All posts by Jeff Knox

Clinton’s Gun Control Lies

Clinton’s Gun Control Lies

By Jeff Knox

(October 12, 2016) Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party have declared war on “the NRA,” meaning all gun owners. The truth is a frequent casualty in their war, as they inflate statistics, make false associations, and offer up simplistic “solutions” that seem reasonable, but actually can’t possibly accomplish anything positive, while they do real harm to innocent people who have done nothing wrong and are not part of the problem.

Those of us who have been involved in the fight to protect the Bill of Rights for years, and those who have studied the history of the fight, have seen all of this before. Bitter experience has proven that when gun owners agreed with what seemed like reasonable restrictions on their rights, the problems that were supposed to be solved only got worse and gun owners were vilified and targeted by the laws they’d agreed to.

Right now, the “reasonable” gun control proposals from Hillary Clinton, Mike Bloomberg, and other Democrats – like Arizona Senate candidate Anne Kirkpatrick – revolve around expanding “background checks,” blocking terrorist access to firearms, ending firearm industry liability protections, and reinstatement of the 1994 “assault weapons” ban. All are tailored to sound reasonable, but none of the proposals would accomplish their stated objectives, and would instead place innocent, responsible gun owners at risk, diluting and degrading our rights.

The Lie: There is an epidemic of mass murder and gun-violence in this country.

We are often told that the U.S. is the “only developed nation” with such a horrendous “gun-violence” problem, and that our “gun violence” problem is growing and must be addressed to save innocent lives.

The Truth: Crime – including crime involving firearms – has been steadily and precipitously dropping for the past 20 years and is currently at the lowest rates seen since the early 1960s. The U.S. ranks relatively low in overall violence statistics, though our violence naturally does more frequently involve guns. Still, there are other countries with much more stringent gun laws and much higher murder rates. It’s worth noting that U.S. violent crime statistics are heavily skewed by high numbers from a handful of neighborhoods in a handful of Democratic Party-controlled cities with some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. Excluding just those neighborhoods’ crimes brings our national numbers down to some of the lowest violent crime numbers in the world.

The Lie: Over 30,000 Americans die each year as a result of “gun-violence.”

The Truth: This is not so much a lie as it is a massive distortion. Only about 8,000 of those “firearm deaths” are acts of criminal violence. Most are suicides, but the statistic also includes justified shootings by police and armed citizens. And while 8,000 is too many, it is a very low percentage in a population of over 320 million. Again, these murders predominantly occur in just a few major city neighborhoods, and are most often connected to illegal drugs and street gangs.

The Lie: Terrorists and mass murderers are able to buy guns and “automatic weapons” at gun shows and online, with no background checks.

Every time there is some atrocity committed with firearms, this argument that we need “universal background checks” is trotted out as if passing this legislation would have prevented the latest horror.

The Truth: There has not been a single mass murder or terrorist attack that would have been stopped or mitigated by this proposal. The few perpetrators who did not pass a background check either had a friend buy the guns, or they stole them from a family member. In the case of the Sandy Hook murderer, he killed his own mother to gain access to her guns.

So-called “universal background checks” would have no impact on crime, but would make criminals of innocent gun owners while creating a de facto firearm registration system. Currently, all private transfers must be conducted face-to-face between residents of the same state. It is illegal for a “prohibited person” (one who would fail a background check) to buy a firearm or ammunition from anyone, or for anyone to sell them a gun or ammo if they know or have reason to believe they are prohibited. Those who buy and sell guns illegally on the black market are unaffected by additional background check laws.

As to the so-called “terror gap,” it is a fiction and a constitutional nightmare. The “Terror Watchlist” is secret. No one knows how someone gets on the list or is taken off of it. With some politicians and Homeland Security officials suggesting that NRA membership should be a reason for adding someone to the list, it is small wonder that gun owners are skeptical at the idea of suspending Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights on the basis of inclusion on this secret list.

The Lie: The firearms industry is virtually unregulated and is exempted from liability lawsuits for the harm caused by their products.

Hillary Clinton has made repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act one of her major campaign issues.

The Truth: The firearms industry is tightly regulated. Every level of the industry requires federal licensing and perpetual maintenance of federal paperwork. Firearms may only be bought or sold in face-to-face transactions. No mail-order or internet sales. Protection from certain types of lawsuits was passed because anti-rights politicians were using taxpayer funds to repeatedly sue gun dealers and manufacturers for the acts of criminals. This is akin to suing Chevy because someone used a Camaro in a hit-and-run. The cases were generally dismissed, but the litigation costs were bankrupting gun dealers and manufacturers. Dealers and manufacturers are still liable for faulty guns or guns sold illegally.

No issue is ever as simple and straightforward as proponents and opponents try and make it seem, but when proponents must resort to lies and distortion to make their case, it’s a pretty safe bet that neither the proposal nor the results will match their rhetoric either.

Senate Bets – 2016 Edition

New Hampshire:  Incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) vs. Governor Maggie Hassan (D)

Senator Ayotte rode the Tea Party wave into office, but she, like many “moderate” Republicans, wavered in the face of the Sandy Hook horror.  She eventually voted against the Manchin-Toomey ban on legal private gun sales, but anti-gun forces smelled blood and have been circling her ever since.  The reality is that Senator Ayotte is not a hard-line Second Amendment supporter. But she’s far better than Governor Hassan who has made support for gun control, particularly banning private sales, one of her flagship issues.  Recent polling shows Ayotte and Hassan in a statistical dead heat. It will boil down to who can get the vote out. Granite State GunVoters can contact Gun Owners of New Hampshire (GONH.org) for volunteer opportunities.

