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  • NRA Opposes Administration's Plan to Broaden Reach of Mental Health-Related Gun Bans

    On Monday, NRA filed formal comments in opposition to a plan by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to expand the categories of persons prohibited under federal law from acquiring or possessing firearms because of having been "adjudicated as a mental defective" or "committed to a mental institution."  The proposal is commonly referred to by its BATFE docket number, 51P.

    NRA shares the goal of keeping firearms out of dangerous hands.  Its comment notes, however, that existing federal law on this issue casts a wide, undifferentiated net that snares masses of mostly harmless individuals with a much smaller group that may present an increased risk of violence.  The comment cites numerous sources that express the nearly universal opinion of mental health professionals that mental illness is not highly correlated with, predictive of, or frequently causally related to violence.  It also cites reports from mental health professionals, the FBI, and the Secret Service that acknowledge the futility of creating an accurate "profile" of persons who have no history of violence but present a risk of future harm.

    NRA's comment additionally underscores the importance of the rights affected by these lifetime prohibitions, the wide range of state and federal procedures that potentially trigger them, and the difficulty (or outright impossibility) of prohibited persons achieving restoration of rights, even after full recovery.  Under existing federal regulations, a person who experienced a temporary reaction to a traumatic event or who has trouble handling household finances may well be treated the same as a violent psychopath.  Not only is this unjust and stigmatizing, it creates disincentives for those who need mental health treatment to seek it, increasing whatever risks are associated with untreated mental illness.    

    NRA's comment explains in detail how 51P would worsen these problems. The proposal, for example, conflicts with federal appellate court precedent, which interprets the antiquated term "mental defective" in a much narrower way than BATFE does. It also disregards cases that recognize the fundamental rights protected by the Second Amendment cannot be abridged without adequate due process.  NRA's comment exposes the flaws in the justification BATFE provides for 51P, including the way it cherry picks case law and bits of legislative history that support a broad reading of the federal statute while ignoring other precedent that supports a narrow reading.  

    Recognizing that scientific knowledge of mental illness has progressed and now undermines the Gun Control Act's broad prohibitions on the mentally ill, NRA urges BATFE to defer action on the rule and to wait for Congress to reexamine the issue in light of modern medical understanding of the link between mental illness and violence.  The comment provides a number of guidelines for statutory reform, including provisions aimed at swifter, more accurate, and readily-accessible diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.  It also suggests that individualized risk assessment may be a more effective means of protecting public safety than bans that affect large categories of people.

    Finally, NRA's comment offers specific recommendations for regulatory reform under the current statutory scheme.  It advocates for more specific due process protections and individualized findings of dangerousness, expanding opportunities for restoration of rights, and interpreting the statutory terms in light of what they meant to the Congress that passed them.

    © 2013 National Rifle Association of America. Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. It may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

  • Billionaire Bloomberg's $50 million plan to take your gun rights away
    by Chad D. Baus

    One nice thing that can be said for the gun ban extremists from the 1970's - at least they were honest. Groups like Handgun Control Inc. and the Coalition to Ban Handguns didn't try to hide what they are.

    These days, however, the same people who were involved in those groups are involved in groups like the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence or the Violence Policy Center. Then there's Americans for Responsible Solutions, Children's Defense Fund, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Joyce Foundation, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Moms Demand Action, among many, many others.

    The effort to mask their anti-gun rights, anti-self-defense agenda behind innocuous-sounding names has been going on for many years. Million Mom March. Americans for Gun Safety. Freedom States Alliance. These groups and many others have come and gone, having failed at their goal of deceiving the American people about their true agenda.

    They take on names and claim they are promoting things like "gun safety" and "responsible" "common-sense" gun laws.  Some of them even try to pretend to be pro-gun groups. American Hunters and Shooters Association was founded by anti-gun Democrats to help anti-gun Democrats like Barack Obama get elected. The group was shut down in 2010. GunGuys.com, a blog which was anonymously operated by by the Joyce Foundation-funded Freedom States Alliance, was shut down that same year.

    The latest faux gun group to apparently go dark is the American Rifle and Pistol Association. Having made national headlines just last year with a colorful website and Facebook page covered with photos of firearms, the group's website is no longer available and no posts have been made to the Facebook page since last November.

    And now comes billionaire Michael Bloomberg's latest effort to fool Americans.

    The former New York City mayor told the New York Times he founded the new anti-gun rights group, "Everytown for Gun Safety," to "make [state and local legislators] afraid of us." Staff will be deployed in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

    Bloomberg isn't the first billionaire to decide to try and buy his version of America and force it on the rest of us.

