Category Archives: Politics

If it concerns your Second Amendment, or other policy driven content, you’ll be able to find it in our politics section

Conceal Carry Permits Surge to 18 Million, Democrats Rush To Get Them Too

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A nation on edge has driven a surge in concealed carry gun licenses, but those getting them aren’t the usual suspects. READ ALL ABOUT IT

concealed gun

SOURCE: Washington Examiner

According to the United States Concealed Carry Association, which trains and insures those legally allowed to pack heat, there are now some 18 million with permits, up from 11 million four years ago.

Founder and President Tim Schmidt estimates that up to 40-percent of his 300,000 members are Democrats. What’s more, he said that of another three million who have sought information from his group, half are Democrat.

“A lot of new people are getting permits,” Schmidt said.

Of his prospects, he added, “Half of them align themselves with the Democrats. So this whole concept of wanting to defend yourself doesn’t go straight down Republican or conservative lines. I think everyone wants to defend themselves. We have all sorts of folks who say they are Democrats but want to carry a gun.”

He said that when USCCA sends out emails critical of Democrats, his phones light up with members who stress that they are gun advocates and Democrats.

“It’s less about politics, I think, than freedom,” said Schmidt.

NRA Wins Lawsuit in Washington State, Prevents I-1639 From Appearing on Ballot

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The National Rifle Association recently filed a lawsuit challenging the Washington Secretary of State’s decision to certify the significantly flawed and inaccurate petition sheets for Initiative 1639. AND WON! READ MORE

1639 no

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

On August 17 the Thurston County Superior Court ruled in favor of the National Rifle Association and ordered a writ of mandamus to prevent I-1639 from appearing on the ballot. The judge agreed the signature sheets did not comply with state law — the font size was too small to be readable and didn’t include strikethroughs.

“The National Rifle Association is glad to see the court today recognized how negligent, if not worse, gun control advocates were in their signature-gathering for this ill-advised ballot initiative,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “We got involved because I-1639 tramples on the rights of Washington state voters, and because the way these anti-gun activists went about pushing their agenda was egregious. We applaud this decision, and will remain vigilant in protecting the constitutional freedoms of all Americans.”

Among other things, I-1639;

Creates a gun registry for any transfers of commonly owned semi-automatic rifles;

Introduces a 10-business day waiting period on the purchase of semi-automatic rifles;

Imposes criminal liability on otherwise law-abiding gun owners who fail to store their firearms to state standards;

Increases the age limit to possess or purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21;

Mandates training prior to purchase;

And authorizes a $25 fee to be assessed to semiautomatic rifle purchasers.

The initiative proponents will likely appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court and we will continue to advocate on behalf of our law-abiding members in the Evergreen state.

Educational Institutions: No NRA Members Need Apply

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“Being an actual, admitted communist … is less harmful to one’s career prospects than being an NRA member.” Whoa. READ THE WHOLE STORY

no nra

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Like most people, we understand that educational institutions and staff tend to lean left. The degree and intensity of the bend varies across universities, but a leftward orientation is actually expected today.

We’re aware that some — perhaps even many — academics look upon the NRA and gun owners with disdain. We always hoped this didn’t extend to the individual level, that the disdain was limited to the aggregate, and that personal interactions could be open-minded or — gasp! — even cordial.

The thought that academics would consider NRA members the bottom of the proverbial barrel never occurred to us. We never imagined that more college professors would be comfortable with an avowed communist than with an NRA member. It sounds like a joke, like an appeal to extremes to call attention to the absurd, but that’s precisely what a new study has discovered. A sociology professor at the University of North Texas found that political biases in academia peak with NRA members.

Professor George Yancey wanted to investigate possible hiring discrimination in higher education. He asked professors across the country how their support for a job applicant would change if they knew the applicant was a member of certain groups. Of all the groups Yancey tested, “NRA membership was ranked as the most likely to hurt an aspiring professor’s chances of getting hired.”

NRA membership was more damaging than being a Republican, a Libertarian, a vegetarian, a member of the ACLU, or a member of the Green Party. NRA membership is considered more damaging than being a communist.

