(A version of this column appears in the mid-January issue of “Firearms News” — formerly “Shotgun News” — on newsstands and in mailboxes this week.)
The movie “Miss Sloane,” from French distributor EuropaCorp, starring Jessica Chastain, rolled out in early December — which means the producers figured it had a good chance to be a big Christmas hit in America, up there with the latest “Star Wars” entry.
Maybe they were hoping it’d get a big push from President-Elect Hillary Clinton.
The movie casts the actress as Elizabeth Sloane, a Washington lobbyist who finds herself taking on the evil “gun lobby” as she pushes for “universal background checks.”
The film’s English director, John Madden, explains the movie (scripted by another Englishman, Jonathan Perera) highlights “the fallacy that any form of gun regulation is a slippery slope to confiscation.”
The problem with that premise, points out Breitbart News Second Amendment columnist A.W.R. Hawkins, in that, well . . . any form of gun regulation actually does lead down the slippery slope to confiscation.
“In the real world, all forms of gun regulation eventually combined to lead to confiscation in California,” Hawkins notes. “Americans in the other 49 states have watched this happen in real time. Universal background checks and an ‘assault weapon’ ban led to firearm registration and, yes, firearm confiscation laws. And throughout the process, instead of hitting the brakes, Democrat lawmakers continued to pass more and more gun controls — including stricter ‘assault weapons’ restrictions, a ‘high capacity’ magazine ban, ammunition background checks, etc.”
All without having the slightest negative impact on mass killings, of course -– as when a pair of Muslim terrorists (above — they really looked like they were anxious to assimilate, didn’t they?) had no trouble stockpiling all the arms, ammunition and bomb-making supplies they needed to kill 14 and seriously injure 22 by shooting up a training event and Christmas party in San Bernardino just a year back, on Dec. 2, 2015.
Not only that, what proponents call “universal background checks” — as we should all have figured out by now — are really “gun registration to owner by serial number.”
Once I’ve passed one background check, why don’t I get a plastic card that lets me acquire all the guns I want, forever, without any new reporting of serial numbers to Washington, until my “background check card” gets revoked for good reason — the same way a “driver’s license” works? I don’t have to apply for a brand new “driver’s license” every time I buy or rent or borrow another car — with that car’s vehicle number being called in to Washington — do I?
As one reviewer on the IMDB Web site offered: “Elizabeth (Jessica Chastain) erroneously claims that ‘Any head case, felon, or terrorist can buy an assault rifle from a gun show, the Internet, or his buddy at the Bowl-O-Rama without so much as an ID.’ It’s a common myth that’s there’s a ‘gun show loophole,’ but it’s not true. Anyone with even a minor amount of knowledge about gun sales, (such as) an experienced lobbyist, should know that. ALL gun sales by a licensed firearms dealer must pass a background check, regardless of whether they happen at a gun shop, a gun show, the Internet, his living room, or the trunk of his car. Guns ordered over the Internet must be shipped to a licensed dealer, who then verifies ID and does the background check.”
At the same site, other viewers offered:
“Movies like this ruin actors’ careers and only drive people further away from the movie-going hobby. I can hardly ever get friends to come with me to the theaters anymore; it’s like pulling teeth. Hollywood should remember to entertain the other half of the country instead of pandering to leftists with Marxist propaganda” . . .
. . . and “This is merely a propaganda movie. One of the worst movies ever made. . . . There is no gun show loophole. The gun control lobby is using Hollywood to push an unconstitutional agenda. The socialists are living in a fantasy land where they think guns can be outlawed. . . . They want to assist and enable criminals and keep law abiding citizens vulnerable” . . .
The daily Toronto Globe and Mail called the Madden/Perera product “so overwrought it’s almost laughable.”
Playing in 1,648 theaters over its second December weekend, “Miss Sloane” totaled $1.9 million in ticket sales.
For those unused to Hollywood math, the new “Star Wars” prequel grossed $71 million in its first day. What $1.9 million means is that if each of those theaters screened the film a dozen times over a three-day weekend, each screening held enough viewers to buy $100 worth of tickets – about enough moviegoers to field a softball team.
Forbes reports the movie “bombed.”
BACKGROUND CHECKS? NOT ENOUGH!
Meantime, as if we needed more real-world confirmation that gun-grabbers are always lying when they say, “Just give us this one more REASONABLE little gun control measure, and then we’ll be satisfied” . . . here in my home state of Nevada control-freak billionaire Michael Bloomberg — the man who banned the “Big Gulp” in New York City — poured $20 million into a “universal background check” referendum designed to turn a deploying serviceman and his fiancée into felons if the soldier leaves a handgun with his lady to keep her safe while he’s gone, without the pair of them driving as much as 100 miles (it’s a big state) to the nearest federally licensed gun store to pay for a federal “background check” . . . and then repeating the same process in reverse when he gets home.
Bloomberg spent an incredible $35.30 per vote, according to our friend John Lott.
