Backfire

A bill for treating CCW permits like drivers licenses, Colorado Dems feel the heat from Magpul’s departure, and gun sales smash all previous records in 2013. Great week in firearms. Many thanks to The Armed Novelist for helping gather some of this week’s news.

1.) Chicago. Turns out the city not only banned carrying handguns, but also selling them in the first place. A recent US District Court ruling, however, struck the ban down as unconstitutional. This is, of course, a follow-up to the defeat of anti-gun efforts to prevent the State as a whole from allowing concealed carry.

Slowly but surely, fellow gunners.

2.) Candor. Moms Demand Action reacted to the ruling and, in the process, accidentally laid out their real agenda to go after both legal guns and ilegal ones over time. In a statement, the group said that they were “shocked that in a densely populated city struggling to keep children safe from gunfire, the court has dealt a serious blow to public safety by essentially encouraging more citizens to arm themselves.” The idea of defending yourself in an urban hellhole is, apparently, a bad thing. MDA stated that they agree with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who stated that “we need stronger gun safety laws, not increased access to firearms within the city.”

3.) Magpul Aftermath. Democrats in Colorado are taking heat for forcing Magpul out of the State. Republican state Rep. Lori Saine said “the magazine ban did not garner one Republican vote in the House or Senate, and now as a result of this one-sided, Democrat-sponsored law, more than 200 people will lose their jobs and their ability to provide for their families.

Magpul moved their operations to Texas and Wyoming after Colorado passed the magazine limits among other things in a large gun control package.

4.) 2014. Under the impression that he still has credibility, Mark Kelly, the husband of former AZ Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, said that his PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions, is looking at countering the efforts of the so-called “gun lobby” in 2014, and that they have raised $11 million in this effort. He says the PAC has become a “significant force” in the debate. Also of note is the almost expected statement of We’re gun owners. Gabby’s from Arizona, I was in the military. We feel strongly that people should have the right to own a gun. Those rights should not extend to criminals, abusers or the seriously mentally ill.”

5.) CCW in Georiga. On Monday, Georgia’s State Legislature begins the 2014 session. CCW on Campus, a holdover from last year, is expected to get another look this year and stands a fairly good chance of passing. (The previous effort failed not due to a lack of support, but a lack of time.) Despite anti-gun propaganda, it is worth noting that this would extend the right to those who have permits to start with.

I look forward to providing the best coverage I can of the issue. Keeping my ear to the ground for rallies, hearings, and eventual votes.

6.) CCW Everywhere, A pro-gun bill introduced by a Texas (naturally) Senator would allow CCW permits to be treated like drivers licenses, allowing permit holders to carry in any state that also has a permit system in place. The bill is slated to be formally introduced on Monday.

7.) Record breakers. Finally this week, as predicted, 2013 was a banner year for gun sales, smashing previous records in terms of the sheer number of background checks performed. Of course, background checks alone are a miserable indicator of gun sales, as more than one gun can be attached to the same check. Nonetheless, it is an indicator of where the country is going, and flies in the face of virtually every narrative about the collapse in gun ownership, which is itself experiencing a bit of a resurgence.

National CCW Reciprocity, CCW on Campus, and gun control lobby efforts to make gun control a central issue of the 2014 elections. We just got started and it is already looking to be an awesome year.

Pre-game

New year, but there’s a ton of stuff to cover. As an aside, the Georgia Legislature kicks off January 13th, so the fight over guns on campus will start soon as well.

Anyway, on this week’s Midnight Run, Citizens in a county in Oregon pick up where a gutted sheriff’s office left off, gun registration begins in Connecticut (and builds in other States), and Magpul confirms new HQ and manufacturing hubs. As always, we’ll close with the latest from the Armed Citizen file.

1.) Citizen Law Enforcement. Josephine County, Oregon reduced its sheriff’s department to what has been described as a “bare-bones” force. Residents have responded by creating their own armed patrol groups. The county government had relied on timber subsidies from the Federal government, which owns about 70% of the land there. When that was cut, officials tried to pass a tax levy to cover for it. That levy was killed by voters, and the sheriff’s office was promptly cut down. The sherrif’s office announced that it would be limited to “life-threatening situations” and urged those in “volatile situtions” to move out of the county.