Overall, more than two in five professors say a person’s membership in the NRA would “‘damage’ an applicant’s chances of getting hired.” Yancey suspects that, “academics envision individuals in the NRA as being on the far right.” Yancey also found that “meat hunters, evangelicals, and fundamentalists also are less likely to be hired.”

Imagine that. Being an actual, admitted communist — who proudly acknowledges being as far left as left can go — is less harmful to one’s career prospects than being an NRA member.

We’ve heard about high school teachers kicking students out of class for wearing NRA shirts. We’ve heard politicians disparage this association and its membership. But to hear that college professors would rather work with a communist than an NRA member is just sad. We found two takeaways from this: first, an inability to explain one’s adherence to a political and economic ideology with an absolute perfect failure rate probably doesn’t matter in academia and, two, academia is somehow even more out of touch with America than any of us thought.

Remember that the next time “academics” release a “study” on “gun violence.”

Teen Kicked Out Of Class Over NRA Shirt

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An angry mother is speaking out after she says a Lodi (CA) High School history teacher targeted students wearing T-shirts advertising the National Rifle Association. KEEP READING

teen kicked out of class

SOURCE: CBS Sacremento 13, by Angela Greenwood 

Two sophomores were wearing the NRA shirts when they say they were singled out in class by their teacher, who started schooling them on why guns are bad.

nra shirt

“She was basically being attacked in class,” said mother Charlene Craig. “That guns kill people,” said Craig.

It’s a lesson Craig says was way out of line. “I think he’s there to teach. I don’t think he’s there to discuss his personal beliefs.”

It happened during history class on Friday.

Craig: “He basically yelled at her, telling her that she would be writing an essay if she disagreed with him.”

Craig says her 15-year-old daughter was lectured, while another student was sent to the principal’s office for refusing to take off the NRA shirt — a shirt that supports lifestyles they’ve grown up within families of hunters and farmers.

“That’s what she is, that’s what she does,” said her mother.

The shirt had an NRA logo on the front, and on the back were pictures of shell casings outlined in an American Flag. Below that reads the words “National Rifle Association.” What’s missing from the shirt is a picture of a gun and exactly why Craig says the students should have been left alone. “The dress code clearly states weapons,” said Craig.

According to a statement from the Lodi Unified School District, “…the school administration reviewed the t-shirt in question and determined that it did not violate school dress code policy.”

lodi dress code

Craig says she realizes it’s a sensitive topic but says students shouldn’t be punished for the political or personal beliefs of their teachers. “I am going continue to send my daughter to school in it. I don’t see that there’s a problem.”

Lodi Unified also says it plans to refresh all staff about dress code policies, so this type of incident does not happen again.

See the full TV news story HERE

Cuomo Urges Other States To Hit NRA Finances As Group Claims Losses

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing governors to target the National Rifle Association, again… READ THE FULL STORY

cuomo

SOURCE: Politico
By Jimmy Vielkind

The National Rifle Association sued Cuomo and his financial services superintendent in May, saying fines by the state Department of Financial Services were exacting a “political vendetta” by the Democratic governor that was having a chilling effect on its advocacy.

Early last week, Cuomo urged leaders in other states to take similar actions against the NRA’s Carry Guard insurance program, which covers legal costs stemming from self-defense shootings, something New York argues is unlawful. The NY Department of Financial Services has also pushed firms not to do business with the NRA, the NRA contends, under threat the firms could lose their license to operate in New York.

The effect of these moves and Cuomo’s public statements has been to “coerce insurance agencies, insurers and banks into terminating business relationships with the NRA that were necessary to the survival of the NRA as a charitable organization,” the NRA said in an amended complaint filed July 20.

Cuomo: “If I could have put the NRA out of business, I would have done it 20 years ago,” the governor said late Friday after Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a motion to dismiss the NRA’s suit. He added on Saturday: “I’m tired of hearing the politicians say, we’ll remember them in our thoughts and prayers. If the NRA goes away, I’ll remember the NRA in my thoughts and prayers.”

Cuomo wrote to other governors last Monday, urging them to “examine your laws and determine whether or not this product is being illegally sold in your state, and I encourage you to follow New York’s lead and block the sale of these NRA products if they are illegal, or to outlaw these products if they are not already prohibited.”

