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She Started With Deer Hunting, Now She's an Olympian

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Last week the Washington Post had another great article on Virginian Ginny Thrasher:
Ginny Thrasher once dreamed of being an Olympic figure skater. While she glided up and down the ice at Fairfax Ice Arena, Thrasher thought about one day representing the United States on one of the world’s biggest stages. But when ninth grade came around, Thrasher realized her route to a gold medal probably wasn’t in skating.

“To be honest, I was never very good at it,” Thrasher said.

But this August, Thrasher, 19, will represent the United States as the youngest shooter on the 15-member Olympic rifle team. As a freshman at West Virginia, she won national titles in both air rifle and small-bore during the NCAA championships in March. Then on April 4, she was named to the U.S. team headed to Rio.

“What she achieved as a freshman in college is as good as anyone in the last 10 years or more,” West Virginia rifle Coach Jon Hammond said. “The things she’s achieved just this year, it’s not very often that someone achieves that. Usually it’s someone who has international experience and has been shooting for a long time. Not a college freshman.”Just a little over five year's ago, according to the article, Thrasher asked her parents during a return trip from her grandparents why she "couldn't go hunting with grandpa?"  Not only did she go hunting, to the surprise of her father and grandfather, she shot a deer:
“It was just a big rush of adrenaline,” Thrasher said. “Things were happening very fast and all of a sudden, my aim was good and it was an exciting feeling.”That hunting trip lead her to go to an open practice for the air rifle team at West Springfield High School (located in Fairfax). The rest is history.  The Post notes that by the end of her senior year at West Springfield, Thrasher had earned five medals at the 2015 USA Shooting national championships and third place at the 2014 Junior Olympic championships.  In March, Thrasher became the second member of West Virginia University’s rifle program to win both the individual small-bore and air rifle NCAA championships, earning her a spot at the U.S. Olympic trials in Fort Benning, Ga. By the end of the second day of the three day trials, Thrasher had pretty much clinched her spot.

Read the entire article.  It's another great profile of this outstanding young lady.

Media Tries to Drive Wedge Between NRA Members and Leadership

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It started on Saturday with this article in the Washington Post titled "The NRA’s Internal Split Over Philando Castile" that tried to paint a schism between NRA members and the organization's leadership in Fairfax over the response (or lack of) in the death of a black concealed carry permit holder earlier in the week:
After a Minnesota police officer fatally shot a black man on Wednesday, gun control advocates weren’t the only ones criticizing the National Rifle Association. Some of the blowback was coming from within the organization.

The NRA is facing internal division as its members argue that the group did not do enough to defend gun owners’ rights by speaking out on behalf of Philando Castile of Falcon Heights, Minn., who was shot to death during a traffic stop.

Castile had a valid permit to carry a gun. He also reportedly informed the officer who shot him that he was armed in an attempt to head off a misunderstanding.By Sunday, other publications had picked up the narrative.  The "blowback" referred to was comments posted on the NRA Facebook Page.  The thing is the lack of a response was not driven by a lack of support for the rights of a lawfully carrying individual, or not wanting to support a black gun owner as race hustler Al Sharpton charged,  but following the organization's history of waiting until the investigation is completed before responding.  It's what the organization repeatedly asks for the gun ban lobby and gun ban politicians to do after high profile shootings before they call for more gun control.  It is a matter of being consistent. 

Also on Sunday, NRA News Commentator Colion Noir (an attorney by profession) released a new video commentary responding to the media’s narrative that the NRA does not care about the black community.  He opened the video commentary echoing the emotions felt by many across the country this past week:
“As I watched Philando Castile dying in that car, I watched myself die, and it evoked every emotion in my body.” Speaking directly to the unjust critics who claimed the NRA was being racist for not immediately issuing statements, Noir goes on to say:
“as a lawyer, I’ve learned to wait for all the evidence before rushing to judgment because emotions can blind you and rob you of impartiality.”He directly called out Russell Simmons, who previously stated Noir was just being used when NRA News gave him his own show. Noir also takes on Don Lemon for attacking the right of young black men to open carry. He cites the NRA’s long history of defending the rights of African-Americans including Shaneen Allen, Josephine Byrd and Otis McDonald, stories the media has largely ignored, adding:
“The Democratic Party invented gun control after slavery to keep guns out of the hands of black people and they haven’t stopped since. But you don’t tell that story, either.” Noir also asks where the media was when four people died and 51 were wounded in Chicago over July 4th weekend.

You can view the complete video below.