    Monster.com founder Andrew McKelvey's early efforts to use his millions to force gun control on the American people were focused on the legal and research arm of the gun control group Handgun Control Inc., which was eventually retread as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The more he got involved in the group, he said at the time, the more convinced he became the words "handgun control" were harmful and that a more moderate approach was needed.

    "I told them that Handgun Control was the wrong name. I thought what they were doing was great but I thought it could be done differently."

    As writer James L. Pate notes, McKelvey and his fellow gun ban extremists had determined that they needed to use "less confrontational" language, with the goal of deceiving the average (especially non-gun-owning) American:

    ‚ÄúThe term 'gun control' should be dropped and replaced with 'gun safety,' or 'responsible gun use,' or 'accountability in gun use,'" said the report, prepared in June 2000 by the public relations firm of Penn, Schoen & Berland, longtime consultants to the election campaigns of Bill Clinton and Al Gore.‚ÄĚ

    And so, just as so many groups have done before, Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action will be folded together under a new name. This week it's Everytown for Gun Safety. The names and tactics have changed, but the goals haven't.

    One of the main problems for these "gun safety" groups is they do nothing to promote gun safety.

    Gun safety is what the National Rifle Association (NRA) and National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) teach. Thanks to the NRA millions upon millions of school children have been taught what to do if they find a gun (Stop. Don't Touch. Leave The Area. Tell an Adult.) Millions upon millions of adults have been taught how to handle a gun safely (ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use. ALWAYS treat a gun as if it's loaded).

    So if they aren't concerned with gun safety, what are they after? The observation that gun control is not about guns, but about control, is readily apparent because, as Second Amendment advocates are always quick to note, no one is trying to outlaw knives, baseball bats, tire irons, or the countless other tools for which there are not ownership rights specifically recognized by the Constitution.

    Bloomberg is clearly all about control, having spent years literally seeking to nanny New Yorkers on just about everything, right down to what they can eat or drink and size of soft drinks they could buy.

    Sadly, while some people believe that what they do or don't do is what will earn them a place in heaven, Bloomberg seems to think he's earning his place by trying to control what other people do or don't do.

    ‚ÄúI am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I‚Äôm not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It‚Äôs not even close,‚ÄĚ he told the New York Times.

    So should his $50 million do the trick?  Andrew McKelvey's $12 million for Americans for Gun Safety sure didn't.  Founded in 2001, the group was folded into the left-wing think-tank "Third Way" just a few years later. George Soros' millions haven't worked. The Joyce Foundations' millions haven't either. The reason? Because while millions of dollars can buy plenty of publicity, creating the illusion of a large and influential group of citizens who are concerned about gun violence, what they can't buy is actual grassroots support.

    When you look beyond the parade of speaking events and the flurry of news releases - always given top priority by a willing news media (Bloomberg's Everytown launch was covered everywhere from the New York Times to a live appearance on "The Today Show") - what you see is little more than a pitifully small collection of paid activists, limelight-seeking politicians, and generic "protest anything" liberals.

    As Buckeye Firearms Association's Communications Director Dean Rieck pointed out after Bloomberg's MAIG held a rally in Ohio last fall and no-one showed up (except the opposition!), these billionaire's groups are all about illusion.

    It's smoke and mirrors," Rieck observes. [Bloomberg's groups have] lots of money and they're PR geniuses. But they have almost no support from REAL gun owners or from the general population. There is no grassroots behind them. Take away the money and the news releases and what's left? Nothing...

    "On the other hand, Buckeye Firearms Association, the NRA, and the thousands of other gun rights groups across America represent REAL gun owners. The NRA has 5 million REAL members. Buckeye Firearms Association has 44,000 REAL supporters.

    "The 80 million or so gun owners in the U.S. are REAL people. Take away our money and what few news releases the media is willing to publish and what's left? 80 million REAL people who value their rights and hold their political representatives accountable.

    "Mayors Against Illegal Guns is a bluff. An inspired and brilliant bluff. But a bluff, nonetheless."

    If you're a politician in Ohio, or any other state for that matter, here are two pictures to keep in mind when elections come around.

    This is Bloomberg's grassroots support:

     MAIG Supporters

    And this is ours:

    Pro Gun Supporters

    Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

  • ATF Rules Against SIG SAUER MPX
    by Jim Shepherd

    While filming last season's studio segments for "Guns & Gear" TV, SIG SAUER brought several of their new guns to the studio as highlights of their 2014 products. One caught the eye of everyone -including production crew members who normally had no interest. It was, even to a "gun person" a strange-looking thing.

