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The Hot Kids' Book? 'My Parents Open Carry.' (Yes, It's For Real.)

Jesse Kornbluth   |   August 10, 2014    5:43 PM ET

There's nothing funny about children suffering from gunshots -- and, in the last few years, more than 7,000 American kids under 20 do each year. What's even less funny is that hundreds of these kids are killed by other kids. Not deliberately. But because the adult owner of the gun left a loaded weapon where kids could find it.

I have some personal experience with guns, none of it pleasant. As a Cub Scout, I once found myself in a backyard with other Cubs. They were brandishing BB guns. "Run," they said, and raised their rifles, so I did, and they blasted away. Decades later, I collaborated on a novel with a Mafioso. It hit some resistance from publishers, so he put a pistol to my head and encouraged me to say my prayers. (Speak no ill of the dead? Nonsense: I was thrilled to hear he killed himself.)

So when Bill Maher mocked a 34-page illustrated book for children called My Parents Open Carry -- "If mom and dad are both safe because they're packing, why, on the cover, are they using their daughter as a human shield?" -- my brain automatically recoiled and I refused to think about it.

Then I watched Stephen Colbert.

Again, it seemed too silly to take seriously. Consider: The book tells the story of 13-year-old Brenna Strong, who spends a Saturday morning running errands with her mom, Bea ("Be Strong") and her dad, Richard ("Dick Strong"). Just like thee and me -- only Mr. and Mrs. Strong carry handguns for self-defense. Openly.

The authors' motivation:

We looked for pro-gun children's books and couldn't find any. Our goal was to provide a wholesome family book that reflects the views of the majority of the American people, i.e., that self-defense is a basic natural right and that firearms provide the most efficient means for that defense.

Again, like a defective Glock, my brain jammed.

Then my wife told me that the book was one of the biggest sellers on Amazon -- and that a third of the 300 Amazon reviewers gave it 5 stars.

I wondered: How could that be? And before I knew it, I'd read all the 5-star reviews.

Yes, there were sincere reviews from gun enthusiasts, like these:

Teaching our children about the 2nd Amendment is of paramount importance in these days of mindless liberals trying to take away the basic God given right to protect one's family.

Why bother educating your children on the facts and reality they will face in life? Keep your heads buried in the sand, Libbys! Chicago Jesus and his storm troopers will be there in your moment of need! No need for you to learn how to protect yourself!

I would recommend this book to anyone that carries a firearm with kids ages 5-10.

But most of the 5-star reviews would be right at home on Gawker. Slapping 5 stars on top? Pure irony. Or snark. And they were sufficiently ironic and snarky that they were funny-in-a-black-humor-kind-of-way, and I decided that although these were totally offensive and non-PC, they were worth sharing because, these days, it's hard to find any kind of humor. So.....

The book was a great way to bring up a few difficult topics with my remaining child, such as why she doesn't have brothers and sisters anymore or a left ear. I can't wait for the sequel: "My Parents Accidentally Shot and Killed My Best Friend." In fact, the whole series is bound to change the way we look at this misunderstood group: - "My Baby Brother Shot Me in the Face with My Parent's Gun." - "My Dad Got Really Mad at My Mom But Fortunately He Had a Gun Handy So He Could Teach Her a Lesson." - "My Dad Protected Us By Mistakenly Shooting a Trick-or-Treater in the Face." Or my personal favorite: "My Parents Are Ignorant Throwbacks Committed To The Glorification and Perpetuation of Deadly Violence and the Reckless Endangerment of Everyone Around Them."
Sequel: "Heather Has Two Glocks."
Sequel: "My Dark-Skinned Parents Open Carry. Or At Least They Did Until the Cops Shot them Fifty-Two Times."
I read it along with "Sandy Hook Massacre: When Seconds Count, Police Are Minutes Away," and it really set me up for a cozy night in.
I was having a hard time explaining to little Billy why daddy needs to carry his AR-15 into Chipotle when he goes for burritos but now, finally, I have a book that helps. Looking forward to the follow up: "It's Okay, He Was Wearing a Hoodie."
Based on the gay porn 'stache and Max Factor eye-lights, Dad may be open about carrying his gun, but I think there's something he's not being open about.
A must-have for all those who think that mandatory wheelchair ramps are part of a United Nations' plot to turn America into a Marxist slave nation!
"Open Carry" isn't a verb. And I'll stand my ground and shoot in the face anyone who pretends it is.

But we shouldn't end this on a note of ha-ha, however grim. This one's the keeper:

I hear a sequel is on its way, and I have the perfect topic for the authors. "My Classmate Open Carried, Killed a Fellow Student, then Killed Himself, " a true story based on the events at Arapahoe High School on December 13th, 2013.

The authors can interview the kids who were traumatized by the sight and sound of bullets flying nearby. They can interview the children who had to walk through the bloody halls with their hands in the air as they exited the building. They can interview the students in the library who were trapped in the same room as the gunman, not knowing whether they would live or die and, as a special bonus, got to watch the killer shoot himself in the head, collapse and die.

