The Executive Director of Gun Owners of America last got media props from TTAG for his interview with CNN’s doyenne of disarmament, Piers Morgan. In this chin wag with Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace, Larry Pratt frames the gun control debate in terms of self-defense. Which is exactly how it should be. Bonus! In stark contrast with the NRA, Larry slams NICS checks as the thoroughly useless security theater that they are. For telling it like it is with dignity, clarity and class, Larry gets another nod from The Truth About Guns.

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78 Responses to Gun Hero of the Day: Larry Pratt

    • I guess that’s up to us. I’m currently paying my way through a NRA life membership, but I can see throwing money in the direction of GOA’s way.

      • Agreed. I feel like most of what the NRA does is behind the scenes. They’ve been selling us out though over the last couple of decades. I think change is in the air.

        • That’s a harsh charge. Where’s the evidence? Or at least, what is it that you believe the NRA has received in exchange for “selling us out” and what have they given up that they had control over?

        • They screwed us over in MD by not supporting the referendum effort on the asinine new gun laws. Made me terminate my membership and switch to donating to MD 2A groups.

        • MD’s a tough one, what with a presumed presidential candidate in the mansion trying to earn anti-gun street cred. You mentioned MD 2A groups and I’m glad you did. A lot of people, even gunowners, may not realize that their state has a state-level rifle association. I’m not clear on the legal relationships, whether an outfit like Texas State Rifle Association is actually a subsidiary of NRA or more of an allied, but independent, organization. TSRA does some pretty good work and has the advantage of being on the ground here and able to focus on Texas issues. State groups could be an alternative in many places perhaps not getting enough NRA attention.

    • Not nearly as powerful as the NRA but not powerless.

      I’m a member of the NRA, GOA, and SAF (even though Gottlieb royally pissed me off).

      Still thinking about letting the SAF membership lapse.

    • Well, in the field they operate in, the NRA is the 800 pound gorilla. The NRA and GOA both are more on the legislative and lobbying side of things, while the SAF works more on the legal, lawsuit area. There some spillover from all three organizations, but that seems to be their focus.

    • Larry Pratt is by far the most measured, polite, easy to understand, well spoken and on-point gun rights advocate we have.

      I love him. His organization gets my vote, mostly because of Larry Pratt.

    • GOA is pretty awesome. They have a tendency to fear-mongering sometimes (on facebook and the like), but that doesn’t mean they are wrong in what they say.

      I do really like them, and they do a lot of gun giveaways. 🙂 Still haven’t thrown money their way, though.

    • Well, raw numbers put GOA membership around 300,000 and the NRA at about 5 million. GOA’s annual budget is in the low single digit millions. NRA’s revenue is in the quarter billion ballpark, but that includes a whole lot of merchandise. Their actual operating budget might be about half that, but still a big time amount of money.

      NRA’s numbers come at a price, though, particularly member intensity. NRS tries to appeal to as many gun owners as they can, to keep the membership up. GOA sends out an email alert and all of a sudden maybe a hundred thousand die hards are flooding your office with calls, threatening to pull funding or to “primary” you. Every time. NRA does the same and it might generate thousands of polite inquiries of their representatives by voters.

      NRA overall is probably more effective in terms of lobbying, but dollar for dollar, member for member, GOA probably has more pull. GOA will concentrate their campaigning efforts on fewer candidates, too, where they can have a greater impact than by spreading their influence too thinly. I’m a member of both, plus SAF, and tend to donate more than just membership fees to GOA.

        • Thanks, Matt. Thing about GOA, for me anyway, is once they’re on the radar, you start seeing them everywhere. Two years ago I’d never heard of them. Now it’s like they’re part of my life and I see them in print, on t.v., everywhere. They definitely punch above their weight and I dig that about them.

          I also respect Pratt’s style. He can patiently go toe-to-toe with these people and win without going for the figurative throat. Me, I go a few debate rounds, start getting bored, then I hear that inner “Mortal Kombat” voice start booming “Finish him!!!”, and I do. I should throttle back sometimes, and Pratt and a lot of you guys provide a good example for me to pick up on. Thanks, man.