The Hill: GOP Struggles to Find Votes for Gun Bill

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The Hill posted this article Wednesday night reporting Speaker Paul Ryan is having trouble rallying conservatives around his efforts to include an amendment related to the so-called "terrorist watch list" to an "anti-terror" package.  This follows up an earlier report posted Tuesday night that characterized the revolt as a "handful of naysayers" from the House Freedom Caucus.  From last night's article:
“They seem to be at wit’s end,” said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). “For whatever reason, they seem to be taken by surprise by the number of Republicans who have defected.”

The conservative revolt has forced GOP leaders to delay action on the package, which was initially scheduled to move through the Rules Committee on Tuesday and hit the floor Wednesday.Making this part of a larger anti-terror package is putting strong 2A supporters in the position of voting against the larger package because the don't support taking away a civil right without due process.
It’s unclear how, or if, the Republicans will proceed. Some conservatives are floating the idea of splitting the gun provision from the larger anti-terror package. That strategy would provide an out for the conservatives opposed to the notion that gun control in any form is the appropriate response to the Orlando tragedy.

“It’s clear that terrorism shouldn’t be diverted to a gun control issue,” Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) told The Hill Wednesday. “That’s almost perverse, where you have a person mass slaughtering, whether it be in San Bernardino or Orlando. That’s not a gun issue.”King, who is no friend of gun owners and who opposes Ryan’s gun measure in favor of stronger measures, suggested Ryan would back away from plans to move the firearm provision if they can’t win the support of more conservatives.  Keep calling your representatives and let them know you oppose any new gun control and that our Second Amendment rights should not be taken away by a secret government list.

GOP Conservatives Revolt Against Ryan's Terror Watch List Push

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Sebastian at the blog Shall Not Be Questioned has the story here via The Hill.  Virginia's own 7th District Congressman Dave Brat was quoted in The Hill article:
Added Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), another Freedom Caucus member: “If it is a suspected terrorist and we have evidence to that extent, then Logic 101 [suggests] that person should either be in jail or out of the country.”I think we can all agree on that.

Democrats Include Current Wishlist of Gun Control in Party Platform

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Ahead of the Democratic National Convention, the Democratic National Committee has released their proposed platform for the party to run on this election cycle.  From Guns.com:
“We will expand background checks and close dangerous loopholes in our current laws, hold irresponsible dealers and manufacturers accountable, keep weapons of war—such as assault weapons—off our streets, and ensure guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists, domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and those with severe mental health issues,” states the platform.

The list mirrors the position taken by presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who also advocates closing the “Charleston Loophole,” revoking licenses of firearms dealers found to have high rates of straw purchasers and gun traffickers, and seeking to add those who have been the subject of some outpatient treatments to the list of prohibited possessors.

“Make no mistake about it: The 2016 Democratic platform represents an ambitious, progressive agenda that all Democrats can and should be proud of,” said Clinton senior policy advisor Maya Harris, who was a representative to the platform committee, noting that it “reflects the issues Hillary Clinton has championed throughout this campaign.”This follows the report in the Christian Science Monitor that Democrats are "reveved-up" to see if gun control can be a winning election issue. With the gun ban crowd being so up-front with their plans, look for gun sales to continue their record setting pace.

Christian Science Monitor: Democrats Fired Up to See if Gun Control Can Be Winning Election Issue

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The Christian Science Monitor had this article yesterday on how the Democrats itching to see if gun control can be a winning election issue:
But will gun safety actually motivate voters? Will it cause them to punish opponents of “common sense” regulation and reward supporters?

That’s the key question, because America has seen versions of this story before – mass shootings, a presidential candidate for more gun regulation (Barack Obama), and favorable public opinion. And yet it is the gun-rights lobby, spearheaded by the National Rifle Association (NRA), which has had the upper hand in legislation at the state level and in Congress.

Still, advocates of gun-safety regulation feel encouraged, with many saying the country is reaching a tipping point. They describe a slow boil of anger and fear about gun deaths – now combined with terrorism. They cite a frustrating disconnect between public opinion and a nonresponsive Congress.

