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Currently Browsing: How Not to Win

Another Case of Open Carry Activism Fail

How many kids, teachers, and school administrators were “educated” by this?

The district responded to the flood of complaints it received by revising its policy to require schools to go into immediate lockdown if somebody is openly carrying a gun nearby.

No state or city laws prevent the open carry of legal firearms in Hillsboro. Had the man been on school property, he would’ve been arrested.

Surely the parents of the children are now much more supportive of guns in public and around schools as well. All it took was someone OCing a shotgun near the school to convince them! My favorite part of this?

It turns out, his mother is a teacher at Century High. He said she doesn’t know it was him carrying the gun, and that she’ll likely be upset when she finds out.

No word yet on whether he was grounded.

The Latest Not-Really-Pro-Gun Group

Tomorrow, a new group claiming to represent America’s gun owners will launch that claims to be for “SANE” gun ownership policies. Their goal is to be an alternative to NRA on everything, including safety and firearms education. Yet, they also proudly declare that none of them are experts on firearms handling. That’s not their only disconcerting claim.

R + P CEO Waylan Johnson, a petroleum magnate, tells Whispers he hopes the group will also set itself apart by being more focused on members than the NRA.

“The NRA represents the firearms industry. There’s not a lot of membership input,” Johnson says.

This was a quote, presumably said with a straight face, by a man declared as CEO by an organization that, according to their own “Join” page, doesn’t appear to have a mechanism for the membership to vote on the leadership. Meanwhile, the supposedly firearms industry-run NRA sent out 1,718,786 ballots for NRA members to vote on the organization’s leadership this year.

There are so many over-the-top claims that this group is making, it’s really laughable that any reporter gave their PR girl the time of day. For example, their number one priority for use of member dollars? “Helping to Identify and Get Treatment for the Mentally Ill to prevent firearms abuse” So are they a mental health organization with professionals on staff to identify mentally ill people? Everything I’ve found about the leaders indicate that their backgrounds are in IT, energy, and other business ventures. How will these non-medical professionals designate appropriate treatment that will supposedly focus on preventing firearms abuse? They say the money will be spent on such treatment, so prospective members have a right to know about these programs they claim they fund.

This new American Rifle & Pistol Association says that their number two priority in using member dollars is to “Promoting Programs Aimed at Getting Illegal Guns off the Streets,” yet they tell us nothing about how they define an illegal gun or what those programs look like. Does that mean member dollars will be used to fund gun buybacks that often collect and destroy antiques and collectible firearms? Does it mean to support a registration system for all gun owners? There are all sorts of things such a broad message could mean.

The group wants you to know that they will give members “Representation before Elected Officials on behalf of the Voice of the R+P Membership,” presumably by the leadership team who have never made any donations of any kind to any officials as documented by OpenSecrets.org and the Texas Ethics Commission. In fact, the leaders want members to feel good about the fact that they have no background in lobbying and that they are NOT experts in the new field they will start lobbying in. Talk about convincing members that they are in the very best of hands…

For a group that claims to want to make sure that gun owners are trained in “SANE” handling, they so far refuse to share any information about their supposed “competency training and certification courses” that will presumably be developed by their non-expert leaders who are not actually elected or accountable to members. Unlike NRA-ILA’s library of resources on various issues that explain topics and give a general indication of their positions on the specifics of firearms policies, R+P provides no such information for prospective members. I guess their idea of “member-centric” is to keep prospective members in the dark about their actual planned lobbying efforts so that it’s all a big secret until you hand over the cash.

I’m curious how long the 15 minutes will last for this new astroturf group. I’m also curious as to how long they will continue the Horrible Capitalization Abuse on Their Website.

UPDATE: It turns out that the Enemies Of Proper Capitalization Use are also not such fans of gun ownership as they claim. (Thanks to reader Andrew for the tip.)

Here are the screenshots that show the Connecticut converted to Texan Chairman of American Rifle & Pistol Association who is an Obama supporter who is pushing Bloomberg/MAIG’s gun control campaigns while helping to promote Moms Demand Action, a group trying to pressure companies to ban lawful concealed carry so gun owners can’t carry in public anymore and convince gun retailers to stop selling the most popular guns in the country.

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Mike Bloomberg isn’t the only gun control supporting New Yorker that Peter Vogt promotes, as evidenced by his repeated sharing of a NY-based website run by people who believe that Senators supporting Second Amendment rights deserve the label of child killers.

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Vogt is also a fan of New York lawmakers who are more interested in name-calling against gun owners than actually trying to have a conversation about concerns for Second Amendment rights.

