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Since the House and Senate passed the latest gun licensing bill, also known as ERPO or Red Flag bills, we have been accused by the bill supporters of spreading untruthful rhetoric about what the bill does. We have also been accused of being unwilling to work with the legislature to craft a workable bill. These opinions are simply not based on the facts.
GOAL always wants to make sure that our members are getting factual information regarding the issues at hand. It is very important that we only use factual information so that when our members are engaging legislators, or others, they have the ability to speak intelligently on the matters at hand.
Despite the backlash from the bills supporters, GOAL’s concerns on due process, property rights, legal representation and lack of mental health assistance still stand. Here are some factual concerns that we have put together for our members to set the record straight. Also listed are a great number of changes to the bill that GOAL offered to address many of our concerns.
FACT: This newly proposed system can only be used on gun owners. If someone believes that a person may be an extreme danger to our children or a potential suicide risk, but they do not possess a license or a gun, this system cannot be utilized. Its strict purpose is to take the gun, not provide help.
FACT: If an “emergency” 10-day order is filed against an accused person, they have no right to appear before the judge with legal counsel until after the order is issued. This is because the accused won’t even be aware of what has transpired until law enforcement shows up at their door to confiscate their property. The defendant only gets a hearing under the emergency order after the order has been enforced.
FACT: Even in the case of an “emergency” order being issued and then being lifted after a hearing, the accused will forever have to state on license applications that their license had been suspended. Then they will have to explain to the licensing authority why they were considered a potential “extreme” public safety risk.
FACT: Citizens who are accused of being an extreme risk are not allowed a court appointed attorney if they cannot afford one. Because these hearings take place as a civil court proceeding, we are told that court appointed legal assistance is never available. The legislature could have changed that, but chose not to.
FACT: Because the appeals process from the original bill was removed, a defendant can only use the existing appellate court process. Even if the accused can afford an attorney these costs can exceed $10,000. If the accused cannot afford an attorney, the appeals process can be virtually impossible.
FACT: The version passed by the House actually mandated that the accused relinquish “ownership”, not just possession, of their property in order to seek an appeal. This was later fixed in the Senate version.
FACT: If the accused cannot make the scheduled hearing for any reason, and if the judge believes the evidence being placed before them by the accuser, the order is “automatically” issued for up to a year.
FACT: The people who can file an order against someone are very broad. This is caused by the lengthy definition of “family or household member”. It is further broadened by the use of “is or was” applied to that definition.
FACT: It is not clear in the bill’s language whether a person is allowed to know or face their accuser. Nor is it clear that they are allowed access to the evidence used against them. We are told that this is already covered in normal court procedures, but when we tried to amend the bill to make that clear, it was rejected.
FACT: It is more likely than not that there is nothing temporary about an ERPO order. With discretionary licensing alive and well in the Commonwealth, is there any belief that once a person has been issued one of these orders that they are ever going to get their rights restored? A senate amendment actually verified that the licensing authorities discretion still exists even if the court denies or lifts an order.
FACT: Even if after an emergency 10-day order the judge decides that there is not enough evidence to place a further order, the accused may not be able to get their property returned. Because the bill only allows the property to be stored with a “licensed dealer”, the guns will have to be entered into their books. If the property consists of handguns that are not on the “approved” roster and meet the Attorney General’s regulations (940 CMR 16:00) they cannot be legally transferred back to the owner. Further, if any of the guns fall under the newly broadened Attorney General’s definition of “assault weapon”, they cannot be legally transferred back as well. We attempted to address this through an amendment, but it was rejected.
FACT: Despite the claims of the bill’s supporters that the state budget has appropriated large amounts of funding for mental health matters, there is nothing in this bill that specifically deals with the people subject to an order. If part of the bill is to identify the next mass murderer, all this bill does is take their legal guns away, hand them a pamphlet on mental health, and then release them on society. If part of the bill is to identify people who may be suicidal, all this bill does is take their legal guns away, hand them a pamphlet on mental health, and then send them home. In the Commonwealth, 93% of women and 72% of men who commit suicide don’t use a gun.
REJECTED PROPOSALS from GOAL
The following rejected proposals are from GOAL’s efforts to craft a bill that would actually create a comprehensive and compassionate bill that not only protected civil rights, it would also have addressed suicide prevention and sever mental health crisis management.
Rejected – Establishing a Friends and Family Suicide Prevention Hotline – this would include a web resource and text capability to ensure that people are able to access much needed information.
Rejected – The hotline would have been staffed by people who are trained in suicide prevention, intervention, and mental health crisis management. Additionally they would have been trained on the legal programs and systems available in MA.
Rejected – Hotline staff would have offered advice on how to conduct a thorough home sweep for materials or items that could be a risk to people in temporary crisis. This would include narcotics, RX medications, alcohol, poisons, etc.
Rejected – The hotline would have provided information on what means currently exist for friends and family to successfully intervene in a temporary mental health crisis.
Rejected – Directing the Department of Public Health to develop mental health wellness follow up programs.
Rejected – Provide Judges the ability to mandate secure treatment for people with severe mental health issues that have been determined to pose an “extreme” risk to others. This would prevent them from having access to our children and they may get the help they so desperately need.
Rejected – Enables a judge to reduce the likelihood that a person who is extremely dangerous due to severe mentally illness cannot cause harm using by other means by taking action to revoke, or at least recommend, a wide range of State issued licenses or permits, i.e. a CDL license, license to practice medicine, firearms license, etc.
Rejected – Establishing a commission to conduct a comprehensive study on suicide prevention and mental health crisis management needs in the Commonwealth now and in the future.
Rejected – Examine and report on all current and proposed suicide prevention and mental health crisis management resources available in the Commonwealth.
Rejected – Conduct a review of present and projected future needs for emergency outpatient, inpatient, and long-term care needs for those with mental health issues.
Rejected – Report on the current statistics regarding suicide and the means of suicide as established by the Injury Surveillance Program under the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Rejected – Establish a fund suitable to accept donations from charitable organizations to assist the state in mental health services and suicide prevention.
Rejected – The rightful return of property that would have protected those having their property stored to have it returned to them even if they were not on the “approved” lists.
Rejected – Protecting owners from incurring fees from storage facilities when property was being held without the owner’s consent. They have the right to store their property at a facility of their choosing.
Rejected – Providing mental health counseling once a protection order has been issued.
Rejected – Raising the standard of evidence to “clear and convincing”.
Rejected – Increasing the penalties for false accusation that would include placing a harassment order against the false accuser.
Rejected – Preventing an order being placed on the accused automatically simply because they could not appear at the only hearing.
Rejected – Raising the standard of evidence for an “emergency” 10-day order to “clear and convincing” and only if the evidence showed the accused to be an extreme danger to others.
Rejected – Clarifying by specific section of law who could temporarily store property.
Rejected – Preventing other means of harm by extremely dangerous people by restricting their ability to possess things like dangerous chemicals or rental trucks.
Rejected – Allowing courts to commit extremely dangerous people for longer periods of time if they have a history of being committed due to severe mental illness.
Rejected – Placing a restriction on dangerous individuals who have been committed against their will from entering onto school property.
Rejected – Narrowly defining “Family or Household Members” to only those with a current relationship.
Rejected – Providing legal counsel for financially poor that have been accused.
Rejected – Mandating the court identify whether the accuser has a history of harassing the accused or has a history of mental illness themselves.
Rejected – If the court issues an “emergency” order the accused must be notified within 24 hours and be allowed a hearing within 2 days.
Rejected – Mandating the courts actually have to consult with a licensed psychiatrist who specializes in suicide intervention and severe mental illness crisis management.
Rejected – Nothing in the new law shall be deemed to prevent the respondent from being notified as to the identity of the petitioner and the evidence being presented against them.
Rejected – That an accuser could only file a petition if they have direct knowledge of danger, not second hand hearsay.
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Industry News / NSSF Expels Dick’s Sporting Goods
« Last post by Bob Linehan on May 04, 2018, 01:09:22 PM »
NSSF Expels Dick’s Sporting Goods
The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, Board of Governors today unanimously voted to expel Dick’s Sporting Goods from membership for conduct detrimental to the best interests of the Foundation.
Dick’s Sporting Goods recently hired a Washington D.C.-based government affairs firm, for “[l]obbying related to gun control.” Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Edward W. Stack announced earlier this year the retail chain would end sales of modern sporting rifles, voluntarily raise the age to 21 to purchase firearms in their stores and called for more restrictive legislation. Dick’s later announced they would destroy the remaining modern sporting rifle inventory. NSSF responded that business decisions should be individually made, but was nonetheless disappointed and the decision does not reflect the reality of the vast majority of law-abiding gun owners.
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American Outdoor Brands Responds to BlackRock
by Guy J. Sagi - Monday, March 12, 2018