2.) Connecticut. Gun owners in Connecticut lined up to register certain guns and magazines this week. A new law, passed in the wake of the Newtown shooting, requires the registration of what the state deems “assault weapons” and magazines holding more than ten rounds. The Connecticut Citizens Defense League, which says the law is unconsitutional, still reminded gun owners of the law so they didn’t become felons on New Year’s Day.

Reaction on the Internet was pretty diverse. Ranging from the idea that Connecticut citizens who did register their guns were a “craven few [who] seem eager to give away their liberty” to more sympathetic views asking if the people calling them cowards would follow through on their beliefs and refuse to register their guns at the risk of becoming felons. The former group points to New York gun owners, many of whom completely ignored the requirement in the State’s controversial SAFE Act.

3.) DC. Gun re-registration came online in the Nation’s Capital this week. Everyone who has purchased a firearm since 1976 must re-register it for $48 and be photographed and fingerprinted like the criminals they are. The penalty for not doing so is a revoked registration, which makes the Citizen a felon for possessing an unregistered firearm. That “crime” carries a max penalty of a $10,000 fine and a year in jail. As the Washington Times notes:

The city has not made clear how it will enforce the law, but the police are in possession of all registrants’ home addresses so confiscation and arrests would be simple.

4.) SAFE Act. A Federal Court upheld a majority of the NY SAFE Act this week, save for the limit it placed on how many bullets can be in a magazine at one time. The 7-round limit, and three other provisions deemed “too vague” for residents to understand (involving “references to muzzle ‘breaks’” and pistols deemed “versions of automatic weapons”) were struck down in a ruling by US District Court Judge William Skretny.

5.) Detroit. The Armed Novelist brings this out-of-nowhere news. The head of Detroit’s police force suggested that armed Citizens may deter crime. In a remarkably candid press conference, Chief James Craig said “When we look at the good community members who have concealed weapons permits, the likelihood they’ll shoot is based on a lack of confidence in this Police Department.” He continued, “coming from California, where it takes an act of Congress to get a concealed weapon permit, I got to Maine, where they give out lots of CCWs , and I had a stack of CCW permits I was denying; that was my orientation. I changed my orientation real quick. Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed.”

Robert Steveonson, director of the Michigan Associate of Chiefs of Police, noted that “a lot of police officers have no problem at all with law-abiding citizens having guns.”

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence said that his stance was purely an “emotional one.”

6.) Magpul. Ending months of speculation and complete silence, weapons accessory manufacturer Magpul announced that it is reloactaing its headquarters to Texas, and all other parts of its business to Wyoming. The company made headlines for announcing plans to move out of Colorado after sweeping gun control legislation was passed, including mag limits and an Assault Weapons Ban. The company is still looking at sites in Texas for its headquarters. In a related story, the company’s online store was quietly changed to show the release of its AK PMAG to be some time early this year.

7.) Armed Citizen. And finally the latest from the Armed Citizen file, this week taking place exclusively in Texas.

A homeowner in the Dallas suburb of Cedar Hill fatally shot an intruder who climed through a window on Christmas Eve. The intruder was identified as 31-year-old Joshua Slaven, the stepson of Cedar Hill mayor Rob Franke.

Another homeowner in the Fort Worth area shot an intruder in early December. After being shot, the suspect fled the home, but was eventually caught by police following the suspect’s blood trail. The suspect did survive his injuries.

Finally man in Amarillo, Texas attempting to steal a pickup truck was shot by the truck’s owner.. The truck’s owner found the suspect, 31-year-old Terry Lee Richardson, looking through the contents of his pickup and confronted him. Richardson reportedly tried to take the man’s gun but was shot in the process. Richardson was hospitalized and later arrested.

Grab Bag

No real rhyme or reason this week. It’s Christmas and everything is mostly slowing down barring a hilarious attempt to turn one man being axed from a cable channel into a story about the First Amendment and religious persecution. (Because there aren’t any other cable networks on Earth that’ll take that show, is there?) That pathetic outrage aside, this week we have news via The Armed Novelist about a Georgia school district arming Resource Officers in a big way, Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns are merging, and some more info on gun sales.

