A Better Question To Ask

The Brady Campaign to Stop Gun Violence (sic) has started a campaign called “Asking Saves Kids”. They are encouraging parents to ask other parents if there is an unlocked firearm in their house. The Brady Campaign alleges that thousands of children are killed annually.

From their web text that they are suggesting supporters use:

In America, one out of three homes with children has a gun, many kept unlocked or loaded. Every year thousands of kids are killed and injured as a result.

When one examines the CDC’s National Vital Statistics Report – Deaths: Final Data for 2010, which tracks mortality and the cause of it, we see that 62 children under the age of 15 died as a result of an accidental (negligent) discharge of a firearm. Thus, the Brady’s claim that “every year thousands of kids are killed” is an outright lie. See Table 10 on Page 40 for the confirmation of this.

As part of their campaign, the Brady Campaign has been releasing a series of YouTube videos and PSA videos. The one below is called “Conversations” and talks about awkward conversations. It tells parents to ask if there is an unlocked gun before letting their children go over to play.

I can suggest a better question to ask before letting little Jimmy go over to play with little Billy and Bobby.

Have your children been through the Eddie Eagle Program? If not, why not? Unlike anything put out by the so-called “gun safety” (sic) groups, it is a proven, award-winning program that has been shown to be effective in reducing accidental deaths of children with a firearm.

The bottom line is that locks can be defeated. Proper training like the Eddie Eagle program will help protect kids, locks or no locks.

ATK To Merge With Orbital Sciences And Spin Off Sporting Group

ATK, formerly Alliant Techsystems, Inc., announced today that they plan to merge with Orbital Sciences in a $5 billion deal. The new company will be called Orbital ATK. As part of the merger, ATK will spin off their sporting group to shareholders as a new company.

From the Wall Street Journal:

ATK valued the all-stock combination with Orbital at $5 billion and its shareholders would retain 53.8% of the aerospace and defense business, to be known as Orbital ATK.

The proposed deal, which is expected to close by the end of 2014, would match the total level of defense M&A over the past three years combined, and puts 2014 within reach of the $9 billion in deals reached in 2008. Executives had shied away from transactions before securing more visibility of business trends from the fiscal 2014 and 2015 Pentagon budgets.

Mark DeYoung, ATK’s chief executive, would run the separated operation business which, with 2013 revenue of $2.2 billion, is less than half the size of the $4.5 billion aerospace and defense business.

Excerpts from ATK’s press release on the merger:

The company’s Sporting and A&D (aerospace and defense)businesses operate in two fundamentally different markets with very different operating dynamics, compliance requirements, customer sets and growth opportunities. As standalone companies, they will be more focused businesses, with clear and distinct strategic visions and objectives, additional operational flexibility and the financial strength to make the most of their unique opportunities in their respective industries.

Since entering the commercial ammunition and sporting accessories space in 2001, ATK has built a leading position in the shooting sports for hunters, shooting enthusiasts and law enforcement professionals. The acquisitions of Savage and Bushnell in 2013 enabled ATK to expand its core competencies while creating opportunities to enter into new, adjacent markets in the outdoor recreation industry.

In today’s growing market, the Sporting Group enjoys expanded distribution for some of the most widely known and respected brands in the industry: Federal Premium, Bushnell, Savage Arms, BLACKHAWK!, Primos, Final Approach, Uncle Mike’s, Hoppe’s, RCBS, Alliant Powder, CCI, Speer, Champion Targets, Gold Tip Arrows, Weaver Optics, Outers, Bolle, Cebe, and Serengeti.

“Sporting continues to deliver excellent performance,” said DeYoung. “Results from our recently completed fourth quarter demonstrated continued revenue and earnings growth, and margin expansion. Full details on our fourth quarter results will be discussed on our May 15 earnings call.”

ATK believes that separating Sporting into a standalone entity will facilitate opportunities to further drive growth and marshal resources to broaden and deepen its market leadership. ATK believes that a more focused corporate leadership team, operating within a clearly defined commercial market with a competitive business model, will contribute to unlocking significant value for ATK shareholders. Following the completion of the transaction, Sporting will also enjoy a strong balance sheet that will provide the ability to fund its growth strategy. Over the past 10 years, ATK’s Sporting Group has delivered annual sales growth of approximately 16 percent (14 percent organic growth).

And on the new management and location:

Upon completion of the transaction, Mr. DeYoung will serve as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sporting. Mr. DeYoung is working with ATK’s Board of Directors to develop detailed plans for an efficient and capable corporate structure with experienced management and strong governance policies and practices, as well as to establish the name and branding of Sporting. Sporting will be headquartered in Utah and is expected to employ nearly 5,800 workers in 11 states and worldwide.

