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Franklin Graham’s “Background Check” Support Becomes an Issue for the NRA

I’ve noticed anti-gun folks jumping on the fact that Franklin Graham is leading the NRA Annual Meeting Prayer Breakfast, and they hope that he’ll publicly challenge NRA at their own event to accept the President’s background check agenda since Graham endorsed the White House’s private transfer ban proposals last year.

First, as much experience as I have with NRA Annual Meetings, I couldn’t tell you which office puts on the prayer breakfast because I have no idea which office is responsible for booking those speakers. I’m 99.99999% sure it’s not ILA, the office that actually keeps up with politics and pays attentions to such important policy details. This is an event that has never been a big deal before, really just an opportunity for people who don’t want to miss church or miss out on the giant three day gun show.

The anti-gunners highlight this interview with Time that Franklin Graham did in early March of last year. The key section:

Graham…told TIME [he and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention] have agreed to back universal background check legislation put forward by the administration in the wake of last year’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

By specifically citing the administration-backed proposal at the time of the interview, it’s kind of important to look at the details of the legislation anti-gunners want Graham to bring up at the Prayer Breakfast. The language in the Senate that the White House was backing at the time of Graham’s interview came from Chuck Schumer. That language would have made teaching someone to shoot on your own land a felony, as well as loaning your hunting rifle to a friend for a hunting trip. The record keeping requirements would have created a registration system, and spouses would have faced possible felony prosecution if their spouse who bought the gun left home for more than 7 days without officially designating the “transfer” of said firearms as a gift. As Sebastian said in his summary after reading the language:

This bill has nothing to do with ensuring people who are getting guns are law-abiding, and everything to do with getting backdoor registration, and creating a patchwork of rules and laws that will land anyone who uses guns, and isn’t a lawyer, in federal prison for a long time.

The bill that Graham was backing at the time he talked to Time was not Toomey-Manchin, the somewhat less extreme bill that was later voted down in the Senate.

Now, his views on that terrible bill from Schumer aren’t directly related to his ability to preach a sermon. But, given the venue and host group, I don’t think most attendees who paid for tickets really expect a preacher who publicly backed the White House’s bill that would leave many of them open to felony prosecutions for simply passing on their traditions or going on a long business trip.

At this late date, I wouldn’t really put money on a bet that we’ll see any changes to the speakers, but it will be interesting to see if Graham decides to act on the encouragement of the gun control groups. He certainly didn’t come out and condemn the White House-backed Senate bill once the language and summaries became widely available, so presumably he maintains his support of the policies. That certainly could be a very big problem if he does decide to go along with the gun control groups and use NRA’s event as a venue to promote the bill again.

NRA needs to be prepared to handle this issue since they are the ones who issued the invitation with this policy problem hanging out there. Certainly, whoever issued this invitation really screwed up by providing someone who so publicly endorsed these terrible policies a keynote spot without actually looking into their background on the policies that have dominated headlines for the last year and threatened our rights. This wasn’t some questionable comment about some vague policy from 20 years ago, this was a highly discussed interview with a well known media outlet just a year ago about specific bills that forced NRA to spend quite a bit of manpower and money to preserve our Second Amendment rights. It’s a public policy view that should not have been overlooked, and NRA needs to be ready to answer to their members if Graham does stand by his position from last March at their event.

The BLM Debates & Taking a Stand

I’ve only been vaguely following the issues with the Bureau of Land Management out in Nevada, and neither Sebastian nor I will pretend to be experts in either the land use policies or the land use culture of the West which is very different when you consider that the federal government owns about 86% of Nevada, with about 2/3 of the state falling under the control of the BLM.

There are some folks saying that the rancher is completely in the right and not at all behind on payments for grazing access, and others in the media that claim he admits to about $300k in debt over the issues. To make it worse, a local government official apparently had a message for outside protesters: “if they come to Clark County to support Bundy they ‘better have funeral plans.’”

