PA Alert – 9/22/18

** Emergency Alert **

Critical Votes in Pennsylvania on Monday

By Jeff Knox

(September 22, 2018) The Pennsylvania House has announced plans to take two anti-rights bills off the table and bring them to a vote on the House floor this Monday and Tuesday.

Rights supporters in Pennsylvania Must Act NOW!!!

If you live in Pennsylvania, your state representatives need to hear from you TODAY, letting them know that a “Yes” vote on HB 2227 and/or HB 2060 will result in serious repercussions at the polls, particularly for Republicans. If you don’t live in Pennsylvania, your friends in the Keystone State need to see this alert, so forward it to them right now.

The Republican leadership in the Pennsylvania State House is playing right into the hands of the anti-rights Democrats in this case. Republican Speaker Mike Turzai has been duped by a biased media and misleading polls into believing that voters want these bills. He and his colleagues are not looking at the most important political reality:

The only significant voting block driven by gun votes is GunVoters.

Any vote that is perceived by GunVoters to be even the slightest bit in opposition to gun rights, will result in angry GunVoters actively opposing those who voted wrong, and throngs of others will just throw up their hands in disgust and walk away from the backstabbing politicians – costing Republicans votes that they can’t afford in this critical election year.

No Pennsylvania voter is going to switch their vote to Republican based on Republican support for these ill-conceived bills.

No Pennsylvania voter is going to switch their vote to Democrat based on Republicans opposing these bad bills.

The only votes that will be lost or gained based on these bills are the votes of GunVoters, and GunVoters have proven over and over again a willingness to aggressively punish backstabbers at the polls, even if it means a less desirable candidate will win the seat. The politicians need to understand this. If they don’t understand it, then they need you to explain it to them.

HB 2060 and HB 2227 are supposedly intended to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, but in reality these bills focus on tools instead of focusing on the dangerous individuals. If someone is suicidal, knocking down their door and taking their guns is not going to make them less suicidal and does not remove their ability to do harm to themselves. In fact, such action is more likely to push them over the edge. Likewise, if someone is a serious threat to others, police intervention to take away their guns – not their knives, cars, chainsaws, flammable liquids, etc. – does nothing to prevent that dangerous person from committing a heinous crime. Police can never be sure that they’ve gotten all of an individuals guns, nor can they ensure that the person doesn’t have access to guns through other channels, and while guns are a popular tool for those bent on homicide, they are by no means the only tool that is readily available, nor the most effective. The worst mass murders in U.S. history did not involve guns as the primary weapon. The Happy Land murderer used a match and a dollar’s worth of gasoline to kill 87 people in 1990. Even one of the most often cited cases in support of these types of laws – the Isla Vista murders, in which a twisted little weasel killed 6 people in “retribution” for girls refusing to have sex with him (because he was a twisted little weasel) – half of the victims were stabbed to death, not shot. Taking the murderer’s guns away from him in advance of the rampage would probably have had little impact on the final outcome, and not necessarily a positive impact at that. On the other hand, taking the deranged little puke into custody and getting him some much needed mental health treatment might have saved all of those lives.

For more information about the problems and false promises of Extreme Risk Protection Orders, read this recent column on the subject. For more information on the specific bills in question, and to keep up with what’s going on in the Pennsylvania Legislature, go to https://foac-pac.org/State-Legislation-Talking-Points.

FOAC needs your support right now. Don’t put it off. If you live in Pennsylvania, Contact your State Representatives, your State Senators, your state Republican Party officials, and the Republican leadership in both houses, and demand that they stop this nonsense or face consequences in November. Giving Democrats what they want is not a way to win Republican elections!

If you don’t live in Pennsylvania, please forward this Alert to your friends who do. Post it on your social media pages and in the forums you frequent. We only have this weekend to get the word out and stop these bills. Please take action NOW.

Silicon Valley Censorship

New Tube?

By Jeff Knox

(September 7, 2018) Anyone who watches videos on YouTube is well aware that the video hosting service, owned by Google, has been slowly choking off channels and content providers who don’t comport with the Google leadership’s leftist worldview. It started a few years ago when “traditional media” – particularly newspapers – began going after some of YouTube’s biggest stars by publicizing their incomes, and highlighting examples of them presenting off-color and potentially racist content, with major advertisers like Coca-Cola appearing as the content’s sponsor.

What this actually boiled down to was “traditional media” trying to recapture some of those advertising dollars by scaring the advertisers away from the new frontier of unregulated content.

It worked, to a degree. Major sponsors, who were actually sponsoring the platform, not specific content, backed away, costing Google hundreds of millions of dollars, just as the platform was moving into a position of profitability. Instead of standing by their policy of offering an open hosting service with few restrictions on content, and offering their advertisers ways to more selectively tailor their ad placement, Google blocked and “demonetized” wide swaths of channels that they deemed “inappropriate” for commercial sponsorship – including most channels with any sort of firearm-related content.

