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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 26, 2015 12:00am-8:01am EST

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we do. i would much rather have a real job where i go to real regular hours, come home to my family, go out shooting every now and then, than to spend 14 hours a day in front of my laptop trying to get the message out to those who don't understand why it's so critical that we defend our right. in the coming election 2016, it's racing up on us. we've got a crowded field on the republican side, and i just want to comment. yesterday for the second time that i've been attendance to a grpc, we had a presidential candidate in the room. we spoke with us. he endorsed our positions. yesterday when governor jim gilmore was in this room, i would be willing to bet that there were at least 200 armed
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people around him at all time. [ applause ] >> i don't think governor gilmore was worried about it, do you? >> no. >> you're not a threat. you're the good guys. that's right. so it's the safest room in the state as bob said. there's a lot of information out there and information is the power of politics. if you want to win elections, you have to have information. and part of the critical information that you need is information about the candidates, where they stand, what they stand for, do they really mean what they say, have they proven that they mean what they say, what did they say a couple of years ago, what are they saying now, how is it different. there is lots of sites out
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there. there's lots of research out there. the national shooting sports foundation has their gun vote project online. good information, good resources. the nra, gun owners of america, citizens committee for the right to keep and bear arms, the various state organizations, the arizona citizens defense league -- >> yeah! >> of which i'm a proud new life member. they offered me a deal. they said, well, we can add up all the years you've been a member and here's how much it will cost you to go life, jeff. so i did that yesterday and i'm glad to have done it, but all of those information sites digging around out there, we've come up with something several years ago and each election cycle we build it back up again and then it dies off.
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it's called gunowner.org. how many of you play out on the internet? you get out there. you surf. forums, anybody addicted to forums? gunvoter.org is a forum site. it's user driven. the objective is for you to bring information to gunvoter.org from all of those other sites that you visit or your personal knowledge and tell everybody elsewhere this candidate stands, what he's saying about the issues, what he's done about the issues, what she wants to do about the issues, and most importantly the voting record, votes, votes, votes, votes are your best indicator of where somebody stands. that's why right now my critical issue, along with getting you to
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come to gunvoter.org to participate in that conversation, my critical issue is representative rob bishop's bill to delete the sporting purpose language from the gun control act. [ applause ] >> i don't know about you, but i've never found the words sporting purpose in the constitution. i don't find it in the second amendment, and it's been the law that some bureaucrat is deciding what you or i can import or possess or purchase based on his determination, her determination, of what meets some sporting purpose criteria. that's absolutely wrong. one of the issues that's been discussed is some division amongst gun groups and rights advocates. i'm a firm supporter of national
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reciprocity, but there's some division in the house regarding national reciprocity and whether it's a wise move to push. when it comes to removing the sporting purpose language, i don't think there's anybody in this room or in the rights movement who would disagree that that needs to happen and that's a vehicle for getting votes. we need to be pushing the house and the senate today to push this bill, to get the votes, so that we have the ammunition that we need. we know who's on our side and who's not on our side and we know who to vote for come 2016. that's the objective and that's what we want to do with gunowner.org and bring that in. now, a lot of you know that i'm not a specialist.
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i don't focus in one area. i'm kind of eclectic. i get around. i do a lot of things. i'm interested in a lot of things. as i listen to the panels here one after the other, there's always something that i want to comment on, something i want to add. as we talk about the emotion, i want to bring up a story. a few years ago, i was testifying before the d.c. city council. and marion barry gave an emotional plea talking about all of the funerals that he had attended due to gun violence. and i got my opportunity at the microphone, and i gave my little spiel and i said, before i go, i want to say something to mayor barry about those funerals because i want to tell you about the funerals that i haven't
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attended. i didn't attend a funeral for my great grandmother before i was born. my family didn't have to attend her funeral when she was alone with her four siblings in a farmhouse in louisiana and a disgruntled former employee was kicking on the door, declaring how he was going to murder all of them and she stood alone in the front room with a shotgun and defended her family and survived. [ applause ] >> i didn't have to attend the funeral of my grandmother and my aunt when they were in a remote location in new mexico and were assaulted by a man with a large knife. and my grandmother pulled her
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pistol from her purse and said you get back and they survived. [ applause ] >> i didn't have to attend the funeral of either of my sisters on two separate occasions, one when a man came into our home and my little sister was home alone and met him at the top of the stairs with a gun and she survived. [ applause ] >> when my other sister, my older sister, stopped in at a rest stop on the highway to take care of a little bit of business on a long trip and someone assaulted her in the stall in the bathroom and she had a gun and she survived. [ applause ] >> as alan corwin has told us, guns save lives. guns are what separate the good
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guys from the bad guys and give us the ability to defend against those willing to do evil against us. and so let's never forget that if it saves one life, the life it saves might just be yours. anyway -- [ applause ] >> to wrap things up, i just want to say thank you for being here. i'm looking forward to the leadership institute's program across the way this afternoon. if you can attend, it is always worthwhile. morton's programs are spectacular. alan, this has been a great, great conference, and we're glad that all of you guys could come out. votes, your vote, every vote matters, but right now the votes that matter the most are the votes in congress to let us know where these folks really stand.
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so i urge you to urge your politicians, your elected servants, the guys who are supposed to be working for you, to vote on the bishop bill, to vote on national reciprocity, and give us the ammunition we need to move forward on gunvoter.org and other sites that are mobilizing the rights movement to get the right people elected to defend our rights. i'm jeff knox with the firearms coalition. thank you very much for your attention. [ applause ] >> thank you, jeff. and thank you, alan. we have finished a little early, so we'll have more time for questions. if you have a question, i'd like you to line up over here to my left. be prepared to state your name
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and location and ask a question. now, some of our panelists from this morning have had to fly the coop, so they may not be here, but we'll do our best. if other morning panelists are available, they don't have to come all the way up on the stage, but if they want to hang out over there or down near -- or come up on the stage, we will do our best answer all the questions. but like alex trebek, i will say to you please in the form of a question. if you have statements to make later, that's what the hallway's for. if you want to engage in extended dialogue with one of our panel itseistpanelists, aga they'll be happy to do that
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outside in the hall. state your name and your question. if you want to direct it specifically to a panelist, give us that panelists name. [ inaudible ]. >> hang on, steve. >> try it again. >> is the switch on that mic or is there a switch? >> works better when you turn it on. >> go ahead, sir. >> one, two. oh, just get closer? okay. i'm steve mead. long time member of the nra and you name it. i have one fairly broad question that could go to a lot of people, but somebody may have some answers. why is it not a federal civil
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rights crime for michael bloomberg and his kind to organize and fund a conspiracy to defraud united states citizens of fundamental constitutional rights? [ applause ] >> no, this is not working. okay. >> yes, i believe we're speaking from the podium so the television cameras are focused on the podium. the problem is the courts have historically have ruled that people have first amendment rights to do these kind of things. your only recourse is use your rights to combat it back or to use your voting rights at the ballot box to defeat them in public office. it just isn't going to happen.
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>> i'll take a question, if i can move over to the big mic. i have a very quick answer. i think we need to use our billionaires against their billionaires. >> my only question there, neil, is where are they. where are our billionaires because i really want to meet them? i'm not sure he's ours. okay. all right. hi, bob. >> hi. peggy, thank you. >> i'm not a supporter of donald trump. my candidate in 2016 is nobody. the vote for nobody campaign. i will say donald trump has a second amendment statement on his web page second to none.
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>> hi, bob. >> thank you. my name is bob culliver. i'm a semi-retired engineer living in wyoming now. i escaped from maryland. in the form of a question, my question is to the folks who were talking about the nfa regulations and the $200 tax that got imposed. i'm going to reiterate why that tax was imposed. now that person that question for me out in the hall is because under the second amendment they could not regular those firearms. they had to find a dodge. that was the tax. the same thing is going to be applied for ammo and everything else we've hear about today. they can't do some things under the second amendment, but they seem to find ways around it. >> absolutely right, bob. >> yes, sir.
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>> there wasn't a question there? >> we're grading on a curve. >> hi there. i'm a local area activist here in phoenix, arizona, and have had a wonderful time this weekend. i've heard infringed and infringement several times. my question is, why is it i never here necessary for the security of a free state? thank you. >> you want me to take a stab at it? >> there's no doubt that that's part of the second amendment. and there's no doubt that the second amendment was written to keep us secure as a free state and that one of the problems the founding fathers saw was the federal government running away with people's rights. they wanted to make sure you had the right, like it or not, to
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rebel. but in today's context in the modern world we're pretty much looking at it as fighting it on an individual right battle. we're relying on a whole lot right now is two key supreme court cases. you have the right to have a firearm to protect yourself. those didn't talk very much about protecting your free state. we're looking at gun laws that are put in place that are screwing up our gun rights. they're all basically aimed at us as individuals. you only hear a lot about it because in the context of the modern debate and the current battle that's not the front line, i guess. >> i'll make a general comment about that. the founders noted that if we didn't have moral people in
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government, that the constitution and the whole concept of self-governance wouldn't work. and we don't have strong moral people in government on both sides of the aisle. all powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved for the people in the states respectfully. so we have the government regulating all sorts of things they're not empowered to do. there's no legitimate delegated authority to control education, energy, drugs, all these things that the federal government has taken upon itself. it has no legitimate delegated authority to do. if you find it regulating in the area of the second amendment or gun rights or your medical care or energy policy or education at the state level, we have people who are not moral, who are not following the constitution from top to bottom, and that's
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creating problems with our nation across the board. it seems to me like the last time the federal government actually looked at the constitution to see if we had power to do the things they're doing was in the implementation of the federal highway system where they called it the federal defense highway system and said we need this to defend the nation adequately and justified it on that basis. when bob spoke about the nfa, they said we can't regulate guns because of the second amendment, but perhaps we can tax them and that would be okay. and they applied a $200 tax, which at the time was a year's salary. so that would regulate them almost totally without infrin infringing on the second amendment. was sort of a roundabout way to do it. so now government does what they
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want regardless of the constitution. no moral people in government, or very few, and government has run amuck, and we find ourselves in a dastardly state of affairs. >> we're going to take two more questions. i don't know why you people are so shy and you don't line up when i tell you to line up. we have one question here and the next question here. and then we're going to allow c-span to take down their cameras. then we'll go into resolution. yes, sir. >> thank you. my name is byron baker from sun city west, arizona. i have a question and i'm looking for comments and possibly some advice on future activities that we might participate in as carriers. there is that arena of intimidation and an as yet unnamed army that's developing against carriers across the nation. they practice swatting where any
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citizen can yell gun like fire in a theater, and there's a moral imperative on the part of law enforcement to come immediately to the area where gun has been shouted. and i guess to condense it, my question is going to be what would be my legal response in case i am swatted by someone who is hysterical or is now a member of this unnamed army that feels like in hitlerian germany you're supposed to betray your neighbor. i wonder what the organizations might do to inform the general public about their obligation and the responsibility they have in case some victimhood is created like you talked about yesterday. >> the first thing is survive
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the situation. >> thank you. >> number one is to survive it. that means absolute compliance with the police when they show up because they've been told there's a man with a gun and they're possibly jittery. it is the violence policy coalition has been pushing this concept of swatting on their facebook and twitter feeds and it's vile. it is illegal for someone to give a false report. and if they exaggerate that report -- we had a guy killed at a cosco in las vegas because the reports were exaggerated. he walked out the door and the police shot him. it was a horrible thing. but as far as legal consequences or backing up, i think that the organizations that we have would
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try and back you up and try and support you if we could find an angle for it, but it's a very difficult situation. it really is. it's dangerous. >> i think we've accomplished a great deal by just making us aware of the fact that it could happen. >> thank you. >> charles heller from over there. >> the arizona citizens defense league is looking at that for this legislative session. we had an incident of exactly that happen in flagstaff last week with a retired peace officer who is also disabled. the store there that used to be -- i can't think of the name of the store. it was a chain that was recently acquired. the store called police and accused him of waving a gun around. he has agreed to testify if he run a bill from the citizens defense league. you should all look at our web sate for updates on that. i don't know if the president is
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here. i know the treasurer is here and the board. you can talk to us about it afterwards. who's in the back? and drake is back there too, who is on the board. he's in the room and you can talk to him about it. thank you. >> azcdl.org. look for updates and legislation. >> i'm going to basically use my skills as a writer to suggest a strategy. if somebody yells gun and you're the person carrying the gun, yell police because that has two meanings. one is that it implies you are a policeman. it also implies that you're calling for police. it might diffuse the situation and save lives. >> and our last question. yes, sir. >> i'm dr. johnny dean from san antonio, texas.
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my question is in regards to gun-free zones. what strategy can we have to hold the owners of the gun-free zones accountable when they disarm us and then something bad happens? how do we put teeth into it, especially corporate entities that disarm us and they feel there is absolutely no negative side to it? >> well, what we have to do is create negative sides to it. the best way with that is legislatively by putting teeth in the law that if you do that, you become liable to the person that becomes the victim. you have the liability now and the victim can sue you. the way the statute gets written it puts the burden of proof back on the victim. then attorneys for the big corporations who want to take that position take a look at it and say, it is more risk for us to be a gun-free zone than not to be a gun-free zone.
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>> so it is really a legislative solution? >> i think the legislation empowers personal lawsuits by making the laws more in favor of the plaintiff. >> thank you. >> here in arizona twice now we've introduced the gun-free zone liability act, which says if a place disarms you that way with a make believe gun-free zone, in other words a sign on the wall and you are harmed by that sign, they bear liability for that if you are harmed. we haven't gotten it enacted it yet, but we have introduced it twice. we've modified the bill to improve it. the right to keep and bear arms is a specific enumerated right. that's what it was called in the heller case. the idea they can just deny your civil rights is prohibited under 18 usc-241 and 241.
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they think they can do with this impunity. there's a conflict between private property rights and your right to keep and bear arms. in your home, you can deny a fat person, a woman, a gay and lesbian person, a gun owner, you can deny almost anybody to come into our home. but in a store, if you own a candy store, you can no longer deny any person access. but they believe they can deny you access if you exercise your right to civil arms. this is an untested area of law, but we intend to test it. we intend to introduce this bill over and over around the country. the gun-free zone liability act where if you deny a person their right to keep and bear arms and they're harmed by that, you
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incur liability. the classic case is the luby's case in texas. because of law, she couldn't shoot them. both parents were killed by the madman. she was denied her right of a firearm. so this has to stop and the public has to start becoming aware that these make believe gun-free zones, these pretend gun-free zones, do nothing but protect the criminal. we have that now in federal law. there was a military bill introduced, one of these arm the army bills, where the legislation says that the military recognizes that these make believe gun-free zones are dangerous because we had military people shot by jihadi in a place where they were not able to be armed and they want to see an end and the civilians
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want to see an end as well. and we'll luckily get this done in due course. >> thank you, alan. now we're going to take about a five-minute break while our c-span cameras come la drang
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valley. american history tv all weekend and on holidays too only on c-span 3. remarks now from gun control
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advocates, a pediatrician, and the head of a smart gun technology foundation. this is about an hour and ten minutes. >> good evening and welcome to this night's meeting of the commonwealth club of california, the place where you're in the know. you can find the commonwealth club online at commonwealthclub.org. i'm mark follman, national affairs editor for "mother jones" and your moderate eor fo tonight's program. the data on gun violence in the united states is sobering.
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according to the centers for disease control and prevention, each year more than 33,000 americans are killed by guns and at least 80,000 are treated in hospitals for nonfatal gunshot wounds. more than 20,000 of the gun deaths per year are suicides. hundreds of kids die annually in gun homicides, and each week seems to bring news of another child accidentally shooting himself or a sibling with an unsecured firearm. while violent crime overall has declined steadily in recent years, rates of gun-related injury and death have climbed since 2011 and public mass shootings have become more frequent. among 15 to 24 year olds, gun fatalities are about to surpass car accidents as the leading cause of death. in the last several years u.s. surgeon general and organizations such as the
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american bar association, the american public health association, and the american academy of pediatrics have all urged that gun violence should be regarded as a serious public health issue. what are the realities of gun violence in our country? what kinds of innovative solutions are being put forth to reduce the carnage? tonight our panel is here to discuss how gun-related injuries and deaths impact the health of americans and their communities and what can be done to help solve the problem. joining us are dr. ricky choy, who serves on the board of directors for the national physicians alliance, margo hersh, pastor michael mcbride, lead pastor at the way christian center in berkley, california, and director of urban strategies, and robin thomas,
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executive director of the law center to prevent gun violence. please join me in welcoming our panelists to the commonwealth club. [ applause ] >> so i'd like to begin with a basic question about gun violence as a public health issue. why should it be considered a public health and why doesn't the general public tend to see it as a major public health issue and maybe we can start with you, dr. choy? >> public health is promoting and protecting the health of people in communities where they live work, go to school, and play. public health is about promoting healthy behaviors, reducing injury and harm, and gun violence is a direct threat to these aims. physicians are on the front lines every day dealing with this in our hospitals and our clinics. except for these situations
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where victims end up in the morgue, all of these victims end up in our clinics. and we feel this very strongly there's consensus that gun violence is a public health issue that we, as health care providers, need to take very seriously. >> do you want to comment on that? >> yeah, i mean, i think that traditionally people think about public health issues in terms of things like diseases, the kinds of problems that confront our society that we don't have that same level of agency and control over sometimes. and with gun violence, i think the perception, similar to cars, i think that's a good analogy, that there isn't a way to address it because of the agency, the intervention of human agency that's involved in the problem. but if you take a step back from that and you look at public health as a situation where communities are in danger and
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being harmed and there are both preventive ways to address the problem, you can make guns safer the way we did with cars, you can affect people's behaviors, the way they treat, store, and deal with guns, the guns themselves can be made safer, so i think when it comes to public health people hear the word public health and they think chickenpox. they don't think of cars and guns being public health crises. but if you look at the number of people harmed by diseases that we take steps to prevent to deal with these problems, it is so obvious when you look at the 100,000 people getting shot every year that this is an absolute epidemic. it should be viewed that way because there are so many things that could be done that would have an impact on those numbers. >> one of the counterveailing
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arguments to this, i'm curious what your thoughts are on how this is seen at the local level in communities and medical facilities. what are people not seeing about gun violence that goes beyond what we see in the daily drum be beat of news that people are desensitized to at this point? >> i certainly think that, you know, the reality around the is not always very quantifiable through news reports. the level of trauma that families and communities are constantly having to process and address -- whether they themselves are victimized by gun violence, whether folks in their immediate family have been victimized by gun violence. whether it is a larger communal impact related to trauma.
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so of course when we see the way these issues are covered in the news, the media, which i think is kind ofhe largely kind of pipeline how we process and get information, it's largely solely demonstrated as an act of violence or a very abrasive vice. rarely is it narrated in a way where people are constantly having to live in many of our communities in this country in war zones. that are actually assaulting the psychology, the emotion, and the spirit of young people and families far beyond just a physical toll. i think the daily impact, at least how we understand it, particularly here in the way area, is very much around trauma. we just -- really quickly, 600 shootings have happened in the bay area averaged over the last 20 years.
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city of oakland, i'm talking about specifically the city of oakland, 120 killings or so average. you can just imagine the concentric circles of trauma, of families that have had to deal with gun-related hop sides, not even speaking about suicides. i think trauma is something we have to continue to imagine. >> it's not just literally the victims themselves or even their immediate families, that the impact of this goes far beyond that. i'm sure that you see that in the hospitals too, doctor. >> yeah, i know, it's a really sad thing in the bay area when we know when it's going to be a hot summer we'll be seeing more gun victims in our wards. there's an anecdotal relationship. warm summers, more gunshot victims. we did a survey. it was an informal survey of our members, 20,000 physicians in our organization, asking them,
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what is your number? when you reflect on medical school, residency, in your practice, in your personal lives, how many gun violence victims have you had interaction with? and the average number was 40. that's an incredible number. and i think that again reminds us that we are -- in health care in medicine, at this really important intersection where we're trying to care for the victims of violence but also have the opportunity to take -- move one step ahead and take steps toward prevention as well. >> margo hirsch, someone who is working in the realm of solutions, we're talking about the bay area and the problems here which in some ways are reflected in every major cosmopolitan area in the country. the bay area is the epicenter of technological innovation. we often in america have -- we're producing world-changing technology and specifically
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here. what technologies of available to us now to address this problem? >> the primary technologies that we're seeing today through the challenge that the smart foundation started in january 2014 are primarily biotech nick technology. ridf technology. those are the standouts right now. they are effective in different use cases. a biometric fingerprint reading -- reader would be extremely effective in a personal protection home environment or a gun range where there's no dirt, no water, no blood. whereas for hunters who might have dirty hands or wear gloves, an rfid solution might be more effective. also for law enforcement, rfid could be potentially a preferred
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solution because it requires you to wear a ring or a bracelet in order to fire the trigger of a firearm. alternatively, you could put a small chip into your hand, because for law enforcement you actually have to be able to fire out of both hands. and a concern is that if the gun was taken away or if you injureds ainjured yourself you'd have to use someone else's gun or fire out of your other hand. so that technology could be very effective. we're seeing things like smart ammunition, which is unusual. another approach. we're also seeing a variety of technologies that can be retrofitted to existing firearms because there are 300 million firearms in this country today. so not only do you have to think about the new firearms which are 10 million that come into the market every year, but you've got all those existing firearms out there that you'd want to make safer as well.
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so we're seeing retrofit technologies, external locking technologies which i very interesting, as well as a few that are actually integrated into the gun itself. >> they sound like some promising technologies, yet i think few people have heard of them even. why have they not taken better hold? >> very good point. i think one of the big issues is that there's no market demand for these technologies because people aren't aware of them. there's been no incentive in the past to get involved in this type of project because the nra has not been extremely supportive of bringing these types of technologies to market. back in 1990, colt received some funding to develop smart guns and they were boycotted. and then in 2000, smith and wesson through the clinton administration received funding
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to develop a smart gun and they too were boycotted, almost went out of business. so the gun manufacturers have no desire to jump into this space. and then for people, new innovators, there's a lack of capital available for them because when you go to raise money, a venture capitalist is going to say, what's the market opportunity? how big is the market demand? and there really isn't a market demand because the technologies don't exist. so it's a real catch-22. but at the foundation we're trying to deal with and hopefully overcome. >> technology certainly seems like one promising avenue. but of course what's done at the community level is a much more complicated picture. and varies widely depending on where you are in the country. pastor mcbride, what do you think are the most crucial things that local community leaders are doing on this issue or perhaps should be doing?
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>> well, you know, i think the first thing we all have to do is change our assumption that this problem is unsolvable. and i think there's a certain attract ability as relates to what people believe is inevitable, particularly as it relates to gun violence in urban communities. for the last ten years or so we have been engaging in a number of strategies that have popularly been known as cease-fire to help reduce the number of firearm offenders and offenses in our communities across the country and we've had amazing results. particularly in the bay area since 2007, 2008, we've seen a 60% to 70% decline in 1-related whom many homicides in the city of richmond. the reason is many of the fire arm offenders or people who are engaged in gun violence, it's a
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very small number of individuals. if you have 100 gun-related shootings or gun-related homicides in the city it's not because you have 100 individual armed offenders or shooters, it's because you have a small number of individuals who are engaging in volume activity. so our work has been actually to interact and engage with those individuals and interrupt their engagement. the analogy i use is many of these young people are caught on a dryer cycle. how many of you have seen a dryer, you all know what dryers are, you dry your clothes. it's twirling, twirling, twirling. if you open the dryer clothes start flying out, right? because it's been on a cycle for so long. well, many of us have never opened the door of the cycles. and i have found that when you open doors and pathways for individuals to actually choose different kinds of choices, many of them, the overwhelming majority of them, stop shooting
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with no incentive because many of them want to live. they just have not had those kind of cycles interrupted with love, with structure, with a pathway out. so those strategies are strategies we're trying to bring to scale across the country, even more so in the bay area. we do find that that allows us to engage in public safety measures that do not criminalize whole communities, send more of our black and brown young people to jail and prison, and keep our communities intact. we're finding great promise, we just need a lot more political support, a lot more constitutional policing to help us have legitimacy in the community. hopefully all those things will continue to come together. >> you mentioned policing. policing in the united states and officer-involved shootings in particular have become a major national issue in the last year or so. how do you think that might be affecting perceptions of the gun violence problem in our country? >> it's a big perception
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problem. because since the war on drugs -- well, let me say this. in 1939, a prominent clergymen for of mine was born in the south and his mom registered him as a lifelong in the event naacp. the number one issue in 1939 was police brutality. long before the war on drugs, long before the black panther party, long before the civil rights movement, long before integration. police brutality. there has not been one day that black folk have been in the united states and not a had their lives subject to arbitrary violence by the state or by its law enforcement apparatus. it's important to historicize this conversation. what we've seen around law enforcement tipping point is a long-time strategy.
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our strategies which depend on outside working with law enforcement to do constitutional policing in communities require us to have policing services that are constitutional, that are not dominated by rogue, lethal force policing, and even here in the city, earlier today i was at a rally for almacar lopez, another young brother named alex nieto, many of us know the story of is on gar grant. many case whefrs law enforcement are actively gaining in violent, even lethal acts. that erodes community trust that is necessary to create the public safety partnership. these things are inextricably linked. people say, what about black on black crime? i say, what about constitutional policing? we can't have one without the other. we work on both sides of the issues. i hope people will begin to see the connections soar else we won't have the public safety results, particularly around gun
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violence that we all say we want and need. >> another aspect that's come up with the policing issue and people i've spoken with in the world of law enforcement, robin thomas, maybe you can comment on this. a lot of police go out into their daily work with the expectation that everybody's armed and dangerous. and there's a lot of discussion about the kind of warrior mentality that police are trained to have. pastor mcbride saying that that's causing serious problems in terms of the local community fabric. when you think about that in terms of gun violence as a public health issue, gun violence as a highly charged political issue in and the legal landscape, what are your thoughts about that, how that's come to the forefront with policing? >> i think when you think about and talk about gun violence you need to look at it as a holistic problem. it's not a problem you can solve purely through community approaches even though i think that's absolutely crucial in some communities.
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it's certainly not a problem even though we really work on the policy side that's going to be solved through policy solutions. it has to be approached holistically. pastor mcbride and i talk about the supply side problem and the demand side problem in a lot of communities. there's a demand satisfied problem that needs to be met through innovative, thoughtful, integrative community mechanisms. we have to deal with the flow of firearms into these communities which is so prolific and so unchecked. and that's creating another piece of the puzzle. i think looking at those two things hand in hand in the way that they fit together is really important. one of the policies that we've always cared about is assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition. partly that's because you see a mass shooting, that's the kind of weaponry that's being utilized. but it's also because there's this sort of arms war that happens in inner cities. not as badly in california because the laws are stronger. certainly cities where law
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enforcement demands stronger and stronger weapons to contend with the types of weapons that they're encountering. whether that's even true or not is irrelevant because if that's the perception -- look at what happened in ferguson. that kind of military force being brought into a community is crazy. and part of the argument behind that was, we have to be able to take on these assault weapons that are now proliferating everywhere. there's millions of them, legally and illegally. so i think that that sort of arms war problem that we have in this country with so many guns, i think that the ready availability of the ar-15s and other assault weapons that have become the choice weapons in a lot of illegal enterprises, as well as for horrific tragedies. you know, should spur action. unfortunately what hasn't been mentioned that much yet on this panel is the nra and the force that lobbying brings to the equation and how that inhibits us from being able to approach things holistically and with a
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real clear eye for solutions. we have research. dr. choi and i have talked at length about the types of research that exists as to what policies are out there that work. what evidence do we have of what works? and the problem is even when we know what works, we can't get it in place. because we have this really interesting special interest group that inhibits us from really tackling this problem with intelligence, with solutions that we know are available. >> what do you see as at the top of the list of those policies that we know work yet can't be in place? >> universal background checks. not even a pause. we need to have absolutely background checks on every single sale and transfer of weapons in this country by law. it doesn't mean we're going to completely stop the flow. but guns, unlike drugs, are actually manufactured legitimately and have to be imported and tracked, if you just put in place universal background checks for every sale you can begin to assess where they're coming from, who's getting them, how are they getting them, in a way that's
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simply impossible now because you don't need a background check in a private sale. there's no system in place that epps us even understand the flow of the 300 million guns in this country. that's just step one but i think it's absolutely crucial. >> what you're describing is from the perception of the american public, not a radical idea? >> right, 92% of the american people after newtown, when polled, supported universal background checks on all sales. that's in wyoming, alabama, everywhere. yet our senate only managed to muster 54 votes to put that in place. so unfortunately even though americans want it, our leaders don't represent the will of what the american people want and need to address this problem. >> i think we have to ask the question why. i think what the nra has done a wonderful job, along with gun manufacturers, is peddling fear. many of us were in the senate during dianne feinstein's hearing several weeks after the
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newtown tragedy. and we heard lindsay graham from south carolina just go on this long diatribe about how the police would not be able to come and protect us in our homes when the looters come and when -- >> the hordes at the gate. >> the natural disasters and you're going to need your guns! lindsey graham should know better. he's not someone who i think believes that in his heart. but it's politics of fear. and the fear of the other. the ways in which people feel like they need to have a gun in order to protect themselves. when all the research says that if you own a gun, you're more likely to be harmed by that gun or a member in your family be harmed by that gun. it's a cruel joke. cruel irony being played on the american people. until we're able to overcome our fears with more hope and love for one another, i think nra and
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these weapon manufacturers will actually continue to provide cover for elected officials to keep doing things that they know aren't creating public safety. >> i think one of the things we're getting at here too is that the politics of guns has a way of obscuring some important things about the issue. we tend to focus a lot on mass shootings, on homicides. but according to cdc data, over 20,000 gun-related deaths each year, which is approximately two-thirds of the annual toll, are suicides. more than 80% of suicide attempts using a gun are successful. yet as a country we tend to think of homicides as the biggest part of the problem. why is that, dr. choi? >> if you look at adolescents, for example, two of the top three causes of death in what we would typically think of is a healthy population are homicides and the suicides, both which of
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have close associations with guns. we were talking about evidence. evidence shows that having a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide and unintentional injury. we know that providing advice, telling families that if you lock up your gun, keep it unloaded, keep the ammunition separate from the gun, that not only do patients listen, but it actually does reduce the risk of injury and harm. this is of particular concern when it comes to children. there have been studies that show that while parents think that their kids don't know where their guns are, the kids do. and anyone who has any recent experience with an inquisitive child knows that they find those things. so i think that recognizing this data requires us to then take that next step in doing -- and follow up with an intervention. while we have some of this data, i think one of the frustrations the medical community is at, we don't have enough data.