And the details of the transaction which will be tax-free:

Under the terms of the transaction agreement, ATK will distribute ownership of Sporting to ATK shareholders in a spin-off transaction, following which, ATK shareholders will own 100 percent of Sporting. The spin-off will be immediately followed by a merger of Orbital with a subsidiary of ATK, with Orbital surviving the merger and becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of ATK. In connection with the merger, Orbital shareholders will receive 0.449 shares of ATK common stock for each share of Orbital common stock that they hold. Upon the closing of the merger, ATK shareholders will own approximately 53.8 percent of the combined company on a fully diluted basis and Orbital shareholders will own the remaining approximately 46.2 percent of the combined company on a fully diluted basis. As part of the transaction, Sporting has secured a $750 million senior secured financing commitment from BofA Merrill Lynch and will dividend $300-350 million of the proceeds of such new indebtedness to ATK immediately prior to the closing, which will be used by ATK to repay existing debt. Post issuing dividend to Orbital ATK, Sporting’s net debt and total debt will be equal to the dividend. At the closing, Orbital ATK is expected to have a total of approximately $1.7 billion in gross debt and $1.4 billion of net debt. The transaction is expected to be tax-free to both companies as well as to ATK and Orbital shareholders.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of calendar year 2014, and is subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals and the approval of each of ATK’s and Orbital’s shareholders. ATK and Orbital will continue to operate separately until the transaction closes.

The two most interesting aspects of this whole merger is that the sporting group will be spun off and that the current ATK CEO Mark DeYoung has cast his lot with the sporting group and not the aerospace/defense groups. It says a lot for the strength of the shooting sports industry that a CEO sees his future prospects as being better there than in the defense industry.

Comment Of The Day

In response to an announcement on Facebook by Cam Edwards that 75,267 people attended the NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Bob Owens (Editor of BearingArms.com) had this to say:

That’s only 75,167 more than attended the Moms Demand Illegal Attention rally.

Not to mention that nearly all of those 75,267 who attended the NRA Annual Meeting paid their own way unlike those from Moms Demand Illegal Attention whose travel and lodging was paid for with Bloomberg’s money.

No Word Yet On Drake v. Jerejian (Updated)

Examining the list of orders from the US Supreme Court issued this morning, the one obvious omission on the list was Drake et al v. Jerejian et al. This is the New Jersey case that challenges that state’s requirement for the showing of justifiable need in order to obtain a carry permit.

The case was up for discussion as to whether to take it or not on Friday. As it hasn’t been denied, I guess this means no news is good news.

UPDATE: Dirk Diggler reports in the comments that the SCOTUS has passed this case to this coming Friday’s conference. Keep your fingers crossed.

UPDATE II: The SCOTUS passed on this again. It wasn’t denied nor was it granted certiorari. Thus, for now, no news remains good news.

From Lyle Denniston at the SCOTUS Blog:

The Court also took no action on the latest attempt to get the Court to expand the Second Amendment right to possess a gun so that it applies outside the home. The case is Drake v. Jerejian, seeking to challenge a New Jersey law that requires an individual to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in public. The law requires proof that an individual has a “justifiable need” to carry a gun in public for purposes of self-defense.

Here is the link to the SCOTUS Blog’s Relist Watch for this week which does mention Drake. It also notes that many of the more recent grants of certiorari have come from the relisted cases.

Stag Arms May Not Be Leaving Connecticut

I stopped by the Stag Arms booth at the NRA Annual Meeting on Friday. Given that their CEO, Mark Malkowski, had previously said they were leaving Connecticut and that the choice had come down to either the Houston area or Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, I wanted to find out if there had been any movement on that. Of course, I was hoping to hear Myrtle Beach.

If the company representative with whom I spoke is correct, there won’t be any movement. As in, they have decided to stay in Connecticut. He said they have four facilities in the New Britain area and they have decided it will be too expensive to move. The irony of this situation is that the firearms they manufacture can’t be sold in that state.

I should caution that this didn’t come from Mark Malkowski but rather from a representative at their booth. I will be following up with an email to the company to get confirmation.

A Company That Doesn’t Get It

While roaming the floor today at the NRA Annual Meeting, I happened to pass by the H-S Precision booth. They manufacture both precision tactical rifles and high end stocks.

You may remember that H-S Precison ran afoul of the gun community by publishing an endorsement of their products by the infamous FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi. Horiuchi, to remind everyone, was the sniper who shot and killed Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge while she was holding an infant in her arms.

