The National Rifle Association is shifting into high gear to shoot down federal and state barriers to buying gun suppressors, believing that the inauguration of President Trump will help to clear the way to easy and low-cost purchases of silencers.
“It’s going to be a new day, it’s a new opportunity to hit the reset button,” said Chris Cox, NRA’s chief lobbyist and the executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. “This is a fight we can win,” he added during last week’s annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas.
The Hearing Protection Act of 2017 is the vehicle for ending the federal $200 tax and waiting period for purchasing silencers, and it has won the full support of the NRA.
Critics have mocked the name as simplistic, but Trump’s son, Donald Jr., recently said the issue is all about hearing health. “It’s about safety, it’s about hearing protection, it’s a health issue,” he said. “There’s nothing bad about it at all.”
Stay abreast of the latest developments from nation’s capital and beyond with curated News Alerts from the Washington Examiner news desk and delivered to your inbox.
He added that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would shut down gun ranges because of noise if the Labor Department agency had its way.
While countries in Europe approve the use of suppressors at ranges and while hunting, the gun accessory has been demonized in America, especially in movies where they are often shown as the tools of assassins.
To help lawmakers pushing the Hearing Protection Act, Cox and others at the NRA have stepped up their campaign against that image while making the case that it’s an extension of gun safety.
“Criminals don’t use them other than in movies,” Cox said. He said Hollywood and the media are “intentionally trying to mislead the American people, scare ’em.”
The NRA’s Internet star, lawyer and gun rights activist Colion Noir, is also fighting the issue on his NRATV show.
“I ought to be able to protect my life without going deaf in the process,” he said. “Complacency and apathy will always be the catalyst to the degradation our rights,” he said. “You know who decides what normal is? The people with the loudest voice. So if you want to protect your freedom, take the suppressor off your mouth and put it on your gun.”
FAIRFAX, Va. – The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauded Congressmen Jeff Duncan (SC) and John Carter (TX-31) on Monday for introducing the Hearing Protection Act, an important bill that gives gun owners and sportsmen the opportunity to better protect their ears and hearing.
“Many gun owners and sportsmen suffer severe hearing loss after years of shooting, and yet the tool necessary to reduce such loss is onerously regulated and taxed. It doesn’t make any sense,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “The Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act would allow people easier access to suppressors, which would help them to better protect their hearing.”
The Hearing Protection Act, H.R. 367, would remove suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act, replacing the federal transfer process with a National Instant Criminal Background Check. The bill would reduce the cost of purchasing a suppressor by removing the $200 transfer tax.
Suppressors are often mischaracterized in Hollywood. They do not “silence” the sound of a firearm. Instead, they act as mufflers and can reduce the noise of a gunshot to hearing safe levels. Not only do suppressors reduce hearing damage for the shooter, they reduce the noise of ranges located near residential areas.
H.R. 367 would make it easier for gun owners and sportsmen to purchase suppressors in the 42 states where they are currently legal. Purchasers would have to pass a background check to buy them, and prohibited people would be denied.
NRA is proud to have partnered with ASA on this important legislation.
“Gun owners and sportsmen should be able to practice their sport with the tools necessary to do so safely. This bill makes it easier for them to do that,” concluded Cox.
“The top item Americans say they are likely to buy because of the election is a gun,” according to a survey for the supply chain firm Elementum. What’s more 97 percent of Americans are holding off major purchases “due to the presidential election.”
On top of the list of items all age groups are considering is firearms, said the survey. Some 16 percent “plans to buy a firearm as a result of the upcoming election. Among Americans living in the South, the figure is nearly 1 in 5 (19 percent) and among Gen Xers (35-44 year olds) the number is nearly 1 in 4 (23 percent) especially among women (24 percent),” said Elementum.
Their survey was done by Harris Polls.
Beretta on Tuesday unveiled a pre-election sale, offering 20 percent on magazines. Clinton has sided with those pushing for limits on cartridge magazines. And the sports chain Gander Mountian is running a pre-Election Day sale on semi-automatic weapons including AR-15 rifles.
