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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Norway: No Lesson Learned, Apparently

In 2014, police in all of Norway fired their sidearms only twice, and no one was hit in either instance. We see statistics like this from time to time, usually employed with the purpose of convincing us that other countries are happy, gun-free utopias in which criminals merit at worst a stern talking-to. But this particular figure hints at a frightening truth: No lesson has been learned from Anders Breivik.

Breivik killed 77 people in Norway in 2011—the majority of whom were children—without encountering armed opposition. In response, the nation began actually arming police, but this was seen as a temporary measure. It is understandable that Norwegians want to forget such a hideous incident, but ignoring it in terms of policy is irresponsible. The massacre occurred because no one in the area was armed: Now the culture of unarmed citizens and unarmed police likely will be left securely in place, just waiting for the next atrocity.


Idaho Town Plans To Post Gun Warning Signs

A small community near Boise, Idaho, plans to post signs on the five roads leading into town that read, “Welcome to Greenleaf, Idaho—This is not a gun free zone.”

The Greenleaf City Council made national headlines in 2006 when it passed Ordinance 208, which asks residents who do not object because of their religious beliefs to keep firearms in their homes. The town lacks a police force of its own, and the ordinance, along with the signs—which were donated and won’t cost taxpayers a penny—are seen as a strategy to deter or, failing that, defeat violent crime in the community of 875.

“Gun-free zones are targets,” City Councilman Steven Jett told the Idaho Statesman. “The shootings that have happened are at gun-free zones. Schools, malls and recently churches. I want people to know this is not a gun-free zone, and we are not a target.”


Oregon Recall Halted As Hoyle Steps Down

Democratic House Majority Leader Val Hoyle has announced she is leaving her post amid plans to possibly run for secretary of state in 2016. Whether that timing is coincidental or not is up for debate: Hoyle was under fire for her co-sponsorship of SB 941, the legislation signed by Gov. Kate Brown in May that calls for universal background checks.

Gun shop owner Jason Thiesfeld had launched a recall effort against Hoyle and had until July 13 to obtain 3,600 signatures. But her resignation was victory enough.

“Knowing that she will not be in the House leadership for this winter’s short session gives me the confidence to withdraw my petition and not put the citizens of our state, district and county through the expense or turmoil of a recall election,” Thiesfeld said.

Recall campaigns are still underway against three other lawmakers: Sen. Chuck Riley, Sen. Floyd Prozanski and Rep. Susan McLain.


Antiques Dealers And Musicians Join Gun Owners In Opposing Restrictions

Proposed tighter restrictions on the sale of ivory have prompted some unusual alliances.

While the importation of ivory has been essentially banned for decades, until now the federal policy was to assume most ivory already here is legal, and thus its sale wouldn’t increase poaching. New rules currently proposed would revoke this policy, making it illegal to sell any firearm or other item less than 100 years old containing any amount of ivory—for older items, sellers must prove it’s an antique. 

Antiques dealers have joined gun owners and dealers in opposing the new rules. Even musicians are speaking out, claiming they could make it impossible to move pianos with ivory keys across state lines. 

Stopping poaching is a laudable goal. But onerous restrictions that could potentially turn American owners of pianos, firearms, jewelry and other legal items into criminals overnight—yet do nothing to stop poachers—will almost certainly do more harm than good.


San Francisco Murder Weapon Theft Wasn’t Investigated

Things keep getting worse in the investigation of the murder of San Francisco resident Kathryn Steinle by a seven-time felon who had been deported five times before committing the murder in the so-called “sanctuary city.”

Earlier this week we learned that the gun used to kill Steinle had been stolen from the car of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger on June 27. New reports indicate that the gun theft, which was reported to police, had not yet been assigned to an inspector for investigation when Steinle was killed on July 1.

According to a report in the San Francisco Gate, Police Chief Greg Suhr won’t elaborate on why such a serious case had not been followed up on by an investigator. Suhr later issued a department-wide bulletin reminding officers of the process in place for identifying “cases that require an immediate investigation”—too little, too late for Steinle.


Background Check System Failed In Gun Sale To Charlotte Murderer

New reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concerning the man who killed nine church members in Charlotte, N.C., last month indicate that an FBI error resulted in the firearm sale being approved through the National Instant Check System (NICS).

According to the FBI, Dylann Roof had been arrested for drug possession more than a month before purchasing the gun he used to commit the mass murder, which would disqualify him from purchasing a firearm. However, FBI Director James Comey said the arrest record from the Columbia, S.C., Police Department was not included in materials to be reviewed in the background check.

“Because of an error on our part that allowed the gun to be used to slaughter those people is very painful," said Comey. “We are all sick this happened. We wish we could turn back time.”


Armed Robber Killed At San Antonio Auto Shop

A pair of suspects walked into an auto shop on the southwest side of San Antonio, Texas, and allegedly tried to rob the business at gunpoint. Unfortunately for them, the owner drew his own firearm in return. 

In the ensuing exchange of gunfire, one of the assailants was hit; he died on the way to the hospital. The other suspect fled in a vehicle, and the business owner was not hurt. He is not expected to face charges for defending himself.


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