He took his message to national media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” and National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” on Sunday. Cuomo, who is seeking a third term in November and faces a Democratic primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon, also released a campaign advertisement.

Gun control is popular in New York, especially among Democrats, polls show. In 2013, about a month after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Cuomo pushed through a multi-pronged gun-control bill called the SAFE Act, NY S2230 (13R).

Cuomo, who is positioning himself for a possible 2020 presidential run, has seized on the issue in the wake of subsequent shootings, including at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A July analysis by Quorum found that Cuomo made more public statements about guns than any other governor in 2018.

The NRA deferred comment to William Brewer, its lawyer in the suit against Cuomo. Brewer said the NRA stands by its Carry Guard program.

Brewer: “It appears the Governor has launched yet another crusade against the NRA to fuel his political ambitions,” Brewer said in a statement. “The governor’s current campaign against the NRA extends far beyond Carry Guard. His scorched earth tactics are designed to prohibit the NRA from having access to insurance and banking services — simply because he disagrees with the political viewpoint of this law-abiding organization. Suffice it to say, the NRA will continue to vigorously defend itself, advocate for the Second Amendment, and fight to protect the Constitutional freedoms of all Americans.”

It’s unclear how much Carry Guard, which was launched in April 2017, contributes. According to the NRA’s most recently available tax returns, it took in $366.9 million and spent $412.7 million in 2016.

So far, no other states have heeded Cuomo’s call, a spokesperson said.

Fired FBI Director James Comey Pushes Gun Control, Bashes NRA

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Comey advocates for stricter gun laws and delivers harsh criticism for NRA in a UK address. READ MORE

james comey

 

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Fired FBI Director James Comey’s self-aggrandizement tour continued apace last week. Momentarily turning his attention from attacking President Trump, Comey used the occasion of a trip to the largely-disarmed United Kingdom as an opportunity to advocate for stricter U.S. gun laws and to level barbs at NRA.

In an interview with the UK’s iNews published last Tuesday, Comey appeared to express his support for ongoing efforts to restrict young adults ages 18-20 from acquiring firearms and for a ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms. Comey told the media outlet:

“Surely there are things we can agree upon that relate to who’s able to buy a weapon, what kind of weapon and at what age, what the capabilities of the weapon are, how many rounds does it hold, and things like that, that in no way threaten the rights under the US constitution of people to keep and bear arms.”

Comey’s statement on gun control is puzzling. Legislation that extinguishes young adults’ ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights is by its very nature a threat to, “the rights under the US constitution [sic] of people to keep and bear arms.” Moreover, so is a ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms. That’s not just NRA’s position; that’s the position of the U.S. Supreme Court, which affirmed an individual right to keep and bear arms in the District of Columbia v. Heller case.

In Heller, the late Justice Antonin Scalia explained that the Second Amendment protects the ownership of firearms, “of the kind in common use at the time.” The AR-15, the favorite target of current gun ban legislation, is America’s most popular rifle. Moreover, Scalia Joined Justice Thomas to dissent from a denial of certiorari in the case of Friedman v. Highland Park, which concerned a ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms. In the dissent, Thomas wrote:

“The overwhelming majority of citizens who own and use such rifles do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense and target shooting. Under our precedents, that is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons.”

Addressing NRA, Comey stated, “One of the worst things that goes on in the US is the current voice of the National Rifle Association, because it sells fear in the wake of any incident.” The former FBI director went on to add:

“[NRA’s] constant argument is: ‘It’s a slippery slope. If we restrict a particular kind of weapon or raise the age of purchase, it means the end of gun ownership in the US.’ And that argument is a lie… There’s no slippery slope in America when it comes to guns. It’s a concrete staircase, which is our constitution…. We just have to decide should we go up a stair or down a stair.”

While Comey might liken U.S. gun laws to a, “concrete staircase,” it’s unlikely many gun owners in jurisdictions such as California, New Jersey, and New York feel confident in their footing. For them the slippery slope of gun control is an everyday reality. Faced with a federal judiciary that is often unwilling to honor the rulings of the Supreme Court, as Justice Thomas has pointed out on numerous occasions, the Second Amendment offers these Americans little security.