1.) Arming Schools. Armed Novelist turned me onto this from Breitbart. The Gainesville, GA school board has voted to buy Colt M4 ARs for officers in middle and high schools. The guns will be locked behind safes with biometric technology which (in theory, as any lock can be defeated) should keep the guns in the hands of the officers and nobody else. The one person on the board who voted against it claimed he “just can’t buy into guns in school.”

2.) MDAFGSIA-MAIG. The two “major” gun control groups of the day, Moms Demand Action etc. etc. and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, have announced plans to merge. The press release states:

The organizations will unite their grassroots, policy and field forces to enact common-sense policies that respect the rights of gun owners while keeping firearms out of dangerous hands. Moms Demand Action will continue its work as a moms-focused organization in partnership with the mayors’ coalition.

So we have that. They accomplished next to nothing separately, so I have low expectations for if they can do much together. Favorite part of the release is this:

“Gun violence used to be something that happened only in other cities, other communities, but now every mother and every American knows the fear of ‘what if?’ – what if it were my community or my child’s school?” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action.

God forbid we have to wargame what a criminal might do….better to think that “it can’t happen here” I suppose.

3.) “Gateway Crime.” This via Armed Novelist. Solidifying every anti-gunners paranoid fears, the chief of the Chicago police said that merely carrying a firearm is a “Gateway Crime” to committing murder. There isn’t much else to say about that, really. So let’s wrap this up and move on before breaking for Christmas.

4.) Gun Sales. Finally tonight, a bit of news about the continuing popularity of firearms. A story on Click Orlando, the main site for WKMG, states that Florida Law Enforcement expect to perform over 1 million background checks this year on private firearm purchases. As discussed back in Optimism, background checks are on track to set a record, with more checks performed this year than in any year prior.

5.) Christmas. Taking a break next week for Christmas and the New Year. Been an epic year for gun rights, and I look forward to covering what is looking to be a packed 2014. From CCW On Campus here in GA, to revived efforts at gun control nationally, the action planned for next year will make this year look like a warm-up act.

Merry Christmas, people. Relax, enjoy time with family (maybe spend some time at a range?), and I’ll see you in the new year.

Reflection

[Originally posted to Tumblr December 14]

A look back at the Newtown shooting, a few notes on recent gun control efforts, and the debate over armed officers/teachers in schools.

1.) Baseline. The archives this week will focus on the POLITICAL aftermath; i.e. attempts to use Newtown to pass gun legislation, and the concept of armed officers in schools. It is pointless to rehash the full timeline. While the NRA is a favorite boogeyman, they aren’t too relevant in a recap of post-Newtown stuff outside of an embarrassment of a post-Newtown press conference so we won’t be treating them like some hero here, either.

Another major part of all this was the spike in gun sales discussed back in Optimism. That was two weeks ago, so there is no real reason to re-tread that ground so early.

It is worth briefly noting the shooting that took place on Friday in Colorado, in which a student with a shotgun injured two before killing himself. We’re not going to get too much into that today, as the first details of a story are usually wrong, but it is worth acknowledging the event…..and the rather horrid timing. Now, on to the Newtown recap.

2.) Dancing in blood. Of course, within hours of the news breaking we had the calls for everyone else to suffer for the killer’s work. Prime among them, of course, was CNN’s Piers Morgan and Michael Moore; the latter of whom claimed the NRA was “doomed” because of the events.

The story brought up another interesting part of the media’s rush to exploit Newtown: deceptive video editing. MSNBC and NBC News aired a  video that appeared to depict gun rights advocates as heckling the father of one of the victims. They were caught, of course (this is the age of the Internet), but refused to really apologize in any significant way.

Also, as expected, we had Fox News blaming video games with CNN later joining the festival. This isn’t worth wasting any more time on, so we won’t.

3.) Political exploits. And then there were the non-media gun control types. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg called for an Assault Weapons Ban because mass shootings “only happen in America”. In the same interview he admitted that his policies couldn’t have stopped the shooter, but that others might have been.

In a bizarre twist, we started seeing a little bit more candor from anti-gun politicos. Jerrold Nadler, who represents NYC said that, in order to pass gun control, President Obama had to “exploit” the shooting. Here in Georgia, a Democrat State Senator looked to introduce gun control in the 2013 session “to protect Georgians”. It should be noted that CCW on Campus/Bars/Church came within minutes of passing this year instead.

