Tag: Gun

The Truth About Mass Shootings in America

Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Without a doubt, mass shootings are a major issue in the United States today. Too often, a gunman opens fire and kills innocent people. As a result, many American citizens and officeholders alike are calling for drastic increases in gun control. They believe that doing so will help to reduce gun violence in America.

To defend this point, two figures are often touted; that there is nearly a mass shooting a day in America and that our country is a radical outlier in mass shootings and violence. Ultimately, though, neither of these points rings true. Both reside on a faulty foundation that involves manipulating the facts.

Continue reading “The Truth About Mass Shootings in America”

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Will Oklahoma Become The 15th Constitutional Carry State?

Tom DiGennaro | United States

Less than two weeks ago, South Dakota joined the ranks of constitutional carry states. Oklahoma may be following suit. The Oklahoma House Public Safety Committee passed HB 2579, which allows for constitutional carry, nine votes to two. The Oklahoma State Senate is also working on a similar bill.

Last year, both houses of the Oklahoma State Legislature passed a similar constitutional carry bill. Former Governor Mary Fallin vetoed it. However, current Governor Kevin Stitt states he is absolutely going to sign the bill if it passes. In that case, Oklahoma will be the 15th Constitutional Carry state in the United States.

Constitutional Carry allows for the unlicensed purchase and carry of a handgun. This legislation removes the government mandated training which is part of the carry permit process. Many supporters in Oklahoma have expressed that the government mandated training is unnecessary, as most people will get training regardless of any law.

Stitt has expressed that business owners will still retain the right to ban the carry of firearms on their property. Obviously, carry will also be prohibited in public buildings, professional sporting events, casinos, and schools.

The growing number of states that are allowing constitutional carry is very promising for gun rights advocates. One of the most appealing features of Constitutional Carry is that it eliminates the government’s power to pick and choose who can carry. It also eliminates their power to discourage people from purchasing and carrying through application fees, mandatory training, and waiting periods. Constitutional Carry has its obvious benefits and hopefully, more and more states will allow it.


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Constitutional Carry: Defense Against Tyranny and Crime

Tom DiGennaro | United States

South Dakota is now the 14th U.S. state to enact constitutional carry into state law. Governor Kristi Noem signed the bill, introduced by the Republican-controlled State Legislature, into law. Therefore, constitutional carry is the law of the land in South Dakota, effective July 1st.

Constitutional carry, also known as permitless carry, allows full civilian concealed carry. It is a derivative of the Second Amendment; “The right of the people to keep and bear (carry) arms, shall not be infringed”.

Full List of Constitutional Carry States

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

In some states, constitutional carry applies to open carry, some concealed carry, and other both.

The Constitutional Argument

If you need to ask permission to exercise a right, then it is not a right. Rather, it is a privilege, and the Second Amendment is not on the Bill of Privileges.

Government involvement in the process of firearm ownership, as well as carry, essentially defeats the purpose of the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment’s protections extend further than just personal self-defense. Rather, the Second Amendment’s purpose ensures that a citizenry has accessed the proper means to form a militia. The militia is necessary to defend a nation from oppressors. Foreign invaders, as well as domestic tyrants. Anyone who swears into office affirms they will defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Obviously, the government controlling the right to bear arms that exists for defense against the very same government is illogical.

Therefore, the only feasible way the Second Amendment can serve its purpose is to eliminate government-issued carry permits or licenses. Imagine one needs a background check, a waiting period, a fee, and a license to publish a news article. It is wrong for the government to suppress ownership and carry of firearms. The same way it is also wrong for the government to suppress speech. Ironically enough, the former protects the latter.

The Benefits

Aside from constitutional purposes, constitutional carry obviously makes it easier for law-abiding citizens to carry and defend themselves.

Accessibility Regardless of Income

This applies especially to those with lower incomes. Carry permit fees can be as low as $10 but can also range between $100-200. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it is difficult to find 200 bucks to shell out. Obtaining a carry permit also requires a business day trip to the licensing agency. Some states will also mandate a training course. Not everyone can afford to take time off work either.