    The "thing" was SIG's new MPX carbine. OK, a 9mm carbine isn't all that big a deal, but this one had a major difference: a muzzlebrake that was actually longer (9.5 inches) than the barrel itself (6.5 inches). Actually, the two weren't separable. And, being welded in place, they gave the compact carbine an overall barrel length of sixteen inches. Without the integral muzzlebrake, the short barrel itself would classify the gun as an SBR - a Short Barreled Rifle in ATF terminology. It would then be subject to all the legal constraints and registration requirements of fully-automatic guns and suppressors.

    In August, the BATFE responded-negatively- to the muzzlebrake. The ATF's contention was that the brake actually wasn't a brake, classifying it instead as an interior part of suppressors known as a "monolithic baffle stack". The official denial said "welding it to a barrel does not change its design characteristics or function" and because of that, they were classifying the MPX as a Class 3 weapon.

    In September SIG disagreed, and asked the ATF to reconsider. 

    The company stuck by its contention that the MPX's integral muzzlebrake did nothing to reduce the sound signature. As evidence, SIG submitted sound meter tests that demonstrated that the brake in fact increased the sound levels. 

    If you've fired a rifle with a muzzlebreak, you know what they're saying. 

    That same submitted testing demonstrated that the MPX's unique muzzlebreak did, however, significantly reduce both recoil and muzzle climb-its sole intended purpose.

    In February, the ATF responded, telling SIG it was sticking with its original finding. 

    In response, SIG filed a civil suit against the ATF, claiming the ATF's incorrect ruling was causing the company significant economic injury. 

    "There is no market for a non-silencing silencer" SIG claims, while there is a "significant market for a muzzlebrake that decreases muzzle rise and recoil."

    The ATF's classification of the MPX's integral brake a silencer, despite the fact it doesn't "silence, muffle, or diminish the report of a firearm" simply attaches "burdensome requirements set forth above as if it really is a silencer," Sig says in the suit.

    If this is beginning to sound somewhat familiar, it's because we have reported on another ATF ruling recently (http://www.shootingwire.com/features/228649) that was overturned by a Federal Circuit Court. In that case, the ATF classified a muzzle brake from Innovator Enterprises a suppressor. The company countered with a lawsuit saying, essentially, that the ATF went purely on cosmetic appearance rather than demonstrable performance characteristics.

    On appeal, the ruling was overturned. 

    But U. S. District Judge John Bates disagreed, saying the ATF clearly "jumped the gun" and overturned their finding. Bates then went on to castigate the ATF for its slipshod methods, citing as examples a lack of clearly enumerated standards and their subsequently selecting "dubious standards" that served only to fit the decision they wanted to give. 

    In fact, Bates wrote, the finding letter "contains hardly any reasoning, and makes no reference to prior agency regulations or interpretations that support its conclusion." Instead, Judge Bates called the ATF letter a brief and informal document and "a non-binding statement of the agency's position on whether the Stabilizer Brake is a silencer."

    Bate's ruling went on to remind the ATF that having "a tail, grey skin and four legs" didn't make an animal an "elephant" or a child's bicycle a motorcycle because it had "three characteristics of motorcycles: two rubber tires, handlebars and a leather seat."

    He didn't stop there. He went on to point out that a Bud Light is not a Single-Malt Scotch because it is "frequently served in a glass container, contains alcohol and is served in a tavern" any more than a hockey puck is a "rubber bullet" because it has "rounded sides, is made of vulcanized rubber, and is capable of causing injury when launched at high speeds."

    "Learning that one object has three characteristics in common with some category," he wrote, "may not be very helpful in determining whether the object in question belongs in that category."

    With this latest example of companies pushing back against ATF rulings, it would seem that several possibilities are emerging. 

    The first, and most frequently offered by industry executives, is that the ATF is making a significant push to make firearms more difficult to manufacture and sell. 
    A complimentary observation, however, may be that the industry, seeing the BATFE continually found lacking in its methods of investigation and self-policing, sees an opportunity to push back against what have historically been decisions that were difficult to question, much less reverse.

    As the industry lawsuits challenging the agency's methods mount and Congressional pressure again ramping up over disastrous ATF operations like Operations Wide Receiver and Fast & Furious, mounting evidence of capricious rulings and slapdash operations may be adding credence to claims in Congress that the BATFE has become an "out-of-control - and unnecessary agency."

