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Schumer Promises New Push For Gun Control

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 13:14
New York U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer has joined the chorus started by Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey pushing to revive the 2013 efforts on gun control.  The New York Daily News and AM New York reported over the weekend that Schumer wants to try and "strengthen" background checks to keep those with mental illness from getting firearms and requiring background checks at gun shows.
Schumer, author of the Brady Law requiring background checks for gun buyers, said he wants to expand the "weak" laws on federal background checks, saying they let people who shouldn't have a gun get them anyway.

Though he acknowledged it was unclear if stricter laws would have prevented 21-year-old Dylann Roof from allegedly shooting up Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on June 17, he said, "If we toughened up the law on guns, there would be many fewer of these massacres," also pointing to the recent mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado, Newtown, Connecticut, and Virginia Tech.

"I do hope and think that the horror in South Carolina will serve as a wake-up call," Schumer said.

The senator committed to closing a loophole that allows buyers to avoid background checks by purchasing guns online or at gun shows, placing blame on the National Rifle Association for making it harder to track gun sales.

"It's almost impossible to find them because the NRA has put laws on the books that make it hard to trace where guns come from," he said.Last week this blog shared a report from the Washington Post that Pennyslvania U.S. Senator Pat Toomey said he would like to try and move his proposal that would have criminalized private sales of firearms that died in the Senate in 2013.

Categories: News

E.J. Dionne Dreams of the Right Not to Bear Arms

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 08:51
Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne believes that gun ban advocates need to change their tactics.  Writing in a recent Op/Ed:
What's needed is a long-term national effort to change popular attitudes toward handgun ownership. And we need to insist on protecting the rights of Americans who do not want to be anywhere near guns. Dionne goes on to share the thoughts of a friend who is a "progressive pollster" that people don't spend enough time talking about "accidental deaths" when children get their hands on guns.  Never mind that unintentional firearm deaths are at all time lows.

And crimes committed with firearms have plummeted while sales have increased exponentially.
Dionne uses what he says is the recent change in public attitude on the confederate flag as proof that this can work:
But as long as gun control is a cause linked to ideology and party -- and as long as the National Rifle Association and its allies claim a monopoly on individual-rights arguments -- reasonable steps of this sort will be ground to death by the Washington Obstruction Machine.

That's why the nation needs a public-service offensive on behalf of the health and safety of us all. If you doubt it could succeed, consider how quickly opinion changed on the Confederate flag.Dionne may have a hard time getting his dream of a public turning against guns based on the results of a Rasmussen Poll released earlier this month found that sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans would feel safer in a neighborhood where guns are allowed.

Hat tip to Bob Owens at Bearing Arms.
Categories: News

Washington Post Gives Senator Murphy, Everytown Claim on School Shootings Four Pinocchios

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 09:23
The Washington Post Fact Checker has weighed in on that Everytown for Gun Safety claim that there has been a school shooting every week since Sandy Hook and it isn't good news for Bloomberg and his minions.  The Post decided to weigh in after Conn. U.S. Senator Chris Murphy repeated the claim on the floor of the U.S. Senate on June 24th, sparked by the church shooting in Charleston, S.C.
A version of this claim circulated after the June 2014 incident in Oregon in which a high school freshman armed with an assault rifle shot and killed a student and injured a teacher. President Obama and other gun-control advocates had said then that there had been at least 74 school shootings between Sandy Hook and the Oregon shooting.

The source for the claim then, and for Murphy’s recent statement, is a report by Everytown for Gun Safety, which describes itself as “a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.”That list included things like a police chase that ended on school property after hours as a "school shooting." The Post is not the first to rule that Everytown was playing fast and loose with the numbers but having one more source not known to be friendly to the right to keep and bear arms point this out doesn't hurt:
There are many ways to define school shooting. But applying the “reasonable person” standard, as is the standard at The Fact Checker, it is difficult to see how many of the incidents included in Everytown’s list — such as suicide in a car parked on a campus or a student accidentally shooting himself when emptying his gun and putting it away in his car before school — would be considered a “school shooting” in the context of Sandy Hook.

