Steve Friess, in the characteristically glib and mendacious style of his branch of the journalistic profession, pointed out the obvious as cause for outrage and alarm, associating conventional organizational marketing practices, in the case of the NRA, with a currently popular journolist meme focusing on privacy paranoia in order to flimflam the rubes and suckers.
[T]he sort of vast, secret database the NRA often warns of already exists, despite having been assembled largely without the knowledge or consent of gun owners. It is housed in the Virginia offices of the NRA itself. The country’s largest privately held database of current, former, and prospective gun owners is one of the powerful lobby’s secret weapons, expanding its influence well beyond its estimated 3 million members and bolstering its political supremacy.
That database has been built through years of acquiring gun permit registration lists from state and county offices, gathering names of new owners from the thousands of gun safety classes taught by NRA-certified instructors and by buying lists of attendees of gun shows, subscribers to gun magazines, and more, BuzzFeed has learned.
The result: a big data powerhouse that deploys the same high-tech tactics all year round that the vaunted Obama campaign used to win two presidential elections.
The NRA is invading my privacy in the exact same fashion as the Wall Street Journal, L.L. Bean, Brooks Brothers, the Yale Club of New York, the Republican Party and all the other groups I belong to, publications I subscribe to, and merchants I shop with. The NRA has a membership/customer list and a marketing database in the same way every group or vendor does. Steve Freiss’s malarkey simply exists in order to flatter the prejudices and political animosity toward the NRA of the statist slave/emasculated urban metrosexual liberal community of fashion, whose members—as usual—bray accord in their own echo chamber. No one with common sense would buy into this nonsense for a New York minute.
Found in John Alden’s house, built in 1653 using material from an earlier house erected in 1632, at 105 Alden Street in Duxbury, Massachusetts “in a secret protective cubbyhole near the front door of the home” during a 1924 renovation, this wheel-lock bears makers’ marks on the lock and barrel indicating it was made by the Beretta, family of Brescia, Italy, known to have been in business since 1526.
It is the only firearm brought over on the Mayflower known to have survived and it is preserved today in the collection of the National Firearms Museum operated by the NRA.
This month’s American Rifleman has a feature article on “special edition” rifles and pistols from a company called American Legacy Firearms, a company that clearly was founded on the principle that nobody ever went broke by underestimating the taste or intelligence of the average American consumer.
With spectacular unintended irony, American Rifleman’s Assistant Editor Joseph Kurtenbach quotes American Legacy founder Steve Faler’s alleged mantra: Life’s too short to shoot an ugly gun.
It would be difficult to find any guns uglier in the history of world arms-making than these two utterly tasteless and totally garish “NRA special edition” models.
Supposedly collectible “commemorative model” firearms represent, in general, a kind of industry tax on the foolish and aethetically-impaired. Typically, they rapidly depreciate in value, occupying a special category of non-collectibility all their own. What makes an out-of-print gun collectible is historical significance and associations combined with rarity. Collectible value can be significantly increased as well by a weapon’s technical interest and beauty.
Taking a garden-variety, purchasable-anywhere-off-the-shelf gun, slapping on a load of bad mechanically-applied engraving and some hideous gold-plating creates an eyesore, not something anyone will ever down the road pay a premium to own.
Special editions numbered in the 5000s, of course, are special only in name and marketing approach and never will be rare.
Priced at nearly two grand a pop, even with a chunk of money being donated to NRA, these excrescences represent as lousy an investment as shares in one of Barack Obama’s green energy companies.
The NRA ought to exercise a little rationality and taste and should decline to participate in or promote this kind of crap. The only thing American Legacy and American Rifleman this month are right about is that life really is too short to be owning ugly guns.
Some headlines are so good they just have to be quoted.
The NRA is not completely above criticism. I was a bit appalled by its cynicism in simply making a backroom deal carving out its own exemption from democrat bans on campaign free speech.
But we have to give the NRA’s current leadership credit, they have been doing an effective job of defending the particular segment of American liberty under their purview that is equaled nowhere else in American political life.
Frankly, I think the NRA ought to found a for-profit subsidiary organization that insurance companies, doctors, and consumers could pay to protect our right to private and unrationed choice in health care.
