Thursday, November 12, 2015

Gun Control Is Based On Propaganda

This post is available for download as a PDF file HERE

I realize that this is a radical statement.  Of course, not all gun laws are bad.  I don't want felons to have guns.  Ditto for the mentally ill.  However, we already have laws on the books to deal with these kind of situations.  I'm not talking about these laws or minor adjustments to them - I am taking about the typical gun control arguments we have all heard many times.

What is propaganda?  Is it not when you simply make stuff up in order to justify a public policy? Nearly all gun control arguments are based on PHONY INFORMATION - and I can prove it.  .  I urge you to check the following facts out for yourself.  Specifically these are prime examples of the phony information gun control arguments are based upon, none of which are ever questioned by the mainstream media: 

Phony Facts (i.e. Lies):

Gun control advocates frequently speak of the "epidemic of gun violence".  They do so because they want you to believe that gun violence is increasing - and it is working.  Most Americans believe that gun crime is rising.  But what are the real facts?

The real facts: GUN CRIME, INCLUDING GUN HOMICIDES, ARE DOWN BY NEARLY 50% SINCE 1993.   Even more significant, the nations gun supply doubled and concealed carry massively expanded during this same time frame!  Yep, more guns and more concealed carry resulted in a 50% drop in gun crime!

This information does not come from the NRA, but from official government statistics - reported by the highly regarded public research organization PEW RESEARCH.

Pew reports that this propaganda has largely succeeded.  Indeed, their report is entitled, " Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware".  Even more significantly, this drop has taken place with the number of firearms in the hands of the public as doubled and "shall issue" citizen concealed carry has expanded from a handful of states to 43 states.

Does it bother you that the American public has been successfully deceived by the gun control movement and the mainstream media?  It should.

And this is but one example.  Other phony facts include: Firearms are infrequently used in self defense, mass shootings are never stopped by armed citizens, gun free zones save lives, most Mexican crime guns come from US gun stores and many people are killed with so called "assault weapons".  All of these so called facts are completely false.  

Phony statistics

First, I invite you to check the sources of data used by pro-gun rights advocates.  You will find that organizations supporting gun rights almost exclusively use official government data.  The exception is when government doesn't collect data - such as defensive gun use.  They can do this because the actual facts support their pro-gun rights arguments.

In contrast, gun control organizations usually do not do this.  Instead, they simply make up their own terms and statistics that provide false support for gun control.  No greater example exists than their oft used "gun deaths" statistic.

As we have seen above, criminal use of firearms is down - so gun control advocates create their own statistic - not used or issued by any government agency.  They add gun homicides, gun accidents and gun suicides together to create the largest number possible.  However, when the use this figure in the media, they almost never tell you that they have done this.  Why? SIMPLE: THEY WANT THE PUBLIC TO THINK THEIR PHONY FIGURE IS THE GUN HOMICIDE FIGURE!  Indeed, most in the media never dispute this - instead, they too speak as if it is the firearms homicide figure.

Many Nations With High Suicide Rates Ban or Nearly
Ban Firearms - Yet This Doesn't Stop Suicides.
People Who Really Want To Kill Themselves Will Find A
Way.  Note that the UK and The US Have Nearly Identical
Rates of Suicide In Spite Of Draconian Gun Laws in The UK.
This is important because the majority of their "gun deaths" (about 60%) are not homicides, they are gun suicides.  When they are forced to admit that their phony figure is mostly composed of suicides, they argue that more guns equal more suicides.  They point to comparisons between cherry picked states to support this argument.  They reject the argument that someone who really wants to kill themselves will find a way - but what are the facts?

Well, we can look to three nations that are very similar: The US, Canada and the UK.  All three are English speaking, they share a common history and even, to a great extent a common media.  All three are modern industrial nations.  They do differ widely in one area: Firearms ownership.  The US has firearms in a bit less than 50% of homes (if not more), Canada has firearms in a bit less than 30% of homes and the UK has firearms in less than 4% of homes.  If firearms availability is a major factor in suicides, than the suicide rates in these three nations should vary widely.  However, this is not the case - their suicide rates are virtually identical, PROVING THAT THE AVAILABILITY OF FIREARMS DOES NOT AFFECT THE SUICIDE RATE.

Of course, if firearms are available, they will be used to commit suicide - but if they are not available  people will simply choose another method.  That is why many nations with actual or virtual bans on private firearms have much higher rates of suicide than the US, the UK or Canada.  Clearly, other factors are at play here.

Gun control advocates know full well that combining firearms suicides with firearms suicides is dishonest.  They simply do not care.  They are quite willing to make up phony statistics to support their positions.

Phony Comparisons

This is yet another way in which the gun control movement uses propaganda methods.  The perhaps most well known, of these false comparisons is comparing the number of suicides and homicides with the number of justifiable homicides.

