Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded to 145 companies pushing for more gun laws by suggesting corporate gun control is “social signaling at the country club.”
SOURCE: Breitbart, AWR Hawkins
On September 12, Breitbart News reported the GAP, Levi Strauss, Pinterest, Twitter, Yelp, and 140 other companies sent a letter to Congress asking for universal background checks and legislation allowing court orders to seize firearms.
The Hill reports that Cruz responded to the letter while attending a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Thursday. He said, “I don’t think it’s a positive thing to see big corporations shifting their focus from their customers and actually doing what they were created to do into trying to become political players on divisive social issues.”
Cruz observed that the corporate gun control push “is about social signaling at the country club.”
Without revealing the name of the financial institution, Cruz spoke about one bank that removed its name from a gun control push after learning more about what was really going on.
He said, “I will note with at least one of those banks that came out with one of those oh-so-brave corporate letters, when I sat down with their leadership and actually asked them about it, the people who wrote the letter didn’t know the first thing about the substance.”
Cruz said he asked the bank CEO to define/detail an “assault rifle,” and the CEO could not do it.
Cruz then referenced the September 12 letter signed by 145 companies and said, “I promise you the people signing this letter they don’t know any of the details of [the gun controls they are pushing] either.”
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range.
Robert “Beto” O’Rourke explained he plans to use fines to “compel” American gun owners to comply with his AR-15 ban, during an exchange with reporters last weekend. READ MORE
SOURCE: Breitbart News, AWR Hawkins
O’Rourke made his claim in a video posted by Fox4 DFW’s Teresa Riley.
He was asked how he plans to make Americans comply with his AR-15 ban and he said, “I begin by saying we expect our fellow Americans to follow the law. If they do not there would be a fine imposed to compel them to follow the law.”
Teresa Riley @TeresaRFox4 Question: what happens if people don’t sell their guns back to the govt….answer:
O’Rourke went to talk about the example of Australia, citing how that country put in place a similar ban. He claimed Australia witnessed, “a near 50 percent reduction in gun violence deaths” as a result. But O’Rourke did not mention that rifles are not a statistically significant contributor to overall gun deaths in the U.S.
In fact, FBI crime stats for 2017 show there were 403 rifle-related deaths for the year, and those deaths were from all kinds of rifles combined — breech action, pump action, bolt action, lever action, semiautomatic, etc. Crossing the street resulted in over 5,800 deaths in 2017.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation reports there are 16 million-plus privately owned AR-15s in the U.S.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News 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 email@example.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange HERE.
Seems that the Trump Administration is supporting “Red Flag Laws.” This is disconcerting stuff folks, confusing to say the very least. READ MORE
SOURCE: Breitbart, others
On December 18, the White House released results of its School Safety Commission findings. Notable within the content of the 177-page report:
“The Commission endorses Extreme Risk Protection Order laws, which give authorities a temporary way to keep those who threaten society from possessing or purchasing firearms.”
Breitbart quoted Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s preview of the report: “Our report endorses states adoption of extreme risk protection orders, which temporarily restrict access to firearms to individuals found to be a danger to themselves or others.” DeVos stressed that the White House wants the confiscatory orders structured in a way that is “cognizant of due process protections and respectful of Second Amendment liberties.”
Such orders, often referred to as Red Flag Laws, already exist in California and Florida. A few months ago, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) noted the push for red flag laws post-Parkland, saying, “Anti-gun interest groups and politicians have used the Parkland shooting to launch what, until recently, they regarded as a distant dream — a wave of state legislation authorizing the confiscation of firearms.”
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.”
I deleted it because people were putting words in my mouth and changing my original intent. FOR THE RECORD: I do not believe everyone should vote the way I do. However, I am free to wonder what motivates people to vote. End.
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.
Ammunition giant Hornady is cutting off government buyers in New York over an order by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. READ MORE
SOURCE: various sources
Steve Hornady, the company’s president of manufacturing, announced on social media last Friday that the ammo maker will halt sales of their products to state government or agencies in New York. The move came after an order directed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier last month that cautioned banks, lenders, and insurance companies against involvement with the National Rifle Association and similar organizations. Strongly criticizing Cuomo’s move as one of the most “despicable acts ever perpetrated by any state,” Hornady closed the doors to New York.
“While it may not make a difference to New York, Hornady will not knowingly allow our ammunition to be sold to the Government of the State of New York or any New York agencies,” Hornady said. “Their actions are a blatant and disgusting abuse of office and we won’t be associated with a government that acts like that.”
The guidance issued by Cuomo came from the state’s Department of Financial Services on April 19 in the form of official letters to all DFS-regulated insurers and banks in the state. In that communication, Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo urged financial institutions to examine their relationships with the NRA and organizations that promote guns to take “prompt actions to manage these risks” when it came to protecting their corporate reputations. Pointing to the public backlash against gun rights groups and firearm companies in the wake of high-profile incidents that have dominated the news, Vullo encouraged those regulated by her agency that, “Corporations are demonstrating that business can lead the way and bring about the kind of positive social change needed to minimize the chance that we will witness more of these senseless tragedies.”
