Newsletter: How Racist Is North Carolina’s Pistol-Purchase Permit, and the NRA Won’t Send Its New D&O Policy to Board Members

Gun news picked up again this week. To start, the CDC director came out late last Friday to make a public commitment to new federal funding for gun-violence research. She promised the effort wouldn’t be about pushing for new gun control, but, as I discussed in a piece, there’s good reason for gun owners to be skeptical.

After that, we saw North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D.) veto an attempted repeal of a Jim Crow-era gun law. Contributing Writer Jake Fogelman took a look at the history of the law to figure out how strong the evidence is that the law was racially motivated. He found some interesting stuff. It’s worth a read.

We also saw the NRA obtain new insurance for its directors, but the group’s general counsel has refused to send copies to those directors for review. It’s the latest dustup in a spat between NRA leadership and some of its own board members as the group’s very existence is being threatened in court.

Plus, gun sales continued to soar in August, and we have members from a new Asian-American gun group on the podcast. The episode should make for a good listen during the long holiday weekend. Enjoy!

The NRA logo on a lighter in the shape of an AR-15
The NRA logo on a lighter in the shape of an AR-15 / Stephen Gutowski

NRA Picks Up New Directors Insurance But Won’t Send Copies to Board Members

The NRA has a new policy for protecting directors from legal liability, but none of the directors have actually seen it.

NRA general counsel John Frazer rebuffed multiple requests by board members to view a copy of the new Directors and Officers (D&O) policy, according to four sources on the board. An email exchange obtained by The Reload shows Frazer refusing to send a copy of the policy to director Rocky Marshall. He told Marshall the policy had not been issued and he did not have an estimate of when it would be, but he also said NRA leadership decided not to allow it to be shared except in person.

“Due to the unfortunate need to protect this confidential information from being leaked to the media and parties adverse to the NRA, the leadership decided that sensitive information such as your request will not be forwarded by email,” Frazer wrote to Marshall on August 13. “The policy form will be available for your review when we have it.”

Frazer told Marshall he could either review the new policy in person at the NRA’s headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, or he could review it at the group’s Annual Meeting. The meeting has since been canceled. Frazer said “all similar requests” are being treated the same, and Marshall claimed six other board members had already been rebuffed in addition to him.

“It just seems so odd they’re going to such extremes to keep information from a director,” Marshall told The Reload when reached for comment about the emails. “I guess they feel like the Board of Directors is a threat and, therefore, they don’t want the board to have it. I mean, I’m not the only one that asked for this. At last count, I think I had about six different board members tell me that they also requested it, and they couldn’t get it either.”

Click here to read the whole thing.

Revolvers on display at an industry trade show
Revolvers on display at a trade show / Stephen Gutowski

North Carolina Governor Vetoes Pistol-Purchase Permit Repeal Bill
By Jake Fogleman

Handgun-purchase permits are here to stay in North Carolina.

Governor Roy Cooper (D.) vetoed a bill on Monday that would have made it easier for North Carolinians to purchase pistols. House Bill 398 sought to repeal the state’s 102-year-old law requiring a person to obtain a permit from their local sheriff before purchasing a handgun.

“Gun permit laws reduce gun homicides and suicides and reduce the availability of guns for criminal activity,” Governor Cooper said in a press release. “At a time of rising gun violence, we cannot afford to repeal a system that works to save lives. The legislature should focus on combating gun violence instead of making it easier for guns to end up in the wrong hands.”

The bill originally passed the general assembly on a near party-line vote over opposition from the Governor’s office. Republicans hold narrow majorities in the House and Senate, making a veto override unlikely.

To continue reading, click here.

Guns for sale at a Virginia gun store
Guns for sale at a Virginia gun store / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: How Racist Is North Carolina’s Pistol-Purchase Permit? [Member Exclusive]

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D.) vetoed a bill to repeal the state’s pistol-purchase permit requirements without deigning to address critiques of racism associated with the current system. But what is the history of the permit requirement?

The law was passed in 1919, in the midst of Jim Crow segregation throughout the southern states. Historical records at the time of the bill’s passing don’t provide a great deal of detail on any explicitly racial motivations, but the context of the era is enlightening.

Just 20 years prior, the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot occurred where a white mob burned down the local black-owned newspaper and subsequently seized control of the local government. The upheaval created a cascade of effects across North Carolina, as segregationists became emboldened in their opposition to continued reconstruction efforts. As a result, legalized segregation (Jim Crow) and the disenfranchisement of black citizens became the norm in the state and would not be dismantled until the Civil Rights Movement.

North Carolina also has a history of overtly racist gun-control regulations.

In 1840, the state passed a law similar in nature to the 1919 purchase permit law but more explicit in its racist intent. The state outlawed the keeping or carrying of “any shot gun, musket, rifle, pistol, sword, dagger, or bowie knife,” by “any free negro, mulatto, or free person of color” unless they “obtained a license therefor from the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of his or her county, within one year preceding the wearing, keeping or carrying thereof.”

North Carolina is not unique in this fact.

Reload members can read the entire piece hereIf you’re not yet a member, join now to access this and other exclusive posts!

Guns for sale at All Shooters Tactical in Woodbridge, Virginia
Guns for sale at All Shooters Tactical in Woodbridge, Virginia / Stephen Gutowski

August 2021 Gun Sales Second-Best on Record
By Stephen Gutowski

Americans bought more than 1.3 million guns in August.

That’s according to an industry analysis of FBI background check data released on Wednesday. It makes last month the second-best August on record for gun sales in the United States, with 2020 being the only year to see higher sales. 2021 has now seen four straight months with gun sales at second-best levels.