“There comes a time when you have to say something, we have to make a little noise, when you have to move your feet. This is the time,” said Rep. John Lewis (D) of Georgia, the veteran civil rights leader, during the House sit-in last month.The article points to the 2015 Virginia State Senate election and the victory of Jeremy McPike, which Bloomberg's Everytown spent heavily as one reason gun control is no longer a "third rail" issue.  What the Monitor reporter did not say is a)it was a Democrat open seat, and a district that went for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012 and b)the other race in which Bloomberg spent heavily was won by the NRA endorsed candidate Glen Sturtevant.  It is likely that McPike would have won without Bloomberg's money and Sturtevant won in spite of Bloomberg outspending the NRA almost 10-1.  Which leads me to this part of the Monitor article:
What will make a difference this year is organization and momentum, says Ms. Milikowsky. Everytown can’t match the NRA in dollars, she says, but it has people power: mayors, moms, survivors, and other supportive Americans, a total of 50,000 volunteers who will be focusing on key state races, as well as advocating for Clinton.Really?  Everytown can't match NRA in dollars?  Bloomberg has much deeper pockets than the NRA and he spends heavily propping up the organization.  Plus, NRA's real power is not money, it is the dedicated group of members who get involved in campaigns and go the polls.  It will take a big effort on the part of gun owners this year, an effort not really seen since the 2000 election, to make sure Hillary Clinton is not elected president.  You can sign up to volunteer by going to http://www.nrailafrontlines.com/volunteer and find volunteer opportunities in your area at http://www.nrailafrontlines.com/calender.

Andrew McCarthy: Government Could Strip Every Constitutional Right under "Emergency" Claim

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Andrew McCarthy had a great article on National Review Online yesterday about Chuck Schumer's (D., N.Y.) claim at a Judiciary Committee hearing last week that many constitutional liberties are routinely restricted in "emergency" circumstances — in particular, Fourth Amendment rights against warrantless search and arrest, so we should do the same thing to the Second Amendment:
President Obama and his allies in Congress seek to deny the constitutional gun-ownership rights of Americans merely suspected of terror ties — even as the Left champions the non-existent immigration rights of aliens from regions notorious for terror ties. The backbone of the Democrats’ stratagem is a specious “constitutional” claim, one whose logic would empower the government to strip every civil right the Constitution is designed to protect against government encroachment.

As posited by Senator Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) at a Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Democrats claim that many constitutional liberties are routinely restricted in emergency circumstances — in particular, Fourth Amendment rights against warrantless search and arrest. Hence, the argument goes, Second Amendment rights, too, may be stripped away if Democrats can concoct an emergency — such as the ongoing crisis in which guns, apparently with minds of their own, mow down infidels.McCarthy continues:
It is black-letter law that a statute cannot limit a constitutional safeguard. Not only is the Constitution the higher-ranking source of law; the safeguard in the Second Amendment is a safeguard against government action. If government action could undo such a safeguard, the purpose of having the safeguard in the first place would be defeated. The Second Amendment, and indeed all constitutional guarantees against governmental abuses of power, would be null and void anytime government came up with an “emergency” pretext.McCarthy, who as a U.S. Attorney prosecuted the "Blind Sheik" for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, takes a back seat to no one when it comes to protecting the U.S. from jihadists.  But he also understands the Constitution and explains in great detail why this theory being pushed by  the gun ban Democrats is dangerous to liberty.  Read the entire article.

Volunteers Needed to Help at Salem Fair NRA-ILA Booth

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The Annual Salem Fair is now open and the NRA-ILA Team needs your help! With over 350,000 people in attendance between June 29th and July 10th, this will be an excellent time to spread gun rights and the NRA message. Located at the Salem Civic Center on 1001 Roanoke Blvd Salem, VA 24153, the event runs from 4pm til 9pm weekdays, and Noon until 9pm weekends.

NRA-ILA is looking for volunteers to help maintain the booth and interact with fairgoers. For those interested in volunteering, please contact Patrick DeStefano, at 864-680-0399, or by email at patrick@nrailafrontlines.com

WHENJune 29, 2016 at 4pm - July 10, 2016 at 4pm       WHERESalem Civic Center1001 Roanoke BlvdSalem, VA 24153United States

The Hill: House to Vote on Gun Bill Next Week

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Just received this from thehill.com:
In a conference call Thursday, Ryan told rank-and-file Republicans that the House will take up a terrorism package that will include measures to disrupt radicalization and recruitment, as well as a provision to prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing guns, according to a source on the call.

It’s unclear exactly which bill will be brought to the floor.

Democrats launched an historic, daylong protest on the House floor last week demanding a vote on such legislation in the wake of the Orlando shooting rampage that killed 49.Contact your congressman now and let them know you oppose any new restrictions on our right to keep and bear arms.

Volunteers Needed for NRA-ILA Table at Richmond Gun Show July 9-10

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Without the hard work of dedicated gun owners, we would not have made the gains we have legislatively over the years.  In fact, without some very dedicated volunteers doing things like working gun show tables and other campaign activities, our rights would likely have been eliminated years ago.

