The Smear Campaign Against American Gun Owners Continues

But now, it’s backed with science!

The research, published in PLoS One, was led by Dr Kerry O’Brien from The University of Manchester and Monash University and used data from a large representative sample of white US voters.

After accounting for numerous other factors such as income, education and political ideology, the researchers found that for each one point increase (on a scale from one to five) in symbolic  there was a 50 percent increase in the odds of having a gun in the home and a 28 percent increase in support for policies allowing people to carry concealed guns.

If you support gun rights, or are a gun owner, you’re a racist, and these people aim to prove it! They aim to convince your progressive friends that they aren’t out to disarm fellow citizens, but are out to disarm xenophobic racists! And that makes it OK. Talk about coming to your conclusion and then setting out to prove it, which is kind of the opposite of science.

However, the authors note that this reduction is unsurprising as opposition to bans on guns equates to self interest on behalf of those who already own a gun and do not wish to give it up. And racism was already strongly associated with having a gun in the home.

Admit it, Neandertheal, you’re a racist! Kneel before the power of our science! There’s no way, if you advocate for gun rights, you’re getting out of being a racist in our study.

Dr O’Brien said: “According to a Pew Research Center report the majority of white Americans support stricter , but the results of our study suggest that those who oppose  reform tend to have a stronger racial bias,  tend to be politically and ideologically conservative and from southern states, and have higher anti-government sentiment.”

But they’ll completely ignore the racist history of gun control. No, let’s not talk about that at all. Own it, opponents of the regime. You’re the racists. Face it!

These people need to be shamed. They need to be exposed and never hear the end of it, and by people who know and understand science better than they do.

WaPo Says Bloomberg “Misleading” in His Virginia Attack Ads

Give credit to the WaPo for this one, they just rated Bloomberg’s effort to attack Ken Cuccinelli on gun rights 3 “Pinocchios” out of a possible 4. In fact, in their minds, these attack ads by anti-gunners should be considered to have “[s]ignificant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.”

They note that nothing that the ad complains about in regards to Cuccinelli’s record has anything to do with the murderers they show on the screen. Unfortunately, that won’t keep Bloomberg’s $3 million spend off the air.

Convincing the Legal Community

An important part of building success for the Second Amendment, over the long term, rests in making good arguments within the legal community. We lament the current state of federal rulings in Second Amendment cases, but it’s worth noting that most of the judges on the bench today spent most of their careers believing the Second Amendment was a meaningless anachronism, and old habits die hard. There is a chance with the next generation. Jonathan Goldstein has an article in The Philadelphia Lawyer discussing the issue of gun rights in a way that’s not going to come off as mouth foaming to the uninitiated:

These and other uncertainties in the law must be clarified. Gun owners working hard to comply with the law shouldn’t have to live with the constant threat of prosecution for vague offenses or uneven application of the law. Instead, our statutes and regulations should serve as a clear guide to help principled gun owners comply with the law.

In short, if we treat law abiding gun owners as the respect-worthy citizens that we are – mainstream people exercising a constitutionally protected civil right – we can find common ground to keep guns away from inappropriate people and demonstrate to any observer that compliance with the law is worth the trouble.

As they say, read the whole thing. I know a lot of people aren’t comfortable with the idea of “inappropriate people,” but “gun rights for felons and schizophrenics” isn’t a hill I think most of us are particularly keen to die on, especially not in publications meant to persuade the legal community.

How to Lose Friends and Make Enemies

There is a modest goal of legalizing open carry in Texas. Maybe I’m crazy, or just don’t have a true appreciation for all the subtleties of the use profanity for making one’s point, but I’m going to suggest outbursts like this are doing nothing except helping move more sensible activists farther away from the goal of legal open carry in Texas:

What is the goal of this? The dispute seems to be over the fact that the officers are arresting people for carrying antique firearms openly, which as far as I know is allowed in Texas. But this is a reason we have civil rights lawsuits. The purpose of civil disobedience is to act in a manner that draws attention to your plight and gains public sympathy for it. Its purpose is also to rouse people to action, by showing there are others out there who not only believe in the cause, but are willing to risk prison for it. This is not going to rouse anyone to action. It’s likely going to just alienate people, discourage them from joining our cause because they don’t want to be associated with things like this, nor antagonize law enforcement unnecessarily. None of these things are a winning formula.