General Public Safety

It may be hard to convince fear-mongering gun grabbers of such, but making guns more accessible to the public correlates with safety. Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire and Idaho report the first, second, third, and fifth lowest crime rates in the country, respectively. They also have constitutional carry laws.

At the end of the day, there is no amount of legislation possible that will eliminate violence. Those who wish to commit crimes with firearms will be able to obtain them, whether they are legal or not. They will carry them, whether it is legal or not. The vast majority of people who walk into gun stores and purchase a firearm do not commit a crime with that firearm.

Deterring Crime

An armed population is a deterrent to crime. A criminal is extremely less likely to rob or assault someone they know is armed. The same thing happens when they are unsure that they are unarmed. Armed citizens are a poor choice of prey.

The Future of Constitutional Carry

A variety of other state legislatures are working to push constitutional carry through. Ultimately, constitutional carry is vital to the preservation of a free nation, common public safety, resistance to tyranny. One can only dream one day the Second Amendment is all the paperwork necessary to carry, in all 50 states.

Gun Owner’s Of America has “take action” links to contact your representatives in the state legislature to push for constitutional carry in Idaho, Virginia, and Texas.


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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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The Libertarian Party: A History From Hospers to Johnson

John Keller | United States

The Libertarian Party

John Hospers (1918-2011) was the first Libertarian presidential candidate. He defined Liberty best in 1971, during his campaign for President in 1972, that “Liberty is the absence of coercion by other human beings.” The Libertarian Party began forming on July 17, 1971, with a meeting of David Nolan, John Hospers, Ron Paul, Tonie Nathan, Edward Crane, and others. The new political party was officially announced January 31, 1972. The first platform of the party focused on ensuring a gold-backed currency and a return to the classical liberal thoughts held by many of the Founding Fathers of America. The Libertarian Party’s goal was, and is, to shrink government and return rights and liberty to the citizens of the United States of America.

“The only proper role of government, according to libertarians, is that of the protector of the citizen against aggression by other individuals. The government, of course, should never initiate aggression; its proper role is as the embodiment of the retaliatory use of force against anyone who initiates its use.” – Dr. John Hospers

A Brief Introduction to the Philosophy

The philosophy of libertarianism is rooted in texts from the Age of Enlightenment (1685-1815), such as the theories of John Locke (1632-1704), in his The Second Treatise of Civil Government, written in 1689 as well as the philosophies and writings of Thomas Paine (1737-1809), who wrote Common Sense in 1776.

In addition, the Libertarian Party has been influenced by many modern-day philosophers as well. The most notable of these philosophers is Ludwig von Mises (1891-1973) who wrote Human Action in 1949. His philosophies dominate the Libertarian Party’s economic platform, and his work was so influential the Mises Caucus formed within the party. After his death, the Mises Institute was founded in Auburn, Alabama in 1982 with the mission, “To advance the Misesian tradition of thought through the defense of the market economy, private property, sound money, and peaceful international relations, while opposing government intervention as economically and socially destructive.”

History of the Libertarian Movement (1972-2000)

The Libertarian Party has historically been the strongest third party in the 20th century. In 1972, John Hospers received 3,674 votes. In 1996, the presidential ticket of Harry Browne and Jo Jorgensen received 485,759 votes.

As the presidential election began to get started in 1976 there were serious doubts in the minds of conservative voters on the integrity of the Republican Party following the Watergate Scandal in 1972. The Libertarian Party become a place to vent frustration with government, and with their message for smaller government and personal accountability attracted many new voters.

The 1976 presidential ticket consisted of former state representative of Vermont Roger MacBride for president and California lawyer David Bergland for vice president. His campaign focused on issues, such as ending the Federal Reserve and returning to a gold-backed currency, as well as non-interventionist foreign policy. Democratic nominee “Jimmy” Carter spoke of being an outsider “untainted” by the politics of Washington D.C. while Republican nominee Gerald Ford focused on his ability as the chief executive, relying on his incumbent status to help carry the election in his favor.

