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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.


Two regimes are fighting an ideological war in America today. But what side are you on? And how can you sharpen up on how to defend your position? Learn more now >>


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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These are trying times in our nation’s history. Two regimes are fighting an ideological war in America today, with polar opposite viewpoints on public policy and the government’s role in our lives.

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When you get access to this course today, you’ll learn key takeaways like what it means to be a conservative, what “modern progressivism” is, how a conservative worldview differs from a progressive one, and much, much more.

You will come away from this online course with a better understanding of the differing points of view, how they align with your principles, and how to defend your beliefs.

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

Libertarian VP Candidate William F. Weld Continues to be Anti-Gun

As governor of Massachusetts, William Weld supported various gun control schemes, including a ban on semi-automatic firearms.  Unfortunately, and despite being the Libertarian candidate for vice president, Weld continues his anti-gun ways.

In July 2016, while NRA and other groups concerned with civil liberties were hard at work fighting legislation that would have stripped Americans of their Second Amendment rights without due process based merely on their placement on a secret government watch list, Weld expressed support for such measures.

In an interview with the Washington Post Editorial Board, Weld said of watch list gun control legislation:

I think the Susan Collins stuff looks good. I mean, it’s hard for me, uh, having proposed this super-duper task force getting bits of information from all over to say, it wouldn’t lie with good grace in my mouth to say ‘no, don’t use the terrorist watch list as a source of such information.’ So I would go with that.

In an August interview with Revolt.tv, Weld reiterated this position. When asked about what can be done “to control this flow of guns,” Weld responded, “you shouldn’t have anybody who’s on a terrorist watch list be able to buy any gun at all.”

At another point in the interview Weld characterized commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and standard-capacity magazines as potential weapons of mass destruction. Displaying a level of ignorance usually attendant to politicians carrying the endorsement of the Brady Campaign, Weld told the interviewer:

The five-shot rifle, that’s a standard military rifle. The problem is if you attach a clip to it so it can fire more shells and if you remove the pin so that it becomes an automatic weapon. And those are independent criminal offenses. That’s when they become essentially a weapon of mass destruction.

Weld went on to suggest to the interviewer that both handguns and AR-15s are a “problem,” stating, “The problem with handguns is probably even worse than the problem of the AR-15.”

This latest episode reveals that when pressed on firearms issues, despite any assurances he has given to voters, Weld’s political instincts are to abandon gun owners and embrace gun control.

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Americans Oppose Unilateral Actions, Wary of Federal Government Gun Control

Despite a highly-publicized speech and a multi-week media blitz aimed at convincing the American people of the importance and legitimacy of President Barack Obama’s executive maneuvers on gun control, the American people remain unpersuaded. Polls show that Americans are unconvinced about the effectiveness of further gun control measures and are in opposition to Obama’s decision to work outside the traditional political process. An additional poll offers important insight in to one of the reasons the public has repeatedly rejected new federal gun controls.

A poll conducted by Investor’s Business Daily on January 4-7 asked if stricter gun control would “hinder self-defense, protecting family” or “reduce crime/keep guns out of criminals’ hands?” Only 42 percent of those surveyed responded that stricter controls would stop criminals from acquiring guns. Moreover, the poll found that more members of the public believe an increase in gun ownership would lead to an increase in safety rather than an increase in crime. The poll also found that the vast majority of Americans agree that the Second Amendment “will always be a relevant and necessary safeguard against tyranny,” including 52 percent of Democrats.

Similarly, a Rasmussen poll conducted January 6-7 revealed that Americans question the efficacy of Obama’s executive actions, but it also showed the public is skeptical of the legitimacy of Obama’s decision to act unilaterally. Survey takers were asked, “Will the president’s new executive order further extending federal government oversight of gun sales reduce the number of mass shootings in America?” A mere 21 percent believed that measure would be effective, while 59 percent answered that it would not. Further, indicating that at least half of Americans didn’t sleep through grade school civics, when asked, “When it comes to gun control, should President Obama take action alone if Congress does not approve the initiatives he has proposed or should the government do only what the president and Congress agree on?” a majority of 58 percent answered that the president must work with Congress.

