NRA-ILA

Study Finds Fewer People Willing to Answer Questions about Gun Ownership

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22

A common thought (maybe even a rational one) is that gun owners hesitate to share their status as gun owners in surveys. It makes perfect sense, particularly in times of heightened concerns that anti-gun politicians are plotting to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights and the routine vilification of law-abiding gun owners by politicians, celebrities, and the media. A recent study confirmed that more people are refusing to answer questions about firearms ownership.

Iowa State University political scientist Robert Urbatsch analyzed data from the General Social Survey (GSS) and found that the number of people refusing to answer a question about gun ownership roughly tripled since the year 2000. The increase appears steady from the year 2000 through 2016 and Urbatsch found the increased non-response rate concentrated among Republicans (though the rates among Democrats and Independents also increased). Coincidentally, Pew recently confirmed that gun ownership is far more common among Republicans – meaning, the people driving the increase in the GSS question refusals are also those most likely to own a gun. Go figure.

Urbatsch discusses how this increase could be driven by increased polarization, by political elites’ and partisan commentators’ fear-mongering, or by distrust of government and an institutionalized belief in individual autonomy. For some reason, more people are hesitating to share their gun-owning status with a stranger on the phone conducting a survey for the government.

This isn’t new. Take a look at the Gallup trend below; notice the sharp increase after 1993…right around the time Congress was working on a major gun control effort (the 1994 assault weapons ban). In December 1993, less than 0.5% of respondents refused to answer that question. In July 1996 (the next time the question was asked), 2% of respondents refused. The number acknowledging they had a gun in their household dropped from 49% to 38% in the same time period. The percent refusing first hit 4% in October 2009, then hit 4% again in October 2013 and October 2014 – when anti-gun politicians controlled both the White House and the Senate. The number of refusals dropped from 2016 to 2017. A simple trend line does not indicate causation…but one major difference between 2016 and 2017 was the political outlook. In 2016, there was a concern that a historically anti-gun politician could win the Presidency; by October 2017, President Trump had secured the White House.   Continue reading

Judge Brett Kavanaugh Has Earned NRA Members’ Support

NRA members can feel confident throwing their enthusiastic support behind President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Throughout his time on the bench, Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated deep respect for the Second Amendment as construed in Justice Antonin Scalia’s landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. Moreover, his record on the Second Amendment is well established. As Second Amendment scholar and University of Denver Law Professor Dave Kopel wrote earlier this week, “No nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court has had such a detailed record on Second Amendment as does Brett Kavanaugh.”

The bulk of Judge Kavanaugh’s record on the Second Amendment comes from his 2011 dissent in Heller v. District of Columbia, or Heller II. The case concerned a challenge to Washington, D.C.’s ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic rifles and the city’s onerous firearms registration regime.

Under much constitutional precedence, courts are tasked with interpreting a law’s impact on a given right by using a system of tiered balancing tests, where they weigh the government’s interest against the right at stake. Fundamental rights are tested under a strict scrutiny standard, whereby the government has the burden of showing that a given restriction serves a compelling government interest and is the least restrictive means to further that interest. Lesser infringements are tested using intermediate scrutiny, which requires a restriction to serve an important government interest and that the means of doing so are substantially related to the interest. All laws are subject to the rational basis test, whereby a given restriction must be at least rationally related to a legitimate government purpose.   Continue reading

NRA Applauds Brett Kavanaugh’s Nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court

The National Rifle Association (NRA) applauds the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the United States Supreme Court.

“President Trump has made another outstanding choice in nominating Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court. He has an impressive record that demonstrates his strong support for the Second Amendment,” said Chris W. Cox, Executive Director, NRA-ILA. “We urge the Senate to swiftly confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, just as it confirmed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.”

During his tenure on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Kavanaugh wrote a strong dissenting opinion in opposition to Washington, D.C.’s ban on commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and registration requirement by applying an historical test consistent with Justice Scalia’s opinion in Heller.

“Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated his clear belief that the Constitution should be applied as the Framers intended. To that end, he has supported the fundamental, individual right to self-defense embraced by Justice Scalia in the historic Heller decision. ”

“On behalf of our six million members, the NRA strongly supports Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. We will be activating our members and tens of millions of supporters throughout the country in support of Judge Kavanaugh. He will protect our right to keep and bear arms and is an outstanding choice to fill Justice Kennedy’s seat,” concluded Cox.

Too Young or Too Old… To Own a Gun?

A common theme among anti-gun extremists is what we often refer to as the “Goldilocks” approach to limiting access to firearms by law-abiding citizens. Rather than admit that the ultimate goal is to disarm all Americans, those opposed to the Second Amendment create fictional arguments about why certain types of firearms, ammunition, or even accessories should be eliminated.

In the 70s, the goal was to ban handguns. Since they could be carried concealed for personal protection, they were seen as being “too small.” That argument fell out of fashion as more and more states passed Right-to-Carry laws that recognized the right to personal protection.

