Tag: firearms

Marco Rubio Proves Politicians Will Do Anything for Votes

Indri Schaelicke | United States

In January of 2016, speaking at a New Hampshire campaign event, Republican Presidential hopeful Senator Marco Rubio reaffirmed his pro-gun right stance. “I believe that every single American has a Constitution—and therefore God-given right—to defend themselves and their families,” Rubio said. The statements he made at this rally were clearly politically motivated- he was attempting to build a base of voters in a state with a strong commitment to gun rights, especially among Republicans. And it sort of worked- he received 10% of the vote in the New Hampshire Republican primary and came away with 2 delegate votes.

Yet just a few years later, it seems like Rubio has forgotten those closely held principles. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Marco Rubio is planning to introduce a red flag gun bill. This law, if passed, would encourage states to pass and implement laws that allow law enforcement to confiscate guns from their owners if they show any signs of aggression. The process begins when law enforcement, concerned family and friends, or mental health professionals petition a court for a court-ordered confiscation of guns from the person in question’s home. A troubling problem with red flag gun confiscation laws, however, is that the citizen whose right to defend themselves by owning firearms is being stripped away is not given an opportunity to represent themselves in court and prevent the confiscation.

How could a politician go from believing every person has the right to protect themselves and the people they love, to leaving this right up to the whims of a judicial system that can be easily biased into stripping this right from a person? Let’s examine what has caused Rubio to shed his principles with such ease.

The Parkland School Shooting

On February 14, 2018, gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and killed seventeen students and staff members and injured a further seventeen others. This school shooting sparked a national debate on America’s gun laws and the constitutionally protected right of the people to keep and bear arms. The survivors of the shooting were understandably severely anti-gun after the events they had witnessed, and many of them started a movement known as the March for Our Lives. This movement organized marches and rallies across the US, and demanded tougher restrictions on the ownership of guns, with some even calling for the complete banning of assault rifles.

Being one of two senators from the state of Florida, Marco Rubio was forced to make a statement about the shooting and demonstrate to his constituents that he would do what he could to prevent another tragedy like this from happening. At a widely seen CNN Town Hall event, Rubio spoke with survivors of the shooting and came under fire from outraged parents of fallen students and shooting survivors. Question after question about what he would do to prevent similar shootings from happening came at Rubio, who did his best to stay true to his principles in the face of a hostile crowd. However, he soon cracked, and after the event announced that he would be introducing a Gun Violence Restraining Order Bill, also known as a Red Flag bill, in the US Senate. During the town hall, Rubio also stated support for four different proposals that would aim to limit the risk that a deranged individual could harm so many defenseless children.

These proposals include strengthening background checks, banning bump stocks, increasing the age limit to buy rifles from 18, and potentially limiting magazine sizes. On the issue of the legal age to purchase rifles, Rubio said: “I absolutely believe that in this country if you are 18 years of age, you should not be able to buy a rifle, and I will support a law that takes that right away”. In just two short years, Marco Rubio has gone from believing that everyone has the right to protect themselves to supporting “a law that will take that right away”. He also indicated that he is reconsidering his stance on limiting magazine sizes. “I traditionally have not supported looking at magazine clip size, and after this and some of the details I learned about it, I’m reconsidering that position,” Rubio said.

Political Posturing

This strategic positioning on the issues suggests that Senator Rubio is attempting to put himself in good standing with his constituents to ensure his reelection bid is successful. Rubio’s next run will come in 2022, just three years away. The survivors of the Stoneman Douglas shooting, as well as thousands of other teens concerned with the safety of their schools and communities, will range from 18 to 22. With almost 70% of teens surveyed in a SurveyMonkey poll saying that a federal ban on assault weapons would make the US a safer place, it is clear that the newest members of Rubio’s electorate are in favor of gun control. The Senator is ensuring that he can count on GenZ votes in his 2022 election run. If he does not secure this demographic’s support he will find it incredibly difficult to win reelection.