On March 6, 2018, American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) issued a response to a series of business-practice questions posed by BlackRock, one the world’s largest money management firms—with $6.288 trillion in assets on behalf of investors. The response provides insights into the industry’s legal obligations and willingness to aide law enforcement, as well as voluntary safety, outreach and awareness campaigns. It also details AOBC’s commitment to protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
AOBC’s cover letter issues a reminder that, “As you review the contents of this reply, we believe it is important to tell you that we respect the national debate that is currently underway regarding firearms and safety. We share the nation’s grief over the incomprehensible and senseless loss of life at Parkland, Florida, and we share the desire to make our communities safer. Through our membership and work with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, we will continue to support the development of effective solutions that accomplish that objective while protecting the rights of the law-abiding firearm owner.”
AOBC—owner of Smith & Wesson, among others—addresses each question in detail and explains, “We firmly believe that the best way to stop the criminal use of firearms and the violence associated with it, is to enforce the laws that already exist, and to focus stronger efforts on prosecuting those who break them.” The nine-page response concludes, “The solution is not to take a politically motivated action that has an adverse impact on our company, our employees, our industry, our shareholders, the economies we support and, most importantly, the rights of the law abiding citizens that buy our products, but results in no increase in public safety. We must collectively have the courage to ensure any actions are guided by data, by facts, and by what will actually make us safer—not by what is easy, expedient, or reads well in a headline.”
Active funds managed by BlackRock total $1.6 trillion, making it the industry’s leader with a wide array of clientele options, including funds with interest in tobacco and adult-beverage companies. At press time, there was no response to multiple e-mails and phone calls inquiring if the firm has ever posed similar questions to the other industries.
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Industry News / Northeastern University study (Posted on "Bearingarms.com")
« Last post by Bob Linehan on March 06, 2018, 08:38:53 AM »
Study Claims There Is No ‘School Shooting Epidemic’
Posted at 12:00 pm on March 5, 2018 by Tom Knighton

