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  • The Myth of “Declining” Gun Ownership

    Americans are buying guns at an unprecedented rate (please see related story) and have been doing so for some time, but is gun ownership declining, as gun control supporters claim? 

    Gun control supporters want politicians to believe that it is, on the theory that politicians are more likely to vote for restrictions if they think that opponents of restrictions are in the minority. 

    Are gun control supporters guilty of what might be called “fuzzy math?” The fact that Americans are acquiring guns at a record pace is not in dispute. In the most recent report on background checks for firearm acquisitions, firearm purchase permits, and carry permits (which in many states allow a person to buy firearms without going through another background check) the data shows that checks have been increasing at a tremendous rate for several years. Similarly, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reports a comparable trend in domestic firearms production and firearm importation over the same period.

    The notion that gun ownership is declining comes from surveys asking people whether they or anyone else in their homes own firearms. Ever since the early 1990s, when then-President Bill Clinton pushed the Brady bill, the federal so-called “assault weapons” and “large” ammunition magazine “ban,” and regulations that drove many gun dealers out of business, many gun owners have not identified themselves as such during the surveys. 

    For example, during the first three years of Clinton’s war on guns, Gallup surveys found that the share of people acknowledging that they had guns in their homes dropped from 51 percent to 38 percent. When the survey question was expanded to include guns in the home or anywhere else on the residential property, the figure fell from 54 percent to 40 percent. 

    Gun control supporters immediately seized upon the trends as “proof” that their campaign to convince the American people to dispose of firearms and to not acquire additional ones was succeeding.

    However, like anyone else with common sense, Gallup recognized that trends in responses to its gun ownership questions might be explained by the degree to which people would want to acknowledge their gun ownership to strangers on the phone.

    In 2011, when after hovering around 42 percent for the previous six years, the percentage of people indicating that they had guns at home or elsewhere on their property jumped to 47 percent in one year’s time, Gallup said:

    “A clear societal change took place regarding gun ownership in the early 1990s, when the percentage of Americans saying there was a gun in their home or on their property dropped from the low to mid-50s into the low to mid-40s and remained at that level for the next 15 years. Whether this reflected a true decline in gun ownership or a cultural shift in Americans' willingness to say they had guns is unclear. However, the new data suggest that attitudes may again be changing. At 47%, reported gun ownership is the highest it has been in nearly two decades. . . .”

    In addition, there is an even simpler reason that many respondents to a survey may not be entirely forthright about whether they own guns or have them in their home – they simply don’t want a stranger on the phone to know about their guns any more than they would admit to having other items of significant value in the home. 

    Though background check, firearm production, and firearm importation numbers show gun acquisitions soaring, a CBS News poll, conducted right after the terrorist attack on a night club in Orlando last month, with President Obama and others calling for gun control, found that the percentage of households with at least one gun owner had declined 10 percent since 2012. 

    That’s a ten percent drop in four years, all the while firearm sales are skyrocketing.  It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to know the reliability of these results should be questioned, if not discarded entirely.

    Many in the media, out of their habit of believing anything that appears on its face to validate the theories of the gun control supporters with whom they intrinsically agree, have swallowed the “declining gun ownership” myth hook, line and sinker. For example, as we noted in January last year, in July 2014, Time.com identified firearms as one of the 10 Things That Americans Have Suddenly Stopped Buying.” “Stopped buying,” during a year in which there were 21 million firearm-related background checks and 12 million firearms manufactured or imported for sale in the United States.

    These “reporters” fail to consider any explanation for survey trends other than the one that is sync with anti-gun activist groups’ propaganda. And they also fail to comprehend the conflict between what they want to believe about survey trends and other surveys that show a marked increase in public support for gun ownership and opposition to gun control. As we noted in March, a year ago, as gun control supporters were claiming that gun ownership was declining, public support for gun ownership instead of gun control, and for the proposition that gun ownership increases one’s safety were increasing generally and among most demographic groups.

    © 2016 National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. This may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

  • Op-Ed: John Kasich Can’t Just Suspend Ohio’s Gun Laws
    by Kyle Sammin

    As the Republican National Convention began in Cleveland, prominent Democrats joined with local police in calling for Ohio Gov. John Kasich to suspend the state’s open-carry law during the convention.

    Sherrod Brown, a progressive Democrat who represents Ohio in the U.S. Senate, went even further in an interview with BuzzFeed, saying he “hope[s] that the governor would listen to the police union and suspend conceal and open carry in Ohio, in Cleveland, during this convention.”

    Brown, who is often mentioned as a contender for the Democrats’ vice-presidential nomination, makes the usual gun controller mistake of imagining the best way to prevent crime is to take firearms out of the people’s hands. But he makes other mistakes that show either a lack of understanding of how a republic functions, or else a shocking disregard for it.


