Mass Shootings

An Update on Gun Legislation One Month After the Texas Mass Shooting

The reaction has shifted to fixing the government's flawed background check system.

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A revolver
Dmytro Tolmachov/Dreamstime

One month out from the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, bureaucrats and lawmakers have pivoted away from more firearms restrictions toward the government's failure to maintain its criminal background check system.

Shortly after Sutherland Springs, the Air Force revealed it had failed to report the court martial and discharge for domestic violence of the shooter, former airman Devon Kelley. That report should have prevented him from purchasing the weapons he used to carry out the massacre.

The Department of Defense inspector general reported this week the Air Force failed to turn over criminal records of service members to the FBI some 14 percent of the time. The Air Force, the report said, proved to be one of the better military services when it came to reporting criminal records to the criminal database system.

The military as a whole failed to report some 31 percent of the criminal convictions it should have to the FBI database, according to the report. The Navy and Marine Corps both failed to turn over criminal records to the FBI 36 percent of the time, while the Army did not submit 41 percent of the records it should have.

The report shows that the military has actually slightly worse at reporting these final disposition records to the FBI. A similar 2015 report from the DOD Inspector General found that the military failed to hand over these records 30 percent of the time.

Reason covered some of the military's failures to report information the background check system here.

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said the Air Force is reviewing all its criminal convictions from 2002 onward in a search for other oversights. Air Force personnel will not only be required to submit records to the FBI, but also confirm with the FBI that those records have been properly uploaded into the system, she said.

"The Air Force has implemented additional measures to ensure current and future offender criminal history data is submitted to federal law enforcement agencies in a timely manner," Wilson assured the Senate Judiciary Committee in prepared testimony on Wednesday.

The other secretaries of the various military branches likewise promised to improve their reporting of records to the FBI.

The post-Sutherland Springs actions from the military track pretty closely with the background check legislation that was passed by the House yesterday. Referred to as the Fix NICS Act, the bill—which was rolled into the larger Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act this week—would require all federal agencies and departments to review their own criminal records reporting standards.

The bill requires agencies to develop plans to bring them into compliance with reporting requirements if they are not, and threatens to withhold bonuses to political appointees in those agencies if they do not comply.

The bill passed the House yesterday, and now goes to the Senate for approval.

Whether this bill will increase compliance—a law to require bureaucrats to follow existing laws—is uncertain. However, given the intense and predictable post-Sutherland Springs shooting demands for more restrictions on firearms and an expansion of the flawed background check system, the provisions of Fix NICS bill are welcome.

If this is extent of the federal response to the latest mass shootings, the Second Amendment will have dodged a barrage of bullets.

NEXT: Texas Justice Don Willett Is One Step Closer to Being Confirmed to the Federal Bench

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    1. So maybe some people want to have a gun for protection, or a rifle for hunting. But why the fuck does anyone need a military style assault weapon that can fire hundreds of rounds a minute? There’s no good reason to be able to buy such a thing. There’s just too many hillbillies in this country that want to fill their trailers with guns they don’t need

      1. Actually, if you’re trying to protect your crops from a herd of feral pigs, livestock from a small fast-moving predator like a coyote or bobcat, family from a gang of home invaders that had the distinct discourtesy to recall that there is strength in numbers, or fellow citizens from a mass shooter that had the unrepentant gall to take cover and return fire, a “military-style assault weapon” IS useful for protection and hunting, AmSock.

        Though this is perhaps less relevant than the revelation that our Founders also did not anticipate their descendents having access to 19-ton ice cream trucks, cheap household explosive precursors, and consumer-grade 3d printers, drill presses and steel hydraulic tubing. Or, for that matter, affordable online personal 3-day shipping from Guadalajara and within-the-week air freight from Danao and Rio.

        The most frustrating thing about these statements from statist twats is, as always, the difficulty in selecting which particular line of reasoning to beat them over the head with.

