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  • Busting the Top 3 Myths About the Second Amendment
    by Daniel T. McElrath

    Adherents to gun control typically respond with emotional arguments. However, on those occasions when they attempt to respond with “logic” regarding the Second Amendment itself, those arguments typically take the same tired forms. Here are three of the most popular, and how to dismantle them instantly.

    Myth #1: You have to have a license to operate a car. Why shouldn’t you have to have one to own a gun?

    Reality Check: Owning a car is not a right; it’s a privilege. Owning a gun is a right. There is no enumerated right to own or drive a car. A license generally isn’t required to own a car, or to operate it on private land. Also, gun-control advocates who make the “treat guns like cars” argument would probably be strongly opposed to a reciprocity system for those licensed to carry firearms that was as good as the reciprocity system for driver’s licenses. (And if they say guns are more dangerous, point out how many people are killed by cars every year.)

    Myth #2: The Second Amendment specifies that owning a gun is only for serving in “a Well-regulated militia”—what we now call the National Guard. That means gun ownership is a collective right of the people (not individuals), and that guns must be controlled by the government.

    Reality Check: First off, the opening to the Second Amendment is a dependent clause. It helps explain and justify the independent clause that follows, but is not essential to making that clause true. Moreover, back in the day when the Constitution was written, “well regulated” didn’t mean “controlled.” It meant “well practiced” or “well drilled.” And the militia wasn’t anything like today’s National Guard: All able-bodied males were deemed to be in the militia in time or threat of war.

    Further, in order for “the people” to indicate the citizenry as a whole rather than the individual, the Founding Fathers would have had to use it to mean an individual in the First Amendment, then the collective in the Second Amendment, and back to an individual in the Fourth, Ninth and Tenth amendments. In the landmark 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller decision, the Supreme Court agreed, stating: “Nowhere else in the Constitution does a ‘right’ attributed to ‘the people’ refer to anything other than an individual right.” D.C. v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 580 (2008). This led them to the conclusion: “There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms.” D.C. v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 595 (2008).

    Myth #3: The Founding Fathers couldn’t have foreseen the technological developments that have led to such things as “assault weapons.” The Second Amendment right was intended only for muzzleloading flintlocks.

    Reality Check: When I hear this, I always ask people if they know what a phaser is. “Oh,” they’ll say, “that ray gun from Star Trek.” Then I’ll point out that they don’t exist, even though we “know” what they are. Imagination didn’t begin in the 20th or 21st centuries. To say that men like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin—who were among the leading inventors of their day—couldn’t have foreseen technological advancements is patently absurd. Moreover, some technological concepts that we think of as modern are quite old. For example, there is a 12-shot flintlock in the NRA National Firearms Museum. Manufacturing techniques and the absence of industrialization were more limiting factors than imagination back then.

    Perhaps most compellingly, if the Second Amendment referred only to technology extant at the time it was drafted, then the First Amendment doesn’t apply to radio, movies, television or the Internet. Once again, the Supreme Court agrees, stating: “Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment. We do not interpret constitutional rights that way. Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.” D.C. v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 582 (2008)

    Calmly and politely explaining these facts can go a long way to change someone's mind about the Second Amendment and what it means. Spread the word!

    Click here to read the entire article at NRAFamilyInsights.org.

  • Billionaires Buying Away Rights - Will Washington residents sell out?
    by Jeff Knox

    There is a major battle under way in Washington State that has serious implications for the rest of the country. The battle is between two competing ballot initiatives; one, I-591, to limit background checks in the state to federal standards, and the other, I-594, to require all firearm transfer in the state – with a few narrow exceptions – to go through a federally licensed firearm dealer for a NICS check.

    The I-594 campaign has raised over $7 million so far, most of it from a few extremely wealthy individuals, including Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, and information mogul turned New York City Mayor turned anti-gun extremist, Mike Bloomberg. The grassroots effort in support of I-591, on the other hand, has raised just over $1 million, most of that from small, individual contributions.

    Seven million dollars will buy a lot of advertising, but will the billionaires’ bucks – and general ignorance about the seemingly commonsense issue of background checks – be enough to overpower the state's 1.5 million gun owners? Polling has shown support for both initiatives, but the intense advertising campaigns and get-out-the-vote efforts could swing the numbers in either direction.

