National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent used the outcome of the Iowa caucuses to call Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a "lying America destroying criminal ass bitch."
Nugent's attack on Clinton comes weeks after he said that Clinton and President Obama should be hanged for treason.
In a February 2 post on his Facebook page, Nugent wrote:
Nugent has called Clinton a "worthless bitch," "toxic cunt," "two-bit whore," and claimed she has "spare scrotums."
A video released by conservative commentator Steven Crowder that dishonestly suggested that it is not possible to buy a firearm at a gun show without a background check was touted by the National Rifle Association and conservative media despite its false conclusion.
In 32 states, laws regarding background checks for gun sales have not been expanded beyond federal law, meaning that it is possible to engage in a "private sale" to buy a firearm at a gun show -- or other venues including over the internet and through newspaper classified ads -- without a background check.
Under current federal law, individuals who are "engaged in the business" of selling firearms must obtain a Federal Firearms License (FFL) and run background checks on customers, while so-called "private sellers" who say they only engage in "occasional sales" do not have to run a background check. This discrepancy is what is known as the "gun show loophole" or "private sales loophole." Recent executive actions announced by President Obama seek to limit the scope of this loophole by clarifying that high-volume commercial gun sellers do need to obtain a license.
On January 28, Glenn Beck's The Blaze released a video of Crowder's "undercover stunt" purporting to determine whether the "gun show loophole" exists. At the end of the video, Crowder concluded that the "gun show loophole" is "nonexistent."
The video, which was broken into two parts, featured Crowder approaching various firearm vendors at gun shows where he tries and then fails to purchase a firearm without a background check.
In the first section, Crowder unsuccessfully attempted to buy fully automatic machine guns without a background check. But rules surrounding the sale of automatic weapons have nothing to do with the "gun show loophole." Under the National Firearms Act (NFA), people who wish to own fully automatic weapons must obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that includes undergoing a background check. (People were, however, exploiting a loophole in the NFA that allowed the background check requirement to be avoided by purchasing weapons through a trust. The ATF is currently finalizing a rule to close that loophole.)
The real issue covered by the "gun show loophole" is the purchase of semi-automatic and other firearms from private sellers at gun shows without a background check, an occurrence Crowder purported to debunk in the second part of his video.
In his video, Crowder is seen approaching gun vendors at a gun show in Crown Point, Indiana. Debunking Crowder's premise is reporting that indicates "private sales" without a background check have been allowed at that gun show.
Crowder is seen engaging in bizarre interactions with vendors that result in him not being able to purchase a firearm without a background check. In one interaction, Crowder tells a vendor that he has DUI conviction because he ran over a pregnant woman with his car and that he previously shot someone.
One of two things is occurring when Crowder fails to buy a gun from the vendors he approaches. Either his overtly strange behavior is raising red flags with vendors, or he is simply approaching licensed dealers (not "private sellers") who are required to perform background checks on customers.
Some of the scenes were not even filmed at a gun show. In at least two scenes, Crowder is seen attempting to buy a gun without a background check from a brick and mortar gun store, and then expressing exasperation when they refuse to complete the sale. At one of the stores, Crowder is seen filling out the paperwork for a background check, but fails to complete it after he draws a penis on the form.
According to actual undercover investigations of gun shows, many private sellers are willing to sell a gun to someone who discloses in a more subtle manner that they probably cannot pass a background check.
Despite the absurdity of Crowder's video, it was widely cited throughout conservative media in order to attack the notion of the "gun show loophole." The video was also promoted by the National Rifle Association:
Crowder's stunt is not original. In May 2014, Media Research Center released a video attempting to make the same claim. Unlike Crowder's video, MRC's video was not released in an undercover format, but it used the same tactic of approaching licensed dealers to create the misleading impression it is not possible to buy a gun without a background check at a gun show.
Leading up to last night's mainstage GOP debate, Fox News noted that "gun control" was "the most searched issue last month" and that Americans "want to hear about gun control." But during the debate, the moderators failed to ask any questions about gun policy.
Fox News and Google sponsored a January 28 Republican primary debate featuring Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). According to a Washington Post transcript, the issue of gun policy was only mentioned in passing when moderator Chris Wallace asked Rubio about his accusation that Christie is a flip-flopper.
In failing to ask a gun policy question, Fox News moderators missed an opportunity to ask the Republican field about why they oppose background checks for all gun sales even when the measure is overwhelmingly popular with Republicans.
Due to its partnership with Google, Fox News was aware that Americans wanted to hear a question about gun policy. In a January 28 segment on Fox News program Happening Now about "what issues are most important" to voters, Fox News anchor Shannon Bream noted that according to Google Trends data, people "want to hear about gun control."
