Monday, August 18, 2014

Conservatives Should Rally In Opposition To Police Firepower

Regardless of your opinion on recent events in Ferguson, MO, anyone who cares about his or her constitutional rights should be very concerned with the level of firepower that is being granted to local law enforcement agencies these days. Tanks and drones do not belong in the hands of local law enforcement.

Despite what the idiots in the liberal media might say, conservatives and libertarians have been trying to draw attention to this issue for years. In 2012, Sen. Tom Coburn released a comprehensive report illustrating how local law enforcement agencies have come more and more to resemble military units. Glenn Beck has also brought attention to the issue, as has the National Review’s Charles Cooke. Cooke wrote in June:

“Historians looking back at this period in America’s development will consider it to be profoundly odd that at the exact moment when violent crime hit a 50-year low, the nation’s police departments began to gear up as if the country were expecting invasion — and, on occasion, to behave as if one were underway.”

Following the events in Ferguson, Senator Rand Paul also spoke out on this topic, writing:

“Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies—where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement.”

But the unfortunate truth is that voices like Paul’s are the exception in today’s Republican Party. The RINO establishment has remained silent on the growth of police firepower and even encouraged it.

When an amendment was introduced to the Defense Appropriations Bill in June to prohibit the transfer of military weapons to local law enforcement, only nineteen Republicans voted for it. In 2012, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell of West Virginia recommended that police use drones to hunt American citizens on domestic soil (something that has since become commonplace.)

Even the NRA (or at least one of its paid commentators) has come out in support of police militarization. Earlier this year, NRA commentator Dom Raso released two videos on the issue despite protests from the pro-2A community.

The Republican establishment seems to be more interested in pleasing defense companies who view police departments as customers than they are in protecting the civil rights of American citizens. They need to get their priorities straight and take a stand for basic conservative principles.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

House Bill Would Keep Guns Away From Federal Regulators

Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT) has introduced a bill to de-militarize federal regulatory agencies such as the Department of Education and the IRS.

Unbeknownst to most Americans, these agencies and dozens of others employ a steadily increasing number of armed law enforcement officers and have acquired frightening amounts of arms and ammunition. Stewart’s bill, entitled the Regulatory Agency Demilitarization Act, seeks to strip these agencies of their law enforcement authority and take away their weapons.

“I understand that federal agents must be capable of protecting themselves,” Stewart said. “But what we have observed goes far beyond providing necessary protection…Not only is it overkill, but having these highly armed units within dozens of agencies is duplicative, costly, heavy handed, dangerous and destroys any sense of trust between citizens and the federal government.”

In 2002, the Homeland Security Act gave dozens of non-traditional agencies the power to arrest people and use military grade firearms. Since then, dozens of agencies from the Department of Labor to the Peace Corps have hired armed officers and employed SWAT – type units.

“Like a lot of times, we write bad legislation in the heat of a crisis,” Stewart said. “We did it with Dodd Frank in reaction to the banking crisis. So that’s exactly what happened here, they gave this authority to federal agencies that never had it before. We have to pull it back now because it creates so much distrust with the America people.”

In recent years, there have been a number of disturbing reports of federal agencies abusing their law enforcement powers.

In 2012, the Social Security Administration requested 174,000 hollow point bullets. More recently, the USDA recently requested the use of .40 caliber submachine guns. And earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security contracted to purchase 704 million rounds over the next 4 years, or 2,500 rounds of ammo per officer, per year.

These requests go far beyond what is necessary and raise legitimate questions about what the ammo is actually intended for. Outside of a war zone, why would DHS need 2,500 rounds of ammunition per officer each year?

Congress should pass the Regulatory Agency Demilitarization Act and put all the questions to rest.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tennessee Senate Primary: Keeping RINOs In Check

With one day left before the Republican Senate primary in Tennessee, supporters of constitutional conservative Joe Carr are refusing to back down. The latest polling shows that State Rep. Joe Carr is trailing Sen. Lamar Alexander but remains within striking distance.

Released on Friday by Red Racing Horses, the latest poll found Alexander ahead of Carr by twelve points, 41 to 29. Twenty percent of voters said they were undecided. If those late-deciding voters rally behind Carr, the unthinkable could happen — Alexander could actually lose.

Carr has received a boost from a record – breaking early voter turnout — proof, he says, that his campaign is building momentum.

Even if Carr isn’t able to close the gap in time, this primary shows yet again that conservatives aren’t happy with the good old boys that the party sends to Washington. At the very least, the pressure will remind Alexander and the rest of the establishment that it has to keep in line.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Does Lamar Alexander Actually Have The NRA’s Support?

Earlier this week, I wrote that the NRA endorsed Lamar Alexander in the upcoming Senate primary in Tennessee. This information came from an article published in The Hill last Sunday, which stated:

“Alexander dismisses criticisms that he’s moved too far to the center, citing his NRA endorsement and ‘A’ rating with the National Right to Life.”

It has since been brought to my attention that the NRA has not formally endorsed either candidate in this race. Either Alexander has been lying about being endorsed by the NRA, or the reporter misconstrued his comments.

