Evidently Money Talks In Virginia

There has been a lot written about the ad hoc decision of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D-VA) to drop the recognition of out of state CCW permits from 25 states. The move impacts approximately 6.3 million Americans. I am one of those as Americans as North Carolina’s permit will no longer be recognized in Virginia. However, I can assure my friends in the commonwealth that their permit will be recognized in North Carolina as we have universal recognition of out of state permits.

The non-partisan Virginia Public Access Project takes as its mission the goal of making government data regarding campaign finance disclosure understandable and accessible to the general public. From what I can see, they do a good job of it.

Given how much money Michael Bloomberg has funneled into Virginia both directly and indirectly I thought it would be interesting to see if Attorney General Herring was a recipient of his generosity. As Deep Throat said to Woodward and Bernstein, “Follow the money”.

Lo and behold the top donor to his campaign for Attorney General was none other than Independence USA PAC. They gave $1,292,417 of in-kind donations to his campaign. The money went for media production and advertising buys. To put this into perspective, the next two highest donors gave approximately half this amount each. The only candidate to get more money from that PAC was Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA).

Independence USA PAC is Bloomberg’s personal super-PAC. FactCheck said this about it:

Independence USA is a super PAC that focuses largely on helping to elect candidates who support stricter gun-control laws. It was founded in October 2012 by Michael Bloomberg, and, so far, has been entirely funded by the former New York City mayor.

The race for Attorney General between Herring and Republican St. Senator Mark Obershain was exceedingly close. The final vote tally left Herring winning by little more than 900 votes. Indeed, up until the last poll, Obershain was either in the lead or tied with Herring.

When you owe your elected position to Michael Bloomberg, when he says jump, you say how high. Evidently now was the time that Bloomberg said jump and jump is what Herring did in response.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Part Four

I published Every Picture Tells A Story, Part Three last Wednesday. It was an update of the 2011 post that tracked the spread of firearms freedom as evidenced by the growth in shall-issue and constitutional carry. It was released on October 15th to commemorate the effective date of constitutional carry in the state of Maine.

Also published in 2011 was another collaboration with Rob Vance called Every Picture Tells A Story, Part Two which plotted annual FBI violent crime rates against the growth of shall-issue concealed carry. We explicitly stated back then that there wasn’t a positive correlation between violent crime rates and liberalized carry laws. We also said that proving a negative correlation would take more a more rigorous statistical approach. However, we took note of Linoge’s work regarding the negative correlation between crime involving firearms and gun ownership. I would note that Linoge has updated his work and the negative correlation is even stronger in 2015 (-0.8016) than in 2011.

Rob has updated his graph to reflect the changes since 2011 in both crime rates and the growth of shall-issue and constitutional carry.

When Illinois, the fifth largest state in the US, was forced to adopt shall-issue concealed carry, the anti-rights movement predicted blood in the streets of Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois. That is, more blood than is normal in Chicago with its long history of stringent gun control. The graph above normalizes the crime rates as per 100,000. If shall-issue concealed carry would have caused an increase in crime rates in Illinois, it would have shown up in the graph.

Rob notes this about the graph and what it illustrates:

Every time the citizens of our states manage to convince their legislators that individual self-defense via unrestricted or shall issue concealed carry is the best approach, the press repeats the shibboleth that such laws will result in “blood in the streets.” Well, the press has been wrong about that, and they’ve been wrong repeatedly and over many many years. Then again, newspaper circulation is down and this kind of lazy reporting might be one of the reasons why. Violent crime rates, including the murder rates, are down in the United States from a peak in the early 1990’s, but you wouldn’t know it from our press. The diagram below starts with data gathered to demonstrate the change in state laws in favor of no or de minimis regulation of concealed carry of firearms for self-defense (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1QxBfs9acTUH8hL1OtkitcivuCzr4IQKjKOQ4_obK61c/pubhtml), and integrates FBI Uniform Crime Reporting data on the national level of violent crime over time.