    Reposted from The Outdoor Wire.

  • 2014 Buckeye Bash is one to remember
    by Larry S. Moore

    Celebrating 10 successful years of concealed carry with many of the people who made it happen

    April is the ten-year anniversary since concealed carry in Ohio went into effect. House Bill 12 was sponsored by State Representative James Aslanides. Sheriff's offices were jammed as lines formed to apply for a Concealed Handgun License (CHL). Opponents screamed that shoot-outs would be on every corner and every traffic light. Of course, those predictions didn't come true. It has been a very successful ten-years with many improvements made to the law.

    Buckeye Firearms Foundation (BFF) hosted their annual Bash in Columbus at the Villa Milano Banquet Center. Just as ten-years ago crowds lined up to apply for a CHL, the sold out crowd of 500 filled the banquet center to join the festivities. There were friendships to be renewed, guns to be won and exciting speakers to celebrate an important anniversary.

    BFF President Jim Irvine welcomed the guests. He emphasized the progress made in the Ohio concealed carry law but addressed another initiative saying, "We have the FASTER (Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response) program. Our plan was to hold one class and evaluate it. Ohio Gun Collectors Association stepped up and has been tremendously generous supporter. We were able to do another complete class. We now have thirty school districts in Ohio that have personnel trained and are keeping our children safer. Other states are looking at this program. It's incredible what we can accomplish together. I can't understate the importance of joining the groups here tonight in our efforts."

    Many elected officials attended the event. Lt. Governor Mary Taylor was there meeting and greeting attendees. Taylor has a long history with concealed carry in Ohio as she voted for the original H.B. 12. She noted, "Our state is a great destination for sportsmen and women. The Governor and I remain committed to protecting sportsmen dollars as well as our strong heritage of hunting, fishing and trapping. Partnerships with Ohio sportsmen groups are important to us. There are 1.56 million sportsmen who spend more than 2.7 billion annually which accounts for over 47,000 Ohio jobs. We are making improvements in the state owned shooting ranges. We are reinvesting shooters dollars. The Buckeye Firearms Association played a critical role to bring the pistol caliber rifle for deer hunting to Ohio. They developed a campaign to educate the ODNR, sportsmen and landowners about the ethics and safety of using these rifles. We thank you for your patience and understanding.

    "Ohio resident deer hunters have raised concerns that Ohio is an undervalued destination for trophy white-tailed deer. Ohio's out-of-state fees are significantly low. We have proposed an increase that will put Ohio on a level playing field. ODNR is committed to using these funds on land acquisitions plus hunter recruitment and retention. It's nice to see many of you again and to make new friends. Your continued advocacy for issues is very important to Ohio."

    Ken Hanson, BFF Legal Chair, addressed the audience noting, "I welcome you to the safest ballroom in Ohio." Hanson provided a stirring tribute to Otis McDonald, who passed away on April 4, 2014. McDonald was the lead plaintiff in the case against the City of Chicago which resulted in the city ban on concealed carry and firearms being overturned. Hanson said, "I really admire the man. The moment of silence is rather cliché. I would ask that we greet him with the same response as if he were here standing next to me. I ask that we all stand and give our appreciation to Otis McDonald." McDonald received a rousing standing ovation.

    Tim Knight, a leader in the Colorado recall movement, recognized volunteers Linda Walker, Ken Hanson and Sean Maloney for their support in Colorado. Knight explained, "I was raised by Buckeye parents who taught me to be sincere in my thoughts and actions. We successfully recalled the President of the Colorado Senate and defeated the agenda of two billionaires while delivering a resounding message to America. Three Buckeyes flew to Colorado on their own accord to do the right thing. I thank Cam Edwards and the NRA News who gave updates and got the word out. We refer to his show as 'Radio Free Colorado.' Please accept my personal thank you for your time and dedication to helping us. You have the admiration of not only Colorado but the nation. The flag of liberty flies higher because of you."

    John Hohenwarter, the NRA-ILA lobbyist who works in Ohio, added, "The folks in this room make me look good back in Washington. People like Jim Aslanides and Jon Husted were a huge help in passing good gun legislation. We all get blamed for the criminal misuse of firearms. Fortunately we have been able to get good legislators elected who understand the difference. I love coming to Ohio."

