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Donald Trump May Say He Will ‘Weaken’ Gun Laws, But He Says Lots Of Things That Aren’t True.

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The good news is that she didn’t cough during the debate – not once.  The better news is that he behaved like an asshole – so what else is new?  But I keep thinking that the reason the polls have narrowed is because voters who want to exercise what David Sedaris calls the ‘shit with glass bits’ option don’t really care how he behaves.  Trump’s supporters are much more forgiving of their candidate’s sins and omissions than HRC’s supporters are forgiving of hers.  And the media have followed suit.

nics           Yesterday Evan Osnos published a piece on Trump’s first 100 days, in which he imagined what Trump would do based on what he has said he would do during the campaign.  And what appears to be taking shape is the issuance of a pile of Executive Orders that would effectively erase Obama’s legacy, in particular orders to cancel Obama-care, renounce the greenhouse emissions agreement, block the arrival of more Syrian refugees, re-start the Keystone pipeline and loosen gun regulations by relaxing background checks.

I just took a look at Trump’s website and while it contains the usual nonsense about defending 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ the only mention of the NICS background-check system is that all relevant mental health and criminal records are loaded into the system and used to disqualify certain groups of people who shouldn’t be able to own guns.  But Evan Osnos wouldn’t have mentioned the possibility of ‘relaxing’ background checks if he hadn’t heard it from someone on the Trump team.  And the NRA hasn’t ponied up millions of dollars to run Trump ads if they didn’t expect to get something in return. So what might be the net effect on the background-check system if, God forbid, the shit with glass bits option is chosen by 50% plus 1 voter who cast Presidential ballots on November 8th?

In fact, where the whole issue of gun regulations – pro and con – will probably be met is in the identity of the person who would be nominated by Trump to replace Scalia on the Supreme Court.  And Trump has promised to appoint someone who will be a strong supporter of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ But while the Court with a 5-4 majority opinion written by Scalia pronounced gun ownership to be a Constitutional ‘right’ in 2008, this same Court with Scalia sitting on the bench has been unwilling to weaken long-endowed gun regulations, in particular the FBI-NICS system of background checks.

In 2009 an ex-cop in Virginia named Bruce Abramski walked into a local gun shop and bought a Glock.  He claimed he was buying the gun for himself but in fact he was buying the gun for his uncle whom he then met at a Pennsylvania gun shop so that his uncle could take possession of the gun after going through a NICS-background check. Even though Abramski’s uncle passed the NICS check, Abramski lied when he bought the gun in Virginia claiming that he was buying it for himself.  Five years later after various appeals, Abramski’s conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court.

There are other challenges to current gun regulations floating around federal courts, in particular a decision that came out of Texas (Mance v. Lynch) and would, if upheld, allow dealers in one state to sell guns to residents of other states.  But while such a legal revision would make it easier for gun nuts like me to buy guns here, there and everywhere, I would still have to pass the FBI-NICS background check in order to get my hands on the gun.

Trump’s penchant for saying whatever pops into his head without regard for the slightest concern about the truth is not only a staple of the stump speech he delivers at his Klan rallies, but is also what his campaign will feed to anyone and everyone who might represent a potential vote.  Gun-sense Nation may be frustrated in their efforts to expand NICS checks to secondary sales, but the NICS as it currently operates isn’t going away.

 

If Trump Thinks He Can Get Elected With The Hunting Vote, He Better Think Again.

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Donald Trump is out with a new ad which features the Great White Hunter Ted Nugent and a bunch of other right-wing television personalities posing in front of various camera-ready montages of wilderness and other natural spaces, the whole point of the ad promoting hunting as one of America’s true values which the Shlump will defend and protect from the villainous Hillary gang.

trump2The video is narrated by the NRA’s favorite Hillary attack-dog, an ex-Navy Seal named Mark Geist whose version of who was at fault for the Benghazi mess-up has changed as many times as the veritable cat has lives. In this video he begins by intoning what has become the standard anti-Hillary mantra, i.e., she’s against everything we hold dear, and what Geist and the other performers claim to cherish above all is their right to hunt.