The propaganda is presented as follows: "You should not own a firearm because a firearm in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a family member than an intruder.  THEREFORE YOU SHOULD NOT OWN A GUN."  Remember, this is the whole point behind this phony comparison.

Boy, it sure sounds like a gun in the home is a really bad idea doesn't it?  It sounds like the self-defense benefit is far outweighed by the danger, right?  WRONG!

The problems here are many:

Phony, invalid comparison: Is the purpose of a defensive firearm in the home to kill intruders?  NO, IT IS NOT.  The purpose of a defensive firearm in the home is to protect the occupants.  In the vast majority of cases this can be done without firing any shots.  When confronted with a firearm, most intruders will run.  In the minority of cases were shots are fired in defense, no one dies.  Justifiable homicides are only a tiny minority of defensive gun uses.   By including only cases where an attacker is killed, the anti-gun propagandists intentionally eliminate the vast majority of successful defensive gun uses.  Even the most conservative figures (sadly, no official figures are available) on defensive gun use result in dozens to hundreds more defensive uses than deaths.

What we do know that is more LEGALLY OWNED firearms results in less crime and fewer legally owned guns results in more crime:

US Gun Ownership and Crime Rates

UK Gun Ownership and Crime Rates
Notice that in the US, where more guns have been added to the civilian supply, crime is down.  In the UK, where government has actively worked to reduce gun ownership, crime is up!  Even within the EU, countries such as Sweden, Finland, Norway and Switzerland - where gun ownership is common, have low crime rates, while the country with the fewest legally owned guns - you guessed it - the UK - has the highest crime rate.   Simply checking official figures on Wikipedia will confirm this.

Inflated death figure: As we have seen above, firearms ownership does not causes suicides.  Again, gun control advocates, without disclosing it unless asked, combine suicides and homicides to massively inflate their death statistic.  In fact 87% or 37 of the deaths in this statistic are suicides.

While suicidal people will use firearms if they are available, they quite clearly will use something else if they are not - therefore, these deaths are not as a result of a firearm being present and should not be counted.

Mixed data set: So, at this point our invalid comparison is reduced to six domestic deaths for each justifiable homicide.  However, even this figure is not really accurate.  

In compiling this statistic, no effort was made to distinguish between firearms legally owned by law abiding citizens and firearms owned illegally by criminals, drug abusers and the mentally ill.  Obviously, these people are much more likely to kill - intentionally or unintentionally.  They are much more likely to leave a firearm unsecured where a child can find it.  In short, a huge number of the deaths must have come from this group. 

Additionally, no effort was made to distinguish between homes in which domestic abuse and/or alcoholism was present and those homes without such problems.  Again, common sense and experience tells us that the risk of domestic violence is much high in these homes than in healthy homes.

So, of what use is this phony 43:1 statistic to a healthy, mentally stable, law abiding citizen who lives in a home without substance abuse or domestic violence?  Answer: IT IS OF NO USE AT ALL.  It completely irrelevant to such a person.  It does not predict the risk for such a person or household - and yet, this is exactly how the gun control advocates use it.

Of course, this is but one example.  Simply ask yourself when a comparison is made: Is this a VALID comparison?

Phony Terms

The gun control movement loves to make up phony terms of their own.  The reason is simple: Once the term has been vilified in the eyes of the public, the gun control movement can then expand it's definition (because it really doesn't have one), while the opinion of the public at large does not change.  In short, the reason the that gun control advocates use phony terms is to deceive the public.

"Saturday Night Special", "Cop Killer Bullets", "Gun Show Loophole" and "Assault Weapon" are but a few examples of the phony terms used by gun control advocates.  Currently, the most used of these terms is "Assault Weapon", so let's look at the history of this term.

The gun control advocates initially chose the term "Assault Weapon" because it is so close to the real term "Assault Rifle" that the two are easily confused.

What is an "Assault Rifle"?  Invented by the Germans during WW2 and named by none other than Hitler himself, assault rifles are standard equipment in most of the world's armies.  To be an assault rifle, a rifle must have all three of the following characteristics:

1) Intermediate cartridge - It must fire a round less powerful than a full power rifle cartridge and more powerful than a pistol cartridge
2) Fed from a detachable magazine
3) Capable of BOTH semi-automatic and fully automatic fire

Legally, real assault rifles are machine guns.  As such, they are very tightly controlled and cannot be purchased in a typical gun store.  In fact, the number in civilian hands is so small that legal fully auto weapons cost tens of thousands of dollars.

A machine gun is legally defined as any firearm that fires more than one round per pull of the trigger.  In other words a machine gun can spray bullets.  In contrast, a semi-auto firearm, examples of which have been around for more than 110 years and are commonly used in hunting, can only fire one shot per trigger pull.

What civilians can and do own - in very large numbers - are semi-auto versions of the military rifles.  These are functionally no different than rifles that have been around since the early 1900s - but they look nearly identical to their military counterparts.  This provided an opportunity for gun control advocates to introduce confusion.