Pennsylvania:  Incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey vs. Katie McGinty

Senator Pat Toomey burned many bridges when he put his name on the Manchin-Toomey “compromise” bill to prohibit private gun transfers.  That some leaders of the gun rights movement even signed off on the legislation did little to satisfy GunVoters who largely abandoned him over the bill.  Pennsylvania GunVoters may not want to support Toomey, but giving McGinty the seat not only brings us closer a Democrat-run Senate and Chuck Shumer as Majority Leader, it gives a boost to a rising star in the Democratic Party. GunVoters need to swallow hard and vote for the Republican.  If you are in Pennsylvania and looking for a way to help, contact our friends at Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League (http://acslpa.org/).  They can point to organizations and friends statewide.

North Carolina:  Incumbent Senator Richard Burr (R)

Richard Burr has run on the Second Amendment, but like many “mainstream” Republicans, he has sought “compromise” where there was no grounds for compromise.  Most recently, he voted to allow debate to go forward on a bill to deny Second and Fifth Amendment rights to anyone on the secret Terrorist Watch List. Burr is another boring Republican who at least does not bring us into a world with Schumer as the Majority Leader.  His opposite number, Deborah Ross, is making her opposition to Second Amendment rights a banner issue. Contact Grass Roots North Carolina (http://grnc.org/) for the latest information and volunteer opportunities.

Florida: Incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R) vs. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D)

In Florida, Republican Presidential might-have-been candidate Marco Rubio is running against Rep. Patrick Murphy.  While Rubio has done little to get GunVoters excited, he is generally friendly to gun rights, while Murphy claims that the “NRA fears a shift” in American opinions regarding guns and predicts that Congress no longer fears the wrath of GunVoters.  With some time and effort, Florida GunVoters may be able to correct Rep. Patrick’s view by keeping him out of the Senate. Our friends at Florida Carry (https://www.floridacarry.org) can tell you how to help.

Indiana: Incumbent Sen. Evan Bayh (D) vs. Rep. Todd Young

Moving inland, Indiana features a race between Evan Bayh an incumbent with a dynasty name and Tea Party upstart Todd Young.  Late Senator Birch Bayh was one of the last of the genuine pro-gun Democrats of the previous generation. His son has not continued that tradition, and has instead toed the Democratic party line voting against Second Amend rights at almost every opportunity.  Of the seven toss-up contests in play, Indiana is one of only two opportunities for Republicans to grab a Democratic seat. Indiana GunVoters need to check in with Jim and Margie Tomes who run Second Amendment Patriots. Not only are they legendary activists, they are long-time family friends to the Knox family.

Missouri:  Incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt (R) vs. Rep. Jason Kander (D)

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt is gaffe-prone and a bit an old-school good ol’ boy politician.  He faces a tough challenge in the form of a young Secretary of State from the other party.  Kander ran an ad showing himself, a former National Guardsman, field-stripping an AR-15 blindfolded while expressing support for banning private transfers and denying Second and Fifth Amendment rights to anyone who is placed on a secret list. Even with his warts, Blunt is better for the Second Amendment, and ultimately the country, than Kander.

Nevada:  Rep. Joe Heck (R) vs. Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

GunVoters shed no tears at the news of Harry Reid’s retirement.  His departure was both a relief and an opportunity to pick up a pro-gun Senate seat.  His hand-picked replacement is former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who has already dabbled in gun politics lobbying with Mark Kelly to prohibit private transfers of guns.  Unfortunately, Heck has dabbled with the same position in a vain search for a “moderate” position on the most polarizing of all issues. Hopefully, our friend Don Turner and Nevadans for State Gun Rights (http://nevadansforstategunrights.org/) can educate him.

Senate Watchdogs?

By Jeff Knox

(October 6, 2016) GunVoters don’t like to reward squishy Republicans, but in this very high-stakes election year, who you vote against is just as important – if not more more so – as who you vote for.  Just as many GunVoters distrust Donald Trump – especially after his unfortunate comments and missed opportunities during the first debate – but intend to vote for him anyway, as a vote against Hillary Clinton, so to are many GunVoters faced with an unsavory choice in their U.S. Senate race.  Several incumbent Republicans have less than stellar records on gun issues, making it very hard for GunVoters to get excited about them. On the other hand, all of the Democrat challengers have embraced Hillary Clinton’s anti-rights mantra, calling for bans on private firearm transfers and use of the secret Terror Watchlist to deny Fifth and Second Amendment rights..

More important though, is the critical role the Senate plays in limiting the power of the President, and how the parties play into that role.

If Donald Trump wins, he will face an uphill battle regardless of which party wins the majority in the Senate.  With all of the Democrats and half of the Republicans in Congress, as well as the media, openly hostile toward him, it would be very difficult for him to accomplish much of anything as President unless he went full turncoat – AND – Democrats won the Senate.  But even then, the Republican majority in the House could block or de-fund things they didn’t like.

On the other hand, the media and Democrats in Congress, along with at least a quarter of the Republicans, would fully support, or at least go along with, just about anything Hillary Clinton wanted to do.  There would still be resistance from the House to keep things from coming completely unraveled, but Paul Ryan has not been impressive in his battles with Obama, and Clinton is a much more formidable opponent.

The vacancy on the Supreme Court emphasizes the critical importance of maintaining Republican control of the Senate.  While we try to be non-partisan, Democrats have firmly established themselves as the party of gun control, so even electing a couple of squishy – or even hostile – Republican senators is a necessary evil in order to keep Democrats from taking control of the Senate.  As I recently noted in this column, this isn’t just about the Supreme Court, but lower federal courts as well. Obama has taken great strides in “liberalizing” the courts by appointing over 300 judges over the past 7 years. A Democrat-controlled Senate would mean that Trump judicial appointments would be blocked and Clinton judicial appointments would be unstoppable.

A Democrat majority in the Senate would also mean that rabid, anti-rights zealot, Chuck Schumer would be Senate Majority Leader.  Just the thought of that should make every gun owner shudder.

