secure in their surroundings knowing they have a means to defend themselves from bad people. 9-11 calls will drop dramatically.

It is you Representative Berman that is the threat to the community by refusing to uphold your oath of office to uphold and defend and protect the U.S. Constitution of the United States – the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment gives me and every other law abiding citizen in this nation the right to carry a weapon for self defense and to protect others either concealed or in an open holster.

It is liberals like you who make the streets more dangerous with your policies, just look at Chicago. You agenda is to disarm us but you will retain “your” weapons.

Perhaps it is time for you to pack your stuff and leave Boynton Beach Florida and go back to the “Peoples Republic” of New York where you originally immigrated from.

Slap your Hillary Clinton sticker on your Michael Kors over night bag, affix your Hammer and Sickle lapel pin to your made in China jacket and take your left wing, pro socialist anti American ideology with you and stay there.

RELATED ARTICLE: Find Out If Your Lawmaker Voted to End Operation Choke Point

FLORIDA: Patients who own guns are protected — 11th Curcuit rules in their favor

Anti-gun doctors in in the Sunshine State may be feeling a little queasy after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11thCircuit handed them a third straight loss in their ongoing challenge to a Florida law designed to protect patients from harassing and unwarranted grilling about firearm ownership. Should these symptoms persist, the physicians should note they have a simple and foolproof remedy: simply refrain from using the doctor-patient relationship to advance a non-medical ideological and political agenda.

The plaintiffs in the case, Wollschlaeger v. Gov. of Fla., assert that their First Amendment rights are being violated because the law prohibits them from documenting or inquiring into patients’ firearm ownership or harassing or discriminating against patients who own firearms. The law provides exceptions, however, for situations in which the doctors believe, in good faith, the actions are “necessary” or “relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others.”

As we detailed earlier this year, the 11th Circuit has already issued two opinions against the plaintiffs. The original opinion characterized the regulated behavior more as conduct – i.e., medical practice – than pure speech. On its own initiative, the court later revisited that determination and revised the earlier opinion with a more detailed analysis of the law’s First Amendment implications. The second opinion held that even to the degree the law regulates speech protected by the First Amendment, the state has sufficient justification to curtail it. The court took into account the nature and context of the speech, the interests advanced by the law, and the law’s limited scope.

Following publication of the second opinion, however, the 11th Circuit asked the parties to submit further written arguments concerning how a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, might affect the way the case should be analyzed. In its latest opinion, the 11th Circuit finds that Reed might require a more stringent standard of review on the First Amendment issue than was used in its second opinion, but it goes on to hold that the challenged regulations nevertheless survive that review.

The third opinion also represents a relatively rare example of a regulation surviving “strict scrutiny” analysis in the face of a constitutional challenge. Strict scrutiny requires the state to show that the law furthers a “compelling interest” and that “the Act is narrowly tailored to advance that interest.”

The compelling interest identified by the 11th Circuit is “the State’s interest in regulating the practice of professions for the protection of the public,” and the protection of Second Amendment rights and privacy in particular. “We do not hesitate to conclude,” the court writes, “that states have a compelling interest in protecting the fundamental right to keep and bear arms.”

Regarding the tailoring prong of the analysis, the court dismisses the plaintiffs’ suggestion that they are not actually interfering with Second Amendment rights. “It is of course an interference with Second Amendment rights for a trusted physician to tell his patient – for no medically relevant reason whatsoever – that it is unsafe to own a gun.” The court also explains that the law focuses on subjects that, once entered into a patient’s medical record, could be used to “harass or profile” that individual, an outcome the Florida legislature has determined is contrary to public policy.

The court goes on to note the narrow scope of the law’s actual prohibitions and emphasizes that they are subject to “physicians’ own good-faith judgments about whether such inquiry or record-keeping is medically appropriate in the circumstances of a particular case.” “[W]hat narrower way to advance [the state’s interests in protecting privacy and chilling of Second Amendment rights] could there be,” the court asks rhetorically, “than by requiring physicians to base any inquiry or record-keeping about firearm ownership on a genuine, subjective determination of medical need?”