You may recall that during the 2008 election Obama appeared to have met his Waterloo when he talked about how all those dispossessed workers in the backwoods of Pennsylvania clung “to their religion and their guns.”  Actually, he made the comment during the primary season, and it didn’t hurt him at all against Hillary, nor did it hurt him against McCain.  In fact, he beat McCain by nearly 600,000 votes out of less than 6 million votes cast in Pennsylvania, a margin that was close to ten overall points.

Going into the last seven weeks of this campaign, the Shlumper gang appears to believe that the hunting vote could make a difference in key swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and the Gunshine State.  And there’s no question that the gap has narrowed in all four states to the point that if Shlump-o were to win three of those states, he might actually be able to move from his new hotel in the Old Post Office Building to an older address right down the block.

I have always wondered about the actual voting strength of the gun-owning population and, in this case, those gun owners who like to hunt.  So I took a look at the number of hunting licenses that were purchased in 2014 by the residents of those four swing states and the numbers look like this:  PA – 900,000; OH – 400,000; NC – 500,000; FL – 175,000.  I’m rounding off a bit but the bottom line is that roughly 2 million people bought hunting licenses in those four states.  Now this happens to work out to roughly 3.5% of the total population of those four states. That’s not fifteen percent, that’s not ten percent, that’s not even five percent.  That’s three percent.

In 2012 the Bomber racked up 12.2 million votes and won three out of those four states.  Romney polled 11.7 million and managed to win North Carolina, but the overall difference between blue and red in those battleground states was roughly half a million votes. Hey – wait a minute!  I just said that 2 million residents of those states bought hunting licenses in 2014.  So add 2 million to the votes that Romney received in those states and the Shlump-o is on his way to ga-ga land, right?

Duhhh, there’s only one little problem.  Romney got most of those hunting votes in 2012.  And McCain got most of them four years before.  And Bush got them in 2004, and on and on and on.   This totally contrived video ad may appear to be scouring the landscape for new votes but the fact is that, generally speaking, the hunting vote has already been counted by both sides.  Which is why Obama’s ‘clinging’ comment didn’t hurt him in 2008, and which is why this ad won’t make a dime’s worth of difference this time around.

Know how many hunting licenses were sold in 2014?  Fourteen million.  Know how many hunting licenses were sold in 1959?  Fourteen million.  Know what happened to the U.S. population between 1959 and 2014?  It just about doubled.  Shlump can portray himself from here to tomorrow as America’s defender of traditional ‘values,’ but one of those so-called values known as hunting is slowly but surely withering away.

No Matter Who Wins In November, Gun Violence Still Needs To End.

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Like it or not, the race for the White House is right now in a dead heat.  It’s not so much that Shlump-o is rising in the polls, but that HRC is slowly losing ground.  Even my friends who run the Huffington pollster are showing that over the past five weeks she has lost more than he has gained. So just as the Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) movement needs to suggest an intelligent and reasonable (read: it could pass) gun bill based on the premise that Hillary will still win, they also need to begin thinking about developing a post-election stance and agenda in case he whose real name is unmentionable chalks up the big W on November 8th.

hillary3           I know, I know, she’s still in the lead and the debate season has yet to begin. But the emails and her health issues didn’t help and all of a sudden a lead in Ohio has disappeared; what looked like a good shot in North Carolina and Florida is moving the other way.  Without those three states, particularly the Buckeye State, things don’t look all that good.  I’m not saying that we will be listening to an inaugural speech on January 20, 2017 that will commence with a recitation of the 2nd Amendment; I am saying right now that I wouldn’t necessarily give Mrs. Clinton the short odds.

