76th Director And NRA Meeting Of Members

If you are attending the NRA Annual Meeting on Saturday, I have two reminders.

If you want to vote for the 76th Director, voting opens at 8am and will conclude when the Meeting of Members adjourns. Voting is in Room 330 and you will need to have your member number available. In contrast to the regular board election, any member of the NRA can vote.

The two candidates are Frank Tait and Issac Demerest. Frank ran by petition whereas Mr. Demerest was on the ballot thanks to the Nominations Committee. Bear in mind that anyone who was on the ballot thanks to the Nominations Committee was vetted. By vetted I mean they had to pass the test of being a “Friend of Wayne” and not some one who would challenge the status quo.

Frank Tait, fortunately, will challenge the status quo and has when he tried to become an intervenor on behalf of the members in the NY Attorney General’s dissolution lawsuit. If he is elected as a board member, it should give him the wherewithal to be an intervenor again. I will note that I have not seen the mob of “volunteers” campaigning for Mr. Demerest as one would have seen in years gone by.

The Meeting of Members starts and 10am in the General Assembly Hall. You will need to pick up your credentials in Room 330. I will have a resolution regarding the state of the NRA Headquarters Building which is in shameful disrepair.

I fully expect the powers that be will try to adjourn the meeting as soon as possible. I do know there will an attempt to put resolutions at the top of the agenda which is a good thing and to remove a deadline for the end of the meeting. We need to have people there just like we did in Indianapolis in 2019. The more the better.

Classy Anti-Rights Protestors

When I arrived at the George Brown Center for the NRA Annual Meeting this morning, I saw about four protestors. A few hours later, the number had increased to about 100-150 being generous. I could be off on my numbers but they seemed to bunch up along a barrier to give the impression of more.

I heard later that Robert Francis O’Rourke was speaking at an anti-gun rally in the park across from the convention center. It is disturbing that he is trying make political hay while many of the details are still not known and families are grieving. I agree with the Mayor of Uvalde when he called O’Rourke ”a sick son of a bitch.” Fortunately, O’Rourke is behind Gov. Greg Abbott by anywhere from 7% to 10% if the polls are accurate.

The demonstrators across the street were loud, were lead in chants by someone with a megaphone, had a drum, and played it up whenever they saw a TV camera. They also were a bit vulgar as the photo below illustrates.

Behind the sign saying “NRA Go Away” was a protestor with a megaphone who seemed to be the chant leader.

As you can see from that picture and the one below, whenever the media or photographers were there taking pictures, the crowd played up to them.

There were a lot of people attending the NRA Annual Meeting who were filming it and taking pictures with their phones. I know a lot found the whole group of protestors to be more of an amusing circus act than anything else.

It will be interesting to see if they will continue to have their anti-rights protests again tomorrow. If so, I’ll try to get more and better pictures.

NRA Leadership Forum

The NRA Leadership Forum was meant to be Wayne’s big hurrah. I mean after all he was successful in getting former President Donald Trump to appear as the keynote speaker. Then an unhinged maniac decided to murder school children and teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

As of this morning, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) has canceled his appearance in order to be in Uvalde and will send a pre-recorded message. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has to be in Washington for “personal reasons” according to a report in Politico. Cornyn’s office insisted they had informed the NRA of this ahead of the murders in Uvalde. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) who represents a suburban Houston district is reported still on a trip to Ukraine.

This leaves President Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), NC Lt. Gov Mark Robinson (R-NC) who is also a NRA board member, and Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) as speakers in addition to Wayne and Jason Ouimet of the NRA-ILA.

As an aside, Sen. Cornyn has been tapped by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to be his negotiator with the Democrats on any gun control legislation that results from the murders in Buffalo and Uvalde. As I understand it, they will be discussing “red flag” law type of legislation.

As I don’t plan to be disarmed of even a knife, I plan to watch the speeches or some of them by video from the Press Room. It will be interesting to see if anything is said other than the typical stump speech.

The More You Know (Repost)

I originally posted this in June 2020. I am reposting it as Mr. Kerr made statements yesterday condemning gun violence (sic) along with the murders in Uvalde, Texas. He called on Congress to pass more gun control including universal background checks. From what we know in the limited time since the school murders, the murderer legally purchased his firearms and went through a background check.

