What Does The NRA Have In Common With Syria, Iran, and North Korea?

Rational, reasonable people know that the National Rifle Association has nothing in common with Syria, Iran, and North Korea. The NRA doesn’t shoot dissident members, it isn’t trying to develop a nuclear capacity, and it isn’t headed by an incompetent leader who got the job because Dad and Granddad had the same job before him.

That said, this hasn’t stopped the Editorial Board of the New York Times from lumping the NRA in with those rogue countries. Their reasoning is that since the NRA and those countries both oppose the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty, they are all pariahs.

In April, the 193-member General Assembly adopted it overwhelmingly by a vote of 154 to 3, clearing the way for individual states to sign and then ratify the pact. The states in opposition were familiar outliers in the international system: North Korea, Syria and Iran.

The National Rifle Association, like those nations, rejects this sensible international weapons regulation. It is opposed to the arms treaty even though the treaty has no impact on the American domestic market.

The group falsely claims the treaty will somehow infringe on Americans’ gun rights under the Second Amendment. In fact, as Secretary of State John Kerry stressed when he signed the treaty, the pact not only does not restrict Americans, it specifically “recognizes the freedom of both individuals and states to obtain, possess and use arms for legitimate purposes.”

But the N.R.A., with its lucrative campaign coffers and fear-mongering, has long been extremely effective at keeping lawmakers in line with its pernicious agenda. Months before the Obama administration signed the treaty, one-third of the Senate introduced a resolution opposing ratification on Second Amendment grounds. That is a signal of the tough fight ahead whenever the Senate formally takes up the issue.

Lucrative campaign coffers. Fear-mongering. Pernicious agenda. Rejecting sensible regulation.

So much for civil discourse.

One could use all of those perjorative phrases to describe the behavior of the President, Mayor Bloomberg, and others of the so-called progressive bent. Bloomberg certainly has deeper pockets than the NRA. President Obama has repeatedly engaged in fear-mongering to further his agenda. Many of us consider the agenda of Democrats in Congress to be pernicious and they have consistently opposed any regulation of mortgage lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. I won’t even touch on their aversion to any regulation of abortion providers.

Say what you will but these rogue regimes and the Editorial Board of the New York Times agree on one thing: controlling their opponents.

Times Editorial Is Laughably Inaccurate

The editorial board of the New York Times wouldn’t know the difference between actual grass roots efforts and astroturfing if it bit them on their privileged asses. They show their ignorance in an unsigned editorial about the Colorado recall elections titled, “The Gun Lobby Takes Vengeful Aim.”

The ink was barely dry, however, before the National Rifle Association was vindictively pressing for recall votes against two supporters of the stronger law, the State Senate president, John Morse, of Colorado Springs, and State Senator Angela Giron of Pueblo.

The recall vote, set for Sept. 10, could hardly be more important as a barometer of whether the public, which repeatedly registers support for tougher gun controls in surveys, will show up at the ballot to defend politicians who bucked the gun lobby.

If by gun lobby the New York Times means gun owning constituents, then they might be correct. However, this is not what they mean and we all know it. Unlike the gun controls measures which were written and lobbied for by Mayor Michael Bloomberg with the threat of money to primary opponents of any Democrat who didn’t support them, the recall efforts have been actual grassroots efforts led by Coloradans.

The Basic Freedom Defense Fund was set up in February of this year to fight the gun control measures being financed by Bloomberg. After those measures were rammed through by Democrats, the Fund decided to start recall efforts against four Democrats. While the Times only mentions Morse and Giron, the recall effort also targeted State Sen. Mike McLachlan (D-Durango) and State Sen. Evie Hudak (D-Westminister). They were unsuccessful in getting enough signatures in the time allotted to force the recall of McLachlan and Hudak.