My GVP friends need to ask themselves what they might do if the unthinkable becomes the thinkable over the next four years.  Because the truth is that even if our President didn’t have enough chips to pass Manchin-Toomey, he still has been a consistent and continuous voice on the question of gun violence, and one should never underestimate the value of the ‘bully pulpit’ when it comes to shaping public opinion about guns or anything else. So GVP may have to craft new messaging about gun violence that will not have the blessing or support of the Chief Executive, and what follows are some (albeit very) preliminary suggestions for what that messaging might contain:

  • Let’s stop venerating the 2nd Amendment. Enough is really enough.  The 2nd Amendment does not ‘guarantee’ our liberties; it doesn’t ‘protect us’ from terrorism or other threats.  It is simply a law which, according to the Supreme Court, allows Americans to keep a handgun in their homes for self-defense.
  • Let’s stop pretending that there is a difference between accidental shootings and intentional use of guns in homicides, suicides or aggravated assaults. You don’t make your home ‘safer’ by locking up your guns.  You make your home safe by not owning a gun.
  • Let’s stop promising everyone that gun violence can be reduced by limiting handgun and assault rifle magazine capacity to 10 rounds. What makes guns lethal is how they were designed, not how many rounds can be fired before it’s time to reload.

I’ve been in the gun business one way or another for more than fifty years and I don’t believe there’s some kind of ‘middle ground’ when it comes to the issue of guns.  Either you own them or you don’t; and if you do own them, at least you should have the honesty and the brains to admit that your guns represent a risk that could be completely eliminated if the guns weren’t there.  And that’s what GVP may be facing next year – a President who actually believes that guns don’t represent any risk at all.

But why wait until next year to take a firm and unyielding stance on the issue of guns? Because the truth is that what is really deplorable (to quote a certain Presidential candidate) is that more than 100,000 Americans are killed or badly injured with guns every year.  This extraordinary level of violence is what makes America truly exceptional, and there’s no reason to wait until the results are in on November 8th before figuring out what needs to be done.

Is Trump Appealing To Racism When He Supports Armed Citizens? You Betcha.

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Back in 2008 Obama had his ‘guns and religion’ moment, which briefly appeared to undo his Presidential campaign, now Hillary has created her moment too with the comment about ‘deplorables.’  And while you might think that an entire national campaign never really rises or falls on a few words, just ask George Bush, the first George Bush, whether or not he’s still asking people to read his lips.

trump2On the other hand, go back to a Reuters poll in June, and maybe the deplorability needle gauging the attitudes of Trump supporters is set just about right.  Because in that poll, half the folks who described themselves as supporting Trump said that Blacks were more ‘violent’ than Whites, and also said that Blacks were more ‘criminal’ than Whites.  And there is no question that Trump has been echoing and encouraging those attitudes every chance he gets, and in that respect he’s getting plenty of help from the NRA.

This whole notion of walking around with a gun in your pocket to protect yourself and others against the criminal ‘element’ has been a watchword of NRA gun propaganda since the 1980s, when the gun industry discovered that White America was no longer going out hunting but was afraid of crime.  Gallup has been asking this question since 1965: ‘Is there any area near where you live – that is, within a mile – where you would be afraid to walk alone at night?’ The affirmative response hit its high-water mark in 1982 with 48% saying ‘yes.’  And it was in the 1980s that the NRA unleashed ads which, for the first time, explicitly promoted gun ownership as a response to crime, and they have been running with this notion ever since. And who exactly are all these criminals committing mayhem in the streets? If you need help figuring out the answer to that question, you need a functioning brain, never mind another gun.

There really are people out there who believe they can protect themselves and others by walking around armed even if they have little, practical training or experience in using a self-defense gun.  Never mind civilians, by the way, even with some degree of training, most cops can’t protect themselves or anyone else with their gun.  A study by the Police Policy Council found that when a New York City police officer encountered an armed suspect, the average ‘hit probability’ was 15 percent!  A study by the RAND Corporation set the number at 18 percent.  Now we’re not talking about internet scam-artists like the United States Concealed Carry Association or a former town constable named Massad Ayoob who earns a nice living going around the country as a reincarnation of Jeff Cooper’s Principles of Personal Defense. We’re talking about the RAND Corporation, okay?  But why trust them when you have such noted researchers as Dana Loesch and Ted Nugent telling you that you’ll always be safe as long as you carry a gun?