In the late 1980s, they coined the term "assault weapon" - and initially employed in only against guns that had fully automatic military versions.  Even though these firearms were FUNCTIONALLY IDENTICAL to all other semi-automatic firearms, they convinced many in the public that because of their appearance they were uniquely dangerous.   They were
The Rifles Above Actually Have The Same
Internal Parts - They Are Functionally
Identical - Yet The Bottom Firearm
Could Be Banned Based On Looks 
helped in this effort by a few police and media outlets that showed the fully automatic military versions being fired on full auto, and then referred to the civilian versions AS IF THEY WERE THE SAME GUNS.
 Of course, they weren't - but by now you know that lies are the gun control movement's stock and trade.

So, initially the gun control movement said, "We just want to ban these evil military rifles, not sporting or target guns."  (Never mind that the number one target gun in the US is the AR15.)  So, in my native State of California, these were banned in the late 1980s.  Next, having convinced the bulk of the public that "assault weapons" were terrible, they expanded the definition.  Now, any semi-auto rifle with a
The ONLY Difference Between These Rifles
Is The Stock - In CA The Bottom Rifle Is
Banned While The Top Rifle Is Not
detachable magazine and some much as one of five "evil, military features" (none of which affect the functioning of the firearm) was an assault rifle.
  This expanded the ban to hundreds of more models.  Finally, in 2014, gun control advocates in the California legislature expanded the definition to include any semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine.  This would have banned virtually all semi-auto rifles - by calling them "assault weapons".   This was too much for even Democratic Governor Jerry Brown - who vetoed the bill.  However, you can bet your life that it will be back.

That is the pattern: Create a phony term, demonize it then, after the public thinks that type of gun terrible - expand the definition.  Classic deceptive propaganda.

Phony Solutions

By this I mean that in response to a tragedy - such as a mass shooting - gun control advocates rush to push gun control measures that would have not stopped, or even slowed, the tragedy.

Over the past three years, as we have been going through a cycle of mass murder incidents (historically, these horrible incidents do happen in cycles).  In response to every one of these incidents, gun control advocates have said the same thing every time: "This is why we need to close the 'gun show loophole' and establish universal background checks!"

Of course, there is only one problem: Every single gun used in these mass shootings was purchased at a gun store - where the buyer (usually the shooter) passed a federal background check!  None of these guns was purchased at a gun show.  None of these guns were purchased from a private party.  None were purchased by someone outside the shooter's household.  Some were purchased in states that required background checks on all sales and had their own system in addition to the federal system (such as California).  None of these measures stopped the shooters from buying a gun through legal, retail channels.

This attempted mass shooter (and murderer) should have been in the background check database - both because of criminal charges and a mental health commitment - but he passed a federal background check!  This is how every recent mass shooter obtained his guns.

Why is this?  Simple: The system's database is terribly flawed - and the only groups that seems to care is the gun industry and gun rights groups!    Gun control advocates do not care that the system's database is flawed - but they want it expanded to all gun "transfers".  This is why so many think the goal is not to stop criminals from getting guns - but to provide a paper trail for other purposes, such as future confiscation.

The fact that expanded background checks won't stop mass shootings is so firmly established that even a leading gun control advocate had to admit it!

However, you can be sure that the fact that it did not stop the mass shooter from obtaining firearms will not stop gun control advocates from proposing any and all "solutions" on their wish list.


I think I have firmly established that most gun control arguments are nothing but propaganda.  However, you can only fool the American people for so long before the see through you - and the good news is that more and more Americans are seeing through the phony gun control arguments.  That's why support for gun control is at an all time low.

One final thought: If gun control advocates have to habitually resort to these tactics - if they are the rule and not the exception - if they are used, not by individuals, but by well established gun control organizations - WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT THE STRENGTH OF THEIR ARGUMENTS?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Religious Leaders on Guns and Self-Defense

One of the major reasons why people own firearms is self defense.  The Supreme Court has held that this is one of the core reasons for the 2nd Amendment.  Yet, if one listens to the mainstream media, one wold think that all religious figures are opposed both to the ownership of firearms and the use of deadly force in the defense of self and others.  In reality, many religious figures have spoken in support of self defense and the right to keep and bear arms.  Consider these quotes:

“If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed;" Law of Moses Exodus 22:2-3 (NIV)

"He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." Jesus Christ, Luke 22:36 (NIV)

"Though defensive violence will always be 'a sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men."
- St. Augustine

"Without doubt one is allowed to resist against the unjust aggressor to one's life, one's goods or one's physical integrity; sometimes, even 'til the aggressor’s death.... In fact, this act is aimed at preserving one’s life or one’s goods and to make the aggressor powerless. Thus, it is a good act, which is the right of the victim."
- Thomas Aquinas