The court also rejects the plaintiffs’ claim that the law is unconstitutionally vague, deciding its text is “sufficiently clear that a person of common intelligence need not guess as to what it prohibits.” It also reiterates that “so long as a physician is operating in good faith within the boundaries of good medical practice, and is providing only firearm safety advice that is relevant and necessary, he need not fear discipline” under the law. In other words, competent, ethical doctors will not be adversely affected.

Throughout the history of this case, anti-gun doctors and their media collaborators have been committing rhetorical malpractice by misrepresenting the law’s scope, effects, and burdens in the court of public opinion. Fortunately, in the court of law, the 11th Circuit soberly and carefully judged the law for what it is: a means to prevent abuse of the doctor-patient relationship and exploitation of medicine’s prestige to browbeat Florida residents into giving up constitutional rights.

Thus, while the 11th Circuit’s analysis has changed in its various opinions, its message to Florida doctors has been consistent: Physician, control thyself and stick to patient care, and you will have nothing to fear from this law.

Okay, Let’s Regulate Guns like Cars by Eugene Volokh

A commenter on a recent thread asked — seemingly from a pro-gun-control perspective — “Why can’t guns be treated like cars, regulated and available, only to those who demonstrate competence and compliance with laws?” That is a perfect excuse for me to reprise my analysis of the guns-cars analogy.

Cars are basically regulated as follows (I rely below on California law, but to my knowledge the rules are similar throughout the country):

  1. No federal licensing or registration of car owners.
  2. Any person may use a car on his own private property without any license or registration. See, e.g., California Vehicle Code §§ 360, 12500 (driver’s license required for driving on “highways,” defined as places that are “publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel”); California Vehicle Code § 4000 (same as to registration).
  3. Any adult — and in most states, 16- and 17-year-olds, as well — may get a license to use a car in public places by passing a fairly simple test that virtually everyone can pass.
  4. You can lose your license for proved misuse of the car, but not for most other misconduct; and even if you lose your driver’s license, you can usually regain it some time later.
  5. Your license from one state is good throughout the country.

This is pretty much how many gun rights advocates would like to see guns regulated, and is in fact pretty close to the dominant model in the over 40 states that now allow pretty much any law-abiding adult to get a license to carry a concealed weapon: No need to register or get a license to have a gun at home, and a simple, routine test through which any law-abiding citizen can get a state license to carry a gun in public.

And even if we require a test for all possession of a gun, at home or in public — again, something that’s not required for cars — that would still mean that pretty much any law-abiding adult (or 16- or 17-year-old) would be able to easily get a license to carry a gun. That would provide more functional gun rights in the remaining non-shall-issue states (including, for instance, New York) than is provided under current gun regulations.

Now I suspect that many gun control advocates would in reality prefer a much more onerous system of regulations for guns than for cars. Of course, one can certainly argue that guns should be regulated more heavily than cars; thoughtful gun control advocates do indeed do this.

But then one should candidly admit that one is demanding specially burdensome regulation for guns — and not claim to be merely asking “why can’t guns be treated like cars?”

Incidentally, I don’t claim any great originality on these points: Others have made them before me, see, e.g., David Kopel’s “Taking It to the Streets,” Reason, Nov. 1999. But some things are worth repeating.

This post first appeared at the Volokh Conspiracy.

Eugene Volokh
Eugene Volokh

Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy.

Deceptive Reporting on Donald Trump Exposed

AUSTIN, Texas /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Brad O’Leary, publisher of TheOLearyReport.com, former NBC News Radio/Westwood One talk show host, author of the The United States Citizens’ Handbook and former feature writer for USA Today Weekend magazine. Brad is calling out online publication BearingArms.com about contributor Bob Owens’ deceptive post. Find Brad’s response below and on TheOLearyReport.com:

A newspaper in the UK, called The Telegraph, is trying to fool people by claiming expertise on the Second Amendment.