— 15 percent of Gen X men and 16 percent of Millennial men will secure a passport because of the election.
— 13 percent of Gen X men and 10 percent of Millennial men will stock up on precious metals.
Federal agents have persuaded police officers to scan license plates to gather information about gun-show customers, government emails show, raising questions about how officials monitor constitutionally protected activity.
Emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show agents with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency crafted a plan in 2010 to use license-plate readers—devices that record the plate numbers of all passing cars—at gun shows in Southern California, including one in Del Mar, not far from the Mexican border.
Agents then compared that information to cars that crossed the border, hoping to find gun smugglers, according to the documents and interviews with law-enforcement officials with knowledge of the operation.
The investigative tactic concerns privacy and guns-rights advocates, who call it an invasion of privacy. The law-enforcement officials say it is an important and legal tool for pursuing dangerous, hard-to-track illegal activity.
There is no indication the gun-show surveillance led to any arrests or investigative leads, but the officials didn’t rule out that such surveillance may have happened elsewhere. The agency has no written policy on its use of license-plate readers and could engage in similar surveillance in the future, they said.
Last year, the Journal reported that the Drug Enforcement Administration had considered conducting such surveillance at gun shows, but scrapped the plans for unclear reasons. Emails and interviews with law-enforcement officials show ICE went ahead with the strategy in 2010, relying on local police to do so.
Jay Stanley, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the gun-show surveillance “highlights the problem with mass collection of data.” He said law enforcement can take two entirely legal activities, like buying guns and crossing the border, “and because those two activities in concert fit somebody’s idea of a crime, a person becomes inherently suspicious.”
Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said his group also opposes such surveillance. “Information on law-abiding gun owners ends up getting recorded, stored, and registered, which is a violation of the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act and of the Second Amendment,” Mr. Pratt said.
A spokeswoman for ICE acknowledged its Homeland Security Investigations agents in San Diego office conducted an operation at the Del Mar gun show. “In conducting these operations, HSI San Diego and its partners make every effort to utilize all investigative methods for planning purposes,” she said. “As for specific methods, HSI San Diego does not comment.”
John Chigos, CEO of PlateSmart Technologies, Inc., which sells license-plate-reader systems, said the devices help protect the public but he called it “an abuse of the technology’’ to target gun-show shoppers.
He added, “I think this was a situation that shows we need to establish policies for license-plate readers, like any new technology.”
License-plate readers are increasingly used by law-enforcement agencies as a way to search for fugitives, missing children, and, recently, the man who allegedly set off a bomb in New York City.
But their use at gun shows occupies a murky legal ground. While technology and data collection have greatly expanded the ability of government and companies to monitor citizens’ activity, U.S. courts, lawmakers, and senior officials have been slow to make clear what types of mass surveillance cross the line into violations of constitutional rights.
It has long been legal for police officers to record license plates they observe in the course of ordinary life. License-plate-reader technology, however, allows those observations to become mass-data collection. A single camera can record thousands of vehicle plates an hour, capturing the data at high speeds, in thick traffic and in other situations that the human eye cannot.
Boosters of the technology say it is a way to find a criminal in a sea of otherwise indistinguishable cars. Critics say that to find that criminal the government is tracking the movements of millions of innocent people—adding up to detailed surveillance of their daily lives and creating data that can be misused.
Critics such as Mr. Pratt say using the technology for gun shows is illegal in any case because of the firearm owners act, which bans the government from creating records of gun buyers except temporarily for background checks.
The Journal obtained, through a request under the Freedom of Information Act, internal ICE emails showing agents in 2010 targeted a gun show called Crossroads of the West in Del Mar, Calif.
More than half of the pages provided by the agency were completely redacted, or blacked out; others have large sections redacted, apparently to keep secret how the surveillance was undertaken.