On the national level, Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Democrat Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced a so-called “compromise” bill called the “Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act.” The bill, which both promised was not about gun registration, proposed background checks for all commercial sales of guns. Critics noted that the bill didn’t block the federal government from “recording, storing, collating, compiling, distributing, securing, retrieving, integrating, merging, using or… backing up its records” and also noted that New York Senator Chuck Schumer, famous for his anti-gun stance, also had a hand in crafting the “compromise.” Gun control supporters repeatedly used a poll suggesting “90% of Americans favored the bill” as reasoning for it to pass.

The bill, and many subsequent amendments failed to pass Congress. President Obama slammed the failure, also using the poll, and with some of the families of Sandy Hook victims behind him. The effort was later shelved, though a revival in 2014 is expected.

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the families of the victims that supported gun control made more than a few appearances at press conferences held by Obama and others. To the point where Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) told CNN they were being used as “props.” They were, as Politico noted, “victims turned lobbyists” A Sandy Hook parent opposed gun control saw next to no airtime.

4.) “Nobody’s coming for your guns.” Throughout the proceedings on the Federal level, the term “registration” was avoided like a disease. Expanded background checks were never referred to as such, any bill that was introduced had to be followed with an explanation that “this is not registration, as our critics claim” or something along those lines. In fact, the constant refrain of “they are coming for our guns” was derided as paranoid by gun control advocates.

But on December 21st, Senator Feinstien suggested that she and others were floating the idea of a compulsory gun buyback program. Furthermore, in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested that “Confiscation could be an option” for the State’s gun control measures. Gov. Cuomo said “I don’t think legitimate sportsmen are going to say, ‘I need an assault weapon to go hunting.’ ”

The recent confiscation efforts in New York haven’t exactly helped the “nobody is coming for your guns” defense, either.

The gun control movement focused largely on the idea that gun control was supported by “sportsmen.” In other words, that certain gun owners supported gun control because the guns in question “weren’t used for hunting.” (Many gun rights advocates call these people “Fudds” in reference to the asphalt-thick cartoon character Elmer Fudd. In other words, a person who owns guns but will only fight the political battle if it directly impacts hunting.)

5.) Guns in Schools. Floated originally by the NRA in an otherwise humiliating press conference, the Newtown school shooting ignited a debate about allowing teachers to carry guns, or at the very least putting armed officers in schools. The idea was, originally, derided with the usual “more guns is not the solution” bit. The debate even led to a Moms Demand Action ad about whether body armor was a “new school uniform”. Here in Atlanta, APD announced a new unit built specifically to patrol area public schools. Newtown eventually voted to have armed guards in elementary schools as well, and even a school district in California made similar plans.

6). Looking ahead. Lets be honest, gun control simply isn’t popular. The emotional argument has worn out its effectiveness, and there is now a clear shift in opinion against it. The rise in gun sales and permits discussed back in Optimism wouldn’t have happened if there was a massive resistance to firearms.

As 2014 closes, expect to see at least an effort to reheat the emotion of Newtown, as anti-gunners have been trying all year to get that fire back. We are watching a movement desperate to maintain relevance. This does not mean that pro-gunners should slow down. If anything, that means pro-gunners should continue to challenge the rhetoric on a tactical level. The gun control movement is, as Bloomberg Businessweek put it, basically dead. Expect plenty of theatrics and emotional ploys on its way out.

Honesty

A Congressional study shows gun violence on the decline, Black Friday sets records for firearms, and some news for the upcoming Newtown anniversary. Plus, some Armed Citizen stories from across the country.

1.) Epidemic. A new Congressional study reinforces the trend of gun violence decreasing over the last two decades. The study, commissioned by Congress, suggests that gun ownership has surged, but the murder rate has been cut almost in half since 1994. Homicide rates continued to decline even after the expiration of the Clinton-era “Assault Weapons Ban.” The study did not take into consideration the spike in gun sales from last year, nor gun sales from this year.

The Department of Justice released a similar study back in May, showing that gun violence had fallen dramatically over the last 20 years.