    Proponents of I-591 argue that Washington should not institute gun laws that are stricter or more complicated than federal law. They point out that crime guns are rarely acquired by prohibited persons through private, otherwise legal sales, and that I-594 imposes an unnecessary burden and expense on gun owners. They also point to discomfort with the idea of government being involved in every legal firearm transaction and the potential for the process to be turned into a registration scheme.

    Proponents of I-594 argue that if Congress won’t take action on “universal background checks,” then it’s up to the states to make changes. Pointing to a couple of high-profile examples of prohibited people buying guns through private sales, and invoking atrocities like the Batman movie massacre, the attack on the Gabby Giffords rally, and the horror of Sandy Hook (none of which involved private firearm transactions) as reasons to “do something” to keep guns out of “the wrong hands.” As is almost always the case with gun control proposals, the I-594 people do not offer any real evidence that there is a specific problem that needs to be solved, or that their proposal will actually solve – or even favorably affect – any problem. Instead they present sad and scary anecdotes to excite people’s emotions and then offer their proposal as a “step in the right direction.”

    The heavy funding of I-594 by elitist billionaires, all of whom employ private armed security to protect themselves and their families, could prove to be a double-edged sword. Voters might take exception to these elites flaunting their wealth in an effort to restrict the rights of regular citizens. The I-591 effort is playing that angle heavily and trying to educate people about the realities of private sales and the distortions being presented by the I-594 side. The fact is I-594 will not prevent evil or insane people from acquiring guns or other weapons if they want them, while it will add as much as 25% to the cost of buying a gun, not to mention the added time and inconvenience. And it will only impact law-abiding people wishing to buy and sell personal property that happens to be specifically protected under the Bill of Rights. It is a step in a direction away from liberty and toward overreaching government control.

    Using the anti-rights advocates’ own claims that between 80% and 90% of all firearm sales are to people who already own guns, that would mean only 10% to 20% of gun buyers don’t already own guns, and the hundreds of millions of dollars currently being spent on background checks are being wasted at a rate of 80% to 90% right off the top. Of the 10% to 20% they say don’t already own guns, only a very small fraction might be prohibited persons, so the gun control extremists are advocating adding expense and scrutiny to thousands more firearms transfers in Washington every year on the slight chance that a few very dense criminals might be too stupid to simply avoid the scrutiny by convincing a buddy or girlfriend to make the purchase for them – something that is already illegal, but still relatively common, and virtually impossible to prevent.

    Will the commitment and effort of a million and a half gun owners in Washington win out over the money of a handful of billionaire hoplophobes? The only accurate measure of that question will come in the polling booths on November 4, but one thing is certain; the billionaires’ money will win out over apathy and inaction every time. Lovers of liberty in Washington must get involved, and they can use all the help and encouragement the rest of us can give them.

    ©2013 The Firearms Coalition, all rights reserved. Reprinting, posting, and distributing permitted with inclusion of this copyright statement. www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

  • Crowning A World Champion of Shooting?
    by Jim Shepherd

    Editor's Note: This seemed to be the weekend of worldwide shooting competition. The ISSF World Championships continued in Spain (and the US had a BIG day- see the news section), the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) held its 2014 U.S. Championships at the US Shooting Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the inaugural World Shooting Championship from Glengary, West Virginia set out to identify the "world's best shooter" - and award that shooter $50,000. The IDPA match hadn't posted final results at our deadline, so we'll have those full results in subsequent editions of the wires this week. The inaugural Trijicon World Shooting Championship did wrap up on Saturday - and award $50,000 to the winner.

    Looking over the expanses of West Virginia open country that make up the Peacemaker National Training Center outside Glengary, West Virginia, it's difficult to accurately judge distance, especially with low clouds and a light mist blowing. Ordinarily, that brings an appreciative look to any photographer's eye.

    But if those aging eyes are trying to determine the distance between a blowing flag and a target something between 100 and 200 yards behind it, it's not so inspiring. 

    This photographer/shooter wasn't the only person wandering across the 12 stages of the inaugural Trijicon World Shooting Championship anticipating problems, because this competition was filled with shooters who have held (or currently hold) virtually any imaginable world shooting title. Bianchi Cups, Camp Perry titles, F1, Olympic trap, cowboy action, it seemed every event was represented by champions out to bring home the world's best shooter title -and the $50,000 winner's check.