In an email titled “Request for Assistance,” an ICE investigator wrote, “We would like to see if you can support an outbound guns/ammo operation on (redacted) at the Crossroads (Del Mar) Gun Show. We would like to deploy license plate readers.” The email, whose sender and recipient are redacted, includes a large section of operational details that are also redacted.
The law-enforcement officials with knowledge of the operation confirmed ICE got local police officers to drive around the parking lot at the gun show and use their license-plate readers to collect all of the cars’ information. A spokeswoman for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on whether the department took part in the activity.
Bob Templeton, the CEO of Crossroads of the West, which puts on the gun show, said he knew local police had been at the show, but was surprised to learn that federal agents had been gathering data about customers. The show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds typically draws 6,000 to 9,000 customers, meaning thousands of cars are in the parking lot, he said.
“It’s obviously intrusive and an activity that hasn’t proven to have any legitimate law-enforcement purpose,” said Mr. Templeton. “I think my customers would be resentful of having been the target of that kind of surveillance.”
Other emails show ICE agents planned to keep scanning license plates at other gun shows in Southern California, though agency officials said they couldn’t confirm whether they had done so.
A June 30, 2010, email from an ICE agent lists a series of gun shows that summer, including ones in nearby Ontario and Costa Mesa, noting that “the last (only) one worked out pretty well, so I’d like to send two or three to that one as well.”
In reply, an unidentified agent wrote, “I am good to go on all of them.”
INCH by INCH: Obama Issues Executive Order That May Drive Gunsmiths Out of Business – The Truth About Guns
President Obama has the ability to issue “executive orders” that direct the agencies controlled by the Office of the President to change the way they operate. Government agencies have a large amount of leeway when it comes to the interpretation of the law and how it applies to the American people, and these executive orders are intended to allow the president to specifically direct those agencies in whatever manner he sees fit.
Last Friday President Obama issued one such order which changed the definition of a “manufacturer” under the ITAR treaty regulations, a change which now means anyone who so much as threads a barrel on a firearm needs to pay thousands more dollars in fees and is subject to further registration. From the NRA:
By way of background, the AECA and ITAR concern rules by which military materiel is exported from, and imported to, the United States. The so-called “defense articles” governed by the AECA/ITAR are compiled in what is known as the U.S. Munitions List and include some, but not all, firearms and ammunition, as well as their parts and components.
Thus, for purposes of the regime, a spring or floorplate from the magazine of a controlled firearm is subject to the same regulatory framework as the firearm itself.
The AECA/ITAR require anybody who engages in the business of “manufacturing” a defense article to register with DDTC and pay a registration fee that for new applicants is currently $2,250 per year. These requirements apply, even if the business does not, and does not intend to, export any defense article.
Moreover, under ITAR, “only one occasion of manufacturing … a defense article” is necessary for a commercial entity to be considered “engaged in the business” and therefore subject to the regime’s requirements.
The issue is the definition of “manufacturer.” Previously, only machine shops who actually produce a firearm from scratch were required to register as a “manufacturer.” Local gun shops with a shade-tree gunsmith happily threading barrels and trueing up receivers were exempt, since they didn’t actually make anything new.
This new interpretation of the ITAR regulations has changed all that, and anyone who so much as threads a barrel now must further register with the Federal government as a “manufacturer” and pay an additional $2,250 in registration fees. That might not seem like a lot to a big shop, but for the small mom-and-pop gunsmiths this could be enough to put them out of business.
The NRA’s opinion on the matter is predictable:
DDTC’s move appears aimed at expanding the regulatory sweep of the AECA/ITAR and culling many smaller commercial gunsmithing operations that do not have the means to pay the annual registration fee or the sophistication to negotiate DDTC’s confusing maze of bureaucracy. Like ATF’s early “guidance” this year on theGCA’s licensing requirement for firearm “dealers,” it is also likely to have a significant chilling effect on activity that would not even be considered regulated.