2.) Black Friday. The numbers from Black Friday are in. Black Friday was the sixth-biggest day for gun sales going by NICS checks, but were slightly lower than Black Friday last year. By the end of this year, 2013 may see more background checks performed than any year prior. In all, 2012 saw 19,592,303 background checks performed. This is compared to the 19,051,745 as of December 3rd. The Washington Times adds “Put in perspective, the last year that President Bush was in office, there were 12,709,023. NICS checks have risen by more than 50 percent since Mr. Obama has been in the White House.”

3.) Guns Save Lives Day. The Second Amendment Foundation has launched a nationwide TV campaign ahead of its “Guns Save Lives” day on December 15. The campaign will see ads run on FOX News, DISH Network, TheBlaze, as well as SIRIUSXM and “major radio stations” across the country. SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said “While others will exploit national tragedies to push an agenda of victim disarmament, those of us involved in ‘Guns Save Lives Day’ will have a different message that the public has a right to hear. The proper use of firearms in emergency situations can make a difference to the safety of would-be victims, whether they be night-shift grocery clerks, single moms, senior citizens or small business owners.”

The day was initially slated for December 14, but it was moved to the 15 after accusations of “exploiting” Newtown.

The Obama-affiliated group Organizing For Action is asking people to host “Newtown Anniversary Events” designed to “call on Congress to take action to make our communities safer.”

In other Newtown news, the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns is out with a new ad campaign. The ad, titled “No More Silence”, encourages viewers to contact Congress to push gun legislation, which the group claims will make schools safer by preventing would-be mass shooters from getting ahold of weapons in the first place.

4.) Gun Control Poll. For some reason, there are a lot of polls this week. John Lott brings word of a CNN poll showing half of Americans opposed to additional gun control. The number is the highest level in the CNN poll’s history. Just something to think about when the “90% of Americans” talking point is reheated.

5.) Confiscation. New York City Police have begun sending out notices to owners of registered long guns that violate a 2010 city ordinance. The notices say that recipients can either move the gun out of the city, or “immediately surrender your Rifle and/or Shotgun to your local police precinct, and notify this office of the invoice number. The firearm may be sold or permanently removed from the City of New York thereafter.”

So that’s what happens when you register your guns…..

5.) Armed Citizen/Good Samaritan.
A cop in New Jersey pulled an unconscious man from his burning pickup last week. Officer Scott Krissinger pulled the man to safety, then ran back to the truck to check if there were others inside. The driver, 61-year-old Gerald K. Ferrill, was in hospitalized in critical condition afterwards. The cause of the fire is under investigation, and officer Krissinger told CNN he hopes to meet Ferrill someday.

A 67-year-old man pepper sprayed by an armed robber managed to stab his attacker in Oakland, California this week. The stabbed suspect, 19-year-old Tarnell Cobbs, was arrested at a nearby hospital and is refusing to talk to investigators. Police believe he might also be behind other robberies in the area. A second suspect in the robbery is still being sought.

Finally, two armed robbers have been killed in Reading, PA when an man who witnessed the robbery confronted them as they were attempting to get away. While the district attorney says the Citizen, whose name is not being released fearing retaliation, will not face charges, the families of both robbers want charges to be pressed against him, saying that “it’s not fair” that the man was deemed to have acted within the law, adding that he “took the law into his own hands.”

Next week. We handle Newtown.

Optimism

[Originally posted on Tumblr November 30th]

It’s the weekend after Thanksgiving. I’m not up for talking about the end of civilization, and I’m pretty sure you aren’t either. In addition, the year is winding to a close, and Congress is deadlocked on other things besides guns.

Also a friend on Twitter who goes by the name Armed And Studious and I got into a conversation about the future of gun rights, and I felt motivated to get an archive together.

This week, we look back at where the gun rights movement has been, where we are now, and what the future looks like. This is by no means an exhaustive look at every minor event in the gun world (to be blunt….is RECOIL/Guns And Ammo really THAT significant?), but rather a look at some of the major stories this year, and how they relate to one another.

1.) Newtown Baseline. I’m not going to reboot the madness regarding Newtown. At this point, we’ve basically memorized.the details. Allow me to go on a brief tangent on this before we get started to get it out of my system.

