NRA Clarifies Its Stance on ‘Bump Stocks’

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NRA Clarifies Its Stance on ‘Bump Stocks’

The National Rifle Association has clarified its stance on a bill that would ban certain firearm accessories, including “bump stocks,” the device found on some rifles used by the Las Vegas gunman.

The well-known gun rights group shocked many pro- and anti-gun groups by initially supporting possible restrictions on bump stocks and other firearm accessories following the Las Vegas shooting that killed more than 50 people.

The NRA has since clarified its position for an outright ban on the devices.

According to KOLOTV, Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist, said “it was the responsibility of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – not Congress – to regulate the sale of bump stocks.”

Here’s a quick educational video that explains how bump stocks operate:

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They ran for their lives; now, where do Las Vegas massacre survivors stand on gun control?

Article courtesy of Mercuy News: http://www.mercurynews.com

They ran for their lives; now, where do Las Vegas massacre survivors stand on gun control?

People run for cover at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
People run for cover at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Like characters in a video game, Valerie Fowler and Kaitlyn Roll were among the targets of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, running for their lives from a sniper whose powerful arsenal is redefining America’s gun debate.

Many survivors with ties to the Bay Area are only beginning to comprehend what happened when a 64-year-old white man employed his legally modified semi-automatic rifles to rain rapid-fire terror from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas high rise. But almost a week after the shooter killed 58 of their fellow concert-goers and wounded nearly 500 more, some like Fowler are wishing they, too, had something during the madness Sunday night: a gun of their own.“If I had a gun on me, I would have felt more safe,” Fowler remembers telling Roll, one of her old high school friends from Santa Rosa, as they sat on the couch of their Las Vegas rental the next morning, watching the news replaying the traumatic footage.

Roll, who had reached out to help a wounded woman and came home with blood on her hand, quickly disagreed: “If we were all carrying guns in the crowd, it wouldn’t have helped.”

Kaitlyn Roll of Santa Rosa and Valerie Fowler of Ganado, Texas, both 31,are friends from their high school days and both survived the Las Vegas massacre on Sunday. But they have differing views on gun control as a result. (Courtesy Kaitlyn Roll)
Kaitlyn Roll of Santa Rosa and Valerie Fowler of Ganado, Texas, both 31, are friends from their high school days and both survived the Las Vegas massacre on Sunday. But they have differing views on gun control as a result. (Courtesy Kaitlyn Roll) 

At first glance, their disagreement illustrates how America’s debate over gun control continues to be one of the country’s most divisive and dig-in-your-heels issues. But could we be inching toward a middle ground after more than 20,000 people personally experienced the murder of 58 fellow country music fans — carried out by one man with 12 legally obtained weapons.

In a sign of bipartisanship that has been absent from Washington and the gun control debate for decades, Republicans — and even the National Rifle Association — made overtures last week that they were willing to consider restrictions on the accessory that allowed a retiree to essentially turn high-powered rifles into fully automatic combat weapons that fire repeatedly with one squeeze of the trigger.

And that makes perfect sense to both Fowler and Roll — and many of the other concertgoers interviewed for this story, even ones who still count themselves as staunch gun rights advocates.

“No matter what they change, there’s no way the bad guys aren’t going to be able to get guns,” said Brett Eastwood, of Discovery Bay, who took cover under bleachers when the gunfire began Sunday. At the same time, though, he added this: “Maybe this guy shouldn’t have been able to buy 20 or 30 of them.”

Even so, Eastwood said he would have felt safer if he had a handgun that night.

He had no idea if they were enduring a “full-on terrorist attack or one guy at Mandalay Bay. All you heard is loud gunshots. I kept honestly thinking: Wow, is this really how I’m going out? Am I down to my last five seconds, one second? Will they realize we’re hiding under the bleachers? Will they get us?”

Brett Eastwood, 48, of Discovery Bay, posing with guitarist Kurt Allisonfrom Jason Aldean's band at a previous concert, says he wishes he was carrying a gun for protection during the Las Vegas massacre. (Courtesy Brett Eastwood)
Brett Eastwood, 48, of Discovery Bay, posing with guitarist Kurt Allison from Jason Aldean’s band at a previous concert, says he wishes he was carrying a gun for protection during the Las Vegas massacre. (Courtesy Brett Eastwood) 

Fowler, 31, was so certain she would be killed that night, she texted an “I love you. Gun shots. We’re hiding for our lives” to her husband while she and her friends crouched behind a festival booth freezer filled with Dippin Dots.

She grew up with guns for target-shooting safely locked in her house and now lives in the small south Texas town of Ganado, where most people are Republicans and gun rights advocates. She was so annoyed at late night host Jimmy Kimmel’s gun control monologue last week that she turned it off.

Still, she said she believes common-sense rules need to be applied to gun ownership. “I definitely think there needs to be restrictions and background checks. I’m 100 percent behind that,” Fowler said. “Some people say if bad guys have them we should be able to. But I don’t fully believe that. Even if a bad guy can get a weapon of mass destruction, I don’t think every Joe Schmoe needs to have one just in case.”

Guns have never been part of Roll’s life — she grew up in Sonoma County and has never hunted or considered buying a handgun for safety. She’s never spent much time even debating the gun control issue — until she came under fire herself and talked briefly with Fowler about it.

“I don’t know who has the better answer, but I do believe that something has to change,” Roll said. And talking about it more with her own friend might help. “Thinking back, she’s someone I feel having conversations with about that would be helpful understanding the other point of view.”

For years, the gun control debate has been interpreted as all or nothing: Either you support the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms or you want to ban gun ownership from every law-abiding citizen. But after Sunday night — after the music and dancing stopped, after they felt the whoosh of bullets whip past their heads, dragged bloody bodies and knelt over the dead — their reflections were more thoughtful and nuanced.

Christian Kirleis, 24, with his girlfriend, Victoria Stamper of Phoenix,23, and friends Eddie McKay and Peyton Brown, pose at the Las Vegas country music festival Sunday before the massacre began. (Courtesy Christian Kirleis)
From left to right, Christian Kirleis, 24, with his girlfriend, Victoria Stamper of Phoenix, 23, and friends Eddie McKay and Peyton Brown, pose at the Las Vegas country music festival Sunday before the massacre began. (Courtesy Christian Kirleis) 

“I think that you can’t really know how you would feel about this until you go through it,” said Victoria Stamper of Phoenix, who was shielded from bullets by her boyfriend, Christian Kirleis, 24, who grew up in Benicia.

“Now that we’re seeing that people can get their hands on these types of guns more easily, something should be done about it.”

Kirleis, who now lives in Tempe, Arizona, said he believes “people should have the right to own” a firearm. However, “I would encourage people to be open to more strict gun laws based on recent events. I totally understand they like their liberty and stuff. But I would ask that they be open to the possibility.”

That’s a tall order, given the tortured history of gun violence, Congress and the National Rifle Association.

After the 2011 shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the 2012 massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the Obama administration’s efforts to ban assault weapons and expand background checks still failed in 2013.

The debate that ignited after 14 people were killed in the 2015 San Bernardino shooting and 49 were gunned down at the Orlando nightclub in 2016 centered on the American-born extremists inspired by foreign terrorist groups, not access to semi-automatic weapons.

Opposition to most gun restrictions by the NRA repeats familiar themes: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people; stricter gun laws are a slippery slope that will lead to disarming Americans; gun ownership is a birthright. And some swept up in the Las Vegas tragedy echo those ideas. A 2017 survey by the Pew Research Center found nearly 6 out of 10 rural Americans said there was a gun in their household, and 75 percent of those had more than one firearm.

After Sunday’s shootings, authorities found a dozen guns in Stephen Paddock’s hotel suite, many equipped with the so-called bump-stock device that is now the focus of a bill proposed by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

To the surprise of many, the National Rifle Association on Thursday agreed that bump stocks should be subject to regulation. (In the same statement, the NRA also called for expanded “right-to-carry” legislation.)