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in the mid-'90s the gun lobby blocked funding for gun research on gun violence, explicitly stated cdc could not pursue research around gun violence. what we don't know is still h t hurting us. there's this big problem that we know is there. and we think we know some things. we don't know enough. to continue to build a strong case of kind of thins that we already know is true is challenging in this context. and so they've tied us up when we talk about public health and research in a couple of different ways. >> another issue that comes up a lot in the context of mass shootings which tend to get the most attention in the national media is mental health. can you talk a little bit about the connection between mental health and gun violence, what people understand and don't understand about that?
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>> i think that when there are these mass shootings, the first question becomes, what's wrong with the shooter? do they have a mental illness? we start to straddle a very challenging political line. where is it, do we need to spend more money on mental health? yes, we do. do we need to spend more money on reducing gun violence, guns, background checks and other policy issues? yes, we do. but they're pitted against each other. unfortunately that doesn't help either of these important needs. it's true that those with a history of juvenile crime in the past, those with a history of substance abuse, those with history of mental health issues, are at a higher risk of gun violence. but to turn it upside down certainly isn't true. everyone who is a substance user, everyone who has a mental illness, is not necessarily a threat.
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to the general public and to themselves. it's a very challenging thing to try to nail down, to identify that person who is having a variety of personal issues, whether or not they're really truly a threat to themselves and to other people, it's a challenge that physicians and other health care providers are dealing with every single day. but the importance is to narrow in on that particular group of people. and not to have this broad swath of saying, oh, yeah, everyone who's committed a homicide must have a mental health issue, and all people with mental health issues necessarily are threats to themselves and the community. >> i would just add to that, that if you look at other countries, i think it provides a really interesting comparison. because we don't have higher rates of mental illness in this country than other country dozen. we don't have more violent video games in this country than anywhere else. and yet our rates of gun death
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are so far surpass any other industrialized nation on earth. there's other industrialized nations with a lot of guns like canada who also have rates with mental illness like ours, that don't have the kind of gun death rate we do. you have to ask yourself, yes, do we have mental health issues that need better funding and better addressed, particularly veterans? about 22 suicides a day every day in this country with guns are veterans. 22 veteran suicides every single day. that is astounding to me. maybe a separate conversation. but i think a really important piece of information. so is mental illness a problem? yes. but that's not the gun problem. right? because you can see if you take a step back that that's not what's causing it. it's the easy access that you have when you have any kind of issue. whether it's depression, whether it's frustration, that the gun is right there. 75% of the suicides of people
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under the age of 19 are not the person's gun, it's somebody else's gun. so it's an up pulsive act. when guns soar easily available, not locked up, so easy to find in that moment, you see drastic consequences. >> you have 1.7 million unlocked and loaded guns in homes today. so 1 in 3 homes today have a gun and over 55% have a gun that's unlocked. not in a gun safe. that's primarily because gun owners feel -- they're typically quite responsible and lock up the bulk of their guns but they want one out of the safe, very easily accessible are for personal protection. and that's oftentimes where these problems come in. because they're not always locked up and they're oftentimes loaded. and that's when children and people who are high risk can easily access them and use them.
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>> so i think on a similar note, why is it that we have an inorder nate problem with gun violence when we compare ourselves to other countries? this is in a sense one of the most difficult questions of this issue. we think about it holistically, from a public health perspective, we don't have a monopoly on mental health problems, we don't have a monopoly on violent movies or video games. why do we have so much more gun violence in this country? i put that to anyone on the panel who would like to respond. pastor mcbride? >> well -- you know, i think it's a couple of things. i'll be speaking probably if from a plafs just personal reflection. but you know, the legacy of violence that this country has been founded on as a colonizing force i think has really sowed
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seeds of violence in the soil of our country that probably requires, you know, this -- maybe, you know action latent, persistent fear that somebody's going to come back and get you and get us, maybe. i think, you know, there's a culture of violence that is just a part of the fabric of the united states of america. and while there are always folks that believe we need to get our country back to the good old days, i think you should always remember the days have never been good for a large number of people. and that has been because of the presence of arbitrary violence. i think that's certainly one thing. then i also think that it's a deeply moral problem. i think it speaks to a hole in the soul of america that we have become so callous in the value
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of life that we have and we share for our neighbor. and i think that has spilled over to a certain sense of hopelessness that a lot of the people are carrying that may even cause them at times to feel like they don't have any other options but to take their own lives. i think it's a very convoluted issue. but i do believe that certainly as a faith leader, someone who believes very deeply in spirituality and purpose and in origins, i do think that our country has a legacy of violence that is always a backdrop. i think it continues to inform perhaps the way in which we have marched from the past into our present, into our future. that's why i think all of us need to be advocating for more peace-making work broadly in our country, not always resulting to violence to solve our problems, whether they're domestic or abroad. >> how about a related question from the audience.
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suggesting that the fundamental issue may be poor parenting. guns are not the problem, it's the lack of education, especially in single-parent families. how do you solve that issue? >> get rid of the guns. so i always tell folks, every gun-related homicide costs the city on the low end $2 million. as high as $5 million. and it's a vicious cycle. because the kinds of resources then that every general fund in a municipality has to spend to either deal with the homicides that are happening in our communities or the officers that are often used as a political ploy to expand their budgets are all coming from the general fund. if all the money's being poured into public safety then you don't have resources left to put into schools and parks and jobs and all these other kinds of
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things that i think all of us would say is a priority. so i think part what was we have to do is make some very important choices about what did do you value the most? i kind of reject the idea that poor parenting is the result -- or is a cause for guns violence. because that would seem to presuppose that poor parents are only in one community. how many of y'all had poor parents? keep it real, keep it real, keep it real, keep it it real, right? no. so i think it's much more complex than that. but i hear that often, i guess i'm just used to rejecting that motion. >> i would totally second that. the idea that the problem is that simple. i don't know if that person who wrote that question doesn't have children or doesn't have enough children. but i can guarantee you, you get enough children, whether they're from poor families or rich
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families, and you will encounter children who have issues and are unmanageable and are prone to violence, whether it's one reason or another. and that's not always parenting. which is not to say that there aren't a lot of things that we try to do as parents to help our children go down the right path. but the idea to me that americans are somehow worse parents than in any other country and that's why we have a gun violence problem is astounding. i think it totally fails to recognize the real issues that poor communities do face. when you're confronted with violence in your community every single day, the challenge is far different. when you have hopelessness, when you don't have jobs, when you don't have good education. those are issues that can help children have the hope, have the path that they need, and parents can only do so much without a community that supports them. and with sort of what children are forced to witness in the community in which they live. so i find that question borderline insulting because i think it doesn't take into account the realities and the
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difficulties and the complexities that certainly many communities face, poor and rich, but are more prevalent in poor communities because they don't have the resources and support. >> dr. choi? >> as a pediatrician who talks a lot about parenting, and as a dad of three kids, yeah, woefully insufficient in terms of my parenting skills, i think about how the many ways i could have done this or that. just to turn the suggestion on its head to say, we're all responsible. to try to be a good role model. to be the faith leader. to be the pediatrician. to be the person on the street that chose children and young adults and all of us for that matter, a role model, ways of resolution, how we gain one another, how we handle aggression. we've kind of moved that even further to talk about media. we talk about the public health successes around motor vehicle accidents and tobacco.
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media campaigns. putting role models on television about gun violence and the dangers of it. education campaigns around those things. i think that we all have a tremendous opportunity to play a role, to provide some of that influence, as suggested in that question. and so i encourage all of you to do so. >> you're listening to the commonwealth club of california radio program. tonight's discussion is gun violence and public health. underwritten by the california wellness foundation. our panelists are dr. ricky choi, who serves on the board of directors for the natural physicians alliance. margo hirsch, president of the smart tech challenges foundation. pastor michael mcbride, lead pastor at the way christian center in berkeley, california, and director of urban strategies at pico national network. robin thomas, executive director of the law center to prevent gun violence. i'm mark follman, national affairs editor did for "mother
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jones" and your moderator for tonight's program. we touched on the economic cost of gun violence a little earlier. recently "mother jones" collaborated with a top health economist to investigate the economic toll of gun violence. we found it to be at least $229 billion a year. more than what our country spends on ewespend s on obesity. in some ways it's a conservative estimate. what does this massive economic cost mean in terms of public health and health in our communities and are people even aware of it? >> one of the statistics i read, and one of the facts that we talk a lot about in trying to show the correlation between the prevalence of guns and gun violence, is that in states where you have really strong gun regulations, where you have much
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lower ownership rates of guns, you have much lower gun violence and gun death rates. it's not a causation argument but it is a correlation. california for example has one of the lowest gun death rates in the country, even though we have some of the urbanish ewes and other problems we have. far lower per capita than a place like wyoming. the state of hawaii has one of the lowest costs per capita for gun violence, $200 a person per year. wyoming's cost per person per year for gun violence, taxpayer cost, $1,400 a year. that's just wyoming. not a state people think of as having a huge gun view leolence problem but it does because there's so many guns in so many hands. it all fits together. you have high gun ownership, high gun death rates. the cost not just to communities, forget the human cost. the financial cost is tremendous. most of that cost flows directly to the taxpayer. so we're all paying the cost every day of this issue.
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it's not just something that's borne by individual families and communities, which is bad enough. >> you see that in the medical world too, right, dr. choi in terms of the burden on hospitals? >> the estimated cost of gun violence on hospitals is the order of $2 billion a year. i think that money's probably much better spent on investing in public health, right? and interventions that we know work. addressing social determinants of health like poverty, homelessness, translation services. this goes back to the commonly used phrase, we don't have a health care system, we have a sick care system. if we really want to move forward in terms of creating a healthy society, the aims of public health, it's investing in those areas. much better spent. >> we haven't talked a lot about the politics and yet an undeniable important part of this picture and the role of the national rifle association and other gun lobbyists.
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is it fair to ascribe so much blame to the gun lobby in terms of standing in the way of the things that we know that work, the evidence-based solutions, the technologies? in some ways they're an easy villain. how does that equation work out in the reality of policy-making, whether in the medical world or trying to bring forth technological solutions? >> here's a clear example. as we already discussed. there is evidence that shows that taking proper precautions at home, locking up the gun, keeping it separate from its ammunition, keeping it unloaded, works. when doctors talk about it, patients listen. however, the gun lobby has taken active steps to prevent physicians from have this will ki kind of conversation. states like florida, missouri, other states have similar ambitions. it's now illegal. physicians will be punished if they have that kind of
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conversation with their patients. not only does that infringe on the first amendment rights of physicians to free speech, but also gets in the way of doing things that we know work. and, of course, infringes on what we view as a sacred physician/patient relationship. so i think that, you know, that we should be very concerned. there are active efforts to erode those things that we know work. and we need to work very hard to overturn those types of laws. >> i think with health and with technology, margo hirsch, why would the nra want to stand in the way of potential solutions like this? it's in no one's interest, you're conservative on gun rights or liberal on gun rights, nobody wants to see people die from guns, from gun crime, from suicide. why are they standing in the way of technology? >> their concern is that smart guns or when this type of technology with lead to mandates
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around the technology and infringe on their second amendment rights which is what they always bring up. in the case of a company called armitix last year, they're a german manufacturer that brought the first rfid smart gun to the u.s. and it was first showcased at a gun club in southern california. and it received a fair amount of press. and all of a sudden the gun club removed the gun completely from its club and its shelves, completely disavowed knowing the manufacturer, armitix, and that also happened at a -- in maryland at another gun reseller where they received death threats from the gun community because they were offering the gun for sale and the armitix gun is no longer sold at this point in time. so what's happened is that
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there's no incentive. if anything, there's a fear of retribution for firearm dealers to offer for sale any sort of smart gun technology because they're concerned that their businesses will get boycotted and essentially go out of business. there's a mandate in the state of new jersey. it's called the childproof handgun law that was passed in 2002. and the nra uses that as something to point to that says, armitix triggered this law, and see, smart guns will lead to mandates. so it's unfortunately the law that they passed in new jersey had the best of intentions to keep children safe. by mandating that in three years, when a smart gun came to market, all guns had to be smart guns to protect children. but in a sense, no pun intended,
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it backfired. and it's been a huge hindrance in terms of getting these technologies to market. >> robin thomas? >> i don't think there's any doubt the nra is a huge impediment to innovative and sort of big-thinking approaches to this problem. once upon a time the nra was a gun safety organization out of world war i and world war ii to help train people to shoot. and then that changed. and now it is run by a very hardline leadership which believes in absolutely no gun regulation whatsoever, and i think far more represents the interests of the gun industry and manufacturers in selling more guns than it does gun safety or, interestingly, its own members. when they poll nra members, 75% of them agree with most of the basic regulations and programs we're all talking about. nra members say, yeah, background checks, great. all kinds of policies that they
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agree with. yet the leadership, the lobbyists that represent the nra, fight tooth and nail against even basic measures like background checks because more guns can be sold the looser the regulations. so i think it's very clear to those of us that are looking closely that the nra is, in fact, an impediment to any sort of progress on this issue. they're going to continue to be because a ton of their funding comes from gun manufacturers and because their membership has a very small, very vocal pace which are mostly hard line and who are very noisy and we have 90% of the american public who agrees with us but it's not their primary issue. they're moderately apathetic about regulation on this issue so they don't show up to the meetings and the town halls and they don't vote single issue and these nra hardliners do. so we have this disconnect between 90% of americans and even nra members being cool with it and then this very, very small, very vocal, very hardline group that has money, that are aggressive, and that are
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single-issue voters that can really dominate on this small front. >> which is to me why i think we need to ask more of our elected officials. i think that the courage necessary to bring about the change we seek can't always be about your next election nor can it be about, you know, these money interests. i know that sounds very altruistic, yet at the same time, you know, people's lives are at stake. and i have not found progressive lawmakers to be any more courageous on this issue. we must remember that at the time of newtown, the senate was controlled by democrats. and they couldn't even get all of their own folks to pass the bill out of the senate. so i just continue to believe that we have a lot of work to do
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to make sure that our lawmakers are oriented towards doing the right thing. and it is i think again unmasking a big moral challenge that our country has around these sets of issues, around the value of life over and against political expediency or trying to hold on to power rather than actually serving the people. so, you know, a lot of our work in the faith community is trying to actually, as the pope hopefully influenced john boehner the last -- maybe some moral force can influence a few other lawmakers to do what's best for the country. and not their own political careers. >> i'd like to pick up on what you're saying, pastor mcbride, i think you're suggesting in a sense hope for that is much more perhaps at the local and state level. after the sandy hook massacre, almost three years ago now, as we know, congress had a very
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high-profile debate over a universal background check bill, failed to pass it. i think ever since there's been a somewhat pervasive myth that nothing has changed. and yet that's not true at all. there's been a huge amount of legislative activity at the state level. can you talk a little bit about that, robin thomas, and what has and has not changed since then? >> i think you put it right, that there was -- i thought of it as a sea change after newtown. we've been working at the state level for 20 years. and we were lucky to get requests from three or four or five states looking to introduce new laws. in the year after newtown, we were contacted by 30 states looking to introduce new regulations. and eight states passed really sweeping, profound laws including states like new york, maryland, delaware, massachusetts, colorado, that have passed really comprehensive regulations. modeled in large part on california's regulation which took us 20 years to get in place. the year after newtown we were able to help implement that in a
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number of states on the domestic violence front, 18 states have passed new laws since newtown. states you would never expect. wisconsin, louisiana. we are seeing good mental health progress. states passing laws about that. even background checks. we have 18 states with universal background checks on gun sales with closed loopholes, that's new since newtown. we are seeing a lot of progress. we are also seeing pushback in more conservative red states that are making it easier to get guns and carry loaded guns in public. but i think mostly what we're noticing is momentum in all of those blue states and all of those purple states, we had a referendum in washington last year, the first time ever this issue, voters said, okay, politicians, if you're not going to do the right thing by the people we're going to put it to the voters and it passed by a wide margin. that was the first time ever that path was used and that same law is going to be before the nevada voters next year. you're talking about real
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bellwether states where if we can get things to the voters to get them passed, because the politicians won't do it, that's going to be i think the next wave. i want to add on top of the progress that we've seen since newtown, the politics are an interesting question. because up until newtown, the gun lobby was spending $20 million or $30 million a year on elections out of their $200 million a year machine. there wasn't any money really on the other side. those of us doing this work weren't putting a lot of money into the politics. and since newtown, mayor bloomberg launched an organization, gabby gifford's launched an organization, the center for american progress, huge lobbying organizations. bloomberg's putting in $50 million a year. gabby gifford's raising tens of millions. the idea that there's only one side of this debate in politics has changed. but it's new. >> how much of that is driven by the perception that this is a serious public health issue? how much should it be. >> i mean, it absolutely should
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be. i think it is. i think someone like michael bloomberg, whatever your opinion of him, what's a person who cares deeply about public health as a lens through which society can be improved. he believes in bike helmets and anti-speaking and a anti-smoking and all that sort of thing. guns fit clearly into that view. i think the understanding the nra's putting $20 million, $30 million a year into politics and that's been enough to completely dominate this issue for decades. somebody who's got a lot of money says, you know what? i can neutralize that. it might not happen overnight. but over time, we can neutralize at least that piece of impact, especially when you have 90% of the people behind it. so that gives me a lot of hope. because you see how -- where there is the soft spots and the ret tense reticence on this issue, it can be overcome. it is for the first time -- the nra's basically for 40 years been alone politically on this issue. now they've got some serious
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competition and things are changing. the races in virginia were absolutely astounding. terry mcauliffe ran in virginia for governor and he ran on a pro-run control platform, gun regulation was one of his plain platforms. the state of virginia, which is where the nra headquarters are. and he won. and it was really profound to watch that happen. because something like that had not really ever happened before. certainly not in a state like virginia. so i think you are seeing that sort of common wisdom about, you can't support gun control measures and win elections shift. but it takes time to sort of catch up, i think. my sense of it. >> i want to bring in another audience question here and put my own profession on the chopping block. how does the media's role play into all this? what is the media getting wrong? pastor mcbride? >> i remember we were in the task force meeting at the white house with the vice president
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and some of the clerics from the sikh community shared with us how they went to meet with a producers guild in hollywood to talk about the way they were being portrayed. being perceived as muslims, the sikh community, although they're not. but like these kind of caricatures in tv shows like "24" was one of the ones they mentioned specifically. just being overassociated with terrorists. and how those conversations with the producers actually helped to shift the way muslims and middle eastern religions and people are portrayed in the media. all that to say, i think that advocating for media to be more representative of communities beyond the cairk ra tours of the stereotypes is an important advocacy tool that must be used
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in the months and years to come. color of change is a very important organization that we work with that have actually been able to track, particularly in new york, how the news agencies overreport incidents of violence, particularly gun violence in african-american and urban communities over and against our white and asian counterparts. which again gives this perception that african-american and urban communities are much more violent than other communities. particularly in the public imagination. of course, if we all believe that, then it will in turn follow that we need to spend more money on police, more money on probably buying guns to keep in our homes to protect us from the bogeyman out there, right? i do think we have to figure out more ways to move beyond media caricatures and hold media accountable for misinformation and misrepresentation that often
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feeds stereotypes and appeals to our worst selves. >> dr. choi, what about in terms of the medical community and how the media covers gun violence in the context of medicine? what's missing there? >> i think that -- i always use my children as a litmus test. i drive my kids to school in the morning, listen to npr. there are whole weeks where i just can't even play it. because it's just too hard for them to listen. i think -- i'm not necessarily advocating that we should turn a blind eye to these many issues. but on the flip side, you know, to provide a balanced perspective. whether that be talking through -- talking about these larger issues, as pastor mcbride has mentioned. and also potential solutions towards improving those circumstances. having a thoughtful discussion around mental health, that's just -- that's it. mental health parity has been something that we've been talking about and fighting for
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for decades and still has not gotten the necessary due. and so drilling down to really what are the true challenges that have led up to this particular situation i think are particularly important. >> i mean, just real quick. to maybe put it in a positive way, what would it look like for media to cover the many solutions and the success stories of communities and neighborhoods that are reducing violence, just as much as they cover the incidents related to violence. i think that shift in our consciousness, in our reporting, could actually cat lies hope and a shift in the way we understand the solutions that are right within our grasp. that just need scaling up. it would shift i think the ways in which we think this problem is intractable and unsolvable. >> what's a good example of that?
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>> i mentioned cease-fire already. we engage in weekly activities -- walking neighborhoods in san francisco, oakland, richmond, in the neighborhoods that are highest at risk of engaging or being victimized by gun violence. one powerful program that is starting to get a lot of coverage is the office of neighborhood safety in richmond, a peacemaker program where we actually take young men who have been caught in these cycles and put them in cohorts of life skills, of peace-making classes. these are individuals who are deemed as the volume shooters, if you will. and incentivize them to do all kinds of different types of activities that are actually about building their own internal healing and self-sufficiency work. and again, these young people make decisions to stop shooting just with structure, incentivization, and care. i believe if every city in the country started one of these
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programs that maybe costs $15,000 per person to put a young person into per year, just imagine the kind of return on investment, if you will, that would create in a community where $2 million are spent on every gun-related homicide. i think that kind of praming for those who are worried about the fiscal side, for those who are worried about the cost around the human person or rehabilitation, i think that could do a world of good for us shifting our mindset around how we describe and understand solutions to these kinds of problems. >> i will say there's some great reporting being done. not just to toot your horn because "mother jones" has done phenomenal work, the income types, in tampa bay they've done brilliant work on stand your ground laws. there's deep, lovell reporting happening but not enough. i think there's a few outlets that are really looking at this issue seriously. but most newspapers are not
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really tackling this issue with a broad approach. and looking at it in terms of, what is the real impact, what is the research, what do we know and not know? more often than not, when we get a call from the media, they ask our perspective on something, then they call the nra for their perspective, even though the research they cite has been debunked, media will still cite to them. we're astounded. why do they kneel the need every time to allow the other side to make the argument more guns are the solution when we know for sure through the research that's not true. giving voice to that perspective every single time. i think confuses people, leaves people thinking, maybe i do need a gun to be safe, even though we know that's not how this works anymore. our frustrationtends to be there is a truth here and the opinion of the other side doesn't always have to be given equal weight to the peer-reviewed research that's being looked at. i think you sort of get both
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sides there. >> great point. i think another way that the picture has shifted in terms of the impact of gun violence with medicine is the way in which more gunshot victims are surviving now. we have better medical technology and better medicine. how is that changing the picture with this problem, dr. choi i think that when we talk about vets in particular, i think that becomes sort of a highlight. and certainly, you know, i think we should be telling those stories more often. you know, i was referring to have every summer we have these young adults in sit in the wards of san francisco general for sometimes months. unlucky or were in the wrong place at the wrong time or were participants in a gunfight and they got shot in the spinal cord and they're paralyzed from the neck down. on a regular basis do we have patients like that. those types of stories need to
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be shared. i think the other challenge when we talk about media and balanced reporting, i've tried to illustrate the last hour, is that in some ways the game is being rigged. we talk about research that's not being done, that could be done. that people who are supposed to be participating in prevention are not allowed to participate. by virtue of the fact that some of you who are interested in this topic did not know that, i think is very concerning. those types of things need to be discussed. you know, if we want to move things forward, we need to also highlight the ways that obstacles are being placed along the way to keep us from making progress. >> we've reached the point in our program where there's time for one last question which i'll put to all our panelists. i think as we've touched on the politics of guns in our country, are intensely polarizing, but also subject to a pretty powerful inertia.
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from a public health perspective in particular, how can that be overcome? what could really start to change the national conversation? do you want to start, dr. choi? >> i have a small example. about a year or two ago i was giving a talk to -- at a national medical student association. and talking about this very topic, gun violence and public health. i was doing my best to present the evidence, to give it a very balanced frame, to help these medical students understand the responsibility they have. without necessarily taking a political side as much as our core responsibility as health care providers. at the end of the presentation i had a medical student raise their hand and say, my mom's a pediatrician, we're both gun owners, we enjoy recreational hunting. so given everything you've told me, what am i supposed to do? and i just thought, wow. my first thought was, i hope i didn't offend them.
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my second thought was, wow what an incredible opportunity. someone who is committed to the evidence, the information that i just presented, while is a gun owner. and understands that second amendment right in a very personal way. is the perfect person to be able to articulate these challenges, to walk that line, to be able to serve as that middle to bridge things that the evidence supports, things that are steps we know we can violence in this country. >> margo? >> we believe at the foundation that the time is right now for technology to jump in here. and address gun violence from an innovation in technology standpoint. and these technologies that are being worked on have the potential to save lives and really impact the issue. and it does take changing behavior patterns, but if you
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look at more consumer type products and things that we see in our everyday life like ooube and tesla, you can change behavior through products, and we like to believe that these safety technologies will have an impact on predominantly suicides and accidental deaths, but even a trickle-down effect on homicides so when guns are stolen, they'll be rendered useless once they get into the hands of criminals or the wrong hands. and so we believe that technology can play a really important part in addressing gun violence today. >> pastor mcbride? >> we always say that the first revolution has to always be an internal revolution. revolution of our values, of our heart, of the way in which we see and understand the world, so i would certainly continue to advocate for us all imagining how can we put ourselves in
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positions to experience revolution of new perspectives and ideas that could catalyze us to further action, which would be the second thing i'll say, which is a disorganized truth cannot defeat an organized lie. so what does it mean for us to organize ourselves around these truths, as robin and many of us have talked about, health, technology, policy, and really push back against the very organized lies that have structured our society and again, i think that that requires all of us to take a look at fear and race and economics and politics and many of these things that may be a little offputting for us. preferably, we'll all do that again. >> from a policy perspective? >> i think we have to all know and believe there are solutions. there are some absolutely solutions to this problem. we actually know what they are. we know what the answer to this
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problem is. never mind the fact that this is a country where generally we believe that we can find answers even when we don't have them. we actually have them in this case. so i think knowing that, believing that, being educated to what michael said, being courageous enough to speak out that this isn't a political wedge issue, you know, in the way that many others have changed, like marriage equality, having the courage to say if you want to have a gun, that's fine, but we're going to regulate the heck out of them because we need to protect our children, protect our communities, do a better job of preventing gun violence, and i'm not going to be quiet about it. you're not going to give me a dirty look because you love your gun and i'm going to shut my mouth because people are dying. i think there's a level of informativeness and courage that has to come along with the debate, whichever your perspective is, that we really promote, we believe in research-driven truth and answers, and i hope that all of you got a little bit of that tonight. >> our thanks to the california wellness foundation for
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underwriting this program. and to our panelists, dr. choy, who serves on the board of directors for the national physicians alliance, margo hirsh, pastor michael mcbride, the pastor at the way christian center in berkeley, california, and director of urban strategies at pekoe national network, and robin thomas, executive director of the law center to prevent gun violence. we also thank our audiences here and on the radio and internet. i'm mark fulmin. now, this meeting of the commonwealth club of california is adjourned.
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reporter zoey tillman. watch book tv all weekend every weekend on cspan2. >> the second amendment foundation and the citizens committee for the right to keep and bare arms hosted the annual gun rights policy conference in phoenix in late september. speakers include authors, bloggers, radio hosts, and the author of the well armed woman training company. this is an hour and 50 minutes. >> we'll bring up our first panel, which is called second amendment outliers, blade suppressers and hunting. our three panelists are carey lightfoot, author of the well armed woman training company. she is new to grpc, so give her
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a warm welcome. but also -- [ applause ] but also, new to us and deserving a not new to us and deserving of a warm welcome nonetheless, are todd ratner, chairman of nsa freedom alliance, and doug ritter, knife rights org. they will each have nine minutes at which time my phone will bong at them, and then i will get up and poke them with the other knitting needle, because i gave one to julie, but i kept one for myself. i would like to remind our panelists to please give their name again when they -- right at the beginning of their talk so people that are recording and podcasting and cspan'ing and god
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knows what else can capture who's who. okay, without further ado, we'll start with carey. >> one further ado. please, everybody, take out your cell phones and turn off the ringer. >> all right, ready, talk fast. good morning, everybody. my name is carey lightfoot. we have some women in the house. a few, yes. what i'm going to talk about very quickly is how we can double that next year, and how we can get millions of women to the polls and activated politically. we all know that women are coming to gun ownership in droves. we all hear it, right? everyone's talking about it. we're talking about women coming to the range and coming into responsible gun ownership. this is huge, and this is significant. significant for what we're here to talk about today. we see them at the ranges. s we see them in the gun stores. where we need to see them is here. where we need to see them is with you all in your
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communities, passionately driving for change and to protect our second amendment rights. everyone is talking about it. but what we need to do is start talking to women. so let's stop talking about women and let's start talking with them. that's our task, mine and yours, is to engage women in the second amendment conversation. which historically has been a male and men's conversation. agreed? so we need to bring them in and draw them in and create the pathway for them, so that's our mission. and why is this important? because women, guys, can save and protect our rights. women are drivers. if you want something done, you get a woman to do it. right? right? when women are enthusiastic and passionate about something, things happen. take a look at education. who drives educational change?
