Monday, September 29, 2014

GRPC - Next Year, Phoenix

The location for the 2015 Gun Rights Policy Conference has been announced and it is Phoenix, Arizona. The conference will be held the last weekend of September as usual.

Let's assume you just can't make it to the conference due to cost or work or, God forbid, another suicidal maniac screwing up the FAA's air traffic control system. Thanks to the joint efforts of, the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, and The Polite Society Podcast (of which I'm a co-host)  you can watch the entire conference live via streaming video.

Paul Lathrop, host of The Polite Society Podcast, announced the joint effort late last night on Facebook.
I am proud to announce that at the Gun Rights Policy Conference 2015 The Polite Society Podcast will partner with - Shooting Sports News & Business and NJ2AS News and Events to provide LIVE video streaming of the conference!

I want to thank Fredy Riehl of Ammoland, Frank Jack Fiamingo, president of NJ2AS, and Rob Morse each of whom helped hatch the plan. It is going to take quite a bit of planning to get it done the way that it should be done, but I am certain that it will be a fun time.
I think this is great news.

And in one of those weird coincidences, I'm leaving for a business conference in a few minutes in....Phoenix.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Shades Of Gregg Marmalard

Reading a story about the veto of a student campus carry resolution at Baylor University, I couldn't help but think of the character Gregg Marmalard in the movie Animal House. Marmalard was the student body president at Faber College who did the bidding of Dean Wormer in trying to get rid of Delta House.

The Student Senate at Baylor had passed a resolution on September 18th urging that those legally licensed to carry concealed be allowed to do so on campus. The sponsor of the resolution, senior Gannon McCahill said it would make the campus a safer place and noted that people can legally carry most everywhere else.

However, this resolution was vetoed by Baylor Student Body President Dominic Edwards on Thursday and thus won't be presented to the university administration. Edwards contended the Student Senate did not properly seek in put from students, faculty, and staff. The move to override the veto failed to achieve the requisite two-thirds needed.

It seems that this is not the first veto by Edwards of a student senate resolution.
McCahill also aired frustration about the ability of the senate to push measures forward, noting that controversial issues tend to be “vetoed and pushed aside so the administration doesn’t have to deal with it.”

The student senate last fall approved a measure to drop “homosexual acts” out of the university’s sexual misconduct policy, but the body could not override a presidential veto.
I don't think the Baylor University President and Chancellor really needs to be protected from a little controversy. This is quite minor compared to what Ken Starr has dealt with in the past.

NSSF - The Changing Face Of Target Shooters

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has released a great new infographic about target shooters. One can clearly see the difference between gun culture v1.0 and gun culture v2.0.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Joe Manchin Said He Supported The Second Amendment, Too

Democrats running for the US Senate from red states love to say they are for the Second Amendment.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he was for gun rights, boasted he was endorsed by the NRA, and even showed himself shooting a rifle at the "cap and trade" bill. That was in 2010. In 2013, he introduced a bill that would "only add gun checks to online sales and gun shows." That was a myth among many other problems.

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) said she supported the Second Amendment in 2008 when she won against a lackluster Liddy Dole in the Obama landslide. That didn't stop her from voting for Manchin-
Toomey in 2013 along with gun prohibitionists like Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and the late Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).

Now comes Kentucky Sec. of State Alison Lundergan Grimes who is running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). She said she disagrees with Obama on guns, coal, and the EPA. She even ran an ad showing herself at the skeet range. She even chides McConnell's waving a Kentucky long rifle a'la Charlton Heston at the 2014 NRA Annual Meeting saying, "That's not the way you hold a gun."

Then she was a guest on the Kentucky Sports Radio show in which she said was for the Second Amendment but supported closing the mythical "gun show loophole."

I'm sorry but if you say you support closing the non-existent "gun show loophole" (sic) then that means you support universal background checks. Answering a question about whether you'd support banning any guns by saying "I support the Second Amendment" is nothing more than obfuscation. You want to appear gun friendly but you are supporting exactly the same thing as Bloomberg, Watts, and the rest.

Mitch McConnell is not my favorite Republican. I think what he's done to undercut the non-establishment wing of the Republican Party is stupid politics. However, I vote the Second Amendment and he supports gun rights. I am also well aware that we are but one Supreme Court justice away from seeing Heller and McDonald overturned. The only way to ensure Obama doesn't get a chance to seat another Kagan or Sotomayor on the Supreme Court is with a Republican-majority Senate. If Grimes wins, that isn't going to happen.

UPDATE: Alison Lundergan Grimes' support for closing the non-existent gun show loophole gets a "hallelujah" from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic).
Can we get a "hallelujah"? Thank you Alison Lundergan Grimes, for good old fashioned common sense.
We were told growing up that we are known by our friends. If these are her friends, well.....

Friday, September 26, 2014

Off To The 2014 Gun Rights Policy Conference

I leave in a couple of hours for my flight to Chicago to attend the Gun Rights Policy Conference. It has been a momentous week leading up to the conference.

First, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said he would be recommending pre-trial intervention for Shaneen Allen. This comes after the Attorney General John J. Hoffman "clarified" his directive to prosecutors regarding the prosecution of legally licensed visitors to the State of NJ who ran afoul of their onerous laws. And it formally happened yesterday as Ms. Allen stood before NJ Superior Court Judge Michael Donio "who formally put on record that she had been entered into PTI, and that all motions have been withdrawn and all pending court dates — including an Oct. 20 trial — suspended."

As for Ms. Allen herself, she had this to say:
“I have no words for how I feel,” Shaneen Allen said outside the courtroom. “I won’t be going to jail and can stay home with my kids and get back to my life.”

That includes finding work after losing her three jobs as a result of a felony charge hanging over her head.

Now, she wants to head to nursing school — a plan detoured after she was arrested and jailed for 46 days after she was stopped on the Atlantic City Expressway with her gun.
Frankly, I don't think this would have been the outcome if she hadn't been such a sympathetic figure AND if Ray Rice hadn't gotten a slap on the wrist after brutally knocking out his wife-to-be. It also goes to show that politicians can find ways to act correctly if the heat is high enough.

Second, Alan Gura chalks up another win for the Second Amendment with a case from Pennsylvania.  Binderup v. Holder involved a guy who lost his Second Amendment rights for sleeping with the wrong woman. Dan Binderup had pled guilty to a the misdemeanor crime of "corruption of a minor" which could have carried a five-year sentence. He got a fine and probation. However, under Federal law, you lose your Second Amendment rights if the crime could carry a penalty of more than a year. Dave Hardy give a good explanation of that here. It is a shame that Jefferson Schrader didn't live long enough to see this decision.

Finally, Eric Holder resigned as Attorney General of the United States. I was so busy with work yesterday I didn't know about this until the Complementary Spouse came home and told me. As the editorial headline from Investor's Business Daily said, "Holder's Exit Not Fast Or Furious Enough".

In a just world, Eric Holder would be headed to prison. As it is, he'll become just another Obama Administration alumnus getting his multi-million dollar payday from some business or law firm that wants an "in" with Obama.

More will be written about Holder's departure in the coming days but right now it is my own departure for Chicago that is more pressing.

UPDATE: After having my first flight cancelled at 8:45 this morning, going to the airport (5 minute drive) and waiting a half hour for a United ticket agent, getting rebooked out of Greenville-Spartanburg, driving to GSP, waiting 3 hours, and then having my second flight cancelled at 4:00 pm, attending this year's Gun Rights Policy Conference will be nothing more than a fond dream. It sucks but it also is a good lesson in the fragility of technology. Who would have thought one suicidal man could have wreaked so much havoc?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Interesting Second Amendment Case Out Of Massachusetts

If you travel abroad to a foreign country you carry your US Passport with you to prove that you are an American citizen. You don't carry your birth certificate nor, if you weren't born in the United States, do you carry your Certificate of Naturalization. Every foreign country around the world recognizes a passport as evidence of citizenship yet the Boston Police Department would not recognize Phuong Ngo's US Passport as evidence of his US citizenship when he applied for a License to Carry. They demanded a US birth certificate or a Certificate of Naturalization and only would accept only one of  those documents.

