Gun Cult

Before They Were Conservative Heroes, St. Louis Gun Couple Fought Firearm Companies In Court

Lawyers Mark and Patricia McCloskey won hundreds of thousands of dollars for clients injured by faulty handguns. By Chip Brownlee & Brian Freskos Trace (8/24/20) Mark and Patricia McCloskey attracted national attention when they stood on the lawn of their palatial home in a gated St. Louis community and pointed a rifle and a handgun at a passing group of Black Lives Matter protesters. The couple quickly became darlings of some Republican politicians and gun-rights activists, who said the two were simply exercising their rights under the Second Amendment. “We’ve got a right to bear arms. We’ve got a right…

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Seven Things To Know About The NRA’s Tangled Web Of Financial Misconduct

Breaking down the allegations in the New York attorney general’s lawsuit seeking to dissolve the gun group. By Tom Kutsch & Will Van Sant The Trace (8/17/20) After more than a year of investigating the National Rifle Association, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on August 6 that her office is seeking to dissolve the organization because of vast financial misconduct. In addition to the NRA itself, the suit targets four current and former senior executives: CEO Wayne LaPierre; general counsel and secretary John Frazer; ex-COO Joshua Powell; and ex-treasurer Woody Phillips. Many of the allegations contained in the 164-page civil complaint are…


How The NRA Wandered Far From Its Mission, Became Its Own Worst Enemy & Shot Itself In The Foot

“…breeding ground for greed, abuse and brazen illegality.” By David Smith The Guardian (8/7/20) Oliver North cut a lonely figure as he walked through the Indianapolis airport, quietly slipping out of the city midway through the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) convention which was still in progress. A day later, North announced from afar that he was not seeking a traditional second term as its president, while it also emerged that the New York attorney general was investigating the NRA’s tax-exempt status. That was April 2019. More than a year later, the turmoil that heralded North’s departure has culminated in the New York…


Supersized Fear: Nation Witnessing Record-Breaking Gun Sales

  By Edward Helmore The Guardian (7/31/20) Fears over the Covid-19 pandemic, a perception of rising crime and worries over civil unrest and political instability in the wake of anti-racism protests have sparked Americans to buy firearms at a record pace – with about 40% being first-time buyers, according to one leading gun rights group. Pro- and anti- gun rights groups are also detailing how the stereotype of an older, white conservative-leaning male with a hoard of weaponry is being challenged by rising numbers of first-time buyers that represent sales to women, buyers from Black and other communities of color,…


Can We All Go Back To Normal Now?  Pandemic Update Interview With Dr. Michael Osterholm

  This is a 4.7 hurricane, potentially, coming down the pike.  TUC Radio (6/16/20) Dr. Michael Osterholm had told USA Today earlier this year: ‘We’re just in the second inning of a nine-inning game’ That’s why members of the Midway Chamber of Commerce in Minnesota met with him on line on June 12, 2020. He gave an update and they asked him questions. “This is just just getting started. This is just the warm up. This is not the big harangue, yet.” Dr. Osterholm holds many titles and functions at the University of Minnesota, among them Regents Professor in Public…


People Flee As Masked Soldier Boys With Semi-Automatic Weapons & Battle Gear Swarm Through Kentucky Capitol Building

Go to the link to see the photos. Now, really, imagine what would have happened if it had been a bunch of African-American or Muslim men who had done this. By Mary Papenfuss HuffPost (2/1/20) Men in balaclavas packing semi-automatic rifles and wearing camouflage, bullet-proof vests and combat boots marched into the Kentucky capitol in Frankfort Friday, driving out terrified visitors. The men were gun rights activists and members of the group “We Are KY Gun Owners,” staging a Second Amendment rally proving they have a right to appear to be a paramilitary operation in the open-carry state. They were…


Houston’s Police Chief RIPS Mitch McConnell After Shooting Of Police Officer Responding To Domestic Violence Call

  The Young Turks (12/10/19) Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo is tired of the NRA and its corrupt politicians. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comments below. “A Texas police officer who was killed while responding to a domestic violence call may have been struck by a bullet that penetrated his ballistic vest, authorities said Monday. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo made the disclosure about Sgt. Christopher Brewster’s killing Saturday in a note to officers, just hours after he denounced Republican Senators who he said have…


Despite Felony Criminal Record, Cody Wilson Is Back In The 3D-Printed ‘Ghost Gun’ Business

