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Gun Clubs & The Press

Last week, I ventured out to West Virginia for a funeral and managed to stop by a couple of libraries between family gatherings to do a little bit of genealogy research for Sebastian. Needless to say, these aren’t the kinds of circumstances where I planned to think about the gun culture and media outreach.

While scanning microfilm for an obituary I knew existed somewhere, I found this article in the community news section of the March 18, 1899 edition of the St. Mary’s Oracle.

Gun Club Publicity 1899

Now, you might not really care about the winners of the clay bird shoot at the Mountain State Gun Club 116 years ago, but the local press did care because they were all locals. The same applies today.

Sometimes we focus on the national or statewide political fights while we ignore one of the best angles we can use in the media – the fact that people in our clubs are great representatives for our cause simply because neighbors, friends, and family know them and know that they won’t hurt people with their guns. Even better, the club members don’t have to talk to the press or do anything other than show up for activities they already enjoy.

The NBC national news won’t care about your club’s rifle shooters that managed to sweep the regional competition, but the local paper will care about it if you include names and towns. There’s one thing that will still move hard copies of newspapers, and that is mostly the fact that they will cover local stories with local people who have friends and family willing to read about them.

A volunteer with another group noted that regardless of what we might consider the news-worthiness of a story, if she includes the names and towns of the volunteers involved, it almost always gets picked up by more of the smaller community publications. Yes, they are even read by others, as I learned when congratulated for being elected to an office of the unrelated group by a Friends of the NRA volunteer. There’s no reason that we can’t do the same thing.

So I would say that if you’re part of a gun club, or even if you run a commercial gun range that hosts competitions, why not have a community/public relations type role that will put out a simple press release talking about who wins? If you include a picture of the winners, then the paper will be far more likely to run the news. It’s a great community outreach tool that we have been far too willing to ignore.

Guided Bullets

Kind of takes the fun out of it, don’t you think?

Full link here.

Hobbyists and Collectors Generally Aren’t Politicians

New Jovian Thunderbolt has a write-up on the guns owned by potential 2016 Presidential candidates. Tam isn’t impressed, and neither is McThag. I’m actually surprised it’s that many. I think collectors, and by collector I don’t just mean gun collectors, tend to have certain personality traits. Hardcore hobbyists share many similar traits. The personality profile of a hard core collector or hobbyist pretty much prevent those types of people from running for office, because people running for office also have certain personality traits, and those are very different from a hard core hobbyist or collector.

So it’s not surprising that most of the candidates may have a gun or two, for hunting, personal protection, etc. But they aren’t that into it. In NJT’s list, you’ll notice there’s one gun guy, really two if you look at it, because I’d be surprised if Todd and Sarah Palin don’t own several, and I’d be surprised if Rand Paul owned more than a couple. The real gun guy on that list is Lindsey Graham, who’s picture is right there along side John McCain if you look up RINO in the dictionary. But Graham has always been solid on guns, because, at the least, he’s good at saying the things that convince us he’s a shooter. But even Graham, I’m betting, isn’t spending more than the odd weekend at the range, and maybe a few hunting trips throughout the year for fundraising and politicking. The life of a Senator, Governor or other high level politician doesn’t leave much time for “not politics.”

Most politicians don’t arrive at their pro-gun positions by being gun people. They arrive at that position because it is in their self-interest to do so. We are the ones who are charged with convincing them, and we do that by voting the issue, and persuading them that voting the way we want them to vote is in their self-interest. That can be the carrot, or the stick. Our side is generally much better at the stick, because¬†punishing enemies rallies our grassroots more than supporting friends. But punishing enemies can buy you a lot. The current GOP field all being pretty solid on the gun issue was bought with the heads of Dick Lugar, Mike Castle, and other squishy Republicans who lost their primaries. Obviously it would be better to have a real gun guy behind you in politics, but those are going to be a rare find.

It’s worth remembering that Reagan signed the current Armor Piercing Ammunition Law that Obama was trying to use to screw us. Later in life (whether he did, or his handlers did, is a matter of debate) he endorsed the Brady Act and Assault Weapons Ban. Bush sailed into office saying he’d sign an AWB renewal. John McCain was the first GOP nominee who was actually against an AWB, but he was in favor of banning private transfers, and he lost. Romney was for an AWB before he was against it, and he lost. We have slowly, but surely, corralled the GOP much closer to our position. Let us hope we can keep it there, and we might make real progress if things go our way in 2016.