Part of the reason the Americans lack an appetite for gun control is revealed in another Rasmussen poll conducted January 10-11. The survey asked, “Do you trust the government to fairly enforce gun control laws?” A staggering 59 percent of those polled do not trust the government to enforce gun control laws fairly. A mere 28 percent trust the government with this task, while 13 percent were undecided.

These results are in line with broader measures of trust in the federal government. Since the 1970s, Gallup has routinely conducted a poll asking “how much trust and confidence do you have in our federal government in Washington when it comes to handling [domestic problems] – a great deal, a fair amount, not very much, or none at all?” Under Obama, the federal government has breached Watergate-era lows in trust.

With a severe distrust of the government’s ability to fairly carry out gun control policies, the widely-opposed decision by Obama to go it alone on guns is unlikely to bring about the sort of togetherness across the political spectrum that Obama purports to seek. Those currently running for the Presidency that hope to reverse the climate of distrust with Washington might do well to exhibit trust in the American people to exercise their right to keep and bear arms and their ability to make decisions through their elected representatives.

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In this News Minute from the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, Jennifer Zahrn reports that, with his latest executive actions on gun control, President Obama has once again chosen to engage in political grandstanding instead of offering meaningful solutions to our nation’s pressing problems.

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In this News Minute video from the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, Jennifer Zahrn reports that a Rasmussen poll released this week found that 61 percent of Americans agree that the NRA’s position on gun rights protect them.

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VIDEO: How to Stop Violent Crime

In a strongly worded five-minute video, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre is calling on Barack Obama and other politicians to help stop violent crime by focusing on prosecuting violent criminals—not further restricting law-abiding gun owners.

“We’ve lived through the Clinton administration’s utter lack of federal gun prosecutions, and the Obama administration is following suit, while the country suffers,” LaPierre said. “And we know that a second Clinton administration will just mean more of the same.”

LaPierre added that gun-banners—whether politicians or media—won’t silence the men and women of the NRA.

“No organization has been louder, clearer or more consistent on the urgent need to enforce the federal gun laws than the NRA,” he said. “And in the face of mounting political and media pressure to demean, shame and silence us … we will fight.”

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ACTION ALERT: Verizon Drops NRA Outdoor and Sportsman Channels

Act Now and Demand Access to the Best in Outdoor Television!

Verizon Fios has dropped Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel – television networks geared to tell compelling outdoor lifestyle stories and strong advocates for all areas of the shooting lifestyle. The networks are home to many of the NRA programs including Friend of the NRA, NRA All Access and Life of Duty.

By their actions, Verizon is marginalizing a segment of society – 130 million strong, loyal and passionate purveyors of the outdoor lifestyle including the millions of NRA members – because they don’t live, breath and work in the same space that we do. Their actions send a clear and dangerous message to our segment of society, as well as other segments of society that differ in the way they view life and live within those views.

The message is clear: If you differ in opinion about certain issues and lifestyle choices, Verizon doesn’t want your business. Would Verizon feel the same way if outdoor lifestyle and shooting enthusiasts decided to take similar actions against the company’s phone and internet services?

We’re calling on all NRA members to contact Verizon and DEMAND Verizon return Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel to their television line-up.  If you are a Verizon customer, you can also send a strong message to Verizon by choosing another provider of phone, internet, wireless or television service.

Go to www.KeepMyOutdoorTV.com or call 800-710-1922 to find out all the details and let your voice be heard.

The Evil of Gun-free Zones

One thing worse than supporting bad policy is knowingly supporting bad policy.

Worse still is knowingly supporting bad policy and shielding yourself from its destructive effects — while visiting that policy on children.

There has been much debate recently surrounding so-called “gun-free zones,” places such as schools, where law-abiding people won’t carry guns. But really there should be no debate. This is because it’s plain that even the zones’ defenders — liberals — don’t really believe they’re a good idea.

For evidence, consider a largely forgotten video made in 2013 by Project Veritas (PJ) after The Journal News in Westchester, N.Y., printed the names and addresses of registered handgun owners in its coverage area.

Posing as “Citizens Against Senseless Violence,” PJ operatives visited the homes of Eric Holder and various liberal journalists to ask them if they’d “support the cause” and post on their lawns a sign stating “THIS HOME IS PROUDLY GUN FREE.”