As I discussed with Studious, this is one of the few topics I track that makes me genuinely and physically angry. We’ve all seen the images of children bolting out of Sandy Hook, a place they believed to be safe. We’ve seen the images of children being led out hand-in-hand by their teachers; walking out of a situation they can neither comprehend the scale of, nor what actually is happening.

And the teachers, who as adults fully understand the basics of what is happening on a level the children cannot hope to, are as defenseless as the children are.

In a speech at a prayer breakfast posted on YouTube, Lt. Col Dave Grossman puts the difference between Sheep and Sheepdog this way:

When the Sheep heard about the 9/11 hijackings, they said “thank God I wasn’t on one of those planes.” When the Sheepdog heard about the 9/11 hijackings, they said “I wish I was on there. Maybe I could have made a difference.

How many of us felt a sort of burning desire to have been there? To have been able to at least have the chance to stop this guy.

And how many wargamed a similar situation in their own hometowns?

Newtown represented a clear-as-day division between anti- and pro-gun. It caused the fundamental tenants of both to be blatantly obvious. One side chose to believe that future mass murderers would follow “new” laws (but never explained how that would deal with the pre-existing market), the other felt it was time to defend those who cannot defend themselves with something more direct than a sign that essentially said “we’d rather you didn’t but we can’t stop you if you do.” Over time, it has been impossible for the anti-gun side to prove their point on a tactical level; where emotion gives way to hard logic and person-to-person interaction.

While I have more than a few words on the concept of CNN and other “journalists” shoving cameras in the faces of elementary school students (maybe it’s because I’m not a “credentialed” journalist, but that was just repulsive), that rant is a different matter altogether. We will come back to the mindsets of both movements later on, however.

So, with that in mind, let’s get rolling.

2.) Permits, Sales, and Classes. I don’t need to remind fellow gunners that the summer saw a spike in ammo and gun sales, so I ask for forgiveness in advance for treading well-worn ground. An illustration of the progress the gun rights movement has made is impossible without noting that an event antis hoped would make the “difference they wanted it to make” and make pushing gun restrictions incredibly easy, instead gave the firearms world a boost that even those in the industry weren’t ready for.

After Newtown, permit applications surged nationwide. Reports from Georgia, Colorado, and yes even Newtown described the surge as “unprecedented.”  In Pennsylvania, the backlog for background checks was such that the Commonwealth planned a major upgrade of the system while local law enforcement agencies hired new staff to try to speed up the process.

With the climb in gun permits came a climb in gun sales. A report in the Baltimore Sun this October states that Maryland gun dealers sold more guns in 2013 than in 2011 and 2012 combined. This pattern was especially felt in areas that were already seeing a rise in crime, such as after a spike in home invasions in Indianapolis.

Recent surveys suggest that one in four American women now carry firearms.

Of course, this is not just buying a weapon for the sake of having one (mostly, it is impossible to figure out everyone’s exact motive). Classes for gun safety……that is ACTUAL gun safety (The Four Rules, etc.) have also seen a rise in interest this year. One could rationalize that the climb there is merely because it is required. The obvious problem is that states where it isn’t, like my home state of Georgia, are also seeing this increase.

3.) Right-To-Carry. Outside of the surge in gun sales/permits/classes, it is worth noting the expansion of Right-To-Carry laws across the country, and even a few major advancements in reciprocity.

West Virigina announced reciprocity with Colorado and Georgia, A bill in Ohio is working on making reciprocity with Georgia and PA possible, and Alabama basically allows everybody with a permit to carry regardless of whether the person’s home State returns the favor.

And then, of course, there is the news regarding the Stand Your Ground laws. The main focus there is the failure of attempts to change the law in Florida, and the possible expansion of SYG in Ohio. There is a lawsuit here in Georgia from Jesse Jackson’s group to stop the law, but I’m not entirely sure that is going to get anywhere.

As a final point before moving on, let us recap the action in Colorado. We have the successful recalls of two State lawmakers, the resignation of a third who was facing recall, and a governor who is facing a rough re-election campaign. Gun laws in the State are so popular that politicians responsible for them either were recalled or are seen as vulnerable.

Legally, one would be hard pressed to claim that the fight for gun rights isn’t going remarkably well.

4.) Looking ahead. There are two things I would like to close with this week. The first is a look at the action in 2014, the second is a look at the community as a whole.

