What’s The Difference Between An Assault Rifle And A ‘Sporting’ Gun?

              I have to hand it to the gun industry. Their products haven’t changed in form or function for more than 100 years, but they keep finding new ways to package what they keep selling to the same consumers again and again.

              Back in 2000 or 2001, the gun industry started getting worried about the possibility that the ten-year assault rifle ban enacted in 1994 might be renewed, with a renewal leading to a permanent ban. So the industry began promoting the idea that the assault rifle was just another ‘sporting’ gun, the idea being that as long as a weapon only fired in semi-auto mode, it couldn’t be considered a military gun because the troops all carried full-auto guns.

              Oops! The battle rifle that was distributed to U.S. troops beginning in 1994, replaced the full-auto sear with a selective lever which allows the gun to be shot in either semi-auto or 3-shot bursts. So if a trooper decides that the tactical situation requires that he set the gun on semi-auto mode, is he now going into battle with a ‘sporting’ gun?

              Then there was a bigger problem which occurred in 2008, thank to my late friend Tony Scalia, whose majority opinion granting Constitutional protection for civilian gun ownership only covered handguns. His decision effectively meant that all long guns, including assault rifles, were not given any kind of Constitutional protection at all.

              Guess what? In 2015, the city of Highland Park passed a law which gave residents who owned assault rifles two choices: they could get rid of their gun, sell it, destroy it, whatever, or they could keep their gun, sell their house and move out of town. The Supreme Court refused to review the case. In New York State you can own an assault rifle but you had to have acquired it before a gun law, the SAFE Act, was passed in 2013. Ditto in Maryland thanks to a law passed in 2014.

              What will happen if Joe wins the Presidential contest and the Senate turns blue? I guarantee there will be a federal gun law which will either extend background checks to private sales, or ban assault rifles, or both. Which means gun makers better come up with a new product line that can protect them from being the targets of another liberal assault.

              And guess what?  They not only have such a product that can easily take the place of assault rifles in the arsenals of all those law-abiding Americans who really believe that a gun will keep them safe from the Antifa gang. It’s also a product which gives them all the firepower and lethality of an assault rifle without making them vulnerable to any attempt to take assault rifles out of civilian hands.

              Remember – the 2008 Heller decision said that Americans had Constitutional protection if they wanted to keep a handgun in their home. The ruling said nothing about rifles, and in fact a later attempt by Heller to get his personal assault rifle protected by the Constitution was turned back.

              Know the only difference between the standard assault rifle and the Heckler & Koch handgun pictured above? The length of the barrel – that’s it. If a gun has a barrel that is 16 inches or longer, under federal law it’s a long gun and not protected by the 2nd Amendment, which is why the assault rifle ban enacted in Highland Park was upheld. But if a gun has all the same design and function features as an assault rifle but sports a barrel less than 16 inches in length, it’s a handgun, okay?

              What makes the assault rifle so definitively dangerous is one, specific aspect of its design, namely, that it loads from underneath the frame which means it can take a magazine which holds 20, 30, 40 rounds or more. And if the gun has a lever-type of magazine release, which is found on the gun pictured above, a shooter can release and reload a 30-shot magazine in a second or less.

              The kid who shot and killed 26 adults and children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School fired off more than 90 rounds in two minutes or less. Sorry folks, but that’s not a ‘sporting’ gun, I don’t care what Gun-nut Nation says.

I got my flu shot today. Please get yours.

How Come Only Good Guys Use Guns In Self-Defense?

I want to applaud NBC for giving space to a very committed pro-gun advocate, because if nothing else, it’s important to see just how far away from reality some of Gun-nut Nation has moved. In this case, the lack of reality is being pronounced by the Attorney General of Arkansas, a woman named Leslie Rutledge, who happens to be the first female and first Republican elected to the office of AG, a state which in 2018 had a gun-fatality rate of 19, which happens to be almost twice the national gun-fatality rate.

Attorney General Rutledge begins her rhetorical voyage into never-never land with a rather unique description of the 2nd Amendment:  “The Second Amendment ensures that Americans can protect themselves, their families and their businesses, especially when the government is unwilling or unable to do so.”