Lawmakers have a responsibility to check out the facts in the reports they use, especially ones that come from advocacy groups. If they are aware there are definitions that are disputed, or that are defined in other ways depending on who uses them, it is incumbent on lawmakers to clarify exactly what they are talking about and not mislead the public. In particular, lawmakers should rely more on official government statistics, such as from the FBI, rather than misleading metrics cobbled together by interest groups.

We wavered between Three and Four Pinocchios. But this is a definition of “school shooting” that was widely disputed a year ago, and lawmakers need to present information — especially for such a controversial topic as gun control — in a clear, responsible and accurate way. Murphy’s failure to do so tipped the rating to Four.The Post would do well to take their own advice regarding checking the facts.  In 2014, they ran their story (which has been updated since it was originally posted) on the Everytown report without doing any fact checking.  I guess a year of hearing the numbers and seeing folks like CNN question the numbers made the Post decide to check the facts.  Any bets on whether anti-rights politicians will stop using this bogus statistic after this latest discrediting of Everytown's numbers?
Categories: News

Deer Scent Maker Responds to VDGIF Ban on Deer Urine Products

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 09:40
Earlier this month, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries banned the use of products made from bodily fluids of deer for hunting.  This includes estrus scent lures like Code Blue and even a product made here in Virginia by Reaper Scents.  DGIF claims these products increase the likelihood of the spread of Chronic wasting disease (CWD) .  But as Steve Lovern of Reaper Scents told the Roanoke Times, as quoted by Grand View Outdoors, there have only been a relative handful of CWD cases in Virginia and the disease is not spread by the use of these scents:
... the ban is unenforceable and based on bad science. Deer pick up CWD from supplemental feeding, not licking each other’s urine, he told the paper.

“As they eat, saliva drips from their mouth and another deer eats that saliva. This is how CWD is transmitted,” Lovern said.There are over 250,000 hunters in Virginia, many of which hunt on private property.  Most would agree that DGIF has more important things to spend scarce fiscal resources on than enforcing a ban of this type that has little scientific evidence to back it up.
Categories: News

Vote for VSSA in the Lucky Gunner Poll

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 13:27
In September of last year, the Brady Campaign sued Lucky Gunner on behalf of the parents of a child killed in the Aurora CO shooting.  After several months, the case was dismissed and the judge awarded Lucky Gunner $111,971.10 as a partial reimbursement for their legal fees.  As Lucky Gunner noted on their web site, the judge stated in his ruling:
"It is apparent that this case was filed to pursue the political purposes of the Brady Center and, given the failure to present any cognizable legal claim, bringing these defendants [Lucky Gunner] into the Colorado court... appears to be more of an opportunity to propagandize the public and stigmatize the defendants than to obtain a court order."As expected, Brady has appealed the ruling but Lucky Gunner expects to win and when they finally receive the reimbursement, will donate 100% of what is recovered to groups that support and defend the 2nd Amendment:
Please tell us where you want the recovered fees to go by voting in the form below. A number of organizations were added per shooter requests on June 23. We will end the voting on August 1, 2015. Once we have recovered the fees, we'll cut checks to each organization receiving votes on a percentage basis. In other words, if "Organization A" gets 5% of the vote, it will receive 5% of whatever is recovered.VSSA is one of the organizations on that list.  The more votes VSSA receives, the higher percentage of the reimbursement VSSA will receive to continue protecting your rights against Governor Terry McAuliffe and his gun ban friends.  Please click here and cast your vote for VSSA.  As always, thanks for your support of VSSA.
Categories: News

Dave Kopel on Doctors and Your Gun Rights

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 13:16
In the new America's First Freedom, Independence Institute research director Dave Kopel writes about the growing practice of physicians asking their patients about gun ownership and gun storage practices. In the article, Kopel shares the stories of patients who have answered these questions and then been subjected to visits from Child Protective Services.
In San Francisco, a man honestly answered his doctor’s questions about whether there were guns in the home. A short time later, Child Protective Services arrived at the residence, and demanded to be let inside so that they could inspect whether the guns were locked up.There are also instances when patients refused to answer, and had their doctors end their doctor-patient relationship.
In Ocala, Fla., Amber Ullman took her 4-month-old baby to a pediatrician for shots and a checkup. When she refused to answer the gun question, the doctor terminated the relationship and the mother was given 30 days to find a new pediatrician.Earlier this week, Kopel appeared on Sportsman Channel's NRANews Cam and Company to discuss the article.