The new gun-control measure won in only a single Nevada County — Clark County/Las Vegas, where the only “proof of citizenship” required to register to vote is a hotel/casino employment card, and the powerful Culinary Union routinely buses Spanish-speaking hotel maids (citizens? Ya think?) by the hundreds to early voting locations – in their uniforms, on company time — with instructions to vote the Democratic party line.
But so populous is Clark County that the measure eked out a statewide victory by 0.8 percent — 558,586 to 548,685 — despite the fact the measure was opposed by the governor, the state attorney general, and virtually every county sheriff, who warned they have no funds or manpower to try and enforce such nonsense.
So anyway, now that they got their “universal background checks” in Nevada, the gun grabbers are satisfied, right?
Of course not.
Less than a month later, the Las Vegas Sun — the town’s extremist left-wing rag, which under a 50-year “Joint Operating Agreement” survives as a single section of recycled New York Times features and local Marxist editorials wrapped inside the more popular, Trump-endorsing daily Review-Journal — editorialized on Dec. 11: “High-capacity magazine ban a must for Nevadans’ safety:
“By overwhelmingly supporting universal background checks for firearms purchases, Clark County voters made it abundantly clear last month that they were concerned about gun violence,” chirped the Clinton pals at the Sun.
“Now, it’s time for Las Vegas-area lawmakers to go a step further to protect Nevadans and push to ban the sale of high-capacity magazines in the state.”
The gun-haters proceed to quote new Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo:
“‘I’m a very avid hunter, I was in the military myself, and there’s no need to have a high-capacity magazine for any practical reason,’ Lombardo said during a recent interview with the Sun.
Wow. Which branch of the military fields M-16s which hold only five rounds, chief?
“To the contrary, the dangers posed by such magazines are obvious,” the Sun editorial continues. “Lombardo says the time it takes for suspects to change magazines gives potential victims an opportunity to escape and law enforcement officials an opportunity to safely fire back. That being the case, the fewer times a shooter has to switch out magazines, the fewer the chances for people to get away and authorities to get a protected shot.”
Making it sound like a magazine change is an operation comparable to changing a flat tire.
“Of course, the NRA crowd will howl at this suggestion like the Constitution is being set on fire,” the Sun editorial writer sneers. “We can practically hear them now: It will make law-abiding, responsible gun owners less able to protect themselves and their property! It’s a step toward the government disarming citizens!
“Neither of those arguments makes any sense. . . . The argument that a firepower restriction makes Americans more vulnerable to a governmental takeover may have been logical in the days of single-shot muskets, but what level would make people feel safe enough today? Allowing them to have machine guns? Tanks? Their own squadron of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters? Because the government has all those things, you know.”
Here, for once, the left-wing Sun manages to get something right -– even if they can’t seem to grasp that in America it’s the people and not the government who do the “allowing.” Individual Americans have a constitutional right to own any and all weapons in possession of the government. Tenche Coxe, the friend of Madison, wrote in the Pennsylvania Gazette of Feb. 20, 1788 -– seeking to assure Americans that the new central government could never overpower them — that “Their swords, and EVERY OTHER TERRIBLE IMPLEMENT OF THE SOLDIER, are the birthright of an American. . . . The UNLIMITED power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”
Are these twits really unaware that it’s perfectly legal for law-abiding Americans to own machine guns (even though that right is currently subject to absurd and blatantly unconstitutional BATF “reporting” restrictions)?
Nevada newspapers (the ones that can still manage to sell any advertising) regularly carry prominent display ads with photos of well-armed, scantily clad babes, inviting tourists from high-crime, victim-disarmed states to visit a local Vegas shooting range and “Shoot a real machine gun!”
Do they think the Bill of Rights means private citizens may possess only 18th Century flintlocks? Do they think the freedom of the press protects their right to own and use only the kind of hand-presses that were in use in 1789?
“Given that there’s no practical use for the magazines, there’s not a downside. . . Residents in the Las Vegas Valley have every reason to support reasonable restrictions on firearms,” the collectivists at the Sun conclude.
Ah, just another “reasonable restriction.” And that’ll be the last one, right?
(LATE FLASH: Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt on Dec. 28 ruled Nevada’s new “universal” background check law, enacted by a tiny electoral majority Nov. 8, is “unenforceable,” and that no Nevadan has to bother trying to comply.
“This is what happens when you allow uninformed, out-of-state lobbying groups that prey on people’s emotions to write your laws,” commented the National Rifle Association, reminding us that “Not a single sheriff supported Bloomberg’s Question One.” (I’d have to double-check that when it comes to politician-sheriff Joe Lombardo of Clark County/Las Vegas.)
The initiative was written in such a way that all private transfer background checks must be conducted by the federally administered National Instant Criminal Background Check System, as opposed to being conducted through the Nevada “Point of Contact” system, Laxalt noted.
Nevada’s “Point of Contact” system checks applicant names through NICS as well as the state database of prohibited persons.