Bearingarms.com link: https://bearingarms.com/tom-k/2018/03/05/study-claims-no-school-shooting-epidemic/?utm_source=badaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl
Northeastern University study link: https://news.northeastern.edu/2018/02/schools-are-still-one-of-the-safest-places-for-children-researcher-says/

Throughout the current gun debate, we keep being told that we gun rights advocates simply have to give up ground on our positions. We have to because we need to do something to combat the epidemic of school shootings that have plagued this country. Things are just awful, and it’s up to us to give up our sacred and protected right to keep and bear arms to stop it.
However, things aren’t nearly as bad as the media like to paint it.
Researchers at Northeastern University claim there is not a school shooting “epidemic” and schools are actually safer than in the 1990s, according to a study published Feb. 26.
Following the Parkland massacre where 17 students and faculty were murdered and another 16 injured, policymakers and politicians are grappling with ways to combat school shootings. The solution of reforming gun policies might be less effective in combating school shooting sprees.
“There is not an epidemic of school shootings,” said James Alan Fox, Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern University, who led the research project with doctoral student Emma Fridel, Northeastern reported.
Their research emphasizes that school shootings are actually infrequent — only approximately one out of 20 to 30 mass shootings per year take place at a school. The study also suggests that school shootings are lessening, approximately four times the amount of people were killed during shooting sprees in the 1990s compared to now. Banning bump stocks and raising the age to purchase an assault rifle might do little to prevent school shootings. In the past 35 years, there are only five cases where someone aged 18 to 20 used an assault rifle to carry out a mass shooting, Fox said.
So why does it seem like there’s an epidemic to some people, or are they just lying in order to score some political points?
Well, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt for a moment and assume they’re not lying, that they genuinely believe things are worse today than they were in the past. Why do they think that when the evidence suggests otherwise?
Part of it is the media. Even if you take out the leftists spin at places like MSNBC and CNN, there’s a lot more media out there, which means a lot more reporting. Further, via social media, people are exposed to a lot more media. This creates an odd effect where people see all these reports and it starts to get processed differently in the brain.
When you get another shooting that closely follows a previous one, it creates a long stream of media reports over just two shootings. All are tragic, mind you, but it’s not the crisis it feels like.
Then, of course, there’s the possibility that they really are lying because they figure people will buy their BS and accept infringements on their constitutionally-protected Second Amendment rights.
At this point in time, I rule nothing out completely.
What I do rule out is that somehow things are worse now than in the past. It’s especially interesting to me, however, that school shootings are happening less frequently today than they did in the 1990’s. After all, the Assault Weapon Ban of 1994 covered most of that decade, yet we had more school shootings then than now.
Fascinating.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the AWB led to school shootings or anything. Correlation doesn’t equal causation, after all. It’s just an interesting data point that should be brought up during this current debate.
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Industry News / Second Ammendment Foundation (SAF.ORG)
« Last post by Bob Linehan on July 26, 2017, 11:04:39 AM »
D.C. APPEALS COURT STRIKES DOWN ‘GOOD REASON’ CCW LAW – SAF
BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today won a significant court victory against “good reason” requirements for concealed carry when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of such a requirement in Washington, D.C.
The 2-1 ruling, written by Judge Thomas Beall Griffith, a 2005 George W. Bush appointee, declared that, “At the Second Amendment’s core lies the right of responsible citizens to carry firearms for personal self-defense beyond the home, subject to longstanding restrictions…The District’s good-reason law is necessarily a total ban on exercises of that constitutional right for most D.C. residents. That’s enough to sink this law under (the 2008 U.S. Supreme Court’s Heller ruling).”
“Today’s ruling contains some powerful language that affirms what we have argued for many years, that requiring a so-called ‘good cause’ to exercise a constitutionally-protect right does not pass the legal smell test,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “We’re particularly pleased that the opinion makes it clear that the Second Amendment’s core generally covers carrying in public for self-defense.”
The 31-page majority opinion also said that the District’s “good cause” requirement was essentially designed to prevent the exercise of the right to bear arms by most District residents. Thus, it amounts to a complete prohibition, and that does not pass muster under the 2008 Heller ruling that struck down the District’s 30-year handgun ban.
“The good-reason law,” Judge Griffith wrote, “is necessarily a total ban on most D.C. residents’ right to carry a gun in the face of ordinary self-defense needs…”
“To read the majority opinion and not come away convinced that such ‘good reason’ or ‘good cause’ requirements are just clever ways to prevent honest citizens from exercising their rights is not possible,” Gottlieb stated. “To say we are delighted with the ruling would be an understatement. We are simply more encouraged to keep fighting, winning firearms freedom one lawsuit at a time.”
The case is Wrenn v. District of Columbia
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Industry News / Commonwealth 2nd Ammendment Current Federal Court Cases
« Last post by Bob Linehan on February 06, 2017, 02:26:23 PM »
The link below is to Comm2A's leaderboard. A summary of current federal court cases.