Rubio is walking an incredibly thin line. He must maintain his base of Republican support by not compromising his beliefs on gun rights, while also attracting more moderate voters who are more likely to support some sort of gun control measure. Florida is infamous for being a swing state in Presidential elections, as 27% of their electorate is not party affiliated. This massive demographic has the potential to decide close races, and Rubio must win their support by becoming more moderate. His red flag bill will allow him to achieve both of these goals, as both groups are likely to agree with the necessity of this law. It looks like yet another politician has decided it is worth shedding their principles to ensure reelection.


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We Can’t Trust Trump to Stop the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019

Thomas DiGennaro | United States

Senator Feinstein of California has introduced Bill S 66 the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 which includes the following regulations:

Key Provisions:

  • Bans the sale, manufacture, transfer, and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons by name. Owners may keep existing weapons.
  • Bans any assault weapon that accepts a detachable ammunition magazine and has one or more military characteristics including a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding or telescoping stock. Owners may keep existing weapons.
  • Bans magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, which allow shooters to quickly fire many rounds without needing to reload. Owners may keep existing magazines.

Exemptions to Bill:

  • The bill exempts by name more than 2,200 guns for hunting, household defense or recreational purposes.
  • The bill includes a grandfather clause that exempts all weapons lawfully possessed at the date of enactment.

Other Provisions:

  • Requires a background check on any future sale, trade or gifting of an assault weapon covered by the bill.
  • Requires that grandfathered assault weapons are stored using a secure gun storage or safety device like a trigger lock.
  • Prohibits the transfer of high-capacity ammunition magazines.
  • Bans bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates.

Updates to Assault Weapons Ban of 2017:

  • Bans stocks that are “otherwise foldable or adjustable in a manner that operates to reduce the length, size, or any other dimension, or otherwise enhances the concealability of a firearm.”
  • Bans assault pistols that weigh 50 or more ounces when unloaded, a policy included in the original 1994 ban.
  • Bans assault pistol stabilizing braces that transform assault pistols into assault rifles by allowing the shooter to shoulder the weapon and fire more accurately.
  • Bans Thordsen-type grips and stocks that are designed to evade a ban on assault weapons

This legislation would essentially force the rest of the nation to comply with New York and California regulations of semi-automatic rifles. In other words, a semi-automatic AR-15 with a detachable magazine would never be sold again at a gun store. This legislation will effectively ensure that future generations do not have legal means to obtain sufficient arms and munitions to keep a tyrannical government in check or to defend themselves against criminals.

This is it, ladies and gentlemen, this is the legislation we have long feared. This is the justification for the NRA and the Trump Administration caving on the bump stock ban, in order to appease lawmakers like Feinstein and prevent this type of legislation. But you give the mouse the cookie, be damn well sure they’re coming for the glass of milk.

The scariest part? It just may get through the Republican Senate and have Trump’s signature on it. Trump’s priority is building the wall, and the majority of Senate Republicans’ priority is to end the government shutdown. If Feinstein and the Democrats in Congress give Trump his wall and end the shutdown, we might just be looking at our worst fears come true. Isn’t that just the beauty of democracy? The left and right working together, coming to compromise. Compromise at the expense of the American people’s liberties.

The NRA has not released any statements regarding this yet. Trump made remarks supporting Feinstein’s proposals of Assault Weapon Bans, as well as advocating for the expansion of background checks, in February 2018. With the NRA’s and Trump’s support of bump-stock bans, red flag laws, expansion of background checks, and encouragement of lawmakers to pass more gun laws, I wouldn’t hold my breath on their opposition.

What hope do we have for halting the continued perversion of the Second Amendment? As usual, Firearms Policy Coalition is doing what they do best; taking action to defend the Second. They have announced their strong opposition to this bill, set up a link on their site to contact your congressional representatives to demonstrate your opposition, and are likely working on legal action to be filed if S 66 moves forward. This, of course, is in addition to their two legal suits against the bump stock ban, and against California’s violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendment. We can also likely count on Senator Rand Paul getting up on the soapbox and filibustering the hell out of this bill.