I am reposting this because Mr. Kerr considers that he and his family were the victim of “gun violence” (sic). I do not mean to minimize the pain and suffering his family went through. However, it is critically important to differentiate between a politically-inspired assassination as with Mr. Kerr’s father and the criminal misuse of a firearm whether a school shooting or a drug gang drive-by or a robbery on the street.

THE ORIGINAL POST FROM JUNE 30, 2020

Steve Kerr is the coach of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. He also played for seven different NBA teams including championship teams in Chicago and San Antonio. He still holds the career record for highest percentage of 3-pointers made at 45.4%.

Kerr is also an ardent gun prohibitionist and has lent his name to the Brady Campaign for fundraising. Indeed, I just got an email from Brady yesterday featuring him.

Here are parts of it.

John – as a young man, Steve Kerr thought bad things happened to other people – that his life was impenetrable, and that his family was immune to everything. Steve was consumed by basketball, but his life changed forever instantly when his father was senselessly shot and murdered outside his office.
That’s why Steve is working with Brady to elect gun safety champions. He knows that preventing pain and devastation for thousands of families across the country depends on stopping Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump’s inaction on gun violence.

Now you may be thinking that Kerr’s dad was the victim of a robbery or a school shooting given he was murdered outside his office.

And you would be wrong.

Kerr’s father, Professor Malcolm Kerr was a political scientist whose specialty was the Middle East. He had taught at the American University of Beirut. Professor Kerr continued his career at UCLA where he went on to become chairman of the political science department and then dean of the division of social sciences. Then in 1982 he returned to the American University of Beirut as its president.

I should note here that the Kerr family had a long history in Lebanon with both Steve and his father Malcolm being born in Beirut. Steve’s grandparents like his father had been affiliated with the American University of Beirut. AUB has traditionally been considered one of the best universities in the Middle East and North African region outside of Israel.

When Malcolm Kerr took the presidency of the American University of Beirut, Lebanon was still in the throes of its civil war which lasted from 1975 until 1990. Israel had invaded Lebanon in 1982 to wipe out the PLO and the Marine Barracks in Beirut was bombed in late 1983. The American Embassy had been hit with a car bomb a few months earlier in 1983 killing 63.

1980s Beirut was a dangerous place with Maronite Christians, Druze, Sunni Muslims, and Shiite Muslims all vying for power. You could throw in the Palestinians, the Syrians, and the Iranians into the mix as well for good measure. If you were an American or other westerner in Beirut, you were a target. Kidnappings were rife along with murders and assassinations.

Professor Malcolm Kerr was just such a target as he was the head of one of the most prestigious institutions affiliated with America in Lebanon. On January 19, 1984, two gunmen fired two shots into the back of his head from a silenced pistol as he walked to his office.

As the New York Times reported on Kerr’s assassination at the time:

Soon after the killing of the 52-year- old educator, a male caller telephoned the Beirut office of Agence France- Presse and said the slaying was the work of Islamic Holy War – supposedly a pro-Iranian underground group.

Callers saying they were from Islamic Holy War took responsibility for bombing the American Embassy in Beirut last April 18 and the attack against the Marine compound here on Oct. 23. But the police have no evidence that the group actually exists. Dr. Kerr’s assailants escaped after the attack.

‘We Are Responsible’

The Islamic Holy War caller told Agence France-Presse in Arabic: ”We are responsible for the assassination of the president of the American University of Beirut, who was a victim of the American military presence in Lebanon. We also vow that not a single American or Frenchman will remain on this soil.”

The group who killed Kerr was called Islamic Jihad at the time. Now we know them as Hezbollah. There were ties to Iran as well which actually led the Kerr family to sue Iran in 2001.

The assassination of Malcolm Kerr was a targeted act of political terrorism. Hezbollah assassins just as easily could have used a car bomb, a knife, or a rope to murder him. It was only an “act of gun violence” (sic) because the assassins used a handgun. No amount of gun control or gun prohibition could have prevented this act of state-sponsored terrorism.

There is no correlation between the targeted political assassination of Professor Kerr and your garden variety murder or shooting in the United States. The death of Professor Kerr was a tragedy on both a personal and national level. That said, a contribution to the Brady Campaign is not going to end murders in the United States nor will it stop state-sponsored terrorism in the Middle East. The Brady Campaign knows that and one would hope that Steve Kerr knows that as well.