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women. health, nutrition. well, women are just as passionate about their gun rights as they are about these other important things to them and their families. when mom is shooting, who is shooting? the whole family. and there's probably a few guys here, a few families where the women kind of drive the pocketbook, maybe, just a few. so when mom's shooting and the whole family is shooting that's really good for the industry. what we need to do is bring them into the political debate and political conversation. women are raising the next generation of second amendment supporters, lovers. it's a very important task. and that's what women do. and i believe strongly women will influence this legislation. let's talk about the b word. bloomberg. no profanity. okay, i'll watch my mouth.
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you know, it's more than just one person. it's his influence on others that we're combatting, and they're going after women. they're going after mothers, they're going after women. what's wrong with that message? the message is that we're not capable of taking care of ourselves. excuse me. that's false. women are equipped. we're strong. and we can be trained to effectively protect ourselves with a firearm. so i totally rebuke that message. and i do that on behalf of all women. we rebuke it. [ applause ] it's perpetuating victimhood for women. we're tired of it. the target on our backs is big enough. we're here to shrink it. and protecting our rights helps to shrink that target even more. so enough of that. do you believe that they're
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ignorant? are the efforts ignorant? they are ignorant. but they're not stupid. we can't confuse the two. they're ignorance is that they don't get it. but they're not stupid. the efforts to take away our rights and oppose our rights are meticulously effective. it's strategic. they know what they're doing. and the effort to try to minimize the voice of women will not work. but we have to help amplify the voice of women, because what's the tactic? the tactic is emotion. stories. guess who has lots of stories, guys, that this world is not hearing? women. stories of strength, courage, fierce protection of their family. there are some incredible stories that we need to be sharing and we need to have the communities hear these stories.
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our response typically is statistics. numbers. from my cold dead hands, that's what we hear. is that accurate? yes. is it effective? we need stories. we need to tap into the emotion of this topic. we need to be focusing on the stories of survival. who's better equipped to emotioninalize, who is better equipped to share emotional stories and messages? women. we're good at it. we're naturally very emotional beings. not that you guys aren't, but we're pretty good at it. i believe there's three audiences that we're talking to. the anti-gunners, we talk to them. you're talking to a brick wall. cement is set. they're not hearing anything. on the other side is us. second amendment lovers.
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you're preaching to the choir. we're all in. it's those folks in the middle that understand that support the second amendment, but they're not fully educated about what it really, really means. that's who we have to reach, because with each tragedy, and yes, they're all tragedies, with each one of those, that cushion, that cushion of their support gets smaller and smaller. and one day, one terrible tragedy, pushes those people. you know, background checks make sense. and they start to shift. that's who we have to talk to. and i believe that women will be the ones that can effectively speak to them. they havemotor mother, they hav wives, and they have sisters. you put anyone in the position, what would you do if that were you? it's whatever it takes. and the firearm is the best tool in a whatever it takes situation, isn't it?
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so we have a chapter program, a woman chapter program in 50 states, 235 chapters, that's not about me or the war on women. what it says is how passionately women are coming to firearm ownership and how serious they are. who wants to arg argue with a woman who wants to protect herself? what media outlet, what politician wants to get in my face and be the bad guy and tell me i can't have the tools to equip myself? this program has had over 200 new stories. not one of them negative. not one negative news story. why is that? fascination of women and guns. and because it's women arming themselves to protect themselves. so, a lot of power in our stories. you have a huge army before you
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of women that will get things done, we'll do it passionately. we'll network and change legislation. i call on all of you to reach out and talk to women. we're different. we don't talk like you dies do. we don't hear things like you guys do. you need to understand those differences. reach out. because together, all of us, men, women, children, can and will preserve our second amendment rights. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you. perfect. you have 35 seconds left. thank you. next, we're going to call up todd ratner.
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>> good morning. my name is todd ratner. i represent the nsa freedom alliance. i wanted to welcome you all to arizona. this is my adopted home state. i live in tucson. normally when i talk to crowds, i try to tell them how horrible arizona is and how hot it is and how many scorpions we have and how many rattlesnakes we have because i don't want anybody from another state moving out here. but quite frankly, with this crowd, you guys are all welcome to come back and stay as long as you like. many of you know me as knife rights director of legislative affairs. i work very closely with doug ritter and sue ritter is over there somewhere, if my eyes work
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well. we work as a team to try to turn back bad knife laws. i'm also an nra director, as many of you know. as if i weren't busy enough, last year, i started the nfa freedom alliance. which is an organization dedicated to easing restrictions on nfa gun owners. and the reason that i started the nfa freedom alliance is because i believe the folks that own nfa items are the single most neglected group of gun owners in the country. we're sort of the, you know, the red headed stepchild in the basement, and that needs to change. nfa gun owners have never had a full-time lobbying organization speaking for them. the nfa freedom alliance is that organization. the need for the nfa freedom alliance has become increasingly
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more important with the explosion of the sale of suppressers. that's the one category of firearms, so to speak, even though none of us would really consider them firearms, the atf categorizes them as firearms, that's the one area that has exploded. that's part of why i believe that the nfa freedom alliance is so necessary. it's probably the biggest growing and fastest growing segment of the firearms sales market currently. since starting the organization last october, we've had quite a record of success. we've passed four pro-nfa bills in four separate states, and you think, what does the nfa have to do with state law? a lot of states have duplicative law of the nfa. there are additional
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regulations. for instance, one of the most amazing things was when i was doing research prior to forming the nfa freedom alliance, i found out that in the state of texas, it was -- was, past tense, was technically illegal to possess any nfa weapon. however, it was a defense to prosecution if you were arrested for possessing it. now, that may be comforting to some, and it has been comforting to some, obviously, because texas has more registered nfa items than probably any state in the union. it's obviously comforting to some people that i have a defense to prosecution, but what does defense to prosecution mean? it means you may beat the rap, but you're going to take the ride. you're going to sit in the back of the police car. you're possibly going to have to go before a judge. you're certainly going to have to deal with a prosecutor. if you've got a brain, you're
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going to have to get an attorney, pay the attorney, and figure out how to get your stuff back, and then hope that the judge agrees with you. this is real. this actually happens. i have got a gun dealer who i work closely with this last legislative session who had his gun and his sbr and his suppresser confiscated from him. he was arrested. he spent the night in jail, cost him after over 11 months and $14,000, he finally got his stuff back. and that's in the free state of texas. and so when i found out about that, that was one of the primarily, one of my primarily missions, was to overturn that law. anybody who knows anything about texas legislature, it's not easy to pass anything, contrary to popular belief. it's very difficult. in one session, we were able to overturn that law, rip it out of the books, repeal it, and replace it with the affirmative ability to own nfa items as long
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as they're registered pursuant to the nfa. [ applause ] thank you. in tennessee, we did the exact same thing. tennessee had the same law. in arkansas, we passed a cleo, what i call a cleo self-certify bill, which forces a chief law enforcement officer to certify your nfa forms if you're not a prohibitive possessor. we also made it legal to hunt with suppressers in montana. and those are all things that i was able to accomplish with the help of our friends and donors and folks like -- folks like that, who helped us get it done. we did all of that since just last october. i know that the major question on everybody's mind, especially in this room, is what about repealing the nfa all together? why do we need it? it's one of the most poorly crafted statutes on the books,
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whether federal or state. it is so confusing. i sat with jeff from a different nfa organization who knows more about this stuff than almost anybody. we sat in the labby for the past few days and neither one of us can explain a lot of this stuff. what we can explain is how the atf interprets all of this, and it's a big mess. we do have a strategy for eventually repealing the nfa all together, which is what our primary goal is. that is our primary goal. and quite frankly, we're one of the only organizations that i'm aware of, at least, that have actually, that actually has that as a stated goal. we're not afraid to say it. the nfa should be ripped out, root and branch, and thrown in the trash. part of our strategy you folks will understand. 20 years ago when you looked around the country, maybe it's 25 now, tcw permits, shall issue
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ccw permits were not popular. we didn't see them in states all over the place. florida was probably the first. and politicians all believe the lies, you know the lies, blood was going to run in the streets. we were all going to shoot each other over parking spots. none of that has materialized. today, you have democrats and republicans holding up their ccw permit as a talisman to the gun rights movement to say look how pro-gun i am, i have a ccw permit. why is that? the reason is many of these folks started out in state legislatures as a state senator or a state rep, and they were part of either the original passage of ccw, shall issue ccw permit laws or they have been part of the process to fix them and improve them over the years. we need to do the same thing at the state level, state by state,
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with legislators to educate them about the nfa and the effects on the average gun owner. i have talked to -- when i start bringing up these issues with state legislators and i talk to them about it, and i go through the process with them, and i explain it all to them, the reaction is, are you kidding me? i mean, for a rifle that's two inches shorter than a rifle i've got in my safe, i have to go get fingerprints and photographed and pay $200? it's insane. but you can also own a pistol that is in the same exact configuration that's seven inches shorter than the average rifle, but you don't -- and it's the exact same configuration and you don't have to get the stamp. and they're like, this is ridiculous. that's the reaction we want. that's what we want. we want them to say this thing is ridiculous so when they get off the farm team and they end up going to congress, we have a sympathetic ear and they have
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some understanding of what the law is. i think i'm getting beeped on. okay. all right. i'm just going to quickly tell you what we're working on right now. currently, we're working on repealing the ban on hunting with suppressers in as many states as possible, it's ridiculous, in europe, it's a requirement to hunt with a suppresser. we need to do that in as many states as possible, where there's still a few states including oklahoma and a few others, alaska has a defense to prosecution law on the books. we have to get rid of that. we're also working on, it's an important effort, the shall certify, to mock sure that the cleos certify the form 4s and form 1s and you don't have to leave your second amendment rights up to the discretion of some local law enforcement officer, and whether or not the 41-p rule that mark talked about yesterday is promulgated or not,
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it's still a good thing to have, until we can take some of these items out of the nfa all together or repeal it all together, and in conclusion, i'm going to wrap it up, i want to ask you guys to support me. i'm running this whole thing by myself. i'm the lobbyist and i'm running the whole show. i need your help. if you can help or if you know somebody who's interested in the issue who can help, the website is www.nfafa.org. and then we also have a facebook page, if you look up nfa freedom alliance on facebook, you'll see, we're running fund-raisers and raffles. you can win an spr and a suppresser combo. i say thank you and i really appreciate you. feel free to move to arizona. >> hang on a second, if you don't mind. i'm going to exercise my right as the moderator and in the interest of our friends at cspan, i'm going to ask todd,
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put him on the spot and ask him if he could do maybe two minutes on the history of nfa. so when we get on cspan, this will all go out. >> yes, and what i may have to do is -- i can give a quick history. i may have to look at my buddy jeff over there who's the true historian on the nfa. but in 1934, for some reason, the congress in their great wisdom thought that it would be a good idea to add a tax to owning certain items. back then, i believe it was only machine guns in 1934, and silenc silencers. machine guns and silencers in 1934. i'm looking at jeff and he's nodding. but it was in a response to, i
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believe it had to do with the prohibition era, supposed gun fights that were happening. they felt if they put this $200 tax on these items, that less people would own them, and somehow, they were going to save the world and people would stop shooting each other with these guns. and we know to this day that none of that works. prohibition in its forms, in all of its forms have never worked. and so that was the genesis of it, in 1934. it was expanded in 1968 through the gun control act. when they added things to the nfa, and one of the things they added, which is the dreaded hughes amendment, which most people in the room know what the hughes amendment was. what it said was that, now that was in 1986, actually. that was in 1986, i'm sorry. so in 1986, they added the hughes amendment. that's the one that really
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sticks in everybody's craw, that essentially said that any machine gun manufactured after a particular date in 1986 could no longer be transferred between citizens. even though you were submitted fingerprints, even though you were subjected to a background check, even though the local sheriff had to sign off on your transfer, they said you couldn't manufacture a new machine gun for the purpose of transfer from private citizen to private citizen. thereby limiting the pool of machine guns that are available, and as we all know, driving the price of a machine gun through the roof. and that's -- that's where we stand today with all of these laws in place. that regulate, that regulate some of these guns. but the most ridiculous part about all of it is that there's almost no reason for any of it. it's very arbitrary. it makes absolutely no sense. like i said, you can have an ar-15 style pistol that is 7 inches long that has a 7-inch
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barrel, but you can't have a rifle with less than a 16-inch barrel. and for some reason, shotguns have to have a minimum of an 18-inch barrel, and there's no rhyme or reason to it. there's no logic to it because if you can have a 16-inch rifle, why can't you have a 16-inch shotgun? if you have a 16-inch shotgun, you're subject to a federal charge and potentially ten years in jail and thousands and thousands of dollars in fines. so it's absolutely ridiculous. it's one of the stupidest federal laws on the books. like i said earlier, it's time to rip it out root and branch and throw it in the trash. [ applause ] >> thanks. thanks, todd. now, to clean things up, we'll bring up doug ritter, our friend from knife rights org. >> good morning, gun lobby.
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knife rights is the knife lobby. you are the knife lobby. we are the knife lobby. and this year, i bring you a very important message. all knives matter. repeat after me. all knives matter. i can't hear you. all knives matter. thank you. we're working on that. these essential tools, knives that millions of americans use every day at home, at work, at play, are also arms, protected
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by the second amendment. it is an essential right. for six years now, i have been coming to grpc to share this message. that the second amendment doesn't say firearms, it says arms. as such, knife rights is the second front in the defense of our second amendment. the good news -- [ applause ] the good news is that people all over america are getting the message. our success is translating into both respect and new opportunities. we are being covered by major media. including in many instances, left wing media such as new york's the village voice, and mother jones. and it's all positive.
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knife rights' success, and our efforts to roll back the absurd anti-knife laws and to pass preemption, is also introducing the second amendment to an entire group of folks who have never considered the second amendment their own. and in many cases have been anti-second amendment. as a result, of the tragic incident with freddie gray's knife arrest in baltimore and his subsequent death, and similar incidents in a number of urban centers, we're gaining even more bipartisan support. remarkably, this past year, the primary sponsors of two of our pro-knife bills were liberal dems because they're beginning to understand that their constituents are also being jailed over stupid, irrational, and antiquated knife laws just like all of us sitting here.
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this year, knife rights continues to rewrite knife law in america. passing -- excuse me, passing five pro knife bills in four states so far. maine, nevada, oklahoma, and texas. with three bills remaining in illinois, michigan, and including a wisconsin bill that would repeal wisconsin knife bans and which also includes knife law preemption so there will no longer be any illegal knives in wisconsin. and worth noting, a tip of the hat to my lobbiest, todd, that bill started out as a switchblades with ccw bill, and it's now morphed with his work on the ground in madison, into a full-blown knife reform bill.
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in total, we have passed 19 pro-knife bills in 14 states in 6 years and defeated five anti-knife bills including a machete ban in new york this year. every one of those victories is a win for the second amendment. as you heard yesterday from our attorney, dan, this week saw a critical victory in our four-year-old federal civil rights lawsuit against new york city and d.a. cyrus vance jr. over their persecution of over 60,000 new yorkers. the court of appeals for the second circuit reversed the recently appointed district court judge's ridiculous ruling that nobody in our lawsuit had
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standing, sending it back to the lower court for disposition on the merit, finally, after four years. i was thrilled to hear yesterday that already attorneys in two gun rights cases are planning to use this decision in their own second amendment lawsuits. this just goes to show that knife rights really is the second front. we are all in this together. [ applause ] as you heard yesterday from mark barnes, ivory bans are the new stealth front in our fight for the second amendment. both at the federal and state level. we defeated over a dozen ivory ban bills in the states this year with our friends, with the help of our friends at the nra and others. only losing in california. and, well, it's california.
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what more do i have to say? if you had told me nine years ago when i founded knife right that i would be spending a significant amount of my time fighting ivory bans, i would have told you you were nuts, but we cannot, we must not walk away from such an important battle that threatens millions of americans with billions of dollars of taking by the feds. takings which would just happen to remove hundreds of thousands of knives and guns from circulation, making it illegal to sell or trade or even work on them. let me be clear. knife rights abhors the poaching of all species. the proven solution is to attack poaching at the source, not punish lawful ivory owners in the united states who cannot
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have any effect on the poaching in africa and the traffic in illegal ivory to china and asia. [ applause ] successful anti-poaching efforts in africa have demonstrated that aggressive enforcement in the field does save elephants. stealing the investment of millions of americans will not save a single elephant in africa. this is the worst kind of feel-good, do-bad government action. if you have any questions whether these ivory bans are good or bad, all you really need to know is that the concept was developed and promoted by the clinton foundation.
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and that the largest organization promoting it today is the humane society of the united states. they are raising millions of dollars. they don't give a damn about the elephants in africa. not a penny is going to the elephants in africa. that money is used to fight gun owners. they are raising millions of dollars because they discovered an orphaned baby elephant calf next to a butchered mother raises a whole lot more money than a cute little panda. next year, we expect to be battling bans in over 20 states. every one of which threatens gun owners as well as knife owners. oh, shut up. >> keep going. >> tomorrow, monday, is the deadline to submit comments on
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the feds' proposed final ivory ban rule. please, every one of you, if you have not already done it, go to kniferights.org and follow the links on the home page to submit a comment tomorrow, by tomorrow at midnight, in opposition to this absurd pan that will not save a single elephant in africa, but will cost americans billions and potentially remove hundreds of thousands of guns and knives from the market. also this year, the knife owners protection act authored by knife rights was refiled in both houses of congress. the house copa bill sponsored by nat salmon is still in committee, however recently, the copa bill in the senate was passed out of committee. it awaits an approperate bill to be tacked on to, but given how
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little congress has done these days, i'm not holding my breath. by the same token, six years ago, they told us that our fifth exemption to the switchblade act would never pass, and we got that done. please help by encouraging your senator and congressmen to co sponsor this bill. the results speak for themselves. knife rights is the second front in the defense of the second amendment. we are rewriting knife law in america. join us, become a member. make a donation, help us continue this extraordinary record of success and remember, all knives matter. >> thanks, doug. and thank you, panelists for a
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good kickoff of sunday morning, great panels. good content, appreciate it very much. you can exit stage left. and i'll bring up my next group of speakers. our next panel is packed with experts. it is entitled, using the media to advance gun rights. we will go in the order they are listed on the agenda except that we're going to let our good friend don irvine from accuracy in media go first so that charles heller can adjust his levels and so on. and which is as far as i know not a euphemism, and they'll each have five minutes.
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i'm deg going to bring don up first. >> far out, man.going to bring . >> far out, man. >> okay, don, come on up. >> good morning, everyone. i want to thank -- i think everybody should give a round of applause to the second amendment foundation, to allen, julie ann, peggy, and the staff. a wonderful, wonderful conference. this is not an easy thing to pull off. i have done conferences and i know. so i'm going to try to keep my remarks brief. you know, we're talking about the media. this is something i do for a living, i have done for a living for a long type. i think we can say fairly easily that most of us in this room don't consider the media our friend when it comes to gun right. but that doesn't mean they can't become your friends or at least maybe frenemies along the way. this is where it's incumbent upon us to do things to make this happen. everybody in the media is busy. these reporters, you know, the system has changed so they're
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not doing the kind of work that they were 20 years ago. newspapers aren't what they used to be. broadcast television has changed. all these things, cable television, now we see more of a move to the internet in the way people get their news. now, you can do things with the media quickly. their information is fairly public. you can find their e-mail addresses usually through the newspaper or the station, you can usually find their facebook account, their name, or their twitter handle or something like that. you can build a relationship, you can build some contacts ifs you use those kinds of things. that's one thing. when you're talking with the media, when you're talking with anybody, really, is that arm yourselves with the facts. i'm not trying to use -- but that is really, really important, because the facts are the facts. the facts actually favor our side. but what happens with the media is that with a lot of these things, it's not that they're necessarily overly liberally biased all the time, but they
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tend to be ignorant of the facts when it comes to gun rights. it's incumbent upon everyone in the room to study, bone up on the facts and have the facts at the ready. you can do that very easily now thanks to the internet, to be able to do enough research to go through those things. so i think if you do that, i think you're going to be well armed, as we say. now, my other thing, too, my big passion with this is using social media. social media is extremely important in the battle on gun rights. everybody, the large percentage of the population now is using facebook, they're using twitter. these are ways to do this. if you're really that passionate about gun rights, you own a firearm, think about this, think about social media as another tool in the tool box and also as another weapon. facebook, i want you to be passionate using social media to express your feelings about gun rights. these things, now, you might think, i only have five friends,
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or i only have -- what i do with facebook is put up a lot of cat videos. if you're doing that, you're doing it wrong. i'm sorry. you may love cats, but spending all your time is cat videos is not going to advance the cause of gun rights. you can do this because what happ happens? your number of followers on twitter, your number of friends on facebook, everything you do is potentially shareable, potentially retweetable, so that you amplify your voice by many times. you don't even know sometimes the effect that has, but you can see that by doing that. now, what everybody in the room should be doing as well is you should be using it now. if you haven't been using facebook, if you haven't been using twitter, things like this, to do things about this conference at this moment, then you better get on your phones, your tablets, your computers and do something now. because that is another way of doing this and expressing that message. instagram, if you don't really know what to do with how to write a post or how to send a
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tweet, you can pretty much take a picture. how many people take pictures with their cameras, with their phones, all the time? instagram is a very easy way to do that. it backfeeds the other way. you can link that to twitter, to your facebook account. you get all that, all in one setting. it's a wonderful way of pushing that out. we're a very visual society. people look at pictures, people look at graphs. they take that, that's an immediacy, they share it, it has an enormous effect by when you go out there and you boom with all of that. one of the things that's effective for the other side, something that we need to do a little more of, is emotion. use emotion. emotion is -- why do we have ferguson, why do we have these problems? i come from maryland. my backyard basically was freddie gray. what happens here? it's the emotion of these people, of the anti-gun rights people who are out there and they're expressing themselves and then they just suck up all the air in the room, basically, and they do this. if we had that same passion,
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that same emotion, there are stories, you know, as allen, who you'll hear from later, he goes around saying guns save lives. duh, yeah, it does, but let's tell that message. let's go tell the people, and let's show the people and find the people who have had their lives saved by that and do it and do it now. [ applause ] >> thank you, don. great. and next, we're going to hear from our good friend charles heller. charles. >> thank you. thank you. you know, i'm one of the rare people that will speak here who can say mr. gottlieb, i paid for this microphone. i want to talk a little bit about harnessing the emotion that don just talked about, a good lead-in to the point i want to make. that's, we're all very
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passionate about our topic. to us, this is just, it is so endemic to our way of life. we don't think about it. to us, a firearm is another leatherman tool, right? it's just a piece of equipment. and to the anti-freedom people, it's a talisman of evil. and there isn't a great bridge in between them. so while you need to be passionate about it, you need to not -- you need to be careful about the way you express this, especially to people in the media. because your cheeriness, your enthusiasm, can be mistaken for an enthusiasm to do harm. so what you have to do is be very excited like don said, to be passionate, but at the same time, be careful in your language. the expression, you know, shooting to slide lock, to us is just, you know, a failure to reload. to them, it means you empty the gun into somebody. so you have to be careful with how you language things.
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i want to talk a little bit about for those of you who of you are involved in here in your state level organizations? okay. everybody in arizona, put your hand down. other state level organizations outside of arizona. okay, because i know about the arizona organization. i know a little about that one. okay, what i want to tell you is when you communicate with the media, your press releases, whether they be, and you can take your press release now and put it on facebook. you can take that and not only give it to the media. you can give it to everybody else. but your press release need have a headline on it that grabs attention. like guns save lives. but it can be less generic and more specific to a circumstance than that. your press release needs to be one page. because as don said, everybody in the media is really busy. and i promise you, i'm a talk show host, and if somebody sends me a 15-page press release, it's going to the delete pile very quickly. i will sometimes send them back
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one sentence, give me this in two paragraphs and i'll read it. but that's about as close as you'll ever get to me reading a more than two-page press release. make your press release one page. your premise needs to be in the first paragraph, your solution needs to be in the second paragraph. and your conclusion needs to be in the third paragraph. when you're talking to the media, you need to speak in sound bites. you can't start telling them that, well, yeah, the constitution was written in 1787, but the bill of rights wasn't put in until 1791. you've lost them. it's important, we all know it, but you have lost them. you have to speak in one sentence clips they can use, because i'm telling you, they're going to edit you down to one sentence. make that sentence count. what can you do? you have got the answer, almost all of you, in your purse, pocket, or laying on the table in front of you in the form of your phone. what you need to do is write
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down one sentence clips that you can use. because when that light is shining in your face, or when the on-air light comes on in a studio, it induces stress. it does two things. it makess sphincters slam shut and brains go numb. and then your emotion kicks in and you say something really dumb. and that gets preserved forever on the internet. and on top of it, you know, you have this contorted face saying it. and that's what goes on the internet. all right. so what you want to do is look people in the eye and calmly have a go-to phrase, because at the end of every interview, somebody from the audience, tell me this, what is anyone who has ever been interviews, what is the reporter if they're any good at their job whatsoever, what do they ask? what? is there anything i have missed?
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yes. there really is. we should never penalize the innocent for the acts of the guilty. that's one phrase that sometimes when i get interviewed gets tacked onto the interview. what it does is it's a little bit of a reach out to the people who may not share, as don said, what our passion is. they may not share our passion, but it's a bridge to somebody who gets it. they say, oh, yeah. i believe in that. even people that are like aclu members will say, yeah, we probably shouldn't punish the innocent for the acts of the guilty. and thank you for listening. >> thank you. my cheat sheet here. and next, we're going to bring up blogger john richardson of only guns and money.
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there you go. >> thank you, ma'am. hi, i'm john richardson. this morning, i plan to tell you how i as a citizen journalist use the internet to advance gun rights and how you can use it, too. as the representative of new media on the stage this morning, first let me tell you how i got started. i have been a longtime reader of blogs, and then in may 2010, i finally decided, you know, i can do just as well. and i started my blog, no lawyers, only guns and money. the name was a play on the song "send lawyers guns and money." i'm a financial planner, not a lawyer, hence the name. i didn't have many readers at first, but then something happened. allen gur won the mcdonald case, and then used this ruling and then using this ruling, the second amendment foundation in
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grassroots north carolina sued north carolina to overturn our ban on firearms during states of declared emergency. i saw it as my mission to report on the details on this case and the other follow-on mcdonald cases. i worked hard to provide background information so that readers would have a really good understanding of the issues. i felt that if people who supported gun rights had better knowledge than what was presented to them in the mainstream media, we could argue our side more persuasively. fast forward to today. 4200 plus blog posts later, 1.7 million visitors, and there have been many more cases and a good number of wins. somewhere along the way, i added the role of podcaster to my efforts on behalf of the second amendment. i'm now a co host of the polite stoit podcast, which has been live streaming this event this weekend. my blog as well as the podcast
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does four things. it educates. it informs. it advocates. and it entertains. the first three help advance the cause of gun rights. while the fourth is, well, you know, we just need to laugh a bit sometimes. especially if it's at the expense of gun prohibitionists. let me give you some examples. our podcast, the polite society podcast, has a regular feature called defense of gun uses. we compile instances of how a lawful gun owner has used a firearm to defend him or herself and their family. the examples have often included a robbery or a home invasion. we look at what the person did right and what they did wrong. we don't sugar coat it, as we consider this essential education on the rights and responsibilities of gun owners. the best example of a blogosphere informing people to help advance the cause of gun
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rights was the act that david, mike, and dave workman did in exposing operation fast and furious that got started right here in phoenix. [ applause ] it was bloggers that connected the whistleblowers to congressional investigators. it was bloggers that introduced the whistleblowers to sheryl atkinson so she could air their stories on television. many other bloggers including myself took the ball that david, mike, and dave started and we ran with it. and it was not some botched sting operation. it was a scandal. and it was due to the efforts of new media and not old media that it got attention. we in the new media are open about our efforts to advocate on behalf of gun rights and the second amendment. back in 2011, atf was soliciting
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public comments on whether to implement a recording requirement that would require border states to inform them when someone baltimore than one semiautomatic rifle within a five five-day period. the gun control lobby had a letter generator. we didn't. with this assistance of one of my readers, we set up a letter generator with a prewritten letter. our letter generator sent 3,203 letters to omb opposing this power grab. atf still implemented, but by god, they couldn't say there was no opposition. in terms of entertainment, there's been too many examples. an old journalist once said, freedom of the press belongs to those who own one. well, as a blogger and a podcaster, i do own one. and thanks to the internet, so does everyone in this room. when you post pictures of
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yourself taking a new shooter to the range on facebook, you're advancing the cause. when you post a picture of a new gun you just bought to gun you just bought to instagram, you are normalizing guns. when you treat a link to an article that is pro-gun, you are spreading the message. let's not forget tumblr, youtube, et cetera. it helps advance the gun culture. if there is one message i want to leave with you this morning, it is this. we are in a cultural war against strong, well-funded, top-down opponents. they have the mainstream media on their side. we have the grass roots. new media gives us the tools to conduct our cultural guerrilla war, build our grassroots support and spread our message of self-reliance, freedom and gun rights. thank you for your time today.
