Category: Second Amendment

Safeguarding the NRA

Safeguarding the NRA

The State of New York vs. The National Rifle Association

It is no secret that New York’s Attorney General filed suit against the NRA for fiscal misconduct in an effort to revoke its charter and dissolve the organization. The goal of the AG, in light of the allegations charged, suggests the effort is to remove a pro-gun organization from New York’s corporate rolls–a tacit, and extreme, manifestation of “the cancel culture.”

Earlier . . . .

In a previous post I alluded to the origins of the NRA, its checkered role in national firearm legislation, as well as its recent imbroglios, both internal and external.

Some rank-and-file members, I among them, curtailed contributions, as well as involvement, until the NRA got its house in order–if that were possible. Among those who strove to restore accountability to its leadership is the “Save the Second” group. Its goal is to “save the Second Amendment by strengthening the National Rifle Association” through encouraging rank-and-file membership engagement.

“The NRA” — A Lightning Rod For Anti-Gun Activists

The NRA’s national cachet is evident in the animus and vitriol exhibited against it by various gun control advocates, such as Michael Bloomberg, his funded and unfunded sycophants, and others.

Further evidence of the NRA’s national cachet is the goal of the suit leveled against it by New York’s Attorney General Letitia James. Rather than merely attempting to chasten the executive leadership for its allegedly illegal activity, she is attempting to dissolve the entire organization, a move that itself is fraught with problems according to one attorney.

Despite its oft-times questionable focus over the course of its 149 years, the NRA does continue to serve a valuable service in the firearm training arena, arguably sought due to the very national prestige that makes it a target for those who want it dissolved, or at least neutered.

The NRA — More Than Solely Its Leadership

A contributing factor to its cachet is the sheer number of members it claims to have. Numbers alone, however, do not depict the entire gravitas of its clout. NRA membership is vociferous in its defense of perceived infringements on “the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” however individual members may define that right explicitly. Millions of single-issue voters can exert influence on legislators, and political aspirants.

It is the organizational makeup of the NRA itself that contributes to the questionable framework of the New York Attorney General’s suit. According to Alabama attorney George Douglas, himself an NRA Life Member, there are several possible approaches the NRA membership may broach to claim bases for intervention.

  • “That the intervening NRA members will be adversely affected by a judgment in the action, and that they are not (and cannot) be adequately represented by either the New York Attorney General or the individual defendants and their counsel due to their inherent conflicts of interest.”
  • “That the New York Attorney General does not have the legal authority to assert her claims against the NRA based on the alleged wrongs of its individual leadership, and that those claims (even if true) can only be properly brought by the NRA members.”
  • “That the proper remedy for those wrongs, if they are proven, is not the dissolution of the NRA but recovery of the misspent funds from the individuals for the NRA as an entity, not for the New York Attorney General or the State.”
  • “That because of the inherent conflicts of interest between the individual defendants and the NRA as an entity, the NRA must have separate counsel who are not chosen by the individual defendants.”
  • “That both the New York Attorney General and the intervenors should therefore be allowed to proceed with proving the allegations against the individual defendants, and that if those are proven then the individual defendants should be removed from their positions and new leadership chosen by the NRA members should be put in place.”1

If my interpretation is correct, the basic tenet of Douglas’s arguments is that neither the New York Attorney General nor the State of New York are the injured parties of any alleged malfeasance conducted by the executive leadership. Rather, that distinction belongs solely to the collective membership of the NRA. Since it is they (us) who were wronged, it is they (us) who should be the beneficiaries of any adverse decisions levied against the executive leadership, and not the State of New York, as would be the case if the NRA were dissolved. It is the executive leadership who should be chastened, and not the organizational entity that is the NRA, of which the dues paying rank-and-file membership make up its bulk, and who had no executive role in any alleged malfeasance.

Is the NRA Still Relevant?

Evidence that the NRA is still relevant is the skyrocketing interest in its firearm training. According to a recent notification to NRA trainers, enrollment in firearm training increased 300% over the last 5 months. Yes, the NRA is still relevant, if only (at least for now) for its firearm training programs.

So What?

Thus, it comes down to “so?”

I believe the NRA is worth fighting for. Its stature and prestige, though diminished by these imbroglios, is still significant, and it is still widely recognized as a gun-rights organization with a national footprint (otherwise, the NY AG never would have initiated a lawsuit). Let us, the members of the NRA fight for its continued existence, as we also work to return the NRA to its stated purpose of protecting our “individual rights of self-preservation and defense of family, person, and property” as provided in Article II, Section 1 of the NRA Bylaws.