After months of wrangling and policy shifts, the YouTube universe began to settle in and normalize somewhat. Many channels that had been riding on the ragged edge of YouTube’s loose guidelines, like channels offering “health videos” of young women demonstrating yoga “au natural” and those presenting overtly racist content like neo-nazi channels, were either barred altogether, or were placed under tight restrictions that made them difficult to find or view, and kept them far away from any advertisers’ dollars or commercials. But other channels with content that most people would consider non-controversial, were also “demonetized,” moved out of the main viewing areas, and left with far fewer viewers and far fewer advertiser dollars, if any. These included gun channels, along with all sorts of channels that present “conservative” views.

Even channels that are funded by direct sponsorship have been hurt due to shifts in the way YouTube presents options to viewers. Originally, the platform would track a viewer’s channel preferences and at the end of each video, the system would offer up a dozen other videos that matched that viewer’s apparent interests. If you watched a lot of shooting or hunting videos, the system would suggest more shooting and hunting videos for you to look at, along with a few “trending” videos that the system determined were popular with other people with similar viewing preferences. If you watched conservative news channels like Bill Whittle and Ben Shapiro, the system would suggest other conservative news videos that might interest you, and if you subscribed to particular channels, those channels’ new offerings would always be at the top of your menu list. But as YouTube shifted their suggestion system, gun channels and conservative news channels became less and less likely to show up in a viewer’s suggestion list, resulting in fewer and fewer new viewers. And of course, fewer views means less money from advertisers, even if they are direct sponsors.

In recent months the restrictions and limitations have been escalating again. New restrictions on types of firearm-related content allowed on the platform have been implemented, barring any links to firearm or ammunition sales, forbidding any demonstrations of firearm manufacture, assembly, or modification, and labeling most firearm-related content as inappropriate for viewers under 18 years of age. They are also “cracking down” on “hate speech,” which can include anything from racist rants and Holocaust denial to scientific discussion of sex and gender, or Biblical discussion of homosexuality as a sin. Some, such as videos from PragerU.com, have been restricted on what appears to be purely political grounds. There also appears to be a new shift in the way the system makes viewing suggestions, feeding “conservative” viewers more “conservative” content, but only after they have demonstrated a strong leaning in that direction. This feeds an echo-chamber effect, providing “conservatives” with only “conservative” content, and presumably providing “liberals” with only “liberal” content, while continuing to suppress “conservative” content from the masses.

Various efforts have been put forward to provide a platform for “conservative” and firearm-related content, but most of these efforts are misguided, because they are designed to only reach audiences that specifically seek out that type of content. The magic and power of YouTube was that one interest could lead a person into new areas that they had never considered before. Watching a video on blacksmithing could trigger a suggestion of a video on engraving, which could lead to viewing a video on classic firearms, leading to a video of Jerry Miculek firing 12 shots from a 6-shot revolver in under 3 seconds (reload included), which might lead to a series of videos on IDPA and USPSA competition and a new firearm enthusiast is born. Those viewers might never bother to seek out a shooting channel, but when the shooting video is presented next to some other interest, they have the opportunity to explore that new idea. That’s why the rapid deterioration of YouTube is such a problem, and why single-focus alternatives are not a solution.

Instead of various marginalized groups trying to create narrowly focused platforms for their content, these groups should be teaming with other liberty-minded groups and individuals to create a truly open, lightly regulated, free speech platform where content creators can be judged by the public, not by the political whims of a few San Francisco billionaires.

Firearms groups and creators, conservative and libertarian groups and creators, gamers, wrench-benders, homesteaders, fabricators, free speech advocates, religious advocates, and others concerned with liberty, need to join together to build an open-source, video hosting platform that’s dedicated to freedom of speech. It would be a massive undertaking, but something needs to break the grip of Google and YouTube.

The Stupider They Get…

“Above the Law” Goes Beyond Stupid

By Jeff Knox

I just read one of the most idiotic rants I think I’ve ever encountered. It was written by a fellow named Elie Mystal, whose arrogance is only exceeded by his ignorance, at least where the constitution and gun laws are concerned.

The article was titled “The Rare Gun Regulation I Think Was Actually Stupid.”

Let’s begin by clarifying that he’s not lamenting a stupid regulation against rare guns, but rather declaring that, while he rarely comes across a gun regulation that he disagrees with, he recently happened upon one that he thought was actually stupid.

To make his point, after that brilliant headline, Mr. Mystal opens up with a broadside of stupid to set the tone for the piece.

I support the government’s right to regulate firearms, since that right is enshrined in the Constitution, but this regulation failed to appreciate human weakness.”

