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“If Democracy Goes Too Far”: ‘The Bullet Box’ Is An Option If The Ballot Box Fails, Says Gun-Rights Advocate

All Second Amendment enthusiasts are not the same. There are those who strongly believe in the right to bear arms for purposes of self-protection against criminals and for hunting and other sports usages. And then there are those who believe the ultimate purpose of the Second Amendment is to keep revolutionary violence on the table as a fallback plan if in their view “essential rights” are threatened, including gun rights themselves.

You can pretty clearly put many members of the Gun Owners of America, a group that considers the NRA a bunch of accomodationist squishes, in the latter category. The group’s longtime executive director, Larry Pratt, made that clear on his own radio show this week:

[T]he courts do not have the last word on what the Constitution is. They decide particular cases, they don’t make law. Their decisions, unlike the Roe v. Wade usurpation, don’t extend to the whole of society, they’re not supposed to. And we may have to reassert that proper constitutional balance, and it may not be pretty. So, I’d much rather have an election where we solve this matter at the ballot box than have to resort to the bullet box.

While Pratt’s term “bullet box” is attracting attention, this is a very old sentiment not just among gun enthusiasts but in broad swaths of movement conservatism. Recent proclamations in favor of the right to overthrow the government as essential to the maintenance of constitutional order have come from 2016 presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee. But perhaps the clearest statement was made in 2012 by now-senator Joni Ernst, one of the GOP’s rising stars:

“I have a beautiful little Smith & Wesson, 9 millimeter, and it goes with me virtually everywhere,” Ernst said at the NRA and Iowa Firearms Coalition Second Amendment Rally in Searsboro, Iowa. “But I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family — whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.”

Ernst, of course, like other Second Amendment ultras, is implicitly arrogating to herself the right to decide when godless socialist tyranny — you know, things like Obamacare or environmental regulations or court-imposed reproductive rights — has gone so far that it’s time to bring out the shooting irons and start executing one’s enemies. But you have to wonder how people like Ernst and Cruz and Huckabee and Pratt would react if such rhetoric was coming from the political left — say, a black nationalist group. The right-to-revolution thinking really does boil down to Mao’s famous edict that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

For the present, it’s enough for Pratt to remind the rest of us that his tolerance for democracy and judicial supremacy has its limits, and if pushed too far, the “bullet box” is ever-ready.


By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, June 1, 2016

June 2, 2016 Posted by | Democracy, Joni Ernst, National Rifle Association | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Gun Lobby Propaganda”: The NRA And The Myth Of The 20-Minute Police Response Time At Sandy Hook

Appearing on Fox News Sunday this week, National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre was pressed about the controversial ad the group created in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre that referenced the armed protection President Obama’s daughters receive.

Even as host Chris Wallace belittled as “ridiculous” the ad’s premise that all children deserve the same kind of protection that the president’s children have, LaPierre defended the ad and said, “Tell that to the people of Newtown.”

“So they should have Secret Service”? Wallace asked.

In response, LaPierre propagated a favorite falsehood of the pro-gun media lobby [emphasis added]:

LAPIERRE: No, but what they should have is police officers or certified armed security in those schools to keep people safe. If something happens, the police time — despite all their good intentions, is 15 to 20 minutes. It’s too long. It’s not going to help those kids.

In the wake of the Newtown shooting, LaPierre bemoaned the fact kids aren’t safe at school, in part because it takes police 15 to 20 minutes to respond to a deadly shooting like the one in Connecticut.

But that’s not true and it’s time the news media start calling out anti-gun control extremists like LaPierre and Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, among others, who keep peddling the obvious falsehood in the press.

Fact: The Newtown police station is located approximately two miles from the Sandy Hook Elementary School. There’s no way it would have taken law enforcement 20 minutes to respond to the first 911 calls reporting gunfire at the school. (Local cops could have run from the station and been at the school in less than 20 minutes.)

Fast-acting Newtown officers “made it in under three minutes, arriving in the parking lot while gunfire could still be heard,” according to New York Times interviews with the first responders that day.

But if you listen to LaPierre as well as other anti-gun control advocates who are making the media rounds, you’re led to believe gunman Adam Lanza roamed the hallways of Sandy Hook for nearly half an hour, killing people at will before law enforcement finally arrived; that terrified teachers and students were “waiting 20 minutes for the cops to show up,” as one pro-gun blogger claimed.

It’s not true. The claim is pure gun lobby propaganda.

The frightening specter of defenselessness is projected to boost the NRA’s claim that the only way to combat gun violence in school is not to control the sale and distribution of guns, but to put armed policemen in 98,000 schools in America. Other gun advocates use the phony 20-minute premise to bolster calls for allowing concealed weapons in schools.

Since the December 14 massacre, the 20-minute myth has been widely repeated among right-wing media outlets:

“It took the police 20 minutes to arrive at Sandy Hook. By the time they got there, it was over. [National Review Online]

“In the short run, stopping the next Sandy Hook means ending the deadly policy which gave the killer 20 minutes (until people with guns, the police, finally arrived) to fire 150 shots and repeatedly change magazines, murdering at leisure.” []

Unfortunately, the 20-minute myth got an early boost from, which posted an inaccurate timeline of the school massacre. CNN’s faulty claim that first responders arrived at Sandy Hook “about twenty minutes after the first” 911 calls was quickly embraced by right-wing bloggers who mocked the police’s slow response time.