Mr. Phuong Ngo came to the United States as a child with his parents. In  2006 his father became a naturalized citizen of the United States. 8 U.S.C. § 1431 provides that a child born outside the United States automatically becomes a citizen if at least one parent is a US citizen by either birth or naturalization; that the child is under age 18; and that the child is residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence (i.e., not an undocumented or illegal alien). Mr. Ngo thus became a US citizen without having either a US birth certificate or a Certificate of Naturalization. Nonetheless, he is a US citizen or the Department of State would not have issued him a passport.

22 U.S.C. § 2705 states that during its period of validity a US Passport shall have the same force and effect as proof of United States citizenship as certificates of naturalization or of citizenship issued by the Attorney General or by a court having naturalization jurisdiction.

Because of the intransigence of the Boston Police Department acting as the BPD Licensing Authority, Mr. Ngo and Commonwealth Second Amendment have filed suit in US District Court for the District of Massachusetts against Commissioner William Evans. They are seeking to have Boston's requirements for a License to Carry to be declared unconstitutional, as applied and facially, on Second and Fourteenth Amendment grounds as well as on the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. They are also seeking a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction enjoining the BPD Licensing Authority from refusing to accept Mr. Ngo's US Passport as evidence of his US citizenship.

From Comm2A's press release on the case:
NATICK, MA - On Monday September 22nd, Commonwealth Second Amendment (Comm2A) and an individual plaintiff filed suit in federal district court against Boston Police Commissioner William Evans seeking a temporary restraining order against the department's policy of refusing to recognize valid US passports as proof of US Citizenship.

"I think most Americans would find it deeply offensive to learn that the police don't consider a US passport evidence of citizenship," said Comm2A President Brent Carlton. "Sadly this is no surprise from a Police Commissioner who believes no one in Boston 'needs' a rifle or a shotgun. The US Constitution that Commissioner Evans has sworn to uphold has a Bill of Rights, not a bill of needs. This is just one more tool that the Boston Police use to prevent the people of Boston from exercising a fundamental right."

Despite federal law to the contrary, the department refuses to acknowledge that a valid US passport is proof of US citizenship. The Plaintiff attempted to apply for a ‘License to Carry’ on several occasions but was turned away by the Boston Police Department because he did not possess the requisite birth certificate or certificate of naturalization. Mr. Ngo became a US citizen as a minor child when his father became a citizen. Mr. Ngo does not possess nor is he able to obtain either a US birth certificate or certificate of naturalization. Mr. Ngo was repeatedly told that his valid US passport would not be accepted.

In refusing to acknowledge a valid US passport as evidence of citizenship, the complaint alleges that the Boston Police have trampled upon Mr. Ngo's rights under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, as well as violated the Supremacy Clause of Article IV of the US Constitution.

Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Margarita Smirnova and J. Steven Foley.
Frankly, I don't see that Boston has a leg to stand on but that certainly has NOT stopped anti-gun bureaucrats in the past.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How Do Silencers Work?

I am a sucker for a really good infographic and SilencerCo has put one out. They are the Utah-based manufacturer of silencers/suppressors for rifles, pistols, AND shotguns.

SilencerCo has always put a lot of effort into educating people on the legality, history, and usage of silencers. This infographic is their latest effort. Interestingly enough, it has caught the attention of the business press. BusinessInsider ran a story featuring the infographic below on Monday. Unlike most stuff you see in the media, it was accurate and non anti-silencer.

As someone who has a hearing related problem - tinnitus - due to shooting without hearing protection earlier in life, I really wish silencers and suppressors were not NFA items. At most, they should be listed as AOW or any other weapon and have a $5 transfer fee. The reality is that hearing loss is a public health issue and silencers, despite all the myth and legend about them coming out of Hollywood, are a hearing safety device.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Now Why Would The ATF Be Asking About Internet Sales?

The gun prohibitionists are always in a tizzy about "the Internet sale of guns". Everytown Moms for Illegal Mayors is making a big deal about "Internet sales" in the campaign for the Washington State universal background check initiative I-594. That initiative, if passed, would mandate universal background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms. Of course, they are being helped by their allies in the Seattle media with articles like this giving the impression that Facebook is just one big gun exchange.

Here is what the Brady Campaign sent out to their true believers in their Toolkit 2014 which provides suggestions for contacting legislators and letters to the editor along with their general campaign strategy.
Unfortunately, when the bill (Brady Law) was created legislators could not have dreamed of the booming internet market and rising gun shows as a means for gun sales. Current law does not require a background check through these venues, meaning that a dangerous person could order a firearm online, meet someone in a parking lot to pick it up, and commit a crime that same day. In fact, there are several instances of this exact tragedy happening.
Gabby Giffords and the Space Cowboy are not to be outdone. Their "in-depth" report purportedly shows how the Internet is being used to circumvent laws banning firearm possession by the mentally ill. They are also pushing background checks as an issue in the race for Giffords' former Congressional set in their ads against Col. Martha McSally.

The Violence Policy Center has been on this bandwagon since the late 1990s as have anti-gun politicians such as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

You and I realize that companies like CDNN, Bud's Gun Shop, Cheaper Than Dirt, and Kentucky Gun Company among others are not shipping firearms willy-nilly across the country like they are living in some pre-GCA 68 world where anyone could mail order a gun and get it delivered to their home. Moreover, as traditional classified advertising is dying in newspapers due to the cost and declining readership, it is being replaced with online venues ranging from the general to the specific. Many gun forums maintain their own classifieds.

It is within this context that I was surprised by a new question on the ATF Form 8 ((5320.11) Part II. This form is for the renewal of a Federal Firearms License I have circled it in the photo below. Having had my Curios & Relics FFL for going on 18 years, this will make my sixth renewal of my collector's license. My last renewal was in 2011 and it did not have this question on it.

It asks, "Have you conducted or do you intend to conduct internet sales of firearms? If yes, list the websites from which you conduct your internet business." If you go to this link, you can see that the prior version of ATF Form 8 did not have this question on it.

As best as I can determine, this is a recent change. The Federal Register contains a notice from ATF dated January 30, 2014 stating that they were submitting a request for review and approval of Form 8 (5310.11) and that the public had 60 days to comment. No draft of the form was shown. A subsequent notice extended this comment period to May 2, 2014.

The final revision was approved on June 26, 2014 according to this OMB database. (If you click on the form name in the link above, it will pull up a PDF of this form.) Reading the justification letter for this revision of Form 8, much ado was made about why they changed this or that question to make it more readable or easily understood. That said, there was absolutely no mention of Q. 8 and the inquiry about Internet sales of firearms. None.

So the question remains: why this question and why now? Is this a prelude to some future restrictions on the advertising for sale of firearms on the Internet? Why is this question not asked on initial applications for either a FFL or a Collector's License? I don't know because the ATF slipped it by OMB without any justification of it and they haven't said anything publicly about Internet sales that I am aware.

As with all things ATF, this bears keeping a watchful eye on them and this issue.

Monday, September 22, 2014

OK, Ruger, Now I'm Impressed

Ruger has been running a series of "Flash Sweepstakes" as a way to generate publicity for their new gun introductions. The only problem with the whole concept is that the new product needs to be worth the expectations.

