Last week we saw hundreds of students and their parents walk out of what was supposed to be a vigil in memory of Kendrick Castillo—a student and hero who died from gunshot wounds after he and two other students bravely charged one of the attackers at the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado. The students and parents left the vigil because it had been blatantly turned into political theatre by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The Brady Campaign brought in anti-gun activists and politicians to preach gun control at a time for mourning and commemoration.
One was Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)—one of 24 Democrats now running for president. At the vigil, Bennet said, “Our kids already have enough to do. Their job is not to fix America’s broken gun laws.” He then pushed for further restrictions on the citizens’ right to bear arms.
The students and parents who left didn’t want to be extras in that political production. Before leaving, students yelled together and in front of all the media invited by the Brady Campaign. They shouted:“This is not for us,” “Political stunt” and “We are people, not a statement.”
Many of the students then had their own vigil for Castillo outside in the cold rain. When news reporters approached, the students told the media they weren’t interested in making statements at a memorial.
The Brady Campaign was so publicly embarrassed by being called on in this attempt to use the tragedy for their own ends that they actually issued an apology—this from a group that, like Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, won’t even talk to journalists who don’t simply print their propaganda with no questions asked.
Soon thereafter, mainstream media outlets actually turned on Beto O’Rourke, a candidate vying for the Democrat’s nomination for president.
O’Rourke had claimed that state laws mandating so-called “universal background checks” (how can they be “universal” when criminals by definition won’t obey these laws) “have been shown to reduce gun violence by 50 percent.”
FactCheck.org—which has hardly always been a fair fact checker with regards to the issues related to guns—said “academic research doesn’t support” this 50 percent statistic.
That’s a timid rebuke for a claim that should be called a blatant lie.
O’Rourke’s campaign said the statistic came from Everytown for Gun Safety, but Everytown wouldn’t stand behind it—since it is an old lie long since been shown to be bunk.
The past week also saw Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) being called-out for his claim that “Nowadays, there is more regulation over toy guns than real ones.” This time Politifact, which also isn’t always all that balanced on the issues related to guns, called the claim “misleading” and “mostly false.”
It’s actually complete nonsense. Firearms are regulated from the assembly lines they are manufactured on (where serial numbers need to follow certain parts) to the federally licensed dealers they’re sold at. Booker’s false comparison leaves out all of the federal and state laws that regulate the manufacture and sale of firearms. One can only imagine what toy stores or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents would say about this wild claim.
“There are well over 20,000 federal state and local laws and regulations that govern and regulate the lawful, constitutional commerce in firearms. We are the most heavily regulated industry in United States,” says Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president for Government & Public Affairs, assistant secretary & general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
What clearly is happening is the two dozen Democrats now running for president are trying to out-do each other as they vie for media attention. This frenzy has taken many of them from media stunts and hyperbole to demagoguery and bold-faced lies. The Democratic candidates also aren’t used to being called out for false claims related to guns from the mainstream media. This lack of honest reporting too often has made anti-freedom politicians feel as if they can say anything.
Things are already heated. And the next presidential election is still a year and a half away!
Most-Revealing Anti-Freedom Quote of the Week
“District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized an individual right to possess a firearm under the Constitution, is unquestionably the most clearly incorrect decision that the Supreme Court announced during my tenure on the bench.”—wrote former Associate Justice for the U.S. Supreme Court John Paul Stevens, in an article in The Atlantic. Stevens is stubbornly sticking to the thoroughly debunked theory that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Bill of Rights only protects the right to bear arms of state militias.
Stevens also says, “[The Hellerdecision] also represents my greatest disappointment as a member of the Court. After the oral argument and despite the narrow vote at our conference about the case, I continued to think it possible to persuade either Justice Anthony Kennedy or Justice Clarence Thomas to change his vote.”
Stevens hoped to convince Justice Kennedy to use “stare decisis”—a legal principle that binds judges to precedent—as an excuse to deny American citizens their constitutional right to bear arms.
Pro-Freedom Quote of the Week
“No other consumer product requires the licensed dealer to conduct a criminal background check on a prospective purchaser before they can sell the product. Firearm manufacturers can be sued for product defect claims, although such claims are exceedingly rare given that there are over 400 million firearms in civilian possession in the United States. The bipartisan Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act expressly permits product liability claims to be filed against members of the industry, while blocking frivolous lawsuits that seek to blame manufacturers and product sellers for the criminal misuse of lawfully firearms.”—Mark Oliva, director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, in response to Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) assertion that toy guns are more regulated than real guns.
(Frank Miniter is the author of Spies in Congress—Inside the Democrats’ Covered-Up Cyber Scandal. His latest book, The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide to the Workplace, will be out this summer.)