Not one accepted.

At the home of The Journal News’ Greg Shillinglaw they were told, “In this neighborhood that nobody puts out stuff like that” (except maybe at the schools?). The person at the Shillinglaw home concluded with, “I do believe in it, but I think I’ll pass on it.”

Translation: he believes in it for others.

Next was the Journal’s Mike Meaney. A woman answered the door and tersely said “I’m sorry, I can’t help, but good luck. …I have other reasons [for refusal] I can’t get into right now.” But, hey, they just needed to speak to ol’ Mike personally — I’m sure he’d snatch one of those signs up quicker than Hillary Clinton changes personalities.

The next one, the Star Ledger’s Bob Braun, offered tremendous support. Without missing a beat he said, “I agree with you and I am on your side on this, but I’m just wondering if that’s not an invitation to somebody with a gun!” as he emitted a chuckle. His wife chimed in, “I agree with you, but I’m not sure about the sign.” Braun then said moments later, “The problem in this town is, you know, somebody driving around here might think it’s a — seriously — might think it’s an invitation to come barging in.” But Braun did offer this consolation: “Well, if the sign said “Citizens Against Senseless Violence” without “THIS HOME IS PROUDLY GUN FREE,” I would put the sign up.”

Because a Gun-free-zone is a bad idea.

Except at schools.

Because the people who might drive around and barge into Braun’s house in Elizabeth, N.J., could never drive around and barge into schools in Elizabeth, N.J.

Or maybe it’s that children in Elizabeth, N.J., are bulletproof?

Now, it apparently took Braun — smart liberal that he is — all of two and a half seconds to figure out that putting a gun-free-zone sign on his lawn is a bad idea. Logically translated, it amounts to advertising, “We’re defenseless.” Yet he presumably supports them “in principle”; after all, he didn’t say, “Look, I support gun control, but not these zones.” So what’s the story here? Was this the first time he pondered the matter for two and a half seconds? When advocating policy, did he only consider it for 4/10ths of a second?

Clearly, these liberals either never thought their policies through or just couldn’t care less as long as their laws only hurt others. So take your pick: gross negligence or callous disregard.

Delving a bit deeper, we’re witnessing a typical leftist phenomenon: style over substance, image over reality. These liberals want to be seen as “good” people in their milieu; they want to appear enlightened in their echo chamber of effeteness. And achieving this has nothing to do with action. All their fellow travelers, that caponhood of hypocrisy, are as two-faced as they are. It’s all about what you say — all about posturing.

It’s reminiscent of some NYC liberals — in a gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood fittingly called “Dumbo” — up in arms because “diversity” has come home: they’ve learned that their kids may be forced to attend school with poor minorities. One Dumbo parent actually said, “It’s more complicated when it’s about your own children.” Yes.

And it’s more complicated when it’s about your own lawn.

Except that it really isn’t. It just seems so when it’s the first time in your life the realities of your ideology are brought home to you. Much like the youngster I once heard wonder why problems of poverty couldn’t be solved by just making more money, things can seem very simple to a child; they can also seem simple to a childish person, someone content to operate on emotion like a child or too self-centered — like a very young child — to consider how his actions, attitudes and advocacy affect others. This is the way of the overgrown juvenile masquerading as an adult that we euphemistically call a liberal.

But here’s the reality. Saying the politically correct thing — such as supporting gun-free-zone policies for schools — when you wouldn’t apply the same to your own home because you realize it’s a dangerous idea, doesn’t at all make you a good person. It makes you scum.

You’re willing to imperil American children nationwide just so you can strut around, puff up your chicken-chest and say “Look at me! I have the correct ideology!”

Don’t misunderstand me. Eliminating gun-free zones is no panacea. No doubt, maniacal mass murderers who target schools are to a degree motivated by the copycat factor and the maximized media attention attacking schools brings. Yet schools’ being gun-free zones does make them more attractive targets. And, no, it’s not necessarily because the perpetrators don’t have to fear harm, especially since these individuals often accept that their crime will be a suicide mission. But think about it: if your goal is to massacre a large number of people and go out in a blaze of notoriety, you want to ensure you won’t be stopped before your deed is done. Gun-free zones virtually guarantee this.

