Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sanders, O'Malley Follow Clinton with Gun Control Proposals for Campaign

Yesterday I shared news via National Review's Jim Geraghty that Hillary Clinton was unveiling gun control proposals for the campaign that included the usual so-called "universal" background checks, so-called "gun violence" restraining orders, and repealing the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.  Later in the day the Wall Street Journal reported that Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley followed suit.
Mr. Sanders, who has a mixed record on backing gun-control measures, laid out a set of proposals on Monday afternoon that have considerable support among Democrats, including Mrs. Clinton. They include requiring background checks for sales by unlicensed dealers at gun shows, banning assault-style semi-automatic weapons and providing better mental-health care.
While Clinton has tried to drive a wedge between Sanders and his supporters because of his past mixed record on Second Amendment issues, he took the opportunity to remind people he has a "D-" rating from the NRA.  Compared to O'Malley however, Sanders looks like a friend to gun owners:
Another Democrat running for president, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, has the most aggressive set of gun-control proposals. Among other ideas, he would require that every person who buys a gun get a license and be fingerprinted, and he would establish a national gun registry.

“It doesn’t matter who you support in this race—common-sense gun reform is something we should all fight for,” he said in an email to supporters on Monday.
None of the Democratic candidates have talked about how the homicide rate involving guns has dropped dramatically while the number of firearms in the hands of Americans have almost doubled:
Courtesy National Review
On top of that, it was reported by BearingArms.com yesterday that some of the survivors and the family of a victim have responded to Obama's calls for more gun control, saying such proposals would not have stopped last week's attack.

Guns are the easy target for politicians and the gun ban lobby.  No one wants to talk about the  real problem, something that is much harder to address, and that is the fact there are those who will do bad things and not care about the consequences.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Obama Urges Gun Control Advocates to be Single Issue Voters.

It has worked for pro-rights supporters so President Obama is hoping he can get gun ban advocates to do something they generally have not been known to do in the past - to vote solely on the issue of gun control. He's not quite ready to do what New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has suggested though, which is shutdown the government until Congress passes gun control.

If Congress Doesn't Act, Clinton Would Use "Executive Actions" to Enact Gun Control

Jim Geraghty noted in today's Morning Jolt that Hillary Clinton will roll out her gun control proposals for the 2016 campaign at a Town Hall today.  But nothing new is in her wish list, except she would take a page out of Obama's governance book by enacting them by "executive action" if Congress does not pass them.  Even Obama hasn't been that brazen, yet! From Geraghty:
Please Make the 2016 Election a Referendum on the Second Amendment!
But imagine how Hillary’s numbers will soar when she loudly embraces gun control!

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is set to unveil a sweeping gun-control proposal Monday that would include closing the “gun show loophole” and allowing victims of gun violence to sue firearm manufacturers.
Almost no mass shooters buy their guns at gun shows! Very few criminals buy their guns at gun shows!

In a survey of almost 100 detainees in the Cook County Jail, few said they get firearms at gun shows or through the Internet, said Harold Pollack, co-director of the crime lab. They also said they don’t normally steal guns or buy them at a licensed store. 
About 70 percent said they got their guns from family, fellow gang members or through other social connections. Only two said they bought a gun at a store. It’s unclear how many of those surveyed were felons, but they can’t hold a state firearm owner’s permit -- so they can’t legally purchase a weapon at a store.
Back to Hillary’s proposals:

Under the plan, which comes in the wake of a mass shooting at an Oregon community college that left 10 people dead last week, Clinton would tighten rules governing gun show and Internet sales using executive action “if Congress will not act,” aides said.
A runaway executive: Catch the fever! Show me where it says in the Constitution that if Congress does not pass a law, the president can enact the law through executive action? President Obama normalized ignoring the legislative branch.

She would also push to repeal a law backed by the National Rifle Association that prevents crime victims from suing gun manufacturers. And her proposal would revoke the licenses of “bad actor” dealers who knowingly supply guns to straw purchasers and traffickers.

