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The Weekly Reload Podcast
75 minutes | Oct 18, 2021
A Deep Dive Into the NRA's 2020 Finances
On this episode, contributing writer Jake Fogelman and I discuss the financial situation of the country's largest gun group. We recently obtained the NRA's 2020 annual report and compared it to previous ones to get a broad view of what the group's books look like. Despite years of operating in the red, recent internal turmoil over corruption allegations, and the pandemic, the group is back to running a surplus. A rather large one of about $54 million, in fact. But that came about as a result of massive spending cuts. As revenues fell by more than $78 million from 2018 to 2020, the NRA cut more than $124 million in spending over that time to keep pace. Political spending took a $50 million hit. Gun safety training was slashed in half. Then Mike Willever from the Active Self Protection podcast joined me to talk about the most incredible self-defense stories he's chronicled so far. He also provides insight from his 25-year-long law enforcement career and how those skills translate to the podcasting world. He also talks about the overheated and misleading nature of political and gun news.Special Guest: Mike Willever.
60 minutes | Oct 11, 2021
The Atlantic's Adam Serwer on Guns and Race in America
This week, I talk to The Atlantic's Adam Sewer about how guns and race interact in America both historically and in the modern-day. He talked about his recent back and forth with Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito over Texas's new abortion law. We disagreed over whether the same tactic of deferring enforcement to civil suits brought by regular citizens rather than government actors will be tried out by gun-control advocates in some parts of the country. He thinks it won't because activists fear review by the court, but I'm not so sure. From there, we discuss the court's upcoming gun-carry case and the racist history of various gun-permitting laws in America. He explains why a majority of Black Americans support gun-control measures despite a widespread acknowledgment those laws will be disproportionately used against members of their community. Then we talked about Beto O'Rourke's plans to run for governor in Adam's adopted home of Texas. We discuss the political practicality of Beto's famous pledge to take everyone's AR-15s and AK-47s. We also discuss the rise in minority gun ownership and what it means for the future of gun politics in America. Plus, I give on-the-ground insight into the re-election of Wayne LaPierre to run the NRA. I was the only reporter sitting outside the board meeting where LaPierre faced his first challenge in years, and I give the details of what went down. And I share the latest gun sales numbers for 2021 now that they've passed 2019's full-year total.Special Guest: Adam Serwer.
72 minutes | Oct 4, 2021
Top Shot Champion Chris Cheng on Gun-Rights Activism and NFT Firearms
This week, Chris Cheng of Top Shot fame joins me on the show. After winning the title back in 2012, Chris told me his life changed forever. He used to spend most of his time doing work for leading tech companies, including Google. He still works in the tech space, but much of his time is now dedicated to the gun space--especially gun activism. He's worked with some of the most prominent gun-rights groups, and he's even testified on Capitol Hill. Now he's an advisor to the Asian Pacific American Gun Owners Association (APAGOA). His work as an Asian-American gun-rights advocate has made him the target of gun-control groups. We talk about how the Violence Policy Center singled him out in its newest report decrying the growth in Asian-American gun ownership. We also talk about APAGOA helping train new gun owners in the Asian-American community, and it filed its first brief at the Supreme Court. Then we talk about Chris's foray into the intersection between NFTs and firearms. He explains what an NFT (non-fungible token) is and how it could impact the future of the gun industry. Pretty fascinating stuff. Plus, I give an update on the latest in the David Chipman saga. And I talk to a Reload member, who just became a gun owner for the first time recently, living in New Jersey. It's a great episode. Give it a listen!
69 minutes | Sep 27, 2021
Gun Activism on the Local Level With the CEO of San Diego County Gun Owners
On this episode, I talk with Wendy Hauffen of San Diego County Gun Owners. She provides insight into what it's like to run an effective gun-rights organization at the local level. She described how her group was able to persuade the sheriff to issue more concealed-carry permits. They were able to get him to change the policy even though a court challenge was unable to change the state's law. We also talked about how the group has been able to bring women into the gun-owning community. She said the #NotMe program they run has already helped train 500 women and Hauffen said it is continuing to grow. I also talk with contributing writer Jake Fogelman about the NRA's upcoming oversight meetings, and why it distanced itself from CEO Wayne LaPierre in court filings this week. Plus, Jake tells us about how California is now set to share the personal information of gun owners with researchers across the country.Special Guest: Wendy Hauffen.
