A New Video About Guns On Campus That You Must See!

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Even though campus-carry just died in Florida, it’s alive in other states and happens to be allowed in nine states, although in several of those states a campus can still opt out. But the bottom line is that Gun-nut Nation’s dream of getting rid of gun-free zones on college campuses is full steam ahead. And the reason for this gross stupidity is not because college campuses are so dangerous; actually they are very safe spots. In fact, the problem isn’t usually on-campus crime but crime committed in neighborhoods adjacent to college campuses because many colleges were founded in urban centers that used to be secure locations but have become less safe as the quality of life in older neighborhoods has declined.

armor2             On the other hand, college-age men and women happen to be susceptible to behavior which if it occurred within easy access to a gun might have very serious results.  Depression is a problem for people of college age; ditto binge drinking, particularly on residential campuses, particularly on weekends when little supervision is around. Even though suicide rates for men and women ages 18 – 24 are higher for people in that age cohort who are not in school, the college experience can be stressful, particularly for students who are far from home. So why add a gun to the mix?

Because the truth is that the college experience is often the experience that forms the basic social values that people then follow for the rest of their lives. And if you drive around college campuses you’ll notice that there’s almost always an outdoor sports store in the neighborhood, but those stores don’t usually sell guns. They stock kayaks, running shoes, hiking and trekking gear, all the stuff which young, active people like to use in the years before they start to develop that wider waistline and end up sitting on their duffs.

Letting guns on campus is an invitation to promote the sale and ownership of guns to people who otherwise may never even think about arming themselves or using a gun for self-defense. There’s a reason why the percentage of American households containing guns continues to go down, and it happens to be going down at the same time that the percentage of Americans enrolled in college is going up. Get it?

A number of groups have sprung up to resist campus carry over the last few years, and one of the most provocative is a Texas-based bunch who call themselves Cocks Not Glocks and showed up on the UT campus last year to hand out dildos to express their anger over the campus-carry law signed by that idiot Greg Abbott in 2016.  In case you are wondering, UT happens to be the same campus where Chuckie Whitman went to the top of the Texas Tower on August 1, 1966, killed 14 and wounded another 31 before he was shot by the cops, not by some undergraduate wandering around with his gun.

The Cocks Not Glocks group has now returned with a video, #StudentBodyArmor, which is something everybody has to see. And I mean everybody. View it on Twitter or Facebook, but make sure you see it and make sure you share it with everyone else. And when you watch the video, make sure to catch the scene where someone models a hoodie with body-armor lining to protect against head shots! It’s the best political satire I have ever seen.

I want this video to go as far as it can go. So I’m going to suggest to the CocksNotGlocks folks that they set up a page on GoFundMe or some other internet money raising site.  My Franklin is ready to go and the money could be used to get your video onto commercial venues, maybe even some movie theaters here and there.  It really deserves to be seen.

In The GVP-NRA Contest, GVP Will Win.

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I have been involved in the gun business since 1965, which is longer than most of the people have been alive who follow me here and on Huffington Post.  And that is because in 1965 I went down to North Carolina to work for my great-Uncle Ben who owned something called the Imperial Metal Products Co., where he manufactured a little 22-caliber revolver called the IMP.  The gun held five rounds but the effective capacity was far less, because by the third shot either the 2-inch barrel would fall off or the cylinder would crack in half.  This Saturday Night Special sold for about thirty bucks in pawn shops all over the South, and when GCA68 ended Ben’s life as a gun maker he became the Smith & Wesson law enforcement distributor for North Carolina and sold plenty of better-made revolvers to the cops.