GRAPHIC CONTENT: Danville man’s video of the Las Vegas massacre
Bay Area News Group
That the NRA and Republicans in Congress are open to making some change in the law is remarkable, experts say.

“I don’t think that what’s being discussed is particularly far reaching or significant in terms of gun control legislation, but I think it’s a move the GOP has not been willing to make in at least 15 years,” said David M. Studdert, a Stanford law professor and expert on gun violence. However, he said, “a cynical view is that this is just a strategic move to pre-empt or forestall any effort to get any more far-reaching gun control legislation.”

But it’s futile to think any legislation enacted to stop mass shootings will have a meaningful effect on gun violence in general, Studdert said.

Misha Usunov, 33, of Danville, left, was enjoying the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival Sunday night with his friend Stephanie Brooker, 26, who grew up in the Bay Area but lives in Las Vegas. When the shooting began, they hid beneath some bleachers as gunfire and screams filled the night. He turned on his video camera to show his family what he thought might be his final moments. (Courtesy Misha Usunov)
Misha Usunov, 33, of Danville, left, snapped this selfie at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival Sunday night with his friend Stephanie Brooker, 26, before the shooting began. (Courtesy Misha Usunov) 

“It’s a bit like designing financial regulations around Bernie Madoff’s behavior,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of gun-related deaths in the U.S. are unrelated to mass shootings.”

Survivors of Sunday’s carnage — like Misha Usinov of Danville, a staunch Second Amendment advocate — agree that banning bump stocks is a common-sense fix everyone should be able to live with. Still, he said he doesn’t want his experience to compel politicians to try to restrict his right to own a gun.

“Even though gunfire was raining down on us,” Usinov said, “the only bit of safety I felt was because I saw those police officers running toward the gunfire — with their guns drawn.”

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The NRA Has Lost It

The NRA Has Lost It

As a gun owner, I’m appalled by the gun lobby’s ludicrous culture war against progressives.

 My name is Patrick Tomlinson, and I am a lifelong firearm enthusiast.

I started shooting at age 10, when my father got me a Crossman 760 Pumpmaster air rifle with Tasco scope. He was one of only three National Rifle Association training counselors in the state of Wisconsin for many years, certifying volunteers who would later go on to instruct citizens in rifle and handgun use, and self-defense. I began shooting competitively through 4-H Club, not long after, eventually shooting air rifle, air pistol and shotgun trap through the program. After 4-H, I went on to shoot small-bore rifle in local competitions. Today, I own four firearms of various kinds, make time to shoot several thousand rounds per year and am licensed through the state to carry a concealed weapon, which I do routinely with a modded Glock.

As a gun owner and defender of the Second Amendment, I’m here to tell you the NRA has lost its ever-loving mind.

The nation’s largest firearms organization began its slide into moral degeneracy as late as the early 2000s, when actor Charlton Heston became its five-term president (a feat for which the NRA’s rules had to be changed to allow him to serve longer), before going public with his battle with Alzheimer’s disease and retiring. Under Heston’s firebrand leadership, the NRA’s rhetoric shifted its focus from working with lawmakers across the country to defend Second Amendment rights, to recasting the group as the front-line warrior in a crusade against the entire progressive movement in a culture war that they claimed had engulfed the country.

  This took many forms, but included especially harsh attacks on members of the left that opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and equated any sort of compromise on gun-related issues as existential threats to the continued existence of the Second Amendment itself. This period was met with an explosion of gun rights victories at both the state and national level, including the sunsetting in 2006 of the Clinton-era Federal Assault Weapons Ban, rapid adoption of concealed carry licenses across the nation, “stand your ground” laws and the landmark 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller ruling, which cemented the Second Amendment as an individual, rather than a collective right.
 The simple fact is Americans have not enjoyed the degree of freedom and protection in firearms related matters since the passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934, a law ironically supported by the NRA of the time. One would think after a rash of such successes, the organization could afford to tone down the apocalyptic rhetoric, but no. Less than a year after Heller, Barack Obama was sworn in as president, and the NRA’s war on the left entered a new phase.

For eight years, we heard nothing but fearmongering, hate and vitriol about the insidious intentions of our first black president. Unhinged, fact-free screeds about how he was “coming for our guns” became fixtures of the Rifleman, the NRA’s official magazine. At every convention, at every public event, the fear was ratcheted up among the faithful that at any second, waves of gay-married illegal alien shock troops would come sweeping through our small towns in heels and miniskirts to confiscate our weapons to be melted down to make Tony Awards. This fear pushed gun sales through the roof, causing a run on ammunition that sent prices of both skyrocketing, and only now returning to normal.

 All for a president who, after two full terms, ended with a legislative legacy that only expanded gun rights. No, seriously. Obama only signed two firearm related bills into law. One which allowed concealed carry permit holders to carry on Amtrack trains, and the other which allowed us to carry within the National Park system. Seriously. Look it up.


Which brings us to today. With Trump infesting the White House and no convenient Democratic boogeyman (or woman) to scare the children with, the NRA’s rhetoric has moved from merely unhinged to dangerously inflammatory. With the GOP in nominal control of the government, CEO Wayne LaPierre and his cadre of frothing-at-the-mouth lunatics have adjusted their sights away from politicians and turned them onto American citizens en masse.

In a one-minute ad narrated by the NRA’s newest spokeswoman, Dana Loesch, a conservative talk show host, the organization accused the media, Hollywood, academics, protesters and its favorite target Obama of assassination and terrorism, imploring listeners to “fight the violence” of lies with the “clenched fist” of truth. LaPierre echoed these sentiments during a speech at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, where he conflated progressive protests against Trump with the Islamic State group’s desire for violence to bring about a worldwide caliphate.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, NRA TV host Grant Stinchfield accused the Black Lives Matter movement of trying to start a race war, warning that if the group is successful in its goal of containing the epidemic of unarmed black men being shot by police, white families will be tortured and killed just like in South Africa.

These are the words and beliefs of a political movement that has utterly lost its way and wandered off the path into fomenting a new civil war.

 A responsible NRA would be working for, not against, universal background checks on all firearms sales. As a responsible gun owner, it’s my job to ensure anyone I transfer a weapon to is in fact legally permitted to possess one. That’s the bare minimum due diligence that should be expected of me, and the vast majority of Americans and even gun owners agree. But not the NRA.

A safety-conscious NRA would be working for, not against, thorough training requirements for concealed carry permits. Instead, they’re pushing absurd “constitutional carry” laws across the nation that remove all certification requirements to carry a hidden, loaded handgun in public.

An NRA worried about guns in the hands of criminals would be working for, not against, better data-sharing between federal and state agencies to tighten the net on felons and domestic abusers who have previously slipped through the cracks. However, even this is somehow a bridge too far for these nut cases.

And finally, an NRA that was genuinely concerned about defending the Second Amendment rights of all Americans would have pitched an absolute fit over the murder of Philando Castile, a man licensed to carry a weapon by the state of Minnesota, who was gunned down by police while trying to comply with contradictory instructions. I have had half a dozen interactions with police while armed, and I took the exact same actions he did. Guess why I’m alive? Now guess why the race-baiting NRA made no public comments of any kind in defense of Castile’s rights being violated with such violent finality.

 The NRA has moved so far and so fast to the right of the political map, they’ve fallen off land and entered the unknown territories marked only by “here, there be monsters.” They are rapidly becoming one of them. And it’s long past time the majority of truly responsible gun owners stood up and said in a clear voice, “Not in our names.”

Did Somebody with Bad Intentions Booby-Trap a Shotgun to Kill Online Buyer?

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Did Somebody with Bad Intentions Booby-Trap a Shotgun to Kill Online Buyer?

The photos show the inside of either a Winchester 1200 or 1300 shotgun, and if you look closely, you’ll notice something that doesn’t belong . . .

Lodged inside the firearm was a .380 ACP pistol round aimed directly at the person firing the weapon. The intention or freak mishap hasn’t been determined yet, but the incident has allegedly been reported to BATFE and local authorities.