It is sad that Steve Kerr lost his father to a political assassination. It is even sadder that he is using that event to push an unrelated political agenda in the United States.

Off To Texas

I’m off to Houston this afternoon for the NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibition.

I think I’m in for an interesting weekend. Many vendors who skipped this year’s SHOT Show will be in attendance showcasing their wares. Not that there is that much that is new under the sun but still…

I fully expect two things this weekend.

First, the Meeting of Members will be somewhat contentious and that the Friends of Wayne will do everything in their power to cut the meeting short as they circle the wagons to protect Wayne.

Second, there will be a number of protestors and demonstrators outside the meeting given the murders in Uvalde yesterday. I would not be surprised to see Shannon Watts with her armed security out there in the plaza in front of the George Brown Center. Of course, as my friend Rob Morse points out better than I can, trained, armed teachers are a deterrent.

As to my expectations coming true, we shall see. We shall see.

Allen West’s Letter To NRA BOD

I am a little late posting this but I wanted to get it up prior to this week’s NRA Annual Meeting starting on Friday. It is an open letter from Lt. Col. Allen West to the NRA Board of Directors. He is asking for their vote when they meet on the Monday after the Annual Meeting to elect the Executive VP and CEO.

Now do I think Allen West will be elected? The answer is a resounding no. Wayne LaPierre has so stacked the Board with his loyalists that it is near impossibility. Nonetheless, it shows Judge Cohen in New York that some within the NRA are trying to change things for the better.

We’ll see.

Allen-West-NRA-press-release-22.05.19-v1

Happy Blogiversary To Gun Culture 2.0

David Yamane is celebrating his 10th anniversary of starting the Gun Culture 2.0 Blog. He notes that since that start in 2012, he has had over 500,000 visitors and a million pageviews. In my humble opinion, the reason he has had that success is because he puts out good stuff.

He notes in his first post that until he was 42 years old he had neither handled nor shot a firearm. Since then:

When I began this blog, I was quite new to guns and gun culture. In fact, part of the reason I started this blog was that I was so new to the study of guns that I had no scholarly standing to speak on the issue.

Since then, I have logged 799.5 hours of field observation of organized gun events (especially gun training), not including hundreds of hours of television programs, DVDs, and streaming videos I have watched, podcasts I have listened to or participated in, mundane visits to gun ranges and stores, class field trips to the gun store/range, and so on.

We need people like David. First because he is a respected academic at a major university doing serious research on the gun culture and doing it without looking at us like we are some strange species. Second because his innate curiosity has led him to investigate and experience the gun culture in all its various permutations. Finally because he is an all-around nice guy who appreciates fine whiskey, good food, interesting books, and good guns.

Somewhere along the way, despite a late start, he has become one of us and we are better for it.

Writing this reminded me that I had my own blogiversary on Friday and I had totally forgotten about it. It was my 12th. Regardless, 10th or 12th, that is a long time in blog years. I look at my blogroll and see how many of the blogs that I used to read regularly are no more. That does sadden me as I love blogs and blogging. Podcasts, YouTube videos, and other social media formats are fine but nothing for me beats researching a topic and then writing about it.

Beretta USA Steps Up

Beretta USA just made a substantial donation of firearms to the Gunsmithing Program at Montgomery Community College. As I am now a graduate of MCC (in Hunting and Shooting Sports Management), I am happy to see that Beretta USA is supporting my latest alma mater. As I wrote earlier, the Gunsmithing Program is top notch and has quite the assortment of equipment.

In the announcing the donation this week, which the release below notes, while some of the 363 firearms were purchased, the bulk were donated.

The Montgomery Community College Gunsmithing Program recently received 363 rifles from Beretta USA. A portion were purchased, but the bulk of the rifles were donated. MCC students will use these Tikka T3 Stainless Lite rifles in their re-barreling and refinishing classes.

“We are grateful to Beretta USA for these rifles,” said Gunsmithing Program Director Mark Dye. “It is because of this manufacturing partnership and others like it, that our students have access to exceptional firearms on which to practice new skills and techniques.”