These politicians were targeted for two basic reasons. First, they were considered vulnerable due to close past elections. Second, they had ignored their constituents. Chris Wiggins of Shooter Ready Radio who lives in Pueblo told me over 1,000 constituents had turned up for a townhall meeting regarding gun control with State Sen. Angela Giron. Of these, less than two dozen spoke in support of gun control while the rest were adamantly opposed to the proposed measures which Giron ultimately supported.

Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) you may remember famously told his Democrat colleagues in the State Senate to ignore all the phone calls, emails, and letters from constituents and to vote for the gun control measures. This is the same Morse that the Times editorial calls “a respected Second Amendment proponent” and who states “Recalls are for unethical behavior, and not disagreements.” I would agree with Morse but would go on to say that his behavior has been unethical and that a recall for him is right and proper.

The Times editorial concludes by saying this is an opportunity to rebuff the NRA and the gun industry.

For all the message of risk for politicians embodied in the vengeful recall attempt, there is a parallel opportunity for the public to rebuff the gun industry. But enough voters must show up in defense of two lawmakers who conscientiously stood for public safety.

The gun lobby’s defeat in Colorado would send a stirring message to statehouses across the nation that the public must not be denied in demanding better gun safety.

What they really mean is that the gun owning peons in Colorado should sit down, shut up, and kow-tow to their “betters” who know whats best for them. I hate to tell the Times editorial board this but we fought a revolution over 200 years ago over similar attitudes. The rabble won against the world’s greatest army then and the rabble (aka the grassroots) will win again against Mayor Bloomberg and his bought and paid for minions in Colorado.

A Bit Of Honesty From The Times

The New York Times, or as SayUncle appropriately calls it, the paper of making things up, let slip a little bit of honesty today. In the midst of a column opining that if we could just agree on “reasonable gun regulation” the National Rifle Association would cease to exist, Andrew Rosenthal had this to say:

The question of the constitutional right to own guns is irrelevant here—even if you believe that the Constitution gives every last American the right to own a firearm (which The Times editorial board does not, but many other reasonable people do).

The rest of the column was your usual litany of complaints about concealed carry, the Tiahrt Amendment, and the lack of restrictions on the number of firearms we are allowed to purchase. In other words, just a rewritten press release from the likes of MAIG or the Brady Campaign.

Grass Roots North Carolina Refutes The NY Times Hit Piece On NC CHP Holders

Michael Luo of the New York Times wrote an article that claimed more than 2,400 people holding Concealed Handgun Permits from the State of North Carolina had criminal convictions. He says he came up with this number by comparing the names on the state’s database of CHP holders with criminal records.

Sean Sorrentino of An NC Gun Blog started an email dialog with Luo. If you have been reading Sean’s blog for any amount of time, you know he has been tracking the growth of concealed handgun permits in North Carolina and he has been following the background of those arrested for criminal misuse of firearms. As such, he has as good a feel for this as anyone and Luo’s article struck him as wrong. So he contacted Luo and asked for the data.

After much back and forth, Luo told Sean he’d give the data to either a legislator or to NC law enforcement officials. This was the opening Sean was looking for and he contacted Paul Valone of GRNC seeking a friendly legislator to call Luo’s bluff. The bluff was called with the result you’d expect.

So what do you say to an author who refuses a State legislator the data needed to do his job? When that legislator asked for the data, with a mind to crafting new and better legislation along with demanding answers from the State Bureau of Investigation, Luo refused.

Paul Valone, President of GRNC, has now responded to Luo’s accusations with a point by point rebuttal. Somehow I doubt the “paper of making it up” as SayUncle calls it will respond. They are good about making claims about gun owners but not so good about making corrections.

Grass Roots North Carolina Hits Back Hard Against New York Times

The New York Times, or as SayUncle calls it, the paper of making things up, ran a story on Monday asserting that 1% of North Carolina concealed handgun permit holders had been convicted of felonies or misdemeanors. They didn’t break down the number of felonies versus the number of misdemeanors as that would lessen the impact.