The numbers indicate gun sales have begun to settle down into a new post-surge normal. While purchases are no longer at the all-time-record levels seen throughout much of 2020 and culminating in a new yearly record, they haven’t regressed below levels seen in the years before the coronavirus pandemic drove Americans to the gun store in an unprecedented surge. The stabilization of gun sales at a far higher rate than before the latest surge began indicates more Americans are buying more guns than they used to, which will likely impact both American culture and politics in the long term as well as gun-company profits in the short term.

Click here to read the full piece.

Podcast: Members of Asian American and Pacific Islander Gun Owners (AAPIGO) Discuss Minority Gun Rights
By Stephen Gutowski

On this week’s episode, I talked to three members of Asian American and Pacific Islander Gun Owners leadership team.

Scott Kane, Bobby Yang, and Raphael Platte joined me to discuss the new group’s recent range day as well as their concealed-carry permit protest event. The three are relative newcomers to the world of gun-right activism but they’ve identified a need in the gun-owning community and are trying to fill it. They talked about their efforts to engage with Asian-Americans interested in owning guns and what they plan to do moving forward to grow the group.

We also talked a bit about why a group specifically designed to appeal to Asian-Americans is necessary and how it can offer services and a form of community other groups can’t or won’t.

Scott talked about his family’s run-in with racist intimidation that inspired him to buy a gun at the beginning of the pandemic. Bobby also gave insight into how this activism plays into the greater political awakening of Asian-Americans in the wake of rising hate crimes. Plus, the three talk about their shared background in the tech world and how that informs their activism.

Give it a listen. I think you’ll really enjoy it! And, when you’re done with The Weekly Reload Podcast, check out the new Active Self Protection Podcast where I’ll be giving a weekly news update.

You can find the full podcast here.

Or you can watch the video podcast on YouTube.

A person renovates a home
A person renovates a home / Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Study: Investment in Home Repairs Associated With Crime Reduction
By Jake Fogleman

The researchers found that blocks affected by the home-repair program were associated with a 21.9 percent decrease in homicide and a 19 percent decrease in assault. They also found that for each additional house that received the BSRP grant, the associated crime decrease was larger.

“We found a significant BSRP dose-dependent decrease in total crime such that the magnitude of impact increased with higher numbers of homes with BSRP intervention on a given block face,” the authors concluded.

The findings are noteworthy at a time when violent crime is spiking in major cities across the country, and policymakers are scrambling to find solutions. Philadelphia is on pace to see its deadliest year ever for homicides. City officials have focused heavily on calls for more gun control, but with polls showing a decline in public support for new gun restrictions, the findings of the study show the potential for effective alternative measures.

Click here to read more.

Handguns at a shooting range
Handguns at a shooting range / Stephen Gutowski

CDC Director Commits to More Gun-Violence Research: ‘It’s Pedal to the Metal Time’
By Jake Fogleman

The Centers for Disease Control will once again turn its attention to guns.

That was the message from CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky as she announced the agency’s plans to undertake more gun-violence research. On Friday, she told CNN “something has to be done” about the issue, and the agency believes “it’s pedal to the metal time” despite continuing concerns from gun-rights advocates. She said the agency needed to act quickly as murders spike in cities across the country.

“Every day we turn on the news, and there are more young people dying,” Walensky told the news station. “I swore to the President and to this country that I would protect your health. This is clearly one of those moments, one of those issues, that is harming America’s health.”

The CDC’s foray into matters of gun research has been a polarizing force in the history of American gun politics. In 1996, gun-rights advocates successfully lobbied Congress to slash the CDC’s funding for gun research due to the belief that its work was politically motivated. They pointed to public statements from Dr. Mark Rosenberg, then the director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, as evidence of the political motivation.

“We need to revolutionize the way we look at guns, like what we did with cigarettes,” Rosenberg said in 1994. “It used to be that smoking was a glamour symbol, cool, sexy, macho. Now it is dirty, deadly, and banned.”

Click here to continue reading.

A 1911 pistol with a cerakoted paint job
A 1911 pistol with a cerakoted paint job / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: The CDC Needs to Tread Lightly on Gun Research to Avoid Sowing Further Distrust [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

And it is odd to watch the CDC director begin speaking out about the agency focusing on gun violence, which is not a disease to be controlled no matter what language games some might like to play, in the middle of an actual pandemic. Yes, murder has spiked in some cities, and that deserves study. But it’s difficult to imagine how Walensky found time for this interview or why she’s prioritizing the inevitably-controversial study of guns while the Covid delta variant ravages large swaths of the country, causing hospital bed shortages.

The CDC is already facing a credibility problem among significant portions of the population. That’s at least partially due to their own communications missteps made throughout the pandemic. And repeating the mistakes of the 90s by delving into politically-motivated action on guns will only further erode their credibility.

The fact that Walensky’s promise for immediate action on gun research comes at the same time gun-control activists have been publicly clamoring for President Joe Biden (D.) to take more action on guns isn’t a great start. After all, the ban on funding for research that promotes gun control was lifted back in 2018. And murder began to surge last year.

Reload members can read the entire piece hereIf you’re not yet a member, join now to access this and other exclusive posts!

Outside The Reload

Black Women Seeing Guns as Protection from Rising Crime | The Associated Press | By Corey Williams

Biden aims to sign on to UN’s global gun registration treaty | Washington Examiner | By Paul Bedard

Gun makers tap Jones Day, Cozen to defend against Mexico lawsuit | Reuters | By Mike Scarcella

A local solution for gun violence? Pay people $300 a month | SF Examiner | By Michael Barba

Beginner’s Guide to Pistol Ammo | Lucky Gunner

That’s it for this week in guns.

If you want to hear my analysis of these stories and more, make sure you grab a Reload membership to get the exclusive analysis newsletter every Sunday!

I’ll see you all next week.

Stephen Gutowski
The Reload

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


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