        1. You need assault weapons for feral pigs? The sound of one shot would be enough to scare them or any animal away. And what are the chances of being the victim of a home invasion? Or a mass shooting? Or an ice cream truck terrorist attack? Too extremely small to need assault weapons for protection.
          Yeah there’s some nuts who think they need military grade weapons. They’re the same assholes that worry about chem-trails.

          1. The goal isn’t to “scare” feral pigs & dogs, coyotes, bobcats, foxes and raccoons, it is to KILL them so they don’t come back when you’re asleep. Feral pigs ALONE do 400 million $ in crop damage every year, and while the damage done by smaller varmints is much smaller, it tends to affect the poorest rural families that can’t afford to lose anything- many a family is kept afloat by a chicken coop that pests are salivating to get into. Ever try to shoot a 1-foot-wide dark blur in the middle of the night without rapid follow-up shots? I assure you it is not easy. And every missed opportunity, is another predator free to come back and kill livestock, which is another poor family falling through the cracks, which is another Oxy addict, alcoholic, suicide…

            …and yes, only a very small number of lives are saved by having a semi-auto every year. Guess what? Only a few would be a saved by a ban, too. Ever hear of someone shooting themselves in the head twice? Didn’t think so. Nor has the proliferation of semi-autos increased the gun murder rate (as one would expect, since most gunfights average 2.5 shots fired). Nor would it greatly reduce mass shooting deaths: a guy with a 2-shot shotgun killed 12 in Cumbria, UK in 2010, and banning autos didn’t stop the Bataclan, Oslo or Charlie Hebdo. You would force a few killers to use slightly less effective weapons, yes. You would save a few lives at the margins. But you’d save a few less than you’d destroy.

            1. Of course the gun laws that affect 100% of us are tailored for the 2% of the population that are farmers. Farmers are the only real mericans left

              1. Why should a few farmers’ lives be placed below those of a few random citizens caught in a mass shooting? And why should the lives of a few home invasion and armed robbery victims, rural or urban, be placed below those of a few gangbangers, or a few passersby unfortunate enough to be nearby when said gangbangers open fire? Especially when this thing called a “black market” guarantees that the marginal effect of forcing a criminal or psycho to use a .38 instead of a 9mm, or a UHaul instead of an AR-15, won’t even apply to a lot of enterprising attackers?

                What part of “marginal effect” don’t you understand, statist? Sending the BATFE to knock on a few people’s doors isn’t going to make the scary black guns with the banana mags go away, and even to the extent that it does, the muzzle of a nice wholesome walnut-stocked deer rifle or the grill of an oncoming minivan ought not to haunt your dreams too much less. You will not save many lives, but few; and so the fact that you will only destroy a few, not many, is no solace. Even if you made every semi-auto mag-fed gun in the USA disapparate with a wand’s wave, you’d only break even- and you’re NOT a wizard, Harry.

              2. Feral pigs are starting to encroach on suburban neighborhoods. They’re a fucking scourge.

            2. only a very small number of lives are saved by having a semi-auto every year.

              Very small number?

              “Guns used 2.5 million times a year in self-defense. Law-abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves against criminals as many as 2.5 million times every year — or about 6,850 times a day. [1] This means that each year, firearms are used more than 80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives. [2]”

              “Even anti-gun Clinton researchers concede that guns are used 1.5 million times annually for self-defense. According to the Clinton Justice Department, there are as many as 1.5 million cases of self-defense every year. The National Institute of Justice published this figure in 1997 as part of “Guns in America” — a study which was authored by noted anti-gun criminologists Philip Cook and Jens Ludwig.[5]”

              https://www.gunowners.org/sk0802htm.htm

              1. Semi-autos are the most common type of rifle and handgun produced and owned. So a large proportion of the uses above involve semi-autos.

