NRA AM 2018 Begins

My first impressions of the NRA Annual Meeting is that there are a lot of people here. Moreover, there are more press and media here than normal. I had to wait about 45 minutes to get my media credentials this morning. In all the years since 2011 when I first got media credentials, I’ve never, ever had to wait to pick up my credentials.

I was in line with gun bloggers, a reporter from HuffPo, and lots of local media outlets. I don’t know whether it is because of President Trump being here or because of the potential for demonstrators post-Parkland but they are here.

Thank God For Local TV Stations

The following story and the positive tone it takes is just not something you would get from a large network. Witness last week’s Diane Sawyer Special on ABC’s 20/20 regarding children and firearms.

This story is about how Gabby Franco of Top Shot and Olympic fame is giving shooting classes for women in the Greenville-Spartanburg area of South Carolina. She is doing it in conjunction with a local range and the local chapter of The Well Armed Woman.

As I said in the headline, thank god for local TV stations because they don’t always buy into the guns are bad theme. They know their local markets and know that theme doesn’t play well.

FOX Carolina 21

Weapons Cache! Arsenal! Assault Rifles! Suspected White Supremacist!

David Laux, 49, of Citrus Heights, California was arrested on Wednesday by detectives with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department after they served a search warrant. The warrant was because they suspected him of dealing drugs. According to crime reports, he was charged with possession of a controlled substance for sale and transporting/selling a controlled substance.

SCSD Photo

Looking at the picture you see a somewhat overweight,  middle-aged white guy who needs a shave and who probably got the scrape on his cheek from when he was arrested. You are probably thinking a meth dealer and shades of the TV show Breaking Bad. Ah, but that is before the media and Sgt. Jason Ramos of the Sacramento County SD got a hold of Laux.

From the SCSD’s media release:

Cache of Weapons Seized from Home

A local man was arrested earlier today when an assortment of firearms and ammunition was discovered inside his residence. David Laux, 49, was taken into custody and booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail for multiple weapons-related charges. He is being held on $110,000 bail.

At approximately 9:00 a.m. today, detectives from the Sheriff’s IMPACT Division went to a home in the 8300 block of Fair Way in Citrus Heights to serve a search warrant. The suspect, Laux, was observed driving away from the residence, and was detained without incident, pursuant to service of the warrant. Inside the home, detectives recovered a total of thirteen firearms, including several assault rifles, and over 20,000 rounds of ammunition.

Information and intelligence suggests that Laux is affiliated with an extremist organization that subscribes to an ideology consistent with white supremacist beliefs. Detectives believe there is a likelihood that the weapons may have been supplied to other members of this group, or possibly being sold for profit.

The IMPACT Division, whose primary mission is to combat youth and gang-related violence throughout the Sacramento region and its outlying areas, is composed of personnel from multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. They include the Sheriff’s Department, Rancho Cordova Police Department, Citrus Heights Police Department, Elk Grove Police Department, Galt Police Department, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Special Services Unit), Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and Immigrations & Customs Enforcement.

Sergeant Jason Ramos,
Sheriff’s Spokesman

I guess we will have to wait for the release from Mark Potok and the Southern Poverty Law Center before we find out just what “extremist organization that subscribes to an ideology consistent with white supremacist beliefs” Laux was affiliated with. Is it the KKK, the Aryan Nation, the Democrat Party? No one is saying just who or what.

As to the “weapons cache”, you can see the 13 firearms and ammo as displayed by Sheriff’s Department in this photo by Fox40.

I see two shotguns, an AR-15, an HK-91 (or PTR-91), a lever-action rifle, a 37mm flare gun, 2 pistols, 3 revolvers, and 2 derringers in the picture plus an assortment of magazines and ammo cans. Media reports are calling this “a weapons cache” and “an arsenal”. There is no way of telling from the picture whether or not the AR and the HK-91 have bullet buttons to bring them into compliance with California law. Two semi-auto rifles do not constitute “several assault rifles” in my opinion. God knows what they would be saying if they came by many of our homes.

From CBS Sacramento:

A suspected white supremacist was allegedly stockpiling guns, military style weapons and thousands of rounds of ammo.

Investigators who uncovered the collection believed they were dealing with a drug dealer at first.

