During an interview on NRA News, Mike Piccione, editor of Daily Caller's "Guns and Gear" section, and host Ginny Simone spoke of "a team effort" between the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Caller to promote gun ownership. During the interview Piccione said he hoped to expand his online publication's controversial gun giveaway promotion by giving away a firearm to a Caller email list subscriber who signs up for an NRA membership.
MIKE PICCIONE, DAILY CALLER GUNS AND GEAR EDITOR: Check back though because we're going to do a few things. One thing I want to do is I want to give a gun to somebody that joins the National Rifle Association from the Daily Caller.
GINNY SIMONE, HOST: Alrighty.
PICCIONE: Absolutely. Join the NRA and we'll support you.
SIMONE: It's a team effort.
Piccione also admitted that the gun giveaway promotion was the result of a brainstorm session with far right-wing gun manufacturer Jim Pontillo.
The Caller at one point distanced themselves from Pontillo's political views when confronted with extreme and racial comments about President Obama made by prize gun manufacturer Pontillo, telling The Washington Post, "All that's germane to the contest is that he's a fully licensed firearms manufacturer. If we were giving away iPads, the political views of Apple would also be irrelevant." But the next day, Piccione told NRA News host Ginny Simone that he came up with the idea for the promotion with his "friend" Pontillo in order to "remind people" that Caller is "pro-Constitution" and "pro-gun."
During a May 23 appearance on NRA News' Cam & Company, John Frazer, the research director for the National Rifle Association's lobbying arm, attacked a new Violence Policy Center (VPC) study while failing to acknowledge that the main premise of the study is true: gun deaths now outpace motor vehicle deaths in 10 states.
[Violence Policy Center, 5/22/2012]
Using the most recently available data, VPC also demonstrated that nationwide motor vehicle deaths have declined over the last decade while gun related deaths ticked up during this period. VPC attributes this difference to successful regulation of motor vehicles and a lack of such regulation with regard to guns.
[Violence Policy Center, 5/22/2012]
In response to the study, Frazer was forced to make the contrived argument that only fatal accidents involving firearms should be compared to accidental motor vehicle deaths. At no point during the interview did he acknowledge that in a number of states the total number of deaths as a result of firearm use exceeded deaths resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle or that the gap between the firearm and motor vehicle death rate is narrowing.
FRAZER: What [VPC] are talking about is a pure apples and oranges comparison. They are comparing total numbers across the board, which is a completely invalid comparison because obviously most vehicle deaths are accidents. So if they really want an aggregate comparison they should compare motor vehicle accidents to firearmsaccidents, and firearms accidents are at their lowest point in recorded history.
But an aggregate comparison is exactly what VPC did.
On May 15, Cam Edwards, host of Cam & Company on NRA News, hosted conservative commentator and Pajamas Media contributor Bill Whittle to discuss what Whittle termed "the demasculinization of men, the feminization of men, and the wimpification of men." Whittle concluded his thoughts by explaining that he is "genuinely disturbed" about the presence of "women butt-kickers in movies" like Scarlet Johansson in The Avengers, because instead of thinking they can fight large men women should be buying guns. Edwards could not agree more:
BILL WHITTLE, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: I am dealing with the pop culture. I'm in the film business out here. So what I'm dealing with is, I'm dealing with the source of hypnotism. What I mean by that is, I think the politics is downstream of culture. I think when people go to the movies and they sit there they are fundamentally hypnotized. You go to a horror movie, let's say, right, and you're scared out of your wits, but you're sitting in an air-conditioned building, you're surrounded by other people, you know there is no monster there, but you're still terrified. And so when the movies project to the American people this Woody Allen kind of ideal of kind of weakness and kind of "I'm going to issue a snappy comeback as I run for the hills and leave everybody to the bad guys." Well people to begin to think that's what's expected. While we both just talked a moment ago about heroism and women, one thing I am really genuinely disturbed about, you see this all over the place, are these kind of women butt-kickers in movies. Scarlett Johansson who is, you know, she's probably five foot four and maybe she weighs 110 pounds soaking wet taking down these 250 pound guys with karate chops and stuff.
CAM EDWARDS, HOST: Right.
