When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

It can be hard to distinguish among the men wearing grey suits and regulation haircuts on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. But David Margolis always brought a splash of color.

It wasn't his lovably disheveled wardrobe, or his Elvis ring, but something else: the force of his flamboyant personality. Margolis, a graduate of Harvard Law School, didn't want to fit in with the crowd. He wanted to stand out.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

Pages

Financial Ties Bind NRA, Gun Industry

Dec 20, 2012
Originally published on December 21, 2012 10:51 am

Leaders of the National Rifle Association plan to break their weeklong silence Friday and make their first public comments on the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

They say they will be speaking for the NRA's 4 million members. But they will also be speaking for the gun industry, which has close financial ties to the association.

The NRA and the gun industry are reeling after last week's massacre. The primary weapon used — an AR-15-style rifle — is one of the most popular guns in America.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association of the firearms industry, says those who have AR-15s are among the most passionate gun owners.

Just recently, the foundation put out a video touting the AR-15 as "probably one of the most customizable rifles there is today." A gunsmith showed how to add a muzzle flash hider, various sights and other accessories — things the gun is designed to accept easily.

And that captures the strength — and possibly the weakness — of the industry and the NRA.

"What we're seeing is that the industry is trying to think of one new thing to sell to gun owners," says Josh Sugarmann, head of the Violence Policy Center, a group seeking tighter gun laws.

Studies show the American gun culture faces long-term problems: too many older white guys; dwindling land for hunting, as suburbs encroach; and kids who pick up video games rather than BB guns.

Sugarmann says industry leaders see the problem. "They've recognized that the traditional market — traditional hunting rifles and shotguns — is saturated. So there's an ever-shrinking market that's buying more and more lethal weapons," he says.

Weapons like the AR-15 — a civilian version of the standard military rifle. The industry-preferred term is "modern sporting rifle."

A survey by the Shooting Sports Foundation found that nearly two-thirds of AR-15 owners own more than one.

The NRA and the foundation are trying to expand the market of gun enthusiasts — as with a foundation promo for a program called First Shots. "If you've never fired a gun before, here's your chance. Your local shooting range wants to give you a shot," the promo says. "You're invited to a free seminar developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation."

But those demographic woes are for the long term.

Nima Samadi, an industry analyst at IBISWorld, has a short-term picture. He says that compared with the military and law enforcement segments of the gun industry, "the consumer segment has seen a pretty aggressive growth, particularly over the past five years."

One reason: fear of crime. The crime rate has been steadily declining, but it still helps explain the strength in handgun sales.

The other reason — much more powerful — is the fear that if you don't buy that AR-15 now, the Obama administration won't let you buy it later.

"By far, that's the largest driver for the growth," Samadi says.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, appeared on Glenn Beck's TV station earlier this month, before Sandy Hook.

"I mean, the strongest defense of the Second Amendment is the marketplace," he said. "And there's no clearer picture about how average American citizens feel about their Second Amendment rights than lines at gun stores all over the country right now because they fear the Obama administration's second term is coming after their freedom."

All of this has the effect of bringing the quarter-billion-dollar-a-year NRA and the $12 billion-a-year gun industry closer together.

Sturm Ruger, known especially for its handguns, had a yearlong promotion in which it gave the NRA a dollar for each gun sold. The total exceeded $1.2 million.

Beretta USA gave $1 million to support Second Amendment lawsuits.

And the CEO of Cabela's, the big-box chain that sells sports and outdoors gear, gave the NRA $1 million cash. He was inducted into the association's Golden Ring of Freedom for top donors.

It's much too early to tell how the Connecticut massacre will affect things — either financially or legislatively. But right now, gun sales are spiking. Once again, it's the fear of new gun control laws that's moving weapons off the shelves.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

When the NRA breaks its week-long silence tomorrow, its leaders will be speaking on behalf of the group's four million members. But they'll also be speaking for the gun industry, which has close financial ties to the association.

Here's NPR's Peter Overby.

PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: The NRA and the gun industry are reeling after last week's massacre. The primary weapon, an AR-15 style rifle, is one of the most popular guns in America. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association of the firearms industry, says those who have AR-15s are among the most passionate gun owners.

Just recently, the foundation put out this video.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

DAVE MILES: The AR-15 rifle is probably one of the most customizable rifles there is today. It's also one of the most popular.

Hi. I'm Dave Miles from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

OVERBY: A gunsmith showed how to add a muzzle flash hider, various sights and other accessories, things the gun is designed to accept easily. And that captures the strength and possibly the weakness of the industry and the NRA.

JOSH SUGARMANN: What we're seeing is that the industry is trying to think of one new thing to sell to gun owners.

OVERBY: Josh Sugarmann is head of the Violence Policy Center, a group seeking tighter gun laws.

Studies show the American gun culture faces long-term problems. Too many older white guys, dwindling land for hunting as suburbs encroach, and kids who pick up video games, rather than BB guns.

Sugarmann says industry leaders see the problem.

SUGARMANN: They've recognize that the traditional market, traditional hunting rifles and shotguns, is saturated. So there's an ever-shrinking market that's buying more and more lethal weapons.

OVERBY: Weapons like the AR-15. It's a civilian version of the standard military rifle. The industry-preferred term is modern sporting rifle. A survey by the Shooting Sports Foundation said that nearly two-thirds of AR-15 owners own more than one. The NRA and the foundation are trying to expand the market of gun enthusiasts, as with this foundation promo for a program called First Shots.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If you've never fired a gun before, here's your chance. Your local shooting range wants to give you a shot.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You're invited to a free seminar developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation...

OVERBY: But those demographic woes are for the long term.

Nima Samadi is an industry analyst at IBISWorld, and he has a short-term picture. He says that compared to the military and law enforcement segments of the gun industry...

NIMA SAMADI: The consumer segment has seen a pretty aggressive growth, particularly over the past five years.

OVERBY: One reason: Fear of crime. The crime rate has been steadily declining but it helps explain the strength in handgun sales. The other reason - much more powerful: The fear that if you don't buy that AR-15 now, the Obama administration won't let you buy it later.

SAMADI: By far, that's the largest driver for the growth.

OVERBY: Here's Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, on Glenn Beck's TV station earlier this month - before Sandy Hook.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE GLENN BECK PROGRAM")

WAYNE LAPIERRE: I mean, the strongest defense of the Second Amendment is the marketplace. And there's no clearer picture about how average American citizens feel about their Second Amendment rights, than lines at gun stores all over the country right now, because they fear the Obama administration's second term is coming after their freedom.

OVERBY: All of this has the effect of bringing the quarter-billion-dollar a year NRA and the $12 billion a year gun industry closer together.

Sturm, Ruger, known especially for its handguns, had a year-long promotion in which it gave the NRA a dollar for each gun sold. The total exceeded $1.2 million. Beretta USA gave $1 million to support 2nd Amendment lawsuits. And The CEO of Cabela's, the big-box chain that sells sports and outdoors gear, gave the NRA $1 million cash. He was inducted into the association's Golden Ring of Freedom for top donors.

It's much too early to tell how the Connecticut massacre will affect things, either financially or legislatively. But right now, gun sales are spiking. Once again, it's the fear of new gun control laws that's moving weapons off the shelves.

Peter Overby, NPR News, Washington.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.