You can impact Senate election – even those outside your own state.

First, be sure that you get to the polls on November 8 and vote for the people who will keep the serious enemies of liberty out of office.  That might mean holding your nose, but sometimes that’s what it takes.

Second, make sure that your friends and family, folks at the range and gun clubs, church, fraternal organizations, etc., all know why voting is so critical this year, and why they can’t afford to sit this one out or use their vote for making symbolic gestures.  Share this article with them. Post it on bulletin boards and your social media pages, and tell folks specifically who they need to vote for to slow the slide toward tyranny. Make them cheat-sheets to take to the polls with them if necessary.

Third, go through your contact lists and reach out to everyone you can to share this message – especially people living in battleground states where just a few votes could mean the difference between a pro-rights majority, and a majority led by Chuck Schumer.  Again, share this article and make specific requests for votes, and ask the people you contact to contact others with the same message.

The most critical states this year are: Nevada, Indiana, Missouri, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.

Republicans are likely to lose seats in Wisconsin and Illinois, meaning that if they don’t convert the seats in Nevada (very possible) and Indiana (less likely), Democrats winning in any two of the other five states would result in Majority Leader Schumer.

This year, for the first time in more than 20 years, Democrats have gun control a flagship campaign issue from the top of the ticket on down.  If GunVoters don’t answer that push with a resounding “NO” at the polls, anti-rights forces will be emboldened to advance more restrictive proposals, and we will see more “moderate” Republicans like Illinois’ Mark Kirk working with them to erode your rights.

Money is not enough.  You must get personally involved.  If you can’t actively support the Republican candidate, then actively oppose the anti-rights Democrat.  This is too important to leave to others. Take action now.

 

Senate Watchdogs?

Senate Watchdogs?

By Jeff Knox

(October 6, 2016) GunVoters don’t like to reward squishy Republicans, but in this very high-stakes election year, who you vote against is just as important – if not more more so – as who you vote for. Just as many GunVoters distrust Donald Trump – especially after his unfortunate comments and missed opportunities during the first debate – but intend to vote for him anyway, as a vote against Hillary Clinton, so to are many GunVoters faced with an unsavory choice in their U.S. Senate race. Several incumbent Republicans have less than stellar records on gun issues, making it very hard for GunVoters to get excited about them. On the other hand, all of the Democrats in close races have embraced Hillary Clinton’s anti-rights mantra, calling for bans on private firearm transfers and use of the secret Terror Watchlist to deny Fifth and Second Amendment rights..

More important though, is the critical role the Senate plays in limiting the power of the President, and how the parties play into that role.

If Donald Trump wins, he will face an uphill battle regardless of which party wins the majority in the Senate. With all of the Democrats and half of the Republicans in Congress, as well as the media, openly hostile toward him, it would be very difficult for him to accomplish much of anything unless he actively climbs on board with whichever party dominates Congress.

On the other hand, the media and Democrats in Congress, along with at least a quarter of the Republicans, would fully support, or at least go along with, just about anything Hillary Clinton wanted to do. There would still be resistance from the House to hopefully keep things from coming completely unraveled, but Paul Ryan has not been impressive in his battles with Obama, and Clinton is a much more formidable opponent.

The vacancy on the Supreme Court emphasizes the critical importance of maintaining Republican control of the Senate. As I recently noted in this column, this isn’t just about the Supreme Court, but lower federal courts as well. Obama has taken great strides in “liberalizing” the courts by appointing over 300 judges over the past 7 years. A Democrat-controlled Senate would mean that Trump judicial appointments would be blocked and Clinton judicial appointments would be unstoppable.

A Democrat majority in the Senate would also mean that rabid, anti-rights zealot, Chuck Schumer would be Senate Majority Leader, setting the agenda for the Senate, and blocking good bills while advancing bad ones. Just the thought of that should make every gun owner shudder.

You can impact Senate elections – even those outside your own state.

First, be sure that you and your family are educated and get to the polls on November 8 to vote for the people who will keep the serious enemies of liberty out of office. That might mean holding your nose, but sometimes that’s what it takes.

Second, make sure that your friends, folks at the ranges and gun clubs, church, fraternal organizations, etc., all know why voting is so critical this year, and why they can’t afford to sit this one out or use their vote for making symbolic gestures. Share this article with them. Post it on bulletin boards and your social media pages, and tell folks specifically who they need to vote for to slow the anti-liberty slide. Make them cheat-sheets to take to the polls with them if necessary.

Third, go through your contact lists and reach out to everyone you can to share this message – especially people living in battleground states where just a few votes could mean the difference between a pro-rights majority, and a majority led by Chuck Schumer. Again, share this article and make specific requests for votes, and ask the people you contact to contact others with the same message.

Most of the races are not races at all, with the outcome already easily predictable, but there are 7 races that are still considered toss-ups. In Nevada, where Harry Reid is retiring, leaving an open seat, Republican Joe Heck has a good shot. Nevada also has a terrible Bloomberg initiative on the ballot so heavy GunVoter turnout is expected and should help Heck.

Indiana, another race where Republicans have an opportunity to pick up a seat, is not looking great. Incumbent Democrat, Evan Bayh has a pretty good edge over Republican challenger, Todd Young, but a good GunVoter turnout could swing that race in Young’s favor.

North Carolina, Republican incumbent Richard Burr is facing a surprisingly strong challenge from a vocally anti-rights Democrat challenger. This should have been an easy win, but the challenger keeps coming on strong, so Burr needs all the help he can get.

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt is doing a little better in his race against a strong challenger who has effectively used his National Guard weapons experience to promote himself and undermine rights. Blunt needs GunVoters to see through the ploy and get to the polls.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is looking pretty good in recent polling against his Democrat challenger, but the race could still go either way, so GunVoters shouldn’t take any chances.

Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is in a close race with the state’s governor, Maggie Hassan. Ayotte has been heavily targeted by Bloomberg’s forces ever since she stood with GunVoters against the Manchin-Toomey bill, and she needs GunVoter support now.

In Pennsylvania, incumbent Pat Toomey appears to be holding on to a thin margin against a rising star in the Democrat Party named McGinty. I can’t, in good conscience, ask anyone to vote for Toomey. I’d prefer to see him slapped down for his call to ban private transfers, but I also don’t want to see McGinty’s aspirations fulfilled. This is a race where each GunVoter will have to go with their own conscience.

Republicans are likely to lose seats in Wisconsin and Illinois. Ron Johnson is being challenged by former senator Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, and is currently far behind in the polling. A reversal in that race would be a welcome surprise, and GunVoters could make a big impact on making that happen. In Illinois, the most anti-rights Republican in the Senate is losing to a Democrat challenger. This is one race I’m willing to cede to the Democrats. Kirk has been nothing but trouble for gun owners.

Money is not enough this year. You must get personally involved. If you can’t actively support the Republican candidate, then actively oppose the anti-rights Democrat. This is too important to leave to others. Please take action now. We’ll have more details about these races posted at GunVoter.org.

Defending Kids with FASTER

by Jeff Knox

(September 28, 2016) I just returned from the Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC) in Tampa.  As always, it was energizing to hear the latest updates and meet fellow activists from around the country.  One highlight of the conference was a conversation with author and Colorado activist, Laura Carno. Although I had followed the 2013 recalls in Colorado that Laura worked on, she and I had not met. Her name came to my attention again through her article Keeping Kids Safe In A Broken World and we had a chance to talk at the conference.

Laura is looking to bring FASTER to Colorado.  FASTER stands for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response.  The program trains teachers and administrators to be first responders in their schools. I’m familiar with the training due to my connection with the program’s creators in Ohio. The Buckeye Firearms Foundation (BFF) created FASTER in the wake of the Sandy Hook horror.  History shows that “active shooters” and other rampage attackers regardless of the tool – whether a gun, a machete, or even a truck – have one goal: to slaughter as many innocents as possible before they are stopped. The faster someone can stop the killer, the faster someone can administer first aid, the more lives will be saved.

This responsibility includes medical training. Lives can be saved when personnel in schools are taught to stop bleeding, apply chest seals and apply tourniquets. Because they can’t administer medical aid while they are under attack, they are also trained to stop the attacker directly.

BFF is anxious to export FASTER to any state that can get the appropriate laws passed to allow school personnel to be armed on campus, and that will stay true to the FASTER curriculum. Jim Irvine, President of BFF said, “We have four years of FASTER training under our belts. The instructors at Tactical Defense Institute in Ohio are world class, and they are willing to train instructors in other states in the methodology. We know that FASTER saves lives.  Every child —regardless of geography— deserves this level of protection.”

To date, BFF has raised money privately to train over 650 teachers and administrators in this life saving, 3-day course. All of this has been at no cost to teachers, schools or school districts.

After observing a FASTER training class in Ohio this summer, Laura is looking to bring the training to Colorado. “We are the state that had the tragedy at Columbine. Law enforcement has changed its protocols since then, but even when response time is just a few minutes, those are the crucial minutes,” she said. “The faster that an active shooter can be stopped and medical aid can be administered, the smaller the loss of life. Colorado families deserve this.”

I asked Laura what it was about the FASTER experience that made her want to import the training to Colorado sooner rather than later. She said, “During the three days of training, I was able to interact with teachers, principals and other school employees. These are people who would place their bodies between bullets and your kids. Not their kids, your kids. They just want a chance to survive.”

I learned that it’s also important to have the right trainers. This FASTER training goes far beyond the training one would take to obtain a concealed carry license – a concealed carry license is just an entry requirement.  In addition to medical and firearms training, the course includes mindset training, hand-to-hand combat and force-on-force scenarios. Laura was impressed with the intensity with which the class was taught. “It was as if the instructors knew that this one skill,” she said emphasizing each word, “that they taught to this one teacher was going to save a life.” And it just might.

I was interested to know who joined the classes.  Who were they? What made them decide to be an armed first responder on campus?  In Ohio, the school employees applying to the program have to have a concealed carry permit, have their district’s permission and be a volunteer. Those Laura spoke with had no hesitation when they volunteered. They are people who were already familiar with firearms and wanted to be able to defend the kids in their school, just as they had been accustomed to defending themselves and their families.

Jim Irvine from BFF spoke at the GRPC and invited a conversation with anyone who wanted to bring FASTER to their state. I wasn’t surprised to see a crowd around Jim when he finished.  “It’s a pretty compelling case,” he told me. “When we started FASTER in 2012, they laughed at us. They told us no one would sign up for the class.” But they had 2500 applicants for the first class of 24.

If you are interested in FASTER, you can visit their website here. For more on what Laura Carno is doing to bring FASTER to Colorado, you can reach her here.

Saving Children FASTER

Saving Children FASTER

By Jeff Knox

I’m spending some time in our DC area office, having just returned from this year’s annual Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC) in Tampa. As always, it was energizing and informative to hear the latest updates and meet friends and fellow activists from around the country. One person I met was Laura Carno, an author and activist out of Colorado. I knew Laura by reputation, having followed her work on the 2013 recalls in Colorado, and more recently, an article she had written, Keeping Kids Safe In A Broken World, about a project called FASTER.

FASTER stands for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response. The program trains teachers and administrators to be first responders for emergency situations in their schools. Created by the Buckeye Firearms Foundation (BFF) in the wake of the Sandy Hook horror, FASTER takes a pragmatic approach to preventing atrocities and reducing tragic deaths. The program recognizes that the faster victims can be moved out of harms way, the faster someone can stop the killer, and the faster someone can administer effective first aid, thus saving more lives. With that in mind, FASTER provides coordinated emergency response training for police, fire, paramedic, and school personnel.