They begin their article as if they are supporters. They do not remind their readers that the Second Amendment came about because the British Government tried to disarm our American colonists in our Revolutionary War, which was the spark that started the Revolution.

They do not tell their readers that the Second Amendment was based on British freedoms guaranteed in the Magna Carta.

Nor do they admit that a few years ago when the British Parliament stripped British citizens of those same rights, that they as a newspaper completely supported that effort.

Nor did they tell their readers that every reporter and researcher working on the story is a committed anti-gunner. You might say that I am guessing at this and I am.

When the American newspaper USA Today did a week of front-page new stories on gun-ownership in America, they began the first story with an apology. They usually try to have reporters who are balanced in their opinion, but they could not find a single reporter on their paper that supports the ownership of guns or had even fired a gun. If that is what happens in America, I consider it to be proof that in England it would be worse.

The Telegraph article ranks four tiers of supporters, with the lowest tier being against the Second Amendment. I do not object to whom they put in that lowest tier, but I object to whom they put in the third tier. They listed four Republicans who they claim hardly support the Second Amendment, Kasich, Trump, Carson and Christie. That would be really wishful thinking on the part of a bunch of gun-banners pontificating on freedoms that they stripped themselves of in the hope influencing Americans, who might follow and strip themselves of the same freedoms.

The most outrageous person that they put in that group who should be ranked in the top tier of Second Amendment supporters is Donald Trump. Before you gasp and tell me that is not what you have heard in the American media coverage, let me tell you some things that they could have told you but they haven’t:

  1. Donald Trump is the first presidential candidate in the history of American politics who said that he would sign concealed-carry reciprocity when Congress passes the Bill. It is true that the other candidates have made clear what they think about concealed-carry based on what they did in their own states or are willing to do in Congress but none have said that I will sign reciprocity Federal Bill into law.

Now I cannot tell you the ins and outs of how far all the other candidates go to support the Second Amendment but Trump has left no doubt that:

  1. He would allow military troops, bases and recruiting centers to be armed.
  2. He would see that the Federal government and FBI create an instant, accurate and fair list of criminals, including mentally defective people to deny them of ownership of guns.
  3. He would not sign into law any gun and magazine bans.
  4. He would enforce all of the Federal gun laws on the books and bring back a NRA supported Federal Law enforcement program called Project Exile, which was opposed by Rahm Emmanuel, Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama and Eric Holder. They want guns banned. They do not want felons, drug dealers, rapists and murderers who use a gun in the process of a crime to be incarcerated for five years in Federal prison because they think it is a waste of Federal money.
  5. He wants to fix a broken mental health record system. And that effort is opposed by the American Psychiatric Association and by the board members of the legal drug cartel known in America as the pharmaceutical industry, who would prefer that Americans lockup their guns in a safe than lock up the drugs that are in their medicine cabinet.

Why would we (and you) allow gun-banners and extremists like the managers and reporters of The Telegraph spew ignorance and deceive readers by disseminating their deceptive “researched” information sourced from so called Conservative or pro-gun sources who are actually their own insiders pretending to be pro-gun experts?!

RELATED ARTICLE: Why gun laws miss the mark – The Orange County Register

Gun Rights Group Thanks Hillary Clinton For Energizing Gun Owners

BELLEVUE, Wash. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today publicly thanked Hillary Rodham Clinton for energizing the nation’s firearms owners to political action and virtually assuring their heavy turnout for the 2016 presidential election.

“Thanks to all of her anti-gun-rights statements, Hillary Clinton will guarantee that gun owners will exercise their voting rights next November,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “She seems eager to double down onBarack Obama’s failed attempts to stick pins in gun owners.”