MCC’s Gunsmithing curriculum ranges from basic diagnostics and repair to true custom builds. Students gain valuable experience in areas as varied as machining, tooling and blueprinting, metal finishing, repair, and stock work. These Beretta rifles give students high quality, current firearms on which to practice and experiment.

More than two-thirds of a student’s class time is spent in various MCC shops, bringing theory to a practical application in a hands-on setting. Valuable early machining exercises lay the groundwork for gunsmithing skills used later when working on firearms. Notable student projects include three custom rifle builds and a custom 1911 handgun.

MCC’s Gunsmithing program is fortunate to have forged many important and lasting connections with companies and individuals in the firearms industry, including Beretta USA. These long-held affiliations are one factor that sets the program apart from others. Industry partners support our students in a number of ways. Some offer substantial discounts to students on products that they will need during their education, some offer financial or material support to the program, scholarship donations, offer supplemental classes or educational opportunities, while others are interested in employing graduates of the MCC Gunsmithing program.

Other companies or organizations helping to support the program include Brownells, Midway USA, and the NRA Foundation.

From earlier conversations with Mark Dye, MCC is supposed to have a booth at the NRA Annual Meeting in Houston next weekend. They will be promoting both the full program and the NRA gunsmithing short courses.

ATF Threat To Curios And Relics

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has released a new report entitled National Firearms Commerce and Trafficking Assessment: Firearms in Commerce. It was released May 5th and has received some attention in the media. That attention is concentrated primarily on privately made firearms and the increase in production of all firearms since the year 2000.

As they say, the devil is in the details and this 308-page report touches on a lot more than the increase in production and privately made firearms. While I may get into depth on other parts of the report and the BATFE’s recommendation in later posts, today I want to concentrate on what they have to say about curios and relics.

As things stand now, a C&R is defined by Title 27 Code of Federal Regulations §478.26. They can be a) firearms manufactured more than 50 years prior to today; b) firearms certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum that exhibits firearms to be of museum interest; or c) any other firearm that gets a substantial part of its value from being “novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event.” Thus, a curio and relic could be any firearm ranging from a Ruger Model 77 made in April 1972 to Gen. George Patton’s personal handguns. In my own collection of curios and relics is a Winchester Model 50 semi-auto shotgun. It qualified under the 50 year rule and its only real claim to fame for me is that it was manufactured in 1957 which is the year of birth.

The report devotes parts of two pages to curios and relics as well as C&R FFLs. As I have held this FFL since 1997, this was of particular interest. First they note that the number of 03 FFLs has increased by 148% since 2000 with there being 59,457 currently. Those of us with this license now compose 40% of all FFLs. Much is that proportional increase is a result of the decrease in numbers of 01 FFLs due to increased regulations and the anti-gun policies of the Obama and Biden administrations. Second they note while they do have a list of all firearms classified as curios and relics since 1972, they do not have a data system that tracks information on these firearms, museums that certify museum interest, etc. They then note their data analysis questions the 50-year rule. Therein lies the rub.

Here are their recommendations (Page 162):

1. ATF should receive funding to develop a data system that tracks the history of each C&R firearm on the list to include: full description of the firearm, the date the firearm is added to the C&R list, identification of the criteria met to add the firearm to the C&R list, the person making the request, what museum stated the firearm was of historical interest, and who stated the firearm was rare, novel, or collectible. The three criteria for approving a firearm to be added to the C&R list are found in 27 C.F.R. §478. As possible, this information should be catalogued for ATFs current list C&R List -January 1972 through April 2018.

2. DOJ should review the C&R criteria in 27 C.F.R. §478 to determine if the “more than 50 years old” factor is still valid in determining that a firearm is truly a curio or relic. The C&R provisions were enacted in 1968 and firearms more than 50 years old at that time were manufactured prior to 1918. Today, firearms that are more than 50 years old were manufactured prior to 1972 and this now includes a wide variety of modem firearms to include some AR-15 type rifles, AK-47 type rifles, SKS rifles, and semi-automatic handguns. Importation, transfer, and background check regulations are different for firearms on the
C&R list and holders of a Type 03 FFL.