68 minutes | Sep 20, 2021
National Review's Jim Geraghty on NRA Turmoil and Fallout From Biden's Failed ATF Nomination
This week, I spoke with National Review's Senior Political Correspondent Jim Geraghty. As you might gather from his title, Jim has a lot of experience in covering and analyzing politics. He's also spent a good amount of time covering gun politics and, in particular, the National Rifle Association. That's why I wanted to have him on to discuss the failure of President Joe Biden's ATF Director nomination. Jim also provides some key insight into what will likely come next in President Biden's efforts to install a director as well as his pursuit of new gun-control measures. Jim also gave us his take on what's going on with the NRA and where the corruption charges levied against it in New York are headed. Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogelman and I talk about the latest estimates on how many new gun owners have been created this year and what that means for the long-term future of guns in America. And we discuss the last two installments of my exclusive, in-depth interview with gun activist Rob Pincus.Special Guest: Jim Geraghty.
62 minutes | Sep 13, 2021
VCDL's Philip Van Cleave on the Upcoming Virginia Elections
On this episode, Virginia Citizen Defense League's (VCDL) president Philip Van Cleave joins the show to discuss his group's defamation suit against the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV). He talks about why the group feels CSGV falsely labeling them a "domestic terror organization" is actionable and why VCDL believes it can reach the high bar to win a defamation case. He also discusses the upcoming elections in Virginia, what VCDL is doing to elect pro-gun candidates, and why they haven't endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Younkin. I also talk to contributing writer Jake Fogelman about President Biden's decision to withdraw his ATF nominee after a series of exclusive reports from The Reload uncovered his questionable background. Plus, I interview Reload Member John Mcadams about what got him into big game hunting and how the pandemic has driven new people to hunting.Special Guest: Philip Van Cleave.
65 minutes | Sep 3, 2021
Active Self Protection's John Correia on Evidence-Based Armed Defense Training
This week's guest is John Correia of Active Self Protection. He gives us a deep dive into what it's like to run a YouTube business with millions of followers. He also talks about why he takes a different, less-polarizing approach to making gun content for the internet. John has been studying and breaking down deadly-force encounters caught on video for years now. His channel has become the premier place for evidence-based advice on how best to survive an attack. And he shares some of the biggest insights he's gained doing the endless research required to build his channel and Active Self Protection's unique training courses. Contributing writer Jake Fogelman and I also give an update on the CDC"s new push to fund gun research and just how many guns were sold in August. Plus, I talk to Reload member Cal Davis about his background with guns and why he decided to subscribe!Special Guest: John Correia.
54 minutes | Aug 27, 2021
Members of Asian American and Pacific Islander Gun Owners (AAPIGO) Discuss Minority Gun Rights
On this week's episode, I talked to three members of Asian American and Pacific Islander Gun Owners leadership team. Scott Kane, Bobby Yang, and Raphael Platte joined me to discuss the new group's recent range day as well as their concealed-carry permit protest event. The three are relative new comers to the world of gun-right activism but they've identified a need in the gun owning community and are trying to fill it. They talked about their efforts to engage with Asian-Americans interested in owning guns and what they plan to do moving forward to grow the group. We also talked a bit about why a group specifically designed to appeal to Asian-Americans is necessary and how it can offer services and a form of community other groups can't or won't. Scott talked about his family's run in with racist intimidation that inspired him to buy a gun at the begining of the pandemic. Bobby also gave insight into how this activism plays into the greater political awakening of Asian-Americans in the wake of rising hate crimes. Plus, the three talk about their shared background in the tech world and how that informs their activism. Give it a listen. I think you'll really enjoy it!Special Guests: Bobby Yang, Raphael Platte, and Scott Kane.
