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Upsetting the Right People

I have been rather skeptical of NRA’s ads which wander out of the realm of gun rights and into the realm of the vague and lofty. These are the NRA “good guys” (whoever they are) commercial spots:

But I’ll say this, they are at least sending the right people into spastic fits. I continue to be skeptical that this foray into the high and inspiring is going to work, but then again, I’m a cynical bastard compared to most people.

Friends of the NRA Dinners: Why We Win

It’s becoming a tradition of mine at our Bucks County Friends of the NRA Dinner to pick out the kitschiest thing I can find and aim to win it. Last year I got the NRA branding iron. The year before that the tobacco walking stick. This year was the NRA fan:

NRA Fan

This was won on silent auction. Our silent auction items weren’t doing very well this year, so I managed to get it for cost. Friends of the NRA Dinners raise money for things like the East Stroudsburg South rifle team. Half the funds we raise stay right here in Eastern Pennsylvania.

There were 200 people at our dinner last night, which is a record for us. I’d note that’s a bigger turnout than Shannon Watts can draw to a national protest even with all of Bloomberg’s money. Our people also paid 45 dollars a person to attend (which really just covers the cost of the meal). We didn’t do as well in our raffles and auctions as last year, but that’s been typical for most dinners. In 2013, for obvious reasons, people were a lot more eager to open their wallets for the cause. Overall we’ll end up raising more than $15,000, which mostly goes to fund youth shooting programs.

That’s from one dinner, in one county. Our budget each year to promote the dinner? Five hundred dollars. Our staff? About ten volunteers. I’d challenge Shannon Watts to set up a dinner for Moms Demand under similar restrictions, and see how many people they can draw. Both Chester County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia all have dinners as well, each raising that much or more (in the case of ChesCo, significantly more). Lancaster County has a dinner that draws 800. They can’t even seat them all in a room, and so have to resort to buffet hot seating. It’s standing room only during the auction. So, Shannon, up for the challenge?

 

 

Those Heartless NRA Members

We all know that the NRA leadership are really demons placed on this earth to make humanity hurt as much as possible – at least that would be our “knowledge” if we listened exclusively to the mainstream media.

So, with that perception from those in the media, the WaPo seemed a bit shocked that Wayne LaPierre has agreed to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and donate money to further research for the disease. He’s on a trip right now, so as soon as he returns, he’s going to do it.

I just have to say that I really hope the NRA staff gets very, very creative with this and actually shows NRA staff having fun and wiling to make the world a better place.* (more…)

NRA Wins in Court Over Florida’s Gag Law

I have mixed feelings about the NRA-backed bill that prevents doctors from asking about gun ownership, because I believe that the government should never have the power to control speech in that kind of manner.

I realized that many professions are regulated in these kinds of terms, but I’m not sure that all bad advice ought to be illegal advice, and I’m not sure why we can’t protect our privacy with a polite “Mind your own business, doc.” But apparently the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals disagrees with me, and delivered NRA a win in the case.

In the ruling, the three judge panel ruled: “In keeping with these traditional codes of conduct—which almost universally mandate respect for patient privacy—the Act simply acknowledges that the practice of good medicine does not require interrogation about irrelevant, private matters. As such, we find that the Act is a legitimate regulation of professional conduct. The Act simply codifies that good medical care does not require inquiry or record-keeping regarding firearms when unnecessary to a patient’s care.”

On the other side of the coin, the medical profession has politicized itself far and beyond what I think is appropriate, and this is a greatly needed shot across the bow at the AMA and the AAP. They would be wise to issue new guidelines to doctors telling them to learn to mind their own business when it comes to topics that have nothing to do with the practice of medicine, like gun ownership.

I am loathe to punish pediatricians who want to talk to parents about guns in the context of other dangerous household articles, or to punish a doctor who talks to a patient about guns because the doctor and patient are both gun enthusiasts. The latter is in my opinion pretty unambiguously free speech.

But doctors have abused their position to promote a political agenda, and this is what they have reaped by doing so. NRA has more weight to throw around Congress and State Capitols than the medical establishment does, and they would do well to remain cognizant of that fact.

Rolling Stone Article on Larry Pratt and GOA

The big question I have is why is the “American Independent Institute” funding a story about Larry Pratt and Gun Owners of America, and why now? I don’t make any secret that I’m not a fan of either Pratt or GOA, and this article outlines a lot of the reasons why. But I’m at a loss for what motivated it. Rolling Stone has been doing a lot of hit pieces on guns lately, at least one of which was supremely stupid. If the purpose was to make gun owners and the gun rights movement look like far-right lunatics, I don’t think the article succeeds at that, since it continually highlights the differences between GOA and the rest of the movement. It does succeed at making Pratt look like a lunatic. But what do our opponents have to gain by attacking Larry Pratt and GOA in such a manner, and attacking now? Are they hoping to raise his profile in the hopes to keep using him as a foil? Hardly seem to be the way you’d go about it if that were your goal.