Here are the photos posted by Tap Rack Bang:

The whole ordeal has gained quite a bit of attention on Facebook, racking up nearly 5,000 shares and well over 1,000 comments of people weighing in on what may have occurred here. Scrolling through the comments, it appears to be a mixed bag of people on alert and downplaying skeptics.

One user even suggested the bullet was placed by an anti-gun advocate trying to murder a gun owner.

While that last part may never be confirmed, this is a great example of why you should always inspect your guns before firing them – especially if you purchased it online!

Image courtesy Facebook

Bill Introduced to Senate Would Allow Gun Owners to Carry a Concealed Weapon into Schools & Other Gun-Free Zones

Bill Introduced to Senate Would Allow Gun Owners to Carry a Concealed Weapon into Schools & Other Gun-Free Zones

According to the Detroit Free Press, a trio of bills were introduced last week to help clear up current legislation that prohibits people from carrying concealed weapons in gun-free zones such as schools and bars, but also allows them to open carry in those same places.

The bills would give people an option to get extensive training, and obtain a separate permit in order to carry a concealed weapon in gun-free zones. The bill includes language that would block schools, community colleges and other public bodies from implementing their own rules to ban guns. However, students will not be included in those ordinances, and will still NOT be allowed to bring guns to school, regardless of any permit or training they might have obtained.

Michigan has had several wrestling matches with gun laws in the past. Back in 2012, similar legislation was introduced following the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but was vetoed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The veto opened a gigantic door to a loophole, which caused chaos in some schools, when gun enthusiasts took it upon themselves and entered a school openly carrying their firearms sending schools into lock-down mode.

Here is a screenshot of the bill, (SB 584-585) which you can read in entirety right here:

Other bills introduced last week that we thought were important to you:

HB 4992: Establish the start of deer hunting season as the Saturday that’s closest to Nov. 15. Sponsor: Rep. Gary Howell, R-North Branch.

HB 4970: Eliminate the requirement for a concealed weapons permit for military personnel. Sponsor: Rep. Michele Hoitenga, R-Manton.

HB 4997: Eliminate the helmet requirement for people 18 years or older who are operating off-road vehicles. Sponsor: Rep. Jeffery Noble, R-Plymouth.

 

How Conservatives Learned to Love Free Lawyers for the Poor

Christy Perry at her Buckhorn Gun Shop in Boise, Idaho. Perry is a Republican state representative who has spearheaded a public defense reform bill.
Christy Perry at her Buckhorn Gun Shop in Boise, Idaho. Perry is a Republican state representative who has spearheaded a public defense reform bill. | M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

LAW AND ORDER

How Conservatives Learned to Love Free Lawyers for the Poor

By reframing the issue around the evils of big government, Republicans are notching victories that have eluded more liberal legislatures.

“I’d say, ‘What if you get convicted of a felony—and you shouldn’t have, because you didn’t get adequate defense—and now you’ve lost your gun?’ They recognized that this is really about limited government.”

Since Perry, 49, was elected in 2010, she has voted to weaken labor unions, restrict abortion, hobble gun control, boost charter schools and stop towns from limiting the use of plastic bags—a menu of standard conservative causes. The crisis in public defense, however, was not a priority for her when she arrived at the capitol. But Perry is now one of a new group of conservatives—from right-leaning legislators to the deep-pocketed Koch brothers—nudging red states toward public defense reform by citing the flawed system as just another example of big government abuse. Perry’s awakening on the issue helped propel a campaign by a longtime criminal justice advocate to persuade some of the most government-bashing politicians in America that to protect the rights of individual citizens required that same government to spend millions more in tax dollars.

The same year Perry was elected, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association published a damning report that got the Idaho legislature’s attention. Written by a legal reform expert named David Carroll, the report laid out the many failures of Idaho’s public defense system: The state provided no money for criminal lawyers for the poor; counties picked up the tab, often paying a flat fee no matter how many cases lawyers handled. As a result, Idaho’s public defenders were juggling impossible caseloads. In one county, defense lawyers spent an average of only 2.2 hours on each client. (It’s a similarly grim story nationwide: Studies have shown that public defender offices frequently fail to meet caseload guidelines set by the American Bar Association, which recommends no more than 150 felonies or 400 misdemeanors per year, per lawyer.)

Meanwhile, Perry’s colleagues were whispering that the American Civil Liberties Union was preparing to sue the state over its failure to provide adequate public defense. But the wheels of policy-making often move slowly, and it wasn’t until 2013 that Perry was appointed co-chair of a committee to improve the state’s indigent defense system. Her committee heard testimony from judges, prosecutors, defenders and experts including Carroll. “The right to counsel itself is nonpartisan,” Carroll told the legislators. “[It] goes to the core of who we are as Americans, because it is a question of liberty versus tyranny.” Perry fixated on one statistic: Approximately 95 percent of criminal cases are plea-bargained, in part because public defenders are too overwhelmed to take them to trial. “That means the state never even has to prove you did anything,” Perry said. “They hold all the cards.”

Around the same time, a police encounter made Perry even more wary of the power of the judicial system—and more determined to keep it in check. After she contacted local officials on behalf of a constituent whose son was taken by child welfare authorities, Perry was approached at the capitol by police who wanted to know the constituent’s whereabouts. “I felt pounced on,” said Perry, who told officers that she wouldn’t talk without a lawyer. “They kept following me, all the way to my car. I’m a strong enough person that I can tell them ‘no’, but I thought: What if it was someone else? I was mad about it.”

Perry got to work on a public-defense reform bill. Some lawmakers said that high-quality public defense would be too expensive, or that it would help undeserving criminals. Others said it would make government even bigger. But Perry argued that public defense was at its core a conservative cause. “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence,” reads the Sixth Amendment. “You can’t argue with that,” Perry said. “Not in a conservative state.”

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Last year, Perry’s indigent defense reform bill passed Idaho’s legislature almost unanimously. It allocated $5.5 million for public defense and gave the state authority to hold counties accountable if they fail to meet new standards for caseloads and quality.

Over the past decade, Republican lawmakers across the country have passed bills to reform public defender systems in Louisiana, Michigan and Utah; similar efforts are underway in Tennessee, Mississippi and Indiana. Meanwhile, legislators in blue states like California and Washington have failed to address their own dysfunctional systems. (There are exceptions. Left-leaning Colorado recently beefed up public defense funding, and New York state just promised funds for counties to meet higher statewide standards.) But the momentum on this issue is clearly being driven by red states, which have proved remarkably responsive to a constitutional argument that departs from progressive ideology that often emphasizes racial and class inequality.

Most incarcerated people in the United States are black or Hispanic; members of the two groups make up 56 percent of the prison population but only 32 percent of the U.S. population, according to 2015 figures compiled by the NAACP. The criminal justice system’s disproportionate impact on people of color has become more recognized in recent years, driving the Black Lives Matter movement and scholarship in books such as The New Jim Crow. But for the growing coalition of conservatives working to reform public defense, race isn’t the central issue. Poor white defendants are being failed by the public defender system just as nonwhite ones are, they contend. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which last conducted a survey on this subject in 1997, 69 percent of white inmates in state prison said they had court-appointed lawyers, while 77 percent of black and 73 percent of Hispanic inmates did. Many conservatives believe that pointing out racial disparities in this context is polarizing and counterproductive.

But some progressives wonder how successful any reform effort that neglects to highlight race can ultimately be. Christy Perry’s Second Amendment appeal may have worked in her mostly white and conservative state, they say, but how would it play in more diverse parts of America? “At some point, you have to address the underlying issues of racism and classism,” said Daryl Atkinson, a former staff attorney at the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services and co-director of Forward Justice, a civil rights advocacy organization. “Otherwise we’re kind of putting a Band-Aid on cancer.”

Carroll, who has helped restructure public defense systems in 15 states, has heard reactions like Atkinson’s from many liberal reform advocates. But he says looking at the issue through the lens of big government overreach—or what he calls “the tyranny prism”—may provide results that the left ultimately cannot argue with, even though it means sacrificing a central tenet of their ideology.

