“Gun Owners for Safety”

The Cult of Personality known as Giffords is creating another astroturf organization called Gun Owners for Safety. As you can tell for their description of it below, it is supposed to be composed of gun owners, hunters, collectors, and sport shooters who support “commonsense gun laws”.

The gun control industry always tries to come up with these organizations before an election. I think they want anti-gun politicians to be able to say, “I support the Second Amendment and this organization of real gun owners supports me.” We in the gun culture and the gun rights community recognize it as a crock but there will always be some that are gullible.

From the announcement:

We are excited to announce the launch of our newest nationwide initiative: Giffords Gun Owners for Safety! We hope you’ll join us for a special launch event.

Here at Giffords we know that the vast majority of Americans support safer communities—including gun owners. We know that preventing gun violence and responsible gun ownership go hand-in-hand. That’s why we’re launching Gun Owners for Safety, which unites hunters, sport shooters, and collectors who support commonsense gun laws like background checks.

Together, we will rally support from all corners of the country to fight for lifesaving laws and promote responsible gun ownership.

The event details are below and you can RSVP for FREE. During the event, you’ll be able to hear directly from our founder, Gabby Giffords, about how we plan to work together to make our communities safer from gun violence.

Join us for our Gun Owners for Safety National Launch Event

Date: Friday, October 16th
Time: 3pm ET
Location: Online Event
Cost: FREE

If you follow the embedded link, it will take you to the sign-up page. I find it interesting that they are targeting Colorado, Michigan, and Texas. Michigan and Texas could or should end up going for the Republicans and I think they are trying to prevent that.

An Alternative Scenario

Now let me give you an alternative scenario about why they are creating such a group. It may sound a bit like a conspiracy theory but so be it.

Let’s say that NY Attorney General Letitia James is ultimately successful in dissolving the National Rifle Association. As this article from the anti-gun, anti-NRA, Washington Post makes clear, the assets must be distributed to a like organization.

What if the courts decide the like organization isn’t a true gun rights organization like the Second Amendment Foundation, GOA, FPC, or the like but rather Gun Owners for Safety. The NRA is composed of gun owners and they promote safe handling of firearms. Doesn’t Gun Owners for Safety do the same thing as evidenced by their name? I could see Letitia James colluding with the gun control industry to push this line of thinking.

It turns out I’m not the only one thinking along these lines. Walter Olson writing in the Cato Institute blog came to the same conclusion in August.

Would anyone be surprised, given her record, if James asked for the funds to go to groups at fundamental odds with the organization’s Second Amendment advocacy mission? You can just imagine the line her office and her allies would take — the NRA always claimed to be a leading voice for gun safety and the outdoors, so let’s use their money to fund this group promoting “safe storage” along with this other group that represents our sort of hunters, the right sort.

Let’s say Giffords has a staffer doing opposition research and this staffer just happens to read the Cato column. Do you think it would be a real stretch for that staffer to propose to create Gun Owners for Safety for electoral purposes now and to get the NRA’s assets later? I’d say not much of a stretch at all.

If Giffords can come up with it, then I doubt Brady and Everytown are that far behind. I’m not saying it is going to happen but it does bear watching.

I Don’t Think That Headline Means What You Think It Means

The online version of Newsweek magazine had the most misleading headline ever related to the recent panic buying of firearms. Since I don’t think merely quoting it does it justice, here is a screen shot of it.

Do they mean gun rights advocacy groups like the National Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Foundation, Gun Owners of America, the Firearms Policy Coaliton, or one of the many state-level groups?

Umm. No.

Once you start reading the article you come across comments from these “gun advocacy” luminaries.

“Fear has been the motivation for much of the increases in firearms purchases,” David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor for gun control advocate group Giffords, told Newsweek.

“A small percentage of the marketing to gun owners has been to encourage preparation for end times scenarios and zombie apocalypses.”

Chipman said the country’s current gun laws allow people to hoard weapons in the same way they are able to mass buy toilet paper.

Chipman, of the Cult of Personality Known As Giffords, goes on to say he is a gun owner himself. Of course he is.

Not to be out done is this advocate is the co-president of Brady United.

Kris Brown, President of the Brady gun control campaign group, also said she is “very fearful” that the number of friendly fire incidents involving children could also dramatically increase as millions of children who are not currently at school will be present in their homes with these new weapons.

Brown said the feeling of short term security and safety that is provided by purchasing a weapon is masking the actual risk that will be dramatically increased.

“I understand in any time of crisis there is fear, the desire to do something to try and create a sense of security, and safety is paramount. The same instinct as fight or flight is what’s kicking in here,” she told Newsweek.

“The reality is the purchase of a gun is actually going right into harm’s way.”

It’s always “for the children” with them.

Last but not least is that “stay at home mom of five” and former corporate PR flack Shannon Watts herself.

“Right now, there’s no question that everyone is worried about their family’s safety. We know there are risks associated with having a gun in the home, especially when kids are involved, which is why responsible gun owners store their guns locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition.”