The administration’s latest move serves as a timely reminder of how the politicized and arrogant abuse of executive power can be used to suppress Second Amendment rights and curtail lawful firearm-related commerce. That lesson should not be forgotten when voters go to the polls this November.
A discussion group on Facebook called Texas Pew Pew Pew Show & Tell warned its users that it was intended to host conversations “about anything that goes pew pew pew,” but not to facilitate the sale or trade of firearms.
The same note asked participants to “be smart” and “to take it to PM,” a reference to private messages. “If you don’t get the hint, I can’t help stupid,” the note said.
Though the message did not explicitly tell users to talk about the sale of guns only on a private channel, those who monitor such posts said it was one of many ways that users of Facebook, the world’s largest social network, have tried to circumvent its ban on private gun sales announced in January.
Mike Monteiro, a web designer from San Francisco, helped start a campaign to monitor Facebook and report violations to get gun sales removed. Mr. Monteiro, 48, said he felt compelled to act after a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., in June in the country’s worst mass shooting.
“I just started to search for gun sales, and sure enough, Facebook was full of them,” he said.
Some users have tried to skirt the ban by advertising other products for sale, such as baby powder or a can of Hawaiian Punch, next to rifles.
Other users did little to hide their intentions. A post pinned on a military memorabilia and firearms Facebook page recommended that those who wanted to sell guns or ammunition write the caliber and model numbers using code words, rely on external sites to share photos and make deals through private messages. The group’s moderator did not respond to a message on Facebook.
Mr. Monteiro said in the past month he reported about 500 posts or groups. Facebook took down about two-thirds of them, but sometimes only after follow-up complaints. Some of Mr. Monteiro’s social media followers joined in the effort. “If even you report 10 and one gets knocked down, that’s one less gun sale,” he said.
Mr. Monteiro is not alone in his effort. John B. Sibley, 41, of the Bronx, spends an average of 30 to 45 minutes a day reporting violations. He said he has been a longtime supporter of groups that seek greater gun control but felt that their approach focused mostly on raising money and seeking changes legislatively.
“If you want to do something practical, they don’t have much to offer you there,” he said. “This is an action I can take. Every time I foil a gun sale, I get a little satisfaction.”
Not everyone feels the same way, however. Mr. Sibley said he gets a fair amount of harassment on Facebook. Mr. Monteiro said a photo posted online showed a rifle pointing at a computer screen that displayed his Twitter profile. He has also been banned briefly by Facebook four times after his account was flagged several times.
Mr. Sibley said he personally has gotten 1,288 groups or posts removed in a month. He takes a screenshot of every confirmed removal notice. He also developed a detailed guide to identifying gun sales on Facebook.
Groups that operate in the open (ones with “buy guns” in their names, for instance) have been taken down, and what remain are closed, coded or secret, he said. “We’re starting to shut down the marketplace,” he said.
Still, Mr. Monteiro and Mr. Sibley described Facebook’s reporting process as a cumbersome multistep procedure that can change from day to day.
They suggested that Facebook has sophisticated software developers who could easily make the process of eliminating gun sales as automated and effective as it does in rooting out images of child pornography.
“When you want to change something, you can change it,” Mr. Monteiro said. “What all this boils down to is if Facebook did not want guns on the site, the guns would be gone tomorrow. They have the technology to do this.”
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement that she was grateful for Facebook’s response to the groups’ campaign to ban private gun sales, but that it needs to take responsibility for enforcing its own policy.
“Part of being a good corporate actor is taking ownership — lives are on the line, and it’s vital that Facebook figures this out quickly,” she said.
Facebook said any content that violated its prohibition would be removed. “We rely on our community of 1.6 billion people to help us enforce this policy by making it possible for anyone to report any piece of content including posts, photos, videos, and messages,” it said in a statement.
The Facebook group Barter Junkies, which currently has more than 166,000 members, lost about 17,000 members after the gun sales ban went into effect, said Christopher Sullivan, the group’s primary moderator. The group facilitates the purchase, sale and barter of goods that include, among other things, cars, real estate and car parts. Mr. Sullivan said he regularly gets complaints and threats about enforcing the ban or when gun sales are removed. When he recently posted a note reminding users about the ban, the group lost 4,000 followers in four days.