    Where English kings claimed “prerogatives” like suspending the laws were an inherent part of the monarch’s power, our Founding Fathers wrote a Constitution that limited the executive’s powers to those specifically granted to him. The authors of state constitutions followed suit in restricting an executive’s powers. Ohio’s constitution is even more explicit than the federal version, stating “No power of suspending laws shall ever be exercised, except by the General Assembly.”


    No provision says “people have the right to carry firearms openly.” There are restrictions on concealed weapons, on guns in cars, guns in bars, and guns in courthouses, but nothing to stop a person who legally owns a rifle from walking around with it in the open for all to see.

    Kasich could not suspend open-carry laws even if he wanted to, because there is nothing to suspend. The point may sound semantic, but the difference is important. Asking an executive to suspend a law is unconstitutional, but it is at least physically possible. To suspend a law, the governor could point to a spot in the statute book and say “This provision does not apply anymore.” Illegal, yes, but not incomprehensible.

    What is asked of Kasich here goes a step further. ...It is asking the governor to rule as a tyrant, a government of one, responsible to nobody.

    Click here to read the entire op-ed at TheFederalist.com.

  • In Draft Party Platform, Democrats Regress on Gun Rights

    Following the lead of their presumptive presidential nominee, the Democratic Party is set to adopt a gun control plank in their 2016 party platform that lays bare the party leadership’s antipathy towards gun rights. The draft 2016 plank marks a significant shift in the party’s approach to the issue. Out is the lip service paid to the Second Amendment contained in the last several party platforms; the 2016 version is a forthright list of restrictive policies and an inflammatory tone common to the Democratic Party platforms of the 1990s.

    Released July 1, the gun control plank of the draft 2016 Democratic Party Platform reads:

    Gun Violence Prevention

    With 33,000 Americans dying every year, Democrats believe that we must finally take sensible action to address gun violence. While gun ownership is part of the fabric of many communities, too many families in America have suffered from gun violence. We can respect the rights of responsible gun owners while keeping our communities safe. We will expand background checks and close dangerous loopholes in our current laws, hold irresponsible dealers and manufacturers accountable, keep weapons of war—such as assault weapons—off our streets, and ensure guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists, domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and those with severe mental health issues.

    Notice that the plank does not mention the Second Amendment, or recognize the fact that it protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. This is a marked departure from the 2012 Democratic Party Platform, which held: 

    We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms.

    The 2016 draft platform’s gun control plank also differs sharply from the 2008 Democratic Party Platform, which contains the sentence: 

    We recognize that the right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans' Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. 

    Similarly, the 2004 Democratic Party Platform noted:

    We will protect Americans' Second Amendment right to own firearms…

    The 1992, 1996, and 2000 Democratic Party Platforms make no mention of the Second Amendment, offering only hollow assurances to hunters and sportsmen.

    After George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election, there was a concerted effort by Democrats to moderate, or at least give the appearance of moderating, the prevailing party positions on gun control in order to better reflect the American electorate’s respect for gun rights. For instance, in 2002, the Washington Post reported on a Democratic Senate caucus retreat at which “several” senators suggested a move away from gun control. According to the item, this prompted freshman Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to “[urge] her colleagues to keep their positions but change their language to be less inflammatory to swing voters.” In the mid-2000s Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel also sought to shift the party’s anti-gun perception. When understood in this historical context, despite coming from a party that often speaks of “progress,” the 2016 draft gun control plank is positively retrograde.

    Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has repeatedly made clear that she not only supports the severe gun control efforts outlined in the draft platform, but also rejects the Supreme Court’s ruling in the District of Columbia v. Heller, which held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. On separate occasions, Clinton called the landmark decision, “terrible,” and noted, “the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment and I am going to make that case every chance I get.”

    © 2016 National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. This may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

  • Ohio Democrats join call for suspension of Second Amendment
    by Chad D. Baus

    During the runup to the March 16 primary, Democrat Senate candidate P.G. Sittenfeld staged a last-ditch effort to gain publicity for his underdog campaign by calling for a constitutional amendment to repeal Ohio's preemption law which prohibits cities from enacting laws that are more strict than state law.

    As Buckeye Firearms Association and several news outlets have noted since Sittenfeld's primary loss, it is clear the proposal was nothing but a campaign PR stunt - the same kind of smoke and mirrors his gun ban extremist friends have become so known for.

    It is clear that at least two Ohio politicians took note of the attention Sittenfeld got, though.