Categories: News

Brian Doherty on Connecticut's Background Check Law and Murder Rate

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 13:02
Last week this blog shared Dr. John Lott's thoughts on that new study in the American Journal of Public Health, that purports to show a 1995 tightening in Connecticut's gun permit laws led to a 40% reduction in gun homicides over the next decade.  Now Reason.com is out with a new article investigating that same study. Many gun ban advocates immediately touted the study's finding to bolster their cause, but Reason.com's  Brian Doherty discovers that the study may not actually deliver what is advertised.
Given the amazingly complicated set of causes and incentives feeding into any human decision—and every gun homicide is the result of a human decision—establishing that the change in background check laws that "led to" a reduction in gun homicides "caused" them (even in that one Connecticut case, much less concluding that such laws can be relied on to have that effect in other places and times) is likely beyond any final authoritative conclusion via the usual methods of the social sciences.Doherty details five specific problems with the study:
  1. How do we know that synthetic-Connecticut really is a good marker for real Connecticut? The weight of that point seems to be almost entirely a pure case of believing that "past performance guarantees future results." Without saying anything about why it was so or should be presumed to always be so, the authors note that in the past Rhode Island's gun homicide levels matched Connecticut's very closely.
  2. To return to the "appear" mentioned above in "Permit-to-purchase laws...appear to reduce the availability of handguns to criminals," given that we are assuming that the law is having all sorts of powerful effects on behavior and outcomes, don't we need to know something about how extensively or effectively the laws are being enforced, and have some decent data or reasonable guesses to be sure that the law's existence almost certainly is preventing many, many gun purchases by murderers that would have occurred without the law?
  3. The authors are sure their gun-related cause leads to a gun-related effect by noting that the effects on homicide rates they allege to have found are almost all in gun homicides, not in other homicides. Curiously to me, the synthetic-Connecticut used to compare the non-gun homicides is very different than the mostly-Rhode Island one used for gun homicides; it is mostly New Hampshire. That comparison seems to be apples-oranges, and one wonders what the results would have been if they'd used the same synthetic Connecticut for both comparisons.
  4. The study traces changes from 1995 to 2005; when I asked the CDC to send me the raw data numbers that the study relied on, the CDC warned me that "the coding of mortality data changed significantly in 1999, so you may not be able to compare number of deaths and death rates from 1998 and before with data from 1999 and after." [UPDATE: In an email sent after this post went up, the CDC says that "the change in...coding has almost no effect on homicide or suicide unlike other causes of death." So this point seems to be of little relevance.]
  5. The study stops looking for effects 10 years after the law went into effect. Why might that be? Six of the eight years since 2005 for which CDC had data show Connecticut with a higher real gun homicide rate than 2005, the year that the authors chose to stop. If they had gone out to 2006, the reduction in rates in real Connecticut from 1995 to 2006 is cut to 12 percent.
Doherty discusses each of the problems in more detail and does a great job of picking the study apart.  It's a good read.

Categories: News

Roanoke Rifle and Revolver Club Hosting 2015 Commonwealth Games Shooting Events

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 10:22
The 2015 Subway Commonwealth Games of Virginia will kick off Friday, July 17th at the Salem Red Sox Stadium with the annual Opening Ceremonies! Going into its 26th year, the Subway Commonwealth Games of Virginia, is known throughout Virginia as Virginia's Olympics. This annual event is held the third week of July (for most sports) and open to all ages and skill levels. From archery to wrestling, this event offers sports competition venues for 55+ different Olympic and Pan American sports.