Now it’s true that the 2008 Heller decision rests on the idea of using guns for personal defense. But nowhere in our friend Tony Scalia’s opinion is there any mention of the personal-defense argument somehow being contingent on whether the government is ‘’unwilling or unable’ to provide protection. In fact, the decision states quite clearly that the government can regulate firearm ownership precisely because the government is responsible for guaranteeing what we refer to as the ‘common defense.’

I’ll talk in a minute about how two armed Americans  protected themselves and their home from all those rampaging anarchists and thugs, but let’s first look at how Ms. Rutledge makes the case for liberal attacks against 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ First and foremost, according to the Arkansas AG, is the attempt by New York’s Attorney General to dissolve the NRA.

Why would the disappearance of the NRA be a blow against the decision by many Americans to defend themselves with guns? Because “The NRA promotes responsible and safe firearm ownership and self-defense, and it encourages favorite pastimes like hunting and recreational shooting.” And we know for a fact that liberals hate anyone who uses a gun for hunting or recreational shooting, right?

In fact (note the word ‘fact), the NRA has been the main cog in the gun industry’s public relations arsenal promoting armed, self-defense, and if the Arkansas AG really believes that a handgun which holds 15 rounds of military-grade ammunition is used to shoot a bird out of the tree, then there must be some pretty funny hunting going on in Arkansas, that’s for sure. Why shouldn’t a not-for-profit outfit be closed down when the Executive VP spends tens of thousands of donated dollars on designer clothes and the hand-picked Board of Directors doesn’t bother to ever examine the books?

The GOP sunk to the lowest possible level of political pandering when they gave that husband-and-wife team from St. Louis a program slot to tell everyone why they felt it necessary to stand in front of their home and wave guns at the BLM demonstrators who were marching past their front lawn. I’m surprised that Leslie Rutledge didn’t make a point of saying just how much she felt these two putzes should be honored for demonstrating how and guns keep us safe and free.

Don’t ask me why and don’t ask me how, but whether it’s a gang-banger from Bed-Stuy- Do-Or-Die, or a cop in Kenosha, WI, whenever anyone picks up a loaded gun, points it at someone else and pulls the trigger, it’s always a case of self-defense. And by the way, every cop is taught that a 1985 Supreme Court decision (Tennessee v. Garner) precludes the use of lethal force if someone who has been told to stand still turns around and runs away. The cop can still shoot the guy if he believes that the man fleeing the scene may be about to attack someone else. Who was sitting in his car when Jacob Blake was shot 7 times in the back? His three kids.

Oh – I forgot! The cops said that Blake was in possession of a knife.

They said.

Thank you Linda for posting that pic.

Josh Montgomery: Why Gun Sales Increased During Covid-19.

Mont1

 

The coronavirus has changed almost every aspect of American life, and the firearms industry has been no different. In fact, it has seen major changes.

 

Turmoil

Turmoil always seems to increase gun purchasing. Every election year and crisis that occurs causes people to purchase guns in fear of what might change. 2020 has shaped up to be a very unique year in this sense with the COVID-19 pandemic being one of the major catalysts.

With election cycles, people fear what legislative changes may come. With the coronavirus however, the fear has been about more physical threats related to civil unrest. At the start of the pandemic, this public fear was evident. People were purchasing enormous amounts of goods in fear of shortages. Stories arose about people buying items like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and canned food by the truckload. While most could not afford to order trucks of supplies, it seemed that many were panic buying to one degree or another. People were not sure if the daily supply chain would remain functional. It seemed that supplies were already running low, and people didn’t know if the coronavirus would affect workers in vital industries. Assuming the supply chain became strained and people were struggling to acquire basic necessities, civil unrest was also on peoples’ minds.

The data coming out seems to suggest that the first half of 2020 saw an 80% increase in gun sales over the same time period in 2019. This data was gathered by looking at the FBI’s background check statistics of people purchasing guns. There are many reasons for the surge. For one, the fear of looting over supplies seemed prescient. If food becomes harder to obtain at the supermarket, many feel more comfortable being able to hunt for their own food. Then, there was fear that looting might follow any food scarcity that occurred. Specific fears aside, there has been a lot of uncertainty regarding the future, and people want to be prepared in the face of the unknown.