gun free              So there’s very little about guns and the gun business that I don’t know, and in that regard when I say that the GVP movement is soon going to eclipse the NRA, it’s not a feeling based just on hope or whimsy, it reflects what I have seen and heard over the past fifty years. The truth is that when it comes to guns as an issue of public safety, until the last couple of years the NRA had the playing field all to itself.  Every once in a great while there would be a little public dust-up, like after good ol’ Charlie Whitman climbed the Texas Tower in 1966 and killed or wounded more than 45 people in a 90-minute spree.  Or again in 1969 when the cops and the Black Panthers in Los Angeles exchanged several thousand rounds of gunfire from which, unbelievably, no one was killed. But the deliberations leading up to GCA68 hardly, if ever made front-page news, and even the gun bills passed by Clinton in 1994 were hardly front-page stories except perhaps on the day of the votes.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that the NRA is a paper tiger that will roll over and play dead every time a new GVP initiative comes down the line.  To the contrary, since the mid-90’s the gun gang has scored some notable victories, in particular a rewriting of CCW laws in nearly every state, a law gagging doctors in Florida and three other states, and a public mood shift towards more support for 2nd Amendment rights.  And of course let’s not forget the biggest victory of all, namely the 2008 Heller decision by gun-nut Scalia which says that the 2nd Amendment protects private ownership of guns once and for all.

Notwithstanding the above, I still believe that the GVP’s time has come.  First, anyone who pretends that GVP is not a strong, widespread and growing grassroots movement is either a pro-gun sycophantic noisemaker paid to say otherwise, or is blind, deaf and dumb. And let’s not forget that much of the GVP organizational activity has only been spurred since the massacre at Sandy Hook. Second, for the first time in all time we have a national Presidential candidate who is not only calling for a national GVP movement, but promises to lead it if she is elected in 2016.  And let’s not forget the remarkable GVP ads that ran yesterday during NBA games.  Nothing the NRA will ever push out on its silly video channel will ever achieve even a fraction of the audience that heard Carmelo Anthony or Chris Paul.

Last week the NRA put out a statement reminding its members that Obama, Hillary, The New York Times and every other liberal politician and publication is basically anti-gun.  They have been running this same message for the last twenty years.  But often there hasn’t been much of a response from the other side.  For the first time in my 50 years of watching the gun industry, the GVP message is loud, continuous and clear.  And it’s going to get louder, of that I’m sure.

 

If The Democrats Want A Wedge Issue, Gun Control May Work.

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If one thing came out of the first Democratic debate, it’s that the Blue Team isn’t afraid of talking about guns.  Or to be more precise, talking about gun control.  This has been something of a verboten topic among Democrats ever since Bill Clinton blamed Al Gore’s 2000 election loss on the virulent NRA campaign in Tennessee that cost Gore his home state.  Let’s overlook the fact that even with the disappearing Palm Beach County votes, Bush won a whole, big 271 electoral votes – one more than the minimum – and lost the popular vote.  So ascribing Gore’s loss to the ‘power’ of the NRA is something of a stretch, but it’s been accepted without question until now.

hillary2                And now it appears that the Democrats have found their wedge issue, namely, the issue of guns.  Not only was it the first, substantive issue discussed in the debate, but the candidates spent nine minutes trying to outdo one another over who had been given the worst grade by the NRA. All of them came out for expanded background checks, all of them lambasted the NRA, and of the more than 1,200 words uttered about guns by the five candidates, the 2nd Amendment was mentioned exactly once. Even Obama used to regularly mention his support of the 2nd Amendment when he would talk about guns.  That was then, this is now.  When it comes to the Democrats, all of a sudden Constitutional protections for gun ownership have disappeared.

The reason for this shift is very simple: enough is enough.  A mass shooting here, a mass shooting there, no big deal.  We’ve been living with this sort of thing since good ol’ Charlie Whitman climbed to the top of the Texas Tower in 1966 and began mowing people down. But when 11 people are killed and 14 injured in shootings at three college campuses in one week, all the stupid talk from the gun gang about ‘gun-free zones’ and ‘fixing the broken mental health system’ just doesn’t work. Nobody but the looniest among us would deny the accepted notion that government has a ‘compelling interest’ in keeping us safe; ipso facto, the shootings at campuses in Oregon, Arizona and Texas must, in the minds of most people, require some kind of government response.

Now you would think that the pro-gun gang would use these campus shootings to push their ‘armed citizen’ response as far as they can.  And in fact the NRA just posted a new story on their website about how folks with guns protect others from crime.  But since they couldn’t find any examples of armed citizens keeping students safe on college campuses, they fashioned a story around examples of armed response that took place in apartment complexes where “apartment dwellers are far from immune from violent crime.”   But to actually find eight instances where apartment-dwelling citizens used guns in response to crime, the NRA had to go back to 2012; i.e., less than three events per year. Sorry boys, that just doesn’t stack up against three campus shootings in one week.