Except knowingly selling to a straw purchaser is already a crime:

Furthermore, if a [federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL)] knew that the statements on Form 4473 were false and that a straw purchase was taking place, the FFL has also violated federal law. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d) prohibits any individual from selling a firearm to a person whom they know or have reason to know is a criminal or other prohibited buyer.
A separate fascinating fact illustrating the difference between “gun deaths” and homicides:

“Wyoming is an interesting case, because it has one of the highest firearm death rates but a homicide rate of zero.” Gun deaths can include suicide, unintentional discharges (accidents), non-homicide legal discharges (i.e. police or someone acting in self defense, so no charges are filed).

Obama Gets Two Pinocchios for Claim that ‘States with the Most Gun Laws Tend to Have the Fewest Gun Deaths

Well this didn't take long.  The Washington Post Fact Checker has taken Obama's claim that states with the most gun laws have the fewest gun deaths and found it's not as simple as Obama would have us believe:
But this is also an issue about scope. Most gun deaths — more than 60 percent in 2013 — are actually suicides. The president made his remarks in the aftermath of the tragic shooting rampage at an Oregon community college, and so it’s a judgment call as to whether counting suicides is appropriate. After all, Obama wants to thwart mass shootings by enacting universal background checks aimed at people with criminal histories.

Some might argue that it is wrong to exclude suicides from the data, as less access to guns might result in fewer suicides. The data on that is mixed. Gun-related suicides might decline, but studies have shown little connection between suicides and access to guns. A 2004 report published by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that “some gun control policies may reduce the number of gun suicides, but they have not yet been shown to reduce the overall risk of suicide in any population.”

Japan, for instance, has among the world’s most-restrictive gun-control regimes — and yet also has among the world’s highest suicide rates, almost double the U.S. suicide rate.

As we will show below, the numbers change, sometimes dramatically, when suicides are not counted.
When the Post contacted the Administration to find out where they got the information for their claim, the "official" responding said it was based on a chart published by National Journal in August.  That chart calculated the number of gun-related deaths per 100,000 people by including all gun deaths, including homicides, suicides, accidental gun deaths and legal intervention involving firearms.  By doing so, according to the Post, the states at the top of the chart — Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey — are listed as having tough restrictions, based on seven kinds of criteria. The states at the bottom — Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Wyoming — have virtually none of the these restrictions.  The Post went and extracted the suicides and their findings were quite different:
Alaska, ranked 50th on the National Journal list, moved up to 25th place. Utah, 31st on the list, jumped to 8th place. Hawaii remains in 1st place, but the top six now include Vermont, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Iowa and Maine. Indeed, half of the 10 states with the lowest gun-death rates turn out to be states with less-restrictive gun laws.

Meanwhile, Maryland — a more urban state — fell from 15th place to 45th, even though it has very tough gun laws. Illinois dropped from 11th place to 38th, and New York fell from 3rd to 15th.
This is not the first time that the Post has called out Obama for using the gun ban lobby's talking points. The first time was in April 2013 when he trotted out the oft repeated claim that 40% of gun sales are completed without a background check.
We wavered between Two and Three Pinocchios, but in the end settled on Two. Most of the states at the bottom appear to have less-restrictive gun laws even when calculated without suicides. So that’s an interesting data point. But the evidence is not as clear cut as the president claims.
The Post is much more diplomatic in their conclusion.  Most people would just say Obama is not being honest (i.e. lying).  But the Post simply calls it a classic situation of a politician exaggerating a study's conclusions to justify a policy.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Growth of Suppressors, The Revolution in Guns

Frank Miniter writes on Forbes.com about suppressors being the quite revolution in guns, with 41 states allowing the use of this firearm accessory:
The ATF recently released data showing a huge rise in the number of silencers registered. The ATF’s data lumps silencers with registrations of “short-barreled shotguns,” “machine guns,” and other NFA-controlled items, but the vast majority of the items registered are silencers. According to the ATF, they processed 41,579 applications in 2005 and the number has gone dramatically up every year since. In 2013 they processed 163,691 applications and in 2014 the ATF processed a total of 236,290 applications.
As populations around shooting ranges grow, suppressors offer an answer to the rise in noise complaints that often come with the influx of new neighbors who should have known they were going to hear the sound of gun shots but nevertheless moved near a range anyway.  Manufacturers are noticing the upward trend and bringing new products to the market.