During Fox's January 28 undercard debate for candidates that failed to qualify for the main debate, moderator Martha MacCallum noted "according to Google, gun control is the most searched issue last month, making up nearly 80 percent of all the U.S. searches," before asking a question about how much funding the federal government should spend on building new mental health institutions. (Conservative media frequently overly conflate gun policy with mental health policy, even though the vast majority of people with a mental health condition are not violent.)
Jim Wallace, the head of the National Rifle Association's Massachusetts affiliate organization, compared a local ordinance that requires people who want to carry a gun in public to show a good reason for doing so to an unconstitutional poll tax.
On the January 27 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Wallace, who is the executive director of Gun Owners Action League, criticized a new ordinance in Lowell, Massachusetts, that requires applicants for an unrestricted gun license -- the license typically needed to carry a concealed gun in public in that state -- to explain in writing why the license should be granted. The ordinance also requires seekers of the unrestricted licenses to take additional gun training and pay additional fees.
Wallace said of the ordinance, "I suppose it's balanced and reasonable to somebody who doesn't want you to exercise your civil right. I mean the people who initiated the original poll tax probably thought that was very reasonable as well":
Unlike poll taxes, which were used to discriminate against African Americans and others and violate the U.S. Constitution, law enforcement discretion for issuing concealed carry permits has been upheld as consistent with the Second Amendment by federal appeals courts.
Like other conservative media outlets covering the Lowell ordinance, Fox News described the written requirement for the license as an "essay" requirement, creating the false impression that it is unusual.
In fact, a written requirement, sometimes called a "good cause statement," is a common feature of states that have what are known as "may issue" concealed carry permitting systems that generally give local law enforcement discretion in determining who is allowed to carry a gun in public.
According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Massachusetts is one of nine states with "may issue" licensing schemes. Another 17 states give local law enforcement "limited discretion" in awarding permits.
Several U.S. Courts of Appeals have rejected recent legal challenges to different states' discretionary permitting systems, in some cases reversing lower federal district court decisions. In 2013, New Jersey's "justifiable need" requirement for a concealed carry permit was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The Supreme Court let that decision stand, declining to hear an appeal of the case in 2014. (The Supreme Court has also declined to hear similar cases out of New York and Maryland.)
The NRA frequently compares the conditions placed on firearm ownership to unconstitutional racial discrimination, and draws parallels with Jim Crow laws and the segregation-era "separate but equal" doctrine. The vast majority of laws regulating firearms, however, are found by courts to comport with the Second Amendment.
National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent called for President Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to be hanged over their supposed malfeasance during the 2012 Benghazi, Libya terrorist attacks.
In a January 20 post published on his Facebook page, Nugent wrote that Clinton and Obama "should be tried for treason & hung" while pushing the conservative media myth that Obama or Clinton issued a "stand down" order during the September 11, 2012, attack:
An Associated Press profile of GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz's history of firearm ownership and views on firearm regulation failed to mention that Cruz is closely associated with Gun Owners of America (GOA), an extremist group that was once linked to white supremacists and whose leader has repeatedly said pro-gun safety politicians should fear being shot.
The Associated Press chronicled Cruz's history with guns in a January 19 article that noted "Cruz has made the defense of Second Amendment rights a cornerstone of his presidential campaign," but also raised questions about his bona fides as an anti-gun regulation absolutist, characterizing a legal brief filed by Cruz in the landmark 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller Supreme Court case as "nuanced" because it accepted that prohibitions on felons owning firearms, and some other restrictions on gun ownership, are constitutional.
(The AP article glossed over Cruz's record in the Senate, failing to mention that he has repeatedly credited himself as the driving force behind defeating overwhelmingly popular legislation in the U.S. Senate to expand background checks on gun sales following the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.)
The article also noted that the first written reference to Cruz owning a gun occurred in 2003 and that Cruz's first hunting license on record was issued in 2006, suggesting that Cruz's "passion for the issue emerged relatively recently in his life, coinciding with his ascent in Republican circles in Texas."
The article devoted a great deal of space to establishing whether Cruz is or is not a devoted hunter, garnering comments from a campaign spokeswoman, but failed to mention Cruz's relationship with GOA, only noting support from the National Rifle Association on his campaign website. Cruz has significant ties to GOA, a gun rights group that is widely considered to be to the right of even the NRA, and which has called for the abolishment of all background checks on gun sales.