Moreover, the slippery slope isn’t pro-gun fear mongering, it’s gun control advocates’ stated policy. In a 1976 New Yorker interview, National Council to Control Handguns (precursor to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence) Chairman Nelson T. Shields stated:

“I’m convinced that we have to have federal legislation to build on. We’re going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily—given the political realities — going to be very modest… So then we’ll have to start working again to strengthen that law and then again to strengthen the next law, and maybe again and again. Right now, though, we’d be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal — total control of handguns in the United States — is going to take time.”

Moreover, the character of recent gun control efforts has made Comey’s position untenable. In March, John Paul Stevens took to the opinion page of the New York Times to call for the repeal of the Second Amendment. In recent years, the New York Times and the Boston Globe have run pieces calling for firearms confiscation. On the 2016 campaign trail, Hillary Clinton lamented the Heller decision, refused to acknowledge that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms, and endorsed Australia’s confiscatory gun control measures. Anti-gun protests are replete with calls to disarm citizens.

An exchange that appears near the end of the iNews item might reveal the most about Comey. The fired FBI director explained that he chose not to carry a firearm while at the FBI, stating, “I was surrounded by armed people all day long. If I wasn’t safe in the hands of the FBI, then our country was really in trouble.” Here Comey admitted that despite being one of the nation’s highest ranking law enforcement officials, he was unwilling to concern himself with any personal responsibility for his own safety and the safety of those around him.

Government Admits AR-15s Are Not ‘Weapons of War’

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State Department and Department of Justice offer definitions of “military equipment,” and it’s NOT an AR-15… READ MORE

ar15

SOURCE: Breitbart
AWR Hawkins

In its settlement with Cody Wilson’s Defense Distributed the government admitted that semi-automatic firearms below .50 caliber are not weapons of war.

On July 10, 2018, Breitbart News reported that the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) brought a suit against the State Department on Wilson’s behalf. The suit was filed in 2015 and was the result of State Department action to force Wilson to quit sharing 3-D gun files online.

Wilson and SAF fought the suit on First Amendment grounds and secured a settlement with the State Department and the Department of Justice, the latter of which finalizes the settlement.

The amended regulations proposed in the settlement show the government will no longer look at semi-automatic firearms below .50 caliber as “military equipment” or weapons of war.

In offering a definition of “military equipment” the settlement says:

“The phrase ‘Military Equipment’ means (1) Drums and other magazines for firearms to 50 caliber (12.7mm) inclusive with a capacity greater than 50 rounds, regardless of the jurisdiction of the firearm, and specially designed parts and components therefor; (2) Parts and components specifically designed for conversion of a semi-automatic firearm to a fully automatic firearm; (3) Accessories or attachments specifically designed to automatically stabilize aim (other than gun rests) or for automatic targeting, and specifically designed parts and components therefor.”

Attorneys in the case expounded on the amended regulations by pointing out that the settlement “expressly acknowledges that non-automatic firearms up to .50 caliber widely available in retail outlets in the United States and abroad [a scope that includes AR-15 and other assault-style rifles], are not inherently military.”

Second Amendment Foundation founder and executive vice president Alan Gottlieb spoke to Breitbart News about the settlement, saying:

“Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby. For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called “weapons of war,” and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort.”

The federal government now saying semi-automatic firearms below .50 caliber are not inherently military means that they are admitting that rifles like the AR-15 are civilian in nature. This makes perfect sense, as they existed years before the military adopted the fully automatic version.

Gottlieb added, “Gun rights organizations like the Second Amendment Foundation will now be able to use this government admission in debate and courtrooms from New York to California.”

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.

Feminist Author Branded As Racist After ‘Confusion’ Over African American Man In BMW With NRA Sticker

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Stereotypes are at the heart of racism. Get a load of this one… READ MORE

SOURCE: Fox News, NRA News

In a quickly-deleted tweet, Kimberly Johnson, HuffPost contributor and feminist author, was baffled over something she saw, and what she wrote about it intersected race, politics, and gun rights.

“Out on the road the other day I saw an affluent black man driving a BMW with two bumper-stickers,” said Johnson. “One was pro-NRA and the other one was a Tea Party sticker that read, ‘Don’t tread on me.’ This left me very confused.”