Mont2

First-Time Gun Owners

While the numbers of gun sales goes up every election year, a look into the demographics of buyers suggests that the increase has more to do with 2020’s unique climate. Data compiled by the NSSF suggests that around 40% of the recent gun sales has been to first-time gun buyers. While people buy their first firearms every year, the increase in new gun owners strongly suggests a fear that has not usually been present in the previous years. This clearly suggests that the coronavirus has been the driving factor behind the uptick in gun sales.

Among these first-time buyers, many of them seem to be liberal. Liberals who previously haven’t felt the need to own a gun are starting to realize the importance of being able to defend oneself. Gun buying seems to up among minorities as well. The age-old thinking among gun owners, that citizens have the right to be armed in case of threats to life and liberty, seems to be making its way across the aisle. Asian Americans especially have been increasing their gun buying. The reasoning is pretty obvious. At the beginning of the pandemic, many Asian-Americans, Chinese or not, faced discrimination and harassment based on the color of their skin. Some were foolishly blaming them for the spread of the virus based on nothing but their race. This increase in discrimination has given many Asian Americans plenty of reason to want to defend themselves.

Mont3

Fuel to the Fire

 

Election cycles tend to correlate with increases in gun sales. Much of the increase in gun sales we saw earlier this year seem to be attributable to the coronavirus pandemic. As the election approaches, and the possibility of a president who isn’t friendly to gun rights approaches, these numbers will likely continue to grow. It is also hard to separate the potential impact of the riots that have been occurring. Some people see what is occurring across the country and are worried about what the increase in tension might bring. Calls for defunding the police and for releasing prisoners due to the coronavirus pandemic have been driving some to the gun store for the first time. While it is unclear to what extent recent developments may affect crime, the uncertainty about the proposals is enough to cause concern for many. Perhaps the most important aspect is that all of these factors have come together at once.

 

The uncertainty is definitely not over. The pandemic is still around, and who knows what the second half of the year might bring. Gun sales will likely continue to rise throughout the year. One positive takeaway from the situation is that the public’s perception of guns may shifting in a more favorable direction, at least for the time being.

Donald Trump Believes In Equal Opportunity For All…The Crooks.

              I was born in 1944 and until 1956 lived in Washington, D.C.  My grammar school, like all public schools in D.C., was segregated until 1954, following the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Since the D.C. schools were on Federal property, they had to integrate right away. And once the schools started to integrate, ditto the neighborhoods as well. We lived in what had been an all-White neighborhood in Northwest, it became at least 50% Black almost immediately.

              I really didn’t notice any difference and to this day I don’t register skin color when I meet or talk to someone other than Leonard Mermelstein, who happens to be one of my cats. People are people, it doesn’t matter whether they are White, Black, Brown, straight, gay, LGBTQ or whatever they happen to be. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter who moves into my neighborhood as long as I can drive down to the corner and pick up the takeout from the Chinese. I must say that last night’s spareribs tasted wonderful for lunch today.

              Back to the 1950’s, okay? One of our new neighbors in D.C. was a Black guy who worked downtown in the USPS headquarters building in the Federal Triangle. He had some kind of management position and his son was a student at my public school.

              Many years later, I happened by chance to read his obituary in The (failing) New York Times. When he retired from the USPS, he was the highest-ranking Black official in the organization, having worked his way up from being a letter-carrier in his native city of Richmond, VA. But the reason he got an obit in The New York Times was because during World War II he was the only Black who commanded a warship.

              His command was a 60-man submarine tender that was in numerous Pacific battle zones during World War II. He mustered out of the service in 1945, returned to his native Richmond and got a job delivering the mail. A naval commander delivering the mail.

              This man worked his way up to the top managerial ranks in not one organization, but two. And he did it at a time when Blacks were rarely found at even the lowest ranks of any government organization, never mind an organization as lily-White as the U.S. Navy.

