Thursday, May 26, 2016

Seen at the NRA Annual Meetings - Young Iowa Shooters Turn Legislative Activists

One of the things I noticed at the NRA Annual Meetings this year were the number of young shooters running around in their competitive team shooting shirts.  Two that caught my eye regularly were young ladies with the Iowa Firearms Coalition.  When I would stop by the Press Office to check email or transfer videos from my phone to my laptop, I would sometimes see Meredith and Natalie Gibson, and their father, along with other members of the Iowa Firearms Coalition.  I didn't know it at the time but Meredith and Natalie have an interesting story.  They shoot 3-Gun and have been shooting in the backyard and at the range with their father for years.  Then they learned it was against Iowa law for youth under the age of 14 to use handguns, even under the supervision of a parent or guardian.  That means they can't practice the pistol part of the 3-Gun sport in their home state.  So, Meredith and Natalie have turned activist and are trying to pass House File 2281 - The Youth Safety and Parental Rights Act.

During the NRAAM, they had the opportunity to talk more about their plight with NRANews' Cam Edwards. Due to their testimony and lobbying, the bill passed a House subcommittee, the full committee and the full House. PJMedia reports though that the Senate has a two vote Democrat majority and while the bill passed a subcommittee and a full committee, 4 anti-gun senators will not allow the bill to be brought up for a vote. Meredith and Natalie have begun an email campaign, and will spend the summer knocking on doors to ask voters not to re-elect Senator Steve Sodders, the key legislator blocking the bill from a vote.

Katie Couric's Anti-gun Film Deceptively Edits Gun Group's Interview Response

This news comes as no surprise as supporters of firearm freedom should not have expected Katie Couric to be involved in a fair and balanced look at the issue of gun rights.  Several sources  reported yesterday that responses by members of another Virginia gun rights group interviewed for the film Under the Gun were edited out to make it look like they had no answer to a question on background checks.  The Washington Free Beacon reports that a little over 21 minutes into the film, Katie Couric is shown interviewing members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL).  Couric asks the members, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”  The next clip is an "awkward nine seconds" silently sitting saying nothing.  But VCDL has a habit of making recordings when they are interviewed and this was no exception.  According to the Free Beacon, audio of the interview shows that instead of silence, Couric’s question is met immediately with answers from the member's of the group that included a back and forth over the issue of background checks that went on for more than four minutes after the original question is asked.

At first, responses from the cable network EPIX which produced the film, deflected the question and talked about how the film is "critically acclaimed" and stood behind Couric and the film's director Stephanie Soechtig.  The heat apparently got to be too much for them as Soechtig told Erik Wemple of the the Washington Post "the pause was so viewers could consider the question" and "I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way.”  Wemple, who writes about media for the Post wrote:
Many of those who sampled the discrepancy between the video and the audiotape were already enraged by the depiction of these gun owners. The statements from Soechtig and Couric will surely intensify the backlash, as well they should. An apology, retraction, re-editing, whatever it is that filmmakers do to make amends — all of it needs to happen here.
NRA was contacted to participate in this propaganda and rightly decided not to be used.  It looks like Couric and Soechtig had no idea they would be caught.  It will be interesting to see if more mainstream media picks up this story.  The AP this morning has only the briefest of reports and does not include any of the detail that Wemple or the Free Beacon put out yesterday. NRANews.com's Cam Edwards discussed the issue with Stephen Kruiser, a commentator and columnist for PJ Media.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Washington Post: Felon Voting Rights Ease Gun Ownership

On Friday, Jenna Portnoy had this article in the Washington Post about how Governor Terry McAuliffe's executive order restoring the voting rights of over 200,000 felons also eases their ability to get their gun rights restored:
Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s order last month restoring the voting rights of 206,000 felons had an unintended consequence: It’s now easier for those ex-offenders to regain the right to own guns.

Before the order, felons who wanted to legally possess firearms first had to go through the process of having their civil rights reinstated, including the right to vote, to sit on a jury and to run for office.

That process — which involved submitting forms that were scrutinized by the secretary of the commonwealth’s staff, using the governor’s authority — is no longer in place.