Ultimately, all I care about from a Second Amendment viewpoint is a) who is a GOP president going to put on the Court, and b) will they sign pro-gun bills? Beyond that, I couldn’t care less how many guns he or she does or doesn’t own, short of what that signals about how serious they might be in their convictions.

Norway Looking to Repeal Lead Ammo Ban

They banned lead shot in 2005, now they are re-examining it:

The organisation criticised the ban on the grounds that it lacked a solid evidential basis and that the use of alternative ammunition posed animal welfare risks. Non-lead ammunition does not kill as cleanly or as efficiently as lead, and therefore causes unnecessary suffering to quarry, the JI has argued. It also maintains that the potential adverse effects of such substitute materials on health and the environment have not been studied in sufficient detail.

The typical substitute for lead is bismuth, which is nearly as dense as malleable as lead. The problem is that almost all the bismuth production is the world today is a byproduct of lead production. It’s only about twice as common as gold is. There is essentially no way for the shooting sports to function solely on lead substitutes. While Norway may be poised to repeal its law, we’re going backwards here, with Oregon considering a ban on lead ammunition.

Opportunity for More Olympic Shotgunners

According to this article, there are only about 30 international-style trapshooting ranges open to the public in the US. Fortunately for enthusiasts in Wisconsin, they are now home to the latest one.

I think this is great news because I’d like to see more Olympic shotgunners from the United States. Because the traditional version of trap shot here isn’t like the international version shot at the Olympics, we don’t really do as well on those sports as one would expect with a wider gun culture. I hope that an expansion of these ranges will help change that.

I know that some recreational shooters assume that Olympic competition style is boring, but I’m not sure that’s true.

Top Congressional Shooters…

It looks like Team Republican won yesterday’s Congressional Shoot-Out, but the Democrats have the best individual shooter in Minnesota’s Rep. Collin Peterson. Interestingly, the past VP candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan took home the award for best skeet shooting.

It would seem that either Pennsylvania’s Congressmen and Senator aren’t interested in shooting events or need some shooting lessons. Any local clubs want to make the offer to their Congressman to help him on his shooting scores? :)

Weird Gun Laws in India

I have to admit, I did a double take when I saw this headline come across my Google Alerts: “Rifle association hit by polls, forced to cancel national event.” I was concerned¬†that something horrible had happened overnight or during the morning, ahead of the NRA Annual Meeting, forcing them to cancel everything (as happened in Denver the year Columbine happened). But no, it turns out this article is about the National Rifle Association of India. The problem? A national “all India” match came too close to election day, and apparently election day has special consequences for gun owners in India:

It has had to cancel an all-India shooting event because its members received notices from the police asking them to surrender their weapons during the election period.

This, despite the Commission (EC) exempting the sports body from impounding its weapons during the poll season.

Indians have to surrender their firearms during elections? We’re somewhat fortunate in this county that such a thing would be impractical (where would they put them all?) because I could totally see the antis trying to do something like that here.

“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.

Machine Guns & Public Television

I noticed this story about a Friends of NRA event in the midwest that gave donors the opportunity to shoot one of the Gatling guns that Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders used at San Juan Hill plus some machine guns, and I had to say that I’m impressed a public television program actually aired the event in Milwaukee.

This is one of those opportunities that makes our anti-gun opponents cringe – men, women, and children have huge smiles on their faces as they fire round after round into the berm.

The Surge in Teenaged Shotgunners

It’s not really the biggest deal to say that Minnesota’s fastest growing high school sport is trap shooting. If not many people started shooting it in the first place, it doesn’t take much to make it grow quickly.

However, when they put out there that only 30 students across the state participated in clay shooting as an official high school sport in 2008, and now that number is 6,100, you have to admit that’s one heck of a growth spurt in just 6 years.

With all of those teens using guns, it has also managed to remain Minnesota’s safest high school sport. That’s not something the gun control crowds want to hear about – responsible teens using firearms in a responsible way.

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