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These are the publicly shared views of American Rifle & Pistol Association’s leader, and it certainly does not appear to reflect someone who is actually concerned with protecting the individual right to bear arms. These shared materials reflect an ally of groups that would take your guns without a trial, ban licensed concealed carry owners from even getting a cup of coffee at the most common coffee house around, and who thinks that gun owners with concerns about federal legislation are just little jackasses.

Just like the concept of “member-centric,” I don’t think that the leaders of American Rifle & Pistol Association actually understand the concept of being pro-Second Amendment.

NAGR Steps into Pennsylvania Politics

I’m just going to say “not helping.”

It’s clear that Dudley Brown knows nothing about the political climate here in Pennsylvania. I haven’t seen any PA-specific approval ratings lately that indicate any kind of serious plunge or distrust of Obama, but aside from that issue, their messaging for a blue state is terrible. Brown chooses to focus on questioning whether Pat Toomey is a true conservative. Well, in a state like Pennsylvania, being less than perfectly conservative (or at least perceived as such) is a good thing. It’s clear that Pennsylvania doesn’t want hardcore conservatives.

Fortunately, according to PoliticsPA, the ad buy is small and limited to cable.

Don’t assume that this is a “support Toomey no matter what he does to us” kind of post. I’m really not a fan at the moment, and I’m not going to forget it when the next election comes about. But as a person who actually lives in the suburbs of Philly that make such a huge difference in Pennsylvania elections, I can say that this messaging is off. I’m just glad that it is years out from the election. Hopefully Brown will stay out of Pennsylvania politics again because he clearly doesn’t know how to message to voters here. Portraying Toomey as someone the right expects to be an extreme conservative isn’t the way to win votes of squishy GOP and moderate voters.

Don’t Taze Me Bro

A counter-protester at the MAIG rally in Concord, NH today ended up getting tazed by police when he allegedly tried to interrupt one of the speakers on the podium. From the article:

Musso was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and two counts of simple assault, allegedly against a person who was attending the rally and a police officer. He was held on $5,000 cash bail, and will be on arraigned June 19.

A great example of how not to win.

Alan Gottlieb Lobbies Grassroots to Support Toomey-Manchin Amendment

Sebastian made a comment while reading the Toomey language for his gun amendment that, while there are flaws, it appeared that it was written by someone with more gun knowledge than your average congressional staffer. Turns out that Alan Gottlieb is officially taking credit for having his staff help write the amendment based on this video.

I have some issues with this recording for a couple of reasons.

One, he misrepresents the ability to buy guns across state lines. At 3:03, Gottlieb says, “Another important one, you cannot now legally buy a handgun in a state that you don’t live in. If you’re not a resident of that state, you can’t buy a handgun. Under the so-called background check bill, you’ll be able to buy a handgun in all 50 states. As long as you buy from a licensed dealer, you can buy it from anywhere you want.” He adds more later, claiming that with “a gun license of any kind from any state, under the Toomey-Manchin proposal, there is no background check.”

Two, he promises that none of the 4473s on concealed carry licensees from FFLs will go to the government. Gottlieb says, “you have to fill out the 4473 form, it stays in the dealer’s file and never even gets called into the government.”

These two statements are just false. In fact, on the registry/4473 point, Dave Kopel’s initial review of the Toomey-Manchin amendment points out that the registry ban doesn’t include records from FFLs who close down and therefore must send their 4473s to the federal government for storage.

Beyond the actual policies in dispute, there’s a question of the strategy of this speech. Gottlieb asks dinner attendees to back this amendment specifically to advance their partisan agenda. I’m all for political reality and dealing with the fact that some people are willing to trade away our freedoms, but I truly do view defending the Bill of Rights as a non-partisan fight. I don’t want any party sitting comfortably thinking the Second Amendment is just something to take advantage of when it fits their agenda.

Gottlieb also tells the audience that these are all “secrets” to the bill – including a promise that a restoration of rights amendment is going to be presented and already has the votes – that he doesn’t want any gun control proponents to know about until after the amendment is official. So, then, help me understand why that would be announced in a room full of people while a video camera is going. (Clearly, this isn’t a hidden camera. It appears to be right in front of him, even if handheld.) That doesn’t seem very strategic to me. If CNN runs this video on repeat, those votes have likely disappeared.

My outrage moment, though, happened when Gottlieb told the crowd that every day, at every gun show, men who can’t speak English go in and purposefully load up with guns without showing ID and without ever undergoing background checks. Gee, thanks, Alan. As many gun shows as I have attended running a table, I have never witnessed anything like that happening. In fact, I have seen far more gun sellers refuse sales that they just don’t feel comfortable with than I have seen even a normal, ID-showing private sale.