    • That 90% figure came from polls mostly on the west coast and was worded in such a way that did NOT mean that 90% of those polled supported “universal” background checks or the requirements listed within.

      It’s bogus – and it was a play on words.

  1. I can see where he is going without actually saying it.

    Background checks are a foolish to rely on because if someone is too violent, unstable or criminal to be trusted with a gun then they are not fit to be walking about in our society.

    I would think most Americans aren’t ready to hear such heterodox opinion on a major network news station. He’s slowly injecting these opinions into the national conversation. For that, I salute him.

    • “Background checks are a foolish to rely on because if someone is too violent, unstable or criminal to be trusted with a gun then they are not fit to be walking about in our society.” is one of those meaningless aphorisms that people bandy about. How do you know if someone is ” too violent, unstable or criminal” to be walking around in society? Do you recommend a “pre-crime bureau?” The “too violent, unstable or criminal” have first offenses where people did not know that they “too violent, unstable or criminal.” Background checks are pointless because shortly after they are put in place because criminals adapt to the new regime and go elsewhere. They are not pointless because “if someone is too violent, unstable or criminal to be trusted with a gun then they are not fit to be walking about in our society.”

      • ALL violent ex-cons are not fit to be walking around in our society.

        From Bureau of Criminal Justice:

        Recidivism is measured by criminal acts that resulted in the rearrest, reconviction, or return to prison with or without a new sentence during a three-year period following the prisoner’s release.

        Summary findings

        During 2007, a total of 1,180,469 persons on parole were at-risk of reincarceration. This includes persons under parole supervision on January 1 or those entering parole during the year. Of these parolees, about 16% were returned to incarceration in 2007.
        Among nearly 300,000 prisoners released in 15 states in 1994, 67.5% were rearrested within 3 years. A study of prisoners released in 1983 estimated 62.5%.
        Of the 272,111 persons released from prisons in 15 states in 1994, an estimated 67.5% were rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within 3 years, 46.9% were reconvicted, and 25.4% resentenced to prison for a new crime.
        These offenders had accumulated 4.1 million arrest charges before their most recent imprisonment and another 744,000 charges within 3 years of release.
        Released prisoners with the highest rearrest rates were robbers (70.2%), burglars (74.0%), larcenists (74.6%), motor vehicle thieves (78.8%), those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%), and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2%).
        Within 3 years, 2.5% of released rapists were arrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for homicide.

        • I am not one who is in favor of instant restoration of gun rights to felons just because “they have paid their debt to society.” Perhaps if they stay clean for ten years then we should consider allowing them to petition for the restoration of their Second Amendment rights.

        • td, for me it depends on their crime(s). Nonviolent felons and misdemeanants who serve their sentences (including any probationary or parole periods) and who make full restitution to their victims may be entitled to a clean slate. Violent felons are a whole different kettle of fish.

      • But Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt says the state has every right to restrict conceal and carry permits to citizens. “If the guy wants to enjoy the full benefit of residing in the United States become a citizen. He’s been here for 30 years what’s he waiting for?,” Pratt told FoxNews.com.
        Pratt says the only reason the ACLU brought the suit is to pave the way for illegal aliens to have conceal carry permits. “They want to make it so illegal aliens have the same rights as everybody else…every little bit chipping away,” he said.

        Fox news story Jan 6,2011
        http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/01/06/new-aclu-lawsuit-expand-south-dakota-gun-rights/

    • I’d also like a source for Pratt’s supposed anti-gun stance. As far as I’ve seen he’s one of the best pro-gun spokespersons out there.

      Or are you just blowing smoke?

      • I think all he’s saying is that Pratt expresses support for 2A with the idea that you need 2a for self defense as opposed to no reason needed, it’s just my right.

        I don’t think Pratt is anti gun but I also think our crowd should be careful attaching our rights to having ‘needs’ because then you can end up in the area of ‘who needs a 100 round beta mag for self defense?’.