As for the “gun-free-zone for thee but not for me” liberals, I’m firmly convinced that some (not all, of course), on some level, aren’t all that troubled by school shootings. After all, it provides a great opportunity to beat the gun-control drum for people to whom “the cause” is everything. I mean, if you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs. And what does it matter as long as the egg isn’t the egghead in the mirror, right?

Of course, there’s generally no such thing as being truly insulated from the consequences of your bad decisions. You know those gun-free-zone signs you think are such a bad idea that you wouldn’t put them in front of the home in which your child lives?

They could be in front of the school in which your child studies.

I’m talking about those signs that mean “We’re defenseless. Commit your massacre here. You’ll get 9 or 10 before the guys with guns arrive and stop you.”

Not that this will change many liberal’s hearts (forget the minds). The chances of a given liberal’s only child being killed in a school massacre are extremely slim. But the chances of getting that proud, self-satisfied, warm and fuzzy feeling from mouthing the right position and being accepted by the right people are 100 percent.

But if it does happen, perhaps you can console yourself with the knowledge that you took one for the cause, can rage in the media and maybe even appear in front of Congress. I just wonder, will you think it was all worth it?

As for legislation creating gun-free zones, I’m game. Really. But with one condition written in: any politician voting for the bill must put a “Gun Free Zone” zone sign in front of his home. After all, Mr. Compassionate Liberal, if it’s good enough for America’s children, it’s good enough for you.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

Israeli Minister: “Citizens trained to use weapons are a multiplying force in our battle against terrorism”

Recent reports out of Israel show that that Israeli civilians aren’t taking a recent spate of terrorist violence lying down, they are arming themselves to fight back. Further, the Israeli government is cooperating by taking measures to ensure that more citizens will have access to the tools necessary to protect themselves and their communities.

In recent weeks, Israel has experienced a wave of attacks, primarily stabbings, carried out by individual Palestinians against Israeli civilians. According to the Washington Post, as of Wednesday, eight Israelis had been killed and dozens injured in this latest round of violence.

The Israeli government has taken drastic measures to combat the attacks, calling up reservists and deploying troops in cities. However, with the unpredictable nature of the violence, civilians are turning to private gun ownership for safety.

In describing the clamor for arms, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported “[c]ars are double- and even triple-parked outside a gun shop in Israel’s coastal city of Tel Aviv. Inside, customers jostle each other as they wait to be served.” The report goes on to quote store owner Iftash Ben-Yehuda, who said, “[t]he last time the shop was so busy was probably in the 1970s. I’ve never before seen such stress or panic.” The article also notes that applications for firearms licenses have risen “by tens of percent” in only 10 days.

Some seeking arms recognize that the effects of carrying go well beyond their own personal safety. Jerusalem resident Netanel Oberman told Bloomberg News, “I want a gun not so much because I’m worried for my own safety, but because I’ll be better prepared to protect other people from attack.”

Israel Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan seems to agree with this assessment. In a statement Wednesday, Erdan noted, “[i]n recent weeks, many citizens have helped the Israel Police subdue terrorists. Citizens trained to use weapons are a multiplying force in our battle against terrorism. Therefore, I have worked to ease conditions for obtaining firearms.”

Further, on Wednesday, the Ministry of Public Security issued relaxed guidelines on who is eligible for a firearm license. The move makes it easier for those on active or reserve military duty to acquire a license, as well as civilians who have completed a requisite security guard course.

Israel typically has very stringent firearm licensing requirements that have gotten progressively stricter over the course of the last two decades. However, just last year, government officials were forced to ease restrictions on carrying firearms following a brutal terrorist attack that resulted in the murder of four Orthodox Jewish men in a West Jerusalem Temple.

Unfortunately, as the Bloomberg News article makes clear, some law-abiding civilians are unable to get a firearms license even with the relaxed rules. Segev Gorbitz of Jerusalem told the outlet, “[i]t’s not right… I want a gun to defend myself and my family, and if you’re an Israeli like me who served in the army and have no criminal record, you should be able to get one.”

