Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The NRA Should Oppose Mental Illness Gun Laws

If the NRA and other gun groups truly supported gun rights for all law-abiding citizens, they would defend people like Clifford Tyler.

Tyler spent one month in a mental facility in 1986 following a messy divorce, where his wife cleaned out his bank accounts and left him for another man. Despite no history of violence or criminal record, he was prohibited from owning a gun for the rest of his life because he was “mentally ill”.

Tyler eventually sued the federal government, and last week a US Appeals Court in Cincinnati ruled to restore his gun rights. It is the first time that a federal appeals court has ruled a gun law unconstitutional since 2008.

Aside from its historic significance, the case stands out because the NRA didn't take part. While the NRA usually gets involved in every high profile gun case, this time they did nothing other than issue a weak statement after the ruling came out.

This is because the NRA doesn’t like to get involved with anything having to do with mental illness and gun rights. Instead, they make a big show of supporting laws to disarm people with mental health problems.

They have encouraged states to share mental health information with the National Instant Criminal Background check system and they have asked Congress to block the mentally ill from accessing guns. After the Sandy Hook massacre in 2013, NRA President Wayne LaPierre called for an “active national database of the mentally ill”.

The only thing these restrictions do is punish law-abiding gun owners like Clifford Tyler, while giving the government another excuse to confiscate weapons. Meanwhile, a mentally ill person who is hell-bent on killing someone will have no problem buying a gun illegally – just like any other criminal.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Support For Gun Rights Hits 20 Year High

Despite the best efforts of the media and politicians, gun rights are more popular than ever.

New polling by Pew Research shows that most Americans support gun rights over gun control for the first time in two decades.

The poll found that fifty two percent of Americans believe that protecting the right of to own guns is more important than expanding gun control laws, while forty six percent supported increased gun control.

Support for gun rights has risen seven percent in the two years since the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The poll reports that there has been a “substantial shift in attitudes” since then.

The poll also found that most Americans believe that gun ownership promotes individual safety. Fifty seven percent of Americans say gun ownership “protects people from becoming victims of crime”, while thirty eight percent believe that it decreases personal safety.

Support for the right to own guns has risen most dramatically among women and minorities. Five percent more women and ten percent more black Americans support gun rights over gun control than they did five years ago.

Public approval of gun rights has been increasing for two decades. In the mid-90s, nearly sixty percent of Americans preferred gun control to gun rights.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Girl Shoots And Kills Stalking Mountain Lion

A twelve-year-old girl killed a mountain lion that was threatening to attack her on a hunting trip in New Mexico.

Alyssa Caldwell was hunting elk with her father in October when he left her alone to gather some gear. Almost immediately, she noticed that something was wrong.

“I already had a feeling that something was watching me or something, but I didn’t see the cat until it was close,” she said.

Just feet away, a mountain lion crouched ready to attack. Although she had never shot anything bigger than a white tailed deer, Caldwell knew exactly what to do. She raised her brand new .30-06 and fired, killing the animal instantly.

“I just raised up my gun and shot it point blank long ways through the body because it was facing me when I shot,” she told CBS News. “The cat instantly flopped over right there, of course I kept my gun on it just in case it got up or something like that.”

Her father came running back, thinking she had downed an elk. When he realized what had happened, he fell to his knees and “got emotional,” Alyssa says.

“I definitely could have died,” she added. “It was probably like seconds away from pouncing on me.”

Caldwell has been shooting since she was five and hunting since she was nine. Her quick thinking and calm under pressure show that, with the right training, anyone can defend themselves in a dangerous situation.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What Happened To The NRA’s Opposition To NSA Surveillance?

The National Rifle Association wrote an editorial in the Washington Times last week calling on the Senate to pass the USA Freedom Act, a bill that would have limited the National Security Agency’s illegal spying program.

The article called the USA Freedom Act “badly needed legislation” that should be “sent to the White House as soon as possible.”

But the article disappeared just a few hours after it was posted. The only explanation came from the editor of the Washington Times, who said that the article was taken down as a “courtesy” to the authors.

The NRA hasn’t said anything about why it had the article removed, and it hasn’t issued any follow up statement about the USA Freedom Act.

The NRA previously stood strong against the NSA’s illegal surveillance practices. In 2013, it joined a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against Obama’s surveillance program, saying that the program “could allow identification of NRA members, supporters, potential members and other persons with whom the NRA communicates.”

But when a bill to abolish NSA surveillance actually came up for a vote, the NRA ate its own words. Why?

The day after the article was retracted, the USA Freedom Act failed in the Senate after being filibustered by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and other big government Republicans.

The reasons for the NRA’s retraction are unclear, but judging by its close relationship with the Republican establishment, there may have been some backroom deal-making going on.