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The New York Times’ Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

UPDATE: Oh my: NRA spokespersons told T. Becket Adams of the Washington Examiner that the New York Daily News, New York Times, and MSNBC never contacted them to verify the gun ban rumor.


"Anyone who says that is completely wrong," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told the Examiner. "Firing pins are removed from the display items found through the convention center and elsewhere. That's common practice. But attendees can definitely bring their firearms to the convention." 


NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker suggested in a phone call with the Examiner Friday morning that reporters likely relied on misinformation released earlier this week by Shannon Watts of the Michael Bloomberg-funded anti-gun group "Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America."

"No one contacted us," Baker told the Examiner. "These report are factually incorrect."

**Original Post**

The Times needs to stay away from Second Amendment issues. If they wish to continue covering such topics, they need to nix these haphazard pieces that aren’t really true.  In fact, it's becoming something of a comedic exercise.

Seventy-thousand people are expected to attend the National Rifle Association’s convention opening on Friday in Tennessee, and not one of them will be allowed to come armed with guns that can actually shoot. After all the N.R.A. propaganda about how “good guys with guns” are needed to be on guard across American life, from elementary schools to workplaces, the weekend’s gathering of disarmed conventioneers seems the ultimate in hypocrisy.

There will be plenty of weapons in evidence at the hundreds of display booths, but for convention security the firing pins must be removed. So far, there has been none of the familiar complaint about infringing supposedly sacrosanct Second Amendment rights — the gun lobby’s main argument in opposing tighter federal background checks on gun buyers after the 2012 gun massacre of schoolchildren in Connecticut. Anyone interested in buying the guns on display, many of them adapted from large-magazine battlefield weapons, will have to apply later at a federally licensed gun dealer where, sensibly enough, background checks are required.

The feature of this convention, beyond what is being advertised as “nine acres of guns,” will be the parade of Republican presidential aspirants intent on impressing the N.R.A.’s membership, which is claimed to be more than 4.5 million. Virtually all the potential candidates have been invited to speak, from Jeb Bush to Donald Trump. (Democrats need not apply.)


First of all, is the New York Times seriously mocking the National Rifle Association for following the law and placing safety standards at their own convention? That’s bush league; any reasonable gun owner follows the laws of the respective states in which they are in–and exhibits basic gun safety. As Ed wrote over at Hot Air, “The entire first paragraph was entirely ignorant of the NRA’s actual position and the reality of gun ownership.” Oh, and it’s not true:

The National Rifle Association and the Music City Center have confirmed that gun owners with the proper carry permits can bring their guns with them into the center during the association's convention, which will be held there this weekend.

A spokeswoman for the center said its policy is to follow state law and to allow the organizations holding events inside the facility to decide whether they wish for people to carry their guns inside.

Music City Center spokeswoman Mary Brette Clippard confirmed to The Tennessean on Tuesday afternoon that the NRA had no problem with gun owners with the proper gun permits bringing their weapons inside.

NYT: “Anyone interested in buying the guns on display, many of them adapted from large-magazine battlefield weapons, will have to apply later at a federally licensed gun dealer where, sensibly enough, background checks are required.”

Well, yeah; the overwhelming majority of gun dealers have a Federal Firearms Licenses (FFL), which makes background checks at their establishments mandatory. The Manchin-Toomey bill, which was fecklessly debated in early 2013, had nothing in it which would've prevented Newtown, nor would it have increased safety by expanding background checks to include private sales (with family member exemptions), which constitutes a minuscule share of gun sales/transfers overall. John Lott wrote all about this in January of 2013 at the height of background check monomania. We saw the resurfacing of a horribly dishonest statistic that 40 percent of all gun sales are done without a background checks [emphasis mine]:


Actually, the number reported was a bit lower, 36 percent, and as we will see the true number of guns “sold” without check is closer to 10 percent. More important, the number comes from a 251-person survey on gun sales two decades ago, early in the Clinton administration. More than three-quarters of the survey covered sales before the Brady Act instituted mandatory federal background checks on February 28, 1994.

In addition, guns are not sold in the same way today that they were sold two decades ago. The number of federally licensed firearms dealers (FFLs) today is only a fraction of what it was. Today there are only 118,000; while back in 1993 there were over 283,000. Smaller dealers, many operating out of their homes, were forced out by various means, including much higher costs for licenses.

The survey asked buyers if they thought they were buying from a licensed firearms dealer. While all FFLs do background checks, those perceived as being FFLs were the only ones counted. Yet, there is much evidence that survey respondents who went to the very smallest FFLs, especially the “kitchen table” types, had no inkling that the dealer was actually “licensed.”

Many buyers seemed to think that only “brick and mortar” stores were licensed dealers, and thus reported not buying from an FFL when in fact they did. But the high figure comes primarily from including such transactions as inheritances or gifts from family members.

Putting aside these various biases, if you look at guns that were bought, traded, borrowed, rented, issued as a requirement of the job, or won through raffles, 85 percent went through FFLs; just 15 percent were transferred without a background check.

If you include these transfers either through FFLs or from family members, the remaining transfers falls to 11.5 percent.

We don’t know the precise number today, but it is hard to believe that it is above single digits.


Hardly enough to warrant federal action. Also, this is a trade show, not an arms bazaar, as Charles Cooke noted. Bob Owens detailed the dynamics of a gun trade show, along with taking Shannon Watts and the New York Daily News to the woodshed for just being wrong about some of the protocols ahead of the NRA convention.

As for gun sales at the convention, they are simply following—once again—federal and state laws on the purchase and possession of firearms. Vendors typically only bring representative display firearms to large outdoor shows like the NRA annual meetings, and attendees can order firearms that they like at the event. The vendors will take these orders, and then send the ordered firearms to the customer’s specified local gun dealer, at which point they will have a NICS background check and any additional local checks before the firearm is transferred to them.

The “news story” is that the National Rifle Association and its members are more concerned than most about following the law and being good, law-abiding citizens.

Shannon Watts has made fools out of the media, once again.

As for the partisanship dig in the piece, the Times probably wouldn’t have added the gratuitous swipe if they knew nearly 30 percent of Democrats are gun owners. I wouldn’t be shocked if a few are attending the conference right now.

If you break down the numbers (based on 2008 exits), 24 percent of women, who identify as Democratic­–own firearms, along with 40 percent of Democratic men. Yes, not nearly as high as those in the Republican column, but significant nonetheless. Just as it might come as a surprise to some pro-abortion Democrats that 30 percent of their party members are pro-life.


In the end, this piece is just another shoddy attempt to denigrate the civil rights of law-abiding Americans.

Last note: Here are a couple pro-Second Amendment Democrats

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