        I need a big magazine because f u, it’s my right! lol

    • I disagree with the concept of “natural rights” also. All the rights we enjoy have been earned by hard work and continued resistance to encroachment. There is nothing “natural” about them. They are OUR rights, and they are hard-earned; none were handed to us, not ever.

  2. Wait, is this the same whackadoodle who said that guns are in the Bible and God is “judging” people who don’t carry guns around?
    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/larry-pratt-if-we-have-gun-control-country-then-we-will-know-we-are-under-god-s-judgment

    The same delusional dimwit Larry Pratt who said that Obamacare (Ooooo! Obama. Scary!) would force gun owners to undergo electroshock, that God was “blessing” gun owners and liberals were happy with liberals being killed as long as they could ban guns?
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/15/fox-news-marks-newtown-anniversary-with-lobbyist-who-says-god-is-blessing-gun-owners/

    Sounds like a hero to me.

  3. He did a good job here. One talking point he didn’t hit, one that I’d like to see become an automatic every time the “hundreds of thousands of gun purchases stopped by NICS” is mentioned, is that the extreme majority of those were false positives, and upwards of 90% were eventually approved.

    The three most often touted numbers are the “90%”, the “40%”, and the “hundreds of thousands.” Our side does a pretty good job of debunking the first two whenever they pop up, but most of the time the third one is allowed to drift by unmolested.

    • They don’t care about false positives, because the point is not to actually prevent crime. It’s to erect so many obstacles to gun ownership that people decide it’s not worth it, thus eliminating some of the cultural enemies of the bien-pensant left. “Bitter clingers” was a significant slip of the mask.

    • I would not go around talking about a report regarding 90%+ as “false positives.” The only thing we can say with certainty is that 90%+ of those rejected were not prosecuted for being rejected.

      FWIW, here’s some interesting detail regarding NICS rejections: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-claim-that-the-brady-law-prevented-15-million-people-from-buying-a-firearm/2013/01/23/77a8c1d4-65b4-11e2-9e1b-07db1d2ccd5b_blog.html

      What I would say, instead of talking about false positives (which is debatable) is that the anti-gun assumption that these criminals were simply “stopped” is an unreasonable and probably erroneous assumption to for them to make.

      A criminal is not prevented from obtaining a weapon by an NICS background check. He is only prevented from obtaining a weapon from that dealer by an NICS background check.

      As I said in another comment elsewhere, background checks do not STOP criminals from obtaining guns. The rejections simply REDIRECT their efforts for obtaining a weapon. They can either (1) get a family member to help them obtain a gun, or (2) get a friend and/or criminal associate to help them obtain a gun, or (3) simply steal a gun themselves. Even if they somehow created “universal background checks,” criminals are going to continue to obtain firearms in these ways.

      A criminal will not magically become a non-criminal simply because a background check stated that they are not allowed to purchase a gun. They are most likely still going to commit crimes. Even if they’re unable to get a firearm, they can use alternative weapons, e.g. a knife, their fists, a fake gun, etc.

      Criminal background checks are a waste of time and resources and an unnecessary hindrance to law-abiding citizens, especially those who have been improperly denied their right to purchase a weapon. It would make far more sense for law enforcement to spend their time catching violent criminals and making strong cases for the prosecution against those who do harm to others, and then keeping those persons imprisoned for long periods of time so that they are unable to do further harm to people in society.

      • If they eventually went through (due to clearing up whatever issue caused the denial in the first place), doesn’t that by definition make them false positives?

        • If they eventually went through, then yes, I presume it was a false positive of some sort. But the stats I saw from the WP article, based on the 2010 data, said that only 22.7% of the denials were appealed, and only 4.77% of the total denials had a successful appeal (so about 20% of the appeals were successful, which is only about 1 in 20 overall denials).