One subset of the anti-handgun hysteria included inexpensive handguns (so-called “Saturday Night Specials”), which were deemed “too cheap.” When NRA and others pointed out this was an obvious attempt to disarm lower income citizens (who are often at higher risk to being victims of violent crime), the term “Saturday Night Special” faded from the gun-ban lexicon.

Another subset of the attack on handguns came with the introduction of Glocks, and other handguns that used polymers as part of their construction. These were falsely claimed to be able to pass through metal detectors and x-ray machines undetected, and, thus, “too invisible” to be screened where firearm are prohibited (think airports). Of course, this canard was quickly dispelled.

Ammunition has been attacked as “too lethal,” “too untraceable,” “too bad for the environment (lead),” “too inexpensive (so tax it),” and any number of other “toos.”

Rifles have been called “too powerful,” “too modifiable,” “too accurate,” “too similar to actual military arms,” and the list goes on.

Boiled down to its essence, after wading through myriad “too this” and “too that” arguments, the just-right “Goldilocks” of guns would likely be a break action .22 rifle, although finding acceptable lead-free ammunition might be a bit difficult. But anti-gun extremists can still claim they don’t want to ban “all” guns.

The latest approach to “Goldilocks-style Gun Control,” though, seems to be focusing less on what you can own, and focusing more on who can own firearms. And we don’t mean people with criminal records.

After the horrific tragedy that took place in Parkland, Florida, this year, age became the new battle cry for those seeking to limit gun ownership. Rather than focusing on the obvious failures at various levels of government to identify the copious warning signs exhibited by the alleged perpetrator, extremists decided to focus on the fact that law-abiding citizens are able to exercise their rights protected under the Second Amendment when they reach the age of 18. Although responsible young adults regularly leave home, join the military, get married, and begin voting at this age, the anti-gun community has decided this age is too young for one to exercise the right of gun ownership.

Eighteen-year-olds have not been prohibited from purchasing and possessing rifles and shotguns at the federal level, and in the vast majority of states, since the founding of our country. Nonetheless, because of the violent acts of one individual, we have seen an onslaught of legislation throughout the country that seeks to raise the minimum age to purchase and/or possess rifles and shotguns from 18 to 21. Because common sense has taken a back seat to raw emotionalism in today’s gun control debate, some of these efforts have seen success.   Continue reading

Bad News For “Universal” Background Check Supporters

kennedylewisterrorwatchlistHave you noticed that all the hot takes about the supposed need for more gun control have something in common? Whether it’s a call to limit gun ownership to two firearms or a desire to ban firearms completely, America’s anti-gun pundits have no shortage of different “solutions” they’d like to see turned into laws. But not many of them seem particularly eager to talk about what it would take to actually enforce those laws, or maybe they haven’t even considered that aspect of legislation. All we have to do is a pass a law, apparently. Enforcement is optional.

In the real world, of course, it doesn’t work that way. Now, even some gun control advocates are having to reluctantly accept the fact that passing a gun control law doesn’t automatically lead to less crime. Recently, anti-gun researcher Garen Wintemute took a look at “universal” background check laws in Washington, Colorado and Delaware. All three states passed similar laws in 2013, and Wintemute wanted to see if the laws had led to an increase in the number of background checks. As it turns out, the answer was “no,” at least for Washington and Colorado. Universal background check laws clearly don’t lead to universal background checks for every transfer of a firearm. Gun owners know this, and we’ve tried to point this out to anti-gun activists on many occasions, but they needed to see the science. Now they have.

Wintemute and others are now trying to claim that the problem with the “universal” background check laws can be fixed with “more assertive enforcement.” Yet the study’s authors can’t really point to more assertive enforcement in Delaware, even though it did see an increase in background checks for both handguns and long guns. What would “more assertive enforcement” look like, anyway? It’s a pretty imprecise phrase for a man of science like Wintemute to throw around without offering up specific examples.   Continue reading

NRA Calls ‘Shenanigans’ on WaPo SHARE Act Fake news

Fact Checking the Washington Post on SHARE Act

PinocchioA recent piece in the Washington Post on the SHARE Act, legislation in Congress aimed at protecting the rights of America’s sportsmen and women, was fake news at its worst.

Washington Post Fake News:

Under the Share Act, hunters would “load their automatic weapons with armor-piercing bullets, strap on silencers, head off to the picnic grounds on nearby public lakes — and start shooting.”

The Facts:

Automatic Weapons

It is generally unlawful in every state to hunt with fully automatic firearms. Such weapons are highly restricted and very rare due to the 1986 ban on their manufacture or importation. The SHARE Act doesn’t change this.

“Armor piercing bullets”

The current interpretation of the federal law on “armor piercing ammunition” substantially limits the availability of certain non-toxic projectiles for hunting ammunition. The law, as originally passed by Congress in 1986, was never meant to apply to projectiles that were intended for use in a rifle or shotgun. The SHARE Act simply clarifies congressional intent and ensures that the law is not misinterpreted by future administrations.

Picnic grounds and public lakes

Laws restrict hunting and shooting to designated areas on public lands. You can’t just go to any casual “picnic ground” and “start shooting.”    Continue reading

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