Category Archives: Chris’s Blog


Chris’s Blog

While I do some of the writing chores, my main role is behind the scenes. In particular, look for updates about the web site here. We’ve added several new features recently and there are more to come. Please let me know what you think. You can reach us by following the Contact Us link in the menu.

This is an exciting time for The Firearms Coalition. We’re encouraged by the level of encouragement we’ve received so far. It would seem there’s a need for what we envision The Coalition to be. Help us keep it on the right track.


Chris Knox 

Chris Pokes NPR

Chris Pokes at NPR’s Bias

Last month I happened to see a piece in The Hill about then-NPR CEO Vivian Schiller facing the National Press Club and asking with a straight face, “What bias?”  If you’ve been following the story, you know that Ms. Schiller’s “Moi?” was followed by the Ron Schiller (no relation), the head of fundraising, who let his mouth run about the Tea Party.  Between Ron’s up-front hatred and Vivian’s ham-fisted firing of Juan Williams, the network is now down two Schillers.  Both were encouraged to move on.  The weekly show “On the Media” followed the events up with three weeks of navel gazing (they called it soul searching, but they didn’t seem to find much).

I listen to NPR quite a bit.  I take it with a large grain of salt.  What I know that they mis-report on the gun issue leads me to question what they report on other topics, such as the economy, health care, and the federal budget.  Nonetheless, I have yet to find any radio or television coverage that provides as high a signal to noise ratio.  I have on occasion contributed to my local station, being sure to make the pledge during their music programming, and accompanying my check with a note complaining about the bias of NPR’s news coverage.

Dear OTM:

I know one area where NPR is biased. I spend a significant amount of my time thinking and writing about the positive aspects of guns. I have quite a bit of knowledge in this very narrow field (enough that I’ve been interviewed on ‘All Things Considered’), and the bias at NPR is palpable.

My bet is that Brooke, Bob, and Ira have not shot a firearm in the past year, if ever. I’ll risk stereotyping to speculate that their views, as well as the views of their friends and colleagues are probably better represented by organizations like the Violence Policy Center or the Brady Center than the National Rifle Association or some other pro-gun group.

I commend to you the work of Jonathan Haidt ( The issue of guns is a “tribal-moral” issue in the sense that Dr. Haidt uses it. According to that view, Brooke, Bob, and Ira are of the Northeastern Media tribe, while I am of the Southwestern Gun-Owning tribe. The Northeastern Media sometimes refers to my tribal group as “gun-toting” — any hint of bias in that language?

Not only do I hear stories that portray guns and gun owners in a negative light, I don’t hear stories that mention the positive aspects. I can’t recall any mention on NPR of successful civilian defensive uses of guns. It happens, but I’d never know it if I only listened to NPR.

I can’t recall ever hearing an NPR report on competitive shooting except maybe for a rare Olympic story. The National Matches held every summer at Camp Perry, Ohio typically draw thousands of participants, yet I’ve never heard coverage. I suspect you might cover a golf tournament of that scale.

In the narrow field of firearms, I have enough independent knowledge to know that the NPR bias exists. On other topics where I have less knowledge, I can only assume that the same bias is present.

Chris Knox

I sent a similar note directly to their letters address, but saw no response to this or that direct note.

UN Small Arms Conspiracy

Civilian Possession Illustration

“I’m from the UN and I’m here to protect you from your guns”

My conspiracy-minded friends keep pointing stuff out and saying “See? See?!?”  If the illustration above were on a web site or pamphlet warning of the global UN gun grab, some would think it was over the top and excitable.  But wait.  The graphic is from a UN page about <gasp!> civilian possession of weapons.  I’ve reproduced the page below in case the page should go away.  Click on the illustration to see the live page.

UN Small Arms Survey Page Reproduction

Economist Publishes Chris’s Letter

The Economist published my letter.  Always fun getting a letter published.

SIR – You quite accurately identified the failure of the rule of law in Mexico along with the failed drug-policies in the United States as root issues of the violence. But you seemed to inject as an afterthought the article of faith that America’s “lax gun laws” make weapons readily available in Mexico.

It is a leap of logic to assume that tightening gun regulations would restrict gun ownership. Drug prohibition has not made drugs any less available (indeed, any teenager can tell you that it is easier to obtain weed than beer). The demonstrated failure of drug prohibition should not lead one to expect better of a gun prohibition.

