Oct 30, 2015
I probably should not have jumped to conclusions so quickly in my last post about Senator Stanley getting threats from Andrew Parker. As if often the case, there was more to the story. Apparently this was among the rants:
“YOU’RE FINEST MOMENT, YOU SORRY LITTLE COWARD,” he posted. “YOU DIDN’T EVEN HAVE THE DECENCY TO REACH OUT AND OFFER A LAME CONDOLENCE AFTER MY DAUGHTER Alison Bailey WAS MURDERED IN YOUR DISTRICT. WHEN YOU SEE ME AGAIN, YOU BEST WALK THE OTHER WAY LEST I BEAT YOUR LITTLE ASS WITH MY BARE HANDS.”
I still hold that Everytown is probably going to be sorry they allied with Parker. Pretty clearly he’s unstable. Grief can be a funny thing though, but perhaps counseling is what Mr. Parker should be seeking right now, rather than vengeance based on some odd perceived wrong committed by Senator Stanley for not appropriately validating his grief.
Oct 29, 2015
I’d be tempted to link to this with “Why are gun control advocates so violent,” but I don’t really think it’s warranted in this case. Senator William Stanley suggests this message by Andrew Parker is a threat:
Late Tuesday, Parker sent this message to Sen. William M. Stanley Jr., R-Franklin County, via Facebook: “I’m going to be your worst nightmare you little bastard.”
Granted, I do think Parker is a strange duck; I don’t know of anyone whose first instinct after the loss of a loved one is to seek out any media publicity he can get before there’s even been a funeral. His statement certainly displays a lack of tact. But I think Stanley is playing this up a bit more than is honestly warranted.
“From the very beginning, he turned on me as if I had something to do with the horrible death of his daughter,” Stanley said. “It’s not rational, but nevertheless, when I was asked about it, I said, ‘Let him grieve. If I have to be the object as he works through this, fine.’ But this goes beyond the pale.”
Hey, welcome to collective guilt — it’s what these people peddle. You are responsible for their personal tragedies, even if you had nothing to do with them. Disagreement is enough to make you an accessory to murder.
“It is legitimate. I am going to be his worst nightmare,” Parker said. “He and Parrish are both little cowards. Anything I say to him and post on his website, I will take full credit for.”
Parker may not be violent, but he’s pretty clearly a loose cannon. He’ll probably end up being a liability to their movement if he keeps this up. Not that I’m one to complain. Every incarnation of the gun control movement has had to deal with freaks and weirdos. I’m not sure why Bloomberg should get a pass on that just because has enough of his own money to not deal with them.
Oct 28, 2015
A common theme I’ve been seeing floating around in the media is that gun control is back, baby! They’ve crossed “the threshold” and are on their way to victory. There’s a certain zeitgeist, and the pendulum is swinging back in their direction. Is it true? Even WaPo’s Dana Milbank thinks they are overstating their case, but agrees there’s some truth to it. How has the gun control movement revitalized itself? According to Milbank, gun control movement has seen revitalization by lowing their sights to win on more achievable issues like background checks.
But there is some truth to what he says. From the legislative debacle following Sandy Hook, the gun-control movement has retreated to a limited but pragmatic approach. Gone is the notion of “gun control,” replaced by “reducing gun deaths” or “gun violence prevention.” Gone, for now, are efforts to restrict any type of gun or ammunition. Instead, the movement has found a laser focus on background checks.
I can’t think of too many real movements that have revitalized themselves by thinking smaller, and thinking smaller is nothing new. None of the new terms Milbank points to are actually new. Gun control advocates have been trying to get away from the unpopular term “gun control” since at least the mid-1990s, and none of those efforts made any difference. Andrew McKelvey couldn’t sell “gun safety” any better than Sarah Brady could sell “handgun control.”
All of the articles I’ve seen have ignored the elephant in the room. I agree that the gun control movement is seeing some revitalization. I would agree they’ve recovered from their post-Heller blues. I do think that’s correct. But it’s almost entirely because Mike Bloomberg is willing to spend millions of dollars of his massive fortune to make that happen. Without Bloomberg’s money, the gun control movement would be going nowhere. All the victories the gun control movement has achieved have been bought and paid for by one multi-billionaire who thinks he can buy our Republic, and he may be right!
