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Monday, April 23, 2018

Will the Focus on Guns Hurt Democrats in Mid-terms

A poll released last week seems to indicate that the extreme focus on guns has hurt Democrats as they seek to take control of the House and Senate in November's mid-term election.  The Washington Post has the story:
The poll finds that the gap between support for Democratic vs. Republican House candidates has dropped by more than half since the beginning of the year. At the same time, there has been a slight increase in President Trump’s approval rating, although it remains low. Measures of partisan enthusiasm paint a more mixed picture of the electorate in comparison with signs of Democratic intensity displayed in many recent special elections.

One potentially new factor in the mix of midterm issues is gun policy, which has emerged as a major voter consideration two months after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. More than 4 in 10 registered voters say it is extremely important that ­candidates share their views on gun issues. Fewer voters say it is critical that candidates share their views on Trump or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), leaders who are most likely to be targets in partisan messaging this fall.
According to the Post, white voters are responsible for closing the gap.
The survey shows the GOP making a more pronounced shift among white voters, who now prefer Republicans by a 14-point margin over Democrats, up from five points in January. Republicans lead by 60 percent to 31 percent among white voters without college degrees, slightly larger than an 18-point GOP advantage three months ago.
Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned posed the rhetorical question "what issue could that demographic possibly care about that could account for this?"

The Post noted that the renewed gun-control debate is a "wild card" in the midterm election. Several polls have shown increased support for restrictions aimed at curbing violence involving firearms following February’s Parkland school shooting.  But as is usually the case, support for gun control jumps after events like Parkland, then subside.  The same is true this time as a new Gallup Poll shows that those mentioning gun control as the most important issue facing the country has dropped by over half in April.  Gun control however still continues to be one of the highest-ranked issues named by Americans -- ranking fourth behind dissatisfaction with government, immigration and race relations.

Seven months is an eternity in politics.  Much can change between now and November.  The best way to make sure that the gun ban lobby does not win in November is to get active for pro-rights candidates in this year's campaign.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Take a Woman Hunting Week

From the National Wild Turkey Federation:
April 21-28, during the 2018 Virginia Spring Gobbler Season, The Virginia State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is promoting our 3rd annual statewide “Take a Woman Hunting Week” with the purpose of encouraging hunters and mentors to introduce women to hunting and share our hunting heritage.

By registering for this event, both the mentor and the woman hunting will be entered into a drawing for a shotgun. In addition, the woman will receive her choice of a custom turkey box call to commemorate the hunt, or a Women in the Outdoors event t-shirt. 
Registration is limited to Virginia residents.  You can find more information about the event at the above link.

The Future of Deer Hunting in Virginia

The Virginia Gazette has this article titled "Deer Hunting is Endangered."  The point of the article was lack of access will ultimately kill deer hunting in Virginia:
As autumn approaches, Ray Respress gets busy clearing paths, building tree stands and gathering gear for the upcoming deer hunting season. His routine is on hold this fall until his Flat Iron Hunt Club learns if it will have anyplace place to go.

"We don't have a contract on it to date," Respress said about the last James City tract of land that the hunt club can lease. Usually the yearly contract is firmed up by July. "We don't want to go in there and spend three or four days cutting trails and removing brush if we aren't going to have the land," he said.

The situation is a byproduct of growth, as landowners look to more tightly control their lands, often with an eye toward development. For various reasons, hunting has declined by 4% nationally in the past five years, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The tracts are drying up.

"We've lost them all," lamented Andy Priestley, owner of Headhunter's Headquarters in Toano, an official station for hunters to gauge their catch. He said at least 20 hunt clubs have disappeared in the past five years. He can count only five left in the county. His own club, Grove Kennel, disbanded seven years ago after losing its hunting tract in Stonehouse. Years ago most hunting agreements were verbal, between old friends. But as the original landowners died, the land often passed to their children, some of whom were less willing to honor the agreements.
The article focused on hunt clubs but lack of land access for private hunters is also a problem.  The state's public wildlife management areas are not always a good option.  With localities ever growing hunger for tax revenue, more and more undeveloped land is being sold to developers.  There was a time when it was relatively easy for a hunter to gain access to prime private hunting land simply by asking.  Today, this is less and less the case.