Grass Roots North Carolina head Paul Valone was interviewed for this story and responded late yesterday in a GRNC Alert.

Mike Luo’s crusade

Following an extensive interview between GRNC president Paul Valone and New York Times reporter Mike Luo, the Times is now trying to depict North Carolina’s population of concealed handgun permit-holders as rife with felons. To support his claims, Luo relies on flawed methodology, misuse of anecdotal data, and selectively ignored facts he learned during the interview. The current piece is at least the third time Luo has written biased and misleading articles on gun ownership.

Figures lie…

Although Luo claims to have done data-matching between criminal databases and permit-holders, he admitted confirming only a dozen matches with the NC State Bureau of Investigation.

Data matching between large databases is subject to high rates of “false positives” depending on the number and type of parameters matched. To quote one data mining whiz: “The problem is that if you’re trying to search a couple of large data sets for something that occurs infrequently, the number of true hits (if any) is likely to be far less than the number of false positives.”

…and liars figure

When asked whether Luo would confirm all matches with the SBI, or whether he would do statistical analysis of his data, determining what percentage of North Carolina permit-holders commit crimes, or whether he would simply provide misleading anecdotal examples as he did on a November 13, 2011 piece on restoration of gun rights for felons, Luo refused to answer.

How Luo creates a false impression

The plural of “anecdote” is not “data”: By pulling a small number of anecdotes rather than verifying all of the data, Luo hopes to paint a false portrait of NC concealed handgun permit-holders as criminals.

Selective data: Luo has a reputation among researchers for cherry-picking research to support his assertions, and for failing to disclose the gun-related leanings of researchers he cites.

The Charlotte Observer fell over itself to propagate Luo’s deceptive story

The Charlotte Observer ran this insult to their gun-owning readership as front page news!

GRNC president Paul Valone responds

“What The New York Times recently published is a biased ‘hit piece’ designed to undermine the unerringly successful expansion of concealed carry laws. By cherry-picking anecdotes from error-prone data matching, reporter Michael Luo creates a false impression of widespread abuse by concealed handgun permit-holders. Luo admits not bothering to confirm more than a handful of the matches found, so given the small data set used, the number of “false positives” may well exceed the number of accurate matches.

“Even Luo’s claim of 2,400 crimes by permit-holders – which includes DUI convictions and relatively minor misdemeanors – represents only a tiny fraction (0.6%) of the 395,251 concealed handgun permits approved since 1995. Moreover, data from other states reveals that few permit revocations result from misuse of firearms.

“As Luo was told during the interview (but chose to ignore), when Grass Roots North Carolina helped draft the state’s concealed handgun law in 1995, we gave law enforcement officials the tools for permit revocations by attaching concealed handgun permit information to the state drivers’ license database. Any concealed handgun permit-holder arrested for a crime would be immediately identified as such.

“Furthermore, nothing in the law prevents the North Carolina Department of Justice from doing checks on permit-holders to ensure they remain in compliance with the law, nor would we oppose such an effort. If the state fails to avail themselves of those tools, the problem lies not within the concealed handgun law, but instead within its enforcement.”

Sean at An NC Gun Blog has some further comments on GRNC’s response here and has been running a whole series of stories examining the NYT piece. They make for good reading.

I do find it interesting that this story comes out less than two weeks after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg starts another crusade to close the “private sale loophole”.  I really don’t think it is any coincidence.

UPDATE: More on the NYT’s “story” from Bob Owens here and a roundup from the Instapundit here.

Holder – Those Mean Conservative Bloggers Are Saying Bad Things About Me

In a New York Times political piece that charitably can be described as utter rubbish, Attorney General Eric Holder blames bloggers and conservative commentators for some of his troubles.

But Mr. Holder contended that many of his other critics — not only elected Republicans but also a broader universe of conservative commentators and bloggers — were instead playing “Washington gotcha” games, portraying them as frequently “conflating things, conveniently leaving some stuff out, construing things to make it seem not quite what it was” to paint him and other department figures in the worst possible light.