“A tyrannical government hurts those with the least voice in the political process first, including the poor and people of color,” Carroll says. “Tyranny explains what people on the left want to explain, that the criminal justice system has disproportionate impacts on people of color.” But conservatives are often hesitant to declare the system racist, he said. “The tyranny prism is a framework that allows conservatives to be at the table, too.”

“I’m not trying to excuse racism. I don’t deny racial disparities; those are facts,” Carroll says. “But people don’t believe, ‘I’m racist.’ So why do you have to force them to go to confession just to start working on this? All it does is drive a wedge and make this impossible.”

***

David Carroll remembers when he first understood the price poor people paid for not being able to afford a good lawyer. In the mid-’90s, he had just graduated from college and was in Tennessee, working for a group that studied legal systems for the poor. While sitting in a Memphis courtroom, he watched a public defender standing on a chair to offer the same plea deal to a room full of mostly black defendants.

This, he knew, was not what the Supreme Court had intended in 1963 when it ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright that defendants facing felony charges had a right to a lawyer even if they couldn’t afford one. Later, the right was extended to anyone facing jail time. But in practice, that promise is broken time and again. Without direction from the court, states have developed a hodgepodge of systems, from state- and county-run public defender offices to contracts with private attorneys and nonprofits.

About 80 percent of criminal defendants in the U.S. are eligible for court-appointed attorneys, including public defenders. But their fates are often determined by luck and geography. In Delaware, defendants have been pressured to meet with prosecutors before their eligibility for a public defender had been determined. In Mississippi, they’ve been jailed on bail they can’t afford before consulting a lawyer. In Missouri, defense attorneys have appeared in court completely unprepared. In California, some attorneys spend little more than an hour on each case. And in Washingtonstate, lawyers for children have encouraged their clients to plead guilty even when additional motions were available.

These problems are all too familiar to Carroll. For close to a decade, from 2002 to 2012, he worked as director of research for the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, a nonprofit focused on legal aid for the poor. In that role, he worked alongside the ACLU and other groups that often have antagonistic relationships with policymakers. (Since the mid-1990s, the ACLU has filed nearly a dozen indigent defense lawsuits against states, pressuring policymakers to prioritize the right to counsel.) But Carroll no longer wanted to be seen as the opposition by those in power; he wanted to be a partner. He felt his association with the NLADA, a membership organization for lawyers, was an obstacle to persuading legislators to see him as a trusted source. In 2013, he formed the Sixth Amendment Center, a nonprofit that analyzes state public defense systems and offers expertise to government leaders. Working as an ally, Carroll could go about convincing lawmakers to fix their own systems for their own reasons. “My job is to find out how my issue fits into your worldview, not the other way around,” he said.

The first serious test of his legislative approach in a red state came in Louisiana in 2006. That year, Carroll was working with then-state Rep. Danny Martiny, a Republican from the parish that once elected former Klu Klux Klan Imperial Wizard David Duke. Carroll was warned by leaders of the state’s criminal defense bar that the meeting would be useless, but Martiny was surprisingly eager. “He saw [public defense] as integral to holding up the Constitution,” Carroll said.

Martiny built consensus with the Republican-controlled legislature, judges, defenders and prosecutors. He pushed back against what he called his colleagues’ tendency to frame having a lawyer as “a perk the defendant gets” and instead spoke about public defense as a constitutional imperative and a measure to protect crime victims. “There’s no worse feeling for a victim, or a victim’s family, than when they have gone through a prosecution … and then they’re told, ‘We’ve got to do this all over again because the public defender … had a caseload of 175 cases and should have only had 35 or 40,’” Martiny told colleagues. His indigent defense reform bill almost unanimously passed both chambers.

With that, Louisiana became the first state to institutionalize case weighting—a standardized way to denote the number of hours a case requires, which is used to control attorney workloads—among other reforms. It was a significant victory in a state with the country’s highest incarceration rate. Yet the law did not alter Louisiana’s practice of partially paying for indigent defense with unpredictable traffic-ticket revenue, and even now, the state’s system remains notorious. Despite that setback, the experience helped Carroll see an “old Southern white gentleman” as a potential ally. He would soon find that Tea Partiers could be partners, too.

***

In 2008, Tom McMillin was elected to Michigan’s House of Representatives, then in the hands of the Democrats, on a platform of tax cuts and a part-time legislature. A staunch conservative, McMillin, 52, was a “no” vote on virtually everything out of deep skepticism about state power.

When he took office, the state’s public defender system was under scrutiny. Lawmakers were circulating a report published shortly before the election, written by Carroll and other members of the NLADA, that ranked Michigan’s system as one of the worst in the country. Lawyers were untrained and overburdened; defendants were unwittingly waiving their right to counsel; and, in some courts, counsel was not even offered to those facing misdemeanors. One year earlier, the ACLU had filed suit against the state for its failures. A coalition of advocates teamed up to persuade Republicans, specifically libertarians like McMillin, who were passionate about due process, to join their cause. McMillin was moved by stories of people who lost their freedom due to inadequate representation. “If there’s one thing the government must get right, it’s whether or not we’re locking up the right people,” said McMillin, who came to the issue as wrongful convictions for serious crimes like rape and murder were grabbing national headlines.

McMillin raised the public defender crisis at caucus and in meetings with Tea Party groups. He supported a reform bill in 2009 and then co-sponsored one in 2012 and 2013, when it finally passed with strong support from Republican Governor Rick Snyder. McMillin’s sustained passion over the years surprised many. “At first, I didn’t understand why this conservative guy was so adamant about this,” said Michigan District Court Judge Tom Boyd. “But I came to understand. If you asked him, he would say, ‘The government shouldn’t exist. But if it does, its primary function should be to protect people from the government.’”

The bill McMillin spearheaded created the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission, established state standards for public defender services, promised money to counties, and created a process to verify that the right to counsel is met—with the threat of state takeover if a county fails to comply. The changes prompted the ACLU to drop its lawsuit.

“This is one of the best examples of how you do policy that I’ve ever seen,” said Shelli Weisberg, political director for the ACLU of Michigan. The level of cooperation from both ends of the political spectrum is something Weisberg has never forgotten. “We had respect for each other. We weren’t going to exploit each other’s weak points,” Weisberg said. “For example, we did not use racial disparity as our first line with the conservatives.”

Almost every state overhaul in recent years has followed a similar path. There’s a damning report, usually written by Carroll, documenting the failures of indigent defense. In response, the state forms a bipartisan commission. Usually, there’s a lawsuit, often filed by the ACLU, to pressure policymakers. And along the way—the process can take years—Carroll is hammering home his message that reforming public defense is about protecting individuals from a tyrannical government.

For many conservatives, reform is also about saving taxpayer money, since it can reduce the costs of unnecessary incarceration, endless legal appeals, and lawsuits from those wrongly imprisoned. This is one of the notions that drew William Koch Jr. to the issue in Tennessee, another state where Carroll is helping to overhaul the system. Koch (no relation to the right-wing billionaire brothers, Charles and David) doesn’t exactly have a reformer’s résumé. During his career as a government appointee and judge, he drafted legislation to punish certain crimes more harshly and affirmed numerous capital cases.

Now chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Indigent Representation Task Force, Koch released a report calling for a statewide commission to administer public defense, provide support for defender offices, and raise compensation for private attorneys handling indigent cases. (Tennessee pays court-appointed attorneys one of the lowest rates in the country—$50 an hour, close to 20 times less than the hourly rates charged by experienced private attorneys.) “To fund programs intended to provide effective representation to persons accused of crime, when you phrase it that way, it becomes a very low priority,” Koch said. But “that is actually a quintessentially fiscally conservative thing to do.”