A standard rule of first aid is to Stop the Bleeding, so FASTER emphasizes emergency medical training for school personnel, teaching them how to properly apply chest seals, tourniquets, and other life-saving techniques instead of waiting for medical professionals to arrive. That’s critical, but stopping the bleeding also means stopping the cause of the bleeding – stopping the attacker – so faster includes firearm, hand-to-hand, and improvised weapons training for school employees who are likely to be in the best position to take immediate action. The program also includes communication and coordination with local law enforcement and medical professionals to make sure that all involved are working from the same playbook and working as effectively as possible together to stop the threat and render the assistance needed to save children’s lives.

The FASTER program has been a huge success in Ohio, with thousands of educators and school administrators volunteering to take the free, three-day course. All funding is provided by concerned citizens and corporate sponsors. [Note: Angels Wanted.]

BFF is anxious to export FASTER to every state for every child. Jim Irvine, President of BFF told me; “We have four years of FASTER training under our belts. The instructors at Tactical Defense Institute in Ohio are world class, and they are willing to train instructors in other states in the methodology. We know that FASTER saves lives. Every child —regardless of geography— deserves this level of protection.”

The first challenge is overcoming the legal roadblocks in many states which mindlessly prohibit trained and capable school staff from having the critical tools needed to effectively respond to these types of events. Jim pointed out that deaths due to fire used to be common in schools in this country, but that threat is virtually nonexistent today thanks to changes in building standards, availability of fire suppression equipment, and response training. He noted that every school is equipped with fire extinguishers, most schools are equipped with AED automatic defibrillator devices for treating heart attack victims, but few schools have even one proper, serious trauma, first aid kit, and fewer still have staff with access to life-saving, rampage cessation devices – guns. That needs to change.

Laura Carno wants to bring FASTER training to Colorado. She sat in on a FASTER course earlier this year, and she’s convinced that it is the most effective way to prevent future tragedies like Sandy Hook and Columbine. “Law enforcement has changed its protocols since Columbine, but even when response time is just a few minutes, those are the crucial minutes,” she said. “The faster that an attacker can be stopped and medical aid can be administered, the smaller the loss of life. Colorado families – all families – deserve this.”

Laura went on to explain that, “During the three days of training, I was able to interact with teachers, principals and other school employees. These are people who would place their bodies between bullets and your kids. Not their kids, your kids. They just want a chance to help children survive.”

In Ohio, the school employees applying to the program have to have a concealed carry permit, have their district’s permission, and be a volunteer. Those Laura spoke with had no hesitation when they volunteered. They are people who were already familiar with firearms, including many veterans and folks with some law enforcement experience, who wanted to be able to defend the kids in their school, just as they are accustomed to being prepared to defend themselves and their families.

The trainers too are dedicated to saving lives. Laura was impressed with the intensity of the training. “It was as if the instructors knew that this one skill,” she said emphasizing each word, “that they taught to this one teacher was going to save a life.” And it just might.

After Jim Irvine spoke at the GRPC, he was surrounded by a crowd of folks wanting more information about how they could bring FASTER to their states. “It’s a pretty compelling case,” he told me. “When we started FASTER in 2012, they laughed at us. They told us no one would sign up for the class, but we had 2500 applicants for the first class of 24.”

Thus far, FASTER has never been tested in a trial by fire, and ideally it never will be. While it could be a deterrent to a lunatic seeking a “soft target,” it’s unlikely that we’ve experienced the last attack on innocents in our schools. If another attack does occur, wouldn’t it be better if there was an armed first responder in the room when it started, as opposed to five minutes away?

If you are interested in bringing FASTER to your state, or you’d like to contribute to the efforts, you can visit their website here. To learn more about what Laura Carno is doing to bring FASTER to Colorado, you can reach her here.

The faster we get this going, the faster we’ll be saving children’s lives.

Bringing a Gun to a Knife Fight

By Jeff Knox

(September 20, 2016) The Crossroads Center Mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota is a “gun-free” establishment, so when a Somali immigrant, apparently intent on striking a blow for the “religion of peace,” started slashing and stabbing shoppers in the mall, he had a reasonable expectation that he would meet little in the way of effective resistance, at least until the police could get there.  It’s clear that the attacker was intent on killing and injuring as many people as possible, and also appears that he was determined not to survive the rampage himself. What this “suspected” terrorist coward apparently didn’t count on was that one of the nearby mall shoppers, Jason Falconer, was a competitive shooter, NRA certified firearms and self-defense instructor, and part-time police officer from a nearby town – and that in Minnesota “gun-free zones” don’t apply to law enforcement officers, even if they are only part-time cops and off-duty.

The terrorist coward – whose name I will not repeat because I refuse to give these cowards the publicity – was expecting to stab fish in a barrel, and that’s what he was doing until Falconer showed up, bringing a gun to a knife fight.  When Falconer moved from safety into the danger zone, he ordered the slasher to drop his weapon, but instead of complying, the “suspected” terrorist charged at Falconer, forcing him to fire. Down, but not out, the scumbag got up and attempted to lunge again, resulting in another shot from Falconer, then repeated the sequence at least once more, until he wasn’t getting up ever again.  That determination to keep attacking, even when it was clear he couldn’t win, suggests that this low-life was looking to be “martyred” so he would be guaranteed a place in Paradise.

A Middle-Eastern news outlet with ties to Daesh, the Muslim, terrorist organization and would-be caliphate based in Syria that Barack Obama insists on calling ISIL, has claimed that the attacker was acting on their behalf when he tried to slaughter helpless innocents, and witnesses reported that he asked at least one person if they were Muslim, and invoked the name of Allah during the attack, leading the FBI to investigate the incident as a “Suspected act of terrorism.”