Kids' books usually include pictures and the police have plenty to share -- the innocent and dying female student, her riderless horse attending her funeral along with 6,000 Colorado residents, the dead body of the male shooter, the bloody hallway, the damaged library, the emergency room filled with doctors trying to save the victim, etc.

It's time to get real.


[Cross-posted from HeadButler.com]

David McCabe   |   August 8, 2014    5:43 PM ET

The death of James Brady, who survived a gunshot to the head during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan 33 years ago, has been ruled a homicide by a Northern Virginia medical examiner, a spokeswoman told The Associated Press.

Because the examiner ruled the death the result of Brady's 1981 injuries, prosecutors could bring charges against the man who shot him, John Hinckley Jr., NBC Washington reported Friday.

The District of Columbia Police Department was notified of the ruling Friday, spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump told the AP.

Brady was serving as Reagan's press secretary at the time of the assassination attempt outside the Washington Hilton hotel. He was partially paralyzed as a result of his injuries and never returned to his position in the White House -- though he continued to hold the title for the rest of Reagan's time in office.

After the shooting, he endured an arduous recovery process and -- along with his wife, Sarah -- became an advocate for tougher restrictions on firearms. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, a landmark piece of gun legislation signed into law by President Bill Clinton, bears his name.

Hinkley, who shot at Reagan in an attempt to gain the attention of actress Jodie Foster, was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He remains in a mental hospital in the Washington, D.C., area.

More from the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — This week's death of former White House press secretary James Brady, who survived a gunshot wound to the head in a 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, has been ruled a homicide by a medical examiner, District of Columbia police said Friday.

John Hinckley Jr. shot Brady, who lived through hours of delicate surgery and further operations over the years, but never regained normal use of his limbs and was often in a wheelchair. His family said he died Monday at age 73 from a series of health issues.

Nancy Bull, district administrator for the Virginia medical examiner's office, which made the ruling, declined to disclose the results of the autopsy and referred inquiries to District police.

DC police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said the department was notified of the homicide ruling Friday.

Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate Reagan outside the Washington Hilton Hotel on March 30, 1981, just two months into the new president's term. Reagan nearly died from a chest wound. Three others, including Brady, were struck by bullets from Hinckley's handgun.

Hinckley Jr., now 59, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of all charges in a 13-count indictment, including federal counts of attempted assassination of the president of the United States, assault on a federal officer, and use of a firearm in the commission of a federal offense, as well as District of Columbia offenses of attempted murder, assault, and weapons charges. The District of Columbia offenses included charges related to the shooting of Brady.

William Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, said the office "is reviewing the ruling on the death of Mr. Brady and has no further comment at this time."

Calls to Hinckley's attorneys were not immediately returned.

Officials at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, where Hinckley is a patient, have said that the mental illness that led him to shoot Reagan in an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster has been in remission for decades. Hinckley has been allowed to leave the hospital to visit his mother's home in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Besides partial paralysis from brain damage, Brady suffered short-term memory impairment, slurred speech and constant pain.

Brady undertook a personal crusade for gun control after suffering the devastating bullet wound. The Brady law, named after him, requires a five-day wait and background check before a handgun can be sold. President Bill Clinton signed it into law in 1993.

___

Associated Press writer Pete Yost contributed to this story.

This post has been updated to reflect confirmation of the homicide ruling from the D.C. Police Department.

CORRECTION: Earlier reports said the homicide ruling came from the D.C. medical examiner. It came from a Northern Virginia examiner.

Straw Today, Stones Tomorrow

Peter Paskale   |   August 7, 2014    3:14 PM ET

As the big bad wolf will gladly confirm, it's way easier to blow-down a house of straw.

And so it is with arguments. An argument made of straw is easier to demolish than one that's made of stone. Why would anybody therefore want to build themselves such a poor and flimsy straw-bale argument?

Precisely because they want to blow it down. All by themselves.

It's such an accepted strategy within communications that is even has a name -- The Straw-Man Fallacy -- and that's why NRA commentator Dom Raso is claiming gun rights should be extended to blind people.

Mr Raso is an awesome speaker. He's also highly credible, and that's important for the success of a Straw Man Fallacy, because the straw-man involves tricking your audience.

Mr Raso's argument is that blind people are being denied their Second Amendment right to carry guns, and on the basis of his evidence, and putting my own views on guns to one side, I would have to say that I agree with him. To deny blind people the same rights as the rest of us would be discrimination unfairly based on a physical disability. This however, is where the straw-man comes in, because the Gun Control Act of 1968 makes no mention of blind people.

While the Act does list various groups who are prohibited from carrying guns, blind people are most definitely not amongst them.

Mr Raso therefore, has powerfully won an argument against a case that doesn't exist, and that doesn't exist for the very reasons that he cites in his video. It's all rather odd and circular, but done for a reason, because creating a Straw Man Fallacy is only stage one of a larger communications strategy:

Step One: The straw-man

Let's say that blind people represent group A. Mr Raso's straw-man has now led you, the audience, to inaccurately believe that blind people are unfairly discriminated against under the Gun Control Act.