It is written [in the Taoist classic "Dao De Jing"] that weapons of war are ill-omened, and he who follows the Way of Heaven shuns their use, save when necessary. But those who take up arms when this is necessary, are also following the Way of Heaven. If you ask me why this is so, I reply that flowers and greenery bloom among the spring breezes, but they wither and fall in the frosts of autumn.
—Yagy├╗ Munenori, sword instructor and Buddhist scholar

“If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - The Dalai Lama

Gun control is “a long-term assault on your Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.” Richard Land, then the chief public policy spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention 

"….legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life, the common good of the family or of the state. Unfortunately, it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life.” Pope St. John Paul Evangelium Vitae 

"There is one principle which is eternal; it is the duty of all men to protect their lives and the lives of the household, whenever necessity requires, and no power has a right to forbid it, should the last extreme arrive, but I anticipate no such extreme, but caution is the parent of safety." - Joseph Smith  (HC 6:605.)

“Violence exercised merely in self-defense, all societies, from the most primitive to the most cultured and civilized, accept as moral and legal.  The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi.” - Rev./Dr. Martin Luther King  

(It should also be noted that Rev.King applied for a carry permit under a Southern "may issue" system and was turned down because he was black.)

Those of us among the clergy who take a stand in favor of the 2nd Amendment and the right of self defense are in good company.   Many people who advocate the disarmament of the American public might be shocked to discover that many people they admire disagree! 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Did Hillary Throw Away The Election this Week?

What would happen to Donald Trump's chances if he made this statement: "I think that an abortion ban makes sense.  If I'm elected, I will order the arrest of anyone performing an abortion."  How long would it take the mainstream media and the Democrats to destroy him?   How long would it be before commentators pointed out that his actions would directly violate the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court?   Should we not be afraid of ANYONE who promises to violate the Constitution before they are ever are elected?

Well, you didn't miss Donald Trump's statement - because he didn't say that.  However , Hillary Clinton said something just as devastating: SHE ADVOCATED DRACONIAN GUN CONTROL, INCLUDING A COMPLETE HANDGUN BAN - AND SHE DID IT ON VIDEO!

To understand that this is exactly what she is proposing, you have to understand two things:

1) The question she is answering is: Australia basically banned handguns and confiscated them by the millions.  Can we do that?

Notice that she NEVER says that banning handguns is going too far, or is unconstitutional.  In fact, she goes on to praise such action.

2) She references three nations as shining examples of gun control:  
Australia (near handgun ban), Canada (near handgun ban) and the UK (actual total handgun ban).  If these are the countries see wants to model our laws after - then she is proposing such a ban.

So, there is ZERO DOUBT that Hillary has doubled down on her call for massive gun control - including a handgun ban.  So, you say - "What's wrong with that?"  Well, two things......

First, such action would directly violate the US Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in 2008 and again in 2010.  It would be just as unconstitutional as banning all abortions.  In fact, the decisions specifically held that handguns are protected by the 2nd Amendment.  Notice that Clinton never says anything about their being ANY constitutional limits on gun laws.

In contrast, Bernie Sanders has only supported gun control measures that have not been ruled unconstitutional.

So, you say, "No president would ever directly violate an order of the Supreme Court!"  I suggest you go to Oklahoma and ask the Cherokee.  They were forcibly removed to that locate AFTER the Supreme Court told Pres. Johnson he could not do so.  So, if she wants to try, she certainly can IF she gets elected.

Second, she has no clue what the American people really believe about handgun laws.  Presently 43 states allow citizen concealed carry.  That's 86% of the total.  Not one state has ever repealed such a law.

Then there is the results of several polls:

The American people oppose ANY new gun control by a narrow margin. (Source)

Another poll (by Gallup) 52% want laws to stay the same or be made less strict.  (Source)

When we move away from gun control in general - which includes less severe measures such as increased background checks - to the issue at hand BANNING HANDGUNS.

Well, on this issue, the news is worse.  Again, according to Gallup polling,  73% of Americans oppose a ban on handguns.  In fact, opposition to such a law has been growing for decades:

A good gauge of the level of support for the 2nd Amendment in a given state is the support for citizen concealed carry.  If a state is shall issue, which means that it allows those who can legally own guns to carry them. then support for the 2nd Amendment is strong.  After all, one one state was forced to do this by the courts.  Check out this map:

86% of US states, containing 72.7% of the US population, allow anyone able to pass the training and the background check to carry the very handguns Clinton wants to ban!  Does she think that she can win more than one or two of these states after saying these things on video?  Remember, all but one of these states enacted their carry laws with strong public support.  Every one of these states has seen crime drop.  People in these states LIKE the fact that they can legally carry a handgun if they want to.

There is a very good reason why Pres. Obama downplayed gun control until after his reelection.  He absolutely knew about the reality of this map.  This map is why he was not even able to get expanded background checks - for which there is much more support - through a Senate dominated by his own party.