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[ applause ] >> thank you, john. and herb stepp, author and commentator, former commissioner under rudy giuliani and one of our board members will now take it away. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you, peggy. i realize as we're in the homestretch of the conference that i am the only person in the room who's been fired by michael bloomberg. [ applause ] i knew that would be the top credential i could point to. i wish i could report to you i was exercising my second amendment rights in lower manhattan, but it was mundane, the new marry placed virtually all the commissioners of giulia giuliani. i'm not sure cameras can pick this up, but for the audience at home, we have hundreds and
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hundreds of prosecond amendment people here, mostly in black ties and evening gowns. we have a daunting task as our other panelists have pointed out. we're dealing with an emotionally-driven conversation as dr. john lott has pointed out. a lot of the people he runs into in the media don't even understand the studies he's been doing linking private gun ownship to reductions in crime around the country and even around the world. in my hometown of new york city, discussions or interviews on the gun issue don't even acknowledge our viewpoint of pro second amendment doesn't come into the reporting. some are committed zealots. we heard about a website that deals with the gun issue. obviously, we're not going to get anywhere with them. but here's who we have to work on, and we've heard variations of this. the journalists, reporters on
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tv, newspaper, radio. some of them are lazy. but more likely, just like almost all of us, they're strained to the breaking point, too, with their jobs. so the new york daily news, you may have read, fired a bunch of their columnists and reporters. so where does that leave the rest of those folks to do? they've got, they're really scrambling to do their jobs. maybe they're covering one or two stories a day. probably covering three now. so they don't have the time to focus on the facts of our issue, or really many other issues. and then the cocktail party anti-gunners that we probably all encounter at a barbecue or wherev wherever, thinking this is the fashionable viewpoint. if your local club or state association has been wronged, i suggest, and it had is the executive summary of my talk. use honey, not vinegar in
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dealing with these folks. don't become the person that's easy to dismiss and just ignore. so if you've been wronged, appeal to the sense of fairness in the news organization. again, newspaper, radio station, tv station. you might go to the reporter directly. you might go to an editor. and then you can ask for rebuttal time in those cases. and first, i would say, establish some kind of sense of rapport. you might even commend a reporter on something else, you know, i really liked your coverage on x, on some other story that has nothing to do with the second amendment or guns, but you really did a number on us and ignored our view point or left x, y and z facts out of your report on the gun issue. invite the media to events. maybe it's to a target range, a shooting range or some other event where you're celebrating an anniversary for your local club which i think is coming up
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in western new york, right? what i would add, though, is don't just send a letter to the newspaper or the tv station, invite individuals. and i think you'll get a better response than what we heard about yesterday. to echo what we've heard before on this mpanel today, use socia media. get the word out through twitter, facebook, and some of the other sites that i'm not familiar with. there's a lot of gray hair in the room, but do what i do in my own situation. i sometimes post my column or a book review i've done on facebook or another site. i first got hope from my younger adult children. so whether you have kids at home or hot,not, a nephew or niece, some of the younger members of your clubs undoubtedly know this. so tap them. follow these reporters on twitter. they're always really eager to give you their twitter address and commend them on one report so you're establishing rapport
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so that you'll have some credibility and some, something in the bank when you talk to them about the gun issue, the second amendment issue. now if you've really suffered a hit, if needed, ask for a correction. i was able to get a retraction from the "new york times" when i was 20 years old, when i first met alan got leeb and we were working on james buckley's campaign. i got a letter to the editor, because my -- this is a ten-second count down to electric shock, by the way. some large papers have an ombudsman that's supposed to deal with issues of fairness and bias and errors. so you may ask if your local news organization has an ombudsman. maybe it's part time. maybe it goes right to an editor, but ask. give the story to a competitor. so maybe the tv station has wronged you, but maybe the radio station or the newspaper will
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write about it, especially if they're from different media groups. interest in local journalism schools. some journalism schools keep tabs on errors and bias in local media. speak with the publisher directly about what happened and why they're wrong and what we can do to correct it. tell don irvine at aim or brent bow zel about it. a brog, which we heard from mr. richardson. get a columnist interested. and website comments. so, to sum up, use honey versus vinegar. try to establish rapport with some of these folks who aren't the committed zealots against the second amendment. you have more options than ever to get the word out on the second amendment and correct the bias or errors in the media. thank you.
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[ applause ] >> thanks, herb. you narrowly avoided the knitting needle. i'm going to bring up cheryl todd on knnt, the patriot radio show. i'm sorry. >> kknt. >> and you've got five minutes, too. >> all right. good morning! i am cheryl todd of az firearms.com. we're a small mom and pop's gun shop a little west of here in avon dale, arizona. and as such, we are the backbone of this country and this industry. and we are, i'm also the host of the newest local gun talk radio show here in the valley, gun talk az on kknt, salem, the patriot radio. thank you. [ applause ] and i am so honored to have been
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asked to come here and speak to you today on the topic of how to use the media to protect our rights, because it's really something i'm passionate about, not only as a gun store owner, as a citizen of this fine country, but also as a mom, a wife and a grandma. it is so important. i agree with ronald reagan. he said that our freedoms are only one generation away from extinction. and i like to take that a step forward and say our freedoms are always one generation away from extinction. and it is our responsibility to pass that baton. and so, thinking about that, we decided, you know, we use the social media that my panelists are talking about, facebook, twitter, all of those fine things. but we wanted to go to a larger audience. so, for us, we decided, let's think about pod casts versus radio. pod cast is wonderful. we've got the polite society with us today. thank you for the work you're
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doing. [ applause ] and, but for us, we felt like it might be reinventing the wheel in a lot of ways, because we don't have what salem has, which is the infrastructure already in play. they've got the equipment, they've got the staff. they've got the signal, the audience. all i have to do is show up with my hour's worth of content, and i'm good to go, and every show becomes a recording, which then is a pod cast. so it's kind of the best of both worlds. it's very economical, affordable. if anybody's thinking about doing this in your cities n it your states, i would encourage you to look at the small stations, because there's a lot of value there. when you look at marketing dollars, it's a very smart way to get the message out that i think we all agree is so important. plus, radio gives us built-in revenue-building streams, sponsorships, on-air ads, we're
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building a referral website. so that will financially sustain the message you're trying to get out. all right, so we know how we're doing it. who are we speaking to? well, i'll quote another famous guy, bill gates. he said the future in leadership is in influence. how are we influencing by talking on the radio? i think just by speaking up. we are the majority, but we've been silent for way too long. so we've got all of us who involve our second amendment rights. we're never going to move from that position. we've got the whole anti-second amendment group who probably i are never going to move from their position. but there's this whole middle space. and these are the people who haven't decided yet, and they're trying to figure out, where are they on this spectrum. are guns good? are they evil? and so we try to engage in conversation and build relationship and influence and inform and educate. and the way we do that is we go
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to facebook and twitter, and we find those stories on local news stations that you're never going to find on cnn or fox, and we bring those into the show about good guy with a gun. safe, responsible gun owner, doing the right thing, protecting their family, protecting theirselves, and put that into people's consciousness, so they can think critically for themselves about where they might lie on this spectrum, and in doing so, we put the onus back where it belongings. we stop being in this defensive posture, this collective guilt we feel, every time a bad guy does something bad with a gun, we say that we have this foundation, it's called shall not be infringed. the shiniest example that the anti-second amendment crowd has of their gun-free zones and tight restrictions is what, d.c., chicago and detroit? well, once that middle space
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understands the true stories, the true news that's going on out there, it's going to put a lot more pressure on the anti group to step up their game and show why would that be the better choice. and finally, i'll just say that we try to do it with a lot, to resist the teeth the nashing, and eye rolling. being in a room with all of you fine people and hearing all of your stories, that is going to feed me. and i can go back out on the air waves. share your stories, drop that pond and start the ripple effect flowing, and i'm so excited to take all of your stories back to gun talk az. thank you so much for having me. [ applause ] >> thank you, cheryl.
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and batting cleanup on this panel is our good friend david workman, senior editor of the gun mag. [ applause ] >> i'm supposed to keep this as short as possible. so thank you very much. and -- [ laughter ] just a couple of pieces of advice, since i deal with the media a lot for the citizens committee, i'm also a member of the media, i'm a card-carrying journalist, been in the business for 40 years. if you do an interview with a reporter, don't show up wearing a tee shirt with a message on it with a four-letter word. don't try to tell them that there's black helicopters coming for you and that jade helm really is coming. wad that up in your tin foil hat
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and throw it in the trash. they will call you a moron. get right to the point. give them sound bites that they can use. use facts. be able to back those things up. we're in the middle of a lawsuit in washington state right now. i've spoken to several reporters about this. they send camera crews over to our offices. alan gottlieb has done the same thing. and i've been in the room for some of those. one thing i've found very useful in a situation with seattle which has done this $25 tax, and we are fighting that on the basis of it's a violation of the state preemption law. i printed out a copy of the state preemption law, highlighted where the seattle lawsuit is going wrong and explain this to the reporters.
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they look at that and they say, yeah, they really wrong, aren't they? that plants the seed that there's another side to this story. it gives them a resource that they can look at, and they can take this to their editor and they say yeah, well, wait a minute. those guys over there, they say this is against the law. they say the law is on their side, and guess what? looks like they're right. we do have the facts on our side. we have to use them wisely. as i said, you're an ambassador. you want to become a regular, reliable news contact for these people. they want to be able to call you to get the yoe blig tory comment. so make sure you give them something with good, raw meat in it. something they can use. i can't begin to tell you the number of stories that i have done where i'd call somebody up
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for an interview, ask them a bunch, and they get off on some tangent that has absolutely nothing to do with the story at hand. and i thank them politely and go find somebody else to talk to. so if you're going to establish this relationship with a member of the press, me included, be up front, be accurate. get to the point, get past the point and go about the rest of your lives. you're going to get the attention that this issue deserves, but you've got to do it right, and you've got to do it smart. and, again, thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you, dave. thanks for keeping it short. thank you all panelists, all great points, good information. we still hope to have q&a later in the morning, but if you need
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to talk to cheryl or john or don or herb or even dave, you know, you can catch them out in the hall. i'm going to bring up my next two panelists who are already behind, because they should have been up here ten minutes ago. but this will be an interesting one. and its title is oddities, movies, language, journalism and guns and only seven minutes each. and our panelists are alan corwin -- i'm not sure who that guy is. [ laughter ] >> sweet. >> and jay neil shoeman who has not been with us for several years. i think the last grpc he was at was our l.a. one. so that are bewill be a good ti
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all. we're going to start out with alan corwin, author, and bon vi von. >> i'm alan corwin of gun laws.com. and we won our first amendment lawsuit against phoenix, so our guns save lives bus stops are back up all over town! [ applause ] but the news media still refuses to say anything about your first gun. when did you ever hear the media say anything about getting a gun? am safely armed. and they don't say anything about this. the unbiased, fair and balanced news media sense censors this m.
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is anyone in this room pro-gun? can't hear you. are you pro gun? i still can't hear you, are you pro gun? well, some of you get the idea. i think being pro-gun is a really bad idea. and here's why. if you're pro gun, what's the other side? anti-gun. and they think guns are really bad. so they think being anti-gun is the right way to go. they think that's the moral high ground. you should be anti-gun, because guns are evil. and they kill us on the words all the time. and we let them. i think you're really pro rights. [ applause ]
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and if you're pro rights, what does that make them? anti-rights. and who wins that battle just on the words? you do. we're pro rights. they're antirights. you're pro freedom. they're antiself-defense, and we win that on the words. we have to win the war of the words. words matter. [ applause ] they want you to talk about assault weapons. assault is a kind of behavior. it is not a kind of hardware. when they, that's why they're having such a hard time defining it. when they introduced dianne feinstein's assault weapons bill it was 100 pages long. and on page 2, it says an assault weapon has a pistol grip. on page 13, i read these things.
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unlike anderson cooper and wolf blitzer. wolf? on page 13, it said a pistol grip is anything that can function as a grip. that's all firearms. they wanted a ban all firearms by calling them assault weapons and assault is a kind of behavior. they're using deceit to beat us. they can't win on the merits. so they use deceit. and that's what we face in the media. they talk about gun control. that's a false flag for citizen disarmament. we want to talk about crime control, and that's a phrase they don't use. words matter. and that british guy? who wasn't even a citizen? abusing our air waves? he kept asking why does anyone need, need, an ar-15 or 30-round
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magazine. that's a communist question. in america, ownership of property isn't based on need. like someone's in charge of deciding what you need? and therefore you can have it. you don't need ten pairs of shoes. you don't need a refrigerate irthe siir t the size of a closet. the real question is why does anybody want an ar 15 like many of you guys already own. you want it for the same reason the police do. and they still can't figure that out. you want it, because it's better. it's safer. it works great. it's accurate. it's easy to maintain. more ammunition is safer. they don't understand this. this is a question of wanting something in america.
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and they just don't get that. and now we're at the heart of the matter. the media doesn't ask the real questions and has become the greatest threat to american freedom that we face. [ applause ] anderson cooper, wolf blitzer, rachel, even o'reilly, when will they ask hillary or the guy currently in the white house, why do you want another background check? what about the one we currently have that according to the brady center whose statistics we can accurately face, what about the 2 million felons you say you've stopped with the current background check? 2 million felons? where are they? we have their names and addresses. we have their names and addresses. where are they? they tried to buy a gun. hillary, isn't that illegal? where are they? your husband passed this background check.
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well, wait a minute, i'm sorry, they're not all felons. some of them are crazy. you let them go? you want to spend money on another background check? why aren't the reporters asking this? i'll tell you why. they're not reporters. they're prop began diss with a dark side. [ applause ] were these criminals allowed to confront their accusers? were they even told what they're charged with? where's the aclu? these people who denied their rights by some kid in front of a computer in clarksburg, west virginia. where's the due process? who are these criminals that they stopped? we don't even know. and they're out running free, trying to buy guns, and they want another background check. they should spend some of that billion dollars that they want for another background check on dealing with the criminals they say they found who don't know what they're charged with, who weren't given a trial, and we
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don't know anything about them. it's a fraud. and the people posing as reporters aren't asking these questions of any of the presidential candidates. that's what we face in the media. it's not media. it's propaganda. and the trapdoor's going to open in a moment here. [ applause ] well, they've got a guy running who's a socialist. socialism is the archenemy of us and capitalism. and they're practically promoting him. we stand for wealth. and they're promoting the guy instead of challenging him. why isn't the lame stream, mainstream media asking him, who's going to pay for free college? you have to come to alan gottlieb's gun rights policy conference to get this kind of truth. or to my website, gun
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rights.com, to get more of this kind of truth. and that's the problem with the media. that's what we face. that's where you'll find out what black lives are really about, or the don't encourage evil initiative that we're introducing. that's why you come here. that's what we really face. i'm alan corwin of gun laws.com. thank you all for being here and god bless america. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thanks, alan. thank you so much, alan. and now we'll hear from neil schulman. neil? [ applause ] >> i'm j neil schulman, author and film maker, and i made this movie, "alongside night" about the american revolution returning to our time, and we
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gave copies to just about everybody who attended this conference. [ applause ] and for those of you watching on c-span, you can go to amazon.com and buy it. so let's talk about the first american revolution. by the rude ridge that arched flag. here once the embattled farmers stood and fired the shot heard round the world. ralph waldo emerson wrote those words about felons illegally in possession of firearms who on april 19th, 1775 used those illegal guns to shoot at police, legally appointed by the governor to confiscate their illegal guns. in the exchange of gunfire, lee cops were killed and nine cops were wounded. sheriff david clark, i have bad news for you, this country was founded by cop killers. roughly ll lly 226 years later
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passenger jets disarmed firearms by united states federal law were overpowered by jihad eye militia men armed only with box cutters. four per aircraft. two of those captured aircraft were used as weapons to crash into twin towers. and one in washington, d.c., and one flight where the disarmed passengers fought the jihad eye militia men who rather than surrender crashed the plane into a field near shanksville, pennsylvania. in subsequent wars, it cost the united states thousands of more lives, trillions of dollars and a wounded warrior class. gun control gave us 9 /19/11.
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[ applause ] i'm a writer and film maker who's sold stories and screenplays to hollywood production companies, including an original script for "the twilight zone." march 7, 1986. this was given out as a counter point to the movies that show firearms as dangers to public safety. writers and producing led by harvey weinstein hate public gun ownership. but they make movies full of guns. hollywood gets past its position by using guns to shoot off the heads of zombies or being used by cops.
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shows are dominated by military personnel and cops as the armed heroes. on the other side is a political right wing, dominated by politicians who assign absolute human rights only to the unborn. anyone breathing air has only government-granted privileges, driving licenses, and so forth. they talk about the right to work but want to build a wall to keep out workers. they want gun rights only for the law-abiding. in other words, any one who uniquely complies with thousands of tear ran cal regulations. i'm here to agree with the signers of the declaration of independence, a legal document more binding than the constitution that when any government, police and regulations become oppressive of the people's rights the people have the moral right to resist abuse under color of law and existing federal law agrees with me. look up title xviii us code 242.
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which says that any official who violates constitutionally protected rights is acting as a criminal and has zero legal authority to do so [ applause ] title xviii, u.s. code section 242. title xviii u.s. code section 242. by the way, the second amendment in a recent seventh circuit applies to illegal immigrants, and i'm going to tell you something that's not pleasant to hear. it also applies to drug gangs. nowhere in the u.s. constitution is the word drug used. if it ain't listed in the constitution of the federal government, anything they do on
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this subject is void ab inish yoe. that's how black lives matter can get together. thank you. >> thank you, neil, thank you, neil, and thank you again, alan. great, i'm going to bring up my next panel. i've got my cheat sheet for. which is outreach in a brave new world. and other participants are phil watson of the second amendment foundation who helped put together our shoot on friday, so many of you probably got to meet him. brian hartang, and andrew gottlieb, the newest member of the staff team, director of outreach and development. i'm here to tell andrew, that
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yes, you can work with your parents. so we'll let andrew start it off with about eight minutes, andrew. [ applause ] >> hi there, everybody. so i got a question for all of you to start. how many of you are under the age of 30? [ laughter ] so we not beyond me. how many of you are active on facebook? that's good to see. how about twitter? any one on reddit? that's good to see. so these are where people my age, people under the age of 30 are getting their news. 68% of people would rather go online to get their news than read a newspaper or another trusted site. and we believe it. so we all talk about media and how we deal with it every day,
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they're always against us. social media is the one outlet that we go et to shape. there is no bias other than what we want it to be. i put in all your folders, if you still have them, a sticker that has #2 a, which is basically the face of our movement on social media. anything that's searched by that comes up. everybody uses it, including us, and that's how we get our messages out. the difference with social media is, it's all about people, not money. so, because of this, because we are that active silent majority, we are the majority. we get to control what's out. so the more we can post, obviously, the more we get our message out what we want to say, and we get the younger crowd, which is what we need. this room shows that we have a lot of older people. and like we've said in the past, we lose our rights one generation at a time and our
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generation is the one we have to capture so that that doesn't happen. second amendment, number two, for a reason. just like in texas, where we have our 3d printed case with the first amendment, the second amendment is also involved and weigh have a generation told by the media what is right and what's wrong, and every day we have a fight where it's hard to go against media that tells us we're crazy. so the whole idea that i want to talk about is that we need to be more educating on social media, more open, less arguments, more education. so i want to see everybody be more active in the future. i want to see you posting the hash tags. i want to sigh getting on these new sites so we can shape the movement. we get to control what's there. let's not lose it. i have a question for all of you. how many of you are going to sign up after this, how many of you are going to get on reddit, facebook and twitter and actually post and be active?
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>> what's a reddit? >> google it. so what reddit is, reddit is basically a forum, an open site where anyone can post whatever they want, it's all sorted into categories. it's a lot like wikipedia in a sense, but it's all driven daily. and we actually get quite a bit of traffic on our website from social media aspects from younger people. and when we don't have anything to teach them to really get our side across, we lose them. and so we really need to be active on these sities on all this media so we can contract the message we want to get across and get them. because we cannot afford to lose another generation and lose our rights. thank you guys, very much. [ applause ] >> what a guy. thank you. thank you very much, andrew. and we'll bring brian up next.
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>> good morning. name is brian hartang, and i'm the president of rapid response television. and i'm going to talk a little more about traditional media. we started rapid response television about three years ago. and really, it was in response to, i was in the outreach fund-raising industry for many, many, many years, but one of the things that became apparent, really about five years ago, is that we were all fishing in the same pond. meaning that when you looked at who we were doing outreach to, who we were trying to approach, everybody was basically preaching to the choir. you know, what, what we're after is we're not after reaching out to folks in this room. people that spend a weekend at a gun rights policy conference, we don't need to reach out. you guys are engaged. you want to reach out to the majority out there that agree on
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second amendment rights but aren't necessarily engaged and the way we fail to do that and reap that audience, because social media and regular media, where do they get the names? how do they decide who to go out to? a lot of times it's because of somebody who has engaged in, somebody who has done something to get on the radar screen. but we're after the millions of people that are not on the radar screen out there that do believe in second amendment rights, and we do a lot of work with saf, an and you might have seen some of the ads that we do. but we do it through tv, but we do it a little different than a lot of the ads that you see out there. we don't do psa ads. we don't do nice, fancy, feel-good ads that just tell a story our ads, the way we do it, we use traditional, direct marketing, direct response
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techniques like you see when you sell products on tv, and we mirror that with how do people, the traditional techniques for fund-raising at outreach. so when we produce an ad, we really accomplish three things, one, it's down and dirty and gets to the point and gets people's attention. the second goal is to get people to look at the tv. what is this? what are they talking about? second thing we do for the first 30 seconds of a one-minute spot is hit them between the eyes on an issue. we're trying to get people to believe in second amendment rights and our freedoms, and we want them to rolook at the tv a say yeah. you're damn right, i agree with that. and when we raise money, we want them to participate and make it as easy as possible. whether it's call a number or go online and sign a petition to
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send millions of names and voices to congress before a vote. whether it is to get people to become members and gain members for organizations like saf, or whether it's to shut down the phones. one of the things we have is we make it very easy for people to call in and not just put a phone number that goes to the general congressional office, because that's nice, and it's a minor irritant to congress men and senators when you call their office in d.c. it's a real irritant when you load up every single phone number that they have in their home states, in their regional offices and we have technology that will actually search out and find a free line. so, if they have 15 numbers, we'll load all 15 numbers. and when you call in, we have technology that will actually find the next line. and when you shut down all their
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lines, then people are going to start calling them, and they're going to start caring. in tv, second amendment has been one of the biggest issues and the most passionate issue that we've done. and there's some reasons for that on tv. part of it is that there is a passion out there. so people, it's easy for people to engage in. part of it is tv is not on the pro, on the pro-second amendment side. tv is not used as aggressively that it is on the other side. and there's some reasons for that. that i learned the hard way three years ago. so i always like to tell this story to kind of tell you why that happens. in spring of 2013, we had our first major pro gun rights campaign. going for our client.
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and i was told by a major provider that had about, over 30% of all the u.s. homes that they would not run my ad. okay. and i asked them why. and they said because the issue's too controversial, and we will not run that issue on our network. okay. that night, i'm laying in bed or a couple days later, i'm laying in bed watching tv and a bloomberg ad comes on, so needless to say, i didn't sleep that night, and i was on the phone the next morning with a lawyer, with the network, because, as you mknow, they hav to give equal time. so if they do an issue, they have to do the opposing issue, so it's something i battle on a daily basis. money is an issue out there, bloomberg is putting a lot of money into it. but understand that the mainstream media is also doing their part to shut us down.
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the providers are doing their part to shut us down. they'll find every excuse that they can find to not air a tv ad that is pro second amendment and pro guns. but they won't hesitate on taking bloomberg's money and running his ads. so it's something that is important that we have to keep pushing. we have to be on tv, because it is a medium that reaches out and grabs a broader audience. and it catches people that are unexpected, and that's the best time to catch them, when they're not looking for it. so tv is a medium that we need to keep fighting for. we need to keep investing in and we need to keep out there to get the message out and get the outreach. thank you. >> i like these brave new world people. they're very good on time, so. we'll turn it over to phil now. phil watson. >> hi, my name's phil watson,
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i'm the special projects director for the second amendment foundation. i worked there for about four years now. ancame over from a place called the leadership institute from arlington, virginia, which is why i am wearing a seersucker suit to honor morton blackwell. weerl' going to go across the parking lot to the crest view room, and we're going to have a meeting there on grassroots lobbying. so i hope to see as many of you there as possible. a lot of my work with the second amendment foundation has been focussed on things to do with outreach, public relations, getting, getting grassroots gun owners involved. and i really, i've really done some interesting things to try
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to get the truth out there to the public. i went to alan bought it leeb one day and said we've really got to start looking into what michael bloomberg is doing, and we basically found out and with our research project "meet the mayors", that a lot of the people that joined bloomberg's group, "mayors against illegal guns" didn't know they'd joined or were felons. [ applause ] it's true. and we put that out there. it went, it goes completely viral every time we do something with it. there's over 30 now of these people that have worked with michael bloomberg that have been charged and convicted in courts of law of everything from, you
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know, pedophilia to assault to violating the gun themselves passed. so it's very interesting when you hear bloomberg talk about this stuff as if he, he really has clean hands, and he really doesn't. and one of the things that really shocked me about michael bloomberg when i, i continually look into him and what he's doing was just this last year he did this conference at the aspen institute. and he said all young minority males should be disarmed. and i come from a mixed race family. and i think that's a crazy statement. and i think that, i think that is a plainly, obviously racist statement, and i don't think michael bloomberg has apologized
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yet. and he should apologize, and he has to. because if we're not going to demand an apology for when this guy does something wrong, then who is? the media's not. we all know that. the media loves to help him out with his message, so i want to give you an interesting tidbit about a book i've been reading. it's called "trust me, i'm lying", and no, it's not written by michael bloomberg. it's a great book. it's going to give you a lot of tools to sort of traverse the media landscape. and a lot of techniques in there are techniques that i've used. and one of the fun things was giving tips to bloggers. sometimes things happen out there, and you don't know, always know it's us.
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but things like when michael bloomberg's websites were found out to be registered on the city of new york servers, that went viral. that originally started with us giving tips to bloggers out there. and michelle malkin's website picked it up. the ace of spades website picked it up and it went viral from there on out. and it's little things like that that we can do to sort of give the media a nudge. a lot of the outreach i do is online. i don't know a lot of the people that i talk to all the time. i meet them. i meet them online. all over the world. and we've done, we've done great work with our international group, the international association for the protection of civilian arms rights. and we've got over 30 groups i brief now all over the world. a lot of the people i've never met in person. i just know that they do great
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work and that the only way i can communicate with them usually is online. and so if you can, go there and do, do us a service and repost our stuff and look at that stuff because it's very educational. there's a whole world out there, it's not just a fight in the un united states. there's a battle with bloomberg and the other billionaires. there's a battle with cities like seattle, which is really a propaganda war. sort of funded by bloomberg. and a battle against ourselves. and so the battle against the cities, seattle's a perfect example of that, on the plaintiff for one of our lawsuits, to get rid of the new seattle city gun tax. and it's really an outrage. they want to tax every single gun sold in seattle and every
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single bullet sold in seattle. and blame law-abiding citizens, like everybody in this room, for the actions of a few criminals, and i think it's an outrage. and so we should definitely watch out for stuff like that, because, look, bloomberg's going to try to use anything and everything he can to ban guns, and if he can't ban guns, he wants to make them cost thousands and thousands of dollars. he can afford them. he can afford them for his security guards, but he doesn't want us to have them. so that's really important to fight stuff like that. [ applause ] thank you. one of the most amazing discoveries that we've made was just going through all these, all these online records of records requests that we had made. and we found the gun control playbook. and it was an 80-something page
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media guide to how, how to basically ban guns. and i want to give you some talking points today how to, how to fight that. one of their talking points there is, look, they want to divide us, okay? they want to break us down into little groups. this is pitting us against ourselves. open carry versus concealed carry versus hunters versus different types of guns. and they want to make everybody out to seem like, seem like a criminal and seem like you don't care. and the one way to really fight that is just to turn their talking points around on them. and
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battle of la deung valley.