For their first Flash Sweepstakes firearm, Ruger introduced their Gunsite Scout Rifle in 5.56/.223. The overwhelming reaction of the internet was "meh". It is somewhat heavy, it requires the use of an expensive proprietary magazine, and it was merely introducing an existing rifle in another caliber. The Scout Rifle is a fine rifle in .308 and I really like mine. However, the Mossberg MVP in all its iterations uses regular AR-15 magazines due to its patented bolt system and has an MSRP approximately $300 less than the Ruger.

The next Flash Sweepstakes introduced a number of Ruger American Rifles in left-handed versions as well as "ranch" versions. The left-handed versions of the Ruger American were welcome if a bit overdue. I am seriously considered buying one in .243 Winchester for my step-daughter who wants to go deer hunting. That said, it was again a line extension that didn't really break new ground.

And this leads us to the third Flash Sweepstakes. It promised that it was going to be a handgun. After the first two sweeps, I really wasn't expecting much. I am pleasantly surprised to find that it is a Ruger LCR in 9mm Parabellum.

Revolvers in 9mm have been introduced in the past by Ruger and others but many are now out of production. The Ruger SP101 in 9mm commands a hefty premium in the used market - if you can find one. Smith and Wesson introduced their 8-shot Model 929 in 9mm this year with a MSRP of $1,189. You can also find revolvers in 9mm from both Taurus and Charter Arms.

Looking at the specs of the LCR 9mm, it appears that they used the frame from their .357 Magnum as the weight is 17.20 ounces versus 13.5 ounces for their original LCR in .38+P. Reading the introduction announcement below, no mention is made of the need to use moon clips. If it really is a 9mm revolver without moon clips, wow. Charter Arms makes the Pitbull and Smith & Wesson made the Model 547. No offense intended towards Charter Arms lovers (my first revolver was a Charter Arms .38 Special) but they don't have a great reputation for reliability. The S&W 547 was reputed to be one of the more expensive guns to manufacture that they ever made. As to the LCR 9mm, with a MSRP of $599, expect to find it at the gunstore for much less. I paid $399 for the original LCR new in the box. I'm guessing $499 or less.

Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. (NYSE: RGR) announces the introduction of the 9mm LCR®, the newest variation of the revolutionary Lightweight Compact Revolver (LCR).

"Since its introduction in 2009, the LCR has become extremely popular with conceal carry customers seeking the simplicity of a revolver," said Chris Killoy, Ruger President and Chief Operating Officer. "Customers have been asking for a 9mm version due to ammo availability and compatibility with pistols. We were listening and have added a 9mm version of the LCR," he concluded.

The newest LCR retains all the features of the critically acclaimed original LCR. Its double-action-only trigger pull is uniquely engineered with a patented Ruger® friction reducing cam fire control system. The trigger pull force on the LCR builds gradually and peaks later in the trigger stroke, resulting in a trigger pull that feels much lighter than it actually is. This results in more controllable double-action shooting, even among those who find traditional double-action-only triggers difficult to operate. The LCR is elegantly designed with three main components: a polymer fire control housing, monolithic frame, and an extensively fluted stainless steel cylinder. When originally introduced, the Ruger LCR revolver was one of the most significant new revolver designs in over a century and it has since been awarded three patents.

In addition to 9mm Luger, the LCR double-action-only model also is available in .38 Spl. +P, .357 Mag., .22 WMR. and .22 LR. The exposed hammer LCRx™, which can be fired in double- or single-action modes, is available in .38 Spl. +P. All LCR models feature replaceable ramp front sights with white bar, and a fixed U-notch rear sight. Some models are available with Crimson Trace® Lasergrips® instead of the Hogue® Tamer™ Monogrip®, which comes standard.

I'll be interested to hear the reaction of Grant Cunningham to this new revolver on the next episode of The Gun Nation podcast.

UPDATE: Thanks to the lead in the comments from Overload in Colorado, I did find out that the Ruger LCR 9mm does use moon clips. They are selling them in the ShopRuger store in 3 packs. I wish Ruger engineers could have devised a non-moon clip solution without greatly increasing the cost of manufacture. Obviously they couldn't. Still, I am happy to see the LCR in 9mm. It's not a game changer but it is a welcome addition to the line and excites me more than the other two new introductions.

UPDATE II: Ruger released a video of the LCR 9mm including use of its moon clips.

Draft Agenda For The 2014 Gun Rights Policy Conference Released

The Second Amendment Foundation sponsored Gun Rights Policy Conference is almost here. It starts this coming Friday evening in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency - O'Hare Airport. The draft agenda has been released and it is jam-packed.

I plan to be there as will my fellow co-hosts of The Polite Society Podcast, Paul Lathrop and Rob Morse. If you are going to be there, please make sure you introduce yourself.

Herewith is the draft agenda:

29th Annual Gun Rights Policy Conference
September 26-28, 2014
Hyatt Regency Chicago O’Hare Airport

FRIDAY, September 26, 2014—International Ballroom

7:00 p.m. Registration Table Opens

7:00-9:00 p.m. Reception with Cash Bar

Co-hosted by Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms & National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)

SATURDAY, September 27, 2014—Rosemont Ballroom

7:30 a.m. Registration Table Opens

Beverages hosted by Women & Guns Magazine and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership

8:00 a.m. CALL TO ORDER

Moderator—Julianne Versnel, publisher, Journal on Firearms & Public Policy, director of operations, SAF
Star Spangled Banner – Colleen Lawson, plaintiff, McDonald v. Chicago
Trooping of the Colors – American Legion Post 206 – Arlington Heights, Illinois
Pledge of Allegiance—Rhonda Ezell, plaintiff, Ezell v. Chicago

8:15 a.m. State of the Gun Rights Battle

Welcoming Remarks

The Road Traveled—Joseph P. Tartaro, editor of, president, Second Amendment Foundation (SAF)
The Road Ahead—Alan M. Gottlieb, chairman, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) and founder, SAF

8:30 a.m. Federal Affairs Briefing

Mark Barnes, President, Mark Barnes Associates, CCRKBA federalist lobbyist
Jeff Knox, Director, The Firearms Coalition, founder of
Larry Pratt, Executive Director, Gun Owners of America
Seth Waugh, director of Government Relations- Federal Affairs, NSSF

9:00 a.m. Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State”

Stephen P. Halbrook, Esq., Research Fellow at the Independent Institute

9:15 a.m. State Legislative Affairs Briefing I

Philip Van Cleave, president, Virginia Citizens Defense League
Scott Bach, chairman, Association of NJ Rifle and Pistol Clubs, board member, NRA
Jim Wallace, executive director, Gun Owners Action League (GOAL) Massachusetts
Richard Pearson, executive vice president, Illinois State Rifle Association
Sean Maloney, Esq., Buckeye Firearms Association leader
Stephen Aldstadt, president, Scope NY, Inc. (Shooters Committee on Political Education)

10:00 a.m. Beverage break hosted Ruger

10:15 a.m. State Legislative Affairs Briefing II

Jerry Henry, executive director, Georgia
Paul Valone, president, Grass Roots North Carolina
Sean Caranna, co-executive director, Florida
Tony Montanarella, board member & past president, California Rifle and Pistol Association
Andrew Rothman, vice president, Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance MN
Hon. Phillip Journey, vice president, Kansas State Rifle Association

11:00 a.m. Collision Course: Our Second Amendment and the International Gun Control Agenda

Mark Westrom, president, Defense Small Arms Advisory Council
D. Allen Youngman, executive director, Defense Small Arms Advisory Council
Julianne Versnel, director of operations, Second Amendment Foundation