Chris Knox

The article:

Mexican waves, Californian cool

Three things to stop the gangs: better police in Mexico, stricter gun laws in America and legal pot in California

THERE have been gunfights outside the American school and a big private university. The mayors of two suburbs have been murdered. And a grenade has been thrown at Saturday evening strollers in a square, injuring 12. All this has happened since August not in Kabul or Baghdad but in Monterrey in northern Mexico (see article). The latest battleground in a multilateral war between drug-trafficking gangs and the authorities, Monterrey is not a dusty outpost. It is one of the biggest industrial cities of North America, a couple of hours’ drive from Texas and home to some of Mexico’s leading companies.

The maelstrom of drug-related violence that is engulfing Mexico has produced exaggerated, sometimes xenophobic, alarm in parts of the United States. The response in Mexico City has, until recently, been defensive denial.

Both reactions are wrong. The violence, in which at least 28,000 people have been killed since 2006, reflects a double failure of public policy: decades of neglect of the basic institutions of the rule of law in Mexico, and a failed approach to drug consumption (plus lax gun laws) in the United States. These mistakes have helped to create the world’s most powerful organised-crime syndicates. Reforms in both countries could help tame them.

Take Mexico first. For much of the long rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party until 2000, the goal of policing was political control rather than crime prevention or detection, and the judiciary acted as a rubber stamp. In these conditions the drug gangs thrived. With increasing urgency the past three Mexican presidents have tried to tackle the mobsters, but have found they lacked the tools for the job. Thus, on taking over as president in 2006, Felipe Calderón turned to the army as a stopgap, sending thousands of troops onto the streets of northern cities. Only now, and with painful slowness, are the elements of a broader strategy falling into place. The new federal police force is growing, but it remains too small. Belatedly, the government has realised that it needs to pursue more active social policies to ensure that young men do not see the drug business as their only career option.

Perhaps the best news is that the mayhem in Monterrey has at last forced Mexico’s politicians and business leaders to face up to the gravity of the threat. Mr Calderón sent a constitutional amendment to Congress this month that would consolidate more than 1,600 local police bodies into 32 reformed and strengthened state forces. It now stands a decent chance of being swiftly approved. Even then, Mexico’s long to-do list includes regaining control of local prisons and local courts.

In all this Mexico is not getting the right kind of help from the United States. Weak law enforcement in Mexico has helped the drug gangs to grow, but their power owes everything to proximity to the world’s largest retail market for illegal drugs. Recent American administrations have at least moved on from the finger-pointing of the past to an acceptance of shared responsibility. But the results are patchy. The Mérida Initiative, a $1.4 billion anti-drug programme for Mexico, is lazily modelled on Plan Colombia. It includes a lot of helicopters and hardware of the kind Colombia needed to fight FARC narcoguerrillas, when what Mexico really needs is far more support with police training and intelligence-gathering.

Mexico would be even better served if the United States renewed a ban on the sale of assault weapons that lapsed in 2004. Sadly, this looks unlikely to happen. Yet since 2006 alone, Mexican authorities have seized 55,000 of these weapons of war. That is enough to equip many NATO armies—and most were bought legally in American gunshops.

The potential of pot

So permissive when it comes to lethal weapons, the United States remains steadfast in its commitment to the prohibition of drugs, in the face of all the evidence that this policy fails to curb their consumption while creating vast profits for organised crime. It is welcome that California is now debating before a referendum on November 2nd, whether to legalise marijuana (see article). This newspaper would vote for the proposition, because we believe that drug addiction, like alcoholism and tobacco consumption, is properly a matter of public health rather than the criminal law.

If California votes in favour of legalisation, Mexico would be wise to follow suit (the bottom would anyway fall out of its marijuana business). The drug gangs would still be left with more lucrative cocaine and methamphetamines. But it would become easier to defeat them. And Mexicans should make no mistake: they must be defeated. The idea of going back to a tacit bargain that tolerates organised crime, favoured by some in Mexico, is inimical to the rule of law, and thus to democracy and a free society. The sooner Mexico turns its new-found sense of urgency into a more effective national policing and law-enforcement strategy the better.