This year's games will feature High Power RifleRifle Silhouette - Black Powder (200M, 300M, 385M and 500 Yards), Black Powder Muzzleloading Rifle Silhouette Shoot, Black Powder Muzzle Loading Rifle Target Match, and Black Powder Muzzle Loading Pistol Target Match, and Sporting Clays. The Sporting Clays event will be held at Shenandale Gun Club on July 19.  All of the remaining shooting events will be held at the Roanoke Rifle and Revolver Club (RRRC) July 18-19.  You can find more information about registration deadlines by clicking the above links.
Categories: News

Washington Post: Manchin, Toomey Interested in Reviving Gun Control Push

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 07:15
The Washington Post reports that West Virginia U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Pat Toomey in separate interviews during a reception before a ceremony hosted by Sandy Hook families where Toomey was honored, expressed interest in reviving their effort to criminalize private firearm sales.
“We want to make sure we have the votes. Pat’s going to have to, and I’ll work with him, to get some of our colleagues on the Republican side,” Manchin said, adding that he hasn’t talked directly to Toomey about a revival.Until last night, Toomey has been quiet on the subject since the bill went down in flames in April of 2013 but he offered no apologies for turning his back on law abiding gun owners when he accepted his award:
Accepting his award on Tuesday night, a visibly emotional Toomey said that despite some of the political fallout from his conservative base, he’d “do it again in a heartbeat.” He said he does have two regrets, however. One, that the 2013 bill didn’t pass. And, “that it took me so long before I raised my voice on this very important issue,” he said.Talk of reviving the so-called "universal background check" bill began after last week's church shooting in Charleston.  President Obama during a much talked about podcast with Marc Maron however seemed to hold out little hope that will occur, and even suggested it is the one area he will not be able to address with his so-called "executive actions" and rule making.  From the Business Insider coverage of the podcast interview:
"Unfortunately, the grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong,” he said. “I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress, and I don’t foresee any real action being taken until the American public feels a sufficient sense of urgency and they say to themselves, ‘This is not normal. This is something that we can change and we’re going to change it.’”

Obama showed his frustration with Congress, but said that in many policy areas, he has been able to effect change through rulemakings and other executive actions -- even when Republicans in Congress have refused to work with him. Gun control, he said, has been the exception.Obama even suggested in that podcast interview that mass shootings have been a financial boom for firearm manufactures:
While the president did not attack gun manufacturers directly, he did point out the irony that they tend to do very well financially in the wake of mass shootings.

“Right after Newtown, gun sales shot up, ammunition shot up, and each time these events occur; ironically, gun manufacturers make out like bandits, partly because of this fear that’s churned up that the federal government and the black helicopters are coming to get your guns.”Maybe the President should point the finger at himself when he talks about churning up fear since he was the one who proposed banning the one of nation's best selling firearm.

Categories: News

Obama Calls for "National Reckoning" After Church Shooting

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 14:29
Not surprisingly, President Obama used his remarks on the Charleston, S.C. church shooting to once again lament the easy access to firearms in this country.  Saying that no other advanced country experiences the incidence of mass shootings and that "it is within our power to do something about it."

What Obama did not say is that all but two of the mass shootings that have taken place in the United States since 1950 have been in places guns are banned.  And as for those other "advanced countries?" They have not been as immune to mass shootings as the President would like us to think. This from a 2010 Op/Ed by Dr. John Lott:
Multiple victim public shootings were assumed to be an American thing for it is here the guns are, right? No, not at all. Contrary to public perception, Western Europe, where most countries have much tougher gun laws, has experienced many of the worst multiple victim public shootings. Particularly telling, all the multiple victim public shootings in Europe occurred where guns are banned. So it is in the United States, too -- all the multiple victim public shootings (where more than three people have been killed) have taken place where civilians are not allowed to have a gun.Lott also noted in that article at the time of its writing, multiple victim public shootings appeared to be at least as common in Europe as they are here.
Categories: News

Debunking the Violence Policy Center's Not So New Claims on Armed Self Defense

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 09:23
On Wednesday, the anti-rights Violence Policy Center trotted out what they call a "new" report that makes the claim gun owners rarely use firearms for self defense.  VPC based the report on FBI data on "justifiable homicides."  As the NRA and Dr. John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center pointed out however, this is just a recycled claim the anti-rights lobby has used for years.  Using justifiable homicides data is problematic for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it totally discounts the fact that a number of people defend themselves with a firearm without ever firing a shot.  Lott also points out that only about 1 percent of police departments report justifiable homicides by police and it is even worse for civilian justifiable homicide.  To take it a step further, Dr. Lott noted that even for those states that do report such data, very few localities within those states actually compiled the numbers.

Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz have conducted a more reliable survey on the topic that can be found here.

Categories: News

Traveling with Firearms

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 09:02
If you have considered traveling out of state or even out of the country to hunt, J.J. Reich of Vista Outdoors offers some great tips in this video that was recently posted on AmericanHunter.org.

Categories: News

Bloomberg Seeks to "Change the Conversation" About Guns

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 10:30
Paul Bedard reports in The Washington Examiner this morning that Bloomberg will unveil a new online news magazine with the goal to "change the conversation about guns in America."
Called The Trace, the website will track news about guns in the nation, but not necessarily parallel Bloomberg's pro gun-control views, according to insiders. It is not anti-gun, said one associate of the site.

In Washington, where the site will be unveiled at a preview party, some close to the startup said that backers will include Republicans and Democrats in a demonstration of its effort to promote "moderate" gun policy.

The invitation for the Tuesday night event, obtained by Secrets, reads: "Please join us for a preview of The Trace. The journalism startup dedicated to changing the conversation about guns in America."It is difficult to count how many times Bloomberg has tried to "change the conversation" about gun control but it always ends up the same way - he trots out the same tired old proposals.  This appears to be confirmed by the only media story about the new effort:
In the only story about The Trace, New York's "Capital" said the site will be the editorial arm of Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety. The group draws attention to gun violence, builds protests against organizations and companies that don't ban guns in stores, and promotes background checks.It's not anti-gun but is the editorial arm of an anti-gun group.  Yeah, right.

Categories: News

Gun Ban Advocates Use Faulty Research to Push Gun Licensing

Mon, 06/15/2015 - 08:54
Representative Chris Van Hollen (D - MD) has introduced a new bill in Congress that would require states to enact handgun licensing schemes or face the loss of federal funding.  Van Hollen is using a new study by Daniel Webster and others from the Bloomberg funded Johns Hopkins "Center for Gun Policy and Research" as proof that such laws reduce crime committed with firearms.   From The Hill:
The Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act would zero in on handgun purchases, but exempt rifles and other types of firearms.

It is backed by a study from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research that found handgun licenses dramatically reduce homicide rates.

“Of the thousands of Americans murdered every single year by firearms, nearly 90 percent of those deaths occur with a handgun,” Van Hollen said. “With mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and friends dying every day because of guns, there is no question that gun violence is tearing at the fabric of our communities."

In addition to Van Hollen, who is running for the Senate, three Connecticut Democrats back the handgun bill: Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Sen. Chris Murphy. Connecticut was the site of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in 2012.

Their bill would provide states with an incentive to strengthen their guns laws. States that follow through with the handgun regulations would receive federal funding to carry them out, while those that refused would risk losing money.

To qualify, states would have to implement laws that require prospective gun owners to apply for a firearms license from a local police station. They would be required to pass a background check, including submitting fingerprints and photographs.

Those who pass the background check would receive a firearms license that they must provide to purchase a handgun.

The Democrats say the handgun bill would help law enforcement officials weed out criminals and other people who are not allowed to purchase guns.But Dr. John Lott points out Webster has cherry picked the data to support his conclusion:
Their results are also extremely sensitive to the last year that they pick.  While it is true that Connecticut’s firearm homicide rate fell by 40% from 1995 to 2005, it only fell by 16% between 1995 and 2006 and 12.5% between 1995 and 2010.  Meanwhile the drops for the US and the rest of the Northeast are much greater.  From 1995 and 2006, the firearm homicide rates for the US and the rest of the Northeast fell respectively by 27% and 22%.  From 1995 and 2010, the drops were 39% and 31%.  The longer samples show a relative increase in Connecticut’s firearm homicide rate whether Rudolph et al. had looked at one additional year or five additional years.This is not the first time Webster has "cherry picked" data to support his preconceived conclusions.  He did the same thing in the Missouri study that was used with the Connecticut study to push the licensing scheme.

