Gun Cult

Debate Over NRA Promotion Of Gun ‘Silencers’ Resurfaces Following Virginia Beach Shooting

Opponents note silencers make it harder for potential victims and police to identify gunshots. Pro-gun advocates say they’re important hearing protection. By Julian Shen-Berro HuffPost (6/5/19) The mass shooting in Virginia Beach last week has reinvigorated the debate over the regulation of gun suppressors — also known as silencers — which muffle the sounds of gunfire. The shooter behind the attack, which left 12 people dead on Friday, used a suppressor on his firearm. One survivor described the sounds of his weapon as something like a nail gun. Gun-control advocates have argued that suppressors add to the threat of gun violence…

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Virginia Shooter Attack Featured A Deadly New Twist

Suppressors are currently legal in 42 states and gun activists are pushing to deregulate them. By Matthew Chapman Raw Story (6/1/19) The shooting in Virginia Beach, in which a disgruntled city employee killed 12 people at a municipal building, is the deadliest mass shooting so far in 2019. But it is also “ominous” for one other unusual reason, wrote Harvard professor and former Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem in the Washington Post: the shooter used a suppressor, or as it’s known in common language, a silencer. “What ends lives? Gunfire. What saves lives? The sound of gunfire,” wrote Kayyem. “Gun violence in America…


From Greta Thunberg To Parkland: Courageous Young Citizen Activists Rattle The Right-Wing Smear Machine

They are citizens with rights who deserve to be heard. By Christian Christensen Common Dreams (5/20/19) I recently hit the age of 50, but let me tell you one thing I don’t think as I enter the second half-century of my life: that younger citizens around me are lazy, apathetic, entitled snowflakes, ensconced in cocoons of political correctness. Younger citizens—and, yes, they are citizens even though they can’t vote—must navigate a social universe of public-ness, information overload and surveillance unthinkable to those of us who grew up in the pre-Internet, pre-social media era. And, they must do this while dealing with…


80% Guns Are 100% Deadly: Ghost Guns Showing Up Everywhere In California (And Spreading Into Other States)

What happens in California doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Ghost guns are now spreading across the United States. By Alain Stephens The Trace (5/17/19) For the better part of a year, Kevin Savangsy allegedly sold caches of weapons to federal agents out of parking lots and garages in Sacramento. The 29-year-old told his customers that he could get “hella shit,” including guns that police would never trace. Court documents suggest he lived up to that promise. At first, Savangsy’s offerings were conventional: handguns, AK-47s, and AR-15s. Then, on the morning of October 23, 2018, he unveiled his newest product: a…


Happy News! Leaked NRA Documents Reveal Gun Group Drowning In Legal Fees

By Sebastian Murdock The HuffPost (5/11/19) A week before former National Rifle Association President Oliver North said he would not seek reelection after a failed attempt to oust CEO Wayne LaPierre, he warned the group that extraordinary legal fees threaten the future of the NRA. A series of documents posted anonymously online and verified by both The Daily Beast and The Wall Street Journal show the inner machinations of a group plagued by deep financial troubles to the tune of $24 million. In a letter North and NRA official Richard Childress sent to top NRA officials last month, North said he…


Just Another Day In The United States Of Amnesia: March For Our Lives Demands End To ‘Generation Lockdown’ Following Latest School Shooting

  As of Tuesday, the 116th mass shooting of 2019 (and counting). Since 1999 228,000 American students have been exposed to gun violence and 234 schools have been attacked. [Editor’s Note: Over the past three years the above Commoner Call cartoon has frequently run with stories about the latest mass shooting. It’s depressing to think how often we have run it … and will be running it in the future. The nation and our children are held hostage to the gun cult industry and the bloody NRA. — Mark L. Taylor] By Andrea Germanos Common Dreams (5/8/19) March For Our Lives,…


Backbiting, Betrayal & Blackmail: The Backstory To Blustery NRA’s Fall Into Chaos

