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'I REMEMBER EVERYTHING': SHOT IN AMBUSH DAVENPORT OFFICER SAYS HOLSTERED GUN SAVED HIM. THE SENSATION OF A HOT POKER GOING THROUGH HIS LEG TOLD DAVENPORT POLICE SGT. SCOTT LANSING HE’D BEEN HIT. IT WASN’T UNTIL HE GOT TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM AND BEGAN TO UNDRESS THAT HE REALIZED HOW. CLOSE HE’D COME TO TAKING MORE THAN ONE BULLET. “I WAS HANDING OVER MY HOLSTER AND GUN, AND THEY SAW MY HOLSTER,” LANSING SAID. “THE BULLET HIT THE HOLSTER, THEN THE METAL SLIDE ON MY GLOCK. I DIDN’T KNOW I GOT HIT THERE. “MY GUN POTENTIALLY SAVED MY LIFE. WHEN THEY DON’T NEED IT (THE WEAPON) FOR EVIDENCE, I’LL PROBABLY PUT IT IN A SHADOW BOX.PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN CAMPAIGNED ON UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR GUN PURCHASES AND SUCH CHECKS REQUIRE A FIREARM REGISTRY IN ORDER TO BE ENFORCEABLE. THE “GUN SAFETY” PORTION OF BIDEN’S CAMPAIGN WEBSITE CLEARLY STATES, “BIDEN WILL ENACT UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECK LEGISLATION.” THE WEBSITE STIPULATES: BIDEN WILL ENACT UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECK LEGISLATION, REQUIRING A BACKGROUND CHECK FOR ALL GUN SALES WITH VERY LIMITED EXCEPTIONS, SUCH AS GIFTS BETWEEN CLOSE FAMILY MEMBERS.MILLIONS OF AMERICANS HAVE RECENTLY BECOME FIRST-TIME GUN OWNERS. HOW CAN YOU HELP THEM LEARN ABOUT FIREARMS SAFETY AND RESPONSIBILITY? HOW CAN YOU INFORM THEM ABOUT DEFENDING THEIR RIGHT TO DEFEND THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES? IF YOU’RE AN NRA CERTIFIED INSTRUCTOR, YOU KNOW THE WORDS FROM YOUR CREDENTIALS CARD: “POSSESSION OF THIS CARD CARRIES RESPONSIBILITY FOR REPRESENTING THE WHOLE SHOOTING FRATERNITY TO THOSE WITH WHOM YOU DEAL AS WELL AS THE COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE. MUCH OF WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF GUNS, SHOOTING AND SHOOTERS DEPENDS ON YOU.”LAWMAKER TENSIONS ARE RUNNING HIGH THIS WEEK AFTER A REPUBLICAN LAWMAKER NEARLY BROUGHT A GUN ONTO THE HOUSE FLOOR, FURTHER STOKING CONCERNS ABOUT CAPITOL SECURITY AND WHETHER MEMBERS OF CONGRESS NEED PROTECTION FROM ONE ANOTHER. THE RENEWED ANXIETY JUST TWO WEEKS AFTER THE DEADLY JAN. 6 ATTACK WAS SPARKED BY REP. ANDY HARRIS (R-MD.) WHEN HE SET OFF A NEWLY INSTALLED METAL DETECTOR OFF THE HOUSE FLOOR WITH A CONCEALED GUN, DESPITE A LONGTIME BAN ON FIREARMS IN THE CHAMBER.A BANKRUPTCY FILING BY THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION ISN’T STOPPING A NEW YORK JUDGE FROM MOVING AHEAD WITH A FRAUD LAWSUIT BY THE STATE’S ATTORNEY GENERAL, WHO IS SEEKING TO DISSOLVE THE GUN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION. THE JUDGE, JOEL M. COHEN, STARTED A HEARING ON THURSDAY BY SAYING HE WOULD PROCEED WITH VARIOUS MOTIONS, INCLUDING THE NRA’S REQUEST TO MOVE THE CASE FROM MANHATTAN TO ALBANY. “I WOULD NOT BE PROCEEDING UNLESS I WAS CONFIDENT, BASED ON MY OWN RESEARCH, THAT THERE WERE REASONABLE GROUNDS TO DO SO,” THE JUDGE SAID.

NAT’L – GUN RIGHTS – A More Extreme Gun Rights Movement Is Emerging in the NRA’s Wake

MOTHERJONES.COM DECEMBER 2, 2020 – On a frigid Martin Luther King Jr. Day earlier this year, Philip Van Cleave brought out the big guns to Richmond.

As he stood on the steps of the Virginia State Capitol, Van Cleave—a 68-year-old balding and mustachioed software programmer—delivered a stern warning to the Democrats who had recently gained control of the state government: “We’re here today to remind Governor [Ralph] Northam and the general assembly that the last election was not a referendum on gun control.” In front of him, an ocean of pro-gun protesters whooped in solidarity. Nearly all were armed, many gripping AR-15-style rifles or other assault weapons. A good number were decked out in paramilitary outfits and tactical gear. Confederate and Gadsden flags waved high and wide.

It was a scene that once would have been credited to the National Rifle Association—the nation’s oldest gun rights group, which, over the past several decades, has inflamed and radicalized a broad coalition of conservative gun owners through alarmist messaging, especially during the Obama administration, and cemented itself as a formidable political force. But the NRA has since dwindled in power, and the rally was the work of Van Cleave’s Virginia Citizens Defense League, a no-compromise, far-right gun rights group that he once boasted was “proud” to have been labeled an “extremist” organization.

Over the past 19 years, VCDL’s Lobby Day protests in Richmond—an annual event on MLK Day when special interest groups, predominantly ones with conservative ties, advocate to the General Assembly—were relatively mild affairs, with about 600 to 800 attendees. But this year it attracted more than 20,000, and the days leading up to the protest put the state on edge. The FBI arrested members of the neo-Nazi group the Base, who had allegedly stockpiled firearms and ammunition, discussed plans to recruit members at the rally to help kickstart a race war, and talked about committing acts of violence against people of color.

Northam declared a state of emergency to ban weapons on the grounds of the state capitol building, but the crowd was so large that most armed attendees couldn’t even fit in the area, instead spilling into the side streets of downtown Richmond. Alex Jones, the notorious conspiracy theorist and Infowars founder, drove around the streets in an armored vehicle screaming through a bullhorn, “If they try to take our firearms, 1776 will commence again!”

The rally was a bellwether: the sudden downfall of the nation’s most powerful gun group and the rise of more radical pro-gun organizations and militias seeking to take its place.

Since 2016, the NRA has seen a steady decline in its ranks. Meanwhile, there’s been a boon in membership for more extreme groups like the VCDL and the Second Amendment Foundation, which recently filed a number of lawsuits challenging state gun control laws, and the National Association for Gun Rights, which paints itself as a more conservative alternative to the NRA.

There’s no doubt a void to be filled by the NRA, but it’s unclear what groups will dominate. “We’ve got 100 million gun owners in this country,” says Joshua Powell, the NRA director’s former chief of staff. “Whether it’s the NRA or some other group, somebody’s going to have to fill those shoes.”  [full article]

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