              I thought about this man several times over the last couple of days and my thoughts went like this: How many other men and women could have made the contributions to our country that this man made, had they been given half the chance? When we talk about discrimination, we usually focus on how racism and sexism robs the victims from their just rewards. But the real victims of racial and gender hatred are all of us because we don’t reap the benefits of what people who have been discriminated against might have otherwise achieved.

              It’s all fine and well that my man Barack got up there and talked eloquently and forcefully about preserving American ‘ideals.’ Maybe that’s his agenda, but I’m not going to vote for Joe and Kammie because I want to ‘save Democracy’ or some other high-sounding woof-woof like that.

              I’m going to vote blue because I want everyone to have an opportunity to make a contribution to this civic enterprise known as the United States. And if we have learned one thing from watching Trump since 2016, it’s that the only people getting an equal opportunity with him are crooks like Paul Manafort and Steve Bannon, who use their access to Trump to enrich themselves at the taxpayer’s expense. Which is what the polite term ‘money laundering’ really means.

              I’ll have more to say about Steve Bannon and those pre-election polls next week.

              Right now, please wear a mask at all times, keep your kids out of the classroom and stay safe.

Is There A Connection Between The Surge In Gun Sales And An Increase In Gun Violence?

              I hate to say it, but once again my friends in the gun-control research community have produced a study which, if anything, attempts to explain gun violence in a way which demonstrates absolutely no necessary connection between guns and violence at all. And worse, the study represents yet another narrative which the gun-control community will use to make sure that the gulf between gun owners and non-gun owners stay as wide as ever, if not getting a little worse.

              The study comes from the Wintemute group at U.C./Davis, and is based on two data sets: (1). The number of guns transferred over the counter nad subject to FBI-NICS background checks; and, (2). the number of shootings scraped from media reports by the Gun Violence Archive (GVA.) The study finds what the researchers refer to as an ‘association’ between an increase in background checks and shootings coincident with the spread of Covud-19 over several months.

              The authors are clear on the limitations of their data, stating it like this: “GVA and NICS data provide imperfect measures of firearm violence and purchasing, respectively. To bias our results, however, there would need to be similarly-timed differential changes across states in GVA or NICS reporting. Disagreement between NICS checks and purchased firearms would most likely result from an increase in multiple-firearm transactions during surges in purchasing, which would introduce a conservative bias in estimates of the number of firearms purchased during surges. Additionally, we have no information on whether the excess firearms acquired were those used in violence.”

              After all the blah-blah-blah above, note the last sentence. So they have “no information” on whether any of the guns that folks rushed into gun shops to buy during the pandemic were used in a single shooting event during the same period of time. So what does this study actually tell us about the threat to public safety when gun sales go up? It tells us nothing at all. Period. End of story.

              I learned about this study because it was mentioned in my current copy of American Rifleman magazine which arrived today. And of course the article was reviewed in negative terms, because the last thing the NRA is about to do is question the decision by members of Gun-nut Nation to buy another gun as a protective response to Covid-19. When do gun sales surge? Only when people get scared. And it doesn’t matter whether they’re afraid of a disease, or natural disaster, or a gun-control President in the White House, guns are purchased out of fear.

              But guns used in gun violence for are used for reasons which have absolutely nothing to do with the reasons that people who can pass a background check buy guns. And since, as the authors of this study admit, they have absolutely no idea whether any of the ‘excess’ guns purchased during the Pandemic had anything to do with the recent surge in shootings, the study’s argument about some kind of ‘association’ between legal gun sales and shootings is nothing but whole cloth.  And worse, it’s an argument designed to give Gun-control Nation ‘ammunition’ to use in demanding more stringent regulations over the ownership and use of guns, as if this study does anything to explain whether there is any connection between legally-purchased weapons and guns that are used to shoot people down in the street.

              As long as a majority of Americans believe that access to a gun is more of a benefit than a risk, as long as this belief continues to spur gun sales during periods of national anxiety and concern, there will be no (read: no) effective change in gun laws at all.  And maybe some of my friends in Gun-control Nation would actually sit down and try to figure out a narrative which would convince at least some gun owners that guns aren’t a benefit but are a risk.

