Shannon Watts’ Nose Is Out Of Joint

CNN announced yesterday that they were establishing a “Guns in America” beat. In somewhat of a surprise, it isn’t totally filled with gun prohibitionists. That fact has the Shannon Watts and the rest of the gun prohibitionists in a tizzy.

From Deadline:

Josh Campbell will lead CNN’s new “Guns in America” beat, one of the new initiatives announced earlier this year by CNN chairman and CEO Chris Licht.

Providing reporting and analysis to the beat will be figures from a range of points of view, including Stephen Gutowski, the founder of firearms reporting site (The) Reload; Jennifer Mascia from The Trace, which covers the impact of gun violence; and Abené Clayton, reporter on the The Guardian’s Guns and Lies in America project.

CNN said that the team “will explore who buys and sells guns; who makes and regulates them; and dive into the communities most impacted to help illuminate possible solutions to America’s epidemic of gun violence.”

It is the addition of Stephen Gutowski, a reporter who is not ignorant about firearms, that has her and the rest of her ilk so outraged.

(click on the embedded tweet to see the full comments from Shannon Watts)

Then this array of comments on The Wrap:

This sentiment was echoed by many others, with one user saying the hire, who will join the Guns in America beat, “a new beat dedicated to tracking and unpacking all aspects of the complex and divisive issues surrounding guns and gun violence in the country,” according to CNN, was like getting “paychecks for the price of innocent lives,” considering his approval rating from the NRA. Another user tweeted “CNN hires gun nut for gun analysis,” while others insisted Gutowski’s hire would end their CNN viewership. “No thanks @CNN,” one user wrote. “I will not be watching ANY of your programs. NONE.”

Therein lies the problem for them. They don’t want to hear anything that challenges their narrative about firearms. It is like they all live on the set of the Truman Show and their favorite song is Home on the Range because “seldom is heard, a discouragin’ word”.

I have known Stephen for a few years now. I have always found him to be a serious, sober, and fair-minded journalist. Yes he does provide an alternative perspective on firearms issues. Moreover, despite the charge of being “NRA approved”, he has never shied away from criticism of the NRA, its leadership, and the board when criticism is due. I think he will acquit himself well even though it will be two against one.

He said this on The Reload to which I’m a paid subscriber about being an analyst for CNN in addition to continuing his work on The Reload:

I’m excited about the opportunity to work with many solid reporters and reach a new audience. I’ve long criticized how major media outlets have reported on firearms. A severe lack of knowledge about guns, gun owners, gun laws, and even gun politics is endemic throughout the industry.

But I’ve also long been an advocate of engaging with other reporters to help foster a more informed media. I’ve contributed stories to outlets across the political spectrum. I’ve given advice to writers at every one of the top news outlets in the country and even taken many to the range for first-hand experience.

So, I’m glad to get a chance to put that worldview into practice on a greater scale than ever before.

What makes this whole faux-outrage by Shannon Watts so amusing is that the president of Everytown of which her organization is a part and that of The Trace are one and the same. Thanks to Rob Romano for pointing that out.

If Shannon couldn’t engage in hypocrisy, then she would be left with nothing.

Disclosure Is A Problem For David Chipman

When you are a nominee for a position that requires Senate confirmation, it is incumbent upon you to disclose everything. By everything, I mean everything. You gave a talk to Ms. Miller’s third grade class, you disclose it. You gave a speech to a group of lawyers, you disclose it. You wrote an op-ed that ran in a free paper, you disclose it. You have blogged for years under a pseudonym, you disclose it.

Disclosure just doesn’t seem to be in David Chipman’s wheelhouse and now it is coming back to bite him in the ass.

Andrew Kaczynski and Drew Myers cover politics for CNN. That network is not considered a bastion of support for the Second Amendment. Neither are they the “anonymous bloggers and social media sleuths” that Mrs. Chipman holds in such disregard. Indeed they are as mainstream media as mainstream media gets.

Thus, when they have a story that illustrates the failure of David Chipman to disclose talks he gave and events in which he participated, it is an issue.

From CNN:

In one undisclosed 2019 talk given to a law firm titled “Can the Right to Bear Arms Coexist with Gun Control?,” David Chipman said his views and politics weren’t typical of most at the ATF and in law enforcement because the groups were mostly “a very conservative bunch, primarily of white men.”

