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  • NRA News Cites Supposed Influence Of NRA On Iran's Opposition To U.N. Arms Trade Treaty

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    National Rifle Association News investigative reporter Ginny Simone suggested that the NRA may have influenced Iran's attempt to block the enactment of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

    Simone's claim that that Iran "all but came out and named the NRA" during a speech against the treaty on March 28 comes as a number of commentators and news outlets are noting that the few opponents of the Arms Trade Treaty include Iran, North Korea, Syria and the NRA.

    On March 28, after a week of negotiations on a treaty with the stated aim of preventing the diversion of weapons to human rights abusers, Iran, Syria and North Korea made a last minute move to block a vote to adopt the treaty. The treaty could still be adopted at a later date by a vote of the U.N. General Assembly.

    In covering these developments, Carol Giacomo, a foreign affairs expert and member of The New York Times' editorial board, noted that the NRA joins rogue nations in its opposition to the treaty:

    But the conclusion reached on Thursday was stark: On one side, opposing the new pact, were three of the world's pariah states - Syria, Iran and North Korea. On the other side, favoring the new pact, was ... everybody else.

    [...]

    The opposition included the conservative Heritage Foundation and the National Gun Rifle Association. As usual they ginned up dark visions of how any limits on conventional arms sales would deprive Americans of their weapons, which is totally false: The Obama administration bent over backwards to make sure the treaty excluded domestic sales and, in any event, as the American Bar Association affirmed, the treaty did not and could not infringe on Americans' constitutionally-guaranteed Second Amendment Rights. 

    The NRA and its lobbying arm, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, have so far remained silent on the negotiation outcome - even though the NRA fiercely lobbied against the adoption of the treaty during negotiations. On July 27, 2012, the day a previous round of negotiations stalled, the NRA issued a celebratory press release that took credit for "killing the U.N. ATT." 

    Simone, however, addressed the most recent developments during the March 28 edition of the NRA News' Cam & Company show on the Sportsman Channel:

    SIMONE: You know earlier today everybody said, "We're pretty sure it's gonna pass." They were saying earlier on that maybe there be problems with India. But it looks like that's been ironed out. And then all of a sudden right after lunch they came back and said it looks like there's problems with Iran. And then more we started talking to people the more the list got longer to include North Korea and Syria. And it was really interesting, Iran's statement. They all but came out and named the NRA, Cam. They said it didn't like the treaty because it favored the constitutional protection of gun ownership for one country. It didn't name the country. You got to be sure they were talking about the U.S. 

  • Right-Wing Media Can't Find The Trigger In Attempted Smear Of Gun Safety Ad

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Right-wing media are attempting to rebut a TV ad calling for stronger gun laws by claiming that it depicts unsafe gun handling.

    According Fox News, conservative bloggers, and the National Rifle Association's news program, an ad calling for expanding the background check system features a man with his finger on the trigger of a firearm that is not ready to be fired, an unsafe practice. In fact, footage from another ad featuring the same firearm clearly indicates that the right-wing media are wrong about where the gun's trigger is; the man's finger is actually nowhere near the trigger in either ad.

    The claim originated with Washington Times senior opinion editor Emily Miller, who claimed in a March 25 article that ads recently released by Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) are "irresponsible" because the man in the ad "violates all three gun safety rules taught by the National Rifle Association." Miller specifically claims that "the man has his finger on the trigger, as if ready to shoot," and comments, "To make an ad demonstrating actual gun responsibility, the man would put a straight forefinger above the trigger guard to make sure he doesn't accidentally touch the trigger."

    Miller was referencing this moment from the ad "Responsible":

    But another ad released by MAIG, "Family," which features the same man and firearm, shows the position of the trigger on that particular firearm to be much closer to the buttstock than where the man's index finger is in "Responsible":

    Based on the trigger location clearly seen in "Family," the trigger of the firearm would sit approximately behind the base of the man's hand in "Responsible" making it impossible for his finger to be on the trigger or within the trigger guard.

    Miller's claims have nonetheless been picked up by The Daily Caller, The Blaze, Hot Air, and a Townhall column authored by Fox contributor Katie Pavlich and have also been featured on Fox & Friends and the NRA's Cam & Company on the Sportsman Channel.

  • NRA News Predicts Dire Consequences If U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Is Adopted, Worse Ones If It Isn't

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association's fearmongering over the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has reached a zenith, with its media representatives claiming that passing the treaty would result in "192 other countries to tell[ing] us what our gun control laws ought to be," while not passing the treaty would result in "even more of a threat when it comes to our Second Amendment."

    Negotiations are currently taking place on the treaty, which aims to prevent the diversion of weapons to human-rights abusers in order to reduce the estimated 500,000 deaths that occur worldwide each year as a result of armed violence.

