Revolvers, Pistols and Shotguns, OH MY! 

The 44th annual SHOT (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade) Show opens today in Las Vegas. The latest and greatest firearms and accessories for sporting, hunting and defense will be on display for those in the industry. After going virtual last year due to the ongoing Two Weeks to Flatten the Curve, SHOT Show is back and bigger than ever. It’s almost as if the demand for firearms in the US of A is getting stronger, not woker?  Who’d a thunk it..

Anyone who has anything to do with the firearms industry can tell you the last two years have been insane. Just about every brand and type of firearm has been challenging to impossible to buy. For ammunition, the demand has been so high that it’s been difficult to find, or find any at a price you can afford. Fortunately, stock levels improved significantly in 2021, but inventory can still be hard to locate. 

The National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) verifications, the proxy used for firearms sales in the country, was 21 million for 2020 and 18.5 million for 2021. Those number include 8.5 million first time buyers in 2020 and 3.2 million for just the first half of 2021. 

Who is buying firearms is as relevant as where the firearms are being purchased. In short, it is everyone and everywhere. Purchases cross all race, gender, religion, political affiliation, economic status and location. In other words, it is a cross section of the entire country, including the bluest blue states with the strictest gun control laws. 

Why demand has skyrocketed is unfortunately easy to understand. With unchecked BLM/Antifa riots raging across the country, local law enforcement agencies defunded, restructured, and restricted on the way they can address crime, prosecutors refusing to charge those who are apprehended for crimes, or practicing “catch & release” and, using COVID as a pretext, prisoners being released ‘for their safety’, the public are the ones who have paid the price.

Violent crime is skyrocketing in major cities thanks to the ‘woke’ policies of the administrations and prosecutors. Armed daylight robberies, assaults, homicides, larcenies, and burglaries have become so commonplace and undeterred some police departments have informed their residents “be prepared to give up your cell phone and purse or wallet” or simply “cooperate and comply.” What a disgrace.

Less enforcement and prosecution have of course led to more crime. With no fear of the law or any consequences for actions, people can just do whatever the hell they want. Fights in airports and on airplanes? No problem! Assaults in stores or restaurants? No problem! Walking down the street and want to hit or kill someone? No problem! Walk into a store and walk out with bags worth of merchandise? No problem! Beating anyone that gets in your way? No problem!  It’s not like anyone is going to stop you OR if you do happen to trip over the police on the way out, there will be any punishment. You’ll be back on the street in hours. 

While it’s easy for politicians to think of crime in terms of numbers and trends, some saying it’s only ‘x’ percentage here and there, the victims of crime see it differently. They see it as pain and suffering, injuries, hospitalizations, loss of work, money, home and business, and the loss of loved one’s lives. Is it any wonder that everyday Americans across the country have chosen to purchase firearms AND training so they can take control of their own safety and that of their families?  

All of this leads to a strange new reality for the gun-control elitists, many of whom are now arming themselves as unchecked crime is literally breaking down their front doors in their once safe communities. With more and more people purchasing firearms for self-defense, the old narrative of more gun control and less guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens is being exposed as false. Support for gun control is continuing to decline as the support for citizens’ rights to carry firearms, both with and without government permission is increasing. 

Firearms are used to defend lives in this country every single day. For those who contend more guns equals more violence and death, recall those long-buried CDC (Centers for Disease Control) studies that found civilian defensive use of firearms outnumbered felonious use by a rate of 3 to 1, to the tune of 2.5 to 3 million uses per year. It is critical to note that not all the events involved the discharge of a firearm by the civilian. Often, the mere presenting or challenge to the criminal with a firearm was enough to stop the intended crime. It’s also important to realize this number ONLY includes persons who were not performing defensive duties as part of their employment such as law enforcement or security services.

There will always be those among us who seek to take advantage and prey upon others. No amount of legislation or societal control will ever be able to provide for your safety, it is up to you. 

What you can do is take control of your own safety and the safety of your family. You can make a commitment to NOT be a victim. You can use the best, most effective tools available to you. Millions of Americans have made that choice in 2020 and 2021. Hopefully, millions more will join them this year. 

Bob

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Can You Hear Me Now?