The association stands at one of the gravest moments of peril in its nearly 150 year history — presenting a rare opportunity for the gun lobby’s opponents to kick it while it’s down. By Tim Dickinson & Andy Kroll Rolling Stone (5/3/19) Chaos broke out at the NRA’s annual convention in Indianapolis last week. The gun group’s figurehead president, Oliver North, backed by its longtime PR firm Ackerman McQueen, allegedly tried to oust the NRA’s powerful CEO, Wayne LaPierre. But LaPierre hit back —  forcing North to step down, while winning unanimous reelection by the NRA board. “a small group of NRA executives, contractors and vendors has extracted hundreds…



The Trace: Threats, Mass Shootings, Political Betrayal & Electoral Paralysis

The Trace (4/9/19) A South Carolina Republican was threatened online for not advancing a permitless carry bill. State Representative Peter McCoy said police were monitoring his home after a threatening Facebook comment was posted on a local gun rights page. It read: “Totally sucks that one guy has that much control. Maybe we should shoot him?” The comment has since been removed by the page administrators, who say that they do not advocate “even the hint of a threat of violence.” Meanwhile, in Texas: A gun rights activist agitating for the passage of a permitless carry bill turned up at the home of the GOP state House…


David Hogg: Putting Kids, Communities & Our Nation’s Future Over The Selfish Interests Of The NRA

Parkland, Florida school shooting survivor David Hogg. Make sure the young people in your life hear this amazingly courageous and eloquent teen speak out about gun violence, white power and the need to bring about a humane society. Westminster Town Hall Forum / MPR (3/19/19) David Hogg is a survivor of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He is among twenty Parkland students who founded Never Again MSD, a gun control advocacy group, and he is a founding member of March for Our Lives, one of the largest youth-led movements in the world….


U.S. Gun Makers Send Weapons South Causing More Migrants To Flee North

The State Department export process allows far too many guns to be sold into areas where they might be used to harm civilians or supply criminals. By Alex Yablon The Trace (3/8/19) When Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández was re-elected in November 2017, in a vote that outside monitors described as tainted by fraud, protesters around the country took to the streets. Hernández’s first term had been marked by violent crime and corruption; many voters wanted change. In the ensuing days, military police opened fire on the demonstrators, killing more than 30 people and wounding hundreds. Photos published in the Miami Herald showed officers shooting…


The CDC Says Gun Injuries Are On The Rise. But There Are Big Problems With Its Data.

  “unstable and potentially unreliable” By Sean Campbell, Daniel Nass & Mai Nguyen The Trace (10/4/19) For journalists, researchers and the general public, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention serves as an authoritative source of information about Americans’ health, including estimates of how many people are killed or injured by guns. The agency’s most recent figures include a worrying uptick: Between 2015 and 2016, the number of Americans nonfatally injured by a firearm jumped by 37 percent, rising from about 85,000 to more than 116,000. It was the largest single-year increase recorded in more than 15 years. But the gun…


Gun Cult Nation News Update

The Trace (1/16/19) Libertarian gunsmiths hope to skirt federal regulation with a 3-D printed bullet.Tennessee-based nonprofit gun research collective Atlas Arms (named after the Ayn Rand novel, which gives a sense of its ideology) is raising funds a home-printed 9mm round meant to circumvent a 1986 law banning the sale of armor-penetrating ammunition. In a promotional release, Atlas Arms argues that because government personnel can use ammo qualifying as armor-piercing, civilians should have access to it as well. The outfit says it will work with a “well respected firearms law firm” to submit prototypes to the ATF to ensure the product’s legality. At…


Members Played For Chumps: NRA Pays Lavish Executive Perks Even As It Cuts Costs

The NRA recently rolled out its second dues increase in two years. By Mike Spies & John Cook The Trace (11/28/18) The National Rifle Association paid more than $100,000 in personal expenses for an official who is now leading an austerity campaign within the organization, new tax filings show. The official, Josh Powell, is the NRA’s executive director for general operations. The Trace and Mother Jones reported two weeks ago that Powell, along with the NRA’s new treasurer, Craig Spray, is seeking to impose steep cuts to the gun group’s budget. The effort is so stringent that the NRA did away with free coffee and…