              You’re not going to develop a rhetorical or lawful response to gun violence by conducting a study which shows an ‘association’ between legal gun purchases and violent crimes committed with guns. You won’t.

Maybe Some Day The Gun-Control Movement Will Understand What They Are Trying To Control.

So now we have the 9th Circuit in California deciding that a state law banning hi-capacity gun magazines is no good because the law prevents law-abiding California residents from exercising their 2nd-Amendment ‘right’ to self-defense. The Court thus takes the 2008 Heller decision which defined handguns as ‘arms’ traditionally kept in homes for defensive purposes, thus to ‘keep and bear arms’ means that you also need a magazine to use with the gun. And since hi-capacity magazines have been sold with handguns for what is now almost fifty years, these mags fall under Constitutional protection as well.

I didn’t notice any of the so-called experts like John Donahue who were consulted by The (failing) New York Times even consider the idea that maybe, just maybe, these so-called ‘traditional’ self-defense guns aren’t guns designed to be sold or owned by all these law-abiding California residents who need to protect themselves from a home invasion, a terrorist attack or even the spread of the ‘Chinese flu.’

In fact, the so-called self-defense guns which carry hi-capacity magazines – Glock, Sig, Beretta, S&W – weren’t designed for the civilian market. They were all designed to be what the 2008 Heller decision calls ‘weapons of war,’ which even gun-nut Tony Scalia said didn’t deserve Constitutional protection at all.

Gaston Glock built his first hi-capacity polymer handgun in response to an RFP issued by the Austrian Army. It was designed to hold military-grade ammunition (9mm) and it was designed to take a magazine which held 16 rounds. The magazine capacity was specifically considered to be a needed design feature for troops in the field; it was never considered a necessary part of a gun to be kept in the home.

In fact, the United States is the only advanced country which allows gun manufacturers to sell the exact, same gun to civilians that is designed and sold to the armed forces as a weapon of war. When SigArms won a contract to replace the Beretta M9 pistol with its modular 320 gun, the first thing the company did was to ship thousands of those guns to commercial wholesalers for sale to the retail trade. What were the design differences between the gun Sig shipped to the civilian market as opposed to the gun that was delivered to our troops both here and abroad? There was no design difference, as in none.

And all of those Sig pistols, by the way, were shipped to the civilian market with hi-cap magazines, except for the guns shipped to a few Communist states which still maintain the 10-shot magazine requirement from the Clinton assault weapons ban passed in 1994. For those states, Sig thoughtfully provides the gun with 10-shot mags.

I guarantee you that in the aftermath of this loony decision we will be treated to the usual pro-and-con argument about hi-capacity mags, with Gun-nut Nation saying that the 2nd-Amendment ‘guarantees’ the ‘right’ to self-defense, and the other side, our side, saying that ‘studies show’ that hi-cap magazines result in more intentional injuries and deaths from guns. You can find both arguments on display in the afore-mentioned article in The (failing) New York Times.

Until and unless my dear friends in Gun-control Nation realize that a gun designed specifically for the military shouldn’t be in civilian hands regardless of just how law-abiding, reasonable, and responsible those hands happen to be, we will continue to be treated to a debate about gun violence which never gets beyond la-la land.

How do you build a movement to regulate a product when you don’t know anything about the design and use of the product itself? You can’t. How do you convince a majority of Americans that a military weapon isn’t something that should just be lying around in case the bad guy comes crashing into your home? You don’t.

Which is why we still lack any kind of effective or even realistic plan for reducing gun violence at all.

Why Do Americans Love Their Guns?

lott

Back in the early 1980’s when I was helping to ‘arm’ America as a gun wholesaler, I was asked by a major gun manufacturer to be a member of a panel which help the company better understand the types of people who were buying its guns. The company paid a lot of money to a consulting group which had conducted a detailed survey both of gun owners and non-gun owners, and me and some other gun dealers spent several days in a group meeting analyzing the results.