2014 is expected to see a re-focusing on guns nationally. Democrats are determined to revive efforts for gun control in 2014, and are even going to be campaigning heavily on it come election time. There’s one issue….while Dems are going to be really pushing for it, polls suggest that gun control is not that much of a priority among Americans. In addition, the Federal government’s own data states that “gun violence” has collapsed in the last 20 years, running directly counter to the “blood in the streets” and “Wild West” narratives we’ve been dealing with for equally as long. Even the UN doesn’t have that much ground here, with more than half of the Senate stating its opposition to the UN Arms Treaty.

The purpose of this week’s Run has been to illustrate that the gun rights movement has been defying virtually every media narrative. The narrative that “fewer people are buying guns” doesn’t match up with the surge in CCW Classes or CCW Permits. The narrative that “gun control is popular” doesn’t match up with the CO Recall or the spectacular fashion in which the Federal legislation failed. Stand Your Ground has survived a case the media hoped would end it nationwide, and has infact expanded to other States.

But there is one narrative we haven’t tackled, and that honestly we are in the best position to disprove. That is the narrative that all gun owners are either A.) sociopathic, B.) paranoid, or C.) remarkably arrogant.

In my opinion, one of the main strengths of the gun rights movement is how we welcome newcomers. We show them how to operate the weapon, the Four Rules of Gun Safety, and the mindset required to use a gun safely and within the boundaries of the law. All of which is done fully understanding that they won’t be sharpshooters on Day One. Regardless of the reason; whether it is curiosity about guns, self-defense, or just the fun of target shooting; gun ranges have become fixtures in the community, and we’ve even seen them referred to as the “New Bowling Alleys” in NPR, which I’m fairly sure none of you would suggest is pro-gun.

But there’s a deeper level to this that makes it so powerful. We are, in essence, offering a practical toolset, skillset, and mindset for people to use. Whereas the anti-gun movement is based on the fear of a threat AND the tool, the pro-gun movement is based on the acknowledgement of a threat and the tools needed to deal with it. We don’t ask for them to always be reliant on us or any third party, it defeats the entire purpose of training. In short, the pro-gunner works to ensure others can stand on their own, the anti-gunner works to restrict their defense in the name of safety.

We are in the best position to disprove the “psychotic” narrative, and yet I don’t believe we put much effort into it. Speaking for myself in 2014, I would like to see more emphasis on the difference between pro-gunners working to empower the person next to them, and anti-gunners working to force them to rely on someone who everyone knows cannot physically be there when that person needed most (a concept which is misguided at best, and flat-out evil at worst).

But, despite all that, if I have failed to illustrate the state of the gun rights movement. If, despite all of the above, you still disagree that the gun rights movement has made incredible progress in the last two years, I can only suggest to you an article in the Huffington Post (which I’m also sure nobody would call “pro-gun”) that claims that the buying of firearms after Thanksgiving has become a new American tradition.

2014 is going to be an amazing year for the gun rights movement.The expansion of pro-gun laws, the backlash against anti-gun State lawmakers, and the surge in the popularity of firearms in general give the movement an extreme momentum going into next year. Enjoy the (relative) break, because there is going to be a lot of work to do leading up to the elections.

Knockout

So, back in Sheepdog, we discussed the LAX shooting, and the (hopeful) collapse of the “it can’t happen here” mindset. The following week, in Reality, NOLATAC provided more evidence against that mindset with two stories from New Orleans; one regarding a disabled man who was beaten and robbed, and another involving a man and his 7-month-old son being killed. The two stories were used by NOLATAC as examples of “the world we live in.”

Now, we have what is probably the biggest block of evidence yet against that mindset. The mainstream emergence of the so-called “knockout game.” This “game” (the fact that it is referred to as a game is sick) involves the “player” randomly punching another person with the intent of knocking them out and perhaps robbing them. It’s participants are almost exclusively black teenagers; pseudo-gangsta types. It’s targets are generally Whites, Asians, and more recently Jews.

This week, we dive in feet-first. Coverage of recent attacks, mainstream media’s attempts to ignore or tactfully avoid rougher parts of the story (race, for example), and the obvious implications for concealed/open carry. We will close with some discussion on open carry, and a few gun laws that may be coming down the pipe.