Congratulations, NRA & Congress! U.S. Gun Death Rate Hit 20-Year High in 2017, CDC Data Shows

  By Alex Yablon & Daniel Nass The Trace (12/10/18) Nearly 40,000 people were killed by guns in the United States in 2017, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The total brings the country’s gun death rate to its highest point in more than two decades. The CDC’s WONDER public health database shows that 39,773 people died from firearms last year. That works out to a gun death rate of 12.0 per 100,000 people — higher than the rate of death from car accidents of 11.5 per 100,000 people, once the leading cause of fatal…


The Trace: Guns News Updates From Around The Country

  The Trace (12/5/18) Police arrested an armed man in a school cafeteria. Police are trying to figure outhow the man was able to enter the North Carolina high school on Monday with a backpack filled with bullets and two handguns, which he pointed at officers before he was detained. Law enforcement agencies and gun shops are getting a heads up on the bump stock ban. A Minnesota TV news team obtained a copy of a memo circulated by the Department of Justice laying out new details about an upcoming reclassification of devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to approximate machine guns. According to the memo,…


Why America? Gun Culture, Mass Shootings & White Nationalism Share Deep Cultural Roots

  “Capitalism tends to become fascism when it no longer has something to really offer most of the people.” Empire Files (11/12/18) Since October 2017, America experienced three of the deadliest mass shootings in modern history. This epidemic coincides with a frightening resurgence of white nationalism. Sometimes the two trends overlap. But why here? Both phenomena can be explained by a common historical thread—to unravel it Abby Martin sits down with indigenous scholar Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz to discuss her latest book “Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment”. Empire Files is now produced by your donations! Keep us going on…


Doctors Call Out Medical Lobby’s Donations To Pro-Gun Politicians

  By Alex Yablon The Trace (11/16/18) For the past two weeks, the National Rifle Association has raged at doctors in a very public feud over the place of physicians in the national gun debate, and doctors have been happy to hit back. At the same time, another quieter battle is brewing within the medical profession over just how far doctors should go to fight for stronger gun laws. After the American College of Physicians published a position paperdemanding government action on gun laws, the NRA issued a now-infamous tweet telling “self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane.” Outraged doctors railed against…


Thoughts & Prayers! Budget Crisis Forces The NRA To Kill Off Free Coffee For Employees

  By Mike Spies & John Cook The Trace (11/15/18) The National Rifle Association is doing away with free coffee and water coolers for employees at its Fairfax, Virginia, headquarters — a cost-cutting move that has NRA insiders “freaking out,” The Trace has learned. “The whole building was freaking out,” said one former employee who remains in contact with current staffers. Three other sources familiar with the gun group’s operations confirmed the story to The Trace. The coffee cutback is the just latest indication that the NRA is hurting for cash. Membership revenue declined by $35 million last year, and the NRA…


Practical Advice For Life In Our Modern America: What Experts Want You To Know About Being Caught In An Active Shooter Situation

No one should ever have to prepare for a mass shooting, but these safety tips might save your life. By Nicole Pajer Huffpost (11/9/18) It’s a dreadful reality of living in America right now that there are, and likely will be more, mass shootings. Though it may be impossible to predict where and when they’ll occur ― and the odds are very small that you’ll encounter one ― security experts have some basic safety tips that can help you prepare for the unlikely but horrific situation. “During an active shooter situation, it is estimated that law enforcement response time may…