Chicago: Helping Us Keep Parity with Bloomberg

The City of Chicago has been ordered to sign over yet another near million dollar check over to the NRA for the case of Benson v. City of Chicago:

The Benson case was consolidated into Illinois Association of Firearm Retailers v. City of Chicago and that case challenged five aspects of Chicago’s law: (1) the ban on any form of carriage; (2) the ban on gun stores; (3) the ban on firing ranges; (4) the ban on self-defense in garages, porches, and yards; and (5) the ban on keeping more than one gun in an operable state.

Of course, fighting civil rights lawsuits isn’t cheap, so really this is just reimbursement for costs incurred fighting lawsuits that wouldn’t have any reason to exist if the City of Chicago wasn’t determined to evade the Second Amendment by hook or by crook. But it’s always good to hear the City of Chicago being a top NRA donor. Will we need to issue Rahm a gold jacket? He’s been donating at that level.

Banning the Second Amendment

Waves were made in the gun community with a claim that a university is trying to stop a student from starting a Second Amendment-themed club, but further review shows that the student may not have expressed his intent or the situation clearly.

As someone who has been through the process before, it’s incredibly important to come up with a clear plan before approaching officials about something like this. According to the school, the student said he wanted a student group to organize a change in their gun policy. They didn’t tell him he couldn’t do that, but that a simple goal like that didn’t fit the requirements for an official school group that may be eligible for funding. That’s a perfectly legitimate response from the school, if that’s the case.

Now, if he wanted to start a Second Amendment group that does a wide variety of activities and may also have a campaign to change the school policy, that’s a very different request. Knowing the difference between those two requests will make a difference between denial and approval – unless there is real bias going on.

Clearly, there are cases of extreme anti-gun bias in academia, so it’s not out of the question that there is a problem. However, I find it telling that the latest reports say the student admitted he really didn’t know about the process of starting a club and he plans to work on the statement of intent for the group. That tells me that the school’s defense is likely accurate.

NRA’s “Dom & Jerry” on Militarization of Law Enforcement

I’m not really pleased with NRA taking a position on this issue, so I’ll join the chorus of gun bloggers who have been condemning it. Bob Owens notes:

We’re giving real, selective-fire assault rifles and submachine guns to officers that mean well, but who were never trained to the point of competence, and law enforcement leaders are increasingly using these units in a wider range of operations in order to justify their expense.

I don’t know of anyone would would deny law enforcement officers the use of body armor, sidearms, or patrol rifles as needed in the course of their duties, as long as those officers are adequately trained. Unfortunately, many agencies are using military tactics and weapons in routine operations, where they are contributing to the risk of innocent people being hurt or killed, instead of serving and protecting.

Read the whole thing, because I think Bob hits the nail on the head here. On a humorous note, I had to add a like to the top-rated comment when NRA shared this on their Facebook page:

TopCommentNRA

I’m sure if I talked to someone there about this, they’d stress the importance of not alienating law enforcement. It is unfortunately true that we depend on law enforcement acquiescence in order to maintain our political power (politicians might be OK with going against the IACOP, but when the FOP has turned on us we’ve traditionally lost). Also, a decent portion of NRA’s membership are LEOs and former military. Despite that, I don’t think NRA needed to take a position on this issue. It may help with the cops, but probably a decent portion of NRA’s membership believes they are on the wrong side of this issue.

How are the Anti Gun Groups Really Doing?

Despite concerns I have about the anti-gun groups looking like they may actually be building momentum, Stephen E. Wright writing at “The Bluff” has taken a detailed analysis of the statistics, which show that the anti-gun groups actually aren’t doing as well as you might think:

1. Anti 2nd amendment FB groups are much smaller than pro 2nd amendment groups (like 10x)
2. Anti 2nd amdment FB groups are growing much slower than pro 2nd amendment groups (like 4x)
3. Anti 2nd amendment FB groups have an older following than pro 2nd amendment groups (like 25-44 for the NRA and 55+ for Bloomberg’s Everytown)

Go read the whole thing. Of course, it’s depressing that NAGR has so many Facebook followers, given my very low opinion of that group and its proprietor. But as Bitter mentioned, Brown is very good at creating the kinds of graphics that people share and that go viral. Either way, it does show that as much as they might be gaining media juice, we are too, and faster than they are. And with the more favorable demographics.

NRA Distances Itself from OC Statement

Chris Cox appeared on NRA News yesterday to clarify NRA’s earlier statement. He suggested it was unwise to characterize the behavior as “weird,” “foolish,” and “scary.” Personally, I don’t think they ought to feel the need to apologize for being right. Nonetheless, the media was having a field day with the statement, and started characterizing the statement to include all forms of carrying a firearm, and not just restricted to long gun OC under these specific circumstances.

That’s why I was a bit surprised they’d make a statement in the first place. It’s almost a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation, and you can fully expect the media and our opponents to distort it. Nonetheless, I think making the statement was the right thing to do, and I think they should have just stuck with the original statement.

Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks that. Over at National Review’s “The Corner,” Charles C.W. Cooke essentially says the same thing.

UPDATE: Bob Owens: “As a general rule of thumb, when you see a group—public, private, or government—issue a statement and then walk it back days later instead of immediately, it strongly suggests that the original comment is precisely what the group does think internally, but that they have found that position to be politically inconvenient. I’m not saying with any degree of certainty that this is what happened here, but I have my suspicions.

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