One of the ways in which we can enter the fight is to broadcast George Douglas’s assessment as far and as wide as we can. Hopefully, we can influence an NRA affiliated group(s) in New York to pursue the “intervenor” role suggested in Douglas’s article.

Another is to contribute to NRA-PVF and NRA-ILA. While we can only “trust” the NRA to use PVF and ILA contributions for their intended purposes rather than diverting them to legal defense costs, I think it is a worthwhile risk.

P. S.

Let us not forget, a change in leadership will likely lead to a change in controversial NRA positions on red-flag legislation, and bump-stock support, as well as other unfavorable 2A positions backed by the current leadership.

1Derived from an interview of George Douglas by AmmoLand Shooting Sports News, https://www.ammoland.com/2020/08/could-nra-members-intervene-to-stop-ny-suit-to-dissolve-the-nra/#ixzz6W4D0ZHHQ

Guns and Ammo: Ban, Tax, and Confiscate!

Guns and Ammo: Ban, Tax, and Confiscate!

Using Crisis for Sleight of Hand and Misdirection

While we have been distracted by our focus  on COVID-19, and the efforts to mitigate the contagion, our U. S. House of Representatives (and now the U. S. Senate) is attempting a feat of prestidigitation through misdirection. A bill was introduced that would effectively nullify the Second Amendment, and possibly eliminate private ownership of firearms in a generation: H. R. 5717, the text of which is available here.

In an era of nanny-state legislative and executive order overreach, the House of Representatives has kicked the nanny, “We’re the government, and we’re here to help” boundaries beyond all sense of reason. To misquote Admiral Nimitz, “Uncommon nonsense was a common virtue,” applies abundantly to the proponents of this bill!

UPDATE (3/24/2020): Not to be outdone by the House, Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced S. 3254. Essentially, this bill is a clone of the House version.

The End Run: License It, Ban It, and Tax It!

There have been anecdotal suggestions to repeal the Second Amendment for decades. Most anti-gunners recognize trying to do so would likely fail, or at least take so long as to be unacceptable. The alternative? License it, ration it, ban it, and tax it into non-existence.

This bill includes every infringement on the Second Amendment a rabid anti-gunner could possible conceive, and salivate over: Mandatory owner training and federal licensing, universal background checks, national gun registration, semi-automatic firearm and magazine bans, increases in firearm (30%) and ammo (50%) taxes, red flag laws, repeal of firearm manufacturer protection when someone uses a firearm illegally, expansion of gun-free zones, grants to incentivize states to enact similar legislation, and the inevitable tax-payer funded “research” into gun violence and its prevention .

Is it just me, or does this one have a “Bloomberg smell” about it? This flurry of anti-gun activism makes me wonder if it is an effort to over-load the senses of reasonable people, and browbeat them into “compromising” to pass at least some of it.

The Irony of H. R. 5717

A fundamental and tacit presupposition behind anti-gun proposals is the position that law enforcement is always available to protect citizens from attack. Therefore, it is unnecessary to have potentially dangerous tools available to protect yourself. The problem with that tacit understanding is that the U. S. Supreme Court, as well as developing case law, has ruled the police have no duty to protect citizens not in their custody. To add to the irony, police departments in some metro areas are now announcing they will no longer respond to “minor” offenses as they attempt to integrate communicable disease mitigation practices while performing their role as law enforcement.

A second flaw in the “police are always available” presupposition is response time. Attacks happen in real time; they happen NOW! Police responses are after-the-fact. That is, at the moment an attack begins, the probability of the police being there, at that moment, is remote. We grant that police responses in metropolitan areas are usually short, but they are still finite, and typically range in being minutes away. Response times can be significantly longer in rural areas.

Protest the Enactment of this Proposed Bill

One of the few mechanisms we have to protest this effort at government overreach, and hopefully defeat it, is to contact our representatives. U. S. House members can be contacted through https://house.gov. U. S. Senators can be contacted through https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact. Register your protest!

UPDATE (3/24/2020): The Firearms Policy Coalition created a website where you can send your opposition to these bills to your House and Senate representatives. FPC’s site is here.

The Future of Gun Control: Virginia and Beyond

The Future of Gun Control: Virginia and Beyond

Gun Control 2020 – The Post-Constitutional Decade

Unless you have been mimicking the proverbial ostrich, you are probably aware of the bevy of gun control bills recently introduced in the Virginia legislature. The proposals range from restricting privately owned gun ranges to law enforcement use only (but only if no one nearby feels threatened) to banning the possession of any firearm that is not a bolt or lever action. By the way, there is no “grandfather” provision where you can retain listed firearms obtained before the proposed ban without government oversight. Only if you register yourself and your firearm with the State, and receive its permission to possess it will you be able to keep your legally obtained property.