During a May 2015 GOA "Tele-Town Hall" event, Cruz -- the only Republican presidential candidate to participate -- said GOA was "critical" to his election as a U.S.Senator and said "one of the things I love about GOA is GOA has never been accused of painting in pale pastels." GOA in turn endorsed Cruz in September 2015 in a statement filled with conspiratorial and anti-immigrant undertones. Cruz has touted GOA during GOP debates, stating that he is "honored" to be endorsed by the group.
It is hard to overstate the extremism of GOA head Larry Pratt, who has repeatedly suggested that politicians should fear being shot by a GOA supporter, has claimed the Second Amendment was "designed" for people like President Obama, has supported putting guns in kindergarten classrooms, and has warned the federal government that "we'll point our guns at you if you try to act tyrannically."
Pratt has also flirted with conspiracy theories that suggest the 2012 Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre and 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School were staged by the government to build support for more gun regulation, and has given credence to the claim that Obama will start a race war.
Pratt was forced to leave the presidential campaign of Republican Pat Buchanan in 1996 after The New York Times reported he "had spoken at rallies held by leaders of the white supremacist and militia movements" during the rise of the militia movement in the 1990s. Pratt has been a "contributing editor" to an anti-Semitic publication, and his articles on gun ownership have appeared in a white supremacist "tabloid" published by the racist Christian Identity movement. The GOA donated "tens of thousands of dollars" to a white supremacist group during the 1990s, under Pratt's direction.
The New York Times editorial board called for stronger state and federal gun laws after highlighting "shortcomings" that in many cases allow domestic abusers to acquire a firearm even after being determined to be a threat by a court.
Noting that in 2013 61 percent of women killed by gun violence were killed by former or current intimate partners, The Times explained "people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors against partners with whom they never lived are not prohibited from owning guns under federal law, nor are those convicted of misdemeanor stalking."
The editorial also noted that current federal law does not require so-called "private sellers" of firearms to run background checks on customers, creating another avenue for domestic abusers to obtain firearms.
From The Times January 16 editorial:
While the gun violence debate often focuses on mass shootings of strangers, hundreds of Americans are fatally shot every year by spouses or partners. In 2013, 61 percent of women killed with guns were killed by husbands, ex-husbands or boyfriends. And in 57 percent of shootings in which four or more people were killed, one of the victims was the shooter's partner or family member, according to an analysis by the group Everytown for Gun Safety.
Yet shortcomings in federal and state law allow many domestic abusers to have access to firearms, even after courts have determined that the abusers pose a threat to their partners.
Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of any felony, or of misdemeanor domestic violence against a spouse, from owning a gun. People subject to a domestic violence restraining order issued after a hearing (not a temporary order issued before a hearing can take place) are also prohibited from owning guns. But people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors against partners with whom they never lived are not prohibited from owning guns under federal law, nor are those convicted of misdemeanor stalking. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representatives Debbie Dingell and Robert Dold have introduced bills to close these loopholes, but the bills have gained little traction.
Some states, like California and Connecticut, allow police to confiscate guns from someone who is determined by a court to be a threat to a partner, even if a domestic violence restraining order is not in place.
State and federal lawmakers need to follow the example of states that have closed loopholes and enacted surrender laws to prevent the dangerous from possessing deadly weapons.
The National Rifle Association is claiming that CNN's recent "Guns in America" town hall event was "staged" by President Obama as it attempts to explain why NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre declined to participate in the event, but then days later challenged Obama to a TV debate.
The NRA leveled several accusations against the Obama administration and CNN in a January 15 article, including that Obama was able to see questions in advance, that Obama "personally selected" the anchor of the event, and that the White House "personally selected" questioners for the event.
On January 7, CNN hosted an hour-long primetime program on gun violence. During the broadcast Obama answered questions about guns posed by CNN host Anderson Cooper and eight audience members who were split along ideological lines. CNN conceived the event and invited President Obama and the NRA to participate in the event. Obama accepted CNN's offer and the NRA declined. In declining to participate, the NRA claimed the event was "orchestrated by the White House," a false claim that was corrected by CNN in a January 6 article.
Then on January 13, days after skipping his chance to go face-to-face with Obama on national television before millions of viewers, LaPierre released a video challenging Obama to "a one-on-one, one-hour debate -- with a mutually agreed-upon moderator -- on any network that will take it."
In order to deflect from questions about why the NRA did not participate in the CNN event, the gun group has become increasingly brazen in promoting a conspiracy theory that the event was not CNN's doing, but rather was organized by the Obama administration.
