Because gun owners stood with Donald Trump, we should make sure our rights are among the top priorities of the new administration. Gun owners have a unique opportunity to see some of the biggest gains for our rights if the new president and congress will make these a priority over the next two years. First on the list should be passage of the Hearing Protection Act. If it is good enough for Europe, it's good enough for the U.S.
Newspaper accounts of firearms are almost always illiterate and inaccurate. If you see something described as an AK-47 being used in a crime in the United States, you can be almost certain that it is not an actual AK-47. (This is not helped by the fact that many different kinds of firearms are marketed under the name AK-47.) An AK-47 is a select-fire rifle, i.e., a rifle that can be fired in fully automatic or semiautomatic mode, chambered for the 7.62×39mm round. These are pretty rare beasts in the United States; what’s normally meant by “AK-47″ is a semiautomatic rifle styled like an AK-47 and/or operating with a similar mechanism, and this elides the fact that one of these things is a full-auto machine gun and one isn’t. Given the rather energetic efforts of the anti-gun lobby and the press to conflate automatic and semiautomatic weapons, one cannot help but think this is at least partly intentional. In any case, it is misleading and confusing, and therefore bad journalism.
Similar problems come up with other firearms. “Uzi” is a brand name for everything from submachine guns to wristwatches. Some Uzi firearms you can buy at your local gun shop, and some a private citizen cannot legally buy under practically any circumstance. A great many different firearms are sold under the “AR” designation as well. When Bushmaster rifles were the evil black gun of the moment, “Bushmaster” was similarly treated as though it were a particular kind of rifle rather than a brand name for many different rifles. There are many different kinds of Glocks. Beyond using evocative and inaccurate brand and model names, the usual media practice is to use qualitative descriptors, many of which are meaningless (“assault weapon”) or generally misleading (“high-powered rifle”). That’s obviously unsatisfactory, too.It should not be too much to expect reporters to do a little journalism and provide accurate information about the topic on which they are writing. Every now and then you will see a report that corrects inaccurate information from politicians on the subject but for the most part, references to "automatic weapons" or "weapons of war" by the likes of Hillary Clinton or President Obama go unchallenged.
I was listening to a podcast of Gun for Hire Radio recently and the show is using what can only be described as stupid comments by politicians when returning from commercial breaks. One was a clip of a female legislator talking about "...bullets that have incendiary devices. You don't need that to shoot deer, and if you did you could cook it too." Another audio clip featured was a California politician talking about a "30 caliber clip to disperse with 30 bullets within a half second. A 30 magazine clip in half a second." This is the kind of ignorance you rarely seen corrected by the media.
Last week, the Obama administration put the finishing touches on a new policy that would deprive recipients of disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) of their Second Amendment rights. The administration will now characterize those citizens as "mental defectives," thereby having their ability to own a firearm subject to the federal Gun Control Act.
Supplemental Security Income helps blind, disabled, and elderly people with little to no income. Previously, it was understood that "mentally defective" referred to one's mental health. Citizens who have been institutionalized against their will are restricted from owning a firearm. The new definition of "mentally defective" has nothing to do with being mentally ill. As Sheild put it, Obama has no problem emptying out Guantanamo Bay of dangerous terrorists and commuting the sentences of criminals that include those who broke federal firearms laws, but he doesn't like law-abiding American citizens possessing firearms.
Update: Dr. John Lott has more on this at National Review.
Just 22 percent of current gun owners who acquired a firearm within the past two years reported doing so without a background check, according to a new national survey by public health researchers at Harvard and Northeastern universities shared in advance with The Trace and The Guardian.
For years, politicians and researchers have estimated that as many as 40 percent of gun sales are conducted without a background check — a statistic based on an extrapolation from a 1994 survey. The new survey, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that the current proportion of gun transfers conducted without a background check is about half of the oft-cited figure. That is almost the same percentage that the Washington Post found (21%) when the paper's Fact Checker gave President Obama three Pinocchio's in 2013 for repeating the 40% statistic. At that time the Post went back and asked the authors of a Police Foundation report to rerun their numbers to adjust for how people acquire firearms (purchases versus “acquisitions” and “transactions,” which included trades, gifts etc.). But the President, Hillary Clinton, and the gun ban lobby have continued to use the 40% number.
Could the lower number have something to do with why so few private sellers have taken advantage of voluntary background checks at Virginia gun shows since July? Could it be there really is no "bazaar" of guns available for sale without background checks at gun shows?
The gun ban lobby is already adjusting their talking points in light of the lower numbers.
Philip Cook, a prominent gun violence researcher at Duke University who conducted the 1994 survey, says the new, smaller estimate does not undermine the argument that the U.S. needs a federal law instituting universal background checks on gun sales. In fact, he says, the finding that a smaller number of guns are acquired without background checks could be an advantage for supporters of stricter gun control laws.
“The headline is that we as a nation are closer to having a hundred percent of gun transactions with a background check than we might have thought,” says Cook. “So, it’s more attainable, and cheaper, to pass a universal requirement than it would be if 40 percent of transactions were still being conducted without these screenings.”The new study is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The firearm, the safe, the training—it’s the holy trinity of gun ownership. Across our Second Amendment-loving community, there exists a general consensus that these three elements shall not be separated. I learned this the day I was given my first gun, and have abided by it ever since. And like many single women, back then I obtained my concealed-carry permit, was diligent about my own safety and maintained my gun training religiously. Situational awareness was always paramount in my thinking, as my trainers, colleagues and family had preached. But those were the days before I became a mom.
