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The FBI said Wednesday the gunman responsible for the shooting at a Republican baseball practice that injured a Congressman and three others acted alone and suggest the attack was not terror but rather a spontaneous act of violence.
The FBI offered little insight into the gunman’s motive other than to say 66-year-old James Thomas Hodgkinson “was struggling with a lot of aspects of his life,” said Timothy Slater, an FBI special agent-in-charge at the Washington field office, during a press conference.
Slater said Hodgkinson displayed “just a pattern of life that things weren’t going well” such as unemployment, diminishing savings, and a struggling marriage. But, according to Slater’s statement, it does not appear Hodgkinson had been planning his attack.
“I think he — by his posts on social media — he spoke a lot about anti-Republican rhetoric. I can’t speak to exactly what he was thinking at the moment or his motive, but I think as we continue to look at his communications and look at his online footprint, I think we’ll have a better indication of maybe what his thoughts were closer to why he did (opened fire),” Slater said.
The FBI clarified its investigating the shooting as an assault on a member of Congress and an assault of a federal officer. The Bureau also released a statement detailing the timeline from when Hodgkinson left Belleville, Illinois, for Washington, DC, in March, between then and the shooting, and insight into his personal history.
According to the FBI statement, Hodgkinson had been living in his car while in the Washington area and frequented the YMCA in Alexandria, Virginia, which is the same location of the Congressional baseball practice. He had also rented a storage facility beginning in April 16 where he stored a laptop computer, more than 200 rounds of ammo, a receipt from November for an SKS rifle and accessories. Up until the shooting, he visited the storage space 43 times.
Through an analysis of witness testimony and Hodgkinson’s electronic devices, investigators learned Hodgkinson had been visiting tourist sites in Washington like the National Mall and various monuments. At some point, he visited Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office as a tourist. Then, on April 15, he took pictures of the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, which is where the practice was held, but investigators do not think the photographs represent surveillance of intended targets.
On June 12, Hodgkinson sent a message to a family member in Illinois saying he would be returning home. The night before the shooting, Hodgkinson visited locations with free WiFi to search on his computer directions from Alexandria to his home in Belleville and the “2017 Republican Convention.” He also checked a financial account, Facebook and recent headlines.
The morning of the shooting, on June 14, Hodgkinson saw the baseball practice, asked a bystander, “Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?” to which the bystander said it was a Republican event. Hodgkinson then remained at the baseball field.
Some time later, Hodgkinson exited his car, parked in the YMCA parking lot, with an SKS rifle and a holstered 9mm handgun. He approached the baseball field and opened fire toward an area where members of Congress and staffers were standing. Two Capitol Police special agents engaged him and Alexandria police responded to the scene. Hodgkinson was down by 7:14 am.
The victims included the House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, of Louisana, who was shot in the hip and went to the hospital in critical condition; a Congressional aide; a Tyson food lobbyist; and a U.S. Capitol Police officer assigned to protect Scalise.
Slater said Hodgkinson fired 60 shots — 50 from his SKS — from the third base side of the field, but the FBI does not know if he had a specific target. Hodgkinson never said anything during the shooting or after, before he died. He added Hodgkinson had a list containing the names of six lawmakers, but investigators have not found any evidence that it was a hit list of any sorts. However, the FBI declined to release those names at this time.
“If you look at his pattern of life and what he was doing on his laptop and social media accounts, there’s no indication that that was a list of targets or there was any threats associated with the names on the list,” Slater said, adding investigators did not find evidence that Hodgkinson searched for details about the practice.
Tracing his online activity, “Hodgkinson made numerous posts on all of his social media accounts espousing anti-Republican views, although all the posts reviewed thus far appear to be First Amendment-protected speech,” the FBI statement says.
According to the statement, Hodgkinson bought his SKS rifle in November, after the election, from an licensed dealer in Illinois. He modified the rifle with a folding stock and to accept detachable magazines. He bought his pistol in 2003.
Before traveling to Washington, local law enforcement in his hometown addressed noise complaints because he had been practicing shooting on his property, but he had not violated any local laws. Also, his criminal record included a charge of domestic battery in 2006.
The FBI said its investigation as well as investigations by local authorities into the shooting are ongoing.
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A Massachusetts court last month found that Springfield-based Smith & Wesson did not discriminate one of its workers whose employment had been terminated after he took medical leave.