          Later in the article, it stated that out of the denials referred to the ATF by the FBI, about 90% of those simply didn’t go anywhere (they were not “referred to ATF field divisions for possible referral to prosecutors”). I don’t see those as necessarily being false positives. I see it as the ATF not bothering to even try to attempt to prosecute.

          So, based on that WP article, it looks like – at least for 2010 – roughly 9% are definitely “false positives” (the 4.77% that were successfully appealed, plus the 4.2% that were overturned by the ATF). But it doesn’t really say that the rest either were or were not overturned, since many of those that were referred to the ATF were apparently dropped.

          If you have another source that says that 90% of the people actually were later able to verify that they were erroneously flagged and were then able to purchase, then I’d assume that 90% “false positives” would be accurate and will retract my comments about them not being accurate. But that’s not what I understand from the article I read.

        • I’ll look around. I said in a different thread that I’d read numbers of anywhere from 75-90% were eventually approved, but I said it without a citation because I didn’t feel like looking. I can’t remember where I’ve read that in the past, and now I’m going to have to find it.

        • Thanks Matt. I apologize for inadvertently giving you “homework” … but I do appreciate you researching to make sure we get it right. I know that at times I’ve heard anecdotes / statistics / etc. and later investigated them, only to find out that the “facts” weren’t really what I thought they were.

      • Well stated Delmarva Chip.

        And you didn’t even mention the down side to background checks: how a corrupt government can manipulate background checks to implement de-facto gun bans.

        The summary:
        (a) Background checks simply redirect criminals to alternate sources for their weapons. Background checks in no way, shape, or form prevent criminals from acquiring weapons.
        (b) Background checks create obstacles (time, expense, and false positives) for good citizens.
        (c) Corrupt government agents can manipulate background checks to implement de-facto gun bans for good citizens.
        (d) There were no background checks in the 1940s or 1950s and there was no crime epidemic.
        (e) There are no background checks prior to exercising a myriad other rights.
        Therefore, we must eliminate background checks.

        • I think I alluded to that in a previous post, but yes, you’re absolutely right. Background checks can effectively be a de facto attempt at backdoor gun control.

          Another thing about background checks is that they utilize a philosophy of “guilty until proven innocent.” EVERYONE must PROVE their innocence before asserting their right to keep & bear arms, as opposed to the government having to prove them guilty. However, this is a much more difficult fight politically, because the “guilty until proven innocent” philosophy is actually widespread by governments. The FDA requires you prove your drug is “not harmful” and “effective” before you’re allowed to try to sell it, as opposed to not preventing patients and doctors from deciding if they want to take the risk or not. Some states require a cosmetology license, even if you’ve learned everything you need to know for beautification as an apprentice and/or from parents and/or colleagues (and there are numerous other businesses that are in a similar situation). Sadly, too many folks accept this as normal, when it should not be.

  4. Larry is no hero. Google search Wayne smith South Dakota. Immigrant wants a handgun permit, but Larry hits the news media and argues that Smith doesn’t have a natural right to bear arms.
    The NRA, SAF, and the GOA spurn Smith.
    The ACLU takes the federal case and wins where the purported “gun rights” groups denied help.

    Not only is Larry a loser, but most “gun rights” groups as well.

    • So I took your advice and looked it up. This is my surprised face that what I found wasn’t exactly what you said.

      It’s really interesting how you can twist it around. First, Pratt didn’t “hit the news media.” He responded to a question from Fox News with an off-the-cuff answer that the guy should become a citizen. It was more of a slam against the ACLU, because he went on to say that the ACLU only brought the case because it was a step along the road to giving illegal aliens the same benefits of citizenship as everyone else despite their status. He later clarified his remarks to guns.com, saying that he believes that while gun rights are protected by the Second Amendment, they don’t come from the Second Amendment. “I told Foxnews.com they got it wrong. (Smith) does have the right to keep and bear arms and that doesn’t come under the Constitution. He should have the right to keep and bear arms,” Pratt said.