By Alain Stephens & Andew Weber The Trace (11/20/19) Cody Wilson, the self-described anarchist and figurehead of the 3D-printed gun movement, led investigators on an international manhunt last year before being arrested and charged with having sex with a minor. In August, he struck a deal with Travis County prosecutors, pleading guilty to a lesser charge of injury to a child, which is a felony. He received seven years of probation and is now a registered sex offender, banned from being within 500 feet of playgrounds, schools, and any other “child safety zone.” He can no longer carry a handgun in public, and under federal…


What The SCOTUS Move Means For The Sandy Hook Lawsuit — And The Firearms Industry

Gun companies could potentially be exposed to a “flood of lawsuits across the country.” By Olivia Li The Trace (11/12/19) On November 12, the Supreme Court declined to hear Remington’s challenge to a lawsuit by families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. The gunmaker appealed to the nation’s highest court after the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in March that family members of nine Sandy Hook victims could go to trial against Remington, the maker of the rifle used in the attack, and several other defendants in the gun industry. The Supreme Court’s decision to decline the case allows…


Republican Sen. Ron Johnson & Three Other GOP Senators Allegedly Benefited From Illegal NRA Campaign Cash In 2014, 2016

How much of the millions the NRA was handing out was actually Russian money laundered through the NRA? By Joan McCarter Daily Kos (9/30/19) The Russian asset National Rifle Association has been illegally coordinating with Republican senators’ campaigns, according to a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission. The nonprofit and nonpartisan organization Campaign Legal Center has filed an FEC complaint alleging the NRA’s coordination with Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin in the 2016 campaign through a shell corporation called Starboard, which illegally funneled potentially millions from the NRA in in-kind contributions. “There is substantial evidence that the NRA funneled millions through a shell…


Just Pause For A Moment & Consider What It Says That We Live In A Nation Where This Is A Business…

Florida Teachers Begin School Shooting Defense Business  A turning point came for her though in 2017, when one of her students threatened to shoot up the classroom. By Patrick McCreless Herald-Tribune (9/3/19) PANAMA CITY BEACH — The threat of school shootings has been a fact of life for Julie Johnson her entire teaching career. “When Columbine happened was my first year teaching … after class I was just watching this all unfold,” Johnson said, referring to the infamous 1999 high school shooting in Columbine, Colorado. “The horror struck me — ‘what would I do?’ ” Turns out, what she would do years later after training and…


Deadly Loophole: The Odessa Shooting Is A Textbook Case Of The Risk Of Private Gun Sales

By Greg Abbot The Trace (9/3/19) When the man who would go on to commit the Odessa, Texas, mass shooting went to a gun dealer and tried to buy a firearm, the system worked as designed. An itinerant oil worker, he had a history of volatile behavior, and the records reviewed by the FBI examiner handling his gun background check indicated he was barred from gun ownership because of a serious mental health issue. The sale was blocked, and he went home empty handed. But the state of Texas doesn’t require background checks for private sales. And according to a local…


Privacy Experts Say The Trade-Offs Of Intrusive Surveillance Tech To Track Kids In School Aren’t Worth It

“Simply said, this system allows us to have real-time eyes on 18,000 cameras in Miami/Dade County public schools.” [Editor’s Note: Never mind all those military grade guns flooding our communities. So what if some innocent kid goofing around — like the 10th grader profiled — has his future destroyed. Just like the lives of innocents, the privacy and future of kids will be sacrificed to coddle gun slingers, shooters and the gun making corporations profitting off the death of school kids. — Mark L. Taylor]  All Things Considered / NPR (8/26/190 The use of tech to track and police our…



Bulletproof: The Nation Has Officially Lost Its Collective Mind

“We’re asking children to stand up to gunmen because lawmakers are too scared to stand up to the gun lobby. (These products) shouldn’t exist.” By Abbey Zimet Common Dreams (8/13/19) In a new grim grotesquerie, sales of bulletproof backpacks are up as much as 300% as parents frantic to keep their children alive prepare to send them to this year’s killing fields – once called going back to school – after our latest slaughter in El Paso and Dayton. Really, it’s little wonder we’re now sending our kids to classrooms in princess-and-superhero-emblazoned anti-ballistic armor: Even apart from massacres, roughly 100 Americans a day die from guns…


Here Are The Top 7 Places Hypocritical, ‘Scairdy Cat Republicans Won’t Let You Take A Gun

So, are they cowardly hypocrites or hypocritical cowards? By Sarah K. Burris Raw Story (8/5/19) Republicans, and President Donald Trump, in particular, are known for denouncing “gun-free zones” as part of the problems around mass shootings. The Fox News argument, from Pete Hegseth to Sean Hannity, is that these zones essentially prevented “good guys with guns” from having the ability to shoot back and take down a mass shooter. It’s an interesting claim since, in Ohio and Gilroy, California, the shooter was able to be taken down in less than one minute. In Ohio, there were still nine people killed and 36…