Instead, felons who have completed their sentences can go straight to the step of petitioning the circuit court for firearm rights. Prosecutors review those petitions and can intervene if they believe a felon should continue to be barred from owning a weapon.
Portnoy quoted Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson as saying the decision to restore firearms rights is solely up to the discretion of local court judges and that local courts have the decision on whether or not to oppose petitions restoring the right to keep and bear arms.   It also appears that McAuliffe did not completely think through what his actions on voting rights would do on other civil rights:
McAuliffe said he hadn’t given much thought to how his order would affect felons seeking firearms. “My actions were about giving you the right to vote, to serve on a jury and run for political office,” he said recently. “My action, I didn’t think it had anything to do with gun rights. I stayed away from that.”
We'll have to see what happens with this one now that McAuliffe has been informed of the "unintended" consequences of his actions.

Hawaii Considering Legislation to Add Gun Owners to Federal Database

ABC News has the story here.
Hawaii could become the first state in the United States to enter gun owners into an FBI database that will automatically notify police if an island resident is arrested anywhere else in the country.

Most people entered in the "Rap Back" database elsewhere in the U.S. are those in "positions of trust," such as school teachers and bus drivers, said Stephen Fischer of the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division. Hawaii could be the first state to add gun owners.
Hawaii requires all firearms to be registered in the state with a few exceptions.  According to the news report, gun owners will have to pay a yet unspecified fee amount to cover the cost of entering the gun owners into the database.

Virginia Based Tactical Walls at NRAAM 2016

On Saturday, I visited a lot of the smaller booths at the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits.  One of the really popular exhibitors was Tactical Walls.  It is a Virginia based family owned business that started out three years ago with three employees, and has grown to employing 27 workers.  Their products are manufactured in the United States from mostly American materials, and from what I saw are very high quality.  Each product is disguised as a fully functional piece of home d├ęcor – such as shelves, mirrors, marker-boards, among others. They are secured with either magnetic locking devices or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) on select models.  Best of all the products are affordable.  You can find a dealer near you by visiting the Tactical Walls web site.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Team Springfield's Two Newest (and Youngest) Members at NRA Annual Meetings

I happened to walk by the Springfield Armory Booth on Saturday at the NRA Annual Meetings as Gun Talk Radio's Tom Gresham was interviewing Team Springfield Captain Rob Latham and two bubbly pre-teens.  These young ladies were Jalise and Justine Williams from  St. George, Utah and they are the newest members of Team Springfield.  In the video below, Latham talks about how he met the girls and how they became members of the team. 


Saturday, May 21, 2016

NRA Endorses Trump

Well if you watch the news you have probably heard that likely GOP Presidential Nominee Donald Trump picked up the endorsement of NRA yesterday.  You'll note that a couple of those linked sources also made sure to mention things like "but do their members" and "despite history of gun control support."  While it is usually later in the process before NRA officially endorsement, only one of two people is going to be elected President, the Democratic nominee or the Republican nominee.  Sorry to disappoint any Libertarians or other "third party" folks, but nominees from those parties are not going to get elected.  So, given a choice between the likely Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton or the likely Republican nominee Donald Trump, is there really any other choice?

If you haven't seen Trump's speech at the 2016 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum already, it is posted below.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Greetings from the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits

The Exhibit Hall is open and there is already a crowd of folks walking through the 11 acre hall. Several hours before the start of the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, there were people waiting in line to get in to Freedom Hall where likely Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump will speak to the crowd.

As National Review Online's Jim Geraghty wrote in this morning's Morning Jolt, those assembled in Freedom Hall are likely to focus more on what Donald Trump says today about his support for the Second Amendment and Hillary Clinton than his comments 16 years ago in support of some gun control:
Trump will bash Hillary Clinton, and the crowd will applaud with good reason; she supports a wide variety of gun control proposals, including reinstating the assault-weapons ban. Never mind that gun crimes continued to decline after the ban expired. The dirty little secret that few gun-control advocates like admitting is that very few crimes are committed with so-called “assault weapons.”