Step Two: The demolition

Our speaker builds a powerful case for why that is wrong. He creates and wins a compelling argument against an illusionary target of his own creation.

Step Three: The extension

If Mr. Raso can prove that Argument A demonstrates unfair prejudice, then we as an audience become pre-inclined to believe that maybe groups B & C are also being prejudiced against.

Step Four: The precedent

While Argument A was an illusory straw-man, groups B & C will be real. The successful straw-man however, will have created a precedent under which it can now be successfully argued that groups B & C, who are genuinely listed under the Gun Control Act, should also be able to carry fire-arms.

Maybe I'm being Machiavellian again, but usually when a speaker invokes a straw-man fallacy, it's only step one. Showing how easily you can blow down the house of straw is merely a prelude to panicking the occupants of the house of stones into quitting the building with less of a fight.

Mr. Raso makes a fabulous case. I believe this is the prelude to something bigger.

--

Peter Paskale is a communications coach and analyst who writes The Presenters' Blog at speak2all.wordpress.com.

Good Guy With a Gun

Savas Abadsidis   |   August 7, 2014    1:03 PM ET

Mark Glaze knows guns. The son of a former licensed gun seller from Gunnison, Colorado might seem an unlikely choice for a gun control advocate, yet Glaze, who had spent years as a lawyer, progressive lobbyist and gay activist, found his calling with Mike Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which he helped relaunch as Everytown for Gun Safety. Glaze recently ended his tenure with the organization, and his departure had the unusual distinction of winning praise from both mainstream news outlets -- Reuters credited him with helping build "a leading counterweight to the National Rifle Association" -- and guns.com, which praised him as a "young standout." When it came to his many television appearances for the cause, there was virtually no one who could take on Glaze's personality, rock-solid reasoning and advocacy bona fides. I spoke to Glaze in an exit interview of sorts.

2014-08-05-markglazeguns.jpg Mark Glaze's last day after 3.5 years as executive director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, then Everytown, in our NYC offices, June 13, 2014. Photo credit: Danny porter.
So, James Brady just died and you recently left your position at Mayors Against Illegal Guns -- do you think these events portend, good or bad omens in terms of gun control legislation?

Nobody is indispensable in life, and Everytown's doing just fine without me, which is both a source of pride and a jagged little pill, to quote Alanis Morissette. But Jim Brady was a star to guide your ship by, and I'm not just talking about what he did for gun policy. Here's a guy who was grievously wounded, and had a very tough road back. Nobody would have blamed him for sitting the rest of his life out. Instead he and Sarah, his great wife, spent their lives and their energy in a way that mattered. It took seven years to pass the law that bears their name -- people like me who are in a hurry, to get things done, forget that. But the background check system they helped build, imperfect as it is, has stopped more than two million felons and other dangerous people from buying guns, and no serious person doubts it's saved thousands of lives. How many people can say that? Not me. It was a life well-lived.

As for the state of the movement, it's stronger than it's been in a generation. To start -- there's an actual movement of millions of people who care about this, and not in a "kinda" way, but in a way that has them signing pledges to vote only for candidates who support common-sense gun laws. In a way that has them holding house parties in Kentucky on weekends to sign up dozens of new allies. Not a lot of issues have that kind of energy behind them today. And that's why states with Democratic and Republic governors -- we're talking about the Scott Walkers and Bobby Jindahls of the world -- are signing bills to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. And those victories will beget more and bigger victories in the states, and ultimately in Congress. We're getting there, faster than people think.

What were the high points of your tenure?

No question that helping arrange the merger of Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns was the high point for me. These moms are the best thing going, in not just our movement, but in any advocacy effort in the country. They're giving us, for the first time in a long time, the chance for symmetrical warfare with the NRA. Because like core NRA voters, they are, to understate the case, intense. They actually get up every morning and care about whether their kids are going to come home safely, and they do something about it, and they are not going away. And the fact that that merger started with a secret meeting in Big Sky, Montana and conversations with Shannon Watts, my colleague Brina Milikowsky and me on a gondola over the summer doesn't hurt. If I had a book in me, which I don't, it would be a cool chapter.

The other high point was passing a universal background check bill in my home state of Colorado. In the relatively short time that bill's been in place, it's already stopped hundreds of prohibited buyers from getting a gun -- every one of them a ticking time bomb. At the same time, 2013 was a banner year for gun sales there. So for me, it's Exhibit A that gun ownership and tough laws to keep firearms out of the wrong hands are totally consistent, and the obvious way forward.

The lows?

After Newtown, when a majority of senators representing a minority of the population blocked what 92 percent of the public, including 74 percent of NRA members and 81 percent of gun owners want: background checks for every gun buyer. It was a low point because we lost, of course, but also because it was one of those moments when it all could have fallen apart -- when people could have lost faith and let the steam go out of the movement and just wandered away. That happens a lot in public policy fights. But instead, they got mad, and got determined, and that loss became the moment that really built a movement. So even that low wasn't so low, in the end.

Why did you decide to you leave?