Watts added the presence of guns in a house also increases the risks of suicide and domestic violence.

“The NRA has spent decades selling a myth that more guns make us safer, but if that were true, the U.S. would be the safest nation on earth,” she said. “Instead, we have a gun homicide rate that’s 25 times higher than the average of other developed nations.”

Watts suggested if people truly want to protect their families during these unsettled times, they should “wash their hands and lock up their guns.”

While I can’t disagree with Mrs. Watts on the importance of hand washing, the rest of her statement is all too typical of her.

The best thing I can say about that headline is that they didn’t characterize these gun prohibitionists as “gun safety groups”. Indeed, the author of this article specifically refers to both Giffords and Brady as “gun control advocate” or “gun control campaign” groups.

Oh! The Horror!

Magpul donated 1,000 30-round PMags for the NRA to give out to those who attended the January 13th NRA rally at the Virginia State Capitol. Duane Liptak, Magpul’s Executive VP, is a member of the NRA Board of Directors. Bear in mind that a magazine ban is one of the agenda items for anti-gun Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly. A magazine ban, I should add, that has no grandfathering.

Giving out 30-round PMags was reminiscent of what Magpul did for rallies in Vermont in 2018 and in Colorado in 2013. In other words it was nothing new. Nonetheless, the gun prohibitionists at the Cult of Personality known as Giffords have their panties in a wad over this.

Gun rights advocates from around the country are urging armed protesters to descend on Virginia’s capital before the General Assembly’s first legislative session of 2020 to stop Democrats from passing gun-control bills.

The NRA is even getting involved by offering to hand out 30 round magazines to protesters for free if they show up.

Tweet from the NRA: EMERGENCY AIRLIFT: @Magpul_HQ sent us 1,000 30 Round PMAGs to hand out tomorrow in Richmond to NRA members who show up to fight Northam's extreme gun ban! We'll see everyone TOMORROW at the General Assembly Building in Senate Sub-Committee Room1 on the 5th Floor at 8am!

A 30 round magazine was used to shoot this organization’s co-founder, Gabby Giffords, kill six people and injure 12 others in Tucson.

First off no magazine of any size can be used “to shoot” anyone. A magazine is merely a container. It, more importantly, just like a firearm is an inanimate object that cannot do anything unless it is used by human being.

In Ms. Giffords’ case, the murderer in Tucson had a Glock pistol as his weapon of choice. He did have a Glock 18 knock-off magazine that jammed when he was reloading allowing heroic bystanders to end his rampage.

The killer bought it legally after passing a FBI NICS check. That he was able to pass such a check despite evidence of mental issues was due to the failure of school authorities to report his behavior and due to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department ignoring his actions. The latter was due to a friendly relationship between the killer’s mother and Sheriff Clarence Dupnik.

Giffords and other such organizations who send out these pleas for money rely on shock value and the decay of memory with regard to past events. That it is dishonest has never stopped them in the past and won’t stop them in the future. Fortunately, there are both the Internet and those of us with long memories to set the record straight.

More NY Subpoenas For The NRA

Danny Hakim of The New York Times is reporting that NY Attorney General Letitia James (D-NY) issued new subpoenas to the National Rifle Association last week. While I have been keeping up with issues related to the NRA, I missed this.

The subpoena, which was described to The New York Times, was issued last week and covers at least four areas, including campaign finance, payments made to board members and tax compliance. Because the N.R.A. is chartered in New York and the office of the attorney general, Letitia James, has a range of enforcement options, the investigation has alarmed N.R.A. officials already grappling with infighting and litigation. The same office brought a case last year that led to the shuttering of President Trump’s foundation.

Among the documents sought by the subpoena are records related to transfers among N.R.A.-controlled entities, including the N.R.A. Foundation, an affiliated charity. Recent tax filings show that the N.R.A. diverted $36 million last year from the foundation in various ways, far more than ever before, raising concerns among tax experts. The transfers came as the N.R.A. experienced financial strains and challenges from gun-control groups, which outspent the organization in the 2018 midterm elections. An earlier analysis by The Times found that the foundation had transferred more than $200 million to the N.R.A. between 2010 and 2017.

The NRA Foundation, you may remember, is now under an investigation by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine (D-DC). The NRA Foundation is chartered in the District of Columbia.

The New York investigation also is seeking internal documents related to the NRA’s filings with the Federal Election Commission as well as to communication with two political consulting firms. Those firms, Starboard Strategic and OnMessage, are somewhat intertwined. The Cult of Personality known as Giffords has sued the FEC alleging that the NRA paid money to Starboard Strategic as a means to funnel money to Republicans using OnMessage.

The New York Attorney General’s Office had no comments on the subpoenas.

However, NBC reports this response from the NRA outside counsel William Brewer III.