In recent weeks, big-name lenders such as Citi and Bank of America have adopted new policies that could see them cut ties with partnering businesses unwilling to adopt new policies for selling firearms or manufacturing some types of semi-automatic guns, which, in turn, has brought calls for more regulatory oversight of the institutions with respect to government contracts.
Hornady is one of the premier ammunition suppliers to law enforcement in the country. The company recently was awarded a $19 million contract to provide a new generation of 9mm duty rounds to the FBI.
“In fact, the Amendment’s core at a minimum shields the typically situated citizen’s ability to carry common arms generally,” wrote Judge Thomas B. Griffith in the ruling on the case Wrennv. District of Columbia.
Subsequently, the appeals court instructed lower courts to block the D.C. law with permanent injunctions. City officials indicated they’re exploring an appeal, while gun-control groups claim the ruling shrinks public safety in the nation’s capital.
D.C. gun laws are among the strictest in the U.S., but they’ve also faced several legal challenges in the last few years, said Kirk Evans, President of U.S. & Texas LawShield.
Gottlieb added, “We are particularly pleased that the opinion makes it clear that the Second Amendment’s core generally covers carrying in public for self-defense.”
In the days after the ruling it was too early to tell how far the case would rise through the appeals process. The Supreme Court in June declined to consider another Second Amendment case, Peruta v. California, in which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a San Diego County law requiring gun owners to prove they have “good cause” to apply for concealed carry permits.
But Gottlieb said the latest victory in D.C. spurs confidence among Second Amendment advocates.
“To say we are delighted with the ruling would be an understatement,” Gottlieb said. “We are simply more encouraged to keep fighting, winning firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time.” — Bill Miller, Contributor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield blog
Montana’s Attorney General says Missoula’s gun background check ordinance violates Montana state law.
Originally reported January 26 by Taylor Winkel, NBC Montana
“Missoula’s ordinance is outside of its authority,” Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said. Fox issued an opinion saying state law does not allow cities to exercise any power that affects the right to bear arms.
The ordinance in question was passed in September 2016. It requires private sellers to complete a background check before selling a gun. That means if you’re a gun owner and want to sell your firearm to a friend or colleague, you’re required to run a background check on the buyer, which means the paperwork must be handled by a federally-licensed firearms dealer.
“If there’s going to be one more extra step for somebody to get a gun that can harm somebody, either on purpose or on accident, I think ‘why not’ and create a safer environment for everyone if possible,” Jack Dawson, a Missoula resident told NBC Montana. Missoula City Council member Bryan Von Lossberg sponsored the legislation. He said that he is not surprised by the Attorney General’s decision but does not see a “clear path of appeal.” Von Lossberg says he believes the ordinance is effective and necessary but expected the ruling as the Attorney General had made his position “clear” long before the AG’s ruling was issued.
Von Lossberg also said the council was advised the ordinance was within the law by the city attorney, Jim Nugent. “He absolutely was consulted and issued an opinion making it clear the city was absolutely in its rights to pass this,” explained Von Lossberg.
The attorney general didn’t directly comment on what the city of Missoula needs to do with the ordinance, but did say common sense would be to stop enforcing the ordinance. Right now, Von Lossberg says there’s no immediate plan to appeal the Attorney General’s opinion.
Fox noted Missoula does have certain powers as a charter city, saying it does have the authority to regulate the use and carrying of firearms under state law. However, Fox says state law doesn’t allow Missoula to have an ordinance “enforcing a local regulation or ordinance requiring background checks on firearm sales or transfers within its borders.”
Montana passed a state preemption law thirty years ago to prevent a patchwork of contradictory firearms laws from being enacted across the state. The state previously allowed cities to make their own laws regarding firearms sales, Fox wrote in his opinion, but a 1985 House bill repealed that section of the MCA and replaced it with new language that still is in place. “The purpose of HB 643 was clear — only the state should decide how firearm purchases, sales, and transfers should be regulated, if at all.”
Gun enthusiasts and hobbyists have long been building their own firearms by purchasing lower receivers or kits and other parts needed to assemble a firearm.
The lower receiver is a small block of metal about the size of a deck of cards where the trigger mechanism is housed and where bullets pass through. A gun cannot function without it. A finished lower receiver is the piece of the firearm regulated by federal law and must contain a serial number stamped into it.
Technology today and the hundreds or even thousands of websites selling lower receivers, kits, and parts over the internet makes it even easier. There are no background checks required to purchase these lower receivers or kits.
There are no federal restrictions on an individual making a firearm for personal use, so long as it does not violate the National Firearms Act (NFA), according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
The ATF has long held that items such as receiver blanks, “castings” or “machined bodies” in which the fire-control cavity area is completely solid and un-machined have not reached the “stage of manufacture” which would result in the classification of a firearm per the Gun Control Act of 1934 (GCA). That stage is “80 percent complete.” ATF regulations hold that receiver blanks that do not meet the definition of a “firearm” are not subject to regulation under the GCA.
Furthermore, under federal law, no serial numbers are needed on firearms that are built for personal use, making them untraceable by law enforcement.
