Category Archives: Jeff’s Blog

Jeff's Blog

Hello Gun Lobby!

Much of what you see here you might later see as a the core of a full column in The Knox Report which is a regular feature of Shotgun News and many club and organization newsletters, or featured in our own newsletter, The Hard Corps Report. This area will serve as my notes and brain-storming zone for other writing so you'll see it here first.

Please let me know what you think of the information you find here and the work that we are doing.

Yours for the Second Amendment,

Jeff Knox


Prediction on NRA’s Folly

NRA’s Folly Growing

When the Supreme Court overturned another major section of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Law, Democrats were indignant.  How dare the Court suggest that the Constitution overrules the will of the Congress?  As a result, Democrats in the House and Senate immediately introduced new language intended to slip past the Court’s ruling and they were determined to pass the measure before the November elections primarily so conservative groups like the TEA Party would have difficulty holding individual politicians responsible for their votes on pork, spending, and taxes.  The bill, like its predecessor, is mainly an incumbent protection act designed to make it harder for special interest groups to target particular politicians over votes or other actions.

One major obstacle proponents of the bill faced was strong opposition from one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington – the NRA.  In an unprecedented maneuver, sponsors of the measure – at NRA’s suggestion – added language exempting certain large, established organizations from the provisions of the bill.  The description of who was exempted fit only a small handful of organizations, including NRA.  Once the legislation no longer applied to them, NRA withdrew their opposition to the bill – much to the dismay of their state affiliates, individual members, conservative organizations, and other gun groups – and the bill subsequently squeaked by in the House by a vote of 219 – 206.

Now the measure goes to the Senate where it is championed by avowed NRA hater and consummate dirty political schemer Chuck Schumer.  Early reports suggested that opposition to the NRA deal from several Democrat politicians might scuttle the bill.  I postulated on that idea myself, but that was before I had a chance to think the matter through.  Upon reflection, here is what I expect to happen next:

Schumer – who heads the Democrat Senatorial Election Committee and is a very likely successor to Harry Reid as Democrat Leader if Reid is defeated as expected in November – will push the measure and quickly capitulate to “pressure” from Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to remove the language exempting NRA from the bill.  The Senate will pass the measure without the NRA exemption.  That will take the bill to a conference committee made up of representatives from the House and Senate – all hand-picked by Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.  The Committee will agree to the Senate version, or a slightly different version which does not exempt NRA, and the bill will be pushed back to the House for an up or down vote.  It will pass by a narrow margin and be signed by President Obama.

The other possibility is that Schumer will convince Feinstein and Lautenberg to support the version with all of the exemptions.  The advantage of the “compromise version is that the only way the act could be effectively stopped after passage is with a lawsuit.  Since all of the largest organizations are exempted from the bill, there are few organizations who would be constrained by the law who also have the resources to fund an aggressive lawsuit.

The bill is written to go into effect immediately upon the President signing it and, since it will be next year before the specific regulations implementing the law will be completed, political groups will be taking an enormous risk if they do any electioneering that might be covered in the law.  That means that unless this can be stopped in the Senate or blocked by a lawsuit, all new, small, or midsized groups will be effectively muzzled leading into the all-important November elections.

The NRA’s management made a huge mistake backing away from their opposition to the DISCLOSE Act and its passage will do serious harm to the Republic and to NRA.

Right now the primary focus must be on stopping this bill in the Senate.  Readers are urged to contact their Senators and let them know that they consider a vote for this bill a vote against the First Amendment.  NRA members should also contact members of the NRA Board of Directors and tell them that they want NRA to step up and fight this legislation.

If this fight goes badly as I expect it will, we are going to need as many angry NRA members as possible to try to make some changes at NRA.  Quitting the NRA in protest does nothing but reduce the clout of those of us who want to try to make changes in the organization.  You can’t fix it if you’re not a member.

A Gun to a Snowball Fight?