This year we are going to need that support and hard work more than ever. We are facing the biggest threat to our rights that we have seen in years, eclipsing even the threat after the tragic events of the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012.  Whether we win or see anti-gun politicians advance their agenda significantly all depends on the outcome of the election this November. That is why we need  gun owners to answer the call and become activists today.

With that in mind, NRA-ILA will have a table at the Richmond gun show on July 9th and 10th at the Richmond Raceway.  They need folks to work the table to recruit volunteers. If you can lend a hand for an hour or two, please contact:

Alan L. Penn
NRA-ILA Election Volunteer Coordinator
(Email) alanlpenn@comcast.net
(Cell) 804-489-3775

New Gun Laws Take Effect July 1

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On July 1, laws passed during the General Assembly session take effect.  Here are a few of the most important gun related laws:

Senate Bill 610 and House Bill 1163, patroned by state Senator Bryce Reeves (R-17) and Delegate Michael Webert (R-18), which passed during the last session overrides Attorney General Mark Herring's order that ended reciprocity/recognition with 25 states. Action to terminate existing agreements and mutual recognition was delayed to allow the new provisions to take effect on July 1, making revocation unnecessary.    As a result Virginia’s recognition of permits remained unchanged until July 1 when the new law becomes effective.

Effective July 1, the holder of a valid concealed handgun or concealed weapon permit or license issued by another state may carry a concealed handgun in Virginia provided:
  • the holder of such permit or license is at least 21 years of age; and
  • the permit or license holder carries a photo identification issued by a government agency of any state or by the U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. Department of State; and
  • the holder displays the permit or license and such identification upon demand by a law-enforcement officer; and
  • the permit or license holder has not previously had a Virginia concealed handgun permit revoked. 
The legislation also provides that the Virginia State Police in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General will work with the various jurisdictions to secure reciprocal privileges for Virginia citizens desiring to carry concealed in other states.

Although the new law will require Virginia to grant recognition to all states that issue permits, those states may not authorize Virginia permit holders to possess a firearm in their state. You will need to contact each state to determine if they will recognize your Virginia permit.

Additionally, on Friday, July 1, the Virginia State Police will begin the process of reaching out to additional states to enter into reciprocal agreements allowing Virginia concealed carry permits to be recognized when traveling to those states.  Please note that effective July 1, new CHP applications will need to be used to apply for new or renewal permits.

Also beginning on July 1, State Police will be present at every gun show in Virginia to perform voluntary background checks for individuals who wish to take advantage of the service before selling their privately owned firearm to another individual.

Rigged Polling Helps Drive Gun Control Narrative

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Today's New York Times continues the narrative started with last week's congressional gun control "sit-in" by declaring the wall protecting us from new gun ban laws may cracking:
A widely publicized sit-in by House Democrats. A bipartisan compromise proposal in the Senate. Neither is very likely to lead to any legislative action in Congress on gun safety this year. Election Day is too close, and most of the Republican opposition is too dug in.  But the fact that a legislative response remains elusive does not mean there has been no movement on the issue. Members of both parties say they sensed a shift in the gun debate after the mass killing in Orlando, Fla., a notable difference in attitude from the reaction on Capitol Hill after previous horrific shootings.
Eight Senate Republicans joined with 44 Democrats on a Republican-proposed compromise that would deny people on two different federal watch lists the ability to buy weapons unless they could successfully appeal that decision. Several other Republican senators showed some willingness to accept new restrictions on gun purchases if they could be structured in an acceptable way. A bipartisan companion measure also was introduced in the House.
These are incremental steps, but in the gridlocked world of gun control politics, they count for something..This is all part of Obama's, and the Department of Justice's efforts to do everything they can not to mention the words Islamic Terrorism, taking the opportunity instead to push gun control.  They are aided by the media which pushes out poll results that are rigged, as Frank Miniter wrote last week in Forbes, using wording in such a way that most people will say yes to the questions asked.  For instance:
The deception begins with polls. A CNN/ORC poll conducted June 16-19, is a good example. Its asked participants if they “generally favor or oppose … preventing people who are on the U.S. government’s Terrorist Watchlist or no-fly list from owning guns”?

Given how this question is worded, it should be no surprise that 85% of respondents said they are in “favor” stopping terrorists from legally owning guns. Who can blame them? Any reasonable person must want law enforcement to investigate, watch and, when necessary, prevent possible terrorists from getting guns.