Virginia: A Test Case for Gun Control Advocates

Do not be deceived. This flurry of Virginia anti-gun legislation is a test balloon to gauge the political will and muscle of Virginia’s Second Amendment supporters, and by extension, the political will and muscle of gun owners nationwide. Passage of even a modicum of the proposed Virginia bills likely will result in other like-minded states following suit with similar legislation, as well as federal legislation. Damn the electorate–full speed ahead! Other 2A advocates suggest 12 more states are ready to launch similar efforts depending on the outcome in Virginia.

Everytown for Gun Safety Pledges 60 Million Dollars

It appears that the Bloomberg backed (read financed by) Everytown for Gun Safety has pledged 60 million dollars to the 2020 election cycle. That figure does not include Bloomberg’s personal contributions to anti-gun candidates. It is likely that states assessed by Bloomberg’s political machine as vulnerable for flipping from conservative to liberal will be the targets–that suggests “swing” states, like North Carolina. Bloomberg’s position is that no one — NO ONE — should have a gun, except police officers, the military, and of course personal protective service “professionals” for elites such as he. Hmm, can anybody say, “Germany, 1932,” or “Venezuela?”

Demigods and Other Persona

Bloomberg, in one of his political ads, called President Trump a “demigod.” The definition of a demigod is “one so preeminent in intellect, power, ability, beneficence, or appearance as to seem to approach the divine.” Bloomberg’s approach to abridging the electorate’s rights protected by the Constitution through his political clout, monetary contributions to achieve his purposes, and the “I know better than thou what is good for thee” attitude suggests he is no less a demigod than the one he accuses.

After the recent Texas church shooting, where a madman  killing people with a shotgun was stopped by a member of the congregation, Bloomberg pontificated, “It’s the job of law enforcement to have guns and to decide when to shoot. You just do not want the average citizen carrying a gun in a crowded place. . . .” It very nearly sounded as if he wanted a Southerland Springs-like episode to entrench his “guns are evil” mantra.

Other anti-gun sycophants have been recorded as saying, “[Repeal of the Second Amendment] will happen. We’re not going to allow guns for anyone, anywhere, any time.” Except of course, for police, military, and their own corps of private bodyguards.

“Sue ‘Til They’re Blue”

The National Redistricting Action Fund, backed by Barack Obama and Eric Holder (the same of “Fast and Furious” fame) repeatedly sues, through judges sympathetic to their cause, to overturn gerrymandering–their term for political districts drawn by Republicans. Instead, they want to institute their own form of gerrymandering that suits their agenda–turning the state blue, as they did in Virginia–while blocking their opponents.

So, what has redistricting to do with rights protected by the Bill of Rights? Can you say Virginia? By creating uneven district lines that favor liberal voting patterns, anti-gun legislators from centers of high population can create a political and legislative juggernaut that can run rough-rod over the state’s rural areas that typically are more conservative.

Local Resource

There is a group in North Carolina that is attempting to stand up to the Bloomberg-Obama-Holder ilk, preserve the Bill of Rights, and stop North Carolina from becoming another Virginia: Grass Roots North Carolina. The future of gun control, for good or ill, depends on an informed and engaged electorate.

 

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Frustration and Anger

There are times when my frustration at current events runs so high that I have to vent–some would call it a rant. Over the last 10 years I have seen the political system fail many of us. Often, most of us are voiceless, and have no avenue through which to express our frustration. My epiphany occurred during an election for U. S. Senate seats. I experienced the divide between the voting power of densely populated urban-suburban areas, and less populated rural areas. After the election, I contacted “my” Senator to express my views and concerns over a national debate. The response I received was virtually, “Thanks for your letter, but I don’t care about what you think.” The exchange gave me a renewed appreciation for the electoral college (as an aside, I think states should have similar provisions for U. S. Senatorial elections, or repeal the 17th Amendment). It also changed my mind about term limits, which I now support.

 

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

A phrase we have heard repeated over the last three years is “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Most often it is heard in the context of a public official committing so grave an offense some consider it grounds for removal from office.

Oaths of Office

Oaths of public office usually include something to the effect, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; . . .” And, the last time I checked, referring to the Constitution includes all its Amendments.

I cannot help but wonder if someone who has taken this oath, and attempts to curtail the tenets of the Constitution without a duly affirmed Amendment is guilty of a high crime and misdemeanor? Does a promise to commit a high crime or misdemeanor disqualify someone running for public office?