    While the NRA routinely trumpets - and fundraises off of - the baseless conspiracy that the treaty is actually an Obama administration plot to disarm Americans, the text of the treaty proposal plainly states that it seeks to regulate the international trade in arms and not nations' domestic gun policies. Far from meddling in America's domestic gun affairs as the NRA claims, the treaty actually seeks to implement on an international scale arms trade standards already in place in the United States.  

    The latest claims from the NRA on the treaty came during the March 19 edition of the NRA's Cam & Company show on the Sportsman Channel when NRA News investigative journalist Ginny Simone interviewed Fox News contributor and NRA advisor John Bolton. During that interview, Bolton and Simone suggested that while it would be a disaster for the Second Amendment if the treaty were enacted, it would be even worse if it wasn't. 

    SIMONE: But you know John, they claim this is the final conference. So here's a what if. What if it doesn't get by this conference? And what if it doesn't get by the General Assembly and the U.N. decides, or the countries, the member states at the U.N., decide to go outside? Is that even more of a threat when it comes to our Second Amendment?

    BOLTON: Well I think it is. And it actually allows more freedom for those who have an international control agenda to pursue. 

  • The National Rifle Association's Domestic Violence Hypocrisy

    NRA News Calls For NYC To Drop Gun Possession Charge Against Man Accused Of Felony Abuse

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    National Rifle Association News host Cam Edwards complained about the arrest of New York linen mogul George Bardwil on illegal gun possession charges, even though Bardwil is currently under indictment for felony domestic abuse and is therefore prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm.

    Edwards' defense of Bardwil demonstrates how the NRA claims that existing gun laws should be better enforced while simultaneously undermining the enforcement of the federal prohibition on firearm possession by domestic abusers.

    On the March 15 edition of Cam & Company on The Sportsman Channel, Edwards cited news reports in The Washington Times and The New York Post that described how Bardwil was arrested after police reviewed footage of Bardwil using a handgun that was not registered to him to scare off a would-be burglar at his Manhattan residence. New York City law requires that handgun owners register their weapons with the city. 

    During the segment, Edwards suggested that in New York, "you are still looking at three years in prison for acting in self-defense in your own home," even though the actual charge relates to Bardwil's alleged "criminal possession of a weapon" and not his conduct when confronting the would-be burglar.

    Edwards also described the situation as "pretty awful" and said, "I thought we lived in the United States of America." He concluded by suggesting that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg could prove that he was not "anti-gun" by convincing the district attorney to not pursue charges against Bardwil:

    EDWARDS: Mayor Bloomberg still has the, well I'll use the word tenacity, this is a family friendly show. Still has the tenacity and the gall to say he is not anti-gun. If that is the case, why don't you call up your buddy the DA, chew him out, and get those charges dropped against George Bardwil? 

  • On NRA's News Program, Stronger Gun Laws Could Lead To "Deaths Of Millions" In U.S.

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A member of the National Rifle Association Board of Directors compared states' efforts to strengthen gun violence prevention laws to Nazi Germany on an NRA news program, suggesting that Americans are being disarmed and that "the death of millions" could occur.

    Ronnie Barrett, the outspoken manufacturer of a controversial armor-piercing sniper rifle and an NRA board member, made his prediction during the March 1 edition of the NRA's Cam & Company show on Sportsman Channel:

    BARRETT: In all of history when this kind of stuff has happened before, it's bad news. You know and I hate to be one of these doomsday guys, but in past things like this result in the death of millions. You know, and World War II hasn't been 700 years ago, it's only been 70 years ago. And if people don't think that these things don't happen to modern, progressive, Christian nations like Germany was, they're wrong, brother, I mean we're sitting here just nearly repeating the same past of that, the disarming of the citizenry not based on any facts but based on cynical emotions that are put in and rushed through in the middle of the night before anybody has a chance to study the true facts, before their citizenry even knows what's going on. I mean holy smokes, what kind of state government was that? I can't believe that's one of the members of the Union here, one of the members of our Republic. It's just unimaginable.

    Barrett made similar remarks on the February 5 edition of Cam & Company, suggesting that gun owners prevent "socialism" and make it so "you can't round up hoards of armed free people and put them in cattle cars." 