    Jim Irvine introduced H.B. 12 primary sponsor Jim Aslanides. Aslanides spoke, "Thanks for giving yourself that applause. It was an honor to help fight the most important and fundamental legislative battle of our lifetime. It was a pleasure to fight the way we had to fight. There are a lot of great friends here I've not seen for a long time. The friends here are really important. As a legislator the information you rely upon has to be honest and accurate. Ken Hanson provided that information to us. When I introduced H.B. 274 (concealed carry bill prior to H.B. 12) only 40% of the public was with us. The opposition was emotionally energized and playing on the worst case scenarios. As an engineer I understand that facts always win the day. We relied on fact and educated the public. We understood much of the public feared guns. We turned the fear around that criminals fear armed citizens. H.B. 12 became the law. It was a flawed law but when it was passed 67% of state supported us. It was because of all the people this room. We don't change things because of a handful of legislators but because of people. The flaws were a good thing because we had to make changes. The improvements with preemption caused the Governor (then Governor Bob Taft) to exercise the veto power on the bill. The veto didn't stop us. We overrode the Governor's veto. It was the first time in thirty-eight years a vote had been overridden. I don't know if there will be another time when we have to fight so hard for another fundamental right. I know the people in this room will be ready. The people we relied upon will be relied upon again."

    Irvine thanked Aslanides for his leadership noting, "Then Speaker Jon Husted made the override vote happen by keeping the House in session. Aslanides' Legislative Aide Rebecca Rugg played a huge part in the process. I want to present to Jim Aslanides the first Buckeye Firearms Association Guardian of Freedom Award."

    Cam Edwards of the NRA News' "Cam & Co." was the keynote speaker. Linda Walker introduced him as a vital part of the NRA family and key to getting the message out through his radio and now Sportsmen Channel television show.

    Edwards spoke, "Thank you very much for the invitation to be here. I am a huge fan of Buckeye Firearms Association and what the people of Ohio have accomplished. Concealed carry went into effect April 8, 2004 and the NRA News signed onto the airwaves on April 15, 2004. One of the first shows we featured was Ohio's right to carry. Someone said there would be shootouts at Blockbuster video stores. Please note that right to carry has expanded and outlasted Blockbuster.

    "Ten years later we are still hearing the same tired stories around the country. We inspire each other. We may often feel tired and needing a break. But there is always someone there to say come on, I'll help. Let's get this done. We know if we don't do it that it will not get done. There is no calvary to save us. We are our own calvary. You've done an amazing job in the last ten years in Ohio. It's amazing how far we've come nationally. Ten years ago we didn't have a Heller or McDonald case. The gun control groups were desperate we not win these cases. Now gun control groups are changing their message to common sense gun safety. They know gun control loses.

    "We are responsible over the last thirty-years for a revolution in the right to carry and right of self defense. What has been the result? The violent crime rate hasn't been this low since the late 1960's, for one thing. There are more guns being sold, especially over the last several years. It is a dogma of the gun control advocates that more guns equal more crime. It's simply not true."

    Edwards concluded, "We believe life is worth protecting. Life is worth living in as an expansive state of human liberty as possible. If you are offended by our unabashed love of this country, its rich and complex story; sorry - but we are not sorry. If you are offended by people exercising their right to keep and bear arms; sorry, not sorry. If you are offended by activism in the defense of civil rights; sorry, not sorry. These rights were not established with us. We are safeguarding them for the next generation. What gun owners in this generation have accomplished is remarkable. I think those who came before us would give you a round of applause. Don't ever forget what we have on our side. We have truth. We have each other. We have the support of the American people. Take advantage of what we have. You are ambassadors for the Second Amendment. Ohio is wonderful. Thank you very much."

    Everyone left the banquet with a sense of pride, accomplishment and energy. Irvine concluded, "The Buckeye Bash and celebration of ten-years of concealed carry in Ohio was invigorating. It's hard to believe that ten years have passed. It's gone very quickly. We still have work to do and issues to address. It was exciting to see the turnout tonight and know so many are willing to help us move forward."

    Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Foundation and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award, the 2007 League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year and the 2010 National Wild Turkey Federation/ Women in the Outdoors Hunter Education Instructor of the Year.

  • "News" Magazines Pretend Murthy Confirmation is a Public Health Imperative

    Defensive gun uses far outnumber suicides with guns and the availability of guns has no effect on suicide rates. Nevertheless, from time to time over the last 28 years, gun control supporters have tried to discourage people from owning guns by suggesting that gun suicides outnumber defensive gun uses. Last week was one of those times, all premised upon the notion that gun suicides are a public health epidemic with which radical gun control activist Vivek Murthy, President Obama's nominee for the post of U.S. Surgeon General, is imminently qualified to contend.