Isn’t it amazing that the Obama Administration just ignored negative polls in the high 50 percentage points and nationalized health care anyway? They are facing two-thirds disapproval ratings on the way they’re handling the economy and that is not deterring them a bit. But when democrat mischief connected with the shooting sports is afoot these days, the NRA works on the Obama Administration like a crucifix works on vampires.
If you’re not a member, go to the column on the right and join the NRA. Just click on the other picture of Charlton Heston holding up a rifle.
In a swift and unexpected decision, the Environmental Protection Agency today rejected a petition from environmental groups to ban the use of lead in bullets and shotgun shells, claiming it doesn’t have jurisdiction to weigh on the controversial Second Amendment issue. The decision came just hours after the Drudge Report posted stories from Washington Whispers and the Weekly Standard about how gun groups were fighting the lead bullet ban.
The EPA had planned to solicit public responses to the petition for two months, but this afternoon issued a statement rejecting a 100-page request from the Center for Biological Diversity, the American Bird Conservancy, and three other groups for a ban on lead bullets, shot, and fishing sinkers. The agency is still considering what to do about sinkers.
The decision was a huge victory for the National Rifle Association which just seven days ago asked that the EPA reject the petition, suggesting that it was a back door attempt to limit hunting and impose gun control. It also was a politically savvy move to take gun control off the table as the Democrats ready for a very difficult midterm election.
Virginia Senator Jim Webb wouldn’t sign on as Barack Obama’s running mate, but he’s willing to overlook the obvious major differences between Obama’s ultra-liberal positions and his own in order to endorse, and assure us that he trusts, Obama. He trusts Obama even to defend the Second Amendment, he says.
Our family tradition of hunting and shooting are a way of life to me, and no government will ever take that away. I am an NRA member and I know that my friend Barack Obama will protect our second amendment rights. So don’t be misled about Barack Obama…I trust him to protect our right to keep and bear arms.
On what possible basis, Senator Webb? Barack Obama has the most leftwing voting record of any senator. Obama scores to the left of socialist Bernie Saunders. His gun control record is impeccable. He’s a 100% supporter of Gun Control.
And Obama isn’t only endorsed by you, he’s endorsed by the Brady Campaign.
Senators Barack Obama and Joseph Biden know that we make it too easy for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons in this country. They know that our weak gun laws have too many loopholes, which lead to over 30,000 deaths and 70,000 injuries from guns every year.
“Senators Obama and Biden know that we can reduce those deaths and injuries from guns by strengthening our Brady background check system, getting military-style assault weapons off our streets, and giving law enforcement more tools to stop the trafficking of illegal guns.
But the National Rifle Association, to which both Senator Webb and I belong, says Obama would be “the most anti-gun president in American history.” The NRA notes:
Obama voted to ban hundreds of rifles and shotguns commonly used for hunting and sport shooting
(Illinois Senate, SB 1195, 3/13/03)
Obama endorsed a ban on all handguns
(Independent Voters of Illinois/Independent Precinct Organization general candidate questionnaire, 9/9/96, Politico, 03/31/08)
Obama voted to allow the prosecution of people who use a firearm for self-defense in their homes
(Illinois Senate, S.B. 2165, vote 20, 3/25/04)
Obama supported increasing taxes on firearms and ammunition by 500 percent
(Chicago Defender, 12/13/99)
Obama voted to ban almost all rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting
(United States Senate, S. 397, vote 217, 7/29/05)
Obama opposes Right-to-Carry laws
(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 4/2/08, Chicago Tribune, 9/15/04)
Jim Webb’s word to gun owners and Virginians clearly is not worth very much. He really has become a democrat. Shame on Webb.
The Obama campaign’s attempt to respond to a National Rifle Association attack ad with dishonest quibbling combined with attempts at intimidation through use of government regulatory power provides an alarming sample of what a future Obama administration’s governing style might be like.
It seems astonishing that democrat campaign professionals are so willing to believe that sportsmen and gun owners can be bamboozled by a few disingenuous protestations of support for a right to private gun ownership which has actually been a dead-letter in Obama’s home state of Illinois for years.