Had this been New York, I think a carefully arranged act of civil disobedience would be admirable and appropriate. But even for civil disobedience, this isn’t the way to do it. This is also Texas, and not New York.

Folks need to look at where this issue really is. One quarter of Americans are still perfectly fine with banning handguns, and we still have a plurality that would like “more strict” gun laws, with only 13% wanting fewer laws. We don’t need to be fighting our fellow citizens, and certainly not law enforcement, every step of the way when it comes to moving the ball forward. There is a time and place for civil disobedience, but that place isn’t Texas, and the time isn’t over trying to get open carry legalized.

Henry Rifles Moving Some Production Out of Jersey

From Outdoor Pressroom, it looks like Sandy gave Henry Repeating Arms some motivation to move manufacturing for some of its .30-30 and .45-70 cal. rifles to Wisconsin. They also add that the work ethic and support of a hunting/gun culture is just as much a reason to flee New Jersey.

No More Concealed Carry for Neighborhood Watch

Sanford, Florida plans to announce that anyone who has a concealed carry permit and chooses to carry a firearm may not participate in the Neighborhood Watch programs. They can carry their guns all they want, but they can’t be acting under any “authority” of Neighborhood Watch.

If you want to contribute to the safety of your community, you have to leave your gun behind and put your personal safety at risk.

While I do think that George Zimmerman made some less-than-perfect decisions on his infamous evening out, I don’t really see how anything that Sanford is proposing helps the situation.

Sanford officials claim that the ban on people legally carrying firearms will revitalize the image of the program that has reportedly suffered following the trial, but I’m not sure how telling me that I should give up my personal protection and take one for the team is an incentive to participate.

The real message they are sending here is that even though Floridians who are legally carrying a concealed firearm have already proven themselves to be law-abiding citizens, they cannot be trusted when it comes to neighborhood public safety issues. Do they think that concealed carry holders are going to give up the guns or give up the program first? I can pretty much assure you, it won’t be their personal protection.

Philadelphia Gun Club in the Crosshairs Again

Jeff Soyer reports that the EPA is looking to go after the Philadelphia Gun Club, which is not actually in Philadelphia, but rather in Bucks County, in Bensalem Township. The real beef is that PGC is a pigeon shooting club, and a lot of the club’s neighbors are unhappy with the attention it’s bringing to the neighborhood, and with finding dead birds on their property. While I get PGC has a long tradition (Ernest Hemingway was a member), I’ve long maintained that Bensalem probably isn’t the best place in the world to pick a fight over pigeon shooting. Looks like the EPA is going to step in:

David Sternberg, an EPA spokesman, said the agency was required by statute to conduct a preliminary assessment of the Philadelphia Gun Club after a “citizen petition.”

The petition was filed by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, a nonprofit that seeks to protect the watershed. The organization said it conducted tests earlier this year that revealed high levels of lead in samples taken from sediment on the banks of the river along the club’s property. The club has been in operation for more than 100 years.

The article notes that the club decided to pay off the petitioner previously, to the tune of 15 grand. They never should have done such a thing. Most other clubs don’t have that kind of money and you’ve just taught anti-gun and anti-shooting activists that this can be a successful method for shaking down clubs. That kind of Danegeld would bankrupt most clubs.