    On March 20, Bloomberg Businessweek tried to build a case for Murthy by publishing an article titled What the NRA Doesn't Want You to Know, which claimed that "gun ownership may be more likely to lead to instances of suicide or homicide than self-defense" and which faulted the NRA for opposing the use of taxpayer money to fund politically-motivated research by gun control supporters in the public health field. It claimed, "The NRA, however, cannot abide more research" and "over the past two decades the NRA has made it abundantly clear that it views quality research as a threat to its agenda." Meanwhile, on the same day, The Atlantic published a similar pro-Murthy article titled "Guns Far More Likely to be Used in Suicide Than in Killing Bad Guys."

    We'll take the claims one by one, and begin with the implication in Bloomberg's title.

    The fact is, we have often pointed out that half of suicides are with firearms and half are by other means, and that studies have generally shown that in jurisdictions with relatively low gun ownership rates, people who want to commit suicide do so by whatever means are available. Hawaii, which has perhaps the lowest firearm ownership rate among the states, had the highest non-firearm suicide rate in the country in 2010, 4.6 times higher than its firearm suicide rate. Even in California, where gun ownership is higher than in Hawaii, suicides by non-firearm means are a particular problem. Reuters reports that San Francisco is planning to spend $66 million to install an enormous net system, to stop people from killing themselves by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. 

    We have often pointed out that Japan has virtually no firearm ownership, but also has a much higher suicide rate than the United States. In 2008, USA Today reported that "A suicide fad is sweeping Japan. Hundreds of Japanese have killed themselves this year by mixing ordinary household chemicals into a lethal cloud of poison gas that often injures others and forces the evacuation of entire apartment blocks. The 517 self-inflicted deaths by hydrogen sulfide poisoning this year are part of a bigger, grimmer story: Nearly 34,000 Japanese killed themselves last year, according to the Japanese national police. That's the second-highest toll ever in a country where the suicide rate is ninth highest in the world and more than double that of the USA, the World Health Organization says." In 2013, The Diplomat reported, "For the last fourteen years at least 30,000 Japanese have killed themselves annually." That's the same number as in America, which has 2.5 times Japan's population.

    We have also often pointed out that defensive gun uses are far more likely to result in a criminal being frightened away, rather than being killed, and reminded gun control supporters that the purpose of defense is to prevent injury or death to a defender or other innocent person, rather than to kill a criminal.

    We have often pointed out the flaws in the misleading comparison that gun control supporters try to make between defensive gun uses and fatal gun misuses. In 1991, award-winning Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck called the comparison "one of the oddest statistics in the gun control debate," "an exercise in ingenious speciousness," and "a breath-taking non-sequitur," and judged it "not a meaningful measure of risk for the average gun-owning household." 

    We have many times cited independent studies conducted by competent, honest researchers, and will do so here.Impact Evaluation of the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994 found that firearms and magazines affected by the Feinstein/Clinton "assault weapon" and "large" magazine ban had rarely been used in gun murders prior to the ban, and that the ban had little, if any, affect on crime thereafter. Impact of handgun types on gun assault outcomes: a comparison of gun assaults involving semiautomatic pistols and revolvers found that criminal misuse of semi-automatic pistols has less negative consequences than criminal misuse of revolvers. Firearm Use by Offenders and Firearm Violence, 1993-2011 found that most gun criminals get guns through theft, black market sources, or friends and family, and that less than one percent get guns from gun shows. First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws and Firearms and Violence: A Critical Reviewfound no evidence that gun control reduces crime in this country, and the Library of Congress' "Report for Congress: Firearms Regulations in Various Foreign Countries," May 1998, LL98-3, 97-2010, found that gun control did not reduce crime in 27 foreign countries.

    For some reason other than sheer bias, of course, The Atlantic cited the radically anti-gun Violence Policy Center (formerly the New Right Watch) led by former National Coalition to Ban Handguns and Amnesty International staffer Josh Sugarmann, for the proposition that in 2010, there were only 230 felons killed by private individuals defending themselves with firearms.  As Kleck has pointed out, however, the FBI's figures are based upon initial police reports and do not reflect the number of homicides determined by the courts to have been justifiably in self-defense.

    NRA encourages all gun owners to continue contacting their U.S. senators in opposition to Murthy's nomination.  You can contact your U.S. Senators by using the "Write Your Lawmakers" tool at www.buckeyefirearms.org.  You may also contact your Senators by phone at (202) 224-3121.