Excuse me? The government’s right to regulate firearms is enshrined in the Constitution? Is that what they’re teaching at Harvard these days, that the Constitution enshrines the rights of the government?

I ask about Harvard because Mr. Mystal received both a degree in Government, and a Juris Doctorate from that prestigious institution. I’m sure Alan Dershowitz must be thrilled to have this guy representing his school. Perhaps he was out sick the day they went over the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, or maybe the rest of us are just confused, and the reality is that when the Constitution says “the people,” that really means the government.

Stunningly, the article actually goes downhill from there. Who would have imagined that there was room to go down from such a low starting point? But Mr. Mystal managed to do it.

The ordinance he’s referencing in the title and opening paragraph was one issued by a town in North Carolina in advance of Hurricane Florence, which forbid the sale, purchase, or carry of a firearm during their declared state of emergency. While that is indeed a stupid regulation – and an illegal one at that – Mr. Mystal’s rationale for calling it stupid isn’t based on rational arguments such as the threats posed by looters and thugs during times of crisis, when there are no police to come to one’s aid. Nor was he concerned about the problem of leaving guns unattended in homes that were likely to be targets for those same looters and thugs. No, the reason Mr. Mystal thinks the ordinance is stupid, is that it was silly of the City Council to think that ignorant, knuckle-dragging gun owners, who can’t be convinced to divest themselves of their dangerous weapons during good times, are certainly not going to give them up during a crisis, when they are feeling threatened and vulnerable, so it was stupid of the Council to try.

Part of that rationale is very true; it is foolish to think that people who regularly go armed would forego doing so during a crisis, but his characterization of gun owners was pretty insulting, especially when wrapped in the incredible ignorance he displayed about guns and gun owners throughout the article. The whole piece can be summed up as follows:

Mystal knows nothing about guns, and probably doesn’t know anyone who even owns guns. He takes as gospel, everything ever put out by the Brady Bunch, Bloomberg, or any of the various “researchers” on their payrolls, which claim that guns do only harm, put their owners and their families at greater risk, and serve no useful or positive purpose in civilian hands. And he dismisses out of hand any research or opinion which differs from his own. According to Mr. Mystal, anyone who chooses to own – much less carry – a firearm is stupid. People who oppose gun laws are stupid and/or evil, and politicians who pass gun laws like the town in North Carolina are stupid for not recognizing how stupid gun owners really are and not understanding that passing such laws is futile in the face of such stupidity.

This Harvard-educated, New York City former attorney turned self-proclaimed “online provocateur,” thinks the Constitution protects the rights of the government, and “the people” are too stupid to make decisions for themselves. He celebrates his ignorance with a level of arrogance and self-importance that’s simply stunning, even for a Harvard-educated, New York City dweller.

But even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then, and this pompous ass offered up this one:

We shouldn’t make laws and interpret the Constitution based on the unrealized fears of the dumbest and most resistant to facts among us.”

But of course, he is unable to see that he’s talking about himself with that statement. His hollow insults about the lowly, gun-loving trailer-trash of the hinterlands provides a strong argument against leaving such important matters in the hands of coastal elites like Mystal.

Republicans Just Don’t Get It

The Self-Defeating Republican Strategy

By Jeff Knox

(September 7, 2018) As we pass out of Primary Season here in Arizona, and enter General Election Season nationwide, I’m struck by the lack of any sort of cohesive election strategy on the part of the GOP. While Senate Republicans are focused on confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the House Republicans are milling about doing little beyond throwing rocks at each other and the President over accusations of misconduct on the part of a couple of their members, and a pair of unsourced, but sensational portraits of chaos in the West Wing.

Republicans keep following a non-strategy of just reacting to the latest media attacks, and their strategists appear to be as disdainful of their own base as the Democrat elites are. They show no signs of having a plan for winning in November, so here’s a suggestion for them. For years I have encouraged state grassroots groups to adopt a double-pronged legislative agenda. The first prong is their Action Agenda – the legislation they really want to get passed – while the second prong is their Political Agenda – legislation that might not be passable, but which will force legislators to take a stand prior to reelection season.

Congress should be taking a similar approach. The confirmation of Kavanaugh is pretty good election season fodder for Republicans, but it is also firing-up the Democrat base. Rather than dragging it out as they are doing now, the Republican leadership should dispense with the kabuki theater of drawn-out hearings, and simply move forward with a confirmation vote. No new information about Judge Kavanaugh or his positions will be revealed in these hearings, and the hearings are not going to change any minds or votes. The only purpose the hearings serve is a forum for showboating on both sides, and an opportunity for a lot of whining and outrageous accusations flowing from the left and their media allies. Senator Grassly should abbreviate the committee hearings, going through the proforma motions as quickly as possible and moving straight to a vote of the Judiciary Committee. Then Mitch McConnell should act similarly, moving the confirmation debate quickly and getting straight to a vote. We all know that this will be a straight party-line vote, and that it is not Democrats who will decide whether Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, but Republicans, specifically Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Jeff Flake of Arizona.

