National Gun News & Other Stuff
House Passes Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Fairfax, Va.—The National Rifle Association applauded the United States House of Representatives on Wednesday for passing the most far-reaching expansion of self-defense rights in modern American history. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 passed with bipartisan support in a 231-198 vote.
“This vote marks a watershed moment for Second Amendment rights,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is the culmination of a 30-year movement recognizing the right of all law-abiding Americans to defend themselves, and their loved ones, including when they cross state lines.”
The bill, H.R. 38, ensures that those Americans who can legally carry a concealed firearm in one state will legally be able to do so in every other state. It eliminates the confusing patchwork of state laws that have ensnared otherwise law-abiding gun owners, and have forced law enforcement to waste their precious time and resources enforcing laws that don’t do anything to reduce violent crime.
The bill also makes improvements to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, NICS. All Americans, including law-abiding gun owners, agree that violent criminals should not have legal access to firearms. However, the system is only as good as its records, and recent events have shown that sometimes the correct information is not entered into the system. This bill incentivizes states and government agencies to update the NICS with legitimate records of prohibited persons.
Additionally, the bill creates an expedited process for removing records that are erroneously put in the system. Currently, when a person discovers they have been wrongly added to the NICS, it can take up to a year to get their name removed. This bill requires a response to an appeal within 60 days.
“This bill ensures that all law-abiding citizens in our great country can protect themselves in the manner they see fit without accidentally running afoul of the law. We now call on the Senate to take up and pass this critical legislation,” Cox concluded.
The National Rifle Association would especially like to thank Rep. Richard Hudson, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise for their extraordinary efforts to pass this important legislation.
Accidental Gun Deaths hit Record Low, Even Amid Recent Boom in Firearm Sales!
Gun sales are up, and accidental gun injuries are down, according to a report released this month by the National Safety Council.
The NSC’s “Injury Facts -2017 Edition” shows a 17 percent decrease in accidents involving firearms from 2014 to 2015, a period when gun sales soared.
There were 489 unintentional firearms-related fatalities during that time period, the lowest total since record-keeping began in 1903, accounting for less than 1 percent of accident deaths. This decrease, which was the largest percentage decline of any category cited in the NSC’s report, came in a year that saw record-high firearm sales.
But Kelly Nantel, National Safety Council’s vice president of communications, noted that gun violence is still a problem in the U.S.
“While it is accurate that unintentional firearm deaths have reached an all-time low, National Safety Council Injury Facts data also show gun violence and intentional shootings, including suicides, claimed an additional 34,997 lives in 2015,” Nantel said. “A person’s lifetime odds of being fatally shot intentionally are 1 in 370, which is substantially higher than the odds of being accidentally shot (1 in 6,905.)”
Andrew Patrick, media director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told Fox News that while his group is pleased to see there were fewer unintentional gun deaths, 489 unintentional deaths, with minors comprising nearly 20 percent of the fatalities, is still “far too many.”
“The gun lobby is deceptively cherry picking this statistic to imply that overall gun deaths are down. In fact, the opposite is true,” Patrick told Fox News, saying that only “unintentional gun deaths” decreased. “It is obvious that the gun lobby is using this statistic because it’s the only one they can use to support their bottom line—the bigger picture reveals a steadily growing gun violence epidemic and the gun lobby is desperate to distract citizens from the truth.”
While the government does not publish an official number of gun sales, background checks gauge how many people try to buy guns –a number which skyrocketed under President Obama. In 2016, more than 24.7 million criminal background checks for gun transactions were processed, according to data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
But pro-Second Amendment organizations are touting the results of the NSC report as a win for the firearms industry.
“This latest release from the National Safety Council shows that the vast majority of the 100 million American firearm owners meet the serious responsibilities which come with firearm ownership,” said National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) President and CEO Steve Sanetti. “They store their firearms safely and securely when not in use, and follow the basic rules of firearms safety when handling them.”
NSSF took credit for the “ever-downward trend” in firearms accidents, citing its program, Project ChildSafe, one of many firearms safety education programs sponsored by the firearms industry.
“We will continue to work with organizations interested in genuine firearms safety,” Sanetti said, “to help reduce the number of firearms accidents even further in the days and years ahead.”
Brooke Singman is a Reporter for Fox News.
The Loophole in Background Check Thinking: Criminals Obey the Law
Gun control groups expend an awful lot of ink, time and money advocating for “common-sense public safety laws” like “universal” background checks because such restrictions, they claim, will keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people.
It’s peculiar, then, that many of these entities don’t do a better job of background-checking their own adherents and associates. Not too long ago, then-California state senator Leland Yee (D), whose staunch support of gun control measures earned him a spot on the Brady Campaign’s “Gun Violence Prevention Honor Roll,” was accused of committing various felonies, including illegal firearms trafficking and money laundering offenses. Following a plea agreement in which he acknowledged his participation in a firearms trafficking conspiracy, among other offenses, Yee was sentenced to five years in jail.
Members of the Michael Bloomberg-founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), now reconfigured as Everytown for Gun Safety, popped up in the news with such embarrassing regularity due to arrests and convictions for crimes, including gun crimes, that the New York Post ran an editorial in 2013 titled “Illegal mayors against guns.”
And last month, a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Illinois alleges that a certain Francisco Sanchez violated a federal gun law that prohibits possession of a firearm by a felon. The snag is that at the time, Mr. Sanchez (a.k.a. “Smokey”) was apparently working as a supervisor at CeaseFire Illinois, as highlighted in a February feature by the Everytown-funded website, The Trace.
The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint states that Mr. Sanchez was convicted of murder and aggravated battery in 1986, and adds the more disturbing allegation that he is the “national leader of the Gangster Two-Six Nation,” a street gang “prevalent throughout Chicago” and in other states. Mr. Sanchez’s arrest occurred as part of a larger federal investigation of gang-related gun and drug trafficking in which other suspected gang members or associates were apprehended and over 100 firearms were seized.
Of course, the complaint contains only allegations, not evidence, and Mr. Sanchez and his fellow defendants remain innocent until proven guilty. However, the arrests – which took place shortly before the Memorial Day weekend – coincided with a drop in gun homicides as compared to last year’s holiday weekend.
We’ve written before about how criminals get guns, including this study at Chicago’s Cook County Jail that concluded criminals bypass legal sources in favor of guns obtained from “family, gang members, or other social connections.”
Expanded background check laws won’t stop criminals because criminals ignore the law. Nonetheless, Everytown and others of its ilk will continue to call for ever-increasing restrictions and laws affecting law-abiding gun owners in the name of prohibiting felons, violent criminals, and gang members from obtaining guns. Honest gun owners will continue to do what they’ve always done: obey the law.