http://comm2a.org/index.php/8-home/230-leader-board
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Industry News / Gun Owners Action League (GOAL)
« Last post by Bob Linehan on November 07, 2016, 11:32:05 AM »
News and Information from and about GOAL
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Industry News / "Gunshow Loophole"
« Last post by Bob Linehan on October 18, 2016, 02:32:15 PM »
The Truth About Gun Shows

by Mark Keefe - Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Originally published in American Rifleman, October 2009

Recently, I ran into someone I hadn't seen since my high school days—I'll call him "Danny." We talked about mutual friends, families, careers and personal interests and when he learned of my occupation, it became apparent that he belongs to what I call the "I own guns, BUT ..." group of Americans. The "BUT..." in our conversation was the fact that he really didn't understand—and had never attended—gun shows. Still, he told me, he knew all about them from the media. And he knew for a "fact" that they should have additional government control.

Our conversation was upsetting and all too short. Danny was amazingly uninformed on something that most NRA members understand and treasure as part of American freedom. So I knew what I had to do: I had to tell the true story in the form of a heart-felt primer about gun shows.

I write this not just for Danny, but for all such ill-informed "I own guns, BUT..." folks everywhere. As for those of you who know the facts, remember, whether writing or speaking, we only convince people one person at a time.

So, What Are Gun Shows?
Gun shows offer a variety of firearms and accessories that you can't find under one roof in even the largest gun shops. Stores don't have room for 2,000 to 10,000 tables devoted to firearms and accessories. And then there are the gun shows that offer a variety of both old and new, used or currently manufactured merchandise. They are no different than book fairs, car shows or counted cross-stitch shows—all of which share free speech, the right to assemble and the right to peaceable commerce between individuals. All of these assemblies represent the same thing: a gathering of Americans with a common passion—for freedom.

The 21st century American gun show has its roots in the market fairs and swap meets of our forefathers. The trading of firearms between private individuals goes back to even before the founding of our country. A modern-day example is well-illustrated by one of my favorite gun shows. When it was last held in July at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Va., the Nation's Gun Show exhibited more than 1,700 vendor tables in two buildings. More than 10,000 people from all over the country attended and participated. No, they assembled.

As usual, I was looking for military M1911s, which have always been an interest. My grandfather carried one in World War II and I have several rebuilt guns I've been slowly restoring. One parts seller in particular I've been buying from for years has one of the best tables of bins brimming with M1911 parts I've seen anywhere.

And then there's my good friend Phil Schreier. He goes to the Nation's Gun Show for the same reason he attends countless other shows. "To enhance my collection," he explained. "I'm always looking for better, higher-condition examples or for items not represented in my collection." Phil is senior curator of the National Firearms Museum and manager of NRA Gun Collector Programs. We've walked the aisles of many a show together and to us, gun shows define the pursuit of happiness.

Of course, some collecting organizations, such as the prestigious Ohio Gun Collectors Ass'n, don't allow the public to attend: members and guests only.

The NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits feature an entire aisle of nothing but such educational displays competing for medals and awards from the NRA Gun Collectors Committee. Think of it as the Stanley Cup for gun collectors. The NRA Gun Collecting Department puts on a National Gun Collecting Leadership Seminar every year. The department also works with one of the NRA's many affiliated gun collecting clubs to put on the annual NRA National Gun Collectors Show. The plastic ties you see on guns at most shows today are thanks to the efforts of NRA-affiliated collecting organizations wanting a simple, visible means to ensure every firearm for sale or on display is safe and unloaded.

I asked Glen Caroline, who is NRA-ILA Grassroots director, about the First Amendment side of gun shows. "Recent legislation that would end gun shows as we know them would gravely impact the lawful transfer of firearms themselves, and would also end the transfer of information and political dialogue that is crucial to our grassroots efforts in communicating with our members and lawful firearm owners," he told me. "This kind of legislation is not only an affront to the Second Amendment, but would also have dire consequences for the First Amendment rights of gun owners."