Hillary and the other Democratic candidates have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by going after the NRA. After all, the NRA has been bashing her and Democrats in general for the last twenty years.  If she were to turn around tomorrow and announce, a la Donald Trump, that she “loves” gun rights, nobody would believe her anyway, at least nobody who supports the NRA.

On the other hand, it’s clear that the percentage of American households containing legal guns keeps going down.  Which means that using ‘gun rights’ to gain an edge on voter turnout becomes increasingly a dead end.  I’m not saying that all those politicians who routinely vote the NRA line are going to roll over and play dead.  What I am saying is that if guns continue to be a wedge issue, it may be a wedge issue for the gun-control side.

Do Guns Make College Safer? The “Gunshine State” Will Soon Decide.

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Now that the Gunshine State, a.k.a. Florida, has moved a step closer to letting everyone walk around on college campuses with a banger in their pocket, it’s time to look at the argument being made by proponents of campus CCW to see if their argument accords with the facts. Campus shootings are, in fact, something of a mini-legend in American culture thanks to ex-Marine Charles Whitman who, on August 1, 1966, went up to the top of the University of Texas campus tower and methodically gunned down 44 people, 12 of whom died, having previously shot his mother, wife and three people within the tower, for good measure.  Whitman’s life ended in a blaze of police gunfire on the tower’s observation deck, but the episode helped launch Kurt Russell’s career who later starred as Whitman in a crummy TV-movie called The Deadly Tower.

The debate in the Florida legislature is following the now-typical path of all bills that seek to widen acceptance and use of guns, namely, that guns are valuable tools for self-defense.  Leave it to the pistol-packin’ Grandma, Marian Hammer, the NRA’s Florida lobbyist to express it best: “The plain truth is campuses are not safe. They are gun-free zones where murderers and rapists may commit their crimes without fear of being harmed by their victims.”  In fact the bill that would allow concealed-carry on Florida campuses was introduced following a shooting last November at Florida State University where a former student wounded three people before he was gunned down by the cops.

      Marian Hammer

Marian Hammer

There has been heightened attention recently about campus crime, most of it concerning sexual assaults. Even the Federal Government has gotten into the act, holding hearings on proposed legislation that would require higher education institutions to better enforce laws against sexual assaults, as well as being accountable for tracking the incidence of such crimes.  But the concern about campus rape doesn’t necessarily mean that colleges are less safe than other environments unless, of course, you toe the NRA line and assume that any location which doesn’t permit guns is, by definition, a less-safe place.

The good news is that we now have a very detailed report on campus guns published by Generation Progress, an activist organization which used to be known as Campus Progress, but like the Millennials they represent, has now grown up and addresses gun violence as just one of its progressive campaigns.  Like many such reports, this report notes that campus crime rates are below crime rates in general, a statement I have seen elsewhere but have not been able to pin down hard data which shows this to be true.  On the other hand, FBI data referenced in this report indicates that guns are used in roughly half of the homicides reported on college campuses, which is below the national number which pegs guns as the method used in 70% of all homicides committed in the United States.

A more important finding in the report is the fact that less than 10% of all serious campus assaults involved a perpetrator who was not connected in some way to the institution where the incident occurred.  More than two-thirds of the assailants were students, former students or alumni and faculty or staff, with the remaining known attackers being spouses or partners of someone connected to the institution.

Despite Marian Hammer’s fear-mongering , the reality is that just about everyone who walks onto a college campus to commit a violent act is drawn to that location not because it’s a gun-free zone, but because they know the campus environment and can move around it with ease.  Not that this information will persuade Florida legislators to retain the current ban on campus guns.  After all, Florida issued less than 30,000 CCW permits in 2000, while in 2010 they issued more than 160,000 and surpassed the million mark in 2012.  Meanwhile, the state had 499 gun homicides in 2000 and more than 700 gun murders in 2012. Duhhhh,  if armed citizens protect us from crime, shouldn’t those numbers be reversed?

 

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