What struck me about the survey’s findings was one particular point: no matter how you sliced and diced the composition of the people who answered the survey – gun owners, non-gun owners, men, women, Black, White, urban dwellers, rural dwellers, Republicans, Democrats, Protestants, Catholics, Jews – two-thirds of the survey respondents believed that a law-abiding resident of the United States had the ‘right’ to own a gun.

The results of this survey (I can’t reveal the gun company which conducted the study because I signed a confidentiality agreement prior to participating) defines one of the two basic fault lines which divide the views of pro-gun versus anti-gun activists. The other fault line is the idea that a home with a gun is more safe and secure than a home without a gun. Two thirds of all Americans support this idea as well.

In terms of our love affair with guns, the United States is a true outlier among advanced nation-states (a.k.a., OECD.)  But with this status comes another unique condition, namely, the use of guns in illegal or improper ways which results in 125,000 intentional fatal and non-fatal gun injuries every year. There is no other OECD country which suffers even a fraction of such events, there is also no other country whose residents own a fraction of our civilian guns.

John Lott has just published a new book, which like his other works, makes the argument that guns are more of a benefit than a risk. The argument has gained him a degree of recognition on the pro-gun side. As for gun-control advocates and researchers, he is considered an illicit promoter of the worst, most dangerous, pro-gun ideas.

This book is John’s attempt to compare his findings which focus on self-protection and safety, as opposed to the arguments which focus on guns as risk. The text also recount some of the many instances in which his views have either been rejected, ignored or mis-stated by gun-control activists and media venues representing the other side. John writes clearly and his viewpoint deserves to be considered seriously by Gun-control Nation, and here’s the reason why.

I have yet to see one, single gun-control activist or researcher attempt to figure out why 40 percent of all American homes happen to contain a gun. Sorry, but the fact that the NRA has 4 million members or thereabouts doesn’t explain why maybe 10 times that number own guns even though they don’t belong to the NRA.

You may not like John’s argument about the link between gun ownership and guns as a benefit rather than a risk. You might also find it somewhat difficult (as I do) to accept the idea that the issuance of a concealed-carry license is the reason why shootings by people carrying illegal guns have gone down (although lately they seem to be going back up.) But I’m still waiting for the other side, my side, to come up with an argument that can explain why so many Americans love their guns.

And the reason I’m still waiting is because until and unless Gun-nut Nation can figure out why people like me love to wander in and out of gun shops all the time, coming up with a convincing narrative to make me stop and think before buying another gun is simply something that won’t take place. I hate to break it to my gun-control friends, but gun owners don’t need to be lectured by non-gun owners about how to behave ‘safely’ and ‘reasonably’ with their guns.

In that regard, reading John’s new book is a good place to start.

Think We’ll Reduce Gun Violence By Getting Rid Of The NRA? Think Again.

              I took a sabbatical earlier this year because I wanted to focus my thoughts and work on more general political issue, in particular the 2020 Presidential campaign. But many of the stories which have shaped the campaign happen to revolve around guns. Think about all the pictures of anti-lockdown demonstrators running around legislative buildings with their AR’s, or the couple in St. Louis brandishing guns to protect their home from a BLM rampage, or the near-daily stories about the sudden increase in shootings here and there – you get the point.

              But the incident which made me decide to begin again contributing my fifty cents to the gun debate was what happened yesterday when New York State’s Attorney General, Letitia James, announced that she was going to try to get rid of America’s ‘first civil rights organization,’ a.k.a, the NRA.

              Now I happen to have been a member of the NRA since 1955, and I am currently a Patriot Life Member Benefactor member, which means I give them enough money each year so they can’t throw me out, no matter what I say. I recently renewed my Golden Eagle membership, and received a lovely, little pen-knife with the NRA logo. I also just chipped in some more money to the Joe Biden Victory Fund for which I received a picture of Joe. . Anyway, back to the NRA.

              I knew the boys in Fairfax made a big mistake when they endorsed Trump at their annual meeting in May, 2016. The NRA had never previously endorsed a candidate until October, and they always endorsed the GOP nominee anyway. The gun group then donated $30 million to the Trump campaign, more than twice what they gave Romney in 2012.