By leaving the lower receiver unfinished— meaning only partially drilled — it fails to meet the ATF’s requirement of being more than 80 percent complete and is therefore not considered a “firearm” subject to regulations. Buyers can finish the receivers at home by finishing the drilling.
The ATF refers to such guns as unfinished receivers, though they’re also called 80 percent receivers, home built firearms, or “ghost guns.”
And it’s all perfectly legal.
These self-assembled and untraceable “ghost guns” are becoming increasingly more popular amongst gun enthusiasts across the country and is becoming big business for parts manufacturers and for dealers selling kits.
Elite Custom Railing in Holly Hill, Florida, for example, specializes in unfinished lower receivers for a do-it-yourself AR-15. A company spokesperson said they sell between 100 and 150 lower receivers each day.
It is just one of six companies in Volusia County alone engaged in manufacturing and/or selling kits or unfinished receivers that allow buyers to assemble military-style, semi-automatic rifles at home.
Another Volusia County company, Stone Mountain Gold ‘n Guns in DeLand, will sell the “80% receivers” to a customer only in person and not over the internet as others in the county do. A manager said he will complete the sale only if he feels comfortable with the person buying the receiver. Stone Mountain sells about 20 a month, according to the manager.
The ATF and some law enforcement agencies have expressed a concern about these homemade firearms, believing that the availability of the untraceable receivers will encourage criminals and terrorists to start building their own weapons.
Port Orange Police Chief Thomas Grimaldi said in an interview in the Daytona Beach News-Journal,“We’re making it easy for the criminals. I have a concern — a huge concern over that.”
Mary Salter, ATF Tampa Field Division public information officer, believes some criminals are purchasing non-serialized and therefore untraceable firearms because their intent is to commit crimes.
“ATF, and law enforcement, in general is seeing homemade firearms without serial numbers at crime scenes,” Salter said. “Tracing firearms found at crime scenes to the original purchaser is a valuable tool in law enforcement,” Salter added. “When a homemade firearm is found at a crime scene, investigators are left with a dead end, where a trace of a firearm may generate valuable investigative leads.”
“With advancements in technology in regards to 3D printers,” Salter said, “CNC milling machines, and the availability of receiver blanks, it has become much easier for a person to build a firearm. “When a “homemade firearm is found at a crime scene, it means investigators are virtually left with a dead end,” said Salter.
And in California, Graham Barlowe, resident agent in charge at the ATF’s Sacramento Field Office, said he started seeing crimes involving untraceable guns about two years ago. In November of this year, Barlowe’s undercover agents arrested eight men for manufacturing and selling illegal firearms, seizing about 90 un-serialized firearms out of the more than 230 illegal firearms found. His agents have also found electronic mills that carve a complete receiver in 12 minutes.
“It is one of the biggest problems in Northern California for our office, if not the biggest problem,” Barlowe says. He estimates that his office has seized about 500 un-serialized receivers since 2013.
The Santa Monica shooter, John Zawahri, used a rifle made from parts he purchased online to kill himself and five others on June 7, 2013.
And in neighboring Arizona, between 2009 to 2011, ATF reported that it seized 191 of the 80 percent receivers in Tucson that were headed to Mexico to be assembled, possibly by cartels.
In Florida, law enforcement officials claim the unregistered guns can make it easy for criminals to arm themselves with untraceable weapons.
However, others disagree with that assessment, claiming the skill and equipment necessary to build the firearms is anything but easy and, therefore, makes this approach more costly and time-consuming than simply acquiring an already completed firearm. A milling machine (or at least a milling guide kit), for example, can cost around $1,500, and it could take weeks to complete an AR-15 kit.
And to complete an unfinished lower receiver, a person must carefully mill or drill out a portion of the inside of the receiver, which can take many painstaking hours. Without a properly milled lower received, a functioning firearm would be impossible to produce.
Many believe manufacturing a homemade weapon is generally too costly, too troublesome, and too expensive for criminals.
Furthermore, FBI statistics indicate semi-automatic weapons are used in less than one percent of crimes in the U.S. Most criminals use handguns, and most guns used in crimes are stolen. Criminals looking to buy a weapon can get them from private sales without a background check and do not have to go through the trouble and expense of building their own rifle.
Rob Dunaway, President of American Spirit Arms in Scottsdale, Arizona, says most of the customers who buy the incomplete receivers are people who like to personalize their semi-automatic rifle and or more worried about changes to the gun laws.
“Some people buy them to store them for potential future use,” Dunaway said.
Previous attempts to regulate “ghost guns” in California failed, when a bill that would have allowed the manufacture or assembly of homemade weapons but required the makers to first apply to the state Department of Justice for a serial number that would be given only after the applicants underwent a background check, was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2014.
However, earlier this year, Gov. Brown did sign a bill requiring people who build guns from these 80% receivers to register them and get a serial number. That law takes full effect in 2019. — by Michael Wisdom, Senior Contributing Editor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield Blog
Do you believe “ghost guns” or the 80 percent receivers pose a serious problem? Should you have to undergo a background check to even buy an 80 percent receiver or kit before you are allowed to build your own firearm for your own personal use? Should you have to register a firearm you build yourself and obtain a serial number? Let us know what you think.