Don’t Bring a Gun to a Snowball Fight

A plainclothes D.C. police officer driving his personal Hummer during the big snowstorm this weekend came under attack from a large group in the midst of a community snowball fight.  After the officer’s Hummer was struck by snowballs, he exited his vehicle, drew a handgun, and began an “dialog” with the young people throwing the snowballs.  The crowd was not impressed by the gun and responded by throwing more snowballs and chanting “Don’t bring a gun to a snowball fight.”

I can’t imagine any way that this guy could be justified in deploying his gun in this circumstance.

What would happen if you or I drew our legally carried handgun in such a circumstance?

While the police do have broader leeway in deploying deadly force – not that much leeway.

The full story hasn’t been told yet and we must reserve judgment until all of the facts are known, but so far there is little to support the officer’s actions.  The fact that this turned into a direct assault on a police officer, albeit a snowball assault, does not justify it because it only reached that point after the officer escalated and exacerbated the situation by exiting his vehicle and waving his gun around.

I’m a big supporter of the police.  I’ve even considered a law enforcement career myself, but I do not believe the police should receive a pass when they do something stupid – particularly if the stupidity involves firearms.  So far this looks like pure stupidity to me.

Back from GRPC

          I got back from GRPC last night and just fell over.  The combination of early mornings, long days, and late, late nights really takes its toll, but it is definitely worth it.  Nowhere else do I have the opportunity to meet and talk with so many committed activists and leaders of the movement.  At the SHOT Show every year I am focused on meeting with members of the industry and some of the "gun media."  At the NRA Convention I get to see some of the rights leaders, but there is always so much going on and there are so many demands on all of our time that it is difficult to find a moment to really sit down and discuss the important issues of the day and work out strategies for cooperative efforts.  At GRPC though, I get to hear ideas from dozens of the best and the brightest minds in the gun rights movement and am able to follow up on those ideas during breaks and at the evening receptions.  Each night there are small groups of people scattered about the conference area quietly scheming, jovially sharing stories, and boisterously arguing into the wee hours.  This networking and idea sharing is absolutely invaluable and the discussions, arguments and friendships often continue via the internet and telephone long after the conference ends.

         I was a little disappointed with my presentation this year.  I served on a panel focused on the expansion of carry rights and chose to discuss the importance of taking the high ground in the language we use to promote our rights.  Those who have followed my writing know that I have long advocated that we, as a movement, must be more aware of the words we choose to use in arguing our cause, avoiding saying things like "we should be allowed to carry guns" in this place or that.  We need to talk about repealing laws which disarm us in these places rather than conceding the authority and giving our opponents the upper hand with the word allow.  Similarly we need to avoid phrases like "arming teachers," and "guns on campus."  These are important issues and need to be couched in terms of "disarming" the law-abiding and creating safe working environments for criminals.  We have the moral authority and must argue from the position of demanding the recognition of our rights.  We should never allow our words to paint us as supplicants begging for permission to exercise our natural rights.  The point I is that if we wish to win the fight for recognition of our right to carry arms when we choose, we must argue from our strength, not beg from our knees, and the words we choose are what determines that position.

          Chris gave a presentation about the threats to our rights  being generated by the drug violence in Mexico and now crossing the border into border states.  This was Chris’ first time presenting at GRPC and I think he did a good job. 

         Now we need to do the follow-up work from the conference; adding all of those who requested it to our email list and mailing list, and making sure that the ideas and discussions started there continue and are turned into productive actions.  No time to rest.  The ’09 elections are just weeks away and the 2010 campaigns are already starting.  