              I never understood these actions because what was Trump going to do? Come out against gun ‘rights?’ If anything, he used the 2nd Amendment as a leitmotif for his campaign, which only ended up putting the NRA in the cross-hairs of the other side. Prior to the election, the NRA had also done something really stupid by sending a delegation to a gun ‘rights’ conference in Russia, a country that has almost no civilian gun ‘rights’ at all. This stupid trip was the handiwork of a Russian, Maria Butina, who was ultimately arrested in 2018 and convicted of being a Russian ‘spy.’

              Butina was a spy like I’m a spy. She didn’t register as a ‘foreign agent’ because she was just young, stupid, and dumb. But the way the law reads, if you’re paid by a foreign government to do anything political in the United States, you have to register with the DOJ. Because Butina went palling around in DC with this lobbyist and that government official, she was engaged in political work and was, therefore, a spy.

              What was going on in D.C. during 2018? The Mueller investigation was going on. So the alleged Russian infiltration into American politics was everybody’s media headline every day. What a perfect time for the NRA to appear as yet another handmaiden for the Putin-Trump gang.

              There’s a lot more to how and why the NRA ended up facing the New York State AG’s firing squad, not the least of it having to do with the stupid insurance scam the NRA tried to peddle to its membership, the bizarre decision to hire Oliver North as organizational President when he was already on the payroll of the NRA’s advertising agency, the public battle with the ad agency, Ackerman-McQueen, which brought all kids of sleazy behavior into view; there’s plenty more and you can read it right here.

              That being said, I don’t think that the response of the gun-control community is necessarily the right way to go. Because putting up statements on the internet supporting a shut-down of Wayne-o and his gang doesn’t deal with the fundamental problem that confronts us in trying to reduce the violence that causes 125,000 deaths and injuries every year.

              And that fundamental problem is that a majority of Americans, including non-gun owners, happen to believe that having a gun around the house is more of a benefit than a risk. And this viewpoint won’t go away even if the NRA goes away.

New York State Goes After The NRA.

When I was a kid living in Washington, D.C., my two favorite places to visit was the FBI Building and the gun museum at the headquarters of the NRA. I loved going on the FBI tour because at the end of the tour you went into the firing range and watched one of the agents shoot off a fully-automatic machine gun. And then they would ask if anyone wanted to take home the spent shells! I had boxes of empty 45-caliber brass in my bedroom for years (my mother bless her soul, threw all that crap out.)

What I didn’t know back then was that even though the NRA’s home office was situated in Washington, D.C., in fact the organization was still registered as a non-profit in New York State. That’s because the NRA had been founded in New York State and operated a firing range out on the border of Queens and Nassau Counties, where a state mental hospital named Creedmore now stands.

The NRA moved down to D.C. sometime shortly before or after World War II. The home office was then relocated in a D.C. suburb, Fairfax, VA, sometime later on. When the sh*t started to hit the fan a couple of years ago with stories about financial mismanagement by Wayne-o and the gang, for the life of me I never understood why the organization didn’t move its non-profit registration to another state.

I ran several non-profit organizations in New York back in the 1980’s, and I can tell you that New York State even back then did a regulatory job on non-profits like no other place. They not only required every non-profit to file a state tax return, they also had rules on the percentage of money you collected which could be spent for anything other than the express purpose of the charity itself. I don’t think there was any other state that has ever imposed requirements on non-profit expenditures which are in any way as comprehensive as what exists in New York.

Not only does New York State tell every charity how much they can and cannot spend on salaries, travel, perks and so forth, the state also has a separate agency which watches the behavior of all charities to make sure that they operate on the up-and-up. Again, this is very much unlike other states.

You would think that at some point in the last 20 years as the argument over gun control grew more heated all the time, that the NRA would have simply filed its non-profit registration in another, less regulatory-minded state. Didn’t those guys in Fairfax remember that the current Governor of New York, Andy Cuomo, is the same Andy Cuomo who wrote and brokered the gun-control deal between he Clinton Administration and Smith & Wesson which almost put the gunmaker out of business and scared the sh*t out of the rest of the gun industry back in 1990-1991?