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and a look now at the 2016 elections and gun policy. representatives from the firearms coalition, the citizens committee for the right to keep and bear arms, and other groups address the 30th annual gun rights policy conference in phoenix. this portion is just over 40 minutes. >> well, the 2016 election is going to be here before we know it, and we need to be engaged now. let me start off by saying we all owe hillary clinton a very big thank you. why? an anti-gun rights rhetoric is going to ensure the result is going to be a record turnout of gun owners in the 2016 election. [ applause ] >> she's already doubled down on
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barack obama's assault on gun rights to get her party's nomination. voters are going to impact not just the presidential race, but every race on the ballot from the u.s. senate all the way down to dogcatcher. it will impact every democrat on the ballot and like it or not, democrats have made gun control an extremely partisan issue. not all democrats are anti-gun and not all republicans are pro-gun rights. the party that controls congress or a state legislature controls that flow of legislation and it's important to our whole battle of the right to bear arms. the importance of the presidential election cannot be limited at all. for us, judicial appointments are critical to our continued success in the courts and believe me, our opponents would love to shut that courthouse door in our face.
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only a few cases every reached the supreme court of the united states. judicial nominations to lower courts are very important and always fly below the radar. we have seen damaged second amendment rights of obama nominees in courtrooms from massachusetts to oklahoma. i can think of only two judges appointed by democrats that voted to overturn gun rights allows. believe me, if hillary clinton is elected president, all those nominations to the courts are going to be worse. we can't forget the importance of the u.s. senate election. the senate confirms those nominees to the courts. so let's take a look at the playing field for what we're dealing with in the 2016 election. the key to senate control in 2016 presidential election is
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going to be down to a few states. we'll go state by state and look at this. if the gop presidential ticket wins by a hair, it will be exceptionally difficult for the democrats to take back the u.s. senate. if the democrats squeak through the presidency and catch the senate, they'll do the trick against us. most analysts acknowledge that democrats have a plausible chance of taking a minimal victory in the u.s. senate. the democrats need to gain four seats to control the senate if a democratic president gets elected. otherwise they need five. five might be a little bit of a heavy lift to capture the senate on the election map. there's only a certain number of
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states that are in play. those states are florida, i illinois, new hampshire, north carolina, ohio, pennsylvania, and wisconsin. if you're from those states, that's really the battleground in this election. moreover democrats have to hold shaky senate seats in colorado and nevada. other than illinois, these are states that should be very competitive for the race to the white house, which will make the presidential coat tails all that more important. because the rival democratic majority is difficult, the republicans are still more likely to keep the majority than the democrats to grab it. at least a small net gain for the gop is expected though. not losing any net seats probably requires the republican nominee to not only win the presidency, but capture more
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electoral votes. it guarantees no anti-gun legislation can ever get to a president's desk. the u.s. house is where we're able to stop the whole obama agenda and with hillary clinton, if she's elected, it will be twice as important. obama took office in 2009 with 60 democrats in the u.s. senate. they had 250 seats in the house of representatives. today there are only 46 members of the senate in the democratic caucus. the worst showing since the first year after the ronald reagan landslide. across the capital and the house there were 188 democrats. now the republicans have more seats than when herbert hoover
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took office in 1929. this, however, is really the tip of the iceberg. when you look at the states, the collapse of the anti-gun rights democrats fortunes are even worse. republicans now hold 31 governorships, nine more than they had when obama was inaugura inaugurated. the gop has won governorships in purple and even deep blue states. maine, massachusetts, new jersey, maryland, wisconsin, michigan, illinois, new mexico, nevada, ohio. the last midterm elections only one republican governor tom corbett in pennsylvania was replaced by a democrat. in alaska, they lost to an independent. every other republican was returned to office. now turn to the state legislatures. although if you're a loyal democrat, you may want to avert your eyes to this.
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in 2009, democrats won full control of 27 state legislatures. republicans had control, full power, in only 14. now the gop is in full control of 30 state legislatures. the democrats hold power in just 11. [ applause ] >> in 24 states, republicans control the governorship in both houses of the legislature to give a total control over the political process. that increased power at the state level has already led to serious consequences for both democrats and anti-gun rights lobby. for their political future and for their goals have been put in jeopardy. the gun rights movement has already identified over 16 million gun owners that are registered to vote. we're on schedule to double that
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number by election day 2016. [ applause ] >> and most of that work is being done in battlegrounds states and contested congressional districts. this data vault, so to speak, is important to bloomberg's attempt at any ballot measures in states like nevada, maine, and coming up probably here in arizona. we also have to remember, by the way, with independent expenditures and bloomberg's track record, he is planning on spending millions of dollars out of his own pocket targeting to certain pro-gun members of congress and the senate to try to make an example of someone who supports gun rights that he can say he took down, so our work is really cut out for us. the latest polling data should give our opponents heart burn. the latest cnn poll out just a few days ago in your opinion, do
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existing laws make it too easy for people to buy guns, too differe difficult, or just about right. certainly this is good news for pro-gun candidates, but this news should give hillary clinton, barack obama, michael bloomberg, and his every town group a migraine headache. 10% responded the current laws to buy a gun are too difficult. when you add the 10% to the 49%, it gives us 59% supporting laws the way they are with no changes, no more gun control, no new bills passed. so that's good news for us and for our candidates. but of course what the other side tries to do is rebrand it. they don't try to sell it as gun control in the elections. it'll be sold as common sense
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proposals, mental health issues, various preventive causes, anything domestic violence. they're not going to talk about gun control. they know that's a losing proposition, except for hillary clinton who has doubled down on it. that's why we owe her a big thank you. that's good news for us. next year's gun rights policy conference is in tampa, florida, a key battleground state. that state will determine the future of our gun rights in the 2016 elections. with your help, we'll turn out the gun vote like never before. for all of us, the 2016 election, again, starts today. in 2016 we must fight to win. thank you. [ applause ]
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>> does anybody know what i'm about to say? good morning, gun lobby. [ cheering and applause ] >> he made that reading from the grpc microphone for almost every year of the past 30 years, and i'm proud to do it again this year, but this year i want to change it up just a little bit. good morning, gun voters. [ cheering and applause ] >> you know, when we talk about lobbying, we're talking about legislation. we're talking about influencing those that we have elected to do what we want them to do, what we
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hired them to do. when we talk about gun voters, we're talking about getting those guys in, and we can't separate the two. we can. often we do, but we shouldn't. lobbying and political action on the election front are both critical to long-term survival and winning. and unlike the rumors that the nay sayers say, alan and i, nra, goa, we're not in this business to drag it out and make money. we're in this business because we believe in it and it's what we do. i would much rather have a real job where i go to real regular hours, come home to my family, go out shooting every now and then, than to spend 14 hours a
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day in front of my laptop trying to get the message out to those who don't understand why it's so critical that we defend our right. in the coming election 2016, it's racing up on us. we've got a crowded field on the republican side, and i just want to comment. yesterday for the second time that i've been attendance to a grpc, we had a presidential candidate in the room. we spoke with us. he endorsed our positions. yesterday when governor jim gilmore was in this room, i would be willing to bet that there were at least 200 armed people around him at all time. [ applause ] >> i don't think governor gilmore was worried about it, do you? >> no.
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>> you're not a threat. you're the good guys. that's right. so it's the safest room in the state as bob said. there's a lot of information out there and information is the power of politics. if you want to win elections, you have to have information. and part of the critical information that you need is information about the candidates, where they stand, what they stand for, do they really mean what they say, have they proven that they mean what they say, what did they say a couple of years ago, what are they saying now, how is it different. there is lots of sites out there. there's lots of research out there. the national shooting sports foundation has their gun vote project online. good information, good resources. the nra, gun owners of america, citizens committee for the right
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to keep and bear arms, the various state organizations, the arizona citizens defense league -- >> yeah! >> of which i'm a proud new life member. they offered me a deal. they said, well, we can add up all the years you've been a member and here's how much it will cost you to go life, jeff. so i did that yesterday and i'm glad to have done it, but all of those information sites digging around out there, we've come up with something several years ago and each election cycle we build it back up again and then it dies off. it's called gunowner.org. how many of you play out on the internet? you get out there. you surf.
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forums, anybody addicted to forums? gunvoter.org is a forum site. it's user driven. the objective is for you to bring information to gunvoter.org from all of those other sites that you visit or your personal knowledge and tell everybody elsewhere this candidate stands, what he's saying about the issues, what he's done about the issues, what she wants to do about the issues, and most importantly the voting record, votes, votes, votes, votes are your best indicator of where somebody stands. that's why right now my critical issue, along with getting you to come to gunvoter.org to participate in that conversation, my critical issue is representative rob bishop's bill to delete the sporting purpose language from the gun
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control act. [ applause ] >> i don't know about you, but i've never found the words sporting purpose in the constitution. i don't find it in the second amendment, and it's been the law that some bureaucrat is deciding what you or i can import or possess or purchase based on his determination, her determination, of what meets some sporting purpose criteria. that's absolutely wrong. one of the issues that's been discussed is some division amongst gun groups and rights advocates. i'm a firm supporter of national reciprocity, but there's some division in the house regarding national reciprocity and whether it's a wise move to push. when it comes to removing the
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sporting purpose language, i don't think there's anybody in this room or in the rights movement who would disagree that that needs to happen and that's a vehicle for getting votes. we need to be pushing the house and the senate today to push this bill, to get the votes, so that we have the ammunition that we need. we know who's on our side and who's not on our side and we know who to vote for come 2016. that's the objective and that's what we want to do with gunowner.org and bring that in. now, a lot of you know that i'm not a specialist. i don't focus in one area. i'm kind of eclectic. i get around. i do a lot of things. i'm interested in a lot of things. as i listen to the panels here one after the other, there's
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always something that i want to comment on, something i want to add. as we talk about the emotion, i want to bring up a story. a few years ago, i was testifying before the d.c. city council. and marion barry gave an emotional plea talking about all of the funerals that he had attended due to gun violence. and i got my opportunity at the microphone, and i gave my little spiel and i said, before i go, i want to say something to mayor barry about those funerals because i want to tell you about the funerals that i haven't attended. i didn't attend a funeral for my great grandmother before i was born. my family didn't have to attend her funeral when she was alone
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with her four siblings in a farmhouse in louisiana and a disgruntled former employee was kicking on the door, declaring how he was going to murder all of them and she stood alone in the front room with a shotgun and defended her family and survived. [ applause ] >> i didn't have to attend the funeral of my grandmother and my aunt when they were in a remote location in new mexico and were assaulted by a man with a large knife. and my grandmother pulled her pistol from her purse and said you get back and they survived. [ applause ] >> i didn't have to attend the funeral of either of my sisters
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on two separate occasions, one when a man came into our home and my little sister was home alone and met him at the top of the stairs with a gun and she survived. [ applause ] >> when my other sister, my older sister, stopped in at a rest stop on the highway to take care of a little bit of business on a long trip and someone assaulted her in the stall in the bathroom and she had a gun and she survived. [ applause ] >> as alan corwin has told us, guns save lives. guns are what separate the good guys from the bad guys and give us the ability to defend against those willing to do evil against us. and so let's never forget that
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if it saves one life, the life it saves might just be yours. anyway -- [ applause ] >> to wrap things up, i just want to say thank you for being here. i'm looking forward to the leadership institute's program across the way this afternoon. if you can attend, it is always worthwhile. morton's programs are spectacular. alan, this has been a great, great conference, and we're glad that all of you guys could come out. votes, your vote, every vote matters, but right now the votes that matter the most are the votes in congress to let us know where these folks really stand. so i urge you to urge your politicians, your elected servants, the guys who are supposed to be working for you, to vote on the bishop bill, to vote on national reciprocity,
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and give us the ammunition we need to move forward on gunvoter.org and other sites that are mobilizing the rights movement to get the right people elected to defend our rights. i'm jeff knox with the firearms coalition. thank you very much for your attention. [ applause ] >> thank you, jeff. and thank you, alan. we have finished a little early, so we'll have more time for questions. if you have a question, i'd like you to line up over here to my left. be prepared to state your name and location and ask a question. now, some of our panelists from this morning have had to fly the coop, so they may not be here, but we'll do our best.
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if other morning panelists are available, they don't have to come all the way up on the stage, but if they want to hang out over there or down near -- or come up on the stage, we will do our best answer all the questions. but like alex trebek, i will say to you please in the form of a question. if you have statements to make later, that's what the hallway's for. if you want to engage in extended dialogue with one of our panel itseistpanelists, aga they'll be happy to do that outside in the hall. state your name and your question. if you want to direct it specifically to a panelist, give us that panelists name.
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[ inaudible ]. >> hang on, steve. >> try it again. >> is the switch on that mic or is there a switch? >> works better when you turn it on. >> go ahead, sir. >> one, two. oh, just get closer? okay. i'm steve mead. long time member of the nra and you name it. i have one fairly broad question that could go to a lot of people, but somebody may have some answers. why is it not a federal civil rights crime for michael bloomberg and his kind to organize and fund a conspiracy to defraud united states citizens of fundamental
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constitutional rights? [ applause ] >> no, this is not working. okay. >> yes, i believe we're speaking from the podium so the television cameras are focused on the podium. the problem is the courts have historically have ruled that people have first amendment rights to do these kind of things. your only recourse is use your rights to combat it back or to use your voting rights at the ballot box to defeat them in public office. it just isn't going to happen. >> i'll take a question, if i can move over to the big mic.
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i have a very quick answer. i think we need to use our billionaires against their billionaires. >> my only question there, neil, is where are they. where are our billionaires because i really want to meet them? i'm not sure he's ours. okay. all right. hi, bob. >> hi. peggy, thank you. >> i'm not a supporter of donald trump. my candidate in 2016 is nobody. the vote for nobody campaign. i will say donald trump has a second amendment statement on his web page second to none. >> hi, bob. >> thank you. my name is bob culliver. i'm a semi-retired engineer living in wyoming now. i escaped from maryland.
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in the form of a question, my question is to the folks who were talking about the nfa regulations and the $200 tax that got imposed. i'm going to reiterate why that tax was imposed. now that person that question for me out in the hall is because under the second amendment they could not regular those firearms. they had to find a dodge. that was the tax. the same thing is going to be applied for ammo and everything else we've hear about today. they can't do some things under the second amendment, but they seem to find ways around it. >> absolutely right, bob. >> yes, sir. >> there wasn't a question there? >> we're grading on a curve. >> hi there. i'm a local area activist here in phoenix, arizona, and have had a wonderful time this weekend. i've heard infringed and
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infringement several times. my question is, why is it i never here necessary for the security of a free state? thank you. >> you want me to take a stab at it? >> there's no doubt that that's part of the second amendment. and there's no doubt that the second amendment was written to keep us secure as a free state and that one of the problems the founding fathers saw was the federal government running away with people's rights. they wanted to make sure you had the right, like it or not, to rebel. but in today's context in the modern world we're pretty much looking at it as fighting it on an individual right battle. we're relying on a whole lot
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right now is two key supreme court cases. you have the right to have a firearm to protect yourself. those didn't talk very much about protecting your free state. we're looking at gun laws that are put in place that are screwing up our gun rights. they're all basically aimed at us as individuals. you only hear a lot about it because in the context of the modern debate and the current battle that's not the front line, i guess. >> i'll make a general comment about that. the founders noted that if we didn't have moral people in government, that the constitution and the whole concept of self-governance wouldn't work. and we don't have strong moral
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people in government on both sides of the aisle. all powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved for the people in the states respectfully. so we have the government regulating all sorts of things they're not empowered to do. there's no legitimate delegated authority to control education, energy, drugs, all these things that the federal government has taken upon itself. it has no legitimate delegated authority to do. if you find it regulating in the area of the second amendment or gun rights or your medical care or energy policy or education at the state level, we have people who are not moral, who are not following the constitution from top to bottom, and that's creating problems with our nation across the board. it seems to me like the last time the federal government actually looked at the constitution to see if we had power to do the things they're doing was in the implementation
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of the federal highway system where they called it the federal defense highway system and said we need this to defend the nation adequately and justified it on that basis. when bob spoke about the nfa, they said we can't regulate guns because of the second amendment, but perhaps we can tax them and that would be okay. and they applied a $200 tax, which at the time was a year's salary. so that would regulate them almost totally without infrin infringing on the second amendment. was sort of a roundabout way to do it. so now government does what they want regardless of the constitution. no moral people in government, or very few, and government has run amuck, and we find ourselves in a dastardly state of affairs. >> we're going to take two more questions.
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i don't know why you people are so shy and you don't line up when i tell you to line up. we have one question here and the next question here. and then we're going to allow c-span to take down their cameras. then we'll go into resolution. yes, sir. >> thank you. my name is byron baker from sun city west, arizona. i have a question and i'm looking for comments and possibly some advice on future activities that we might participate in as carriers. there is that arena of intimidation and an as yet unnamed army that's developing against carriers across the nation. they practice swatting where any citizen can yell gun like fire in a theater, and there's a moral imperative on the part of law enforcement to come immediately to the area where gun has been shouted.
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and i guess to condense it, my question is going to be what would be my legal response in case i am swatted by someone who is hysterical or is now a member of this unnamed army that feels like in hitlerian germany you're supposed to betray your neighbor. i wonder what the organizations might do to inform the general public about their obligation and the responsibility they have in case some victimhood is created like you talked about yesterday. >> the first thing is survive the situation. >> thank you. >> number one is to survive it. that means absolute compliance with the police when they show up because they've been told there's a man with a gun and
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they're possibly jittery. it is the violence policy coalition has been pushing this concept of swatting on their facebook and twitter feeds and it's vile. it is illegal for someone to give a false report. and if they exaggerate that report -- we had a guy killed at a cosco in las vegas because the reports were exaggerated. he walked out the door and the police shot him. it was a horrible thing. but as far as legal consequences or backing up, i think that the organizations that we have would try and back you up and try and support you if we could find an angle for it, but it's a very difficult situation. it really is. it's dangerous. >> i think we've accomplished a great deal by just making us aware of the fact that it could happen.
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>> thank you. >> charles heller from over there. >> the arizona citizens defense league is looking at that for this legislative session. we had an incident of exactly that happen in flagstaff last week with a retired peace officer who is also disabled. the store there that used to be -- i can't think of the name of the store. it was a chain that was recently acquired. the store called police and accused him of waving a gun around. he has agreed to testify if he run a bill from the citizens defense league. you should all look at our web sate for updates on that. i don't know if the president is here. i know the treasurer is here and the board. you can talk to us about it afterwards. who's in the back? and drake is back there too, who is on the board.
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he's in the room and you can talk to him about it. thank you. >> azcdl.org. look for updates and legislation. >> i'm going to basically use my skills as a writer to suggest a strategy. if somebody yells gun and you're the person carrying the gun, yell police because that has two meanings. one is that it implies you are a policeman. it also implies that you're calling for police. it might diffuse the situation and save lives. >> and our last question. yes, sir. >> i'm dr. johnny dean from san antonio, texas. my question is in regards to gun-free zones. what strategy can we have to hold the owners of the gun-free zones accountable when they disarm us and then something bad
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happens? how do we put teeth into it, especially corporate entities that disarm us and they feel there is absolutely no negative side to it? >> well, what we have to do is create negative sides to it. the best way with that is legislatively by putting teeth in the law that if you do that, you become liable to the person that becomes the victim. you have the liability now and the victim can sue you. the way the statute gets written it puts the burden of proof back on the victim. then attorneys for the big corporations who want to take that position take a look at it and say, it is more risk for us to be a gun-free zone than not to be a gun-free zone. >> so it is really a legislative solution? >> i think the legislation empowers personal lawsuits by making the laws more in favor of the plaintiff. >> thank you. >> here in arizona twice now
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we've introduced the gun-free zone liability act, which says if a place disarms you that way with a make believe gun-free zone, in other words a sign on the wall and you are harmed by that sign, they bear liability for that if you are harmed. we haven't gotten it enacted it yet, but we have introduced it twice. we've modified the bill to improve it. the right to keep and bear arms is a specific enumerated right. that's what it was called in the heller case. the idea they can just deny your civil rights is prohibited under 18 usc-241 and 241. they think they can do with this impunity. there's a conflict between private property rights and your right to keep and bear arms. in your home, you can deny a fat person, a woman, a gay and
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lesbian person, a gun owner, you can deny almost anybody to come into our home. but in a store, if you own a candy store, you can no longer deny any person access. but they believe they can deny you access if you exercise your right to civil arms. this is an untested area of law, but we intend to test it. we intend to introduce this bill over and over around the country. the gun-free zone liability act where if you deny a person their right to keep and bear arms and they're harmed by that, you incur liability. the classic case is the luby's case in texas. because of law, she couldn't shoot them. both parents were killed by the
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madman. she was denied her right of a firearm. so this has to stop and the public has to start becoming aware that these make believe gun-free zones, these pretend gun-free zones, do nothing but protect the criminal. we have that now in federal law. there was a military bill introduced, one of these arm the army bills, where the legislation says that the military recognizes that these make believe gun-free zones are dangerous because we had military people shot by jihadi in a place where they were not able to be armed and they want to see an end and the civilians want to see an end as well. and we'll luckily get this done in due course. >> thank you, alan. now we're going to take about a five-minute break while our c-span cameras come la drang
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valley. american history tv all weekend and on holidays too only on
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c-span 3. remarks now from gun control advocates, a pediatrician, and the head of a smart gun technology foundation. this is about an hour and ten minutes. >> good evening and welcome to this night's meeting of the commonwealth club of california, the place where you're in the know. you can find the commonwealth club online at commonwealthclub.org. i'm mark follman, national affairs editor for "mother jones" and your moderate eor fo tonight's program. the data on gun violence in the
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united states is sobering. according to the centers for disease control and prevention, each year more than 33,000 americans are killed by guns and at least 80,000 are treated in hospitals for nonfatal gunshot wounds. more than 20,000 of the gun deaths per year are suicides. hundreds of kids die annually in gun homicides, and each week seems to bring news of another child accidentally shooting himself or a sibling with an unsecured firearm. while violent crime overall has declined steadily in recent years, rates of gun-related injury and death have climbed since 2011 and public mass shootings have become more frequent. among 15 to 24 year olds, gun fatalities are about to surpass car accidents as the leading cause of death. in the last several years u.s. surgeon general and
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organizations such as the american bar association, the american public health association, and the american academy of pediatrics have all urged that gun violence should be regarded as a serious public health issue. what are the realities of gun violence in our country? what kinds of innovative solutions are being put forth to reduce the carnage? tonight our panel is here to discuss how gun-related injuries and deaths impact the health of americans and their communities and what can be done to help solve the problem. joining us are dr. ricky choy, who serves on the board of directors for the national physicians alliance, margo hersh, pastor michael mcbride, lead pastor at the way christian center in berkley, california, and director of urban
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strategies, and robin thomas, executive director of the law center to prevent gun violence. please join me in welcoming our panelists to the commonwealth club. [ applause ] >> so i'd like to begin with a basic question about gun violence as a public health issue. why should it be considered a public health and why doesn't the general public tend to see it as a major public health issue and maybe we can start with you, dr. choy? >> public health is promoting and protecting the health of people in communities where they live work, go to school, and play. public health is about promoting healthy behaviors, reducing injury and harm, and gun violence is a direct threat to these aims. physicians are on the front lines every day dealing with this in our hospitals and our clinics.
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except for these situations where victims end up in the morgue, all of these victims end up in our clinics. and we feel this very strongly there's consensus that gun violence is a public health issue that we, as health care providers, need to take very seriously. >> do you want to comment on that? >> yeah, i mean, i think that traditionally people think about public health issues in terms of things like diseases, the kinds of problems that confront our society that we don't have that same level of agency and control over sometimes. and with gun violence, i think the perception, similar to cars, i think that's a good analogy, that there isn't a way to address it because of the agency, the intervention of human agency that's involved in the problem. but if you take a step back from that and you look at public health as a situation where
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communities are in danger and being harmed and there are both preventive ways to address the problem, you can make guns safer the way we did with cars, you can affect people's behaviors, the way they treat, store, and deal with guns, the guns themselves can be made safer, so i think when it comes to public health people hear the word public health and they think chickenpox. they don't think of cars and guns being public health crises. but if you look at the number of people harmed by diseases that we take steps to prevent to deal with these problems, it is so obvious when you look at the 100,000 people getting shot every year that this is an absolute epidemic. it should be viewed that way because there are so many things that could be done that would have an impact on those numbers.
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>> one of the counterveailing arguments to this, i'm curious what your thoughts are on how this is seen at the local level in communities and medical facilities. what are people not seeing about gun violence that goes beyond what we see in the daily drum be beat of news that people are desensitized to at this point? >> i certainly think that, you know, the reality around the is not always very quantifiable through news reports. the level of trauma that families and communities are constantly having to process and address -- whether they themselves are victimized by gun violence, whether folks in their immediate family have been victimized by gun violence. whether it is a larger communal impact related to trauma.
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so of course when we see the way these issues are covered in the news, the media, which i think is kind ofhe largely kind of pipeline how we process and get information, it's largely solely demonstrated as an act of violence or a very abrasive vice. rarely is it narrated in a way where people are constantly having to live in many of our communities in this country in war zones. that are actually assaulting the psychology, the emotion, and the spirit of young people and families far beyond just a physical toll. i think the daily impact, at least how we understand it, particularly here in the way area, is very much around trauma. we just -- really quickly, 600 shootings have happened in the
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bay area averaged over the last 20 years. city of oakland, i'm talking about specifically the city of oakland, 120 killings or so average. you can just imagine the concentric circles of trauma, of families that have had to deal with gun-related hop sides, not even speaking about suicides. i think trauma is something we have to continue to imagine. >> it's not just literally the victims themselves or even their immediate families, that the impact of this goes far beyond that. i'm sure that you see that in the hospitals too, doctor. >> yeah, i know, it's a really sad thing in the bay area when we know when it's going to be a hot summer we'll be seeing more gun victims in our wards. there's an anecdotal relationship. warm summers, more gunshot victims. we did a survey. it was an informal survey of our members, 20,000 physicians in
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our organization, asking them, what is your number? when you reflect on medical school, residency, in your practice, in your personal lives, how many gun violence victims have you had interaction with? and the average number was 40. that's an incredible number. and i think that again reminds us that we are -- in health care in medicine, at this really important intersection where we're trying to care for the victims of violence but also have the opportunity to take -- move one step ahead and take steps toward prevention as well. >> margo hirsch, someone who is working in the realm of solutions, we're talking about the bay area and the problems here which in some ways are reflected in every major cosmopolitan area in the country. the bay area is the epicenter of technological innovation. we often in america have -- we're producing world-changing
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technology and specifically here. what technologies of available to us now to address this problem? >> the primary technologies that we're seeing today through the challenge that the smart foundation started in january 2014 are primarily biotech nick technology. ridf technology. those are the standouts right now. they are effective in different use cases. a biometric fingerprint reading -- reader would be extremely effective in a personal protection home environment or a gun range where there's no dirt, no water, no blood. whereas for hunters who might have dirty hands or wear gloves, an rfid solution might be more effective. also for law enforcement, rfid could be potentially a preferred
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solution because it requires you to wear a ring or a bracelet in order to fire the trigger of a firearm. alternatively, you could put a small chip into your hand, because for law enforcement you actually have to be able to fire out of both hands. and a concern is that if the gun was taken away or if you injureds ainjured yourself you'd have to use someone else's gun or fire out of your other hand. so that technology could be very effective. we're seeing things like smart ammunition, which is unusual. another approach. we're also seeing a variety of technologies that can be retrofitted to existing firearms because there are 300 million firearms in this country today. so not only do you have to think about the new firearms which are 10 million that come into the market every year, but you've got all those existing firearms out there that you'd want to
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make safer as well. so we're seeing retrofit technologies, external locking technologies which i very interesting, as well as a few that are actually integrated into the gun itself. >> they sound like some promising technologies, yet i think few people have heard of them even. why have they not taken better hold? >> very good point. i think one of the big issues is that there's no market demand for these technologies because people aren't aware of them. there's been no incentive in the past to get involved in this type of project because the nra has not been extremely supportive of bringing these types of technologies to market. back in 1990, colt received some funding to develop smart guns and they were boycotted. and then in 2000, smith and wesson through the clinton
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administration received funding to develop a smart gun and they too were boycotted, almost went out of business. so the gun manufacturers have no desire to jump into this space. and then for people, new innovators, there's a lack of capital available for them because when you go to raise money, a venture capitalist is going to say, what's the market opportunity? how big is the market demand? and there really isn't a market demand because the technologies don't exist. so it's a real catch-22. but at the foundation we're trying to deal with and hopefully overcome. >> technology certainly seems like one promising avenue. but of course what's done at the community level is a much more complicated picture. and varies widely depending on where you are in the country. pastor mcbride, what do you think are the most crucial things that local community leaders are doing on this issue
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or perhaps should be doing? >> well, you know, i think the first thing we all have to do is change our assumption that this problem is unsolvable. and i think there's a certain attract ability as relates to what people believe is inevitable, particularly as it relates to gun violence in urban communities. for the last ten years or so we have been engaging in a number of strategies that have popularly been known as cease-fire to help reduce the number of firearm offenders and offenses in our communities across the country and we've had amazing results. particularly in the bay area since 2007, 2008, we've seen a 60% to 70% decline in 1-related whom many homicides in the city of richmond. the reason is many of the fire arm offenders or people who are
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engaged in gun violence, it's a very small number of individuals. if you have 100 gun-related shootings or gun-related homicides in the city it's not because you have 100 individual armed offenders or shooters, it's because you have a small number of individuals who are engaging in volume activity. so our work has been actually to interact and engage with those individuals and interrupt their engagement. the analogy i use is many of these young people are caught on a dryer cycle. how many of you have seen a dryer, you all know what dryers are, you dry your clothes. it's twirling, twirling, twirling. if you open the dryer clothes start flying out, right? because it's been on a cycle for so long. well, many of us have never opened the door of the cycles. and i have found that when you open doors and pathways for individuals to actually choose different kinds of choices, many of them, the overwhelming
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majority of them, stop shooting with no incentive because many of them want to live. they just have not had those kind of cycles interrupted with love, with structure, with a pathway out. so those strategies are strategies we're trying to bring to scale across the country, even more so in the bay area. we do find that that allows us to engage in public safety measures that do not criminalize whole communities, send more of our black and brown young people to jail and prison, and keep our communities intact. we're finding great promise, we just need a lot more political support, a lot more constitutional policing to help us have legitimacy in the community. hopefully all those things will continue to come together. >> you mentioned policing. policing in the united states and officer-involved shootings in particular have become a major national issue in the last year or so. how do you think that might be affecting perceptions of the gun violence problem in our country? >> it's a big perception
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problem. because since the war on drugs -- well, let me say this. in 1939, a prominent clergymen for of mine was born in the south and his mom registered him as a lifelong in the event naacp. the number one issue in 1939 was police brutality. long before the war on drugs, long before the black panther party, long before the civil rights movement, long before integration. police brutality. there has not been one day that black folk have been in the united states and not a had their lives subject to arbitrary violence by the state or by its law enforcement apparatus. it's important to historicize this conversation. what we've seen around law enforcement tipping point is a
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long-time strategy. our strategies which depend on outside working with law enforcement to do constitutional policing in communities require us to have policing services that are constitutional, that are not dominated by rogue, lethal force policing, and even here in the city, earlier today i was at a rally for almacar lopez, another young brother named alex nieto, many of us know the story of is on gar grant. many case whefrs law enforcement are actively gaining in violent, even lethal acts. that erodes community trust that is necessary to create the public safety partnership. these things are inextricably linked. people say, what about black on black crime? i say, what about constitutional policing? we can't have one without the other. we work on both sides of the issues. i hope people will begin to see the connections soar else we won't have the public safety
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results, particularly around gun violence that we all say we want and need. >> another aspect that's come up with the policing issue and people i've spoken with in the world of law enforcement, robin thomas, maybe you can comment on this. a lot of police go out into their daily work with the expectation that everybody's armed and dangerous. and there's a lot of discussion about the kind of warrior mentality that police are trained to have. pastor mcbride saying that that's causing serious problems in terms of the local community fabric. when you think about that in terms of gun violence as a public health issue, gun violence as a highly charged political issue in and the legal landscape, what are your thoughts about that, how that's come to the forefront with policing? >> i think when you think about and talk about gun violence you need to look at it as a holistic problem. it's not a problem you can solve purely through community approaches even though i think
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that's absolutely crucial in some communities. it's certainly not a problem even though we really work on the policy side that's going to be solved through policy solutions. it has to be approached holistically. pastor mcbride and i talk about the supply side problem and the demand side problem in a lot of communities. there's a demand satisfied problem that needs to be met through innovative, thoughtful, integrative community mechanisms. we have to deal with the flow of firearms into these communities which is so prolific and so unchecked. and that's creating another piece of the puzzle. i think looking at those two things hand in hand in the way that they fit together is really important. one of the policies that we've always cared about is assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition. partly that's because you see a mass shooting, that's the kind of weaponry that's being utilized. but it's also because there's this sort of arms war that happens in inner cities. not as badly in california because the laws are stronger.