In an article earlier this year, Outdoor Life addressed the nation's declining hunting numbers and pointed out the larger problem is demographics:
Hunting participation peaked in 1982, when nearly 17 million hunters purchased 28.3 million licenses. Hunter numbers have steadily declined since. We lost 2.2 million hunters between 2011 and 2016 alone, according to the National Survey of Hunting, Fishing, and Wildlife-­Associated Recreation, a report issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2016, just 11.5 million people hunted. That’s less than 4 percent of the national population. 
Outdoor Life looked at the demographics of the hunting population.  They noted that baby boomers make up the largest portion of the nation's hunters, and that they have already begun to age out of the sport.  Outdoor Life went on to point out that in the next 15 years, most will stop buying licenses entirely, and when they do, the hunter ranks could plunge by 30 percent.  The major downside to this is that with a reduction in the number of hunting licenses purchased also brings with it a plunge in critical funding for wildlife management as well as hunting advocacy because those fees go directly to wildlife conservation and management. 

The Outdoor Life article goes on to discuss how to reverse the trend and discuss some models that work.  For those of us who enjoy hunting and want to see it continued for future generations,  the trends are not promising, but, the Outdoor Life article says we turn it around, if we change the way we recruit new hunters.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Washington Post Profile of Texas AR-15 Owner

Sunday's Washington Post had this profile of Fabian Rodriguez, a Texas gun owner who just purchased his first AR-15.  Given it is the Post, the article has a few things to quibble with (noted below) but it mostly did not put Rodriquez in a bad light given how vociferously anti-gun the editorial page is on the subject.  There was an inference that people who purchase or own AR-15s are mostly people who support the military but didn't serve, and that owning an AR-15 allows them to connect with that service without serving.  That came from the former ATF agent turned gun control proponent, David Chipman, who now works for the Gabby Giffords gun ban group.  He told the author, Abigail Hauslohner, that owning an AR-15 was a way to "kind of act patriotic without having to do it."

For his part, Rodriquez represented the gun owning community well.  He has been a shooter since he was eight and purchased his first gun when he was 18.  He explained why he wanted an AR-15:
But this is a gun that Rodriguez has wanted for a couple of years now, a gun that he thinks has been unfairly maligned because of a few people’s bad actions, and a gun that he believes is his right to own. He’s here this weekend not because he worries about an imminent ban, but because he just sold his Mustang and finally has the cash.

Rodriguez is among the sprawling population of American gun enthusiasts who own or aspire to own an AR-15, the semiautomatic weapon that the National Rifle Association has designated “America’s rifle.” Some say the weapon can be useful for hunting or home protection. For others, like Rodriguez, the sleek, easy-to-use design and customizable features make the high-powered rifle simply fun to own.
As usual, there were signs that Hauslohner knowledge of firearms is limited, with the description of the AR-15 as "high-powered", and later in the article when she described it as a "a gun that can fire 45 high-velocity rounds per minute, bullets that travel so fast that their shock waves mimic an explosion as they enter a body."

If there is one thing that should give us pause, it is Rodriquez's acceptance of some gun control proposals that give many pro-rights proponents concern.  It is likely he is not the only gun owner willing to give up some of his freedom:
“I’m a law-abiding, gun-owning citizen,” Rodriguez says. “If there was a procedure that said I have to go to a class and learn, I’m going to do it.”

If the government said he needed to produce a character witness, provide access to his Internet search history or submit to a home visit or a rigorous mental-health evaluation, he’d comply.

“If it takes a little more to have it, that’s fine,” he says.
We've all seen the recitation of "poll results" that show a large majority of gun owners, including NRA members (these have to be self identified because the NRA does not sell it's membership list) support background checks.  It's likely because we've all gone through them for over 25 years that is the case.  But, it is also probably true that if you start detailing what is entailed in the various "universal" background check proposals that the numbers would significantly decrease.  I also don't think I should be required to have my home searched or undergo a "rigourous mental-health evaluation" to exercise a constitutionally protected right.

Overall however, it is an article worth reading.