Concealed carry laws matter because they change the balance of power in the favor of law abiding citizens over violent criminals, increasing both the real and the perceived risk associated with criminal behavior. Over the last 25 plus years the rate of violent crimes in the US has fallen substantially, and this change runs directly counter to the increasing availability of concealed carry as a self-defense option for Americans. We are now experiencing lowered rates of violent crime last seen in the early 1970s and murder rates from the mid-1960s. As John Lott has written (extensively I might add), “More Guns = Less Crime.” Correlation isn’t causality is a truth from statistics; yet it is entirely truthful to say that the normalization of armed self-defense is taking place in a period when the rate of violent crime is falling in the US. Any other conclusion does not follow the data.

Links to our data sources are below:

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/17/despite-lower-crime-rates-support-for-gun-rights-increases

https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr

http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

The Devil Is In The Details

Yesterday, I reported that Maj. Gen. Max Haston, the Adjutant General of the Tennessee National Guard, had authorized the carry of firearms by Guardsmen and Air Guardsmen while on duty. That, on the face of it, was and is a great leap forward in protecting the men and women of the Tennessee Guard from terrorists of all stripes.

However, as they say, the devil is in the details. Thanks to a Tennessee blogger who wishes to remain anonymous so as to protect his source I have those details. The key points as he summarized them are:

Here are some of the restrictions:
  • The carried weapon must “meet identical or nearly identical specifications of the M9 Beretta service pistol or smaller”, and the local Commander gets to decide what that means. No revolvers or derringers.
  • .380, 9mm, .40, and .45 only
  • It must be carried in a holster that is “identical or nearly identical to the service-issued holster” worn on either the right or left hip. 
  • While not explicitly stated, it appears that open carry is not allowed.
  • You may only have one.
  • No carry in Government Vehicles or Storefront Recruiting Stations. This basically means that Recruiters–the ones being targeted–are effectively not allowed to carry.
  • You may only carry in ACUs or Class A uniforms. 
    • Class A uniform carry is only allowed if you don’t print and won’t be required or expected to remove the jacket later. 
    • ACU carry is only allowed if blouse remove is not authorized. So if you’re on kitchen duty, you’re not allowed to carry even if you don’t take off your blouse, because blouse removal is authorized in that scenario. Same thing if it’s more than 85 degrees.
  • You are carrying as authorized by the Handgun Carry Permit statutes. As such, you’re not allowed to carry in schools or businesses that post 1359 signage.
The document you are required to sign before being allowed to carry places these additional restrictions:
  • While not in the actual orders, the paper that the soldier is required to sign requires them to carry with no magazine in the weapon. I have confirmed with my source that this is, indeed, the intention of that language.
  • Only allows carry on “authorized Military Department State properties”, ie, not while in uniform (while out) in the general public.

The key document is the Personally Owned Weapons Policy, ver. 4, which I have embedded below. In addition, here is the link to the document that must be signed and to the announcement sent to members of the Tennessee Military Department (NG and ANG).

Tennessee’s Adjutant General Gets It – Allows Licensed Carry While On Duty

Maj. Gen. Max Haston, Tennessee’s Adjutant General, gets it. He issued orders today that will allow members of the Tennessee National Guard and Air National Guard to carry while on duty at State armories and facilities if they have a valid Tennessee carry permit. He also announced the selected Guard personnel working at Federal facilities will draw and carry Federally issued firearms for protection. Finally, he has moved Army National Guard recruiters from storefront locations to local armories.

The relevant parts of the news release:

Maj. Gen. Max Haston, Tennessee’s Adjutant General, today announced that the
Military Department has taken steps to increase the security of its personnel and facilities to
include allowing Tennessee Army & Air National Guard members with valid Tennessee State
Handgun Carry Permits to carry handguns at State Armories and facilities.

Haston’s decision follows Governor Bill Haslam’s directive, issued earlier this month in the
aftermath of the deadly shootings in Chattanooga, to review current Guard personnel who are
authorized to be armed in the performance of their duties, and identify and arm Guardsmen
where necessary to protect themselves, citizens and Guard facilities.

“We have been very deliberate in making the decision to arm our Tennessee National Guard,”
said Haston. “This is not a step that we take lightly, but it is apparent that military personnel
have been targeted and the protection of our Soldiers and Airmen is of utmost importance.
Physical security and risk assessment is something that we continually do as part of our day to
day obligations.”

