Phoenix conference should sizzle this weekend, and not because of the weather

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Hundreds of Second Amendment activists and gun rights leaders are gathering this weekend in Phoenix for the 34th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference, and thanks to recent events, it could be a sizzler.

On the heels of August’s mass shootings, Walmart recently announced that it will no longer sell handgun ammunition or .223 Remington/5.56mm NATO ammunition, and the national chain has asked people to no longer openly carry firearms in their stores. Wamart has more than 5,000 stores across the United States, including the one in El Paso that was the scene of a shooting in early August that claimed 22 lives.

Nationally syndicated Gun Talk host Tom Gresham will appear at this weekend’s conference,
which will be live streamed on Facebook.

The Walmart decision is just one reason this weekend’s conference—hosted by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms—could be hot. The National Rifle Association’s turmoil over the summer has been in and out of headlines, and a hot topic on social media.

The NRA weighed in almost immediately on Walmart’s announcement, issuing a prepared statement that scolded the company.

“The strongest defense of freedom has always been our free-market economy,” NRA said. “It is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites. Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms. The truth is Walmart’s actions today will not make us any safer. Rather than place the blame on the criminal, Walmart has chosen to victimize law-abiding Americans. Our leaders must be willing to approach the problems of crime, violence and mental health with sincerity and honesty.”

Mark Walters, host of the nationally syndicated Armed American Radio is
one of several people who will speak at the GRPC.

When Congress returned to Capitol Hill on Sept. 9, new gun control efforts were already underway. This, too, could be the catalyst for some heated discussions. We chatted recently with Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder and CCRKBA chairman. He said pre-registration for this year’s event is heavy, and there is likely to be a fair bit of media attention.

There will be representatives from other rights groups, including NRA and Gun Owners of America, along with people from the Illinois State Rifle Association and groups from Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Washington; about 80 speakers will appear on panels to discuss everything from state and local politics, to the looming 2020 national elections, plus firearms and personal protection, guns and the media and much more. The agenda was still being finalized as this column was written.

Insider Online will be there (indeed, we already are!), covering the event and tracking down what hopefully will be some interesting interviews with leading spokesmen and women in the Second Amendment community.

The conference will unfold starting Friday with an all-day conference of bloggers, followed by an evening reception.

Saturday will find people crowding into the conference ballroom for a full day of panel discussions and reports, plus the annual awards luncheon.

There’s a Saturday evening reception, and a half-day session on Sunday. The conference wraps up at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Among the speakers will be Gottlieb, “Gun Talk Radio” host Tom Gresham and “Armed American Radio” host Mark Walters.

Gottlieb told Insider Online the conference will be live-streamed on Facebook, same as last year, when more than 100,000 people were able to listen and watch from the comfort of their own homes. With about 1,000 people pre-registered for the event, this gathering is shaping up to be a record-setter.

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Regarding the NRA and San Francisco

Not that it comes as a big surprise, but the San Francisco Board of Supervisors met earlier this month long enough to unanimously adopt a resolution declaring the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization.”

Also not surprising, the vote stirred a small fury in the firearms community. Even though the NRA may be in turmoil, when a clearly anti-gun collective of elected liberals goes on the attack…suffice to say NRA members do not like being called “terrorists.”

KQED News carried the report, which quoted Supervisor Catherine Stefani, the resolution’s sponsor. Her main beef appears to be that NRA has successfully prevented biased research on so-called “gun violence” and blocked passage of many gun control measures. Stefani apparently doesn’t understand that this is what NRA is supposed to be doing.

Still, it may have been when she told a reporter that the NRA “had it coming” that gun owners really got angry. Ammoland News noted to is readers, “Yes, they are talking about you and the other five million law-abiding NRA members of America.”

NRA’s Amy Hunter told the news agency, “This ludicrous stunt by the Board of Supervisors is an effort to distract from the real problems facing San Francisco, such as rampant homelessness, drug abuse and skyrocketing petty crime…The board is wasting taxpayer dollars to declare five million law-abiding Americans domestic terrorists, and it’s shameful.”

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Walmart recently announced it will stop selling .223-caliber and handgun ammunition,
and gun owners are taking all of their business elsewhere.

And Then Came Walmart…

By now, a couple of weeks out from the announcement by Walmart CEO Doug McMillon that the big box store would no longer be selling ammunition for handguns or .223/5.56mm caliber rifles, there should be some indication whether this was a good idea.

Walmart has stopped selling semi-auto modern sporting rifles and handguns. McMillon’s announcement included disclosure that Walmart stores in Alaska, which had been the only ones selling handguns, will no longer be doing that.

McMillon also asked customers not to open carry in Walmart stores, of which there are some 5,000 around the country. He didn’t say don’t carry guns; the door appears to still be open to legally-licensed concealed carriers.

But some clever folks did a little homework. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission, in 2017—the most recent year for which data is available—there were an estimated 10,875 traffic fatalities in which alcohol was involved. As Insider Online has reported previously, that same year saw 403 slayings with rifles of any kind, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report. That year there were 7,032 handgun-related slayings.

Now, Walmart still sells alcohol, which raises a question about whether McMillon wants to save lives or make a political statement.

The FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2018 should be out within days.

Read More FBI Uniform Report

Read More Walmart Handgun/Ammunition Sales

Bet They Didn’t See This Coming

Anti-gunners have been working overtime to exploit two mass shootings in August down in Texas, but when a Lone Star State woman used a handgun to plug one of two suspected robbers, the gun control loudspeaker suddenly went silent.

Note to thieves: Don’t try grabbing purses from women with guns. It will end badly.

Fox News earlier this month made something of a point about getting this story out. The would-be victim in this caper was identified as Lachelle Hudgins of Houston, and you don’t want to mess with her.

Referring to a report on KTRK-TV, Fox said Hudgins had just pulled up to her home at about 2:30 a.m. As she parked, two thugs approached and one reached into her car, through the driver’s side window, in attempt to grab her purse. She saw several other men standing nearby.

In no mood to be robbed, Hudgins pulled her gun from her purse and opened fire. As she later discovered, she had only two live rounds in the gun, and she made them count. One of the would-be robbers was hit, and all the other guys suddenly turned into track stars and disappeared into the night.

Police soon arrived and they found the wounded man on the far side of Hudgins’ apartment complex, in no condition to argue. He was transported to the hospital, with an aggravated robbery charge in his future.

The story made headlines in the Washington Post, which is no small accomplishment for a report with a pro-rights message. And what was that message?

“I shot until I couldn’t shoot anymore,” Hudgins told a reporter. “I saved my life!”

And you made our day.

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