The Real Tea Party Protest

Due to an apparently large amount of confusion between various factions of the Philadelphia area conservative movement, the “Tea Party” protest that was held yesterday was not the actual event, sort of.  Bitter and I headed down to Independence Mall this afternoon, figuring if this event wasn’t happening, we could always get some lunch.  Well, it was happening.  See photos below.  Commentary is in the photos if you click on them.

After everything was over, we went for some lunch and walked around Old City a bit.  This even could have been much larger and better if accommodations could have been worked out between different groups.  It is, I hope, not a bad omen for the future of the GOP in the Philadelphia area, that they are unable to successfully organize something like this.

Texas Mother Outraged Over Eddie Eagle

The Garland, Texas school district does a series on safety during which they teach car and bike safety, taking care of yourself around strangers, life jackets, and not to touch a gun.  An angry mother has a problem with that last part.

Samone Howe of Garland brought home what appeared to be a typical coloring book; until her mom decided to page through it.

“Not only do I think it’s inappropriate to provide this information to my 5-year-old, but this is a program published by the NRA,” said Nicola Howe, Samone’s mother.

The coloring book includes illustrations of handguns and rifles.

“Having pictures of guns that children color in I think is sending the wrong message,” said Howe.

The book is called “Gun Safety with Eddie Eagle” and it’s published by the NRA, reports CBS station KTVT-TV in Dallas. It’s part of the Garland Independent School District’s Health and Safety Curriculum.

“If a student comes across a weapon, they’re supposed to stop, don’t touch the weapon and then run away and tell an adult. Those are the parts that are taught,” said Reavis Wortham with Garland I.S.D.

Howe is the first parent to complain in the 10 years the school has run the program. Apparently, the other parents are perfectly fine having gun safety taught through a program endorsed by the National Sheriffs’ Association and Association of American Educators, recognized by the National Safety Council, and cited as the best of more than 80 gun safety programs by the Journal of Emergency Nursing Online.

Philadelphia “Tea Party” Protest

Bitter reports back that the tea party is over, and only about 50 people showed up on Independence Mall.  This is disappointing, but probably due to the fact that the organizations that were organizing the protest could not agree on a time, with some saying it was today at noon, and others saying it was tomorrow at noon.

The important thing is, the crowd booed Senator Specter when his name was mentioned.  One of the speakers was Devon Generally, who is a dark horse challenger to Specter in GOP primary.  Bitter reports that he’s a remarkably good off the cuff speaker, saying, “After he wrapped up his campaign-type speech and the camera packed up, he returned to the mic and just started talking.  People started walking up to listen.  Folks on the benches nearby really perked up.  He made the small crowd chuckle a few times.  During this time, the one news crew that bothered to show came back and started filming again.”

Bitter said that he really put an emphasis on no longer just being right, but organizing.  We shouldn’t leave organizing to the professional community organizers of the left.  Even though he is a dark horse candidate, maybe we can see more of Mr. Generally in Philadelphia’s future.

Those Ineffective NRA Weenies

We are told the NRA are a bunch of ineffective weenies, who do nothing to fight for our gun rights, and exhibit demonstrably poor leadership on the issue.  Demonstrably poor leadership like capitalizing on Holder’s gaffe to actually ram a repeal of an “assault weapons” ban though an overwhelmingly Democratic controlled Senate.  It’s a local repeal, but if this passes the House in tact, and is signed by Obama, it’ll be legal to buy an AR-15 in DC with just a 4473 and NICS check.

The benefit of this, even if the gun rights language does not survive the conference committee, has been to force Senators, and soon House members, to put their cards on the table.  This lets us know far better where we stand in the 111th Congress than we did before.  Let’s look at some of our yes votes that were unexpected:

  • Bayh (D-IN) – Not always friendly to guns, but voted with us.
  • Bennet (D-CO) – We knew nothing about Bennet’s position on guns before this.
  • Byrd (D-WV) – Byrd can be tricky on guns sometimes.  He was with us on this.
  • Conrad (D-ND) – Not expected.  Good news.
  • Dorgan (D-ND) – Also not expected.
  • Feingold (D-WI)- Expected, but also can be tricky on guns.
  • Gregg (R-NH) – He stuck with his fellow Republicans.  We applaud him.
  • Hagan (D-NC) – F rated, so this is a real surprise.
  • Landrieu (D-LA) – Very good for this C rated Senator.
  • Lincoln (D-AR) – Excellent.
  • McCaskill (D-MO) – Pleasant surprise.  F rated and AHSA endorsed.
  • Pryor (D-AR) – Surprise
  • Reid (D-NV) – Expected, but worthwhile to point out Reid is mostly pro-gun.
  • Udall (D-CO) – Pleasant surprise
  • Udall (D-NM) – Pleasant surprise
  • Snowe (R-ME) – Held with party.  Unexpected.
  • Specter (R-PA) – Expected, but likes to split with Rs often.
  • Collins (R-ME) – Held with party. Unexpected.

Notables in the no column were Dick Lugar, the only Republican to vote against this, and Kirsten Gillibrand, who has now clearly calculated to retreat on gun rights a bit.  This is not to say the vote will be identical if an semi-auto ban comes up.  We’ll lose some of these yes votes, who represent politicians trying to split the middle on guns on an issue important to NRA, but not likely to be noted too heavily by the folks back home.  But we got the Senate on record, and soon the House.  That is tremendously valuable to us heading into the 2010 midterms.  We have to pick up pro-gun seats in 2010.  Don’t for a minute believe politicians like Obama, Pelosi, and their ilk won’t kneecap us at the earliest opportunity. The votes aren’t there right now, and we have to keep things that way.