Marching On

Marching on Washington

A small group of us went into DC on Saturday to participate in the 9/12 March on Washington and we had a great time.  Even though planning for the event was almost completely ignored by the major media, the turnout was incredible.  For some reason the organizers kept suggesting that the crowd numbered near 1.5 million, but it didn’t come close to that.  My personal guess is that there were somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 people in attendance, but the numbers aren’t really important.  What is important is that there were a lot of angry people trying to get their voices heard and while they were drawn to the protest by their opposition to government growth, bail-outs, the health care bill, taxes, and other issues, they were almost unanimously pro-gun.  Some of the strongest reactions from the crowd came when speakers commented about the Second Amendment, and everyone we met was enthusiastically in support of gun rights.  There were many NRA and pro-rights ball caps and T-shirts visible and people eagerly snapped up the information we were offering about The Firearms Coalition and www.GunVoter.org.

If Obama, Pelosi, and company had any sense, they would make a big show of "hearing" the complaints of this crowd and slowing their agenda some in response.  I don’t think they’re smart enough for that though so I expect they will continue to try to run right over the millions of Americans who are upset about what is going on and in so doing they will alienate millions more, fueling the anger and frustration and making a dramatic turnover in Congress in 2010 much more likely.

So far this administration and congress have shied away from gun control schemes, but that will change the moment they believe they can get away with something – or the moment they realize that they are going to lose their control.  Either way we must remain vigilant and keep building our ranks and the "Tea Parties" and health care protests are very fertile ground for recruiting support for our cause.  If you get a chance, get involved and make it a point to invite everyone you meet to join our fight.  Point them to www.FirearmsCoalition.org and www.GunVoter.org and we’ll take it from there.

Fewer Guns in Cockpits?

Washington Times Going Off Halfcocked

     The Washington Times reported in a scathing editorial on Tuesday that the Obama administration has quietly diverted some 2 million dollars away from the armed pilot, Federal Flight Deck Officer program, and into a new program of inspectors to investigate existing FFDOs.  TSA says the criticism is unfounded as they have a strong commitment to the success and growth of the FFDO program and that the $2 million shift is to provide administrative support for the program which they say has outgrown the current structure.

    The real truth of the matter probably lies somewhere between the Times’ editorial and TSA’s claim.  While the program has been steadily growing and probably is becoming difficult to effectively supervise, any time a bureaucracy adds more bureaucracy to improve “oversight” of a program, the result is almost always going to be more red tape and less progress.  TSA has consistently drug their feet on the FFDO program; making the application and training process ridiculously complicated and intrusive and placing the only training facility in the most out of the way location possible.  There are also issues of pilots not being reimbursed for many of the expenses that they must pay out-of-pocket.  If ensuring adherence to the rules is becoming too difficult, rather than expanding the supervisory and compliance staff, the better solution would be to simply reduce the number of hoops FFDOs are required to jump through.

    Airline pilots are highly trained professionals.  Most of them have military experience and many continue service in the National Guard and Reserves.  As Neal Knox said when he proposed creating an armed pilot program back in 1988;  "If a captain can be entrusted with a $30-million aircraft and 300 passengers, he can be trusted with a firearm."  Unfortunately the politicians and "experts" didn’t listen to Neal in 1988 when he pointed out that without the "last resort" of an armed pilot to protect an aircraft, commercial airliners are "sitting ducks" because no ammount of screening is ever going to be perfect. Since the attacks of 9/11/01 the options have narrowed even further because if the pilot and crew can’t maintain control of their aircraft, the next alternative is a missile from a fighter jet – a fighter jet which is very likely to e piloted by a current or future airline pilot.  Does anyone question the wisdom of that pilot being armed?

Continue reading Fewer Guns in Cockpits?

Knox on Roth Show

Listen to Jeff Knox on the Dr. Laurie Roth Show

I spent an hour this evening speaking on the air with Dr. Laurie Roth on her syndicated radio program.  The discussion covered a lot of ground and the hour was gone before I knew it.  The show was done on short notice and while I don't think it was my best work, I think you'll find it interesting.  You can listen to the program by clicking here or go to www.theRothShow.com.

Ammo Tax?

Two rumors keep popping up and making the rounds through the viral e-mail circuit:

1. Obama is planning a 500% tax on ammo

2. All the ammo you currently have is going to become illegal in July and only ammo with serial numbers will be legal.

Both of these rumors are bogus.