The media has focused a lot of attention on Jason Falconer’s status as a police officer and police firearm trainer, but they have glossed over the fact that Falconer doesn’t just train police, he trains civilians as well, and while his actions were heroic and extremely competent, there was nothing particularly impressive about his firearm handling skills in this incident.  The biggest factor in Falconer being able to do what he did was that he had a gun when no one else did.

I don’t mean to diminish Falconer’s actions in any way.  The heroic part of what he did was facing the trouble rather than running away, and that’s no small thing.  But I want to point out that there are millions of other Americans with the skills needed to safely and effectively neutralize this sort of threat.  There are some 13 million Americans licensed by their states to discreetly carry firearms. There are untold millions more who choose to discreetly carry in the 11 states where no license is required, or who carry openly, without any special licensing, in the 30 states where that is not prohibited.

While not all of these folks have the level of training and experience that Falconer does, most of Falconer’s training and experience wasn’t really a factor in this particular incident.  Like the traffic cop in Texas who dispatched the two Jihadis who attacked the Draw Mohammad contest, Falconer is a competitor in “Action Shooting Sports.” Falconer is a member of the U.S. Practical Shooting Association, which boasts around 30,000 members, but USPSA is only one of several national and international organizations that put shooters’ skills to the test under pressure.

The International Defensive Pistol Association, the National 3-gun Association, NRA Action Pistol, the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation, the Single-Action Shooting Society, and others sponsor and sanction thousands of challenging matches every year all over the country.  USPSA alone has some 400 affiliated clubs across the U.S. hosting thousands of events each year. On top of that are the thousands of local clubs and ranges that host training and formal and informal competitions, all designed to test and improve shooters’ gun handling skills.

Then there are the training establishments and independent instructors who offer basic to advanced training in all sorts of shooting disciplines.  Front Sight Firearms Training Institute in Nevada trains some 50,000 students a year.  The grandaddy of handgun training schools, Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona has been offering top-quality training since the mid 1970s, with hundreds of their students and instructors subsequently striking out on their own to offer individual and group training all over the country.

As a long-time USPSA member and competitor myself, and a contributor to their magazine, Front Sight, I’ve met thousands of people with the skills and mindset needed to handle emergencies like the attack in Minnesota.  Of course no one ever knows exactly how they will react in a given situation, but training, competition, and the practice they demand help ingrain habits that ensure safety and enhance performance under stressful conditions.  Many experienced law enforcement officers participate in action shooting sports, but they do not dominate the sport by any means. In fact, only a relatively small percentage of top competitors have law enforcement experience.

All of this leads up to the one burning question that the media and politicians just can’t seem to wrap their heads around: In this age of “lone wolf,” random terrorist attacks and pervasive threats, why do some in our society demand that millions of competent gun owners, who safely and responsibly carry every day, disarm when shopping, sipping coffee, or watching a movie?

So-called “Gun-Free Zones” don’t prevent violence, they only reduce the likelihood that a hero will be equipped to stop the violence when it starts.

Disarming First Responders

Disarming First-Responders

By Jeff Knox

(September 20, 2016) The Crossroads Center Mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota is a “gun-free” establishment, so when a Somali immigrant, apparently intent on striking a blow for the “religion of peace,” started slashing and stabbing shoppers in the mall, he had a reasonable expectation that he would meet little in the way of effective resistance, at least until the police could get there. It’s clear that the attacker was intent on killing and injuring as many people as possible, and also appears that he was determined not to survive the rampage himself. What this “suspected” terrorist coward apparently didn’t count on was that one of the nearby mall shoppers, Jason Falconer, was a competitive shooter, NRA certified firearms and self-defense instructor, and part-time police officer from a nearby town – and that in Minnesota “gun-free zones” don’t apply to law enforcement officers, even if they are only part-time cops and off-duty.

The terrorist coward – whose name I will not repeat because I refuse to give these cowards the publicity – was expecting to stab fish in a barrel, and that’s what he was doing until Falconer showed up, bringing a gun to a knife fight. When Falconer moved from safety into the danger zone, he ordered the slasher to drop his weapon, but instead of complying, the “suspected” terrorist charged at Falconer, forcing him to fire. Down, but not out, the scumbag got up and attempted to lunge again, resulting in another shot from Falconer, then repeated the sequence at least once more, until he wasn’t getting up ever again. That determination to keep attacking, even when it was clear he couldn’t win, suggests that this low-life was looking to be “martyred” so he would be guaranteed a place in Paradise.

A Middle-Eastern news outlet with ties to Daesh, the Muslim, terrorist organization and would-be caliphate based in Syria that Barack Obama insists on calling ISIL, has claimed that the attacker was acting on their behalf when he tried to slaughter helpless innocents, and witnesses reported that he asked at least one person if they were Muslim, and invoked the name of Allah during the attack, leading the FBI to investigate the incident as a “Suspected act of terrorism.”

The media has focused a lot of attention on Jason Falconer’s status as a police officer and police firearm trainer, but they have glossed over the fact that Falconer doesn’t just train police, he trains civilians as well, and while his actions were heroic and extremely competent, there was nothing particularly impressive about his firearm handling skills in this incident. The biggest factor in Falconer being able to do what he did was that he had a gun when no one else did.

I don’t mean to diminish Falconer’s actions in any way. The heroic part of what he did was facing the trouble rather than running away, and that’s no small thing. But I want to point out that there are millions of other Americans with the skills needed to safely and effectively neutralize this sort of threat. There are some 13 million Americans licensed by their states to discreetly carry firearms. There are untold millions more who choose to discreetly carry in the 11 states where no license is required, or who carry openly, without any special licensing, in the 30 states where that is not prohibited.