Borrowing the catch phrase from an old TV commercial, this the question those of us in the Second Amendment community have. Censorship of the firearms industry or anyone advocating for Second Amendment protected rights is nothing new, although it has gotten exceedingly worse in the past few years. But now that censorship has expanded to include those who choose to hold and speak out on conservative held values or simply question the government narrative. Although many are speaking out, the message may not be getting through. 

Censorship of the firearms and 2A community by mainstream news outlets and social media companies has been going on for years. Shadow banning, the practice of partially blocking or restricting the content and comments online to limit visibility is commonplace. Pages and commentators with thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions of followers have found their messages only reaching a tiny percentage of them. Why? It’s simply because those who own the platform don’t like their message. That’s all. 

Then there are fact-checkers. Our nation’s free and independent press used to be our fact-checkers since they had an interest in the truth and exposing those who didn’t speak it. But with free and independent giving way to biased and prejudiced reporting, the press simply isn’t trustworthy anymore. Besides, traditional news organizations weren’t set up to handle a 24/7 immediate response model. Enter the fact-checkers. 

These so-called fact checkers have emerged as anonymous, unaccountable, supposedly third-party organizations, often directly funded by the very same companies they are “independently” fact-checking for. It should come as no surprise that the sponsoring organization’s ideology and biases towards those they don’t agree with are mirrored in their checks of facts. All the fact-checkers need to do is find an article with an alternate version of “truth” and that becomes the basis of YOUR facts being wrong. Once tagged with a fact-check, even if the fact-check indicates your article is true, its visibility is further reduced. 

And let’s not forget Terms and Conditions of Use or Community Standards, the ultimate restriction on content. Social media companies can define anything they want as being “otherwise objectionable” and completely ban it and the users who share it. They don’t have to justify it any further than that and they don’t have to apply the standards equally across the board. They get to decide all by themselves what is true, what is false and what is acceptable for YOU to experience on their platform. These convoluted documents are supposed to make you think they are applying their ideology in a fair manner in your best interest.  They are not. 

What kind of power do they have? They can ban the sitting President of the United States of America and a member of the United States Congress for so-called offensive content. Yet, at the same time, they permit those who advocate acts of violence against others, target members of political parties or those of a certain race. They also allow actual, bona fide terrorist organizations. Simply questioning an official government narrative or presenting actual / factual information that may cause others to question it, is enough for a permanent ban. 

Of course, there is the argument that the social media platforms are private property you use for free. As such, First Amendment speech protections do not apply, and you are perfectly welcome to start your own social media platform. Well…. There are some problems with that logic. 

First is the direct connection between one side of the United States government and the news and social media companies. If the White House, members of Congress or members of a political party are contacting these companies and asking them to limit or remove certain content, then you’re damn right the First Amendment applies. The government doesn’t get to do an end run around the Constitution and claim no free speech infringements when they are the ones directing the private companies to do it on their behalf. 

Second, let’s not forget the case of Parler, the free speech alternative to Twitter. Liberal talking heads complained the platform was nothing more than a conversative “echo chamber” that attracted and encouraged extremists. In reality, it was simply getting too popular and didn’t employ the same nanny-level liberal fact-checking the other social medial platforms did. So, using the tenuous at best association with the events of January 6th, Google, Apple and Amazon conspired to take down the platform. Yes, it’s back online now with a new infrastructure and management, but the damage has already been done. 

I’ve seen dozens of my favorite firearms related businesses and commentators have their content removed and the owners banned over the past few years. All their content was 100% legal, but none of that matters. Of course, they can appeal, but it’s a byzantine system of anonymous company drones who have the final say, and it should be no surprise it doesn’t go in your favor very often. 

Keep in mind, banned content doesn’t let people have information that might help them in their own lives. Banned content can’t inspire someone else to speak out in support of a position. Banned content doesn’t allow people to unite around a cause. Banned content can’t question the only “facts” allowed to be shared. Banned content doesn’t exist, at least as far as you know.

There are some new platforms and more coming out soon which may help shift the tide of information sharing to those who have been censored. I believe their success will largely be dependent on the ability to attract the big-name content makers and get them to leave the current social media and news platforms behind. That should start a cascade of others who will be willing to leave and never look back. 

For now, we’re all going to have to be creative and spread our message the best we can. There are a lot of us out there, and that’s exactly what they are afraid of.

Can you hear me now? 

Bob

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