After Twitter lit up with responses, many accusing Johnson of being racist, the story of her “confusion” became a talking point across conservative media sites including The Blaze and Red State, then was expounded upon by The Daily Mail and Fox News. NRA News commentator, Colion Noir, extended an open invitation talk about the issue on his program and told Fox the tweet offended him at first but then provided an opportunity to have a discussion about race and assumption.

As for Johnson, the self-avowed feminist and advocate, returned fire on social media saying she deleted the tweet because, “I do not see the GOP working in the best interests of people of color or women. I never said anyone should vote any particular way. I said it confused me.”

 

Editor’s Note: I live in a small town in Mississippi. There are many, many African Americans here who shoot, hunt, and are concerned for their personal protection and safety with respect to the 2nd Amendment. That might just shock people like Kimberly Johnson who clearly don’t get out into the real world often enough.

Too Young or Too Old… To Own a Gun?

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The latest approach to “Goldilocks-style Gun Control” seeks to restrict gun ownership with age limits on “both ends.” READ MORE

gun rights denied

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

A common theme among anti-gun extremists is what we often refer to as the “Goldilocks” approach to limiting access to firearms by law-abiding citizens. Rather than admit that the ultimate goal is to disarm all Americans, those opposed to the Second Amendment create fictional arguments about why certain types of firearms, ammunition, or even accessories should be eliminated.

In the 70s, the goal was to ban handguns. Since they could be carried concealed for personal protection, they were seen as being “too small.” That argument fell out of fashion as more and more states passed Right-to-Carry laws that recognized the right to personal protection.

One subset of the anti-handgun hysteria included inexpensive handguns (so-called “Saturday Night Specials”), which were deemed “too cheap.” When NRA and others pointed out this was an obvious attempt to disarm lower income citizens (who are often at higher risk to being victims of violent crime), the term “Saturday Night Special” faded from the gun-ban lexicon.

Another subset of the attack on handguns came with the introduction of Glocks, and other handguns that used polymers as part of their construction. These were falsely claimed to be able to pass through metal detectors and x-ray machines undetected, and, thus, “too invisible” to be screened where firearm are prohibited (think airports). Of course, this canard was quickly dispelled.

Ammunition has been attacked as “too lethal,” “too untraceable,” “too bad for the environment (lead),” “too inexpensive (so tax it),” and any number of other “toos.”

Rifles have been called “too powerful,” “too modifiable,” “too accurate,” “too similar to actual military arms,” and the list goes on.

Boiled down to its essence, after wading through myriad “too this” and “too that” arguments, the just-right “Goldilocks” of guns would likely be a break-action .22 rifle, although finding acceptable lead-free ammunition might be a bit difficult. But anti-gun extremists can still claim they don’t want to ban “all” guns.

The latest approach to “Goldilocks-style Gun Control,” though, seems to be focusing less on what you can own, and focusing more on who can own firearms. And we don’t mean people with criminal records.

After the horrific tragedy that took place in Parkland, Florida, this year, age became the new battle cry for those seeking to limit gun ownership. Rather than focusing on the obvious failures at various levels of government to identify the copious warning signs exhibited by the alleged perpetrator, extremists decided to focus on the fact that law-abiding citizens are able to exercise their rights protected under the Second Amendment when they reach the age of 18. Although responsible young adults regularly leave home, join the military, get married, and begin voting at this age, the anti-gun community has decided this age is too young for one to exercise the right of gun ownership.

Eighteen-year-olds have not been prohibited from purchasing and possessing rifles and shotguns at the federal level, and in the vast majority of states, since the founding of our country. Nonetheless, because of the violent acts of one individual, we have seen an onslaught of legislation throughout the country that seeks to raise the minimum age to purchase and/or possess rifles and shotguns from 18 to 21. Because common sense has taken a back seat to raw emotionalism in today’s gun control debate, some of these efforts have seen success.

But being deemed “too young” to own firearms isn’t the only threat to face the pro-Second Amendment community. There may be a new approach beginning to form. You might soon be deemed “too old.”