While not all of these folks have the level of training and experience that Falconer does, most of Falconer’s training and experience wasn’t really a factor in this particular incident. Like the traffic cop in Texas who dispatched the two Jihadis who attacked the Draw Mohammad contest, Falconer is a competitor in “Action Shooting Sports.” Falconer is a member of the U.S. Practical Shooting Association, which boasts around 30,000 members, but USPSA is only one of several national and international organizations that put shooters’ skills to the test under pressure.

The International Defensive Pistol Association, the National 3-gun Association, NRA Action Pistol, the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation, the Single-Action Shooting Society, and others sponsor and sanction thousands of challenging matches every year all over the country. USPSA alone has some 400 affiliated clubs across the U.S. hosting thousands of events each year. On top of that are the thousands of local clubs and ranges that host training and formal and informal competitions, all designed to test and improve shooters’ gun handling skills.

Then there are the training establishments and independent instructors who offer basic to advanced training in all sorts of shooting disciplines. Front Sight Firearms Training Institute in Nevada trains some 50,000 students a year. The grandaddy of handgun training schools, Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona has been offering top-quality training since the mid 1970s, with hundreds of their students and instructors subsequently striking out on their own to offer individual and group training all over the country.

As a long-time USPSA member and competitor myself, and a contributor to their magazine, Front Sight, I’ve met thousands of people with the skills and mindset needed to handle emergencies like the attack in Minnesota. Of course no one ever knows exactly how they will react in a given situation, but training, competition, and the practice they demand help ingrain habits that ensure safety and enhance performance under stressful conditions. Many experienced law enforcement officers participate in action shooting sports, but they do not dominate the sport by any means. In fact, only a relatively small percentage of top competitors have law enforcement experience.

All of this leads up to the one burning question that the media and politicians just can’t seem to wrap their heads around: In this age of “lone wolf,” random terrorist attacks and pervasive threats, why do some in our society demand that millions of competent gun owners, who safely and responsibly carry every day, disarm when shopping, sipping coffee, or watching a movie?

So-called “Gun-Free Zones” don’t prevent violence, they only reduce the likelihood that a hero will be equipped to stop the violence when it starts.

 

Not Just the Supreme Court at Stake

By Jeff Knox

(September 15, 2016) With less than 8 weeks left until the critical November elections, both sides are pulling out all the stops to try and get their supporters to the polls.  One of the big topics has been potential Supreme Court appointments, but there is much more than just the Supreme Court at stake in November.

With the vacancy on the Court due to the death of Antonin Scalia, we know that the next President will, at a minimum, have that appointment to make, which will either maintain the Court at a slight lean to the “right,” or lean it far to the “left.”  Since Scalia was a conservative leader on the Court, it will be close to impossible to find anyone who could effectively fill his shoes, or possibly take the Court any further to the right. That means that regardless of who wins the election, at best, the Court will probably be a bit to the “left” of where it was a year ago with Scalia on the bench.  If Hillary Clinton wins though, Scalia’s replacement would be something between a “moderate liberal” like Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland, and a “radical liberal” like Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her pick will depend on the make-up of the Senate after the election. Whoever she appoints, when added to the current 4 liberal justices, would mean a solid liberal majority that would completely dominate the Court.  There is also a likelihood of 83-year old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg retiring if Hillary wins the presidency, meaning the liberal wing of the Court would have only one member over 60-years of age, all but guaranteeing “liberal” dominance for at least the next 20 to 30 years.

But the Supreme Court is only the tip of the judicial iceberg, and the next President will have a significant impact on the rest of the judiciary as well.  Over the past 8 years, Obama has shifted the balance of power in most of the circuits of the Federal Courts of Appeals, along with the Federal District Courts.  In all he has appointed over 300 judges to lifetime seats on federal benches, resulting in Democrat majorities in 9 of the 13 Courts of Appeal, with at least 2 of the remaining 4 poised to topple with the next appointments.  While most of those appointees have been considered “moderates” by the current yardstick of the pundit class, their decisions have been anything but moderate. Another 4 years of Democrat control will seal all of the circuits in “liberal activist” mode for decades.  The Supreme Court is certainly important, but SCOTUS only hears about 80 cases each year, while Federal District Courts hear something in the neighborhood of 200,000 cases each year, and Federal Appeals Courts review approximately 40,000 of those.

Though Congress writes the laws, with the executive branch crafting regulations and enforcing the laws, it is the courts that decide what the laws mean and how they can or must be enforced.  They can rule a law null and void by declaring it unconstitutional, or can, in effect, overrule the Constitution by ruling that a law or regulation either doesn’t violate it, or that it only violates it in a minor way which is acceptable as a “reasonable burden” on people’s rights.

For instance, the 9th Circuit recently ruled that federal prosecutors could not prosecute people who violate federal laws against growing, using, or selling marijuana, as long as those people only did so in accordance with state laws regarding marijuana for medical purposes.  But in a separate case, the same court ruled that a person who has a state-issued card authorizing them to use marijuana for medicinal purposes can have their right to purchase a firearm denied on the basis that if they have the card, it is a reasonable assumption that they are a user of illegal drugs.  Even though the court acknowledged that this is a violation of Second Amendment rights, they concluded that the government’s interest in trying to keep guns away from illegal drug users outweighs individual rights to purchase firearms.

In that particular case, the plaintiff, who holds a medical marijuana card in Nevada, claimed that she did not actually use marijuana, but got the card as a way to show support for the concept.  Under that circumstance, the court said, she is not prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition, but can be prohibited from purchasing them, because it is reasonable for a gun seller who knows that a person has a medical marijuana card to assume that the person is a user of illegal drugs.