Haston also announced that selected Guard personnel working on Federal facilities would be
allowed to carry federally issued handguns.

“Federal law prohibits carrying a personally owned weapon on a Federal facility,” said Haston.
“Therefore, selected personnel working on Federal property will draw and carry a federally
issued firearm for protection.”

I would hope to see this spread to more states. In the meantime, kudos to Gen. Haston for taking the necessary steps to protect the men and women under his command.

“I’m Older Now And It’s Very Scary”

WTSP Channel 10 News did a report a couple of days ago about the growth in Florida senior citizens applying for and getting the concealed carry permits. The report notes that over 350,000 permits holders in Florida are over the age of 66.

I’m glad to see these people taking the responsibility for their own self-defense. With regard to the disparity of force argument, most senior citizens would be at a disadvantage against a younger attacker. I’m not a senior citizen (yet) but I would feel at a severe disadvantage if I were attacked by an attacker in his 20s or 30s.

I like the tone of this story. It isn’t “this is dangerous for Grandma to have a firearm” but rather an honest report on how senior citizens are taking the initiative to protect themselves. I hope the trainers in Florida and elsewhere recognize this and develop classes aimed directly at this demographic.

I would embed the video but I can’t get it not to autoplay. Bummer. Here is the link.

H/T Laura Carno

Good News Out Of Illinois

The Illinois Senate today passed SB 836 which contains improvements in the FOID Card Act, the Concealed Carry Act, and the Criminal Code. The vote was 43 yea, 8 nay, and 5 not voting. Included in the nay votes was perennial gun prohibitionist Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge). This is not surprising in that he had been the Executive Director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (sic) prior to being elected to the Illinois Senate.

The bill had passed the Illinois House on Saturday. The vote there was 84 yea, 23 nay, and 3 not voting. The bill now goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL) for his signature. It is expected that he will sign this bill.

The full text of the bill is here. The Illinois State Rifle Association emailed this summary of the main provisions of the bill this evening. They along with Illinois Carry and other gun rights groups in Illinois fought hard for this bill.

After months of working with the Illinois General Assembly on improvements to the Firearms Concealed Carry Act, FOID Act and Criminal Code, SB 836 passed the Illinois Senate with a vote of 43 Yes, 8 No and 5 Present. It is on the way to the Governor’s desk.

SB 836 contains the following changes:

Firearms Concealed Carry Act:

1. Limits the waiver of privacy rights regarding the concealed carry application to only those records pertinent to obtaining a concealed carry license.

2. Clarifies that if a concealed carry licensee presents their ICCL during a law enforcement investigative stop that it is presumed they are carrying a firearm.

3. Clarifies the definition of a “mental disability” as it pertains to persons seeking a concealed carry license.

4. Eliminates the requirement that a licensee unload his or her firearm when storing or retrieving a firearm from the trunk of their vehicle.

5. Provides that Emergency Service personnel may ask anyone lawfully carrying a firearm to secure the firearm for the duration of the contact.

6. Changes mental health reporting requirements.

FOID Act:

7. Allows the use of a concealed carry license when purchasing firearms or ammunition.

8. Allows concealed carry licensees to possess firearms and ammunition without being in physical possession of their FOID card.

9. Changes the FOID Act to ensure that non-resident competitors may purchase firearms and ammunition at events held at the World Shooting Complex.

Criminal Code:

10. Eliminates a contradiction between Concealed Carry Act and the criminal definition of unlawful use of weapon.

GRNC Alert On First Citizens Bank

First Citizens Bank is headquartered in North Carolina and has 570 branches in 18 states. The majority of its branches are in the Carolinas and Virginia. First Citizens, while publicly traded, is still controlled by the Holding family. Frank B. Holding, Jr., CEO of First Citzens, is the grandson of the bank’s founder Robert P. Holding. The bank’s Vice Chairman and fellow board member, Hope Holding Bryant, is his sister. Their brother-in-law Peter Bristow is the president of the bank.