Oct 28, 2015
The Washington Post takes a deeper look into the huge sums of money Mike Bloomberg is dumping into the Virginia races, and finds that one of his big ad buys isn’t even about the gun issue. One is a race baiting ad that has nothing to do with guns at all, but rather a local school district issue. Moreover, the ad misleads the reader into believing Glen Sturtevant himself is being sued, when it is actually the school board being sued.
I think this is tacit admission on the part of Bloomberg that guns aren’t a huge motivator for people on the left side of the political spectrum, and so a hard-hitting ad was needed in order to boost black turnout at the polls; a necessary thing if the Democrats are going to take that seat and have a shot at taking the Virginia Senate.
Bloomberg is absolutely determined to buy this election for himself, and he doesn’t care if he has to use issues other than guns to do it. If he’s successful, he will still own Dan Gecker, and he can use it however he wants. No one will care how he bought it. Our people need to turn out in large numbers. Don’t believe for a minute that Bloomberg doesn’t have the money or the drive to buy your state government away from the people of Virginia and make you vassals of the New York elite.
Oct 27, 2015
He’s basically saying that more gun control means fewer dead police officers. Kind of ballsy for a guy who has “unnecessarily played up tensions between police and civilians” and been a key player in driving a “narrative that seeks to divide police and communities they serve.”
“It’s time to be honest: fewer gun safety laws don’t mean more freedom, they mean more fallen officers. They mean more grieving families, and more Americans terrified that they or their loved ones could be next”
At this point, I think he’s just trolling us. But hopefully he keeps is up. I’d love to have an election where the Democrats run on nothing but gun control.
Oct 27, 2015
Ladd Everitt of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence isn’t happy about the Hearing Protection Act. If that’s not a good reason to pass it, I don’t know what is. But it’s pretty apparent he’s not a physics major:
“It’s only a matter of time until a silenced round injures or kills an innocent person who had no opportunity to hear the report of gunfire and find cover,” warned Ladd Everitt, spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
Bullets fired from a typical hunting rifle are moving anywhere from two to three times the speed of sound. A person in the path of a hunter’s bullet is going to be hit by the bullet before they hear the shot. At that point I don’t think it will much matter to them whether the report they hear is full or muffled. This isn’t like Star Trek the Next Generation where you have a pretty good chance to duck out of the way of a fired phaser.
Aside from this one ridiculous argument, a lot of anti-gun people are ignoring the fact that hearing is a two way street, and a hunter who does not need to wear hearing protection, and hasn’t been deafened by gunfire, stands a much better chance of hearing people nearby before taking a shot.
Oct 27, 2015
This USA Today article gives a peek inside ATF’s huge storage facility in West Virginia which houses all the 4473 paperwork that comes from defunct FFLs. It sounds like there is an effort to make the records electronic, sorted by dealer. Basically, you would look up the dealer and then go through each record of the FFL looking for the correct 4473. Because the individual buyers are not indexed, this technically does not violate the federal law making a registry illegal.
If the out-of-business dealer’s records have been converted to the ATF’s electronic database, examiners can attempt to locate purchasers by tabbing through digital folders organized by former dealer names and then sort through individual sales records to identify individual buyers.
But once those records are electronic, it is exponentially easier to run OCR through every record and compile a registry. There is software out there that do name and address corrections, so even if the OCR doesn’t get everything perfect, you could probably still get a registry that is probably 95% accurate. It wouldn’t be that hard to set up a system that did serial number normalization either. You could get from something perfectly legal to a useful registry in a matter of hours with the right systems in place.
The article mentions the large number of traces the office is getting, increasing year-over-year. A lot of anti-gun politicians have been forcing these “trace every gun” policies on their police departments, whether the trace is really needed for the purposes of an investigation or not. Kind of convenient, isn’t it, that the volume of requests coming into ATF has them crying for more money to digitize more and more records.
Now obviously this registry would not be complete, because it would not include private transfers, but they are doing their level best to work on that side of the equation too.
Oct 26, 2015
Prof. Nick Johnson has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal [UPDATE: Link fixed] calling out progressives on their policy solutions. Namely, speaking of the recent endorsement of confiscation schemes:
As a candidate, Barack Obama said that he had no interest in trying to take peoples’ firearms. Now, beyond the influence of voters, the president has begun to elaborate his true inclinations. This month he praised Australia’s far-reaching gun-control efforts. In 1996, after a lunatic used a semiautomatic rifle to kill 34 people in Tasmania, the Australian government banned all semiautomatic rifles and repeating shotguns. Owners of these roughly 700,000 firearms (about a quarter of the country’s three million total guns) were required to turn them in for destruction. The government called this a “buyback,” but no one had a choice.