The slim, one-seat majority Republicans hold in the Senate was, until last Monday, in reality a 49-49 split, since John McCain was still holding a seat, even though he hadn’t been present for a vote in months. That meant that one Republican defector would have been able to sink the Kavanaugh nomination. Collins and Murkowski want to keep their seats for a few more terms, and being the Republican who kept the Supreme Court in play for more anti-rights leftist abuse, would be a hard label to live down. Flake on the other hand is retiring from the Senate, and he’s demonstrated a nasty vindictive streak where President Trump is concerned, so there was some real worry that he might take his war with the president to a new low by voting against Kavanaugh, or simply not show up for the vote. Thankfully that shouldn’t matter now that Jon Kyl has been appointed to fill McCain’s seat. While Kyl falls far short of being a reliable conservative, he has been shepherding Kavanaugh around to Senate offices and is unlikely to undermine his own work.

So why are Republicans drawing out the confirmation process? The Democrats wrote the new rules, and Republicans should play be those rules. Drawing the process out does nothing to help Republican prospects in the midterms, but it is serving as a rallying point to activate the Democrat base. Instead Republicans should get the confirmation process done, and move on to an issue where there is strong bi-partisan support – among voters – and serious vulnerability among Democrat incumbents: Guns.

A dozen Senate Democrats are vulnerable in the coming midterms. At least 10 of those would be significantly damaged by a record vote against a popular gun bill. Voting for a gun bill would do no harm to the electoral prospects of any Republican senators, and would help most.

In the House, Republican prospects are not looking great. Many Republicans announced their retirements last year in anticipation of a wave of Democrats in response to the election of President Trump. That wave was growing to a tsunami late last year, but quickly lost momentum with passage of the president’s tax bill in December, and has been rising and falling like a weak tide ever since, mainly dictated by the president’s Twitter activity. Most Americans seem pleased with the direction Congress has taken over the past two years, and the condition of the country. Republicans should be in great shape, but President Trump seems determined to keep feeding fuel to the Democrat base.

Like the Senate, Republicans in the House would significantly benefit from public debate and action on firearm-related legislation. GunVoters have been seriously frustrated by Republicans’ failure to follow through on promises to pass pro-rights legislation. The National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act passed out of the House last December, but has been stalled in the Senate ever since. That bill is ripe for action in the Senate as soon as Justice Kavanaugh is confirmed. The other key bill that GunVoters have been waiting for action on in the House is the Hearing Protection Act. We thought we were going to see action on that last year, but it was successfully shot down by a crazed Bernie Sanders supporter who decided to take target practice at a Republican baseball practice.

Republicans in the House should immediately start pushing through the SHARE Act, which is an omnibus hunting, fishing, and land access bill that includes the Hearing Protection Act, along with several other much-needed firearm law reforms. The SHARE Act enjoys some bi-partisan support, and is an excellent vehicle for Republicans to regain support of GunVoters. Bringing the SHARE Act back into the spotlight would give House Republicans something positive to talk about, and passing the bill out of the House would give Senate Republicans some leverage for offering Democrats a no-win choice of voting on either the National Carry bill or the SHARE Act, forcing them to either allow one of the bills to go to a vote, or take a hard stand to block them from the floor. Either choice hurts them.

As I have said repeatedly in these pages, Guns Win, and it’s high time that Republican “leadership” figured that out.

Nazi Gun Control

Gun Control in Nazi-Occupied France: Tyranny and Resistance
by Stephen Halbrook

Book Review
By Chris Knox

No discussion of gun control goes for very long before someone mentions Nazis. Yet surprisingly little historical research has delved into what the Nazis actually did, both in prewar Germany, and in the countries that fell before the invading Nazi armies. With his recently-released Gun Control in Nazi-Occupied France and its 2014 predecessor, Gun Control in the Third Reich. Dr. Stephen Halbrook has started mining a long-ignored vein in the history of World War II.

That historians have so carefully avoided the topic for so long is remarkable in itself. Dr. Halbrook avoids accusations, but he succeeds in gently raising the question of why the topic has been ignored. It just might be that academic backers of “commonsense” restrictions on guns find it uncomfortable to see policies they favor being modeled by the archetype of totalitarian government. Whatever the reason, the topic has gone virtually unstudied for the past seven decades. Halbrook’s work is a good start on remedying that lack of scholarship.

Working from a trove of historical source documents in French and German, and from questionnaires he sent to veterans of the French Resistance, Dr. Halbrook has produced a detailed and meticulously researched picture of how the invading Nazis viewed arms in the hands of ordinary Frenchmen, and the steps they undertook to eradicate what they considered a menace to the success of their occupation.

