Questions Not Asked (Updated)

I received a press release late this morning regarding a recent shooting in Durham, North Carolina. It was from the North Carolina chapters of Everytown, Moms Demand, and Students Demand. The tenor of this missive was that “gun violence” (sic) is killing the youth of North Carolina.

Lest I be accused of selective editing, here it is in its entirety:

DURHAM, N.C. —  The North Carolina chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after a shooting in Durham left two people dead and four others injured. According to local reporting, the six victims were driving in an SUV when they received fire at around 3 a.m. Monday morning. Most of those shot were under the age of 18, with some of the youngest being just middle school students, WRAL reports.


“The shooting in Durham is another tragic example of the devastating impact gun violence has had on North Carolina’s youth,” said Sylvia Burns, a volunteer with the North Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We can’t sit idly while young lives continue to be cut short by gun violence. Enough is enough.”


The shooting comes at the end of Durham’s deadliest year — by September 30, 2021, Durham police had investigated 43 homicides, surpassing 2016’s previous record of 42, according to INDY Week.


In an average year, 1,388 people die and 3,407 are wounded by guns in North Carolina. Guns are the second-leading cause of death among the state’s youth population, with an average of 104 children and teens being killed by guns every year. 60% of these deaths are homicides. More information on North Carolina gun violence can be found here.

There are a number of questions that this press release ignores while saying “enough is enough.”

Why were these “youths” out driving around at 3am on what is a school night?

Did the parents of those that were identified as “middle school students” know their children were out at this time of the morning? According to a more recent report, the middle schools students included a 13 year old boy, a 13 year old girl, and a 12 year old girl.

Given police say this shooting was not random, were any of these “youths” members of a gang?

Did the victims know their attackers?

Was this shooting gang related? Durham officials said earlier in the year that the city has a gang problem.

Were any firearms found in the SUV of the “victims”?

With one of those killed being 19 years of age, does Everytown consider this victim a “youth” or an adult?

The Durham Police Department reports that the SUV, a Hyundai Santa Fe, was reported stolen sometime on Sunday. Were these “youths” involved in the theft of the car and did the theft play any role in the shooting?

I do agree that it is a tragedy to see any young person’s life end prematurely. However, there are so many factors at play here that to heap all the blame on firearms is both misleading and simplistic.

UPDATE: More details emerge on this incident.

In addition to there being a seventh passenger in the stolen car, a firearm was found in it by police.

From WRAL Raleigh:

A police report indicates a .308 Winchester 88 was recovered from the Hyundai Santa Fe, which crashed into a utility pole near the intersection of Mathison and Eugene streets after the shooting.

Police said the SUV had been reported stolen on Sunday from a location in Durham that they didn’t disclose. There was no information as to whether the rifle was stolen along with the vehicle. Police haven’t said whether any of the teens have been linked to the vehicle theft.

A Winchester 88 is a magazine-fed lever action rifle. I will say it is not what one would expect to find at the scene of the crime.

Taliban – You Don’t Need Weapons For Personal Protection

As the Taliban consolidate their power in Kabul, Afghanistan, they have started going door to door collecting weapons from private citizens.

From Reuters:

Taliban fighters in the Afghan capital, Kabul, started collecting weapons from civilians on Monday because people no longer need them for personal protection, a Taliban official said.

“We understand people kept weapons for personal safety. They can now feel safe. We are not here to harm innocent civilians,” the official told Reuters.

The Taliban also believe in a strict interpretation of Muslim law including women should not leave their homes unless accompanied by a male relative and to be fully covered in a burqa. There are numerous stories of how they have killed or beaten innocent women as they moved back to power.

This leads me to ponder on the the conundrum facing American gun prohibitionists like Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Giffords, and the Brady Campaign. On the one hand you have a group that brutally subjugates women like it was the 7th Century. On the other hand, they want to ban the private possession of firearms saying, in essence, the state will protect you.

Choices are tough.

Liar! Liar! Pants On Fire!

Shannon Watts and Moms Demand Action tweeted out the following statement from David Chipman made before the Senate Judiciary Committee in their effort to have him confirmed.

Chipman’s main passion after leaving BATFE was to make as much money as possible and he didn’t care if he had to prostitute himself to do it. If he had to tell bald-faced lies in his testimony in various places, he didn’t care so long as the money kept rolling in.

As to fire, he knows a bit about that from his experiences in Waco.