Now Hillary Clinton has decided to challenge the gun owners in these very same states that passed citizen concealed carry.  Gun rights activists in these states are organized, motivated and ready.  She has handed them the very thing that they need to motivate their flow gun owners and their families - a threat of an unconstitutional gun confiscation program.  Many of these people voted for President Obama in the last two elections - but when they believe their gun rights are threatened, history proves that they vote one way: In favor of their 2nd Amendment rights.

Hillary's comments may get her the Democratic nomination - but they have likely cost her - and her party - the general election and the presidency.  She has already lost.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Divided States of America?

Since the 2000 election resulted in the blue states vs red states map, things have not gotten any better.  The division of the United States continues.  Christian and conservatives are leaving the red states in droves - and California in particular. We are quite simply no longer one country. Politically and geographically, there are very few moderates.

There are two, very different nations. One believes in Religious freedom, the other does not. One believes in the Bill of Rights - the other does not believe in freedom of speech or 2nd Amendment rights (and is questionable in its' support of many others). One believes that the Constitution is important, the other believes that judges should completely ignore what it says so that they can rule in the way they want. One believes in personal freedom - the other believes the government should take care of everyone and control their lives in any way government wants.

Political division is nothing new - but this division is not just political, it is geographic. It's not just political - it's Constitutional. Never before has a whole political party treated the Constitution like it is written on toilet paper. We have only been this divided once before: During the decade before the Civil War.

I'm certainly not the only person to express concern about the division in out nation leading to a disaster in our nation.  Slate magazine - not exactly a right wing rag - carried an article suggesting that the US may very well split into two nations.  The cause?  Religion.  There are still other issues that drastically divide us - and this article based on a long article un Tufts Magazine identifies 11 different cultural areas that divide us.

Looking at the map (and reading about the groups) - The greatest division is between the Eastern areas of the Yankeedom and New Netherland - and the Left Coast.  These areas are quite left of center and largely secular.  The entire rest of the nation is largely religious and conservative.  To be sure, there are areas with that are secular and progressive, but most of the counties outside the Northeast and the coast are conservative and religious.  While these divisions have always existed, these two areas are growing further and further apart. 

Suspicion that one side or the other will may some extra-constitutional move is growing on both the right and the left.  While I do not think this is going to happen, there are some things I find very troubling.  There have been too many reports that high ranking military officers are being asked, "Would you order those under your command to fire on American citizens?" for there to be nothing behind it.  The number of executive orders - and more importantly the scope - of executive orders issued by Pres. Obama should concern everyone.  The outrage over the agreement with Iran - passed over the overwhelming objection of both the American people and their elected representatives is much greater than the news media has reported.  Again, the outrage is much greater in the red states.

Worse yet, many on the left - particularly those who live on the Left Coast or the urban Northeast - simply do not understand that many in the rest of the country would be quite willing to fight should the federal government infringe upon religious freedom or gun rights (as in partial or complete confiscation - not something less like expanded background checks).   When the president of the United States calls for UK or Australian style gun control - and calls it reasonable and "common sense" - it reveals just how much he is out of touch.  Gun owners know that both of these nations have confiscated millions of firearms, in actions that clearly would be unconstitutional here.  In fact, the UK has the most restrictive gun laws in the EU!  If any president was stupid enough to attempt to take such action, the result would be civil war.  Entire states, including their state governments, would resist with force.  They would not do so because they love guns, but because they would see this as only the first step towards a totalitarian government.  The fact that most people on the coasts or the Northeast have no clue that the president's suggestions clearly violate the Bill of Rights or the disaster that would result if he got his way - is absolutely frightening.

No nation can long survive if it is as divided as we are.  We either must find something to unite around, or this nation faces a very real danger of falling apart - or worse.  That rallying point should be the Constitution.  Even though both sides object strongly to some rights protected by it - such as the right to own and carry firearms, or the right to have an abortion, it is the Constitution that holds us together, provides the system for debating and resolving disagreements.  Either we must stop talking about doing things that violate that critically important document, and start respecting it - or we will soon cease to exist as a nation.  It really is up to us.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Five LAWFUL Executive Orders Pres. Obama Could Issue On Guns

With increased talk of more "executive orders" on guns, I thought I would suggest five LAWFUL and CONSTITUTIONAL orders Pres. Obama could issue that would actually do some good.

1) President Obama could order the BATFE to start arresting and prosecuting people who lie on the background check form. to gun control advocates, the background check system stops 60,000 people a year from buying firearms.  They want you to believe that all of these people are prohibited because of criminal convictions or mental health issues - when the fact is that tens of thousands of these people are wrongly denied.  Many appeal and eventually get their guns.  Never the less, many people DO LIE ON THE FORM.  This is a felony.