Clinton, the former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator from New York, has a history of supporting gun control measures. She supports a ban on popular modern sport-utility rifles and original capacity magazines, and she suggested that gun owners are “a minority of people that hold a viewpoint that terrorizes a majority of people.”

“Just as it has been for the past seven years, since Barack Obama was elected in 2008, a Clinton nomination in 2016 will guarantee continued strong gun sales and expanded gun ownership,” Gottlieb contended. “Even among those who favor expanded background checks there is strong sentiment for protecting gun rights rather than controlling gun ownership.

“At the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference held over the weekend, one of the biggest concerns among the activists in attendance was a Clinton nomination, followed by a Clinton election victory,” he said. “American gun owners are convinced that she will turn the Oval Office into a nuclear war room against the Second Amendment.

“Between now and November 2016,” he continued, “we expect Hillary Clinton to try to stigmatize and marginalize gun owners, but in fact she will energize those millions of law-abiding citizens whose votes she fears the most. That’s why we’re grateful for her campaign rhetoric.

“By this time next year,” Gottlieb predicted, “if there is any apathy within the firearms community, it will have been transformed into activism.”

With more than 650,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (www.ccrkba.org) is one of the nation’s premier gun rights organizations. As a non-profit organization, the Citizens Committee is dedicated to preserving firearms freedoms through active lobbying of elected officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun rights activists in local communities throughout the United States.

RELATED ARTICLE: San Francisco’s Firearms Regulations Force City’s Last Gun Store to Close

Florida State University President Thrasher Flip-flopped 4 times on Campus Carry

The media love to expose the underbelly of politicians whether it favors their own position or not.  Changing positions on issues only once apparently is acceptable but multiple times on the same issue rankles even the most understanding and tolerant person.

It is particularly significant when someone who uses his/her position to expend state funds to lobby the legislature against the constitutional rights of the people who pay those taxes.

Further, it is egregious when that position and power can be used to curtail First amendment rights to keep others from speaking out against the administration on Second Amendment rights.

Conservative, pro-campus carry faculty members and employees have expressed fear of retaliation if they speak out in support of issues which the anti-gun administration opposes.  There is a chill and a suppression of First Amendment rights when it comes to speaking out on gun rights.  If you support the administration’s position, you’re golden.  If you oppose their position, they’re afraid to speak out.

The following article published in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune strikes at the heart of the problem of people of power forgetting their true obligation.

Williams: FSU president flip-flopped on campus carry 4 times

By Lee Williams

Published: Herald Tribune, Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 1:27 p.m.

John-Thrasher

Florida State University president John Thrasher

Florida State University president John Thrasher has become one of the most vocal opponents of campus-carry legislation in Florida.

The bill introduced by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, would allow concealed-carry licensees to tote firearms for self-defense on college and university campuses.

Thrasher has very adamantly and very publicly criticized Steube’s bill, and similar legislation in the Senate.

“I’m personally opposed to it. I think it’s a bad thing for universities to do. I would love to see us have a gun-free zone frankly on our campus,” Thrasher said earlier this year.

It is a position that Thrasher has held on-again, off-again in the past five years: a Herald-Tribune investigation found that Thrasher has switched his position on campus carry four times during that time frame.

Two state representatives have told the newspaper that Thrasher personally lobbied them to vote against the campus-carry bill, even though state law prohibits him from lobbying lawmakers for two years after leaving the Senate.

“It seems as though he’s obviously taking the position he would take as president of the university,” Steube said. “I’d ask him why he’s changed his position back and forth.”

Flip-flopping

Thrasher supported campus carry in 2010, according to the “Florida Candidate Questionnaire” created jointly by the National Rifle Association and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, the state NRA-affiliate.

The candidates were asked: “Concealed Weapons and Firearms Licenses are only issued to law-abiding adults who are 21 years of age or older. Do you believe the constitutional right of self-defense does not end on the campus of a college or university and that anti-gun administrators should stop discriminating against persons licensed by the state to lawfully carry firearms for self defense?”