As I see it, these recommendations boil down to two things. First, BATFE says we want money to fund what we should have already been doing with existing funding. Second, BATFE is saying Springfield 1903s we were cool with but those icky ARs, AKs, SKSs, and semi-auto handguns give us the vapors.

Unfortunately, the Gun Control Act of 1968 gives the Attorney General the authority to define a curio or relic by regulation. Given the anti-gun, anti-rights bias of both Merrick Garland and President Joe Biden, this is a real problem. I could foresee them categorically removing the 50-year rule from what constitutes a curio and relic and limiting them to what is on the list. January 20. 2025 as well as January 2023 cannot get here soon enough.

Cawthorn Loss – A Win For WNC And GRNC-PVF

Yesterday was primary day here in North Carolina. One race in particular grabbed national attention. That was the Republican primary for the 11th Congressional District. This district has been represented this term by Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC11) who is the youngest member of Congress. Cawthorn faced seven challengers in this primary. Multiple stories had been written on this race over the last couple of months by every media organization ranging from Politico to the National Review with the NY Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal in the middle.

Cawthorn was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and the NRA-PVF. As the incumbent, Cawthorn was given the PVF endorsement. Given his issues discussed later, I think this was a mistake.

Meanwhile, his strongest challenger was St. Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson). Edwards was supported by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), NC Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), and NC House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) among others. Edwards was recommended by the Grass Roots North Carolina-Political Victory Fund. GRNC-PVF noted that Edwards had a 100% pro-gun voting record in the NC Senate, holds a FFL, and had helped GRNC pass pro-gun legislation in the General Assembly.

Other challengers included Matthew Burril, a financial advisor; Rod Honeycutt, a retired US Army colonel; Bruce O’Connell, a businessman and owner of the Pisgah Inn; Michelle Woodhouse, former 11th District GOP Chair and businesswoman; Wendy Navarez, a Navy vet and volunteer; and Kristie Sluder, a social worker. All the challengers except Navarez are conservatives. Navarez is a moderate who was being pushed by Moe Davis who was the Democrat that Cawthorn beat in 2020.

The results came in quickly. Edwards held the lead the entire evening and Cawthorn conceded in a call to him a bit after 10pm. Under North Carolina election law, in a multi-candidate primary, the candidate who has 30% or more is the winner without a runoff. If more than one candidate gets about 30%, then it is the candidate with the most votes over 30%. In this case, Edwards won 33.4% of the vote to Cawthorn’s 31.9%. While Cawthorn did better in the smaller, far western counties of the district, Edwards took both Buncombe and Henderson Counties which are the two largest in the district. Henderson, it should be noted, is the home county of both Cawthorn and Edwards.

This primary was as much a referendum on Cawthorn and his performance than anything else. Cawthorn had issues and I’m not talking about political positions. Some could be overlooked and some were just beyond the pale. He had been stopped twice by TSA for trying to board a plane with a firearm. He had been stopped for driving on a suspended license while speeding. Pictures surfaced of him dressed in women’s lingerie and engaging in questionable behavior with his cousin. His marriage ended in divorce after eight months. His unfounded allegations of cocaine parties and orgies on Capitol Hill for which he recanted. The list goes on.

However, what could not be overlooked was his immaturity, his ineffectiveness in Washington, his lack of constituent service, and, most importantly, his willingness to abandon the district for another when he thought it would put him in a larger media market. When the state’s original redistricting plan was overturned by the NC Supreme Court on a partisan vote, Cawthorn announced he would run for re-election in his original district. Meanwhile, a number of candidates including Edwards had already declared they were running in the 11th District when Cawthorn had to return to the 11th. They did not drop out as he may have expected.

When all was said and done, over 68% of the primary voters went for someone other than Cawthorn despite his endorsement by Trump and his advantage of incumbency. I supported Edwards because I think he will get stuff done and he was stronger on the Second Amendment. When you look over the field of candidates, everyone other than Cawthorn had held a real job, had success in their careers, had managed people, and many had been responsible for meeting a payroll.

Cawthorn, despite his age and injuries, could have grown in the job but didn’t. He went for the publicity and fawning accolades as opposed to effectiveness. It was show over substance and that is what caught up with him. He got political success too soon in life and I don’t think he had the intellectual maturity to handle it. I think we all wish him well in life but are relieved that he won’t be in office much longer.