Like everyone else who worked on guns these past few years, I put a lot of myself into this -- and the "this" started with the Tucson mass shooting, and ran through the Aurora mass shooting, and the Newtown mass shooting, and the tens of thousands of gun murders that happened in those years. And as we were fighting those fights, I think Everytown had a lot to do with breathing life into a dead issue, along with other new organizations. Our own group grew from eight employees to eighty -- most of them in New York City, where I don't live. I loved my job, and the team, but I needed a break from an issue that's emotionally tough. I just spent a week at the beach. I haven't done that in three years.

You've been a lobbyist for a dozen years, do you think that that the system is irrevocably broken?

Badly broken, yes. Completely or irrevocably, no. One of the last consulting projects I worked on before I went to Everytown full-time was a campaign for the Human Rights Campaign aimed at getting the Senate to reverse the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. And we won. Health care reform passed. So big things are still possible, but they're much harder than they should be, and much slower.

The empirical fact is that for great change to happen, great disruption is sometimes needed, often in the form of some cataclysm. Look at money in politics -- which is a blight on our democracy and a national embarrassment. The Watergate scandals -- in which bags of money were literally being delivered to the political party committees -- helped usher in a cohort of reform-minded members of Congress in 1974 who implemented a raft of reforms, including campaign contribution limits. The flood of "soft money" in the 90s led to the McCain-Feingold soft money ban. I don't have any doubt that the Roberts court will continue -- in their friendly, "nothing happening here," incremental way -- whittling away at what remains of campaign finance limits, and the result, sooner or later, will be corruption and scandals that will so shock the system that there will be another wave of reform, sooner than we think.

It's the same with guns. Newtown rebuilt a movement. But it didn't change the federal laws, and there will be another horrendous mass shooting, and another, and another. And some of them will involve gaps in the laws that senators had the opportunity to fix. A felon who avoided a background check by buying from an unlicensed seller on a random website; a high capacity magazine. And sooner or later, Congress will decide they can't defy political gravity forever. And we will have reform.

What would you do to change it?

That's a big question, but one of the major structural problems is the virtual elimination of political competition in Congress. Thanks to self-interested Republicans and Democrats alike -- we're all to blame here -- the number of truly competitive House districts is a relative handful. That means that the majority of seats are safe, there is hydraulic pressure for members in those seats to be more conservative or liberal than moderate, the middle is virtually nonexistent, and compromise is a dirty word and virtually impossible. If I could pick two major and tough reforms, it would be redistricting reform -- each state would have to conduct redistricting through some variant of a nonpartisan commission that would produce more competitive districts -- and, probably, a constitutional amendment that returns to Congress and the states the power to regulate campaign fundraising and spending, including regulating outside groups. It's not the only answer, but until we get the Supreme Court the country deserves, it's a good organizing principal.

What's next?!

I'm consulting on some interesting projects, on my own for now, having some fun and thinking about how to spend the rest of my life. Reader opinions are welcome on that.

Michael S. Rosenwald   |   August 7, 2014    2:21 AM ET

Read More: smart gun, guns, armatix

In nearly 30 years at Heckler & Koch, a legendary German gunmaker, Ernst Mauch designed some of the world’s most lethal weapons, including the one that reportedly killed Osama bin Laden. A state regulator once called him a “rock star” in the industry.

Katla McGlynn   |   August 5, 2014    1:21 PM ET

Gun violence is still a problem that plagues this country daily. But, could the solution be a simple change of weapon?

Comedian Monroe Martin explores one possible solution in this 40-second "Rant" on trading in guns for nunchaku.

Gun lovers might have a hard time trading their bullets for martial arts, but Monroe does make it sound like a viable option (especially for people who love revenge).


Via Now This

  |   August 5, 2014    8:20 AM ET

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) -- Police say that a 5-year-old playing with a gun shot and injured a 3-year-old girl in Colorado.

The girl was in critical condition but stable condition Monday after the shooting. The Pueblo Chieftain reports ( http://bit.ly/1o8xdqm ) that Pueblo police believe two other children were playing with a handgun in the backyard of a home.

Police say a 9-year-old boy got the handgun from the house and that a 5-year-old got the gun and pointed it at the girl. The gender of the 5-year-old was not disclosed.

The mother of the victim was home at the time and has not been identified by police.

The child who shot the 3-year-old will not be charged with a crime. But the gun owner, 22-year-old Adrian Chavez, was arrested and faces child abuse charges.

Rahel Gebreyes   |   August 4, 2014    6:50 PM ET

From eating habits to sexual activity, doctors ask their patients all types of questions to assess behavior that could create long-term health risks. But now a federal ruling has upheld Florida's Firearm Owners' Privacy Act, officially taking gun-related questions off the table and drawing criticism from doctors and even a few gun owners, too.

Susan Leigh Borgesi, a gun owner and mother of two, told HuffPost Live on Monday that the law had gone “too far.”

