Skip to comments.Bloomberg, concerned moms aim to mess with Texas gun laws
Posted on 05/03/2014 11:11:59 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
AUSTIN, Texas Central Texas Gun Works is in a nondescript strip mall in the southern part of Texas capital city. Its a gun store and firearm training center thats located, somewhat improbably, two doors down from an acupuncture center. Customers can buy handguns and long guns, as well as a miniature pink firearm with My First Rifle engraved on the stock. Posters from the National Rifle Association gild the waiting room. T-shirts saying Buy a Gun. Annoy a Liberal are also for sale.
Its into this Texas microcosm that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has dropped a depth charger.
Using $50 million of his personal fortune, Bloomberg last month launched a coalition to champion issues like mandatory background checks for private firearm sales. Called Everytown for Gun Safety, the alliance, which has rolled out in 15 states including Texas, intends to counter the cultural and political might of gun rights groups by introducing legislative reform in statehouses. It focuses not on the limitation of gun rights a red flag to Second Amendment advocates but on the reduction of the types of violence brought about by lax gun-safety laws. Everytown will concentrate on the lack of background checks in private sales, gun ownerships role in domestic violence, fatalities among children who accidentally fire a weapon, and the everyday gun violence experienced by inner city communities.
But even with this soft messaging, frontier states like Texas wont make it an easy sell. Gun ownership in Texas crosses political lines. While local Republican politicians run on a Second Amendment rights platform as a matter of course, even Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis proclaimed her support for the open carry of handguns. During the last legislative session, conservative legislators successfully passed a number of pro-gun bills, including one that reduced the number of training hours required for concealed handgun owners to get a license.
Michael Cargill, Central Texas Gun Works owner, is emblematic of the slippery Texas gun story.
A courteous and powerfully built man in cowboy boots, he fits into a typically Lone Star stereotype of Western masculinity. But hes also black and openly gay, which are far less associated with people in his position. Cargill became an instructor after his grandmother was mugged and raped. The incident motivated him to offer firearm lessons which he said have an enrollment of 5,000 and are female-dominated to empower women.
Keeping one stern eye on the stores security camera feed while talking to Al Jazeera, Cargill said he isnt cavalier about gun safety. As a licensed gun dealer, he said, he studiously runs federal background checks on his buyers. He ships online orders only to other licensed dealers. His clients are responsible folk, he emphasized, who wish to learn firearm safety and compliance with Texas regulations of which, he added archly, there are many.
But to Cargill, rampant gun violence is a manufactured problem of the left. He dismissed claims that preventable crimes occur when firearms fall into the wrong hands.
Why focus our attention on firearms when the number of handguns used in a crime is so small compared to automobile fatalities? he asked.
Moreover, he believes the volume of private gun sales is small compared with those that happen in gun shops like his. And regarding those transactions that occur between private individuals or at a gun show? A seller of a secondhand car isnt required to vet the buyer, he argued, so why impose such regulation on the firearm trade?
Yet for gun-safety advocates, that private sale loophole, which requires no background check and which they argue applies to 40 percent (PDF) of gun exchanges in the U.S., is precisely what they hope to regulate.
At the launch of Everytown for Gun Safety in Austin, state Rep. Elliott Naishtat announced that some House members plan to introduce reasonable gun control measures in the next legislative session. This might include the expansion of background checks for private sales and gun shows, though he later told Al Jazeera that the details are still evolving.
Bloombergs Everytown coalition may provide the extra firepower that legislators like Naishtat need. Incorporating Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which claims nearly 1,000 mayors as members, as well as prominent Texas board members like Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo and Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Everytown hopes to increase its Lone Star traction. The groups advocacy arm will provide voters with candidate scorecards for the congressional midterms, while a voter campaign aims to mobilize voters toward politicians that support gun safety.
The mom factor
But the real game changer may be the deployment of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the group that launched after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and that claims 150,000 members (PDF) across the U.S. By deploying mothers as field workers to galvanize the much-desired womens vote, Everytown intends to add emotional force to local legislative efforts. Indeed, if Everytowns first video spot about what happens when a little girl discovers an unsecured gun is anything to go by, a visceral response from the would-be voter is exactly what the group is going for.
Moms Demand Action is gathering momentum in Texas. Claiming upwards of 2,000 supporters in the state, the group has chapters in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, spokeswoman Stephanie Lundy said. Last year in Austin, its lobbying efforts contributed to the cancellation of a major gun show permit when the organizers refused to implement mandatory background checks. More recently, Moms Demand Action inveigled its way into a legislative committee hearing to which only gun rights groups had been invited. The groups grassroots events, which are something of a blend between a neighborhood block party and an urgent moral crusade, will appeal to parents roles as community guardians.
Our moms in Texas are looking for leaders who vote for common-sense gun laws, for gun laws that protect their children, Lundy said. If there are leaders that are not voting to protect children, then they will be voted out of office and replaced. Its as simple as that.
Moms Demand Actions mainstream appeal is advanced perhaps by its polar opposites in the political arena. Open Carry Texas, a Second Amendment rights advocacy group whose members appear outside most Moms events bearing assault rifles, exists to educate Texans about their legal right to carry long arms in public. According to its Facebook pages, it has chapters in 40 Texas counties and tallies more than 4,000 members.