Notice it uses the word “prevent” not “ban” or “stop.” “Prevent” implies a more nuanced approach than the U.S. Government using secret (as they must be) black lists, like the “no-fly list,” to not just take away a person’s Second Amendment right to bear arms away, but also their Fifth Amendment right to due process under the law.

Actually, the 15% of the respondents who said they “oppose” … “preventing people who are on the U.S. government’s Terrorist Watchlist or no-fly list from owning guns,” likely knew this was a loaded question and then stubbornly refused to go along with the premise that the government should be able to take the U.S. Bill of Rights away from U.S. citizens without even having its power checked by the judicial branch.This allows the media and Obama to run with the false narrative that the NRA doesn't care if terrorists can buy guns.  It's about demonizing the NRA. Doesn't seem to be working as a poll released earlier this week showed the NRA is more popular than both political parties and Hillary Clinton, and viewed negatively by less people than view Obama negatively.

Miniter appeared on NRANews.com last Friday to discuss his article in more detail and why all of this is hypocritical.
One last note, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine were among the Senators that walked down the hall to join their gun ban cohorts in the House.  It looks like Warner has completely reverted to his pre-Governor campaign positions on guns.

Delegate Michael Webert on How Arbitrary Restrictions on Rights Won't Prevent the Next Attack

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At The Daily Caller, Delegate Michael Webert writes about efforts by President Obama, Hillary Clinton and congressional Democrats to use the terrorist attack in Orlando as a justification for a ban on so-called “assault weapons” and prohibiting persons on secret watch lists from buying firearms.
If the government is so intent on suspending the right of law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights on the basis of suspicion, then what is there to stop the government from moving to curtail other rights based off the assumption you might be a threat—not much. Today, it’s firearms, tomorrow it could include anything from being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, limiting the right to a fair and speedy trial, to limiting the right to freely express oneself. Literally the possibilities are endless, and it’s not as far-fetched as it may sound.Delegate Webert, who was deeply involved in the effort to roll back Attorney General Mark Herring's order on concealed carry reciprocity/recognition, appeared on NRANews on Wednesday to discuss the article in more detail:

Longtime VSSA Lobbyst and Member Tom Evans has Died

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News was just received that VSSA's longtime lobbyist, Tom Evans, has died.  Tom served as VSSA's lobbyist until 2009 when health problems caused him to retire.  Tom's relationship with both pro-gun and anti-gun legislators allowed him to work with both sides of our issue and accomplish many positive results.  He was intimately involved in the passage of "Shall Issue" concealed carry legislation in 1995, partial repeal of handgun rationing in 2004, VSSA's range protection legislation in 2004, and Virginia's pre-emption statute.

VSSA currently does not have information related to final arrangements but will post them when it is received.

McConnell to Allow Collins "Terrorist Watch List" Bill for Senate Vote

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The Hill reports that Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell is expected to bring a bill by Susan Collins to a vote possibly this week.  The Collins bill would block people on two so-called "terrorist watch lists" from buying firearms.  The NRA opposes the bill but McConnell responded through a spokesman that “He will not be dictated to,” regarding lobbying efforts to prevent it from coming to a vote.

No one on our side of the issue wants terrorists to be able to buy guns but as this blog detailed yesterday, there are lot more people than just terrorists on the lists involved.  The position of the NRA and VSSA is that no one should lose civil rights simply because their names are on secret government lists.  In 2014 a federal judge ruled that the government's method for allowing the public to challenge placement on the no-fly list was "wholly ineffective" and unconstitutional.

But that hasn't stopped the gun ban crowd from using the Orlando terrorist attack to push a gun ban scheme they have been pushing since 2007.  They are likely more interested in using the issue as a campaign issue and that has led McConnell to cave according to The Hill article:
Both sides are trying to figure out how the vote might shape this fall’s elections, when Democrats could win back the Senate majority by netting just four Senate seats if they retain the White House.

Some Republicans suggested Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) aren’t interested in a deal because they want to use gun control as a wedge issue in the fall against GOP Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Rob Portman (Ohio), all of whom face challenging reelections in states won by President Obama in 2012.“Sen. Schumer and Sen. Reid are discouraging Democrats from voting for it, trying to peel off those who have co-sponsored it because they, I don’t believe, really want to come up with a bipartisan solution. They’d just like to keep the issue alive,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) grumbled to reporters at one point on Tuesday.That doesn't mean however that Reid and Schumer won't in the end see this as an opportunity to say they beat the NRA:
“I think you’re seeing in real time the vice grip of the NRA loosening in this place,” said Sen. Chris MurphyChris MurphySenate Republicans may defy NRA on gunsSenators roll out bipartisan gun proposalDems blast Republicans after failed gun votesMORE (D-Conn.). “This is a watershed moment whether this gets to the finish line or not. You have Republicans scrambling to try to find a way to remedy their no votes [Monday] night.”