    This competition was designed to bring all those different disciplines- and champions- together in a single competition with the goal of crowning an "undisputed world champion" of shooting. 

    And the final standings indicate those with the most experience with rifles, pistols and shotguns had the upper hand. And a disproportionately high number of top finishers are currently 3-gun competitors.

    But the best shooter in the world as identified by this competition is ....Daniel Horner of the Army Marksmanship Unit. 

    Horner took outright stage wins in the Double Womble Trap (100%) and NRA Action Rifle (again, 100%) and used them to overcome his to worst scores, a twenty-eighth place finish in F-class rifle and a thirteenth place in .22 rifle. Those were the only two of the twelve events where Horner didn't either win - or finish inside the top ten.

    For his achievement, Horner wins the $50,000 prize- and the dubious honor of now knowing that every competition shooter in the world has him solidly in their sights now, not just the 3-gun shooters he regularly tests -and bests.

    Bruce Piatt, multi-Bianchi Cup title holder and working police officer, finished second in the overall competition, followed by the man who seems to be ready to compete with anyone with virtually anything that goes bang at any time: Jerry Miculek. 

    Miculek's third-place finish would seem to solidify his position as the man who pays no attention to time, but junior Brian Nelson's fourth place finish would indicate that while he's not going to be competing much longer as a junior, he won't be leaving the competitive shooting world. 

    The remainder of the top ten were Greg Jordan (5th) Patrick Kelley (6th), Mark Hanish (7th) , Jake Denno (8th) , Gabe Dietrich (9th) and Ryan Muller (10). Three gunner Tony Holmes finished eleventh, with Dave Sevigny in twelfth. 

    The High Female title in the World Shoot went to Lena Miculek who finished in twenty-eighth place.

    If you're like me, you'd wondered how anyone could level a playing field so that champion shooters in vastly dissimilar disciplines could compete evenly. That was the challenge facing the organizer, match director and sponsors.

    And designing a match that could do that by itself wouldn't be enough. It would take a prize large enough to attract as many of the world's current and former title-holders as possible to a course of fire difficult enough to challenge their core competencies and identify their shooting weaknesses.

    Trijicon stepped up to the prize challenge with a $50,000 cash prize for first place- and more than $100,000 in cash overall. Prize tables added more than a quarter million additional dollars. 

    Leveling the playing field meant requiring everyone to compete with stage guns and ammo. No hand tuned actions, customized sights or hand loaded ammo specifically designed to minimize personal error. Essentially the World Shooting Championship was going to identify the world's best "stock" shooter.

    Another challenge was eliminating "gaming" as much as possible. No match is ever perfect with all the competitors, but the rules in this one helped everyone realize-quickly- this match was going to come down to pure shooting abilities. 

    That also meant clarifying the matter of reshoots. When did a competitor get to reshoot a string of fire or a stage? That's a question that's resulted in heated debates at almost any competition-at virtually all levels. 

    The short answer to this long bone of contention was a "mulligan card". If you golf, the "mully" is a familiar concept: hit a bad shot, use a "mulligan" and hit again- no penalty. It's a fundraising staple at charity golf events. Big-spenders (and gamers) always buy the limit of mulligans.

    The World Championship issued each shooter a mulligan card- entitling you to reshoot all- or a portion- of a single stage (depending on the stage). 

    But the card came with a major catch: it was only playable a single time-and on one stage. And it had to be played before your squad finished the stage - or the next squad arrived.

    No more excuses, alibis or mulligans: no kidding.

    Sure, there were some exceptions (with stage guns/ammo and moving targets there's always the chance that something would break, jam or stop moving), but the single chance at redemption negated "gaming" the equipment. After all, taking a rerun simply to improve a time on an event that was your strength eliminated any possibility of rerunning a stage where you might have problems.

    You can see the official finish for the first Trijicon World Championships at:https://practiscore.com/twsc/leaderboard.php. 

    You might also want to mark October 14-17, 2015 on your calendar for the second World Championship of Shooting. I already have, because I'm thinking defending the title might be a bit more difficult than simply winning it.

    Republished from The Outdoor Wire.

  • I-75 shooting in Ohio exposes truth self-defense advocates have long known
    by Chad D. Baus

    On Friday morning, September 12, police say Terry Froman, 41, went to the Mayfield, KY home of his ex-girlfriend Kim Thomas, 34, shot and killed her oldest 17 year-old son, then kidnapped her.

