If We Can Correct The Record About Hillary, We Can Correct The Record About Guns.

If there’s one thing more than anything else that has pissed me off about Trump, it has been his propensity to use the most low-level, stupid and pandering statements about guns as if they are facts.  He probably does this with everything, but I’m no expert on economic affairs or international politics, so when someone scores him for saying something dumb about the economy or trade deals, I often take the criticism with a grain of salt.  But I know something about guns, in fact, I know a lot about guns, and if Trump really believes that walking around with a gun makes you safe, then he’s saying something that is simply dumb.

Correct-The-Record-Logo-White-300x105           Where does he get it from?  He gets it from the NRA, the NSSF and all the other organizations and individuals who produce hot air for Gun-nut Nation.  Believe it or not, I don’t blame the NRA for foisting such stupids on the public; the folks in Fairfax are a marketing operation and that’s what marketing operations do – they promote their products as  best they can, and as long as their lawyers tell them that something they are saying won’t wind them up in court, why not say whatever you want to say?

But this time the NRA may wind up in court not because of something they said about guns, but something they are saying about Hillary, which is just a shorthand way they are now using to talk about guns.  I’m referring to the ad that the NRA is running in some ‘swing’ states which features a Benghazi veteran named Mark Geist, who was apparently at Benghazi when the ill-fated attack took place in 2012.  And the ad shows him standing at a veteran’s cemetery warning the viewers that it was Hillary’s behavior that resulted in some of his comrades ending up in that hallowed ground, rather than standing alongside him.

By coincidence (yea, right,) the ad aired the same day that U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) released his long-awaited Benghazi report, which was so lacking in any new criticisms of Hillary that Rush Limbaugh’s response was to sink into a paroxysm of ‘Hillary’s a liar’ shrieks because he couldn’t find anything else to say. And Trump-o couldn’t find anything to say either beyond the usual ‘crooked Hillary’ riff or some words to that effect.

But the Veteran’s Administration did have something to say about the ad, and what they said was that it’s illegal to use a veteran’s cemetery for film purposes without express permission and they had not received any request from the NRA for this or any other purpose.  The NRA of course denied it had broken the law, stating that it was filmed ‘outside’ a veteran’s cemetery, but in fact the ad includes footage of Geist actually stepping between cemetery headstones.

Incidentally, I was directed to the controversy over the NRA ad by the folks who run a website, Correct The Record, which is a research and rapid-response effort aimed at supporting the Clinton campaign. Given the shameful degree to which Trump and his narrow band of supporters have based virtually every campaign statement on whatever will appeal to his so-called ‘movement’ regardless of even the remotest connection to the truth, the folks at Correct have their work cut out for them and I wish them the best of luck.

But as I page through their website, and it’s a site everyone should bookmark and read, it occurs to me that this is exactly the kind of resource that the Gun Violence Prevention community sorely needs but doesn’t have.  I wrote a column earlier today pointing out that a Youtube huckster is promoting the idea of concealed-carry without any training whatsoever and his videos get hundreds of thousands of hits! You know the old saying about appealing to hearts and minds.  GVP does a great job of appealing to hearts but Correct The Record might be a model for how to appeal to the minds.

 

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How Much Will Trump Owe The NRA? If He Wins – Plenty.

If anyone thought for one second that the NRA wouldn’t have Street Thug Trump in their pocket if he’s elected President, today’s announcement should make you think again.  Because the NRA is going to drop $2 million on an ad campaign that will remind voters about how Hillary was in some way responsible for the Benghazi attack.  And while the ads are starting to run at the same time that Trey Gowdy’s House Committee was unable to pin any Benghazi blame on HRC, never mind details or even basic facts, if you want to believe that Trump is the man who can protect us from terrorism, this advertisement is where you can start.

trump2            But what the advertisement really does is get Street Thug’s name on some television screens and computer panels without costing him one dime.  Which is actually more important than what the advertisement actually says because Street Thug doesn’t have a dime to spend on any advertising these days, nor does he have two nickels to rub together or even two cents here or there.  Now he claims to have raised $3 million was his first, big email campaign, but that figure is disputed not just by liberal pundits, but by the conservative National Review as well. The headline of their online article referred to Trump’s fundraising claims as ‘lies.’  I thought that only Street Thug could use a word like ‘lie’ when talking about the Hillary campaign.  Now a conservative source is pasting that epithet on him? Hmmmm.

I’m not really all that worried about the impact of this ad because increasingly Street Thug appears to be talking only to his solid but diminishing band of supporters who just aren’t going to make a majority dent when we all go to vote on November 8th.  Leaving alone the slippage at the national level, what caught my eye was the first, serious poll to come out of Texas, which shows Street Thug ahead, but not by enough to say that he can even win in that reddest of all red states.