A Wearisome Litany of (Gun) Crime Prevention

Every contestant in the Democratic primary has voiced his or her intention to curtail “gun crime.” Most often they refer to highly publicized incidents involving multiple victims committed with rifles they deem “assault weapons” (the newest label is “assault firearm”). The mimeographed script from which they recite includes:

  • Ban “assault” weapons.
  • Ban “high capacity” magazines.
  • License gun owners.
  • Register all guns and their owners.
  • Require all gun transfers to be federally approved and recorded.
  • Tax private gun ownership out of existence.
  • Classify gun owners and advocates as extremists and supremacists.
  • Authorize “pre-crime” confiscation without due process.

Elimination Through Bankruptcy

While the anti-crime script includes legislative approaches, other means to eliminate private gun ownership are being attempted. One occurring in Connecticut is to sue firearm manufacturers for marketing dangerous implements to masculine egos. While slower, if there are enough successful suits, gun manufacturers will either stop marketing commercially, or be economically forced out of business–bankrupted.

Such a move begs the question if manufacturers can be sued for marketing to egos, will auto manufacturers be sued for tailoring their marketing of high horsepower vehicles toward masculine egos? Can car makers be sued if someone robs a bank and uses one of their cars while doing so? If one tool manufacturer can be sued because someone used their product to perpetrate an illegal act, why not others?

Although the Connecticut lawsuit is very narrow, it raises the specter of other state’s attorneys-general to create inventive ways to persuade firearm manufacturers, through economic intimidation, to stop selling guns for private ownership.

Coming Attractions: Ban Everything-Grandfather Nothing

Ban everything! Virginia is about to experience a gun ban that virtually outlaws everything that has a magazine, with no grandfather clauses (Virginia SB-16). If you own it, you are a felon! Period!

Further, the bill is written in such a way that the owner of a banned firearm cannot transfer it or transport it to anyone. By default, the only way to get dispose of a banned firearm or magazine is to destroy it.

Another bill (SB-64) pre-filed in Virginia classifies anyone who teaches another to use a firearm as a felon if there is reason to believe the instructor should have known(?) the person being taught intended to use the firearm in an act of civil disobedience.

But don’t worry. Your state is next!

Restore Your Voice

There are ways we, as gun owners, can restore our voice. As I found out, writing to elected representatives can be an exercise in futility. Arguably, the most effective is to monetarily support organizations that fight back:

  • Firearms Policy Coalition. “Firearms Policy Coalition is a 501(c)4 grassroots, non-partisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for individual liberties and important constitutional rights—especially those protected under the First Amendment (Free Speech, Association, etc.), Second Amendment (Right to Keep and Bear Arms), Fifth Amendment (Takings, Due Process), and Fourteenth Amendment (Due Process, Equal Protection, Privileges and Immunities)—sound public policy, and related issues through legal action, direct and grassroots advocacy, research, education, outreach, and other programs.”
  • Second Amendment Foundation. “The Second Amendment Foundation is dedicated to promoting a better understanding about our Constitutional heritage to privately own and possess firearms. To that end, we carry on many educational and legal action programs designed to better inform the public about the gun control debate.”
  • Gun Owners of America. “Gun Owners of America is a non-profit lobbying organization formed in 1975 to preserve and defend the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. GOA sees firearms ownership as a freedom issue.”
  • National Rifle Association. Originally organized to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis” in 1871, the NRA is now a multi-faceted organization with educational, legislative, and lobbying divisions.
  • Save the Second.  There are some who suggest the NRA is past its usefulness, especially when one considers other, more directly active, defenders of the Second Amendment. However, the NRA has a nationally recognized cachet, even though it has been eroded by turmoil. Save the Second is trying to restore the integrity of the NRA to make that cachet even stronger: “In order for the NRA to be strong, relevant, and effective, we must reform the leadership and bylaws, reduce the amount of wasteful expenditures, and refocus the NRA on the primary task of providing firearms training and education and protecting the Second Amendment.
    Our vision is to save the Second Amendment by strengthening the National Rifle Association. We hope to grow the NRA’s membership, improve its public image, and secure the NRA’s long-term ability carry out its stated purpose of protecting our “individual rights of self-preservation and defense of family, person, and property,” as provided in Article II, Section 1 of the NRA Bylaws.
    Save the Second is a coalition of gun owners, Second Amendment supporters, and firearms instructors working to strengthen to National Rifle Association from the inside. We are NRA members, prospective members, and former members with grave concerns about the recent scandals and negative media coverage that now plague the organization and the slow response from current leadership. We support the NRA’s mission, and we want the NRA to do the same.”