“I don't feel like the legislature should step in and tell a doctor and his or her patient what they should be discussing, particularly when it comes to owning guns,” she told host Nancy Redd. “It certainly is a health risk to have a gun in the home, especially if you may have, perhaps, domestic violence in the home [or] a suicidal person in the home. It is definitely something that a doctor should be able to talk to their patients about.”

Borgesi suggested that much of the support for the “docs vs. glocks” ruling could be the result of misinformation.

“There’s a lot of fear-mongering going on out there because people ... have been taught that one particular party over another political party might want to take guns away from all Americans, which I don’t find to be realistic,” she said.

Despite the scare tactics, Borgesi explained why she doesn’t feel that her second amendment rights are at risk.

“Just because we’re talking about gun safety and responsible gun ownership, we’re not talking about taking away your rights,” she said. “We’re just talking about being responsible with the power that comes with owning a gun.”

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live's new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!

Can Gun Control Advocates Ever Wield As Much Influence As The NRA? A Test Case

Mike Weisser   |   August 4, 2014    2:48 PM ET

Several months ago I wrote a blog in which I pointed out that Mike Bloomberg's access to media at all levels would make him a formidable opponent of the NRA when it came to talking to non-gun owners about guns. The NRA has a lock on communicating with the gun-owning community, but a majority of Americans don't own guns. So how do you engage this usually-silent majority to counteract the power and influence of the NRA? Well here was a good test case.

Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a bill introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) that more clearly defines domestic violence and strengthens what is already a federal prohibition against the purchase of guns by individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse. The NRA opposed it rather quietly, sending a non-public letter to some senators, but so far avoiding any public comment on the debate. They did get Joyce Malcolm, a law professor, to show up and lecture the Senate panel on the dangers of restricting the 2nd Amendment, but their stealth approach to this issue reflects the fact that they have been making a major marketing push towards women as owners and users of guns and opposing domestic abuse laws would, from the perspective of most women, put them on the wrong side. Even the NRA finds that 2nd Amendment "rights" take a back seat to marketing strategies.

It can't be said, however, that Mike Bloomberg shares the NRA's reluctance to make a lot of public noise over this issue. On the eve of the Senate hearing, Everytown ran a 30-second television spot in media markets covering territories belonging to Senators Kelly Ayotte, Jeff Flake and Dean Heller, three Republicans who last year voted against the Manchin-Toomey compromise after Sandy Hook and whom, it is felt, may this time with Klobuchar's bill, be swayed to go the other way. The ad is pretty dramatic and the Everytown website also contains a quick-click method to send a message to Ayotte, Heller and Flake.

Last month the Everytown group won a big one when their pressure pushed the mega-retailer Target to issue a public statement requesting that shoppers refrain from bringing guns into their stores. Target's decision was a slap in the face of the NRA which has been pushing a roll-back of gun-free zones as part of their strategy to widen the acceptance of concealed-carry laws. But the strategy used by Bloomberg's group against Target was, if you'll pardon the pun, a very targeted affair. Inviting local media to a picket-line around a store entrance is one thing; inundating elected officials with emails and calls is quite another. The latter tactic has always been seen as a major weapon in the NRA's arsenal for swaying votes. For the first time, the other side in the gun debate seems to be doing the same thing.

It's not really the number of phone calls or emails that makes politicians respond. It's a less tangible thing that we call the intensity of the folks sending their messages, a devotion to the cause that the NRA has diligently developed amongst its membership over many years. When something terrible and high-profile occurs like Sandy Hook, it's not very difficult to get a grassroots response from either side. But a Senate hearing isn't usually the stuff that makes for media buzz, so it will be interesting to see the degree to which Bloomberg's group can generate a grassroots response to their ad. If they do, the playing field that has been tilted for so long in the NRA's direction may just start moving back the other way.

What Women Think They Know About Gun Laws (And How They're Wrong)

Margie Omero   |   August 1, 2014    3:23 PM ET

It may be surprising to learn that many convicted domestic abusers are currently allowed to legally buy guns. Federal law prevents abusive spouses and co-parents from legally having guns. But convicted abusers of dating partners, those facing restraining orders, or convicted stalkers can currently pass a background check and legally buy an AR-15.

This is the reality, but it's not the perception. In Purple Strategies' recent survey of women voters, sponsored by Everytown for Gun Safety, majorities presumed these other types of abusers could not legally have guns. So not surprisingly, eight in ten women (81%) support Senator Klobuchar's (D-MN) proposal to expand the definition of abuser to include stalkers and abusers of dating partners. (Note: At Purple, I led this polling effort; this post reflects my own views.)

Support extends across party lines. The survey included an oversample of an additional 200 Republican and Independent women; over three-fourths (77%) of them support this proposal. Even 75% of women who own guns support the bill. This is consistent with this recent Huffington Post/YouGov poll, showing a majority of Republicans (of both genders) support this proposal.

Not only does the Klobuchar bill close a loophole most women are unaware even exists, most also feel it will make women safer. Over half (62%) say the law will make women safer, including 51% of Republicans and Independents.