Obama has been consistently a supporter of the sort of gun ownership rights (from his point of view) currently regrettably still in legal existence, temporarily representing the residuum of private liberty awaiting elimination via future regulatory measures not yet presently politically achievable.
Mayor Bloomberg’s attorneys argue in their brief, and the Second Amendment may wind up excluded, being traded for a similar gag order on references to the National Rifle Association, the New York Sun reports.
Lawyers for Mayor Bloomberg are asking a judge to ban any reference to the Second Amendment during the upcoming trial of a gun shop owner who was sued by the city. While trials are often tightly choreographed, with lawyers routinely instructed to not tell certain facts to a jury, a gag order on a section of the Constitution would be an oddity.
“Apparently Mayor Bloomberg has a problem with both the First and the Second amendments,” Lawrence Keane, the general counsel of a firearms industry association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said.
The trial, set to begin May 27, involves a Georgia gun shop, Adventure Outdoors, which the city alleges is responsible for a disproportionate number of the firearms recovered from criminals in New York City. The gun store’s owner, Jay Wallace, says his store abides by Georgia and federal regulations and takes steps to avoid selling firearms to gun traffickers. Mr. Wallace’s store is one of 27 out-of-state gun shops sued by New York City, and the first to go to trial.
City lawyers, in a motion filed Tuesday, asked the judge, Jack Weinstein of U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, to preclude the store’s lawyers from arguing that the suit infringed on any Second Amendment rights belonging to the gun store or its customers. In the motion, the lawyer for the city, Eric Proshansky, is also seeking a ban on “any references” to the amendment.
“Any references by counsel to the Second Amendment or analogous state constitutional provisions are likewise irrelevant,” the brief states. ...
Of the city’s recent motion to preclude mention of the Second Amendment, a lawyer for Adventure Outdoors, John Renzulli, said, “If you can’t discuss the Bill of Rights in a court of law, where should we discuss these issues? Should we reserve it for the tavern?”
Mr. Renzulli said the city’s lawsuit did implicate the Second Amendment: “The politics involved here is whether the city has the power to go into another state and control the lawful sale of firearms.”
Still, Mr. Renzulli said he did not plan to oppose the city’s request regarding references to the Second Amendment. Mr. Renzulli, who has defended suits against the gun industry in Judge Weinstein’s courtroom before, said that in the past the defense has struck a deal with the plaintiffs on the matter: Lawyers for the gun industry won’t mention the Bill of Rights to the jury, if the plaintiffs don’t mention the National Rifle Association.
“We usually say we’re not talking about the Second Amendment and you’re not talking about the NRA as a huge lobbying group that controls the legislature,” Mr. Renzulli said.
He said he expected a similar agreement to be struck in the Adventure Outdoors case.
The Sun article fails to note that care had to have been taken to assure that this suit will be coming up before Judge Jack B. Weinstein, an activist leftist appointed to the bench by Lyndon Johnson, who routinely makes headlines with rulings favoring this sort of politically-motivated litigation.
Adventure Outdoors needs a better attorney. How can anyone be properly represented in a lawsuit involving firearms who thinks there is some kind of stigma attached to the National Rifle Association?
When Charlton Heston was elected president of the National Rifle Association in June of 1998, he posed holding a rifle, and delivered a jab at then-President Clinton, saying, “America doesn’t trust you with our 21-year-old daughters, and we sure, Lord, don’t trust you with our guns.”
Heston stood 6-feet-3-inches, and his baritone voice, iron jaw, aquiline nose and rippling muscles lent masculine strength and sex appeal to many of his roles, any number of which he played bare-chested. He gained fame as Moses in the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille epic, ``The Ten Commandments’’ and owned the role ever after.
Heston also played Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Thomas More, John the Baptist, Cardinal Richelieu and Mark Anthony among dozens of others on stage, television and the movies. He made more than 70 films.
He was the “actor of choice for historical drama’’ in the 1950s and ‘60s, Robert Osborne, host of Turner Classic Movies on cable television and a columnist for the Hollywood Reporter, once said of him.
“Charlton Heston looked like he came from another era,’’ Osborne said in a June 2006 interview. ``He looked like he was kind of chiseled out of granite. He looked heroic.’’ ...