Mind Your Own Knitting

I came across a tweet from Everytown’s favorite demanding mom this morning and the comments could just write themselves.

Then there is the last sentence in her tweet: “I’m not a natural.” I think we all knew that!

The Next Battle Has Begun – Salvo One

The war for our gun rights began in 1934 with the National Firearms Act if not earlier. Battles that were fought along the way include the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 (with the Hughes Amendment), the Brady Bill, and the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban.

The first shots in the next battle have been fired. We knew it was coming the moment the Democrats essentially won control of the Senate.

Last week, Bide policy advisors Susan Rice and Cedric Richmond had all the major gun control groups to the White House to discuss strategy. Here is the White House’s release on it:

Today, Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice and White House Public Engagement Director and Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond hosted a virtual discussion with leaders of gun violence prevention advocacy groups – Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, Giffords, and Brady. They discussed the ongoing public health crisis of gun violence in America, the historic increase in homicides across American cities last year, and commonsense steps that can be taken to make our communities safer such as closing background check loopholes, stopping the proliferation of unregulated and untraceable “ghost” guns, and expanding community-based violence intervention programs.

Ambassador Rice and Congressman Richmond expressed gratitude for the leaders’ ideas, persistent advocacy efforts over the years, and commitment to working together to tackle the gun violence epidemic. Ambassador Rice and Congressman Richmond also underscored President Biden’s longstanding record of fighting for families impacted by gun violence, his full support for taking commonsense actions to reduce gun violence, and his unwavering commitment to pushing ahead further steps to make our communities safer.

The Bloomberg groups had this comment on the event:

“This meeting provided more evidence that the Biden Administration is committed to being the strongest we’ve ever seen on gun safety,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “With Covid making gun violence worse and armed extremists literally holding our democracy at gunpoint, the time for action is now –– and we fully expect to see it soon.”

“Gun safety was a cornerstone of President Biden’s campaign, and this meeting confirmed that gun safety is a top priority for the Biden administration as well,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “We look forward to working with the administration to save lives and stop gun violence, and we’re confident that we will see executive and legislative action in the near future.”

Remember, it is not about the criminal misuse of a firearm with these people. It is about power and they need a disarmed populace to achieve it.

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.

Useful Pawns Of Bloomberg, Inc.

I address this to all the women (and men) who wear their red Moms Demand Action t-shirts. I realize that you think, though misguidedly, that you are doing something to promote gun control so as to stop the criminal misuse of firearms.

How does it feel to learn that you are nothing but a useful pawn in Mike Bloomberg’s quest for more and more political power?

From the (progressive) paper of record aka the New York Times who just did a long story on the interrelationship between Mike Bloomberg’s charitable giving and his political ambition.

Everytown is managed directly by one of Mr. Bloomberg’s close lieutenants, John Feinblatt, a former New York deputy mayor whose wedding Mr. Bloomberg officiated in 2011. Numerous people connected to the group said it channeled Mr. Bloomberg’s priorities, including his strong preference for working with both parties.

The organization came into existence through an almost corporate-style merger: Mr. Bloomberg already had a gun control group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, but he needed a grass-roots army to compete with the National Rifle Association. So it joined forces with an existing activist group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, to form Everytown.

People involved in the group described being forced to communicate exclusively in canned talking points. Kate Ranta, shot twice by her ex-husband in front of her young son, was a member of Everytown’s network of survivors. She was asked to address a rally on the steps of the Capitol, along with her son. Standing beside Nancy Pelosi, then the House minority leader, and Representative John Lewis, she found herself stumbling over the text she had been given.

“Someone from Everytown wrote my speech. It was pushing their legislative agenda versus my authentic voice,” Ms. Ranta said. “I couldn’t say ‘gun control.’ It was moderate messaging — ‘gun safety’ and ‘gun violence prevention.’”

Other members greatly appreciated the new direction from Everytown. “A structure began to be put into place, and we could avail ourselves of the data that was offered so we could speak more intelligently,” said June Rubin, a Moms Demand Action volunteer in New York. “So we’re focused and single-issue and highly recognizable and speaking with one voice, and it’s powerful.”

The policy agenda was to be focused on tightening background checks; more radical ideas like banning assault weapons were off the table. “There were people who were very, very troubled by that,” Ms. Rubin said. “I became very pragmatic.”