                1. @ Cloudbuster

                  My point wasn’t that *guns in general* only save a few lives. My point was that semi-autos aren’t that different from revolvers, bolt-actions, pump-actions, etc. in combat under domestic conditions, and, thus, likely only provide a marginal advantage in life-or-death situations. Remember: most DGUs (95%+) don’t involve a shot being fired. Moreover, most gunfights/shootings only involve 2 or 3 shots fired total.

                  The point to BFJ, of course, being that A, this applies to most criminal shootings as well (the vast majority of murders only have a single victim); and B, criminals will still acquire large quantities of semi-automatics illegally, resulting in a near-total suppression of defensive usage vs. only a mild to moderate suppression of criminal usage.

                2. Also, I don’t have faith in those 1.5/2.5 million DGU estimates; there are a lot of questions about Kleck and Lott’s methodologies. The numbers were bandied about a lot in the 90s, but have come under scrutiny since. I lean more toward more conservative numbers. NCVS (which is lowballed due to their question format) puts it at 70,000, and most others put it between 120,000 and 200,000; I think that’s more than enough to be getting on with, especially when one considers how much higher it would be if high-crime, high-danger places like Chicago allowed their citizens to carry without poll taxes on permits…

          2. Listen to the guy who’s never owned a gun share his expertise about hunting.

            1. never TOUCHED a gun in his life. Even MORE qualified. :p

          3. Most sporting weapons are derivatives of military weapons. The whole “who needs military grade weapons” argument is one that only people who know little or nothing about guns makes.

            1. Actually, it’s just as accurate to say many military firearms were originally developed for civilians. Armies were going into combat with Brown Bess muskets long after hunters were using Kentucky rifles. The Winchester 03 and 05 and the Browning Auto 5 were popular decades before the Garand was adopted. The Army discovered the Barrett at Fifty Caliber Shooters Association matches.

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      2. Hunting has exactly nothing to do with the second. Your first clue was in your first guess, however, your perception of protection from whom is your problem.

      3. “a military style assault weapon that can fire hundreds of rounds a minute?”

        You don’t own a gun, nor know much about them, do you?

        1. Nope, never touched one, never needed one never wanted one

          1. Funny how most anti-gun people know nothing about them but think they’re qualified to opine about them.

            1. Exactly. It’s like having insurance adjustors with high school degrees making decisions about medical treatment. Makes absolutely no common sense.

        2. You don’t own a gun, nor know much about them, do you?

          Of course he hasn’t. You can always tell because it’s always the same dumb shit about 2A and not knowing the history or reason for it’s existence. As said, it has zero to do with hunting or even personal self defense (those are extra benefits) and it has everything to do with having an adequately armed citizenry to deter foreign invasion and domestic tyranny. Every quote in the federalist papers on this topic supports this position. Also, one only need read the words of 2A and define as they were at the time of its ratification. It really isn’t that hard. But gun grabbers are not intelligent or honest.

          1. It’s for self defense and for fighting against tyranny from abroad and home-spun. Federalist papers aren’t the end all be all, it’s right there in the Constitution. Security of a free state includes your own security as much as that of the country at large. No need to turn it into a legal argument it’s right there in one simple sentence.

      4. My safe space is my reloading room. That’s why I need a dozen or two “assault” rifles – more rifles, more safer.

        You have coloring books and crayons, I have reloading manuals and a shooting log.

        Eat some meat for god’s sake.

        1. Wow, real obsessed with outdated ol’fashioned merican values are you? You gathered up plenty of stones for your towns next lottery?

          1. Wow… real obsessed with being a dick to people who see things differently than you. Saving up all of that childish bile for your town’s next stoning?

          2. Ol’ fashioned ‘Murcian values are what make a ‘Murican ‘Murican. Without those you’re just a misplaced Frenchman without the cool accent.

            And eat some meat – preferably cooked over an open fire, double-preferably if you harvested it yourself – for god’ sake.

            1. I always laugh at my hunting friends who think they could live off the land but wouldn’t last a day longer than me in the wild without their rifle; I’d probably last long since I know more about local vegetation they they do. I prefer modern comforts and bbqing over charcoal that I bought from the supermarket.

