The Partisan: NRA Sees the Sunny Side of Tragedy


By Royal Calkins

In this upside down world, make that country, tragedies such as the February mass murder at Parkland High School turn out to be a good thing for the death merchants at the National Rifle Association. In March, the NRA raised $2.4 million, the most it has raised in any month this century.

In terms of fundraising, the deaths of 17 in Florida was the best thing that had happened to the NRA since the seeming rise of Hillary Clinton. A couple years back, gun lovers scurried to send money to the NRA because Clinton, when she got to the White House, was going to take everyone’s weapons away. It would have been a remarkable accomplishment considering that Barack Obama had already melted all the guns down.

Here’s where I’m going with this. If you’re still thinking about going to the big NRA fundraiser Saturday night at the Monterey fairgrounds, put your checkbook away. The NRA doesn’t need your money. It’s got enough to last at least through the midterm election after which, depending on how many incumbents are turned out, it will need to replenish its congressional bribery fund. But not yet.

Because some folks missed the news about the Parkland bonanza, there still should be a decent crowd Saturday, partly because each $60 ticket qualifies the purchaser for a drawing in which a lucky winner, and potentially a very bad neighbor, can go home with a Howa HCR 6.5 Creedmoor rifle with a special red, white and blue paint scheme.

There won’t be any guns for sale at the dinner but not to worry. One of the key sponsors, Marina gun dealer David Wasson, says on his Facebook page that he’s got enough AR-15s in stock to outfit a small militia. Unfortunately for the stoutest defenders of the Second Amendment, they aren’t the full-fledged, mow-‘em-down automatics but instead a sissified California version that takes some of the thrill out of rapid fire. (CORRECTION: Wasson’s store, Black Rifle Tactical, sells gun parts and paraphernalia but not the whole guns. Those you have to put together for yourself.  The AR-15 components advertised on the Facebook page are just that, components.)

Flyers for the event don’t advertise any entertainment but there could be some excitement. The local Veterans for Peace chapter plans to be at the fairground in protest of the monetization of mayhem. If you’d like to join in, the peaceful types plan to gather at 4 p.m. and hour or so before the gun giveaways begin.

If you go, say hi to former Monterey County Sheriff Mike Kanalakis, who posted on Facebook that he plans to attend. He referred to himself as a “proud lifetime member” of the NRA. He didn’t say what qualified him for that distinction other than his ability to pay the dues.

I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from one of someone else from the ranks of law enforcement.

“In a complex urban society, there must be reasonable and responsible controls placed on the availability of armaments designed for use by the military. I could see no necessity in a free society for a lot of people running around with these things. While I have never been a gun-control advocate, nor believed gun control could be achieved by gun registration, I did hope we could bring some reasonable control to the situation. If we could raise the consciousness of the American people about the arms race occurring in our streets, maybe it could be brought to a halt. Liberty does not mean license.”

That was the late Daryl Gates, the hard-nosed Los Angeles police chief who repeatedly had to watch his officers duck and cover when confronted with artillery heavier than their own.


Royal Calkins

About Royal Calkins

Contributing writer Royal Calkins has worked for newspapers in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Fresno. For the past couple of years, he has produced a local news and commentary blog, the Monterey Bay Partisan. He can be reached at

19 thoughts on “The Partisan: NRA Sees the Sunny Side of Tragedy

  1. If you don’t think Monterey’s public facility is a good place for an NRA event in light of the tragedies that they support with massive lobbying against the mildest suggestion of reasonable regulations, do call the Fairgrounds Executive Director Kelly Violini directly at 831-372-5863, and/or the board members:

    Other cities have cancelled NRA events at public outrage. Let’s see if Monterey can muster the political will to do so.

    1. Maybe if you understood that not one dime from FNRA dinners goes to the NRA-ILA. Do your research before you protest

    2. From the Friends of the NRA Facebook page: “We’ll be posting more details tomorrow, but I wanted all of our freedom loving guests to know tonight that all of you will be able to park inside the fairgrounds, starting at 4:30 you will enter through gate 6 & will be directed where to park. You’ll walk down to the Mtry room inside the Fairgrounds. The protesters will be secluded to a single area by the intersection of Garden rd. & Fairgrounds Rd. We will have ample security on site & Mtry P.D. Is going to have a presence as well. At no time will any of our guests be bothered by any of the protesters.”

  2. Gun control is an issue that probably will never be resolved by those will strong positions supporting it and opposing it, sitting down at a table and negotiation a clear and reasonable solution that works, while still infringing on the strongly-held positions on both sides. But ask: If you want to drive a car, large or small and which can be a dangerous weapon when out of control, you need a license. Having a license doesn’t stop drunks, texters, intended terrorists, etc. from killing and harming others. Having a pilot license doesn’t ensure that a pilot mike s.won’t succumb to the same conditions and kill others. But at least those who have a bad record of car accidents, who are limited by health or physical problems cannot obtain driver’s licenses without some limitations. And the same applies to persons wishing to obtain and renew flying permits/licenses. There are no statistics that I know of that estimate the number of lives saved because of these government-imposed limitations on drivers and pilots, but I would have to believe those numbers would be significant. What we do know is that the licensing/permitting process imposed by the government requires a lot of training that the person seeking the license/permit must undergo and do well before the licenses/permits are issued.

    Therefore, why do law-abiding citizens who worship the Second Amendment so strongly argue that any government-interference with their constitutional rights cannot be tolerated? Why would they shy away from having to prove they have obtained firearms? Why do they need firearms that have no hunting nor realistic self-defense weapons applicability, other than to obtain as a collector or someone who would confine their use to harmless activities?
    And why do they not want to have to undergo some element of training imposed by the government (so that it will be consistent and sufficient in all 50 states) before having the right to handle such weapons?