The Supreme Court may have gotten it right back in 2008 when it said that the 2nd Amendment gave Americans a Constitutional protection to keep a loaded handgun in their home.  But that’s all the Court said.  It didn’t say there was any Constitutional protection for citizen-protectors who believe it is their duty to walk around armed in their neighborhood streets. Sorry, even though George Zimmerman was found innocent of second-degree murder, he wasn’t exercising any Constitutional ‘right’ when he gunned down Trayvon Martin in 2012.

My issue is not whether guns do or don’t make you safe.  And it certainly isn’t whether or not anyone should own a gun.  The issue is the fact that a gun is a very lethal product in even the most capable hands, and to pretend otherwise has become a not-so-disguised way to promote and exploit racism and fear.  And God only knows that we have been getting a big dose of both from a certain New York City landlord in the current Presidential campaign.

 

It’s Time For The Gun Violence Prevention Community To Figure Out What Hillary Should Do.

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Even though the polls are tightening, I still believe Americans will exercise their good judgement on November 8th and reject the scam marketing plan masquerading as the Republican Presidential campaign.  In which case, the Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) community better start figuring out what Hillary should do to help reduce gun violence over the next four years.

hillary3           Here is what her campaign website says: “We can – and must- end the epidemic of gun violence.” The site then lists the following actions that she might take: (1). Expand background checks to secondary sales; (2). get rid of the industry immunity from torts; (3). keep guns out of the ‘wrong’ hands, including domestic abusers, criminals and the severely mentally ill. Now I’m going to quickly skip over the fact that several of the policies being promoted by her campaign either already exist or cannot be put into effect – the bottom line is that Hillary is clearly taking aim at the problem of gun violence, no ifs, ands or buts.

And this strategy has hardly gone unnoticed by Gun-nut Nation.  The NRA has probably spent more on anti-Hillary advertising than anything coming out of the pockets of cheapskate Shlump; a day doesn’t go by in which I and every other NRA member doesn’t receive an email from Chris Cox reminding me that I better remember who the real enemy is when I go to cast my vote; and Wayne-o has just surfaced with a new statement which predicts a ‘massive’ anti-gun attack if Hillary isn’t sitting on her duff in the Chappaqua house next year.

The bottom line is that even if there is a chance for a legislative initiative next year to reduce gun violence, it will be tough and bitter fight.  In fact, the worst thing that could happen to the NRA and other pro-gun organizations would be a Shlump win, because such an event would mean, if nothing else, that gun ownership would be left undisturbed.  And since the only thing that really sells guns is the possibility that guns won’t be sold, a redecorated White House courtesy of Melania and Ivanka would portend a general collapse of the gun business for the next four years.

But even if guns stopped selling the way they have recently sold, there are enough of them around to result in 30,000+ gun deaths every year.  So for those who actually believe that there actually might be a connection between gun violence and the existence of guns, the discussion about what steps should be taken to reduce this scourge shouldn’t wait until after November 8th – it should begin now.

Let me make one thing very clear.  I support all the remedies listed on the HRC website, but I also believe that, at best, they would have a marginal effect.  Now marginal is much better than nothing, don’t get me wrong.  But short of getting rid of guns, and that ain’t going to happen, there’s no magic bullet out there, pardon my pun.

On the other hand, HRC’s proposals are a tactical approach to the problem, and what is needed in the GVP discussion going forward is a more strategic point of view.

  • Fact: A majority of Americans believe that a gun in the home makes you safer, even though all the credible research on this issue shows it not to be true.
  • Fact: A majority of Americans believe that violent crime is on the increase, even though the FBI says that violent crime continues to decline.

If we are going to ask gun owners to jump through more hoops to maintain access to their guns, and most gun-prevention solutions will require current gun owners to modify their behavior to some degree, then we need to give these folks viable options to mitigate the fears which provoke them to buy guns. After all, you’re still afraid of the uncertainties of everyday life, but that doesn’t mean you feel compelled to walk around with a gun. Why not?