Remarkably, even given the present dire situation, Israel’s anti-gun activists are still out in force. The AFP article quoted a leader of an Israeli anti-gun coalition called Gun Free Kitchen Tables, who told the outlet, “[i]n the long run it is obvious that more weapons creates more danger, not more security but the opposite… Encouraging civilians to use firearms on the street could lead to very unfortunate results.” Similarly, according to Bloomberg, Galia Wallach of NA’AMAT, which holds anti-gun positions, protested her countrymen’s increased access to the tools of self-defense, telling a radio program, “I’m very concerned that easing licenses for guns might escalate violence.”

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Summer 2015: New Record for Gun Sales?

Data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) indicate that firearm acquisitions set a new record during June, July and August, and are on track to finish the year higher than any year except 2013, when firearm acquisitions soared in reaction to President Obama’s push for gun control.

There were more than 2.6 million firearm acquisition-related checks during June through August 2015, a figure 100,000 higher than was achieved during the 2013 surge, and well above the figures for any other year since NICS’ inception in November 1998.

For the first eight months of 2015, January through August, the number of firearm acquisition-related checks was the second highest on record, at 7.7 million, well behind the 9.3 million tallied during the 2013 surge, but running 365,000 ahead of the number achieved last year.

In addition to checks conducted on customers at gun stores and FFL customers in other venues, other NICS checks are conducted for purposes of obtaining firearm purchase permits or carry permits, the latter of which in some states exempt the holders from redundant NICS checks when acquiring firearms.

NICS check numbers are not a precise measure of the number of firearms acquired, of course. They indicate only the number of checks conducted. However, viewed over time, they indicate that gun control supporters are off-base in claiming that firearm ownership is on the decline. To the contrary, the long-term trend in firearm ownership is indisputably on the rise.

Gun owners should never allow the anti-gun media to diminish their hope or expectations that our fundamental rights will be fought for and protected.  Our numbers are growing and our resolve is unquestionable — the misinformation of Michael Bloomberg, Barak Obama and the mainstream media notwithstanding.

Florida Campus Carry: An Interview with Rep. Greg Steube

Reporter Lee Williams with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune conducted a special TV interview with Rep. Greg Steube on the campus carry issue and the bill (HB-4001) he has re-filed for the 2016 Florida Legislative Session.  The interview link accompanies his blog article.

Excerpt from blog article: 

“During the last legislative session, Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda broke ranks and supported the campus carry bill. The Tallahassee Democrat gave moving testimony about how she used a pistol to stop an assault while she was a college student.”

“Asked if Steube’s bill represents a choice between campus carry and campus rape, Hammer said, ‘I would not argue with that.’

“As a mother who raised three daughters, and as a grandmother raising a granddaughter now in college, I would certainly not argue with that,’ Hammer said. And I would suggest to you, that Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda would not argue with that either.”  

Click Here to watch the TV Interview.


CAMPUS CARRY COMMENTS by Lee Williams

Few bills have been subjected to more myths and misconceptions than Rep. Greg Steube’s campus-carry legislation, which he recently re-introduced.

Opponents act as though the three-term state rep will be handing out Glocks during freshman orientation.

Mike Young and I invited the Sarasota Republican to a special edition of The Gun Writer TV, to explain his reasons for the legislation — his legislative intent.

For Steube, it’s about making sure that concealed-carry licensees are not stripped of their right to self defense, and removing another gun-free zone, which are magnets for trouble.

While his bill has garnered some opposition, it’s received even stronger support.

Marion Hammer, executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and a past president of the National Rifle Association, strongly supports the campus-carry legislation.

“A gun-free Campus creates a Sanctuary campus and safe haven for rapists and criminals. Don’t you think it’s odd for the League of Women Voters to engage in this anti-women, anti-self-defense movement?” Hammer said.

“Not only are opponents of license holders having guns on campus engaging in a war against the Second Amendment and self-defense, they are engaging in a war against women who need to be able to defend themselves against rape and physical violence on a college campus.

“Women should not be required to surrender their constitutional right of self-defense and they clearly should not left defenseless against a rapist.

“Those who oppose self-defense by women don’t have the facts on their side. When they can’t back up their political views with facts and reality, they resort to emotional rhetoric and predictions of doom,” Hammer said.