“We spend more than $250 billion on the criminal justice system annually,” said Mark V. Holden, senior vice president and general counsel of Koch Industries Inc., which is led by Charles and David Koch. “Meanwhile, states don’t have enough money to fund roads, education or other infrastructure.” If we convict and incarcerate fewer people, the government will save money in the long run, he argues. In 2014, Koch Industries provided a grant to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers that funded a first-ever assessment of Indiana’s system. That report, again authored by Carroll, was released last October. Almost immediately, the Indiana Public Defender Commission voted to support legislation that would include misdemeanor cases in reimbursement, increase funding and create a task force to devise long-term reforms.

In the past few years, Koch Industries has made public defense one if its top priorities, funding statewide evaluations and training for defenders. Its support has helped cement the issue as a priority for conservatives. Even Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who often takes hard-line stances on criminal justice issues, has become outspoken about indigent defense. In 2015, Grassley called for the first-ever hearing on the denial of counsel in misdemeanor cases. “I would say the criminal justice system is a failed big-government program, for sure,” Holden said.

***

Despite recent successes in red states, some advocates for the indigent have doubts that framing public defense solely as a tyranny problem, rather than one of racial or class inequality, will work in diverse states.

“It’s not going to take us all the way where we need to be,” said Daryl Atkinson of Forward Justice. Novella Coleman, an ACLU attorney and lead counsel in a lawsuit against California, said that in her experience, decision-makers on the left and right get interested when they see the accused as people worth caring about. “I think that feeling compelled to tell someone’s story in a colorblind manner in order to get political buy-in, I don’t think at the end of the day that’s going to be as compelling as telling people’s complete stories,” Coleman said.

But Carroll stands by his belief that focusing on racial disparity only divides people and stymies progress. He said judges in Tennessee have said to him: “We’re so thankful you’re not saying we’re racist.”

But progress, no matter how it is achieved, doesn’t mean as much if governments don’t follow through on its obligations. In Michigan, funds have not yet been dispersed to local governments. The ACLU in Idaho and Utah is still pursuing lawsuits against those states, citing insufficient funding. Idaho may have dedicated $5.5 million for indigent defense, an amount that will be renegotiated annually, but it still leaves most financial responsibility with the counties. Meanwhile, the state has not yet finalized standards for defenders. “We don’t want to not acknowledge the steps that have been taken, but we’re seeing on the ground that these promises aren’t materially benefiting indigent Idahoans in the courtroom,” said Kathy Griesmyer, public policy strategist for the ACLU of Idaho. Similarly, Utah has appropriated $2 million this year, but that makes up only about 6 percent of what’s needed. “It’s good to talk about tyranny,” said Marina Lowe, legislative and policy counsel for the ACLU of Utah. “But at end of the day, someone has to pay for it to be fixed.”

Other advocates say true reform will also require a cultural shift among lawyers. “We have public defenders who, while well-intentioned, sometimes see their role as making sure the system moves quickly and efficiently” rather than providing the best defense for clients, said Jon Rapping, founder of Gideon’s Promise, a nonprofit that trains public defenders.

Still, Carroll is as hopeful as ever. The Nevada legislature passed a bill this spring that creates a statewide indigent defense commission. In 2015, the Mississippi Public Defender Task Force authorized Carroll to evaluate felony indigent defense in a report due out later this year, and the legislature seems poised for action. Mississippi, where 38 percent of the population and 28 percent of the legislature is black, according to a 2015 survey, will be a test of Carroll’s assumption that using the colorblind “tyranny prism” approach will work in more diverse states.

Meanwhile, some conservative lawmakers who became passionate about indigent defense have turned their sights on other examples of what they see as abuses in the criminal justice system. In Michigan, McMillin continued his partnership with the ACLU, drafting legislation to limit civil asset forfeiture and warrantless police searches. And in Idaho, Perry said she and a fellow House member have crafted a bill to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes.

“It’s funny,” she says. “I’ve started filtering my questions through the eyes of a public defense commissioner a little bit.”

Bloomberg Columnist Noah Smith: Gun Control No Way to Reduce Violent Crime

Bloomberg Columnist Noah Smith: Gun Control No Way to Reduce Violent Crime

Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith claims there are four ways to reduce violent crime–and gun control is not one of them.

Smith admits that gun control is a go-to solution for many on the left, yet he “doubts large-scale gun control could do that much to reduce crime.”

In fact, Smith writes, “There are a lot of guns already in circulation, and as the drug market has shown, illicit guns would continue to flow on the black market even if the Second Amendment were repealed and guns were banned.”

He also makes the poignant observation that all the talk of guns and crime may be for naught anyway, as “the relationship between gun ownership and crime might just not be that strong.” He substantiates this observation by pointing out that Brazil “has only 1/14th the number of guns per person that the U.S. does” yet has many more murders.

Smith also points out that Russia’s murder rate is more than twice that of the United States.

So what could be done to cut violent crime? Smith suggests limiting lead exposure, which he says “increases violent behavior in adulthood.” He also calls for the decriminalization of drugs, for treating drug use as a “disease instead of crime” to immediately decrease the number of people entering the U.S. prison system. He says that providing an education to people who are already in the prison system should be a priority, as he believes education would reduce recidivism. Furthermore, he believes community-based policing should be adopted throughout the nation.

Smith closes his column by stressing that his four-pronged violent crime solution could be implemented “without touching the Second Amendment.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com.

Update: SilencerCo’s Maxim 50 Integrally Suppressed Muzzleloader Met with Challenges from 3 States

Update: SilencerCo’s Maxim 50 Integrally Suppressed Muzzleloader Met with Challenges from 3 States

SilencerCo announced the new firearm launch on Tuesday (September 19,) and here we are just a short 2 days later with the legalities already being called into question.

Here’s an official statement from SilencerCo, which was posted to the Facebook page on Wednesday, September 20:

“Upon launching the Maxim 50, SilencerCo received several immediate legal challenges from authorities and lawyers in the states of New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California. Since we have no desire to place any consumer in a situation where they may get arrested and charged with a felony because their state defines a firearm differently than the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), we have placed orders from those states on hold and are refunding customers pending legal confirmation. We will update our customers as soon as we have multiple source verification.”

Revamped SHARE Act Includes Suppressor Deregulation Proposal

Revamped SHARE Act Includes Suppressor Deregulation Proposal

A new bill, introduced as H.R. 3668, includes two important agendas for outdoorsmen and women. The Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement, or S.H.A.R.E. Act, combines initiatives to grow hunting and fishing, as well as removing suppressors from National Firearms Act regulation.

Here is a screenshot of the bill:

(To read the proposed legislation in full, follow the link at the end of this article.)

According to The Wichita Eagle, for Rep. Jeff Duncan – the sponsor of the bill – this legislation is personal to him.

See, Duncan never wore earplugs while shooting when he was growing up, and now, at the age of 51, he’s hard of hearing in his left ear, and can’t help but look back and blame the lack of hearing protection.

“We could have named the bill something else,” Duncan stated, “but really it’s about helping hunters be able to protect their hearing and still enjoy their sport and be successful at it.”

Here’s a YouTube video from SilencerCo showing an Alaskan bear hunt using suppressors:

The American Suppressor Association recently released a press release on the revamped Hearing Protection Act, which states:

“Since the re-introduction of the Hearing Protection Act by Rep. Duncan and Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) in January (H.R. 367S. 59) the American Suppressor Association (ASA) has met with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on multiple occasions to discuss technical amendments to the language. As a result, we were able to create several technical amendments that were incorporated into the current draft of the SHARE Act. These include:

  • Sec. 1702: Removing suppressors from the National Firearms Act, subjecting them to the same instant NICS background check as long guns, and issuing a refundable tax credit to anyone who has purchased a suppressor since the HPA’s original date of introduction

  • Sec. 1703: Ensuring that suppressors will remain legal in all 42 states where they are currently legal, after suppressors are removed from the National Firearms Act

  • Sec. 1704: Preempting states from levying taxes or registration requirements on suppressors. However, this will not make suppressors legal in any state where state law currently prohibits them.

  • Sec. 1705: Granting the ATF 365 days to destroy all suppressor related records from the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR)

  • Sec. 1706: Developing a “keystone part” definition, and requiring that such keystone part is serialized on every suppressor. This will ensure that individual suppressor parts, like pistons and endcaps, will not require serialization.

