VGOF

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Meet the Real Michael Bloomberg

The Washington Post Politics Blog reports that the NRA has launched a new ad campaign targeting Michael Bloomberg.  The first ad takes derogatory comments Bloomberg made about one of the largest counties in Colorado to show the elitist attitude the former mayor has about areas outside of New York City.
Also part of the campaign is a new web site - MeetBloomberg.com.

The Post notes that USA Today was the first to report the campaign.  From USA Today:
"Michael Bloomberg has declared war on the NRA and our 5 million members," Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, said in an e-mail. "We will not sit back and let him use his billions of dollars to impose his radical anti-freedom agenda on the American people."
The NRA plans to spend $500,000 on the first round of ads which will run in several states including Colorado.

Pro-Gun Chafin Wins Puckett Seat to Keep State Senate in GOP Hands

Delegate Ben Chafin (R-Russell County), won a special election Tuesday for former state Sen. Phillip Puckett’s (D-Russell County) Southwest Virginia seat, which means Republicans will maintain control of the State Senate and keep a pro-gun majority in place.  The GOP briefly lost control after the 2013 elections when Democrat Lt. Governor Ralph Northam took over for outgoing Republican Bill Bolling and a Democrat was elected to replace Northam.  While the Senate organization put into place in 2011 was to remain in effect until after the 2015 election, Democrats immediately used their new found power in a 20-20 chamber to change that and took control of the committees in the middle of the 2014 session, souring relations in the chamber.

In a surprise mover earlier this summer, Senator Puckett resigned, throwing control back to the GOP.  A special election was called to fill the seat and Chafin came up the winner.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

News21's"Investigative" Series on Gun Rights vs. Gun Control

An outfit called News21 has an "investigative" news series called Gun Wars: The Struggle Over Rights and Regulation in America.  The pieces were posted on the organization's web site over the weekend and are running on news web sites like NBCNews, Philly.com, and USA Today among other partners.  The project bills itself as "an investigative-reporting project involving top college students across the country" funded by Carnegie-Knight and is based at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

The articles explore a number of topics like what they call "a resurgence of the gun control movement," as well as articles on background checks and the mentally ill, "Stand Your Ground" laws, the increase in female gun owners, and others. 

I've found some things that don't appear to be completely accurate.  For instance, in the article on the pro-rights and anti-rights organizations, they seem to confuse total NRA income (membership dues which cover the operation of the organization including programs) with the political income for purposes of the chart on the web page.  The reason that the NRA has a budget of $256 million (their number) is because the NRA has 5 million members.  That money goes to running the various programs and the overhead of the organization.  That's not the political side of the house.  So, to compare the $16 million they say is raised by the gun ban lobby with the NRA member dues is comparing apples to oranges.

Another thing I don't think is completely accurate is in the article on armed teachers.  In that article the author states:
In 28 states, adults who legally own guns will be allowed to carry them in public schools this fall, from kindergarten classrooms to high school hallways. Seven of those states specifically cite teachers and other school staff as being allowed to carry guns in their schools.

A News21 examination of open-records laws in those states found that teachers or staff who choose to carry a firearm into their classrooms are not required to tell principals, other teachers or parents. Only five of those states have completely open access to concealed-carry permit information through public records requests. Some state's laws seal off those records, and others are silent on the issue.

In states where it is legal, parents may have no idea their child's teacher carries a gun into the classroom every day.
I could be wrong but I believe they are confusing the statutes that don't allow public access to a state's list of concealed carry permit holders with requirements related to schools allowing teachers to carry on school property.

Look for a whole list of articles by the group to continue appearing on news web sites.

Six Flags Eats Crow

Last week, Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey expelled retired Marine Mario Alejandro for wearing a T-shirt he received as a Father's Day gift.  The shirt was purchased from a nonprofit organization that supports Marines.  A security guard told him the shirt, which included the phrase "Keep calm and return fire," along with stars and strips outline of am M-16 was offensive and he had to change it or cover it if he wanted to go into the park.  He received an apology yesterday.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Virginia Firearm Sales Level Off to Pre-2013 Levels But Still on Pace to Be Second Best Year in History

The Richmond Times Dispatch has this story today that notes 2014 firearm sales are running approximately 23% lower than the same period in 2013:
Gun transactions have fallen every month from Jan. 1 through the end of July compared with the same period in 2013. Cumulatively, the numbers dropped from 286,480 transactions for January through July last year to 219,491 for this year. 
Firearm sales at 45 gun shows across Virginia also declined during the first seven months of 2014, from 24,870 transactions in 2013 to 20,492 this year, a drop of 21 percent. Gun show transactions represented 9.3 percent of the state’s total transactions through federally licensed firearms dealers.
Last year's sales were driven by the direct assault on our rights by Obama.  But, while sales are down a little less 25% from last year, they are still higher than 2012 and 2014 is on pace to still be the second best year for firearm sales on record:
“While firearm transactions seem to be declining, it’s important to recognize that 2014 is still on pace to be the second-highest year for firearm transactions in Virginia, outpacing 2012 by nearly 5 percent,” said Thomas R. Baker, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs who specializes in criminology theory and has an interest in gun-related issues.