Read the whole thing. I agree that in some respects, the honesty is refreshing. To quote the great Han Solo, “Bring ’em on, I’d prefer a straight fight to all this sneaking around.”
Oct 26, 2015
We have critical judicial races coming up next Tuesday, November 3rd. NRA has issued a few endorsements, which I will relay to you. You may have already seen them if you’re on their list:
Tuesday, November 3, is Election Day in Pennsylvania. Your NRA-PVF (www.NRAPVF.org) has endorsed Judge Emil Giordano for Superior Court and Paul Lalley for Commonwealth Court.
Over recent years, many of your Second Amendment rights have been ultimately decided by the courts, such as the Ortiz v. Commonwealth PA Supreme Court case that struck down local firearms bans in the Commonwealth and the historic District of Columbia v. Heller United States Supreme Court case that overturned the ban on handguns for self-defense in the home in Washington D.C.
It is critical to elect judges who interpret our Constitution the way that our Founding Fathers intended at all levels. On Tuesday, November 3, remember to vote for NRA-PVF endorsed candidates, Judge Emil Giordano and Paul Lalley.
For a complete list of NRA-PVF endorsements, click here.
Be sure to turn out. This is an off year, so the gun vote could make quite a difference.
Not speaking about gun races specifically, but we also have Supreme Court elections, and I’d keep that in mind too. The Supreme Court has a lot of say in the drawing of districts, so it would not be, in my opinion, a good thing to have that in Democratic hands next census.
Oct 23, 2015
A lot of ink has been spilled over Professor Adam Winkler’s WaPo article predicting the demise of the NRA. Both John Lott, Bob Owens, and Eugene Volokh have taken on Prof. Winkler’s assertions. I think one of the big mistakes Winkler makes is assuming NRA’s locus of power is rural. It is not. It is suburban. I wish I could recall the citation to support that claim, but it’s a true claim. NRA’s power is weak in large metropolitan areas centered around restrictive cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, but in other more permissive metro areas, you’ll actually find where NRA gets is numbers. In Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh metro area is where NRA gets its big numbers. I’m sure you’ll find the same thing around Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. Probably Phoenix too.
I tend to agree with Eugene Volokh’s position, that one can’t assume public opinion among minority groups is static. NRA was doing just fine when whites had a similar polling disparity on this issue. But that’s not to say NRA doesn’t have challenges ahead. Here are, as I see it, the big threats to NRA going forward:
- Bloomberg is able and willing to spend big on the issue, and our movement is not one of rich elites. Gun folks tend to be middle-to-upper-middle class. You’ll find some of us in the millionaire to multimillionaire class, but you won’t find many of us at all among the billionaire class.
- NRA’s power has traditionally been rooted in its ability to cultivate and deliver a large single-issue voting base that can swing close elections. It could do that because it had members in both parties. All the positive polling and new gun owners in the world aren’t going to help us if they don’t vote on the issue. If you’re a gun owner, and still voting for anti-gun progressives because of other issues, even if you don’t really agree with gun control, your opinion isn’t worth much to the movement because you’re not voting on it. Increasingly, Democratic politicians are believing that NRA’s numbers are baked into the existing Republican numbers, and that NRA can’t find enough new single-issue voters, or enough Democratic voters, to hurt them. NRA absolutely has to find more single-issue voters among all these new gun owners and new and growing gun culture demographics.
- NRA’s membership is aging. Young people are not joiners and they do not participate in civil society. This is a problem facing all civic organizations, not just NRA. But it’s a nut that will have to be cracked. Eventually Wayne LaPierre will need to retire and let a younger face lead the NRA. I’ve never really felt like Wayne has spoken to my generation, and I’m 41 years old. NRA is also desparately in need of fresh ideas on the technology front. If you’re still doing cold calling for GOTV you’re not reaching young people, no matter how sophisticated your cold call system may be. The Orange Postcard is an NRA institution, but if you’re using mail, you are definitely not reaching young people. All my mail goes in a box until its time to sort it, and 90% of it is junk. I don’t even bother reading mail.
So I don’t lay awake at night worrying too much about the things Adam Winkler was writing about. I worry about the things above.