This is one more example that congress did the right thing prohibiting tax payer money to pay for research that pushes gun control.  Webster is a gun ban advocate and each of his studies start at the end he wants to achieve and then he finds the data to support those conclusions.
Categories: News

Virginia Beach Police Offering Tips on Safe Use of Air Guns

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:17
The Virginian Pilot reports today that in an attempt to reduce the chance they mistake someone with an air gun as someone who intends to do harm with a real one,  the Virginia Beach Police are holding seminars for parents and kids on their proper use:
Just this year, a student at Lindsay Middle School was charged after police found a pellet gun in her locker. In December, a Deep Creek High School football player was sentenced to six months of supervised probation and 50 hours of community service after he tried to shoot middle school students with a pellet gun.

Fake guns made national news in 2014 when 12-year-old Tamir Rice was fatally shot by police in Cleveland after wielding a plastic airsoft gun. Children stared wide-eyed Wednesday as Beach officers held up real and fake guns in the middle of the library, prompting them to guess which was which. Many giggled and compared the guns to the ones in video games or that their parents own.

But few knew the difference.

“We have to assume that it’s a real weapon,” Master Police Officer Chuck Wolfe said.The Virginia Beach Police stress to those attending the seminars to treat the air gun like a it was a firearm.  That's something that parents should already be doing,

Categories: News

Is Crime Committed with Firearms "Spiraling Upward"?

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 14:37
Heather Mac Donald authored this Wall Street Journal Op/Ed over the weekend that starts:
The nation’s two-decades-long crime decline may be over. Gun violence in particular is spiraling upward in cities across America. In Baltimore, the most pressing question every morning is how many people were shot the previous night. Gun violence is up more than 60% compared with this time last year, according to Baltimore police, with 32 shootings over Memorial Day weekend. May has been the most violent month the city has seen in 15 years.Dr. John Lott took exception to her claim on the Crime Prevention Research Center's web site and states Mac Donald's choice of words amounted to trying to scare the nation about crime.  Lott goes on to post the numbers for the nation's 15 largest cities as well as links to data for Baltimore and DC then notes:
The bottom line is that across the largest 15 cities in the US the murder rate has fallen by 43 from 871 to 828, a 5% drop.I heard Ms. Mac Donald when she appeared on Bill Bennett's early morning talk show today to discuss her article.  In that interview she barely mentioned the part of about "spiraling gun crime" and focused on the article's larger point, that the polices of the Obama Administration and former AG Eric Holder have caused police to do their job differently, with negative effects:
President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, before he stepped down last month, embraced the conceit that law enforcement in black communities is infected by bias. The news media pump out a seemingly constant stream of stories about alleged police mistreatment of blacks, with the reports often buttressed by cellphone videos that rarely capture the behavior that caused an officer to use force.

Almost any police shooting of a black person, no matter how threatening the behavior that provoked the shooting, now provokes angry protests, like those that followed the death of Vonderrit Myers in St. Louis last October. The 18-year-old Myers, awaiting trial on gun and resisting-arrest charges, had fired three shots at an officer at close range. Arrests in black communities are even more fraught than usual, with hostile, jeering crowds pressing in on officers and spreading lies about the encounter. This has caused what is known as the Ferguson effect:
This incessant drumbeat against the police has resulted in what St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson last November called the “Ferguson effect.” Cops are disengaging from discretionary enforcement activity and the “criminal element is feeling empowered,” Mr. Dotson reported. Arrests in St. Louis city and county by that point had dropped a third since the shooting of Michael Brown in August. Not surprisingly, homicides in the city surged 47% by early November and robberies in the county were up 82%.