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certainly cities where law enforcement demands stronger and stronger weapons to contend with the types of weapons that they're encountering. whether that's even true or not is irrelevant because if that's the perception -- look at what happened in ferguson. that kind of military force being brought into a community is crazy. and part of the argument behind that was, we have to be able to take on these assault weapons that are now proliferating everywhere. there's millions of them, legally and illegally. so i think that that sort of arms war problem that we have in this country with so many guns, i think that the ready availability of the ar-15s and other assault weapons that have become the choice weapons in a lot of illegal enterprises, as well as for horrific tragedies. you know, should spur action. unfortunately what hasn't been mentioned that much yet on this panel is the nra and the force that lobbying brings to the equation and how that inhibits us from being able to approach
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things holistically and with a real clear eye for solutions. we have research. dr. choi and i have talked at length about the types of research that exists as to what policies are out there that work. what evidence do we have of what works? and the problem is even when we know what works, we can't get it in place. because we have this really interesting special interest group that inhibits us from really tackling this problem with intelligence, with solutions that we know are available. >> what do you see as at the top of the list of those policies that we know work yet can't be in place? >> universal background checks. not even a pause. we need to have absolutely background checks on every single sale and transfer of weapons in this country by law. it doesn't mean we're going to completely stop the flow. but guns, unlike drugs, are actually manufactured legitimately and have to be imported and tracked, if you just put in place universal background checks for every sale you can begin to assess where they're coming from, who's
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getting them, how are they getting them, in a way that's simply impossible now because you don't need a background check in a private sale. there's no system in place that epps us even understand the flow of the 300 million guns in this country. that's just step one but i think it's absolutely crucial. >> what you're describing is from the perception of the american public, not a radical idea? >> right, 92% of the american people after newtown, when polled, supported universal background checks on all sales. that's in wyoming, alabama, everywhere. yet our senate only managed to muster 54 votes to put that in place. so unfortunately even though americans want it, our leaders don't represent the will of what the american people want and need to address this problem. >> i think we have to ask the question why. i think what the nra has done a wonderful job, along with gun manufacturers, is peddling fear. many of us were in the senate
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during dianne feinstein's hearing several weeks after the newtown tragedy. and we heard lindsay graham from south carolina just go on this long diatribe about how the police would not be able to come and protect us in our homes when the looters come and when -- >> the hordes at the gate. >> the natural disasters and you're going to need your guns! lindsey graham should know better. he's not someone who i think believes that in his heart. but it's politics of fear. and the fear of the other. the ways in which people feel like they need to have a gun in order to protect themselves. when all the research says that if you own a gun, you're more likely to be harmed by that gun or a member in your family be harmed by that gun. it's a cruel joke. cruel irony being played on the american people. until we're able to overcome our fears with more hope and love
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for one another, i think nra and these weapon manufacturers will actually continue to provide cover for elected officials to keep doing things that they know aren't creating public safety. >> i think one of the things we're getting at here too is that the politics of guns has a way of obscuring some important things about the issue. we tend to focus a lot on mass shootings, on homicides. but according to cdc data, over 20,000 gun-related deaths each year, which is approximately two-thirds of the annual toll, are suicides. more than 80% of suicide attempts using a gun are successful. yet as a country we tend to think of homicides as the biggest part of the problem. why is that, dr. choi? >> if you look at adolescents, for example, two of the top three causes of death in what we would typically think of is a
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healthy population are homicides and the suicides, both which of have close associations with guns. we were talking about evidence. evidence shows that having a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide and unintentional injury. we know that providing advice, telling families that if you lock up your gun, keep it unloaded, keep the ammunition separate from the gun, that not only do patients listen, but it actually does reduce the risk of injury and harm. this is of particular concern when it comes to children. there have been studies that show that while parents think that their kids don't know where their guns are, the kids do. and anyone who has any recent experience with an inquisitive child knows that they find those things. so i think that recognizing this data requires us to then take that next step in doing -- and follow up with an intervention. while we have some of this data, i think one of the frustrations the medical community is at, we don't have enough data.
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in the mid-'90s the gun lobby blocked funding for gun research on gun violence, explicitly stated cdc could not pursue research around gun violence. what we don't know is still h t hurting us. there's this big problem that we know is there. and we think we know some things. we don't know enough. to continue to build a strong case of kind of thins that we already know is true is challenging in this context. and so they've tied us up when we talk about public health and research in a couple of different ways. >> another issue that comes up a lot in the context of mass shootings which tend to get the most attention in the national media is mental health. can you talk a little bit about the connection between mental health and gun violence, what people understand and don't
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understand about that? >> i think that when there are these mass shootings, the first question becomes, what's wrong with the shooter? do they have a mental illness? we start to straddle a very challenging political line. where is it, do we need to spend more money on mental health? yes, we do. do we need to spend more money on reducing gun violence, guns, background checks and other policy issues? yes, we do. but they're pitted against each other. unfortunately that doesn't help either of these important needs. it's true that those with a history of juvenile crime in the past, those with a history of substance abuse, those with history of mental health issues, are at a higher risk of gun violence. but to turn it upside down certainly isn't true. everyone who is a substance user, everyone who has a mental illness, is not necessarily a threat.
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to the general public and to themselves. it's a very challenging thing to try to nail down, to identify that person who is having a variety of personal issues, whether or not they're really truly a threat to themselves and to other people, it's a challenge that physicians and other health care providers are dealing with every single day. but the importance is to narrow in on that particular group of people. and not to have this broad swath of saying, oh, yeah, everyone who's committed a homicide must have a mental health issue, and all people with mental health issues necessarily are threats to themselves and the community. >> i would just add to that, that if you look at other countries, i think it provides a really interesting comparison. because we don't have higher rates of mental illness in this country than other country dozen. we don't have more violent video games in this country than anywhere else. and yet our rates of gun death
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are so far surpass any other industrialized nation on earth. there's other industrialized nations with a lot of guns like canada who also have rates with mental illness like ours, that don't have the kind of gun death rate we do. you have to ask yourself, yes, do we have mental health issues that need better funding and better addressed, particularly veterans? about 22 suicides a day every day in this country with guns are veterans. 22 veteran suicides every single day. that is astounding to me. maybe a separate conversation. but i think a really important piece of information. so is mental illness a problem? yes. but that's not the gun problem. right? because you can see if you take a step back that that's not what's causing it. it's the easy access that you have when you have any kind of issue. whether it's depression, whether it's frustration, that the gun is right there.
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75% of the suicides of people under the age of 19 are not the person's gun, it's somebody else's gun. so it's an up pulsive act. when guns soar easily available, not locked up, so easy to find in that moment, you see drastic consequences. >> you have 1.7 million unlocked and loaded guns in homes today. so 1 in 3 homes today have a gun and over 55% have a gun that's unlocked. not in a gun safe. that's primarily because gun owners feel -- they're typically quite responsible and lock up the bulk of their guns but they want one out of the safe, very easily accessible are for personal protection. and that's oftentimes where these problems come in. because they're not always locked up and they're oftentimes loaded. and that's when children and people who are high risk can easily access them and use them.
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>> so i think on a similar note, why is it that we have an inorder nate problem with gun violence when we compare ourselves to other countries? this is in a sense one of the most difficult questions of this issue. we think about it holistically, from a public health perspective, we don't have a monopoly on mental health problems, we don't have a monopoly on violent movies or video games. why do we have so much more gun violence in this country? i put that to anyone on the panel who would like to respond. pastor mcbride? >> well -- you know, i think it's a couple of things. i'll be speaking probably if from a plafs just personal reflection. but you know, the legacy of violence that this country has been founded on as a colonizing
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force i think has really sowed seeds of violence in the soil of our country that probably requires, you know, this -- maybe, you know action latent, persistent fear that somebody's going to come back and get you and get us, maybe. i think, you know, there's a culture of violence that is just a part of the fabric of the united states of america. and while there are always folks that believe we need to get our country back to the good old days, i think you should always remember the days have never been good for a large number of people. and that has been because of the presence of arbitrary violence. i think that's certainly one thing. then i also think that it's a deeply moral problem. i think it speaks to a hole in the soul of america that we have become so callous in the value
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of life that we have and we share for our neighbor. and i think that has spilled over to a certain sense of hopelessness that a lot of the people are carrying that may even cause them at times to feel like they don't have any other options but to take their own lives. i think it's a very convoluted issue. but i do believe that certainly as a faith leader, someone who believes very deeply in spirituality and purpose and in origins, i do think that our country has a legacy of violence that is always a backdrop. i think it continues to inform perhaps the way in which we have marched from the past into our present, into our future. that's why i think all of us need to be advocating for more peace-making work broadly in our country, not always resulting to violence to solve our problems, whether they're domestic or abroad. >> how about a related question
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from the audience. suggesting that the fundamental issue may be poor parenting. guns are not the problem, it's the lack of education, especially in single-parent families. how do you solve that issue? >> get rid of the guns. so i always tell folks, every gun-related homicide costs the city on the low end $2 million. as high as $5 million. and it's a vicious cycle. because the kinds of resources then that every general fund in a municipality has to spend to either deal with the homicides that are happening in our communities or the officers that are often used as a political ploy to expand their budgets are all coming from the general fund. if all the money's being poured into public safety then you don't have resources left to put into schools and parks and jobs
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and all these other kinds of things that i think all of us would say is a priority. so i think part what was we have to do is make some very important choices about what did do you value the most? i kind of reject the idea that poor parenting is the result -- or is a cause for guns violence. because that would seem to presuppose that poor parents are only in one community. how many of y'all had poor parents? keep it real, keep it real, keep it real, keep it it real, right? no. so i think it's much more complex than that. but i hear that often, i guess i'm just used to rejecting that motion. >> i would totally second that. the idea that the problem is that simple. i don't know if that person who wrote that question doesn't have children or doesn't have enough children. but i can guarantee you, you get enough children, whether they're
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from poor families or rich families, and you will encounter children who have issues and are unmanageable and are prone to violence, whether it's one reason or another. and that's not always parenting. which is not to say that there aren't a lot of things that we try to do as parents to help our children go down the right path. but the idea to me that americans are somehow worse parents than in any other country and that's why we have a gun violence problem is astounding. i think it totally fails to recognize the real issues that poor communities do face. when you're confronted with violence in your community every single day, the challenge is far different. when you have hopelessness, when you don't have jobs, when you don't have good education. those are issues that can help children have the hope, have the path that they need, and parents can only do so much without a community that supports them. and with sort of what children are forced to witness in the community in which they live. so i find that question borderline insulting because i think it doesn't take into
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account the realities and the difficulties and the complexities that certainly many communities face, poor and rich, but are more prevalent in poor communities because they don't have the resources and support. >> dr. choi? >> as a pediatrician who talks a lot about parenting, and as a dad of three kids, yeah, woefully insufficient in terms of my parenting skills, i think about how the many ways i could have done this or that. just to turn the suggestion on its head to say, we're all responsible. to try to be a good role model. to be the faith leader. to be the pediatrician. to be the person on the street that chose children and young adults and all of us for that matter, a role model, ways of resolution, how we gain one another, how we handle aggression. we've kind of moved that even further to talk about media. we talk about the public health successes around motor vehicle
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accidents and tobacco. media campaigns. putting role models on television about gun violence and the dangers of it. education campaigns around those things. i think that we all have a tremendous opportunity to play a role, to provide some of that influence, as suggested in that question. and so i encourage all of you to do so. >> you're listening to the commonwealth club of california radio program. tonight's discussion is gun violence and public health. underwritten by the california wellness foundation. our panelists are dr. ricky choi, who serves on the board of directors for the natural physicians alliance. margo hirsch, president of the smart tech challenges foundation. pastor michael mcbride, lead pastor at the way christian center in berkeley, california, and director of urban strategies at pico national network. robin thomas, executive director of the law center to prevent gun violence. i'm mark follman, national
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affairs editor did for "mother jones" and your moderator for tonight's program. we touched on the economic cost of gun violence a little earlier. recently "mother jones" collaborated with a top health economist to investigate the economic toll of gun violence. we found it to be at least $229 billion a year. more than what our country spends on ewespend s on obesity. in some ways it's a conservative estimate. what does this massive economic cost mean in terms of public health and health in our communities and are people even aware of it? >> one of the statistics i read, and one of the facts that we talk a lot about in trying to show the correlation between the prevalence of guns and gun violence, is that in states where you have really strong gun
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regulations, where you have much lower ownership rates of guns, you have much lower gun violence and gun death rates. it's not a causation argument but it is a correlation. california for example has one of the lowest gun death rates in the country, even though we have some of the urbanish ewes and other problems we have. far lower per capita than a place like wyoming. the state of hawaii has one of the lowest costs per capita for gun violence, $200 a person per year. wyoming's cost per person per year for gun violence, taxpayer cost, $1,400 a year. that's just wyoming. not a state people think of as having a huge gun view leolence problem but it does because there's so many guns in so many hands. it all fits together. you have high gun ownership, high gun death rates. the cost not just to communities, forget the human cost. the financial cost is tremendous. most of that cost flows directly to the taxpayer. so we're all paying the cost
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every day of this issue. it's not just something that's borne by individual families and communities, which is bad enough. >> you see that in the medical world too, right, dr. choi in terms of the burden on hospitals? >> the estimated cost of gun violence on hospitals is the order of $2 billion a year. i think that money's probably much better spent on investing in public health, right? and interventions that we know work. addressing social determinants of health like poverty, homelessness, translation services. this goes back to the commonly used phrase, we don't have a health care system, we have a sick care system. if we really want to move forward in terms of creating a healthy society, the aims of public health, it's investing in those areas. much better spent. >> we haven't talked a lot about the politics and yet an undeniable important part of this picture and the role of the
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national rifle association and other gun lobbyists. is it fair to ascribe so much blame to the gun lobby in terms of standing in the way of the things that we know that work, the evidence-based solutions, the technologies? in some ways they're an easy villain. how does that equation work out in the reality of policy-making, whether in the medical world or trying to bring forth technological solutions? >> here's a clear example. as we already discussed. there is evidence that shows that taking proper precautions at home, locking up the gun, keeping it separate from its ammunition, keeping it unloaded, works. when doctors talk about it, patients listen. however, the gun lobby has taken active steps to prevent physicians from have this will ki kind of conversation. states like florida, missouri, other states have similar ambitions. it's now illegal.
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physicians will be punished if they have that kind of conversation with their patients. not only does that infringe on the first amendment rights of physicians to free speech, but also gets in the way of doing things that we know work. and, of course, infringes on what we view as a sacred physician/patient relationship. so i think that, you know, that we should be very concerned. there are active efforts to erode those things that we know work. and we need to work very hard to overturn those types of laws. >> i think with health and with technology, margo hirsch, why would the nra want to stand in the way of potential solutions like this? it's in no one's interest, you're conservative on gun rights or liberal on gun rights, nobody wants to see people die from guns, from gun crime, from suicide. why are they standing in the way of technology? >> their concern is that smart guns or when this type of
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technology with lead to mandates around the technology and infringe on their second amendment rights which is what they always bring up. in the case of a company called armitix last year, they're a german manufacturer that brought the first rfid smart gun to the u.s. and it was first showcased at a gun club in southern california. and it received a fair amount of press. and all of a sudden the gun club removed the gun completely from its club and its shelves, completely disavowed knowing the manufacturer, armitix, and that also happened at a -- in maryland at another gun reseller where they received death threats from the gun community because they were offering the gun for sale and the armitix gun is no longer sold at this point
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in time. so what's happened is that there's no incentive. if anything, there's a fear of retribution for firearm dealers to offer for sale any sort of smart gun technology because they're concerned that their businesses will get boycotted and essentially go out of business. there's a mandate in the state of new jersey. it's called the childproof handgun law that was passed in 2002. and the nra uses that as something to point to that says, armitix triggered this law, and see, smart guns will lead to mandates. so it's unfortunately the law that they passed in new jersey had the best of intentions to keep children safe. by mandating that in three years, when a smart gun came to market, all guns had to be smart guns to protect children. but in a sense, no pun intended,
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it backfired. and it's been a huge hindrance in terms of getting these technologies to market. >> robin thomas? >> i don't think there's any doubt the nra is a huge impediment to innovative and sort of big-thinking approaches to this problem. once upon a time the nra was a gun safety organization out of world war i and world war ii to help train people to shoot. and then that changed. and now it is run by a very hardline leadership which believes in absolutely no gun regulation whatsoever, and i think far more represents the interests of the gun industry and manufacturers in selling more guns than it does gun safety or, interestingly, its own members. when they poll nra members, 75% of them agree with most of the basic regulations and programs we're all talking about. nra members say, yeah, background checks, great.
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all kinds of policies that they agree with. yet the leadership, the lobbyists that represent the nra, fight tooth and nail against even basic measures like background checks because more guns can be sold the looser the regulations. so i think it's very clear to those of us that are looking closely that the nra is, in fact, an impediment to any sort of progress on this issue. they're going to continue to be because a ton of their funding comes from gun manufacturers and because their membership has a very small, very vocal pace which are mostly hard line and who are very noisy and we have 90% of the american public who agrees with us but it's not their primary issue. they're moderately apathetic about regulation on this issue so they don't show up to the meetings and the town halls and they don't vote single issue and these nra hardliners do. so we have this disconnect between 90% of americans and even nra members being cool with it and then this very, very small, very vocal, very hardline group that has money, that are
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aggressive, and that are single-issue voters that can really dominate on this small front. >> which is to me why i think we need to ask more of our elected officials. i think that the courage necessary to bring about the change we seek can't always be about your next election nor can it be about, you know, these money interests. i know that sounds very altruistic, yet at the same time, you know, people's lives are at stake. and i have not found progressive lawmakers to be any more courageous on this issue. we must remember that at the time of newtown, the senate was controlled by democrats. and they couldn't even get all of their own folks to pass the bill out of the senate. so i just continue to believe that we have a lot of work to do
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to make sure that our lawmakers are oriented towards doing the right thing. and it is i think again unmasking a big moral challenge that our country has around these sets of issues, around the value of life over and against political expediency or trying to hold on to power rather than actually serving the people. so, you know, a lot of our work in the faith community is trying to actually, as the pope hopefully influenced john boehner the last -- maybe some moral force can influence a few other lawmakers to do what's best for the country. and not their own political careers. >> i'd like to pick up on what you're saying, pastor mcbride, i think you're suggesting in a sense hope for that is much more perhaps at the local and state level. after the sandy hook massacre, almost three years ago now, as we know, congress had a very
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high-profile debate over a universal background check bill, failed to pass it. i think ever since there's been a somewhat pervasive myth that nothing has changed. and yet that's not true at all. there's been a huge amount of legislative activity at the state level. can you talk a little bit about that, robin thomas, and what has and has not changed since then? >> i think you put it right, that there was -- i thought of it as a sea change after newtown. we've been working at the state level for 20 years. and we were lucky to get requests from three or four or five states looking to introduce new laws. in the year after newtown, we were contacted by 30 states looking to introduce new regulations. and eight states passed really sweeping, profound laws including states like new york, maryland, delaware, massachusetts, colorado, that have passed really comprehensive regulations. modeled in large part on california's regulation which took us 20 years to get in place. the year after newtown we were
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able to help implement that in a number of states on the domestic violence front, 18 states have passed new laws since newtown. states you would never expect. wisconsin, louisiana. we are seeing good mental health progress. states passing laws about that. even background checks. we have 18 states with universal background checks on gun sales with closed loopholes, that's new since newtown. we are seeing a lot of progress. we are also seeing pushback in more conservative red states that are making it easier to get guns and carry loaded guns in public. but i think mostly what we're noticing is momentum in all of those blue states and all of those purple states, we had a referendum in washington last year, the first time ever this issue, voters said, okay, politicians, if you're not going to do the right thing by the people we're going to put it to the voters and it passed by a wide margin. that was the first time ever that path was used and that same law is going to be before the nevada voters next year.
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you're talking about real bellwether states where if we can get things to the voters to get them passed, because the politicians won't do it, that's going to be i think the next wave. i want to add on top of the progress that we've seen since newtown, the politics are an interesting question. because up until newtown, the gun lobby was spending $20 million or $30 million a year on elections out of their $200 million a year machine. there wasn't any money really on the other side. those of us doing this work weren't putting a lot of money into the politics. and since newtown, mayor bloomberg launched an organization, gabby gifford's launched an organization, the center for american progress, huge lobbying organizations. bloomberg's putting in $50 million a year. gabby gifford's raising tens of millions. the idea that there's only one side of this debate in politics has changed. but it's new. >> how much of that is driven by the perception that this is a serious public health issue?
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how much should it be. >> i mean, it absolutely should be. i think it is. i think someone like michael bloomberg, whatever your opinion of him, what's a person who cares deeply about public health as a lens through which society can be improved. he believes in bike helmets and anti-speaking and a anti-smoking and all that sort of thing. guns fit clearly into that view. i think the understanding the nra's putting $20 million, $30 million a year into politics and that's been enough to completely dominate this issue for decades. somebody who's got a lot of money says, you know what? i can neutralize that. it might not happen overnight. but over time, we can neutralize at least that piece of impact, especially when you have 90% of the people behind it. so that gives me a lot of hope. because you see how -- where there is the soft spots and the ret tense reticence on this issue, it can be overcome. it is for the first time -- the nra's basically for 40 years been alone politically on this
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issue. now they've got some serious competition and things are changing. the races in virginia were absolutely astounding. terry mcauliffe ran in virginia for governor and he ran on a pro-run control platform, gun regulation was one of his plain platforms. the state of virginia, which is where the nra headquarters are. and he won. and it was really profound to watch that happen. because something like that had not really ever happened before. certainly not in a state like virginia. so i think you are seeing that sort of common wisdom about, you can't support gun control measures and win elections shift. but it takes time to sort of catch up, i think. my sense of it. >> i want to bring in another audience question here and put my own profession on the chopping block. how does the media's role play into all this? what is the media getting wrong? pastor mcbride? >> i remember we were in the task force meeting at the white
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house with the vice president and some of the clerics from the sikh community shared with us how they went to meet with a producers guild in hollywood to talk about the way they were being portrayed. being perceived as muslims, the sikh community, although they're not. but like these kind of caricatures in tv shows like "24" was one of the ones they mentioned specifically. just being overassociated with terrorists. and how those conversations with the producers actually helped to shift the way muslims and middle eastern religions and people are portrayed in the media. all that to say, i think that advocating for media to be more representative of communities beyond the cairk ra tours of the
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stereotypes is an important advocacy tool that must be used in the months and years to come. color of change is a very important organization that we work with that have actually been able to track, particularly in new york, how the news agencies overreport incidents of violence, particularly gun violence in african-american and urban communities over and against our white and asian counterparts. which again gives this perception that african-american and urban communities are much more violent than other communities. particularly in the public imagination. of course, if we all believe that, then it will in turn follow that we need to spend more money on police, more money on probably buying guns to keep in our homes to protect us from the bogeyman out there, right? i do think we have to figure out more ways to move beyond media caricatures and hold media accountable for misinformation
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and misrepresentation that often feeds stereotypes and appeals to our worst selves. >> dr. choi, what about in terms of the medical community and how the media covers gun violence in the context of medicine? what's missing there? >> i think that -- i always use my children as a litmus test. i drive my kids to school in the morning, listen to npr. there are whole weeks where i just can't even play it. because it's just too hard for them to listen. i think -- i'm not necessarily advocating that we should turn a blind eye to these many issues. but on the flip side, you know, to provide a balanced perspective. whether that be talking through -- talking about these larger issues, as pastor mcbride has mentioned. and also potential solutions towards improving those circumstances. having a thoughtful discussion around mental health, that's just -- that's it. mental health parity has been
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something that we've been talking about and fighting for for decades and still has not gotten the necessary due. and so drilling down to really what are the true challenges that have led up to this particular situation i think are particularly important. >> i mean, just real quick. to maybe put it in a positive way, what would it look like for media to cover the many solutions and the success stories of communities and neighborhoods that are reducing violence, just as much as they cover the incidents related to violence. i think that shift in our consciousness, in our reporting, could actually cat lies hope and a shift in the way we understand the solutions that are right within our grasp. that just need scaling up. it would shift i think the ways in which we think this problem is intractable and unsolvable. >> what's a good example of
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that? >> i mentioned cease-fire already. we engage in weekly activities -- walking neighborhoods in san francisco, oakland, richmond, in the neighborhoods that are highest at risk of engaging or being victimized by gun violence. one powerful program that is starting to get a lot of coverage is the office of neighborhood safety in richmond, a peacemaker program where we actually take young men who have been caught in these cycles and put them in cohorts of life skills, of peace-making classes. these are individuals who are deemed as the volume shooters, if you will. and incentivize them to do all kinds of different types of activities that are actually about building their own internal healing and self-sufficiency work. and again, these young people make decisions to stop shooting just with structure, incentivization, and care. i believe if every city in the
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country started one of these programs that maybe costs $15,000 per person to put a young person into per year, just imagine the kind of return on investment, if you will, that would create in a community where $2 million are spent on every gun-related homicide. i think that kind of praming for those who are worried about the fiscal side, for those who are worried about the cost around the human person or rehabilitation, i think that could do a world of good for us shifting our mindset around how we describe and understand solutions to these kinds of problems. >> i will say there's some great reporting being done. not just to toot your horn because "mother jones" has done phenomenal work, the income types, in tampa bay they've done brilliant work on stand your ground laws. there's deep, lovell reporting happening but not enough. i think there's a few outlets that are really looking at this
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issue seriously. but most newspapers are not really tackling this issue with a broad approach. and looking at it in terms of, what is the real impact, what is the research, what do we know and not know? more often than not, when we get a call from the media, they ask our perspective on something, then they call the nra for their perspective, even though the research they cite has been debunked, media will still cite to them. we're astounded. why do they kneel the need every time to allow the other side to make the argument more guns are the solution when we know for sure through the research that's not true. giving voice to that perspective every single time. i think confuses people, leaves people thinking, maybe i do need a gun to be safe, even though we know that's not how this works anymore. our frustrationtends to be there is a truth here and the opinion of the other side doesn't always have to be given equal weight to the peer-reviewed research that's being looked at.
