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Year opens with two major hurdles for gun prohibitionists

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Two major hurdles have just been thrown in the path of gun prohibitionists including yesterday’s announcement of a new line of “Duck Commander” firearms from Mossberg, and The Gun Mag is reporting today that law enforcement firearms fatalities last year were at the lowest point since 1887, and only six officers were killed with rifles of any kind.

Mossberg is one of the oldest firearms companies in the nation and is renowned for its line of workhorse shotguns that have been used by hunters, law enforcement and the military. The new Duck Commander series includes nine different pump-action and semi-auto shotgun models plus two .22-caliber semi-auto rifles and a .22-caliber semi-auto pistol. The pistol and one of the rifles are sure to alarm anti-gunners because they are patterned after the popular AR-15 platform.

It may be difficult for the anti-gun lobby to make too much noise, however, because right now, the Duck Commander and Duck Dynasty labels are apparently the current gold standard in fly-over America thanks to the recent controversy between the Robertson family and the A&E Network. Details of A&E’s losing disagreement with family patriarch Phil Robertson over remarks he made in a magazine interview have been widely reported. Massive public support for the Robertson family and Phil in particular apparently forced the cable network to back off, and in the process, a devastating setback to political correctness was just handed to the Left.

Add to that the series of commercials Mossberg has produced for the Duck Commander guns, narrated by Phil Robertson. In one, he talks about "certain unalienable rights" with which Americans have been endowed by their Creator: "To live, be free and pursue happiness."

“You know what makes me happy ladies and gentlemen?," Robertson asks. "To blow a mallard drake’s head smooth off.”

The guns, and the advertising, could send people flocking to gun stores, hoping to get their hands on one of the camouflage-covered Duck Dynasty guns, nearly all of which are based on proven Mossberg models. Four of the shotguns are chambered for the hard-hitting, powerful 3 ½-inch 12-gauge magnum, three others will handle 12-gauge, 3-inch magnums and two are chambered for 20-gauge, 3-inch shells. Both pump guns and semi-autos are in the mix.

In less than two weeks, these firearms will be official debuted at the 2014 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas. This column will be reporting from there.

The Duck Dynasty gun line is dominated by shotguns, which – according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) – were used in only two fatal police officer shootings in 2013. Only six more were killed with rifles of any kind, including so-called “assault weapons.” In all, 33 police officers were killed by gunfire last year, NLEOMF preliminary figures say, which is down significantly from the 49 killed with firearms in 2012.

But data showing such low use of rifles and shotguns in crime and homicides continually raises questions in the firearms community about the motives of gun control proponents who want semi-auto rifles and their magazines banned.

According to the private group, which monitors police fatalities, more officers died from traffic-related injuries last year than gunshot wounds. NLEOMF said 46 officers died in traffic incidents, including 31 killed in crashes, another 11 who were struck and killed outside of their vehicles and four who died in motorcycle crashes.

The reduction in fatal police shootings came during a year when concealed carry across the country continued climbing dramatically, including here in Washington state. This column revealed yesterday that 2013 saw more than 56,700 new concealed pistol licenses in the Evergreen State.

Coming next: Down to the wire for dueling initiatives

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