Look, I get why some think that pro-gun folks should have been involved in the process of writing this amendment to try and keep innocent gun owners out of jail. That’s a reasonable argument to me. But, that’s very different from calling the Toomey-Manchin amendment a “Godsend” and misrepresenting what it does in order to lobby for grassroots support.

I would ask, if the Toomey-Manchin language goes through as presented, is the Second Amendment Foundation going to fund an Alan Gura defense for the first arrested gun owner who was just confused by the new rules about when processing through an FFL is required?

h/t to Misfires & Light Strikes for sharing this video and opening the discussion.

UPDATE: Interesting that the video is now starting to disappear from the internet. I found another copy of it. It’s the exact same video because the timing marks to my quotes line up.

Fast Cars & Freedom*

I love markets. Markets generally tell us what people really want and how much they value something. For example, gun rights and fast cars.

For those of you who aren’t NASCAR fans, NRA has sponsored a race tonight, the NRA 500. As a politician opposed to freedom and fun, Chris Murphy (D-CT) stepped in and tried to use the pressure of his office to have NASCAR turn on NRA’s long planned sponsorship. That didn’t work, so Murphy turned on Fox to try and get them to yank it from the air. (Though NASCAR has pledged to review their sponsorship agreements after the race.)

Fox didn’t pull it, but fans are noticing that Fox announcers are going out of their way to avoid saying the name of the race tonight except where they are contractually obligated to do so. (I would embed the tweet on that topic here, but Cameron Gray of NRA News, who reported on the contract requirements, blocks us for some reason, so I cannot get the embed code.) I just can’t fathom how a network that really needs to attract viewers willing to spend money on sponsors and advertisers decides that it is in their best interest to piss off those people ready to spend money.

How do I know they are ready to spend money? Easy, the President of the Texas Motor Speedway tells us that the combined NRA & NASCAR fanbase is spending big, big bucks:


According to a statement by Gossage covered by ESPN earlier, objections to the NRA sponsorship are few and far between. Interestingly, they actually looked up those who complained and found that the vast majority of those few are not even customers.

“We’ve had fewer than a dozen responses,” Gossage said. “Of those, only two had purchased tickets [to other TMS events]. There is no controversy or big uproar or even a tiny uproar.”

But Fox is hardly the only shortsighted business involved in tonight’s race. The same ESPN article notes that the PR directors for two drivers ordered them not to grant any interviews in the media room so that they won’t have to be pictured with the letters NRA behind them. No doubt those same PR pros have probably squashed any efforts by the driver or their teams to use the #NRA500 hashtag tonight on Twitter – you know, the hashtag that’s trending nationwide right now. We wouldn’t want those drivers to turn up for any racing fans searching that hashtag, now would we?

If I was a driver, regardless on my views of guns, I would look at the merchandise sales and the social media opportunities lost, then I would promptly fire my PR person for not knowing a damn thing about my customer base. Numbers don’t lie, but PR directors apparently do when motivated by politics instead of the best business interests of their clients.

If Gossage is interested, this former Texas Motor Speedway customer appreciates the class the Speedway has shown in the face of a hostile media and an lawmaker who forgets we’re a free society. Granted, the last event I attended was a Rolling Stones concert in high school. But I am a proven customer nonetheless!

*Title shamelessly stolen from ExUrban Kevin

Why We Could Lose Private Transfers

Because we have plenty of groups out there who seem to be fine with it. First, NSSF:

The trade group for the nation’s leading firearm manufacturers said it will not actively oppose the expansion of background checks, which are designed to prevent guns from reaching criminals or the seriously mentally ill.

“That’s more the NRA’s issue,” Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), said in an interview. “From the commercial side, we’re already there, and we’ve been there, and we were the ones that have been the strongest proponents of an effective, complete background check.”

But I thought NRA were shills of the gun industry? It’s amazing they can believe that, considering we seem to be witnessing the industry going back to its old ways of supporting gun control, as long as it’s gun control that will benefit them. It occurs to me that a ban on private transfers would put a damper on used gun sales, as well as driving more business to FFLs. But NSSF isn’t the only one here:

In Washington state last month, the head of a gun rights group offered to support mandatory background-check legislation for most firearm sales in exchange for a state commitment not to maintain gun records. It’s not clear whether the proposal will succeed but it has drawn support across the divide of the gun debate.

“This is a good compromise with real give-and-take,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

How do you have background checks without the state maintaining gun records? In Pennsylvania, we were told the PICS system wouldn’t be used to make a registry. Guess what happened?

Federal law prohibits the establishment of a national gun registry. But advocates of expanded checks say some recordkeeping is necessary because federal authorities would otherwise be unable to trace guns used in crimes.