Despite academia choosing to avoid the topic, the Nazi policies made an impression on WWII GIs and on the folks back home. The idea of “gun control” was foreign to most American ground-pounders, but they saw and heard of the atrocities committed by the Nazis against ordinary people for the crime of keeping a gun handy – proving to those unsophisticated “grunts” just how badly those guns were needed. As the Nazi blitzkrieg rolled across the low countries into France, they followed the same procedure in each town they entered. Upon subduing a town, soldiers immediately put up posters in the local language ordering that all guns be turned in, usually including threats of execution. Where registration records were available, the Nazis referred to the records and paid visits to the addresses they found there.

It was these oft-repeated, but rarely verified stories that made an impression on the American GIs, and that led to gun registration being political poison through the postwar years. One such story, this one set not in France, but in Belgium, was related by a refugee-turned-soldier, to my late father, Neal Knox. For years Dad told the story of The Belgian Corporal, usually after dinner with friends when someone asked him how he got into the fight for the Second Amendment. Dad committed the story to print only once or twice, partly because he could not substantiate the tale, and because he did not want the story to become trite.

What is undeniable is the impact that the story had on Dad and on our family. What is now also undeniable is the outline of that story, where a registered gun that could not be found led to an entire family being machine-gunned in the town square, was repeated not only in Belgium, but in France, the Netherlands, and without any doubt, in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and elsewhere.

The French gun registration law was moved into place with the best of intentions, as all such laws are. A global depression was in full swing in 1935, and crime was high – a handy excuse for disarming the populace. The real reason however, was that revolution was in the air, and fights between armed extremists were all too common. The French government saw it prudent to register the guns in order to confiscate them if need be. The politician who pushed the French registration law was none other than Pierre Laval, who would later lead the Vichy puppet regime, and would eventually be shot as a collaborator. The German Wehrmacht would find those registration records quite handy as they moved in to administer their new puppet state.

Halbrook’s book details the almost comical swings between orders to turn in guns or be shot followed by amnesties to turn in guns with no questions, followed again by death threats against those who failed to report those who had guns, followed by more amnesties. I say “almost comical” because the matter was serious business. Thousands lost their lives. Trees that served as stakes where condemned gun owners were tied up and shot fell over, cut down by the daily barrages of the firing squads. Yet the French people, especially those in rural areas, defied the orders hiding their own guns or passing them on to the Resistance.

The Nazis lack of success in making France a “gun-free zone” might provide a lesson for current politicians. A good portion of Frenchmen did not give up their guns in the face of firing squads. The low rates of compliance with registration laws in California, New York, and Connecticut really should not be all that surprising.

Stephen Halbrook has again written an important book, one that deserves a place on the bookshelf of anyone who holds the Second Amendment dear. The history of the Nazis and their gun control should not be buried in obscure footnotes. It should be readily available and studied for the important lessons that can be learned and applied today. Halbrook’s books are a great start.

Media Feeding the Demons

Murder Made Me Famous”
Media feeding the demons.

By Jeff Knox

Sitting in a fast food joint at DFW Airport, eating a breakfast bowl, while waiting for my ride, I happened to glance up at the TV. Of course it was playing CNN, and I noticed a series of almost iconic photographs flashing across the screen. Not only did I recognize most of them, I could name them, and describe their crimes. They were all famous murderers, and what I was watching was a promo for a cable series called “Murder Made Me Famous.

Here’s the description of the series from the channel’s website:

Murder Made Me Famous is a fact-based crime documentary series that examines killers who gained public notoriety when their crimes generated intense media coverage and made the killers household names. The unnerving psychology behind murder has long been source material for television, books and movies but why do certain killers capture the attention of millions?”

If it bleeds it leads, says the old saw about news coverage, and unfortunately, bloody massacres don’t only lead in newspapers and on TV, they also lead in ratings. People are sucked into the horror and it becomes a symbiotic feeding cycle. The attention given to murderous degenerates is so pervasive that it’s virtually impossible to get away from it. Saturation coverage, with its speculation and salacious details being rehashed every 15 minutes for weeks after an event, then regularly dredged back up for another “in-depth” look every few years for decades, makes the murderers some of the most recognizable and wellknown people in the world. And that fame and notoriety is known to be a major motivating factor, and inspiration to others to seek similar fame by committing heinous crimes of their own.

Polls say that fame and celebrity have replaced wealth, power, athletic achievement, even happiness, as the most desired life-goal of the post-Baby Boom generations. Simply “being famous” is now considered a great achievement, even if the fame is based on some negative, embarrassing, or criminal event.