  • Sec. 1707: Imposing a 10% Pittman-Robertson excise tax on the manufacture of each new suppressor, a tax that is currently imposed on all Title I firearms”

Along with all the suppressor talk, the new bill also discusses issues with concealed carry and crossing state lines with firearms.

For all the details, you can read a copy of the bill introduced on September 1, right here.

WA Lawmakers Propose Allowing Concealed Carry in NFL, MLB Stadiums

WA Lawmakers Propose Allowing Concealed Carry in NFL, MLB Stadiums

Republicans in Washington state are proposing allowing fans to bring legally-owned firearms into sports stadiums.

The proposal, expected to be introduced at the January legislative session, would allow citizens with a legal concealed carry license to bring a firearm into CenturyLink and Safeco Fields, the respective homes of the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners.

Current rules at the privately-operated stadiums prohibit fans from bringing in guns, along with many other items, and visitors must pass through metal detectors.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that the NFL would oppose such a measure.

“We haven’t seen the proposed legislation but we have a policy forbidding carrying a weapon into NFL stadiums,” an NFL spokesperson said in an email.

Opponents of the idea are quick to point out that NFL stadiums already have a problem when it comes to violence among intoxicated fans, many of whom consume large quantities of alcohol in pre-game tailgate parties.

The fan fisticuffs are often broadcast on social media. An ugly brawl from Thursday night’s Chiefs-Raiders game in Kansas City went viral a few days ago, while last weekend a 49ers fan was attacked by a group of Dolphins fans in Miami.

On the other hand, some argue that fans might be less likely to pick fights if they believe others could be legally armed.

Watch Trace Gallagher’s report above and let us know your thoughts.


 

 

Rumors of Salient Arms Filing for Bankruptcy Confirmed as False

Rumors of Salient Arms Filing for Bankruptcy Confirmed as False

The filing seen on InfoRuptcy can be seen below, and we ask that you scan it carefully to see where the confusion came from:

SAI

In case you’re in a hurry, we’ll point out this document is simply meant for another company.

See, Salient Arms International Inc. of the State of Nevada is a company that according to Breach Bang Clear, has nothing to do with the current, active Salient Arms International. (of California)

Everytown, gun control group, turns on spigot in Virginia elections with $1 million

Everytown, gun control group, turns on spigot in Virginia elections with $1 million

September 14 at 11:58 AM
Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, the campaign arm of one of the nation’s biggest gun control groups, announced Thursday that it would spend at least $1 million in Virginia as part of an “initial investment” to elect Democrats in November.

The fund is donating $450,000 directly to gubernatorial contender Ralph Northam, and spending $250,000 on mailers on his behalf. It’s also giving $300,000 to Attorney General Mark Herring for his re-election bid, as he faces attack advertising from the National Rifle Association.

“We are making this initial investment because Ralph Northam and Mark Herring have been forceful champions for gun violence prevention in Virginia, while their opponents subscribe to a dangerous ‘guns everywhere’ agenda,” Brynne Craig, a senior strategist for Everytown, said in a statement.

Everytown, a New York-based advocacy group largely bankrolled by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has been a big spender in recent Virginia contests.

In this Monday, Sept 4, 2017 photo, Democratic candidate for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, right, talks during a Democratic breakfast, with Attorney General Mark Herring, sitting from left, gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and U.S. Sen Tim Kaine, on Labor Day in Buena Vista, Va. (Bob Brown/AP)

In 2015, it spent more than $2 million on television ads supporting Democratic candidates for state senate as the party unsuccessfully sought to regain control of the chamber.

Virginia allows gun owners to carry concealed firearms as long as they have a permit. Everytown, its affiliated grassroots group, Moms Demand Action, and Northam are opposed to “constitutional carry”, or the right to carry concealed guns without a permit. Northam also favors a ban on assault weapons, expanded background checks and wants to restore a state law that limited handgun purchases to one each month, among other measures.

The Republican candidate in the Nov. 7 election, Ed Gillespie, is opposed to any further gun control.

Everytown is supporting Northam despite the fact that the group has clashed with his ally, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), over a deal McAuliffe forged with Republican lawmakers to expand the rights of concealed carry permit holders in exchange for tigher restrictions on gun ownership by domestic abusers and voluntary background checks at gun shows. Northam stood with McAuliffe last year as he signed the gun compromise into law.

Everytown pilloried the deal “as a gift to the gun lobby”, criticism that McAuliffe shrugged off.

Now, volunteers with Moms Demand Action in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area plan to canvass and to make phone calls for Northam and other Democrats.

“They stand with the majority of Virginians who know that our Second Amendment rights come with responsibilities to keep guns out of dangerous hands,” said Amy McPike, a Loudoun County volunteer for the group.

Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun control group led by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, has endorsed the Democratic ticket in Virginia, but has yet to announce any donations. It has spent more than $700,000 on Virginia campaigns in recent years, according to data compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project.

On the other side of the gun debate, the National Rifle Association – headquartered in Virginia – has endorsed all three Republicans running for statewide office.

The organization’s political arm funded an ad in support of GOP attorney general nominee John Adams that also accused Herring of taking “away the rights of gun owners to protect themselves.” This is a reference to Herring’s decision to stop recognizing out-of-state concealed carry permits, since reversed by McAuliffe’s gun deal.

A spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association declined to comment on the ad or how much it cost.

Adam Zuckerman, Herring’s campaign manager, said “the fact that the NRA is going all in to elect John Adams shows that they know he’ll be the attorney general for the gun lobby, not Virginia families.”

Virginia’s gubernatorial contest is the nation’s marquee race this year. That status, plus lax campaign finance laws, has attracted a blizzard of outside spending.

Political arms of Planned Parenthood, the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, a Democratic redistricting group backed by former President Barack Obama and California billionaire Tom Steyer’s NextGen American have commited to spend more than $8 million to support Northam and other Democrats.

The same groups, along with Priorities USA – which spent more than $200 million on behalf of Hillary Clinton and Democrats running for the Senate in 2016 – announced Thursday they will spend $2 million to coordinate with Northam on a digital ad campaign. Virginia’s campaign finance laws allows candidates to coordinate with outside spending groups.

That campaign, designed to reach more than 1.2 million voters before Election Day, will mark the first time that Democratic groups are pooling resources and data to reach voters online, organizers said. They described their coordinated campaign as “first of its kind” for Democratic groups in the way they are pooling resources and data to reach voters online.

On the Republican side, the Republican Governors’ Association has put in $8 million behind Gillespie and the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity has launched an ad campaign against Northam worth at least $1.4 million.

Is a ‘Trump Slump’ the Reason Gun Sales Plummeted 48.5% YoY?

Is a ‘Trump Slump’ the Reason Gun Sales Plummeted 48.5% YoY?

It’s no secret that firearms sales have a reflection on the current political climate, but does it paint the entire picture?

When worried hunters and shooters thought that Hillary Clinton, the outspoken pro-gun-control candidate, could potentially take office, guns flew off of shelves at an unprecedented rate. With Trump sitting in the oval office, The Guardian reports AOB noticed a 48.5% decrease in firearms revenue.

Think about it: When people fear that guns will be taken away . . . they go out and buy more guns. Tragedies such as the Orlando nightclub shooting can even cause a massive spike in gun sales.

Despite the gloomy sales report for this quarter, Mike Bazinet, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said, “We are on track to see the second or third highest year since the [background check] system began.”

Tucker Carlson uses facts to brutally shut down gun control advocate who favors gun confiscation

Tucker Carlson uses facts to brutally shut down gun control advocate who favors gun confiscation

Tucker Carlson uses facts to brutally shut down gun control advocate who favors gun confiscation

Tucker Carlson argues gun control with gun control advocate in light of Seattle’s gun tax backfiring. (Image source: YouTube)

In 2015, Seattle implemented a “gun violence tax,” which aimed to reduce the amount of gun violence in its city limits. The tax imposed a $25 tax for every firearm purchased and a $.05 tax for every round of ammunition bought within the city limits. The tax has hurt small business owners in the city that own gun stores and has even forced many of them to lay off workers, move to the suburbs or completely shutdown altogether.