Similar “Ferguson effects” are happening across the country as officers scale back on proactive policing under the onslaught of anti-cop rhetoric. Arrests in Baltimore were down 56% in May compared with 2014.

“Any cop who uses his gun now has to worry about being indicted and losing his job and family,” a New York City officer tells me. “Everything has the potential to be recorded. A lot of cops feel that the climate for the next couple of years is going to be nonstop protests.”The point of her article was that policies being pushed by the left (and from some on the right) like decriminalization and deincarceration may have dire consequences, especially for those they are supposed to be benefiting, if they backfire.  She probably could have made the same point without the sensational comment about a "spiraling" increase in gun related crime.

Categories: News

Obama's Gun Control Misfire

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 14:22
That's the title of an Op/Ed by Jason L. Riley of the Manhattan Institute that appeared yesterday in the Wall Street Journal:
Last September the Obama administration produced an FBI report that said mass shooting attacks and deaths were up sharply—by an average annual rate of about 16% between 2000 and 2013. Moreover, the problem was worsening. “The findings establish an increasing frequency of incidents,” said the authors. “During the first 7 years included in the study, an average of 6.4 incidents occurred annually. In the last 7 years of the study, that average increased to 16.4 incidents annually.”

The White House could not possibly have been more pleased with the media reaction to these findings, which were prominently featured by the New York Times, USA Today, CNN, the Washington Post and other major outlets. The FBI report landed six weeks before the midterm elections, and the administration was hoping that the gun-control issue would help drive Democratic turnout. Now comes word from the two academics at Texas State University who co-authored the FBI report, J. Pete Blair and M. Hunter Martaindale, that “our data is imperfect.”   But don't look for this news in the same outlets that carried the original report with such glee last year.  The authors made the admission in ACJS Today, an academic journal published by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.  Not really something that the average American picks up and reads on a daily basis.  The authors basically admit that because some of the data they needed did not exist, they basically made it up:
“Because official data did not contain the information we needed, we had to develop our own,” (emphasis added) wrote Messrs. Blair and Martaindale. “This required choices between various options with various strengths and weaknesses.”Dr. John Lott told Riley that the 2014 FBI report is best viewed as a "political document" rather than a serious work of social science because the data used appears to have been "selectively chosen" to achieve certain results. 

Remember, this is the FBI, the same agency some want to take on the work of a shut down ATF.  No thanks.
Categories: News

The Morning After

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 11:19
Yesterday's primaries included one surprise (Amanda Chase's win in the 11th Senate District - more about this one in a moment) but for the most part it was a good night for incumbents beating back challenges.  Speaker of the House Bill Howell, who was challenged by former Stafford County Supervisor Susan Stimpson, cruised to victory and did so by being the classy individual that we have come to know and by staying positive.  State Senator Emmett Hanger, who was in a three way race won big too.  In the Virginia Beach area, State Senator John Cosgrove also won.

In the 11th Senate District that includes Amelia, part of Chesterfield and Colonial Heights, Amanda Chase ran a positive campaign (as did Martin) and was able to use her life story as a married mom of four and small business owner to her advantage in generating grassroots support. The third candidate in this race, Barry Moore, ran a very negative campaign and was never a factor.  In the end, the voters decided it was time for a change and Chase ended up winning by a little over five points  While Martin was endorsed by NRA and VSSA, Chase scored an "AQ" rating from the NRA-PVF so Chase's win is a wash with gun owners.  There is no reason to believe that she will not protect our rights as strongly as Martin.  Should she go on to win the general election, VSSA looks forward to working with her.

The one race that should give gun owners some reason for concern was in the 12th Senate District.  This was the race that featured four candidates,  Ed Whitlock, Dr. Siobhan S. Dunnavant, Tea Party favorite Vince Haley, and former Delegate Bill Janis (endorsed by NRA-PVF and VSSA).  While Haley had the support of such national names as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (for whom Haley once worked) and Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, he finished 3rd with a little over 22% of the vote.  The battle came down to Dunnavant and Janis, and in the end, Dunnavant won with 38.19% of the vote - a margin of 7 points over Janis' 30.25%.  While Janis had the NRA-PVF and VSSA endorsements Dunnavant had a ? from NRA-PVF.  There is also the fact she first considered running as a Democrat, having spoken with none other than the State Senate's most anti-rights member, Senator Don McEachin, among others about running. Finally, there were some charges that Dunnavant's campaign was less then honest with voters in the final days.  This from the Richmond Times Dispatch:
Dunnavant’s camp later went after Janis, inaccurately charging on television ads and in mailers that he supported in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants.