The comments are notable because Chipman’s nomination has struggled to gain support – even from some members of the Democratic caucus who have yet to commit to his nomination. Senators have questioned if his past record as an advocate for stricter gun laws would make him a less effective director.

And then there is this interview from a podcast in 2017:

In another undisclosed 2017 interview on Jared Huffman’s “Off the Cuff” podcast, Chipman said the NRA depends on an “un-American” business model that involves making society “less safe.”

“If (the NRA is) no longer selling a lot of guns to sportsmen and hunters and (their) primary business model is you need guns for public safety. Well, then you need an unsafe society to need to buy a gun,” Chipman said. “If your business model depends entirely on people feeling unsafe and scared and need to buy a gun, why would you want to do anything that makes things safer?”

Chipman added he needed to retire from the ATF after 25 years to talk about his views on gun violence “in a way” that would not end him up in jail for speaking to the press without authorization.

These are just two of the previously undisclosed talks and interviews involving Chipman. As the CNN story makes clear, there are more and they give links to them. A thorough search probably will find more.

We know that David Chipman hates us, our organizations, our rights, and our freedom. His nomination needs to be either withdrawn or defeated. I would prefer defeat because it puts the rest of the politicians who hate us on record.

Even CNN Gets It Even If Wayne Doesn’t

I know CNN is the home of “fake news” and the rest of that nonsense. Still, even a blind squirrel can sometimes find an acorn. They had a story yesterday about the struggle of the NRA to maintain the political influence it had in 2016 in the 2020 elections. The lead for the story is the personal influence that former NRA-ILA director Chris Cox had with politicians. I mentioned the same thing in my post about Jason Ouimet being appointed the interim head of ILA.

From the CNN story:

The NRA accused Chris Cox — the man who had controlled the organization’s lobbying and political activities for more than 15 years — of trying to overthrow Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre, according to a lawsuit filed last month.

Cox denied the charge to The New York Times, but quickly resigned. His unceremonious sacking stunned NRA board members, who saw Cox as a potential successor to LaPierre, and infuriated political staffers. Some started packing up their desks, unsure of whether they would be ousted too, multiple NRA sources said.

That’s when the Washington power brokers really started to worry. Cox’s departure, after months of turmoil at the NRA, only amplified the sense that the gun-rights group might not be the political powerhouse in 2020 that it has been for decades, including notably in 2016.

When President Donald Trump convened a meeting with bipartisan lawmakers and signaled and openness to some gun control measures in the wake of a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead, it was Cox who showed up at the White House the following evening.

Afterward, Cox tweeted that Trump didn’t want gun control. For his part, Trump tweeted: “Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!”

The reservoir of goodwill toward Cox ran deep on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

“Every Republican senator who matters has Chris’ cell phone number,” one GOP operative who worked closely with Cox on the political side told CNN. “And vice versa.”

The operative recounted one meeting between Cox and a senator, ostensibly about a policy issue, that instead was focused primarily on the senator’s favorite hunting grounds in his home state. Cox knew them all in advance — and had been to them himself.

Cox and his team held weekly calls with Republican committees to share tips about ongoing campaigns — calls that increased in frequency in the lead-up to key primaries and Election Day, according to former officials.
“Senators didn’t call Wayne,” the GOP operative said of LaPierre. “They called Chris.”

That’s partly because it was Cox’s job to maintain those contacts, while LaPierre oversaw the organization. Cox has moved on to launch his own Washington consulting firm. But unease over his departure — and LaPierre’s efforts to consolidate power — is fueling uncertainty about the direction of the organization overall.

 Honestly, from my conversations with others, I don’t think Wayne LaPierre really understood the value of Chris to the campaign side of NRA-ILA. All he could see was a potential rival for power that had to be vanquished. As to the supposed “coup”, I think it is a figment of his imagination as it has been played upon by the NRA’s outside counsel William Brewer III. Witness the gratuitous mention of Chris in one paragraph of the NRA’s lawsuit against Ollie North.

I am going to repeat what I wrote at the beginning of the month:  Wayne LaPierre’s legacy will be as the guy who caused us to lose gun rights in order to preserve his perks if the Republicans fail to hold on to at least one House of Congress and the Presidency. His paranoia and arrogance caused him to listen to the wrong guy and we are all suffering as a result.

Adding to that statement, I would say that those NRA Board members and others who stand 100% behind Wayne will be complicit in this loss of gun rights. They will blame us, they will blame Bloomberg and Soros, they will blame anyone but themselves. The reality is that they did not want to excise what has become a cancer upon the National Rifle Association. Wayne did do good in the past but the past is past and, like with a championship football coach who no longer wins, it is time to move on.