The Florida League of Women Voters has said they plan to oppose the bill, again. The League has a history of anti-gun activism, which began in 1990 with “support of banning assault weapons, requiring all dealers to run criminal background checks at gun shows, and opposing laws that grant special protection for the gun industry.

”The League’s activism continues to this day. Last week, Chuck O’Neal, the League’s First Vice-President, filed suit to stop the statewide bear hunt. The League also opposed the removal of the ban on using suppressors for hunting in Florida.

When the ban was lifted, they filed suit against the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and lost. They also opposed campus carry during the last legislative session.

Bloomberg proxy group Everytown for Gun Safety has also voiced their opposition to Campus Carry in Florida last month.

During the last legislative session, Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda broke ranks and supported the campus carry bill. The Tallahassee Democrat gave moving testimony about how she used a pistol to stop an assault while she was a college student.

Asked if Steube’s bill represents a choice between campus carry and campus rape, Hammer said, “I would not argue with that.”

“As a mother who raised three daughters, and as a grandmother raising a granddaughter now in college, I would certainly not argue with that,” Hammer said. “And I would suggest to you, that Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda would not argue with that either.”

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Response to Tallahassee Democrat Op-ed on ‘Docs v. Glocks’ by Marion P. Hammer

Below is Marion P. Hammer’s response in the Tallahassee Democrat to anti-gun editorials attacking the courts on the “Docs v. Glocks” issue.

It’s not about the First Amendment

By Marion P. Hammer,

My View 4:57 p.m. EDT August 4, 2015

The column “Free Speech does not threaten gun ownership” (Aug. 3) by Howard L. Simon of the ACLU is a smokescreen.

Twice now federal judges have ruled that the so-called “Docs & Glocks” law does not violate First Amendment free speech rights of doctors and medical personnel. The law stops pediatricians and other physicians from prying into our personal lives, invading our privacy and straying from issues relating to disease and medicine into questioning children or their parents about gun ownership and guns in the home.

Read, “Free speech is no threat to gun ownership,” by Howard L. Simon posted  in the Tallahassee Democrat on August 4, 2015.

In both rulings, the court made it clear that the law is an appropriate regulation of professional speech. The state has a duty to protect the rights of vulnerable patients against doctors who use their examining rooms to interrogate parents and children about gun ownership for the purpose of delivering their anti-gun political messages.

If a patient answers questions like, “Do you own a gun?” or “Do your children have access to guns in your home?” or “Did you know that having a gun in your home triples your risk of becoming a homicide victim?,” the patient is likely to be given the “Advice to parents” the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends on their website: “Never have a gun in the home. Do not purchase a gun. Remove all guns present in the home.” That is not medical care. That is politics.

That political motivation has nothing to do with the health care and medical treatment we seek for our children and for which we are paying when we enter a doctor’s office.

Read, Federal court says state can enforce ‘doc vs. glocks’ law by Gary Fineout in the Tallahassee Democrat posted on July 29, 2015.

Further, these questions are ethically wrong. Any doctor who asks them is committing a form of unethical conduct known as an “ethical boundary violation.” Any doctor who commits an ethical boundary violation can and should be disciplined. We need to be able to trust our doctors. Doctors who intentionally step over that ethical and legal boundary clearly cannot be trusted.

Other ethical boundaries don’t allow doctors to take advantage of vulnerable elderly patients and question them about property and assets they own, allow them to encourage these elderly patients to make gifts of cars, jewelry or other assets to the doctor, or make the doctor a beneficiary in a will.

Additionally, entering the answers to gun ownership questions into medical records and computer databases is a de facto form of registration of gun owners and is already prohibited by law.

Any pediatrician truly concerned about gun safety is free to hand out gun safety brochures to all parents. The First Amendment smokescreen that is being used to excuse unethical and political abuse of patients privacy rights needs to stop and doctors should stick to medical care.

ABOUT MARION P. HAMMER

Marion P. Hammer is a past president of the National Rifle Association and current executive director of Unified Sportsmen of Florida.