Monday, April 9, 2018

North Carolina Pro-rights Activist Garners National Attention

Greensboro resident Mark Robinson takes his Second Amendment rights very seriously.  Last week, we shared a video in the eBullet of his speech before the Greensboro City Council. In a polite, respectful, fact-based but passionate response, he debunked the talking points of anti-gun activists and asked when they were going to start standing up for the majority, the law-abiding. Since those remarks, he has been featured on Fox News Fox and Friends morning show as well as all of the live NRATV programing, including NRANews Cam and Company.  He told Cam Edwards that he went to the meeting because it was time to stop being a Facebook advocate for the Second Amendment. Robinson also said People need to get out from behind their computer screens and get involved.  You can see that interview below.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

NRA Carry Guard Expo Coming to Richmond

The National Rifle Association has announced that the next NRA Carry Guard Expo will take place Sept. 14-16, 2018, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

The NRA Carry Guard Expo is a three-day educational and interactive experience dedicated to individuals interested in increasing their knowledge and skills of personal protection, concealed carry and home defense. This event will equip novices and experts alike with the products, skills, knowledge and mindset necessary to be prepared to respond when a threat arises.

The NRA Carry Guard Expo’s exhibit hall will features leading firearm and accessory companies showcasing their most advanced guns and gear designed for self-defense and concealed carry. The expo will also conduct a live product demo show in which concealment clothing and gear designed for men and women will be modeled.

Visitors can attend more than 120 seminars and workshops featuring the best personal protection and concealed carry practices taught and demonstrated by leading experts and instructors from across the country, including NRA Carry Guard, the nation’s most comprehensive coverage and training for those who carry a gun.

The NRA Carry Guard Expo is the firearms education event of the year. Seminar topics will include Emergency Preparedness, How to Interact with Law Enforcement while Carrying, Handgun Fit & Function for Women, Perfecting Practice on the Range and at Home, The Concealed Carry Lifestyle, Making Your Own First Aid Kit, Creating a Home Defense Plan and many more.

To learn more about the NRA Carry Guard Expo, visit the event website at www.nracarryguardexpo.com. Check back regularly to view updates on announcements, training opportunities, and seminars scheduled for the event. Learn more about NRA Carry Guard by visiting www.nracarryguard.com.

VSSA Affiliated Club Raffle to Benefit Youth Airgun Programs

The Arlington/Fairfax IWLA, a VSSA affiliated club, is raffling a Model 1885 Low Wall .243 Centerfire Rifle. Proceeds benefit the club's youth air gun programs. Raffle tickets are $20 plus $1 for processing (costs of mailing tickets etc). The drawing will take place after 300 tickets have been sold. The winner need not be present to win. To purchase tickets, simply go to the club's web site at http://afc-iwla-sillsairrange.org/.  For more information simply download the raffle flyer by clicking here.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Liberty University Opens Campus Shooting Range

Fox News has the report here:
The lower part of the 600-acre, state-of-the-art gun range has rifle, pistol, and three-gun ranges in a valley located on the other side of Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre, a year-round ski and snowboard slope, and at the top has shotgun venues, which include skeet, trap and sporting clay facilities.

Liberty is now the only campus with a venue fit for all Olympic shooting sports and it hopes to be one of the most luxurious facilities in the world once the project is fully completed.
One student, Landon Dalton, a sophomore, told Fox News that he was introduced to a whole new world through the university's competitive shooting program.

The range will open to the public and to law enforcement following commencement.  Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., was on NRATV's Cam and Company Wednesday to talk more about the new facility and said there's still some final work to do, but it's already seeing a great deal of use. During the interview Falwell also discussed school safety.  He said Liberty University has set a standard for the country to provide a safe educational environment for our children. The K-12 school that shares the property where Liberty U. is located, Liberty Christian Academy, has one door in and out. Armed security officers are supplemented by faculty members that carry concealed. The campus has installed magnetometers and brought in bomb-sniffing dogs to increase security. President Falwell notes that licensed concealed carry permit holders are allowed through security onto what, in his opinion is the safest campus in the country.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

California Style Gun Control Introduced in Congress

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz wants a federal law that would require background checks for people who buy ammunition. This is just like one of the new laws that went into affect statewide in California in January of this year.  That law was part of new gun laws that passed in 2016. The law requires anyone selling ammunition to have a license from the Department of Justice. Ammunition purchased over the internet must go through a licensed ammunition vendor. And buyers have to pay a $1 fee to pay for the background check.
“I really think it’s important to underscore that without bullets a gun is just a hunk of useless metal, and a would-be killer lacks the means to actually kill or maim,” she said Monday.
Just to show you how some of these people think, she continued later in her remarks:
“You do not have the right to bear bullets,” Wasserman Schultz said at a news conference at the Pembroke Pines Police Department, where she was joined by political leaders, a police representative and teachers and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
It is legislation and comments like this that shows just how important this year's election really is.