    On Wednesday, July 20, State Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) announced he will introduce legislation to allow municipalities to restrict open or concealed carry of firearms during events of regional or national significance.  The proposal comes in the wake of Steve Loomis, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, calling for Governor Kasich to suspend Ohio open carry laws during the Republican National Convention.

    Two days earlier, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also expressed his support for the unconstitutional proposal, saying "I would hope that the governor would listen to the police union and suspend conceal and open carry in Ohio, in Cleveland, during this convention."

    Thomas and Brown will no doubt get their 15 minutes of fame, just as Loomis and Sittenfeld have done. But imagine for a moment if these Democrats were proposing to allow municipalities to abolish the First Amendment "during events of regional or national significance." Think that would play well with journalists who are so ready to support restriction of the Second Amendment? 

    The notion that local gun control can in ANY way be effective at prohibiting crime has been disproven by plenty of previous misguided attempts.

    Back in 2002, the Toledo Blade reported that, in the three years since Toledo City Council banned the sale and possession of so-called "Saturday Night Specials," only two people had been convicted for a violation in the course of three years. A sunset provision had been inserted into the original ordinance, and the law was allowed to expire.

    In 2006, a so-called "assault weapons" ban in the City of Columbus was exposed as impotent in a high profile way when former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarette was arrested with a banned rifle, yet was not charged for violation of the city's ban.

    In late 2007 and early 2008, Buckeye Firearms Association published a two-part series entitled "The truth about Cleveland’s 'Assault Weapon Ban', " in which we reported that public records requests revealed that in all of 2006 there was not one single person charged with a violation of Cleveland's assault weapons ban. That's right, not even one.

    Our investigation also found that, in 2007, only one person was prosecuted for a violation of Cleveland's bans. But the case never made it to trial because the Grand Jury returned a "no bill," meaning they couldn't even find the enough evidence of a crime for the case to move forward to a trial.

    So not only did the City of Cleveland not convict a single person under their so-called assault weapons ban in 2006 or 2007; they never even took one case to trial!

    In Part II of that series, we reported on the case of Edward Lesure, which involved a perp committing gun crimes while under several felony disabilities. Despite having pending felony charges, he was charged instead by the City of Cleveland with misdemeanors, nearly all of which were eventually dismissed. You read that right - not only did the city not pursue the sitting duck felony charges for firearm under disability, they dismissed most all the misdemeanor charges from Lesure's assault case. Lesure wound up pleading to only a resisting arrest charge. No domestic violence, no assault, no aggravated menacing, no violation of the Cleveland assault weapons ban, no violation of the safe storage law - all of which the circumstances of his case suggest he could have been prosecuted for.

    We conducted our investigation after months of calling on Cleveland-area media to ask these questions themselves. When we were done, we provided them with the facts, which they never bothered to published, perhaps because it weakened the case being made by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson that passage of a bill enacting statewide preemption of local gun control laws would tie his hands.

    The fact is there will NEVER be meaningful enforcement of local gun control, because anyone who commits a crime with a firearm should be charged with numerous felonies, and any conviction on the misdemeanor would, by law, be served concurrently with his felony time.

    The idea that local gun control can be effective as crime prevention is, as Buckeye Firearms Association Executive Director Dean Rieck said at the time Sittenfeld's proposal was announced, "a ridiculous proposal. Preemption was a solution to a serious problem in Ohio where we had a patchwork of gun laws throughout the state. State law now says clearly that gun laws must be consistent in Ohio and that cites cannot ban something that state law allows."

    "Preemption is settled law," said Rieck, "The City of Cleveland sued the State of Ohio over this issue and the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 decision that preemption is valid law.

    "In addition, when Gov. Bob Taft vetoed HB 347, the bill that introduced preemption, the Ohio General Assembly voted to override the veto. This was a historic override. So the people have spoken on this issue.

    "Quite literally, Sittenfeld was proposing a constitutional amendment to prevent the exercise of a constitutional right."

    Rest assured that this ridiculous idea, which has nothing to do with local government and everything to do with Cecil Thomas, will see no further action.

    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.

    Related Articles:

    WATCH: BFA's Gerard Valentino in TV debate on proposed constitutional amendment to restore local gun control

    Report: Cleveland gun arrest doesn’t always mean jail time

    Ken Hanson debates Columbus Assault Weapons Ban Part 1

    Ken Hanson debates Columbus Assault Weapons Ban Part 2

  • Violate these 4 gun safety rules at your own risk

    The single most important subject for every gun owner is also the subject few gun owners ever want to talk about: safety.

    Why? Because to many, it's boring. It's a lot more fun to talk about the latest and greatest firearm or debate the best caliber for self defense. Right?

