The holidays are coming up quickly. 2021 is winding down. The gun news is not.
This week, we saw Florida take a new step towards permitless gun carry–one that we have exclusive confirmation on. We also got a new poll in the Texas governor’s race and it’s not good for Beto O’Rourke. Plus, a major gun company gave a bunch of money for the first time to a gun-rights group that isn’t the NRA.
There were two stories that indicated some new potential common ground on addressing suicide by gun and gun violence. They both feature solutions that are outside of the same policy debates we’ve been stuck in for the past 30 years. And, they don’t feature the kind of coercion typical of more controversial proposals.
Jake Fogleman and I also take a closer look at the Texas race, how complacency fueled the Alec Baldwin shooting, and what keeps driving California cops to illegally sell guns.
Plus, we have Heritage Foundation scholar Amy Swearer on the podcast to provide her critique of the Ninth Circuit’s decision to uphold California’s magazine confiscation scheme.
Speaking of the holidays approaching, we’re having a flash sale! Give yourself or somebody you love the gift of sober, serious firearms journalism today… before it’s too late.
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Florida Governor DeSantis Signals Support for Permitless Gun Carry
By Stephen Gutowski
Florida may soon become the next permitless gun-carry state.
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis indicated he supports eliminating the permit requirement for concealed carry in Florida. When asked by a gun-rights activist at a private event, he said he would sign a bill to that end if one made it to his desk.
“Of course,” DeSantis said in a video made public on Tuesday.
Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for the governor, said the video accurately represents his position. However, she noted the governor would need to see the details of an actual bill before commenting further.
Texas voters are not yet ready for a change in the Governor’s mansion.
That’s according to a Quinnipiac University poll of Texas voters released Wednesday. It shows incumbent Governor Greg Abbott (R.) with a sizeable 15-point lead over prospective challenger Beto O’Rourke (D.). It also found that 60 percent of voters say Greg Abbott would handle gun policy better, while only 33 percent said the same of O’Rourke.
The poll results come just one month after O’Rourke announced his intent to run for Governor of Texas. It also comes about a year after he declared he would confiscate popular rifles if elected president during his failed run for the 2020 Democratic nomination.
Texas Democrats already tried to make gun control a salient political issue last election, with not much to show for it.
Now Beto O’Rourke, a candidate who has closely associated himself with strict restrictions on guns, is hoping for a different result from the same strategy. Thus far, he hasn’t found much success. A new Quinnipiac poll has O’Rourke (D.) trailing incumbent Governor Greg Abbott (R.) by 15-points overall among registered voters. But, perhaps the most striking finding of the poll was the results on the issue of gun policy, where O’Rourke found himself at a 27-point disadvantage to the man he hopes to unseat in the Governor’s mansion.
O’Rourke, because of his infamous declaration that “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” would likely find it hard to shake the image of a gun-control candidate even if he tried. Instead, he appears to be doubling down on his promise to confiscate Texans’ guns. At the same time, he’s attempting to paint Abbott as the true gun extremist for championing almost the exact opposite approach by signing reforms such as permitless gun-carry into law.
If the last election cycle in Texas is any guide, that strategy will be a hard sell.
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The Heritage Foundation’s Amy Swearer joins us this week on the podcast. As a Second Amendment policy wonk at one of the top conservative think tanks in D.C., she provides some salient critiques of the logic behind many of the most prominent gun-control policies.
We talked about the reasoning in the Ninth Circuit’s majority opinion upholding California’s magazine confiscation law as an example of that logic. Amy explains why she believes arguments for restricted “assault weapons” or magazines that hold more than ten rounds based on the idea they are “designed for the battlefield” don’t hold water. She points to the common ownership of both in civilian circles and the arbitrary nature of the laws banning them as prime evidence the policies aren’t fitting. And she notes the fact that the laws almost always exempt police, even off-duty and retired officers, from the restrictions is further evidence the main concern is not about the military usefulness of the guns and magazines.
We also took some time to discuss a new initiative from the Biden Administration that should actually be encouraging for gun owners. Unlike previous efforts from the president, this one focuses on voluntary measures and awareness campaigns to try and curb suicides among gun owners and veterans alike. Amy said the plan is something the administration has done little to publicize but is actually a step in the right direction.
