Trump's not the first political hopeful to dip into his piggy bank.
Dave GilsonJun. 21, 2016 1:48 PM
Following the latest reports of Donald Trump's dismal presidential fundraising, the self-professed billionaire insisted he could bail himself out. "If need be, there could be unlimited 'cash on hand,' as I would put up my own money," he said in a statement. Trump has been insisting that he can single-handedly finance his campaign for months. "I'm self-funding my own campaign," he boasted in February.
So far, more than 70 percent of his campaign's funds have come from loans he's made to himself. (Among the top recipients of his campaign spending are his and his family's businesses.) If Trump's really going all the way on his own dime—which is unlikely—he'll have to beat the historically poor showing of self-funded candidates.
Spent $28 million running for the US Senate in California, 1994
Huffington, then married to future napping guru and media mogul Arianna, spent a record amount on his Senate race, prompting another Republican to decry the "increasing power on the part of moneyed interest." The naysayer: Mitt Romney, who later pumped $45 million into his 2008 presidential run.
Spent $144 million running for California governor, 2010
The ex-eBay CEO bid high for the Golden State's top job but was shut out by Jerry Brown, who spent 80 percent less.
Spent $250 million running for New York City mayor, 2001/2005/2009
Bloomberg has spent more of his personal wealth in (successful) pursuit of office than any other American. When he floated the idea of a 2016 presidential bid, sources said he was willing to spend at least $1 billion.
Spent $99 million running for the US Senate in Connecticut, 2010/2012
McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, got body-slammed in back-to-backraces in which she put up more than 95 percent of her campaign budget. "It's an incredible amount of money to spend on a campaign," she conceded after her second loss.
Spent $7 million running for the US Senate in Vermont, 2006
In the annals of self-funded candidates, Tarrant is a small fry. But the Republican will be remembered for blowing his wad on negative ads and still getting burned by Bernie Sanders.
Spent $76 million running for president, 1996/2000
George W. Bush scrambled to raise more than $100 million in 2000, partly out of fear of the flat-tax advocate and Forbes editor's family fortune. Yet Forbes gained little traction in his runs, proving once again that self-funding your political career may be, in the words of his eponymous business mag, "the worst political investment."
As often happens after mass shootings, gun company shares soared on the first day of trading following the Orlando massacre that left at least 49 dead on Sunday. But the frequency and brutality of these attacks could also lead to further divestments from the gun industry.
Following the Newtown massacre, in early 2013 the board of California's public pension plan announced it would yank its investments in Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger. The $5 million divestment was a symbolic gesture for the $254 billion fund, but it was a reminder that many investors could walk away from their gun stocks without hurting their bottom lines. As California Treasurer Bill Lockyer noted, "There's only one way that we speak and that's with money." Gun stocks could lose their luster for other reasons. In March 2016, New York's public advocate urged the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate Sturm Ruger for allegedly failing to inform its investors about liability risks stemming from its products.
Here are the holdings of some top institutional and fund investors in publicly traded gun companies:
While gun makers like to stay out of the limelight, their wares often receive free publicity from the entertainment industry. Here are six guns that got their 15 minutes of fame:
Smith & Wesson Model 29: This giant revolver was on the verge of being discontinued until Clint Eastwood immortalized it as "the most powerful handgun in the world" while pointing it at a cowering "punk" in 1971's Dirty Harry. The gun used in the film is now on display at the NRA's National Firearms Museum.
Walther PPK: James Bond has carried this compact German pistol in 20 films, receiving his first one in Dr. No with the recommendation that "the American CIA swear by them." Walther still claims 007 as its "most famous ambassador."
Dornaus & Dixon Bren Ten: Don Johnson reportedly helped pick out this chrome-plated piece for Sonny Crockett on Miami Vice.