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i think you sort of get both sides there. >> great point. i think another way that the picture has shifted in terms of the impact of gun violence with medicine is the way in which more gunshot victims are surviving now. we have better medical technology and better medicine. how is that changing the picture with this problem, dr. choi i think that when we talk about vets in particular, i think that becomes sort of a highlight. and certainly, you know, i think we should be telling those stories more often. you know, i was referring to have every summer we have these young adults in sit in the wards of san francisco general for sometimes months. unlucky or were in the wrong place at the wrong time or were participants in a gunfight and they got shot in the spinal cord and they're paralyzed from the neck down. on a regular basis do we have
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patients like that. those types of stories need to be shared. i think the other challenge when we talk about media and balanced reporting, i've tried to illustrate the last hour, is that in some ways the game is being rigged. we talk about research that's not being done, that could be done. that people who are supposed to be participating in prevention are not allowed to participate. by virtue of the fact that some of you who are interested in this topic did not know that, i think is very concerning. those types of things need to be discussed. you know, if we want to move things forward, we need to also highlight the ways that obstacles are being placed along the way to keep us from making progress. >> we've reached the point in our program where there's time for one last question which i'll put to all our panelists. i think as we've touched on the politics of guns in our country, are intensely polarizing, but
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also subject to a pretty powerful inertia. from a public health perspective in particular, how can that be overcome? what could really start to change the national conversation? do you want to start, dr. choi? >> i have a small example. about a year or two ago i was giving a talk to -- at a national medical student association. and talking about this very topic, gun violence and public health. i was doing my best to present the evidence, to give it a very balanced frame, to help these medical students understand the responsibility they have. without necessarily taking a political side as much as our core responsibility as health care providers. at the end of the presentation i had a medical student raise their hand and say, my mom's a pediatrician, we're both gun owners, we enjoy recreational hunting. so given everything you've told me, what am i supposed to do? and i just thought, wow. my first thought was, i hope i
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didn't offend them. my second thought was, wow what an incredible opportunity. someone who is committed to the evidence, the information that i just presented, while is a gun owner. and understands that second amendment right in a very personal way. is the perfect person to be able to articulate these challenges, to walk that line, to be able to serve as that middle to bridge things that the evidence supports, things that are steps we know we can violence in this country. >> margo? >> we believe at the foundation that the time is right now for technology to jump in here. and address gun violence from an innovation in technology standpoint. and these technologies that are being worked on have the potential to save lives and really impact the issue. and it does take changing behavior patterns, but if you
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look at more consumer type products and things that we see in our everyday life like ooube and tesla, you can change behavior through products, and we like to believe that these safety technologies will have an impact on predominantly suicides and accidental deaths, but even a trickle-down effect on homicides so when guns are stolen, they'll be rendered useless once they get into the hands of criminals or the wrong hands. and so we believe that technology can play a really important part in addressing gun violence today. >> pastor mcbride? >> we always say that the first revolution has to always be an internal revolution. revolution of our values, of our heart, of the way in which we see and understand the world, so i would certainly continue to advocate for us all imagining how can we put ourselves in
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positions to experience revolution of new perspectives and ideas that could catalyze us to further action, which would be the second thing i'll say, which is a disorganized truth cannot defeat an organized lie. so what does it mean for us to organize ourselves around these truths, as robin and many of us have talked about, health, technology, policy, and really push back against the very organized lies that have structured our society and again, i think that that requires all of us to take a look at fear and race and economics and politics and many of these things that may be a little offputting for us. preferably, we'll all do that again. >> from a policy perspective? >> i think we have to all know and believe there are solutions. there are some absolutely solutions to this problem. we actually know what they are.
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we know what the answer to this problem is. never mind the fact that this is a country where generally we believe that we can find answers even when we don't have them. we actually have them in this case. so i think knowing that, believing that, being educated to what michael said, being courageous enough to speak out that this isn't a political wedge issue, you know, in the way that many others have changed, like marriage equality, having the courage to say if you want to have a gun, that's fine, but we're going to regulate the heck out of them because we need to protect our children, protect our communities, do a better job of preventing gun violence, and i'm not going to be quiet about it. you're not going to give me a dirty look because you love your gun and i'm going to shut my mouth because people are dying. i think there's a level of informativeness and courage that has to come along with the debate, whichever your perspective is, that we really promote, we believe in research-driven truth and answers, and i hope that all of you got a little bit of that tonight. >> our thanks to the california
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wellness foundation for underwriting this program. and to our panelists, dr. choy, who serves on the board of directors for the national physicians alliance, margo hirsh, pastor michael mcbride, the pastor at the way christian center in berkeley, california, and director of urban strategies at pekoe national network, and robin thomas, executive director of the law center to prevent gun violence. we also thank our audiences here and on the radio and internet. i'm mark fulmin. now, this meeting of the commonwealth club of california is adjourned.he well armed woma
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training company. this is an hour and 50 minutes. >> we'll bring up our first panel, which is called second amendment outliers, blade suppressers and hunting. our three panelists are carey lightfoot, author of the well armed woman training company. she is new to grpc, so give her a warm welcome. but also -- [ applause ] but also, new to us and deserving a not new to us and deserving of a warm welcome nonetheless, are todd ratner, chairman of nsa freedom alliance, and doug ritter, knife rights org. they will each have nine minutes
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at which time my phone will bong at them, and then i will get up and poke them with the other knitting needle, because i gave one to julie, but i kept one for myself. i would like to remind our panelists to please give their name again when they -- right at the beginning of their talk so people that are recording and podcasting and cspan'ing and god knows what else can capture who's who. okay, without further ado, we'll start with carey. >> one further ado. please, everybody, take out your cell phones and turn off the ringer. >> all right, ready, talk fast. good morning, everybody. my name is carey lightfoot. we have some women in the house. a few, yes. what i'm going to talk about very quickly is how we can double that next year, and how we can get millions of women to
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the polls and activated politically. we all know that women are coming to gun ownership in droves. we all hear it, right? everyone's talking about it. we're talking about women coming to the range and coming into responsible gun ownership. this is huge, and this is significant. significant for what we're here to talk about today. we see them at the ranges. s we see them in the gun stores. where we need to see them is here. where we need to see them is with you all in your communities, passionately driving for change and to protect our second amendment rights. everyone is talking about it. but what we need to do is start talking to women. so let's stop talking about women and let's start talking with them. that's our task, mine and yours, is to engage women in the second amendment conversation. which historically has been a male and men's conversation. agreed? so we need to bring them in and draw them in and create the
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pathway for them, so that's our mission. and why is this important? because women, guys, can save and protect our rights. women are drivers. if you want something done, you get a woman to do it. right? right? when women are enthusiastic and passionate about something, things happen. take a look at education. who drives educational change? women. health, nutrition. well, women are just as passionate about their gun rights as they are about these other important things to them and their families. when mom is shooting, who is shooting? the whole family. and there's probably a few guys here, a few families where the women kind of drive the pocketbook, maybe, just a few. so when mom's shooting and the whole family is shooting that's really good for the industry. what we need to do is bring them
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into the political debate and political conversation. women are raising the next generation of second amendment supporters, lovers. it's a very important task. and that's what women do. and i believe strongly women will influence this legislation. let's talk about the b word. bloomberg. no profanity. okay, i'll watch my mouth. you know, it's more than just one person. it's his influence on others that we're combatting, and they're going after women. they're going after mothers, they're going after women. what's wrong with that message? the message is that we're not capable of taking care of ourselves. excuse me. that's false. women are equipped. we're strong. and we can be trained to effectively protect ourselves with a firearm. so i totally rebuke that
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message. and i do that on behalf of all women. we rebuke it. [ applause ] it's perpetuating victimhood for women. we're tired of it. the target on our backs is big enough. we're here to shrink it. and protecting our rights helps to shrink that target even more. so enough of that. do you believe that they're ignorant? are the efforts ignorant? they are ignorant. but they're not stupid. we can't confuse the two. they're ignorance is that they don't get it. but they're not stupid. the efforts to take away our rights and oppose our rights are meticulously effective. it's strategic. they know what they're doing. and the effort to try to minimize the voice of women will
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not work. but we have to help amplify the voice of women, because what's the tactic? the tactic is emotion. stories. guess who has lots of stories, guys, that this world is not hearing? women. stories of strength, courage, fierce protection of their family. there are some incredible stories that we need to be sharing and we need to have the communities hear these stories. our response typically is statistics. numbers. from my cold dead hands, that's what we hear. is that accurate? yes. is it effective? we need stories. we need to tap into the emotion of this topic. we need to be focusing on the stories of survival. who's better equipped to emotioninalize, who is better
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equipped to share emotional stories and messages? women. we're good at it. we're naturally very emotional beings. not that you guys aren't, but we're pretty good at it. i believe there's three audiences that we're talking to. the anti-gunners, we talk to them. you're talking to a brick wall. cement is set. they're not hearing anything. on the other side is us. second amendment lovers. you're preaching to the choir. we're all in. it's those folks in the middle that understand that support the second amendment, but they're not fully educated about what it really, really means. that's who we have to reach, because with each tragedy, and yes, they're all tragedies, with each one of those, that cushion, that cushion of their support gets smaller and smaller. and one day, one terrible tragedy, pushes those people. you know, background checks make
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sense. and they start to shift. that's who we have to talk to. and i believe that women will be the ones that can effectively speak to them. they havemotor mother, they hav wives, and they have sisters. you put anyone in the position, what would you do if that were you? it's whatever it takes. and the firearm is the best tool in a whatever it takes situation, isn't it? so we have a chapter program, a woman chapter program in 50 states, 235 chapters, that's not about me or the war on women. what it says is how passionately women are coming to firearm ownership and how serious they are. who wants to arg argue with a woman who wants to protect herself? what media outlet, what politician wants to get in my face and be the bad guy and tell me i can't have the tools to equip myself?
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this program has had over 200 new stories. not one of them negative. not one negative news story. why is that? fascination of women and guns. and because it's women arming themselves to protect themselves. so, a lot of power in our stories. you have a huge army before you of women that will get things done, we'll do it passionately. we'll network and change legislation. i call on all of you to reach out and talk to women. we're different. we don't talk like you dies do. we don't hear things like you guys do. you need to understand those differences. reach out. because together, all of us, men, women, children, can and will preserve our second amendment rights. thank you. [ applause ]
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>> thank you. perfect. you have 35 seconds left. thank you. next, we're going to call up todd ratner. >> good morning. my name is todd ratner. i represent the nsa freedom alliance. i wanted to welcome you all to arizona. this is my adopted home state. i live in tucson. normally when i talk to crowds, i try to tell them how horrible arizona is and how hot it is and how many scorpions we have and how many rattlesnakes we have because i don't want anybody
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from another state moving out here. but quite frankly, with this crowd, you guys are all welcome to come back and stay as long as you like. many of you know me as knife rights director of legislative affairs. i work very closely with doug ritter and sue ritter is over there somewhere, if my eyes work well. we work as a team to try to turn back bad knife laws. i'm also an nra director, as many of you know. as if i weren't busy enough, last year, i started the nfa freedom alliance. which is an organization dedicated to easing restrictions on nfa gun owners. and the reason that i started the nfa freedom alliance is because i believe the folks that own nfa items are the single
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most neglected group of gun owners in the country. we're sort of the, you know, the red headed stepchild in the basement, and that needs to change. nfa gun owners have never had a full-time lobbying organization speaking for them. the nfa freedom alliance is that organization. the need for the nfa freedom alliance has become increasingly more important with the explosion of the sale of suppressers. that's the one category of firearms, so to speak, even though none of us would really consider them firearms, the atf categorizes them as firearms, that's the one area that has exploded. that's part of why i believe that the nfa freedom alliance is so necessary. it's probably the biggest
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growing and fastest growing segment of the firearms sales market currently. since starting the organization last october, we've had quite a record of success. we've passed four pro-nfa bills in four separate states, and you think, what does the nfa have to do with state law? a lot of states have duplicative law of the nfa. there are additional regulations. for instance, one of the most amazing things was when i was doing research prior to forming the nfa freedom alliance, i found out that in the state of texas, it was -- was, past tense, was technically illegal to possess any nfa weapon. however, it was a defense to prosecution if you were arrested for possessing it. now, that may be comforting to
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some, and it has been comforting to some, obviously, because texas has more registered nfa items than probably any state in the union. it's obviously comforting to some people that i have a defense to prosecution, but what does defense to prosecution mean? it means you may beat the rap, but you're going to take the ride. you're going to sit in the back of the police car. you're possibly going to have to go before a judge. you're certainly going to have to deal with a prosecutor. if you've got a brain, you're going to have to get an attorney, pay the attorney, and figure out how to get your stuff back, and then hope that the judge agrees with you. this is real. this actually happens. i have got a gun dealer who i work closely with this last legislative session who had his gun and his sbr and his suppresser confiscated from him. he was arrested. he spent the night in jail, cost him after over 11 months and $14,000, he finally got his stuff back.
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and that's in the free state of texas. and so when i found out about that, that was one of the primarily, one of my primarily missions, was to overturn that law. anybody who knows anything about texas legislature, it's not easy to pass anything, contrary to popular belief. it's very difficult. in one session, we were able to overturn that law, rip it out of the books, repeal it, and replace it with the affirmative ability to own nfa items as long as they're registered pursuant to the nfa. [ applause ] thank you. in tennessee, we did the exact same thing. tennessee had the same law. in arkansas, we passed a cleo, what i call a cleo self-certify bill, which forces a chief law enforcement officer to certify your nfa forms if you're not a prohibitive possessor. we also made it legal to hunt with suppressers in montana. and those are all things that i
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was able to accomplish with the help of our friends and donors and folks like -- folks like that, who helped us get it done. we did all of that since just last october. i know that the major question on everybody's mind, especially in this room, is what about repealing the nfa all together? why do we need it? it's one of the most poorly crafted statutes on the books, whether federal or state. it is so confusing. i sat with jeff from a different nfa organization who knows more about this stuff than almost anybody. we sat in the labby for the past few days and neither one of us can explain a lot of this stuff. what we can explain is how the atf interprets all of this, and it's a big mess. we do have a strategy for eventually repealing the nfa all together, which is what our primary goal is. that is our primary goal.
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and quite frankly, we're one of the only organizations that i'm aware of, at least, that have actually, that actually has that as a stated goal. we're not afraid to say it. the nfa should be ripped out, root and branch, and thrown in the trash. part of our strategy you folks will understand. 20 years ago when you looked around the country, maybe it's 25 now, tcw permits, shall issue ccw permits were not popular. we didn't see them in states all over the place. florida was probably the first. and politicians all believe the lies, you know the lies, blood was going to run in the streets. we were all going to shoot each other over parking spots. none of that has materialized. today, you have democrats and republicans holding up their ccw permit as a talisman to the gun
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rights movement to say look how pro-gun i am, i have a ccw permit. why is that? the reason is many of these folks started out in state legislatures as a state senator or a state rep, and they were part of either the original passage of ccw, shall issue ccw permit laws or they have been part of the process to fix them and improve them over the years. we need to do the same thing at the state level, state by state, with legislators to educate them about the nfa and the effects on the average gun owner. i have talked to -- when i start bringing up these issues with state legislators and i talk to them about it, and i go through the process with them, and i explain it all to them, the reaction is, are you kidding me? i mean, for a rifle that's two inches shorter than a rifle i've got in my safe, i have to go get fingerprints and photographed and pay $200? it's insane.
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but you can also own a pistol that is in the same exact configuration that's seven inches shorter than the average rifle, but you don't -- and it's the exact same configuration and you don't have to get the stamp. and they're like, this is ridiculous. that's the reaction we want. that's what we want. we want them to say this thing is ridiculous so when they get off the farm team and they end up going to congress, we have a sympathetic ear and they have some understanding of what the law is. i think i'm getting beeped on. okay. all right. i'm just going to quickly tell you what we're working on right now. currently, we're working on repealing the ban on hunting with suppressers in as many states as possible, it's ridiculous, in europe, it's a requirement to hunt with a suppresser. we need to do that in as many states as possible, where there's still a few states
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including oklahoma and a few others, alaska has a defense to prosecution law on the books. we have to get rid of that. we're also working on, it's an important effort, the shall certify, to mock sure that the cleos certify the form 4s and form 1s and you don't have to leave your second amendment rights up to the discretion of some local law enforcement officer, and whether or not the 41-p rule that mark talked about yesterday is promulgated or not, it's still a good thing to have, until we can take some of these items out of the nfa all together or repeal it all together, and in conclusion, i'm going to wrap it up, i want to ask you guys to support me. i'm running this whole thing by myself. i'm the lobbyist and i'm running the whole show. i need your help. if you can help or if you know somebody who's interested in the issue who can help, the website is www.nfafa.org. and then we also have a facebook
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page, if you look up nfa freedom alliance on facebook, you'll see, we're running fund-raisers and raffles. you can win an spr and a suppresser combo. i say thank you and i really appreciate you. feel free to move to arizona. >> hang on a second, if you don't mind. i'm going to exercise my right as the moderator and in the interest of our friends at cspan, i'm going to ask todd, put him on the spot and ask him if he could do maybe two minutes on the history of nfa. so when we get on cspan, this will all go out. >> yes, and what i may have to do is -- i can give a quick history. i may have to look at my buddy jeff over there who's the true historian on the nfa. but in 1934, for some reason,
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the congress in their great wisdom thought that it would be a good idea to add a tax to owning certain items. back then, i believe it was only machine guns in 1934, and silenc silencers. machine guns and silencers in 1934. i'm looking at jeff and he's nodding. but it was in a response to, i believe it had to do with the prohibition era, supposed gun fights that were happening. they felt if they put this $200 tax on these items, that less people would own them, and somehow, they were going to save the world and people would stop shooting each other with these guns. and we know to this day that none of that works. prohibition in its forms, in all of its forms have never worked. and so that was the genesis of it, in 1934.
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it was expanded in 1968 through the gun control act. when they added things to the nfa, and one of the things they added, which is the dreaded hughes amendment, which most people in the room know what the hughes amendment was. what it said was that, now that was in 1986, actually. that was in 1986, i'm sorry. so in 1986, they added the hughes amendment. that's the one that really sticks in everybody's craw, that essentially said that any machine gun manufactured after a particular date in 1986 could no longer be transferred between citizens. even though you were submitted fingerprints, even though you were subjected to a background check, even though the local sheriff had to sign off on your transfer, they said you couldn't manufacture a new machine gun for the purpose of transfer from private citizen to private citizen. thereby limiting the pool of machine guns that are available,
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and as we all know, driving the price of a machine gun through the roof. and that's -- that's where we stand today with all of these laws in place. that regulate, that regulate some of these guns. but the most ridiculous part about all of it is that there's almost no reason for any of it. it's very arbitrary. it makes absolutely no sense. like i said, you can have an ar-15 style pistol that is 7 inches long that has a 7-inch barrel, but you can't have a rifle with less than a 16-inch barrel. and for some reason, shotguns have to have a minimum of an 18-inch barrel, and there's no rhyme or reason to it. there's no logic to it because if you can have a 16-inch rifle, why can't you have a 16-inch shotgun? if you have a 16-inch shotgun, you're subject to a federal charge and potentially ten years in jail and thousands and thousands of dollars in fines. so it's absolutely ridiculous. it's one of the stupidest
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federal laws on the books. like i said earlier, it's time to rip it out root and branch and throw it in the trash. [ applause ] >> thanks. thanks, todd. now, to clean things up, we'll bring up doug ritter, our friend from knife rights org. >> good morning, gun lobby. knife rights is the knife lobby. you are the knife lobby. we are the knife lobby. and this year, i bring you a very important message. all knives matter. repeat after me. all knives matter.
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i can't hear you. all knives matter. thank you. we're working on that. these essential tools, knives that millions of americans use every day at home, at work, at play, are also arms, protected by the second amendment. it is an essential right. for six years now, i have been coming to grpc to share this message. that the second amendment doesn't say firearms, it says arms. as such, knife rights is the second front in the defense of our second amendment. the good news -- [ applause ]
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the good news is that people all over america are getting the message. our success is translating into both respect and new opportunities. we are being covered by major media. including in many instances, left wing media such as new york's the village voice, and mother jones. and it's all positive. knife rights' success, and our efforts to roll back the absurd anti-knife laws and to pass preemption, is also introducing the second amendment to an entire group of folks who have never considered the second amendment their own. and in many cases have been anti-second amendment. as a result, of the tragic incident with freddie gray's knife arrest in baltimore and his subsequent death, and similar incidents in a number of
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urban centers, we're gaining even more bipartisan support. remarkably, this past year, the primary sponsors of two of our pro-knife bills were liberal dems because they're beginning to understand that their constituents are also being jailed over stupid, irrational, and antiquated knife laws just like all of us sitting here. this year, knife rights continues to rewrite knife law in america. passing -- excuse me, passing five pro knife bills in four states so far. maine, nevada, oklahoma, and texas. with three bills remaining in illinois, michigan, and including a wisconsin bill that would repeal wisconsin knife bans and which also includes knife law preemption so there
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will no longer be any illegal knives in wisconsin. and worth noting, a tip of the hat to my lobbiest, todd, that bill started out as a switchblades with ccw bill, and it's now morphed with his work on the ground in madison, into a full-blown knife reform bill. in total, we have passed 19 pro-knife bills in 14 states in 6 years and defeated five anti-knife bills including a machete ban in new york this year. every one of those victories is a win for the second amendment. as you heard yesterday from our attorney, dan, this week saw a
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critical victory in our four-year-old federal civil rights lawsuit against new york city and d.a. cyrus vance jr. over their persecution of over 60,000 new yorkers. the court of appeals for the second circuit reversed the recently appointed district court judge's ridiculous ruling that nobody in our lawsuit had standing, sending it back to the lower court for disposition on the merit, finally, after four years. i was thrilled to hear yesterday that already attorneys in two gun rights cases are planning to use this decision in their own second amendment lawsuits. this just goes to show that knife rights really is the second front. we are all in this together. [ applause ]
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as you heard yesterday from mark barnes, ivory bans are the new stealth front in our fight for the second amendment. both at the federal and state level. we defeated over a dozen ivory ban bills in the states this year with our friends, with the help of our friends at the nra and others. only losing in california. and, well, it's california. what more do i have to say? if you had told me nine years ago when i founded knife right that i would be spending a significant amount of my time fighting ivory bans, i would have told you you were nuts, but we cannot, we must not walk away from such an important battle that threatens millions of americans with billions of dollars of taking by the feds. takings which would just happen to remove hundreds of thousands
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of knives and guns from circulation, making it illegal to sell or trade or even work on them. let me be clear. knife rights abhors the poaching of all species. the proven solution is to attack poaching at the source, not punish lawful ivory owners in the united states who cannot have any effect on the poaching in africa and the traffic in illegal ivory to china and asia. [ applause ] successful anti-poaching efforts in africa have demonstrated that aggressive enforcement in the field does save elephants. stealing the investment of millions of americans will not save a single elephant in
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africa. this is the worst kind of feel-good, do-bad government action. if you have any questions whether these ivory bans are good or bad, all you really need to know is that the concept was developed and promoted by the clinton foundation. and that the largest organization promoting it today is the humane society of the united states. they are raising millions of dollars. they don't give a damn about the elephants in africa. not a penny is going to the elephants in africa. that money is used to fight gun owners. they are raising millions of dollars because they discovered an orphaned baby elephant calf
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next to a butchered mother raises a whole lot more money than a cute little panda. next year, we expect to be battling bans in over 20 states. every one of which threatens gun owners as well as knife owners. oh, shut up. >> keep going. >> tomorrow, monday, is the deadline to submit comments on the feds' proposed final ivory ban rule. please, every one of you, if you have not already done it, go to kniferights.org and follow the links on the home page to submit a comment tomorrow, by tomorrow at midnight, in opposition to this absurd pan that will not save a single elephant in africa, but will cost americans billions and potentially remove
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hundreds of thousands of guns and knives from the market. also this year, the knife owners protection act authored by knife rights was refiled in both houses of congress. the house copa bill sponsored by nat salmon is still in committee, however recently, the copa bill in the senate was passed out of committee. it awaits an approperate bill to be tacked on to, but given how little congress has done these days, i'm not holding my breath. by the same token, six years ago, they told us that our fifth exemption to the switchblade act would never pass, and we got that done. please help by encouraging your senator and congressmen to co sponsor this bill. the results speak for themselves. knife rights is the second front
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in the defense of the second amendment. we are rewriting knife law in america. join us, become a member. make a donation, help us continue this extraordinary record of success and remember, all knives matter. >> thanks, doug. and thank you, panelists for a good kickoff of sunday morning, great panels. good content, appreciate it very much. you can exit stage left. and i'll bring up my next group of speakers. our next panel is packed with experts. it is entitled, using the media to advance gun rights.
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we will go in the order they are listed on the agenda except that we're going to let our good friend don irvine from accuracy in media go first so that charles heller can adjust his levels and so on. and which is as far as i know not a euphemism, and they'll each have five minutes. i'm deg going to bring don up first. >> far out, man.going to bring . >> far out, man. >> okay, don, come on up. >> good morning, everyone. i want to thank -- i think everybody should give a round of applause to the second amendment foundation, to allen, julie ann, peggy, and the staff. a wonderful, wonderful conference. this is not an easy thing to pull off. i have done conferences and i know. so i'm going to try to keep my remarks brief. you know, we're talking about
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the media. this is something i do for a living, i have done for a living for a long type. i think we can say fairly easily that most of us in this room don't consider the media our friend when it comes to gun right. but that doesn't mean they can't become your friends or at least maybe frenemies along the way. this is where it's incumbent upon us to do things to make this happen. everybody in the media is busy. these reporters, you know, the system has changed so they're not doing the kind of work that they were 20 years ago. newspapers aren't what they used to be. broadcast television has changed. all these things, cable television, now we see more of a move to the internet in the way people get their news. now, you can do things with the media quickly. their information is fairly public. you can find their e-mail addresses usually through the newspaper or the station, you can usually find their facebook account, their name, or their twitter handle or something like that. you can build a relationship, you can build some contacts ifs you use those kinds of things.
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that's one thing. when you're talking with the media, when you're talking with anybody, really, is that arm yourselves with the facts. i'm not trying to use -- but that is really, really important, because the facts are the facts. the facts actually favor our side. but what happens with the media is that with a lot of these things, it's not that they're necessarily overly liberally biased all the time, but they tend to be ignorant of the facts when it comes to gun rights. it's incumbent upon everyone in the room to study, bone up on the facts and have the facts at the ready. you can do that very easily now thanks to the internet, to be able to do enough research to go through those things. so i think if you do that, i think you're going to be well armed, as we say. now, my other thing, too, my big passion with this is using social media. social media is extremely important in the battle on gun rights.
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everybody, the large percentage of the population now is using facebook, they're using twitter. these are ways to do this. if you're really that passionate about gun rights, you own a firearm, think about this, think about social media as another tool in the tool box and also as another weapon. facebook, i want you to be passionate using social media to express your feelings about gun rights. these things, now, you might think, i only have five friends, or i only have -- what i do with facebook is put up a lot of cat videos. if you're doing that, you're doing it wrong. i'm sorry. you may love cats, but spending all your time is cat videos is not going to advance the cause of gun rights. you can do this because what happ happens? your number of followers on twitter, your number of friends on facebook, everything you do is potentially shareable, potentially retweetable, so that you amplify your voice by many times. you don't even know sometimes the effect that has, but you can
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see that by doing that. now, what everybody in the room should be doing as well is you should be using it now. if you haven't been using facebook, if you haven't been using twitter, things like this, to do things about this conference at this moment, then you better get on your phones, your tablets, your computers and do something now. because that is another way of doing this and expressing that message. instagram, if you don't really know what to do with how to write a post or how to send a tweet, you can pretty much take a picture. how many people take pictures with their cameras, with their phones, all the time? instagram is a very easy way to do that. it backfeeds the other way. you can link that to twitter, to your facebook account. you get all that, all in one setting. it's a wonderful way of pushing that out. we're a very visual society. people look at pictures, people look at graphs. they take that, that's an immediacy, they share it, it has an enormous effect by when you go out there and you boom with all of that.
