Caught in the media’s crosshairs. May 20, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 34 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Was the National Rifle Association playing some sort of joke on the media? In the press room at the NRA’s annual gathering at the Houston convention center was a large cheese plate laid out for the fourth estate’s snacking pleasure. It wasn’t just a proletarian platter of cheddar cubes, either. There was brie and lots of chalky bits that contained herbs and looked like they’d been aged in caves in France. I couldn’t identify all the varieties because, like most journalists, I’m not nearly as sophisticated as I like to think I am. But it sure seemed as if the NRA was subtly reminding the media of the class differences between the cheese-eating liberals who populate newsrooms and the gun owners out in the real ’Merica.
It turns out I was the one making unjustified assumptions. With 5 million members nationwide and 86,000 people attending the convention in Houston, the NRA cuts across pretty much all strata of American life. Shortly after encountering the cheese plate, I walked past a booth on the convention floor for the NRA Wine Club. “Selections include a perfectly balanced, nicely concentrated extraordinary Pinot Noir which is both floral and fruitful, a charming and silky French Bordeaux blend and a versatile California Cabernet Sauvignon that showcases impressions of blackberry, dark cherry and cocoa.” Nice pairings for, yes, a cheese plate.
The NRA offers an incredible array of services to members that have nothing to do with guns—if you ever need a reverse mortgage, the NRA can help. Across acres of convention space, there were civic and charitable organizations doing all sorts of admirable things for veterans, handicapped people, and at-risk youth. You couldn’t walk 10 feet without tripping over reams of gun safety information, and there were almost as many vendors selling gun safes and other devices to secure firearms as there were guns and ammo manufacturers. Yes, there were thousands of guns on display, but this wasn’t a conventional gun show. Live ammunition and guns weren’t for sale, and they were all under glass or attached to display cases for safe handling.
Most people haven’t read anything about the NRA that doesn’t begin and end with its supposed culpability in mass shootings. As the news reports started coming back from the NRA convention, it was clear the media, still reeling from the failure of gun control legislation in the Senate, were out to exact their revenge. NPR went with the headline “At NRA Convention, Dueling Narratives Displayed With Guns.” Dueling, however, implies an equal fight. In fact, there were about 20-40 antigun protesters across the street and some 86,000 Second Amendment boosters inside the convention center. Yet NPR chronicled the protesters in comically florid prose: “As the young woman, raw with emotion, stands in the wind, thousands of people stream by without noticing her, eager to get inside to the convention.”
Though no honest person would contend that the NRA crowd was anything but exceptionally polite and orderly, journalists venturing inside the convention did their best to discredit the NRA by going freak hunting. Some of this was more odd than objectionable—see BuzzFeed’s slideshow “The 20 Most Important Beards at the NRA Convention.” But among thousands of attendees and over a thousand vendors hawking every imaginable gun-related product, finding a few objectionable people was a mathematical certainty. Sure enough, some yahoo was selling a target that looked like a zombie Obama. The NRA quickly moved to ban it from the convention, but not before every media outlet on the planet picked up the story and Al Sharpton let loose on MSNBC.
Amid the hyperbole and irrational hatred of gun ownership, there might have been a legitimate story. Based on the wares at this year’s NRA convention, the gun industry has a faddish and lamentable obsession with zombie- and video game-inspired products. You could say the same of the movie industry, though.
Meanwhile, the media did their level best to prove they were not in a position to look down their nose at gun owners. Guardian columnist Ana Marie Cox took aim at NRA keynote speaker Glenn Beck and misfired badly. Beck “let loose with a metaphor regarding the ‘full armor of God’ astonishing for its cohesiveness, if not its imagery: ‘[W]e will fight by strapping on the full armor of God. We will stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit.’ ” Beck says many ill-advised things, but the fact Cox didn’t know he was quoting a well-known passage from Ephesians suggests she’s not the person to put him in his place.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:01 PM, Apr 11, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Geoffrey Norman on the Senate's consideration of Harry Reid's gun control legislation.
