Gun Stories of the Week: Jay Leno Wimps Out on SHOT Show

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Anti-gun turkeys to target Kroger during Thanksgiving week

One of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-Second Amendment front groups, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, is orchestrating a scare campaign designed to force Kroger, the country’s largest grocery retailer, to prohibit open carry at its supermarkets.

The group plans to stage demonstrations at Kroger brand stores, including Fred Meyer, Ralph’s, Smiths, Food4Less, and Harris Teeter, among others, in the days leading up to Thanksgiving as "a wake up call to Kroger...[that] guns do not belong at the grocery store," said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

According to a November 18 Moms Demand Action press release, "Moms head to the grocery store on a weekly, sometimes daily basis—often with kids in tow. We don’t expect to face armed strangers when we shop with our families." It calls on members to "Tell Kroger to end open carry at its supermarkets" by signing a petition.

Kroger, like many retailers, allows customers to open carry in stores where it is legal to open carry in public and, despite episodic pressure from gun control groups in the past, has never wavered from its adherence to the Constitution.

The campaign against Kroger was in response to news reports of shootings at Kroger stores in Toledo, Ohio, and in Fulton County, Ga., earlier this month "along with the 16 other shootings and threats at Kroger stores nationwide in the past two years," the group says.

But according to Bob Owen a November 19 blog on bearingarms.com, the group is attempting "to spin several criminal acts that occurred on Kroger property around the country as justification for banning the lawful carry of firearms by citizens under local, state, and federal law."

Owen writes that neither incident cited by Moms Demand Action in its "shrill social media bullying campaign" actually occurred in a store. The incident in Toledo happened in the back of the parking lot, and appeared to be a planned confrontation between two assailants, while the shooting in Georgia was an armed robbery in the parking lot.

"How would banning the carry of holstered handguns by law-abiding customers inside Kroger stores have stopped the criminal behavior that occurred in the parking lot?" Owen writes. "Quite obviously it wouldn’t, as any rational person would agree. But Moms Demand Action doesn’t make rational arguments."

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Spineless Leno wimps out on SHOT Show

Jay Leno has stepped down as master of ceremonies at the annual SHOT Show's (shooting, hunting, and outdoor trade show) state-of-the-industry dinner in Las Vegas on January 20, buckling to pressure from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Newtown Action Alliance, which accused the former Tonight Show host of "helping to legitimize a crass commercialism which values profit over human lives."

The SHOT Show is staged by the Newtown, Connecticut-based National Shooting Sports Foundation and is the largest firearms-related industry trade show in the country.

On November 19, Leno told Mother Jones in a phone interview that he had called the NSSF to cancel his appearance, noting he'd also spoken with representatives of the Newtown Action Alliance. "I understand it's Newtown, and of course I get it," he said. "It's just sometimes, mistakes get made."

NSSF Public Affairs Director Michael Bazinet said replacing Leno with someone with a backbone won't be difficult and his departure won't affect the trade show, which already has a near-record 1,678 exhibitors signed up.

“This anti-gun organization’s ongoing strategy is to attempt to falsely demonize America’s firearms industry,” hetold Guns.com. “We will continue to advocate what works to help prevent the misuse of firearms while standing up for the rights of our law-abiding customers.”

Further Reading

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Three gun-related bills on tap in Ohio

An Ohio Senate committee on Nov. 19 delayed a scheduled vote on whether to let hunters use silencers on their firearms under some conditions.

The bill, which passed the House earlier this year, would let licensed hunters use the noise suppressors while hunting certain birds and other wild game, including squirrels, rabbits and white-tailed deer. Only those authorized under state and federal laws could use the devices, which must be registered.

Senate Civil Justice Chairman Bill Coley said lawmakers are trying to make clear to the public that these devices suppress gunshots and do not entirely silence them. Supporters say it would help protect hunters’ hearing, while making field commands easier to hear.

Gun control advocates say quieter weapons are less safe and easier to use illegally.

Meanwhile, anti-gun prohibitionists are lobbying against a proposed bill offering a Ohio version of the "Stand Your Ground" law. Dozens gathered on November 18 to protest against House Bill 203, which would would eliminate an Ohio law that requires someone to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense.

Another potentially significant gun-related bill coming before Ohio legislators is Senate Bill 338, which would allow active military members to get a concealed carry permit if they are under 21.

Neither bill has been voted on yet.

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LEGAL WATCH

DC's restrictive gun laws back in court

Gun owners on November 20 made their case in federal court that new gun laws adopted by the Washington's District of Columbia Council are unconstitutionally restrictive.

Gun owners, represented by attorney Alan Gura, want the federal government to prevent the DC Council from enforcing a law that requires gun owners to show a need for self-defense in order to obtain a permit. Gura, who spearheaded the successful lawsuit that forced the D.C. government to overturn the city’s ban on carrying firearms in public, argued that the system put in place by the D.C. Council is "unreasonable" and unconstitutional.

U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. struck down DC’s ban on carrying guns in public in July, writing in his opinion that the ban would be enjoined “unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

Scullin gave the city 90 days to adopt a regulatory mechanism that would withstand Constitutiuonal scrutiny. Gun owners then challenged the clause requiring applicants show "a need for self-defense" to obtain a permit.

Rather than actually challenge Gura's Constutional arguments, the D.C. attorney general’s office argued that because gun owners are challenging new laws they should file a new lawsuit.

“Plaintiffs’ motion raises new challenges to a new law. The relief plaintiffs seek is outside the scope of the existing judgment — now on appeal—and thus requires a new lawsuit,” wrote Eugene Adams, the city’s interim attorney general in court documents filed on November 18.

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