As this column departs the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, returning back to the Northwest, where Saturday will see a gun rights rally in Olympia and a big gun show in Puyallup, there are some lessons to be learned from the past week and a new revelation that pokes a gaping hole in one long-standing contention by gun prohibitionists.
According to John Fund, writing in National Review, the assertion that 40 percent of all firearms transactions in the United States occur without a background check is probably bogus. Fund reported that this estimate comes from a survey of 251 people that was taken 19 years ago, before the Brady Law’s mandatory background checks — done via the National Instant Check System (NICS) — law took effect. That was before the NICS system was fully implemented.
Fund quoted economist and author John Lott, who now believes the real number of un-checked private transactions is in the single-digits. If true, this would make the push for “universal background checks” a rather moot point. Lott, the author of More Guns = Less Crime, has been destroying gun control myths for several years.
Still, the firearms industry is bracing for battle. The prevailing wisdom here is that President Barack Obama has declared war on the Second Amendment. His 23 executive orders, detailed in this column, may or may not amount to much because the devil is always in the details.
“The dubious statistic of guns that avoided background checks — which is actually 36 percent — comes from a small 251-person survey on gun sales two decades ago, very early in the Clinton administration. Most of the survey covered sales before the Brady Act instituted mandatory federal background checks in early 1994.”—John Fund, National Review
There were, according to Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, a group of six protesters outside of the Venetian Hotel, which is linked to the Sands Convention Center, site of the SHOT Show. Inside over the four-day event, which concludes today, tens of thousands of retailers and wholesalers have been jamming the aisles.
Probably to Mr. Obama’s dismay and that of his allies on Capitol Hill, the firearms business is booming, no pun intended. Indeed, the president and anti-gun Sen. Dianne Feinstein can take a large part of the credit. When they talk gun bans, gun sales skyrocket.
Another casualty of the current attack on gun rights may be the media manipulators. One of their strategies of late has been to try driving a wedge between gun rights leaders and members of organizations such as the National Rifle Association. NRA’s Chris Cox, head of the Institute for Legislative Action, was fully aware of this in a casual conversation with Examiner Thursday.
The media myth that is wholly embraced, if not partly manufactured by, the gun prohibition lobby, is that the NRA leadership does not share the values and concerns of members and other gun owners. NRA’s exploding membership over the past 30 days puts the lie to that allegation conclusively. More than 250,000 new members have joined the organization since the Sandy Hook tragedy ignited the current push to ban guns and erode gun rights.
Translation: The numbers clearly demonstrate that these gun owners do believe the NRA speaks for them, else why would they join? NRA President David Keene, a white-haired grandfatherly figure with a calm, even voice, has been doing what many believe is a marvelous job in press interviews, representing gun owners and explaining why currently-proposed gun control measures are far more flash than substance.
Saturday’s numbers at Olympia and the Puyallup gun show, sponsored by the Washington Arms Collectors, could also tell the tale. There will be an NRA membership table at the gun show, and this column will be watching the activity there.
Likewise, the Second Amendment Foundation is kicking off its “Bucket of Bucks” fund raising effort to help pay for legal battles it is currently fighting and ones that loom on the horizon. Gun show attendees will be asked to drop a dollar bill in a pail at the SAF table, with the intent of filling that bucket.
SAF and CCRKBA both have seen a surge in memberships, and last weekend in Monroe, a SAF display got a remarkable amount of business in the sale of pro-gun bumper stickers. Likewise, here at the Las Vegas SHOT Show, bumper sticker sales have been heavy.
Among WAC operators, there is anticipation of much media attention and a possible protest. Saturday is Gun Appreciation Day, a national effort mounted at the grassroots level that encourages visits to gun shops, gun show and gun ranges, and participation in activities like late-season hunting.
The Olympia rally runs from noon to 2:30 p.m. There will be speakers, gift bags for youngsters, free coffee, soda and water and an opportunity for gun owners to demonstrate their belief in the Second Amendment. This is the third annual Second Amendment rally at the Capitol Campus by Tivoli Fountain.