Last week, Glenn Beck's website falsely suggested that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) Study on the Importability of Certain Shotguns will result in making certain shotguns illegal. In reality, there is little more to this story than Beck advancing another false narrative about President Obama and guns.
Following the lead of RedState.com, Beck's website The Blaze hyped a post titled "Could your shotgun soon be outlawed? Maybe, if the ATF has its way." The article warns that the "implications for all guns are chilling."
The ATF study expressly identifies its purpose as establishing the criteria used to determine importability. A determination of importability is required before a foreign gun manufacturer can import a gun into the United States. Nowhere in the study does the ATF suggest they're preparing to declare shotguns illegal, an action that could not be done using the importability statutes.
The ATF's proposed actions will have no impact on the domestic production or availability of any American-manufactured shotguns. Changes to what shotguns can be imported into the United States would not make any shotguns illegal to own, so owners of shotguns have nothing to fear.
From the April 25 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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In an April 24 op-ed in The Washington Examiner, columinst Gregory Kane used the recent case of a high school athlete who, citing religious reasons, refused to wrestle a female opponent to question whether or not "Christians, and Christianity, [are] on thin ice in this country." He then went on to attack the student's critics by bringing up religious opposition to abortion and grotesquely stating, "Had Northrup's choice involved a fetus being sucked down a tube and shredded, most of his critics couldn't rush quickly enough to defend him." From the article:
Once [Easter] Mass is over, I'll probably head home on this holiest of Christian holidays to ponder something I've been thinking about for quite some time:
Are Christians, and Christianity, on thin ice in this country? Probably not, but devout Christians face many more challenges than they used to. A couple of examples come immediately to mind.
In February, we had the case of 15-year-old Joel Northrup, a home-schooled lad living in Iowa who wrestled for Linn-Marr High School.
Northrup hails from a deeply religious family; his religious principles won't allow him to do certain things, like, for instance, wrestle members of the opposite sex. When he had to do so in the Iowa state tournament, he refused to wrestle and took a default loss instead.
After he cited religious reasons for making his decision, some of his critics sneered with derision. Usually, the sport of wrestling, either in high school or college, gets little to no coverage in the mainstream media.
And make no mistake about it: this controversy was about Northrup's religion, not his refusal to wrestle a girl. I've read all kinds of nonsense about Northrup, ranging from the allegation of his being a sexist to the silly notion that nowhere in the Bible does it say a guy wrestling against guys is OK either.
Isn't it a shame that many in this nation have become so nonreligious -- and downright anti-religious -- that they don't know the story of how Jacob wrestled an angle [sic] of God? Wrestling is the one sport that all but has biblical approval.
It's the same sort of ignorance about the Holy Scriptures that allows so-called pro-choice folks to claim -- and yes, one of them actually said this, and there are probably many who agree with her -- that there is nothing in the Bible that prohibits abortion.
It occurs to me the Fifth Commandment clearly says, "Thou shalt not kill." If abortion isn't killing, then nothing is killing.
There's an appropriate parallel to what I wrote above and the Northrup situation. One of the kid's supporters -- and he has many, thank heavens -- defended Northrup based on his decision being his choice.
"Choice" is a sacred word to pro-choicers, unless, of course, you're making a choice of which they don't approve.
Had Northrup's choice involved a fetus being sucked down a tube and shredded, most of his critics couldn't rush quickly enough to defend him. [The Washington Examiner, 4/24/11]
From the April 25 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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In a National Review article, convicted fraudster Conrad Black falsely claims that Fox News is honest about how its political views sway its news coverage. In order to prove his point, Black attacks other mainstream news outlets for their unfair coverage of former President Richard Nixon and his unconstitutional policy of wiretapping his political opponents without warrants.
Black, a businessman who has been convicted of a $600,000 fraud as well as obstruction of justice (other convictions against Black were thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court) and is awaiting sentencing, argues that the mainstream media pretend that they are unbiased when in fact they favor progressives. By contrast, Fox News "makes no bones about its conservative penchant."
In fact, while Fox News admits that its opinion shows have a point of view, it strongly maintains that its supposedly "straight news" programs are objective, all evidence to the contrary aside. Furthermore, Bill O'Reilly, the only Fox personality that Black mentions in his piece, has repeatedly claimed that most of Fox News is "fair" and is not "out to hurt" President Obama (again, all evidence to the contrary).