No Dana Milbank, Senate Protected Due Process Rights of Law Abiding Americans

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Dana Milbank wrote this opinion piece posted on the Washington Post web site Monday night after the Senate voted down all four gun control amendments to the Commerce Justice and Science appropriations bill.  The article is titled "A week after Orlando, Republicans protect terrorists' right to bear arms" and is full of misleading information.  Here is a sample:
Nineteen days later, a man whom the FBI had investigated as a possible terrorist went into an Orlando nightclub and, claiming solidarity with the Islamic State, shot 49 people to death with weapons he bought legally.

The legislation couldn’t have prevented the massacre; it wouldn’t have taken effect for months. But it highlights an absurd situation: Lawmakers have known for a long time that those suspected of terrorist activities can legally buy guns, but the Republican majority, putting Second Amendment absolutism above modest national-security considerations, is refusing to fix the problem.Nowhere in Milbank's rant does he tell his readers that the Orlando shooter was not on the "Terrorist Watch List." The shooter had been investigated and removed for lack of evidence.  Milbank, like the gun ban lobby, and Democratic legislators pushing this proposal, uses talking point phrases like "terrorist watch list" knowing that few if any of his readers understand exactly what that list entails.  Here is what Milbank and the gun ban crowd don't want you to know, courtesy of David Inserra at the Daily Signal:
What Is the Terrorist Watch List?
The Terrorist Screening Database is the official name for the main terrorist watch list; it is maintained by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center. The terrorist watch list is the central U.S. repository of known and suspected terrorists, both foreign and domestic.

The list receives names of suspected international terrorists from the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment,  maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center in connection with the U.S. intelligence community and security agencies that have information on terrorists. It also receives data on domestic terrorists from the FBI.

The  terrorist watch list includes only information used to identify terrorists. The database itself does not include classified information on terrorists regarding what they have done and how we have been tracking them. This classified information is maintained in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment for foreign terrorists, and at the FBI for domestic terrorists.

How Is the Terrorist Watch List Used?
From the Terrorism Screening Database, or terrorist watch list, more specific lists are created for different purposes.

For example, the no-fly list and the selectee list are used to prevent individuals from traveling or to subject them to greater scrutiny. For an individual to be included on the no-fly list or selectee list, additional evidence of his threat to aviation security and clear identifying information is needed above and beyond the standard of reasonable suspicion.

Another list extracted from the terrorist watch list is the Known and Suspected Terrorist File, or KST file.  For someone to be included in the KST file, clear identifying information is needed.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, used to check firearm purchases, draws on the KST file. Inclusion in the file does not itself prevent a gun purchase, but flags the purchase for further review.

The individual is allowed to purchase a firearm so long as he is not a felon, adjudicated to be mentally ill, a fugitive from justice, an illegal immigrant, or prohibited from making gun purchases for another statutory reason.

What Is the Standard of Proof to Be Put on the Terrorist Watch List?
To get on the terrorist watch list,  U.S. officials nominate an individual whom they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is engaged in or aiding terrorist activities.
There must also be a sufficient level of identifying information to include an individual on the list. There have been, and continue to be, legal battles over whether proper avenues for redress exist to get off the no-fly list.

So How Did Omar Mateen Get His Guns?
Omar Mateen, identified as the killer in the Orlando massacre, was subject to two FBI investigations in 2013 and 2014. He was added to the terrorist watch list.

Following the conclusion of the investigations, Mateen was removed from the watch list.  As a result, when he went to purchase the firearms used in the attack, he was not in the KST file and was not flagged by the FBI.

Even if Mateen had been on the list, he likely would not have been prevented from purchasing a weapon. The FBI would have been alerted, however, and could have responded and investigated further.That last paragraph is an inconvenient truth that the gun ban lobby doesn't want the public to know.  If someone on the list purchases a firearm, federal law enforcement is already alerted and can respond and investigate.