But new reports indicate the law hasn’t worked the way it was intended to. In fact, violence has increased in Seattle and murders have doubled this year. Carlson said it proves the law has backfired. Gun control advocate Mark Glaze disagreed.

Glaze said the purpose of the law was to help fund studies of gun control and not to end gun violence like Carlson allegedly claimed. However, Carlson said that isn’t what he claims.

“I’m merely noting the obvious, which is the gun tax didn’t make the city any safer,” Carlson said. “What’s the point of any of this…if it doesn’t make the city any safer? That’s the whole point. Right?”

Glaze responded by accusing the “gun lobby” of preventing the federal government from allocating funds to study gun violence, so Seattle created their tax in order to do it themselves. But Carlson wanted Glaze to address the real facts of the matter.

“Again, the whole point of all of this…is to reduce gun violence — and it doubled [in Seattle],” Carlson said. “So it’s hard to take you or people like you seriously if you don’t let the data drive your conclusions. And the date here are really clear, crystal clear. This didn’t work, so why would you still support it?”

Glaze again reiterated his claim that no person in Seattle thought the gun tax would drive down gun violence, but Carlson quickly called out him out.

“That’s not true,” the Fox host interrupted. “They didn’t say ‘we’re gonna end all gun violence,’ but they said it would make it a safer city — and the city got more dangerous.”

Glaze then tried to move the conversation along to discuss control measures that he alleged the public “wants.” He said that instead of a gun tax, Seattle should implement a ban on “semi-automatic” rifles with “high capacity” magazines, alleging that gang members “most often” use them to commit acts of gun violence while drawing a connection to the weapon used to nearly assassinate House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) earlier this month.

But once again, Carlson was quick to throw a time-out on the field.

“But your numbers are just wrong,” Carlson replied. “Actually, a relatively small percentage of murders in this country are committed with rifles of any kind. They’re almost all committed with handguns.”

“So I know these guns may look scary, and they send you guys into a frenzy because they’re terrified-looking, but they don’t actually drive the problems. So again, you’re wrong,” he explained.

Given the number of firearms in America — which is believable to be several hundred million — Carlson said the “truth” of the matter is the only way gun control advocates will get what they want is through gun confiscation.

Glaze suggested the federal government buyback Americans’ guns in order to dramatically reduce the number of firearms in the country similar to what Australia did. But Carlson noted that Australia’s gun “buyback” wasn’t voluntary and was actually gun confiscation.

“That’s not true, that’s not true,” Carlson said. “They didn’t buy them back. They confiscated them by force. You had no option. It wasn’t voluntary. If you tried that in this country, you would have a civil war in about 10 minutes.”

“Is that the plan? To take people’s guns by force?” Carlson questioned.

Glaze responded by alleging two-third of American gun owners would willingly give up their firearms in a government buyback.

“Good luck with that, Mark,” Carlson quipped.

Tucker Carlson: I’ll disarm when Bloomberg stops surrounding himself with armed security

Tucker Carlson: I’ll disarm when Bloomberg stops surrounding himself with armed security

Tucker Carlson: I’ll disarm when Bloomberg stops surrounding himself with armed security

Tucker Carlson told gun control activist Mark Glaze he would disarm himself if Michael Bloomberg ditches his armed security. (Screenshot/Fox News video)

The declaration

Carlson asked Glaze why Bloomberg should have the protection of a firearm but the average American cannot.

“I wonder, if guns are so bad — and people often say this but I’ve never gotten a real answer — why does Mike Bloomberg have armed bodyguards?” Carlson asked Glaze.

“I don’t get it. If I run a bodega in the Bronx, I don’t get to carry a gun. I’m in a lot of danger. Mike Bloomberg doesn’t think I should have a gun, doesn’t think I should be trusted,” Carlson explained. “And yet he runs around — because he’s a billionaire — with all of these guys with automatic weapons. Why is that fair for him but not for the bodega guy?”

Glaze responded: “That’s what he’s protecting himself against. The bad guys with guns.”

“What about the bodega owner?” Carlson retorted. “He’s not allowed to have a gun but Mike Bloomberg is because his life is more valuable? I don’t think it’s more valuable.”

“I think people like Mike Bloomberg, like you, might be targets because you’re in the public eye,” Glaze said.

“Mike Bloomberg is a total hypocrite,” Carlson replied. “If guns are so bad, then why does he surround himself with them? And again, people at real risk — delivery men — can’t have them.”

According to Glaze, the solution to the problem is to “go upstream and make sure the bad guys can’t get guns.”

“When Mike Bloomberg disarms, I’ll be next. I promise,” Carlson replied.

Gun control hypocrisy

It’s hypocritical for celebrity gun control advocates like Michael Bloomberg to say the average American should have to walk around unarmed. If the world we live in is so dangerous that some people need protection, then it’s dangerous enough for all people to need protection. There’s no cherry picking whose life is more important or valuable.

It’s easy for people like Bloomberg to advocate for fewer guns in America when they don’t arm themselves but instead rely on others to protect them.

The very object Bloomberg works to outlaw is the very object that he relies on to save his life.

What’s wrong with gun control? The same thing that’s wrong with immigration restrictions.

What’s wrong with gun control? The same thing that’s wrong with immigration restrictions.

A common argument for restricting immigration to the United States and other developed countries — maybe even the most plausible one — runs like this. Opening the borders will bring in people who will consume more public services than they pay for in taxes and who will vote for more statist politicians who support those public services. The result will be less freedom for everyone in the long run. Therefore, many conservatives say, immigration control is a regrettable but necessary step to securing freedom.

Meanwhile, a common argument for restricting gun ownership in the United States and other developed countries — maybe even the most plausible one — runs like this. Opening the market to the free sale and possession of guns will allow criminals to get their hands on deadly weapons, perhaps through theft if not legal purchase, resulting in more murder and less freedom in the long run. Therefore, many progressives say, gun control is a regrettable but necessary step to securing freedom.

These common arguments for restricting immigration and restricting gun ownership are surprisingly similar in form. They show us that the reason why fierce immigration control advocates are generally not also fierce gun control advocates (and vice versa) has more to do with ideological confirmation bias than sound logic.

Furthermore, both these arguments make a questionable implicit assumption: that it is morally acceptable to take away the freedoms of some people to secure the more important freedoms of others.

When is it morally acceptable to restrict freedom?

In some emergency scenarios, we might be tempted to agree with this assumption. For instance, it might be morally acceptable for you to steal my car to prevent a murder across town. I’m not sure this is true, but let’s concede for now that it might be true. Even if it is true, we generally think that you still need to return my car once you no longer need it to prevent the murder, and that you need to compensate me for any damages and trouble you caused.

Few of us would think it acceptable to set up a standing policy of car theft for murder prevention. Should we have a permanent division of the police to go around stealing cars when they think they’re necessary for otherwise legitimate police work? Surely not.

Furthermore, virtually everyone would agree that  stealing the car would have to be the least invasive way of preventing the murder. If there’s a way to prevent the murder that doesn’t involve stealing at all, like using your own car or paying a willing driver, you must not steal.

Can violating one freedom promote another, greater freedom?

The advocates of immigration- and gun-control policies seem to think we should have a standing law-enforcement body to go around violating freedoms in the hope that a greater gain in freedom will happen down the road. How is this different in principle from setting up a division of the police for commandeering cars — or a division of the military for commandeering homes, a practice of the 18th century British army banned by the Third Amendment to the US Constitution?

Even if violating some people’s rights to protect more people’s rights through standing enforcement agencies is morally acceptable in principle, advocates of such measures need to show that the violation of freedoms will actually work in the way that they claim. The burden of proof is on them; it isn’t okay to take away freedoms systematically on the basis of mere speculation — only on hard, indisputable evidence.

