When it comes to issue advocacy or issue activism, I’ve never believed it’s beneficial to do battle with a caricature in your head about what the other side is like. You have to study their arguments, study their behaviors and inclinations, and how they organize themselves.

At the end of the day, if you don’t feel like you could successfully hold your own on their side of the debate table, using their arguments, you’re probably not being thorough enough in understanding your opponents. To defeat their ideas, and confront who they are, you need to actually know them.

That’s one reason I will read Ladd Everitt’s column. I want to share some tidbits from his latest:

The modern-day NRA is a white supremacist group that — because of the success of its lobbying at the federal, state and local level — is given broad legal authority by the government to sell weapons to the general public for profit.*

NRA is a multi-billion dollar a year organization, and only a small fraction of its revenue comes from the gun industry, either directly or indirectly. Brownells the company is, first and foremost, an accessories company. So is MidwayUSA. Both are some of NRA’s biggest corporate contributors, most of it being through the “Round-Up” program. That means that the donations are still sourced from individuals in small amounts. This is not bullshit. These are verifiable facts.

I’ve spent a lot of time at NRA meetings, much of which has been in environments frequented by ordinary members. I have never heard any white supremacist rhetoric in my entire history at Annual Meeting. In fact, I seem to recall last year NRA honored Josephine Byrd, the plaintiff on the Wilmington Housing Authority case, to the cheers of 20,000 or so apparent “white supremacists” in the room. I can also recall this past meeting, a line of people lined up to meet Colion Noir. Sound like the behavior of white supremacists? I don’t think so, especially given the number of people lined up were black. I also recall this supposed white supremacist pro-gun community rallying behind Shaneen Allen. I could go on.

I’m not going to claim that all 5 million NRA members are bastions of racial tolerance and understanding. Like any group with that many people in it, there are going to be some that are racist assholes. But I’m not really angry with Ladd for saying this. In fact, I hope he keeps doing it.

They are All-In at this point on a strategy to make conservative whites repeat gun customers for life (this includes white law enforcement officers as well, as recently highlighted by Radley Balko in the Washington Post).

Yes. Please keep this up, because this is not the rhetoric of a person who is concerned with winning. I think both Balko’s article and Ladd’s statement here are important. Our opponents have spent a lot of time and money trying to demonstrate to the public that the cops are on their side. There’s an important reason for that. Here you see them conceding the point. They might not be directly conceding it, but you can’t accept that Radley Balko has a point without also acknowledging a lot of NRA’s member support comes from cops and law enforcement families.

NRA has made a huge gamble, or perhaps that ought to be yuge gamble, in lashing their ship to Donald Trump. NRA’s bet is that essentially the Democrats will not come back from the wilderness by doubling down on the Obama coalition. To make a come back, they will need to soften their rhetoric and come back to the center, remembering that the Dems last time came back by a process that encouraged pro-gun Democrats.

My fear is and will remain that it’s a very risky bet, because I’m not sure the Dems are wrong about demographic trends. NRA hasn’t done as well as it needs penetrating outside its traditional demographic. It’s made some progress, but I worry not enough. But NRA has been playing Trump’s game since before Trump made it cool, and they are very good at it.

I will continue to rail against NRA dragging itself into the right culture wars, because I do ultimately think while we may see short term benefit in it, long term it’s not a winning strategy. But I’ve made big bets against the NRA before and turned out to be wrong.

Women’s March on NRA

The same people that organized the gigantic post-inaugural Women’s march decided to target NRA headquarters. The number I’ve heard is 212 people, including press. Pictures would seem to back that up.

As I saw on social media: “I’ve taken shits bigger than that rally.” That’ll show em! How many do you think will make the 17 miles to the DOJ building in DC? It’s a pretty long walk even to the Metro.

I will continue to assert: the left doesn’t give a shit about gun control. Ladd Everitt’s theme lately is trying to convince Progressives not to buy guns. He’s come seriously unglued over this. This is not what a successful movement looks like.

And why on earth would you march people 17 miles in July when you know you have commitment issues, and most of the people who care about gun control are old? The whole idea is a recipe for fail. But I’m not one to interrupt my opponent when they are in the middle of making a mistake.


I don’t know how many of you have followed David Brooks’ stepping in it with his story of introducing a working class friend to an upscale sandwich shop.

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

Ace of Ace of Spades has a somewhat different take on it:

By the way, where did David Brooks come by this non-college-educated “friend”? Last time I heard from him, he was asking the government to set up Adult Day Camps where people of different social classes could meet and mingle.