At gun shows I've met county sheriffs, state senators, state representatives and even a serving U.S. congressman or two. As many shows as I've attended, I can't recall not seeing police cars in the parking lots or uniformed officers in the aisles. At the shows I attend, it's not uncommon to see BATFE agents standing in the aisles talking to officers in uniform, retired FBI agents or dealers. Hardly the company career criminals want to keep.

Who's Behind the Tables?
At shows, you'll find guns on the tables of Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) and private individuals. Before 1986, most with guns at their tables at shows were collectors, selling a few items from their personal collections, as FFLs were prohibited from conducting business at shows. The 1986 McClure-Volkmer Firearms Owner Protection Act allowed FFLs to conduct business at other locations, and FFLs started attending shows—the vast majority of tables with guns on them at major shows are run by FFLs—are all following the same laws by which they abide at their licensed places of business.

You do not need an FFL to sell polished rocks, army boots or surplus underwear at a gun show. At some shows, fully half of the "dealers" have no firearms at all on their tables. Books, scopes, knives and accessories are items not under the purview of the Gun Control Act of 1968.

Steve Clark, the proprietor of Beaver Creek Arms, which specializes in vintage firearms and military souvenirs, came from his home in Dillsburg, Pa., to exhibit at the Chantilly show for the first time. Clark began his career in firearms as a hobbyist and now relies on it for a full-time living. "I spent 32 years in industry," said Clark, a kindly middle-aged man, then added, referring to the recent tough financial times on Wall Street, "We lost a lot of our investments." Of his new career, he said, "It's an investment venue. When I look at my 401(G)," he says with a grin, hoping that the listener understands that the "G" stands for gun, "it looks pretty good."

But guns aren't all that's for sale at guns shows. Also at Chantilly, Jeni Benos, a vendor from Pearlsburg, Va., has banked on her warm personality and talents as a jewelry maker to establish a spot for herself during the past few years. Designs in her Jenuinely Jeni line include Pistol Petals, floral-themed pendants she hand crafts by peeling back and polishing the brass cases of spent handgun cartridges. "They make a statement about the Second Amendment," she said with obvious pride and enthusiasm.

What Loophole?
Anti-gunners call private individuals who sell a few guns from their personal collections—their personal property—the so-called "gun show loophole." What some refer to as a "loophole" is actually a federal law.

Consider this. There is nothing anyone can think of that involves criminals and guns that isn't already covered under federal law—and that includes anything a criminal might do at a gun show. Anything.

Whether it's at a gun show or anywhere else, acquisition of any firearm by a "prohibited person" under 18 U.S.C. 922(g) is a crime. Any felon who attends a gun show and touches a gun—or ammunition—is in violation of federal law with a 10-year criminal penalty as a start.

The same goes for fugitives from justice, drug addicts, adjudicated lunatics and domestic abusers. Interstate transportation, transfer of a firearm or ammunition by anyone in those prohibited categories, are felonies.

Terrorists? They are already covered by harsh federal law. An act of terrorism is a crime. Planning an act of terrorism is a crime. So, understand that acquisition of a gun or ammunition by anybody intended for criminal purposes is a federal felony.

Straw sales? Covered. It is a felony for anyone who is not a prohibited person to acquire a gun or ammunition for anybody in the prohibited category. All of this covers any gun-cheap gun, long gun, concealable gun or even a so-called "assault weapon."

The best data available from the U.S. Department of Justice indicates that only 0.7 percent of criminals obtained their firearms from gun shows. And those criminals violated the law: They committed serious crimes for which they could spend years in jail.

Understand the closing of the so-called "gun show loophole" for what it means. It would make it a criminal act for peaceable, law-abiding citizens to buy or sell guns to friends or neighbors without running a federal background check. Want to sell your brother-in-law your old Remington 870? A federal crime. They seek to put you and your guns into a federal database—for every firearm transferred in America, starting with gun shows.

What is the real point of closing the so-called "gun show loophole"? If it is to prohibit criminals from obtaining firearms, all the tools are already there. Bottom line, if it's illegal under federal law, it's illegal at a gun show.

How about enforcing the law? According to the mainstream media, one can simply walk into any one of the estimated 5,000 gun shows held annually in the United States and purchase machine guns, grenades and rocket launchers, no questions asked, cash and carry. At no place in the United States is such conduct legal. Federal and state laws regarding firearms apply to every corner of the nation—including gun shows.

Endgame
So, what do those who would end gun shows really want for you and me? A permanent record of every gun owner and firearm in the United States on a federal computer. It's gun shows today, but all private transfers between law-abiding citizens are the objective.