The NRA Used To Own The Politics Of Guns But Not Any More.

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When Hillary decided that gun violence would become a signature issue of her Presidential campaign, she was warned by all the ‘experts,’ including husband Bill, that she was making a big mistake. You don’t mess with the NRA; that’s been the mantra since Al Gore lost his White House bid because allegedly the NRA prevented him from carrying his home state.  And Obama also learned that messing with the NRA could cost him dear; he couldn’t even get a puny, little gun bill through Congress after the horrendous massacre at Sandy Hook.

 

         Shannon Watts

Shannon Watts

When it comes to putting up the green to persuade our elected representatives how to vote, the NRA doesn’t really hold a candle to what flows into campaign coffers from big-league players like the banks, the insurance companies, the lawyers; i.e., the folks whose decisions really make a difference in all our lives.  For that matter, the NRA doesn’t even come close to the lobbying efforts of environmentalists.  I mean, who’s going to argue with a tree? Finally, it really doesn’t take much of a political backbone if you’re from Oklahoma, Missouri, or some other gun-rich state, to stand up and pledge allegiance to the 2nd Amendment, and funny, but just about all the dough that the NRA passes out around Capitol Hill goes to Members of Congress with safe seats in red states.

But where the NRA has always sat on top of the heap is when it comes to promoting or challenging gun laws at the local and state levels since it has always been assumed that their vast membership can provide the necessary ‘feet on the ground’ every time a local political event takes place.  After all, what other gun organization claims a membership of 4 million?  Or is it 5 million?  I’ve heard both numbers over the years, but either way, these folks can and do generate lots of emails and telephone calls to elected officials if and when the gang in Fairfax wants to make some noise about guns.

When it comes to creating political noise about guns, until recently the pro-gun folks more or less had the field to themselves.  Organizations like the Brady Campaign, Violence Policy Center, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and others have done important work to heighten public awareness about gun violence, as well as conducting research and engaging in lobbying on the Hill, but these groups and others did not focus on building the kind of grass-roots, action-oriented member activity for which the NRA constantly pats itself on the back.

I don’t think that Hillary would have been willing to put gun issues on the top of her campaign agenda were it not for the fact that organizations pushing for more sensible gun regulations are now equal, if not ahead of the NRA when it comes to the number of feet on the ground.  First and foremost in this regard is the Everytown-Moms Demand Action combine spearheaded by Shannon Watts, who understood that the issue of gun violence could be raised at the point where everyone sooner or later appears, namely, the entrance to the supermarket, the shopping mall, we all go out and buy stuff we do or don’t need.  And the key to Shannon’s success was the awareness that decisions about things like family safety are usually vested in the family Mom; hence the name of her organization, hence finding women who will get up and lead, hence a remarkable record of growth and achievement in less than four years!

Every once in a while there’s a setback, a campus-carry bill is vetoed in Georgia but becomes law in the Lone Star State.  The latter won’t be the first time that the hard work of Moms and other groups will go for naught. But if Hillary moves back into the White House in 2017, it will be in no small measure due to what groups like Moms Demand and others have done to elevate the discussion about guns.  And that’s a good thing.

Let’s Stop Worrying About The 2nd Amendment And Start Worrying About Ending Gun Violence.

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I’m not sure whether it’s Donald Trump or Wayne LaPierre who is more convinced that Hillary is an enemy of the 2nd Amendment, but I get emails from both of them on a daily basis asking for money to keep her from moving into the Oval Office at High Noon on January 20, 2017. And what both of them keep telling me is that if Hillary becomes the 45th President, the first thing she’ll do is appoint a liberal to the Supreme Court, and the first thing the Supreme Court will do is reverse the 2008 Heller decision which will then be the first step in taking away all my guns.