Yes, I’ve still got the guns and the safes, but my training needs an update. Sure, many of the basic skills I’ve learned over a few years of training still apply, but when I’ve got my son with me, the rules change altogether—and not in my favor.
For example, when you’re alone, getting into the car in a parking lot is simple. You’ve got your situational awareness radar up and keys in hand long before you approach the vehicle. You walk quickly and confidently toward the car, press the unlock button on approach, open the door, sit down and lock it. You’ve moved safely from parking lot to secured vehicle in a matter of seconds.
Now add a kid. The task list becomes much longer: Lock stroller wheels, place child in car seat, buckle car seat, throw diaper bag in the floorboard, open trunk, fold stroller, heave stroller into trunk, close trunk, rummage inside diaper bag for the snack you swear you packed, hand child the snack, grab bottle (is the temperature ok?), hand cold bottle to the child, close all open car doors, walk around the car, open driver door (shoot, where are the keys?), find the keys, seatbelt, lock door. Whew.She goes on to talk about the special needs of the mom, and how, with a couple of exceptions, there is very little defense training tailored to parents. She ends the article by imploring trainers to develop training that addresses the special needs of a moms and dads with children.
Apparently Foster is not the only person thinking about this topic. On the same day her article was posted, I received my weekly email from DownrangeTV that included the below video on family self-defense strategies. In the video, Michael Janich of Spyderco, Inc., discusses how one of the things the family primary defender should consider is to make sure you have at least some type of a plan that allows your family to get to safety while you take care of business.
A proposal filed earlier this week for a special use permit from the Campbell County Planning Commission states that Liberty wants to construct a “nationally recognized, full-scale shooting, training and competition center” on its Lynchburg, Va., campus. The outdoor space will include a pistol range, a rifle range, an instructional area, and a 3-gun competition range, with future plans for an indoor firing range. The NRA has offered to lend their expertise to assist with the project. The article noted that the new range were motivated in part by a growing number of students signing up for Liberty’s handgun safety class. With almost 900 students having gone through the school's class in the first two years, it was determined that the current facility was not suited for that number of students.
Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr., appeared on NRANews Cam and Company to provide more detail on the planned range.
Will Fredericksburg's Annual Compensated Confiscation Event Instead Offer a Way For People to Score Cheap Used Firearms?
Twitter summary: Buybacks are ineffective unless massive and coupled with a ban
Goal: Reduce access to firearms by incentivizing owners to dispose of their unwanted guns rather than transfer them to a more risky possessor
Evidence: Gun buybacks are ineffective as generally implemented. 1. The buybacks are too small to have an impact. 2. The guns turned in are at low risk of ever being used in a crime. 3. Replacement guns are easily acquired. Unless these three points are overcome, a gun buyback cannot be effective.
The 1997 Australia gun buyback and its associated regulations is an exception to this. 1. It was large, buying back 20% of the firearm stock. 2. It targeted semi-automatic weapons. 3. It coupled the buyback with a ban on certain weapons and a nationwide registration and licensing program. There is strong evidence that it reduced mass killings (before the initiative massacres occurred on average once per year and none have occurred in the 15 years since).
The Australia buyback appears to have had no effect on crime otherwise. One study (Leigh & Neill 2010) has proven confusing in that its abstract suggests that Australia’s gun buyback reduced firearm homicide rates by 80%, but the body of the report finds no effect. Others (Reuter & Mouzas 2003) have used the same data and also found no effect on crime although they also noted that mass shootings appear to have disappeared in Australia. A third study (Chapman et al 2006) using Australian data from 1979 to 2003 shows that the firearm homicide rate was already declining prior to the firearm reforms and that there is no evidence that the new legislation accelerated the declines. This remains true when data through 2007 are added to the analysis (conducted by G. Ridgeway on 1/3/2013 at NIJ). Shaw appeared on NRATV yesterday to discuss the "buy back" and the folks who are trying to turn the event into an opportunity for some inexpensive used guns.
After the Orlando nightclub massacre and a string of other mass shootings, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Covington & Burling; Arnold & Porter; and four other prominent law firms formed a coalition with gun control groups that until now have worked largely on their own. Together, the firms are committing tens of millions of dollars in free legal services from top corporate lawyers who typically bill clients $1,000 an hour or more.
This effort is highly unusual in its scale. Although law firms often donate time to individual causes, and some firms have worked on gun control on a piecemeal basis, the number and the prominence of the firms involved in the new coalition are unheard-of for modern-day big law. Other firms are expected to join in the coming months.The Times reports that the coalition will seek to try new strategies to help push the gun ban lobby agenda:
Rather than fighting the political headwinds, the coalition is focusing on courts and state regulatory agencies, among the few places where they might still gain some traction. The coalition is drafting lawsuits and preparing regulatory complaints that could be announced as soon as next month, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, one of the nonprofit advocacy groups that helped form the coalition, along with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brennan Center for Justice, a legal think tank at New York University School of Law.
On one front, the coalition will seek to overturn state laws that have gone largely unchallenged, including new policies that force businesses to allow guns to be carried on their property. The group also plans to mount the first formal challenges to congressional restrictions on publishing government data on gun violence. Taking a page from the fight against big tobacco two decades ago, it will seek the help of regulators to challenge what it views as the gun industry’s attempts to stifle competition. VSSA Life Member and Second Amendment attorney Steve Halbrook talked about this new coalition on NRANewsTV's Cam and Company.
Now is not the time for complacency. While we will have a pro-rights President and Congress, the gun ban lobby is not going to just close their doors and walk away. Bloomberg has been taking his agenda to the states for the past several years. Now we have deep pocket law firms following that strategy. Now more than ever, gun owners need to join their state associations to help fight the coming battles.