New York Pols to Social Media: Crack Down on Gun Sales

A few New York assembly folks are calling on social media companies like Instagram to crack down on gun sales. This is quite likely an overblown problem, but it’s worth noting that the gun control movement is still pushing the “OMG! People are selling guns on the Internets!” meme. It’s capitalizes on the fact that most people don’t know the law, and reinforces the notion that our gun laws amount to an unregulated wild west. While it is technically legal to ship, via common carrier, to a non-licensee in your own state, practically none of the common carriers will accept firearms that aren’t being shipped by or to an FFL, and the U.S. mail is only an option for FFLs. So really, these are face-to-face transactions at the end of the day.

UPDATE: More on this subject over at the Daily Beat.

Every Issue Has Its Center

In any political struggle, there’s going to be extremes. Most people lie somewhere in the middle between two viewpoints on any given issue. Electoral success can generally be determined by how well you manipulate that vast middle into supporting your position, or at the least not getting too enthusiastic about opposing you. This is something folks in the conservative movement need accept if they want to start winning elections.

What success gun rights have enjoyed has been achieved by fielding large numbers of single-issue voters, while simultaneously not motivating the vast middle to do much of anything in opposition. Whether this is because they share vague agreement or tepid disagreement is of little consequence; the point is we offer an upside to politicians for agreeing with us that has very little downside. We certainly face extremists in the gun control movement, but in terms of numbers, the passion is on our side of the issue, and anyone who is honest about it will acknowledge that.

Now lets bring in in the “War on Women.” The “War on Women” is largely a dog whistle from the left to the vast middle about control of reproductive choices. The calculation is that they are closer to the center of the issue than social conservatives, and they can sway the middle on this kind of rhetoric. The message is that the evil Republicans don’t want you to have any reproductive choices, while Democrats are all for whatever floats your boat. What concerns me about the “War on Women,” is even Bloomberg is jumping on that bandwagon (article highlighted in yesterday’s post). The question a lot of socially conservative voters need to ask themselves is why this is a winning formula lately. I think it’s a winning formula because reproductive choice is an issue that sways the middle in favor of the left.

The middle has shifted on a lot of social conservative issues. I don’t think this means social conservatives need to accept the radical pro-choice position of Democrats on this issue, but they do need to accept that abortion being either legal or illegal in all circumstances is a minority position and work within that framework. Coming out and saying abortion is wrong in cases of rape or incest is an extreme position. It’s like arguing that we ought to completely deregulate machine guns, or stand firm on gun rights for bank robbers. You can come up with beautifully constructed moral and ideological frameworks for why this ought to be truth, but that truth has exactly jack to do with winning elections, and winning elections is in the only way you get to set policy in a republican system of government. In most cases, a viable candidate is only going to carry some of your ideology. If you’re very lucky, he or she will successfully carry a lot of it, and how much of that they can carry depends on factors hardly related to your moral, ideological, or philosophical, views. It’s much more related to likability, marketability, and an ability to break down complex and difficult topics into soundbites that appeal to the instincts of people who barely pay attention.

Four years ago a fairly strong pro-gun social conservative, Bob McDonnell, handily defeated a moderate Democrat, Creigh Deeds to win a four year term as Governor of Virginia. Today, a very strong pro-gun, social conservative, Ken Cuccinelli, is looking likely to lose to a very strong anti-gun progressive, with numerous skeletons in his closet. The Democrats are playing straight from the “War on Women” playbook, and they are winning. Even Bloomberg is joining that bandwagon because he knows gun control won’t motivate anybody. That’s saying something. Whether we who oppose the left want to listen or not is another matter, but it bears directly on whether we’re going to start winning the important elections again. Social conservatives don’t need to give up all their issues, but it’s high time they started thinking about the same tradeoffs other issues have had to deal with in order to actually win.

Bigger Money in Virginia

Mike Bloomberg is putting nearly $3 million into Virginia’s elections across different races now. Politico is also reporting that Bloomberg has made smaller investments in lower level legislative races.

For those gun owners who say that they aren’t concerned about the gubernatorial winner because the legislature will keep the gun control threat at bay, this may possibly change your calculations.