After it was revealed that a House vote on which the ads were based had been mistakenly cast, and later corrected, by Janis, Dunnavant’s campaign promised to take down the ads, but they continued to run and the charge was repeated in a subsequent mailer. So,  if after being shown the facts that her ad was false and she promised to take them down but didn't, just how can we trust her to protect our rights when she would not even let primary voters know where she stands?  In their primary post mortem, Bearing Drift summed up her tactics like this:
...The candidates who ran the cleaner campaigns, for the most part, won yesterday. PACs that are trying to make a name for themselves, particularly the National Association of Gun Rights, who ran vile tripe against good conservatives, were overwhelmingly rejected. One caveat is the Stosch-like tactics that seemed to work for Dunnavant – they were disturbing and wrong. While we are glad to see, potentially, more female representation in the senate, how she went about it remains deplorable.Gun owners are encouraged to contact Mrs. Dunnavant and ask her to complete the NRA Candidate Survey so we know where she stands on our issue.
Categories: News

State Targets Gun Blogs and Forums, Justice Targets Anonymous Blog Commenters

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 09:12
Paul Bedard of The Washington Examiner reports the NRA believes a new proposed rule by the State Department could have a chilling affect on the online discussion of firearms:
In updating regulations governing international arms sales, State is demanding that anyone who puts technical details about arms and ammo on the web first get the OK from the federal government — or face a fine of up to $1 million and 20 years in jail.

"Gunsmiths, manufacturers, reloaders, and do-it-yourselfers could all find themselves muzzled under the rule and unable to distribute or obtain the information they rely on to conduct these activities," said the NRA in a blog posting.

"This latest regulatory assault, published in the June 3 issue of the Federal Register, is as much an affront to the First Amendment as it is to the Second," warned the NRA's lobbying shop. "Your action is urgently needed to ensure that online blogs, videos, and web forums devoted to the technical aspects of firearms and ammunition do not become subject to prior review by State Department bureaucrats before they can be published," it added.This isn't the only example of the federal government targeting online discussion.  Claiming that anonymous commenters on Reason.com's web site may have made actual threats against a judge, the Justice Department wants to know the identity of those commenters.  This from the Volokh Conspiracy:
The commenters were opining on a post by Reason editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie, expressing their ire at the federal district judge who sentenced Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht. The rationale for the subpoena is that the commenters may have been transmitting “true threats” in “interstate or foreign commerce” in violation of this federal statute.

For reasons White explains, the comments almost certainly do not qualify as “true threats” against the judge. They are, rather, the kind of nasty and stupid vitriol that is all too common in anonymous comments on the internet. For example, one of the commenters wrote that “judges like these… should be taken out back and shot,” another opined that “I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for that horrible woman,” and a third replied that “I’d prefer a hellish place on Earth be reserved for her as well.”

Nasty stuff, indeed. To put it mildly, comments such as these are hardly valuable contributions to public discourse. But if federal prosecutors investigated every similar anonymous comment on the internet, we could probably devote the entire federal budget to hunting down these types of blogosphere trolls, and still not find them all. The government just keeps finding new ways to be more intrusive in our daily lives.
Categories: News

Bill Janis Makes His Case to Gun Owners

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 05:54
12 District GOP Senate Candidate Bill Janis made his case to gun owners today during an interview with NRANews' Cam Edwards.
Be sure to vote tomorrow if you live in the 11th Senate District (NRA and VSSA endorsed Steve Martin) or the 12th District (Bill Janis).  The polls open at 6:00 AM and will be open until 7:30 PM.
Categories: News