Fight back. Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against its domestic enemies. Restore your voice!

The Decision to Carry

The Decision to Carry

Decisions, Preparedness, and Consequences

Responsibility: What It Means

North Carolina’s concealed carry training handbook entitled Concealed Carry Handgun Training (the “red book”), published by the North Carolina Justice Academy, opens with the acknowledgement, “With the right under law to carry a concealed handgun, comes a tremendous responsibility.” Carrying a concealed handgun entails the personal assumption of that responsibility. Fundamentally, deciding to carry a concealed handgun means that you, and you alone, choose to personally assume moral, legal, and financial accountability for the actions you may take with that handgun.

If you use your handgun in a defensive force scenario, you are accountable not only for the immediate force-on-force required to stop the threat against you, but also for collateral damage your action may cause. Bullets have no consciousness. They continue on their trajectory until their energy is expended.  One facet of bullet design that aids in expending that energy, thereby slowing it down, and eventually stopping it is its expansion capability. Bullets with full metal jacket (FMJ) construction lack the characteristics to expand appreciably. This feature, alone, weighs against using full metal jacket rounds as part of your defensive carry.

The Decision To Carry

Presuming that you have considered the risk of taking upon yourself the moral, legal, and financial accountability for any action that a defensive force scenario may require, and elected to take that risk, there are other elements you should consider. The most significant is mental preparedness.

One harsh, in-your-face reality of carrying a concealed handgun for self-defense entails the risk of having to use it. This means you may have to point your handgun at another human being, and pull the trigger. A decision you have to make before putting that holster on your belt is, “Am I mentally prepared to take a life?” There are some who propose that “if you do not believe you can kill another human being, you have no business carrying a gun” (Chris Bird, 2019, The concealed handgun manual, 261). Bird couched his proviso in a crass and seemingly aggressive tone to provoke a conscientious assessment of your personal fortitude–“If a self-defense scenario develops, do I have the personal rectitude to potentially destroy my attacker.”

Consequences

If you are ever involved in a defensive force scenario, you will inevitably experience aftershocks. They may merely be the shakes, or they may rise to more severe bodily reactions, such a vomiting or bowel evacuation. It will happen.

And then there is law enforcement. A consequence of using deadly force is that you, at the least, will be interviewed. Your interaction with law enforcement also may result in detainment or arrest with incarceration until the event is investigated.

The good news is that there are organizations that can help reduce the trauma (let alone the financial burden that may ensue) after the use of defensive force. United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA), and U.S. Law Shield are two that spring to mind. Remember, when you made the decision to carry a handgun for self-defense, you chose to personally assume moral, legal, and financial accountability for the actions you take with that handgun.

A Personal Decision with Personal Accountability

The decision to carry a concealed handgun mandates critical and conscientious, and highly personal self-assessment at the deepest moral levels. Our final decision, whether we carry or choose not to, is fraught with varying responsibilities and consequences. Hopefully, it will be one we can live with.

The NRA: A Tale of Two Organizations-Maybe

The NRA: A Tale of Two Organizations-Maybe

The King is Dead! Long Live the King!

Anyone who has seen any of the classic movies about Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper probably remembers the phrase, “The King is dead! Long live the king!” The combination of these two clauses mark both an end, and a beginning–the first marks the end of an era, immediately followed by the arrival of a new era. So it may be with the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Organization 1 – The NRA

There is little doubt that those of us who are involved in shooting sports have at least heard of the NRA. If you have been around long enough, you probably remember the tag line that “the NRA was chartered in the state of New York in 1871 to improve the shooting skills of post-Civil War Americans by encouraging people to engage in competition shooting.” For nearly 100 years, its primary focus was target shooting, hunting, and sportsmen, with only sporadic involvement in national gun legislation. One indicator of its success is reflected in the statistic that in 1940 there were more organized gun clubs than organized golf clubs.

However, NRA detractors interested in protecting the Second Amendment are quick to point out the NRA advocated for enactment of the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Federal Firearms Act of 1938, and the Gun Control Act of 1968. Yet, since the mid-1970s, and in the wake of members’ malcontent over the 1968 GCA, the NRA incrementally shifted its focus to fighting infringements of the Second Amendment from increasingly hostile anti-gun activists, and legislatures. Although unable to suppress the passage of 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, it was successful in promoting its sunset provisions, and the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA)” in 2005, an act designed to protect manufacturers from suits alleging they should have foreseen their products would be used in violent acts.