A choice between an unreliable ally and a certain enemy is far from ideal, but most gun owners will see a clear distinction anyway.
You can watch Trump's speech and the entire Leadership Forum live on NRANews.com beginning at noon today. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Upcoming Match at Quantico Shooting Club

The Quantico Shooting Club is holding the Remember the Brave Rifle Match May 27-29.
For more information you may contact the match director: David Duitsman  at diduitsman@gmail.com
Also, due to unforeseeable circumstances Quantico Shooting Club has postponed the State Match. They plan to have a VA STATE match being rescheduled for 15-17 July 2016.

Former Head of Interpol Says Armed Citizens Can Save Lives

Independence Institute Director of Research Dave Kopel had a great piece at the Volokh Conspiracy this week on former Interpol Secretary-general Ron Noble's new video examining the Westgate Mall mass shooting in Nairobi and how armed citizens saved hundreds of lives.  In the post, Kopel says in Noble's video, we see the difference between a "moderate" gun control advocate and folks like Katie Couric, who is making the rounds with a new gun ban film:
As Noble explains, his 14 years of close involvement in global counterterrorism changed his perspective on gun control. This week, he has published a video about the 2013 mass shootings at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. The video, “Armed Citizens Can Help Stop Terrorist Massacres Like Nairobi and Paris,” shows graphic footage of the attack and of the response of armed citizens. During the lengthy and well-planned attack, more than 60 innocent people were murdered. As Noble explains, the death count would have been hundreds more if not for the armed citizens who intervened. As Noble puts it, “This is not an American argument, nor a political argument. In these horrific situations, law-abiding armed citizens have helped protect others and literally saved lives, and the world should be made aware of this reality. . . . In the hands of law-abiding citizens, guns can and do save lives.”

Noble still favors a variety of non-prohibitory gun regulations that I do not. Yet the global question is not about the exact scope of Second Amendment rights in the United States. In Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and the United States, mass shootings have become all too common. The perpetrators may be terrorists, gangs or people with mental illness. (The last category overlaps significantly with the first two categories.) The global question is about reducing the number of innocent people who are murdered. Among the important steps in saving lives is acknowledging that victims of mass attacks are necessarily their own first responders. As Westgate Mall demonstrated, when innocent victims have the tools of defense, innocent lives are saved.
On Tuesday, Kopel appeared on NRANews.com's Cam and Company and discussed his post at the Volokh Conspiracy as well as the new video Noble has posted on Vimeo.
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Thursday, May 12, 2016

VSSA Endorses State Senator Tom Garrett for 5th Congressional District GOP Nomination

The Virginia 5th Congressional District Republican Nominating Convention will be held this Saturday, May 14, at Nelson County High School.  There are four candidates vying for the nomination to replace retiring congressman Robert Hurt.  Those candidates are: Michael Del Rosso, State Senator Thomas "Tom" Garrett, James McKelvey, and Joseph Whited.  VSSA has endorsed State Senator Tom Garrett and urges all gun owners who are delegates to the convention to vote for Senator Garrett.

Senator Garrett has been a true friend to Virginia gun owners.  Not only has he voted for pro-rights legislation and worked to defeat anti-rights legislation, he has introduced bills to expand to restore and expand our rights.  This past session, Senator Garrett was one of several state legislators to introduce a bill to overturn Attorney General Mark Herring's action that would have ended concealed carry permit reciprocity or recognition agreements with 25 states.  VSSA's endorsement is based on Senator Garrett's support for the Second Amendment while a Commonwealth's Attorney, his stellar voting record while in the state senate, and his pledge to continue to protect the rights of Virginia gun owners and sportsmen.

It should also be noted that Senator Garrett is the only candidate of the four that returned the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire.  NRA-PVF considers a failure to respond to the questionnaire an indication of " indifference, if not outright hostility, to gun owners' and sportsmen's rights." 

Not only is Garrett endorsed by VSSA, but he earned an "A" rating from NRA-PVF and their endorsement.  VSSA urges all delegates to the 5th Congressional District GOP Convention who support the 2nd Amendment to vote for State Senator Tom Garrett on Saturday.