From what I understand, even though local folks are encouraging people to come in, they don’t want it to be about guns and camo-clad masses. Unfortunately, not everyone may listen to them and things could easily end up escalated, as illustrated by the Clark County’s Commissioner’s remarks. Anyone who ventures out there needs to make sure that they do fully understand every legal issue at hand and determine if they truly classify this as a government overreach that is serious enough to warrant possible jail time (multiple people have already been arrested) or worse if the Clark County Commissioner has his way.

I’m rather surprised at the backlash over something like grazing on land that is established as belonging to the federal government when there’s a case in Texas brewing of the BLM preparing to take over the management of 90,000 acres that landowners have deeds on and have paid taxes on for years. This a report from the Texas Farm Bureau on the issue:

Interestingly, BLM inserted itself in the Texas-Oklahoma border dispute after an Oklahoman sort of “invaded” Texas to set up a dredging operation and declared the land his after careful study of the laws and history of the Red River. That man is fondly known by my family as “Uncle Buck.” Because of that opened door, the BLM now wants more land under their control, and I haven’t found any mention of any offers to compensate current owners for it fairly – either by the federal government or Texas agencies that screwed up in including it in deeds and charging taxes on it. I would think that taking privately owned land without compensation would be a much bigger issue to drive protest than one’s desire to graze cattle on established taxpayer-owned land.

I’m not sure I really have a conclusion to this post. It’s just something that Sebastian and I have been observing and talking about the last few days. It’s been interesting to see what kind of policy debates are getting people worked up about federal overreach, but others that are falling by the wayside when they seem to be more direct constitutionally-related issues. Personally, we both hope that people keep their cool in Nevada, contrary to whatever extreme rhetoric is coming from Clark County officials.

“Maybe it was the phony penises.”

That was not the first sentence I expected to read when I opened up an article about a gun club lawsuit in federal court. Regardless, it was the opening sentence, and it was an accurate description of one of the issues raised in a lawsuit filed by members of the Philadelphia Gun Club against animal rights activists who are accused of “stalking, harassment, trespass, intimidation, defamation, libel and privacy invasion.”

The club’s attorney says that the activists have researched personal lives of club members to leave fake reviews on Yelp and other sites when those people own small businesses. They also reportedly spy on these people even after they leave the club grounds. The guys who shoot at the club are not public figures, so there’s a pretty good case there. Not to mention, leaving a fake review online is an issue that’s gaining traction in courts around the country.

Creatively Expanding the Gun Culture

I was just telling Sebastian this morning that I have an idea to get people who otherwise might never even consider taking a shooting class or getting to the range out to try guns in a non-threatening manner that even has a bit of history involved. Because I think this idea is kind of awesome, I’m going to share it in hopes that readers here who have the right guns and the range access either try it or give feedback on it.

I had this idea of offering up a programming day at the range for DAR, SAR, & CAR chapters. Now, these groups are strictly non-political, but they are big into history. (In fact, this could be expanded to any sort of history-related group in your area.) So I thought a day at the range that gives these known descendants a chance to see & shoot the guns (or replicas) their ancestors used in the Revolution would be awesome. It’s history, it’s unique, and it’s relevant to the missions of the groups.

Then, if a hosting club wanted to step it up a notch and make it a more traditional range day, find people who have guns from other American wars and do the same – a bit of a demo and a chance to shoot them.

Thoughts? Would anyone ever consider making this offer to local history-related groups or does it seem like too much work? I was just trying to think creatively about ways to get people out to see that shooting can be a great time and that gun owners are generally pretty awesome and nice people.

Interestingly, Sebastian doesn’t think this a completely crazy idea…

The Mass Stabbing We Feared

While some gun control proponents say that you don’t see mass stabbings, only mass shootings, a Western Pennsylvania high school just proved them very wrong this morning. I’ve waited for a little more to unfold in the story before commenting because it’s not an issue of guns or no guns, knife control, or even metal detectors at every door, as it seems that some people are already pushing while students are still undergoing major surgeries since they are in critical condition.