“Of course, the financial records of the NRA and affiliates were audited and reported in tax filings, in accordance with state and federal regulations — a fact that underscores the Association’s commitment to good governance,” Brewer said. “It is easy to understand why the NRA believes that the NYAG’s zeal with respect to this inquiry reflects the investigation’s partisan purpose — not an actual concern that the NRA is not effectively using its assets to pursue its members interests.”

“Regrettably, the NYAG seems to credit hollow rants by a handful of actors who are no longer associated with the NRA,” Brewer continued.

While Brewer seems to dismiss the actions of the NY Attorney General and her office saying it has “a partisan purpose”, she does have extraordinary powers when it comes to non-profit organizations chartered in the state. This includes substantial fines and even the possible dissolution of the NRA. If any of the current or former member of the Board are just sloughing this off as a partisan witch hunt, they are doing so at their peril.

This is serious business. I can’t say that it would not have come up if the Board had been doing their due diligence and taking their fiduciary responsibilities seriously. However, it would have been easier to dismiss as having a “partisan purpose.”

Democrats Love Symbolism…When Abridging Your Rights

Tuesday, January 8th is the eight anniversary of when then-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) was shot at an event in Tucson. The killer obtained his Glock at a licensed gun shop after going through a FBI-run NICS check. Keep that in mind for later. At the time, the shootings were blamed on “insurrectionist ideology“, “weak” gun laws, and the lack of a permanent BATFE director among other things. Just like with the Parkland murders, the failure of school officials and the local sheriff contributed to the shootings and not the lack of a background check.

Thus, it should be no surprise that on Tuesday, a bill will be introduced by House Democrats that will mandate universal background checks. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly have been pushing universal background checks for years. They sent this out earlier today – along with the requisite beg for money to abridge your rights.

Here’s some news I think you’ll be quite happy to hear:

This Tuesday, January 8, Democrats in the House of Representatives will introduce bipartisan universal background checks legislation.

We fought to elect this Congress — one that will stand up to the gun lobby — and right away, they are delivering. The bill is H.R. 8, a symbolic action that will mark the 8th anniversary of the shooting in Tucson. It is also testament to all of our work moving the needle on this issue.

Gabby will be there for the announcement and we’ll be ready to fight to get this thing passed.

But you know the gun lobby, they won’t go down without a fight, especially on this issue. So we have to ask:

Can you make a $3 donation to Giffords PAC? We’ll put it right to work in the fight to pass universal background checks.

This is a big deal, and we’ll have a lot more soon. But right now, we’re gearing up for what’s sure to be a tough fight on this issue. So thanks for chipping in.

All my best,

Mark Kelly

My guess that the only thing bipartisan about this bill will be one or two RINOs like Rep. Peter King (R-NY) as a co-sponsor.

According to Politico, the bill will be number H.R. 8 to commemorate the date. The bill will be introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

“Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force has been fighting for a chance to pass legislation that will help save lives,” Thompson said in a statement. “Finally, with our new majority that ran on helping to prevent gun violence, we will introduce a bipartisan, universal background checks bill. We will hold hearings, we will have a vote, and this legislation will finally pass the House.”


“In communities across America, courageous survivors, families and young advocates are showing outstanding courage and persistence in demanding an end to the horrific scourge of gun violence in our nation,” Pelosi said in a statement. “It is an honor to join Congressman Mike Thompson and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords to answer their call by taking the first step to pass commonsense background checks – which 97 percent of the American people support.”

Notice those supposed poll numbers in support of “commonsense background checks”. According to Pelosi, it is 97%. Was this supposed to be a gift to Threepers as the stalwart 3% that oppose this legislation? Why it was only yesterday it seems that Bloomberg, Giffords, and the rest of the gun control industry were saying it was a mere 90%.

So-called universal background checks are a solution in search of a problem. Criminals will continue to obtain firearms and the expectation that they will go through a NICS check is ludicrous. Moreover, as we have seen in the mass shootings which the news media and the gun control industry seem to feed on, the firearms were obtained from legitimate sources after a background check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation was completed. Finally, a law such as this is unenforceable absent a total registration of the 300-600 million firearms thought to exist in the United States.

BOHICA

I posted the gun control industry’s wish list earlier this morning. If you don’t think they have a serious chance of getting much of it through the House, you are living in a dreamland. Read Nancy Pelosi’s statement from Friday marking the sixth anniversary of the murders in Newtown, Connecticut.

“For six years, Americans across the country have taken time to remember the 26 beautiful souls that were murdered in an act of unfathomable horror and heartbreak at Sandy Hook Elementary School. While the pain and grief of that tragic day remain, our determination to end the daily horror of gun violence continues to strengthen.


“Since that unspeakable tragedy, too many families in too many places have been impacted by the deadly epidemic of gun violence. In shattered communities across the country, the nation has had to console family members, comfort survivors and honor victims. Yet, at every opportunity Republicans refuse to lift a finger to stop the bloodshed. Enough is enough.