Since the person's name and signature (not to mention fingerprints) are on the form, and they had to present ID at the time they filled it out, prosecution is very easy.  So, there must be hundreds, if not thousands of convictions every year, right?  WRONG.  The reality is that prosecutions run less than ten per year.  So, prohibited persons have virtually no chance of being punished if they attempt to buy a gun through legal channels.  With nothing to loose, that is exactly what many prohibited people do.

Gun control groups do not care about this - and up to this point, neither does President Obama.  Never mind that about 1/3 of these people slip through and get guns.  (See point #2.)  Never mind that they then turn to the black market and still get guns.  Focusing upon criminals and other prohibited persons tends to take the focus off of restrictions placed upon the law abiding - and this is their priority.

2) President Obama could withhold some federal funds from states that are not reporting felony convictions and mental health commitments to the FBI background check database.

At least 1/3 of prohibited persons are not in the FBI's background check database, due to

many states not making reporting a priority.  One would think that a president who was truly concerned about keeping guns out of the wrong hands would make sure that states report felony convictions and mental health commitments.  Not so, neither the president or most gun control groups care about this.  (Kudos to the Giffords for being the ONLY gun control advocates to address this issue.)

Who does care about this?  Who is working hardest to fix this?  THE GUN INDUSTRY.

3) President Obama could order BATFE to establish "Project Exile" nationwide - starting with Chicago.

Project Exile was an ATF program that embedded ATF agents in local law enforcement agencies.  They then investigated firearms crimes committed by criminals - who were then prosecuted in federal courts and sentenced to federal time in prisons far away from home.  It turns out that criminals have families who visit them in local state prisons - but cannot visit nearly as often (if at all) when they are sent to a federal prison several states away.  Therefore, many criminals are much more afraid of doing federal time.  Hence the name: Project Exile.

Many Criminals Responded To Warnings
Like This By Getting Rid Of Their Guns

The National Rifle Association and the Brady Campaign both supported Project Exile - so why not do it nationwide.

This approach was very successful - it resulted in drug dealers deciding that carrying a gun was a bad idea.  It did not stop criminals from committing crimes - but it did cause many of them to stop carrying or using guns.  Think how much good this could do in Chicago!

There is only one problem: If it works, it would remove pressure for other actions that would remove firearms from the hands of the law abiding.  Since restricting the rights of law abiding citizens is the real priority, Pres. Obama won't do this either.

4) President Obama could give private sellers access to the FBI's NICS background check system.

While the NRA and most, but not all, other gun rights groups oppose mandatory background checks on private sales and transfers of ownership - they do not oppose making the system optionally available to private sellers.  Many private gun owners would use the system when selling to a stranger - and if this is really how criminals are getting guns, then gun control advocates and the president should support this action.

However, this would likely result in more criminals being denied guns through lawful channels and decreasing pressure for more radical gun restrictions - and that is why it won't happen. 

5) President Obama could direct federal law enforcement funding towards training police officers to recognize the dangerously mentally ill.

Before people can be placed on the prohibited list they must be identified.  Most mentally ill
Most Mentally Ill Murderers Have Had
Multiple Law Enforcement Contacts
Before They Kill
mass murderers have had multiple contacts with law enforcement before they kill - but they were never evaluated.  Laws exist in most, if not all, states allow people who are a danger to others to be sent in for mental health evaluation.  Such evaluations would result in many dangerous people being identified, treated and placed in the database of prohibited persons.

However - you guessed it - this won't happen because it takes the focus off of restricting the gun rights of law abiding, sane Americans.

Australia Confiscated Hunting
Rifles & Shotguns - This Is Pres. Obama's
Idea Of Common Sense Gun Laws
Sadly, President Obama won't do any of these things because he is committed to the near disarmament of the American people.  Want proof?  Obama cites two countries as examples of "common sense" gun control: Australia and the UK.

Australia is the more reasonable to these two examples.  They only confiscated about 40% of their firearms - including millions of hunting shotguns and rifles.  Recently, there 
has been a debate over the legality of a lever action shotgun invented in 1887.  No matter how high crime is in your neighborhood, self-defense is not a good enough reason to get the government to allow you to own a gun.  No wonder armed robberies went up after these restrictions were put in place.

Although the UK Has The Most Restrictive
Gun Laws In Europe & Low Murder Rates
It Has The Has The Highest Rate Of
Violent Crime - Over 4 Times That Of The US

The U.K. has the most restrictive gun laws in the E.U. - their Olympic Pistol Team has to practice in Switzerland, because all pistols - even target pistols - are banned.  Special exemptions had to be passed to allow the London to host the Olympics.  Want to own a rifle?  Well, you have to first join a club (takes six months) - and then jump through countless further hoops.  Owning a shotgun is easier, but still very hard.  Finally, you guessed it, the U.K. has confiscated tens of millions of previously legal firearms.  In addition, all defensive uses of firearms are illegal.  Oh, by the way, with all of this - they have still had mass shootings in public.  Gun crime, which has always been low - even when guns were widely available, has actually increased.  The U.K. also has the highest rate of violent crime in the E.U. - a much higher rate than the U.S.  The lowest crime rate?  Switzerland - the nation with the most guns!  Finland, Sweden and France all have many more legally owned firearms and much lower crime rates than the U.K.