11:30 a.m. Special Address

Jack McCauley, former Captain, Maryland State Troopers, investigative consultant

11:45 a.m. Recess and break to prepare for box luncheon

12:00 p.m. Awards Luncheon

Hosted by American Legacy
Master of Ceremonies, Tom Gresham, host of Gun Talk radio
Address by Alan Gura, Esq., litigator in the Heller and McDonald Supreme Court cases

Awards presentations

1:30 p.m. Recess Break

1:45 p.m. Winning Firearms Freedom One Lawsuit at a Time

Dan Schmutter, Esq., legal counsel, Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs
Eric Friday, Esq., litigator for Florida Carry and Second Amendment Foundation
Miko Tempski, Esq., general counsel, Second Amendment Foundation
David Sigale, Esq., attorney for SAF in several gun rights actions
David Jensen, Esq., attorney for SAF in several gun rights actions
David Kopel, Esq., law professor and litigator in Colorado gun law challenge
Paloma Capanna, Esq., litigator and policy analyst, Second Amendment Coalition Resource Center (NY)

2:45 p.m. Pro-Second Amendment Allies and Resources

Bill McGrath, legislative director, Safari Club International
Rick Patterson, vice president, Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturers Institute

3:15 p.m. Beverage service hosted by Cheaper than Dirt

3:30 p.m. Gunowners and the Mid-Term Elections

John Fund, national affairs correspondent, National Review Online

3:45 p.m. The Anti-Gun Troika: Background Checks, Microstamping & Smart Guns

Alan Gottlieb, chairman, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
George Owens, director of legislative affairs, Alabama Gun Rights
Stephen D’Andrilli, president,

4:15 p.m. Bloomberg's false claims about guns.

John Lott, PhD, economist and columnist for Fox News, president, Crime Prevention Research Center

4:30 p.m. Targeting ‘Gun Free’ Zones

Massad Ayoob, trustee, Second Amendment Foundation, author, founder, Lethal Force Institute
John Edeen, MD, pediatric surgeon, Texas Hospital activist
Chris Bird, firearms instructor, author, Thank God I Had a Gun, Second Edition

5:00 p.m. Building Effective State Legal Action Organizations

Gene Hoffman, CalGuns Foundation
Thomas Bolioli, Commonwealth Second Amendment Foundation

5:20 p.m. Expanding Train Me Arizona Nationwide

Alan Korwin, author & publisher of Firearms Law Books

5:30 p.m. Q & A on Saturday session

6:00 p.m. Announcements and Adjournment

6:30-9:00 p.m. Reception with Cash Bar— International Ballroom

Hosted by Second Amendment Foundation and US Concealed Carry Association (USCCA)

SUNDAY, September 28, 2014—Rosemont Ballroom

8:15 A.M. Registration Table Opens

Beverage service hosted by and Keep and Bear

8:50 a.m. CALL TO ORDER

Moderator: Peggy Tartaro, editor of Women & Guns, board member CCRKBA

9:00 a.m. Shootout at the Airwaves Coral

Tom Gresham, host of Gun Talk radio and TV shows, CCRKBA board member
Mark Walters, host of Armed America Radio

9:30 a.m. A First Amendment Guide to the Second Amendment

David Kopel, Esq., research director, Independence Institute, adjunct professor of constitutional law, Denver University Sturm College

9:45 a.m. Science vs. Fiction in Public Health Policy

Vikram Khanna, Editor at Large, THCB’s Wellness, blogger at “Khanna on Health”
Robert B. Young, MD, distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association
Timothy Wheeler, MD, Founder, Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, co-author, Keeping Your Family Safe

10:15 a.m. Expanding Carry Options for America

Tim Schmidt, Founder, U.S. Concealed Carry, Inc., Publisher, Concealed Carry Magazine

10:30 a.m. Tackling Media Bias on Guns and Gunowners

Charles Heller, host, Liberty Watch Radio
Malia Zimmerman, editor, Hawaii Reporter
Don Irvine, president, Accuracy in Media

11:00 a.m. Investigating Gun Related News and the Rise of the Citizen Journalist

David Codrea, Unauthorized Journalist
Dave Workman, senior editor,

11:20 a.m. The Bigger Picture Second Amendment

Doug Ritter, founder and chairman,
Jennifer Coffey, former NH state representative, legislative liaison Second Amendment Sisters

11:45 a.m. Q&A on morning panels

12:00 Noon Report of the Resolutions Committee

Genie Jennings, Maine activist and Women & Guns columnist
Don Moran, president, Illinois State Rifle Association
Stephen Aldstadt, president, Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE, Inc.) NY
Herb Stupp, Board Member, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Robert Weist, Trustee, Second Amendment Foundation
Ainsley Reynolds, Citizens for a Safer New Jersey
Joe Waldon, Legislative director, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Andrew Queen, president, Fidelity Security

1:00 p.m. Closing remarks and adjournment

Alan M. Gottlieb and Joseph P. Tartaro

After the conference ends, there will be a workshop led by the Leadership Institute entitled, "The Gun Owners Elected Official Accountability Workshop" that will run from 1:30pm until 3:30pm. It is a free workshop that is intended to maximize the effectiveness of gun owners as citizen lobbyists. If you have a late flight or are local to the Chicago area, I think it would make a worthwhile add-on to your time at the conference. Did I mention it was free?

If you'd like to attend the workshop, let Jessica Brown know at 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The FIREARM Act Or Don't Be Racial Profiling Me, Bro

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives added an ethnicity question to the Form 4473 in 2012. Prior versions only asked about the purchaser's race. Question 10a now asks if you are Hispanic or Latino or Not Hispanic or Latino. I guess that is because they wanted to distinguish the White Hispanics from the Asian Hispanics from the Pacific Islander Hispanics. With the US government's definition of Hispanic and Latino being what it is, the later two categories that I mentioned are indeed possible given the migrant Japanese and Chinese populations living in countries like Peru as well as the Pacific Islanders living on Easter Island which is part of Chile.

I should note that Question 10b which asks about race does not include any provision for people who could best be classified as either bi-racial or multi-racial. Of course, the BATFE being the bureaucrats that they are, they insist on both questions being answered.

Given that everyone purchasing a firearm through a FFL must go through a NICS background check, it really should not matter what race or ethnicity you are. That is the position that Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) and Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) are taking with the introduction of The FIREARM Act.
Black, Poe Introduce the FIREARM Act

Legislation prohibits the federal government from requiring race or ethnicity to be disclosed when purchasing a firearm.

Washington, D.C. – Today, Reps. Diane Black (R-TN-06) and Ted Poe (R-TX-02) introduced the FIREARM (Freedom From Intrusive Regulatory Enforcement of Arbitrary Registration Mandates) Act – legislation to prohibit the federal government from requiring race or ethnicity to be disclosed in connection with the purchase of a firearm. In 2012, the Obama Administration quietly began requiring the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to record firearms purchasers’ race and ethnicity.

“This requirement by the ATF is highly intrusive and unnecessary,” said Congressman Black. “Failing to adhere to this requirement by not checking all of the correct boxes on the 4473 Form is considered an ATF violation that can be so severe as to result in the gun dealer being shut down for having incomplete purchaser forms. This is causing a headache for many firearms retailers and this commonsense legislation would simply stop the federal government from requiring businesses and consumers to comply with this ‘race and ethnicity standard.’”

“Washington bureaucrats have no business requiring citizens who are lawfully purchasing firearms to disclose their race or ethnicity,” said Congressman Poe. “Under this rule, both gun dealers and purchasers face the threat of federal prosecution for not disclosing race or ethnicity on a form. This is an intrusive and unnecessary requirement. As long as the gun is purchased lawfully, race or ethnicity should be irrelevant.”

