- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Smith & Wesson Brands president and CEO Mark Smith has pushed back against a House oversight panel that subpoenaed the gunmaker on Aug. 2, asking for documents related to the manufacture and sale of AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles.

Mr. Smith declined to respond to the panel. Now he is having a say.

“A number of politicians and their lobbying partners in the media have recently sought to disparage Smith & Wesson. Some have had the audacity to suggest that after they have vilified, undermined and defunded law enforcement for years, supported prosecutors who refuse to hold criminals accountable for their actions, overseen the decay of our country’s mental health infrastructure, and generally promoted a culture of lawlessness, Smith & Wesson and other firearm manufacturers are somehow responsible for the crime wave that has predictably resulted from these destructive policies,” Mr. Smith said in a written statement released Monday.



“But they are the ones to blame for the surge in violence and lawlessness, and they seek to avoid any responsibility for the crisis of violence they have created by attempting to shift the blame to Smith & Wesson, other firearm manufacturers and law-abiding gun owners,” he advised.

“It is no surprise that the cities suffering most from violent crime are the very same cities that have promoted irresponsible, soft-on-crime policies that often treat criminals as victims and victims as criminals. Many of these same cities also maintain the strictest gun laws in the nation,” Mr. Smith said.

He has support from his peers.

“We think Mark Smith speaks for the entire firearms community, from manufacturers on down to individual gun owners who are tired of being the whipping boys for congressional gun grabbers,” said Alan M. Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation.

“For decades, Democrat anti-gunners have scapegoated gun makers and gun owners for their own ineptness in preventing crime and keeping our communities safe. Gun prohibitionists, supported by billionaire-backed gun control lobbying groups and their media lapdogs have endeavored to erode the Second Amendment with the ultimate goal of erasing it from the Bill of Rights,”  Mr. Gottlieb said in a written statement shared Tuesday with Inside the Beltway.

2024: DESANTIS OVER TRUMP?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would best former President Donald Trump in a match for president — at least in Florida. So says a new poll of registered Florida voters released Tuesday by the University of Northern Florida.

“Republicans were asked who they would vote for in a hypothetical presidential primary in 2024 between Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump. Of those respondents, 47% said they would vote for DeSantis and 45% for Trump; 7% said they would vote for someone else,” the poll analysis said.

Yes, but are the two politicians mere allies or real friends?

“Respondents were asked how they would characterize DeSantis and Trump’s personal relationship, to which 47% said acquaintances, 42% said friends, and just 8% said they think they are enemies,” the poll analysis said.

Michael Binder, faculty director of the university’s Public Opinion Research Lab and a professor of political science at the school, noted that “people are split on whether Trump and DeSantis are friends or merely acquaintances.”

“I guess we’ll really find out after the midterms and the 2024 race starts to heat up,” he added.

A FILM FOR FOX

The Fox News Media realm is about to get larger.

Fox Nation, the company’s video-streaming platform, is set to release its first in-house original feature film, to be followed by three more in the next year. “The Shell Collector” will premiere on Sept. 1, based on a bestselling title of the same name by author Nancy Naigle.

This marks the platform’s entry into in-house movie production, according to John Finley, executive vice president of development.

“Since launching less than four years ago, Fox Nation has established itself as a go-to destination for lifestyle and entertainment programming,” Mr. Finley said in a statement.

The forthcoming production is a “perfect fit for our first title,”  he said.

Produced in association with Cartel Pictures, the film features actors Caitlin Clark, Christopher Russell, and Jennifer Higgin, and is set in a seaside town.

Ms. Naigle has written over 30 books and is known for “small-town love stories mixed with suspense,” according to Fox Nation. Several of her titles have already been developed into movies for the Hallmark Channel.

FOXIFIED

Meanwhile, here’s the latest ratings bonanza for Fox News, which continues to top the cable airwaves. Indeed, Fox News drew more viewers than non-news competitors such as HGTV, Hallmark, ESPN and the NFL Network.

Fox News is now marking 78 consecutive weeks besting its cable news competition with an average daily primetime audience of 2.7 million, according to Nielsen’s Media Research. MSNBC attracted 1.5 million viewers while CNN drew 893,000. The network also aired 80 of the top 100 cable news telecasts for the week; CNN failed to place even a single program in the top 100.

As usual, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” dominated the field with 3.9 million viewers, followed by “The Five” with 3.7 million and “Hannity” with 3.5 million.

POLL DU JOUR

• 54% of U.S. adults favor requiring college students to get a COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend classes; 88% of Democrats, 44% of independents and 18% of Republicans agree.

• 53% overall favor requiring high-school students to get the vaccine in order to attend; 88% of Democrats, 43% of independents and 17% of Republicans agree.

• 51% overall favor requiring middle-school students to get the vaccine; 85% of Democrats, 42% of independents and 16% of Republicans agree.

• 48% favor requiring elementary-school students to get the vaccine; 81% of Democrats, 41% of independents and 11% of Republicans agree.

SOURCE: A Gallup poll of 3,682 U.S. adults conducted July 26-Aug. 2 and released Monday.

• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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