Plus, Jake Fogleman and I discuss the latest developments in the Alec Baldwin shooting. I go over why it’s possible his gun fired without the trigger being pulled, but extremely unlikely. And, Jake gives a more detailed look at the specifics of the Ninth Circuit ruling as well as the likely fallout from it.
You can listen to the podcast on your favorite podcasting app or by clicking here.
You can also watch the video version on our YouTube channel.
Sig Gives Big to Second Amendment Foundation in Multi-Year Deal
By Stephen Gutowski
One of the nation’s largest gun makers made a new multi-year commitment to one of the country’s leading gun-rights groups on Monday.
Sig Sauer will give hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) over the next several years. The gun-rights group, which has focused primarily on legal activism, enters new grounds with the deal.
Alan Gottlieb, the group’s founder, told The Reload the deal is an “unprecedented” fundraising haul for them.
“Sig Sauer’s six-figure multi-year commitment of financial support is a first for SAF from the firearms industry,” he said.
Police in California keep getting caught illegally trafficking guns. What’s causing this phenomenon?
California is one of the only states in the country with what is known as a “handgun roster.” Under the Unsafe Handgun Act, only handguns deemed “safe” are eligible to be placed on California’s roster of certified firearms approved for civilian sale. Handguns deemed “unsafe” are generally unavailable for commercial sale in the state, with one crucial exception: law enforcement.
As the law is currently written, members of law enforcement are free to purchase and use “unsafe” handguns. As a new LA Times report uncovered, some officers use that carveout to turn an illicit profit in secondhand gun sales.
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Analysis: Complacency Was Deadly in the Alec Baldwin Shooting [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski
There are a lot of things that had to go wrong on the set of Alec Baldwin’s latest movie for a crew member to end up shot dead. Live ammunition had to make its way into the gun and it had to be pointed at Halyna Hutchins when it fired. And, nobody had to step in to stop either of those steps along the way.
But, there’s one factor that underlies all of those mistakes: complacency.
As with all safety protocols, those designed to keep the crew safe on a movie set while guns are being handled only provide protection so long as everyone is vigilant in following them. That responsibility falls first and foremost with the person on set who is responsible for overseeing gun safety on set. However, it extends to anyone involved in handling the firearms or setting up scenes that use them.
The attitude Baldwin displayed towards safety protocols belays a serious problem on the set of Rust and, perhaps, across the industry.
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Gun policy has become increasingly polarized over the past several years and it often seems like compromise is impossible, but new data suggests that may not be the case.
While wide gaps remain in attitudes toward gun policies, research indicates some areas of agreement among gun policy experts–often beyond the typical proposals that dominate the conversation around guns. That’s according to survey data published on Tuesday by the RAND Corporation. Researchers found that experts across the ideological spectrum were largely united on policy outcome objectives and even shared some common interest in specific policies such as prosecuting prohibited possessors who seek firearms and expanding mental health prohibitions.
A new report signals a potential path forward for cross-ideological support on reducing gun suicide.
The Convergence Center for Policy Resolution released the final report from its “Dialogue on Guns and Suicide Prevention” on Tuesday. The project was the result of a year-long collaboration between gun-rights activists, firearms industry representatives, mental health groups, and public policy researchers seeking to find methods of reducing firearm suicide that all constituencies could agree on.
“More than 40 percent of adults in the U.S. live in a household with at least one gun present, and their reasons for gun ownership and intended uses vary widely,” the center said in a press release. “Those who own firearms often feel caricatured, while those proposing reforms related to guns feel similarly misunderstood. The Convergence report highlights the importance of engaging gun owners as part of building smart and effective strategies for the reduction in gun deaths.”
The Reload in the Media
I made my debut in USA Today this week to discuss some of the most pertinent details in Alec Baldwin’s story about how the gun that fired the fatal shot on the set of his latest movie supposedly went off without him pulling the trigger. As you can imagine, I’m highly skeptical. Though, I do lay out all the possibilities for how it could have happened the way Baldwin describes.
Then, of course, I explain why his story is implausible. I think it’s a good piece. So, go ahead and give it a read.
Outside The Reload
That’s it for this week in guns.
I’ll see you all next week.