The NRA is currently caught up in several imbroglios, both internal and external. The external pressures are a function of anti-gun forces trying to reduce its lobbying influence on Congress. In one instance, New York state is investigating the NRA for alleged violations of its original charter, and non-profit status. Internally, the NRA is entangled in suits and counter-suits with its former public relations firm, and in allegations of fiscal impropriety by its Executive Vice President, as well as accusations of cronyism levied against its bloated, and sometimes figure-headed, board of directors. One result of the in-fighting is the abandonment by former NRA members from what is seen as a non-functional, unresponsive, and ineffective organization that is pro-gun in name only, and is only nominally pro-Second Amendment.

Organization 2 – The NRA

One of the recent boasts from the NRA leadership is that it has five million gun owners on its rolls. One implication from this is that there are five million voters who would resist legislation infringing on the rights of gun owners.

Another implication is that many of those five million are eligible to vote in the NRA annual elections. As a matter of note, annual members who have been so for five or more years are eligible to vote in the annual NRA elections, as are its life members. However, very few eligible members do vote annually.

The argument levied here is that instead of abandoning the NRA, we, its rank-and-file membership, should stay and fight to defeat the cronyism in the board of directors, demand accountability from the executive leadership, and restore a solid heading toward the goals of providing firearms training and education, and protecting the Second Amendment. A grass-roots assemblage of NRA members is trying just that: “Save the Second.” Its “vision is to save the Second Amendment by strengthening the National Rifle Association. We hope to grow the NRA’s membership, improve its public image, and secure the NRA’s long-term ability carry out its stated purpose of protecting our ‘individual rights of self-preservation and defense of family, person, and property,’ as provided in Article II, Section 1 of the NRA Bylaws.”

The “Save the Second” suggests the NRA can be salvaged from its current malaise and imbroglios through five goals: (1) Reducing the number of the board of directors; (2) Establishing terms limits for its board of directors; (3) Requiring board members to personally attend directors’ meetings; (4) Encouraging rank-and-file membership engagement, and thereby requiring accountability from the executive leadership and the board of directors, and (5) returning the NRA’s focus to “firearms-related activities and causes (gun safety, education & training, recreation, competition, hunting, collecting, [2A] advocacy, etc.).”

“Save the Second” has already launched an effort to achieve one of its goals; a petition from its membership proposing the adoption of an amendment to the NRA bylaws that establish attendance requirements for its directors. The next board of directors meeting convenes in September, after which the “Save the Second” promoters will publish its decision.

If you are a member, or former member, of the NRA join with “Save the Second.” Perhaps we can turn the NRA to its being a pro-firearms advocacy organization we can all be proud of supporting. Only after trying to right the ship and failing can we legitimately abandon it.

2019 and the Second Amendment

2019 and the Second Amendment

Threats to the Second Amendment in 2019

There is little doubt the year 2019 will be a rocky one for firearm owners and second amendment advocates. The change of majority in the U. S. House of Representatives places a vocal anti-firearm, pro gun-control crusader as the Speaker of the House, who, by the way, controls the flow of proposed bills brought before the house for voting. There have already been a flurry of bills pre-filed that are simply awaiting the investiture of the new Congress. Among them is a proposal to revoke the right of the individual to make, or modify, a firearm, as well as prohibiting the advertising and sale of firearm parts.

Focus on Prohibiting Access Rather Than Punishing Crime

A trend among gun control advocates seems to be developing that concentrates on preventing criminal violence with firearms by attacking the supply side. Ostensibly, if the supply of firearms is curtailed crime involving them will be curtailed. However, the federal government’s own research documents demonstrate that premise is not statistically supportable.

Controlling access to firearms is often compared to limits on speech. The most common analogy is to compare restrictions on firearms to restrictions on speech in that one cannot, legally, shout “fire” in a theater without incurring criminal proceedings. If one carries out the analogy, requiring background checks before firearm purchases would be analogous to requiring background checks before you can go into a theater. Similarly, curtailing purchases of firearms to certain age groups because they might be used in a crime would be analogous to prohibiting movie goers of certain age groups from going into a theater because they might yell “fire.”

If supply side curtailment is so effective, how is it there is epidemic-scale abuse of illegally obtained drugs in the U. S.?

Background Checks

We addressed background checks in an earlier post, but the frequency with which gun control advocates bring up “universal background checks” warrants another look. Currently, background checks serve to prevent prohibited persons, such as convicted felons, from purchasing firearms. A typical gun control argument is “loopholes” that serve to circumvent background checks must be addressed. One such “loophole” is the private sale between firearm owners, which gun control advocates charge allow criminals access to firearms, especially at gun shows. A system of “universal background checks” would, ostensibly, ensure any buyer is not prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm at the point of sale. However, a “universal background check” system could also prevent parents from buying a firearm intended for their child, since allowing a minor to possess (while hunting, for example) that firearm would violate the “universal background check” law.