Thrasher agreed, putting a check mark by a response that stated: “Yes, and I would support legislation to stop colleges and universities from banning lawful self-defense on campus.”

The two gun groups gave him an “A” rating.

One year later, Thrasher, as Rules Committee chairman, single-handedly killed a concealed-carry bill that was sponsored by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker.

The reason? The daughter of Thrasher’s dentist had been accidentally shot and killed by her boyfriend during a late-night party at an off-campus fraternity. The boyfriend, who at 18 did not possess a concealed-carry license, told police he did not know his rifle was loaded. He also admitted to drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.

Thrasher told one newspaper that the decision to kill the 2011 bill was “beyond personal.”

A year later, in the 2012 candidate questionnaire, Thrasher for the first time opposed campus carry. He wrote a personal note on the form to former Marion Hammer, executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and a past-president of the NRA: “Marion, you and I have discussed.”

Based upon his response, the NRA and USF downgraded Thrasher’s candidate rating to a B-minus.

In 2014, facing reelection, Thrasher switched his position on campus carry again — this time supporting the bill — and he wrote another note to Hammer: “I am a strong advocate of the NRA and the second amendment and plan to continue to be.”

The two gun groups restored Thrasher’s A-rating.

FSU’s Board of Trustees selected Thrasher to serve as president in September 2014.

Just 10 days after taking office, there was a shooting in the FSU library. A 31-year-old alumnus shot a university employee and two students before he was fatally shot by police.

After the shooting, Thrasher changed his position again, and now remains opposed to campus carry.

Thrasher, in a brief interview Wednesday, said he had never flip-flopped since the death of his dentist’s daughter.

“When the young woman was shot on campus and killed accidentally by a student who had a gun, that’s when I changed my position,” he said. “I don’t care what I filled out. My position is that I’m opposed to guns. I don’t think it’s a good idea. That’s where I was last year. That’s where I was after the young woman was shot. I don’t care what the NRA says. Thank you.”

Hammer told the Herald-Tribune that she seldom sees anyone switch their position on the campus-carry bill, much less four times, since it “has no gray area.”

“Generally, we believe that when a candidate flip-flops, they have reasons that are not in the best interest of the Second Amendment that they profess to support,” she said.

Read more.

Trump: Protecting Our Second Amendment Rights Will Make America Great Again

Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump released his position on the Second Amendment. Trump’s policy states in part:

The Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right that belongs to all law-abiding Americans. The Constitution doesn’t create that right – it ensures that the government can’t take it away.

[ … ]

We need to get serious about prosecuting violent criminals. The Obama administration’s record on that is abysmal. Violent crime in cities like Baltimore, Chicago and many others is out of control. Drug dealers and gang members are given a slap on the wrist and turned loose on the street. This needs to stop.

[ … ]

All of the tragic mass murders that occurred in the past several years have something in common – there were red flags that were ignored. We can’t allow that to continue.

[ … ]

Gun and magazine bans are a total failure. That’s been proven every time it’s been tried.

[ … ]

The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states.

[ … ]

Banning our military from carrying firearms on bases and at recruiting centers is ridiculous. We train our military how to safely and responsibly use firearms, but our current policies leave them defenseless.

To read Donald Trump’s full policy on the Second Amendment click here.

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White House, Media Mislead on Crime Trends, Ignore Evidence that Could Save More Lives

Tragedy strikes – and the White House immediately shifts into exploitation mode, trying to use raw emotion to push “solutions” that don’t fit the facts. From Charles C. W. Cooke at National Review comes a timely reminder, however, that despite well-publicized crimes, the nation as a whole is getting safer and less violent.