Figuring out how to meet law enforcement needs while ensuring that the recordkeeping does not constitute a government-backed database is one question the four senators are contemplating.

Pennsylvania law prohibits the establishment of a gun registry too, but the Supreme Court decided to take an interesting view of what constitutes a registry. Every gun sold in this Commonwealth gets entered into a database. But it’s not a registry, according to our Supreme Court.

I get that we can’t win every battle, and sometimes you have to cut deals so that you get slapped around instead of beaten up. But promises from lawmakers aren’t worth spit. We shouldn’t kid ourselves. We also shouldn’t kid ourselves that’s there’s something we can concede that will make the gun control advocates go away. They won’t. They’ll be back with further demands. How do I know this? I live in a state that has banned private transfers of handguns for years. Criminals still get guns, and every year, I’m asked to give up more and more liberty. Don’t forget that there was a decade long fight for the Brady Act, and an almost near as long fight for a federal assault weapons ban, and the passage of the former gave them the momentum they needed to pass the latter, and even after that, they came back with even more demands.

I’m tired of arguing over whether they get half my cake or a quarter of my cake. That’s not compromise. So if that’s the game being played, screw them, we fight them on everything.

UPDATE: NSSF responds here, “An article is today’s Washington Post incorrectly implies that this position puts NSSF at odds with the National Rifle Association. There is no conflict.” OK, so then the quote “That’s more the NRA’s issue,” was made up then? I rather doubt that, and I can imagine any context that came out of where the impression wouldn’t be that there’s a conflict.

Lastly, why even talk to Sari Horwitz? She’s demonstrated hostility to civilian gun ownership.

Let’s Not Make Up False Claims by Anti-Gunners

I’ve noticed something about some comments that some conservative commentators have been using to frame the new McCarthy-Launtenberg ammo sales ban/restrictions. It gets under my skin because it makes it easier for our opposition to say that we’re delusional and don’t understand their “reasonable” attempts at gun control. We don’t have to misrepresent the anti-gunners to highlight just how creepy and restrictive their proposals really are. We can just give straight up facts and people will find it bothersome!

Take, for example, this tweet from Tim Graham that Cam from NRA News retweeted:

Without having been in NYC to watch the press conference live, I have not read anything that indicates McCarthy, Lautenberg, Bloomberg, or any of the other speakers said Olympic & world record holder Kim Rhode should not be practicing with 1,000 rounds a day – except the post written Tim Graham’s group that tries to make that leap. I hate that they do that. You know why? Because it’s so damn easy for the anti-gun groups to say that they said nothing on that order. In fact, Sen. Lautenberg actually congratulated Matt Emmons and recognized him as an Olympic shooter this week. Now you want to say that he was out attacking Olympic shooters? Yeah, it doesn’t stick and it’s so easy to tear down as an argument.

You know what isn’t so easy to defeat? Telling people what the bill actually does.

Instead of saying that Lautenberg & McCarthy don’t want Rhode to practice as much as she has to in order to compete at the Olympic level, why not emphasize the fact that Senator Lautenberg and Representative McCarthy want Kim Rhode to be reported to law enforcement authorities every single week for the rest of her career?

Most gun owners and non-gun owners alike would find that creepy as hell and consider it a case of government overstepping its bounds. The anti-gunners can’t argue with it. If she’s shooting that many rounds a week, her name and information will be passed on to authorities every single time she stocks up on her practice ammunition. They will be put into the corner of having to defend why our Olympic athletes should be treated like “pre-“criminals. And it’s all factual. No need to make up statements or claim more than what is really in the bill.

Emily Miller reported on Facebook that the bill targets those who buy more than 1,000 rounds at one time. That is factually true. However, even many gun owners wouldn’t buy more than 1,000 rounds at a time. (Let’s face it, many gun owners don’t actively shoot that often.) It’s not unheard of by any means since just a couple of bricks of .22 and even one extra box of anything else would put you over the limit, but it’s not something that’s done all that commonly by many folks. For those who don’t shoot at all, 1,000 rounds seems like a ton of ammunition regardless of the fact that it’s really not.

However, you know what message will really hit home with far more folks – gun owners or not? The mass of paperwork and bureaucratic headaches this reporting requirement will cause for small businesses.

Because, while Emily’s claim is true, it actually leaves out that businesses selling ammunition will have to track every single round you buy since the 1,000+ round reporting requirement actually spans every five business days. That means that JoeBob’s Gun Shop will have to take down your information when you buy that first brick of .22 for your son’s Boy Scout shooting event on Saturday. Then, should you pop in on Tuesday to pick up the boxes of shotgun shells for your club’s Women on Target event, JoeBob will need to write down everything you purchased, find the record for your Saturday sale, and add the two up. If you cross that 1,000 round limit, he has to report you to the authorities. That means at the end of every business day, these licensed ammunition retailers will have to read through all of their paperwork of the previous week to figure out if anyone crossed over the limit.