Gun enthusiasts are also turning to activism. A petition on change.org that has drawn 40 of the 100 supporters it seeks urged Facebook to lift its ban. Douglas T. Brooks, 23, of Jacksonville, Fla., said he started the petition after a group he moderated on Facebook, Jacksonville Gun Traders, was shut down because it allowed members to buy, trade and sell guns.
“We were just mad because they shut us down without warning,” he said, calling the ban “kind of ridiculous.”
A secret group with a slightly different name was permitted by Facebook after it pledged to only discuss guns, he said. Still, Mr. Brooks said, he could not understand why Facebook would bar users who could legitimately own guns from buying and selling them on its site. “I would say it’s stepping on your rights,” he said.
Surely murder is a serious subject, which ought to be examined seriously. Instead, it is almost always examined politically in the context of gun control controversies, with stock arguments on both sides that have remained the same for decades. And most of those arguments are irrelevant to the central question: Do tighter gun control laws reduce the murder rate?
That is not an esoteric question, nor one for which no empirical evidence is available. Think about it. We have 50 states, each with its own gun control laws, and many of those laws have gotten either tighter or looser over the years. There must be tons of data that could indicate whether murder rates went up or down when either of these things happened.
But have you ever heard any gun control advocate cite any such data? Tragically, gun control has become one of those fact-free issues that spawn outbursts of emotional rhetoric and mutual recriminations about the National Rifle Association or the Second Amendment.
If restrictions on gun ownership do reduce murders, we can repeal the Second Amendment, as other Constitutional Amendments have been repealed. Laws exist to protect people. People do not exist to perpetuate laws.
But if tighter restrictions on gun ownership do not reduce murders, what is the point of tighter gun control laws— and what is the point of demonizing the National Rifle Association?
There are data not only from our 50 states, but also from other countries around the world. Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm’s empirical study, “Guns and Violence: The English Experience,” should be eye-opening for all those who want their eyes opened, however small that number of people might be.
Professor Malcolm’s book illustrates the difference between isolated, cherry-picked facts and relevant empirical evidence.
Many gun control advocates have cited the much higher murder rates in the United States than in England as due to tighter gun control laws in England. But Professor Malcolm’s study points out that the murder rate in New York has been some multiple of the murder rate in London for two centuries — and, during most of that time, neither city had serious restrictions on gun ownership.
As late as 1954, “there were no controls on shotguns” in England, Professor Malcolm reported, but only 12 cases of armed robbery in London. Of these only four became ever more severe — and armed robberies in London soared to 1,400 by 1974.
“As the numbers of legal firearms have dwindled, the numbers of armed crimes have risen” is her summary of that history in England. Conversely, in the United States the number of handguns in American homes more than doubled between 1973 and 1992, while the murder rate went down.
There are relevant facts available, but you are not likely to hear about them from politicians currently pushing for tighter gun control laws, or from the mainstream media, when those facts go against the claims of gun control advocates.
Despite hundreds of thousands of times a year when Americans use firearms defensively, none of those incidents is likely to be reported in the mainstream media, even when lives are saved as a result. But one accidental firearm death in a home will be broadcast and rebroadcast from coast to coast.
Virtually all empirical studies in the United States show that tightening gun control laws has not reduced crime rates in general or murder rates in particular. Is this because only people opposed to gun control do empirical studies? Or is it because the facts uncovered in empirical studies make the arguments of gun control zealots untenable?
In both England and the United States, those people most zealous for tighter gun control laws tend also to be most lenient toward criminals and most restrictive on police. The net result is that law-abiding citizens become more vulnerable when they are disarmed and criminals disobey gun control laws, as they disobey other laws.