As Mr. Cooke notes, the U.S. firearm homicide rate peaked in 1993 and has fallen dramatically since then. Meanwhile, he adds correctly, gun control has been rolled back and the number of firearms in private hands has increased dramatically. Yet 88% of the public were unaware of favorable crime trends in a May 7, 2013, Pew Research Center Poll. Mr. Cooke attributes this knowledge gap, in part, to the increasing prevalence of “round-the-clock news” and more powerful forms of social media.

It’s a sad commentary that more news and more communication may have somehow led to greater ignorance on important matters of public policy. Your NRA, for its part, has been doing its level best to keep the record straight, including with the reports mentioned here and here.

Yet it’s no accident on gun control advocates’ part that they mislead the public on the true state of affairs. As we’ve mentioned before, a PR firm hired to produce a gun control messaging guide advises, “Always focus on emotional and value-driven arguments about gun violence, not the political food fight in Washington or wonky statistics.” It also counsels advocates to act quickly after a highly-publicized event, while emotions are at their highest. As for the facts, gun control advocates are told, “Don’t wait for them.” Instead, “The clearest course is to advance our core message about preventing gun violence independent of facts that may shift on us over time.”

Once again, sadly, we see that advice in action. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, for example, was using Wednesday’s televised murders in Roanoke to call for universal background checks, even before the suspect had been apprehended and before news emerged that the perpetrator had, in fact, passed a background check to buy the gun he used.

Evil and violence are terrible things, and Americans understandably react with horror and sadness when confronted by them. Yet denying reality and exploiting emotions do not solve problems. Ensuring that peaceable, responsible people have the means to defend themselves is why NRA remains resolute in its mission to defend and protect the Second Amendment.

Rather than promoting “solutions” that offer false promises, like “universal” background checks, policy makers should study what’s working redouble their efforts on those fronts. Dismissing the crime deterring benefits of firearm ownership is neither smart nor compassionate. Empowering good people to defend themselves against violence is, and this defining principle will continue to drive everything that NRA does.

New Gun Ownership Study is ‘bunkum — pure fiction’

The NRA-ILA in an email writes, “Once again we owe thanks to reporter Lee Williams, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, for his willingness to expose the agenda of those who are the enemies of Freedom and the Second Amendment.  On the day before Independence Day — July 4th, he released an article exposing the agenda of those who conspire against the Second Amendment.”

Below is the column by Williams which shows a recent study is “bunkum – pure fiction.”


Study: Gun control groups should undermine our ‘gun culture’ to reduce gun ownership

Posted on July 3, 2015 by Lee Williams  Sarasota herald-Tribune

There’s a dangerous scientific study making the rounds, even some pro-gun websites have featured it, titled “Gun ownership and social gun culture.”

It’s bunkum — pure fiction.

It’s an insidious piece of work, written by four academics who used firearm policy information from the Brady Center and the CDC’s Injury Prevention and Control Center — two groups well known for their opposition to the Second Amendment.

The gist of the study appears to say that since gun control supporters’ long term goal is to reduce gun ownership, they ought to consider not only campaigning for gun control laws that make it more difficult to acquire or possess guns — background checks, gun registration, gun owners licensing, etc. — but focusing on policies that could undermine the social aspects of gun ownership.

To be clear, the authors say gun control groups need to undermine our “gun culture.”

The study does not describe these social aspects in much detail, but you can guarantee they mean everything from hunting, to target shooting competitions and clubs, to marksmanship training classes and gun shows.

This is not a new approach.

Since the 1980s, gun control groups have realized that once a person becomes part of the gun culture, they’re likely to become a single-issue voter focused on protecting the right to keep and bear arms.

This is why anti-gun activist groups are now pushing the lie that — even though Americans have been buying guns in unprecedented numbers — gun ownership is declining.

They hope other people will essentially say, “Well, if no one is owning guns, I guess I don’t need to own guns either, or fret about additional restrictions.”

This new tact coincides with an admission by gun control supporters that pushing for extreme restrictions — handgun bans of the 1970s, “Assault Weapon” bans of the 1980s, “cop killer” bullet legislation of the 1990s, and more recent magazine restrictions — has failed.