The Bradys proved their goal. In 1989, the Roberti-Roos Act passed, the so-called "assault-weapon ban," in California. Gun owners in that state—where all sales must be registered and run through FFLs—were sent notices to register their affected guns or face fines or prison. The state imposed a deadline for the registration of "assault weapons." There was confusion regarding the registration. Guns not covered by the ban were registered, and others who had guns that should have been registered didn't get the word or were initially afraid to register their guns. When owners affected by the ban asked the state if they could register the guns after the deadline, California said yes.

Many did just that. Not satisfied, the Bradys sued the state and forced California to tell everyone who registered a gun after the deadline to get the gun out of the state or it would be confiscated. Anti-gunners used the courts to force the confiscation of guns from citizens who registered their guns and tried in good faith to comply with the law.

The calls to end the traditional American gun show and close the non-existent "gun show loophole" infringe on both the free speech and Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. These infringements have far-reaching effects.

The next time I see my friend Danny I'm going to give him a copy of this essay. I hope others will copy it, too, and pass it on to people they might know among that "BUT..." class of gun owners, or to non-gun owners so they can better understand the truth about gun shows.

—Brian C. Sheetz and James O.E. Norell contributed to this story
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Industry News / Against All Odds ( a bit of a Massachusetts history lesson)
« Last post by Bob Linehan on July 29, 2016, 06:39:50 PM »
by Dave Kopel

America's 1st Freedom. Jan. 25, 2012

In the 2012 election, the Supreme Court and, therefore, the Second Amendment, hang in the balance. Victory, and the survival of Second Amendment rights, is possible only if gun owners work together to defend their rights.

That’s the Spirit of 1776, and it’s the lesson of 1976. The year of our national bicentennial was the year of the most important Second Amendment election in 200 years of American independence. The story of that election provides guidance for today—and highlights the dangers that lie ahead.

Enactment of a handgun ban by the District of Columbia City Council in 1975 was intended to start a national trend. So in 1976, a handgun confiscation initiative appeared on the statewide ballot in Massachusetts.

It was proposed that authorities confiscate all handguns in the state, including BB guns. Gun owners would have six months to surrender their firearms, after which they would face a mandatory year in prison for owning a handgun.

The confiscation law seemed poised to pass. The most liberal state in the nation, Massachusetts—along with the District of Columbia—was the only place that had given its electoral votes to Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern in 1972. (McGovern had run on a platform calling for a national ban on all handguns considered “unsuitable for sporting purposes.”)

Most of the Massachusetts media strongly supported a handgun ban. The Boston Globe, whose reach extends throughout the relatively small state, vehemently opposed handgun ownership. So did the television stations in Boston.

Early polling suggested that a handgun ban would pass handily. Further, in the 1974 election, voters in several state legislative districts had overwhelmingly supported measures instructing their state legislators to vote for strict anti-gun legislation.

Massachusetts gun laws were already among the most severe in the nation, requiring permission from local law enforcement officials before the purchase of any firearm; allowing local law enforcement agencies to set conditions on the possession or use of that firearm (e.g., the gun must be stored unloaded and may not be used for self-defense); and demanding all guns be registered.

The leader of the “People vs. Handguns” organization was the popular Republican John Buckley, the sheriff of Middlesex County. Buckley was fresh off a 1974 win against a pro-gun challenger. Alongside Buckley was Robert diGrazia, the police commissioner of Boston who was appointed by the staunchly anti-gun Boston Mayor Kevin White.

At the insistence of Buckley and diGrazia, the Massachusetts handgun prohibition lobby did not think small. Confiscation would be total, with no exemption for licensed security guards or target shooting clubs. Even transporting a handgun through Massachusetts (e.g., while traveling from one’s home in Rhode Island to a vacation spot in Maine or a target competition in New Hampshire) would be illegal, except for people with handgun carry permits (which, as of 1976, were almost never issued by most states).

Everyone understood the national importance of the Massachusetts vote. If handgun confiscation could win in Massachusetts, then it could be pushed in city after city, and state after state. The U.S. Conference of Mayors (a collection of big-city mayors) was already making plans for handgun confiscation elections in Michigan, Ohio and California. A Buckley speech to the Conference of Mayors detailed “How to Circumvent the Legislature for Gun Confiscation in 37 States by the Initiative Petition.”

Eventually, it was hoped, the mass of state and local bans would provide the foundation for a national ban.

The group known today as the Brady Campaign knew how high the stakes were; after all, Robert diGrazia was a member of their board of directors. (At the time, the group called itself the “National Council to Control Handguns.”)

They sent out a fundraising letter touting what they called “THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT IN THE HISTORY OF HANDGUN CONTROL.” They promised that, “A victory in Massachusetts will be the first step toward the day when there will be … no more handguns.”

The group’s money paid for the confiscation lobby’s commercials, which featured a one-year-old sticking a .45 in his mouth. The commercial elicited a lot of angry complaints from mothers who did not want their own small children to see such behavior on television.