2A           How do we know that Hillary wants to get rid of the 2nd Amendment?  Because the Breitbart website said so on June 5th, and if Breitbart says so, it must be true.  Actually, what she really said is that she favors laws that would extend background checks to private sales and reverse the 2005 statute (PLCAA) that gave the gun industry immunity from liability torts.

Hillary’s gun positions are right on her website, and there’s nothing in her proposals that is any different from what she and other liberals have been saying for years.  In fact, her call for stricter regulation of assault rifles has absolutely nothing to do with the Constitutional guarantee for private gun ownership, since the 2008 decision extended 2nd-Amendment protection to handguns, not rifles, and a later attempt by Heller to have the 2nd Amendment cover private ownership of rifles was turned down flat.

What I find interesting about Gun-nut Nation is they are the first ones to denounce the ‘liberal elite’ for using the judiciary to ‘make’ laws that run contrary to the people’s will.  And the reason they don’t want Hillary to appoint any judges is because she’ll appoint judges who don’t respect the Constitution and are always trying to promote liberal ideology with their decisions rather than going by exactly what the document says. These are the same people, incidentally, who tell you that the 2nd Amendment gives them the ‘right’ to own and carry a gun without any interference from the government at all.  Which means either a) they have never actually read the 2008 Heller decision; or b) they have read it and are too dumb to understand it; or c) they have read it, understand it, and are just lying to make a point. Breitbart fits somewhere between b) and c).

Let me tell you something about the 2nd Amendment and what I am going to say not only applies to Gun-nut Nation noisemakers like Breitbart, but applies to certain liberal, Constitutional scholars as well.  I bought my first, real gun in 1956 when I was twelve years old.  It was a beautiful, 6-inch, Smith & Wesson revolver that I found lying on a table in a tag sale on the edge of the Everglades on Hwy 441 near Boca Raton. Ten minutes after I bought it my Uncle Nathan snatched it out of my hands and sold it to a pawn shop the next day.  But that’s beside the point.

From 1956 until 2008 I probably bought and sold 500 guns (which is only 10 a year) and not a single one of those transactions was protected in any way by any kind of Constitutional guarantee. Nor was a single one of those transactions in any way jeopardized by the lack of a Constitutional guarantee.  Because until 2008, the 2nd Amendment only protected ownership of guns that would be used in what we call the ‘common defense.’ This was the ruling in the 1939 Miller case, and this ruling did not stop me from buying or selling a single gun.

I don’t think that ending gun violence has anything to do, pro or con, with so-called 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ So let’s stop worrying about whether anyone gets offended because we don’t evince a proper reverence towards the sacred, 2nd-Amendment text. Let’s end gun violence, okay?

 

 

Hillary Takes On Race And Guns And Gets It On!

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To her immense credit Hillary has raised the issue of race in a direct and immediate way. The Republicans, after all, have been playing the race card ever since Saint Reagan joked about the ‘welfare queen’ during the 1980 campaign, and it’s time that someone finally came out and called it what it is.  And let’s not screw around and pretend that Trump with his wretched disdain for minorities is somehow outside the mainstream of Republican beliefs.  The red team has never (as in never) tried to make itself attractive to the minority vote.  In fact, if it were up to the GOP, minorities wouldn’t be able to vote at all.  Or am I wrong and did that recent North Carolina voting rights decision throw out a law pushed through the state legislature by Democrats from the Tar Heel state?

hillary3           When it comes to defining political issues in racial terms, of course, Trump has also dipped quite easily into the playbook authored by the NRA.  Because if you think for one second that Gun-nut Nation’s push for concealed-carry laws is something other than a direct appeal to racial animosities and prejudices, think again.  Why should everyone be walking around with a gun?  To protect us from crime. And who are all those people committing all those crimes?  The same people who, according to Mister Trump, are going to show up on election day, vote as many times as they can, and guarantee that the result will be ‘rigged.’