    According to The Journal-News, when friends went to her home after she failed to report to work and discovered her son's body, they immediately called police. Prior to that call, the article says the Kentucky State Police and the Paducah Police Department were investigating the possible abduction of a white female at a convenience store on the south side of Paducah, Ky., Redmon said. Paducah police viewed a video of a naked female, believed to be Thomas, getting out of a white 2004 GMC Yukon, that fit the description of Froman’s SUV, and being forced to get back inside the vehicle.

    Imagine, for a moment, that you were Thomas' situation. You know your son has been killed. You are being held in the back of a sport utility vehicle, naked, and possibly already suffering from injuries. You captor has been driving for hours, giving you time to hope and pray that someone has discovered you are missing and sent help.

    What would your expectation be when you realize that police are pulling over the vehicle in which you are being transported? Would you think that you have been saved? Would you cry tears of relief, feeling a restoring sense of hope that you might at least get to see your 9-year-old son again? 

    Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers did pull the vehicle over, near Middletown, after they and Kentucky law enforcement tracked the suspect's location through his cell phone.

    And when they did, they knew they were detaining a man suspected of murdering a 17 year-old boy and kidnapping his mother. So what was their response?

    From the article:

    Within a minute of Froman stopping, troopers heard at least one gunshot.

    “When troopers exited their vehicle, they heard shots fired coming from within the vehicle,” Cvetan said. “Troopers took up position and waited for additional personnel to arrive before approaching the vehicle.”

    They found Froman injured from a single gunshot and Thomas deceased inside of the vehicle.

    The article later states that Thomas was found naked and bloody, and likely was shot multiple times. The investigation is ongoing, and it is not yet clear if Thomas was still alive when troopers pulled over the vehicle she was in. But of course the troopers couldn't have known that either. And so, even with knowledge that an armed, murderous kidnapper might still have a living kidnap victim inside the car, troopers did not immediately approach the vehicle once it stopped. When they finally did exit their vehicles to approach, and upon hearing gun shots from within the vehicle, they didn't surge ahead to stop further harm to the victim they had reason to believe was inside. No. They retreated and waited for backup.

    Please understand, this is not being written as a critique of the tactics these troopers employed. I will leave that to others more familiar with law enforcement and the training they receive.

    My purpose, instead, is to reinforce a very important truth that too few people understand:

    If you are made a victim of violence, you cannot count on police to come and save you. When you dial 911, it can take many minutes for police to arrive. In Thomas' case, it took hours for police to arrive after the first call to 911. And even if police do arrive on scene "in time," that doesn't necessarily mean that help has arrived. There is still no guarantee that you will live through the minutes that follow.

    In short, this tragic incident proves what so many others have said before. You are responsible for your own safety, and no one else. You must take steps to protect yourself from attack. Anti-self-defense extremists who advise that your only defense should be to dial 911 and wait are giving very poor advice indeed.

    Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

  • Virtual School Practices Real Oppression, Bans Pixilated Firearms

    The cultural campaign to label firearms and firearm ownership as socially unacceptable claimed another victim last week, when a “virtual” school demanded that an elementary school student remove an image of a firearm from his online profile.

    The incident involved Wisconsin Virtual Learning, a public charter school, which offers Wisconsin’s elementary and high school students the opportunity to attend school online from home, rather than in a traditional classroom setting.  As part of his online school profile, an 11-year-old student named Mathew uploaded a picture of a pistol on top of an American flag.  A school official contacted Mathew and told him to change the image, stating, “No guns in school, even virtual schools.”

    Following the removal demand, Mathew’s mother, an avid gun rights supporter, contacted WISN radio show host Vicki McKenna, who shared the story with her listeners.  Mathew’s mother also told the radio program that she fears Mathew could be expelled for the picture incident and that her other son was previously told by the virtual school that he could not write a paper on the Second Amendment.

    While Mathew’s case is particularly absurd, he’s unfortunately not the first victim of schoolhouse anti-gun bigotry extended to the virtual realm.  In 2013, KNXV-TV reported that a student at Poston Butte High School in Florence, Ariz. was suspended for three days after he changed the desktop wallpaper on a school-issued laptop to a picture of a gun. 