But that's not all that's wrong with Black's piece.
J. Christian Adams sure packed a lot of falsehoods and poisonous comments into one op-ed attacking the Obama Justice Department. As we've already pointed out, Adams falsely claimed that DOJ "stopped the debut of the Amazon Kindle." He also employed falsehoods and smears to attack Justice Department attorney Varda Hussain because of her prior work representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
But that's not all. Adams also has the audacity to attack the Justice Department for employing an attorney who used to work for D.C. Legal Aid Society, an organization that provides attorneys for residents of Washington, DC, who are involved in civil court cases but are too poor to afford attorneys.
In a piece for the Washington Examiner, Adams writes:
Who did Holder pick to head the unit inside civil rights to bring civil rights lawsuits against police departments and prisons? Why none other than Jonathan Smith, formerly of the Prisoners Legal Services Project and the D.C. Legal Aid Society, two anti-police and anti-prison guard antagonist groups. Hopefully America's police unions will take note of Smith's hiring when deciding presidential endorsements next year.
What's so bad about the D.C. Legal Aid Society and the Prisoners Legal Services Project?
The D.C. Legal Aid Society states that it provides "civil legal aid to individuals, families and communities in the District who could not otherwise afford to hire a lawyer." You would think the civil rights division would be a good place for someone whose career includes providing legal representation to those who can't afford it.
Indeed, the ethical rules for District of Columbia attorneys state: "A lawyer should participate in serving those persons, or groups of persons, who are unable to pay all or a portion of reasonable attorney's fees or who are otherwise unable to obtain counsel."
So, rather than paint Smith as "anti-police" for his work at the D.C. Legal Aid Society, one might say that Smith was fulfilling his ethical duties as an attorney to provide representation to those who can't afford it.
The Knob Creek Gun Range in West Point, Kentucky advertises its World Famous, twice-a-year Machine Gun Shoot as "Family Friendly" entertainment. The slogan: "Nothing brings families together like blowing stuff apart...safely."
I won't deny the red-blooded-American joy of firing automatic weapons at exploding targets.
Still I have to ask: What's up with the little kids in Nazi shirts?
I was on site at the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot fewer than 20 minutes last Saturday before I passed a shaved-head lad with with a Totenkopf death head on his chest. (The Totenkopf was the symbol of the Nazi SS division that ran death camps like Auschwitz during the Holocaust.)
The shirt looked brand new. I took that to mean the kid or whoever gave it to him bought it from one of the dozen or so permitted vendors who openly sold white supremacist merchandise. This included a wide selection of t-shirts and flags bearing symbols popular with racist skinheads and neo-Nazis. (And no, I'm not counting Confederate battle flags.) Also for sale were the race war fantasy novels Hunter and The Turner Diaries by William Pierce, founder of the National Alliance, a notorious hate group. A Friends of the NRA fundraising booth was located within sight of a stall of swastika flags.
Video- Guns and neo-Nazi merchandise
From the April 13 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Since Mexican President Felipe Calderon assumed office in 2006, the death toll in the war between the government and cartel forces has skyrocketed to more then 34,000, with 15,000 of those deaths coming in 2010.
Federal authorities have reported that more then 60,000 firearms from the United States have been recovered by the Mexican authorities since Calderon took office. Recently tactics used by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to investigate the flow of guns south of the border have come under Congressional scrutiny.
A recent report by the Center for Public Integrity on efforts to prevent gun trafficking reveals that beyond recent investigations on tactics employed by the ATF, there are several important questions about law enforcement having the resources and statutes necessary to prevent trafficking. The report identifies several limitations undermining efforts to prevent gun trafficking to Mexico.
The absence of federal gun trafficking laws inhibit law enforcement officials:
Without a targeted federal gun trafficking law, prosecutors are forced to rely on other statutes that agents and prosecutors say are difficult to enforce and riddled with loopholes.
Chief among them: a frequently used law against lying on the ATF's Form 4473 at a gun shop - especially in claiming the buyer is purchasing for himself, rather than someone else. But court decisions have made this "straw buyer" charge difficult to prove and judges often don't take it seriously. [....]
A straw buyer must sign a form at the gun shop declaring that they are buying the guns for themselves. Lying on the form is a crime. But in order to prove the lie, a prosecutor often must prove what the straw buyer was thinking when he or she bought the gun. Unless that straw buyer immediately delivers the weapon to someone prohibited from purchasing a firearm - like a convicted felon--all the buyer has to claim is that the gun was bought for personal use.