‘The Trace’ — Tracking The Latest News On America’s Gun Epidemic

The Trace (10/18/18) Support for gun laws remains near a two-decade high despite a dip. And a sustained loss of advertising on a Fox News program shows the power of activist-led boycotts. Those stories and more, below. —Beatrix Lockwood, contributor Six in 10 Americans support stricter gun laws, a Gallup poll published Wednesday found. The share is down 6 percent since the month after the Parkland shooting but remains near a two-decade high. Among Democrats, support for tighter regulations is at 87 percent, compared to 31 percent of Republicans.  Did the NRA influence the government’s decision to put education funds toward guns? That’s the…


MAD Magazine’s School Shooting Cartoon Feature Is A Poignant & Horrifying Commentary On America’s Tradition Of School Shooting

(Cartoon by Marc Palm / Mad Magazine, 2018.) This is shocking. It’s also very smart. By Ryan Britt Fatherly (10/5/18) Satire about school shootings might seem overwhelming in the face of so much tragedy, but a new powerful and artistic statement is calling out the complicity many Americans have about gun violence. But this razor-sharp indictment isn’t coming from Sacha Baron Cohen or even Stephen Colbert.Instead, the most affecting commentary on gun control you’ll see this month was just been published in Mad Magazine. In the latest issue of Mad Magazine (which is out on newsstands and in Barnes and Noble bookstores right now), there’s a brilliantly sad…


Round-up Of Firearms News From ‘The Trace’

  The Trace (10/10/18) New from the Trace: The NRA’s midterm spending is way down. The NRA has paid out just $4.9 million in the 2018 midterms, less than it had spent at this point in any of the previous four elections. Using our NRA Campaign Finance Tracker, we dug into the numbers. Some things we noticed: The gun group is active in fewer races than in past cycles. And federal campaign spending by pro-gun control organizations is keeping pace with the NRA’s this year. Daniel Nass breaks it all down. The NRA is still using a possible shell company for election work. On Friday,…


Great News For Mass Shooters: One Year After Las Vegas, A New Texas Company Is Selling Murderous Bump Stocks

  By Alex Yablon The Trace (9/28/18) When a gunman perched in a Las Vegas hotel room used rifles affixed with bump stocks to commit the deadliest mass shooting in American history, Slide Fire Solutions went from an obscure Texas manufacturer of a gun world novelty to the main purveyor of a notorious and widely condemned product. As federal and state lawmakers of both parties called to ban bump stocks, and attorneys filed lawsuits, Slide Fire announced in April that it was shutting down. But on the one-year anniversary of the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, bump stocks remain not only…


In Court Papers, NRA Stresses Financial Pressures & Says It May Have To Shut Down NRA-TV

  By Alex Yablon The Trace (8/1/18) The National Rifle Association typically portrays itself as an indomitable force. But an ongoing court case has the gun group taking inventory of its wounds. In a new legal filing, it contends that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s campaign to pressure insurers and financial services companies to cut ties with the NRA could deeply harm its financial health and ability to “fulfill its advocacy objectives.” In the complaint, entered July 20 and first reported by the New York Law Journal, the NRA claims it has lost income and access to banking services as a…


Did Alleged Russian Spy Maria Butina Trigger NRA Leadership Shake-Up?

  By David Corn Mother Jones (8/3/18) On May 7, the National Rifle Association released a curious press release declaring that Oliver North, the key player in the Iran-contra scandal and an NRA board member, was “poised to become” the group’s president. Earlier that day, Peter Brownell, then finishing his first term as NRA president, had announced that he would not seek a second annual term in order to devote more time to his family business, a firearms retail company. This changing of the guard—and how it happened—was odd. For fifteen years, the NRA leadership had followed a specific pattern: an officer…


Suddenly Gun Shy: The NRA Dropped Lawmaker Ratings From Their Website, But They’re Not Saying Why

  By Hunter The Daily Kos (6/12/18) Over the weekend, reporters noticed an odd thing about the National Rifle Association’s website: The NRA “ratings” for lawmakers, giving them letter grades for their willingness to block new gun restrictions and weaken existing ones, had vanished without explanation. Was it a glitch, or something else? The nation’s largest domestic terrorism lobby is clamming up about the change, but the Washington Post’s Phillip Bump was able to pry the barest hint of information from an unnamed NRA staffer when he called for an explanation. “I think our enemies were using that,” he said. He…