An article by JoNel Aleccia and Melissa Bailey, published by Kaiser Health News (KHN) and PBS NewsHour, has begun making the rounds with a number of media outlets, such as CNN, and it discusses the issue of gun owners who may be suffering from dementia. Sort of.

Dementia can be a devastating disorder. It is a category of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, that affects the brain, and its impact on individuals varies widely. Mild forms can lead to simple cognitive declines, such as slight memory loss, that are little different than one would experience during the normal aging process. More severe and advanced cases of dementia, on the other hand, can lead to dramatic changes in those afflicted that would require professional health care, and perhaps even commitment to a dedicate healthcare facility.

Of course, discussing the problem of dementia is a conversation worthy of having. Unfortunately, the KHN/PBS article is riddled with language that sounds like it came straight from one of the gun-ban groups being funded by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg. We can only presume it is likely to be used to promote anti-gun policies that focus on prohibition, and ignore reason and constitutional considerations.

The tone of the article (a lengthy one) is set early, when it inaccurately describes our nation with the all-too-commonly heard inflammatory claim that, today, “America copes with an epidemic of gun violence….” In fact, America’s murder rate has fallen to a near all-time low. If anything, we have been doing remarkably well since the violent crime peak in the early 90s, with violent crime and murder rates decreasing by about half.

But repeating anti-gun rhetoric is just the start.

Aleccia and Bailey go on to refer to an analysis of Washington state survey data that claims approximately 54,000 residents who are 65 and older have “some cognitive decline” as well as a firearm in the home. Is this really important to note? No, because two key facts are ignored.

First, cognitive decline is common among the elderly, and can manifest itself as simply slight memory loss. It does not mean dementia is present. In fact, the epidemiologist who analyzed the survey data even “cautions that the answers are self-reported and that people who’ve actually been diagnosed with dementia likely are unable to respond to the survey.” So now, rather than dementia being the concern, it’s simply old age.

Second, the story refers to these people (again, likely just elderly folks with no known mental disorder) having “access to weapons,” as if that is a concern. However, they may not even have access. The survey apparently asked if there was a firearm in the home. The person surveyed could very well be living in a home that has firearms in it, but not have access to the firearm. A son or daughter who takes in a parent, for example, could be the person who owns the firearm in the home, and may not allow others access to it.

The authors also seem to lament, “Only five states have laws allowing families to petition a court to temporarily seize weapons from people who exhibit dangerous behavior.” These are the so-called “red flag” or “extreme risk protection order” laws that are being promoted nationwide. They generally lack sufficient due process protections necessary for deprivation of a constitutional right and are often rife for abuse.

Furthermore, dementia is not a “temporary” disease. It has no cure. If an individual is exhibiting “dangerous behavior,” it is, in all likelihood, going to continue, and probably increase. All states have a process to seek to have someone’s competency adjudicated or be involuntarily committed, which could result in a more permanent firearm prohibition. And, these laws generally protect due process by allowing individuals to put on their own defense and challenge the allegation before having their rights infringed by the state.

To make matters worse, Aleccia and Bailey also spoke with long-time anti-gun researcher Garen Wintemute, as part of their parroting of the false argument that NRA has stopped “public health research into the effects of gun violence.” Wintemute is the director of the anti-gun University of California Firearm Violence Research Center, so it is clear that there is research going on.

Ultimately, while the subject of treatment for dementia patients is a very serious issue that deserves more scientific inquiry, using such a terrible disease as a pretext to preemptively disarm elderly Americans is unacceptable. As we have said many times before, NRA supports any reasonable steps to fix America’s broken mental health system. But if the debate is going to move towards one more Goldilocks argument suggesting that just getting “too old” is reason enough to confiscate firearms, as this article might suggest, then that is a debate we will not bear.

Anti-gun Efforts to Expand U.N. Regulations to Ammunition Continue

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United States stands firm in its goal to exclude ammunition from PoA agreement. Read all about it HERE

UN gun control

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

Shortly before 4:00am July 7, the two week long Third Review Conference (RevCon3) on the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA) finally came to an end.

