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Shannon Watts: “A Self-Promoting Tyrant”

Daily Caller has run an article about woes in the gun control movement. It looks like Shannon Watts is running people off:

“Two beliefs unite nearly all gun control supporters: background checks save lives, and Shannon Watts is a self-promoting tyrant.”

Fake News? Or someone leaked to conservative media, knowing there’d be deniability. Possibly a shot fired across the bow at Shannon Watts? A warning to mend her ways? If I were on their side I’d want to be rid of her because, as I’ve said many times, she’s just not very good at what she does. Starting with picking the wrong side if what she was interested in was self-promotion.

Ms Watts: if you were looking for opportunities for shameless self-promotion, you really can’t beat the pro-gun side. I would have suggested taking up IDPA or USPSA. Or maybe establish your own state group and intimidate your way to power and influence (far more, I might add, than you have as Shannon Watts, gun control advocate).

You’d have tons of attention. Don’t even get me started on the potential a YouTube channel might hold! You’d have thousands more followers than you could ever hope to have with Everytown. Additionally, you can’t swing a dead cat in the gun rights movement without hitting other shameless self-promoters. We’re used to it. We don’t complain much. And the opportunity for networking and perfecting that craft are far greater than anything you’ll find in the very tiny gun control movement. You know, it’s not too late, Shannon. I can guarantee you’ll rise to far greater heights as a chick with a gun than you will as a chick who wants to control them. So what do you say?

The Lead Issue Will Continue Dogging Us

This study on lead exposure, which was highlighted by Bloomberg’s propaganda mouthpiece “The Trace,” is more of a compilation than original work, but I have little doubt that people who frequent indoor shooting ranges have higher blood lead levels than people who don’t. Just because these studies are being pushed by people who would love to shut down every shooting range in the country doesn’t mean the issue is fake. Here are the facts we face:

  • There are no good alternatives for lead in bullets. There are other metals with similar properties, but they are considerably more scarce. It probably wouldn’t take the shooting community long to shoot up, for instance, all the bismuth that can be dug out of the earth, assuming we could even afford it.
  • Bullets with steel cores, and cores made up of other less malleable but more common metals are problematic because they can be classified as armor piercing under the law. Additionally, they will tend to tear up range equipment more readily than softer lead core bullets. Typically lead free bullets are made of copper and copper alloys, but copper is more expensive and doesn’t perform as well as lead.
  • There is currently no reliable alternative to lead styphnate and lead azide in primers. Well, there is one: good old mercury fulminate and potassium chlorate. But obviously mercury isn’t any better regarded for its environmental friendliness than lead, and these types of primers are corrosive. There have been advances in Non-Toxic (NT) primers, and they are getting better. The typical NT primers use Diazodinitrophenol (DDNP) instead of lead styphnate or lead azide. The big issue with NT primers has been shelf stability and reliability.

Atomic lead is not nearly as dangerous as compounds of lead. The byproducts of primer combustion is vaporized atomic lead, and lead oxide. Lead oxide is readily absorbed by the human body and is mobile in soils. To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever done a study to determine whether increases in blood lead levels or range contamination was primarily from primer byproducts, or from atomic lead found in bullets. I’d wager that most, and probably the vast majority of the lead exposure is coming from the primers. I think in the future it will be important to know because lead in primers is probably a solvable problem.  The military is doing the bulk of the work trying to develop and study the performance of lead-free primers, and I expect in a few decades, there’s a good chance we’ll all be doing most of our shooting with NT primers, even if carry ammo still uses lead-based primers. The problem of elemental lead in bullets I believe can be successfully managed with good range practices. I suspect the primers are actually the bigger health and environmental issue.

Pete Brownell in the News

Pete Brownell is now NRA President, replacing Allan Cors. President of NRA follows a predictable pattern, so it was known that this was the order of things. The only time the order has ever been interrupted was for Charlton Heston back in the 1990s. Being a native Iowan, Pete Brownell did an interview with Radio Iowa.

I’m sure there will be those who will try to make hay of the fact that Brownells is “the evil gun industry,” but reality is if you shoot, it’s practically impossible to have never bought something from them.

Brownell is the youngest President of NRA, at age 48. I do not know him personally, but I have talked to him briefly, and was impressed. Every Brownell employee I’ve ever met has had the down to earth, working for a family business attitude you’d expect from Iowans. I think Pete Brownell will be a great NRA President.

The Reaction

Almost immediately upon hearing the news about Bob Owens, I knew three things were certain:

  1. There would be conspiracy theorists on our side who would suggest foul play.
  2. Some anti-gun folks would exhibit some truly vile behavior.
  3. Some pro-gun folks would exhibit some truly vile behavior.

But I’m happy to say, for the most part, people on both sides are being thoroughly decent, and so far it’s just a small, loud contingent being pricks. Even though CSGV published something about it, and some of their folks had vile reactions, the most highly rated post on their Facebook page exhibited decency:

My sympathy goes out to his family. Male suicide by gun is very common after the age of 45 for men. Power doesn’t come from guns, it comes from being connected to our emotions and accepting feelings like sorrow, depression, fear. Lots of older men need healing.

I’ll forgive the straw man embedded there. It is discouraging to have been going at this so long that the reaction was as predicable as day and night. But it is good to see that outside the usual suspects, people are still able to remain decent human beings.