For now, things are looking better than I thought. Congress didn’t just run from Holder’s remarks, they got in the car and peeled out in the opposite direction, choking him on burnt rubber.  This is not behavior politicians exhibit toward an ineffectual organization, especially after such a stunning blow in 2008.  But you know what?  I don’t credit NRA for this. They were just willing to exploit it on The Hill.  The credit goes to the millions of people getting active, buying guns, buying ammo, renewing their NRA memberships, getting concealed carry licenses, and generally engaging in activities that make politicians take notice.  NRA is nothing without engaged members, and at the end of the day, that’s what the politicians are really afraid of.  Let’s keep it that way.

Reid and Pelosi Both Say No to New AWB

Looks like both Pelosi and Reid are making it clear:

“Senator Reid would oppose an effort (to) reinstate the ban if the Senate were to vote on it in the future,” Manley told The Hill in an e-mail late Thursday night.

It was not immediately clear whether Reid would block the bill from the Senate, but his opposition casts serious doubt on its chances. Also, Manley noted that Reid voted against the ban in 1994 and again when it expired in 2004.

Don’t let this lull you into a sense of complacency.  We still have enemies in the Senate.  Diane Feinstein is vowing to continue fighting for a new assault weapons ban.  She won’t stop.  The progressives are formulating a plan to start replacing moderate and blue dog Democrats with solid progressives, and they will raise millions of dollars to do so.  The 2010 midterms are going to be vitally important.

Gilly Votes No

Kirsten, Kirsten, why have thou forsaken me?   Gillibrand voted no on the DC gun rights amendment.  I think at this point, it is safe to say that my public advocacy for her is at an end.  In the battle to influence Gilly, and convince her to keep her A rating on the gun issue, gun owners in New York and elsewhere have lost, and the New York Times, Newsday, and Michael Bloomberg have won.

I do not regret my early advocacy for her.  She came out of the house with an A-rating and a solid, if not long record of being pro-gun, including supporting key issues like ATF reform, Tiahrt, Heller, DC gun rights, and other things.  She is still likely to be better than the likely Democratic or Republican alternatives.  New York is not Tennessee, Texas, or even Pennsylvania on the gun issue.  It will be a long road back to somebody like Al D’Amato for New York gun owners.

It is a stark lesson that principles often take a back seat in politics.  I’ve had it on good word from people who have dealt with Kirsten Gillibrand that she was a real believer in the Second Amendment, and I have little doubt she is, but she’s obviously more of a believer in winning elections.  She’s early in her political career, and has been elevated, with very little money in her campaign fund, to a state wide Senatorial office.  She’s facing the very real prospect of a primary challenge from the left, followed up by a tough battle against her Republican opponent.  She will likely never be more politically weak than she is right now, and she might, ultimately, end up defeated.  I still hold out the possibility that the Kirsten Gillibrand who emerges from all this, won’t be anti-gun, but for now, she’s on her own.  If gun owners in New York want to make the strategic move of supporting her because she’s better than the awful alternatives, that’s up to them, but she has a lot to make up to me before I’ll support her again.

Inky Says Gun Control Too Hard

The Philadelphia Inquirer laments how difficult it is to pass even minor gun control laws in Pennsylvania in response to another shooting of a Philadelphia Police officer (happy ending — dead bad guy, live cop).  You know what would do a lot to protect the city’s police officers?  Locking up bad guys.  The man who shot Detective Ford was this guy.

Maybe one of the reasons it’s so hard to pass gun control in Pennsylvania is because we might have a point when we suggest the city is not even using the laws it already has to lock up violent and dangerous individuals.  If you refuse to prosecute dangerous individuals who commit gun crimes, how are more laws the city won’t use going to help?  If the City had prosecuted the gun crime Robinson committed, he would have been in state prison.  He would not have been on the streets to shoot at police officers.

Good Local News on Guns

A neighboring school district seems to be building an air rifle range:

Bensalem High School will soon have a marksmanship training site for the school’s Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

The Bensalem school board agreed Wednesday night to allow the site to be established in a vacant area above the high school pool.

Currently, officers’ training corps students go off-site to train with the air rifles, but transportation has been an issue because the kids had to get there on their own after school, district officials said.

The on-site training area will enable students to train with the 1.77-millimeter air rifles five days a week, Superintendent James Lombardo said. The more time they have to practice, the more competitive they can be during marksmanship competitions, he said.

Well, OK, they got 1.77mm wrong, it’s .177 caliber in English units, or 4.5mm in metrics.  You can’t expect too much of reporters on guns.  But I’m happy to hear the local high school will have an airgun range.  Hopefully they won’t have any people objecting like they did in San Diego.

Air guns are a great way to get people into the shooting sports.  The equipment to get started is inexpensive, ammunition is cheap, and you can easily practice in your basement if you have one (which I don’t, unfortunately).  I got my start on air guns as a kid.  I didn’t own my own firearm until I was 26, and that was only because I was pissed off at Bill Clinton trying to ban them.  Then I remembered I used to enjoy shooting, and it was trouble for my bank account from that point forward.

If we are to have a new generation of shooters, we should be working to help get airgun teams at our local schools.