WHITTLE: It's like bad things are going to happen if people think this is going to happen in the real world. Because number one, girls are going to get themselves badly hurt, and number two, when guys see movies about young girls, and young women doing all these physical moves in these wild kind of defense things, it takes away that fundamental inhibition that has been drilled into boys my age, and your age too, and that is you never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever hit a girl. Ever ever ever. When young boys go to movies and see girls doing all this butt-kicking and taking down all these guys, number one, girls think they are going to get away with that, there is not going to be an outcome where a 100 pound girl physically punches a 210 pound guy with a happy outcome for the girl. That's why you have guns.
EDWARDS: Absolutely. Absolutely right.
Beyond the sexist implications of Whittle's thoughts on what women can and can't do, this has to be one of the strangest ways that the National Rifle Association has highlighted the need to own a gun.
From the December 20 edition of Current TV's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
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Daily Caller "reporter" Matthew Boyle's emerging second career as a gun lobby lackey is clearly on the fast track, judging from his recent coverage of Attorney General Eric Holder's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. Having used his platform to amplify seemingly every Republican line of questioning asked to Holder about the failed ATF operation Fast and Furious, Boyle found time on NRA Radio to attack Rep. Hank Johnson's (D-GA) questioning at the hearing.
Not surprisingly given his embarrassing disregard for the facts, Boyle completely ignored the well-established factual basis of Rep. Johnson's questioning and even went so far as to smear Rep. Johnson with the false suggestion that he "played the race card".
Before asking about the gun lobby's role in blocking a permanent director of the ATF, Rep. Johnson asked Holder about the 'gun show loophole' and how many guns from gun shows had fallen into the hands of dangerous people (from Nexis):
JOHNSON: It's about 2,000 [guns trafficked through Fast and Furious]? Now, how many firearms are sold to Al Qaida terrorists, to other convicted felons, to domestic violence perpetrators, to convicted felons, to white supremacists?
Do you think the NRA and other Second Amendment rights radicals have -- have confidence that the U.S. will not have a competent ATF head if the Senate continues to deny a leader for that organization, thus rendering it rudderless? Is that -- is politics causing that, do you think?
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) later seized on the Johnson's use of the term "radicals" to suggest he was attacking the NRA's entire membership. Boyle dutifully wrote up an article uncritically echoing Issa's complaints. Speaking during the latest of what appear to be daily appearances with NRA News, Boyle bizarrely threw out the suggestion that Johnson's comments represented playing the "race card":
Rarely has the National Rifle Association's paranoia been more clearly on display than during yesterday's NRA News segment featuring Cato Institute fellow Daniel Mitchell. Mitchell was pretty straight forward: you need guns as a bulwark against the increasingly likely possibility of the world plunging into a "Mad Max dystopia."
Mitchell's recent Forbes article explaining his fears is surely destined for greatness on par with "Boston on Surviving Y2K," and his reportage appears so far to have been ignored by Alex Jones, so it's understandable why NRA News felt the need to amplify his message.
Mitchell's argument is largely based on talking to rich Europeans at a recent economic conference. The European elite, Mitchell reports, are gassing up their private jets in preparation to flee Europe in the event of societal collapse. Mitchell proposes people without the financial ability to leave Europe would be much better off in countries with high levels of gun ownership like Switzerland than they would in countries with more restrictive gun policies such as the United Kingdom. Mitchell on NRA News:
Based on my travels in Europe I started thinking, well, the Swiss are probably in good shape. I've been in lots of Swiss homes and people show me their guns, but if you're in the U.K. or a place like that where there's really no individual rights for firearms ownership.
I mean, imagine if society breaks down and the welfare state collapses into some sort of Mad Max dystopia, which we all hope of course never happens, but if it does where would I rather be Switzerland or England?
Examining Mitchell's core example of successful gun interventions you quickly see the hollow nature of his argument. Along with NRA News host Ginny Simone, Mitchell touts Korean shop owners defending their shops during the Los Angeles riots and contrasts that with shop owners during the London riots that were unarmed. Did more guns make the Los Angeles riots safer for citizens?
The numbers suggest the opposite. During the British riots 6 deaths were associated with civilian criminal activity. Of the two victims killed by gunfire one is believed to have been a looter himself. By contrast during the Los Angeles riots 53 people were killed, 35 by gunfire (10 of those by law enforcement or the National Guard).