Out-of-state money also flowed in from the Gund Family Foundation, established by a very wealthy Ohio family. (To this day, Gund remains a major funder of the gun prohibitionists.)

Gov. Michael Dukakis strongly endorsed the confiscation plan. He was a rising star in the Democratic Party, having ousted an incumbent Republican governor in 1974 by a 10-point margin. He would win the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988. “We must disarm society,” Dukakis explained. “We must realize that violence only begets violence. Only when we ban handguns will we reduce violence.”

Even the state’s highest court, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, helped out. A man named Hubert Davis was caught with an unlicensed sawed-off shotgun. In the trial court, his attorney asserted that the ban on short shotguns violated his right to arms under the Massachusetts state constitution.

Davis’ motion was denied by the trial court. While Davis was appealing to the intermediate court of appeals, the Supreme Judicial Court “took the matter on [its] own initiative.” The Supreme Judicial Court, having reached out to take the case, did more than just uphold the ban on short shotguns; the court also ruled that there was no right to arms under the Massachusetts state constitution.

The 1780 Massachusetts Constitution had guaranteed that, “The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence.” Since then, Massachusetts courts had recognized the right to arms as an individual one, subject to legitimate restrictions (such as a ban on mass armed parades without a license). Courts in other states, interpreting identical or near-identical language, came to similar results.

But on March 9, 1976, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court handed down its unanimous decision in Commonwealth v. Davis: there was no individual right to arms in Massachusetts. Period. Whatever the right had meant in 1780, as of 1976 nobody in Massachusetts had any right to keep or bear a firearm. A complete ban on all guns would be constitutional. The implication for the pending vote on handgun confiscation was obvious.

The court also did an even bigger favor for the confiscation lobby. At the urging of Second Amendment supporters, the state legislature had put an alternative proposal on the ballot: If a violent criminal who had used a gun to commit a crime was sentenced to a term of imprisonment (say, “one to five years”), then the criminal would actually have to serve at least the minimum sentence.

Under the Massachusetts Constitution, if the public voted in favor of Question 5a (handgun confiscation) and 5b (prison sentences for violent gun criminals), then only that question that received the most votes would become law. Everyone knew that 5b would pass in a landslide, and so less than two months before the election, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court threw 5b off the ballot, insisting that incarcerating and deterring violent gun criminals did not involve the same subject matter as handgun confiscation.

In a sense, the court was right. Advocates of gun confiscation were aiming at law-abiding citizens, not criminals. At an anti-gun rally the week before the election, Sen. Edward Kennedy explained, “We won’t keep guns out of the hands of criminals.” After the election, an official with the League of Women Voters (which vigorously supported the ban) said, “I think a lot of voters have that idea that this was designed to get guns away from the criminals. That’s not the real purpose.”

In the early 1970s, Massachusetts gun owners were numerous, but they were disorganized, disillusioned and defeatist. That began to change in 1974, when the NRA helped organize a joint sportsmen’s committee, which soon became the Gun Owners Action League (GOAL). With gun owners cooperating and contributing, goal was able to hire a full-time executive director, and then a secretary. To have two people working full-time on gun rights issues made a big difference, starting in the state legislature.

Together, GOAL and NRA began a grassroots education campaign against Question 5. It started with county-level meetings throughout the state in August. Voter registration information was distributed in English and Spanish. The meetings were attended by 18,000 people, and from them came nearly 2,000 volunteers. The meetings also raised money for billboards, fliers and other advertising.

The GOAL and NRA activists made their case to other organizations, including the Farm Bureau, Grange, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, the Western Massachusetts Labor Council and many local union members, who joined them in opposing Question 5.

By far the most important, in the eyes of swing voters, were the police. Every major police organization in the state opposed handgun confiscation—including the Chiefs of Police Association, the State Police Association, the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association and the Sheriffs Association.

The police pointed out the ban was not enforceable, that it took the focus off the criminals and that it was unfair to deprive good citizens of defensive handguns. The police also objected that the law would disarm off-duty police: Massachusetts law required off-duty police have a pistol carry permit, and if Question 5 passed, pistol carry permits would no longer exist.

The confiscation lobby may not have intended to disarm the police, but their bill had been drafted by someone who admitted that he did not understand guns. Apparently the drafter did not understand gun laws very well, either.

Perhaps surprised by the police opposition, diGrazia ordered the Planning and Research Department of the Boston Police Department to conduct the first national survey of police attitudes toward guns. The survey of leading police officials found that 82.8 percent did not believe that only the police should be allowed to have handguns. The survey was kept under wraps until 1977, by which time diGrazia had left Boston. (He took over in Montgomery County, Md., and was later removed after rank-and-file police voted “no confidence” in him.)

Another major public concern was the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that would be needed to compensate gun owners for the seizure of at least 800,000 handguns. Even Dukakis admitted that there was no money in the state budget to do so.