The ATF’s justification for this requirement stems from a “race and ethnicity standard” devised by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) almost 20 years ago. According to the OMB, the 4473 Form was to be updated by ATF by 2003; however, there is no federal law requiring this administrative directive. Why, almost 10 years later, is the federal government requiring gun store owners and purchasers to record race and ethnicity? Failing to adhere to this requirement -- if the boxes are left blank -- can result in the ATF shutting down the business for having incomplete purchaser forms.
The language of the bill is quite simple.

The Federal Government may not require any person to disclose the race or ethnicity of the person in connection with the transfer of a firearm to the person.
I think this is a reasonable bill that might make it out of committee but that will never make it to Barack Obama's desk for signing. It might pass the House but it won't go anywhere in the Senate.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It's Not A Tradition; It's A Civil Right

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the Navy Yard murders. Calling it merely a "shooting" serves to focus on the tool while mitigating the evil intent of the murderer.

To mark the anniversary, President Obama released the following short statement:
One year ago, our dedicated military and civilian personnel at the Washington Navy Yard were targeted in an unspeakable act of violence that took the lives of 12 American patriots. As we remember men and women taken from us so senselessly, we keep close their family and friends, stand with the survivors who continue to heal and pay tribute to the first responders who acted with skill and bravery. At the same time, we continue to improve security at our country’s bases and installations to protect our military and civilian personnel who help keep us safe. One year ago, 12 Americans went to work to protect and strengthen the country they loved. Today, we must do the same – rejecting atrocities like these as the new normal and renewing our call for common-sense reforms that respect our traditions while reducing the gun violence that shatters too many American families every day.
First, let me point out, that keeping our military bases and installations gun-free zones protect no one. They only serve to provide an easier working environment for deranged psychopaths.

Next, using the anniversary of the murders of Navy personnel to call for more gun control - "common-sense reforms" - is nothing more than blood dancing. Just like the children murdered at the school in Newtown, the 12 civilian personnel who died appear to be nothing more than debating points to be used by the White House in its quest for more and more gun control.

Finally, the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms is not a tradition. It is a Constitutional amendment that recognized a pre-existing civil right. And as the Supreme Court affirmed in the Heller decision, it is an individual right. Saying that you want to "respect our traditions" conjures up the image of men and boys in a deer camp clad in red and black plaid wool coats and toting Winchester 94s and Marlin 336s. To refer to it as a tradition denigrates what are essential civil and human rights - the right to self-defense and the right to overthrow a tyrannical government. The right to keep and bear arms helps to assure both of those rights.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Costing The Anti's Some Money

I got an email the other day from Mark Kelly (aka Mr. Gabby Giffords) offering me a copy of the new book that he and Giffords just wrote.
Gabby and Mark wrote a new book that's coming out at the end of this month. It's called Enough, and it's about why they are working to keep America safe from gun violence.

We know that some people might contribute less than the book costs, and that's OK.
 I took them at their word. While I tried to contribute what the book was worth - $0.01 - it wouldn't let me. However, it did let me contribute a mere buck.

The way I figure it the cost of postage using Media Mail is at least $2.69. The book which has a MSRP of $25 and is selling for $18.63 on Amazon must cost them at least $5 a copy.

Thus, for an investment of $1, I'm costing Americans for Responsible Solutions a minimum of  $7.69. That is a net $6.69 that can't be used to take away my civil rights.

Now I'm not suggesting you do this but if you'd like to take them up on their offer, go here. You'll end up costing them some money and you'll be able to keep an eye on what the anti's are up to.

UPDATE: As a commenter below has mentioned, it now takes a $25 or more donation to get the book. At that price, they can keep it.
Thanks for your interest in supporting Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC. This promotion has ended at this time. However, you can still receive a copy of Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly's book Enough with a donation of $25 or more on this page.
Nonetheless, it reads as if those of us who "donated" a buck will still get the book.

Take this as a reminder that our opponents may be misguided, misinformed, and malcontents but they aren't stupid. I'm guessing, though I have no proof, that they woke up to the number of low donations that they started getting.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Potential Good News In The Shaneen Allen Case

The NRA News is reporting on Facebook that Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain has requested a delay in Shaneen Allen's case while he reviews the appropriate resolution of the case.
BREAKING NEWS: The prosecutor in the Shaneen Allen case has requested her upcoming trial be delayed while he reviews the appropriate resolution of her case. Shaneen is the Philadelphia mother of two who became an unwitting victim of New Jersey's gun laws. Stay tuned for the exclusive interview with Ginny Simone and Shaneen's attorney Evan Nappen coming soon.
The interview by Ginny Simone and Cam Edwards with Shaneen Allen and her attorney Evan Nappen is below.

Hopefully, this will turn out well for Ms. Allen. She deserves something good to happen after all that she has lost due to the prosecutor's intransigence and New Jersey's utterly ridiculous laws.

A Question For NJ Prosecutor Jim McClain

Atlantic County, NJ Prosecutor Jim McClain broke his silence on the Ray Rice assault case Wednesday. According to the Press of Atlantic City, McClain said:
“Even if they disagree with why I did what I did, I just want people to know the decision was made after careful consideration of the law, careful consideration of the facts, hearing the voice of the victim and considering all the parameters,” he said. “I want people to have confidence in this agency, even if they don’t agree with everything we do.”

Rice was charged with third-degree aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury. Third-degree charges — especially for someone like Rice with no criminal record — carry a presumption of no incarceration.

To result in a second-degree aggravated assault charge, a crime has to involve “serious,” or permanent, bodily injury. There is no first-degree charge of aggravated assault.

“People need to understand, the choice was not PTI versus five years’ state prison,” McClain said. “The choice was not PTI versus the No Early Release Act on a 10-year sentence. The parameters as they existed were: Is this a PTI case or a probation case?
 Confidence in this agency? Is Mr. McClain making a joke?

Let me see if I have this straight. An NFL player with a multi-million dollar contract punches his wife-to-be in the head so severely that she is knocked unconscious. Reading some of the boxing literature on knockouts, the force of the punch causes the brain "to smash against the inside of the skull, near the base of the skull" from inertia. Being knocked out may also involve a concussion and other brain injuries. 

The Association of Boxing Commissions consider this such a severe injury that boxers are given a minimum 60-day medical suspension from all boxing activity when KO'ed. Remember these are trained athletes who are engaging in a sport that involves hits to the head and body and not a young mother.

So my question for Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain is this:  please explain how Shaneen Allen, a young mother with an unblemished criminal record and certainly no record of violence, who made an honest mistake due to a misunderstanding of the law and which hurt no one, is more of a menace to society than a  coddled star athlete with anger management issues who inflicted serious bodily injury on a woman.  The latter was given pre-trial intervention while the former is facing up to 10 years in prison even though she, as well, could have been given pre-trial intervention save for your intransigence.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, something is rotten in the state of New Jersey.

And lest readers think that Gov. Chris Christie is blameless in this whole affair, it was Christie himself who appointed McClain to be the County Prosecutor two years ago. Christie was criticized at the time over the quality of some of his prosecutorial nominations including McClain. We can see the basis for that criticism now all too well.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dingy Harry Is Right - Billionaires Are Trying To Buy Democracy

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) gave a speech yesterday on the floor of the Senate. It was his first floor speech since the end of the August recess. As The Hill reports it, he said, in part,
“We have had in this country a flood of very, very dark money coming into this nation’s political system,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “Radical billionaires are attempting to buy our democracy.”
Reid is correct in his statement - just not in the billionaires to whom he referred. He, of course, was continuing his jihad against the libertarian Koch brothers.

However, if one were to examine the backers of the universal background check initiative in Washington State, I-594, you would come to the conclusion that a gaggle of billionaires was indeed trying to buy "our democracy."