To bemused onlookers browsing stalls at the Texas Book Festival or stuck in traffic jams, its members proselytize about liberty while carrying rifles slung across their backs. But theres a misogynist edge to their work, too. Open Carry Texas members frequently level sexually violent threats against Moms activists on Facebook and Twitter. Last month, when a Plano woman, intimidated by the sight of armed gunmen on the street, called the police, Open Carry Texas obtained a recording of the call and published the womans name and number on YouTube. The woman received so many threatening calls from gun rights advocates that she changed her number, Lundy said.
Outside the venue of Everytowns launch in Austin, a small clutch of armed people stood waving flags bearing a logo from the Texas War of Independence. Their spokesman, James Everard, an eight-year Army combat veteran from Killeen, made the familiar argument about the freedoms enjoyed by sellers of secondhand cars.
This is all about personal liberties, he said, noting that most responsible firearms dealers wont sell to people they dont know.
A press statement issued by the group later that day likened Everytown to Nazi Germany and warned of Bloombergs intention to bind the hands of law-abiding citizens [in an] ever-expanding ocean of tyranny.
But rhetoric like this only galvanizes the work of Moms Demand Action.
And public opinion may be on the groups side. A nonpartisan poll conducted by the University of Texas at Austin last year found that Texans overwhelmingly support background checks for all gun sales in the U.S. Its this kind of common sense law that Everytown and its mass of politicized moms hope to enable.
Texas is a significant state, culturally and legislatively, said Kellye Burke, chapter leader for Moms Demand ActionTexas. When we have women making waves in Texas, its motivating to women in small towns everywhere.
Texans need to “cowboy up” and run these maggots back up to New Yawk.
What the hell is a “depth charger”? Stupid reporters (and editors)!
Not one dollar spent on disarming the Bloods, the Crips, the Tong, the Russian Mafia, La Raza, etc.
"Common sense" gun laws in Texas is exactly what my State Rep. Stephanie Klick here in Texas wants also. She tries to get most of the existing gun restrictions REMOVED from Texas statutes. She is for "open carry", "Constitutional Carry", etc. So, she is definitely FOR sensible gun laws!
Not one dollar spent on disarming the Bloods, the Crips, the Tong, the Russian Mafia, La Raza, etc.
Not to mention the hundreds of Federal Agency armed enforcement teams without a shred of Constitutional authority to exist.
...and what is it about al jazeera that draws them to a discussion of limiting gun rights in America? A question that will remain unanswered, but the answer better be uppermost in your mind.
If you think this is “for the children”, think again.
Many Texas towns are very crime free near the border but step 2 mi accross and you have mass graves.
Bloomberg and his so called concerned mums need to be dragged by the collar to see what it is they are all about and then a picture of them and their success campaign of disarming people except the Cartels be taken.
Here we have a little man who refused to confront the gang violence in his city parading around as an anti gun advocate yet he failed in this miserably. If all guns were removed from society the gangbangers would still be armed and a threat to us all. This little man has a little mind andits damaged beyond repair
My healthcare begins with the right of effective self defense.
Anything from Al-Jazeera is suspect, especially when generated by a local stringer (in this case, Austin).
That’s how they hide their al-Qaeda connection and don’t sound Ay-rab in the article itself.
After all, the Koran says that “infidels” shouldn’t have weapons.
Bloomie is smart enough to know that if he really wanted to do something about a problem and knew where the problem was, that it's neither sane nor logical to focus efforts everywhere except where the problem lies.
"Among racial and ethnic groups, blacks are over-represented among gun homicide victims; blacks were 55% of shooting homicide victims in 2010, but 13% of the population."
Typical New York liberals.
They have made their own homes and lives toxic disasters, but spend their time yelling across the backyard fence telling their neighbors how to run their lives.
“A nonpartisan poll conducted by the University of Texas at Austin...”
They do “nonpartisan” polls at the University of Minnesota and the University of California-Berkeley, too. And worth about the same.
Yep! It is about control of people. They are not against guns per say. They are against you and me owning guns. As long as their agents [the police] are the only ones to have them, it is fine. Close your eyes and imagine, for a minute, what would have happened at the Bundy ranch if the BLM and Sheriff’s SWAT Team had been the only ones with guns. They would still be burying people.
” It focuses not on the limitation of gun rights a red flag to Second Amendment advocates but on the reduction of the types of violence brought about by lax gun-safety laws.”
There are THREE THINGS to look for regarding any “gun legislation”. IF you answer yes to any of the three questions, then you are limiting gun rights.
First, will it increase the cost to acquire or own a gun?
On this one, for private sales, who pays for the mandatory background checks and being processed through a licensed dealer? One guess.
Second, can it (or will it) create a gun ownership database?
Why is it necessary to take down the serial number of a gun when doing a background check on the buyer? I’m still waiting for that answer.
Third, does it decrease the utility of gun ownership?
Example would be something like what it takes to use a legally-owned gun for self-defense in California, at least when I lived there. Shooting the bad guy in your house is enough for the homeowner to stay out of criminal charges, but there is a good chance of a lawsuit. What you really want to do is draw him into your bedroom and then shoot him...at that point it’s unlikely that a lawyer will pick up the case. Also, look at all of the now-illegal guns in Connecticut. What happens when you use yours, in your home, in a legitimate life-threatening situation? In other words, you now have to think very hard before using that gun you tucked away.
Don’t fall for that “background investigation” trick. When they investigate you in reference to buying a gun, they will find something disqualify you if you are not of the persuasion they wish to be armed. Whether it is there or not.
Al-Jazeera, openly "Gay" black guy in cowboy boots, handguns, busy body moms, and Bloomberg.
This story has a lot of moving parts.