About Those Mail Bombs Sent To Clinton, Obama, CNN, Etc.

First off, while I heartily disagree with most anything Bill or Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama say, I condemn most forcefully whomever sent them – and others – what appear to be mail bombs. This is not how we do things in a republic.

I’m sure whomever sent those will be found quickly and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

A picture of the bomb sent to former CIA Director John Brennan in care of CNN is shown below:

I’m not a bomb expert but it looks to be a pipe bomb using galvanized pipe to hold the explosive.

Given this and assuming it is a six inch piece of one inch pipe, I’d guesstimate it weighs at the minimum 13.5 ounces. Add in the weight of the explosive, detonator, and packaging and you are at about one pound. The postage was paid for with stamps

Why does this matter?

It matters because of USPS postal regulations which state:

If your mailpiece weighs more than 13 oz and you’re using postage stamps, take it to a Post Office retail counter to mail it. If put in your mailbox for pickup service, the carrier will leave it. If dropped in a blue collection box or lobby location, it will be returned to you.

Moreover, if you look at that picture you will notice that the stamps are not cancelled with a postmark. That might be the failure of the post office or it might indicate that this device never was in the USPS mail system to begin with and was someone dropped off at CNN.

I’m not going to get into conspiracy theories and suggest that the perpetrator was actually engaging in a false flag attack. I’ll leave that to Alex Jones. I prefer to wait until we know just who was behind this. Regardless of who they are, I hope they spend many, many years behind bars.

Tom Fuentes – CNN’s Expert On How Women Carry Firearms

Let’s be frank here. Tom Fuentes, retired Assistant Director of the FBI and CNN’s Law Enforcement Analyst, is ignorant. I might even go so far as to say he is a misogynist. He doesn’t think women can carry concealed on their person other than in an outside the waistband holster with a heavy belt. Moreover, he gives the impression that this is the only way to carry.

The women at A Girl and A Gun Shooting League wish to disagree.

From a release they sent out this afternoon:

CNN Analyst: Women Carrying Guns Is Not Practical

On February 24 CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes asked the question, “For a woman, where are you going to hide that gun during the day?” He continued with another question, “If you wear a dress, if you wear a skirt, are you going to have to wear a jacket everyday with a belt and a holster the way a detective on duty would do?”

Yes, he actually asked those questions on national television in 2018. Dave Marris captured Tom Fuentes’ comments on his Facebook page.

It is unfortunate that someone with such a public persona and lengthy career in the FBI is so ignorant about women and our ability to carry a firearm. Never before have their been more products available specifically tailored to women’s needs. There are holsters designed for all areas of a woman’s body that can be easily and safely concealed under everyday clothing. The traditional OWB holster that Mr. Fuentes references is used by some women who prefer to wear jackets or overshirts to cover the firearm, but that is only one option. There are quality holsters for inside the waistband (front, side, or back), corset/bellyband, bra mounted (both front and side), thigh and ankle holsters, boot holsters, and others. Millions of women know how to evaluate a concealed carry holster for EDC safety and functionality.

Secondly, firearms themselves have become smaller and easier to conceal. It is not uncommon for women to have a variety of pistols that conceal better with different wardrobe choices or activities. We recently compiled a list of the best concealed carry handguns that our female pistol instructors carry on a daily basis. There are dozens of quality firearms on the market that are perfect for on-body carry for men and women to easily conceal. These firearms are secured safely in a holster unless the person determines, under the law, that lethal force is required.

Finally, firearm safety is not a gender issue. All people must always follow the 4 Rules of Gun Safety. There are 3 safe places for a self-defense pistol and all men and women must adhere to these principles. Mr. Fuentes jested that a woman would leave her concealed carry pistol in her desk drawer and he showed his ignorance to the emphasis that our organization puts on the safe storage of firearms.

We invite Mr. Fuentes and his colleagues at CNN to become more familiar with female gun owners, our gun-carrying lifestyle, values, and abilities. Many women come into gun ownership with the primary purpose of protecting themselves. They turn to A Girl & A Gun for holster information and responsible firearms training. We welcome them to the mindset of being their own first responders by carrying a handgun and taking charge of their personal safety and the safety of their loved ones.