Remember that "no-fly list?"  The gun ban lobby uses it to push for their gun ban because it is "poll-tested."  Unfortunately, the list includes the name of a lot of people who are not terrorists.  People like the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, Representative John Lewis, singer Cat Stevens, children under the age of 10 and two journalists have erroneously ended up on the list.  Additionally, Representative Tom McClintock was on the list because he had the same name as an Irish Republican Army (IRA) terrorist.  That means they were all on the Terrorism Screening Database first before being put on the "No-fly" list since Inserra said the "no-fly list" is one of several created from the Terrorism Screening Database. It took Kennedy, Lewis, and McClintock months to get their names off the list.  Can you imagine how long it takes regular American citizen to get the matter cleared up?

American citizens should not lose basic civil rights without due process.  That is the reason all but two GOP Senators and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp (ND), voted against the Feinstein amendment.  It has nothing to do with letting terrorists have access to firearms as Milbank and the Washington Post assert.

You're going to see a lot more about this issue over the next five months.  I'm sure Dana Milbank will be more than happy to help our opponents distract the public from the real issue by continuing with poll tested talking points rather than laying out the facts.

Senate Set for Showdown on Gun Control

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The U.S. Senate is poised to take up four gun related proposals today as amendments to the Commerce Justice Science Appropriations bill today.  Added over the weekend is a "compromise" measure related to the so-called "Terrorist Watch List" offered by Maine's Susan Collins.  From the Wall Street Journal:
Any gun-control measure would need to overcome significant hurdles, including winning support in the Republican-controlled House.

Much of the latest attention has centered on a provision by the Senate’s No. 2 GOP official, John Cornyn of Texas, that would notify the Justice Department if someone on one of the terror watch lists, or someone who has been the subject of a terrorism investigation within the last five years, tried to purchase a gun.

That would trigger a court process in which the Justice Department would have 72 hours to demonstrate to a judge probable cause the weapon would be used in connection with terrorism. Democrats say that would be a high burden of proof in a short period of time. The NRA announced its support for the Cornyn amendment last week after Mr. Trump said he would like to meet with the organization. NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre, speaking Sunday on CBS, said the three-day delay “gives law enforcement the opportunity to go before a judge and prove their case.”

The NRA has suggested only people who could be arrested for terrorism should be blocked from purchasing a weapon. The group last year supported a provision similar to the latest Cornyn measure. NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker on Sunday said the group wants to ensure due process for people erroneously placed on the lists.

Ms. Collins’s proposal, which could be released Monday, is expected to call for a ban on sales of guns to terrorism suspects who appear on either the government’s “no-fly list” or on a separate “selectee list” that requires additional screening at airports. Individuals could appeal the decision blocking the purchase of a firearm, and be awarded attorneys’ fees if successful. Federal authorities would also be notified of any gun purchases by an individual who had been on the “no-fly list” or “selectee list” over the prior five years, allowing the FBI to put the person under surveillance. “I am optimistic that I can put together a coalition,” Ms. Collins said Sunday on NPR.The WSJ noted that the Collins amendment does not include a provision that actually allows law enforcement to stop a terrorist and take them off the street as the Cornyn measures purportedly allows.

The Hill details other proposals on the calendar:
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who faces a difficult reelection bid, has also introduced his own proposal, though it's been disavowed by Democrats. The Senate will also debate two background check proposals. A measure from GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley Chuck GrassleyWeek ahead: Senate to vote on gun control measures This week: Senate showdown over gun controlWhite House makes last-ditch plea for opioid fundingMOR (Iowa) would reauthorize and provide funding for the National Instant Background Check System (NICS), provide incentives to share mental health records and bolster federal record sharing. The Senate will also take a procedural vote on a proposal from Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy (Conn.), Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerThis week: Senate showdown over gun controlDems push vulnerable GOP senators on gun controlSenate schedules Monday votes on gun controlMORE (N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Cory Booker (N.J.) to expand background checks. Their proposal would require — with a handful of narrow exceptions — a background check for the sale and transfer of any gun.All of the amendments will require a super majority of 60 votes to advance.