    It is not unusual for members of NRA leadership to distort history to compare stronger firearm policies to Nazism or the Holocaust. In his book, America Disarmed: Inside the U.N. & Obama's Scheme to Destroy the Second Amendment, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre equated the United Nations Small Arms and Light Weapons Destruction Day, held on July 9, 2001, to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels' order that books authored by Jews be publicly burned. He then suggested that the burning of guns could "help set the stage for mass executions of gun owners" just as Goebbels' order precipitated the mass killing of Jews:

  • Right-Wing Media Take Turns Repeating Debunked Talking Points About "Unconstitutional" Gun Violence Prevention

    Blog ››› ››› SERGIO MUNOZ

    Right-wing media have been looking to anyone for talking points about the purported "unconstitutionality" of gun violence prevention. Frequent Wall Street Journal contributor David Rivkin Jr. recently took his turn in an op-ed, and his junior associate repeated the argument on a NRA news show. But Supreme Court precedent does not support their confused generalizations and multiple legal experts have explained how current proposals are constitutional under District of Columbia v. Heller.  

    Former Reagan and Bush I White House official Rivkin now publishes regular attacks on the Obama Administration in the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal. Frequently debunked, even by other conservative media, his claims of President Obama's "lawlessness" now extend to the gun violence prevention measures under consideration in response to the Sandy Hook massacre.

    In a recent WSJ op-ed with colleague Andrew Grossman, Rivkin called these attempts to prevent future violence uninformed and claimed: "what government cannot do is deny the individual interest in self-defense. As a legal matter, that debate is settled. The president and his allies seem to have missed the message[.]" Grossman then appeared on the NRA's televised news show, Cam & Company, to defend this misinformation about the Supreme Court's decision in Heller and misrepresent case law on exceptions to fundamental rights. On the show, Grossman claimed a renewed assault weapons ban and capacity limits for magazines were not permitted by Heller:

  • Breitbart.com's Motley Pitches Erroneous, Racially-Charged Immigration Ad

    Blog ››› ››› HILARY TONE

    Breitbart.com contributor Seton Motley used NRA News to make unfounded claims regarding immigrants, African Americans, and the job market.  Motley stated that if he operated a Super PAC, it would air radio ads in African-American communities suggesting that President Obama's executive order allowing deferred action for some immigrants takes jobs away from African Americans.

    Motley's suggestion came during a segment on Cam & Company in which he and conservative blogger Stacy Washington speculated about what percentage of the African American vote Obama will receive on Election Day.

    MOTLEY: If I had -- I tried to get a Super PAC going as we discussed earlier and it -- just my --

    CAM EDWARDS, HOST: Okay

    MOTLEY: --things fell apart, to quote Chinua Achebe. But if I had the Super PAC up and running, one of the ads I'd be running right now is on black radio stations about the executive order Obama did on the DREAM Act. Because the people that they're competing with for jobs just got an "olly olly oxen free" from Barack Obama via an executive branch fiat that said, "All these illegal aliens. Yeah, you're good. Just come in and say you were brought in here has a child and you're good." And it's that uneducated work force that's taking jobs away from the uneducated -- less educated, I don't want to sound offensive -- but it's that low-skilled job force that's competing with blacks trying to get jobs in this economy. 

    Motley's attacks on immigrants because of the supposed threat they pose to African American workers are completely unfounded.  In 2011, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) released a report titled "The Racial Blame Game" in which it stated, in bold, that "immigrants are not the cause of minority unemployment."

    If immigrants took jobs away from large numbers of minority workers, one would expect to find higher minority unemployment rates in those parts of the country with larger numbers of immigrants.  Yet data from the 2009 American Community Survey, analyzed for the IPC by Rob Paral and Associates, indicate that there is no correlation between the size of the foreign-born population and the African American unemployment rate in U.S. metropolitan areas {Figure 1}.

    Unemployment figure

    [Immigration Policy Center, 3/01/2011]

    The IPC also highlighted that "African American unemployment rates in many low-immigration cities are far higher than in many high-immigration cities.  For instance, immigrants were 17.6 percent of the population in Miami in 2009, but only 3.1 percent of the population in Toledo.  Yet the unemployment rate for African Americans in Toledo (30.1 percent) was much higher than that of African Americans in Miami (17.6 percent)."  Despite these high numbers, Motley's claim that black unemployment is the result of "less educated" or "low skilled" labor is unfounded because, as detailed in this issue brief from the Center for American Progress, "there are structural barriers to employment in the labor market affecting African Americans alone--obstacles that impede the advancement of African Americans."

    Motley also mischaracterizes Obama's executive order as the DREAM Act, a piece of federal legislation that seeks to create a path to citizenship for undocumented youth in the U.S.  In reality, Obama's executive order, more commonly known as Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA), applies to a smaller subset of immigrants who can gain only temporary legal status in the U.S. for up to two years as long as they meet the following requirements:

    1)     Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;

    2)     Came to the United States before reaching [their] 16th birthday;

    3)     Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time; 

    4)     Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making [their] request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;

    5)     Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or [their] lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;

    6)     Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and

    7)     Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

    Contrary to Motley's claims, immigrants applying for DACA cannot just say they were "brought in here has a child and [they're] good."  In addition to collecting documents to prove every one of the above requirements, applicants must also complete and mail three federal forms, pay a $465 fee, and have their fingerprints taken in person as part of an extensive background check.  Even then, not every case is guaranteed approval.  And in contrast with an estimated 150 million people in the U.S. labor force, the total 4,591 immigrants who have been granted deferred action since August 15 seems relatively small, and certainly not worthy of such blatant fearmongering.