Entering into the meeting several critical issues were on the agenda, none of which was more significant than attempts to include ammunition into the fold of the PoA. Getting ammunition into the PoA has been at the top of the anti-firearms agenda since the PoA’s inception in 2001, as it opens the door for calls to mark, trace, limit and require global register of its users. To understand this, you must recognize that everything at the U.N. must be viewed not in the present, but in the future, and just like the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) it is never about what is in the document when it is initially adopted, but what that language will allow it to become. Ammunition was the real issue at RevCon3, as including it in the PoA would mark an even more significant step forward in the anti-firearm agenda of the U.N. than the adoption of the ATT.

It is for this reason that the United States’ policy has always been to object to attempts to include ammunition, and why this meeting, more so than any other on the PoA in the past, was so critical. Review conferences provide a forum for enacting change, and while RevCon3 was the third time such a review had taken place, it was the first time a united front had been assembled to push for ammunition’s inclusion. Regrettably, even with a strong U.S. delegation staying true to the original red lines established by former U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Bolton, nothing could have been done to stop the final outcome.

For the United States, trouble began during the first week of the conference. While the meeting started with the U.S. position receiving support from roughly half a dozen nations, the tide began to shift as the President of the Conference, French Ambassador Jean-Claude Brunet, emerged from the shadows of supposed impartiality to openly encourage the anti-firearms agenda represented by the majority in the room.

The critical turning point occurred mid-week, following statements from anti-gun group Civil Society, when the supposedly neutral President stopped the meeting and left his podium under the purported purpose of thanking those from Civil Society for their attendance. But instead of thanking everyone he pushed past the pro-firearm groups to have his picture taken with only those representatives supporting his shared anti-firearm agenda, a picture he proudly posted to his official Twitter account.

Brunet was sending a message, “I am on your side and will do what I can to help.” This message was clear and repeated throughout the remainder of the meeting, with his official Twitter account retweeting the messages of the anti-firearm groups in attendance and even carrying his own messages of support, including a picture celebrating wearing orange against “gun violence” and publicizing his closed meeting with the groups. Had his actions been limited to Twitter they might have been easier to swallow, but instead they carried onto the floor and began to impact and influence the course of the meeting. Brunet was supporting their calls to include ammunition in the PoA, and he was going to do whatever he could to help them achieve that goal.

As the body worked through five draft outcome documents, it was clear that the objections being noted on the floor were not being reflected in the progressive drafts. By the time the meeting had advanced to draft three, explicit calls to exclude ammunition from half a dozen countries, including the United States, had failed to be reflected.

Picking up on the President’s unwillingness to adhere to the objections from the floor, a coordinated effort focused on the most outspoken of the ammunition opponents, the United States, began to take hold. Challenges that should have been directed at all those who opposed the inclusion of ammunition instead became directed attacks, and while others remained in opposition it became far too easy for them to go silent and allow the United States to become the punching bag.

Round after round the onslaught continued, with the United States defending its position countless times. But the United States would not bend. At no point was this more clear then when the delegation took the floor to make three short, succinct points: ammunition was specifically not a part of the PoA when it was adopted in 2001, there has never been consensus on ammunition in any subsequent meeting of the PoA, and, as far as the United States was concerned, there never will be. As bold and direct as this was, the two paragraphs in every draft outcome document pushing for its inclusion remained, and it was clear the fight was going to go the distance.

By the second to last day Brunet and his cohorts were beginning to panic. The United States had not budged on the issue and was showing no signs that it would. This was not a delegation operating under the marching orders of our past administration, but instead a firm and solid team holding line.

Attempting to use the clock to his advantage, Brunet took the meeting late into the night on Thursday, hoping exhaustion might encourage compromise. But by 11:00pm he finally called the meeting, providing him with just enough time to strategize with his minions, and by Friday, the last day of the meeting, a plan was in place.

Working alongside Ghana and over 60 other countries pushing for the inclusion of ammunition, and utilizing the German delegation to work the floor to garner support, a coordinated attack was launched. Ammunition would be mentioned, requiring the United States to object, at which time the President would call for a break. During the break, proposals for alternate language would be quietly negotiated throughout the room, and then the meeting would reconvene for open discussions on the new language. Every time the result would be the same; no compromise. But this was expected. Brunet was trying to wear out the United States.