          3. ol’fashioned merican values

            Are you against self-reliance, voluntary interaction/cooperation and self-defense?

        2. You don’t need more than one assault rifle, if you require more than that to feel safe you might have some issues. I keep guns to exercise my second amendment rights, not to think I’m some bad ass fighting the leftie commie guys out to get me.

      5. Ask the Korean shop keeps about the need. They used them to good effect during the LA riots to protect themselves and their businesses as the police had left them on their own.

      6. BFJ, nobody needs a Dodge Ram pickup with 500 horsepower and an 8 speed transmission, either. Nobody needs a 60 inch 4k television. Nobody needs a Renoir painting. Need doesn’t have anything to do with any of this. What matters is what I value and am willing to spend my money on. If that doesn’t keep you from earning a living it isn’t any of your business.

      7. Any gun that is good for self defense is also good for offense (and vice versa). Many self-defense experts say that a short AR-15 type rifle loaded with frangible ammunition, is probably both the most effective and safest home defense weapon. The frangible ammunition at high velocity doesn’t penetrate sheetrock well, and tend to penetrate less layers than a typical handgun bullet or shotgun round. In addition, an AR-15 is pretty easy to use (low recoil) and easy to aim. When I get too old to use a handgun for self defense, I’m buying an AR-15 variant for that.

        1. A 12 gauge shotgun with double ought buck is plenty enough. I have an AR but I’m under no misconception that it’s “the best gun for home defense”.

          1. Did you not read Chas’s comment? Your shottie is more likely to overpenetrate a perp’s body than a 5.56, even without frangible. Plus the “boogeyman” situation where 4 or 5 guys break into your house at the same time DOES happen. You really confident enough in your marksmanship that you think you can just have “1 round for each”? Even if they all book after the first shot, it’s still a public service to keep them from escaping and attacking someone else’s house the next night- and they may feel too cornered, or aggressive, to run. After all, if they were capable of rationally examing their own best interest, they wouldn’t be in your house in the first place.

      8. I don’t need one, but there is no reason I shouldn’t have one. I don’t care if they outlaw bumpstocks. Those things are marginal but there is no difference between semiauto “assault” rifles and hunting rifles other than they look agressive, the bullets are all the same. 97% of all gun deaths are by hand guns. So lefties just don’t get it. The war on assault rifles is ridiculous.

        1. You do realize, I hope, that giving the non-voluntary government the power to “ban” anything gives them the power to “ban” anything you want or need.

          Do you think that throwing a mess of bleeding flesh at the jackals will satisfy them, and they’ll just quietly go away after eating it? Think again.

          “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more ? we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
          Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956

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  1. It’s time for us to have an adult conversation about rounding up every gun owner and putting them in a concentration camp.

    1. I’m having way too much fun imagining how that would go.

      1. That is kind of an entertaining image. Thank you!

    2. That kind of tough talk isn’t helpful to those of us libertarians who are serious about common sense gun safety. It’s not about “concentration camps.” It’s about returning to a sensible interpretation of the Second Amendment, namely that it only protects a collective right. From there, we would proceed with measures that have broad popular support, like a ban on deadly military-style assault weapons.

      1. And bayonets. Don’t forget those deadly bayonets.

      2. But not ban the undeadly, cute, .500 magnum Smith and Wesson.

        What shape do you approve? As long as I can’t mount a flashlight and a red dot (not that any of those attachments would have made a single difference in any outcomes other than reducing the weight of the weapon and increasing the amount of time the criminal was effective with the weapon) we can all sleep safe in our beds is what I’m hearing. Well, that is until a no knock warrant gets served by driving a truck through the front door.

      3. libertarian … collective right.

        “Libertarian” … you keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

      4. It’s not only the 2A that protects gun rights. 9A “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Obviously, not every right has to be listed to be valid. The right to own guns apart from membership in a militia clearly falls into this category.

        The real issue is the question, does the government have the legal power to take people’s guns? One searches the Constitution in vain trying to find a clause that empowers it to do so. However, the Tenth Amendment reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This should be a great restriction on governmental power. Since the Constitution nowhere grants the government the power to take our guns the Tenth Amendment should stop them from doing so.

        1. If I could go back in time and council The Founders on one thing it would be to move the 9th & 10th amendments to 1st & 2nd position, respectively, and shift everything else, as is, to the right.

      5. Common sense would state that the people who actually wrote the Bill of Rights would likely have the best definition of what they meant, right?

        “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
        – Thomas Jefferson

        “Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.”
        ? James Madison

        So please, tell me what “common sense” means to you. It doesn’t sound very common, and it doesn’t seem to make much sense. All I see from you are weasel words designed to keep guns out of the hands of “undesirables.” If it were a collective right, Jefferson and Madison and the rest wouldn’t have written the law the way they did. The SCOTUS has interpreted the law as written: It’s not a collective right. It’s an individual right. That may make you pee your pants, but that’s your flaw, not the document’s.

      6. What exactly makes you think you are any kind of “libertarian?” The usual platform of libertarianism is non-aggression. You seem to have skipped that idea.

        The “collective” lives only to control, to destroy individual liberty.

        The desire/compulsion to control the lives and property of others is the ROOT of all evil.

    3. So I’m guessing that you are a pro-gun person acting like a stupid anti-gun person. Well-played.

  2. Whether this bill will increase compliance?a law to require bureaucrats to follow existing laws?is uncertain.

    Good enough for government work.

  3. The government was so busy trying to churn out new gun legislation they forgot to enforce any of the shit already on the books. Color me surprised.

    1. Enforcement doesn’t win elections any more than solving a problem does.

    2. None of the “shit already on the books” is any better than the new shit. The shit just gets deeper and deeper… and smells worse.

  4. Pol thinks rights are subject to technological advancement.

    Through the Second Amendment, the Founding Fathers did not envision American citizens harnessing the power to unload 500 to 1,000 rounds in a short period of time using bump-fire stocks, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said today…”Does anyone imagine ? and I’m sure everyone realizes what I’m saying is an exaggeration ? that our Founding Fathers thought (the Second Amendment) gave an American citizen the right to own a firearm that discharged 480 rounds in a church in Texas and 1,110 rounds in Las Vegas?” Durbin asked. “How does that fit into the notion of self defense or the use of firearms for sport or hunting? It doesn’t.”

    Well, Senator Windbag, neither of those things are the point of the amendment to the document you are sworn to uphold. There is a reason the term “arms” is used. “Arms”=”weapons”=instruments intended for fighting. The founders intended the citizenry to be armed in a manner similar to the government. Technology changes, rights do not.

    1. Technology changes, rights do not.

      That’s can’t be repeated enough.

    2. Uhh…yeah. Have you ever read anything penned by that forefather of Progressivism Woodrow Wilson? That’s one of their main planks.

    3. “How does that fit into the notion of self defense or the use of firearms for sport or hunting? It doesn’t.”

      Actually, if you’re trying to protect your crops from a herd of feral pigs, livestock from a small fast-moving predator like a coyote or bobcat, family from a gang of home invaders that had the distinct discourtesy to recall that there is strength in numbers, or fellow citizens from a mass shooter that had the unrepentant gall to take cover and return fire, that DOES fit into the notion of self-defense and hunting, Senator Durbin.

      Though this is perhaps less relevant than the revelation that our Founders did not anticipate their descendents having access to 19-ton ice cream trucks, cheap household explosive precursors, and consumer-grade 3d printers, drill presses and steel hydraulic tubing. Or, for that matter, affordable online personal 3-day shipping from Guadalajara and within-the-week air freight from Danao and Rio.

      The most frustrating thing about these statements from statist twats is, as always, the difficulty in selecting which particular line of reasoning to beat them over the head with.

    4. When Durbin is willing to give up flying, novocaine when he goes to the dentist, and antibiotics for his next infection, he can come back and talk to me about modern weapons.

  5. …which was rolled into the larger Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act this week…

    FIX YOUR LINK. I didn’t donate $100 million dollars at the last second just to have this publication put out shoddy work.

    1. Yeah, their website is so broken that your $100 million donation went into my bank account. Thanks! Of course, that also means they don’t have the money to fix the link.

  6. For those of you keeping score, this was another reason we “dodged a bullet” when Hillary lost the election, too.

    Hillary is a master of never letting a crisis go to waste, and she campaigned against gun rights. If Hillary Clinton were in office, we wouldn’t have dodged a regulatory bullet at all.

    She’d have made a big deal about this and fought for legislation like Trump fought for ObamaCare and tax reform.

  7. So it was YOU!

    Now I have Reason to kick around for another year.

  8. The bill requires agencies to develop plans to bring them into compliance with reporting requirements if they are not, and threatens to withhold bonuses to political appointees in those agencies if they do not comply.

    Whether this bill will increase compliance?a law to require bureaucrats to follow existing laws?is uncertain.

    It might since it’s possible some bureaucrats might lose their bonuses. That’s an actual consequence they might care about.

    “We’ve go to save our phony baloney jobs bonuses! Harumpf! Harumpf!”

  9. Thought I’d chime in here to get my “fuck off slaver” responses that always come up in these discussions, and support of anything but pure libertarian no law at all in Deadwood position.

    Politics is the art of compromise, and as someone stated earlier there are more than us 3% card carrying libertarians that live here. I’m good with this legislation that does somewhat enhance the NICS while granting something we gun people have all wanted but a number of individual States would never grant, national reciprocity. If this means I can travel from NY to CA without becoming a de facto law breaker, I’m good with it. Better tit for tat than no tit at all. Personally I look forward to walking down Broadway, Michigan Avenue, and Market Streets with my pistol in my pocket.

    Fuck off slaver in 1, 2 ,3….

    1. Absolutely. Sure, we’d love for the courts to do their job and allow constitutional carry everywhere, or legislatures do do their job and pass constitutional carry laws, but that’s a pipe dream.

      We got 10+ constitution carry states by small steps. We passed concealed carry permitting laws first. Once that was in the culture, it was easy to make the next step. 30 years ago more than half the states didn’t even have CC permits, and now we have 10 that don’t require it!

      1. CA, NY, NJ, CT, MD, RI, HI are all lost causes in that regard; now they will be forced, kicking and screaming, to recognize the right; of course this will not happen until the law is heard by the USSC some years from now in a hopefully post Ginsberg era.

    2. Also, in the interest of originality,

      CUFF OFF SALVER

      1. You do not disappoint, and points for originality!

        1. Why thank you. BTW: did you actually print out that “How To Talk To Your Kids About Guns” parody comment I made and put it up at your range, or were you just joking about doing that?

  10. Sadly, there isn’t much we can do about mass killers.

    See:

    “Gun Control and Mass Killers”
    https://relevantmatters.wordpress.com /2016/06/30/rush-draft-why-gun -control-fails-against-mass-killers/
    (Delete the spaces.)

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  12. Unbelievable! How long to we have to wait for sensible gun user registration and how many more people have to die before any action takes place on this deadly issue?

    1. As many as will die afterward.

      Incidentally, most crime guns are stolen and that number will go up if straw purchases are cracked down on, as will smuggling over the border that *you* (and I) want to keep a wall/police state apparatus from being built on, remember? Plus knives aren’t actually that much less effective than guns in domestic/gang violence situations, and vehicle rammings are as lethal as mass shootings. So forget anything but a marginal advantage.

      Meanwhile, you think we don’t see where registration led in every other country on Earth? And how defenseless that has left them from their recently invited guests? We’re not playing your game. Go home, Prohie. This is the Left’s Drug War, nothing more.

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