None of these tactics worked.  In the 1970s, when they claimed more handguns would mean more crime, Americans tripled the number of handgunsthey owned in little more than a generation.

In the 1980s, gun control supporters started trying to stop states from adopting Right-to-Carry laws. But Florida ignored them, adopting its law in 1987, 32 states followed Florida’s lead, and now nearly every state has right-to-carry legislation, and the nation’s murder rate is
at an all-time low.

In 2012, the administration and its gun control supporters in Congress tried to convince Americans that support for gun control was overwhelming, and no further debate over the subject was necessary. But Americans responded by buying guns in unprecedented numbers, and
Congress rejected the President’s agenda.

The Pew Center reported in December 2014 that among nearly all demographic groups, support for gun ownership is rising and support for gun control is decreasing. Gallup showed that self-defense is the primary reason why American own guns.

The ultimate goal of the study is obvious given its use of the anti-gun Brady Campaign’s scorecard to assess the gun ownership culture in the states.

The Brady Campaign gives most states school grades of “F” or “D,” because they don’t have the myriad of gun control laws that Brady wants.

Finally, I should point out that in the 1990s, several anti-gun groups tried to funnel taxpayer money to their like-minded pals in academia — an effort thwarted by Congress.

Maybe now the four academics responsible for this little study are hoping to carve themselves a lucrative niche in the anti-gun research cottage industry.

Hollywood Elite to Erect Memorial to all Dead Home Invaders

HOLLYWOOD, CA – The silver screen’s most elite names and faces gathered at a discrete location, to discuss their disastrous participation in Michael Bloomberg’s first annual Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 2nd.

Wear orange

The stars had every reason to be concerned after their collective wearing of orange shirts to commemorate all those who have lost their lives to gun violence went largely unnoticed by the general public. Attended by Sean Penn, Barbara Streisand, Michael Moore, and Jane Fonda, to name just a few, the discussion over cocktails and entrées extended into the late evening, until all celebrities came to a consensus that the best way to raise awareness for the victims of gun violence was to erect a statue of an unarmed man with a flashlight and a bag over his shoulder, climbing through a window.

Wear orangePenn, the leader of the Coalition of Film Actors Against Gun Violence, explained his support for the memorial.

“We live in a nation of small-minded, gun-toting ignoramuses who fail to realize that the reason for economically challenged individuals to enter strangers’ homes is not that they are criminals out to do them harm, but in actuality it manifests the desire of the disadvantaged classes to obtain items of materialistic culture that our capitalist society conditions them to think they need,” he stated.

“Deprived by the system of the means to afford expensive things, they try to acquire them the only way they can, by entering someone’s home and taking it. The so-called ‘burglars’ and ‘home invaders’ are, in fact, nothing more than casualties of America’s perpetual war on the poor and racial minorities,” said the star of Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Adorned with a golden plaque saying, “To all those lost to the mindless pull of a trigger,” the memorial is expected to appear in the center of the famous Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which will make it officially the first monument erected at a U.S. cemetery for political motives. Despite objections by locals and right-wing groups, Penn and his celebrity alliance claim that the monument will bear as much dignified significance as any war memorial in American history.

Jane Fonda supported Penn’s statement by saying, “It takes a lot of courage to enter a home of a complete stranger. We should honor their bravery, while at the same time recognize their sacrifice as a shameful legacy of conservative policies. Hopefully, this sacred memorial will raise awareness and help end the bloodshed,” said the actress famous for her portrayal of a gun-toting interstellar beauty in Barbarella.

The movement has been able to raise over $250,000 in donations since its inception yesterday, with most of the money coming from California’s wealthiest gated communities, protected by private security companies and teams of armed bodyguards.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Peoples Cube.

Here It Comes: Obama’s Final Assault on the Second Amendment

The Justice department is moving forward with a flurry of new rules. according to list of rules the agency has proposed to enact before the end of the Obama administration.