Examining the public reports from the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, one finds that a full 72% of the funding for the anti-gun Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility has come from five billionaires (including spouses) plus one very wealthy woman from an "old Seattle family". In dollar terms, these six have donated $5,171,600 out of the $7,175,542 donated to the anti-gun organization. Small contributions to this gun control ballot initiative total only $63,009 or less than 1% of the total.

So who are these billionaires (or near billionaires), how much have they given individually, what is their estimated net worth, and where do they stand on the Forbes 400 list of richest people in America. Here is the list in order of contributions:

  1. Nick Hanauer, $1,485,000; net worth $1 billion, venture capitalist, Second Avenue Investing

  2. Bill and Melinda Gates, $1,050,000; net worth $72 billion, No. 1 Forbes 400, co-founder Microsoft

  3. Michael Bloomberg*, $1,030,000; net worth $31 billion, No. 10 Forbes 400, founder Bloomberg LP

  4. Connie and Steve Ballmer, $830,000; net worth $18 billion, No. 21 Forbes 400, former CEO Microsoft, owner LA Clippers

  5. Paul Allen, $500,000; net worth $15.8 billion, No 26 Forbes 400, co-founder Microsoft, owner Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers

  6. Ann Pigott Wyckoff, $276,600; net worth est. multi-millions, heiress and daughter of the late Paccar Corporation president Paul Pigott. Paccar manufactures Peterbilt, Kenworth, and Leyland trucks.
To put these contributions into perspective, let's look at the campaign committee for I-591 which is the other ballot initiative which opposes universal background checks. Protect Our Gun Rights is the campaign committee formed to support I-591. The largest individual (non-organizational) contribution was $1,500 by a Boeing engineer. The primary contributors to Protect Our Gun Rights are the Washington State-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Washington Arms Collectors. This committee has raised a total of $1,121,535 at last report.

As Dave Workman, the Seattle Gun Rights Examiner, put it, this is a billionaire bombardment and he is correct. So when Dingy Harry speaks of "radical billionaires attempting to buy our democracy", he just has the wrong set of billionaires in mind. It isn't the Koch brothers, it is the Hanauers, the Gates, the Allens, the Ballmers, and the Bloombergs who plan to dominate the TV airwaves with their appeals to low information voters in an effort to impose their will on the people of Washington State.

*Bloomberg's contribution was funneled through MAIG and Everytown for Gun Safety (sic).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Gun Rights Case From The Fringes Of America

The United States of America includes more than just the 50 states. It also includes three unincorporated organized territories and two commonwealths. The territories are the US Virgin Islands,  Guam, and American Samoa while the commonwealths are Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. It also includes nine uninhabited territories administered by the Department of the Interior. These includes two islands famous for their battles during WWII: Wake and Midway.

Thus, when a Second Amendment case comes up involving the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, it is of interest. Making it even more interesting is that it is a case jointly supported by the Second Amendment Foundation and the NRA Civil Rights Legal Defense Fund. The case is Radich et al v. Deleon Guerrero and it is being heard in the US District Court for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Before I get into the case, a little reminder as to geography. The Northern Mariana Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean northeast of the Philippines and are much closer to the Asian continental mainland than they are to the continental United States. Students of WWII will recognize the island chain for the important battles fought for two of its more important islands - Saipan and Tinian. Moreover, the Enola Gay took off for Hiroshima from Tinian.

Like Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands enjoys commonwealth status with the United States as a result of the approval in 1976 by Congress of a Covenant to establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America. This covenant was fully ratified in 1986 when qualified residents were granted US citizenship. The covenant also applies United States law, in general, to the CNMI and a US District Court was established there by Act of Congress in 1977. The District Court is part of the 9th Circuit.

Radich v. Delon Guerrero is a challenge to the Commonwealth's restriction on handgun possession and carry. It seeks both a preliminary and permanent injunction against the Commonwealth's enforcement of their Weapons Control Act as well as a finding that the Act violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments on both their face and as applied to the plaintiffs. These laws include:
(a) the prohibitions on virtually all CNMI residents from obtaining handguns for self-defense purposes; (b) the prohibition on obtaining a WIC and possessing a firearm for self-defense purposes; and (c) the good cause requirement for obtaining a WIC,

The plaintiffs are David and Li-Rong Radich who are residents of Saipan, CNMI. Mr. Radich is a US citizen born in California and a Navy veteran working as an environmental consultant. His wife, Li-Rong, is a Chinese citizen with permanent legal resident status. They have been married since 2009. In 2010, while Mr. Radich was out of town on business, Mrs. Radich was the victim of a home invasion and suffered broken ribs, facial contusions, and a suspected orbital fracture.

In 2013, the plaintiffs applied to the CNMI Department of Public Safety for a Weapons Identification Card so as to provide for their self-defense. Despite the requirement that a decision be made within 60 days, the plaintiffs are still waiting for an answer from the Department of Public Safety in violation of the law.

With the Supreme Court's decisions in the Heller and McDonald cases as well as the 9th Circuit's decision in Peruta v. San Diego, it would seem that this case bodes well for the plaintiffs. Guam has already changed their laws to bring themselves into compliance with Peruta.

Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation notes:
“The Second Amendment does not just apply to the continental United States and Hawaii,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “It also applies to territories under U.S. jurisdiction. The issue is a fundamental civil right, not only to possess a handgun, but also to use firearms for self-defense purposes, which is currently banned in the Northern Marianas.”
It is a fundamental civil right and one that the District Court in the North Mariana Islands ought to recognize. Too bad that the Commonwealth's government didn't recognize this right.

UPDATE: Professor Eugene Volokh of UCLA provides a note on the Volokh Conspiracy blog about this case. He points out that the CNMI Covenant expressly states that Amendments 1 through 9 inclusive are applicable in the Northern Mariana Islands.

That Ain't Moonshine!

Booze marketed as "moonshine" has become popular in the last few years. Maybe Popcorn Sutton* and his legend had something to do with it, maybe not. Perhaps it was was the Discovery Channel series Moonshiners and its stars Tickle, Tim, Josh, etc. Even the History Channel had to get in on it.

A dissenting view on what constitutes "moonshine" comes from a post on The Alcohol Professor blog celebrating September as Bourbon Heritage Month. In a discussion about sourced bourbon - whiskey from new micro-distilleries actually made in a giant factory in Lawrenceburg, Indiana - the author takes exception to calling any unaged whiskey (or white dog) moonshine.
Another product choice is to sell an unaged whiskey while some of the other liquid ages in barrels in its cocoon stage on the way to being a bourbon.

Let’s be clear about what this is. Or rather, what it isn’t.

Here’s a checklist.
  • Are you avoiding the payment of government taxes to release your product?
  • At any time, was a firearm a necessary component for a transaction between yourself and either your customer or purveyor?
  • To the best of your knowledge, have you, or anyone you know, been seriously threatened simply because your product exists to the point where you feel it should have a hiding place, just in case?
  • Are you apprehensive about selling your product during broad daylight when anyone can see?
  • Has anyone ever chased you menacingly, especially at night, in order to steal your product from you on the way to a purveyor?
  • Are you on an FBI most wanted list for producing this product?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, congratulations! You make moonshine!

If not, then your unaged distillate IS NOT NOR EVER WILL BE MOONSHINE!!!

Deep breath.
I tend to agree with this assessment.

The only real moonshine I can remember drinking was over 30 years ago. I remembered it as being very smooth with a strong corn smell when you sniffed it. It was reputed to have been that moonshiner's going out of business batch.

As for my own taste in whiskey, I think I'll stay with the stuff aged for years in oak barrels whether it comes from Kentucky, Canada, or Ireland.

* My dentist went to high school with Popcorn Sutton. His remembrance of Sutton differs from the popular legend. He said Popcorn was "a mean little SOB who looked like he'd as soon kill you as look at you."