I’m already involved with such an Adult Day Camp, namely my local shooting club. It’s difficult for me to relate to this kind of class anxiety. I think a key part of getting along and enjoying new experiences is just not giving too much of a crap what other people think of you. Now, to a degree, we all care somewhat. I certainly don’t enjoy offending people, and try very hard not to poop in other people’s pools. But I don’t see what the issue is asking what a Padrino is, and couldn’t really care less if someone thinks I’m a rube for not knowing.

My father worked in an office, but only completed some college. My mother only had a high school education and was a full time mom. Both my grandfathers were tradesmen. Most of my father’s friends were either tradesmen or worked for a living. None of my grandmothers had more than a high school education. So I don’t get class anxiety being around wealthy elites or working class people. Both groups of people have their bullshit, even if it’s different bullshit. Both groups engage in “virtue signaling,” it’s just that their virtues are different. But somehow increasingly, the two groups can’t talk to each other. Why?

I blame social media.

Using Castile Case to Hawk Carry Guard? Are You Kidding Me?

NRA breaks its silence on the Philando Castile case:

Do I believe that Philando Castile deserved to lose his life over his [traffic] stop? I absolutely do not. I also think that this is why we have things like NRA Carry Guard, not only to reach out to the citizens to go over what to do during stops like this, but also to work with law enforcement so that they understand what citizens are experiencing when they go through stops like this.

I guess all things are taking a back seat to what’s really important: signing people up for Carry Guard. Radley Balko has an article in the Washington Post: “How the NRA’s allegiance to cops undermines its credibility on gun rights.

A law-abiding gun owner was shot and killed by a cop after doing everything he was supposed to do. It then took more than a year for anyone from the nation’s largest gun rights organization to comment, and when she did, she offered a vague, heavily qualified, quasi-criticism of the cop while implying not only that Castile contributed to his death but also that he might be alive if only he were carrying an NRA Carry Guard card.

Actually, Castile did a number of things that you should never do in a stop, but in my opinion the officer did not handle the situation well either. More training on both sides of a stop is a valid answer, but I really don’t like using this to hawk Carry Guard.

Where I really part with Balko is that I don’t want the NRA taking sides on the militarization of police any more than I want them to be militantly pro-police for the sake of taking sides a culture war that has nothing to do with gun rights. NRA has fostered police involvement for years through it’s LE program, and I’m fine with that. That’s part of NRA’s mission.

But I’ll be bluntly honest, I’m not happy where NRA’s PR firm, and Dana Loesch in particular, seem to be taking the organization.

The NICS Figures for June

What I think the June NICS figures boil down to is that there will never again be a better driver for gun sales than the Obama Administration alongside the “inevitability” of a Hillary Administration.

But the repeated media stories about an utter collapse in gun sales don’t appear to be true. We’re still nearly double what we were when Obama took office. Will it continue to drop? Time will tell, but I think as long as we live in uncertain times, sales will remain above historical levels.

Bucking Precedent

While I was taking a break over the week of the 4th of July holiday, a ruling was handed down by a federal court in California enjoining the state from carrying out its confiscation of standard capacity magazines. Dave Kopel’s article about the case is the best I’ve seen, so read the whole thing.

The court ruled that the Second Amendment was implicated in the magazine ban and such a ban failed intermediate scrutiny. To me this should trigger strict scrutiny, but intermediate scrutiny, prior to Second Amendment law, was still a pretty high standards if Courts actually applied it. The problem with what the lower courts have done is they’ve taken to just reclassifying rational basis review as some higher level of scrutiny, and so far SCOTUS has allowed them to get away with it.

The court here also ruled that the taking was an issue, that essentially the state can’t confiscate property without fair compensation.

It will take courts willing to buck precedent in the future if the makeup of SCOTUS improves, so that we can move cases forward. There are judges out there that think what the lower courts have done with Second Amendment law is wrong and are willing to help us address that. It should be noted that Judge Benitez, who wrote the opinion in this case, was appointed by George W. Bush. It is possible for us to improve our lot even with very imperfect presidents in the White House.

Good News in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has denied appeal on FOAC et al. v. Lower Merion Township, basically upholding the ruling in Commonwealth Court that their ordinance banning firearms and discharge in township parks was illegal.

Our current preemption law usually works when we can take these ordinances to court, but getting them there is difficult.

Also from Josh Prince: “It is time for the citizens of Pennsylvania to stop paying millions of dollars, each year, for a broken and duplicative system, when the FBI offer NICS to us for free.” PICS is awful. At some point I’d like to see a bill in Congress to eliminate POC states. That way there’s only one entity to keep an eye on. POC state agencies have gotten away with a lot worse malfeasance than the FBI, and the FBI does a much better job with uptime on NICS than the PSP does with PICS, which is very outage prone for as much as it’s costing taxpayers.

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