    © 2013 National Rifle Association of America. Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. It may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

  • Information War Brewing?
    by Jim Shepherd

    During dinner Monday night, my wife mentioned something "strange" that happened at work. While ordering computer equipment for her office, the company she was buying from had started asking her some "random" personal questions in order "to make certain" she was the person whose name and password she'd logged in under. She was, but found it odd that the company would be asking, for instance, who we'd bought our home from -and had presented her with three particular names. 

    She was then asked to either choose the correct name or "none of the above". After answering (correctly), she was then presented with another, similarly random question, again taken from information she'd never given the company. Actually, she didn't remember giving that information toanyone.

    That's a troubling trend we're seeing across online commerce. Companies are taking measures they say are designed to "step up" security. Some of those steps include asking personal questions. 

    The thing that troubles me most about this "step up" in security is their reluctance to answer a very direct question: what's the source of this random personal information I've not shared with them- or any other online company? 

    The lack of a definitive answer would seem to point to a fact many (myself included) are reluctant to acknowledge: there is far more information floating around in the digital world about you than you would like to think, or could imagine. Much of that information was shared without either your knowledge or, more importantly, your permission.

    Having owned a company that produced computer software, I'd thought I had some insight into how information is gleaned then aggregated about people. It is vacuumed in from your internet activities, including those as dissimilar as posting family photos on Facebook, purchasing corporate supplies directly from manufacturers, or taking part in online polls.

    Boy, was I mistaken. Informational "snippets" are being collected, collated and then used to verify your identity, authorize your purchases, or more frighteningly, collect even more information about you. Sometimes that information is even used against you when credit scores are being compiled.

    I started looking more at this concern far more closely after the ATF raided two California companies that had been making and/or selling the now-questionably legal polymer lowers for AR-pattern rifles. The ATF didn't just want the companies' inventories of lowers, they demanded relevant customer information from both companies' databases. Using search warrants authorized by a federal magistrate, they seized the computers that supposedly contained that information.

    Today, the pitched battle continues over the legality of the polymer uppers and the possession of both the inventories and computers of those companies. 

    But one company has engaged a highly-regarded computer security company to implement new security measures that would prevent the ATF or any other agency's having easy access to their records. Yes, they're a high-speed 32-bit encryption - the scrambling protocol that makes it virtually impossible to unscramble their information without the all-important encryption "key" but they're also using an unusual legal protection: the Fifth Amendment. Based on a recent circuit court opinion, the company says the same Amendment that extends you the right not to answer a question that might cause self-incrimination also makes it possible for you to refuse to give the "key" to authorities -even if they've already seized the data and hardware housing it.

    In other words, should a federal agency was so confident a crime had been committed that it were willing to raid a company, the owners of that company would be under no obligation to provide the all-important encryption key to that agency. 

    In that scenario, it would be possible to crack the encryption algorithm- eventually- but in no manner that would be considered "timely" by the courts, denying the agency the ability to link their suspicions to actual activities. And in the case of customer records, the individual customers' information would be kept confidential.

    That's more than an intriguing idea. If defensible, it just might be the key to growing concerns that, despite the prohibitions against a national database of gun owners, federal agencies were going about building lists via seemingly unrelated actions. 

    If raiding two suspicious companies provided confidential information on, say, ten thousand possible owners of illegal AR-rifles (even if those "rifles" weren't capable of firing), any ATF investigation into any FFL-dealership could yield other records that could be pieced together to form a reasonably comprehensive list of the country's gun owners. That's presupposing, of course, the agency was willing to retain information it is ostensibly not keeping -as in the info from Form 4473.

    The concern over misuse of confidential information is one reason the Canadian government ordered their now-discontinued long gun registry dismantled rather than simply closed down. It's also a major reason Canadian gun owners are up in arms because one Canadian law enforcement agency apparently didn't dispose of the information. Instead, they parked in on a computer, keeping it as a "potential resource" for solving future crimes. 

    That explanation probably won't survive serious legislative or legal scrutiny because the database, despite the billions spent to create it, never directly contributed to the solving of any Canadian crime involving a firearm. 

    Over the weekend, we received a release from a PR firm taking serious exception with information collected by the online gun trading company, GunBroker.com. 

    According to the release, "A Highly-Detailed Personal Information National Firearm Owner Internet Personal Data List Already Exists!" and it cites GunBroker.com's collection of data about its members. The key objection was twofold: asking for a date of birth and physical address. 