While it is hard not to portray the most devious and political Justice Department since Nixon in a bad light, I would disagree with Holder’s partial explanation of why bloggers portray him in such a negative way. As might be expected, Holder is playing the race card.

Mr. Holder said he believed that a few — the “more extreme segment” — were motivated by animus against Mr. Obama and that he served as a stand-in for him. “This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him,” he said, “both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”

The bigger explanation according to Holder is that we are raving conservative ideologues who oppose him over his stands on the issues. Holder also feels that Republicans are after him as a payback for the way John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales were treated by their Democratic critics.

If it is ideological to want accountability for a program that has led to two dead Federal law enforcement officers and untold numbers of Mexican citizens, then I’m an ideologue as are bloggers like Mike Vanderboegh, David Codrea, Dave Workman, and others who have reported on Project Gunwalker.

Eric Holder needs to go if for no other reason than he is living in a fantasy world. What’s worse is the way Charlie Savage and the rest of the mainstream media excuses this behavior. It is the equivalent of the co-dependency between an alcoholic wife beater and a spouse who refuses to press charges despite repeated beatings. Both are sad, pathetic behaviors.

Deconstructing A New York Times Editiorial

Sebastian at Snow Flakes In Hell does an excellent job in deconstructing an anti-gun editorial that appears in today’s print version of the New York Times.

The editorial deals with the so-called “no-fly” list and gun purchases. This is a secret list of supposed terrorists who are banned from flying. You don’t know how you got on the list, don’t know that you are on the list, and usually have no recourse for getting off the list. As you might expect coming from the New York Times, they want to ban anyone who is on this list from being able to purchase a firearm.

As Sebastian notes, he doubts that they would editorialize against any other part of the Bill of Rights in similar fashion. He then provides some examples.

Rat-A-Tat Annihilators?

Editorials in the New York Times are known for their hyperbole when it comes to firearms. Today’s editorial entitled Cartel Gunmen Buy American goes even further. In an effort to bolster support for ATF’s proposed “emergency” and “temporary” semi-automatic rifle reporting requirement for multiple purchases, they use words like body count, carnage, war weapons, and gun lobby. However, after seeing one too many repeat showings of The Untouchables, they have outdone themselves.

…with use of high- power long guns more than doubling in the past five years as cartel gunmen turn to the rat-a-tat annihilators easily obtainable across the border.

Who writes this stuff? Moreover, who reads it without rolling on the floor laughing?

The rest of the editorial tries to make the case that “AK-47s and other battlefield assault rifles” are being sold by dealers along the Mexican border to the narco-terrorists and that it is only right-wing Republicans, cowed Democrats afraid of the “gun lobby”, and the National Rifle Association itself that stands in the way of “courageous” legislation that would make the proposed requirement law. They even ask Obama to ignore Congress and just issue an Executive Order. This, of course, would modify the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986.

We know, of course, that “battlefield assault rifles” are covered under the National Firearms Act of 1934 and require a tax stamp, background investigation, and that no new automatic weapons can be sold to non-LEO, non-military since the Hughes Amendment of 1986.  The bulk of the real automatic weapons in Mexico, if U.S. made, are coming from Mexican Army arsenals sold by corrupt and/or fearful Army officials. As for the full-automatic AKs, the fine hand of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and Eastern Bloc gun merchants can be seen in that.

That’s the reality of the situation which is completely and obviously ignored in this editorial.

The New York Times – Still A Shill For Gun Banners

The lead editorial in Friday’s New York Times was entitled Handguns for 18-Year-Olds? As one has come to expect from the Times, the editorial was full of the trite phrases and misleading statistics used by gun banners along with their own sense of righteous indignation.

Undermine public safety. Scuttle basic gun controls. Common-sense efforts. The deadly loophole. The gun lobby. Gun traffickers. Allow armed teenagers. Unlicensed sellers. Powerful semiautomatic weapons. Reasonable restrictions. The Times’ editorial may have left out one or two phrases from the approved lexicon of the Brady Campaign but that’s all.