Glock: In Die Hard 2, Bruce Willis called a Glock "a porcelain gun made in Germany that doesn't show up on your airport X-rays and costs more than you make in a month." Never mind that the gun was Austrian-made with plastic parts detectable by X-rays—Glock pistols went on to appear in hundreds of movies and TV episodes and were name-dropped in countless hip-hop lyrics. "Grab your Glocks when you see 2Pac," Tupac Shakur rapped in 1996; he would be killed with one the same year.
Kimber Gold Combat II: Kimber custom-made 10 pistols for Sylvester Stallone to use on screen in The Expendables. "Sly wanted something a little bit different," the prop master told MTV. "So we were able to make the body of the gun a little darker with black grips and little chrome pieces on it. Just very subtle, to make it more personal."
Magnum Research Desert Eagle: These large-caliber handguns, designed for hunting, have appeared in dozens of films, including RoboCop, The Matrix, Snatch, and Borat. "Here's a gun that has very little practical usage," the owner of a prop company told the Baltimore Sun. "The success of that particular weapon owes almost everything to the movies."
Among the weapons used in Sunday's devastating mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando was a rifle similar to an AR-15, the civilian version of an assault rifle originally designed for the US military. The immense popularity of the AR-15 is just one chapter in the recent rise of the American gun industry. As the National Rifle Association, bankrolled by the nation's biggest gunmakers, has fanned fears of an imminent crackdown on gun owners, a buying spree has put ever more deadly weapons into Americans' hands.
1980: American gun companies manufacture 5.6 million firearms.
1981: The Glock, the first pistol with a plastic receiver, is introduced. After fears subside that it could go undetected by X-ray machines, it becomes one of the hottest handguns for police officers and civilians.
1982: A "handgun freeze" proposition in California is defeated following a $5 million NRA campaign funded by gun companies, including Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson.
1990: Colt first introduced a civilian model of its military AR-15/M16 rifle in the 1960s, but it failed to patent its design. As other companies produced similar rifles, sales started to rise in the early '90s. By 2011, Americans had bought more than 7 million "modern sporting rifles," as pro-gun groups prefer to call these military-style weapons. Their owners spend an average of $436 on accessories and customization.
1992: More than one-third of all handguns are made by the "Ring of Fire"—six Southern California gunmakers known for their "Saturday night specials": small, inexpensive pistols frequently linked to crimes.
1994: Congress passes a 10-year assault weapons ban, with former President Ronald Reagan among the leaders voicing support.
AP Photo/Mark Wilson
1995: NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre calls federal law enforcement agents "jack-booted government thugs." President George H.W. Bush resigns his NRA life membership in response to this "vicious slander on good people."
1996: Congress bans the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from doing any research that could be used to "advocate or promote gun control," effectively ending federally funded public health research on gun violence.
1997: The Clinton administration negotiates a deal with eight gunmakers to include trigger locks with their handguns.
1998: "I'm not a gun nut. I'm not even a member of the NRA," says Colt's CEO, who advocates the creation of federal gun permits.
AP Photo/Greg Gibson
1999: Colt develops a smart-gun prototype. It later abandons the project after the NRA threatens a boycott.
2000: Smith & Wesson agrees with the Clinton administration to enact various safety regulations. The NRA leads a boycott. The company's sales drop 40 percent; it later backtracks.
2003: Congress passes the Tiahrt Amendment, blocking the ATF from releasing information on guns used in crimes. The data had been used to identify unscrupulous gun sellers and manufacturers.
2004: The federal assault weapons ban expires.
2004: Bushmaster Firearms and a gun dealer agree to a $2.5 million settlement with victims of the DC Beltway snipers, who used a rifle designed to bypass the assault weapons ban.
2005: Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which blocked liability suits against gunmakers and sellers. Cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, and New York had sued over the effects of gun violence, rattling the industry. In 1999, NRA President Charlton Heston assured gun execs, "Your fight has become our fight." The PLCAA shut down the ongoing litigation. The law reemerged as a major issue in the 2016 Democratic primary, with Hillary Clinton pressing Bernie Sanders to justify his vote for it. Sanders has argued gunmakers should not be held liable for the actions of "somebody who is crazy or a criminal"—but he has also said the current law should be repealed.