    The release which was very careful to state that there was no implication that the company was doing anything untoward with their collected information continued to say the attempt to use a post office box instead of a physical address led to the company's "demanding" (more on that word in a bit) a facsimile of the person's drivers license. 

    When that was refused, the choice was given to either provide a redacted drivers licens and two other documents proving a physical address, or be denied registration.

    Giving the DOB and physical address, the release said, was "giving a database (run by strangers) more information than gun owners would willingly give their neighbors".

    In its conclusion, the release then called for GunBroker.com to run "some sort of computer search/sort and "delete ALL (their caps) the DOBs they have and just note over 21."

    I contacted GunBroker.com and asked them about the concerns raised in the document. 

    Their response was twofold. First, I was told there are literally thousands of databases that have information on gun owners, some even larger than GunBroker.com. 

    Secondly, the company simply doesn't deliver to post office boxes or do business with people who won't give a physical address. As a frequent online buyer, I know that to be a fact. Many companies as a matter of course will not deliver to post office boxes. Fedex and UPS have similar restrictions in certain circumstances (like delivery of ammunition).

    GunBroker.com, I was told flatly, simply will not allow access to its services - or its more than 3,000,000 clients - should anyone "refuse, be unable, or unwilling to give a street address". 

    My understanding is that address is integral piece of their guarantee that should you win a bid on a firearm listed on GunBroker.com, pay for it and then not receive it, GunBroker.com will repay you. A company's insurance company would likely stipulate the same requirement.

    And I'd imagine both would pretty quickly report fraud to the appropriate federal authorities as is required by law. When a transaction involves a firearm, one of those agencies is the BATFE. One of the first places to begin an investigation would be that given physical address.

    I was told that GunBroker.com would be issuing a formal statement on the release and questions it raised, but it would likely not be available in time for our deadlines.

    When that statement is issued, we will certainly share it with you. 

    Republished from The Outdoor Wire.

  • For Gun Controllers Honesty is NOT the Best Policy

    [Recently], Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) expressed to the audience of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher that he hopes the Democratic Party come outs, not just in favor of more gun control, but against the Second Amendment itself.   This is merely the latest episode of an elected official pulling back the curtain on the extreme contempt with which some politicians view the Second Amendment.

    The exchange took place during a lengthy discussion on gun control between Maher and his three guests.  After lamenting that the Democratic Party was not anti-gun enough, Maher asked Ellison, "Then why doesn't your party come out against the Second Amendment? It's the Problem."  Ellison responded by stating, "I sure wish they would. I sure wish they would."

    It's unfortunate that Maher and Ellison perpetuate the inaccurate idea that members of one of the two major political parties have - or should be expected to have- a uniform view opposing gun rights and the Second Amendment. This is not the current reality, nor has it ever been the case. NRA continually works with and endorses elected officials on both sides of the aisle.  Respect for the right to keep and bear arms is not a Democrat or Republican issue; it is an issue of individual liberty versus government control that garners support from a diverse group of Americans, independent of their political views on other topics.

    Regardless of this, Ellison is right in that the politicians of his party who are in opposition to the Second Amendment should be forthright with the American public.  However, if Ellison were aware of how profoundly unpopular such a stance would be, he might have second thoughts.

    Even the most committed gun control advocates hide their contempt for the Second Amendment with highly orchestrated messaging campaigns; and for good reason. A January 30, 2014, Gallup poll reported that out of those asked, "Would you like to see gun laws in this country made more strict, less strict, or remain as they are?" only 31 percent opted for stricter gun laws.  Further, when it comes to the Second Amendment itself, Americans are unambiguously in favor of the individual right to keep and bear arms. In a poll preceding the Supreme Court's landmark Heller decision, Gallup asked, "Do you believe the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the rights of Americans to own guns, or do you believe it only guarantees members of state militias such as the National Guard units the right to own guns?"  Seventy-three percent of those polled endorsed the individual right interpretation.

    With polls like these, gun owners should not expect any surge in the honesty of anti-gun politicians. Nevertheless, while we obviously disagree with the view Ellison expressed, we at least credit his candor. If only he would embolden his colleagues to join him in coming out of the shadows to openly embrace their opposition to the Second Amendment, America would have a much clearer picture of the reality that lurks behind the PR façade of "reasonable gun safety regulation." The American people deserve to know the disdain with which some of their elected officials view their constitutional rights and the opportunity to take that information into account when exercising their rights at voting booths.

    © 2013 National Rifle Association of America. Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. It may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

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