A local paper featured a comment by a senior that I thought was very telling on how the issue of violence as a whole is very complicated and not easily solved by one policy that focuses on the instrument used:

“Everybody was just freaking out,” he said. “It’s been a tough senior year. We’ve had a lot of fights in school — more than usual — and a suicide this year.”

Mental health issues going unaddressed in the community? Check. Increased violent outbreaks as a whole? Check. Those won’t be fixed with gun control, knife control, or metal detectors. It sounds like there won’t be many easy answers for this community. Certainly, they are in our thoughts as this story continues to be investigated.

“I just don’t see how people can grab a shotgun and rack it and stand on their front porch…”

Those words came from a New Jersey Police Chief who was appalled that, as his officers acted in a way that made a family believe their house was being broken into during a search of the surrounding property, a man grabbed his shotgun and went to check things out to make sure he and his parents weren’t in danger. Even though he never shot anyone, and he appears to have handled the situation reasonably when he believed the safety of his family was in danger, the police arrested him and wanted to put him away for 10 years.

Fortunately, a New Jersey jury acquitted him of the charges.

When someone linked this on Facebook, another person noted that this man was following the first few steps of our Vice President’s advice. He said you should grab your shotgun, load it, and go up to the door. The difference is that this man knew better to actually identify a threat rather than just shooting randomly, as the Vice President encourages people to do.

New York’s Softening Anti-Gun Views

Because I know that the NYC Mayor would hate to be considered a hypocrite who only serves his political allies when it comes to leniency, I’m quite confident that he will tell the NYPD to go easy the next time a tourist accidentally breaks one of the extreme gun laws. It would only be the right thing to do since he’s currently accusing India of having an “ulterior motive” as they enforce their strict gun/ammunition laws on a NYPD officer who was caught in illegal possession over there because he “forgot.”

And, I’m sure that Rep. Peter King who says that India’s desire to enforce their gun control laws is only a case that is “politically motivated” in order to extract retribution now understands the flaws in his gun control bill that would have given police the same incentives by banning anyone who is lawfully carrying from being pretty much on the same block as a government official.

Pennsylvania’s Candidates Speak Out on Gun Control

Based on their 100% scores from Ceasefire PA, it appears that Allyson Schwartz and Katie McGinty haven’t met a gun control proposal they didn’t like. The “lowest” scoring Democrat on the ballot Tom Wolf who agreed with the gun control group almost 80% of the time. This marks a stark change from 2010 when the “lowest” scoring Democrat was against about half of the group’s policies.

I downloaded the report and will do a more thorough post on the exact issues the gubernatorial candidates want to see become the law of the land in Pennsylvania shortly. One of the delays in getting up a post about the top of the ticket statewide races has been watching the fallout after petitions went in. There have already been changes to the primary ballot with people dropping out, so I wanted to see what the playing field really looked like. Based on the quick look of the summary, pro-gun Democrats in the central part of the state need to start raising their voices – loudly – and start voting their gun rights if they don’t want to line up to turn them in, a serious policy proposal from a suburban Democrat in this state. This isn’t a “Philly” issue anymore. The anti-gun extremism is clearly spreading in Pennsylvania.

Virginia’s Democratic Candidate Attacks on Gun Owners

In case Virginia gun owners didn’t get the loud and clear message from their governor using his first veto to target gun law clarifications, the Democratic candidate for the 7th District would like to speak his mind a little more bluntly:


The Virginia Shooting Sports Association has more from this guy – much more – that’s worth a read. Since he states clearly in other tweets that he doesn’t want any support from gun owners, I hope that the district’s gun owners will honor his wishes.

“50 Lady Sharpshooters at Your Disposal”

This is kind of awesome. It’s a letter from Annie Oakley to President William McKinley in 1898 offering the services of American women sharpshooters who could provide their own arms and ammunition to assist the US should war break out.

Letter from Annie Oakley to President McKinley, 1898

I saw this on the National Archives Tumbler which does a pretty good job of not only digitizing these holdings, but trying to share some of the interesting finds that Americans might enjoy seeing.

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