“F-you, I like guns.” — Army Veteran Gets Real About Military Grade Firearms In The Hands Of Civilians:

This rifle is so deadly and so easy to use that no civilian should be able to get their hands on one. We simply don’t need these things in society at large.  By Anastasia Bernoulli Anastasia Writes (2/15/18) America, can we talk? Let’s just cut the shit for once and actually talk about what’s going on without blustering and pretending we’re actually doing a good job at adulting as a country right now. We’re not. We’re really screwing this whole society thing up, and we have to do better. We don’t have a choice. People are dying. At this rate, it’s…


ER Doc Points Out Trump & Pols Of Both Parties Are Wrong: Mental Illness Is Not To Blame For Gun Violence Epidemic

Democracy Now! (8/8/19) President Trump went to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, Wednesday, where he was met by hundreds of protesters condemning his presence after the mass shootings over the weekend, which killed at least 32 people. Prior to his visits, Trump hinted at the need to strengthen background checks for gun purchases, and doubled down on what some healthcare professionals say is dangerous rhetoric linking illness to mass shootings. Numerous other political figures have pointed to mental illness as a contributing factor in mass shootings. From Montreal, we speak with Dr. Megan Ranney, an associate professor of emergency…


SHOCKING! Republican Leaders Take Aggressive Lead, Proposing Firearm Reforms To Make Country Safer! … NOT!!!

  Mike Huckabee: Thoughts & Prayers Are ‘Only Thing’ That Will Stop Mass Shootings By David Moye HuffPost (8/5/19) This weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, have many people demanding that something be done to stop gun violence. However, Mike Huckabee insists there’s only one solution to curbing the violence and it’s ― you guessed it ― “thoughts and prayers,” that time-honored solution of pretending to do something without actually doing anything. On Monday, the former Arkansas governor and twice Republican presidential candidate wrote a post on his blog where he attempted to make the case that “thoughts…


The Latest Massacre Shows The Second Amendment Model Of ‘Slave Patrols’ Is Still In Effect

The slave patrols never really went away. And the slave patrollers are finding in Trump the president they’ve been missing since Andrew Jackson passed away. By Thom Hartmann Common Dreams (8/5/19) While, in the wake of the El Paso murders, the media and most of our politicians are acting shocked—“shocked, I tell you!”—that there are armed racists in America who are trying to terrify people of color, the reality is that it’s pretty much always been that way here in the United States. And until white Americans and the media they control acknowledge that simple history, we won’t be able…


Central American Migrant Crisis Is Manufactured By US Gun Industry: “We all have blood on our hands.”

In Honduras, a 1 percent increase in homicides drives up migration by 120 percent. By Fraces Moore Lappé Common Dreams (7/23/19) Each month tens of thousands of migrants cross our southern border. They’re “seeking a better life”…right? Isn’t that why families leave loved ones to trek vast distances facing untold dangers? Certainly, it’s the story that fits our cherished image of our nation as a land of opportunity like none other. Recently, though, I felt ashamed that I—someone who wants to believe she’s well informed—had overlooked a key piece of my own responsibility, or, more precisely, my own and my nation’s culpability….


Why US Leftist Groups Are Taking Up Arms

“If others have rifles, we’ll have rifles.” By Kim Kelly The Guardian (7/22/19) The van lumbered down one of Seattle’s many steep hills. A half dozen people packed inside but despite the heat, most wore long pants and boots, and several sported black hoodies. The atmosphere was subdued, except for the occasional joke. It wasn’t so much tension as seriousness – there was work to be done. The people in the van are members of the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club (PSJBGC). Their stated aim is to fight white supremacy and build community defense in America’s Pacific Northwest, and their presence…


Where The 2020 Democratic Candidates Stand On Guns

  By Daniel Nass, Champe Barton & Jennifer Mascia The Trace (7/16/19) Gun reform has received little attention in past presidential races, but it’s a key issue among Democrats vying for the White House in 2020. Several candidates have released briefs detailing how they’d handle gun policy from the Oval Office, and a couple — namely Cory Booker and Eric Swalwell — have made conquering gun violence a centerpiece of their campaigns. To bring some clarity to the discussion, The Trace surveyed the 21 candidates who have qualified for the Democratic debates on a range of gun policies. We picked issues ranging…


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…


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…