The facts are too plain to be ignored. Moreover, the consequences are too dangerous to law-abiding citizens, whose lives are put in jeopardy on the basis of fact-free assumptions and unexamined dogmas. Such arguments are a farce, but not the least bit funny.
Thomas Sowell, a National Humanities Medal winner, is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher and author. He is currently Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
OKLAHOMA CITY –
You may have heard of civil asset forfeiture.
That’s where police can seize your property and cash without first proving you committed a crime; without a warrant and without arresting you, as long as they suspect that your property is somehow tied to a crime.
Now, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has a device that also allows them to seize money in your bank account or on prepaid cards.
It’s called an ERAD, or Electronic Recovery and Access to Data machine, and state police began using 16 of them last month.
Here’s how it works. If a trooper suspects you may have money tied to some type of crime, the highway patrol can scan any cards you have and seize the money.
“We’re gonna look for different factors in the way that you’re acting,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. John Vincent said. “We’re gonna look for if there’s a difference in your story. If there’s someway that we can prove that you’re falsifying information to us about your business.”
Troopers insist this isn’t just about seizing cash.
“I know that a lot of people are just going to focus on the seizing money. That’s a very small thing that’ s happening now. The largest part that we have found … the biggest benefit has been the identity theft,” Vincent said.
“If you can prove can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we’ve done that in the past,” Vincent said about any money seized.
State Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, said that removes due process and the belief that a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty. He said we’ve already seen cases in Oklahoma where police are abusing the system.
“We’ve seen single mom’s stuff be taken, a cancer survivor his drugs taken, we saw a Christian band being taken. We’ve seen innocent people’s stuff being taken. We’ve seen where the money goes and how it’s been misspent,” Loveless said.
Loveless plans to introduce legislation next session that would require a conviction before any assets could be seized.
“If I had to err on the side of one side versus the other, I would err on the side of the Constitution,” Loveless said. “And I think that’s what we need to do.”
News 9 obtained a copy of the contract with the state.
It shows the state is paying ERAD Group Inc., $5,000 for the software and scanners, then 7.7 percent of all the cash the highway patrol seizes.
We are giving it a go!
Find us on OpenBazzar!
Steep gun tax concept endorsed by Hillary Clinton in 1993 beginning to take hold
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A $1,000 per gun tax should serve as a “role model” for states, according to the governor of the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, which imposed the $1,000 gun tax earlier this month. An idea first endorsed by Hillary Clinton in 1993, steep gun taxes have now taken hold in Cook County, Ill. the city of Seattle, and now a U.S. territory.
As reported by the Saipan Tribune:
The administration of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres defended the CNMI’s new gun control laws on Friday as a law that could be “a role model” for other U.S. states and jurisdictions facing seemingly uncontrolled and continued gun violence.
The administration was responding to queries regarding its position on recent reports that the a legal challenge to the new law, Public law 19-42, was likely, particularly over a provision that assesses a $1,000 excise tax on pistols.
The $1,000 gun tax “role model” threat is not idle. Consider the following:
Seattle Gun Tax: On Jan. 1, 2016, Seattle’s $25 per gun tax took effect, as did a two cent to five cent tax per round of ammunition.
Cook County, Ill. Gun and Ammunition Tax: On June 1, 2016, Cook County’s new ammunition tax takes effect, at a rate of one cent to five cents per round of ammunition. The ammo tax comes on top of the existing gun tax regime of $25 per gun.
Hillary Clinton’s 25% Gun Tax Endorsement: In passionate testimony to the Senate Finance Committee in 1993, Hillary Clinton gave her strong personal endorsement to a new national 25% sales tax on guns and endorsed a steep increase in the gun dealer fee, to $2,500.
“The Left is now seeking to tax guns out of existence,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The Second Amendment makes it difficult to legally ban guns, but Hillary has led the way to explaining you can achieve the same thing with high taxes.”
In newly released footage from Americans for Tax Reform, Clinton is shown nodding enthusiastically as she endorsed the 25% gun tax and as legal gun dealers were described as “purveyors of violence.”