Add  Maxim 9 from SilencerCo, a 9mm pistol with a built-in suppressor as shown in Forbes article
SilencerCo’s most-talked-about innovation is its Maxim 9, an integrally suppressed 9mm pistol. Yes, the silencer is built in to, not screwed onto, a 9mm pistol. A prototype they’re exhibiting is built partially on a Smith & Wesson body, but the guns SilencerCo says it will have out in 2016 will be completely designed and manufactured by SilencerCo.

Josh Waldron, SilencerCo’s CEO, told me, “To make room for the suppressor we had to reengineer everything. A lot of the internals of the pistol had to be moved back. It’s an innovative design. We are just working out the final details, which is why this won’t be available until 2016.”

When asked if it will be available for January’s Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show), Waldron said that’s their intention. He was careful about giving too many details, but did say, “We wanted to make holstering this pistol an option, so we spent a lot of engineering hours working to keep this pistol’s size similar to full-size pistols on the market. The Maxim 9 will be about 10 percent larger than a Glock 17.”
Miniter was on NRANews' Cam and Company this week to talk more about the article and the trend toward suppressors.

Nation's Crime Rate Half of Rate in 1991, Public Still Thinks it's Rising

On Monday, the FBI released the new crime numbers for 2014 and they once again are good news.  The new FBI reported that there were only 366 violent offenses in 2014 year for every 100,000 U.S. residents  This is less than half the rate in 1991. The property crime rate also fell in 2014 to levels not seen since 1967.  Additionally, murders committed with firearms fell by 4 percent to just over 8,100, down by nearly one-fifth in the last 10 years.  But as the Washington Examiner notes:
...Yet non-existent increases in gun violence are cited often to gin up support for new limits on the right to bear arms. Panic is used to justify solutions that limit freedom and have never been proven to work.
The Gallup Organization annually polls the public attitude on crime and the responses they get do not mirror reality.  That is likely because the gun ban crowd uses every opportunity of a high profile shooting to make the claim that "something must be done" to stop these crimes.

No matter what the gun ban lobby would have you think, crimes committed with firearms continue to fall as we have a record number of firearms in the hands of the American citizens.  Breitbart News' Dr. AWR Hawkins talked about this with NRANews host Cam Edwards on Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

New Jersey's Web of Injustice

NRANews.com Investigative Reporter Ginny Simone shares the story of another horror story out of New Jersey where that state's gun laws ensare honest gun owners.

From the NRANews web site:
Mia and Steve Higginbotham were planning to fly with a firearm, so they did what any law-abiding citizen would do — they looked up the rules and regulations to legally transport a gun. Unloaded? Check. Locked in a hard-sided container? Check. Stored in a checked bag? Check. Except in their case, three checks meant they were out. The Transportation Security Administration official said everything looked fine. But the New Jersey counter agent disagreed. That began a downward spiral that led to Mia being arrested in front of her four-year-old daughter. To this day, every time the toddler sees a policeman, she fears he’s coming to take her mommy away. It's another heartbreaking case in the state that leads the nation in stripping citizens of their Constitutional rights. As Mia says, she became "a check in their box … 'we got a gun owner off the street.'"
I keep saying how happy I am I live in Virginia, but if Terry McAuliffe had his way, Virginia's gun laws would be like New Jersey's.

Hat tip to NRANews' Cam and Company

Boston Globe: Gun Sports Gaining Favor Among Youths

This story from the Boston Globe is just one more in a line of stories about the growing popularity of the shooting sports among America's youth.
At a time when America’s debate about gun control is at a fever pitch, young people are learning to use firearms in ever greater numbers.

Participation in the nationwide 4-H Shooting Sports Program, which includes archery, hunting, pistol, rifle, and other firearms, has nearly tripled since 2009 and last year drew 336,558 program participants nationally. The actual number of youths involved is doubtless somewhat different than that, as some sign up for more than one offering and not all states report, but the trend is clear.