    I don’t have any of the answers. But, one thing troubles me. My law professor in Constitutional Law was Anthony Kennedy, one of the most intelligent and knowledgeable professor/teacher I ever had. Given that, I can’t understand why the reference to the right of the militia in the Second AMendment, which took place during an uprising in the colonies, and when there was no federal or national guard to respond to such actions, and the only viable way to rid the young nation of these uprisers was to rely upon local militias established by neighbors, communities, etc. bound under no specific rules of war, that the Supreme Court 200 years later decide that the wording, taken out of context, supports a citizen’s right to bear arms, with no limitations.

    It’s time for the warring parties to sit down, and at least agree on data exhange, training required, and even licenses. All those gun owners with good hearts lose nothing. But the public=at=large might gain much.

    1. Perhaps read the 2A before you misquote it.
      Nowhere in it does it say “the right of the militia” it does say “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state,”. In the context that this was written “regulated” meant well trained, not restricted as many like to believe.
      When George Mason one of the Constitution framers was asked who are the people? He replied, “all of the people”

      1. Actually, he said, ” I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials.” He later clarified that it should be limited to people between the ages of 18 and 50.

  3. Do you always make stuff up for your stories? You’ve attributed a quote to me which words have never come from my mouth, as far as I know I’ve never spoken with you, you’ve identified me as a “Marina gun dealer” which I am not. You’ve incorrectly identified which organization is doing the fundraiser. Seriously, do you actually consider yourself a journalist or do you just write what you think people want to read? Do you think the few people that read your “blog articles” deserve to be lied to in an effort to push your own political beliefs?

    1. Sorry if I got your vocation and location wrong, David. Are you 831Shooter or are you Black Rifle Tactical?

      1. Seems like a journalist would have verified those things prior to writing them, do you consider yourself a journalist or just a partisan hack?
        Do you always quote people for something they never said?

        1. When it says “The Partisan” at the top of the piece I have written, I am declaring the words on the page to be the work of a partisan hack, a highly opinionated writer with little sympathy for those who misquote the Constitution. And, no, I don’t always quote people for something they never said but when I do, I use quotation marks.

    2. “More 80% Complete AR15 Kits in stock! They are only $499.99 and they come with a completed upper, an 80%lower and even a lower parts kit! Come get one for yourself before they’re gone!”

      1. Those are not firearms under the definition of the ATF. Get your facts straight. It’s like buying all the parts to build a car without the engine.

  4. Ah. The uninformed telling us how evil we are. If the pro gun pro NRA pro 2nd Amendment people were as dangerous as you say. There wouldn’t be any of the anti gun people left. No NRA member has commuted a mass murder. Funny that a PETA member has.

  5. Virtually nothing you say is true other than people’s names and dates of events, starting with the title, the NRA is not partisan, people leaning right are simply more likely to believe in the second amendment and that is no fault of the NRA, the organization gladly accepts members that are democrat. No person in the NRA, from the top to the least member sees any good in these tragedies quite the contrary the left are the fear mongers and opportunists that relish the chance to politicize every dead child they can before the bodies are cold. You and others of your ilk will simply not admit undeniable facts like, everywhere liberals are in charge and have restrictive gun laws are the very same places with the highest murder by gun rates. Or, that gun laws only restrict law biding citizens and therefore by virtue of the fact that they are law biding, do not murder people which renders gun laws useless because bad guys do not follow laws; it’s kinda their thing. You really need to be responsible in what you write and publish because it is articles like this that convince low information voters to do the exact wrong thing and that puts us all in danger but if we are ever in a public place at the same time and some nut walks in with a stolen or otherwise illegally attained gun and starts shooting, I’ll use my CCW and 2nd amendment right to protect you, I wonder how you’d feel about it then if the second amendment and by extension the NRA saved your life ?

  6. Every one has the right to their own feelings and the right to publicly state them, so I respect each person above but only to the extent that they disagree with those who disagree with them in a civil and reasonable way. Does the right of the public to bear arms to not be infringed mean that they can carry, sell, use firearms without any controls at all? Maybe it does. But if it does, then why can’t drivers and pilots do whatever they want without training, without licensing and without being careful not to transfer, sell or allow firearms to be put in the hands of someone who is very likely to commit a crime with a gun?
    I think that those of you above who disagree with Royal could do it in a less emotional way making sure that by pointing out any mistakes he has made by citing actual facts. That is the basic problem with the gun control issue – those strongly supporting the 2nd Amend. and the NRA more often argue in anger. The same could be said for many, and the exception for a few who try to rationalize the issue, who are for gun control. Neither side has proposed siting down and seriously discussing the pros and cons and negotiating a compromise that will protect honest gun owners and those who might otherwise be victims of unnecessary gun violence.
    Guys – Royal is not always right, in my opinon, but he is an outstanding researcher and I haven’t asked him nor can I speak for him but I believe he would welcome criticism that is civil and supported by facts. Any editor, which he was, would feel that way.

    1. An outstanding researcher? LMFAO, seriously, his initial post is filled with inaccuracies and down right lies. He started his article off by referring to the NRA as “Death Merchants”. He made up a quote & said that it was mine, completely falsely & he won’t answer my question when I ask him directly on why he would misquote me like that.
      How would you like it if an organization you’re involved with was labeled as “death merchants” & words were put in to your mouth incorrectly? Personally my responses were not emotional, rather they were to the point of calling Royal out on his lies & inaccuracies.
      As far as what you wrote here, do you believe that the firearms industry currently has no laws/regulations/licensing?

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