Friday, September 5, 2014

It's Time To Win Again

Thanks to the work of Aaron at the Weapon-Blog, there is a new list of guns that you can win.

The handgun category features all the big names: Smith & Wesson, Glock,  Ruger, Sig, Colt, and H&K.

The rifle category starts off with something really special: a SBR made by Noveske in .300 Blackout with a SilencerCo Saker 7.62 suppressor. Sweet!!!! I also count 6 AR-15s, a Tavor, a PTR-91, and a slew of bolt action hunting rifles.

If you come across contests not listed, let Aaron know about them.

JPFO's Official Statement On Merger With SAF

The official statement from the board of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership is below. I covered some of the controversy on the decision to merge in my earlier post announcing the merger. As I said there, I hope it works out so that both organizations can keep up the good fight for the Second Amendment and our rights.

From JPFO:

Dear JPFO Members and Supporters,

Even before the passing of founder, Aaron Zelman, there was serious doubt as to whether or not JPFO could survive. For years Aaron struggled heroically with chronic health problems.

The results were rapidly expanding problems in administrative, database and member support and new product operations, along with no systematic fundraising program -- to name just a few. Aaron delegated painfully little? But considering it all, what he accomplished goes well beyond the heroic to near miracles.

The regular staff was reduced to a devoted office manager of some 15-years, LaVonne, an equally devoted webmaster, Chris and Aaron's two Board members, Bruce and Bob serving with him since the mid-1990s. The effort to rebuild JPFO began in earnest, facing the ominous headwinds of a diminished database and largely empty coffers.

After some months, Charles Heller stepped-in to provide Executive Director services; including media contacts.

One bright spot was the wise counsel of the JPFO advisor on spiritual matters, Rabbi Dovid Bendory, known affectionately as the "Gun Rabbi."

The task was truly immense. It seemed to grow in difficulty as each step forward unearthed more challenges. Tragedy struck again a year later when our office manager, LaVonne passed away unexpectedly. She had loyally worked with Aaron for over 15-years. Her husband, Doug resigned his regular employment as her fulltime replacement. Without his commitment it is a virtual certainty JPFO would have collapsed more than a year ago.

Adding to these losses was the death of another key writer, Kirby Ferris. More recently a board member was blindsided with two major heart surgeries and is still in rehabilitation.

Then just weeks ago another key writer, the prolific 2A and science fiction author, L. Neil Smith, who worked with Aaron on various books and other major editorial projects, suffered a stroke, right in the middle of our Fall educational and fundraising product developments.

In spite of all this seemingly endless ?damage control? we were able to increase the membership; and thanks to the contract writers and the webmaster, who maintain a flow of quality editorial material; while organizing first-rate office operations; including tight inventory controls with a quick turnaround of member requests.

From day one, due to the highly specialized Jewish orientation, the primary target constituency was extremely small. Fortunately, non-Jews, so taken with the powerful JPFO message, have also consistently been a vital source of revenue; while donating impressive amounts of time and talent to various projects, from 1989 to this very day.

However, all along was the paradox that as a skeletal crew of fiercely devoted workers salvaged and refined after Aaron's passing, the Stalking Horse of poor cash flow was always there. We came to realize that JPFO needed one or more major supporters to break through to the next level.

Many inquiries yielded nil, it became clear that the most logical and efficient solution was to ally with another 2A organization, while preserving our identity.

That's not all. We realized we must have an organization with longevity, solid management, financial depth and marketing powers to insure JPFO carried on.

The urgency of this search accelerated as the monthly revenue streams, from all sources, began a steadily decline early this year. Recent fundraising efforts have yielded little. The headquarters was reduced to being run by the managing director, with part-time secretarial help.

To solve these problems, the JPFO Board of Directors sought out and elected to merge with the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF).

Founded in 1974, now with over 650,000 members, SAF is the oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the right to keep and bear arms.

JPFO will be operated independently by SAF and current JPFO private and industry members and contributors will continue to receive all benefits promised. It will maintain a separate board of directors.

The JPFO website will continue to run independently as a stand-alone entity but will now include links to it from,, plus JPFO will also become a member organization of the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) to expand its reach internationally.

Certain JPFO editorial and administrative staff are likely to remain or be available for the transition. Later, headquarters will move from Wisconsin to SAF headquarters in Bellevue, Washington.

The decision to merge with SAF has generated powerful disagreements and no small amount of vitriol... But before making final decisions on this action, please visit this page to discover what firearms industry icon, Massad Ayoob, has to say about this controversy.

Adulation of Aaron Zelman is spot on; nevertheless, it would be profoundly unfair to not tip the hat of deep gratitude to all members, donors, plus those deeply devoted volunteers that have committed well into the thousands of hours of free services since 1989, so making many of Aaron's landmark projects possible even with the Stalking Horse of financial distress continually behind his back, as it was for us until the merger.


JPFO Board of Directors


It appears that the merger of Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership with the Second Amendment Foundation is an actuality. It is a move that will please some and disappoint others. David Codrea, the National Gun Rights Examiner, has been following the whole process. His article last night announcing the merger pointed out some of the controversy over the merger and that only time will tell if the merger will strengthen JPFO.

Writer Claire Wolfe has spoken out strongly against this merger. She had been a writer for JPFO and resigned her position with them to go public with her opposition to the merger. She terms the merger as a sell-out of the ideals of JPFO founder Aaron Zelman. The whole series of her posts on her Living Freedom blog at Backwoods Home magazine can be found here.

Speaking out in favor of the merger has been Second Amendment stalwarts such as Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association and Massad Ayoob. Both men agree that the financial strength of SAF will be essential to keeping JPFO from going down the drain.

Frankly, it is hard to keep any organization going when its charismatic founder and leader suddenly dies. While the message is ultimately the most important aspect of the organization, it and the founder are so intimately intertwined that it is hard to have one without the other. I don't know the whole history of JPFO nor do I know the details of any animosity that Aaron Zelman might have had for Alan Gottlieb. I do know that both organizations support the Second Amendment and that anything that helps both survive to keep on fighting for it can't be all bad.

The announcement from Alan Gottlieb and SAF on the merger is below:

BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today announced that Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) has become part of the SAF family, bringing together two stalwart gun rights organizations under one banner. “We’re both delighted and proud to announce this merger,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “JPFO was founded 25 years ago by the late Aaron Zelman, and it has become a strong voice in defense of the Second Amendment. I'm personally confident that bringing JPFO into the SAF extended family will benefit firearms owners at many levels.”

Zelman passed away in 2010, and for the past four years, the JPFO has worked hard to maintain its position in the gun rights community.

“We see this as a tremendous opportunity,” said Gottlieb. “With SAF’s resources, we expect JPFO to continue its important work and grow to meet new challenges, educating people about the pitfalls of gun control, and the benefits of gun ownership and personal protection.”

Gottlieb said JPFO operations will be transferred from Wisconsin, where it was founded by Zelman in 1989, to the SAF offices at Liberty Park in Bellevue, Wash. JPFO editorial support staff will stay on and help maintain organizational continuity, he added.

“A few years ago,” Gottlieb noted, “Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership also merged into the SAF family and it has proven to be a great benefit to the gun rights community.”

By joining with the foundation, JPFO will also become a member organization of the International Association for the Protection of Civilian Arms Rights (IAPCAR) and expand its reach internationally.

JPFO will be operated independently as a project of SAF and current members and contributors to the organization will continue to receive all benefits promised, Gottlieb added. JPFO’s website will continue to run independently as a stand-alone entity but will now include links to it from,, as well as

"There Is No Justice For Gun Owners In New Jersey"

The headline, "there is no justice for gun owners in New Jersey", is a statement by Brian Aitken on the treatment that he and Shaneen Allen have received from that state's justice system. He is featured in a new NRA News Report by Ginny Simone entitled "Accidental Criminals: Brian Aitken is Living the Nightmare".