Appleseed Makes NY Times

Appleseed Makes NYTimes

The New York Times Magazine has published a feature story on the Appleseed Project.  Not surprisingly, the article focuses pretty closely on the closest thing to an extremist the author could find.  I knew the story was in the works and expected a hit piece, but it takes a surprisingly level tone.  Nonetheless, even the relatively mainstream American cross-section of opinion from flyover country that is a strong consensus among Appleseeders is pretty strong stuff for the rarefied climes of lower Manhattan.  It will be fun to watch for fall-out.  Meanwhile, the Appleseed Project continues to grow.

VPC and the Spock Theory

I recently discovered this in draft form.  It’s old, but not out of date.

Many years ago my father talked frequently about what he called “the Spock theory of government.”  No, not the pointy-eared Spock; Star Trek had not appeared on TV yet.  He was referring to Dr. Benjamin Spock, the baby doctor who wrote the standard Boomer parenting manual.  I doubt that Dad ever read Dr. Spock.  My well-learned habit of calling him “Sir” indicates that if he did, he didn’t act on many of the doctor’s theories. 

According to Spock (as understood by Neal), parents should “never punish a child for improper behavior, just keep harmful things out of his reach.”  The theory underpins Prohibition, both the Volstead Act of the 1920’s and the modern drug prohibition, and every gun control law.  The government, especially that portion of the government represented by the Democratic Party, sees itself as the parent of a fractious and unruly bood of children, also known as We the People.  African-Americans in particular fit in that category.  As evidence, I submit a “study” from Josh Sugarmann’s Violency Policy Center:

“blacks, like all victims of homicide, guns — usually handguns — are far and away the number one murder tool. Successful efforts to reduce America’s black homicide toll must put a focus on reducing access to firearms.”


Arizona Washington’s Birthday Match

Who would guess that the oldest continuously running rifle match in the country is the Washington’s Birthday Match in Arizona?  The match has run since 1892.  The famed National Matches at Camp Perry are a 20th Century invention, having only run since 1907.  The would-be historian in me wants to compile a record book to document it. 

I’ve seen what it takes to bring off an event like this:  It’s a lot of dang work!  Bill Poole, Highpower Chairman of the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association has been making it look easy for years.  I know it’s not, and I appreciate it!

Ft. Hood Killer Used FN Pistol

ABC Taps Brady Bunch for Firearms Info

Just posted this as a comment to ABC and at Opposing Views.  My comment should be up soon.

ABC appears to have drawn most of the firearms knowledge displayed in their story from this press release.

This report reads like a press release from the Brady Center, using their buzzword, and their exaggerated characterizations of the gun’s power.  The writers’ ignorance of firearms technology is obvious in calling the ammunition "5.7 caliber" (it’s 5.7mm) and calling the magazines "clips."

It’s not hard to see where the claims of bias come from when your reporters run unedited press releases without knowing or understanding what’s in them.  We at The Firearms Coalition would be happy to provide technical assistance.  There are numerous other organizations and groups in the firearms community, including the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the National Rifle Association, and Gun Owners of America who would be equally willing to help you improve the quality of your reporting.

Chris Knox
Communications Director
The Firearms Coalition

Obama Prize and California Ammo Registration

Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize, The Governator signs ammo restrictions

What a week! The gushing from the Left over Obama’s winning of the Nobel Peace Prize puts the prize on a level with the Oscars or the Tony awards — mere entertainment.  The strangest thing about the award is that it was given for a presidency that was less than two weeks old at the time nominations closed.  In other words, Obama won the prize for not being George W. Bush.  Frankly, there may be some merit for that position.  But my favorite reaction to O’s winning the prize comes from Reason magazine’s Nick Gillespie.  The YouTube video is classic.  Watch it here.

Speaking of entertainment, California’s governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a very bad bill requiring ammunition sellers to record each sale of "handgun" ammunition.  That apparently includes .22 Long Rifle.  Unknown whether it includes the 7.62 x 39 Russian for this handgun: 

Romanian AK Draco Pistol 7.62x39 caliber handgun

California statute defines "Handgun Ammunition" thusly:

"Handgun ammunition" means ammunition principally for use in
pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed
upon the person, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 12001,
notwithstanding that the ammunition may also be used in
ome rifles.


I’ve seen a handgun chambered in .45-70.  So does it apply there?  Given the broad brush that law enforcement seems comfortable using in all matters related to guns, I’d counsel California ammo sellers to err on the side of caution.