It turns out that Alexander has also made misleading statements about his NRA rating. On his website, he claims that the NRA gave him an A rating in its most recent assessment of him earlier this month, while the NRA’s website states that he was downgraded to an A -. His opponent, Joe Carr, was given an A.

I take responsibility for mistakenly reporting the NRA’s endorsement, and in the future I will do a better job of checking my facts. But I also believe that Sen. Alexander needs to be less misleading about his support from the NRA.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

NRA Endorses Sen. Lamar Alexander Despite Anti-Gun Votes

The NRA is supporting moderate Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander in his primary against Tea Party challenger Joe Carr, despite Alexander’s poor track record on gun issues in Congress. Alexander is merely the latest in a string of questionable endorsements that the group has made in this year’s Republican primaries.

Alexander sided with Democrats when gun rights were on the line in 2013. When Rand Paul tried to lead a Republican filibuster of the Obama’s background check bill, Sen. Alexander joined Democrats and provided a crucial vote to allow debate. He also voted to confirm Obama’s gun-grabbing Attorney General, Eric Holder.

Several other gun groups are opposing Alexander, including Gun Owners of America and the National Association for Gun Rights.

In their endorsement of Joe Carr, GOA said: “Washington establishment insiders — who care more about their reelections than your constitutional rights — are being defeated by an electorate fed up with the status quo. It’s time for the same kind of change in Tennessee.”

Unlike Alexander, Carr has an unblemished record on gun rights. In its endorsement, GOA said:

“Time after time in the state legislature, Rep. Carr stood up for gun owners’ rights. Joe voted to protect the privacy of concealed carry permit holders, and he voted to expand concealed carry to all restaurants so you are better able to protect yourself and your family. Joe voted to eliminate the unconstitutional requirement that gun buyers submit a thumbprint to Tennessee firearms dealers."

GOA added that Alexander has a “C” rating from the group and he refuses to fill out the group’s survey.

This is far from the first time that the NRA has chosen to support a moderate Republican with a weak record on guns over a more worthy conservative challenger. The group endorsed several moderate candidates in 2014 including Mitch McConnell, Mike Simpson and Thad Cochran.

Like Alexander, Mitch McConnell won the NRA’s support despite having a history of weakness on gun issues. In 1991, McConnell voted for Joe Biden’s crime bill that imposed a waiting period on handgun sales. In 2004, he supported Barbara Boxer’s bill to prohibit the sale of guns without a safety storage device.

McConnell also voted with the Democrats to allow debate on Obama’s background check bill. Just like Alexander.

The NRA needs to go back to picking candidates according to their record on gun rights — period. If gun issues are not important to the NRA, then what is?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

“Guns Are Welcome” Sign Brings In Business

A restaurant owner in Tennessee says that posting a “Guns Are Welcome” sign on the front door of her establishment has brought in new customers.

Sharma Floyd, owner of Shiloh Brew and Chew in Maryville, TN, posted the sign after reading about a store in North Carolina that was robbed after it banned guns.

“They had put up a sign that said ‘No Weapons Allowed’ and they were robbed at gunpoint two days later. The convenience store manager was shot,” Floyd told the television station WBIR. “That got me thinking”.

Floyd decided to put up a sign of her own, welcoming people carrying guns to her establishment.

Floyd was simply trying to keep her restaurant safe, but she soon learned that the sign was also good advertising. She has gotten at least twenty new customers since posting it. 

“I have had so many customers take pictures of the sign, ask to meet me in person, and thank me,” Floyd said. “There have been as many as eight people in here at one time who I know for a fact had guns. And no one would have known it except I know them personally.”

Floyd isn't the only business owner who is finding that welcoming guns is good for business. In the town of Rifle, Colorado, a restaurant called Shooters advertises itself as a “gun-friendly” dining establishment. Guns line the restaurant’s walls, and one waitress even carries a Ruger Blackhawk .357 revolver with a bandolier of live ammunition.

These businesses are reacting to big chains like Target and Starbucks that have banned guns in recent months. 

"As the owner, I wanted to stand my ground," Floyd told WBIR. "I have that constitutional right. If you like it, that's great, if you don't, I'm sorry for you. I can't change who I am."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Comic Book Icon Archie Dies For Gun Control

The publishers of Life With Archie have announced that Archie Andrews will be killed in the next edition of the comic while protecting a gay politician who is trying to push gun control.

The politician is Archie’s best friend, a former soldier named Kevin Keller who entered politics in order to pass gun control after his husband was shot in an attempted robbery. Archie dies protecting Kevin from a would-be political assassin. The assassin’s identity will be revealed when the comic is released tomorrow.

If Archie’s death sounds like a ridiculous liberal publicity stunt, that’s because it is. Life With Archie underwent a “modern” makeover when it was re-launched in 2010. The new version of the comic targeted liberal readers by dealing with so-called “socially relevant” issues like gay marriage.

Archie’s re-invention generated lots of awards from left-wing organizations, but it must not have attracted many actual readers because Life With Archie will end permanently in August.

Apparently the publishers decided to try one last publicity stunt before pulling the plug. It’s sad to see a classic comic that was created in order to spread a Christian message end in such a silly and cynical way.