Also, after a long decline, participation in hunting in the US increased by 9 percent between 2006 and 2011, and one of the main reasons appears to be an array of youth recruitment and retention programs sponsored by local clubs and national youth organizations, according to a recent study funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
It was just a couple months ago this blog included a post about a Bloomberg News story that reported how schools are embracing shooting as the hot new sport.  The Globe story reported what instructors and parents of young shooters have known for years - that the demands of target practice improve a child's focus as well as a high level of personal responsibility. Additionally, the Globe noted that youth shooters are routinely asked at some clubs to bring in their report cards — good grades can be a condition of participation.
Stories like this are just one more piece of good news.  Kids don't participate in programs like this without the permission of their parents.  The more parents who have kids that participate in the shooting sports, the less likely they will support additional restrictions on our rights.

Hat tip to Bearing Arms.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Nova Firearms Facing Protests Again

You may recall that northern Virginia based NOVA Firearms attempted to move from it's McLean, Virginia location to a larger location in the People's Republic of Arlington only to have the new landlord buckle under pressure from the gun ban crowd and at the last minute have the lease voided.  The owner of the store, J.B. Gates, has found a new location about three miles from the current location that will allow him to expand and include classroom space for training.  Unfortunately, residents in the area don't think he should move his store because the new location is near an elementary school.  From WUSA9.

Fortunately for Gates, this time it appears the new landlord is standing by him.

Gun Ban Politicians Look for Creative Ways to Pass Restrictions

Last week, it was reported that the city of Missoula, Montana was trying to pass an ordinance that would require so-called "universal" background checks within the city.  Bloomberg's faux news outlet, The Trace, had a story today about how the city council may have found a way around the state's preemption law:
“I would be surprised if it didn’t draw a challenge in the courts,” says Missoula City Council member Bryan Von Lossberg, who sponsored the background check ordinance along with Marilyn Marter and Emily Bentley. Nonetheless, he’s confident his universal background check proposal will stand a fighting chance against the almost-inevitable lawsuit. Specifically, he sees justification for the proposal in a close reading of some key language in the state preemption law.

The first sentence of the relevant section of State Code says cities may not “prohibit, register, tax, license, or regulate the purchase, sale or other transfer” of weapons — except as provided in subsection 2 of the code. That subsection carves out a few small exceptions: Cities can regulate shooting guns, and carrying at public assemblies and public properties. There’s also one more provision, and it’s the one that gives Von Lossberg and his colleagues hope their proposal could survive in court. The preemption law states that for public safety purposes, cities can prevent and suppress the possession of guns by felons, those adjudicated mentally unfit, undocumented immigrants, and minors — populations that background checks screen for.
Expanded background checks are the gun ban lobby's answer to most any high profile shooting, even if the shooter passed a background check to get the gun used in the crime.

The NRA-ILA legislative liaison Brian Judy told NRANews last week that Bloomberg is behind this move in Montana and that there were three lobbyists for Bloomberg in Helena during the legislative session this year.
With Virginia's governor being so open not only to passing restrictions on our rights, but believing that Constitutional concern's are just unimportant "small ball,"  one has to wonder how long before we start seeing serious attacks on our preemption statute.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lead Sight By Wing Shooter

When learning to shoot clay targets, or if you are teaching a young shooter to bust clays, "You have to lead your target" is something you've probably heard or said a lot. The trick is knowing how far to lead it in your sight picture. It's not easy, but I came across a device that may help get the hang of it.

The Lead Sight is a non-permanent device that attaches to the barrel of your shotgun and provides not one but four extra "beads" that swing out on hinges. Line one of these four beads up with your moving target and you are automatically "leading the target."

The Lead Sight is easy to install and is made for 12 gauge shotgun. When you're finished using it, just remove it.  It will not damage your firearm. According to Gun Digest, it's perfect for new shotgun shooters, young shotgun shooters, and for building confidence.

Hat tip to Gun Digest.