    Modern gun prohibition advocates have learned to couch their agenda in terms like “reasonable gun safety regulations.”  Yet school bans on, and strict punishments for, talking about firearms, chewing food into "gun" shapes, drawings of firearms, and pro-Second Amendment statements cannot be rationally justified as public safety measures.  Rather, they are a form of political activism and social engineering designed to promote the idea that firearms and firearm owners are deviant and inherently threatening.  Such censorship may also infringe uponconstitutionally-protected freedom of expression. 

    The fact that this persecution is so often targeted at impressionable youth, and so often threatens real harm to their future prospects, demands that it be challenged at every turn.

    © 2014 National Rifle Association of America. Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. It may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

  • Ray Rice and New Jersey “Justice”
    by Jeff Knox

    The release of a videotape of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his fiancé and knocking her out, has created quite a stir in the media. The TV gossip show, TMZ, released the video [last] week, ushering in a whole new chorus of outrage toward Rice, the NFL, and the Atlantic County, New Jersey Prosecutor’s Office.

    After an initial 2-game suspension, the Baltimore Ravens have now canceled Rice’s multi-million dollar contract, and the NFL has suspended him from the league indefinitely. The criticism being leveled at the Atlantic County Prosecutor is based on their decision to allow Rice off through a Pre-Trial Intervention program whereby he must complete an anger management program, possibly perform some community service, report to a probation officer, and avoid any further legal troubles for a couple of years. In the end, his record will be completely clean, as if nothing ever happened. Such plea deals are not uncommon for people charged with a first offense, though they are not normally offered in cases involving serious violence. In this particular case, the prosecutor initially filed a simple assault charge and tried to let Rice off, but had to send the case to a Grand Jury. The Grand Jury came back with a felony indictment, but the prosecutor decided to be as lenient as possible by offering Rice the Pre-Trial Intervention deal on an aggravated assault charge.

    Critics have gone to great lengths to point out the inconsistency of the NFL in dealing with other cases of domestic violence, and they have pointed out what appears to have been special, favorable treatment for Rice by the Atlantic County Prosecutor. We are still waiting for TMZ, ESPN, or other critics to point out the blatant inconsistency demonstrated by the prosecutor between how he treated Rice and Shaneen Allen.

    As I pointed out in this column several weeks ago, the Atlantic County Prosecutor has refused to offer a Pre-Trial Intervention deal to Shaneen Allen, a young mother who unwittingly brought a gun into their jurisdiction, and are instead pushing for the maximum criminal sentence. This is Shaneen Allen’s first offense and there was no victim. She is an upstanding member of society, a hard-working, single mother of two young boys. She is also black, like Ray Rice, but Shaneen Allen does not have a multi-million dollar football contract. Her arrest did not make national news. Instead, she works two jobs just to make ends meet. She wasn’t staying at a luxury hotel-casino, but was driving to meet friends for a rare getaway. Unlike Rice, Shaneen Allen didn’t try to hide her actions, nor did she come up with conflicting stories. When she was pulled over for an improper lane change, Shaneen volunteered to the officer that she had a Pennsylvania concealed firearm license and that her pistol was in her purse.

    If convicted, Shaneen Allen faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 3 years in prison, and could be imprisoned for up to 5 years. She has already spent over 40 days in jail. She would also lose her right to possess firearms forever. Ray Rice didn’t spend a night in jail and if he completes the probation successfully, his record will be wiped clean, he won’t be a felon, and his gun rights will be unaffected.

    I honestly don’t know what a fair punishment for Ray Rice’s reprehensible act would be, that’s for others to worry over. What I do know is that the disparity between the treatment Rice got from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, and the way they are handling Shaneen Allen’s case is a glaring injustice. Not only is the prosecutor treating Shaneen Allen more harshly than he did Ray Rice, but he is deviating from standard practice, both of Atlantic County, and of other counties in New Jersey, where Pre-Trial Intervention in cases like Shaneen’s is the norm. What’s more, this particular prosecutor is not one elected by the people, but one appointed by Governor Chris Christie, meaning that there are political considerations at play in both these cases, but Christie, a former prosecutor himself, has refused to get involved.