Those who might know best say the law could be even more helpful. The 44% in our survey with personal experience with domestic violence or stalking, and the 25% with personal experience with gun violence, are particularly likely to feel the proposal will make women safer (64%, 70%).

2014-08-01-Slide2.jpg

Why is support so transcendent? Perhaps because three-fourths of women (and over two-thirds of Republicans an Independents) feel we can both protect 2nd Amendment rights while also keeping guns out of dangerous hands. Only a fifth (19%) say every gun law is an infringement on the 2nd Amendment.

And while many may think guns are a third rail of American politics, women say they will reward, not punish, a candidate for supporting this expansion of the definition of abuser. By 3-to-1, women say they are more likely to vote for a candidate with this view. Even among Republicans and Independents, more will reward a candidate.

So while some wonder if stronger gun laws are too restrictive, or too controversial, remember most women assume the laws are stronger than they actually are. And remember this sobering reality: In the last decade, more women were killed by an intimate partner using a gun than troops killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Come November, women across party lines may reward candidates working to solve problems, rather than leaning on partisan perceptions.

Samantha Lachman   |   August 1, 2014   10:59 AM ET

Supporters of Republican and former GoDaddy executive Christine Jones may want to give her a wide berth at the gun ranges she's been frequenting as she runs for governor of Arizona.

Jones told Phoenix television station KSAZ that she practices her aim in a potentially perilous manner: by shooting with her eyes closed.

"I don't change clothes. I don't change glasses," Jones told the reporter, who interviewed her at a gun range. "I often shoot one-handed. I often shoot with my eyes closed."

When the reporter asked her to clarify her last comment, Jones explained: "Because chances are if somebody attacks you it's gonna be in the night."

Jones has made her unambiguous support for the Second Amendment a distinctive feature of her campaign. A spokeswoman told The Huffington Post in June that at that point in the race she had met with supporters at nearly 20 gun stores across the state.

She is running against a handful of other Republicans in the race to succeed Gov. Jan Brewer (R), who can't run again because of term limits. Arizona State Treasurer and former Cold Stone Creamery CEO Doug Ducey is considered Jones' strongest rival for the Republican nomination.

(H/t Talking Points Memo)

The Real Enemy Isn't Undocumented Immigration, It's Rick Perry And Sean Hannity

Bob Cesca   |   July 31, 2014    4:08 PM ET

For the last several weeks, the following photo of Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and Sean Hannity has haunted me. During the current unhinged freakout surrounding immigration reform and, specifically, the Central American teens and children being held by the U.S. after having entered the country via the Mexican border, I can't help but to the think that the true threats to the U.S. aren't undocumented immigrants, be they adults or children, but rather these dinguses:


When I see this photo, taken at the Texas/Mexico border and tweeted out by Hannity, I see more than just a pair of brainless poseurs whom William F. Buckley would've laughed out of his movement 40 years ago, yet who are now two of the standard-bearers of what's left of that movement. When I see this photo, I see more than a slack-jawed Southern governor and a paint-by-numbers Fox News polemicist. I see two men who are illustrative of everything that is, in Jon Stewart's words, "hurting America."

Just look at the photo again.


Beginning with the obvious, they're white middle-aged men. That right there is enough to raise eyebrows. As a middle-aged white guy myself, I don't mind indicting my own: yes, middle-aged white men are trouble. The reasons are self-evident. Toss into the mix the availability of a growing variety of pharmaceuticals and Cromagnon tire-flipping workouts designed to amplify the pseudo-dementia that accompanies being a white male in the throes of mid-life, and the trouble [cough] grows. But, really, are middle-aged white men annoying and obnoxious? Oh, yes. Are they dangerous on a macro societal level? Not quite, no, at least no more so than white men in general. But stay with me, there's much more to this puzzle.

Hannity and Perry are men of significant means: wealthy and privileged. This gives them fuck-you power. So, now, we see middle-aged white men with fuck-you power. The danger begins to gurgle to the surface.

Peel the onion a little further, and we recall that both Hannity and Perry are far-right conservatives. But not just any far-right conservatives. These two far-right conservative middle-aged white men comport themselves as hard-line ideologues, pandering to the very worst, most ignorant and intolerant instincts of the Republican base. I write "comport themselves as ideologues" because it's unclear whether either is sincere in his worldview beyond what it can achieve in terms of personal wealth and prestige. I don't think I'm the only one to notice how both Perry and Hannity never seem entirely sincere or authentic -- neither seems to particularly care much beyond careerism, higher office and ratings, and so they'll say and do whatever is necessary to stir up the misplaced nationalism and, in the case of this photo, the anti-immigrant bigotry of their most rabid disciples. Now we're getting into dangerous territory.

Let's talk about the paramilitary regalia. Here's that tweet again.


