Confront The Lies

We Are The Real ‘Gun Safety Advocates’!
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When I testified against a couple of extremist gun control bills before a state House committee in Olympia, Wash. in January, I deliberately wore my winter blue nylon vest with the great big patch identifying me as an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor.

The purpose should have been obvious. In a room full of self-proclaimed “gun safety advocates,” I was the only person who could actually prove it. The rest were, and I’ll be polite here, stretching the truth and using camo-speak to mask their true activism as gun prohibitionists.

Corrupt Business

About the time of this hearing, writing for Business Insider, veteran journalist Laura Italiano complained in an “analysis” piece about the organization’s outreach efforts to youngsters. Her assertion: “No American is too young to join in their absolutist defense of the Second Amendment.” The article was posted at the end of the second week of testimony in New York State’s “corruption trial” in a Manhattan courtroom that targeted “lavish spending” by then-Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and other NRA officials.

Italiano apparently wanted to smear the entire organization because of the then-alleged financial misdeeds of some of its leaders. LaPierre is gone, but the NRA was not destroyed, despite the best efforts of New York anti-gun Attorney General Letitia James and her team.

Italiano didn’t like NRA’s “What the Second Amendment Means To You” youth essay contest for children in grades K-12. Her real beef was this annual contest “encourages children to engage in ‘scholarly research on the Second Amendment as well as reflect on how the Second Amendment and other Constitutional rights affect their daily lives.’”

What’s wrong with kids learning about their Constitutional rights? Every public school in the country should provide this sort of instruction. It’s important for young Americans to know about rights secured and protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and other amendments, as well as the Second Amendment. They are rights, not privileges, and, yes, it is okay to be “absolutist” about protecting your rights.

Italiano’s “analysis” was a symptom of a broader effort to malign, discredit, demonize and defame not just the NRA, but gun owners in general and the Second Amendment itself. Anti-gunners get away with it because too few gun owners try to correct them, and even when they do, the media often ignores it. My testimony in January wasn’t reported, even when I told the committee that since 2014, when Washington State gun laws started getting more restrictive, the number of homicides statewide had doubled. In Seattle — the state’s largest city, run by far-left Democrats — the number of murders had tripled.

The advantage I had was I wrote about it later. Everyone in the room knew what I do for a living and the head of the state’s largest gun control lobbying group was seated about 10 feet to my rear — she didn’t dare try to refute me.

If you want to make a dent in the gun prohibition movement’s armor, have the facts on your side and be willing to confront these fakers in public. When somebody spouts off at a community meeting about gun safety, it’s always fun to pull out your NRA instructor rating card and ask, “Do you have one of these? I teach firearms safety. Do you? Where does your group hold firearms safety classes, because I’d like to sit in. I might even volunteer to help.”


Down and Dirty

We’re in the midst of an election cycle that has all the earmarks of a gutter fight. Forget all the stuff you’ve been told about upholding lofty ideals and rising above the fray. People who are afraid to fight will proclaim, “We’re better than that.” They need to roll up their sleeves, get off of their pedestals and get down here at ground level with the rest of us. You can still remain the “adult in the room” but don’t be shy about confronting lies and distortions with facts and figures. Be steadfast without being boorish.

If someone claims, “studies have shown,” demand to see the research. “Which studies are you talking about? Who funded them? Can you at least share the titles of these studies?”

If someone mentions gun-related deaths, you be ready with actual body counts from a local police agency or law enforcement group. My statistics come from the FBI Uniform Crime Report, Seattle Police, and Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs; official agencies and groups that preclude someone calling you a liar because you are merely quoting data from bona fide sources. Similar sources are, or should be, available in your state.

When a gun control advocate claims, “I’m a gun owner,” your job is to ask as politely and innocently as possible, “Oh, how many guns do you own? What do you have, rifles, shotguns, a couple of handguns, maybe? How do you store them? Where did you take a gun safety course? When was the last time you fired those guns?”

Getting back to Italiano’s article, she quoted Kris Brown, president of the Brady gun prohibition lobbying group (artfully described as a “gun violence prevention group”) who apparently stated, “It’s very dangerous for younger Americans to be indoctrinated with the viewpoint that the Second Amendment allows every American to lawfully possess a firearm.”

Oh, what’s dangerous about teaching younger citizens about their constitutionally enumerated and protected rights? I learned that stuff in school from about the 5th grade forward. I’m guilty of not sleeping through those classes, so I learned Ms. Brown is at least wrong-headed, if not downright wrong, because citizens DO have the right to lawfully possess a firearm. If Brown doesn’t like it, well, too bad.

Italiano also took issue with other NRA projects, including one which — Heaven forbid! — offers “cash prizes of up to $1,000 for first-through-12th graders who create artwork portraying ‘any North American game bird or animal that may be legally hunted or trapped.’” She also took offense about another program under which “High schoolers can apply for an all-expense-paid summer Youth Education Summit in Washington, DC.”

She really didn’t like free online training programs available in several states, but an online look at this project revealed it is “designed to help new hunters of all ages learn how to be safe and responsible members of the hunting community. From the organization that built the first-ever hunter education program in 1949, this state-of-the-art course is the most comprehensive online hunter education instruction in the United States … and it’s 100% FREE.” Again, what’s wrong with this?


It’s Go Time

Guns and the Second Amendment are going to be election issues this year, at all levels. This column has been encouraging and urging readers to get in the game, attend candidate forums, be willing to ask questions about Second Amendment rights and your own state’s constitutional guarantee — and have it in your pocket so you can quote it.

Gun rights politics — i.e., defending your Second Amendment — is not a spectator sport. The people determined to destroy your rights play dirty, because in their book the end justifies the means. When you are in a nasty fight, expect somebody to accuse you of hitting “below the belt.”

Your response can be a simple: “Well, I didn’t think there was anything down there I was going to hurt.”

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