That arsenal of weapons included assault rifles, a grenade launcher and 20,000 rounds of ammo. All were allegedly stashed inside the home with his elderly mother living inside.

“I was completely shocked, and especially with what they found there,” said a neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous.

Through a search warrant for his Citrus Heights home, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Regional Gang Task Force first got a tip that David Laux worked as a drug dealer.

“He was just a pretty quiet guy,” the neighbor said.

His neighbors had no idea. Many who found out who they were living next to were too afraid to show their face on camera.

“I feel pretty shocked and a little bit scared considering I have four kids that live in this house, and they were in front of that house all day long on their bikes,” said the neighbor.

Of course the neighbors are shocked. But I’d be more upset that the guy was dealing drugs than that he had a few firearms.

KXTL Fox 40 has this report including a comment from Sgt. Jason Ramos on the arrest.

Much too much for personal use? Is Sgt. Ramos speaking of the amount of ammunition or the number of firearms? Either way I would disagree.

This case seems to me the making the arrest of a small time drug dealer into a big thing merely for publicity purposes. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department gets to throw around buzzwords like “assault rifle”, “extremist”, “white supremacist”, and never has to name what, if any, organization that Laux is in cahoots with. The media just laps it up because it fits their own preconceived notions. The Sheriff’s Department will be lauded for taking down this dangerous racist extremist before he could rain death and destruction on those kids riding their bikes in the street with his “grenade launcher” and “assault rifles” and the media gets their story. It’s a win-win for them and a loss for the truth of the matter.

Media In NC Starting To Notice Pressure On GOP About HB 111

Grass Roots North Carolina’s pressure on the GOP regarding HB 111 has caught the eye of the media.

The Associated Press’ Allen Reed sent out a 4-paragraph report on this issue. He notes, correctly, that the perception is that the Republican leadership is shunting the issue to the side and claiming they just don’t have the time. It appears to be have been picked up by a number of papers.

The Winston-Salem Journal goes further on the issue quoting Paul Valone of GRNC and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger on the issue.

“Do we have to wait until more die, Sen. Berger?” wrote Valone. “Will your legacy be that Republicans turned their backs on slain restaurant workers due to fear of bad press? I urge you to pull HB 111 from the Finance Committee and send it to the floor for an immediate vote.”

Berger, R-Rockingham, said he personally supports the bill, but that senate leaders are taking “a careful approach to it.”

“Whether we will be able to finalize the bill during the short session or whether it’s a long session issue we’ll pick up,” Berger said. “The issue is not going to die.”

Berger said the Senate would review the gun bill if there’s time left over after passing the budget.

“It’s not a question in my mind of if, it’s a question of when,” Berger said. “I think we’ll see it, but we’re working on a number of things, and that is one of them.”

If, as Sean points out, they have time to recognize not one but two livermush festivals, they have time to deal with this. Livermush is North Carolina’s answer to scrapple. If they don’t take the time, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of them suffer the same fate as former House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman who blocked the Castle Doctrine.

Cultivating The Local Media

We as gun owners need to stop seeing the media as a monolithic entity and, more importantly, always assuming that they are against us.

There is the elite media consisting of the networks, the cable news channels, and the major urban daily newspapers. Then there are local TV and radio stations along with the hometown newspapers. While the former is full of those who wish our Second Amendment rights were curtailed, the same can’t be said for the latter.

The local media is always on the lookout for a good story and they can be cultivated. If they say something stupid on the air about guns, it is most likely out of youthful ignorance rather than malice. Rather than jumping down their throats when they say the stupid stuff, seek to educate them. The results can be worthwhile.

A case in point. Sean Sorrentino of An NC Gun Blog has become friends with NBC-17 Raleigh’s Jackie Faye. After he did a blog post last week on the increase in Concealed Handgun Permits in North Carolina, he sent it along to her. The result was the on-camera story below.

I think Ms. Faye did a very fair story on the topic. If Sean hadn’t established a relationship with her earlier, the story about the double digit growth in Concealed Handgun Permits probably would not have been aired.

Thanks are due to Sean for taking the time to build that relationship with a local reporter. More stories like this one is what it will take to re-normalize firearms in American society.