In the case of immigration and guns, that evidence is thin and disputable. Legal immigrants are, on the best evidence, a small net fiscal burden to existing US taxpayers, on average.[1] Is stopping a small net fiscal burden a greater gain to freedom than the loss of freedom associated with immigration law enforcement? That seems unlikely.

Are there alternative solutions that don’t violate freedom?

Moreover, an alternative, less invasive solution to the fiscal burden problem would be to make immigrants ineligible for more programs. In the same way, a less invasive solution to the problem of immigrant votes for statists would be to make earning the right to vote more difficult than obtaining the right to live and work in the United States. It is also questionable whether immigrants tend to vote for statists; certainly, anti-immigrant rhetoric from the right makes immigrants less likely to vote for right-wing parties.

On guns, there is a big debate in the literature, but there are just as many high-quality studies finding that gun regulations increase violent crime as there are studies that find that they reduce violent crime. Many find no effect at all, and one points out that different modeling assumptions have a substantial effect on study results, such that basing a policy decision on any particular model is dangerous. Even if gun laws did reduce crime a little, we don’t know whether other, less intrusive methods of reducing crime, such as supporting mental health treatment, would work just as well.

The principal arguments for restricting immigration and for restricting guns both depend at minimum on the assumption that it is acceptable to take away some people’s freedoms on an ongoing basis whenever doing so preserves greater or more important freedoms. This assumption implies some absurd conclusions, such as it being okay for police to steal cars for their work rather than buy them.

A weaker, more plausible premise, that it is acceptable to take away freedoms if doing so is the least invasive available means for preserving greater freedoms, still cannot justify immigration and gun laws, because less invasive means for solving the supposed ills of immigration and gun ownership do exist. Moreover, the evidence is thin as to whether immigration- and gun-control laws even promote greater freedom at all — more likely, they simply reduce freedom.

[1] A careful analysis of native- and immigrant-headed households in New Jersey found that, looking at just state and local public sectors, “native households in New Jersey bear a total net fiscal burden of $232 per native household from the fact that the average immigrant-headed household receives $1,484 per immigrant household more in state and local services than it contributes in state and local taxes.” In California, “the average native household contributes a fiscal surplus of $283 per household to fund a fiscal deficit of $831 per immigrant-headed household.” However, immigrants are a net contributor at the federal level: $127 per immigrant household in California and $520 per immigrant household in New Jersey. That still works out to a small net fiscal burden from immigrant households.

NRA Prepares for Legal Action After Governor Signs Weapons Seizure Order Ahead of Hurricane Irma

NEWS | 

NRA Prepares for Legal Action After Governor Signs Weapons Seizure Order Ahead of Hurricane Irma

The NRA is prepared to go head-to-head with U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp, after he signed an executive order to confiscate guns, ammunition and explosives as the area prepares for Hurricane Irma to make landfall.

The order, which was signed on Tuesday according to Fox News, “authorized and directed” the seizure of arms and other incendiary materials that the military could use during this emergency situation.

The National Rifle Association let it be known of its “strong opposition” to Mapp’s order, stating in a press release:

“People need the ability to protect themselves during times of natural disaster,” Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action said. “This dangerous order violates the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and puts their lives at risk.”

The NRA has been down this road before, when New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin signed a similar order ahead of the devastating Hurricane Katrina. The lawsuit stated that New Orleans violated gun owners’ constitutional right to bear arms and “left them at the mercy of roving gangs, home invaders, and other criminals.”

“When 911 is non-existent and law enforcement personnel are overwhelmed with search-and-rescue missions and other emergency duties, law-abiding American citizens must be able to protect their families and loved ones,” Cox continued in the press release. “The NRA is prepared to pursue legal action to halt Gov. Mapp’s dangerous and unconstitutional order.”

Everytown claims state wins on gun control

MIAMI BEACH, FL - JUNE 26: Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg addresses the United States Conference of Mayors at the Fountainebleau Hotel on June 26, 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida. The mayors conference brought mayors from across the country together to urge Americans to move past what they say is Washington's stalled partisan gridlock and instead, look locally for leadership that governs with vision and delivers results. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Michael Bloomberg’s group and other advocates are also claiming victory in gun lobby losses. | Getty

Everytown claims state wins on gun control

 While Republicans in Washington keep promising rollbacks of gun control laws — though they so far haven’t taken action on any on it — Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety group is claiming another round of success in new restrictions passed at the state level.

Much of that, the group points out, came with the support of Republicans and the signatures of Republican governors.

“When you look at what’s happening in statehouses across the country, the gun safety movement is winning in state after state — even in this challenging political environment — because volunteers and gun violence survivors have become the counterweight to the gun lobby,” said Shannon Watts, who founded Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown.

Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Tennessee and Utah all passed new restrictions on firearms for domestic abusers. Of those, only Louisiana has a Democratic governor to sign the bill. According to a new “report card” from Everytown, out Thursday, that brings to 23 the number of states that have enhanced the laws around domestic abusers since 2013.

Everytown and other advocates are also claiming victory in gun lobby losses, noting that 17 of 18 states rejected bills to allow guns in schools and 14 of 16 states rejected bills to allow guns on college campuses. The report card tracks 20 of 22 states that didn’t pass bills that would have eliminated requirements for permits to carry guns, a top priority for the National Rifle Association.

“The NRA counts as ‘wins’ bills that lower permitting fees for veterans, allow people to hunt on Sundays and create an official NRA license plate,” reads part of the report card. “Don’t be misled into thinking these bills are losses for the gun safety movement; they aren’t.”

Smash and Grab Burglars Take 65+ Guns from Dragonman’s Gun Shop

 

 Smash and Grab Burglars Take 65+ Guns from Dragonman’s Gun Shop

According to KKTV 11, Camron Specht, 18, has been arrested for second-degree burglary and is being held on a $100,000 bond.

11 News states this is still a developing story, and it’s not clear if authorities are still looking for another suspect.

The store that was robbed is a well-known, local gun shop/shooting range and paintball park called Dragonman’s. The Dragonman himself, Mel Berstein, calls the burglars stupid for robbing his store, and you’ll see why in the video below:

(Turn up the volume to hear Dragonman’s interview)

“Around my area here, there’s over 35 cameras and you know, they really, really gotta be stupid to try and rob Dragonman’s,” he said in the 11 News Facebook Live video.

It’s not enough these thieves broke in and stole property that wasn’t there’s, but they even used Dragonman’s car to smash open his shop.

“Rammed it right through the gate and the garage door . . . We got them on video. Last night the cops were looking for them, and we know who did it.”

In the end, the robber(s) fled with at least 40 handguns, more than 20 AR-15s and AK-47s, and one other machine gun, adding up to a grand total of $30,000 worth of firearms.

The ATF is working with Mel to investigate the burglary and to do inventory on his arsenal, so he can know for sure what was taken from his shop.

LA Repeals Ban On ‘Ultracompact’ Guns

LA Repeals Ban On ‘Ultracompact’ Guns

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance to repeal a longtime ban on the sale of “ultracompact” handguns.

The ban, which was enacted in 2001, prevented the sale of firearms with a length less that 6.75 inches or a height less than 4.5 inches within city limits.

It was passed 16 years ago under a motion authored by then-City Councilman Mike Feuer, who is now the city attorney. Feuer and other gun control advocates argued at the time that the smaller weapons, or “pocket rockets,” posed a risk to public safety because they would be easier for criminals to conceal.

Feuer prepared the ordinance that went before the council Tuesday.

The National Rifle Association and California Rifle & Pistol Assn. had long been opposed to the ban, and last year wrote a letter to Feuer threatening legal action if it was not overturned, arguing that state law allowed the sale of some of the weapons and preempted the local ordinance.

Gun rights groups argued that the law hurts women and the disabled, who need the smaller guns to defend themselves, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for Feuer, noted that the state law changed after the ban was enacted and that other cities and counties have already undone similar ordinances.

Wilcox also said that no person has ever been prosecuted for violating the ordinance.