There's the trying-too-hard sunglasses on an overcast day (none of the border patrolmen is wearing shades), the khaki, the denim and why the hell is Hannity wearing what appears to be a Kevlar flack-jacket? I kind of understand that there might be a security issue with the governor, but Hannity had to dress up in body armor, too? Really? Taken as a whole, it's a lot of military dress 'em up for a guy who never served. Perry, on the other hand, served in the Air Force, so he gets to dress up in whatever fatigues he sees fit for a governor. But as we witnessed most recently with the Bundy Ranch fiasco, too many guys in the Perry/Hannity demographic (far-right, conservative, middle-aged, white, male) fancy themselves to be militias of one, stockpiling weapons from Dick's Sporting Goods and posting falsely-attributed Thomas Jefferson quotes on Twitter.

And right here we have a perfect example of this silliness: a pair of doughy white guys auditioning for Stallone's next Expendables sequel:


This, of course, leads us to the 5.56 millimeter elephant in the room. It's almost disgusting to see them grappled onto that locked and loaded weapon like the cast photo of a really douchey remake of Apocalypse Now. If you look carefully, Perry has one knee perched under the gun as if he's about to or just finished humping the thing. Seriously, though, they appear to be issuing a clear warning: if you, Pedro, try to cross the river from Mexico, this American-made motherfucker will blast you into hundreds of indistinct hunks of meat. So... go ahead, make my day.

It's worth reiterating that this photo-op is in direct response to the current situation involving unaccompanied, undocumented kids entering the U.S. And these border patrol cosplayers decided to respond by posing with both heavily armed guards and a high-powered mounted rifle with action-hero scowls on their stupid faces (complete with TV makeup) -- you know, to intimidate Guatemalan children as if they're Vietcong guerrillas perched in the Shit along the banks of the Mekong Delta.

June 25, 2014: A group of immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally are stopped in Granjeno, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Talk about overcompensating.

Rather than projecting the rational idea of negotiating a reasonable immigration reform package, Hannity and Perry opted instead to suggest that a rifle loaded with rounds bigger than their penises is the only real way to deal with the border issue. That's not to say the border patrol should stand down, but wallowing in the militarism of it only makes matters worse, with the thumbs-up photos and the farcical notion that the president has to personally mime Hannity's hat-on-backwards rifle-boner pics or else it's his Katrina.


Given the choice between immigrants entering the U.S. with a path to citizenship or Hannity and Perry with their smirky, middle-aged white itchy trigger fingers, faux badassery and gun fetishes, I'll take the immigrants in a heartbeat. So should we all.

Cross-posted at The Daily Banter.

Click here to listen to the Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show podcast.
BobCesca.com Blog with special thanks to April Cockerham.

Gunplay on the Highway: You've Been Warned

Rick Horowitz   |   July 26, 2014    4:31 AM ET

Watch the latest news and you have to wonder: Is this what the future has in store?

The NRA's Most Ridiculous Video (So Far) Calls For Government Subsidized Free Ammunition

Bob Cesca   |   July 25, 2014    4:32 PM ET

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has been responsible for countless nonsensical, totally illogical and sadistically irrational pro-gun slogans. It's kind of what the NRA does. Its executive vice president and chief crackpot, Wayne LaPierre is a never-ending geyser of these easy-to-repeat yet easily debunkable slogans. So it came as no surprise when the NRA released a brand new YouTube video that literally makes no sense whatsoever -- on any level. In fact, it's so off-the-rails that it's difficult to imagine even the most loyal NRA automatons buying into what it says. Here's the video (via MMFA):

How can I make such a sweeping assumption about NRA loyalists? Mainly because the host of the video, NRA "commentator" Billy Johnson, isn't LaPierre or anyone who "looks" like your typical NRA goon. Not that they all look the same, but I've never seen any NRA people who look like the host of this video. Billy appears to be from the same casting agency that gave us the Healthcare.gov "Pajama Boy" and that leather-jacket hipster Millennial from a GOP video back in March. Put it this way, Billy looks less NRA and more PBR. Of course there's nothing wrong with casting Mr. Johnson, but it does, however, speak to the fact that the NRA is trying to look smarter and hipper. Unfortunately, the words coming out of Billy's mouth are just as ridiculous as if they came out of Ted Nugent's mouth.

Anyway, you might recall Billy's previous performance in which he suggested that we stop using the phrase "mass shootings" and the word "gunman" when events like Santa Barbara or Sandy Hook occur. Why? Because it makes guns, you know, look bad. If you think that's stupid, you ain't seen nothing yet.

1) The title is crazy. The video is titled "Everyone Gets A Gun." I won't even dig into the long list of ramifications commensurate with such an overly broad idea. No, not everyone gets to have a gun. Haven't LaPierre and the NRA been screaming about launching a mental health database accessible by gun dealers so mentally incompetent people can't buy AR-15s from Walmart? What about all those "bad guys with guns?" Should they be allowed to "get a gun?" Maybe I'm confused, but I thought the NRA was against giving literally everyone a gun.

2) Education, parks and jobs don't kill people. This part might take a while. Billy begins by telling us that the U.S. government has an education policy, a parks policy and a jobs policy, all of which are designed to increase access to these clearly beneficial things rather than to restrict access to them. See what he's getting at here? He continues by telling us that U.S. gun policy is all about restricting access, not increasing access in spite of the Second Amendment. So, in Billy's teeny-tiny hipster brain, guns are equivalent to education, parks and jobs. They're not. In any way.