Terrell Bostick said the gun maker violated the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act when it fired him on May 28, 2014, for taking time off for his anxiety, for which Bostick had been receiving treatment, according to court documents.
Smith & Wesson contended that Bostick had, in fact, failed to provide medical documentation for an extension to the unpaid leave the gun maker provided to its employee on March 18, 2014, a day after he “abruptly left the job and handed his badge to a security guard,” court documents say.
Because Bostick did not file the proper paperwork for the extension, Smith & Wesson, after repeated requests for that paperwork, determined he terminated his employment.
Bostick worked for the company assembling firearms on the third shift. His job took concentration and required him to work “quickly and efficiently,” court documents say.
One day, a few months before Bostick abruptly left work, the first shift team leader noticed Bostick walking in the middle of the street near the Smith & Wesson facility around 3 a.m. He was “carrying a bag containing personal items, including clippers, deodorant, cologne, condoms, a shirt, and shoes,” court documents say.
Though Bostick was not accused of stealing when he returned to work at about 5 a.m., he claimed he was “not a thief.” Bostick then told the shift leader he was not feeling like himself and he wasn’t “in his right mind.”
Bostick was then sent home, where he proceeded to tell his father he felt upset about his grandmother’s death, said he wasn’t sleeping and needed to talk to someone. His father took him to the hospital for treatment, court documents say.
The next day — the day he abruptly left work — Bostick told his shift leader about his medical treatment and proceeded to start working packing boxes.
Bostick “was expected to pack about forty firearms into boxes per hour, but was only packing about twenty per hour,” court documents say. The shift leader then spoke to him about his slow pace, to which Bostick said he wasn’t feeling well.
He then told his shift leader, “I’m out of here. I’m gone.”
Smith & Wesson asked Bostick to submit a short-term disability claim form, which he did not, so the company did so for him.
It was Bostick, Smith & Wesson argued, who was responsible for the breakdown in communication after the company had made several attempts to accommodate him.
Bostick argued as of November 2015 he suffered $50,000 in lost wages and compensation, according to the complaint filed in a lower court.
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We have now seen three straight months of steady or increasing NICS numbers.
I have been writing for over 35 years and until this project I’ve never owned or shot an Ed Brown 1911. When I contacted Ed Brown Products, I requested the Ed Brown Special Forces model, which has been the anchor of their pistols lineup for many years. If their base duty/personal-defense handgun was up to par, the other models would be also. I was not disappointed.
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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Tuesday that he had pardoned two veterans convicted on charges of bringing their legally owned firearms into New Jersey from out of state.
The Associated Press reported one of pardons was for Michael A. Golden, 68, of New Mexico, who was arrested in November 2013 for possessing a handgun in his Mahwah Hotel. He served as an army medic in Vietnam and received a Purple Heart.
Golden was fined and sentenced to one year probation, which he served in New Mexico, where he had legally purchased the firearm.
The other pardon was for James Michael Thaddeus Pedersen, 42, director of Veterans Services in Moore County, North Carolina. Pedersen was arrested in July 2014 after being found with a gun during a traffic incident in Runnemede.
Pedersen, who served as a corporal in the Marine Corps, was also fined and sentenced to probation, which he served in his home state of North Carolina.
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday the addition of 12 cities to the Trump administration’s National Public Safety Partnership.
The cities, per an executive order issued by the president earlier this year, will receive guidance from the Department of Justice in their efforts to investigate and prosecute “violent criminals, specifically those involved in gun crime, drug trafficking and gang violence.”
“Turning back the recent troubling increase in violent crime in our country is a top priority of the Department of Justice and the Trump Administration, as we work to fulfill the President’s promise to make America safe again,” Sessions said in a press release Tuesday. “The Department of Justice will work with American cities suffering from serious violent crime problems. There is no doubt that there are many strategies that are proven to reduce crime.”
Sessions said the newly-formed partnership program will help chosen cities “build up their own capacity to fight crime” by using evidence-based strategies and relying on the expertise of the DOJ.
The 12 cities added to the partnership Tuesday include:
• Birmingham, Alabama
• Indianapolis, Indiana
• Memphis, Tennessee
• Toledo, Ohio
• Baton Rouge, Louisiana
• Buffalo, New York
• Cincinnati, Ohio
• Houston, Texas
• Jackson, Tennessee
• Kansas City, Missouri
• Lansing, Michigan
• Springfield, Illinois
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Though a recent high-profile shooting at a Congressional baseball practice did not involve a suppressor, gun control advocates pose the question “what if it had” in an effort to derail pending reform on the items.