The ammo tax idea has been a fantasy of the gun banners for decades, but I have seen no recent attempt to implement any such thing.  Such a tax would require an act of Congress and while there has been a bill introduced which addresses gun and ammo excise tax issues, it is a pro-gun bill trying to fix some problems in the system.  There has not been a serious proposal put forward to dramatically increase taxes on ammunition.

Part of the source of the resurgence of the ammo tax rumor could be the ammo serialization rumor.  While ammo serialization is a real issue, it is not an imminent threat.  There is a company that built a machine that can engrave tiny serial numbers on bullets and cases and they have established a fake organization promoting the technology as a crime solving tool.  They have also convinced legislators in about 18 states to introduce model legislation they have written.  So far not even California or Massachusetts has come close to actually adopting the legislation.

So while the threat of mandating serialization and registration of all ammo – and the destruction of all non-serialized and registered ammo – is real, it is not gaining any traction and is unlikely to do so in the near future.  This idea should be carefully watched, but not panicked over.

There is another rumor that I'm a bit more concerned about.  Sources say that some in the State Department are moving to block the importation of "military caliber" ammunition.  While this is still just a rumor at this point, it is something I warned about during the effort to block the Holder nomination.  Hillary Clinton at State, Eric Holder at Justice, Rahm Emanuel as White House Chief of Staff, not to mention Obama himself… We definitely have enemies in high places and there are things which can be done to harass the firearms community without involving Congress.  Restricting, delaying, and generally interfering with imports of ammunition, guns, and gun parts are all very real possibilities.  It is also very possible that Eric Holder might change regulations on firearms manufacturers, dealers, and importers to make it much more difficult for them to do business and make them more vulnerable to criminal charges for technical errors.

None of these things is anything more than rumor and speculation at this point, but they are likely possibilities and require careful watching and an immediate response if any of them begins to come to life.  In the mean time, we all need to be careful about raising false alarms that could dull the response when a real alarm is sounded.

On that note, if you have not signed up for the Knox FC Alerts e-mail alert list, now would be a great time to rectify that.  We won't bury you in spam or fill up your in-box.  We only send alerts when there is something to report – or occasionally when things have been slow for a month or two I'll send out a little update just to remind you we're here and to make sure the system still works.

To sign up for the Knox FC Alert e-mail alerts list, just click here.

Latest “Page 9”

Alan Korwin, author of a number of books on gun laws and rights related matters, writes a review of the news which he calls "Page 9."  If you don't subscribe to this clever and thought provoking e-newsletter (it's free) I would encourage you to do so, or you can read it here as we plan to post each new eddition.  Here is the table of contents for the current eddition.  Just click the "Read More" link to read the entire newsletter.

 

PAGE NINE — No. 59

The Uninvited Ombudsman Report, No. 59, Feb. 10, 2009

by Alan Korwin, Author
Gun Laws of America

 

Contents:
(searchable by item number)

1- Million Gun March
2- State Sovereignty Bills
3- No-Fly Gun Ban
4- Gun Rights Commerce
5- Pork Free Stimulus
6- Kelo's Empty Lot
7- NewsBull Continues Unabated

(Click "Read More" for the full report)

Continue reading Latest “Page 9”

Holder Confirmed

Eric Holder Confirmed as Attorney General

    Anti-Second Amendment extremist Eric Holder has been confirmed by the Senate to be the Attorney General of the United States.  In that capacity Mr. Holder will have unprecedented power to limit, restrict, record, and otherwise interfere with the right of the people to keep and bear arms.   You know, that right that the Bill of Rights says "shall not be infringed."