The most insidious aspect of “universal background checks” is the de facto, centralized, universal gun registration it requires. In order to trace an illegal transfer of a firearm under a “universal background check” system, that is a transfer that occurred without a background check, the serial number of the firearm has to be linked to a specific individual. In other words, the government has to know who owns what firearm(s) for the system to work. Then, if a firearm is discovered in the possession of someone else without the requisite background check, the possessor is automatically a felon, and very likely the seller as well. A “universal background check” system gives the government centralized gun registration without ever directly proposing gun registration.

Taxes and Insurance

New York state legislators recently proposed a requirement that firearm owners in NY purchase a 1 million dollar liability insurance policy. Other proposals, at both local and federal levels, include levying additional taxes on the purchase of firearms, and ammunition. The gun control argument is that the additional taxes can fund research of violence with firearms. Initially, such taxes would likely be modest to avoid rejection. However, once imposed, firearm and ammunition taxes can be increased far more easily, usually at a bureaucratic level without representative legislation. Gun control advocates could easily leverage existing taxes on firearms to make them too expensive for most people to purchase.

Corporate Control

I almost forgot this one. Banks (e.g., Bank of America and Citibank) are one of the corporate entities beginning to deny services to customers that sell or purchase firearms. In related financial gun-control steps, some insurance companies that once issued liability insurance to firearm instructors no longer offer it. Other corporations restrict sales to otherwise legally eligible citizens, and some went so far as to remove from sale, and destroy firearms they considered dangers to society. The good news is that since corporations are profit driven entities, we can deny them our money by buying and transacting business elsewhere.

Another of the avenues to restrict firearm sales by corporations is through merchant accounts. Credit and debit cards are processed through third-party clearing houses. A few already have policies that prohibit firearm sales through their portals. Gun-control advocates are actively recruiting other merchant account processors to follow suit.

One new call upon credit card corporations by gun-control advocates is to track firearms transactions purchased by their cards and create private firearm registries. So far, the reaction by card companies is that private transactions are that, private, and they have rejected calls to create explicit firearm registries.

Outright Gun Bans

One of the targets of gun control advocates is the “assault rifle,” or “military style weapon,” followed closely by all semi-automatic firearms (ironically, virtually every style of civilian firearm was derived from a similar, if not identical, military weapon of its era). Latching onto a politically motivated phrase from the late 1940s, and fomenting fear through imprecise language, gun control advocates deem semi-automatic firearms threats to society. It is likely their first efforts will concentrate on the AR-15, erroneously equating “AR” with “assault rifle” to garner support for banning firearms that have some combination of cosmetic features, such as pistol grips, bayonet lugs, movable buttstocks, muzzle devices, and removable magazines. After AR-15 style firearms are banned, expect all semi-automatic firearms to be subject to similar bans, such a banning thumb-hole rifle grips, adjustable cheek risers, and so on.

A question that frequently rises from gun control advocates is “why do you need an AR-15?” Surprise. In the United States, property ownership is not grounded in “need.” Ownership of property is a universal right that is external and antecedent to any governing body. That means that citizens’ rights do not begin with, or emanate from the state. In point of fact, the Constitution of the United States was written to limit state (as in state and federal) intrusion on citizens’ rights. Amendments 2, 3, and 4 of the Bill of Rights recognize property rights of individuals, and restrict the federal government from infringing on them.

Red Flag Laws

A recent flurry of legislation around the U. S. introduced “red flag” laws (aka, “risk protection orders”), a legal maneuvering whereby someone designated by the law can initiate an ex parte (one-sided) petition before a court that a firearm owner may pose a danger to him or her self, or others. Granting the petition gives civil authorities permission to seize the defendant’s firearms. At least one second amendment advocate noted every state in the Union already has mechanisms to declare someone mentally incompetent, and therefore ineligible to own or possess firearms. She also noted these established mechanisms do not infringe on the right to due process and rebuttal, as the ex parte legislation does. That is, under ex parte rulings, a complainant can begin the process whereby a gun owner’s firearms may be confiscated without the gun owner being permitted to rebut the charges until after your firearms have been seized, if then. Further, most “red flag” laws allow civil authorities to seize your firearms indefinitely, and most have no mandate that requires their return. Under these conditions, firearms only can be claimed, and returned, after costly and time consuming legal rebuttals, and court proceedings. Once again, pricing firearm ownership out of existence.