The new law was written so that dealers cannot access the state system, and must rely solely on the federal process. “Initiative supporters avoided utilizing the state system because had they done so, Question One would have required the filing of a fiscal note, explaining to voters how much the new background checks would cost the state,” the NRA explains.
The FBI recently sent a letter to the Nevada Department of Public Safety saying, in short, that the FBI would not conduct background checks on private firearms transfers as called for in the new law. In the letter, the FBI noted that the State of Nevada “. . . cannot dictate how federal resources are applied.”
Laxalt concluded his opinion by stating that because the FBI would not conduct the checks, the law is “unenforceable. Therefore, “citizens may not be prosecuted for their inability to comply with the Act. . . .”
“There does not appear to be an easy fix to this over-reach by Question One’s proponents,” the NRA concludes. “Under Nevada State law, laws passed by ballot initiative cannot be altered for three years.”
ONE ROUND PER ASSAILANT? PLENTY!
But returning to the notion that there’s “no practical use” for the full-sized magazines with which my handguns were designed to function . . . haven’t we heard all this before?
Jeffrey Goldberg of Bloomberg News, the far-left former Israeli prison guard, has long argued “It is difficult for me to understand why . . . someone defending his family from a home invasion would need a magazine with a 30-round capacity. If your home is being invaded by 20 or 30 burglars at once, you have an unmanageable problem. These high-capacity magazines should be banned.”
This is a guy with military and self-defense training?
I don’t know any instructor in the use of handguns who recommends allocating fewer than three rounds per assailant. And that’s assuming half your rounds don’t miss in a darkened room, fail to penetrate through a heavy leather jacket, or aren’t needed to force a second assailant to keep his head down.
This ain’t the old Western movies, where a single shot through the lungs causes the bad guy to shout “You got me!” and die instantaneously before he hits the ground. Ask any experienced policeman about perpetrators who receive a “fatal wound” but still proceed to spend several minutes assaulting, beating, raping, or even sawing the head off a victim with a rusty butcher knife before succumbing to that wound.
“Practical need” has nothing to do with rights. Must we show a “practical need” for prayer or for attending church or synagogue, to avoid seeing these rights stripped away?
But this blithe assertion that we don’t “need” normal capacity magazines when the bad guys choose their time and place to strike -– hardly ever on a well-lit target range — shows willful ignorance, anyway.
The leftist media — including the remnant Las Vegas Sun and their pals at the Washington Post — stayed away in droves, but on March 31, 1995, Travis Dean Neel, a Korean War veteran, testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s crime subcommittee that the day he was traveling to a shooting range near Houston with two nine-millimeter pistols in his car — Jan. 21, 1994 — he witnessed one of three escaping armed thieves hide in the back of their stolen vehicle while Harris County Deputy Sheriff Frank Flores attempted to place the other two culprits under arrest. The third then ambushed the deputy, shooting him repeatedly in the back, shoulder and upper chest.
“I heard five bullets hit him as he fell from my view,” Neal testified under oath before Congress. No other law enforcement personnel were at hand. So, Neel says, “I selected my CZ-75 pistol with three 15-round magazines. As I had done at Heartbreak Ridge over four decades ago, I wanted to have as much ammunition as I could carry. Running forward, I … divided my shots between the three men, firing as fast as my finger would work, changing magazines every 15 rounds.
“After the three culprits ran off, I then released at least 30 cars in the intersection and went to examine the Texas peace officer. I was shocked to see him alive.”
The Harris County Deputy Sheriff’s Union name Travis Dean Neel their Citizen of the Year, 1994, for saving Deputy Flores’ life, and for the “heroic actions that led to all three armed thieves being arrested and charged with attempted capital murder of a police officer.”
“Having those firearms — and those magazines — in my car that day saved my life and that of Deputy Flores,” Neal told the subcommittee, though our mainstream media chose not to report his or any related testimony, that day. “Those who want to ban guns and the magazines that go with them tell you that only a criminal needs access to such ‘high-capacity’ magazines. But . . . I fired 39 shots that day. . . . If the gun and magazine ban had been in effect a few years earlier, things might have turned out differently.”
Yet Mr. Goldberg and the pencil-necks at the Las Vegas Sun would have us believe that — since there were only three armed felons — Mr. Neal couldn’t possibly have needed more than three cartridges to get the job done.
How about Clark County sheriff Joe Lombardo? Will he volunteer his officers to try out the theories of Mr. Goldberg and the Sun editorial-writers? The number of times a police officer is ever faced with more than three bad guys at the same time must be infinitesimal. Will they volunteer to hit the streets carrying only a single magazine, holding only three rounds?
Why not . . . if “There’s no need to have a high-capacity magazine for any practical reason?”
Vin Suprynowicz was for 20 years an award-winning columnist and editorial writer at the daily Las Vegas Review-Journal. He blogs at www.vinsuprynowicz.com .