“Countless families, survivors and young people around the country have courageously turned their grief into action. Inspired by their strength and tireless advocacy, the new Democratic Majority will act boldly and decisively to ensure that no other family must endure the pain caused by gun violence.”

 The gun control lobby was supportive of Pelosi becoming Speaker and they are expecting their payoff. I have no doubt that she will attempt to come through. As Politico reports, she even has some Republican allies on gun control like Rep. Peter King (R-NY). Moreover, the House Judiciary Committee will be headed by known gun control advocate Jerold Nadler (D-NY) and there will be a House Gun Violence Task Force headed by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA).

What does all of this mean?

It means that we need to be on Defcon 1 for any and all gun control bills being introduced in January 2019 and those of us who have Republican senators need to be talking to them now. Take Giffords’ wish list, make comments on it, and email or fax it to those senators. Explain that red flag laws aka “Extreme Violence Protection Orders” not only violate the Constitution but get innocent people killed. Given how the GOP bows and scrapes to cops emphasize that some of those killed trying to enforce such a law will be cops. I think you can go through that list and come up with more reasons that none of them need be passed.

Giffords Christmas Wish List

The cult of personality known as Giffords sent out their Christmas wish list yesterday. Robin Lloyd, their Director of Government Affairs (read lobbyist), included everything under the Sun with maybe the exception of a pony. While officially called their “policy recommendations for the 116th Congress”, it is a wish list. The unfortunate thing is that most of it could pass the House. As to the Senate, that will depend upon how squishy or “reasonable” the Republicans will be. As to Mr. Trump and his veto pen, I think it depends on the day.

And here is Gabby and company’s wish list presented in its entirety. I will to comment on parts of it in later blog posts.

This is your comprehensive guide to potential gun safety policy actions the next Congress could take to save lives. Save this email. But please forward it to friends as well. There is no better source for what is possible when the new Congress is sworn in next month.


During the 115th Congress alone, the United States experienced tragic shootings in Alexandria, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, Santa Fe, Pittsburgh, and Thousand Oaks, just to name a few. In recent years, the number of gun deaths and injuries has increased, with more than 121,000 people shot in 2015 and more than 155,000 people shot in 2016.


The public recognizes that these levels of gun violence are unacceptable: 7 in 10 Americans want stronger gun laws. An overwhelming majority of Americans— 97% —are in favor of universal background checks. 87% believe that gun violence is a public health issue, and 76% support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding research on gun violence.


In the states, this support has led to meaningful change. In 2018, 27 states passed 67 new gun safety laws; among those, 11 states passed legislation to keep guns away from domestic abusers, six enacted laws to improve background checks, and eight passed measures to fund urban violence reduction programs. The state laws with the greatest momentum in 2018 were extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws, which allow law enforcement or family members to temporarily remove firearms from individuals in crisis. Eight governors— including five Republicans —signed these bills into law.


Still, both state legislatures and Congress must take further action in order to address our nation’s gun violence epidemic and save lives. In addition to passing the legislation outlined below, Giffords urges Congress to exercise its oversight authority over federal agencies responsible for enforcing gun laws and to be wary of efforts to roll back our nation’s gun laws. Congressional committees should proactively seek testimony and information from the Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about resources needed to better implement and enforce existing gun laws.


CONGRESS SHOULD IMMEDIATELY ACT ON THE FOLLOWING POLICIES:


UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS


Universal background checks would ensure that people prohibited from purchasing firearms cannot do so through an unregulated sale from an unlicensed or online seller, at a gun show, or through a private sale between individuals. Closing this background check loophole is critical to making sure criminals and other dangerous people cannot easily access firearms. A universal background check requirement for all gun transfers — with reasonable exceptions for hunting, self-defense, and family—is the strongest policy solution to prevent prohibited individuals from getting their hands on guns. Background checks are proven to save lives: States that require a background check on every handgun sale experience 38% fewer gun homicides of women by intimate partners, 53% fewer law enforcement officers shot and killed, and 53% fewer firearm suicides.


FEDERAL GUN VIOLENCE RESEARCH


Gun violence is a public health crisis and must be addressed as such. But in order to truly address a public health problem, we must first fully understand it. The solution is simple: legislators serious about protecting their constituents from gun violence should invest in federal research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Leaders have made clear that at this juncture, only a lack of funding constrains the CDC from performing this lifesaving research. Earlier this year, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar acknowledged that his agency is not legally prohibited from studying gun violence—a sentiment echoed by the FY18 omnibus bill. In October 2018, CDC Director Robert Redfield stated that the CDC has no restrictions on potential research, and should money be appropriated by Congress, the CDC will move forward with gun violence research.


