EDITED TO ADD: One of the stated aims of the Giffords/Kelly tour was to visit states where vulnerable Senators voted for or against the Toomey/Manchin gun control bill. Senator Kay Hagan, (D-NC) voted for T/M and is one of the most vulnerable Senators in the 2014 election. I saw no evidence at all that Hagan made any attempt to meet with Giffords or Kelly during this visit. This matches what happened in North Dakota where Democrats distanced themselves from her politically as well as physically.
North Carolina is shedding its reputation as The Massachusetts of Dixie when it comes to gun laws. We are poised to end a bunch of stupid prohibitions with House Bill 937. And if there’s one thing that North Carolinians can’t stand it’s outsiders coming here to tell us how to run our lives. Strange how a kid from California can move here and go all native, huh? All you Yankee Carpetbaggers, GO HOME!
Today was the last day of Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly’s whirlwind tour of the USA. Seven states in seven days.
Anyone know what this is?
That is a photo of the private jet Gabby and Mark flew around in. It’s a $25,000,000 Candair Challenger CL-600. It’s owned by Montfort Aviation, which is owned by the Montfort brothers. Charlie Montfort owns the Colorado Rockies baseball team. It must be nice to have such generous friends to fly you all across the USA to push for further infringements on our rights.
Dubbed the “Rights and Responsibilities Tour” (and hilariously hash tagged #RandRTour, yeah, that plane looks like Rest and Relaxation to me!) Giffords and Kelly seemed to be pushing the Spiderman theory of gun ownership. “With great power comes great responsibility.” The reality is that their organization, “Americans for Responsible Solutions” has four goals.
- Ban all private firearm transfers
- “Limit” all “high capacity” magazines. Limit appears to mean “ban.”
- “Limit” all “assault weapons” however they decide to define that. Limit appears to mean “ban” on this one as well.
- Stop “Gun Trafficking.” I guess they plan to make it illegaler. Double illegal? Triple illegal?
So however they spin themselves, they are just another garden variety gun grabber group. We met them on those terms.
It took a lot of doing to find out where the R&R Tour was going to show up. So much so that I actually went to the airport to meet the plane in hopes of getting info on their planned stops for today. The cops kicked me out.
Luckily, the media told us what was happening. We heard several variations, but the basics were that they would shoot sporting clays, have a round table discussion with gun owners, and meet with their supporters. The general consensus was that their round table discussion with gun owners would happen at “The Pit Authentic Barbecue” in downtown Raleigh at around 11AM. Paul Valone of Grass Roots North Carolina couldn’t make it, so he put me in charge and asked me to make it happen. With less than 10 hours notice, we wrangled a crowd of about 25-30 people. Here we are at the beginning when the media showed up
Photo Credit: Eric S, Raleigh
Immediately the media descended. I gave 4 on camera interviews and one print interview. Our main message was, not surprisingly, “Why is Gabby Giffords trying so hard to avoid the group she claims to represent?” That message set the tone for a lot of the coverage.
WRAL, channel 5.
The group, which last week offered 100 rounds of free ammo to the first person to track down where Giffords would be, also questioned why details of the visit were not released until Saturday morning.
Here’s the video. I don’t speak on camera, but I spent quite a bit of time explaining to the reporter how they billed this as a “Round table with gun owners,” but we gun owners were excluded. I guess he listened. Listen for the bomb he drops on them for excluding us. You can see me in the crowd scene rocking the purple shirt.
UPDATE: The WRAL video has been pulled from the WRAL website. We’re trying to get another copy.
Note also how many people they have in the “round table.” Fourteen. We had double that on the street outside.
Here’s how NBC17 spun it.
Let’s go to the tape. Watch how they’ve edited it to make it appear that I answer every question Mark asks. This reporter made me look awesome. (If the video doesn’t load for you, this is the link to watch it at their website)
ABC weighs in with this
Here’s News 14 Carolina. I see that I need to work on not sounding so flat.
Here’s the print story from News 14
And finally, the Raleigh newspaper, The News and Observer.
Across the street, about 20 protestors with Grass Roots North Carolina held signs saying “Guns Save Lives.” The protest was the group’s latest attempt to show its frustration with Giffords’ message and with event organizers. A day earlier, Grass Roots North Carolina President Paul Valone publicly offered 100 rounds of free ammunition to the first person to identify the firing range Mark Kelly, Giffords’ husband, visited Sunday morning. The offer was made because Giffords’ and Kelly’s group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, didn’t publicly release details surrounding their Raleigh visit, Valone said.
Grass Roots North Carolina protest organizer Sean Sorrentino disagreed. Expanding criminal background checks places a hurdle in front of gun owners, Sorrentino said.“It’s saying I have to prove my innocence before I can use my Second Amendment rights,” he said.
Our mission was to deny them the chance to claim to be the middle ground. They are trying to play the “We’re moderate” card. Note how every reporter titled their story except N&O. “Gun Control.” There’s no euphemisms like “Gun Safety.” No “Common Sense Gun Laws.” It’s straight up “Gun Control.” That is pure win for our side.
I am really pleased with how the protest went. GRNC looked pretty good and Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly were variously tarred as lying about the round table and as plain old gun controllers.
If they were hoping to sweep in and change anything, they’ve failed. They’ve only managed to get my face on 3 of the 4 major news channels and GRNC’s repudiation of them in every single story printed. Having failed in their mission, they got in their jet and flew to Asheville so Gabby can continue her rehab.
I hope that Gabby gets better. There’s no reason a would be assassin should destroy her life. There’s also no reason she and her husband should try to use that assasination attempt to take away our rights.