In the aftermath of the shooting that left GOP House Whip Steve Scalise among others critically wounded at a practice for a charity baseball game, national proponents for increased gun regulations are claiming the incident could have been worse if the assailant used a suppressor.
“We’re grateful to the law enforcement officers and first responders who bravely protected those present at the shooting and saved lives,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, in a statement. “It’s terrifying to imagine how much more difficult it would be for police to respond to a mass shooting when a gunman has a silencer.”
Prior to last week’s baseball field attack, Americans for Responsible Solutions, spearheaded by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, asserted that more suppressors in circulation would translate to a public safety risk, painting a portrait of increased police deaths if legislation to make them easier to obtain became law.
In addressing the Alexandria shooting with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, Kelly doubled down and worked the Hearing Protection Act into the conversation, saying the bill would make silencers “readily available for everybody to buy” without pointing out the legislation still requires background checks before legal suppressors could be transferred from a federally licensed dealer.
Another point left out by Kelly is that the HPA only repeals the regulation of various noise modulators under the 1934 National Firearms Act, not state level prohibitions. The shooter in the Alexandria attack legally obtained his guns in Illinois — one of eight states that ban civilian possession of suppressors.
Some are quick to point out that even if the gunman in last week’s shooting had a suppressor, a good one at that, it would have made little difference in the terms of gunfire audibility.
“The criminal used a SKS rifle, with 7.62mm ammunition,” said attorney David Kopel in a column for the Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy legal blog. “Without a suppressor, the sound of a shot from such a gun is 165 decibels. This is more than twice as loud as a jet take-off, if you are 25 meters from the jet. With a suppressor, the SKS would be about 140db. That’s equivalent to being on an active aircraft carrier deck.”
Further, even with upwards of 1.3 million suppressors in circulation nationwide, their comparative use in crime is almost non-existent.
An 11-page “white paper” drafted by the ATF’s associate deputy director and chief operating officer Ronald B. Turk leaked in February noted that the use of suppressors by the criminal underworld is more Hollywood than reality with an average of 44 defendants recommended a year for prosecution on silencer-related violations.
“Moreover, consistent with this low number of prosecution referrals, silencers are very rarely used in criminal shootings,” said Turk.
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A woman from Hazelton, Pennsylvania, has been charged with illegally purchasing firearms in order to transfer them to a prohibited possessor.
According to a Justice Department news release, 25-year-old Jazmine T. Wing knowingly made false statements when purchasing 6 firearms from Bob’s Sporting Goods in Hazleton, PA, and from Dave’s Gun Shop in Drums between Sept. 19, 2014 and April 14, 2015.
The purchased guns included: Glock 19 9mm; Glock 23 .40 caliber; Taurus PT745Pro .45 ACP; Extar EXP556 5.56mm;CAI/Romarm Micro Draco 7.62×39; and Ruger P91DC .40 ACP
Wing admitted in her subsequent plea agreement that she knew the guns would land in the hands of a person prohibited by law from possessing them. Her arraignment has not yet been scheduled.
The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case as part of the Violent Crime Reduction Partnership, an initiative in the Middle District of Pennsylvania aimed to prevent the spread of violence.
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The city of Ferguson and the parents of Michael Brown, the unarmed teen killed in a 2014 police shooting, which sparked a national outcry and inflamed racial tensions in the St. Louis suburb, settled a wrongful death suit in federal court Tuesday.
Senior District Judge E. Richard Webber awarded Michael Brown, Sr. and Lezley McSpadden an undisclosed sum for their son’s death while dismissing other charges against the city and police officials.
In his opinion, Webber ordered the settlement amount to be sealed from public view, but describes it as “fair and reasonable compensation for this wrongful death claim and is in the best interests of each plaintiff” and covers “a reasonable amount of attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses.”
“Disclosure of the terms of the settlement agreement could jeopardize the safety of individuals involved in this matter, whether as witnesses, parties, or investigators,” the opinion says. “The public policy to consider records open is outweighed by the adverse impact to Plaintiffs.”
Brown’s parents filed the lawsuit in 2015, less than a year after their son’s death. The complaint named the city, its former police chief, and Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed their son.