Rep. George Holding (R-NC), Frank and Hope’s cousin, represents the 13th Congressional District of North Carolina. He was A-Rated and Endorsed by the NRA-PVF in the 2014 elections and was ranked 4-stars by the GRNC-PVF. According to his last financial disclosure report filed in 2014, he held stock in First Citizens (NC and SC) valued at more than $500,000 and less than $1 million.

The bank’s Board of Directors recently voted to prohibit lawful concealed carry holders from carrying on their premises. As Grass Roots North Carolina notes below in their alert, they did this despite bank robberies being at a 10 year low in North Carolina. Being a non-public entity, they are certainly entitled to do what they want on their own property. However, their customers and potential customers are just as entitled to vote with their feet if they disagree with the board’s action. No state in their markets are lacking in other alternatives.

From GRNC:

FCB Risks the Safety of Banking Customers
In a unified show of ignorant disregard for your safety, First Citizens Bank’s Board of Directors recently decided to disallow concealed carry at their branches. This puts all law abiding citizens at risk and should convince current and potential customers of First Citizens Bank (FCB) to reconsider patronizing this, or any bank, that puts customers in harm’s way.
What problem are they trying to solve with the ban? If it’s bank robberies, the N&O reported in this article that bank robberies hit a 10 year low in 2014 of 91 (as of Nov. 30), down from 267 in 2004. The fact that this correlates perfectly with the exponential growth of CCW in NC suggests that CCW is a large part of that fix. Are they trying to fix the non-existent problems they have with CCW permitholders? Where are those reports?
First Citizens Bank has given its customers a false sense of security inside the bank (criminals will not obey a CCW ban) while enhancing the real and present danger that banning concealed carry presents to its patrons outside the branch doors. Criminals know the best place to find people carrying large amounts of cash is in the parking lot of a bank. A concealed weapons ban means customers will be forced to leave their lawfully carried weapon in their car when they walk into, and out of the bank. None of the bank’s elaborate security will do anything to protect people outside of the front doors. In addition, the parking lots of First Citizens Bank will also become fertile hunting grounds for criminals looking to steal guns from cars.
Until First Citizens Bank revokes this counterproductive ban it is imperative that its customers and patrons understand the risks of banking at an institution that jeopardizes its customers’ safety by banning them from lawfully carrying a gun for self defense.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!
It is imperative we express our safety concerns to First Citizens Bank
  • Email first Citizens using their contact page
    linked below.  Copy and paste the message provided under ‘Deliver this Message’
     
  • Phone First Citizens Bank and tell them you will not do business with a bank that disregards its customer’s safety by banning them from lawfully carrying guns for self defense. Use the phone number provided below.
     
CONTACT INFO
You can find contact info for FCB on their web site:https://www.firstcitizens.com/about/contact-us
No email address is supplied but you can send email from a form on the contact page.

The general customer support number is: 1 (888) 323-4742
 
FCB Head of Security

Skip Lee
FCB Board of Directors
John M. Alexander, Jr. Victor E. Bell, III
Peter W. Bristow Hope Holding Bryant
H. Lee Durham, Jr. Daniel L. Heavner
Frank B. Holding, Jr. Robert R. Hoppe
Lucius S. Jones Floyd L. Keels
Robert E. Mason, IV Robert T. Newcomb
James M. Parker
DELIVER THIS MESSAGE

Suggested Subject: Revoke Concealed Carry Weapons Ban

Dear First Citizens Bank,

I am writing to voice my strong objection to your Board of Directors’ recent decision to ban lawful concealed carry in the branches of First Citizens Bank. Not only does this create a false sense of security in the branch (criminals will not obey a CCW ban), but customers will have no way of defending themselves in parking lots where criminals await customers they believe are carrying large sums of cash.
Until this policy is fully revoked, I will not risk my safety doing business with First Citizens Bank and will pass my concerns to my friends and family and encourage them do the same.
I will continue to monitor this situation through alerts from Grass Roots North Carolina.
Sincerely,

There Will Always Be An Exception

Holders of concealed carry permits have been shown to be more law-abiding than law enforcement officers over the years. That hasn’t stopped groups like the Violence Policy Center from doing everything in their power to portray permit holders as killers and wild cowboys with itchy trigger fingers.

