Less than a week after the Orlando murders, the battle lines have been drawn. And the coming fight over even more legislation to regulate the law-abiding citizen (criminals are never bothered by laws) has apparently driven some legislators mad as hatters.
In California, Senator Isadore Hall called gun owners "crazy, vicious and heartless". He doubled down and said if you were a gun owner you were responsible for the attack in Orlando and had (I'm not making this up) "a dirty, filthy mouth that needs to be washed with soap."
Kudos to the Firearms Policy Coalition of California for sending their lobbyist Craig DeLuz by Senator Hall's office with a note -and a bar of soap.
Now, they're offering gun owners the chance to sign a petition that calls him out for his comments, saying "Your disingenuous statements about gun owners are totally ridiculous. It is 'crazy, vicious and heartless' to blame gun owners for a terrorist attack. You should immediately retract your statements!" (Their petition is online athttps://www.firearmspolicy.org/alerts/fight-the-senator-who-called-gun-owners-disgusting/?mc_cid=5462e2e2fb&mc_eid=a3df7cd432
Gotta give it to the FPC, they're not backing down, even from apparently overwrought politicians.
The Firearms Policy Coalition had their lobbyist drop by state Senator Isidore Hall's office and drop off a message- and bar of soap. Nice response.
Meanwhile, in Washington the push by anti-gun members of Congress is - finally- getting some pushback. After a 15-hour filibuster by Connecticut's Senator Chris Murphy failed to drive a vote on measures intended to ban anyone on the no-fly list from buying a firearm, other senators are finally speaking up to defend the Constitutional. Personally, I liked Kentucky Senator (and Majority Leader) Mitch McConnel's description of the filibuster as a "campaign talk-a-thon" that did nothing but delay votes on real legislative matters.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn introduced what has been called a "dueling measure" that would delay a gun sale to anyone on those lists for up to 72 hours, but require prosecutors to go to court and show probable cause to block the sale permanently.
New York Sen. Chuck Schuler described that bill as a "wolf in sheep's clothing" that would allow "every terrorist to get a gun".
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon called Cornyn's legislation a "smokescreen".
Cornyn responded pretty directly, calling that response "an incredibly ignorant thing to say," going on to say, "That anyone can be denied their constitutional rights without due process of law and without the government coming forward and establishing probable cause, that's simply un-American."
Senators Charles Grassley of Iowa and Ted Cruz of Texas also have legislation working that would notify law enforcement if anyone investigated for terrorism in the past five years tried to buy a gun- along with other measures. In response to the Democratic measures, Cruz said he found it "ridiculous that in response to an ISIS terror attack, the Democrats go on high dudgeon that we've got to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens."
"This," he said, "is not a gun control issue, it's a terrorism issue."
The Justice Department has said it supports those measures, despite FBI Director James Comey saying those bans could alert terrorists they are being investigated.
Meanwhile, as Congress plays politics with terrorism, CIA Director John Brennan told the Senate Intelligence committee yesterday that U.S. led efforts to strike at ISIS have not hampered it's "terrorism capability and global reach". Brennan went on to tell the committee that, despite pressure on core groups in Iraq and Syria, the group continues to work on ways to infiltrate operatives into the West including "refugee groups, smuggling routes and legitimate methods of travel."
Around the rest of the country, pro-gun groups are reaching out to LBGT communities. In Ohio, the Buckeye Firearms Association is offering free self-defense class for residents of central Ohio, although the event is actually called "introduction to Self Defense with a Firearm".
"We're saddened by the tragic murders in Orlando," said Dean Rieck, Executive Director of BFA. "But we're also angry. While we still don't know all the details, our understanding is that apart from one off-duty police officer, it was illegal for anyone in the Pulse nightclub to carry a firearm for self-defense.
"News reports indicate that many people were trapped with no clear exit and no means of defending themselves. The advice in these situations is to run, hide, or fight. Unfortunately, in this given situation, many people had nowhere to run or hide. And they had no practical way to fight."
Rieck says this has nothing to do with politics, but everything to do with having options for personal safety. "I know this is a hot button issue and people have widely different opinions about guns. But it is our view that no matter who you are, you should have the freedom to choose how to respond in a life-or-death situation.
As we're checking in with our industry contacts around the country, it seems average Americans aren't counting on the government when it comes to either their safety or their individual rights.
Checks with independent gun dealers around the country show that the once-again demonized AR-style rifles are disappearing off store shelves. Unlike those disappearing guns at Academy Sports and Outdoors, however, those others around the country are being snapped up by consumers, not hidden by corporate instruction.
And just when you thought it was possible to see ammunition once again back to respectable levels, we're hearing reports of runs on ammo in all the "usual" calibers.
Hopefully, things will calm down this weekend. Regardless, we'll keep you posted.