      Furthermore, the same guns.com article says: “The National Rifle Association, meanwhile issued a statement of unequivocal support for Smith, saying that as long as a U.S. resident is law-abiding and eligible to buy a gun they should be allowed a concealed carry permit under prevailing local laws.” That runs in direct opposition to your statement that the NRA spurned Smith.

      In discussion of a bill to revert the SD law that restricts concealed permits to U.S. citizens, GOA had this to say: “As far as we’re concerned, we want Wayne Smith to be able to carry concealed,” said Erich Pratt, a spokesman for Gun Owners of America. “He’s a law-abiding resident of this country.”

      SAF had this to say: “A legal resident alien, and I may emphasize legal resident alien, should have the ability to protect himself and his home and his family, just like anyone else,” Workman said.

      So as usual, you’re about 75% full of shit. Larry Pratt didn’t say what you said he did, though it’s true his initial remarks were ill-considered, and he amended them later. But the stones you cast at NRA and SAF are complete bullshit.

      • But Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt says the state has every right to restrict conceal and carry permits to citizens. “If the guy wants to enjoy the full benefit of residing in the United States become a citizen. He’s been here for 30 years what’s he waiting for?,” Pratt told FoxNews.com.
        Pratt says the only reason the ACLU brought the suit is to pave the way for illegal aliens to have conceal carry permits. “They want to make it so illegal aliens have the same rights as everybody else…every little bit chipping away,” he said.

        The Fox News story did not misquote your “hero”. Pratt changed his tune after the backlash.

        The NRA, GOA, and SAF did not take the lawsuit to protect Smith’s gun rights. While the NRA, SAF, and GOA engaged in debate or talk the ACLU stepped up to the plate.

      • For Amendments 1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,and 14 the ACLU is pretty good, actually. They were some of few people on the left who were willing to denounce Obama for his attacks on the Bill of Rights.

        In a sane world, the various gun rights groups and the ACLU would be natural allies.

  5. … notice Larry Pratt sets the frame and never lets Brent Hume change it.

    That’s how a man should respond to any lower-level person’s shit tests.

    Men like Larry Pratt remind people how real men are supposed to behave and why we should listen to and respect them.

  6. I joined the NRA back when GHW Bush quit because they started talking tough.

    I quit the NRA years ago because I realized that they would never do more than talk.

    I joined the Gun Owners of America recently because of Pratt and am a life member. Philosophically, this organization is the only one I admire.

    I also joined the Second Amendment Foundation and regret doing so. Gottlieb is a loser and appeaser, and their constant promotion of Cheaper than Dirt galls me.

  7. People, it is imperative that we redirect the conversation. While Mr. Pratt’s responses were probably the best that I have seen from a representative of a gun rights organization, he still came up short.

    I encourage everyone: stop debating the gun grabbers on “merit”, “data”, “consensus”, or hypothetical scenarios and outcomes. Tell them the simple principle that neither government nor society has any say in what personal property you acquire and/or possess. Period. That it is your business and ONLY your business. Period.

    If you are so inclined to offer any supporting dialogue, ask the gun grabber when society and government agents can broadly intrude into some intensely personal and intensely private area of some group, such as how mothers can pray for their families. The answer is obvious: “merit”, “data”, “consensus”, and hypothetical scenarios are irrelevant when society or government agents are concerned about the intensely personal and private choices of someone. Period!

    If the gun grabber clings to gun control anyway after that explanation, then you tell them that their “might makes right” philosophy makes them a cheerleader for tyrants such as Stalin, Mao, and Hitler.

    • I agree, I have been saying over and over that the only way to fight gun control is to stop responding to the issues the grabbers put before us (i.e. playing their game by their rules) and instead look for ways to change the game.

      This is a good one.

  8. First, it is not a victory for “Gun Rights” it is a victory for Civil Rights.
    Second, I wish more people would point out the herd immunity effect of gun ownership.
    Just as having the majority of people vaccinated against disease protects even those who are not, having the majority of people armed also protects those who are not.

  9. Larry Pratt is the man. He’s also got a great sense of humor – something that definitely comes in handy in his line of work.

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