Media movers and shakers know all of this. They know that there is a direct correlation between the amount of coverage they give to a murderer, and the likelihood of copycats. When they were presented with a similar correlation several years ago, regarding suicides, media leaders came together and developed reporting guidelines designed to minimize the occurrence of “contagious suicide.” But the temptation – of money, ratings, and political gain – is too great, and few reporters or outlets have done anything to even attempt to address the issue of “Rampage Killer Contagion.”

All of the major news outlets are guilty of exploiting murder for ratings. They cross well beyond careless and callous, and demonstrate almost a gleeful indifference to the role they play in promoting these heinous acts, even as they point accusing fingers at innocent gun owners, gun makers, and the NRA.

Changing the way the majority of media report on suicides, has resulted in less “suicide contagion,” saving countless lives and untold tears. Their refusal to even seriously discuss adoption of similar rules for their reporting on mass murder events, is dispicable.

At its core, a mass shooting is almost always an elaborate suicide. Few perpetrators have any exit plan other than a hail of bullets. Evidence shows that some killers are literally attempting to run up a gruesome “score” to increase their notoriety by exceeding the carnage – and news coverage – of some previous murderer. This has prompted an array of psychologists, psychiatrists, social scientists, and, to their credit, a few members of the media, to call on the Society of Professional Journalists, and all media to adopt something like the suicide reporting guidelines when reporting on mass-murderers. So far these calls have fallen on deaf ears, and every time there is a mass-killing that receives heavy press coverage, we know that there will be copycats striking within days or weeks.

It is past time for mass media to stop exploiting murder for ratings. It is time for them to stop repeatedly naming suspected murderers and showing their photos – over and over and over again. Stop speculating on motives, assigning rankings, comparing one atrocity to another, and publishing lunatic manifestos. It’s time for them to adopt guidelines such as those repeatedly submitted to the Society of Professional Journalists in a petition called the “Don’t Inspire Evil” initiative, or the several other, heavily researched, scientifically backed proposals that have been put forward in recent years.

Adopting a few reasonable, sensible, voluntary changes in the way the media reports on murders would unquestionably save lives without interfering with anyone’s rights. But the media and politicians would rather blame gun owners, and demand we surrender our rights to schemes that have never worked, and have historically failed to protect anyone. That’s hypocritical and immoral.

Unfortunately, change is unlikely so long as the media can use sensational coverage to get eyeballs for their advertisers. Perhaps it is the advertisers that need to be persuaded.

The Firearms Coalition Site Is Back!

Thanks for finding us!  The Firearms Coalition site has a new look and will be getting more regular updates.  We’re still transferring content, so we haven’t made an official announcement, but feel free to browse and comment.  The new format comes from a new content management system.  We’re now using WordPress which, while arguably less flexible, is simpler to administer, and easier to navigate.  Let us know your thoughts.

Robert Reich on How to Prove “the NRA” is Wrong: Just make stuff up

By Chris Knox and Jeff Knox

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, turned ubiquitous talking head on left-leaning cable news and radio, recently published five talking points that he claims shoot holes in the NRA’s (here meaning all gun-rights supporters’) arguments.  The points are not at all unique to Mr. Reich, so we thought it would be worthwhile to take a closer look.

Reich’s Point Number 1: Gun laws save lives.  Consider the federal assault weapons ban. After it became law in 1994, gun massacres – defined as instances of gun violence in which six or more people were shot and killed – fell by 37 percent. The number of people dying from mass shootings fell by 43 percent. But when Republicans in Congress let the ban lapse in 2004, gun massacres more than doubled.

Nonsense.

Reich doesn’t cite a source for his claims because there is no credible source drawing that conclusion.  Start with his definition of “gun massacres” being shootings resulting in 6 or more deaths. Despite a rash of those horrible events, massacres, by any definition, remain rare.  But because of their horrific nature, they draw media, following the ancient newspaper adage, “If it bleeds, it leads.” As a result a the nation fixes its gaze on a single-digit percentage of all crime involving guns, and a fraction of a percent of overall deaths.

With such a small sample size, a difference of one or two incidents has a dramatic impact when presented as a percentage.  Thirty-seven percent of 10,000 would be a significant result, but 37% of 3 would be one more – meaningless statistical anomaly.  There’s no way of knowing exactly what Reich’s percentages are based on though, because he provides no source, and most tellingly, no real numbers.  In short, Reich’s first point is just short of a total fabrication.

Reich’s Point Number 2: The Second Amendment was never intended to permit mass slaughter. When the Constitution was written more than 200 years ago, the framers’ goal was [to] permit a “well-regulated militia,” not to enable Americans to terrorize their communities.

The First Amendment was written more than 200 years ago and the founders’ goal was to protect people’s right to assemble in person, and protect the press – newspapers printed on paper, not to enable the mass propagation of fake news by internet trolls.  But few today would argue that the First Amendment does not apply to online communications. The rights recognized by the Bill of Rights are not dependent on technology.