Our national story is firearms all the way downMar 4, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 24 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Among the guns I own, my favorite is a Pennsylvania long rifle made for me by an old friend. It is a flintlock, shoots a .50 caliber ball, and uses black powder. The wood is rich, sinuous, curly maple. The trigger guard and butt plate are brass. It is a beautiful piece, and only the most ardent anti-gun zealot could resist its palpable appeal. First you admire it, then you want to hold it, and next you feel the urge to put it up to your shoulder and fire it.
The absurd battle to use terror to further the anti-Second Amendment agenda. 1:49 PM, May 7, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
Mayor Mike is coming for your guns, but not even this administration -- and this Congress -- is naive enough to play along. Bloomberg appealed to Congress this week to address what is oddly being called the "terror gap," but which supporters of Second Amendment rights better describe as "secret government lists." The question is this: Should U.S. citizens on terror watch lists be allowed to purchase firearms? The answer from Congress is yes (though the Huffington Post and the New York Times would have you believe it's just Republicans obstructing Bloomberg's "common sense" proposal).
Nowhere is perfectly safe--give the kids a fighting chance.12:00 AM, May 5, 2010 • By C.J. CIARAMELLA
A little more than three years ago, Seung-Hui Cho entered a building at Virginia Tech, chained the doors shut and began shooting. He killed 32 people--the deadliest school shooting in United States history. The tragedy sparked a nationwide review of campus safety measures. Colleges began coordinating with local police to update old and outdated emergency policies. But the shooting also caused many students, dismayed by the poor emergency response by Virginia Tech administrators and police, to start looking toward ensuring their own safety. A movement was born to roll back long-standing handgun bans at colleges, led by the group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.
10:40 AM, Apr 28, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Gov. Rick Perry carries a pistol when he does trail runs in places where there are predators. On this particular sunrise run, a coyote was coming after his dog. I'll just reproduce the quotes, which make me wish I lived in Texas, where this is just plain talk from a politician:
"Don't attack my dog or you might get shot ... if you're a coyote,"
"They're very wily creatures."
Real America. 12:55 PM, Apr 26, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
There is one sector of the economy that seems to be thriving in these hard times -- the gun industry. At least, that's the impression I got from a Sunday morning ride down to the Nation's Gun Show in Chantilly, Virginia.
With T-shirts emblazoned with provocative logos -- "I'm still clinging to my guns" -- it's pretty clear that the industry's success rides on the coattails of the president, who is largely seen as being against guns and for greater government control. But other than those few T-shirts, and stickers claiming, "Guns Save Lives," it was a surprisingly apolitical affair.
9:55 AM, Mar 31, 2010 • By C.J. CIARAMELLA
A federal judge last Friday upheld the District of Columbia's handgun regulations, finding them within Constitutional bounds and declaring public safety to be a compelling governmental interest. From the Washington Post:
U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina found that the new regulations were crafted to make the streets safer and aren't so restrictive that they violate the Second Amendment guarantee of a person's right to own a gun for self-defense.
The Second Amendment and the privileges or immunities clause.5:30 PM, Mar 4, 2010 • By ADAM J. WHITE
Two years ago, the Supreme Court heard the hotly controversial Heller case, in which it ultimately recognized a personal right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. That case, which pertained only to federal (and District of Columbia) gun regulations, not state or other local gun regulations, sharply divided activists along partisan lines.
The Court is now considering McDonald v. City of Chicago, a follow-up case asking whether persons have an equivalent right against state and local governments. The familiar partisan divide has returned, but this time the more heated divide separates dueling factions on the right. Even more surprising is the subject of the debate: A 137-year-old line of Supreme Court precedent involving the Fourteenth Amendment.
11:50 AM, Mar 3, 2010 • By C.J. CIARAMELLA
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in McDonald v. Chicago -- the case challenging Chicago's handgun ban. Judging from the transcripts, it looks like a majority of justices favor applying the Second Amendment to the states. SCOTUSblog has an extended analysis of the day's proceedings:
"I just got the feeling that I'm on my own."9:50 AM, Mar 2, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
He's perhaps an unlikely plaintiff in a challenge to Chicago's hand gun ban before the Supreme Court this week, but the 76-year-old South Side Democrat says his right to defend himself isn't about party.
"I live and think like a human being, concerned for others as I am myself," he told Fox News.
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