He inexplicably admits with a sarcastic zinger that education doesn't harm anyone. "Perhaps we should think seriously about who we give access to knowledge. They could us it to do a lot of damage." Again, he's being sarcastic and doesn't really mean it. Which case, right! Education is harmless, unlike firearms, which are weapons used in tens of thousands of deaths every year. Show me one example in which a school has been used as a weapon to kill 10 out of every 100,000 Americans. The same goes for access to jobs or parks.

However, what Billy doesn't appear to grasp is that there are many laws -- useful ones -- that regulate education, labor and parks. Many National Parks charge admission. Other parks are closed during certain hours, or sections of the parks are restricted due to hazardous conditions. We also aren't allowed to run around a park and do whatever the hell we want. We can't vandalize the parks, we can't drive on certain terrain, we can't cut down trees or hunt animals without permission. As for labor, where do we begin? Labor regulations maintain a 40-hour work week; they prevent the exploitation of children; they prevent discrimination; they allow employers to not hire someone based on drug use or a criminal record. The list goes on and on. Something tells me Billy didn't fully think this through.

While we're here, it doesn't hurt to mention how the largely pro-gun right has been trying to restrict access to birth control, affordable college educations, reproductive healthcare and even voting.

3) Read a newspaper, Billy. I'm not sure where he's getting his news, but this is just wrong: "We don't have a U.S. gun policy. We have a U.S. anti-gun policy." Baffled? I am. "What if we were to design policy around the assumption that people need guns?" Seriously, what the hell is he talking about? Since the Sandy Hook massacre alone, far more pro-gun laws have been passed than anti-gun laws. Here are a few headlines that Billy clearly missed.

Michigan: Update on Pro-Gun Reforms in Lansing

Massachusetts: Senate Strips Gun Control Language From Gun Bill

Kentucky: Comprehensive Pro-Gun Reform Legislation Takes Effect Tomorrow

"Why Not One? Why Not Zero?" Gov. Christie Vetoes N.J. Magazine Ban

West Virginia: Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Expands to Nebraska

Missouri: Governor Signs Pro-Gun Bill, Another Awaits his Signature

Kansas: Two Pro-Gun Bills Take Effect Today

Idaho: Concealed Carry Expansion and Youth Hunting Laws Effective Today

Georgia: Comprehensive Pro-Gun Law Takes Effect Today

Virginia: New Pro-Gun/Pro-Hunting Laws Go Into Effect Tomorrow

Mississippi: Important NRA-Backed Laws Take Effect Tomorrow

Tennessee: Pro-Gun/Pro-Hunting Bills to Take Effect Tomorrow

Maryland: Multiple Pro-Hunting Bills to Take Effect Tomorrow

Indiana: Pro-Gun Legislation Takes Effect Tomorrow

Pennsylvania: Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Expands to Utah

These are all following the cold-blooded murder of two dozen children and teachers at Sandy Hook -- wait. Strike that. Correction. Sadly, these headlines are all from the last 25 days! And in case you're worried the articles might be sourced from the pesky liberal media, I gathered the headlines from the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action website. Not only is there no such thing as a sweeping "anti-gun policy" here, but Billy doesn't seem to be familiar with headlines that have appeared on one of his own affiliated websites.

Toss into the mix the brutal reality that even after the AR-15 was used in numerous mass shootings, most notably at Sandy Hook and Aurora, it continues to be the most popular firearm in the U.S., with gun groups and even sitting congressmen giving them away as coveted prizes. Not a single law has been passed to ban such weapons in spite of the ongoing mass shootings in which ARs were used; nor have pro-gun activists carrying loaded AR-15s at protests and in public places been routinely arrested simply for carrying one.

4) "Guns make people's lives better." Oh please. At the very most, guns might help someone who relies upon wild game to survive. And, when used by the police or the military, there's a conceivable benefit in terms of safety. But owning a gun doesn't inherently improve one's life. For most people, it's like buying an expensive retail product, then sticking that product in the closet. We might need it some day, but chances are we won't ever actually use it.

Billy continues by saying that U.S. gun policy should encourage people to buy guns and "even reward those people who use them." Yeah, that's a fantastic idea. We totally need to incentivize gun usage because it just doesn't happen often enough. "What if instead of gun-free zones, we had gun-required zones?" Like where?! I have an idea: why not make the neighborhood where Billy lives a "gun-required" zone. What could possibly go wrong?

Okay, enough of this. There are a couple more minutes left in the video, but it's getting to be unfairly easy to destroy it. Suffice to say, in the remaining moments, Billy suggests federally-subsidized firearms and "yearly allotments of free ammunition." His justification? We subsidize healthcare and education, so why not? Wait, does that mean the NRA supports government subsidies in these areas? Interesting. Maybe they're not all bad. Ah, what am I saying? Of course they're all bad.

Cross-posted at The Daily Banter.

Click here to listen to the Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show podcast.
BobCesca.com Blog with special thanks to Jason Kalafat.