If your Second Amendment rights are important to you, don’t bet it all on Trump, the Republican Senate, or the NRA. Make your voice heard to your representatives, and donate what you can to Senator Paul and FPC. Those dollars will surely be used more efficiently than your tax dollars.


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Gun Groups File Lawsuit in Defense of California Gun Owners

Thomas DiGennaro | United States

The FPC is at it again, furiously defending gun owners and their rights. This time, they have partnered with the Calguns Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the Madison Society Foundation to file a joint suit against the State of California, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, California DOJ Bureau of Firearms Chief Martin Horan, and California Deputy Attorney General Robert Wilson. This suit is filed by legal representation for two California residents, as well as the previously listed advocacy groups.

The two residents are Chad Lipton and Paul McKinley have previously (decades ago) been convicted of non-violent felonies in states outside of Californias jurisdiction, have had those felonies vacated by their respective courts, and have no federal prohibitions against firearm ownership. However, California DOJ has still not afforded them and outright denies them, their firearm purchases. The California DOJ is awfully aware that Arizona and Washington (the courts of original jurisdiction) have restored and recognized their Second Amendment Rights, which is a key factor in this lawsuit being filed.

This contradiction between Washington and Arizona’s courts to California’s courts extends the unconstitutionality of the matter from solely the Second Amendment to the Fourteenth Amendment as well, specifically the “full faith and credit” clause. Plaintiffs also argue that this contradiction occurs because California and its DOJ has set out to prevent as many citizens from being armed as they can make a legal justification for, no matter how remote or unconstitutional. They have “ignored the judgments and pronouncements of the courts of other states because they do not prefer the policy outcome“, and thus the Fourteenth Amendment violations. While California isn’t exactly known as the most gun-friendly state, there are still over 4.2 million gun owners residing within its borders, and many of the elected officials, as well as chief law enforcement, are working very hard to reduce that number. 

“The question presented by this case is whether the State of California, through its chief law enforcement officers, can prevent current California residents who are not federally or otherwise prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms if their previously-disqualifying offenses, which occurred in other states, have been vacated, and especially when their fundamental, individual rights have been fully restored to them by courts of competent jurisdiction in those respective states”, reads the first lines of the key filings of the legal suit.

Firearms Policy Coalition is a well run, fierce, and vehemently pro-gun advocacy group that puts the dollars you give them towards legal action to defend the rights of gun owners in all fifty states. Prior to their role in this suit, they filed two separate suits against the ATF and the Trump Administration for the bump-fire stock ban and are actively devoting time and resources to the cause they stand for, unlike the NRA, who don’t earnestly fight for your gun rights.


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The NRA Doesn’t Fight For Your Gun Rights

By Thomas DiGennaro | United States

It is both a difficult realization for many pro-gun Americans, as well as a confusing contradiction for many anti-gun Americans, that the National Rifle Association is NOT a true gun rights advocacy group. As I mentioned before in a previous article, Ruining ‘Adam Ruins Guns’, “the NRA is a bunch of corporate suits and lobbyists who are only concerned with lining their pockets”. They have constantly rolled over on the NFA, the GCA, and federal background checks. Most recently they show support for Trump’s proposals for ‘no fly, no buy’, and other measures of “taking the guns first, due process second”. And of course, there is the glaring issue today of the Trump Administration and the ATF’s ban on bump-fire stocks.

The War on Bump Stocks

Many have ‘justified’ the bump-fire stock ban. “It’s just a stupid range toy, no one actually uses them, and they’re inaccurate anyway” are among such claims. Essentially, they don’t care because this legislation isn’t regulating or confiscating any firearms themselves. While this may entirely be true, these arguments completely miss the point of opposition to these bans. It is about the slippery slope that occurs when we start regulating guns. If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want a glass of milk. And you can be damn sure that the Democrats in office are working very hard to get that glass of milk, and they will have enough support and seats in government to do it sooner or later.

The second ‘justification’ we have seen in defense of this proposed legislation is very similar to the previous, and that is that rolling over on bump-fire stocks is playing chess and appeasing the anti-gun crowd in order to protect semi-automatic rifles. The mouse is going to want that cookie.