While Congress Enables & Protects Shooters, AMA Considers ‘Unprecedented’ Gun Reforms

  By Bruce Japsen Forbes (5/27/18) Physician members of the American Medical Association are pushing the nation’s largest doctor group to back an “unprecedented” number of measures designed to curb gun violence and coax Congress into action. Early next month, the AMA’s policy-making House of Delegates will consider nearly a dozen proposals on gun control and public safetymeasures in the wake of 28 school shootings this year alone including last week’s at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana. Action at the AMA meeting, which runs June 9-13 in Chicago, will put the group’s considerable lobbying clout behind legislation heading into November’s…


Gun Cult: New School Shooter Video Game Has Players Gunning Down Teachers, Cops & Kids

By Martin Cizmar The Raw Story (5/26/18) A video game maker is facing mounting backlash over a game in which the player takes the role of school shooter. The game is called Active Shooter and set to be published by Valve for the Steam platform. Steam attempts to steer around the controversy by announcing a disclaimer to be placed on it: “Please do not take any of this seriously. This is only meant to be the simulation and nothing else. If you feel like hurting someone or people around you, please seek help from local psychiatrists or dial 911 (or applicable). Thank…


Jimmy Kimmel Commentary On Texas School Shooting Goes Beyond Usual Post-School Shooting Angst

(Editor’s Note: The Commoner Call runs this cartoon after every major mass shooting. If we were to run it after every mass shooting in America we would have to run it pretty much every day. — Mark L. Taylor) On Friday evening Jimmy Kimmel took a few minutes to address the latest school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. Kimmel called out Trump and congressional NRA enablers who care more about the support of the National Rifle Association “than they do about children.” “So they sit there with their hands in their pockets, pockets that are full of gun money, and…


An Open Letter From Hunters About Gun Reform

  By Daniel Ashe The HuffPost (5/9/18) We are Republican, Democratic and independent. We come from the East, South, Midwest and West. We are conservative, progressive and liberal. We are men and women. We include eight members of the Circle of Chiefs, the highest conservation honor of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. We are all different in many ways, but we have important commonalities. We are Americans; we are gun owners; we are hunters; and we support responsible firearm regulation. Yes, the Second Amendment conveys a right to “keep and bear” firearms. But rights come with responsibilities, and we…


Russian Armor Piercing Sniper Rifle Promoted By NRA Poses Deadly Threat To US Soldiers.

  (Editor’s Note: Wisconsin’s own, former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke was with the NRA delegation promoting Russia’s new Orsis sniper rifles. Way to go, Dave. — Mark L. Taylor) By David Corn Mother Jones (5/7/18) In late 2016, the US Army released a report noting that the Russian military, through experience gained during fighting in Ukraine, was undergoing a transformation and becoming a more potent battlefield threat to American forces. One troublesome development identified by the report’s authors was the increased proficiency of Russian snipers. “The capabilities of a sniper in a Russian contingent is far more advanced than the precision…


Americans & Guns: A United State Of Insecurity

  The Why Factor/BBC (4/23/18) In the USA, those least likely to become victims of gun violence are the most likely to carry guns. So if they are not likely to become victims of crime, what are they really afraid of? We speak to people getting their gun licence to try and untangle what lies behind their anxieties and discover it’s about something much less tangible. Link to Story and 23-Minute Audio (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Opensource nd free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommnercall.org )