By the end of the campaign, Roger MacBride and David Bergland had won over 172,557 votes, almost 170,000 more votes than the first ticket just four years prior and having ballot access to thirty-two states.

In 1980 the Libertarian Party hoped to capitalize on the moment of the previous year and nominated Ed Clark, who had received almost 378,000 votes in his campaign for Governor of California in 1978, for the presidency. David Koch, a successful businessman and vice-president of Koch Industries. The election began heavily contested.

President Carter faced immense backlash for his foreign policy in the Middle East and many Americans had deemed it improper for an actor to be president. The Libertarian Party and the Libertarian presidential ticket was seen as a viable third option. Although Reagan won in an electoral landslide, the Libertarian ticket received almost one million (921,128) votes.

The Reagan Administration proved to be very popular, and in the 1984 election, it showed. Former vice presidential candidate, now presidential candidate, David Bergland was only able to generate a quarter million votes.

One of the most iconic, although not the most successful, presidential runs of the Libertarian Party took place in 1988. Former congressman Ron Paul of Texas received the nomination and Andre Marrou, a former member of the Alaska House of Representatives, was nominated as the vice presidential candidate. The campaign Ron Paul ran was described by one reporter as a “Kamikaze Campaign” for being so dedicated to the issues while he stood, according to the journalist, “as much chance as I” at becoming president. Ron Paul focused on non-interventionist foreign policy, ending the Federal Reserve, getting the government out of education, and focusing on returning the American dollar to the gold standard. On top of these key issues, former Congressman Ron Paul made a pillar of his campaign the War on Drugs.

Although unsuccessful, the Ron Paul for President Campaign raised the campaign standard and redefined the Libertarian Party, highlighting the power and ability of a grassroots campaign as he raised over $2 million in donations.

In 1992 Ron Paul’s former running mate, Andre Marrou, took the nomination and continued the message of Ron Paul, but faced limited success as Americans flocked to Ross Perot, an independent from Texas who attracted over 19,000,000 votes.

Following the success of Ross Perot, the Libertarian Party knew that large success against the two-party duopoly was possible. Harry Browne received the 1996 presidential nomination. As a veteran, he pressed Bob Dole for claiming “My generation won [World War Two]” and his strong ties to the past and not to the future. When election time came he had attracted nearly half a million votes – losing votes to the popular Ross Perot who gained over 8,000,000 votes for the Reform Party.

In 2000, Harry Browne again took the nomination and ran a similar campaign to the campaign run in 1996. He won nearly the same number of votes but served a larger role.

In the controversy over the election in Florida, where Ralph Nader arguably detracted enough support from Al Gore to allow George W. Bush to win the state, the story in the state of Washington is often forgotten.

Harry Brown’s campaign attracted enough votes, alongside Pat Buchanan’s campaign for president, to swing the state away from George W. Bush and in Al Gore’s favor, ensuring the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, Al Gore, took the state, winning him an additional 11 electoral votes.

As the century turned and George W. Bush took the White House, the Libertarian Party began to go through a reformation process.

New Age Libertarianism (2004-2012)

In the twenty-first century, the Libertarian Party began to reform its priorities in its platform. The reformation became highlighted in the 2004 Libertarian National Convention as it became the most contested presidential primary in the thirty-two-year history of the Libertarian Party.

The three leading candidates were Aaron Russo, Gary Nolan, and Michael Badnarik. Aaron Russo was leading in pre-convention polls for the nomination. He was running his campaign on criticizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and ending the War on Drugs.

Gary Nolan, polling second, focused his campaign on Anti-Bush doctrine. He planned to focus campaigning on his home state Ohio with the goal of swinging the state away from Bush and winning the state for the Libertarian Party. His platform consisted of repealing the USA PATRIOT Act, ending the war in the Middle East and bringing home the troops, while rallying against the income tax.

Going into the convention Michael Badnarik was predicted the least likely of the three major candidates to win the nomination. His campaign was built on the principles of laissez-faire economics.