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Background Check Bill Seeks to Create Backdoor Gun Prohibition

Demonstrating why he’s rated an “F” by the NRA, anti-gun Representative James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Tuesday introduced a bill that would in effect vastly expand federal prohibited person categories. Worse, he is exploiting a recent tragedy and misinformation reported in the media to do so.

The bill, H.R. 3051, seeks to repeal a critical safety valve in federal law that allows for a firearm transfer to proceed three business days after a NICS check is initiated, provided “the system has not notified the [FFL] that the receipt of a firearm by [the buyer or transferee] would [violate federal law.]” This provision ensures that Americans’ rights to acquire firearms are not arbitrarily denied because of bureaucratic delays, inefficiencies, or mistakes in identity.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was designed to be just that: instant. Recognizing, however, that some determinations might require additional research to resolve authoritatively, the law states that if an immediate answer is not available, the transfer must be put on hold for three business days to give the FBI more time to research the matter.

After the three days, the FFL has the option to release the firearm to the buyer or transferee, so long as the FFL has no other reason to believe the person is prohibited from possessing it. The FBI will then continue trying to resolve the case for up to 90 days. If it turns out the recipient is determined to be prohibited, the FBI queries the dealer to see if the firearm was transferred. If so, the FBI notifies the BATFE, so appropriate action can be taken (for example, confiscation of the firearm and prosecution of the illegal possessor, if appropriate).

The safety valve provided by the three-day provision is necessary for several reasons. First, and most obviously, mistakes happen. Identities can be confused or records can be incomplete (for example, an arrest record could have been followed by dismissal of the charges or an acquittal at trial). Second, it encourages the FBI to administer the system quickly and efficiently. Third, it preserves a critical aspect of America’s constitutional system, the due process principle that the government cannot arbitrarily deprive a person of his or her rights without making its case against that person.

According the FBI’s most recent NICS operations report, 9% of FBI NICS checks in 2014 were delayed “for additional review.” The report does not go on to detail how many of those delays extended beyond three days. Nevertheless, based on the total number of NICS check the FBI ran in 2014, these delays affected some 743,102 people.

Meanwhile, the delays resulted in only 2,511 actions for firearm retrievals (or three-tenths of one percent of total delays). Thus, in over 99.6% of delayed cases, the delay was less than three days, the FBI could not substantiate the person was prohibited, or the FFL did not transfer the firearm.  That hardly seems to indicate a public safety crisis demanding congressional intervention. This is especially so, because where prohibitions are substantiated after firearms are transferred following the three day window, law enforcement authorities already have the tools to act under current law.

None of this matters to Rep. Clyburn, of course, who is hoping the recent tragedy in South Carolina will give his legislation the momentum it needs to succeed. Clyburn claimed in his press release announcing the bill that “[u]nder current law, the Charleston shooter should have been barred from purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer.” That assertion is by no means clear, with media outlets now reporting that the suspect was arrested for a misdemeanor, not a felony, as originally reported. A single misdemeanor arrest, without more, is not cause for a denial under federal law (on the other hand, if the suspect had been formally charged with a felony, he would have been federally prohibited from buying a gun).

Should Clyburn’s bill become law, people who are unjustly subjected to NICS delays for reasons beyond their control would, in effect, be prohibited from exercising their rights to obtain firearms from dealers. In essence, every extended delay would become an extra-legal firearm prohibition. The FBI could affect denials without having to substantiate them, as they must under current law. Meanwhile, determined criminals can always obtain firearms illegally to carry out their plans.

Piling on the bandwagon, as usual, is Bloomberg’s front group, Moms Demand Action, who are now demanding that large firearm retailers like Cabela’s “voluntarily” adopt the restrictions Clyburn hopes to make law. As with Clyburn, they are insisting that the Charleston suspect was a prohibited purchaser at the time he obtained his firearm, although they have no legal basis for this claim. As with Clyburn, they also believe Americans should be presumed legally ineligible to possess firearms, even where the government lacks substantiation.

All of this just goes to show what we all already know. Gun control advocates are shameless in their willingness to exploit tragedy to achieve their agenda. We urge you to contact your Congressional representative and urge him or her to oppose H.R. 3051.

EDITORS NOTE: Readers may contact your U.S. Representative at 202-224-3121 or use the “Write Your Lawmakers tool.

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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