UPDATE: Kathy Jackson of the Cornered Cat gives her response to Tom Fuentes along with suggestions for how women can look both very stylish and carry at the same time.

He wasn’t really asking, of course. He was just explaining that women really can’t manage the complex, manly task of carrying a gun. Based on his wide experience as being a woman who carries a gun, I guess?

This would pretty well be the definition of ‘mansplaining’ — not a word that I’m generally a fan of, but it fits. Fuentes, who is not a woman, felt it necessary to explain on national television that women cannot discreetly carry a gun.

News to me.

Much Ado About Nothing

The Brady Campaign, CNN, and the cult of personality known as Giffords are all in a tizzy that an BATFE official actually reached out to a lobbyist for comments. You may remember the white paper written by BATFE Associate Deputy Director Ron Turk that suggested items for discussion with regard to firearms regulations. The white paper was released after the inauguration of President Trump. It is to be noted that Ron Turk has always maintained that the items discussed in the paper were not official policy but rather items for discussion that he proposed.

According to CNN, after writing his initial draft of the white paper, Turk sent it to firearms lobbyist Mark Barnes for comments.

“If I am missing the mark on a major issue or disregarding a major discussion point any feedback you have would be appreciated,” Turk wrote to the lobbyist, Mark Barnes, on January 9, 2017. “My hope is that the agency can demonstrate flexibility where appropriate and identify areas for further discussion, recognizing that solving everyone’s concerns on each side would be difficult.”

Some of the suggestions from Barnes were included in the final draft of the white paper. Things like allowing dealers to use the NICS system to run background check on their own employees and a re-examination of a 20-year old sporting use study in light of the sporting uses of AKs and ARs. However, things that Barnes also suggested like loosening restrictions on the imports of SKS carbines and Makarov pistols from Russia were not included.

I think what has the gun control lobby and their enablers in the media so upset is that they weren’t approached for suggestions.

From Avery Gardiner of the Brady Campaign:

“I was surprised to see that the draft document had been emailed out to a gun industry lawyer and the final product took his suggestions as edits — without any disclosure of that until we went to court to get these documents,” said Avery W. Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Center. …

“There was a secret white paper that was partially written by the gun lobby. That’s exactly the kind of thing the Freedom of Information Act is supposed to address — transparency of government,” Gardiner said.

And from David Chipman, the former BATFE Special Agent who now works for Giffords, who is dismayed by the revelation:

“An independent ATF is critical to this nation’s security. The white paper suggests that the gun industry’s quest for power and influence has trumped public safety,” Chipman said.

An interesting side note on Chipman, he is a 1984 graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy – the ultra-expensive, ultra-upper class, prep school. I’m having a little bit of cognitive dissonance over a preppy actually getting his hands dirty working for a lackluster agency like BATFE. Isn’t that a little beneath a graduate of Phillips Exeter?

Back to the story in question, think back to the Obama Administration and all the photo ops and meeting held with the gun control industry. They were quite numerous. I think the problem here is that they are miffed to be on the outside looking in as opposed to the good old days when they had a seat at the table.

The CNN story does have link to all the drafts of the white papers if you are interested. They have also included a video on the page that seems like an outright editorial call for universal background checks. As Glenn Reynolds has often said they are Democratic operatives with a byline. I’d modify it to include gun control advocates with a byline.

More On The Pressure To Move Out Of Connecticut

CNN actually did a rather fair story on Mark Malkowski of Stag Arms and Jonathan Scalise of ACS and the pressure they are feeling to move their companies out of Connecticut. Listen to Malkowski describe the incentives other states are offering to move. It makes you wonder just who is running Connecticut if an industry which provides so many “good” jobs is suddenly treated like an “untermensch”.

I would not be surprised to see either or both of the companies relocate out of Connecticut within the next year.

Along these same lines, Jeff Soyer of Alphecca looks at New Hampshire and why it might not be a great place to move. As he notes, the state is rapidly changing due to the influx of former residents of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Moving a firearms manufacturing facility to another state is an
expensive proposition. If a company decides to make such a decision,
it’s going to be somewhere where that company can be assured of steady
support for their company, products, and workers. The winds of change —
slight as they might be at the moment — in northern New England states
provide no reassurance of of that.

I think he makes a good point. 