All American Story: Toddler Shoots Pregnant Mom With Dad’s Gun In Parking Lot

By David Moye The HuffPost (4/18/18) A 3-year-old in Indiana accidentally shot her pregnant mother, leaving the woman in a critical but stable condition, local media reported. The child shot Shaneque Thomas, 21, who police said is six weeks pregnant, in the shoulder Tuesday outside a Plato’s Closet thrift store in Merrillville. This incident is similar to a 2016 case that happened in Florida. The 4-year-old son of a gun-rights advocate accidentally shot her as she was driving. Police said Menzo Brazier, the victim’s boyfriend and father of her two kids, ages 3 and 1, left his legal 9-millimeter handgun loaded in between the…


Dick’s Sporting Goods Is Destroying Its Stock Of Unsold Assault-Style Rifles

  By Dominique Mosbergen & Nick Wing The HuffPost (4/17/18) Dick’s Sporting Goods won’t be returning their unsold assault-style rifles to manufacturers. Instead, the company says it’s chosen to destroy all of them. Dick’s announced in February ― following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida ― that it would stop selling assault-style rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines in all of its Field & Stream stores, where these items had been sold by the large sports retailer. The company also announced that it would no longer sell guns to people under the age of 21 at any of its stores. A company…


Parkland Kids Faced Death So The Cowardly Adults Give Them Clear Backpacks. What They Do With Them Is Bold Genius

  By Fabiola Santiao The Miami Herald (4/3/18) “Sorry for the inconvenience. I’m just just trying to change the world. Don’t piss on my bonfire. #Neveragain”— Sam Fuentes, who took shrapnel to the face at the Parkland shooting, on Twitter. Just when you thought the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students couldn’t get any more eloquent, they do. Enter the school leadership mandate that they must all carry see-through backpacks — and instantly, the students turn the violation of privacy into #NeverAgain message boards, a new weapon for activism risen from inside the halls where the worst high school shooting in…


Inside The Decade-Long Russian Campaign To Infiltrate The NRA & Help Elect Trump

Femme fatales, lavish Moscow parties and dark money – how Russia played the National Rifle Association. By Tim Dickinson The  Rolling Stone (4/1/18) In November 2013, the president of the National Rifle Association, David Keene, was introduced as an honored guest at the conference of the Right to Bear Arms, a gun lobby in Moscow. “There are no peoples that are more alike than Americans and Russians,” Keene said. “We’re hunters. We’re shooters. We value the same kinds of things.” Keene underscored his friendship with Alexander Torshin, a top politician in the ruling party of Vladimir Putin; for the past three…


Could It Be? There’s No Going Back From What Happened This Weekend. The Gun Debate Is Over.

  By Andrew Cohen Esquire (3/25/18) ur national debate about guns is over. It ended in a dark movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. It ended in a first grade classroom in Connecticut and at a high school in Florida. It ended a thousand times on the streets of Chicago, or Baltimore, or Memphis, with a thousand grieving mothers who never got invited to come onto cable television. It ended the last time a child found his daddy’s gun and killed his sister in their living room. It ended the last time a person in crisis found a…


From Car Break-ins To Cops: Where Criminals Get Their Guns

  The Center For Investigative Reporting (12/2/18) Across the country, criminals are arming themselves in unexpected ways. In Florida, they’re stealing guns from unlocked cars and gun stores. In other places, they’re getting them from the police themselves, as cash-strapped departments sell their used weapons to buy new ones. On this episode of Reveal, we learn where criminals get their guns and what cars can teach us about gun safety. Laura Morel of the Tampa Bay Times reports on an epidemic of gun thefts in Florida and how many of those guns are being used to commit crimes. Some of…


March For Our Lives: Teens Challenge The Callousness Of A Nation

High school activist Emma Gonzalez. (Illustration by Seth L. Taylor, 2018.) Emma Gonzalez’s Powerful March For Our Lives Speech In Full (Video) (Editor’s Note: Truly, this speech is one of the most powerful speeches given in American history. — Mark L. Taylor) The Guardian (3/25/18) Parkland shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez – who had been a leading voice immediately after the attack on her school – took to the stage in Washington DC for six minutes and 20 seconds, much of that in silence. She says it was the amount of time it took a shooter to kill 17 people at…