2015 VSSA Board Election Results and Raffle Winners

The 2015 VSSA Board of Directors Election results were announced during Wednesday's board meeting at the Gander Mountain in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Members re-elected two current members and one new member to the VSSA Board.  The top three vote getters were elected for a three-year term. The winning candidates are:

Joe Primerano
Joe Turner
Jesse Lockhart

The winning tickets for this year's member raffle were also drawn.  The winners were:

1st Prize - Glock 43 G4 9mm: Kenneth M., Big Island, VA
2nd Prize - Special Edition Henry Golden Boy 22 LR: Robert R., Pawleys Island, SC (yes - we have members living out-of-state)
3rd Prize - $100: Elmer W. Jr. , Round Hill, VA

Congratulations to sitting board members Joe Primerano and Joe Turner, and a big board welcome to Jesse Lockhart whose term will begin on January 1, 2016.  And, congratulations to this year's raffle winners.  Kenneth has won himself a great handgun, Robert has the final of 10 specially manufactured rifles made especially for VSSA, and Elmer has an extra $100 that he can spend on ammo or anything else he may want.  Thanks to all of the members who participated in the raffle and made it big success.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Bart Hinkle's "Honest Talk" About Gun Control

Over the weekend, Times Dispatch columnist Bart Hinkle had a lengthy OP/Ed titled "Honest Talk About Gun Control."  There is much to like in this piece.  For instance:
After every high-profile killing, the cry goes up that America must “do something,” which is how an Aug. 26 Washington Post editorial put it. This urge is so strong that it overwhelms critical thinking. “We certainly don’t know if the gun control measures that (Virginia Gov. Terry) McAuliffe or other would-be reformers favor would have prevented Wednesday’s deadly attack,” the newspaper said. “But it doesn’t matter.” Efficacy doesn’t matter? Really?

Apparently not. The two most common proposals in the aftermath of any spree killing are universal background checks (Virginia Democrats are reviving that proposal now) and a ban on assault weapons — neither of which would have a measurable effect on spree killings.
And there is this:
Likewise, bans on assault weapons would have a vanishingly small effect on spree killings. Such bans usually define assault weapons based on cosmetic characteristics — such as a pistol grip or a flash suppressor — that have no bearing on lethality. This is one reason few public officials have tried seriously to revive the 1994 federal ban that expired in 2004.

Although there are millions of so-called assault rifles in circulation (3.3 million Colt AR-15s alone, for example), they actually are used in homicides less often than hammers and clubs. And that’s true for all rifles, not just the scary-looking kind. In 2013, FBI data show, 285 people were killed with rifles — and 428 with blunt instruments.
But Hinkle, who has in the past written strongly against gun control proposals, seems to come out in favor of so-called "Gun Violence Restraining Orders" (GVROs)  This proposal is the flavor de jour of the gun ban lobby.  It allows the courts and/or law enforcement to confiscate the firearms of individuals by showing only "reasonable grounds" that the person is dangerous.  I'm not sure where Hinkle is getting his information about GVROs that he can write with a straight face that "Laws like that rest on a clear, articulable suspicion about an individual, rather than on sweeping assumptions that, much like racial profiling, cast suspicion on the dangerous and the innocent alike."  The fact is that the low evidentiary standard and lack of a mechanism for individuals to present their own defense in the bill that became law in California fails to meet basic American standards for due process. As Robert Fargo of The Truth About Guns has written:
The restraining order's greatest danger is not its obvious unconstitutionality (trampling due process) or irrelevance (deranged individuals ignore firearms prohibitions). The main problem is the huge potential for abuse by disaffected spouses and/or angry, jealous or greedy relatives.
Even after writing supportively of GVROs, Hinkle writes that it's unlikely to cause gun homicide rates to fall by half, which is exactly what has happened over the past 20 years, even as many states have relaxed their gun restrictions.

The real problem with the gun ban lobby is that their proposals are not meant to reduce crime, it's to make it harder for people to own firearms.  We have no reason to believe they would be satisfied with so-called "universal" background checks or even GVROs, because if they were to get their way on these, they would be back for more.

Update: On Tuesday, Hinkle was on NRANews Cam and Company to discuss the article in more detail.