Their case cited police hostility toward the black community and excessive and unreasonable force by Wilson as the cause of their son’s death. Some witnesses originally claimed Wilson gunned down the teen as he held his hands in the air, but those statements were later discredited.
Wilson, who was cleared of any wrongdoing, maintained he shot Brown in self-defense. Evidence, including witness statements and forensics, backed his account.
The case also brought scrutiny to Ferguson by the U.S. Department of Justice, which found that the city’s police used discriminatory practices when patrolling minority neighborhoods. The Justice Department later sued Ferguson after the city voted against reforming its police department.
Brown’s death and events that followed — such as peaceful protests, riots and other civil unrest — raised questions into the national debate about police tactics and race relations.
Daniel Terrill contributed to the reporting of this article
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An incident that started at a Coffee County, Tennessee, courthouse Monday afternoon left two sheriff’s deputies injured and the man who shot them – an escaped inmate – dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident, which unfolded just before 3 p.m.
According to a TBI press release, the suspect, 37-year-old Michael Eugene Bell was in a third-floor holding cell inside the courthouse after having spent the day in court. When Coffee County Deputy Wade Bassett, 71, went to the holding cell to return Bell to the jail, the inmate attacked the deputy, and the two became involved in what was described as “a significant struggle.”
During this time, Bell was able to gain control of the deputy’s gun and subsequently shot Bassett. Bell then ran down the stairs inside the courthouse and as he made his way to the front door, shot Deputy Wendell Bowen, 56, before exiting the courthouse.
About a block from the courthouse, Bell, still armed with the deputy’s gun, went into a home then left again and ran into a nearby yard. When authorities caught up with Bell a short time later, he was found lying in the yard with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Bassett suffered significant injuries to his hand and arm as a result of being shot. He was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time of the shooting and, although the bullets didn’t penetrate the vest, Bassett still suffered injuries as a result of his vest being hit. He was taken to Vanderbilt University Hospital for treatment.
Bowen was shot in the abdominal area and underwent surgery after being transported to Erlanger Hospital. It’s unclear if Bowen was also wearing a bulletproof vest.
At the time of the shooting, Bell was facing kidnapping, domestic assault and other charges.
The Coffee County Sheriff’s Department called it “a sad and difficult day” for the department while thanking the various law enforcement agencies involved for their assistance.
The incident came less than a week after two Georgia inmates shot and killed two corrections officers after escaping during a routine transport in Putnam County, prompting a massive, days-long manhunt for the duo.
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Actor, writer and speaker Craig DeLuz used to think that simply believing in the Second Amendment was good enough. But then he realized he had to get involved to protect and ensure it, much like any other civil right.
Gun rights are civil rights.
I didn’t always know that. I thought I did. I believed, like so many good Americans, that when I said I believed in the Second Amendment, that was enough.
Boy was I wrong!
I was always curious about guns and believed I had a right to own one, but never took the step to actually become a gun owner. Then it happened. I finally got my baby, a Glock 17C. And with it came a whole new understanding of the gun rights movement.
You see, I didn’t just want to be a gun owner. I wanted to be an informed responsible gun owner. I wanted to understand the responsibilities that came with my decision to exercise my constitutional rights. I discovered that chief among them was the responsibility to defend those rights.
That sounded easy enough. After all, it’s right there in the Constitution, ‘the Right to Keep and Bear Arms shall not be infringed.’ How much more clear could the founders have been?
Evidently, they were not clear enough for some, as it seemed that lawmakers across the country were firmly committed to doing all the ‘infringing’ they could.
So, what started off as a passing curiosity about guns quickly blossomed into a full blooded passion to stand up for civil rights. I got involved with a group of young guys who were tired of the ‘go-along, get-along’ passive politics that seemed to plague the gun rights establishment in California. They started a brand new organization dedicated to being the most aggressive Second Amendment advocacy group in the state. And thus began my associations with the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees (CAL-FFL).
Working with CAL-FFL, I have been blessed to be on the forefront of gun rights advocacy in one of the most hostile states in the country. We’ve won some battles and we’ve lost some. But I can honestly say that we won several fights that nobody thought we could win.
But what has been most encouraging has been the way the everyday citizens have stepped up and stood up for the rights of all Californians. Every letter, every phone call, every email sent was a message to the politicians that we will no longer sit idly by and allow them to violate our constitutional rights.