With Aaron Russo in the lead, it seemed clear that the Libertarian Party was beginning to switch away from the Ron Paul Era of economic focus and begin focusing on social issues, with economic policy on the back burner; however, a surprise came at the 2004 Libertarian National Convention.

On the first ballot, the vote counts for the nomination were all within twelve votes of each other; with Russo gaining 258, Badnarik 256, and Nolan 246. On the second nomination ballet, Nolan was eliminated and surprisingly endorsed Badnarik. In the final vote for the nomination, Badnarik took the nomination 417 votes to 348 for Russo, with six delegates voting “None of the Above”.

Although the focus on economics continued in this election cycle, a focus on social issues was beginning to grow within the party. Badnarik began his run immediately, trying to build off the momentum of the convention, but he struggled at first getting the Libertarian Party on board, especially those who had supported Aaron Russo who felt “cheated” at the convention.

By election day, the highest poll for the Libertarian ticket was at 5%, a poll conducted in New Mexico. On election day Badnarik, who held high hopes, pulled in about 400,000 votes, only about 0.32%. Following the results, he pursued, with support from Green Party candidate David Cobb, a recount in the state of Ohio, which President George W. Bush had won by about 100,000 votes. If the recount had been “successful” then Ohio would have swung to be a blue state, and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) would have been president.

In 2008 the election became key as there was a rejection of the Bush intervention policies. Former congressman Bob Barr was nominated by the Libertarian Party to run for president. He held high hopes going into the general election as many conservatives were growing tired of the pro-war leanings of the Republican Party, and the dedicated hawk candidate John McCain (R-AZ). However, Barack Obama (D-IL) came out as a strong anti-war candidate and supported social liberty and Barr began losing support. He tried to shift focus towards an economic policy where he believed he held the edge over the other candidates, but the American people were more focused on issues regarding foreign policy, and Barr was only able to gain a half million votes come election day. As the election cycle wore down the Libertarian Party began to strategize for 2012.

Libertarianism in the Modern Age (2012-Present)

In 2012 the upcoming nomination for president at the Libertarian National Convention was projected to be a toss-up between former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and Libertarian Party Vice Chair R. Lee Wrights. Going into the convention, Gary Johnson was being seen as an unlikely choice. He was a former two-term Republican governor in the state of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003. He had joined the Libertarian Party December 2011, just six months before the national convention after he failed to gain any traction in the Republican New Hampshire primary. On the other hand, R. Lee Wrights had been a member of the Libertarian Party since 2000 and had served for two years, prior to the 2012 Libertarian National Convention, as Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party (2004-2006).

Just as in 2004, the convention turned out to be an upset. Gary Johnson, on his platform of fiscal responsibility and social equality, won a surprising landslide victory at the convention, receiving 419 delegates (70.4%). Jim Gray, a California judge, received the nomination for vice president. The pro-immigration and anti-intervention ticket won considerable support as anti-war Republicans who could not support Mitt Romney voted Libertarian. Gary Johnson, on election day, made Libertarian Party history by receiving 1,275,971 votes.

Gary Johnson continued to fight for the Libertarian message and in 2016 sought to be renominated for the Libertarian presidential ticket. He was renominated in a landslide, gaining more than 30% more delegates than the runner-up Austin Petersen. Bill Weld, a former Republican governor of Massachusetts, was selected as the vice presidential nominee.

The 2016 election proved to be pivotal. Gary Johnson and Bill Weld began speaking throughout America on the message of peace and prosperity, speaking to the people about pro-immigration policy, low taxes, balanced budgets, and more. In short, the campaign rested on the idea that the government should stay out of your wallet and out of your bedroom. Bill Weld ran a strong campaign under Gary Johnson, and together they received 4,489,235 votes for the message of peace and prosperity.

Leading to the 2020 Libertarian National Convention much is unknown, but it is clear that even if there is not another Bill Weld or Gary Johnson, the idea and message of Libertarianism will spread. As the message spreads and more and more people are informed of the principles of peace and prosperity, it is clear that the breakout year for the Libertarian Party is coming soon as momentum grows.


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