53 minutes | Aug 21, 2021
National African American Gun Association President Philip Smith on Biden's ATF Nominee David Chipman
This week, I'm joined by Philip Smith who is the head of the National African American Gun Association. He talks about President Joe Biden's (D.) nominee to head the ATF, David Chipman, and the allegations of racism levied against him by former agents. Smith says Chipman is the wrong man for the job and talks about why the acting director is a better pick. Smith also responds to recent assertions that the Second Amendment itself is the result of racism. He also discusses the group's Supreme Court brief calling for the end of New York's restrictive "may-issue" concealed carry law due to the historically racist use of such laws. And he gives an update on the group's growth as well as the growth in black gun ownership over the past year. Plus, I give an update on the horrific situation in Afghanistan including new gun confiscation efforts by the Taliban. And The Reload's newest contributing writer Jake Fogleman stops by to introduce himself!Special Guest: Philip Smith.
59 minutes | Aug 13, 2021
Wake Forest Professor David Yamane on the Spread of Gun Carry in America
This week, Wake Forest Professor David Yamane joined me to talk about the fascinating history of gun carry laws in America. Professor Yamane has turned his attention to an under-researched area: the normal use of guns. While most academics focus their time studying the criminal use of firearms, David has focused on far more common uses of firearms in America. And one area he's focused on in particular is gun carry. Gun-carry laws have evolved tremendously since the founding of the United States. And the changes have only accelerated in recent decades. But not many books have been written on the trend. David is the only one I'm aware of who has authored a deeply knowledgable but concise guide to American gun carry laws throughout history. We discussed how Tombstone, Arizona's gun-carry laws have changed dramatically from the days of the shootout at the OK Corral to today. And we get into where gun-carry laws are now headed. Plus, I give an update on the new allegations of racism levied by a black former agent against President Joe Biden's ATF director nominee. And major media's perplexing silence on the matter.Special Guest: David Yamane.
68 minutes | Aug 7, 2021
National Review's David Harsanyi on Biden's ATF Nominee David Chipman
On this episode, I talk to David Harsanyi of National Review about the many recent developments in David Chipman's nomination to lead the ATF. A firestorm has decended on D.C. and The Reload's reporting on Chipman has been at the center of it. Things have moved quickly over the past week. So, I wanted to bring on Harsanyi to analyze what's going on because he is one of the top gun columnists out there. And he knows how D.C. politics actually work in real life. He gave some talked about how reactions from Democrats, the White House, and the media give insight into what direction Chipman's nomination is headed. And it doesn't look good for him. I also give an update on where gun sales are at in 2021 versus the all-time highs of 2020. Are we reaching a new normal? If so, what does that look like?Special Guest: David Harsanyi.
57 minutes | Jul 31, 2021
Cam Edwards of Bearing Arms on Allegations of Racism Against Biden's ATF Nominee
I talked with Cam Edwards from Bearing Arms on this week's episode of the podcast. We discussed my recent report about ATF agents corroborating the existence of a complaint that President Joe Biden's director nominee made racist comments. Cam has been one of the best pro-gun writers and show hosts out there for years and years at this point. So, I was very interested in his take on the fallout from the story. We talked about Republicans calling for a new confirmation hearing on the nominee, David Chipman, in the wake of the agents' comments. And we discussed Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) calling for Chipman's withdraw. Plus, we went over how the president of one of the country's leading gun-control groups and a prominent activist attacked The Reload for publishing the story. And I talk about why those attacks were so outlandish. Cam is somebody I've long admired for the calm and reasonable way he approaches gun news and advocacy. I've also been on his show a bunch of times over the years. So, I was thrilled to be able to have him on my own new show! Give it a listen, I think you'll really enjoy it.Special Guest: Cam Edwards.