On top of all this, without having a bill to actually read, we don’t know what happens with chain stores like Dick’s, Cabela’s, Bass Pro, or Wal-Mart. Will they have to calculate the list of buyers and ammunition purchase totals across their entire network or stores, or will the reporting requirement only kick in for each location? Regardless, at high-volume businesses like that, they will likely have to cut workers from other areas to monitor these sales and pay thousands of dollars for new software to track such specific information or just give up and get out of the ammunition sales business altogether. Even gun owners whose rifles have sat in their cases collecting dust for half a decade will understand why that kind of reporting burden is too onerous.

Once again, the point is that we have plenty of ammunition (pun intended) to attack this bill for the incredible burden government wants to put on businesses. It’s not like that hasn’t been a theme of the Obama administration or anything…

My advice to gun owners who oppose this bill is not to put words in the mouths of the sponsors that could set off people’s BS detectors, nor should you simplify the talking points down to something that can give a perception of not impacting many people. Focus on the facts. Connect this bill to feelings of unease about government overreach and attacks on business that people already feel and identify with, and you’ll have more success in highlighting why this bill is not the solution.

Help We Don’t Need

I’m not a fan of this guy, and I wouldn’t blame the State of Texas for revoking his instructor certification:

“We will attempt to teach you all the necessary information you need to obtain your [Concealed Handgun License],” the ad says. Then towards the end, it adds: “If you are a socialist liberal and/or voted for the current campaigner in chief, please do not take this class. You have already proven that you cannot make a knowledgeable and prudent decision under the law.”

And then: “If you are a non-Christian Arab or Muslim, I will not teach you the class with no shame; I am Crockett Keller, thank you, and God bless America.”

I’m not of the opinion that Second Amendment rights are limited to Christians or Republicans, and if you’re licensed by the state to administer a concealed carry class, you should do it without regards to race, religion or national origin. I agree that this man has a right to be a bigot, but he doesn’t have a right to be a government certified bigot. To treat every non-Christian Arab or muslim as a potential cold blooded killer is exactly the same kind of bigotry that’s perpetrated against many law-abiding gun owners by the folks who hate gun ownership. It’s not going to help us, and it’s definitely an example of how not to win.

Removing the Politics from Business

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on how vegan bakeries that hide their status see their business increase.

Some vegan bakeries don’t flaunt their identity for fear of scaring off customers. That stirs up proud vegans who believe every delicious pastry should help promote a world in which no animal is used for the sake of a snickerdoodle. …

Covertly vegan bakeries are “counterproductive,” Ms. Konya says. “If you’re not making people aware of food choices, you’re not going to change the world around you.”

Sarah Kramer, co-author of a cookbook called “How it All Vegan,” says bakeries that play down their veganism are a “bummer.” She, like some other passionate vegans, was frustrated last year when former president Bill Clinton gave interviews about eschewing meat, milk and eggs as part of his recovery from heart disease, but calling his “a plant-based diet.”

I think it’s interesting that members of the vegan community are so hostile to those who don’t shove it in people’s faces. That’s a big reason why many average Americans who do enjoy a well-rounded diet won’t venture into declared vegan territory. (Also worth noting in regards to the woman pissed about Bill Clinton – he’s not a vegan. His spokesman explained that he doesn’t make sure his meals he eats out are vegan and he does eat fish. So, even if he did use the term vegan, they would crucify him for not being strict enough.)

I find this interesting enough to share because it makes me think of gun shops and how we expect at least some level of political-related material around. Of course, while there might be some level of pressure to join NRA, the intent behind it is so that we’ll be left alone – not to force people into a way of life that makes them uncomfortable and possibly miserable. I think that key difference is why gun shops get away with the entry into the political sphere.

Unlike the vegan community illustrated here, we can still celebrate someone who takes a newbie shooting without getting all up in their face about the politics of the issue. While we would like that person to become an advocate for our cause, we don’t berate an instructor for simply teaching someone how to shoot safely and enjoy the shooting sports. We recognize that even that subtle exposure can lead to more favorable actions or even outright political support among those new shooters. With the critics in the article, nothing good is coming of a meat eater who manages to enjoy a vegan cupcake if it doesn’t come with a side of lectures on how much they suck for eating meat. They cannot even concede that even if it’s just one snack that’s “cruelty-free,” it’s one tiny victory for the animals.

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