We also see one of the underlying principles of capitalism and attempting to regulate the market; the rise of the black market and alternatives. Obviously, there will still be bump-fire stocks sold on the streets long after the ban. Some owners simply will not turn theirs in. The latter, the alternatives, do wonders to show the ineffectiveness of such legislation. The same effect of a bump-fire stock can be simulated using a binary trigger. Hell, even through crafty use of rubber bands or the belt loop on your pants.

What Does the NRA Say About This?

This is an excerpt from the official statement released by the NRA on the issue, “Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law.  The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations”. Does this sound like a principled gun advocacy group? Does this sound like people who are fighting to defend the rights of their members?

The most hypocritical aspect of this all: could you imagine the holy hell that would be raised by Republicans and the NRA if the Obama administration was moving to pass this law? For reasons I will never understand, Republicans have no problem trampling their rights as long as it is a Republican administration doing it.

The NRA has also refrained from having Senator Rand Paul speak at their conventions. He is “too extreme” on gun rights. Why would the NRA turn away such a principled gun advocate? Because defending gun rights above all else is far from their agenda. Rather, they line their own pockets through memberships and alignment with Republicans like Trump.

Who Do We Turn To?

So where do we turn in terms of making our voices heard in government as gun owners and libertarians? Look no further than the Firearms Policy Coalition and Gun Owners of America. Both of these organizations have taken legal action against the ATF and the Trump Administration for the legislation banning bump-fire stocks. GOA filed suit against the constitutionality of the ATF’s ban, and “that courts should be highly suspect when an agency changes its “interpretation” of a statute in order to impair the exercise of an enumerated constitutional right”. FPC has moved to challenge the legality of Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Attorney General, and therefore his actions as Attorney General. FPC has also filed a separate suit aiming to show the differences between bump-fire and fully automatic fire. Rand Paul, Ron Paul, and Thomas Massie actively work with GOA. Not so much the NRA.

There are several principled and well-run advocacy groups actively working for your gun rights. In addition to FPC and GOA, the National Association for Gun Rights and the Second Amendment Foundation certainly make the list. The takeaway here? Don’t give your money to the NRA.


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The Wide World of Unregistered Firearms

By Clint Sharp | United States

In a world where the right of the individual to own firearms — especially ones deemed “assault-style” rifles– is constantly being threatened, people are turning to less orthodox means of obtaining guns that bypass the over-the-counter registration process. These firearms are known by most as “ghost guns” as they are 100% unregistered, virtually untraceable, and as far as the State knows, nonexistent. While this seems too good to be true, it isn’t. Not only are these invisible guns cheap and easy to obtain, but they are also completely legal.

Image result for 80 percent lower

One notable company on the frontier of this industry is Ghost Gunner. Ghost Gunner specializes in manufacturing and selling “80% lowers”. An 80% lower is the lower receiver of a firearm and makes up around 80% of the completed receiver, hence the name. The lower receiver of a firearm is perhaps the most important part for two reasons. For one, it is the part of the gun where the bullets are fed into the chamber and the part that actually fires the round toward its designated target.

The other important aspect is that this is the part of firearms that is registered by both the seller and by the government. It is where that you will find the name of whatever brand of gun that you have, i.e Colt or Smith&Wesson, as well as the unique serial number used to identify the weapon. That is what sets the the Ghost Gunner receivers apart from the rest. They do not have the registered serial number that the other guns have. After you have your receiver, all that’s left is assembling the other 20% of the gun, which includes the stock and the barrel.

Ghost Gunner even sells entire CNC milling machines so that you can make the 80% lowers in the comfort of your own home. What’s great about that is that you do not have to be a certified machinist or gun expert to do this. All you have to do is pop in a block of aluminum, do a little clicking, and the machine mills out your receiver, completely free from the prying eyes of Uncle Sam. In addition to their original AR-15 lower, Ghost Gunner also provides receivers and software for MP5, AK-47, and M1911 lowers.


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