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11 Incidents in Which Lawful Gun Owners Made a Difference

As the Supreme Court continued its decadelong silence in protecting the Second Amendment, Americans last month nevertheless proved that they understand the importance of the right to keep and bear arms.

The FBI conducted a record-high 3.9 million background checks for firearms sales and transfers in June. The previous record of 3.7 million was set just this past March.

It is little surprise that, during these difficult and uncertain times, many Americans who never before considered the prospect of gun ownership are coming to appreciate their Second Amendment rights. Even in “normal” times, Americans often rely on their firearms to protect themselves and others.

According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost every major study on the issue has found that Americans use their firearms in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times a year. There’s good reason to believe that most of these defensive gun uses never are reported to police, much less make the local or national news.


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For this reason, The Daily Signal each month publishes an article detailing some of the previous month’s many news stories on defensive gun use that you may have missed—or that might not have made it to the national spotlight in the first place. (Read accounts from 2019 and 2020 here).

The following examples of defensive gun use represent only a small portion of the stories we found in June. You can explore more examples in The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database.

  • June 1, Edinburg, Virginia: A Virginia pastor drew his handgun to protect himself from five trespassers who assaulted him on his property. Police said the pastor had noticed two of them apparently disposing of large items illegally in a dumpster at an apartment complex he owns, and asked the two to leave. They became angry and returned with three others, surrounding the pastor. The five threatened him with racial slurs, and one head-butted him. The pastor defended himself with his handgun and called 911. After an unfortunate mix-up in which police initially detained the pastor, officers arrested the threatening individuals and charged them with hate crimes.
  • June 4, Gustavus, Ohio: A homeowner spotted a man underneath a car in his driveway late at night, and grabbed a shotgun to confront him. The man, who police suspect was trying to steal car parts, rushed at the homeowner, who shot and wounded him. Investigators later discovered that the would-be thief possessed several power tools and had put a jack under the homeowner’s car.
  • June 5, Dudley Shoals, North Carolina: When two armed men tried to rob a convenience store, the clerk drew his own gun and fired at them until they fled. The store’s security camera captured the drama, police said.   
  • June 6, Lake Elsinore, California: A store owner intervened with his firearm to protect a woman from an assailant, police said. The store owner had seen the man punch and kick the woman. The attacker left when the store owner attempted to stop him, but returned minutes later holding a metal object. When the store owner stood between the man and the woman, the assailant pushed him to the ground and began to beat the woman again. The store owner retrieved his firearm and shot the man, who fled. Police later arrested him.  
  • June 13, Ogden, Utah: vengeful ex-boyfriend drove to the residence of his former girlfriend shared with her new boyfriend and, after an argument, opened fire on them. The woman, who police said was the past victim of domestic violence by him, drew her own handgun and fired in self-defense. Police later arrested the man and charged him with numerous felonies.
  • June 14, Rome, New York:  good Samaritan with a shotgun came to his neighbors’ rescue when he realized their apartment had been broken into by an armed intruder, police said. The intruder entered through a bedroom window and pistol-whipped a woman. The neighbor went into the apartment and fired at the intruder, who fled.
  • June 16, Delta Township, Michigan: A concealed-carry permit holder intervened to defend himself and other motorists when a mentally distressed man began firing a handgun at cars on a highway. Emergency dispatchers received at least 10 calls about the man before he jumped in front of the permit holder’s car and pointed a gun at him, police said. The permit holder, who had been on his way to enjoy a round of golf, shot and killed the man.   
  • June 20, Turner, Maine: A homeowner held two suspected burglars at gunpoint until law enforcement could arrive and arrest them. The homeowner, who had noticed a back door was forced open and a lock ripped off, saw the two leaving the residence with items in their hands. He drew his handgun, detained them, and called police.
  • June 23, Spokane, Washington:  An armed mother used her firearm to protect her teenage son after a meet-up to buy a cellphone turned into an attempted robbery. Her son had agreed to meet the[MK1]  sellers in a grocery store parking lot, but the cellphone was not as advertised. When he declined to buy it, the men assaulted the teen and tried to take money from his pocket. Police said the boy’s mother, who had parked nearby, saw what was happening, drew her firearm, and fired at the men—who promptly got into their vehicle and fled.
  • June 27, Louisville, Kentucky: When a man opened fire on a crowd protesting the police shooting of Breonna Taylor in her apartment, armed bystanders fired back, wounding the shooter. Eventually, several protesters were able to hold the shooter at gunpoint and convince him to drop his weapon. Police said the shooter had been arrested twice in previous weeks on riot-related charges. Earlier that day, other protesters had asked the man to leave because of his “disruptive behavior.”
  • June 29, North Freedom, Wisconsin: Parents shot their adult son in self-defense after he fired rounds at their home and broke in during the early morning hours.  Police said the parents called 911 to report that someone was shooting at their bedroom windows. They attempted to retreat to the basement when their son entered the home, but ultimately shot and wounded him. Police charged the son with attempted murder and other felonies. He already was facing charges for other violent offenses.