A January 15 article in the NRA's online magazine America's 1st Freedom leveled several allegations against the White House and CNN:
From the January 15 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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From the January 14 edition of MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes:
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The image used by NRA Family to illustrate its version of Little Red Riding Hood
A new series from "NRA Family" reimagines children's fairy tales with a pro-gun message.
In the January 14 series debut -- Little Red Riding Hood -- NRA Family's editor asked, "Have you ever wondered what those same fairy tales might sound like if the hapless Red Riding Hoods, Hansels and Gretels had been taught about gun safety and how to use firearms?"
What followed was a gun-heavy version of Little Red Riding Hood that culminates with the protagonist and her grandmother holding the wolf at gunpoint until he is taken away by a "huntsman."
Here are some excerpts showing the role firearms play in the NRA's Little Red Riding Hood:
One birthday not long ago, Red was given her very own rifle and lessons on how to use it--just in case--to be sure that she would always be safe. So, with a kiss from her mother, rifle over her shoulder and a basket for her Grandmother in her hands, Red took a deep breath and entered the woods.
Red felt the reassuring weight of the rifle on her shoulder and continued down the path, scanning the trees, knowing that their shadows could provide a hiding place.
This was the biggest, baddest wolf Red had ever seen. His wolfish smile disappeared for a moment when his eyes fell on her rifle.
The wolf followed along, staying in the shelter of the trees, trying to get Red to respond. As she grew increasingly uncomfortable, she shifted her rifle so that it was in her hands and at the ready. The wolf became frightened and ran away.
The wolf leaned in, jaws open wide, then stopped suddenly. Those big ears heard the unmistakable sound of a shotgun's safety being clicked off. Those big eyes looked down and saw that grandma had a scattergun aimed right at him. He realized that Grandmother hadn't been backing away from him; she had been moving towards her shotgun to protect herself and her home.
"I don't think I'll be eaten today," said Grandma, "and you won't be eating anyone again." Grandma kept her gun trained on the wolf, who was too scared to move. Before long, he heard a familiar voice call "Grandmother, I'm here!" Red peeked her head in the door. The wolf couldn't believe his luck--he had come across two capable ladies in the same day, and they were related! Oh, how he hated when families learned how to protect themselves.
After skipping his chance to go face-to-face with President Obama during CNN's January 7 "Guns in America" town hall, National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre has released a video challenging Obama to a nationally televised one hour debate.
While it might make an interesting spectacle to watch LaPierre confront Obama with his signature paranoid gun confiscation fantasies, what would be truly remarkable is a debate between 2016 Wayne LaPierre and adamant background check supporter 1999 Wayne LaPierre.
The NRA has gone apoplectic since Obama's January 5 announcement of executive actions on gun violence, a key component of which expands background checks on gun sales.
Having already positioned itself as a virulent opponent of expanding background checks following legislative battles in the wake of the Sandy Hook mass shooting, the NRA turned its rhetoric up even higher leading up to Obama's announcement, labeling the president "our biggest threat to national security" in a January 4 video posted to its NRA News website.
In a follow-up released on January 6, LaPierre strongly attacked the notion of expanded background checks, claiming in a video called "The Truth About Background Checks" that "the only thing the average American has heard about background checks is the absolute fallacy that what we need is more."
Now LaPierre has issued a challenge to Obama, stating in a January 13 video, "I'll tell you what. I'll meet you for a one-on-one, one-hour debate -- with a mutually agreed-upon moderator -- on any network that will take it. No pre-screened questions and no gas-bag answers."
Before LaPierre debates Obama, he may want to reconcile his organization's January 2016 position with what the NRA advocated for in 1999. During a May 28, 1999, appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, LaPierre represented the NRA and said, "Let's talk about what's reasonable and what's not. We think it's reasonable to provide mandatory, instant criminal background checks for every sale, at every gun show no loopholes anywhere for anyone."
So are more background checks "reasonable" or are calls for more checks an "absolute fallacy"?
Also significant to LaPierre's debate challenge is that he already had the opportunity last week to confront Obama live, before millions of viewers. In trying to create cover for this telling fact, LaPierre and the NRA have repeatedly lied about the nature of CNN's town hall event on gun violence.
First, in declining to participate in the event, the NRA claimed the town hall was "orchestrated by the White House." That wasn't true; the event was conceived by CNN, which invited both Obama and the NRA. Only Obama accepted.
Then the NRA repeatedly advanced the notion that questions during the town hall were screened by the White House.
During a Fox News appearance that immediately preceded the end of the town hall, top NRA lobbyist Chris Cox attempted to explain the NRA's refusal to participate by telling Fox News host Megyn Kelly, "I know that you don't send your questions over to the White House so I would rather have a conversation with you that's intellectually honest than sit through a lecture and get one opportunity to ask a pre-screened question." At the time, Cox scoffed at the notion of the NRA meeting with the president to have a serious conversation about gun violence, saying, "So what are we going to talk about, basketball?"