ENACT EXTREME RISK PROTECTION ORDERS


Extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws enable family members or law enforcement to petition a court for a temporary order prohibiting a person from purchasing or possessing firearms. These orders are sought when the individual demonstrates behaviors that indicate they may pose a danger to themselves or others. ERPO laws are designed to help people in crisis—like the shooter in Parkland, Florida, who classmates, teachers, family members, and law enforcement officers noticed was exhibiting dangerous behaviors. ERPO laws are proven to save lives: in Connecticut , for every 10–20 orders issued, one life was saved. Thirteen states have now enacted some form of an extreme risk law, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.


PREVENT DOMESTIC ABUSERS FROM ACCESSING FIREARMS


Domestic violence and firearms are a deadly combination. A woman is five times more likely to die in a domestic violence situation if her abuser has access to a firearm. Current federal law prohibits abusers who have been convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors and abusers subject to certain domestic violence protective orders from purchasing or possessing guns. However, federal laws do not apply to many abusers who victimize non-spousal partners or a family member other than a partner or child, such as a non-cohabiting boyfriend.


FUND EVIDENCE-BASED VIOLENCE INTERVENTION PROGRAMS


Gun violence disproportionately impacts communities of color. From 2012 to 2016, African American children and teens were nearly 15 times as likely to be shot to death as their white peers. In that same time frame, Hispanic children and teens and Native American children and teens were both three times as likely to be shot to death as their white peers. In many cities heavily impacted by interpersonal gun violence, such violence is driven by a very small subset of the community, and a handful of strategies have proven to be successful at breaking cycles of violence. One such strategy, community-based violence intervention programs, deploys targeted services for high-risk individuals with clear and swift consequences from law enforcement for those who continue to perpetrate violence.


PREVENT GUN TRAFFICKING


Every year, tens of thousands of guns are diverted from legal to illegal markets through unregulated gun sales, straw purchases, gun traffickers who falsely claim their guns were lost or stolen, and corrupt gun dealers who sell guns off the books to traffickers. Deadly weapons are too easily purchased in states with weak gun safety laws and trafficked to states with stronger gun laws, where they end up in the hands of people unable to pass a background check and are often ultimately used in violent crimes. While straw purchases are currently prohibited under federal law, they are often treated as a mere paperwork violation and go unchecked. Congress should pass a clear statute prohibiting the diversion of guns into the illegal market to ensure gun trafficking is treated as the serious and dangerous offense it is.


REGULATE ASSAULT WEAPONS AND LARGE CAPACITY MAGAZINES


Assault weapons are designed to maximize the number of people shot in the shortest amount of time. The danger posed by these weapons is substantially increased by detachable large capacity ammunition magazines, which allow the shooter to fire a large number of rounds in a row and quickly reload. As a result, these weapons are often the weapon of choice for mass shooters. It should not be easier to purchase an assault rifle than it is to purchase a handgun. Under current federal law, an individual must be 21 to purchase a handgun from a gun dealer, but only 18 to purchase an assault weapon. The Parkland shooting showed us what’s at stake if we fail to close this loophole. Americans are demanding action on assault weapons: 78% of voters support a ban on assault weapons and 77% support raising the minimum purchase age to 21.


The expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 banned the future production of assault weapons but did not address the weapons already in circulation. Today, an estimated 15 million assault rifles are currently in circulation, and any legislative solutions must apply to them. Regulating semiautomatic assault weapons under the National Firearms Act (NFA)— the same way that gun silencers and machine guns are regulated—allows law-abiding gun owners to legally possess these firearms, while also addressing the public safety concerns of the public and law enforcement. Congress must also limit the future manufacture and sale of assault weapons to reduce the easy availability of such weapons.


Large capacity magazines, typically defined as magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, significantly increase a shooter’s ability to injure and kill large numbers of people quickly because they enable the individual to fire repeatedly without needing to reload. The time required to reload a weapon can be critical in enabling victims to escape and law enforcement or others to intervene. Large capacity magazines have been used frequently in mass shootings. Congress should consider a ban on large capacity magazines, which would reduce the potential lethality of any firearm that can accept a magazine, including a firearm that is not an assault weapon. 70% of voters support a ban on large capacity magazines.


TREAT BUMP STOCKS LIKE MACHINE GUNS


A gun does not have to be fully automatic in order to act like an automatic firearm. In October 2017, a gunman in Las Vegas used a firearm accessory called a “bump stock” to fire more than 1,100 rounds of ammunition in 11 minutes, killing 58 people and injuring over 500. Despite calls for Congress to act and confirmation by the acting ATF director that a legislative solution would be the best route, over a year after the Las Vegas massacre, bump stocks remain unregulated and legal to purchase. Regulating bump stocks has broad support: Eight in ten Americans, including 77% of Republicans, support banning these dangerous devices, as do nearly three-fourths of voters in gun-owning households. The Department of Justice is currently considering a new rule to regulate bump stocks like machine guns; however, such regulation is likely to become tied up in litigation after being finalized. As a result, swift congressional action is critical to ensuring these dangerous items do not fall into the wrong hands.