The fact is that crime rates - including murder rates - do not fall when guns are banned THEY RISE.

These Charts Document The Change In 
Murder Rates After Handgun Bans In Three Countries 

Pres. Obama's so called "common sense gun laws"
did not work in the UK, Ireland or Jamaica 

Of course, these actions would be unconstitutional here in the U.S - but since when has the Constitution stopped this president from doing anything?

Now that you know the facts, do you still think this president is only proposing "common sense" gun restrictions?  Is it any wonder that gun owners do not trust this president?

Friday, August 28, 2015

An Open Letter To Andy Parker

First of all, I understand your grief.  What parent could not?  I have a daughter just a few years older than yours.   I also understand your desire to have something good to come out of your daughter's life and death.  I hope to help you in that regard.

You have an opportunity to do things differently than others who have faced similar tragedies.  You can start by reaching out to the gun rights community.  You may be shocked to find out that we actually want our gun laws to work.  We too want to prevent as many crazy people as possible from getting their hands on firearms.  We can also tell you why our current laws are failing.  One more thing: The political reality is that nothing will be passed at a federal level without the support of gun rights activists.  If you really want to get something done, you cannot alienate us.

Additionally, we have to work within the limitations placed upon all constitutional rights.  A law that is simply aimed at reducing the number of guns in the country would not only accomplish little - it would be as unconstitutional as a law limiting free speech or regulating religion.

The good news is that gun rights advocates want these problems fixed.  We want the background check system to work.  In fact, we have been working to fix some of them, with little to no support from gun control advocates, and zero press coverage.  There is much that can be done with zero resistance from the gun rights community.

The problem is not primarily a lack of "gun laws" - it is a failure in the support system that is needed to make them work.  This is why we react so strongly against calls for more laws.  The fact is that, while we would be open to minor changes, we have all the gun laws we need.  The changes are needed elsewhere - as I will detail below.

Here are the problems that are causing our background check system to fail:

Massive under reporting of disqualified persons.

It is estimated that at least one third of people who have been prohibited by law from owning firearms have not been reported to the FBI for inclusion in the background check database.  The murderer at Virginia Tech should not have been able to buy a firearm due to his mental health history.  After this incident the NRA called for better reporting and supported legislation to that effect - even though this caused concern among many members.  Sadly, even the passage of this law has failed to solve this problem - as the recent racist church shooting sadly proved.  It may surprise you that the gun industry has continued to work to improve reporting.  See

Virtually zero enforcement of laws against trying to buy a gun illegally.

Sadly, it has become common knowledge that prohibited persons have at least a one in three chance of buying a firearm through legal channels.  So criminals and the mentally ill frequently try to buy guns at licensed dealers.  Although they stand a good chance of being rejected, they have less than a 1 in 300 chance of being prosecuted.  Although tens of thousands of people are rejected each year, prosecutions run less than 20 per year.  The Obama administration has actually said that such prosecutions are "a waste of resources".  In fact, the feds do not even notify local authorities - who frequently could bring state charges or violate the criminal's parole or probation.  Until there is enforcement of this law - violation of which is a felony - then criminals and the mentally ill will continue to try get guns from dealers. 

Failure of the mental health system to identify and treat dangerous people.

The Supreme Court has made it clear that severely mentally ill people can be banned from owning or possessing firearms.  However, common sense tells us that before someone can be banned from owning firearms they must be identified.  Sadly, many of the murderers in the recent incidents had displayed bizarre and disturbing behavior.  Those who perpetrated the Giffords shooting the Isla Vista stabbing/shooting and the Navy Yard murders, had many police contacts that SHOULD have resulted in a mandatory mental health evaluation, but did not.  Police are the eyes and ears of the mental health system - if they leave mentally ill people on the street, the system fails.  If they send them in for evaluation, with a good description of why they are doing so, then there is a good chance that action will be taken that would result in a firearms ban and reporting to the FBI background check database.  If this never happens, they will continue to be able to pass a background check.

Depriving someone of a constitutional right requires due process.

The reality is that firearms ownership is a constitutional right.  In criminal cases, there is no problem - because due process is well established.  In mental health cases, the federal disability also requires due process - specifically a mental health commitment by a court.  In order to be legal, any additions to the law would also have to provide for due process.  Furthermore, a person cannot be required to prove their sanity in order to exercise a constitutional right.  The burden of proof rests upon the government.  Additionally, I would ask you to consider this: If someone cannot be trusted with a firearm due to mental defect, should they be left on the street?  I think not - because that leaves them a lot of options for harming people.  In addition to illegally buying a gun on the black market, they could build a bomb, start a fire or run people down with a car.  If they cannot be trusted with a gun, they need treatment - and we must insure that they get it.  After this, I have no problem with a law that requires them to prove their sanity before being allowed to possess a firearm. 