But that single, erroneous report certainly can’t justify the continued misuse of the 20-minute myth, since the vast majority of Newtown reports got the facts right. Contrary to CNN timeline, it was widely reported last December that police and first responders arrived at the Newtown crime scene “instantaneously,” “within minutes” of the first 911 call, and “minutes after the assassin began his rampage.”

And two days after the shooting rampage, audio from Newtown police scanners was made public. It confirmed that officers were reporting back from the school just a few minutes after the first school calls came into the dispatcher that day.

Still, the 20-minute myth serves a political purpose, so people like factually challenged gun extremist Larry Pratt have used the concocted claim repeatedly in the media:

“The solution is for people to be able to defend themselves at the point of the crime and not wait for 20 minutes for the police come after everybody is dead.” [Dec. 18, CNN]

“And Newtown was the same, a school where nobody was able to have a gun, even if they had a concealed carry permit, which you can get in Connecticut. Nobody was able to shoot back. They had to wait some 20 minutes for the police to get there. That’s unacceptable.” [Dec. 28, Fox]

“Especially if you’re telling the potential victim you can’t be armed. You have to wait for the Cavalry to get here five, 10 or in the case of Newtown 20 minutes later. I find that unconscionable.” [Jan. 12, CNN]

“Well, the armed teacher is going to have a lot more chance stopping a mass murderer than the police who take 20 minutes to get there, as they did in Newtown, and that’s not an extraordinarily long response time.” [Jan. 17, Australia Broadcasting Corporation]

Pratt’s sinister assertion is pure fabrication. If gun advocates continue to peddle the lie, it’s up to journalists to call them on it. The falsehood purposefully hinders attempts to debate the pressing issue of gun violence, and serves an insult to the Newtown police officers on duty that dark day in December.


By: Eric Boehlert, The Huffington Post Blog, Crossed Posted at County Fair, a Media Matters For America Blog, February 5, 2013

February 7, 2013 Posted by | Gun Violence, National Rifle Association | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Guns, Guns And More Guns!”: Appealing To The Most Racist Elements Of Our Society

A headline on today’s New York Times blares:

Sales of Guns Soar in U.S. as Nation Weighs Tougher Limits

(Well, the Times‘ trumpet blares through a mute.)

Here’s some of the scariest bits, in Michael Cooper’s article — a piece that’s pretty frightening throughout:

High-capacity magazines, which some state and federal officials want to ban or restrict, were selling briskly across the country: one Iowa dealer said that 30-round magazines were fetching five times what they sold for just weeks ago.

Gun dealers and buyers alike said that the rapid growth in gun sales — which began climbing significantly after President Obama’s re-election and soared after the Dec. 14 shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn., prompted him to call for new gun laws — shows little sign of abating.

The day after the Sandy Hook shooting, I started stumbling upon news of surging gun sales, and found it startling — especially to learn that Connecticut was among the states where gun-sellers were running out of AR-15 rifles, of the kind used by murderer Adam Lanza, and large-capacity magazines.

But, in retrospect, the response was predictable.

Since the election of our nation’s first African American president, right-wing leaders have played on the twisted guilt-and-projection continuum that plagues the more racist elements of the white, male cohort to convince them that the black man was coming for their guns (leaving to their fertile imaginations what he might do to their women).

Here’s Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, addressing the so-called Second Amendment Rally at the Washington Monument on April 19, 2010, the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 Americans:

We’re in a war. The other side knows they’re at war, because they started it. They’re comin’ for our freedom, for our money, for our kids, for our property. They’re comin’ for everything because they’re a bunch of socialists.

And, whoa, are some of those imaginations fertile indeed! A veritable mix of manure and composted grey matter. Just look at the growing trend of “Sandy Hook truthers” — people who contend the massacre never happened, but was just a narrative ruse invented by government in collusion with the news media, all so Obama might disarm his enemies and have his way with America.

Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald dares to explore the truthers’ claims:

In the latest angle, theorists think they have found “absolute proof” of a conspiracy to defraud the American people. “You reported in December that this little girl had been killed,” a reader emailed Salon in response to a story. “She has been found, and photographed with President Obama.”

The girl in question is Emilie Parker, a 6-year-old who was shot multiple times and killed at Sandy Hook. But for conspiracy theorists, the tears her family shed at her funeral, the moving eulogy from Utah’s governor, and the entire shooting spree are fake. Welcome to the world where Sandy Hook didn’t really happen.


The crux of the theory is a photograph of Parker’s sister sitting on President Obama’s lap when he visited with the victims’ families. The girl is wearing the same dress Emilie wore in a pre-shooting photograph of the family shared with media, so she must be Emilie, alive and well. “BAM! I cannot believe how idiot these people are [sic]… That’s her,” one YouTuber exclaims as he watches the two images superimposed on each other. (Apparently missed by these crack investigators is the possibility that the sister wore Emilie’s dress and that they look alike because they are sisters, after all.)

This is not to say that all of those in a state of panic, stocking up on assault rifles and large-capacity magazines, are massacre-deniers. Some obviously just have a burning need for military-style weapons and oodles of rapid-fire ammo. (Go figure.)

And not every person in the gun-store stampede is motivated by race, of course. Many of these folks have long been suspicious of the intentions of liberals and/or Democrats for decades, flames of fear fanned by the likes of the John Birch Society and religious right.

But add to that paranoia the toxic brew of America’s failure to accept the brutality of its racist past and the reality of its race-fixated present, and there’s much to give pause in this current stream of events.

By: Adele Stan, Washington Monthly Political Animal, January 12, 2013

January 13, 2013 Posted by | Gun Violence, Guns | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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