Just as a bad cop is an exception to the norm, so too is a concealed carry holder that commits murder. Unfortunately, we in North Carolina now have one of those exceptions. A 62-year old man who held a NC Concealed Handgun Permit killed one person, wounded another, and killed the wounded woman’s unborn child. He then killed himself. The murder-suicide reportedly stemmed from a business dispute according to local papers.

Sean Sorrentino has much more detail and commentary on the incident. I’d suggest going there to learn more about this story.

All I can say is that it is a sad thing all around but that it is an exceptional one. And being exceptional, it is not reflective on concealed carry holders nor concealed carry in general. Even the Chicago Tribune concedes this point noting that it has been a quiet first year after Illinois finally got shall-issue concealed carry.

DC Sued Again Over Concealed Carry

The District of Columbia was sued today by the Second Amendment Foundation on behalf of two DC residents and one Florida resident who resides in Virginia. The suit challenges DC’s “good reason” requirement to be issued a concealed carry permit. Currently, only eight permits have been issued out of 69 applications.

Attorney Alan Gura is representing the plaintiffs in the suit entitled Wrenn et al v. District of Columbia

From SAF’s release:

BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today filed a federal lawsuit challenging the District of Columbia’s highly restrictive concealed carry permit requirement that applicants provide a “good reason” before such a permit is issued, which violates the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. SAF is joined by three private citizens, Brian Wrenn and Joshua Akery, both of Washington, D.C., and Tyler Whidby, a Florida resident who also maintains a residence in Virginia. The city and Police Chief Cathy Lanier are named as defendants.

The lawsuit asserts that “individuals cannot be required to prove a ‘good reason’ or ‘other proper reason’ for the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights, including the right to keep and bear arms.” All three individual plaintiffs in the case have applied for District carry permits and have been turned down by Lanier because they could not “Demonstrate a good reason to fear injury to person or property.”

“The city’s requirements to obtain a carry permit are so restrictive in nature as to be prohibitive to virtually all applicants,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “It’s rather like a ‘Catch 22,’ in which you can apply all day long, but no reason is sufficiently good enough for Chief Lanier to issue a permit.

“Because of that,” he added, “the city has set the bar so high that it relegates a fundamental civil right to the status of a heavily-regulated government privilege. That is not only wrong, it also does not live up to previous court rulings. Law-abiding citizens who clear background checks and are allowed to have handguns in their homes are being unnecessarily burdened with the additional requirement of proving some special need.

“The last time we checked,” Gottlieb concluded, “we had a Bill of Rights that applied to the entire nation, including the District. It’s not, and never has been, a ‘Bill of Needs’.”

The city is still appealing its earlier loss in Palmer v. D.C., the SAF-sponsored case that struck down the city’s total ban on carrying handguns. The courts have not yet ruled on SAF’s claim that the city’s “may issue” law violates the Palmer injunction.

“We will give the courts every chance to bring Washington, D.C. into constitutional compliance,” said attorney Alan Gura, who represents SAF and the other plaintiffs in both cases.

The complaint can be found here.

Russia Is Better Than….

Who would have ever believed that Putin’s Russia now provides better gun rights than the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and most of California. Russia, unlike DC and aforementioned states now allows self-defense as a valid reason to be issued a carry permit.

From Russia Today:

In an amendment to its tough gun control laws, the Russian government eases restrictions, allowing citizens to carry licensed weapons for the purposes of ‘self-defense.’

Until now Russian gun enthusiasts were only permitted to carry firearms for hunting or target shooting after obtaining a license through the Interior Ministry. Russian gun licenses are to be renewed every five years, and applicants face strict background checks and are required to take gun safety courses.

The addendum to the law now lists self-defense as a legally acceptable reason for carrying a weapon.

 Permit holders are not allowed to carry in schools, nights clubs that serve alcohol, and mass public gatherings. Carry while under the influence of alcohol is also prohibited. Self-defense weapons allowed include handguns, shotguns, stun guns, and tear gas/OC but not swords or rifles.

I wonder what America’s own would-be oligarch Michael Bloomberg thinks of this.