Once the background check system is truly fixed, it will be much easier to expand it to private sales.

At this point the vast majority of lawful sales, including those at gun shows, go though the background check system (the 40% figure frequently used is bogus - it is based on a phone survey that covered two full years before the background check was in place).   As outlined above, it is a deeply flawed system that most gun rights organizations want fixed.  On the other hand, most gun control organizations completely ignore the flaws in the system, and instead want it expanded to private sales before it is fixed.  This is one of the biggest reasons why so many gun owners are opposed to expanding background checks - we don't trust the motives of groups that don't care that the current system doesn't work.  Frankly, it seems to many of us that some of the gun control groups WANT the current system to continue to fail - because if it were to work, their would be less chance of passing their draconian restrictions.  Unlike yourself, many of these people want an outright repeal of the 2nd Amendment.

On the other hand, if we fix the current system and it begins to actually work. it will be seen that the motive is solely to do all we can to keep guns out of the wrong hands - and the greater the support will be among gun rights activists will be for expanding such checks to private sales.

You will remain in my prayers and in the prayers of many other Americans.  It is my hope that you will realize your stated goal of preventing as many mentally ill people as possible from harming others.  If you reach out in good faith to the gun rights community, you will find that we share that very same goal.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

San Jose Decides That Some Parts Of The Bill Of Rights Don't Apply In Their City

Well, the city of San Jose is headed for a huge civil judgement.  They have seized a woman's personal firearms because her husband was sent in for a psychiatric evaluation and is forbidden to possess firearms (a law that is on shaky ground to begun with).  Think about this for a moment: This woman is being deprived of a basic civil right - protected in the Bill of Rights - because of her husband's actions.  Let's take a longer look at this case.

A Basic Constitutional Right

First, it must be understood that the Supreme Court has ruled that the 2nd Amendment protects a basic right to buy and possess firearms in "common use".  Furthermore, in McDonald, the high court has stated that this right is "fundamental to our system of ordered liberty".  In short, the right to own a gun is protected in exactly the same way as the right of free speech or freedom of the press.  The court made it clear that criminal and the severely mentally ill can be forbidden to own or have access to firearms - but these restrictions only apply after due process before a court.   Even California's liberal governor Jerry Brown wrote a brief in support of the 2nd Amendment right in McDonald.  This is no longer controversial - it is settled law.

She could have retained her firearms and still complied with the law

California law requires "safe storage" of firearms and merely complying with this law would prevent her husband from having access to her firearms, since they would have to be placed in a safe.  Additionally, she could have stored the firearms at another location - such as a relative's home. Local authorities could have worked with the wife to insure compliance.  Instead, San Jose Police simply seized all her firearms - and have said that they will not be returned.

I have a question for San Jose PD: What have you done in the past when the spouse of one of your police officers has been sent in for evaluation under the same law?  Notice that I did not say "what would you do IF a spouse of one of your officer's was sent in for evaluation" - because with a department as big as San Jose, it has probably happened many times.  You can bet your life that the officer's firearms were not seized.  No way.  Instead, the officer was likely reminded that they had to take action to insure that their spouse had no access.  You can be absolutely sure that when the civil suit goes to trial, that this will be an issue - and San Jose will have a very hard time arguing that police officers have more rights under the 2nd Amendment.

The Law Itself Is On Shaky Ground

As a former California paramedic, I have a great deal of experience with California's emergency commitment law.  First of all, in most cases, the people responsible for sending people in for evaluation are police officers - not mental health professionals.  Yet, simply being sent in for evaluation by mental health professionals results in the loss of your gun rights.  Sure, if you have the money to hire a lawyer and some mental health professionals you can, in theory, get a court to restore your rights - but most people do not have the thousands to tens of thousands of dollars this costs.  The average person simply looses their gun rights.

Now let me be clear: No one wants severely mentally ill people to be able to legally possess firearms.  The issue here is that it is not and mental health professional and a court making this determination: It is a police officer.  Federal law bans people from owning firearms if a court finds them to be severely mentally ill, based on the testimony of mental health professionals.  The due process rights of the individual in question are protected.

Do we really want to empower cops to simply remove someone's constitutional rights on nothing more than their own opinion?  I sure hope not.

Do we want our government to punish someone for their spouse's actions?  Again, I sure hope not.

Even if you don't like guns, this case should still be important to you - because if they can ignore the 2nd Amendment - they can just as easily ignore the 1st, 4th or 5th Amendment too.  That's why San Jose is going to lose this one - and why it will likely cost San Jose taxpayers several million dollars.