The Texas poll shows Trump ahead by 41 – 33 in a head-to-head matchup (slight declines for both when Libertarian Gary Johnston is added to the mix.)  This leave a large, undecided vote but when everything was counted back in 2012, Romney beat Obama 58 to 32!  In other words, if the undecided vote breaks even from here on out, Trump barely ekes out a majority in a state that handed the 2012 Republican candidate an overwhelming win.

We won’t know until late next month whether Trump’s alleged fundraising is more fantasy than real.  But right now it can honestly be said that without the ads being produced by the NRA, the Street Thug’s media campaign is still the handiwork of Fox News.  But what’s interesting about the NRA ad is that it doesn’t mention guns or the 2nd Amendment at all.  The ad pans what is described as a veteran’s cemetery (which may be illegal to show) and the speaker who says he was posted at Benghazi then intones the usual anti-Hillary complaint that she didn’t protect us when and where it counted the most. And it took Street Thug 46 minutes to mention the 2nd Amendment at his rally rant last night in St. Clairsville, OH, means that the subject that used to be his stock-in-trade for ramping up the crowd has now almost disappeared.

And my theory for the disappearance of gun ‘rights’ as a motif for Street Thug’s campaign is very simple, namely, that the energy and activity of the Gun Violence Prevention community, in particular since Orlando, has tipped the scales the other way.  But if, God forbid, Street Thug somehow pulls it off, he’s going to owe the NRA big-time because they stuck by him while others faded away.

So let’s not forget that there are 132 days left until either we win or we lose.  And we better not lose.  No way.

 

It Hasn’t Been A Good Month For The NRA And Things Might Get Worse.

All of a sudden it seems like the pro-gun gang is taking it on the chin.  I am referring to a spate of lawsuits that have pushed back gun ‘rights’ in favor of gun ‘controls.’  And while I don’t want to assume that the trend will continue, it’s a basic shift in the legal landscape involving guns and may foreshadow more gun-control victories to come.  It certainly promises that there will be more legal battles and here is why:

  1. Last week the 2nd Circuit upheld the Connecticut and New York laws that were passed after Sandy Hook, laws which effectively gave both states the right to closely regulate assault-style guns.  The plaintiffs (NRA, etc.) of course argued the same old, same old; namely, that the little ol’ AR-15s were just like any other kind of semi-automatic hunting gun, even though I don’t believe anybody ever went into the woods looking to pop Bambi with a rifle that could shoot 60 rounds in three minutes or less.  Which is basically how the Court saw the case, noting that taking this type of weapon out of civilian hands did not deprive consumers from buying any other type of semi-automatic gun.  The Court agreed that the 2nd Amendment protected the right of gun owners to have semi-automatic rifles but didn’t protect any particular sub-group of same.  Bye bye modern sporting gun.
  2. A jury in Milwaukee found a local gun shop guilty of aiding and abetting a straw sale which eventually led to two police officers being shot with the illegally-sold gun. The gun shop argued that they had no way of knowing that the buyer was actually fronting for someone else; the jury had trouble swallowing that cock-and-bull story when they were told that the jerk who bought the gun mistakenly wrote down his buddy’s address on the 4473.
  3. Another lawsuit was filed in Milwaukee, this one against Armslist, the website that allows unlicensed individuals to advertise, buy, sell and trade guns. In this case someone sold a 40-caliber handgun to a dope who promptly walked into a health spa, shot seven women and killed three of them including his own wife, and then went down in a blaze of glory by putting the gun against his own head.  Last year another liability suit against Armslist was dismissed in Illinois because the owners of the website claimed that they required all users to agree to follow relevant gun laws.  But the suit filed in Milwaukee sidesteps the issue of user responsibility entirely, arguing instead that the website’s user terms are “a ruse and a fraud intended to create the illusion of legal compliance” with the laws covering gun sales.
  4. Then the big news is out of Connecticut, where the District Court sent the suit by the Sandy Hook parents against Bushmaster back to state court. In this case the defendant – Bushmaster – had originally moved the case from state to federal court, evidently hoping that the suit would then bump up against the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act and get thrown out.  The case might eventually wind up in the federal courts on appeal, but as of today it must first be heard in the state where the massacre took place.

lapierre                All in all it’s been a rough month for the guns, made even more difficult by the fact that after the Republicans decided the 2nd Amendment trumped Benghazi as a campaign issue, Hillary shot right back and said that she was ready, willing and able to take on the NRA.  So the question has to be asked: How come, as Brady’s Dan Gross says, we seem to have reached a “tipping point” in the debate over guns?

Here it is short and sweet.  Everyone’s sick of the NRA.  Sick of the killings, sick of the loss of life, sick of the blind devotion to the 2nd Amendment and sick of all those sacred gun ‘rights.’ Wayne-o is going online today to remind his members that Obama wants to take away their guns.  It’s a hollow argument falling on increasingly deaf ears.