Prohibitionist Pipe Dreams

Imagine if you will that the Freedom Group is bought by a consortium of investors including Michael Bloomberg and George Soros. Imagine further that the new CEO is a pro-gun control “hunter” and that the new board of directors will include representatives from the families of the children shot in Newtown. Top this all off with the notion that the company will provide “moral leadership” to the gun industry and will establish a fund to compensate crime victims who have been shot with firearms produced by the Freedom Group.

You would be right to ask if I was either showing signs of early dementia or having some sort of drug-induced hallucinogenic dream. Actually, it is neither. This comes from an opinion article written by John Macintosh for CNN.

Mr. Macintosh was a partner with private equity firm Warburg Pincus and is now a partner in SeaChange Capital Partners. The latter sees it mission as:

SeaChange Capital Partners is an entrepreneurial organization that seeks
to deploy its resources – team, relationships, reputation and funds –
to achieve the greatest social impact. At present, these situations fall
into two areas: Nonprofit Collaboration and Advisory Services.
SeaChange also engages in making markets within our extended network by
organizing convenings wherever we see topics of common interest that
are directly connected to transactions.

 Mr. Macintosh specifically suggests that a new non-profit “special purpose acquisition company” be established to buy the Freedom Group. He would call this new non-profit by the cutesy name of or BFF. He suggests getting the pension funds that have invested in Cerberus to roll their portion of the investment in the Freedom Group into BFF.

His “moral turnaround” plan for the Freedom Group would have the following parts:

(i) Appoints a high-profile CEO with impeccable credentials as a hunter and/or marksman who is nevertheless in favor of gun-control.

(ii) Elects a new board of directors including representatives from the families of victims killed in Newtown (and/or other massacres perpetrated with Freedom Group weapons), military veterans and trauma surgeons with real experience of human-on-human gunfire, and law enforcement and mental health professionals.

(iii) Operates the business as if sensible gun laws were in place (this may turn out to be a wise investment in future-proofing the company): discontinuing sales of the most egregious assault weapons and modifying others as necessary so they cannot take huge-volume clips; offering to buy back all Freedom Group assault weapons in circulation; micro-stamping weapons for easy tracking; and providing price discounts for buyers willing to go through a background check and register in a database available to law enforcement.

(iv) Voluntarily waives its rights to support the NRA and other lobbying groups.

(v) Creates a fund to compensate those who, despite its best efforts, are killed or wounded by its weapons.

(vi) Agrees that if the effort to provide moral leadership in the weapons industry doesn’t succeed within a year, BFF should consider corporate euthanasia, even though it entails a risk of allowing more retrograde manufacturers to fill the void in the market left by the then-deceased company.

Mr. Macintosh does realize that this would be a long shot in his opinion but it has to be tried. He goes on to say:

that a reconstructed Freedom Group, fighting for sensible change as a
fifth column from within the industry, might well find that many people
— even a significant portion of the NRA’s members — would buy from a
truly responsible (and high quality) gunmaker if given the chance.

I’m not some young semi-retired corporate raider who has found religion, so to speak, like Mr. Macintosh. However, I’d say I have a better grasp on the firearms industry and reality than does Mr. Macintosh. If he really thinks this would come to pass and people would buy from the reconstituted Freedom Group, I’d offer these three little words of warning.

Smith and Wesson.

They Always Have To Turn It Into A Discussion Of Black Swan Events

I didn’t see CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight with the interview of Kim Rhode. All I could find of the interview was this clip in which Morgan is asking Kim about the Aurora shooting. While Kim gave an excellent answer, it is sad to think that this is the only thing that CNN deemed worthy of excerpting. There is nothing about her record-breaking performance, nothing about how hard she trained to get there, and nothing really about the shotgun sports.

Obama’s Chief Of State Jack Lew Is Not A Good Liar

President Obama’s Chief of State Jack Lew appeared on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley yesterday. After listening to his comments of Operation Fast and Furious you are left with the impression that he is grasping. Frankly, he is not a good liar. A good liar would convince you of his facts even when he knew they were false. About the only thing good about this interview for the Obama Administration is that it appeared on CNN which it seems no one watches anymore.

Lew starts out by saying that Operation Fast and Furious was a bad plan that started under the Bush Administration, that they didn’t know anything about it, and that the regional office were the ones who really were at fault. He then evades Candy Crowley’s question asking whether there was something that was so important in the withheld documents that the White House had to invoke executive privilege by saying the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was on a witch hunt.

Sorry, Jack, but the operation started in April 2009 and the wiretap applications indicate that high level DOJ officials were very much aware of what was going on.