The number of firearm transactions through the first seven months of 2012 totaled 209,591, compared with this year’s 219,491.
Baker also rather than looking at this year's numbers compared to last year, we should look at the general pattern of firearm purchase over the last several years:
The percentage increase in Virginia gun transactions has grown steadily — in some cases dramatically — every year since Obama has been in office except for 2010, records show. The annual number grew 7.2 percent in 2009, dipped to 3.7 percent in 2010, and then climbed in the double digits over the next three years — 16 percent in 2011, 35 percent in 2012 and 11 percent last year.
It was to be expected that sales would not continue at the pace they set last year.  But it is also clear from the above numbers that firearms sales, at lease in Virginia, are still increasing at a healthy pace, and that's good news for Virginia's firearm retailers.

Friday, August 15, 2014

VSSA Life Member Steve Halbrook on CSPAN Sunday

Second Amendment Scholar and VSSA Life Member Steve Halbrook will be on C-SPAN2's BookTV Sunday, August 17th at 5:00 pm ET (2:00 pm PT).  The program is a broadcast of a recent Independent Policy Forum with Halbrook, author of, Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and "Enemies of the State."  Halbrook is also Research Fellow at the Independent Institute.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Universal Background Checks and the Black Market for Guns

Forbes Magazine's Frank Miniter wrote this piece sharing more information from his new book The Future of the Gun. Miniter interviewed ATF staff to find out their views on how criminals get guns.  He also interviewed some former inner-city gang members.  He heard much the same from the two different groups, that criminals will always find a way to get access to firearms.  Miniter came to the following conclusion after hearing the ATF staff explain data related to stolen firearms:
Now, as a condition for the interview I’d agreed not to ask these cops policy questions, as ATF agents are enforcers not policy makers, so I couldn’t ask them for recommendations on how to make the system better. Still, these findings make it clear that requiring all private sales of firearms be put through the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) wouldn’t do anything to stop criminals from getting guns, as criminals are already largely getting their guns through thefts, straw purchases and other illegal means.
You can find more of Miniter's findings by picking up a copy of his book.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bloomberg's Money Can't Buy Milwaukee County Sheriff's Race

Like in Colorado last year, Bloomberg's money could not defeat a pro-rights candidate in Tuesday's Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Sheriff Democratic Primary.  According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sheriff David Clarke was able to overcome $600,000 in outside money to win what amounts to re-election.  Much of that outside money came from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
And last week Bloomberg's political action committee, Independence USA, bought more than $150,000 in television ads and took aim at Clarke and his pro-gun stance that encourages residents to arm themselves for their own protection.
Last year in Colorado, Bloomberg spent upwards of $350,000 in an attempt to defeat the recall of two anti-gun Democrat state senators.  Tuesday, the big money from Bloomberg and others ended up working to Clarke's favor.
"In the end, we turned this and used it against them," Clarke said. "They were my get-out-the vote. They raised my base. They energized my base."
While Bloomberg was pouring in the big bucks, it appears that gun owners from out of state were chipping in small donations to Sheriff Clarke.  So, Bloomberg has another high profile defeat.  Wonder if he is reconsidering spending that $50 million leading up to November?

Update: The Wall Street Journal had this piece on its Washington Wire Blog talking about Tuesday's result underscoring the limits of Bloomberg's clout.
In the last year, Mr. Bloomberg has also struggled to persuade state lawmakers in Oregon, Washington State and Nevada to pass laws expanding background checks on gun purchases.
Of course the Journal blog had to bring Virginia's 2013 Governor's race up to show that not all of Bloomberg's efforts have fallen flat:
He threw more than $1.5 million behind Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s successful campaign for governor.
None of the media mention the fact that Bloomberg did not become active in the Virginia race until polls showed McAuliffe with a sizable lead, nor that the final margin ended up being less than 2%.  And, Bloomberg lost a House of Delegates race in Northern Virginia and 65 of 67 pro-rights candidates won House Races in the 2013 election.

And, the Journal blog claimed Bloomberg has had success in advancing is cause in some large corporations:
But the ex-mayor has made more headway in the corporate world, where he’s pushed companies like Target, Chipotle and Starbucks to take stands against customers bringing guns into their stores.
Yet the Journal did not mention none of the three instituted an outright ban in their stores or restaurants. 

DGIF Quota Hunt Applications End Friday

Via the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries:
Several Deer and multi-species hunts are still open but the deadline to apply for these hunts is Friday, August 15, 2014. Don't miss out on these great hunt opportunities:

  • 201 Hog Island WMA Archery Deer Hunts
  • 202 Hog Island WMA Deer Hunts (Shotgun and Muzzleloader)
  • 203 The Nature Conservancy, North Landing River
  • 204 Mockhorn Island WMA Deer Hunts
  • 205 Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park Deer Hunt
  • 206 Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge (Archery)
  • 207 Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge (Muzzleloader)
  • 208 Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge (Firearms)
  • 209 Presquile National Wildlife Refuge
  • 210 James River National Wildlife Refuge
  • 212 Lone Star Lakes Park (Hunter's Choice)
  • 213 Lone Star Lakes Park (Hunter's Choice)
  • 214 Lone Star Lakes Park (Muzzleloader/Archery)
  • 217 Doe Creek WMA Archery or Muzzloader Deer Hunts
  • 301 Cavalier WMA Hunts
  • 302 Featherfin WMA
  • 303 Merrimac Farm WMA
Once you create a VA Quota Hunts online account, you can:
  • Apply for these or a variety of other quota hunts
  • Pay using a credit card (we also accept check and money order)
  • Check the status of the hunts you applied for,
  • And if you win a hunt, download all the necessary documents and permits.
Quota hunts provide hunters unique opportunities to access public lands that otherwise may be closed to hunting (such as our most popular hunt, the Radford Army Ammunitions Plant Deer Hunt.) Hunters can participate in random drawings to hunt waterfowl, white-tailed deer, black bear, quail, rabbits, turkeys, and feral hogs.
For rules and regulations, or for a complete list of hunts including ones new for the 2014-2015 season, consult the Virginia Hunting Guide or visit http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/quotahunts/

Is Bird Shot Adequate for Home Defense?

FMG Publications recently posted the below video featuring American Handgunner's Roy Huntington.  He talks about sporting guns for home-defense and looks at how different loads — No. 8 Shot, 00 Buck and No. 1 Shot — hold up in a sporting shotgun, and specifically addresses the question of whether bird shot is adequate for home defense.  He says ultimately you have to decide for yourself based on your own circumstances.


Moms Demand Continues Theme of Domestic Violence to Push Gun Bans

Not deterred by the epic fail of their political ad using the issue of domestic violence to advocate gun bans, a representative of a Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action took to the editorial pages of the Richmond Times Dispatch last weekend.  In that Op/Ed, the writer used the same tired claim that women who arm themselves for self defense are more likely to be killed with that firearm.
When a woman gets a restraining order against a former intimate partner, she is clearly making every effort to “get away from him.” When a woman buys her own gun for protection against a possible domestic violence attack, her chances of dying by a gun go up drastically. Women involved in domestic disputes are almost 10 times more likely to have a gun used against them than to use a gun in self-defense.
What we do know is that a restraining order is just a piece of paper that has very little affect on an individual who is banging on the front door attempting to get in and do harm.  Call 911 is just as ineffective.  Purchasing and being trained to use a firearm for self-defense will be more effective than either of the other two choices.  When you lose the women who host ABC's The View on this issue, you are probably on the wrong side.

The Case for Concealed Carry in Washington D.C.

Over the weekend, Leadership Institute Northeast Regional Field Coordinator Gabby Hoffman had an Op/Ed in the Richmond Times Dispatch making the case for repealing the ban on carrying handguns in Washington D.C.  In the opinion piece, Hoffman wrote about how Virginia's concealed handgun law has made the Commonwealth a safer place, and how crime has dropped at the same time gun sales have increased exponentially in the last six years:
If D.C. adopts gun laws similar to those of Virginia, the nation’s capital will witness a reduction in crime when law-abiding residents are permitted to conceal-carry.
Hoffman spoke with NRANews' Cam Edwards on Monday and talked in more detail about how D.C.'s residents would benefit if the City Council adopted a carry ordinance similar to Virginia.

video

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gun Maker to Eric Holder: If You Try to Mandate My Smart-gun Technology, I’ll Burn it Down

National Review has this article today by Frank Miniter that describes an April 13, 2013 meeting between U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and W. P. Gentry, president of Kodiak Arms.  Gentry told Holder about technology his company had been working on called the Intelligun.  Gentry showed Holder how the "smart gun" technology he had been developing worked.  He told Miniter:
“This interested Eric Holder,” Gentry says. “He wondered how we might be able to control who was or wasn’t authorized. I stopped him right there. I looked right across a table at Eric Holder — yeah, the attorney general of the United States — and told him, ‘If you try to mandate my smart-gun technology, I’ll burn it down.’ The Intelligun is designed to save lives, not restrict freedom.”
Gentry told Miniter that the meeting ended after that exchange.

Something you won't here from the mainstream media, but that Miniter pointed out, manufacturers (and the NRA) aren't against the technology.  They just want the market, not the government to dictate when it is available.  The problem is that the government keeps getting in the way:
If he can keep the government out of the way, Gentry says, he sees a lot of possibilities for the technology. Theoretically, a villain couldn’t take a gun from a police officer or armed citizen and then use that gun — as the Navy Yard killer did. Also, a parent would have another safety mechanism to help prevent a child from firing a self-defense gun.
Unlike the Armatix "smart gun" the Intelligun doesn't rely on sending a signal to a bracelet or other device worn by the gun owner.  The best way to describe it, it's kind of like installing grips similar to those with Crimson Trace laser sites.  You install a conversion kit (currently on a 1911 pistol), changing out the grips and the mainspring.  It  doesn’t read a person’s fingerprints but instead takes a series of photos of a person’s fingertips and overlaps them. The sensor then looks for enough points that match an algorithm.  Gentry expects to have the technology ready for other popular models within the next year.