The day we delivered 65,000 individual letters to the Governor asking him to veto the anti-gun bills on his desk was one of the proudest days of my life, not because I had done anything special, but because we had done something special.
That day I officially became a gun nut! And that’s a label I’ll proudly wear the rest of my life.
Read more perspectives on America’s gun culture in Ben Philippi’s book “We The People.”
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A Republican representative introduced a bill Tuesday that would allow members of Congress to carry guns while on duty.
According to a statement released by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, under the proposal lawmakers who are trained and certified would be able to carry concealed firearms wherever they need to go while on duty, except for a few restricted areas.
Babin said he felt the bill was necessary after last week’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice left five people wounded, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
“The tragic events of last week make it clearer than ever that we need to take steps to enable Members of Congress to protect themselves,” Babin said. “We also know that an even greater tragedy was averted only because of the brave actions by two armed Capitol Police special agents who happened, mercifully, to be on site. My bill would ensure rank and file Members of Congress have the opportunity to defend themselves by providing them the ability to concealed carry in nearly every scenario with only a few restrictions. With the increase in security threats to Members of Congress and our staffs, this is an important and necessary step that we must take.”
The proposal would also allow Members of Congress to try and obtain concealed carry permits, either through already established processes in their home states or through a U.S. Capitol Police training program that would be created under the bill.
Certified lawmakers would be able to carry in most places, including to and from their offices, the National Mall, schools, military bases, and federal parks and buildings.
Congress members would still be restricted from carrying firearms at National Special Security Events, other areas secured by the Secret Service, and commercial airliners.
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Republican Karen Handel on Tuesday won a special election for a U.S. House seat against Democrat Jon Ossoff in the most expensive congressional race in history.
The hard-fought campaign, in which Democrats poured money and effort to flip the traditionally red Georgia 6th District seat left open when Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Price was sworn in as Secretary of Health and Human Services, was won by Handel with 52 percent of the vote.
While the Center for Responsive Politics documented that over $56.7 million had been spent in the short campaign, viewed by many as a referendum on the Trump administration, gun politics also played a part in the contest.
Ossoff, who outraised his opponent by a margin of over 6 to 1, was endorsed by Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a Democrat well-known for his stance on gun control, then publicly sparred with Handel over the state’s controversial campus carry measure and was embraced by gun control groups.
“Jon Ossoff stands with the majority of American voters on the issue of gun violence,” said the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence in their endorsement last month. “Ossoff will support common-sense background checks that keep Georgia communities safer.”
Handel, on the other hand, was publicly endorsed by the National Rifle Association, who pointed out that she had supported several gun rights reforms including expanded concealed carry reciprocity.
While attending the NRA’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta, President Donald Trump blended praise for Handel into his speech to the organization, saying, “She’s totally for the NRA and she’s totally for the Second Amendment.”
One group supporting Handel drew fire after airing an ad claiming Ossoff supporters celebrated last week’s violence against House Republicans.
“The unhinged left is endorsing and applauding shooting Republicans,” says the spot. “When will it stop? It won’t if Jon Ossoff wins on Tuesday because the same unhinged leftists cheering last week’s shooting are all backing Jon Ossoff and if he wins, they win.”
While both campaigns disavowed the ad’s content, Moms Demand Action and Everytown condemned it, saying it was “disgusting to politicize this national tragedy and use it to get voters to the polls.”
Ossoff conceded late Tuesday.
When Handel joins the House as the first Republican woman to be elected to Congress from Georgia, she will bring the GOP majority there to 239-193.
The New York Times described the race in the end as “demoralizing for Democrats.”
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A Quebec man has been extradited to Vermont on multiple federal firearms charges, including smuggling guns from the U.S. into Canada.
Charges brought against 40-year-old Alexis Vlachos by a grand jury in 2015 contain a total of five counts, according to a news release from the Justice Department.
The charges allege Vlachos conspired to smuggle around 100 handguns from the U.S. to Quebec without the proper munitions permit, exported specific handguns without a permit and illegally possessed specific guns in the U.S. while being in alien status.
Vlachos allegedly worked from July 2010 to April 2011 with Annette Wexler and another co-conspirator, who bought handguns from licensed dealers in Florida in order for Vlachos to smuggle them from Vermont into Quebec.
In March 2011, Wexler and the co-conspirator traveled to Derby Line, Vermont with a backpack filled with handguns and hid the backpack in the bathroom of Haskell Free Library. Vlachos then walked from the Quebec border to the library and smuggled the guns back into Quebec without going through the port-of-entry.