REPEAL GUN INDUSTRY IMMUNITY


The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) provides broad immunity to gun manufacturers and dealers in federal and state court. Enacted in 2005, PLCAA prevents plaintiffs from filing lawsuits against gun manufacturers or dealers in cases where these parties have been negligent and there has been “criminal or unlawful misuse” of a firearm or ammunition. Such immunity is unique to the gun industry and removes any incentive for manufacturers to innovate and adopt new gun safety practices. In other industries, civil liability has historically played an important role in injury prevention” lawsuits against the tobacco industry forced cigarette manufacturers to adopt new ways to market their products to prevent youth smoking, and lawsuits against car manufacturers have forced the industry to adopt better safety measures to reduce automobile deaths. Congress should pass legislation repealing PLCAA and place the firearm industry on equal ground with other American industries.


IMPLEMENT CHILD ACCESS PREVENTION LAWS


Research shows that easily accessible firearms in the home are associated with an increased risk of suicide, as well as unintentional injuries and deaths, among children and young people. More than two-thirds of students who used guns to commit “targeted violence” against their school acquired the gun or guns used in their attacks from their own home or that of a relative. Child access prevention laws hold adults liable when minors gain access to negligently stored firearms or when parents or guardians directly provide a firearm to a minor. With 4.6 million American children living in homes with loaded, unlocked guns, it is critical that Congress pass legislation to encourage states to enact child access prevention laws and discourage unsafe storage of firearms.


ENACT PERMIT-TO-PURCHASE REQUIREMENTS FOR HANDGUNS


Permit-to-purchase laws require an individual to obtain a license or permit from law enforcement before purchasing a gun. These laws have been enacted in ten states thus far, and are proven to make communities safer by reducing firearm homicides and keeping guns out of the hands of prohibited individuals. In states which have had effective handgun purchaser licensing laws on the books for decades, like Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, the vast majority of crime guns originate in other states, indicating that gun traffickers seek guns elsewhere. After Connecticut’s implementation of a permit-to-purchase law, gun homicides decreased 40% between 1996 and 2005. Conversely, when Missouri repealed its permit-to-purchase system in 2007, gun homicides increased by 25%. The evidence is clear: Congress should encourage more states to implement this lifesaving policy.


ENSURE THE COMPLETION OF ALL BACKGROUND CHECKS


Background checks on firearms sales and transfers help keep firearms out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) consists of a set of databases maintained by the FBI and used to conduct background checks on sales and transfers at federally licensed dealers.


Though most background checks are processed within minutes, occasionally a NICS examiner will need time to conduct more research if records indicate the buyer may have a possible firearms prohibition. If the firearms dealer has not been notified by the NICS examiner within three business days that the sale would violate federal or state laws, the dealer must determine if he or she will proceed with the sale. When firearms sales proceed by default because the FBI is not able to complete the background check within the three-day timeframe, ineligible people can purchase guns, like the shooter who murdered nine people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. In 2000, the FBI said the three-day window should be extended to give examiners more time to investigate; in March of 2018, FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich agreed that “it would make sense” to extend the window to ensure fewer guns are sold to prohibited purchasers. Congress should pass legislation close this “Charleston loophole” to prohibit firearms dealers from selling a firearm before a background check is completed.


ALERT LAW ENFORCEMENT OF ATTEMPTED PROHIBITED PURCHASES


When felons and other prohibited people lie on the form when buying a gun, not only are they violating federal gun laws, they may also be planning violent crimes. Current law does not, however, ensure that state or local law enforcement are made aware of these situations. Bipartisan legislation was introduced in both chambers in the 115th Congress to ensure state and local law enforcement are notified when prohibited individuals attempt to purchase a firearm. Prompt notification of local law enforcement can help ensure the prohibited purchaser does not attempt to access firearms in other ways, like through an unregulated private sale or over the internet.


STRENGTHEN OVERSIGHT OF FIREARMS DEALERS


Proper oversight of gun dealers is essential to reducing firearms trafficking. Gun dealers supply the majority of guns sold to the public, including guns eventually recovered in crimes, but they are subject to few federal regulations and weak enforcement of these regulations. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is responsible for inspecting gun dealers, but ATF is often under-resourced and unable to provide adequate oversight. In many cases, dealers that are found to be in violation of the law often have their penalties reduced. As a consequence, corrupt gun dealers represent a major source of guns trafficked to dangerous individuals and criminals, either directly or through straw purchasers (who buy guns for individuals who are prohibited from buying them) and gun traffickers (who purchase guns to resell on the black market). Guns lost or stolen from dealers who fail to responsibly secure their inventories are also a major source of guns on the black market. Congress should pass legislation to increase ATF inspections of gun dealers and strengthen penalties for corrupt gun dealers.


