I want to share a personal story about a recent attempt by the gun control industry to deceive automotive writers into sharing anti-gun propaganda.
Like most writers here, I only work part-time for The Truth About Guns. I also work as a firearms instructor, and I write for another website that focuses on things like solar power (great for preparedness) and electric vehicles (also great for emergencies…not to mention that low-end torque is a blast). I share this is to explain that in addition to what you see here, I’m also actively writing in the automotive world.
As you can probably imagine, not every day has blockbuster news for us to write about at car websites. If auto manufacturers revealed a cool new model every day, they’d all be bankrupt.
That means you often have to settle for things like sales numbers, supplier deals, and other more mundane industry stories and try to make them as interesting to readers as you can. Sometimes there are diamonds in the rough and you can dig out a compelling story, so that’s worth looking into.
We also regularly get e-mails from people trying to get their story out. This isn’t a bad thing, because there’s sometimes good and useful information for readers in emails from underdog automotive companies, publicists for up-and-coming experts in the field, and organizations that work with the industry.
But as you can probably imagine, we also have to sort through a lot of self-promotional junk that’s clearly just a company trying to get attention without offering anything that’s really compelling, or worse, trying to deceive people. It’s our job as writers to sift through all the noise to get to the signal.
This week, I got an e-mail that was clearly trying to deceive me, but in a way I don’t usually see in the automotive world. Instead of trying to get me to report some company’s message, it was from gun control activists trying to pull the wool over my eyes and get me to share their talking points and “data” from Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety civilian disarmament operation.
I don’t want to name and shame the company the e-mail came from, because I don’t really know whether their management is aware that they’re being used by anti-gun activists, but you can read what they were trying to get me to share and write about here.
I don’t have time to verify everything the company’s “data journalist” put in that blog post, highlighting rage deaths and trying to tie it to the expansion of permitless carry. What they didn’t know when they sent it to me is that I used to work as a Texas handgun license instructor, so I know more than your average automotive writer about not only the present state of Texas gun laws, but the history of them.
They highlight Texas as the alleged capital of road rage deaths. The post draws a clear connection between constitutional carry in Texas (which passed in 2021), and the alleged number of road rage incidents in the state.
Texas had nearly triple the amount of second-ranked Florida and third-ranked California. Neither of the latter two states have permitless carry laws but they are two of the country’s three most populous states, which likely explains their rankings among the states with the highest number of fatal road rage shootings.
Actually, it doesn’t. As readers in Texas are probably aware, guns were allowed in cars without a handgun license long before constitutional carry became law. Going further back, there was the 2009 Motorist Protection Act, which explicitly allowed guns in cars without a CHL.
Going back even further, Texas has long had an exception for travelers in their gun laws. The definitions were murky on who “is traveling” (as mentioned in PC 46.15(b)(2)), but this was generally treated as covering anyone who had left their home county and traveled through another one on a long trip, or someone who could show that they were staying away from home overnight.
In those long-ago days, some people always kept a pillow, a sleeping bag, and toiletries in their car to prove they were a traveler, in order to carry without a permit. Whether that was legal or a good idea, I don’t know, but it’s a moot point now with Texas constitutional carry.
So, permitless carry in cars in Texas is actually nothing new at all. But that doesn’t mean the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex isn’t heavily invested in glossing over that in order to blame Governor Greg Abbott and permitless carry for every bad news story that comes out of the Lone Star State…mostly in an effort to boost Robert Francis O’Rourke’s lagging gubernatorial campaign.
Never mind that Texas’s permitless carry law has nothing to do with rifles. Or that it was illegal to shoot into cars with an AK before constitutional carry and it is still illegal now. Gosh, it’s almost as if there’s a concerted effort by Bloomberg’s anti-gun operations to spread misinformation about gun laws and crime.
But Mike’s minions aren’t only messing with Texas.
Another state they tried to smear was New Mexico (which, to be fair, is an easy state to smear). The post fingers New Mexico as having the highest number of per capita road rage shootings. Once again, guns have long been allowed in vehicles in New Mexico without a permit, which is something I should know as a concealed carry instructor here in the Land of Enchantment and having grown up here.
I also know that New Mexico almost always places near the bottom (usually competing with Louisiana and Mississippi) on many measures of how well people are doing, so it’s no surprise that people tend to be more stressed out and violent.
The average car writer, though, isn’t going to be familiar with Texas or New Mexico gun laws, let alone the history behind those laws. They won’t know that New Mexico is and has been a political dumpster fire that’s been under the control of Democrats since the Teapot Dome scandal.
They’re also not going to be familiar with the way anti-gun groups, academia, and mainstream media love to peddle lies and misleading “data” about firearms and the laws that regulate them.
They wouldn’t know, for instance, that Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown (often mentioned in the article, or cited by articles it mentions) isn’t exactly a trustworthy source for firearm data. They also probably wouldn’t know that the author of the post that’s being pushed at them used to work for…wait for it…Bloomberg.
This “automotive” article is actually an anti-gun hit piece. Some of the writers they target will end up writing about it, inadvertently (or given the bent of most journalists, happily) spreading still more lies and misinformation about guns and firearm-related crime.
I would imagine that this is happening regularly with writers in other industries as well. When you need something to write about — the demand for content is never-ending — and you get something that’s only tangentially related to your normal area of expertise, it’s a lot easier to be deceived or persuaded to just run with it.
So there you have a little peek behind the curtain revealing one way the gun control industry works to spread its anti-gun narrative.