After criticism from the gun community, H-S Precision took down the endorsement but dissembled about the reason.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I overheard one of H-S Precison’s reps telling a potential customer that the rifle he was showing him was an actual ATF sniper rifle. He then went on to say that they try to get either a rifle from the FBI or the ATF for these shows.

I said to myself, WTF? I probably should have gone back to the booth to ask the rep to repeat himself but I didn’t.

He could have said it was a sniper rifle from the Marines or a special Army unit or even the sniper rifle used by the Sheriff’s Department SWAT Team in Upper Podunk County and it wouldn’t have mattered. However, saying it was an ATF sniper rifle at the NRA Annual Meeting is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. In other words, sheer and utter stupidity mixed with a strong dose of contempt for the setting.

This is a company that just doesn’t get it. Why would anyone in the gun culture want to deal with them when there are plenty of others that make both top-notch tactical rifles and stocks and that respect both gun and civil rights.

The Alt History Question Of The Day

Alt History asks the question what-if. Such as what if the Confederacy was given AK-47s by time-traveling South Africans as in Harry Turtledove’s The Guns of the South or what if the Japanese had conducted a third strike on the morning of December 7th as in the Gingrich-Forstchen novel Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th.

So here is my alt history question of the day:  what if upon graduating from the University of Missouri Shannon Watts (or whatever her maiden name was back then) had taken a job with local firm Midway USA instead of going to work as a communications staffer for then Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan (D-MO)?

That question leads to a whole host of other questions such as:

Would she have still ended up working for Monsanto, GE Healthcare, and Wellpoint as a PR flack?

Would she have more readily identified with down home Americans like Larry and Brenda Potterfield rather than being billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s BFF?

Would she have respected gun owners and their rights or would she still have used a Connecticut tragedy to reestablish her moribund PR career?

Would we see her inside the Indiana Convention Center during the NRA Annual Meeting or outside of it protesting?

I’m sure you can come up with your own series of follow-on what-if questions to my alt history question of the day.

Indy, I Have Arrived!

I made it to Indianapolis and to the Indiana Convention Center. Safely and without too many delays due to road construction.

I’ve already run into Sebastian and Bitter and I’ve gone big time as I’m sitting with Jim Shepherd and Tom Gresham chatting about this and that.

The only problem with the location is that close-up parking pretty much sucks. With my ankle, this isn’t going to be fun.

So now, my only question is when will I see Shannon and her Demanding Mommies of Everytown.

800% More Bullet!

I first saw this on Tumblr and thought it was some sort of parody of Bloomberg’s Everytown group. It turns out it wasn’t.

The post above was on our good friends Facebook page. It just goes to prove that $50 million can’t buy you real gun sense.

UPDATE: Erika Soto Lamb who is the Communications Directors of Everytown for Gun Safety (sic) is asserting that this is a parody put up by “cybersquatters”.  Going through the photos on that page, she may be correct. That said, her organization(s) have put out stupid ads about guns in the past.

Early Voting Opens April 24th In North Carolina

Early voting opens April 24th in North Carolina for our May primaries. In anticipation of this, Grass Roots North Carolina-Political Victory Fund has released their candidate evaluations. They have also released their candidate recommendations in contested primaries.

In the Republican primary to face the vulnerable Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), they have a difference of opinion with the NRA-PVF. They have endorsed Dr. Greg Bannon of Cary while the NRA-PVF has endorsed NC House Speaker Thom Tillis of Charlotte. It is a Tea Party v. GOP establishment, an outsider v. an insider sort of thing. I think either man would be good for the Second Amendment with Brannon saying he’s looking for laws to repeal while major gun rights bills including the castle doctrine have passed the NC General Assembly since Tills became the Speaker.

While GRNC-PVF has traditionally only concerned themselves with either statewide or legislative offices, this year they have made recommendations in a handful of sheriffs’ races. It looks to me like they are looking for strong opposite party pro-gun candidates to oppose those sheriffs who killed the scrapping of the pistol purchase permits. I think it is high time that some of these sheriffs learn that actions have (electoral) consequences.

According to their alert, they have made recommendations in 40 contested races and will be spending approximately $100,000 in their primary efforts. These efforts include:

* Mailing GRNC-PVF Gun Rights Voter Guides to nearly 17,000 GRNC members;

* Mailing nearly 50,000 postcard election alerts to gun voters in races across the state;

* Running radio spots in several key races; and

* Conducting tens of thousands of automated phone calls in key races; and

* Sending email alerts to over 100,000 gun-owning NC voters!

GRNC is an all volunteer organization as is the GRNC-PVF. If you’d like to donate to help with these expenses, go here.