“Red flag” laws are insidious in that they are not triggered by the commission of a crime, but rather by someone who thinks another person may potentially commit a crime by harming others, or may potentially be a danger to him or her self. Where domestic violence ex parte protective orders are initiated after a domestic attack to thwart another attack, “red flag” ex parte orders need no antecedent crime for their authorization. “Red flag” laws severely threaten constitutional protections such as the right to free speech, the right to possess arms, protection against unlawful seizure of property, right to trial by jury, the right to be represented by counsel, and one’s right to face accusers, among others.

Interestingly, the U. S. Congress is considering adding financial carrots to states that implement “red flag” laws through grants.

Oh, By The Way, No Duty to Protect

For those who may claim that personal firearms for self defense are unnecessary because the police and sheriffs are there to protect us, court cases in New York and Florida, upheld by the D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals, consistently posit civil authorities have no legal duty to protect individuals.

Remedy

A remedy that we, as gun owners, have is to support organizations that fight infringements on the Second Amendment, organizations such as the Gun Owners of America, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the Firearms Policy Coalition. Joining and supporting them financially gives us, the American gun owner whose right to gun ownership is constitutionally protected, a collective voice to thwart infringement. The threats to gun ownership are serious and escalating. It is a matter of death by a thousand cuts. Our “Related Organizations” page offers links to many of these organizations.

Your First Firearm-Now What?

Your First Firearm-Now What?

Your First Firearm

You just purchased your first firearm. After you get home and open the box, you may ask yourself, “Now what?” Whether that firearm is a long gun or a handgun, there are common actions you can take to ensure you handle the firearm safely. First among them is read the manual.

Read the Manual

Since this is your first firearm it is most important, for your safety and those around you, that you read the manual that came with it, first! Most manuals include sections on safety, safe storage, identifying ammunition, feature identification, operation, field stripping, and maintenance, as well as warranty information. The second thing to do is read the manual, again, especially the sections on operation, field stripping, and maintenance.

Safety

Virtually all manufacturer’s manuals include safety and responsibility statements. As a firearm owner and handler, safety is your responsibility. The first safety rule stated in nearly all owner’s manuals is “Always keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction.” Other safety rules follow, including how to safely store your firearm when it is not in use.

Ammunition

Depending on the manufacturer, emphasis on identifying proper ammunition may be part of the operation section, or it may be separate. Regardless of where it is located in the manual, knowing the cartridge type required by your firearm is vital to its safe operation. Use only the proper caliber and cartridge type that is marked on your firearm. The manual shows where the markings are, but use only the ammunition type marked on the firearm itself. This is especially important when .223/5.56×45 and .308/7.62×51 calibers are involved, for example. Typically, firearms marked .223 or 7.62×51 can use the caliber specified only, whereas firearms marked 5.56×45 or .308 can use both. Read the manual!

Features and Operation

Typically, the next section of owners’ manuals identify the features and operation of your firearm. Virtually all manuals have an illustration that identifies each feature. Take the time to become familiar with all of them. After identifying the features of your firearm, most manuals identify how to inspect and manipulate its safety features, and its action. Once again, take the time to make yourself familiar with manipulating both the safety features, and the firearm’s action. Many manuals also include a section that outlines the action required by the operator (you) if malfunctions occur–become familiar with those operations as well.

Field Stripping and Maintenance

“Field stripping” is the disassembly of the firearm to its major components so that it may be cleaned, inspected, and lubricated. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction most carefully. Most firearms have springs that are under tension. Failing to follow the manufacturer’s disassembly instructions fully can result in injury to yourself, or others around you, or launching a spring into space, never to be found. Never disassemble a firearm further than the disassembly instructions. Among the manual’s instructions for disassembly and maintenance are instructions for lubrication. Follow them carefully, then reassemble your firearm as shown in your manual.

Training and Practice

If you have never fired a firearm, it is important that you get competent training in order to be introduced, and become familiar with the fundamentals of shooting your firearm. Training is learning things that were previously unknown–practice is applying that which was learned previously.

Competitive Shooting

Once you are familiar with shooting your firearm safely, consider participating on a competitive shooting sport, such as the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA), or the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA). The people in these sports are welcoming and knowledgeable, and more than willing to help you learn, and enjoy, the discipline.

Support the Right to Bear Arms

The constitutional right to bear arms is under assault. There are many in the United States who want to completely and totally ban firearms, both handguns and long guns. One of the ways in which we, as firearm owners, can get a greater voice is by joining national associations that fight to protect and preserve our constitutional right. Consider joining and contributing to the National Rifle Association (NRA), the Gun Owners of America (GOA), or the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF).