AR-15 Picatinny straw dispenser
Courtesy NSSF
Previous Post
Next Post

By Larry Keane

As the argument surrounding gun control and the Second Amendment occupies daily space in the mainstream media, anti-gun zealots must resort to increasingly outlandish claims in order to get the attention they seek. Most recently, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) compared the current campaign to force new gun restrictions through Congress to efforts by some state and local governments to ban plastic straws.

Soda-Straw View

In an interview with CNN, Rep. Richmond said “we have cities that are banning plastic straws, and we can’t ban assault weapons? That just doesn’t make sense to me.” What really doesn’t make sense to me, is how a four-term Congressman fails to understand the difference between discretionary use of a drinking straw and a constitutionally protected right.

A city like San Francisco, for instance, which banned plastic straws starting last month, is made up of less than 800,000 people. It’s also one of the most liberal cities in America. It comes as a shock to no one that a proposal to ban plastic straws on the grounds of environmental protection would easily pass into law.

Obviously, it will be and should be more difficult to pass federal laws affecting all 327.2 million Americans, 53% of whom say they live in a gun-owning household.

Right to Bear…Straws?

Anti-gun politicians like Rep. Richmond seem to forget the right to keep and bear arms is included in the Bill of Rights, alongside the right to free speech, a free press and freedom to exercise religion.

The landmark 2008 Heller decision upheld keeping and bearing arms as an individual right protected by the Second Amendment. The founders of this country entrusted its citizens with the right to keep and bear arms, but nowhere does it discuss the right for Americans to keep their plastic straws.

Banning straws in uber-liberal enclaves like San Francisco might be trendy, but Rep. Richmond is also failing to consider that not all his fellow members of Congress or U.S. senators think rights should be so easily voted away. There are members of Congress who respect the voting power of the tens of millions of gun owners who protect their Second Amendment rights at the ballot box.

The ridiculousness of this isn’t just the fallacy of the comparison. Comparing a modern, plastic amenity to a Constitutional Right is not only insulting to America’s gun owners but also occupies space in the national conversation that could instead be focused on real solutions that can save lives.

Serious Debate, Real Solutions

The firearms industry knows about Real Solutions. We’re the ones who brought the idea of an instant background check at the retail gun counter to reality. We’re the ones who worked to improve the background checks through our FixNICS program and efforts to prevent illegal straw purchases with our Don’t Lie for the Other Guy campaign with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

We also partner with ATF in Operation Secure Store to prevent criminals from stealing firearms. Our Project Childsafe program has supplied firearms safety kits completely with free gun locks to 15,000 police departments for community distribution. The latest figure is over 38 million free kits and counting.

We also partnered with the largest suicide prevention program in the nation to provide ranges, retailers and those who frequent them the resources to intervene before a crisis.

Solutions like these, where all stakeholders can find common ground, can save American lives but the public doesn’t get to hear about them because the media spends its time covering ridiculous hyperbole by legislators like Rep. Richmond.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel at National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Previous Post
Next Post


    • I should have a right to plastic straws too. Democrats are the party of banning possessions. What if I use my plastic straws responsibly? Why am I being punished because some cities around China and Vietnam can’t dispose of garbage properly and it ends up in the ocean and up the nose of some sea turtle? In California, when you throw a straw in the garbage, what is the city doing with it? Throwing the garbage in the ocean???

      So the problem that Rep. Richmond has, is not that he can’t tell the difference between an enumerated right (unfortunate that so few are enumerated) and one that is not, but that he has a mentality and proclivity to simply ban things as a solution to government incompetence and specific people who can’t dispose of their garbage responsibly.

      Which is another difference between democrats and republicans. Republicans want people to take responsibility and punish the action itself. Democrats on the other hand believe people can’t be responsible so its nanny statist time – and time for some bans. Time to start banning stuff. And they are not banning actions. They are banning possessions.

      • And in case no one actually looked to deep into it this panic over plastic straws was all started by some pre-teen kid that wrote a ‘study’ about many plastic strays and the supposed harm they cause. the problem is was that the study was BS and the statistics were complete wrong. The reality is most plastic that ends up in the ocean has nothing to do with straws or any other consumer produced. Most of the plastic trash that is reported in the ocean comes from old fishing nets that lazy fishermen throw overboard instead of hauling them home when they wear out. Upwards of about 60 to 70 percent! It’s not big ‘islands of garbage’ floating around. That’s a narrative fabricated whole-cloth from MSM hacks.

        • I thought most of the floating plastic trash came from China-bound vessels carrying recycling from the US, that got dumped or blown overboard along the way.

          At least, that’s what I recall having heard on an NPR podcast about recycling (and, for most items, lack of cost-effectiveness of recycling).

      • “Democrats are the party of banning possessions.”

        Commiecrats are the all knowing Feelz party that would willingly lead the nation into slavery ,given the chance.

      • “I should have a right to plastic straws too.”

        Especially the evil looking nigh powered Black Plastic ones.

      • Right you are, sir. What I don’t understand is why should we get our rights infringed and how it relates to some leftist loony town decision to virtue signal by banning yet another usefull item.

        As a side note, they also banned plastic bags, to protect the environment. Hordes of homeless people, who live at this progressive heaven, have been using plastic bags as toilets. They now lost their usual means of disposal of their “products” so land mines are being left on sidewalks, in parks and on lawns, adding little to local environment and threatening to spread diseases. Another win for ban happy leftists!

    • “to prevent illegal straw purchases with our Don’t Lie for the Other Guy campaign with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)“
      Besides were first in seeking the banning of illegal straws!

  1. “The firearms industry knows about Real Solutions. We’re the ones who brought the idea of an instant background check at the retail gun counter to reality. We’re the ones who worked to improve the background checks through our FixNICS program and efforts to prevent illegal straw purchases with our Don’t Lie for the Other Guy campaign with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).”

    Unconstitutional you guys should be ashamed for supporting it. You know it doesn’t work and never will work but you keep pushing it like it’s a fix.

    Instead more and more people become prohibited and you pat yourself on the back. No one should support you.

    The people who support that are dishonest liars.

    • They should only be pushing the repeal of background check laws and weakening them. NSSF is a Tyranny supporting organization.

      It does literally nothing but inconvenience the law abiding and prohibit the law abiding. If you are a criminal you can just build a gun or buy one illegally or steal one.

    • The firearm industry has effectively three choices.

      They can deal with the political reality, they can deal with the political theory or they can ignore both.

      Given that the last option has a track record of zero success and the second option has a record of rather limited success they’re going with the first option since it’s the least bad.

      That sucks but it’s true and it will continue until the political reality changes. That won’t change without a complete revamp of the educational system that causes a shift in the way the public thinks overall. Otherwise it’s just 34/68/86 again and the industry has zero say in anything because they gave up their seat at the table when most people begin to view them as “unreasonable” and therefore ignore anything the industry says.

      This requires bedrock changes in attitudes across wide swaths of the public. It’s a major undertaking to undo the damage of the last ~70 or so years but creating such a paradigm shift is never easy.

      • I don’t disagree. I think the only hope of making that change is the internet. I’m tired of this endless push from both sides of basically becoming Europeanized.

        The difference between a right and privilege is extremely blurred to most people. The 2A is treated like a privilege and these gun organizations tell us it is while saying it’s a right at the same time.

        I shouldn’t be able to scream in someones face all day or protest on private property and call it free expression the same way I shouldn’t be able to plink cans in the streets of new york.

        I know a lady who when she was 18 sold drugs to a cop and then got 20 ish years if I remember right. She is a great person but will always have her rights completely infringed because people don’t believe in rights. One stupid mistake when she was a kid at a party.

        Note I don’t do drugs or approve of them being used. I don’t think it should be a crime though or if you have served your time your rights should be uninfringed.

        It just makes me sick how they pat themselves on the back over expanding prohibited persons. Prohibited persons is antithetical to freedom. Sorry kinda started ranting.

        • It’s all good. You don’t have to support someone’s behavior to believe they have the right to do it. People accuse me of doing all sorts of things just because I note that if someone does do those things it’s none of the government’s business, or really, anyone’s business and that a lot of the problems we have these days stem, at their root, (pun not intended) from the concept that you have the right to tell other people what to do even if they’re harming no one, other than maybe themselves, with their actions.

          I would simply say that it’s a long road that we walk and it gets frustrating at times. Especially when we have to stop and, quite frankly as unpopular as this is to say, educate people on our own side to prevent well intentioned but self-destructive behavior. The “other side” got to operate basically with impunity for seven decades. We’re not going to reverse all that damage in a few years.

          In the vein of education I would point to a rather longish YouTube video by a German dude who goes by Kraut (formerly Kraut & Tea). It’s rather detailed explanation of how an improper view of history, one that applies moral judgement rather than simply cataloging events, colors modern views on most everything in improper ways. I don’t agree with everything this guy says in every video but I think he kinda nails it on this one.

        • I agree. It’s kind of funny how that community will point out all the issues with telling other people how to live but then do it themselves.

          I heard Sargon say “The uk you can get a gun we still have gun ownership” or something like that. Made me laugh but it’s really sad.

          Interesting video. I don’t watch Kraut much but it was good.

          That is what I mean about the internet being the fix. Technology and communication. It’s getting harder and harder to ignore authoritarianism that doesn’t serve a real purpose and is all just talk, misleading people on history and events.

          I would not be the person I am now if the internet didn’t exist. I may have leaned towards politically independent still but I would not have been able to easily research my positions.

          I’ve been frustrated lately. I know it’s showing lol

        • Ultimately I view it this way:

          The internet is nothing but a tool. If people are unwilling to use that too properly then it’s effectiveness is limited.

          The two examples I would give are as follows. First, the TL:DR crowd. They can’t be bothered to even read more than maybe a short paragraph and certainly can’t be bothered to do any research. Now, don’t get me wrong, some esoteric knowledge isn’t readily available on the internet. There are times where it’s just better to ask someone like Dyspeptic Gunsmith rather than spend hours researching and coming up with stuff that’s of questionable pedigree, especially in relation to having controlled explosions in your hand.

          OTOH though a lot of stuff is easily and freely available on the net, the greatest repository of human knowledge ever created. You see the TL:DR crowd on a website like TTAG or, on the other side, maybe HuffPo and so you KNOW they’re on the internet yet, strangely they refuse to use it. How hard is it to open another tab and search for information on something? Pretty hard apparently. WTAF? These folks have the tool literally at their fingertips and they’d rather use it for virtue signalling or to display their own ignorance rather than actually looking up the truth? They might be a little… derpy?

          The flip side of this is the another example. That shooter in El Paso, according to his own writings, was influenced, arguably heavily, by the Christchurch shooter. At the time of the Christchurch shooting I noted with some dismay that the guy who committed that attack was a rather shrewd and savvy internet user who custom tailored his actions and his manifesto for maximum propaganda effect across wide swaths of the internet, an effect he fully expected to be amplified by the NZ government’s response to his actions. Wellington played his game and even gave him more than he could have dreamed of getting, clamping down on guns and free speech. He even provoked the very gun control debate here in the US that he wanted, and, as he wanted, spawned another shooter here that ratcheted up the overall political temperature in the US surrounding gun control.

          As much as pundits don’t want to admit it and say that it’s “minimizing the tragedy” his actions were a real life troll of epic proportions. (Effectively, that’s what terrorism is. It’s trolling by violence.) And a great many of the supposedly smart people on both sides fell for it hook, line and fucking sinker.

          The point being that, IMHO, we have to be fairly careful about how we use the net in terms of advancing the cause of civil rights. Our actions provoke reactions which in turn provoke reactions to those reactions and the chain continues, much as that video above suggests. We need to be careful about creating secondary and tertiary (and beyond) effects of our actions that may have undesired outcomes for our cause. Otherwise we risk playing right into the other side’s hands in many regards.

          Virtue signalling and ranting might make us feel better but those actions are undisciplined and often come back to bite us and the internet is a tool that amplifies the effects of our actions, good or bad. As such it’s a sword that cuts both ways and we’d better start learning that. Especially since the opposition has that ~70 year head start on us in terms of massaging public opinion in their favor.

        • I agree with a lot of what you say. I’m not worried about how the internet is used. i think a lot of the people who commit mass shooting and killing and such would either do it for different reasons or inspirations if there was no net. Technology like it will be the first way people may be able to actually be educated on such topics.

          I also do not think that is a solvable problem. As long as we don’t regulate the internet into nothing useful it will be a net good in the long run.

          Most people don’t want to think about politics or their own political positions. I think that will lessen over the next century. Though I am merely making predictions I could be completely wrong especially if the internet is ruined by government intervention.

          Maybe bad will come from it but hopefully more good will likely come from it. We already see it is harder to hide corruption than ever before. Even if many choose to deliberately ignore it. People are not entirely reliant on cable news or papers anymore either. If they show a clip We can just look it up the rest of it.

          How ever as you say how we use the internet. That is why I do not talk about revolution or violence. I rant about infringements not about how we need to use force. Hopefully enough people over the next decades become wiser and more aware because of it.

          People will be pushed around by terrorists whether the internet exists or not. I believe technology will be the route to freedom and education.

          Republicans and democrats wait for terror so they don’t have to pass pro gun bills or repeal violations of privacy. It would just be something else. They just pass wait for excuses to tell us how to live. I could be wrong we have control over how the internet effects us largely. I’m not required to put information on it.

        • I would agree with what you’ve said here entirely.

          Your key statement is this: “As long as we don’t regulate the internet into nothing useful it will be a net good in the long run.”

          This is exactly where Wellington fell on it’s face with regards to free speech and it’s a path both the Left and the Right are traveling in this country, albeit more slowly in many regards. They tried to regulate what can and can’t be said, and even what speech can and cannot be viewed on the internet with threats of incarceration just for reading what the shooter wrote or the video he posted.

          The diabolical genius of the shooter was that he fully expected that and he wanted Wellington to do that. He wanted it because he knew it was likely to provoke a backlash to that crackdown. The idea that “You can’t even look at the evidence” disenfranchises people and makes them feel isolated. Isolated people often act irrationally. It’s shit-stirring writ large.

          And it was effective. Where’s 8chan these days? Gone. So powerful is the fear of regulation and attacks by anti-freedom people that the owners of 8chan’s server(s) shut it down after El Paso without even being told to do so. If you want to chill free speech and piss people off… creating an environment where internet hosts self-regulate not just based on the laws or rules of PC but on the perception that those rules might change in the future… well, that’s a pretty good start.

          Freedom of speech is, in some ways, on life support in the Western World. IMHO, it’s not a good sign. It’s not a surety that disaster will occur but the rocks have been spotted and it’s time to change course.

        • *I should note that 8chan is not really “gone”. It’s back on new servers but it’s now no longer “clearlisted”.

  2. So because a few nanny state local Dems go full retard on their citizens he thinks the federal government should follow suit?

  3. How are gun locks ‘solutions’?
    How are background checks ‘solutions’?
    Neither has prevented criminals from getting guns.
    However, BGCs have infringed on law abiding gun owners rights.
    And child locks? Yea, a poor excuse to not teach you kids gun safety, and a step towards laws that lead to prosecution if you don’t comply, regardless of whether you have kids or not. Thanks for the ‘help’

  4. Since when do Libitards care about the constitutional rights of Americans in general??
    They care about control. Their control of you. Half the contry wants something for nothing. They expect the other half to pay for it.
    Guns same thing. They don’t like them. So I cant own any.
    To a Libitard its all about feelings.
    The Constitution doesn’t care or say anything about feelings.

  5. He believes that banning straws will ‘save the environment’.

    That’s nuttier than Pg2.

  6. I get it. Somebody in your bunk misbehaves you make everybody do pushups and they make sure that guy behaves from now on.

    But when we’re punished for what China and India or in this case lunatics with guns do how are we supposed to make sure China, India and the lunatics get in line? I can’t very well beat China with a sock full of soap now, can I?

    So instead of punishing the criminals we punish everyone and the only recourse is just to accept that henceforth you are a criminal and will be treated as such.

  7. “Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel at National Shooting Sports Foundation.”

    You forgot Whiney La PewPew best pal,as Larry Not So Keane runs the manufacturers division of the NRA.

      • So I’m a troll however you are fine with two organizations that work closely together,in league,to infringe on members and Americans Constitutional rights,as both are in support of Red Flag Laws and Universal Background Checks. I’m not a shill for organizations that work against Americans rights,that’s for certain,just who is a troll again.

  8. Yo, CEDRIC!!!! It is an unalienable Constitutionally guaranteed right!!!! If that doesn’t make “sense” to you your constituents need to vote you OUT! Try this; give me a philosophical reason why we should be using straws, much less plastic ones, and then a philosophical reason why a law abiding populace should be dis armed. And, I hear no conversation about increasing penalties for such crimes as “A straw man” purchase to say 20 years and also charging the buyer with whatever crime the user commits to served consecutively based on the same principle as Felony Murder where all engaged in crime are charged whether or not they pulled a trigger. You know that is many shooter get their weapons. I watched gang members from Oakland state that. With a sentence such as that let’s see how many wives or girlfriends will risk that for some useless schmuck. If you’d risk that for a friend then you would be the schmuck. Every sentence associated with providing a prohibited person with a firearm should DRAMATICALLY increased.

  9. Larry

    There are NOT “327.2 million Americans”.

    There are substantiallt less than 300million AMERICANS. But there are also are tens of millions of illegal trespassers/squatters plus a similar number of improperly admitted but “legal” residents. “Refugees”, “student”, and “Guest workers’ etc etc etc. ALL should be force to GO HOME.

  10. A note Mr. Keene amongst others. What have you all done to check the abuses of what some might refer to as Your Illegitimate Child, these Background Checks? Answers please.

  11. I heard from louder with Crowder that the paper straws cause more pollution to manufacture why wouldn’t they find a way to reuse straws by using different materials like metal for instance (just an example I know little Suzy will lose an eye). Also that was a horrible comparison

  12. If Cedric Richmond is so quick and eager to take away guns from people who committed no crime what else is he will to do? He can’t understand why this is so hard because clearly he can’t understand constitutional government. Sadly, people in his district voted for his representation of them in Congress because he no doubt made promises to bring home OPM and work to enact laws they ask for despite the wrongness of it all. We are supposed to believe they are going to stop at a few models or designs of firearms and not end up with an all out confiscation. History proves them wrong.
    In every gun free country you either had a huge war that allowed guns to be swept up or the government was an extension of another oppressive regime that outlawed private arms from the get go. The very notion of ordinary people protecting themselves was dismissed except for here. And “not-understanding-why” people like Cedric Richmond are ready to make felons out of millions of people.

  13. How many crimes were prevented and how many lives saved with plastic straws? How do you use straws to secure safe state?

Comments are closed.