Horrible News

I met Bob Owens at an industry event, and usually saw him at the NRA Annual Meeting and exchanged pleasantries. I knew him, but not well. I was an admirer of his work as an amateur blogger, and also when he became a professional gun writer. I had no idea the demons he must have wrestled with. It seems like not many other people did either. Bob always seemed a jovial, outgoing person to me.

This is absolutely tragic, and a great loss to the community. It’s even more so to his family: he leaves behind a wife and two daughters, 10 and 17. I have to be honest, that’s very hard for me to understand and accept. I am fortunate that whatever demons I wrestle with have never driven me to thoughts of suicide. But I know that’s not the same for everyone.

If you’re out there struggling with life to that degree: please seek help. Talk with your friends and family. Even a stranger is better than the alternative. I have a standing order with my family that if for some reason I ever start getting squirrely, they should remove the firearms. There’s no shame in getting help and making arrangements to protect yourself and loved ones.

Someone has set up a Gofundme for his wife and kids. I will be donating. If you were a fan of Bob’s work, I think helping out his family is the least we can do.

Bloomberg’s $20 Million Mistake

This is a lovely harsh rebuke to the Bloomberg allies who are trying to convince their supporters that the evil Republicans are to blame for not having total background checks on every single firearms transfer. They point out that, no, the gun control groups pushing the initiative are 100% to blame for the “mistake.”

NRAAM Participation Trends

I really wish that the anti-gun groups would take an actual detailed account of how many participants they have their anti-NRA protests for annual meeting each year so we could compare. Somehow, I don’t think their graph would look like this one.

This is based on data I’ve been tracking since I attended my very first NRA Annual Meeting in 2004. (I just realized the error in the title with the years. I clearly forgot to update that, but the numbers include Atlanta in 2017, even though that also says 2016 at the bottom. Sorry! It’s fixed in the spreadsheet for next year…)

Other data points that I keep in the spreadsheet that aren’t in this chart is how much the NRA annual meeting has grown since that first one I attended way back when. It’s now 33.5% larger in terms of attendance compared to Pittsburgh 2004. Each time we revisit a city, the number of attendees has gone up between 14% and 44%.

It’s almost like the more that people learn about what NRA is really doing, the more they are on board.

NRA Legal Seminar Catches Press Attention

I suspect it’s a good thing when media that specifically serves the legal profession covers the NRA law seminar and the fact that it qualifies for CLE (continuing legal education) credit.

Even though many attendees were ready to open fire, if the need arose, the daylong event looked and sounded like most other CLEs.

I have to admit, it would be nice if they would have mentioned it’s an annual event that will be offered in Dallas next year. I’m sure there are plenty of pro-gun lawyers in Georgia who didn’t learn about it in time and would love to get out to the next one.

The Springfield & Rock River Arms Controversy

I’ve gotten a lot more circumspect since the height of our burning heretic days. After the decline in the national discourse, I’m flat out of enthusiasm for it unless it’s absolutely necessary. I did not wish to enter the debate early, without all the facts.

I do still believe we shouldn’t suffer traitors, and if an organization were to cross us, like I believe the Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association did, the torches and pitchforks should rightly descend upon them. As it is, both Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms both claim they were not aware of IMFA’s actions, and essentially killed the group. Do I believe it? I’ll be honest, I’m skeptical that the two organizations that seem to be its primary funders didn’t have contact with their lobbyists on a critical bill. But I have no proof that their claim isn’t true. Additionally, they’ve put the heads of those directly responsible on a platter and have presumably learned their lesson. I don’t see any need to burn SA or RRA to the ground over this.

If the bill can be killed somewhere else, which I understand it probably can, I’m OK with snuffing the torches and giving them a chance to show they’ve learned.

A Funny Inside Joke, But …

When you go to a rally, put on their gear, and hold their signs, you’ve um… joined their rally. I don’t blame anyone for going to cover a Mom’s Demand Action rally, watch the inanity, or record it for public consumption, but I’m pretty sure adding to their numbers by putting on their t-shirts and posing for their photo ops is a bad idea. I’m not sure who the joke’s on here, but I have a feeling it’s not on Shannon Watts.

UPDATE:

Thinking about this a bit more, if you really wanted to get a group of people together and screw with Shannon Watts — make sure everyone has a fake but not obviously fake e-mail. If you want to get bold, throw in a few that might not be obvious to an anti, but would be hilarious to anyone in the know. Sign up using the fake e-mail. Get their t-shirt and signs. Get a few more for the kids back home. Then leave the venue, find a trash can, take a picture of their signs and gear in the trash can, and then post the picture somewhere they are sure to see it. Effect?

  • They will know they were had.
  • They’ll upload a bunch of false e-mails to their list, which might raise suspicion with their list provider when they bounce.
  • They’ll get a second “We’ve been had” moment when they get the bounces.
  • They’ll probably be denied that tactic for subsequent years, since they won’t want to waste a bunch of money on t-shirts knowing gun folks might be around looking to trash them.

If they insist that you put the shirts on to be photographed, the gig is up. Don’t do it. But giving them a fake e-mail is still worth a hoot. I’m sure you guys can think up plenty of funny e-mails in the comments that wouldn’t look obviously fake.

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