By the way, before we go anywhere, I would like to highly recommend the book “White Girl Bleed A Lot” by Colin Flaherty. A top-notch look at some of the racially-motivated violence the media would rather not discuss. With that in mind, let’s get to the Run.

1.) Recent. Recent attacks have been found in mostly urban areas throughout the nation. We’ve seen a few in Pittsburgh, PA (a re-emergence from last year, frankly); Washington, DC; and Brooklyn, NY among others.

There doesn’t seem to be much motivation for the attacks other than the “fun” of almost killing someone and/or almost getting arrested. That and raw boredom.

2.) Ignorance and Irony. Breitbart has two stories out that highlight some of the more interesting parts of this “new” story. (Truth is, it’s been on the side-streams for months.) The first is how the major networks, which made a national issue out of a local trial (Zimmerman, if that weren’t obvious) are suddenly not all that interested in covering another, much larger race/violence issue.

The other is a note that a lot of the attacks seem to occur in areas where the citizenry has been mostly disarmed or is dealing with absurd gun laws. In other words, these thugs are attacking mostly in areas where they have a distinct advantage.

The “knockout game” breaks a ton of narratives. It sees blacks as not the victims, but the primary attackers. It is almost completely random, and takes place in urban centers. Above all, it brings to light an aspect of the world that the media doesn’t want to focus on; a very real, underlying culture of violence that exists in many inner-city neighborhoods. Whether it’s these random attacks, drug deals leading to innocents being killed in the crossfire. It’s easy to focus on the occasional “mass shooting” and point to “mental health” or “lax gun laws.” It’s a lot harder to suggest that some people are just looking for someone to hurt, for any reason they choose. It’s even harder to assume that people have made a game out of aggravated assault. And yet, here we are, with evidence of both. This is probably the biggest argument in favor of carrying firearms that we have seen in years.

On that subject, let us switch gears to focus on firearms.

3.) Open Carry. There is perhaps no better “stay away from me” signal than openly carrying a firearm. However, this tends to be a controversial issue even within the firearms community. An article on Monderno this week, written by Aaron Cowan of GA-based Sage Dynamics provided an LEO’s perspective on civilian OC. It reads in part

I support responsible open carry. I do not support open carry as a political statement, or a means to incite possible negative contact with law enforcement. I know, as you do, that our Constitutional Rights and our Second Amendment Rights specifically are very emotional subjects, as they should be. I consider the protection of all constitutional rights a responsibility of the people that they protect. When it comes to open carry, the obvious (and correct) explanation to those who do not agree with it is that it is their right by law to do so and in some states, the only manner a firearm can be carried in a lawful manner. I also agree with this. What I do not agree with is someone exercising a right but not being morally responsible in doing so. With the carry of a firearm comes the responsibility to know how to use it and the responsibility to keep it out of the hands, to the best of your ability, those who would use it to harm innocent people. With an openly carried firearm you are announcing to anyone who recognizes it for what it is, that there is a firearm present. I won’t go into the usual hyperbole some use about the subject but I will say this; everywhere you go, you are carrying with you the means to take a life and protect life and it should be accorded the appropriate respect. Without cherry picking specific situations I have encountered, I think each of us can remember a time when we observed someone carrying a firearm openly in an unsafe manner. Using a holster without retention or an obvious lack of situational awareness are but two ways that an OC can and does look like food to anyone with the inclination and the ability to take their weapon.

4.) Backlash. The Armed Novelist sent me a report about a new poll suggesting that Colorado governor John Hickenlooper may be in trouble come election time next year. A Quinnipiac poll out this week suggests that 49% of voters say the Governor does not deserve to be re-elected. Getting Hickenlooper out of office has been a prime objective for CO gun advocates since the recall elections that cost 2 anti-gun State lawmakers their seats.

5.) Looking ahead. Finally tonight, news from The Hill about the Obama administration looking for new gun regulations. Obama admin officials are reportedly targeting stolen and missing weapons. Gun control proponents say that lost or stolen guns, especially ones that disappear from gun stores, “feeds the sort of already large and existing secondary market on guns.”

What those regulations are exactly, has not been released to the public, but it is something to keep an eye on. There doesn’t seem to be much of a chance of Congressional movement on guns for the rest of this year.