Sometimes, lawful gun owners get it wrong and end up in the national news for using their guns irresponsibly. But more often, they get it right and few of us hear about it.

Many of us don’t hear about mothers defending their sons, or good Samaritans coming to the rescue of innocent neighbors.

Many of us don’t hear about the protesters whose Second Amendment rights saved the lives of those exercising their First Amendment rights.

Many of us don’t hear about the countless others whose lives and livelihoods were protected because of lawfully owned firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens.

As the silence from the Supreme Court reaches deafening levels, we promise to keep telling these stories and highlighting the importance of protecting the right to keep and bear arms.

COMMENTARY BY

Amy Swearer is a senior legal policy analyst at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Natural Law of Self-Defense

Man’s right of self-defense did not begin with the adoption of the Second Amendment. It has nothing to do with guns or with the U.S. Constitution. In fact, it has no connection whatsoever to any man-made law or technology. Self-defense by any means is a natural human right that each person enjoys by virtue of his or her humanity. It is the right which guarantees all others.

One of the most provocative statements ever made on how comprehensive our individual right of self-defense is was made by the famed English philosopher John Locke in his Second Treatise on Government. Locke, whose political philosophy greatly influenced our American Founding Fathers, explained how the natural law works and why the individual is justified in defending himself with lethal force when necessary:

“THE state of war is a state of enmity and destruction: and therefore declaring by word or action, not a passionate and hasty, but a sedate settled design upon another man’s life, puts him in a state of war with him against whom he has declared such an intention, and so has exposed his life to the other’s power to be taken away by him, or any one that joins with him in his defence, and espouses his quarrel; it being reasonable and just, I should have a right to destroy that which threatens me with destruction: for, by the fundamental law of nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred: and one may destroy a man who makes war upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his being, for the same reason that he may kill a wolf or a lion; because such men are not under the ties of the common law of reason, have no other rule, but that of force and violence, and so may be treated as beasts of prey, those dangerous and noxious creatures, that will be sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their power.

“And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power, does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life: for I have reason to conclude, that he who would get me into his power without my consent, would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for no body can desire to have me in his absolute power, unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom, i.e. make me a slave. To be free from such force is the only security of my preservation; and reason bids me look on him, as an enemy to my preservation, who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it; so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me, thereby puts himself into a state of war with me. He that, in the state of nature, would take away the freedom that belongs to any one in that state, must necessarily be supposed to have a design to take away every thing else, that freedom being the foundation of all the rest; as he that, in the state of society, would take away the freedom belonging to those of that society or commonwealth, must be supposed to design to take away from them every thing else, and so be looked on as in a state of war.

“This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any farther than, by the use of force, so to get him in his power, as to take away his money, or what he pleases, from him; because using force, where he has no right, to get me into his power, let his pretence be what it will, I have no reason to suppose, that he, who would take away my liberty, would not, when he had me in his power, take away every thing else. And therefore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me, i.e. kill him if I can; for to that hazard does he justly expose himself, whoever introduces a state of war, and is aggressor in it.

“. . . force, or a declared design of force, upon the person of another, where there is no common superior on earth to appeal to for relief, is the state of war: and it is the want of such an appeal gives a man the right of war even against an aggressor, tho’ he be in society and a fellow subject. Thus a thief, whom I cannot harm, but by appeal to the law, for having stolen all that I am worth, I may kill, when he sets on me to rob me but of my horse or coat; because the law, which was made for my preservation, where it cannot interpose to secure my life from present force, which, if lost, is capable of no reparation, permits me my own defence, and the right of war, a liberty to kill the aggressor, because the aggressor allows not time to appeal to our common judge, nor the decision of the law, for remedy in a case where the mischief may be irreparable. Want of a common judge with authority, puts all men in a state of nature: force without right, upon a man’s person, makes a state of war, both where there is, and is not, a common judge” (Locke, Second Treatise on Government, Chapter 3, Sections 17-19).

Elsewhere in his Treatise, Locke explained:

“In transgressing the law of nature, the offender declares himself to live by another rule than that of reason and common equity, which is that measure God has set to the actions of men, for their mutual security; and so he becomes dangerous to mankind, the tye, which is to secure them from injury and violence, being slighted and broken by him. Which being a trespass against the whole species, and the peace and safety of it, provided for by the law of nature, every man upon this score, by the right he hath to preserve mankind in general, may restrain, or where it is necessary, destroy things noxious to them, and so may bring such evil on any one, who hath transgressed that law, as may make him repent the doing of it, and thereby deter him, and by his example others, from doing the like mischief. And in the case, and upon this ground, MAN HATH A RIGHT TO PUNISH THE OFFENDER, AND BE EXECUTIONER OF THE LAW OF NATURE. . . .

“From these two distinct rights, the one of punishing the crime for restraint, and preventing the like offence, which right of punishing is in every body; the other of taking reparation, which belongs only to the injured party, comes it to pass that the magistrate, who by being magistrate hath the common right of punishing put into his hands, can often, where the public good demands not the execution of the law, remit the punishment of criminal offences by his own authority, but yet cannot remit the satisfaction due to any private man for the damage he has received. That, he who has suffered the damage has a right to demand in his own name, and he alone can remit: the damnified person has this power of appropriating to himself the goods or service of the offender, by right of self preservation, as every man has a power to punish the crime, to prevent its being committed again, by the right he has of preserving all mankind, and doing all reasonable things he can in order to that end: and thus it is, that every man, in the state of nature, has a power to kill a murderer, both to deter others from doing the like injury, which no reparation can compensate, by the example of the punishment that attends it from every body, and also to secure men from the attempts of a criminal, who having renounced reason, the common rule and measure God hath given to mankind, hath, by the unjust violence and slaughter he hath committed upon one, declared war against all mankind, and therefore may be destroyed as a lion or a tyger, one of those wild savage beasts, with whom men can have no society nor security: and upon this is grounded that great law of nature, Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed” (Locke, Second Treatise, Chapter 2, Sections 8 and 11).

Finally, Locke observed:

“Man being born, as has been proved, with a title to perfect freedom, and an uncontrouled enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of the law of nature, equally with any other man, or number of men in the world, hath by nature a power, not only to preserve his property, that is, his life, liberty and estate, against the injuries and attempts of other men; but to judge of, and punish the breaches of that law in others, as he is persuaded the offence deserves, even with death itself, in crimes where the heinousness of the fact, in his opinion, requires it” (Locke, Treatise, Chapter 7, Section 87).

Let’s recapitulate a few of the things we’ve learned from Mr. Locke. Locke explained that there exists a “fundamental law of nature” which gives the individual a right to “destroy that which threatens” him. When someone cuts the common ties, or laws, that bind a society together and protect its members, he becomes “noxious” and dangerous to the society. In fact, he enters into a “state of war” against those whose rights – whether their life, Liberty, and property – are threatened. Inasmuch as a person behaves like a “savage beast” and endangers those around him, he may be put down like a mad dog. This is not only common sense, but a right we each enjoy in the “state of nature.”

Some may argue, however, that we do not live in a “state of nature.” We can all admit that this is accurate. We live in a well-ordered society with laws, a police force, judges, systems of justice, mechanisms to redress grievances, and so forth. However, to deny our individual right of self-defense merely because we live in a society tramples on the very idea of natural rights and the most basic conception of Freedom.

Samuel Adams explained that we always retain our rights regardless of whether we enter into civil society. A person, if he chooses, may exist society at any time. When he does, he takes all his rights with him. We cannot, according to Mr. Adams, renounce our rights because they are endowments from Almighty God. He explained:

“All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another.

“When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent. . . .

“The natural liberty of man, by entering into society, is abridged or restrained, so far only as is necessary for the great end of society, the best good of the whole.

“In the state of nature every man is, under God, judge and sole judge of his own rights and of the injuries done him. By entering into society he agrees to an arbiter or indifferent judge between him and his neighbors; but he no more renounces his original right than by taking a cause out of the ordinary course of law, and leaving the decision to referees or indifferent arbitrators. . . .

“The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule. . . .

“In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave” (Samuel Adams, “The Rights of the Colonists,” November 20, 1772).

Please note that Adams said people do not “renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights” when they agree to live in society with others. These prerogatives – to enjoy one’s natural rights and to defend them – always remain with the individual. It is “the greatest absurdity” to say we do not have a right to defend and preserve our other essential rights.

We allow police and others to defend us because, on paper, this system operates more efficiently. However, law enforcement personnel have no inherent right to police our neighborhoods. They have no intrinsic power to stop criminals just as courts have no inborn authority to punish criminals. Every power and authority a police officer posses comes directly from you, the individual. And this authority is merely on loan and can be reclaimed at any time – such as when no police are present or when public servants abuse the authority you have loaned them. The same is true with any and all powers claimed by government. They belong, of right, to individuals first and foremost.

Furthermore, there are many times in society when the individual does not have immediate access to society’s collective means of self-defense – whether law enforcement, the courts, or the nation’s armies – yet must immediately address a threat to his life, Liberty, or property. Such instances may include a woman walking down the road who needs to defend herself from sexual assault, a man defending his family from a home invader during the middle of the night, a store owner protecting his property and livelihood from arsonists or vandals, a person being carjacked by a criminal while driving to work, or a church-goer who suddenly find himself faced with a maniac attempting to shoot up his congregation. In these and myriad other scenarios, there is no possible way to reach out to society for help; there is no time to wait for the police to arrive, for the sheriff to investigate the matter, or for a jury to deliberate.

All of these instances share at least one thing in common; namely, that the victim’s rights are being violated. In the case of the woman, someone is trying to violate her body and free will or, in other words, her Liberty. In the case of the store owner, someone is trying to destroy his property. In the case of the church-goer, his and other innocent people’s right to life is threatened. In the case of the man defending his family or the person being carjacked, he doesn’t know the intention of the perpetrator is – kidnapping, murder, robbery, rape, etc., – and must act as if any of these is a distinct possibility.

Consider what John Locke said in the quote above: “He that, in the state of nature, would take away the freedom that belongs to any one . . . must necessarily be supposed to have a design to take away every thing else, that freedom being the foundation of all the rest.” We don’t know the intention of someone who is attacking, robbing, or otherwise assaulting us. All we know for certain is that a person is trampling our precious rights and clearly has no respect for us, the law, or morality.

A person who would violate any of your cherished rights automatically shows that he holds all your other rights in contempt. Such a person, theoretically, is capable of any thing – including taking your life. Since you do not know his intention, but simply know that he is willing to violate your rights, you must treat him as an existential threat to all of your Liberties. Remember, Locke explained:

“This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any farther than, by the use of force, so to get him in his power, as to take away his money, or what he pleases, from him; because using force, where he has no right, to get me into his power, let his pretence be what it will, I have no reason to suppose, that he, who would take away my liberty, would not, when he had me in his power, take away every thing else. And therefore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me, i.e. kill him if I can.”

It is lawful, according to the law of nature, to kill one who attempts to violate your right to life, Liberty, or property. This is the most basic and fundamental principle in the book of Liberty. “In the state of nature every man is, under God, judge and sole judge of his own rights and of the injuries done him,” as Samuel Adams said. When a state of war and hostility is commenced against you by an assailant whose intentions are unknown, you become the “judge and sole judge” of your rights and have a just right to defend yourself, your life, your Freedom, your family, your dignity as a human being, and your property. I would even argue that you have a duty to defend your rights since they are gifts from Almighty God.

Self-defense is not a new concept – wherever there is Liberty, there exists the right to defend it and those who enjoy it. Self-defense is an eternal law recognized by enlightened people in all ages.. Anciently, the Roman statesman Cicero explained:

“[T]here exists a law, not written down anywhere but inborn in our hearts; a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading but by derivation and absorption and adoption from nature itself; a law which has come to us not from theory but from practice, not by instruction but by natural intuition. I refer to the law which lays it down that, if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right. When weapons reduce them to silence, the laws no longer expect one to await their pronouncements. For people who decide to wait for these will have to wait for justice, too – and meanwhile they must suffer injustice first. Indeed, even the wisdom of the law itself, by a sort of tacit implication, permits self-defense, because it does not actually forbid men to kill; what it does, instead, is to forbid the bearing of a weapon with the intention to kill. When, therefore, an inquiry passes beyond the mere question of the weapon and starts to consider the motive, a man who has used arms in self-defence is not regarded as having carried them with a homicidal aim” (Stephen P. Halbrook, That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right, 13).

I repeat: Self-defense is part of the “natural law.” The natural law written in our hearts by the finger of God permits us to defend ourselves against “plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies.” Literally “every method” and means to defend ourselves when endangered is “morally right.” Not only is it morally correct to defend ourselves, our lives, and our property, but the Declaration of Independence and Constitution both support the idea and enshrine it in the regal robes of legality.

Let’s leave behind the realm of the hypothetical and discuss a real example. Two nights ago, in Hunter, Oklahoma, a man shot a woman who entered his property at 3 A.M. and attempted to steal a flag. The flag was the National Socialist flag bearing the swastika. Whether or not you think he should have been flying the flag is not on trial here. What is being discussed, however, is the actual situation – that is, an individual trespassing on someone’s property at 3 A.M., attempting a robbery, and being shot in the process of fleeing with stolen property.

Since the incident, the local “authorities” have confiscated the man’s fourteen firearms and have charged him with “shooting with the intent to kill and assault and battery with a deadly weapon.” They are holding him without bail despite the fact that he was compliant with police and has never caused any trouble. One anonymous individual, in fact, said the man was very nice and would mow neighbors’ lawns and smile and wave. In spite of all this, he is being treated as a murderer.

The woman, by the way, survived the incident and is being treated for her wounds. Amazingly, the district attorney has not yet decided whether to charge her with a crime despite the fact that no one denies she was trying to steal property from the man’s home! I doubt whether the criminals who previously stole the man’s flag’s were charged with theft or trespassing either.

If I was on the jury that will try this case, given the information we know at this point, my conscience would not allow me to convict the man of anything. I’m quite sure John Locke would also vote “not guilty.” It was he, after all, who said, that it is “lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life.” How can we refute his logic?

When you examine stories like this one from Oklahoma, don’t fall into the trap of asking whether the man should have fired his weapon. That’s not the point. That’s irrelevant, in fact. That is between him and his God. What you need to decide, rather, is whether or not the man had a right to defend himself and his property with force.

I contend that each of us has a natural right of self-defense which no earthly force, no government, no majority, no law, can ever erase. I hold it as sacrosanct that the laws of nature give me, the individual, a right to protect my life, my Liberty, and my property – and those of my family and innocent people – with lethal force whenever and wherever necessary. I further affirm that the benefit of the doubt should always be given to the victim of an illicit act, not to the criminal who was fortunately thwarted in his or her attempt to violate the victim’s sacred rights.

You may not care about swastika flags, but you should care very much about property rights. You may not agree with the personal viewpoints of the shooter in this case, but you should care about whether his right to defend his home and possessions is held inviolate. You may have sympathy for the woman who was shot, but you should never let your judgment become so clouded with emotion that you can’t label her a thief and a criminal. You will rarely go astray in your judgment if you always keep in mind the importance of our natural rights and our paramount right of self-defense. Self-defense, even when it means ending the life of an offender, is part of the “perfect freedom” with which man is born.

©Zack Strong 2020. All rights reserved.

Gun Sales In 2020 Are Absolutely Crushing Records

2020 keeps seeing gun sale records beaten month after month, with an all-time high 3.9 million NICS firearm background checks being conducted in June alone, according to FBI statistics.

So far in 2020, three months have sported over 3 million NICS background checks, more than any previous month since the FBI began recording the statistics 22 years ago in 1998. March saw 3.7 million checks, May say 3.1 million, and June 3.9 million.

The sales come amid massive unrest across the country incited by the death of George Floyd at the hands of former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin.

June saw the rise and fall of the so-called ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’ in Seattle (CHAZ), in which protesters took over a six-block area in the downtown area that police were forced to abandon. Several news outlets reported that CHAZ had a peaceful atmosphere, but residents said otherwise, with violence frequently breaking out after sunset.

Conservative Pundit Meghan McCain argued the spike in gun sales was thanks to the violent riots coupled with protesters calling for the end of police.

COLUMN BY

ANDERS HAGSTROM

White House correspondent.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Politifact Determined to Get It Wrong on Joe Biden and Gun Confiscation

Another week, another dubious “fact-check” from the professional propagandists at Politifact. This time the Poynter Institute project labeled a claim that Joe Biden has admitted to supporting gun confiscation as “Pants on Fire,” their most extreme rating for a supposed falsehood. In their herculean effort to obscure Biden’s support for gun confiscation, the media outlet went out of its way to avoid discussion of the overwhelming evidence of the presidential candidate’s intent to take guns.

Politifact took issue with an article from Conservative-Daily titled, “Watch: Biden Looks Into The Camera And Promises To Take Away Americans’ Guns​.” As evidence, the Conservative-Daily article cited a viral video of Joe Biden and Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, eating at Texas hamburger chain Whataburger. During the video, Biden states “This guy changed the face of what we’re dealing with regarding guns, assault weapons… and I just want to warn [Beto’s wife] that if I win I’m coming for him.”

By narrowly focusing on only Biden’s statement at the Whataburger, while avoiding all context, Politifact came to the conclusion that Biden was only expressing his intent to have O’Rourke be part of his administration and that the video did not show evidence of the former vice president’s desire to ban guns.

When looking at the totality of Biden’s comments on confiscation, this view is untenable.

Just prior to the Whataburger outing, Biden shared the stage with Beto at a campaign rally where the failed U.S. senate and presidential candidate endorsed him for president. Biden told those gathered, “I want to make something clear. I’m going to guarantee you this is not the last you’ll see of this guy.” Biden went on say, “You’re going to take care of the gun problem with me. You’re going to be the one who leads this effort. I’m counting on ya.”

By offering Beto a role on guns in a potential future administration, Biden made clear that he supports Beto’s gun control position. That position is gun confiscation.

During the September 12, 2019 Democratic debate, Beto was asked about his proposal to confiscate commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms. Beto responded in part by saying, “hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.” The Beto campaign would go on to sell t-shirts with the anti-gun slogan.​

Less than a week later, Beto reiterated his call for gun confiscation on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time. During an interview, Chris Cuomo asked Beto, “All right, so let’s state the proposition. Are you, in fact, in favor of gun confiscation?” Beto responded with “Yes.”

There can be no doubt that Biden understands Beto would confiscate firearms, as he shared the debate stage with him on September 12.

However, it is not necessary to deduce that Biden supports gun confiscation from his support for Beto’s attacks on firearms rights. Biden has stated that he intends to take firearms.

Biden had the following exchange with CNN’s Anderson Cooper when asked about firearm confiscation during an August 5, 2019 interview.

Cooper: So, to gun owners out there who say well a Biden administration means they are going to come for my guns.

Biden: Bingo! You’re right if you have an assault weapon. 

It is revealing that the purported “factcheckers” at Politifact did not make a full accounting of the facts concerning Biden and gun confiscation. Biden and Beto’s statements on gun confiscation are public and have been made widely available by those who support the Second Amendment. Such actions by Politifact suggest a determined ignorance calculated to protect a favored political candidate.

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EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

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.

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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.