The editorial starts with the accusation that the NRA “keeps coming up with clever new ways to undermine public safety.” It then launches into a litany of supposed sins committed by the NRA including opposition to the Lautenberg proposal to ban firearm sales to anyone on the FBI’s “terrorist watch list” and to a requirement for NICS checks on private sales of firearms between individuals.

The Times gets in a plug for Andrew Traver, Obama’s nominee to head ATF, calling him a “well-qualified career professional”. They bemoan opposition to him by “the gun lobby” saying his “sin” was merely to associate with “a police chief’s group that wants to reduce the use of handguns on city streets.” That it was funded by the virulently anti-gun Joyce Foundation is immaterial to them.

The meat of the editorial is an attack on the NRA for bringing the D’Cruz cases challenging the ban on the sale of handguns to legal adults under the age of 21 and challenging the Texas CHP law which sets 21 as the minimum age for non-military, non-veteran adults.

As a legal matter, both lawsuits should fail. In its recent Second Amendment rulings, the Supreme Court struck down complete bans on handgun ownership, but explicitly left room for limits on gun ownership and possession by felons and the mentally ill, and other reasonable restrictions like Texas’ age limitations. The Supreme Court has said nothing to suggest that the Second Amendment requires Americans to allow armed teenagers in their communities.

Beyond the dubious legal claims, the idea that young individuals ages 18 to 20 have a constitutional right to buy weapons and carry them loaded and concealed in public is breathtakingly irresponsible.

They then throw out statistics saying that 18-20 year-olds commit more violent crime than other age groups and imply that lowering the age to 18 will just put more weapons in the hands of this group. Of course, this ignores both the NICS check required for a purchase of any firearm from a licensed dealer and the training, background, and other requirements needed to obtain a Texas Concealed Handgun License. As an aside, private sales of handguns are permitted for 18-20 year olds in the State of Texas and 18-20 year olds can and do obtain Texas CHL’s if they serve or have served in the military. This, too, is ignored by the Times in their editorial.

The Brady Campaign jumped the gun with their amicus brief in D’Cruz v. McCraw and had to withdraw it. However, as this editorial illustrates, Big Media is more than willing to continue to be a shill and do the propaganda work for them. Some things just never change.

Annie Oakley Does Not Exist

The New York Times ran an article this week contrasting real life police work with TV police work. After police-involved shootings, cops are often asked why they didn’t just shoot the weapon-wielding perpetrator in the hand or leg. Indeed, New York State Assembly Members Annette Robinson (D-Brooklyn) and Darryl Towns (D-Brooklyn) actually sponsored a bill earlier this year requiring police to shoot to wound if possible.
Two recent police shootings in New York City actually did result in shots to the legs which stopped a deranged man with a knife and a guy shooting at police respectively. However, as the article notes, this was more by accident than by design.

In fact, in the Thursday case at Pennsylvania Station, a second bullet fired by the officer missed the knife-wielding man and went flying into the pavement near the shooting scene.

Police officers, the article notes, are trained to shoot to stop the criminal by going for center of mass.

John C. Cerar, a retired deputy inspector who was the commander of the Police Department’s firearms training section, said officers are taught to shoot at center mass — which means the “head and torso” of a suspect like a man armed with a gun.

“You can’t just shoot to aim for a leg or an arm; it just doesn’t work,” Mr. Cerar said. “You are trying to hit the biggest part to the target, to stop the actions of the person using, or attempting, deadly physical force.”

He paused and added, “Annie Oakley does not exist.”

It is interesting to see the difference in reporting in the Times. The guy who covers the police beat recognizes the reality of the confusion, fear, and excitement inherent in violent encounters. Those who usually pen the editorials which involve firearms don’t have a clue. At least somebody at the Times gets it.