    The vote to confirm Holder was 75 to 21 with 3 not voting.  The Senators who did not vote were Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who is probably on his death-bed; Mark Begich (D-AK), I don't know his excuse;  and Mel Martinez (R-FL), who was an early endorser of Holder, but who should be at risk of lynching by his own Cuban-American community in Florida where they still remember Holder explaining that the storm-trooper assault to seize 6-year old Elian Gonzalez and send him back to Cuba was not a "midnight raid," it happened in the morning – just before dawn, and that thejack-booted thugs went in with sensitivity and did not take the boy at gunpoint.  Which of course was verified in the photo record of the event as seen here.  I have to wonder if Martinez wasn't feeling some serious heat from his constituents and decided that the better part of valour was to hide out until after the vote.  His actual vote shouldn't matter.  Mel Martinez said he was supporting Holder and he should be considered to have cast a vote for him.

    I am extremely disappointed in the results of this vote though I expected just such an outcome when I learned that NRA had decided not to count a vote for Holder in their grading system.  The sad truth is that most politicians vote not for the benefit of the nation, but for the benefit of themselves.  If they believe that a vote will help their chances of retaining their position of importance, they are likely to cast that vote.  If they believe that voting a particular way will hurt their chances of reelection, they will tend to swing the other way.  If given a pass by the NRA, they will be swayed by some other factors.  NRA failed to even make Holder's twisted views on the Second Amendment a primary issue in this fight, instead focusing on his disinclination to support NRA's misguided "Project Exile" which encourages strict enforcement and federal prosecution of existing federal gun laws.

    You can see details of the vote to confirm Holder on the Senate web site by clicking here , but here's how the voting broke down state by state: (click the Read More link below)

Continue reading Holder Confirmed

Got by the Good Old Boys?

Collegial Buddies in the Senate Pull a Fast One

    Sometimes we are so busy looking at the forest we don't see the trees.  It is beginning to look like that is what happened last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  After some contentious remarks and posturing during the preceding weeks and a very anti-climactic two days of hearings on the confirmation of Eric Holder as Attorney General, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) had requested that the vote be delayed by a week and that under the rules of the committee he was obliged to grant the delay.  So rather than going to a vote of the committee on Wednesday, January 21 the vote was postponed to Wednesday, January 28.  What wasn't mentioned was the situation regarding the makeup of the committee.

    With the wrangling over "found" votes and more votes than voters in Minnesota, the contentious appointment of Roland Burris to fill the seat vacated by Barack Obama, questions about the appointment in New York to replace Hillary Clinton, and a few other issues, the Senate leadership was slow about their bi-annual reorganization and committee assignments.  Most of the new assignments were not made official until Wednesday evening, January 21.

    That means that on Wednesday, when the vote was supposed to have taken place, the makeup of the Senate Judiciary Committee was still as it had been in the 110th Congress.  With 10 Democrats and 9 Republicans – but wait – there's more to that story.  Among the 10 Democrats were Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy.  Biden officially resigned from the Senate on January 15.  Kennedy has been hospitalized since his collapse at an inauguration party on January 20.  So on January 21 when the Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote on whether to recommend confirmation of Eric Holder there were only 8 Democrats available to vote on the committee and 9 Republicans.  That's 8 "F" rated Democrats versus 9 "A" rated Republicans to decide whether an anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment political lackey should be the guardian of the Constitution and the nation's top cop.

    Rather than press the advantage, the "A" rated majority instead asked for a delay of a week during which one of their members was removed from the committee and three additional "F" rated Democrats were added.

    Now I'm as fair-minded as the next guy and I understand that there are professional courtesies to be observed in a body such as the US Senate – though the Democrats have not extended much in the way of courtesy over the past couple of years – but if the Democrats wanted more time so they could stack the committee, they should have admitted that fact and requested the delay themselves rather than having the Republicans request the delay for them and pretend they were delaying to be tough.

    I might be missing something – the rules and traditions of the Senate are a complex mess about which I am nowhere near an expert – but this looks to me like the good old boys maneuvering in an effort to keep the rubes back home – that's you and me – from realizing that it's all just a big game.