Trump’s biggest problem, and it’s been a problem for the entire Republican Party, is that they are slowly but steadily losing the party’s base.  Because it was the same Republican Party, by the way, that blocked immigration from Europe after 1924.  And it never occurred to those dopes and racists back then that what they were really setting in motion was a situation that would eventually lead to a basic change in the ethnicity of new Americans, due largely to the immigration reform law signed by Saint Reagan in 1986.  Because this law allowed American farmers to employ non-citizens as ‘temporary’ farm workers, most of whom after the harvest season decided to stick around.  Remember all those ‘rapists’ and ‘criminals’ from Mexico that Trump discovered when he first announced his candidacy?

So what we ended up with is a Presidential candidate who until he realized last week that his racist jeremiad wasn’t working, told every Ku Klux Klan rally– oops! – I mean campaign rally, that he was going to throw ‘them all the hell out.’ And, by the way, if any of those criminals and rapists are left over after the mass deportations, we can always depend on all those law-abiding, 2nd-Amendment-loving NRA members to protect us with their guns.

There’s a reason why the NRA decided to break with its own tradition of endorsing the Republican candidate in October and, instead decided back in April to go with Trump.  Because the NRA has been playing the same fear-mongering racial card to its own members since it began promoting gun ownership as a response to crime. And this new advertising strategy served two purposes: it helped the gun industry make a product transition from sporting and hunting to self-defense, and it gave Republican politicians a leg up in races for various Congressional seats.

When Dana Loesch makes a video for the NRA saying she needs a gun to protect her and her family against ‘street thugs,’ does anyone have any trouble figuring out the skin color of those so-called thugs?  Loesch and her NRA sponsors pander to many Americans who mistakingly believe that crime is on the rise.  And they also believe that a gun will make them safe, even if they don’t own a gun.

Calling Trump a racist takes guts but is also an easy one to see.  The real challenge for Hillary is to give Americans who are afraid of crime or terrorism ways to assuage their fears without going out and buying a gun.

Can Gun Violence Prevention Take On And Beat Trump’s NRA? They Sure Can.

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Now that Donald Trump went down to North Carolina and sent a clarion call to Gun-nut Nation to save his Presidential bid by going after Hillary with everything they’ve got, we might take a minute to try and figure out exactly what the 2nd-Amendment gang can really bring to the attempt to change the color of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue from blue to red. Of course Trump will say that his victory would once again make the White House really white, if you know what I mean, heh heh.

gun control           It does seem that the Trump Express has not only run off the rails, but in the process just about run out of steam.  Those huge leads in the polls are now a distant memory, even with all that money he allegedly raised last month basically the campaign is broke.  The Fox News freebies meant a lot more when he was running in the primaries against other Republicans whose supporters also only watched the ‘fair and balanced’ news shows that used to be produced by a fat, old philanderer named Roger Ailes.

If the GOP can’t beat the most vulnerable candidate the Democrats have nominated since I don’t know when, they can’t beat anyone at all.  Which means the GOP may also lose the Senate and there are whisperings that the House might be in play. If that happens, we will have the one political alignment in Washington which produced the gun-control laws in 1968 and again in 1994, namely, a Democratic Congress and a liberal President with strong ties to the South.

Anyone who tells you that HRC will be content with a gun bill that just widens the NICS background check system to cover secondary gun transactions doesn’t know the history of the Clintons and gun control at all. Because one of the big, unfinished pieces that was left behind in 2001 when Bill and HRC departed from the White House with some of the silverware in tow was an agreement with Smith & Wesson that basically required the company to not only forge ahead with smart gun technology and other safety standards, but also made the company responsible for downstream behavior of everyone – wholesalers and dealers – who sold their guns.

I don’t think it would have been possible for the company to have met those terms and retain a fraction of its current financial strength and manufacturing size; I also believe that this is the kind of regulations that might just reappear in a Clinton-sponsored gun bill next year. Because the truth is that many of the provisions of that agreement have become the stock-in-trade of the Gun Violence Prevention movement today, and if Mister Trump owes something to Gun-nut Nation for helping him secure the Republican nomination, HRC will certainly owe GVP big-time if she ends up grabbing the brass ring.