A decision by the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, sets the standard even higher. Under that court's ruling, a buyer may actually lie on the form, as long as he or she is not aware the purchase is for someone who could not buy the gun on their own. As a result, even prosecuting the lowliest worker bee in a gun-running scheme is a challenge, agents say. All the straw buyers have to say is they didn't know the guns were for the cartel.
From the April 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the April 7 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the April 6 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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The saga of John Lott continues. After falsely accusing Media Matters of misquoting him, John Lott is now falsely accusing us of doctoring screen shots of his blog posts.
Lott also criticized Obama for a request made by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) citing an out-of-date article, saying that the Obama administration has "also imposed much more extensive reporting requirements on sales of long guns." [Emphasis added]
In fact, the Obama administration has not imposed the regulation in question. The proposed regulation by the ATF has been repeatedly delayed by the Obama administration, which most recently rejected the ATF's request to enact the proposal as an emergency regulation.
In fact, my quote is "They have also tried imposing much more extensive reporting requirements on sales of long guns." Besides, even if the point had been honestly misread, if someone has tried to check the link, the point would have been clear. Nice try Media Matters. [Emphasis added]
Last week, we reported that John Lott, a former University of Chicago visiting assistant professor and conservative media pundit, wrongly accused Media Matters of misquoting him. In fact, after we accurately quoted a post Lott had written, Lott's post mysteriously changed, making it appear we had misquoted him, when we had not.
The switch was picked up by Paul Krugman at The New York Times, who wrote:
So, it appears that Lott retroactively tried to put his original statement down the memory hole, then accused a critic of wronging him by quoting what he originally said. Now, that's scholarship!
Brad DeLong, a professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley, also impugned Lott's apparent dishonesty.
But Lott's shoddy scholarship last week wasn't just limited to this incident. He also pushed a new version of his factually challenged claim that the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) -- which is used to determine if someone is legally allowed to purchase a gun -- is highly inaccurate, writing:
Over 99.9 percent of purchases initially flagged as being illegal under the law were "false positives" - law-abiding citizens incorrectly identified as banned individuals.
Take the numbers for 2008, the latest year with data available. The 78,906 initial denials resulted in only 147 cases involving banned individuals trying to purchase guns being referred to prosecutors. Of those 147 cases, prosecutors thought the evidence was strong enough to prosecute only 105, and they won convictions in just 43. But few of these 43 cases involved career criminals or those who posed real threats. The typical case was someone who had a misdemeanor conviction for an offense he didn't realize prevented him from buying a gun.
On Fox Business' Freedom Watch, host Andrew Napolitano hosted Fox regular and former CIA official Michael Scheuer to discuss President Obama's actions in Libya. Out of nowhere, Scheuer began ranting about taxes and spending and said: "It really points to the wisdom of the Founders in putting the Second Amendment into place as a guard against arbitrary, ridiculous government."
That's a dangerous mix of right-wing talking points. Scheuer managed (again, with no prompting whatsoever) to go off on a "tax-and-spend" rant against a Democratic administration and then immediately bring up the Second Amendment right to bear arms. It's hard to interpret Scheuer's comments as anything other than an argument that people may need to arm themselves to overthrow the Obama administration if things continue down this road.
NAPOLITANO: Can you look at this and say, "There they go again. The government of the United States thinks that it can instill a western Jeffersonian democracy in a part of the planet that has never come anywhere close to ideas like that and they think they can instill it with force and they think they can instill with it American bloodshed"?
SCHEUER: Yeah, that's exactly what's going on, Judge. The president's running out of time here. The resistance is going to get beat without boots on the ground. You know, they involved us in unnecessary wars. They tax us to death. They spend us into oblivion. It really points to the wisdom of the Founders in putting the Second Amendment into place as a guard against arbitrary, ridiculous government.
And keep in mind that Scheuer once stated that "[t]he only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States." Scheuer has also said that "we're not killing enough people" in Afghanistan and that Democratic administrations are "pro-terrorist." He has also launched numerous personal attacks on President Obama, stating that Obama "obviously does not care" about "protecting Americans" and calling him a "coward." And Scheuer has said that Obama's "arrogance and racism" will get "more of our kids killed in wars."