SET FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES UP FOR SUCCESS


The ATF and FBI can only perform their intended functions if they have the resources to do so, but both agencies have been under-resourced over the past several years. The FBI maintains the NICS system and is responsible for meeting increasing demand for background checks. 2016 saw the highest number of background checks ever, with 2017 not far behind. ATF, the agency primarily responsible for the investigation and prevention of federal firearms offenses, consistently receives insufficient funding to carry out its duties. In 2017, nearly 135,000 federally licensed firearms dealers were operating in the United States, which ATF is responsible for regularly inspecting. But with a small workforce —ATF is smaller than the Broward County, Florida, sheriff’s office—and not enough funding, this can be an impossible task. In March 2018, Acting Director Tom Brandon described ATF as “$20 million in the hole,” but noted that with more resources, the agency “could do more.”


But even with the appropriate resources, the ability of federal law enforcement officers to do their jobs effectively will remain hindered by restrictive budget riders known collectively as the Tiahrt Amendments. These riders hamstring ATF’s ability to trace crime guns by prohibiting the use of searchable databases and banning the consolidation of gun sales records maintained by federally licensed firearm dealers, (FFLs). A prohibition on the release of crime gun trace data to the public prohibits researchers from clearly identifying trafficking patterns, while another rider forbids ATF from requiring FFLs to take a physical inventory, making it easier for dealers to avoid accountability for proper record-keeping and timely reporting of lost and stolen guns. By placing such restrictions on federal agencies, Congress significantly weakens law enforcement’s abilities to enforce gun laws, prevent gun crime, and keep communities safe. Acting Director Brandon referred to these restrictions as “not optimum, but it’s the law.” This is a law that Congress should repeal.


DEVELOP GUN SAFETY TECHNOLOGY


Gun safety technology includes personalized guns and accessories such as gun safes, trigger locks, and retrofit kits that prevent firearms from being fired by unauthorized users. These innovations have the potential to reduce gun suicides and unintentional shootings, especially among children, as well as gun thefts. Nearly 7,000 children in the United States receive medical treatment for gun-related injuries each year. Personalized guns and accessories let owners control who can access their gun. The technology that gives owners this control includes biometric security methods, like fingerprint sensors, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, which uses radio waves to identify objects.


Personalized accessories, like a fingerprint trigger lock, add an extra layer of security to gun safes or locks. When used with traditional guns, they offer a similar level of security to personalized guns. Congress can encourage the development of these potentially lifesaving technologies by providing research and development tax credits and grants for gun safety technology.

“I want gun control and I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers.”

The above quote comes from Susan Orfanos. She was the mother of Telemachus Orfanos who was one of the victims in the multiple murders committed at the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks, California. It was reported on the CBS Evening News for Friday, November 9th.

“He didn’t come home last night,” said his mother, Susan. “I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts. I want gun control and I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers. I want gun control. No more guns.”

The link to the story includes the video interview with her and a friend of the murderer.

I can excuse the bitter words of a distraught mother who lost a son. However, I have also gotten emails from both the Brady Campaign and the cult of personality known as Giffords calling for more gun control and asking for donations.

Excuse me but these murders happened in the gun control paradise known as California. Giffords Law Center rates the state an “A”. It is the only state in the Union rated this high. Even New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts only get A minuses. In the last Brady Campaign rankings I can find from 2015, California was the number one state in terms of adopting the gun control measures they wanted.

Red Flag laws?

Check!

Highly restrictive may issue concealed carry?

Check!

Ban on open carry?

Check!

Waiting periods?

Check!

Assault weapon (sic) bans?

Check!

Magazine size restrictions?

Check!

Purchase of ammunition only through licensed dealers?

Check!

Background check to buy ammo?

Check!

Ban carry in establishments that serve alcohol?

Check!

The state has every thing that the gun prohibitionists have been calling for to supposedly stop “gun violence” and “mass shootings” and yet it failed. When a murderer is determined to commit evil deeds the weapon really almost becomes irrelevant. It could just as easily have been an attack using a knife as in Melbourne, Australia on Friday. Even worse might have been an arson attack where an exit was illegally locked or blocked. Some of the worst night club fires in the US and the rest of the world have been due to arson.

My point is that there is little that can be done to stop the initial attack even with the most restrictive of laws. Evil people will do what evil people will do.

That said, there are a number of things that might have lessened the toll. For example, if the six off-duty cops there had been allowed to carry in the Borderline Bar, they could have responded with deadly force to stop the murders. Or, for example, as Greg Ellifritz points out, the murderer posted to Facebook and Instagram during the attack which was an opportunity to attack the murderer when he was distracted. While it might have been illegal in California, in many states you can carry in a place that serves alcohol so long as you don’t drink. This would be the place for Designated Defenders as suggested by Massad Ayoob.

I’m not sure how to prevent all mass violence events. I do think Malcolm Gladwell is on to something with his theory of threshholds where each event begets a larger and worse event. Media publicity doesn’t help. I’m not saying that it shouldn’t be reported but restraint and discretion should be exercised. For a start, do like many bloggers and academics have pledged: don’t report the killer’s name. As the No Notoriety campaign suggests focus on the victims and not the killer.