As both Aitken and Allen point out, if Ms. Allen had lied to the officer when stopped for the traffic violation in Atlantic County, New Jersey, she wouldn't be facing up to 10 or more years in prison for being an "accidental criminal". The judge in her case told her that telling the truth didn't matter in this case; it got her in trouble. Isn't incentivizing lying a perversion of any justice system?

Moreover, as Aitken points out, the gun laws of New Jersey are not meant to deter criminals but rather to deter honest citizens from actually owning firearms. Both judges and prosecutors want to use these "accidental criminals" as poster children for their goal of a disarmed public.

Every potential juror in Atlantic County should see this video along with Simone's earlier one on Shaneen Allen. If they understood the ramifications, they might just vote "not guilty" in the jury room. Her case is a strong argument for jury nullification.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Reminder From NSSF About This Year's Senate Races

The National Shooting Sports Foundation's Project Gunvote just released their first video of the political season. It is a good reminder that just a few US Senate races could mean the difference between more gun control and less. For example, North Carolina's Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) says she supports the Second Amendment. That didn't stop her from voting for the Manchin-Toomey universal background checks among other things.

Just saying...

Maybe He'll Mind His Own Business Now - Not Ours

The Wall Street Journal ran a story this morning about our "favorite" former mayor Mike Bloomberg. It appears that he will be taking over the CEO reins of Bloomberg LP again.
Less than a year after leaving office as mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg will return as head of Bloomberg LP, the financial data and media firm he founded and still controls, the company announced Wednesday.

Mr. Bloomberg, 72 years old, will take charge at the end of the year, when Daniel Doctoroff, who has been chief executive since 2008, will step aside, the company said.

In a statement, Mr. Bloomberg said he hadn't intended to return to Bloomberg LP after his mayoral stint was completed. "However, the more time I spent reacquainting myself with the company, the more exciting and interesting I found it—in large part, due to Dan's efforts. I have gotten very involved in the company again and that led to Dan coming to me recently to say he thought it would be best for him to turn the leadership of the company back to me."

Mr. Bloomberg—who owns 88% of Bloomberg LP and is worth $33 billion, estimates Forbes—had been expected to turn his attention to his philanthropic efforts after leaving office.
Good! Now maybe he'll be too occupied minding his own business to mind our business. Let's hope so.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

If You Aren't Mad About This, You Should Be

This morning when I started to make my rounds of the blogs I came across an anomaly. Tam Keel's View From The Porch was coming up with a weird message saying that it was open to invited readers only. Thinking it was just a typo on my part, I tried to access her blog from a link at Shall Not Be Questioned. I got the same result.

As she is a Facebook friend, I checked there for info. I saw that she had posted a note last night saying she was done with it. Reading through the comments she noted that she didn't need the hassle and she had writing for pay that needed attention.

This is a stunning loss to the gun blogosphere. Tam was not merely the Mistress of Snark. While she was that in spades, it was her deep knowledge of firearms and training that kept me coming back. Whether it was her recent posts about testing out the Walther PPX or her collection of Savage pocket pistols arranged in chronological order, you learned something and it made you think.

And why did we lose Tam as a blogger? Because of an unrelenting cyberstalker who just wouldn't give up.

One who writes nonsense like this:
If my South Bend business trip wraps up early tomorrow I might stick my nose in the 1500; I don't need anything but yesterday was my b-day 60 so who knows...I haven't hit a big show in a few years and just a walk-through with my little Georgia Girl would be fun. And I may see you at your Sun. gathering for a bit, maybe buy the group a round; that in itself would be a nice little present from me to me.
That is just a taste of the crap he's been sending Tam at, from what I can gather, an unrelenting pace.

I don't blame Tam a bit for saying enough was enough. Perhaps this will be merely a hiatus. We can only hope for that. In the meantime, keep an eye out for her published work. I know she writes for SWAT Magazine as well as Shooting Illustrated.

I do have one wish. I would like this cyberstalker found, charged, convicted, and imprisoned for a long time.

UPDATE: Tam has turned her blog archives on and has disabled the comments. While she is still on indefinite hiatus, we are still able to partake of her past work. Thanks to Rob Reed for making the request. And thanks to Tam for agreeing to do it.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Road Trip To Cabelas

I've been wanting to visit the new Cabelas store located in Greeenville, South Carolina since it opened earlier this year. I suggested that we drive down there on Saturday and the Complementary Spouse agreed After all, it is only a hour's drive or so from Asheville to Greenville.

The Greenville store is what Cabelas considers their next generation store. In other words, much smaller than their massive stores like the one in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. I visited that store a number of years ago and was blown away by it.

The front of the Greenville store
I wasn't really looking for much to buy at the store. I needed a new Cabelas cap as mine was old and ratty. I also wanted to check out the Gun Library and the Bargain Cave. Of course, I expected to make a few impulse buys but not exactly what I came home with. More on that later.

The entrance to the store had a massive fireplace with a sitting area and a number of specimen mounts. The style is what one would expect for an outdoor destination store like Cabelas or, for that matter, most Bass Pro Shop stores.

It is a nicely laid out store with the clothing sections in the middle, the hunting and guns on the left side of the store, and the fishing and camping stuff on the right side of the store. As to location, it is about a block or two off of Interstate 85 at Exit 51. I think the store might make a good place for a blogger meetup as it has a conference room and a grill. The Greenville location is about an hour from Asheville, 1 1/2 hours from Charlotte, and about 2 hours from the Atlanta metro area.

The Gun Library had some impressive firearms with equally impressive prices. The display cases had everything from Colt revolvers to high-end nicely engraved Browning Superposed double shotguns. The entrance is flanked by a pair of elephant tusks. I'm not sure if they really were ivory or just replicas but it still makes for an impressive entrance-way.

Just outside the Gun Library were four double-level, double-sided racks of used long guns. And that is where I met my downfall. As I said earlier, I had only wanted to check the place out and buy a cap plus maybe something from the Bargain Cave. My downfall was a FN Mauser in 6.5x55 Swede mounted in a California-style walnut stock (rollover stock with exaggerated palm swell and contrasting wood tip). The scope that was mounted on it was an older Bushnell 2.5 Banner scope made in Japan. It has a nice, crisp trigger with no creep. I haven't put it on my trigger gauge yet but I'm guessing it is set at about 3 lbs.

The best part is the price was about what you'd pay for a Ruger American if you paid full retail. I'm going to have to do some research on it but I'm thinking it was a FN barreled action that was customized once it got to the US. There are no gunsmith markings that I can see without pulling the action from the stock. It does have the customary Belgian proof marks and the action is marked "FAB. NAT. D'ARMES de GUERRE" with "HERSTAL - BELGIQUE" underneath it. (I'll get pictures up as soon as I have time to take some decent shots of it.)

I have to say that Cabelas was very organized and very efficient in checking you out with a firearm purchase. It was the first time I ever filled out the Form 4473 using a computer though I did sign a printed copy of it. The only lag was getting the purchase paperwork and Form 4473 double checked and signed off on by two "team captains". The cashier then walks you out the store and takes off the trigger lock at the entrance. It is obvious that Cabelas wants to make sure the paperwork is correct, that BATFE is happy, and that negligent discharges don't happen while the firearm is still in their store.

The final stop before arriving home was at one of the many fruit stands dotting north Greenville County to pick up some fresh South Carolina peaches. I don't know who grows the better peaches - Georgia or South Carolina - but these were mighty good.