In this decision the court applied what is known as “intermediate scrutiny” to reach their conclusion that the infringement of the plaintiff’s Second Amendment rights was acceptable.  This level of scrutiny is the middle-ground between “rational basis” and “strict scrutiny,” and is based on a determination that the government has a “compelling interest” for its infringing laws, and that the laws substantially relate to satisfying that interest.  The use of “intermediate scrutiny” has become the standard method for courts to ignore the protections of the Second Amendment. Even though the Supreme Court, in their McDonald decision, declared that the right to arms is a fundamental right, and court procedures dictate that the higher standard of “strict scrutiny” should be applied to cases dealing with fundamental rights, liberal-dominated courts routinely ignore this standard and opt to go with “intermediate scrutiny” so they can justify ruling in favor of laws that restrict gun rights.

The only way this trend of abuse will ever be corrected is for the Supreme Court to step in and reverse some of these bad decisions.  But that will not happen if Hillary Clinton gets to name the next justice to the Supreme Court, and the abuse will continue to get worse as more liberal judges are added to District and Circuit Courts.

The November elections might not be our last chance to save the Constitution, but they are our best hope for doing so.

 

More than SCOTUS at Stake

Not Just the Supreme Court at Stake

By Jeff Knox

(September 15, 2016) With less than 8 weeks left until the critical November elections, both sides are pulling out all the stops to try and get their supporters to the polls. One of the big topics has been potential Supreme Court appointments, but there is much more than just the Supreme Court at stake in November.

With the vacancy on the Court due to the death of Antonin Scalia, we know that the next President will, at a minimum, have that appointment to make, which will either maintain the Court at a slight lean to the “right,” or lean it far to the “left.” Since Scalia was a conservative leader on the Court, it will be close to impossible to find anyone who could effectively fill his shoes, or possibly take the Court any further to the right. That means that regardless of who wins the election, at best, the Court will probably be a bit to the left of where it was a year ago with Scalia on the bench. If Hillary Clinton wins though, Scalia’s replacement would be something between a “moderate liberal” like Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland, and a “radical liberal” like Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her pick will depend on the make-up of the Senate after the election. Whoever she appoints, when added to the current 4 liberal justices, would mean a solid liberal majority that would completely dominate the Court. There is also a likelihood of 83-year old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg retiring if Hillary wins the presidency, meaning the liberal wing of the Court would have only one member over 60-years of age, all but guaranteeing liberal dominance for at least the next 20 to 30 years.

But the Supreme Court is only the tip of the judicial iceberg, and the next President will have a significant impact on the rest of the judiciary as well. Over the past 8 years, Obama has shifted the balance of power in most of the circuits of the Federal Courts of Appeals, along with the Federal District Courts. In all he has appointed over 300 judges to lifetime seats on federal benches, resulting in Democrat majorities in 9 of the 13 Courts of Appeal, with at least 2 of the remaining 4 poised to topple with the next appointments. While most of those appointees have been considered “moderates” by the current yardstick of the pundit class, their decisions have been anything but moderate. Another 4 years of Democrat control will seal all of the circuits in “liberal activist” mode for decades. The Supreme Court is certainly important, but SCOTUS only hears about 80 cases each year, while Federal District Courts hear something in the neighborhood of 200,000 cases each year, and Federal Appeals Courts review approximately 40,000 of those.

Though Congress writes the laws, with the executive branch crafting regulations and enforcing the laws, it is the courts that decide what the laws mean and how they can or must be enforced. They can rule a law null and void by declaring it unconstitutional, or can, in effect, overrule the Constitution by ruling that a law or regulation either doesn’t violate it, or that it only violates it in a minor way which is acceptable as a “reasonable burden” on people’s rights.

For instance, the 9th Circuit recently ruled that federal prosecutors could not prosecute people who violate federal laws against growing, using, or selling marijuana, as long as those people only did so in accordance with state laws regarding marijuana for medical purposes. But in a separate case, the same court ruled that a person who has a state-issued card authorizing them to use marijuana for medicinal purposes can have their right to purchase a firearm denied on the basis that if they have the card, it is a reasonable assumption that they are a user of illegal drugs. Even though the court acknowledged that this is a violation of Second Amendment rights, they concluded that the government’s interest in trying to keep guns away from illegal drug users outweighs individual rights to purchase firearms.

In that particular case, the plaintiff, who holds a medical marijuana card in Nevada, claimed that she did not actually use marijuana, but got the card as a way to show support for the concept. Under that circumstance, the court said, she is not prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition, but can be prohibited from purchasing them, because it is reasonable for a gun seller who knows that a person has a medical marijuana card to assume that the person is a user of illegal drugs.

In this decision the court applied what is known as “intermediate scrutiny” to reach their conclusion that the infringement of the plaintiff’s Second Amendment rights was acceptable. This level of scrutiny is the middle-ground between “rational basis” and “strict scrutiny,” and is based on a determination that the government has a “compelling interest” for its infringing laws, and that the laws substantially relate to satisfying that interest. The use of “intermediate scrutiny” has become the standard method for courts to ignore the protections of the Second Amendment. Even though the Supreme Court, in their McDonald decision, declared that the right to arms is a fundamental right, and court procedures dictate that the higher standard of “strict scrutiny” should be applied to cases dealing with fundamental rights, liberal-dominated courts routinely ignore this standard and opt to go with “intermediate scrutiny” so they can justify ruling in favor of laws that restrict gun rights.

The only way this trend of abuse will ever be corrected is for the Supreme Court to step in and reverse some of these bad decisions. But that will never happen if Hillary Clinton gets to name the next justice to the Supreme Court, and the abuse will continue to get worse as more liberal judges are added to District and Circuit Courts.

The November elections might not be our last chance to save the Constitution, but they are our best hope for doing so. If Donald Trump doesn’t win, Hillary Clinton does, and Hillary Clinton will unquestionably stack the courts against Second Amendment rights.