Warnings Signs of Orlando Shooter's Radicalism Takes Shape

Virginia Shooting Sports Association -

From Friday morning's edition of Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt:
Meet young Omar Mateen:
Things took a dark turn on Sept. 11, 2001. As classmates looked on in shock, Mateen celebrated the terrorist attacks that day, claiming that Osama bin Laden was his uncle, said one person who was present. His antics prompted the school to call his father, and the classmate remembers watching through a school window as Mateen’s father approached his son and then slapped his face . . .Robert Zirkle, who knew him through school in 2001, said: “We joked that he’d become a terrorist. And then he did.”As he grew older, the threats continued:At a barbecue in the spring of 2007, Mateen erupted when his hamburger touched a piece of pork, something he considered a religious affront. He told the class he ought to kill all of them, recalled Susanne Coburn Laforest, 61, who attended the barbecue as a trainee. Mateen told his classmates not to laugh at him because this was serious and “was going to come back and shoot us,” she said.Not long after, Mateen was sitting in his car in the parking lot as classes were about to resume, when authorities swarmed the auto and escorted him off the property. An official told cadets Mateen had threatened to bring a gun on campus, according to Clinton Custar, who was attending the academy at the time and saw the incident from a classroom window.This was the same month Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and Mateen threatened to carry out a similar massacre at the police academy because he felt like he was being taunted for being Muslim, said a fellow cadet.A few years later, after he started talking about how he hoped police would kill his wife and child so he could become a “martyr”, his coworkers called the FBI.Mateen first came to the FBI’s attention in May 2013, after making a series of “boasts” to co-workers about his various ties to terrorist groups, a U.S. official told The Daily Beast, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the particulars of the case. “That triggered FBI to investigate.”The FBI investigated more in 2014 when one of the members of his mosque became a suicide bomber.The Islamic Center was also attended on occasion by Moner Mohammad Abusalha, who is believed to be the first American suicide bomber in Syria. Abusalha, who joined Islamist militants fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad, was in his early 20s when he died in 2014 after driving a truck loaded with explosives into a restaurant in Aleppo where Syrian government troops were stationed.This mosque has just 130 members. Two of them committed terror attacks.  During this probe, “an informant told the FBI that Mateen had mentioned watching videos by Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born terrorist and al Qaeda recruiter who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.” This was the same radical cleric who exchanged messages with the Fort Hood shooter.Earlier this year, Disney World security called the FBI. Disney security officials told the FBI they believe Mateen visited Disney World on April 26 to conduct surveillance, a law enforcement official told CNN. The FBI is investigating that possibility.Then a few weeks ago, the gun store called the FBI. Mateen then called someone on the phone and began speaking in Arabic. Robert Abell says that’s when the salesman became suspicious.“He just made the mistake of asking for an armor that wasn’t normal,” he said. “And then on the phone conversation was another key that you might need to step back and look at this. Our guy made the right decision at the time. I’m not selling him anything.“As soon as we said we didn’t have the bulk ammo he walked out the door.”Abell says they denied the sale, which they have the right to do. But before they could get his name and information, Mateen left the store.The gun shop owner says they immediately alerted the FBI about the suspicious man who wanted to purchase body armor. But the feds never followed up and visited the store.“I don’t see anything in reviewing our work that our agents should have done differently,” FBI Director James Comey said earlier this week. And government officials wonder why people think they should to own a gun to protect themselves!And more from The Hill on a gun shop that refused to make a sale to the shooter after some suspicious activity during the encounter:
Robert Abell, who owns Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, said that the store turned Mateen away when he tried to purchase 1,000 rounds of ammunition, as well as two types of body armor that the store did not carry.The store owner’s suspicions were heightened when Mateen spoke on the phone to someone in a foreign language.The store contacted the FBI, who were also investigating a group of Middle Eastern men who were buying police gear at the store. The men turned out to be security guards. The FBI asked about Mateen’s visit, but the store couldn’t provide any indentifying details or security camera footage.Clearly, there were some serious red flags about this guy.

Senate Schedule's Vote on Gun Control Amendments for Monday

Virginia Shooting Sports Association -

The Hill reports in a story about President Obama's visit to Orlando that the U.S. Senate has scheduled votes on several gun control amendments for this Monday.  That gives you time to contact Senator's Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and tell them to vote no on new gun control.  Just because both are predisposed to support new restrictions doesn't mean we should not call them.  They need to hear from every gun owner so they know there are more people opposed to their actions than support them.

You can reach them at the numbers below:
Tim Kaine at 202-224-4024 and Mark Warner at 202-224-2023

These measures are wide-ranging and include an attempt to reinstate the failed federal ban on semi-automatic firearms, commonly referred to as the “assault weapons ban.”  There will also be an attempt to take away the rights of individuals to purchase firearms if their name appears on the so-called "Terror Watchlist." This "list" has become political fodder for the gun ban lobby because less informed individuals won't take the time to learn that it is a list no one knows how their name ends up being added and unless you are famous like the late U.S. Senator Teddy Kennedy or Representative John Lewis, both of which landed on the list, likely will take years to get your name off.

Be sure to call today and tell all of your gun owning friends to do the same.


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