54 minutes | Jul 25, 2021
Northeastern University's James Alan Fox on Mass Shootings
Northeastern University's James Alan Fox joined the show this week to talk about his decades-long research on mass shootings. Working with USA Today and the Associated Press, he has spent years documenting shootings where four or more people are killed. He's also researched the killings to better understand how and why they happen. He talked about how many members of the media have greatly expanded the definition of mass shooting and why it's causing confusion among the public. We also discuss some of the misnomers about what leads to mass shootings. Then we go over the real causes and some of the potential solutions. Plus, I talk about my recent in-depth report on the first-ever Gun Makers Match. And I give an update on the fight over permitless carry in Louisiana.Special Guest: James Alan Fox.
74 minutes | Jul 18, 2021
Duke's Jake Charles on the California Assault Weapons Ban Ruling and Exclusives on Republican Efforts to Block Biden's Gun Actions
This week I cover the stories I broke about Republicans' efforts to stop President Joe Biden's gun agenda and ATF nominee. Then I talk with one of the top gun law researchers in the academic world. Jake Charles, executive director of the Center for Firearms Law at Duke University, joins me to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the recent California "assault weapons" ban ruling. While he agrees the opinion was written in a way that makes it accessible to ordinary people, he argues it doesn't do much to convince anyone who isn't already on the gun-rights side of the fence. We go back and forth on the metaphors used by Judge Roger Benitez as well as the backlash to them. And we talk about how influential his ruling might end up being in the long run. Plus, we dive into the different legal standards Benitez employs in his ruling, especially his "Heller test." Jake brings his years of experience studying Second Amendment litigation and historical gun laws to the conversation, which helps him provide a level of insight you just can't find elsewhere. That's why I often quote him in my stories and why I wanted to have him on when I saw his take on the California ruling was different from much of what I'd seen in the gun community. I think the conversation was fruitful and something you simply won't find anywhere else. When I say I want to bring on people who are both knowledgeable and have a different point of view, Jake is exactly the kind of person I'm talking about.Special Guest: Jake Charles.
60 minutes | Jul 12, 2021
Tiffany Johnson on Reaching Black Gun Owners, and a New Gun Sales Trend Emerges
This episode I talk to Rangemaster's Tiffany Johnson about her new effort to train instructors in being more approachable for minority customers. And we get into how the gun industry has adjusted to the influx of black gun owners over the past year as well as what more can be done. Tiffany provides a unique point of view that left me better informed. I also cover the first-of-its-kind ruling holding the government liable for the Air Force's failure to share the Sutherland Springs shooter with the FBI which allowed him to buy his guns. And I dive into the emerging trend that gives us insight into how gun sales are likely to go for the rest of 2021. Enjoy!Special Guest: Tiffany Johnson.
78 minutes | Jul 4, 2021
David French on the Supreme Court Gun Carry Case and an Update on the NRA
In this episode, I go in-depth with legal expert and The Dispatch writer David French on the Supreme Court's upcoming gun-carry case. We get into the possible outcomes and what's most realistic. Will The Court punt? Will it declare all forms of gun-carry permitting unconstitutional? Or will it mandate shall issue gun-carry laws? Plus, how will the High Court's ruling impact the lower courts and all of the other gun litigation moving through the federal system? I also ask David how he feels about the way red flag laws have actually been implemented since he began advocating for the concept a few years ago. Is he happy with how states are approaching red flag laws? Are they being too loose with the concept of due process? What state has the best model for red flag laws in practice? I thought it was a very enlightening conversation. You can't beat the perspective of a litigator of David's experience level when it comes to discussing the federal courts. I plan to have him back on again once the Supreme Court case starts to heat up this fall.Special Guest: David French.
59 minutes | Jul 2, 2021
Charles Cooke on 2nd Amendment History and an Update on the Gun Sales Surge
Reload Founder Stephen Gutowski covers the latest gun business news as the June sales numbers come in and a major gun company breaks records. Plus guest Charles Cooke from National Review discusses President Joe Biden's recent claims about the history of the Second Amendment.Special Guest: Charles Cooke.
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