It would be a start. In the meantime, be alert and be careful where you go.

Email Subject Line Of The Day

You have to hand it to the gun prohibitionists. Those that don’t have Mike Bloomberg’s money at their disposal will find any reason to ask for money. This is especially true of that cult of personality known as Giffords.

Here is the subject line of their latest email missive asking for money.

Gabby and Mark need you to rush an emergency donation to help us stop Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to serve on the Supreme Court. Let me explain why this request is so important.

Don’t wait. Don’t think about it. Send money now. Operators are standing by. A donation of only $3 will feed a starving prohibitionist for a day. Wait, I think I’m getting these pleas for donations confused a bit.

The email goes on to promise, “We are no doubt going to send a number of emails about Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.” At least that is honest of  their Executive Director Peter Ambler to acknowledge that this just the first in a series of emails. Having been on their mailing list for a few years, I can assure you that each and every one of them will have some “ask” for a donation or to sign up on their mailing list.

And Now The Reactions From The Prohibitionists, Part 3

Let it not be said that the cult of personality known as Giffords would be left out of making their opposition to Judge Brett Kavanugh known. While I may have serious doubts that Ms. Giffords actually wrote her piece in opposition, it does go out over her name.

From Giffords and Giffords Law Center:

July 9, 2018 — Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, released the following statements after the announcement of President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court following the retiring of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Former Representative Gabrielle Giffords:

“In nominating Judge Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice, the Trump Administration is once again showing brazen disregard for the people it claims to protect. Judge Kavanaugh’s dangerous views on the Second Amendment are far outside the mainstream of even conservative thought and stand in direct opposition to the values and priorities of the vast majority of Americans. America needs a Supreme Court justice who respects the Second Amendment but who also realizes reasonable regulations that reduce gun violence do not infringe on anyone’s constitutional rights. But that’s not the kind of justice President Trump nominated today.

“America’s gun violence epidemic weighs daily on the minds of so many families in our country. Parents live in fear of hearing their children describe to them what it’s like to go through an active shooter drill. Too many people in communities across the country live in fear of being shot in their neighborhoods. In states across the country, students and voters have been speaking up, taking to statehouses, and demanding that lawmakers pass effective gun safety legislation. Their advocacy is delivering results: just since the massacre in Parkland, more than 50 gun safety bills have passed in 26 states. Should the Senate confirm the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, we have every indication to believe that he will prioritize an agenda backed by the gun lobby, putting corporate interests before public safety. Make no mistake, the progress we’ve achieved passing firearm laws that save lives every day will be in serious danger.”

Hannah Shearer, Staff Attorney and Second Amendment Litigation Director at Giffords Law Center

“Judge Kavanaugh has expressed a dangerous hostility toward reasonable gun regulations and made clear he believes the government’s power to address gun violence is extremely limited. Judge Kavanaugh rejects the idea that courts should consider public safety when judging gun cases and would strike down bedrock gun laws like those that restrict civilian use of the dangerous, military-style weapons regularly used in mass shootings.

“Even Justice Scalia, one of the most conservative Supreme Court justices in modern history, endorsed reasonable firearm regulations like the ones Judge Kavanaugh would strike down. Judge Kavanaugh’s positions on the Second Amendment are outliers far outside the mainstream, and confirming him to the Supreme Court could negatively impact efforts to fight gun violence for many years to come. The notion of Judge Kavanaugh serving on our nation’s highest judicial bench should worry Americans who care about the safety of their families and communities. Now is the time for them to speak up and demand a nominee who will respect centuries of American legal tradition, recognize that gun rights have always gone hand-in-hand with responsible regulations, and put the life and liberty of all Americans ahead of the interests of the gun lobby.”

Since District of Columbia v. Heller was decided by the Supreme Court ten years ago, the lower courts have overwhelmingly upheld reasonable gun safety laws more moderate than the handgun ban Heller invalidated. The United States Supreme Court has not granted review in a significant Second Amendment case since Heller and its companion case, McDonald, and they have denied review in more than 80 cases. The confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh could mean that the Supreme Court intervenes more in these lower-court cases and overturns decisions that have consistently protected public safety.

In the near future, the Supreme Court may have the opportunity to rule on a variety of Second Amendment issues that are pending in the lower courts. For example, a series of NRA-backed lawsuits were filed this spring to challenge strong concealed carry permitting laws in New Jersey, Maryland, and New York. The NRA has also filed or supported a number of suits challenging critical gun safety measures adopted after the Parkland massacre, including laws that restrict access to the large capacity magazines used in Parkland and other mass shootings. Any one of these cases could be the next major Second Amendment case to reach the Supreme Court, with critical implications for public safety.

Frankly, I do hope Hannah Shearer is correct in her assumption that the Supreme Court might finally start hearing Second Amendment cases. Their failure to do so merely has encouraged judges in lower courts who disagreed with Heller to ignore that opinion and to use the Supreme Court as a doormat.