    It is ridiculous that the state of New Jersey – notorious for its history of organized crime, government corruption, and rampant street violence – has long had some of the harshest restrictions on firearms rights in the country. Those restrictions have never been shown to have any positive impact on crime, but they have repeatedly snared innocent gun owners who happened to cross the wrong line. Back in the 1970s, before passage of the Firearm Owners Protection Act, when travelers could be prosecuted for crossing through restrictive jurisdictions like New Jersey, even if their cased, unloaded guns were locked in the trunk, a New Jersey judge went so far as to rule that an NRA sticker in the window constituted probable cause to pull a vehicle over and search it for firearms. Clearly the objective there was not to catch and disarm violent criminals.

    The Shaneen Allen case is an excellent example of why we advocate for “national reciprocity,” meaning all states would recognize concealed weapons licenses from other states, just the way they recognize other states’ drivers’ licenses. Shaneen Allen was a crime victim who took legal steps to provide for her own protection, but the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office has now taken more from her than Philadelphia street thugs ever did – and they’re threatening to take even more.

    When you see reports of the mishandling of the Ray Rice case, remember Shaneen Allen and the way her case is being mishandled in the opposite direction. You might also consider making a small contribution to the Shaneen Allen Legal Defense Fund.

    ©2014 The Firearms Coalition, all rights reserved. Reprinting, posting, and distributing permitted with inclusion of this copyright statement. www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

  • Violence Policy Center's Cars Theory Not Hitting on All Cylinders

    The anti-gun Violence Policy Center (VPC) thinks it has finally come up with a way to get handguns, and maybe some other guns, banned. Compare ‘em to cars!

    Obviously, some background is in order. 

    VPC was formed, and is still led, by Josh Sugarmann, a former staffer for the National Coalition to Ban Handguns and the author of the book, Every Handgun is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns. 

    In 1988, in its first policy paper, VPC (then known as the New Right Watch), complained that “handgun restriction consistently remains a non-issue with the vast majority of legislators, the press, and public.”  Therefore, it said, a “new topic” was needed to “strengthen the handgun restriction lobby.”

    At the time, it said that the “new topic” should be “assault weapons.”  But in 2000, with the federal “assault weapon” ban temporarily in place, VPC changed its tune.  In Unsafe in Any Hands: Why America Needs to Ban Handguns, the group said that “Congress should vest the Department of the Treasury with strong authority to regulate the design, manufacture, and distribution of firearms.”  That authority would include “the ability to remove from the market firearms that pose a serious threat to public health and safety.” 

    VPC reasoned that “by making a simple comparison between the costs of civilian handgun ownership versus the benefits these weapons are purported to deliver, the case for banning handguns becomes self-evident.”  Last year, however, VPC expanded the list of things that it would like consumer products regulation of firearms to achieve.  It said the regulations could also impose “assault weapon” and magazine bans, and restrictions on carrying guns, and include a propaganda campaign “about the extreme risks” of “exposure to firearms.”

    Congress has thus far refused to give either the Consumer Products Safety Commission or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives the authority to arbitrarily dictate what kinds of firearms may be manufactured.  But VPC now thinks that it has the argument that will change Congress’ mind.

    In a recent policy paper, VPC said that giving the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the authority to set federal motor vehicle safety standards reduced motor-vehicle-related deaths, so the same approach would work where firearms are concerned.

    As you might imagine, there are some problems with VPC’s theory, however.

    First, motor vehicle accident deaths have declined for a number of reasons, some of which do not originate with a government dictate over the design of automobiles.  The NHTSA says that crash fatalities have been reduced not only by mandatory installation of seat belts, air bags and child restraints, but also by roadway improvements, automobile manufacturers’ voluntary installation of electronic stability control technology, and economic recessions and unemployment, which reduce the number of miles that people drive.  Strict enforcement of DUI/DWI laws has also contributed to the decrease in fatal automobile accidents.

    Second, even without banning some guns and mandatorily redesigning those that remain, firearm accident deaths have decreased more than motor vehicle accident deaths over the last several decades.  From 1981 (the earliest year both sets of data are available from the National Center for Health Statistics) through 2011 (the most recent year of available data), the firearm accident death rate dropped 77 percent, while the motor vehicle accident death rate dropped only 53 percent.

    We doubt that any of this will incline Sugarmann and his handful of anti-gun officemates to bring their sputtering cars theory to a screeching halt.  That will occur only when those who fund the VPC--in this case, the Joyce Foundation, the Herb Block Foundation and the David Bohnett Foundation--realize how little mileage they are getting for their investment.

    © 2014 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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