It is also worth noting that during the framers’ time, it was common for private citizens who could afford them to own canons, and even fully-armed warships.  The right to arms does not “permit mass slaughter,” and restricting that right does not prevent mass slaughter. Every day over 100 million lawful gunowners don’t kill anyone or terrorize their communities.  Restricting their rights will not prevent evil people from doing evil things.

Reich’s Point Number 3: More guns have not, and will not, make us safer. More than 30 studies show that guns are linked to an increased risk for violence and homicide. In 1996, Australia initiated a mandatory buyback program to reduce `the number of guns in private ownership. Their firearm homicide rate fell 42 percent in the seven years that followed.

Once again, Mr. Reich throws around “studies” but fails to mention which ones.  We can easily present more than 30 studies that show that gun control laws don’t reduce risks of violence.  In fact, in the late 1970s Wright and Rossi produced a study funded by the Carter Justice Department of the available literature in order to determine which “gun control” programs were most effective.  They found none. In the mid-2000s, both the Centers for Disease Control and the National Science Foundation did independent reviews with the same objective. Both reviews reached the same conclusion as Wright and Rossi: that there is no clear evidence that any gun control laws have effectively reduced crime.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Reich also fails to mention that murder rates in Australia were declining prior to the massacre that triggered their gun ban and confiscation.  The rates went up slightly in the year right after the ban, then resumed their downward trend at a slower pace than previously, and slower than the rate enjoyed in the U.S., where gun laws were being liberalized, and gun ownership was skyrocketing.

Reich’s Point Number 4: The vast majority of Americans want stronger gun safety laws. According to Gallup, 96 percent of Americans support universal background checks, 75 percent support a 30-day waiting period for all gun sales, and 70 percent favor requiring all privately owned guns to be registered with the police. Even the vast majority of gun owners are in favor of common-sense gun safety laws.

Poll results depend on how questions are phrased and asked.  A good many Americans support some of the general ideas around gun control, but absolutely reject specific proposals.  Rephrase the question about “universal” (sic) background checks to ask whether it should be a felony for you to lend your gun to a friend for target practice, and different answers answers come back, as they did in Nevada and Maine when such proposals were put to voters.

According to Gallup’s polling, Hillary Clinton won in November 2016.  But their poll does not count.

Reich’s Point Number 5: The National Rifle Association is a special interest group with a stranglehold on the Republican Party. In 2016, the group spent a record (for them) $55 million on elections. Their real goal is to protect a few big gun manufacturers who want to enlarge their profits.

America is better than the NRA. America is the young people from Parkland, Florida, who are telling legislators to act like adults. It’s time all of us listen.

Gun prohibitionists routinely target the NRA instead of ordinary American gun owners.  It’s certainly easier to stir fear and uncertainty about a large organization funded by a faceless industry than to risk humanizing the opposition.  Even so, the NRA’s power does not arise from industry money, it comes from millions of individuals who freely choose to defend their rights with their voices, their votes, and their dollars.

Something else worth mentioning is that while Reich and other media accuse NRA of buying politicians with their $55 million in election spending in 2016, labor unions reportedly spent $1.7 billion on those elections.

If those talking points are the strongest assault an Ivy League lawyer can launch against the unfettered right to arms for defense of self, family, home, and homeland, then the Second Amendment should be safe for a while longer.  Unfortunately, these and similar points rarely get any sort of honest scrutiny in the media shouting matches, so it’s up to you to call them out every time they pop up again.

NRA’s Interesting Election

By Jeff Knox

(May 4, 2018) The results of the NRA’s most recent Board of Directors election are interesting from top to bottom.

The bad news for most of our readers is that unfortunately Adam Kraut didn’t win a seat. There is still a chance he could win the 76th Director seat, which will be voted on at the Annual Meeting in Dallas though, so if you are planning to attend the Annual Meeting and Exhibits, be sure to find the voting booth and cast your ballot for Adam.

At the top of the ticket was Ronnie Barrett garnering the most votes, which is no surprise at all. Barrett is a rock star in the gun world thanks to his .50 BMG rifles and other innovations. What was a surprise was newcomer Carrie Lightfoot coming in second, beating out long-serving director Wayne Anthony Ross who landed the third place position. Ross has been on the NRA Board since 1980, with only a year or two off in the early ’90s. Fourth place went to another industry rock star, Duane Liptak, Executive Vice President of Magpul Industries. And world champion action shooter Julie Golob rounded out the top five.