..his conversion to conservatism began in 1964, when he saw a billboard for Republican Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign. It said: “In your heart, you know he’s right.’’ Concluded Heston: “He IS right.’’
Heston’s career surged in an era when “the difference between good and evil, and the eventual triumph of the good, the reward of the virtuous, of the heroic, was almost always recognized,’’ he said in a 1995 interview. “Yet, more and more, we see films made that diminish the American experience and example, and sometimes trash it completely.’’
Heston saw a cultural war “raging across our land, storming our values, assaulting our freedoms, killing our self confidence,’’ he said in speeches.
He decried affirmative action and feminism, complained of bloated government. And he changed his mind about gun control, becoming a vehement opponent of it.
Heston became president of the National Rifle Association in 1998, holding the job until 2003 and touring the country protesting efforts to restrict gun ownership. He developed a mantra dear to NRA crowds: Raising a rifle overhead he would shout that the only way gun-control advocates could take it would be to pry it “from my cold, dead hands.’’
In defiance of President Bill Clinton’s call for increased gun controls, NRA members sometimes put bumper stickers on their cars that read “Charlton Heston is My President.’’
He soared. In fact, everything about him soared. His shoulders soared, his cheekbones soared, his brows soared. Even his hair soared.
And for a good two decades, Charlton Heston, who died Saturday at 84, was the ultimate American movie star. In a time when method actors and ethnic faces were gradually taking over, Heston remained the last of the ramrod straight, flinty, squinty, tough-as-old-hickory movie guys.
He and his producers and directors understood his appeal, and used it for maximum effect on the big technicolor screen. Rarely a doubter, never a coward, inconceivable as a shirker, he played men of granite virtue no matter the epoch. He played commanders, Biblical prophets, Jewish heroes, tough-as-nails cowpokes, calm aviators, last survivors, quarterbacks and a president or two.
Later in his life, he took that stance into politics, becoming president of the National Rifle Association just when anti-gun attitudes were reaching their peak. Pilloried and parodied, lampooned and bullied, he never relented, he never backed down, and in time it came to seem less an old star’s trick of vanity than an act of political heroism. He endured, like Moses. He aged, like Moses. And the stone tablet he carried only had one commandment: Thou shalt be armed. It can even be said that if the Supreme Court in June finds a meaning in the Second Amendment consistent with NRA policy, that he will have died just short of the Promised Land—like Moses.
I’ve had a link to the NRA membership page with a picture of Chuck Heston on it in the right hand column, since I started this blog.
Urban prosecutors and police departments ignoring state law in Texas has led to the unlikely alliance of the NRA and ACLU, reports the New York Times.
Like many other states, Texas bans the carrying of concealed handguns without a license. Obtaining a license requires a background check and a gun-safety course. By long-established law, however, Texans can cite “traveling” as a defense to possession of an unlicensed handgun. But while traveling was widely understood to denote a journey of some distance, it was never defined. (Travel on planes and other interstate conveyances banning weapons falls under federal jurisdiction.)
In 1997, the State Legislature tried to clarify the law by removing unlicensed carrying of a weapon as an offense while traveling. But it left unresolved whether traveling required making an overnight stop, crossing county lines or other conditions.
In 2005, lawmakers sought to remove the ambiguity by declaring that anyone in a private vehicle who was not engaged in criminal activity or otherwise barred from possessing a firearm was “presumed to be traveling,” and thus exempt from restrictions on concealed handguns.
Terry Keel, a former member of the Texas House of Representatives who sponsored the bill, explained its intent in a statement entered into the record: “In plain terms, a law-abiding person should not fear arrest if they are transporting a concealed pistol in a motor vehicle.”
But the measure hardly ended the controversy.
Almost as soon as it became law in September 2005, the Texas District and County Attorneys Association signaled its displeasure by advising members that the act did not rule out arrests of otherwise law-abiding drivers carrying weapons. The association said it was up to the courts to determine whether a person was, in fact, traveling. “Therefore,” it declared, “officers are still acting within their lawful discretion if they arrest a person who might qualify for the traveling defense or the new traveling presumption.”
Or, as Charles A. Rosenthal Jr., the district attorney of Harris County, which includes Houston, argued, “The presumption of innocence does not make the person innocent.”