Wexler has pleaded guilty to unlawful exportation and lying to federally licensed firearms dealers in order to purchase the guns for Vlachos. She is scheduled to be sentenced July 25.
Vlachos pleaded not guilty on June 5 and will he held in custody until trial. If convicted, he could face 20 years in prison.
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Building on the tradition of the classic Galil rifle, the new Galil ACE .308 rifle from IWI US offers civilian shooters a new and updated semi-auto version of this renowned battle rifle.
The post An Israeli .308 AK? The IWI Galil ACE – Full Review appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.
The gun industry’s leading trade association said earlier this month the media misses the mark when speculating about fluctuating gun sales.
The real reason why background checks — and by proxy, gun sales — ebb and flow, said Larry Keane, NSSF’s general counsel, is a lot less salacious than impending gun control or terrorism.
“Although we at NSSF point this out all the time and we are often quoted, the underlying sales factor that gets short shrift is that more people are participating in the shooting sports,” he said June 8. “While many new shooters first try their hand with a rental or loaner, active participation in a shooting sport generally leads individuals to buy a gun — and quite often, as their interest grows, more than one.”
Keane cited an NSSF special industry report that found target shooting participation increased 44 percent between 2009 and 2016 — proof that the sport appeals to a broader and broader demographic as time passes.
“New shooters are younger, are more female and increasingly diverse in ethnicity,” he said. “The shooting sports are affordable, accessible, and more inclusive than ever before and people are taking full advantage. Even if the industry has room to become more welcoming and inclusive, our customer base is changing along with the American population. They are buying firearms and going to the range. All are welcome.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation processed 1.8 million applications through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System last month. Guns.com estimates about 926,000 guns were sold — nearly 57,000 more than May 2016, the busiest on record.
It continues a trend first noticed in March and sustained in April, when estimated sales eclipsed the previous year by 4,400.
While market analysts and the media offer theory after theory — global terrorism, stateside mass shootings, rock bottom prices — for the unanticipated shift upwards in NICS checks, Keane insists none of it is unexpected, at all.
“Make no mistake, these factors do play a role – they are just overemphasized most of the time,” he said. “Reporters rarely take much time to speak with retailers and gun owners about why they own guns or why the industry is seeing growing or steady sales. They like to report on months when sales dip and ignore or downplay months when they rise – unless there is a mainstream media political narrative popular at the time.”
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The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday added VEPR firearm maker Molot to the growing list of sanctioned Russian companies and individuals involved in the conflict in the Ukraine.
The announcement this week included more than three dozen people or entities noted as directly or indirectly contributing to the conflict area ranging from Ukrainian separatists in the so-called Republic of the Crimea to hotels and holding companies. Russian firearms and munitions maker Molot-Oruzhie, which exports semi-automatic firearms to the U.S., was named as evading earlier sanctions imposed in 2014 on similar companies such as Kalashnikov.
“In 2016, previously-designated Kalashnikov Concern advised a foreign company to use Molot-Oruzhie, OOO to falsify invoices in order to circumvent U.S. and EU sanctions,” the notice says. “Molot-Oruzhie is being designated for operating in the arms or related material sector of the Russian Federation and for acting or purporting to act for on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kalashnikov Concern.”
The announcement came the same day President Trump welcomed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to the Oval Office, with both leaders voicing solidarity and cooperation at an afternoon press conference.
Speaking to Guns.com earlier this year, Molot officials were working hard on extending their exports to the U.S., hopeful that the new Trump administration would be friendly to lifting some sanctions on Russian-based companies. Russian-made firearms were popular export items to the states until the conflict in the Ukraine and the resulting international backlash triggered a host of official embargos.
Per figures from the International Trade Commission, 204,788 firearms of all kinds were imported from Russia in 2013. This figure plunged to just 9,556 in 2015 — mainly from Molot.
For its part, Kalashnikov Concern shipped the last of their Russian-made rifles in the pipeline to the U.S. in late 2014, while a domestic company, Kalashnikov USA, is releasing their own AK-style firearms on the market.
Meanwhile, further sanctions could be in the works with a bipartisan Senate bill punishing Russia for involvement with the U.S. 2016 elections now navigating the House. That proposal would target individuals and companies involved in “malicious cyber activity” or in supplying weapons to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
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