The NRA didn’t bring this suit on just because Wayne-o and a couple of his cronies allegedly couldn’t keep their hands out of the till. They brought it on by turning a blind eye to the fact that they are still operating in a state whose governor has compiled the strongest, anti-gun record of any state-level politician in recent years.

Want more proof? Just take a look at the New York SAFE Act that Andy pushed through the legislature one night after Sandy Hook.

Who Makes Up Trump’s Real Base?

              Christopher Caldwell is what we would call a ‘responsible’ conservative advocate and publicist, as opposed to someone like Rush Limbaugh or Laura Ingraham who peddle various self-help medical ‘remedies’ and so-called news which is nothing but pure crap. He now hangs out at the Claremont Institute, which is a right-wing think tank with emphasis on ‘right’ and not ‘think.’

              Anyway, he came out with a book in January which attempts to explain the Trump phenomenon by promoting the idea that many Whites have been attracted to Trump because of how the 1964 Civil Rights Act ended up being used to advance opportunities for all kinds of groups – women, Hispanics, illegal immigrants – except one group; i.e., Whites. In fact, as the fortunes of all these other groups went up through what he says are mis-applications of the Civil Rights law, the fortunes of many Whites have gone down.

              The book is basically an argument against ‘intersectionality’ and PC; the former meaning putting disparate groups together into one, organized mass, the latter meaning what we all know PC to mean. Caldwell argues that this strategy depended on using he Civil Rights law in an extra-Constitutional way, meaning that Obama could reward his supporters by creating government programs and financial rewards without going through traditional legislative channels at all.

              Caldwell spices his argument up with descriptions of events here and there where liberal policy-makers and/or advocates sometimes tried to move the needle a little too far. So, for example, Obama could instruct his Department of Agriculture to make school lunch menus contain more ‘healthy’ foods, and if the kids didn’t like the fact that they couldn’t eat a Hershey bar for lunch, too bad for them.

              Where did Trump come from and how did he understand that White men and women were feeling resentful towards a liberal elite which was rewarding other groups while ignoring or penalizing them? Answer: The rise of the Tea Party which reflected the fact that “those who lost most from the new rights-based politics were white men.” [P. 276.]

              Caldwell’s book is just the latest in a long line of explanations (from both conservatives and liberals, by the way) which uses the rhetoric of the Tea Party to explain both Trump’s 2016 victory as well as the continued support of his ‘base.’ Which is all well and good except that the resentments and anger of the so-called forgotten White majority didn’t first emerge in a rant by CNBC’s Rick Santelli in 2009.

              The GOP has been making common cause with pissed-off White men since Jerry Falwell invented the Moral Majority back in 1979. And what were these White men pissed off about back then? They were pissed off at the fact that a Southerner named Jimmy Carter was reversing Richard Nixon’s pledge to ‘go slow’ on civil rights.

              To deny that the Republican Party hasn’t been playing the race card since Reagan was elected if not before, is to deny the reality of American politics from then until now. And how Caldwell can write an entire book about why White men support Trump and not mention Jerry Falwell even once is beyond me.

              Where did Trump after he was elected President give his first commencement speech? At Liberty University on May 12, 2017. He also spoke at Liberty University in January, 2016. And even though he referred to the Second Corinthians as the ‘”two Corinthians,” he was greeted like a conquering hero by his good friend Jerry Falwell, Jr., who compared him favorably to Ronald Reagan and – ready? – Martin Luther King!

              The only place where anyone would ever dare mention Trump’s name and Martin Luther King’s name in the same positive terms would be at an Evangelical university which was founded by a guy who wanted to give White parents a place where they could send their children to a segregated school.

              This is what Trump’s so-called ‘base’ is based on: racism pure and simple. Nothing else. And no matter what Trump and his acolytes say, racism just isn’t all that popular anymore, which is why all of a sudden Trump’s tweet today refers to his electoral opponent as ‘Joe Biden.’

              What happened to ‘Sleepy Joe?’