More confrontational tactics were also rejected. After the mass shooting last year at a Walmart in El Paso, Tex., other groups organized protests to pressure the retailer to change its policies. But Moms members were discouraged from attending and told not to show any affiliation if they did. One Moms official told volunteers in a closed Facebook group that doing otherwise could “undercut our relations with responsible gun owners whose support we need.”

“Our goal is always to get results, and sometimes that means playing the outside game and sometimes it requires playing the inside game and working with partners who have shown themselves to be amenable to change,” said Maxwell Young, chief of public affairs for Everytown. “We’ve found Walmart to be an ally on gun safety and an example of a leader always willing to engage in productive conversations.”

You thought you could leave. You thought you could go your own way. You thought you and Everytown/Moms Demand were done with one another.

Not so fast.

Former members of Moms Demand Action, who had been cut off from private Facebook groups and blocked by leadership on Twitter, were surprised when they received emails from Mike Bloomberg 2020. Then they learned his campaign had rented the group’s email list, for $3.2 million, two days before he announced his candidacy in November.

It is like one of those messianic-led, off in the ozone cults. You try to leave but they will always come looking for you…because no one is allowed to leave.

But don’t feel too bad as you debate should you burn that red Moms Demand t-shirt. You aren’t alone. There aren’t many progressive or liberal constituencies that Mike Bloomberg hasn’t tried to buy on his way to grab for political power.

Climate change activists? Ask the Sierra Club.

Women’s rights? Ask Emily’s List.

Education policy? Ask NC’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson.

Abortion? Ask Planned Parenthood.

And the list goes on. Mike Bloomberg may engage in sexist and racist behavior and fly in a fleet of private jets but his money buys willful ignorance and useful pawns.

2A Sanctuary Movement Comes To Buncombe County

Buncombe County is one of the most liberal counties in the state. It is the sea of blue in an ocean of red here in western North Carolina. Cars are still covered with bumper stickers for Bernie from 2016 and for Obama from 2008. Of course, you see the Resist! bumper sticker everywhere.

It is against this background that I was a bit surprised when I heard at the January gun show that there was a move to ask Buncombe County Commissioners to make it a Second Amendment Sanctuary. I figured a few people would show up and the oh, so liberal commissioners would just roll their eyes.

I was right on the second part but extremely wrong on the first part.

According to local TV station WLOS, the entire Commission meeting room was filled and an overflow room had to be established.

Photo by WLOS Staff

A video clip of the meeting can be seen here.

People for and against making Buncombe a Second Amendment Sanctuary spoke for two hours. Given you are only allowed three minutes to speak, this was a lot of folks. From what I can gather, with few exceptions, most were in favor of making it a sanctuary county.

Amy Benedict of the Demanding Moms spoke against it. The clip above, unfortunately, doesn’t give her full comments. The on-air report noted her saying they weren’t “against guns but gun violence”. Right.

In the end, as I would have expected, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners did nothing. Nonetheless, it does let the Board and the public know that there is strong support for gun rights in my oh, so liberal county.

Lobby Day Crowd Estimates

First off a disclaimer. I was not at the VCDL Lobby Day in Richmond on Monday. I was in Las Vegas at Industry Day at the Range. Secondly, I am not an expert on crowd estimation.

Numerous media reports have said the attendance at Lobby Day was 22,000. They break it down to 7,000 within the fence and the remainder outside.

From VCDL Facebook Page

I spoke to both friends of mine that attended and Stephen Gutowski of the Free Beacon who have described the size of the crowd. On that estimate of 22,000, I am raising the BS flag.

Gutowski described to me some of the crowds in the side streets. One street was filled sidewalk to sidewalk for three blocks deep. Another 2-3 side streets had were packed similarly 1-2 blocks deep.

From VCDL Facebook Page

Officials in the Northam administration and their allies in the media would like you to believe the crowd really wasn’t as big as it actually was. If you throw out an exact number like 22,000, it sounds authoritative and the gullible media will go with it.

This is the converse of when the Demanding Moms and other gun control groups have events. There they stage photos to make the crowd look larger than it really is. The prime example is the NRA Annual Meeting that was held a few years ago in Nashville. The late Bob Owens called them out on it. They said 500 attended which the media reported and Bob showed how they staged the photo which actually had about 150 people in it.

From VCDL Facebook Page

I think when all is said and done, the crowd of gun rights supporters attending Lobby Day on Monday probably was double the official figure and approached 50,000. Whether Democrat legislators in Virginia will take notice and temper their plans is the real question.

Somehow I doubt it.