    But let's face it. Accidents happen. And there's only ONE reason they happen. In every case, without exception, an accidental shooting results from a violation of one or more of these basic gun safety rules:

    1. Always treat all guns as if they are loaded.

    2. Don't point the gun at anything you don't want to destroy.

    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.

    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond.

    The wording may change a little depending on who's quoting these rules, but these are the 4 basic universal rules for gun safety. If you follow them, you cannot accidentally shoot yourself or anyone else.

    Here's Clint Smith, one of the most respected firearms experts in America, explaining these rules and why they're so important. Play particular attention to his stories about accidental shootings.

    From our friends at Second Call Defense...

  • Bloomberg Moms Claim Eddie Eagle Message as Their Own

    Imitation, so they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. 

    But heaping condemnation on something you later steal and then try to portray as your own? Well, that’s just downright weird. 

    And if there’s any truth to a recent blog post appearing in the New York Times, that’s what Shannon Watts – head of the Bloomberg-backed gun control group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – has done in promoting a safety course that looks suspiciously like NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program. 

    The blog post in general discusses ways for parents to broach the subject of firearms in the homes of their children’s playmates. Predictably (considering the source) it cites the executive director of the American Public Health Association as opining, “When it comes to guns, the safest situation is not having firearms in the home at all.”

    But one surprise to come out of the blog post is a paragraph discussing the supposed gun safety training efforts of the would-be matriarch of gun control herself. The article states:

    Even if you do not own a gun, it's important to have a conversation with your children about what to do if they ever see a gun, said Shannon Watts, a gun safety advocate and founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. That group co-founded a gun safety program that works with PTAs around the country. Children should be taught to leave the area immediately, not touch the firearm, tell an adult right away and call a parent, Ms. Watts said.

    In other words, Mrs. Watts was giving her own spin on NRA’s trademarked Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program. Since 1988, this effort has had a simple but very important mission: “teach children four simple, easy to remember steps so they know what to do if they ever come across a gun.” Those steps are: “STOP! Don’t touch. Run away. Tell a grown-up.” 

    It is a mantra that some 26,000 school teachers and law enforcement officers have taught to over 28 million children.  In 2001, the Journal of Emergency Nursing Online found Eddie Eagle GunSafe® to be the best of 80 gun accident prevention programs evaluated. It has also been lauded by groups such as the National Sheriffs’ Association, the U.S. Department of Justice (through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention), and the Association of American Educators. Meanwhile, over half the states have endorsed the use of the program in their schools. 

    Even gun control activist Mark Kelly once tweeted, “I don’t agree w/ the NRA on some big issues, but they deserve a lot of credit for teaching kids about gun safety [via] Eddie Eagle.”

    Indeed, Eddie Eagle has never been about politics or promoting any particular view of guns. NRA does not derive any revenues from the program. It’s simply one way to help prevent accidents and protect kids.

    And even as the number of firearms in American homes have grown exponentially, fatal firearms accidents in the Eddie Eagle age group have been reduced by more than 80 percent since the program’s national launch. 

    Nevertheless, less than a year ago, the deputy director of Moms Demand Action was publicly bashing the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program in response to its use at a kindergarten in rural Pennsylvania, where guns are as common as pickup trucks and hunting dogs. “It’s atrocious to put the onus of gun safety onto children — this is an adult problem,” she huffed to Yahoo News. “Every gun that’s gotten into the hands of a child has first been under the control of an adult. A program that tries to dodge that is disingenuous.”

    What’s really disingenuous, though is for Watts’s gun control group to pose as a “gun safety” organization, when their real mission is to lobby on behalf of Michael Bloomberg for restrictive gun control laws and to promote the idea that the Second Amendment endangers the life of children.

    And what’s amazingly disingenuous is for Watts to claim Eddie Eagle’s advice as her own, while senior officials of her organization criticize its use under the NRA banner. To be clear, Eddie Eagle was spreading his life-saving message decades before Michael Bloomberg disingenuously rebranded public relations professional as the “everymom” who finally put her foot down against America’s “epidemic” of “gun violence.”

    Watts and her group have a lot of catching up to do in this area, because when it comes to teaching Americans about safe and responsible gun ownership, NRA has been the leading voice since 1871.

    © 2016 National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. This may not be reproduced for commercial purposes. 

  • BFA's Sean Maloney schools NBC viewers on open carry
    by Chad D. Baus

    On July 19, as the Republican National Convention opened in Ohio, Buckeye Firearms Association's Sean Maloney appeared on Cincinnati's NBC affiliate, WLWT, to educate viewers on the legality of open carry in Ohio.

    Maloney responded to a suggestion by Steve Loomis, the president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, that Governor Kasich should suspend Ohioans' constitutional right to carry openly during the RNC meeting.

    A transcript of the interview can be viewed here.

    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.

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