2008: The "Barack Boom" begins, with gun sales spiking in tandem with President Barack Obama's election. A gun industry newsletter reports "incessant consumer demand for high-capacity pistols and military-style rifles."
2009: Remington CEO George Kollitides runs for the NRA board. He doesn't succeed, but he gets a seat on the organization's powerful nominating committee, which controls who can run.
2013: America's largest outdoor-sports show bans AR-15s and other military-style rifles out of deference to grieving Newtown families. After the NRA boycotts the show, it shuts down. The NRA then takes over the show and brings it back in 2014—with AR-15s.
2015: Walmart says it will no longer carry AR-15s or other military-style rifles, claiming they sold poorly. The NRA says it's "disappointed" but stops short of calling for a boycott.
2015: Former Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.), who wrote the 1996 measure that killed the CDC's research on gun violence, says he regrets the move. Regarding the lack of reliable data, he adds, "The status quo is not acceptable."
2016: The Barrett .50-caliber sniper rifle, which can shoot through concrete blocks at a range of 3,000 feet, is named the state gun of Tennessee.
2016: Requests for FBI background checks on prospective gun buyers, an indicator of demand, reach record levels. Since 2008, gunmakers have produced or imported more than 75 million firearms for sale in the United States.
And the case's Trump-loving plaintiff is not happy.
Dave GilsonJun. 9, 2016 1:47 PM
This morning, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a long-awaited opinion in a case challenging how concealed-weapon permits are issued in California. Writing on behalf of the seven-judge majority, Justice William Fletcher delivered a blow to pro-gun advocates, stating that "there is no Second Amendment right for members of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public."
The case's lead plaintiff, Edward Peruta, had argued that the state's current system for issuing concealed-weapons permits is arbitrary and unconstitutional, since it gives sheriffs and police chiefs broad discretion in determining who has the "moral character" and "good cause" to pack a hidden gun. In his finding that such regulations are constitutional, Fletcher cited the Supreme Court's 2008 Heller decision, which affirmed the right to keep guns for self-defense, but found that "the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited."
Peruta, whose lawsuit was backed by the National Rifle Association, is a Vietnam vet, ex-cop, public-access TV host, worm farmer, legal investigator, crime scene videographer, and serial litigant whose contentious past led some gun-rights advocates to question whether he was the ideal figure for such a high-profile case. "Do I believe that everybody should have a firearm? Absolutely not," he told me when I profiled him last year. "Do I believe that there's people who should be prohibited? Absolutely." Yet he believed the Second Amendment was firmly on his side. "You don't like it? Change the fuckin' Constitution!"
"I am in absolute favor of Donald Trump, and the most import thing is the appointments to the Supreme Court since that may be the next stop."
In 2014, two judges on the Ninth had ruled in Peruta's favor. If that decision had stood, California would have become one of the 37 "shall issue" states, where concealed-carry permits may be issued to anyone who meets basic requirements such as a background check. But the court agreed to reconsider the case en banc after state Attorney General (and Senate hopeful) Kamala Harris intervened. The 11-member court heard arguments in the case last June. Both sides of the gun debate have been waiting for a ruling. Anticipating an appeal, the NRA has said it "presents an opportunity for the Supreme Court to settle some Second Amendment issues that desperately need resolving."
When I reached Peruta today, he said he had not yet spoken with his lawyers and had no comment on the ruling or plans to appeal. "I'm gonna defer to the powers that be," he said. But he added, "I have have permits to carry and from this day forward I will be carrying openly." (The court made no decisions regarding open carry.)
Peruta also insisted that I note his strong support for another outspoken proponent of concealed carry. "I am even more convinced now that we need a Donald Trump in the White House," he continued. "I am in absolute favor of Donald Trump, and the most import thing is the appointments to the Supreme Court since that may be the next stop."