NRA voters historically have an affinity for movie stars, politicians, industry executives, incumbents, and minorities – particularly women. They also seem to give added weight to candidates from Alaska over other states, so Barrett, Liptak, and Ross all fit expectations, and while it’s no surprise that Lightfoot and Golob won seats, it is a surprise that they finished in the top five, especially the second-place finish for Lightfoot. It is very unusual for any newcomer to NRA elections to place so high in the voting unless they are a pretty well-known celebrity of some sort. While Carrie is something of a celebrity within her own circles, having founded The Well Armed Woman, with 363 chapters in 49 states, and some 10,500 individual members, a majority of those members probably aren’t voting members of the NRA, so her high finish is a bit of a shocker. Then again, having 10,00 women rooting for you, even if they can’t vote, has to help. Julie’s top-five finish is also not especially surprising. She’s pretty well known, and is a frequent contributor, guest, or subject in various firearms media. Her status as an Army veteran doesn’t hurt either.

I was very tempted to endorse both Lightfoot and Golob, but felt they had a good chance of winning seats on their own, and wanted to focus my energy on getting Adam Kraut elected.

Historically women have tended to do well in NRA elections, beginning with prominent competitive shooter Alice Bull, who served on the Board from 1949 to 1988, and continuing with a number of female directors over the years, including two female Presidents, and a current female Second Vice President. The predominately male membership of the NRA tends to lend a bit of extra support to female Board candidates, as long as they have the experience to support their ambition.

Last year a bona fide female shooting celebrity, six-time Olympic Medalist Kim Rhode, barely made the cut, being elected to a 1-year term that opened up due to the death of a sitting director. That was initially pretty surprising, but closer analysis showed that Kim’s resume’ was a little thin on the activism and education side. This year, with a year of NRA Board participation and promotion to bolster her bio, Kim came in a comfortable, and respectable 11th place, just behind Bob Nosler of Nosler Bullets fame, and a couple of positions ahead of long-time director and competitive shooter Edie Fleeman.

In all, 8 women were elected or reelected to the Board this year, which is pretty “progressive” for a stodgy, good ol’ boys club. And while that 30% representation for women is worth talking about, the real news in this election came at the bottom of the ticket where we find two past presidents barely making the cut, with two other long-time directors just ahead of them, and four other long-time incumbents losing their seats.

It’s not unusual to see an incumbent or two bumped off the board by newcomers, but to have four incumbents fail to make the cut, and two past presidents finish 25th and 26th in a race for 26 seats. That’s a quiet earthquake that probably has the establishment bosses looking over their shoulders.

Past President Ron Schmeitz actually failed to make the cut, but with the passing of R. Lee “Gunny” Ermey in April, a two-year seat came open. Former President David Keene beat out Schmeitz for the 25th seat, and Schmeitz will finish the two remaining years of Ermey’s term. While Schmeitz has had a pretty low profile at NRA over the years, Keene has been a very visible political player, both in and out of the NRA. Before moving up in the chairs at NRA, Keene was the Chairman of the American Conservative Union, host of the annual CPAC conference in Washington, and later was the Opinion Editor of the Washington Times. For him to trail in and barely win a seat is pretty embarrassing.

In positions 23 and 24 were incumbents David Coy and Joel Friedman, and down in the also-rans were incumbents John Cushman – who failed to make the cut last year, but then beat Adam Kraut by 60-some votes at the Annual Meeting in Atlanta to win a 1-year seat – Grover Norquist – who survived a recall effort a couple of years ago – Robert Wos, and Herb Lanford.

Some on and off the Board are placing the blame for the shake-up on NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. These insiders, who spoke on background, say that he has been loading “loyalists” onto the Board so he can be sure he can pick his successor. My sources say that Wayne has insisted that the Nominating Committee include extra nominees to make it harder on the incumbents.

The problem with this theory is that the Board has long been loaded with “loyalists” who simply let Wayne have his way. Even though the Board is supposed to set policy and lay down guidance for Wayne and the other (ridiculously well-paid) staff, the fact is that decisions at NRA come down from the executive offices to the Board, and the Board rubber-stamps whatever they are told to. Wayne knows that his job is secure, but the members of the Board have no such security. They come up for reelection every three years, and they know that all it takes is a word from Wayne, and they won’t be invited back.

It really is irritating to see a Board of Directors with such stellar credentials and experience being herded and manipulated the way this board is, and failing to serve the members who elected them. From last year’s bylaw amendments, which the Board unanimously approved, to the election of Carolyn Meadows, who few Directors believe should be in line for the Presidency, this Board fails to do their job

LaPierre has made some serious missteps of late, on top of many other fumbles over the years, but no one on the Board is willing to challenge him or even criticize him in an open session. That’s a serious problem. Maybe one of the new Board members will finally raise their voices and declare that the emperor has no clothes, and some of the rest of the Board will wake from their stupor and recognize that as the truth. Maybe, but I’m not holding my breath.

Ammunition for the grassroots gun rights movement