  • Townhall's Katie Pavlich: To Stop Gun Trafficking, "Get Rid Of The ATF"

    Blog ››› ››› CHRIS BROWN

    For more Media Matters coverage of gun violence and extremism, visit our Gun Facts microsite.

    Previously Media Matters has noted gun lobby efforts to falsely suggest that guns used by Mexican cartels come from anywhere but the United States, except for the guns involved in the failed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operation Fast and Furious. During a visit to the National Rifle Association's (NRA) radio program Townhall.com's Katie Pavlich took the argument a step further, suggesting that we just get rid of all federal law enforcement efforts to stop gun trafficking to Mexico.

    Riffing off NRA radio host Cam Edwards, Pavlich quipped that getting rid of the ATF and Department of Justice was the way to end gun trafficking to Mexico.

    PAVLICH: My whole thing has always been through this process, you know, if you really want to stop trafficking of guns into Mexico from America get rid of ATF and DOJ because they are the number one supplier of guns to Mexican drug cartels at this point.

    Pavlich's claim that the federal government is the top supplier of drug cartels is flat-out false. Overall 64,000 U.S. guns have been traced from Mexican crime scenes in the last five years. The ATF has seized more 10,000 firearms and more then 1.1. million rounds of ammunition headed to the southwest border in the same period. In the last 2 years on the Mexican side of the border, 20,504 or 70 percent of the total firearms submitted to be traced were U.S. sourced. In July The Washington Post reported 227 guns associated with Fast and Furious has been recovered in Mexico, which if included in the trace data for the last two years would be less than one percent of the total. During those same two years only one percent of the guns were traced to anywhere other than the United States.

    You could dismiss the line as a joke, but Pavlich's suggestion to eliminate ATF and DOJ largely mirrors the attitude and faulty facts used by the gun lobby and the right-wing media. The loudest critic of Fast and Furious doesn't think the ATF is constitutional no matter what tactics it employs. The NRA has done everything in it's power to weaken the ATF and has showed sustained hostility to their mission. They've spent years blocking a permanent director for the ATF, including President Bush's nominee.

    The suggestion that Fast and Furious guns constitute the vast majority of U.S. guns arming the cartels is absurd and ignores a serious and ongoing issue. Eliminating the ATF would eliminate virtually the only mechanism to prevent guns from being trafficked.

    Many conservative states have few state laws enabling law enforcement to fight gun trafficking. As documented by Mayors Against Illegal Guns' Trace The Guns project, Arizona state law doesn't have a straw buying statute that would let state prosecutors target the criminals that bought the guns in the Fast and Furious operation. Without federal government efforts there's few mechanisms to fight gun trafficking, since states like Arizona show little interest in combating gun trafficking.

  • NRA's Edwards Targets Mayor Booker With Faulty Concealed Carry Claims

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    On Tuesday, the coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) released a video testimonial from Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker criticizing H.R. 822, a bill currently before Congress that would force states to recognize the concealed carry permits of all other states -- even those with dangerously lax standards.

    Booker called the bill "insane" and said that it would put civilians and law enforcement "at risk." Indeed, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, and the Police Foundation all oppose the bill, citing the potential danger to their members.

    The video did not go unnoticed by the bill's main supporter, the National Rifle Association. Last night, NRA Radio's Cam Edwards responded, pushing the same flawed arguments his organization has been using to push the legislation:

    Edwards defends H.R. 822 by comparing concealed carry licenses to driver's licenses:

    EDWARDS: Is it "insane" for driver's licenses to be recognized across state lines? Because I'm pretty sure there are different qualifications to get your driver's license, depending on what state you live in.

    MAIG's Cliff Schecter previously addressed this talking point in an op-ed challenging similar arguments from NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox:

    Is the NRA now comparing a concealed carry permit to owning and driving a car, where each individual is required to possess a license and register their vehicle? So is Mr. Cox's position that we should create a registry of each person who carries loaded, concealed firearms, so gun regulations will work similarly to the laws governing the owning and driving of automobiles?

    To the substance of his point, the police are able to verify the status of one's driver's license through a national database. With concealed carry permits, there is no such licensing database -- and Mr. Cox assures us there are no plans to create one. Some states don't even keep accurate records of who's allowed to carry a concealed weapon -- much less feed them into a national database -- and others destroy these documents. Perhaps this is why virtually all law enforcement organizations oppose this.