As the circus continued, by around 2:00am frustration started to set in with the President. Brunet had made the United States out to be a villain, the only country holding up consensus on the document and preventing everyone from going home, but the only way to end it was for the U.S. to call for a vote, which the United States was holding out on. In an effort to expedite the process he attempted to pass a motion by bringing the gavel down at almost the exact moment he finished speaking. The meeting had now gone from bad to ugly, and the United States was not having any of it.

In the U.N., it is never looked upon fondly to be the one to break consensus, after all, delegates are trained to compromise, but knowing the United States would not back down from this issue allowed Brunet to use it to his advantage. Finally, the United States made the call for the vote, and Brunet and his staff could implement their plan.

Up for vote were two paragraphs. The first, and less controversial of the two, called from the regulation of surplus ammunition stockpiles. The second, and far more significant, acknowledged States apply the PoA and other, undefined “relevant international standards” to ammunition. Again, a seemingly innocuous statement, but one that opens the door to full incorporation of ammunition into the PoA and its associated International Tracing Instrument, providing justification for later calls to globally regulate ammunition through such requirements as marking, tracing, stockpile limitations and registration.

Even before the votes were cast, it was clear the United States would not win, but it was a matter of principle. Majority rule does not apply to a consensus document, and the United States had to break consensus to keep ammunition out.

The results of the vote read like something out of the Human Rights Council (before our withdrawal); the United States and Israel on one side, 63 third world and Latin-American countries on the other, and 28 who supported our position but abstained nonetheless.

On to the second paragraph, or what would better between described as the second act of Brunet’s circus, but not before a two hour strategy session. When the meeting resumed, and before the vote could be cast, a motion was made and Brunet’s gavel was struck. No time for discussion, no opportunity to object. In what was clearly a coordinated effort, the original language on ammunition was reinserted into the document and passed at almost the exact moment the reading of it finished, forcing the vote to now be on language even more pervasive on the issue than that with which the U.S. had called to a vote. In other words, Brunet had got the ammunition language he wanted in, knowing full well that the voting results would be the same.

As the clock inched towards 3:00am the votes were cast and the results were are almost identical as the first. The United States and Israel on one side, 62 on the other, and 29 abstentions. Ammunition was in the final draft. All that was left now was for the remainder of the document to be adopted and the meeting to adjourn, but the show was not over. The circus had an encore.

In the push to get ammunition in the outcome document, a lingering issue with Syria remained. Syria had objected to the inclusion of references to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, and specifically any in excess of target 16.4 since day one. The SDG’s are a collection of 17 global goals encompassing 169 targets the U.N. established in 2015 in order to promote their agenda of sustainable development, ranging from gender equality to significantly reducing illicit arms flows. They are used to push agendas far outside the scope of specific meetings.

Regrettably, the hour was late and the room was exhausted, so when voting was finally opened most were half asleep or too busy celebrating their “win” on ammunition to take note. Even Syria itself failed to object, but that was not the end of it for them.

Syria continued to express their issues with the document, noting that it could not be adopted because there was no consensus. But in a bizarre twist, they failed to express their own objection to it or call for a final vote. When all was said and done, Madagascar took the floor, called for a vote, and the final draft outcome document was adopted, albeit with the U.S. reinforcing its objection to the two paragraphs including ammunition.

What we were left with as the hour approached 4:00am and the meeting came to a close was a very dangerous document and even worse precedent having been set. The requirement for consensus had been set aside, and a document containing references to ammunition was adopted; a document that will form the backbone of future calls by anti-gun proponents to regulate and restrict ammunition globally.

While there are others out there reporting on this meeting, a lot of what they take issue with in the outcome document is simply the reassertion of language contained in the PoA. Furthermore, they have selectively excluded any limiting language included, such as that contained in the introductory language to each section. Make no mistake, ammunition was the real issue at RevCon3. They would have also recognized that the United States’ objection to ammunition resulted in a document that does not conform to the PoA’s consensus requirement, and for this we sincerely applaud their efforts. The attacks they faced were ugly and while they held firm and kept true to their red lines, nothing more could have been done to stop the U.N.’s anti-gun agenda from moving forward short of withdrawing from another U.N. farce incapable of adhering its own requirements.