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one of the things that's effective for the other side, something that we need to do a little more of, is emotion. use emotion. emotion is -- why do we have ferguson, why do we have these problems? i come from maryland. my backyard basically was freddie gray. what happens here? it's the emotion of these people, of the anti-gun rights people who are out there and they're expressing themselves and then they just suck up all the air in the room, basically, and they do this. if we had that same passion, that same emotion, there are stories, you know, as allen, who you'll hear from later, he goes around saying guns save lives. duh, yeah, it does, but let's tell that message. let's go tell the people, and let's show the people and find the people who have had their lives saved by that and do it and do it now. [ applause ] >> thank you, don. great. and next, we're going to hear from our good friend charles
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heller. charles. >> thank you. thank you. you know, i'm one of the rare people that will speak here who can say mr. gottlieb, i paid for this microphone. i want to talk a little bit about harnessing the emotion that don just talked about, a good lead-in to the point i want to make. that's, we're all very passionate about our topic. to us, this is just, it is so endemic to our way of life. we don't think about it. to us, a firearm is another leatherman tool, right? it's just a piece of equipment. and to the anti-freedom people, it's a talisman of evil. and there isn't a great bridge in between them. so while you need to be passionate about it, you need to not -- you need to be careful about the way you express this,
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especially to people in the media. because your cheeriness, your enthusiasm, can be mistaken for an enthusiasm to do harm. so what you have to do is be very excited like don said, to be passionate, but at the same time, be careful in your language. the expression, you know, shooting to slide lock, to us is just, you know, a failure to reload. to them, it means you empty the gun into somebody. so you have to be careful with how you language things. i want to talk a little bit about for those of you who of you are involved in here in your state level organizations? okay. everybody in arizona, put your hand down. other state level organizations outside of arizona. okay, because i know about the arizona organization. i know a little about that one. okay, what i want to tell you is when you communicate with the media, your press releases, whether they be, and you can take your press release now and put it on facebook. you can take that and not only give it to the media. you can give it to everybody
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else. but your press release need have a headline on it that grabs attention. like guns save lives. but it can be less generic and more specific to a circumstance than that. your press release needs to be one page. because as don said, everybody in the media is really busy. and i promise you, i'm a talk show host, and if somebody sends me a 15-page press release, it's going to the delete pile very quickly. i will sometimes send them back one sentence, give me this in two paragraphs and i'll read it. but that's about as close as you'll ever get to me reading a more than two-page press release. make your press release one page. your premise needs to be in the first paragraph, your solution needs to be in the second paragraph. and your conclusion needs to be in the third paragraph. when you're talking to the media, you need to speak in sound bites. you can't start telling them that, well, yeah, the constitution was written in
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1787, but the bill of rights wasn't put in until 1791. you've lost them. it's important, we all know it, but you have lost them. you have to speak in one sentence clips they can use, because i'm telling you, they're going to edit you down to one sentence. make that sentence count. what can you do? you have got the answer, almost all of you, in your purse, pocket, or laying on the table in front of you in the form of your phone. what you need to do is write down one sentence clips that you can use. because when that light is shining in your face, or when the on-air light comes on in a studio, it induces stress. it does two things. it makess sphincters slam shut and brains go numb. and then your emotion kicks in and you say something really dumb. and that gets preserved forever on the internet. and on top of it, you know, you have this contorted face saying
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it. and that's what goes on the internet. all right. so what you want to do is look people in the eye and calmly have a go-to phrase, because at the end of every interview, somebody from the audience, tell me this, what is anyone who has ever been interviews, what is the reporter if they're any good at their job whatsoever, what do they ask? what? is there anything i have missed? yes. there really is. we should never penalize the innocent for the acts of the guilty. that's one phrase that sometimes when i get interviewed gets tacked onto the interview. what it does is it's a little bit of a reach out to the people who may not share, as don said, what our passion is. they may not share our passion, but it's a bridge to somebody who gets it. they say, oh, yeah. i believe in that. even people that are like aclu members will say, yeah, we
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probably shouldn't punish the innocent for the acts of the guilty. and thank you for listening. >> thank you. my cheat sheet here. and next, we're going to bring up blogger john richardson of only guns and money. there you go. >> thank you, ma'am. hi, i'm john richardson. this morning, i plan to tell you how i as a citizen journalist use the internet to advance gun rights and how you can use it, too. as the representative of new media on the stage this morning, first let me tell you how i got started. i have been a longtime reader of blogs, and then in may 2010, i finally decided, you know, i can do just as well. and i started my blog, no
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lawyers, only guns and money. the name was a play on the song "send lawyers guns and money." i'm a financial planner, not a lawyer, hence the name. i didn't have many readers at first, but then something happened. allen gur won the mcdonald case, and then used this ruling and then using this ruling, the second amendment foundation in grassroots north carolina sued north carolina to overturn our ban on firearms during states of declared emergency. i saw it as my mission to report on the details on this case and the other follow-on mcdonald cases. i worked hard to provide background information so that readers would have a really good understanding of the issues. i felt that if people who supported gun rights had better knowledge than what was presented to them in the mainstream media, we could argue
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our side more persuasively. fast forward to today. 4200 plus blog posts later, 1.7 million visitors, and there have been many more cases and a good number of wins. somewhere along the way, i added the role of podcaster to my efforts on behalf of the second amendment. i'm now a co host of the polite stoit podcast, which has been live streaming this event this weekend. my blog as well as the podcast does four things. it educates. it informs. it advocates. and it entertains. the first three help advance the cause of gun rights. while the fourth is, well, you know, we just need to laugh a bit sometimes. especially if it's at the expense of gun prohibitionists. let me give you some examples. our podcast, the polite society podcast, has a regular feature called defense of gun uses. we compile instances of how a
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lawful gun owner has used a firearm to defend him or herself and their family. the examples have often included a robbery or a home invasion. we look at what the person did right and what they did wrong. we don't sugar coat it, as we consider this essential education on the rights and responsibilities of gun owners. the best example of a blogosphere informing people to help advance the cause of gun rights was the act that david, mike, and dave workman did in exposing operation fast and furious that got started right here in phoenix. [ applause ] it was bloggers that connected the whistleblowers to congressional investigators. it was bloggers that introduced the whistleblowers to sheryl atkinson so she could air their stories on television.
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many other bloggers including myself took the ball that david, mike, and dave started and we ran with it. and it was not some botched sting operation. it was a scandal. and it was due to the efforts of new media and not old media that it got attention. we in the new media are open about our efforts to advocate on behalf of gun rights and the second amendment. back in 2011, atf was soliciting public comments on whether to implement a recording requirement that would require border states to inform them when someone baltimore than one semiautomatic rifle within a five five-day period. the gun control lobby had a letter generator. we didn't. with this assistance of one of my readers, we set up a letter generator with a prewritten letter. our letter generator sent 3,203
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letters to omb opposing this power grab. atf still implemented, but by god, they couldn't say there was no opposition. in terms of entertainment, there's been too many examples. an old journalist once said, freedom of the press belongs to those who own one. well, as a blogger and a podcaster, i do own one. and thanks to the internet, so does everyone in this room. when you post pictures of yourself taking a new shooter to the range on facebook, you're advancing the cause. when you post a picture of a new gun you just bought to gun you just bought to instagram, you are normalizing guns. when you treat a link to an article that is pro-gun, you are spreading the message. let's not forget tumblr, youtube, et cetera. it helps advance the gun culture. if there is one message i want
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to leave with you this morning, it is this. we are in a cultural war against strong, well-funded, top-down opponents. they have the mainstream media on their side. we have the grass roots. new media gives us the tools to conduct our cultural guerrilla war, build our grassroots support and spread our message of self-reliance, freedom and gun rights. thank you for your time today. [ applause ] >> thank you, john. and herb stepp, author and commentator, former commissioner under rudy giuliani and one of our board members will now take it away. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you, peggy. i realize as we're in the homestretch of the conference that i am the only person in the room who's been fired by michael
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bloomberg. [ applause ] i knew that would be the top credential i could point to. i wish i could report to you i was exercising my second amendment rights in lower manhattan, but it was mundane, the new marry placed virtually all the commissioners of giulia giuliani. i'm not sure cameras can pick this up, but for the audience at home, we have hundreds and hundreds of prosecond amendment people here, mostly in black ties and evening gowns. we have a daunting task as our other panelists have pointed out. we're dealing with an emotionally-driven conversation as dr. john lott has pointed out. a lot of the people he runs into in the media don't even understand the studies he's been doing linking private gun ownship to reductions in crime around the country and even around the world. in my hometown of new york city,
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discussions or interviews on the gun issue don't even acknowledge our viewpoint of pro second amendment doesn't come into the reporting. some are committed zealots. we heard about a website that deals with the gun issue. obviously, we're not going to get anywhere with them. but here's who we have to work on, and we've heard variations of this. the journalists, reporters on tv, newspaper, radio. some of them are lazy. but more likely, just like almost all of us, they're strained to the breaking point, too, with their jobs. so the new york daily news, you may have read, fired a bunch of their columnists and reporters. so where does that leave the rest of those folks to do? they've got, they're really scrambling to do their jobs. maybe they're covering one or two stories a day. probably covering three now. so they don't have the time to focus on the facts of our issue,
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or really many other issues. and then the cocktail party anti-gunners that we probably all encounter at a barbecue or wherev wherever, thinking this is the fashionable viewpoint. if your local club or state association has been wronged, i suggest, and it had is the executive summary of my talk. use honey, not vinegar in dealing with these folks. don't become the person that's easy to dismiss and just ignore. so if you've been wronged, appeal to the sense of fairness in the news organization. again, newspaper, radio station, tv station. you might go to the reporter directly. you might go to an editor. and then you can ask for rebuttal time in those cases. and first, i would say, establish some kind of sense of rapport. you might even commend a reporter on something else, you know, i really liked your
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coverage on x, on some other story that has nothing to do with the second amendment or guns, but you really did a number on us and ignored our view point or left x, y and z facts out of your report on the gun issue. invite the media to events. maybe it's to a target range, a shooting range or some other event where you're celebrating an anniversary for your local club which i think is coming up in western new york, right? what i would add, though, is don't just send a letter to the newspaper or the tv station, invite individuals. and i think you'll get a better response than what we heard about yesterday. to echo what we've heard before on this mpanel today, use socia media. get the word out through twitter, facebook, and some of the other sites that i'm not familiar with. there's a lot of gray hair in the room, but do what i do in my own situation. i sometimes post my column or a
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book review i've done on facebook or another site. i first got hope from my younger adult children. so whether you have kids at home or hot,not, a nephew or niece, some of the younger members of your clubs undoubtedly know this. so tap them. follow these reporters on twitter. they're always really eager to give you their twitter address and commend them on one report so you're establishing rapport so that you'll have some credibility and some, something in the bank when you talk to them about the gun issue, the second amendment issue. now if you've really suffered a hit, if needed, ask for a correction. i was able to get a retraction from the "new york times" when i was 20 years old, when i first met alan got leeb and we were working on james buckley's campaign. i got a letter to the editor, because my -- this is a
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ten-second count down to electric shock, by the way. some large papers have an ombudsman that's supposed to deal with issues of fairness and bias and errors. so you may ask if your local news organization has an ombudsman. maybe it's part time. maybe it goes right to an editor, but ask. give the story to a competitor. so maybe the tv station has wronged you, but maybe the radio station or the newspaper will write about it, especially if they're from different media groups. interest in local journalism schools. some journalism schools keep tabs on errors and bias in local media. speak with the publisher directly about what happened and why they're wrong and what we can do to correct it. tell don irvine at aim or brent bow zel about it. a brog, which we heard from mr.
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richardson. get a columnist interested. and website comments. so, to sum up, use honey versus vinegar. try to establish rapport with some of these folks who aren't the committed zealots against the second amendment. you have more options than ever to get the word out on the second amendment and correct the bias or errors in the media. thank you. [ applause ] >> thanks, herb. you narrowly avoided the knitting needle. i'm going to bring up cheryl todd on knnt, the patriot radio show. i'm sorry. >> kknt. >> and you've got five minutes, too. >> all right. good morning! i am cheryl todd of az
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firearms.com. we're a small mom and pop's gun shop a little west of here in avon dale, arizona. and as such, we are the backbone of this country and this industry. and we are, i'm also the host of the newest local gun talk radio show here in the valley, gun talk az on kknt, salem, the patriot radio. thank you. [ applause ] and i am so honored to have been asked to come here and speak to you today on the topic of how to use the media to protect our rights, because it's really something i'm passionate about, not only as a gun store owner, as a citizen of this fine country, but also as a mom, a wife and a grandma. it is so important. i agree with ronald reagan. he said that our freedoms are only one generation away from extinction. and i like to take that a step forward and say our freedoms are
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always one generation away from extinction. and it is our responsibility to pass that baton. and so, thinking about that, we decided, you know, we use the social media that my panelists are talking about, facebook, twitter, all of those fine things. but we wanted to go to a larger audience. so, for us, we decided, let's think about pod casts versus radio. pod cast is wonderful. we've got the polite society with us today. thank you for the work you're doing. [ applause ] and, but for us, we felt like it might be reinventing the wheel in a lot of ways, because we don't have what salem has, which is the infrastructure already in play. they've got the equipment, they've got the staff. they've got the signal, the audience. all i have to do is show up with my hour's worth of content, and i'm good to go, and every show becomes a recording, which then is a pod cast. so it's kind of the best of both worlds.
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it's very economical, affordable. if anybody's thinking about doing this in your cities n it your states, i would encourage you to look at the small stations, because there's a lot of value there. when you look at marketing dollars, it's a very smart way to get the message out that i think we all agree is so important. plus, radio gives us built-in revenue-building streams, sponsorships, on-air ads, we're building a referral website. so that will financially sustain the message you're trying to get out. all right, so we know how we're doing it. who are we speaking to? well, i'll quote another famous guy, bill gates. he said the future in leadership is in influence. how are we influencing by talking on the radio? i think just by speaking up. we are the majority, but we've been silent for way too long. so we've got all of us who involve our second amendment rights. we're never going to move from
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that position. we've got the whole anti-second amendment group who probably i are never going to move from their position. but there's this whole middle space. and these are the people who haven't decided yet, and they're trying to figure out, where are they on this spectrum. are guns good? are they evil? and so we try to engage in conversation and build relationship and influence and inform and educate. and the way we do that is we go to facebook and twitter, and we find those stories on local news stations that you're never going to find on cnn or fox, and we bring those into the show about good guy with a gun. safe, responsible gun owner, doing the right thing, protecting their family, protecting theirselves, and put that into people's consciousness, so they can think critically for themselves about where they might lie on this spectrum, and in doing so, we
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put the onus back where it belongings. we stop being in this defensive posture, this collective guilt we feel, every time a bad guy does something bad with a gun, we say that we have this foundation, it's called shall not be infringed. the shiniest example that the anti-second amendment crowd has of their gun-free zones and tight restrictions is what, d.c., chicago and detroit? well, once that middle space understands the true stories, the true news that's going on out there, it's going to put a lot more pressure on the anti group to step up their game and show why would that be the better choice. and finally, i'll just say that we try to do it with a lot, to resist the teeth the nashing, and eye rolling. being in a room with all of you fine people and hearing all of
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your stories, that is going to feed me. and i can go back out on the air waves. share your stories, drop that pond and start the ripple effect flowing, and i'm so excited to take all of your stories back to gun talk az. thank you so much for having me. [ applause ] >> thank you, cheryl. and batting cleanup on this panel is our good friend david workman, senior editor of the gun mag. [ applause ] >> i'm supposed to keep this as short as possible. so thank you very much. and -- [ laughter ] just a couple of pieces of advice, since i deal with the media a lot for the citizens committee, i'm also a member of the media, i'm a card-carrying
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journalist, been in the business for 40 years. if you do an interview with a reporter, don't show up wearing a tee shirt with a message on it with a four-letter word. don't try to tell them that there's black helicopters coming for you and that jade helm really is coming. wad that up in your tin foil hat and throw it in the trash. they will call you a moron. get right to the point. give them sound bites that they can use. use facts. be able to back those things up. we're in the middle of a lawsuit in washington state right now. i've spoken to several reporters about this. they send camera crews over to our offices.
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alan gottlieb has done the same thing. and i've been in the room for some of those. one thing i've found very useful in a situation with seattle which has done this $25 tax, and we are fighting that on the basis of it's a violation of the state preemption law. i printed out a copy of the state preemption law, highlighted where the seattle lawsuit is going wrong and explain this to the reporters. they look at that and they say, yeah, they really wrong, aren't they? that plants the seed that there's another side to this story. it gives them a resource that they can look at, and they can take this to their editor and they say yeah, well, wait a minute. those guys over there, they say this is against the law. they say the law is on their side, and guess what? looks like they're right. we do have the facts on our side. we have to use them wisely.
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as i said, you're an ambassador. you want to become a regular, reliable news contact for these people. they want to be able to call you to get the yoe blig tory comment. so make sure you give them something with good, raw meat in it. something they can use. i can't begin to tell you the number of stories that i have done where i'd call somebody up for an interview, ask them a bunch, and they get off on some tangent that has absolutely nothing to do with the story at hand. and i thank them politely and go find somebody else to talk to. so if you're going to establish this relationship with a member of the press, me included, be up front, be accurate. get to the point, get past the point and go about the rest of your lives.
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you're going to get the attention that this issue deserves, but you've got to do it right, and you've got to do it smart. and, again, thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you, dave. thanks for keeping it short. thank you all panelists, all great points, good information. we still hope to have q&a later in the morning, but if you need to talk to cheryl or john or don or herb or even dave, you know, you can catch them out in the hall. i'm going to bring up my next two panelists who are already behind, because they should have been up here ten minutes ago. but this will be an interesting one. and its title is oddities, movies, language, journalism and
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guns and only seven minutes each. and our panelists are alan corwin -- i'm not sure who that guy is. [ laughter ] >> sweet. >> and jay neil shoeman who has not been with us for several years. i think the last grpc he was at was our l.a. one. so that are bewill be a good ti all. we're going to start out with alan corwin, author, and bon vi von. >> i'm alan corwin of gun laws.com. and we won our first amendment lawsuit against phoenix, so our guns save lives bus stops are back up all over town!
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[ applause ] but the news media still refuses to say anything about your first gun. when did you ever hear the media say anything about getting a gun? am safely armed. and they don't say anything about this. the unbiased, fair and balanced news media sense censors this m. is anyone in this room pro-gun? can't hear you. are you pro gun? i still can't hear you, are you pro gun? well, some of you get the idea. i think being pro-gun is a really bad idea. and here's why. if you're pro gun, what's the
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other side? anti-gun. and they think guns are really bad. so they think being anti-gun is the right way to go. they think that's the moral high ground. you should be anti-gun, because guns are evil. and they kill us on the words all the time. and we let them. i think you're really pro rights. [ applause ] and if you're pro rights, what does that make them? anti-rights. and who wins that battle just on the words? you do. we're pro rights. they're antirights. you're pro freedom. they're antiself-defense, and we win that on the words. we have to win the war of the words. words matter.
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[ applause ] they want you to talk about assault weapons. assault is a kind of behavior. it is not a kind of hardware. when they, that's why they're having such a hard time defining it. when they introduced dianne feinstein's assault weapons bill it was 100 pages long. and on page 2, it says an assault weapon has a pistol grip. on page 13, i read these things. unlike anderson cooper and wolf blitzer. wolf? on page 13, it said a pistol grip is anything that can function as a grip. that's all firearms. they wanted a ban all firearms by calling them assault weapons and assault is a kind of behavior. they're using deceit to beat us. they can't win on the merits. so they use deceit.
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and that's what we face in the media. they talk about gun control. that's a false flag for citizen disarmament. we want to talk about crime control, and that's a phrase they don't use. words matter. and that british guy? who wasn't even a citizen? abusing our air waves? he kept asking why does anyone need, need, an ar-15 or 30-round magazine. that's a communist question. in america, ownership of property isn't based on need. like someone's in charge of deciding what you need? and therefore you can have it. you don't need ten pairs of shoes. you don't need a refrigerate irthe siir t the size of a closet. the real question is why does
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anybody want an ar 15 like many of you guys already own. you want it for the same reason the police do. and they still can't figure that out. you want it, because it's better. it's safer. it works great. it's accurate. it's easy to maintain. more ammunition is safer. they don't understand this. this is a question of wanting something in america. and they just don't get that. and now we're at the heart of the matter. the media doesn't ask the real questions and has become the greatest threat to american freedom that we face. [ applause ] anderson cooper, wolf blitzer, rachel, even o'reilly, when will they ask hillary or the guy currently in the white house, why do you want another background check?
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what about the one we currently have that according to the brady center whose statistics we can accurately face, what about the 2 million felons you say you've stopped with the current background check? 2 million felons? where are they? we have their names and addresses. we have their names and addresses. where are they? they tried to buy a gun. hillary, isn't that illegal? where are they? your husband passed this background check. well, wait a minute, i'm sorry, they're not all felons. some of them are crazy. you let them go? you want to spend money on another background check? why aren't the reporters asking this? i'll tell you why. they're not reporters. they're prop began diss with a dark side. [ applause ] were these criminals allowed to confront their accusers? were they even told what they're charged with? where's the aclu?
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these people who denied their rights by some kid in front of a computer in clarksburg, west virginia. where's the due process? who are these criminals that they stopped? we don't even know. and they're out running free, trying to buy guns, and they want another background check. they should spend some of that billion dollars that they want for another background check on dealing with the criminals they say they found who don't know what they're charged with, who weren't given a trial, and we don't know anything about them. it's a fraud. and the people posing as reporters aren't asking these questions of any of the presidential candidates. that's what we face in the media. it's not media. it's propaganda. and the trapdoor's going to open in a moment here. [ applause ] well, they've got a guy running who's a socialist. socialism is the archenemy of us
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and capitalism. and they're practically promoting him. we stand for wealth. and they're promoting the guy instead of challenging him. why isn't the lame stream, mainstream media asking him, who's going to pay for free college? you have to come to alan gottlieb's gun rights policy conference to get this kind of truth. or to my website, gun rights.com, to get more of this kind of truth. and that's the problem with the media. that's what we face. that's where you'll find out what black lives are really about, or the don't encourage evil initiative that we're introducing. that's why you come here. that's what we really face. i'm alan corwin of gun laws.com. thank you all for being here and god bless america. thank you very much.
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[ applause ] >> thanks, alan. thank you so much, alan. and now we'll hear from neil schulman. neil? [ applause ] >> i'm j neil schulman, author and film maker, and i made this movie, "alongside night" about the american revolution returning to our time, and we gave copies to just about everybody who attended this conference. [ applause ] and for those of you watching on c-span, you can go to amazon.com and buy it. so let's talk about the first american revolution. by the rude ridge that arched flag. here once the embattled farmers stood and fired the shot heard round the world. ralph waldo emerson wrote those words about felons illegally in
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possession of firearms who on april 19th, 1775 used those illegal guns to shoot at police, legally appointed by the governor to confiscate their illegal guns. in the exchange of gunfire, lee cops were killed and nine cops were wounded. sheriff david clark, i have bad news for you, this country was founded by cop killers. roughly ll lly 226 years later passenger jets disarmed firearms by united states federal law were overpowered by jihad eye militia men armed only with box cutters. four per aircraft. two of those captured aircraft were used as weapons to crash into twin towers. and one in washington, d.c., and
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one flight where the disarmed passengers fought the jihad eye militia men who rather than surrender crashed the plane into a field near shanksville, pennsylvania. in subsequent wars, it cost the united states thousands of more lives, trillions of dollars and a wounded warrior class. gun control gave us 9 /19/11. [ applause ] i'm a writer and film maker who's sold stories and screenplays to hollywood production companies, including an original script for "the twilight zone." march 7, 1986. this was given out as a counter point to the movies that show
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firearms as dangers to public safety. writers and producing led by harvey weinstein hate public gun ownership. but they make movies full of guns. hollywood gets past its position by using guns to shoot off the heads of zombies or being used by cops. shows are dominated by military personnel and cops as the armed heroes. on the other side is a political right wing, dominated by politicians who assign absolute human rights only to the unborn. anyone breathing air has only government-granted privileges, driving licenses, and so forth. they talk about the right to work but want to build a wall to keep out workers. they want gun rights only for the law-abiding. in other words, any one who
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uniquely complies with thousands of tear ran cal regulations. i'm here to agree with the signers of the declaration of independence, a legal document more binding than the constitution that when any government, police and regulations become oppressive of the people's rights the people have the moral right to resist abuse under color of law and existing federal law agrees with me. look up title xviii us code 242. which says that any official who violates constitutionally protected rights is acting as a criminal and has zero legal authority to do so [ applause ] title xviii, u.s. code section 242. title xviii u.s. code section
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242. by the way, the second amendment in a recent seventh circuit applies to illegal immigrants, and i'm going to tell you something that's not pleasant to hear. it also applies to drug gangs. nowhere in the u.s. constitution is the word drug used. if it ain't listed in the constitution of the federal government, anything they do on this subject is void ab inish yoe. that's how black lives matter can get together. thank you. >> thank you, neil, thank you, neil, and thank you again, alan. great, i'm going to bring up my next panel. i've got my cheat sheet for. which is outreach in a brave new
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world. and other participants are phil watson of the second amendment foundation who helped put together our shoot on friday, so many of you probably got to meet him. brian hartang, and andrew gottlieb, the newest member of the staff team, director of outreach and development. i'm here to tell andrew, that yes, you can work with your parents. so we'll let andrew start it off with about eight minutes, andrew. [ applause ] >> hi there, everybody. so i got a question for all of you to start. how many of you are under the age of 30? [ laughter ] so we not beyond me.
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how many of you are active on facebook? that's good to see. how about twitter? any one on reddit? that's good to see. so these are where people my age, people under the age of 30 are getting their news. 68% of people would rather go online to get their news than read a newspaper or another trusted site. and we believe it. so we all talk about media and how we deal with it every day, they're always against us. social media is the one outlet that we go et to shape. there is no bias other than what we want it to be. i put in all your folders, if you still have them, a sticker that has #2 a, which is basically the face of our movement on social media. anything that's searched by that comes up. everybody uses it, including us, and that's how we get our messages out. the difference with social media
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is, it's all about people, not money. so, because of this, because we are that active silent majority, we are the majority. we get to control what's out. so the more we can post, obviously, the more we get our message out what we want to say, and we get the younger crowd, which is what we need. this room shows that we have a lot of older people. and like we've said in the past, we lose our rights one generation at a time and our generation is the one we have to capture so that that doesn't happen. second amendment, number two, for a reason. just like in texas, where we have our 3d printed case with the first amendment, the second amendment is also involved and weigh have a generation told by the media what is right and what's wrong, and every day we have a fight where it's hard to go against media that tells us we're crazy. so the whole idea that i want to talk about is that we need to be more educating on social media, more open, less arguments, more
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education. so i want to see everybody be more active in the future. i want to see you posting the hash tags. i want to sigh getting on these new sites so we can shape the movement. we get to control what's there. let's not lose it. i have a question for all of you. how many of you are going to sign up after this, how many of you are going to get on reddit, facebook and twitter and actually post and be active? >> what's a reddit? >> google it. so what reddit is, reddit is basically a forum, an open site where anyone can post whatever they want, it's all sorted into categories. it's a lot like wikipedia in a sense, but it's all driven daily. and we actually get quite a bit of traffic on our website from social media aspects from younger people. and when we don't have anything to teach them to really get our side across, we lose them.
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and so we really need to be active on these sities on all this media so we can contract the message we want to get across and get them. because we cannot afford to lose another generation and lose our rights. thank you guys, very much. [ applause ] >> what a guy. thank you. thank you very much, andrew. and we'll bring brian up next. >> good morning. name is brian hartang, and i'm the president of rapid response television. and i'm going to talk a little more about traditional media. we started rapid response television about three years ago. and really, it was in response to, i was in the outreach fund-raising industry for many, many, many years, but one of the things that became apparent, really about five years ago, is that we were all fishing in the
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same pond. meaning that when you looked at who we were doing outreach to, who we were trying to approach, everybody was basically preaching to the choir. you know, what, what we're after is we're not after reaching out to folks in this room. people that spend a weekend at a gun rights policy conference, we don't need to reach out. you guys are engaged. you want to reach out to the majority out there that agree on second amendment rights but aren't necessarily engaged and the way we fail to do that and reap that audience, because social media and regular media, where do they get the names? how do they decide who to go out to? a lot of times it's because of somebody who has engaged in, somebody who has done something to get on the radar screen. but we're after the millions of people that are not on the radar screen out there that do believe
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in second amendment rights, and we do a lot of work with saf, an and you might have seen some of the ads that we do. but we do it through tv, but we do it a little different than a lot of the ads that you see out there. we don't do psa ads. we don't do nice, fancy, feel-good ads that just tell a story our ads, the way we do it, we use traditional, direct marketing, direct response techniques like you see when you sell products on tv, and we mirror that with how do people, the traditional techniques for fund-raising at outreach. so when we produce an ad, we really accomplish three things, one, it's down and dirty and gets to the point and gets people's attention. the second goal is to get people to look at the tv. what is this? what are they talking about? second thing we do for the first 30 seconds of a one-minute spot is hit them between the eyes on
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an issue. we're trying to get people to believe in second amendment rights and our freedoms, and we want them to rolook at the tv a say yeah. you're damn right, i agree with that. and when we raise money, we want them to participate and make it as easy as possible. whether it's call a number or go online and sign a petition to send millions of names and voices to congress before a vote. whether it is to get people to become members and gain members for organizations like saf, or whether it's to shut down the phones. one of the things we have is we make it very easy for people to call in and not just put a phone number that goes to the general congressional office, because that's nice, and it's a minor
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irritant to congress men and senators when you call their office in d.c. it's a real irritant when you load up every single phone number that they have in their home states, in their regional offices and we have technology that will actually search out and find a free line. so, if they have 15 numbers, we'll load all 15 numbers. and when you call in, we have technology that will actually find the next line. and when you shut down all their lines, then people are going to start calling them, and they're going to start caring. in tv, second amendment has been one of the biggest issues and the most passionate issue that we've done. and there's some reasons for that on tv. part of it is that there i