HERE IT COMES FOLKS!

The Hill Reports:

The regulations range from new restrictions on high-powered pistols to gun storage requirements. Chief among them is a renewed effort to keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally unstable or have been convicted of domestic abuse.

Gun safety advocates have been calling for such reforms since the Sandy Hook school shooting nearly three years ago in Newtown, Conn. They say keeping guns away from dangerous people is of primary importance.

FULL STORY HERE:

Administration preps new gun regulations | TheHill

Veteran Administration Systematicly Disarming Veterans Brings Further Shame to Troubled Agency

Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) brought renewed attention to the plight of a growing number of veterans who have been unjustly stripped of their Second Amendment rights. In an April 14 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Grassley takes the Department of Veterans Affairs to task for overreaching policies that have resulted in the names of well over 100,000 veterans and dependents being placed in the FBI’s National Instance Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as prohibited from possessing firearms.

Federal agencies are required to forward information to the FBI about individuals who have been disqualified by agency action from legally possessing firearms. This includes information about disqualifying mental health “adjudications” and “commitments.” The VA’s interpretation of what constitutes a disqualifying mental health “adjudication,” however, has resulted in widespread, unjustified deprivation of Second Amendment rights and Fifth Amendment due process rights.

As Grassley’s letter points out, federal regulation allows the VA to determine whether its beneficiaries need a “fiduciary” to manage their benefits. Veterans who the agency determines need help administering their VA compensation are then labeled “mental defectives” and reported to NICS to be barred from firearm acquisition and possession, alongside the likes of felons, fugitives, and the dishonorably discharged. The process of assigning a fiduciary, however, does not require the VA to consider whether the veteran actually poses a danger to himself or others or is seriously functionally impaired in any other respect. Indeed, the VA’s own website states, “The determination that you are unable to manage your VA benefits does not affect your non-VA finances, or your right to vote or contract.”

Needless to say, it’s completely untenable that America’s military men and women must choose between what’s best for their medical care and financial management and the fundamental civil liberties their own service protects. The fact that a veteran’s spouse or other loved one is more financially astute or is simply more accustomed to maintaining the household finances is completely irrelevant to the veteran’s ability safely and responsibly to handle firearms. That the VA claims otherwise reveals nothing so much as its own systemic, institutional anti-gun bias and its distrust of the very people the agency serves.

For veterans who choose to contest the appointment of a fiduciary, VA procedure offers scant protection. Typically, deprivation of a fundamental constitutional right requires significant due process, as required by the Fifth Amendment (for example, a criminal trial). As Grassley’s letter makes clear, the procedure VA employs falls well below acceptable due process standards and places the burden of proof upon the veteran to seek redress after the fact.

In an April 21st, 2015 article for the Daily Caller, entitled, “VA Sends Veterans’ Medical Info To FBI To Get Their Guns Taken Away,” journalist Patrick Howley puts a human face on this tragedy. In one instance, disabled veteran Henry Wrobel was categorized as unable to handle his own finances, triggering the firearm prohibition. The VA’s actions followed Wrobel’s conversation with a VA counselor during which he mentioned having recently opted to receive his benefits by direct deposit in an attempt to simplify his life. In another case, a Vietnam War widow receiving VA benefits was deprived of her right to bear arms after making a request to the VA for assistance in obtaining someone to help with her household chores after she suffered a mild stroke.

Beyond this matter’s constitutional concerns is that the VA’s “mental defective” determination process and forwarding of records to NICS have contributed to a deep distrust of the agency among those it serves. Rumors abound regarding VA measures to strip gun rights from veterans, and current VA practices regarding fiduciary appointments, along with  highly suspect efforts, substantiate these concerns. Undoubtedly, some veterans have chosen to forego vital benefits and medical treatment, or have been less than candid with VA personnel, due to a fear of losing their Second Amendment rights.

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