Yet in the alternate reality presented by NRA News the Los Angeles riots are cited as a success story and the British riots as a travesty.
The plain subtext of Mitchell's argument is that economic collapse will be caused by politicians not following his preferred economic policies. Mitchell in Forbes:
If politicians destroy the economic system with too much debt and too much dependency, firearms will be the first and last line of defense against those who would plunder and pillage.
So to review: invest in guns, cut social programs like Medicare and Social Security.
"Enforce the laws on the books already before passing more" is the plea of the National Rifle Association (NRA) when proposals are made to strengthen guns laws. In April NRA executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "We support all kinds of behavioral requirements, restrictions ... there are dozens of laws on the books that we support. The problem is they're not being enforced."
So what happens when a state starts enforcing gun laws at gun shows? Long-winded jeremiads complaining of "entrapment" by the "anti-gun cabal." Maybe it's time to change the slogan to "enforce the laws on the books, but make sure it's not a law we don't like you jack-booted thugs."
On Wednesday New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the arrest of ten people for selling guns at a gun show without performing a background check on the buyers as is required by state law. Mirroring previous undercover gun show investigations, Schneiderman reports that the sales happened even after indications were made that the buyer couldn't pass a background check, saying at a press conference: "I'm very sorry to report that every gun show they visited, undercover investigators who explicitly stated that they could not pass background checks were able to obtain firearms."
Only hours after the announcement NRA News was hosting a gripe session with Tom King of the New York Rifle and Pistol Association in a segment they titled "Bloomberg's Bogus Gun Show Sting". King told NRA Radio host Ginny Simone that the sting was "entrapment," it's purpose to "foster a political agenda" by a "anti-gun cabal." King's depiction of "entrapment" included such tricky methods as asking if the guns were for sale and saying they were looking to buy those types of guns.
King also told Gannett Pressconnects, "I guarantee you there's not a gun owner in New York state who was aware of that law before today." Contradicting King's depiction of the law was Budd Schroeder of the Shooters Committee on Political Education, who told a reporter for The Buffalo News that he's seen security guards at every gun show he'd attended check to see if gun buyers had proof that they'd undergone a background check. Hopefully moving forward the New York gun lobby will get it together and decide if the law is highly obscure or rigorously enforced.
Additionally transcripts of the purchases showed the seller suggested an illegal straw purchase saying, "I can sell it to you, and you can give it to him" after being informed that one of the undercover investigators couldn't pass a background check because of a domestic abuse incident.
Failing to perform a background check at a gun show is currently a misdemeanor offense in New York state.
On Tuesday, the coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) released a video testimonial from Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker criticizing H.R. 822, a bill currently before Congress that would force states to recognize the concealed carry permits of all other states -- even those with dangerously lax standards.
Booker called the bill "insane" and said that it would put civilians and law enforcement "at risk." Indeed, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, and the Police Foundation all oppose the bill, citing the potential danger to their members.
The video did not go unnoticed by the bill's main supporter, the National Rifle Association. Last night, NRA Radio's Cam Edwards responded, pushing the same flawed arguments his organization has been using to push the legislation:
Edwards defends H.R. 822 by comparing concealed carry licenses to driver's licenses:
EDWARDS: Is it "insane" for driver's licenses to be recognized across state lines? Because I'm pretty sure there are different qualifications to get your driver's license, depending on what state you live in.
MAIG's Cliff Schecter previously addressed this talking point in an op-ed challenging similar arguments from NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox:
Is the NRA now comparing a concealed carry permit to owning and driving a car, where each individual is required to possess a license and register their vehicle? So is Mr. Cox's position that we should create a registry of each person who carries loaded, concealed firearms, so gun regulations will work similarly to the laws governing the owning and driving of automobiles?
To the substance of his point, the police are able to verify the status of one's driver's license through a national database. With concealed carry permits, there is no such licensing database -- and Mr. Cox assures us there are no plans to create one. Some states don't even keep accurate records of who's allowed to carry a concealed weapon -- much less feed them into a national database -- and others destroy these documents. Perhaps this is why virtually all law enforcement organizations oppose this.