The problem of course, is that everything else which Trump used to pull himself to the top of the primary heap when he was talking only to Republicans, particularly the most activist Republicans, won’t count for all that much against the other side.  And this is the first general election in which even the vaunted power of the NRA membership will be competing against a motivated and large GVP community which didn’t even exist in any real numbers just four years ago.

Shannon didn’t sit down at her kitchen table and start contacting her Moms until after Obama beat Romney in 2012.  Guess what?  Moms Demand Action now counts more than 3 million energetic members which ain’t chopped liver when it comes to grass-roots activity and support.

The NRA’s attacks on Hillary are right out of the same playbook they have been using for twenty years.  And to me, even Trump’s snarky and stupid threat muttered in North Carolina sounded a little stale. If he thinks that the NRA still has the playing field to itself when it comes to the 2nd Amendment, he better think again.

 

There’s An Election In 91 Days And The Gun Violence Prevention Community Better Get Out And Work.

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Know what?  Utah and Georgia are in play. And if those two states go blue, there goes the Deep South and the Far West.  Which means that Trump-o the Shlump-o might not win a single state.  And the more he tries to act ‘Presidential,’ the more he’s going to sink in the polls, because if he had behaved like any other politician from the git-go, he wouldn’t have won anything.  Not a single primary.  Nada.

trump           Now the latest turn of affairs in the campaign is important for the Gun Violence Prevention community because the whole Trump craziness started – remember when? – he was endorsed by the NRA.  An endorsement that in every single Presidential campaign that I can remember always occurred in late October, and this time around took place before the end of May.  Trump the Shlump wasn’t the ‘presumptive’ Republican candidate when he appeared at the NRA shindig in Louisville; he was well ahead in the delegate count but Cruz and Rubio were still viable candidates, at least in their own minds.

And the decision by the NRA leadership to put their weight behind Street Thug didn’t exactly excite everyone in the crowd at the NRA show; there were some boos, some jeers, Chris Cox had to quiet the crowd by telling them that if they wanted someone else to be endorsed, it was ‘time to get over it,’ and Trump’s appearance didn’t exactly signal the beginning of a love-fest, especially when just one month later his comments about armed citizens shooting back in nightclubs was described by Cox as defying ‘ common sense.’

You see, the problem with this particular New York landlord is that no matter how much people may not like Hillary, they seem to like Street Thug even less.  Forget the national polls which are now beginning to give her a seven-point edge; forget the swing-state polls where she’s up by more than ten points; take a look at the most important poll of all, the poll that tracks whether a candidate is liked or not.  Hillary’s numbers are bad; she’s disliked by 11% more than she’s liked.  But Trump’s numbers, to quote Chris Cox again, defy common sense. Try 63.1% to 31.8%, and I’m not talking about favorable to unfavorable – I’m talking the other way around.

So here we have the Dems running the most unpopular candidate they have ever found and the red team produces a candidate who’s even worse.  And he’s so much worse that every day another Republican office-holder comes out and says, sorry, not for me.  And the announcement by Senator Collins was made directly after Street Thug made an attempt to behave ‘presidential’ in his speech on the economy delivered in Detroit.

So what does all this have to do with guns and GVP?  I’ll tell you what it has to do with.  It has to do with the fact that most gun owners are like everyone else.  They dress the same, they work at the same jobs, they watch the same shows and they think the same way.  Are some of the idiots who show up at Trump rallies with ‘fuck Hillary’ t-shirts the same idiots who march into Starbucks with an AR slung over their backs?  I wouldn’t doubt it for a sec.

But I know lots of gun guys; after all, it’s what I do for a living, and a lot of them tell me they don’t like Trump.  Will they vote for him even though they don’t like him?  Probably will because old habits die hard.  No matter what else, Trump’s a Republican and gun guys know that the GOP may no longer be the party of states’ rights, but it’s still the party of gun rights. Which means that there are 91 days until the election and between now and then the GVP folks better not think about anything else.  Better not.

 

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