Buckley retorted that the proposal said that the compensation price would be “determined by the Commissioner of Public Safety.” So, continued Buckley, gun owners should receive “not one cent.” Nor would they receive anything for their now-worthless ammunition, holsters, reloading tools and so on.

Yet advocates continued to describe the handgun confiscation plan as a “buyback”—even though the government had never owned the guns in the first place, and even though taking someone’s property against his or her will and without paying for it is usually called “stealing” rather than “buying.”

Buckley’s rationale for paying nothing was simple: “We’ve got a right to get poison out of society.” He denounced the Springfield, Mass., handgun manufacturer Smith & Wesson as “merchants of death.”

The week before the election, the dirty tricks began. Common Cause, a leading proponent of Question 5, and (supposedly) an election ethics watchdog, held a press conference to accuse GOAL of money laundering. The charge was based on nothing more than the fact that GOAL’s street address had been omitted from some campaign finance reports.

On Election Day, Nov. 2, 1976, pro-gun volunteers distributed over 2 million handouts outside the polls.

The final poll, a few days before, had showed Question 5 with a 10-point lead. Everyone anticipated a long night waiting for the election results. Everyone was wrong.

Handgun confiscation was crushed by a vote of 69 percent to 31 percent. Of the approximately 500 towns in Massachusetts, only about a dozen (including Cambridge, Brookline, Newton and Amherst) voted for the ban. Even Boston rejected the ban by a wide margin.

People vs. Handguns said that it was “shocked.” The group had been counting on what Buckley called “women power” to defeat the “false machismo” of men. Frightening women about handguns in the home (such as by showing a baby with a gun in his mouth) was part of Buckley’s strategy to move the focus away from “street crime.” But in the final week, Massachusetts women swung decisively against the ban. Apparently they did not think that “women power” meant disarming women and the police.

The gun prohibitionists bitterly complained that they were outspent by the gun rights advocates. This is true, if one looks solely at direct election expenditures. However, the gun prohibitionists received millions of dollars in free publicity from The Boston Globe, The Berkshire Eagle, television stations and much of the rest of the media. The constitutional rights advocates spent much more money on advertising because they had to in order for the public to hear their point of view. Without the paid advertising purchased by gun rights advocates, the free media in support of the prohibitionists would have overwhelmed the debate and won the day. Without the three-month campaign by volunteers handing out fliers in shopping malls, union halls and polling places, many voters would never have learned about the dangers of confiscation.

The 1976 victory in Massachusetts teaches some important lessons for today. First, the continuing support of Second Amendment issues by rank-and-file law enforcement officers is extremely important in garnering public support for the rights of law-abiding citizens. This is why the anti-gun groups are relentless in their efforts to attempt to drive a wedge between Second Amendment supporters and the police, with phony claims that Second Amendment rights endanger the police.

Second, the preservation of Second Amendment rights nationally depends upon a national organization that has resources to fight locally. Perhaps you live in a state such as Montana, where there is zero possibility that any state or local government would ever confiscate guns. But that doesn’t mean that what happens in Massachusetts (or New York, California, etc.) is irrelevant to you. The tactics of the national gun-ban groups are to use state and local bans as the starting point for national bans.

By 1994, only four states and a handful of cities had passed bans on so-called “assault weapons.” Two of the states (California and New Jersey) had far-reaching bans, while in Maryland and Hawaii, the ban was only for “assault” handguns. Yet this four-state foundation was enough for the gun prohibition lobbies to be able to push a national ban into law in 1994.

Counting on the U.S. Supreme Court for protection would be extremely foolish. With one more Obama appointment, there will be a Supreme Court majority to overturn the Heller and McDonald decisions, or to interpret them so narrowly as to make them useless.

As a result of the election, the National Council to Control Handguns (now known as the Brady Campaign) shifted its tactics, to move toward confiscation more gradually. Its leader, Pete Shields, explained, “People can be led, but only a little way at a time.”

Today, the enemies of the Second Amendment are considerably stronger in some respects than they were in 1976. It is true that what little grassroots support they had then has now almost entirely disappeared. But instead, they have the enormously deep pockets of billionaire gun banners such as Michael Bloomberg and George Soros. With the plutocrats’ wealth, plus the free publicity that the mainstream media continue to give to the gun ban advocates, the prohibitionists have a much larger advantage than they did in 1976. On Capitol Hill and in the state legislatures, Bloomberg’s army of professional lobbyists is enormous.

In 1775 and 1776, the brave citizens of Massachusetts, aided by patriots in other states, defeated the attempts by King George III to confiscate their firearms. In 1976, the citizens of Massachusetts once more defeated gun confiscation, again with the help of patriots from all over America.

The gun banners are not stopping, and neither must we. Even where the gun banners are strongest, they can be defeated—if Americans who revere the Constitution remain vigilant and active in support of the NRA and its state and local allies.
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General Information / Friday Night Trap and Skeet
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