The notion that the CNN event was stacked against the NRA also surfaced in LaPierre's January 13 video, where he claimed the NRA "won't get suckered into any of Obama's fixed fights" where "pre-screened questions that lead to [Obama's] long-winded answers are anything but an honest dialogue."
But for the NRA, the notion that CNN's event was "fixed" was debunked by a guest on their own NRA News program Cam & Company. The day after the event, NRA News hosted Kimberly Corban, a pro-gun sexual assault survivor, who unlike the NRA, did have the courage to challenge Obama with a question during CNN's town hall.
As Corban explained, the questions were screened by CNN (not the White House) and because the event was live she could have said whatever she wanted to the president. Host Cam Edwards asked Corban, "[CNN] said, 'Come up with a couple questions and we'll tell you which one we want you to use?" She replied: "Yup. Which isn't - to a point I was able to at least craft those questions on my own, those are my own words, and I could have gone as much off script as I wanted to as the event was live, but they knew basically what I was going to ask."
A commentary video from the National Rifle Association claimed that President Obama stood in front of "the wrong people" when delivering a speech about gun violence before gun violence survivors, and that instead he should have stood before "the groups he is really helping: gang members, felons, and repeat offenders."
On January 5, Obama announced during a speech from the White House that his administration is taking executive action to address gun violence in light of Congress' inaction following several high-profile mass shootings. During his remarks, Obama stood in front of several survivors of gun violence. He was introduced by Mark Barden, who lost his 7-year-old son Daniel during the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.
The NRA lashed out at Obama for speaking before victims of gun violence in a January 8 video narrated by NRA News commentator Dana Loesch, who is also a conservative radio host for Glenn Beck's The Blaze. In the video, Loesch called the gun violence survivors present at Obama's speech "the wrong people":
LOESCH: On January 5, 2016, the president held a press conference and shared the stage with survivors of gun violence and family members of the affected. The problem is he is dishonest. He stood in front of the wrong people. He pledges to help those affected by illegally possessed and used firearms, but actions speak louder than words. If the president wanted to stand in front of a group of people so as to claim that he is helping them, he should surround himself with -- and stand in front of -- the groups he is really helping: gang members, felons, and repeat offenders.
Loesch went on to argue that when it comes to crime in the United States, Obama is on the side of criminals rather than the victims of crimes. This claim echoes an oft-stated falsehood by the NRA that Obama refuses to enforce existing gun laws.
In fact, if there is any entity that frustrates the enforcement of federal gun laws the most, it is clearly the NRA, which has for decades attempted to hinder the operations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the agency charged with enforcing federal gun laws. Furthermore, included in Obama's executive actions are several measures to ensure that current gun laws are being enforced in an effective manner.
A video from National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre offered a false history of the passage of the 1993 Brady background check bill in order to attack President Obama's recently released executive actions on gun violence.
In the video, the NRA attempts to position itself as the heroic creator of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), when in reality the gun group fiercely fought the passage of the Brady bill and then later attempted to have the Supreme Court invalidate the entire law.
On January 5, Obama announced during a speech from the White House that his administration is taking executive action to address gun violence in light of Congress' inaction following several high-profile mass shootings.
A large share of media coverage on Obama's move focused on the president's plan to expand background checks by clarifying what it means to be "engaged in the business" of selling firearms, although the plan also includes provisions addressing effective enforcement of existing gun laws, funding for mental health treatment, and developing gun safety technology.
In a January 6 response video, the NRA attempted to cast itself as the actual authority on background checks. In purporting to tell a history of the Brady bill, the legislation that was responsible for the creation of the national background check system for gun purchases, LaPierre falsely claimed, "The best-kept secret is that the National Instant Check System wouldn't exist at all if it weren't for the NRA":
LAPIERRE: The best-kept secret is that the National Instant Check System wouldn't exist at all if it weren't for the NRA. It's true. Back in the '90s, President Clinton forced passage of a mandatory waiting period on every handgun purchase in America. Not a background check. A wait.
But NRA said as soon as the technology was available, their wait had to be replaced by an instant background check, done by the dealer, at the point of sale. NRA supported it, NRA got the votes and NRA got it passed.
The NRA's claim is false for several reasons, many of which can be found in a legislative history of the bill's passage in UCLA law professor Adam Winkler's 2013 book Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms In America.
From the January 8 edition of CNN's New Day:
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